Anchor for this item posted by Bernard (ben) Tremblay at Thursday, March 21, 2002; Thursday, March 21, 2002

intelligenza affettiva 1 ... yes, it's in Italian. I know, but I couldn't find any equivalent in English.
What I'm working on just now is this: if we rationalize our moment by moment activities by using a reduced frame of reference, such as the bottom line of a ledger or spreadsheet, we experience vastly facilitated communications. That is, we find ourselves working efficiently, and that's a good feeling. But to what end? The though I'm developing here is that under slogans such as "Human Need, Not Corporate Greed" and books such as "To Have or To Be?" is the actuality that the goal corresponds to the human needs of a very very small set of individuals. Optimizing a corporate entity's ROI may give me a bit of a rush ... a craftsperson finds pleasure in work well done ... but that rush may be totally alienated from the actual full-cycle consequences of my activities: that corporation may be in the business of exporting germ-warfare technology.
In the end I have to argue that the sanity that justifies the democratic project is, not merely the emancipation of those who suffer most grievously but, ultimately, the decent processes and produces that correspond to the human needs of those engaged in the activities of civil society including the market. Selling tainted meat may be enormously profitable, but there surely must be a consensus that the thrill of profiting from larceny is pathological.. The surest test of validity, seperate from the hard and clumsy test of jurisprudence, must be the impact on the agents and those on whom the consequences are visited. Otherwise we have the case where what is legal is as though moral, and the price of a cocktail in a high-brow lounge can be computed in terms of dead brown bodies. With this we see the brute basis of even this highly developed society: the wealthy and powerful deny fundamental human rights, and the rest is fifth business to confuse and bewilder the audience.
Would you, as a bricklayer, find pride in having built first-rate ovens for Auschwitz? As a contractor, in having managed the project? As an engineer, in its design? You might find this shocking, but the commandante of the camp was proud of his staff's professionalism, and emphasised that they carried out their duties in a way that would not increase the suffering of the inmates (discovered in testimony given during the Nuremburg trials).


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