Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Politics as Theater

A specific namespace in the educators community includes STEM, for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.  It's really not all that powerful an acronym in that it doesn't define any college department structure.  More it rolls off the tongue, is easy to say, and so serves as a shorthand.

From Andrew Hacker, author of The Math Myth, I picked up PATH has whatever is not STEM (~STEM).  Remember the C.P. Snow Chasm, the gulf that had opened between the sciences and the humanities, or liberal arts?  PATH would, for me, become Philosophy, Anthropology, Theater and History.

Now as with STEM, the gluons (glue particles) are such that these don't really come apart.  We can pretend Science is atomic, independent of Technology but of course it's not.  These letters stand for co-definitional things.  Likewise with PATH:  everything Philosophical partakes of the other three, and so on.

What I want to zoom in on here though, is Politics, where does it go?  The exercise is to shoehorn everything into STEM or PATH, as a mental exercise.  Answer:  under Theater.  Politics is a form of theater.  And what about war?

The conventional grammar has it that when politics, meaning diplomacy, fails, we get war.  What this grammar overlooks are all the political and diplomatic tricks aimed at sparking war, not preventing it, but that's another story.

Anyway, war is mostly engineering.  It's a demolition science.  There's psychology involved, which is Science and Anthropology.  Indeed, Anthropology, being a science, belongs with STEM as well as PATH, which is why STEM becomes STEAM and then we intersect the two, as if playing Scrabble.  You might say we could intersect on the T instead, but I'm saying the A stands for the same thing in this crossword puzzle, whereas T is for Theater and Technology respectively.



Politics includes many tropes, pomp and circumstance, large gatherings, intimate interviews, meetings behind closed doors.  A lot of the action is "off stage" as it were, yet we have a sense of the stage, or multiple stages.  Just about all that goes on could be considered Theater, with History what Theater leaves in its wake:  recorded performances.  That's the raw material anyway.  Then come the movie and media critics (historians).

To get more Hegelian about it, we might suppose a Logic (folded into STEM, say under M) that more or less determines what happens, per the laws of Making Sense (which degrades into various money-oriented language games once the cameras are rolling).  History supposedly traces our building of God's Kingdom or some Promised Land.  We'd like to think so.  Enter Philosophy and teleology.

What do we mean by "teleology" anyway?  Synergetics Dictionary says something about "voltage pressure".  We can leave for some other discussion more of an investigation into what that all means.  We'll consult a number of philosophers.  Theologians may weigh in.