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BOOKER T. WASHINGTON [DICHOTOMY] W.E.B. Du BOIS

April 17, 2013

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NOTES ON THE CITY: SUGGESTIONS FOR THE INVESTIGATION OF HUMAN BEHAVOIR IN THE URBAN ENVIORINMENT, ROBERT PARK (1925)

Moral Contemplation of a spatial situation:

A)   Through sociology as “social intelligence”, corporations-power-work towards channeling growth and definition of urban areas according exclusively to monetary criteria based ultimately on the value of property (real estate); land and buildings-but this is of course related to a specific moral vision of life as lived in comfort and respectability based on the attainment of that comfort-and on the need for order and stability to effectively live that life.

B)   But because of the “vicious circle” of under privilege (and the “positive” vicious circle of privilege), the possibility of leading this life-and of residing in these areas, is not open to all people-particularly those who are at a disadvantage with regards to the ability to attain money. You have, then, the exclusion of people from A) who nevertheless depend on A), although they are forced to live (and reside) in B)-in under privilege and especially the consequences this has for the ability to earn money.

BEGIN NOW:

What is the true nature of the relationship between A) and B)?

1)   A) excludes B)

2)   But B) still depends on A)

3)   And the values of A) are forced on B)

3.01: B) lives in a position of subjugation (subjection) to how A) views and values the world and life, overall.

3.02: It could be said that B) is free to affirm itself within the limits of its own confines; but this is impossible if it has no claims to its own moral vision of life and through its contemplation of its own position of subjugation to A)

3.03: Because B) cannot affirm itself except through the values and moral vision of A), the defiance and open opposition to A) on the part of B) is more difficult because B) is effectively annihilated through its assimilation to A)-because B) has no open, legitimate conceptualization of its own self, in its own independent integrity. And there is no position from which to fight form.

3.04 All possible cultural affirmation on the part of B)-if it does not include the rational contemplation of its true reality-of its very truth-will never rise above an accommodation through a benign, toothless folklore, with no political, social or real vital relevance-but you may be able to make money off it, in some way or another.

3.04: B) is likely-because of human psychology-to deeply despise A) while consciously striving to “belong” to A); B) therefore can be described as split in its psychology as individuals and in its cultural logic-as schizophrenic as it consciously seeks the favor of A)-and to eventually belong to it (to not be excluded), while deeply resenting it at deeper internal levels.

3.05: Individual choices and the attitudes in life on the part of people who live in B) can come to reflect this state of cultural schizophrenia although A) only sees this “criminal”, antisocial “viciousness” as vice on the part of B) as moral failure or shortcomings-and even elements of B) can also share A)’s vision of themselves and actually accept blaming themselves, to some extent-when what is really happening is that the natural defiance of man seeks outlet through the only way it can-at a crypto, non rationalized level through the social nihilism of a “life of crime”, violence and affirmation through the life of an outlaw-as would be most understandable from the standpoint of B) as cognizant, biological organisms living in such a context of existential annihilation.

And what color are you, baby, if you live in B)?

What color you be?

AS AN INTELLECTUAL PROBLEM:

Reason [Dichotomy] Rationality*

And the definition of this dichotomy resides in a morally grounded use of rationality-that REASON is the morally grounded use of rationality itself.

But moral values are a variable-or are they not?

THEY ARE NOT:

The understanding of human dignity as the freedom of man is essential to all the greatest of forces with in all human cultures that have ever existed, even if such forces of human dignity as freedom were not dominant in a socially sanctioned sense.

But they are always present, even in the darkest of shadows of human culture.

And it is not really the freedom to choose that I refer to-although this is certainly important.

True human freedom, rather, is the capacity to formulate options yourself-not just distinguish between the items or elements that are presented to you.

Are you truly free, in this sense?

Do you really want to be?

The answer-in both cases-is probably ‘no’.

And this is one of the central issues I deal with.

HSK

__________________

*Dichotomy taken from C. Wright Mills (The Sociological Imagination, 1959); I also borrow form the same book the very definition of freedom as the individual capacity to formulate options that later must be considered-not just the ability to choose between Coke and Pepsi, for example, between the coffee of Starbucks and the coffee served at McDonald’s, between the Beatles and the Rolling Stones; between favoring cats or dogs or voting Democrat or Republican. You know what I mean.

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