Thursday, September 25, 2003
Science as Democratizer - Robert Lawrence Kuhn
Does the pursuit of pure science make sense in a world of scarcity and strife?
In Search of a Scientific Revolution
Controversial genius Stephen Wolfram presses onward - reports Peter Weiss
"... Wolfram has spun off a lot of exhilarating ideas about where this new approach can lead. For example, rather than needing Darwinian evolution to explain the complexity of living creatures, Wolfram says that a biological computation process based on a few simple rules could do the trick. In physics, Wolfram's approach suggests that space itself may not be a continuous entity but rather some sort of network of interconnected fragments."
Passage Beyond Modernity: The Possible Universality of Solitude
"That best fruit of modernity, the free individual disposed to stand alone against corporate dictation - what is he standing for? And what is he standing on? He is standing for his right. But note: he is not standing for his private interest under the specious flag of "my right"; for what he claims as his right he claims for all others similarly placed. This is the precise difference between an interest and a right. Further, for the justice of his claim he is prepared to call others - disinterested - to witness."
William Ernest Hocking - The Coming World Civilization (George Allen & Unwin, 1958, page 21)
Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky - fUSION Anomaly
Notions of intellectual property and copyright law, are brought into question as the communal reception of music takes on the significances of being the sonic equivalent to alchemy. The mix speaks to you of the bricolage of a place where the "self" exists as a deployed network of personae (the latin root of personae means "that through which sound enters"), music created out of a particular scene or social grouping and it shows the inexplicable mutability of sound as different people share the memories brought about by the same songs. It demonstrates the uncanny power of metamorphosize, through audio alchemy, the passage of sound into a kind of unspoken story, that like its predecessor, the oral tradition, can pass on "tales" of songs.
In the electronic milieu that we all move in today, the DJ is a custodian of aural history. In the mix, creator and re-mixer are woven ...
Music and Technology: A Roundtable Discussion
[Philip Glass, Morton Subotnick, Paul Miller (aka DJ Spooky), John Moran, Michael Riesman]
Philip Glass moderates a discussion with four composers about digital technology's impact on new music
Paul Miller (aka DJ Spooky): I think of technology as an extension of what's already been going on for a long while. Compared to the notational symbols of European classical music or the rhythmic patterns of West African music, a computer is a formalization of those same processes. The computer makes all that was formal and structurally oriented become implicit in the basic form of the interface. I think about how John Cage used to just stare at the piano in his silence pieces. The instrument was a jumping off point -- an interface that had so many routes available.
Erin McCarthy - The Space of the Self: An analysis of the notion of subjective spatiality in the philosophy of Watsuji Tetsuro
"Watsuji's study of ethics as ningen, he explains in Ethics, is to get "away from the misconception, prevalent in the modern world, that conceives of ethics as a problem of individual consciousness only." "The locus of ethical problems", he tells us, "lies not in the consciousness of the isolated individual, but precisely in the in-betweenness of person and person." In other words, ethics is the study of human beings as ningen, as individual and as social in the betweenness among selves in the world. I'm going to take just a few minutes ..."
Thinking and Creativity - Jozef Tischner
"Since thinking creates no beings but at the most only knows them, and since to know means first of all to let them be, it is often claimed that thinking is not creative ..."
'This Age's Most Uncertain Hour': Postmodernism and Hermeneutical Anxiety in the 'New South Africa' - John Bottomley
"[Robert] Pirsig believes that most Western societies are still dominated by the Enlightenment doctrine of scientific disconnection. According to this positivist perspective, all cultures are unique historical patterns, which contain their own values and cannot be judged in terms of the values held by other cultures. There are no absolute moral laws and value patterns that can be applied globally. According to Pirsig, this hermeneutical fallacy has led to social catastrophe.
Scientific disconnection is not possible, Pirsig argues, and we cannot understand other cultures without taking into account differences of value; cultures can only be defined as a network of social patterns of value."
Interpreting Vaclav Havel - Walter H. Capps
"As Masaryk saw it, nineteenth-century science had usurped the authority previously accorded to faith and reason, and the moral and ethical repercussions were catastrophic. In Suicide as a Mass Phenomenon of Modern Civilization, Masaryk traced the reversal of moral progress which had accompanied the loss of religious faith. For him, science was both mechanistic and materialistic, and, in these senses, substituted dysfunctionally for an awareness that human life belongs to an ordered moral universe. Following Brentano, Masaryk believed it crucial that human beings return to the world of primary experience, there to be reconnected with a vital sense of good and evil."
Al Franken and Don Simpson - The Gospel of Supply Side Jesus
A Buzzflash Guest Contribution
Toward a New and More Ancient Paradigm - Jack D. Elliott, Jr
"As participants we play complex roles in which we both observe and shape history while history shapes us. Furthermore, as participants, we can know history to a certain degree, yet its overall origin, destination and context lie in a mystery that transcends our understanding; as with tadpoles, the world outside their pond is an incomprehensible mystery. As the physicist Max Planck observed: "Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of Nature. And it is because in the last analysis we ourselves are part of the mystery we are trying to solve" ..."
The End of What? - History and Identity in a Postmodern World - Bjornar J. Olsen
"Existentialist queries of identity ("who we are?"), can hardly be answered by the past."
Alfredo Jaar 7
"We can now live, not just amphibiously in divided and distinguished worlds, but pluralistically in many worlds and cultures simultaneously. We are no more committed to one culture -- to a single ratio among the senses -- any more than to one book or to one language or to one technology. Our need today is, culturally, the same as the scientist's who seeks to become aware of the bias of the instruments of research in order to correct that bias. Compartmentalizing of human potential by single cultures will soon be as absurd as specialism ..."
Marshall McLuhan - The Gutenberg Galaxy (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1962, page 31)
Beyond Interface: Net Art as Theater of the Senses
"[...] branching discourse eventually alters our sense of the authorial center, a dissolution of self. Mark Amerika's mantra, "I link therefore I am," aside from the Cartesian allusions, seems strangely ..."
"Perhaps the world resists being reduced to mere resource because it is -- not mother/matter/mutter -- but coyote, a figure for the always problematic, always potent tie of meaning and bodies ... Perhaps our hopes for accountability, for politics, for ecofeminism, turn on revisioning the world as coding trickster with whom we must learn to converse."
Donna Haraway - Simians, Cyborgs, and Women
Rimbaud: Poetic Annihilation
"In a letter dated the 13th May 1871 Rimbaud writes to George Izambard from the maze of poetic delirium and the loss of self-possession ..."
Eric Duyckaerts - Self Determination/Body Politics - A reaction
"The pronoun "we" can often be taken as a putsch or a coup. For instance, if I begin a sentence: "We, artists, think that ...", I'm sure to include in that "we" people who don't want to subscribe to my further statement, and artists who consider that I'm not an artist! For this reason, I prefer to limit my reaction to the "I", leaving the "we" to collective action, to my behaviour as citizen involved in "we-movements". It must be understood that the "I" who speaks here and now is a set which has an intersection with the set of the "I" citizen: this intersection is not empty, but both sets do not coincide.
"Self, Selbst, Zelf" are words addressing the sameness, the identity. Historically, self-determination was a "we-concept", popularized by De Gaulle ...
From transfusion to infusion - Gavin Jantjes
Paul Ricoeur writes: "When we discover that there are several cultures instead of just one and consequently at the time that we acknowledge the end of a sort of cultural monopoly, whether it's illusory or real, we are threatened with the destruction of our discovery. Suddenly it becomes possible that there are just others, that we ourselves are an "other" among others. All meaning and every goal having disappeared, it becomes possible to wander through civilizations as if through vestiges and ruins. The whole of mankind becomes an imaginary museum: Where shall we go this weekend -- visit the Angkor ruins or take a stroll in Tivoli ..."
Paul Ricoeur - 'Universal Civilization and National Cultures' in History and Truth - translated by Charles A. Kelbley (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1965)
We are the heterogeneous others - 'Strangers to Ourselves'
*Flying Saucers and the Human-Ecological Unconscious*
"The more deeply we penetrate the nature of the psyche, the more the conviction grows upon us that the diversity, the multidimensionality of human nature requires the greatest variety of standpoints and methods in order to satisfy the variety of psychic dispositions."
Carl Jung - The Practice of Psychotherapy - Collected Works, Vol. 16, page 9
Daniel R. White & Alvin Wang write:
... To paraphrase Pogo, "We have met the aliens and they are us."
This realization merges the evolutionary unconscious with the ecological one in a new morphogenic picture of self and other. It is out of this mirror that we hear the alien voice exclaim: "Wake up - the world is alive!"
Lacan: The Mirror Stage
"All humans are paranoid insofar as we are haunted by the sense of an "other" who influences our thoughts and actions. We need the image of ourselves in order to establish relationships with other people and in order to negotiate the physical and social reality of our world -- in our imaginary map of the world, our "I" is the "dot" that indicates our location.
[...] As the "dot" on our mental map of reality, the image of our "I" serves as a bridge between the internal world -- the German word is Innenwelt -- and external reality -- the Umwelt, which also translates to "environment".
Unlike many animals, who soon after birth are able to move about and find food on their own, human beings are born "prematurely". Our development into relatively independent individuals is at once a physiological process of maturation in which we gain coordination and strength, but it is also a psychical process which confers on us the internal images which we use to orient ourselves in our reality. In Lacan's view, this psychical development does not so much overcome our initial helplessnesss as it gives us ways to cope with what Lacan calls the "dehiscence at the heart of the organism" which persists throughout our existence. The word "dehiscence" has particular applications in the fields of botany and physiology: it means to gape open or to splay, as when a seed pod bursts or when an ovary ruptures to release the egg. Significantly, these are stages in developmental processes, and for Lacan the term is not strictly metaphorical, but refers to the primordial nature of the human subject as physically uncoordinated and psychically split.
Lacan again turns to the domain of biology to claim that the human brain contains an organic component that serves to register the human organism's image of itself -- a mirror inside the mind."
Maria Klonaris and Katerina Thomadaki - The Angel Cycle
"The alchemical hermaphrodite, symbol of the coincidentia oppositorum already prefigures and incorporates the angel as winged Hermes. Messenger according to Greek etymology ..."
Jorge Luis Borges & the plural I by Eric Ormsby
"It was ironic of fate, though perhaps predictable, to allow Jorge Luis Borges to develop over a long life into his own Doppelganger. In a 1922 essay entitled "The Nothingness of Personality," Borges asserted that "the self does not exist." Half-a-century later, an international personality laden with acclaim, he had to depend on wry, self-deprecating quips to safeguard his precious inner nullity. "Yo no soy yo" ("I am not I"), wrote Juan Ramon Jim�nez; this was a proposition that Borges not only endorsed but also made a fundamental axiom of his oeuvre. In his story "The Zahir," written in the 1940s, he could state, "I am still, albeit only partially, Borges," and in "Limits," a poem from the 1964 collection aptly entitled The Self and the Other, he ended with the line (as translated by Alastair Reid), "Space, time, and Borges now are leaving me." By 1980, however, to an interviewer who said, "Everyone sitting in this audience wants to know Jorge Luis Borges," he would reply, "I wish I did. I am sick and tired of him." On the lecture circuit, Borges, playing Sancho Panza to his own Quixote, perfected the sardonic stratagems that would keep his huge prestige at bay. Not fortuitously perhaps, his renown grew as, after 1955, his final blindness deepened: fragile and vaguely Chaplinesque in his rumpled linen suit, he emanated a prophetic aura, a shy Tiresias enamored of the tango."
Susan Wise - When the poet says I
"Arthur Rimbaud's famous "Je est un Autre" is not describing a methodology, but simply claiming the fact of the poet's migrating from unknown self towards another ...
Let's follow Rimbaud - he also writes:
"The key to the ancient feast, that might give me back my appetite. Charity is that key. (That inspiration proves I was dreaming!)"
Despite the ironic parenthesis, he is serious. The ancient feast is the one shared by men and the gods, now separated. The two essential words here are appetite and charity. The latter is not to be interpreted in its modern sense of "doing good", but in the original sense of cherishing (caritas, caro). This love is bound to desire, ever-renewed desire."
Edward Said, Leading Advocate of Palestinians, Dies at 67
He was an exemplar of American multiculturalism, at home both in Arabic and English, but, as he once put it, "a man who lived two quite separate lives," one as an American university professor, the other as a fierce critic of American and Israeli policies and an equally fierce proponent of the Palestinian cause.
Though a defender of Islamic civilization, Mr. Said was an Episcopalian married to a Quaker.
Edward Said ou l'identit� multiple - Le Monde.fr
[...] Et pourquoi ce pr�nom so british, Edward, dont il va "d�tester l'identit�", auquel s'oppose tout son "�tre int�rieur, plus authentique, libre, curieux, sensible"? Edward, "cr�ation de [ses] parents" si d�sireux d'�tre coopt�s dans les cercles o� domine l'aristocratie coloniale britannique. Edward, pr�nom symbole du "moule" dans lequel on veut le couler de force et auquel il r�siste comme il peut. Aujourd'hui, il assume ces identit�s multiples, sans vouloir les r�concilier, sans chercher une impossible synth�se. Il revendique cette "polyphonie" qui l'autorise � nouer les fils de r�seaux divers, � se laisser porter par les flux des "forces exiliques, des �nergies marginales, subjectives, migratoires de la vie moderne" ...
Sylvain Cypel et Daniel Vernet
The Guardian - World-renowned scholar Edward Said dies
Salman Rushdie once said of Said that he "reads the world as closely as he reads books".
LRB essay - Edward Said - 'We' know who 'we' are
"The initial step in the dehumanisation of the Other is to reduce him to a few insistently repeated simple phrases, images and concepts." Edward Said
[...] "Both the Arab world and the US are far more complex and dynamic places than the platitudes of war and the resonant phrases about reconstruction would allow.
As someone who has lived my life within the two cultures, I am appalled that the 'clash of civilisations', that reductive and vulgar notion so much in vogue, has taken over thought and action. What we need to put in place is a universalist framework ..."
Edward Said - A window on the world
"By humanism I mean first of all attempting to dissolve Blake's "mind-forg'd manacles" so as to be able to use one's mind historically and rationally for the purposes of reflective understanding. Moreover humanism is sustained by a sense of community with other interpreters and other societies and periods: strictly speaking therefore, there is no such thing as an isolated humanist."
The problem with cultural theory is not wilfully impenetrable language, argues Terry Eagleton,
but a shamefaced reticence about truth and morality: "... For Aristotle, ethics and politics are intimately related. Ethics is about excelling at being human, and nobody can do this in isolation ... The creature who emerges from postmodern thought is centreless, hedonistic, self-inventing, ceaselessly adaptive. He sounds more like a Los Angeles media executive than an Indonesian fisherman. Postmodernists oppose universality, and well they might: nothing is more parochial than the kind of human being they admire."
Dennis Miller - "Live" with TAE
TAE: You've become more conservative over the years. How do you explain this shift?
MILLER: I'm not as sure of my guesswork anymore. To be on the Left, you have to be amazingly certain about things you're guessing at, and I felt like a phony. I was looking for ideas, and all I was getting from liberals was, "We'd like a little more of your money, and we're kind of reticent to protect you from bad guys." Really? That�s all you're offering? I gotta go! I can't stay anymore. Also, when I kept hearing liberals equating Giuliani with Hitler - that's when I really left the reservation. Even before 9/11, I'd travel to New York and say, "Wow, this city certainly seems to be running better." Giuliani is the kind of leader I admire. When it's five degrees below zero and you arrest somebody to get him inside and off the street - that's not something Hitler would do. It made me realize that I was with the wrong group if that's what Hitler looked like to them.
TAE: Where do you see the danger in that?
MILLER: I always wondered how Hitler happened. I even went so far as to read William L. Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. I read all 1,200 pages and at the end of it I remember thinking, "Yeah, but how does Hitler happen?" Part of it has to do with the Left mislabeling people as Hitler. It's like Pierce Brosnan at the end of the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair. He dressed everybody up in the same Bowler cap and overcoat, and then he walks right through the middle of them without being noticed. The Left is so busy saying John Ashcroft is Hitler, and President Bush is Hitler, and Rudy Giuliani is Hitler that the only guy they wouldn't call Hitler was the foreign guy with the mustache who was throwing people who disagreed with him into the wood-chipper.
Wielding the moral club by Ian Buruma
"To prewar cultural conservatives (Evelyn Waugh, say), America was vulgar, money-grubbing, rootless, brash, tasteless, in short, a threat to high European civilisation. Martin Heidegger had much to say about "Americanism", as a soulless, greedy, inauthentic force that was fatally undermining the European spirit. To political conservatives, especially of the more radical right-wing kind, the combination of capitalism, democracy and a lack of ethnic homogeneity was anathema ..."
Pursuing the 17th-Century Origins of the Hacker's Grail
Did Hooke really glue a live fly near his ear so he could discover the frequency of its wing beats by sounding a vibrating string?
posted by Andrew 9/25/2003 05:17:00 PM