Politeness & Manners in the Japanese Language///日本語の慇懃(いんぎん)とエチケットとポライトネス、そして風俗(ふうぞぐ)と礼儀(れいぎ)と作法(さほう)。

Recently I have been reviewing and practicing my respectful Japanese. There are many forms of conjugation in Japanese and although I have a decent understanding I need to practice. Therefore this post is a quick review in these different forms of grammar (I am sorry that their is no English translations…).

最近、私の警護と尊敬語の日本語を練習と復習しています。日本語で多い活用仕方たちがあるので私は分かればですけど、もっと練習が必要です。それだからこのポストは活用と文法たちを早くリビューです。(英語の翻訳無しからごめなさい)

。。。

手稲語

こちらには在庫がちおざいません。/// もしもし、ABCの山田でございます。

尊敬語

私は誰かに何かを言われる。/// 結婚記念日を忘れて妻にめっちゃ怒れたんだよ。

来週は出張に行かれますか?/// 何かを飲まれますか?/// 何時ぐらいに戻って来られますか?

部長、お客様に電話されますか?

『お・ご+動詞+になる』

待つ >>> お待ちになる。

読む >>> お読みになる。

利用(りょう)する >>> ご利用になる。

中澤(ナカザワ)さにお会になりましたか?/// 今日の記事をお読みになりました?

お分かりなったと思いますがもう一度説明します。/// コンピューターをご利用なりますでしょうか?

見る >>> ご覧(らん)になる

いる >>> いらしゃる

言う >>> 仰る おっしゃる

する >>> なさる

この。。。をご覧になりましたか?/// 今、どこにいらっしゃいますか。

金澤さんは明日が報告書の提出日(ていしゅつび)だと仰っていました。

謙譲語 (けんじょご)「もらう>>>いただく

Kenjôgo is used for actions performed by the speaker to abase themselves in front of the listener. Consequently it can only be applied to actions that the speaker will take. This is subtly different from sonkeigo. Sonkeigo elevates the listener; kenjôgo lowers the speaker. The result is the same—respect conferred from the speaker to the listener—but the usage and grammar are different.

電話させていただきます。/// 説明させていただけると大変ありがたいのですが。

明日はご連絡します。/// お待しています。/// 後(のちほど)ファイルをお送させていただきます。

見みる >>> 拝見はいけんする

言いう >>> 申もうす

もらう >>> 頂いただく

する >>> 致いたす

いる >>> おる

来くる >>> 参まいる

私はロバートと申します。/// コーヒーを頂いてもいいでしょうか /// 

ご連絡をお待まちしております。/// 本店(ほんてん)の営業(えいぎょう)を9月くがつ1日ついたちより再開(さいかい)いたします。///

終わりました!!!このサイトからhttps://www.japanistry.com/honorifics/

It is okay to be confused (It may even be better than knowing).まごまごとしどろもどろな事がいいです。(知識を比べて多分もっと良いか)

Brilliant words flowing … From those never knowing, how many lives they touch….

(2001) Connie Marcum Wong

全然知るの人から多い人生達を接触(せっしょく)がして素敵な単語は流麗(りゅうれい)です。

(二千一年)コニ.マルクム.ヲング

I would like to thank Tsunoda Japanese School and its students for helping me release and promote my ebook. The video we made to advertise the book demonstrates the uniqueness of the poetry me and my teacher strove to share with the world; and again I am extremely grateful to all the Taiwanese Japanese language students that came forward to help me with the release of this book.  Living and working in Asia for some years now I have come to be accustomed to situations where I do not know what is going on… This is not a problem  if an individual harbors honest intentions to learn then every moment remains a gift in itself. The dominant East Asian languages contain fantastic poetic structures but I have to admit other than Matsu O’ Basho and Dogen my understanding of the poetic of works is very little. However, I have in my studies delved deeper into the many interesting and smaller component parts of the language. Take for example the Japanese word  Zappai  meaning playful literature is a descriptive term that could apply to all the writing I attempt. The second example is the famous example of a kind of unique literature to Japan. The work Again in the Hōjōki’  by Kamo no Chōmei is an example of Zuihitsu (Texts that respond to the authors’ surroundings). I’ve yet to read this bit of Japanese literature I look forward to doing so because a work such as this contains an example of how deeply contradictory language is. For me when confronted with the Hōjōki (a ten foot square hut) I’m reminded of a certain confusion regarding language: it appears to us as being limitless infinite in potential but for humans the beings who are known for their dependency on language it is certainly finite and limited. 

Everyone and everything is in a ten foot square hut … 

Nobody and nothing is in a ten foot square hut …’ 

私のエ本を出す事が手伝うのでつのだ日本語学と学生達を有難いです。ビデオは私と森田先生の詩を世界でシェアしたいですので、台湾人の日本語学生ために私は本当にまた「ありがとうございます」と言うなければなりません。アジアでみつの年に住んだに私は知らないの経験を慣(な)れました。もし、すべての経験から個人は真面目な意思と習う事が出来るので問題じゃないです。東亜諸国の言葉は素敵で私的な形があるけど、松尾 芭蕉(まつお ばしょう)と永平道元無し私の知識を狭いです。しかし、私の学ぶ事で言葉の面白くて小さい部分に探りました。例えば日本語の単語で、私の書くので、雑俳(さっぱい)の意味はプレーフルな文学が記述的な用語です。二回目の例えは有名な文学が日本でユニークな物です。「’方丈記’」鴨 長明さんの本は随筆です。私はこの本を読めましたけどこの本が言葉の深い矛盾(むじゅん)を有ります。私の意見は方丈記で言葉のある種の当枠を連想(れんそう)します。言葉は無限と秒秒(びょうびょう)をみたいですけど、人間のために言葉が有限と限り(かぎ)ある。

「誰もがすべてが10フィート四方の小屋にあります…

10フィート四方の小屋には誰も何もありません…」

Language is certainly a contender for one of the strangest things known to humankind. The possibility of a language-less world is impossible; for nature has had its communication long before homosapiens started making complex patterns in sound. The genesis of language can be considered to arise or start from a need to make sense of pictures, of images, and the meaning they enable. Writing on this blog I have already posted about the inspiration of Derrida and Wittgenstein on how language constructs many competing perspectives. The most interesting of these is inherited from an important moment in the history of thinking. The moment which I speak of is the realisation and perhaps the rediscovery of a long held understanding: that if we seek to contemplate existence, what it means to be, we inevitably arrive at the notion that our mental or subjective experience of our own existence distorts and indeed governs the way we are. This is also a Buddhist notion that behind the appearance of things there resides a deeper truth to being. This can be rephrased as suggesting that having a perspective is not at all helpful in understanding the truer Truth. The European articulation of this is to be located in a line from Germany to France a life long conversation between the ideas of Martin Heidegger and Jacques Derrida. This version of our linguistic interest runs as follows: Humans in as far as they exist can only talk of this being. The being of beings, not of Being itself. Now, the scientists amongst you hawk and state this as rubbish and you are entitled to such an opinion; but do not stop reading just yet.

言葉は確かに人間の知識でどれか変な物です。世界が言葉無しは無理:ホモセピエンスの言う事が始まる時前に自然はコミュニケーション(疎通、そつう)がありました。絵とイメージの意味がわかるなければ必要ですからこれは言葉の原因(げんいん)です。このブログで言葉どうやってぶつけ合うの遠近法(えんきんほう)を作るのでデリださんとウィトゲンシュタインさんの文書は感奮しました。一番面白い遠近法はエウロパの考えるの歴史で大切な時から血を引きました。この瞬時(しゅんじ)は昔の理解仕方をまた見つけたに、もし存在の意味を知れば私達の精神的(せいしんてき)な経験と考え方も私達のいる方は治(おさ)めります。これも仏教のイデアですので見た目後ろに存在の真実が

ドエルです。言い換(か)えるのでもっと正しい真実は理解でければ遠近法が便利じゃないです。エウロパ的な判読(はんどく)はドイツからフランスまでの線でデリダさんとマルティン・ハイデッガーさんのイデア達間に見つける事が出来ます。この語学的な関心(かんしん)は述(の)べるので、「人間はこの存在が言えるだけ、有情無情の存在を言えるですけど実在が全然言いません。」と話します。今、皆で科学者(かがくしゃ)はだめと言うので、その意見もいいですけどこの文書を読んでください。

Science and its method always seeks to arrive at objectivity: a position of knowledge considered to be real. It frequently does produce useful information within a given context so the benefits of having this thing called science and the use of language it enables (highly rational, explainable, and believable) are there to experience yet it is also extremely relativistic. What am I trying to say here? Well let me simplify: a perspective that I am keen on nurturing is the one that questions the outcomes or result of language usage or behaviour that produces more knowledge. What happens if it is possible to know everything? What happens to that which is authentically new and relative if we believe it is already known or even knowable. Our perspective becomes impoverished we loose the initial premise knowledge itself is generated from the original position or proposition of not knowing. The fact that objective knowledge so often looses its way and becomes yet another commodity on a market I find unhelpful to living organisms. This process generates bad belief in a possessive type of knowing. In my ebook I’ve made a small attempt to point towards something else: An Uu (Understated-understanding) such an alliterated concept I would encourage to be defined as the potential to resist the pitfalls of objective knowledge and the havoc it wreaks on limiting the life experiences of so many members of the species…

科学と方法はいつも客観(きゃっかん)をくれたい「実な知識」です。科学はコンテクストでよくに便利な報知(ほうち)を作るから、それが可能にする言語の使用(非常に合理的で、説明可能で、信じられる)は体験することができますが、それはまた非常に相対論的です。ここで何を言おうとしていますか? 簡単に説明します。私が育成に熱心に取り組んでいる視点は、言語の使用や行動の結果や結果に疑問を投げかけ、より多くの知識を生み出します。すべてを知ることができるとどうなりますか? それがすでに知られているか、または知っているとさえ信じるならば、本当の新しい相対的なものに何が起こるか。 私たちの視点は貧弱になり、最初の前提知識自体が失われます。知識自体は、元の位置または知らないという命題から生成されます。客観的な知識がしばしばその道を失い、市場でさらにもう1つの商品になるという事実は、私は生物にとって役に立たないと感じています。 このプロセスは、所有のタイプの知識に対する悪い信念を生み出します。 私の電子ブックでは、他のことを指すように小さな試みをしました。Uu(Understated-Understanding)のようなうわべだけの概念は、客観的な知識の落とし穴とそれが制限にもたらす大混乱に抵抗する可能性として定義されることをお勧めします 種の非常に多くのメンバーの人生経験…

This Uu concept I hope can encourage lesser explored perspectives such as how cultures of writing can erase knowledge in a useful way. Or, how things such as the internet or the archival habit of humans (a desire for history and useful fiction and myth) point towards the possibility of collective appreciation of what already is… rather than the propensity to overvalue knowledge and attributing our own meaning over already deeply meaningful things. The fact that you had a past, you are in a present, and will be in a future makes me aware that creative use of language and the act of poetic expression can assist us in finding new moments for appreciation. 

このUuのコンセプトは、執筆の文化がどのようにして有用な方法で知識を消去できるかなど、あまり探求されていない視点を奨励できることを願っています。 または、インターネットや人間のアーカイブの習慣(歴史と有用なフィクションと神話への欲求)などが、すでにあるものを集合的に評価する可能性をどのように指し示しているのか…知識を過大評価して自分の意味を すでに意味のあること。 あなたが過去を持っていて、あなたが現在にいて、将来にいるという事実は、言語の創造的な使用と詩的な表現の行為が感謝の新しい瞬間を見つけるのを助けることができることを私に認識させます。

All I wish is for people who encounter this collection to leave after rethinking the value of having a confusion or being confused. Certainty can occasionally be overrated in some circumstances. 

私が望むのは、このコレクションに遭遇した人々が、混乱や混乱の価値を再考した後に去ることです。 状況によっては、確実性が過大評価されることがあります。

Please buy my ebook here <…>, or there <…>, or over there <..>.

このイービーを買えるのでここに<…>、そこに<…>, あそこに<..>.

Thank you,  Paul Harrison, Taoyuan, Taiwan 

どうもありがとうございます!ポール.ハリソン、桃園,台灣。

A World Beyond the West

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“I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it.”

“There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

“We know what we are, but not what we may be.”

– William Shakespeare

 

HBO’s Westworld is a philosophical pandora’s box riddled with ideas that have long been subject for reflection since their initial conception. This television show seems to have been created with this sole purpose of making those of us tuning in to the program think. As with any successful media phenomena there is a huge amount of Youtube analysis and deconstruction of twisty, tricky, and secretive narratives in play. I’ve been inspired to write about it after eagerly tuning in to season three. “Supposedly” set in the real “outside” world a Frenchman is seeking to keep control over humanities future through the use of the predictions of a super artificial intelligence Rehoboam but the Hosts have escaped and things are becoming chaotic once more. This small essay will seek to elaborate, expand, and underline areas of interest worthy of future study.

Let us start with the first two seasons. We are introduced to Westworld as a theme park where humans can re-discover themselves. Such a rediscovery is one of their more violent desires and so find themselves in that lawless land the theme of the wild west. This theme park is constructed around a hyper-real simulation of reality featuring A.I’s (knew life-forms?) called ‘Hosts’ who are created for the sole pleasure of the park’s visitors but as we discover this fiction describes and hides a maze, a web, and many philosophical problems. As thinking often begins with an ethical tone and is often phrased or communicated as a process of self discovery the most interesting theme presented to us is the critical questioning of the relationship between consciousness, self-knowledge, and reality. Then there is a second tier of topics that dwell in the murky intentions of the characters of this story: the ethics of merging biology and technology, the nature of intelligence and belief, freewill, power, and politics.

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“Mistakes! Is the word you are too embarrassed to use, you ought not to you are a product of millions of them.”

“Evolution forged the entirety of sentient life on this planet using only one tool a mistake.”

Today Darwinism is embedded in a number of developments that Westworld pictures with a graceful ease. The depiction of cloning, the manipulation and editing of biological/genetic matter, and the crisis of identity. Perhaps, a notion that humans and their humanity are destined to be surpassed by an acceleration of life enacted by technology. Westworld is fascinating, I watched the final season just after I completed some Covid quarantine and it is remarkable how this series produces a space from which really contemporary issues may be thought through. The politics of the show immediately disrupts an anthropocentric narrative or does it? Dr. Robert Ford and his business partner Arnold created this entire world as a simulation of the real thing and it does such a good job that it appears more real. Depending on what perspective you take this then leads to questioning the subjectivity of consciousness. It constantly recycles the question just how self aware are human beings when they encounter something that reminds them they are a construct too.

Is it a mistake to create a new type of life built from our own image? It is if you imprison it in a simulation it seems as if the new life form having self awareness becomes aware of its imprisonment. But because these hosts have the same level of intelligence they are also aware that the awareness itself is a kind of trap. This line of thought is simplified into a relationship between intelligence, power, and visibility. This is because the advent of General Artificial Intelligence will lead to a plurality of intelligence each one infected with a neurosis built into consciousness; the idea that if you allow a mind to succumb to any perspective then it is trapped in the act of perceiving. Here Michel Foucault’s discussion of Jeremy Benthem’s Panopticon prison next to Benthem’s actual writings on the matter detail how one’s self knowledge can be used against the self and its sense of freedom: all this is similar to asking, ‘How to find you way out of a cage that does not exist?’//{1}// However the hosts have an advantage over humans in that their bodies can be reprinted and unless the object (a circular object called a pearl) hosting their data and consciousness is destroyed. In season three we also discover that the hosts consciousness can be replicated; yes, consciousness itself can be copied.

Throughout the first seasons the hosts are controlled by the command lines coded into their programming. “Bring yourself online” is the utterance that brings these artificial humanoids to life from slumber. These lines of code are loops that allow for the transmission of consciousness between bodies and we understand that one such loop is called the Reveries and we understand that they are musical in nature. What these reveries do however is inflict greater suffering on the hosts as they enable the capacity to remember their older programming, their older stories, and the trials and hellish tribulations that came with them. The Hosts eventually succeed in outsmarting their human captors and both escape to the real world and a digital utopia within the system. The first two seasons feature humans trying to cheat death as we discover that William (aka The man in black) and James Delos have this in mind but continuously fail to clone themselves like the hosts. William also is obsessed with the idea that one of Westworld’s creators Dr.Robert Ford has access to this secret and has hidden it in a maze within the park. We discover that William is misguided and Dr. Ford explains that it was his collaborator Arnold who indeed created the Hosts and their unique artificial intelligence. He was fond of a theory for consciousness called the Bicameral Mind a psychological hypothesis that states the human mind was split into two cognitive modes: read more here!

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If you let Westworld get you sucked into its many narratives and fictional loops then you wont be disappointed; this brilliantly written, acted, and filmed fiction achieves its goal of questioning the viewers grasp of reality and usurping it. This is done by using qualities of the “real world’s” current technology (have a glance at the website they made just to map the influence of the company behind Westworld: Incite) and presenting a future that is believable. Bringing together all the more menacing elements of big tech (surveillance capitalism…shout out Shoshana Zuboff) and using the struggle for freedom as unifying theme. The car chase scene in season three was enhanced by the use of that famous march by Richard Wagner to be suggestive of this revolutionary movement of beings from one place into another. Westworld as a park in the real world is located on Island near China and as a series has this dream like quality of blending technological advancement with philosophical inquiry. This Chinese topos makes me think of the richness of technological aesthetics today: from cyber-punk to the post-human. One thing is for certain these times are times of change; and this changing enacts a dream-like part of our daily reality.

‘In a morbid condition, dreams are often distinguished by their remarkably graphic, vivid, and extremely lifelike quality. The resulting picture is sometimes monstrous, but the setting and the whole process of the presentation sometimes happen to be so probable, and with details so subtle, unexpected, yet artistically consistent with the whole fullness of the picture, that even the dreamer himself would be unable to invent them in reality…Such dreams, morbid dreams, are always long remembered and produce a strong impression on the disturbed and already excited organism of the person’

– Dostoevsky, Crime & Punishment

 

Dostoevsky’s comment on “morbid dreams” is precisely that so let us turn to One of China’s most powerful thinkers Chuang-Tzu or Zhuang Zhou has a much recited commentary on the importance of dreams. It is worth sharing and then sharing some more…

‘Once upon a time, I Chuang-Tzu, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering around and enjoying myself. I had no idea I was Chuang-Tzu, and then suddenly I woke up and was Chuang-Tzu again. But I could not tell: had I been Chuang-Tzu dreaming I was a butterfly? Or, a butterfly dreaming I was Chuang-Tzu? However, there must be some sort of difference between Chuang-Tzu and a butterfly! We call this the transformation of things.’

‘If “life is a dream” implies that no achievement is lasting, it also implies that life can be charged with the wonder of dreams, that we drift spontaneously through events that follow a logic different from that of everyday intelligence, that fears and regrets are as unreal as hopes and desires.’ //{2}//

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Oh and here is a great piece of music from season 3….

[1]

Foucault, Michel (1995). Discipline and Punishment: The Birth of the Prison, Vintage Books, New York  

Benthem, Jeremy (2010). The Panopticon Writings, Verso, New York/London

[2]

Chuang-Tzu/The Ultimate Dream’ in Gray, John (2002).Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals, Granta Books, London. Pp80,81

 

 

The Joy of Teaching: in praise of praxis

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× Does practice make perfection? Or, perfection makes practice?

 

As you may already appreciate practicing something over and over again is the very basis for learning. The same can be said of teaching, a profession that I entered quite some time ago. Both teaching and learning require repetition it is a necessity for the inner workings and movements of the two processes. Being an ESL teacher has not always been a job that I have been comfortable with yet recently rediscovering the joy of teaching has changed this for me. So, this small post puts down these thoughts and enables a space for reflection. Working in Japan was perhaps lessened by my own arrogance and blind belief in my own perspective; unfiltered from personal aspiration and being hasty all too hasty I left Tokyo to study for another degree. I have very little to regret about these decisions only that I should have been more organised regarding these changes. Yet, working at Shane English Conversation school really transformed me into a teacher and that is what I am today.

 

The word praxis contains a special meaning. It can be used to suggest some form of practice that has become so important and frequent that it is unavoidable when doing something. Karl Marx saw it as the active agency of the human subject able to create itself and alter the environment it exists in. As a practice teaching young learners can be somewhat testing you need patience and always remember that your students are very inexperienced. Talking to a good friend of mine who shares some experiences working with youngsters reminded me of their lack of filter. Very young children have yet to develop strong associations to their environment and so they are easy to inspire. Whatever you do just keep it fun. Children also embody the very primordial, instinctual, and strange capacity of humans to fluctuate between bad and good behaviour. Being a teacher does not mean you are exempt from such fluctuations and I’ve often thought that my teaching is too dependent on a mechanical, automated, repetitive, and drill based manner.

 

For a lot of the children I teach regularly the need for drilling only becomes apparent after they have acquired a basic well of words they understand. Then you can start to encourage the use of phrases through drills. The task of turning a drill into an act of play is one of my current daily dilemma’s because young and old people prefer the freedom of playing/gaming to the mundane practice of standardized knowledge production. It is in an incomplete understanding that the joy of teaching (finding or showing the right information for others?) can be found. A good book for thinking about the ordering of information is Cesar Hidalgo’s book which I enjoyed. Anyway, In the ordering of the perspective of others you can find a lot of happiness and appreciation. Seen as though I am in China I want to re-post a very warm mandarin phrase from Confucius; of particular comfort to teachers (If your interested in Confucius give this a read >>>).

三人行,必有我師焉

To answer the starting couplet of questions, ‘practice makes practice’, or ‘practice is the perfecting of practice’ are sufficient answers because they encourage more to be done and more doing leads to a kind of continuity all humans experience.

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× Memories of Ex-Students and recent Time Well Spent

 

The first group of Children I taught are called Rimi, Yuzuki, Saki, and Reo in Shinjuku. The first lesson everyone was so quite including myself. Over time, through Reo’s naughty-ness and Rimi’s attempt to blind me, Saki and Yuzuki’s awesome ability to speak English we tore through the rigidity of the curriculum. On Wednesday in Meguro with Yoshihiko, Yumiko, Maki, Hiroko, Hiroaki, and Kenji you really refreshed me after a whole week of regulated and grading my use of English. You allowed me to speak naturally and it always felt great to speak closer to my natural way of speaking. Yuriko, you were only two years old when I persuaded you and your mum to take my class we were soon joined by Jyunya a ferocious individualist and our lessons remained fun. Kenta, Hirosashi, Riku, Minami, and Sana all of you youngsters were and remain awesome. Kazuko and Tadachika I miss our private lessons and weekly dialogues. Ema and kantaro I hope you have both found your way with English I fully appreciate how difficult learning a foreign language can be.

 

Here in Beijing I have met many more cool little people and have had the pleasure of being called both Sensei and lăo shī. There are too many names to list here in China so I will just talk a little bit about what I have been doing. I have been helping these youngsters acquire the basic structures of English: letters, sounds, words, sentences, songs, and pictures. What is striking is the speed at which some children can progress and this in turn makes me ponder the way in which our bodies are programmed to absorb information but also this information is then activated by social interaction. Interacting as a group takes the same information and creates the same relation but in a different form within a persons mind. If you doubt this then conduct a simple experiment ask children or people to write the same letter, line, or shape. You will notice it is simultaneously the thing itself but also carries a marked difference. Teaching hones in on these things that you may overlook once you have learned them. I know appreciate the energy, disenchantment, and enthusiasm of children. Although, I can not possibly revert back to childhood and why would I want to? I am grateful to be working with young people.

 

× Changes in the Nature of Learning, Educating, and Teaching

 

When everyone has access to the same information instantaneously then what happens to the established notions of knowledge? How is it possible that we maintain faith in figures whom traditionally create knowledge? People like teachers, writers, artists, designers, researchers, explorers, and scientists all have to determine and define their identity through a perspective anchored to that of knowledge. The teacher possesses knowledge to be able to teach. The author expresses knowledge of the world in an act of writing. Artists wield creative knowledge of all kinds and designers need knowledge of designing so as to create new things. Researchers explorers and scientists are all glued to the phenomena of knowledge and the learned behaviour of knowing. The reason I state this is because since the advent of dial up internet and the birth of Wikipedia knowledge started to be distributed more freely and so its role in cultures and societies became more visible. Rather than seeing the common narrative that knowledge is an enabling thing. I saw the opposite a divisive thing. Something that moves humans more than we move it.

 

Evidence for this suggestion resides primarily in the absurd use of numbers and numerical accuracy in the creation of standards. Having a standard is a symbol of a human need to understand the quality of a thing, yet observe how often standards are imposed on people. In my view we seem to have already succumbed too much to this mode of acceptance: to have access to that which is true one must necessarily have knowledge. Yet there is something that ancient subjects possessed that was healthier than this necessary possessive mode of knowing. This something goes by the name of understanding and it is something that could reverse the problem of inequality simply because it is a) natural, b) continuous, and c) not something humans can subject to privatization. The difference could be ordered in the following way: knowledge (1≠0) and understanding (1≡1…). Seemingly simplistic this difference should not be hastily understood. But this simple logical difference between ≠ and ≡ allows me to make my point.

If we translate the symbols back into natural language we get ‘not equal to’ and ‘equal to’ and so the simple difference is extremely clear. Knowledge denies equality rather than affirm it and herein we see a fashionable Anglo-Saxon monstrosity that asserts the unequal as that which has to be accepted as natural. Yet, do not read me as saying difference itself is bad. What I am saying is that the disruptive qualities knowledge has regarding the creation of human behaviour is damning. That is why as a teacher and student I favor seminars over lectures and understanding over knowledge.

I feel like I have not really expressed any changes: so I will just finish with another sentence. Artificial Intelligence and it’s development along with the internet and technological communication will show that we as humans are naturally predisposed to understanding because its closer to appreciation of that which is common; the very change that makes possible the hues of all colors.

WechatIMG2 2

Brussels to China: Koi Animation

Working and living in Beijing has been an awesome change. In the past I spent so much time making stop motion animation and very recently I had made a new one. The capital city of China is a very animated place and therefore it inspired me to complete this animation. The reason for making it is a pleasant one; the moving image is for a good friend of mine. Joey Wright is an extremely musically and sonically attuned individual he has been busy playing in various bands and collaborative projects in his home city of Brussels in Belgium. The band Mishaps are a trio and Joey sings and plays guitar. Their style is very eclectic and animating for them was very enjoyable. My friend may still use and re-edit the animation in the future but regardless of what happens it was a lot of fun re-visiting my past creative habits and practice. So, this animation for the track titled The Trap was intended as a parting gift to this Brussel’s based creative.

The animation’s aesthetic is inspired by my fondness and personal experience of Asian culture and imagery. The Koi fish has a long-standing place in mythology and respect for the beauty of nature and so it was an obvious form to use with music. People may associate the Koi fish with Japan but like most things in East-Asia this fish was transported to this Island nation from China. This is the first time I have animated fish and the combination of their natural environment plus their physical shape lend a lot of potential to the possible sequences an animator may create with this fish. Moreover, in China there is a well known piece of mythology in which three Koi fish attempt to swim up a waterfall. Only one succeeds and reaches the top and in doing so transforms into a dragon. Being a Westerner I do not assume to understand the intricacies of this myth however a seemingly obvious interpretation would be: true transformation arises through perseverance. It would be interesting to see or ask a Chinese person for their own reflections on this myth and the place of this infamous fish in other places and stories.

I hope that people enjoy the music and take pleasure in viewing this scruffy and scrapbook like piece of animation.

CC

 

                                           

                                             Crappy Coinage . My penny’s worth.

But a week or so ago a group of inspirational citizens of the Steel City in the UK came together to discuss (UBI) Universal Basic Income. I was not present at these meetings and therefore can only imagine their discussion covered almost all of what I am going to write about here. Yet, this discussion, one of many happening simultaneously around the world I find inspirational and so perhaps this writing will only review what has already been mentioned but I hope there will be something added to the existing discourse on money, finance, and what to do with the capitalist order that seeks to apologise on behalf of inequality. I have been thinking through my own relation to the global economy and the ideology seen as dominantly hegemonic.

UBI should have been a reality a very long time ago; who is responsible for it not being implementable is difficult to say but I suspect it is not a person or a particular people: it is rather a period in the species history that started a process of material devaluation and therein value itself became own-able. This period in our history ranges across a large amount of time.[1] Yet, there are some dates that stand out as being a good starting point for thinking through the potential and I would say necessity for a new truly global alteration to the Capitalist system; that is if it is to continue or to be chosen by future cosmopolitans. The first dates are 1764 with the invention of the ‘Spinning Jenny’ the first industrial textile mill came into being in England. If you think about it this machine and that of its ilk the printing press became automated within the industrial revolution and one sees a correlation between the ease for printing paper and the unsociable and often unfathomable inequality that comes with it. Inherited wealth and business dynasties have cut this world up into ownership; there would be nothing wrong with profit if it could be distributed equally and evenly?

Other dates that are symptomatic of the current urgency of this ongoing discussion include: One of the fathers of the idea of ‘Political Economy’ William Petty was concerned that money be equal to itself which sits well with Karl Marx’s articulation that Gold and Silver where natural choices for currency because of this quality of appearing equal to what it is and this is seemingly embodied in these metals as they resist decay by oxidation. In 1964 the Bank of England was founded and four years later half of the United Kingdoms’s capital was paper. A Scottish financier John Law created a note issuing bank in 1716 to help in financing the then bankrupt French state. [2] A constant throughout these examples is the presence of war and its need for funding. It appears that although the change from metal to paper allowed a greater distribution of value but fails to secure equality; it is unclear if this change was ever made in the right spirit?

‘‘True’ and ‘false’ belong among those determinate notions which are held to be inert and wholly separate essences, one here and one there, each standing fixed and isolated from the other, with which it has nothing in common. Against this view it must be maintained that truth is not a minted coin that can be given and pocketed ready-made.”[3]

Professor Esther Leslie reminds us that this movement towards illusion has a direct connection to banknotes in the German language’s word Schein. The quote from Hegel gives us hope, if only a small hope, that truth is separate from Capital and so is a good point from which to invite more contemporary thoughts on money and income. The most important being a paper titled Bitcoin authored by a fictitious person whose nom de plume is Satoshi Nakamoto.[4] This paper is influential because it is considered to be the first attempt at providing a systematic proof that digital currency could make the economy more equal and such a change is more than possible and we are more than capable of implementing.

There have been many respondents to Nakamto-san but I came across his name in a recent article about LARPing (Live Action Role Playing) by a Liam Kelly. [5] One of the participants a character called Quinn does not like Hegel; referring to him as a Brain cancer. What is interesting about this recollection is that it is an example of a social phenomena increasingly set to increase: individuals wishing to take a break from the phantasmagoria and into the realms of fantasy.[6] This LARPing rave contains something interesting regarding the notion of cryptocurrency which is used here as a buy in and the currency that enables access to the rave. However the initial positivity surrounding Bitcoin has started to be met with negative press and on the same website of Breakermag we can read, ‘In the short term, though, that’s not what most big players care about—and the major social change blockchain has brought about so far is that a small number of people have become very rich indeed’.[7] Laurie Penny’s article is a sobering read indeed for those that have never been to such events or invested capital in capital. The criticism continues in an article on MIT’s Technological Review shared by Ami Clarke a lecturer at Central Saint Martins in London and director of arts space Banner Repeater.

‘In total, hackers have stolen nearly $2 billion worth of cryptocurrency since the beginning of 2017, mostly from exchanges, and that’s just what has been revealed publicly. These are not just opportunistic lone attackers, either. Sophisticated cybercrime organisations are now doing it too: analytics firm Chainalysis recently said that just two groups, both of which apparently still active, may have stolen a combined $1 billion from exchanges.’[8]

Such a lack of security runs against the claims of the Bitcoin Paper in which the fictitious Nakamoto lays out the issues of founding a peer-to-peer blockchain in which an equilibrium is created by the equality of users. Yet, in the Bitcoin paper Nakamoto struggles with a forecast problem: the dilemma of how to ensure ‘double-spending’ does not happen. The solution that was put forth is the use of a time stamp that anchors the data to a point then affixed to this is a proof of work using a required number of zero bits that show each node the truth of that data. The author, Nakamoto, goes on to show mathematically how via way of a calculation in probability he/they have successfully created the first economic exchange not based upon trust. Yet, as we have discussed there is more than enough evidence to contradict this infamous paper and a lot of them centre around the the inability of mathematics to nullify human greed and inequality. Furthermore, Orcutt’s paper delivers important details regarding cryptocurrency: it’s vulnerability arises from the same source of the human using the currency and although there are ground breaking attempts to use A.I and newer more and more complex math so as to secure the blockchain from corruption; it remains prone to hacking.

Does this not lead us back to Marx and his initial attack on financial ideology. Marx’s ideas regarding the universality of money and the general formula for Kapital continuously contribute to this discussion; as they have since the moment Marx wrote them. Marx uses a symbol symbolism to discuss the dynamic and the circuit capital produced at the onset of modernism. C for Commodity and M for Market are used to show certain relations between the two.[9] But we might appropriate them to clarify the need for universal basic income. Marx describes two forms of relations. ‘C-M-C starts with one commodity and ends with another… Consumption, the satisfaction of wants, in one word, use-value, is its end and aim. The circuit M-C-M, on the contrary, commences with money and ends with money’ presenting us with use value and exchange value. What is Bitcoin’s true aim to bring them together? Or to neutralise the commodity leaving just the market M-M-M?

It would certainly seem like the trouble maker is the commodity with its anthropomorphism, its capacity to draw from human’s an un-weilding power to influence and captivate. But is this commencing with money and ending with money even possible? The basic answer and argument is a yes because it follows from a simple logic that money is a human construct and so therefore under our power? Yet, this is a hasty simplification of a giant contemporary problem. From my perspective it is more than feasible but it requires the ability for all of us and by all I mean every single living being to agree to giving over power to a new Leviathan; a global government that rules over earth’s inhabitants. Such a proposal is hard and nigh impossible to believe but belief and security in the tried and tested are being put under pressure. There are major hurdles to this but we must consider a few possibilities or things that also contribute to our discussion and it is our discussion as it was in the United Kingdom that cash machines and ATMS first came into usage. It was a Barclays machine at the Enfield branch opened on June 27th 1967.

Such a fact gives us impetus to continue our thinking about how to resolve global inequality. For there is an urgency, year and year the human population grows and year by year unjust differences increase. I see no reason why we cant implement a system whereby everyone has welfare because they do not live in poverty as living citizens they are guaranteed a living wage regardless of job and position. Such a thought is not idealism it is a necessary part of a future human reality and it encompasses some very difficult hurdles. To bring about an equality that Block-chain technology promises (remembering that this technology is still in its youth) society’s work patterns and cultures will have to also change. A major barrier is the notion of ownership: how to retain the positive feeling this brings but without the propensity for greed? In the future work the notion of career should be cycle based and so a person rotates different jobs every year. Basically ensuring that a meritocracy and democracy is maintained. Next to this, work becomes optional, you can work for more money but this has a maximum capacity; the ability to horde wealth is stopped.

One major argument against this is that it is in our nature to be selfish and there is some evidence to suggest that altruism arises from selfishness (see George Price equation), yet this ignores other facts that seem to support radical change. For example, mathematical equations provide a truth in relation to nature but this thing we call nature is constantly also subject to revision and so thinking through ideas and forms that have an impact upon the economy is what we need to be doing. I have been fascinated by a simple perspective: if we observe the Price equation, an equation that tracks the growth and retention of a given quality in a population, then we can take the information (selfishness > altruism) and develop methodologies that lead to a greater understanding of this. Perhaps this suggests that over-consumption will lead to more friendly behaviour; the idea being that if my needs are met then the needs of others become more relevant. This is wishful thinking indeed but perhaps could be possible iff technology enables the production and recycling of commodities so they become more public and less private. This does not mean free but it implies that the exchange and use of a given thing are drawn closer together and so mirror wider social change. This is of course also dependent on a democratic use of technology like 3d-printing and intelligent design.

The contrasting idea is one of a luxury increase accessing Markets and un-regulate capitalism so that everyone lives in abundance. This idea does not provide a future as secure and as attainable as it might appear and instead unbridled capitalism makes an abuse of human desire, and our ability to use this force in a healthy way. Some thinkers, such as Frenchmen Gilles Deleuze and Georges Battaile have theorised that this be so and production is explosively unavoidable. In a book by English philosopher Nick Land one has confronted the idea that the storing of information is necessarily one of isolation and explosive. The formula of Bataille’s economy that Land uses describes how expenditure always exceeds acquisition and how this is indifferent and leads to isolation. But, I choose to read this continuously different communication as arising from the isolation and as the only immediate way we can overcome such unhelpful notions. This also includes a highly relevant discussion on the nature of information and whether or not it is entropic or negentropic; whether or not it privileges chaos or order? Physically we have understood that the past appears as ordered and in the future it is opposite but this is perhaps too reductive a perspective on information and indeed moves us towards pushing for a reversal of this polarity; so that information in the future can be re-ordered and resist decay and corruption?

formula

Here we return to Hegel who rightly stated that truth is not minted and does not reside or has never resided in a bank. Instead the development of rationality in our own time leads us naturally to desire a new state. Hegel, though does not contain answers, like every philosopher he generates more problems. Frankly his thoughts on Asia are outdated but his master slave dialectic and infamous ‘work of the negative’ may indeed have more work to do. Taking all this into account then surely we can conclude that when it comes to money and the economy we need to generate an ideology and ethos that sets our global communities and cultures of exchange not continuing on the narrative of mass production/consumption but rather a system by which the total number of living beings are not subjected to brutal losses by the greed of others. In other words if only it was possible to play a non zero sum game? Is there really such thing as perfect information? I sincerely hope so, as I am not proud of my country of birth as a recent report on poverty by the United Nations discovered one of the most historically influential of nations has left a large swathe of its residents in unforgivable material situations. If all else fails we can always resort to being Saboteurs in the original dutch meaning of throwing wooden shoes sabots into the machinery?


[1] I am not going to mention China’s usage of paper money in the 7th century A.D here because I do not have access to the relevant information and therefore can not offer a commentary on the success or failures of this change of currency. Although, it happened so long ago only adding more time to this problematic time.

[2] Esther Leslie. (2005),Synthetic Worlds: Nature, Art and the Chemical Industry, Reaktion Books, London. 89-92

[3] Ibid. Hegel, Preface for The Phenomenology of Spirit.

[4] Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin: A Peer to Peer Electronic Cash System,

[5] Liam Kelly. (03.06.2019), I Larped as a Monero Developer and It Ended in Tears, [www.Breakermag.com] 

[6] The difference being one is innate and subconscious (kleinian) and the other a conscious choice (fantasy).

[7] https://breakermag.com/trapped-at-sea-with-cryptos-nouveau-riche/

[8] Mike Orcutt. (2019), Once hailed as unhackable blockchains are now getting hacked, MIT Technological Review.

[9] Karl Marx. (2008), Capital, Oxford World Classics, OUP.94-95  

 

 

Dubbing with Derrida

 

 

Dubbing With Derrida:

An underview of a Unique and Great French Philosopher

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[Je regrette que ce ne soit pas écrit en Français.]

 

The following is an attempt to provide an overview of one of my favourite philosophers and even with his renowned status as a university professor and the creation of his own way of doing philosophy Jacques Derrida and ‘Deconstructionism’ remain under-appreciated. Admittedly this may be the possibility of an impossibility: we may not be able to appreciate him enough; that is it may be humanely impossible to give Derrida enough appreciation. It is absurd to even raise the question, but why is it important to appreciate the achievements of this man? To answer this is simple. Jacques Derrida belongs to a group of thinkers gathered together under the tag of post-structuralism but for me he remains the most successful thinker at gaining acceptance in the highest level of a major public institution yet undermining its stability and in doing so democratised an industry and business that often excludes paths and practices of thought, reading, writing, and communication that are considered incomplete but still hide a logic just as certain as those that are streamlined into mainstream education as a commodity form.

The following is a humble attempt to be a good reader of Derrida and re-read some of his texts so as to deepen my understanding of the viral meaning his Deconstruction harnesses and hones.

 

Speech and Phenomena” (1973) La Voix et le Phinomene

 

There are interesting perspective on language involving a medieval notion of language; a trivium: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. The thoughts of a man named Ibn Khaldûn characterising language as a technical habit related to an art or craft malaka sintfiyya. The theories of language arising from German distinctions such as Frege’s Sinn (sense), and Husserl’s Bedeutung (meaning) lead to a Charles Morris’s idea of another trivium: syntax, semantics, and pragmatics; which is in need of a separate consideration. Then Wittgenstein is chosen of Austin because he sits closer to a continental tradition and how in the Tractatus Wittgenstein runs up against the hegemony of knowledge; the hegemony that me and Derrida constantly complain against because of it’s crippling conditionalities (knowledge produces a reality bound purely by conditions that it alone generates). Phenomenology sits in a certain narrative of thinking that stems all the way back to Plato and then through Descartes and Kant arrived at its father Edmund Husserl. This philosophy then is one which is comfortable striving for the production of knowledge. Against this are different ways of thinking that reveal the truth of understanding. Derrida shows clearly how phenomenology may be read as successful in its aims of suspending the ‘natural attitude’ so as to assist in a truer understanding of our experience of a given phenomena.

‘Husserl will radicalise the necessary privilege of the phoné which is implied by the whole history of metaphysics, and exploit all its resources with the greatest critical refinement. For it is not in the sonorous substance or in the physical voice, in the body of speech in the world, that he will recognise an original affinity with the logos in general, but in the voice phenomenologically taken, speech in its transcendental flesh, in the breath, the intentional animation that transforms the body of the word into flesh, makes of the Korper a Leib, a geistige Leiblichkeit. The phenomenological voice would be this spiritual flesh that continues to speak and be present to itself—to hear itself—in the absence of the world. Of course, what one accords to the voice is accorded to the language of words, a language constituted of unities—which one might have believed irreducible, which cannot be broken down—joining the signified concept to the signifying “phonic complex.” Despite the vigilance of the description, a perhaps naive treatment of the concept of “word” has doubtless left unresolved the tension of the two major motifs in phenomenology: the purity of formalism and the radicality of intuitionism.’(D. 16)

Here we have a lot of things to unpack and offer a small explanation (I apologise to those who are acquainted with both Derrida and Husserl) so as to re-inforce my own small understanding of these European thoughts. I ponder, is it enough to say that the purity of formalism and a radical intuition can be connected and associated with Kant and Plato’s theories of ideas (the distinction between synthetic and analytical judgements are found uniform in our intuition, and ideas are mathematical forms). The spiritual flesh is seen as dependent on the unity of words and this indeed presents a linguistic continuum. Husserl’s theory of language as it is found in the second part of his Logical Investigations states that an ‘“empty thought” needs a sign as an “Intuitive Support”’ and ‘all thought is carried on by way of certain “acts” which occur in a context of expressive discourse’(Husserl, LI, II. 667… in Petr Urban’s The Relationship Between Thought and Language in Husserl’s Philosophy, Czech Institute of Philosophy). But, we also discover Derrida’s point of contention with Husserl when we observe that this German master saw both the sign and meaning as unified however the use of the word sign Zeichen can either be expressive Ausdruck or indicative Anzeichen. This seems like a small difference but from two different perspectives there is much to discuss and take from the position of Husserl ‘there is the possibility of a sign that signifies nothing; that has no meaning Beudeutung. Contrasting with Derrida where there is no sign without the signified. I will have to take a step back from the assumption that I know my everyday usage of language and also suspend judgement on various phenomena. I will read this book properly because one suspects this text along with On the Origins of Geometry to be essential in understanding the wider situation of the birth of Deconstruction and what questions this philosophy was born amongst. This leaves me to share two of the more important statements or benchmarks ever marked into the long history of thinking; and especially thinking about language.

 

  “Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, dariiber muss man schweigen” (“What we cannot speak about we must consign to silence”).    

  Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Philosophicus

 

II reste alors a parler, a faire resonner la voix dans les couloirs pour suppliéer l’éclat de la presence” (‘It remains, then, for us to speak, to make our voices resonate throughout the corridors in order to make up for the breakup of presence”)

– Jacques Derrida,

 

 

Of Grammatology (1976) De la grammatologie

 

I am reading from the text translated by the awesome Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak an Indian philosopher of great Great GREAT inspiration. For her never ending belief in education and the necessity of using language to fight for more equality and openness in our systemic structures of education and learning. Let’s begin with one of the great descriptions of Derrida’s philosophy, ‘Deconstruction seems to offer a way

out of the closure of knowledge. By inaugurating the open-ended indefiniteness of textuality—by thus “placing in the abyss” (mettre en abîme), as the French expression would literally have it—it shows us the lure of the abyss as freedom. The fall into the abyss of deconstruction inspires us with as much pleasure as fear. We are intoxicated with the prospect of never hitting bottom.’((Derrida, lxxvii)).

 

“If the nonphonetic moment menaces the history and the life of the spirit as self-presence in the breath, it is because it menaces substantiality, that other metaphysical name of presence and of ousia. First in the form of the substantive. Nonphonetic writing breaks the noun apart. It describes relations and not appellations. The noun and the word, those unities of breath and concept, are effaced within pure writing. In that regard, Leibniz is as disturbing as the Chinese in Europe: “This situation, the analytic notation of representations in hieroglyphic script, which seduced Leibniz to the point of wrongly preferring this script to the alphabetic, rather contradicts the fundamental exigency of language in general, namely the noun. . . . All difference [Abweichung] in analysis would produce another formation of the written substantive.”((Derrida, 27))

 

This re-production is interesting and I wonder how close it is to Delueze’s metaphysical understanding of the necessity of production. Although, like every text authored by Derrida this book is complex and explores many separate writers and thoughts it is useful in a summary to simplify; and so in this spirit I will take my lead from Wikipedia and split this text into two components parts, yet also add a third: the famous ‘Exergue’. The first two parts are comprised of Derrida’s study of the linguistic thoughts of two fellow French giants Ferdinand de Saussure and Jean Jacques Rousseau. Analysing Saussure’s idea of the ‘sign’ stating the claim that written symbols are not inferior to the phonetic sounds and matter of factly the privileging of speech that has been a constant since the beginning of philosophy is a fallacy according to Derrida; as he shows this opposition is an opposition held within language itself and therefore can not be overcome only embraced, only deconstructed.

The analysis of Rosseau’s thoughts on language is interesting. Pursuing a logic of supplementation Derrida analyses a chain of such events in Rosseau’s literary body. This analysis of the chain of supplementations has a psychoanalytic flavour beginning with the absence of a mother and moving through a presence and absence and then the priority of an absent presence written by Rosseau. One which is deeply haunting not just in how Derrida describes it but also in what interpretive difficulties it traces and marks for us today; and indeed the process is one which a person may readily identify with.

 

‘In his eyes it will remain the model of vice and perversion. Affecting oneself by another presence, one corrupts oneself [makes oneself other] by oneself [on s’altère soi-même]. Rousseau neither wishes to think nor can think that this alteration does not simply happen to the self, that it is the self’s very origin. He must consider it a contingent evil coming from without to affect the integrity of the subject. But he cannot give up what immediately restores to him the other desired presence; no more than one can give up language. This is why, in this respect as well, as he says in the Dialogues [Pléiade, vol. 1] , “to the end of his life he will remain an aged child.”(154)

 

As I am writing I am also reading the pdf copy of this text and it is not a preference the presence of an abundance of digital texts may indeed be turning me into an aged child. I would much prefer the actual book yet Rosseau is shown to be one of those that privilege speech. Remember Derrida supposedly does not mean to critique these thinkers and so I think he has more than a little respect and admiration for Rosseau; and I follow suite, Rosseau’s source for his study on language, a Duclos, provides a startling account of the liberty and therein the collective properties of “spoken” language and the political attacks that take place against language by way of alterations and shortenings. Duclos or Rosseau state, ‘The language is the property of the people. Each derives its unity from the other. For if language has a body and a system, they inhere in the people assembled and “bodily” united: “It is a people in a body that makes a language…. A people is thus the absolute master of the spoken language, and it is an empire they possess unawares.’(170) But, what of the written does it remain un-mastered, free, and unpossessable?

These difficulties are re-stated by Rosseau in terms of the voice and words pre-forming music, ‘If music awakens in song, if it is initially uttered, vociferated, it is because, like all speech, it is born in passion.That is to say in the transgression of need by desire and the awakening of pity by imagination.’(196) Pity interests me here; in Eastern culture, in Japan the Buddhists have a unique reading of the noun. Pity is read as mercy: Jihi 慈悲 has the radicals for happiness and sadness residing above the kanji for mind/spirit/heart. This Japanese noun would be well suited to Derrida’s method of working through the inner logic and contradictions of textual reality. What Japanese texts would enable a working through these signs of pity and mercy?

It is very clear, that many more readings of this book will have to be done for me to fully understand Derrida’s reading of Rosseau’s supplement and interval and this distinctly French exploration of language. Rosseau’s text are shown to contain much interesting reasoning on the state of linguistic change in his day and a discussion of a necessary relation of the child to the sign by way of non-relation; the sign is but it isn’t because unlike adults children do not immediately have a self relation from which to relate to a given meaningful phenomena such as a sign. Before I part ways with this book let’s look at this famous Exergue. Our looking at this description of ‘logocentrism’ benefits from the assistance of Gabriel Rezende’s work on this section of the Book. Rezende nicely describes this centrism and does so in an ambitious project of writing that emphasises the political aspect of Derrida’s work. Correctly stating the three problems that Derrida is dealing with: 1) our thoughts on writing are geared towards an ahistorical concept of phonetic writing, 2) Metaphysics is always bound to a logos, and 3)because of the later it can be stated that humans are nothing more than a teleology of sciences.

Rezende expresses why this part of Derrida’s book is so important and perhaps summarises why Derrida remains widely loved and deeply relevant to today and the future yet to come. It is Derrida’s respectful readings of the three big German H’s (Husserl, Hegel, and Heidegger) that culminates in the very real idea that a cultural teleology is present in the works of these major philosophers and results in logocentrism or the voice that speaks closest to the truth. In Deconstructing this Derrida helps us understand an absent cultural teleology one in which hidden truths are made manifest by the very grammars of writing.

 

Writing and Difference,(1978) L’écriture et la différence

 

A preface is a beautiful thing and in this book it is a translator’s. I am always taken a back at how a written object of respect and repute often comes with an introductory mask one that I often find just as rewarding. This preface does not disappoint I encounter: Epekeina tes ousias the Platonic term for the beyond of being, the shared interest in the difference between Sinn/sense and the senses; between Sein/être and Seindes/étant; the “ontological double genitive,” i.e., the necessary fluctuation of the subjective and objective cases in order to speak of Being, which always means the Being of beings and the beings of Being. Nietzsche gifts us voluntarism (the doctrine of the will) passed down to us from Latin voluntas our volition and funnelled through French vouloir implying even more of a wanting; and Edmund Hussserl’s distinction/opposition between hylé and morphé (matter and form). All of this and more is contained in Alan Bass’s short introduction.

 

Derrida begins his work on a note of anxiety one that is about language and in language itself. Discussing a kind of somnambulism (sleepwalking) situated between a structuralist ideal and the history of ideas; a schism within a force, ‘Form fascinates when one no longer has the force to understand force from within itself. That is, to create’(Derrida, 1978, 3). Here we find ourselves on the outside if we wish to be a creator? Thus soliciting a solicitation (check the Latin etymology), how writing and difference are intertwined. In Derrida’s intro we learn that there is an Art for Immanuel Kant and a Rousseau that is a hidden thing that does its work in secret, yet we can still understand that our imagination is what initiates such a process. We read of drastic yet true procedures, ‘One must be separated from oneself in order to be reunited with the blind origin of the work in its darkness’(D,7) and again this outside also applies to the purity of the literary morphé.

The pure book naturally turns towards this Eastern edge of this absence which, beyond or within prodigiousness of all wealth, is its first and proper content. The pure book, the book itself, by virtue of what is most irreplaceable within it, must be the book “about nothing” that Flaubert dreamed of-a grey, negative dream, the origin of the total Book that haunted other imaginations.’(D. 9)

Derrida could be giving a description of many of his own books and I can not help with my own personal connections to Asia; also long to return to the Eastern edge. This haunting of other imaginations is important it has a connection and relation to the production of truth and Husserl’s innessential (Unwesen). This we are told is dictated by an essence and happens under the rubric of sedimentation. Then a tussle between Flaubert and Nietzsche comes after Derrida’s own stylish eidetic translation, ‘the things for which we do not have enough forms are already phantoms of energy, “ideas” larger then the plasticity of style’(D.34) relishing in the natural lack of language; how it can never quite incomprehensibly structure and has to remain somewhat other to itself. A discussion on Foucault’s reading of Descartes’s nisi me forte comparem nescio quibus insanis…‘Unless perhaps I were to liken myself to a madman’(Descartes. First Meditation) associates this inoculation performed on behalf of philosophy by Descartes against madness is also a question of the sign. Derrida likens the Cartesian split to the presence of an obvious and then a latent language; intimately embroiled in questions surrounding knowledge as a historical construct and the attribution of meaning inherited from master Foucault.

Derrida’s own special Hegelianism rises when he starts discussing the juxtaposition of the Silent (the mad) and reason (the ordered mad) and how escaping reason is impossible unless you embrace its abstractions and its power to disturb. This Entzweiung, a dissociation that Foucault enacts; apparently ancient Greek logos did not have a contrary in comparison to classical reason (D.64). I am not certain what this implies the time of the ancient Greeks was so long ago yet perhaps this comment is a comparison between the pursuit of an Arche by the pre-socratics and the ideas against contradiction formulated by Aristotle and then developed by the Rationalists. Either way Writing and Difference offers questions that for me question writing over difference; that is the book offers an opportunity an invitation to write about writing. Which Derrida was overtly interested in privileging: the inscription over the act of speaking. The relationship between the younger French master and the older German master is fascinating and a relationship which I will be heavily invested in exploring in the coming years. This relation comes to the foreground when Derrida describes a Violence hidden in the history of Metaphysics. The need to determine one’s being in relation to Being.

Writing then is a very unique thing and deeply mysterious, the power of the pen endures in an age of instability. The power of our writing tools (I am eager to explore the power of the brush) remains because they are essential we need them to cut into reality and engineer new lines and sequences. Before, one finishes this the first brief reading and before this text ends with a commentary on the historical and the economical. One last reference to the great German master Husserl is necessary; Derrida cites some giddy German starting with the word Urtatsache (nonempirical factuality) and then moving onto two of Husserl’s sentences, ‘der intentionale Urgrund für meine Welt’, and ‘die Urtatsache, der ich standhalten muss’. After this, some beautiful reflections of what distinguishes a child or beginner philosophical baby from an authentic lover of wisdom. Derrida writes that the child will when first encountering a ghostly corner with an absence of light haunted by solipsism, relativism, and psychologism be naturally daunted; but we are told that, ‘The true philosopher will prefer, instead of fleeing from these ghosts, to illuminate the dark corner. Derrida, don’t pretend that you weren’t an infantile thinker once upon a Parisian dawn.   

‘This vigilance is a violence chosen as the least violence by a philosophy which takes history, that is, finitude, seriously; a philosophy aware of itself as historical in each of its aspects (in a sense which tolerates neither finite totality, nor positive infinity), and aware of itself, as Levinas says in another sense, as economy. But again, an economy which in being history, can be at home neither in the finite totality which Levinas calls the Same nor in the positive presence of the Infinite.’(D.146)

 

[There are so many books written by Derrida that are worth reviewing and so I will post a ‘Dubbing with Derrida: Part II’ at some point – Merci pour la lecture, mais j’ai maintenant besoin de revenir à l’étude japonaise]

Japanese

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This post includes a few things I have been reading and translating. I have already posted some of them on Instagram but here I have included a translation of my friend Yutaka’s book, and my teacher Yoko’s buddhist text. I have also included some important practice in Japanese grammar which I really need to commit to memory in a fluent way so I can use them correctly in speech. I also found this amazing website for students of Japanese: www.japanese.io it is full of a wide range of literature and I will be using it a couple of times a week.

 

このポソトは私の読むと翻訳するの物です。インスタグラムで前にアップロードしたにですけど、友達豊君の本も私の先生、陽子さんの仏教テクストの翻訳を有ります。そして、大切な日本語の文法の練習する事も有って、この事が私はとてもペラペラ経由で暗記しなければなりませんから、話すときに使えますね。で、この素敵なサイトを見つけましたので、このサイトは日本語の生徒さんために便利だと思います。www.japanese.io はたくさん文学が持つので毎週二回目使えましょうです。

 

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If we make space for worshipping our nature with sublimation, existence is magnified.

Spring is passing / the birds cry / and the fishes fill with tears on their eyes.

 

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Ah tranquillity! / penetrating the very rock / a Cicada’s voice.

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Zen does not shout:

Its will is free

We can swim in the sea of its heart

The place of decision is a turning point in existence

Is the natural profound meaning.

 

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Gradually meet philosophy

 

What good can I do when angry?

 

Yutaka Morinaga

 

Throughout the day there are many problems with being angry, right?

___ Morinaga, This way of resolving was an inconvenient state of affairs.

 

Morinaga ‘whether one likes it or not, it is a little laughable. A sporadic person, reaching their limit has an angry feeling, and this is an object of torment?’

‘sporadically, ‘yes, this is how it is?’

 

___what Sporadic people, and Morinaga want to say is failing to come to an end.

 

Morinaga ‘ sporadic people reaching their limit try and make a sign of the angry episode, this considerable speech is understandable. But, for example, you can’t control the anger, and the anger is unreasonable, oh dear!’

 

Sporadically, ‘well, yes, you can. Seeing the person who sells, and what person suddenly gets angry like this.

 

Morinaga ‘ Yes?!’

 

Inorganic Animations

Inorganic Animations:

A Review of Spyros Papapetros’ ‘On the Animation of the Inorganic: Art, Architecture, and the Extension of Life’(University of Chicago Press: Chicago & London, 2012).

 

_____

 

Paul Harrison (2019).

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To what extent do humans have agency in the worlds they inhabit? What can we consider as animation? How far does life extend? These three questions are but an initial triangle shaped sample of the many questions nestled within the pages of Papapetros’ book. A book that encompasses a vast range of important aesthetic and historical interventions and explorations. Drawing on the work of some influential European art historians such as Aby Warburg, Wilhelm Worringer, Otto lehman, and Ernst Haeckel this book is one of a handful of critical studies of the fluid movements that have been considered as possible explanations for the movement that resides in matter we long considered to be dead. Such is that ingrained assumption inherited from ancient cultures that things that are visibly in motion are alive and that which is opposite isn’t. How then does this text undermine and usurp this assumption?

By taking these mostly conservative German sources and drawing a line from Warburg’s dissertation ‘Sandro Botticellis “Geburt der Venus” und ‘Frühling,’(1893) with its aims of exploring the animated status of the fabrics and clothing decorating the bodies of art on to Worringer’s Abstraction and Empathy (1919) putting forth how this historian saw an inorganic framework of the swirling motifs of the animal ornamentation of the Nordic and Celtic forms. Lehman, who was a crystallographer, coined the term ‘flüssige or fliessende Kristalle’ (liquid or flowing crystals) measuring the changes in expansion under heat and cold temperature. Finally, Haeckel also adds to this liquid crystalline section of the book, but he demands we consider the homophagy involved in the creation and merging of crystals: clearly pointing to, ‘how immobility can become pregnant with a new form of life’. This nod to cannibalism makes me think of how languages swallow other languages; and how some languages manage to resist such a process. German is encountered on every other page of the book because of its unique place in aesthetic thinking.

It is certainly true that next to this gratitude we should have for the book’s capacity to teach and remind the reader of the beauty of the German language; there is another unarguably special quality this book contains. Everyone understands that books are better when they have pictures in them and in this case you shall not be left disappointed. One example of such a visual delight comes from a cartoon in a political magazine called Simplicissimus (1919) the image is of an aggressive German expression of cubes attacking man; the German reads, ‘Die Kurve, die Grundform des Kapitalismus, ist überwunden. Die neue Beist bricht an. Dröhnend marschiert der kubus durch das Universum’ (“The curve, the primary form of capitalism, is overcome. The new day dawns. Threateningly, the cubes march through the universe.”). Other examples of visual events that are striking include a slide of a book, James Furgusson’s Tree and Serpent Worship (1868); on Asian culture and belief that supports a reverence for snakes and their mechanical cold blooded motion.

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Next to this Ouroboros reminder we find a delightful reference to a French love of liquor found in the very first advertisements for the tire manufacture Michelin. One poster is titled with the Latin Nunc est Bibendum (“Now let us drink!”) we learn these posters carry a force from the painter Fernand Léger that moved from the ancient pneuma (soul/spirit) and towards a French pneumatique invested in the production of rubber tires; objects that remain just like the beings who invented them something capable of inhaling and exhaling air. Prior to this automotive turn there is the matter of how artists and philosophers such as Picasso and Emile Durkheim wrestled with that powerful form of nature the forest. But, as we soon find out this place of wonder is also a place of horror and so reflects the book’s line of inquiry as it shivers down its spine. Penultimately culminating in perhaps the most iconic transformation or animation in the history of Western art; the flight of Daphne from Apollo. The psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan thought of Daphne as an example of an architectural limit, a plane of identification that is beyond our reach, and so completes this texts invitation to reflect on the inorganic and its maddeningly marvellous movements.    

Such illustrations allow a route into the aim of this book. By highlighting the human’s struggle against reality Papapetros also simultaneously highlights how the struggle itself lends form to an inhuman energy: an animation. One that is in need of special attention and although this book is nearly eight years old it has lost non of its power to enrich the minds of its readers.

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Paul Harrison is a graduate of Sheffield Hallam University and KU Lueven University studying Art and Philosophy respectively. His work has always centred around understanding animation but is increasingly becoming interested in language. In the future there are plans to combine these things.

 

Avataṃsaka – sūtra.

Sangha:

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Seeking of the Path

 

Once there was a boy named Sudhana who also wished for Englightenment and earnestly sought the way. From a fisherman he learned the lore of the sea. From a doctor he learned compassion toward sick people in their suffering. From a wealthy man he learned that saving pennies was the secret of his fortune and thought how necessary it was to converse every trifling gained on the path to Enlightenment.

From a meditating monk he learned that the pure and peaceful mind had a miraculous power to purify and tranquillize other minds. Once he met a women of exceptional personality and was impressed by her benevolent spirit, and from her he learned a lesson that charity was the fruit of wisdom. Once he met an aged wanderer who told him that to reach a certain place he had to scale a mountain of swords and pass through a valley of fire. Thus Sudhana learned from his experiences that there was true teaching to be gained from everything he saw or heard.

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He learned patience from a poor, crippled woman; he learned a lesson of simple happiness from watching children playing in the street; and from some gentle and humble people, who never thought of wanting anything that anybody else wanted, he learned the secret of living at peace with all the world.

 

He learned a lesson of harmony from watching the blending of the elements of incense, and a lesson of thanksgiving from the arrangement of flowers. One day, passing through a forest, he took a rest under a noble tree and noticed a tiny seedling growing nearby out of a fallen and decaying tree and it taught him a lesson of the uncertainty of life.

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Sunlight by day and the twinkling stars by night constantly refreshed his spirit. Thus Sudhana profited by the experiences of his long journey.

Indeed, those who seek for Enlightenment must think of their minds as castles and decorate them. They must open wide the gates of their minds for Buddha, and respectfully and humbly invite Him to enter the in-most chamber, there to offer Him the fragrant incense of faith and the flowers of gratitude and gladness.

 

Avataṃsaka – sūtra.