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2001: a space odyssey Achilles Alan Gabbey Antigone Antonio Negri Arne Naess Art Criticism Augustine Avatar Badiou biosemiotics Bousquet Brian Massumi Caliban Campanella Chalmers Christiaan Huygens Colerus Conjoined Semiosis Critical Theory cybernetics Dante David Graeber David Skrbina Davidson Deleuze Della Rocca Derrida Descartes Duns Scotus Epistemology Ethics Euripedes Exowelt Felix Guattari Foucault Graham Harman Greek Tragedy Guattari Heidegger Helvetica Hevelius Hockney-Falco Thesis Hume Huygens Information John Donne Kepler Kubrick L'occhiale all'occhio Latour Leibniz Letter 39 Letter to Peter Balling Literary Theory Martha Nussbaum Marx Metaphor Micrographia Milton Morality Nicola Masciandaro Nietzsche Optica Promota Ovid Painting panpsychism Parables of the Virtual Patricia Collins Philosophy Philosophy of Mind Photosynth Plato Plotinus Politics Rhetoric Rilke Robert Hooke Rorty Sappho Simulated Annealing Skepticism Slavoj Zizek Sloterdijk Specilla circularia Spinoza Spinoza's Foci St. Paul The Buttle Principle Three Varieties of Knowledge Tommaso Campanella Uncategorized Van Leeuwenhoek Vico Walter Benjamin William of Auvergne Wittgenstein Zizek zombies Zuggtmoy
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- Mitochondrial Vertigo: The New Blog
- Going Dark
- The Becoming-woman of Machine in Avatar
- The Difference Between a Description and an Explanation: Deficits in Latour
- Peking Opera and the Aesthetic Freedoms of Avatar
- Transcendence or Immanence: Cake-and-eat-it-too-ism
- From Affect to Mutuality, Openness to Rational Co-expression: Massumi to Spinoza
- Is the Medium the Message? Avatar’s Avatar
- Massumi’s Cognitive Doubling, Spinoza’s Numerical Affectivity
- Two Vectors of Avatar’s Cinematic Achievement: Affect and Space Interface
- Accursed Share
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Spinoza Primary Sources
- Ethics, Emendation, Tractatus and Letters, in Latin
- F. van den Enden website
- Hyperlinked Ethics, Emmendation, Tractatus and Letters
- Nicholas De Cusa’s “De Visione Dei”, English Translation
- Selected Letters, Elwes Translation
- Spinoza’s Complete Works, Shirley Translation
- Spinoza’s Works in Latin
- The Life of Spinoza, by Johannes Colerus (1705)
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Ode to Man
Tho’ many are the terrors, not one more terrible than man goes. This one beyond the grizzled sea in winter storming to the south He crosses, all-engulfed, cutting through, up from under swells. & of the gods She the Eldest, Earth un-withering, un-toiling, is worn down, As the Twisting Plough’s year into Twisting Plough’s year, Through the breeding of horse, he turns. & the lighthearted race of birds all-snaring he drives them & savage beasts, their clan, & of the sea, marine in kind With tightly-wound meshes spun from all-seeing is Man. Yet too, he masters by means of pastoral beast, mountain-trodding, The unruly-maned horse holding fast, ‘round the neck yoked, & the mountain’s ceaseless bull. & the voice & wind-fast thought & the passion for civic ways He has taught, so from crag’s poor court from under the ether’s hard-tossed arrows To flee, this all-crossing one. Blocked, he comes upon nothing so fated. From Hades alone escape he’ll not bring. Tho’ from sickness impossible Flight he has pondered. A skilled one, devising of arts beyond hope, Holding at times an evil, But then to the noble he crawls, honoring the laws of the Earth, & Of gods the oath so just, high-citied. Citiless is the one who with the un-beautiful dwells, boldly in grace. Never for me a hearth-mate may he have been, never equal in mind He who offers this.
Ode to Man
A BwO is made in such a way that it can be occupied, populated only by intensities. Only intensities pass and circulate. Still, the BwO is not a scene, a place, or even a support upon which something comes to pass. It has nothing to do with phantasy, there is nothing to interpret. The BwO causes intensities to pass; it produces and distributes them in a spatium that is itself intensive, lacking extension. It is not space, nor is it in space; it is matter that occupies space to a given degree—to the degree corresponding to the intensities produced. It is nonstratified, unformed, intense matter, the matrix of intensity, intensity = 0; but there is nothing negative about that zero, there are no negative or opposite intensities. Matter equals energy. Production of the real as an intensive magnitude starting at zero. That is why we treat the BwO as the full egg before the extension of the organism and the organization of the organs, before the formation of the strata; as the intense egg defined by axes and vectors, gradients and thresholds, by dynamic tendencies involving energy transformation and kinematic movements involving group displacement, by migrations: all independent of accessory forms because the organs appear and function here only as pure intensities. The organ changes when it crosses a threshold, when it changes gradient. "No organ is constant as regards either function or position, . . . sex organs sprout anywhere,... rectums open, defecate and close, . . . the entire organism changes color and consistency in split-second adjustments." The tantric egg. After all, is not Spinoza's Ethics the great book of the BwO?
Ode to Man
But human power is extremely limited, and is infinitely surpassed by the power of external causes; we have not, therefore, an absolute power of shaping to our use those things which are without us. Nevertheless, we shall bear with an equal mind all that happens to us in contravention to the claims of our own advantage, so long as we are conscious, that we have done our duty, and that the power which we possess is not sufficient to enable us to protect ourselves completely; remembering that we are a part of universal nature, and that we follow her order. If we have a clear and distinct understanding of this, that part of our nature which is defined by intelligence, in other words the better part of ourselves, will assuredly acquiesce in what befalls us, and in such acquiescence will endeavour to persist. For, in so far as we are intelligent beings, we cannot desire anything save that which is necessary, nor yield absolute acquiescence to anything, save to that which is true: wherefore, in so far as we have a right understanding of these things, the endeavour of the better part of ourselves is in harmony with the order of nature as a whole.
The Cold Wind Between Is and Ought
I’m sure you have come across Hans Jonas’ ‘the imperative of responsibility’ where he writes of the child/infant that is an is and ought. I think Guattari mentions this in Chaosmosis….
Thanks Paul I had not run into that. I have to say that giving it five minutes I both thrilled at the subject matter, but the writing style was needlessly dense. Where it needed more speed, he slowed down. Where he needed to expand or particularize he simply stayed on the same point and repeated. Perhaps it is only my frame of mind, but I had a hard time breaking through to it, will try later.
But it of course brought to mind the D and G (G and D) becoming-girl, becoming-child.
Yes, ‘needlessly dense’ became almost de riguer somewhere along the line with lit theory – altho jonas is prob dense for diff reasons (serious german). I find a great deal of ‘phil’ unreadable.
Guattari excels in this – I have seen essays in his Cartographies Schizoanalytiques’ that are untranslatable (for me anyway).
Have you looked at this bk ‘After Finitude’ a little birdy who I respect suggested it was exceedingly over-rated
It seems that there are a chorus of birds on “After Finitude”. No, I have to say that SR is proving rather deadended for me, but perhaps it is only that Harman’s Enron-like pumping up of its stock has ruined the whole portfolio. I generally find these fellows (and alternately Badiou) unproductive.
As to “needlessly dense”, I have to say that I do appreciate density. I believe that density has some very good uses, but it has to pay off, or be asethetically achieved. If you are going to make me swim upstream, or chisel through rock, please give me something worth the effort. Let it be a process.
But I write ridiculously, so who knows how others read things. It was just my response to the ideas he was presenting.
Its an interesting contradiction of forms, a “serious, (dense) German” writing about the “infant” between is and ought. I appreciate the link.
Yes, density can be valuable. Isabelle Stengers is dense but interesting. Sometimes even fascinating! We were once corresponding about some material and she said ‘interesting but not fascinating.’ Her bk on Whitehead is dense and yet quite clear. Not sure if it’s out yet in English ‘Thinking with Whitehead.’ If you’re not familiar with her writing give it a go (smile).
You mention chiseling thru rock. I once knew a lecturer who referred to his students’ essays as ‘concrete writing.’ There was hardly any way of entering the overloaded text.
Btw, Jonas did write an essay on ‘Spinoza and the theory of organism’ (Journal of the hist of phil 3: 43-74). I mention it in Primacy of Semiosis (PoS).21-2.
You are ‘widely read’ – have you covered all this territory in 10yrs!!
I don’t know Stengers at all (!), so I will keep an eye out for the book.
All this discussion of density recalls for me a very recent discussion I’ve had at a newish blog over the question of “clearing up” Deleuze and getting rid of the confusions. You know Deleuze well, so you very much might like to look it, and the blogsite over:
I would love to read the Spinoza and organism article, as I am still thinking along these lines, but I have no JSTOR.
As for how well-read I am, its a production certain tunneling manias. I read very very deeply along a certain vein found in the rock, but because it is not a product of a particular, systematic, thematized university pedagogy, rock that lies very close by may remain untouched. To switch analogies, perhaps I am a termite nest to wood beam. One day the epistemic house collapses, and what do you have left…a bunch of insects (not necessarily to be confused with ANTS).
I translated the first collection of Stengers essays in English: Power and Invention: situating science, Minnesota, 1997 (Theory out of bounds series). She’s written a lot – before and since then. Was close to Deleuze and most famously Ilya Prigogine. I think she’s brilliant and funny and a little birdy. Unfortunately a lot of her work isn’t translated. But I know the Whitehead bk is in translation (must check and see if its out).
You might like her essay ‘Diderot’s Egg’ somewhere online. She now writes occas in English.
Thanks for the heads up, as always. I will watch for it, and her.
Ha. You tell me about Stengers, and 20 minutes later I run into a quote from her in The Scientific Way of Warfare (!) Isn’t that just how it is.
I don’t know that title. Just been for a walk on an empty beach facing the v big pacific. I think Isabelle Stengers is one of the most nuanced thinkers around…
You might like it (its not as militant as it sounds). It explores the way that device paradigms (the clock, the engine, the computer, the network) organized the way we see the world, and in some Delandian sense, how war has been organized and fought. The first two, clock and engine are only very thinly treated, with not much historical scholarship investigative depth, but the last two are very interesting.
Empty beach and pacific is really nice. Here with the Blue Heelers and the cat, listening to cicadas or crickets of prodigious volume, waiting for the wife to get home!
sound totally australian (spent 20yrs there). Cicadas can be intense. One of Isabelle’s essays in ‘Power and Invention’ is precisely on clocks: ‘time and representation’ it was the most diff to trans. All this stuff on foliot mechanisms and pendulums.
Termites all also called ‘white ants’. Horrific in oz.
I’ll see what I can get of hers since I am interested in exploring the non-linear aspects of Spinoza’s thinking, and she seems pretty good on that from the references I just read.
White ants, I like that. The opposite of Hegel’s Black Cows.
Stengers is tres au fait with the non-linear but most of that would be in ‘Order out of Chaos’ with Prigogine. There is other stuff in ‘Cosmopolitiques’ but sadly not in trans.
Hmmm. I suppose that puts a little Chaos in my Order…I’m reading now about John Boyds OODA loop. Damn if you don’t learn something really fascinating even minute of the day.
enjoying the deontology chat. great comments – look forward to next bit. (
This essay by Isabelle on ‘What is Phil?’ might be of interest:
Thank you very much. I look forward to giving it some eyes and time. That will be nice.
“Ethics, if it is anything, is supernatural and our words will only express facts; as a teacup will only hold a teacup full of water and if I were to pour out a gallon over it.”
I was just wondering what the philosopher’s word for wisdom was, and think I’ve found it. It’s strange and pleasant that Wittgenstein represented such a specific ratio, isn’t it? Those ratios are still fairly proportional. I was thinking in terms of teapot to ocean, barrel to Niagra.
By the way, your writing isn’t ridiculous Kvond, or if it is, then it’s the perfect madness. I still often consider statements you’ve placed in various places which still resonate, for instance, that faces bloom, and that there is no negative. I’m beyond delighted about what you write, think and intuit.
Thanks for the good words.
I’ve been thinking about the Wittgenstein- Spinoza relationship recently, partly because there seem to be obvious structural similarities between the Tractatus and the Ethics, a common more geometrico. And there’s maybe a peculiar relationship of inversion here. if Wittgenstein says ‘the meaning of the world must lie outside the world, outside all happening and being so’, then a good enough definition of Spinoza’s immanence might be: the meaning of the world must lie within the world, must lie with happening and being so’.