Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Penumbra of the Empty, Part XIII

I know where the sun shines
I know where the trees blow
I know where the snow falls
I know where the river flows

I don’t know where the sun shines
I don’t know where the trees blow
I don’t know where the snow falls
I don’t know where the river flows

I don’t know where the branches fall
They all fall into a black hole
That never ends
Just because it never stops growing
It grows every inch you speak, every inch you take
But when it stops a ball in that black hole will explode

And then flames, ashes, come upon it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Penumbra of the Empty, Part XII

I am speaking in this post about how things appeared to me as a child, and I don’t know whether these comments are general or not, but I think they are.

As a child, I was attracted to science because I was attracted to experiment and exploration. Accumulating facts or mastering methods was of no interest to me. Also of no interest was the acquisition of the power to control and dominate—I can honestly say that the acquisition of such power was in my mind in no way associated with science—quite the opposite.

I had no notion of science as requiring the squelching of either my individuality or my sensuality. That science would mold me in a cold, icy grip was something-- as I think on it now—did not register in any recollectable instance or perception. I do have to add that my scientific interest was more toward the biological than the physical sciences—and this was in the belief that biology led to an immersion and invigoration of the lived life of the individual, almost as if biology was some sort of religious practice rather than a rigorous science.

While I was a child, the space program was in full swing, and seemed to offer electrifying opportunity for all of humankind—I could never have believed humankinds’ horizons were on the verge of contracting rather than expanding.

I could never have believed study of science would confer a character of stodginess on my life or thinking, an antagonistic rigidity and narrowness. Science seemed so revolutionarily open and generous—what the heck happened? Similarly, why did the Enlightenment renege on its promises, and how?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Penumbra of the Empty, Part XI

I assume dividing practices are only possible if what will be divided is presented as given, and given to be divided. The dividing practice cannot create what the dividing practice will divide up….What will be divided up must be given—how? By whom? How is the given, given…And why….These questions don’t occur…Can’t occur without derangement. Of course these latter questions are the philosophical questions.

Within any “given” (which I depict as a region of space, for example a circle, circumscribed)—all sorts of “activity” takes place—a kind of fastidious and obsessive-compulsive dividing up of that region such as that region has been set out—polishing and articulating in ever finer detail and exploring more closely whatever territory has been previously somehow demarcated as explorable (explicable? Explicable is I believe the more accurate term, but I do believe explorable and explicable are in fact confused by the demonic ants who labor in these hives.)

My point of contention is that many or even most of the regions of space demarcated and understood as given were given prehistorically and very often by the hominids…The rest of the motion, which could be centuries or millennia in length, has been a “coasting” or inertial movement riding on what these hominids set in motion. I also contend that it is almost certain the hominids would have understood their imparting of this motion to have been spiritual or religious, and the very worst dividing practice imaginable (from the standpoint of imparting motion or in other words from warding off Totalization) would have been when “religious claims were progressively withdrawn from the political and public spheres of society.” To do that would have been a fantastic boon for social practices of “information” but a mutilation of social practices of ecstformation…Or, in terms of Totalization, it would have been a mutilation of the ways social practices linked up with “net external forces.”

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Penumbra of the Empty, Part X

A very simple and straightforward dichotomy: to inform or to transform.

Surely to decide between the two, or to make the two, is a dividing practice—a dividing practice—this and nothing more.

We might think how wonderful and neoliberal it is to inform…Filled with delightful and wonderful little nuggets of information and even factoids, to fill a Santa’s Christmas stocking… To delight the children, momentarily, with the diversity and diversified splendor of the world…With their splendid opportunity of education.

Which can be fleshed and flashed out in a provocative way such as to establish one’s superiority in a very well-established ranking of standardized hierarchical scales?


Pussy d’armor: “I am above you…I am better informed.”

Pussy d’amour: “Yes, you most certainly are…I can’t deny it…I wouldn’t deny it.”
But what if to transform is not just another dividing practice? What if it operates on a different level? A level which cannot be, using the practices of the dividing practices, merely divided. A pragmatics of the multiple.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Penumbra of the Empty, Part IX

I originally had no intention of examining dividing practices—I merely wanted to think more on why Newtonian physics, which could have been treated as breakthrough (a revolutionary breakthrough—there are other breakthroughs but none as revolutionary as this one) in natural philosophy, IN PHILOSOPHY, is instead treated as the birth of a new discipline—the discipline of science. It is fine to say, following Kant, that such a division allows for both physics and philosophy to be performed by specialists working with greater facility and in the greatest perfection, but that’s not all it does. I assume the division redirects physics from its original objective (as understood by Newton—and why wouldn’t Newton’s objectives be allowed to have force, authority? Why vis a vis his objectives does Newton, otherwise understood as one of history’s greatest geniuses, become nothing but a weirdo?) while I also assume the division destroys philosophy—it is no longer able to comment incisively or precisely about the world, nor do its further “subjective” jabberings make the grade as poetry or literature, either.(Newton is indispensible--Kant? It is only because of lack of audacity he has not been clicked over to the computer's trash can.) It seems to me the net effect of the division is to weaken, weaken, weaken.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Penumbra of the Empty, Part VIII

I can acknowledge-recognize the heuristic-epistemological value of the dividing practices.

I can acknowledge-recognize we need to simplify to:

1. “Conquer problems…”
2. “Be triumphant against that which nags us…”

If we separate “it” into its “component parts” we can take care of “it.”

(Take care of “it” can mean: manage “it”, nurture “it”, educate “it”, embed “it”, help “it” emerge, be open to “it”.)

Kant has seized upon this heuristic-epistemological value of the dividing practices but Marx is more hesitant. Marx does, however, find he cannot avoid the utility of the dividing practices.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Penumbra of the Empty, Part VII

Kant on the “dividing practices”:

“All trades, arts, and handiworks have gained by division of labor, namely, when, instead of one man doing everything, each confines himself to a certain kind of work distinct from others in the treatment it requires, so as to be able to perform it with greater facility and in the greatest perfection. Where the different kinds of work are not distinguished and divided, where everyone is a jack-of-all-trades, there manufactures remain still in the greatest barbarism.”

Marx on the “dividing practices”:

“Division of labor within the workshop implies the undisputed authority of the capitalist over men who are but parts of a mechanism that belongs to him. The division of labor within the society brings into contact independent commodity producers, who acknowledge no other authority but that of competition, of the coercion exerted by the pressure of their mutual interests; just as in the animal kingdom, the bellum omnium contra omnes more or less preserves the conditions of existence of every species. The same bourgeois mind which praises division of labor in the workshop, lifelong annexation of the laborer to a partial operation, and his complete subjection to capital, as being an organization of labor that increases its productiveness—that same bourgeois mind denounces with equal vigor every conscious attempt socially to control and regulate the process of production as an inroad upon such sacred things as the rights of property, freedom, and unrestricted play for the bent of the individual capitalist. It is very characteristic that the enthusiastic apologists of the factory system have nothing more damning to urge against a general organization of the labor of society than that it would turn all society into one immense factory.”

Friday, February 05, 2010

The Penumbra of the Empty, Part VI

There are three identified motions at work: a vertical motion, a horizontal motion, and an “ecstatic” motion, which curiously rides the horizontal motion.

The way they are identified is somewhat arbitrary—I don’t see a good reason why I can’t have the vertical motion depicted as a “streaming-towards” – while depicting the horizontal motion as a “streaming against”.

The “ecstatic” motion, which rides, could ride both of the other motions, as a bobbing kayak rides the pronounced riffles of a big river at a bend where currents and countercurrents combine in some pretty weird ways (and the potential to mystify those weird ways is indeed decidedly high.)

This “ecstatic” motion—what is it?

Look at the etymology. Does this or does this not relate to some understanding of motion? The ecstatic—both outside motion or without motion AND in motion, with motion—a motion and a stasis--is a slider concept worthy of special attention.

late 14c., "in a frenzy or stupor, fearful, excited," from O.Fr. extasie, from L.L. extasis, from Gk. ekstasis "trance, distraction," from existanai "displace," also "drive out of one's mind" (existanai phrenon), from ek "out" + histanai "to place, cause to stand," from PIE base *sta- "to stand" (see stet). Used by 17c. mystical writers for "a state of rapture that stupefied the body while the soul contemplated divine things," which probably helped the meaning shift to "exalted state of good feeling" (1610s). Slang use for the drug 3,4-methylendioxymethamphetamine dates from 1985.

Online Etymological Dictionary:

The spatial and temporal and the relation between the two slowly give way to a highly-evaluated subjectivity, though the occurrence at around 1985 is deeply ambiguous.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Penumbra of the Empty, Part V

I have three motions here,

1. A vertical motion—which I relate to the “dividing practices”.
2. A horizontal motion—which I relate to a passive (but nevertheless moving) subjectivity being acted upon by the vertical motion.
3. An anomalous “ecstatic” motion which is occupied by a “knower,” an "I."

The three motions connect together in what I can’t help but see as an assembly line. The vertical motion is the motion of a stamp press; the horizontal motion is the conveyor belt; the “ecstatic” motion is the widget sitting on the conveyor belt, moving towards the stamp press, which will very shortly impart its imprint onto the widget.