Sunday, March 20, 2005

The Serious Play of American Verbosity [Guest Post]

Sissoula's latest post produced a lengthy comment by our regular visitor and advanced thinker zizany. Rather than burying his insightful commentary, we suggested this could become a full-blown dystro-blog entry, thus introducing our first guest-blogger! Thank you, zizany, for permission and all please read and contribute: you may be our next guest-blogger.

Image Hosted by

The Serious Play of American Verbosity by zizany

First let me take a moment to address the offensive and erroneous slander on American verbosity. I'd like to amend [de(e)lumina's] comment [on sissoula's post]. Americans in general are not verbose, rather it is the American Intellectual. Americans in general are very direct, succinct and concise. They in general don't have the time, the energy or higher-brain power to be nothing more than be to the point, often doing just that, literally pointing with the neanderthalish guttural directness. We see it readily when we go to the restaurant. The waitress asks, "Yes?" (meaning what would you like me to bring you to eat from the various items located throughout the menu I was gracious enough to give you several minutes of my valuable time to let you peruse uninterrupted?) The customer responds with pointing to several items, which the waitress responds with, "ok". Americans with their abbreviations, acronyms and 3 minute news bites to cover complicated issues happening throughout the world. American are by no means verbose. Except for the academics and intellectuals, which are rare animals amongst the populus. Now, mind you, the university system in the US has evolved from the model left over from British colonial times. Damn those Brits! See, we can't have it both ways. On the one hand, we believe typically that Americans are stupid fanatical western cowboys. Yet on the other hand, they are verbose? I pledge and guarantee statistical sociological support for the first notion.

moving on...

On seriousness... Sartre (damn those french) posits the folly of humans on the spirit of seriousness, defined roughly as the belief that values are out there, in-and-of themselves, and that the human endeavor is to discover them, embrace them, and adhere to their will.

It is antithetical to play, aka freedom, which for Sartre Being IS ...

"...[the spirit of serious is a] voluntary alienation, that is, a submission to an abstraction that justifies one: the thought that man is the inessential and the abstract the essential..." -(Sartre's Notebooks for an Ethic, 60)

Seriousness is valueing these ideals, and adhereing to them above all else, even one's own freedom. Once one's own freedom is disregarding in such a way, not far behind, all Other's freedoms are also thus disregarded. Here in lies a primal violence upon which all other violences rest. [The]... spirit of seriousness is a kind of violence because it posits values as transcendent to freedoms. So instead of value, as a demand of freedom, only being able to be attained by freedom, it becomes a demand on freedom." (Sartre's Notebooks for an Ethic, 209)

This violence of reliquinshing, submitting and/or subjugating one's own freedom to a Kantian-non-existant-out-there-in-and-of-itself-Universal-Law type of value, also then demands these values extend to Others, in that if one is willing to do such violence to oneself, then also the Other (as an object under One's will to power) must also adhere to these values. The attitude of seriousness justifies original violence against other humans because the duty to abide is something which can be forced.

This violence is justified by the belief that the human is inessential and that World is the essential. This situation is one where the "oppressor oppresses the oppressed in the name of the myth" which is that values are objectively in the world. Not only is there violence through alienation, but also violence to others because humans are taken as inessential. One's own freedom and the freedom of others may be suppressed in the name of duty to the objective value (Sartre's Notebooks for an Ethic, 60).

It would seem that once again, the lack of understanding the ontological phenomenology of being erupts in violence of Self and Other.

(please forgive this side tangent... for all your hardcore Heideggerian nutbags... this violence is the root of the priority of the ontological difference, not Heidegger's attack on the presuppositions of Being by the ancient Greeks- damn those ancient greeks!)

A real world application to these above ideas is found in the American Hegemony enforcing the so-believed "god-given, self-evident" neo-conservative (which is a nice media-friendly word for facscist, by the way) Evangelical Christian/Zionist values upon the rest of the world, by brute military force where necessary. Damn Americans!

"What is play indeed if not an activity of which man is the first origin, for which man himself sets the rules, and which has no consequences except according to the rules posited?" (Sartre's Being and Nothingness, 741)

In play, one's freedom is the end and the world is conditioned; freedom conditions the world in a certain way, placing rules on the world. We use freedom to surpass the situation at hand, continuing the fall towards possibilities, including the ultimate possibility, that of no more possibilities.

"At the same time the challenge is play: it is a rupture with the spirit of seriousness, [it is] expenditure, annihilation, passage to the festiveside. The festival in effect is liberation from the spirit of seriousness, the expenditure of economics, the ruin of hierarchy, and the absorption of the other by the Same, of the objective by intersubjectivity, of order by disorder." (Sartre's Notebooks for an Ethic, 374)

This is tantamount to peace, love and caring, Heidegger's foundation of being. Play is Being.

Seriousness is the trick of logic and historicity (Power) to subjugate Being into an inauthentic world-view to redistribute wealth/power.

Serious play...
Quite simply, (because i'm running out of wind in this long-winded diatribe), serious play is the critical exposition of inauthentic ways of manifested spirits of seriousness (that's the serious side) and then deconstructing them (that's the play).

This is my platform, by the way, namely that Violence is the lack of understanding of the ontological phenomenology of being and that critical deconstructive ontological thinking is the authentic means to peaceful Being, the end of suffering and the transcendence of humanity.

[This has been a guest-blogging appearance by zizany.]


Blogger sissoula said...

The way I see it:
1. Seriousness isn’t a violence imposed on my freedom; it’s one of the games I am free to play.
2. The games are not always festive.
3. Some humans are more essential than others.
4. Sometimes the possibilities seem endless.
5. Sometimes the possibilities must be none.

Finally, zizany, I think we agree. Thanks for your great comment (not only did it make you our first guest poster, but you’ve also set quite a record for longest comment – it’ll be tough to beat, but we said in a previous post that we like challenges around here) and your invaluable contributions to our humble blog.

10:55 am EET  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home