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Day 7+

…the difficulty of taking on Chomsky’s warnings about the threat to democracy is that it has already been given away because of the threat posed to it by authoritarian takeover, most latterly shown to insist in populism.

…the social order henceforth and the market are coincident.

No coherent political position can be made from this current state of (exception or) affairs, except an economic one: a managerial or administrative position. Such as that described by H.G. Adler in Der verwaltete Mensch.

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Day 5

Raymond Ruyer’s book Neofinalism begins, after the death of God the question is not What is true? but What makes sense?

The question is not whether this or that truly exists but whether its existence makes sense. Its existence, Ruyer is quick to point out, implies ours: does yours makes sense? Does yours makes sense, without truth?

Without truth to make sense of it, does your existence make sense? And is its existence intelligible? Is there any meaning to existence?

Yes there is, immediately personalises it. As does, No there isn’t.

Each assumes the making of sense. Is a commentary on it. Unnecessary.

Truth would seem to be unnecessary to sense. But sense was how truth was found out because how God was found it, launching the new truism: eventually, whatever the prevailing truth, it does not make sense.

But there are certain truths, mathematical or geometrical, aren’t there? which make, will always make, sense. Eternal truths. Demonstrable and experiential truths. Existential truths.

But are they important? Is not their importance simply derived from a godlike quality of being forever true?

What a poor investment the truth has made if all it has to show forever is that the sum of a triangle’s angles… or a line extended… or any constant value… Its constancy itself is its downfall.

It does not require your interest. It does not even need you to notice for it to be true in perpetuity. Like God, when it comes down to it.

That God stopped making sense is not so much the issue as that belief in God ceased to matter.

Is this not the case for triangles, long division, differential equations, for everything from the simplest function to the most speculative?

What is important and is there meaning are one and the same question.

The problem is the point of view of eternity versus the point of view of one who exists. It is not yet a question of consciousness.

Consciousness presupposes the sense of what exists. As Ruyer shows.

And we are strangely attached to what exists and to who.

What is important once our own existence is in question comes to concern not what makes sense so much as what makes sense of our existence.

What is important concerns not what is meaningful to us but what is it without which we have no importance, who without whom we are meaningless.

The field is not large perhaps. It is not the time for making great moral claims. But I’m sure many will be compelled to do so, to shore up their own sense of importance, to salvage meaning from the flood.

The worst will be those, since it is a time of plague, who claim measures of health for moral certainties.

The next worse will be those clogging up the already overworked Breach Line set up by the police for dobbing in those not doing self isolation or social distancing properly.

Moralists. Then busybodies.

What is important will perhaps be a narrow field. But it will be all we require to make sense of ourselves and our existence. Best to narrow it.

Better a few simple elements than many fragile and complex compounds.

Like Mark Hollis says: one note, better that, to be able to play just one note, for it to sound

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Deleuze|Guattari studies conference Tokyo 2019

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say, fear…

… is underestimated as a political risk. As soon as afraid, for loss of position, simple social advantage, or political status, the most primitive opportunistic intuition sets in–as if the limit condition for responsibility, in individual, social or political dealings, was accident aversion.

Safety culture is then symptomatic of a fearful society. Health is too: whether it is the health of the planet or of the foetus.

Fear does not drive career politicians or political usurpers to seek advantage, status and power. Fear drives them to avoid its loss.

Fear is the more forceful driver for those selfless ones on the left; and not because they have advantage, status or power but because they do not find in advantage, status and power as much meaning, while these are goods in themselves, in principle, for those others on the right. Still, for the ones on the right, fear prevents them from easily relinquishing advantage, status and power at the promptings of democratic process or change in political economy. They hold on: fear has them holding on; while the others on the left are fearful of taking hold.

The goods in themselves those on the left are fearful of losing are those based in the communicative realm, of consensus, or of the show of consensus, democratic principles, middleclass principles of fairplay, equality, and values called qualities to contrast them with the quantities of financial economy. This is the area where the left most needs a Nietzschean critique–an analysis that gets down and pulls up their servility by the roots.

What is called populism procures for the value of popularity a newly elevated status: but at the cost of those who care about it, who may even have gained most from it, becoming fearful for its loss.

What drives compulsive gamblers? It is a strange psychopathology, and a sociopathology when something large like global human ecocide is being gambled on: it is not fear of loss that compels the compulsive gambler. Loss can always be denied.

Loss can always be denied if it is seen to concern the future. A compulsive gambler lives inside the present moment of the gamble being made. This moment can be called mindfulness.

Mindfulness is inversely symptomatic. It diagnoses from within the pathology annulling the future for the present gain to be had from it. Mindfulness is not mindful of fear. It should be.

Fear is more basic than being mindful of what we have to lose. It is more direct and basic than any reflection on our own advantage, status or power. Yet fear is discouraged, except when dealing directly with our own personal welfare. A fear that is mindful of the risk of global human ecocide is discouraged. It is thought that this fear would be paralyzing.

The abjection of safety and health cultures consists in their continued reverence for what is to the advantage of the individual. The abject reality of safety and health cultures is the level of control they exercise over the individual, for the good of the individual.

The fear is not seen that drives people with power, status and advantage. In fact all we see of it is their paralysis.

They are paralyzed in the face of fear even while their faces attain a strange mobility and their actions acquire a character strangely hollowed out by hyperactivity. Their faces turn away, on the inside. They twitch. Their actions run in circles. They follow the same route as the traumatised, covering the same ground with a compulsion to repetition which resembles that of gamblers.

Fear in the case of those in the public media is of the nature of ongoing stagefright. It is visible in CEOs and in local and global leaders. But privately many experience the same stagefright.

Fear is the friend, the best and most reliable friend, to the one in whom it takes the form of the most primitive opportunistic intuition: it enables success through its utter lack of regard for consequences of any kind. It even makes the person in whom it is allowed to govern appear fearless. Fear then lives in an endless now where the one in whom it governs is only scared when he or she is not afraid.

[illustrated with images by Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes]

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from EF who wrote a book on LR’s TRANSFORMER LP to JC & an alternative FEAR from the one on that LP

0:30 Love You So Bad 4:15 Evening Prayer 7:13 Interview 14:18 Calm Down aka I Should Not Be Alone 16:44 Psalm 151
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evening prayer aka justice

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from David Berman to Wallfacers

In a very abstract frame today, I tried continuing with my writing and realised I would rather be talking to you. Whoever you are … wherever you are …

I have a lot of tabs (1, 2, 3 …) open I’ve been meaning to close once I wrote something about David Berman, David Cloud Berman I read in one of them. It was to be an RIP piece. Beside me I have the notes from when I heard he had suicided. They go like this:

this is coming

I’ll explain how

we’re all going to get through it

and “rebuild” society

Video after the jump

The last is from one of the links.

Then there is the line with the typo: The meaning of the world lies outside thw world. It’s from a Silver Jews album, the song ‘People.’

“Video after the jump” links to Berman’s blog, mentholmountains: arc of a boulder, which doesn’t link anywhere, but has links to writers, Thomas Bernhard, for example, and Robert Walser, and pictures and videos. It is not too dissimilar from squarewhiteworld.

An arrow directs on the kokuyo paper from the line “Video after the jump” to a reference to Cixin Liu’s Three-Body Problem. It reads:

Become a Wallfacer.

Humanity faces extermination, the extermination of a species of bug, coming from the stars, from the planet Trisolaris. It will take four light years to arrive. Meanwhile every human effort is directed towards defending itself, not the earth, but doing whatever it takes to defend itself.

400 years would seem to be sufficient time to prepare, however, the Trisolarans have sent an expeditionary force ahead to spy on human efforts and to limit them to what can be achieved from a current understanding of the fundamental laws of physics. The technology of Trisolaris far exceeds this limit, since the expeditionary force itself comprises AI supercomputers shrunk down to the size of subatomic particles, protons, quantumcomputers called Sophons. (The word for proton 质子 (zhì zǐ) is the same as the word for Sophon .) The lockdown on scientific research imposed by the Sophons is something that I was writing about in view of the comparable lockdown or limitation on paradigm shift, on fundamental advance, in the sciences–and more generally, in political economy–that is self-imposed in neoliberal institutional systems of governance where the pursuit of science is becoming the performance of science through representative means. (This source, considering the science of Three-Body misses the potential for critical diagnosis Liu’s fiction contains: note it contains info you might want to avoid if you intend to read the novels: it has the strangely phenomenological name, Exposing the structure of how we got our answers: Poetry in Physics.) (The diagnostic criticism implicit in Liu of the Sophonic lockdown as science fiction is explained by Philip Mirowski as the neoliberal fact of Open Science, ironically, at 56’57” in Hell is Truth Seen Too Late.) (I recommend reading Three-Body for its clinical diagnostic potential–and equally I recommend watching Mirowski, even if just for the part about Open Science.)

The Wallfacer project is undertaken by a humanity under threat of annihilation because of the lockdown on science imposed by the Sophons–which is described as being their ability to falsify experimental results from research in fundamental physics (note the Popperian line on falsification). The Trisolarans have a vulnerability: they communicate with each other through thought-reading, thought-hearing, thought-speaking. But they can’t read the thoughts of humans. Neither Sophons nor Trisolarans can see what is going on inside human minds. The notion of lying, of misrepresenting one’s true thoughts, of misrepresentation through speech and language is alien to these aliens–as is the notion therefore of representation. The Wallfacer project is to take advantage of this vulnerability. Wallfacers are selected to help save humanity through indirection and misdirection–through not representing their intentions. Besides the mental freedom to dream up plans and projects the use of which they need neither justify nor defend–in fact the Wallfacer project depends on their doing neither–they have all the world’s resources at their disposal to carry out their plans and projects.

They would be artists, poets, revolutionaries, for not having to answer to anyone for their freedoms, but for the fact that they are so and unquestioningly so resourced. Perhaps this is the link I wanted to make to David Berman: Become a Wallfacer.

The diagnostic import of the Wallfacer project can be seen when placed in relation to the lockdown on science. If, as I tend to think, neoliberal systems of institutional governance entail of the sciences a comparable lockdown–and we can see evidence of this in the shutting down of labs in the ‘hard’ sciences (those without direct application in technology and commercialisable IP) and see it also in the decrease in institutional support for intellectual labour, whether in fundamental theory in the sciences or in philosophy–then the Wallfacer project serves as critique of the view that it is to science, to scientists and to scientific research we must turn to find solutions to the problems facing life, to overcome the threat from earth.

Earth has this vulnerability: it doesn’t know we make it in our own image.

To overcome the threat from the earth, first undo the image we have made of it. The meaning of the world lies outside the world

[R.I.P. David C. Berman, 4 January 1967 – 7 August 2019]

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the unassuming brilliance of novelist Enrique Vila-Matas. But this is not it, neither, that is, evidence, nor representation. On the contrary. It is exactly the non-assumption, or, the other’s assumption.

…as Nathalie Sarraute once said–writing really is an attempt to find out what we would write if we wrote.

— Enrique Vila-Matas, Mac’s Problem, Trans. Margaret Jull Costa & Sophie Hughes, (New York, NY: New Directions, 2019), 4.

It was a time when children seemed very old, and the old seemed virtually dead. My clearest memory of that preschool year…

…this Hasidic saying: “The man who thinks he can live without others is mistaken; the one who thinks others can’t live without him is even more deluded.”

— Ibid., 14.

…Macedonio, the Duchamp of literature.

For the essayist Dora Rester, writing a novel means writing the fragments of an attempt at a novel, not the whole obelisk: “The art lies in the attempt, and understanding what’s outside us by using only what we have inside us is one of the hardest emotional and intellectual tasks anyone can undertake.”

— Ibid., 40.

[OSCOPE 22]

It appears we’re only just discovering that the gentle, compassionate approach to leadership makes better business sense than that of “command and control.” Studies in brain function (carried out by such methods as functional MRI) have detected that being treated disrespectfully raises one’s blood pressure and generates stress. “It’s the sure path to depression, the second-fastest-growing condition in developing countries, according to the World Health Organization. Bosses are by definition disrespectful, even if their lack of respect doesn’t always manifest itself in barked-out orders. Leaders, on the other hand, do their best to draw out people’s talent, and for that there needs to be respect, trust and motivation,” explained the Co-Director of the Executive Education program at Deusto Business School. But I find this hard to believe. The means and methods may have changed, but actually things are even more terrifying than before, perhaps precisely because you trust those around you more and believe that things really are better, and you don’t expect to discover, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, just when you least expect it, the real truth: they don’t love you because they’ve never loved you and they’re firing you because you’re past it and because you’re always causing scenes and because you drink too much and because one day you quoted a few lines from Wallace Stevens when tension was at its highest in that emergency meeting.

— Ibid., 110-111.

But then, this is brilliant: “The means and methods may have changed, but actually things are even more terrifying than before, perhaps precisely because you trust those around you more and believe that things really are better, and you don’t expect to discover, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, just when you least expect it, the real truth: they don’t love you because they’ve never loved you and they’re [not hiring you] you because you’re past it,” &so on. (Ibid., p. 111.)

And, as if of course, so is this:

Life, seen through the lens of the most cumbersome administrative procedures, will be–as, indeed, it already is–brutally depressing, a hostile labyrinth of interminable galleries and pavilions, red-taped up to the eyeballs; endless rows of offices and millions of corridors linking together seemingly countless galleries, each with its own sinister distinguishing feature, except perhaps the remote “Chamber of Writing for the Unemployed,” where a group of clerks, in their most elegant hand, will copy out addresses and redirect undelivered mail. Duplicating texts, transcribing texts … these men and women will appear to belong to another time and will prevent that knot of galleries and pavilions from being even more depressing.

But few people, despite their constant toing and froing along those cold corridors, will know how to find that final bastion of life as it once was, that bastion that gathers together all the lost and forgotten things, all those things that are still apt–precariously so, but nonetheless apt–to remind us that there was once a time, a bygone age, in which writing moved with parameters quite different from those in which it moves today.

As I tell myself all this, I think I glimpse one of the clerks–tucked away in the most hidden corner of the remotest gallery and having finished his work–write down some words on one of the pages of a stack of one hundred and three loose sheets, which, it seems, no one has been able to bind together due to a lack of resources:

“No, I can’t. I’m done with that.”

— Ibid., 183-184. [These are Hemingway’s words, it should be noted.

[And doesn’t this scene recall the history of science, even to resembling the history of scientific advancement and progress, in the chapter of a book I was reading today–the last book, in fact, written by Oliver Sacks, collated, on his instruction, from a stack of posthumous papers? This is the chapter, of The River of Consciousness, on the scotoma, to which histories relegate those findings, discoveries, phenomenological descriptions they subsequently deem to be premature, or prescient, but that are at the time they appear, and for years, often decades after, inconsequential exceptions and untimely anomalies. Or they are uncomfortable truths, annoying particles, gritting up the smooth running of given narratives, excluded and occluded. The scotoma in Oliver Sacks’s reading is the dark recess in which is written some words on a stack of one hundred and three loose sheets … no one has been able to bind together due to a lack of resources. (Ibid., 184.)]

…for the first time, I wasn’t writing in order to rewrite, but I was going a stage further. Well, I thought, still astonished at my own prowess, you have to start somewhere. But the real surprise came when I realized that actually writing something meant finding out what it felt like to write a fictional fragment rather than a diary fragment. And it almost makes me laugh to say this, but I am, of course, going to say it anyway: it feels exactly the same in both cases. Really? Yes, the same. This only confirms that, as Nathalie Sarraute said, writing is trying to find out what we would write if we wrote. Because writing, real writing, is something we will never do.

— Ibid., 185 [Note here the echo of Blanchot, under, what I am inclined to call, the sign of the impossible, issuing out from the dark recess, the scotoma of the false histories of all progress and advancement, scientific and otherwise.

[And this, on the side of a tissue box: the brain remains a symbol so long as so-called higher level function remains a matter of representation.]

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for Raymond Boyce, 19 May 1928 – 1 August 2019, presented at the tribute held 10 August 2019, Hannah Playhouse, Wellington, NZ

some-lines-from-the-Russian-school-for-Raymond-Boyce-2

some links:

“this building”

“is a masterpiece”

“of theatre” “design”

see also,

under the lefthand margin heading

TAYLOR ARCHIVE,

which is of course

the TAYLOR | BOYCE ARCHIVE

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25 June 2019: Seseragi – Gora – air

We will return to Seseragi. Ha, next to the babbling

The egg for breakfast is coddled in the geothermal spring.

The dining room, Kamiyama, is on the fourth floor of the ryokhan, Ichinoyu Honkan, est. 1630. Yakuta are worn. The maître d’ steps aside for a clear shot. But none do it justice. Next to the babbling…

And note the bark, bamboo, the fishtail window latches, the gilded cupboard doors–and the porch separated from the square main room with its square light fitting by sliding screens, next to the babbling, and the ubiquitous vibrant green of the maples.

After breakfast we take the Tonzan, the Hydrangea Train, to at least see Gora, even if we cannot ascend the ropeway and catch a glimpse of Fuji, over lake Ashi.

Gora is an alpine transit lounge. A brief walk, snapping the pompom pines, and an old house, with a mini pine growing in the gutter.

And then descending the mount, with the sleeping lady, after her friends had swapped a multitude of sweets, and not snapped the teeth of the sleeping lady snapping in and out.

The shrine with the snakes and frogs promised great prosperity from its waters. Next to the Tonosawa stop, we stop briefly, tempt the spirits of wealth, and, having time to take the walk once more down to Hakone-Yumoto, trundle our wheely bags through the town, back on the Romance Car to Shinjuku, where the tapered tower is, and the Skyliner.

It’s sad to be leaving again, but it is again. One hopes it hopes, despite the coming events, it will be possible to return. And connections have been made. And that means so little these days of connectivity but … time passes, on the wing, and on Sunday 14 July I receive an email from Alphonso Lingis.

He is in Auckland. We meet up at 8.15am on 18 July and start talking … next to the babbling … and at 6.15pm we stop. I put him in the cab to take him to the airport for his flight at 9pm.

The kereru greets Al, and the tui swoop in the backyard, even the rosellas show up, when we are in the backyard, talking, and the piwakawaka …

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