Love Beyond Being: Love as an Active Process in Plato’s Symposium


The following was submitted for a final paper in my Greek Literature Seminar at University last semester. Yes, I got an A on the paper xd. For those who’ve never read Symposium – the book is one of Plato’s greatest dialogues, written on the topic of love. Diotima, the subject of this essay, is a wise woman who taught Socrates all he knew about the “art of love.” The structure of Diotima’s exposition in Symposium is dialectal – she speaks back and forth with Socrates about love. Thus, Socrates’ and Diotima’s opinions clash throughout her speech.

The Essay: 

Despite Diotima’s description of love appearing relatively complex, it can be described as polemical, speaking against prevailing notions of love. Following a brief definition of Love as a spirit, the first polemic deals largely with a genetic account of Love as such, Diotima speaking against love’s alleged beauty by defining it as an offspring of resourcefulness and poverty (Symposium, 203C-203E). Later polemics endeavor to discover the nature of love in relation to desire (Symposium, 204E-205A) as well as its teleological (Symposium, 206E-207A) and processual (Symposium, 210A-210B) relations to beauty. Throughout these accounts, however, what precisely is the factor which Diotima utilizes to differentiate her notions of love from those supplied by Socrates and, consequently, the other interlocuters in participating in the symposium? In this paper, critical activity will be defined as Diotima’s means of differentiation, love subsequently being defined as an active process whereby man engages in criticism of himself and his environment as opposed to merely incurring a passive ontological disposition, a claim demonstrated in Diotima’s performance of the process.

As the name implies, Diotima’s genetic account of “Love” attempts first and foremost to provide an origin for it as an entity, the account thus serving as a direct answer to Socrates’ question in 203E regarding Love’s parentage. Indeed, a prima facie reading of passages 203C-203E appears to give credence to the claim that Love’s almost mythological origin appears to merely account for “Love” as a “‘great spirit,’” a “‘messenger…shuttle[ing] back and forth between’” men and the gods and consequently being born of the latter (Symposium, 202E, 203C). However, Diotima’s remark that the spiritual “‘conveys’” things from men to the gods, and from gods to men, thus implies a degree to which man himself is in participation with the spiritual, especially concerning outward actions such as “‘enchantment, prophecy, and sorcery,’” (Symposium, 203A). As a result, Love constitutes a spirit with which man is in “‘conversation,’” and in which he actively participates, denoting that the genetic account of Love provided by Diotima speaks not merely of Love as an entity, but of Love as a something which constitutes an outwardly visible disposition in man such as those present in the aforementioned religious ecstasies (Symposium, 203A).

The account itself proceeds in this vein, Love being defined as the offspring of a personification of “resourcefulness,” Poros, and of “poverty,” Penia (Symposium, 203C). Consequently, though Love the spirit is merely accounted for as an offspring of Poros and Penia, man’s participation in that spirit, that is, love as man experiences it and his conceptualization of it as such, is implicitly defined as the offspring of “resourcefulness,” or “way,” and “poverty,” love’s very definition thus relying on the semantic context of Poros and Penia. Indeed, as Love the spirit is hereafter described, Diotima ascribes qualities to it which entail further semantic implications. Due to Penia, Love is “‘always poor’” and “‘always living with Need,’” yet, simultaneously, due to Poros and its birth on Aphrodite’s birthday, it is a “‘schemer after the beautiful and the good…always weaving snares,’” (Symposium, 203D). Herein, all qualities ascribed to love as a consequence of “poverty” are entirely passive and dispositional – Love’s being “‘poor,’” “‘tough,’” “‘shriveled’” “‘shoeless,’” and “‘homeless,’” all relating qualities “Love” as an entity and love as a concept do not actively engage with, but passively “are,” (Symposium, 203D). Conversely, all qualities ascribed to love as a consequence of “way,” unlike those of “poverty,” distinctly relate to activity, or “doing,” a “schemer” being one who performs schemes, for instance. Other adjectives are applied to Love similarly, Love’s being “brave” implying that it is engaged actively in bravery and his being “’impetuous’” acting as a descriptor of his manner of action, that it acts rashly (Symposium, 203D). Taken as a whole, therefore, the dichotomy between Poros and Penia which exists for Love as an entity and the dichotomy between “way” and “poverty” which exists for love as a concept is fundamentally one which relates a unity between two distinct aspects of love’s nature, “being” and “doing.” As a polemic, the account thus serves to counter Socrates’ notion of Love presented in 201E which describes him as a “‘great god and that…belongs to beautiful things,’” a notion which both misunderstands Love’s aspects of being and fails to entirely account for Love’s aspects of doing, as a beautiful thing need not seek the beautiful. Furthermore, in giving an exposition of love’s composition while simultaneously engaging with Socrates’ questioning and counterpoints, Diotima herself represents a model figure instantiating both the doing and being aspects of love, at once maintaining a disposition towards “the beautiful and the good” while expressing and engaging with them.

Following this genetic account, Diotima concludes that love can be defined as “‘wanting to possess the good forever,’” with “‘eagerness and zeal,’” a definition relating corollaries which, when taken in isolation, entirely contradict her genetic account (Symposium, 206B). For instance, an isolated reading may understand “‘wanting to possess the good’” as a merely passive disposition, one which excludes Diotima’s active aspects of love. However, in light of the statement that Love is “‘always living with Need,’” (Symposium, 203D) and that “‘possessing the good forever’” constitutes the “‘object of love,’” the “‘eagerness and zeal’” of love are not to be merely understood as the entirety of love, but those “being” aspects of love which enable the fulfillment of the “doing” aspect, the acquisition of love’s object (Symposium, 206B). Just as activity differentiated Diotima’s definition of love from that of Socrates, so too does activity, furthermore, differentiate Diotima’s account of love’s object. For Socrates, the object of love is the possession of “‘beautiful things’” such that one will acquire happiness, a mere state of being (Symposium, 204E-205A). For Diotima, however, love’s object is not merely had in beautiful things but beautiful action, “‘reproduction and birth in beauty,’” via conversation, thus reiterating love’s compositional structure (Symposium, 206E).

On this account, Diotima also separates her end-based, teleological description of love from that of Socrates by calling on a degree of criticism which he does not, his teleology amounting to little more than happiness as a direct consequence of the acquisition of good things, as “there’s no need to ask further,” beyond them (Symposium, 205A). Because the object of love for Diotima rests in conversation, the lover finds himself in a position to distinguish between the beautiful and the ugly, both of soul and of body, such that he may find in his beloved a man worthy of education in critical distinctions regarding what is and is not virtuous, moderate, and just (Symposium, 209A-209C). In this manner, the active process of reproduction is simultaneously a critical process, one whereby the lover not only criticizes prospective beloveds, but one wherein the lover criticizes and analyzes “‘ideas and arguments’” (Symposium, 209A-209C). Uniquely, it is this precise process which Diotima herself has engaged Socrates with since the beginning of their discourse in 210D, her giving birth to ideas “fitting for a soul to bear,” through her exposition of beauty. (Symposium, 209D). As a consequence of Diotima’s active, critical questioning of Socrates throughout their dialogue, the education that she speaks of in 209D is not only manifest but is the very process by which the concepts of the process itself are communicated. Within the context of Symposium’s greater frame-narrative, Diotima’s argument that the reproducers in beauty “‘remember that beauty,’” “‘whether they are together or apart’” is also confirmed, as Socrates calls on Diotima’s arguments to further instruct others in the exact manner she instructed him (Symposium, 209C).

In contradiction to Socrates’ initial statements regarding love’s possession of beautiful things, Diotima’s final, processual elucidation of love separates itself by heightening the unity of criticism and activity she has already alluded to. Whereas the initial critical aspects were described as analytical, the processual description of love endeavors to facilitate the exact opposite – critical analysis for the sake of synthesis. Herein, an object higher than reproduction is had, the lover being expected to recognize beauty as he presently experiences it, such as the beauty which exists via the production of ideas with one beautiful body, and to recognize thereafter that beauty is simultaneously present in other forms, such as other bodies (Symposium, 210B). Finally, the lover is expected to critically synthesize these two abstractions in the realization that said beauties are “one in the same,” the ultimate result of this process being the knowledge of “just what it is to be beautiful,” (Symposium, 210B, 211D). Thus, not only is one tasked with the maintenance of the critical, analytical activity of reproduction in beauty with others, but he is simultaneously tasked with the critical, synthetic activity of attaining beauty in itself by critiquing and adjusting his own conceptions of beauty. As a result, both a descriptive and a normative evolution take place within the lover in his understanding of beauty, him both redefining the term gradually while considering himself “‘very foolish’” if he should fail to do so (Symposium, 210B). Following this process, the lover’s notion of what ought to be considered beautiful becomes elevated, the lover no longer “‘measure[ing] beauty by gold or clothing’” or other trifling matters he may have considered prior (Symposium, 210B, 211D). Thus, Diotima’s processual account distinguishes her love from that of Socrates by means of a higher end, that of beauty itself, by calling the lover to be consistently engaged in the critical work of ascent until the perfect, “‘absolute, pure, unmixed…divine,’” form of beauty itself is had, Socrates merely calling for possession beautiful and good things (Symposium, 211E). Furthermore, from a meta-analytical perspective, Diotima’s instruction of Socrates appears to engage in the beginning steps of the very ascent she discusses, her drawing Socrates from false notions of love and beauty to the true pursuit of both.

Within all four accounts of Diotima’s exposition of love, the notion of critical activity continuously serves as the means by which she articulates love and, consequently, performs the very acts she discusses. The initial genetic-semantic account of love, in articulating a key distinction between love’s being and doing aspects, enabled Diotima to draw Socrates from his notion of love as beautiful to something in need of beauty, this distinction enabling her to further draw him to the critical, active pursuit of reproduction in beauty and, thereafter, the pursuit of beauty itself. Thus, as a consequence of the argumentative structure that Diotima employed in educating Socrates, not only has she initiated the ascent to beauty’s form in Socrates, but she enabled Socrates to do the same to his own set of interlocutors, enabling Plato to do the same to the readers of Symposium, and so ad infinitum.

Value Structure, pt. 2

Now, having asserted that:

  1. the mind thinks in a nodal manner
  2. like attracts like
  3. thus human relations exist in a nodal manner, predicated on common agreement
  4. artificial value structures exist which coopt the natural human relations asserted in (3.)

I’d like to speak of a few various value structures I have witnessed on YouTube. By and large, one can make a between subject and object as “objects” of entertainment on YouTube. In this I make the following argument – all media consumed are superstructures of core realities which are ultimately internalized. In short, like limits with removable discontinuities, media are almost as though rational equations before their factoring – complexes of variables, operations, coefficients, etc. which can ultimately be factored and reduced to a core reality. Plug in the value to which the equation’s limit is taken towards, and one receives the ultimate calculation of the limit. Indeed, I should like to say that media is precisely “functional” in this way – just as it is that every “x” will have a unique “f(x)” due to the nature of “f” in transforming “x” into a “y” by means a set of structured operations, so too it is that media superstructure transforms core nodes of thought into complexes to be consumed. In the mathematical function, one needs merely to factor out irrelevant material, solve for 0, and in this manner one receives the points at which the equation crosses the x-axis. In the media function, one needs merely to factor out irrelevant material, solve for 0, and in this manner one receives the points at which the equation crosses the mind. But what is this 0? I don’t mean 0 as in 0 sum. No, I mean this figuratively. Certain media is educational, no doubt. That’s an addition. Some media wastes time, that’s a reduction. What one must instead endeavor to realize is this – that the “0s” of the media function correspond to what was referred to in the previous post as the nodal points of the great social complexes, social groups. Thus, the 0 is the correspondence of media to group and self, it is the overlap, realized or not, between the media and the self. The 0 is the node in the media speaking to the node in the mind. One must remember that nodal thoughts within the mind are oftentimes unconscious, latent, unrealized, and, consequently, not beholden to the processes of conscious thought. They are the supra-thoughts from which our conscious thoughts derive. Thus, their correspondence in media is something we also may not be so easily able to arrive at. Like the examples given in the previous post, however, examples which approximate their presence can be provided. These 0’s, x’s, thus are components of the greater media function.

All of this is to illustrate two key points – media appeals to us because of intrinsic tendencies, tendencies which we share with others socially, and that these tendencies are things we are not necessarily consciously aware of. It is these core nodes in media, the things which “speak to us,” entertain us, capture us, enrapture us, which are the “objects” of entertainment. They are otherwise perhaps defined as the “ends” of entertainment or the “telos” of entertainment – those things to which entertainment itself is directed. Now, not consciously directed, but directed as one of those things which is naturally, self-evidently analytic to media as it is so defined. In other words, to create media for consumption is to create within it an object. As defined prior, one can distinguish between subjective and objective objects. The latter is, in short, the human person, the subject. To use the tried and true Aristotelian trinity of rhetoric, in short, the subjective object imparts the social, inter-relational aspect of ethos, logos, and pathos. The person as a person in merely doing whatever he does demonstrates his authority in doing it, because he has done so. In doing so, he grasps literally on material things, he grasps metaphorically on information; in short, he demonstrates logos. Finally, in being a fallible man like those who watch him, he demonstrates a pathos, an emotion, which his followers can relate to and take solace in. In way, the subjective object touches on the aspirational nodes of our thinking. He or she provides a sense of authority in that he or she commands a following, and yet he or she provides a sense of shared vulnerability in sharing himself as he or she “truly” is (or at least makes himself or herself appear). From authority and vulnerability derive the many manifolds of social thinking, from the comedic, to the informative, to the horrifying, to the cynical, to the critical, to the passive, to the aggressive. The subjective object is as though Zeus on high, striking lightning bolts down to the earth below.

Now, the objective object is, quite literally, some kind of logos which is pertinent to the nodal thoughts of the audience. These could be experiential nodes, ones predicated on experience / what was, or expectant nodes, ones predicated on what one wants / what will be. The experiential can intersect with the favorable to create nostalgic nodes; it can intersect with the painful to create reluctant nodes; it can intersect with the present to create purely joyful nodes. The expectant can intersect in the very same, creating aspirational with the favorable, dreadful with the painful, and self-critical recursion with the present. A nostalgic node ties itself to material things or experiences had in the past, themselves narrativized as memories with distinct “story-like” structures and, as such, the presentation of either or, in the case of people like LazyGameReviews or TechMoan, both combined creates an experience which united many of all of these nodes together. The material object of the past touches on object-nostalgia while simultaneously appealing to experience-nostalgia. Both presenters really and truly presenting also initiates a degree of a subjective object within the media complex as well. In short, as has been commonly said, the demarcations made here are blurry. In any case though, one can be sure that the height of the matter in question is the dual relation which exists between subject (viewer) and object (media) as mediated through objective nodes and subjective nodes, whereby the viewer sees himself in the media.

Now, all of this being said, I’m going to briefly combine the conclusions of the last post with those of this post. Firstly, different groups exist because people have different tendencies. With regards to media, different groups will coalesce around different forms of media consequent to those tendencies, as media reflects the self. Thus I conclude the following: any media which is only concerned with itself is inimical to the human condition and serves to create, though perhaps not intentionally, artificial value structures which reinforce the separation of human persons. The media which endeavors of itself to challenge its viewer will only ever attract the critical viewer. The media which endeavors of itself to placate the viewer will only ever attract the viewer who wants to be spoon fed. The media which transformed a reluctant viewer into a regular consumer has, in my opinion, merely brought to light the latent tendencies present unto that point insofar, at least, as the major processes of the mind are concerned. A nature-nurture debate implicit in this conclusion notwithstanding, I’d now like to connect these conclusions with my initial statements in the prior post.

What I do on YouTube right now is essentially a hermeneutic affair. I interpret shit. Namely, I interpret popular, relevant shit. If these posts haven’t clarified why, I’ll try to sum up as best I can. Because the minds of most people are fixated on artificial values, in my mind, it is the duty of the effective educator to coopt those artifices, point out the underlying themes, good or otherwise, and point consumers to higher truth, all of this while myself creating an artificial value structure which aims to transcend artificial value and achieve value as such. My goal, in short, is to wake the mind up to the falsehood of things, without the critical artificial value structure of the liberal neurotics, the nihilistic artificial value structure of the pseudo-Nietzschians, the “”””speculative”””” artificial value structure of the would-be philosophers (School of Life, etc.). What I’ve always aimed to do is to create in people a subconscious mentality, to touch on those critical nodes, to point people to beauty, truth, and goodness. Not, as the would-be philosophers would have them, as they exist in some garbage “system” that one needs to study a la Schopenhauer or Derrida or Chrysippus, manifest in trash, irrelevant abstractions that have no bearing on anyone’s life, but on reality as it exists today, right now, in the artifice of life itself, to encourage people to break beyond it and do something more. Pointing a man to an artificial value structure who’s end is merely in itself will never break man out of the illusion that he lives under in late capitalism. Hell, it didn’t work in ancient Greece and and the founder of Western Philosophy as we know it today, Socrates, himself knew that. For him, this was philosophy – living, showing people that what they’re doing right now is consistent. That the day to day needs fixing, analyzing, at this very moment by everyone actively – not that everyone needs to listen passively to some pompous twat lecture about modal logic or some garbage about speculative semiotics.

I still hold fast to the argument I’ve laid out here, though in recent weeks, its become far more liquid than I perhaps made it sound here. As I reiterated many times, all of this is abstraction, attempts to understand what I fundamentally cannot, due to its separation from my, or anyone’s, real experiences. Perhaps audiences are more liquid than I imagine. Perhaps philosophical media can truly transcend, if presented properly. After all, I don’t know what I don’t know. The effort at acting on the subconscious hasn’t been fruitful, not at all. Its won me subscribers, but from people who, at least as I’ve noticed, haven’t really taken time to analyze my work critically. Perhaps I expect too much of people, perhaps I haven’t related enough to truly understand them. After all, all of this is largely based on analysis of myself and people within my family, who I’ve spent the greatest time considering. Perhaps I should aim to make explicit what unto now has been implicit, for my own sake, for others’ sake as well. After all, only the fool would repeat the failed. And, after all, only the madman would expect something different. But then again perhaps I’ve not walked the road less traveled by long enough, and perhaps that is why it has not made the difference. But who’s to say?

Value Operation Structure, pt. 1

What I do on YouTube is at once objective presentation and subjective expression. For the longest time, it has been the amalgam of these two seemingly contradictory realities, that of subject and object, that has been the goal of my praxis on the site. In other words, the way I’ve created videos, handled myself, etc has been a means towards a covert attempt at expressing the latent ideas or notions within things by means of a particular kind of pseudo-objective presentation. That really didn’t make things too much clearer. I’ll demonstrate with an example. My most recent video on YouTube was written experientially. This was intentional, and the intention herein was thus: (1) underscore that digital communication alters how we experience and relate to each other (2) that the very same alters how one develops a relationship with others (3) how nostalgia becomes fundamentally predicated on these digital systems and (4) how said systems act to fulfill any spontaneous need of the self.

That anyone in my audience gleaned any of that is highly unlikely. Of course, that fact was also intentional – I don’t aim to teach the conscious, but the unconscious. To explain what I mean, I need to explain a few things that are quite theoretical but which should appear rather obvious. Firstly, social relations as a whole are fundamentally nodal. That is to say, central tendencies exist in the manner one thinks and, consequently, the manner in which humans relate. To elaborate on the first point, people, so far as I can tell, all have a set of core principles implicit in their being. These could be abstract, like freedom or autonomy, or concrete, like good food or sex. These principles constitute the substructure of all human thought and are, to use a culinary analogy, as though raw meats prepared by a cook, said cook being consciousness. Consciousness “cooks” or rather operates on these principles and churns out conscious propositions – “this is that” “I feel that” “I think that” “she said that” etc. Thus, human thought is nodal: a central principle exists surrounded by propositional thoughts. For the academique reading this, consider the situation similar to the Saussure’s signifier, and signified. The signifier/sign is the proposition which signifies a principle. Or perhaps consider it similar to Freud’s latent and manifest content within thoughts.

Now, suppose John holds the principles of freedom, good clothing, political news, graphic design, and Japanese culture as primary. Suppose Joan holds expedience, tattered clothes, infotainment, gay porn, and caviar as primary. John and Joan aren’t going to get along too well. John’s thoughts will be geared towards his principles, Joan’s towards her own. John’ll say things indicative of the things he holds as important, Joan her things. These sayings need not necessarily be direct, either. John merely saying “I don’t really want to go to the fast food place, I’d rather cook my own food” is, in a sense, a representation of John’s valuation of freedom – he wants to make his own food, free from other people’s influence. Joan might well think in response that getting fast food is easier, and so she’ll naturally find issue with John’s statement.

All of this is to say two things. First, principles affect the way we think. They lead us to statements even we don’t realize are indicative of said principles. Really, the lead us to operate, “cook” propositions, based on other principles. They also facilitate emotions, which are not even propositional at all, yet will direct outward action. Second, they lead to conflict. John and Joan may argue about this matter and, perhaps, never agree, unless one recognizes the other is basing his or her argument on a completely different principle from the other. That one recognizes a difference of principle is key. Third, it will be easier for both parties if they associate with people who share at least some key principles. On this point, one can now say that social interaction is nodal. Because of a natural proclivity to hold principles first, men will, on the whole, naturally associate with other men who hold those same principles true first. Quite frankly, I’m going to say that each of us, to some extent, holds a degree of expedience as a principle due to this last statement. None of us propositionally say “Ah, I dislike the statement such and such person made about the state of crab fishing in Maryland, he cares far too much about such and such principle.” No, we may feel that that saying is simply not to our taste and, perhaps, that it would be too difficult to incur it as a taste. Consequently, we don’t quite wish to engage any further and, thereafter, cease discussion and association.

Thus, social interaction is nodal. Men through the principle of expedience will naturally associate with others like themselves, those associations predicated on the holding in common of key principles which said men naturally thought of by means of their mental constitutions. To reiterate, said constitutions are two-fold, the operated and the operator, both of which have their root in principles. Remember, also, that all of this is unconscious. We don’t really know about it. Of course we can make it conscious but, even then, its quite useless to do so, as our attempt at considering our own principles is viewed through the lens of said principles.

Now, what’s all this have to do with my YouTube channel and my opening statements? Quite a bit. Consider for a moment this fact: those with the ability to do something can do it, those without the ability cannot. Tautological, no? Of course it is. If x, x. If not x, not x. Consider this too: those with more ability to do something better than other will do that thing better than others. Less tautological, but still easy to understand. Now, let’s replace “something” with a key term: those with the ability to spread ideas better than others will do so better than others. Now, I’ve created a phrase “the ability to spread ideas.” Quite frankly, I believe this phrase could be defined in the manner which utilizes the framework hitherto established: the ability to touch upon the greatest amount of principles operant in society. Consequently, this is the ability to touch upon the greatest amount of principles operant in each individual person in said society or, alternatively, to alter the aggregate principle operant within key nodal groups within that society. To sum up, those with the greatest ability to touch upon the greatest amount of principles operant in either individuals in a society or the aggregate principles operant within key nodal groups in society maintains the ability to spread ideas better than others. 

Now, how does one appeal to principle? Aristotle understood quite well that it can be done in three ways: the use of logic, the use of emotion, or the use of authority, be it one’s own or another’s. Emotion, generally, is one of the most effective tools to this end. Now, this should start to sound familiar to what I do as a “video essayist” on YouTube – writing scripts with appeals to convey things. But of course, I do not merely attempt to convey, but to convince, albeit, covertly. But “wait,” you may be saying, “you make videos that are largely about popular culture. How does that relate to convincing anyone of anything?” Well, you may have noticed that I stated in the boldest sentence in the last paragraph the “greatest ability.” Well, what defines the greatest ability? Precisely this – the resources, the means, the actual tools, be they personal or institutional, to put an idea out and construct it in such a manner so as to ensure its reception by nodal groups and/or individuals. To witness who has the greatest means, one need only look to all prevailing media and communications institutions, be they journalistic, video-graphic, musical, game-oriented, or otherwise. How can one be sure they have the greatest means? Now, this claim is somewhat circular, but, in my opinion, the answer is: precisely because these entities presently do have said means right now. That some show is enabled to garner millions of views demonstrates its capability in doing so. That some artist garners millions of listens on spotify demonstrates the very same. “But what about the influence of others and hype-culture?” Ah! What about it? Nothing, actually, since it’s already been accounted for in the conception of nodal appeals. Because humans naturally operate and shape their principles by means of interactions with them on an interpersonal nodal basis, that a hype-culture has formed denotes the success of the appeal in question. In short, that hype forms and that individuals respond to said hype are both derivative of the nodal appeals to principles.

In any case, then, one can now analyze popular institutions for understandings of principles people, in 2019, at least, hold in common. To create an exhaustive list is completely impossible, as what I am really doing in the formation of such a list is formalizing what is essentially an informal, formless set of concepts which are not strictly delineated as the conscious mind would so suppose. Rather, the nodal network of the mind’s principles is a tangled mess of things ever so slightly related, denser than a black hole in its richness. For instance, “freedom” is demonstrated in the popularity of games – all enable the “freedom to” do some activity. Yet, each also enables a degree of “escape” from the day to day, thus this principle too is bound up with said freedom. In wanting escape from the day to day, perhaps game players also dis-value the “day to day.” Each also enables “community,” and as such this too is a bound up principle. Each of these phrases and statements do not constitute distinct categories but, rather, points on a seamless gradient, expressions of degree of the underlying principles themselves, conceptual entities that we cannot propositionally speak of. To move into different industries, the popularity of superheroes in movies may also be bound to the dis-valuation of the “day to day” and a valuation of “power qua power” and potentially “authority.” The spectacle of music that exists in the modern age, and the popular mythos surrounding the “self-made creative” implies valuation of “creativity” “autonomy” “individuality” “expression” and a host of other related principles. I could go on, but I believe this is enough to demonstrate what I am getting at.

What is at issue here is three-fold. First, the banality of principles appealed to. Many of these principles are extant in almost everyone, so far as I can tell. Try to find a single person who’s altogether averse to “creativity.” I think you’d be pretty hard-pressed to do so, considering creation is a part of every human activity conceivable, from the lowliest waiter who must “create” an interaction between himself and the people he waits on to the business mogul who created a structure of monetary accrual. Without the introductory of novel or complex principles into the marketplace of ideas, which a largely reactive system such as presently exists in the market is unable to do, culture faces issues. Second, the economic market is not entirely retroactive and can proactively coopt certain principles for its own ends. For instance, all recent Marvel movies have coopted the principles mentioned prior for monetary gain. In doing so, they created the third issue, that is, artificial value operation structures. These structures, which I’ll shorten to “artivo” (artivos in the plural), heighten the already disparate nature of the human condition alluded to before, that individuals naturally associate and disassociate. While, individuals naturally will fall into loose value operation structures which exist inside every nodal group, said structures of thinking can ebb and flow. A group of people which naturally thinks along the lines of freedom as a core principle will be open to certain things potentially counter to freedom – John in the example prior is eventually going to go out to eat. However, within artivos, the loose, free-form, abstract principles of the mind become fixed to concrete realities. To use Marvel again, the artivo created by Marvel’s movies fixes the principles of authority and power to a specific set of individuals and, in doing so, encourages consumers to participate in an ongoing instantiation of their principles into reality. The artivo thus serves to go beyond the value operation structure in creating false reality, a set of false, unreal and yet seemingly real objects which are designed specifically to fulfill principles latent in our thinking.

As a consequence of this process, not only will artivos make themselves necessarily more distinct from each other, but the artivos will subsume all hitherto loose operation structures. Discussion of freedom as such will be subsumed by individuals with more pragmatic thinking into discussions of the pageantry of the state. The same principle will be subsumed by less pragmatic individuals into sets of dogmas laid forth by years-old thinkers-turned-academic-celebrities by academia. The process just described encompasses merely the conscious element of the artivos’ subsumption. On a subconscious level, the human individual gleans little ability to so much as consider concepts as such on the day to day or the extent to which principles mentioned prior exist in the day to do. No, the day to day, the real, becomes displaced into each artivo, as principles man would have actualized in himself instead themselves become displaced into false realization in the artivo.

Now, what I specifically am referring to through the term “artivo” are pieces of communication or media which exist specifically to capitalize on principles and correspondent nodal groups / operation structures. All human relation exists in some manner or another to utilize said groups and structures, witness the Machiavellian Hypothesis of human thinking, that all communication is predicated on deception. The artivo differs from this process in that it creates objects and forms which create unto themselves a false reality which incurs and is able to wholly replace prior groups and their structures. Thomas Paine had an impact on America when he published Common Sense – he utilized operation structures dealing with freedom, liberty, and government itself to propound a set of ideas. He gained notoriety for this too. However, existing structures were left in tact and his pamphlet was subsumed into them. Arianna Grande instead subsumes the notion of creativity, as do all artists. One need not say “did you enjoy such and such creative element of Arianna Grande’s song.” No, one need only say “did you listen to Arianna Grande’s song.” Similarly, one need not say “did you appreciate Thanos as a paternalistic destructive force in Endgame.” (As asinine as that sounds anyway.) One only has to say “did you watch Endgame.” In this manner, the objects take precedence over the principles.

The man who didn’t watch Endgame cannot participate in the artivo which sets it as its object. Purely because he has failed to consume the media, he is outside of an entire operation structure. He simply cannot enter it until he has consumed the object. Similarly, those with proclivities to different artivos will by and large fail to associate due to the principle of expedience. Indeed, they will fail even more so than their loose operation structure forefathers as, while the structure of the mind is formless, a state of affairs mirrored in the loose operation structure, the artivo solidifies operation structure, ensuring that all who failed to consume objects cannot participate in the discourse had. Indeed, inter-artivo discussion is also stymied, as different “universes” and differing “styles” conflict and prevent dialogue between differing operation structures.

In the next post I will express my attempt at revolting against this state of affairs and, on a retrospective, why I believe I have failed in doing so.