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{Saturday, March 29, 2003}

Satellite & Vine

"Paradise absent is different from paradise lost."

A War of Ghosts - James Berger
"Trauma, as LaCapra writes in Writing History, Writing Trauma, creates a break between lived experience and cognition, so that "one disorientingly feels what one cannot represent; one numbingly represents what one cannot feel." But the mind, the psyche, the soul struggles to find itself again and to situate itself in a world whose features have been altered by disaster. The first result may be oblivion, amnesia, or a kind of numbness that allows us to report the facts of trauma without feeling. But gradually, in a variety of ways, the trauma returns. We re-experience or reenact the traumatic event in dreams or in compulsive, repetitive actions. These symptomatic returns - what psychologists call "the acting out of trauma" - show that a person still is psychically immersed in the trauma. She is, in effect, haunted by the event - and indeed, ghosts are among the most common and effective figures for the return of trauma in recent fiction.
... Because trauma shatters the narratives that structure our lives, we can only be healed by telling our stories again, by representing in words the trauma that now controls our mental images, thoughts, actions, even our bodily functions beyond the reach of language. Language, and especially narrative, allows us to work through trauma rather than acting out the trauma symptomatically.
... The American determination to refight, and win, the war in Vietnam (in Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan ...) goes beyond any rational refiguring of military strategy. Our country's military, and much of our populace, has been possessed by the memory of that defeat and will do almost anything to exorcize it. In the Middle East, Israel is fighting not just the Palestinians, but the Nazis and centuries of haters of Jews. The Palestinians are fighting not just the Israelis, but centuries of European colonizers. No wonder negotiation has proved so difficult. This is a war of ghosts battling for the vindication of the most ancient injuries."

Whatever I Fear the Most by Sarah Stegall
"I have always thought it must be a particular torture to Fox Mulder, who is "cursed with a photographic memory", that he cannot remember the exact events of his sister's disappearance. As a psychologist, he must surely be aware of the implications of this kind of amnesia - not that he cannot remember, but that he dare not. Those fears are brought violently to the surface, like swamp gas erupting from buried corpses, when he voluntarily undergoes a radical and dangerous memory enhancement treatment. Suddenly he is besieged with images and sounds that act out his worst nightmares - that his parents voluntarily gave away his sister, or at least complied with her abduction, and that Mulder's own nemesis, the Cigarette-Smoking Man, is as close to him as his own father. Mulder is being forced closer and closer to the possibility that he is the modern Orestes, caught between a father who sacrificed a daughter to the gods of war and a mother who will never forgive that act of betrayal."

Electronic Mesmerism
Another Life of Slime Mold
"New technologies do more than transmit information. They change behaviour by propagating moods. Not only does everyone receive news faster than before. The mood ... [the news] creates is far more swiftly contagious."
John Gray - Straw Dogs : Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals (Granta, 2002, page 170)

Red Herring - February 10, 2003 - Michael S. Malone
"Forget Moore's law, but not because it isn't true. On the contrary, Moore's law may be the truest "truth" about human events over the last half-century. In fact, while our understanding of the cosmos, particle physics, and brain chemistry gets revised almost by the month, Moore's law - so fragile, so on the razor's edge of knowledge, so at the mercy of human weakness - clicks on with the precision of an atomic clock. Indeed, there are days when Moore's law seems the only thing we can still believe in."

"Television, sight-at-a-distance, wears the planet, fixes Elysium, and sets the level of global excitability. Can we depart from it?"
Edward Slopek - TV Scanners Entraining: Going Berserk on the Crest of the Third Wave - 1983

"Crises in earlier days were localized by distance. What happened on the far-off plains of Muscovy touched us but little, and Europe was weeks from America by sail; but today we are deprived of the leisurely perspective that such distance gave, the cushioning effect of space. Our planet is so shrunken now that men from its far corners can assemble in a day, and an army flies the Atlantic between dawn and dark. Those in the uttermost parts of the earth listen to news from everywhere, and even see it made.
In such a close-knit world, friendship and peace do not grow automatically. A little flame of hate can start a conflagration, and such flames are burning now."
Edmund W. Sinnott - The Bridge of Life : From Matter to Spirit
(Simon and Schuster, 1972, page 29)

Hysteria and Paranoia
In Our Sights: Artists Look at Guns

William Claxton: Photographic Memory
"The international languages of jazz and photography need no special education or sophistication to be enjoyed. All I ask you to do is listen with your eyes."

Please Use the Events Provided
Improvising - Cognitive Trails
"Time and space are not the Newtonian sensoria in which events occur and planets fall along ellipses. But they are not, either, the forms of our perception, the universal a prioris that our mind has to use in order to frame or accommodate the multiplicity of beings and entities. Far from being primitive terms, they are, on the contrary, consequences of the ways in which bodies relate to one another. We will thus link our meditation to the third tradition, the Leibnizian one, that considers space and time as expressing some relation between the entities themselves. But instead of one Space-Time we will generate as many spaces and times as there are types of relations. Thus, progressing along trails will not produce the same space-times as going smoothly along networks. It makes an enormous difference if those bodies are suffering bodies among other suffering bodies, or a relaxed air-conditioned executive in a bullet train."
Trains of thought - Piaget, formalism and the fifth dimension
by Bruno Latour - Common Knowledge, n�3, Winter 97, V. 6, pp 170-191

Every time history repeats itself the price goes up
"Humanists believe their faith in progress is founded on reason, but it is not a result of scientific inquiry. It is the Judaeo-Christian idea of history as a universal narrative of salvation dressed up in secular clothes."
John Gray - The unstoppable march of the clones - New Statesman, 24 June, 2002, page 27

Crusades and Jihads in Postcolonial Times
The relationship between the Islamic world and the West is often understood as a clash between two very different civilisations. Dr S. Sayyid considers an alternative way of representing world politics, arguing that there can be no single authorised version of history.

Is there such a thing as "photographic memory"?

"Numerous affinities exist between the instantaneities of writing and photography, both being inserted in time which is 'exposed' rather than simply passing."
Paul Virilio - War and Cinema : The Logistics of Perception (Verso, 1989, page 36)

"It is real time that threatens writing. Writing is always, always, in deferred time - always delayed. Once the image is live, there is a conflict between deferred time and real time, and this is a serious threat to writing and the author.
... If I were to offer you a last thought - interactivity is to real space what radioactivity is to the atmosphere."
Paul Virilio - Speed Pollution

"The accidents of virtual reality, of telecommunications, are infinitely less visible than derailments, but they are potentially just as serious."
Paul Virilio

Disaster movies as the last remnants of Utopia
Philosopher and cultural gadfly Slavoj Zizek talks to Ha'aretz & poses the question of where reality is to be found in a universe of film and fiction.
Slavoj Zizek - "Apparently it's so hard for us to imagine a new global utopian project based on work and cooperation, that the only way we can entertain the thought is to pay a mental price of extreme catastrophe."

At times we made films of ourselves transmuting
The Fragile Absolute - Slavoj Zizek (Verso, 2001, page 121)
" ... Christianity asserts as the highest act precisely what pagan wisdom condemns as the source of Evil: the gesture of separation, of drawing the line, of clinging to an element that disturbs the balance of All. The pagan criticism that the Christian insight is not 'deep enough', that it fails to grasp the primordial One-All, therefore misses the point: Christianity is the miraculous Event that disturbs the balance of the One-All; it is the violent intrusion of Difference that precisely throws the balanced circuit of the universe off the rails."

The State of Emergency Called Love

An Unexpected Light
"Can you walk on water? You have done no better than a straw.
Can you fly through the air? You are no better than a gnat.
Conquer your heart - then you may become somebody."
Khwaja Abdullah Ansari of Herat (1006 - 1089)

"A good book is something special, something unforeseeable." Proust

Paul Virilio - The Vision Machine (British Film Institute, 1994, page 61)
"Any take (mental or instrumental) being simultaneously a time take, however minute, exposure time necessarily involves some degree of memorisation (conscious or not) according to the speed of exposure. Hence the familiar possibility of subliminal effects once film is projected at over 60 frames a second.
The problem of the objectivisation of the image thus largely stops presenting itself in terms of some kind of paper or celluloid support surface - that is, in relation to a material reference space. It now emerges in relation to time, to the exposure time that allows or edits seeing."

Trains of thought - Piaget, formalism and the fifth dimension
by Bruno Latour - Common Knowledge, n�3, Winter 97, V. 6, pp 170-191
The flying dove did not live "in time" before being killed by the gun "in space".
The photographic gun does not kill, that's the trick. What is important for Marey is that the events of the flying dove occur now many times, there, in the beautiful summer sky, but also, hundreds of times at will, down there in the Station Physiologique of the Coll�ge de France. Marey is not losing the lived and rich dur�e of the dove for the poor and cold geometry of the dove. On the contrary, he is adding to the flight of the dove, something never observed by anyone on earth before, the enrapting contemplation of the successive motions transformed, on the plate, into coexisting shapes. He has not "degraded" time into space as Heidegger would say; the leap is much more innovative and daring than that: the few flash seconds of the dove's flight, have been transformed into an ever-lasting silver photograph that can be contemplated for hours and quickly scanned by Marey's gaze again and again, in search of structural features that will explain the muscles' position and the energy balance. For someone who observes scientists at work there is no more one time and space than there is for someone who observes engineers at work. The phenomena are much more stunning; they rely on the subversion, disjunction, displacement, rescaling, crossing-over of relations between spatial, actorial and temporal features. Science does not withdraw time from the world, it adds many spaces and times to it by constantly modifying scales, lengths, units in those strange sites, the laboratory, the institute, the collection, which are utterly different from "a mind".

The World-Wide Web as a Cyborg Author in the Postmodern Mold

Cognitive Artifacts
"The real world cares little for academic categories and conventions. The serious movers and shakers of every stripe often meet each other and appropriate each other's ideas. Themes from one area then show up in another, as poetry becomes politics becomes philosophy and then science."
Michael R. Rose - Darwin's Spectre: Evolutionary Biology In The Modern World (1998, page 192)
Urbanowicz on Darwin
Why We Need Both Cultures - Scientific and Artistic
The New Humanists by John Brockman (with responses)

How The Leopard Changed Its Spots
The Myth behind the Metaphors
"Dawkins' description of the Darwinian principles of evolution can be summarized as follows.

1 Organisms are constructed by groups of genes whose goal is to leave more copies of themselves. The hereditary material is basically 'selfish'.
2 The inherently selfish qualities of the hereditary material are reflected in the competitive interactions between organisms that result in survival of fitter variants, generated by the more successful genes.
3 Organisms are constantly trying to get better (fitter). In a mathematical/geometrical metaphor, they are always trying to climb up local peaks in a fitness landscape in order to do better than their competitors. However, this landscape keeps changing as evolution proceeds, so the struggle is endless.
4 Paradoxically, humans can develop altruistic qualities that contradict their inherently selfish nature, by means of educational and other cultural efforts.

Are these metaphors beginning to look familiar?
Here is a very similar set.

1 Humanity is born in sin; we have a base inheritance.
2 Humanity is therefore condemned to a life of conflict and
3 Perpetual toil
4 But by faith and moral effort humanity can be saved from its fallen, selfish state.

So we see that the Darwinism described by Dawkins, whose exposition has been been very widely (but by no means universally) acclaimed by biologists, has its metaphorical roots in one of the deepest cultural myths, the story of the fall and redemption of humanity. Dawkins did not invent this evolutionary story; he just tells it with great care and inspiration, in terms that clarified the underlying ideas of Darwinism. And what we see so clearly revealed is a myth with which we are all utterly familiar. So now we can begin to see what Darwin did, from a different perspective. He certainly committed a heresy as far as the original theological version of the fall/redemption story is concerned, because he had no place for God or the spirit of Man in his version of the origin of species. For him, creativity is in living matter itself. The capacity of life to generate an indefinite diversity of forms, of species, is intrinsic to this state of organization of matter, and no transcendental spirit is required to animate it and give it form. But once this crucial step had been taken, the rest of the story remained much the same as before in terms of competition, struggle, work and progress. Darwin saw this as the path to civilization ... "
How the Leopard Changed its Spots: The Evolution of Complexity - Brian Goodwin
(Phoenix, London, 1997, pages 29-30)

A globe, clothing itself with a brain
Are You Living In a Computer Simulation?
The Matrix and Quantum Consciousness

How might a Quantum Mind be able to select which of the Many-Worlds it will experience in the future?
Many-Worlds Quantum Theory

Can the Universe Create Itself?

Simon Blackburn explores the philosophy of Richard Rorty - Prospect Magazine
"Can we get off the unhappy seesaw of either staying with Hume and losing confidence that we represent the world correctly, or going with Kant and holding that we represent only a world which is in some sense constituted by us? This question sets the scene for Rorty's contribution. For suppose that Hume and Kant commit the same mistake. Suppose there is a way of undercutting the whole problem, of pointing the gun at some concept that each side unwittingly shares.
And there is, indeed, a way. Each side is bothered about our capacity to describe truly, or represent the world. So each shares an ideal of representation. But suppose that this very idea is itself a delusion - suppose the mind is not even in the business of mirroring the world? ... This is Rorty's proposal. We must scrap the idea that thought, and the language in which it is couched, is there to enable us to represent the world. Instead, Rorty takes from Darwin the idea that language is an adaptation and words are tools. Like his other heroes William James and John Dewey, the American pragmatists of the early 20th century, he thinks the essence of language is what we do with it. Thought is about knowing how, not knowing that; or, as Rorty likes to put it, for coping not copying. So he writes: "There is no way in which tools can take one out of touch with reality. No matter whether the tool is a hammer or a gun or a statement, tool-using is part of the interaction of the organism with its environment. To see the employment of words as the use of tools to deal with the environment, rather than as an attempt to represent the intrinsic nature of that environment, is to repudiate the question of whether human minds are in touch with reality ... No organism, human or non-human, is ever more or less in touch with reality than any other organism."
This is a typically bravura statement of pragmatism (the last sentence alone is enough to annoy many of us, since some people seem to be much less in touch with reality than others). But the attractive idea is that linguistic tools have their purpose, and so can be retired when that purpose is done, while other projects and other tools rise to supersede them. Rorty calls this a change of vocabularies, echoing Thomas Kuhn's famous description of scientific change in terms of paradigm shifts, and echoing as well Carnap's view that questions about the overall adequacy of any particular conceptual scheme represent choices not discoveries."

Complexity Digest 2002.52
Self-organization and complexity in the natural sciences
The Creative Impulse - The Motive Force

"Everything should just fall apart," said University of Chicago physicist Henry Frisch. The forces that hold things together should get weaker and weaker, matter should collapse, and the world should end. But it doesn't. That's bothering Frisch and his colleagues. A lot.
Scientists search for what keeps us together

The Driving Force for Life's Emergence: Kinetic and Thermodynamic Considerations
by A. Pross - Journal of Theoretical Biology, February 2003, vol.220, no.3, pp.393-406
"If the thermodynamic drive toward ever-increasing entropy is not what drives the evolutionary process, then what does?"

"Peirce expressed the thought, which may seem hyperbolic to many, that love is the prime mover of evolution, and there may be some truth in it, even for the evolution of the sciences."
Claus Emmeche - A semiotical reflection on biology, living signs and artificial life

Researchers Say 'Frustrated Magnets' Hint at Broader Organizing Principle in Nature
Study suggests optimal network organization
A Pattern Language of Sustainability

Principles of Ecoforestry
"Whitehead regards organism as a universal principle, applicable in every field of reality from metaphysics to ethics. Everything that exists has its place in the order of nature. This does not mean that reality is an organism or that everything is reduced to biological terms. It does mean that every thing resembles a living organism since its essence depends on the pattern in which they occur, and not on its components. The organism is what it does. The organism expresses an order particular to its place and time, within limits. In Whitehead's metaphysics of experience, the world is an ecosystem, an intertwining of all things."

An Investigation into the Neurobiological Basis of the Social Contract by Thomas Vogl
"In the process of contemplating this piece, it has occurred to me that I have been mistaken all these years in thinking about H. sap. as the pattern recognizing ape.
A far more accurate description, and one that is isomorphic with Terry Pratchett's Pan narrans, is the pattern questing ape. I emphasize this semantic difference because H. sap. not only can recognize patterns (and has exquisitely sensitive hard wired talent to do so), but, in fact, has an overpowering urge/need to do so."

Negative entropy and information in quantum mechanics

When the web starts thinking for itself 20-12-2002 - David Green - vnunet.com
"The Open Directory project's slogan is 'Humans do it better'. Tim Berners Lee's vision is that the semantic web will do it better ('it' being low-level information discovery and exchange), thus enabling humans to do better things.
This symbiotic intelligence of people plus computers plus intelligence agents that offer immediate access to humanity's collective knowledge does sound somewhat utopian. Equally it raises the spectre of a self-adaptive intelligence that quickly surpasses our ability to comprehend it."

The Coming Collapse of the Age of Technology
"The reductionist idea of a fully explainable and manageable world is a very poor model of reality by any objective standard. The real world comprises a few islands of limited understanding in an endless sea of mystery."

The Ghost With Trembling Wings
Now and then, written-off animals come back from the beyond
"The Ghost With Trembling Wings" is a virtuoso presentation that can be dizzying, even exhausting, yet in this it reflects the wild world as Weidensaul found it. "Much of it is still unknown." he writes. "The blank spots are disappearing beneath the unblinking eyes of satellites and the probing fingers of chain saws, bulldozers, and the farmer's hoe, but great swaths of the planet remain a mystery to polite society, fit habitat for myths and monsters, a place where dreams can live."

Margaret Boden - Creativity theory
"Devotees of the humanities expect to be surprised. An arresting metaphor or poetic image, an unpredicted twist of the plot, a novel style of music, painting, or dance ... all these unexpected things amaze and delight us. Scientists, too, appreciate the shock of a new idea - the double helix, the jumping gene, or the benzene-ring. Indeed, unpredictability is often said to be the essence of creativity. But unpredictability is not enough. At the heart of creativity lie constraints: the very opposite of unpredictability."

A Roar of Approaching Cataracts

"Those who have argued that the demise of humankind would be a blessing to our earth should be reminded that all the beauty of nature we experience, all the meaningfulness and grandeur of the universe, is created by the interaction of our nervous systems with that universe - and would vanish as our brains reverted to dust. It might be millions or even hundreds of millions of years before intelligent beings would arise again, this time, one hopes, not to make the same mistakes. And it might be never. Clearly, rather than hoping for destruction and the cleaning of the slate, we would be better developing the wisdom of our own species, encouraging pioneers seeking to expand that wisdom - so long as openness toward new knowledge remains part of our greatest good."
Erika Erdman & David Stover - Beyond a World Divided: Human Values in the Brain-Mind Science of Roger Sperry (Shambhala, 1991, page 178)

What is Concrescence?

posted by Andrew 3/29/2003 04:32:00 PM

{Tuesday, March 25, 2003}

New Life Arises Within The Shells Of Repetition

Introducing the Hermit Crab
I said Hermit Crab

"Both modernism and postmodernism are caught in the paradox of an attempt to 'make it new', to be absolutely modern, to be 'post' everything, that always turns out to be a repetition, most often a parodic repetition, of something that has already occurred in the past. In an analogous way the American Revolution of 1776 justified itself by the model of the 'Glorious Revolution' in England of 1688, just as the French Revolution, in Marx's analysis, was a repetition of Republican Rome, and just as Louis Napoleon, according to Marx, repeated in the mode of farce the tragic mode of the French Revolution."
J Hillis Miller - 'Stay! Speak, speak. I charge thee, speak'.

"Repetition virtually ensures continuance of a regime, but it does not necessarily create the prompts for new life and diversity."
Michael Conforti - Field, Form, and Fate - Patterns in Mind, Nature and Psyche

"In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move."
Douglas Adams

Michael Rose's book - Darwin's Spectre : Evolutionary Biology in the Modern World - is a personal view of the nature of Darwinism and an interpretation of its peculiar haunting of the modern world.

The second coming of 'Star Wars'
Entertainment Weekly ... reports that in 1977 ... director Francis Ford Coppola "seriously proposed that Lucas start a religion, using the murkily defined tenets of 'the Force' as a central holy text."
"That was Francis's thing," [George] Lucas told EW. "I remember him saying, "You know, you've got a certain amount of power in politics. But religion! With religion, you really have power." I told him, "Forget it. I don't have any interest in power."
Report by Alex Beam - The Boston Globe, 31 March 1999, page F01

Darwinian Fundamentalism - Stephen Jay Gould - The New York Review of Books, 12 June 1997
"Darwin clearly loved his distinctive theory of natural selection - the powerful idea that he often identified in letters as his dear "child." But, like any good parent, he understood limits and imposed discipline. He knew that the complex and comprehensive phenomena of evolution could not be fully rendered by any single cause, even one so ubiquitous and powerful as his own brainchild.
In this light, especially given history's tendency to recycle great issues, I am amused by an irony that has recently ensnared evolutionary theory."

"A spectre is haunting Western academia, the spectre of the Cartesian subject."
Slavoj Zizek

Flashback to the end of the Wall
Vaclav Havel - The Power of the Powerless - 1990
"A spectre is haunting eastern Europe: the spectre of what in the West is called "dissent." This spectre has not appeared out of thin air. It is a natural and inevitable consequence of the present historical phase of the system it is haunting. It was born at a time when this system, for a thousand reasons, can no longer base itself on the unadulterated, brutal, and arbitrary application of power, eliminating all expressions of nonconformity."

Shell Shocked
"Some 4200 years ago (when the Hale-Bopp comet first appeared) Yu, father of the first emperor of the Xia dynasty, saw, rising out of the Lo River, a turtle with certain markings and cracks on its shell, and [he] meditated on their significance.
3100 years ago King Wen formalized these cracks and markings in blackened and fired tortoise shells as the 64 hexagrams of the I Ching or book of changes. King Wen (declared king posthumously by his son who became the first emperor of the Zhou dynasty) created the hexagram arrangements while imprisoned by the Shang emperor; it was not an arrangement to describe abstract principles, but to describe his life and how it could be useful in overthrowing the corrupt Shang emperor and setting up a better government.
Rather than divining the space OF the other, the 64 cracks were arranged as a navigational tool toward and around the other, infinitely extensible formalized auratic handholds; a strategy of optimization to force the attention of the inanimate, the inert, in a return animation of blank mute matter but now gifted with language, a talking shell, bone, reed ... "

Ten Days That Shook Iraq - Inside Information from an Uprising - 1991
"The [First] Gulf war was not ended by the military victory of America and the Allies. It was ended by the mass desertion of thousands of Iraqi soldiers. So overwhelming was the refusal to fight for the Iraqi state on the part of its conscripted army that, contrary to all predictions, not one Allied soldier was killed by hostile fire in the final ground offensive to recapture Kuwait. Indeed the sheer scale of this mutiny is perhaps unprecedented in modern military history.
But these mutinous troops did not simply flee back to Iraq. On their return many of them turned their guns against the Iraqi state, sparking a simultaneous uprising in both Southern Iraq and in Kurdistan to the North. Only the central region of Iraq surrounding Baghdad remained firmly in the state's hands in the weeks following the end of the war.
From the very start the Western media has grossly misrepresented these uprisings. The uprising in the South, centred on Basra, was portrayed as a Shia Muslim revolt. Whereas the insurrection in the North was reported as an exclusively Kurdish Nationalist uprising which demanded little more than an autonomous Kurdish region within Iraq.
The truth is that the uprisings in both the North and South of Iraq were proletarian insurrections."

"The specter of Vietnam has been buried forever in the desert sands of the Arabian peninsula."
George H.W. Bush - 2 March 1991

"The view that wars can be prevented merely because they can be shown to be disastrous is based upon a misunderstanding of the nature of the forces that drive men to war."
Richard Law
History is something that didn't happen, written by someone who wasn't there.

"History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake." James Joyce

Historical Present
Our very own 1914, to be followed by our very own 1898

Gulf Wars - Episode II - Clone of the Attack
Delayed Flashbacks
Spectre of Vietnam haunts policymakers (Report filed - November 11, 2001)
"President Bush has called it a different kind of war. But as American forces struggle to overcome a stubborn foe and critics question whether a military plan exists, the spectre of Vietnam hangs in the air."

Sharia and Life - Al-Jazeera Star Mixes Tough Talk With Calls for Tolerance
His head draped in a white scarf in the tradition of the prophet Muhammad and his body made soft by years of religious study, Sheik Yusuf Qaradawi spoke slowly, his words simple, measured and frank.
The U.S. military has occupied the Persian Gulf, he declared, and any Muslim who dies trying to expel it should be deemed a martyr. An invasion of Iraq will "grow the seeds of hatred," giving rise to another Osama bin Laden, perhaps a thousand Osama bin Ladens. Palestinian suicide bombings -- martyrdom operations, he insisted -- are the weapon of the weak, their toll justified as a defense of sacred land.
Moments later, he seamlessly shifted to words more welcome in the West. Women must be given greater rights, he said, and autocratic Arab states must turn to democracy. Islam must reform and celebrate tolerance. Terrorism like the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks must be denounced. "By God, I was sympathetic with the Americans from the beginning," the 76-year-old sheik explained in an interview. "But truthfully, I didn't imagine then that America would go on to declare a war against the world."
Report by Anthony Shadid - Washington Post Foreign Service - 14 February 2003, page AO1

Blessed are the Warmakers?
Daniel Cohn-Bendit: If I could sit down with the president of the United States, I would say, "Mr. Bush, I am no pacifist, and I know military intervention can be absolutely necessary. When the Allies landed in Normandy in 1944, my parents took the first opportunity to conceive a child as a celebration of their new freedom."
Richard Perle: I never imagined we owe you to former U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower.
Cohn-Bendit: That's life. But recently, your government has been behaving like the Bolsheviks in the Russian Revolution. You want to change the whole world! Like them, you claim that history will show that truth is on your side. You want the world to follow the American dream, and you believe that you know what is best for Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Africa, Liberia, Yemen, and all other countries. Like every revolutionary, you have good ideas, but your problem lies in the means you want to use to realize them. Suddenly you want to bring democracy to the world, starting with Iraq. What happened to this administration, which began with promises and plans for a humble foreign policy and nonintervention?

London Review of Books - Letters From Vol. 23 No. 23 - 29 November 2001

The Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami : Reviving the Caliphate
"The HT makes use of all the methods and technologies of globalization. Indeed, the group's aim to create a single, worldwide Islamic government can best be described as Islamic radicalism's closest equivalent to the Western concept of globalization. But the HT rejects the modern political state, disavowing any interest in nationalism, democracy, capitalism, or socialism, all of which are considered Western concepts, alien to Islam. It also opposes most forms of culture and entertainment and seeks to restrict women's activities to the home, although women are allowed to be educated. In arguments reminiscent of the Taliban and the Wahhabis, the HT claims that the imposition of Sharia will resolve all the ethnic, social, and economic problems of the people."
Ahmed Rashid - Jihad : The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia
(Yale University Press, 2003, page 121)

"We need to step back from the imaginary thresholds that separate people from each other and re-examine the labels, reconsider the limited resources available, decide to share our fates with each other as cultures mostly have done, despite the bellicose cries and creeds."
Edward Said

"Three hundred years ago man claimed the right to worship his God without the mediation of the Church. To-day his claim is more absolute and more terrible. It is to face the universe without the mediation of his God. For the first time in his history man has assumed the undisputed captaincy of his soul. Until our own day he has always acknowledged a master, whether it was God, or the gods, or the Law or the Way. Always there has been a Rule which he accepted, a rule which was beyond amendment and beyond dispute. To-day there is none. He knows no master. He has freed himself at last. He has thrown off his chains. He has cast aside his outworn superstitions. And in so doing he has surrendered himself to a tyrant more arbitrary and more capricious than any he has ever known. That tyrant is his own will. We have been overtaken at last by the nemesis of humanism."
Richard Law - Return From Utopia : The World We Live In (Faber & Faber, 1950, page 28)

Emancipatory Spirituality - Michael Lerner
"Let me be clear that I am not an advocate of reactionary forms of spirituality or religion. On the contrary, I believe that the fundamental tension of the next few centuries will be between reactionary and emancipatory forms of spirituality, and I hope that my work will be part of the process that encourages people to develop an emancipatory consciousness. Yet the difficult truth is this: reactionary forms of spirituality can play a positive role in the struggle against the globalization of selfishness."

Al-Jazeera Star Mixes Tough Talk With Calls for Tolerance - Part Two
Report by Anthony Shadid - Washington Post Foreign Service - 14 February 2003, page AO1
"In the modern age, Muslims and Arabs considered America a friend to them, the closest to them," Qaradawi said after demanding his guest drink the carrot juice he had offered. "America had not occupied Arab nations or Islamic nations. It didn't have the historical baggage that the British, French, Spanish, Italians, even the Dutch, who colonized Indonesia, had. Its history was unblemished." There is still room for dialogue and respect, he insisted, despite the prospect of war, and coexistence, even now, is a better goal than a clash of civilizations. "We're all the sons of Adam," he said.

Out of Africa
"A specter is haunting African studies -- the specter of Gavin Kitching.
The national liberation struggles that swept across the continent resulted in states that proved to be, by and large, less than liberatory. Instead of egalitarian democracies, the colonial elites were replaced by new, African elites who mirrored the political conduct of the European oppressors they did away with."

Mugabe sees rival's 'ghost'
Zimbabwe's leader Robert Mugabe believes he is haunted by the ghost of a former political rival.
The president reportedly sets an extra place at dinner each night and orders food to be served for former guerrilla leader Josiah Tongogara. He died in a car crash in 1980.
Staff at the presidential palace are said to be alarmed at the state Mr Mugabe has been reduced to by Tongogara's "ghost". The spirit is said to be tormenting him with accusations that his mismanagement has destroyed the revolution which they fought for together.

One Withheld Flashback & Flashforward 2
The Jewel of Africa - by Doris Lessing - The New York Review of Books, 10 April 2003
"You have the jewel of Africa in your hands," said President Samora Machel of Mozambique and President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania to Robert Mugabe, at the moment of independence, in 1980. "Now look after it."
Twenty-three years later, the "jewel" is ruined, dishonored, disgraced.

Desert island scripts - Martin Wainwright happily follows the footprints of a 12th-century ...
"There is a tale for our troubled times about a man on a desert island, who keeps goats, builds a shelter and finally discovers footprints in the sand. But it is not called Robinson Crusoe. It was written by a wise old Muslim from Andalusia and is the third most translated text from Arabic after the Koran and the Arabian Nights.
It is called Hayy ibn Yaqzan or "Alive, Son of Awake", and it was a sensation among intellectuals in Daniel Defoe's day. As has happened before during times of tension between Islam and the west, it is again emerging from the shadows and that is a matter for celebration ..."

posted by Andrew 3/25/2003 03:25:00 PM

{Tuesday, March 18, 2003}

Ghostprobes Hone Radio, A Cyberspace Rhyme Interview

What kept you?

"It's an odd experience to look long and hard at one's own brain."
Magnetic Vision - Bruce Sterling
"The discovery of X-rays in 1895, by Wilhelm Roentgen, led to the first technology that made human flesh transparent."

Ten ways of thinking about deconstruction - Willy Maley
"Derrida likens reading to dunking for apples, head submerged, then up gasping for air."

A Palimpsest Of Quotations
In praise of the pips
John Humphrys: Would like to be replaced by the pips
"We have 18 seconds of pips and they are the best part of the programme. I propose we extend them by two hours and 42 seconds. I could stay in bed and the public would have a more satisfying broadcast," he says.

"The Arcades Project is Benjamin's effort to represent and to critique the bourgeois experience of nineteenth-century history, and, in so doing, to liberate the suppressed "true history" that underlay the ideological mask. In the bustling, cluttered arcades, street and interior merge and historical time is broken up into kaleidoscopic distractions and displays of ephemera."

Benjamin's Ghosts
"The notion of ghostliness permeates Benjamin's writing: in The Arcades Project Benjamin describes Paris as ghostly and in other works he explores the spectral quality of modern technology. Benjamin is interested in those things that disappear into something new and his work can be seen as a series of meditations on spectral in-betweeness, thresholds, transitions, and transitory acts and events."

Ventriloquism Home Page

Voice Technology and the Victorian Ear
"Bell's achievement was, in the end, not to make it possible for the deaf to hear by means of sight (a telegraphic ambition), but to take an inert and deaf medium, and give it ears to hear."

How did we get here from there?
"We constantly project ourselves back and forth." Rafael Capurro

Beyond the digital
"Being in cyberspace allows us new forms and feelings of being here and there. It has the tendency of eliminating space and time just as other communication techniques such as TV, telephone and broadcasting do too, of connecting the universal and individual perspectives in a non-hierarchical architecture."

Because We Are Digital: Crossing The Boundaries
"In the Middle Ages, the prevalent form of multimedia was at the same time a form of mass communication. The cathedral communicated the awe-inspiring Christian spiritual doctrine, which was the dominant means of rationalizing human existence. The message was made stronger by its embodiment in a variety of media stimulating the senses: visual (stained glass and statues), sound (music and hymn), touch and taste (performance and mass) and smell (incense and myrrh). Writing itself was the means for codifying the knowledge held in the cathedral, the knowledge to sort out the patterns of our existence, to know the unknowable."

Wet Dogs and Gushing Oranges

"You can tell if an apple is any good from its pips. If they taste of almond and are sweet, the apple will be a good one. It is common for a taste to evoke a memory, but it is also a spontaneous reaction to associate one flavour with another."
Raffaela Delmonte - 'The Fragrance of Basil: Food & Memories of my Italian Childhood'
(Penguin Books, New Zealand, 2002, page 88)

Michael Heumann - Listening to Electricity: "The Galaxy Being"
"Alexander Graham Bell and his assistant, Thomas Watson, developed the first working telephone in March of 1876. They unveiled the new device to the public a few months later. In the intervening months, as the inventors worked to perfect the telephone's signal and make it more presentable for public scrutiny, Watson began to notice some rather unusual sounds emanating from the device. He spent hours late at night in their laboratory listening to "stray electric currents" reverberating across the wires ..."

The Mystery of Einstein's Brain
In the mid 1970s, the reporter Steven Levy set out to find Einstein's brain. He discovered [it] in Wichita ... in two mason jars in a cardboard box ... marked with the words "Costa Cider" ...
What Became of Albert Einstein's Brain?

The novelist Wright Morris, urging me to get an electric typewriter, said that he seldom turned his machine off. "When I'm not writing, I listen to the electricity," he said. "It keeps me company. We have conversations."
Saul Bellow - "Hidden Within Technology's Kingdom, a Republic of Letters," New York Times (October 11, 1999)
Stanley Corngold - Notes toward a Phenomenology of e-mail: Impersonality, Normativity, Insertability

Jane Vanhanen
Loving the Ghost in the Machine: Aesthetics of Interruption
"In science fiction, ghosts in machines always appear as malfunctions, glitches, interruptions in the normal flow of things. Something unexpected appears seemingly out of nothing and from nowhere. Through a malfunction, a glitch, we get a fleeting glimpse of an alien intelligence at work. As electricity has become the basic element of the world we live in, the steady hum of power grids and their flowing immaterial essences slowly replacing the cogs and cranks of everyday machinery, the ghostly rapport has also relocated into the domain of current fluctuations, radio interference and misread data."

Spectres of the Spectrum
Histories & Introductions: Broadcast

Nineteenth Century Fox on Haunted Media by Jeffrey Sconce

A spirit, whispering in Latvian through radio static, said: "Bring a halibut."

Patchen Barss reviews Haunted Media - The National Post, April 27, 2001
"There are certain conventions in representing electronic media that seem to recur over and over again, one of which is this idea I call the 'electronic elsewhere,' this idea that electronic communications create an actual real space somewhere else that one can inhabit in some way."
Jeffrey Sconce

"Cyberspace is, of course, just a metaphor," he [Jeffrey Sconce] said. "There's no such thing as cyberspace. It's a mental construct; it's not a physical construct. And yet we invest in that reality as if it were some actual elsewhere somewhere."

"As though ... the simulation of real life were not part of real life." - Jacques Derrida

"Have you seen your world today?"
"Events bound for broadcast, unbound from the present: again, for the first time, they return ... a flashback, a trauma, a ghost."
Thomas Keenan

Ghostbusters - Marina Warner explores the strange world of the medium and the interplay of science and magic
"Discussing Freud's captivation in the 1920s by the possibility of thought transference, Jacques Derrida remarks that it is 'difficult to imagine a theory of what they still call the unconscious without a theory of telepathy'.(3) Derrida also allows himself to wonder, as most of us have done, how it is that someone rings us at the very moment we've put our hand on the receiver to ring them. Modern media, he suggests, do not simply move the self in the form of the voice and image over distance, but give the eerie feeling of replicating the movement of thought itself. In his writing, telepathy keeps threatening to break its confines and become the condition of thought, of literature, of language." (3) 'Telepathy' (translated by Nicholas Royle) was published in the Oxford Literary Review (1988).

Technology and the Self - Kenneth J. Gergen
"I believe the relational sublime hovers close to consciousness as we click into the vast network of the computer bulletin board and add our entry to the unending conversation."

The Internet Is like Literature's Pimp - Ambivalent Enthusiasm on the Electronic Frontier - Kirsten Silva Gruesz
Joyce nicely describes the archival power of the bookmark, the cache: "Some evidences [of our cyberwanderings] we collect and save, in a process that mimics memory, like snapshots of where we once walked. Others dissolve in the formless track of a Go list, like a walk through a snowstorm, in a process that mimics consciousness" (Joyce 53-4).
Joyce, Michael - Othermindedness: The Emergence of Network Culture (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2000)

The Angel of History
For Benjamin, intellectual investigation is not a distancing activity; it retains much of the intimacy of a child's engagement with the world. Foretelling his adult love of literature, Benjamin describes what happens when a child picks up a storybook:
"The hero's adventures can still be read in the swirling letters like figures and messages in drifting snowflakes. [The child's] breath is part of the air of the events narrated, and all the participants breathe it. He mingles with the characters far more closely than grown-ups. He is unspeakably touched by the deeds, by the words that are exchanged, and when he gets up, he is covered over and over by the snow of his reading."
Walter Benjamin's Vision of Hope and Despair - Raymond Barglow

Turtles take magnetic cues (pdf)
"A new study ... shows that baby loggerhead sea turtles perform their navigational feat by detecting very slight differences in the Earth's magnetic fields to stay within the Atlantic gyre, an oceanwide current of warm water.
The gyre (pronounced with a soft "g," as in "jire," rhyming with "hire") forms a huge circular river, moving clockwise from the United States' East Coast, across the North Atlantic and then south along the coasts of Spain and Africa, before turning west to complete the circle."

The Library of the Turtle

"There is a very practical sense in which to trace even an imaginary route is to trace the spirit or thought of what passed there before. At its most casual, this retracing allows unsought memories of events to return as one encounters the sites of these events. At its most formal it is a means of memorizing."
Rebecca Solnit - Wanderlust - A History of Walking (Verso, London, 2001, page 76)

Animating the Language Machine: Computers and Performance - Marshall Soules
"Just as improvisational performance usually takes place within a matrix of constraints so too does the navigable space of the interactive environment benefit from appropriate structures."

"Online communication is dialogic and intertextual in the sense that it is built up by many individuals as a conversation in text which can be archived to yield an expression of community."
Animating the Language Machine: Computers and Performance - Marshall Soules

Interface Culture - Steven Johnson (Harper, 1997, pages 107 & 110-111)
"Web surfer, cybersurf, surfing the digital waves, silicon surfer. Not only are the iterations inane, but the concept of "surfing" does a terrible injustice to what it means to navigate around the Web ...
Conceptualizing Cyberspace
Consider just this one statistic: near the middle of 1996, Netscape and Microsoft released new versions of their respective Web browsers, setting some sort of informal record for the most rapid-fire software upgrades in history: These new Versions between them unleashed more than a hundred new features, according to the press materials that accompanied them. There were upgrades for Java support, new animation types, sound plug-ins, e-mail filters, and so on. But not one of these new features - not one - enhanced the basic gesture of clicking on a text link. The very cornerstone of the World Wide Web had been completely ignored under a blizzard of other, gratuitous additions. For those of us who spend a great deal of time "surfing" online, the oversight was maddening. Ask any Web user to recall what first lured him into cyberspace; you're not likely to hear rhapsodic descriptions of a twirling animated graphic or a thin, distorted sound clip. No, the eureka moment for most of us came when we first clicked on a link, and found ourselves jettisoned across the planet. The freedom and immediacy of that movement--shuttling from site to site across the infosphere, following trails of thought wherever they led us - was genuinely unlike anything before it. We'd seen more lively cartoon animations on Saturday-morning television; we'd heard more compelling audio piped out of our home stereos. But nothing could compare to that first link.
What we glimpsed in that first encounter was something profound happening at the level of language. The link is the first significant new form of punctuation to emerge in centuries, but it is only a hint of things to come."

Incubation Conference
"The human mind operates by association. With one item in its grasp, it snaps instantly to the next that is suggested by the association of thoughts, in accordance with some intricate web of trails carried by the cells of the brain. It has other characteristics, of course; trails that are not frequently followed are prone to fade, items are not fully permanent, memory is transitory. Yet the speed of action, the intricacy of trails, the detail of mental pictures, is awe-inspiring beyond all else in nature."
Vannevar Bush - 'As We May Think', July 1945

"It was quiet and cool and airy inside, with lots of polished bamboo and books. That was where I ran across that article by Vannevar Bush ..."

Two important things happened to Engelbart in the Navy. He served as a radar technician, which gave him direct experience with how information could be conveyed directly, electronically, on a screen. And while he was stationed in the Philippines, he came across a ... magazine that included Vannevar Bush's essay, 'As We May Think' ...

The coming Age of Interface
Magical Blend Magazine Reading Room Interview with Steven Johnson
"The whole process of linking implies a profound shift in the way we grapple with information. The modern era has been dominated by the encyclopedic mentality. Our traditional ways of organizing information - library books, say, or physical elements - are built around fixed, stable identities: each document belongs to a specific category. Linking turns the old paradigm on its head."

Tools for Thought

Songs are the lifts in 'The Singing Detective'
"I am a prisoner of my own skin & ..."
Now I'm hanging on the Dog & Bone

"Am I beginning to look like Humphrey Bogart?"
Putting on a Show, or The Ghostliness of Gesture

Turning the lens back on the camera

Sound Belief - Kevin Hamilton
In his 1967 book The Presence of the Word Walter Ong used the word "sensorium" to describe a sort of perceptual equivalent to the more familiar term, "worldview." The sensorium of a particular person, or more often, of a particular culture varies according to which senses are most relied upon on when founding beliefs about what is "real."
" ... As operators of technologies that depend on an illusion of presence (telephone, internet chat rooms, radio, cinema) we are consensual participants in very specific epistemologies. ... we delight in telepresence for the uncanniness of the illusion, how "real" it seems to our ears ... These are imaginative acts, in which belief is formed from sometimes a remarkably small set of sensory stimuli."

J Hillis Miller - 'Stay! Speak, speak. I charge thee, speak'.
"The new regime of telecommunications is incorrigibly a multimedia affair. Reading as the private and exclusive activity of a man, woman, or child 'curled up with a good book' gives way to 'surround sight' and 'surround sound'. The latter inundate ear and eye with a swarm of ghosts that are neither present nor non-present, neither incarnated nor disincarnated, neither here nor there, neither dead nor undead. These spectres have enormous power to invade the mind, feelings, and imagination of the person who raises them by pressing the button on the remote control, and to bend mind and feelings to their shapes. Since many of these phantoms are figures of the utmost violence, as in so much of cinema and television today, it is as if the fears that in the old print world lurked in the depths of the unconscious are now brought out into the open, for better or for worse, where we can behold them face to face, see and hear them, not just read about them. The distinction between consciousness and unconsciousness, the basis of psychoanalysis, no longer holds. That, I suppose, is what Derrida may mean by saying the new regime of telecommunications is bringing an end to psychoanalysis."

As a poet, what do you think about "depth"? And while you are at it, what do you think, as a poet, about ghosts? Please relate your answer to the matter of poetic form.
The letter of the spirit like a frame - Kent Johnson interviews Henry Gould

Rather then explaining the Gothic, psychoanalysis is "a late gothic story which has emerged to help explain a twentieth-century experience of paradoxical detachment from, and fear of, others and the past."
Maggie Kilgore - The Rise of the Gothic Novel, page 221, as quoted by Franz J. Potter in The Failure of Gothic Criticism

Gods & Graves - Ghosts & Scholars

Doctor Living Stone will see you now
If Ghostwriters Are Indispensable, Why Are They So Invisible?

Hands that mould the imagination

On Email

Heckler & Coch post Ghost Modernism
Is it a blog, or not a blog?
This is nothing but a tissue of links!
The Molecular Biology of Paradise
"It's a cosmic coracle, in between the literal and the metaphorical."
I assure you friend, this vacuum sucks.
Home Page Replica
One need not be a chamber to be haunted

"Sampling is the most extreme contemporary example of a music which absorbs into itself the music which surrounds it." (Toop 1995: 261)
Toop, David (1995) 'Ocean of Sound: Aether Talk, Ambient Sound and Imaginary Worlds', New York & London: Serpent's Tail.

Marjorie Nicolson - Science and Imagination (Great Seal Books, 1956, page 4)
"We may perhaps date the beginning of modern thought from the night of January 7, 1610, when Galileo, by means of the instrument which he had developed, thought he perceived new planets and new worlds."

Computing's Johnny Appleseed
"Lick devised a method for artfully distorting radio transmissions to emphasize consonants over vowels and thus make words stand out against a background of radio static and mechanized cacophony."

Jaynes and Language
Steven Connor - Modernism and the Writing Hand
"Far from being amputated by the new typographic and phonographic machines, the hand is reduplicated: in the typewriter, the corona of levers operated by the keys irresistibly takes on the shape of a multiply-fingered hand. Fingers are to the fore in other technologies: the telegraph is operated by a finger (and telegraphists grew to recognise the distinctive signature of other operators in the digital pattern of dots and dashes), and the stylus of the phonograph and gramophone acts like a finger or fingernail."

Core Changes
"When we strip away the iron to leave the abstraction of a steam engine, we obtain a representation of the spring of all change. That is, provided we look at the essence of a steam engine, its abstract heart, and ignore the details of its realization - the steam, the leaky pipes, the drips of oil and grease, the rattles, bangs, and rivets - we find a concept that applies across the range of all events. Science is like that: science distils from reality its essence, its great ideas, then finds the same phantom spirit elsewhere in nature. The identification of the same spirit inhabiting different events means that we acquire a common understanding of a whole swathe of the world."
'Galileo's Finger: Ten Great Ideas of Science' - Peter Atkins
(Oxford University Press, 2003, page 110)

Sonic Space Scribe

posted by Andrew 3/18/2003 04:58:00 PM

{Saturday, March 08, 2003}


A trail of images leads from the entrance into the depths

The Mind in the Cave
What prompted people to undertake hazardous journeys into the dark inner reaches of caves to carve or paint animals and other features onto the rock faces?
David Lewis-Williams draws thoughts from the paintings themselves, from anthropology and neurological science, to propose an important link between the paintings and altered states of consciousness. Assessing the effects of sensory deprivation, dreams and hallucinations and the point at which, during human evolution, man was able to discern and make sense of these, he examines the interaction between mental activity and social context. Drawing on evidence from San rock art of South Africa, the art of the early people of North America and the Upper Palaeolithic art of western Europe, this study looks at the origins of art and image-making.

Changes Again
Human beings emerge from a "conversation" with their extensions: language, words, images, symbols, tools, models, metaphors, analogies, artifacts, rituals, mythologies, iconographies, and performances.

[Balcony] Inner Space

Whose Life Is It, Anyway?

'And death shall have no dominion'

"A lot of the stories I choose, even when I write them, are about characters who are confronted by things they don't understand. They don't know what they are really facing but they assume they are going down a logical path."
Neil Jordan returns to form

" ... the personal experience of losing contact with consensus reality and entering a wholly Other world ... "
Form & Meaning in Altered States & Rock Art by Gyrus

Taking their titles from the Hopi language, the "Qatsi" films -- cinematic poems scored to the hypnotic rhythms of Philip Glass -- offer insights into man's relationship to nature. But in Naqoyqatsi, nature is no more. Replaced by digital code, corporate logos, smiling advertisements and artificial bodies, the contemporary world is reduced to haunting simulation. Yet in creating this doomsday work of technological overload, Reggio and team have inadvertently become digital pioneers: they have made the first totally computer-enhanced documentary feature. "Technology became the medium we had to use in order to question technology," says Reggio, from his Santa Fe home. "It's like using fire on fire."
Where The Set is the Image - Words: Anthony Kaufman

Tasty Wheat
If you want to see the future, just look around you.

The Membrane between Realms
"The shamans of the time brought some of their spirit power through the membrane between realms by depicting their guides. The places they chose lay at the interface between the lower and middle tiers of the universe, perhaps where the walls were thinnest. The images not only reflected visions past but also conveyed to future shamans the intellectual context of their practices, since the shaman exists only within the society he or she serves and must communicate in order to make the power work for it."

Different Kinds of Consciousness?

The Alphabet Abedecarium
Richard Firmage, an editor and book designer, has written, designed, illustrated, and typeset this learned and occasionally comic homage to the Roman alphabet -- the building blocks of his trade and of Western civilization itself. After Sesame Street, where letters are animated, personalized, empowered, and celebrated, this book will seem like a logical extension of childhood, a graduate course in the alphabet. Addressing the "light-hearted, the fun-loving, and the free-thinking," he draws on religion, physics, music, art, architecture, numerology, astronomy, astrology, math, literature, philology, calligraphy, and other disciplines, and on the histories of typography, paper, and printing, to create individual genealogies for the letters, complete with biographies and personalities and reputations. There's the legitimacy of the letter H, the hidden world of I, the success story of J, the celebrated O, the much used, often abused T, and the philosophical Y.
Influences both ancient and modern are considered, from cave paintings to computers, from the Pythagoreans, cabalists, Etruscans, Phoenicians, Celts, Greeks, and Plato to Gutenberg, Benjamin Franklin, James Thurber, Marshall McLuhan, and Dr. Seuss. In his hands, the "magical, powerful" world of the alphabet is filled with hundreds of historical, fanciful, artistic, and emblematic designs, some integrated into the text, others running along the bottom of the page, and comments on their uses, flaws, and evolution. A triumph of presentation on many levels, including the author's narrative voice, which is congenial, well-paced, wide-ranging, and gifted with a clear sense of his readership.

The Web and the Unassailable Voice
"If we understand the revolutionary transformations caused by new media, we can anticipate and control them; but if we continue in our self-induced subliminal trance, we will be their slaves."
Marshall McLuhan

"Shamanism can be described as a group of techniques by which its practitioners enter the "spirit world," purportedly obtaining information that is used to help and to heal members of their social group. The shamans' epistemology, or ways of knowing, depended on deliberately altering their conscious state and/or heightening their perception to contact spiritual entities in "upper worlds," "lower worlds," and "middle earth" (i.e., ordinary reality). For the shaman, the totality of inner and outer reality was fundamentally an immense signal system, and shamanic states of consciousness were the first steps toward deciphering this signal system. Homo sapiens sapiens was probably unique among early humans in the ability to symbolize, mythologize, and, eventually, to shamanize."
Stanley Krippner - Shamanic States of Consciousness as Technology and Epistemology

"Was man nicht gezeichnet hat, hat man nicht gesehen." Julius von Sachs

World's oldest hat revealed
"Woven clothing may date back at least 27,000 years, according to archaeological evidence left by stone age hunter-gatherers.
Previously it had been thought that weaving had been invented by settled farmers just 5,000 to 10,000 years ago.
The new information means features on figurines thought to be prehistoric hairstyles are actually the first known hats."

The geography of thought: how culture colors the way the mind works

"Many of the antitheses of biology can be traced to modifications of the primary antithesis between Thought and Extension - to use the terminology of Descartes and Spinoza. If we concentrate attention, for example, upon the Unity of thought, as compared with the Multifariousness of the things which compose the extended world, we see that, in its widest development, this antithesis expands into the general relation of the One and the Many, which again can be narrowed to an individual instance in the antithesis of Intellect and Senses. In the work of the biologist, visual impressions play a more significant role than those from the other sense organs; we may thus treat the antithesis of Mind and Eye as epitomizing the much broader subject of the relation of the intellect to the senses in general."
Agnes Arber - The Mind & The Eye (Cambridge University Press, 1954, page 115)

A new ontological world model based on triadic categories
"The "new ontological world model" that I want to present is based on a triadic a priori principle, as opposed to the dualistic Aristotelian model. Being a priori, this triadic principle cannot be derived from any precedent world models. A "jump out of the system" of the old thought frames is needed, a meta-noia, as it is called in the Western spiritual tradition. The fundamental problem of the dualistic model (as it is for example expressed in the Cartesian "res extensa" - "res cogitans" duality) is the improper lumping together of categorically different aspects of subjectivity and mind. We may take Descartes' motto: "cogito ergo sum" as an expression of this improper coagulation, since he unquestioningly uses the intersubjective medium of language (and reasoning expressed in language) for establishing his own existence. The essential error in this procedure is to forget the mother language that we learn as part of our primary socialization, and by which our rational personality is formed in the first place. That is not an issue of our private subjectivity but of intersubjective cultural imprinting. The factor of a necessary pre-existence of culture that conditions the mind of humans, has been under-represented in discourses such as that of Descartes. So, forgetting that he had to first acquire this mental equipment through a social process, he then comes to question the existence of other sentient human beings in his "mediationes". Gotthard Gunther's work deals with the "logics of the historical process", which is the logic of language, and the cultural transmission, that has been misrepresented in most philosophical discourses so far.
The necessary pre-existence of language as the base of all our reasoning is the essential element that is lost in the materialistic and dualistic discourses. Logic itself (ie. the structure of language) is the "tertium datur" that is obliterated by Aristotelian discourses. The situation of dualism is like a discussion of the fishes who reason about the appearances of the world, but they completely forget the water in which they are swimming."
Andreas Goppold

Anthony Grafton - A Premature Autobiography?
"My long voyage through the West's memory palace of traditions has taken me to many destinations, some of them more predictable than others."

A New Multi-Disciplinary Subject?

Vision of the Gods: An inquiry into the meaning of photography
by Ali Hossaini
Tools originally amplified physical strength, but, with the advent of tools like the abacus, the compass and eyeglasses, they have been applied increasingly to mental faculties, giving us both modern media and digital computers. And recent advances in bioengineering are giving tools a quasi-organic status, merging them with our bodies.
In 'Eye and Camera' (1953), biologist George Wald said photography was the product of convergent evolution:
"Of all the instruments made by man, none resembles a part of his body more than the camera does the eye. Yet this is not by design. A camera is no more a copy of an eye than the wing of a bird is a copy of that of an insect. Each is the product of an independent evolution; and if this has brought the camera and the eye together, it is not because one has mimicked the other, but because both have had to meet the same problems, and have frequently done so in the same way. This is the type of phenomenon that biologists call convergent evolution, yet peculiar in that one evolution is organic, the other technological."

Robot Wisdom - The history, technology, and psychology of Electronic Text

I Ching - history and archaeology
"The I Ching is not only a book: it is a conversation between countless generations of questioners, over thousands of years, and the spirit that speaks through the book. That conversation continues, with every question revealing new depths and patterns of meaning. The need for the I Ching has always been felt most keenly at times of radical change - and it answers a very deep need of our own times.
The myth of the I Ching's origins shows how it is built up from the most basic truths: from yin and yang to trigrams; from trigrams to hexagrams and texts. History reveals that things occurred in almost exactly the reverse order: first the earliest texts, then the hexagrams, then yin and yang and the trigrams. But it is important to realise that these were not successive inventions, obscuring a 'real' original. They were discoveries of patterns and truths already present in the book, as if successive generations of questioners and scholars were progressively moving towards the I Ching's metaphysical core. And this journey, too, continues."

James Joyce - Finnegans Wake 4.0.621
"We'll not disturb their sleeping duties. Let besoms be bosuns. It's Phoenix, dear. And the flame is, hear! Let's our joornee saintomichael make it. Since the lausafire has lost and the book of the depth is. Closed. Come! Step out of your shell! Hold up you free fing! Yes. We've light enough. I won't take our laddy's lampern. For them four old windbags of Gustsofairy to be blowing at. Nor you your ruck-sunck. To bring all the dannymans out after you on the hike."

"There is something dismaying in a life with nothing to regret and nothing to hide."
Ghost writer - Penelope Fitzgerald on MR James

Why can't I write?
'You need the taste of blood in your mouth'
"I don't believe life is about problems and solutions. I believe it is about dilemmas, and dilemmas don't have solutions; they have resolutions, which then morph and lead you into future dilemmas."
Paul Schrader - The Guardian Weekend - March 8, 2003, page 30

Astronomers hear 'music of creation'
Astronomers have detected regular patterns in the so-called afterglow of creation that they say were caused by sound shock waves shortly after the Cosmos was born.


The Mind in the Cave : Consciousness and the Origins of Art

The notion of a separate entity known as "art" is peculiar to western civilization.
What is the evolutionary significance of material forms of representation?
"Engineers and architects would be lost without their drawings. In fact, one historian of Science has even argued that a prerequisite for the industrial revolution was the exploded drawing, an artistic device for showing the inner workings of a machine. All great inventors have thought, not in words, but in images. The manipulation of images so as to imagine and simulate new possibilities creates a constantly increasing pool of creation and innovation."
Prof. Randall White

"If we think of cave art in the light of the pure consciousness which is the aim of Zen practice, we will, I think, get rid of the preposterous theory of magic cave-art advertisements for bison meat. We will also see how in fact paleolithic art seems to have transmitted its spirit to Chinese (then Japanese) calligraphy and painting, more than to the more formal and design-conscious arts of the West ..."
Thomas Merton - Mystics and Zen Masters (Dell, New York, 1967, page 248)

"In 2000, Stephen Houston and Karl Taube wrote a path-breaking article titled "An archaeology of the senses: perception and cultural expression in ancient Mesoamerica". Grounded in the rich archaeological, artistic and ethnohistorical records of Mesoamerica, it made a powerful case for what they call "cultural synaesthesia", where the senses of smell, hearing and sight were linked. Here, stimulus in one - sight - triggered perception in another - hearing and smell. For the Classic Maya, peripheral vision acquired moral and hierarchical significance, the perfume of flowers enchanted the elite and celestial light was embodied and represented as eyes. The sweetness of breath and the sound of speech and music were expressed through aromatic flowers and shining jade. Significantly, for assessing the nature of the Mesoamerican world view and natural philosophy, the qualities of sound and scent appear to have been integrated with concepts of the soul."
Nicholas Saunders - O Those trancing dancing Shamans

Anette Horn - Diversity and Unity

Here On This Earth, On This Third Rock
"The false community of mass society is in fact more individualistic than the personalist community envisaged by the Gospels, the koinonia of intersubjective love among persons ... "
Thomas Merton

"I always remember Konan in the spring
The partridges crying and flowers spilling their fragrance."
Fuketsu Osho


"Charles Eames taught me that there is a visual logic in life and that to be a poet, or a poet of ideas doesn't mean you have to use language." Paul Schrader

Paul Bahn

"The acoustic world is one in which things pass in and out of existence. This happens with such surprising rapidity. There seems to be no intermediate zone of approach. There is a sudden cry from the lake, 'Hello Daddy!'; my children are there in their ...
The intermittent nature of the acoustic world is one of its most striking features. In contrast ... the seen world cannot escape from your eyes. Even in the darkness, you can use a torch and force things into visibility, but I have only very limited power over the acoustic world ... This is a world which I cannot shut out, which goes on all around me, and which gets on with its own life.
... Acoustic space is a world of revelation."
John M. Hull - Time, Space and Love - from 'On Sight & Insight : a Journey into the World of Blindness' (Oneworld, Oxford, 2001, pages 73 - 74)

The Myth of the Computer
John R. Searle - The New York Review of Books, April 29, 1982

"The independent origin of hearing organs in so many insects suggests that bats have exerted a strong selective pressure on insect evolution."
John D. Altringham - British Bats (HarperCollins, 2003, page 99)

BBC - Radio 4 - Reith Lectures 2003 - The Emerging Mind

'Biology has role in solving Carlsbad Caverns' deep mystery'
Richard Benke, Associated Press; Orlando Sentinel; Oct 20, 2002; pg. G.6
"They thought all caves were formed by underground rivers. . . . The old-timers had no concept of acid coming up from below ..."

Thomas Gold - The Deep, Hot Biosphere

"Plato in the Timaeus indicated that, because the visible world is a changing image or likeness of an eternal model, there can never be a science of Nature, since such a science would involve a final statement of exact truth about an ever-changing object. It is improbable that any biologist would accept without reservation the Platonic opinion of science, but few would dispute that, in reaching it, Plato had seized the essential fact that any scientific system of explanation has a certain static finality, and hence must be imperfectly compatible with the unceasing flux of Nature. He is putting us on our guard against the dangers of system-making, and emphasizing that the attainment of truth is a process which has no end. The biologist, when trying to express his own vision of reality, has no choice but to represent development and change by means of static statements. This method does no harm, so long as he never forgets that it is merely a necessary convention.
... The development of scientific truth is ... like that of an organism; it does not grow by accretion of ready-made parts, as a building does. In passing from phase to phase, it suffers transformation from within, like an animal proceeding from the embryonic stage to maturity. No conclusions in science can be immortal - they serve their season, and if they survive at all, it is in the form of offspring theories, in which certain of their characters live again in a new guise."
The Mind & The Eye - The Biologist's Road to Reality by Agnes Arber
(Cambridge University Press, 1954, pages 68 - 69)

Eye and I : Creative Intelligence and Perceptual Optics 3
"Optics has proved that vision, simply put, is just as constructed as language. Theories containing visual networks of thought have replaced concepts such as the belief that sensations and images are simply presented to the mind's eye. Instead, it is currently believed that we actively construct our reality from the multiple messages of perception."

Sound of the Neolithic
Is Rock Art a Sign of Universal Language?
Southern African Rock-Art Sites
TRACCE Online Rock Art Bulletin
Earliest evidence of art found
Rock Art Research Institute

"Though the visual stimuli transmitted to the brain have been, in the first place, received by the eye, it is continually brought home to us ... that whatever we see is seen with the mind."
Agnes Arber - The Mind & the Eye (Cambridge University Press, 1954, page 115)

Scientific Method and Philosophy of Science

Visual Communication Images with Messages: Web Links

"A metaphor is good and useful as long as its imperfections are kept in mind."
Agnes Arber - 1954

On the Trail of the Memex: Vannevar Bush, Weblogs and the Google Galaxy by Dennis G. Jerz
In December of 1997, Jorn Barger, an amateur James Joyce scholar and interactive fiction theorist, announced in a message posted to several Usenet discussion groups, that he was going to start a log of his web-surfing experiences, posting brief comments about the pages that he came across. He rather brazenly predicted that his method of organizing the Internet would catch on and spread across the Internet. He ended his message by posting a web address, which ended with "weblog.html."

No Medium Becomes Extinct
"Just as our city streets are festooned with architecture of a whole range of styles --- some dating centuries back, our modes of perception reflect a compendium of media influences: the dominant one of the time as well as vestiges of its predecessors which may never become obsolete."
Amanda Griscom

posted by Andrew 3/08/2003 04:13:00 PM

{Wednesday, March 05, 2003}


The Nature of Systems
Philosophy was born when the early Greeks learned to view the world as a kosmos which was intelligible ... One formulation of this cosmic order was the Aristotelian worldview with its holistic and teleological notions. Aristotle's statement that the "whole is more than the sum of its parts" is a definition of the basic system idea.
Open Systems are systems functioning beyond the limits of conventional physical chemistry; systems that maintain their dynamic existence by continuously exchanging matter and energy with their environment ... The components of an open system display their full range of traits only by interacting among themselves and with their environment - like bees in a beehive, flocks of birds, schools of fish, herds of animals and groups of people.
Open systems are maintained by "the continuous flow of matter". "Living forms are not in being, they are happening, they are the expression of a perpetual stream of matter and energy which passes through the organism and at the same time constitutes it". Bertalanffy's conceptual model of the living organism as an open system has revolutionary implications for behavioral and social sciences.
The mysteries of life: negative entropy, equifinality, steady states maintained by a self-regulating balance of decay and synthesis, emergence of increased order and organization, ... are characteristics of open systems, which ought to be studied continuously in the perspective of this model.

Many years before the General System Theory could be explicitly structured its essence had been de facto envisaged: the naturalist Charles Darwin (1809-1882) had written that he was "inclined to look at everything as resulting from designed laws"; the poet-philosopher-scientist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) "intuitively conceived" general systems theory by postulating "a unity of design within groups and organisms" and thus "a universal law of harmony"; the biologist Ernst Heinrich Haeckel (1834-1919) adopted the Goethean vision of all nature: a unity orchestrated by universal natural laws.

The Organization of Nature

"The scientific revolution of the 16th-17th century put an end to the ancient Aristotelian conception of the universe. But this was not a sudden shift from a "primitive" world view to the "correct" world picture of post-Renaissance science. It was a long-drawn process in which Aristotelian science, which, in the words of Santillana (1955), was "common sense itself", was gradually supplanted by new paradigms such as analysis into elementary events, the conception of "blind natural forces" expressed in deterministic laws, and so forth. Presently another re-orientation appears to be taking place. While this development is far from being completed, it heralds new paradigms of system and organization. The world begins to look not like a chaotic "game of dice", to use Einstein's expression; but rather as a great organization in the sense of Nicholas of Cusa, Leibniz and Goethe."
Ludwig von Bertalanffy - Evolution : Chance or Law - in 'Beyond Reductionism : The Alpbach Symposium' (Hutchinson, London, 1972, page 63)

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time - 13 February 2003 - Chance and Design
The late evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould argued that if you re-ran the tape of evolutionary history, an entirely different set of creatures would emerge. Man would not exist because the multitude of random changes that resulted in us would never be repeated exactly the same way. Others disagree, arguing that there is a pattern that points to some kind of direction - even, perhaps, a design, a sense that some things are pre-ordained.
Who were the original proponents of the idea of a grand design? Were they deliberately setting out to find a scientific theory that could sit alongside religious faith? On the other hand, can the concept of contingency - or the randomness of evolution - be compatible with a belief in God?

Charles Darwin and Asa Gray Discuss Teleology and Design

"I see no necessity in the belief that the eye was expressly designed. On the other hand, I cannot anyhow be contented to view this wonderful universe, and especially the nature of man, and to conclude that everything is the result of brute force. I am inclined to look at everything as resulting from designed laws, with the details, whether good or bad, left to the working out of what we may call chance. Not that this notion at all satisfies me. I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too profound for the human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton. Let each man hope and believe what he can."
Charles Darwin

Science and Religion : A Study of Charles Darwin and Stephen Jay Gould
"Science, Gould reminds us, is a search for the facts and laws of nature. Religion is a spiritual quest for ultimate meaning and for moral values that science is powerless to provide. To echo Kant and Hume, science tells us what is, not what ought to be. "To cite the usual clich�s," Gould writes, "we get the age of the rocks, and religion retains the rock of ages; we study how the heavens go, and they determine how to go to heaven." There is no mention of John Dewey, but Gould's theme is not far from the essence of Dewey's little book A Common Faith."

Evolution as conscious design
Freeman Dyson believes that, "Numerical 'accidents' seem to conspire to make the universe habitable ... The more I examine the universe and the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known that we were coming."

Almost Being There
"Necessity may be the mother of invention, but non-necessity seems an equally potent force in the human psyche."
Margaret Wertheim

Dental x-rays, flowers and the museum of jurassic technology
"Over the course of his career, Albert Richards has X-rayed a wide variety of objects from bombs and bird wings to insects and snowflakes, but in flowers he has found his true m�tier. Dream apparitions, intangible as smoke, these blossoms appear to be sculpted from ether, each not so much a picture of a flower as a blueprint for the Platonic idea of a flower. Could this be what Karl Kerenyi had in mind when, with mystical ecstasy, he envisaged "flowers, glowing with their own internal light, almost trembling under the pressure of the meaning they bear within themselves"?"

Being There: Putting Brain, Body, and World Together Again
"Brain, body, and world are united in a complex dance of circular causation and extended computational activity. In Being There, Andy Clark weaves these several threads into a pleasing whole and goes on to address foundational questions concerning the new tools and techniques needed to make sense of the emerging sciences of the embodied mind."

Lawrence J. Henderson - The Fitness of the Environment

What is life? Is it just the biologically familiar--birds, trees, snails, people--or is it an infinitely complex set of patterns that a computer could simulate? What role does intelligence play in separating the organic from the inorganic, the living from the inert? Does life evolve along a predestined path, or does it suddenly emerge from what appeared lifeless and programmatic?
The Garden in the Machine

A revolutionary look at the evolution of creativity
Charles Darwin makes a cameo [appearance] in the latest movie project from writer Charlie Kaufman and director Spike Jonze. If you blink, you'll miss him.
But "Adaptation" wrestles with the central idea at the heart of Darwin's thinking: the system by which a new species comes into being ...
Wesley Morris - The Boston Globe - December 20, 2002

Cybergothic : the uncanny acculturation of the internet
Are you the One?

"Natural selection may account for some of the changes in flora and fauna traceable through recorded time, but there are legitimate doubts as to whether it can explain all of them."
Neo - Darwinian Fairy Tales by David Stove - reviewed by David Fontana

"Furthermore, I am convinced that Natural Selection has been the main but not [the] exclusive means of modification."
Charles Darwin - The Origin of Species - November 1859
(Oxford World's Classics, Oxford University Press, 1998, page 7)

Adaptive evolution without natural selection

"For example - "Evolution guided by learning" - the Baldwin effect. Also called 'organic selection', and known for example from Mark Baldwin, 1896. (Peirce knew of Baldwin, but I do not know whether he knew his theory of organic selection).
There were several scholars who were more or less independently on the track of this effect; for some account of this, see Robert J. Richards 1987: Darwin and the emergence of evolutionary theories of mind and behavior. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London."
Claus Emmeche

The Vision Thing - Is it a Reflex?
"The human visual system does not generate a picture of what actually exists in front of the viewer at any given moment, asserts a new book by neurobiologists at Duke University Medical Center.
Rather, the researchers theorize that evolution -- as well as individual experience during development -- have created a visual system in which perceptions represent what a given visual stimulus has typically signified in the past, rather than simply representing what is presently out there."


Kenneth R. Miller - Life's Grand Design
"Evolution, which works by repeatedly modifying preexisting structures, can explain the inside-out nature of the vertebrate eye quite simply. The verterbate retina evolved as a modification of the outer layer of the brain. Over time, evolution progressively modified this part of the brain for light-sensitivity. Although the layer of light-sensitive cells gradually assumed a retina-like shape, it retained its original orientation, including a series of nerve connections on its surface. Evolution, unlike an intelligent designer, cannot start over from scratch to achieve the optimal design."

Darwin Quotations on Design

Darwin on Religion

Charles Kingsley wrote to Charles Darwin in 1859, "I have gradually learnt to see that it is just as noble a conception of Deity, to believe that he created primal forms capable of self-development into all forms needful pro tempore and pro loco, as to believe that he required a fresh act of intervention to supply the lacunas which He himself had made. I question whether the former be not the loftier thought."

The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin - Volume 2

"The changing of Bodies into Light, and Light into Bodies, is very conformable to the course of Nature, which seems delighted with Transmutation."
Isaac Newton - Opticks

Something is Happening
The Adaptable Mr. Jonze

"Like a video camera pointed at a television screen Adaptation continuously folds in on itself in an endless self-reflexive loop."

"Do I have an original thought in my head?"
The Truths About Charlie

Being Charlie Kaufman

" ... one might wonder whether there is any reason why the Orchid Thief was chosen as the source material: is there any thematic link between that book and the film itself? Or could Kaufman have simply inserted his story into any book, to identical effect? Well, orchids are adapters. The film mentions they are not parasites: while an orchid may grow on a tree, it takes nothing from the tree itself, only light and water from the environment. The insinuation is that orchid-like, the film operates independently from the book: based on it, but an independent being."
d/blog: Adaptation

Orchid Fever by Susan Orlean

New Yorker Writer Turns Gun-Toting Floozy

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: Orchid Festival 2003 - Orchid collectors

slant -- magazine_com Adaptation
Just as Orlean "wanted to want something as much as people wanted these plants," Kaufman wanted to conquer his own creative process, which comes to resemble the very ghost orchid Orlean describes in her book: "wonderful to imagine and easy to fall in love with but a little fantastic and fleeting and out of reach."

The Sound of Music and Plants

"I renounce fish!"
'Adaptation' gives 'Orchid Thief' intoxicating twist

The Economics of Spanking
Meryl Streep says - "I would like to spank director Spike Jonze."
regarding Adaptation

Floridian: The orchid's revenge

Flower Power
"More and more I felt that I was meeting people ... who didn't at all seem part of this modern world and this moment in time - the world of petty aggravations and obligations and boundaries, a time of bored cynicism - because how they lived and what they lived for was so optimistic. They sincerely loved something, trusted in the perfectibility of some living thing, lived for a myth about themselves and the idea of adventure, were convinced that certain things were really worth dying for, believed that they could make their lives into whatever they dreamed."
Susan Orlean

Susan Orlean's Orchid Adventures
"I'm cynical and skeptical," the author of 'The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession' explained. "I'm not a joiner. I don't see myself fitting in to some niche."

The Orchid Thief

Niche as hyperspace : Notes on the development of cultural ecology

Structural Coupling and the Consensual Field
"If people create a network of interaction, this exact network is a "milieu". Through the adaptation to this milieu they, as living systems, are able to realise and maintain their autopoietical organisation."

The Family
"Adaptation as a fundamental life-sustaining and life-enhancing activity of humans is rooted in the self-organizing, self-regulating, and integrative capacity in all living systems, particularly human."

Anthropology of Consciousness

"If you can't solve a problem ask a bigger question."
Donald Rumsfeld

Midweek with Libby Purves - BBC Radio 4 - 5 March 2003
Tom Hart Dyke is a botanist and plant hunter, who has been described as the �Indiana Jones of the Orchid world�. In March 2000 Tom and Paul Winder went travelling in a notoriously dangerous part of the Colombia-Panama border, the Darien Gap. There they were kidnapped by a group of Marxist guerrillas - and held hostage for nine months.
They�ve written a book of their experience: The Cloud Garden - A True Story of Adventure, Survival and Extreme Horticulture, published by Bantam Press, price: �12.99.
Tom is the subject of a documentary: The Orchid Hunter, on National Geographic Channel on 25 March, at 8pm.
Kew Gardens - Ninth Annual Orchid Festival - In search of paradise 2003
The Orchid Festival ran at Kew Gardens from 15 February to 16 March, 2003.

Equi-Phallic Alliance
"We are the Tricorn, and it is us (neither matter nor spirit). It contradicts the concept and the practice of consumerism."

The Truth About Charlie : A tale of two tales
"Based on the appearance of their seedpods, orchids are named from the Greek word orkhis, meaning testicle."
Michael Tortorello

Is Dialectical Informatism an unfeasibly large theory?

If you grab the bull by the horns, you get a lot of bull.
Path of the Sacred Clown

"The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony opens by telling the mythical tale of Europa and the Bull, repeating the story in progressively embellished versions. Calasso's discussion then drifts to several other Greek myths, eventually leading to the story of the marriage of Cadmus and Harmony. A cycle is created as the title story leads back to the story of Europa and the Bull in that Cadmus is Europa's sister, for whom he is searching when he encounters Harmony. Calasso looks upon the title work as the first in a ring of myths that would set the foundation for subsequent European literature.
A constantly recurring theme in Calasso's work is the paradoxical notion that the Greek gods must submit to the laws of nature, while they at the same time are autonomous and immortal."

European Orchid Conference and Show

The Modern Antiquarian - Julian Cope

From Panic to the Virtual

posted by Andrew 3/05/2003 05:12:00 PM