Re: Re: Taking the Egyptian crisis in stride
Source Jim Devine
Date 11/02/05/23:44

Robert Naiman responded to me:
> No, it overstates the case to say that I don't think you care about
> the "details." I think that your abstract analysis makes it appear
> that those details don't exist for you. I think that if someone asks
> you if you care about such details, you will say yes and mean it. But
> I think that your abstract analysis ought to reflect that.

This is pretty abstract, so I'll respond on the same level: though it
can be useful analytically, the concrete/abstract dichotomy is a false
one. Philosophically speaking, "concrete" details are abstract if
their context is ignored (because they leave out the connections
between details). Simultaneously, the "abstract" structure of society
(or the "big picture") is concrete, since it has a real-world impact
on the individuals who live with the system, constraining and helping
to determine the nature of the specific events that occur (i.e.,
details). This is found out, for example, when a politician pursues
policies that go against the grain of the system (given the current
balance of power) and suddenly faces a mass political mobilization of
the rich and their dollars, a "capital strike," and/or "capital
flight." These phenomena are pretty damn real, as Salvador Allende

(abstraction = simplifying, leaving things out, hopefully to
facilitate understanding.)

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