rational time, another instance of failed social construction?

We rarely get convinced by the force of the argument, for that you need shared experience matched by language.  It's usually the case that we are convinced either by ideologies or ideologues.

So much for our epoch's claim to rationality, whose lack thereof, by the way, generates many a headache, amplified as it is by the formal exclusion of the irrational.

Is a square root a Rational Number


Crescentsi said...

Mmm! Rational time. That's an interesting concept. How can a social or "psychological" construct be rational, particularly when the stimulus (time) is (fashionably) of negligable existence?

I think we're beginning to reinterpret the Dark Ages, but, metaphors aside I think we should shine some light on it!

Beneath the argument for/against rationality/irrationality lies a certain humanness. The inevitable animality of the human condition causes us a myriad of problems. Then again these aversions and anxieties lead to acheivements that solve human problems. Mmm! The human condition, it has its good points and bad. Its inevitability is its cause, consequence and reiteration, but can lead to inventiveness.


fCh said...

What a treat, thank you for your comment, Simon!

Yes, I loosely take rational time to mean modernity, with its production modes and dominant discourse based not only on rationality, but on the claim that nothing else exists. Or, if it exists, it is beyond some norm and it should be controlled (as in labeling, detention, medication, etc.).

As social construct is rational in that it normatively follows a rational schema. Those elements that do not conform are ruled out. In short to medium term, this works like an ordering principle, yet tensions accumulate over time, just as those Freud hypothesized at individual level. I think we've entered a period of increasing tensions and frustration at all levels. Nothing seems to work, the levers/pulleys/buttons have taken a life of their own, as it were.

Yes, we may do well to reinterpret the so called Dark Ages. In addition to the more scholastic interest in such pursuit, I'd think we could get a glimpse at a rearrangement of the workforce, a phenomenon that's taking place in the West. More specifically, I am struck by how many independent consultants/freelancers are out there--brushing aside the fact that these are euphemisms for unemployed/underemployed--I sense there is growing and real talent on the margins, going from project to project. Learning from the so called Dark Ages could help this socio-professional category/(class?) become more of a force.

I don't make an argument for irrationality, just for more humbleness of the rationalists and an inclusiveness of analysis. Problem is that the current scheme of power is based, to a considerable extent, on the so called higher rationality of the leadership...

I take our animality as a given. The alternative is simply not being born.

Crescentsi said...

That's interesting that you have picked up on a positive aspect of the (I presume) US economy. The interest in freelancing/self employment is very strong in the UK, however because of banks unwillingness to lend, few new enterprises are starting up. However, the talent and initiative shown by many is, as you suggest, very strong.

In the UK I have recently encountered a strange sense of positivity. There appear to be some green shoots emerging, a tentative recovery beginning? We have to bear the brunt of extensive council cuts this year, across the country and top bankers continue to misbehave and are considered to be "well in" with top politicians, according to the governer of the Bank of England. Not his exact words, but his implication was clear!

Although (as usual) my claim is based on intuition I have also noted a number of positives. OK, Britain has lost its 3 star credit rating, but that is more cosmetic than being of any substance. And despite the Chancellor's rather desperate and puny stance towards the fiscal storm that continues to brew, Jaguar/Land Rover are increasing productivity, loan companies are being told to clean up their act, housing is a little bit more affordable and some neglected construction projects are actually being resumed. It's very small at the moment, but my guts tell me it is at least, a beginning!

In a few years we may all be smiling again, but how to prevent the "bust". We need to consider the implications of the global market place as well, particularly burgeoning economies that will eventually be equal to large Western economies, or surpass them! It's going to take more than Eton boy Cameron to go on a fleeting visit to India and knock around a cricket ball!

Thanks! I liked your post, you understand the larger picture rather than focusing on one aspect of a whole and applying a "knee-jerk" reaction, like a politician!

Hope there is some positivity in the US, even if its only a trace for the time being!

And animality; without it we are, as you suggest, not human!

not so optimistic said...


Crescentsi said...

Yes! I appreciate your point, but the seeds of a recovery are being sewn. It is a fragile recovery and will take much more effort and some courage on everyone's part! I speak from a UK percepective where I am sure we will face more industrial action and there is still a potential for unrest. Nonetheless, the inventiveness and tenacity of the general public is a potent force, that works within the restrictions that politicians have contrived. However, there has been a modicum of positive steps by the Government, some that will help a little as long as the public are prepared to work very hard (as they already are) and contend with the aforementioned limitations. People are suffering, but it is the role of politicians to protect themselves and their powerful friends before they help the rest of us. Therefore, there is an inevitability about this situation (also see Capitalism) and (so it seems)an inevitability regarding a recovery, however tentative it seems now and however incomplete it may turn out to be. Cold comfort, but some comfort at least!

fCh said...

I have not wanted to intervene in between the above exchange, but will ask: Do you (still) believe in the fruits of recovery? In UK or any other place of consequence in the West?

Recovery may eventually come, but we'll all be dead eventually.

First things first. From where I sit, the prospect of war is not all that imaginary. For example, when I look at Russia I have a deja vu sensation (Hint: interwar Germany.) From many a form of creative destruction war is the dumbest(*), but I have little trust the current generation has internalized much from the lessons of history. That is, hubris and lack of creative imagination on the part of the most recent victors and an acute sense of victimhood with perceived-lesser real or imaginary enemies.

(*) Dumbest as in uncertain return regardless of investment.

Crescentsi said...

Absolutely! I think that a recovery is beginning to take shape in the UK. But, as I said, it will take years to develop and the pain will continue for years to come! Certainly, in the UK there are some encouraging signs, depite the continuing corruption that we're experiencing. Indeed, fall-out from the Credit Crunch may be experienced for years to come, but the recovery will come in the UK and in many other Western countries. Captitalism is, after all cyclical by "nature" and symbiotic, despite its intrinsic unfairness.

For me the question is not whether we will recover from this recession, but how we will cope with competition from emerging economies, largely via new technology? The West is far from dead, but it is struggling, under threat both internally and externally. Or should I say Western dominance is under threat? That may be more realistic.

Yes, continual wars seem to create stasis rather than positive changes for countries. Nonetheless, the war is not as much with the West (with the exception of terrorism) rather it is within warring countries. The upheavel in the Middle East and North Africa is on an unpresidented scale, and will alter our perception/experience of our world for good.

These revolutions are an attempt to forge new democracies, from dictatorships, therefore there is something very positive about them, despite the bloodshed.

However, Bush's (junior) approach to warfare certainly contained elements of "imaginary enemies"; warring with a notion rather than an actual threat. However, 9/11 was real enough! Postmodernity is, inevitably uncertain and the real merges with fantasy, to create an "idee-fixe" of indecision and angst. When Bush departed the White House I felt a sigh of relief across the UK. Possibly, the whole world sighed collectively.....

This aside, I am disturbed by the trend for military drones. This strange game of war (a game within a game) seems to confirm Baudrillard's theorising re: the Vietnam War. If he was (partly) wrong (or misconstrued) about Vietnam, his ideas may have a powerful resonance today.

Certainly politicians (sometimes conveniently) fail to learn from history. But this is to be expected (politicians like Churchill are few and far between).

Talking about victimhood, the recent claims by the Mau Mau that they were mistreated while captured by the British seems incredulous when you consider what they did to others!

A symptom of a waning West, no doubt. But far from a death knell!

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