Re: Truth, Knowledge, Power

Somniferum (2453mauri@UMBSKY.CC.UMB.EDU)
Mon, 22 Apr 1996 00:14:57 EST

On Sat, 20 Apr 1996 Richard G. Calo wrote:
>> "If we were to start looking at the way knowledge is produced and
maintained....we can isolate two provisional models of actions, or systems
of practices. There is one which has been typical of the Western World, or
at least has become roughly synonymous with the Western style of
maneuvering in the World (despite the fact that it may be ongoing
elsewhere). This is what we understand as domination, colonization,
territorialization, etc.-- the argument from a position of power, which is
to say, there is no argument, so shut the whole thing down.

"The other provisional model of actions, or system of practices, is the
notion or possibility of dialogue, discussion-- the possibility of meeting
and coming to terms on one or another issue, even if it is only the issue
of defining the terms we intend to come to terms on, but as equals in an
equal game or dance (leaning toward ritual, actually), and on a neutral
site, where the power is not stacked so much all on one side. This may
be the game/dance/ritual (model, whatever) the West has been learning,
or begun practicing somewhat of late."
I think there might be a third method: vision. I think that I may have been
hasty in writing "People may speak on behalf of the language but only very
rarely (and these days feebly, judging from the state of AI research) does
the opposite happen," (though I still think Artificial Intelligence is
lame). As anthropologists we should know something about how vision is
invoked. One good way is to die. Another is to remove one's self from
quotidian life in order to have recourse to alternative bearings. And there
are the utilitarian sources such as dreams and standard oracles. Aren't
anthropologists looking for new vision when they leave this world for ones
beyond? What are they really trying to do when they return to tell the rest
of us what they have seen? And where does our un-dead golem of scientific
truth fit in? Are anthropologists chasing to the ends of the earth in order
to capture it or to kill it? I think we are misguided tif we attempt
either. I suggest that anthropologists are the good captain Robert Walton,
the failed poet who set out for "unexplored regions, to `the land of mist
and snow'" (remember how Boaz started out?) and who attempted to rescue Dr.
Frankenstein whom he encountered chasing over the frozen sea after his

--Marcus Aurin