exists does it

Daniel A. Foss (U17043@UICVM.BITNET)
Mon, 30 Oct 1995 14:58:59 CST

Stop. How much can something exist whose precondition for it existing at
all is coercion deriving from outside itself? The coercion is conventional,
also hierarchical; where both may deny the existence of the coercion. Which
makes possible our fantastic compulsory beliefs, taken-for-granted assumptions,
even, about Freedom. Having such minimal existence makes it a Thingie, Else
it'd come up to "phenomenon," but I was taught as a kid never to use such

Now, if "meaning...exists," we'd find we all would come to agree with one
another; and our agreements would be stable. "Meaning" would accordingly not
be doing its job, whatever I mean by that. There are times and places where
such conditions did, in retrospect, seem to arise, for example, Early Modern
Spain, with a little help from the Inquisition; and the Middle Byzantine
Empire, say, in the twelfth century. Which are classic cases of stifling
cultural suffocation; though Recent Studies, as may be expected, show more
diversity and dynamism than the hortatory sterotypes suggest; that's the
job of Recent Studies. The generalization remains viable: complex (class)
societies where everyone seems to agree, for prolonged periods, are patsies
for the first opportunistic predator-states to come along.

Where "meaning...exists," we lose the motive to communicate. Jurgen
Habermas has it exactly arse-backwards. Without that political contamination
he finds so odious he is demanding it be removed with detergents and disin-
fectants of pure logical reasoning, we wouldn't bother to persuade and, in
the process, perpetrate lies, distortions, bamboozlement, and acts of Marketing
all of which are subsumed under the armenianism, "[barnyard epithet]." The
political dimension in communication is, therefore, "Making what makes sense
to me make sense to you." Which if you disagree with me, you'll call "brain-
washing," or whatever's got the comparably nasty loading at the time; you'd
of course be right.

So "meaning...exists" as nonstandardizable, multivalent, unstable, and
confusing. One consequence of the industrialization of interpreting, Explain-
ing, propagation of symbols, analysis, and information-in-general (the growth
of the Gross National Datamass) is the deterioration of menaing-in-general's
capacity for remaining compelling. The selling of particular meanings in
increasing volume contributes at the macrosocial level to "hyposemia," the
deficiency of society's meaning very much to anybody. The visible indicator
of hyposemia is the increasing amounts of coercion being required to impose
the same level of "meaningfulness" on the population. Anyone notice how it's
getting Really Nasty out there recently? Another, related, macrosocial problem
is the probable spuriousness of most new meanings generated by the industries
whose business it is, sensu money, to generate Thingies not intended to be
terribly real for very long, yet retain maximal Market Share for as long as
marginal returns hold up: "We have here these Thingies which are Nice. Vote
this one, buy that one. Experience it *now*, find out why you bought it later.
If you're still stuck at the end, you'll still be able to say, "It's too late
to admit I was a complete idiot, and besides, Them says there are millions of
satisfied customers."

Back in Early Modern Spain, or was it Poland of the same period, they both
had the same all-Europe high percentage of Nobles in the population, when I
was Don Quixote, I vowed to "hunt down and destroy spurious meaning wherever
found." Today, I find the Double Why position more "meaningful": Why bother?
Why even ask?

Though I've got sense enough by now to realize, just because something's
"meaningful" doesn't make its meaningnfulness mean very much.

Daniel A. Foss