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Re: [ox-en] Re: compulsion

Hi Graham,

it seems to be an obsession moving such hard stuff. Must be selbstentfaltung...;-)

I'm not good enough in understanding and using english, so I'm not sure whether I get your points. Please take this into account.

Graham Seaman wrote:

This choice is not of a type like choosing between TV programs, or shall we eat fish or meat, or shall we make some nice selbstentfaltung today or just hang around. I would say: life _is_ selbstentfaltung. The question is: Can we live it? Selbstentfaltung is not an add-on, it is a innate feature of humans. So the question is not: Will these ugly humans self-unfold, the question is: how will they do it.

I think you are mistaking my use of 'choose' above, but it's not so important - I will be happy with your expansion, providing you remove the
word 'innate' ;-)

Ok, remove it (because it is not explained here).

Today the answer is: They do it mostly in an ugly way - except in FS;-) However these fs guys are normal people. They don't have anything special in the sense of being/having a special character.

Yes. However, in terms of the polarity you started with, the answer now
has to be 'the true innate human character is revealing itself once
released from (some of) the framework of capitalism'. You can take the
fact of FS as a disproof of Hobbesianism, the other term in your polarity.

Sure. But only if you don't take 'innate human character' as a kind of a special 'behavior' or such. What I mean with 'innate' is the potence to live in a society by using societal infrastructures. I call this 'the human is societal by nature'.

But this polarity has ruled out other possibilities: for example, 'there
is some new structure to (a small part of) society which is producing
humans of this kind', or the classic Marxist one that capitalism
eventually produces men with a need to work, that man's nature is a
product of his history..

IMHO there are two 'histories' with had to be distinguished. First the history of evolving the societal human nature (phylogenesis). And second the history of different forms of society which leads to different forms of mediation between the individual and society (Vergesellschaftung). In the following I use the german word vergesellschaftung (societalization?). It addresses all questions on how society is organized and on how an (general) individual participates in production reproduction of its life and society. Schematically said the word vergesellschaftung is neither on the side of society nor on the side of the individual, it is in between, it focusses on the mediation between both sides.

My thesis is, that selbstentfaltung is part of the societal human nature, which at first time in history had developed to a germ form in free software. Yes: if released from capitalist vergesellschaftung all potences of selbstentfaltung are revealing itself.

Doing this schematically I obtain:

In the first "natural" period the cultivation of ground was dominant. We have a lot of forms of personal dependency. Selbstenfaltung was nearly not needed, it was suppressed. The main forces of production were directed to optimize the usage to natural ground. Means were developed, but very slowly and restricted. It was mere a side effect than a primarily purpose. Economically you can use C-C (exchange of goods), or C-M-C (commodity - money - commodity) for those societies which had money.

Well you did say 'schematically': but even so, I think this is completely
wrong. For proof: go into any  gothic cathedral and look at the
mix of personal expression and overall structure and design. There was
far more 'selbstentfaltung' in 'high' feudalism than most of capitalism.
This was not the right argument to pick with a William Morris fan :-)
I'm also not sure that this kind of super-abstraction of Marx' theories is
very helpful generally, because it tends to block actually looking at
the real history.

Benni made some points here, and I agree with him: 'the individual' is a product of modern societies, and this is a precondition for selbstentfaltung. Nevertheless you can find in all periods some tips of 'selbstentfaltung', but this could not evolve to be a carrier of vergesellschaftung. It happened only isolated and was suppressed.

In the second "industrial" period, where we live in, the development of means is dominant. The development of means is end in itself, because the whole society is driven by this end in itself: To make more money from money. In short: M-C-M' (money - commodity - more money). In this period the increasing absense of personal rule is typical.
Agreed in general. However, it is possible to exagerate this absence. I
know that Marx talked of capitalists as the 'personifications' of capital.
But outside Marx' economic writings, he was extremely aware of the role
of personalities. To take a small example: the pressure to turn thought into 'Intellectual Property' comes from the system; it is impersonal. But
the actual laws proposed, the details of the tactics to take to impose
IP law are very much affected by the personal history of the people involved, and the tactics to take to stop those laws need to take that into account.

Your example underlines my statement. Of course, if you go into political struggles you always have to do with concrete persons. But they embody general rules. If you kill one leader (terrorist strategy), then maybe something changes - but nothing really important. E.g. it was sad that Olof Palme of sweden was killed. He personaly played an important role between east and west (long time ago). But in long run it was irrelevant, even for sweden. Another example: We are happy to have RMS and Linus Torvalds. But I am deeply convinced, that they "only" fulfilled, what was historically matured to a point, where anybody could pick it up. This does not underestimate their historical merits: they did it!

You always have personal carriers of rules which are driven by non-personal mechanism like the rules of the cybernetic machine and resulting ways of vergesellschaftung.

And oekonux is a project which tries to find the points which had come to historically mature. This is not easy. IMHO an historical perspective on the overall processes helps to see the wood and not only lots of trees.

BTW: It was (and is) an historical misunderstanding of the workers movement to fight against personal power. It is hard, but we must say, that the workers movement is a movement of establishing capitalism. The supremacy is a subjectless one, it results from the selforganizing M-C-M'-mechanism of the cybernetic machine.

Now you seem to me to have reached a position which I don't agree with at all. In fact, there are two positions in this: the sentence in the middle
('It is hard...') seems to me to have no necessary connection with the
rest, so I can't argue with it - it's just a statement I don't agree with.

You don't agree that workers movement helped with(?) establishing capitalism?

The rest of the paragraph I also disagree with, but I know why. You have
collapsed all of life in capitalism into a single level, the 'cybernetic
machine', and therefore lost all of politics, law, tradition etc. This
seriously limits what you can think about doing.

This is due to giving only this simple schematics. In contrary I think, that you can better analyze politics, law, patriarchy etc. if you don't make this traditional separation between basis and superstructure (ueberbau) of traditional marxism. But I cannot point this out here.

However, it also make the structure of your thought hard for me to follow
(like I wrote at the top, I'm not completely sure exactly where the
disagreement originates, in which idea). Your paragraph is something which
taken on it's own I would say is pure Althusser: there are no 'people',
only 'supports' ('trager'?) of economic positions. But this is the theory
of Stalinism, which tries to kill selbstentfaltung wherever it finds it.

You are right, Stalin took the laws of capitalism to put them onto a backwarded society in order to force industrial development (which btw was important to fight nazi germany). With all that brutality and pressure, not with free market and democracy. Your observation supports me. What we had in so called socialist countries was not really different from the west, they only collapsed at first;-)

Yet obviously this doesn't apply to you at all. So, if you have this view
of capitalism, I suppose selbstenfaltung HAS to be something innate which
is suppressed by the cybernetic machine, but bursts out when the machine
is taken away.

Not in the sense, that you only have to make changes of the economic basis, and everything follows (the old basis-superstructure separation). If you take this picture "cybernetic machine" for the entire mechanisms of vergesellschaftung, then: yes.

And now: the new period we can see at the horizon and in most contradictions we face today is the period of the third factor in this DFP-triangle: the development of human as an end in itself. Or in short: selbstentfaltung. So you see, that this selbstentfaltung was and is always present. Without it the reproduction of society would not be possible. However until now it was only needed in a very small degree, because an unbounded self-unfolding human is dangerous for all types of supremacy. But now we reach a new point in the developement of capitalism. All potences of capitalism are exhausted. This does not mean that development stops, M-C-M' cannot stop, but it is deathmatch. Developement today means destruction. No further qualitative development is possible on the basis of the current level of DFP.

Like everyone, I can see signs of this too. I tend to believe it's true.
But saying ALL potencies of capitalism are exhausted may be too much;
it's certainly not something you can prove one way or the other/

My guess: the next qualitative step cannot be done inside the framework of a commodity producing society. All resting potences are of destructive nature. And this is really dangerous, because there is no guarantee, that we can go this next step.

A new level can only come from the human itself, from a human which self-unfolds unbounded. However, this unbounded selbstentfaltung is only possible under conditions where my selbstentfaltung is a prerequesite of the selbstentfaltung of all and vice versa. And these conditions are not given (only to a small extend in the niche of FS). But steps towards are gone everywhere. They are called lean production, kanban etc. These management methods try to dig for the "gold in the heads". But they will not find it, or only very small pieces. The reason is the cybernetic machine, which always produces external demands: Don't do what you want, do what sells on market. They try to combine it, which result in slogans like: Do what you want, main thing is to be profitable."

Yes, ok.

However, this of course does not work. Selbstentfaltung and Selbstverwertung (self-valorisation) is the antagonistic contradiction -- and not work vs. capital btw.

I think this links back to what you said above. But it is just a statement on its own here, with no proof. I'd like to know more about why
you say it.

The given form of vergesellschaftung implies that the individual can only go forward on costs of others, because market economy is organized that way - see previous mails. On the other side you have to bring your work force into the cybernetic machine: as producer of value (worker) or as an organizer realizing produced values on market (capitalist). Independent of function you have I call this selbstverwertung (self-varorization?). This is quite obvious in single person enterprises: both functions - producer and realizer - are embodied in one single person. However, what you can observe in multi-person enterprises too, is a diffusion of both functions. The role model is the self-entrepreneur of own work force. This does not say that workers and capitalits do not have different interests, but they are not antagonistic as thought for long time (me too).

Currently value-realization (verwertung) needs more and more of 'selbstentfaltung'. And you can find this in reality. However this 'selbstentfaltung' is limited by the frame 'on costs of others'. It cannot expand unbounded. This leads me to the conclusion that selbstentfaltung and selbstverwertung is an antagonistic contradiction. It shows historical development tendencies, but cannot unfold in the frame of the given type of vergesellschaftung.

The core of this picture of a GPL-society is a new type of vergesellschaftung where all borders of selbstentfaltung vanish.

Long sentences, short conclusion: Selbstentfaltung grew up from the DFP and becomes at the first time in history most relevant for future development. Under M-C-M'-conditions selbstentfatung is always bounded, only a mediation between individuals and society which base on non-coercive, non-alienated forms can unfold the real power of selbstentfaltung. This implies the absense of all old forms produced by the cybernetic machine: state, money, exchange.

No, this implies the absence of money and exchange. The absence of the
state MAY also be implied, but the mediating steps are missing in the
argument. This is another form of my query that you are replying to..

As you see, selbstentfaltung is not an idealistic concept, it bases on materialist theory grounds. However, you must not follow this thinking to be inpired from the idea of selbstentfaltung. It is quite "natural".

I think you mean 'need not', not 'must not' ('du kannst nicht..').

Sh*t, my english...

But what is idealism  and what is materialism is not an argument I intend
to get sucked into ;-)

Saying 'this or that is materialist' is not an argument at all;-)

But in
a sense it seems like wishful thinking: it works perfectly for free
software, which people aren't physically dependent on. But what happens
when the things we physically depend on are produced in this way too?

It works perfect for physically produced things too. Why not? (Ok, I got some good hiding for that: typical male imaginations of omnipotence...). Isn't your question: Why is it not so easy to build an island (or germ form) based on physically produced things like in free software? My answer is: because of the more easy way to make physical things scarce, which is a precondition for being a commodity.

No, that isn't my argument. You know that my main interest is in finding
ways to do exactly that..

Exctly what?

I can imagine at the least a tendency for the neighbours to be commenting
"you know so-and-so in number 33? Hasn't done a stroke of productive
work in years, claims she's inventing some abstract mathematical theory
but I reckon she's just taking it easy and living off everyone else's
work. Did you ever see her on the local garbage truck?" And that kind of
thing could build up to quite an unpleasant environment where everyone is
monitoring what everyone else does and things become very conformist.

You focus on the people. But how should people behave as in that way they do under the given conditions? If you take this for human nature you can stop looking for selbstentfaltung.

No, I'm not taking anything for human nature. I don't believe it to be innate, at least not in this kind of aspect. I am wondering whether there is anything structural in the situation which may push people to think like that. After arguing that the whole of capitalist society is simply a 'cybernetic machine' you seem to go to the opposite extreme of assuming that life on the gpl-society would be composed of pure individuals, with no such thing as society.

What do you mean which 'pure individuals'? And why is society an additional thing? This sounds like 'an individual is not societal, therefore a social structure has to be extra constructed to build a society upon the individuals'. And this sounds like 'without any type of external force all human would get mixed up like a mass of chaotically running chickens'. Look at free software. There was nobody telling them what to do.

When I am saying that humans are societal by nature, then this does mean, that humans cannot live without society. All actions are mediated by societal infrastructures. Individual and society cannot be conceptualized as opposites. Well, bourgois ideology does it, but we should not follow in thinking so.

If we think of humans as societal beings than the question is not, whether a society will be formed. The question is only, how the society is organized, how the vergesellschaftung is realized. If not by personal supremacy, if not by cybernetic machine (in the broad sense): by what? My answer is so simple, that you will not believe it: By selbstentfaltung and self-organization. Like in free software. Free software is a germ form of a new type of vergesellschaftung. This living example shows that it works, that individuals are endless in their creativity to deal with all that complex problems we face. When I say 'individual' then I don't have this isolated bourgois individual in mind, I have in mind the self-enfolding individual in mind which need the selbstentfaltung of others as a condition for its own selbstentfaltung being at the same time that condition of selbstentfaltung for others.

I can imagine a tendency for the neighbours to be commenting "you know so-and-so in number 33? She really did what she wanted to do, she always looks so happy. Can you imagine being happy from inventing some abstract mathematical theory? I could't do that, this seems a horror for me always rolling theories in the head. Crasy ways of selbstentfaltung, unbelievable. I'd better like to stay at organizing the railway traffic, because I like to make people happy moving where they want. I got a lot of credits. What did she got? We should invite her and make her some nice hours..." Monitoring what someone else does and things become very creative. :-))

Yes, I can imagine this too, and it would obviously be much nicer.
In your version, you have a guarantee from innate human nature that this
will be the way things go. In my version, I can't see for sure which
way things would go, unless I have more idea about potential workings
of the society in general.

Nobody has a guarantee, but it seems, you are looking for it, because you are not sure, if you can trust humans. It sounds too simple saying 'give them freedom, and selbstfaltung rules all to the best'. This is too simple. These are 'only' potences. But what we are doing is try to understand them in order to increase our action possibilities. Agreed? This is the mission of oekonux as I see it.

And from this theoretical stuff we can reach some conclusions. One for example: It does not make sense to look for structural guarantees, because all structures which are pre-given, which are not build by humans based on their needs destroy the potences we want to let unfold.

I guess what I'm saying is that I don't see any structural guarantee
that 'selbstentfaltung' will be maintain itself; I would like to think
that it would, but I'm afraid it might turn out to be a modern equivalent
of 'liberte, egalite, fraternite': all deeply believed in, enough to
motivate many people to support a revolution, but in the end more ideological than factual.
Deep believe counts nothing. It is clear understanding and of course save feeling that only unbounded selbstentfaltung has a future. Don't put anything into future. These old promises were promises of a unknown future.

Not only. You know as well as I do that 'freedom' in capitalism does have
a real, concrete contents; just that the implications of that freedom
were not seen by the people who talked only of 'freedom' without thinking
of the concrete consequences.

I think that we should capture this word 'freedom' back and fill with all the meanings of selbstentfaltung we discuss here. New concrete contents.

The interesting and powerful thing is, that selbstentfaltung can start here and now. Well, not unbounded, but it directs you to create conditons, where selbstentfaltung is more possible than without them. And it starts with me. What do I want to do? And what are the gaps, what can I do?

Yes, of course; but I think most people on the list are doing this with
or without the theory. I hope the theory will come to the point where
it can help to show more specific directions... but not to the point
where it becomes the party line of a sect, with 'deviations' condemned.
A difficult balance to find, I think.

'More specific directions', hm, sounds a bit like 'guarantees'. However, our 'problem' is, that we have to look on the processes not on wished results. It is a problem of much more successful practices from which more trust in those processes can raise. I don't know a general answer, I only can say what I am doing. Nothing more. It is a kind of a dilemma: No successful practicies, no trust - no trust, no new practices. But FS _is_ successful:-)


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