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2003.02.21: Instructions for the orals
Arendt and the space of appearances / politics / action
2003.02.19: Activities of labor and work
2003.02.17: Oral exams, final paper specifications
2003.02.12: Totalitarian movements and obsessions
2003.02.10: The antipolitical - the totalitarian movement
The social question
Notes from class
Notes for Arendt
p308: The totalitarian movements aim at and succeed in organizing
p351: The effectiveness of this kind of propaganda
p351: What he masses refuse to recognize
p352: In other words, while it is true
2003.01.27: Arendt
Reading from the library
Next week make-up
2003.01.22: Rousseau
2003.01.15: Friendship
From study
Lecture on class attendance
Class notes
Why we are having a dual session
Justice as law-abidingness
Justice is work, justice as distribution
Justice as distribution
Justice in rectification
When All You've Ever Wanted Isn't Enough: Harold Kushner
Page 15
Plato paper specifications
2003.01.06: 12 page paper
No personal
Submit in duplicate, on clean paper.
Secondary source copies
All your resources should be from the Rizal Library.
Aristotle and the Nichomachean Ethics
2002.12.18: Nichomachean Ethics
2002.12.16: Makeup paper
On the subject of wisdom:
And then justice
The Republic: true value and the standpoint of perfection
the life of a philosopher, devoted to learning and the contemplation of truth
Misc notes
On the formatting of papers
On statements.
Citation convention for Paper 3


Imperial: Interestingly enough, being the perceptive observer of human affairs that he was, Plato feels that he has to remind that his readership of the perennial temptations to fall - the constant gravity pulling us in the direction of timocratic excess, oligarchic excess, democratic excess and finally tyrannic excess. Was he just being alarmist when he construes or at least understands these things to be things that we have to be careful to practice a vigilance over, or is there good reason to believe that he is right to say that these are constant features of our human experience? Since we don't have the time to do all four, why don't you just pick one or two to show why Plato seems to think that these are perennial dangers?

{He closes his eyes during oral exams; whether this is from fatigue or from the usual distance he keeps, I do not know. Fr. Roche closes his eyes in class often, too, or at least squints hard enough that it is hard to see if his eyes are open. At any rate, it is deceptive; I do not think that Fr. David sleeps. Could it be? His eyes open. My groupmates fidget. Speech in short, erratic bursts does not sound eloquent and convincing; I should remember to speak in smooth sentences. And he does look very tired, and suddenly much older and more drawn out than I remember... He also tends to - what's a right word? Babble seems so undignified. =) }

Panlilio: Is there a point of contrast between Plato's suggestion that the guardian class be given training in musikae as a countervailing influence to whatever inclination to violence they have, whereas Hannah Arendt's suggestion is to establish the space of the political? In that connection, what mechanisms would there be for the administrative persons - the technocrats - to work alongside of the political space?

Tuesday after 10:00 come to the Jesuit Residence and pick up your papers.


This is an important class.

On Wednesday, from 8 to 10 in the morning, I will be sitting in the first of the meeting rooms of the Jesuit Residence with your papers. Some will get your papers back without any comment, but some may need some things pointed out. I'll be in that room from 8 to 10. I'll be waiting in that room. Like I said, don't come in your cars. No vehicles allowed. We've got too many complaints already about that. Is that understood?

Now, before I ask you questions, sort of like a sample... are there any questions from anyone?

[and he proceeds, without much of a pause, to a long discourse.]

As you know, in On Revolution, her point of reference is not ancient Athens. Her point of reference is a more recent experience. Her point of reference is the way of life in the New World less than 250 years ago. Fairly recent. Younger than even the walled city of Manila itself. And moreover it is an experience that almost every modern nation can resonate with, can recognize itself in. The way the colonists conducted themselves in the years leading to the declaration of independence have been replicated more recently. ... By lighting candles in a symbolic display of the illumination that collaborative, consensus-building work can establish.

Let no one ever say that Hannah Arendt is being quixotic. She's being unrealistic. No, she is describing things that we have been able to do. Historical fact, not a fantasy derivation. All she's saying is stop diving for cover. Quit this trying to disappear under a rock. Not long from now, I'm afraid that most of you will simply end up on the rocks. Deeply imbedded in the darkness of private spaces.

We complain a lot. There's no social gathering at which we might be present at which people don't complain.

She's trying to tease out of us some level of awareness of what it is that we have actually been doing. She would like us to think what we've been doing. One doesn't have to be prescriptive.

What kinds of questions can I ask about The Republic? The Republic, as you know, is punctuated everywhere with allegories. Be familiar with all of those allegories - the cave, the line, the sun, the ship, ship owner... Of course, I usually will begin with "turn to the page in the book where...", so know where to find it. Don't go leafing through every page looking for something. The Republic is also about stages of formation. Don't get the different stages confused. Don't tell me, for example, training in mathematics is the first thing for the guardians to learn. Outline a diagram for yourself - a formation program for the guardians and the philosopher-rulers. Just make sure that the proper sequence is clear in your heads, and of course all the activities encompassed by each stage. There also, as you know, is explicit mention of dysfunctionalities like oligarchy and tyranny, both as these characterize cities and individuals, and be able to locate where in the book. Interesting social issues also come up in the republic. Gender issues, very important. But also issues relating to kinship systems. There's a high concentration in Book 5 of those issues. So it's questions like that that I will ask from the Republic.

Now the Nichomachean Ethics wasn't too long ago. It's very important that when you come to the exam, you bring _your_ copies of the two papers. So from the Nichomachean Ethics, you know... what is virtue? You need to be able to tell me what virtue is. What are they? Are they practices? Are they wishful thinking? Does it have to do with emotions? volitions? particulars? In what proportions? In what combinations? And then of course, the species of justice and the species of friendship. Be able to tell me where in Book 5 Aristotle talks about distribution or decency. Turn to that page, I might say. Or I might ask you well, you know, in his discussion on the species of friendship, he really just mentions two, but he spends a lot of time talking about the intimate friendship. Why is that, when he sees friendships of advantage as the paradigmatic friendship for the polis? What's the meaning of that? Is it because the Nichomachean Ethics, in contradistinction to The Politics, has to do with what the citizens need to work upon themselves as opposed to what cities need to know so that they can operate more smoothly? Is that the reason why more space is dedicated to a discussion of the intimate friendship - those things that citizens need to work upon themselves - than to the friendship of advantage? We spent a lot of time talking about incontinence and temperance. Just go over your notes from that period. What did we do in class?

And then from the Holocaust material... From the terror part, that which precisely dissolves or evaporates the glue which holds communities together, namely terror, now just how quickly terror can dissolve bonds. Those recent tragic fires in a couple of nightclubs, for example. Just think of those people who were there on a date. How many men trampled over their dates? Nothing like terror to dissolve almost instantaneously - in about five minutes, it was over. A hundred people were dead. That's how quickly terror can do its work. The Nazis of course didn't want to do everything in five minutes if their objective was to exterminate millions of people, but they applied increasingly large dosages of terror upon their targets. The death camps were not organized right at the start, they came at around the end of the campaign. The strategies we described - judicial, moral and then the actual personality itself. Sequestering. Barring from professions. {Note about meat tenderizer and chemical dissolution of bonds}. In your reading kit are several essays providing accounts of the strategies that over time would have the effect of causing to evaporate what glue there might have been between the members of the target populations. So be able to explain to me what those strategies were. The way that those giving the accounts - Night, Terence Pres' Excremental Assault, Stephen Katz's examples in his essay...

From the Origins of Totalitarianism, be able to explain and give examples of key ideas. Not all of which necessarily we might have talked about at length in class. The distinction between the front organization and the elite organization. Is the front the mechanism by which the movement is able to project a veneer of respectability? But is it also the means by which the people in the elite formations inside can be maintained in a drugged state, so to speak, so that they can never get out? Be able to tell me what Arendt means by the disintegration of the classes, its consequences and causes. Who is the mob? What are the masses? How did they come to be? And then of course from On Revolution, be able to characterize for me what it is in the French Revolution enables Arendt to use it as an emblem of what? Why is it in her view an arresting emblem of something? What is this something? And then of course the American Revolution. What is it being presented by Arendt as an emblem for?

About the Human condition, I've already mentioned some of my concerns. I gave you an article and a set of lecture notes. In so many words, the foci that I will keep upon the Human Condition. So the important thing is that you bring to the activity all your notes, all your readings... all open. But I admonish you to develop such a familiarity with the material that you don't spend fifteen minutes just fumbling around with your materials.

2003.02.21: Instructions for the orals

Bring all the readings on Monday.


The orals will be held at the Jesuit Residence. Do not park at the Jesuit Residence. Do not even ask to be dropped off there. Walk to the Jesuit Residence. Come to the place and wait (you can of course talk in the lobby) only five to ten minutes before the actual hour starts. When there's too many of you there, the first floor residents of the building - the infirmary fathers - get disturbed. Don't be caught coming in a vehicle. You can wait in Bellarmine or the Cervini Hall cafeteria. There's a nice footpath in the woods. Make sure you're there at the beginning of the hour, because you will come to the exam venue with your last venue. If you're late for your oral exam, you may take a retake next week - at which point you will be too late to have your name included in the roster of graduates, which means you might graduate but will not march. Remember that you will be turning in your paper at the same time.

Bring everything with you to the exam. Everything. From the Republic to the last thing I brought you. I may ask you to produce a section of the Republic and ask you about it. Open notes, open everything. On Monday, I'll precisely give you sample questions. You're not allowed to borrow from your groupmate, you have to be able to draw from your own store. Don't forget also that you're to hand in your paper in duplicate. Make sure that the duplicate is handed in together with the original. Attire doesn't matter - come the way you would come to a class.

Arendt and the space of appearances / politics / action

What I'd like to do now is say a few words about what Hannah Arendt means by the space of appearances.. the space of politics. Now there are a couple ways of course of understanding what she wants to say, like specifying what it is not - in terms of the contrast between the space of politics and the space in which work and labor gets carried out. Another way is to talk about the space of politics in terms of the five major practices that Hannah Arendt... distinction between labor, work and action. Because as I've been trying to emphasize, in Arendt's point of view, there are things about labor and about work that are not only repugnant to action but are corrosive and even destructive to action. The dedication to routine and to species thinking have no space in action. Action is - and the term that she uses to designate - natality. Political action is about initiative-taking. It's about breaking new ground. It's about discovering in ourselves and in our collective action a stamina, a resourcefulness, a dedication, an ability to undertake sacrifice that we never realized we had. That story I was telling you the other day of the Ateneans who rushed to Libis... Two hours before then, none of them had any idea that they had it in themselves to put themselves in exactly the same condition that Jose Rizal found himself in before he was executed. None of these people were probably thinking that they had that they took to make the same sacrifice of life that Colayco.. You don't even know the person after whom your student activities hall was named. Who was Manuel Colayco? I think he helped during the Japanese Occupation. He was one of those Ateneans who gave their lives for the defense of the nation during the Japanese colonial period. Only goes to show how we don't value even our own heroes. These young people who are your older brothers and sisters and uncles and aunts.. 30 minutes before the news came, they had no idea that a few moments from that point, they might actually be prepared to shed their blood for the nation. That's what it means to be caught up in that kind of an initiative. You never realized you had it pala. In contrast to routinary activity, if those people had merely stayed close to routine, they would have stayed within the relatively safe confines of Ateneo and not gone anywhere, especially during what really was at that point a very uncertain standoff the outcome of which was still very murky. In other words, there are things about the activities of labor that are routine. When it's erratic, it is a pathology. When you don't know what time breakfast will be served at home, when it's up to the little children to decide what time to go to bed... You can't run a household that way, or for that matter a national economy. In other words, when you're not able to operate on the basis of predictables, you can run neither a local household or a national economy. You know, surprise is precisely the greatest enemy of the activities of labor. It's an adversary. An unwelcome guest. We don't like surprises at home. Whereas the space of action operates on the premise of surprise. The premise precisely of what Hannah Arendt pictures as birth. Every birth of a new human life is a reminder to us of the open-endedness of life. But unfortunately only the briefest reminder, because as soon as a baby is born, he is caught up in the routines of the family, the routines of the species. Labor is about species-thinking. This is where nationalisms arise, with emphasis of course on the ism. The dedication to blood. The dedication to race. The dedication to purity of race. The effort to protect the family line from contagion. We all know how that could be brought to excess, and the disastrous consequences of such. But so long as they are operated within bounds, the requirement of the activities of labor that we stay within routines and concern ourselves only with the welfare of the species - a homogenized class of human beings, or a lifestyle enclave, or a family... - species thinking and operating on the basis of species is quite all right within the activities of labor, as long as they are not taken to excesses like that to which the Nazi movement took them. The space of action is about breaking it, softening the ground so that surprise can come out of it. Similarly, there are many activities that are - and I started to give a few examples last time - that are appropriate to the activities of work which are both corrosive and even destructive of the space of action. In the space of work, for example, one finds everywhere the marks of idiosyncracy. Work to the extent that it has to do with the determination of an objective, the determination of a means by which the objective can be obtained, requires that there is a task master, a leader. To the extent that the Ateneo de Manila University is an institution, we need a president. We need people who will set the pace, call the rhythms. To the extent that a class like this is about the enunciation of a syllabus and the satisfaction over time of that syllabus, you need the local authority, the professor, to set the pace and make sure that the material gets covered as stated in the objectives of the class. In other words, the syllabus of this class is idiosyncratic. There's no other class with this syllabus. There might be points of convergence, but even those upon closer look show more divergence than convergence. There's something about the activities of work that is about idiosyncacry. (Note about the Sistine Chapel.) There is no plurality. There can be no room for plurality in the spaces of work. Whereas the space of action precisely is about plurality, and that's because the space of action is not about the enunciation of an objective and the expectation of a result... It is not result-oriented. We're not thinking of results that have to be accomplished by some deadline. There are no considerations of deadlines, no considerations of objectives and so forth and so on. You don't need administrators. You don't need animators. You don't need the one who will specify the goal and determine the means to the goal. What do you have instead? You have a plurality of agents. Now what is the function of that plurality? If the function of that plurality is not to pull off anything specific, if the function of plurality is not to ensure that some predetermined objective is actually attained, then what is the function of that plurality? Well, on page 50 of the Human Condition, she says that the function of plurality is precisely to provide everyone who appears in that space with the widest possible publicity. Why is publicity important? She says it is that which constitutes reality. Appearance, which is the function of plurality, is what is real. Now that's very interesting, right, because we usually distinguish appearance and reality. But Arendt equates them. Compared with the reality which comes from being seen and heard, even the greatest forces of intimate life, like the passions of the heart and the thoughts in the mind, lead an uncertain and shadowy sort of existence. What you think you're thinking, what you feel you're feeling... When you submit yourself to processes that transform, deprivatize and deindividualize them. How do you talk about the pain in your body? Only you feel that pain. And we're not talking here about psychological pain. How do you tell your neighbor about a toothache? Well, the only way, in a sense, that the pain you feel can be translated into something other people can understand is having a biopsy done.. You need the operation of apparatuses outside yourself for this personal pain to gain something of a form that outfits it for public appearance. Now if we can't give this explanation of a physical pain like a toothache or a bellyache, it's the same thing with even emotions. Why do we turn this love that I think I feel for another being into the ritual of courtship and marriage? The ritual imposes a requirement upon us to deindividualize and deprivatize the romance that we think we're caught up in into a form that others around us can get a handle on. That's why we require people to declare their intentions before God and before the Church. (Note about confession.) You precisely need a plurality of human beings - a plurality of co-agents - so that even the things that you feel you're feeling and you think you're thinking gain something of an objectivity. Otherwise, those things remain murky. Kinda shallowy. You couldn't even be sure if you're not dreaming. In the spaces of work, like I explained to you last time and for reasons that I've stated just now - to get something done, to get some predetermined objective satisfied or fulfilled, you need chains of command obedience. Otherwise, nothing would get done. For any activity to become successful, there's an absolute requirement that the buck stops somewhere, otherwise the activity just dissipates into pointless exercises. That is something we can accept about the sphere of work, isn't it? Whether the work is a work of a local household or the work of a national economy. The space of action, however, is about a collaborative activity of building the city in speech. The kind of speech in and through which are able to manifest and assert that I count at the same time that I am manifesting my willingness to concede the point that others count as well. But for anything to count within the space of action, for any one to count within the space of action, that one will need to be able to distinguish himself in some way, through the practices of speech. The practices of promise-keeping. You know, there's speech and there's speech. You can either make it worthwhile for yourself or others, or you can waste everyone's time. Promise-keeping is about doing the work that you need to do on yourself and doing as well the homework you need to do so that you are not wasting anyone's time when you take your turn at operating the practices of speech. Now throughout this whole time I have been using the word 'practices', because these things are what we have to do on ourselves. Natality, plurality, promise-keeping, equality, forgiveness. You need to do work on yourself, and the community of coagents also does work on you. Because those qualities, those virtues don't happen just like that. Think of the work the school had to do on itself just to do its work on you to open you up to plurality, like the immersion programs. Regardless of whatever you might be feeling right now, enough work has been done on you so that you will at least not be caught dead speaking that kind of language. In other words, you are able at least to speak the kind of language now that might in fact give us some idea that you are open to plurality. The work needed to have been done on you. It doesn't come naturally. Coming out of the cycles of work and labor, we are conditioned to think only in terms of our species. Coming out of that dimension of existence, we need to do work on ourselves so that at the same time, where it is necessary, we continue to think in terms of species, but we also know that we also operate our lives on the register of action where some attention and respect is paid to plurality. There's a sense in which you have to get yourself to labor camp, almost, to get used to develop a sense of openness to plurality. That in fact is how the immersion weekend must have seemed to some of you - like labor camp. It's the same thing with the practices of equality and promise-keeping. Just imagine the homework you need to do so that when your turn comes to speak at the podium, you're not dinning into our ears only inane things. The amount you need to do to discover what's going on in the world, to develop a critical perspective on issues, to generate and receive information about the social and political challenges of our time.. That's what Arendt means about the practices of promise-keeping. As a political agent, you have to be able to manifest to us that you know what you're talking about, that you're not like some slippery fish that cannot be pinned down. Finger-pointing. Promise-keeping is precisely about developing upon yourselves handles that people can pick you up with. They know what they can hold you to. They know that they can trust you to mean what you say, because you believe in what you say. Now, tough work, right? When you think about it, it sounds easy to do, but it's really, really difficult. This city that we have to build in speech truly requires that for the speech to be worthwhile - to be fit for public appearance - it requires that this speech be the outcome of very serious and very assiduous work that you do both upon yourself but also the kind of work by which you inspire others to do that kind of works on themselves as well. To what extent are we mutually inspiring each other to do that work? The answer of course is the extent to which we are taken seriously or not at all. The admonition to be promise-keepers. And then she also talks about forgiveness. What are these practices of forgiveness. Well, they have to do with the fact that the space of appearance is the public realm and not an excursion down a path of roses. It can be trying. It can be hurtful. Just imagine it. If what it primarily is is the practices of speech, but played out in the context of a plurality of perspectives, where the very function of plurality is to impose upon one a system of checks and balances, of critical evaluation... It's certainly not for the onion-skinned or faint-hearted. It is rather for the stout-hearted. The practices of forgiving are precisely about developing the stamina and the resilience, the ability to keep bouncing back even after one has been taken to task for some inadequacy in one's presentation. To bounce back, not just to feel wounded all the time. Not to make tanim ang sama ng loob. Now a very difficult, difficult challenge, isn't it? The reason why many of us stay away from the public space is that we don't like getting hurt. We don't like being taken to task for some inadequacy in the work that we did. Rather than put up with all that we think is garbage, we stay away. Or if we stick with it, we allow the hurt to fester. Which is why Hannah Arendt on the section on forgiveness compares promise-keeping to vendetta-observing. People caught up in vendetta are those who have not learned to handle hurt, have not learned to process rebuff. The kinds of people who might be described as afflicted with a peculiar form of Alzheimers, remembering only the grudges. You get situations like Romeo and Juliet. You can't have a political life that way. Forgiving, therefore, means developing an ability to move on despite the wrinkles and despite the hurt. The image of the Lord risen, a glorified body forever bearing the scars of the crucifixion. We shall move forward. The current peace and war issue. Isn't that precisely about the human incapacity to move on and deal with the dysfunctionalities, hurts, setbacks? The fact that we have not worked enough upon ourselves is at the very least one of the primary reasons why we are once again in the shadow of a major world-wide conflict. There are a couple of major ways you can go about it - saying what it is not. Also, and beyond that, by describing what it is - in terms of the activites that Hannah Arendt describes. In the lecture notes, more elaborate explanations are given of the same things I'm talking about.

2003.02.19: Activities of labor and work

Just in that last hundred years, there have been two world wars, nuclear attacks, genocidal events like the world had never seen before. And of course in February 2003, we are in the shadow of what could be a major world-wide conflict. So the stakes involved in examining the question are very high indeed. And the question is, why is it that in our own time, we have grown out of the habit of the political? Why is it that in our own time, in a manner completely reminiscent of Albert Spear's statement to Hitler reported by Stephen Katz on page 266 on his essay... you know who Albert Spears was, don't you? He was Hitler's principal architect. It was Spear who designed all of those massive monuments to the Nazi movement. Nuremberg. Stark, massive, frightening structures. Structures precisely designed to convey a sense of the terrible might of the Third Reich. Well, Spear wrote to Hitler, "The task that I have to fulfill is an unpolitical one. I felt comfortable in my work as long as my person and my work were valued solely on my specialist achievements." In otherwords, Spear is saying, thank God we are operating in a situation in which I can work in a compartment and I don't have to deal with a situation in which things need to be negotiated with the families of the victims... I don't have to think about them. I just have to do my work. My work is only specialist work with no political implications. If I start to go that way, then there would be no end to my thinking and my thinking and my thinking. Also in an article by Stephen Katz, he says that what's so characteristic about our world... help me find the paragraph where he says that loyalty is the only virtue in the world today. p266. If morality means anything in that setting... According to Stephen Katz... fidelity and obedience, function and hierarchy. As such, virtue has been conceptualized as loyalty. Loyalty to the system. Loyalty to one's bosses. Loyalty to the big boss, the godfather, the Fuhrer. So in other words, as Hannah Arendt puts it in the Human Condition (top of pag 3), there's no question as to our abilities to accomplish much, technologically speaking. She's writing this in the mid-50s, with perhaps a gadgetry in mind that from our standpoint today we would deride as absolutely primitive. Did they even have color TV in those days? Of course, the point is not the gadgetry. The technology deployed by the Nazis was a throwback to the first world war. The gas chambers deployed mustard gas, which was the staple of the first world war. It's not as if the Nazis tried to improve the technologies of mass destruction. They would have done better to try to develop so that instead of 2 to 3 years, it would have taken them just 1 month to do what they felt needed to be done. It takes several days to process several thousand students in Ateneo, and this despite much of the process having been computerized. Mind you, those days were never confusion-free. The Nazis didn't just want to kill their victims, they wanted to tag and label everyone. And first of all, to gather all the victims from every conceivable corner of Europe... imagine the investigative work that needed to be done. They weren't so much focused on developing more advanced forms of gadgetry, because it was the dispositions that mattered. Not high tech or low tech, but just being tech. The question is only whether or not we wish to use our new scientific knowledge in this direction. Would we like to use these technologies? It is a political question of the first order, and should not be left to the professional scientists or politicians. Technical objectives. Planners of golf courses. The companies that develop golf courses hire people who design the course, determine the type of grass and fertilizer to use... So long as they think only in those box, it doesn't matter that they also know that a lot of those chemicals that might be good for the grass are bad for the local ecology or the farmers down the way who are affected by the chemicals washed down by the rain. ... Things are decided at the top by professionals and experts. And because the professionals and experts are making the decisions, we don't have to do anything. For Hannah Arendt, the malaise of our time is precisly the fact that we are no longer thinking what we are doing but have left to the professional scientists and politicians - the last people that you would like to leave the determination of such questions to - the world has collapsed into the world of Albert Spear, the world in which a man can say that notwithstanding the destruction he was privy to, so long as he is working in the box of his specialist achievements and his work is nonpolitical, he will do it. Arendt simply proposes that we finally think what we are doing. The trouble with the tech mentality is that there's something implicitly messianic about it. We have the training, we have the positioning, we have the expertise to settle this matter. The rest of you need not bother yourselves, we're taking care of it. So why is it that if they're taking care of things, that notwithstanding the enactment into law of the clean air act, we continue to operate in a city where every year, as I've said to you before, the IQ figures on metropolitan children goes down by a couple of points. Of course partly because of our educational system which is completely flawed, but also because of the lead in our atmosphere. Even if you pay lip service to the pollution in our city, it's not an emergency for us. But what about those babies and little children who live under the bridges of this city? Should we just blame them or their parents for making them live along the sidewalks? Because we're not thinking what we're doing... Bullets that can go through 4 inches of steel. We have that kind of knowhow. Where do we take it from here? That clearly cannot be a matter left to professional politicians who are anything but political. When Joe de Venecia says that millions of people have signed up for charter change, what is he talking about? Were you polled? Professional politicans lie. It's a way of life for them. They instrumentalize seriously embellished facts. So that's the situation. We have lost the habit of thinking what we're doing. It is important for us to understand how we have come to this pass. Only after gaining insight into how it is that we have worked ourselves into this corner will it be possible for us to devise a strategy for getting out of that corner. And her explanation, like I began to explain last time, has to do with what she says is labor, work and action. As I said to you last time, there is no one in the world who would deny the importance of the activities of labor. These are the activities in and through which the material requirements of our lives are met, enhanced, enlarged. We need the nurture of our bodies and of our souls. We need the augmentation of our powers. We need recreation. We need for our minds to be nurtured. We need for a sense of inner integrity to develop. There's a sense in which education is a consumable. There is a shelf-life in the academe. Then you pass on. You pass through. In fact, for most of you, that's about to happen. The activities of work, homo faber, who's going to dispute the importance of those? The institution, the creation of, the construction of artifacts whose most defining characteristic is that they can stand over and against even us. This building went up with none of us in mind. This building stands over and against us. It is indifferent to you and your particularity. Where the artifact is concerned, individual human life, specific biographies do not matter. But we need such artifacts. We need landmarks. Labor and work have eventually overwhelmed and supplanted action. As a result, you observe manners of proceeding of both labor and work exerting a sort of siren call on us that we have ended up succumbing to. What is the siren call of labor? You have been in this room for what, 50 minutes now and you haven't paid much attention to the airconditioning. When a machine (like the cycles of nature itself) moves about, rotates in regular rhythmic lockstep fashion, the nicest thing about it is that it doesn't intrude upon thought. And so that there will be few occasions that might intrude upon thought, we pattern our own lives in terms of the motions of our lives at the machines. We think of things only in terms of our jobs. We havve turned ourselves into machine-like creatures by taking on jobs, just jobs. It's only a job. And the wonderful thing about routine is that they do not obtrude upon thought. Science is a technical matter requiring technical approaches, and so there must only be one person at the top. Coxswain in charge of the rhythm. How wonderful that all I have to do now is just take orders. Now that disposition of simply wanting to take orders... The nation of people who have been reduced to the role of just a job holder because it's easier and less mentally-taxing is also the nation of workaholics. We have allowed practices that are hostile to action to become the decisive activities of our lives. We have sent action packing, away from our lives. What I was saying the other day about conflation - we think we're doing ourselves a favor, but we end up ruining the only chance we have to stem totalitarian developments.

2003.02.17: Oral exams, final paper specifications

Listen carefully to these instructions. Your oral exams are going to fall on Saturday next week, and let's see now... Friday afternoon and Saturday is when I'm scheduling you. If you can't make it to our class, which I consider to be an extension, please tell your groupmates so that they can sign up for you as well as themselves. You have to tell them what hours you are available. Your paper is due on the same day as your orals, and you will bring them. What is the paper going to be comprised of? First of all, 12 pages minimum and all the usual formatting things about it, and what you will need to do is to contemporize to our own situation in the Philippines in our own time Warren's discussion of possibilities for democratic participation in our own time, but where the setting of your contemporization is decisively Hannah Arendt's conception of the political and the antipolitical. Through the Arendtian optic, I want you to consider how these practices can be contemporized in our own time, in the Philippines. I want you also to engage in your argument every single thing beginning with the discourse on inequality down to the last thing I gave you, apart from the Warren article. I want you to engage in your argument everything, which means you might even need to go outside what's in the kit. You certainly must make mention of every single thing. And to make sure that happens, between now and Wednesday, I want one or two people to make a listing of everything. The Human Condition I will allow you to account for two - HC1 (the prologue) and HC2, which is the section on action. Of course, to fill the gaps in between, I did give you that 35 pages of lecture notes, but that's separate. As for On Revolution, OR1 is sections 1 - 3, OR2 is sections 4 to 6. Origins of Totalitarianism counts as one, OT. Make a listing. The list will be arbitrary, and thus the numbers assigned to each of those things is arbitrary, but once assigned they will become convention. Of course you'll have footnotes, but every time there's a footnote, with fine red ink, put an arrow off to the side and say which of the things in the kit does this footnote correspond to. Footnotes and the convention on the side. The three major works of Arendt (HC1, HC2, OR1, OR2, OT) in whatever proportion, whether it's more H1 than H2.. Each of those three must be mentioned at least five times. In other words, there will need to be at least 5 references to On Revolution part 1... Hannah Arednt has been very often vilified. Criticized. Hardly workable.

[Oops, I am out of batt. Sorry, no notes.]

2003.02.12: Totalitarian movements and obsessions

Oral exams on the 30th. Spillover

On Monday, pay for On Revolution (P 101) and then for the kit that you got today - an article and the thing you collated last time, and what you collated today, and there was a miscount in the number of sheets in the first thing you paid for, so you need to pay P 15 each. 141 sheets in the bundled up thing. (* 0.6 (+ 141 19 11)) P (+ 103 15 101)

Pay P 118 next time. and P 101 in addition for On Revolution.

Hannah Arendt's figure for the antipolitical is the obsession with motion - physical motion - that characterizes totalitarian movements. They sought to dismantle anything that put itself in the way of motion, which of course meant class structures, bureaucracies... One of the first things the Nazis did was dismantle the German parliament. Even the idea of boundaries had to go. The Reich had to keep extending. They didn't know the meaning of enough is enough. Her figure for the antipolitical was the French Revolution, which was obsessed with rage. As she says on how the revolution's capital was really rage. On pages 110 and 111. Before that, Hannah Arendt talks about how important it was to the revolutionists that people wore no masks, that there be no hypocrisy. The original root of the word hypocrisy was to put on a mask. The way the Greeks understood the public spaces is that you could not operate as your own person; you could not operate in your own capacity. When you went into the public space, you literally had to check your private identity at the door, sort of like when the celebrant moves into the liturgical space, he has to put on a robe - wear a dress, put on a funny-looking hat.. He can't even speak in his own words, he has to read a formula. That is hypocrisy. You put on a mask. The Greeks understood political life to be about masks. In the court of law, you can't speak in the ordinary manner... You could not speak in your own words. To be able to operate within those spaces, you literally had to be able to transform your outward behavior in such a manner as to make it to conform to a public lexicon of gestures. You had, so to speak, to turn your speech and your manner of activity into something that was fit for public consumption. Which is why within the space of liturgy and even within the classroom, one of the reasons why people a'lways do perform very very badly in my experience during oral exams or class presentations. Because you're not practiced enough in making the shift from your manner of operating within the less formal spaces of your everyday lives to this very formal space of the classroom setting, where you have literally to speak in the jargon of the discipline. In your computer science class, you are required to know how to operate - to use the jargon. You are putting on powdered wigs (reference to British judiciary). Hypocrisy was the only way to proceed, publicly. Who you were in your private life was not what mattered, but how you could conform your gesture, your behavior, even your outer appearance to public expectation - that was the only thing that mattered. I'm sure that if you went to Mass and the celebrant started to ad lib the prayer, many would get offended. Forget crucial elements of the formula. The Mass is invalid. Which is why priests usually read the prayer. They're afraid that by ad-libbing, performing spontaneously, they may not have sufficiently put on the required masks. Now of course the way we're talking about masks as publicly negotiated artifacts... over the course of the collective life of the community, consensus built. We'd like to be able to speak in this kind of a manner or a style. You may have the truth, but if you're not able to frame the truth in the proper way, your testimony gets thrown out. You need to be able to fill in all the necessary blanks. You can write any will you want, but if it's not notarized, it counts for nothing. That is the meaning of the publicly negotiated stage, whether it be politics, or liturgy, or a classroom setting. The French revolutionists wanted people to do away with masks. Now if you strip away all masks, what have you got left? If you strip away the formalities of language and rationality, if you strip away all of those artifacts that are the product of carefully negotiated settlements taking place over a long span of time, what have you got left? Something of a parody of Rousseau's man in the state of nature. The solitary who has nothing to fall back upon but himself in his naked need for self preservation and his instinctive behavior, to which Rousseau gave the name compassion. Raw instinct. On page 110, it's clear what the nature of this instinct... for the nature of the French Revolution is what changed malheureux into enrages. The very badly hurt, the very badly put upon, come to be changed into the enraged, for rage is indeed the only form in which misfortune can become active. (Api?) are changed into the enraged. Suffering exposed. It was rage, not virtue that appeared. Virtue precisely, the way we learned it from Aristotle, as opposed to the image of rage here was almost like a fireball. Virtue is about stopping, moving and listening, not barrelling your way through a gate. It's about taking a stop. It's about taking the time to think what you're doing. It's about thinking what you're doing. Rage - nangingitngit. Dumidilim ang paningin. This blackness overtook me. When you're overtaken by rage, unmastered rage, pure rage, you black out, and when you black out, in that blackness, you don't see your neighbor. You don't see who's beside you. You become inarticulate. You are unable to speak. That's what happened to Billy Budd. He blacked out, and in that blackness, struck out. This is the solution of people who want to engineer shortcuts. Because of course when you're dealing with people who have blacked out to any awareness or any notion that there is a community and that there are neighbors and strangers that negotiations will have to be carried out with, things do seem to happen a little more quickly, don't they? Things do seem to be a little more efficient, don't they? You cut the red tape. You just go for the jugular. In the name of sincerity, in the name of overcoming hypocrisy and publicity, they transformed what normally should have been a thoughtful populace into one obsessed by rage. Vengeance as Alexandre Rousselin puts it (p110) is the only source of liberty. The rage of naked misfortune pitted against the rage of unmasked corruption, that was the long and the short of the French Revolution, in Hannah Arendt's reading of it. And then in a wonderful summary statement here (p111), there was no doubt that the course of the Revolution... EDSA 3 was an example of that, wasn't it? The force of delirious rage. And when you operate that way, you're bound to make the most terrible mistakes. A people that allows itself to be swayed to that matter of proceeding will inevitably make monumental mistakes. As bad as some people might think our present state of affairs might look to them, can you imagine what sort of a condition we'd all be working our way through right now if the naked dispaly of rage in EDSA 3 had succeeded iat least in its stated objective of occupying Malacanang? She contrasts that with (p119) {The most I can do is give you snapshots, confident that you have the means and intelligence to - and of course the networks now that you presumably have of connections to one another - to make sense of this text. Of course you have Rizal Library} We will be meeting MWF next week. The following Monday, instead of regular class, we will have pre-orals. This is the first time in three years that I'm doing across the board oral exams. I'm starting to get nervous because people always do badly during the oral exam, which is why I suggest to cut the chances that you'll do badly yourselves, practice with your groups. Get used to speaking the stylized language. It is a discourse that we speak here, a specific discourse. Some of you may be quite adept and reading, but reading is an essentially private activity. You have to be able to dress up what you do in private in the sort of raiment fit for public consumption. Just as you don't go to church in spaghetti string bikinis - it's not the appropriate garb for that setting. Some teachers wouldn't even consider slippers or sandals appropriate garb for class. You will have to be able to dress up what takes place in private - your private act of reading - with garments that will be fit for the consumption of the public, which is this classroom setting and space. Your oral exams will take place in a quasi classroom setting. It's one-on-one, but you will be performing before an audience of your peers. You will be talking not to yourself, but to your peers. How do you talk to your peers? What manner of expression would be appropriate both to the content of a class but also appropriate to the requirements of those in that space with you. That's the challenge. So in any case, two mondays from now, we'll have practice oral exams so that I can point out to you what is acceptable and not acceptable. This is what I'd like you to develop more of. This is what I don't want to hear from you. All right. So anyway, on page 119... in On Revolution, the figure of the antipolitical was the French Revolution, an obsession with rage. In The Human Condition, the figure of the antipolitical was the social. What that social is, you've just got in your kits the first major part of the Human Condition - the prologue until p71 or 72, the public realm and the private realm, and to help you along, there are two chapters from a book entitled the attack of the blob, chapetrs 1 to 9, where she explains very well why hannah arendt is describing a pernicious form of the anti-political, the social. Whereas the totalitarian movements and the french revolution are like high liturgies - like christmas and lent and easter - with incense and fabulous rituals - the social is about ordinary time. The social is about the anti-political in our everyday lives, as presently constituted. Now of course the point she's ultimately making is that all three are interconnected. The source of the totalitarian movements, the perspectives engendered by the French revolution, all of these things have helped to constitute the social. Our own manner of everyday life. But nevertheless it should be possible even granting the ultimate connection she sees between the three to take the social on its own terms, where the terms are the parameters of our everyday operations. She describes on page 119, the political now. Reappropriation of the practices of the ancient Greek agora, she's drawing for us now an outline of the political. On page 119, you have a very very nice, concise and to the point description of what she means by the political, and for which she takes as an example the American colonists during the time. A long span of time that eventually culminated in the declaration of independence. Could you highlight for us important elements of that way of life? Public freedom is not going to happen by itself. It's not a historical inevitability. You have to work for it. You have to help to make it happen. And the activities constituting the effort to make happen public freedom were by no means entered upon simply because one was duty-bound to enter upon them. They were not entered upon out of a sense of obligation only, but also because of the realization that there is a joy/exhilaration/excitement/attractiveness to the thing that nowhere else would they be able to find. They actually enjoyed the discussions and deliberations and the making of decisions. Even granting that... Even if there are problems with that way of life, the practice and the tradition of public expression is still something that's handed down from generation to generation. There's no such thing as a timid American in a setting like this. There is something about a public setting that immediately gets those juices turning. All right. So every individual as John Adams describes it... He's describing the men and women of his own times. A desire to be heard. Respected. People actually needed public recognition as much as they needed the air that they breathed. That was the way of life that the colonists cultivated. They had no precedents to fall upon from their experiences from the old world. It was an example of an initiative taken. In contradistinction to the isolating consequence upon those taken over by it of rage - dumilim ang aking paningin, I couldn't see any more, I blacked out - in contradistinction to that, you don't have a blackening out, you have exploding all over the place the lights of publicity. It was in America that they invented the Hollywood extravaganza - out of the desire of publicity. Broadway operas. The matinee performances. It was a desire for publicity. Maybe we're not too hopeless as Filipinos. We do enjoy a certain amount of publicity. That's not a bad start, actually, for us, but where we need to channel all that energy and that desire... We seem to have to imbibed from the Americans a fascination with Hollywood-style publicity.. ... note about martial law. Hannah Arendt laments the fact that this way of life was so characteristic of the colonists, but there were no major battles. By the time the colonists declared their independence from Great Britain, they had outgrown Great Britain. They had learned how to govern themselves. What little encounters here and there there were, they even had to stage so that it took on the nature of an armed revolution, when in fact it really wasn't. It was about a way of life that had propelled them into adulthood as a nation. What Hannah Arendt in the second half of the book points out is the same thing that Plato points out in the Republic. You build a city of justice, that's fine. You may even succeed in so doing. But always there will be this wolf outside, huffing and puffing to bring the house down. After describing the development of the city of justice, Plato feels that he has to tell them about this wolf outside, huffing and puffing to bring the house down. What form did Arendt see that wolf take? Ironically, it was the American Constitution. The way of life described in these pages in the colonies, you can't call something a way of life if it doesn't have an infrastructure developed around it to protect it. Any way of life needs a protective enclosure. It needs attention paid to logistical details. It needs the protection of law, and ultimately the protection of the most basic law of the community - the constitution. Maybe that was the wrong turn that we took after EDSA 1. These practices of life that had developed over the 20 or so years of martial rule - practices of freedom, self- and communal empowerment - we did not erect over it and around it sufficient protective infrastructures. That ought to have been the function of the 1987 constitution, but unfortunately, instead of recognizing the truly amazing openness to a new way of life, the framers of that constitution - being for the most part the shell-shocked victims of martial law - maybe they should have just gotten people off the streets - because the framers of the constitution were more or less shell-shocked, the constitution played out their fears of a marcos-type regime coming to power again. It became a reactive constitution. It did not engage enough, first of all, by recognizing except in the most cursory language people power. Almost like an afterthought instead of serving as the powerhouse and articulation of a whole new thing. EDSA 2 had nothing to do with the spirit of EDSA 1. EDSA 2 was not about a new way of life. Did you want there to be a new brotherhood and solidarity of the classes? No, it was about people who wanted a change in administration because of private interests. The practices of freedom and resistance were about trying something new. Let's change it. (Photo-op sham about lunch with the poor). There hasn't been much of an effort to commit EDSA 1 to active memory. We did not protect it enough. We denatured the meaning of it by even remotely tying it to something that we've called EDSA 2. It was important that they craft a constitution with the intention precisely of building protective structures around that 100 years of a way of life. EDSA 2 was just about one month. The impeachment trial, that was all it was. Unfortunately, the very same thing that needs to be done to protect this way of life can also become a prison. The framers of the American constitution, in their desire to institutionalize the practice of public participation, they institutionalized it in the form of a representative democracy - a mechanism whereby the people could be told "you can go home now, there are representatives who will do everything for you." So in other words, the very device that had to be put in place - the constitution - to protect and preserve and extend into the everyday this altogether new way of life ended up becoming a prison. So that's what she means when she speaks of the constitution ambivalently. You can't live without it, but you can't live with it either. It's a paradox. So what to do? Well, she doesn't prescribe what to do. I suppose implicit in her description of how the constitution came about is simply the admonition - that's why you have to be very careful about all of this. Not that everything is bad, but everything is dangerous. She ends with this note of hope. In her view as an adoptive citizen of the United States - she's also an outsider - in her view, they have misplaced that revolutionary treasure. But nevertheless it's there somewhere. You can't just completely lose a way of life that took over a hundred years to develop. You cannot just lose it. Maybe if you do nothing

2003.02.10: The antipolitical - the totalitarian movement

What you just got contains a very good discussion on Hannah Arendt's "On Revolution". All right. Now you know there's a you might say a terrible consistency to Hannah Arendt. Maybe not terrible, but a very pressing consistency. In each of her works she is hammering away at a binary. in the origins of totalitarianism, the binary is between the sphere of the antipolitical for which the symbol is the totalitarian movement, and of course its opposite, the sphere of the political. She's laying the ground and enunciating precisely that term in the binary which you can call the antipolitical for which the figure is the totalitarian movement. In "On Revolution", although there are early indications of it already in the origins of totalitarianism... blood, race, land were the most important considerations. material considerations. considerations that tie us to nature itself. of course in the case of stalinism, he fetishized movement. "workers of the world unite". let's have no barriers among us so that there's a free flow. a dedication once again to something that smacks of nature. and then much more explicitly, in "on revolution", she revisits this binary. clearly the binary is between the natural and the artifice. earth and world, if by world we mean that which is the outcome of human fabrication, human consensus-building. The figure for nature is the French Revolution. The figure for artifice is the American Revolution. The point that she's trying to make is for centuries, the way Western civilization anyway has taken the French Revolution as an interpretative mechanism, as a paradigm of action, has been to impute that event with the kind of high romance that blinds us to the dangers of uncritically accepting that for which it actually stands. So what in her view, what was the reality of the French Revolution? Why is it important to understand the reality of the French Revolution so that we can snap out of the hole that it might have on us in our own time, especially because it's a very pernicious and very destructive home? The French Revolution took at its heart what she calls the Social Question. What is the Social Question? Putting food on every plate. Filling every hungry belly with good things to eat. Good, substantial, healthy things. The Social Question, motivated by of course conditions in France at the time - widespread poverty, people starving in the streets... In Paris alone, a city of 300,000 people at the time, there were 100,000 beggars. So in other words, given conditions like that, it seemed only right that the revolution be carried out in the name of and for the sake of alleviating the pain and misery of Les Miserables. So in a sense, what all of it came down to was an economic question. What about the discussion on human rights / dignity / quality of human life? Let's worry about that latter. Let's just make sure everyone has enough to eat. How do you argue with that? People in fact are dying in the streets from starvation. We have to feed the hungry. Give drink to the thirsty. Clothe the naked. Now how do you generate enough food for the multitudinous hungry? A monumental challenge, right, requiring the improvement of levels of agricultural productivity, the processing of raw materials, etc. But once you start moving into that area of endeavor, you run into technological issues. Technical considerations involved requiring input from experts, and once the experts start to talk, there's no more room in the discussion left for the non-experts. What Hannah Arendt is describing is what happens when you allow the Social Question to become the focus of your movement - in this case, the French Revolution. There is no room for the traditional practices of speech in the technical drawing room. (Note about Rousseau and the general will.) The vast multiplicity of people are shunted to the side. No more input required from them. Don't write to us, we'll write to you. And yet the irony of ironies is that ultimately, the phenomenon of mass hunger, the phenomenon of mass homelessness, those are not technical problems. Those are quintessentially political problems. Do you think our nation will succeed in putting any dent in the problem of a runaway population growth simply by throwing more condoms and IUDs in the direction of people? Do you think inundating these places with contraceptive devices will help us slow population growth? Teach people how to use these devices. That's how to do it, they say. Do you think people who have no or little opportunity to experience as you and I do the exhilarating amount of negotiation over and concerning the elements of our lives that we are able to clal a normal part of our daily experience... Do you think that people who don't have that experience of being able to negotiate the elemnts of our lives are going to understand what the fuss is about contraceptive and about population growth? All of you, you're going to be planning your families because you're thinking about a way of life. Quality of life. (Note about maids and OFWs) You think these people when they come back, having experienced a good quality of life...

The social question

That's the trouble with the social question. It deceived people into thinking that the social question was a technical problem requiring technical solutions, not political solutions. Many of our OFWs had to go far away to be able to plug into an experience of otherness, into an experience of the tremendous amount of flexibility in and among human lives. A flexibility that because of our rigid social structures locally... there are so little opportunities to experience here. Poverty. Hunger. Homelessness. It's not as if there's not enough food to go around. It's not as if we've not developed a level of agricultural productivity that allows all Filipinos to be fed and fed well. The problem is a political problem of the sharing of resources. No technicians can touch that problem, only political mechanisms and apparatuses, especially those apparatuses that bring people together to negotiate solutions to the challenges they face togethe. The trouble with the megacity of Manila is that solutions are often engineered with only the top 20% or 30% people's interests in mind. Instead of building a mass transit system, we will build an elevated highway... Experts are notoriously anti-democratic. Experts are very jealous of their prerogatives. Their territory. We have a city that instead of running out to meet the growing heterogenity and harnessing that heterogenity as part of the solution instead of as part of the problem... What are we doing? We are collapsing into ourselves, lifestyle enclaves, malls... 2-city phenomenon. All because we had imagined that the seemingly monumental challenges that face us are of a technological nature, requiring the sacred office of a class of experts, necessarily shutting out any possibility of input from a wide range of sources. Even genetically speeking, as you know, the bigger the gene pool of humanity, the healthier the offspring becomes. "Just trust us." .... The play Billy Bubb -- natural goodness. speechless. pre-political. pre-linguistic. ... public space cannot allow an attack by nature. The advantage which the public space has over the sphere of nature and sincerity and whatever... these are in the nature of imperatives, brooking no compromise... imperative. creating more damage than it has solved. Only those things that have deveolped over the course of multiplicity.. coming together to form composites... only those strategies have survived the test of time. So this is the binary that Hannah Arendth is presenting to us. Nature and politics. The American Revolution is a figure for politics... French Revolution, you can name the people behind it. Identifiable hierarchy and figures. In the case of the American Revolution, there's no father of the American Revolution. The French Revolution was a monumental event. Town hall system of governance. New thing. Values. Representative democracy - possible loss of participation. So we end up with a bizarre condition of a city where more attention is paid to supporting the development of malls.. in the process neglect even just the upkeep and maintenance of truly public places. That elevated highway is absolutely emblematic here. Billions upon billions of the nation's resources.. Even if you say it's BOT.. Structure which has for its focus not the public but a lifestyle enclave... 10-12k cars every day? Our very conception... No complaints about elevated highway. Brainwashed already as a result of the distortions caused by allowing those boundaries to blur between nature and artiface, between private and public, between the field of a finite number of experts and the work of the heterogenity of the public... Colonization of the one by the other..

Today: elaborated on the framework... How they could be read

Wednesday: specifics of On Revolution

{I am unbelievably sleepy.}


Negation of inherited nontechnological values reduction in status of acts that involve autonomy and moral deeds to technique emphasis on acquisition of high levels of objective knowledge while not concerning self with effects


totalitarian governments - total domination of man

Because we only have Monday and Wednesday to comment on On Revolution, I do want you to read. Anticipatory words concerning it. In "On Revolution," Hannah Arendt is plying the familiar theme (as in what we have been reading so far) although the emblem she's using for it is different - the French Revolution - she's talking about a condition of life and a set of behaviors which are antipolitical. You know of course it comes as a big surprise to all of you that this figure - this icon that for so long has so unreflectively been deployed to stand for liberte, egalite and fraternite - the French revolution - should really turn out to be something a multitude of sins. This should come as no surprise after reading Rousseau, how even with him it's the same. We never got the chance to read the Social Contract, but I did tell you that animating the Social Contract is precisely the story of isolation that he tells of that noble savage in the discourse on inequality. The noble savage, the reality of which and the greatest fulfillment of which is the state of isolation from others. It's kinda ironic that this Social Contract which has been touted to provide the theoretical foundation of the modern democracy should even be associated with democracy because it is not concerned with the demos. "I love people. It's just individiual people I can't stand." Rousseau said pretty much the same thing. When he talks about the general will, it is the principle of legitimation... but it's not the same thing as the sum of all wills. It's individual people I don't like. So it should not surprise us that the French Revolution which has been held up as an example as political ... Liberte: freedom from the drudgery of normal productions. Just freedom from. No consideration. No careful discernment of what now deserves our attention. Now that we have freed ourselves from drudgery. It's sort of like the situation for most of us. We have all these modern word-processors.. Even without word-processors, Aquinas was able to turn out a room full of books. But what do you use it for? Is it just developing cobwebs in your room? Meaningless notes? Are you using it to plagiarize stuff? Freedom from the drudgery of typing technology, where it would take you an hour to type out a page. You don't have to put up with the drudgery of that. Have you ever stopped to consider... for what? Where do I direct all of this supposedly freed up time? Have you even bothered to map out your choices? Then it turns out... egalite. What does egalite mean? In the ancient communities, egalite meant that you could take nothing for granted. You had to earn your stripes, just as Jesus earned his from the lashes on his back. When commencement time comes around, some of the faculty members of Ateneo will march with gowns with stripes. Hard work. Consistent display of facility in speech and nobility of deed. You had to earn your stripes. Nothing was ever handed to you on a silver platter. Nowadays, we want with a stroke of a pen to catapult ourselves into a position of equality with others. It's like we want equalities that are guaranteed under the law, requiring no effort on our part. Fraternite - what does it mean? Jesus never said brothers and sisters, which is why for me it's an anomaly in liturgical practice. You are now my friends, he says. Not brothers and sisters. Friendship is a bigger challenge than mere kinship ties. To be friends means that you have to build... Aristotle. Not soul friendships, but the friendships of strangers that required them to build bridges across the chasms. Walang personalan. Brothers and sisters - hierarchies, pre-given relationships. Just because. One of the reasons why some people feel it's such a pain to go to Mass is that you have people going up to the pulpit and spending half an hour saying nothing of value... hierarchical structure requires you to listen to someone saying nothing meaningful. That person would have been laughed out of the agora. Don't you ever wonder why there's no greater incentive for preachers to learn how to preach better? It's all pre-given. In other words, that is what Arendt is trying to do with the French Revolution - take it precisely for what it was, the operationalizing of behaviors that were very anti-political. She contrasts that with another set of behaviors for which the emblem is the America Revolution. She's not a flag-waving American, but nevertheless for good historical reasons she thinks she can use it as an emblem for an antithesis to the totalitarian movements and the French Revolution. American Revolution and the ancient agora. That's how you are to read "On Revolution". I want the book read by Monday. Now you're instructed to read a couple more articles in preparation for today's class which characterize even more graphically the consequences of that way of life, that set of behaviors which you could say have something of a foundational connection with Rousseau's conception of the noble savage, which it turns out is all savage with nothing noble in it. And Hannah Arendt feels that it is important for us to try to understand the sources of these behaviors, especially because the sources of these behaviors - what motivates us, all of those things, the impact of which in our lives is to have us behave like noble savages... would that the sources were spectacular evil that rise clearly above the plain so that we could shoot them down easily. Would that that were the case. Would that it were the case that the enemy was easy to identify, because then we could train our, you know, defense apparatuses at it and in that way get rid of it. Hannah Arendt was a German Jew. At the time of the Nazi ascendancy in Germany, when they gained political power, she was working to get a PhD at the university under the mentorship of Martin Heiddiger(?), her part-time lover as well. That didn't stop Martin from calling all his Jewish students together and essentially saying to them "Get lost, we don't want you." At that point she joined the underground movement. When the Nazi intelligence operatives got hot on her trail, she escaped to France, where she lived the fugitive life for quite some time before she succeeded in making an escape to the United States. Thank God for ideas and analysis. But in any case, one of the first things she did was not to work as an intellectual right away. She worked as a journalist for quite some time, which also explains why the Origins of Totalitarianism reads like riveting journalistic stuff. One of the things that as a journalist she wrote was a series of reports that was commissioned by the New Yorker of the trials underway in Jerusalem, including the trial of Rudolph (?) Eichmann. All those reports were published in a separate book called Eichmann in Jerusalem. The interesting conclusion that she draws from her attendance at the Eichmann trial - something that took place over several months - evil, you would think, especially evil so monumental as the systematic annihilation of all those people... The source of such enormous evil would be enormous darkness in the human heart. Evil is very very banal. They're very everyday, which makes evil even more pernicious. If the sources of evil were easy to identify, then it makes the job a lot easier, doesn't it? Just zap him then, and we'll be over our problems. This is the kind of the thing that lies at the base of the fallacy of George Bush - if we zap Saddam Hussein, we're going to solve the problems of terrorism. Do you think that the al Qaeda had any complex ideologies in their heads, or maybe they saw one of their friends savaged by the Israeli soldiers? Some elaborate complex, an ideological horizon? What is the Ateneo mission/vision is? What does "Man for others" means? Is it something that accompanies you? We're not motivated by ideology, for the most part. We're not motivated by mission statements. The things that motivated Eichmann - he was one of the principal planners - Eichmann was not a man of great intelligence. (Note about Hitler and art). So Hannah Arendt discovered the banality of evil. The everydayness of evil. Rudolph (?) Eichmann said one thing over and over again in his defense - and he really meant it - "I was only following orders." You would expect Eichmann to be able to give an elaborate defense of Nazism, but ideology meant nothing to him. Where did Eichman develop the disposition to only follow orders? Is he any different from the rest of us, who are happy to only take instructions? What a gulf between him and the virtuous person Aristotle describes, who attends to particulars and eventually makes a decision. We have gone the gamut from A to Z, travelling the distance from the virtuous person of Aristotle - the being of volition - to the creature of unthinking, mindless, thoughtless creature of obedience that we have made ourselves to be. That's where we are. It's important to understand how we got from A to Z. She tries to get us to think about how we got to point Z from point A, how we have fallen so far out of joint by using some pretty arresting images - the totalitarian movement, and the French Revolution. Let's try to draw some of those analogies.

Note about excremental assault. What are several of the deployments? p372. She speaks about the systematic deployment across three principle registers.

The law provided a space within which I could engage in the practices that would mark me out as a virtuous person. Ally and friend. In a sense, the law was close enough for me to touch. My opinion was canvassed, my take on things was requested.

For the ancient Greeks, the law was something they could touch - consensually loved in common. Nowadays, the law is an artifact created by distant legislators. There can be as much destruction of the judicial personality as there definitely was in the case of the death camps.

In the death camps, the work of distinguishing between mean, excess and deficiency didn't matter. How could it matter? How could it matter when a mother was forced to choose which child of her could live? Meaningless choice.

Noble savage. Destruction of all of these things. Destroys what connections I might have to the polis and to the moral community. Destruction of a sense of self-regard.

It's completely illegal to shout "Fire!" as a joke. Panic. Each man for himself.

Permanent incontinence.

She's describing conditions that in the death camps are showcased, but which are nevertheless in our everyday lives.


Notes from class

Friday, bring to class 60c x all the sheets so far

Utilitarian considerations. What are we going to get out of this?

The Nazis had no monopoly of the term concentration camps. Every time there was a war, concentration camps were established, like the Japanese-established ones in Los Banos and Kapas. The concentration camps there in Kapas were for prisoners-of-war - members of the enemy army. In Los Banos were the other nationals. This was not purely for capricious reasons - they had good reason to suspect that, say, the American Jesuits were aiding the underground movement. Concentration camps are normally organized as temporary holding places for those perceived on the basis either of good or bad information but nevertheless perceived to comprise a threat to the regime. Good reason to believe they're a threat.

Where were the Jews from? Transylvania. Most people associate Transylvania with the mythical Dracula. They were from a little village - a village so remote that they were not even affected by the war raging around them. All they got were bits and pieces brought by travelers. A village so remote that even when one among their number came back with horrifying news about what the Nazis were doing to other Jewish people, did they believe him? They were so isolated that they wouldn't even believe this first-person account that the Jewish people in the town over the mountain were being systematically destroyed. What kind of a threat would have Elle and his family and villagers posed to the Nazi regime? These are people so far removed from where the action was.

Do you think they were even a threat to the consistency of totalitarianism? Jews were the most apolitical people in the world! The state of Israel was established after the war by Jewish people who said, "Never again." Elle Wiesel's kind of people comprised a vast majority of the Jewish population. Assignment: watch Fiddler on the Roof. Tomorrow afternoon: Escaler, 4:30.

Fiddler on the Roof. Peasants. Small-time barrio tailors. The ones with the luster or glow about them were the German or French Jews. Highly educated. But the Polish Jews were simpler. It's true that in Germany the Jews were at the forefront of cultural innovation. (Note about diaspora - able to improvise and reimprovise). The one thing that was no longer true was that they were bankers who had the economy of Germany and of Europe under control. Rothschild... principal clients were the monarchies of Europe. They controlled the banking system of Europe at the time. But we're talking of the later 19th century, and there were no more large Jewish bankers. So this is the continuation of a myth. It takes a long time for reputations to die, doesn't it?

Not true that they were filthy rich. That was propaganda on the part of the Nazis. The Jewish people were certainly not militarily powerful. They were not politically powerful. Peasants living far away from things that mattered. And yet it was this people that the Nazi regime trained all of its sights, dedicated a tremendous amount of its human and material resources to try to gather and collect all across a continent - mind you, we're talking about a continent - 6 million or so certified Jewish people. Just imagine the human resources that were required to do that. What if the Philippines were going to try to bring back home the 6 million OFWs? They're spread all over the world.

Can you imagine... building the death camps, the garrisons, the transportation... (Note Stephen Katz essay). The material resources dedicated by the Nazis for the purpose of gathering and exterminating all those Jews.. what was the utility value of that?

They were a people that posed no threat at all. So why? Why the expense? Why the effort to eradicate them?

Rockets for mosquitoes. Happen only in fantasy. Even the way that the concentration camp was organized - who were in charge of the day-to-day organization?

Kapos. p46. Philippine jails. Informal governance. Not an officially sanctioned structure of governance. Without a doubt certain jail wardens collude with some of these informal structures of internal governance, but if they do, that is so that they themselves can get better control of what's inside, or because they're on the take. Coddling.

Kapos. Propensity for cruelty. Sometimes this brings out the worst in people.

Death camp icon par excellance of the Nazi movement as pure investment in fantasy formation. These camps that were organized for no utility value. These camps ultimately with a view to aiding in the thrust around which the entire Nazi juggernaut was organized - genetically engineer a super race. Cleaned out any prospect of contamination from any inferior race. In other words, the very idea... Where the fantasy formation was concerned, at least the Nazis were very consistent.

When the glue that ties friends to one another evaporates, what you find are simply agents in a free fall. Falling away from one another. More and more implicated in fantasy formation.

Stalin, on suspicions that any practice of teamwork within the entire territory of the Soviet Union was sooner or later going to be a threat to him, systematically went about destroying any possibilities of teamwork.

Rivalry. Insecurity. When the turf is not clearly defined, then you begin to see terrible, terrible turf battles. Multiplying offices.

Millenial goal. Think in continents and centuries. Movement. Gobbling up the whole world. You don't do that if you allow yourself to stop and rest. Politics is about stopping to rest and in that mode of restfulness to take stock of situations. Politics is always about allowing oneself to come to limits. It's a respect for bounds. A politics is always about the search for a definition - a delineation. Here is where we stop.

Totalitarian movement.

Systematic evaporation of ties that bound people to people. Whether it's a death camp or a systematic extirpation of the ties that bind, the result is the same - the destruction of the polis. With the destruction of those practices of mutuality and virtue... These things don't just happen. They happen because historical developments come into place that conduce to these happenings. That promote these developments. We will try to identify what those conditions are and determine to overcome those conditions in our own collective and individual lives.

Nazi science was a science of prophecy. Normal science is a science of reportage. Turned to what has already happened.

I must apologize for my negligence. I had not picked up a copy of the readings yesterday, and for that there is no excuse. I am prepared to accept the consequences of my action - a particularly difficult question on Arendt during the oral exams, correct? - but I would like to know if I can still get the readings so that I may study them closely instead of borrowing other people's readings for a short while. I borrowed the extra readings from my groupmate so that I could prepare for this class, but I do not wish to be unprepared for Friday. Would it be possible for me to pass by the Jesuit Residence Hall later or get the material right now?

Notes for Arendt

p308: The totalitarian movements aim at and succeed in organizing


since these are people who hadn't been political before, they didn't require rigorous debate and didn't have deeply held opinions of their own. So propaganda could claim to be beyond reason.

class membership equals birth, limited obligation and attitudes to government

mass man - personal lives don't matter, membership in movement important isolation and lack of normal social relationships atomized and individual mass 318

destruction of classes. loneliness.

p351: The effectiveness of this kind of propaganda

The effect of secrecy on organizations conspiracy

p351: What he masses refuse to recognize

People want to feel that they can explain what's going on. They don't want to face the randomness and incomprehensibility of reality.

p352: In other words, while it is true

We need to impose some order on our lives. Totalitarianism promised that order - promised a complete explanation of everything that was going on, promised a consistency of explanations.


Now listen very carefully to the following instructions. This kit needs to be read by Wednesday. Tomorrow, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, you will need to go to the Jesuit Residence to get the remainder of this kit, because it didn't get finished in time. It will be important for you to do so because one item from that kit - namely ...'s autobiographical account for his incarceration at Auschwitz will need to be read by Wednesday as well. You will need to personally get your kit and sign for it. As you know, I'm very sensitive about the kit thing. From now on, if you don't sign up, not only will your kit be embargoed, but I will take it from there - you will have an especially difficult question on the topic you did not collect during the oral exam.

With a view also to the upcoming oral exam, which will take place within the month of February, I want to reactivate your group discussions. The last 25 minutes of class today you will spend discussing with your group a matter that I will give to you just before I leave.

One of the reasons why we took a side-trip through Rousseau is that Rousseau gives us a particularly pointed example of the kind of theorizing that as one of its consequences appear to have legitimated proceeding by way of the imagination, proceeding by the way of fantasy derivation. Thomas Hobbes wrote along similar lines. "The most important political faculty is the faculty of imagination." For Hobbes, our sensory faculties don't give us enough information about what's really there. Rene Descartes who preceded him not by much basically said the same thing. What a radical departure from the classical communities where Aristotle is constantly saying to his audience that the ability to tell right from wrong is grounded in your viscera and your ability to perceive by means of your sensory faculties the particularities, complete conditions and details of the condition you find yourself in - the quandary that you have to resolve - all sown across with landminds. How do you make your way across that field? You'll have to trust your emotions, pains, appetites, senses. That's what all the ancient commentators said. Then you have Rousseau, Hobbes, Descartes saying you're barking up the wrong tree. It's imagination. "Lay all facts aside."

Precisely by developing this fantasy formulation concerning the noble savage and the invincible solitary and inscribing that into the very heart of the social contract, placing in its heart a permanent indictment of the social. It became the standard against which we ultimately must measure and judge social arrangements - the standard of the solitary. When he talks about the general will, he talks about God - solitary. God does not need us. Rousseau projects this into the sovereign. He doesn't really like the people. It's only window-dressing, it turns out. The people who serve as arbiters for the general will... high priests. So that's Rousseau's picture of the polis. That is to say, that is the picture of the polis in which he'd like to see the polis self-destruct.

What is the connection between all of that and Hannah Arendt's discussion on totalitarianism? For Hannah Arendt, totalitarianism is emblematic. Some of you might be wearing a white dress and you'd be bothered by a stain at the hem, wouldn't you? Would you still wear that dress to the ball? Totalitarian movements are still all of one piece of our way of life. We should be bothered by that much much much more than a measly stain on a dress. So in the origins of totalitarianism, she is trying to determine how it happened. How did we migrate from the classical understanding and practice of polis, koinonea, which were all very concerned with speech and interpersonality and all imbedded precisely in networks - human networks? How did we go from the human network to where we are? Well, you don't have a network, you have a blob. In the human network, you don't have a network unless you have nodal points, where each node in the network is a person with character. If you think of each person as a point of light, the ancient communities were thousands and thousands of points of light, creating a brilliance. How did we go from that sea of points of light to the dark blob? There's a book by the way - a really fine commentary on Hannah Arendt by the a very fine political theorist. "Attack of the Blob". (Reference to sci-fi movie "The Blob").

The ancient polises were precisely marked by structures, by artifice, by the outcome of human fabrication. And what were the outcomes of human fabrication? Systems of laws. The agora. The senates. The tribunes. The catacombs. Plato's city in speech. Aristotle's character. You're not born with character. You have to make your character. What was so characteristic about ancient communities was the premium they placed on the artifice instead of the merely natural. The blob is merely natural. Sticky. Formless. Viscous. What is characteristic of the merely natural is the viscous. The spineless. So how did we go from A to B?

The totalitarian movement is just pure motion. Now the contrast between motion provided by the ancient communities is very striking. Structures precisely create places where you can rest, take respite from the constant flux of nature. Human habitations enable us to come to a point of temporary stability in what otherwise would be the constant flow of our lives. As you shall see when we get to the human condition, they very clearly distinguished between the public space and the private space. Public space was for action, private was for rest, and we needed to occasionally disappear into the private space to recuperate our strength.

Hannah Arendt is precisely trying to explain that the totalitarian movements of our own time didn't just drop from the sky. It is impossible to trace these movements to a heterogeneity of origin, a plurality of origins. So just to kinda supply you with some of the missing sources, she cites for example the Holocaust. Simplistically we say that it came from anti-Semitism and thus other groups are to blame. Arendt says, however, that that's not all of it. Anti-Semitism is a very small part. The Jews were largely to blame for that (she was also Jewish, mind you). She points out for example the early discourses relating to blood. The first person who developed the blood discourse was Disraeli. Another source of modern totalitarian movements was the conflict in France and other places between monarchists and liberals. Dreyfus was the convenient scapegoat. Singly, none of these sources might have produced the totalitarian movement. The confluence of a number of these sources produced in a chemical reaction kind of way... the emergence of the modern nation-states attendant upon the rise of industrialization and the development of a socio-economic class that had not been possible before: the bourgeois(FIXME). Before, you only had land and the feudal aristocracy. Simply by organizing a factory - you need workers around the clock, lots of workers. You had to develop a state apparatus that would ensure that the state grew, infant death was minimized... so you needed the modern nation-state. The ancient monarchy was only interested in maintaining its own prerogatives. The monarchy only had to protect itself from the people. But with the new requirements attendant on industrialization, you needed hands, limbs, people. You wanted to make sure that the population grew, so you needed to shepherd the people.

Don't forget that the nation-state is able to manage the population only by bringing to visibility to the last person the members of that population. You need to identify idiots, people who were carrying diseases, that sort of thing. Needed to maintain the health of the population, so needed to develop elaborate systems of identification. In monarchy, peasants didn't matter. But then it became possible for nation-states to identify which subpopulations it didn't want - gypsies, Jews... The do-not-want part, think of Bosnia. Massive displacement. The Serbs didn't want the Croats. The Croats didn't want the Bosnians. So you had all those migrations of refugees. Entire families and towns forced to pull up their roots. A perfect recipe for the construction of the homeless masses that would be fodder, grist for the mill for totalitarian movements, looking for a home but finding none. Vietnamese boat people.

And then as another source she identifies imperialism. You know, with the development of industrial means of production and other apparatuses for the generation of wealth, states started to accumulate a lot of wealth - more than could be spent internally. So as to get their cash to generate more cash.. (another interesting note: paper begets paper) Gold standard fiction now. Pressure on the nation-state to expand overseas. In colonies, nation-states were able to conduct social experiments for the sake of generating more cash that in the mother country would not have been allowed by law. The Spaniards in the peninsula were on Rizal's side. Not so in the colony. In the colony you had social bifurcation. The origin of the barong tagalog was in that social bifurcation. The privilege of tucking your shirt in was reserved for "civilized men" - Europeans. These social experiments which could be conducted in the colonies akin to the sakada system (people working like slaves)... the people in the mother country said, "Why didn't we think of that before?" There's nothing that succeeds like success. Seeing how successful these social experiments were, the colonies re-exported back to the mother country. It was one of the revenges of the colonies. Social bifurcation came now to be realities even in the host countries. A social bifurcation that produced even more dislocated subpopulation. A social bifurcation is the refusal of a class structure. A class structure nevertheless relates people to one another. Noblesse oblige. The feudal lord could be a feudal lord only if he took serious notice of the needs of his serfs. The godfather in the Mario Puzo novel takes care of the littlest ones in the family. Reliable structures of reciprocity.

I would like you to do now, in your small groups, looking at Ch10 and 11... You know in chapter 10. p351. Paragraph starting with effectiveness of kind of propaganda, and paragraph right after that. p352, in other words, while it is true... I want you to take a few moments to read those paragraphs and relate it to what you know of her argument in Ch10 and what we've just talked about what happens when you destroy a class structure. (Note on Thomas More on marriage of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn: You know, that's an official document. Our laws are really the only thing between us and the devil. Better to have this thing no matter how flawed than nothing at all.) I would like the results of the discussion manifested to me next meeting.

p308: The totalitarian movements aim at... p351: The effectiveness of this kind of propaganda... p351: What he masses refuse to recognize... p352: In other words, while it is true...

mar_impe@yahoo.com vale2do@hotmail.com nicolette@atenista.net

2003.01.27: Arendt

New handout. Arendt: Totalitarianism and the Human Condition

Sermon about picking up the readings. We need to pick up the next reading right away.

There is material there, once again, waiting for you to pick it up. If so much as one person does not pick up a copy by Wednesday... On the oral exam at the end of the semester, I usually don't include a question on Rousseau. But if at least one copy is not picked up, we will have an elaborate thesis question on Rousseau.

Rousseau is an important way to Arendt, but he's not part of this course. If, however, this very bad practice on your part persists, I shall take it to mean that a number of you...

Fr. David is the chair of the board of directors.

Theresa Man Lin Ling Politics and Truth

Reading from the library

What you have gotten now are the first four sheets of Man Lin Ling. In the library, you will find the rest of this chapter - around 8 more sheets. You will also find chapter 10 of Hannah Arendt's Origins of Totalitarianism.

5 stray sheets from the Social Contract

Next week make-up

Next week, we will be meeting on Friday. Venue to be announced.


with a foundation in nothing but a counter-intuitive account of human being that nevertheless he along with Thomas Hobbes and Rene Descartes have succeeded in worming their way into the political systems of modernity, into the civilization of modernity of which we are still a part. In fact, notwithstanding his departure from a sphere of operation that you could describe as concrete and political, Rousseau in particular has been many times described as the father of modern democracy. What I'd like you to reflect on is the irony of that. Because the architects of democracy - the ancient Greeks - even Plato, who was hostile to the corrupt practice of democracy, his starting point was concrete historical. Plato's starting point was Athens as it was in his own time. Aristotle's starting point, even more clearly, was what people were saying and the details of their lives. Rousseau's starting point is the projection into an imagined state - the state of nature, a state of splendid isolation. Rousseau wants to take this condition of splendid isolation and write it into the heart of modern political organization.

In that sheet you just got from me on the Social Contract, if you look on page 61.. Plato and Aristotle spoke of something similar, except with them, when you unite with others, something of an alchemic change takes place. Aristotle's word for it was mutuality or reciprocity. In mutuality and reciprocity, what Aristotle also calls concord, something of yourself truly migrates to the other - in a contract, for example. What he calls good will. Something of yourself comes to be truly invested in another and vice versa. Something of the other comes to be truly invested in you. As a result of the reciprocity, you are able to bring about something that had never existed - the advantage that your friendship sought to develop, or the character you had hoped to build upon. There is some identifiable qualitative change, and in the case of the advantage even a quantitative change. For example, when you join H2 and O, you get water.

What does Rousseau want? He doesn't want that. He wants the union of separate men to produce advantage, but then he's confused - he wants this, but because each man's strength and liberty is the chief element of his preservation. The most basic and fundamental insight for Rousseau is that human being is about just self-preservation. The alpha and omega of it is self-preservation. How can an individual merge with others without putting himself in danger and neglecting the care that he owes to himself? That is the political question for Rousseau. How can I join and at the same time not join? Plato and Aristotle don't have any ulterior motives for joining. You join because you want transformation to come about. No turning back. Rousseau is parang goma. He pulled back like rubber.

In the next sentence, he tries to find a form of association that will defend the person and goods of each person with the strength of all. There's an advantage of building a collective force to protect my property. However, this form of association in fact will continue to obey no one but himself and remain as free as before. What Rousseau basically wants to do is take the basic isolation of man in nature and write it into the very heart of political organization. Whereas for Aristotle the point of political organization was always companionship.. You organize precisely so that you can join with your co-citizens in practices of justices, generosity, courage, etc. The point of joining was so that two could become one. Many could become one polis. The many parts could constitute one body. For Rousseau, the point of joining is just to derive advantage but nevertheless to remain one's own master and as free as before.

Clearly, Rousseau's conception of freedom is very different from the ancient conception of freedom. You are most free when you can most apply your will to the challenge of dealing with the spiderweb of detail and particularity in your life. The point was not to escape the spiderweb, but to make your way along it without getting entangled. For Aristotle, freedom is mastery of this spiderweb, this Gordian knot. Not the escape from the ties of community and friendship, but rather ability to work with it. Freedom means the ability to work your way through all of these details and come out on top - not outside, but rather with one's head still upon one's shoulders.

What Rousseau wants is to get away from the Gordian knot. You can't really get away from the spiderweb of society, but you can create an oasis over which you and you alone are master. You remain as free as before, obeying no one but yourself. This is the man that variously has been called the father of modern democracy. A man who did not care one whit for the demos or the people. Read on.

How does he look at the people? Look at p83. A people ought to be the author of its own laws. But then look at what he says further down. A blind multitude seldom knows what it wants or what is good for itself. The general will is always rightful - he means the manner of organization described earlier, where the collective force or the plurality is deployed to protect its members but still allows chambers within which each one obeys no one but himself. The general will is always rightful, but the judgment that guides it is not always enlightened. It must be brought to see things as they are and sometimes as they should be seen.

(Note on honor sections. Culture of condescension.)

He had no interest in the demos.

The word sovereignty is just another word for General Will. Inalienable, indivisible, inerrant. Taking the qualities of God and projecting them onto the general will, preparing for the worship... Rousseau is basically saying this collection of things is God, so don't mess around with our modern way of life. You call yourselves Filipino citizens, but that's all. For the most part, you are happy to just operate in your cubbyhole. You don't like the public to impinge upon your life. You leave well enough alone. You just want to operate wherever you are. We have all been infected by Rousseau's mythology of man in the state of nature - in the state of splendid isolation. It doesn't bother anyone that we are not engaged in anything that the ancients would have described as a polis.

Rousseau won't deal with you - it's your sovereign right to be left alone and be free as before - so who does Rousseau talk to? He talks to this general will - the stand-in for the people. The people are dumb, blind and stupid. They don't know what's good for them. The General Will is abstract and cannot talk for itself. It needs interpreters. The ones calling the shots in our modern society. Look at any shot they take at Masses in the EDSA Shrine. High priests of the General Will.

Look at page 72. It does not follow that the deliberations of the people are equally right. For Aristotle, you couldn't come to a decision without deliberation. ... attitude of all the ancient communities. Make the best of what you have. Second chances.

Rousseau doesn't want that. He doesn't want to have to forgive or grant second chances. He doesn't want a community of people who will always have to be dealing with excess and deficiency. He forgets, however, that only through dealing with excess and deficiency are you able to find that moving target which is the mean of activity. For Aristotle, excellence does not manifest itself except through the wrestling match that we have to engage in between excess and deficiency. There's a reason for the second chance.

When you're in splendid isolation, of course you don't make any mistakes, right?

I don't need to defend my ideas in the agora. I will simply talk to the high priests of the general will. The general will that is the outcome of the inscription of splendid isolation into the heart of political organization.

How many people do you know are driven only by the instinct of self-preservation? How many people do you know are incapable of exhibiting their passions? In the state of nature, human beings don't have emotions - only instincts. Compassion. It's when you have emotions that you start to become miserable.

Why is it that despite the counter-intuitive character of Rousseau's formulations, he has come to be so deeply implicated - serving as a theoretical foundation for the political organizations of our own time? The partial truth he peddles...

Where does Rousseau say things that have the effect of softening you to his point of view? Appendix. You can pick up Rousseau at any end. When he talks about how the violent passions that waste and exhaust us (p415)... He's trying precisely to convince his readership of the shining character of the state of nature when you put it alongside of the darkness and decrepitude of society. It is better to be alone than with others in political organizations. In the Social Contract, he takes that and inscribes it in the heart of what he is calling the social contract. The result - the civilization of the rugged individualist. One-upmanship. And worse, the civilization that derives not from the concreteness and palpableness of historical-political reality, but rather from fantasy formations. Which is why we're reading Rousseau. Rousseau provides us with a particularly dramatic and compelling example of the deflection away from the classical engagement with the polis, the republic, the koinonea. The deflection away from that which was ultimately rooted in the intersubjective, historical real, which was fashioned from the consensus of a plurality of perspectives. Deflected away from that into a manner of proceeding where nations take their cues not from the certified real but rather from the certified phantasmagoric. The consequences of such a commitment to the phantasmagoric are detailed by Hannah Arendt in the origins of totalitarianism. In the course of our time together, we are exploring the consequences of our abandonment of the polis, the republic, the koinonea. The consequences in our own time, in addition to political arrangements in which it is possible to say that one is a citizen and yet uninvolved in public activities - in addition to that, and far worse than that, you have totalitary movements developing in our own time such as Nazism. Movements that the case will be made over the next couple of days took all of their cues from fantasy formations. For example, Nazism took its roots from the myth of the super-Aryan race. The Holocaust did nothing for their military strategy, but actually detracted from their advantage. Back in those days, Jews were powerless, voiceless. Jews didn't fight back. (Note on Stalin.)

Politics applies brakes. (Note on Stalin.)

Note about talking to the high priests.

2003.01.22: Rousseau

In the dedication to the Republic of Geneva which Rousseau appends to it, obviously a glowing picture of Geneva too good to be true. Could you point us to some text within those few pages that might have led you to think that this is too good to be true.

In the first few pages, he enumerates a wish list. Isn't that a bit of a departure from Aristotle and Plato? Where does Plato begin with? What prompts, precisely, their discussion to build a city in speech? Distorted notions and practices of justice. In Aristotle, is it a wishlist? Where are people at this point? What's the word on the street? You're starting with a survey. You're starting with what people are actually saying, with the chitchat of people as they share meals. Rousseau begins with a wishlist, and he goes on - notice that he begins with a wishlist, and from there he moves to a consideration of a concrete city of Geneva, but not in order to bring the wishlist down to where Geneva is, but rather to raise Geneva up to where the wishlist is. He says that the city of Geneva, your constitution and your laws are excellent. Your state enjoys the perfect state of tranquility.

Switzerland is the master of the illegal, blood-stained money in the world. Is that what he means by "your laws are well-behaved?" In the vaults of Geneva's banks sit fortunes that belong to Jewish families exterminated by Nazis. Rousseau presents a picture of Geneva that is unchanging. As Switzerland is today, so was it during the time of Rousseau. Are the banks making any effort to find the heirs of these fortunes? The banks are making money on these fortunes. Let's not even begin to talk about Marcos' wealth in Switzerland. And of course Marcos is small-time, even, compared to some of those...

Your state enjoys perfect tranquility. All right, Switzerland, a place of neutrality... They kinda need a place designated as an R&R place. It was not because of Switzerland's inherent love of peace or tranquility, but more a function of the powers around who wanted a place for R&R or negotiations. Not because Genevans or Swiss are inherently peaceful - nagkataon lang.

And then on the following page, he talks about his father. "And yet such as he was, there is no country in which his acquantaince would not be coveted and cultivaten even.." - but his autobiography notes that his father was a wifebeater and child abuser. The least citizen of heaven is better than the best on earth.

He says on the following page, 375, talking about the daughters of Geneva: always be what you are, the chaste guardians of our morals, the sweet security of our peace. Is that so? Should we canonize across the board all mothers? Of course we canonize the Mother of God, because that's where he learned to say "Not my will, but yours be done." All those terrorists who directed their planes against the World Trade Center, all those banzai pilots.. In some part of their biography, they were probably encouraged by their mothers. Do this for your country. Allah above all. The honor of the empire above all. Wasn't it the mother of the Maccabees who encouraged them to die for their faith? But try to imagine the same thing, but instead of faith, substitute, say, "Do this because America is from the devil."

What he seems to be operationalizing here is a method that deploys no social science interrogatory techniques of investigation.

The family is the most dangerous place for women and children. When you think of spousal abuse, when you think of the violence against women and children, when you think about incest... More women get killed in their bedrooms by their lovers and husbands than outside. What are we going to do? Present a picture of the family as wonderful? You cannot afford to put a smiley face on things, ignoring the details that are there. We have to attend to the detail that's there. Then and only then can we bring out a program for excellence.

You think you would be hired by the companies you are applying for a job for if you told them that you were coming from a position of idealism instead of attention to particulars? Rousseau says that he is planning to lay all facts aside. So in other words, Rousseau's program is completely bankrupt, but unfortunately a civilization has bought into his program.

As we keep moving down the line, while Rousseau is certainly not speaking the whole truth, there are certainly half-truths. When you don't have the stamina for attending to details, you're grateful for half-truths because you feel that you don't have to do that much more investigative work. A half-truth is enough for you. So in other words, the dedication already tells us something about where Rousseau is coming from. He is coming from a habit of fantasy formation. He is going to be coming from a methodology that subsumes into a fantasy formation the discussion about political organization. We're talking about a methodology that is anti-political and impatient with process. That would rather go for - well look at what he says on page

  1. It is by no means... ... I want to go for what is original. But what is the artifice? The artifice, precisely, is the outcome of historical making. He doesn't want to consider historical making. He wants to consider origins. What if politics, after all, if not the story of the historical making of a polis? He's not interested in the history of the polis. He wants to go to a point before the beginning of the history of the polis. He says, we have to distinguish between what is original and artificial. We have to be able to form a true idea of a state or condition that may have not existed and may never exist in order to have a better judgment of our current time. Plato and Aristotle say that only by attending to facts and particulars can we form a better idea and a correct judgment of our present state. Rousseau says we don't need to look at particularities. We just need to look at this original condition which might not have existed, does not exist now, and might never exist. The reality principle is not important for forming a judgment of our present state. Now that's very nice, isn't it?

And then to extend that point that he's making on page 380, he says let us begin therefore by laying all facts aside, because they do not affect the question. The facts do not affect the question. The investigations must not have been considered historical truth, but rather explanations for the nature of things. He's interested in nature, not actuality. Origins, not artifice. Not politics.

This other famous work that he wrote - the social contract, which we won't have the time to read but is very important as well - he argues that the ultimate, legitimating instrument of the body politic is the General Will. Sort of like God, except now in the context of the social contract. The General Will is not the same thing as the sum of all wills. What is the sum of all wills? The consensus that builds after discussion, debate, conversation, rhetoric, speeches... That's the sum of all wills. Rousseau is allergic to the political process signaled by the phrase "the sum of all wills." It's too long. Too cumbersome. Takes too much time. Doesn't result in immutable truths. Too many cooks spoil the broth. consensus-building takes too much time.

Don't forget that the writings of Rousseau influenced modernity, which we are still in the death throes of in this time. (Little bit about constitution.) What's the rush? The reason why the present constitution is flawed is because it was rushed, and we want to repeat that mistake? Don't you think we should have learned from our mistake by now? Benumbed minds. He wants this body - the very same body that refused to expel Jalosjos from their number even after he was convicted by one of our courts. For shame. For shame. De Venecia wants a parliamentary system for clear, obvious reasons. He wants to be installed as prime minister. The reason that he's giving is cogent to us because we're on this side of Rousseau. The General Will is not the same as the sum of all wills, but then... you have to have priests to mediate, to teach, to interpret the will of God. The General Will - you'll need to have high priests. Take a look at any photograph of any major mass organized at EDSA shrine? People of all walks of live were the power of the first EDSA, but only the first 500 citizens can be in the church.

Partly because of Rousseau, partly because we have bought into a very anti-political methodology. A radical departure from the focus on the part of the ancient communities where the agents were the smallest parts. They were the agents. They were the agencies. In Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics, who legislates the excellence of your activities? Ultimately, you. You are the person on the spot. The ancient city of Athens operated on the basis of a micropolitics, not a macropolitics. Christian koinonia. A body that does not cancel the charisms of the parts. The ancient Roman Republic knew how to handle and derive benefit from the constant wars between the patricians and the plebians. It knew how to exploit the tensions through the senate and the tribunes. They didn't suppress the tensions and conflicts, but rather heightened it through structures that harnessed the energy from these things.

A lot of companies that are very strong are strong precisely because they've found ways of exploiting those tensions between management and employees. The ancient communities, and then comes Rousseau. The General Will is not the same thing as the sum of all wills. The reason why he goes that way is his basic thesis that man in the state of nature - in this point before all historical time - was uncomplicated, happy... without having to deal with artificial emotions... Happy as a lark. As a result of natural calamities forcing people together, then society and language eventually comes about. Systems of rationality. Emotions. All sorts of dysfunctionalities start to develop.

Rousseau wants a General Will because he wants a manager that will aggregate to himself all the responsibilities... Onset of society equals onset of disease. Pathology. What was the polis for Aristotle? Plato? Jesus? It was the flowering of - the efflorescence of - the best that could be drawn out of people. Virtue was precisely the excellence of the activity that you played out in the context of your collaborative activities with your co-agents. The practices of justice made no sense unless there was a community that legislated issues of worth, distribution, rectification.. The virtues of friendship would make no sense to someone living as a solitary. For Aristotle, it was precisely because you had a polis that you had virtue. There was an organic relationship between happiness and the polis. The same thing with the Kingdom of God. In the gospels. You want to know whether or not you will enter the Kingdom of God? Did you feed the hungry? Did you connect your fellow human beings? Depending on how you answer the question, you will know whether or not you are in or you are out.

Rousseau inaugurates a manner of thought which is diametrically opposite. Instead of being the field of opportunity which it was for the ancient communities, in Rousseau, the society - the social aggregate - is not a field of opportunity, it is the wreckage of all happiness. The society for Rousseau is the wreckage of man's self-composure, self-reliance, the wreckage of all that was best and brightest about humans in nature.

Now when you're talking about disease, you want a doctor - the General Will. In very Rousseau-like terms, De Venecia describes our country as sick. Where you focus on disease - well, surely, there is disease in our country, but that's not the whole story. We have a community that is struggling to create the best set of conditions of life for itself in order to celebrate life, because there is so much to celebrate. It is because we want to celebrate ourselves as a people that we want to very carefully take another look at the basic law of our land and make it an even better doctrine. It is not only because we're sick or dying that we have to do this.

Well, anyway, that's the general story. So in other words, what we're looking at here is the articulation of a position that is very anti-political because its starting point is not in history or the web of particularities. His starting point is not Aristotelian, or Platonic, or Christian. His starting point is the solitary human being. Solitude. Loneliness. Aloneness. His starting point is not an attention to detail, but rather to the a priori judgment that is possible when you lay all facts aside. George Bush example. Declare war on the basis of a hunch. The work of investigation is gray and monotonous work, but it needs to be done, and done that way otherwise you become like George Bush, jousting after windmills (maybe), like Don Quixote. But at least Don Quixote was pure of heart.

So Rousseau's methodology is precisely to begin with a fantasy formation. Formulation of a condition that may not have existed. Existence is beside the point. Pre-existence. What is pre-existence? It's crazy. As crazy as his project is, it caught the attention of an entire period in intellectual and political history - modernity - because, as I said, when peoples are content to be dished out with half-truths to excuse them from having to engage in all of the work that will be necessary if they are ever to discover what was on the other side of the half-truths, I think most people will just go for the half-truths.

By means of this methodology, he develops a conception of man in the state of nature. The human being in the state of nature, Rousseau says, is really characterized by only two things. What is the most basic things? Two and only two instincts. The most defining characteristic of the natural human being is instinct. (Aristotle: reason.) Instinct is precisely not reason. Instinct of self-preservation - when your only requirement is self-preservation, you don't need much. Fair amount of food, fair amount of sleep, reasonable shelter against the elements. The occasional cohabitation. You don't need schools, because you don't need language. Nurturing of children is left with the mothers who are naturally bonded to babies. We're not ever talking here about animal aggregates, like prides or herds. Human beings in the state of nature is solitary, propelled only by their instincts. Warning bells! Namely that Rousseau's picture of the human being does not in the least describe human experience. It's interesting how the fascination of an entire period of human history should have been generated by this work by Rousseau, which if anything is counter-intuitive. Counter-intuitive, because intuitively we experience ourselves as members of a social group. That is our intuitive experience of who we are. The only emotion inhabiting the human being is compassion. Compassion is the primeval emotion. (p393) Connection with voluntary activities - emotions. Our emotions are for Aristotle clothed by the decisions we make. For Rousseau, there's no decision involved. Do mothers decide to be tender to their infants? Instinctual. Rousseau is taking out of the sphere of intellectual activity emotions, signalling another radical departure from classical notions.

Inhabited by only two instincts: self-preservation and compassion.

And then it happened that natural calamities force the creation of couples. Rousseau traces the possible development of language and systems of rationality. 393. Very strongly anti-philosophy. With the development of languange and rationality, we started to rationalize so that now we're able to maintain ourselves in a situation where we don't lose sleep over our injustices. We are always rationalizing why we don't have to act.

In the matter of emotions.. With the development of language came the possibility of generation of artificial emotions. Think about it. Maybe an analogy should be drawn to the creation of all sorts of psychological categories - homosexuality, for example. Orientation instead of activity. Label first.

Artifical institution of marriage. Creating more problems than it tried to solve.

2003.01.15: Friendship

From study

Aristotle says three kinds of friendship exist: friendships of utility; friendships of pleasure; and friendships that are perfect between individuals "who are good and alike in virtue."

IV Aristotle distinguishes three kinds of friendship: a. relationships of mutual utility or advantage, b. relationships of mutual pleasure, c. relationships of mutual love essentially including esteem of the other?s character. He says only the third is a friendship in the most genuine and noble sense. Now the claim that genuine friends are characterized by esteem of each other's character may seem odd at first. We may be apt to think of friends as caring about each other in a way that is not obviously related to character. I want my friends to flourish for their own sake. What is the relation between a mutual desire for the other?s flourishing and mutual esteem of character?

V Aristotle argues that only in a relation of mutual esteem between virtuous people: a. does each love the other "as being the man he is" (1156a20) as opposed to as a source of advantage or pleasure, b. will the relationship endure, independently of the vagaries of fluctuating circumstance, mood, etc. (1156b1) c. is the relationship reciprocal in the best sense, since ?each gets from each in all respects the same as, or something like what, he gives.? (1156b34) d. is the essence of friendship loving rather than being loved (1159a20)

Lecture on class attendance

Can someone please explain to me why this class in particular does not have good class attendance?

Class notes

intemperate subpopulations, not persons. incontinence is the outcome of a series of bad decisions resulting in the person's inability to deliver upon what he continues to see as some good. the incontinent person has not lost his or her focus on activity which is fine and noble and good. it's just that it's only focus - no action. intellectual assent unable to operationalize in practice because of the intervening series of bad decisions. but still turned in the right direction. possible rehabilitation. can get back on track. incontinent visavis specific activities. Incontinence does not necessarily hold the entire person captive.

intemperate person, on the other hand.. because the subsystem might as well be another planet, has no conception or awareness of what other people would call fine or noble or good. other examples of intemperance. How even within our own socioeconomic class there are pockets of people for whom a priori others might be untouchables. Condemned others. (Pharisee reference.) Blaming the victims.

example of intemperance - the nazi experiments on children the doctors and scientists who performed these horrible experiments, for the most part, felt no shame or remorse.

p189 p190 - Aristotle clearly defines intemperance by comparing it to incontinence. While incontinent people personify the saying "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" and feel regret for their wrong actions, intemperate people purse excesses for the sake of excess - not for any further ends - and feel no regret or remorse for what they do. They are incorrigible, incurable, simply because they do not believe they are wrong.

An example here would be someone who willingly, knowingly pursues a life of vice or excesses without feeling guilty. Corruption falls into this category when the person who is corrupt takes what he does not deserve because he feels he is rightly entitled to it.

Use bullclips. Pay very close attention to format. Go for 11 pages or 13 pages. 10pt font. Turabian or MLA footnoting. Do not make the mistake of using the Social Science conventions. 1 inch margins. Deadline 12:00. Monday - no meeting for class, but hand paper to Father and get kit. Jesuit Residence.

a chemical reaction - an irreversible change. community of intemperance. the community of the irreversible. shift diametrically opposite to the direction in which the polis it self is moving. not know exactly when, but moot point. garden-variety to corruption to the nth degree.

These are systems that are actually toxic to the polis itself. They are toxic. Poisonous to the polis itself. For as long as the polis itself tolerates this presence within itself of a toxin-producing system, it's only going to be a matter of time before the polis itself will perish from the poisoning. So while there is still time, Aristotle proposes, get rid of the toxin producing system.

Systemic sin. The system itself continues sucking in... Aristotle's solution - excise it, or zap it. A very costly procedure. Nothing meaningful is going to come out of any effort to reform the system.

(Computer analogy. Actually, if your system had proper safeguards in place, then you wouldn't have to get rid of everything.)

Draconian measures needed.


Attraction. We are attracted to our fellow human beings. Three distinct species of attraction, ways in and through which we can channel the attraction we experience.

Attraction: pleasures of sensuality.

pleasure friendship

advantage friendship

friendship based on virtue

all three types of friendship are important to human beings and to the polis.


Why we are having a dual session

Philippine judiciary talk reason for dual session A relatively recent innovation on the part of the Supreme Court, in keeping with Plato's expectation that individuals in governance receive ongoing formation. I mean, you know, when you consider how people in the Republic are in school for 55 years - that's a lifetime. He wants to make sure that people in governance are individuals who take ongoing education and formation seriously. I suppose that was at some point behind the Supreme Court's decision to have that reform in the judiciary. Constantly need to keep retooling themselves in the practice of their craft. .. We have a knack of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. We have all kinds of good intentions but end up choking. Let's hope that this initative does well.

Justice as law-abidingness

We have just finished a consideration of Aristotle's notion of justice as decency, entirely in keeping with the constant theme that the practices of the virtues have to be operated in a manner that remains very close to the ground. And for that reason, to a certain extent, ad hoc. Not ad hoc in the sense of knee-jerk - Aristotle is not talking about a knee-jerk practice or reflex activity. In book 6, he calls the facility that enables human beings to practice virtue intelligence. There is nothing knee-jerk about Aristotle's ad hoc manner of proceeding, but nonetheless it is ad hoc because decisions have to be made anew proportionate to the particulars which keep changing as we move through life. That again is the idea he brings up with the notion of justice as decency. Lawmakers can express a statute expressing something of a common denominator, but the work so to speak of embroidering upon the edges of that common denominator so that the piece of legislation is made to fit with a real-life condition. The work of judges is the work of embroidery - making a piece of garment that was never intended to fit all sizes in the end fit all sizes, but not in the Procrustean sense of the matter - not artificially stretching or cutting it. There's nothing thoughtful about cutting things off or stretching things out. The bare statement of the law must be made responsive to complex and often confusing situations that come up, and this work must be done in a thoughtful, deliberative, paying attention to particulars kind of way.

Justice is work, justice as distribution

The conception of justice as work - the community has to do this in order to decide how to distribute its resources, including esteem and good will. The city has to decide from its store how to apportion out its resources that way. The public does not have unlimited resources, even in terms of being able to recognize from among its number those who have made contributions to the community. Even Ateneo has a limited number of awards. Whenever the Ateneo gives special recognitions like that, we even cancel classes for that afternoon or something like that. Aristotle's understanding is that... and to talk about logistical support, any community has only so much to give away... Aristotle is saying that there is not an infinity of these resources, so the community has to be very careful about how it apportions out what it needs to apportion out so that those from among its number with the aptitude and the desire and the motivation and the generosity and so forth and so on to work on the behalf of the community can be helped in the work that they are doing.

Justice as distribution

This seems like a very non-controversial point. Who's going to dispute that? However, how to make those distributions and who to make the distributions to are not always clear-cut. When you think for example sometimes how confused we are in our own country - how clueless sometimes we are... I mean, during the last election for the Senatorial slate, here's a guy we put on detention for the charge of plunder, and then we put his wife in the Senate. What kind of a community are we? We pity the poor suffering wife? She has all these years known how to play her cards very well. Don't pity her. But we as a nation did. That's just one example. It only goes to show how difficult it is when a community is not applying itself to the task - how difficult it is to do these distributions.

Justice in distribution - five challenges and a half. In the private sector, when you think of how many incompetents are in positions higher than they really deserve simply because of seniority.. Even in the private sector. Even in the university. Justice in distribution is difficult to operate, and yet crucially important. Crucially important. Because when we don't make those distributions properly and with wisdom, we all end up paying a very steep price for it. In the case of our nation, well, the general moribundity of conditions of life in our country. Once a year in certain towns they put on the Feast of Fools, where roles are reversed - a reminder to all that there is no position that should be taken so seriously because the truly important scene was that of eternal life. It just seems that every day it's the feast of fools in our country. How difficult the work of justice in distribution. When the university decides which people to give its recognition to - it very often takes a whole year to sift through all those nominees.

Justice in rectification

Justice in rectification is the very important work of making sure that right equivalences are drawn up. In a complex community, conflicts are bound to develop between people. Always, some people will end up taking what people perceive as more than their just share. Before the civilizing influence of the principle an eye for an eye, it was a town for an eye. If one individual felt put upon and so forth and so on, the entire village would often avenge that. Vendetta. Then the principle an eye for an eye was civilizing. But in more advanced communities, you can't quite require an eye for an eye. When you literally take an eye for an eye, it stirs up passions, emotions. Even if it seems like a perfect exchange, I don't think that the friends and families will take it sitting down. Aristotle understood that there has to be a better way of going about the exchange.

Once again it does seem simple enough to do, doesn't it? No one's going to argue the importance of determining those equivalences. For an eye, what can we expect the offending party to give in return? This is one of the reasons Aristotle gives for the invention of currency. Equivalences were for the most part pinned to currency equivalences. To what today we would call monetary damages. Now mind you that although talking about distribution and rectification, Aristotle clearly meant the institutional forms that these took, he also however meant that the work of distribution and rectification we do in our everyday, interpersonal, pre-legal life. Out of court situations. That is why justice as decency, law-abidingness, distribution and rectification are virtues. These are not just for judges to think of. These are things that we also need to work out.

Think of the poor Ateneo graduate who lost his life the other day. One of the people in that tussle did not have a conception of justice as rectification. Let's just assume that for the sake of argument that someone felt he was the aggrieved party, but to take a gun and shoot that Ateneo alumnus is clearly something that goes to show that that person had not been able to work out a practice of rectification. In other words, for a tooth, he went for a human life.

In other words, what Aristotle is saying is that we have to work on ourselves so that we're able to - in situations in which there may be a need to restore balance or an equilibrium - we need to have a sane, balanced, wise practice in our daily lives as well as in our institutional lives.

That example I gave you of a woman jailed for 14 years for 5,000 pesos... In our own time, we not only have monetary damages but we also have prison terms. The whole penal system - is it creating more problems than it is solving? The practice of prison terms is a relatively new practice that began only around 150 years ago. And almost from its very inception down to today, thoughtful observers of the penal institutions that we have allowed to become so much a part of our way of our life have said that the prison system doesn't really reform or rehabilitate people, and it doesn't allow the offenders to eventually become good citizens of society.. Recidivism has always been a problem. Your main companionship is other criminals, and there is literally no escape. You think there's anyone who's going to hire you? How are these people going to rejoin society? The penal system establishes instead a class of criminals so that the state has an excuse to build a system of surveillance and control, to make it possible for the governance to reach even more deeply into the lives of people because they have a perfect excuse - namely, such conditions of crime (real or for the most part, imagined)... The state of kidnapping is very good for the security businesses and for the police, isn't it? Terrorism - the perfect mechanism for the governance to tighten the screws, increase the budget for the police and surveillance operations... Maybe there's a certain twisted dimension to the way you work out equivalences, so you have created a society for yourself. At any given point in the US' recent history, there are 2.5 M or so Americans in jail - sentenced to prison. In one sense, America is seen as a shining example of democracy - but in another, it is a perfect example of the police state. Why do you suspect that it has such sophisticated instruments? The general American fear of crime. Is this objective or artificially generated? Is the answer to crime field more police and build more jails? Well, for a number of Americans who profit from the prison industry - after armaments, it's one of the biggest - this includes social workers, psychologists, nutritionists... It is an industry more than it is a deterrent to crime. It's a very interesting point that some of these researchers are making. The current global war on terror is a perfect example. You place before people the specter of crime and terror, you can almost make them do anything. In the Philippines, many people suspect an inescapable collusion, in fact, between our police forces and criminality. The more serious the criminality, the better it might be in some ways for the police force. So it's sort of like a vicious circle. As perceptions of rising criminality rise, then the public allows the police force to violate human rights and laws to become more restrictive. Private security agencies. And yet very often these people are simply.. Do you think that the presence of more security guards is able to do anything about anything? There are supposed to be guards all over the place, but Fr. Caluag's safe was still stolen from his office. Why do we persist in paying for those decorations? Because of the perception - with some basis in fact, but for the most part the result of hype... All right, so one person from your village is kidnapped, so you avoid the streets - but the streets become more and more unsafe. When are we going to take back the night? The more people like ourselves avoid those places, the more they become... By abdicating, so to speak - by some kind of a process of abdication... When are we ever going to take back the night? All of a sudden, because of this Ateneo boy... How many people get killed but you never hear about it? The more people from our social class get involved in situations like that, I think things might actually become better. We are a community that has not learned as it should have learned to work out justice in rectification. That kind of hot-headed, knee-jerk response is due to the inability to work out equivalences judiciously. Those kinds of hot-heads result precisely from the lack of the work we do on ourselves to develop those equivalences.

And then finally to rehearse that justice is law-abidingness... He takes a very different view of justice than Plato does. Plato puts into Thrasymachus a disdain of the law - only the advantage of the stronger. And it does seem that way, doesn't it? Where do you suppose the constitutional change legislators' true intentions lie? Plato does in fact seem to be speaking in very large volumes. Justice, he says, is the advantage of the stronger, which is why in the Republic, there is no provision for law. The philosopher-rulers are not law-makers, they are technocrats. They apply science and mathematical principles and engineering principles to the construction of the city. They view themselves as men and women serving science. They're like the men and women in the white coats, who build empires like Microsoft. I mean, Microsoft is one of the most fabulous companies in the whole world. There's no legislature in Microsoft. (! Yes, and they have a disdain for the law too!) Except that the polis is more heterogenous than Microsoft. That is something that Plato didn't take sufficient account of, which is why in the polis - unlike Microsoft, where everyone is dedicated to the manufacture of Microsoft programs - you have people who form a very diverse community.

In a community like that, you cannot find a person like Bill Gates or his top lieutenants with the wisdom to set up an infrastructure that will help all. You need many, many heads. You need almost half the population in the agora to settle challenges facing the city as a whole. And the emblem of that reality that many many heads are better than one - changing phenomenon - the emblem of that is the legislature. The lawmakers. A very important and positive work for the community. If there are many heads bent on working together and in consensus-building, and not in politicking or selfishness - assuming the heads are coming together on the question of policy and law.. Aristotle is basically saying that you would do better to place your trust in this body of lawmakers than you would otherwise. So Aristotle's conception of the law as an ally, friend, support mechanism - that which enables the practice of the the virtues - is what underwrites his conception of justice as law-abidingness a virtue in itself. Simply by obeying the law, you are contributing to the fineness and the nobility, the virtuousness of your life, just by obeying the law. You abide by the law, because obedience has connotations of blind obedience. Simply by abiding by the law, you are bringing to public display the virtues which specific laws intend to banner.

In Book 6, Aristotle is making the distinct point concerning knowledge... For Plato, knowledge is on a continuum, and that is why he thinks that philosopher-rulers can rule the city in all its heterogenity. The same people with mathematical abilities will also have counseling abilities. They would also have the ability to tell you whether you should marry this man or not. The ability to tell you whether you should come to the rescue of this man or not. Aristotle says that there is no person in the world who automatically has the ability to weave baskets or tell the difference between right and wrong in close-up and personal situations. They might have the ability to say where one should build, but they do not necessarily have the ability to determine whether justice has been served. Book 6 is about the species of knowledge, and they are not collapsible into the same overarching conception of knowledge. Apples and oranges. Ethical knowledge is something you need to develop on its own terms. The second half of book six provides a wonderful summary of everything up to that point he had said about the practices of virtue, its nature, its mechanisms, some helpful tips...

Skipping now to book 7. He talks about the principal impediments to the practices of the virtues. The first being incontinence. He knows something is wrong, but he does it anyway. virtue is pleasurable. excess?

Incontinence - example about smoking.

incontinent - people who are weaker than they think they are. We're not talking about the one-time offender. Addiction. incontinent people are at war with themselves. Can still recognize the good.

intemperate - seeks excesses. from the beginning are not one of us. cannot relate to the community's sense of values. alien within. don't you realize what you're doing is wrong? these don't lose sleep. corruption, for example. cannot understand what the fuss is all about.

reconcilation does not remove cancers. you cannot reason with cancer. you cannot cajole it. You must banish it or kill it.

intemperance is like a societal autism. They just can't connect with the real world. They are subcultures. Reconcilation is impossible. Incontinent people are corrigible, but intemperate people are impossible to reform.

Next: intemperate. classes of friendship


When All You've Ever Wanted Isn't Enough: Harold Kushner

Page 15

Ask the average person which is more important to him, making money or being devoted to his family, and virtually everyone will answer family without hesitation. But watch how the average person actually lives out his life. See where he really invests his time and energy, and he will give away the fact that he does not really live by what he says he believes. He has let himself be persuaded that if he leaves for work earlier in the morning and comes home more tired at night, he isp roving how devoted he is to his family by expending himeelf to provide them with all the things they have seen advertised.

Ask the average person which means more to her, the approval of strangers or the affection of people closest to her, and she won't be able to understand

Plato paper specifications

50% of paper - textual development / scenario using Plato's republic / historical account

remarks of the people dysfunctional organization of Plato nuclear families describe situation of Athens by reading between the lines. Description of present state affairs that have been developed a long time ago.

Summary description of a story of decline (political organization and life)

Ancient Athenian culture was originally imbued with a generous understanding of and toleration for the whole of human experience, with a strength to survive in the face of personal and political adversity, a culture that would admit a wide latitude in the pursuit of individual creativity, coupled with a deep-seated feeling of social and political identity.

Its decline began with the rise of Athenian military and economic superiority, following the defeat of the Persian fleet at Salamis (480 BC). This period of unheralded prosperity quickly bred divisivenes and internal turmoil. Athens became militarily aggressive, and immense fortunes were made. Visited military and economic forces further contributed to social and economic disparity, to an abandonment of the fully integrated life of the Greek city-state

Provide a close textual reading of Plato's Republic that engages these historical points, and explains the specific remedies Plato has to offer by means of the program that he would have Socrates propose.

Finally, what analogies can be drawn to both this illness and its therapy from conditions such as they are, and such as they could be, in the Philippines.


Please bring P110 pesos next Monday Interestingly enough - before we move on, let me just backtrack a bit

The soul here is taken to mean the entire constitution of a human being. There is a rational part and a nonrational part, and that nonrational part contains a nutritive part that handles the automatic processes that keep us alive (breathing, for example). The emotions are located in this part of the soul, together with the viscera. The emotions had to do with the bowels.

Aristotle precisely wants us to understand that there are many things we can know with the power of reason - the good that I should do, and the bad that I should avoid. However, I cannot know the way. Thinking with my viscera. Thinking with my emotions. Which is why there is no formula for the bad we should avoid and the good we should do. If there were, long ago you would have been given a booklet. So in other words, what Aristotle is basically saying is that just as the mind and reason are an illuminating principle, so also are emotions an illuminating principle. However, the emotions are never once and for all.

You know how it is in mathematics - you either know it or you don't. This is not the case when it comes to emotions. You need to learn how to harness your emotions. The point is you need your emotions in order to get across that [mine]field. And it's the field of life. While you're making your way across uncharted territory - and the ethical life is uncharted territory in the way, for there are no landmarks... If you had landmarks, no problem. We wouldn't need to have a class like this. There are no landmarks across this field, only a lot of improvisation.

It underscores at the very least for us what a different civilization we have organized for ourselves. How different it is from that of Ancient Greece.

I voluntarily enter upon my actions. That is why the Nichomachean Ethics stress the voluntary character of the virtues. I can factor in all sorts of information, look at some guidebooks, but in the end, it is not the guidebook that will provide the answer. I will have to make the decision myself. The idea that I will have to make a decision myself - doesn't that run so countercultural to our own culture? Modern civilization has made important one and only one thing - obedience. We give loyalty awards to people who do what their bosses tell them to. We operate a civilization that would rather just follow orders. We have made a virtue of loyalty and blind obedience.

The virtue of loyalty and blind obedience works for the world of rationality. In the realm of rationality - mathematics - everyone is in service of the Truth. Unindubitable Truth. Truth impossible to doubt or gainsay. It wouldn't be too bad that we have gained a virtue of obedience if that which we were loyal to was in fact Truth. In our own time, we are on this side of Descartes and Kant. Ironically, Descartes and Kant had originally set out to win autonomy for the human being. Descartes wanted to free himself from the enslavement of error. Kant wanted to remove the tutelage to authority, of having to take orders from external authorities. Descartes wanted to obey only the clear and distinct thoughts of the rational parts of ourselves, and Kant wanted to follow only the categorical imperative - law of morality. So Kant and Descartes wanted to create a situation where human beings would not be subjected to the babble of voices that say go here or go there. Ironically, they laid the foundation for a way of life that has ended up in people being even more enslaved.

What is the enslavement to now? To systems of thought assumed to be Truth, but because these systems need to be mediated by high priests... So there you have it. The modern individual does what he is told by those he thinks knows better.

Does that not describe even you as students? They don't want to think on their own. The idea that an entire book will be assigned... So in other words, you'd much rather listen to the thesis questions as formulated by the professor and then take that to be the word. Ironically, Descartes and Kant have laid the foundations for docility. The highest award that you can get from high school is the loyalty award - emblematic of our way of life. Very different from Aristotle. Does he mention loyalty at all? Aristotle expects the virtuous person to be an initiative-taker, not a loyal follower. But of course to be this initiative-taker is also to embrace a way of life of trial and error.

So that's interesting, isn't it. For mathematics, philosophy, engineering - whereby philosophy Aristotle means the ability to work with syllogisms. All across the university system of the Philippines, the required course in philosophy is only logic, a kind of mathematics. For that, we can send you the instructions by e-mail. But when it comes to determining the good you should do and the bad you would do best to avoid, there is no recipe book that exists that will facilitate it for you, because it is work that you need to do in an adhoc and always adhoc kind of way.

Attending to particulars, attending to details, getting advice, checking with your emotions, harnessing your emotions... and your principal ally here will be precisely your emotions. Emotions which in their raw state can be overwhelming. When you take for example that virtue of generosity, what do you think is the emotion involved in generosity? A kind of fellow feeling, wanting to be helpful, a feeling of connection to other human beings to whom you would like to be helpful? Now that emotion by itself can be like a whirlwind. So if you're not careful about the whirlwind, you might end up giving fish to people but not, as they say, teaching them how to fish. You may end up spoiling people with your dole-outs. You may end up even destroying people's lives by throwing good money after bad. Don't you know some people who are like that - who are giving, but not judicious? On the other hand, you can be so careful with your resources - "don't give them anything, because they're just going to buy shabu" - which becomes a habit of not giving anything to anyone.

So you see how difficult it is to deal with emotions. Sometimes you will go overboard or to the opposite extreme, becoming an island with no network of connections to people around. Well, that is the nature of the beast. Fortunately, for that is what will keep us alive and alert - the knowledge that between excess and deficiency is the mean, and the mean is always a moving target. It is not the Ten Commandments, nor a guidebook. It is not a set of things you put down in black and white. By the time I figure out the answers, they've changed the questions. Always the questions change.

Some people might look at that as unfortunate. Aristotle thinks that it is great that way, since it forces us to always be on our toes. To be initiative-takers. To be responsibility-takers. That whole longish section about the voluntary character of virtuous action and the practices of virtue comes up here.

And just to go back to what I said in the beginning, it is interesting that he locates it in the viscera. Ethical activity is visceral activity. I suppose you can use the more modern conception of the heart as the seat of emotions, but the more ancient notion of thinking with our bellies is also useful. A very different kind of thinking than thinking with the mind.

As Aristotle would point out in book 6, we need the mind with its various dimensions - science, mathematics, abstraction - the mind with its ability to produce the crafts, and then finally, not the mind now, but the viscera. Ethical thinking, which is thinking with your viscera. Your emotions. Just as mathematics opens up worlds, just as empirical science opens up other worlds, just as philosophical abstractions opens up yet other worlds - and we're appreciative of those worlds because they help us build cities and infrastructure - and of course our craft ability opens up yet other worlds... When you think for example of how intricate... In contradistinction to Plato, where knowledge is on a line and everything can eventually be subsumed into one category - a seamless continuum - Aristotle sees knowledge as apples and oranges. The physical sciences and mathematics are different and cannot be placed on the same continuum. Why should we want to place them on a continuum, anyway? We should rejoice in the heterogenity of knowledge.

When you think for example of tapestry making - you think they just take a canvas and paint upon it? How is a tapestry made? Have you seen pictures of those gigantic tapestries depicting medieval pomp and pageantry. All these medieval hosts in all their cloths of gold and brilliant headgear and the city depicted in the background and a pasture filled with delicately colored flowers... Many medieval tapestries are like that, and the intricate design is the result of thread laid upon thread upon thread, which needed to be dyed with the precise hue they desired. We're talking here about intense concentration. Many of these took decades or even generations to build. The amount of teamwork... It's crazy to want to subsume everything under one continuum because then you'll say that the work of the tapestry-weaver is lower than the philosopher's. They shouldn't take the back seat. In fact, all should take the front seat.

The fifth type of knowledge is intelligence - thinking with your viscera. His assumption is that the human being who succeeds in making the right moves across a topography of life that is seeded with landmines and providing a great example of how to live... Such a person is just as amazing as any scientific achievement. The person who comes up after a long life of practicing the virtues can be placed in the same display room as those medieval tapestries and the Internet and cutting-edge technologies... That's how important for Aristotle doing the good that we should do and avoiding the bad is - it's like a work of art.

These species of knowledge are very different from one another and cannot be compared. The recognition of their irreducible differences will be at the same time a reminder to us that we cannot take it for granted that just because we've gotten our PhD in something, we have already succeeded in becoming good persons. To be a good person is a completely different ball game. Plato gives the impression that the philosopher-ruler is already a good person. Well how many experts do we know may have thought that their exalted status qualifies them as good, moral, ethical people? For as long as Auschwitz existed, the person who met every single cattle train filled with people headed for the execution chambers... Joseph Mendale(sp?) always came out to do his job in addition to the gruesome experiments they performed on Jewish children and adults. When he wasn't doing that, he was standing on the platform, immaculately dressed and with white gloves. On one hand he would flick to the right or to the left - straight into the gas chambers or into the concentration camp, in which few people lived more than a couple of weeks. My point is that this man had a double doctorate whose dissertation was on the categorical imperative. He apparently forgot to take the time out to work on his viscera. Aristotle says that you cannot reduce one to the other. The development of the ethical life takes time and effort, and is as worthy as writing your dissertation or gaining the respect of your colleagues.

So these emotions - this force within you that you need to learn to master, but master not in the sense of being predictable (your emotions are precisely not predictable), but to develop the ability to deal with surprise, the surprise which your emotions are always springing upon you. And because the emotions themselves are unpredictable, their uses are also unpredictable. Adhoc, moving target.. You can never get to the point where you can say I found i - to be dead to the adventure of your emotions.

The results, therefore, will always in a sense be this moving target. Presumably once you have developed character - what we were talking about yesterday - you have become better and better at hitting the target, but you are never a perfect, absolutely sharp shooter. Never, not in the adventure of harnessing your emotions and determining the good that you should do and the bad you should avoid.

To underscore the moving character of the mean of virtue, Aristotle in book 5, when he talks about the different species of justice, comes up with the notion of justice as decency. So what is justice as decency? Page 142. Bottom of the page. The letter of the law, the things in the guidebook, as they appear - they are not the things that are just, except coincidentally. (Example about health knowledge.) Knowing what is just - how actions should be done, how distributions should be made - we're taking about a hundred jobs. Let's just take one of those things that I love to harp on. The student handbook stipulation on cuts says only that you have 6 cuts for a class like this. That is all it says. According to the letter of the law, you can think of it as you can take up 6 personal holidays. Personal holiday in workforce: reward. ... There are many things on paper that seem to support inequality and injustice.


Questions: law-abidingness, distribution and rectification

2003.01.06: 12 page paper

Aristotle is providing you with a window.

Steven ?? provides you with a window within a window. The smallest window of all in this set of three is Harold Kushner. ? First-hand account. Give me a reading of Haro Kushner. I want you to do a reading of Haro Kushner's reading of life, but through the windows provided by Aristotle as the widest window and the smaller window of Steven ?.

We are talking about frames. How will I be assured that you are framing your essay with these windows? Textual references. Steven Wyte has four major divisions or parts. I want every single one of the ten divisions of Aristotle and the four divisions of Wyte decisively represented in your paper.

The usual requirements, exactly two weeks from today, at the beginning of class. If you think you're going to have a problem coming in on time, know that we will start exactly on time.

We all live in a world where the computer will crash one hour before the deadline. We have also all learned to make accommodations for all the other impediments in our lives like traffic. So also must you make allowance for the fact that your machines will break down before the deadline.

No personal

There surely are innumerable points of convergence between his story and yours. I am asking you to give a reading upon Haro Kushner's life, not yours. Don't give me a single sentence that begins with the pronoun "I".

Submit in duplicate, on clean paper.

Both papers need to be submitted in _duplicate._ Don't use recycled paper.

Secondary source copies

The only time you need to hand me your photocopy of secondary sources that are not common to us is if there is in fact a secondary source that you feel you _must_ use that is not common to us. With the exception of the Budhi journal.

All your resources should be from the Rizal Library.

No Internet resources. There's ample material there. For the Aristotle paper, do not go outside Steven Wyte and of course Aristotle. Do not quote other sources.

Aristotle and the Nichomachean Ethics

What Aristotle is trying to do in the Nichomachean Ethics is describe a conduct of life in and through which can be brought to display a mastery developed over time - not necessarily over a whole lifetime, but over a significant amount of time - a mastery over emotions and appetities. A reflective, conscious mastery capable of displaying the human function of rationality. A rational mastery of our emotions and appetites, whereby rational we mean a mastery of our emotions and appetites at which we have deployed processes of deliberation resulting in decision to act one way or another.

They have to do with squarely facing and meeting and working with and processing our emotions and our appetites so that these emotions and appetites which are churning within us anyway - whether we are conscious of them or not - can be harnessed both as the motivating factors of the activity and the targets of activity.

Now that word activity. Very clearly Aristotle is describing a very agentic approach - not a passive or contemplative or Eastern Buddhist meditative approach to life. He is describing the life of agency, the conduct of the citizen agent, the agent who is a citizen. And the prime motivational energy of the agent who is the citizen, the source of the agent's drive, energy, resoluteness, purposiveness and so on and so forth will be none other than the emotions and the appetites.

But the emotions and appetites will also be the target of action, because it is the purpose of action precisely to develop mastery over these emotions and appetities. So that is the general architecture that Aristotle is trying to convey to us in the Nichomachean Ethics.

Now how do we develop mastery over a set of energies that could be very dangerous to have to deploy? Emotions have led to duels. Emotions have led to shootings. Emotions have led to war. Appetites have been the undoing of many people.

So we're talking here precisely about material which we need to use because without that material there would be no incentive, no drive, no energy for us to be able to do anything at all. When you think for example of what it is that makes you jump out of bed in the morning even if you'd much rather just remain in bed and sleep some more... what is it? Examine yourselves. What is it that makes you jump out of bed? For some it might be a boyfriend or a girlfriend, for others it might be "oh my God, I'll be late for school"... Without our emotions and appetites, we wouldn't be able to live. We'd be like zombies.

But on the other hand, allowing ourselves to be powered by emotions and appetites is like putting a tiger in our tank. There used to be an oil company in our country with the motto "Put a tiger in your tank." The trouble with emotions is that they're like this tiger - a tiger capable of powering your movement, but a tiger that you may find yourself in the belly of. How do you ride such a thing and not end up in its tummy?

Page 44: developing virtue of character. Now what did he mean by character? That word "character" clues us immediately to the fact that for Aristotle and the members of his community in Athens, the practice of virtues was a historical practice - something that could be brought to display in space and time. By character and the activities in which we build character, we precisely mean those activities which can be observed, commented on and compared with other activities. They were doings, not musings. They were activities, not qualities. They were about performance, not personalities.

The trouble with us in our own country and way of life - and we say it all the time, but we don't seem to be bothered any more - is that we have a politics of personalities and not of performance. The trouble with personalities and qualities and musings is that for the most part, they are fantasy derivations. And they are fantasy derivations precisely because in contradistinction from a performance, there is no mechanism of external corroboration. There is no requirement that matches be made between the professed quality and deed. Not that I want to unfairly pounce on him because he's in the limelight, but let's take FPJ. The persona which is a construction of cinematography is the persona that most people associate with FPJ. Do people ask "talaga bang ganoon siya sa totoong buhay?" 7 criminals at a blow? Has he actually been able to do that? No, when we're talking personalities and musings and qualities, there's no requirement of a match between the 7 at a blow myth and the witness of historical life. At least partially to blame for our fixation upon qualities of inner life (how many times have you heard those words? inwardness?) has been, I think, a misunderstanding - a probably conscious, willful, deliberate misinterpretation of the Gospel saying that when you're doing good, make sure nobody sees what you're doing. How then would you have external corroboration and know that you are not just engaging in fantasy?

Good intentions? When you're on the level of intentions, you're trying to read someone else's mind - an impossible task. Why allow ourselves to be sidelined into doing the impossible when in fact we should be checking, measuring and observing what a person has actually done.

So when Aristotle speaks of the virtues of character, character is that region where there is a clustering of things that a person has done over his or her life which have a family resemblance to one another. Notice that the way that we are describing it - a region where there is a clustering of activities with a kind of consistency

When Aristotle refers to these virtues, he is referring to activities that take place in historical, concrete space and time. That is why he can say that it is concerned with feelings, excesses, deficiencies, and intermediate conditions. Feelings that have been adjusted to times, things, ends, ways and means.

The question: How do we develop mastery over our emotions and our appetites? Slowly, and hopefully surely. One experience at a time. One challenge at a time. Taking care, every time, to pay attention to particulars. Which particulars? Times, things, people, ways and means. Paying attention to particulars means of course deliberating upon the particulars.

So paying attention to particulars requires... How do you pay attention to a particular? Would you describe to us how you pay attention to the particulars in your life?

Example. Resume. Is it an effort on your part to work on the resume? It's so technical and dreary. You really in a sense make a decision to produce your resume for it to be part of reality? What made you decide to pay attention to your resume? You need the resume. Paying attention to particulars requires, very often, a lot of conscious energy on our part... It entails that I decide to finally do it. Voluntary activity. This is what Aristotle means when he speaks of virtuous activity always as voluntary activity. The activities or the practices in and through which are developed slowly, incrementally, one experience at a time, a mastery over my appetites and emotions are the consequences of decisions on my part - voluntary activites. I _will_ to do it. Unless I say to myself I will do it, it will not get done - precisely because of the tediousness of it all. Who wants to have to deal with one's emotions all the time? Isn't that why people take alcohol or abuse substances, so that they do not have to face their emotions? So that they can pretend that they do not have particularly insistent emotions.

What Aristotle is saying is that contrary to what a lot of us might think, there actually is very little about our lives and emotions and appetites that we in fact cannot bring under one or another kind of mastery, which brings us back to what I was saying about Aristotle earlier: that Aristotle is communicating to us the sense of the city of agents, the city of doers capable of husbanding our lives in and through the decisions that by the minute we make. By the minute. Both through the high points and the humdrum points of our lives, so that even if our lives seem to be moving at a humdrum keel, it still moves by our decisions. Even in times when life is in high gear, we must decide. We can decide. We can't say "he had a knife to my neck". Maybe 99% of the time you would be wise to choose to give it up, but maybe you should also decide not to. Even under conditions of duress, you are still capable of deciding.

Aristotle is describing a world in which there are very little things that we do not have a choice in. The only situations are when other people turn you into a physical puppet - when they actually move your hands and your feet. So much of our lives is in fact operated on the basis of decisions that we make by the minute. So how do we make the right decisions? Life is like a minefield, isn't it? If you neglected to train yourself for such an undertaking, you will get blown up. You need to develop the expertise of bomb-sniffing dogs and of bomb experts, a skill that is developed over a long period of time. Training school is not some definable, locatable institution - no, training school is life itself, and your principal text book will be your emotions and appetities, and your principal tool your decisions.

That's an overview of Aristotle. A call for us to be agents of our own lives. Now mind you that he does not mean agents as ?? but rather agents as citizens. We are embedded in the city for which we are responsible and which takes responsibility for us. A call to a citizenly agency, and a call to develop the kind of skills and aptitudes and mastery that will enable us as citizens together and in our own lives to conduct ourselves in a manner that will solve more problems than it creates. Not a perfect life - Aristotle realizes that we are not angels. He would like to teach us that while the best that we can say of ourselves is that we are works in progress, nevertheless this is worthwhile to undertake. What is the reward? A flourishing city.

Now let me just pick up a little more about the school being life itself. In Plato, the school had masters and pupils. The philosopher-rulers were like the professoriate. The guardians were the acolytes, the assistances, the apprentices. In Aristotle's school there are no professors. No one holds a chair for anything. No one speaks ex cathedra (from the chair). On the other hand, one can also learn from one's neighbors, even if that neighbor is not sitting on a chair - he or she might have something important to impart by way of example. And that is why Aristotle talks about the excellent standard. Here and there, for specific lessons, one can consult the witness of this person's life or that person's life for specific lessions. Which is why in our own lives we approach different people for different things.

On page 65, he talks about the excellent person - people in your community that when faced with one or more challenges have acquitted themselves fairly well. Something may be learned by you simply by attending to the witness their lives bear.

The practice of the virtues is the practice of mastery over one's emotions and appetites - a mastery that can only be gained through attention to detail, which must involve a conscious willing on the part of the practicioner of virtue to take detail into account. Why are details important? Because details trigger emotions. Details trigger appetites. And for there to be a mastery over emotions and appetites, one has to determine which details trigger which emotions and appetites how much and in which way. A person who would develop mastery over his emotions and appetites needs to be aware of what kind of stimuli trigger what sort of emotional responses. If a person, for example, discovers that not even the sight of bullies setting upon a young child does not arouse in him a sense of anger, then the person asks "Is there something wrong with me? I felt nothing. I felt no anger."

For example, why is it that your immersion weekend is such a big deal? Or why is it that having been confronted with such a reality, you feel that you can do nothing about it? A conscientious person would ask why is it that the emotion one feels is of helplessness? Is that the right thing to feel? The virtuous person would precisely try to awaken that tiger of anger in himself or herself. The only emotion that can get anyone to confront a situation of systemic injustice. On the other hand, if it's not in your cards to train your emotions in that direction... How are we using the energy from the tiger?

For that reason, Aristotle speaks of intermediate conditions, excesses and deficiencies. The mean of specific activities - those activities that will allow me to bring to display the highest and best commitments and values of the community - the mean, the excess of it and the deficiency of it, how do we determine that? There is no formulaic way of determining that, because the formula changes also by the minute. It changes in accordance with and in response to details. Details once again. It is always about the right times, peoples, things and ways. But nevertheless, he feels that there are certain practices - courage, magnanimity, generosity... What's interesting is that these are the first three virtues he talks about, all of which are practices relating citizens to their city.

Courage is the practice of steadfastness in a time of adversity for the city. Steadfastly promoting the defense of the city. Steadfastly promoting the happiness of the city in and through the activities of the agora in times of peace. The first context he supplies is the battlefield. He describes courage as fearlessness even in the face of death. If I have to die, it will be for my beloved country. It's not unusual that the first virtue should be that of courage, for the Greek city-states were warrior states. So just to answer the question again: it is only possible to develop courage over a replication of decisions leading to action displaying one's steadfast loyalty to one's country and city. Systematic efforts on the part of the city to promote love for it, as much as systematic efforts on the parts of individuals to promote their own love for the city. It might begin with military training. An attention to detail. Open-eyed awareness of things.

(Long note on patriotism.)

Courage is also something to display in the agora. The spaces between citizen and citizen.

Magnanimity means taking from your own substance, not from your extra. In the second half of Book III and in Book IV he describes a number of virtues. In Book V he talks about the four species of justice. Law-abidingness, distribution, rectification, decency. And then just to show you how truly important the virtue of friendship is, he devotes two books to it.

Let me say something about justice. Justice as law-abidingness. Terence Irwin - observance of the law

Think about the following things:

2002.12.18: Nichomachean Ethics

In contrast to the Republic and all of Plato's known writings - which were all prepared by Plato for publication and have therefore come down to us in highly polished form - in contrast, the only materials from Aristotle are his lecture notes. None of the things that Aristotle wrote for publication survived - only lecture notes. That is why his prose is sparing. Cut and dry. The argumentation is sometimes repetitious - he repeats himself in many parts.

Like all of Plato's works, all of Aristotle's works were also written continuously without divisions. The divisions of these works into books and chapters is the work of much later convention. Terence Irwin uses that convention, but in addition - because he wants to make this translation user-friendly - he clusters the ideas in what he feels are very helpful ways, which then he gives summary descriptions of. All the italicized lines are Terence Irwin.

Aristotle outlines where he and Plato part ways in 1.44 (page 8) and onward.

When you think about Plato and the Republic, remembering specifically that he had said to his friends that yes, we'll talk about justice, but let us look to see where justice is written in large letters and then we will look at it where it is writ small. Glaucon had asked him to describe what justice does to individuals. Would you say that Plato was the kind of person who painted in broad strokes?

"I want to look at the macro picture first before looking at the details."

Who are the people that 99% of the time in the Republic Plato is talking about? Which are the people he talks about the most? It's a book about the guardians and the philosopher rulers. What about the other people? Do they figure into his city? The governors of the city; the administrators of the city.. Not the citizens. He mentions the fact that there will be this third class, but he doesn't say anything about them. His focus is on the monumental members of their city.

With that in the background, would you say therefore that Aristotle's objections to Plato's approach is "It's all very fine that you spend so much time talking about a meritocracy, but unfortunately, all the things you have to say about them leave most other people cold - because it's not about them. You have outlined a program for self-actualization for the first citizens, but what about the rest of the city?" That is at least one possible way we can characterize the difference between Plato and Aristotle. In other words, Aristotle in contrast to Plato is turned toward every man and woman. Whereas Plato, in his concern to address the problem of defective leadership, addresses only the class of leaders. You can say that the two complement each other, but Aristotle doesn't see it that way. Even where your program for administrating the lead of the city is concerned - is there anyone who can find himself reflected in your descriptions of even the worthwhile material for the class of guardians and philosophers? Aristotle seems to think that Plato has provided an empty form - a fanciful apparatus into which you really cannot find anyone to plug, because that's not where most people are.

Most people are not philosopher-ruler material, nor guardian class material. In fact, Aristotle doesn't know anyone. In fairness to Plato, Plato is thinking in terms of the organization. He is an organization man. All these jobs that you send applications to were created with the best interests of the organization in mind, not for you. The position was not created for you, but for the organization. Plato, so to speak, as the CEO of that organization, is more interested in developing the discourse relating to the position itself than he is in meeting anyone in particular who might be able to fill that position. On the other hand, Aristotle wants his work to meet with those he meets in particular. (?)

Particular versus general. Whereas Plato would say this is how you should feel, Aristotle would ask "How do you feel?" Where is your pain? Show me where your pain is. Aristotle thinks that that is a very important difference, especially when talking about ethics. For Aristotle, ethics is not about stable positions or destinations.

Plato tends to be more focused on destinations; see allegory of line and cave; ends; images of rest and having arrived at journey's end. End of book 7. Philosopher-rulers contemplating when they are not ruling. When Plato talks of journey's end, he also deploys images of clarity about that end. World outside illumined by the natural light of the sun, then everything manifests itself exactly as it is. Clarity. Clear and distinct self-display. Because there's an end. It is only at the end and because there is an end that there can be clarity.

Aristotle on the other hand does not underscore the notion of the journey's end. Aristotle is more interested in the way. If you are to look at the first two paragraphs, what words jump out? Action words. They're not rest words. They're not "I have arrived" words. They're "still in the process of doing it" words.

Because for Aristotle, everything is still in process, we cannot presume that there will be any clarity concerning the end. If you have not arrived at your destination yet, how do you know what it's going to look like? Which is why Aristotle says that there isn't one good - there are many goods. The foundation of our edifice is always shifting ground. The target we are aiming at is a moving target, so we always have to move our positions so that we can hope to aim well.

Instead of talking in the language of a seamless garment. A garment that has been woven in such a way that it is one piece. It is an image of continuity. A seamless garment has no crinkles. There are no points of potential weakness. Force can be distributed uniformly. When you think for example of the UP Chapel of the Holy Sacrifice... What natural phenomenon do you suppose it was patterned after? What was he thinking of? Doesn't it remind you of an eggshell? There are no supporting beams. It is a perfectly seamless design that even without any supporting beams it will stand.

When Plato is talking about a city of justice - a seamless city, a city without flaws - a city of perfection - there is no room for human error. There can only be science.

Aristotle speaks in the language of the patchwork quilt. We are all like patchwork quilts. We are patches sown together. Each of us is like a whole collection - you know what a patchwork quilt is, of course. Our lives are not seamless. Our lives are heterogenous. Our lives are full of surprises and do not fall beautifully into categories. But as patchwork quilts can be beautiful, so can our lives be. Also because we're talking here about moving targets, patchwork quilts, structures that we would like to erect upon grounds that keep shifting, there is need for flexibility.

In Plato's Republic, there is hardly room for flexibility. The lives of the guardians and the philosopher-rulers are highly regimented lives. The guardians and the philosopher-rulers exist for the organization. The organization does not exist for them. Their lives are very highly regimented by the organization for the objectives ofthe organization, which is why the question of freedom does not come up in Plato's Republic - only the question of obedience - the assent that you give to the scientific manner of proceeding.

But human affairs are always patchy, so we need to consider ad hoc cooperations, decisions and revisions done in a minute. Flexibility. Page 6, 18. Distinguish between arguments from origins and arguments to origins.

Deductive vs inductive. The deductive method begins with a very finite number of impossible to doubt truths - like mathematics' axioms and postulates. Euclidean geometry begins with five, and on the basis of these axioms and rules of inference, it builds itself up into this complex structure - each of which can be taken to be truth because they can be traced all the way back to the five foundational statements. No room for error.

In ethics, we examine and judge our activities and actions. What about this material is very difficult to work with? It is under constant flux. You cannot expect it to stay wherever you put it. You have to be prepared for surprise and deal with complexity. Fun in ethical life - there is always room for surprise. Mathematical thinking - don't want surprise, tunnel vision - cannot perform ethics.

What incentive would you have, given that the material you have is unwieldy at times? Why don't you just abandon it? What keeps you in this material? What keeps you from simply going away? For all of its untidiness, your life is still a source of happiness for you. Your incentive for sticking with it is happiness. Aristotle is saying that whereas for Plato the incentive keeping the guardians and the philosopher-rulers from taking their hands from the plough is that they can expect to arrive at some moment or condition of response, for Aristotle, the incentive is happiness.

But then it is important to understand what we mean by happiness. The good is that which is pursued by us in order to be happy. Completeness and self-sufficiency. An over-all plan; a horizon. You need a horizon for there to be foregrounding in your lives. There is no foreground without a background. Only in fantasy could there be such a thing. Happiness also has to be self-sufficient (page 14), but it expands outward - includes other people. We all have different horizons, but whatever that horizon is, it will have to be progressively inclusive of people. If it's a horizon that shuts people out, it will not last.

On page 19, there are other characteristics he mentioned. Virtue means activity - agency. You cannot have happiness without agency. Plato's idea of happiness is rest; Aristotle's, action. We are never at the point of arrival. As he says, Olympic prizes are not for the strungest or the fastest, but for the contestants. You cannot pay someone to bring happiness to you. You have to do it yourself. Finally, pleasure - the activities of happiness must have pleasures internal to the activity, not external. Not the promise of some external reward. But use your external goods to gain happiness.

2002.12.16: Makeup paper

The timocracy or timarchy is a regime that loves honor. As such, the timocratic man concerns himself with the trappings and accoutrements of honor, and of fine speeches and music, but he does not acquire a deeper understanding or appreciation of such. The timocratic man is fond of form and appearance, but does not dedicate himself to study and to improvement. As such he is too concerned with superficial matters, ignoring essence and focusing on form. In the allegory of the cave, the timocratic man would stare at the shadows on the wall and refuse to accept that there are realities beyond it. The timocratic man is stubborn, not yielding a point even though reason would concede it. Although such steadfastness is good in battle, it rings a death knell for any just or free society.

The oligarchy bases itself upon wealth. The rich have power; the poor do not. The oligarchy's concern with wealth turns its citizens toward avarice and greed, for private individuals will seek to capture the lion's share of wealth without regard for morals and ethics. The oligarchy flows naturally from the timocracy as wealth accumulates with individuals and honor becomes associated with wealth. Soon laws will be written to protect this wealth. However, wealth is no guarantee of talent or skill at a job, and a poorer craftsman may yet be better than a richer one. The polarization of the regime into the rich and the poor will also inevitably create two states constantly in conflict, since the interests of the poor and the interests of the rich do not coincide. In addition, the oligarchic man will be over-protective of his wealth, refusing to spend it to gain honor or to help others.

A democratic regime will replace the oligarchic one after the poor rise up and conquer the rich. Because of their long oppression, the poor will either take power unto themselves and become another oligarchy, or attempt to ensure equality through a democratic regime. The democratic regime has its strengths and weaknesses in the individuals who compose it. When the individuals who form the democratic society are responsible and dedicated to the common good, then the democracy flourishes. However, irresponsible individuals who are distracted from political life by the demands of commerce and self-interest are the ruin of a democracy. In contrast to the thrifty oligarchs, the democratic man indulges his appetites and emotions in unnecessary pleasures, and the State suffers for it. Indeed, the equality recognized by the State makes equals of those who are not - old and young, teachers and students, free men and slaves..

The tyrannic regime rises from the democratic regime through demagogues - those who can arouse and lead mobs by the promise of benefits, leading them against others through false accusation or the exploitation of fear or greed. In order to be always needed, he will stir up wars. Does this not remind us of what is happening in our own world today? Simply think of the unsubtle maneouvering for Presidency in our own country, or the game of diplomacy played by the nations. War and conflict grant the tyrant power and a mandate as a protector. But this cannot last for long, because the tyrant will eventually become unpopular because he denies people freedom. Thus he must destroy the best and the brightest around him in order to maintain his hold on freedom.

By demonstrating the dangers and the pitfalls of the four types of regimes that Plato's proposed true society could backslide into, Plato sought to warn his interlocutors about the possible reversals that even the city of speech risked. Through contrast, Plato also established the difference and desirability of the city of justice, highlighting its strengths by understanding the other regimes' weaknesses. Indeed, no form of government - timocratic, oligarchic, democratic or tyrannical - can guarantee infallible decision making, as Plato had Socrates point out to Thrasymachus.


It looks to me like we will be needing more time, because we're spending all of next week getting into the Nichomachean ethics. We will be doing the Nichomachean Ethics until Jan 13. Papers are due on the 20th of January.

On the first week of class I will give you the discussion topic for Aristotle. You will have the Christmas break to work on the Plato paper, and two weeks for the discussion topic for Aristotle.

Where we are now in the Republic. We were talking last time of the divided line. One of the reasons why Plato presents the analogy of the line is that he wants to remind his interlocutors that there are many levels of knowledge, and that there's always more than meets the eye. The kind of knowledge that you derive from the world of sights and sounds while perhaps capable of going a long way in the direction of satisfying the requirements of sensuality. One of the reasons why he went down to the Piraeus is precisely to see how they celebrate their fiesta - the sights and the sounds. So even Socrates every so often needs to open himself to an assault on the senses. But that doesn't happen for very long - as soon as he gets there, Polemarchus comes along and asks him to talk to the group. Polemarchus and his friends are thirsting for something more substantive. Unfortunately - and this is what comes up in the next allegory he gives - most people just operate on the level of sights and sounds. He speaks of the dysfunctional classes of governance, and of dizzy young things that go after kaleidoscopic realities. A hall of mirrors that give the illusion of patterns, but only an illusion.

I hope you're starting to see the symmetries between the analogies of the line and the cave and the four classes of governance. The prisoners chained to their places unable to move, unable even to look around. They can't have a conversation with anyone in the cave. This is the image of the antipolitical. The political precisely has to do with people turned toward each other. In the deepest part of the cave, you have human beings in complete isolation from one another because they have no means of reaching out or making any kind of a connection. Caught in that condition, what can they do but hallucinate? You start in a sense to entertain all kinds of delusory thoughts.

One of the most dreaded forms of punishment is solitary confinement. You start to go crazy. Your mind plays tricks on you. You are no longer able to tell the difference between day and night. An issueless passage of empty time. The prisoners of the deepest part of the cave are human beings gone bonkers because they lack being able to corroborate what they think or hear.

The interplay between the light from the fire and the artifacts and objects cast shadows on the wall - the only thing that the prisoners can see. Those images are only illusion.

These prisoners have no means of growing up. When one of those prisoners succeeds in making his way to the world of real light outside, in the allegory, that prisoner is assisted - someone, some process, some mechanism comes to deliver that prisoner from the grip of illusion. You don't advance in knowledge except through an experience of collegiality, which is precisely why the guardian class is about working with others for a common good.

The prisoners in the deepest part of the cave - their knowledge corresponds to hearsay or belief. Pag-aakala. As a result, things just seem to keep going from bad to worse to worse to worst. How many disasters occur because "akala ko"? How many relationships in your own lives have come to nothing because you operated on the basis of pag-aakala?

Plato is not talking about innocuous playtime - pretend the shadows are real. In most other manifestations of that manner of proceeding, the results are tragic. For that reason, Socrates tells Thrasymachus that even the strongest make mistakes about what their advantage is, because of their pag-aakala.

The democratic way of life is a life of pag-aakala. Don't forget that when Plato speaks of the democracy, he means the democracy that had been opened up to the riffraff. Within the honors class there was still a striving for excellence and healthy competition. People were trying to outdo one another in the practice of the virtues. In the earlier an more authentic stages of the greek democracy, there was a passion for excellence. In fact, the greek word for virtue - arete - was the same word for excellence. Note that this is also the root of aristocracy. Aristocracy meant the most accomplished citizens - those who had the greatest passions for the city burning in their breasts. Those most distinguished in their practices of arete.

As a result of misguided reforms, the honors class became diluted. They wanted participation even from those with no great passions churning in their breast. So the democracy degenerated into the social compact family - of mediocrities, of scaredy cats who are just concerned with their individual turf.

We call this democracy. Elections every two years where you make a little mark on a piece of paper. That's precisely what Plato decried. It's some pointless exercise. So many people come in from the noise of the city and go through this exercise without even talking to each other. Like the way that poll booths do not allow political discussions nearby. It's gotten that bad with is - political discussions are usually accompanied by violence and threats.

People seem to be operating on the lower levels of that continuum - the levels of pag-aakala, where we take illusion to be reality. You can understand why he's very intent on emphasizing to his readers the importance of going deeper into things and pursuing the heart of the matter, not just the surface. He would like to remind his interlocutors that there are apparatuses. It is not as if they had to reinvent Euclid to find out about deductive methods or rediscover empirical methods...

Don't you think it's time you took a vacation from the sights and sounds and of pag-aakala? There are other paths to knowledge and other things to be known. Don't you think it's time you grew up? So now he talks about empirical knowledge.

In the allegory of the cave, those with empirical knowledge are the people who are mobile, who can do a limited amount of exploring. You have to do a lot of walking around and experimenting with things. That second group of people represents the more empirical way of arriving at conclusions. But what are they holding aloft? They are holding integral objects that are only representations of the real thing, like a stuffed animal. Better a stuffed animal than a shadow, but a stuffed animal isn't half the animal it used to be when alive.

Those artifacts are better copies, certainly, but nevertheless still far from the real thing. But that's all you can expect from empirical science - develop a generalization as the outcome of careful gathering of data. The evaluation and interpretation of data, the replication and corroboration of your first hunches... After there is some consistency, then you are now prepared to write an article. But even that generalization is just a hypothesis. Maybe some hypotheses are at the point at which there is an overwhelming amount of evidence to support them, but you know what it's like in science - many doctors are up in arms against a proposed law that will make filing malpractice suits easier.. Their excuse? "Medicine is not an exact science." Of course they'll want you to put your life on the line when it means income for them...

The point is that the empirical sciences are not exact sciences. Those artifacts are only substitutes, and maybe even better substitutes can be generated along the day. (DVD analogy). There are copies that are better than other copies. But that is in the nature of empirical science. You can have a vague explanation now, and it gets sharpened and honed over time, but sometimes you have to junk stuff like that.

Drugs like Neozep have been withdrawn from the shelf because an ingredient has been found to be harmful. See, it's been on the shelf for such a long time, but now it's being recalled in the US and Europe. Even the pharmaceutical industry every so often has to eat its own words.

So Plato says, well, if the world had to depend only on that manner of proceeding - it's important, empirical, inductive methods of proceeding - but you cannot build a city with any chance of longevity if you do not have any surer source of knowledge. So that's why, on the continuum, beyond the section corresponding to empirical knowledge, you have mathematical knowledge.

When you come to think of why mathematical knowledge would be important to the city of justice.. You cannot have an urban infrastructure without mathematics. Structural stability, for example

In other words, if we could have only just as much faith in our engineers and builders and architects as we do in our doctors, would you walk into a building like this? We don't do that with engineers. Engineers also make mistakes, but it's usually the fault of corruption or human error. We put our faith in the fact that it's going to be certain that this building is not going to collapse on us while we are sitting here. All other practicioners in the realm of the empirical - we're more likely not to take their word as gospel truth when it comes to the most serious situations.

In all of this there is a complete and total correspondence between the allegories of the cave and the line. It is a continuum. And then of course at one extreme of the line in the direction of intelligibility you have representations of philosophic knowledge.

Now what is philosophic knowledge? The allegory of the sun is very interesting. You have the world illumined by the sun. What is the sun capable of doing for us? You can see detail much more sharply than if you have dim light. At night when it is dark on campus you have to be careful where you walk. You have to walk a little more slowly and selfconsciously because you cannot see as well at night as in day.

The philosophic knowledge is the ability to attend to detail. Light is so important for us to be able to attend to detail. When you look at silver filigree work - the finest attention to detail, all done by hand. When a microsurgeon tries to repair a scar, you see him working with a beam of light. Philosophy allows us to attend to detail, but not just the detail of small things - the detail of an entire city.

The philosopher has that incisiveness of perception that would be similar to that of the silversmith or the microsurgeon, except that he is looking at the city itself. Whether or not people can be trained that way is a matter of discussion, but Plato believed that it was possible to develop such expertise. That takes us to the end of Book 7

All along you've known that when Plato speaks of the philosopher ruler, he does not mean a one-person show. He means a college. Philosopher rulers is a plurality. (Flashback to plurals and taking turns).

What philosophers really want to do is just contemplate philosophy and be left alone to do what they are best at doing - like filigree work on the behalf of the city. But there's more to the city than filigree work. There's also battles that need to be planned, aqueducts that need to be put into the ground.. The city is not just a city of minds resonating with the dispositions of the philosophy rulers, it is also a city of people who live in the realm of pag-aakala.

The philosopher rulers will work in shifts. He seems to imply that the work of the philosopher rulers is so intense that you cannot expect one person to engage in it all the time. They'll take turns.

In the allegory of the cave, you have a very interesting continuum. In the allegory of the cave, the philosopher ruler - the individual who with help is able to leave the cave - goes back into the cave. There are dangers in the allegory of the cave to the philosopher ruler who goes back in. That person stands in the risk of his or her life. There's also the chance of reversals, of retrogressions. Analogously, with respect to the city of justice itself, there always is on the horizon the threat of retrogression. This is a line - a continuum. When you go up, you can also slide back down.

He wants to make sure that they are clear about the many ways in which the backsliding can occur, especially since some forms are not easy to spot. For one thing the rule of the philosopher rulers itself - sometimes a tyrannical form of government can present itself as a counterfeit to the rule of the philosopher rulers. It is often hard to tell the difference between a timocracy and the rule of the guardians, who are also soldiers.

So Plato must help them gain some clarity as to who the enemy is, so that the enemy can be detected even when in disguise.

We will go right to the heart. We are talking about 4 dysfunctionalities - the timocracy, the oligarchy, the democracy and the tyranny. Paragraphs 548e to 549a describe the timocratic regime as a militaristic regime, and is stubborn. Stubbornness is a kind of tensing up - the opposite of gentleness and flexibility. He likes music but does not understand it from within. He loves the trappings of music, but has no aptitude for contemplating the soul of music. In order to understand the soul of music, you have to invest a lot of your time.

(Story about gunfights in karaoke bars)

They love the trappings of music just as they love the trappings of speech, although they are by no means skilled in rhetoric. (Story about today's politicians)

The educated individual have a sense of noblesse oblige toward the less-educated. There's the kind of aristocratic condescension there, but it's okay - it's benevolent, like the way Princess Diana went to visit cancer patients and children and people like them. The timocratic individual kicks people from the lower classes out of his way. Wasn't it one of the daughters of Sen. Revilla who was charged with all sorts of atrocities? But then with social equals or superiors, they are brown-nosers, sycophants, flatterers. Everything is only an act. A supreme egotist.

Some people work out two hours a day because they love form. They're very very conscious of form. These gymnasts are always feeling their muscles. That's the timocratic individual. Now try to extrapolate that to what the timocratic city is like.

Next monday: oligarchic, democratic, tyrannic.


Our makeup class _tomorrow_ has two sessions. The first will go from 12:00 to 1:30, the second from 1:30 to 3:00 in the Ching-Tan room, SOM

  1. Very important session because we will be finishing the Republic and I will be announcing the writing requirements for your paper.

In Book V you have a fine reading of Plato's intentions in the form of the article of Wendy Brown. What Wendy Brown seems to think is that Plato is enunciating here a conception of power combining spiritedness with gentleness / philosophy. Plato seems to associate the qualities of gentleness, the attention to detail, with women. In other words, in the socio-culture of ancient Greece, these qualities were associated with women. (Note about women secretaries and attention to detail.) It's usually the girls who are made to work with the details. They're more interested in relationships than in cut-and-dried presentations of rules. Relationships are more important than following principles.

Wendy Brown is saying that what Plato seems to think are that these qualities had been most aptly displayed by the women of the kind - these qualities also have important applications to the practice of governance, to the apparatuses of power. Governance cannot just be about the male fist. It also has to be about understanding, negotiation, consensus-building...

In another work by Plato, the Symposium, the setting is Socrates and six of his friends throughout a night of intoxication decides to give speeches about love.. Everything I know about love / philosophy, I learned from the anima. (and the anima is a woman.)

As opposed to bluster. He is intent, precisely, upon developing and supporting within the practices of power and the spaces of governance precisely those feminine properties.

To go to the text itself, you find him say in paragraph 454e.. You have to understand that Plato never makes any strong assertions about anything that does not have a solid grounding in his own experience. So you need to extrapolate to Plato's own experience. What experience? The experience of encountering over his own life - despite the fact that women did not have any legal or political standing - some extraordinary women. It only makes sense. He could not have been inspired to make the following assertion otherwise. Strong-willed, determined, great managers, thoughtful, intelligent and so forth and so on.

And even if he didn't have to rely on his own experience, he could look at the experience of neighboring Sparta. Sparta was always winning their battles against the Athenians. The Spartans were without a doubt the real military power. Their men were training all the time

So Plato is making a suggestion based on a very practical consideration. Athens was never very large in terms of its population. Athens was small. But nevertheless we are talking about a population that supported a great civilization. Flashback to his discussion about the relative sizes of Athens and Ateneo.

From a pool of 20,000 - that's around 10,000 men, say, 7,000 adult men

We are left with a choice - be masculinist in everything and allow unqualified individuals (which in Plato's opinion always leads to disaster)? Congress example, Sodom and Gomorrah analogy for the Philippines. Or we look into the other half of our population. Haven't we had enough of an experience with qualified women?

Paragraph 454e. Plato is simply trying to be judicious here. The failure to acknowledge our need would inevitably lead to disaster.

Let's take China today. Because of the One Family, One Child policy that is very strictly enforced, and because of the Chinese civilization's preference for guys over girls... When they discover the child that they're going to have is a girl, they often have the baby girl aborted so that they can try again for a boy.

They have a generation of children from infants to 15 where there is a shortfall of something like 25 to 30 million Chinese girls for that generation. When that generation comes of age, when it reaches marrying age, 25 to 30 million Chinese men will not find women of their generation to marry.

A very important work of administration is to pay attention to demographic concerns. Precisely to maximize the contribution from each part of the population to the common good.

455e - Governance is not gender-specific.

Sociological consideration. We cannot expect today's women who have not been able to prepare themselves to lift heavy burdens.

When the Ateneo first became coed... Among the honor graduates, none of the summas were women. It was several years before Ateneo graduated its first womam valedictorian. Only seven years for women to catch up and even outdistance the men.

In the Olympics, there are many events with female divisions and male divisions. The fastest male swimmer may still swim faster than the faster female swimmer, but we're talking about fractions of seconds.

So there's no doubt in my mind that if the same objectives that govern the training of female Olympians were applied to the shaping of women, they can grow to become as tall and as strong and as agile as men sometimes can be. Just give them three generations. Maybe even in this generation... The body will adjust to social requirements.

If you expect that women will share in the work of governance, then they might in the beginning be a little slow and awkward, but they can do it.

To be consistent, we need to separate from the governors - especially the women governors - the obligation of nurturing their biological offspring. Disproportionate placing on the shoulders of women.

These changes are only for the guardian class. We have to abolish the nuclear family. New practice - the guardian class in its entirety will be the family. I do not need to persuade you that just as it was in his own time, Athens had come to ruin due to the depradations of a network of a small number of intermarrying families. An anarchy of families. (Sounds familiar!)

The spaces of our governance and administration are also spaces in which families operate as families. When Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister, you didn't really know that she had a husband or children. They never sent out Christmas cards of the entire clan.

Let's try a new structure of family. The nuclear family is of fairly recent invention. Children were hardly raised by parents - they were raised by nurses and relatives. Non-traditional family arrangements.

Half of all marriages in the Philippines are actually disasters. No divorce in the Philippines, so they just quietly live apart or stay together for the sake of appearances...

Sacha: Actually, I don't find Plato's notion of family that horrible or draconian. In fact, I rather like it.

Family and governance can never go together. We do in fact have laws on the books preventing spouses and even relatives to the third degree of consanguinity from being employed by the same unit of government. We officially recognize the wisdom of separating from the practice of governance the practices of the nuclear family.

The guardians are not even to know whotheir offspring are. Instead, common responsibility. Can you imagine that? {Yes. Easily. Wish.} Suggestion: All government officials should send their children to public school. Note: Not anyone can gain access to the school for governance because it is not everyone's business to become a governor.

Demographic considerations. Mate the best and the best. It should be a matter of concern to administer the population well so that they can bring about maximal conditions of health, peace and order, of everything good. Isn't that like Nazi eugenics? Keep in mind that the Nazis harnessed to a fantasy derivation a fantasy kind of science which they called eugenics. They wanted to build upon the earth something that is the direct equivalent of the Elven race in Lord of the Rings. They thought acquired characteristics - owww, injecting blue dye into people's eyes...

Within the bounds of the reality principle, let's make sure that the best get in touch with the best. Within the bounds of the decent, mind you. {Kinda like 1984, but without the sheep}.

We're always blaming the victims. These are people who unlike ourselves do not have regular access to so many things. People who drift between illusion and reality.

"Don't be so hung up on sex". Put it in its place.

Book 6. Two important metaphors. Ship owner. Important point at the very end.. philosopher-rulers - despite their talent they are useless to the many? blame their uselessness not on them, but on those who don't use them. 489b A populist sentiment expressed by Plato. Unless the people truly want it - unless they truly want good governance - no one can do anything about that sad situation.

Book 6 and 7 - specifically about the philosopher-rulers and their education. Details what is specific to the education of the philosopher-rulers. End of book 7 - all pronouns are third-person plurals. A continuum. Collegial.

Let the first segment represent the realm of the intelligible - mental abstractions. Let the lower segment stand for the realm of the visible, the physical. That statement has been used to completely misrepresent Plato. Plato did not mean that we should leave the sensible and the physical for the abstract and intelligible. Even when talking about the realm of the intelligible, we do so only to harness the realm of the sensible in order to build the city of justice. Plato is very, very this-worldly. For example - engineering, not pure mathematics.

When we get together tomorrow I will finish up the discussion tomorrow

Examples of cold, dispassionate people, or those who deal too much with the emotions, or those enslaved by their appetites..

Book V is about using the metaphor of women, understanding that at least in the cultural and historical aspect of Athens that women had come to be associated with some properties - understanding, an ability to think synthetically, to include rather than exclude, conciliatory rather than aggressive... The work of governance necessarily has to include those qualities that we have come to associate with the feminine. The masculine preoccupation with outward show is not enough for governance. Governance has to be able to engage a lot of other registers of the human reality, like the emotive and affective registers. Book V provides the paradigm for that understanding of the relationship between knowledge and power that Plato wishes to communicate to his readers.

So what's there to be noted in Book 4?

In Book 3, Socrates underlines the importance of combining musikae and gymnastikae for the purpose of developing in the ones who will populate the class of guardians qualities akin to those earlier qualities earlier ascribed to dogs - gentleness, but at the same time spiritedness.

Now of course the gymnastikae part of things - his interlocuters would have understood right away. Even the good to friends and harm to enemies is a reflection of the warrior culture. Polemarchus emphasizing the warrior element, Thrasymachus emphasizing the power element. In various ways, Polemarchus and Thrasymachus are describing a masculinist ethos or way of life. So they would have understood the gymnastikae part - no problem with that.

Except that you know that the gymnastikae has to do with the training and disciplining of bodies.. you know, you can discipline and train bodies, but always for specific objectives, so you have to be very clear about your objectives. [Example about our bodies being shaped for school, and differences of the Montessori style of pedagogy and the traditional lecture style].

His interlocuters had no problem understanding the boot camp aspect of gymnastikae as well as the athletic contests. But if you only have that part of it, then you don't know exactly - it's quite possible that you spread your peacock feathers for all the wrong things at all the wrong times in front of all the wrong people. Hence Socrates joins it with musikae.

It's not enough to bluster. It is also necessary, so to speak, that one cultivate the capacity to listen, to sit still and to wait... Often times, what one needs to know does not come right away. Oftentimes, you have to be able to sit patiently waiting for the right moment to arrive - but not on the other hand sitting without doing anything. Sitting patiently in an active kind of way.

There are many ways you can begin to relate to the reasons why Plato wants to combine musikae and gymnastikae. Plato continues with that theme of combinations on Book IV, where he delivers on his earlier promise to Glaucon to show concretely (what it does to people) what justice or injustice actually ends up looking like in specific people

Plato describes four clusters - not the only clusters considered to be important, but certainly the most important ones. Namely, wisdom, courage, moderation and justice.

On the subject of wisdom:

It is knowledge which is activity. Whatever the Greeks call virtue was precisely an activity. What activities take as their target - what counselling activities can we engage in that have as their target the amelioration of a challenge facing the city as a whole? What we would call today global thinking. Very hard to do. Requires that you do your homework. That you be serious about informing yourself about informing yourself about all the various things that matter to citizenship.

Usually the people who very quickly just narrow down to a point in terms of their opinions about things especially about social issues are those who don't know a thing. They find it convenient to latch onto some slogan they come across. Slogans because you're not informed. Cephalus was not very willing to face the fact that somewhere along the line he must have cut corners.

Know that whatever you do, there's always an underside. Pay attention, every so often, to that underside. There's an underside to everything. Wisdom is not about allowing yourself to be stopped in your tracks by the underside, but it means developing the ability to at least constantly be looking out of the corner of one's eye at the underside even as one is attending to the above side.

Paragraph 428d

Called a virtue. As virtue, it is something that will literally take a long span of time for a person to cultivate in his or her life. So it's a lot of hard, consistent work that one has to do on oneself. Same for courage.


The activities of courage - they take a long time to cultivate and to develop with consistency in one's life. The Athenian navy ran away in Plato's own time! Seamen are ultimately unreliable because they can always sail away. An army must stand their ground.

We don't have a real across-the-board compulsory military training.

Plato is mentioning these things because he knows his Athenian audience is familiar with the difficulties involved in the development of these virtues until they are habitual.


Moderation has to do with the uses of pleasures. How many people do we know are capable of judiciously using pleasures in their lives? Plato is not saying that pleasures have no part to play. The Greeks knew what pleasures were about. They understood the meaning of sensuality. Plato is not banishing or exiling sensuality from the city of justice. Musikae is about sensuality. Musikae precisely implicates you in textures of sound, textures of light, textures of flesh. Gymnastikae does.

Plato is not an anti-sensualist, contrary to what some people might say. What Plato is, however, is someone who would like his co-citizens to reappropriate their ancient virtue of moderation - the mastery people had to develop over their uses of pleasures. Where do we as a people relate as that's concerned? At almost every party people get sick from eating too much. Notice how people fill up their plates as if there was no tomorrow. And of course flesh in the Philippines is relatively cheap. Is alcoholism a problem here or not? In other words, you know, I don't need to persuade you very hard that in terms of our own culture's uses of pleasure, I believe there is something to be gained through moderation.

And then justice

He says in paragraph 433b justice equals minding one's own business?

The business which he refers to is that specific set of activities which has been determined by consensus I have the best aptitude for, which the city wants me to do for the good of the city itself. That's what Plato means. The city assigns to each one a particular job to carry out - a task to fulfill. With the expectation that the one to whom the task has been given will apply himself or herself completely to the task. Not a question of walang pakialam. I focus on that which is the best contribution I can make to the city and because it's a contribution that has as as its target the good of the city as a whole...

We're not talking here about atomization


"My voice is sort of like a jealous god. Suffer no other voices before it."

Now, if you know you will not be able to make it to this class, but want to go to class anyway, so long as it doesn't become a habit - once, twice maybe - tell me ahead of time, and you can sit in the previous class.

The Primacy of Politics in Classical Greece Paul Rahe

First volume of a three-volume work of his entitled "Republics: Ancient and Modern". The reason why I made copies of those chapters for you is because they give a very good descriptive account of the substance and ways of the ancient Athenian democracy, which I've said to you before had fallen on very hard times so that by the time that Plato and Aristotle come on the scene in Athens, it is for the most part a very distorted practice of democracy that you find described in these pages. But even so, that earlier period - even throughout the centuries of its malaise - continued to exert a profound influence. You will find Aristotle seeking precisely to reappropriate.. Aristotle says that many of those values and practices are actually still to be found, if you look carefully enough, in what the men and women of our city are doing - many of the values, many of the virtues. Understand that "virtue" was always something you did - the virtue of courage was courageous acts. The virtue of generosity wasn't a disposition, but a practice.

Plato, on the other hand, takes a much less generous take on the virtues and the values of the ancient Athenian democracy. But you do find him in most of Book 4 still talking about virtues - courage, moderation, justice, wisdom - the prime practices of excellence, that is to say the virtues of ancient Athenian democracy. Now the reason why Plato takes a less generous stance towards the ancient Athenian democracy is because the ancient Athenian democracy was of course participative and face-to-face..

But if you think of the agora as something of an honors class, theoretically speaking, if you apply it to the Ateneo High School, no one's going to tell you before you take the diagnostic exam that from the way you look you can't get into the honors class. (This is not a perfect analogy, since many honors classes are based on grade consciousness instead of talent.) If you are to take the idea of an honor section, which is theoretically open to all but is constituted in such a way by manners of proceeding, by strategies, by what it is that people are expected to do.. people operating within the space are expected to do certain things. The agora was structured around the practices of speech. And moreover, not just any practice of speech, but those practices of speech that clearly had the ability to bring out in the best possible display the most important elements of the speaker. And moreover, the agora was also built around those practices

And moreover, this thing about collaborative work - how many people are truly capable of collaborative work? It's not just "I'll do the typing" - we can pay someone to do the typing - but we need to be able to pick your brains as well.

As a result of the specific ways in which the agora was structured in the beginning, de facto it functioned as something of an honors section - only the best and the brightest, the most statesmanlike, the most who could work with teams, made their way and prospered in the agora. The honors section of ancient democratic Athens.

Plato's gripe was that from the heydey - the glory years of the agora

To become a participant in the so-called agora now, all you needed to have was a hand to raise. Our own practices of democracy has come down to that. Whatever became of the practices of speech? Whatever happened to the proven ability to work collaboratively with other people?

If you can imagine what would happen in the Ateneo - as much as it is possible to take the Ateneo education apart - if we removed the entrance exam requirement? Those with the biggest bucks but are the last place in their class... There's a lot that needs to be improved, but can you imagine how much worse it would be if all of a sudden, because of misplaced sentiments like "let's be more populist"... That was Plato's gripe about the democracy. It had become Divisoria. In Divisoria, people are not interested in the practices of speech, but only in buying and selling.

One of the hallmarks of the ancient properties of the agora was the ability to tell truth - truth-telling. The practices of speech were the practices of paraisia, when you told it like it is even if it could bring the anger of someone else. Of course you go to Divisoria completely prepared - you don't go there naive - you assume that other people will try to sell you fakes.

So you see, Plato had good reason to be critical of the democracy. The Athenian culture had for the most part gone underground.. That is what Aristotle was trying to do - he was trying to bring back to the surface something that had always been there. Even Plato displays himself as very much a descendant of his Athenian forebears.

So you might also say that although that's Plato gripe, it also becomes his biggest motive for writing the Republic. What can we do to reinstitute in our own time the honors section? I'm sure that you have come across some commentaries that have tagged Plato as an elitist, an authoritarian... Those are unfair labels especially because those words have negative connotations. Plato was not an elitist in the sense that he wanted to keep power within certain families and he was not an authoritarian in the sense of wanting to concentrate power at the top... He wasn't interested in command obedience, he was interested in reconstituting a space that by the very nature of the practices of that space would attract and sustain and require as a condition for maintaining themselves within that space the perpetuation of those practices - a space that because of all of those things would only draw from the city the best and the brightest.

So what were these practices, mechanisms, manners of proceeding by which he sought to define the space of the first citizens of Athens - the honors class? Well, very first of all, there had to be practices of musikae and gymnastikae. What were the practices of musikae? What was the challenge Plato sought to meet by such practices? Through the technologies of drama, music - what we call the arts? If you go back to Glaucon's description of the social compact kind of a city, it is clear that such a city is a city of mediocrities.

The city of the social compact was precisely a city of completely unremarkable people - people with no great passions, no great ambitions. People of mediocrity. The social compact makes excuses for them so that they do not have to be outstanding in anything - not even crime. The outstanding criminals of history do exert a certain fascination over us - people like Al Capone, or even in our own culture. The people of the social compact couldn't even be like that.

Plato says that we have to do something about that. We have to make sure that the members of this honors class will be individuals burning with passions. So what can we do to incite the passions of people, to stir up their passions but at the same time to make sure that the stirred up passions can be harnessed to become windsin our sails. We want to focus those energies, sort of like a laser beam. Can you imagine what laser energy would be like if it weren't focused? When all of those laser energies are focused to a pinpoint, with that laser beam you can among other things destroy cancerous tissue without destroying the surrounding living tissue. Plato doesn't want bland people. The members of the honors section cannot be dispassionate people. They cannot be cold and calculating. They have to be people with heart, with emotional energies jumping out, but at the same time you don't want them to be running berserk - you have to be able to harness them.

So that is the challenge of musikae. So obviously not just any kind of music, drama, literature or metaphor is going to help you stir up passions that at the same time can be focused. There's a lot of music right now that stirs up violence and anger - that's not the kind of passion that you can harness to the purposes of constituting an honors class. All kinds of fraternities are very good at stirring up a passion for violence and other things. So these fraternities stir up passions. Energies jump out, but where do they jump out? Into paddles and fists? And they call themselves a fraternity.

So Plato clearly has to face the challenge of choosing carefully, selecting carefully technologies of musikae the applications of which will be to incite passions but at the same time to harness what passions come to be ignited, what affections and emotions come to the fore.

And surely among the emotions that need to be stirred is the emotion of love of city. Patriotic passions. How much of our music, for example - the music of our lives today - is able to do that? Tell me. You know, Fr. dela Costa - Horatio de la Costa - in a well-known elocution piece called the Jewels of the Pauper - comparing the Philippines to a pauper among the nations. The Philippines hides two jewels in her rags - her faith and her music. Particularly, if you think of the kundimans and the native lullabies that mothers sing to their infant children in order to croon them to sleep, and the immemorial rowing songs of the ancient Philippine fishing communities... In our own time those traditions are... In other words, the tradition of creating and extending a Philippine-derived music - derived from our culture, our soil, our experience, our languages... Take for example the music of Joey Ayala or Freddie Aguilar. When you listen to their music, you want to celebrate the fact that you're Filipino. You want to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty in the work of making this country happy, prosperous. But how much of our music actually is like that? How many of you right now in your car are listening to "Dreaming of a White Christmas" or singing of sleigh bells through the snow? In other words, that's our kind of music - music whose soul is not our soul, the system of reference of which is not our system of reference. Because don't forget that music is an expression of a whole system of references, a whole cultural system. If the kind of music you're comfortable with takes for its point of reference a culture that is not your own, how will you become comfortable in your own culture? Among other things, your whole cultural system of references mediated to you, among other things, the music that you listen to, does not include Tondo.

Plato is being very, very reflective about the kind of literature, the kind of drama, the kind of music... Almost to the point of appearing to be censoring. But the message that comes across is that you have to be selective. You can't be "Welcome, World" if you want to build a city. Now some of you might say, "Who does Plato think he is to say 'Not that kind of music, but this kind'?" We must at least listen to what he has to say.

Plato had already published quite a lot, established a great reputation as an intellectual and a political practicioner.. You don't just dismiss a person like that. The point anyway is that if your objective is to stir up patriotic passions, then you have to be very judicious about the means through which you will stir up those passions, because you have to bring those passions under the kind of mastery that will enable the city to use it to bring its prospect forward. The technologies of musikae. He goes into great detail there, and I'm holding you responsible for that.

What about gymnastikae? Musikae had for its objective the formation or the shaping of inwardness. Not inwardness in the sense of soul, but rather that of an affective life. The people of the social compact had no affective life. They had a life of sentimentality, not affects. That's why the second part of Book III is so critical about weeping and soap-opera kinds of entertainment, which play upon our fascination with tragedies instead of stirring up the passions that will help us overcome them.

Plato is very very critical about crybabies in this city. We want people with passions for building lives and building the city. Gymnastikae.. Just as passions can be stirred up and harnessed to the work of building the city, so also can bodies be shaped, be formed to be bodies for building the city.

You know, two Sundays ago - the feast of Christ the King. Unself-consciously doing the work of discipleship on the level of their bodies. The kind of body that Plato wants to form is the same kind of body that Christ wants to develop - bodies that do good even without knowing it.

So what technologies in our own time, for example, are we implicating you in, taking you through, so that you have bodies that whenever confronted with conditions of injustice will run in the direction of those conditions of injustice to do whatever you can? Maybe at EDSA 2.. Your feet are actually taking you to the challenge instead of causing you to do an about-face. We make decisions even on the level of our bodies. They cannot help but be tied to the fortunes of the city, or they cannot help to be uninterested. Notice what it is that your bodies make you do. Do they make you do for the city or for another city? Are we training bodies for the Philippines or for somewhere else? Where does your body feel truly at home?

The body itself needs to be shaped so that it becomes a body that will not rest until it is out in the public space with others. Notice that even just on the level of the bodies... How many of youcan go for even just one day.. Some people cannot go one day without going out to the park to celebrate with these strangers who are your co-citizens. Some people are like that. They are bodies for the public space. They have to be out there doing, participating, endeavoring. NGO-type people. Those who start socially-oriented NGOs. People who join campus social organizations like Musmos or ACIL. Some people were bodily shaped to need those physical connections.

Plato originally says that Socrates went down to the Piraeus to attend the festival. You can just imagine the orgies. So definitely a lot of corporeality. We don't want that kind of corporeality. Many of you are, I'm sure, very sensual people. We want sensual people, but sensual of a certain kind. Not sensual in the sense that I have to go to the spa every other day, but rather that you feel that there is something missing from your day when you are not able to go out and join the public. That is why gymnastikae has to do with sports and the arts of war - they take you out of your private cubbyholes and into the public spaces of the army or the arena.

These people had bodies that without even consciously performing the deeds for which they are given their reward couldn't just be sitting at home. They had to go out to meet strangers, they had to go to prisons... They had to perform the walking, the speaking, the arm-linking.. all of those practices constitutive of discipleship.

Plato wants to shape bodies that will perform deeds constitutive of citizenship. So that is musikae and gymnastikae. The first rungs of the activities or training program for a new honors class - the class of the guardians.


So we're at a point in the dialogue now you know where Socrates says let us build a city in speech. That is a very important formulation because the alternative to the city of speech is the city that operates under the impact of coercion. Thrasymachus had precisely earlier outlined the operations of coercion by means of his summary statement, "Justice is the advantage of the stronger. Justice is nothing other than the operations of coercive apparatuses." So in other words, what Socrates is interested in doing is carving out a space - an oasis of persuasion rather than coercion. And of course we earlier also saw Glaucon rehearsing the point that Thrasymachus makes about the ubiquity of coercion. You know the meaning of ubiquitous? It means everywhere. And of course the particular account that Glaucon makes of it is contained in his remarks about the social contract. And the point that he makes about the social contract is that human relations are for the most part - and legal/political relations as well - operates under the impact of fear, he says. So that if people are able to give the appearance of abiding by a commonly agreed upon set of laws, it is only in appearance that they are law-abiding, because underneath the surface - and many times perhaps not very far from the surface - abides would-be lawbreakers. Would-be criminals. Only give them the ring of Gyges and that would change everything for them. When some of you stop at a red light, while you stop there, is it because of your commitment to a system of road courtesies, or because you know there is a traffic cop and you don't want to put up with that inconvenience - but late at night when there is no traffic cop, you drive right through? Only the threat of inconvenience serves as your motive - at least here and now - to observe that particular regulation. So that is the significance of Socrates' admonition that they now begin to build in speech. To build collaboratively. To build in the context of a genuine mutuality the city of justice. And of course very quickly the conversation begins to focus on the ones who will have the greatest responsibility for protecting the integrity of such a city of justice - namely, the guardians. The guardians are going to be in charge of governing such a city. Keep preserving its structures. Maintaining within it the conditions of law and order. Mounting a defense of the city in case of aggression from without. But once again, because the city of justice is precisely not going to be the garden-variety kind of a city where coercion is going to be the name of the game, it is important to Socrates that the guardians precisely develop dispositions which are antithetical to coercive dispositions. In other words, if you are to examine how it is that the apparatuses of coercion develop, you will discover that they mainly emerged in a context where people are either remiss about (because of neglect) or perhaps even perversely attached to the idea that it's not important for me to gain mastery, to bring under control my appetites and emotions. Socrates precisely sees - Plato sees - that it is when the city with together its inhabitants are unable to gain a mastery of their appetites and emotions that the mechanisms of coercion come into play. When you think for example of images from our own time of pure aggressivity - you know, the world of Mad Max, Waterworld - pictures precisely of conditions where emotions of aggressivity and violence are allowed full scope.. Because you see Plato wants the guardians to be spirited. He wants them to be inhabited by great desires. But he also understands that affections, when not schooled properly, when not disciplined properly, when not brought under some kind of a rational mastery, take us right back to Athens of the hill - take us right back to, well, the kinds of communities that none of us here are strangers to. If you think the world of Mad Max and the world of Waterworld are strange places - thank God they're only fiction, you might say - well, think again, because many times life is stranger than fiction. Whenever life is generated by conditions where there is a nearly total, if not total lack of mastery over emotions and appetites, once again you see incarnations of the apparatuses of coercion. Because that's another whole dimension of human life that is out of our control - namely our appetites. How many people in a sense are ruled by their appetites - are not free in that sense because they have become possessed by possessions, will die for things, will lay down their lives for things

Plato underscores to his listeners the importance of forming within the inhabitants of the city of justice - and especially within the guardians - what dispositions will enable them to resist the slide back to the tyranny of coercion, which as you know has a certain allure to it. It is always easier simply to obey our motive of fear because at least you say to yourself "I don't have to bang my head against the wall about this; I just simply obey." But before he proceeds - because you know what's coming from the way he puts it at this point, since he says he wants guardians to be spirited and gentle

Before he proceeds with a discussion of those pedagogical technologies, he has to address what he believes to be a foundational issue. Towards the end of book 2, on page 58, three times in the lower half of that page, the word "idea" appears italicized. That's a very important notion. Not only in Plato but also in ancient Athenian society in general - the notion of the idea. The Ancient greeks believed that you can generate meaning only within bounds. You needed bounds for any possibility of generating meaning. So the Athenians had no conception of infinite space. For them, the very cosmos was finite, was bounded. Aristotle for example speaks of several spheres spinning within spheres, and of course you have the biggest sphere of them all

You know when we say in our own colloquial use of it, "The end justifies the means", what we mean in the most part is that anything goes. Of course anything can go only if you don't know where it is you really want to go. The Greeks understood that once you had a clear conception of the end, limits were placed on the means you could deploy to reach it. From the certain end, you work backwards to the means. The end allows you to sort out means that are inappropriate from means that are inappropriate. That is what the Greeks meant by idea. The idea of a thing was what allowed us to determine the means we would take in order to get at the thing.

You know one of the problems in our nation right now, displayed in the fact that the means we seem to be taking as a republic seem to all be at cross-purposes. We have clearly not been able to get our act together on all fronts. Everything is topsy-turvey. People get elected to Congress who are fugitives from justice in other countries. We have presidents who talk out of both sides of their mouth. And I think that's largely because we do not have a conception of the eidos of our nation. We don't know what we want to make the Philippines be. And of course if it's not clear in our heads what we want our nation to be, then we'll certainly not be clear about the means. That's why government after government has been a government of urong-surong.

Now Plato precisely wants in the city of justice to avoid the debilitating counter-productive and ultimately destructive practices of urong-surong. So he wants to be very clear - he wants to make as clear a presentation as he can make of the eidos of the city of justice. What are we going to frame the city with? Because the frame will exercise a very important influence upon the means that we take to build the city. Now like any other Greek in his own time, Plato would have right away understood that the frame of a political or human community is always transcendence. Not transcendence in the form of shapeless infinity, but transcendence in the form of gods with revelations to make to human beings. In other words, Plato - like any Greek of his own time - had a very pronounced commitment to that inescapable partnership between god and man, between the divine and the human, between transcendence and humanity. It's wrong to say that Plato was an idealist who preferred that we operated in the spiritual world and had no concern for material things. He was concerned with the work that we had to do in this world, but for that work to be done well, we need a point of reference - a frame - and that is provided by divine revelation, or transcendence that makes itself known to man. Which is of course the only part of transcendence we can care about, because what God does in his own time is his business anyway. So it is not surprising that at this juncture, before they begin talking about the apparatuses they will need to build the city - dispositions of the guardian classes, dispositions combining gentleness and spiritedness - even before that point, Plato talks about the gods. The reason why he discusses it this early is that the frame, as it had been constituted in the culture into which Plato was born - in his view - was very defective, very destructive frame. It gave all sorts of wrong signals instead of right ones. That is the reason why he comes across at this point as being very hostile to poets, because poets at those times were the popular theologians - so to speak, the catechists. So it's not so much that he has a thing against metaphor, but he is against that specific use of metaphor within a theological context to construct a notion of divinity that in his view was very inadequate and destructive to the work of building a city of justice. After all, what were the poets saying about the gods? Take Homer. I mean if you know a little Greek mythology - Troy, the Iliad - how did that war even begin? A squabble between the gods. You know how it is among us - when your friends organize a party and you hear about it but you're not invited, that makes you feel terrible, doesn't it? Makes you even a little spiteful and indictive. "When I throw a party, I won't invite them." Anyway, Hera threw a party to which she pointedly did not invite some goddess that she wasn't speaking to. Because it was the social event of the year, the goddess plots to destroy their fun, and it wasn't very hard to do it - just get people to engage in rivalries with one another. So Eris takes a golden apple and says that she'll give it to the fairest one of all. In a later incarnation of that same theme, you have Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. So immediately, three goddesses present themselves - Hera, Athena and Aphrodite. Now to understand the dynamics of that thing, you just have to think of any beauty contest. These events are not showcases of goodwill, but rather ripe for scandal. The smiles and the friendships are all on the surface. Deep within, everyone hates each other. Everyone else is just a warm body in my way to the crown. There's a lot of wheeling and deeling that goes behind locked doors - even in all contests. Everyone's nice for the camera.

Homer had taken this all too human set of proclivites and projected them onto the gods. He had whittled the gods down to the size and status of petty, conniving, intellectually vapid human beings. In Plato's view, Homer had trivialized the gods and the goddesses. He and the other poets had made of them a whole litany of excuses that we can make to ourselves about our own shortcomings. In other words, what Homer and other poets had done to the gods was to have precisely destroyed them in their role as counterpoint to the human condition by tucking them precisely into the human condition. "If you can't beat them, join them?" That's precisely what Plato believed Homer had done. What system of directions could we possibly derive from a notion of divinity and transcendence that is really nothing but an extension into the divine of the human - the all too human? That is why Plato insists - in contradiction to what the poets say - on the immutability and absolute truthfulness and dependability of the good. Whereas Homeric gods and goddesses shared human flaws - philanderer gods, conniving, deceitful, lying gods. If you keep repeating the lie often enough, other people will start to think they made a mistake. Zeus was like that. In contrast to that, Plato says that how can you take Zeus construed that was a model? If Zeus is a god, then he must be truthful and immutable - he can't be chameleon-like. He has to be as solid as a rock, like a fortress, and absolutely dependable - not like the gods and goddesses of the story of Troy, treacherous, capricious gods. What Plato understood and what he is displaying here is that for the human community to meet with success in establishing conditions of justice among them, they need to take for the point of reference something that is other than the human - and that something is God. God is going to be the eidos of the city. Now keep in mind that the frame does not substitute itself for what's in the frame. So Plato is not advocating a flight from matter, nor hermitage or nunhood. Rather, he wants to build a city with all kinds of relishes - except that he also wants to build it with care, taking care to benefit from whatever cues might be forthcoming from the revelation which transcendence or the divine makes of itself. Because as the gods are, so will we be. No slave, after all, is greater than his master. As Jesus himself said, "Be holy as my Father in Heaven is holy."

There is a very important connection between the order of transcendence and the order among us. Plato does not need to argue that point - only to reform the general notions people have about transcendence. Now it seems that the work we have to do to purify our notions of transcendence is work that comes out for us right here, right now. When you take for example two of the most important items of Philippine religiosity - at least of the Christian Filipino - they would be, I would venture to say, the Sto. Nino and the cult of our Lady. The Sto. Nino and the cult of our Lady are for the most part I believe venerated and practiced in our own culture. What have we made of them? We have made of them, it seems to me, household gods - gods that sanctify the household. Gods that protect the household from outside. Gods that keep us at home. Because the Sto. Nino is not a god of the crossroads. Like any baby, the Sto. Nino needs a home. But who is Jesus Christ, really? What is the witness of the Scriptures concerning God? God in all of Scriptures is always a God at the crossroads, always a God on the way, always a God of the public spaces. Not a customized God. Not a private God. The God of the Old Testament was always moving ahead of His people to guide them into the wilderness - as a pillar of fire at night and as a cloud as day, only whose back could be seen. Abraham was told to leave his comfortable life, uproot himself, and go where God led him. God tells Jacob that he needs to be careful not to see Him face-to-face. A beautiful metaphor for the Hebrew people that God was always a God of the way - a God that guides us to the beyond. Same thing with the New Testament

What about the iconography of Our Lady? The image of a weepy, non-effectual person. The picture of absolute resignation. The Scriptural picture of the Lady is of the person militant. Where does the Lady pray the Magnificant in the scripture? Curiously enough, the Magnificat is not read from the pulpits on any Sunday whatsoever - not even during the Christmas season. Why is it not read? Because it is a very threatening prayer. A very radical praying of societal upheaval. What have we turned the Lady into? Instead of this militant woman presaging revolution, we have turned her into the Lady of Sorrows, the Lady of Tears. What's this fixation upon tears that we have? When we're weeping, we can't do anything else. Is that why we venerate the Lady? What about the new mysteries of the Rosary? Instead of the Rosary inspiring people to read the bible, the summary gives people an excuse - the life of Jesus has been encapsulated in one-liners. It's really so sordid, I sometimes think. And these are the items of our faith - items that make us sleep instead of rousing us to action. We forget that Christmas is a story of human indifference and hostility and violence. We have turned Christmas into Hallmark cards. A time of even more invisible introspection as opposed to a time of activism.

When Plato makes the first order of business the reexamination of the frame - which, it turns out, is the frame of transcendence - a reexamination that is made necessary by the fact that instead of serving as a counterpoint or fiscalizing element to the general frame, it has started to blend into the picture itself. Having blended in, it has lost its capacity to act as a frame. Think about your own practices of religiosity. (Fr. David relates the story of David and Bathsheba. Comparison with the Little Prince, too - the Little Prince is a picture of isolation, domesticity.. "That man is you." Nathan as a prophet of Yahweh is the frame. Having been told that, David repents. Thank God for that frame! Had that not happened, David would have gone on his way - plunging him and his people deeper into perfidy.)

The city of justice needs a constant element of fiscalizing. There always has to be a standard that is countercultural to from which it can constantly and consistently take its cues.

That is the gist of the discussion towards the end of book 2. It is not a diatribe against poets, but rather Plato's discussion of the inadequacy of popular formations of what in ancient Greek they would've called eidos - the order of transcendence. So you might almost say Plato begins the work with a prayer - but a prayer that he would like to make to the God beyond the household gods.

One of the most tragic ways we can misconstrue things is what happened to Edsa 1986. Like I said before, a wonderful opportunity to break new ground, to go down an altogether different and hopefully more productive for the nation path. In 1986 we had it not because of a 4-day exercise upon Edsa (which was only one of the most spectacular displays of something that had taken years to build up). A full year before EDSA 1986 right on this campus - and even before, other forces had been working - we started an alternative class program just to show you that it wasn't enough to do the regular things, but rather that we had to put our heads together and do little caucuses on the issues of the moment. What has it become twenty-five years later? Little ineffectual side-shows of escapist things. A total departure from the spirit of the original ACP. The original ACP was every class day for almost two semesters. You know the only time during the EDSA revolution when things could've turned here - the slope down to Libis

In 1986, the rich were ready for something different. And in a sense, the Church contributed to blowing our chances. The Church jumped the gun and said that Mary did it - as if the rosaries alone could have stopped the tanks. The rosaries insofar as they were emblems of years and years of preparation.. sure. But people were told to go back home and pray the rosary - in front of their household gods. So there were no decisive changes, no books that talk about the forces that built-up.. When you have a conception of the frame of transcendence that is supposed to serve as the model of your city, but it is flawed, the city will fall apart like a house of cards.


The Republic: true value and the standpoint of perfection

1.5 line spacing.

On statements.

"I generally don't like statements."