Category Archives for: Autonomy

The Choices in Taiwan and Initiating a Cooperative from Nothing

14 May 2016

[self-note: this was published using markdown, and is a really good example post using it]

the choices in Taiwan

Nor can it be said truly that a pure­blooded Chinese could ever quite disagree with Chuangtse’s ideas. Taoism is not a school of thought in China, it is a deep, fundamental trait of Chinese thinking, and of the Chinese attitude toward life and toward society. It has depth, while Confucianism has only a practical sense of proportions; it enriches Chinese poetry and imagination in an immeasurable manner, and it gives a philosophic sanction to whatever is in the idle, freedom­loving, poetic, vagabond Chinese soul. It provides the only safe, romantic release from the severe Confucian classic restraint, and humanizes the very humanists themselves; therefore when a Chinese succeeds, he is always a Confucianist, and when he fails, he is always a Taoist.
Yutang Lin (林語堂), Zhuangzi (莊子), Introduction

I recently felt that in Taiwan, and this may apply to any single-cultured country, that the choice of cultures is ultimately limited to two: with the society or without.

Taiwan lacks communities with diversity and ideal values. Of my time here, I have only found two places with ideal values but without diversity (of mind), and several with a little more diversity but without ideal values. Furthermore, I felt unable to find or even create a place-based community within Taiwan’s society.

That feeling contrasts with the feeling in multiple-cultured societies, where I felt I’m able to manipulate a space to create a place-based community within the existing dense settlement, or simply join one of the existing diverse, ideal-valued communities.

Taiwan has one culture [not including aboriginal cultures], therefore there is only one choice within it. America has several cultures, therefore several choices exist through its cultures: other countries’ cultures, capitalism, art life, consumerism, religions, non-culture, media-oriented culture (suburbanism), technological optimism, hippies, small towns, The South, etc.

In Taiwan, the only partially-inclusive spaces I have found with such diverse cultures are places where international people meet: hostels, Chinese class, post-graduate school. I have not found other spaces [within the society] that escape the cultural values of Taiwanese society.

Hostels are where I lived and what I mostly called a home, so the experience was phenomenal: I had a well-valued home, surrounded by a ethically-good culture and infinite nature. Without such places, one finds one’s self in a scary singular society, and without willingness to participate in that scary society, one is left with only one choice: to leave it.

It is by far the society I’ve spent the longest time in, excluding the suburbs where I grew up. But, I can’t say I lived in it the entire time. I was in my own world [todo: link a post which exemplifies this], while my body was in Taiwan’s world. Perhaps the public spaces were the only Taiwanese places I’ve spent a lot of time in: the streets, day markets, neighborhoods, parks, nature: you know, the spaces where passion is satisfied capital-free. I’m unsure if that counts as living in it.

Alas, it is time to find that little place next to the mountain, not far from a city, with the best climate (and microclimate!) of the country. Somewhere east of Tainan I believe. And so, like the Trascendentalists who probably had to escape Puritanism, and the Taoists who probably had to escape Confucianism, I must escape Taiwanese culture, or whatever words one uses to describe the values of contemporary Taiwan.

At least, for the moment; Before I re-attempt to create an ideal community within the city[?] again; Or before I re-attempt to cooperate with Taiwanese society again [No! Create your own. Do not join others. Let them join you!].

progeniting an ideal cooperative from nothing, with special guest: Aristotle

[I] Also might need a place in the city too, but hopefully with good weather and easy access to nature to keep me sane [Noooo].

The next twelve years Aristotle devoted with extraordinary industry to the establishment of a school, the Lyceum, to the institution and pursuit of a program of investigation, speculation, and teaching in almost every branch of knowledge, and to the composition of all, or most, or at least the more scientific portions, of those of his writings which are now extant.
Richard McKeon, The Basic Works of Aristotle, Biographical Note

This, except for my directions: critical theory, social and urban interventions, civic technology, games, etc.

Aristotle began teaching regularly in the morning in the Lyceum and founded an official school called “The Lyceum”. After morning lessons, Aristotle would frequently lecture on the grounds for the public and manuscripts of his compiled lectures were eventually circulated. The group of scholars who followed the Aristotelian doctrine came to be known as the Peripatetics due to Aristotle’s tendency to walk as he taught.

So, I should begin by creating meet-ups in public places: ask a well-located temple; or can alternate places based on weather: hot springs, cold springs, day markets. Whoever comes frequently, may become a friend or associate, but the goal is not to create an organization:

Unlike Plato, Aristotle was not a citizen of Athens and so could not own property; he and his colleagues therefore used the grounds of the Lyceum as a gathering place, just as it had been used by earlier philosophers such as Socrates. Aristotle and his colleagues first began to use the Lyceum in this way in about 335 BCE., after which Aristotle left Plato’s Academy and Athens, and then returned to Athens from his travels about a dozen years later. Because of the school’s association with the gymnasium, the school also came to be referred to simply as the Lyceum. Some modern scholars argue that the school did not become formally institutionalized until Theophrastus took it over, at which time there was private property associated with the school.
Wikipedia, Peripatetic school

If Aristotle was a citizen and was able to own property, would he have tried to get space? Did he have the money (surely Alexander paid him well. Maybe I’m reading this wrong?)? When such a good space exists, why spend money on another space? Use the public space!

Aristotle’s main focus as a teacher was cooperative research, an idea which he founded through his natural history work and systematic collection of philosophical works to contribute to his library. His students were assigned historical or scientific research projects as part of their studies. The school was also student run. The students elected a new student administrator to work with the school leadership every ten days, allowing all the students to become involved in turn.
Richard McKoen

Yes, the program is entirely cooperative, and molded by the people within it. Though, projects shouldn’t be assigned by one person, rather, people should assign it to themselves, and be responsible for it, out of intrinsic desire, which is precisely what a good social meet-up conceives in the minds of its participants.

Administration is a pain: setting up meetings, inventory management, etc. The dirty work must be shared, just as cleaning a bathroom in a shared apartment is.

Media can be shared within a physical space. It must be convenient to access to by participants that use it the most. Because one doesn’t have a space, one will have to negotiate, in the case of a temple, with the temple’s staff. [problem: access limited by time; not 24 hours]

The aim of the school, at least in Aristotle’s time, was not to further a specific doctrine, but rather to explore philosophical and scientific theories; those who ran the school worked rather as equal partners.

Everyone has an equal say in the whole of the organization.

The meet-ups (“school”) do not have a direction. The direction depends on its constituents, on what’s in the mind of the participants at that time. The participants and the directions may change frequently: Directions are temporal as the wandering mind’s thoughts. Participants are temporal too, as long as they are wandering too.

re-joining society

[todo: ???
I just had a daydream about restarting Humans of Taiwan, in Tainan, but with a critical theory emphasis. It’s still a similar format, but I select topics, questions, to be more critical. Pictures too can be critical, of urban and social problems. With it, people commented, and sometimes it would be civically helpful, and I would be able to solve small problems with the help of commenters. Doing this everyday would provide me organizing experience, networking with organizations, civic discussion through Facebook, and I would provide a model to solve civic problems. It is entirely bottom-up, because I begin with the individual’s problem; that is, what the individual thinks is a problem in their mind. By limiting subjects to I individuals’ problems, larger solutions, projects, implementations, may develop.

Leave a comment | Categories: Applied Philosophy, Autonomy, Community, Humanities, Life, Personal, Philosophy, Philosophy of Education, Political Philosophy, Public Sphere, Social Philosophy, Thoughts

The Practice of Life

27 December 2015

The theorization of humans and their environments* comes from the desire to understand how environments limit human development.

The practice of altering human environments** comes from the desire to increase [potential?] human development.

Altering the environment is the [normative / natural] practice [a mode?] of life.***

The practice occurs at all scales, from small areas to large areas [the world?]****.

[todo: stopped here, though, perhaps the last statement is unnecessary. Also, this is just a part of everyday life, as it’s missing survival / routine and communication. Communication also increases human development, though, because so much communication is in media, it still requires an environment that provides access to the media, and even without media, communication also requires an environment of high human density to provide more people to directly communicate with. The oppositional practice of life could be play — playing with the environment; Playing in the environment and altering the environment, the ultimate parent-child relationship.

Three practices?: Communication, altering environment (the material), and playing in the environment (includes communication with people and material? Does it include creativity?)]

* environmental psychology, human geography (especially critical strands), etc. / people, space, and place

** environmental design (“These fields include architecture, geography, urban planning, landscape architecture, and interior design”) / urban interventionism, social interventionism / production of space? / conversion of space into place / politics [of space] / space design

*** self-organization, spontaneous order

**** from dwelling to country? No, that implies people live in static places and under sovereignty. Should environment be delimited by space or social relations — could it be reworded to “from family to country”? No. It’s the physical environment, which contains people, that is being altered. / What about media and electronic communication? Still requires the body (healthcare, mail) and commodities (computer, media, etc.). –/ Technological communication decreases communication [physical] distance. / Physical interaction with the environment provides the high potential of experience, engaging all senses with reality.

a thought from a note written in Yilan:

Back to the original goals — public space, city planning with tech, decision-making (Taizhong was quite interest because the problems were so clear), create tech from local materials (create art from local material combos), medicine, games for education?, progressive classes to teach (game, film, outside, media, family), politics, political media — film, cognitive science, social science.

Perhaps will just have to observe east coast societies, determine what should be developed, ask government for money (to live and pay off debt), propose solutions (with tech), expose problems — in planning, culture, etc., join local organizations.

Play with materials, craft, tech, space, play.

possible quotes for statement 3:

There is one timeless way of building. It is a thousand years old, and the same today as it has ever been. The great traditional buildings of the past, the villages and tents and temples in which man feels at home, have always been made by people who were very close to the center of this way. It is not possible to make great buildings, or great towns, beautiful places, places where you feel yourself, places where you feel alive, except by following this way. And, as you will see, this way will lead anyone who looks for it to buildings which are themselves as ancient in their form, as the trees and hills, and as our faces are. – Christopher Alexander


A building or a town will only be alive to the extent that it is governed by the timeless way,

/. // is a -process which brings order out of nothing but ourselves; it cannot be attained, but it will happen of its own accord, if we will only let it.


“2. There is a central quality which is the root criterion of life and spirit in a man, a town, a building, or a wilderness. This quality is objective and precise, but it cannot be named,

“To reach the quality without a name we must then build a living pattern language as a gate.

9. This quality in buildings and in towns cannot be made, but only generated, indirectly, by the ordinary actions of the people, just as a flower cannot be made, but only generated from the seed.
– Christopher Alexander. “The Timeless Way Of Building.”

trash 1:
The theorization of people, space, and place* is the desire to understand people within (time and) space and place.

The practice, the work that affects people (within space and place), is the conversion of space into place**: place design***.

Environmental design is the primary practice of life.

trash 2:
The theorization of people and their environments* comes from the desire to understand people’s behavior within their environments.

The practice of altering the environment** comes from the desire to alter people’s behavior.

Leave a comment | Categories: Autonomy, Critical Theory, Human Geography, Humanities, Philosophy, Social Philosophy, Urban Philosophy

Material Organizations and Autonomy

12 September 2015

If human minds are organizing things, material organization is one method to satisfy that desire. Material includes digital bits, the education of a child, and societies at all scales [todo: does it?]. But for now, let’s focus on the material.

Humans under capitalism are forced to trade labor for money. [Labor likely ultimately creating a commodity.] When a person gathers enough wealth to survive, it is up to the person to decide whether to become idle or accumulate capital. Out of the human tendency to fall under habituation, the latter is more likely, especially in less dynamic urban areas. [The accumulated capital then can be saved, spent on commodities, spent on charity, etc.]

The material world can be separated into organization of material. Sometimes organized for the ends of: an ideal environment for family (or basic social unit), an ideal environment for everyone (community of any size), profit [todo: missing a lot more?]. Whatever the end, the material exists in the form of dwellings, cities, and waste.

Travel across the land and the places of organized material are clear. Dwellings with tools for living, businesses with tools for creating commodity or servicing, research centers with tools for creating knowledge, comfortable spaces for social activities, empty spaces for creative people: material organizations.

The world in a traveler’s eye is beautiful, open, social. All of those material organizations are accessible by simply talking to one another (or persuading another), except with those who lost an important moral from their childhood: sharing.

If everyone shared, would that create a disaster, anarchism, or autonomism?

[The world in an economist’s eye is of prices of commodities (assets). One can clearly see the costs of each material organization. The world here could be divided into values per area.]

The willingness to share enables everyone to survive, enables creative people to create more ideas because the awareness of having the ability to use tools directs the mind in more directions and because having the ability to play with tools create experience which leads to creativity, and lastly enables creative people to use the tools for work.

The deprivation of sharing from another requires the duplication of materials, the ownership of said duplicated materials, which together in turn may result in duplicate material organizations [todo: from duplicate houses and business to duplicate suburbs to duplicate societies]. In order for one to create, one must first be willing to act upon an idea, then must second be willing to gather the material to execute it, but, the problem found in the reiteration in the negative: The idea may never come because the lack of experience and ability to play with and use tools.

This isolated society deprived of sharing deprives others from everything organized: organized material (including media which contain knowledge) and organized people. It deprives itself from progressing. It will decay.

Until those willing to share will regenerate it.

[todo: getting sleepy and sloppy]
In a society with people willing to share, people are enabled to create and therefore most would be creating. There are those professional jobs that require duty: medicine, farming, upkeep of technology (electricity, internet), etc. [todo: what else?]. For everyone else it is caring for community and creation. The creativity is pure, not tainted by capitalism. The excess of commodity is avoided and substituted by better forms of creativity. Because of willingness to share, the awareness of locality, neighbors whom have what tools and knowledge, is heightened. Experiences become more local, as do products of creativity, adding diversity into the mediums. The lack of need to physically move far to create, creates better relationships with others, material tools, and material nature, adding care for natural area. All shared material organizations are cared for because they are willing to share. It’s a positive feedback loop…[todo: think more and clean]

In this society, one is able to travel from one material organization to another, learning or becoming aware of organized material and people, likely being able to use the organized materials (tools and materials). The ability to gain materials and tools depends on the social relation, and society’s norm of the willingness to share.

One could use materials out of self-interest, but it is less likely one will be able to gain them. It is when people desire to use materials for the interest of society that others are willing to share. What’s in the interest of society in the mind of others depends on their mind which depends on what experience in society put in it. One arrives to the individual-collective spectrum. When should a person allow another to use materials for self-interest: creation of art, more tools, consumables, etc.? It is up to the other person… [todo: getting sleepy]

At the least, a society should have the characteristic willingness to share. The difference in mind and wisdom (culture) does not matter. It should be a right. If one is found unwilling to share, that person will be shunned from the community.

Because material organizations have no value, it is the labor that benefits society that does. Not so much in the form of money, but in the recorded history of the individual. When one asks another of their experience, is it labor towards tending society or conspicuous consumption? It’s much easier to determine one’s value with this spectrum.

With the ability to move from material organization to material organization, one constantly lives in a higher form of awareness, have much in working memory to be more creative, have more experiences, being able to at first play for the sake of playing, then narrowing work toward one’s interests and creative endeavors.

[todo: going to sleep]

Leave a comment | Categories: Autonomy, Ethics, Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Social Philosophy