Razgovor sa Necističkim Ateistom

Prenosim ovdje jer sam prvi put stavio na ekran šta kuvam poprilično dugo u glavi. Prvi draft, znate kako je, tako da ne očekujte neke promole mozga, ali ću prenijeti šta je rečeno bez promjene. Ime sagovornika nije uključeno.

 

ON: Koliko je ova grupa uopče otvorena za racionalne rasprave i pluralna razmišljanja. U čestim debatama na relaciji ateisti-muslimani, uvjek imamo polarizaciju na one koji su za sličan tretman muslimana na način na koji oni nas tretiraju (95% islamskih država imaju apostaziju van zakona, zatvori, prognanja, smrtne kazne) i na one pojedince koji se bore za prava muslimana i za pomoc tim istim ljudima koji nas preziru. Zašto je toliko kontroverzno reći da ja njima želim, ono što i oni žele nama.Takve rasprave često budu poprilično burne i vatrene, pojedinci se nikako ne mogu složiti. Ali meni jednostavno nije jasno, zašto lijeva/liberalna/leftardska strana nakon neuspjelog uvjeravanja i argumentiranja prijavljuje one članove desnijeg svjetonazora? Zašto slijede prijave i prijetnje izbacivanjem? Ako ova grupa ide u smjeru Prisilnog jednoumlja, ne vidim uopče potrebu za ikakvim raspravama.

P.S. prestanite uspoređvat kršćanstvo sa islamom. Kršćanstvo je isprano, polupropalo, refirmirano, izokrenuto, pola toga se više niti ne prakticira. Islam se nije reformirao, niti se može reformirati, a šerijatski zakon će ostati zauvjek isti. Najgore što kršćani danas mogu napraviti je zabraniti wedding cake gay paru, a muslimani u svojim državama kolju sve redom koji se ne uklapaju u njihov svjetonazor. Niti jedna kršćanska država više ne kažnjava apostaziju, dok velika većina islamskih kažnjava

 

JA: Ha ha ha! Dobar si ti meni, “islam nije reformisan” kad najubitačnija forma, Salafijski Wahabizam je bukvalno moderni pokret ka više “čistom” islamu. Razlog što se ljudi većinom ne upuštaju u ozbiljne diskusije sa pozicijama koje predstavljaš je da u ogromnoj većini situacija te pozicije se stavljaju od strane ljudi koji a) imaju toliko patetično znanje materije da razgovarati sa njima zahtjeva dati nekome predavanje protiv njihove volje, i b) da je prečesto ta pozicija plitko opravdanje za još pliću ksenofobiju.

ON: Biti sličan izvornome obliku ne znači biti reformiran.

JA: Ne razumiješ. ako mjenjaš nešto da bude “izvornije”, onda mjenjaš nešto. Ne možeš reći da se islam ne mjenja, ako kažeš da neko mjenja stvari u islamu! To na stranu, prepustiti bezrazložno Wahabistima premisu da je njihov islam “čistiji” je preglupo sa argumentativne i strateške tačke.

 

ON: But…
Njihov islam jest čistiji… Svaka rečenica is Kurana je utkana u društvo.

 

Ja: “sovjetska štampa je najslobodnija na svijetu”

izvuci glavu iz saudijskog šupka momak, i malo prokontaj jebo ga ti.

 

ON: Koja država je onda primjer pravoga islama?

 

JA: Nemam ja drugar moj primjer pravog islama, ko što nemam primjer pravog hrišćanstva, ali znam da saudija nije primjer pravog islama, ko što znam da rusija nije primjer pravog hrišćanstva. Nego znam da ljudi koriste religiju da opravdaju političke poteze, i da je to opravdanje isto toliko bezrazložno kad je religiozni koriste ko kad je nereligiozni koriste.

Prihvatiti sam koncept “prave religije” mi je kao ateisti absurdno.

 

ON: Ako u Kuranu i Hadisima pise da se ubije ateiste, i ako Saudijska Arabija to napravi ( kao i hrpa ostalih muslimanskih drzava), jel oni prate pravi islam ili ne?

 

JA: Kojoj školi hronološkog redanja kuranskih zakona pripada presudna komora? Kojoj školi interpretacije vjerodostojnosti hadita pripadaju? Kojoj školi interpretacije dokaznih odrednica pripadaju? Kojoj školi i tradiciji interpretacije kaznenih odrednica pripadaju? Kažeš sve to, i znaš šta će biti presuda, ako znaš sve relevantne informacije o slučaju i optuženom. Sad, što će saudijci i drugi da koriste postojanje tog zakona da se lakše rješe svojih neželjenih elemenata me interesuje koliko i staljinsko korištenje “zločina protiv seljaštva i proletarijata” da se rješe svojih. To što saudijci koriste taj zakon više od drugih ništa više ne uspostavlja da je njihov islam “pravi” islam (“prava religija”?!) nego što staljinovo korištenje svoje verzije pokazuje da je sovjetski savez “pravi” komunizam. Šta više, prijedlog koji nudiš što se tiče legalnog odnosa ka muslimanima u nemuslimanskim sudovima se sastoji u zakonskoj odrednici “ubij muslimana”. Jel razumiješ zašto si posmatran kao reakcionarni neznalac?

 

 

On Rights Without Abilities

Do I have the right to live on Mars?

In a certain sense, I do. There are no legal prohibitions from me doing so. At the same time, this right is empty, since I’m not actually able to live on Mars. To say that I don’t have the right to live on Mars would mean that I could live on Mars, but that I’m not allowed to.

Do I have the right to live in London?

In a very obvious sense, I don’t, at least at the time of writing. I haven’t received the proper papers that give me that right, and there are legal prohibitions on those without such papers living in London. But let’s make this case more complicated: does the spouse of a British citizen have the right to live in London?- No, not just like that. They need the papers giving them that right. And those papers are contingent on things like how much money the couple makes.

Does the immediate family of a British citizen have the right to live in London?

Again, so long as they have their papers, they do have that right. If they don’t have their papers, it’s not clear that their right to live in London is any less empty than their right to live on Mars. That’s why I find it very odd when I see people claiming that financial conditions to UK family visas don’t violate anyone’s right to family life. Especially when the explanation is that they can have family life in another country.

Now, how one can have a right at the same time as a legal prohibition from exercising it is beyond me, as it is for those who put this explanation forward. I’ve not seen anyone actually put this forward as anything more than an assertion, and I would like to see someone brave enough to try.

If rights can be of at least two kinds, empty and not empty, then I would hope that the right to family life is not an empty right. Otherwise, we can expect more Governments respecting people’s rights, so long as they’re excercized elsewhere.

Some Concerns About WFP’s Biometric System

In February, biometricupdate.com posted an article about WFP’s introduction of a biometric system in distributing food aid. This post is a short comment on that introduction.

I hope there is a report detailing 1) what operational desiderata this was introduced to satisfy, and 2) the impact this might have on persons unable to physically use the biometric system.

Now, biometric identification is usually introduced with an added security justification, which is to say that there is likely some level of insecurity in the existing system which this new system addresses. Those unable to use the new biometric system will have to remain on the old. Consequently, this introduction leaves the existing security concerns bourne entirely by those unable to use the new system.

Let’s say that there is some security exploit that this new system prevents. Those on the old system will now be the only possible victims of this exploit. While we might reasonably expect the overall rate of this exploit being utilized to decrease, as the total possibility space for the exploit decreases, we might wonder how this will affect those remaining on the old system. We might expect their vulnerability to this exploit to stay at the same rate it is at today, or to increase. We might expect their vulnerability to increase, since they are now the only possible victims of this exploit.

Since those who would have to remain on the old system are those who are physically unable to use the new system, and the same population is presently at higher risk generally, there are serious concerns as to how their needs will be met in the programme’s future. Given that there is a credible chance that their risk level will increase as this programme rolls out, I look forward to hearing what additional steps are being taken to meet the needs of the most vulnerable as this programme matures.

What is a Meme: Family Resemblance

 

 

So, I’ve been inspired by Seong-Young Her and Masha Zharova to try and contribute to a growing attempt to wrangle something of academic merit out of philosophical shitposting on Facebook. This work will argue that Wittgenstein’s notion of family resemblance is central to understanding memes. On an academic note,  I’ll argue that future developments in the philosophical and narrative treatment of memes should be modelled after TV-Tropes, a former Buffy The Vampire Slayer fansite.

I’ll start by both admitting an embarrassing fact about myself, as well as giving any possible detractors a simple yet false explanation for why I hold the view I do: I used to pronounce it “mem” (like the French même- meaning “same”). In my defence, I’d never heard it said out loud at the time, and honestly it could have gone both ways. Both même and meme share a common root in mimesis and mīmēma, what Plato had an issue with and that in the Republic. Furthermore, the fact that memes seemed (and still seem) to rely on recognisable sameness lent credence to “mem” being the correct pronunciation at the time. While I’ve since abandoned the pronunciation issue, I still think sameness (or at least similarity) is central to understanding memes, albeit in a slightly different way than Her & Zharova put it.

So, what is a meme, and how might we go about answering that question? You might well expect there to be some set of necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for something’s being a meme: in order for x to be a meme, it must have this and that, and whatever has these things is a meme come what may- that kind of thing. I think this is going to be a largely futile exercise for two reasons.

Firstly, the standard process of reflective equilibrium, where we come up with such a set of conditions and show counterexamples won’t be available to a discourse made up of mostly young, internet-based scholars. Not that it can’t be done, just that it won’t be done. Such sets of conditions can fail in two ways: 1) By there being something satisfying the conditions mentioned that isn’t a meme, and 2) by there being a meme that doesn’t satisfy those conditions. Given that this is the internet, and the necessary, arduous process will be seen as discredited every time someone brings up a counterexample, and needlessly overcomplicated every time someone amends the conditions in response to a counterexample, there’s good practical reasons not to take this as the chief strategy for discussing memes. This isn’t to say it can’t be a fruitful process, mind you, just that the internet has already shown itself averse to the kind of definition-wrangling required.

Secondly, the reflective equilibrium approach requires a conversation that is largely insular. People need to have read the whole thread in order to contribute truly new additions. Words tend to take specific meanings in conversations of that type, and people need to be willing to go with the non-standard meaning in order to contribute to the conversation. But worse of all, this together means that the utterly democratic process of like-whoring through quality content has way too contingencies to it, and as those grow with the age of the discussion, so the number of people who can contribute to that discussion decreases.

So, instead let me derive from this double reductio the following: there is a better answer, and that answer is family resemblance. Wittgenstein uses family resemblance to tell people: hey, there is no *MEANING* that hides behind the words and phrases, in virtue of which they mean what they do. There isn’t an essence, or even necessarily anything consistent across all uses of a word, but there is the fact that one use is similar to another, and that one to another still, etc. Similar to how members of a family look alike, but there need not be anyone in specific they all look like for them to all look alike. Which is for our case important, since it means there need not be anything all memes share in order to be memes. This isn’t to say that we don’t know what memes are, lolwot, but rather that the way we teach each other what memes are is the right way to do it. We give cases of memes: Milhouse is not a meme, but ‘Milhouse is not a meme’ is a meme. That kind of thing. When Wittgenstein wonders what a word or phrase means, he looks at what it does: i.e. what function it serves in the language.  So “thirsty” and “thirsty” don’t have the same meaning because they have different functions, though they may sound the same, be spelled the same etc., one indicates someone wanting water and the other someone wanting sex, and you can tell which is which by looking what it’s used for. These terms have family resemblance, but they don’t have the same meaning.

So, let me sum up like so: we don’t need strict definitions in order to know what memes are, and #notallmemes need to share something in order for all of them to be memes. It’s enough for a meme to be like another meme for it itself to be a meme. Wittgenstein scholars will no doubt have my blood for this presentation, but hey, “getting Wittgenstein wrong” seems to be the predominant way people get Wittgenstein if you ask any one of them.

Now, some of you are going “obvs”, but that’s the point. I’m right insofar as I’m just reminding us how we meme in the first place. If you’re not quite on board, please give it an honest try, and if you still don’t quite see things fitting I’ll do my best to see what I’ve done wrong. In the meantime, I’ll gush over TV Tropes.

Meme scholarship of the kind we care about has so far been divided into two historical sections: ED and knowyourmeme. ED is the product of the then cesspool that birthed it, and its treatment of memes took the dry, fact-of-the-matter dilettante approach (hello!) of wikipedia and sprinkled it with anything of shock value available. Knowyourmeme took that approach and removed anything that might make it interesting- the shock value, and served its “getting lowe withe kidse” instructions to both aspiring members of groups employing the memes in question and to marketers looking to capture a demographic. The best way to be acquainted with memes is, and ever was, to use them and to see others use them. But our interest here shouldn’t just be in recognising instances and using them correctly. We want to be able to categorise them, to recognise formal properties and talk about them as such.

Her and Zharova have done damn fine work in cataloguing an absolutely Aristotelian “square of opposition”  of memes and their ironic transformations. This however stands in stark contrast to both the scope and open-endedness of the TV tropes 59 (!) entries on purely formal properties of tropes, each of which likely has a meme equivalent. After all, there is an argument to be made that tropes are, at least for some uses, a subset of memes. I think TV tropes offers both a model for meme scholarship that is non-tedious, welcoming to the kind of cooperation the internet is capable of, and of the capacity to be truly interesting to meme enthusiasts.

I welcome your comments and suggestions both here and elsewhere.
All the best,
Petar

I’m Petar Pajevic, I hold a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Reasoning (philosophy w/ more induction) from the University of Kent.
I’m an infrequent editor at Monstrous Metaphysics Memes and a general philoshitposter
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This week’s predictions: Ko te Karadžić nek ti piše pjesme

East Ethnia

dabarOn Thursday the verdict will be delivered in one of ICTY’s last major cases, the one against Radovan Karadžić. You all know who he is and what he did, so no need to go into the details here: if you want to refresh your memory, here is the final amended version of the indictment. It is fairly easy to make a prediction that has been made by everybody else as well, and that is that Karadžić will be convicted. No surprise there – the evidence is overwhelming and his defence was weak (a fact that is not the fault of Karadžić’s legal counsellor Peter Robinson, who has to be recognised for doing a monumental job in assuring a fair trial despite an unreliable indictee who insisted on representing himself and a series of witnesses who were largely unhelpful).

But of course the question that remains open is what Karadžić…

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