Sunday, April 10, 2011

An anaylitcal review over the foundational steps of colonizer initiated revolution

          In examination of this first step to colonizer initiated revolution, many ideas seem to circumvent each other; this is called a Cartesian circle. A Cartesian circle comes from the Enlightenment Era and specifically from the French theologian and mathematician René Déscartes. He ascribed the idea of the Cartesian circle which applies to a plethora of ideas from the first step in colonizer based revolution. In Descartes’ paper entitled, Meditations on First Philosophies, he detailed the understanding of the Cartesian model through his thoughts on God; I know God exists because of certainty, and I am capable of certainty because God exists.[1] This reflects the similar ideologies behind the terms of the mark of the plural, dehumanization, orientalism, and racism. They confluence in order to exist; they cannot exist without each other. Mark of the plural can only exist with the understanding of dehumanization, and dehumanization is possible through the mark of the plural. Orientalism exists because people understand racism, without racism orientalism could not function and racism is the product of orientalism.
            To fully elucidate this idea one must be in a tenacious comprehension of the terms. Dehumanization contains the existence of the mark of the plural because for one to see a person as less than worthy of human respect the individuality must be demolished completely. In order for this to be accomplished, the individual can only be stripped of individuality by being viewed exactly the same as several others. While two persons can never inherently be the same, through mark of the plural they may be considered as such. A person utilizes the mark of the plural when they observe one trait or pattern in a few people of similar ethnic, national, political, or religious background and assigning the characteristics of the few to the whole, in so doing they strip the identity from the individual. For a person to justify a stereotype as more than a canard, said person must understand the person to not be worthy of individuality. Many times people may take identity away in order to simplify a group of people and thus create an easier understanding of a particular religious, political, ethnic, or national association. For an onlooker to vindicate the mark of the plural they must first make them less than themselves. Given that the onlooker is human, the group or victims of the mark of the plural become less than human which procreates dehumanization. This orchestrates the ideology of the Cartesian circle in that the effect is also the cause and the cause is the effect.
            Orientalism and racism pertain to the Cartesian circle in a reciprocal parallel. In the aforementioned definition of orientalism, Edward Said who ascribed in his book, Orientalism, defined the ideology as a way of regarding a particular group of people with a constellation of fabricated assumptions marked from a privileged perspective.[2] This falsified assumption from a privileged perspective can take many forms, one such form is racism. Racism may be defined as grouping together a particular group of people based on ethnic heritage and discriminating against them because of their ethnic heritage and assuming one’s own ethnic heritage as superior. In order for this to happen a certain brindled characteristic must be ascribed which many times are based on false assumptions and regulated ideas from a callow and neophyte perspective, which is orientalism. Racism comes from orientalism although orientalism cannot be justified without racism. For orientalism to be rationalized racism must be understood because no one can have a privileged perspective without regarding other groups as less civilized or intelligent, which is a factor in racism. This again propels the Cartesian circle ideology.

[1] John Cottingham ed., Meditations on First Philosophy: With Selections from the Objections and Replies (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 25-30.
[2] Class discussion on Edward Said, notes taken in HON 4013: The Fallout of Civilization, Francophone Africa (1 February, 2011).


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