Americans love justice because the talking heads keep telling us to love justice; not forgiveness or mercy because you can’t kill people in the name of forgiveness or mercy. Even Bernie does this. But what I want to explore here is whether justice has become sense-making? I think Americans in their deep mind control bubble crave sense-making. They are confused, afraid and overworked. Their “education,” their language, their intellectual preoccupation with sex (including gender), are all reductionist. I generally try to approach this problem by looking at the logical positivist project to refine language and how that reduces larger things like houses, feelings, and communities into talk of a smaller, more atomized reality. So I focus on vagueness in my work because people in America badly need a way to synthesize information, houses, feelings, communities, etc. The effect of the English language is felt in everything else.

But vagueness is the linguistic approach; how to move to a political approach? I think people lean on Communication as the field where the neolibral “individual” can link hands with others to form a political community, the same way electrons link atoms, and the mind senses a great synthesis of atoms into a house. Even if that same mind doesn’t believe in things anymore, being told that everything is actually atoms, or subatomic particles, or quanta, etc. I originally approached the problem linguistically because it seems more fundamental. Some of us are not bilingual and HAVE to think in English. I remember the large shift of my mind out of English when I was immersed in Spanish as a teenager. Its not a shift between English and Spanish; it is a shift that allows thinking without language.

Communication is dominated by media. Elite People like Anand Giridharadas write things for the New York Times and try to make the argument that we shouldn’t listen to just anybody of the

114 percent of Americans now having their own podcast, it is not easy to choose the one with the best title. But I’d go with the journalist Chris Hayes’s “Why Is This Happening?”
(Why do Trump Supporters Support Trump?)
Were there a German word for emotion-question (and it turns out there is), that title may be our era’s Gefühlsfrage. As people reel from crisis to crisis, outrage to outrage, this Gefühlsfrage hangs in the air and creates space for writers.

The urgent desire to regroup the atomized communities and their podcasts to the tune of the New York Times is evident here. Not that the New York Times wants us to really regroup, just enough for us to keep coming to them for their information-framing. Actually, we need space for the common writer, and Mr. Giridharadas’ attempt to rhetorically close that space is unhealthy politically. We need synthesis but not to the tune of the elite bringing us more Barack Obamas and Hillary Clintons, which are, unfortunately, the optimistic outcomes. So I offered vagueness because it is a recognized form of synthesis from the most rigorous mathematical logic, to scientific (as error) settings, all the way through to poetry, connecting disparate disciplines.

In terms of politics instead of academic disciplines, we need another concept for synthesis. Justice seems to be the general answer to the Gefühlsfrage, but what is justice? Not a question I am prepared to answer, but I will make a guess that it is what is best for the state, in the same way we have an idea what is best for ourselves, we extend that to the state, and that is justice.  One of the oldest senses of justice was “Eye for an eye” which involves taking action in a symmetrical way to how we have been wronged. The many senses of the over-worked concept of justice allows it to generally sound like a good idea to the atomized American. To some of us, justice means: if there is a problem, if we have been wronged, the “answer” is an action that hurts the wrong-doer in like kind. This kind of justice is obviously unachievable, there are many wrong doings that have no symmetrical punishment (unless you are completely taken in by capitalism), but I think this old, violent, barbaric definition of justice resonates with the beleaguered people of America. Americans feel wronged, and justice is how to act on the world so that it makes sense, a very material sense.

Justice is the proposed answer. Just look at the amount of work in a court case, to accomplish a minuscule amount of worldly justice. Its plainly not worth it. What is the goal of Justice? Any real-world event is too complex to set “right”, and there are too many injustices. Only the ones that get attention are addressed, so every thought on how we have been wronged is clamoring for a like or a share, etc. We get one thing right, after great outcry, what next? There are too many things wrong, and that is the way it will always be. How much is unjustly getting cancer worth? Being cured of cancer?

For politics, I would propose another concept, that does no cutting out people’s eyes: the concept is Rhetoric, and in this case, I direct you to Deirdre McCloskey‘s works. Western philosophy tries to block up rhetoric as something for the sophist who isn’t interested in the truth, as if the truth and its persuasiveness could be separated. Truth is not harsh, no matter how many times the news mechanically spits out “the harsh truth,” Truth is sweet, unless your mind is not prepared to receive it. And sweet words express the truth best. There is no separating Truth from its natural sweetness (and Dierdre agrees, read her wonderfully brief book on writing!). Rhetoric has a natural role in expressing the Truth.

Rhetoric also can be found in the foundations of classical logic as I explain here, and runs the gamut to poetry as well. Rhetoric is tied inextricably with expressing the truth, so it is like a space for writers to fill, a question that can’t ever quite be answered. “How do I properly express the truth?”

The pursuit of rhetoric is the truth. Technically a fool’s pursuit: to put Truth into language. However, that does not mean the direct experience of Truth is impossible.

The Fool’s Song

I tried to put a bird in a cage.
O fool that I am!
For the bird was Truth.
Sing merrily, Truth: I tried to put
Truth in a cage!

And when I had the bird in the cage,
O fool that I am!
Why, it broke my pretty cage.
Sing merrily, Truth: I tried to put
Truth in a cage!

And when the bird was flown from the cage,
O fool that I am!
Why, I had nor bird nor cage.
Sing merrily, Truth: I tried to put
Truth in a cage!
Heigh-ho! Truth in a cage.

by William Carlos Williams

Pursuing truth with language leads to other mental means of pursuing it. Language is like a ladder that is kicked away in order to have the Vision of Truth. I can attest that Truth is there to break through to. On the other hand, worldly justice is just never going to happen. Sense-making in terms of Justice means never-ending confusion. Seeking Truth earnestly will lead to real understanding.