202110062343 📃 immanent structure of social communication

¶1. If I endeavor to speak to others in open concourse, and I do, then it is paramount that I establish a theory of private ideas so that I can gradiate them. That is, instead of having all of my ideas locked away privately, I must establish them in a schematic fashion so that some of them are capable of descending into actuality, as I have discussed elsewhere.

¶2. Now, what are the categories of ideas which occupy my mind? If I plume myself internally and ruffle all that is about me, what shakes itself loose?

¶3. The first thing that comes to my mind is Kant’s idea of transcendental apperception, or the aggregation of the manifold data of sense-consciousness into a totality (ostensibly) commensurate with their sources. The transcendental appercept, then, is that which strikes at the heart of consciousness first and foremost and which, in most men, is entirely unspoken and tacit, internalized so that the rest of consciousness can do its work. This happens in an unthinking fashion, such that the contents of the appercept being transcendental, or having reference without, are not considered by others. It is merely just so for them, and indeed was for me for the longest time. It is not until we realize that experience is a problem for consciousness, that many subjects can together look on the same object and as yet see it differently, that the transcendence of the object and its givenness to the subject (apperceptively) is a problem for all subjects involved. Indeed, when one cannot convince another of the legitimacy of his own beliefs, or where discourse reaches an impasse, this problem is most acutely apparent. Others will scoff at it and, generally, impute it as a problem to personality, such that the man deeply committed to his beliefs is “closed minded” or another vehemently speaking of his is a “proselyte” on his or her “soap box.” Another, who believes in another way is “paranoid” and still another “troubled.”

¶4. The real issue to be dealt with here is the condition for the possibility of this fractured subjectivity. This is transcendental apperception rightly considered. We do not impute this to personality but, rather, say of it that it is an issue for all consciousness which manifests in personality as the relation of the subject to his or her transcendental appercepts.

¶5. Thus the issue of transcendental apperception to me is the prima facie givenness of objects to my consciousness. This is the ground and first category of my private ideas, one which for others is null, because their transcendentally apperceptive consciousness is generally tacit and non-propositional. They thus do not express it but live it and, consequently, they feel themselves troubled when another begins to say what they themselves have only unthinkingly thought. The transcendentally apperceptive is thus the most personal kind of idea and knowledge as it is the reflection on and execution of one’s “lived experiences,” what he or she has to mind on mere conception of himself or herself. ^676433

¶6. The immanent constitution of transcendental apperception is a trickier topic, as what is comprehended beneath it only comes to the fore in its own-most execution. By this I mean that only when a transcendental appercept is spoken of, only when it arises to be actually spoken, does it seem as such for me and my consciousness. I generally think in words, so this happens quite often. Yet, there is a moment of unconsciousness in this, such that all that is spoken and ready-to-speech apperceptive, but not all that is apperceptive is immediately ready-to-speech. Indeed, something of these first-most experiences is lost on me and given to me as tinctured by past experience, and it would be vain of me to ignore this. For this is none other than bias, and it cannot help but appear as anterior to and making possible transcendental apperception altogether. We might sketch this as follows to the right. ^e5681e

¶7. The ultimate problem for the publicity of transcendental apperception is bias. For, bias is the sum accumulation of all that has particularly been had by a finite consciousness. Thus, the arrow flowing from transcendental apperception to the object flows also to bias, for bias is nothing other than the habitual reconstitution of some transcendental appercept so that others might follow on top of it. This is tacit association, etc. We cannot publish our transcendental appercepts simply, how ever, because they are already bound up with the biased dialectic which makes them possible. Thus, we are confined to an ontological space distant from this bias, one which either (a) takes it up as a universal condition or (b) recognizes its finitude.

¶8. If (a), then we move into the sphere of dogmatism, which uncritically affirm transcendental appercepts without thought. If (b), however, we move into the sphere of self-immolation or self-skepticism, which uncritically denies transcendental appercepts without thought. Thus, we can do neither (a) nor (b) but must strike a mean between these extremes, a path sought by few who more often choose the easier (b). For who, indeed, wouldn’t want to say simply - “I am a lowly man! What can my observations be worth? Who am I? What have I done to justify them?” Justify indeed! Just forget that this assumption has itself been taken up without its own justification, and all the rest follows swimmingly!

¶9. No, it is clear that (b) is nothing other than the negation of (a) which itself contains (a) within it as a positive moment, so that one has not escaped (a) but, rather, only thought he has done so. What man has instead done is take up (a) in a skeptical sense, a self-lacerating sense, one which says like the Pestulants who whipped themselves in 1347 that the original sin of man is his pride and, this being so, we must do all we can at every step to correct for this primordial prejudice! Just forget, you prideful one, that this statement too is founded on pride! (b) is thus nothing other than dogmatic skepticism ((a) might well then be skeptical dogmatism!)

¶10. No, we elect a new path (c), an untried path which neither affirms transcendental appercepts uncritically nor denies them in the same vain. No, we take up our pride dogmatically, and so we ourselves also do not do away with our own dogmatism. We, however, instead of whipping ourselves for our primordial solipsism, attempt to build a bridge to the Commons, a ladder out of our primordial self-enclosure into the light of society. We have recognized (b) as its own moment negating (a) and, seeing it, we are free to maneuver about (a) in just such a way that we can freely speak it whenever others are ready for it (by our own lights). The task, then, is to design our speech so that our fundamental dogmatics are not uncritically spoken and yet not uncritically denied. Rather, the task is the critical dissemination of our dogma (or ideology) into the public along its own lines. We call this task that of disseminative consciousness.

¶11. But the definition of the public or the Quantitative Other is no simple task. Indeed, we must suppose the public in some such way over and above ourselves, and we must do it in a manner which recognizes that it is as such. By this I mean that we not only suppose or say that the public is against us, ontologically, but that we must really recognize it as such. We must not only claim this, but really see in the claim a material substratum before consciousness, a ground, which warrants the claim. We do not make the claim and then search for its ground. Rather, we witness the ground and, standing on it, make the claim. The claim itself is essentially dogmatic in character, for it rests on nothing than the idea of the self as having an idea that it does not otherwise see expressed. Thus if I talk to someone and speak to them, I will inevitably have such and such in my mind as a transcendental appercept and, when I hear them speak, they will communicate such and such to me. This will be incommensurate with my appercept and, so far as this is so, I posit them as public against my privacy, for what they have said not only fails to agree with what I have thought, but does so in such a way that it is other than this thought. But there is no ground for this positing other than the presence of the appercept, a thing itself which we don’t affirm except as dogmatically. Thus, the dogmatic knowledge of the appercept warrants the dogmatism of the public for consciousness. We do not claim that there is any such thing as a public “out there” in the world; rather, we posit it as a mechanistic and instrumental posit of consciousness for itself so that it might operate in a world it cannot otherwise understand.

¶12. We recapitulate to the quantity of this Otherness because it is essentially dual. Having our appercept and a sentence, we have two things. Thus the distance between these is Otherness. This is merely qualitative between two people, but becomes quantitative when one other person enters the scene, so that the Otherness is triune. The duality of appercept and communication spoken between two people has a public character, but is not yet itself a “public,” for there is not a quantitative other over and against the self. Instead, the other present between two people is merely unitary and thus beholden to no element of quantity. Thus, the duality of self-other is quantitative in having a public character. Only a triune and above relation is actually a public, because it is quantitative.

¶13. Thus dissemination can occur for a public character or for the public. When for a public character, we leverage intimacy, or the non-quantitative (that is, qualitative) presence of the duality. It is this pure quality that constitutes intimacy, and this is why monogamy always prevails over polygamy. Nothing for polygamists can be had for consciousness in a purely qualitative sense. Quality between men can only be furnished when face-to-face. So long as there is a third person, mediation and, consequently, the absence of the face-to-face, is not only inevitable but necessary.

¶14. With these thoughts in mind, the constitution of disseminative consciousness can now be furnished. We consider it doubly, first as it is grounded in the transcendental appercept and second as it does its work for the public. Thus we consider it privately and publicly. Privately, we invoke the issue of speech in ¶6 to differentiate between private appercepts ready to mind and those unready. The appercept ready-to-mind is that which can be spoken of, and is thus the same as the ready-to-speech. We use mind here, however, to emphasize the fact that it is born out in consciousness and thus aware to the mind. There is a subtle issue with all appercepts ready to mind, as they can only be unready to mind so far as the subconsciousness, or the otherness immanent to subjectivity, allows it. This is to say, first, that what we can speak will be determined in part by an otherness within us, one we have not yet ourselves determined. (This is the essence of the “good” of society — it clarifies our own immanent otherness.) It is also to say, second, that this otherness is operant as a moment of self-sameness, so that, when we speak, we are acting as a self-same totality and can have full faith that we are, at some level, at unity with ourselves. Yet, so far as we make assumptions without full consciousness, we are separate from and in conflict ourselves, working ourselves out in the unending process of self-discovery, windmills and all.

¶15. Thus we must maintain a two-fold purposiveness of society for us. It is first purposive so far as we can disseminate and speak for ourselves. It is secondarily purposive, however, so far as we engage in social self-clarification, or the bridging of our own gaps through the brick and mortar of others’ experiences. (This is also twofold - we clarify others, doing good for them, and they clarify us, doing good for us). But this too is a totality, so far as each act of consciousness in society is for others and for itself. Indeed, each act is itself a unity and, being as such, its inner purposes must both spring from the same font, so to speak. We imagine that, if further acts can be furnished, then these diverging aqueducts will both lead to Rome, and a new act will arise in the unified joy of acting for-self and for-others. This is friendship, at least considered from the vantage of the purposiveness of the social act.

¶16. With this in mind, we can as yet engage in a dogmatic dissemination of our own ideas, even with the dialectic of our bias in mind. Here we deny the good for others immanent to dissemination and instead relish in vainglorious sham-talk, the hebel of the Hebrews. This is the kind of speech by men who like to hear themselves speak, and it is rightly, widely reviled. The third stage of consciousness thus depends on social goodness as conceived for consciousness, or the view towards the creation of a good among all parties involved. But this can too easily fall into dogmatism, or the clenching tight of the fists which says “No! This is no good! We must have good this way! This will be best!” And, if we make this maneuver in ourselves, we find that we will have done nothing but regressed to ¶8’s affirmation of our own biases.

¶17. Yet we can also engage in this skeptically, being sheepish with our view of social goodness and, as such, maintaining it only so far as others allow us to. Here we lay prostrate at their feet, speaking only when they allow us to, saying only so far as the eyes of our self-imposed needles might allow, despite the internal riches of our minds. This too is no good, for here we have merely fallen into ¶8’s skepticism; we have not advanced beyond it into true dialectics of our biases.

¶18. The traditional solution to the above contradictions immanent in the relationship between self and other, considered from the vantage point of the self, would have been ritual. Witness religion and all social institutions. In these, we find nothing other than the collective sublimation of selves into a mass Other which coopts all of them and allows each a share in its formation and movement. In this way, the necessity of each subject is enjoined to a free public, itself made necessary through the cultural laws imbued within it. Each has its own history, its own forms, and its own self-understanding which gives form and content to each subject who participates in it.

¶19. In a world without social ritual, however, we are left to our own devices and must, instead, deign to create rituals of our own. The most trying issue of such a task is that we ourselves will be the only participant and must, thus, make room within our formulae for a moment of immanent otherness which is itself transcendentally grounded. What I mean is that, if the ritual is to account for all aspects of the interaction, we must account for what cannot yet be accounted for due to our own limitations and must, instead, make a place for it in the mold of the totality. The aim is to use this otherness to furnish the ritual, to make it real, and to make it good. This is the ultimate end of all things here considered. Here, again, we take up our own otherness and that of the other itself into a totality, conceivable for us and yet capable of being transformed by itself. We will call this “private ritual” a technology of the mind.

¶20. What, then, amounts to a mental technology? It must account for several things within itself, as discussed above: (1) transcendetal appercepts (2) as dialectically disseminated (3) for a dialectical good. Thus if we break each of these out, we are left with 3 oppositions: (a) subject-object (b) private-public (c) self-other. The opposition between quality and quantity mediates (a) and (b), whereas that between social skepticism and social dogmatism mediates (b) and (c). We thus arrive at this view, as follows to the right.

¶21. With this in view, we can now begin to talk in a mechanical, predictable sense about all that we have on our minds, uttering each sentence with a view towards its own internal otherness and the possibility of its being negated by another. We can thus freely say anything, as we have recourse the model on hand. Anyone who would balk at our words need only be placated by a smooth question, one which can return them to their unthinking, uncritical consciousness.

¶22. Thus, we find that the 5 grades of social consciousness thus described are not only for us but for social communication itself. These constitute the immanent structure of this communication, as the bearing in mind of one’s own inadequacies as a communicator is the essential lubricant which allows the mechanics of communication to occur at all - without it, all grinds to a halt as each man encloses himself in his own ideas. We could, I suppose, attempt to predict what others might say about our speech, though this would be a vain and endless task. With the model thus provided, we can always and at any point say on critique “Oh yes, I was being a bit hard on myself that day” or “Yes, this is just my view, but I think something like this might also be involved.” The validity of a “view” hails always from the dogmatics of ¶2 in asserting anything whatever. Yet, we might call this a merely prior validity, as the posterior validity is accrued only through society, so far as we can communicate. Here technical communication appears on the scene, and all things can be said without fear of misgiving, for we have understood ourselves enough to speak freely, deflecting all arrows shot our way.

¶23. Some things we’ve left out: laughter and levity as a moment for communication (this is sub-technical); gossip as a social evil (and how it can be repudiated); sublimation of the awkward (into quasi-laughter and quasi-gossip); intimate expression. These must be considered later, as they are embodied characteristics of communication. They are thus contained within what is not yet ready-to-mind nor ready-to-speech; these enter communication as unready, uncritical, and unthought. Or, if they do not, their publicity at least depends on them appearing as if they were. Thus, a man who gossips at a time which appears calculated doesn’t win as much approval from others as one who merely gossips at large; the former is a schemer, the latter a bedfellow in the ribaldry of life. We must take up these latter affairs at another time.

¶24. We have also left out how these are for society in a manner which, as embodied, carry emotive qualities over and above mere “thoughtful” or “contentful” speech. As embodied, they are informed. As informed, they dissolve subject-subject mediation and instead lubricate it even further than can technical communication. They are public intimacy, that non-intimacy which seems intimate and yet which is not. This is the locus of the Big Lie or the Universal Sham, and it is here in so-called “small talk” where the great masturbation of the social gonads occurs, and where the ejaculations of the intimate first begin. This too we must take up, as these acts lie in both conflict and dialectic with social goodness. Indeed, they can be both its quickest expedient and yet also greatest threat. These too must be discussed at a later time.

Grades of consciousness, ranked from the most to the least private:

  1. Transcendental apperception (¶2)
    1. Dogmatism (¶8) (bias-affirmation)
    2. Skepticism (¶8) (bias-negation)
  2. Disseminative consciousness (bias-dialectic)
    1. for a public character (¶13) (quality)
    2. for the public (¶13) (quantity)
  3. Social goodness (public-dialectic)
    1. dogmatically disseminated (¶16)
    2. skeptically disseminated (¶17)
  4. Active formulae (dissemination dialectic)
    1. ritual (¶18)
    2. mental technology (¶20)
  5. Technical communication

This line appears after every note.

Notes mentioning this note

Here are all the notes in this garden, along with their links, visualized as a graph.