According to new research from Boston University, young children with a religious background are less able to distinguish between fantasy and reality compared with their secular counterparts.

In two studies, 66 kindergarten-age children were presented with three types of stories - realistic, religious and fantastical. The researchers then queried the children on whether they thought the main character in the story was real or fictional.

While nearly all children found the figures in the realistic narratives to be real, secular and religious children were split on religious stories. Children with a religious upbringing tended to view the protagonists in religious stories as real, whereas children from non-religious households saw them as fictional.

BBC News - Study: Religious children are less able to distinguish fantasy from reality

Our Echo Chambers blog looks into a recent study about childrens’ belief systems and whether such research can be more than a political cudgel for both secular and religious groups

(via socio-logic)

Kerckhoff, Back, and Miller (1965) reach a similar conclusion in a different type of study. A Southern textile plant had been swept by “hysterical contagion”: a few, then more and more workers, claiming bites from a mysterious “insect,” became nauseous, numb, and weak, leading to a plant shutdown. When the affected workers were asked to name their three best friends, many named one another, but the very earliest to be stricken were social isolates, receiving almost no choices. An explanation, compatible with Becker’s, is offered: since the symptoms might be thought odd, early “adopters” were likely to be found among the marginal, those less subject to social pressures. Later, “it is increasingly likely that some persons who are socially integrated will be affected….The contagion enters social networks and is disseminated with increasing rapidity”. This is consistent with Rogers’ comment that while the first adopters of innovations are marginal, the next group, “early adopters,” are a more integrated part of the local social system than the innovators”.
 ”Central” and “marginal” individuals may well be motivated as claimed; but if the marginal are genuinely so, it is difficult to see how they can ever spread innovations successfully. We may surmise that since the resistance to a risky or deviant activity is greater than to a safe or normal one, a larger number of people will have to be exposed to it and adopt it, in the early stages, before it will spread in a chain reaction. Individuals with many weak ties are, by my arguments, best placed to diffuse such a difficult innovation, since some of those ties will be local bridges. An initially unpopular innovation spread by those with few weak ties is more likely to be confined to a few cliques, thus being stillborn and never finding its way into a diffusion study.
 That the “marginal” innovators of diffusion studies might actually be rich in weak ties is possible, given the usual sociometric technique, but in most cases this is purely speculative. Kerckhoff and Back, however, in a later more detailed analysis of the hysteria incident, indicate that besides asking about one’s “three best friends,” they also asked with whom workers ate, worked, shared car pools, etc. They report that five of the six workers earliest affected “are social isolates when friendship choices are used as the basis of analysis. Only 1 of the 6 is mentioned as a friend by anyone in our sample. This is made even more striking when we note that these 6 women are mentioned with considerable frequency when other bases for choice are used. In fact, they are chosen more frequently on a ‘non-friendship’ basis than are the women in any of the other categories”.

Mark Granovetter, The Strength of Weak Ties

Reason appeals to the self-consciousness of each and every consciousness: 'I am I, my object and my essence is I’; and no one will deny Reason this truth. But in basing itself on this appeal, Reason sanctions the truth of the other certainty, viz. that there is for me an ‘other’; that an other than ‘I’ is object and essence for me, or, in that I am object and essence to myself, I am only so by drawing back from the ‘other’ altogether, and taking my place as an actuality alongside it. Not until Reason comes on the scene as a reflection from this opposite certainty does its affirmation about itself present itself not merely as a certainty and an assertion, but as truth; and not merely alongside other truths but as the sole truth. Its immediate appearance on the scene is the abstraction of its actual presence, the essence and the in-itself of which is the absolute Notion, i.e. the movement which has brought it into being.

G.W.F. Hegel, The Phenomenology of Spirit Φ234

But in point of fact self-consciousness is the reflection out of the being of the world of sense and perception, and is essentially the return from otherness. As self-consciousness, it is movement; but since what it distinguishes from itself is only itself as itself, the difference, as an otherness, is immediately superseded for it; the difference is not, and it [self-consciousness] is only the motionless tautology of: ‘I am I’; but since for it the difference does not have the form of being, it is not self-consciousness. Hence otherness is for it in the form of a being, or as a distinct moment; but here is also for consciousness the unity of itself with this difference as a second distinct moment. With that first moment, self-consciousness is in the form of consciousness, and the whole expanse of the sensuous world is preserved for it, but at the same time only as connected with the second moment, the unity of self-consciousness with itself; and hence the sensuous world is for it an enduring existence which, however is only appearance, or a difference which, in itself, is no difference. This antithesis of its appearance and its truth has, however, for its essence only the truth, viz. the unity of self-consciousness with itself; this unity must become essential to self-consciousness, i.e. self-consciousness is Desire in general. Consciousness, as self-consciousness, henceforth has a double object: one is the immediate object, that of sense-certainty and perception, which however for-consciousness has the character of a negative; and the second, viz. itself, which is the true essence, and is present in the first instance only as opposed to the first object. In this sphere, self-consciousness exhibits itself as the movement in which this antithesis is removed, and the identity of itself with itself becomes explicit for it.

G.W.F. Hegel, The Phenomenology of Spirit Φ167

A neurotic is a specialist in the art of becoming the object of the demand of the Other…And what does he think this Other wants from him/her? That he/she be just like the Other to the point of nullification.

On the Aim and End of Analysis in the Lacanian School, Raul Moncayo (2011)

“When we are shown scenes of starving children in Africa, with a call for us to do something to help them, the underlying ideological message is something like: “Don’t think, don’t politicize, forget about the true causes of their poverty, just act, contribute money, so that you will not have to think!”

Slavoj Žižek (via w-farah)

In this respect we can tell those who assert the truth and certainty of the reality of sense-objects that they should go back to the most elementary schools of wisdom, viz. the ancient Eleusinian Mysteries of Ceres and Bacchus, and that they have still to learn the secret meaning of the eating of bread and the drinking of wine. For he who is initiated into these mysteries not only comes to doubt the being of sensuous things, but to despair of it; in part he brings about the nothingness of such things himself in his dealings with them, and in part he sees them reduce themselves to nothingness. Even the animals are not shut out from this wisdom but, on the contrary, show themselves to be most profoundly initiated into it; for they do not just stand idly in front of sensuous things as if these possessed intrinsic being, but, despairing of their reality, and completely assured of their nothingness, they fall to without ceremony and eat them up. And all Nature, like the animals, celebrates these open Mysteries which teach the truth about sensuous things.

G.W.F. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit

東洋哲学も結局「哲学」である。これもまた、対関係としての他者を排除するところに成立している。どこでも、内省-すなわち自己対話=弁証法-から出発する思考は、その結論がイデアであろうと空であろうと、独我論(モノロ-グ)であるほかない。いうまでもないが、東洋のブッダも孔子も、そのような独我論をイロニカルに拒否することによって、あるいは主客身分の純粋経験といった神秘主義をイロニカルに拒否することによって、ひとを《他者》に向かい合わせようとした。単純にいえば、彼らは「他者を愛せ」といったのだ。真理を愛することは、結局、それを可能にしている共同体(コミュニティ)を愛することである。ところが、《他者》は、そのようなコミュニティに属さない者、言語ゲームを共有しない者のことである。そのような他者との対関係だけが、彼らの関心事であった。
 しかも、彼らはソクラテスやイエスと同様に書かなかった。書かないということは、音声的なコミュニケーションの直接性を優位におくからではない。書くことは、われわれを一般的他者との関係に、「事象の根拠」を問う弁証法に向かわせてしまう。だが、彼らは、そのような弁証法=哲学体系を拒否するために、他者との一対一関係の対話のみ始終したのである。
 むろん、ブッダにせよ、孔子にせよ、彼らのいうことは、まもなく「共同体」に回収されてしまった。そして、それは彼ら以前からある「神秘主義」に吸収されたのである。神秘主義は、私と他者、私と神の合一性である。それは《他者》を排除している。いいかえれば、“他者性”としての他者との関係、“他者性”としての神との関係を排除している。そこにどんな根源的な知があろうと、私と一般者しかいないような世界、あるいは独我論的世界は、他者との対関係を排除して心理(実在)を強制する共同体の権力に転化する。西田幾多朗やハイデッガーがファシズムに加担することになったのは、偶然(事故)ではない。

柄谷行人、『探求 I』

In the strict sense, the unsold and discarded commodity is defrauded, too. Whether or not the commodity is valuable is determined only after the salto mortale of the exchange. The commodity that is not sold is entrapped in the form of “wanting in despair to be oneself” or in “sickness unto death” from Kierkegaard. Commodity may be seen as a synthesis of use-value and exchange-value only inasmuch as seen from the ex post facto stance, while such a synthesis does not exist ex ante facto. The value of a commodity can come into existence only after it is exchanged with another commodity, an equivalent.

Kojin Karatani, Transcritique: On Kant and Marx

「意味している」ことが、そのような《他者》にとって成立するとき、まさにそのかぎりにおいてのみ、“文脈”があり、また“言語ゲーム”が成立する。なぜいかにして「意味している」ことが成立するかは、ついにわからない。だが、成立したあとでは、なぜいかにしてかを説明することができる―規則、コード、差異体系などによって。いいかえれば、哲学であれ、言語学であれ、経済学であれ、それらが出立するのは、この「暗闇の中での跳躍」(クリプキ)または「命がけの飛躍」(マルクス)のあとにすぎない。規則はあとから見出されるのだ。
 この跳躍はそのつど盲目的であって、そこにこそ“神秘”がある。われわれが社会的、実践的とよぶものは、いいかえれば、この無根拠的な危うさにかかわっている。そして、われわれが《他者》とよぶものは、コミュニケーション・交換におけるこの危うさを露出させるような他者でなければならない。

柄谷行人、『探求Ⅰ』

In a close reading of Marx’s analysis of the commodity-form, Karatani ground the insurmountable persistence of the parallax gap in the “salto mortale” that a product has to accomplish in order to assert itself as a commodity:

The price /of iron expressed in gold/, while on the one hand indicating the amount of labour-time contained in the iron, namely its value, at the same time signifies the pious wish to convert the iron into gold, that is to give the labour-time contained in the iron the form of universal social labour-time. If this transformation fails to take place, then the ton of iron ceases to be not only a commodity but also a product; since it is a commodity only because it is not a use-value for its owner, that is to say his labour is only really labour if it is useful labour for others, and it is useful for him only if it is abstract general labour. It is therefore the task of the iron or of its owner to find that location in the world of commodities where iron attracts gold. But if the sale actually takes place, as we assume in this analysis of simple circulation, then this difficulty, the salto mortale of the commodity, is surmounted. As a result of this alienation — that is its transfer from the person for whom it is a non-use-value to the person for whom it is a use-value - the ton of iron proves to be in fact a use-value and its price is simultaneously realised, and merely imaginary gold is converted into real gold.
This is Karatani’s key Kantian/anti-Hegelian point: the jump by means of which a commodity is sold and thus effectively constituted as commodity is not the result of an immanent self-development of (the concept of) Value, but a “salto mortale” comparable to a Kierkegaardian leap of faith, a temporary fragile “synthesis” between use-value and exchange-value comparable to the Kantian synthesis between sensitivity and understanding: in both cases, the two irreducibly external levels are brought together. For this precise reason, Marx abandoned his original project (discernible in the Grundrisse manuscripts) of “deducing” in a Hegelian way the split between exchange-value and use-value from the very concept of Value: in Capital, the split of these two dimensions, the “dual character of a merchandise,” is the starting point. The synthesis has to rely on an irreducibly external element, as in Kant where being is not a predicate (i.e., cannot be reduced to a conceptual predicate of an entity), or as in Saul Kripke’s Naming and Necessity, in which the reference of a name to an object cannot be grounded in the content of this name, in the properties it designates.


The problem with teaching Nietzsche to American students … there are two opposites: in one sense it doesn’t mean a thing to them and they won’t pay attention to it; in another, certain kinds of students will go wild about it in a quite dangerous way … Nietzsche’s rhetoric—and of course this is one of the problematic aspects of Nietzsche—is such as to make anybody feel significant, ya know, and hate the world around them … easy sense of transcendence and significance and such. One of the things that was very striking as a teacher in the 60s when many students had mental breakdowns, it was a very regular aspect of life … and the number of students for whom Nietzsche was the material … practically every student who would come into my office having some kind of paranoid or schizophrenic episode would be citing Nietzsche in one way or another.

Allan Bloom (via crematedadolescent)

fuckyournoguchicoffeetable:

Fuck your wall manifesto.

———————————
As Badiou demonstrated apropos the Stalinist show trials, this violent effort to distill the pure Real from the elusive reality necessarily ends up in its opposite, in the obsession with pure appearance: in the Stalinist universe, the passion of the Real (ruthless enforcement of the Socialist development) thus culminates in ritualistic stagings of a theatrical spectacle in the truth of which no one believes. The key to this reversal resides in the ultimate impossibility to draw a clear distinction between deceptive reality and some firm positive kernel of the Real: every positive bit of reality is a priori suspicious, since (as we know from Lacan) the Real Thing is ultimately another name for the Void. The pursuit of the Real thus equals total annihilation, a (self)destructive fury within which the only way to trace the distinction between the semblance and the Real is, precisely, to STAGE it in a fake spectacle.
— Slavoj Zizek, Welcome to the Desert of the Real

fuckyournoguchicoffeetable:

Fuck your wall manifesto.

———————————

As Badiou demonstrated apropos the Stalinist show trials, this violent effort to distill the pure Real from the elusive reality necessarily ends up in its opposite, in the obsession with pure appearance: in the Stalinist universe, the passion of the Real (ruthless enforcement of the Socialist development) thus culminates in ritualistic stagings of a theatrical spectacle in the truth of which no one believes. The key to this reversal resides in the ultimate impossibility to draw a clear distinction between deceptive reality and some firm positive kernel of the Real: every positive bit of reality is a priori suspicious, since (as we know from Lacan) the Real Thing is ultimately another name for the Void. The pursuit of the Real thus equals total annihilation, a (self)destructive fury within which the only way to trace the distinction between the semblance and the Real is, precisely, to STAGE it in a fake spectacle.
— Slavoj Zizek, Welcome to the Desert of the Real