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 Perspective on the Interrelation of Philosophy, Religion, Morality, and Politics.

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Sauwelios
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PostSubject: Perspective on the Interrelation of Philosophy, Religion, Morality, and Politics.   Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:30 pm

Disclaimer: Here's a piece I wrote about a month ago. I haven't posted it anywhere yet because I wasn't sure about the final paragraph. The reason I post it now is not that this has changed, but that Fixed Cross asked me to post it.

Today [i.e., the day I originally wrote this] I reread the description on the dust jacket of Harry Neumann's book, Liberalism. In that description, he states the book's "basic thesis, the thesis of the political theologian, Carl Schmitt's Political Theology: Without theology, no morality and without morality, no politics!" This statement may sound a bit too sweeping, but surely my readers will agree that theology or religion often or even usually informs morality and thereby politics. Neumann in stating his thesis does not mention philosophy, however.

I think the foursome of philosophy, religion, morality, and politics corresponds to the four temperaments discerned by typologist David Keirsey. The temperament that corresponds to philosophy is the Rational temperament, which seeks knowledge above all ("philosophy" literally means "love of wisdom", where "wisdom" means "knowledge"). The temperament that corresponds to religion is the Idealist temperament, which seeks identity above all:

"Idealists devote much of their time to pursuing their own identity, their personal meaning, what they signify—their true Self. [...] To the Idealists, [...] Self has a capital 'S' and is a special part of the person—a kind of personal essence or core of being, the vital seed of their nature, not unlike the Soul or Spirit of religious thought." (Source: Keirsey, Please Understand Me II, pp. 142-3.)

Moreover, the name "Idealist" is a reference to Plato's doctrine of the Ideas or Forms; and as Nietzsche says, Christianity is Platonism for "the people". I will say more about this later.

The temperament that corresponds to morality is the Guardian temperament, which seeks security above all. Thus Keirsey says Guardians put great trust in institutions, and illustrates this by quoting a Texas social worker:

"It is important for people to be connected to institutions....If you say I'm conservative because I think the family's important, I plead guilty. If you say I'm conservative because I think the church is important, I plead guilty. If you say I'm conservative because I think communities are important, I plead guilty. If you say I'm conservative because I think the public schools can be made to work, I plead guilty....We can't rely on people by themselves to be good. They have to participate through institutions...that hold people accountable and teach them certain values." (Source: ibid., page 99.)

Lastly, the temperament that corresponds to politics is the Artisan temperament, which seeks stimulation and yearns for impact above all:

"SPs [Sensing-Perceiving types, i.e. Artisans] hunger to have a piece of the action, to make a splash, to make something happen, to hit the big time, whether in the world of art or corporate business, on the battlefield or ball field, on stage or in the political arena. This is why so many professional politicians are SPs: the world of politics allows not only for maneuvering, excitement, and risk—but for powerful social impact. In his Presidency, and in his life, Teddy Roosevelt lived by a motto that speaks for all his fellow-Artisans: 'Get action; do things...create, act, take a place wherever you are; get action.'" (Source: ibid., page 58.)

Thus far the four temperaments, for now. Now I will say some more about Christianity's being Platonism for "the people". This is an example of the fact that philosophy has often or even usually informed religion. Plato, a Rational, did not himself believe in the Ideas; he just affected belief in them in order to convince the Idealists of them and thereby win them over to his conception of the ideal State, with which he sought to educate and cultivate man to philosophical enlightenment. Thus Platonism was a kind of Christianity by the higher nobility—the philosophers—for the lower nobility—the Idealists. However, in becoming actual Christianity, it degenerated from being aimed at the lower nobility to being aimed at "the people"—that is, at Sensing types; at the Guardians and/or Artisans.

"[O]ne always pays dearly and terribly when religions do not want to be a means of education and cultivation in the philosopher's hand but insist on having their own sovereign way, when they themselves want to be ultimate ends and not means among other means." (Source: Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, aphorism 62; Kaufmann translation.)

Platonism was originally a response to the fact that Homeric religion had gotten out of hand in this way. Eventually, however, Platonism itself also got thusly out of hand: in the times of the Renaissance, Reformation, and Counterreformation, during which natural philosophers (scientists) like Giordiano Bruno were burned at the stake as heretics by the Inquisition. To this end, the political philosopher Machiavelli launched his campaign "to crush Christianity's spiritual tyranny" (source: Laurence Lampert, Leo Strauss and Nietzsche, page 144) by means of a new religion: faith in progress through the scientific-technological conquest of nature, which has resulted in the Scientific Enlightenment and thereby the Industrial Revolution.

It seems however that, eventually, such religions always get out of hand—always slip out of the philosopher's hand and turn against him. Thus Lampert goes on to say:

"The Machiavellian strategy succeeded in its one great aim; but by adopting its enemy's means and conscripting science into the service of propaganda, it caused philosophy to fall prey to a new tyranny, the tyranny of supposed enlightenment via science." (Source: ibid.)

About this propaganda, Neumann writes:

"As promulgated by America's colleges and universities and applied by its legislators and judges, liberalism is, in reality, radical atheism, nihilism, disguised as public spirited crusades against the unholy trinity of racism, sexism and homophobia. This propaganda is pseudoliberalism's hallmark, intended to obfuscate liberalism's moral void by presenting it as morally uplifting, politically desirable." (Source: Neumann, ibid.)

It is against the spiritual tyranny of this supposed enlightenment that the "racist" and "sexist" philosopher Nietzsche launched his campaign to crush it.

"Nietzsche's innovation was not the cyclical view of history that he called the 'eternal return teaching' or even the much quoted view that 'Christianity is Platonism for the people.' His innovation was, to begin with, bringing to the foreground a view that lurked in the background of the philosophic tradition and formulating it as an explicit and principal teaching; and then presenting eternal return as a ground for the 'radical rejection of even the concept of being' and as a substitute for 'metaphysics' and religion." (Source: Muhsin Mahdi, Alfarabi and the Foundation of Islamic Political Philosophy, pp. 239-40.)

Thus we can discern four main ages in the history of the West:

1) the Homeric Age as the age of the theistic deification (religious celebration) of nature;
2) the Platonic Age as the age of the theistic demonisation (religious conquest) of nature (originally aimed at the Idealists, but eventually degenerating to being aimed at the Guardians);
3) the Machiavellian Age as the age of the non-theistic demonisation (scientific conquest) of nature (originally aimed at the Guardians (security), but eventually degenerating to being aimed at the Artisans (stimulation));
4) the Nietzschean Age as the age of the non-theistic deification (scientific celebration) of nature.
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PostSubject: Fixed Cross   Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:00 pm

The further point at which you arrived last night is that the 'excitables' as I call this SP type, are available now to us, are the fabric of the current stage.

What also became clear is how the types relate to the ages - a type originates in the middle of an age and heralds in another in which it will find its culmination.

The culmination of the Machiavellian age would come to pass amidst a sea of excitable peoples. The pliant mass of democratic Europe Nietzsche talks about in the artist tyrant passage. It will herald in the "Nietzschean" age wherein the world is praised without resorting to Gods. Regardless of the cycle even, I can agree to this as the highest aim the philosopher who wants to come down may have available to him.

Some of us are in the middle of a debate about advertising. There is a conflict between two who endorse the medium and those who reject it on grounds of either principle or evidence of its malice or futility.

 

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" The strong do what they can do and the weak accept what they have to accept. "
- Thucydides


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PostSubject: Re: Perspective on the Interrelation of Philosophy, Religion, Morality, and Politics.   Sun Jul 07, 2013 3:25 am

Fixed Cross wrote:
The further point at which you arrived last night is that the 'excitables' as I call this SP type, are available now to us, are the fabric of the current stage.

What also became clear is how the types relate to the ages - a type originates in the middle of an age and heralds in another in which it will find its culmination.
Yes, that is indeed only suggested in the final paragraph. To be precise, this is:

1) the Homeric Age as the age of the theistic deification (religious celebration) of nature (originally aimed at the Rationals (knowledge), but eventually degenerating to being aimed at the Idealists (identity));
2) the Platonic Age as the age of the theistic demonisation (religious conquest) of nature (originally aimed at the Idealists (identity), but eventually degenerating to being aimed at the Guardians (security));
3) the Machiavellian Age as the age of the non-theistic demonisation (scientific conquest) of nature (originally aimed at the Guardians (security), but eventually degenerating to being aimed at the Artisans (stimulation));
4) the Nietzschean Age as the age of the non-theistic deification (scientific celebration) of nature (originally aimed at the Artisans (stimulation), but eventually degenerating to being aimed at the Rationals (knowledge)).

But it's not true that a type originates in any one age. The four types are present throughout every age. Instead, it's about which type fulfills the key role. In the non-degenerate part of the Machiavellian Age, the Guardians fulfilled the key role of craving the scientific-technological conquest of nature most—namely, for the security it brought—and thereby hailing it most. Initially this made the Western world free for natural philosophy, but eventually, the security came to suffocate the philosophers, who after all are "dynamite", to speak with Nietzsche. Fortunately, the Artisans crave the exciting aspect of such "dynamite" more than safety from its dangerous aspect.


Quote :
The culmination of the Machiavellian age would come to pass amidst a sea of excitable peoples.
Well, yes and no. Yes, the culmination from your point of view would. No, the intrinsic culmination of the Machiavellian Age is the high point of security, not of stimulation.

But yes, the "degeneration" of the Machiavellian Age is a "decadence" in the sense of luxury. There is enough or too much security, and therefore science and technology can now concern themselves with stimulation rather than security. And this suggests that the same goes for the other ages: their "degeneration" is a "decadence" in the sense of luxury.


Quote :
The pliant mass of democratic Europe Nietzsche talks about in the artist tyrant passage. It will herald in the "Nietzschean" age wherein the world is praised without resorting to Gods. Regardless of the cycle even, I can agree to this as the highest aim the philosopher who wants to come down may have available to him.

Some of us are in the middle of a debate about advertising. There is a conflict between two who endorse the medium and those who reject it on grounds of either principle or evidence of its malice or futility.
Well, on the one hand, there's something very vulgar about it. This corresponds to the "concrete" aspect of the Artisans. On the other hand, there's something about it that's very efficient. This corresponds to the Artisans' "utilitarian" aspect:

"In the SPs, NTs [iNtuitive-Thinking types, i.e. Rationals] find mates just as irreverent as they, just as willing to ignore convention, and just as results-oriented." (Source: Keirsey, ibid., page 248.)
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