Tag Archives: economics

12 October 1990 Personal Correspondence on Economy and Justice

Oct. 12, ’90

Dear Pam,

The day is getting shorter, cold, damp, for work outdoors. The climate at Kootenay is similar to Northern Japan. My ancestor peasants knew when to retreat. That was a way to respect nature. They did not fight against winter, but rested with it. So, with cuts, bruises, stiff fingers, middle pain in joints from heavy carpentry,I came to rest for the season. I might do a bit of dynamics of “field-field interaction” for the winter. For I have neglected it for years. That will also give time for big lumber today. I had enough of the pleasure of working with wood, and the smell of them will last and keep me happy till the next spring. The love affair with wood also needs retreat.

While working on the cottage building, I heard that GST is not applicable for “home economy” inside Reserves. That set me thinking of a possibility of “Moral Economy” in Reserves. Of course, the majority opinion is “Assimilation” into the dominant economic system. White Intellectuals were saying that. Some Native Intellectuals also implied the same, if they did not say so explicitly. They are believers of “Economic Development” — much the same way as International Economic Developing guys are — . For them, the “Trading for Cash Income” is the main “Medium” through which everything else, including Mental Health Welfare, Justice, Rights, Human Relations, etc. are put in order and dealt with.

It appears that native speakers picked up by CBC for comments on “native rights” etc., were unconscious of the link between Economy and Justice. They insist on the distinct independence of Native Cultures/Nations, but they do not talk of distinct independent Economy — i.e. the “Way of Life” —. Rather implicit assumption seems to be “Economic Dependency/Assimilation”. The Economy as the “way of life” is mundane, technical, and does not appear to have anything to do with Justice nor Spirituality — that is, if one thinks of it in European categorical separation —. But the daily practices are like body functions that carry and manifest “mind”. The atomistic separation is an artificial illusion used to simplify dynamics for low intelligence. It has a danger of perpetuating the dependency on the colonial system, while maintaining show rituals of cultuality/spirituality. It is no different from “Sunday Christians”.

Interestingly, in the Massey Lecture I mentioned to you before, Lebequers design for Quebec Sovereignty was criticized as being a half-ass. Lebeque was a chicken in that he did not go far enough to insist “Economic Sovereignty” — his plan was to retain Canadian Dollar as the common currency, which comes under the control by the federal bank policy —. He was saying that “Cultural Independence”/”National Sovereignty” are not separable from independent means to maintain “Economy” within. Trading will interfere with internal economy as we see in international trade, particularly in the “North-South Problem” which is a manifestation of the new way of Colonialism/Imperialist War —.

To be sure, “Trader” in the sense of “Exchange” is an intermediate evolutionary step in human relation, between “Appropriation” to “Love Gift”. Human Race is learning ways of relating through Exchange Trade. But if its linkage to Human Rights/Justice (i.e. Moral Economy) is shut out in “conceptual separation/rationalization” as most 19-20th century intellectuals do, it no longer serves as Learning Process.

[Marx pointed out that only the parts which are “Alienated” come into Trade. Marxists did talk of this, yet they do not seem to think it serious enough, perhaps because they think the market economy is “Rational” and has nothing more to improve.

Marx himself was a half-ass in that he did not elaborate far enough about the problem of Alienation. His limitation/mistake was self-imposed by his “Pique” against Utopian thinkers. In that hew was a victim of self-pride. but European way of “intellectualization” itself is a “Trade in the Market” and “Self-Pride” manifested as “Pique” the other side of the”Alienation”. It is almost universal in European Intellectual Trade.

They did not have the mental posture of “Love Gift” that Medicine Men/Women had. They were not “Noble” nor “Virtuous” in the Asiatic sense. Rather, European Rationality rejected “Nobility”, “Virtue”, (and “Love”, “Grace”) as “Asiatic” that the Colonialism of Marx’s time contemptuously referred to and European Intellectuals today have it as “Orientalism”. (c.f. Edward Said) Critiques of Heidegger point out that his defect started with Greek Intellectualization which was Technical and lacking the sense of “Sublime” that I mentioned before. They say Heidegger slipped into Nazism because Heidegger, great as he was, was a “Technical” intellectual in the Market.

You might think about the possible linkage between “Technical” intellectualization and Greek Misogyny. In my view, Misogyny is a form of Alienation. In Freudian terms, “Alienation” is the sense of separation from Mother/Womb. In my terminology, it is a denial of Rationality in terms of Object Language/Thinking i.e. Newtonian Physics.

Alienation is a disease, disfunctioning our minds. Medicine Men/Women knew how to treat such a disease.]

Economic Independence means Cultural Independence, and more importantly Spiritual independence. It matters little how the home economy is evaluated in “Dollar Values”. If needed Reserves can have “Note” to facilitate and account the internal economy, though in “intimate Relativeness” the accounting is probably not needed.

I was reading a sad story by Sue Shyokan, a Chinese writer, who was involved in the Student Revolt of 1989 at Beijing. He was a professor of literature and an “Intellectual”. He was talking of “Powerlessness”, “ineffectiveness”, “Uselessness”, and “Cowardice” of Intellectuals — of himself — with naked honesty. He talked of “Fear” that is the basis of “Reason” (Intellect/Rationality). But this “Reason is a European notion.

He lamentingly refers to the ancient Chinese “Reason” which was from the Virtues (Medicines) of Love, Grace, Nobility, the Sublime. It was not Fear-based like the European one is. the trouble of the modern Chinese intellectuals is that the modern intellectuals lost “Home Base”. In old days the”wise” had “home/village” to go to when they fell from patronage by the power. They could contentedly live with “home people” and did not need the official “Raison d’Etre” (= Raison de Etat). Europeans might call that “Marginal Existence”, which is excluded from the Exchange Market or “Outside Currency”. But because of their self-sufficient basis, the ancient wise men/women did not need to “prostitute” their intellect. If they go out of their “Village” to speak, then it was a gift of Love. It is “Surplus” in the jargon of Economics. And the noble/graceful were not obliged to sell it. Sue Shyokan lamented that he, and modern intellectuals, no longer has the base to “fall back on” — just as the “proletariat” has to sell its labor everyday to live at all —.

Those who have to sell “intellect” in the market for their daily living are forced to think/feel their labors in terms of “necessity”. (The sense of “necessity” is a part of Fear.) Whereas, the ancient medicine men/women were moved by Love/GRace. Intellect is like “Sex”. It can be sold on the market and be the means of making a living. Or it can be a gift/expression of love. The choice is determined by the Economic System, which is a social choice.

Biologically speaking, I think intellect does have two mixed bases of Fear and Love. European Intellect has been fixated on Fear side, only allowing marginal existence for Love side. Even in China, the modern intellectuality has taken over — and modernizations, such as university system imported from Europe accelerated this decay of the virtue of Nobility/Grace —. Hence the lament of Sue Shyokan.

It may sound banal and even European, but it seems if Natives are to live in dignity, the Home Economic Basis, independent of the Market Trade, has to be established. (This is true for anybody). “Welfare” has to be moral and “Moral” cannot be there without “Sovereign Independence”. That is the meaning of Self-sufficiency.

To be sure, by “Independent I do not mean the European notion —that means “Egocentrism” for isolated “Individuals” —. I used the word because there are no other words to express it in English/European Physics. Here comes my problem of “Relational Physics” that Einstein failed to make (*).

[*Einstein’s “Relativity” was a descendent of the Imagination which Michael Faraday had (Electro-Magnetic Field). He perused ways to describe “Event/Existence” on the basis of Relational Flow of Fields (Geometry). If he succeeded, we would have a way of talking about “happenings” without any reference to “Body” and “Body” (Object) as manifestations of fields in an interaction. But he could not complete his work. The problem of the “Two Body” remained. We have no way of talking, and hence thinking, dynamics of relations without “Self”, “Other” (objects) etc., in our “rational” language. Hence we are forced to talk and think (and worse, feel) “Independence, “Sovereignty”, “Self-sufficiency” etc. in the Atomistic Object Language. Actually, there exists no such thing as “Existence” without “Relations”. In this sense, European “Existentialism” is completely wrong. I am trying to talk of Rationalism (Relativity). But I do not have adequate language to do so.

Not that “Fear” comes when you say think/feel as an isolated (alienated) Individual (ego) alone.

Love, Grace, Nobility, Sublime are words in Relational Science. Unfortunately, there is no such Science/Discourse in Relational Language as yet.

Of course, “Natives” all over the world had Relational Languages (Sciences). But we how are colonized (educated) in modern European languages (science) lost not only the ability to understand the languages, but also the respect for the science. Since we do not understand those who speak the old languages (sciences), we think they are “irrational”, if not stupid. Thus we exclude them from our discourse-market and marginalize them.

David Suzuki said that “Native Americans have quite different thinking” in reference to “Wildlife Management” problem about Wolves. The program revealed how little European Science of Ecology knows about “Wildlife”. Rather, the science is nothing but Fear-Driven superstition plus Greed of Hunter-Tourist Business. I wonder if the basic philosophy/ideology behind “Indian Policy” is not the same “Science” of the Wildlife Management.]

At any rate, Natives do have basis to build “Home Economy”  along with Trading Economy with the dominant one. If they do, the consequences are great. It is not just a way of avoiding GST. It means that Reserves would produce every thing they need, including medical services and education, making them almost self-sufficient. That cuts down their dependency on the supermarket economy. If natives think three-quarter-ton tracks are needed, they can make them. Potatoes can be grown, breads are baked. There is enough talents/ability to do that. If not, they learn the power. That is what “Education” is for. One might start with Relational Science. Is there any sign that Natives are becoming aware of and interested in “Moral Economy”?

Yours

Sam K.

5 November 1988 Personal Correspondence on Political Economy, FTA, etc.

Nov. 5, ’88.

Dear Louella,

Thanks for the discussion. It was an interesting evening. If it is of any interest to you, I offer my “after thoughts”. Just as students take notes, I write up something to remember what the discourse induced me to think. I suppose that is a kind of learning.

Frankly, I was not interested on FTA as an election issue. In my estimate, Canadian economy, politics and “quality of living” in general are not free from U.S. domination with or without FTA. We try to manage what we can to maintain our life within the existing situation — i.e. accepting the U.S. domination as more or less “given” and unalterable condition of life on Canada —. the Canadian position in this respect is not too different from Middle and Low Management and Labor Class people who try to manage their life “under domination by the given Power Structure”.

The attitudes of three political parties about FTA resemble that of, (A) a small local boss negotiating terms concerning “local territorial management” with a big Mafia Boss, (B) “Whitecolor Company Union” negotiating for concessions from the Capitalist, or (C) talking like “Proletariat” but cannot shake off their dependence on the Capitalists (since they lack the “superior management intelligence” and Power?). Or I can suggest a worse metaphor in analogy with “Dependent Wife” who live with Violent Husband. In terms of economy, Canada get “beating” in one way or another, but she cannot stop going bed with him.

[Academics tend to talk as if Economy is “Rational”. I would imagine they are aware of Anthropological and Psychoanalytical studies on Economy, such as K. Polanyi, G. Dalton, M. Mauss. et. al. At least Marx’s tracing of Exploitation to “Sexual Division of Labor” is known to them. But, both Lerner and his critics are pretending “Rational” technicalities. Trade is not a simple legal transaction, but a part and extension of human relation whose prototype may well be “Sexual”. The sense of “Power” which emerges in exchange relations is also “Sensual” and never was “equal” as the Rationalists assume.

For the purpose of debate, one is compelled to use “Rationalist Rhetoric”. Unfortunately, the need of our talk to be “rationally” ordered is often mixed up with and transferred to the subject matters. The Rationalization for itself ought to be regarded as an irrational ritual (trick, magic). When people on street use sexual metaphors to talk of political economy, they are much closer and accurate to the phenomena than the “experts” who talk in rationalist rhetoric. The “Experts” are merely “linguistic technicians” who perform “language Tricks”.

And I might add that just because systematized (rationalized in mechanical and logical sense), Economic Structure does not cease to be Unequal Violence. The trade between the U.S. and Canada is next between “equals”, in any case. The ideal of equality is fine, but notion of equal exchange in market is not only an illusion but an ideological deception, In particular, in the trade between the Third World countries and Industrial Power countries what economics texts talk as if “legitimate exchange” is not all “fair”, nor “equal”. When international market tightens, Canada may come to learn how unequal the exchange with the U.S. is.

That the U.S. keeps tens of thousands Nuclear War Heads and the biggest Air Force and Navy in the world — i.e., has the military hegemony — has a great deal to do with the “unequal trade”. We hope that “civilian trade” is Peaceful. But it seems that Violence and Inequality are feeding each other. They are twins in the family of Power Relations.]

At any rate, we are not out to “overthrow” the Power Structure. Canada might manage to get out of NATO. but it would be almost impossible to achieve the degree of “Economic Independence” that Germany, Japan or Sweden have with respect to the U.S. domination. The relation is not as bad as that between the USSR and Poland, or that between the US and Latin American countries, but not too far different. The only thing Canada can try is to bargain this and that of small concessions with the U. S. All three political parties operate on this axiom, though none of them admit that.

To be sure, it is fair to say the quality of life in Canada is somewhat better than in the U.S. I have a few friends in the U.S. who were among “respectable” upper middle class some decade ago and took care of me when I was there as a foreign student, but they are now aged and in deep trouble. In Canada, thanks to Social Welfare (or sometimes called in hostility “Socialism”), at least the Aged are better taken care. My friends tell me of increasing rate of violent crimes, complains about unkempt city streets and public facilities in general. Even schools are not safe places. And everybody is suing everybody else. I know American people are good estimate that Americans work a lot harder than Canadian. But somehow the social structure there tend to draw out the worst of them, despite their efforts to maintain good life. Relative to that, Canada is lucky. I would almost say that Canadians have a “Grace”, which is a luxury beyond the reach of the majority of people in the U.S.

So those Canadians who do know what happening in the US do not wish to become “Proletariat” living in poverty and under the power of the US “Capitalist” . But then, probably the majority of Canadian are not informed as to what is happening in the U.S. Their view of the U.S. is what T.V., Hollywood movies, Harlequin Romance, Reader’s Digest suggest to them. Academic publications, texts — even in Economics, Social Sciences — carry a “Subliminal Message” in that effect.

And in the belief in Virtue of Competition for Power, Canadians are not unlike Americans. I may be talking too much like Max Weber, but I do not think I am too wrong in reading off the “Mind” of people. There seems that here are two basic implicit assumptions common to all parties in the debates on FTA:

1) It is Economic reality that the might of U.S. can, and about to, do nasty things to Canada. Canada has no choice but to be subservient to the U.S. If Canada does not make concessions to the U.S., she may be “Punished”.

2) Yet, the U.S. would not treat Canada as if one of “Banana Republics”. The U.S. would be reasonable and “understanding” toward Canada, even if the U.S. may be vicious and cruel in any other country under its domination.

[Canadian understand this as “Special Relation”. Anglo-Canadians think that US dares not treat Canada like Mexico, because of the common Racial origin.]

They are two contradicting assumptions. But as much as they are not explicitly stated, the contradiction is hidden. But, the Reality of Canadian-Political Economy, perhaps is a contradiction. We think that Canada may be “exploited” a bit, say, in terms of lower wage for Canadian workers, but the exploitation would not be so bad that Canadian Capitalists and Canadian Middle Managers would not be treated less than “Junior Partners”.

To be sure, I grant that these two assumptions do have grounds. They are “Myth”, yet they are also “Reality”, and as much as they are believed they retain their effective Power. Canada will not be treated by the U.S. like trading countries in Asia such as Japan, Korea, China, or for that matter Mexico. Canada puts up trade barriers against the Third World Countries, while she is preaching the virtues of “Freer Trade”. there is a possibility for Canada of making a “Sweet Relation” with the U.S. so as to protect herself in the global trade competition. She does not to be left alone, while European Countries are making up formidable Economic Union, and Japanese is gaining trade surplus. Leave things as it is, Canada will fall into the position of being one of Third World Countries. Therefore, some Canadians may wish to join the U.S. to defend her position in the shadow of the Giant. After all to become the 52nd State is better than becoming another Mexico. I guess the logic of Free Trade goes like that.

It is interesting to observe that Canadians have never developed any sense of Economic “National Identity”, say the degree in which Swedish developed Volvo to sell in North America. Canada, if she had a “Will”, she could have modernized of Steel Industry in 1960-1970s as Japan did and built a basis for economic competition for 80’s. Canada had every resources and opportunities to do so, but did not have “will”. Instead, Liberal Government of Canada “imported prosperity” from the U.S. Canada was “borrowing time”. Canadian intellectuals have never once raised concerns about this.

What happened to Electronics Industry in Canada? If Japan can beat the U.S., despite trade restrictions, Canada can do the same. Why not? This is not a rhetorical question, because “Free Trade” may well be another attempt by Canada to repeat the “Borrowed Prosperity from the US.” Some people in our group voiced their concern that U.S. may not be a Dependable Economic Power. But Canada never had a Will to be Independent, not even in the degree South African had. we are “Colonists”.

Interestingly enough, Japan developed High Tech Industry, precisely because Japan was disadvantaged in the trade with the U.S. Japan never had “Special Relation” with the U.S. like Canada had. She had to compete against “privileged” countries — you may not know it, but Japan had to operate with full knowledge of the racial prejudice against oriental products existed in the North America then —. Much that I dislike what happening in Japan, I would that Canadians had it too easy.

But, can you imagine any political party saying things like the above in the election campaign? I am a card carrying NDP. But even within the context of “Socialist Party”, I do not have any opportunity to point out what had been going on in Canadian Economy.

In the debates about FTA, I notice the issues raised about Unknown Future. They are arguing their speculations about what Canadian Economy will be like with or without FTA. The “Experts” are, at best, like weather Forecasters, though they are worshiped as if “Prophets”. However, it seems that they do not have over-all view on Canadian Economy, but merely examining this and that wordings in the FTA. The arguments that are going around are no more than reiterations of the assumptions, such as (1) and (2) cited above. Differences come from differences in “nuances” created in mixing of two contradicting assumptions. PC is saying, in a translation to a honest street language, that “we are screwed any way, so we might just as well enjoy it”. Lib, is saying “let us maintain a facade of Dignity while being screwed.” And NDP is saying “Let us negotiate good wage for being screwed”. Canada, as mistress to the Giant U.S., does not have an easy time. And since we Canadians do not wish to do anything about that, there is no point in bringing up unpleasant awareness of the situation. Besides, in Election, one would not win popularity by reminding people painful truth about Canadian Economy.

If people are cynical, they have a good reason to be. It is remarkable, however, that despite all that Canadians do manage to maintain a degree of “Social Grace” that People in the U.S. find it very hard to do. It is perhaps, Canadians are not too crazy about “Competition for Power” like Americans are. In saying above, I am thinking what Kissinger, Hitler, Weber, Nietzsche said about “Will to Power”. I also “meditate” on your question of “What Economic Development Is For?”. Making more things which is equated making more jobs does not seem to make people any happier, and it is not feasible in a global scale any way. In that context, for Canada to become a “Banana Republic” and to join the rank of “Third World Countries” many not necessarily be a bad idea, provided we can maintain the “Social Grace”.

Yours

Sam

c.c. Joan P.

 

18 April 1987 Personal Correspondence on Academia, Socialism, and Colonization

18/04/87

Dear Pam

I write you a “book review” — a sort of — on William Hodge The First American, Then and Now. Holt, Rinehart and Winston 1981.

Walter Block, Geoffrey Bernnan, Kenneth Elzinga (ed) Morality of the Market, Religion and Economic Perspective. The Fraser Institute 1982.

with some references to Gil and Gil Toward Social and Economic Justice, Berman The Reenchantment of the World, and Remi De Roo Cries of Victims, Voice of God which I have commented before.

Hodge’s book is apparently written as a text for “introduction to Anthropology”. The author lives in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and naturally talks of Oneidas and Menominees, but as a text he try to cover Micmac, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Navajos, Hopi, Papago, Pomo, Klamath, Kwakiutl, Hare, Eskimos, in a descriptive fashion — for each with a brief cultural history and description of the present situation —. At the end of the text the author briefly states his theory of “X, Y, Z, Indians”. X, Y, Z, are “ideal types” or patterns, representing types, or patterns, of reactions of the Natives — resistance, isolation, adaptation, / or right, left, middle, / etc. — in relations to the White domination. His descriptions of various Indian Nations are descriptions of those types in conflicting notions in each nation.

As an academic text, it is “reasonable”. That is, if one just wish to know a lot of things about Indians from a “neutral” stand. The tone of the text is “sympathetic” and mild. But, the academic knowledge as such is not for doing anything about the problems. Scholarly stance is understandable, in the prevalent notion-ritual of “knowledge claim” in academia. But this begs questions as to “what knowledge is for?”, and also as to the role of scholars in the dominant econo-political system. I shall have to discuss what “knowing” means. (*1 below) The separation of “Value and Fact” is a shameless fraud.

The text doe mention, for example, “rampant alcoholism”, “moral decay” etc. along with “poverty — with a typical “neutral adjective softness”, saying like “living standard is inadequate” etc. —. But what the text suggests to do about the “inadequacy”, “unsatisfactory”, “insufficiency”etc.? There is no hint.

[There is a mention of Deloria, with a qualification that “The extent to which Deloria’s opinions coincide with those of other Indians is open question”. p. 526. By this statement, perhaps, the author is declaring that his statement is the Knowledge and Deloria’s is more opinion.]

(*1) Talking of the difference in “status” of Knowledge and Opinion, I happened to be struck by an incidence. In CBC radio program, there was a report about a “Theory” by a distinguished Social Psychologist at University of Manitoba: Dr. Altemeyer. His “Theory” is reasonable enough. I think he is right. But that is not what impressed me.

Dr. Altemeyer narrated that he had noticed, some 15 years ago that authoritarian persons are submissive and at the same time agressive (apt to do violence) — citing Nazi etc. — particularly when the superior authority approve of them. He attributes violence to Fear. According him, the authoritarian characters are fed “more than average” inputs of Fear by parents, teachers, et al. They are convinced that the world is fearful and bad Place, and they see themselves “Righteous” among evils all around them. No wonder they are ready to strike back. I agree as to that.

I think a lot of people noticed the same. But that would be “Mere Opinions”. Dr. Altemeyer, apparently spent some 15 years of hard academic researches to convert the “Opinion” (or hunch) to a “Knowledge” acceptable to an Academic Institution> It is not his “Idea” that distinguishes him, but his work to gain the Recognition is the object of academic admiration. And even CBC recognizes him having gained the recognition.

That is similar to recognition given to the actors and actresses who are recognized by some awards. That they gained a recognition is the source of the recognition. By this criterion of “recognition begets recognition”, the Natives have to get a recognition to be recognized. And how one gets a recognition? Our society does it by ritual ceremony. Publishing in a “reputable Journal” is one of such rituals and one accumulates brownie points by that. To get your “opinion” Published — register a knowledge claim —, you have to follow the rituals, such as showing “statistics” (despite statistics proves nothing). When that is done, one has to do “public relation” work by creating “media events”, saying that you Published — what you said in the publication are too much of details that nobody cares to bother with —. It is not whether one knows anything, but it is that the Public knows that one knows, that is the aim of the game.

Natives had known that living organisms cooperate. That is the Principle of Living. But it had to be professional biologists, properly educated and accredited, to claim a “knowledge” — inventing a jargon “Symbiosis” —. In this case, it was a “linguistic game” of Naming, that claimed the knowledge.

To be able to live with the “sense” of ecological cooperation, as the Natives did, doers not count as “Knowing”. It is because “the proper linguistic ritual” is not performed to the satisfaction of the institution which is empowered to declare academic recognition. Universities give out diplomas and people come and pay for it. That is possible, because the universities are institutions which give “recognitions”. Natives are handicapped not having institutions to edify their recognitions.

Pam has a Ph.D. in Social Welfare, so she knows. The poor people in reserves, who managed to survive centuries, do not know anything about how to live, because they have no degree. What Pam learned from her grandfather is not “knowledge”, because her grandfather was an Indian. What Pam’s mother taught her is not knowledge, because she taught her by her “living” not by academic rituals and the Academia does not know how to recognize it. (Compare woman who actually give birth to medical doctors who “know” what birth is.)

Whitemen’s “Science”, “scholarship” are Institutions of Rituals. Whitemen’s society is more “ritualistic” than Native community. Natives appear to be ignorant of the importance of Rituals, perhaps because Whitemen downgraded Native Rituals and the Native themselves accepted Whitemen’s concept on native rituals.

Incidentally, political struggles are struggles as to which ritual system shall be recognized and which ritual system shall be regarded “irrational”, “superstitious”, or “heretical” The struggles for “knowledge claim”, “academic recognition” are minor parts of the political struggles. It is not that the Natives did not have “Silence”, but that it was denied of recognition.

You tell a story of your “experience”, “feeling” in looking at the Moon. I wonder what the academic think of it. It is not even and “opinion”, let alone being a knowledge claim. Yet some academics are impressed, according to Elise Boulding. They must have felt something stronger than one in academic rituals. Is that a sign that there is still hope for Humanity?]

The above sense of “Neutral Knowledge” also pervades the second book; Morality of the Market. There is nothing in the book as to what to do about the problems.

The book is apparently a reaction of the “Right Wing Reactionaries” to “Left Wing” Christian Liberation Theology, (Christian Socialism?) such as Reinhold Niebuhr. [see also De Roo.] Sure enough, Fraser Institute, which is reputed to be Canadian branch of Rand Corporation in the U.S., knew enough of Public Relation Work to include some “Liberals”, such as James M. Wall; ex-editor of The Christian Century, a Journal published by The World Council of Churches, which has been labeled by the Right to be a “Communist Front”, and Kenneth Boulding, a liberal economist. But the arguments in the book is mainly about “ills and incompetence of the Socialism”. Mr. Trudeau, hearing Canadian Bishops’ moral stand on Economy, said “Bishops do not know Economy. They ought to stick to Religion”. The same message is in this book. The authors in the book tell readers how much they “know” about, economy. But what to do with the problems is not their concern. They talk about how “moralists” are wrong and how socialists failed.

Of course, knocking down strawman is a favorite game among academics. By proving others being wrong or insufficient, they claim their superiority. That is cheap. Since they are not proposing anything, they cannot be “wrong”, except that they help perpetuating the status quo by discouraging people to do anything about it. In turn, those “superior intellectuals” say “Given an apathetic mass of people, nothing much can be changed.” They would say There is no demand in the market for revolution”. In this case they do not believe in the Supply-side Economy. So the whole exercise go on a vicious circle. Obviously any change will be difficult and comes with all sorts of problems. By saying there are problems, nothing is changed, except perhaps for catastrophes — even the Great Depressions did not change the economic system much, but rather made people more scared of changes —. Liberal economists do not acknowledge their failure in changing the economic system and keep talking about the “faults” of those who had bravely tried. If they have tried, they would have failed worse. Easy armchair criticisms are not only cheap and useless but also poisonous.

Those “scholars” get prestigious attacking “socialism”, precisely because the system (what they call “Liberal Capitalism”) needs their defense. They are the “ideologues” for the status quo. But then, they pretend that they are neutral. Kenneth Boulding referred back to Schumpeter. But Schumpeter did not make phony distinctions like “Liberal Capitalism/Democratic Socialism”. He simply said “Socialism” as the inevitable end of the Capitalism.

To be sure, I am not saying “Socialism” is the answer. In my view, “socialism” is already here, in terms of Social Welfare, Medical Insurance, Corporate Subsidy, etc. The growth of Bureaucracy is, to me an aspect of “Socialism”, and it is here. It is an inevitable course that the “Socialization” started by the Industrial Revolution. The Capitalism and the Socialism are – isms emerged in Industrialization. The question is not whether or not Socialism, but what we are going to do with problems. Here, we need to look at the Industrialization itself, without assuming it to be unquestionable good. We used to call the industrialization “Progress” and never thought that there can be alternatives (Marx included).

In this book, Ezra J. Misham (“Religion, Culture and Technology.” p. 279) is the only one who addressed to the problem of “Industrial Economy” (Technological Society). He does see “Science-Technology” is a replacement of Religion. But, somehow, in this article, he lacked clearness. The main point does not come through.

Kenneth Boulding talked of “Cost of Agreement”, which is an important item in “political economy”. But it seems the scholars gathered there was not impressed. Religion was a mans of scouring an “Agreement”, effective in a social scale. “Ideology” was once thought as an effective means to get revolutionary agreement in the last century. “Science-technology” replaced them. Mishan was saying that in the conference. But as usual in academic conferences, Boulding perhaps did not hear what Mishan was saying. Nor Mishan appears to have heard Boulding.

And Boulding’s consideration of the “Cost of Agreement” refers only to production side, so appears. There is another kind of cost in “maintaining an agreement”. “Authoritarianism”, “Dogmatism”, “Theocracy” are examples. The inflexible attitude of Bureaucracy is no less “tyrannical” in insisting  a “Iron Rule” of established mechanical routines. And in Bureaucracy, even a slightest change in agreed procedure indeed “costs” enormous amount of efforts, time and of course money. That is, the “system” designed to keep a stability of an “agreed way” do so by making any changes to be prohibitively costly. The “Cost of Agreement” is also a defense mechanism. Boulding appears not be aware of this aspect.

I have a nightmarish metaphor about our economic system. That is an image of Nuclear Power Plant in crisis. Those “experts” are arguing among themselves as to “who is best expert”, while the Reactor is running toward the melt-down point.

At any rate, Fraser Institute is not interested in dealing with the problems of our political economy. It wants, so appears, to be known as a “Think Tank” institution — a snob institution for pretended “super intellectuals” —, on which their income depends.

There was, however, some references to economists like Myrdal. [See for example, Myrdal’s articles in Economic Development And Social Change — The modernization of Village Communitites — ad. by G. Dalton Natural History Press 1971.] The Materialist sense od Economy is in decay, either the Capitalist or Socialist. We are now able to talk, without too much inhibition, about the “Rituals” or market, “Worship” of Money, etc., — i.e. Economy as an “Anthropological phenomenon”. Religion and Political Economy are not that different. [Neither is Religion and Science.] Some people are already sensing this.

And that is where what you do arc very important. Social Welfare is not just for providing foods and shelters for those unfortunate “drop out!” Nor is it just taking care of alcoholism (so as to keep alcoholics invisible to the society). Berman, in the Reenchantment of the World mentions of Alcoholism, Alcoholic Anonymous (p. 21, 171, 239, 244, 273, 288, 302, 334) Why so many references? It is significant!

It was not because Berman was a student of Bateson and Bateson happened to chose Alcoholism as the subject medium to elaborate on his theory of Cybernetics of Self” (Berman p. 239). But because the problem of Alcoholism gives clues to other “addiction problems” — addictions to Money, Power, Fame, Material objects, Authority, etc. —. It tells us about how we get into problems and how we could get out of them.

Hodge, in the First Americans, narrates cases of “Trade” with Europeans. Case after case, the history demonstrates disastrous consequences of Trades.

I would imagine the Liberal Economists, the Socialist Economists, the Capitalist Economists, all would say Trade is good. Even Myrdal would say the same, except his objection to “unequal trade”. So far as I know, F. Fanon is the only one who said that the Third World would be better off without Trades with the Europeans (I guess now includes Japanese).

But, let us think about “Why Trade?” Europeans wanted Beaver pelts, because its fur was needed as a material for Top Hat. Imagine who needed Top Hat!!!

Likewise, what in a hell (or in heaven), the Natives needed beads? Trinkets? They had furs, so why they needed blankets?

The Economic Theory that says Trade is for “necessities” is pure BS. Nobody needed Trade, except for “……”.

That “…..”. is psychological, just as some people want a drink for “….”. It becomes “physiological necessity” after addiction, after development of dependency (=called “culture”) on the things that are traded.

Europeans introduced Alcohol to the Natives. But Natives had far potent stuffs. If the Natives wanted to get drunk, they could do it by their own ways. Natives could get “drunk” even by dream. Alcohol was not needed. But precisely because it was not needed, that why alcohol was Traded.

Iroquois was “addicted” by the British Trade through New York — after the Dutch were defeated —. In order to get beavers for the Trade, Iroquois had to fight wars with other Native Nations. But what Iroquois gained, in term of their living substances? A few “ornaments”? Guns? According Hodge, in the case of Oneida, their male population was so depleted that Oneidas had to capture males from their “enemy” to satisfy women. And what amazes me is that there seems nothing that shows the benefits of the Trade, which costed them so dear. Why they Traded?

The question is, perhaps, the same as asking Alcoholics “Why do you drink?”.

Was it because of fun? Was it because Oneida needed European things for their pride? For ceremonial purposes? Was it because curiosity?

The natives did have trade between Native Nations before Europeans came. In the traditional trades there seems to have been no problem. The traditional trades were like “exchanges of gifts”, more or less. Natives might have thought European Trades in the same sense. But even then, it is puzzling why so much disasters in European Trade. Even Fanon does not tell me why European Trade were so poisonous to the Natives — as if the Natives did not have “immunity” against European Trade —. And how come the Ntives did not stop after seeing the consequences? Was it a case of addiction?

[Because of the time element, Japanese and Koreans had time to learn what happened to China through trade with British — Opium War, etc. —. So they refused trade. They did not allow Christian missionaries to come onto their lands either. It took threat of Gun Boats to open ports for European ships. But then, Japanese knew what formidable “devils” they allowed to come in. Japanese decided to “beat the devils in their game”, which culminated in the WWII and was a disaster any way. The bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were “symbolic” of the Trade-War.

Ironically, Japan is still in Trade-WAr with the U.S. And it will get worse. For Japan, the only effective strategy is to Trade with the Communist China and USSR. The U.S. is pushing Japan to do that.

The US share of Japanese exports accounts for some 30%. But the exports account for only some 10% of Japanese internal market. One wonders [ought to wonder] why trade at all with all those troubles. Can’t peoples in the US and Japan be happy within each internal market? Why in a hell Japanese have to work so hard, for what good?]

The question goes back o that of “Why drink?” We are addicted to “civilization”, “progress”, “trade”, “more and more things”, and “for me”. The weakness of American Natives against European invasion was, perhaps, their “individualism” — misidentified with European Individualism, which was a defense mechanism/adaptation to alienation —. Bateson does point out “Egoism” in alcoholics. They are “lonely people” cut off from community. Because of that, AA tries to provide a “community of supports” for alcoholics. In the case of American Natives, they had beautifully working “Community” and still failed. It can only be explained, to me at least, as “Loss of Spirit”. Native warriors who wanted to fight, despite advices of “Peace Chiefs”, did not see the Spirit of the Community. They lost the battle, right then and there.

The Wisdom of Oneida woman failed to stop the warriors to go off to fight wars. Did not they love their children enough? I cannot tell from descriptions in books. But it appears that women were drunk just as well. One might also wonder the difference between the “intoxication by European Alcohol”  (things) and the “heightened consciousness by the Native Rituals”. The difference is in sprituality?

Being in a psychological state and being in a “spiritual state” are entirely different. Yet, from outward manifestations, distinctions are difficult. The Native warriors might have “cheated”, by saying like “my dream told me to go to war”. In the Native etiquette, women could not question the validity of the claim. But, if one cheats “Spirit” by pretending, the consequences is grave.

I almost saying that Iroquois was destroyed because Iroquois did not follow the Spirit of the Great Peace in the addiction to trade. This is a serious accusation. I expect you to correct me.

Now, back to the Economy. I was talking of a question: if people need so many things to be happy. Why people go through so much humiliation and risk of alienation to earn money so as to buy and be proud of a 824,00 car? Why the bankrupting Dome Petro. Co has a president who gets paid like million dollars in salary? Why that is necessary?

We know the natural resources on the Earth are not enough to keep “growth” of industries. Why do we push more and more? Sure enough, there are people who feel happy with the economic situation as it is, in terms of his or her personal satisfaction or pride. But the vast majority is not. Then why this goes on?

On the Marxist Cosmogony and Native American Cosmology. Ver. 29/04/87

29/04/87

On the Marxist Cosmogony and Native American Cosmology

—Marxist Cosmology as an expression of the European Culture in contrast to Native Cosmology in Native American Culture —.

1. Bourgeoisie Intelligentsia today live through their petty commotions without much reference to Cosmic contexts. This is a contrast to the “primitive people” who are very much aware of Cosmos in which they Place their existences and to which they refer significances of their daily actions.

Our Age, for those of us who are educated in the Western Science, is what some writers called “The Age Without God”. Or we might say our culture is “The Culture of Alienation”. Titles like “The Politcis At God’s Funeral” capture the prevalent sense. [M. Harrington Penguin 1985.]

To be sure, the modern intellectuals know Cosmology, Astrophysics, Space Technology, etc. They get daily bombardments from media of words such as “Big Bang”, “Supernova”, etc., regardless if they understand them or not. Books on Cosmology are abundant in most any bookshop, competing with Harlequin Romances, Biographies of movie actresses, How-to-get-rich, or -to-be-slim, books, etc. The loss of the “Cosmic Sense” is not a question of “knowledge”. Nor that means loss of subconscious interests in the Cosmos. modern men are just as “superstitious” in this respect, but their “ideological posture” is “rationalist”. That is, they try hard to pretend bing “rational”. And their notion of “rational” inhibits references to Cosmic senses in business, political, and intellectual contexts.

Horoscope columns in our newspapers and popular magazines are apparently very popular. People do entertain “cosmic consciousness” etc. when they are drinking in parties. There is no shortage of “religious fanatics” in the U.S. who would justify nuking the “Atheist State of USSR”. It is just that they know paying mortgages is the “reality”. The real reference to their “meaning of life” is Money, not God, Buddha, nor Cosmos. One can argues, in a pedantic style, whether or not the Money Economy is “Rational”. But, that would not make even a slightest impression on the sense of Reality and Rationality the people have and live by.

People have, thus, two distinct “world” so to speak. One is “Real World” which is operationally comprehended as that which concerns “Cash”, and “Physical Body Existence”. If we articulate this world further, it would come to some thing similar to “Materialist View” of the world. Natural Scientists, Businessmen, Marxists and Pragmatists talks about this sense of “Reality”. Even the majority Psychologists today appears to be “materialist” of this kind they are called “Behaviorist”, and they tend to deny existence of “Mind”, “Consciousness”, etc., let alone “Cosmic Consciousness”, “God” —.

But, the “Material World” is not complete, as much as the very same people who believe in it do make references to something outside of it. For example, “Future” is not “Real” to the materialists, yet they can hardly avoid references to Future. The Capitalists make their living in reference to future profits, which are not (yet) Reality. Marxists are examples of “materialists” along with the Capitalists, and do refer to Future (History). One difference between the Marxists and the Capitalists is what they each project (predict, prophecy) for unknown Future. If the both cut off references to Future, they would find themselves indistinguishable, except somehow fighting against each other. And even there, it would be hard to avoid references to implicit Future such as “Survival of the Fittest”. (Since whoever think and talk about “survival” must be living now, it does not make sense to talk of survival unless Furture is implied.)

[Natural Scientists often claim or pretend that they are solely concerned with “facts”. But they do make references to Future, which is not a “fact”. They call their references to the Future “Predictions”, and try to distinguish them from “Prophecies”. But, in claiming the superior reliability of their predictions, the scientist are saying essentially “I am the Truth. Follow etc.”. In this respect, Scientists are not different from Prophets and false Prophets in religious societies.

Of course, the scientists could avoid the troubles of claiming “Truth” as to their predictions by narrating more than one “possible outcome” (options), leaving choices among them to the dominant political Power of the society. But even then, the references to the Futures (pl.) are unavoidable.

That is, science is not about “facts” but about “predictions” which are non-facts. Its political power rests on the “trust” (authority) a culture place on it. If there is a “trust”, communication can be economized. Science is, in this sense, an efficient language (rhetorical) system for securing agreements in a social scale. Religions used to do that, but in the modern society, religions no longer effective in securing social scale agreements.]

[We also note that a gathering of “facts” does not constitute a “Theory”. As much as Sciences value Theories, they are not “factual”. they have to do with “How one thinks” (or “how one talks”).

To be sure, the Behaviorists are right in that scientists do formulate Theories so as to be rewarded. The theory which is rewarded by social recognition becomes a part of the “established knowledge”. A body of such knowledge is called “Science”. What or Who decides which “theories” to be rewarded is by and large a mystery — called “Paradigm” etc. and the process of competitions for the rewards are very much like those in the politics (power struggle) and the market (consumer taste).]

“Legitimacy” and/or “Righteousness” are the essential to any political movement and in social scale agreements. Materialists, Marxists, and Rationalists, and even “Behaviorists”, as social bodies in the quest of a power or an intellectual hegemony, can hardly afford to give up “Legitimacy”, and “Righteousness”. And in this sense, they are not different from Religious Institutions. And in making up “legitimacy” and/or “righteousness”, certain “cosmic sense” or “cosmic assumptions”, do play important roles Different cultures have different senses or assumptions — though we do have to decipher what they are, for more often than not, the fundamental assumptions are implicit about what the Universe is like.

I use a term “Culture” to designate such functions/performances of a social groups in giving the sense of “legitimacy/righteousness” to some and not to others. It is as if a society having a “collective mind”. What is referred as “Mind” in individual cases is complex and often a bundle of contradictions. But it is convenient to have the metaphor of “Mind” in a social scale to talk about how different “cultures” function and perform.

[The term “Ideology” may be used instead of “Culture”. But, I prefer “Culture” to include “feelings” and in viewing that cultures can contain contradictions more readily than “ideology”. I am avoiding “intellectual rationalizations”. For that for itself is a characteristic of a “culture”. Another term “Ethos” comes close to the sense, but it is “apolitical” term. “Culture” contains the both “Ideology” and “Ethos”.]

2. Marxism came when Europe was undergoing the Bourgeoisie Revolution. Whatever, ideologues said in rhetorical expressions, there were two things which changed the “old culture” in Europe. One was emergence of Mass Production Industry. The other is the massive displacement of population from rural to City Living. People are literally uprooted from their Communal Life, in a manner not too unlike “refugees” in the late 20th century.

The Death of God was death of the community. And in its place Science came to play the role of the “culture”. And the Mass Production dethroned The Mother Earth from the position of The Provider.

What happened in Europe since the 16th century is extaordinary. “Culture” usually develops slowly in time relative to the practices of its society. Actually, “Culture” and “Practice” are in a Feedback Loop, mutually enforcing each other. Culture stimulates developments of new practices in a certain direction, and inhibits developments in other directions and in turn Culture itself develops. But, the “scientific” culture in the modern Europe emerged as a rebellion against the old culture.

Freudian metaphor of “Killing Father to marry Mother” is an apt depiction of the way European Science came to the power. Interestingly, Freud himself was a participant of the “science” — that is to say Freud was analyzing the “mind” of Europe of that particular historical period, and he himself was an example of what he analyzed —.

The “Father” was the religious Part of the old culture. And we can understand expressions like “Death of God” (that which was paternalistic authority). That is clear enough. But did we also kill the Mother (that which generates “understanding” or the “sensual sense of knowing”)? Or are we looking for the Mother? One thing we know is that we lost the Mother, at least temporally.

[In metaphors, it is tempting to image “culture” to be the Mother, making “science” to be “unculture”, There are certain aspects of “science” which do suggest some “barbaric”, or “philistine” nature. Freud maintained a distinction between “culture” and “civilization”, and did not use term “culture” to Europe. One could be sympathetic to Freud and say that Technological society of ours does not have a “culture”.

If so, the “scientific revolution” in Europe killed both the old Science (Religion) and Culture.]

Just as Freud was a Product of the historical time, Marx was also a product of the society undertaking destruction of the old community, calling it “Ancient Regime”. Marx did notice the function of religions — he was sympathetic to the lower class who needed religions to soothe the pain, hence called religions “opium” for the poor. However, he apparently did not think of religions to be important subject and did not analyze the “psychology” deeper, but rather classified it as “irrational”. (In Freudian language, Marx hated the Father aspect of Religion, but had lingering affinity with the Mother aspect of Religion.) He was a believer of the rising “Science” then, Just as the Capitalists and the Bourgeois then were. He thought that enlarging of production power would solve most, if not all, social problems. Building of Industries was a common goal for Marxists, Bourgeoisie and the Capitalist. In a sense, Marx was right in believing industries. If Stalin did not push Industrialization, where USSR would be today? Of course not too many people would condone the Dehumanization that was paid as the price. But, the price of European Industrialization was no less dire. the tragedies of people in European colonies were a part of the costs. If north Americans condone what happened to the Natives on the land, there is not much position for them to condemn Stalin. The strategy, and ideology, of eliminating “unproductive population” was the same for both cases. Japan copied the same strategy. China is now copying the same.

3. Now that we have “over-production”, we are coming to reflect upon the history as such. We would say today, producing tens of millions of cars and TV sets would not make us “happier”. Rather, we would worry about environmental pollutions and destruction of the Nature. We care about degradation of “human quality” of our life, such as that indicated by “Crime Rate”, “Alcoholism”, “Alienation”. Perhaps we care because we have more than enough “material things”. Our “consumer market” is geared more towards “psychological” needs than “physiological” needs.

[Digital Hi-Fi electronics and personal Computers, for example, are not for hungry people. Yet they are the “high growth” industries now, along with “Fast Food Industry”. Farmers who produce foods are in trouble. Steel Mills are in trouble. Making more things is not what the market demands. And we have a “Non-Market” industry called “Military-Industrial-Scientific-Complex”, which does not contribute to production  of consumer goods, but is a very profitable institution. Of course, the poor half of the World Population lives in nations which cannot buy products from the Industrialized nations. Some millions die of starvation every year in those nations. But, it is not because we cannot produce enough food, but because we believe in Money as the Sacred Regulator of economy.

We cannot give foodstuffs to those starving people, even if we let our over produced food to rot. Because, in our money intelligence, to give something for no return is not a “rational” thing to do. In historical sense, we have barely escaped from “Appropriation Economy” — the Economy that is based on “taking away” by force —. Or rather, we have not finished that phase. We invented “Exchange Economy” to overcome the horrors and atrocities of the Appropriation Economy. We still have residues of the Fear from the past. We can intellectually see that the economy is evovling from Appropriation to Exchange, and Exchange to Gift. But the historical apprehension about “Appropriation Economy” prevents us to go into “Gift Economy” which do deny “equal exchange”.

To be sure, we can look at the troubles in and with the economy of “the third World” countries, and Welfare cases within the developed countries, and say it is not “equal”. That is, we are not really in the “Exchange Economy”, but rather still in the Appropriation Economy. But, we cannot deal with the problems of inequality on the basis of the exchange economics. the reason is that the Exchange Rationality is powerful and able to provide legitimacy for social scale action, precisely because it conceals inequality. Lenin noticed this and said “Equality is not equal”, meaning that one has to go to “Gift” level beyond superficial equality in exchange. However, Lenin was a “scientific” European intellectual, and could not use the term “Gift”. Such was the Culture of his time. We are now able to talk of “Gift”, only because we came to a crisis of Exchange Rationality.]

4. What is “Culture”, in the Native sense? What do the Native Americans mean when they say “Whiteman destroyed our Culture”? My guess is as follows;

{{{Dear Professor Colorado please help me here!!!}}}

“Culture” is what makes a community functional in providing a certain set of symbols and expected actions associated with them so that the member can communicate and get things done.

The expected actions may be rituals, code of ethics, set of obligations. They may be called “customs”. It informs an efficient way of organizing co-operation.

The kinds of expectation are also defined in the Culture. The members have the right to expect certain things and identify with the set-up. The Natives expect to be given foods when they somehow fall short of foods. They expect that they be cared by others when they get sick. They expect to be treated with respect as to their dignity. They may not be conscious of those, but the surprise, shock, which they experience when they are denied, tells that they have taken the expectations granted. And if they are betrayed too often, the community breaks down and that is break down of a Culture.

There are also a set of expectations about how to express “displeasures”, “disapprovals”, “warning”, etc. People knows a certain gesture would trigger a certain reaction in other members of the same Culture. For example, in Native Culture, issuing command is unacceptably rude. Even powerful chiefs make “suggestions”. Members carry out the chief’s wish out of respect, but they are not “slaves” to a commander. Europeans who came from slave society (Slave Culture) cannot understand this. Europeans often wondered how Native community keep a social order without “command”.

[Native God does not give “commandments”, but merely give “advices”. Incidentally, Buddhism does not issue commandments either. Judeo-Christianity is a religion of a Slave Culture, and very peculiar in that. This cultural background makes problems as to understanding of Science as “command” or as “advice”.]

Above narration of the set of “expectations” sounds very much like Social Welfare that European Culture come to practice recently. The Natives had it for a long time. Besides, there is very important difference. The Natives had the mutual helps as a part of their Culture. One does not “beg”, let alone feel loss of dignity in receiving the Gifts. One expects to be loved and it is given as a matter of “natural occurrence”. It is analogous to the expectation of Love from mother. It is given absolutely free. One would hesitate to call it “Right”. But, one would be justified in the Native Culture to be extremely upset, if the expected Love is not granted. and, one would not refuse to give Love to the others, unless there is grave reason for not to do so.

The European Social Welfare is not based on such cultural principle, but from “charity”, “appeasement”, “economic necessity for pump priming” etc. It has a logical stigma, even in the best of understanding, from a thinking that if the economy is functioning perfect Welfare would not be needed. That is Welfare is an anomaly, disease, emergency, not normal. It should not ideally be there.

Such is the European Culture. And this has a great deal to do with the European Comogony is that of “isolated bodies in vast emptiness”.

For the Native Community, the Community is the Welfare. There Welfare is the normal state of affair. It is sure family, not market for economy. Native culture is a Culture of Community. And it Cosmology is “Sensual”, — as if they are still inside the Womb of the Cosmos —.

The Native Cosmology is not only an expression of Native Culture, but the preserver of the Culture.

(Part I. 01/01/87.)

[We shall use for the part II.,

Douglas Sturm.

“Cosmogony and Ethics in the Marxian Tradition: Premise and Destiny of Nature and History.”

in R.W. Lovin and F.E. Reynold (ed) Cosmogony And Ethical Order U. of Chicago Press 1985.

among other references. We like to locate and identify the wellspring of Social Change (revolution) in the Culture. Cosmology is an expression of the way a society or a community thinks, which I referred as “Culture”. People have implicit cosmology to make sense of what they do. And it is founding metaphysics that facilitate communication, and hence the basis of the actions. That give us clues as to what are options for the Native Community.]

9 December 1988 Personal Correspondence on Education, Media, etc.

Dec. 9, ’88

Dear Louella

This meeting was a bit scattered. Maybe we are trying to figure out nature of our group. Judgment as to what to do is a tricky business. I would not rush, but on the other hand people may not wait for emergence of some integrating sense in the group. I do not know how to assess that. But as usual, I write up what come to my mind.

I guess we were discussing how better to do the communication needed between the Developed and the Developing countries/peoples, Emergency situations are exceptional (hopefully). When poverty, deprivation, malnutrition are not “News Worthy”, how do we get people in well-to-do countries to know? Or Perhaps, you had International Development Education in your mind. It appears that other occasional bursts we do not know much and care less.

Of course, the people in our group are exceptional. Our group was almost like Who’s Who of International Development. I am an outsider to that. I have never done anything worth talking about for International Development. But outsiders have one natural advantage. I know something about the reason why ordinary people do not know and cannot afford to care. And the “outsider” point of view also helps in looking at the World View (Common Sense, Prejudice) of a Culture that Education and Media create, maintain and enforce.

I mentioned “Education” along with media. Because “education” is a propaganda, brainwashing. And Media do educate, at least in the sense they select and define what is expected to be known for the majority of people, and thereby they guide and influence the Accepted Perception of the World, if not manufacture the operational “Reality”. Media confer Value Status for a certain knowledge and deny to others, Just as schools and universities do. You note that “News” do have “Commodity Value”. Knowing comes with Value sensation. There is no such thing as “Value Free Knowledge”, including that in Science. Intellectual Snobism is just a minor case among others, but it sticks out because it is a “Caricature” of what we always do.

When I came to the U.S., I used to pick up New York Times from waste baskets at street corners to see what Media(um) is saying. It had very obvious bias/prejudice/ideological slant, both implicit and explicit. American intellectuals apparently did not see that, I was very much puzzled by the curious phenomenon that so intelligent people can so easily be misled by so obvious propaganda. As I told you before, I used to go to meetings of “Foreign Policy Forum” etc. There I find myself completely off base from everybody, say on issues of Korea, Quimoi-Matsu Island, Vietnam, Rearmament of Japan, etc. What Americans had as the Reality was completely different from the common sense view of Asia and Asians that ordinary Japanese held. I was lucky not being called “Pinko” and thrown out of the group.

By a chance, I met the head of Peace Corps and asked what the U.S. was doing to help education of brick layers, carpenters, bicycle repairmen in India besides educating Ph.D. engineers, top managers, elite bureaucrats. He was very much surprised by my question, which was just a natural question that anybody from poor countries would ask. His answer was, more or less, that Leaders of Nation were most important and implied that poor people did not matter much. Later, I found out that the head of Peace Corps was a brother-in-law to the President Kennedy and very intelligent man, besides being a “liberal”.

When I entered Canada some 20 years ago, I used to see glaring bias, prejudice, ideological slant in Globe and Mail just as I saw them in New York Times. To be honest, I used to see “glaring bias” even in the Herald under Cleo and Doug just as well. I also found out that Canadians in general did not know who Herbert E. Norman was. He was very famous in Japan as a great Canadian Historian, Diplomat, because his books were the standard texts in graduate schools in History. In Canada, the only guy whom I could find and talk about Norman was Chester Ronning. Ronning was delighted to talk about him — in fact he got quite drunk and we were laughing till 4 o’clock in morning —. Perhaps, McCarthy Committee in the U.S. did not like him was enough reason for Canadians to forget him.

Later, an American scholar by a name of Dower published a book on Norman and in the introduction to the book he accused of the ideological bias of scholars. I happened to be acquainted with the Big Name scholar mentioned in the book at Princeton, and knew how the bias worked, As far as I know, response of Canadian academic was minimal. It appears that Canadian academics did not wish to stand up against the American “authority” on the subject.

Interestingly, now that I think of it, I do not see “misinformation” as clearly as I saw years before. I guess I am “culturally assimilated” to “know” things like the top 10% of Canadians. I mean not that I know as much as the elites know, but in the selection of “what counts as knowing” and at the limit by which I stop asking questions. Nonetheless, to my ears and eyes, CBC, Globe and Mail, etc. are still biased media. I suppose that keep me outsider, in the sense I do not share the same Myth with the intellectual elites of this country. You can take as evidence that I am not quite “educated” enough in canadian Culture.

Recently I have come to see that Noam Chomsky et al talking about the Ideological bias of American Intellectuals. When Chomsky was on air, CBC host Peter Gzowsky was very much upset and could not refrain from interrupting so much that he ruined the interview. Gzowsky later recognized how unprofessional that was and did the second interview. But that tells me how deep and emotional a certain “prejudice” is. Just as Japanese and German intellectuals did not “see” nor “hear” what were going on around them during W.W.II., American Intellectuals did not see what the U.S. was doing in the world then. Canadian intellecturals are not too far different (if my academic colleagues are a fair sample of them).

I am sympathetic to laborers who come home totally exhausted and have no mind to think or even “feel” anything. “Entertained” by media may be the best that they can. If they are ignorant, I do not blame them. They are kept ignorant and deceived. In alienated works, they may become numb and cannot think of anything “deep”.

But I think it inexcusable that Intellectuals being “blind” to the deceptions that are going around, if they did not create the deceptions for themselves. As much as they contemptuously talk of the incapacity or apathy of lower class people to engage in anything requiring “heavy” discourse, I would expect intellectuals to be more capable. Yet, the intellectuals don’t do “home works” either. “Heavy Thinking” is avoided just the same. They are just as ignorant, unfeeling, apathetic, powerless, gutless, incapable of thinking, 615 the ones whom they look down with contempt. If Chomsky was right, the “liberal intellectuals” are the one who perpetuating the deception. I do not exempt what so called “scientists” and Educators” from this.

For example, it is only recently that people have come to pay some attentions to “unfortunate unemployed” and Natives issues. International Development Aid is important. Protests against Apartheid have to be kept up. Concerns about Human Right issues in other countries must be voiced. But I feel funny about the phenomenon that somehow the problems internal to our own country are avoided. Is it because the internal problems negate our “righteous superiority” and make us feel “inferior” or “guilty”? Is it because they demand “heavier” thinking than the problems at far away places? Or the “heavy thinking” not only too much for their mental capacity, but also threatening to the system of injustice that is good to their privileged economic and social positions?

If so, we may be using “poor starving people in Ethiopia” to make us feel superior in the name of “humanitarian aid”. I grant that it is better than nothing. But there remains the question of hypocrisy of charity. We create and maintain the very system that victimize them and then turn around to say we are so good people that we help them. The degree of deception by our Media is far less than that by our own self-deception. If our Media are sensationalistic and superficial, it is perhaps because we are sensationalistic and superficial.

In my graduate school days, I used to live in a Quaker Weekend Project House in the middle of Philadelphia slum. I was invited as a foreign student to the discussion sessions that the weekend volunteers were having. There I learned quite a lot. A Black Lady, a welfare mother, who lived in the house in front of ours, came to know me well enough to tell me that “Your people come here for weekend and need not stay. We have no hope getting out here”. That made me thinking for a long time.

The lady knew I was from Japan and some of her “boy friends” were GIs who defeated Japan only some 10 years before. I was an enemy to them. They must have sensed the irony that I got paid to be a Ph.D. physicist in one of most expensive universities — I was told that my “education” cost the U.S. tax payers several million dollars —, while they had to suffer humiliating poverty without any hope of ever getting out of it.

The location was reputedly a “dangerous” place in the city. Drunkenness, Violence, etc. were just ordinary scene there. But our daughter was born there, and we have never felt any danger. They used to give our daughter a Nickel, which they could not afford do to their own kids too often. The guys and women who loved our daughter were drunk and fighting or prostituting in the alley behind our house the night before. But they were essentially graceful people (unlike some academics that I came to know later). That made me question who is keeping them poor and makes them violent.

One time, they organized a protest march against city administration. It was like a festival. I saw beautiful shine in their faces. The Drunkards and prostitutes whom I knew walked in dignity and grace. I do not question if the March was “effective”. Even if it was an ephemeral flare like that of the girl who sold matches in Anderson’s story, I think the moment of human dignity is worth having.

Such was an image internal to the most developed and wealthiest nation in the world then, seen by eyes of a guy from a recipient country of its international aid. Needless to say the image was quite different from what I used to see in Hollywood movies. (I was a Marilyn Monroe fan.)

I do think Canada is a beautiful country. Canadians, in general, are well off indeed. They are lucky enough to be generous. But then, I also see internal problems. Not that I could do anything much to help, but wonder if “Internal CIDA” may not be a bad idea. But then, the “internal Development Project” requires “heavy discourse”. How to do that is another question. If event the intelligent People with good hearts in our group feel it “too much”, then there is not much chance. I wonder about this. You are an excellent organizer and probably know how  and when to do things. Any idea?

You were talking about inviting some students from the Third World countries to our meetings. That is a splendid idea. I would very much like to try that. And perhaps, when an opportunity arises, we invite Native Americans and listen to what they have to say. However, judgment as to when is somewhat tricky. I am reading books like one by Edward Said [Orientalism], who is an Egyptian Arab, and find the problem of “Different Cultures” very difficult. To an extent, one has to prepare to face a bewildering world, say, like that form reading the World of Algerians through Camus. Viewed from North American “Etiquette”, that is not a suitable topic for a dinner conversation. I do not know how to do it without becoming “Anti-Social”. To get to know people “ought” to be pleasurable and be fun to do. Humans have natural sensuality to enjoy knowing others and have a sense of belonging/relating. But I am very clumsy at the sort of things. You are always smooth and graceful, tell me the secret!

yours

Sam k.

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Personal Correspondence on Economics, Peace Research, etc.

Dear Prof. P. Colorado

Your session in the CPREA is on June 5th afternoon. I do
 not know the room arrangement. But it is a part of The Lernered
Society Conference. We shall know the details when we get to
McMaster University. There is a good likelihood that you might have whole 3 hours for your presentation and discussion. CPREA considers your presentation very important. As far as I am aware, you are the first one who present the Native Philosophy-Spirituality. I am very much honored to be the introducer for your session. I know how busy you are and very grateful to you for doing a great favor to CPREA. I have picked up Native Children And The Child Welfare by Patrick Johnston. Perhaps, this is one of texts you use. But allow me to comment on it. The small book is focused on one urgent issue, and it is important to talk about the issue.Therefore, I do not complain the book does not mention other
issues. However, I think of the overall situation and worry that
the problem might not be solved within the perspective the book
offers.
Of course, I have a few assumptions to say the above. One
of them is that Native Children will not be “isolated” from the
dominant “culture”, even if they are raised in the Native
communities. The “Native Care” by the Native communities is the
first step. But even if all the children are brought up by their
own family, there will still be problems. And for that matter,
the young generation in general, Native or Non-native, is facing
a very difficult situation. I know my students in the University,
who are from relatively “well to do family”, are having
difficulties in finding “meaningful” things to do. The economy
today is bad. And the Future outlook is worse. It pains me to
think about their frustrations.
To be sure, students today have an “affluent” life. They
have never known what it is like to carry “honey bucket” and get
splashed all over. But the affluence puts more psychological
pressure on them. I had it easy, for I was enormously happy by
just having something to eat. I did not need to spend 50 bucks to
take a girl out. I had live with 150 dollars a month and my wife
came to Philadelphia slum, knowing I barely eat. She never once
complained about it, until we start getting a higher income. It
seems that the higher the material standard of living is the harder to be happy.
Not that I favor living in a camp tent, particularly in dripping
wet one. But I do wonder what in a hell we are pushing for
“Growth of Economy”. Why do we have so intense competitions? For
what good? And in the meantime, the “bottom” one third of the
humanity has to suffer.
higher the material standard of living is the harder to be happy.
Not that I favor living in a camp tent, particularly in dripping
wet one. But I do wonder what in a hell we are pushing for
“Growth of Economy”. Why do we have so intense competitions? For
what good? And in the meantime, the “bottom” one third of the
humanity has to suffer.
[The “Production Economy” is different from the “Money
Economy”. The former is a “Materialistic” economy, however,
the “Fetishism of Material Objects” included.
The later is an “Informational/Symbolic” economy. It
operates on illusions/expectations of speculators. This has
been always in the “economy”. But it became overt and
dominant in the late 20th century.
Alvin Toffler’s The Third Wave etc. talked of the “coming
Information Age”. If I extend this historical trend, I
imagine we will come to what you are doing, namely
exploring entrance to the “Age of Value”, beyond the “Age
of Information”. You are a genius!]
Some idiotic economists talks of “Hi Tech”, but they also
know that Hi Tech provides very little jobs to people. It
happened to have a high profit margin, that’s all. So, what all
those people out of work do? They have to live on Welfare?
It is not just the Natives that have troubles. If one is so
sensitive and good-natured that one cannot exploit other people,
then Alcohol may be the one of “pain killers” that one has to
depend on. If kids turn to violence, I cannot blame them. They
are humiliated, frustrated and angry (as they ought to be). The
system is telling them that it does not need them, does not want
them. You can raise your kids with all loving cares, but the
cruel society is waiting for them and claim them at the end. We
know that. Yet we do not do anything about the system. Why?
It might make a better sense to make the kids to be
insensitive, cruel, selfish, greedy, thick-skinned, bullies, so
that they can be “successful” in the society such.
For it does not make a sense to raise “beautiful humans” only to
have them lived in Reservations on Welfare.
People know that the “economy” as such will collapse sooner
or later. You can read it in Wall Street Journal and Financial
Post. Market experts are saying that. (They say they have to make
more money now because of that, before the market collapse.)
There is a slight chance that some Beautiful People survive till
such a catastrophe clears things up. In the meantime, however,
what those people would be doing? Buddhists would say that one
has to learn to live with humility. But, Alcoholics are already
living in humility. What’s more Buddha want them to do? Wait till
the Hell freezes?
I am a “peace researcher” and wish Peace on the Earth, or
at least avoid Nuclear Holocaust. But I am disgusted with the way
humanity live today. Nuclear War System is just a symbol of the
way we live today. Yesterday, I went to Brocket to observe the Native Education Conference, sponsored by The Four World Development Project. It was fine. I was very much impressed by a lady from Alkali Lake. But I noticed that many of “life-living-skills” that those educators discussed are not taught in schools. Schools are for “academic” stuffs and related to industries, for the “economic growth”. The education wants to make “competitive individuals” to be successful in the rat race. It is amazing we do not have many more problems. Humans are surprisingly loyal and cooperative to the wrong system. Or is it because people think they would lose their jobs by radical change in school system? Someone there was talking of misdeeds of some “Band Councilors”. Apparently, there are people who get more benefits from the present system. If the benefits are paid by other people’s suffering, they may not like it much, but they would say “such is the life”. So the moral is “Don’t drink, but be successful in the system”. Besides, the system does not like bad scenes. If one is cynical, one might say “making drunk scene is a form of protest”, just as the vandalism is. Peace does not come unless Justice is there. The “morality” of our political economy is not an independent issue from the issue of Peace. Are the educators willing to teach that? One thing is, however, that, in the history of suffering, many wise men and women taught of the virtue of patience. Peace Keepers of the Six Nations talked of the need of even “Seven layers of Thick Skins”. The Native kids have to be cared for by love now. Hope is in them. I only worry if they get a good education for the future (not education for “success” in the system). They would have to be good “peace researchers”, if they are to survive.

Yours,

Sam