Thursday, July 16, 2009

Aesthetics does not lead to an alleviation of this misery either; but...

[Re: Fascism and False Guru Sects (
Debashish on Thu 09 Jul 2009 02:40 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
One is dealing with a cultural aporia here if one privileges such a discourse as pertaining universally. This is partly why I disfavor "criticism" and "psychology" as against cultural history. Still, there is a problem here and perhaps the languaging has not been appropriately developed. Are there other bypaths to integral health than to invoke psychoanalysis and its normative social apparatus in the case of IY?]

[Re: A Matter of Mind by J. Kepler
Debashish on Thu 25 Jun 2009 01:04 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link On the issue of formal criticism, I don't believe in it. Culture prepares the ground of appreciation, though taste certainly has an intuition of beauty within such preparation. However, even this does not interest me. What is of concern to me is the way in which a text functions to take a stand in the culture of its time - this is the approach of cultural history as against that of literary or art criticism. 2:16 PM ]

[Re: A Matter of Mind by J. Kepler Science, Culture and Integral Yoga by Debashish on Wed 24 Jun 2009 09:32 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
I'd like to clarify here that I'm not a proponent of the New Criticism movement, where the meaning of texts is only to be sought within their internal structure taken in isolation. I do hold that texts are related to their author, but in a much more complex way than the assumption of transparent psychological motives.
I treat texts as performative in a situated sense - where performances are creative acts of negotiation and communication and situated is to be understood historically and discursively. Thus I read a text within its social embeddedness and not psychologically.
2:16 PM]

[The Melodrama of Difference (Or, The Revenge of the Colonized) by Jean Baudrillard Debashish Wed 15 Jul 2009 03:29 PM PDT In fact, it is the "boiling down to an essence" which is what Baudrillard is bemoaning as the episteme of modernity. As I see it, it is the banishment of the Unknowable...
What I have scrupulously avoided and consider as illegitimate in the many commentators who continue to do it, is a flattening of the mystery of the Unknowable by "explaining" it. This is more so the case with Sri Aurobindo than anyone else. Meditations are meant to be meditated on. Poetic writing is an engagement with the Other and bears the sensible imprint of the Other. This is what makes it speak in so many tongues to so many people and not exhaust itself.
6:17 AM What I am referring to are the commentators who flatten the Unknowable in Sri Aurobindo. by Debashish on Wed 15 Jul 2009 05:33 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link]

[Roland Barthes is clearly on the side of jouissance (which is sublime) as opposed to mere plaisir (which corresponds to the beautiful).
I argue, however, that Kant’s analytic of the beautiful remains important, because it is really a nascent version of what Deleuze calls singularity. A judgment of beauty is non-cognitive and non-conceptual; beauty is that which cannot be subject to rules, or derived from rules. It is always a singularity or an exception. It cannot be reduced to norms. The problem of the beautiful is how to universalize — or even, how to communicate — something that stubbornly refuses all categorization, all universalization. The beautiful is something that, on the one hand, I feel impelled to affirm, and to communicate, but that, on the other hand, resists all the categories and norms that are presupposed by the pragmatics of communication and the norms of conceptualization... “Postmodern” ethical thought, from Levinas to Judith Butler, produces a subjectivity that is infinitely responsible, but that cannot really do anything that would be commensurate with the weight of this responsibility... I favor aesthetics as over against ethics; and I favor political economy (or what in Marxist circles is often disparaged as “economism”) as over against the privileging of the political in such recent thinkers as Badiou and Zizek.
My book in progress, The Age of Aesthetics, reads science fiction in the light of our recent history of commodification, privatization, capital accumulation, and financialization, in order to think through the conjunction of aesthetics and political economy... Indeed, there is a formal parallelism between Kant’s account of the beautiful, with its tension between singularity and universal communicability, and Marx’s understanding of the commodity, with its singular nature in contradiction with its translation into money as “universal equivalent.”
Research Statement
from The Pinocchio Theory by Steven Shaviro]

Whether "a text functions to take a stand" while "makes it speak in so many tongues to so many people" is a conundrum, but the humanizing plaisir, like religion, thankfully lures to offer an entry point. [TNM]

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