Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Voodoo Trifecta of Nonsense- - - Memetics, Hermeneutics & Semiotics !!!

Many years ago, I issued a fatwa on Umberto Eco for his intellectual depravity in The Name of the Rose and in Foucault’s Pendulum. Umberto Baby is a professor of semiotics. Those books looked at history and speculated exquisitely on what events might mean without ever providing a definitive insight or resolution. It was the intellectual equivalent of sexual awakening without sexual satisfaction. The fatwa remains outstanding.

In the exquisite debris about “structures of knowledge,” there ineluctably stands the principle known as The Fallacy of the Stolen Principle. When someone uses a principle to deny that same principle, a swindle is afoot. Specifically, when someone says, “There’s no such thing as truth,” it is reasonable to note that if the statement is true – or could be true – then the statement is false. The statement is “stealing” the concept of truth in order to deny that truth exists. Similarly, when someone (my favorite villain is the relatively-dead post-modernist Jacques Derrida) says that all meaning is relative to culture (or cuisine or couture), he/she/it is stealing the concept of an absolute in order to assert that everything is relative.

However, assaults on meaning and drastic surgery in education have resulted in a general public that does not learn primarily through the Aristotelian/Thomistic system of logic – through principle, induction and deduction. The general means of learning in western culture have become simple, inane repetition by electronic media. This is actually a degeneration of western culture into the older tribal habits of other parts of the world and of pre-Enlightenment Europe. The scarcity of American math and science students is partially accounted for by this re-primitivization of American education and culture.

The Voodoo Trifecta of Non-sense actually has something to contribute to this re-primitivized, media-saturated cultural phenomenon because the question remains how to educate – or, at least, motivate – people who are inured of reason?

The answer is, obviously, voodoo! You get witch-doctors to conjure the images and associations that will motivate the enormous numbers of people who do not know how to think analytically or synthetically.

How else do you account for the election on a platform of hope and change with no specifics? How else do you account for the legislature passing precedent-shattering laws while admitting that no one has read them? How else do you account for the White House spending $500,000/week on media management?

If the Republicans think they have a prayer to win in 2010 or 2012, they better begin with understanding this process. See a prior blog entry entitled “Defining Failure Before the Next Election.”

I can even recommend a witchdoctor: me.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, but by repeating the "no specifics" meme, aren't you providing comfort to the fallacy?

    Policy documents were available from early on in the Obama campaign. The news media found nothing salacious enough to lead with nor simple enough to "bite." Too bad, too, since by doing so they might have brought attention to some pretty pressing policy issues in the election.

    Not that any of this is particularly new. Or do you think that "Tippercanoe and Tyler too" is more specific than "Hope and Change"?