What is Symbolic Order?

With the influx of new visitors to this site we have decided to put up a clear and easily discovered explanation of this siteís motives, creators, and goals.

Symbolic Order tries to follow its slightly facetious tag line, ìPolitics and Culture for Smart People.î What is supremely different about SO is our desire to encourage productive, meaningful debate about controversial topics. This desire is, in fact, the paramount concern of SO.

Aaron and I met while attending the University of Colorado at Boulder. The class was an exciting, interesting English course centering on applying literary criticism to works of Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I was a Philosophy major who had spent all my life as a philosopher. Aaron was an English major who had grown up in an intellectually stimulating environment with a PhD holder for a father and a younger, mathematically gifted brother.

However, when we first met we disagreed sharply on many, if not most, issues. What ensued were many solid months of pure discussion. Essentially, we found that, although we disagreed vehemently on the matters we discussed we did not disagree that meaningful, productive debate was possible, desirable, and fun.

Soon this website was developed. It has seen many looks and formats. It has seen many stories and authors. However, throughout its existence its purpose has remained the same ñ to engender productive, respectful and fun discussion. As Aaron and I disagreed, and disagree, on many issues we found that our respective opinions were inconsequential to sharing a like-minded view of the nature, and enjoyment, of productive, positive discussion. Therefore, towards this site, your opinions are not important but your attitude is. If you donít want to seriously discuss and defend your positions then this site isnít for you.

In the coming months expect to see a few things. First a slight design change. Second, hopefully, more authors (if you are interested and feel you meet the criteria email Aaron or me with a sample). Third, I am starting an ongoing series of critical analysis of thinkers with whom I disagree. First will be Noam Chomsky and my reading and commentary on his book ìProfit Over People.î Others will follow. Also, the SO book club is an attempt to engender interesting discussion on a provocative book chosen each month. This discussion will be carried out in the forums and hopefully will yield some positive results. Furthermore, both Aaron and I are attempting to use feedback from the users of SO to build upon theories/ideas that we are individually working out. There will be periodic postings on the main page with special forums set aside to continue the discussion. Aaron’s section is called “Natural Theory” whereas mine, which will soon be up, is called “The Philosophy of Belief and Ideology.” Of course, expect new essays and posts on many topics from Aaron and me, and from our collection of very intelligent denizens.

Thank you very much for dropping by. The commentary on the stories is active and we always have our discussion forums to talk about whatever you like. If you like what you see stick around and maybe we can all get smarter because of itÖ


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4 Responses to What is Symbolic Order?

  1. Hayder Al-Mohammad says:

    This is a brilliant site. I’m new to it. I think this is a great place where one can have stimulating discussions and learn a lot more about things that are important.

    I don’t know as much as most people, but I am really interested. People should not be rude if somebody is not as bright, or if people do not agree. I like your project Mr Powell, et al.

  2. Pointyflakes says:

    I agree, i like this site and am glad to find people who will think things through for themselves, and are willing to discuss/explain their positions.
    Hayder Al-Mohammad, seems like you know more than me. I honestly remember very little from my single philosphy course, but it really isn’t a problem how much anyone knows here as long as they’re willing to listen and discuss.
    Something Kid Woof Woof is appearantly unable and unwilling to do. I’m glad he is effectively gone, since I doubt he’ll ever be able to calm down enough to post a real argument, but at the same time I’m sad to see him go. It was because of him that I was able to write a poem, the first in a long time. Not very good, of course, but still it was a start. I think I’d like to use his statements if ever I write a book, since they demonstrate wonderfully the state of “intellectualism” and “academism” these days. He attacks and attacks, smug that he is a great destroyer without ever realized the difficulty of creation. His statements merit nothing, and waylay any intelligent discussion. I would have ignored him, but since he felt obliged to enlighten us on every topic simple ignorance would be unfeasable, and the intent of this site defeated. His knowledge of words is impressive, though his use of them less so. His only statement is “look how pathetic and meaningless you all are, and how enlightened and wondrous I am,” only phrased many different ways. He has no answer to why he matters, why his ideas matter, why anyone should listen, any answers to any questions at all. He is intellectually bankrupt, having given up ever having any answers. I desire that no other like him should come here. If I wanted to hear his idiocy, I would walk about a university campus or coffeehouse.
    So, I guess my point is, no more idiots, thanks for creating this site.
    I apologize for the rantlike nature of this post, it’s just fools like that give a bad name to intelligent debate, and I believe intelligent debate is of utmost importance in the forging of ideas.

  3. mulalu says:

    I for one have enjoyed the kid’s posts…he brings with him an air of death or deathliness…and although I don’t agree with him, he provides a c-c-consititive outside and makes the site more interesting…he even inspired pointylakes to poetry. I think we’re all adults and we should be allowed to make up our own minds about his branch of cod-philosophy rather than being nannied nad protected from his words and the d-d-deathly cold of his (mostly second rate) thought. As Volosoniv said signs are naturally polysemic and where their meaning is restriced we have to look to the power operating behind the sign. For the kid that’s patently death…but I detect something even more sinister/utilitarain ‘brand’ behind the administrator’s heavy handed and slighty patronising attitude.

  4. mulalu says:

    I’ve been lurking here for a while…perhaps 7 or 8 weeks now…but was not moved to post until kid woof woof came on the scene (derivative name by the way…just read Proust). The site came alive and seemed vital…I hope he comes back soon and is not put off by everyone’s negative comments.

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