PAGE IN PROGRESS What you see here is a page of my hypertext book POWER of meanings // MEANINGS of power. Initially empty, this page will slowly be filled with thoughts, notes, and quotes. One day, I will use them to write a coherent entry, similar to these completed pages. Thank you for your interest and patience!
Individual vs society: Examples from Harari how people support collective order but supporting such constructs as money, laws or human rights. People support them, so do that have power over them? Collectively yes but not individually. If I individually don’t support some of these constructs, they will still exist. Even when many people don’t support them, they may still exist, because so many other people do support them. In this relationship, the question of power becomes very complicated.
On the other hand, how do ideas change? How did the idea about peoples right appear, spread and became so powerful? Did it start from one person? Probably not. But individuals did play a role in making this idea wide spread and powerful
Harari, end of Chapter 6: “Es gibt also keinen Ausweg aus der erfundenen Ordnung. Wenn wir die Gefängnismauern niederreißen, um in die Freiheit zu laufen, landen wir unweigerlich im Hof eines noch größeren Gefängnisses.”
Harari : cultures are like parasites that need people to spread (meanings are like parasites) - connect to macropower Culture or evolution does not benefit individuals
There is an idea that technologies that people create do not just reflect who people are, they also change who people are.
as we go through our everyday life we do things that seem obvious ; but why do we do them? Not soppy because we choose to (although individual choice plays a role); we do things based on what other people (thousands, millions, billions) did before us; or what other people around the planet are doing
people create systems that are bigger than them Amit not entirely comprehensible to them and that impact them society as a whole - main example society does not fit specific individuals society is all about survival of species
stories we tell ourselves and then forget that these are just stories meanings that we invent to help ourselves understand things, but then we forget that these are just something we invented and we can change technology we create to assist us but then forget that it is flawed AI - Shannon Vallor "The AI Mirror" - we think that AI will help us see or shape our future but we forget that it is just a reflection of our past - our humanity filled with biases and flaws
AI Mirror, chapter 3 note: "Another one of Husserl’s students, Martin Heidegger, observed the connection between modern technology and this view of ourselves and our fellows as resources: Bestand, or “standing reserve” to be ordered and exploited. His work had a powerful influence on late twentieth-century philosophy and ethics of technology, although his influence today has been much dimmed by the growing acknowledgement of his deep-seated anti-Semitism and willing complicity with the Nazi regime. See <<<REFO:BK>>>Martin Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology and other Essays, Translated by William Lovitt. (New York: Harper & Row, 1977)<<<REFC>>>."
Chapter 5: "All technologies are mirrors, because all technologies are extensions of human values into the built world. Every technology—from the wheel, to the book, to the engine, to the computer—reflects what humans of certain times and places thought was worth doing, making, enabling, improving, or trying. "
fears about technology overpowering individuals (rebellion of the robots); it does not need to be so dramatic; different technicians trying to understand and fix our furnace; it’s not that they are stupid or mean, it’s that technology (created by multiple people over time) escapes control of an individual (see book Knowledge Illusion)
we deal with individuals, but we actually deal with systems/meanings that are channeled through these individuals we blame specific individuals while we don’t recognize that their actions are determined by systems/meanings that we are a part of ourselves that we contribute to though our daily actions (power as influence)
individual does not care about society, society does not care about individual; which seems paradoxical but actually makes sense from the survival of species point of view; two different survival mechanisms embedded: individual survival, egoism (society needs individuals because it made of individuals, survival mechanism need to be embedded in every individual ) and group survival, altruism; these two survival impulses can be at times in a tension that can be resolved differently (individualistic vs collectivistic societies)
does it mean that if we let society be as it is with any imperfections, without considering individuals, that would be the best for society? not Necessarily, as ecological problems demonstrate are ecological problems a result of social development that was meant to help individuals? Our behavior is influenced by what we think other think about our behavior We do what we think is acceptable
Harari, chapter about religion: ” Da alle gesellschaftlichen Ordnungen von Menschen erfunden werden, sind sie zerbrechlich, und je größer eine Gesellschaft, umso zerbrechlicher sind sie. Den Religionen kam eine zentrale Aufgabe zu, weil sie diese zerbrechlichen Ordnungen legitimieren, indem sie auf einen übermenschlichen Willen verwiesen. Die Religionen behaupten nämlich, dass unsere Gesetze nicht etwa einer menschlichen Laune entspringen, sondern von einer absoluten Autorität angeordnet wurden. Auf dieser Grundlage lassen sich einige Prinzipien formulieren, die nicht in Zweifel gezogen werden können und der Gesellschaft ein stabiles Fundament geben.”
No intentionality on this level
power of her beauty: beauty used intentionally (micro power) beauty used intentionally - discourse- beauty is in the the of the beholder - macropower maybe (often is?) a combination
Meanings as example of macropower Meaning of money
Language has power over us: this is actually a form of macro power. Language existed through people, so what has power over an individual is other individuals, although some of these individuals may have more micro power than others.
Social constructs as macropower money: most people need to accept meanings of money in order for the economic system to function. Some of the individuals who contribute to the macropower of money may be actually really disadvantaged by the economic system (poor people). Having less micro power does not mean not being part of macropower.
A short boy in school may feel embarrassed and disadvantaged by his height. His other qualities do not matter because, according to expectations of his culture, boys are supposed to be tall, not short. [girls are called "shorty" in an endearing way] macropower determines micropower - expectations of his environment determine what the short boy can do; but also determine what other kids can tell him about his height
Sapiens: myths that support social order chapter 8: vicious circles of castes (India) and race (US)