[lit-ideas] Re: Applied Philosophy: Apriori Conditions of the Rant

  • From: wokshevs@xxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, Mike Geary <atlas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 11 May 2008 16:08:41 -0230

Confession: Recently, I have been secretly envious of those people who possess
the ability, as well as the willingness and courage, to rant - to rant in
public, I should add, unless of course the publicity condition is already
internal to the nature of the rant as a distinct speech act. (I clearly betray
my ignorance of the practice here .... of which more below.)

At meetings, I'll sit there listening to some administrator
and think to myself: 

"Wow! That must really feel great." 

And my hypothesis is almost always corroborated by the ranter's look of deep
satisfaction and pleasure upon the end of the proffered soliloquy. And there is
something almost sublime about the silence that typically follows a really good
rant. .......... As if, we all recognized in the depths of our very souls, and
this jointly and collectively, that we were in the hallowed presence
of something .... something deeply archetypal about the nature of Dasein and the
moral dignity of rationally autonomous humanity itself. 

Continuing on in this Augustinian communicative mode, I will say that I have at
times stood in front of my mirror in the privacy of my wash closet, in the
absence of any and all family members, friends and pets, and with very hesitant
and faltering steps, attempted to rant. I pretend that the imaginary
interlocutor in the mirror was some nutty Aristotelian, like Richard Bernstein,
Richard Rorty, Gadamer, Tugendhat or Charles Taylor. And, man, would I give it
to him! Straight from the hip; no holds barred. 

At the end of such rants, I, too, experience a deep sense of pleasure and
satisfaction. It's almost orgasmic, but no cigar. I do believe the language
game of the rant possesses definite phylogenic survival value on criteria of
both natural and sexual selection.  The activity itself, however, is quite
strenuous and I always raise a sweat. A cool, refreshing shower and I'm fit as
a fiddle for the day's encounters with ranting students, colleagues,
administrators, irate publishers ...  even the meter maid at the mall.

But what I remain somewhat unclear on are the constitutive rules governing this
language game. Can you say just anything that happens to pop into your mind at
the time of the rant? Is it constitutive or only regulative that you provide no
justification for the conclusions ranted? (Is the term really only a noun and
not a verb?) 

One final consideration, if I may. My abilities at 
Habermasian reconstructive science suggest that the deployment of profanity is
an apriori condition of a rant. Or am I being somewhat ethnocentric here? How
do Russians rant? Do the English EVER rant? Is Don Cherry the regulative ideal
for ranters universally or is the validity of his rant relative to conceptions
of the authentic life current only in highly rural and isolated Canadian

I eagerly await answers and further instruction from the phrantimoi amongst us.

Walter O.
Yes, it's snowing as I speak. (But we have lobster to die for!) 

Quoting Mike Geary <atlas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>:

> > 1. Human reason should not be reduced to instrumental reason.
> You're right.  I should be reduced to belief.  At least that's what I 
> believe.
> > Reason can identify morally worthy ends,
> No it can't, belief can though.
> >ends possessing their own
> > intrinsic value, independent of consequentialist considerations.
> Yeah, right.  Like it's intrinsically wrong to lie -- even to save the 
> feelings of a fellow human being, truth is the intrinsic value.  Hell, it's 
> even wrong intrinsically to lie to save your lives of your loved ones -- a 
> lie is a lie.  Yeah, right.
> > 2. I doubt that Aristotle intended to identify emotions with virtues.
> Who cares?  Aristotle had his life with all it's Platonic and other Greek 
> baggage -- concepts of virtue are what we derive out of our personal 
> histories --  I get tired of saying this -- there are no transcendental 
> truths telling one what is virtuous, only the individual's struggle with his
> own acquired beliefs derived from his own personal history as they are 
> opposed to or conjoined with the beliefs of the the larger culture in which 
> she finds herself immersed.  Aristotle schmaristole.
> > I've always appreciated the example of paying my taxes. Regardless of 
> > whether I
> > wish, want, desire, to pay my taxes, I have an obligation, I believe, to 
> > do so.
> Do you have an obligation to pay taxes that go to support an illegal, 
> unjust, immoral war?  Or do you have an obligation not to do so.  Is it more
> important that schools be kept open, roads be built or that innocent people 
> not be blown apart?  Hard questions.  What do your transcendental truths 
> tell you?  Is it more important to go to jail for refusing to pay your taxes
> to support an immoral war or should you pay them and stay a voice within the
> community opposing the war, or pay them and keep your family out of 
> impoverishment?  What do transcendental truths tell us about such decision? 
> Nothing.  But I'll tell you what my life tells me.  It's a fucking jungle 
> out there and you have nothing to go on but your gut, which is you and your 
> history.  I knew people who felt obliged to call the FBI and tell them that 
> they were refusing to register with the Draft during Vietnam because they 
> believed the war was so horribly wrong.  They all went to jail.  I admired 
> them but took the middle road of working the system, just as Cheney did and 
> Rumsfeld, and Bush, and Wolfowitz and Feith and how many millions of others 
> who could afford it -- was it the honest, honorable, transcendental thing to
> stay and work within the system and try to change it, or to own up to the 
> fact that to do so was as dishonest as hell and therefore to turn yourself 
> in to the State as an authentic human being?  Transcendentally, I would 
> guess the latter, though that's only a guess, and to me that's almost a 
> selfish choice.  Is it not more noble to stay out there in the world and pay
> that price with the pangs of conscience?  Loss of revenue but not paying 
> taxes are nothing compared to the guilt of paying the goddam blood-drenched 
> taxes, it could be argued.  Paying the price of opposition, how doe the 
> scales of transcendentalism weigh that?  I lost two teaching jobs preaching 
> against the war, but I didn't care.  I hated teaching.  I wanted to teach my
> kids not to come to school.  This is a nefarious institution, I came so 
> close to saying.  It exists to make you subservient workers.  It wants to 
> teach you to die for rich people.  Burn the schools down.  These places are 
> full of death, physically and spiritually and emotionally.  What you'll 
> replace them with will probably be worse, but these institutions exist in 
> opposition to your best interest.  At least take control of them.
> I never said that, but I certainly thought it.  Schools are expedient ways 
> of committing evil culture-wide -- that's the only transcendental truth, 
> I'll admit to.  They're also our only hope.
> Mike Geary
> on a rant
> in Memphis.
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