Everyghing I originally wrote on this page is all wrong, It's fer too optimistic. I missed something really big which is neither pragmatic agaida nor creative accomplishment: social cuatoms. Social customs are far worse than pragmatic agenda.
Pragmatic agenda are things you have to do which do not enrich your life but just sustain it: If you don't brush your teeth they will get tooth decay. If you don't urinate you will die from a urinary blockage. The relatively few things you have to do or else nature will make you suffer. Then the rare things one wants to do from desire, such as creating serious art or music or dance. But then there is the third thing which wastes huge amounts of time and energy and neither sustains individual and specias life not creates in the arts in sciences but is just a big [fill in the blank] waste: social customs.
Ritual circumcisions. giving mother dead flowers for Mothers Day. Using chemical underarm deodorant to not "offend" people with your "body odor". Helping keep america beautiful by getting haircutted. "Chastity". And, worst of all: maiming and murdering your fellow mortals in wars due to "partiotism". Potlatch city, where everybody less-than-lives, from choice [society] not necessity [nature].
Social customs are apathetic waste. Giving Mother dead flowers for Mother's day (o rchocolaes which will make her fat) is conceptually even worse than the 1755 Lisbon earthquake or the meteor that killed all the dinosaurs. Why? Becsue humanity had no way to protect against those misfortunes from nature. But people did not have to cook up the waste of "Mother's Day", and having to give Mother dead flowers (or fattening chocolate) on that day.
Mother's Day was not a misfortunde from nature. And giving Mother dead flowers was not another misfortune from nature. If people had not cooked up these misfortunes nobody would have had to waste their time and energy doing them, unlike cleaning up from the Lisbon earthquake or failing to survive the big metror impact. Nature gives and nature takes away. Nature gives orgasms and also cancer tumors. Social customs just take but do not give, no, even worse, they cook up illusions of benefit, unlike gifts from nature (and also from the arts and sciences) which are real. Narure is indifferent. Society is bad. The arts and sciences are good. Mother presumably imagines or is at lest supposed to imagine she is happy when she gets her dead flowers for Mother's Day.
Pragmatic agenda is bad but we are stuck with it because it comes from nature. But all the massive waste and damage due to society and its social custome is entirely unnecessary because it is caused by persons ("people") and if the people did not do the things that cause the societal problems the problems would never happen.
Social customs are for normal people a way to make their pragmatic agenda bearable. Buying mommy dead flowers for Mother's Day briefly distracts both of them from the dullness of their daily lives, like a drowning man occasionaly coming up and breaking the surface to gasp air since they can't breathe water. Merry! Merry!
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I designate as: "pragmatic agenda" any content of human experience (the living present) that is an object of need, not of connoisseurship and desire. "You are an idiot, BMcC, because it is obvious that every human being has to produce excrement, blow their nose, and many other things that no Celestial Being would do." "You, Sir or Madam, have just now fallen into a trap which your childrearing and socialization has set for you. By the way, Sir or Madam, did I hear you mention technologies to pretend bodily functions do not exist (deodorants, shaving, cosmetics -- except for persons with diseases in these areas, of course)?" And why are you throwing unspeakables at me; be polite!
What's going on here? My reader, try to guess before reading further, like I believe Professor Louis Forsdale proceeded upon entering Frank Lloyd's Taliesen, where visitors are asked why the entrance door is so low that they have to stoop on entering. The answer is simple: To use Husserlean jargon, what makes an intentional object (noema) be pragmatic agenda is not only the qualities of the noematic object qua object (whatever), but primarily its intentional (noetic) modality and modification (how said object is experienced and what it is experienced as). Is the object perceived as part of the burden of Exile from Eden, or is it something savored aka an object of connoisseurship? A person's attitude affects the coloration of all their experience: If the person can only see 7-Eleven Big Gulp cups qua normative drink cups, then even a National Treasure tea bowl would look worthess to said person. And there are limitations here: a cancer tumor may be seeable as beautiful only ex vivo by a microbiologist, under an electron microscope. Laborare est orare (working is praying -- a watchword of Roman Catholic monasticism) may be possible with a little help from consumer product producers and their ad men.
Let me start here with an example that should not offend anyone: taking out the trash to place it in a garbage receptacle for the sanitation engineers ("trash men") to take away. If I had to take my trash out to a banged up galvanized metal can, that would be nothing but[t] pragmatic agenda. Disgusting. Take it away! But I have trash cans that I respect and even love (I "flipped out" when I thought the trash collection men had lost the lid to one of them). They are very well constructed and have special handles which are raccoon-proof. So I get a bit of pleasure from putting the garbage in the trash receptacle. Would I rather be listening to Wanda Landowska playing her harpsichord? Of course. Would I rather be talking in white-collar office with some computer science degreed techie whose imaginative horizon is bounded by neo-feudalism in flying fortresses (Star Wars and/or video games, not real B-17's), or a smiling face that tells lies manager? No thank you. I'd rather talk to/with my trash cans, and I do talk to/with them. I also talk to/with cobblestones. Louis I. Kahn famously had a conversation with a brick. (I guess he got what he deserved for his folly in his living, in his end?)
I find repulsive, degrading, dehumanizing, threatening, etc. anything that does not honorifically raise me up. Enrich my life and "you" (not you, specifically, my reader, but any generic intentional object in my self-consciousness) are welcome in my living. Now, let us go into the bathroom, for we do have to do bodily functions no matter how hard pruditan social customs try to pretend they do not exist. Fortunate for me, standard issue white vitreous American Standard toilets are not badly designed and manufactured. I do not find it offensive to sit on one. Marcel Duchamp turned a standard issue male urinal into a very valuable work of art simply by signing it ("R. Mutt", 1917 -- this is something of value I learned about at Yale; current auction price of said urinal $1,000,000 USD or maybe higher). Now, imagine one also had a bidet, and things start getting even better. Blowing one's nose? Plain white paper towels are not esthetically or functionally bad, although, if one was wealthy, linen would be even better.
I'm talking here about things any middle class American can afford and potentially experience. The problem with/for them, is in how the persons "approach" the objects (Husserl's noetic modality). Do they respectfully place used paper towels in the office restroom in the trash can, thinkng about the cleaning crew, or do they throw them unthinkingly on the floor for the thereby dishonored cleaning folks to pick up after they have gone home? See my page: My Office for documentary photographs of this problem.
It should be possible to asymptotically approach all of a person's living (Everyman's living present) being honorifically connoisseurship and savoring, not just need, at least within the bounds of good health (suffering spoils living). Maybe even medical science can help with the abuse from Nature (from G-d? Damn Him!). Example: When I was young, getting blood drawn for medical laborartory analysis was something I dreaded (repeat: D-R-E-A-D-E-D): the long steel needle.... In 2020, the innovation of the "butterfly" needle makes the phlebotomist's intervention close to pleasant. Not delightful, but no longer something I look ahead but in no way forward to with dread. Similarly, colonoscopies and prostate biopsies in a middle/upper middle class medical group (patient not on medicaid but medicare OK) are less unpleasant than what I might have experienced in computer programmer white-collar office had I been there instead (e.g.: pointless tedious protracted meetings a primary objective of which was to make the meeting organizer feel grandiose). It's very simple: make everything in living be excellently and empathically designed and implemented. "But, BMcC, I cannot afford 4 bedrooms and a half-acre like you are fantasizing. You politically incorrect elitist!" "Well maybe you could live in a 2 bedroom apartment -- Japanese do better with less." I abominate conspicuous consumption and waste (U.S. Army Air Corps mess hall slogan: "Take what you want; eat what you take"). "That sounds like socialism, BMcC, and we demand our freedom!" "Freedom for what? Please, Sir or Madam, stop making me live with your dreck." "Freedom is freedom from being coerced to wear a mask in pandemic. What's 'dreck'?"
Pragmatic agenda is bad because it causes the too short time Nature allows us in living to be wasted; It's endless repetition of drudgeries to keep getting back to where you already were, but you were dragged backwards (nobody would do it except under duress): less than honorifically human. Now, let us turn from the consumer to the producer side of this equation: Would it be possible to transform productive work, mutatis mutandis, the way I have described the consumptive side of life can be transformed? I do not know. But "we" could try. Employees are supposed to treat customers honorifically. Why cannot the principle be applied to the employees: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you", "you" here being "management" (teachers, et al.), "others" being "employees" (students, et al.). If employees are not treated with great dignity, why should they be expected to treat customers with great dignity, except from fear. We know fear is an ambivalent motivator.
Credo quia absurdum? Or is it the case that the persons with power are denying this to those who lack power, even unto the gratuitous extent of infecting the latter with fantasies that make their living be even more degraded than it has to be, e.g., getting them to aspire/lust to burden themselves with big consumer debt for a half-acre of lawn to mow? Ad men.: Do not be treasonous clerks! (See: Adam Curtis's damning documentary: "Century of the Self", available free on YouTube.)
Please, my reader, read my page Something possible for a middle class American, to see something that, beyond transforming things that would otherwise be pragmatic agenda into honorifics, is at least possible, albeit in no way necessary, for middle class citizens of first-world countries in 20th/21st century, CE.
KISS (keep it simple, stupid) is good advice; the sage keeps things simple is good idea too. Some "National Treasure" Japanese craft objects with humble functionality, e.g. tea bowls (cf.: Big Gulp USA 7-Eleven soda beverage containers, example at left), are entirely undecorated, and might look to Big Gulpers like charred remains of fire (they are; but Big Gulpers lust to eat char, esp.:, grilled meat). Breakage? Japanese ennoble pottery breakages with gold for glue (see also: Marcel Duchamp's shattered then patched "big glass" aka "The bride stripped bare by her bachelors even").
This morning (+2021.06.20.) I was unpleasantly reminded there is something even lower than pragmatic agenda: the biological substrate on which being able to perform pragmatic agenda depends. I felt I could not raise my head off the pillow because if I tried my neck would not support it. When finally I did get into sitting position, I was afraid of trying to lie back down again because then I might not be able to rise up again. A person cannot perform pragmatic agenda tasks without being able to "get around", physically. I am not sure all of it was physiological and that maybe a part of it was also due to remembering that, when I was a child, my mother had almost broke my neck once in her obsession to wash what was left of my hair after I had been returned to her by my father from him having been dispatched to get me haircutted on what might otherwise have been for me a tolerable Saturday morning.
If at all possible, I avoid it and hope it will do what most things in the empirical world do eventually: go away. This, of course, is rarely possible, especially since ther are other people in my social surrond who have nothing higher to do in their lives than pargmata and so value this crap above the moon and the stars like it matters if it gets done. So what if I leave a trace of fecal matter on the toilet seat? It will not cause the world to end, will it? Get real, folks!
My Plan-B is:
A lot of pragmatic agenda simply need not ever to have existed. If people do not care about "body odor" I don't have to be bugged about deodorants. Aside: Because these people impinge on me, whenever I have the chance, I like to offend them as payback for them having wasted my life with their obsession about tittles and jots. Anybody who has the unallocated time to be offended about anything needs to be kept busy (being offended by it). Please just be seen and not heard; there may be something constructive you can do for the rest of us. Petty people are moving roadblocks on life's superhighway.
Another option is to transfigure the crap: raise pragmata up to have some real value. Again, this is not always possible, but not invariably. People want pragmatic agenda to be "no big deal" so that they can stuff more of it into me / get more of it out of me, as if I was their foie gras goose. Well, it is a big deal, this hotel has no vacancies, dudes. Just listen to the words: What is "no big deal" has little weigh. Consequently, the people who make a lot of waste feel they can dump a lot of it on me because it's no big deal -- not big deal for them, of course, because they have offloaded their burden onto me); what "is a big deal" has a lot of weight -- it may be negative value, but that's a different question, isn't it, dudes? Why can't taking out the trash either (A) not need to be done at all or else (B) be a Processional like in the Mass of the Roman Catholic Church: IHS?
The polar opposite of banausic prag dreck is: The life of the mind. Raise yourself up!