Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Vacuum packed ontology

[Google Reader (10): For Graham all objects are vacuum packed and withdraw from one another. Dark matter and energy are perfect examples of this thesis. We only encounter it, in my formulation, through the differences it produces in other things. Yet here we have the interesting epistemological question of why we should affirm its existence at all. It quite literally is a ghost. Perhaps the physicist readers of this blog can help me out here. Dark matter is certainly very strange stuff. Dark Matter and Energy
from Larval Subjects . by larvalsubjects]

[In a letter appearing in Sunday’s Washington Times, protectionist William Hawkins accuses Adam Smith of being “dreadfully wrong” to insist that the ultimate goal of economic activity is consumption rather than production. Alas, the dreadfully wrong one is Hawkins. He confuses means with ends... Adam Smith correctly understood that the desire to consume is what justifies production, and not vice-versa. Protectionists are Profoundly Confused
from Cafe Hayek by Don Boudreaux]

Enhanced consumption of ontology justifies production of more vacuum packed books and blogs. [TNM]

Monday, September 28, 2009


[Of all Harman’s ideas, the manner in which objects withdraw from one another is particularly interesting in this regard. Does one need to theorise the gap/space between objects - if such there is - in terms of a boundary (e.g. chora/chasm)? But, more significantly, for me at least, how does this relate to Harman’s other intriguing boundary concept: the “firewall”, the demarcation point between objects, as well the term for the internal boundaries between objects and their parts. If I am to write something about Harman’s OOO in the near future, it is the firewall that has me suitably “fired up”, that and the theorisation of the nature of the gaps between objects (again, if such there are). Chasm, Chora and Firewall: On the Boundaries Between Objects from Pagan Metaphysics by Paul Reid-Bowen] [aggregator]

More holes likely to surface once the honeymoon evaporates and hegemony subsides. [TNM]

Friday, September 25, 2009

Politics of caste, gender & religion

[The politics of immigrant identity negotiation is rather starkly framed in the title of a paper by Arvind Rajagopal: “Better Hindu Than Black?” By choosing actively to identify in terms of religion, rather than allowing themselves to be categorized simply in terms of the more limited logic of ascribed American racial identities, Hindus from India and Muslims from West Africa, for example, can improve their chances of achieving recognition as full members of the polity. Multi-religious denominationalism and American identity
from The Immanent Frame by Richard Amesbury. In the emerging dispensation, Taylor predicts, “it will be less and less common for people to be drawn into or kept within a faith by some strong political or group identity, or by the sense that they are sustaining a socially essential ethic.”]
[Gender, Migration, and the Public Sphere, 1850–2005
Edited by Marlou Schrover, Eileen Yeo
The decision to emigrate has historically held differing promises and costs for women and for men. Exploring theories of difference in labor market participation, network formation and the immigrant organising process, on belonging and diaspora, and a theory of ‘vulnerability,’ A Global History of Gender and Migration looks critically at two centuries of the migration experience from the perspectives of women and men separately and together. ISBN: 9780415801720 Published September 15 2009 by Routledge.]
[R. Jagannathan, in DNA, suggests that the reason may be caste. Centuries of caste-based protection has made Indians reluctant to change; afraid to abandon the old even after it has outlived its utility. Therefore, he says, we are afraid of the outcome of democracy.
“Caste is like the shell of the tortoise. When faced with predators, the tortoise withdraws into its shell. Caste was the protective shelter under which the Indic peoples withdrew when confronted with the radical new ideologies of Christianity and Islam. So successful has caste been as protector, that even the others have adopted it. Caste now permeates Indian Islam and Christianity, not to speak of Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism. Put another way, caste is a force independent of Hinduism.”
Read the full article:
BJP’s succession blues. ‘Caste is what has made Indians fearful of change’
from churumuri by churumuri]

A definitive account of human emotions is hard to establish, and hence we have to make do with whatever appears as rigorous and scholarly. [TNM]

Monday, September 21, 2009

The task is to recreate the spirit of 1907 in 2009

[Behind every successful Jinnah there is a Gandhi – 3
Radha Rajan 18 Sep 2009
Aurobindo had summed up succinctly the political objectives that Gokhale, Naoroji, Surendranath Bannerjea and the dominant Parsees in India and London had set for the INC – greater participation in government but within the Empire; that is, while the English educated Indians would become ministers in the Viceroy’s Council or the Governor’s Council, the nation would remain enslaved under British colonial rule... Astonishing how Aurobindo’s discerning analysis of and scathing attack against the leaders of the INC in 1907 was just as true in 1919. Little had changed in the INC’s objectives and even less had changed in the character of its leaders.]

[Even as Radhaji is throwing more and more light on facts and events of the freedom movement which have not been revealed so far, she is also revealing to Hindus the brilliant political writings of Sri Aurobindo. Mrs. Radha Rajan's excerpts from Sri Aurobindo's writings linking them with her expose of Gandhi and the Congress has been an eye-opener. It has also been a very sad experience. I don't know if this is what Radhaji is intending but she is slowly and with measured steps pointing her finger at the Hindu leadership then and now for failing to understand our adversaries. Radhaji is right but she must be making several enemies with her brilliant insight and perspective.
Raghuraman Srinivas 18 Sep 2009]

The task is to recreate the spirit of 1907 in 2009. No amount of harking to history can help us unless we come together under a political party to carry forward those ideals and dreams. There is no short cut. [TNM]

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A new world order as postulated by Sri Aurobindo

[ET Columnists, Writers, Debates Opinion - Economic Times: "Rise of authoritarian capitalism
A fusion of autocratic politics & state-guided capitalism has emerged as leading challenge to international spread of democratic values."]

[Why anarchists prefer herbal tea Another category of corporate crime is the sort in which corporate managements cheat their shareholders. Enron and Satyam are prime examples. Unethical gains made from access to privileged information within companies represent another sort of misbehaviour in which the company acts as the setting rather than the agent of crime.
Stock price manipulation, bribing government officials to corner a chunk of the government's budget or open up environmentally fragile areas, colluding with managers of financial institutions to finance cost-inflated projects, all these are actions that people associate with corporate crime....
Continue reading...]

A new world order as postulated by Sri Aurobindo is the answer. [TNM]

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Nothing to put under the surface

[just wondering from Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek
Why is the phrase “turtles all the way down” always taken as a game-ending slam dunk, even when the alternative adopted is “the final turtle at the bottom of the world”?
If you don’t want an infinite regress of entities, the choices are:
(a) a finite regress to some ultimate constituent of the cosmos
(b) no regress at all, with everything remaining on the surface of human access and nothing hiding beneath]

The taunt on Eastern ontology notwithstanding, the phrase "human access" needs to be defined adequately, given its range from microchip to LHC, from cyberspace to speed of light. [TNM]

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lehman & languages

[Sudeshna Sen: Age of innocence Lehman Brothers collapse anniversary overshadows the big one - 9/11.]

[Hindi Diwas: Experts emphasis on use devnagari lipi‎ - New Delhi: Nation is celebrating Hindi Diwas today in the glory of national language. The day is celebrated every year on September 14.]

[Bar makes out a case against Queen's English, wants Hindi‎ - NEW DELHI: Hindi may be the national language, but the judiciary still swears by the Queen's English. Now, language is the bone of contention between ...Times of India - 7 related articles »]

The day may not be far off when globalization finds a solution to the languages problem. [TNM]

Competence, not cacophony

[On the one hand, I am not the sole creator of Larval Subjects. There are all the programmers, the people that maintain the internet, the telephone lines and satellites that allow for this form of communication, the people that comment, the design work that Mel did, and so on. On the other hand, Larval Subjects enjoys all sorts of adventures of which I am scarcely aware. There are all the differences it provokes in others, whether they be rage, admiration, perplexity, new projects, rejoinders, and so on. Only a small portion of that traffic ever responds. The blog gets linked to by other blogs without me knowing it. It gets, if my tracker is to be believed, forwarded in email. And so on. These are adventures of Larval Subjects, not Levi. Moreover, it is not at all an unusual event for me to be utterly baffled and surprised by something I wrote a while back. I am as much an interpreter of what I write as anyone else. And this because anything I write is an independent object. Such is the essence of what Lacan and Freud taught us about the essence of that strange object known as speech and writing.
Yet what is more interesting than the ontological status of my blog is the question of the ontological status of blog collectives. We can ask, at what point do objects shift from being networks of relations among objects, to objects in their own right? We talk, for example, of the “theory blogosphere”. Is that an object? A network? Both? There is a sort of entity here but it is closer to a cloud or a mist than a rock. How do we describe this difference ontologically? And what is the process by which something passes from being a collective to an object?
When are Objects
from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects]

[Speculative Realism Wiki via Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects on 9/7/09 Speculative Realism has truly been the first philosophical movement that’s unfolded on the internet...
SR has been, perhaps, the first philosophical movement to take new media seriously, given the claims that certain variants of SR make on behalf of objects, it is important not to treat one set of objects as being more real than others. One of the most attractive features of the SR movement is the manner in which it has been a “grass roots” movement that has circumvented traditional power structures presided over by the academy. That could, of course, mean that it is a movement dominated by a bunch of cranks– certainly few of us are at marquis institutions –but I prefer to think of it more as a contemporary, digital version of the French Salons or the Greek Agora.
11:31 AM]

[Thursday, July 23, 2009 Interview with Levi R. Bryant Many of you will also know Levi from his excellent blog Larval Subjects.
However, it could be said that the more recent shifts in my thought have very much been a product of my experience with blogging. Blogging is genuinely a new form of writing, thinking, and intellectual engagement when done properly. This point and blogging’s difference can be illustrated in terms of evolutionary theory.
One of the primary ways in which speciation takes place is through geographical isolation. Two populations of a single species come to be reproductively isolated for some reason or other and as time passes their phenotypes diverge and the respective populations become homogenous. It is really no different in traditional academia. You talk to people who share the same interests as you, you attend conferences devoted to your particular issue or thinker, you publish in journals devoted to your privileged thinker, and you read texts on your privileged thinker or problem. These are all forms of geographical isolation that lead to “academic speciations”.
This sort of isolation isn’t operative in the world of blogging. While you certainly encounter specialists in your particular area, you also encounter thinkers from entirely different disciplines, practices, and orientations and you have to find a way to engage with them that doesn’t assume the daunting scholarly apparatus of your particular thought-framework. You encounter all sorts of characters like satirists and trolls, but also housewives, people in business, activists, artists, politicians and all the rest... Posted by Paul Ennis. Labels:
, , , , ]

[Larval Subjects July 28, 2009 Design Ontology Posted by larvalsubjects
My philosophical thought has changed fundamentally since I began blogging, as can be observed from the nature of my style when I wrote primarily on online discussion lists and in the early years of this blog. Part of this has been the evolution of my thought. Another part of this has been the nature of the medium itself. Discussion lists, for example, are organized around “master-thinkers”, so they tend towards scholarly discussion of the intricacies of that thinker or questions about where something might be found in the thinkers body of work.
Writing articles for journals tends to be a largely solitary exercise that involves careful engagement with scholarship and composition. Blogging, by contrast, involves a cacophony of voices, each with their own interests and backgrounds, hyperlinked cross-blog discussions, multiple forms of media, and so on. The medium in all these cases plays a formative role in the formation of content.
1:31 PM 11:42 AM]

It is competence, and not cacophony, that the blogosphere hoists like everywhere else. [TNM]

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Valley of the False Glimmer

[on Ivakhiv’s posts Adrian Ivakhiv has posted reviews of Tool-Being and Prince of Networks.
Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek
Ivakhiv’s point about the river needing the valley to be what it is cuts no ice with me, beautiful though the image may be. The true statement here would be that the “river valley” couldn’t be what it is without the river and the valley. The valley can bring out new flavors in a river just as a friendship, marriage, or job can bring out new flavors in individual people. But that doesn’t mean that people and things only are what they are by virtue of the specific relations in which they are now involved. I’m never even sure why this idea sounds liberating to anyone. Only because something in me is not fully expressed by anything that happens can anything new ever happen to me.]
[(title unknown)
via enowning by enowning on 9/3/09 Simon Critchely explains Meillassoux.
For the English-speaking reader, the force of Meillassoux's polemic against correlationism requires some explanation... But what exactly is the problem with correlationism? Well, it is twofold. First, by denying thought any rational access to primary qualities or things in themselves, correlationism allows that space to be filled by any number of irrational discourses, such as religion. In a powerful critique of the theological turn in French phenomenology, for example in the work of Jean-Luc Marion, Meillassoux shows how the flip side of correlationism is fideism, that is, the rather vague discourse on the numinous that one finds in many followers of Heidegger, but also - it should be added - in Wittgenstein's curious remarks about the mystical towards the end of the Tractatus. Such is what Meillassoux calls "the religionizing of reason".]

[Today I just read something apropos of our discussion. Slavoj Zizek writes in The Parallax View: ‘“anti-philosophy” – it is not surprising that Kierkegaard laid out its most concise formula: “The fact of the matter is that we must acknowledge that in the last resort there is no theory.” In all great “anti-philosophers,” from Kierkegaard and Nietzsche to the late work of Wittgenstein, the most radical authentic core of being human is perceived as a concrete practico-ethical engagement and/or choice which precedes (and grounds) every “theory,” every theoretical account of itself, and is, in this radical sense of the term, contingent (“irrational”) – it was Kant who laid the foundation for “anti-philosophy” when he asserted the primacy of practical over theoretical reason; Fichte simply spelled out its consequences when he wrote, apropos of the ultimate choice between Spinozism and the philosophy of subjective freedom: “What philosophy one chooses depends on what kind of man one is.” Thus Kant and Fichte – unexpectedly – would have agreed with Kierkegaard: in the last resort there is not theory, just a fundamental practice-ethical decision about what kind of life one wants to commit oneself to.’So Zizek's suggesting the arational basis of the origins of our worldview.
Posted by Jeff Meyerhoff at
3:40 PM Thursday, September 03, 2009
Arational Origin of Worldviews]

[The present yuga-dharma naturally has its own hegemony dictating “Standards of Validity of Truth/Reality/Objectivity” But, these are decidedly inadequate. It is not the question of assuring an equality on a given single plane of consciousness, but an issue of comparing the most difficult incomparables, residing on the two different planes of a hierarchy of cosmic structure of say the seven levels of consciousness. There are no verification standards available. In this predicament, we have to turn, may be reluctantly or skeptically, to those Visionaries, who were born in the human race and favoured us with their wisdom of realization. Mahayogi Aurobindo observers in his "Essays on the Gita", - “The unconscious or half conscious wresting of fact and word and idea to suit a preconceived notion or the doctrine or principle of one's preference is recognized by Indian logicians as one of the most fruitful sources of fallacy; and it is perhaps the one which it is most difficult for even the most conscientious thinker to avoid”. Re: Objectivity by Lorraine Datson & Peter Galison (Book Review by Norberto Serpente) sane yeshwant Wed 09 Sep 2009 07:52 PM PDT (Yeshwant Sane) e-mail: 10-9-2009]

SR/OOO is poised dangerously to foist yet another fallacy in philosophy. A thorough reading of The Life Divine by Sri Aurobindo can redeem the situation. [TNM]