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Revisiting Extended Family Values

I began reading Jane Anna Gordon’s “Creolizing Political Theory”
from the back toward the front,
as usual,
because if I appreciate where this narrative journey will end,
then I probably will find we start off with similar questions
of economic and political urgency right now.

And, also as is my dialogical custom,
I am working my way through George Lakoff’s “The Political Mind,”
this morning starting his chapter on Family Values.

Here is what happened to my parenting political minds,
both the LeftBrain rational-deductive dominant,
and the RightMind matriarchal-familial nurturing,
cooperative Yin-nonWestern,
as Gordon might prefer,
and seems to conclude:

“Dallmayr…warned first against ‘imperialist modes of theorizing,’
in which one portion of the [competing rather than cooperating]globe
would monopolize the production of hared means and practices
that should ‘only arise from lateral [Right is bilateral, while Left is vertical-hierarchically deductive, empowered exegetically from above] interaction,
[co-mentored, co-operative] negotiation,
and [struggling with but not violently/aggressively against] contestation among different,
historically grown cultural [evolutionary compete/cooperate] frameworks.’
In addition,
he advanced,
worldly [familial-matriarchal-domestic] theory would emerge out of a middle course [Taoism: wu wei = MidWay, in-between]
between the methods of [geosystemic] abstract generalists
and of narrow [biological ecosystemic] specialists,
neither through seeking ‘indiscriminate [yin] assimilation’
nor radically untranslatable [yang-independent] otherness.”

“…[A]s evident in the instances of Aristotle,
Machiavelli,
Baron de Montesquieu,
Charles-Louis de Secondat,
and Alexis de Tocqueville,
[Gregory Bateson,
Buckminster Fuller,
Albert Einstein,
Teilhard de Chardin
George Lakoff]
theory transpires out of journeying to alien political [yet extended familial] worlds
that stir a critical [empathic] sense
of the peculiarity of one’s own [monoculturing] institutions,
challenging their seeming [exegetical] inevitability
by nurturing [new bilaterally eisegetical, polypathic] self-understanding
that grounds an enlivened [RightBrain] sense
of [yang-cooperative with yin-integrative] possibility.”

“Euben stresses that comparative politial theory cannot rely upon
and should endeavor to challenge
any perception of [extended familial] cultures
as radically distinct
or hermetically sealed.
Countering a dangerous tendency also comparing Western [nonEastern?]
with non-Western philosophical writing
fosters the misperception that these traditions developed in parallel [silos],
independently of one another
[rather than also containing mutually empathic interdependencies]–
Euben focuses on ambivalent treatments of Western modernity
in Arab thought
illuminating internal [both/and] fissures in both that belie their presumed [exegetical ecopolitical] opposition
[as more eisegetically appositional tensegrity (B. Fuller)].”

“If historical designations [LeftBrain deductive labels and frames]…cannot simly be dispensed with,
since they are forms of represenation embedded in [RightBrain] mythologies
that anchor our [ecoconscious] understanding…
and, however imperfectly,
remain short-hand for [extended familial] constellations
of [ecosystemic] sources,
issues,
and [ecopolitical] methods of argumentation [acclimation (G. Bateson)]
that while constructed through post factos [symbiotic] agendas
produce family resemblances and recognizable attributes…,
they still obscure messy [chaotic, unresolved, dissonant]
and interpenetrating histories [which are also potentially nutritional herstories,
understories within our larger ecological MotherEarth frame].”

“After all, argues Euben,
the possibility of engaging in comparative [familial] discussions
is a function not of radical [competitive-deductive] difference
but mutual [cooperative-inductive] indebtedness of worlds
not juxtaposed as [theoretically, paradigmatically] discrete.
In the case of ‘the West’ [nonEast cultural dominance]
and ‘Islam,’
both are fundamentally shaped by Semitic [patriarchal, from-above universal empowerment] traditions,
texts considered classical within Europe [extended families]
were reintroduced to its readers through preserved Arabic [extended family Wisdom Literature] translations,
and the Golden Age of Islamic thought
was defined by efforts to forge syncretic [YHWH patriarchal] fusions of Greek and [pre]Islamic [Arabic ecopolitical familial-tribal] resources.”

And here’s what happened while continuing my Family Economic and Political Values discourse
with Lakoff:

“Why do certain people,
most of them self-identified as conservatives
[of monoculturally supremacist heterosexuality]
find certain acts of love–
premarital,
extra-marital,
or homosexual–
more [extended family] sinful than war or torture?”

“Why should a [LeftBrain ego-supremacist] conservative
living in the Midwest
find it personally threatening when gays get married in San Francisco or Massachusetts?”

“Why doesn’t a [health and safety utilitarian survivalist] conservative government
take better care of its veterans,
and why don’t [conservative self-condemning] veterans
and their families rebel en masse?”

“Why do progressives feel a sense of responsibility for righting the wrongs
of past generations?”
[Because we hope that’s what our kids
will do for their kids?]

“And why should we find progressive and conservative values
and modes of thought outside of politics proper–
in kindergartens,
Little League coaching,
churches,
summer camps, and so on?”
[And who said these are not ecopolitical paradigms?]

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