According to social anthropologists, ethnographers, and paleontologists, a key to human survival, and a primary marker of the Homo genus, is our sociability and propensity to share, whether that means sharing food, tools, or sexual favors. Our earliest forebears, living in relatively small bands of pre-agricultural hunter-gatherers, shared anything and everything, distinguishing them from most, if not all, primate cousins. Sharing, as a primal human activity, also mitigated against hierarchy and the concentration of power.

Furthermore, it is easy to recognize the frailty of human nature; our weaknesses are legendary. We can err and be snared both in the giving and the receiving ~ delivering as well as taking a beating (emotionally/psychologically). Each person can easily cause distress in others as much as within oneself. Each one of us is capable of inflicting all manner of emotional pain. But, it is our inherent and primal capacity to share that allows us to check our reactions; and to imagine, if not participate, the experience of another’s distress before we deliver the blow, because we ourselves have the selfsame capacity to feel. And it is just this facility — our imagination to foretaste — that allows us to anticipate the distress of retaliation, and to show forgiveness instead of inflicting yet more pain when the opportunity arises. In this light, the ability to share in another’s distress, and to peremptorily forgive, becomes a key to understanding the other.

The most challenging part in all of this is the problem of interpretation and, ultimately, a problem of understanding. Language, in all its variants — verbal, written, gestural, bodily — can confuse and obfuscate as much as it can clarify or disambiguate. And, it is because of the intransigence of communication that openness (and forgiveness) be given priority in every case. Misunderstanding is as likely in dialogue as is the event of understanding. And in many instances, it is our own presuppositions ~ our own embedded and unquestioned prejudices ~ that guide our understanding within any dialogical framework. So, it becomes critical that we remain aware of our own pre-understandings and open to the ‘Other’ in a way that I will characterize as pre-forgiving. This requires that one try to re-interpret comments by the ‘Other’ before reacting to them; try to grasp the broader context of someone’s remarks or gestures before committing to a retaliatory response. This is how we can lay a foundation of mutual understanding. And this is what it means to share a world, where divergent pre-understandings can meet and move forward together.





About kulturcritic

With a doctorate in religious studies from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree from the University of Chicago, Sandy had a ten-year academic career, with appointments at University of Virginia and the Colorado School of Mines. He spent the next twenty years in executive ranks at several of America’s largest international firms, including Computer Sciences Corporation, Ernst & Young, and General Electric. He has traveled extensively throughout Europe and North America, as well as parts of Eurasia and Africa. For the past five years Sandy has been living in Western Siberia with his wife and young child, teaching at the Pedagogical University and the Altai Institute for Law and Economics in Barnaul, Russia. Published works include VERONIKA: The Siberian's Tale (a novel), (Islands Press 2011) Apocalypse Of The Barbarians: Inquisitions On Empire (Islands Press, 2010), The Recovery of Ecstasy: Notebooks From Siberia (Booksurge, 2009), Recollective Resolve: A Phenomenological Understanding of Time and Myth (Mercer University Press, 1987), Ethical Decisionmaking Styles (Addison-Wesley Press, 1986), and Gandhi in the Postmodern Age: Issues in War and Peace (CSM Press,1984).
This entry was posted in body-subject, cultural crisis, Curriculum of the West, freedom, Gadamer, heremeneutics, human nature, language, nature, primal humanity, sharing. Bookmark the permalink.

70 Responses to Forgiveness

  1. Pingback: Forgiveness | kulturCritic

  2. deenastryker says:

    Very interesting take on something a lot of us struggle with…..

  3. Patricia Bowen says:

    Do not underestimate the bonobo. In addition to sharing, they resolve conflict through sexual engagement.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Patricia, great piece from Live Science. And, yes, in many ways we may be wired to “ape” the bonobo and not the apes. I always believed sex was a better way to resolve conflict. Sandy

  4. Jack Waddington says:

    Dear Sandy:
    You state:- “This requires that one try to re-interpret comments by the ‘Other’ before reacting to them; try to grasp the broader context of someone’s remarks or gestures before committing to a retaliatory response. This is how we can lay a foundation of mutual understanding. And this is what it means to share a world, where divergent pre-understandings can meet and move forward together.”
    Wrong wrong and wrong again. To “TRY” to re-interpret comments by others is NOT to actually achieve doing so. Trying is not doing. In order to be able to “re-interpret comments by the ‘Other'” one needs to understand WHY, for the most part, most of are unable to do JUST THAT.
    The answer lies within a very debilitating disease that most of us suffer from. That disease is not changable from a cognative understanding of WHY it takes place in the first place.

    The problkem is ‘neurosis’ that has it’s beginnings in very early babyhood, early childhood and even sometime in wombhood. What happens to us neurotics is that we re-act from the subconscious little understand that, that is what we are doing. Hence attempting to get most of us to stop an already resident impulse from not happening; is futile.

    Whilst I agree it is very noble of you to suggest that, that is where the problem in many of our human encounters with others occurs; it is not the way to tackle that problem. Is there a way out of this disturbing human behavioral problem???

    Simply put: the re-action you mentioned is a behavoral problem and not a natural one. So!!! is there way to get beyond our bahavioral re-acion? I have written a book on this very subject and if you care for a free .PDF copy of it, I will send it to as an attachment an email respoding to my request.

    Jack Waddington

    • Patricia Bowen says:

      These comments are a response to “wrong, wrong, and wrong again”. As a psychologist practicing for over 40 years, I can adamantly state that there are many avenues to successfully subdue the vestiges of emotional trauma from our early years. It’s not necessary to understand “why” the Other is inflicting distress, and our own reaction to it, or our own aggression in order to offer “pre-understanding” to others. Though having some insight into one’s historical triggers can certainly help stop negative/retaliatory responses, individuals’ emotional/spiritual commitments to themselves, loved ones, humanity in general, and/or the planet can override the vestiges of historical experiences that are buried in the unconscious. There is free will. People can grow beyond their deamons. Dr. Krolick’s concept of “pre-forgiving” is similar to cognitive strategies used by some practitioners, but it also captures a spiritual practice of which we are all capable. Pre-forgiving is a description of human discourse that I find compelling, and one I think a person could hold onto in the midst of impulse and reactivity. And while trying is certainly not doing (“Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try” – Yoda), a moment of stopping to at least try can change the course of an interaction, offering a possibility of forgiveness instead of aggression. Count to ten…


      • kulturcritic says:

        Jack, I believe Patricia is going in the right direction here. And your statement in defense of your position in this regard seems rather silly to me. You state: “In order to be able to ‘re-interpret comments by the Other’ one needs to understand WHY, for the most part, most of (us) are unable to do JUST THAT.” First, you presuppose that most of us are unable to do that (i.e., reinterpret another’s behavior). But, that is a ridiculous presupposition, because we interpret behaviors all the time (including others verbal statements), just as you are doing now with my post 😉 In this light, your call “to understand why you cannot re-interpret another’s comments” would seem nonsensical on the face of it.

        • Jack Waddington says:

          Anonymous: I’m sorry you feel my response to Patricia was “silly”. Meantime, you seemingly had a desire to respond to a “silly” respondent.
          Within that last statement of mine, I meant to show that most of our re-actions to events and people are done from our unconsciousness. Then to justify our reaction we make any number of reasoning. In psychology they are termed “defenses”. That term implies we are guarding against something.

          For some time now the unconscious that Freud named, and now, by another psychologist, defined. The unconscious (or as I would rather call it:- the “subconscious” [being below our consciousness]) has now been revealed by an accidental discovery by a psychologist in 1967. He claims that all that resides in that unconscious/subconscious is “Pain”. If he is correct (and I feel strongly from my own experiences he is), a whole other aspect of our being has been revealed. It is this OTHER state of being that is hard to grasp (comprehend).

          I will go off on to a tangent for a moment: In the United States Donald Trump made a belated, but impassioned speech regarding the opioid epidemic. He asked as did Nancy Reagan before him, that it all could be done by simply saying “No” when confronted with mind altering drugs. It demonstrates the total lack of understanding the drives many to take drugs in the very first place. Ask any addict.

          For a person in pain … be it a conscious OR a subconscious … anyone/everyone will do whatever it takes, to alleviate that pain .. be it a substance or a behaviour. The problem arises when the subconscious pain attempts to heal itself by bringing that subconscious pain back into consciousness. A natural phenomenon … now being studies effusively in the medical field in particular.

          The common phrase used for this pathology is addiction … again without defining exactly what is and what is not an ‘addiction’: worse, wondering why we get addicted in the first placed. To and for me, it is not the drug that is addictive. it is a person use of killing his inner or outer pain that is addictive. Anything that will quell pain we will get addicted to. It’s natural because none of us like pain. That implies:- anything that kills pain is, by definition addictive, especially if the pain persists.

          Trump talked about medications that kills pain that are NOT addictive. That’s a contradiction … there is no such thing. A substance or a behaviour that kills pain is; in-and-of-itself addictive. I grant this is a circular argument.

          Most of us humans are running our lives dependent on the amount of pain in the subconscious, but little realising it, and stating often, the most absurd reasons for doing so. Sadly, we have no other choice, since by definition we are not conscious of what is contained in our subconscious.

          It would be an easy solution to many of our human problems, if they could be solved by merely rationalising them. Looking around us, that is not what is occurring … including the very subject of this blog.

          Jack Waddington

  5. Jack Waddington says:

    Patricia: I appreciate you responding to me … BUT for all your expertise in the area of psychology I feel you are missing out on one of the greatest revelation in psychology, that happened in 1967.

    If psychology a la Freud who coined neurosis, was not able to define neurosis, albeit that he was a neurophysicist, then we are missing one factor of the physiology of the brain. For all the current research in that area; no-one other the one person I am hinting at, defined neurosis. The sad part of this is that we go on searching and studying in the wrong areas.

    We’re all prone to that anomaly … but few are able to admit, or even consider that factor … coined “being defensive”. The United States now has a leader demonstrating the total absurdity of current human behavior (he being the greatest blatant example of it), totally unable to understand our REAL NATURE.

    I offer you also an e-copy of my book if you’ll give me an email address, should you be interested.

    Jack Waddington

    • Patricia Bowen says:

      Freud did not coin “neurosis”. It was first used by a Scottish doctor in 1769. The American Psychiatric Association dropped it as a useful diagnostic concept in1980 when the DSM was revised. It has never had a clear definition having been used in various ways over the years. Could you elaborate on how your focus on “neurosis” relates to Dr. Krolic’s essay on forgiveness? You seem to be making the point that forgiveness is not a likely human behavior.

      • jackwaddington says:

        Patricia: I stand corrected, that Freud was not the first to coin the word Neurosis. What I thought I said was that he coined the word. However, thanks for the information. I do not know what the Scottish Doctor was able to achieve by making that diagnosis.

        Since you asked me to elaborate how that relates to Dr. Krolic’s essay on forgiveness I’ll make a stab at it.
        You state:- “You (‘meaning me’) seem to be making the point that forgiveness is not a likely human behavior. On the contrary, it is our current human behaviour. What I was trying to point out was that our behaviour is NOT our nature. I gave the example of the study of many animals, by putting them in an environment (box) and studying their behaviour in that box. Since the ‘box’ was a contrivance of ours, we did not study their NATURE … only their behaviour in that contrivance, hoping it gave us some clues to what those creatures were about. Jane Goodall reversed that process by studying Chimps in their natural setting. the only definitive way to attempt to fully understand them.

        I then made a very ‘outrageous’ statement to suggest that we humans were equally studying our ourselves by only looking at our BEHAVIOUR; because our “nature” was hidden within our unconsciousness. By definition, the unconsciousness is not known; or wasn’t until an accidental discovery in 1967. From that; I extrapolated that we were studying ourselves (psychology) from our own “box”. That box IS “Neurosis”

        Our real nature, that was defined by the person making that discovery; is a whole other state of being. That ‘other state of being’ lifted us outside of neurosis. Meaning:- neurosis is an illness (disease), that we could eradicate … and be healthier without it. Hence there would NEVER be the need to “forgive” anyone or anything.

        Should you wish (which I doubt) to get deeper into my thinking on this matter you would need to read one of my books. I’m not suggesting that you should. Just offering it for free IF you were genuinly interested.
        I hope this elaborates it somewhat for you.

        Jack Waddington

    • Ol' Scratch says:


      Have you read Ernest Becker’s Denial of Death (1974)? I just bought another e-copy of it to brush up on again. I read it way back in the day, and it’s really defined my views on psychology and psychiatry ever since.

      • jackwaddington says:

        Ol’ Scratch: No! I never did read that book and until you mentioned it I had never heard of it.

        How could I get hold of an e-copy of it?

        Jack waxdcdington

  6. kulturcritic says:

    Hi Jack… Obviously you think quite a bit about such issues. Undoubtedly for good reason. That’s fine. I do not think on these matters often enough. Of course, there are those who maintain that there are defensive responses built into our wiring, so to speak.. the infamous “fight or flight” syndrome, for example. But, what may be an appropriate, perhaps physiological, response to ‘a clear and present danger’, would seem to be overkill when faced with a (yet inarticulate or unarticulated) affront to our modern egos. Never forget that “sharing” and its compatriots (giving, for-giving and pre-forgiving)… are perhaps more essential to our nature than are the defense mechanisms of our now highly constructed self images. Peace, Sandy

    • Jack Waddington says:

      Sandy: you state:- “Never forget that “sharing” and its compatriots (giving, for-giving and pre-forgiving)… are perhaps more essential to our nature as are the defense mechanisms of our now highly constructed self images. Peace,”

      I don’t agree, but that is not to say that I don’t enjoy your blog; cos I do. I contend it is NOT our nature, but rather our behaviour,
      The example I’ll pose is that we’ve been putting animals in boxes with corridors and levers on the pretense that we were studying their nature when in fact we were studying their behaviour in a box of our own design. We’d need to study them in their natural environment which is seemingly inconvenient and difficult.

      I contend that we humans put ourselves into our own self made box, and assume that our behaviour in that box is our Nature. NOT SO! In my opinion … my opinion having been created at a time when I did not have the thinking brain I now posses.


      • Patricia Bowen says:

        Hi Jack,

        I’m in suspense wanting to know about this great 1967 discovery and why, if it is so monumental, why haven’t we heard of it? Can you please share content here so we can have a discussion without reading your book? Patiently waiting…

        • jackwaddington says:

          Patricia: The discovery I mentioned that took place in 1967, was made by a psychologist with a PhD i neuroscience and wrote more than 14 books. The first and most famous one came out in 1970. If you are indeed keeping up with psychology and all the research taking place in neuroscience in the medical world; I am surprised should you are not be aware of it. If I were to go into more details about it, I feel that would set this ‘blog thread’ off on a different tangent and I am trying to avoid just that. If Sandy was prepared to let that happen, only then would I pursue it.

          It was for that reason that I offered you the book of 69 pages rather than to have to plow through the 500 pages of the first book by that psychologist. Since the discovery was very, very different to the way we humans (as opposed to all other creatures) lived our lives, it became rejected by the psychological profession for the most part since IMO, he (the author) insisted that it required way more that a masters degree from a university in order to practice his therapy. Having spent more than 30 years doing his therapy I greatly concur with his insistence in that regard.

          Jack Waddington

          P.S. I am not practicing anything in the way of health, mental or otherwise.

          • kulturcritic says:

            Jack, why don’t you pull your finger out of your arse, and tell Patti who the f…king author is?

            • jackwaddington says:

              Sandy: Since you’ve suggested that I “pull my finger out” I’ll do just that; asuming that I now have your permission.

              The author of that book was Arthur Janov PhD and his first book was “The Primal Scream”. The outgrowth was Primal therapy and he backed that up with Primal Theory (the first 80 pages of that original book.
              At the time 1970 (the date of publication) it became a best seller, and was very popular until, some of the professionals who would have liked to have practiced his therapy by merely reading his book, (since they were already licensed psychologists), were characterized by him to be “Mock Primal therapist”. Some to this day, are still practicing his therapy without one single day of training by him, or his staff, at either The Primal Institute OR The Primal Center, both in Los Angeles, California.

              My second book was an attempt to offer a ‘do-it-yourself’ “Feeling Therapy; Real Health: Yourself”. Janov read it and emailed me to say, “It is a good, succinct and fine book”.
              I also add that his was the only crit I ever got of my book.
              Primal Therapy is based on Feelings and the Expression of those feelings, stating that ‘neurosis’ is “the pathology of feelings”.

              So! here I have attempted to ‘pull my finger out’ and wiped it clean … as besgt I could

              Jack Waddington

              • kulturcritic says:

                Jack, Having checked the internet, I now see that you are my elder, so I wish to apologize for my insensitivity. You obviously have a great deal of personal experience to refer to in your writing and your postings. What was frustrating for me was finding almost nothing on your training or professional background, except for the notation that in the ’70s you read ‘The Primal Scream’. Would you provide us with your other educational credentials? And would you give Patti, who has a Ph.D. in Psychology and has practiced therapy for about 30 years, the benefit of the doubt in some of these discussions? Respectfully, Sandy

                • jackwaddington says:

                  Sandy: My education:- I didn’t even get a bachelors in knitting. In fact I never went to a university. I wanted to, but my parent being poor desperately wanted me to get a job and pay my way after getting (only just) “School Leaving Certificate”, way back in 1950 in England.

                  There’s absolutely no need for any apology … just because I’m now a geriatric does not warrant me getting any favours. You are bound to take me from my blogging for what it shows you; and operated from there. I didn’t consider you insensitive in the least.

                  As for giving Patricia the benefit of the doubt … it depends on the context you ask me to do that. Having a PhD in psychology is no guarantee that a PhD carries anymore than some professors handing out pieces of paper and letting them buy a gown and mortar board on their head. However, good for her if she feel that gives her some authority on her subject … Psychology a la Sigmund Freud, Jung and all the rest of them. I did read most of them before I discovered “The Primal Scream”

                  To bring it back the instance of Copernicus and Galileo. The educated boys of that time were normally the ones with Degrees in divinity. Hence, C and G were considered “nut” cases as it was the “COMMON SENSE’ of the time, that the sun went around the earth and that we (earthlings) were at the center of the Universe.

                  In that context, and that context alone, I give Patricia ALL the benefits of the doubt in psychology a la Freud. Seemingly she has little knowledge of Primal Theory, Primal Therapy or the nature and benefits of experiencing a “re-living event”. Or so it would seem to me from reading her comments on this blog. If that is not correct, I would happily continue to read what she has to say about it. In essence I am questioning the validity and purpose of “forgiving”.

                  Jack Waddington

                  • Patricia Bowen says:

                    Jack, your assumptions about me are very off base and seem to reflect a bias you hold against psychology, rather than anything you know about my educational and experiential background. My reply to you was more in response to your arrogance than any allegiance I have to my profession. And why do you just assume I have no knowledge of Janov and his works? You just yesterday provided his name. Or the benefits of a “re-living ” event? Your approach here has been unnecessarily disparaging, and belies some “unconscious” agenda on your part. I see psychotherapy has an art, and eschew most research. I worked with children most of my career…children who have great access to their unconscious via symbolic play. And having worked with many adoptive children, I know full well about reliving therapies.

                    My basic response to you was to your comment of “wrong, wrong, wrong” regarding Sandy’s discussion of the role of forgiveness, or lack thereof, in human discourse. I think it is an excellent point that “pre-forgiveness” is a concept that could serve us well in relationships, and is fully in line with my understanding of humankind. I don’t believe the unconscious is a roadblock to holding this value, and acting upon this value, which can actually lead to healing in the unconscious realm. But we can never really know that according to your schema. While the definition of unconscious as being anything that is not conscious is technically correct, it is rather useless in these kinds of discussions because the minute we refer to any actual content of the unconscious, it become a discussion of the conscious.

                    Anyway, settle down with the judgements as I am an expert after spending 40 years in the deepest recesses of several thousand humans. That’s been my training, far more than 7 years of graduate study.

                    • jackwaddington says:

                      Patricia: This last response of yours to me, sounds as if you are angry. I could well be wrong and if so, I will stand corrected.
                      Of course; until you tell me (via this blog) I don’t that much about you or your life’s experiences. I will say, by way of some defense on my part, that it was not my intent to disparage you, the psychological professioin, or any of your work with children for 40 years. If indeed you have any knowledge about Arthur Janov and his work you have not said so and still haven’t. I would be interested if you would like to give me/us your opinion on him and his work. I will however, accept that one of your feelings about me is that I am “arragant” I will endeavour to look into that. Also that unconsciouly (I prefer to call it “the subconscious”). I have stuff going on there.

                      The last sentence in this response, I totally agree with:- “it is rather useless in these kinds of discussions because the minute we refer to any actual content of the unconscious, it become a discussion of the conscious.”
                      The question I wish to pose is:- HOW do we know what our unconscious contains? According to Arthur Janov, there is a way to bring the unconscious into the consciousness; AND I have experiences just that. It was because of that experience, I did his therapy (and continue to follow it from within myself, and will for the rest of my life).

                      Jack Waddington

      • Ol' Scratch says:

        I think you’re onto something here Jack. Good work!

  7. LarasDad (aka Andrew) says:

    It’s hard to take someone seriously whose responses are couched in self-serving adverts for their un-named book (even if it is being offered, selectively, for free), to wit:

    “has now been revealed by an accidental discovery by a psychologist in 1967. He claims ”

    “For all the current research in that area; no-one other the one person I am hinting at, defined neurosis.”

    And why the combatitive tone ?

  8. Ol' Scratch says:

    Nice post Sandy, and glad to see a little change of pace from the usual. Hopefully we can look forward to more regular posts in a similar vein in the future?

    Ol’ Scratch notes that forgiveness is a reverse order mechanism from my most basic human foible I like to exploit: Fear>hate>blame>personal enmity.

    But Ol’ Scratch also notes that as timely and relevant as your post here is to the needs of mankind at this particular point in time especially, it’s also just about the last thing that will actually be resorted to by the great many. Ol’ Scratch doesn’t delve much into human “psychology,” as, like most western social academic disciplines, it has mostly laid an egg as far as actually diagnosing and treating actual human conditions as the exist in the real world.

    The human condition can be reduced to two basic impulses, and everything else follows from there: attraction/love and repulsion/fear. Want to make your life better in every way? Love the things that are good in your life and attract them to you like a magnet. The harder part is learning that fearing/hating things attracts them as well. So set your fears aside and learn to know them and eventually love them for their flaws instead, then simply release them altogether.

    Obviously, much harder than it sounds. Which is how Ol’ Scratch keeps so many humans locked into this mortal coil for so many lifetimes perfecting the technique in the first place.

    Anyway, great post once again; but I must be off now on, this, my special night, to help humans do what they do best: strike fear in each other and be fearful themselves!

    • Patricia Bowen says:

      Dear Ol’ Scratch,

      Since you haven’t delved much into psychology, how do you conclude that “it has mostly laid an egg”? Strike away on this most fearsome of eves. Sounds like you are stirring up lots of business for these psychology charlatans.

      A Psychologist

      • Ol' Scratch says:

        I don’t know, do people seem more “well adjusted,” or dare I say it, HAPPY, to you lately? Psychology these days – like the rest of the medical “profession” – is almost entirely about pushing drugs. The rest of it is just so much unsubstantiated theory, aka, psychobabble.

        • kulturcritic says:

          Still as unforgiving as ever, eh, Ol’ Scratch? 😉

        • Patricia Bowen says:

          You seem to have opinions on psychology though you state you haven’t delved into the area. Your comments are not particularly original or true. What are you basing them on? That people don’t seem happy? Happiness is rarely the goal of psychological treatment. Being unhappy does not equate with depression which can be completely debilitating. And there are many modalities of treatment that have been thoroughly researched that don’t involve drugs. And back to the topic of this blog post, there are many, many cultural issues affecting the state of mind of Americans. I would consider these to predominate in any increase incidence of unhappiness. Sandy’s comments on forgiveness address a cultural flaw of aggression being a prominent aspect of social discourse in America. That’s not mental illness. It’s cultural illness. Its a part of why Americans kill each other so much. And why we kill others around the world. We don’t share well.

          • kulturcritic says:

            I think Patti has hit the nerve here. Let’s see if Jack or Ol’Scratch can muster a response.

            • Ol' Scratch says:

              Oh I forgive her alright. She’s mostly right in her above post – capitalism and the American way of life are the real culprits here – but she’s also hyper-defensive of her chosen “profession.” Many academic disciplines of the social science variety – and psychology and economics come to mind immediately – are closed loop, self-referential systems (there’s a high-minded academic term for that, but I can’t bring it to my admittedly aging and feeble mind at the moment) that rely on their own assumptions and subsequent assertions as proof of their worth. I’m hardly alone in that “feeling” (which are what psychology is truly trying to address – human feelings), so I’m hardly going out on a conjectural limb here; although, granted, I can’t quote you any peer reviewed articles by distinguished academics steeped in the discipline, as I’m sure Patty would prefer, even though I probably could if I cared to take the time.

              But the point is, either way, those would just be so much more academic psychobabble in support of or contrary to this or that meaningless theory, which would just be playing that same game from the other side of the fence. Being surrounded by academics of a more serious stripe every day, let’s just say I’m more than a little bit skeptical of their ability to analyze much of anything, including the lint in their own navels.

              But to each his own. Ol’ Scratch supports delusional thinking of all varieties, as all of humankind is caught up in it every day. As the Theoretical Theorists – a particularly quirky bunch of academics – remind us, our everyday reality is a mass illusion of solid materiality based on the limitations of our five senses, so it should hardly be surprising that so many of us would view it so wildly different.

              Response mustered. Would you like some Catsup/Ketchup with that order too?

              – NOT a Psychologist –

              • Ol' Scratch says:

                Although Ol’ Scratch prefers Dijonaise.

              • Ol' Scratch says:

                Theoretical Theorists

                LOL! Truly a Freudian slip if there ever was one! Theoretical Physicists, dammit!

              • Patricia Bowen says:

                You call me defensive. Merely a reaction to your pontificating on things of which have such little understanding. I’m not protecting my profession. I’m pointing out errors in the global aspersions being cast around here. It’s so easy, lazy, and unoriginal, to rant on about the social sciences. And I’m not in any way connected to academia, and I don’t have excessive respect for the social sciences. I think most research is stupid and designed to keep the academics employed. My B.S. in mathematics is a far more important degree to me. I’m a psychologist who works as a psychotherapist, a term I detest. I consider myself to be an artist, a healer, a playmate, a fellow traveller with the capacities of a mathematician, chess player, magician, and yes, the years of education and experience I’ve had. For me, the human mind is the most complex and interesting phenomenon on this planet. Thus, I have many opinions on such topics as forgiveness. And why aren’t we speaking of that??

          • Patricia Bowen says:

            The cult of capitalism is not about sharing…

  9. kulturcritic says:

    Hi folks… sorry I have been away pitching my movie in LA to investors. But, I think we need a WHOLE LOT OF FORGIVENESS here. The energy is about to explode through my rectum. Listen, my post was intended to raise an issue concerning human relations, particularly as they display themselves in America today. Whether it is a partner getting pissed off at you for misunderstanding your comment, a cab driver upset because someone has decided to cross his path, a hungry diner upset with a busy waitress, or a parent about to lose her temper with a silly child. If you want to go into a closet and do your primal scream, go ahead and do it. But that is a modern phenomenon. Let us not assume that we understand the nature of Homo sapiens, or deeper back, the Homo genus, if we are debating current social relations. Let’s all take a deep breath or two. And then, go back and read The Evolution of Political Society by Morton Fried,

    As Fried states:
    The paramount invention that led to human society was sharing because it underlay the division of labor that probably increased early human productivity above the level of competitive species in the same ecological niches.

    OH!! And SHARE it with a friend, or an enemy!!

    Peace and Love Sandy

    • jackwaddington says:

      Sandy: You say:- “………or a parent about to lose her temper with a silly child. If you want to go into a closet and do your primal scream, go ahead and do it.”
      We don’t need to go into a closet to scream. It’s and instinctive factor of us (homo genus’). Most children, when it’s appropriate, do it. There is nothing modern about screaming … OR, laughing, crying, and being angry. We’ve been doing it for millennium, least ways some of us. Sadly, there is a psychological phenomenon called “acting-out” which is a perverse way, attempting to express some feelings (Yes! for some, even laughing).

      If we need to be ‘educated/instructed’ to perform such acts as forgiveness, compassion, sympathy; then by definition there is something amiss. It was once an instinctive re-action … until we became ‘neurotic’: my guess some 20 to 30 thousand years ago. How and why is another story that I’ll leave for anthropologist to conjecture.

      While I do agree that with all the wars, bullying policing, murders, torture, seeking to avenge our hurts; there is a need for an immediate “band aid” … but a band aid will necessitate changing that band aid very often.

      I do have an idea/opinion/feeling; how we might, just might, achieve that end, without having to give instruction on the matter. If I get your permission Sandy I will, in four sentences, write my idea on this blog. Unfortunately in doing so, it might create another thread.

      Jack Waddington

      • kulturcritic says:

        Don’t hypothesize Jack, its unbecoming. But please post your ideas… that’s why this is here. 😉

        • jackwaddington says:

          Sandy: Thanks. So! is there is any answer to all this “human-fuck-up”; I will make my proposal/suggestion:-

          Abolish money and all forms of exchange and that includes barter … and “voila”; we would in one simple stroke, eliminate 95% of ALL our human problems.

          The remaining 5% will become manageable (to us each of us individually).

          What this would mean:-
          Stopping anyone attempting to control another person … and that includes parents with very little and vulnerable children, the evaporation of law enforcement, incarceration authorities, military organizations, governments and laws (your rules; not mine), national borders .

          “Real peace” would become NORMAL, NATURAL AND SIMPLE. Even many of our health maladies would evaporate.

          Jack Waddington

          • Ol' Scratch says:

            Good points Jack, but before any of that could happen (as has been said here before, I think), we’d have to live in much smaller groups, as comity is much harder if not impossible where groups are so large that most of the members don’t know each other in some sort of personal way. We are forced to generalize, stereotype, and ultimately dehumanize others in such large groups in order to wrap our minds around it, and therein begins the problems. That’s pretty much what allows warfare to be such a popular preoccupation these days. If Americans actually knew the people their government was killing on their behalf, there’s at least a chance they would say “ENOUGH of this shit!”

            • jackwaddington says:

              Ol’ Scratch: I am very pleased you think it is good point. However, the problem, as I see it, is in getting that ‘state of affairs’ to occur. Karl Marx was a genius in-so-far as he delineated the problem/s with the capitalist (monetary) system. Where I feel Marx made a grave error was in suggesting how to bring it about and it shows in what happened after the Russian Revolution of 1919 and all communist revolutions ever since. There is no such creature as a “benevolent dictator”. Once anyone gets that amount of power then a whole other ‘psychic-change’ takes place in that leader, and that, I characterise it; to maintain that power … whatever it takes.

              It has to be, IMO, a grass roots occurrence; once there is a “critical mass” of people to carry it to fruition. Not impossible, IF some will think it through; before the normal two seconds to dismiss the notion as “crazy”; worse “stupid”, or even worse “mad”.


              • Ol' Scratch says:

                Agreed, but what you said in the second paragraph has NOTHING to do with Marx, or even dictators, for that matter. And while we’re on the subject, has capitalism not essentially served us up “dictatorship by consensus” anyway. Sheldon Wolin’s Inverted Totalitarianism writ large, which Chris Hedges, Noam Chomsky, et al, have documented at length.

                Once again, it comes down to a problem of numbers. Human beings living in nations states of hundreds of millions of people are inherently easily manipulated, as neither their leaders nor themselves are capable of wrapping their minds around issues involving that many people. BUT, their leaders ARE easily capable of wrapping THEIR minds around propaganda techniques developed during the 20th century and enhanced greatly by 21st century electronic media technologies to put forth the political vision THEY want to pursue, and therein lies the rub. It’s all well and fine to say that if we all just changed our minds individually everything would be just fine again, but in the REAL world in which we actually live in, that’s just not possible.

                All that said, you’re STILL right in the end: it simply MUST be a bottoms up movement. Which unfortunately means that our numbers must shrink precipitously before this kind of thing stands a chance of working.

                • jackwaddington says:

                  Ol’ Scratch: What I intended to convey was that Karl Marx tried to suggest a way/method, by which we could achieve the end goal of:- no government, no laws, no money, and no state boundaries (“the withering away of the state”).
                  I suggested that NO-ONE is able to predict how that state (of non government) would be, NOR how to bring it about. In so doing, actually defeats the very purposed of the end result. Marx’s suggestion of a transitional “dictatorship ……”; keeps the very system in place however, benevolent that dictator might be before being inaugurated. The problem being that once in power he/she needs to protect his/her position from all dissenters and hence, is no longer benevolent.

                  Marx did suggest , until there was a critical mass desiring that state of affairs ; only then would it occur. Revolution are not new, to our human way of life. For me: starting with the British revolution that finally beheaded the dictator (the King, Charles the first).
                  The one Marx quoted was the French revolution, stating that it replaced the very thing it got rid of … a dictatorial ruler.

                  As I see it (Since I am in no position to predict either the method or the outcome), when that critical mass occurs that sees the fallacy of money and the control that it brings about upon us all; only then might the rest of us “sheeples” begin to see the potential benefit and join it … as happens in ALL revolutions. The most recent being (on any grand scale), was the Russian one in 1919.

                  If there is anything to promote; it is merely the idea; until such times as the idea takes hold.

                  Jack Waddington

                  • Ol' Scratch says:

                    Good points Jack! From Dmitry Orlov’s latest this morning:


                    “One of the reasons why the USSR failed was because the idiocy of the ideology of Soviet communism became too painful to tolerate. In a sense, this was inevitable. You see, ideology is a product of intellectuals, and intellectuals tend to be idiots, making “intellectual idiocy” something of an oxymoron. We are born equipped with MonkeyBrain 2.0 that can handle abstraction only too well but always fails when attempting to reconcile it with messy physical reality. And so it would be a grave error to think that, just because communist ideology is idiotic, capitalist ideology is any less so. By now most thinking people realize that capitalism has failed just has communism had. We can only hope that one day the US will do with its capitalist legacy what Russia has done with its communist one: turn it into a festive art installation that both children and adults can enjoy.”

                    • jackwaddington says:

                      Ol’ Scratch: I read Dmitry Orlov’s latest, and agree with most of it. We’ll never know, but had Lenin’s chosen successor Trotsky taken over there might have been a less violent leader. As I see it, it was Stalin and his ruthless attempt to suppress all dissidents that allowed the capitalist world to make capital out of it.
                      It is often suggested that, neither the far right nor the far left, will eventually prevail, but only a middle course. I contend, the middle course will not work either, for who decides what is a “middle course”?

                      For 7 billion humans, each going about his/her life, as they see fit for themselves, with the only restrictions being ‘nature’ and taking the consequences of their/our own actions, that all be be well, and will bring about the only (personal) peace we all wish for. All attempts to predict it’s outcome OR means to achieve it are futile … IMO

                      Jack Waddington

  10. Ol' Scratch says:

    Ol’ Jack,

    Taking up the last thread over here on the left margin again. Not to apologize for Stalin, but keep in mind that capitalist interests the world over were scared shitless of the Communist revolution in Russia, as capitalism itself was by no means the lock then that it is now. [Roosevelt’s New Deal having been originally sold as a program to save capitalism from itself.] So much so that significant interests within Great Britain and the US both backed Hitler’s little party until it was clear that he had much larger ambitions, then took full advantage of the carnage on the Russian front, which decimated both the Nazi’s and the Russians, before shamelessly claiming credit for “winning” the war.

    The current and past vilification of Communism within the US is nothing more than the continued propaganda effort to portray capitalism as the only “reasonable alternative,” even though it’s clearly and spectacularly melting down before our very eyes. Hard to say exactly what will come next, but rest assured it won’t be a “kindler, gentler” form of anything for quite some time yet. There’s simply too much money, power, and privilege at stake for the rich to simply lay down their arms in magnanimous defeat, and the ruins of the meltdown will hardly be a cakewalk to endure for a human population that’s now several orders of magnitude greater than that which is sustainable, absent cheap energy and a thriving industrialized agriculture culture to feed and house them all.

    • jackwaddington says:

      Ol’ Scratch: It depends on developments among the peoples of this planet. Some disalutioned with the extreme left, others with the extreme right, and some beginning to realise that the middle does satify our human needs either.
      It’s slow incurring development and if, as I hope, that the one solution of abolishing money might, just might, have some credibility, then slowly happen. If it doesn’t, and that is a possibility, then I see the end of the ‘homo genus’ going extinct and perhaps with it, life on the planet.

      The only consolation for me is that I doubt I will be around to see it. It’s all a conjecture in the end, however much anyone may consider themselves an expert. One other aspect to all this is the proposition by Benjamin Lee Whorf stating:- “we THINK in language”.
      For me, looking around at both sides of the political arguments it’s all about words and catch phrases. Rarely if ever taking our deep instinctive feelings into account. This brings me back to this current blog page proposition; that we need to learn how to be forgiving. If it is not instinctive to play out our feeling, through the expression of them, but instead have to be educated, calling it:- “forgiving”, then I feel we surely are doomed.

      Jack Waddington

      • Ol' Scratch says:

        I think you’re abolishing of money idea – at least for the masses – will get some traction very shortly, but not in the way that you might think. I think the next collapse, likely the big one, will involve bank bail-ins (the robbing/seizure of people’s personal accounts to “balance the books”), before the currency finally collapses altogether. Any replacement currency will almost certainly be digital, with fine, upright, corporate denizens invited to take part (along with a copious number of other strings attached, I’m sure), and everyone else sent their “termination notices.” That of course will be the final straw for the US as a “going concern,” and all the cards will finally be laid on the table. The common citizens – the riff raff or ferals – will have to self-organize as best they can, with many taking up arms against the federal government/corporate oligarchy and likely getting snuffed out in the process, and the oligarchy mostly abandoning them where they can, and hunting down and slaughtering them wholesale where they can’t, exactly as they’ve been practicing the third-world-over in the wake of WWII. Interesting times ahead, for sure!

        The surviving feral population will emerge much smaller and heartier than ever after several generations (assuming the world is habitable that long), but their lifestyles will be much different than what we know now. In that atmosphere, sharing and comity will once again thrive, not necessarily because anyone wanted it to be that way, but simply because there was no other alternative if they wanted to survive.

        • jackwaddington says:

          Ol’ Scrtach: Interesting proposition how it all might manifest itself. However, I feel it is very forlorn to attempt any prediction/conjecture as to how it might manifest itself.

          I agree, that things are all falling apart on both the political and economic fronts. If we are just thinking of tweaking what already exists, then it will merely be a reshuffling of that, that already exists; as has happened in all the past revolution. Nothing fundamental changes.

          Leave us all alone to do our thing and take the consequences, without blame of anyone or anything, for our actions. It’s very simple idea … BUT a hard one to grasp.

          Jack Waddington

          • Ol' Scratch says:

            No, I think your idea is a good one! Not possible under the current paradigm, but that paradigm is being rapidly replaced with one or ones where it will. Humans are in the process of remembering that physically, we’re all animals and all in this together. Our technologies and the discovery of cheap energy allowed us to dream that we were gods on earth for a time, but that time is rapidly drawing to a close. Like most such “gifts from god,” we squandered the opportunity to advance the species and the entire earth and instead went in for obscene profits for the few. It all seems inevitable in retrospect, as even though a fairly large minority of people recognize the truth of our predicament, absolutely no one has even proposed a credible way out of it absent a fairly messy and likely bloody total western societal and political reset. But that’s the essence of financialized western corporate capitalism anyway: a “full-spectrum” self-reinforcing system that not only gets more virulent and more malignant as it grows, but very effectively drowns out all opposing systems and means of dissent in the process. There’s a truly monumental struggle ahead of us to unseat it, and it might very well kill the patient in the process.

            • jackwaddington says:

              Ol’ Scratch: I totally agree, Something has happened in the universe of us earthling planet colonizers. It’s been a ling time coming and I for one will do my best to keep the momentum going.

              The only problem as I see it is:- by which path should it go?????


              • Ol' Scratch says:

                The holistic path will be the only viable option, which likely means we’ll never pursue it. Reduce our numbers dramatically and get back in sync with the basic rhythms of the rest of life on earth. That will be very tough though, because we’ve already disrupted life on earth so much. Given the huge time delays involved in AGW, it very well might not even be possible anymore at this point.

                • jackwaddington says:

                  Ol’ Scratch: All any of us can do at this point is conjecture. I think/feel your conjecture is as good as anyone else’s; including mine.

                  If I am to continue my quest; it is the abolition of money; believing that the consequences of that would allow it to take IT’S own course … as opposed to someone attempting to run it, control it, put it into effect. Granted for that to take place would require IMO, a critical mass of humanity to see that as a possible way forward.

                  Liked you, I am not very optimistic any of it will come about.

                  I do enjoy blogging and listening to other’s ideas and putting forward my own. It could well be that I now being retired and reasonably settled, have the time, the desire and the energy to do so.

                  Jack Waddington

                  • Ol' Scratch says:

                    Good for you Jack. I hope to be able to retire some day as well, but these days I’m not so optimistic. Failing that, I just want an early death without a lot of pain or drama.

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