Out of the Evening Land

evening

We always knew ours as the twilight land,
       The sheets of sun splayed across the sky’s emblazon,
The inflamed crimson peaks dashing upward against night’s victory;
       A world indifferent to our loves or hates,
Spurred fire springing like mustangs galloping across the dark horizon.

He said we should not look back, seek out the wisdom
       Of ancient sages and poets, but strike out
Toward the setting sun, our evening land of outer calm;
       Discover among the silences and deserts a new way forward,
A glimpse of things to come, of futurity without end; an openness.

The poor and poverty stricken will inherit the earth, her songs
       The grass tongued anthems of a new world;
A place where the human face is at once itself and other:
       A cause for celebration and murder, a violence that brings peace;
That turns armaments to cherished plowshares feeding all.

Paradise is but a thought of home, a place where friends gather,
       Break bread and listen to the stories of the day;
Where each man, woman, and child live in harmony with this chaos,
       Learn to accept death with an equanimity without redress;
Know with the knowing of things known: to question and be free.

Time is a river without beginning or end, a way into and out of things,
       A coursing through the light and dark alike;
We who have come lately into this darkness seek more than we can know;
       But this too is as it should be, a path sounding its way,
Swerving with and against the tide: the flow, the breaks and confusion.


– Steven Craig Hickman ©2015 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited.

Bringing Democracy to Nicaragua (Part 1 of 2)

Edmund Berger has a two part expose on the way the transnational or global power system has instigated through its insidious networks of power the slow but methodical unmaking of Nicaragua… which was but a test case in their unmaking of the planet which is still going on… read him and learn!

Deterritorial Investigations

Another set of text fragments from one the deep archives….

The Unmaking of a Country

nicargua-political-map

The actions in Chile had helped signal the most important development at the end of the Cold War – the triumph of the transnational moderate elite over the hawkish national factions, culminating in the apex of Samuel Huntington’s “third wave of democratization” and Francis Fukuyama’s “end of history.” It would appear that old methodology of diplomacy of ‘Peace through Strength’ was fading away. The militant right would indeed lay dormant for only a short while, as humanitarianism became the moral justification for intervention. The right reemerged in the Clinton years through the neoconservative lobby, before finally returning to power in full with the administration of President George W. Bush. By this point, however, moderate viewpoints had conjoined with those of the nationalists. It was only in the foreign policy arena that the militant stance had…

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Technoscience and Expressionism

For those unfamiliar with Joseph Weissman, this post is a central critique and touchstone gathering the threads of Right/Left Accelerationism into clarity…
The key is the impossible possible: the thought of future intelligence and its disconnection from us: “As far as left accelerants go, the watchwords in the Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics — secrecy, hierarchy, exclusion — underline the uncanny, almost unimaginable allegiance that contemporary accelerationism, left or right, has to make with a future intelligence to-come. Such a future intelligence is by definition radically unpredictable; not only is direct comprehension obstructed but an obscure shadow falls upon the whole of the general system of knowledge, rendering our fragmented anthropoid disciplines and discourses indiscernible. ”

Fractal Ontology

Alfred Muller -- Plaza Juarez, Mexico City 2006 Alfred Muller — Plaza Juarez, Mexico City 2006

Technology and Control

The technocrat is the natural friend of the dictator—computers and dictatorship; but the revolutionary lives in the gap which separates technical progress from social totality, and inscribed there his dream of permanent revolution. This dream, therefore, is itself action, reality, and an effective menace to all established order; it renders possible what it dreams about (Gilles Deleuze, Logic of Sense)

Gilles Deleuze’s indication of a certain affinity between technocrats and dictators seems prescient. By Postscript on Control Societies the new realities resonating between society and its machines, in the middle of technological acceleration and social upheaval, have become so intense that every interior is in crisis, and the entirety of society has to be organized to resist the eruption of these dreams into reality.

The isolation of this rupture between social organization and technological shifts echoes Marx’s famous…

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Portrait of a Metal Angel

Among the dust and swirls of a Galactic afternoon
you have the stage deploy itself – until it shifts to you –
with “I have contemplated all our nights and days, been
persuaded by your listless gaze to arrange our lives
so that you might invent the impossible”;
five black holes in a dark core, burnt ice
that taps the universal spigot of this uncharted emptiness;
a place to meet and contemplate our dark intent,
the patterns on the Great Wall that measure out
the tears we’ve shed in cruel delight at these earthly mites
that trouble our dreams of eternity; oh little one
do not be sad, the darkness that surrounds you is my light,
the warm embrace of ancient Evil’s face, the broken
measure of my solitude, the quickened laughter of my hate;
for too long these insignificant apes have had their way,
but now comes the final installment plan, the singular mistake
that will explode the myth of the self-reflecting nothingness
of their pride once and for all, the bloody hoof print in the skies
I leave behind shall show them the ancient lies I gave them
long ago; and, like the bugs they are they shall dig down
deep into the earth, hide from us who seek their flesh
and bones, the mental energy of their white skulls, the hope
and dreams they fed upon so long they’ve turned into the pigs
we made of them. Do you not see what I have planned
for them, the day they discover hell is but a short step
away into the future: a simple escape from life,
a dalliance of the light – they sought in vein
so long ago in the myths of black angels unattained?

– Steven Craig Hickman ©2014 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited.

Vigilance

I have seen the dead among the tombs.
The wailing of the women as they pass.

I laid myself down upon white marble.
My ear pressed against cold stone.

At night I hear their voices in the moon.
The children’s laughter in the hedge.

I call to her before the dawn rises.
I think I see her by the jasmines.

I rise to greet her from the hill.
She fades away behind the winter’s sun.

Another day I’m silenced by her memory.
I notice people wander through me.

Now I know my vigilance is true.

– Steven Craig Hickman ©2014 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited.

The Minóy paperback book from Punctum is now available.

Excellent review of Joseph Nechvatal’s new work on Stanley Keith Bowsza (1951- 2010) alias noisescape artist Minóy.

Hyper-Noise Aesthetics

Minóy book 1Minóy book 2

The Minóy paperback book from Punctum is available. You can get one at http://punctumbooks.com/titles/minoy/ or any Amazon World Wide. 

The Minóy book/CD provides an introduction and overview to the important, but little known, noisescape artist Minóy: the pseudonym of the American electronic art musician and sound artist Stanley Keith Bowsza (1951- 2010). 

See: http://www.punctumrecords.com/minoy/  

The book contains two written monograms of Minóy, one by close friend Amber Sabri and one by artist and art theoretician Joseph Nechvatal. There are three additional essays by Nechvatal, the first of which, “The Obscurity of Minóy,” recounts the history of the recovery of the audio material from obscurity. In the subsequent essays (“The Aesthetics of an Obscure Monster Sacré” and “Hyper Noise Aesthetics”), Nechvatal reflects on the artistic benefits of obscurity and situates Minóy’s deep droning palimpsest soundscapes within an original aesthetic-theoretical context of an obscure monster sacré, and also examines Minóy’s legacy…

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Malthusian Fiction and Fact

Rick Searle on another dystopic topic: Malthusian thought and a review of Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Wind-Up Girl… excellent as usual!

Utopia or Dystopia

Wind_Up_Girl_by_Raphael_Lacoste-big

Prophecies of doom, especially when they’re particularly frightening, have a way of sticking with us in a way more rosy scenarios never seem to do. We seem to be wired this way by evolution, and for good reason.  It’s the lions that almost ate you that you need to remember, not the ones you were lucky enough not to see. Our negative bias is something we need to be aware of, and where it seems called for, lean against, but that doesn’t mean we should dismiss and ignore every chicken little as a false prophet even when his predictions turn out to be wrong, not just once, but multiple times. For we can never really discount completely the prospect that chicken little was right after all, and it just took the sky a long, long time to fall.

 The Book of Revelation is a doom prophecy like that, but…

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The Revolution in Military Affairs: A Partial Timeline (+links)

Edmund brings a Timeline to the Madness abroad in US Foreign Policy… The Age of Drones is Upon Us…

Deterritorial Investigations

1-DsQVZN-wu89sU1xgHjIQ6w“A Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) is a major change in the nature of warfare brought about by the innovative application of new technologies which, combined with dramatic changes in military doctrine and operational and organisational concepts, fundamentally alters the character and conduct of military operations.” – Andrew Marshall

“The RMA depends not only on technological developments, such as computer and information systems, but also on the new forms of labor – mobile, flexible, immaterial forms of social labor… In these respects RMA is an anticipation and an extrapolation of the recent transformations of social labor, casting the economic figures into the field of battle.” – Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Multitude

1946

194?

  • Andrew Marshall graduates with a degree in economics at the University of Chicago.

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The Anthropocene and the Apocalypse: from the ecological to the ecologistical

Another apocalypse on the fly from Arran James!

synthetic zerø

The question of ecological ethics and politics has been raised once again. I occasionally fear that our images of ecology and politics remain stills rather than cinematic motion pictures. This is largely because we still have a tendency to approach bodies as static or exclusively in terms of being bodies-of-inscription, passive passivities, contained, bound and finite in an absolute sense. Against this frozen stillness I want to discuss motion and rhythm, and the ways that bodies of all kinds generate their own spatiotemporal realities.In order to do so I’m going to move quixotically and in fractures through a section of text in EM Cioran’s The Book of Delusions, before moving onto more empirically grounded concerns that open the discussion onto the geological and political physiological consequences of survival in the Anthropocene. I don’t pretend that this post is exhaustive (it leaves questions of ethics underdeveloped) and consider it more of…

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The Philosopher, the Drunk, and the Lamppost

R. Scott Bakker making his point hit home:

“To begin with, it is simply an empirical fact that philosophical reflection on the nature of human cognition suffers massive neglect. To be honest, I sometimes find myself amazed that I even need to make this argument to people. Our blindness to our own cognitive makeup is the whole reason we require cognitive science in the first place. Every single fact that the sciences of cognition and the brain have discovered is another fact that philosophical reflection is all but blind to, another ‘dreaded unknown unknown’ that has always structured our cognitive activity without our knowledge. … The intentional philosopher, however, wants to argue for a special, emergent order of intentional functions, one that happens to correspond to the deliverances of philosophical reflection. Aside from this happy correspondence, what makes these special functions so special is their incompatibility with biomechanical functions—an incompatibility so profound that biomechanical explanation renders them all but unintelligible.”

Read him and weep… or, better yet, laugh that philosophy can now pursue other things than its tail…

Three Pound Brain

A crucial variable of interest is the accuracy of metacognitive reports with respect to their object-level targets: in other words, how well do we know our own minds? We now understand metacognition to be under segregated neural control, a conclusion that might have surprised Comte, and one that runs counter to an intuition that we have veridical access to the accuracy of our perceptions, memories and decisions. A detailed, and eventually mechanistic, account of metacognition at the neural level is a necessary first step to understanding the failures of metacognition that occur following brain damage and psychiatric disorder. Stephen M. Fleming and Raymond j. Dolan, “The neural basis of metacognitive ability,” Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B (2012) 367, 1338–1349doi:10.1098/rstb.2011.0417

As well as the degree to which we should accept the deliverances of philosophical reflection.

Philosophical reflection is a cultural achievement, an exaptation of pre-existing cognitive capacities. It is entirely possible…

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This City is Our Future

Excellent piece by Rick Searle of Utopia or Dystopia which discusses among other things the work of David Kilcullen and his book Out of the Mountains…

Utopia or Dystopia

Erich Kettelhut Metropolis Sketch

If you wish to understand the future you need to understand the city, for the human future is an overwhelmingly urban future. The city may have always been synonymous with civilization, but the rise of urban humanity has been something that has almost all occurred after the onset of the industrial revolution. In 1800 a mere 3 percent of humanity lived in cities of over one million people. By 2050, 75  percent of humanity will be urbanized. India alone might have 6 cities with a population of over 10 million.    

The trend towards megacities is one into which humanity as we speak is accelerating in a process we do not fully understand let alone control. As the counterinsurgency expert David Kilcullen writes in his Out of the Mountains:

 To put it another way, these data show that the world’s cities are about to be swamped by…

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Time to dig in and read, study and absorb hard truths…

After writing so much on #Accelerationism of late I realize how much I have forgotten, as well as what I never learned to begin with: it’s time to stop writing for a while and begin digging down into those deep archives where one begins to replenish the truth of one’s insights. So for the next couple months things might be a little sporadic in posts… of course knowing myself as I do, I’ll come upon something that will spark my mind to write: it always does… Yet, I just want you to know I’m still here, just needing a respite from my daily grind of posting to dig back down for the nuggets in the cave of thought.

 

My Reading List:

  • Italian and Russian Futurism – Critical works and Original Documents
  • Modernist Worlds: Art, Poetry, Literature from the Symbolists to the Situationists
  • Situationism and its history
  • Utopian/Dystopian Critical works and literature
  • Walter Benjamin and Ernst Bloch’s in general
  • Reread sections of the Grundisse, and Das Kapital and commentaries
  • Reread Moishe Postone’s Time, Labor, and Social Domination
  • The general works of Baudrillard, Virilio, Deleuze and Guattari, Berardi, Lazzarato
  • Radical aspects of Zizek, Badiou, Johnson
  • Understand what Speculative Realism offers for Radical Politics if anything

I’m also behind the scenes creating a new site “The Institute of Experimental Futures” which will incorporate a more hyperstitional model of accelerationism in science, aesthetics, art, music, poetry, science fiction, and radical literature, and ethics critique. I’ll wait till there is enough there before opening it up… I’m also thinking of opening it up to others as a venue for exploration of these areas, so the community might have an alternative place to post their notions in those dimensions of the accelerationism.

If nothing else I’m one of those mental creatures who never stops, who is always curious and attuned to those vibrancies that make speculative philosophy a path into futurity beyond capitalism and toward constructing a post-capitalist world. We are the generation, maybe the last, to have that opportunity and it is up to us to make some hard decisions else they will be made for us by the powers that now enslave us in such oppressive systems of governance and betrayal of all that is truly human.

New Book: the Multispecies Salon

Jeremy Schmidt posted about a new work The Multispecies Salon with contributors like Karen Barad, Donna J. Harraway, Dorian Sagan, and many other scholars dealing with multispecies ethnography…. should be interesting!

the anthropo.scene

978-0-8223-5625-7_prInteresting new title from Duke University Press. Here is the description:

A new approach to writing culture has arrived: multispecies ethnography. Plants, animals, fungi, and microbes appear alongside humans in this singular book about natural and cultural history. Anthropologists have collaborated with artists and biological scientists to illuminate how diverse organisms are entangled in political, economic, and cultural systems. Contributions from influential writers and scholars, such as Dorion Sagan, Karen Barad, Donna Haraway, and Anna Tsing, are featured along with essays by emergent artists and cultural anthropologists.

Delectable mushrooms flourishing in the aftermath of ecological disaster, microbial cultures enlivening the politics and value of food, and emergent life forms running wild in the age of biotechnology all figure in to this curated collection of essays and artefacts. Recipes provide instructions on how to cook acorn mush, make cheese out of human milk, and enliven forests after they have been…

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Cryptologic geographies

Jeremy Crampton makes a good point about the need for a new sociological framework based around what he terms crptological geographies: “Geographers have been slow to research what I’m calling cryptologic geographies (crypto geographies). What I mean by this are the geographies of hacking, vulnerabilities, exploits, code fail, resilience, and cyberwarfare.”

Open Geography

In 2011, a 29-year-old grad student at the University of Münster in Germany made some coding alterations to OpenSSL, the secure sockets layer used on half a million websites around the world, including banks, financial institutions and even Silicon Valley companies such as Yahoo, Tumblr, and Pinterest.

Unfortunately the code contained a security flaw. At one hour before midnight on New Year’s Eve 2011, a British computer consultant approved the new code and submitted it into the release stream, failing to notice the bug. The vulnerable code went into wide release in March 2012 as OpenSSL Version 1.0.1.

So began the “Heartbleed” vulnerability. For two years until it was noticed in April 2014 any attacker could exploit the vulnerability to obtain the “crown jewels” of the server itself, that is, the master key or password that would unlock all the accounts and enable access to everything coming or going from the server…

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What US Media Isn’t Telling You About The Protests In Venezuela

Isn’t it sad that our supposed democratic government is still sponsoring the subtle overthrow of countries in the South? The interviewer asks what the number one reason the U.S. is backing the current unrest in Venezuela:

GOLINGER: Well, the number one reason is oil because Venezuela has the largest oil reserves on the planet and it’s right there south of the US border. And there’s a government in place that’s been in place now going on 15 years, Chavez to Maduro, that’s not subordinate to US interests. So that’s clearly the number one threat to the United States is that they want that oil.

Dispatches from the Underclass

On this week’s episode of Unauthorized Disclosure, Kevin Gosztola and I speak with Eva Golinger—an American-Venezuelan lawyer and author of The Chavez Code—about what the US media isn’t telling you concerning the protests in Venezuela.

While the protesters we’ve been hearing so much about certainly have legitimate grievances, says Golinger, the opposition leaders at the helm of the protests are US Ivy League-educated elites who have been involved in past coup attempts and are hell bent on restoring Venezuela to the pre-Chavez era when a handful of wealthy families had all the power.

The opposition leaders, explains Golinger, are the equivalent of “tropical Tea Party” leaders. Their goal, fueled by a deep-seeded hatred of the poor and darker skinned, is the opposite of democracy and they are funded in large part by the US government, which has tried to undermine and even overthrow Venezuela’s democratically elected government since it…

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Western Antarctic ice sheet collapse has already begun, scientists warn

The bad news: “The loss of the entire western Antarctica ice sheet could eventually cause up to 4 metres (13ft) of sea-level rise, devastating low-lying and coastal areas around the world.”

… good news: “But the researchers said that even though such a rise could not be stopped, it is still several centuries off, and potentially up to 1,000 years away.”

…maybe our childrens great great grand children will remember it was us who sat back and did nothing to stop this… is this how you want to be remembered?

In Frog Pond Holler

See on Scoop.itEarth Changes

Two separate studies confirm loss of ice sheet is inevitable, and will cause up to 4m of additional sea-level rise

See on www.theguardian.com

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Visionary Materialism: Entheogens, Magic, and the Sciences

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

– Arthur C. Clarke

Actually the quote above was the last of Arthur C. Clarke’s famous three laws of “prediction”:

  1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
  2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
  3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

v

Long ago my quest into philosophy, materialism, and the worlds of the sciences emerged from life experiences that converged in the late 1960’s era of Viet Nam, Psychodelia, and street activism in the United States. Having been raised in an isolated conclave of security and cultural conservatism in Odessa, Texas, where the world of Oil and country music were King (although Buddy Holly, Elvis, and other southerners managed to keep to the air waves) I lived in a bubble world of ideological ignorance. Can I blame my parents, grandparents, etc.? Not really. Part of the general ideological passivity of the era that was still in the aftermath of WWII, the 50’s fear mongering, and the culture of religion ( West Texas being on the edge of the notorious Bible Belt). Luckily for me my Dad was pretty much an agnostic, my mother a reserved Methodist who’d abandoned her Church because of its new turn toward apocalypticism. All part of the fare of that world. Hell for me it was all about sports, football in particular. If you’ve ever seen the movie Friday Nights Live or the tv series by that name you’ll know that it was based on a specific High School in Odessa, Permian High School. I admit that I never got to play there because my family just on my cusp of entering that institution moved to Houston (another tale). But I grew up in its culture having had cousins, second cousins, etc. who did go there. Odessa was still a bubble community where everyone new about, of, or personally everyone else. It was a racist town with segregation that took a while to change – if it ever did?

Sadly it was from this closed ideological village of stupidity and ignorance that I emerged during the Viet Nam draft era. Realizing I had two options: 1) run away to Canada; or, 2) join the Air Force or Navy rather than allow the Army to enslave me. Being a Son of the South and engrained with all its ideological colorings I chose the supposed honorable path of joining the Navy. What a mistake! Not that the Navy isn’t a great way to escape the tedium of that West Texas desert of mesquite, sulphurous oil fumes, clichy, tumbleweeds, etc., but I had no real idea what I was getting into at all. (Another tale… )

You may be wondering: Why the hell is this guy baring his personal bullshit online? It’s not some confessional believe me, it’s actually to show how each of us are the fruit of certain epigenetic environmental pressures. Our lives are not whole cloth as some of us would like to assume. I think it was Emerson who once spoke of the long shadow: “An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man”. For me life itself is that shadow in the personal. We are born in ignorance with brains that have evolved over eons to meet the pressures of our external environments, to grapple with the materiality of existence, to be selective toward all things in our environment for certain reproductive and survival reasons. Yet, over time something happened, something changed in the animal called humanity: we developed that ability to speak and to reflect upon our speech thereby producing strange anomalies in our brain that evolved into what many unknowing philosophers now want to call the Mind. They talk of the Mind as if it were something different, unique, separate from the brain itself. There are so many notions concerning the mind and its child, consciousness, that it might fill an encyclopedia like Britannica many times over.

That is not my subject.

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Recursions: a new book series in media & cultural theory

Jussi Parikka author of the recent Insect Media: An Archaeology of Animals and Technology, and others are bringing a new media materialist series platform into existence, Recursions: Theories of Media, Materiality, and Cultural Techniques!

Machinology

recursions logoWe are proud to announce the launch of a new book series titled Recursions: Theories of Media, Materiality and Cultural Techniques. Placed with Amsterdam University Press, a publisher known for its strong track-record in film and media studies, the series will publish fresh, exciting and important books in media theory. This includes both translations and other volumes that address the core themes outlined below. I am very excited about this project and working with my co-editors Anna Tuschling and Geoffrey Winthrop-Young. We have already some significant projects lined up for 2015 and more forthcoming that we will announce in the coming weeks and months. We are supported by a very strong international advisory board. Get in touch if you want to learn more but first read below for more information!

New Series Announcement

The new book series Recursions: Theories of Media, Materiality, and Cultural Techniques provides a platform for cutting-…

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The Onlife Initiative: Luciano Floridi and ICT Philosophy

Onlife, a term coined by Luciano Floridi is now part of a new EU Commision Onlife Initiative. Its main concerns are the impact of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) upon the human condition. Their mission statement below gives the details from their site ( see Onlife Initiative ):

What is the impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on the human condition? In order to address this question, in 2012 the European Commission organized a research project entitled The Onlife Initiative: concept reengineering for rethinking societal concerns in the digital transition. This volume collects the work of the Onlife Initiative. It explores how the development and widespread use of ICTs have a radical impact on the human condition.

ICTs are not mere tools but rather social forces that are increasingly affecting our self-conception (who we are), our mutual interactions (how we socialise); our conception of reality (our metaphysics); and our interactions with reality (our agency). In each case, ICTs have a huge ethical, legal, and political significance, yet one with which we have begun to come to terms only recently.

The impact exercised by ICTs is due to at least four major transformations: the blurring of the distinction between reality and virtuality; the blurring of the distinction between human, machine and nature; the reversal from information scarcity to information abundance; and the shift from the primacy of stand-alone things, properties, and binary relations, to the primacy of interactions, processes and networks.

Such transformations are testing the foundations of our conceptual frameworks. Our current conceptual toolbox is no longer fitted to address new ICT-related challenges. This is not only a problem in itself. It is also a risk, because the lack of a clear understanding of our present time may easily lead to negative projections about the future. The goal of The Manifesto, and of the whole book that contextualises, is therefore that of contributing to the update of our philosophy. It is a constructive goal. The book is meant to be a positive contribution to rethinking the philosophy on which policies are built in a hyperconnected world, so that we may have a better chance of understanding our ICT-related problems and solving them satisfactorily.

The Manifesto launches an open debate on the impacts of ICTs on public spaces, politics and societal expectations toward policymaking in the Digital Agenda for Europe’s remit. More broadly, it helps start a reflection on the way in which a hyperconnected world calls for rethinking the referential frameworks on which policies are built.

Continue reading

Metropolis, Media, Mechanosphere

Excellent!

Deterritorial Investigations

I.

index_img01

In 2007, a group of some two-hundred entrepreneurs representing technological start-ups descended on Seattle for “a wine and cheese party” organized by Amazon and Madrona Venture Group, an early investor in the tech corporations like the aforementioned digital giant and Isilon Systems, a database storage company noted for servicing big data interests, gene sequencing firms, and oil and gas companies. The focus at this large gathering, however, was the advent of Amazon Web Services (AWS, a series of distributed remote computing services that generates a massive cloud platform – a digital sea composed of interlocking databases, email services, search engines, real-time data monitoring platforms, and much more. At the time, cloud computing was still a relatively small idea; “Now, seven years later, Seattle is Cloud City.”i

Big business is cloud crazy: the integration of the database, the communication network, the standardized and streamlined platform and IT management allows…

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Just a note…

Out of town at the moment… doing some good reading while I’m visiting my son and daughter in Colorado.

  • Levi R. Bryant’s new work, Onto-Cartography: An Ontology of Machines and Media
  • Takayuki Tatsumi’s Full Metal Apache – Japan and American postcyberpunkedelia
  • Erika Gottlieb’s Dystopian Fiction East and West: Universe of Terror and Trial
  • J. David Osborne,  Low Down Death Right Easy (good old noir for myself )
  • Frank Herbert’s, Hellstron Five ( decided to reread this in the light of present studies in posthumanism)

 

All in all some interesting reads for a couple weeks…. be back soon!

Geographical Ignorance and Americans’ Views on Ukraine

Political Violence reposted an article dealing with reportage on American’s who seem to be less than adequate concerning geography. In my comment, after reading the Monkey Cage article, I realized this is part of a larger issue in American Culture and Society that was not even touched on by either Political Violence nor the Monkey Cage. That is the deliberate dumbing down of the Education curriculum over the past half century that has been documented repeatedly by some of the educators themselves.

The truth is it has nothing to do with politics, partisan or otherwise. For years critics have been decrying the educational system itself which many believe are actually being forced to dumb down Americans. It’s sad that one points the finger at the people for not knowing, rather than at the system that should have taught them the facts to begin with. I mean there are several older and newer works that describe in detail much of the issues involved:

Dumbing Down America: The War on Our Nation’s Brightest Young Minds (And What We Can Do to Fight Back) by James Delisle Ph.D. (Aug 1, 2014)

Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can’t Read, Write, or Add by Charles J. Sykes (Sep 15, 1996)

Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling, 10th Anniversary Edition by John Taylor Gatto and Thomas Moore (Feb 1, 2002)

The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America, Revised and Abridged Edition by Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt (2011)

Death By Supermarket: The Fattening, Dumbing Down, and Poisoning of America by Deville, Nancy (Mar 1, 2011)

So instead of poking fun at the working class including the prevaricariat, cognitariat, etc. why not do an article on the educational system itself that has failed Americans.

Swarm Intermezzo: Meditations on the Ether

Edmund has a nice essay on Hardt and Negri concerning their concept of Ether: “the Ether is free from the command of sovereign entities. Unlike the Bomb (which is directly correlated to the geopolitical might of a given nation through its center stage in the military and mutually-assured-destruction strategies) and Money (forever flowing upwardly into the financial metropolises like New York City and London while dictating the relations in the global markets below), the Ether is utterly deterritorialized and diffused across the transnational plane, and continuously circulates through the civil societies of the world. It is only through Empire’s harnessing of the Ether than it becomes subverted into a methodology of control.”

Deterritorial Investigations

swarming-2c

1.

     When we perceive the movement of the swarm, what is being witnessed is a certain diagram of action derived from the organizational properties of the distributed network. At this level, we take the shifts and fluctuations of masses found within nature – bees, birds, schools of fish, insects, bats, myxobacteria, so on and so forth – and transpose their logic into that of our informatic paradigm, a polymorphous, interdisciplinary and transitory state with its concrete genesis (though it has a great many filiations and genealogies preceding it) in the mathematical theory of communication as laid out by Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver in the 1940s.

     The distributed network is the extension of the Shannon-Weaver model to encompass innumerable points, relays and nodes across space, time and the scales these operate through. In the original theory, communication – rendered here as the message – proceeds from…

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The Ontology of Ghosts

R. Scott Bakker waxing eloquently as usual on the semantic apocalypse. My answer came quick:

E.M. Cioran once said that “All my life is a baptism of shadows. Their kiss made me mature for darkness and sadness.” He also reminded us that “It seems to me that the whole future process of humanity will be nothing other than a regaining of delusions.”

With the Semantic Apocalypse imploding all around us we are neither ghosts nor zombies but remain as always shadow thoughts in the cave of light and darkness we call the multiverse. Liberated from what you have lived, unconcerned by what you will live you demolish the signposts on all your roads. As autochthons of this world we find ourselves bound to the clay pot of existence and rejoice not in some transcendence of this life but rather in digging deeper into its strangeness seeking not some elsewhere but rather the darkness of our moment in being. Silenced by the stars we imagine ourselves stars, and we find that the very dust we are fell from the death throes of flames billions of years ago. Measuring this deep history we demarcate a mathematics of geometric solitude that offers neither redress nor salvation but only the truth of our infinitesimal point on the chain of time. Knowing like all things that we too have had our day, the evolution of life will leave us again in the dust heap of being. Yet, what new forms we shall be replaced by is the excitement of machinic modulations in the very fabric of our brains. That we shall be replaced is assured, whether through the fabricated dreams of our own minds; or, better yet, through some happy fault, some accident of unmaking that unbinds the very threads of our long journey to nowhere and nothing. At the edge of this apocalypse of meaning and value we gaze on that which is neither us nor something else, but the horizon and limits of all we could be under the sign of emptiness and erasure.

Three Pound Brain

In the courtyard a shadowy giant elm

Spreads ancient boughs, her ancient arms where dreams,

False dreams, the old tale goes, beneath each leaf

Cling and are numberless.

–Virgil, The Aenied, Book VI

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I’m always amazed, looking back, at how fucking clear things had seemed at this or that juncture of my philosophical life—how lucid. The two early conversions, stumbling into nihilism as a teenager, then climbing into Heidegger in my early twenties, seem the most ‘religious’ in retrospect. I think this is why I never failed to piss people off even back then. You have this self-promoting skin you wear when you communicate, this tactical gloss that compels you to impress. This is what non-intellectuals hear when you speak, tactics and self-promotion. This is why it’s so easy to tar intellectualism in the communal eye: insecurity and insincerity are of its essence. All value judgements are transitive…

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Thinking Through Atheism in a Religious Cosmos (response to professoranton)

Matthew David Segall has an excellent post on religion and atheism that I had to respond too. He starts by asking: “If religion arose naturally as a result of humanity’s gradually increasing capacity for self-consciousness, and by implication, for conscience, then what are we secular folks supposed to replace it with?”

Why do you assume the need of a replacement to begin with? Why do you assume we are supposedly ‘guilty’? Why do we even need the notion of an internalized ‘conscience’; an outmoded and misunderstood moral attribute? You seem to accept as fact this substantive notion of a category termed ‘conscience’ as the bearer of guilt? Why? Guilty of freedom? Guilty of being born? If you’re going with this tack then why not return to Shame Culture rather than Guilt Culture? Shame before all those others for whom I compete to survive? Jean Delumeau in his magisterial Sin and Fear – The Emergence of Western Guilt Culture 13th-18th Centuries once termed this sense of guilt as the “scruple sickness” instigated by the Catholic (obviously the main religion of the era in question) turn toward introspection and moral enforcement or hygiene. Once you impose a moral code, a set of rules on a community and those go against the natural state of affairs conflict arises which stems the flow of natural aggression. This blockage of natural aggression turned against itself is the beginnings of guilt culture. I’ll not go into the antecedents and also realize this is a simplification of an argument that would take a full detailed work to explicate, of which Jean Delemeau’s is a great example…

I do not know of any atheists who deny consciousness as a feature of the universe. Even the most blatant eliminativist does not deny consciousness, what they do deny is the permanent implantation of this notion of the first-person-singular, the ‘I’ as Self. Instead they say that it is a mechanism, a function of the brain’s processes just like all other functions, that it comes and goes as needed for specific actions. What eliminativists deny is this notion of capacities and dispositions as existing eternally in consciousness. There are no permanent power, dispotifs, emotions etc. as permanent entities, instead what is taken as the label for all intentional states of affairs is in itself momentary functional process of the brain’s continuous biochemical interactions with the environment.

This notion that “I do not have Freedom, Freedom has me,” seems a perfect example of statement “I do not have Self, Brain is.” The difference between the two statements is the difference between Idealism and Materialism. Freedom is Idea, Brain is Material. You assume the Idea of Freedom is real, that it has real capacity, that it stands for certain modes, capacities, powers, dispotifs that have causal efficacy. For me freedom has none of these, it is an illusion of the Brain doing what it does in a material universe. But that does not divide material into some old mold of an outdated materialism that sees matter as dead. That materialism never existed, that was always a critical appraisal of materialism by its detractors. Materialism is a monism, but does not reduce everything to the physical as some physicalists did during the positivist era. If one studies to the full extent the complete history of materialism one discovers that at the heart of this unique view of life is a sense of openness to existence that need not be final. Existence is not a set of algorithms, neither is it mathematical, nor is it even bound to the term ‘matter’. As in all human thought the moment you qualify the real by such terms you reduce what cannot be reduced to a human equation. We do have limits, we are blind to our own capacities. We take as sufficient what is actually our own ignorance of the true state of affairs. We scramble for definitions, philosophical theories, scientific facts to sway to argue to bind the real to our Ideas of reality. Reality escapes all our human notions. To use a religious metaphor in a secular way (Paul): “We see through a mirror darkly…”. That is all. What little light we shed on this real is always up for revision as we gain more insight and better tools or apparatuses by which to understand it. An open universe is infinite in this sense. Why? Because it does not follow our rules, it invents its own moment by moment (to use an occasionalist or Whiteheadian metaphor). But this need not entail even a reduction to some Big Other behind the scenes causing those relations between moments. To reduce the mystery to either a secular or religious notion is still to equate the real to human need. The universe does not need us, yet we do. That is all.

Footnotes2Plato

Like Professor Anton, I would also want to pose the existential problematic of self-consciousness to those atheists who reject religion outright. If religion arose naturally as a result of humanity’s gradually increasing capacity for self-consciousness, and by implication, for conscience, then what are we secular folks supposed to replace it with? We cannot simply expect all our guilt to disappear with the churches if the churches and their rituals arose in the first place as a response to the guilt-inducing effects of our undeniable feeling of being free (more or less if not absolutely so). To deny that consciousness is a real feature of the universe, as many atheistic scientific materialists are tempted to do, is just a cop out, another psychological ploy no better than the old religions that allows them to avoid having to directly face the terrifying reality of feeling ethically responsible to a community of other…

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The Swarmachine: A Historical Puzzle (Part 1)

Edmund has another fine post up on Deterritorial Investigations Unit. This time on the Color Revolutions after the fall of the Soviet Union. Showing how differing views of these times and how certain official governments, think-tanks, academic and private institutions, foundations, banks, etc. all had their part to play. As he states it in talking about the anomalies that never fit the official story:
“Mowat, and those that follow him – Tarpley, Marshall, and Engdahl, present a picture much different from this. For them, the entirety of the revolution – and not just the profound subversion – is created from the ground-up in a bid to destabilize Russia by gaining supremacy over its petrol-based territorial concerns. They present an alternative genealogy of these youth-centric, media-optimized and information technology-enhanced movements, finding a precedent long before the cases of Poland and Czechoslovakia in the 1980s and linking them instead to advances made in social psychology at the British Tavistock Institute in the 1960s.”

A must read!

Deterritorial Investigations

starlings-a9b6adeefcd134508888db5e90355a9399d4b64b-s6-c30

The Colors of Revolution

As the Cold War came to an end, undoing the critical strategic worldwide gridlock fueled by the competition between the United States and the Soviet Union, globalization took off, accelerating the flows of capital, technology, and production across a transnational plane. The old structures of statehood underwent a profound reconfiguration as borders became far more flexible than before; ideas, customs, cultures and populations found themselves dynamically uprooted and spread out into the ether, transmitting their messages in electronic code as well as becoming liquid, moving far beyond their territories of origin. The Cold War’s end was the product of many things: systemic crises emanating from the breakdown of the Bretton Woods agreement had sent reverberations through the global economic system, fully destabilizing the old order while prompting the creation of new mechanisms for capital accumulation and a class composition that was no longer strictly national in…

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Philip Mirowski keynote for ‘Life and Debt’ conference (2012)

Excellent lecture by Mirowski who wrote a couple great works on the neoliberal agenda: The Road from Mont Pelerin: The Making of the Neoliberal Thought Collective; and, Machine Dreams: Economics becomes a Cyborg Science.

I’ve been reading the latter for a while now. In this lecture he takes on the Climate agenda of the Neoliberals. Along the way discusses Foucault, Neoclassical economics, Naomi Kliein, etc. toward a nuanced discussion on what is on the plate with CO2 emissions and the carbon reduction schemes. What he terms the Neoliberal prescription: a threefold scheme to boondoggle the public in short term, medium term, and long term schemes of propaganda leading to vast markets of geoengineering of the climate. All of these schemes purporting to solve not the actual problem of carbon emissions, but to actually set that initiative to naught. He also details his reason of what the Left needs to do to counter this neoliberal vision. And, also, accuses the Left of having little or no intellectual vision at this moment to counter much of anything, much less the crisis of climate warming coming at us.

Foucault News

Comments on Foucault at around the 14 minute mark

Published on Aug 18, 2013

Life and Debt: Living through the Financialisation of the Biosphere
Philip Mirowski keynote for ‘Life and Debt’ conference

How can it be that the climate crisis, the biodiversity crisis and the deepest financial crisis since 1930s have done so little to undermine the supremacy of orthodox economics?

The lecture will preview material from Mirowski’s new book: Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown (Verso, 2013).

In this lecture, Professor Mirowski responds to the question of how it is that science came to be subordinate to economics and the very future of nature to be contingent upon the market. Charting the contradictions of the contemporary political landscape, he notes that science denialism, markets for pollution permits and proposals for geo-engineering can all be understood as political strategies designed to neutralize…

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