nikki moore

Archive for April, 2009|Monthly archive page

do iphones work in the black forest?

In Uncategorized on April 28, 2009 at 11:33 pm

though it may sound like heresy,

(nod, wink and yes, think the intro to G.K. Chesterton’s book Heretics)

i’d like to think Heidegger’s work on the temporality of spatiality in Paragraph 70 of Being and Time via Google Maps.  on an iphone.  in nyc.  

no use arguing for life in the provinces, here… or then again, without further ado:

70. The Temporality of the Spatiality that is Characteristic of Dasein

We must now make an existential-analytical inquiry as to the temporal conditions, for the possibility of the spatiality that is characteristic of Dasein – the spatiality upon which in turn is founded the uncovering of space within-the-world.  We must first remember in what way Dasein is spatial.  Dasein can be spatial only as care, in the sense of existing as factically falling.  Negatively this means that Dasein is never present-at-hand in space, not even proximally.  Dasein does not fill up a bit of space as a Real Thing or item of equipment would, so that the boundaries dividing it from the surrounding space would themselves just define that space spatially.  Dasein takes space in; this is to be understood literally.  It is by no means just present-at-hand in a bit of space which its body fills up.  In existing, it has already made room for its own leeway.  (p. 419 of Being and Time translated by Macquarrie & Robinson)

it’s a quick easy leap, i admit.  but it goes like this:

imagine yourself coming up out of one of new york’s many subway stations.  you’re headed to see a show, or perhaps meeting a friend at a bar or bookstore you’ve not been to before… whatever your destination, the point is you are going somewhere and you need to figure out how to get there.  you, like all good soon-to-be-directionally-challenged city dwellers, turn to google maps, courtesy of the iphone in your pocket.  

if you’ve done this before, you’ll remember that when the phone is still down in the subway station, and even when you are clearly above ground, there is often a few second’s delay between the moment when you, the little blue glowing orb, appear onscreen and the time when the map fills in around you.  in those moments it is you as blue orb on a grey field.  you might say dasein is in the process of worlding, in fact.  yet, as the map fills in, the world worlds and you, Dasein, are temporalizing space in the simple act of reading the map in hand.  because you aren’t just thinking space.  you are looking at city blocks, blocks that break up the landscape, or rather, that compose the landscape… and with composition comes cadence, comes tempo, comes time: as you think ‘each block is how many minutes away from the bar?’ you are temporalizing spatiality as the blocks spatialize temporality.

so far… well,

not so good: there is a serious flaw in this google maps argument, but until we get to it, we can cheat and imagine that it is in the above way that, ‘literally’ as Heidegger inveighs, “Dasein takes space in… In existing, it has already made room for its own leeway.” 

leeway:

As Simon Critchley pointed out during his lecture on this section of Being and Time, the word leeway above is translated from the german word for something like ‘play space’.  whether we think play space as Lacan’s chess board or simply as a child would think a sand box, the very problem with the google maps example above is that Heidegger directly resists representational modes and separations such as I have set up by linking you, the recent subway exitee and soon-to-be walker, with a blue dot on a handheld screen.  rather than opening into and becoming play space via Dasein’s world worlding, the iphone gives us a picture of that process which is necessarily and detrimentally stilting and reifying.  Picking up with Heidegger mid-thought:

To be able to say that Dasien is present-at-hand at a position in space, we must first take [auffassen] this entity in a way which is ontologically inappropriate. Nor does the distinction between  the ‘spatiality’ of an extended Thing and that of Dasein lie in the fact that Dasein knows about space; for taking space in [das Raum-einnehmen] is so far from identcal with a ‘representing’ of the spatial, that it is presupposed by it instead.

the problem with my google map analogy is thus clear: the knowing holder of the iphone, standing above an appearing map is precisely the errant present-at-hand and ‘knowing’ entity Heidegger is working to explain around and away.  in order for the google map analogy to work, you would in fact have to be the blue dot.

and that is, oddly, easy enough.  

if you had left your phone behind, if you had never taken it from your pocket to begin with, if you had simply mounted the subway stairs and come out street level, you would have the same experience.  the city opens up around you, the sidewalk sections, the blocks, the buildings all create spatial cadence and tempo and there you are, Dasein, ‘taking space in’ and ‘breaking into space’.

despite Heidegger’s thieving language here (what’s with all the breaking and taking…?) this doesn’t mean that technology is the enemy.  as i began with Chesterton, and as Critchley articulated in his lecture on the above paragraph in Heidegger when he said there are at least two ways to read Heidegger on technology, we might agree that heresy is the true domain of the hipster, or rather, now, post-luther, simply that which is a cool re-instating of the orthodox.  

orthodox:

now, if i could find an iphone app to quickly orient us all through heidegger’s relationship to orthodoxy, well then, that might truly be time and space worth mapping.

 

 


my re-Kant

In Love, resurrection, Subjection on April 26, 2009 at 10:53 am

“Only a woman could ask such an evil question,” Zizek said as he laughed and answered me during the Q & A at Tilton Gallery last Thursday.  And maybe it is true.  Had I been a man, perhaps the question wouldn’t have been evil.

Regardless…

Zizek spoke Thursday, in honor of the latest lacanian ink edition, on architecture.  Stating upfront that a) all he knows could by now be old hat, and b) all he hopes for may already be done… he took up the question of post-modernism, a la Frederic Jameson.  Zizek’s interest in buildings is, not surprisingly, focused on the interstitial functional spaces: the space between the walls filled with electrical wires, plumbing and cockroaches, as well as the hallway space, the bathrooms and the closets/pantries.  His dream was to see a space made only of these functionary forms exteriorized. From this brief run through his architectural musings, you can see Zizek was right on both precursory precautionary counts – all he knows of architecture is indeed old hat (his anaylses of Frank Gehry, Liebeskind, etc were standard fare) and his proposal that buildings aetheticize their functionary spaces have already been accomplished in works like the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris. But these comments are no blight – he knew, himself that the content of his talk was not his strongest suit.  

What he is keenest at, what he is known for, is the way he can take the commonplace and find the implicit ideological function within, and he was no less brilliant at this last Thursday than he usually is.  His primary point, if there is every just one point to his work, was that post-modern consumerism and capitalism have shifted through the following three stages, landing for the moment, on the last:  1) initially, consumer goods functioned toward desire fulfillment; think early capitalism as Marx saw it,  this then shifted to 2) a period where goods functioned as status symbols; think the Baby Boomer era, to finally 3) today, when goods function as experience creators; think Starbuck’s Ethos Water.  As Zizek explained, Ethos, including the name and its pseudoethical overtones, is intended not primarily to feed your thirst or to make you look savvy for shopping at Starbucks, but its point is to say: by ‘bringing water to third world peoples with each purchase’ you are buying that warm fuzzy feeling you get when ‘helping others’ while also buying, for $2.50, exoneration and forgetfulness.  Essentially you could call it an aestheticizing of goods/forms, and Zizek claims, this is precisely what you can call post-modernism.

hmm…

in my last post on Zizek and Badiou, prior to last thursday’s talk but after syracuse, i wandered around in what I thought to be Zizek and Badiou’s shared aestheticization of the form of Christianity.  And here, so blatantly praising and decrying the aestheticization of form in architecture and post-modernism, respectively, Zizek of course drew my breath and made my heart almost stop: sitting 10 feet from him I knew I would need to ask if he would indeed acknowledge his own aestheticizing work as part of this P-word.

Thus the question so evil only a woman could ask it…

“Tonight you have called the aesthticization of form in architecture post-modern, and I am wondering if, by this, you would also agree that your work formalizing Christianity, thinking specifically of the Puppet and the Dwarf, and Alain Badiou’s work, in his book on St. Paul, are post-modern in that they are aiming toward form rather than content?”

To which Zizek replied, “No, you see this as an aestheticization?  My claim is that I am in fact more Christian than the christians.  I was just at a conference in Syracuse…” And instantly I knew he was right.  I had been to the talk at Syracuse and I had sloppily lumped Zizek’s work with Badiou’s in the formalism outcry.  In fact, Zizek said something, many things, both profound and radical about Christianity in that talk.  And  while I will work up the notes for another post, today I must simply re-cant, my previous post.  I stand corrected and happily so: Zizek is not after the form of Christianity but what he would call the dirty little secret that lies within: when Jesus cried out, ‘Father, Father why have you forsaken me?’ God himself became an atheist.  The (Kantian) ramifications are such that we must and do operate in a moral/ethical sphere that inverts Dostoevsky’s famous saying that ‘Without God everything is permissible,’ to say instead, something like only without God is nothing permissible – as morality must take the place of the unknowable and inaccessible absolute.  

There is much more to say here.  For now, I am simply issuing a happy re-Kant and hoping I haven’t lead too many astray.

😉

 

un.content.ed forms

In Love, resurrection, Subjection on April 21, 2009 at 5:00 pm

1.

it may be an antiquated binary, form vs content.  and while it isn’t quite fair to collude it with the mind/body distinction, it is fair to say that martin heidegger went after both in Being and Time.  dasein, being-in-the-world, the read-to-hand: you know where this is going.  as did nancy after him.  for both of these theorists form is content is form.  in nancy there is skin, there is surface and this is the very content in question as well.  ronell complicates this in crack wars posing bodies of addiction: to literature, to mind, to love… where psychoanalysis meets heidegger meets reagan era politics (not so far behind our new obsession with the mexican border) things get more complicated.

as they should be…?

2.

form vs. content: as zizek often says, ‘i have not lost my thread.’

so zizek’s thread.  we could call it badiou’s, we could call it st. paul’s.  but what we cannot call it is revolutionary.  that’s any easy put down, but a put down is not what i have in mind.  i’m all for derrida, and now recently zizek’s call toward the impossible possibility.  what i can’t stand behind (yet..?) is the move zizek, badiou and others are making toward a formal christianity, a mode of belief in the form, not the content, of a particular religious belief.  again, this is not because i’m for the content.  it is in fact that i am for change, i am for a way of shifting out of where we are and i’m just not sure that formalism is going to be enough to drive the needed change.

3. 

the puppet and the dwarf, published in 2003.  slavoj zizek.

st. paul: the foundations of universalism, published in 2003.  alain badiou. 

the political theology of paul, published in 2003.  from lectures given in 1987.  jacob taubes.

a jewish theologian, a lacanian psychoanalyst and a post-marxist mathematician all walk into a bar…

4.

as fast as zizek thinks, it is still probably fair to say that the puppet and the dwarf was conceived at least a year before its publication.  that puts this response (hear: responsibility in all the best ways) somewhere in 2001 and 2002. while many other significant things happened in the world in 2001, 2 actions continue to eclipse the rest of life: the 9/11 attacks and america’s invasion of iraq. in 2002 Jacques Chirac and Jean-Marie Le Pen ran for president of France.  the US created the iraq WMD threat, declared war on iraq, and, finally, froze Bin Laden’s assets.   and this is just what bubbled up to the surface.  suicide bombers went to work.  the US military complex continued to go to work.  and billboards all over the rural south continued to call people to prayer – not for peace, but for justice against the ‘evil doers’ of the world.  

nothing like the death of innocents, particularly the death of foreign muslims, to get us thinking about Christianity.

5. 

form vs. content

was it capitalism or otherwise that reared its head before and after 9-11?  what did Zizek and Badiou, among others, see in the world in 2001 and 2002 that brought them to st. paul?  ideology, certainly.  a form that was unaware of its content.  clearly.  but also a content fully in control of manipulating forms: Cheney, Rumsfeld… but then again, maybe not.  as Badiou continues to charge, capitalism is worldless, and you should hear all the echoes of Heidegger here as it is not that capitalism is otherworldly, or that it destroys cultures, but that it destroys the worlding of worlds, the environment of Dasein and mit-Dasein.  it is form without content. force without content.ment.

6.

this is where things get strange.  within the inescapable confines of the worldless world of capitalism, Zizek and Badiou, post-marxists at least, continued to look for a way not out, but on-the-outs with capitalism.  did they need a leader?  did they need a lamp post?  what was the appeal of a jewish pharisee turned christian apostle?  

paul’s own path opens up some possibilites for thinking zizek’s appropriations: saul was  pharisee, a man of the law and the letter, a leader in stonings and persecutions of those who crossed the line.  he has a vision, a transformation ensues and saul becomes saul becomes the leader of the church of the excluded, the mouthpiece of universality  ‘there is neither  jew nor greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female…’

perfect.  in the shadow of a ‘you are for us or you are against us…’ wrapped up in market ideology and religious belief, the post-marxists find one from the inside, paul of tarsus, who is ready to wield both the sword and the pen for the cause.  the only problem is, well, of course… the cause.

i said this would get strange: during a time when religious rhetoric and christian collusions are at their peak, Zizek gets on board.  but he gets on board with a hollowed out version of christianity, one that is purely formal, one that sees a revolutionary dedicated to a cause, living and dying for that very cause… not that he agrees with that cause.  no, he just agrees with the move.  the man overturning the money changer’s tables – yes, ok, in the temple, but it could be, for zizek, anywhere.  the man who says you must hate your mother, ‘if anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters-yes, even his own life-he cannot be my disciple…’ – yes, ok, for the love of God, but what is god but a universal, universality = equality… and there you  have it socialism revived as soon as we thrown out the content of both the forms that are paul and jesus.

of course, it isn’t that simple.  and zizek is well aware of the complexity: this is why we love him.

but what do we do with a form without content?  holding this up to revolutions past it is hard to see the french revolution as a move toward formal equality, and not the content thereof.  it is hard to see the american revolution as a driven by a form, but not belief.  even as i write this i am disturbed and displaced the distinction between form and content – so archaic in fact, but even if we withdraw from this divide, if we take up Nancy and Heidegger’s positions, we are even further away from the formal embraces of Zizek and Badiou’s work.

7.

so what next?  as Susan Buck-Morss, Zizek and Badiou move toward the form of religious belief, even a specifically christian religious belief, consider this a sounding from somewhere close by, if not within.  in support, not detraction, but in earnest support – perhaps a tough love toward the above group’s dis.content.ment.  

yes, perhaps.

to cry or to mop over spilled milk…

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2009 at 2:41 pm

Hegel’s man is the type who starts off by crying over split milk (the Unhappy Consciousness confronted by the objective world).  Then he beings to ‘philosophise’ about it, and dries his eye, because he has come to know the situation as it really is.  Marx’s man will immediately point out that this is all very well, but the milk is still on the floor.  He will reach for the mop and do something about it.  Hegel’s man, however, still retains one potent defence.  he will regard the antics of his friend with an amused contempt, and point out to him how silly it is to get one’s knew dirty trying to clean the floor, when all the situation demands is a little high-level reflection.

From Marx’s Paris Writings – John MaGuire

though the floor would get muddled, we could read this with Heidegger’s ‘Letter on Humanism’ introducing not only Martin, but Jean Paul Sartre as well.  And then with Sartre, Beauvoir and already with Heidegger, Arendt.  

Sartre and Marx would mop.  Heidegger and Hegel would stand by and smirk, though hidden cameras might show the mops’ earlier arrivals via Heidegger’s hand.  Oddly, Arendt might call Zizek in, as inevitably he’d be waiting outside, pacing and wondering what Hitchcock would do with all these scenes and actors.

I’m being silly.  and then again, I’m not.  

What can be said about philosophy, about action, about thinking… now.  In a recent talk in NYC, Zizek said he was reading Lacan in order to bring the German Idealists back, knowing full well and admitting that such an action is really far more provocative, risque and risky then any of the art movements who claim to be pushing boarders and buttons in their skin bare works.  But is it really risky?  John Maguire reading Marx might say that until Zizek picks up the mop, he is all thought and no action.  Yet Marx himself, a prolific writer and theorist troubled those milky waters long before Maguire began to write about him.  

I’d like to side with Heidegger in the way he nullified the mind/body thought/action distinction.  Yet isn’t this where Heidegger’s own political alliances (with National Socialism) call us all to question? 

And isn’t the question precisely that of the nature of the call?

In a brilliant analysis of Heidegger’s understanding of the call of conscience, Avital Ronell pulls no punches: her debut text, the Telephone Book  proposes a multiplicity of splits, not of mind and body, or thought and action, but of mind and mind, and mind again.  We know this splitting as schizophrenia and her point is that the one called is never one.  The caller is never singular and someone is always on the line, be it an operator on the switch or a censor on the prowl… the caller and the called are never alone, are never only two, are never less than multiple.

what does this do to Praxis?  are we left either to smirk or to mop?  to we smirk first, and mop later?  do we smirk and find someone else to mop?  

i am asking.  i am acting.  i am asking.

check.one.two.check.check

In Subjection on April 12, 2009 at 10:25 pm

it’s an interesting argument:science and art would both be bettered in a coupling of their (un)like bodies and minds.

but perhaps i’ve got a better one.  

and more precisley, perhaps ‘I’ don’t: but one could say with Francois Lyotard and others that science already is art.  and if one took that stance, then science and art need simply confess their already ongoing state of living in sin and get on with the process of procreation.

because pro-creation is really what is at stake when art is called in to help us see what the sciences are up to… 

that’s my contention at least, after reading the above article by jonah lehrer, a clearly brilliant writer, scholar, thinker of all things scientific.  convincingly lehrer skims the histories of science and art, finding in their historical overlaps (picasso, atomic theory, etc) brilliance in the making.  or, rather, brilliance in the metaphor.  for as lehrer writes, science needs art to give us metaphors for understanding its production.  it is an interesting argument, one I would agree with wholeheartedly if it didn’t leave out the founding metaphors of science themselves.  for at base, as Francois Lyotard pointed out in the Postmodern Condition 

The principle of legitimation functioning in capitalism is efficiency or performativity [see The Postmodern Condition], and this principle attempts to be hegemonic. Science and technology are prime candidates for this attempted hegemony, since they contribute to the growth of capital. Lyotard accepts that performativity is a legitimate criterion for technology, but argues that it is not proper to science. He develops his argument around what he calls postmodern science, by which he means recent sciences such as Benoit Mandelbrot’s fractal theory and Rene Thom’s catastrophe theory that search for instabilities rather than regularities in systems. Following to some extent philosophers of science Thomas Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend, Lyotard argues that the performativity criterion does not accurately capture the kind of knowledge developed in the sciences nor the way such knowledge develops. For Lyotard, science is a language game to which legitimation by performativity is not proper. Such performativity merely subordinates science to capital.

quoted from amy woodward’s article on Francois Lyotard, on the internet encyclopedia of philosophy

as a language game itself (could we say metaphor?), science is not a description, the description, of what is true.  nor is it truth in need of translation via art: science is itself a language game, an art, if you will… and one particularly prone to capitalist intervention and interpellation.

thus rather than take the hardened binary stance Lehrer offers wholesale, we could, should, (even must?) nuance this a bit… claiming instead, as we first said that science as art simply needs to take a look in the mirror, embrace its creative underpinnings and continue to nurture that of which it is most intimately made. while also inspecting its own drive for translation, for metaphor, for public consumption.  

yet as Lehrer pointed out, it is not just the external world that science aims to describe and which art would be best suited for aiding in description:  it is the very internal self that seems to slip through the palms and poetry of both science and art to date.  somehow words, (Lehrer, like early philosophy, looks first -though not exclusively – to poetry for artistic function), fail when we try to describe the spot we stand in most intimately, the spot we are… in fact the blind spot that subjectivity, personality and individuality continually prove to be in neuroscience.

precisely here, in the blind spot where science as art reaches without success, stand two philosophical figures working a metaphor of, of course, themselves: as two.  as blind spot.  as the high noon shadow.  as mid-day. 

alenka zupancic has written a book on what she is calling the two of nietzsche…

and Zizek’s recent talk  and, of course, the parallax view call on the ultimate metaphoricist, jacques lacan, to describe the very blind spot they are and we are… endlessly and without escape.  as Zizek  uses hitchcock to show, the truth of the subject is exactly the blank between the subjective and the objective view.  it is not Scotty looking at Kim Novak’s character and it is not the lens looking at the two, but precisely the breakdowns and build ups of both views which constitute the subject.  or to use Zizek’s example of Levi Strauss’ work: it is not the villagers who describe their understanding of exchange, nor the anthropoligist’s own assessment, but precisely the breakdown between these two descriptive circles which best serves to describe the workings of the village exchange in question. 

Zupancic calls this, with a very particular (yet compellingly interesting) Nietzsche, the shadow cast at high noon, the shadow that falls on its own object almost without distinction from that object, to reveal not one object but, in fact, two.

what does this mean for us, for science, for Lehrer’s point?  am I not making his point by employing philosophy (the supposed art of words and wisdom) to explain the scientific gap in the subject?  you could certainly say so.  or am I fighting a personal battle against the ‘truth’ claims of science regarding its own corner on life?  you could say this as well… yet the proposal at hand, the metaphor I’m working to the bone is instead one of noncompliance: between what can be explained subjectively and what can be explained by science is the gap, the break(down), the parallax view. the answer is there, and perhaps the metaphors all lie there as well, in a gap and break where art might humbly yet curiously re-find and refine scientific description from within its own blindspot: in the paint, pixels and poetry already within the lab and without.

 

thanks to artist John Parker for the Lehrer link.

void transaction

In Uncategorized on April 6, 2009 at 10:45 pm

there is something i am trying to say.

i could start it around amy hollywood: hysterical, heretical women… speaking, over-speaking and hyper-signifying.

i could start it with marx as well, the gaping empty proletariat upon which history was to be made, to be written.

i could work it from badiou’s void, from heidegger’s nothing, lacan’s lack…

kierkegaard’s don juan.

yes, now i’ve hit it.

or they  have.

or they’d like to…

irigaray, though i don’t agree with her bases, begins these rounds.  the open, the clearing, the forgotten void is that from which all thinking comes and fills and endlessly forgets.  she could have gone further.  but she didn’t have to as marx, badiou, heidegger, lacan… they had already gone the distance.  

what distance?  what’s the point?

what we’ve looked at as an obsession with death, with violent clearings, with absence, lack and emptiness is, well… we’ve been here before  

https://prosthetics.wordpress.com/2008/11/25/nothing/

and again i’m just circling.  

coming up empty handed…

what about sublimation?  kristeva’s creativity?  

yes, this sounds right for the moment: filling the void, it is, like christianity in nietzsche in zupancic 

hyperspeak.  not the panacea, the numbing, but its opposite.  the influx of joy, passion, meaning and making.

we don’t call it hyperdrive any more, so what… networking?

is this social networking? making links to fill time and space?  

yes, maybe.  and what is specific about the way that is male, or at least not female is the insemination.  the dispersal into what appears to be nothing.  and certainly isn’t (if it is woman) and is (if it is lacan’s real, heidegger’s nothing)

now, now we are getting no.where.

the history of what…

In what is philosophy? on April 5, 2009 at 10:16 pm

it might be a question of form.  

of what is in-form,

in-forming.

the question is: what is philosophy?  

i read it daily.  i have books of it lined up on my shelf.  but when pressed to think of how to present it to new readers, how to teach it to undergraduate students, how could i be so shocked to find out that it is only what it is and cannot be what it is not?

the problem, for me, began as follows: in thinking through a potential undergraduate syllabus, i started looking for women.  i found the token essays in the more recent anthologies (usually simone de beauvoir and helene cixous) but started wondering about the women who wrote during the suffragist movement, and then the men who wrote during the american civil war, and the people who have long written about class struggle.  the more i looked for these people the more deeply they disappeared and the further they disappeared the more disheartened i became.

in frustration, as usual, i intellectualized the problem and leaned on my mentors:  i thought about ronell and derrida, about the margins of philosophy, about discourses on inclusion and exclusion.

and then, in doing so, i realized my mistake.

in 1954 Heidegger wrote an essay titled ‘what is called thinking’… where he left philosophy, the history of metaphysical thought, behind for a different pursuit.  perhaps part of what heidegger recognized is that philosophy is a narrow history of a very particular sort of questioning.  it is not the ‘love of wisdom’ it’s name purports: it is the history of posing and answering a very narrow set of questions, beginning in a very particular time and place. and while this specificity doesn’t excuse philosophy for all that it ignored and silenced, it is clearly part of what has lead to all the late modernist and post-modernist’s disciplinary death cries.  as the field of philosophers expanded, philosophy as it was known necessarily burst at the seams with new, needful infusions.  it brought ‘theory’ in its wake, it opened to include not only race, class and gender theory, but also literature, psychoanalysis, music, art, science and media discourses…

today, standing in the middle of this outpouring, i, unthinkingly, looked around in search of texts to teach, open and explain the worlds of theory that are whirling past me.  struck by the fecundity of my time i was shocked to look back and see the dearth philosophy had traversed.  and at this funny juncture, the question again stands: 

what is philosophy?  

is it a history of a particular questioning?  is it a narrow misrepresentation of a broader history of thought?  is it a dominating dialogue, a power play that established what could and could not be known, thought, understood?  is it a tradition, a trust, even a belief that is now fading?  

or is even this an outmoded way of thinking about philosophy, when people like Badiou and Zizek, reacting to the breadth we’re all witnessing, are tightening down in both new and old ways, calling for philosophy’s return and revival?

what is philosophy?

what is philosophy?

(em)body(ment)(mint)(meant)

In Uncategorized on April 4, 2009 at 9:20 pm

april 4th, Wall Street March

Today, April 4th is/was:

  • the march of people for the anniversary/memorial of Martin Luther King’s assassination
  • the march of people for the commemoration of his anti-vietnam war speech one year prior
  • the march of people for bailing out people, not banks
  • the march of people against the war in Afghanistan
  • the march of people against the war on Gaza

and doubtless, more, many, other marches took place as well.  which means, simply put, there were a lot of feet moving today.  mine were two of them.  i marched out of my apartment, off to a media conference at the New School, where I heard media maven Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! speak about the importance of independent news media.  then i marched to the trains and from there down to wall street to one/some/all? of the above marches.  then i marched along 14th street to whole foods, and after a coffee i marched back to the New School for 2 hours of talks on embodiment, commodification and aurality.  i finally marched home, or back to the train and then home.  

at the end of all this marching, i am not quite sure where i stood for something and where i simply stood.  is there something different about me marching down wall street and me marching up the stairs at whole foods?  and which part of me was most important, if any part was important today at all?  the part that ritually walked, that stood, that gathered?  or the ‘o ‘ye of little faith’ who wondered all the while what all this marching was for?

in a talk given by psychoanalyst, scholar and philosopher Julia Kristeva this week, lacan & heidegger merged and became crystal clear on one point: there is nothing but sublimation of the nothing, the real.  that being said, philosophy is surely done.  nothing more is needed from it.  

except inbodyment.  not sartre’s action.  but a manner of conveying the unbearable lightness of being so that it can be embraced as freedom.  even if freedom isn’t.  or even especially…

perhaps then the next step is choosing which forms of sublimation to participate in.  sometimes there isn’t a choice.  you feed your children, you take care of those who need you.  but usually it’s not that obvious.  

and do we want to make it about choice?  we’re not talking about protestantism.  belief, bringing jesus, the palestinians or the pakistanis into your heart.

or are we.  is that care?  is that sublimation?

am i still marching?

Martin Luther King: Why I am opposed to Vietnam

In Uncategorized on April 4, 2009 at 7:38 pm