Sunday, January 8, 2012

In the World of the On-line Survey

They know that, in order to get more customers or to retain them, they need to "listen." They are trying to remain profitable, and in doing so, they need the on-line survey. The website you go to is So, here in survey-world, we have the concept of "listening," albeit it is kind of a superficial use of language. They do not seem to get beyond the superficial, but we can say that they have the concept in hand. And: "One in the hand is worth two in the bush."

    To succeed at the game of life each individual has to respond to certain requirements, and one of the requirements life throws on us is that we absorb incredible numbers of concept-units, many packaged, rather conveniently, in the form of what we so cleverly call "words." Next, try using them in a sentence. He (singular of "they") uses his language and conceptual abilities to speak and communicate, which is like "listening." I think this is normal human stuff. There is this incredible plethora of words and concepts. And we humans seem to be able to absorb them all, in any case. We have mentioned "listening" as an example of such a concept. It is not the only. It is not only that the individual has to master the concept of "listening" but also a zillion or so others. These are all various words or concepts. But we are the humans. So ----- no worries, mate, you can do it, eh?
     We are capable of hundreds of thousands of words and concepts. The human race is capable of it. But how much are the corporate surveyors capable of, and how far do they actually go with a concept like "listening"?
    I have to wonder, because when I see the corporate crowd in action it seems like these guys are very often of one specific types, those who have a shallow way of using the human conceptualizing faculty. Granted, they get the concept, but there seems something superficial about it, quite frankly. Therefore, I would hazard to suggest that the corporate owners/managers are often examples of precisely one type of use of language and concept: we might call  this the "superficial" way of using concept. These men (and it usually is a man) seem only to use concepts more in a practical sense, as if a word is a kind of tool, like a hammer, but has not much depth. Still, the fact is, that I see this a lot, even in philosophers. Anyways, the persons I am talking about here are all owners and manager of large businesses such as Jewel-Osco, which operates drug and grocery stores across the country, at a mass level. So, we are having a look, here, at some of the owners and managers in the business world. Not all, but some. And at a certain type of mentality.
    And, in trying to describe their deployment of the human faculty for conceptualization, we have used the word "practical." In all practicality, what else can we say about them? Practically speaking they would like to operate thousands of stores all across the country. (I have seen Jewel stores, or Albertson's stores, which are the same thing, in Arizona, California, etc.) But why, Albert? I think it is important here to know what it is that Albert really wants. Of course, they often parse "capitalism" to indicate "self-interest." One thing that the present author believes that is relevant here is that I would like to point out that, in all practicality, it is not to help their fellow men. That is not their practicality, and that is not what their practical or simplistic concept of "listening" works for.
    That is to say, their practicality is never ethical or anything like that. The owners or managers do want to have a place amongst humans, though... so that's it. They are after a place in society for themselves. Being on the highest management level of Albertson's, the parent company of Jewel, is, for such a person, a profound achievement. (Herman Cain conceptualized it as "CEO of self.")
    But my problem with it is, in all of this, there is apparently (for a certain group within the weird world of business) nothing else beyond this ----- beyond this kind of a superficial level. It is non-analytical, as well, and, it is not philosophical. Not philosophical I say, because (although they do use concepts) they do not want to ever go "behind" the concept. Not to muse, Deleuze! That's kind of an "in" joke. But, anyway: they do not in my opinion philosophize.
    Nothing like that. Ever. In everything they do to turn a buck (or to gain status) they never go beyond that superficial level. If there is anything great or good about capitalism, and I have many essays that suggest that there is, it is not because of this branch of the human species ---- the non-analytic concept-mongering CEO crowd. Maybe -----

The greatness of capitalism is because of the PEOPLE of capitalism. And, dear Alfred (or Albert) that does not include YOU.

-Jacob S. Silverman (

1) The Wikipedia entry for "word" dovetails my own work: "In language, a word is the smallest free form that may be uttered in isolation with semantic or pragmatic content (with literal or practical meaning)."

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