jeudi 18 juillet 2019

Dooyeweerd: Absolutized individualism in modern society. Capitalism, Labour, and Class-struggle.

LS Lowry: 'Going to Work'
Absolutized individualism in modern society. 
Capitalism, Labour, and Class-struggle.
by Herman Dooyeweerd 

(Extract from A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol III pp 595, 596. ‘Structures of Individuality of Temporal Human Society’)

See preceding extract HERE

The growing influence of individualistic tendencies in society during the first half of the 19th century and the irreconcilable struggle of the Chris­tian idea of free inter-individual relationships against them.

The correlated differentiating and integrating tendencies in modern inter-individual societal relationships cannot fail to result in an individualistic process of disintegration in modern society if they are not counter-balanced by a due unfolding of the organized institutional communities and voluntary associations. 

This disintegration is what actually happened under the leading of the Humanistic science-ideal in the first phase of the Industrial Revolution. The rationalized and absolutized idea of free inter­-individual relations dominated the entire industrial sector of Western society and gave it an extremely individualistic and merciless capitalistic form. It is true that the process of differen­tiation and integration tends to increase the interweaving of individual interests. But in the free inter-individual societal re­lations the unrestrained striving after separate interests gave rise to fierce antagonism, which even lacked the remedy indi­cated by Hegel, viz. the formation of organized occupational classes.

The process of unlimited one-sided technical rationalization in economically qualified industrial life sharpened the con­trast between the interests of labour and capital to a real class-struggle. Labour was viewed apart from the human personality as market ware, and in the factories the labour-community was to a high degree affected by the individualist, exclusively con­tractual viewpoint. The unlimited competition on the market made the Hobbesian picture of the state of nature, as a condition of "homo homini lupus [est]” ["man is wolf to man."] into a terrible reality.

As the inter-individual societal structures are indissolubly interwoven with those of the institutional relationships, so family and kinship as well as the State were also affected by this morbid process of disease in “free society”. Societal groups for the promotion of private interests tried to seize the political power to make the institution of the State subservient to their social ends. The factor of private economical interest and the poisonous ideo­logy of the dogma of class struggle penetrated the political party system. Family- and kinship-life of the labourers were de­natured by the encroachment of the impersonally rationalized industrial labour-relations. In international political relations the “sacred egoism” of the separate States was elevated to the highest law.

Such individualistic tendencies in social development form an irreconcilable antithesis with the Christian idea of free inter-individual relations. The civitas terrena ["Earthly City" (Augustine)] revealed itself in this individualistic process of distintegration, and Christianity was doomed to decay whenever it thought of making a truce, or concluding a peace-treaty with this kingdom of darkness. (NEXT)

(Extract from A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol III pp 595, 596. ‘Structures of Individuality of Temporal Human Society’)

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Dooyeweerd: ‘Institutional communities’ (eg state, family, marriage) and ‘voluntary associations’ (eg sports, arts, work, politics)

Nicolas de Staël, Les Musiciens (1952)
‘Institutional communities’ (eg state, family, marriage) and ‘voluntary associations’ (eg sports, arts, work, politics)
by Herman Dooyeweerd
(Extracts from A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol III pp 574, 577, 596, 597, 603, 605. ‘Structures of Individuality of Temporal Human Society’)

See preceding extract HERE

[…] Secondly we have to introduce the systematic distinction be­tween institutional and non-institutional communities. As the terms “institute” or “institution” lack a univocal meaning in sociology (especially since Durkheim’s extremely broad inter­pretation of the words), it is again necessary to give a sharp definition of the sense in which I shall use them.

‘INSTITUTIONAL COMMUNITIES’
By “institutional communities” I understand both natural and organized communities which by their inner nature are destined to encompass their members to an intensive degree, continuously or at least for a consider­able part of their life, and such in a way independent of their will. According to the Christian view their differentiated basic types are founded in a special divine institution.

Family, State, Church
The natural family community (both in its broader and in its narrower sense) is one into which one is born. The same holds good with respect to the State; although one can get citizenship also in other ways, no citizen is able to change his nationality at will. The institutional community of the Church receives the children of Christian parents as its members by baptism and as such they continue to belong to this com­munity through a bond independent of their will, until they reach their years of discretion. This institutional trait is lacking in the sects which reject infant-baptism and are sometimes even without any institutional organization.

Marriage
Similarly the institutional conjugal community embraces hus­band and wife by a bond independent of their will. According to its inner structural principle it is a bond which is destined to unite them for life. When there are particular circumstances which make it necessary to dissolve it, it is the institutional character of the conjugal community which requires supra-in­dividual rules for divorce. In any case the inner nature of this institution is independent of the subjective conceptions of the matrimonial bond, which in course of time may strongly vary. A scientific examination of the development of such conceptions and their influence upon the formation of the positive norms regulating this institution presupposes the supra-arbitrary struc­tural principle of the latter. By eliminating this principle, scien­tific research lacks any point of reference which alone makes it possible to relate the different conceptions to the same institu­tion. It is in vain to seek for some common characteristics in the different subjective conceptions which science might combine to a so-called “em­pirical” concept of the marriage bond. The so-called “common traits” are as such quite arbitrary and can never determine the inner nature of the institution. The institutional character of the conjugal bond precludes any possibility of transforming the latter into a ‘voluntary asso­ciation’. […] It is true that in a modern individualized and differentiated society the agreement of the future marriage partners is an essential condition for constituting the institutional conjugal bond. But this agreement is in the nature of the case not a contract of free association in which the establishment of a specific purpose is constitutive. (p 574)

‘VOLUNTARY ASSOCIATIONS’
The establishment of the purpose of a ‘voluntary association’ is a subjective act of the founders, in contradistinction to the structural principle of the organized community, which is a supra-arbitrary structural law. This explains how the subjective purpose may give the internal leading function of the organization a fundamentally illegal and criminal form, and that nevertheless the internal community remains bound to some typical moral, juridical, economical, and social normative principles which are indispensable to maintain the organizational bond between the members. (p 577)

Free societal life (sports, arts, commerce, job, politics etc)
For reasons of self-preservation it is necessary for modern society to develop counter-tendencies against the unbridled operation of individualism. This is what modern society is actually doing in the formation of voluntary associations or unions which direct the typical integrative tendencies in horizontal forms of organization. These organizational forms are to be observed in the most different sectors of free societal life, in science and fine arts, in sports and the different branches of instruction, in journalism, philantropy, etc. But the most impressive image of this organizational integrating process is to be found in the economically qualified societal relationships. Both employers and labourers in trade, traffic and industry have organized themselves according to the various branches of the latter, though in all these branches organization has not arrived at an equal level of development. In addition, trusts, large business concerns, etc. have been formed, which often display an international character. (pp 596, 597)

The ‘voluntary associations’ display an infinite structural variety. Some of them only touch people's temporal existence very superficially, such as "clubs"; others, eg, the horizontal occupational organizations such as trade unions etc, occupy a very important and extensive place in modern society and are at least partly animated by a strong spirit of community and solidarity. […] We shall have to devote a more elaborate investigation to the structural principle of a political party, which we have chosen as a second example of the application of our method of analysis to structural types of voluntary associations. (pp 603, 605) (NEXT)

(Extracts from A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol III pp 574, 577, 596, 597, 603, 605. ‘Structures of Individuality of Temporal Human Society’)

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dimanche 14 juillet 2019

Dooyeweerd: Difference between transcendental structural principles and subjective socio­political principles of society

Pieter de Hooch: Courtyard of a House in Delft (1658)
Difference between transcendental structural principles and subjective socio­political principles of society
by Herman Dooyeweerd

(Extract from A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol III p 173, ‘Structures of Individuality of Temporal Human Society’)

See preceding extract HERE

The typical structural principles to which the social forms give a positive shape should be sharply distinguished from the sub­jective socio-political principles. The latter are results of human reflection on the fundamentals of human society and the maxims of their concrete formation in accordance with a particular cultural-historical situation. In this sense one speaks of liberal, socia­listic, fascistic, communistic, Roman Catholic, Calvinistic, etc. principles for societal life. These subjective social principles are always to be tested against the normative structural principles founded in the temporal divine world-order, which determine the inner nature of the different societal relationships and the mutual re­lations between the latter.

It is undeniable that the process of formation of human society is influenced to a high degree by the subjective social principles which have acquired a socio-cultural control over the majority of the members of a cultural community. But it would be in­correct to overestimate their role. Subjective social principles may contradict the essential structural principles of human society founded in the divine world-order. The latter is the order of reality, which can never be set aside without destructive consequences for human societal life. 

This is also the reason why veritable positive structural norms are constitutive for the factual [de facto] societal relationships. They are not merely “ideal” stand­ards for valuating the latter, but really give a positive form to their inner nature. 

It is true that this formation can occur in a better or worse way in proportion to its being guided by better or worse subjective social principles. But apart from the typical structural principles which determine the inner nature of the different societal relationships, there can be no question of real positive societal norms. (NEXT EXTRACT)

(Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol III p 173, Structures of Individuality of Temporal Human Society)

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mercredi 10 juillet 2019

Dooyeweerd: The principle of structural sovereignty of every type of societal relationship

Hendrick Avercamp 'Winterlandschap met ijsvermaak' (c. 1608)
The principle of structural sovereignty of every type of societal relationship
By Herman Dooyeweerd 

(Extract from A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol III pp 170-171, ‘Structures of Individuality of Temporal Human Society’)

See preceding extract HERE

But when we try to apply this Idea ["societal structures of individu­ality find their radical unity and meaning-totality beyond cosmic time"] to the factual [de facto, in practice] societal relationships realized in the different phases of the evolution of human social life, there seems to arise a serious difficulty.

At first sight it might appear that this Idea presupposes a differentiated condition of human society which, as explained in Vol. II [Free DIRECT download - large file - 626 page pdf] is dependent upon the opening-process of its historical or cultural aspect ["historical"-- cultural-formative -- law-sphere/ mode of consciousness - see chart on previous extract]. How then can we apply it to primitive or undifferentiated societies? Does not it appear from this diffi­culty that our whole view concerning the validity of constant structural principles for the factual societal relationships is at best of an ideal-normative character, and should be eliminated from any explanation of society as it factually is?

I think this conclusion would be quite premature. When we establish that a matrimonial community, a State, a Church, etc have a constant inner nature, determined by their internal struc­tural principles, we do not mean that all of these societal struct­ures of individuality have been realized in every phase of deve­lopment of mankind. We only mean that the inner nature of these types of societal relationships cannot be dependent on variable historical conditions of human society. This is to say, as soon as they are realized in a factual human society, they appear to be bound to their structural principles without which we could not have any social experience of them. We shall see presently that this does not detract anything from the great variability of the social forms in which they are realized.

As to undifferentiated societies, this implies that their types of societal relationship also have structural principles, deter­mining their inner nature, and differing fundamentally from those of differentiated types.

This view is doubtless ruled by the Biblical Idea of divine creation of all things after their proper nature [Gen 1:24,25]. But it is again and again confirmed by the social facts themselves.

The inner nature of a matrimonial bond urges itself upon humanity because it is not our own creation. Doubtless the factual matri­monial relationship between a man and a wife may [on occasion] be bad enough. Man and wife may break the marriage bond. But it is impossible to make such a factual behaviour into a social norm, because it contradicts the very nature of a matrimonial relation and the latter is a fundamental institution of every human socie­ty. The bolshevist authorities were obliged to capitulate to the “logic of the social facts” when they saw that the communist doctrine of marriage as a free companionship, dissoluble at any moment by the will of each of the parties, in its practice led to a fundamental disintegration of the Russian society.

In the same way the inner nature of a State, of a university, of a Church, of an industrial enterprise, or, in an undifferen­tiated society, of a sib, a tribe, or a guild, cannot be identified with the variable and changing factual relationships in which their internal structural types are realized. The latter urge them­selves upon mankind and cannot be transformed by us. This is why the real structural principles of human society can never be replaced by constructed “ideal types”, in the sense of Max Weber(Next extract HERE)

(Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol III pp 170-171, Structures of Individuality of Temporal Human Society)

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dimanche 7 juillet 2019

Dooyeweerd: The three transcendental problems of a theoretical total view of human society

'Hunters in the Snow' by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1565)
The three transcendental problems of a theoretical total view of human society
By Herman Dooyeweerd 

(Extract from: A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol III pp 168-170, 'Structures of Individuality of Temporal Human Society')

For the present we must restrict ourselves to an elucidation of the transcendental problems involved in a theoretical total view of human society. We may formulate them as follows:

1. Where is the basic denominator to be found needed for a comparison of the different types of societal relationships, set apart and opposed to one another in the antithetic Gegenstand-relation of theoretical thought?

2. How is their mutual relation and coherence to be viewed?

3. Where do they find their radical unity and totality of meaning, or in other words, from which starting-point can we grasp them in the theoretical view of totality?
The 15 EXPERIENTIAL, IRREDUCIBLE, 
LAW-SPHERES of COSMIC TIME 
(Also called Aspects/ Modes of Consciousness/ 
Modalities/ Modes of Meaning)
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Our general transcendental critique of theoretical thought has brought to light that the philosophical immanence-standpoint [for which only temporal reality exists] can only result in absolutizations of specific modal aspects [see above chart - note resemblance to university disciplines] of human experience. Similarly we may establish that on this standpoint every total view of human society is bound to absolu­tizations both of specific modal aspects and of specific types of individual totality. This will appear from our following struc­tural analysis.

From the Christian transcendence-standpoint the radical unity and meaning-totality of all temporal societal structures of in­dividuality is only to be found in the central religious [not ecclesiastical but supratemporal “spiritual-root”] community of mankind in its creation, fall, and redemption by Jesus Christ. This starting-point excludes in principle every universalist socio­logical view, which seeks the unity and all-embracing totality of all types of societal relationships in a temporal community of mankind. Neither a nation, nor the Church in the sense of a temporal institution, nor the State, nor an international union of whatever typical character, can be the all-inclusive totality of human social life, because mankind in its spiritual root transcends the temporal order with its diversity of social structures.
(Thanks to whoever originally designed this diagram)
This was the firm starting-point from which Christianity by the spiritual power of its divine Master broke through the pagan totalitarian view of the Roman empire, and cleared the way for a veritable and salutary revolution of the social world-view. The radical meaning of this Christian revolution would be frustrated by identifying it with the Stoic idea of mankind as a temporal community of all-inclusive character. It is true that the natural law doctrine of Hugo Grotius used this Stoic idea as a foundation for international law and that this idea broke through the classical Greek absolutization of the polis. But it could never become the starting-point for a social world-view which hits any absolutization of temporal societal life at its roots. It could not clear the way for a theoretical examination of the basic structures of individuality determining the inner nature of the different types of societal relationships.

It is only from the Biblical Christian transcendence-standpoint that the three transcendental basic problems formulated above can be solved in a way which precludes absolutizations. The basic denominator for a theoretical comparison of the different structural types of human society can here only be the temporal world-order rooted in the divine order of creation. The mutual relation between the social structures of individuality is only to be viewed as that of an inner sovereignty of each structure with­in its own orbit, balanced by its coherence with the other struc­tures in cosmic time; the latter guarantees enkaptic [interwoven] external functions of any particular social relationship in all the others, insofar as their different structural principles are realized.

And this theoretical total view is only possible from the starting-point that the different societal structures of individu­ality find their radical unity and meaning-totality beyond cosmic time in the central religious [supratemporal “spiritual-root”] community of mankind.

It is indeed our transcendental basic Idea in its application to the theoretical total-view of the societal structures of individu­ality which gives this solution to the three transcendental problems formulated above. (Go to NEXT EXTRACT)

(Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol III pp 168-170, Structures of Individuality of Temporal Human Society)

Free DIRECT download of above volume: 
(large file - 820 page pdf): HERE

Or visit home download page for free Dooyeweerd books: 

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lundi 17 juin 2019

Gender Dysphoria intervention: Why hesitate? (Links list)

Marc Chagall: David and Bathsheba (Lithograph 1956)
Gender Dysphoria intervention: 
Why hesitate? (Links list)

Lesson from History: Transgender Mania is Sign of Cultural Collapse 
(Camille Paglia, c2016)
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The Terrible Fraud of Transgender Medicine (Dr Quentin Van Meter, 15 Nov 2018)
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Ray Blanchard discusses transsexualism, transgenderism, and the increasing politicization of psychiatry 
(Interview by Madeleine Kearns, National Review, May 17 2019)
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(by Madeleine KearnsNational Review, April 4 2019)
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First do no wrong:
Gender Dysphoria in Children and Suppression of Debate
Michelle A. Cretella, M.D.
(Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons
Volume 21 Number 2 Summer 2016) 
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Transgenderism and the Social Construction of Diagnosis
(by Lisa Marchiano, QuilletteMarch 1, 2018)
____________________
____________________
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Jordan Peterson and the transgender wars
(by Tim Lott, Spectator, 20 Sept 2017)
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When Harry met Sally 
(Book review by David Robertson [Wee Flea])
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Transgender Children and Young People: Born in Your Own Body
(Book review by Michael F. Bird [Patheos] 11 May 2019)
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jeudi 30 mai 2019

The DASTARDLY SLAYING of DOOWY the WEIRD (2009)


The Dastardly Slaying of Doowy the Weird 
by Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh (2009)

Scene: 
A derelict dockland warehouse in an unspecified American city. 

We are startled as, from one particulary gloomy corner, the just-visible barrel of a tommy-gun summarily delivers its non-negotiable message in a prolonged cardiac-arresting thunderclap of pulsating, tapering, flame. A funeral ululation of such ear-pounding amplitude that it sends a seismic tremor through the girders of the cathedral-high roof, jettisoning hitherto somnolent pigeons heavenwards like an eruption of tattered old hymnbooks through the grime-stained broken-glass skylights. 

The camera cuts to a high bird's-eye shot of an isolated figure stood in the centre of the warehouse floor, then zooms casually down and in, while executing a 360 degree pan of the subject. Finally we recognize who it is - big ‘Doowy the Weird’, the man mountain. And he don't look so good. He stands there transfixed, as if he has just remembered the most important thing in his life. Is he OK? No he ain’t! He begins to topple stiffly like some East European autocrat's oversized bronze effigy, uncivilly rope-yanked from its public-square pedestal in celebration of another new ex-communist state. 

We watch Doowy fall in ultra slow-motion until he impacts on the unsprung concrete. He does not bounce. His gently deflating greatcoat tucks him in like a good-night blanket. A supernova of skylight-gilded dust silts tranquilly downwards, suckered by his undeniably significant gravitational charm.

Now we have a high-definition close-up of his twisted glasses, which must have abruptly jilted his face as he kissed the ground. One lens is smashed. In the other lens we see the distorted reflection of roof-girders, sky, and fleeing pigeons. From the right, a trickle of blood enters the screenshot, forming a disturbingly glamorous red puddle beneath the wrecked eyewear. The camera pans over to the bulging suitcase Doowy has dropped. It has spewn half its contents out, like some dead warthog who got sick eating a mailbag. 

We are guided slowly over a plethora of important-looking documents in some foreign language - Dutch maybe. Then over a heap of dollar-bills (counterfeit?), still rustling in the slipstream of Doowy's nosedive. A dollar-bill has wedged under his fallen hand. The camera moves in closer and closer till we find ourselves reading: "In God we trust".

The camera leads us back to the dark corner of the building. A murky figure, machine-gun still-smoking in his hand, takes a step forward so we can just begin to make him out. The camera slowly pans up past the small scrapyard of shell-casings on the floor, the incongruous, carefully polished brown-leather shoes, the casually belted trenchcoat. Though the face is mostly in shadow under the hat-brim, we can distinguish just enough of the strong features of "Nutcrusher" Shooltz, law-enforcer with ATT-i-tood, scourge of more than a few corrupt police precincts. "Nutcrusher" suspected Doowy the Weird of heading up an international trafficking ring, dealing in illicit mind-altering substances. He had recently heard that two respected colleagues, Kees van Koninkrijk and his doughty chauffeur, Otto “The Lip” Bahnsen, had been blown away by (maybe renegade) members of Doowy's fraternity. 

Shooltz's leather-gloved hand strokes his resolute jaw. The face is sternly impassive, until we notice a corner of his intelligent mouth begin to subtly curl. Almost inaudibly, he murmurs - "I sure drilled that guy full o' holes...”

*  *  *
DRAMATIS PERSONAE

Doowy the Weird: Herman Dooyeweerd (1894-1977)

Kees van Koninkrijk: Cornelius Van Til (1895-1987). [“Kees” was a real-life nickname of Van Til. “Van Koninkrijk” means “of the Kingdom” in Dutch - author’s attempted humour].

Otto “The Lip” Bahnsen: Greg L. Bahnsen (1948-1995), consummate exponent of Van Til’s presupposionalist thought, and masterly debater. [Author’s attempted humour here includes play on term “autobahn”].

"Nutcrusher" Shooltz: Hooded name of a prolific contributor to a Van Tilian discussion site of yesteryear.

Historical Context: Although Van Til was an enthusiastic early supporter of Dooyeweerd’s philosophy in its initial Dutch presentation [‘De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee’ (1935-36)], he felt very strongly that in the subsequent expanded English translation [‘A New Critique of Theoretical Thought’ (1953-55)] Dooyeweerd had unforgivably compromised on the issue of apologetical “starting-point”. Dooyeweerd passionately rejected the accusation. This dispute, and related disagreements generally involving attitudes to Scripture, estranged the Van Til and Dooyeweerd camps from each other in North America.
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Links: Dooyeweerd in relation to Van Til
Dooyeweerd: Van Til & Starting-points
Extracts from 'Jerusalem & Athens’: 
Dooyeweerd to Van Til (1)
- "'Transcendent' and 'transcendental' distinguished."
Dooyeweerd to Van Til (2)
- "'States of affairs' such as 2x2=4 are not 'brute facts."
Dooyeweerd to Van Til (3)
- "A typical rationalistic scholastic tendency in your theological thought."
Dooyeweerd to Van Til (4)
- "Supra-rational should by no means be confused with irrational."
Van Til to Dooyeweerd
- "There are no steps."
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GENERAL DOOYEWEERD RESOURCES:
Free downloads of BOOKS by Dooyeweerd
The Cosmic-Root Christian Philosophy of Herman Dooyeweerd
Mouse in a Glass
Dooyeweerd Site of J. Glenn Friesen
Andrew Basden's Dooyeweerd Pages
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