Mensur Bajramspahic Prof.

Ivelin Sardamov POS 401a May, 4

Bajramspahic 1

We are creatures of context and we are learning creatures. Prior to the context of being born, it is determined that we are to have senses, a mind and a soul, and be bound to earth by gravity, sustaining ourselves with water, air and food. Without a doubt, these limitations substantiate all of our being. Like everything else living, we are able to procreate, but unlike any other, our ability to create goes beyond instinct, because we are capable of learning. Creation is a product of our self reflection, but it is also a power that shapes us. Uncertain of the truth or purity of our creation, we feel guilt. Therefore, guilt poses our noblest limitation and a common ground for all humanity. The phrase above is a connection between [inherent] limitation and guilt. As only life and death are ultimately certain, belief is the barest essence of our existence. All is written. Our generation is confident in our ability to create, to an unprecedented level. The scope and dimension of our creation is essentially in the year 2009 A.D. More than just structures and tradition, we inherit and then create meanings. Foucault called this the “regime of truth”, essentially reminding us that meanings and purposes do not go beyond the context of internalized knowledge. There is an intricate bond between us and what we create; the power of meaning impacts our individuality, reshaping our nature. It then matters much what we create. Ask, and you shall be given. Much of the process of internalization, Freud argued, happens on an unconscious level. Every second living in a fast-paced, overbuilt world means to be stimulated and shaped beyond one’s control. The question that then follows is: How do we take responsibility for ourselves? Foucault suggests self-discipline. We can surrender to the power of choice – we can choose school over the street, books over alcohol and fields with flowers over the disco. If we are to seek, we might go for a walk instead of turning on the TV. By choosing the place and time, we can direct our own creation, we can direct the unconscious. The only thing we need to do, is ask; good or bad, it shall be granted. What then follows is self-creation through our choice

Bajramspahic 2 Though governed by the king, who collected taxes and apprehended the disobedient, much of the impact on our autonomy was physical. Therefore, what lay outside of the physical control was determined by our self-autonomy and choice. Several thinkers however identified the decline of self autonomy in the modern world. Observing the decline of the family in the West in the 1960s and 1970s, Lasch identified a new mode of socialization in individuals, who shaped by the reliance on state bureaucracy, lost the ability to help one’s self. It is not up to the individual’s ability to decide what is best for them any more, but rather it is the expert opinion of the therapist that directs the choice. Moreover, Lukes identifies power as the ability to manipulate. He argues that the exercise of power means getting others to act, even against their own interests. Implied here, and relevant to Lasch’s treatment of therapists, is the difficulty in distinguishing real from false interests. Marcuse views power similarly to Lukes by arguing that the workings of power produce false consciousness. Marcuse observes the shift in the socialization of individuals from family to social institutions: meanings are transmitted to individuals not within the private sphere of the family, but rather derived from society’s needs. Markets bombard individuals with meanings, instilling false needs with the aim to perpetuate its own power. This new individual is shaped by innumerable choices and gadgets offered by the market, which are fundamentally unnecessary. Therefore, the choices are devoid of any substantiated meaning, forming the one dimensional individual. Prospects of liberation from the power which condemns us to one dimensionality are condemned to failure since they are ascribed in the prescribed way of living. Marcuse called this the paradox of revolution, where the elimination of one power system results in newer, more elaborate systems of domination. The new system’s power is greater, because the mechanizations of power are broadened by the apparatus of the previous one. The only hope for liberation, to Marcuse, was in technological advancement.

Bajramspahic 3 What for Marcuse was seen as potential for liberation, for Foucault was expression of new forms of domination. He defines new power as disciplinary and diffused within various institutions, and constantly perpetuated by those caught within its workings. Through observation, examination and normalization, agency has become unclear and power has become separated from the purposes of individual agents. What Foucault describes is the decline of human autonomy in shaping its own existence. Indeed, there are many reasons for concern. Values that have built our world for centuries are increasingly diminishing in the modern world. The man of our times accepts no human limitation, deriving the purpose of life from the satisfaction of all immediate impulses. Such a trend clearly demonstrates the erosion of fundamental humanity in us all. Bombarded by symbols of success and meanings of happiness, our energies are diverted to consumerism and productivity. Existential truth is not any more a belief that there is no ultimate meaning to life but rather, the existential question of our times is which one should we attain? Individuals, over-stimulated by meanings develop apathy, while learning had become increasingly separate from individuals. Experience is no longer felt, instead depicted. Virtual reality is increasingly shaping our understanding of meaning, giving rise to new existentialism. The new individual is less and less in doubt of the purpose and meaning of his or her existence. False meanings of success and immediate gratification are powerful enough to channel human energies towards productivity for a very long time. As the apparatus of power perpetually grows and as we are untraceably shaped, the prospects for liberation are diminishing increasingly. Recent studies on the human brain suggest that brain wiring can change due to external stimuli. Implied here is that social evolution can significantly impact our biological destinies. The fear then is that the future might hold a new “total existence”, where man is a creature with a clear purpose and meaning of life, shaped by the powers outside his grasp and control.

Bajramspahic 4 Yet there are many reasons to be hopeful. The prospects for love remain unchanged, even in our time. The ability to surrender to something greater than oneself rests only on belief. If we want to plant a flower, we might be able to find instructions on the Internet. We can also choose to seek an answer in people; in persisting we shall find it, while in return, present them with the opportunity for self creation through giving. In simply believing, love can diffuse through known and unknown, real and virtual. Our love and beliefs are the fabric of our existence, unrestricted by anything else, except what is inside of us. There is but one God. Humble believing is a pre-condition of love between people. We are born with body and soul, constantly learning and creating, faced with the struggle between good and evil until our dying moment. It is these limitations that profoundly define boundaries of living. How then are we to ensure clarity in vision, reality in relationships with people and goodness in our creation? What we do know is that we are created in the state of purity. Humans form relationships through sharing the same state of being, whatever it may be. Man can learn and create under many conditions, for we are adaptive creatures. It has been said and written many times, that all creation of man rests on the principle of selfreflection. We can then ensure and establish a common state with people through striving for purity. With body clean and mind clear, we can be more hopeful that our creation be more lasting and our lives more meaningful. Time preserves what is noble and good. Limitation and belief are remedy for our existence. Nothing is certain, only that we are born and that we shall perish. Regimes of truth are nothing but our species’ seeking. Death is a testament as much as time is our guidance; it is an inescapable limitation. This will never change, for it stands outside of our reason. Rationalization can never reign over the fundamental context of our being: the duality of life and death. Subsequently, it can be said, as surely as we need air, that belief is the inescapable context of living. Love remains ever true as time washes away any insignificance in the fabric of life.

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