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April 19, 2013



The individual does not live in a vacuum and the meaning of life is never solely in regards to one’s own existence.

But there is no life without meaning for the individual-which most frequently consists of an acceptance of what one’s society and culture says life is.

And because people are individuals, acceptance of what culture posits as life is done-fortunately-from the subjectivity of the conscious self.

And acceptance becomes negotiation-at times for everyone; but for some, acceptance can be a life of latent strife and struggle.

And for some, acceptance is never accepting-but learning, also, to live with the consequence of this.

And it is often said that you cannot live beyond culture; and I used to cringe with my own sense of repugnance towards the mental image of the antisocial Cyclops who “does not know the law”-a monster in his savagery and practical stupidity as he goes about satisfying his daily hungers and needs.

But the Cyclops is a symbol of the shadows of culture itself-the shadows that originate in the most sinister combination of the mammalian brutishness of man and his cognizance.

And at the heart of the Cyclops is his cannibalism as simply an option to procuring food, with no regard for the individuals he consumes accept in factors pertaining to their flesh, how it might be cut and at what speed is should be roasted, according to what part of the human body it is taken from and its consistency as meat.

And it is sedentary human anthropological culture that universally drives a stake through the black heart of the Cyclops-and it is culture that assures it is only as a crypto shadow that the Cyclops continues to accompany us.

And so it is from the very beginning-as the purpose of culture as life mechanism for collective groups since agriculture-that individuals obey the law-in one form or another of abstracted, principled authority and as taboo.

And so it is, too, that the individual struggles in his needs, desires and emotions to follow the law-for this is the purpose of the authority of culture-of culture itself.

And even under the boot of culture the individual lives in a contained form of controlled freedom, this containment being essential for the collective survival of the group, for collective life itself.

And it is the responsibility of Navy Lt Greenwald, in the Cain Mutiny (1954) as a lawyer who takes not only the position of his client, but that of culture itself-of the US Navy and the need to culturally sanction-in a broader sense, as well-the moral assessment of the circumstances of insubordination and mutiny-of rebellion to established order-that originally lead to the trail.

Because the problems individuals face are always the problems culture faces in our contemporary judicial contemplation of deviance.

And it is with the utmost care and responsibility that authority considers not the accused, but the continuum-or dichotomy-of the individual and the group.

In this sense, the individual as accused can never be understood-NEVER-outside of the social circumstances that he or she is defined by.

And it is cultural authority that is also on trail every time plaintiffs and defendants come before it.

And this is in itself the complexity Greenwald faces in his contemplation of truth; and it is the source of his rage and frustration when he throws a glass of Champagne in the face of a Navy officer towards the end of the film who has no regard for anything other than his own personal and, ultimately, petty interests.

Petty because they are solely personal, with no regard for the greater collective well being of society at all.

And I now know that it most certainly is possible to live beyond culture, by understanding it.

And key to its understanding is the understanding of man as subjected to culture so that life may be, at an underlying level, the very struggle and accommodation of the individual to it as human vital context itself.

This is human anthropological culture as collective life mechanism.

And it supposes the anguish and suffering of the individual as it both suppresses but allows for the savagery of the psychology of man.

And the dichotomy of accommodation/struggle with respect to the individual in regards to culture must also be understood beyond culture, as well.

Now that the contemplation of truth and life itself of another fictional Navy officer, Commander Dwight Lionel Tower, is also our contemplation of the future of human culture beyond anthropological culture.

And our contemplation of the problem as always been in regards to the fullest extent of all the complexities this contemplation entails:



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