Problematik

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achievement, in Alva Noë, isn’t it again a question of achieving the continuities from which the natural, narrative, memorial, experiential continua of phenomenological consensus are performed?

and so a break in these continuities, a distraction, shock, or the discontinuities in consciousness, material, pharmacological, artistic, involuntary, are these not signs of a production of presence? a genesis of experience?

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society speaks – celebrity roast busters –

and contrary to Margaret Thatcher’s assertion that society does not exist, something seems to have stirred the ashes and provoked a moralising media Hydra. It is a monster that invokes its own monstrosity in naming those it condemns: who are horrible monsters, who leave us crying with rage, who are condemned for crimes without proof of guilt or of innocence apart from that aroused by consensus in the media. They are of course simulacral crimes waving their wands over the waste, simulacral but not fake crimes, crimes the punishment for which insists most fervidly on silencing the perpetrators, in other words, removing them from the consensus they seem to have created and erred against, banning them from participation in the society they gratify by bolstering it in its sodality as contra, as pure shared revenge, resentment, as sharing and liking sharing itself – sharing, that is, its lust to see itself in its own lights as good and just, moral and true. What happens when the monsters speak? but the monsters are chattering now all at once!

Giovanni Tiso, fellow blogger, I salute you! Psychology lecturer, Neville Robertson – who can find boys guilty of rape by intention and then aberrantly claim that outrage at the behaviour is understandable but should also be directed at “the social conditions which helped create it.” [here]

The appearance of the ministers has its wistfully ironic overtones: Police Minister Anna Tolley and Justice Minister Judith Collins simper from under their slap urging “the young female victims of the Roast Busters sex gang to find the courage to come forward and give evidence.” [here] Why? So that justice with the requisite police enforcement – and allocation of resources – can be seen to be done.

They went into it wanting fame. Now the police are advising them on their own safety. Safety from whom? well, from society, of course!

Do I hate that these young people have become a “teen rape group”? [here] No. I think there ought to be a pussy riot.

The cost of morality is however counted as the value of advertising to Radio Live (to quote in full because it fills me with hope for a backlash or a front to backlash or front lash with ermine trim – because where, after all, have shame and taste gone? – and, since I find myself in this heady parenthesis, cui bono? the girls whose honour is in question? What, in fact, about their shame? the erstwhile left whose pusillanimous outpourings have them sound more like the moral majority? What does Giovanni Tiso gain? What do I?):

ANZ, Yellow and Freeview have confirmed they are cancelling their ads on the show, and AA Insurance has indicated the same.

It came after blogger Giovanni Tiso contacted around 30 companies which advertised on the Willie and JT Show yesterday, asking them if they would reconsider their support of the programme.

He has so far received four responses, only one of which, from Countdown, said they were retaining their contract with the station.

here

I would like to end by asking Roast Busters? ‘Roasts’ are allegedly those naughty parties exaggerated and problematised online – or otherwise ‘busted’ [here] I am aware of another kind of roast, called the Celebrity Roast.

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to present this material can seem to be the result of having gone looking for proofs naturalising a Jewish – or Zionist – anti-democratic and anti-liberal proclivity – particularly if one is to extrapolate to the dominance of neoliberalism by “social and economic categories” – and subtract the centrality of the Shoah from historical understanding as itself historically emerging and contingent – but here we can see Deleuze’s definition of the event as emergence or emergency from an anumeric mutliplicity of potentials

democracy was a catastrophe for Jews, who thrived in liberal autocracies: notably in the window that opened up between the eighteenth-century Austrian Empire under Joseph II and its curious apotheosis in the long reign of Emperor Franz Joseph II, from 1848 to 1916, an era of ongoing political constraint but cultural and economic liberation. Mass society posed new and dangerous challenges: not only were Jews now a serviceable political target, but they were losing the increasingly ineffectual protection of the royal or imperial figurehead. In order to survive this turbulent transition, European Jews had either to disappear altogether or else change the rules of the political game.

Hence the emerging Jewish proclivity, in the early decades of the twentieth century, for non-democrativ forms of radical change with an accompanying insistence upon the irrelevance of religion, language or ethnicity and a primacy attached to social and economic categories in their place; hence too the much-remarked presence of Jews in the first generation of left-wing authoritarian regimes that emerged from the revolutionary upheavals of the age. Looking forward from 1918, or back from the present day, this seems to me perfectly comprehensible: short of an active commitment to Zionism or else departure for other continents, the only hope for the Jews of Europe was either perpetuation of the imperial status quo or else radical, transformative opposition to the nation-states that succeeded it.

– Tony Judt with Timothy Snyder, Thinking the Twentieth Century, Vintage, London, 2013, pp. 19-20

we cannot, if we wish to give a fair account of the recent past, read back into it our own ethical or communitarian priorities. The harsh reality is that Jews, Jewish suffering and Jewish extermination were not matters of overwhelming concern to most Europeans (Jews and Nazis aside) of that time. The centrality we now assign the Holocaust, both as Jews and as humanitarians, is something that only emerged decades later.

– Ibid., p. 22

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“Does this not promise a safer world, protected not only from bad actors attempting to do dangerous things, but from bad actors developing dangerous thoughts?”

I link to George Dyson

on NSA’s

“spectacular intelligence”

via Alan Turing

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capital: essential listening

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another time, perhaps

What is consciousness but language? asks Gilles Deleuze, in a work concerned with another question, What is language?

Language is a sign-signal system, according to Deleuze, which wouldn’t mean very much until we remember that signs are assemblages. They are independent networks of disparate entities, which work under the sign of being and being elements. Signs are constructed. The work that they do is signalling.

Signs signal in series. But does language have this sense of continuity and flow, of ceaseless series, sign-signal to sign-signal, because the passage from sign to signal occurs within time, in the present, or is it language which precedes this sense of time?

The problem I am adducing to is the following:

The mephistophelian character, Andreas Corelli, in Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s very enjoyable book, The Angel’s Game, has this to say about what fables teach us:

They teach us that human beings learn and absorb ideas and concepts through narrative, through stories, not through lessons or theoretical speeches. This is what any of the great religious texts teach us. They’re all tales about characters who must confront life and overcome obstacles, figures setting off on a journey of spiritual enrichment through exploits and revelations. All holy books are, above all, great stories whose plots deal with the basic aspects of human nature, setting them within a particular moral context and a particular framework of supernatural dogmas.

Zafón, Carlos Ruiz, The Angel’s Game, trans. Lucia Graves, Text Publishing, Melbourne, 2009, p. 192

Stories give the natural impression of passing from one thing to the next. They make it appear natural for God to have created mud and from mud formed Eve and her sister. Narration naturalises what fables do, which is fabulate. But isn’t the most fabulous idea that human beings have absorbed through stories the concept on which narrative and language itself relies, rests and lies: time? And isn’t consciousness part of the fabric of this story, this history?

What happens if the link is broken between sign and signal? What happens where there is no next or and then? where the link, the nature of which was always a fabrication, is denaturalised?

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Cultural Colonisation: Dilemma of the small nation – part of a substantial archive of similar material. The question: Is it worth digging up a horse that has been flogged to death just to flog it again? You tell me. I await your response with interest.

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empathetic machinism – to soft_skinned_space

Antonio Damasio (Looking for Spinoza) shows, to simplify, the material neuronal causes of such feelings as empathy in the brain. Catherine Malabou goes further. She invents in The New Wounded, self-consciously, the philosophical concept of “cerebrality” to provide an aetiology for psychic events. She cites the argument of Bruno Bettelheim implying a shared causality of psychological symptoms in autists and mussulmen – the 1000 yard stare and – the indifference.

From Malabou’s preamble: “this book is a belated reaction to the ordeal of depersonalisation to which my grandmother was subjected as Alzheimer’s disease operated upon her. I say “operated” because it seemed to me that my grandmother, or, at least, the new and ultimate version of her, was the work of the disease, its opus, its own sculpture. Indeed, this was not a diminished person in front of me, the same woman weaker than she used to be, lessened, spoiled. No, this was a stranger who didn’t recognise me, who didn’t recognise herself because she had undoubtedly never met her before.”

And: “I was perfectly aware – along with everyone who must endure the same spectacle in their own lives – that this absence, this disaffection, this strangeness to oneself were, without any possible doubt, the paradoxical signs of profound pain. Later, I learned that Alzheimer’s disease is a cerebral pathology. Could it be that the brain suffers? Could it be that this suffering manifests itself in the form of indifference to suffering? In the form of the inability to experience suffering as one’s own? Could it be that there is a type of suffering that creates a new identity, the unknown identity of an unknown person who suffers? Could it be that cerebral suffering is precisely such suffering?”

I’d like to ask the opposite: if it could be that an as yet for us unknown person, an identity in the process of creation, can be equal to cerebral suffering, in the sense in which Deleuze issues the Stoic challenge of being equal to the wound which afflicts us? or in other words, acting?

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a letter to empyre soft_skinned_space on the subject of screens added here for interest even if leaving much unsaid

My father went to the cinema every Saturday where he saw the newsreels showing the liberation of the camps. The two things were always linked in his reminiscence:  the joy of the screen and its stars and ‘having to see’ what ‘had to be seen.’ ‘Had to be’ because the postlogue usually went, You didn’t, did you? to my mother, as if she’d been both deprived enjoyment and spared knowledge.

No. She hadn’t seen – and therefore didn’t ‘know’ – since her parents wouldn’t let her go to the cinema. It wasn’t until she had boyfriends who would take her that she went to movies by which time the newsreels had given way to shorts, even cartoons, before the main feature.

My father was prepared you might say by this double exposure to the screen for a life in the theatre. But his unpublished novels have a cinematic quality.

The theatre seriously in the 1970s took up the problem or crisis of representation associated with Adorno’s name as with Celan’s. The fact theatre was not by then a popular medium but on its way to being museumised made it a place where it was sometimes possible to ask difficult questions. Sometimes, that is, when its practitioners were not already in complicity with the rising economic rationale.

Cinema seems to have come late to such a tragic recognition of the limits of representation at which complicity becomes general, for example in Michael Haneke’s Caché. A different complicity than that by which artists would join forces with capitalism. But equal, in so far as there is a lessening of the power to choose. However, in the case of seeing newsreels of the liberation of Auschwitz it is involuntary, and not thereafter innocent, and in the case of accepting the inevitability of the economic rationalisation of every facet of life and society, it is voluntary, and therefore not innocent.

Compulsory viewing was a moral category and the screen had the physical authority to insist that its viewers not turn their heads away. Its resources possibly exhausted, long since having reached peak Plato, still it is worthwhile in this regard recalling the cave. In its darkness men, women, children are captivated by the shadows projected on the cave wall of a procession of real objects and events. Held captive, they can neither turn away nor see over the barrier below which reality parades, firelight behind it casting its image as the only visible reality. Except for the philosopher who breaks out.

First he sees the whole theatrical or cinematographic set-up, the cave, the bound men, women, children, the barrier, the firelight and the actual things and events in motion before it. But this epiphany is insufficient for him to free the others. So he exits the cave. And finds out where everything has come from, which so far only firelight has set flickering in shadows up the cave wall, which so far has appeared only in insubstantial series. This is not yet enough to make him a hero rescuer, a freedom fighter and go back; he returns but is somehow trapped in his knowledge and lessened by it.

He chooses another medium, in other words, prepared by this double exposure to the screen. Nevertheless, his dialogues have this quality of theatrical or cinematic presentation.

Compulsory viewing is now an aesthetic contribution. Seeing Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life is compulsory. Nobody wants to (be seen to) force anybody to see anything real even if (unseen) they try it on: the double articulation of sharism and advertising leads to a voluntary screenism. Which, being voluntary, is not innocent.

A general break is advocated for sometimes militated for from being held captive to totalitarian modernity. The spectacle, that is, of politics.

The multiplication of screens has passed a critical threshold but not one of ubiquity, rather a ubiquitous or immanent atomic threshold. Since this multiplication has proceeded in two directions: miniaturisation and universal mobility.

Screens have sunk into the skin of our modernity. Our post-atomic modernity. And behind this skin, a light. Plath’s lampshade or a general state of illumination behind the realm of husks and shells, Qlipphoth. But also within the space of this skin – perforations.

A general screenism perforates reality which porosity acts as a filter stretched across the world, described by Leibniz. And where these mediatic pores combine screens with cameras the sum effect of universal visibility is in fact invisibility. A general and generalisable status quo.

It is no coincidence that schools do not bar pupils from watching they attempt to ban touching. [ref] Screens touch. They ‘bump.’ A euphemism for fucking.

Screens are in the process of becoming skins. Whether by transplant, substitution or extension into new powers of affecting and being affected is a good question. 

I look forward to the tactility of screens, the new haptic qualities, where research continues, beyond the general atomism of the screen and its presentation of modernity, post-screen… [link]

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B U S I N E S S M U S T B E P R O P I T I A T E D

Mark Fisher of k-punk on SOCIAL IMAGINATION amongst other essential things, like the intensification of neoliberalism in extremis

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