Thursday, December 3, 2009

Jacques Rancière Day 6

NOTE TO FACEBOOK VIEWERS: to view any of the clips you'll need to visit the actual blog. Scroll to the bottom and click "View Original Post"

Jacques Rancière taught a class entitled: POLITICS OF AESTHETICS wherein we discuss the relationship between what is allowed to be seen and the dominant political regime.

NOTE: As with all my notes from the European Graduate School, there will likely be mistakes because I did not record the lectures, I made notes as they spoke, so I am perhaps interpreting what they are saying as I am writing.

How the aesthetic revolution is transformed and ultimately canceled-out. It's not so much what Brecht, Baudrillard, or Lyotard said as much as how they construct the relationship between art and politics. The issue of post-modernism is one of re-framing Modernity. Not a new concept, but a re-framing of art and politics. The way in which they will say farewell to Modernity has led to a reconfiguration of Modernity.

"The Ecstasy of Communication" Baudrillard; published in Hal Foster's Anti-Aesthetics.
Attempts to punctuate a turning point of art, is also a turning point in the sensory experience. These texts are dealing with experience; they also recapitulate what Modernity means, a reinterpretation of the aesthetics of Modernism. The way in which they set the stage for this task is interesting.
  • Diagnosis of loss or something that is about to be lost: the loss of separation, no longer borders.
  • Tow ideas of the sensory: heterogeneity and homogeneity.
  • For Baudrillard it's the loss of subject and object, we have lost alienation. This should be a good thing, in Marxist terms, but the issue is trickier.
For Baudrillard, alienation means illusion, but also this difference between inside and outside; so the problem of desire means we have an excess. Communication replacing alienation, there is no longer heterogeneity, only homogeneity.

Now is the reign of hyper-reality. What has been lost with the digital is, on one hand, the spectacle of the world, and the sacred secret of the inner world. Everything is communicable and there is no separation of the inner and the outer. The specificity of artistic experimentation is lost due to digital reproduction.

If the progress of scientific apparatus is responsible for the end of Modernity, it is also responsible for the inception of Modernity. The birth of photography doesn't mean the task of image-making has been perfected but that painting is impacted and Classical pictures depended upon a certain monarchical perspective on the world.

Photography isn't only the possibility of exact reproduction, but also means the end of Kantian aesthetics of the beautiful. §16 is based on adherent beauty vs. free beauty; this was determined by freedom from concepts and perfection of the reproduction in technique.

Jacques Rancière Evening Lecture

As part of our curriculum at the European Graduate School we must attend evening lectures from the faculty. This evening Jacques Rancière spoke to us.

NOTE: As with all my notes from the European Graduate School, there will likely be mistakes because I did not record the lectures, I made notes as they spoke, so I am perhaps interpreting what they are saying as I am writing.

In a sense, it will deal with negation [as was the case with Alain Badiou's the other night]; but less broad in scope.

I am here concerned with the process of unfolding and dissipation of images. What kind of logic is present in images and their processional narrative? Hitchcock's Vertigo is an example of the perfection of the deployment of image in narrative form.

The logic of the film is apparent as soon as the credits. The dispositif of the images from hereon are _____(?)

Deleuze states that Hitchcock is the peak of the image-movement system, but he is also the symptom of the crisis of narrative action.

(2 forms of passivity) Scottie's Acrophobia, 2 fascinations with Death

Let's also consider Vertov's Man with Camera (1929):

The camera has the radical equality of all movement, the Communism of the equal exchange of all images.

The means of fascination used by Hollywood are the remains of a lost cinematic utopia according to Goddard.

An art is never only an art but also the proposition of a possible world and its techniques and elements employed are often the remains of a previously proposed utopia.

Reconfront the suppositions of movement and the look.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Jacques Rancière Day 5

NOTE TO FACEBOOK VIEWERS: to view any of the clips you'll need to visit the actual blog. Scroll to the bottom and click "View Original Post"

Jacques Rancière taught a class entitled: POLITICS OF AESTHETICS wherein we discuss the relationship between what is allowed to be seen and the dominant political regime.

NOTE: As with all my notes from the European Graduate School, there will likely be mistakes because I did not record the lectures, I made notes as they spoke, so I am perhaps interpreting what they are saying as I am writing.

Kinoeye as a practical activity: it's the peak of the Communist aesthetic and it's the new sensorium with the idea of art as art beyond...

We have a text today by Brecht (1939) "On the Experimental Theatre" that bids farewell to the idea of aesthetic utopia. Critical art as a mediation that is able to change reality by prompting decisions. Political art as mediation in a struggle for Communism.

Brecht reads this as an initial division, entertainment and instruction. This is a decision, Brecht seems to forget that those that made agitprop wanted to dismiss, by making theatre another activity in the world. Meyerhold wrote a lot about this - no distinction between work and entertainment.

Blending two forms of activity - media as performance, an activity with its ends in itself; at the same time this is a blended with theatre as working activity that must be rationalized like any other industrial activity. Meyerhold makes similar parascientific investigations as Eisenstein. All theatrical activity has to be identified and defined with in a multiplicity of competences.

Brecht seems to ignore all of this.
Meyerhold realized a radical Constructivism, and Reinhardt transformed natural, would-be showplaces into stages: he performed Everyman and Faust in public places. Open-air theatres saw productions of A Midsummer Nights' Dream in the midst of a forest, and in the Soviet Union an attempt was made to repeat the storming of the Winter Palace with the use of the battleship Aurora. The barriers between stage and spectator were demolished. At Reinhardt's productions of Danton's Death in the Grosses Schauspielhaus actors sat in the auditorium, and in Moscow Ochlopkov seated spectators on the stage. (3)
These were matters of abolishing the conceit that an actor is on stage and there is an auditorium but the spectator should be a passive recipient - theatre as a site of agitation. People no longer gathering to observe a spectacle but to take part in the spectacle :
At times the theatre did well in endowing social movements (the emancipation of women, perhaps, the administration of justice, hygiene, even, in fact, the movement for the emancipation of the proletariat) with definite impulses. Still it cannot be secreted that the insights which the theatre permitted into the social situation were not particularly profound. It was more or less, as the objections pointed out, a mere symptom of the superficial character of society. The intrinsic social legalities were not made perceptible. Consequently the experiments in the province of the drama led to an almost complete destruction of plot and the image of man in the theatre. The theatre by placing itself in the service of social reform suffered the loss of many of its artistic efficacies. Not unjustly, though often with rather dubious arguments, do we lament the prostitution of artistic taste and the blunting of the stylistic sense. In fact, there prevails over our theatre today as a consequence of the many diverse kinds of experiments, a virtual Babylonian confusion of styles. On one and the same stage, in one and the same play, actors perform with utterly dissimilar techniques, and naturalistic acting is done within fanciful scenic designs. (5)
Brecht resists the the aesthetic of montage and its break with the idea of aesthetic unity. The assemblage of montage was to shatter the idea of unity and instead produce specific shots and shocks. Farewell to the idea of the aesthetic revolution. Brecht sees that there has been this transformation in the methods of sensory perception but these don't add-up to an aesthetic revolution where ends and means fuse; they are simply techniques and these don't transform the performance. Thus he says the Revolution never existed.

What happened to the international avant-gardes?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Slavoj Žižek Evening Lecture

As part of our curriculum at the European Graduate School we must attend evening lectures from the faculty. This evening Slavoj Žižek spoke to us.

NOTE: As with all my notes from the European Graduate School, there will likely be mistakes because I did not record the lectures, I made notes as they spoke, so I am perhaps interpreting what they are saying as I am writing. This is certainly the case here with Žižek as once he starts talking, he will carry on for sometime. My notes, then are going to be problematic. To overcome my limitations I will embed the lecture here as well:

"Trauma and Israel"

Sometimes the world changes and not for positive reasons, for example √-1 which was discarded but now it is understood as i. Perhaps capitalism will be so treated. Capitalism is always in crisis, surviving only by borrowing from the future. Maybe what distinguishes Man from Animal is the rise of a new impossibility.

That which separates us from noumena are ethics, etc. There is no reality outside what appears. Noumenal real is overpowering and shocking. In the moments before certain death we can see reality not human reality.

Jews are both upper and lower class; too smart, too sexual; these are the classical stereotypes of the antisemitic tropes. In early Modernity the pressure was to force Jews to convert to Christianity, but in the late 19th century conversion is useless. For the Nazis the guilt of Jewry is in their very being. This began to be the case at the moment when Capitalism was developed and so the stereotypes of miserliness, etc. became qualities others sought. Thus deprived of what they were, Jews became the Absolute Jew and so condemned for some other more fundamental guilt.

Antisemitism in Europe began as Europe came out of the Dark Ages, when currency began to circulate as Capital.

Zionist antisemitism, the inheritors of Spinoza, those who still hold to the public use of Reason. Is the logic of antisemitism not that of global circulation and fluidification? It's hard to understand the critique that Western European democracy at its root is antisemitic when the greatest contributors to the development of democracy were radical, nomadic European Jews. It seems that Israel the State has become antisemitic.

Symptom is the exception which disturbs the surface; the fetish is not this. The fetish has a constructive quality that allows us to cope by clinging on when reality is too traumatic. Fetishes can operate in two ways: we are unaware of it, or we are aware of it.
  • But let's further distinguish between dismissive cynical fetishism as opposed to populist fetishism. 
  • False universality - where we advocate equality but privilege a secret group. 
  • Fetish mystification - where anti-capitalist struggle of the working class is transferred over to the struggle against Jews.
Jews are the fetish for fascism; the last thing that is seen before outright class struggle. It's very rare to get Nazis to become Communists, that is, it's hard to rationalize someone out of their fetish.

Mao's statement that everything is in chaos so everything is okay means something more than what is being said here.

The provocative conclusion

We are caught in an antagonism: the Liberal West vs. Radical Fundamentalism. What we need is a more radical Left. The true opposition, though.

Kierkegaardian repetition, Deleuze says there is no difference between repetition and the new.

[Does this mean the future of the world is Confucianism? He said we should repeat Lenin.]

"Perhaps the Left will resurrect good manners."

Mike Shapiro Day 4

NOTE TO FACEBOOK VIEWERS: to view any of the clips you'll need to visit the actual blog. Scroll to the bottom and click "View Original Post"

Mike Shapiro taught a course entitled GEOPOLITICS IN CINEMA. This class attempts a rethinking of the planetary impact of media such as cinema as a challenge to political thought.

NOTE: As with all my notes from the European Graduate School, there will likely be mistakes because I did not record the lectures, I made notes as they spoke, so I am perhaps interpreting what they are saying as I am writing.

I've always been interested in the imaginary geographies of the world, it began with Machiavelli, and when I read Kundera's Ignorance I was struck by the vertical depth of the spaces. When the novel opens there is the surprise question to the expat: it shows that those that don't get confirmation of where they are aren't anywhere.

Identity is a relationship, as Lacan said. You need a model of difference in order to have identity; Levi-Strauss worked always toward this identity economy.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Jason Wirth at the Mike Ryan Lecture Series

Jason Wirth, long-time friend to the Philosophy Student Association, leading Schelling scholar, and authority on the philosophy of zen, gave a talk for the Mike Ryan Lecture Series, "Mountains & Waters: Zen Master Dōgen and the Sutra of Nature" on the 12th at Kennesaw State University.

***Please be aware that, as is the case with my notes from the European Graduate School, what follows are my notes to the presentation and as such may not do justice to the presenter (although I am a big fan of Jason)***

"Friends of wisdom love their friends like other people love gold..."

I'm going to attempt to allow Nature to reveal itself through Dōgen's thinking. When discussing Dōgen you have a real dilemma: either you say what is true and risk not making sense to the 90% of the audience that has never been exposed to Dōgen, or you barely communicate Dōgen's thinking at all. It's a rock and a hard place scenario.

I want to see if Dōgen can help us express Nature in language. Dōgen begins by asking us if we can even hear. If our minds were mirrors which reflect everything we saw and these mirrors were dirty, what would we see? We'd see filth everywhere: the world would appear dirty to us. We would assume that everything we saw was dirty; not that we were the dirty-minded.

It's difficult to communicate this. If the mind was dirty, then all it heard would be dirty, and so we couldn't hear the truth of how dirty our mind is.

We look to the Pāli canon: there is this dialogue between the Buddha and Bhâradhvâja. Bhâradhvâja asks the Buddha with whom he should study. This is a good question. How do you know who is a good teacher without first receiving their teaching? Buddha says, look at what kind of person they are: are they greedy, full of hate, or fully-deluded? What kind of mind do they have? What they teach, think, and value reflects directly on the kind of person they are.

Dōgen takes this to a whole new level.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Trevor Paglen at Art Papers Talk

Trevor Paglen, experimental geographer and artist, presented an interesting talk about his work at Emory University as part of the Art Papers Live! lecture series on the eleventh. You might also be interested to see him on the Colbert Report (Facebook viewers will have to come here to the blog to view this):
The Colbert Report
Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Trevor Paglen

Colbert Report Full Episodes
Political Humor
U.S. Speedskating
As is the case with my notes from the European Graduate School, my notes here may not do justice to what the speaker intended and are not actual transcripts of the talk, they are notes I took.

So, here's a photo of where I work at UC Berkley, McCone Hall:

It's named after a former CIA Director (John A. McCone). This helps me to remember that knowledge production is integrated with the production of power. I was standing at the end of the hall on the weekend (I like to work then) and noticed a man was messing with this photo at my office.

I asked him what he was doing and he explained to me that he had been a pilot and asked me if I knew what this photo was. I told him it was Nellis Air Force Base in the Nellis Range.

This is an airbase in the state of Nevada where the Air Force trains fighter pilots. At this site there is also something called "The Box", a restricted area where no pilots are allowed to fly. If you were a pilot at Nellis and you were to experience an emergency requiring you to land and you had to do so in "The Box" you are instructed to instead ditch the aircraft. The pilots are told to eject rather than land at the strip in "The Box".

This pilot told me about a fighter pilot who had to make just this decision and rather than risk ejecting and wasting the millions of dollars that his fighter jet cost, he landed in "The Box" and disappeared for a week. When he came back he could not say a single thing about occurred to him upon landing in "The Box". That's because "The Box" is part of what is called the "Black World" whose annual budget is somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 billion. You can arrive at this number by looking at the Pentagon's defense spending budget.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Heidegger & Arendt in the Popular Media

My dear friend, John at the University of Hawai`i Mānoa, shared this link to a New York Times article introducing a new book on Heidegger.

In this article, by Patricia Cohen, I am once again reminded why it is important that at all times I strive for comprehension by those that hear me. Cohen's article promulgates several unfortunate and familiar - as in cliche - opinions (not hers, I suspect, but present without discussion) about Heidegger, Hannah Arendt, and ultimately thinking itself.

The article, it seems, exists to inform the Times' readership that Emmanuel Faye's book is going to be published soon. I s'pose we must consider it, then, an advertisement. But Cohen's article seems largely to be infotainment as what is reported here is that there is (cue the E! and Inside Edition people) a scandal at play in this publication! OMG! Heidegger had sex with Hannah Arendt! Quick! Get the editors on the horn, we got us a whopper!

(now an imaginary conversation in my head)
Editors: Good eye, Cohen. But this is the New York Times, we're really more a vehicle for advertising on the backs of information. You gotta present more information here. Did anyone else announce that this book was going to be published?

Cohen: Yes, the Chronicle Review

Editors: Great, now it looks like we did some background work. Run it. Remember, "if it bleeds, it leads."

Sorry a flight of fancy. I suppose I should remember that the Books section of the NYT is simply an advertisement.
 But is that all it should be?

Couldn't the paper present something more?

I'd just like to point out one thing that seems glaringly obvious, but probably would upset those whose palms were greased in getting this infotainment manufactured: the gist of the book is that Heidegger thought one way and acted in other ways, and the author (Emmanuel Faye) doesn't like that.

Faye doesn't like that there is this ambiguity (adults, I sugges,t are marked by their ability to navigate ambiguity).

Now, it might seem unfair to do this, but didn't Heidegger himself say that we cannot overcome previous thinkers by simply dismissing them, we must think what was unthought in our predecessors? In other words, what ever philosophy is, what ever thinking is, it is first and foremost a task that requires thinking/philosophizing with those that came before us. It's an activity that requires considered opinion. It's a task (when done properly) that will be reminiscent of deep affection or love: philosophy = love (philia) of wisdom (sophia).

True to the tabloid nature of mainstream media, Cohen brings in Hannah Arendt (the Rihanna to Heidegger's Chris Brown) simply to say that Heidegger tainted her thinking and cites another unfortunate piece by Ron Rosenbaum at Rosenbaum, naturally, parades the familiar (again, cliché) idea that Arendt's phrase "the banality of evil" is too dismissive.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Jacques Rancière Day 4

NOTE TO FACEBOOK VIEWERS: to view any of the clips you'll need to visit the actual blog. Scroll to the bottom and click "View Original Post"

Jacques Rancière taught a class entitled: POLITICS OF AESTHETICS wherein we discuss the relationship between what is allowed to be seen and the dominant political regime.

NOTE: As with all my notes from the EGS, there will likely be mistakes because I did not record the lectures, I made notes as they spoke, so I am perhaps interpreting what they are saying as I am writing.

Today we will first discuss democracy and equality and then to what montage means.

Let's redefine the reality effect of Barthes.
  • The point is not knowing why this object is here but rather the political effect. 
  • The reality effect, according to Barthes is a tautological proposition: this object affirms the Real. 
  • But for me it is an equality effect - any object is equally capable of being an art object and thus the expansion of the sensible. 
  • Our capacity for the aesthetic effect is similar and politically it allows for the possibility of a community gathered in its ability to communicate these experiences.

There is something in action, though. In The Red and the Black we see equality is questioned; also in Leaves of Grass (1855) which had the same democratic effect as Madame Bovary (1856).

The extract "Song of Myself" has the perfect quality of all characters and activities (see page 40 from 1882 edition, right):

All of this becomes a quaint symphony of the city. What interests me is this infinite inclusion where everything is both material and spiritual. All things are equivalent, given by the voice which absorbs all of these.

This is the first time where writing is being extended into something beyond writing through a device, a new construction of totality. Plotinus was a big influence, so there is this procession of the world. The "Song of Myself" is the voice of multiplicity with its equivalence of all things. But it seems impossible to have stable political entities in this because there is political subjectivization when there is a section of society which is not allowed to have a voice.

Here we have, in section 26 (see image on left from 1882 manuscript) the tension between aesthetic democracy and political democracy. On the other hand we have the aesthetic democracy is not so different from the Communist Revolution - look to young Marx: The task of critique is to reveal the world as it is, so the world can do its work; an act of confession, revolution is an act of confession. **

This was 1843; in 1842 Emerson wrote to Whitman something similar. Aesthetic equality goes beyond politics because we can't compose political subjects, it is more than just revolution and politics.
The spiritual link for Emerson and Whitman, as well as the German Idealists (of which we must include "Young Marx") is that the material world is spiritual, a collapsing of the transcendental principle and a lowering of the metaphysical horizon to an immanence. The point here is not to discuss the distinction but to show the two poles from which we can come to this aesthetic revolution.

**NOTE: It seems that Rancière is paraphrasing Marx here, I'm not sure if this is an artifact of translation or his interpretation. The closest I can find to what Rancière says Marx said is from the Introduction to Marx's A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right (1843):
It is, therefore, the task of history, once the other-world of truth has vanished, to establish the truth of this world. It is the immediate task of philosophy, which is in the service of history, to unmask self-estrangement in its unholy forms once the holy form of human self-estrangement has been unmasked. Thus, the criticism of Heaven turns into the criticism of Earth, the criticism of religion into the criticism of law, and the criticism of theology into the criticism of politics. (itals. original)
Democracy is always an excessive presentation, aesthetic democracy is the equal capacity to live any kind of life or the community to act the enactment of a shared capacity to experience and communicate, to be a member of the sensorium, where we can share that experience in communicating to anyone else.
In a world of economic domination there is no ability to interact with the world (alienation); the fear that Bovary introduced was that everyone suddenly was allowed to question their ability to participate.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Alain Badiou Evening Lecture

As part of our curriculum at the European Graduate School we must attend evening lectures from the faculty. This evening Alain Badiou spoke to us.

NOTE: As with all my notes from the EGS, there will likely be mistakes because I did not record the lectures, I made notes as they spoke, so I am perhaps interpreting what they are saying as I am writing. To overcome my limitations I will embed the lecture here as well:

Aristotle's Book IV of Metaphysics, 3 Princles:
  1. identity: a proposition is equal to itself
  2. noncontradiction: it is impossible for p and non-p to exist simultaneously
  3. excluded middle: there is no third way - it entails double negation
The power of exclusion and there is the power of imposition of choice; never yes & no, but always either yes or no.

Since negation of negation is affirmation we have a nullification; Hegel says it is not immediately affirmation but perhaps reflexively so - reflexive logic.

War, classically understood, is a binary - it makes no sense to say that the city is occupied by both your troops and the enemy's. If neither camps occupy, Classically we would say that the city is not at all occupied.

With paraconsistent logic we can say both camps occupy the city; and also that the city is not occupied. Think of Stalingrad during World War II, where both Germany and the Soviets claimed they occupied the city.

As we move from Classical logic to Intuitionism and then to Paraconsistent logic we have a gradual diminution of negation.

In my ontology, a thing is a possibility without any qualification, a pure multiplicity. All laws are appearing within a context. The thing exists as an object in the world. Clearly the logic of being qua being is Classical; this is because Classical is extensional, this assumes point A and point B. As a consequence of this thinking, multiplicity is seen as Classical.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mike Shapiro Day 3

NOTE TO FACEBOOK VIEWERS: to view any of the clips you'll need to visit the actual blog. Scroll to the bottom and click "View Original Post"

Mike Shapiro taught a course entitled GEOPOLITICS IN CINEMA. This class attempts a rethinking of the planetary impact of media such as cinema as a challenge to political thought.

NOTE: As with all my notes from the EGS, there will likely be mistakes because I did not record the lectures, I made notes as they spoke, so I am perhaps interpreting what they are saying as I am writing.

There are several texts I recommend you visit as we consider the Geopolitics of Cinema:
Atlas of Emotion by Giuliana Bruno
Stupendous Miserable City: Pasolini's Rome by John David Rhodes
"Is There a Deleuzian Aesthetics" by Jacques Ranciere (in Qui Parle journal)

Kant was able to make the experience of art an epistemological phenomenon; we have to think about what arts are, here in this class they are agglomerations of the senses. We must situate Deleuze's aesthetic.... The most expressive artist for Heidegger was Holderlin. Catastrophe, from the Greek meaning turning-down.

Deleuze is about the disjunction, his logic of sense rather than essence. He uses the power of the false (see Cinema II)

There is homology between the city and the arts because both are a bundling of sensation. There is a very serviceable distinction made in epistemology between subject matter and object matter, that to which theory is applied. Fascism is an attempt to situate the subject in an historical moment so as to minimize the multiplicity....

If you want to shit like an elephant you can't eat like a bird.

Check-out Kittler's "The City Is a Medium"

A city can be understood as a series of flows - what are the coercive elements that effect those flows? In terms of the city, there is the crisis of attention (see Kaja Silverman's The Threshold of the Visible World)

Here is a clip from Bread and Roses (2000) by Ken Loach

There are these contentious "Contact Zones" within urban environments.

What could be more micropolitical than the policing of sexuality in public places?

Forensics vs. Metis - what kinds of knowledge are deployed with these? Odysseus had metis, cunning skill.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Follow-up to Nancy Post

My new sister-in-law and favorite faculty member at the University of Otago (the research institution in New Zealand and nicely located next to some delicious wine country), Meegan, wrote some questions about my previous post on Nancy. I also got some questions, via Facebook, from my friend, Matt so what follows, although it's in direct response to Meegan, I think also somewhat addresses one thing that Matt was asking after.

I really appreciate any feedback that comes this way, it's not as though reading this stuff is fun, let alone then coming up with any questions, so thanks, y'all!

I welcome any and all feedback.

So, let's see, the section in question is this one, right:

"Those that are against homosexual marriage seem to be making the claim that homosexuals cannot have a relationship as described in Figures 4 & 5.
Perhaps this is why their arguments seem so flat and are thus typically dependent upon religious claims. The irony, of course, is that religious claims are based on an Intimacy model of truth, so evangelical Christians are forever going on about their Personal Relationship with Christ, and how we must accept Christ into our hearts (a place decidedly not publicly verifiable)."

This is a pretty sloppy shorthand I put here, I apologize - I wrote this in a stream of consciousness manner primarily over the course of an hour so it's no wonder that the result is not easy to read.

This sentiment about marriage equality originally burbled into my mind after I read an Onion article wherein a fundamentalist protester in the "story" had a sign that said, "God Hates Modified Sexual Organs! The gist of the "story" was that Fundamentalist Christians were up in arms because homosexuals, in order to get around the problem of same-sex marriage, were having one partner switch genders so they could be legally married. I thought that this was brilliant commentary on the "problem."

2009 Annual Meeting of the Georgia Sociological Association

Today I am presenting at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the GSA, being held at Morehouse College here in Atlanta. This is a presentation from a longer article I am writing of the same title.
Boshears GSA Presentation Public

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Jean-Luc Nancy "Being Singular Plural"

I apologize to those of you that like to drop-in for a read as I've not written anything in about a week. I am preparing for the Annual Meeting of the Georgia Sociological Association being held this weekend. I am presenting on Friday around 3 and I'm having a tough time shifting gears.

This will be a brief post that's been inspired by a recent friend and administrator/editor/head-honcho of the blog Prōlogus, Nathan Everson in Australia. Nathan posted a quote from Nancy's book "Being Singular-Plural" on Facebook and there was a question of what all those words meant. Philosophy and "Theory" tend to be dismissed immediately for being too obtuse, too full of jargon, which is unfortunate since I think the most important thinkers of their times always tend to write as clearly as they can. Thinking is not just one thing, some may think in terms of music, or of colors, or of relations between objects - thinking as it is communicated in what has to this point been called Philosophy uses words as its currency. But already I am having a difficult talking in these terms because already we'd have to explain, then, symbolic logic, cinema, architecture, painting, etc. Let's stay simple for a moment and accept that words are problematic but they beat the alternative: no words.

Here are the confusing words that inspired this writing:
Compassion is not altruism, nor is it identification; it is the disturbance of violent relatedness -- Jean-Luc Nancy, Being Singular Plural (xiii)
Someone commented on Nathan's post that this was not very clear and so I feel compelled to write a lil' bit here. In part I'm writing about this because my background in thinking is inspired by the East Asian Traditions, particularly Classical Confucianism and Mahayana as well as Zen Buddhisms. Compassion has a very rich and radically different meaning between these traditions and the West. This is primarily due to how these two cultures understand agency, in other words, how we understand the self when we say (in English) "myself" or "I" is not universal; in East Asia there is a radically different notion of the self. The best introduction (and frankly a book I return to frequently) to understanding how these two forms of agency can transform a culture is found in Thomas P. Kasulis' Intimacy or Integrity: Philosophy & Cultural Difference (2002). As Kasulis states, culture is a recursive pattern, like a fractal; once we can get a purchase on what the general pattern being repeated is, we can begin to understand more deeply why these cultural differences exist. As an added bonus we can also begin to revisit assumptions within our own tradition and perhaps propose different ways of being, maybe find ways of changing institutions that seem to no longer be generating the results we'd like to see.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Jacques Rancière Day 3

NOTE TO FACEBOOK VIEWERS: to view any of the clips you'll need to visit the actual blog. Scroll to the bottom and click "View Original Post"

Jacques Rancière taught a class entitled: POLITICS OF AESTHETICS wherein we discuss the relationship between what is allowed to be seen and the dominant political regime.

NOTE: As with all my notes from the EGS, there will likely be mistakes because I did not record the lectures, I made notes as they spoke, so I am perhaps interpreting what they are saying as I am writing.

The question of the aesthetic effect - the result of the aesthetic framing; Kant and Schiller dismiss the efficient model of art which is instrumentalized to teach morality (see Rousseau's Letters on the Theatre).

At the heart of the aesthetic is this dismissal seen in Schiller's Twenty-Second Letter.
  • A radical separation of the artist's intention and the art object and its contents;
  • what is at work is a separation of the interior contents that would be seen as beautiful
  • it is free of concept and so it is free beauty.
  • Schiller says that it produces effect by the general feeling not by the transfer of energies.
The political effects of the aesthetic effect

An upheaval of hierarchies of what is sensible.
  • Both experiencing and communicating this effect are now equally available to all.
  • Based on this universality, embedded in individual sensory experience, is the basis of a new community.
  • An aesthetic education and revolution - the transformation of experience rather than the French Revolution which was just the same power structure replacing the former power structure.
An experience of doing nothing, a suspension is perhaps better, a revolution of the sensory experience. It is first a potential, but this may be at the very basis of the Communist revolution - it must be more than simply a political revolution. Marx proposed a human revolution.

The Oldest Systematic Program of German Idealism (Hegel, Holderlin, and Schelling) in this text is a call for community where ideas are everybody's, they were avid readers of Schiller and admirers of the French Revolution.

The invention of Abstract Forms, intimately related with Soviet policy, was developed as a new means of creating community. I'm not dealing with Humanism vs. Totalitarianism, but how the transformation of the aesthetic experience transformed the way in which politics is possible and, yes, young Marx was a part of this.

The idea of the sensory revolution is not a principle by which all are bound into a new community of aesthetes (and then to fascism as Benjamin suggests); rather the people can form a community of sharing a capacity to both experience and a capacity to communicate this experience.

There are two models:
  1. The artist says, "I want to produce this effect that makes my point," and this is the efficiency model
  2. Kant and Schiller are claiming that the relationship between the viewer and the art object produces this aesthetic effect, not the artists' intentions or execution; it is a paradox because artists want, always, to create art that would have this effect.
Hegel's Lessons on Aesthetics (1830s, published posthumously in 1860s)
Probably this was written in 1828. This text and the Barthes text both share the problem of aesthetic equality: how does any subject become an art subject, how can something enter the realm of art?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Evening Lecture w/ Judith Balso & Phillipe Beck

Judith Balso introduced Philippe Beck for an evening lecture and poetry reading. While Beck read in French, he asked that A. Staley Groves read his work translated into English.

I took some notes from Beck's talk before he began his reading, so this will be a very short entry. It's a shame I didn't take better notes. In time there will be video from the evening through the EGS and I will be sure to link to it or embed it here.

Every poem is subordinated to the book: poetry must be a trajectory, a long trip. Poetry as geography and history of thought.

Hegel sees that poetry must lead us to new forms, it frees the mind from the worry of the idea.

Stevens says poetry comes from analogy, analogy exists so that the world might exist.

The importance of poetry: we must imagine, with poetry, l'interlocutor, the reader stretches the poem.

He stated during the Q&A that de Fontenelle may be the greatest poet of all time.

"if poetry is to be interesting for humankind it must be less humid, or else, or else..."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mike Shapiro Day 2

NOTE TO FACEBOOK VIEWERS: to view any of the clips you'll need to visit the actual blog. Scroll to the bottom and click "View Original Post"

Mike Shapiro taught a course entitled GEOPOLITICS IN CINEMA. This class attempts a rethinking of the planetary impact of media such as cinema as a challenge to political thought.

NOTE: As with all my notes from the EGS, there will likely be mistakes because I did not record the lectures, I made notes as they spoke, so I am perhaps interpreting what they are saying as I am writing.

I really recommend looking to webdeleuze and especially in the section called sommaire where you can see Deleuze's class notes on Kant. I think these notes on Kant are better than the book he wrote on Kant.

Kant tries to patch up this fragility by returning to the 2nd critique; Lyotard, Deleuze, and Ranciere do not back away from this.

When talking about method: Ranciere tries to disfigure the hierarchy, not test hypotheses, a relationality that deforms power structures, this is the purpose of the aesthetic approach. It's a way that detours away from the normal modes of figure formation. When the arts reform cliche relationships we have to see this as a challenge to power distributions.

Compare Italian crime novels to Putnam's survey-based study of politics:
  • We get a different sense of the politics of the country - we get a clearer sense of justice and normatives in Italy than what Putnam's methodology provides.
  • In The Day of the Owl we have a significant dynamic at work. We see that there is an ideational fault line within the cities, an understanding that those in the north of the country are imposing laws on those in the south. He reveals a politics of disparity.
  • Rather than aggregating attitudes, the novel shows metapolitical perspective.
Empiricist social science assumes we begin with a clean slate and from this we are able to interpret. Literature assumes that we are embedded in this world and must understand from this filter. Good literature disables our continuous overcoding onto the world.

Onto the Hegel chapter of my new book

Almost every thinker must come to terms with Hegel, to digest his notions of time and space relations.
(As an aside: we should consider what mode of thinking we will do professionally by deciding which types of meetings we want to attend, like it was AA or something)

Temporality is not fixed, we live in a plurality of temporalities.

Why should we have beliefs and not fears (as the Inuit shaman explained)?
Fears maintain groups at a distance. They control how we think.
  • In the shaman's society, everyone is responsible for their own safety because when they are hunting they may be also being hunted by a polar bear.
  • It's not that they are anxious all the time, but that they must be alert and sensitive to the world.
  • This what critical literature does as well.
...redeeming Hegel. Identity is a process of becoming.

The End of Violence (1997) Wim Wenders

There is an invisible world that makes Brian's life possible and he's not noticed it until now. His body is rather irrelevant - it's mostly a tool of apprehension through technology prostheses. Every now and again we hear Brian talking but it's likely Wender thinking aloud. Here we have the city as surveillance. They never noticed because these were ahistorical beings. In his Violence and Metaphysics Derrida says that the worst violence is the dream that we can rid ourselves of violence. I'm also thinking of Deleuze's discussion of faciality.

We all have different modes of arrival, the question is, how do these modes of arrival become countenanced, how do we face that? Sure, this film was difficult to watch and accept [NOTE: I REALLY COULDN'T GET INTO THIS MOVIE AT ALL], but we can see that this film does present something: Mike Max does change.

Are Eisenstein's films propagandistic? He says no, because Eisenstein's films are opened-out in such a way that we're not sure what we're seeing any more. [NOTE: THIS FILM BY WENDER IS CLICHE IN MANY WAYS, BUT THERE IS SOMETHING OFF AS WELL - THE FILM SEEMS COMPROMISED]

See the book Zeroville - what editing does is take the false film out of the true film.
or Radical Software Group (RSG)'s edited version of Black Hawk Down, now made with no white actors, Black One

For the next class we will watch Falling Down.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Heavy Bored Cyborg: Attunement and Addiction (2/2)

What follows is the continuation of the paper I presented at the first annual conference of the Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition (PACT). Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

The beginning of the paper can be found here

of Berryman's heavy boredom, and what, if anything, can we glean from this about addiction today?

In reviewing the literature concerning addiction I came to wonder what Berryman would have though of being characterized as having a pathological loss of reason, which is how the earliest attempts at understanding habitual drunkenness characterized this state of affairs. This pathology was also understood as a collapse of moral reason.1 In many ways this sentiment remains in place and as a cornerstone of recovery treatment in Alcoholics Anonymous, where those seeking recovery must announce that their best thinking got them to this point.2 The medical model of addiction subsumes personal agency and suggests that there is a pathology but what the causal mechanism is has yet to be determined. Thus, if we accept that addiction is simply a chemical problem we necessarily must accept, then, that the addicted individual is no longer culpable for their behaviors. The mechanistic model, for all of its empirical merits, however, falls short in explaining addiction because addiction, as Davies points out, is a question of both one's physiology and volition, which are mutually exclusive:

Addiction, impossibly, seeks to make these accounts complementary; something they cannot be. The notion invites us to apply a rational/decision making frame-work to our fellow men/women, up to the point where they start to encounterproblems with their drug use, and then to switch to a view of man/woman as machine.3
Although the the term addiction ultimately has been abandoned – over the past twenty years – in favor of chemical dependence and substance use disorder – what has remained is the insistence that those using substances of abuse ultimately must subsume themselves to the authority of medical-style interventions.4 While those in neuroscience (particularly neurodegeneration) no longer use the term addiction, the top journal for substance abuse is still called Addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse features prominently on their website a section called Addiction Science where those curious can learn the story of why drugs are bad. At the intersection of the Public and the Private is the ongoing development of drug use literature. Like literature, as Avital Ronell points out, whether it's the criminal justice system, the local AA meeting place, those that come under the eyes of the Authorities-That-Be cannot be allowed to go into the public without covering over the wound of non-being, thus the subject becomes interpellated as a re-covering addict. This recovering over of the subject clearly is suggestive of Freud's “Mourning and Melancholia” as this recovering is a covering over of the ways of being that we develop as we apprentice in our drug using careers. We are, in recovery, learning to forget that life prior to the intervention. Clearly also in the formulation of the drug use career or trajectory (apprenticeship-disorder-recovery) is the question of thinking (erfahrung) which leads this paper to discussing Heidegger.

According to Heidegger, Being in the modern era is concealed by the growing purveyance three attitudes: In the recent calls for the “Responsible Use of Cognitive-Enhancing Drugs by the Healthy”5 society at large demonstrates once more its succumbing to the trap Heidegger foresaw has as its goal the concealing of Being itself in boredom.6 According to Heidegger, Being in the modern era is concealed by the growing purveyance three attitudes:

  1. Calculation – which he calls the basic law of comportment and is the prerogative of the principle of organization.7 Perhaps we can think here of the speaking machine. Sprachmaschine, as we are told, completes the metaphysics of technological Ge-stell (enframing). Self-deception, warns Heidegger, is the inexorable direction of the Sprachmaschine, “the superficial impression is still maintained that the human being is still the master of the language machine. But the truth might well be that the Sprachmaschine puts language into its service and in this way masters the essence of the human being.”8 Isn't, at the heart of addiction the earnest belief that we can control the dose such that, like the Sprachmaschine we maximize the efficiency of its employment without simultaneously destroying ourselves? Central to Heidegger's thinking on the matter is man's relationship to time.
  2. The second element concealing Being is acceleration – the phrase is “not-being-able-to-bear the stillness of hidden growth; it is necessary to forget quickly.9 Heidegger states it thus, “the geneuine restlessness of the struggle remains hidden. Its place is taken by the restlessness of the always inventive operation, which is driven by the anxiety of boredom.
  3. The third prevailing attitude is the outbreak of massiveness – not just “the masses” but the rapidly stacking up of the calculable towering over us and so rending us blind to the unique as it is not accessible to “the many.”
  4. The result of these three is thus the “divesting, publicizing, and vulgarizing of all attunement.”10
Because of Being and Time many believe that our anxiety in awareness of our finitude is the fundamental attunement that can be attributed to Dasein (the Being-there of humans being). It is from the disclosure of Dasein that we are able to apprehend the richest possibilities of our being. But anxiety is not the only nor solely privileged attunement which can be attributed to Dasein; Heidegger also finds that being in the state of profound boredom also discloses Dasein. Heidegger develops this discussion of boredom in the 1929-30 lecture course published as Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics11 so as to illuminate what separates the human animal from all other animals (as Kuperus has written recently).12 Dasein is absorbed with all its responsibilities, tasks, appointments, and in completing these, we have become an indifferent one, as in “One would think to do this differently,” or, “One wishes it could be otherwise.” We are lost to ourselves in the things of our living. Our identity has been lost in the beings with which we occupy ourselves. We have become – as Heidegger himself expresses it – an “undetermined I.” The common link between technology and profound boredom is in how one relates to time.

Heidegger outlines three forms of boredom: 1) becoming bored by something – as in killing time while waiting for the train, 2) being bored with something and its associated time – a recognition, in his example after the fact, that the events of the evening were in the end boring, and 3) profound boredom – the phrase he uses is
es ist einem lanweilig, “It is boring for one.” We experience this profound boredom as indifference, the “It” of “It is boring for one,” is, “the title for whatever is indeterminate, unfamiliar.” This “It” should be familiar as it is who we are, this profound boredom has left us standing there acutely aware of the universe's complete anesthesia to our being as this coming and going. Similar to the first form of boredom, but unlike the second, we are fundamentally incapable of engaging other beings in this state of profound boredom, in fact being itself refuses to be engaged, this telling refusal is the mark of profound boredom. And, just as Berryman's mother (repeatingly) admonishes us all: to confess that we have such boredom is to admit an emptiness.

It is in this emptiness of profound boredom and the narcosis that is being-on-drugs that I am most intrigued. We revisit Berryman's poem in light of this question, how do we transform being heavy bored into an affirmation of being's possibilities? The profundity of profound boredom is in the revelation of the emptiness of the universe. It is in this manner of thinking that I am tempted to imagine the Heidegger that would reflect on shunyata (
ku,), emptiness. And in my intoxication with this imagining, I recall Fukushima Keido Roshi telling us one evening that LSD-zen is not the same zen that he has cultivated and that he can transmit. Fukushima does not deny that one might experience something profound under the influence of a technology such as LSD, but perhaps he has in (no)mind something similar to Heidegger. The essence of the development and use of technology in the last two centuries has been to achieve given ends in the most efficient manner while expending minimal resources – the principle resource to be spared being time itself. The result of the promotion of technological innovation, as Thiele has stated, “This victory over time bears a price: humanity comes to relate to time as an obstacle and antagonist, as a recalcitrant force that demands harnessing. The effect of technological innovation, in other words, is not so much the saving of time as its conquest.”13 This antagonistic relationship to time is problematic for both Fukushima and Heidegger as our being is a dwelling14 in time. There is no room in this essay to discuss in any appreciable depth, unfortunately, how Fukushima might discuss the problem, but we can further explore Heidegger's thinking.15

Time weighs most heavily on the bored. Thus Nietzsche asks in proposing the eternal recurrence, that heaviest burden, how will we be disposed to ourselves and our lives in this light?16 We
typically counteract boredom through busy work and preoccupations. In so doing we are passing the time in order to become masters over time. Our attempts to kill time, an attempt to drive boredom away, is actually a driving on of time.17 But any effort to kill time obscures the essence of our being, which is defined as a being-in-time. In profound boredom we cannot simply go about business as usual, as Heidegger states, profound boredom “brings the self in all its nakedness to itself as the self that is there and has taken over the being there of its Da-sein. For what purpose? To be that Dasein.”18 This telling refusal of beings as a whole is a calling: to consummation of this emptiness that is the foundation of being and its fundamental responsibility to being as a whole.19 Rather than the self care that anxiety provokes in Being and Time, with all the attendant problems of how to face the Other (as, say, Levinas points out); profound boredom, like Heidegger's later works on Gelassenheit, is a call to responsivity rather than responsibility.

Being-as-a-whole's telling refusal of our
Dasein in the state of profound boredom is not only the medium by which our Dasein returns to itself as responsible to itself, it is also an expression of Nature's being-there. Thus they are mutually implicated in a hyperbolic sense of freedom as my freedom can only be understood in a relationship to nature and its ultimate disinterestedness in my busy work. We cannot discuss Being-as-a-whole's disinterestedness in us as a production of our personal taste; while it may be a calling, it is not a calling to overcome nature's fundamental disinterestedness. Finding ourselves in this state of profound boredom, as Ross has stated recently, “reveals nature within its 'ownness.'”20 What's more, profound boredom calls upon us to poeisis, such that we poetically dwell in the world as the world reveals itself to us in its own terms, no longer mediated by our preoccupations and busy work. In this way, can we understand the problem of the social phenomenon that we call addiction not as a failure of an individual's decision making capabilities but of a mutual inability to understand the conditions and interwoven events that lead one to cover over the profundity of our interrelatedness?21

Heidegger's discussion and development of this profound boredom helps us to intimate an orientation towards ourselves in an expanded sense such that who we are is mutually implicated and consummated in our relationships to the world as itself. Chief among Heidegger's concerns was man's relatioships to technology, promoting a return not to a simpler time without technology, as a neo-Luddite, but a return to the world as the primary site of wonder. Thinking in this manner about addiction shifts our prescription from a focus on an individual that is responsible for its choices to an investigation of the conditions among us that facilitate or encourage narcosis. Sharing Heidegger's call to reminding us of the profundity of identification in the face of technology, D.W. Winnicott, in his essay “Struggling Through the Doldrums”, announced that in the long shadow being cast by the development of atomic warfare our society can no longer justify harnessing the energy of its youth toward military use as a given and thus we enter the Teen Age. He speaks of this in terms not unlike a recovering drug user, “we have lost something we have been in the habit of using, and so we are thrown back into this problem,”22 of being. Winnicott's contribution to developmental psychology was to expand our understanding of children and in doing this he pioneered the use of group therapy. Whatever is the psyche of the teen it is certainly also the psychology of the group: they form groups on the basis of the most inconsequential uniformities, theirs is the struggle for an identity, the struggle to feel real. The constant frustration of the adolescent is phrased in terms of drive:

One member of the group takes an overdose of a drug, another lies in bed in a depression, another is free with the flick of a knife. In each case there are grouped a band of adolescent isolates behind the ill individual whose extreme symptom has impinged on society. Yet in the majority of these individuals, whether or not they get involved, there was not enough drive behind the tendency to bring the symptom into inconvenient existence and to produce a social reaction. The ill one had to act for the others.23

Winnicott states that the problem of the adolescent is not only that is terrifying to be an adolescent and to do battle with the pervasive gnawing of being trapped in unreality, but the problem cannot be contained in one person: it hurts those of us that have yet to have successfully negotiated our own adolescence. Like Heidegger, Winnicott suggests to those that would hear that telling refusal of this uncanny world, that unreality where our tasks and ambitions are of no consequence, the way out of this labyrinth is not through slaying minotaurs, it's in our ability to heed his directions home. This paper is a call to a sense of hyperbolic responsibility in those that would listen: to promote the self-consummation that one is challenged by in the terror of profound boredom.

1Berringer, Virginia. “Morality and Medical Science: Concepts of Narcotic Addiction in Britain, 1820-1926.” Annals of Science 36, no. 1 (1979): 19.
2Hoffmann, Heath C. “Recovery Careers of People in Alcoholics Anonymous: Moral Careers Revisited.” Contemporary Drug Problems, no. 30 (2003): 37.
3Davies, J. B. (1998). “Pharmacology versus social process: Competing or complementary views on the nature of addiction?” Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 80, 268.
4May, Carl. “Pathology, Identity, and the Social Construction of Alcohol Dependence.” Sociology 35 (2001): 17.
5Henry Greely, Barbara Sahakian, John Harris, Ronald C. Kessler, Michael Gazzaniga, Philip Campbell, Martha J. Farah. “Towards Responsible Use of Cognitive-Enhancing Drugs by the Healthy.” Nature 456 (2008): 702-705.
6Heidegger, Martin. Contributions to Philosophy (From Enowning). Trans. Parvis Emad & Kenneth Maly. Bloomington: Indian University Press. 1999. §76.
7Ibid. §58.
8Heidegger, Martin. Aus der Erfahrung des Denkens. Ed. Hermann Heidegger. Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1983. Vol. 13 of Gesamtausgabe. 149. Reference from Charles Bambach. “Heidegger, Technology, and the Homeland.” Germanic Review, vol. 78, September, 2003.
9Heidegger, Martin. Contributions to Philosophy (From Enowning). Trans. Parvis Emad & Kenneth Maly. Bloomington: Indian University Press. 1999. §76.
11Heidegger, Martin. The Fundamental Concepts in Metaphysics: World, Finitude, Solitude. Trans. William McNeill and Nicholas Walker. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. 1995.
12 Kuperus, Gerard. “Attunement, Deprivation and Drive: Heidegger and Animality.” In Phenomenology and the Non-Human Animal, edited by Corrine; Lotz Painter, Christian. New York: Springer, 2007.
13 Thiele, Leslie Paul. “Postmodernity and the Routinization of Novelty: Heidegger on Boredom and Technology.” Polity 29, no. 4 (1997): 505.
14According to personal communications between Joan Stambagh and Eugene Gendlin, Heidegger himself sees the phrase Befindlichkeit in his later work as wohnen (dwelling).
15We might start by talking about killing time instead of killing the Buddhas we meet on the road.
16Nietzsche, Friederich The Gay Science with a Prelude in German Rhymes and Appendix of Songs. Ed. Bernard Williams. Trans. Josefine Nauckhof and Adrian Del Caro. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2003. §341.
17Heidegger, Martin. The Fundamental Concepts in Metaphysics: World, Finitude, Solitude. Trans. William McNeill and Nicholas Walker. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. 1995. 95-6 §23.
18Heidegger, Martin. The Fundamental Concepts in Metaphysics: World, Finitude, Solitude. Trans. William McNeill and Nicholas Walker. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. 1995. 143 §31.
19Hammer, Espen. “Being Bored: Heidegger on Patience and Melancholy.” British Journal for the History of Philosophy 12, no. 2 (2004): 286.
20Ross, Andrew Peter. "Rethinking Environmental Responsibility: Heidegger, Profound Boredom, and the Alterity of Nature." Dissertation, Queen's University, 2007. 46.
21Here I'm thinking of that most boring hunk of rock in Rilke's “Archaic Torso of Apollo.” It's just rock, but bursting forth from it is a star and so we are told that in witnessing this we must change our lives. Rilke consummates not just the ancient sculptor's vision of a complete body, but also the entire process of stellar evolution. He comes to know, in the profound boredom of the procession of history – which could careless about this sculpture – that our Being must always be revisited so as to be attuned to being-as-a-whole.
22Winnicott, D.W. “Struggling through the Duldrums.” Deprivation and Delinquency. New York: Rouledge 2000. 150.
23Ibid. 153.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Odds and Ends

The following is from a comment stream on Facebook. What follows is primarily based off of what Michael Hardt was teaching this summer.

My comment about Marx = at the end of the revolution the classes would disappear there would be humanity pursuing its ends without the exploitation inherent to capital. It's not to say that what works in capital (the ability to generate value even though no one knows what value is, for example) would cease to be. Rather, the kind of exploitation inherent under capitalism would disappear.

I suspect that it would be the exploitation of something else, but not the opposite of historical capitalism. I mean, c'mon, Marx was alive before the TV, for crying out loud. The big shift in economics back in his day was the move form renting property to creating property. But now we're approaching a time when renting is becoming a significant part of how value is generated (such as in the case of copyright) and how people work is radically different form the conditions of 150 years ago.

Capital's ability to be so liquid, that's going to stay. But maybe what's going to go is the distinction between bourgeoisie and proletariat and the reintroduction of forms of monarchy. Perhaps a shift in monarchy's relation so governing? Whereas in the 20th century the monarch was determined by marriage and blood relation and their role in governing was largely ceremonial; maybe what we'll see an inversion where the elected governments are ceremonial (let's get the vote out, y'all!) and actors, such as multinational corporations enjoy the forms of sovereignty that the Hapsburgs had during the 18th century?