Monday, May 06, 2013

What We Have and What We Want

True science is the process by which we discover what we have. Just politics is the process by which decide what we want. Science, when it's done right, we might say, lets us see what we have, while politics, again when it's done right, lets us do what we want.

Neither is automatic. It's our struggle to know that brings what we have to presence, and it's our struggle for mastery that brings what we want to presence.

Sometimes we struggle against each other. We can't always all do what we want. We can't always all see what we have. In order for some of us to do what we want, others must do without. Likewise, for some of us to see what we have, others must remain in the dark.

[Update: as a reader has pointed out in the comments, that last paragraph is pretty "harsh". I don't really believe it. I think it is perfectly possible for everyone to do what they want and see what they have. In fact, it is entirely likely that they depend on each other. If we could all see what we have we'd all be able to do what we want. If we could all do what we wanted, we'd all be able to see what we have. That this is not how it is is a function of the imperfections of our political practices and scientific theories. Which violate and obscure our experience.]


Anonymous said...


Thomas said...

I was surprised at that reaction until I reread the post. Thanks for pointing it out. At bottom I believe, or hope, that everyone can see & do what they really have & want.

Anonymous said...

assuming that we all have the ability to "see" and "want" on our own? but we learn them, don't you think?
thanks for responding, by the way... :)

Andrew Shields said...

I'm reminded of Radiohead's "There There": "Just because you feel it, doesn't mean it's there."

And of course the Stones ...