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IndieFaith Blog
Wednesday, 1 March 2006
It's About Time
Well after I was snubbed by joeljoel and nathan (although nathan put indiefaith on his daily site hits) my dear old friend rudy (see pic below) finally tagged me. So here goes.

1. Four jobs you have had in your life
a) Farm hand (also the best job title ever)
b) Adjunct college instructor
c) Mover
d) Greenhouseman

2. Four movies you would watch over and over
a) Footloose
b) O Brother Where Art Thou?
c) Romeo and Juliet (Leo and Clare)
d) Tombstone

3. Four places you have lived
a) A farm south of Altona
b) Winnipeg, MB
c) Yuba City, CA
d) Steel Town, ON

4. Four TV shows you love to watch
a) Seinfeld
b) Survivor
c) Gilmore Girls (you know you do to)
d) The Food Network

5. Four places you have been on vacation
a) Cabin
b) Couch
c) Tent
d) Van

6. Four websites I visit daily
a) The blogs to the left (and yes you too Nathan:))
b) Hamilton 5-day Forecast

7. Four of my favorite foods
a) Coffee
b) Ice Cream
c) Coffee
d) Sweet things that go good with coffee

8. Four places I would rather be right now
a) In the Vatican archives.
b) In a time-machine where I could meet Dostoevsky in some dirty back-alley in Russia.
c) Some place warm and relaxing with my wife.
d) In a comfortable chair reading a book with nothing else to do.

9. Given me last response I will add another question that people can answer in my comment box. Four historical figures you would love to meet (and I will say it, Jesus cannot be one of them. If you haven'y already met him I have something to share with you . . .)
a) Kierkegaard
b) Plato
c) Johhny Cash
d) My Grandfather

10. Four friends I am tagging that I think will respond..... (you can put them in my comment box if you want)
a) Marco
b) Dave B
c) The Chief
d) Juan Pablo Peters
e) Anferny

Alright. I can't believe I took the time to do this.

Posted by indie/faith at 6:33 PM EST
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Wednesday, 22 February 2006
The Rose and the Machine (aka The Rose Machine)
Well my leisure time as an unemployed bum is now at an end. Today I began work at greenhouse. Apparently 45-50 hours a week will be the average except for the 'busy' seasons (damn you mother's day!). Two things struck me today. When I first arrived at work I was immediately taken back to the A-Team episode where the Team is somewhere in California and they happen upon a farm where the workers (of course all are hispanic) are being grossly mistreated. At some point in the episode Hannibal spokes some great communist rhetoric to rouse their spirits. I am not saying that I work for the same kind of operation (otherwise I would have to go B.A. Baracus on them; complete with welding something awesome) but that this type of work attracts the same segment of society. I suppose I will have a chance to reflect on all my pompous marxist ramblings.
The second thing that struck me, which is perhaps my first "marxist" reflection, is that I work for a greenhouse that grows only roses. This greenhouse is fully set-up to “produce” roses as an assembly line factory. I find the image of the rose and the machine intriguing. I'll have to sleep on it. Anyway, its good to some bucks coming my way.

Posted by indie/faith at 7:11 PM EST
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Monday, 20 February 2006
I was not entirely sure about what grabbed me in the last post. To be honest, as some may have suspected, I was the one who wrote it. However, sometimes we may feel the need to put some distance between our identity and the things we produce. In any event the passage was an initial attempt to articulate some concepts that I have been reflecting on.
First, the comment about Hegel. Hegel gets hammered by Kierkegaard a great deal because Hegel does not offer much (or any) space for God's transcendence. As a Christian then it is easy to write him off. Important to his project is the role of "the negative" that which creates "movement". I can't say I fully understand this but it appears to be an intangible force (force is probably not the right word) which drives things on. Kierkegaard criticizes that in fact Hegel's system is based then on "nothing". The image that arose for me was the space between the Cherubim in the Holy of Holies. This was the most concentrated point of presence in the OT and it was likely that there was never anything there. God's presence was a type of absence which always created movement and could not be captured by human structures.
The second half of the quote was an experience I had in Winnipeg when one night Chantal and I were woken up by the sound of yelling (in itself not an uncommon experience in our neighbourhood). I looked out the window and saw a man sitting on top of a woman. Clearly they were fighting about something. However, the way the man yelled really impacted me. There was a type of release and restraint in it. A type of charismatic frustration as he was in the presence of what, at that moment, he most loved and most hated. That is why I could not call it a yell. It was some attempt at release, something that I think we can all relate to in some way.

Posted by indie/faith at 10:10 AM EST
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Friday, 17 February 2006
Something to chew on or spit out
An unpublished quotation I read, not sure what to make of it.

"There are two, at least two, who point me to God. The first is Hegel. Hegel sees all and knows all. From this perspective he recognizes that all movement in the world comes from nothing. In fairness to him, it comes from the negative. We cannot touch or hold what relentlessly drives us on, though we may be a part of it. That a man could so intensely get wrong what he has seen right is divine. The void between the Cherubim still lies vacant in the movement of our world. The second is the man outside my window. I saw him, one night, straddling his wife (I assumed it was his wife, yes it must be) who had her back pressed against the sidewalk. In their fury (passion?) he yelled. No, that word really does not address the sound the man made mounted atop the woman. He cried out. Yes in many ways he did. No, rather, he released. His gated rage found first escape through the threshold of his lips. It was a release. It never came to blows. That we do not all sit pinning our great love to the sidewalk screaming, being able to neither strangle nor embrace her is a great work of the spirit."

Posted by indie/faith at 4:15 PM EST
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Wednesday, 15 February 2006
St. Paul, Dostoyevsky, and Zizek
Here is a link to some of my further ramblings on marxist/materialist thought. I thought it was too long to be blog worthy. It is in the "formal" section of my main site.

IndieFaith Formal

Posted by indie/faith at 1:03 PM EST
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Tuesday, 14 February 2006
The Last of Marx
Alright, the last you will here (for now) on Marx and Engels. The Communist Manifesto certainly ends with some provocative contributions. It is not hard to see how western liberals or conservatives found fodder for fear mongering. By the way anyone looking for primary sources on marxist thought (or even anything broadly related to it) should check out Blade, it also has many of the writers you mentioned on your "top 10". Some final excerpts.

“The charges against Communism made from a religious, a philosophical, and, generally, from an ideological standpoint, are not deserving of serious examination.
Does it require deep intuition to comprehend that man’s ideas, views and conceptions, in one word, man’s consciousness, changes with every change in the conditions of his material existence, in his social relations and in his social life?
What else does the history of ideas prove, than that the intellectual production changes in proportion as material production is changed?”

“Communism abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religion, and all morality, instead of constituting them on a new basis; it therefore acts in contradiction to all past historical experience”

This appears to foresee the current post-foundationalist perspective as well as showing some of the influences which movements such as Liberation Theology would have picked up on. That is, the priority of ortho-praxis over orthodoxy.

Here are the final sections of The Communist Manifesto including the basic tenets of those countries in the most advanced stages of Communist thought.

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.
4. Confiscation of the property of emigrants and rebels.
5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and exclusive monopoly.
6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringin into cultivation of wastelands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production.

“In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.”

One of those most developed countries (at the time of this was published) was Germany and so . . .
“The Communists turn their attention chiefly to Germany, because that country is on the eve of a bourgeois revolution that is bound to be carried out under more advanced conditions of European civilization, and with a more developed proletariat, than that of England was in the seventeenth, and of France in the eighteenth century, and because the bourgeois revolution in Germany will be but the prelude to an immediately following proletarian revolution.
In short, the Communists everywhere support every revolutionary movement against the existing social and political order of things.
In all these movements they bring to the front, as the leading question in each, the property question, no matter what its degree of development at the time.
Finally, they labour everywhere for the union and agreement of the democratic parties of all countries.
The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.

Oh, by the way, Happy Valentine's Day!

Posted by indie/faith at 9:34 AM EST
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Sunday, 12 February 2006

is it just me or does my blog take at least twice as long to load as either xanga or blogger? i am really considering 'crossing the floor' at this point. any other complaints about this site? excluding its content of course.

Posted by indie/faith at 2:11 PM EST
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Wednesday, 8 February 2006
Jesus Loves Hardcore
I'm not sure if I have bored most of my readers away but I thought that I would spice it up a little. Today I was looking at various images of Jesus on the web and came across some famous and not-so-famous "appearences" of Jesus' face. Well here is a prime contender. Some of you will have seen this already. But spread the word before I start charging admission to see. I also thought it would remind us of how hard Rudy and I once were . . .

Now at first it will not be readily apparent, but look closely and you will see that Rudy has Jesus in the palm of his hand.

The world has waited too long.

Posted by indie/faith at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 10 February 2006 7:50 PM EST
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Tuesday, 7 February 2006
While I was much impressed with the still relevant critique which I found in the chapter 1 of the Communist Manifesto I was disappointed by the second chapter which outlines the positive contribution of Communist thought. Isn't this always the case. We are great a criticizing but when it comes to a positive contribution . . .
I admit that I am certainly behind the times when it comes to current Marxist development. However, I am unclear as how it much is has progressed. It seems like the only thriving communist expression is China (are they still technically considered communist?) which has adopted active capitalist strategies to bolster the economy. I would love to learn more about their situation as it seems quite unique on the world's stage (any thoughts out there?)

alright, as promised here are a few captions from chapter 2 "Proletarians and Communists"

"The immediate aim of the Communists is the . . . formation of the proletariat as a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, and conquest of political power by the proletariat."

"The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property. . . . You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population."

"The average price of wage labour is the minimum wage, i.e., that quantum of the means of subsistence which is absolutely requisite to keep the labourer in bare existence as a labourer. What therefore, the wage-labourer appropriates by means of his labour, merely suffices to prolong and reproduce a bare existence."

"All we want to do away with is the miserable character of [bourgeois] appropriation, under which the labourer lives merely to increase capital."

Perhaps I will leave this for a few installments. Posts are supposed to be short and snappy right?

I have been very interested in the nineteenth century critique of religion. Forthcoming posts will hopefully include Nietzsche's's "Anti-Christ" and Freud's "The Future of an Illusion". I find Nietzsche's's critique so fascinating because I think he is so right and so wrong often on the same point.

Posted by indie/faith at 9:48 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 7 February 2006 4:28 PM EST
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Friday, 3 February 2006
The human condition to class struggle
In addition to reading Kierkegaard I have also had the chance to read Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto. Coincidentally Kierkegaard and Engels sat together in at leach one seminar (the lecturer was Schelling). I am largely sold on SK’s insight into the human condition. Addressing the human condition is an element of Marxist thinking that I have found to be extremely underdeveloped. However, there remains much to be appreciated in reading TCM. For those who have not read it I offer here some highs and lows (bear in mind this work was published in 1848). For those who have read it, feel free to criticize.

Chapter 1: “Bourgeois and Proletarian”

The opening line:
“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle.”

“The bourgeoisie have resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom – Free Trade. . . . The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its wage-labourers.”

“The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society.”

“The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere.”

“The cheap prices of its commodities are the heavy artillery with which it batters down all . . . walls.”

“Just as it made the country dependant on the towns, so it has made barbarian [sic] countries dependent on civilized ones.”

Speaking of a commercial crisis “In these crises there breaks out an epidemic that, in all earlier epochs, would have seemed an absurdity – the epidemic of over-production.”

“Owing to the extensive use of machinery and to division of labour, the work of proletarians has lost all individual character, and, consequently, all charm for the workman. He becomes an appendage of the machine.”

“The essential condition for the existence, and for the sway of the bourgeois class, is the formation and augmentation of capital; the condition for capital is wage labour. Wage labour rests exclusively on competition between the labourers.”

And here I am a little more critical,

“But with the development of industry the proletariat not only increase in number; it becomes concentrated in greater masses, its strength grows, and it feels that strength more.”
“Now and then the workers are victorious, but only for a time. The real fruit of their battles lies, not in the immediate result, but in the ever expanding union of the workers. This union is helped on by the improved means of communication that are created by modern industry and that place the workers of different localities in contact with one another. It was just this contact that was needed to centralize the numerous local struggles, all of the same character, into one national struggle.”

This approach has a type of social evolutionary thinking that I simple don’t think it tenable anymore.

“All previous movements were the movements of minorities, or in the interest of minorities. The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority.”

This assumes a unity based on economics which I do not believe does justice to the spiritual and social nature of humanity.

“In depicting the most general phases of the development of the proletariat, we traced the more or less veiled civil war, waging within existing society, up to the point where that war breaks out into open revolution, and where the violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie lays the foundation for the sway of the proletariat.”

The chapter concludes apocalyptically in the following,

“The advance of industry, whose involuntary promoter is the bourgeoisie, replaces the isolation of the labourers due to competition, by their revolutionary combination, due to association. The development of Modern Industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie, therefore, produces, above all, is its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.”

Chapter 2 to follow . . .

Posted by indie/faith at 9:56 AM EST
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