Sunday, February 25, 2018

On the death of Sean Dunne

I only just found out that Sean died by his own hand on the 10th February aged 34 yo

He was the head of Boys Boarding at Djarragun College where I lived in Term 4 last year.

We chatted quite a bit and discovered that we shared similar opinions on many issues. I incorporated some of the phrases he used in my article "Life After Noel". We both agreed that Noel’s leadership had become toxic.

I learnt that he was trained as a psychologist and that he had done some hard yards for a few years in Aurukun. He described to me once a horrific murder he had witnessed in Aurukun.

I had some dealing with difficult students at Djarragun some of them Boarders. Usually I would report this to Sean and he was always very supportive. We would talk to a student together about the problem and on another occasion he phoned a parent on my behalf.

He voiced his concerns about the state of the College to me. That the buildings were old and run down, that personnel had been reduced, that shifts were longer and as a result it was becoming near to impossible for him to do his job properly.

I now know there were other issues in his life too which I didn’t know about then.

We both agreed that the College was a disaster waiting to happen. I never dreamed that it would take this form.

I left the College at the end of last year. Sean said he would drop in and say goodbye on his last working day in December 2017. I went out looking for him on that day but couldn’t see him. I felt we had a budding friendship which I wanted to continue.

Everyone knows, whether you are close to it or distant from it, that with aboriginal and TSI issues, death is never far away. Those voices, now stilled, need to be heard, however imperfectly.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

my understanding of marx's theses on feuerbach

I Ontology = What exists = the furniture of the universe
Combine 1 and 5
Hegel wrong: Ideal thoughts
Feuerbach wrong: Material objects
“Correct” abstract thinking, even imaginative “correct” abstract thinking doesn't grasp reality
Human practice, activity grasps reality
Practice is not just doing, it is the full, messy, sensual social human drama of activity

II Epistemology = the path to true knowledge
Combine 2 and 8
Thinking, rationality, logic, dialectics separated from practice, can't achieve truth
The path to truth is in the world, lived practice

III Emancipation
Combine 3, 4 and 11
Humans change society which changes humans in a never ending dynamic spiral

Existing secular social relations are just as oppressive as religious social relations. It is not enough to understand or interpret the world from an atheistic viewpoint. The stinking mess of capitalism needs to be changed, revolutionised.

IV Human essence
Combine 6, 7, 9 and 10
You have to look in the right place to find the essence of humans → the ensemble of social relations.

The atomised, isolated, abstract individual is a dead end which must not be our unit of social analysis. That belongs to the capitalism social form.

An individual is nothing more or less than a vehicle of dynamic social relations. Our individual self is spin, we invent ourselves from the available social relations. The idealised, independent, autonomous, successful individual in capitalist society is merely someone who has selected the social memes, and is a slave to those memes, that make for success in capitalist society. They have an individual body but a human is fully social, not just a body.

The original:
Theses on Feuerbach

Brecht De Smet on this xmca thread

Reading List (started not finished):
The Mathematics of Mathematics: Thinking with the Late, Spinozist Vygotsky by Wolff-Michael Roth (2017)

I believe that Marx's theory can be updated and that Wolff-Michael is making a valuable contribution to that. My notes on Wolff-Michael's book are here, which includes further references most of which I have yet to read or only skimmed myself.