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Wednesday, October 22
by Rich on October 22, 2008 05:20AM (PDT)
If anything Sri Aurobindo's vision is its own genre of Utopian vision. In a very real a sense it is the “completion of Utopian visions” (the divinization of Earth) Anyone in fact living in a community dedicated to Sri Aurobindo's vision lives in an Utopian community, which today might be called an intentional community. Fredric Jameson's Archaeologies of the Future, is in an omni-directional interrogation of history, class, structure, wish, will, imagination, transcendence, and post-humanity of Utopias
Jameson begins his study in full recognition of the spiritual Utopian urge. He quotes here from the evolutionary Science Fiction of Olaf Stapleton :
“It must not be supposed that this strange mental community blotted out the personalities of the individual explorers. Human speech has no accurate terms to describe our particular relationship . It would be as untrue to say that we had lost our individuality , or were dissolved in a communal individuality as to say that we were all the while distinct individuals . Through the pronoun “I” now applied to us all collectively, the pronoun “we” also applied to us."
I one respect namely unity of consciousness we were a single experiencing individual , yet at the same time in a very important and delightful manner distinct from one another. Through there was only a single communal “I” there was also, so to speak, a manifold and variegated “us” an observed company of very diverse personalities , each of whom expressed creatively his own utpian contribution to the whole enterprise of cosmical exploration, while all were bound together in a tissue of subtle personal relationships.”
Along with Lyotard, Jameson is one of the two beacons of post-modern cultural history. Although Jameson is perfectly cognizant of the failures of Utopian vision and the most recent anti-Utoipianism that runs through post-modernism, he probes the issue further to uncover what he calls an anti-anti Utopianism.
In this work rather than just applying post-structuralist scholarship as a solvent for exposing the ideologemes of Utopian fantasies, or simply deconstructing the “doxa” couched within the discursive formations of social, economic, and psychic, Utopian dimensions, his aim is also to reconstruct - and like Zizek whose wish it is to redeem the history of failed totalizing Utopian visions - he seems to wish to recover a vision of a new imaginative totality, while suggesting ways to remain mindful of the reification involved in collapsing the Utopian vision into any one of its dimensions
Utopian communities and Ashrams that aspire to something exceeding their humanity would do well to heed Jameson's warning below. If the intentional community one resides in fails to be mindful of how its multi-dimensional values and vision can collapse into class, cultural, ethnic, or personal battles its evolution will not end in the Superman, but rather as Nietzsche phrase it the contemptible Last Man.
" In addition we have been plagued by the perpetual reversion of difference and otherness into the same, and the discovery that our most energetic imaginative leaps into radical alternatives were little more than the projections of our own social moment and historical or subjective situation: the post-human thereby seeming more distant and impossible than ever"
The review of a portion of Jameson book is insightful even though its author Peter Fitting self-revealingly discloses he does not completely have his hands around it. (rc) more »
Tuesday, May 6
by Rich on May 6, 2008 07:58PM (PDT)
In speaking of the disciple of the body especially, when the task of disciple is simultaneously intended to improve its utility for production, here are some riffs on Foucault's: Discipline & Punish. Historical context is primary and Foucault's archaeological method helps uncover the rupture within the Enlightenment whose legacy still haunts us, as Deleuze observes, because they have now morphed into technologies of control.
In the European tradition Foucault traces the disciplining of the body back to medieval Monastic exercises, which were intended to facilitate renunciation of the world. These exercises were transformed when adopted by the socio-political regimes of the 17th & 18th century, (especially military, pedagogical, and industrial) into a method for maintaining control over the actions of the bodies it governed through disciplining processes. These disciplining practices have co-evolved with technology (and are in fact technologies in themselves) to become ever more omnipresent as tools of surveillance and control. Going forward it will be the omnipresence of ubiquitous technologies (bio-technical/computational/networked) that will largely determine the environmental parameters in which our future bodies must structurally couple.
Resistance to the virus of docility, to the infection of the gaze, to the insertion of discipling technologies is often the unintended consequences of the mechanisms of control themselves, as William Gibson says, "the street finds its own use for things". The future is a random other. For example, what we know as the internet today has evolved from technology first designed for survival after a nuclear holocaust.
Activism whose interests lie in discovering alternative, non coercive, paths to human development would be well served to find patterns created by resistances to, and ruptures from, the paradigms of control and technological will organizing the human resources of the planet. Such an activism proceeds by both locating those ruptures in the paradigms of organizational control and cultivating resistance practices to them in ones own life and community. One such practice to resist the discipling machinery of global socio-economic power exchanges is yoga. Although the aim of yoga is to achieve a frictionless flow between individual and cosmos, the many and the one, a yoga such as integral yoga whose concern is not merely a transcendental urge but an immanent concern for the world, is a unique resistance form because its own monastic traditions of psycho/physiological practices, established well before the body was appropriated by the exercises of technicity, allows one to leverage the silence of ones own embodiment as a method of resisting external regimes of control. rc..
Saturday, March 22
100 Years of Sri Aurobindo on Evolution: Darwinian Fundamentalism, reductionism, pluralism, play (part 2 of 6)
by Rich on March 22, 2008 10:46AM (PDT)
The ideology of intelligent design as well as some of the theories associated with Neo-Darwinian biology can not be falsified so it is hard to make the claim that they are scientific in the strict sense. While intelligent design can not be falsified because we have no instruments to detect a designer who stands outside the material world he/she designed, one of the central tenets of Darwinian fundamentalism that only natural selection and genetic variation can explain all evolutionary descent can not be falsified in the same way.
For instance, it can not be demonstrated that all life descended from a single, primordial cell solely by the process of natural selection and genetic variation. One can dispute the falsifiability of the proposition, by asking, "What experiment can be conducted to show this did not happen?" The problem is similar to the problem of "last night I dreamed of electric sheep." There are no other witnesses to my dream but me, just as there are no witnesses left from the Precambrian era to account for everything that might have gone on then. If there are no witnesses, one can argue, that there is no way to test the claim and the assertion is therefore not falsifiable.
Worse are the falsifiability claims of Neo-Darwinian evolutionary psychologist who claim to explain the origins of consciousness. The tales told by them of our psychological origins can never be falsified and so are similar to the just-so stories of Rudyard Kipling that, as Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin reminds us, maybe useful as a quick way to solve a child's curiosity can not be verified.
For Kipling, the elephant got its trunk because a crocodile pulled on it. Does this mean that elephant trunks occurred as an adaptation due to hungry crocodiles? Maybe, maybe not because it is a hypothesis that cant be proven. It is “just so”. more »
Sunday, January 13
by Ron on January 13, 2008 10:43AM (PST)
...Daniel Pinchbeck, author of the alternative-culture best seller “2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl” — and a guest on “Coast to Coast AM” — has introduced a young and savvy audience to the school of millenarian thinking that has gathered around Mayan calendrics. To do so, he has employed viral marketing and a tireless schedule of public appearances at bookstores, art spaces, yoga studios and electronic-music festivals...
Over breakfast at Cafe Gitane in Manhattan, Pinchbeck told me recently that “there’s a growing realization that materialism and the rational, empirical worldview that comes with it has reached its expiration date.”... “Apocalypse literally means uncovering or revealing,” Pinchbeck went on, “and I think the process is already under way. We’re on the verge of transitioning to a dispensation of consciousness that’s more intuitive, mystical and shamanic.”
Far from its origins, divorced from its context and enlisted in a prophetic project that it may never have been designed to fulfill, the Mayan calendar is at the center of an escalating cultural phenomenon — with New Age roots — that unites numinous dreams of societal transformation with the darker tropes of biblical cataclysm. To some, 2012 will bring the end of time; to others, it carries the promise of a new beginning; to still others, 2012 provides an explanation for troubling new realities — environmental change, for example — that seem beyond the control of our technology and impervious to reason. Just in time for the final five-year countdown, the Mayan apocalypse has come of age. ... more »
Tuesday, December 25
by Kim on December 25, 2007 08:59PM (PST)
Al-Kemi recounts the story of the eighteen months that Andrew VandenBroeck, a painter and writer, spent in daily contact with the remarkable French philosopher, hermetist, and Egyptologist, R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz (1887-1961). Structured like a mystery, and distilled in the crucible of memory for fifteen years, Al-Kemi provides a passionately felt, personal, and dramatic introduction to the startling world of this contemporary alchemist (from back cover).
... Before reaching these particulars, it must be known that de Lubicz held the traditional conception of an esoteric science and its transmission: true knowledge is inaccessible to the rational mind. This epistemological tenet caused his writings to be spiked with metaphor, innuendo, and at times, obscurity. He mistrusted the written word, disliked writing because truth was inevitably degraded when committed to paper through a profane language. This attitude most clearly ordinates the lineage along which he inscribes himself by his premises and his results. His low regard for “demotic” writing as a means of truth-communication made personal contact with him invaluable, for he had no such reservations concerning the spoken word, the word of gesture. Thus he actively believed in oral transmission of a kind of knowledge best called “gnosis,”  and in private, I always found him accessible to leisurely conversation on the most exalted topics. As our relationship soon proved more than casual, his information became increasingly direct, in contrast to his written expression which often presents problems of meaning and referent.more »
To such an epistemology, personal contact is the kingpin of communication, and I found out later to what extent his frame of reference was tailored to his correspondent. ...
Monday, July 16
by Ron on July 16, 2007 01:39AM (PDT)
Thanks to RYD for suggesting this article.
In the course of archaeological excavations at Jwalapuram in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh, an international team of scientists has found evidence that anatomically modern humans are likely to have reached India before a massive volcanic eruption in what is today Indonesia occurred tens of thousands of years ago.
The "super-eruption" of the Toba volcano in Sumatra some 74,000 years ago was the largest volcanic event to have occurred in the last two million years and the ash thrown up high into the atmosphere by that cataclysmic explosion reached India too, said Ravi Korisettar of the Department of History and Archaeology at Karnatak University in Dharwad, Karnataka.
During five years of excavations at Jwalapuram, Indian, British, and Australians scientists unearthed fine stone flakes that had been turned into tools for various purposes. -- The stone tools were to be found in layers of earth above as well as below the fine ash from the Toba super-eruption, the scientists noted in a paper published in the latest issue of the journal Science. ... more »
Tuesday, April 10
by Ron on April 10, 2007 11:30AM (PDT)
...Unlike most religious seers, Dick did not approach his visions with anything like certitude. Dick distrusted reification of any sort (his novels constantly wage war against the process that turns people and ideas into things), and so he refused to solidify his experiences into a belief system. ...Dick approached his theophany (or "in-breaking of God") as artistic material, reworking it in his writings with an artist's commitment to irony, craft, and a political bite. Even in his private journals, he constantly liquefies his revelations, writing with a modern thinker's sense of the tentativeness of speculative thought.
... Dick's Black Iron Prison imaginatively captured the "disciplinary apparatus" of power analyzed by historian Michel Foucault. Demonstrating that prisons, mental institutions, schools, and military establishments all share similar organizations of space and time, Foucault argued that a "technology of power" was distributed throughout social space, enmeshing human subjects at every turn. Foucault argued that liberal social reforms are only cosmetic brush-ups of an underlying mechanism of control. As Dick put it, "The Empire never ended."
"...today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups... unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. "
As Jean Baudrillard has argued into the ground, simulation rather than representation has become the defining characteristic of cultural signs and artifacts in our time. ... The technological simulacrum creates its own reality, which Baudrillard calls the "hyperreal," a kind of ersatz parody of Plato's ideal world of forms. For example, when you download a printer driver from the Internet or record a CD onto digital tape, you do not "copy" the information so much as replicate a hyperreal object.
... As an exhausted rationalist, Baudrillard simply abandoned himself to a morbid celebration of the pixel apocalypse, giving up any notion of resistance or transformation while ignoring the messy realities that gum up the works of all such grand intellectual scenarios. But Dick never gave up his commitment to the "authentically human," the "viable, elastic organism which can bounce back, absorb, and deal with the new." He also recognized that simulacra lie deep in our souls, and that we are not so far from the spiritual paradigms of the ancient world, with their camouflage spirits, talking images, and automata gods. And so Dick redeployed the gnostic struggle for authenticity and freedom within the hard-sell universe of simulation. The world is a prison not because of its materiality—which was the opinion of the ancient Gnostics—but because of the hidden orders of power and control it houses: the various corporate, political, and ideological archons herding us into increasingly compelling synthetic worlds. ... more »
Wednesday, March 28
by Ron on March 28, 2007 05:23PM (PDT)
A sophisticated and technologically advanced urban culture is evident in the Indus Valley Civilization. The quality of municipal town planning suggests knowledge of urban planning and efficient municipal governments which placed a high priority on hygiene. The streets of major cities such as Mohenjo-daro or Harappa were laid out in perfect grid patterns. The houses were protected from noise, odors, and thieves.
As seen in Harappa, Mohenjo-daro and the recently discovered Rakhigarhi, this urban plan included the world's first urban sanitation systems. Within the city, individual homes or groups of homes obtained water from wells. From a room that appears to have been set aside for bathing, waste water was directed to covered drains, which lined the major streets. Houses opened only to inner courtyards and smaller lanes. The house-building in some villages in the region still resembles in some respects the house-building of the Harappans. The ancient Indus systems of sewerage and drainage that were developed and used in cities throughout the Indus Empire, were far more advanced than any found in contemporary urban sites in the Middle East and even more efficient than those in some areas of Pakistan and India today. The advanced architecture of the Harappans is shown by their impressive dockyards, granaries, warehouses, brick platforms and protective walls. The massive citadels of Indus cities, that protected the Harappans from floods and attackers, were larger than most Mesopotamian ziggurats...
Although some houses were larger than others, Indus Civilization cities were remarkable for their apparent egalitarianism. All the houses had access to water and drainage facilities. This gives the impression of a society with low wealth concentration. ... more »
A Review of Dipesh Chakrabarty's "Provincializing Europe" by Amit Chaudhuri (London Review of Books) Debashish
AntiMatters vol 3 no 4 is out koantum
Classicism, post-classicism and Ranjabati Sircar’s work: re-defining the terms of Indian contemporary dance discourses by Alessandra Lopez y Royo Debashish
LACMA 111909 - Debashish Banerji Debashish
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Within the limits of capitalism, economizing means taking care - Bernard Stiegler
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Within the limits of capitalism, economizing means taking care - Bernard Stiegler