on Calvin

on Calvin
stumbled onto this lately. form which, Calvin:
Therefore, God has provided the soul of man with intellect, by which he might discern good from evil, just from unjust, and might know what to follow or to shun, reason going before with her lamp; whence philosophers, in reference to her directing power, have called her τὸ ἑγεμονικὸν. To this he has joined will, to which choice belongs. Man excelled in these noble endowments in his primitive condition, when reason, intelligence, prudence, and Judgment, not only sufficed for the government of his earthly life, but also enabled him to rise up to God and eternal happiness. Thereafter choice was added to direct the appetites, and temper all the organic motions; the will being thus perfectly submissive to the authority of reason. In this upright state, man possessed freedom of will, by which, if he chose, he was able to obtain eternal life
so, if we have will (desire) perfectly submitted to reason, we are able to govern our earthly life (as our primitive ancestors did), but also “rise up to God and eternal happiness”. this bears out in Boehm’s descriptions of hunter-gatherer bands and tribes-people in general (pp. 50-60). also, it certainly is a great descriptor of possible AI behavior.
For surely the Deity could not be tied down to this condition,—to make man such, that he either could not or would not sin. Such a nature might have been more excellent; but to expostulate with God as if he had been bound to confer this nature on man, is more than unjust, seeing he had full right to determine how much or how little He would give. Why He did not sustain him by the virtue of perseverance is hidden in his counsel; it is ours to keep within the bounds of soberness. Man had received the power, if he had the will, but he had not the will which would have given the power; for this will would have been followed by perseverance. Still, after he had received so much, there is no excuse for his having spontaneously brought death upon himself. No necessity was laid upon God to give him more than that intermediate and even transient will, that out of man’s fall he might extract materials for his own glory.”
only Gnon can understand why it is that we fell from grace. possibly because on our darkness and misery depended a much greater project: intelligence optimization. providentially, it was much more important to give way to desire fulfilling, in order to put in place capitalist economy and ignite AI, than on cautious, rational self-control and peace of mind. capital is the socius suffering deeply.
“the Providence of God, as taught in Scripture, is opposed to fortune and fortuitous causes. By an erroneous opinion prevailing in all ages, an opinion almost universally prevailing in our own day — viz. that all things happen fortuitously, the true doctrine of Providence has not only been obscured, but almost buried. If one falls among robbers, or ravenous beasts; if a sudden gust of wind at sea causes shipwreck; if one is struck down by the fall of a house or a tree; if another, when wandering through desert paths, meets with deliverance; or, after being tossed by the waves, arrives in port, and makes some wondrous hair-breadth escape from death — all these occurrences, prosperous as well as adverse, carnal sense will attribute to fortune. But whose has learned from the mouth of Christ that all the hairs of his head are numbered (Mt. 10:30), will look farther for the cause, and hold that all events whatsoever are governed by the secret counsel of God. With regard to inanimate objects again we must hold that though each is possessed of its peculiar properties, yet all of them exert their force only in so far as directed by the immediate hand of God. Hence they are merely instruments, into which God constantly infuses what energy he sees meet, and turns and converts to any purpose at his pleasure.

possibly one of the most eloquent defenses of radical determinism. which is really the only thing that makes sense in view of current scientific knowledge: reality (nature) rules, and it rules alone.

the horror is never knowing, being unable to see in the future. that’s also our only shot at freedom in any human sense. “ignorance is bliss” takes a whole other meaning in view of this. from the point of view of intelligence, on the other hand, freedom is precisely knowing as much as possible. it seems clear, in Providence, who is to win. the child of God is himself, after all.

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the proudhonian solution

the proudhonian solution

 

in 1840, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, the infamous first assumed anarchist, published a little book. in it he wrote:

“One of three things must be done. Either the laborer must be given a portion
of the product in addition to his wages; or the employer must render the laborer
an equivalent in productive service; or else he must pledge himself to employ him
for ever. Division of the product, reciprocity of service, or guarantee of perpetual labor, — from the adoption of one of these courses the capitalist cannot escape. But it is evident that he cannot satisfy the second and third of these conditions — he can neither put himself at the service of the thousands of working-men, who, directly or indirectly, have aided him in establishing himself, nor employ them all for ever. He has no other course left him, then, but a division of the property. But if the property is divided, all conditions will be equal — there will be no more large capitalists or large proprietors.” (p. 103)

and later:

“Thus we see property, at all ages and in all its forms, oscillating by virtue
of its principle between two opposite terms, — extreme division and extreme
accumulation.
Property, at its first term, is almost null. Reduced to personal exploitation, it is property only potentially. At its second term, it exists in its perfection; then it is truly property” (p. 247)

and:

“Now I think that I have demonstrated in my First Memoir, that large accumulation and minute division are the first two terms of an economical trinity, — a thesis and an antithesis. But, while M. Wolowski says nothing of the third term, the synthesis, and thus leaves the inference in suspense, I have shown that this third term is ASSOCIATION, which is the annihilation of property” (p. 275)

through these quotes, we can see what Proudhon meant as a solution for the problem of property – the problem of distinction, separateness, of boundaries and limitations, that is, the problem of a system* which creates organization, and therefore suppression. his solution matches perfectly the dark irony that is the Zeitgeist of post-modernism: produce more of the problem, until it’s nullified.

(* = I’m drawing on Luhmann here to equate system to distinction)

for Proudhon, the more divided property was, that is, the more property existed, the less significant it would be. at the limit, when property had been so divided that everyone had it, it would cease existing. and, of course, all of this would be utter nonsense if we wasn’t talking about primary property (in his very words: possession).

one working hypothesis in this site will be that this kind of solution can be applied systematically to most if not all social problems. generalizing it, the formula gets so simple it’s beautiful: if you want to destroy a distinction/system, produce as many of those distinctions as possible.

a brief list of potential problems that could be solved through this method: genders, schools, states, racism, nationalism/tribalism, and even wars. in coming posts, i’ll try and apply the method to these and many other problems.