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PHILOSOPHY PATHWAYS electronic journal

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P H I L O S O P H Y   P A T H W A Y S                   ISSN 2043-0728
http://www.philosophypathways.com/newsletter/

Issue number 45
17th November 2002

CONTENTS

I. 'Dehumanisation of Humanity: Slavery' by Munayem Mayenin

II. Book List on Twentieth Century Philosophy

III. New Additions to the Pathways Book List

-=-

I. 'DEHUMANISATION OF HUMANITY: SLAVERY' BY MUNAYEM MAYENIN

[Continued from Issue 35 June 30th 2002]

Slavery is the point of the progress that we had made from zero ground. That
was where we lost control of our lives and traded on the roads of
self-destruction. However, we still see that whatever was being done in the
name of benefiting humankind had two contradictory elements. One, namely, power
and control and the other to aspire for human values. But these two are
absolutely two opposing concepts which are incapable of being brought together
annihilating the contradiction. It seems that humanity was trying to get back
to rationality, equality, morality, liberty and purpose and through this
natural justice while still maintaining power and control and divide and rule.
Hereby we see the invention of the state, the government, the security
services, law enforcement and crime and punishment and lot of other apparatus
to main order while there was no need at all to have order. Because order is
only necessary when somehow we have created anarchy, which must now be brought
to order. The question of peace or order does not arise unless peace itself has
been slain. It is like Macbeth:

     "Methought I heard a voice cry 'Sleep no more! Macbeth does
     murder sleep' the innocent sleep, Sleep that knits up the
     ravelled sleave of care, The death of each day's life, sore
     labour's bath, Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second
     course, Chief nourisher in life's feast.
     
     Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor Shall
     sleep no more."

We shall have no peace or happiness or harmony as we had killed it. We are
murderers of rationality, liberty, equality, morality, natural justice and
purpose. Having done that we cry out like Macbeth and realise we cannot sleep
anymore until and unless we learn to pretend and forget, in other words, we
have become dehumanised. Having got ourselves dehumanised we then become
'normals' and live as 'sane', as long as we can cope and then we are done!

Robindronaath Thaakur, a Bangaali poet-philosopher (Novel Laureate in
Literature in 1913) once wrote in one of his songs:

"I would have told you what my pain is had I
known it myself."

That is the pain he was talking about. We cannot have peace while we have
ourselves in pieces, shattered everywhere. How long can we take the things that
we are not supposed to take! It is like the body of a drug addict or an
alcoholic. The body is not made or prepared to take all these substances. It is
not natural and thus against natural justice. That is why the body gives in and
the mind soon follows. That is what was happening with people when slavery came
and it is happening much more deeply and profoundly now. As soon it is done and
slavery is established and made an acceptable norm, our rationality says like
Macbeth again:

"To know my deed, 'twere best not know myself."

That is where we first got the idea of partial rationality, where it loses its
nature and becomes twisted. How could you talk about rights, democracy,
politics, aesthetics and philosophy when half or more of your kind are made
slaves and other people own them as particles and sell them and buy them and
kill them or train them to kill themselves before fellow beings in an attempt
to entertain them! And what are these crowds of humans laughing at or getting
entertained about? They are not laughing but getting drunk so that they can
feel safe from the fact that they are the murderers. They do not want to know
their deeds, as it will show them what they are.

But slavery tried its best to show itself to be rational and humane in its time.

People started to fight and kill for no reason or for reasons of advantage and
power and control. They did not know how to kill their fellow human beings but
now they do. They did not even know how to kill a fellow animal. They would
hunt for food. They would hunt for food and no less or more. But now they kill
to enhance their power, increase their numbers and advance their control and
dominance. They will now keep prisoners and then make them slaves as they could
be employed to work and produce so that they do not have to go and hunt or work
for food.

Slavery started by way of power. Power is not a natural thing. Power is a
manipulative mechanism and it dazzles and corrupts. Power is not rational
either. Power has no morality or purpose and power cannot support natural
justice nor tolerate it. The statement that there is power means there cannot
be liberty and equality; as so long we have power we will have powerful and
powerless. Thus it is impossible to have liberty safeguarded from the powerful
and equality cannot be achieved with the powerful and powerless in the same
society, as power does not want to share unless its very existence is faced
with danger.

As soon as slavery got itself going with power it was bombarded with all sorts
of problems. First of all, the slaves were not going to just accept some fellow
beings imprisoning them and setting them a different set of rules to stop them
having a life of liberty and choice. Thus the slave owners had to come up with
some apparatus to deal with that practical problem. They came up with the state
that will act to help them. The state then came up with a system. Law came about
dealing with what? Justice? Now, what justice was that? Supporting the slave
owners and helping them to protect their properties, namely, slaves.

The state would legislate to make slavery legal. The law would define how a
slave is a slave and define who are the slave owners and detail the rights of
the slave owners. It will legislate against any slaves trying to escape or
anyone else trying to take someone else's slaves away. It will threaten
punishment. It will have forces enforcing the law. If a slave flees then the
forces will find him and bring him to his owners. If anyone else helped the
slave in "its" escape they will be brought to "justice" and put in prison. The
prison is the place to put the outcasts who cannot be put in line.

The most advanced slavery was found in Ancient Greece where all the practice of
science and humanities and arts and philosophy took place! The basis of
democracy was born and bred there. And even then we have the most beautiful of
minds accepting and not raising a single utterance against slavery. The Roman
Empire is known to have been the birthplace of law and jurisprudence and yet no
one did see anything wrong with slavery. They developed the most advanced legal
and political system that enabled them to control most of the world while they
spent most of their resources fighting against slaves' fights for freedom. Why
is that? Because of the fact that it was to do with power and control. Power
needs to be used and, in that, power used can only be said to be abused. If
power needs to be used then it has to be used against some people, who have
none of it. That was why they needed the slaves.

But what about the powerful? They had become so used to power and its ability
to give a certain sense of glory and comfort that they forgot the fact that
they were slaves of a different kind. They were slaves of power itself. They
could not just abandon it. They could not just one day feel humane and declare
that the slaves and all the people (nations) that are occupied are to be free
and equal to the others. Regardless of that they tried their best to show the
grandeur of power, naturality of power, rationality of power and even the
purpose and morality of power. But Machiavelli showed how ruthless the business
of power should be and ancient Indian philosophers touched on the business of
power and its ugliness. If we follow the development of slavery we would see
that the system of power and its ability not only to manipulate the people but
also nature itself was increasing. Power keeps on working to increase or
centralise more power to it. How could more power be had? More people become
more powerless and the centre of power gets more radiant and dazzling.

On the other side of the coin, power cannot be sustained, maintained and
exercised by just a single person or a group of persons without a class of
people working and between them sharing the glory and benefits of it, enforcing
and defining the Power. That is why we have got a monarch and government and
army and navy and other aristocrats working in symphony to establish law and
order. In simple terms law and order means the protocol to keep them all and
the system in place.

Getting back to the powerful. They did not realise that they were slaves of
another kind. They were slaves of power and they could not be happy either.
They were worried sick. They were insecure. They lived in constant fear and
threats of losing their physical life. They had to act as a class but then
again they had to distrust anyone and everyone as anyone could challenge and
take away whatever little power they had. They were worried and fearful of
their personal lives as well the survival of their class. They could not be
happy, because they were the vanguard of the murdering system. How could human
beings be happy with their rational and human faculties still alive when they
know that whatever they are doing is nothing but genocide of reason and
humanity! They had the mechanism to support them. They had the power even to
manipulate people's way of thinking and way of living. The people had hardly
any power to do anything.

Things cannot change or made unless they are first conceived in ideas. Ideas
are the essential ingredients of change or creation. The powerful were able to
train people to think in an uniformed way so that new ideas or questions would
not be asked or raised. Whatever the system, there were people parroted to see
that as the most natural and harmonious. There was no reason. Look at the army.
They were trained fighters and killers. What was the purpose of the army of a
Slave Empire? To fight wars? To fight war means to kill and get mentally ready
to be killed eventually. But why on earth were millions of people ready to be
trained to be killers? What were they fighting for? For the empire? What was
the empire? Keeping slaves so that some other people could live physically
happy life, albeit such an unproductive and boring one as that, while fellow
human beings put in a life worse than a table or chair. At least tables and
chairs did not have to work to their death or be trained to fight as gladiators
or as soldiers and kill or get killed by fellow helpless gladiators or soldiers
to entertain the "free" people, or to protect the "interests of the empire"!
Not only the slaves were slaves, the army were made slaves too by the hanging
bait of future land or freedom a scary service life in which you are more
likely to be killed. Had they have the real choice none of them would choose to
be trained and spent their lives to kill or getting killed.

But even that system of slavery claimed that they had the rule of law. They had
equality and liberty. They claimed to have established democracy and rights of
people. All this would make us the modern sophisticated salves feel like
vomiting. It is the same for those slaves! They did not know that their system
was corrupt and that they were just slaves and wasting their lives not living
it but getting killed everyday or killing until they died, just as we do not
see our system as corrupt and killer of our souls.

Their normals would not question why slaves were made slaves and why they had
no rights. They would not question their system. They would not seek answers.
They would accept things, as they were normals they were trained to accept and
not question the way we do not. They had law and they followed it, as that was
the normal thing to do. Those who went into prison were the ones who were
either salves or supporting slaves (because they failed to be normals somehow
and still felt like responding to their heart's plea to support the slaves).

Slavery brought humanity into the system and away from nature. A system is for
maintaining power and manipulating for power. People cannot do that if they
treat nature as their mother or as an entity where they belong. Power does not
have the benevolence to feel belonged. It owns. It is the taker and thus it is
arrogant. It thus manipulates. Hence we have people more unhappy and shattered
as they are taken apart from the place where they could have felt at home.

Antagonism with our own inherent qualities, namely humanity and the source of
it, namely nature-the earth; is the name of the system that we see in slavery.

Slavery was vulgar. Men and women and children are rooted out of their
environment, family, friends, surrounding and life and, put in the market as
objects. Then buyers would come to them look at their physical abilities and
skills. They would look at their legs and arms and bones and heads and tongues
and teeth. Then they would buy them. They cannot even be allowed to reproduce.
In case of accident, if they did reproduce the child is taken away, raised and
sold or kept as slaves. What sort of a rational and moral system is that! It
does not to appeal us, but our modern slavery does appeal to us, doesn't it?
Otherwise we would have done something about it. But we don't do anything.

Having that vulgar and ruthless system that was killing humanity, slavery
continued to develop in its organisational forms and apparatus. It went on to
develop areas of knowledge and science and other disciplines of knowledge. It
did so not because it had any love for it but it required the knowledge to
continue dominance. Moreover, it only allowed through a complex system of
manipulation and mastermind approach, arts, humanities and science to be
developed in a way that supported the system. That is why we did not see Greek
Philosophy or other forms of humanities and science concerning themselves with
slavery. If we look at the Greek scenario we see that the idea of city state,
representative democracy, the ideas of citizenship, law and order and other
necessary concepts and their realisation which we still use today with
modifications. However, we cannot see any discourse concerning itself with the
reality of the system, the slavery etc. It is as if to say slavery is the most
natural way of living and life. We see a perfect order of things. We see wars
being fought or lodged either to crush slaves uprisings or enhance slavery
further.

If we look at the Egyptian Pharaohs' rule we see all those years ago they had
developed an astonishingly well ordered system but one that supports power and
the system. We have their grandeur to be dazzled about but we do not see any
questioning of the system. There was no murmuring about anything, for it was as
if that that was the most natural and established order and system and everybody
was made to accept it.

The Roman Empire was built on slavery as a wonderfully organised, astonishingly
equipped and trained and absolutely mechanised system that had everyone's life
defined like a modern job description and personnel specification. The Romans
had a weakness towards grandeur and organisational institutionalisation. They
wanted to establish their power base as wide as humanly possible and root it as
far and as deep as possible. They developed idea of rule of law and law and
order, and developed the mother of The Law the way it is even now. However,
most of the resources of the empire were spent raising armies and in fighting
endless wars, and killing God knows how many millions of people. But we do not
see any questioning of the system. We do not see any theoretical arguments
challenging the system. How could you develop a system of law when the whole
system of maintaining power is based on ruthless imposition, fierce
manipulation and beastly dominance! But they did last a long time, they did
continue to keep enhancing and sophisticating their system. They indeed had
been able to manipulate whatever was there to be developed in a way that
supported the system of Rome.

No one questioned their rational validity or even legitimacy. Whether Rome went
republic or whether there were emperors or kings nothing mattered as the system
of governance continued the same. People did not question the world dominance
or the brutal wars and the beastly occupation of nations nor they did not have
any means or ways to do that. However, they did turn up to watch and get
entertained by the gladiators at the coliseums while they fought to their
death, while they kept killing their fellows until they got killed. These were
the people who were the normals who had been trained and made to think, act and
live like normals, which means that they had to be like that. A system cannot
sustain itself unless it is capable of creating an army of normals who are
alike, who do not think any other way but the one they had been taught, who do
not see, feel or act any other way but the way they had been taught. That is
why Rome survived as long as it did. That is how Greece survived as long as it
did. That is how Egypt survived as long as it did.

But even with the end of Egyptian system or Greek or even the Roman Empire the
slavery did not end. It continued because of the fact that the system of power
remained the same. The slavery continued a lot longer in its original form and
shape as the power invented a different way to use it. We will see how that is
the case when we discuss the Feudal Social System.

One must acknowledge that there were some liberal thinkers. However, the
essential question is whether the great mass, which enabled the system not only
to sustain itself but also to enhance, enlarge and develop had been made to
accept that system as the most natural thing in the world. The answer is simply
affirmative, yes, indeed they did. That is where the manipulation played its
part through a lot of things including education, cultural and religious
factors as well as enforcing law, which created a reign of psychological terror.

The modern reader might shout out that that is not true! We would say in answer
to this shout that you should include us as well. The vast majority of us today
are a product of the sophisticated slavery which has created us. The toys we
buy for our kids at Christmas or the bed covers we use for our kids' beds are
not chosen by us but the latest blockbuster! The things which we and young
people find desirable are the products of companies that spent millions of
pounds promoting these brands and the media that benefit from their advertising
campaigns and the television that creates the magic! We do not think ourselves
as slaves. Yet at this very moment there are millions of people on this planet
who have gone to sleep on the street hungry, millions are facing death in a
week's time and there are millions in this very country of ours [Britain] dying
away earning a 3.65 Pounds an hour, dreaming of winning the national lottery!
Hundreds of thousands of pensioners and other groups of people in this country
suffer cold because they cannot afford the heating bills!

You ask, Where is the research? You would get money even from your local
Council if you can do a piece of research to show how a wonderful Green Council
they are. But go and seek funding for a project to show that the Council is
violating people's human rights by forcing people (pregnant women, disabled
people, children and elderly people) to live in inhabitable bread and breakfast
hostels with mice, cockroaches and rotten damp. See how you fare! No, we are not
slaves. What are we? Renaissance people? Then why do not we see that the guy,
who is an MP from a Party A, is controlled by that party because he was
nominated by that party and that was why he was elected and thus he can never
represent anything but his party? Why do we not see that it is his career to
continue to be an MP and that means that he is going to do anything and
everything to ensure that he is not going out of power because at the end of
the day he wants a piece of the cake of power. We do not see that! We are all
so clever, we have enlightenment, then why do we not see that the air we breath
in is dirty, smoky, filthy and filled with fumes and industrial residues! And if
we see it then what do we do about it? Why do we not ask why there is no money
to provide our hospitals with decent amount of doctors and nurses and
equipment! Why do we not ask questions when we wait 6 hours for a doctor to see
us in Emergency, Why have you shut down three hospitals in this area? Why do we
see thousands of people losing their jobs because a company decided to lay off
staff in order to save money so that the shareholders could get their dividend
and we normals can go back to sleep normally and get up and have our toast and
coffee and go to work every day and then go partying at the weekend!

The point we are trying to make here is simple. We all are very good, because
of the system we live in, at seeing the mistakes and wrongs of the past systems
and not the one we live in. We are the most humanitarian, the most liberal. We
cry out if something happens to us, but it does not matter if the same happens
in Afghanistan or Guantanamo Bay or Iraq or Israel or Palestine! Why? Because
we are normals and we cannot be keep our sanity if we get too much concerned
about all these things. Being normal means you learn to not see, hear, think or
ask, because, if you do, you cannot run a normal life. Even if you do, still the
point remains, on your own you are nothing. On our own this little individual is
nothing literally against a state with all its visible and invisible apparatus
and forces, which amounts to an awesome scary monster. Civil liberty! It is an
invention of politicians, who along with the system keep bombarding us from
childhood, leading people to believe that we are civilized etc. etc. What is so
civilised about seeing people killed! What is civilised about seeing Palestinian
children and women killed by Israelis? What us so good about seeing Israeli
women, children and young people killed by Palestinians? What is so good about
seeing Chechen or Russian killed by each other? None! But no one does anything
about it. No one says anything about it. Well, the people and the bodies that
matter do not, do they? No. Why not? If we were not slaves and had any power we
would have told the world leaders, 'Sort this mess out with Iraq and if you
cannot just go and we will get another set of people who can.' Because we do
not want a war. A war means you are going to kill and we will not have blood on
our hands. But that does not happen! So what is good about us normals? There
would be more wars and we will read history about them and say this that and
the other!

This is the system we live in, that carries on disempowering, dehumanising us
and we are nothing to the sheer power and force of the system. This is the
result of slavery. Well, the slaves still had some power, at least, they
managed to lodge a few fights for their freedom. We are even not capable of
that because we no longer do anything that does not get us financial or power
related benefits! We even send our elderly mothers and fathers and uncles and
aunts and brothers and sisters into awful care homes or places that are dumps.
We send them Christmas cards! Our elderly, who spent their whole life for this
system, for us for the society and for their children and are now incapable of
giving, we send them to queue up at elderly luncheon clubs to have some warm
food and some human company because we have no time! Why? Because it does not
help us financially to go and waste hours talking to someone who is waiting to
die, and we even think they should die sooner as they are costing the NHS a
fortune. We even send the mentally ill person out on the street because he
seems well enough and because we need the bed for someone else, and that ill
guy then turns up somewhere at a school and kills innocent children! We are
civilised! Well, this author is one and ashamed of it, totally and utterly
ashamed of it!

(c) Munayem Mayenin 2002

E-mail: Mmayenin@aol.com

-=-

II. BOOK LIST ON TWENTIETH CENTURY PHILOSOPHY

A couple of months ago, members of the Philos-L e-mail list, which is used by
professional philosophers in the UK and Europe, were canvassed by Canadian
philosopher Robert Timko for suggestions on five works which would provide a
broad survey of 20th century philosophy. The idea was not to include any
anthologies.

43 different titles were suggested, many only once or twice. Here is the final
ranking by Robert Timko in terms of the most frequently mentioned/ recommended.
The remaining titles were mentioned three or less times.

I have added dates of first publication given by the Oxford Companion to
Philosophy (see the Chronological Table of the history of philosophy, pp.
945-956).

     1) L. Wittgenstein, 'Philosophical Investigations' (1953)
     
     2) L. Wittgenstein, 'Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus' (1921)
     
     3) A.J. Ayer, 'Language, Truth and Logic' (1936)
     
     4) John Rawls, 'A Theory of Justice' (1972)
     
     5) W.V.O. Quine, 'Word and Object' (1960)
        Simone de Beauvoir, 'The Second Sex' (1949)
        R. Rorty, 'Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature' (1980)
     
     8) Gilbert Ryle, 'The Concept of Mind' (1949)
        Saul Kripke, 'Naming and Necessity' (1972)
        T. Kuhn, 'The Structure of Scientific Revolutions' (1962)
        Martin Heidegger, 'Being and Time' (1927)
     
Robert Timko continues:

"There were many useful suggestions: include continental and analytical
thought, include feminist thought, include American pragmatism, include ethics,
include social/ poitical philosophy, but the most interesting was to make sure
the books actually related to each other in some real way.

"Here then is my final composition for my 20th century class:

     1) Russell, Problems of Philosophy
     2) Wittgenstein, Tractatus
     3) Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
     4) de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity
     5) Rorty, Philosophy and Social Hope
     
"Russell and Rorty make, I believe good bookends to the century. In Russell, we
have a forecast of the ways in which philosophical thought would develop. In
Rorty, we have a reflection on the 20th century and his own pragmatic turn.
(The work mentioned addresses social/ political issues, American pragmatism,
postmodernist thought, and more.) Kuhn adds the revolution in philosophy of
science (and Rorty comments on his thought); de Beauvoir adds the existential
and feminist perspectives, and Wittgenstein--well can you really do 20th
century philosophy without doing the Tractatus?"

Robert Timko, Ph.D
Professor, Philosophy & Liberal Studies
Director, MU Canadian Studies Programme

-=-

III. NEW ADDITIONS TO THE PATHWAYS BOOK LIST

Here are three capsule reviews by Pathways Mentor Brian Tee, which are being
added to the Pathways Book List, at
http://www.philosophypathways.com/programs/pak5.html .

Students and teachers of philosophy are warmly invited to contribute book
reviews. If you have come across a volume which you find helpful as an
introduction to philosophy, share the news!

---

The Questions of Life -- An Invitation to Philosophy by Fernando Savater
Polity Press 2002

A book that has, deservedly, sold over 70,000 copies in Spain and has been
translated into 10 languages. Savater here presents an overview of the main
philosophical themes, whilst engaging us with his own views and arguments.
Savater shows how philosophizing infuses all aspects of life and is not merely
a compartmentalized catalogue of opinions. As can be seen from the subtitle
Savater asks us to try to think philosophically for ourselves. This book goes a
long way to helping us achieve that. Each chapter is accompanied by a set of
provoking questions and an appendix with biographies of important thinkers
complements the book.

---

Philosophy Matters
by Roger Trigg
Blackwell 2002

Trigg takes the view that philosophy is a method of thinking rather than a
collection of facts. This method, one of rational investigation that leads to
knowledge, is then defended from various challenges such as relativism,
naturalism and scientism. The result is a rewarding and innovative
re-instatement and introduction to the origins, nature and role of philosophy.

---

Philosophy Goes to the Movies, An Introduction to Philosophy
by Christopher Falzon
Routledge 2002

An original introduction, this book uses examples from films to guide the
reader through the some basic philosophical problems. This is a great device
for those with no previous knowledge of philosophy because the questions raised
are given concrete and familiar formulations, a change from the tendency to
abstraction in some other introductions. One of the consequences of reading the
book is that not only does one have grounding in philosophy, but also that when
watching the films again we can impress (or annoy) our friends with what we
have learnt.

(c) Brian Tee 2002

E-mail: PIP01BMT@sheffield.ac.uk

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