One old Chinese tale tells of a Daoist hermit who was given to meditation in his small bamboo hut, which was lost among waterfalls and mountain mists....moreOne old Chinese tale tells of a Daoist hermit who was given to meditation in his small bamboo hut, which was lost among waterfalls and mountain mists. One day some dour-faced Confucians made their way to his hut, stepped inside, and saw him sitting there stark naked, abandoned in meditation to the immensity of the Dao.
"What are you doing, sitting there in your hut stark naked?" the Confucian do-gooders queried.
The Daoist slowly opened his eyes. He looked out at the Confucians, and replied, "This whole universe is my hut. This little hut is only my pants. What are you guys doing inside my pants?"
There the story ends, but not really, because tales of such repartee between Daoists and Confucianists have been told for centuries. Daoism and Confucianism, in fact, form one of the fundamental dyads underlying much of Chinese thought. Always at odds with each other, they nevertheless need each other, like yin and yang.
One of the most important Mandarin words is wen (文), which forms half of another influential dyad in early Chinese philosophical, literary, political and aesthetic thought. Wen means 'literature,' 'letters,' 'diplomacy.' The other half of that pair is wu, 'war.' In political thought, the Chinese have long disesteemed wu and favored wen. This is evident from the time of the Laozi ("I would rather retreat a mile than advance an inch.") and the Zhuangzi (Discoursing on Swords) to contemporary elaborations such as those of Jet Li. For centuries, passing the civil service exams, the gateway to a meaningful career, required that one be steeped in the Confucian classics and other exemplars of wen.
In music and poetry, the wen/wu dyad reappears in the distinction between more lyrical (wen) passages and more abrasive (wu) ones, the haunting "Song of the Pipa" is an excellent example.
Stephen Owen's Readings in Chinese Literary Thought contains masterful essays and commentaries on the foundational texts underlying the long tradition of wen, including both Confucian and Daoist sources.
This work is useful not only to scholars of Chinese literature, but to all writers for its ability to lead the mind into important considerations that otherwise might never take place. (less)
First of all, my life is--most fundamentally considered--nothing but an ode to the mango, to any one of which I could hymn, while r...moreEat Mangoes Naked.
First of all, my life is--most fundamentally considered--nothing but an ode to the mango, to any one of which I could hymn, while reasonably sober: Desnuda eres tan simple como una de tus manos or Desnuda eres azul como la noche en Cuba. (Some blue mangos of Cuban lineage do grow hands--at certain hours.)
However, on the one hand, from a strictly sober and logical point of view, I have real problems with this title. First, I prefer to spell the plural mangos, without the e, if only in opposition to Our Most Merciful and Divine Leader, Dan Quayle. In addition, although a ripe mango beckons the hands--which crave to cup the fruit tenderly, feeling into its curvatures--the fruit shares its hues with poison oak, and is in the same plant family. Contact with mango skin can leave one with that itchy twitchy feeling. Does one really want--for the sake of one moment of sweet and wet abandon--terminal dermatitis?
On the other hand, so to speak, I love mangos more than people--or even cows--especially on weekends. In Vera Cruz, when a bunch of blokes espy an especially and jucily wild woman, they will exclaim, more or less in unison, "Que mango!" (What a mango!).
And, they are right. The beauty and pleasures of being with a studding or even a stunning woman can almost approximate those of courting a most succulent mango.
So, my advice is: ski-rew logic.
And while we're on the subject of Mexican botanical trivia, nudity, mangos, polymorphous pleasures, passion, and prudence, don't forget: the preventative against pregnancy is not nopalitos but no palitos.
Leas con Diosa, and don't forget, there exist countless philosophies, ways, or Taos concerned with how to actually savor a mango, not unlike Taoist schools of penning verse:
Downing ten thousand fruits can't be forbidden-- She takes in all the great treasure of mango groves. Arising from the Way, bringing back ch'i. Residing in the attainment, she becomes wildly free. A wind streams down from the heavens, Mountains over the ocean, a vast blue-grey. When her pure force is full, Ten thousand admirers constellate right around her. She summons sun, moon, and stars to bow before her.
Brimming full, the flowing juices, Succulent and shifting, the Ancient Formlessness. The more you go along with it, The more you understand truly. If there is some resemblence of shape, The grasping hand has already missed it.
The greatest functioning extends outward; The genuine form is inwardly full. Reverting to the empty brings one into the undifferentiated; It contains the full complement of all things Stretching all the way across the void: Pale and billowing rainclouds; Long winds in the empty vastness. It passes over beyond the images And attains the center of the ring. Maintaining it is not forcing; Bringing it never ends.
The man of wonder rides the pure, In his hand he holds a lotus; He drifts on through unfathomed aeons, In murky expanses, bare of his traces. The moon emerges in the eastern Dipper, And a good wind follows it. The Mountain is emerald green this night, And he hears the sound of a clear bell. In air he stands long in spiritual simplicity, All limits and boundaries lightly passed. The Sage-King is in his solitude: Noble and unique--those mysterious principles he reveres.
Set spirit in motion as through the whirlpool, Set ch'i in motion as though in a rainbow: A thousand yards down in the gorges Are roiling waters, speeding clouds, and continuous winds. Drink of the pure, feed on the forceful, Store up plainness, and hold to the center. It is figured by the sturdiness of Heaven's motions: This is known as "retaining the potent." Stand together with Heaven and Earth, Sharing spirit's transformations. Look to make it actual, And guide it on all the way to the end.
It's what you can bend down and pick up-- It's not to be taken from any of your neighbors. Go off, together with the Way, And with a touch of the hand, an summertime forms. It is as if coming upon a secret orchard, As if looking upon the renewal of the year. One does not take by force whtat the genuine provides. What is attained willfully easily becomes bankrupt. A recluse is the deserted mountains Stops by a stream and picks wild fruits. As it may, his heart will be enlightened-- The Potter's Wheel of Heaven goes on and on forever.
I was hesitant to place this volume on my "read" list. That category implies a tacit logocentric bias that the very presence of stunning photography t...moreI was hesitant to place this volume on my "read" list. That category implies a tacit logocentric bias that the very presence of stunning photography transcends: even though photography is photo-graphie, writing with light, it is a silent writing, a writhing of light and shadow where meaning resonates from within form rather than within phoneme.
You do not read Imogen's photos. You chance upon them, they greet your eye and --in a blink -- you fall in love.
That is what happened to me as a junior high kid who used to bicycle over to the university library "to study." There were plenty of adventures within those walls to attract me (lanky co-eds, three books on yoga, a scientific tome with thousands of full-body nude photographs -- each subject shot front, back, and profile -- ranging, incrementally, from the most Auschwitzian ectomorph to the most elephantine endomorph) but what really enchanted me dangerously, like the song of a siren, was a reading section where slumbered fragrant leaves of small press pubications devoted to the sullen art.
One evening, having read the latest Bukowski and then turned the page of the literary review, there it greeted me: a b&w of a black fellow sitting in a cafe with a blonde. And, close to a decade later, another: "Phoenix Recumbent," the nude adorning the cover of this book. My spirit quickened.
A few years later I had just returned from a two-month meditation retreat in the Italian foothills, where I found my soul lost in the play between form and formlessness, the realm of light where boundries dissolve into the unbounded. And so I became attracted to the sounding silence in the sonorous verse of San Juan de la Cruz, a contemplative who, imprisoned by the church, inked out a series of erotic metaphors for luminous transcendence -- the poesie of lovers' bodies liquifying into light.
As I was translating those lines into English, Imogen's photo-graphie came to mind, and I invisioned her images illumining the saint's. When she had an opening at the local art museum, I gathered up my work and courage, walked up to her, handed her my renderings, and told her of my vision.
After a fleeting glance at a page, she looked me in the eye and blurted, "I don't like poetry, and I don't believe in God. And in addition, I hate big models (God being the largest imaginable)."
She handed me my work.
I handed my work back to her, as a gift, turned, and exited.
Two months later, I received a postcard from San Francisco bearing her image of a magnolia blossom, and on the back the words, "I have started shooting. Imogen."
She had driven up into the redwoods with the young woman who had been the model for "Phoenix Recumbent," and there, among slanting rays of light, Phoenix and her bearded husband, disrobed, assumed the roles of the soul in search of her Beloved.
A few months later, we began sending the manuscript out.
It was then that Imogen passed away.
In the end, it is not important that the manuscript never went into print, the communion between artists' souls is a mystery beyond representation. That intermingling of visions had already taken place. For months those visions had been our life breath. And yet it continues: after all, the interplay of form and formless never ceases. (less)
My dad worked with Herman Kahn in a group that came to be known as "the megadeath intellectuals." I have heard that Kahn was reputed to have had the h...moreMy dad worked with Herman Kahn in a group that came to be known as "the megadeath intellectuals." I have heard that Kahn was reputed to have had the highest IQ ever measured. These men were the architects of NATO's strategic posture vis-a-vis the Soviet Union. (In their spare time in the 50s and 60s, they nibbled at tidbits such as What ELSE can Afghan famers raise --viably?)
Mr. Kahn looked out over the strategic landscape, took in the view, and deemed hundreds of thousands of casualties an acceptable number in a nuclear exahange.
Not until after my father's death did I really learn what he had been up to all those years. I had my suspicions: my mother had to pack a weapon because there was intelligence that Soviet goons were afoot itching to kidnap anyone in my dad's circle -- even family members.
This group of men woke up in the morning, looked in the mirror, and saw one fundamental fact: a world bristling with nuclear weapons.
They were paid to think about three problems:
1. How do we prevent nuclear war?
2. If we cannot prevent nuclear war, how do we "win" it?
3. If we cannot win it, how do we survive it?
Although it was deemed preferable to solve the first problem, most of these guys had bomb shelters in their back yards.
Their "solution" was the doctrine of mutually assured deterrence and it's incarnation, the Poseidon system -- (a quintissentially Indo-European concept of strength and example of how our myths mould our strategic cultures).
As some reviewers have noted, not much has changed in the logic of this standoff since the 50s.
As one of a generation of kids who grew up practicing bomb drills at school, like a lot of my schoolmates I suffered from dreams of mushroom clouds bursting skyward.
Now, just when the aging members of The (nuclear) Club tire of the game and even sense its obsolesence among rational players (it did nothing for U.S. efforts in Vietnam, for instance, and any exchange would likely accelerate global warming geometrically), a host of ardent, young upstarts arise, praising the technology as a savior of their faith. Theocratic visions of an Absolute, as Derrida pointed out, tend to include an Apocalyptic coda.
All our peace rallies, psychedelic fantasies, loving behavior, and international conflicts have, for the last several decades, taken place under a nuclear "umbrella." Thus we have tended to fight surrogate and low-intensity wars, avoiding conventional warfare for fear of escalation into a nuclear exchange.
Are the evolutionary biologists right? Are we hard-wired for war? Members of every faith have, for millenia, spoken of peace and brotherhood. Yet, they have never really taken a hard look at belief itself, with its inherent proclivity for producing conflict.
It is easy for us to read Kahn and feel self-righteous. Yet, how can we expect nations to live in peace with each other when the truest believers of major faiths cannot? That's the kind of reality check that Khan ate for breakfast.
The strongmen of Indo-European mythology were the Sky Gods: Jupiter, Thor, Dyus Pitar, Indra, and their aquatic cultural cognates, such as Poseidon. Strength is conceived as the overwhelming lightningbolt (or trident) announcing itself unexpectedly. The earthly form of the I-E Sky God was the adamant oak (Proto-Indo-European '*dur'). ('Dur' was the great-great-great grandmother of words such as "durable" and "duracell.") Humans pass away like shadows, but these ancient luminaries remain, informing our thought patterns so tacitly that we remain but their puppets.
What really baffled the megadeth intellectuals, their thinking impelled by tacit Indo-European assumptions, was the Taoist concept of strength, based on the yielding, feminine, elusive element of water. During that era the Soviets were the only Western nation that had a translation of Sun Tzu. It was the image of water that inspired Mao, who was steeped both in Sun Tzu's axioms and their applied values in the stories of The Three Kingdoms. Sun Tzu's highest principle was that the art of war does not consist of fighting a hundred battles and winning a hundred battles. The art of war consists of overcoming the enemy without fighting. Strategy and tactics were fluid as water, avoiding direct confrontation. The Taoist army was hidden. If the enemy does not know where you will strike, the enemy must prepare everywhere, which will eventually exhaust the enemy's resources. Thus Mao's emphasis on "hearts and minds," winning an ocean of support to surround the opponent. When one American general, talking shop post-war with his Vietnamese counterpart, boasted that the U.S. had won every major pitched battle it fought against the Vietnamese, the Vietnamese guy agreed but then added, "However, that is irrelevant."
It would have been interesting to see what Khan and crew would have come up with had they been nursed on Taoist rather than Indo-European assumptions.
Plateaus is required reading for Assange fans and enemies, as well as those who don't give a fig but carry a Master or Visa card or just have a partic...morePlateaus is required reading for Assange fans and enemies, as well as those who don't give a fig but carry a Master or Visa card or just have a particular bent for Continental theory.
According to Deleuze and Guattari Western thought is dominated by a structure of knowledge they call aboresence. This way of knowing is tree-like, vertical, and centralized. For instance, in biology, we have Linnean taxonomies. In chemistry, we have Porphyrian trees. In linguistics we have Chomskyan sentence trees.
Did they say Western? In China we have centralized, hierarchical government and Internet censorship.
Such trees show up worldwide, not only in the fields of biology, botany, linguistics, and anatomy, but also in philosophy, where we find metaphysical trees, theological treess, gnostic trees, The World Tree . . .
Such trees are hierarchical, imposing limited and regulated connections between their components. All such trees spread out like many branches, stemming from a single trunk--each radiating out from an original oneness or unity.
And don't forget Plato, who stands as the central trunk in Western thought--or his Ideal Forms: Doberman pinschers, German shepherds, collies, and poodles are all material manifestations of an immaterial Essence--an Ideal Form of what Plato might call Dogginess. Dogginess is the single Platonic Origin--the Trunk--of the tree of dogs.
Opposed to the vertical, tree-like structure of knowledge, Deleuze and Guattari proclaim a rhizomatic, radically horizontal, crabgrass-like way of knowing. Crabgrass, for instance, is a plant. But instead of having one central root, a rhizome (such as crabgrass or the Internet) has zillions of roots, none of which is central--and each offshoot interconnects in random, unregulated networks in which any node can interconnect with any other node. Whereas the tree seeks to establish itself and say "I am," the rhizome is always rearranging interconnections, providing lines of flight, ranging nomadically saying "and, and, and. . ."
Thus the tree is concerned with origins, foundations, ontologies, beginnings and endings--with roots. The rhizome is concerned with surface connections, lines of flight, with the "and."
For D & G, Kafka's work is rhizomatic. One might expect a novel named The Trial to have something to do with the law. But Deleuze and G. find that Justice in the novel is not legal but erotic, for the process of justice is really a process of desiring. Thus, Kafka's protagonist, K., encounters obscene drawings in the courthouse; an attorney equates being accused with being attractive; a series of suggestive encounters with sex, antifamilial women; and a painting of Justice as winged, and evasive. K., lost in the and, and, and, of the judicial process, ever desiring Justice, never reaches Justice. "She" is never psesent, but always one room away from him in the rhizomatic, rat tunnel of the courthouse with its crazy corridors and perversely connected passageways through which K. is led by eroticized women. Thus, Justice, like the courthouse and desire, is rhizomatic, never reaching conclusion. We will see how this plays out in the Assange case.
The Internet, like a rhizome, is non-hierarchical, horizontal. Its nodes intersect in random, unregulated networks in which any node can interconnect with any other node.
D & G's notions of rhizome and nomadics inform much of the thought of the loose confederation of info-activists of which Assange is but one nomadic node -- to mix metaphors.
Plateaus lays out the underlying grammar of our postmodern info-wars, which, as the example below shows, are all about power. If info-activists have a Bible, Deleuzean theory may be it, which many of these activists have swallowed hook-line and sinker as prescriptive rather than as descriptive of postmodern realities.
Notice, in the example quoted below, the heterotopian vision coming from an avowed member of a loose confederation of thinkers who claim to have disavowed metanarratives.
One must not forget, however, that although rhizomes are a trend, trees are not obsolete. The human nervous system is one such tree. If it operated like a rhizome, it would be operating without a brain.
Deleuze committed suicide by jumping from atop a tall, vertical structure--a building. We will someday see if Assange has been flirting with a legal system that is rhizomatic or vertical. So far he is folling in K's footsteps--to a t.
A central theme of Deleuzean anti-centrists is the deconstruction of the Oedipal myth, which involves exploding the central image of the father into many, and thus distributing anti-authoritarian ire towards an array of other targets. For instance, in Kafka's "Letter to His Father," he inflates his father to laughably absurd, dreamlike dimensions, until his father's singular Fatherness ballons so huge that it pops--exploding into a vast rhizomatic network of father-like social connections represented by judges, commissioners, bureaucrats.
The following is an example of the info-topian mind-set, of strictly orthodox rhizomism, in which the author hearalds a major victory in the ifo-wars:
"Patrick Lichty on December 11, 2010 2:39 pm Digital Anarchy and Wikileaks. Or, Skynet doesn’t look anything like we thought it did.
"This is the first time I’ve posted in a while, but I think we’re in significant times. Assange and the whole Wikileaks phenomenon is so important that it needs a little theory.
"To recap for those who have been unaware of the news, Wikileaks is an online Wikipedia-like database that “whistle-blows” against governmental/corporate wrongdoing by releasing controlled/classified documents. As of December 2010 they have been releasing huge numbers of cables relating to US foreign policy, which has the First World, especially the US State Department in a panic. Why? Because the leaks show the US in any number of gaffes, like calling Russia a “mafia state”, disclosing precarious mentions of Middle Eastern leaders. In addition, other undisclosed information, such as revealing transfers of weapons technology from North Korea to Iran, US drug companies targeting African politicians, and so on. This disclosure has sent the First World into diplomatic chaos, with geopolitical politics reconfiguring itself like a planet-sized Rubik’s Cube.
"First World power has been bitten by its own child, or its own emergent system as typified in popular science fiction franchises, like the Matrix and Terminator. Infopower has begun to become autonomous of its material (atomic) roots. Instead of the robots, it is merely the infosphere that is asserting itself. In The Porcelain Workshop, Antonio Negri asserts that one of the three major shifts into the postmodern is the primacy of informatics/cognitive capital as central to the new order. As such, it is focusing of society on this flow of capital which has relocated the foundations of power in the new millennium.
"The Internet was conceived by the US military (DARPA) as a decentralized network for the sharing and redundant storage of information in multiple locations in case of nuclear attack. In such a case, one node can be destroyed, and the network can still function despite their loss. It is for this reason that I believe that material/conventional power should be termed as “atomic”, as nuclear weapons are the ultimate extension of the nation-state, and as metaphor for material society, we can also double that this power situates in the world of atoms. However, this extension of conventional/”atomic” power has grown into a concurrent, distributed, heterogenous field of power that I will call the Infostate, that includes the Web, E-mail, and all functions of networked communications. Although the functionaries of conventional power have restructured themselves in terms of the informational milieu, the latter is not necessarily congruent with the former. The Internet spans most physical states, yet resides in no single one.
"Despite this, there are zones which the nation state has tried to territorialize and limit the flow of cognitive capital, such as Turkey and China, but the firewalls remain porous and slippery. This deterritiorialization of the Infostate creates an asymmetrical power relation which, due to its amorphous nature, is problematic for the conventional nation-state to engage. Conventional power requires a face upon which to focus fear and hatred upon, such as Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden. Infopower is mercuric and morphogenic, and when confronted by the centralized, hierarchical nature of conventional power, it merely splits, morphs or replicates, sidestepping the metaphorical “army & general”. This relationship signals the new balance of power between the nation-state and the Infostate as Krokerian Panic dialectic, in which the ability of the one to relate in terms of the other implodes.
"With the bleeding of information from the material to the infomatic rhizome through Wikileaks (i.e. the US diplomatic cable leaks), the Infostate has created an asymmetrical insurgency against conventional power. Negri’s conception of cognitive capital as locus of power asymmetrically challenges that of material capital. This is analogous to previous mention of events as told in the movie, The Matrix, and the artificial (informatic) being overriding/supercedes embodied conventional power. As Deleuze, then Agamben assert that power is the separation of the subject from potentiality, and as such mitigates dissent, the nation-state is trying to exert power by separating the means of support and the figurehead from Wikileaks, but distributed, asymmetrical cyberwarfare by the net.community has already disrupted banks, credit, and networked sites. It has even awakened the amorphous hacker subculture of “Anonymous” which was last known for its mass protests against the Church of Scientology to rise against the opponents of Wikileaks. The Net, as child of the military (conventional power) has begun to turn on its masters, with expected reflexive responses.
"This knee-jerk reaction of the nation-state to asymmetrical power versus conventional power became evident in the case of 2001, where decentralized “cellular” physical social networks circumvented centralized power. Although the previous statement says decentralized physical power, this is merely an intermediary step to the development of asymmetrical distributed infopower. The centralized, hierarchical nature of the material corporate nation-state has been unable to contain the decentralized flow of cellular power, which has become infopower, created by the emergency of distributed networks. This is seen as we look again at Matrix Reloaded, where in, as in The Matrix Trilogy, the informatic body/state (Agent Smith) reacts to the intervention of conventional human power (Neo, or “The One”) by asymmetry in massively replicating Wikileaks sites (“The Many”). Conventional power now has a cloud of moving, replicating targets rather than one to aim at.
"The First World then reacts to being challenged by expediting material/physical diplomacy that would take months, days, or weeks by arresting Assange and possibly for extraditing him to the United States, his locus of challenge. But although the “head”, (the object of leverage of conventional power) is in custody, the “body” of Wikileaks and the rest of its “computational cloud of dissent” stated on December 7th (incidentally, the day of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor), that it will continue to release information through the WikiLeaks network. Like the anthropomorphization of centralizing identity/placing a single “face” on challenges to hegemony (as in the Queens of the movies Aliens and The Borg in Star Trek), the true face of asymmetry is that of facelessness and morphogenic dissent. It is like trying to hold mercury, because as the Critical Art Ensemble states, decentralized dissent can only be addressed through decentralized means, and this is not the structure of conventional power.
"In Electronic Civil Disobedience, The Critical Art Ensemble also states that in the age of informatic power, physical resistance is severely limited in its potential for effect, if not useless, as the physical protester is corralled or elided entirely by authority. The real interventionists, CAE states, are the 20-something year-old hackers who punch through the firewalls and reroute flows of information, creating irruptions of redirection, disruption, and detournement of infocapital at will. The case of Ricardo Dominguez and the Electronic Disturbance Theatre’s virtual sit-in against the University of California was a relatively benign case of the disruption of data as political act. But the intervention in infocapital is explicated on a larger scale by Chinese governbmental hackers’ compromise of Google (as revealed by Wikileaks), as well as the infiltration of an Iranian reactor by hakers. All of these illustrate Negri’s idea that postmodern power/capital has shifted to that of the informatics and cognitive fields, and signal a primary shift of the balance power in the First World, if not globally.
"In light of this redistribution of power, what would the solution for converntional/”atomic” power’s reassertion of hegemony? This would be to contain the rise of informatic power by containing its means of distribution. This would be by the means of national firewalling, and trunk-line disconnection or limited Internet disabling, disrupting infopower, but also crippling the flow of digitized material capital as well. This is problematic at best, as conventional power and informatic power are in symbiotic, the latter being more nimble and a step ahead of the former, and to attack a symbiote always means to cripple its partner as well. The logical result of such actions would be the elimination of net neutrality (the free and open flow of data across the Internet) or even the severance of typologies and flows of information across the networks. The symbiotic effect is that conventional power/capital is also hobbled, as the physical is dependent on the same flows of information across the distributed nets, disabling itself in the process. It is for this reason that it cannot engage in this means of retaliation, as it would be the digital suicide of the First World nation-state.
"This is the brilliance of Wikileaks – its use of infrastructure upon which conventional power relies as site of anarchic resistance proves the potentiality of infomatic power rendering conventional power impotent. In this case, bits trump atoms in the milieu of the Net. As nuclear detente created an “aesthetics of uselessness” in the ridiculously high numbers of times the world’s nuclear stockpiles could destroy the Earth, this potential reduction of the “atomic/atomic” to aesthetic nullity arises as the Infostate merely shuts down the control systems of the bunker. I nation of nuclear gophers, lifeless in their burrows.
"Power is reconfiguring in light of informational vs. conventional power, and this is why the rise of Wikileaks is significant, and why the geopolitical panic-site it creates is a singular event. It suggests that decentralized power renders hierarchical conventional power impotent, signaling the beginning of the 21st Century paradigm. In The Coming Insurrection, the French anarchist group, The Invisible Committee, posits a Communo-Anarchic insurgency to overthrow the conventional nation-state. What would replace it is the creation of a cybernetic proto-industrial model of networked communes with high tech microproduction that would be established during and after a mass armed insurrection. There is another view on this. The insurrection, as CAE states, will not be with guns, but with bytes. This is in line with Negri’s assertion that capital in the postmodern has shifted to information/cognitive capital, and that conventional power merely marginalizes material (atomic) dissent. The real theatre of engagement is the infosphere, and Wikileaks has realized info-insurgency as real power first world/digital society has become informatic. Anarchy in its most powerful form is now in the disruption and release of data withheld by the nation-state."
(end of long quote)
So, does the future go to the oaks or the crabgrass? You can find the answer just by gazing up at the clouds. The lizard part of your brain will instantly begin searching for--and finding--familiar forms within those billowing canvasses. It's the same centric anxiety reflex that causes humans to look for leaders: lizards do push ups for the same reason guys do, to show they are the alpha iguana. Iguana babes may rally around such ass-kicking males, who in turn may be no match for a virus. Centrism and rhizome-ism are both embedded in nature. It's their interplay that helps drive evolution--and thickens the plot.
As a kid I worked on hot-shot, trail, and surveying crews for the US Forest Service. That kind of work involves becoming intimate with one of the most...moreAs a kid I worked on hot-shot, trail, and surveying crews for the US Forest Service. That kind of work involves becoming intimate with one of the most powerful forces on the planet, forest fires. For a long time Smokey considered wildfires to be detrimental, but slowly, with knowledge of fire ecology, fire was recognized as a metabolic agent that burns through healthy forests in the natural course of events. After all, in Pre-Colombian times, fire burned through almost every inch of the United States periodically and is as much an element in healthy ecosystems as is water and soil.
This first part of this book, before being published in India, was my master's thesis at the University of California Santa Barbara in Religious Studies. My committee chair was the great Raimundo Panikkar, with the equally remarkable Nandini Iyer and Gerald Larson filling in the other two seats.
While studying the Vedas under these able guides, I began to recognize that the Vedic tribes, as well as the Proto-Indo-European tribes before them, were nomadic and had their own knowledge of fire ecology. The Rig Veda, for instance, begins thusly: "I adore Agni," Agni (a cognate with English "ignite") being the God of Fire. Mine was a structural study of Proto-Indo-European and Vedic myths relating to fire ecology.
The second part of this book examines the same myths not for their semantic value, but for their phonetic value -- in other words, as mantra.
The Sanskrit word "loka" originally meant a clearing in the forest, made by fire. It came to mean, of course, a spiritual world. When viewed as mantra, the same myths open up a spiritual clearing.
If you have an interest in Vedic culture or more generally in myth or mantra, you might find this book of value.
Certainly years of meditation and study went into it.
This delicious pumpkin seed salad dressing Sanae created from roasted pumpkin seeds, umeboshi plum pas...more Would you like to get away from processed foods?
This delicious pumpkin seed salad dressing Sanae created from roasted pumpkin seeds, umeboshi plum paste, water, and scallions. It is one of the many wonderful recipes in her book.
This is a wonderful cookbook, written by an amazing woman, which is about so much more than food. Sanae has the advantage of being Japanese, so in addition to her macrobiotic background, she is able to bring into her cooking style a fullness of Japanese folk wisdom handed down within her family. Each dish is not only healthy for specific seasons and constitutions, but is also artfully and loving prepared.
The pride in craftsmanship so common in zen-instilled Japanese arts is evident within every detail.
excerpt from a chapter entitled The Children's Tutor:
One day the officer's wife was seen in her mansion by a resident of the monastery. He was a man w...moreexcerpt from a chapter entitled The Children's Tutor:
One day the officer's wife was seen in her mansion by a resident of the monastery. He was a man well fed on monastic food, which had also restored his youth. He wore a tattoo and a long holy mark of unburnt sandalwood paste. Proud of the soft crackle of his peacock pointed shoes, his sash tucked under his arm, he would avoid the touch of even Brahmins, and scolded people angrily with words like 'You son of a slave.'
This man marveled at seeing the woman, and was suddenly bitten by Kama. He got himself a position at the officer's house, on a monthly wage as the children's tutor, teaching them how to write. Having thus gained access, the rogue began to work carefully, even though he did not know the entire script and could only write slowly the letter Aum. . . (less)
As an ambiguity pundit, I was drawn to this book, but slightly disappointed. The author views the pun as a subset of ambiguity in language, pointing o...moreAs an ambiguity pundit, I was drawn to this book, but slightly disappointed. The author views the pun as a subset of ambiguity in language, pointing out its possible evolutionary role and attempting to save its reputation from centuries of misalignment as low-brow humor. In an inconclusive attempt to describe what happens in the punning brain, he also offers a disappointing foray into pop science. All this adds up to a good start.
Where the book falls short is in its neglect of the subjective experience of what can happen in the punning mind and spirit. For example, consider what is known in Japan as kake kotoba, or pivot word, a device used in composing haiku, as operates in this poem:
how mournfully wind of autumn pines upon the mountainside
"Pines" here is the pivot word, which both in Japanese and in English can suggest (through syntactic ambiguity) either trees or a verb denoting longing. According to Pollack, a person's mind recognizes one of the meanings while subconsciously searching out others, which it may or may not recognize.
What Pollack misses is the zen aesthetics of the moment when the mind--in a sudden flash--realizes the second meaning. It is akin to the reversal of foreground and background in gestalt or in the contemplation of a yantra or ambigraph.
In this moment, one experiences a gap between the two meanings. One's consciousness--which always tries to make meaning of its contents--finds itself devoid of contents and aware only of pure awareness itself--boundless, luminous, and silent.
In zen aesthetics, the awareness of this gap or void is both spiritual and artistic, It is conceptualized as an experience, through poetry, of shunyata--emptiness. In Shinto aesthetics, it is conceptualized as a moment of mono no aware--the Ah-ness of things. The "ah" here, however pertains to a kind of non-thing: pure awareness, consciousness without any contents.
In Kashmir Shaivism, this gap is called madhya or "middle," the moment of Self-Recognition, when consciousness sees beyond the world and into the real nature of life and awareness.
To recognize this subjective process is to wake up not only to one's Self but the full dignity and potential of punning.