Anna Longo’s essay on Meillassoux and Deleuze

Techno Occulture

In Anna Longo’s essay The Contingent Emergence of Thought in Quentin Meillassoux’s Time without becoming she explicitly states that Meillaussoux’s goal is to demonstrate that reason is not only able to know the in it-self but also to know it as completely heterogeneous and totally independent: thought can know dead matter as something with which it shares nothing, not an origin, nor the condition of its being.1 Two things this does: first, it makes of Meillassoux an absolute dualist; and, second, it seems to align him with the trope “dead matter” or the inorganic that has been a staple of both mechanistic philosophy and scientific naturalism for centuries. As she tells us Meillassoux’s materialism is defined by its ability to “access things as a total exteriority, to access them as completely different from the living intelligent subject. This materialist assumption entails an original solution to the question of the genesis of…

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Jean-Pierre Dupuy: Economy and the Future: A Crisis of Faith

Techno Occulture

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Modern societies, in pulling down all the old barriers, all the prohibitions, rituals, and symbolic conceptions that once worked to curb human violence, unleashed new forces of unprecedented creativity. But these were counterbalanced by new forces of unprecedented destructiveness, so that the world was transformed into a single community of human beings living under the threat of being reduced to ashes, scattered among piles of radioactive rubble.

Little by little, Economy emancipated itself from the shackles of the sacred. Once held in check by religion, and then by politics, it has today become both our religion and our politics. No longer subject to any higher authority, it cannot decide our future, or make us a world in which to live: it has become our future and our world. Advanced postindustrial societies have been well and truly mystified, in the original sense of that word, and their politicians hoodwinked. The result…

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Tom Sparrow: From Anti-Realism to Speculative Realism

Techno Occulture

 

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Finally able to begin a back log of reading material that I’ve put off for several months. Several works in the past year or so have come out dealing with Speculative Realism (SR). Four in particular I’m in process of reading are

  1. Speculative Realism: Problems and Prospects by Peter Gratton
  2. The Universe of Things: On Speculative Realism by Steven Shaviro
  3. The End of Phenomenology: Metaphysics and the New Realism by Tom Sparrow
  4. Object-Oriented Philosophy: The Noumenon’s New Clothes by Peter Wolfendale

For personal reasons I started with Tom Sparrow’s work which outlines a case against the anti-realist tradition of phenomenology which he argues lacks both a method and a hard core kernel of realist philosophy. He takes Merleau Ponty to task in his appraisal of phenomenology as a style of philosophy, when Ponty states that in his opinion: “the responsible philosopher must be that phenomenology can be practised and…

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Barbara Nickles reviews Ari Figue’s Cat

Review on Forward Reviews

An experiment in poetic prose, nonlinear scenes, and even font style, this novel offers a tale of a vibrant city full of mystery.

Ari Figue’s Cat is Jacob Russell’s deep, perplexing novel of finding love in the least likely of places, and its complexity will either enthrall or completely alienate readers. But for those who enjoy experimental literature, this book will entertain.

Memorial Day, Gil Johnson

They Uphold and Protect Our Freedom.
They are Heroes.
Happy Memorial Day.
In which we memorialize the living and the dead alike.
There’s little distinction between our collective national commendation and extolling on one hand of Armed People abroad and our excoriation and indifference towards them at home on our other hand. Both treatments live in our use of that little word Hero. Our Armed People are Heroes more than we, because, in our stories, they have gone out into the world, and encountered death, and returned changed. That change real or imagined is tragic in a personal sense, because in this story where they are Heroes, they are no longer of us. We can extoll them but we can’t understand them.
As tragic, more tragic, differently tragic, is the source in our souls of this ongoing personal need to sacrifice our children to Heroism: we feel enslaved, perceive ourselves as inescapably burdened. The common cycle of economic debt is embraced by a people who have come to view themselves as indebted to the larger society for their very existence: if we are to be so much as fed, clothed, loved, we must EARN it, and this might be a positive value if the earning were possible. But nothing is asked of us, other than to competitively succeed over our brothers, and nothing is given to us but with the demand that we do what is asked of us.
We have no freedom to search, abroad or in ourselves, for the witches, the talking animals, for the Ogres of Death which would grind our bones to a heroic rebirth. We must Work.
Enter the Armed People, who accept a higher call. Who march as god’s own soldiers, armored with our Ideology, who march right out of our lives onto the pages of Grimm’s Be All You Can Be commercials. Once gone from our sight, they embody the freedom and action and triumph of will, the Puritan Strength of our ancestors courses through them, and through them we revolt in our spirits against the Oppressors and Evils of the world, and through them we are made Free.
And if they return? How should we meet their eyes?
If they have done all our hearts have demanded, their eyes will shame us with knowledge and strength we were too timid to embrace. They were never really like us at all, or they would not have left, or we would have gone too.
If they meet our eyes as equals, more horrible. Did they fail? Were they undeserving? Was there never really a chance, no higher thing for them to find or become? Did we risk them for nothing? Did we cower at home from nothing?
Better they should not return.
No wonder we most revere the dead.
The Ultimate Sacrifice.
Our Ultimate Sacrifice.
May the smoke of our offerings please them in Heaven.

A Classic Drawing Book: Everything is Political!

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You can find telling social information in places where you might not expect it–though for Andrew Loomis, who worked as a commercial artist, it shouldn’t be surprising. I downloaded a PDF of his Figure Drawing for All it’s Worth–first published in the 30’s, out of curiosity, because I remembered it from my uncle–who also was a comercial artist, and whose drawing always bore the mark of that style.
What struck me as I read the text and looked at these highly idealized figures, was how uncritically this was presented. No indication of awareness of the social and political impact–the unrealistically idealized figures, in proportion–their nordic whiteness, the not entirely implicit marginalization and exclusion of anything outside of those lines. One comparitive set of figures is partiularly telling. From the “heroic” 9 1/2 head tall figure on the right, to the 8 1/2 head ‘fashion’ figure, the “normal-ideal” 8 head figure, standard for comerical art, to the 7 1/2 head figure on the left (naturally), described as unpleasently “squat” and not suited for or acceptable for commerical work–drawn with a droopy, black mustache–the undesirable southern or eastern European. It goes without saying, there were no black bodies, or Asian faces.
Again, what struck me was the absolute silence, the total absense of any critical understanding of the role played out here in comodifiying certain bodies and devaluing others, it’s racism–all that it was teaching besides how to draw (some types of) human figures.
A drawing book from Reagon’s mythical White America.