From: Erik Hoogcarspel <jehms@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 1997 14:56:42 +0100
Op 13-apr-97 schreef mitchell wilson:
>yes, i see the problem: communication entails sending and receiving a
>message. yet how is it, essentially, any different to send a message
>with on receiver to receive it or no expectation that the message will
>be received. while no one may be present for communication to actually
>occur, i still engage in exactly what my hale of the process. for
>example, people talk to themselves and people communicate even though
>they don't expect to be heard, i.e. understood or headed. when i speak
>or type a message like this one, i am hoping that it will be received.
>i do not know that it will. when it is answered, communication takes
>place. but whether or not you respond does not change the nature of
>what i am doing. also, during the course of my day i think about what i
>am going to say to someone later in the day. i do not have to try to do
>this, it just happens, it is natural. another point: children
>naturally learn to communicate.
children re-enact communication.
if i don't know who i'm talking to, how would i know what to say? the point is
the audience can be virtual. talking to oneself is a conscious attempt to make
oneself aware of something you may not want to call it communication, but the
discussion was not about whether speaking to oneself is communication or not,
but whether everyone is communicating all the time, communication being 'human
my point is that communication, at least to my mind, is the conscious
production of signs (symbols or icons). symbols and icons are part of a code.
a code is public and it defines among others what has meaning and what not. so
some things, some sorts of behaviour are not symbols or icons but behaviour at
random or semiotic noise. yawning is a symbol if i want others to think that
i'm sleepy, but it's a signal (peirce, eco) when it just happens to me. in the
first case i communicate, in the second i don't. lightning is a signal for
thunder, it's not communicating thunder.
>when i said normal, i was not speaking in social, cultural, or personal
>terms. i am saying that it is normal to expect that in an overwhelming
>number of human actions people do not kill one another. this
>observation is not a matter of a subjective perspective. in contrast,
>your stand seems to be one of a subjective perspective: that most
>people share a point of view, as if we all are tabula rasas and
>inculcated not to kill; as if another "point of view" is socially
>possible. you must find it strange that societies the world over share
>this same perspective, namely that killing is something special, not
>mundane or "normal." even when socially sanctioned, killing is a
>powerful event and not a normal one. in contrast, people kill other
>animals as a normal event, say to eat.
i'm afraid that truth nor ethics can be decided by a majority vote
killing may not be less frequent then abstaining from it, not because it's
human nature, but because peole have goor reasons for it. the ancient greeks
discovered that instead of killing the beaten enemies you could make them
slaves. this might have been a little better for the slaves, but much better
for the greeks. in this way they invented paid labour
>thanks for the foucault reference. where does it come from. a soldier
>is communicating patriotism, whether real or professed, or by doing the
>job and the state communicates its own larger message via war.
did you ask the soldier? no? how do you know, do you really think that the
whole world is precisely communicating what you can interpret? isn't
communication about what you cannot come up with oyurself, about what only
someone else can tell you?
so what if you discover you were wrong, you meet this soldier and he says that
he wasn't communicating patriotism at all, he fought because his commander
told him so, does this change of opinion in your mind suddenly change the
communication which is part of the outside world?
'the state' is not a person, not a subject, it does not do anything!
come on, you watched to much walt disney trash!
foucault wrote this small book published in 1973 by gallimard in paris. the
full title is: 'moi, pierre riviere, ayant egorge ma mere, ma soeur et mon
frere' (me, p.r., having slit the throat of my mother, my sister and my
brother) the translation must be in some reader
>is it human nature to be normal, you ask. what do you mean by normal?
i took you meant with 'normal' something like 'what most people do'
>if you mean what foucault called normalization in Discipline and Punish,
>a cultural norm, then no not necessarily. specific norms are not
>natural. acquiescing to some form of norm is natural. but these are
>sociocultural norms, which i was not talking about.
i agree that 'normal' has another meaning: 'according to some specifiec norm',
i wasn't thinking of that either
i am simply saying
>that on a universal level there are things, call them normal if you
>want, that happen. and cooperation, not killing, prevails on a daily
>basis. so to say that human nature, if there is one, is not to kill one
>another. this is ALL that i am saying.
don't be so modest, you make an universal statement here about human nature,
in a discussion about foucault-related subjects, that's nothing less than a
>i believe that foucault would have said that killing is not in one's
so we don't kill each other because we have good reasons for it, not because
of our nature. chengis khan and mao had other reasons (which i personally
think were not very good) they killed millions of persons and even got away
with it. the main reason why most people don't kill each other might be that
they're afraid for punishment. i don't see why so many states and countries
think they need a death penalty if homocide is so unusual. in many african
states, where the legal system is practically paralysed, homocide doesn't seem
to be a such big deal.
> so to avoid or prohibit killing is better in any
that's a pacifist speaking, i respect that, but it's not the only respectable
point of view. i personally think it would have been justified to try to kill
hitler in order to stop him from killing the jews and gypsies and i can very
well imagine many situations where i would even feel it my duty to help people
to perform euthanasia. i get support from a very unsuspected side: there's a
buddhist story about the
buddha in one of his former lives, where he kills someone in order to prevent
him from killing some fifty others and there is a record of the buddha once
approving the suicide of a pupil of his.
> humans do do things that do not conform to some concept of a
>restrictive human nature. but these are exceptions, not what i am
>calling normal. to say that killing is normal is to say that killing is
>not an exception to normal social behavior.
i'm afraid you're mixing up the two meanings of 'normal': if you say 'my or
our norm is not killing', then not killing is according to this norm and
if you say this norm of not killing is embedded in the human genes, or written
in the sky, you have to point out where it is, so that we can detect the
chemical formula or decipher the writing. inductive proves will not do,
because we don't have enough knowledge of human history; oh yes, it's the old
story: you're obliged to give an endless row of supporting examples, but if
someone else gives one counter example, you're out! then your hypothesis
stumbles down from it's universal level to the base level of vague uncritical
personal impressions and beliefs.
but still... what if there would be a human nature of not killing. does this
human nature is good, that we should follow this human nature? if human nature
is good youre trapped in the impossibility of the theodicee, if you say it's
good to follow human nature then you still have to explain the difference
between ethics and instinctive behaviour, since each animal follows its own