Looking at a conservative review of Shop Class As Soul Craft

Some might think we are

“constantly striving to develop lives of meaning without any outside recourse. The soul is increasingly insulated from the world outside our heads.” {Against Kant and Consumerism}

but today lots of people strive to enrich themselves with material wealth and consider their live worthwhile when they can be more wealthier and better showing off than others. Lots of people think they miss enough money or enough gadgets to enjoy fully life. For many everything seems to turn around the gathering of as much money as possible.

Lots of people do not look for the depth of meaning of life and are not so much interested in the others around them and the influence or necessity of them for them.

thisissueappearsThe American Conservative in the May/June 2015 article speaks about Matthew Crawford his books “Shop Class As Soul Craft” plus “The World Beyond Your Head” and looks at ‘the subtitle to his latest book which promises a look at our “age of distraction“.

The article says:

The premise of Crawford’s book is that our distractedness is merely symptomatic of a deeper cultural defect, a misrepresentation of the self that has permeated our society. He traces this back to Enlightenment philosophy, especially the thought of Immanuel Kant. Enlightenment thinkers of the late 17th and 18th centuries presented a view of the person that contrasted drastically with medieval and ancient thought: they put unprecedented emphasis on the rational individual as separate from society or community. They posited new theories about freedom founded upon reason and self-determination, with epistemological roots in ideas such as Descartes’s famous claim that “I think therefore I am.” Kant believed that knowledge and ethics must necessarily be situated within the mind—that existence must be interpreted through the autonomy of the individual.

The writer thinks

The soul is increasingly insulated from the world outside our heads.

Whereas in the real world, Crawford writes,

“we are subject to the heteronomy of things; the hazards of material reality,”

and continues

what Kant has given us is our modern identification of freedom with choice, in which choice is a “pure flashing forth” of the individual will.

that identification of freedom with choice has been there already from the period of the beginning in the Garden of Eden. Man had the choice either to follow his Creator His Will or to go his own way. Man choose the latter.

Thousand of years later, many think the world around them limits them and nature is to  block  their leg.

dumb nature is understood to be threatening to our freedom as rational beings, it becomes attractive to construct a virtual reality that will be less so, a benignly nice [reality] where there is no conflict between self and world

How many people do not want to be on their own and have the world turning around themselves. For many it is most important that everything turns around their own “I” so that they can say with proud: “I am“.

The associate editor of  The American Conservative Gracy Olmstead writes:

Consumer culture tries to destroy the discomforts and imperfections that are necessarily part of life.

Is not there one of the greatest problems of our present society, which has put most of its hopes on the material things it can require to make its own. It is not that they want to hoard things, but they love to gather all the newest things so that they can show off against others who have to do with older things.

Though the writer of the article finds that modern cars are designed in an insulating and distracting way, we more see them as copies of each other not having any more the specific personality or difference as the cars had in the 1950ies, when each car looked so specific and really could get its fans for one or another model and each model with its own flashy personal colours. to us it looks like that car owners lost the interest to have a car or any other object (clothes, houses) that look very personal and have their won story to tell. People do want all the same and are willing to cue for the latest gadget. Everybody else has to be able to see that they have this or that brand and can afford this or that mobile or i-pad, which has to be of the latest and newest ‘invention’.

Concerning the cars we could agree with the idea the  critic has

Everything within a car is constructed to give a sense of isolation and ease.

When the author would mean that the person who is driving the car would like to have the feeling to being his own world, having his own little world where nobody else around is being part of it. When the music can play loud it does not matter that others can hear it in their bathroom or are whipped out of bed. It is there music and everybody else should have to hear that is the best music to listen to.

Naturally the cultivation of “me-worlds” extends beyond auto-mobile design, but form men this might still be the thing to make their ‘me’, though the i-pad has taken a lot of that place.

Olmstead finds that Crawford spends a good deal of the book arguing that an Enlightenment approach to epistemology leads to narcissism: an understanding of the world that revolves entirely around the self and writes

The narcissist “treats objects as props” and struggles to comprehend them as objects with a reality of their own. The fantasy of autonomy, when full-grown, results in a “project of open-ended, ultimately groundless self-making.” {Against Kant and Consumerism}

Interestingly, Crawford identifies our treatment of others as the root of online narcissism in the age of Facebook:

“We increasingly deal with others through representations of them that we have,” he writes. “This results in interactions that are more contained, less open-ended, than a face-to-face encounter or a telephone call, giving us more control.”

Automobiles, the reviewer says

“can foster circumspection—literally, looking around for others and regarding oneself as an object for others in turn—or a collection of atomized me-worlds.” Our experience becomes ever more “mediated by representations, which remove us from whatever situation we inhabit directly, as embodied beings who do things.”

Throughout the ages the world has received its many distractions. The tools may have changed but the aim and way has stayed the same. Today “virtual reality” allows many to find back lost friends or schoolmates and gives the opportunity to interact with more, and more diverse, people, not fewer and not more homogeneous.

For American society to emerge from the distractions of consumer culture and virtual existence

Ms Olmstead finds

we must look beyond the symptoms and consider the disease: the shroud of individualism that prevents us from fully embracing the real world.

The individuals looking for themselves to acquire as much material wealth as possible have to come to see that they would be better to work at their social contacts spending more time to be with each other in real life than in chat sessions, never going deep in a conversation. For sure we we must

cultivate an awareness of—and love for—the world beyond ourselves.

The Edge Foundation / Flickr

+

Preceding articles:

Material wealth, Submission and Heaven on earth

Why “Selfishness” Doesn’t Properly Mean Being Shortsighted and Harmful to Others

The I Am to explore

little i

Path/Walk/Sink

Comic: The Last Time I Felt Accepted For Who I Am

Be realistic, do not pretend

The world starts with yourself

Believe in yourself!

Believe in your greatness

Find Inspiration and Follow Your Dreams

Wishy-Washy…

There can only be hope when there is a will to be and say “I am”

++

Additional reading:

  1. Souls and Religions with Nirvana and light
  2. For those who make other choices
  3. Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience
  4. Detroit, A city not to be understood

+++

Advertisements

6 Comments

Filed under Lifestyle, Social affairs, Welfare matters

6 responses to “Looking at a conservative review of Shop Class As Soul Craft

  1. Pingback: Learning that stuff is just stuff | From guestwriters

  2. Pingback: Your position about materialistic desires having conquered the world | From guestwriters

  3. Pingback: A look at materialism | Belgian Biblestudents - Belgische Bijbelstudenten

  4. Pingback: There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving | Belgian Biblestudents - Belgische Bijbelstudenten

  5. Pingback: Paris World Summit of Conscience, International interfaith gathering #3 | Marcus Ampe's Space

  6. Pingback: One can buy a lot in the supermarket, but not hope | From guestwriters

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s