Eliot - Every Grief Mourns the Loss of a Great Joy

September 11, 2016


I wanted in the first place to write some more about Intellectual Property Rights; then in the second place I wanted to write some more about using scientific language; then in the third place I wanted to write something about the twin siblings Joy and Grief.  These wants in me to write queued up upon me and the third superseded the second just as the second had superseded the first of them.

With writing about IP Rights I wanted to step back a bit from my first essay published earlier this week; and to lay out some considerations on the justifications which commerce as we know it makes for allowing and using such things as IP Rights; which in fact and indeed are sovereign law sanctioned monopolies; active within a free-market system of Capital which in all other of its parts in general, claims it abhors such ring fences as monopolies.

With writing about scientific language I wanted to share with you some words I read earlier this evening which were castigating the teaching of science by the use of an anthropomorphic slant in one’s language (offering an imputation of teleological causations). These words which I had been reading attempted to describe and explain plant physiology in non-anthropomorphic terms.

With writing about joy and its twin emotion grief I wanted to make my way with you through a couple of citations and investigate further this on-the-face-of-things peculiar pairing up of feelings ostensively in conflict and opposition.

And thus there has arisen too much to be written and not enough time and stamina with which to write all of it.

Yet there are threads which run through these three themes; and in a general way they are threads which sew together the various imports of the three themes, as having regard to living feeling thinking flesh and blood persons.

Regarding IP Rights, and in regard to them being state-sanctioned monopolies, I raise a matter as a philosophical consideration concerning two set of conflicts and oppositions necessarily present and active in all aspects of life.  These oppositions and conflicts are accentuated most heavily in business life, whereabouts the central conflict and opposition is seen in asking oneself: what are the roles for reasonable and legitimate rights of an individual; as set against those roles of those rights, again reasonable and legitimate, which are owned and shared non-specifically by communities and populations.

Many of us, maybe most of us, would accept this conflict and opposition to be inherent in the human condition; and say that the most suitable way in which to manage it is the way our societies in the West manage it; by attempting to keep a fair balance between these two antagonisms.

I have written elsewhere about how when one is an employee one is deprived during those hours for which one has sold one’s labour to one’s employer, of the so-called ‘inalienable’ right of individual liberty.  The old song goes to extremes:

‘Sixteen tons and what do you get Another day older and deeper in debt St Peter don’t you call me, cause I can’t go I owe my soul to the company store.’

There is a choice; but only one large life choice - in the shape of: put up or push off. Once this choice is made either one buckles down to what the boss says or else seeks a new job having the same life choice in tow along with it.  Thus the individual rights of an employer generally trump the individual rights of his employees; whilst they are giving time and work to him.

The governmental forces apply some ameliorations to this state if affairs; putting in place tribunals and protections in law for employees in this position; and thus balancing up as best it may the equation.  Only it is the case that government authority is unable to go so far as to even up the balance between employer and employee; because of its fears that some kind of whip-hand is necessarily required to marshal and to organise employees, and that to deny this would result in a descent into an anarchy of free-will choices for all; and thus destroying the general prosperity.

Thus government authority feels necessarily it has to be in collusion with employers in this regard.  It justifies this collusion saying it is made for the general welfare.

IP Rights are another such set of privileges allowed for the sake of a ‘general welfare’.  Rights’ holders are able to be paralleled with employers in the arguments which are used to justify societies having IP Rights’ grants. These arguments are made by government authorities; and say the Rights’ holders are considered to be a set of Prime Movers in the welfare and prosperity of any free-market economy; just as are the employers.

IP Rights, as held by their holders, are considered to be an essential engine of industry, economic growth and general prosperity.  To have IP Rights done away with raises a fear that this set of persons holding rights will halt their researches and developments because their incentives to carry them on will have been removed.  Thus no more new items which could have been protected by an IP Right will be created and produced by them.  IP Rights are thus lauded by government authorities as the due and reasonable rewards to holders; who are themselves the adventurous and creative who stimulate activity in the marketplace.

The government authority again ameliorates as far as it feels it is able these grants of rights to holders; a term is set on many IP Rights; and some contextualisation is applied to them so that they are to be used in and upon fairly specific activities and occasions.  Yet the ‘rewards’ to holders can be great; sometimes in my and many person’s estimations, far greater than might be warranted. ‘Time and chance happeneth to them all’.

Here again the upshot for the mass of the people who are consumers of goods and services which are made and marketed under monopoly conditions by Rights’ holders; for the most of us by far it is to pay more for them than a pure laissez faire marketplace would bear.  Just as the collusion of governments is with the few who are employers so it is also with the few who are Rights’ holders.

The justifications for this are as given; for the general welfare this has to be the case.

Now in effect the government is condoning employers and IP Rights holders to curtail severely the natural ‘inalienable’ liberty of human beings in general; and this is condoned, I believe, so that our mass societies are able to sustain the levels of consumer goods and services outputs and thus enable us to be able to treat to buy them.

Thus our freedom’s curtailments in these ways allow that level of mass organisation of peoples, so to continue and this continuance enables the continuance of massive consumerist levels of supply and consumption.

Whether or not we as the mass of people would like to or be willing to forego some of this huge output of consumerist goods and services; and in lieu accept back a degree of personal liberty as a result; is not a consideration on the table ever where employers and Rights’ holders and governments are concerned. I leave this subject to you; asking you; why might this be?

Now let’s go on and talk a little about scientific language and how it is used or how it ought to be used; and how these questions open up some windows upon how we, the mass of people, are being restrained, restricted, and to some extent hobbled, by the stocks and pillories of the language of empirical scientific methodology being applied a la carte across the board, and so in many places wherein it is able to add nothing and able to take away much from the quality of our lives.

Here then is an extract from that book on plant physiology which I had been reading earlier today:

‘……teleological statements offering purpose or need as the cause responsible for the development of structure or the occurrence of natural processes in no way account either for the mechanism or its behaviour. Such ‘explanations’ neither explain nor do they raise further questions in the minds of pupils. Instead of explaining phenomena they are evasive and serve to smother curiosity. They are therefore not only weak and unscientific but definitely harmful’

An example given of these ‘definitely harmful’ statements; and of a ‘corrected’ version, is:

‘The waxy cuticle is developed on the surface of leaves to prevent excess water loss.’ Corrected to: The presence of waxy cuticle on the surface of leaves prevents excess water loss.’

Now this view of ‘proper’ scientific description and explanation is an ideological point of view. As such it aims to steer readers’ minds into a particular way of looking at things; a way sanctioned and approved by the authors of this booking question.  At its worst interpretation, it is a very deliberate attempt in itself to close down areas of argument and inquiry whereabouts in reality the jury is still out and mulling them over.

The authors also use the term ‘truth’ in their book quite casually so that it is implied to encompass only that data which science and scientific endeavour has aggregated and has appointed as being ‘reliable’.

I myself have written saying that there is language which is overtly sentimental and pointedly populist, in it being anthropomorphic, applied to scientific ideas, and in particular about when such language is being used in biology about evolution; and how it needs to be stemmed.  I said there and continue to say that its usage offers us false comforts; in the way blancmange–like sloppy cartoons and other comfort-blanket head-in-the-sand diversions do.

These authors go a large step beyond this aversion to sentimentality which I have; and they castigate any and all hints or wrinkles which might imply any sentience of any kind at work behind the course of nature.  In particular I take exception with their sentence:

‘The presence of an ‘adaptive’ modification may be responsible for the survival of the individual possessing it; but we know of no instance where the need for the modification was responsible for its first occurrence.’

Now these authors spoke of their distaste for ‘evasions’; and I say that this sentence of theirs expresses an evasion of great magnitude. Because and indeed they might have said with equal truth that they ‘know of no instance where the need for modification was not responsible for its first occurrence.’

Theologically and philosophically-speaking the nature of the apparent directional purposive behaviour of life forms in general, remains an open question; one which seems to me to be impossible to be answered this side of the grave.

To believe one has the definitive answer; or worse to know one has not, but to promulgate that one thinks one has; are ideologically-driven presumptions, which are not necessarily valid.

To pursue science by excluding a possibility like this, is to steer in learners that curiosity and that questioning and that accumulation of knowledge, understanding, wisdom ,or whatever, into channels occupied wholly and solely by empiricism and logical positivist philosophies.  In this way whole libraries of legacy wisdom become by rote and automatically for students ‘non-valid’; and so become for students close books which they shun and disregard as unprofitable.

And this curtailment of a natural human freedom to be allowed to range and explore intellectually all and any areas of life and existence; is a keeping fair enquiry in abeyance by use of a dogmatic ruling out of certain reasonable and appropriate possibilities to which the oppressor has an unaccountable aversion.

I suggest that this curtailment is the more strong motive for such precise ‘scientific’ language being advocated in said book.

The third topic I wanted to broach is the intimate relationship in life between moment of joy and moments of grief. Here is what I heard on a TV show enacting a funeral service today:

Every grief mourns the loss of a joy

There is no greater honour than grief to be bestowed upon a lost joy’

The very subject of freedom, particularly of individual freedom arises strongly again here. Working for The Man curtails freedom; and curtailed freedom cramps a person and retards their further development; their levels of appreciation of the possibilities for life are dimmed; and their appreciation of the metaphysical wonder and splendour of living in the world flags.

Thus to be held in the ‘mind-forged manacles’ of an empiricist doctrine, without at any time having had an opportunity to know there are viable alternatives to such a prison; and so it is possible to get to know some of these other paths and suggestions: this is an imposition and it is also a curtailment of people’s natural freedoms.  The great philosopher Spinoza said marvellously; ‘A thought cannot be limited by a body’. And William Blake the poet wrote:

_Joy & Woe are woven fine _ _A Clothing for the soul divine _ _Under every grief & pine _ _Runs a joy with silken twine _

Yet unfree minds dwell upon mundanities and harbour only dreams of respite, maybe revenge, and escape; and under toil they begrudge their enforced service so that their thoughts cling to less salutary and less enabling ideas and apprehensions of needs.  In this way we the mass of people are in general being held back from being able to open up our minds and so let in the light of knowledge, understanding, and the freshness of those joys which those things which accompany them. The Psalmist says:

‘Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore’

The great gift of life is to be able to think freely.  It is this great gift which by the way opens; and one’s vulnerabilities open up blooming to show susceptibilities and nice judgements.  This great gift allows a person to know the primacy of love and of loving in the world; and of taking acceptance of love’s primacy, and this enables deeper feeling and experience. These leave one more greatly exposed to griefs, because one is likewise more greatly exposed to joys.

The Lord Jesus told us that;

‘From whom much is given; much is expected’

The Grace which is the love offered by Jesus to men and women is one such ‘much given’;  which itself demands, expects, a substantive return from those who receive it.  One person helps out here; another helps out there; some guys and gals preach; some administer medicines and succour; I guess I aim to attempt to write how I feel about life and living; in a world which I feel carries everywhere the clear signs of a Divine Creation and a great display of its wonders.

I was born in a poor district of London. I had low if not no expectations. My family was deprived; and I expected nothing like the education which was lavished upon me during a beneficent window in time during which higher education was being offered free of charge, and with supportive money grants. It was available to those who found places offered to them after an interview at a university.  This university education was my release from a confined outlook and a narrow scope of experience.

It was a beginning of a new life for a changed person.  Since then I have worked to learn - not for curiosity’s sake - or for sublunary advancement; but to get a handle on what life might be all about.

The getting a grip on an adequate handle has been coming slowly; and it continues to come. I would like to say along with the marvellous martyr Polycarp who himself said to the Emperor who would release him if he would but renounce his Lord Jesus:

…… years have I served Him and He never did me any harm; how then can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour, who hath saved me?"

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