討論逐字稿 for Becoming Workshop 6: Cash or Credit

This is the transcript and notes to our sixth Hands-on Philosophy workshop at Becoming, "Cash or Credit?".
The transcript below actually starts at the end of the discussion with the Concluding Statements, which was where all the participants in the discussion made a statement on something they understood during the class or answering one or some of the questions provided for focus.

After the concluding statements are the notes and transcript from the first part of the class.


Concluding Statements:
I want to say that during the time I grow up, I always take what others say to me, seriously, and people always say, just be yourself, but how can I not take into account about what others think of me. So this is related to eh first question, but still the other, what my friends and parents told me, that you're independent. You don't have to take others opinion into consideration, just be yourself, and do whatever you like to doe. And based on what we were talking about, we still need to cooperate, and adapt to society. And a few months ago, culture to cultural relations adapting can be separated into three part. Adapt, accept, and change
Accept is you know what you’re doing to do, but you wouldn't do it yourself. You acknowledge
Tolerance ?
Not the same!
Tolerance is holding your nose. Acceptance is just being okay with it.
Tolerance is pushing your feelings down for the sake of something.
And sometimes it bursts out
And acceptance is really being okay with it.

First, we've been discussion what's independence, are they really independent, can they get independent and self-interest, is it like, something that can be separated from the network of relationships? First I have a question for that, define independence. Obviously it's not possible to be independent as a human being, you have to eat, sleep, breathe, do a lot of things that are basic to your life, that only happen because you’re in the environment. You're already dependent on the environment. We're still bounded by the laws of the universe. Because you already have all those constraints, safe walls to keep you away from animals and predators, so you need people to make you something to eat, to build your house, to build your bed, you need other people to do it for you. Or you can do it by yourself, but you have to be a one-man army that can build, bake, farm and do everything. So that's why we gather as community, we share the responsibilities, one guy does the baking, one guy does the farming, no one has to be on their own like one-man village. That's how communities grow, how relationships grow. You can be enemies with the baker, but you still need him to survive. You have to make friends with him, you don't want him to piss on your bread! So you cannot be separate from self interest, because your biggest self interest is staying alive. Everything else is an improvement on staying alive. If you want more in your life, you have to expand your network. It's not possible to split it away. To break free of the maze of relationships and act out of self interest.
I'm thinking that, how do you prove you exist when you don't have any relationship.
You have friends, therefore you am.
So there exist that kind of people that make other people angry, because they want to make people know they exist, like north Korea.
Like the cartoon, Kim Il Jong sings 'I’m so lonely'.
But some there are still people who are comfortable that they're there, and don't need others.
Some people go out into the woods and rough it, and sometimes succeed. They found a man who had been living in the woods by himself for 27 years with no human contact. He stole things and survival tools.
But he still needed the world!
He had animals for company!
The arrested him for 27 years of theft
But what torture for him! It's the opposite of jail.

My closing is shorter this time. I agree with jj's comments about the impossibility of independence from relationships, because you need other people to survive, if only their possessions. You need friends to prove you are there, no man's an island. And regarding the two quotes, how the second quote merges with the first quote. Self interest is always possible, but you have to suppress your self interest to an extent. But independence is possible when you're liberated from the maze, you can't leave the relationships, but you don't have to think of it as a maze, a challenge, an oppression. Not just I have to find my way out of here. It can be nourishing. It's about how you think about the relationships, and that's how your identity is born.
Is it a maze or.
More like a room of flowers.

I agree with his comment before, I think people cannot live without relationships in society. Because we are born with people, how can you live without…. It's not possible to live with people without building relationships, for example, it’s much easier to live in a community to live with people in relationships, than living by yourself. Like he said, a man could live by himself, but 27 years he has to steal things, all the time, for his life, and build up his own accommodation.
And eventually people started leaving him canned goods, so that he wouldn't have to break in to steal things.
But if you stand at his side, you'd say he’s so struggling for his life for 27 years, maybe he can't have a good sleep in the night, he might be eaten by animals in the forest. We people find it's easier to gather together, to build community, to have houses, transactions, hospitals to find doctors. We are used to this, and we think, you were born to seek for building relationships with each other, it's human beings original nature. Animals have the same things, lions gather together.

I think human identity lies in the sum of their relationships of their lives might create prejudice on the people you know. If before you know someone, you know their background, like if you know this kids parents are professors, or janitors, that will be different, and that will create prejudice or bias in the way we look at them.
That's true. I want to say, bias, maybe assumptions.
Maybe racism.
And bigotry of all forms



Transcript to the first part of the workshop:
Cash

How do you feel about cash? What is your personal attitude toward it?
Is it good? 1 bad? Neutral? Necessary. 1 necessary evil 1 convenient 1
All of the above 1
It's dangerous sometimes
If people know you have a lot of cash you'll be in danger. You could lose your life because you have a lot of cash.
Does cash mean money here, because in the dictionary, money in any form, paper coins, or anything that can be used for trading.
For the purposes of today, cash is not credit.
It's the thing you hand over physically
It's the medium of exchange
So then cash is unstable. Because in this world the money rate, it changes.
Necessary?
Because you need that to make a transaction.
No transaction without it,
Nowadays!
Necessary evil?
It's not necessarily evil, but the thing is within the system we're living right now? It gets stuck into pools. The richer someone is, the richer they get, the poorer, the poorer. A magnet thing. I'm not sure this is relevant to cash. It's more about wealth, than cash. Because cash is the material incarnation of wealth.
It's a representation
From this sense cash makes it possible to steal.
You can't steal credit, but you can steal cash
3 cows, 2 chickens, I will notice if you steal it. But now you can play a trick on me, and get my money, and then I lost it.
If your neighbour suddenly has another cow, everyone knows. But if he ate the cow.

In the 9th century, the Mediterranean Islamic trade, they felt that risk is part of investment, that investing without risk you're kind of an asshole, and that making money for the sake of making money is illegitimate as a purpose. According to the debt book.


Cash is….

If it's only using that ends, what did the merchants do?
They used credit.
By the way, the last example is from the 15-17th century Britain.

I'm a bit confused about cold cash
Why is it cold?
Yeah
I really don't know why, but it's about saying that there's no human relations
It's about an indifferent relation between people, I hand this to you, no hard feelings, kind of neutral
So if I donate money to the church out of warm heart, that wouldn't be cold cash
No! I guess that would be warm cash.

So family members don't use cash
We'll get to that below

So the author of the book feels cash is inferior to credit.
That's interesting that you say that, I guess that's true. Accordng to him, cash, armies, central government all go together.
Cash is for a lot of people, but credit is for a small group of people, but it's hard to coordinate for a large group of people. It makes me think of an ancient Chinese philosopher who said the smaller the country the better it is.
It's like Taiwan and china, Taiwan is working, and china is not
China is so huge and has so many ethnic groups, and to combine them all together, they need a central government. That's why they can't let go and make it a democracy. To make it simple, it's a huge point, it's why we had emperors for a long time. It's why we educate our offspring in that way. To make people unite.
A social structure to link people together.
So the history kind of bounces forward and back, to unite people together, and make it a balance.


How do you feel about credit? What is your personal attitude toward it?
Is it good? Bad? Neutral?
I still think credit is changeable, and it depends on feeling.
To me as an artist I would say that credit is a wonderful thing!
What's the reason!
Because in the world we're living in now, cash is really the first value for exchange of anything, and artists don't get that much cash. People keep thinking that artists can live out of their passion, just by loving what they do, and I’ve had this discussion with a lot of people who ask me to work for free, oh, can you draw this for me, can you make this animation! We'll give you your name on it, spread your name!
'We'll give you credit'
Hahaha
But I cannot eat the fact that you're spreading my name.
That's a joke, but it's actually quite serious. They're giving me credit, they'll publicise your name, so you can get other jobs, and then maybe some jobs. So it could be a credit that's going on and on and on, and maybe the next person says, 'I’ll introduce you to some other guys'. So credit could be useful, if it wasn't just a bunch of promises for the future
There has to be something of value behind the credit
Like help me eat, and help me sleep under the roof! I'm an artist, and also a human being

So that's the positive thought. But there's a negative way, that you are kidnapped by credit. People want to reach that kind of credit so they will do something like cheating, you cheat by getting credit.

I would say the variable range of credit is much more than cash.
You can manipulate it?
Like he mentioned, you can get credit for the name on the screen, for the reputation.
Literally a credit
So if he became famous from the credit, it's a lot, it's huge. But sometimes, they give you credit but it's useless.
Most of the time, when you finish the movie. You don't stay for the credits
Cash is fixed, you get a specific amount of money, and you use that for other transactions, and it's hard to make it bigger, but credit can be made bigger
Credit is stretchable! It could be as big as the seller is good at speaking.
Because it's abstract
Or because it's based on human relations
It's abstract because you cannot touch it, and so there's a huge range for expanding.
It's based on human relations because it depends on the people negotiating
So credit is possible to be manipulated
Yes! It is! And so is money but in different ways.
And it makes it harder to control. Because the people who control the knowledge to manipulate, they know how to make the people think what the credit is.

Credit now and credit then, different! Difference is interest
Back then it was a face to face community, it was face to face contact, based on intimate community relationship, now it's a faceless predatory enterprise.
And the difference is interest.
Is he talking about what we just said, that's hard to know who all the people are when the community is so big.
Not just about size, but size is related to it, the book describes [gold from the Americas etc.]

[woods story]
No credit and get 2 million!


But insofar as they are communities at all, they are necessarily founded on a ground of mutual aid.
Is it not community if they're not helping each other?
I've never thought about this before.

If people are not helping each other, what are they gathering for?
To me, I don't necessarily they really have to help each other. Not intentionally at least. Just sharing their presence in a group. People are doing their own thing. People in a community are doing their various skills, but because they're good at what they do, everyone can enjoy their presence.
So it is helpful
But not directly. It's not like, you need help, I’m going to help.
I think at the very beginning of forming a community, it's like about being like-minded, and hanging out together, and then they find out that people might need help, and they provide help. Community is not formed mainly to help each other.
But help happens from it
Yes, just naturally it happens.
I think that community always has some purpose, and then help is a side-effect.
They have the broader goal, and then goes to a lower level. Community has to start off as a purpose that's greater than any individual.


Having read all that, what would you say is the difference between cash and credit?
Cash is cash, it 's a value instrument, and credit is more of a judgement on someone's character. It's a moral examination analysis of the person, now it's just, can you pay me back or not. Nowadays, being in debt is considered immoral. Credit is about judging a person's worthiness
Like the value of a person.
Not like what they're worth, or it can be, but can I do business with them, will they be able to pay me back. Before it was like, are you a good farmer/blacksmith, so I’ll extend credit because you're worthy.
You're not going to do business with a guy who owes a lot of debt.
Yeah
Because now, credit is kind of objectified, where as then it was more about word of mouth. But yes, it still has some kind of judgement of who you're facing, who you're doing business with.

According to ‘debt’, money is theivable, credit is not. Money is an object without a history and credit is by definition a relationship.
Mostly true, you can't pull a knife and say, give me all your credit. But in the virtual or impersonal credit era that we are now, credit can be easily manipulated
Yes
Libor! The banks in London that were manipulating and monitoring the interest rates in all the major markets. They were supposed to be maintaining stability, but they were manipulating it.
Credit is flexible and money isn't
Credit is expandable/contractible
Stretchable
Something just happened in my head. I work in the centre of the school, and we're going to hold a conference, so we're negotiating with a hotel. The hotel give us 2100 for a meal and room? But now it's 2300. And the boss thinks they're changing. The price rose in November. The boss says, you said 2100, and so you should stick to it. I agreed to that price, and now you raise it, and you didn't even notify me. The salesperson must have been informed before, and should of negotiated. He thinks the hotel should eat the cost. He said, there's a trust between the hotel and the centre, so I trust you, and now you raise the price, so you lose credit in my eyes, so I’m not going to use you for future business. And he also said the amount of money is not fixed, the price is just a number, but we're not going to make this business on that number. The number only exist when the negotiation is complete. In this case there's credit things, and there is, I don’t exactly know what my boss means. The price, before the business is done, every price is I just a number.
But after the business is done it's an agreed upon value
A feeling
A feeling?
The guy at the hotel, after agreeing on the 2100, after that they change their minds and it's 2300. Because the contract was sealed, when you do business like this, it's going to make you a bad reputation, you're changing the terms of the deal without notifying the opposite party. So like that they shot themselves in the foot, because the other person is not going to trust them again anymore. And you just lost a customer. Short term profit vs. Long term profit. You want shorter, you don't get long
I want to add when we asked the price in October, it was a price quote
We had 7 days to agree to it.
Then you guys are in the wrong
But my boss said that the hotel gave him a bad impression. He wanted to change, but the hotel said we'd make the price
So the hotel used the relationship to make him trust them, and they changed the buffet selection in November.
You didn't agree within the 7 days, then you didn't lock it in.
But he said it's about feeling
Actually he's not wrong either.
This is like the Indian vs. Chinese video.


We're hitting a big nail here. You're saying this is old-school negotiations, and nowadays, new school everything is written down and you cannot change it, but the people who wrote these things down, are the old school, they can change it at will actually, they control it at the top, but when you want to change it they say, but it's written down you have to pay it!

Achewood

So, what’s your emotional reaction to any of these statements?
Do you agree with any of them?
Do you disagree with any of them?
It is a very powerful emotional response. He's not a nihilist, but it is a cold realism. It does have to do with his circumstances (10 years civil war) but people have always known the dark side of human nature, worst impulses. Life without a strong ruler is 'nasty brutish and short'. People will just pillage and kill each other unless there is a big power. I think there is truth to that.
And Calvin talks about evilness of man, but he's like god is the leviathan, he takes care of everything, and you’re probably going to hell anyways. But they both thought that man was evil
Um, to me it's more like, it's not about Hobbes, its about most philosophers as a whole. Every philosopher is trying to make a sum of mankind, or find a truth or pattern of how mankind is working or thinking, but every philosopher has the same limits, their environment. Kingdom? Dictatorship? At peace, at war? Their view depends so much on place or time they're living in. Hobbes is pretty much a realist, he's been through a lot of turbulent era. He got his fair share of mankind’s lowest of the lowest of the low, so he's very cynical, he sees no hope. But I’d say I agree with him to a certain point, but I disagree, there's always exceptions.
I want to add that Hobbes is dead accurate abut a significant part of human nature, but there's more to human nature than that.
I need help to associate what he said to my real life. What's the relationship between his words to my life, so I don't have an emotional reaction. But if there's enough resources, so the human will be willing to share.
That's what I was thinking, a background situation that's not about authority , but is about having enough.
And there's a problem of allocation. And the government is created for making the allocation fair. But it's not about me, because I don't lock anything in my family, we share everything. Maybe I’m lucky.
[artificial lack in capitalism, background situation really matters]

I think I agree with his statement about people are driven by self interest. That is because we don't actually know what other people think totally. We only, the only think we can totally 100 percent trust is ourselves.. So I can understand why he said you lock your possessions in boxes between families. I think even between family members you can't totally trust each other, because you don't know them totally, or how they might react with something, you cannot predict. There's some unpredicatabilities even between family members.
Otherwise we wouldn't have soap operas
That's also what makes relationships interesting. If you know people totally it's not fun!
[laughter]

I have a lot of things in my mind but don't know how to organise my ideas. I agree with what she just said. People are complicated. We don't know, even ourselves, how we will react in certain circumstances. Sometimes you do something and afterwards you just don't know why at that moment why you have that insane behaviour. So trust issue is the main issue. You don't know how to trust people because that kind of thing just happens. And I just want to say about cash and credit. I think, there's one thing, that are similar to each other. The trust issue there. The cash is a one-time transaction, and then it's done. But if there is trust there, then there' possibility for the second and fourth transaction afterwards. Credit is something you use in advance, or you save for the future. You do something good, and there might be some good things happen in the future for you. You help someone, and in the future someone might help you back
So credit is the western version of karma.

Just like you, you judge the person according to what friends they have. Me too



























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