G is for
G is for
Ortega wasn’t alone in understanding the dynamic of the generations as decisive in the historical dynamic. Later sociologists like Mannehiem and Feur also explored the importance of temporal dialectics under whatever name and of course, from a wide variety of ideological positions.
Back in the day (when I first encountered Silo’s teachings) you’d have found a definition in the materials of the time something like this: 1) Plotinus explained that the g is based on alteration. The alteration of a system is the result of an evolutionary process. When the entropy of a system increases (synthesis) its structure is altered and new relations arise, and therefore, so do new entities (differentiation). These are the progressive elements that will replace the whole previous structure, forming a new one. 2) The g determines the articulation of the historical change and the fundamentals of the historical process. The coexistence of several generations is what permits us to speak of an historical moment. The g is characterized by the situation of a group of individuals of the same age (see: temporal class). 3) At a given historical moment, the following generations exist: the g being born, the one in apprenticeship, the one in struggle against the generation in power, the oppressive g (the one in power), the displaced one, and that of the ‘survivors’. Of all of these, only three are considered in a dynamic situation: the one in apprenticeship, the one that fights against oppression, and the oppressive g (the g in power). Those of the children, the old, and the ‘survivors’ appear as marginal generations, until the children enter apprenticeship and the others die. To Ortega, the g “is one and the same as the structure of human life at each moment”. 4) However, that which allows a coetaneous group to be considered within the same g is their situation not only in relation to power in general, but also the similarity of their vital processes which is psychologically reflected in the similarity of the stage of the reverie nucleus. Indeed, a fundamental modification of the reverie nucleus corresponds to each vital stage: childhood, adolescence, youth, maturity, decline, and old age.
Siloism by H. Van Doren: Aconcagua Press, 1972
Here’s the definition that Silo left us with:
As social production develops, the human horizon expands, but the mere existence of social objects does not guarantee the continuity of this process. For New Humanism, continuity is a function of the interaction among human g which transforms them in the process of production. These g which promote continuity and development, are dynamic structures – they are social time in motion – without which a society would fall back into a state of nature and lose its condition of historical society, as occurred in the destructuring of the ancient empires.
Wars have been decisive factors in the “naturalization” of societies by destroying continuity through the violent decimation of the younger generation. Within a single temporal horizon, in a single historical moment, those who are contemporaries coincide, coexist, but do so from landscapes of formation that are specific to each generation by virtue of its difference in age from other g. This fact marks the enormous distance in perspective separating the g, which, though they occupy the same historical stage, do so from different situational and experiential “levels.” It also happens that in every historical time there coexist g of different temporal levels, with different retentions (memories) and protensions (or future plans), and which, therefore, form different situations. The bodies and behavior of children and the elderly reveal, for the active g the presence of something they come from and toward which they are headed, and, in turn, for the young and old extremes of that triple relation, temporal circumstances that are also extreme. But this never remains fixed, because as the active g grow old and the oldest g die, children are gradually transformed and begin to occupy active, central positions. And new births continually reconstitute society. When, as an abstraction, one “detains” this incessant flow, it is possible to speak of a “historical moment” in which all the members occupying the same social stage can be considered contemporaries, living in a single time (in the sense of datability). But these members observe a non-homogeneous coetaneousness (with respect to their internal temporality and experience). The g. most contiguous to the active g. strive to occupy the central activity (the social present), in accordance with their particular interests, establishing a dialectic relationship with the g in power in which we can observe the new surpassing the old.
The topic of the g has been treated by a number of authors, among whom Dromel, Lorenz, Petersen, Wechssler, Pinder, Drerup, Mannheim and, of course, Ortega y Gasset stand out.
A Dictionary of New Humanism, in Silo; Collected Works Vol 2.
G is for
Back in the day (when I first encountered Silo’s teachings) you’d have found a definition in the materials of the time something like this:
1) The struggle of the generations, the foundation of every historical process. 2) A scientific method used for the comprehension of the historical process based on the fact that generations, as they develop, and in their relation to the power system, find themselves in an antagonistic position to each other. Nevertheless, from a broader point of view, this antagonism is resolved in relations of complementation when every coercive apparatus of man over man disappears, and man exercises power only over Nature. The gd is possible within the realm of irrationality and only in the evolutionary step of prehistory that leads to an authentically human history. 3) The gd is a case of the universal law of the new surpassing the old, reflected in the process of man’s social evolution.
Siloism by H. Van Doren: Aconcagua Press, 1972
G is for
see self-reference (nah, just kidding)
G is for
Stay tuned for a little something on Guides, models, etc. for now here’s Silo, with chapters 15 and 16 from his book, The Internal Landscape (2nd book in the Humanize the Earth trilogy)
1. In your internal landscape there is an ideal man or woman that you search for in the external landscape. Through so many relationships your ideal remains always just out of reach—like two fragments of flint that do not quite strike except for that brief moment when perfect love dazzles us with its spark.
2. All human beings, in their own ways, launch their lives toward the external landscape, seeking to complete their hidden models.
3. But the external landscape continues imposing its own laws, and as time goes by, your once most cherished dream becomes only an image before which you now experience shame or even less, as this dream is reduced to a faded memory. Nevertheless, within the human species profound models exist, sleeping, biding their time. These models are the translation of impulses that your body sends to the space of representation.
4. We are not discussing the origin or consistency of these models, or the complexity of the world in which they are found. We are simply noting that they exist and pointing out that their function is to compensate needs and aspirations which, in turn, motivate human activities toward the external landscape.
5. Entire peoples and cultures also have their own particular ways of responding to the external landscape, responses always colored by internal models, which history and their own bodies continue to define.
6. Wise are those who know their profound models, and wiser still are those who can place them at the service of the best of causes.
XVII. The Internal Guide
1. Who do you so admire that you would like to have been that person?
2. Let me ask you in a more gentle fashion: Whom do you consider so exemplary that you wish you could find some of that person’s virtues in yourself?
3. Perhaps there have been moments when in sorrow or confusion you have appealed to the memory of someone who, whether existing or not, came to your aid as a comforting image?
4. I am speaking of those particular models that we could call internal “guides,” which at times coincide with real people.
5. Those models, which you have wanted to follow from the time you were very young, have changed only in the most external layers of your daily awareness.
6. I have seen how children talk and play with their imaginary companions and guides. I have seen people of all ages connect with these guides in prayers offered in sincere devotion.
7. The more strongly these guides were called, the further away they responded from and the better the signal they sent. Because of this I knew that the most profound guides are the most powerful. But only a great need can awaken them from their millennia of lethargy.
8. Such a model “possesses” three important attributes: strength, wisdom, and kindness.
9. If you want to know yourself better, observe the characteristics of the men and women you admire. Notice how the qualities you most value in them are also at work in the configuration of your own internal guides. Consider that even though your initial references may have disappeared with the passage of time, they have left “traces” within you that continue to motivate you toward the external landscape.
10. And if you want to understand how diverse cultures interact with each other, in addition to studying their modes of producing objects, study as well the methods by which they transmit their models.
11. It is important, then, to direct your attention to the best qualities in others, because you will project into the world those qualities you have managed to configure in yourself.