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A Case For The Truly Subjective Vision

By       Message Mark Sashine     Permalink    (# of views)   18 comments

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(Article changed on November 11, 2012 at 06:35)



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Characteristic of or belonging to reality as perceived rather than as independent of mind

: lacking in reality or substance : illusory


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1.      Expressing or dealing with facts or conditions as perceived without distortion by personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretations < objective art> objective history of the war> objective judgment>


2.      Relating to or existing as an object of thought without consideration of independent existence --used chiefly in medieval philosophy


From Merriam-Webster

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"You look at things subjectively (by your own admission above) whilst I look at things objectively'


From   a message   by a commenter



"History does not teach   fatalism.   There are moments when the will of a handful of free   men breaks through determinism and opens up new roads. People get the   history they deserve. When you lament a misfortune and fear   that worse is to come people will tell you   "It's a law of history. It's the will evolution.' They will explain   it   all very lucidly. Stand up, gentlemen, against such clever cowardice. It is worse than stupidity. It's the sin against   the   Holy Spirit.'


Charles De Gaulle


"God is   ingenious   but not malicious'


A. Einstein





I am going to enjoy this.   So many   times   I heard   in this county about   how important   it is to be objective    and how proud a person    was that he/she   was objective and realistic   in   making decisions. This is very paradoxical   because, as we   can see from Merriam -- Webster's above in the old times subjective and objective   were very similar definitions. Subjective   was something   based on the perception of the subject (a person) and objective was   an object of   thought.   A person developed an object of thought and then analyzed it subjectively, thus   pursuing   that object on   the basis   of his/her perceptions on how things worked. This sounds very much    like a routine work of a   scientific theorist.

That was in the old times. In our times   we have hordes of objectivists, defining   themselves as realists, people who absolutely officially   consider that they   know how to find out the   clear criteria of events, independent of   human perception and thus   perfect. Just look at the Fox News   with their   " Fair and Balanced'   logo.   But those are just shills- they   can sell anything, even parts of their bodies for   a drag.   Seemingly paradoxical are everyday people, who seem    to be possessed with that objectivity hubris without   any reasonable explanation.   You can hear that boring and cliche'd   statement   from any American,   young and old, man or female, even from a child. If I tell them   that   the last time I heard such childish   bragging   was from my rather mentally challenged girlfriend   many years ago,   they would not understand me. Meanwhile common sense tells us that it is very unlikely that   any of us   "looks at the things objectively', so   also says Sigmund Freud   and his disciples. In my subjective way I would like to entertain     a theory.


  1. A theory and Edgar Poe


Americans are emotionally challenged people. Not all of them, obviously; it   is rather the feature of everyday life.   Here by emotions   I mean   high --level    areas of human psyche: there is a abundance of low-level   stuff   like embedded violence, rudeness, malice and greed. No wonder; US is a young country, not a nation yet, more like a conglomerate   of   Americans of different nationalities, most of which come from rather   humble upbringing. Survival, struggle for success,   competition -- all of that   promotes   the development of practical   and shallow mind, especially if we   consider the influence   of   the German model of Lutheran Church ( I wrote about that before).    Empathy,   internal torment, self- doubt and soul suffering were the engagements of the privileged. American   perceptions of   " subjective' were for a very long time buried in the    "kinky fantasies'   box deep in the brain, so deep that most of them never could even find a way to it. It is especially well seen in the hopeless   efforts of the US   entertainment professionals    to look emotional, funny or sad; the more they work on that, the more boring they look because they are as far away from   real emotions as Mitt Romney is from being human. This shines brilliantly in   Tina Fey, the least funny person in the world,   being considered a pillar of humor.


  Correction though- this lack of emotional   life is mainly the characteristic of white American populous; African- Americans and minorities are much more lively but they have their own problems; they are bombarded by   negative statements about that very great feature of theirs and also   by    vehement instructions to lose it all and become Stepford characters, That's the word- Stepford.   White    folks are Stepford   folks   and those are robots, take it or leave it. And they are told that they are really exemplary   humans   and that they should be   followed   by all mankind. How can they resist? They believe that and call a their   virtue a vice.


We thus have here a situation when   the majority of the population being challenged in   basic human qualities had decided to   consider that   obvious    character flaw as a gift from God and    proclaim it an advantage , do everything possible to promote it and   call it   an inclination to objective thinking and   neglect   those qualities they lack as   an   unnecessary subjectivity.


I   have a powerful ally in that theory of mine.   Among the   Martian Chronicles    by Ray Bradbury there is a grotesque story Asher II.

The story   pertains to the   times when objective and rational thought   had prevailed absolutely   and became a repressive force.   Everything disturbing, unexplainable, grotesque and macabre was banned   by a special commission ( Americans love   commissions and committees)   and the   works of Edgar Poe were the first to go. An eccentric    fan of Poe's builds an Asher house on Mars and   populates it with mechanical   creatures, resembling the   characters   from   Poe's stories. He then invites the members off the honorable   commission   to come and have a ball   for one night, to taste the forbidden fruit   and when the morning comes- the house is to be destroyed. And yes, they came, all them!   The   fierce rationalists turned out   to be secretly   craving   the real excitement. They all came, dressed in costumes and   had fun drinking, dancing   and watching a spectacle of the robots, resembling the guests being mockingly killed in all those ways   the people were killed in Edgar Poe's stories. Those robots were perfect: they   cried and wept and   shrieked and quivered and bled and   pled for mercy.   The members of the commission    cringed with satisfaction.   Then   the host offers the chairman   to accompany him to the basement    to witness the demise of   his robotic double. There   suddenly     the host    chains the poor man to the    wall   and starts to bury him alive by   erecting a cement   enclosure   around him. Exactly like in the famous Amontillado story!


At that moment   we find out the truth. The people who were killed were real. One- by one they were snatched from the crowd of guests and replaced by their copies and all     others around   them could not   see the difference. Robots danced in   costumes,   drank cocktails   and   calmly watched how   people were   cut   into pieces, buried alive and   drowned in the   hot tar. Robots cracked   cynical jokes and   gave speeches about decadent subjectivity which   must be destroyed. The people, who brought   the   primitive objectivity to   the   level of grotesque paid the price for their spiritual ignorance. And here is   the interesting paradox:   the limitless   shallow objectivity    turns into a total   subjectivity because what those people saw   was an illusion created in their puny heads; they deprived themselves of the knowledge which otherwise   would have saved   their very lives.

Why shallow?   Because in reality Edgar Poe's mysticism and   melodramatic inclinations   were nothing   but a   cover for a brilliant, inquisitive and realistic mind, taking on a challenge to investigate   the human psyche. If you read Poe carefully you become amazed   with   perfect, even mathematical    attention to detail, charmed by logic and fall   in love with   the clarity of his mind. Poe   was the   founder of several   modern genres of literature, by far the most famous being the   detective    suspense novel. He was one of those people who   followed the definition of   Alexander   Block, the Russian   poet, "The small fires of art are   there   to help to recognize the great fire of life."   In his endeavor Poe raised the objectivity to a new level of understanding, A truly enlightened   person   could learn a lot   from   Poe's   symbolism and   come up with   very practical considerations. That is, of   course if   you have a a mind and heart eager to learn. If you have just chromium blood, you   can't learn anything. And then you perish   while robots laugh at you. Yes, we all are craving   great passions   but   you have to earn   those,;you have to be worthy of   being human.

Ray Bradbury   was one of those   visionaries who   recognized the "something wicked' in the mechanistic tendency of his fellow- Americans to    "line up all the facts'   and to find a box for every   bit of information without engaging   their   " beautiful mind' with emotionally   and subjectively powerful   signals, sorting them out. Another author, Stephen King called this feature much more harshly -- a "moronic evil'.

Call me subjective   but I am in a good company.   It is only    when our inner self is challenged do   we grow.





2.      Burden of proof


"Prove it!"- that screeching sound    I hear from   a lot of people of quite an adult age.   Skepticism is supposed to be a   virtue   of the   seemingly objective person. It can play tricks on you though.   Primarily   when it comes to honesty. Like for instance I don't   mind trying to logically prove that climate   change   is real   and at least partially due to human activities if the   inquisitor   asks for proof o of other things from other people.    It would be nice to hear a   reasonable proof of the necessity of the wars   in Iraq and Afghanistan from those who unleashed them; it would   be   really   perfect to see the proper investigation of 9/11.   For some strange reason many so-called objectivists are ready to embrace the most bizarre, totally subjective   explanations   as soon as those come from   people of power and influence and   at the same time -- they demonstrate   unreasonable   skepticism and even   contempt   towards those who     express   a perfectly legitimate   hypotheses.   Really, folks,   we all must agree   that there are   about 7 billion humans now on the planet; we by far exceed    other species, we are the only ones who exploit the   planet for our own immediate needs while not giving anything back, we   are engaged in processes which are   by thermodynamics' definition unnatural and thus would not it be feasible   at least to consider that human mind had evolved enough to see that a human   could be in fact an enemy of   humanity sometimes, when   he, the human is carried away? That's perfectly objective and reasonable. And even if you somehow do not believe   that climate change   is happening right now   you cannot fully dismiss the human influence on the   environment just because you want   to breath and humans so far had not   found any way to generate   breathable air.   In any case, an objective   person   should treat the climate issue as a new, even exciting challenge    for Humanity, the   meeting of which might bring us all to new horizons.    No proof   is needed here, just common sense. And   that's how other people look at it. Not in our   country though.

In this country   the opposition to the climate change idea is far beyond the simple   "prove it'    stuff. It is   vehement, hysterical, paranoid.   It   is so fierce that   by any means it seems   to be about something much deeper, more important, more subjective   that just some scientific argument. There seem to be   a real fear involved. There are two components   in this fear: one subjective and one -- objective. The subjective one is simple and common- people do not   like the   doomsday scenarios at their doorstep   and even less they like those who bring   the news.   We are all   like that- no exceptions. After the denial period   blows off, though we usually accept the reality and   try   to make a lemonade out of that lemon. Our European friends   seem to have recovered remarkably fast and the renewable energy market is up for grabs. In any case, this aspect is   quite natural.   That is the objective   one which is much more sinister. Objectivity is associated with a real fact which we here in America are all aware of   but pretend that we don't know anything about it.   That fact is that we, the US folks are the worst   destructionists and polluters of   environment (granted, mostly we do that not on our territory) in the whole western world and that we had got away with it for an   unbelievably long time.   Paraphrasing   the Declaration of Independence   I hold this truth to be self- evident   that   the US    pathologically consumptive way of life   is due to the misfortune   and misery of the people in the world and to the deliberate destruction of their habitat, thus also of their self- reliance. They do not hate us, though.   They despise us for   our   criminal immaturity; we know that and we hate them for it.

This subjective hate of the emotionally- challenged nation   is subjective to the core   but the fear itself   is certainly real.   We want our illusion to proceed while the house of cards is crumbling right before our eyes.

That's why we shout   "prove it': we, who had never proved anything to anyone on equal grounds    are now the target of the same approach and we do not like it. We do not like it at all.

Subjectivity and objectivity proved here to be the two sides of the same coin; also we again see that   both   of those things can be legitimate and useful as well as malicious and destructive, depending on   who, how and where.



  3. Subjectivity rocks where honesty   rules


Dr. Ziegbert Tarrash was a   German professor of mathematics and also one of the greatest chess players   of his time (at the start of the 20th Century). Dr Tarrash was a   very objective man and took pride in   lining up the facts, examining them and   coming up to the   determined conclusion.   He developed a theory of   the game of chess according   to which there had to be an optimal strategy of winning based   on the best possible implementation of the chess rules. In engineering language   he promoted the idea that   the    one who uses the standard works   most efficiently is bound to win.   Tarrash postulated that   every piece on the board   should   be positioned according to its highest potential   and   that    the advantage of one player over another   depended on   the amount of the pieces   located that way. Tarrash insisted    that a player   must strive to achieve   the optimal position, seek it and study the rules very hard    on the way to perfection.   As a practicing   grandmaster he   fortified his views   by   series of impressive victories in the tournaments, although   never could achieve the   goal of becoming   a World Champion. No wonder he was rather surprised when   he met with the second World Champion, the young Dr. Emanuel Lasker.

Dr.Lasker   also was a professor of mathematics but he was totally opposite to   Dr. Tarrash.   He seemed not to follow the rules at all.    Or rather he   knew them   but had   chosen to bend them for his own amusement. Not only he     ignored   the perfect positions but in many cases he deliberately made his situation worse(!)   thus   creating a controlled mess   on the board which he clearly enjoyed. To Dr. Tarrash   Lasker represented a wind of subjectivity, especially due to the fact that Lasker     preferred for a long time not to postulate   any of his views and just proceeded   from one   victory to another, among them defeating Dr. Tarrash in the two challenging matches.

After the second crushing defeat Tarrash   pushed Lasker hard to reveal his secrets and the most long- time World Champion said, 'People fight on the board, not   just pieces." Turned out Lasker treated the game of chess as a struggle of two personalities. Being a very keen observer,   he   discovered that every player had his own "style', his way of treating the chess   theory and knowledge   and that style was   based exclusively on subjective   perceptions of that person: liking and disliking, emotions,   preferences and life experiences. Lasker thus introduced   a subjective factor into the previously deterministic    process, creating a new objective reality currently fully recognized   by all chess professionals.   Most of the current chess masters   maintain   the database of the games of their potential rivals, studying   their style   habits and developing a counterstrategy. That   happens in all sports more or less.

Dr. Tarrash was a very fair and broadminded man; he sincerely   acknowledged   the new approach   as the one opening g the new horizons   and was one of   the first to give credit to Dr. Lasker.   Those were really the times of the titans.   I have portraits of both of those people   and   they are both   great personalities indeed.

Times had changed though.   We recently had two events   in the social   framework   of our country: the Tea- Party and OWS. The Tea- Party was loudly promoted by the media   as   a "grass- roots' movement of traditional   American conservatism while OWS was   practically sabotaged or   depicted in a   demeaning and negative way.   Tea- Party was openly used by the GOP   as a driving force to bring   new people to Congress,   it was in fact the pool from which the GOP   drew its new blood, new cadres and new set of slogans. That was a very objective   way of using   that artificial -- to -- the -- core   organization as   the way to   develop a seemingly subjective "voice of the people' ( very nicely lubricated by money- MS) and transfer it into the objective reality of practical politics.   I was expecting the same   approach to be implemented towards the OWS, but in vain: moreover, the Dems   demonstratively abandoned   the OWS, ignored it   as if it was   some kind of   a crowd of unruly   teenagers.    The Tea- Party consisted by   the   vast majority of   low- educated people; the percent of educated ones was much higher in OWS. OWS though did not have effluent people   among them; it was not lubricated by money and power and intrinsic goals- it was truly the voice of the people and EXACTLY because of that it was   undermined and betrayed   by the very forces which could benefit from it immensely.   Confronted    by the real new subjectivity   of OWS the Dems (!) proved themselves as   unworthy, preferring to cling to    their own boring and treacherous   policy.

In this case we clearly see that   GOP outsmarted   their opponents    in the way   of dealing   with subjective factors, had shown   much more astuteness and care for the future.    I may be asked   why then the Dems   won the elections? The answer here is   too complicated    for this article   but in a nutshell- the   Dems did not win- the GOP lost and they lost because that's how it was arranged all along by the masters of discourse.

But I digress.   In case of   Tarrash vs, Lasker   Tarrash   did not   have to acknowledge the new approach, much less to promote it.   The only   driving force which   pushed him to do that   was his intellectual honesty:   it still seemed subjective to him but he   was smart   and honest enough to understand that   God is   in fact ingenious   and that   the objective knowledge   has subjectivity at its origin. On the contrary, in case   of OWS we see the case of intellectual dishonesty- the OWS was a real, objective thing,   at   first   deliberately slandered   by the media   as   something negatively subjective and trivial    and subsequently- betrayed   by the very   people whose job was to represent them.   The breath of fresh air did not   reach the stagnant lungs.



    4 . Objective reality and subjective   heroes


1.      Joan D'Arc   was surrounded   by the objective   reality   of   France   being   totally destroyed by the English occupation and her being nothing but an illiterate   peasant girl. She   insisted on her purely subjective   perspective and went to the King, summoned the army and became   a legendary   figure. France   exists   now due to the   subjective little girl from   a village and   this objective fact    is   absolute.


2.      Martha Corey   was surrounded by   an objective reality   of    the 1692 Salem MA, the place    burning    by the witch hunt and   filled with   malice and fear. She was adamant in her statement, "By my own experience there are no witches" and paid    by her life   for   the glorious proclamation of the power of the free spirit and human mind.    Now we know that her subjectivity   was in fact the highest objectivity, the brilliant   prophesy of the genius; now we know that there are no witches.   We sometimes forget how   high was the prize for   something we take for   granted.


3.      Joseph Strauss    did not know if the Golden Gate bridge was actually possible or not.   It was his dream though to    build something grandiose, something outstanding. Thus   he   absolutely subjectively   offered    the lowest possible   cost to the Chief Engineer of San- Francisco and when asked by then President of the Bank of America how long   would   the bridge last, answered without hesitation, " Forever." The bridge is there for all to see   as a triumph of the new objective reality   and   not for a moment we remember how subjective   it seemed in 1927.


4.      The three battalions of   young Russian Podolsk   artillery school cadets in   winter of   1941 were confronted by the objective reality- the German   armored divisions moving   towards Moscow, the   permanent aerial bombardment and absolutely no   Russian troops between them and Moscow.   The   subjective   aspect was general Zhukov ( Marshal Zhukov in the future)  ordering and asking to   delay the German armada for three days. They stood   firm, like the heroes of Sparta before   them and when three days   passed, 98% of them were dead but   the road was blocked by burning   German tanks, Siberian armies   were   on the offensive   and Moscow was saved, so was the civilization as we know it.   Now it is all a part of objective military history.




I would   argue that practically all   the great things we now consider as parts of objective reality have subjectivity in their origin, the true subjectivity, sometimes called   in another way --creativity, imagination.


  5. A Subjective Conclusion


  I had reread the   article several times   and    I am still not sure if I managed to   convey my message.

  Subjectivity and objectivity   are intertwined like   Siamese twins   and can even take each-other's place They also can be true   and false. True objectivity is a    virtue of a   mature mind; true subjectivity is a    sign of a   full- grown personality. False   objectivity is the   vice of a coward. False   subjectivity is a sign of spiritual   immaturity   and   shallowness. The defining criteria   to distinguish between true and false is absence of malice in case of the former.   People   usually make decisions on the basis of subjective reasoning and   then   justify   those   by   weaving an elaborate web of seemingly objective causes.    That method of weaving reveals to the casual observer   whether   the original subjective   reason was true or false. There is no way to hide that. That's why maybe it is more objective and reasonable to acknowledge your own subjectivity from the start. Life becomes much easier then.


  This is   for the second time I feel good   about what I had done. The first time   it happened when   one commenter called me   Mark Sunshine. Must have done something right.





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The writer is 57 years old, semi- retired engineer, PhD, PE, CEM. I write fiction on a regular basis and I am also 10 years on OEN.

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