m of care – jan 5

debt (book)david graeber – part 6 – ch 7


notes/quotes from 1 hour video:

steve: ch 7 on honor and degradation.. on history and now have structures of violence built around exposes debt et al.. rooted in the violence of estate.. starts with honor as lynchpin of structure of violence.. enslavement and markets.. today called global capitalism .. so he begins honor to show how system came to be.. he shows patriarchy has a history and if we want to understand system os social obligation that is disguise by money.. have to go back to patriarchy.. ie: patriarchal/fatherly honor.. that markets have produced over time a moral dilemma in fathers.. because creation of money/value .. how to prevent someone w money from seizing or luring away my daughter/sister/wife.. who i’ve come to believe are mine.. markets/violence/enslavement not nature.. but when 3 come together form impersonalization that allow for legacy, private properties, armies.. etc..

steve: p177 – quote.. if someone does have money.. how to prevent them from turning my female subjects on side of enemy.. show transactions that create naturalized ways of thinking.. love to hear your thoughts on this very provocative ch

7 min – christian: he says honor is surplus dignity.. dignity in labor always struck me as a stupid notion.. serving people in power.. could say dignity is the poor man’s version of honor.. if stop working.. cast out of society.. in our society.. violence being done to everybody.. because ie: if you don’t work

9 min – steve: yeah.. vagrancy laws passed.. criminal to not have a job.. and the punishment was to have a job.. and these systems are still with us.. the timing of this book was not coincidental.. came out of his activism and the debates about austerity.. ways of preserving wealth for those at the top

11 min – christian: but when say dignity in labor

steve: i think there’s a reason why calvinism and capitalism overlapped in that way.. based on a polarity between work and play.. a false construct.. one we’re naturally accustomed to believe in.. when not working.. playing.. if it’s loyal/consumptive play.. you’re buying into the system.. so operating w/in the structure of violence.. so graeber says better to look at it between care and freedom.. work and play is like sin and redemption

graeber care/free law et al

13 min – michael: this question of how does a money system arise out of honor.. talking about prices of all these honor issues.. prices of solving problems.. not buying/selling objects.. but buying/selling peace between people.. yet women still at 1/2 price.. p 172 – authors didn’t even know how to put a price on those of ordinary use.. no one seems to have paid money for them.. only thing people paid money for was a slave girl.. is it true that when expanding commercial econ in ireland.. basis is slave girl price.. even though not paying in slave girls.. a money system starts with an honor system.. because honor system allows someone to take over someone else’s life

18 min – steve: that’s my read (money comes from honor system).. on creative refusal having to do with heroicism which means again able to control/conquer another.. i see question in chat about question between honor and respect.. i don’t know how to answer that.. to me honor has a stronger analytical power.. or maybe they are just synonyms.. when i hear word honor.. it’s something i already have.. where respect is earned.. respect seems a weaker.. doesn’t require someone else to give me authority or adoration..

21 min – steven greenspan: doesn’t david use term honor in a way that includes hierarchy.. where respect can be between individuals and a more egalitarian framework

steve: that’s what i was trying to get at.. i think he means honor as something that requires an audience.. where respect doesn’t require audience

23 min – steven greenspan: but also w honor he’s creating a value system.. diff degrees of honor.. seems to be used in a very diff way..

steve: yeah.. honor as surplus dignity.. to a value added.. where respect .. ie: only thing that distinguishes a king.. it’s because someone believes it.. so that is the surplus ness of honor

24 min – michael: that’s what he said in defn.. on one hand integrity and on the other violence .. ie: use violence to take another’s dignity away.. that means honor means for a certain set of people the ability to fight.. so see phrases like blood and honor.. your status in society has to do if whether you can defend yourself..

26 min – nika: respect has more relationship w social currency.. and honor more with money.. interesting to talk about law being a fetish.. so money and law.. something you can change.. social relationship can be re arranged.. but honor via muscle guys.. diff story.. same w money/law.. out of human reach.. we cannot change it by ourself.. not allowed to renegotiate it.. that’s how we come up with bureaucratic societies.. bound by law

28 min – kelig: also an interesting way to look at the word freedom there.. ie: honorable person.. then toward someone able to use violence against somebody.. and how defn of freedom changed over time.. freedom as capacity to take/keep your engagement.. ie: stop being a slave you get this back.. then 2nd cent.. freedom seen only as power.. maybe there can be link between double defn of honor/freedom.. based on roman law.. german theorist quote: ‘rome conquered world 3 times: armies, religion, law.. ‘.. david adds.. the 3rd was much more powerful and went much further.. and back to adam smith.. freedom to do anything w what we own

31 min – christian : maybe going back to my original question.. that the meaning of freedom in society changed over time.. that was a way to hide the violence.. and unable to step out of it.. because so hidden.. that’s with dignity of labor.. poor seek value in eyes of society.. via rules everyone adheres to.. once so naturalized/hidden.. all this violence distorting .. but don’t realize where it’s coming from because it’s become so normal

myth of normal ness et al

33 min – joseph: i was fascinated by how our rights are conceived as property.. means we can do whatever we want w our property.. including destroy.. at end of ch.. jefferson .. owner of many slaves.. constitution all men created equal.. just kept old with word ‘not’ inserted here and there.. what would it look like to have a genuinely new synthesis.. that didn’t deny roman concept of dominio as it applies to our rights.. but intrinsic value.. something like inalienable that doesn’t have the word not in it

36 min – steve: tough because our culture is defined more by what we don’t do .. difficult to measure/manifest that.. what we don’t see is all the things that are not happening.. it means to start w an idea of chaos/anarchy/uncertainty that is critical realism.. and then just start with first principles and see where those refusals are..

? if start over.. uncertainty.. chaos.. how would you have refusals?

38 min – mark: the way our rights are defined are by negation.. ie: for property .. it’s all the possible infringements i’m protecting.. can’t really use a positive.. has to be a negation

39 min – steve: property (individual as we understand it today).. requires a negation that it is the commons.. systems are created to draw lines.. and doing so in the name of creating freedom.. real ambiguity going on

40 min – nika: on property.. david was saying.. when driving car.. have to go by rules.. but can keep others from driving your car.. fascinated on how prostitution changed from being sacred done in ancient churches.. then became horrifying things that could happen .. looks like 1000 yrs of trauma before males lost females to torture..

50 min – nika: the legal system is a set of rules.. who’s setting the rules and how the rules could be changed.. w/o very easy way of changing them it becomes the trump.. in play.. can leave or change rules.. but in society not like that.. because of legal system

51 min – joseph: so need alt to legal system diff for everyone

nika: so try to develop rules for everyone.. very bad for humans.. should get rid of this if we can

52 min – steve: any legal system has legal structure around it.. there are other.. moral/ethical systems that operate in non capitalist ways.. c allows for human body to be priced.. so other systems that deliberately prevent the accumulation of capital.. ie: confucianism.. awareness of money.. but put merchants lower on hierarchy..

54 min – nika: i tried to create document for notes.. if people want to go back and see and contribute

56 min – steve: he’s looking for a whole new way to understand this western thinking.. scholarship *since 60s has assumed a level of consent by using a flawed idea of culture.. so a lot of scholarship has started with a narrow understanding of culture that if is expanded out can offer a history of human possibilities rather than this ‘as if’ history.. ‘as if these things are inevitably were meant to happen’ and at any given moment there are alts.. and if we naturalize the erasure of those alts.. we’re not being fully human.. so profound.. means we’ve not fully understood our own history.. because we’ve committed epistemic fallacies.. we’ve not seen that we’re a part of the organism that we’re trying to define

yeah that.. and i’d say *since forever.. history ness.. research ness.. all data to date.. non legit.. like from whales in sea world

58 min – christian: on scholarship going down since 60s.. it seems to have a lot to do w econ.. a lot of freedoms we see as societal progress.. ie: more rights.. we advance as culture.. i wonder if these advances were not based in prosperity mainly.. because once better off.. let go.. and once worse off.. fight more.. if some

1:04 – steve: next time ch 8




notes/quotes taken from ch7 of debt (book):

ch 7: honor and degradation

can’t begin to think about such questions w/o taking into account the role of sheer physical violence..

because there is every reason to believe that slavery w its unique ability to rip human beings from their contexts, to turn them into abstractions, played a key role in the rise of markets everywhere

ripping allows violence allows market

the death of us ness


the broad outlines can be reconstructed.. best way to do so is to start from a single, odd, vexed concept: the concept of honor, which can be teated as a kind of artifact, a fragment preserved from history that seems to compress into itself the answer to almost everything we’ve been trying to understand..

on the one hand.. violence: men who live by violence.. are almost always invariably obsessed w honor.. and assaults on honor are considered the most obvious justification for acts of violence..

in the other.. debt: debts of honor and honoring one’s debts.. transition form one to the other provides best clue to how debts emerge from obligations..

even more disturbingly.. since notion of honor makes no sense w/o the possibility of degradation.. reconstructing this history reveals how much our basic concepts of freedom/morlaity took shape w/institutions – notably, but not only – slavery – that we’d sooner not have to think about at all


on equiano’s book (1789) troubling because slave not opposed to slavery in early life.. why did it take him so long (to come to abolitionist position).. surely if anyone had reason to understand the evils of slavery, it was he.. the answer sees, oddly, to lie in the man’s very integrity.. to be made a slave is to be stripped of any possible honor

again.. like the analogous ness of all this.. but (to me) not getting deep enough .. ie: honor as red flag.. need to strip us back down.. or build us back up.. to just a & a

his problem was that honor is, by defn, something that exists in the eyes of others.. to be able to recover it, then, a slave must necessarily adopt the rules and standards of the society that surrounds him and this means that in practice at least.. he cannot absolutely reject the institutions that deprived him of his honor in the first place. .

yeah.. see.. great.. if we could just replace honor with a & a

it strikes me that this experience of only being able to restore one’s lost honor, to regain the ability to act w integrity by acting in accord w the terms of the system that one knows, thru deeply traumatic personal experience, to be utterly unjust – is itself one of the most profoundly violent aspects of slavery.. t


getting to the deeper issues.. (even if i think we won’t truly get there if using words like honor, integrity)


it is another ie perhaps of the need to *argue in the master’s language, but here taken to insidious extremes.. t

*language as control/enclosure et al

yeah see.. i think needing to *argue in the master’s language is extreme at all leves.. it’s what makes us all whales et al

all societies based on slavery tend to be marked by this agonizing double consciousness: the awareness that the highest things one has to strive for are also ultimately wrong; but at some time, the feeling that this is simply the nature of reality..t


but also deeper.. ie: seeing all societies based on slavery

so.. to.. the death of us

*this might help explain why throughout most of history, when slaves did rebel against their masters, they rarely rebelled against slavery itself. … the flip side…even slave-owners seemed to feel that this whole arrangement was somehow fundamentally perverse or unnatural.

*language as control/enclosure et al
yeah see.. i think needing to *argue in the master’s language is extreme at all leves.. it’s what makes us all whales et al

all societies based on slavery tend to be marked by this agonizing double consciousness: the awareness that the highest things one has to strive for are also ultimately wrong; but at some time, the feeling that this is simply the nature of reality..t

but also deeper.. ie: seeing all societies based on slavery
so.. to.. the death of us

*part\ial ness is killing all of us.. no more band aids..


slavery is the ultimate form of being ripped from one’s context, and thus from all social relationship that make one a human being. another way to put this is that the slave is, in a very real sense, dead..t

slaves/whales = dead.. because st\ripped of context


one becomes a slave in situations where one would otherwise have died.

a slave couldn’t owe debts because was dead.. in roman law.. quite explicit.. lost liberty, family , possessions.. so if later regain freedom.. would have to start over.. remarry his widow et al

socially dead – he had accepted the contempt which deprived him of personality

aka: whales.. missing pieces.. et al

this essential horror of slavery: the fact that it’s a kind of living death.. t

the death of us

on hold ness et al

aka: whales.. missing pieces.. et al

[tons more notes from chapter.. just couldn’t get them all on here w/o major disformation in formatting]



from debt (book)

m of care – oct 20debt (book) – part 1

m of care – nov 3 – part 2 – ch 1-2

m of care – nov 17 – part 3 – ch 3-4

m of care – dec 1 – part 4 – ch 5-6

m of care – dec 15 – part 5 – ch 6

m of care – jan 5 – part 6 – ch 7



museum of care meetings

museum of care