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{Wednesday, February 04, 2004}

It's Mulder on the dancefloor

Philip Pullman Webchat: BBC Radio 4: His Dark Materials
From Graham King
Q: Did you base the alethiometer on Ramon Lull's medieval art for seeking the truth, his Ars Combinatoria, based on three circles each divided into topics or symbols which can be individually turned to produce endless connections?
Philip Pullman
A: Well, how interesting. I didn't know about this. My source for the alethiometer was partly the emblem books of the Renaissance and partly the memory theatre as described in a wonderful book by Frances Yates called The Art of Memory. I was aware of Ramon Lull but not about this Ars Combinatoria, which sounds extremely fascinating. Thank you for telling me about it.

Jodi Dean: Theorizing Conspiracy Theory: Theory & Event 4:3
"As the global networks of the information age become increasingly entangled, many of us are overwhelmed and undermined by an all-pervasive uncertainty. Far from passively consuming the virtually entertaining spectacles of vertically integrated media, we come to suspect that something is going on behind the screens. What we see is not what we get. The truth may not be out there, but something, or someone, is. Accompanying our increasing suspicions, moreover, are seemingly bottomless vats of information, endless paths of evidence."

Cabinet of Dr Glas
We are the cut, the never smudged ...
Scissorhands clutch.
Hatch the scrolls of Delight House.
Post to post (to disc)
at the click of one mouse ...
Audi, Cogito, Etymo, Echo
Pulling our lego-babel from the hearth,
projecting trailers for the memory
sparks an odyssey.
A sputnik orbits a pearl, a time-ghost world:
Somewhere over on the other side of Eden
Perhaps & Maybe attend a cannibal reading,
a gift-wrapped, extended, & phantom pane
"Literature Please, Let's have your glasses"
& witness-reports of a walled magazine.
A Pilgrim's Vorsprung durch Technik ...
Replay the footsteps between media [via beat telemetry]

Darrin M. McMahon: Conspiracies so vast (The Boston Globe, 2/1/04)
"[...] Fears of the Illuminati, for example, still invoked to this day, were originally fed by the discovery in the 1780s of an actual conspiracy led by a Bavarian professor at the University of Ingolstadt, Adam Weishaupt. His brotherhood of "enlightened ones," the Society of the Illuminati, aimed to infiltrate established Masonic lodges throughout Europe with the goal of disseminating republican and anticlerical beliefs. The conspiracy was discovered long before it could have any real effect. But this did nothing to stem the alarm that spread in its wake.
Fanned by the terrible upheavals of the French Revolution, tales of the Illuminati flourished, taking their place alongside the dastardly accounts of "Monied Interests," Masons, Jacobins, Rosicrucians, Jesuits, and Jews. When the President of Yale, Timothy Dwight, preached a sermon before alarmed undergraduates in 1797, warning of the machinations of the Illuminati conspiracy in the New World, he was merely adding an early Yankee voice to what would soon become a full-blown national panic. The American Bavarian Illuminati scare of 1798-1800 swept up the likes of Alexander Hamilton, and brought the country to the brink of civil war.
Dwight and Hamilton were in good company. From Voltaire and Rousseau to David Hume and Edmund Burke, some of the century's finest minds were ready to countenance conspiracies of one form or another. That fact makes it difficult to dismiss the Enlightenment's fascination with these dark developments as simply irrational aberrations. On the contrary, as the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon S. Wood has argued, Enlightenment conspiracy theories may have represented a transitional step on the way to a more nuanced and "scientific" understanding of the world.
For an age in the process of demystifying Nature, to attribute cause and effect to magic or Fate, the Devil or the hidden hand of Providence was no longer sufficient. Searching for rational patterns to explain the laws of humanity as they explained the laws of the natural world, Enlightenment observers ran up against the complexity and contingency of human affairs.
Large-scale phenomena like the transition to capitalism, or the American or French Revolutions, did not readily lend themselves to simple patterns. Conspiracy was a way to ascribe order to the seemingly chaotic, make an irrational world appear rational without ascribing agency to nonhuman forces."

Guido Cavalcanti

posted by Andrew 2/04/2004 07:08:00 PM