July 2017

… on the beach

He goes to find a sun lounger.

“Can I have one that’s more pretentious?” Tomas asks an attendant.

“Of course, Sir, but only on condition that you make yourself ridiculous.”

— James Palumbo, Tomas, Quartet Books, London, 2009.

 

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Empty Life – Vandana Shiva on the plunder blunder

It seems that the Western powers are still driven by the colonizing impulse to discover, conquer, own, and possess everything, every society, every culture. The colonies have now been extended to the interior spaces, the “genetic codes” of life-forms from microbes and plants to animals, including humans.

John Moore, a cancer patient, had his cell lines patented by his own doctor. In 1996, Myriad Pharmaceuticals, a U.S.-based company, patented the breast cancer gene in women in order to get a monopoly on diagnostics and testing. The cell lines of the Hagahai of Papua New Guinea and the Guami of Panama are patented by the U.S. commerce secretary.

The natural development and exchange of knowledge has, in effect, been criminalized by the Economic Espionage Act of 1996, which became U.S. law on September 17 and empowers U.S. intelligence agencies to investigate the ordinary activities of people worldwide. The act considers the intellectual property rights of U.S. corporations as vital to national security.

The assumption of empty lands, terra nullius, is now being expanded to “empty life”: seeds and medicinal plants.

– Vandana Shiva, Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature & Knowledge, 1999

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mellow waves

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a subjective position is a way out

A world is only constituted on condition of being inhabited by an umbilical point of deconstruction, of detotalization, of deterritorialization, starting from which a taking of subjective position is incarnated.

– Guattari, The Schizo Chaosmosis (1991), in The Guattari Effect, 2011, p. 19

…do you see what you’ve been missing? Your act of world-making is not a reductive totalisation. Your positing of self is not projection. Your viewpoint doesn’t stretch from your mouth like a strand of bubblegum, that wraps the world up, around which you construct a bubble, in which, at the centre of which, you have no choice but to be mirrorstruck. You do not go around the world’s block peeing on lampposts to bring it into line with a kind of ownership, however illusory. Your world is not your beat. But your beat is the recurring fold of a subject-making.

Your world is not a speech bubble, a form floating from off of your lips at its pointiest end, where it arrows into your head. You do not blow and make it rise. It is not suspended by your effort, by your desiring production, even by your wish-fulfilment. It is not self-gratifying. But it leads you on a dance.

You dance out of your own omphalos. At the umbilical point, you are the world’s bubble, its speech-bubble. It doesn’t know what it is going to say, until you say it. It is already moving away from its own control, and it is already out of yours.

It undoes itself in your hands, in your eyes, in your mouth. It is a placenta auto-evacuating… you are born from it.

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