Sunday, October 17, 2010

on reuniting hearts and minds

I thank Olaf Krassnitzky for this continuing exchange on the humanist sociology listserv about being academically marginalized.

Hal Pepinsky,,, 209 St. Pierre St., Worthington, OH 43085-2262, 1-614-433-7386 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              1-614-433-7386      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              1-614-433-7386      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
From: Pepinsky, Harold E.
Sent: Sunday, October 17, 2010 2:08 PM
Subject: Olaf, I call the Enlightenment the source of the contemporary violence you point to, what say? l&p hal

Olaf, in the concluding chapter to Crim as Peacemaking in 1991, I traced violence to separating religion from reason (hence, my decision to make Quinney's chapter on Buddhist crim the opening chapter to our volume). The opening buzzword for our splitting apart personally and globally, as far as I can see, was "the Enlightenment," or in our lifetime, a fetish for "science" and "objectivity."
My whole problem with social measurement is that it focuses on achieving substantive goals. Imagine the absurdity of econometricians pronouncing us in the US as in recovery.
My professional and interpersonal focus has been on building social security. The measures of what works and doesn't can, I believe, most authoritatively be tested in whether we build trust most centrally in our very own daily relations. It took a lot of time with a wonderful therapist and mentor for me to learn that my own daily interpersonal fears, anger and satisfaction were my own ultimate testing ground for what works and what fails. By now I am more firmly than ever convinced that my own concentration on trusting and sharing particularly in my closest intergenerational family of choice is my best investment not only in what keeps generations from our parents to our grandchildren as safe as we can make them. I generalize. I find that the course of human relations repeats itself from the interpersonal to the organizational to the national to the global. Accordingly, I believe that concentrating on our personal relations, along with acting locally, are the best any of us has to promote survival of humanity in the face of the more highly powered outbursts, globally connected, outbursts of violence humanity has ever before set off.
Since I first voted for a president in 1968, my candidate has lost in every election until 2008. As between Republicans and Democrats, I am more alarmed by the Prussian focus on winning elections and disheartened by the Democratic tendency to try to get the average voter to vote for them as political circumtances change. From Nixon to Reagan to Bushes I and II, I have survived the fear that a president or presidential force would harm US inhabitants and humanity at large irrecovably. On reflection, I don't think consolidated national power and direction can do more than alleviate pain and share power with people bit by bit.
There's a page one story today in the New York Times on the decline of the Japanese financial empire. When I started teaching criminal justice Japan was the darling of Enlightened economists. I think US trajectory in global terms is likely to be in the same direction. I see nothing to stop it. Conspicuous consumption will no longer hire unemployed skilled workers, as in construction, although already of course adaptive construction craftspeople are sustaining themselves as by restorative and remodeling work. Bartering of services has never stopped particularly among poor folks, and it's a lot more reliable than even a bank these days. So we are learning, which I suppose makes me a humanist optimist. Prophecy aside, I feel so blessed by the human companionship I continue to enjoy, and I feel no higher calling than to stay the course. love and peace--hal

Message: 2
Date: Sun, 17 Oct 2010 08:52:02 -0400
From: Olaf Krassnitzky
To: "'Discussion group for the Association for Humanist Sociology'"

Subject: Re: [Ahs-talk] Ahs-talk Digest, Vol 20, Issue 45
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

I have experienced the same in a number of fields (medicine, senior
management, sociology, anthropology, visual arts), whenever I was not 'going
with the flow', if my thinking was seen as different (or 'off the wall")I
got stopped in my tracks. In one outfit the worst characterization one could
receive was to be called an 'independent thinker". So I do not think that
any of this is a consequence of the market system, but rather belongs into
the Kuhnian category of thinking, or even to the general human tendency to
feel threatened by anything that is "different"be it skin colour, accent or
worldview. The consumer market today actually favors novelty, , but those
novelty deserve a hard look how new they really are. The same in politics.
And then of course there is power woven into it, and power tends to favor
status quo and will paint the merely unconventional as radical, if not nuts
or evil.

Cheers, Olaf.

-----Original Message-----
From: []
On Behalf Of M.Weigand
Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 5:17 PM
To: Discussion group for the Association for Humanist Sociology
Subject: Re: [Ahs-talk] Ahs-talk Digest, Vol 20, Issue 45

Berger's Invitation to Sociology was one of my early inspirations.
Unfortunately I met him in person and was very disappointed--from an early
humanistic position he veered to the right during the 1980's. In my graduate

school, humanistic\qualitative methods were viewed as "unscientific". The
trend was to become ever more "scientistic" and quantitative as sociologists

struggled to gain legitimacy and funding. Those of us with
humanistic\critical sociology perspectives faced a lack of employment
opportunities. Today I regret to say there are many sociological "grant
whores" (as in many disciplines). In this society, "radical"
(unconventional) academics are not jailed, they are starved to death by
lack of employment and research opportunities. Isn't this just another
example of how the market system operates?

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  2. Yes, that's right Hal - atheism and secular government are the root cause of all violence.
    When people stopped Believing they had no spiritual defences, which allowed demons to possess them, and then they had to consume the life-force, the blood and the flesh of human infants to sustain themselves - that's what you and Quinney believe isn't it?

    And after all, the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path are all about RELIGION and FAITH, not REASON, right?