the prescribed consensus
May 13, 2014, 10:01 am
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: , , ,

Lew Rockwell's photo.

Not sure I agree with this entirely, but it is a point of view … I’ve always seen education as a liberating agent but, like any complex thing, it has more than one characteristic.

love not possession
January 24, 2011, 4:41 pm
Filed under: brave new world, the sweet life | Tags: , , , , , ,

Here is a definition of philosophy by Critchley which is quite democratic.  It wrestles the discipline out of the iron grip of the intelligentsia of the day – sophistry – and presents it transparently for anyone and everyone who will have it.  It says it can’t be owned or quantified, and rather it is a quest, a procession toward friendship and knowledge and truth.

Last month I was sitting in the office of a dean of a school, pitching a new course.  I was making a case for a connection between high energy consumption and outdated property development ideas, and I happened to mention blogs among other media as a source for my observations.  And got a wrinkled nose from the university administrator.

He’s in his 50s and has a PhD in history and a blog simply isn’t a good source of information.  His retiscence protects quality; and it also commodifies and controls sources of knowledge.  The new media tends toward democracy, shattering that block between the academy and people.  Maybe like the church replacing it’s Latin liturgy for the peasant lingua franca.  The sudden new knowledge is a flush of love.

From the book:

So philosophy begins with a critique of the Sophists; the Sophists are those people who claim to know and offer to exchange knowledge for a fee.  Philosophy begins with a critique of Sophistry and its claims to knowledge.  In place of the sophistical pretensions to wisdom, philosophy offers a love of wisdom, a philia, an orientation of the soul towards the true, which is not the possession of the true.  So philosophy begins with love in a non-erotic sense:  a kind of friendship, usually between men, usually between an older man and a younger man.

How to Stop Living and Start Worrying, Simon Critchley

January 14, 2011, 6:58 pm
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: , , ,

This excerpt by Erich Fromm describes necrophilia in terms of sadism, control, work and technology.  Necrophilia is literally love of death, which on its face sounds absurd, until we realize, with a closer look, that it’s actually a description of our lives.

In an advanced stage capitalist society like this one Fromm’s observations about money and ownership resonate.  Ideological intractable views about ownership show an unwillingness to define our relationships in human, living terms.  Are they necrophilic?

Continue reading

ceaseless pollulation, perpetual innovation
March 5, 2008, 11:37 pm
Filed under: chronotopes | Tags: , , , , ,

It is a fundamentally hopeful act to challenge the reductive instruments of our established institutions, and their intended roles of measure, management and mastery.  Our instrumental culture routinely exits nature, which is relentlessly innovative, indifferent and changing, to define, master and ultimately neuter its volatile and contingent character.

“But Western Being,” the voices of our institutions will protest, “is time, and has been so since the very dawn of modernity” – since the advent of rationalized accounting practices, the discovery of universal mechanical laws and constants, the application of systematic techniques for governing populations, the rise of humanistic disciplines and experimental method, the birth of the Cartesian or modern ‘self.’  But the forms of time expressed in these seemingly disparate historical developments are not, strictly speaking, ‘real’ at all, but only chimeras of an emerging and very specific instrumental culture; they are, in a word, abstractions – ingenious tools contrived to distribute the senseless procession of events in nature within an external, thinkable space of measure, management, and mastery.

But nature itself is wild, indifferent and accidental; it is a ceaseless pollulation and unfolding, a dense evolutionary plasma of perpetual differentiation and innovation.  Each thing, it may be said, changes and arrives in time, yet the posture of externality that permits precise measure and perfect mastery can be struck and assumed only in space; one must first withdraw oneself from the profuse, organic flux in which things are given, isolate discrete instants as projected frozen sections, and then interpolate abstract laws like so much mortar to rejoin these sections from the new perspective.  But the very gesture that carries thought away from the ‘event’ and toward the ‘thing’ abstracts and spatializes time in the act of instrumentalizing it; it subjugates the contingency and volatility of time by reconstituting it external to phenomena as a finitude and a regularity: it becomes a technique of measurement embodied in economic axioms and algebraic laws.

~Sanford Kwinter, ‘The Complex and the Singular,’ Architectures of Time , The MIT Press