(“君子”)

Philosopher King or Junzi (“君子”):

Platonic or Confucian; who’s leader leads?   

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Abstract:

The following Article represents a prolonged reading and re-thinking of the merits of the political leaders of antiquity. Asking the question: whose leader leads? I am comparing the Confucian concept of leader the Junzi translated into English as ‘exemplary individual’ who following Confucius has a reverence for tradition and who will be shown to have an important origin; being compared with Plato’s leader of the ideal city the Philosopher King in its Republic. The comparison I make centres around these two figures and whether or not they possess the necessary qualities for ruling. I will argue that there is a quality that makes the Confucian leader the Junzi superior to the Philosopher King. I will show and explain how the Chinese concept of familial piety (xiào孝) is a more important and realistic ideal that provides a good grounding in actual leadership. Rather than the emphasis placed on the development of one’s individual rational mind found in the training of the Philosopher King.

 

Key words: Leadership, Politics, Confucianism, Platonism, Junzi, Philosopher King.


I wish to ask a political question: if humanity had a choice between a traditionally eastern or western idea of a ruler which one should they choose? This question is not intended to be antagonistic but rather serves as the basis for my argument; that the Chinese philosopher Confucius’s “Junzi” would make a much better leader than Plato’s “Philosopher King”. I will endeavour to show that through reading Plato and Confucius’s texts and the accounts of the two leaders and then comparing them through the contemporary literature on this subject will show the superiority of the Asian leader over the Western counterpart. It is also important that this writing engages with a dilemma of comparative philosophy, that when arguing in favour of an idea or culture that is not your own how do you ensure that your perspective is accurate? Do you approach a comparison and maintain an obvious distinction between the thinking of Confucius and Plato or do the differences between them add greater quality to this analysis? A question that poses a methodological demand on existing research on this topic within the global academia.

Acknowledging this leads me to adopt the following method to show the premises that lead to the ancient Asian concept of a leader being superior and at the same time showing how comparative philosophy needs to maintain a self-critical stance. Starting with a detailed description of the two leaders will provide the reader access to the subject under discussion. Then after providing an accurate account of these ancient governors their beliefs and values will be assessed because this will make the reasoning explicitly clear as to why the Junzi should be seen in a more positive light. A conclusion that I believe will come to be more and more important as China exerts a greater amount of influence on our contemporary world. So, let us begin with this paper’s formal argument and then the portrayal of these ancient leaders by those philosophers who both recorded and created them. The argument against Plato’s philosopher King is as follows.

  1. Confucius has Familial piety and Plato does not have Familial piety.
  2. To lead a country one needs the capacity to see one’s family among other families.
  3. The concept of familial piety expands a person’s capacity to expand the family with inclusivity.

  1. Therefore, Confucius’s emphasis on Familial piety gives the necessary capacity one needs to lead a country.

 

 

  1. Who where this King and the Exemplary Individual?  

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In Plato’s Republic, a complex discussion on how a state should be organised inevitably leads to a dialogue on how it should be governed and by who. Socrates is the voice whose ancient statement describes the philosopher king, “philosophers [must] become kings…or those now called kings [must]…genuinely and adequately philosophize”(Plato, The Republic, Book IX,5.473d). The argument against Plato’s leader begins with Socrates’s proclamation and how it immediately tasks philosophy itself with a kind of royalty and this is misleading. Socrates’s full speech tells us that the ideal state is unattainable unless it is categorically dominated by a philosopher; this ought mixes and confuses the genuine love of wisdom with an ideal amount and a definite standard. One initial objection to the accusation that Plato’s powerful dialogue imbues philosophy with a false sense of authority and a self confident rationality would be to defend philosophy as being unalterably political. Philosophy’s pursuit of truth is also a political act.

The defenders of Plato could well say that Socrates’s initial statement enacts this by way of the political conflict that is at at the heart and is the essence of leadership. Yet, this categorical “must” remains contradictory because of its multiple directions; either the philosopher becomes a king or the king transforms into a philosopher? Ambiguities are numinous, how are we to derive confidence that the philosopher king’s training in dialectics make him fit to rule? Is it not truer to suggest that all philosophers are kingly, or king like, but not kings? This then results in the dilemma of not being able to distinguish what exactly Socrates was envisioning when he uses descriptive language such as “genuine” and the “adequacy” of a philosophical process of thinking to mark and determine the ruler of the ideal city. This really only paints this Greek ruler with an overly illusory sense of governing; resulting in a criteria and standard driven governor: the philosopher king. Now, let us analyse how the Greek and Chinese leaders differ in how they are described and what beliefs drive them.

 

  • Confucius’s Junzi

In modern scholarship Roger Ames’s has successfully re-defined the Junzi as an  ‘exemplary individual’ rather than the older and common translation of ‘gentleman’. Ames’s achievement in re-translation is a good starting point from which to show the qualities the Junzi represents. Discussing very early Chinese ethics Ame’s directs us towards yet more evidence that being Confucian entails a set of beliefs that are unique. A good example is a specifically Chinese notion of themselves the daotong (道统) . We learn from Ame’s study that Confucius was more forthcoming in his debts to earlier ancient dynasties and does so in a spirit of transmission; we also discover the main quality that underlies the Junzi and indeed the Confucianism that nurtures this exemplary individual. In Chinese this is called Xiao (family feeling).

Next to the Importance of this feeling this argument builds upon what Ames also cited; writer David Keightley has usefully simplified, “contrasts a Chinese cosmology of ceaseless process with a classical Greek worldview in which a metaphysical transcendentalism guarantees an idealized reality”(Ames, 2011). Criticisms of Plato will always centre around this notion that our existence is anchored and determined by the existence of and our subsequent participation and engagement with the non-physical realm of the forms. Keightley’s description of a Chinese cosmology enhances the contrast between the beliefs Plato and Confucius would have had in a useful way. Looking at the cosmology of ancient China and Plato’s account the important difference becomes self evident. In Plato’s creationist dialogue Timaeus of Locri splits reality in two. Discussing the causal origins as a craftsman god: the demiurge and its relation to beauty as a kind of perfection.

“what is it that always is, but never comes to be, and what is it that comes to be but never is? The former, since it is always consistent, can be grasped by the intellect with the support of a reasoned account, while the latter is the object of belief, supported by unreasoning sensation, since it is generated and passes away, but never really is. Now, anything created is necessarily created by some cause, because nothing can possibly come to be without there being something that is responsible for its coming to be. Also, whenever a craftsman takes something consistent as his model, and reproduces its forms and properties, the result is bound in every case to be a thing of beauty, but if he takes as his model something that has been created, the product has bound to be imperfect.”(Plato, Timeaus, 28a) 

Here we can draw an important distinction a demarcation between Confucianism and Platonism. The latter of them is based upon a split that gives privilege to certain processes over others and the former observes a continuous process of processes; a flux the Chinese called qi or “Chi” an energy universally omnipresent, but shares a symmetry with the necessary causality of Timeaus. Yet, here the powerful connection Confucius drew to the family as a basis for a balanced state surfaces and makes the idea of perfection over imperfection less attainable. One appreciates the sentiment that Plato’s god (the demiurge) desired a cosmos to be as good as possible and so exists as a craftsman creating in a skillful way. But for an individual who has to rule a country and a given populace he is forced to work with and produce from something that has already been created.

The last part of the Timeaus quotation is in favour of the Junzi being prone to imperfection because this exemplary individual can not choose to craft perfection with geometric and mathematical certainty when faced with the earthly demands of changing social phenomena. Instead Confucius and the Junzi were in their own time forced to deal with imperfection, a period of Chinese history called The Warring States (戰國時代, Zhànguó Shídài). This is not to say that Plato and Socrates did not face conflict and imperfection but I believe that the reverence Confucius had for the rituals and traditions of an early peaceful period governed by men such as the Duke of Zhou who acted as a regent imbued his thinking with a practicality. A practice that would better enforce the possibility of attaining a balanced state within a chaotic reality rather than dismissing this chaos as irrational and being in favour of a belief perpetually in need of remeasuring?

This question begins to clarify how Plato’s idealism in his dialogues suffers from its own grandiosity and how Confucius’s idealization of the Zhou dynasty and its rulers is less destructive and distorting; a quality that has better chance of being preserved in a Junzi. An initial description of the Junzi is at the beginning of the Analects; in the words of Master You we begin to see how realism occupies a greater percentage of importance for the Junzi. Here we can start to develop an appreciation for this Asian realism and how it’s concepts are better suited for ruling. How the family acts as a natural regulator for the selfish nature of human intelligence and the larger governing structures that exist to facilitate peace and an abidance to the common laws of both the ancient and contemporary worlds.

“Master You said: “It is a rare thing for someone who has a sense of filial and fraternal responsibility (xiao 孝) to have a taste for defying authority. And it is unheard of for those who have no taste for defying authority. And it is unheard of for those who have no taste for defying authority to be keen on initiating rebellion. Exemplary persons (Junzi 君子) concentrate their efforts on the root, for the root having taken hold, the way (dao道) will grow therefrom. As for filial and fraternal responsibility, it is, I suspect, the root of authoritative conduct (Ren仁).”(Confucius, The Analects, Book I)

  • Plato’s Philosopher King

Socrates’s most detailed description of this lover of wisdom who would be king is found in book IV of the Republic. Plato begins by putting a trinity in place by insisting that even in an ideal state this city will also suffer from the very beginning with its citizenry being filtered into classes. The class with the philosopher king is also subdivided into subcategories: beneath the king is a general ruler and then the auxiliaries. Next to this split Plato has no qualms about the movement of children between classes and here myth is unfortunately used to support this selectivity. This is found in the language of book IV where the opening dialogue is littered with superlative descriptive language “the best”; the guardian (the philosopher king) has to be the best.

This then leads straight to the important Platonic concept of the Good and the belief that these guardians will unconditionally follow and enact the “best” and the Good as an omnipotent principle because they would only love the city and therefore care the most. All this is supposed to be a solution to other forms of collective government that Plato deems deficient; such as democracy as a system is too prone to corruption and therefore in need of one ruler. This solution has since its inception unintentionally invited criticism that is fixed around authoritarianism and a state of control. Reading how the Good is inherent to the Philosopher King I find it difficult to not be skeptical; especially when the dialogue mentions the voluntary and involuntary loss of belief. If beliefs are both voluntary and involuntary then this king guardian that is a philosopher is in danger of becoming a truth fanatic.

“But why? Surely you agree that men are always unwilling to loose a good, but willing enough to be rid of a bad one. And isn’t a bad thing to be deceived by the truth, and a good thing to possess the truth? For I assume that by possessing the truth you mean believing that things as they really are.”(Plato, The Republic, Book III, 413 a)

Although fanatic is too strong a word to use for the enthusiasm Plato has for placing authority and access to the truth in the hands of the one over the many. Our philosopher king does suffer from this Platonic schemata. Contemporary thinker Kenneth Dorter’s book The Transformation of Plato’s Republic (2006) features an important commentary on these dilemmas; the authoritarian control Plato exerts is translated into a compulsion to rule. Interestingly this is seen as originating in a fear of being ruled by inferiors. Even though Adeimantus and Glaucon object to this however Socrates insists that, “But once it is pointed out to them they will not refuse because ‘we shall be imposing just behavior onto just people”(Dorter, 2006). Here then is a barrier that other sections of The Republic fail to resolve and only furthers this leader’s problematic character.

It should not be a surprise that the Philosopher king suffers from within its own identity constantly striving in one direction only; to that which is the best. Having the natural qualities to rule in line with the Good. Reading about the philosopher as it has been described in Plato’s simile of the cave it could well read as an apology made on behalf of the human condition. Broken by our access and insight into truth that we are compelled to rule and this is firmly positioned in the domain of philosophy, “And we say that the particulars are objects of sight but not of intelligence, while the forms are the objects of intelligence but not of sight”, and “The sun is not identical with sight, nor with what we call the eye in which sight resides”(Plato, The Republic, Book VII, 514a-521a). The use of the sun to enforce the blinding potentiality of sensory perception may still underline the struggle we all face. But, if truth is indeed so blinding then why gaze at it in the first place? When applied to a ruler it is hard to fathom how many would rise to the challenge of returning to the site of imprisonment in Plato’s cave to free our fellows from illusion?

In the Analects there is not a direct discussion of imprisonment just discourse and it makes it difficult to not accept Dorter’s earlier criticism of fear as an equally strong motivator for human behaviour. Moreover is there anything that suggests that the philosopher would not be prone to irrational fear? Would not be susceptible to evil; and rather than free and aid his citizens not decide to keep them chained and imprisoned for their own good? These questions are the less common aporias Plato’s texts cultivate.

  1. What values do these two leaders govern by?

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  • Li, Filial piety, and Ren

There are many Confucian values that the Junzi would possess but there are three that are particularly important. Beginning with Li (禮) meaning ‘rite’ or ‘ritual propriety’ with this respect for one’s family and especially elders and ancestors xiào (孝) . Then from these qualities a Confucian is also equipped with Ren (仁) an essence of being human. We can marginally suggest that Ren differs from the Western notion of essence by remembering the Chinese notion of Chi (universal energy) that is omnipresent in all things and is constantly energizing, moving, and never stationary. The Western essence differs in the work’s of Plato and his student Aristotle because Plato sees the essence as the form of a thing his student puts the form in the essence as a unified substance. One believes that the Junzi would if approached to define Ren choose to locate essence between this world and another.

When compared to Plato’s and Socrates’s good which I will soon show is conditionally defined by a dependency on dialectical thinking wedded to a higher  rationality; Confucius’s Ren is more fluid only dependent on the context of the agent and their capacity to intuitively behave in line with what is “a” good and not “the” good; and so being an exemplary individual a Junzi. This is made obvious if we read the collection of this Chinese philosopher’s words, “A person of Ren, wishing to establish his own character, also establishes the character of others, and wishing to be prominent himself, also helps others to be prominent. To be able to judge others by what is near to ourselves may be called the method of realizing ren.”(Confucius, The Analects, Book VI) This demonstrates directly the social implications of this Chinese essence that it is social and therefore both subjected and objected to change. This is why it is an accurate comparison of Ren to essence as being more plural rather than singular.

 This comment is divisive and the Junzi differs from the philosopher king in other ways. Confucius himself was not as Aristocratic as Plato and throughout his life did experience some setbacks in his attempts to bring about social change, yet remained positive towards the capacity of a ruler coming from any background; Plato was not so forgiving after his failures in implementing his political ideas and so as I will soon explain was forcefully against democracy; but, what about an ideology like capitalism? Referencing the well known study by German Max Weber, Thomas T. Lennerfors’s paper references Weber’s opinion that Confucianism can not be seen as an origin for Capitalism in the same way that Protestantism and Calvanism could be because the former lacks the transcendental and religious qualities of the later. The reason Lennerfors makes reference to Weber is because he wants to show how Western criticisms of Asian belief as uniformly supportive of capitalism are prematurely made. Take this quote, it shows that Plato is under equal scrutiny in current Asian discussions.

“Constant references were made to Plato’s warning that a democracy can indeed be a path to societal corruption. In opposition to liberal democratic values of alleged rugged individualism and one person-one-vote, the speakers …were inspired by Confucian ideas of harmony and meritocracy to promote the creation of an alternative society.”(Lennerfors, 2015)

Although a brilliant defense of Asian belief’s transformation under contemporary capitalism; overall this study moves the king and the gentleman closer together, and this is problematic for the argument of this paper. So, let us turn to the importance of ritual for Confucians. Specifically, Confucius would maintain and defend the notion that the people already have the ability to self-govern. In the Confucian literature it is ritual li that is the principle that organizes or orders; and how does it do this? It does so by enforcing rite behaviour through every member of a communities capacity to understand and to have already learned the inherited and well versed ways of behaving. Ritual Piety can be seen even in the process of naming when Confucius suggests, “when the name is not correct, then the words are not smooth; if the words are not smooth, then things will not be done”(Confucius, Legge, 1971). Far more than just a correct formal way of speaking li is directly connected to Ren, a uniquely pragmatic ethical structure that has this authentic and realistic character that comes into view in one answer Confucius gives to Lin Fang.

‘The master replied: “what an important question! In observing ritual propriety, it is better to be modest than extravagant; in mourning, it is better to express real grief than to worry over formal details.”(Confucius, The Analects, Book III) This reply brings us to ‘filial piety’ xiao (孝) a reverence and respect for the family. The idea that the Junzi is more realistic due to a more liberal appreciation of form is the distinguishing factor in the exemplary person and nowhere is this more evident and prominent than in filial piety. The family then is the one constant, humans even if they are orphaned or become hermit like never fully leave a family, and it is remarkable that rather than a religious reverence for Confucianism the Chinese venerate this way of thinking because of its longevity, and because of its aesthetic qualities. Confucianism was adopted because its a tradition of teaching and learning that is present in the family. Where every single human being takes its first steps, listens to sounds, sings songs, crys, laughs, dances, and encounters Ren.

This aesthetic quality of Confucianism does not negate the idea that individual expression is not important both the Greek and the Chinese adored music and in many ways the Junzi would have also had its own freedom toward idealization. Supporting  individuals being able to express themselves is found when Confucius invites his students to share their dreams. Dian or Ceng Xi literally dreams of happiness in returning home singing. Here music and an appreciation of string and air instruments unite the ancient world and the rulers that found themselves in power. But the power of the organic family supports a belief in a plurality of human relations that extends from within the very first and most simple of social structures: in the words of the Confucian scholar Ames we see the power of filial piety (孝), xiào.

“We might say that Confucianism is nothing more than a sustained attempt to ‘to family’ the lived human experience. For Confucianism, it is through discursive living in a communicating family and community that we are able to enchant the ordinary, to ritualize the routine, to invigorate the familiar, to inspire the customary habits of life, and ultimately, to commune spiritually, in the common and the everyday.”(Ames, 2011)

2.2 Justice, the Good, and Dialectic  

‘Justice’ (δικαιοσύνη, dikaiosúnē) is Plato’s concept of human mind and it is to do with the idea of the sovereignty of reason; that the soul is affected by bodily appetites. For Plato the number three is important he splits our individual and collective being into three parts: appetite, spirit, and reason. In the Republic these correspond to the class system of this city those with appetite are the workers artisans and craftspeople, spirited individuals have the courage to serve in the military, and those under the influence of reason are to be governors, gaurdians, and philosopher kings. According to Plato when the human soul is able to act with reason it attains a greater level of virtue. Thus presenting Justice dikaiosúnē as the human mind and the process it goes through towards that which is good. The capacity to be self determining under the power of rationality and its access to the goodness of truth.  

Leading to the ‘the idea of the good’ (ἡ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ ἰδέα, i toú agathoú idéa) comes before Justice in the possible schematics of Plato’s thought. It is the most important because it gives rise to the contemporary use of the adjective Platonic. That is also called Plato’s ‘theory of forms’ the belief that things exist because behind the appearance or representation of them resides a truer mathematically precise formal basis for reality. Things as they appear to exist only exist in the extent that they participate in the formal version of themselves. Something can be said to be beautiful because it participates in beauty itself. We see Socrates discussing the Good in the Symposium describing its affinity and connection to love and eternity.

If one analyses the language of the quotations below this paper’s criticism of Plato should be becoming clearer. Although the idea of the Good is a powerful driving force throughout Western culture it suffers from a singular belief in truth being one. The Good being representative of this monolithic element of Platonism can not escape its placement and association with one’s own ownership and this is what stands in contrast to the Junzi who would not see truth so formally. In defence of Plato and his theory of the forms and the Good being the best of these forms; it should be noted that for Plato his theory works only to the extent that individuals and thinkers are able to participate in such forms. The Junzi, in my interpretation is closer to Pythagoras in that mathematical entities are identical to the objects they represent.

The philosopher king is different in being preconditioned to appreciate the truth of something in an unchanging structure related to thought and thought alone . Unfortunately, this is potentially corrupt-able, and dailectic fails rather than resolving opposing views through rational debate. If the king focused too much on what is Good how does the Philosopher King safeguard against such a negative possibility as his own thinking becoming overtly possessive and thus distorting his reasoning? Can we really fully trust that people do not fall in love with that which is bad as it is strongly argued in the Symposium below?         

‘ “But suppose”, she said, “someone changed the question, using the word

‘good’ instead of ‘beautiful’, and asked: ‘Now then, Socrates, the lover of good things has a desire – what is it that he desires?’

“That they become his own,” I said.

“I don’t think that each of us is attached to his own characteristics, unless you’re

Going to describe the good as ‘his own’ and as ‘what belongs to him’ and the bad as ‘what does not belong to him’. The point is that the only object of people’s

Love is the good – don’t you agree?”(Plato, The Symposium, 1999)

Discussing the ‘Dialectic’ (διαλεκτική, dialektikḗ) we can start by detailing how this is also split into three: geometrical, the mythical, and the pedagogical. The first is found in the form of a divided line, the mythical is expressed in the famous form of a similie of a cave, and the pedagogical being the time based plan for a potential philosopher to follow; this progresses from the necessity of military service and through dialectical training the philosopher is then ready to be of use to her or his state. Remember this is represented by a line from opinion to knowledge.

  1. Conclusion

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  • The forfeit of the Platonic leader?

Unlike the Confucian exemplary individual a philosopher king has no such evidence to refute the claims that have been made against it and so is not a leader that carries a strong legitimacy. Instead, looking back into ancient history it remains a vague and lofty character both removed from its citizens and also if Plato’s texts are to be believed: this philosopher leader can be trusted to assess and hold such authority that they have the capacity to accurately determine what function a citizen may be best suited for. Thus removing citizens from their capacity to grow and choose for themselves? Supporters of this king might cite the vast experience this breed of philosopher may have already acquired that is before they completed twenty years of training in dialectics (rational and virtuous thought), but this just plays into a selectivity that is not organic but possessive and aggressive.

The Philosopher King and the Junzi have many similarities yet the differences are hard to ignore. Even though they both share an appreciation of the harmony that music represents the Greek leader is more war like and this is understandable if we look at the historical context of this King’s ancient time. Socrates and Plato lived in the heyday of Athens led by the general Pericles; and it is certain that Socrates and Plato would have gone through military service. This selectivity is precisely why the Philosopher King can not be trusted to be a just and balanced leader. I have shown how this is deeply rooted in ancient Greek Idealism found in the Republic where at childhood the “philosopher king” starts to be selected by some divisive criteria and the separated from their families; a structure that remains an abstract necessity. One that is far less supportive and indeed is not a cause of responsible leadership based upon an immediate and relative discussions found within those closest to us.

  • The Junzi a more real and relative leader?

One of the main arguments against the Junzi that is left to put to the reader is that this ‘familial piety’ that stands in favour of the Confucian leader is also shared with the philosopher king; because we understand that res Republica has supposedly more than one philosopher king then one can say that they would also possess this piety. This quality of being a member of a family however where is the evidence? If this were true then Plato’s great discourse would feature more than just a description of what qualifies a person to be a Platonic leader and the manner in which they govern. If this king of thought has a family Platonist’s will argue that this lack of family in the ideal republic is down to two things: 1) The philosopher king seeks the truth of the family; the form of the family that would be called humanity.

In this case and at this time I do not see how one can take this as sufficient enough reason to make the claim that the platonic king possesses ‘familial piety’. 2) Secondly, returning to the beliefs of these beings their similarities are not so similar. Both believe in a transcendental power bestowed on the ruler. But, the difference is found if you look at Plato’s theology he believes in a creator god. Confucius portrays his leader as developing an awareness of both the bad and the good including how easy it is to fall into corruption. The Junzi exemplifies this because it is not just a leader. In the Chinese state of Confucius’s time the Junzi attained its position in society due to the leader’s capacity to achieve not only harmony but to deal with a chaotic and corrupt boss. Confucius urged his people towards an awareness of their own behaviour and in what way the state is existing. If the leader is not leading the population to a greater state of well-being then the Confucian would encourage his countryman to actively revolt through civil disobedience instead of violent outbursts.

Such a capacity to naturally deal with oscillations between the positive and the negative, and the one constant (change) is honed and harnessed in the organic social forces of the family. A form that is diverse as the many possible ways of living humans enact. Throughout the Analects we have seen many examples of Confucian ideals merge together as they emerged from the hardships these political thinkers experienced in a violent period of the country’s history. Current Confucianism suffers when viewed from the Western perspective of being nationalistic, but the opposite is closer to the truth. The Confusian Junzi is a better ruler because its version of dialectic is more familiar to resolving conflict between people. I hope this paper makes this clearer to the reader for implicit within my conclusion is a challenge to Plato’s beautiful legacy: is it possible that Confucius’s Junzi be better equipped to govern because it was born and remained in that imperfect earthly form of the family?

‘when he is accompanied by other persons, somebody is certainly able to be his teacher.

(San ren xing, bi you wo shi yan 三人行,必有我師焉。).’

 

Angle C. Stephen, and Tiwald, Justin, (2017). Neo-Confucianism: A Philosophical Introduction, (Polity Press, Cambridge, UK).
Confucius. Ames T, Roger. Rosemont JR, Henry. (1998), The Analects of Confucius: A Philosophical Translation. Ballantine Books, New York.
Confucian Role Ethics: A Vocabulary, The Chinese University Press, Hong Kong, University of Hawaii Press, Honolul.Hawaii.
ChinaKnowledge, An Encylopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art.    http://www.chinaknowledge.de/Literature/Classics/confucius.html [03/02/2019]
Dorter, Kenneth. (2006) ‘Philosopher Rulers’, in The Transformation of Plato’s Republic, Lexington Books, Oxford.
Hall, L David. Ames, T Roger. (1987), Thinking Through Confucius, State University of New York, Albany, New York.
Ha Poong Kim. (2006) Confucius’s Aesthetic Concept of Noble Man: Beyond Moralism, Asian Philosophy, 16:2
Hird, Derek.(2017), In League With Gentlemen: Junzi Masculinity and the Chinese Nation in Cultural Nationalist Discourses, Asia Pacific Perspectives, Volume 15, no. 1.
Legge, James. (1971), Confucian analects: The great learning, and The doctrine of the mean. Dover Publications. 263–264.
Lennerfors, Taro Thomas. (2015), The Confucian Ethics of the Junzi in Contemporary Light Capitalism, Taiwan Journal of East Asian Studies, December.
Plato (2007), ‘Part IV: Guardians & Auxiliaries’ in The Republic, Penguin books, London. 
(360.bc) Symposium, translated by Benjamin Jowett, online. http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/symposium.html
(1999). The Symposium, Penguin Books, Great Ideas, London.
(2008), Timaeus and Critias, translated by Robin Waterfield, Oxford University Press.

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                                             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  

 

 

Papers From My Peer’s

Philosophy @Leuven in Belgium; & a Necro-psychoanalyst

The following is a quick and too speedy review of the writings of some of the wonderful individuals I studied with in Leuven. Each person’s paper’s topic will be briefly explored; its ideas summarized and elaborated on so as to share and place this interestingly informed information into the streams of human energy traversing the internet. I hope they travel far…and feed the minds of others…

[I have linked to the original essays where possible otherwise if you wish to speak to the authors then the link goes to their Facebook profile’s]

 

#Ross Williams, (‘A Certain Kind of Sadness’)

A comparison of the thought of Arthur Schopenhaur and Eckhart Tolle. Starting by showing how a scholar called Warburton suggests this poodle lovers pessimism as not absolute only partial. According to Schopenhaur happiness in an unstable world is inconceivable when William’s quotes Schopenhaur’s Buddhist dependency this makes me smile.

 

‘“It must be pleasure to me to see my doctrine in such close agreement with a religion that most of men on earth hold as their own, for this numbers far more followers than any other”

(Schopenhauer 1844, 169).

Schopenhaur is interesting because his fondness for Buddhism is a fondness for the oldest kind of Buddhism; the belief system that arose from within the womb of the Indian Brahman. Then, Tolle is referenced referring to how, ‘the dream of a symbolic world allows our consciousness to interpret or interact with the world’(Tolle, 1997, 128). This sounds like Tolle is an exponent, a supporter of the idea that our reality is holographic; After this the paper describes dangerous desire, wish fulfillment being a delusion, and then similarities between the two thinkers. The evidence that Schopenhaur’s pessimism is not absolute is taken from the writer Fernandez who describes it as conditional. Which is where the paper leaves us: as a part of a whole. Choosing to forgo the ‘will to life’ in favour of liberation through our very material suffering.

Arthur-Schopenhauer

 

#Marlieke Bender (‘The Object “is” the Other’)

This writing explores the performance ‘Rhythm 0’ by Marina Abromovich and what it has to tell us about freedom, human nature and abstraction, violence, and their relations to Emmanuel Levinas and Jean P. Satre. I had heard of Abromovich before from a brilliant documentary film made for her retrospective at MOMA, in NYC, and I had understood that this was a very famous performance but I had no idea what it precisely entailed. Reason no.1 to have enjoyed reading this.

The artist was invited by a gallery in Naples Italy to perform “Rhythm 0”. The gallery was Studio Morra in which visitors to the performance where invited to do whatever they want to the naked being of Abromovich; perhaps encouraged by the 72 suggestive objects on the table. One of these objects was a handgun with a bullet. We all like to think that we are calm collected cultured animals, but given a smidgen, a filament of freedom, and we get a little weird.  The last few hours of the performance regressed into violent chaos with one visitor encouraging the artist to use the bullet. Of course (we are not all monsters) a fight with the guilty individual broke out. But, when the performance was over we are told that the moment the artist resumed active agency again and walked towards her audience everyone fled the gallery.

Bender’s interpretation is an interesting one she traces and mines some of the potential philosophical implications of the performance. Referring to Satre’s idea that we are always both subject and object; involving a wholesome process of becoming an object. Exemplified in Satre’s reflections on a waiter in a cafe. Including the pressure of not being someone, but of being an object for others? What is made apparent is the power of a gaze of perception itself. Especially of that of the creator; is this evidence of the artist possessing a gaze apart from others?

Next up is Levinas who suggests that a moment of contact between two beings, between one and the other, is not necessarily a connection between human beings but culminates in an “other”. Marlieke’s choice of thinkers and citations is telling and reveals the greatness of Levinas, ‘speech becomes serious only when we pay attention to the other and take account of him and the strange world he inhabits. It is only by responding to him that I can become aware of the arbitrary views and attitudes where my uncriticised freedom always leads me, and become responsible.’(Levinas…?). Leaving is considering the very nature of responsibility. Who is responsible when those in charge frequently relinquish responsibility?

Abromovich, judging by her words in Marlieke’s essay, does so; saying that her purpose in performing is to create a stage for people’s fears. Maybe her admission is that if we all perform more actively, more intently, with more vitality we may free oneself from our fears? Eventually, our lack of personal completion results in a kind of “involuntary debt”; we are indebted to an otherness that is wholly other to us as active subjects and objects. I enjoy attempting to use art to explore philosophy and visa versa philosophy to explore art; and you can clearly see the possibility of philosophy arising and being authored by art.

performance-artist-stands-still-for-6-hours-4

 

#Mathew Devine (‘Suffering the Eternal Remorse and Melancholia Through the work of Vladimir Jankélévitch’)

 

A masters thesis, reading of Bergson’s Padawan the French philosopher Vladimir Jankélévitch’s work distinguishing remorse from regret and melancholia and mourning in his phenomenology of psychopathology after Freud. Devine characterises these interestingly as experiences. In many ways Devine’s writing is a commentary on the impossibility of nothingness and how this impossibility is embroiled in processes of regret, remorse, despair, melancholia, and mourning. Questions that lurk at the beginning the Devine’s exploration: when does remorse tell us about the eternal within us? Is remorse really timeless? Devine begins by describing Jankélévitch’s own stance, ‘Consciousness is the moment by which the self splits into two. The “I” (le soi) becoming an object of an “I” (le moi )’, a kind of gap, and a drop of Kantianism, ‘perfect happiness would only be possible if one knew nothing of one’s happiness’. We should all make an effort to contemplate these things.

Moving on Freud’s thinking is referenced when he describes the phenomena of ‘mourning’ and this is used by Devine to situate the reader before he articulates remorse and melancholia. Freud saw how work itself can come to replace the searing pain of loss and mourning. Writing in On Transience describes how the loved and lost object is allowed to rest when work is seen as being successful. Furthermore, the individual suffering from melancholia may suffer more because of its a-temporality. Freud’s characterisation of melancholia as a disturbance of self-esteem is absent in mourning. Devine draws our attention to the harshness of Freud’s ego split and how one part goes after the other, ‘we can not easily judge the degree of correspondence between the two versions of the self.

This is also why remorse can be said to be a feeling and guilt as a state. If I have read the paper correctly than this statement may also be so: for Jankélévitch repentance creates a distance between the wrong doer and the wrong. This in turn creates this necessity to suffer the eternal that we can locate within ourselves, that part of each and every one of us that is indeed eternal. Turning remorse into a virtue is dependent on how true the remorse may be thought of? There are many virtues in this study but one I find particularly interesting is a struggle to locate and anchor suffering as a phenomenon; what is the relation between impersonal or personal suffering. Devine resolves this with the help of a different French philosopher called Levinas and his stripping away the (human) world. Does his ilya (anonymous being) lead to an exposure to infinite eternal existence? Jankélévitch’s answer to this is the same as Achille’s speaking to Odysseus, ‘what good is eternity if it is not for living?’ a very good answer indeed, and it is here that Devine concludes successfully arguing that choosing an existence in finitude over an inexistence in eternity.

Vladimir Jankélévitch_ 

 

#Jens Van Steerteghem

Next up we have the Flemish physics fiend. Studying with Jens and his (“Jensing” a kind of Lensing; a way of seeing”) is awesome and very rewarding always on hand to discuss any and all topics. He is originally trained in Biology and is currently engaged in the critical creation of the European Union’s scientific policy making. His essay I found very rich “Escaping Technology a Dissidents Perspective” is an essay written on the infamous American Unabomber; and his manifesto “Industrial Society and its Future” (1996). Van Steerteghem begins with a good question; as every essay should do: Why did the serial bomber want to escape technology and is such an escape even possible?

Unabomber believed in a power process only satisfied by living as primitive man. Under technological society this process was disturbed according to this terrorist manifesto writer. Steerteghem rightfully questions this and initially makes a connection to thinking of Heidegger. But, a writer called Bijker is also cited and it is here the criticism begins in earnest,  ‘the socio-technological ensemble, where technical success consists in tying together different preexisting artifacts with different preexisting social elements in productive ways.’ (Steerteghem, Ku Leuven, 2018). I think this is a good statement to begin resisting Unabomber in the face of his accelerated technological telos.

To counter act the glum view of the Unabomber’s thesis Steerteghem points us towards network theory and the mathematical structures of advanced connectivity; saying that manipulation of the hubs can lead to control over technology. Then Bruno Latour’s ‘Actor Network Theory’ is discussed. Taking a holistic view of ANT and this culminates in clusters of ‘”Black Boxes” that represent the successful integration and acceptance of new technology and/or a scientific theory. The conclusion of this paper takes Unabomber’s own notion of a ‘power process’ and using it to show how it supports the opposite of anti-technological reality. Technology is in itself a power process and therefore can not be separated from other such processes hastily deemed as natural.

But, this Flemish author has forgot his Marxist potentiality and in the concluding remarks succumbs to a notion of society (“the clusterscape”) that is still an imprisoning one, and overlooks the global revolution’s potentially technological heart.

unabomber

 

# Albin Van Latum

Albin is a Dutchman and a dynamic thinker. I enjoyed the conversations we all had; with Jens, Anne, Peyton, Marlieke, Marren, Ross, Alirazor, Amin, and others.

Albin wrote his paper on a very interesting subject the antagonism between myth and science. Beginning with the ancient propensity of creation myths having order being a process of moving away from a prior chaos. Latum will argue that rather than the modern understanding of myths as “a miss-representation of truth.”, myth under Latum’s pen will be shown to be the fundamental bridge between humans and an otherwise chaotic reality and how Science’s modernism is itself a myth. After remembering how chaos is first born in Hesiod’s Theogony; we are then introduced to a beautiful ancient myth about chaos originating from ancient China. In the Zhuangzi Chaos (Hundun)  ) is seen as ‘the creative spontaneity that ceases to exist once one meddles with it by attempting to impose order’. So, in this Chinese myth we see Van Latum’s initial thesis clearly: myths help humans order Chaos into meaning. But, not via means of control rather appreciation.

In the discussion on the relation or development from mythos to logos an interesting point is made, ‘whereas both Plato and Aristotle concerned of different levels of mimesis of reality this plurality went through a process of reductio ad unum (an argument that rests on the absurdity of the opposing argument) the result of which is modern realism.’ It is with the reductio that one feels a kinship with this Dutch brother’s writing and thinking; I feel that many people would agree that this modern realism has a major problem in that it occasionally appears as mythless; leaving us a task to really nurture an cultivate the opposite. Such a line of thinking was also followed and developed by Mark Fisher in his Capitalist Realism (2009). Latum also paints a more useful picture of the philosopher of science Karl Popper; in that his ‘falsification theory’ is seen on preserving a mythical science. Instead of the Popper who unsuccessfully attempted to refute the work of Marx and Freud.

This paper really finds its rhythm when numinous Nietzsche is referenced as Latum starts discussing contemporary Chaos … some much needed Socrates bashing ensues… Overall, the claims of science to rule over the entirety of nature are shown to be unhelpful myths. These claims came into being as the Christian paradigm, or scientific dominance over western thinking began to loose its huge influence. That is why we are still learning from Nietzsche, ‘Truths are illusions about which it has been forgotten that they are illusions, warn-out metaphors without sensory impact’, and we readers are forced to admire this papers conclusions, ‘Chosmos is chaos, of interpretation on the back of a selective process’. Eventually we are left with one certainty if we embrace the myth making capacity of chaos we can see our openness to the pure potential of artistic creation.

sevensages

 

# Juste Keturakyte (The Critique of Buddhism and Christianity in Friedrich Nietzsche’s Philosophy)

In an ambitious dance with Nietzsche Keturakyte explores a supposed superiority of Buddhism over its Western counterpart Christianity. Nietzsche’s opinion is well expressed and articulated; as is his appreciation of Buddhism. Reading this text we encounter Buddhist Dukkha (suffering). Then its cause the craving after transient things Trishna; and also a path to the elimination of this suffering ashtanya manga. Nietzsche’s critique of metaphysics is characterised as being one of revenge. That Christian Moralities explained as the one life is littered and scarred by revenge. That the mere essence of metaphysics is the denial of and revenge over becoming and time as the expression of decadent and declining life. So, Nietzsche’s admiration for Buddhism is written to be centred around its capacity to be truthful to the meaninglessness of human existence however he does not like its self denying aspects seeing them as too passive.

slide_5

I find that Keturakyte’s elegant exploration of the Buddhist influence on Nietzsche to be accurate and refreshingly honest, and very well positioned for  future development. Especially the idea of ‘Euro-Buddhism’ but to offer but a small critical note. I think Nietzsche’s criticism of this passive nihilism of Buddhism is not thoroughly separated from Schopenhaur’s Indian reading and so does not do Chan Buddhism full justice. Keturakyte’s points about the a-temporality of Nietzsche’s ‘Eternal Return’ as transcending both Buddhism and Christianity is not quite attainable. For the reason that in Chan Buddhism especially its passivity is to explicitly do away with distinctions that seek to differentiate. Resulting in an appreciation of how things are: endlessly coming to be and passing away, manifesting and re-manifesting, and all is just inter-being including eternity and its return.

Nietzsche and Buddhism

 

 

# Sam Bunn & Grussgott, an artificial intelligence from the future (Imagining an Institute for eUtopia)

Sam along with this A.I have constructed an impassioned defence of how artistic practice can and ought to be used to build the “good place” in contrast to the non-place we so usually are confronted with. Bunn’s Master’s thesis is very interesting and eclectic, yet ordered in its creative energy. I like the format of the study, and the interplay between A.I and human really creates with the material and topic matter very coherently. Beginning by pairing off Sacral art and Fine art Bunn or Grussgott and showing how exactleeeeeeeeeeeeeee this sacral can be seen as a “twisted tear drop”; half a way. There are seven chapters in Sam’s study and I will list them before drawing out some of the highlights that caught my attention when I first read. The contents include; ART or art?, Stories make Sense making Sense, Grasping Utopia, Eutopia as a Tool, Re-imaging Infastructure, eUtopia Explored and Attempted, and the conclusion.

I am not sure about Art confirming the American Dream this feels like it gives to this particular dream too much. But, the conversation discussing the persistence of filmic ideology (ideology is persistent as film? Or, ideology is a film?) moving through this notion that American cannot separate the idea of liberty from liberalism. From this constitution to Adam Smith’s marketised version; here the A.I reminds the human that America is not just full of capitalists, ‘Remember Jameson (influential Critical Theorist) is American.’

Reading through the next section on storytelling and sense, I am reminded of Walter Benjamin’s texts and how this study is a little bit like a new project from the Arcades? Discussing the potentially vegetative state of humans if they fail to grasp Bertold Brecht’s reality shaping hammer. But, Bunn or Grisbott pick up this hammer with a sub-hypothesis, ‘what if this main residue of watching a film is: lasting images?’ This branch is interesting its difficult to interpret but it could be that film’s deep realism is like a hammering of images; like the way a blacksmith would gradually craft a refined metal. It is also interesting that this involves an element of forgetting and remembering: forgetting to remember is absolutely what I do…

Then an utopia lists many influential authors and Ernst bloch keeps the concept of utopia firmly in the everyday rather than just a literary form. I love Darko Suvins/Surins’s idea of a ‘novum’ and I skip Thomas More’s well cited definition of utopia; a non-place. Then we continue to move through the good places of some films and their lasting images.

On page 59 Gussbotts and its human friend find agreement and I think I have stumbled upon the essence of this text and its true purpose; what it really engenders and supports. The A.I asks, ‘you are talking about popularizing socialist politics in mass consumable story form, aren’t you? The answer is yes; we now need to find our second yes to affirm as indeed the true aim of this paper, the formal desire of this intellectually creative event. I like how part of this discourse throughout this study is its cautious character; it permeates an awareness of the pitfalls of over-stating content and one’s thinking.

This and the idea of “socialist politics in a mass consumable story” is really evident in one of the many artistic projects Bunn completed as part of his time in Linz. The project Reise in die Zuhunft a journeying into the future with today’s children, and art’s radical potentialities are immediately enacted as social reality is seen as uniformly and universally creative in the artistic sense. Such play is then carried on into a ride of sorts; the brilliantly named ‘Far-see-er’; a series of interconnected rooms exhibited together as a ride designed to be ridden, of course, at the Architektur Forum in Linz. Overall, one, everyone should journey through and re-experience this journey that Sam Bunn and the A.I took because this study is refreshingly in its diversity, honesty, and creativity. The Agent Author’s humility is constantly present in this study; a good example is the response to the dilemma that the discussion on eUtopia might be unresolvable and we may be forced to accept the Utopia the negative option.

‘perhaps one should just learn to live with the dust that is stuck to the word utopia and not to confuse people with this ‘eu’. Generally they just think that I make some kind of obscure comment about the European Union.’

I wish this creator and fellow lover of art all the best for his future eUtopian film making.

artificial-intelligence-feature

# Julie Reshe (Beautiful Monsters: On Destructive Plasticity)          

Julie Reshe is the necropsychoanalyst par excellence and one half of the directorship of a new educational model for the future. Operating within a Post-Lacanian landscape Reshe is constantly expanding on the richness of Freud’s brilliant Venetian verisimilitude. I am not entirely convinced the notion that humans are “living dead” can overcome the negative imagery of the Zombie; yet one thing is more certain Freud’s Thanos remains important as ever for today’s epoch. Below are some thoughts on Reshe’s essay on ‘Destructive Plasticity’.

The essay is written as a critical response to the great French philosopher Catherine Malabou; who years ago introduced me to the idea of epigenetics (how feelings encode meaning and trauma can be distributed across generations biologically via way of the genome). Homing in on the scientific neurobiological conception of synaptic plasticity Reshe wants us to reflect on the negative side; the formalism of synaptic connective via way of destruction; and in attempting to hastily attribute a “cure” to such a destructive plasticity, Reshe reminds us of Foucault’s insight: that, the concepts of illness and health are socially constructed.

Running, both with and against Malabou, Reshe reformulates the notion that the child, can be a little monster, and therefore after encompassing a kind of destructive plasticity or a Lyotardian ‘primordial susceptibility’ – the child that remains throughout life. Yet, this writing really on one level is very comforting considering the biographical and important personal references to real lived experiences. This is then complemented by the text’s desire to critically think through psychoanalysis. Freud’s idea and its Greek influence is referenced that, ‘Psychic traumatization is understood by the analogy of physical traumatization.’ A difference imposed by the foreign body entombed with the local body.

After rightfully questioning the ease at which a disorder may legitimate the presence of an illness. I find Reshe’s conclusion compelling and ripe for much more development. If we are all beautiful monsters then we are all still susceptible, still receptive to these powers that are both organic and inorganic; power that we still marginally understand. Yet if we join Reshe in refelecting on our beautiful little monstrosities then we may increase such a thing.

medieval-angels-in-florence05

2 x B

Two Bens:Two Artists Using Japan for Inspiration. (Benjamin Bardou’s ‘Tokyo Wanderings’, and Ben Jeans Houghton’s film ‘2nd Life’.)

[Ben J. Houghton’s film ‘2nd Life’ was exhibited at Bloc Projects in Sheffield.]

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The French artist Benjamin Bardou’s work is a visual feast at first sighting on Instagram one was hooked asking what is this new glitchy and painterly crack? It turned out to be some experiment in video editing and production using something called ‘pointcloud’ in the animation of videos. Take for example ‘Dotswarm’ an application for apple operating systems developed in New Zealand. After glimpsing at what this kind of animation is I encountered a new development in animation techniques that is animating the cloud. This is very fascinating for me because the image of the cloud is a very very very beautiful and strong image. Clouds have inspired so much culture over the history of our species from Aristophanes’s portrayal of Socrates to a fantastic youtube lesson on the continuation of Chan Buddhist hermits titled Amongst White Clouds (worth watching it still makes me romanticise about being a hermit… although I do not wish to be one). In Japanese the Kanji for cloud 雲 / ku-mo / is comprised of two parts ‘rain’ 雨 /a-me/ and a radical for ‘say’言/ Iu / which in turn can be in turn reduced down to two. So, one direct translation into English can be ‘rain say’ or ‘say rain’ the potential meaning of which escapes me. Yet, it does provide a route into the two videos which I would love to just gawp at continuously projected in a high definition. First viewing was a kind of reality check because Bardou’s short films really forced immaterial aesthetics into one’s thoughts. Similar and relevant considerations are also found in a brilliant discussion of an “immaterial world” author Steve Wright asks a question that is perhaps also asked by the two films Lost in Tokyo, and Wandering in Paris (please watch them below), that is ‘Are we living in an immaterial world?’. In Wright’s sharp dissection of post-workerism and especially the work of political and economic thinkers such as Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt in their books Empire and the Multitude ideas of immaterial labour and the changing reality of capitalism are thought through. I think an element of wrights conclusion is rather interesting when he mentions ‘Speculative ventures – which have been rife in the past decade – seem to make money out of thin air’, and…

‘In the meantime, debt continues to balloon, from the micro scale of individual and family credit cards, to the macro level of public sector budgets and current account deficits. However ingeniously the burden of such debt is redistributed, the terms of the wager cannot be forestalled forever. When it is finally called in, things will become very interesting indeed. If nothing else, we may then find out at last whether or not, as Madonna sang. …

The boy with the cold hard cash Is always Mister Right, ‘cause we are Living in a material world.i

Ending on Madonna’s song completes a nice circuit in that the essay begins with referencing Zen. Two individuals try and outsmart a master and ask, ‘can you teach me about reality without using either sound or silence? The master punches them in the face’ such a moment of aggression is perfectly placed so as to allow me to make an important point regarding Bardou’s cloudy creations. For me they were and still are a punch to the face in that they build upon the notion of a veil that covers an underlying reality, or a reality that should indeed be veiled?

Fundamentally, modern life is computational the acceptance of mathematics builds a one sided picture of the world. A sphere of certainty although useful is it really necessary? If so what kind of necessity does it represent? Questions such as these are seemingly resolved in the silent Buddhism by way of a profound negation of illusion of Maya; qualities that are shared with Plato in that the most rightfully revered ancient Greek Pagan believed whole heartedly in a universal law. In the Timaeus (Plato’s creationist account for existence) we can read Timaeus describe how the maker of the universe a creator God desired ‘everything to be good, marred by as little imperfection as possible’; this God found everything visible in a state of turmoil therein he was forced to turn this chaos into order.ii It is this movement away from the senses and an emphasis on their being two realms of reality the transient and the eternal and unchanging. For those readers interested in how Plato came to make his distinction between the sensible (A-C, eikasia -pistis), and the intelligible (C-E, dianoia – noesis) represented by a divided line. Can it not be true that all lines are not just divided but are dividing; Plato would have perhaps said that all lines are divided by the sight or gaze. Yet what about the line made by Plato’s creator, a line from Chaos to order, and is this line still as persuasive as it has been for over a thousand years? I am less convinced that Plato did not completely miss-interpret the followers of Heraclitus and that his debt to Parmenides was not burdensome upon the human imagination. Speaking about such topics makes me also add that the role of the Sophists on Socrates and Plato needs studying as it contains hidden mysteries and insights. Bardou’s films offer up not a frustrating but a strong example of artistic wonder surviving, thriving, and marking its territory among its newer iterations: philosophy, science, and design.

It is one of those infuriating moments of existence a good friend of yours has helped bring an awesome artwork to a city that gave me my first taste of actual education (the state organised schools, the generic secondary schools in the UK, I experienced as a factory and a prison – aware that the national curriculum is so devoid of any kindness nor nuanced belief in those learning under it – I hear some of you think: ‘well at least you had education of some sort?’, yes, I did, but only when I moved to an open and free space at the Art school in Sheffield). It is a shame I could not participate in this community’s appreciation of a film ‘2ndlife’ by Ben J. Houghton. A film which features visual material shot and taken from the country I consider as my second home. Japan, has a claim to being the most interesting country, nation, or culture currently thriving on this planet because it is home to some of the oldest unique events, objects, and processes. To name but a few that western readers may easily identify and understand: Manga & Animation, Samurai, and Sushi. But wait, the latter is a silly sentence because each reader has their own identification and understanding of the Far East. This is but one of the good things about this film although a monologue Ben’s voice (I assume) never detracts from the content his camera records; content that features places and locations that I am personally so fond of. This is of course to be expected as any lucky person able to live in a country that is not their own will testify that although it is a confusion as to whether or not your interpretation makes the place, or does the place (time/space) make your interpretation?

The film is a good resource and example of how art is a parental practice to philosophy. Watching 2nd life one hears, ‘every artistic practice is generative’ and this made me nostalgic for such a belief for I do not believe this is applicable to the whole (every practice) of such practices. This is due to my repeated experience of the severity of manipulation involved in human habits and thus an inability to fully control symbolic value (this is most likely tantamount to a personal confession about one’s own inability to draw conclusions surrounding such distinctions as value and meaning, being and non-being, the transcendent and immanent). One really likes how the film really deepens the titles duality. It comments on a life within a life and beliefs surrounding rebirth and the Buddhist belief of Saṃsāra (संसार: an endless cycle of rebirth and wandering; is it akin to the western wondering necessity? Who knows?). For me there are strong highlights that stuck with me after one watch of this film. The first comes at 09:44 – and Ben’s voice reminded me of the spiral circles in French thinker Delueze’s metaphysical detailing of desire … and this film brilliantly hammers home that time is necessary for meaning and generates a lived experience in which time’s transitory mysterious materiality is laid bare for the spectator’s spectacles. Houghton correctly states three modes of learning 1) brutal ‘trial and error’ 2) emphatic connections, 3) love and compassion – all eventually, by way of artistic inquiry and agency lead to “learning as liberation from learning.

Here the film’s speculations start to go even more deeper as the narrator suggests whilst on a Tokyo train that it is perhaps a strange and dark aspect of human consciousness that allows our thinking, or being to often encompass a “Tearing through humanness” amidst all the energy and re-incarnation. Another memorable line that hits right to the hidden dilemma at the heart of human creativity, “trying to find a usable marker is like trying to grab a beam of sunlight in a river current”. This line makes me think of the strangeness of how objects only exist under the parameters of their own usage, but this sentence seems to disturb this in that with the surface of a flowing river’s encounter with light. Such an example of flux is one of the joys of film and video (both digital and analogue) they capture light for fleeting experiences that are often feel so fundamentally familiar we forget their difference. The mechanics of film: the capture of light and time, the animation of matter, and the social and anti-social modes of production… offer up alternatives to what we so often are forced to take for granted. Here, cinema and literature are shown to be deeply intertwined and contained within their operating systems, within their modus operandi, is a utopian day dreaming. Understood from the perspective of a ‘second life’ this may suggest that rebirth be something desired; never mind the Buddhist wisdom that states this as unnecessary suffering, ‘if one can live again then why not?’ Well, there is always the probability you could come back as a fruit fly or a loathed creature like a cockroach? This is why Buddha’s insights should not be messed with however if we, in our thinking, are searching for a connection between East and West then here is a potentially political one: Is Buddhism more Hobbesian (as in the self is this illusionary leviathan?) or Rosseau-ian (that the institutions with which we have to live by corrupt our innocence?); it could be a mixture of course?

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A cat moving through a graveyard hones the films fluctuations on its current: its exploration of the true difficulties that every human faces. How, in each of us there exist drives that if we find a balance within daily life then they may flow peacefully but if we experience a degree of unbalanced events and situations then ‘like follows like’ we move towards chaos. Such interrelations are very difficult to navigate and to survive them the psyche of an individual has to go through training, has to measure itself amongst the vast possibilities that reside in even the most miniscule of spaces. This meditation manifests more vividly at an introduction of a cat (a most beloved creature in Japan). At 34:26, a cat’s poem states, ‘you smell like soul and blood, just waiting wanton time … waiting for the time where my ideas act…’ all spoken in a slow and lucid stroll through a graveyard. Reminding me of supposed antagonisms between reason and its absence, realism and relativism, automation and autonomy. But, is it not true that an animal such as a cat teaches humans their own futility? We can never be as beautiful nor as stupendously wacky (see the mass of cat Instagrams), or even as wise as our feline associates. This cat and poem in a graveyard (all Japanese cats are related to the six cats (Goma, Otsuka, Kawamura, Mimi, Okawa, and Toro in Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore (2002)) made me want to read the book again of course and also research other relations one could find that connected Ben’s film with Murakami and I stumbled across an article written by Michele Eduarda Brasil de Sá. In this article Michele brilliantly invites us to consider a Japanese notion of “Space Time” by honing in on an important part of Murakami’s novel. We are presented with the main character kafka Tamura discovering an oil painting in a library in which supposedly the secrets to the labyrinth of time are found as well as “The Edge of the World” (世間の縁 /sekai no fuchi/).iii

Inevitably Murakami’s novel and the cat cameo culminates in me and you, dear reader, being forced to bow to the cat’s (にゃー義 /nya-gi/ a belief in the feline) because it could be the case that cats are in possession of an understanding of why gravity is also only partially universal and more than a little bit wave like. This then entails a perspective that strives and struggles for an appreciation of the limitations of life and of living. Houghton’s film is so thought provoking it gracefully invites much consideration on this narrative of struggle, of the finite that all humans represent. Here again Buddhism trumps western thinking in that the Buddhist death is positive we should be embracing the lack of choice with which we came into being as different to how we could leave existence. Ben’s work also references the notion of Antinatalism in the thinking of philosopher David Benatar, and how Houghton experienced a group of American military personal discussing their masculinity at the doors of the notorious suicide forest Aokigahara or ‘The Sea of Trees’. Such a coincidence makes me think of an anti-antinatalist position that I also think the maker of this film would also support. That is it is a little daft considering we are all here because two or even more people made us. To prescribe a negative value to birth is akin to saying you would rather not be when you are being. You could say that this misunderstanding arises from not appreciating how being is always taken over to a space, it always finds itself there. This is of course a little derivative of Martin Heidegger’s thinking (I wish it were more Kantian, or Schellingian but I need to study these Germans more), but what I find fascinating by the ease at which anti-natalism is refuted (in only one sense, but it could also be defended as a form of “free” choice) is that it also enables an understanding of traditionally materialist stances on the cosmos. Here we have two positions that are against human life one being anti-birth, and the other against continuing life (suicide).

But, I am sure these two are positive they are affirmations of life because both are about choice seen as both intentional and wholly other. We are fundamentally not in control of the beginning of existence and yet we can say with some certainty that it is more likely that we are in control of our demise (not when but how) even though there is still the possibility that this control may be taken away from us. The ancient atomists understood existence as unforgiving and unaffected by humans, yet they acknowledged that atoms may join and separate and that is why a film about Japan such as ‘2nd life’ is so great; it is not humorous but it demands we take materialism and the role of religion seriously. I think this film encourages and nurtures understanding on the role of transience in transcendence. This then connects back to what one mentioned regarding Plato’s conjunction between constant change and infinite being. I think the regularity of material change is of a nature that is apprehensible in that ‘becoming’, the titanic twin of change, reinforces teleological time (there are other forms of time (Chronos is a mischeivous god!)). Why? Plato believed in universals (Ideas = forms) and for something to be a universal it must remain forever and be incorruptible. . Science and particularly astrophysics and quantum mechanics reveals the extent to which all could be related, this is called the unified field theory, and it aims to reveal reality as an equation. Regardless of whether or not the physicists make such a remarkable achievement the fact that some of us are striving for such things demands that we question the effects it may carry. If such a process is accomplished in the name of knowledge then this worries me because it suggests another standardisation that may do away with a determination (struggle to understand) found in those phenomena such as light, colour, and life.

One good example of why a spectrum predominates over standards is mass/matter/weight itself and here again we can find Plato and Buddha’s presence. Plato had the notion of το μέγα και το μικρών (‘the great and the small’ /to mega kai to mikron /) a dualistic ontology that has ‘the One’ as a principle of unity, and ‘the indefinite dyad’ a principle of multiplicity and indeterminacy.iv Buddha has a similar if not equivalent duality that Enlightenment is another One (but, differs in that this represents an absence of thinking), and unless we learn to see through the multiplicity called ‘Maya’ an illusion, our suffering increases. But, it is the half of the split comprised of illusion that interests me and I am not here trashing the One, just stating that the contents of the sensory realm being illusionary may not be problematic if we understand them as illusions. That being illusionary generates a necessary need to be creating our own relations between things? Even mathematics can be said to partake in such processes; one very striking modern scientific example is a discrepancy between the Quantum and the relative, or how do we understand atoms when their material qualities appear as change itself.

A striking example would be a symmetry between the great and the small this can be found if we consider the notion that mass is only a constant if it travels at the speed of light. Other than this it is subject to change. This then makes it also a spectrum if what we measure changes by our measuring then does this support the necessity of a spectrum of choice struggling in face of determination? Or, does it affirm a determination a one unchanging and perfect? I do not know, but this is the line of questioning I will further at some point. First, to end on some aesthetic evidence for these considerations. Whilst studying for a philosophy of science exam I came across the symbol for Solar mass M and learnt that it is equivalent to the mass of our sun: two Nonillion (two quintillion kilograms), allowing the measurement of the mass of the planets and cosmic entities. If we look at the symbol for solar mass we simultaneously see how Plato was brilliant and wrong in that our contemporary understanding of our sun states that it too has a lifespan, it too has to die, and if it has to die, then surely the universe also?v This symbol also resembles Plato and his intellectual father Parmenides’s belief that the One took the form of a circle because by definition, ‘that which is equidistant in all directions from the centre’ can be said to have a kind of perfection but importantly we have a choice if this is seen as a process of becoming. If we exist within the universe on a line from one sun Mto others M1 + M2 + M☉3 + M☉4 +M☉n……. we see clearly how choice arises from a battle against a determination with demise as Ben himself narrated, ‘you must be in a place of perfect unrealised potential at the moment of death’.This all may be a digression from the brilliance of Ben Houghton’s film but I felt that I wanted to take the opportunity to share some thoughts and urge anyone interested about this film to get in touch with the artist and demand that he screen this 50 minute film near you. This film deals with so much that is of interest ( sovereignty of personhood… love as a co-dependency) it would take a second life just to second this awesome work of art.

Perhaps, this commentary on a ‘2ndlife’ is too focused on just one recent extrapolation of death and indeed too anchored to the beautiful Japan. So, to end with something that expands the death of this film into another stream of thinking on death found in the ‘Tibetan Book of the Dead’, these lines lifted from The Aspirational Prayer Which Protects from Fear of the Intermediate States may offer a temporary period. But still a perfect pregnant potential, Thank you Bens!

‘When I am miraculously born into the intermediate state of rebirth, may I not be beguiled by the perverse prophecies of Māra, And as I [freely] arrive at every place that I think of, May the bewildering fear and terror, generated by my negative past actions, not arise. When the roars of savage wild beasts echo around me, May their cries be transformed into the sound of the sacred teachings, the Six Syllables , And as I am engulfed by snow, rain, wind, and darkness, May I achieve the pure clairvoyance of radiant pristine cognition

May I easily come to master by study and reflection, The manifold stages of learning ̶ small, intermediate, and great. May the country into which I am born be auspicious, And may all sentient beings be blessed with happiness. ‘vi

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二人のベン二人のアーティストは鼓舞ために日本を使います。ベンジャーミン・バードウさんの東京のふらふらとベン・ジェンズ・ホートんさんの映画は二回目の命

フランス人の画家ベンジャーミン・バードウさんの芸術作品は視覚的な地層です。まず1回目見える時で私はどっぷりどんなグリッチフでベンのヘロインですか。このワークはビデオのエディットと創作の実験でポイントクラウドを使う事からビデオをアニメします。例えば、ニュージーランドでドットスワァムはアプルのツステムのアプリために展開しました。このアニメーションのタイプを見えたに雲をアニメしていると新しいアニメの方法を会えました。雪は本当に強いて美しい絵ので私ためにとても魅了します。雪は人間の歴史に経由して多い文化をインスパイア〜したのでアリストフェーニーズのサークレーティーズからよいユーチィーブの禅の隠者が(白雪で)の記録映画です。(私は隠者を成るたくないですけどこのフェルムが私のロマンチックな気持ちを続けます。日本語でクローワド漢字のは雪を二つの分が合成です。雨と言うだから二に通分します。で、一つの英語に入っての翻訳は”言うの雨”か”雨と言う”と可能な意味を逃げます。でも、これは二つのビデオをハイビジョンで見えることを続け方の経路があげます。バードウさんの考えることに無形の審美学を入ったにショートの映画は一回目の見えるが本当に真実のチェックをみたいでした。
最高無形の世界で作家スティーブ・ライトさんは多分二つの映画が東京で迷うとパリでふらふらが同じ質問あって皆さんを無形の世界に住んでいますか。ライトさんの絵刷なポーストワーカーイズムの解析学とアントーニーオー・ネグリーとマイケル・ハートさんの政治的で経済的な本(エンパイアとマルティチュード)で無形の労力か働くと資本主義の事実を変化が考えます。ライトさんの結論は面白いです。彼は投機的なベンチャーーこれは十年前に猖獗を極めたー薄いお金が空気から作る事をみたいですと言いた。そして…

“すでにして、借金を右足がり、微細な個人とご家のクレジットカードから、マクロな公共部門の予算と経常黒字まで。しかし、その借金は負担を再配布で、賭けるの態様が後手を永遠に出来ないです。この賭けるの回収時から事態はとても面白くてなります。もし他ならないことは私たちがマドーナさんの歌うの正しさを見つけるので…”

マドーナさんの歌に終わるはこの論文が禅を引用だからいい回線を完成しました。二人は’実から音と沈黙は無し教えますか’と禅の師家に質問しました。師家はその二人の顔でパンチしているので侵略時が私ためにバードウさんの曇りのアートで大切な要旨ができます。繁栄と領域を主張します。
存在の仕方ない時はいいともだちが待ちの教育に上手な美術を持ってくるの手伝っていました。(前の町の大学は本当に特別です。理由はイギリスの教育制度を僕の経験が刑務所と工場をみたいだから課程も生徒ために優しさとニュアンスの信じる無しです。私は誰かの思い方で”君は何かの教育が会うたね”と聞きます。ええ、そうですけどシェフィールドのアート学校に入るからオープンと自由自在な経験をきる。私はこのコミュ二ティでベン・ジェ・ホートンさんの二回目命の映画を多いとしませんので残念です。この映画は物質が私のセカンドホームの国から撮影しました。日本は一番面白くて古くてユニークなイベントと物と経路のホームですから日本が地球上で一番面白い国民と文化の申し出あります。漫画とアニメ、武家とお寿司は西人がこの事を分かれます。ちょっと待て読者たちは日本の同定と理解があるので前の文章がたわいないです。この映画のよいことは独語けどベンの声がカメラのイメージから全然気をそらすので、フィルムの内容で色々な場所たちが好きです。これはラキーナな人を外国に住んでいったから普通の予想と言いて、しかし、ごったも有るし〜皆さんの通訳は場所を作られるか場所が通訳を作られますか。

Lost in Tokyo from Benjamin Bardou on Vimeo.
“二回目の命は哲学ためにアートが親ので本当にいい例えです。二回目の命を見っているは(全てのアーティステックな実践をジェネレーティブ)と聞こえるから。このビデオのアートは私に遠因の覆面カーバが実を覆面有るなければなりませんから私の顔でパンチもです。差遣的にもダンライフの勘定と数学を受諾ので世界の絵は不平等な絵を作ります。確実性の球体はべんりけどこれは必ずですか。この質問は静かな仏教でマーヤーのイリュージョンを深い否定で解決済みです。そして、このクオリティはプラトンにシエアするので尊の古いギリシャーのペイガンが普遍的な法律を信じました。ティメオーズ(プラトンの創造論)私たちは天主が全てのいいと少しい不備も欲しい事を読めます。このゴッドは全ての視覚的なものを混乱過ぎるを見つけたから、この混乱を平均)に化せなければなりません。この移動は可能から二つの実の天地あるで無常と永久に念を押しました。読者からペラトンの区別で感覚的な(エイー・シーeikasia・pistis)と達意なタース(シー・イーdianoia・noesis) 両方はディバイデッドインを描破します。それも、全てのラインはディバイデッドですけどディバィデッデイングも有るし〜ペラトンが全てのインを視線が見えるからディバィデッドします。でも、ペラトンの神明のラインはどうですか。このラインは混乱からバランスまで、このラインが千年あとに説得力続く。私はペラトンがヘラクライタスを悪い拝読したと彼のパーメニディーズために忝を人間の思い方に負担を成ったので半信半疑です。このトッピクスを話しているは私がペラトンとサークレーティーズの詭弁の影響で非表示の神秘と洞祭力有るから足しました。バードウさんの映画は創造的な驚嘆の生き残るの例を悔しくないけと強い奉納ですからこの例はアートの新しい反復で哲学と科学とデザインにこの創造的な驚嘆が

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         Benjamin J. Houghton ‘2ndlife’, Film Still (2018)

よくファミリア過ぎるので忘れると光を捕らえます。フィルムの力学: 光を時間捕らえる、物質をアニメする、社会的でアソテソーシャルの生産の方法…皆さんの強行な措定くらへて他のオプションを見せます。だからシネマと文学は一緒に不採算の手口と作動で空想的社会改良家有ります。二回目の生命の遠近法から見るを分がったに生変をくれたいみたいですけど仏教の知恵がこの生変を必要ではないと言った”もし、また生きたら大丈夫かな?”では、生変するでいつもショウジョウバイとゴキブリを死に変わりますか。それは仏教の洞察力をごちゃ混ぜないですけど、もし私たち考えるで東と西の関係を探して多分政治的な一つのままです。仏教はハーブジーン(遺制と生くなければなりませんので無罪を毒する)勿論、ミクスもありうべきか?
猫はなかば経由動くでフィルムの変動をナラティブに研ぐ、そして全ての人間は正しい問題を向かいます。どうやってか、全ての人中に動因があって、もし私たちが生活でバランスを見つけるからこの動因を平穏ですけどもし、いつかの経験をするので同じ事を一緒に習うで私たちを混乱に動きます。相関はナビるが難しさともし良い生存して個人のプッュケーを訓練しなければなりませんと個人のプッュケーは自分を微細なスペースで膨大な可能に対して計ります。この瞑想は一番の鮮明する猫の紹介時で(日本で猫が超愛してる)。34分26秒で、猫のしはみみは精神とちの匂いみたいです。はちゃめちゃな時間を持って…時間で私のアイデアに行為を持つと私がこの信じる事を全ての実践で言わないけど前の信じるから懐かしくてなりました。このいない事は人間の習性で深刻なてさばきので象徴的な価値を支配が出来ません。(でも、これは私の価格と意味いるといない、超越論と内在的で断じないから個人的な懺悔です)。私はこのフィルムに題名の双対をもっと深さなる事が大好きです。生命を生命中に伝えて生変と生変と仏教の輪廻と信じるも伝えます。私ために一回見る後で強い圧巻を見かけました。まず、9分44秒でベンさんの声はフランス人の哲学者デレューズのデザアイの形而上学的唯物論を連想します。このフィルムは時間のマティリアリティを見物人のメガネためにあらわにすると時間も意味の命脈ために必要です。ホーウトンさんは3つの学びの除法生と言って、1) 残虐なテストとミス、2) 罷り手作、3) 愛と慈悲です。これ学び方たちはアーティスティックの調査と仲介経て”学びは学びから解放”と導く。
ここにフィルムの思索はもっと深さに始めるに話者が東京よ電車でエネルギーと生まれ変わり中に見知らぬで暗い人間の意識の分から皆さんの考えると存在よく人命をばりばり経由すると網羅と理解を出来ます。他の印象深い文章は人間の徳蔵生の心に行く本流中で光線を奪い取るようにするは使えるのマーカーを見つけるようにみたいです。この文章は私に物が物の使う方であるだけと考えるですけど、この文章この考えると光が本流を会いて妨げます。この光速の例え一つのフィルムとビデオの喜び(アナログとデジタル) ではかない経験を言う。全ての言うは明徴でゆっくりはかば経由して話しました。理由と不合理、現実主義と相対主義、オートメーションと自治権も、この対立関係たちは私に連想しました。でも、猫は人間に無駄なこと教えるを正しいですか。人間は決めして猫の知恵と綿陽でならないです。この猫とし(全ての猫は6匹の猫とゴム、オツカ、カフムラ、ミミ、オカフ、トロ、と村上・春樹の’海辺のカフカ’(2002年) 。私にこの本をまた読みたいです。そして、他の関係たちを見つけるとベンのフィルムから村上・春樹までつなげると研究するので私はミシェールさんはエドアルダー・ブラツル・ディー・ザーさんの記事を積まずできます。ぎじで日本的な時空を考えて村上・春樹の本の大切な部分にピントに行く。主人公、カフカ・タムラは図書館で油絵と時間の迷宮とせかりの縁を見つけました。
止むを得ず、村上・春樹の小説は猫のカメオし私と今の読者に猫のニャー義をお式しなければなりません。だから、猫は重力ので部分的な普遍とサスッルギをみたいです。これは生命と生きるの限りが見えるの多とします。ホーウトンさんの映画は相当と有限のナラティブをくそ落ち着きの考えるも優しく誘います。また仏教の思うは西の思うを敗る。理由は仏教の死ぬは肯定から私たちの生めるで円卓無しが抱くので死ぬる比べて違います。ベンさんのアートは哲学者デービッド・ケイヘナターの考えるでアンテネータリズムを青木がアオキガハラでホーウトンさんはアメリカ人の軍隊が男性を話し合うの経験も。そんな、偶然は私にアンテーアンテネータリストの定位でベンさんも支持すると思います。アンテーネータリズムはちょっと滑稽です。二人は皆さんを作るから誕生に

ネがティブな父あげるから(生きるならよりいかにいの方がいい)と言う同じです。これ分けないのことが生きるいつも場所にもたらすも、いつも生きるはそことおそこに見つける。ハイデガーの教えるからちょっと誘導したいです。(私はこれをもっとキャンティウンがスケリンギアンの方がいいですけどこのドイツ人をもっと勉強しないと)。でも、アンテーネータリズムの本論の簡単から面白いです。(一つの駁する方だ、でも自由の形で守る。) それで、伝統的で物質主義者の宇宙から分ける事が出来ます。ここに二つの立場は人間の生きるにはしてアンテ生めると他の立場が生きる事を続くにはして(自殺)です。
それで、私は両方が生きるの肯定から両方は意図的で今一つから積極です。私たちは存在の始めるを肝心と規制全然ではないですけど少し確実と私たちの終焉いつじゃないかどうやってを収集を話せる。
ところがこの収集は約をほされる。古いアトミズトは存在から人間のかざいけのないが優しくないと分かりました。でも、アトミズトはアトムを一つ一つと結びつけると承認しるので二回目の命が本当にいいです。二回目の命はユーモア無し唯物論と宗教の役目をちゃんとする。このフィルムは超越中で無常を促がす。これはプラトン前にことで常数の変化と広大無辺の散在の交渉またリンクします。置く薄々変化の至善は分けるから理由が変化のヲタンな双子を成ることでテローローギキャルな時間に増強します。(クロノスはわんぱくな神様だから、他の時間形があります。) 何故?ペラトンさんは普遍と信じて(イデア) と理念)何かが普遍あれのこの物を永遠に連結有ります。

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               Benjamin J. Houghton ‘2ndlife’, Film Still (2018)

例えば、大きくて小さくて間に左右相称有る事を質量の常数がもし光速で動けったらこの例えを見つけます。よりか、質量は変化が出来ます。それで、分光もから、もし私たちの寸法を測るので変化して断固と規格化に反して反俗スペクトルを支援しますか。で、規格化一つのままの完璧で全然変化しないを確認しますか。私は知らないですけどこの考えるの路線を続けます。まず、この文章の神秘的な物証を終われる。科学哲学の試験を勉強時で太陽質量をで会うので、太陽の物質に等価二つのクィソティリョンのキロです。惑星とソーラのエンティティを図れる。もし、象徴を見って太陽から同期の理解ので一斉にペラトンが輝かしさと正しくないを見せるから私たちの星雲の太陽も死ねければなりません。もし、それは正しいから宇宙もしねければなりません。この象徴はペラトンと彼の知的なお父さんパーメニディーズの信じるでザーワンが円形を有る。定義して(中心から四方八方に同じ)と完全のタイプを言えるですけど大事な皆さんの選び方と成るの方法を見えます。もし、人間は宇宙でいって一つの太陽から他の太陽までこの線でいって皆さんが付帯の終焉に戦いのでベンさんは彼自身で可能性の場所にいなければなりません”と言いました。これは全部脱線かなーベン・ホーウトンさんの映画からそれて僕がこの綺麗で皆さんこの価格にご連絡
化学は天体物理学と量子力学も全て果敢系出来るを表す。これは統一場理論ですから現実を方程式も見せる。もし、物理学者は目覚まし達成問わずにだれかが活性を努力から私たちにこのことの効果を質問しなければなりません。もし、知識ために方法ので私は心配すると現象(光、色、生命)で、規格化を申し出るから決心(理解の戦い)を消します。
分光(決心) 一つの良い例規格外よりはもっといいですからが質量、集団、重さままここでペラトンとブッダを見つける。ペラトンは(観念)を有って(大きて、小さくて)双対の存在論でペラトニックなワンで団結と無期限のダイアドでかず多い原則です。ブッダは等しい二元性が有ってこの開眼か他のワンです。でも、考えるは欠席です)。皆さんはまやかし経由を見えるを習う。なくては、ないことには、我らがなくなんを上がります。だから、まやかしとイリュージョンの半で面白さもワンが(たわごと、おしないですけどもし皆さんは可能の現実は幻を分かたら、問題じゃないです。幻で皆さんために必要な物とこと間に新しい関係を作くなければなりませんか。数学もこの照臨仮定で参加して、量子と神族の違いは近代的で化学的な例について、アトムの物質を変化でその物の見た目をどうやって分かりますか。
して50分フィルムを違い場所にみせると僕の感想したいと感じます。この映画はたくさん当該のこと取り扱う;(主我の主権と愛は共依存)で、このあそれ多いアートにくちを添えることが出来るので二回目の命を必要する。多分、この二回目の命の余説は綺麗な日本と最近死ぬの補外法で作過ぎます。で、何かのこのフィルムの死ぬを他かの必滅の教え方に入って拡張で終わる。このエッセイはチベットの死者のしょて:
ザー・アスピラティオナル・プレア・ウィッチ・プロッェクツ・フロム・フィア・オブ・ザー・インタミーディアト・ステーツからもっと行く。臨時の終止符止まるを備えるですけど絶好で身重のポテンシャルです。ベンズかベンたちにどうも有難うございます。

“いつ私は中間体なステァートと具合の申請に生まれる。マーラーの佞姦な予言を窓を成らない。私は全ての場所を思って着く。前の消極的な暴挙から恐怖とテロをあかない。野蛮な虎狼を唸るを私にお側で響した。この唸るは聖なるな教えで六字大明呪の音に化する。そして、今私を雪、雨、風、暗闇を呑まれる。厳正の認識の純粋の千里眼を私ははたしてお願いします。勉強と反省経由に簡単な熟達するかも…。
学びの多様体で小ささと中間体と大きと。生国は目出度いです。天地有情は幸福と清穆をよろしいです。”

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iSteve Wright, ‘Reality Check: Are We Living in an Immaterial World?’, in Proud to be Flesh: A mute magazine anthology of cultural politics after the net, (Mute Publishing, London; Autonomedia: Brooklyn, 2009) 472- 480.

iiPlato, trans. Robin Waterfield, Timaeus and Critias, (Oxford World’s Classics, Oxford University Press. 2008).18.

iiiMichele Eduarda Brasil de Sá, Time(s) and Space(s) in Huraki Murakami’s “Kafka on the Shore”, Conference Paper, 2016.

ivAristotle, Metaphysics, (A 6, 987 a 29 – 988 a 1)

vSee Stoic “ἐκπύρωσις ekpyrōsis, “conflagration”) is a belief in the periodic destruction of the cosmos by a great conflagration every Great Year. The cosmos is then recreated (palingenesis) only to be destroyed again at the end of the new cycle.

viComposed: Padmasambhava, revealed: Terton Karma Lingpa, Trans: Gyurme Dorje, The Tibetan Book of The Dead, (Penguin Books, England, 2005) 316.

The Nøtel: The Architecture of Acceleration

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PH (2017)
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  • The Nøtel: Lobby

Welcome to the Nøtel your stay here will be more than comfortable as there are no human guests. This is a Hotel like no other, it has been built by future Chinese multi-billionaires in a manner that was imagined, and simulated in a computed architectural space. It’s origins are also from the musical habits, experiments, and imagination of Steve Goodman (aka. Kode 9). Who is the owner of London’s independent record label Hyperdub. The names of his earlier albums include ‘Memories of the Future’, and ‘Black Sun’ eluding to this man’s thinking in a continuous analysis of rhythm. This special sonic hotel features initially as a track on his most recent album titled simply ‘Nothing’. Kode 9 was in a hotel when the news of his long term collaborator the Spaceape’s tragic death reached him. This sudden loss of this gifted poet is what inspired and speeded up the creation of this scarce minimal album. Yet, the most suitable word to describe the Nøtel is in fact dystopia, the absence of humanity is replaced by the eerie glow of holographic ghosts. Although initially the name of a track on an album this has been expanded through a collaboration with the German artist Lawrence Lek into a virtual environment, that can be explored by possessing the robotic drones that inhabit the space.

What really drives this fantastic piece of creative culture is a meditation on the number Zero. Many people and perspectives have been touched by, or actively embrace nothing as a muse. Theoretically Steve Goodman entered musically into the vacuums and voids inherent in quantum physics. You can see much more has influenced this album if you look at the track names: holo, void, vacuum packed, zero work & point energy, 9 drones, respirator, mirage, and nothing lasts forever. You can glimpse the sonic influences of the films: The Shining (1980), and Philip Glass’s Koyaanisqatsi (1982). The latter Goodman claimed, ‘rewired my brain’, after realising the film accurately described the reality of socio-technical acceleration. Goodman collaborated with Lawrence Lek a German simulation artist who is a trained architect. It was watching Lek’s recent project Unreal Estate, which is a part of Bonus Levels – an experimental virtual novel that embodies the artists interest in site-specific reproductions of existing buildings/places sampled from reality. Persuading Goodman, that Lek’s creative practice was an ideal match to expand the sonic concepts in his recent album. Unreal Estate, can show what the Royal Academy of Art would become if it was purchased by a Chinese multi-Millionaire.

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  • Lawrence Lek, Bonus Levels: Unreal Estate,
This work is accompanied with a vocal narrative that describes how the super rich should treat their staff. To understand the many contemporary topics this collaboration makes visible one watched a great interview with Kode 9, and Lawrence Lek. Conducted by the journalist Lisa Blanning for the 2016 festival Sònar in Barcelonai. Blanning’s brilliant questions solicit many topics that lend themselves to Philosophical consideration. So, this small article explores these concepts and attempts to spread the work of these two creators. Their work supports Leftest causes and aesthetically sets a precedent for how art can produce experiences based upon cybernetic and politically pertinent ideas. The biggest idea that runs through the concept of the Nøtel is Accelerationism. A belief that the one way to defeat capitalism is to speed it up, so as to guarantee a future with some level of human freedom and autonomy outside of capital relationsii. The ism’s ideological call is one of There must be an outside? What exists outside of capitalism has kept human imagination busy, but after generations of critical analysis. It seems that the economic and cultural superstructure has resisted repeated revolutionary alternatives. Therefore multi-media dystopia is useful to leftest discourses, it is not needlessly politicised, but rather it enables a path towards resisting capital’s destruction of life anew.

‘Despair seems to be the dominant sentiment of the contemporary Left, whose crisis perversely mimics its foe, consoling itself either with the minor pleasures of shrill denunciation, mediatised protest and ludic disruptions, or with the scarcely credible notion that maintaining a grim ‘critical’ vigilance on the total subsumption of human life under capital, from the safehouse of theory, or from within contemporary art’s self-congratulatory fog of ‘indeterminancy’, constitutes resistanceiii.’

If one watches the interview and listens carefully, you might criticize the two creators for not denouncing capitalism. But, they do not have to, what they have created is sufficiently haunting to offer valuable perspectives on complex ideas. Lek speaks about Unreal Estate with an opinion that many people might share. He admits to a pro-capitalist point of view, yet also confesses to the necessity of a subjective imagination. This dualistic dynamic is anchored to a desire to be rich enough to join the elites, but because this is not realistic for him as an individual he is happy to confess the power the creation of fiction holds. It’s at this stage that the economic or material norm of the super wealthy is brought into sharp focus. Goodman furthers Lek’s initial answer, ‘There seems to be a Zero as the engine of capitalism … if you look at the spaces the rich live in. The more richer you become the space you live in becomes bigger and emptier.’. Not only is this logical it is already very very visible. Paradoxically, the super well off’s wealth may be invisible (hidden in offshore investments, or in the oligopoly they have amassed!), however the rich are not hiding, they reside in the aforementioned spaces.

What’s more interesting is the notion that architecture is a visual vessel for ideologies. Lisa Banning get’s Lek to describe this through buildings such as Apple’s new headquarters, Campus 2, one Infinite Loop, Cupertino California, and the Barcelona Pavilion designed by Mies van der Rohe, and built in 1929iv. Compared to Apple, which screams ‘Zeros’, in both its vocal support for a hyper-designed ideology, next to the mundane march of additional digits on it’s huge profits. The pavilion is rightfully considered a classic of Modernism, Lek explains how the building has continuously staged differing ideologies (Mostly from other artists). Moreover, this fantastic building is symbolic and important today because of it’s connection to National Socialism. This Bauhaus legend created a building that uses formal geometry to suggest physical planes. It has the worlds first glass walls that display the ambition of it’s author. Mies van der Rohe is inspirational, but his relevance to the Nøtel is not just visual. The architect so famous for being apolitical and possessing a single-mindedness that surfaces perhaps in contrast to his socialist background. Although, his lack of serious resistance is regrettable considering his fame, his story can be appropriated to invite the present into this discussion. A now-time that is explicitly defined by the election of a person who is publicly racist, sexist, overtly aggressive, and derogatory. Let’s hope America’s decision is not one of self destruction.

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– The Nøtel – Apple Campus 2, California, USA

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  • Mies van der Rohe, Sketch for the Barcelona Pavillion
Mr Trump could be America’s fascist boogeyman, he is certainly in favour of unbridled exploitation, manipulation, and the protection of his surnames place, perched in the comfortable nest of billions of dollars. In fact his son-in-law is an equal puppet in this financial superstructure that turns all of us into hypocrites enslaved to the circulation of money. Bizarrely, Trump, Hitler, and der Rohe all share a pre-occupation with buildings. Hitler and Trump in one’s opinion share scarily similar traits, they both are impudent and mask their failure as human beings in psychopathic hatred and machismo. By failure one is referencing specific failures in their lives. For Hitler it was the rejection from art school in Vienna coupled with an idea of the weakening of the ‘Fatherland’ under the Weimar Republic that fuelled his egoism. Trump’s equally narcissistic, and has experienced a slightly different disappointment, that may fuel his distaste for Muslims and Iran. This negative event one speculates as originating in two experiences Trump has had, firstly when his brand of luxury encountered the superior version of his own hotels owned by the Arab rulers. The second experience was the public put down he experienced at the hands of Barack Obama in 2011. This is perhaps the moment that Trump the paradigm shifter came into being. It is easy to dismiss a man such as trump, but being British one is attuned to the power of precedents. Trump is a rather large one.

In fact one more reference to Mies van der Rohe connects this brief discussion on Trump, Hitler, and this architect; a seemingly strange trinity to look at for human origin’s for the Nøtel ‘s ideas. Take Accelarationism, it embraces speed in it’s ant-capitalist theorising. One cliché has always been used to warn of the dangers contained in succumbing to your desires for a better version of what you have: The grass is always greener on the other side. When this is placed next to what van der Rohe is supposed to have said as he began to flee from Nazi Germany, arriving in America, ‘Freedom! This is a kingdom!’ (“Freiheit! Es ist ein Reich!v) you glimpse a very human dilemma: too much desire and you enter utopia, not enough nature (i.e grass) and you enter utopia. The gauntlet this virtual space lays down describes how non-places (or worse?) are pre-destined. This is how Goodman and Lek’s creation should be viewed or read; a masterful play on a potential structure made from dystopia. Therefore when the Nøtel a Shanghai based state-owned hospitality enterprise, and it’s zero-star™ range of luxury hotels opens, you enter. In the lobby one is confronted by a very important idea, that is key to a full understanding of this accelerated Accelarationist architecture. The miss use of the commons? FALC (Fully Automated Luxury Communism) is the belief that robots not humans will work in the future, so it could be said to be a post-work theory. Seeing the frequent habit of Capitalism to automate labour, to remove the human as a productive force generates a demand for everything to become automated, and then followed by common-ownership over all things.

The Nøtel brilliantly showcases ultra-pertinent concepts using a narrative; a scientific fiction that in an apparently neutral way takes this concept of FALC and openly misreads it. Hence why there are no actual human beings in this Hotel the inversion of this concept means that even a society of abundance, itself eventually becomes an automation. Visually the Nøtel bathes in this green nuclear illumination, referencing the strong glow presumably from this structure’s basement’s nuclear power, and the empty depiction of what remains of the human. The holograms directly reference a unique particular quality about digital reality; musicians enjoy an after-life through their music (Spaceape & Dj Rashad R.I.P), however using digital material this becomes an extension of a kind of living. Perhaps, the use of a holographic optical illusion in the holographic reincarnation of 2pac at Coachella 2012 describes something about the nature of immortality. One only becomes immortal when your image as an individual is commonly accessible, in other words it can be owned and reproduced by others. This life after death element of this collaboration really invites philosophical reflection. Observing what British Philosopher Peter Osborne articulates reading Walter Benjamin and Heiddeger, ‘Death is the material meaning of Messianic exteriority … History is a democratic utopia of death.vi’

‘… as a result of the accelerating temporal rhythm, the new itself appears as the ever-always-the-same: ‘the ever-always-the-same within the new’. It is the pure temporal logic of this new social form (the commodity as fetish), the modern ‘measure of time’, that Benjamin detects in fashion (mode). … The projected allegorical reading of modernity as Hell vii.’

These two quotes really emphasise that humans are trapped with a choice between two utopias, and this is a good interpretation of the Nøtel. Although are we really bound by this hotel’s vacuum of human social autonomy trapped in a presupposed essence of temporality? Walls constructed from double negatives, and positive multiplications as sums equate to negatives. Moreover, positive and negative aspects in the hellish modernity of this hotel shrouds the zero at the core of it’s idea in a notion of a strange ruination, maybe all hotels are just ruins that appear new? To summarise one’s attempt to think about this real virtuality (see Slavoj Žižek’s interview The Reality of the Virtual, 2012) one shall solicit the assistance of a great critical analysis of accelerationism. An essay written by professor of Continental European philosophy Patricia MacCormack. In a brilliant dissection of futurity and ethics, MacCormack starts by referencing aesthetics and Steven Shaviro’s Post – Cinematic Affect, apparently the prison has no outsideviii. One can immediately see the importance of MacCormacks thought to the Nøtel, when she invites Deleuze and Guattari’s work into focus. This in turn reconfigures our observation on this virtual architectural zero-driven wonder. To acknowledge the becoming inhuman of manix, nudging one to ignore the Amazon.com-esque drones, and imagine what kind of being may one day exist to occupy the rooms of the Nøtel? Still referencing Shaviro, MacCormak lays bear the ethical value of the Nøtel claiming, art should explore the dangers lurking in futurity.

Lek and Goodman’s project achieves this in abundance. This Hotel sets a standard, ‘These non-spaces are found between the leaps of replacement culture … imperceptible zones that add elements of slowness to accelerationist aesthetics by readdressing the lost time that was never perceived … in-between spaces that are the minoritarian planes of duration.x’ One can not distil into words a better description to describe the lure of the Nøtel. There is so much to consider, but unless one desires to end in the democratic death of a narcissistic utopia. Then much worse could be done than engaging in the cybernetic possibilities this work of collaboration represents. If one does so then the ecological harmony native to MacCormak’s Cosmogenic ecosophy may be a practical approach as our species continues actively creating it’s world. The Nøtel, has plenty of space to host many more interesting points of discussion. For example Orientalism defined as ‘how Asians view fellow Asians’ represented by the presence of Shiseido, which is a real cosmetic company, on some screens in the hotel. In many ways the route to the Nøtel is haunted by the current shadow of A.I and a super intelligence’s role in the potential dark side of automation. This year a Japanese life insurance company sacked thirty four employees in favour of IBM’s artificial intelligence. Let us end on an optimistic materialist utterance. If humanity can slow down acceleration, so as to truly grasp it’s affects. This might lead to us avoiding the absolute death, that is an extinction. Would it not be better to continue with understanding, that zero-marginal cost economies have thus-far not sustained life. We need to ensure that in the future we aren’t resigned to counting the cost of acceleration, nor becoming undead holograms?

‘Child is father to the man,

impressions imprinted years before regrown

clean up your own mind, no memories ingrafted,

repeated recycled

treated like the original is copyrighted, recited.

we can just about see, …

shadows haunting shadows

the Rhizome and sophi

my skin tightly bound

I hear the screeching sound of seagulls

circling with endeavour

flesh strokes with an abstract line become blurred

overwhelming feelings of something you hearrrd

once before

like sound waves battering the shore

storm clouds gather

I remember them well.

(The Spaceape)

 

 

  • The incomplete verse of the poet Spaceapexi. Kode 9, Third Ear Transmission,
  • Sónar+D, Behind the Show: Kode9 & Lawrence Lek present The Notel,published 1st July 2016.
  • Editors: Robin Mackay, & Armen Avanessian, #ACCELARATE: The Accelerationist Reader,Falmouth: Urbanomic, 2014. pg.5
  • Tom Dyckhoff, Mies and the Nazis,Gaurdian, Saturday 30th November 2002.
  • Peter Osborne, The Politics of Time.Verso, London/New York, 1995, Pg. 147
  • Pg 137.
  • Patricia MacCormack, Cosmogenic Acceleration: Futurity and Ethics,in The Internet Does Not Exist, E-Flux Journal, Sternberg Press, Berlin, 2015, Pg. 299
  • Ibid, Pg.302
  • Ibid, pg 304
  • The Spaceape & Kode 9, Third Ear Transmission,Trailer, 2015

 

Revolution From the khōra: Power From the Outside

Khora
_

(Paul Harrison)

Throughout history there is a reoccurring pattern when it comes to revolution. If you observe the specific contexts of the revolutions that have taken place in many countries: Britain, France, Haiti, Russia, and China. Did they all happen because of an external influence? And, to what extent is this a component part of the revolution? Of the very idea of revolution? This is the line of questioning this essay will explore. Discussing the idea that successful revolution is dependent on a power that comes from outside the location of its eventual happening. This idea will be shown to be present or situated in these exemplary instances of undeniable revolutions: 1) The French revolution, 2) the Russian revolution, 3) The Chinese cultural revolution.

Next to these historical examples one is aware of one’s reasons behind writing with this perspective or with this postulation on the causal movements of revolution. The main reason for adopting such a stance is the importance of a famous fact in what many people believe to be the first work of political philosophy. Although there are other contenders for the title of first political treatise Plato’s Republic is often cited as the first. It consists of a conversation that encompasses what the ideal state might look like and the importance of justice to such an ideal, yet the fact that is more important for this discussion is the location, the specific place that this dialogue conspired. It happened outside of the city a place called the χώρα [Khōra] a notion that was important to Plato because he considered it to be a location where the forms used to reside.[ Plato. Timaeus (48e4)] Jacques Derrida helps us remember it in more recent thought of its importance. It certainly is political but what does it explicitly have to do with revolution?

In Derrida’s short essay named after this Greek location he starts by describing the myth which emanates from Plato’s orientation; Derrida describes the Khōra, ‘it oscillates between the two types of oscillation: the double exclusive (neither/nor) and the participation (both this and that).’[ Jacques Derrida, ‘Khōra’ in On the Name, Edited by Dutoit, T. Stanford University Press, Stanford California. 91 ] Such an oscillation or frequency fits the force one observes as the causal logic of revolution. The force transforms into a common noun “revolution” which is the culmination of a fluctuation in a form of logic.

The change found between exclusivity and participation is why one interprets the Khōra as a causal force because it implies a feeling of uncertain action like that of invasion, or an influx in immigration, and a conflict. This uncertainty is present in the ambiguity of the noun ‘revolution’ and what exactly it means. Furthermore, this doubt as to what is done in the name of revolution is resolved or completed in its success. An alternative to this expression is that within the site of potential revolution there is then a need of a referent but such a thing Derrida helps show is deeply abstract and one argues that this particular abstraction is a necessity.

‘Deprived of a real referent, that which in fact resembles a proper name finds itself also called an X which has as its property (as its physis and as its dynamis, Plato’s text will say) that it has nothing as its own and that it remains unformed, formless(amorphon). This very singular impropriety, which precisely is nothing, is just what Khōra must, if you like, keep; it is just what must be kept for it, what we must keep
for it.’[ Ibid. 97]

Yet, reading Derrida could suggest an opposite direction that we have to maintain the outside as formless and this would contradict my argument. This quote could be read from the perspective of a citizenry seen as keeping revolution indeterminate and external, but one would maintain that if this lack remains it is suggestive of an alternative cause: that the lack was not transformed into a name, an event (revolution).
So, let us test this idea and look to history beginning in France and some sources that hint at this movement away from the resemblance of a name, an X, to an actual name and suggest an accurate interpretation of this process named revolution. Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville discussed the 1789 revolution that changed the entire reality of Europe.[ Alexis De Tocqueville. The Ancien Régime and the French Revolution, edited by Jon Elster, translated by Arthur Goldhammer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011. ] Tocqueville’s discussions of the changes that transformed the ancien regime (the old order) including: how the French revolution was a political revolution but with the distinctly religious character, territorial disputes giving way to principles, and the destruction of feudal and aristocratic institutions.

Again, the way Tocqueville writes supports the opposite notion of revolution the one that says it was a unique phenomena that originated in one country and then spread elsewhere. However, one does not agree with this because it does not reflect deeply enough on the religious aspect of this revolution. Religion for the French revolution was the Khōra; a power that was on the outside, in what sense can one claim this? The evidence for this perspective is that the then king Louis XIV who under the influence of Cardinal Mazarin embodied absolute rule. This means that kings where to believed to have a devine right implying that they were backed by the authority of God a power that was to also be responsible for the revolutionary thoughts of Karl Marx.[ Karl Marx, ‘Theses on Feuerbach’ [1845] in: Early Writings, London: Penguin 1975. ] Yet, the royalty of France of this time also contributes even more to our discussion. The way king Louis XIV exercised his absolutism demonstrates power’s necessary movement from the outside to the inside. This is explicitly made obvious by the fact that this king prioritised military expansion at the expense of higher taxes on citizens – unanimously cited as the cause of the revolution.

Reading this we see power exercised expansively into space outside the country in military acts and expansion. This inevitably results in the country’s citizens adopting a line of thinking an equation that Sieyes articulated, ‘subtract the privileged order and the nation would not be something less, but something more.’[ Abbé Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès, ‘Qu’est-ce que le tiers-état? / What is the Third Estate?’ in Essay on Privileges, (January 1789). 96] Of course this power often manifests in incredibly violent ways and the French revolution is infamous for the ‘reign of terror’ and the mass executions by guillotine. Here we should take a moment to consider the difficulties we face when viewing the power that fuels revolutions because it seems to contain key signs or symptoms: abuse of military might and paranoia towards the outside coupled with the ambiguity of deciphering the difference between criminals and those who place faith in laws. Maximilien Robespierre and the Jacobin’s behaved in such a way that enacted both symptoms but although their revolution was a success this did not save them from their fate. They fell victim to the very violence they wielded against their enemies; perceived both internally and externally power resulted in a short lived governance.

‘Wisdom, as much as power, presided over the creation of the universe…
If the revolutionary government is not seconded by the energy, enlightenment,
patriotism, and benevolence of all the people’s representatives, how can it have
the strength to respond proportionately to the efforts of Europe who are
attacking it, and to all the enemies of liberty pressing in on it from all sides?’[ Maximilien Robespierre. “On the Principles of Revolutionary Government.” In Robespierre, Virtue and Terror, edited and by Jean Ducange, translated by John Howe, introduction by Slavoj Zizek. London: Verso, 2007.]

In the case of Russia Vladimir Lenin offers more evidence for one’s scepticism toward the idea that the power bringing about radical change is generated internally by alluding to sham socialists and their petit-bourgeois utopia.[ Vladimir Lenin. State and Revolution, introduction by Todd Chretien. Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2014. 61.] How the ideology of the state being above classes betrays the working class. So, in Lenin’s discussion of the Russian revolution we can observe that he deemed the French revolutions of 1848 and 1871 to be a betrayal, the proletariat sell their birthright for a mess of porridge, and how the destruction of the state is a prerequisite for the formation of Marx’s the ‘workers dictatorship’ a main step towards human emancipation.[ Ibid, 63. ] We also learn of the struggles of the two quintessential rebel rouser’s so influential for Lenin and the Russian revolution; Marx and Engels came out and back into hiding, adding their firebrand journalism to revolutions in Germany and Europe (1848), yet these revolutions all failed because the fight for power came from within the same country and were all easily defeated. Lenin’s thoughts on Marx clarify the Khōra.

Marx never expected the communist revolution to take place in Russia. The manifesto he wrote with Friedrich Engels foresaw revolution taking place in more economically developed countries. The noun ‘Communist’ was the abstract necessity that Derrida described as a name and simultaneously an X because to be a communist one has to desire communities sharing the commons (both this and that, and neither nor. Remembering Derrida’s distinction). In the Russian revolution Lenin attempted to use Marx’s dictatorship of the proletariat in other words ‘a vanguard party’ to do away with the rule of the Tsar and bring about socialism.[ Karl Marx, and Friedrich Engels. “Manifesto of the Communist Party.” In The Marx-Engels Reader, edited by Robert C. Tucker, 469-500. London: Norton & Company, 1978. 479-500.] The 1917 October Revolution in Saint Petersburg was led by Lenin and the Bolsheviks and here we have movements associated with conflict (WW1, and exile in Lenin’s case) a desire for change that when forced to travel via way of exclusion seeks an inclusive tradition.

Mao Tse-Tsung wrote extensively about how he perceived a revolutionary tradition dating back to the people of the han dynasty. Mao claims, ‘the Chinese never submit to tyrannical rule but invariably use revolutionary means to overthrow or change it.’[ Mao Tse-Tsung, ‘The Chinese Revolution and The Chinese Communist Party’ in Selected Works of Mao Tse-Tsung, Volume I,[https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-2/mswv2_23.html] ] Whilst writing about his nation Mao is rightly brimming with pride and the sentences carry this feeling unabashedly and this may hide the simultaneous exaggeration that also resides within any writing of a political leader. In this case the aim of Mao was to clearly describe how it was the Chinese people’s great struggle that was the sole creator of what was to become the Peoples Republic of China and of course this is true to some extent but there is more than a little evidence that Mao and his revolutionaries had help from a power outside China.

Japan and its invading armies constitute this external force. The second ‘Sino-Japanese war’ (1937-1945) resulted in Japan committing some of the worst war crimes on record – an estimated two to three hundred thousand people where massacred and raped as Japanese forces captured the then Chinese capital of Nanjing. Here we have a dark example of this external power influencing a revolution because there is evidence that strongly suggests chairman Mao the leader of the Communist party of China saw this event as the reason for his successful revolution. Journalist Richard McGregor cites this confession. This quote demonstrates that Mao the instigator and figurehead of the cultural revolution consciously referenced the force that allowed him and his comrades to move from guerilla warfare and toward defeating the nationalists and to attain control over the country.

‘[A] meeting with a Japanese Socialist party leader, Mao perversely thanked Japan for invading China, because the turmoil created by the Imperial Army had enabled the CCP to come to power. “We would still be in the mountains and not be able to watch Peking Opera in Beijing,” he said. “It was exactly because the Imperial Japanese Army took up more than half of China that there was no way out for the Chinese people. So we woke up and started armed struggle, established many anti-Japanese bases, and created conditions for the War of Liberation. The Japanese monopolistic capitalists and warlords did a ‘good thing’ to us. If a ‘thank you’ is needed, I would actually like to thank the Japanese warlords.”[ Richard McGregor, The Long Read: Could Trump’s Blundering Lead to War Between China and Japan? The Guardian Online, Thu 17 Aug 2017 06.00 BST, [https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/17/could-trumps-blundering-lead-to-war-between-china-and-japan] ]

Adding to this example we can acknowledge that the use of ‘comfort women’ by the Japanese highlights the importance of feminist narratives in the future of revolution. The oppression of women and the fight for gender equality is one of the more important revolutionary battles happening today; perhaps the power that will make this gender revolution a success is a change in the role of the female as a mother, giving birth may change due to external influence of technology.[ Shulamith Firestone. The Dialectic of Sex: The case for feminist revolution, Bantam Books, USA, 1970] Such changes will first manifest in the societal and cultural entities of the biggest countries.

China is currently the worlds biggest economy and global power this is because like America it is expanding its military but after its revolution the state that emerged became more self aware of its own character and culture.[ China is well known for the control of its population and its inward looking nature but also due to its philosophy Confucianism it places a much greater emphasis on the importance of the family as a structure. ] So, rather than expanding imperially via military strength China exercised control over its population building control within its own lands. This is why McGregor uses the metaphor of Thucydides Trap because he sees that the rising power of China as too much of a threat to America for there not to be war between these two great nations.[ Ibid, McGregor. ] However, the outbreak of the Peloponnesian war when Sparta attacked Athens is another example because this metaphor is politically applicable to many instances of conflict throughout history and its symptom is an arms/weapons race. Such a race, does it not demonstrate power coming from the outside? Yes, it is one example but staying with China the country offers more evidence it has in the last decade hosted some of the biggest workers unions in the world (unsurprising because one fifth of humanity is Chinese). Comprising of millions of members and are often farmers or rural workers – they are so big and well organised that the government is forced to communicate.

This takes us back to that truly revolutionary conversation that took place outside the city. A site to situate the power from the outside that generates the impetus for a change that even an ancient aristocrat like Plato saw as necessarily tied to the use of justice. But, in terms of revolution the use of justice is a power that first manifests in a place between legality and criminality, a place, a topos that we understand as the χώρα [Khōra]?

‘When you want a deposit to be kept safely.
You mean when money is not wanted, but allowed to lie?
Precisely. That is to say, justice is useful when money is useless?
That is the inference. And when you want to keep a pruning-hook safe, then justice is useful to the individual and to the state; but when you want to use it, then the art of the vine-dresser?’[ Plato, The Republic, Book II. ]

_
_

Bibliography

º

De Tocqueville, Alexis. (2011), The Ancien Régime and the French Revolution, edited by Jon Elster, translated by Arthur Goldhammer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Derrida, J. (1993), ‘Khōra’ in ‘On the Name, Edited by Dutoit, T. Stanford University Press, Stanford California.
Shulamith Firestone. (1970), The Dialectic of Sex: The case for feminist revolution, Bantam Books, USA.
Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. (1978), “Manifesto of the Communist Party.” In: The Marx-Engels Reader, edited by Robert C. Tucker, 469-500. London: Norton & Company.
McGregor, R. The Long Read: Could Trump’s Blundering Lead to War Between China and Japan? The Guardian Online, Thu 17 Aug 2017 06.00 BST, [https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/17/could-trumps-blundering-lead-to-war-between-china-and-japan]
Plato. The Republic
_____ Timaeus,
Robespierre, Maximilien. (2007), “On the Principles of Revolutionary Government.” In Robespierre, Virtue and Terror, edited and by Jean Ducange, translated by John Howe, introduction by Slavoj Zizek. London: Verso.
Sieyès, Emmanuel Joseph. (2003), “What is the Third Estate?” In: Political Writings, edited and translated by Michael Sonenscher, 92-162. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company.

The Committee’s Invisibility: Is Insurrection the language of communes?

 

_________________________________________

 

Paul Harrison (2018)

__________________

 

“La tay pour seul à part

Pour les croyants, les vaillants

Qui ont peu de culture, immatures

Élevés au riz, au couscous, aux coups de ceinture

A la classe ouvrière

Les darons éboueurs

Daronnes qui taffent dans les travaux sanitaires

Dans la douleur

Pour les pucelles”

 

[“Tay for only a part

For the believers, the brave,

Who have a little culture, imatures

Raised on rice, on couscous, on hits with the belt

In the open class

The cleaner fathers

Fathers who work in cleaning jobs

In pain

For their children.”]

 

Rohff, Pour Ceux, Mafia K’1 Fry.

 

 

 

 

Are we still waiting for what was anonymously named The Coming Insurrection? It is a remarkable thing a text that simultaneously solicits an anarchist roar of laughter and a nuanced but potent philosophical reading of that which would continue the concept of the commune. A political phenomenon which in itself has a uniquely French flavour as the ‘red virgin of Montmartre’ Louise Michel demonstrated at her unjust trial, ‘I have the honor of being one of the instigators of the commune – which by the way had nothing – nothing, as is well known – to do with murder or arson.’ Michel’s words resonate today because the frequency with which states commit violence against citizens has increasingly become hypernormalised. Both, this symbol of feminine anarchism and members of the modern collective the Invisible Committee did not pay the ultimate price for exercising their political rights unlike some of Clémence’s Communard colleagues of the Paris Commune who were put to death. Nevertheless, in 2005 after the unnecessary death of two children was the catalyst for the city to be ablaze once again. It was in the aftermath of the “re-civilisation” of Paris that The Invisible Committee grew as a distant relative of the journal Tiqqun.

A name that is a modern appropriation of the hebrew Tikkun Olam (תיקון עולם) meaning ‘repair of the world’ or ‘construction for eternity’, but wikipedia suggests ‘social justice’. Putting aside wikipedia’s contribution the two prior translations remind us that the legacy of this journal and of a monsieur Coupat’s imprisonment is the radical anonymity of a contemporary re-engagement and political engendering of the concept of the commune. Initially the question of this essay was different, but this was altered to pursue an analysis of what one believes is explicitly put at stake in the text. One will begin from what is an insurrection for the committee, and then offer a reading that seeks to show that when it comes to revolution language is the animating force.

 

Marxian or … Anarchist or…, or Marxian and Anarchist Circuits?

 

 Equation 001

 

Why circuits and not circles? The circles of this anarchist publication hide the books truly revolutionary content by offering a written aesthetic that produces images of continuation that run against the texts anarchist aims: to show the ‘commune’ as the only option for radical change. One feels that circuits/circuitry would be a better fit because it is my argument that this small publication’s insurrectionist agenda (armed rebellion against authority) fails to consider how much more violent language as the kernel of technology could be. One could even claim that the insurrection was never on the horizon it has always been present and its processes need processing.

 

An insurrectionary upswing perhaps means no more than a multiplication of

communes, their connections to each other, and their articulation. In the course of

events, either the communes will melt into entities of a larger scale, or they will break

up into fractions. Between a band of brothers and sisters tied together “in life and

in death,” and the meeting of a multiplicity of groups, committees, gangs, to organize

supplies and self defense in a neighborhood, or even in a whole region in revolt,

there is only a difference of scale; they are all communes.’

 

It is through the articulation of this communal spectrum that constitutes the truly emancipatory frequency of technology a trojan horse for new language. Of course not everyone is so optimistic; in author Ian McKay’s review he believes this insurrection to be satirical, but McKay both misses the deep potentials of this text by asserting that socialism needs more misery for it to be desirable. To McKay’s overcritical stance one will show the validity of my conclusion: The Coming Insurrection is a call to resolve the antagonisms that have plagued the youth of today by developing a radical new concept of resistance to the obvious illegitimacy of traditional forms of power whether these be the state or family. Uniquely, this text re-ignites the fractured relations between anarchism and marxism by allowing the reader to see future struggles as an insurrection that is a language capable of disrupting and appropriating technology to proliferate community against the isolating mandate of capitalism.

The weakness of the committee’s invisibility is that it fails to recognise the Marxism within its Anarchism. A problem that is not entirely new it was Marx who first caused the unhelpful split and entrenched different aims. However this uncapitalised political scripture puts forward a unification seemingly lost in the intellectual ineptness of yesteryear. This relation has existed throughout the entire history of Left wing thinking the Anarchists and Marxists have always been conjunctive. One finds this not only philosophically stimulating but also peculiar how historically the two have been moving in parallel, yet their language remains technocratic. Both revolutionary stances continue disjunctively when the commune’s language is always an ‘and’ it has to say ‘we are’, and ‘we are not (the government)’. But, this just describes the contemporary revolutionary’s predicament. In Tiqqun’s own words they summarise the political desire at stake, but fail to provide evidence for the future social circuitry. That is why the powers that be were so spooked.

 

On the one hand, we want to live communism; and on the other, to spread anarchy.´

 

To demonstrate the idea, the notion that future revolution will not just be anarchist it will rather take the form of what Tiqqun described; a communism (unlike its failed manifestations in west Germany, and Russia), and an anarchism that provides social security via directing violence into cultural production: music, art, poetry, etc! A reader may object and say the notion that usurping neoliberalism by cultivating a language of insurrection could not possibly offer an alternative to liberal democracy. The claim I make is derived from an observation of the behaviour of these commune lovers – remember members of this committee were charged with the intent to disrupt the functioning of transport systems – for me the same disruption can be much more effective if the vessel of its furore was a technical de-territorialised language.

Evidence for this belief comes from two fierce French thinkers who theorised about the encroaching urbanisation of reality as this phenomena came into being. Foucault, not only described clearly how language is our revolutionary tool of choice because it can come from the outside. In 1978 Foucault whilst lecturing on two of his most important interests ‘security’, and ‘discipline’ clearly expresses a physics of power, ‘It is not an ideology. First of all and above all it is a technology of power.’ Foucault in the same lecture traces the image of man in the emergence of the concept of population, and disagreements between classes and bioethics. Today the population should not dwell in safety because their sûreté is diseased and our ecology eroded. The population needs to learn how to use this physics of power (language) to reclaim the urban from its crushing processes of rent, pollution, and privatisation. Marxist Henri Lefebvre after citing Karl Marx’s insight in the Grundrisse ( 1939–41) comments:

 

If so, a definite change in the relationship between ideology and knowledge

must occur: knowledge must replace ideology. Ideology, to the extent that it

remains distinct from knowledge, is characterised by rhetoric, by metalanguage,

hence by verbiage and lucubration.’           

 

Insurrectionist Instances Murder Idiotic Ideologies.   

 

These words help one clearly express what insurrection was for this most radical of committees. The freezing of that which is normal (circulation of commodities) and the subsequent state’s control frees up potential for self organisation, or ‘it’s sufficient to see how social life returns in a building suddenly deprived of electricity to imagine what life could become in a city deprived of everything’. For, the Invisible Committee ‘insurrection’ is a revolutionary process that is irreversible in completely erasing authority, property, and ownership. If individuals claim this not to be the language of the commune then one must reply by stating insurrection is the code at which a new revolutionary agenda has been set. In combing Foucault’s ‘population’ and Lefebvre’s emphasis on ‘space’ one arrives at the concept of the urban.

The Invisible Committee, members of Tiqqun, and the Tarnac Nine have made a move back to the rural but one reads this as an awareness of a very interesting perspective on the political notion of representation: the less visible we are the stronger our voice will become. That is what the move away from the urban would suggest but critically speaking if the commune needs the rural or an ecology with which to develop language as a physics of power – to seize legitimate lexicons back from crippled corrupt states. In the future what will transgress or circumscribe this dichotomy is the role of technology. At the moment the internet is materially owned by America but the culture of open source mirrors these movements and processes under discussion. Tiqqun, seem ready to also reject technology because its too structured and controlling, ‘And the obvious paradox of bodies growing stiller the more their mental functions seethe, responding in real time to the fluctuations of the information flow streaming across the screen.’ Yet, technology is an unavoidable component of the looming social revolution will politics be equally revolutionary?

A question for the reader to continue, but to end on a strong statement: when trying to kill an evil ideology it is a language of Marxism and Anarchism, a language of insurrection that will succeed in emancipation. If we fail to see this political event as a linguistic marvel then we overlook the capacity for new modes of autonomy, even new freedoms. The younger generation will grow up understanding to despise inequality they will grasp what thinker Jason E. Smith articulated as the ‘myth of the punctual insurrection becoming a classicism’. Yet, this youth will seize this punctuality to make their authentic demands: safety, equal rights, social mobility, religious and sexual freedom, good health, and compassion. For if these necessities are not met by future iterations of an urbanised monetary ideology then long may future cities burn in the violent shimmer of the people’s weapon, their power of syllabification. Against that which would masquerade as guarantor of a morphine like meaning; the illegitimacy of the superstructures that have kept the potential for a revolutionary government to enact a successful ism. One in which the technology and the language of insurrection funds future rights.

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

Books & Texts


 

 

Foucault, M. (2007), Security, Territory, Population: Lectures At The College De France, 1977 – 78, Palgrave Macmillan, New York.

Lefebvre, H. (1991), The Production Of Space, translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith, Blackwell, Oxford UK, Cambridge, USA.

Michel, Louise. (2004) Louise Michel, edited by Nic Maclellan. Melbourne: Ocean Press.

The Invisible Committee. (2007), The Coming Insurrection, Semiotext(e) Intervention Series □ 1, L.A, California, MIT press, Cambridge, Mass. London, England.

The Invisible Committee. (2004), The Call, trans. anonymous, US Committee to Support the Tarnac 9.

Tiqqun. (2011), This Is Not a Program, Semiotext(e) Intervention Series □ 7, L.A, California, MIT press, Cambridge, Mass. London, England.

 

Journals & Papers


 

Culp, A. (2009) Insurrectionary Foucault: Tiqqun, The Coming Insurrection, and Beyond, (Rethinking Marxism Conference, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, November)

Smith, E. J. The Day After The Insurrection: On ‘First Revolutionary Measures’, Radical Philosophy 189. (January/February 2015)

McKay, I. ‘Review Of The Coming Insurrection’, in Anarchist Studies; 2011; 19, 1

Make Light Work

 

 light

̸

 

The proverb, ‘Many hands make light work’ happens to also be a truism. Work, laborious, tedious, unrewarding work can be made lighter if shared by more people. Today, the ticking of a technological Einsteinian clock made entirely from photonic components is forming a new dawn. Rising from the automated robotic horizon which seeks to revolutionise our working environments. Pushing so many of us into initially uncertain futures – can we retrain, regain new employment? What exactly am I going to do when the school, supermarket, and factory no longer needs me? Einstein himself needed unrewarding monotonous work. Working in a patent office enabled this scientist to unlock light’s materiality. The discovery of relativity is a good example of how the human always assumes their work to be theirs and theirs only. Which is greedy, selfish, and depressively untrue. This darkness, the darkness that extinguishes the flame of that which should be familiar. Einstein is a good example of the need to make light work. Remember, that the word genius which Albert symbolises; does not always have to be so individualistic, it can refer to a spirit or character. So, when we look at Einstein’s story, of course his own abilities shine bright, yet there was another spectrum of light at work in this physicist’s successful voyage into understanding.

He worked in a patent office dealing with many technical problems related to electrical-mechanical synchronisation. These requests for intellectual property, that were submitted by other people helped Einstein. The stream of documents fed into his thought experiments. Yes, he was the one that wrote the papers, that created the equations, but in tandem to this one should acknowledge the effect of the behaviour of others on the usually solitary system of work.  Therefore, the discovery of the physicality of light led to the harnessing of the secrets of energy. The aim of this writing is then to see the aforementioned discovery as being a metaphor. Thus transforming and transferring the common alienation one experiences at work into a deeply embedded potential for work to radiate with a  light of social solidarity. How is it even possible, that their exist people that steadfastly refuse to see work in this light? Why should an individual’s struggles: the struggles to pay rent, feed your children, garner recognition, and achieve happiness not be viewed as belonging to you, me, and Einstein? Let us then see this social sun’s rays burning brightly in some examples. Both, in real life circumstances and fictional formulations one will describe how work can always be  brighter. Let us return to Einstein’s achievements.

One of the facts about him that is hardly touched on is his socialism, his is one of the most eloquent ways of asking why socialism? Explaining the process of capital domination as a predatory phrase in human development, science’s inability to produce ends only the means, and the prolonged existential crisis humanity has been facing. (1) This is somewhat of a repentance for Einstein because he was one of the signatory of a letter to President Roosevelt persuading him of the dangers of allowing the Germans to accumulate an atomic bomb. Resulting in the creation of the Manhattan Project in the 1940’s, and the subsequent crippling of WW2 Japan. Einstein’s support of Socialism is not just a personal confession of his own part in capital reality, but it reminds everyone today how little we have progressed from Thorstein Veblen’s ‘predatory phase’ of human development. Therefore, against the huge contemporary tsunami of monetary evils one sides with Einstein’s optimism, ‘human beings are not condemned, because of their biological constitution, to annihilate each other or to be at the mercy of a cruel, self-inflicted fate.’(2) Einstein’s socialism would then be one with a deep understanding that humanity constitutes a society at once produced and consumed by the individual. Yet, here resides what is at stake: in the right talons stands Capitalism with its constant internal abuse of workers with a dead weight of devalued labour, and on the left paw rests Socialism in which workers have rights to share, access, and distribute the value of work.

 

‘This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil. An exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation for his future career.’ (3)

 

This lightness of work is only possible if today the living population rejects the crude oily market education of Neo-Liberalism, favouring the Renaissance ideal of Umanitas, and finding it in the contemporary German notion of Menschenkenntnis. This intuitive grasp of humankind is not some make believe leftist fantasy. No! Socialism is simply the system which fully supports the fact that you and I are animals living with the name ‘human’, and that now is a period in time simultaneously translated and shared with many millions of others.

The time we call now is like no other time before it. Right now as you the reader read this our species consistent techno-scientific advancement is on the verge of a real paradigm shift. In 1962 when Thomas Samuel Kuhn was articulating just how revolutionary science is, it is likely that he would see today as the epitome of what a shift in the paradigm looks like. (4) The birth of advanced robotic and mechanics shows this to be true. But, as Einstein shows individual brilliance often comes from a brilliant individual, yet this brilliance of the individual is as Marx and Engels understood most clearly either common or social. Since science is social, the community finds itself always in new laboratories.  What remains is that these current scientists, mathematicians, and any worker for that matter makes improvements in human understanding through surpassing what came before. This is done by intuition, collaboration, and sharing what one has been lucky to experience or observe in the work of others. There exist many examples that support the sharing of work, and a subsequent liquidisation of labour value. Firstly, let us look at one which is connected to our initial subject of the science of physics, a source of marvel, and wonder.

Today, this year the international community of researchers are bringing the sun’s internal workings down to earth. They have succeeded in mastering Nuclear Fusion, and this promises clean energy. Fusing atoms together will light up our future cities with much less danger involved. However, in light of these achievements it’s very important to discuss the shadow in which this new technology has had to pass through. In 2011, Japan faced another nuclear disaster. The Fukishima Daiichi nuclear disaster showcased how nuclear decay and harnessing destruction as a form of energy production was never going to be a good idea. However, it should be said that it was a step away from the pollution of coal powered energy and a leap towards clean energy. Those that say human progress is not possible should focus deeply on this progression from skies so black the workers merely glimpsed a blue dimmed daylight to a radical potential to forever power our mass communicating societies. Nuclear history, Japan as an example of what self sacrifice means and the power of nature… society is the only thing that has allowed humans to continue growing when faced with the realities of  our darkest ideology, Capitalism – a system of inauthentic existence.

The pursuit of understanding in physics needs sharing within the wider community.  As we await the completion of the standard model of particle physics one demands that we take this time to dwell and ponder the uniqueness of the light we are about to generate. Some individuals lament the fact that the lights of the urban masses of humanity are polluting the natural beauty of the night sky. This is sadly true, but the engine which powers the fictional spaceship Voyager is one powered by fusion so within one hundred years humans will be star trekking, and the stars we used to see every night will be accessible once more. To reach this point and not have social coherency, not have togetherness, even after our greatest act of creation would be a travesty of such incomprehensibility it is hard to type. In the same way when one hears an esteemed scientist claim that Philosophy is dead and useless, it becomes necessary to stress that this is not helpful if ‘making light work’ is indeed our aim, our desire, our target. Philosophy in all its formulations and mutations has in its calling the subversive necessity to challenge jaded beliefs of its time, and there exists nothing more exhausted then the mantra that progress is only seen in science and technology.

Progression is not a prized possession of the latter it is instead inevitably social. Its this way this brief expression of light and labour can end by asserting, ‘though there is darkness it can not stop the rays of light emitted from the sum of social reality.’ Perfectly understood by the ancient Italian Parmenides.

 

‘Fr. 14 … Shining by night with alien borrowed light [darkly bright], wandering around the earth.’(5)            

 

 

(1) Albert Einstein, Why Socialism? Monthly Review, Volume 9 Issue 01 (May 2009).

(2) ibid.

(3) ibid.

(4) Thomas Kuhn, Structure of Scientific Revolutions, International Encyclopaedia of Unified  Science, University of  Chicago, (1962, 1970)     

(5) A.H. Coxon, The Fragments of Parmenides. A Critical Text with Introduction, Translation, the Ancient “Testimonia” and  a Commentary (Assen – Maastricht, Van Gorcum, 1986), pp. 44 – 92.

Sublime Shanghai: A Review of Jacob Dreyer’s ‘The Nocturnal Wanderer’

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A fabulous account of an American’s experience of living in Chinese cities, particularly Shanghai. The novel sways from personal recollections of the changes throughout the author’s life to a rich exploration of the subjective pursuit of meaning as a westerner living in Asia. Reading the book one immediately connected to the nocturnal element of the writing. The twilight hours with which so many people who have nurtured creative ambitions will admit to frequently experiencing. Those moments when you can not sleep, just stay awake, and do something to entertain your mind – this and much more can be encountered in Dreyer’s loving text. His passion for Shanghai is shown to be so strong as to be an alibi for his very existence. In the book this Chinese super city is found to be in opposition to his birth place of America and its open spaces. Shanghai’s critical mass of humanity is revealed to contain much more than the Hu dialect potentially seeks to keep secret. When reviewing a book such as this it would be nice to be able to offer you a classical literary review. This however is not possible because this book has a dark hold over me. It has lured me into it’s labyrinth strewn covers and now I fear I will be forever lost in its pages. Just as the title suggests as soon as you start to read, darkness prevails, and all that is left is to wander. Where to begin? What topic in this Nocturnal adventure nullifies any doubts you could harbour for abandoning this novel in favour of a more daylight based narrative?

Could it be love that holds this collection of musings, explorations, and confessions together? Love: unavoidable, moreish, insatiable, inescapable, invigorating, and implicit in the affairs of man. Is represented here by letters, of which two seem the most important: Q and A. I choose to believe that Dreyer is true to his word, due to the confession-like nature of his recollections, which is why these two letters represent actual females not some fortuitous gambit on the essence of relationships being one of “seeker” and “keeper”, or worse “withholder”. Yet, perhaps such a thing is not so dafter notion. Indeed, perhaps it was on Dreyer’s mind to offer up a subliminal reminder that the actions of seeking and keeping are innate, unisex, and internal to human relations of the most complex forms. There are potentially no forms more complex than that going by the name love; here one wishes to draw attention to the fact that infatuation and love are not one and the same, but often merge into one. Furthering the notion that humans are irrational animals. Often to be found loving things over people? This is just a small section of the narrative this novel offers its readers – a foray into literature wrote with an Asian time.

Dreyer writes in a way which is open to hitch hikers, his sentences snake and coil their way around components and concepts. Just like Nietzsche’s snake imagery of the man eternally bound to wrestle with his own venom. An interesting moment in the book that Neitzsche regretted writing in German, yet Zarathrustra’s presence will forever serve as an example of what happens when we venture below where the air is not as heavy nor clean. I want to one day discuss with this writer the idea of masculine inferiority. Certain French thinkers have pointed out, or made this clear, that philosophy is feminine. Quentin Meillassoux for instance writing in After Finitude (2006) articulated this rather well using ‘she’ to refer to philosophy. This combines with a contemporary trend inside the academy of woman regaining, and occupying the top positions in the modern anglo-saxon/european universities. This I think is a very correct statement to make in light of the labours of Amy Ireland, Rosi Braidotti, Avital Ronnel, Judith Butler, Catherine Malabou, and Donna Haraway. This of course is one’s opinion but based upon thoughts that are true! Speaking of truth, it is true that there is this attitude that you hear sometimes adopted towards western men that go to Asia for the exotic erotic. Men that buy into the idea that there is an abundance of partners or prey in some cases. Speaking from experience, what is really sad is that there are some male numb nuts out there that go for the novelty of being an object for the female’s sexual gaze, and because they have such low standards for themselves and others commit themselves to a diseased sense of sexuality, a misguided notion of prowess, and full of disloyalty. Both, me and Dreyer, bearing in mind that we are male therefore stupid and more than capable of regressing to the behaviour of the latter description. After reflection we would likely agree that although it is delightful spending time with any woman it only has value if you genuinely care for the person rather then just seeing them as another object for one’s own mostly physical pleasure. In the book, nowhere is the deep feeling for an individual felt so strongly then at the beginning on page 8, ‘it felt as though we were floating, dreaming, twisting … There was nothing else in the world’. By page 81 and 82, raw feelings are expressed through weeping.

“Did my mind digest love and finally “grow out of it?” An oceanic feeling is impossible to grow out of, and love is an ocean, but a warm one; an amniotic ocean… in moments of love we forget Money (that is to say, death). The cold clinking and stacking of life; of the precise quantity of weights we can and cannot lift; of the precise quantity of objects we are able to purchase; of our precise value; these are antithetical to love, whose softness blurs borders.[ Jacob Dreyer, The Nocturnal Wanderer, Eros Press, London, MMXV (2015), p. 81.]”

Blurry borders are to be found at every corner, edge, and lattice of The Nocturnal Wanderer. One confesses that it is this aesthetic of blurriness evoked by both the title and book cover that made me acquire it. It would be nice to know the story behind such a delightful maze. It certainly hints at what to expect when you turn its pages. The philosophical references contained inside reach a crescendo as Dreyer on page 64 especially, but before that you read him articulating Hegel’s CEO-ish status (thought in the boardroom of the mind), then taking the big H and along with Baudelaire and Benjamin claims that they are not to be found on today’s highways because the urban unlike the city nullifies individual spirit – evidently the role of the individual is transcended, or re-affirmed by the never-ending Nietzsche, ‘who believed in a place unencumbered by the masses, a utopia that could be visited alone, built alone, inhabited alone.’ being untimely? The reference to Nietzsche opens the text up to another major seed that it plants in subtle ways. Directions that are quite anthropocentric in the sense that the noun ‘Anthropocene’ connotates: an epoch where humans have a much more central impact and role on the earth’s health – its when humanity has achieved a truly geological stature. What was then planted in my mind, and how I interpreted this section is that due to this change: from the modern city to the concept of the urban if one is to protect individuality one has to bow to the power of a nomadic existence. The conclusion of the book backs this up. Dreyer is done with the perversity of domesticated slavery. Yet, does this not indicate a strong belief in freedom? To be free of something one can appreciate, however freedom for oneself is much harder to fathom? The former implies an abandoning of something you may have objectively possessed, but the latter deals with subjectivity and sensibility. Freedom for oneself is already in a conversation with your sense of self and its limitations. All of which are most likely fully artificial constructs: your self-hood, sense of a thing, community, and civilisation. Dreyer’s writing navigates this very real disjunction between “belonging and becoming” on the line from “start to finish”, that is human life thought as literally linear.

This novel never delineates in this way its realism is anchored in a tacit acknowledgement that the microbe called homo and the macrobe known as humanity are both predetermined to be in an active process of negotiation. Finding a method best suited for dealing with the fact that belonging is always becoming. This cryptic utterance is present in Dreyer’s script as a meditation on the bourgeois white male’s privilege of choice, and this is heavily worked into the books deep well of narrative by means of a somewhat silent discourse on just how often ideology manifests clearly in architecture. To clarify Dreyer comments on the changes that have happened throughout history, but are now happening again in China with renewed ferocity. China currently has over one hundred cities that now house over one million people. So, through this literature we as a reader are invited to join in the journey from the wide open expanse of America all liberally imperialist dogmatically coded by it’s capital dependency to the wild east of China’s newly formed metropolises. Being born into western culture makes you lazy and a little hazy because we know that our privileges do not appear by miracles. But, by the exploitation of cheap labour both its outsourcing and intelligence recruiting, or talent scouting. However, China’s self belief is something that has the wider world listening (even if we do our best to hide it) … I want to ask Dreyer what his thoughts are regarding the following: China’s monetary power (especially the interesting thought that it has enough capital to weaponise it), how extreme is Xi Jinping’s People’s Republic of China’s law enforcement? Paying necessary respect to a great country to what extent does Confucianism influence the Chinese world view; just how together are their societies, and society built from the bricks of a nuclei called family? Finally, if we had the opportunity to sit down with this author. One imagines being able to have a great conversation quickly progressing from a comparison of our shared but separate experiences in living in the two main Asian countries: China and Japan. Then, on to the interconnected and extremely different (at least to western perceptions) of the ‘innate’.

Now, some individuals may suggest that just through the English word ‘innate’ they can grasp the cultural difference between the west and the east. Nevertheless, there is much to discuss here because it is different there is a level of acceptance of some phenomena in the east that is absent in the west. Let us relay this back to Language: the Chinese have the Confucian concept of 仁 ren, and the Japanese have a phrase 思いやりomoiyari. Both terms have different yet relevant meanings. Ren, is often translated as ‘the altruistic nature of being human’ maybe best expressed as an innate genuine quality of your kindness and intentionality. Omoiyari, is traditionally used in Japan to reference a state of an alignment between thought and action – an unwavering togetherness. To bring the inclusion of these examples of Asian language back to the book. The reason I reference them is to stress the importance of Mr. Dreyer’s admission of his own privilege and his unashamed recollecting on that which is public and private. In doing so his book offers a doorway into Asia, that was not here before…at least that’s how it was for me reading the book as I returned back to the west in a state of confusion, somewhat sad, and over thinking one’s relation to society or community. During the darkness of that flight this book helped me split reality into two. Two parts that are perhaps never one and the same?

“A POMPOUS ORATION. Consciousness discovers itself, with some vague past and a sense of agony, surrounded by a brutal state of nature. To escape this pain and achieve mastery over his environment, he does not merely wander through his creation (again, unlike an animal) but re-configures it. This reconfiguration takes the form of industry – of the city. Within this grey replica of the green wilderness, consciousness finds its station, a consciousness enforced by necessity. Consciousness as a particularity, is merely a tool of reason, and just as there can be no two options about a logical axiom, there can, in a truly rationalised world, be no space for individuality. The social, the aesthetic, or the political – different potential names for Spirit are merely vehicles for the ultimate triumph of reason. One reason has become dominant in material terms, individuality and subjectivity will also melt against its totality.[ Ibid p. 62.]”

So there are these two lives carved into reality by Dreyer the first is the one made by love, a love of questioning, a continuum anchored around asking: what makes this person so addictive? So… essential to my very existence. Then the second line this book has drawn consists of the unavoidable phenomenon of human dependence on Topos; for are we all not to be found waiting for the place named city to reveal existential insights into what “we” are? Alas, surely not as in the above quote where reason is accused of triumphalism, and westerners have their well ingrained notions of the individual and the subject totally liquidated. In such a way that the monster known as Mr. One may gulp them down with absolute relish. If you find this chilling then you need not fear. There is still a manner in measuring, providing a ratio where your well rooted western sense of separation can continue – that is why the above quote is pompous. It seeks to suggest that we have already arrived or reached totality with one reason being dominant. One here would like to offer up an alternative for the sake of furthering the conversations this literature may continue to invite. Reason as powerful as it is often creates a reasonless void – I am thinking of the Nanjin Massacre (1937), Zedong’s Cultural Revolution (1966), and many other examples as evidence of this nasty habit of the power of reason and those that offer rationalisations for even the most nefarious of acts. Therefore today in a country in which to a large degree the future of humanity will be shaped. One has to fully apprehend the power of the Chinese夜(night) after being so brilliantly led to Dreyer’s Sublime Shanghai one chooses to believe for every western person lucky enough to live in Asia. There is an Asian counterpart that is making the opposite journey and struggling to adjust to western weirdness. This suggestion is more than a little driven by one of the thinkers that Dreyer says is not to be found on the highways of China. Walter Benjamin, or at least his ghost, is I assure you present, when a young Chinese man from a less wealthy background makes the journey from rural to the urban, and finds himself digested into industrial mechanics of growth. During his long arduous hours the necessity to create and document his struggle manifests. Kanji is entered into the mobile phone, and through this technopoetic aesthetic the Angelus Novus appears, history remains hysterically hypnotic, and we are compelled to keep wondering through many marvellous nights.

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# Sarah “Smizz” Smith

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I first met Sarah Smizz almost a decade ago at Psalter lane campus. The building occupied by the Steel city’s art school, which now finds itself nestled in the centre of this city, the calm steady beating heart of England known as Sheffield. At that time, all those years ago, Smizz was one of the only individuals openly interested in Street art in the entire institute. Not only that! But her choice of clothing was and still is super dope, rocking skate shoes, and baggy attire. I immediately saw a kindred spirit and watching Sarah who was in the year above me do her thing in a social, informed, and truthful way. Really inspired me to work with people – her projects (both successes and failures) are too numerous to list here. Sarah and I are both from Yorkshire and those initial conversations and collaborative commissions we had together will remain some of the most enjoyable I’ll ever experience. Both, of us have a deep connection to two alien cities: New York and Tokyo. This second home like status of these two metropolises is another thing we both share. I like to imagine us as nomadic visitors travelling into the depths of the urban to increase a creative, healthy, and equal community in the necessary global cosmopolitas.

Since I left to experience Japan two years ago, my dear friend has grown and achieved so much. This post is to show my continuous gratitude and respect for this amazing person, apologise for being so uncommunicative, and of course to share her with those surfing the internet. Initially, at Sheffield’s art school Sarah and her peers created an independent art space deliciously named Cake. Over a couple of years the art space ran exhibitions, fund-raisers, and slam poetry. Throughout, these university years Sarah’s Marxist pride started to seep into her fearless socially mindful practices. Memorable examples include: Utopian Protagonists: A luxury Studio Flat (a project drawing attention to the everyday capitalist realities for many artists – through advertising only), Poverty Is The Gift That Keeps On Giving (A set of drawings showing Sarah to be a true flanuer; Benjamin would’ve been proud), C.A.a.D (Contemporary Art as Dialogue – Curatorial Group) and the project Platform Plateaus and Potential For Progress ( A city wide series of events designed to emphasis the affects of institutions on the group (2009)). These are all good examples of the work that constitutes Sarah’s deep grounding in resisting the less obvious evils of capitalism its brainwashing of individuals, and intentional dumbing down the population. Her work made me become critical of myself and others. Really, forcing me to engage with the desire to resist Capitalism’s deathly dark side.

Meeting Sarah you are guaranteed a conversation like no other – she is and will remain my go to person to discuss philosophy, quantum mechanics, technology, history, hip-hop, politics and culture drawn from anywhere. From here I want to discuss the two most impressive things I find about Sarah. First, is how she embodies and lives a very deep and personal connection between drawing and health. This may become self evident when she completes her Phd with Sheffield’s excellent Lab4Living. But, it is already obvious to those who consider her a friend and who are colleagues/collaborators. Take a look at her continued production of drawings of the city, of New York – for me these drawings demonstrate not just the physical use of lines by artists. Rather how it is innately human to want to be connected not just for the sake of communication, but for well being, and the cultivation of feelings and sensations that are beneficial to the human. Speaking of art, what Sarah brought into the imagination of those lucky people that glimpsed her expanded project Powernoid was an understanding and critic of the power structures of the art world. Inspired by her research for her Masters degree and the work of William Powhida, Deb Solkow, Charles Avery, and Olivia Plender. Sarah used her drawing skills to achieve what her own words best describe,

‘I re-distribute agency to the individual/collective and critique existing power structures, as such my work could be defined especially close to the idea of
institutional critique. I trace the roots of these interests to my working class
background, which gives me an affinity to society’s underdogs. With a suspicious
mind I have been concerned with the content of history and how it is circulated.
I do this by comparing elements such as folk myths and political campaigning to grass-roots activism with the cannon of art history.’

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As you can see this work is a culmination of many years of creativity, interest, and inquiry. This work is special for many reasons it potentially marks a turning point in her life: a deepening of her appreciation for NYC (Sarah took Powernoids into Winkleman Gallery in 2010), a maturing of her own identity in surely one of art’s finest tapestries or maps? And what I could suggest is her last art work in the sense of one body of visual work produced by one individual made before her interest in healthcare took more of a central focus in her life. Resulting in her second degree in radiotherapy, Sarah is fully qualified to offer such treatment in any such hospital department. This then leads to her Phd on how creative methodologies can be used in both the implementation, research, and understanding of healthcare.

The second thing that Sarah supports and stands for is the politics of the working class, which she and I were both born into. So, it is not uncommon to encounter her next to Ed Miliband drumming up support for the Labour party. Sarah’s connection to the red side of British politics has been naturally intensified in the face of the Conservative party’s austerity politics. The agenda of those in power hurt the poorest and support the wealthiest. Nowhere is this more evident than the constant attack on the NHS in favour of an American system of privatisation, open to the external interests of private business. Sarah has at times been one of the many that have depended on our countries health service, and so she feels this wretched attack on those with less money by those with enough capital to not even use our country’s public hospitals, more intensely then most. I hope that in the future I might have the chance to continue our collaborations, after Sarah has re-drawn the intellectual landscape of the UK, and its discourses on health and art. You can connect to Sarah Smizz’s work and projects following the links below. There is also a fantastic essay on MUTE’s website which Sarah shared with me – written by Benedict Seymour, it uses Lord Of The Rings to explain Capitalism.

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http://sarahsmizz.com
http://cargocollective.com/smizz
https://artdialogue.wordpress.com/
http://www.metamute.org/editorial/articles/fellowship-wrong