Sunday, February 28, 2016

Prologue--Dialogues on a Philosophy for the Individual: The Social Self

(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2016)

In 2015, Flora Sapio and I started an experiment in collaborative dialogue.  The object was to approach the issue of philosophical inquiry from another, and perhaps more fundamentally ancient, manner. The subject of conversation revolved around the possibility of developing a philosophy for the individual that itself is grounded on the negation of the isolated self as a basis for thought, and for elaboration.  The conversation produced no consensus but much to ponder--and that itself represents an advance in the practice of the individual in search of her philosophy. But it suggested the possibilities for the confrontation of the individual on her own term--her firstness, her objectivity, her selfness--stripped of the barnacles of any symbolic or interpretive nature that is imposed from outside.  As conversation it shied away from what has passed as academic philosophy for the last century--the mating rituals of mathematics applied to the human soul. And its implications for law and lawmaking, especially law making drowning in the pretensions of individuation and human rights, might be in some  respects quite profound. The conversations on the Philosophy for the Individual may be accessed HERE.

With this post Flora Sapio and I continue our experiment in collaborative dialogue. We move from the individual to the social self as we work toward a philosophy of the individual. While at first blush this appears to be well worn ground--who hasn't, over the course of the last 5,000 years, in every civilization with a recorded history NOT spent vast amounts of time thinking about the social self?  But much of this thinking starts at the social and works through the issues of control, management and socialization of the individual.  That is, they start from the core premise that the individual is the object of a project for which the social serves as an instrument and as an ends.  In the spirit of the emerging philosophy of the individual, we propose to invert the conversation--to start with the individual and work through the issues of control, management, and individuation of the social.   

But we move from the individual in herself, to the individual as subject and as symbol, as something which, when observed and transformed from itself to the idea or symbol of itself, assumes a quite distinct, and useful, position for the organization of selves--and for the structure and operation of the law of the social.  To that end our conversation will likely flow around and through the following: 
1--the social self as the reflection of the mother
2--the social self as a reflection of the family
3-- social self as a reflection/result of one's ancestors
4--the social self as a reflection of God
5-the s self as a refection of the state
6--the social self as terrorist
7--the social self as orthodox
This conversation, like many of its kind, will develop naturally, in fits and starts.  Your participation is encouraged.

 Contents follow:

--Part I (The Social Self and the Mother)
--Part 2 (The Social Self and the Mother)
--Part 3 (The Social Self and the Mother)
--Part 4 (The Social Self and the Mother)
--Part 5 (The Social Self and the Mother and the State of Nature)
--Part 6 (The Social Self and the Mother)
--Part 7 (The Social Self and the Mother)
--Part 8 (The Social Self and the Family)
--Part 9 (The Social Self and God)
--Part 10

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