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Tag Archives: Ideology

Avatar: The Density of Being

Let’s just say that I am recovering. It is a carefully sculpted onslaught, discretely spaced with only a few flaws, but an onslaught nonetheless. And I am recovering. It’s Pocahontas meets Full Metal Jacket meets The Diving Bell and the Butterfly meets Alien meets Coming Home meets Dragonheart meets Dersu Uzala  meets Brainstorms meets Total Recall meets The Legend of Zu meets Tron meets Dances with Wolves meets Final Fantasy IV meets Logan’s Run, all of this meeting Ecological Crisis ideology meets Indigenous nostalgia meets Disney ethnic cliché and New Age ascension, and all of that sum colliding with the categorical mytho-aesthetic effect of the first Star Wars and possibly 2001. The storylines and plot topologies proliferate at animation-cell frame rates so synthesized, so graced, they are no longer borrowings, but rather operate like flipped gateways for infusions that simply cannot be qualified, nor controled. The movie downloads the viewer with such ferocity and such poetic space the film bends back cinema upon itself, and introduces its content – the question of Avatarship – into the very experience, pulling out from technological increase and its inherent relatability the buried question of sensitivity, connection and projected identification, in short, the implied organic mutuality in everything our machines have brought us. Cameron and his magicians in such a threshold defying 3D invade our bodies and throw out our affects into the arms and sinews of operators which defy all of our repeated attempts to take map of where we are. This past movie recognition, this ethnic familiarity – are the Pandorans African Maasai, elegant Native American Indians, Thai-Myanmar Pa Dong Karen, naked Amazon natives, or even cats – inundates and torques the viewer in a transport that is more than pleasured, more than reflective. It is free…free in only the sense that aesthetic renewal can be free. One is tossed outward amid the equally familiar ideological landscapes of ecological nightmare (however this reads for you), and you are vividly aware of its artifice. But in that practical synthetics the technological nervature examines you and opens you out across the help even to your well-honed intellectual compass. You rifle through cartographies, all of them familiar, all of them critically engaged, but grid on grid, none of them suffice. The imagined-to-be trite self-discovery of the main character’s authentic warrior thymotic spirit (that template) sheds all of is scales amid an interaction with image and physical movement that perhaps only equals the dislocations and alien projections of scuba or spacewalk. If anything else is communicated here, technology is sense, and sense is technology, within the scope of global concern. Nevermind that every Na’vi looks the connotations of every supermodel distortion of mundane biology. Nevermind that videogame freedoms populate with every stigma of ideological absorption. Nevermind that mythologies fragment into flattened space confrontations. The whole thing escalates far beyond its means, revealing how Ideals throw us forwards, how when technologies and techniques are sufficient, they compel the spirit into new-born orbits of extreme decay and apogee, flights that must have been there in the thousands of memory verses when one of Homer’s avatars was repeating the invented history of the Greeks with muscular hexemeter and rhythm in the residue glow of camp-fires.


Strategies of Recursivity…the Nemian Lion

O pudor! hirsuti costis exuta leonis
Aspera texerunt vellera molle latus!

I re-came upon this notepad thought pattern, and the two lines of Ovid. There is a certain sense in which we “wear” our philosophies which bristle with affective and protective tensors of sense, constructed recursively, in self-reference, so as to make a coherence, a non-reductive circulation of near degree-zero effects. Perhaps this is why Spinoza’s Ethics  is so satisfying to those that have penetrated it, it exemplifies this fundamental recursion. It resists the eye, our interests, until it broken through (affectively) and is tried on, so to speak. Then the deadened hairs (propositions) start to waver, ripple, in a breeze, and their is a sense of a muscle-work below. Few philosophies manifest this internal, body-making perception so explicitly…but perhaps all have it.

Secondly, it is sometimes noted that ideologies are defeated from within (they are logics of the εἰδός)…from taking their proscriptions literally, too literally. The claw of the lion is the only thing that could cut its Nemian skin. One enters not only philosophical recursion, but all social self-defintion from within, as part of its surface.  The plane which is thought to divide groups, is the skin which allows their sym-phany.

There is a sense as well, that we want to drape our harshest won skins over the softest affects, to create the inconcordance which distinguishes the circulation of the affect of the Law from the indulgence that lay beneath, illicitly, as if the pleasure of the one could bled into (and also contra-distinguish) the pleasure of the other, Eros into Thanatos, and back. This indeed is one betrayal of the lion’s skin, where affective recipricosity is the coin of living exchange. Our philosophically coherent visions are meant for the lives they inhabit.


After Heracles slew the Nemean Lion, he faced the quandry of the fact that the skin was impenetrable. Nothing in the world could cut it. He solved the riddle by using the Lion’s own claw to incise the skin, and strip it from the ribs of the beast. Tautologies are such that they are self-defined. The elements that compose them are produced by their recursivity, and they define themselves. Heracles then wore his slain tautology as a mark of his status, impenetrable. There is no argument here.  

Tautologies have been long thought to be “empty”, simple circulations which tell us nothing about the world. But this is the point, the tautological are not so much as empty, but simply closed. They form bodies. Much as Heracles’ Nemean Lion, their very closure of skin are their strength. The circularity of references actually seem to define life. When Heracles slays the tautological, he drapes it across his body. It becomes the sign of his heroship. Rather than seeing through, beyond tautologies, one enters into them. They become vehicles. Rather than being self-defeating (un-provable, un-foundational), they are self-perpetuating, enduring.”