November 30, 2012

Intentionality and consciousness implicit in Matter

Ananda Coomaraswamy: A Gentle Introduction from Centre Right India by Sandeep Balakrishna Nov 29, 2012
The period that roughly began in the latter half of the 19th Century and lasted till about the 1960s in India is truly a Golden Age in many respects. It was the era that spawned both an upheaval, and a revival of the highest order. The revival was cultural and spiritual, which transformed India and helped an enormous mass of Indians rediscover their own selves. This revival formed the moral, ethical, spiritual, and philosophical foundations for the Indian freedom struggle against the British. In today’s parlance, it is what is today known as Hindu revivalism.
A galaxy of extremely accomplished people who began this process should rightly be regarded as the true progenitors of the freedom struggle. As with pretty much everything that India should rightly feel proud of, the Nehruvian state has long discarded these heroes. Perhaps a Swami Vivekananda and an Aurobindo Ghosh happen to be the exceptions to this Nehruvian phenomenon.
Ananda K Coomaraswamy happens to be one such forgotten hero, a true intellectual warrior who waged a fierce war against motivated attempts by missionaries and the West to distort and vilify Hinduism and its various facets. It is a cruel testimony to the kind of depths that we’ve plumbed because most Indians haven’t even heard the name of this giant…
Pretty prophetic and starkly accurate especially when we note that the most successful failed B.A was Jawaharlal Nehru who spawned an ecosystem which is dominated by the likes of the anchors of today’s English news channels. The price India has paid for perpetuating the Macaulayite education system is staggering. It has resulted in a continuing erosion of national and cultural identity. Most of urban India today has been reduced to a Wasteland inhabited by fabulous imitators of imported Western ideologies… This is the kind of insight, forthrightness, and honesty that characterizes everything he’s written, and that which today’s scholarship lacks. 

Justice and reconciliation from The Immanent Frame by Colleen Murphy Nov 30, 2012
Histories of violence and injustice leave marks of damage, despair, and pain. The central question Daniel Philpott considers in his book Just and Unjust Peace: An Ethic of Political Reconciliation is: “What does justice consist of in the wake of its massive despoliation?” The answer, Philpott argues, is political reconciliation. At first glance, this answer seems odd… The justice of reconciliation is not primarily the justice of desert (as in retributive justice or what Philpott calls balance retributivism) or justice as fairness (as in Rawls’s theory of distributive justice).
The justice of political reconciliation prioritizes the repairing of relationships and evaluates the justice of an action on the basis of what will achieve the repair that injustice creates; it is not fundamentally about responding to individuals and their actions in a manner that is in some sense fitting or due. Indeed, rather than resonating with the justice of retributivism and distributive justice articulated and defended by secularists and prevalent within liberal democratic communities, part of Philpott’s task is to problematize and challenge these notions. Of course all traditions, including secular liberal traditions, have their critics. Restorative justice is a secular movement, and it is to this understanding of justice that Philpott appeals when demonstrating that justice as reconciliation can become the subject of an overlapping consensus that includes secularists. However, restorative justice remains a somewhat minority view, and thus only a minority of secularists are likely to be included in the consensus Philpott envisions.

This is a talk I gave back in September for my colleagues at CIIS during our annual retreat to Esalen in Big Sur, CA.

Alright, so those of us who haven’t been hoodwinked by Latour litanies or a form of Husserlian phenomenology presented in a pedantic form are kind of used to these occasional passive aggressive bullying outbursts from Harman. The bullying rhetoric from OOOers of various stripes functions in the same way each time, beginning with some proclamation of good intention followed incredibly insulting remarks before then putting the onus of the bullying on the one subjected to the bullying by claiming that it is in fact they who scream at them…
But when I use the untrademarked version of speculative realism I am thinking more of the general thrust of this movement towards realism, engagement with the sciences, materialism, so not Harmanian OOO in any specific sense. Nor am I thinking there is some filial relation. To my mind non-philosophy is a living project, not a historical one, and so my claim, understood by I think readers without weird label protecting agendas, is that Laruelle’s realist theory sure looks a lot like other realist theories in Continental philosophy. Harman is very fond of claiming that only he and de Landa were calling themselves realists back in the 90′s. The truth is that the early Laruelle as early as Principe de minorité was calling himself a realist and exploring a form of thought that would be neither correlatioinist nor absolutist (the main difference between his work and Meillassoux’s). 

Tweets 2h - Levi Bryant @onticologist 4) This allows me to bring in all sorts of Lacan, Marx, Baudrillard, etc., without reducing objects. 2h 3) I've been able to develop a much more robust place for semiotic machines vis a vis their account of incorporeal transformation. 2h 2) Drawing on Deleuze and Guattari's account of content and expression, 2h 1) Just hit the 150pg mark in Onto-Cartography. I'm currently working on a section chapter 5.2 entitled "Content and Expression".

Back in the 1930s, a French psychoanalyst and philosopher by the name of Jacques Lacan began his life’s work—an attempt to create the framework by which the human psyche could be analyzed within modern civilization. Such was his influence that Lacanian thought not only left a mark on the field of psychoanalysis but found integration in Marxist thought, most notably with Michel Foucault, Jean Baudrillard and Slavoj Zizek. Like many 19th and 20th century thinkers, Lacan was particularly influenced by George Wilhelm Fredrik Hegel. After failing a physical to enter the French army, Lacan took to studying psychoanalysis. By 1934 Lacan had published “On Paranoiac Psychosis in its Relations to the Personality.” The work did not cause much of a ripple, except in Parisian Surrealist circles.
The psychoanalytical umbilicus between Lacanian psychoanalysis and Surrealism is fairly-well established. A young Lacan published work in the Surrealist review Minotaur, and associated with Andre Breton and the radically-influential novelist and philosopher Georges Bataille(author of “The Story of the Eye”). Lacan, inspired by the Surrealists and their automatic writing, went on to create work that inspired philosophers like Gilles Deleuze (“Capitalism and Schizophrenia, co-written with Felix Guatarri), Foucault (especially his panoptic disciplinary consciousness) and Baudrillard (simulated reality); whose work in turn has helped us better understand the modern, media-driven political world in which we live.
It is true that the Surrealists, only a few years after coalescing, abandoned the idea of pure automatic writing, with Breton, Bataille, Louis Aragon and Phillipe Souppault, amongst others, writing critical Surrealist novels. But the efforts in automatism were vital. Language, ossified by the upper classes and imposed on all throughout history, needed to be liberated by “pure psychic automatism.” Breton may have been the “high priest of Surrealism,” ex-communicating members for trivial transgressions, but he was right about language.
At this moment, I, the writer, and you, the reader, are partaking at a banquet of language that we did not create—a system superimposed on our consciousness. The raw material of our minds is rendered by the symbolic aspect of language, and there is no escaping it; unless one takes psychedelics, descends into madness, attains a hightened non-symbolic spiritual state, or disrupts the historical, psychological superstructure of language.

Abstract: Rather than delve into the potential theo-logic of a Butlerian “constructivist” account of gender, this blog post proposes that we pause, and instead question the discursive operations undergirding the very idea of “the future of systematic theology.” 
Originally, I wanted to outline a bit of a Butlerian “constructivist” account of gender and examine the theological overlay/import, to lay out what I see as a potential alternative to a “Christianly gendered” theology… In Giving an Account of Oneself, Butler is quite clear that the socially-constructed self does not eliminate agency or norms, or even the need for norms. The “problem is not with universality,” she explains, “but with an operation of universality that fails to be responsive to cultural particularity and fails to undergo a reformulation of itself in response to the social and cultural conditions it includes within its scope of applicability” (6). The task, rather,  is to acknowledge and interrogate norms, to recognize the ways norms function to constitute oneself in relation with the other. This is what seems to be eschewed in many conversations that assume essentialist gender claims—i.e. the assumed connection between feminism and receptivity.
As I say in an earlier footnote, for a critique of gender—and sexual—essentialism—I highly recommend Butler’s Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. What Butler does is this text is demonstrate how discourse shapes reality in terms of producing (gendered) subjectivities, and that this has oppressive and violent consequences. 

The deeper modern science goes in exploring Matter, the closer it comes to an understanding that there is a spiritual self-conscious being that manifests itself in the universe, and that Matter is a form of Spirit. First, the scientists recognized that Matter is Energy. Then further research yielded the understanding that Energy is Consciousness. When we look at modern physics, quantum theory, string theory and other cutting-edge theories, we find scientists now recognizing more and more clearly the intentionality and the consciousness implicit in the world of Matter. Matter is not dead, inanimate and simply dense “stuff”. It is actually alive with energy; in fact, so much energy that releasing it can create enormous power as we see in atom bombs and nuclear power plants!
What is missing when we see Matter as “inanimate” is simply that we do not have the ability to see and understand the packed intensity and density of Matter. Just as we now recognize an electro-magnetic spectrum that includes waves that are both above and below our threshold of perception, there are expressions of energy and consciousness both above and below our ability to perceive them.

The Ultimate Foundation Of A True Sociology from ANTIDOTE by Sauvik von Chakraverti SATURDAY, 9 JUNE 2012
This, then, is the “constant” – the Individual Mind. This is the “epistemological foundation” of this New Science. This approach was inaugurated by Carl Menger, the founder of the Austrian School of Economics, in the 1880s and, after him, fully developed by Ludwig von Mises during the 20th century.
It was Mises, in the first 100 pages of his Human Action: A Treatise on Economics, who first outlined the constant features of the trading human mind, features common to us all - and these he termed "mental categories" that are embedded within the mind's "logical structure." Mises took a very different view of this mind, a view that distinguished him from John Locke and many other philosophers, who believed that the mind was a tabula rasaupon which experience wrote its own story. “No,” said Mises, preferring to cite Leibniz, who said, “there is nothing in the intellect that has not been previously in the senses – except the intellect itself.”
In other words, the logical structure of the human mind comes as a “given” to us – given, that is, before any experience. Indeed, without it, we would not know how to “categorise” experiences. We would not know how to "grasp the meaning" of the "concepts" these mental categories represent. There would be no difference between us and the animals – had it not been for our very human reason.
For example, Capital is one such category Mises listed, and along with this he listed Income. These are to be found in the minds of any nomadic herdsman who "counts his sheep" and, while he may sell of consume some, makes sure that the size of his herd does not diminish: that is, he is careful not to "consume capital." His natural "good sense" makes him "accumulate capital."

Review of the Economic Ideas of Ander Chydenius Perhaps Anticipating Adam Smith from Adam Smith's Lost Legacy by Gavin Kennedy Nov 29, 2012 "Anticipating The Wealth of Nations: The Selected Works of Anders Chydenius (1729-1803)" Published by EH.Net (November 2012) Maren Jonasson and Pertti Hyttinen, editors, Anticipating The Wealth of Nations: The Selected Works of Anders Chydenius (1729-1803). Translated from the original by Peter C. Hogg. London: Routledge, 2012.

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