Intrapersonal Communication in the Division of Labour: An Allegory

The original title of this piece was: A Manifesto promulgated for the purposes of enumerating the Order and Evolution of Intrapersonal Communication in the determination of the Division of Labour.


In dedication to

DAVID JOSEPH BOHM

The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner opposite, the world must perforce act out the conflict.

JUNG


ALL YE FORTHCOME—let us now appropriate Hilbert, and endeavour to wonder: oh, the division of labour! No other question has ever moved so profoundly the spirit of man; no other idea has so fruitfully stimulated his intellect; yet no other concept stands in greater need of clarification than that of the division of labour. It is nothing short of a miracle that the progress of society has become the certain if not involuntary concern of the individual. In contrast to primitive collective organisation, where each strives for his own self-sufficiency, his own preservation, today the individual strives for their own society’s self-sufficiency, their own society’s preservation. He distinguishes himself from others, breaking his association with the whole of nature, and the continuity that marks his soul. The individual has become merely the fragment of a structure, no longer instantiating the part of a whole.

From sunrise to sunset, beginning to end, cradle to grave, needs—of water, shelter, food, clothing, and procreation—animate and nourish human enterprise and activity. In the state of nature, the productive capacity of humankind only just exhausts such categorical needs. However, this is of little concern to the steward of the state of nature, as she is all-embracing and at one with her body and her mind, unconcerned with conceptions of the individual, instead aware she is continuous with the earth and others, partaking of, and participating in, the unbroken, undivided circle abiding life.

1. Varied language and varied speech: chaos underpinned by order

And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.

Genesis 11: 1

In this state of nature, the whole earth is not of one language, and not of one speech, but of varied language, and varied speech. No guiding state or structure prevails beyond those preserved and conferred by elders. Granted, these stabilising traditions are geared toward the cultivation of the culture and its attendant living parts. For these reasons, intrapersonal communication—the language that counts, the dialogue occurring inwardly—accords in being of one language, and of one speech, in the dispersed and aimless state of being in nature. The inner situation of this condition cannot therefore be made conscious because the language for it does not yet exist: it happens instead outside, as fate. This is the vivid sense in which primitive association is characterised by chaos founded upon order, and the grave sense in which advanced industrial organisation is characterised by order founded upon chaos, the very latter diabolical state of outward unity implied by the passage cited heretofore. An inversion therefore pervades the nexus that binds culture, communication, and the organisation of society. When culture is stabilising and stabilised, intrapersonal communication is undivided and unaligned. When culture is destabilising and destabilised, intrapersonal communication is divided yet aligned.

2. First settlement of the first peoples of the division of labour

And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.

Genesis 11: 2

Therefore when two, or three, or four, or more, parts of the whole of the state of nature conspire together and say: Now I am become Individual, Destroyer of Culture, Maker of Structure, they journey from the north, and find a plain in the south, and dwell there. The eight corners of the land surrender to the four corners of the city. The wonder of the rise of the sun from the heavens and the majesty of its retreat into the depths passes into to the hope of its rise from the east and the despair of its retreat into the west.  In such a manner, kinship with the land, and to each other, is extinguished, superseded by intolerance of the whole and fragmentation of the parts, a revolution exacted for the sake of progress. Therefore has culture hitherto struggled against progress, for progress has hitherto plundered culture.

3. The division begins: development of the implements that bring it into being

And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter.

Genesis 11: 3

So accordingly does the individual dominate the whole of nature and call forth from it a fragmented structure, which he refers to not as the world but as the environment, because he no longer partakes of the world, is no longer continuous with it, but is external to it, lives within it, and is separated from it. In such a way does this development awaken the underlying structural forces of the order and evolution of the determination of this division of labour. However, before such a goal of material progress is ever conceived, it is first preceded by the development of the implements that bring it into being. In fact, it is the very development of such devices which arouse the progressive interests of their creators: long before the ships Onassis owned ended up owning him, formations as various as stone and morter crush men as men had long ago crushed them.

4. The division matures: environment vs the void

And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

Genesis 11: 4

Casting forever asunder their bind with the whole and the living, the men and women of the world fragment it into two, proclaiming it is one. This side, they determine, will be called environment, for it advances the cause of the division of labour. That side, they determine, will be called the void, for it advances the will of the state of nature. In so doing they beget a tower from a porch, a city from a house, a structure from a fragment: man’s thought about himself comes to define himself. Accordingly does human civilisation embed in its identity a microcosm of reality, a memory of a thought, a pale imitation of life, and a way of communicating that is intractably surface and derivative. Yet this insistence in parodying the past, leads us to immortalise the ephemeral, nursing a monster we cannot restrain. As has once been remarked, the different accidents of life are not so changeable as the feelings of human nature.

5. The division re-conceived: anticipation of its destruction

And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.

Genesis 11: 5

Having builded, though not completed, the structure conceived in the name of making a name for itself, humankind breathes in the scent of its conceited toil, and exhales out the terror of its dream. Today we find our bearings, as our ancestors did theirs, gazing out to the desert plains, glimpsing the sprouting land that lay beyond, and wonder: what would think our fathers, the stewards of the state of nature? What would think the wretched custodians of vain culture? But before too long, as sure as night follows day, one abiding culture is exchanged for a promiscuous other, as the evolution of the division of labour supersedes the immutability of the state of nature. The vision of the outward eye betrays the dialogue of the inward soul, as the transformed children of men betray their fathers, the descendants of God.

6. Reaching the summit: order founded by chaos

And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

Genesis 11: 6

The suppressed current carrying the primeval flow gushes through the river and into the air where recurs the wind of change, blowing through the city of the fragmented tower. Now with a chaotic voice, and common sound, the people compel the dialogue of the unconscious that it may manifest the division of the structure, and found order upon chaos. They challenge the unassailable, achieve the impossible, reach the impermissible.

7. The division overwhelmed: decoherence

Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.

Genesis 11: 7

The weight of the whole overwhelms the fragmentation of the parts and combines the two so that they become one. No longer is the inner situation made conscious—it happens now outside, as fate. As the insurgency carried by The Individual emerges spontaneously at the apex of the Old World, so does the decoherence mechanism—inversion of the language, ascendancy of the law—emerge spontaneously at the summit of the tower. Such revolutions undoubtedly only originate with such people and in such places because they are the only parts intelligent enough, ideal enough—sufficiently disconnected with the reality existing—to challenge the whole from which they derive. Today, in like manner, we must force that which is hidden to become exposed, imposing division’s inward will on hitherto intractable fate.

8. Return to the state of nature: chaos founded by order

So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.

Genesis 11: 8

That which is concentrated becomes diluted, that which is fragment becomes part, and that which is structure becomes whole. The inhabitants of the city toil no longer building the tower, but now in its stead the city it adorns. As they leave off to build the city, not of one language, and not of one speech, but of varied language, and of varied speech, we must likewise leave off to build the land, summon again its dormant spirits, and once more join the circle abiding life. We must realise now as they realised then, the grave indispensability of intrapersonal communication, of the coherent dialogue of the inward self, in properly determining the division of labour, for today we risk an antecedent situation, the reliving of the tale of the children of men, who, in their toils and unending tribulations, could not be saved from themselves, as the tower they had builded, in which they had lied, trembled from within, and teetered from without.

Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

Genesis 11: 9

THE END.

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