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On the nature of "opinions" and effective disagreements
#1
I'm posting this in the Philosophy section because, while it pertains to the practical business of how we communicate with and express disagreements to one another, the ensuing discussion that I'd like to see take place will inevitably touch on "philosophical" questions about the nature of "opinion" as such and the purposes that opinions serve in both our daily lives as individuals and in our joint capacities to affect a broader project of radical social change. My hope for this thread is to not only develop strategies for communicating effectively and approaching disagreements constructively within the confines of this forum, but also to take a critical look at "opinion" as a concept, its purposes, its uses, and its limitations.

I'm not proposing that we develop any set of codified "rules" for how we engage in discussion with each other, but that we examine more closely how we each relate to our own opinions on a subjective level, why we feel the need to hold them in the first place (if, in fact, we do), and how we think that the opinions we hold may or may not limit our ability to see things from other points of view. Just keep in mind that the purpose of this thread is not to discuss the specifics of what you believe or don't believe, but the role that "belief" in general plays in your life and how you relate to your environment. With all of this preamble out of the way, I'd like to propose the following questions for discussion:

1) What do you think an "opinion" actually is what purposes do opinions serve on both a social and psychological level?

2) Do you see yourself as possessing definite opinions about why the world is the way it is and how it ought to be? If so, what do you feel that your opinions bring to your life that you wouldn't otherwise have if you held no opinions whatsoever?

3) Do you feel that your opinions ever play a negative or limiting role in how you relate to yourself, the world, and other people? If so, how do you attempt to mitigate these negative/limiting aspects?

4) What do you think productive disagreements look like and have you ever had a disagreement (either online or in the "real world") where both you and the person(s) you disagreed with went away from it feeling respected and that you actually learned something from each other? If so, what strategies or attitudes made this possible?

5) Do you think its actually possible and/or desirable to hold no opinions whatsoever? If so, what would this look like and how might it be achieved?

For further reading on why I'm raising these questions to begin with, you may want to check out a very short article called "Belief: The Enemy of Thinking," from Willful Disobedience, Vol. 1, No. 2, which can be found here: http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/v...-1-2#toc25
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#2
Interesting thread. Thanks you for starting it.

(Sat, 08 Jul 2017 02:59:42 +0000, 02:59 AM)Matt Wrote: 1) What do you think an "opinion" actually is what purposes do opinions serve on both a social and psychological level?
I am not a language prescriptivist, but let me define "opinion" nevertheless, so that you may arrest me if I am talking about something which you aren't. An opinion is an idea, conclusion, belief, and so on, that some*one* has formed — from thought — about something. The someone can be anyone capable of forming an opinion, and the something can be anything that someone is capable of forming an opinion about.

An opinion, or conclusion, is the response of memory. Let us perhaps begin with "what is thinking." Thinking is the movement of thought through time, the response of memory. Thinking is recognition — to re-cognise. Memory is formed when we think about our observations and experiences, and about our previous thoughts — the thoughts kind of snowball on each other. Ideas, opinions, conclusions, all come from this process called thinking.

The purposes they serve are many, and intersectional. So I'll leave that until later into the discussion, lest I'll be writing here forever — I am quite hungry, you know.

But I will say that as long as there are ideas, there is conflict. Thoughts are from the past, as I said above, whereas the things we want to observe are in the present. And just like I cannot observe into the future, my thoughts, which are in the past, cannot think into the present. When I look at a mountain, and have some sort of idea about what the mountain is, I cannot observe the mountain, because I am stuck in my idea, my image of what the mountain is. "If I have my hand in front of my eyes, I cannot see the sun" is usually used to mean that if you have an image of God, you cannot see God — but the quote will do just fine for my mountain as well. Furthermore, if you are standing beside me, with your own image of the mountain, then not only is there conflict between me and the mountain, and you and the mountain — the observers and the observed — but there's even conflict between us, because our observations and experiences are different, and so our images are different. There's a conflict even between the observers.

Opinions and conclusions are ideas — man-made, reifications, and so on. And in order to form an opinion, there must be something to form an opinion on. You cannot have an opinion if you do not have an idea that you can have an opinion on. Opinions are as such one step further alienated. An opinion is an idea about an idea, if you will. The word "mountain" is not the mountain, and your opinion on the word "mountain" is *definitely* not the mountain.

If we are to end conflict, we must come together as friends, put away our ideas and conclusions and opinions and so on, and *observe*. We cannot go into the unknown through the known. Once we see what really is, not what we think it should be, we are free, together in our creative nothings (to borrow a phrase), to act spontaneously and freely.

Quote:2) Do you see yourself as possessing definite opinions about why the world is the way it is and how it ought to be?
No.

Quote:3) Do you feel that your opinions ever play a negative or limiting role in how you relate to yourself, the world, and other people?
Always!

Quote:If so, how do you attempt to mitigate these negative/limiting aspects?
By realising that the opinion is absurd, which in turn makes it powerless.


Quote:4) What do you think productive disagreements look like and have you ever had a disagreement (either online or in the "real world") where both you and the person(s) you disagreed with went away from it feeling respected and that you actually learned something from each other? If so, what strategies or attitudes made this possible?
As I said above, when there are opinions there are conflict — both between the observers and the observed, and between the would-be observers themselves. Persuasion is the violence in which X tries to convince, via rhetoric, Y that X's opinions are somehow superior, and that Y should accept and adopt them. This is authoritarian. There is no connection. But if we put away these conclusions, and come together as friends inquiring for truth by observing the world, there is connection and relationship, and then there is the freedom to spontaneously act.

Quote:5) Do you think its actually possible and/or desirable to hold no opinions whatsoever? If so, what would this look like and how might it be achieved?
Perhaps it is desirable — it is in any event not possible, so the desirability isn't that interesting to talk about, to me. You'll note that I described forming ideas, and opinions by extension, as the *response* of memory, above. I chose that word intentionally, because it conveys what I mean. Thinking is a reaction. Much like urinating. We cannot avoid forming opinions altogether. Someone plays an instrument, most immediately think "I like that" or "I do not like that." We must defecate, so, sooner or rather, we defecate.

But what we can do is realise the absurdity of it all, and make our opinions and ideas powerless. There is no reason you should accept any authority whatsoever. When you accept an idea or opinion, perhaps especially when you accept your own ideas or opinions, you are feebly submitting yourself to self-imposed slavery. Catch yourself thinking, and realise how absurd that is. Then reject all authority.

Quote:For further reading on why I'm raising these questions to begin with, you may want to check out a very short article called "Belief: The Enemy of Thinking," from Willful Disobedience, Vol. 1, No. 2, which can be found here: http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/v...-1-2#toc25

I read that article at some point, because someone else shared it with me. I would not be surprised if I am as alien to the author(s) as those that believe in fairies, because I see no real distinction between believing and thinking. Side note: in my native language, you'd say "I believe…" instead of "I think…" because there is no distinction.
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#3
Thanks for the provocative response, Alexander. I don't have a whole lot to add at the moment because so much of your comment resonates with my own thinking and because I wanted to give others an opportunity to chime in. But, seeing as that hasn't happened yet, I at least wanted to acknowledge your post and offer up a few brief thoughts of my own.

Your point about the formation of opinions being a response to memory is well received. This made me think of a quote I once heard that I only recently learned was by Soren Kierkegaard: "Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." I could go on at length about the interesting questions that this raises about the movement of time itself as it relates to the unconscious mind and the process of thinking; but, for now, I'll just mention in passing that it really does a number on the whole idea of linear temporality and a "science" of historical processes.

On recognizing the absurdity of one's own opinions, I would certainly tend to agree with you that this is a more practical approach than attempting to abandon them entirely. I would also add that, at least for me, the recognition of this absurdity is where my broader critique of "ideology" begins. I remember when I first started taking an interest in post-left and anti-civ ideas, a lot of the literature that I encountered would seemingly base their critiques of ideology on the premise that adopting an oppositional stance toward it is tantamount to escaping it entirely.

While a lot of this literature (Wolfi Landstreicher being a notable example) was and remains a profound influence on my own thinking, I was never completely sold on the idea that "rejecting" ideology was as simple as shrugging it off and being done with it. Acknowledging one's own opinions and refusing to be a slave to them by recognizing their inherent absurdity seems like a far more reasonable response to me. Still, as absurd as opinions admittedly are, I am hesitant to say that there is nothing in them that is of value. Perhaps not the opinion itself but something the opinion glosses over - an unacknowledged desire, a disproportionate emotional investment in a particular idea or potential outcome, etc.

As much as open-mindedness and flexibility in one's viewpoint is a worthwhile aspiration to have, I think even the most most open-minded people can slide back into dogmatism from time to time. I know I sometimes catch myself doing it, and I don't think I'd be going too far out on a limb by saying that others commenting here probably catch themselves doing it as well. We are, after all, posting on a website called "anti-civ.org," the very title of which posits a definite opinion on the undesirability of "civilization" as such. I guess, on some level, I would have to acknowledge that even this opinion is absurd; but, nonetheless, it doesn't stop me from holding it.
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#4
I pretty much totally agree with Alexander here, except on a few points.

On the definition of opinion, I think it would be best to just define it as "an idea about the nature of reality." Analyzing where it comes from is pointless. Opinions are created, and when I notice their existence, I can choose to ignore them, or hold onto them. I find it funny that there were so many words put into Alexander's laying out of his opinion of opinions, only to later say that opinions are always negative. I'm not trying to condemning the apparent hypocrisy, but show a path to less burden.

And I'd like to answer for myself question 5 (although Alexander hits the nail on the head with this one too, just in a more broad way than I like). I think there are times when opinions are good and when they're an impediment. I use opinions in this post, for example. They help with getting ideas across, and I enjoy writing this. So here they aid My enjoyment. That's good as far as I can tell. And most of the time our ideas of the mountain are a decent representation of the mountain. I use this every day, and would hate to give up continuity (not to say it shouldn't be kept in check). But along with these, opinions often lead to misunderstanding. Or even worse, people submit their agency to their ideas. In these times, opinions should be given up as best as possible. I think that it's important for us to value our opinions (not by a standard, but by attempting to tear them down and seeing which ones stay and which ones aren't helpful). Unlike Alexander, who thinks this question is uninteresting, I think it's the biggest question here. I'm not willing to accept that all opinions must be discarded, because I see My own enjoyment in them. And I don't trust only instinct to be My guide in what opinions are worth keeping. I'd like to consciously scrutinize them.

(Sun, 16 Jul 2017 02:53:35 +0000, 02:53 AM)Matt Wrote: We are, after all, posting on a website called "anti-civ.org," the very title of which posits a definite opinion on the undesirability of "civilization" as such. I guess, on some level, I would have to acknowledge that even this opinion is absurd; but, nonetheless, it doesn't stop me from holding it.

This is an especially dangerous opinion. When an idea changes into an identity (by way of being openly shared by many people), it becomes something that is often not criticized. And of course, you could charge this forum with any typical anti-society arguments as well. For example, it exists outside of the relations that create it, and it has a doctrine (the central theme of anti-civ), etc.
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#5
Thanks to both of you for disagreeing with me in good faith.

(Sun, 16 Jul 2017 02:53:35 +0000, 02:53 AM)Matt Wrote: Your point about the formation of opinions being a response to memory is well received. This made me think of a quote I once heard that I only recently learned was by Soren Kierkegaard: "Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." I could go on at length about the interesting questions that this raises about the movement of time itself as it relates to the unconscious mind and the process of thinking; but, for now, I'll just mention in passing that it really does a number on the whole idea of linear temporality and a "science" of historical processes.

I'm not very familiar with Kierkegaard, although I would like to be. What is the source of your quote?

(Sun, 16 Jul 2017 02:53:35 +0000, 02:53 AM)Matt Wrote: While a lot of this literature (Wolfi Landstreicher being a notable example) was and remains a profound influence on my own thinking, I was never completely sold on the idea that "rejecting" ideology was as simple as shrugging it off and being done with it. Acknowledging one's own opinions and refusing to be a slave to them by recognizing their inherent absurdity seems like a far more reasonable response to me. Still, as absurd as opinions admittedly are, I am hesitant to say that there is nothing in them that is of value. Perhaps not the opinion itself but something the opinion glosses over - an unacknowledged desire, a disproportionate emotional investment in a particular idea or potential outcome, etc.

Value is just an idea. But the effects it can have on your thinking process is real, and so it can be helpful to be exposed to an idea. I am not against being met with new ideas, I am against being ruled by them.

(Sun, 16 Jul 2017 02:53:35 +0000, 02:53 AM)Matt Wrote: As much as open-mindedness and flexibility in one's viewpoint is a worthwhile aspiration to have, I think even the most most open-minded people can slide back into dogmatism from time to time. I know I sometimes catch myself doing it, and I don't think I'd be going too far out on a limb by saying that others commenting here probably catch themselves doing it as well. We are, after all, posting on a website called "anti-civ.org," the very title of which posits a definite opinion on the undesirability of "civilization" as such. I guess, on some level, I would have to acknowledge that even this opinion is absurd; but, nonetheless, it doesn't stop me from holding it.
Is your perceived undesirability rooted in ideas though? Mine is rooted in observation of the effects of civilisation. The word civilisation is of course a reification, an epithet. But the effects of what we call civilisation are real.

(Mon, 17 Jul 2017 07:51:36 +0000, 07:51 AM)Arom Wrote: On the definition of opinion, I think it would be best to just define it as "an idea about the nature of reality." Analyzing where it comes from is pointless. Opinions are created, and when I notice their existence, I can choose to ignore them, or hold onto them. I find it funny that there were so many words put into Alexander's laying out of his opinion of opinions, only to later say that opinions are always negative. I'm not trying to condemning the apparent hypocrisy, but show a path to less burden.

Analysis in general is uninteresting to me, because the analyser is the analysed.

I was not giving my opinion of opinions, I was (trying to) describe what opinions are, and that there is no reason to submit to them. I'm not saying that they are "negative" — another idea — but that they are a form of self-imposed authority that we needn't accept.

Opinions are inescapable. Awareness is key. This is why recognising the absurdity is important.

And it is not like all opinions are equal; your opinion on the latest Transformers film certainly affects you in a different way than Hitler's opinion on Jews affected him. And it is intersectional as well. And, lastly, it goes both ways; Fredy Perlman pointed out that the daily lives of slaves reproduce slavery; we form opinions, opinions condition us.

(Mon, 17 Jul 2017 07:51:36 +0000, 07:51 AM)Arom Wrote: This is an especially dangerous opinion. When an idea changes into an identity (by way of being openly shared by many people), it becomes something that is often not criticized. And of course, you could charge this forum with any typical anti-society arguments as well. For example, it exists outside of the relations that create it, and it has a doctrine (the central theme of anti-civ), etc.

Unrelated to the topic at hand, I'd like to mention that I have tried posting this forum around to "non-anti-civ-people," specifically to help avoid it turning into a circlejerk echo chamber.
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#6
alexander Wrote:
Matt Wrote:Your point about the formation of opinions being a response to memory is well received. This made me think of a quote I once heard that I only recently learned was by Soren Kierkegaard: "Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." I could go on at length about the interesting questions that this raises about the movement of time itself as it relates to the unconscious mind and the process of thinking; but, for now, I'll just mention in passing that it really does a number on the whole idea of linear temporality and a "science" of historical processes.


I'm not very familiar with Kierkegaard, although I would like to be. What is the source of your quote?

I'm really no further ahead than you when it comes to familiarity with Kierkegaard. This is just one of those quotes that I remember hearing years ago that sort of stuck with me ever since. As much time as I've spent reading so-called "Continental Philosophy" (a term that I find kind of irritating when compared to its far more rigorous-sounding "Analytic" cousin), this is one particular thinker who hasn't taken up much of my time. That said, a cursory Google search reveals that the version I posted is actually a paraphrase rather than a direct quote. Here's what I was able to find online about the original version:
 
Quote:Source: http://homepage.divms.uiowa.edu/~jorgen/...ource.html

Det er ganske sandt, hvad Philosophien siger, at Livet maa forstaaes baglaends. Men derover glemmer man den anden Saetning, at det maa leves forlaends. Hvilken Saetning, jo meer den gjennemtaenkes, netop ender med, at Livet i Timeligheden aldrig ret bliver forstaaeligt, netop fordi jeg intet Øieblik kan faae fuldelig Ro til at indtage Stillingen: baglaends.
("It is really true what philosophy tells us, that life must be understood backwards. But with this, one forgets the second proposition, that it must be lived forwards. A proposition which, the more it is subjected to careful thought, the more it ends up concluding precisely that life at any given moment cannot really ever be fully understood; exactly because there is no single moment where time stops completely in order for me to take position [to do this]: going backwards." Often shortened to "Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards"---in Danish, Livet skal forstaas baglaens, men leves forlaens.)
        ---Søren Kierkegaard


Søren Kierkegaard, Journalen JJ:167 (1843), Søren Kierkegaards Skrifter, Søren Kierkegaard Research Center, Copenhagen, 1997--, volume 18, page 306. Thanks to Karsten Kynde, Søren Kierkegaard Forskningscenteret, for the Danish text of the quotation and directions to its location in print. The English translation of the long quote is my own. The Danish short form is due to Julia Watkin.
 
At some point, I'd like to give Kierkegaard a closer look myself.



alexander Wrote:
Matt Wrote:While a lot of this literature (Wolfi Landstreicher being a notable example) was and remains a profound influence on my own thinking, I was never completely sold on the idea that "rejecting" ideology was as simple as shrugging it off and being done with it. Acknowledging one's own opinions and refusing to be a slave to them by recognizing their inherent absurdity seems like a far more reasonable response to me. Still, as absurd as opinions admittedly are, I am hesitant to say that there is nothing in them that is of value. Perhaps not the opinion itself but something the opinion glosses over - an unacknowledged desire, a disproportionate emotional investment in a particular idea or potential outcome, etc.

Value is just an idea. But the effects it can have on your thinking process is real, and so it can be helpful to be exposed to an idea. I am not against being met with new ideas, I am against being ruled by them.

Yes, value is absolutely just an idea - and a highly problematic one at that. But, if one concedes the problematic nature of "value" as an idea, then this leads to a subsequent question: what is to be done with the realization that Value is a problematic idea? As much as I am highly critical of Marx on a number of fronts, I think that his distinction between exchange value and use value is potentially instructive here; and, to this, I would add a third term: ethical and/or moral value - recognizing, of course, that these two concepts are related but not synonymous. Keeping in mind that global capitalism clearly isn't the same beast as it was in the days when Marx was writing, I think it is still safe to say that the global marketplace is predicated on the false assumption that "value" is quantifiable and, therefore, subject to the logic of commodity exchange. At least from the ideological vantage point of the marketplace itself, this is just as true for so-called "moral" and "ethical" values as it is for the value of a material commodity, whether in terms of its use value or exchange value. At least for me, the question then becomes: is this notion that Value is quantifiable inherent to the idea of Value itself or just the manner in which it has been articulated within the confines of global capitalism?

I fully recognize the difficulty that arises when speaking of capitalism as though it is a more or less self-contained "system" that is cordoned off from all other aspects of daily life. A peculiar development that began in the latter half of the 20th century and continues to this day is that global capitalism is no longer confined to the realm of "economy" but, instead, has bled into all aspects of society and culture. The tendency of advanced techno-industrial civilization to "rationalize" everything that it touches - to render it measurable, calculable, predictable, etc - is testament to this fetish for the quantitative over the qualitative while, at the same, destabilizing any notion of global capitalism as a "closed system." If this is the context in which "values" are forever being produced and reproduced, then it seems to me that we have a very confusing but intriguing and potentially liberating paradox on our hands: if the perpetual thrust toward increased rationalization is only made possible through the continual dissolution and reconstruction of global capitalism's internal limits, then the idea of Value need not forever be confined within the boundaries of the quantitative. Rather than rejecting the idea of Value as such (which, as you concede about opinion, is inescapable in any case), why not attempt to harness the liberatory potential that a non-quantitative understanding of Value could offer?



alexander Wrote:
Matt Wrote:As much as open-mindedness and flexibility in one's viewpoint is a worthwhile aspiration to have, I think even the most most open-minded people can slide back into dogmatism from time to time. I know I sometimes catch myself doing it, and I don't think I'd be going too far out on a limb by saying that others commenting here probably catch themselves doing it as well. We are, after all, posting on a website called "anti-civ.org," the very title of which posits a definite opinion on the undesirability of "civilization" as such. I guess, on some level, I would have to acknowledge that even this opinion is absurd; but, nonetheless, it doesn't stop me from holding it.

Is your perceived undesirability rooted in ideas though? Mine is rooted in observation of the effects of civilisation. The word civilisation is of course a reification, an epithet. But the effects of what we call civilisation are real.

I would say that this perceived undesirability is rooted in a multitude of different but interconnected ideas; not to mention sensory inputs from and affective responses to the immediacy of lived experience. Much like “opinion,” it is worth asking what an “idea” actually is and what uses they can be put to within the process of cognition. A useful starting point from which to pursue this question can be found in the following quote from Stirner’s The Ego and Its Own:
 
Stirner Wrote:But, if thinking ranks as the personal actor, thinking itself must be presupposed; if criticism ranks as such, a thought must likewise stand in front. Thinking and criticism could be active only starting from themselves, would have to be themselves the presupposition of their activity, as without being they could not be active. But thinking, as a thing presupposed, is a fixed thought, a [i]dogma[/i]; thinking and criticism, therefore, can start only from a [i]dogma, i. e.[/i] from a thought, a fixed idea, a presupposition.
 
So what does it mean for an idea to “stand in front?” And, more to the point, stand in front of what? A loyal Stirnerian would probably reply to this latter question with simply, “the Ego.” But, seeing as my loyalty to Stirner only extends so far as is useful for my own enjoyment, I am not content to stop there. After all, isn’t the Ego itself just another idea – a spook? To which I reply with the full force of my conviction: it depends. If “Ego” refers to a ready-made identity that one dons like an overcoat then, yes, Ego itself is just another spook. If, on the other hand, Ego is understood to mean an open-ended process of becoming through which I create myself as I choose, then the same cannot be said.
 
To make my ideas my property is not to disavow the role that they play in the formation of my opinions, but to treat them as tools with which I affect my own process of becoming-Self. This means that my ideas are both a cause and an effect of my opinions, both of which are the effects and the causes of my lived experience. My idea of “Self” is one that extends far beyond the so-called “rugged individualism” of the capitalist marketplace and its prefabricated “rational agent.” I am under no illusion that my general outlook on the world in which I find myself stems from the impartial “observations” of a detached Cogito viewing objects at a distance. Cognition and desire are inseparably linked just as Subject and Object are forever bound up in a reciprocal co-emergence.  


Arom Wrote:
Matt Wrote:We are, after all, posting on a website called "anti-civ.org," the very title of which posits a definite opinion on the undesirability of "civilization" as such. I guess, on some level, I would have to acknowledge that even this opinion is absurd; but, nonetheless, it doesn't stop me from holding it.

This is an especially dangerous opinion. When an idea changes into an identity (by way of being openly shared by many people), it becomes something that is often not criticized. And of course, you could charge this forum with any typical anti-society arguments as well. For example, it exists outside of the relations that create it, and it has a doctrine (the central theme of anti-civ), etc.

Point taken. And, just to allay any confusion that I may have created with this statement, I didn’t mean to suggest that I think “civilization” is some fixed “Thing” that one can point to and say, “that Thing over there is bad and I don’t like it!” As Alexander rightly pointed out in his latest post, the word “civilization” is itself the reification of a concept that, while possessing no material existence in the “real world,” still has real-world consequences. However, even if you understand “civilization” to mean a diffuse network of social and institutional relations rather than a unified “object” or “body politic,” there are still certain rituals, practises, and bureaucracies that are inherent to the “civilized” mode of relating that I would consider inherently undesirable. But, since I said very early on that the purpose of this thread is not to discuss the specifics of what anyone (including myself) believes or doesn’t believe, I don’t want to go too far down this road.
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#7
It seems we have a fundamental chasm which I share with egoists. Egoists think that they can somehow outsmart themselves. They recognise that ideas are self-imposed slavery, and believe that they can therefore "use" the ideas to their own advantage, because they understand what they're doing, whereas I'm saying that all ideas imply conflict — since ideas are of thought, which is in the past — and as long as I am conflicted, the world is conflicted. As such you could say that I'm saying that the world will always be conflicted. In many ways this is similar to the view taken by some anarchists (usually of the non-leftist persuasion, e.g. anarcho-nihilists and green anarchists), Nietzsche with his übermensch, and many others, where they say that "this is our goal, though we may never reach it, and even if we did, we'd construct a new goal" — except their goal is predicated on principle, mine on observation. Several primitivists, perhaps especially JZ, would share my view that it's not exclusively the concretisation of abstractions that are slavery, but the abstractions themselves; although I would put forward that primitivists, especially JZ, obliviously and blithely engage with abstractions in an enslaved manner.

Thanks for this enlightening conversation. It is always interesting to be met with people's points of view. Though I try not to have a point of view myself, I recognise that I in many cases undoubtedly do, and so it is good to talk to people, as it may help me render this obvious and absurd, such that I might cease doing it.
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#8
I'm not so sure that it is a fundamental chasm. Certainly, if you understand "ideas" to be alienated "objects" that one just plucks out of the air like dandelion spores, then "clinging to ideas" as thus conceived is most definitely a form of slavery. However, if ideas are understood not as objects but as something more akin to phase shifts in consciousness (as new-agey as that sounds) or cognitive "lines of flight" (to use Deleuze's term), then one's entire relationship to ideas can change. Thinking itself then becomes less about the identity of objects (including the identity of a "concept" as such) than about flow, change, transition, becoming, etc.

This transitory field of "becomings" and "lines of flight" is what Deleuze referred to as the field of "the Virtual" as distinct from "the Actual." Granted, you could argue that even thinking reoriented toward the Virtual is still directed toward the past but, in terms of an individual life as immanently lived the process of "thinking" is only one of many processes going on at any given time. There is also sensing, desiring, and everything else that, in psychoanalytic terms, would be grouped under the category of "the drives." In light of the fact that all of these processes are occurring simultaneously in the same physical body, none of which relate to the flow of time in precisely the same way, I don't see one particular process among many that happens to be directed toward the past as being the sole factor that will shackle one's mind within the slavery of ideas.

I don't see this as a fundamental disagreement between us so much as a different way of approaching them same problem. We both admit that "ideas" as understood within an identitarian regime of thought are, in fact, a form of slavery; and we are, in our own ways, each engaged in efforts to divest our thought processes from this regime. For you, this means, if I am understanding you correctly, a wholesale rejection of "ideas" as possessing any emancipatory potential whatsoever. I'm not denying this so much as adding a caveat based on an alternate understanding of what "ideas" (or, more accurately, "concepts") actually are: if one implicitly accepts the normative understanding of ideas as alienated objects that one passively adopts rather than as phase shifts in consciousness affected by the creative capacities of the mind in reciprocal interaction with its environment, then "ideas" themselves are a form of slavery. If one adopts this alternate understanding, then that need not be the case.
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