15.04.2020

An Update

 Why do we use the proposition up with the noun/verb date to imply the sharing of new information? Is it either the influence of personal computers or is it the movement of the “arrow” called time moves a long a vertical trajectory. But, in our calender’s dates do indeed move horizontally.

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At least this update will hopefully resist being out of date or outdated for the moment it takes to consume it. Anyway, I have secured a job on the beautiful island Taiwan, still teaching English, still teaching Children. I look forward to starting this new job in a new place and with new people but I also miss all the people I have worked with in Beijing; I had a great time and I am sorry this experience came to a premature end. Due to this nightmare Pandemic which has generated a world under lock-down. I myself have done two weeks of quarantine which is nothing compared to a vast amount of people around the globe. Subsequently those still under lock-down are the lucky ones. Throughout the poorer regions of the planet human life is in increased peril and danger. Such a situation has brought to light the precarious and ferocious inequality that handicaps our species and prevents the very real possibility of a global community – not one that is necessarily free from evil and inequality but one that is a tad bit more equal, less rascist, and prejudiced.

If anything this reality of a looming threat of an as-of-yet uncontrollable virus has brought the need for inclusive and strong truly global institutions into sharp focus. The disrespect given to the World Health Organization by the Trump administration shows the value of Bernie Sanders democratic presence and the push for a global health system. To deal with the coming phenomena that will effect the entire planet we all have established an understanding that something is changing and I hope and worry that this change will be for the better not for the worse. My Dutch peer Albin Van Latum wrote an accurate and heart felt facebook post you can read <here>

I want to share some of the things I have been reading and observing and loose thinking related to these things. I have almost finished reading John Gray’s book Straw Dog’s. A famous book that attacks the secular belief in rational progress inherited from the Enlightenment and secured this British political philosopher’s reputation. The book is well worth a read as it is written in an incredibly accessible aphoristic style. Highlight’s for me included some conclusive evidence against and an interesting support of the famous German Schopenhaur. Gray has an admiration for Schopenhaur because he sees him as providing a position against the importance of meaning and a human or anthropocentric belief in progress. Gray’s book also introduced me to Nietzsche’s reading of Dostoevsky and the notion that life is itself a dream attributed to the Chinese philosopher Chuang Tzu or Zhuang Zhou.

These are positives I take from Mr.Gray and I will read his other book on the Silence of Animals too. However reading Gray reminded me of something I have been trying to move away from that is a kind of voice that through a very powerful process of critical thinking arrives at an unhelpful perspective. I find Gray partially innocent of this but his work along with Nick Land has shown the existence of a dismissive or defeatist character to two very successful contemporary thinkers. I have been invited to re-write an essay on this and will accept this invitation at some point. I recently discovered a documentary based upon a Harvard academic’s recent book: Shoshana Zuboff’s Surveillance Capitalism. Then I remembered a direct personal example of this idea at work. I had watched a lecture by Italian physicist Carlo Rovelli on youtube <here>and then recently purchased a copy of his book The Order of Time. It now feels like the link between me interacting with Google owned youtube and purchasing a book is even more tangible and real.

Now a paragraph on personal desire for the coming months: 1) Improve both my Chinese and Japanese (but Chinese mostly), 2) revise formal logic and start learning writing about language and more logic/philosophy of language. Including: Theodore Sider’s excellent Logic for Philosophy (2009), plus the use of logic I learned in Leuven Belgium. This is partly because being able to think analytically is a healthy skill to have and I recently read an article that altered my view on the place of logic in the world: Alexander Klein’s The Politics of Logic. Also thanks to my friend Taz I am a fan of the HBO TV Series Westworld and I wish to write about the powerful philosophical ideas developed and brilliantly explored in these three seasons. Regardless of how your coping with this halted and haunted change in life circumstances remember to find pleasure, joy, and happiness in whatever form you find them in and then share them in whatever way you can.

 

Αιων εστι παισ

Aion esti pais

(Eternity is a Child)   

永恆是孩子     Yǒnghéng shì háizi

永遠は子供です。 Eien wa kodomodesu.

 

Then Nietzsche’s Interpretation:

 

“And as the child and the artist plays, so too plays the ever living fire, it builds up and tears down, in innocence – such is the game eternity plays with itself.”

 

“隨著孩子和藝術家的演奏,也演奏著永生的火焰,它會無辜地積澱和流淚-永恆的遊戲就是這樣。”

“Suízhe háizi hé yìshùjiā de yǎnzòu, yě yǎnzòuzhe yǒngshēng de huǒyàn, tā huì wúgū dì jīdiàn hé liúlèi-yǒnghéng de yóuxì jiùshì zhèyàng.”

….

「そして、子供と芸術家が演じるように、これもまた生きている火を演じる、それは無垢で蓄積され、そして破壊されます。それは永遠がそれ自体で遊ぶゲームです。」

`Soshite, kodomo to geijutsuka ga enjiru yō ni, kore mo mata ikite iru hi o enjiru, soreha muku de chikuseki sa re, soshite hakai sa remasu. Sore wa eien ga sore jitai de asobu gēmudesu.’

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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.

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#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.

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# 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.

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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.

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# 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.

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Three Essential Film Makers: Bo Choy, Sasha Litvintseva, and Stuart Croft

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#Bo Choy

It can be a hard profession or even reality if you call yourself an artist. There is so much self directed pressure to succeed to show the value of what you create. In my case, such pressure to fulfill such an expectation gradually grew to unbearable and so like the following artist I also had to navigate a difficult period where due to my own inability to communicate ideas and also deal with both the tedious difficulties of bringing a project to fruition and then coping with the immediate sense of disappointment (often following completely irrational expectations). Such things still draw my considerations because there is a connection between feelings and economies. Such things may be initially freely associated with a concept such as alienation. But, this term and other related notions need a visualization and so Ms. Choy did just that. When Bo Choy makes new work these days it will be after leaving behind and resolving unhelpful feelings of being inauthentic as she explained in the recent Y.A.C interview (watch her film ‘Unfolding’)  I conducted with her a couple of months ago. This artist has shown recent work in a festival in Greece and when I met her for the first time she expressed a deep satisfaction with the country and a love of the Greek locals including the environment of the the 6th Thessaloniki Biennale.

Bo, has obviously overcome the feeling that initially was a little problematic for her, and one of the signs that she has indeed surpassed the difficulties is her film “Anat’s Party”. A beautifully crafted film that uses the very issue we have started discussing to lay open an inviting narrative. The film features the artist Anat who has organised a party in which the camera is representative of her perspective the narrator’s gaze. The party has guests including Richard: a gallerist, Francois: a painter, Franziska: ex professor now marine biologist, Eulya: who is Anat’s cousin, Cecil: a recent graduate and assistant to Anat, and Amelia: the creative director of an advertising house. The characters are ready and the stage is set; we the viewer are situated ready for a peek into creative people celebrating in a great gathering.

It is actually a birthday party; the celebration for Anat’s birth is kickstarted with white lilies then a sequence of sorts: Haitus + Patronage + Pay Off + Critical Acclaim… in Anat’s own questioning words, “Is my career riding me, or am I riding it?” An active disavowal (by active disavowal I simply mean the state or condition of knowing and not knowing something…) can be seen; such a process is very real and many artists go through such a process. Yet what is so fascinating about this work (there are many things totally fascinating about this piece of work) is that as a viewer you are completely aware that it is scripted, it is staged but this only adds to the power of the eulogy because as we progress through the party everything seems to be rather pleasant; a reunion of very good and close friends. Eventually though this is shattered  by a confession and admission by Anat. I wont relay it here, in writing, because it should be watched by many people. The way the film incorporates this narrative tactic shows a mastery of the manipulation of storytelling. The way the characters are so rich and allow for a deep questioning of what an artist actually is? How an artist has to navigate the “huge beast of capitalism”. The film really naturally invites those consuming it to join in its fictional speculations. Including expressing gratitude (immensity and wholeness) in the face of mortality + reflection, the measuring of success (inertia and the stretching of the imagination). At one point Nietzsche, a philosopher always chilling in his own relevance is quoted by Anat. But these words are from his thoughts on good and evil.

‘Actually, why do we even assume that “true” and “false” are intrinsically opposed? Isn’t it enough to assume that there are levels of appearance and, as it were, lighter and darker shades and tones of appearance – different valuers to use the language of painters? Why shouldn’t the world that is relevant to us – be a fiction? And if someone asks: “But doesn’t fiction belong with an author? “ – couldn’t we shoot back: “Why? Doesn’t this ‘belonging’ belong, perhaps, to fiction as well? Aren’t we allowed to be a bit ironic with the subject, as we are with the predicate and object? Shouldn’t philosophers rise above the belief in Grammar? “(1)

‘Quidquid luce fuit, tenebris agit (What happened in the light goes on in the dark.): but vice versa too. What we experience in dreams, as long as we experience it often enough, ends up belonging to the total economy of our soul just as much as anything we have “really” experienced. Such experiences make us richer or poorer, we have one need more or less, and finally, in the bright light of day and even in the clearest moments when minds are wide awake, we are coddled a little by the habits of our dreams.’ (2)

Nietzsche’s words support all artists and support art as a realm in which processes of all kinds can exist without a naff sense of morality but with an ethos that is self sustaining; even without the living breathing members of reality being aware of this special distinction. Things that are both real and unreal can contribute to the soul. Moreover Nietzsche’s suspicion of philosophical grammar moves us towards special spectrum[s] of reality. They are observable in Choy’s film as it makes us think about many customs and arts and how we experience them between Versuch (attempt or experiment) and Versuchung (temptation). Is this between-ness a desire for a feeling to last forever? After, the turn of feeling within this party what other thoughts could this work of art incubate? There are so many but a strange thought that entered my head is how art can immediately challenge the idea that the body is always a site a location for consumption or communication. Lastly, how language may be a dead material that generates a necessity to invest more life into it, and the most interesting thought this film forced upon me was, ‘how the very concept of communication as a spectrum between inner and outer is deeply related to the movements of our breath? A wholly natural economy full of drama, full of mechanical and organic periods of acceleration and deceleration.

It is a pleasant perspective to see from; that in the near future art will potentially  help us build a new economy, or rebuild one which we have perhaps forgotten in these times of heady reputations, instant identifications, and many a selfish self. Such an economy will be or should be all inclusive and in this sense it is strictly in tandem and identical to art. I was for a long time immature and arrogant, I over valued the scope of my talent and so I abused it and let it be abused. Bo Choy’s capacity to create has gifted us moments in moving image that indirectly exhibits something very important for those of us who strongly embody creativity. We struggle to build relations (Not only between humans), we are fundamentally bound by this struggle to relate. Or, instead this film involves how the figure of the artist resides outside the understanding of others even those who are the closest to us. This is indeed a deep burden for those attempting to bring difference itself into existence. Such a process may be something extremely existential and that is what one is getting at with the idea that art may have something to help alter the stagnant and turgid realm of the financial and knowledge based economy. Furthermore the fictional relations of this film softly suggests the vast unknowable scope of what can be contained in a special three letter word called art. If one thinks about these topics and if we follow language freely a person may arrive at a thought such as this: everyday is someone’s birthday, and a person’s birthday is not always a day of celebration. But, in some sense it is because everyday is a day of birth, both for the day and for people?

Before you watch this small but great artist’s film, perhaps a paragraph I found in Spyros Papapetros’s discussion on the animation of the inanimate. In a section of the book under the subheading, ‘Two External Worlds’ will serve as a nice step into the drama of Choy’s film. Will these words be most suitable in promoting this work as an example of what can be achieved by the honest artist whose labour is the most valuable of all? A Sentiment that I think is shared in this paragraph. Below this collection of words, ‘Anat’s Party’ can and must be watched.

‘Far, then, from being disengaged from context, Worringer’s “ethnopsychological” abstraction is largely determined by it. Following contemporary biological and aesthetic theories, Worringer claims that the main factor distinguishing the different types of art-producing-humanity is the “shifting juxtaposition [Auseinandersetzung] between man and the external world.” The polarity between abstraction and empathy is in fact the product of two different external worlds, both of which appear to be equallytreacherous. The first is “the world of phenomenal appearances [Erscheinungswelt]” - the world of the “Pure Greek” who lives in emphatic plenitude with his comfortable surroundings and its “evershifting play” of perceptions. The second is the hostile world of the Northerner, who maintains a contested relationship with the in “inharmonious nature” he lives in, but never comfortably inhabits. This second external world has a Haunting permanence in contrast with the transience of the first. Both worlds have a problematic relation to the visible.”(3)

#Sasha Litvintseva

Born in Russia, I met Sasha in London after I had selected her film …. for a touring screening The Lumiere Screening curated with my good friends Catriona J. Mackie, and Leon Read. Sasha is a very interesting film maker she is currently completing her phd at Goldsmiths proposing the concept of ‘Geological film making’ and I find this interesting in terms of the vast scale of film making it reminds me of the writings of one of the great contributors to political aesthetics. In professor Esther Leslie’s book Synthetic Worlds we see a history of how electronic chemical and technological developments culminate, a long a side the progression of the cinema, as a commercial site of escapism. Here Leslie builds upon the great Frankfurt school’s critical investigation of supposed rational progress. Leslie in a wonderful waltz through the essential German Gang of: Kant, Hegel, Marx, Benjamin, Goethe, Adorno, and many others; retraces the very fabric of synthesis both in our thought and in material, historical, and cultural events. I feel like this book at least helps me to understand the Geological in a much wider sense than what the word entails…such an understanding is also surely what Sasha is also wrestling with and because she is Russian via way of birth I can not help but offer up an historical dismissal of my homeland. The country is described in this way, ‘England is just as unkind and inimical to Art as the Arctic zone is to life. This is the Siberia of the mind.’(4) Of course I do not agree, this is quoted only as a passing note establishing a relation between the countries, but I also feel that it is very fitting when we think about geological film making. Leslie references this dismissal in relation to a group of artists based in the North of England. These artists, the Vorticists published a journal called ‘Blast’ designed to resist in healthy competition to whatever the south could muster. The title was chosen to embody a hygienic gale but on the cover this took the form of a ‘storm cone’ a signal used by coast guards. Here I am not sure that the Vorticists choice of title is fitting surely ‘Blast’ better commentates on the heat of a furnace or the production of new metals? Yet, this reference to the coast is interesting: it forces the figure of nature in all it’s powerful liquidity and madness into our considerations of the geological. Then, Theodore Adorno makes a small relation between society and landscape.

‘Adorno perceived in the American landscape of lightness, brightness and substitution a kind of madness. Adorno’s description of a bookcase in a villa he visited in Maine in 1959 conveyed his terrors in the phoney society. The great titles of literature faced him and he reached out to take one. The whole display collapsed. It was all fake. The world as a simulation of itself is a crazy thought, but a true one too. In Adorno’s story there is something else at play. It concerns the death of learning, the death of culture and the victory of the ‘culture industry’. But the phoniness is present everywhere. Adorno mentions wily restaurants that sell bottles of ‘counterfeit’ red wine coated by a layer of synthetic dust. Time itself is synthesized.’(5)

If I were Sasha a part of my thesis would have to wrestle with competing and chaotic ideas. Ideas such as those found in the texts of the scientist James Lovelock, Philosopher Nick Land, and Edward W. Soja. Lovelock is the author of the Gia Hypothesis the notion that the earth with humanity included constitutes a self regulating system akin to that of other living organisms. In Soja’s book ‘Postmodern Geographies’ (1989) the notion of space is explored in critical social theory. The relevancy of this for Litvintseva is that the text explores the spatio-temporality of being (something which film is explicitly also engaged in), and Soja does this by commentating on how philosopher Jean P. Satre’s movement towards Marxism contains a praxis that Martin Heidegger’s insistence on “place” concealed within history does not. Satre, is described by Soja, ‘he links to a movement whose fundamental direction is determined by ‘scarcity’ and which provokes the formation of groups to struggle collectively for such scarce necessities, such ‘worked matter’. Satre describes this horizontal vertical movement as a spiral’.(6) This description then reminds us of the Vorticists ‘storm cone’ and makes us question this spiral and cone. In one of Litvintseva’s recent film works ‘Salarium’ the artist explores the appearance of sinkholes on a boarder between Isreal and Palastine. In combination with her text ‘Sinkholes In Signification’ we are presented with a real opportunity to grasp the artist’s recent research. The essay ends, after referencing the Zionist Archives and their technique of punching holes into images, and uses this to draw a link between a lack of an archive and the puncturing or suturing of a historical narrative.

still-3-salarium_main

‘Salarium’ 

So, we have these routes through history these holes in the ground and these empty spaces that swallow human things; this sinking may be read in line with Gia Theory and this is the total organism decaying it’s skin being breached by the entropic activity of the energy traversing and underlining its very existence (Adorno and Horkheimer also have a form of Gia in The Dialectic of Enlightenment). Next to this is an interesting development in terms of thinking about geological thinking, and this musing about the earth comes in a description of Trauma from the contemporary philosopher Nick Land. In a series of texts the notion of ‘Geotraumatics’ is made; a notion that when the earth was born 4.5 billion years ago the psychological echo of the earths violent birth when it’s molten core was formed as it’s volcanic activity burnt its own terrestrial skin. Land see’s this as an unconscious pain that reverberates throughout current matter both living and non-living (Cthell).(7) However rupturing and interesting in terms of being empathetic towards the earth Land’s Arche (first principle) may not be that useful to Sasha’s research but it does offer another Geographic perspective. It is the other project which one prefers and finds most dramatic. Universal Syntax attempts to unravel how we experience the world as a text. For this project Land also has something to say about language and its way out of a body (not necessarily human), in ‘KataςoniX’.(8)

Speaking in terms of the interests of such a Syntax I feel like Leslie’s mining of modernism in the spirit of so many great European thinkers offers more to a filmic perspective on language. In particular Leslie cites a universal language. Literally, a pamphlet under an identical title, Viking Eggeling and Hans Richter sent this Universal Language to the director Einstein. The language focused on a system utilizing analogies and polarities derived from an abstraction of nature. Resulting in geometrical forms that express the German Schopenhaur’s sentiment of looking at the world from the perspective of a blessed star.(9) A perspective that Schopenhaur’s countryman the poet Geothe may have appreciated as both men had developed advanced theories of colour and what can be seen within the eye that spies is of utmost importance (against the Newtonian and Leibniz inspired picture of a mechanical existence). Sasha’s work of course makes one consider other concepts such as the Anthropocene, terra-forming, and the like, but is it not true that it will be your eye another spherical object that constitutes the ground which you walk on? Perhaps, these great projects will succeed in generating a correlation between spaces, places, and faces but it is comforting that Sasha Litvintseva is pushing film and moving image closer and closer or further and further into this world.

‘The holes punctured in the representation are slowly migrating to the object of reference: the landscape itself. That is, ‘killed Images’ become ‘killed landscapes’, with holes and lacks puncturing their surface. The sinkhole is that lack: not merely a lack of matter or soil, but an archival lack that punches holes into the stability of the historical narrative. If history – as the Zionist Archives demonstrate – leans on a representational regime that aims to signify the landscape and the humans that dwell within, the sinkhole defies clear signification and threatens linear history with a discrepancy, an interruption, or a plot hole.’(10)

#Stuart Croft

Stuart sadly died in March 2015, and I was recently reminded of this… it made me very very sad for one important reason. I met Stuart Croft in 2011, he had selected my animation ‘Away From The Unknown’ for a touring screening of Artist Film and video supported by Outpost Gallery in Norwich. When you begin on doing something  anything, by yourself for the first time, it can be difficult. And, even if you had done such a thing many times before when seeking to take it to the next level you need encouragement. Meeting Croft and having work shown next to such great creators was such an encouragement in those early years. Stuart’s use of actual film set him apart from others and in this way perhaps the only other male film maker who operates within the same unbelievable realm of finesse is Ben Rivers. Stuart made a decision whilst still a student that could be said to have defined and determined his entire body of work; this is the deep interest in the relation between film as a material medium and the concept of cinema itself; including all the unique culture that comes with it. Then, a question, ‘how to take this and put it into a contemporary art gallery?’ His work easily answered this question.

Stuart Croft The Stag Without a Heart still 2 2010

A Stag Without a Heart

My personal favourites from Croft’s filmography are ‘A Stag Without a Heart’ (2011), and Drive In (2007). Both of these films show Croft’s genius at its very best. In the former the title represents a character next to a fox and a lion. The narrator’s voice draws us through the ensuing drama, trauma, and re-animation. The film reminds me to actually watch and re-watch such films as Der Himmel über Berlin (the Heaven Over Berlin), and Last Year in Marienbad (films that I once edited under the force of Gravity). Croft’s film features a narrative that grows the soundtrack feels as if it is sneaking up on you and the narrator. The dialogue of ‘A Stag Without a Heart’ fluctuates within a trinity of two predators and one prey. The phenomena of ‘fear’ is felt by the stag as the predators are perhaps expressing regret or remorse after they made their fellow animal shiver. These events of fearing and shivering of intuition and effect fit nicely within a larger and fundamentally more powerful effect the film carries. After watching it I felt that although all I saw on screen was human this human was now closer to the animals carried within his speech. Drive in features a car journey with a lady describing a story in which a paradise is lost. The film is beautiful both for the story and its believable utopia; one in which we are reminded by way of a mistaken object, “It’s not coconut juice it’s a Piña-fuckin-colada” that all paradises are paradises lost most forcibly put in the world of literature by Marcel Proust.(11)

Loosing one’s way in another person (in being with…), or as another person (becoming someone different)? There is a novel that is birthed within the passenger lady’s narration. The plot twists within this reading of human desires and human empires and “doing some [fucking] thinking in the middle of the ocean”. In terms of the male author he has a dreamy encounter with a dreamy female painter washed up on a dreamy beach. Dreaming he continues to be driven by his drives inwards and onward. Stuart’s fantastic films carry us into the psyched up philanthropic psychology we all share, sell, and partake in. Stuart Croft’s work makes me want to become a film maker, and his life serves as a timeless reminder that our achievements will remain long after we have left this world, and if you were Stuart Croft your achievements where many, so many. What more could be more inspiring, more encouraging, and more vital than a human being’s capacity to create?

 

words by a Paul Harrison.


(1)  Friedrich Nietzche, (2002). ‘Beyond Good & Evil: Prelude to the Philosophy of the Future’ (Cambridge University Press), 34.

(2)  Ibid, Nietzsche, 193.

(3)  Spyros Papapetros, ‘On the Animation of the Inorganic: Art, Architecture, and the Extension of Life’, (University of Chicago Press, 2012), 143.

(4)  Esther Leslie. (2005). Synthetic Worlds:Nature, Art, and The Chemical Industry, (Reaktion Books, Great Britian).123

(5)  Ibid, Leslie, 239.

(6)  Edward W. Soja, ‘Postmodern Geographies: The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory’, (Verso, London/New York, 1989), 136.    

(7)  Nick Land, (2012). Fanged Noumena: Selected Writings 1987-2007 (Urbanomic/Sequence Press, London, Berlin)

(8)  Ibid, 481

(9)  Esther Leslie. (2002) Hollywood Flatlands: Animation, Critical theory and the Avant-Garde, (Verso, London/New York). 56

(10) Sasha Litventseva, Daniel Mann, ‘Sinkholes in Signification’, (SONIC ACTS Academy 2018) 66.

(11) Marcel Proust, (1992) ‘In Search of Lost Time: Swann’s Way’,(The Modern Library, New York). Sorry for the lack of pagination; I promise Proust does say this {https://www.readingproust.com/finding.html}

 

 

 

A.I.D.S (Adding Infinite Dimensions)

 

(Adding Infinite Dimensions)

̸

Paul Harrison 

_

“In the early days, we just wore black onstage. Very bold, my dear.

Then we introduced white, for variety, and it simply grew and grew.”

 Freddie Mercury

 __

 

What can be gained from viewing philosophy as a disease? Such a proposal may or may not be greeted with a macabre curiosity or an uncomfortable dismissal by those who would wish to see thinking maintain a clean healthy body. One wishes to strongly suggest this to be wishful thinking at best these well wishers may achieve cleanliness with philosophy however they may be disappointed to discover that thinking itself is resistant to such honest labels. Healthy? Just look at the madness of its practitioners, even the calmer professors are in possession of mental issues so that society has deemed it necessary to house them in institutes and universities. Calling their manic obsessions “research”, and funding them so as to keep them away from members of the public who already have to deal with enough schisms in daily life. Imagine if on top of this some philosopher infected with thinking was given free reign to exist amongst the people although they probably would have good intentions seeking to uproot excepted thinking and undermine any nasty unhelpful doxa, it would probably end badly as the bewildered citizen might be left wondering what they did to deserve such a clinical clarification or quizzically questionable inquiry. (I am of course partially joking but how to locate healthy from unhealthy thinking is often harder than one would maybe assume?)

In this essay one desires to simultaneously express a perspective that Nietzsche expressed most clearly, ‘Plato is the name of a disease’… this may not be an authentic quote yet nevertheless let us continue. Wishing to invite the reader to consider an argument arrived at through a speculative consideration of the implications of this utterance. It has come to be my belief that a newer articulation of the origins of consciousness is more than possible, it is in fact essential for this time. A period of history that is really demanding an understanding of this topic. Just think about radical developments in our awareness of the complexities of our brain. The initial reason is precisely this very strange line of thinking: if philosophy is a disease it is to be considered as an unnatural practice, and if this be the case then it is possible to suggest that conciousness itself has a relation to this articulation. That, we can say if the highest points of human thinking carry a diseased existence then it follows that it could be that conciousness is a result of a similar process. So, in this text I will conclude whether or not such a deduction is strong enough to be offered up as a potential explanation for the origins of the phenomena known as conciousness.

Nietzsche and Plato are not the only thinkers that will feature in this discussion, but they will play a pivotal role because of their unique achievements and positions in the history of thinking. From the beginning they both will be referred to as Nietzschia and Platonitis, after dementia and meningitis. Two more philosophers Hegel and Gille Deleuze will be associated with Pneumonia and fear resulting in: Hegelonia and Deleuzaphobia. To begin with this creative act of naming will offer the reader a way of grasping this line of reasoning that runs against the established story of philosophy being an age old success story of man’s victory over secretive reality. This pairing of philosopher and disease or ailment will be designed to allow clear access to the idea which is at stake, that their success in the realm of ideas correlates to a physical infliction. From this one will reference a variety of sources to build an argument for consciousness being also a result of disease. Concluding on an affirmation or invalidation of the proposition: consciousness is a material result of an infection.

Before describing the diseased status of philosophy a brief detour is necessary to explain the title of this essay. The sexually transmitted disease known as aids or HIV is appropriated to form an acronym for mostly historical reasons. The historical element of the appropriation of the title’s virus is its early stigma and social reality. For instance I have a very positive memory of growing up listening to the British rock band Queen. Of course an essential part of this entity was the front man Freddie Mercury who died of the virus. Thankfully, in the modern world medicine and science is nullifying what used to be fatal for an Aids carrier, yet it was often the case that an individual who suffered from this virus found their consciousness heightened. The same thing is also true for those who have been through or had the experience of cancer this change in mental function is not just due to the relation to death it is moreover something that has much more to do with the individual living condition.

Nietzsche, who one has likened to dementia because he unfortunately existed for a considerable time in a similar state. His philosophy also carries with it this insistence on ‘tragedy’ as an all important aspect of his thinking. What could be more tragic then to slowly forget all one’s memories – at the time of writing there is no known cure for Alzheimers and it continues to effect so many. Nietzsche’s decline ended in a stroke and then death by pneumonia. It is also rumoured that he was infected by syphilis and if this were true than the connection between an infection and a change, even creation of a concious state is obviously more than a suggestive speculation. Next to this is the extent to which Neitzsche’s thinking was expansive and possessed the imagination of so many; now its seen as a doctoring of a disease.

The essay The Philosopher’s Diagnosis by Anna M. Daniszewski is very suggestive: Nietzsche himself saw the thinking of his time as in need of doctoring, ‘Nietzsche’s diagnosis functions differently from that which came before: he detects the illness not within philosophy itself, but in the philosophers understanding and pursuit of life without its object.’ From this Daniszewski elaborates on the psychological part of the diagnosis (philosopher’s are hypochondriacs), clearly explaining how Nietzsche saw Socrates’s as believing in the good outside of itself, and ‘it is not that Philosophy is in itself sick, but that its constant belief that it has to cure itself makes it sick’. Interestingly, Nietzsche saw this predicament as being self induced and used a metaphor of seasickness and the state of nausea to describe this. The important thing to grasp is that it is the “belief in a cure” that causes the sickness … but how does this show consciousness itself to possess similar qualities? Following Nietzsche’s logic this result is from states of fluctuation (the sea), followed by a higher state of awareness (nausea), yet this seems to be slightly contradictory.

‘Before a function is fully developed and mature, it constitutes a danger to the organism; it is a good thing for it to be properly tyrannized in the meantime! Thus, consciousness is properly tyrannized – and not least by one’s pride in it! One thinks it constitutes the kernel of man, what is abiding, eternal, ultimate,  most original in him! One takes consciousness to be a given determinate magnitude! One denies its growth and intermittences! Sees it as ‘the unity of the organism’! This ridiculous overestimation and misapprehension of consciousness has the very useful consequence that an all too-rapid development of consciousness was prevented.’

How can a state of motion sickness be a state of higher consciousness unless the initial use of the word “higher” is miss-leading; of course this adjective can synonymously mean greater than. Moreover, what one is explicitly attempting to argue is not ‘consciousness is a disease’, but what we all comfortably understand consciousness to be: i.e, a state of ‘being aware’, or having ‘an awareness of…’ is the result, or the product of an infection or primal diseased state. The quote from Nietzsche’s happy science shows clearly how he understood that this aspect of the miss-understanding of consciousness in its infinitely expansive qualities has been rejected, and therefore we are happy to dwell in the less abstract comforting idea.

Although, in the same text, Nietzsche adds evidence to overcome this. His writings show that consciousness moves from awareness and into a larger abstract bodily entity one that adds dimensions to itself: this is represented in his alteration of the German word for consciousness. From Bewuβtsein and into Bewuβtheit; a change which demonstrates the implication one is debating. Nietzsche, argued against the importance of this abstract quality and in doing so failed to see how it was a positive result from the artificial awareness generated by Socratic ‘will to truth’, and could in fact serve as a sufficient understanding of how consciousness relates primarily to error. This mistaken everyday awareness is hard to fathom, but nevertheless we should attempt to read those prior victims of the illness of thought, thinkers that Nietzsche saw symptomatically. In Beyond Good and Evil (1886) Nietzsche affectionately describes his famous countrymen: Schelling, Hölderlin, and Hegel, ‘the young theologians of the Tubingen seminary – ran off into the bushes – they were all looking for “faculties.” … when Romanticism, that malicious fairy, whispered, whistled, and sang’ at a time when the difference between discovery and invention was not known.

Even today, regarding the origins of consciousness Nietzsche’s less then complimentary description of the idealists could very well match our lack of confidence in what it is. With the absence of a discovery of what it actually is, and the use of a definition and the meaning ascribed to it would then be an invention?  Hegelonia, could then be the condition of this struggle to breath or an inflammatory impeachment of the lungs of philosophy, when regarding the same subject? Why? Let’s paraphrase Foucault and say that Hegel’s famous system is so all encompassing in its absolute valuation of history (we are lucky Marx rescued it from its perpetual headstand). Again we find what is now called analytic philosophy is a result of Hegelonia, it too relying on mathematics and formality to comment on the abstractness of our consciousness. Again, without the scientific discovery that provides the sole meaning to what consciousness is, we are called upon to invent.

One’s inventive interpretation, relies on this black origin of physical suffering, of discomfort, of painful intrusion into the animal body leading to the white recovery and expansion of a consciousness lucky to have such good health. But, it’s important to explain this consequential effect the infective material origin has on consciousness – that is it being abstract, and secondly its ability to expand, to grow, and to become greater. There are two more philosophers that have enacted this aforementioned movement. First we have to suffer Platonitis; meningitis and arthritis befit this great Greek because he is very old and very common. Besides, Plato certainly helps explain this abstract creation of an abstraction (consciousness). For assistance let us turn to a thinker Brian D. Prince who completed his Phd on Plato, Souls, and Motions (2011), commentating on movement in the Timaeus dialogue, ‘For example, the power for movement belonging to a particle of earth manifests one way if that particle is inside the cosmos and not in any other structured whole; but if the particle is also within a living body, its power for movement may manifest differently.’ It becomes aware?

In the Timaeus we see the same aspects: unnatural increase, and a lacking, or the more materially problematic, ‘a given bodily part accommodates a particular variety [of element] that is not appropriate for it. When these things happen they bring on conflicts and disease.’ This section of Plato’s text does not go far enough but it paints a sufficient picture of the movement that exists before the state of consciousness. Plato, in a section after the one on diseases; in one of the translations of the dialogue, titled Disproportion of Soul to Body describes the movement into abstraction from its bodily locality.

 

‘Of motions, again, the best is that motion that is produced in oneself by oneself, since it is most akin to the movement of thought and of the universe; motion produced by another is inferior; and worst of all is that whereby, while the body lie inert, its several parts are moved by foreign agents.’      

 

But, wait wait wait! This is a miss-reading you say, ‘Plato is talking about the movement of the soul’! More than likely this is true, however do you see the word mentioned here? The way one reads this is Plato’s fear “worst of all”, his admission that his anti-materialism contains a large degree of futility. The body, our body, is alterable by foreign agents, and was altered in an extremely aggressive way. A fact that we should not fear away from but as science marches on wards, potential falsities can be accepted if we are not careful with the many dimensions we add to thought.

The thinker that is perhaps responsible for a great deal of the many extra dimensions added to consciousness since Nietzsche is Gilles Deleuze who even though he has left this world still generates a great deal of Deleuzaphobia. The extend to which Gilles Deleuze generates a type of fear in certain individuals is that: a) they have not yet been fully initiated into the wonders of Deleuze’s thought, or b) they fear his rejection of the logic of the tree – thinking it to be an unjust threat in their belief in the correct and of falsity. You remember Deleuze starts this renouncing of the benefits of this type of logo-centric thought in favour of nomadic musing in a Thousand Plateaus (1980). His words show clearly a disenchantment that this Frenchman felt towards traditional manners of thinking.

 

‘‘We’re tired of trees. We should stop believing in trees, roots, and radicles. They’ve made us suffer too much. All of arborescent culture is founded on them, from biology to linguistics. Nothing is beautiful or loving or political aside from underground stems and aerial roots, adventitious growths and rhizomes.’

  

Deluezaphobia” is then a fear of either consciousness trapped in a forest of rules generated by the capacity to analyse reflection until it is governed by natural laws, or its a state of being scared of what may happen if thought was allowed to roam. The relation of this to consciousness is Delueze’s unique articulation of the feverish condition of thought – for him it is schizophrenic. As is well known Delueze collaborating with psychoanalyst Félix Guattari developed this notion in response to what they deemed to be problematic in Freudian pschoanalysis: mainly the Oedipus complex, and the authority of the analyst. Culminating in conflicted thoughts, but as Freud said, ‘can a currently given “conflict” be exhausted, can the one who is sick be forewarned against ulterior conflicts, can even new conflicts be awakened for a preventive purpose?’ Such a conflict could be what is called the Anthropocene a period of the earth’s history in which humanity taken as a whole is a geological force. One wishes to mention the radical way in which James Lovelock’s Gia theory pre-empted many possible discussions on this topic. Secondly, and more relevant to this commentary on consciousness is a recent lecture given by French thinker Catherine Malabou stated that the idea of the Anthropocene demands a change in our consciousness; it asserts that we have to lose consciousness. For the human to understand itself on the planetary scale one has to cure older methods of inquiry.

Having derived enough evidence from philosophy we can temporarily say goodbye to these deceased (highly conscious) specimens of history, focusing on what exactly is being suggested, and the argument that puts forward this idea of the material origins of human consciousness being: one of our initial ancestors, perhaps Homo habilis fell ill with an extremely strong virus not too different to influenza; only stronger than the modern version of the flu. At least one victim subjected to such suffering from an external source experienced a neurological change. One which produced the brain and its cognitive uniqueness, that we possess today. This is because as we have seen unnatural compression of information in a short period of time creates growth and this growth is possessive just like the initial infection’s compression; it took, is taking hold of something, and this is essential to sentience.

In response to this argument some individuals correctly raise the objection as to where is my evidence or ground for such an assertion? This process of being limited then vast expansion is empirically observable consider a few examples: the fallibility of our memory; when one forgets (limited) an individual usually makes the effort to rediscover (expand). Information partakes in these qualities when you take information and you compress it you limit it then expand or decrypt it in an act of communication. Even light can be said to carry this quality when split it carries a spectrum of colour. Furthermore, if we invite in some claims that the mind has computational capacities then does this material notion of an infective cause still apply? Well, yes, because firstly even if your computer is unfortunate enough to be infected and temporarily limited. Through a reset or even the acquisition of a new computer, expansion still takes place. Keeping with this computational example its possible to understand more accurately. The computer would be the material reality of the brain, its hardware the grey matter. The virus infects its thinking (data generated in the program’s process) and distorts and corrupts what it had encountered.

Here is the greatest evidence for philosophy, which from the very beginning held a distinct challenge towards the existence of illusions, and has always faced accusations of being a corrupting force. In the same way consciousness, in and by itself was originally an infection and long may it continue to be effective in this invasive or intrusive way. One last point to sign off on, the reader will remember that scene in the Matrix film (1999) where Morpheus has been captured and is under interrogation, Agent Smith utters something nasty, ‘humanity is the name of a disease a virus.’ This virtual humanoid machine is completely misguided it is not our existence that is diseased, but our mysterious mental capacities that came from such a thing may well be?

 


Francis M. Cornford. Plato’s Cosmology: The Timeaus of Plato translated with a running commentary, (Liberal Arts Press, New York, 1937).

Daniszewski, Anna Menaker, “The Philosopher’s Diagnosis: Sickness in Plato, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, and Heidegger” (2014). Senior Projects Fall 2014. Paper 23.

Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to the Philosophy of the Future , (Cambridge Texts in The History of Philosophy, ed. Judith Norman and Rolf Peter-Hortsman, 2002)

Friedrich Nietzsche. The Gay Science, edited by Bernard Williams, (Cambridge University press 2001).

Gilles Delueze, A Thousand Plateaus, (The University of Minnesota Press, 1987).

Gilles Delueze, Félix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus, (University of Minnesota Press, 1983).

Hemelsoet D, Hemelsoet K, Devreese D. The neurological illness of Friedrich Nietzsche. Acta Neurol Belg. (2008) Mar;108(1):9-16. {https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18575181} accessed: 01/02/2018

Catherine Malabou, The Brain of History or the Mentality of the Anthropocene, (Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Published on 27 Feb 2017, {https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJPLGEdRGGc&t=50s}   

Plato, The Timaeus. (Macmillan & Co, London, 1888).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creative Metaphysics (2.0-2.1)

(2.0) The lens of life would be a beautiful object if it were available at whim! But the acquisition of such a helpful thing is something worth striving for. Here Nietzsche’s ghost supports the very beneficial contemporary movement towards collaboration which is odd, you say, because he was indeed the most solitary of thinkers. Nietzsche’s hammer hits home with the relations it nails: Life > art > science. Such a path offers a nice perspective, but why is it so often ruined by the banality of the everyday (I mean that socially constructed reality in which material inequality is the major party pooper)? This banality takes the noble unique power of the individual and via industry makes it in to such a timid, characterless, spineless, and domesticated being that one often needs to meditate just to get over the headache this common process generates. You understand what I am talking about the abstraction of capital progress where a scientist is detached from his science, and an artist is separated from her art.

 

(2.1) A different separation was via Nietzsche echoed throughout philosophy where the French post-structuralists – the incorruptibles as the awesome Hélène Cixous named them – went to work in showing what was an established notion of the subject, the self, to be at least polymorphous if not a poly-amorous concept. So here is a hint at our first enactment of a creative metaphysics… one always finds oneself descending to where one presumed one’s self not to be! As a first principle then revel in one’s artificiality for nature encourages conditions of becoming, have no fear be queer my dear, or never wait for bait always test fate and never hate there is always another date. Such encouragement of building, re-designing, re-programming the self does stem from an observation of such processes happening throughout the current younger youths than I. One feels inspired by the speed at which younger generations will flow, no… stampede within their own flash cultures moving at such speeds that hole art movements, cultural shifts, and innovations may conspire within but a brief moment. In many ways the young generations have already grown into and mastered this new transient world, and I hope they look back at the all too rigid power structures of the past with a pride befitting of a world full of billions of choices. Nasty Nietzsche was against a situation full of a plethora of cultural preferences because he saw it as diluting meaning but one will discuss the dangers of self building in relation to creativity in a paragraph or so later… first, let us understand the reference and relation between “Dream Images”, and the “Ecstatic Reality”, that according to Nietzsche seeks to replace the individual with a mystical sense of unity.

Enacting Nietzsche’s Artistic Metaphysics: Notes For Future Artistic Practitioners. (1 – 1.2)

[1] In Nietzsche’s the Birth Of Tragedy: Out of The Spirit of Music (1872) the all powerful thinker of Modernism; described an artistic creative force in the ancient world. These notes seek to achieve the unenviable task of translating, studying, and re-animating this Dionysian/Appoline or Orphic/Homeric Artist Metaphysics for those who may feel need for the application of such wholesome processes of thinking in their own aspirations and creative endeavours. In the face of the herd mentality of contemporary arts it makes sense to return to Nietzsche (unlike Friedrich I do not despise the herd quite as much; after all what are you to partake in if you desire to provide woolly garments or feeding others?). Let me clarify why study him? Nietzsche more than any other thinker in history embraced an undiluted creativity that saw him through writing remind us of some unavoidable truths: a) Like Hegel, there is the whole master slave praxis, b) Authentic toxic nihilism solves absolutely nothing, c) The Goddesses/Gods have NOT seized to exist, d) to fully apprehend the world is a solitary achievement, e) Science of all things should become feminine rather than masculine, f) Perfecting your perfect perverse perspective is paramount to the constitution of these metaphysical acts of creation we meta-moderns wish to see!

[1.1] “Nietzsche, Nietzsche, Nietzsche whatta creature!  Nietzsche, Nietzsche, Nietzsche whatta feature!
Nietzsche, Nietzsche, you were never a preacher!
Nietzsche, Nietzsche you’ll always be a teacher!

[1.2] So let us understand the hidden possibilities of re-reading the thoughts of this great mind. How are we to enact his demands, “To see science under the lens of the artist, but art under the lens of life”… and: “as artistic powers which spring from nature itself, without the mediation of the human artist, and in which nature’s artistic urges are immediately and directly satisfied; on the one hand as the world of dream images … on the other as an ecstatic reality, which again pays no heed to the individual , but even seeks to destroy individuality and redeem it with a mystical sense of unity.” (Nietzsche, B.O.T, (2))

Have a Very Merry Neitzschmas!

Reading Questions

 

  1. (Pref., §5) In what respect does Nietzsche disagree with Schopenhauer?

 

Nietzsche disagrees with his great teacher on a notion of morality. He reads Schopenhauer as having dealt too drastically with the “unegoistic”: instincts of compassion, self-sacrifice, and denial. In Nietzsche’s eyes this moody German as having took these things to a place where they became the values with which made him then reject life. For the unholy Nietzsche values that would affirm life for the individual are of the utmost importance.

 

  1. (1stessay, §2) Who, in Nietzsche’s view, first defined ‘the good’?  What were their motivations?

 

At first glance Nietzsche would seem to hold English psychologists accountable for their idiosyncrasies, yet this hides who he really sees as the true originators of the concept of “the good” that  is under  consideration. The nobility and the mighty or high placed who generated “the good” in this autonomous sense that they are the ones that had the power to judge what was good in and by itself for them. They had the power to be self reflective because one easily follows Nietzsche’s logic in that its a class distinction which could be easily enraging to those with Marxist tendencies but it should be noted that Nietzsche’s Master-Slave dialectic contains a deep dark truth. Just consider an initial notion: it is often the case that roles are reversed and the slave wishes to enslave (master), and the Master through its mastering becomes a slave to that which it masters – a rather complex topic for further thinking.

 

  1. (1stessay, §13) How do ‘the oppressed’ contribute to the notion of ‘the good’?

 

The oppressed contribute to the notion of “the good” because they are oppressed in the sense that it is only due to something being oppressed that any good may be seen as separate from that which is bad. Yet, this is not so clear so when we read Nietzsche as saying, ‘Whereas all noble morality grows out of a triumphant saying ‘yes’ to itself, slave morality says ‘no’ on principle to everything that is ‘outside’, ‘other’, ‘non-self’: and this ‘no’ is its creative deed.’ It is possible to understand this relation that Nietzsche brilliantly revealed to the world the trope of resentment ressentiment a revolt within morality itself providing the creation of values.

 

  1. (1stessay, §13) What does Nietzsche say here about choice and personality and how does it relate to Kierkegaard’s view?

 

This is an interesting question and it shows both of our existentialist forefathers to be extremely relevant to life today. When numinous Nietzsche suggests the battle in judging the relation between birds of prey and the tender lamb one may also translate that into Kierkegaard’s discussion in Either/Or which is a pseudonymous play on authentic identity and a reaction to the Hegelianism of his time. One would see the two positions developed individually to really share a great deal in that through their writings the modern individual and secular experience of either choice or free will?

 

  1. (2ndessay, §16) Do you think that in Nietzsche’s opinion we should return to being ‘half animals’?

 

Again, a good question and difficult to answer there are two parts to it the notion of half animals and the return. Developing Nietzsche’s thought one of the greatest readers of Nietzsche… Gilles Deleuze invites us to become animal – are we then to answer by repenting our repressed animality? One does not think this would be agreeable to Nietzsche I imagine he would urge you to understand the animal which you could become[…]