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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
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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.
So are you saying that the brain repeats outside events inside itself, and the relationship between these repetitions is our mind? Ok I missed out some bits in the interest of making the sentence less convoluted, so I’ll add them back here:
These repetitions are not exact, because they can be adjusted by coinciding with other repetitions (or other relationships I don’t get yet).
And we can repeat internal events too, making a repetition of the combined event, that doesn’t need to coincide with either of the two original event repititions (in other words we make magenta light from an overlap of red and blue light, but in Spinoza’s mind model the mind can just repeat the equivalent of magenta by itself after it has been produced the first time).
If this is right, I suppose it begs the question of how this combination correlates with the real world; if someone mentally repeats an experience of blue light and an experience of red light, will it produce an experience of magenta, or will the brain interact them wrongly? If it can, how does that gluing become improved?
Honestly I can’t keep track of what specifically you are referring to. Are you referring to Massumi’s assertion, or my Spinozist correction of his appeal to Spinoza? Spinoza has very little direct assertion of “repetion” as a principle, and certainly not one that explains perception.
Well as your critique seems to be based on his deviation from the model you agree with Spinoza about, all those layers are sort of tied together in the quote, which I reworked according to my own understanding to see if it still fitted.
The first three paragraphs are me trying to make sense of the Spinoza quote you made given your criticisms of Massumi and what you’ve previously said about Spinoza:
I got the impression before that from Spinoza’s point of view, if you perceive something, it is to some degree present; our perception of an object is our participation in it’s structure, or something like that.
If that is the case, then memory and thought must be the partial recreation of the object because it is perceived again in some recognisable form! The dynamic abstraction seems to be like chopping off part of an object, the bit that faces us, so it can have a life of it’s own inside our head.
I suppose there are other ways of working with it, (like the idea that imagination is in fact a non-local link) but I have a feeling that they collapse functionally into the same kind of idea, so their probably not worth pursuing, certainly not here.
Of course, if I’ve misunderstood how he sees perception, then my inferences will be way off!
Josh: “I got the impression before that from Spinoza’s point of view, if you perceive something, it is to some degree present; our perception of an object is our participation in it’s structure, or something like that.
If that is the case, then memory and thought must be the partial recreation of the object because it is perceived again in some recognisable form! The dynamic abstraction seems to be like chopping off part of an object, the bit that faces us, so it can have a life of it’s own inside our head.”
Kvond: I’m trying to twist Spinoza’s position to accomodate your description, and perhaps it can be done, but part of the problem is that you are beginning from a basic subject/object dyad, something that Spinoza is working to upend (along with, preventively, much of the Idealist tradition that followes). For Spinoza our perception of any object in the world is not of that object at all. It is an Idea we have of our own body being in a certain state. When I see that dog over there, I am not seeing that dog, but rather am seeing (ideationally expressing) myself in a certain state. That’s a sloppy way of putting it, but he is very radical on this. My ideas about things in the world are only ideas of my own body being x or y. Our imaginary relations (our phenomenology, etc), though, are combined with the degree-of-adequacy of our ideas, which produces the effects of better or worse perceptions, thoughts, notions, etc. But there is no “recreation” of the object (although you could alter your description and say that there is), because ultimately for Spinoza there is no “object” in the first place; which is to say, the “object” and “you” are both expressions of Substance – you are both distinct, but not separate. One way of understanding this is that the way that you and the object do connect in the more adequate perceptions and ideas we have, is through our (self) perception of mutual ideas, what he calls “common notions”, which are kind of like looking through the very structure of the Universe (of which you yourself are an expression), to some other part of the universe (of which it itself is an expression). An obvious, or general way of exemplifying this might be, you and other things are necessarily “extended”, so when you percieve something as having extensional qualities, you are doing so through the very Idea of extension. One is not really “recreating” the object. This being said, there is very little emphasis, or even description that allows us to say that one object (apart from perception) even remains the same object over time. He has only expressed general thoughts on this, likely because he does not regard it as an important problem, given that there is only ONE same that matters, Substance, and all continuity is seen through this.
As far as “chopping off” part of an object in abstraction, one could argue this, as Spinoza both is at pains to say that all of our knowledge is shot through with imaginary effects, but also even that mathematics and other seemingly rational forms of knowledge are imaginary. One can say, yes, this is kind of chopping off, but because the object itself isn’t the point, what Spinoza sees is both a constant paricipation with and mutual expression of, the self and its objects. They are of one fabric. But are one fabric under the vision that all of our being and understanding is limited. It is a quite different picture than those which read objects and subjects as primary, and subjects as selecting out features which deprive them of real knowledge.