[LMB] Re: Rocks OT:

Marna Nightingale marna at redmaplegrove.org
Tue, 05 Feb 2002 23:09:42 -0500

Great. Now I'm having a rousing discussion of rocks. This happens every time I
have to prep Berger notes. :-)

Peter Newman wrote:

> > "Rock" or "tree" or "wall" is real.
> Is it? All those categories can be potentially ambiguous.
> We might concede that a physical object appears to exist
> but not admit that it is a rock. 

Yes, and Berger 

(d*mn Peter Berger, d*mn Berger and his Evil Heathen Ways, Damn him and Luckmann
his co-conspirator AND _The Sacred Canopy_ his demonspawned major work in
religion AND the entire field of the Sociology of Knowledge to H*ll and to the
seventh circle of the remainder bin)  

would in fact note that that (what we are going to call it and any other
thoughts or beliefs we may have about it) is the aspect of rock that is a
*social* reality. By definition, if you've made it to words, it's an
abstraction, which is not part of obdurate reality.   

The "physical object which however philosophically ambiguous in many ways you
almost certainly would not care to do (what we call dropping) on (that which we
refer to as your bare foot) with because it will leave (what we could likely
agree was a bruise)" is the "obdurate reality" bit. 

You can argue about whether it's a rock or a meteorite or a jewel, but it's a
SOMETHING, with size and heft. 

If you require a small piece of rocklike obdurate reality, I'll have to ship it
to you; email does not transmit obdurate reality, hence the wordiness. :-)
> > "Marriage" or "government" or "democracy" is another sort of real.

> I'm not sure that any of those things are 'real', they
> are _ideas_. You might describe some sort of arrangement
> that a group of people have and say 'That's a marriage',
> or 'That's government' but the rest of us need not accept
> your description. 

No, "Uterine replicator" is, as of now, an idea. 

MY notion of "marriage" is NOT a social reality. Except in my house. Berger
would say it had not 'attained facticity'.

But "marriage", "government", and "democracy" are real enough: 

You need not accept them. Acceptance of social realities is predicated on the
strength and stability of their legitimations. If enough people fail to accept
them they will go away: The Law Code Of Hammurabi is no longer a social reality. 
But the social fact of marriage is quite "real"  -- 

in the sense that whether or not you, personally, accept your state's (that's
another social fact) version of it  as 'real', or 'valid', it still possesses
the capacity to exact consequences if you violate its strictures, or give you
rewards if you comply with them. 

(Yes, it's actually people who do that. A social reality is a structure
governing how individuals interact with each other)

Marry two people and you'll gain a very strong sense of how real it is and isn't
very quickly. 

The social fact of government can charge you with treason if you choose to deny
it in certain ways.  OTOH, it gave you a teaching license, no? 

That's "real". Even though I can't mail you one. :-)

Anyway. There. Now you don't have to read Peter Berger. And that, I promise you,
is a REAL improvement over my life. :-)

Marna Nightingale
marna at redmaplegrove.org
"Women should not be enlightened or educated in any way. They should, in fact,
be segregated as they are the cause of hideous and involuntary erections in holy men."
St. Augustine.