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Insides and Outsides

Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Animate Nature

Insides and Outsides by Maxine Sheets-Johnstone
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This book brings together diverse aspects of animate nature, diverse not only in terms of animate nature itself, but in terms of areas of study. Indeed, the book lives up to the word "interdisciplinary" in its title. It brings together diverse academic perspectives within each chapter and across chapters, showing in each instance that scientific understandings of animate nature are — or can be — complementary to philosophical understandings. Thus insides and outsides, typically viewed as subjective vs objective, mind vs body, and self vs other, are shown to be woven together in complex and subtle ways in the complexities and subtleties of animate life itself.
There are and ever have been only two essential models of government: minority rule of all types (labelled "oligocracy") and regimes in which power is concentrated in the hands of a single individual (labelled "monocracy").
Vaunted democracies are in reality either oligocracies or monocracies. The present-day "democracies" of Britain and the United States are in reality composite oligocracies made up of several disparate elements. Oligocracies are by definition regimes with a high degree of inequality, but with variable levels of liberty. Oligocracy and inequality are the "default" features of human society.
Equality is unattainable except by a radical monocracy like Fidel Castro's Cuba, and then only with difficulty and at the expense of liberty and probably of lives as well. Equality of opportunity must not be equated with equality. Equality of opportunity means an equal opportunity to become unequal. Paradoxically, however, for genuine equality of opportunity to exist there has to be equality — which is practically unattainable.
For genuine freedom of expression to exist there also needs to be equality, because the little man standing on his soap-box and shouting his lungs out at Speaker's Corner in London's Hyde Park cannot compete with the media moguls — which is why genuine freedom of expression is rare.
Once these truths are recognised, it becomes clear that for one state to attempt regime change in a foreign country is likely to be futile.
Andrews UK; October 2016
434 pages; ISBN 9781845409104
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Title: Insides and Outsides
Author: Maxine Sheets-Johnstone