Monday, 4 June 2012

On 'Potential':

Women typically mistake potential for actual.  They may own a cookery book and mistake possession of the book for actual knowledge.  They may own a guitar and mistake the option of learning how to play it for actually knowing how to play it.  They may know someone who knows how to speak a foreign language and mistake that for personally knowing how to speak the language.  There could be some overlap on the last one with tribalism, and association: i.e. knowing someone, or being part of a collective/tribe means that you are effectively that person, thus have the same knowledge as they.  Its more akin to a herd mentality, where the individual is unable to distinguish themselves from the rest of the herd, thus assume that know or possess either a thing or piece of information because someone else in the herd knows it  (or is reputed to know it).

Potential/latency is having the option to do something, but not yet have actualised that goal/intention.  Thus, individuals who fail to distinguish between the two never actually end up doing anything.  They simply assume, after witnessing another person do it, that they can do it to.

From Weininger:
As in the Jew there are the greatest possibilities, so also in him are the meanest actualities; he is adapted to most things and realises fewest.
page 217[200]


Reference:
Weininger O. (1906). 'Sex and Character', William Heinemann, London.

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