Non-Philosophy/Non-Science

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While the various strands of liberalism, free market economics, early libertarianism, American contemporary libertarianism, and neo-liberalism of the Thatcherite and Reaganite varieties, had divergent and often contradictory principles and aims, all of them shared a rudimentary belief in the freedom and independence of the individual, as opposed to the determinism of the socialist, collectivist or Marxist view.

Historically, collectivist and individualist philosophical theories and systems of thought developed as dichotomies, feeding off one another at philosophical, ideological and political levels and broadly divided between the individualist current on the right and the collectivist on the left; although there is a strange crossover when one enters the marginal worlds of the left anarchist and individualist anarchist traditions and the anacro-capitalist /libertatianism of Tucker, Spooner, and Rothbard.

The neo-liberalism of the Thatcherite/ Reaganite variety, while based on broadly liberal ideas of free market economy, individual liberty and a curb on state power, sought to establish an objective or scientific basis for the idea of individual freedom on a par with the “objectivity”of Marxist determinism. The most influential current of thought developed out of the Rand think-tanks, where the mathematicians Nash and Arrow introduced “objective” criterion, via mathematics and probability theory, into the study of agency and decision-making. What became known as rational choice theory reinterpreted the liberal and libertarian idea of the free individual on a “scientific” basis. This current of thought strongly influenced the Regan and Thatcher regimes, (Volcker, Friedman, etc.) and became integrated into mainstream economics, so much so that the ideological trope of the self-interested and calculating “player” has, in popular imagination, been naturalised as the default state of the individual over and against the altruistic or cooperative impulse. This is clearly an ideological trope and not a conclusion based on scientific observation or practice. It is also clear that many of these economists displayed the sort of self aggrandisement they projected on their object of study (the isolated game player) and feathered their nests via consultancy fees, seats on corporate boards, directorships, lucrative publishing and speaking opportunities, university seats, and access to the “corridors of power”.

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Death in the Mediterranean; Once by Drowning, twice by Philosophy.

In a post on the Non — “Kinderstunde in der FAZ, oder: Warum wir die N-Wörter lieber ersaufen lassen.” — Matthias Steingass has established an unambiguously radical perspective. The post is about an article in a Frankfurter centre right newspaper (F.A.Z for short) which  advises Parents about how to explain to their young children why so many people are drowning in the Mediterranean Sea. He demonstrates that one can be a determined partisan for the oppressed even in the absence of a dialectic, or even because of its absence, and despite the misgivings of Marxists and their narrow definition of radicalism.

In fact we should reject this “unity of oppositions and their synthesis”, proclaimed by Marxists as the cornerstone of a scientific approach superior to all other radical stances. Such a stance involves a transcendent move whereby the “Marxist” philosopher succeeds in being in two places at once —  as an element within the situation (since he insists on a theory of the historically conditioned nature of thinking — its class basis) and as a transcendent arbitrator free from conditioning who resolves the conflict “on a higher plane”. That is to say he must elevate himself to a position in thought at right angles, as it were, to the situation. From there he pronounces on the nature of the real. This is a crude Idealism in which  terms are parceled out without reference to anything other than the logical consistency of the theory — a self-sufficiency of thought in which no reference need be made to the actual situation, other than as the raw material upon which thought builds its edifice. Against this crudity we should posit a determined materialism  (determined-without-determination — that is determination in the last instance and as axiomatic first name — from which we could create provisional theories related to practical projects, forgoing an impossible comprehensive theory of the real).

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Alive and Kickin.

rip-curl-alive-kickin_230Just in case anyone is wondering both Matthias and I are still alive and kickin , although Matthias is doing his kicking for the moment over on the Non. We have both published a series of posts there . Mine are considerable rewrites of two posts first published on this blog, while Matthias’s are wholly new and beautifully written pieces in German. Link  here. Since we are both now writing for two blogs you can expect less posts here, although I for one would like to keep this blog going as I think it’s focus on Buddhism is worthwhile for the way non philosophical critique delivers massive amounts of new thinking in whatever area one applies it to. Proven, if proof be needed, by Glenn Wallis’s powerful, original and poetically exuberant text Nascent Speculative non-Buddhism and the book and blog posts which followed from it. ( Non X issue 1)

I’ve spent a lot of time recently reading Timothy Mortons essay “Thinking the Charnel Ground (The Charnel Ground Thinking): Auto Commentary and Death in esoteric Buddhism (link below) which is a mine of ideas for anyone interested in the relation between esoteric Buddhism and non philosophical thought. Its strength is that it brings Buddhism into dialogue with various strains of modernist thinking by a process of juxtaposition in which modern philosophical texts are used as a tool to probe esoteric texts and visa-verse. The result is a series of insights beautiful in their strangeness. Needless to say the text requires an effort at thought .

I am making a series of written ruminations on the text as I read and re-read Morton’s beautifully argued essay. If what I’ve written reads as conceptually overcooked that’s because it is. See what you think. (literally  – see what you think)

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We have a non totalisable reality, openness to the new and to the stranger, and a non realizable infinity of interrelation. What we have is non-theism rather than theism or atheism, if by theism” we mean belief in some transcendent beyond, and if by “atheism” we mean simple denial of anything beyond the empirical.” (Morton)

What most caught my interest here were the words non totalisable and non realizable. They highlight the way non- buddhism denies the simple opposition between the immanent /transcendent dyad. Non-buddhism presupposes  the non-viability of the juxtaposition of opposites  as  a dialectic of the real. To use philosophical terminology,  the terms non-totalisible and non-realizable, as epistemological statements about  knowing or not knowing an infinity of interrelations, posits a state of mind, of knowing, which is without an ontological object. The terms non- realisable and non totalisable as statements about an ontological real subsume the dyad trancendent/immanent, bypassing a philosophical operation that would produce a synthesis (the One, the Unnamable, Suchness etc) in favour of a wholly unspeakable otherness that precedes any operation whatsoever — what Laruelle calls a given-without-givenness.

To correct the above it should read:

We have a non totalisable reality, openness to the new and to the stranger, and a non realizable non-infinity of interrelation.

What the non adds is a decimation of the ontological term “infinity of interrelation” which is the determination (in the last instance) instancing the epistemological terms non realisable and non totalisable.

In this way we arrive at a triadic of terms two of which are orders of non knowing — non realizable/non totalisable where a third term, non-infinity of relations, function as a non ontological term (in the last instance) for an immanence of the real.

If this sounds like the state Dzogchen communicates by way of auto commentary as a yogin’s effortless abiding in the already and always given natural state of non-meditation, that only goes to show that many a culture can arrive at the knowledge of the essential non-correlation between the real and conceptual thought by circuitous route and without implying any sort of syncretism.

Timothy Morton’s essay

CONFESSIONS OF AN ERRATIC MARXIST IN THE MIDST OF A REPUGNANT EUROPEAN CRISIS

Patrick jennings:

For anyone interested here is a reblog of a long essay by Yanis Varoufakis, current Greek minister for finance, written on his blog in 2013. Its title is “Confessions of an Erratic Marxist in the midst of a repugnant European crisis” The title says a lot about Varoufaklis and what’s happening at the negotiations with Merkel and co.

I liked a lot I read here and a lot I didn’t. Reading it is a beautiful way of gaining insight into the fact that history is made by complex human beings and not the sort of reductive cyphers referenced by ideologues of the left or right. His main point is that the left is not ready for a radical transformation and the only possibility is a stabilization of the European financial system to avoid complete collapse and the rise of neo fascism in the absence of a radical left alternative.

Will have to give it another reading to make my mind up about that. My instinct says that its an example of a jittery bourgeois professor faced with the inevitable confrontation with the powers that be.— that is to say the inevitable fighting in the street.

On the other hand he raises a very important issue.— is the radical left ready to do the necessary and avoid a decent into social collapse and chaos, given that even a ten year old can learn to use a Kalashnikov in ten minutes? That means, given the proliferation of arms, that the storming of the winter palace is off the agenda . More like a decent into civil war as ideological factions arm themselves, especially on the edge of Europe, which basally means most of it. Anyone who thinks this is far fetched is living in cloud cuckoo land in my opinion and doesn’t understand how quickly things can get out of hand. Not to mention the way ruling elites are prepared to use violence against any opponent who dares to really go for it and stand up for their livelihood and dignity, including traditional workingclass communities living in out of the way small rural villages. Here’s a good example, not too long ago ( 2012) and within the Euro zone. The Asturian miners struggle against austerity.

Originally posted on Yanis Varoufakis:

[In May 2013 I had the pleasure of addressing the 6th Subversive Festival in Zagreb on this topic. It is only now that I have managed to write up that talk and to expand it in some significant ways.[1]]

ABSTRACT

Europe is experiencing a slump that differs substantially from a ‘normal’ capitalist recession, of the type that is overcome through a wage squeeze which helps restore profitability. This secular, long-term slide toward asymmetrical depression and monetary disintegration puts radicals in a terrible dilemma: Should we use this once-in-a-century capitalist crisis as an opportunity to campaign for the dismantling of the European Union, given the latter’s enthusiastic acquiescence to the neoliberal policies and creed? Or should we accept that the Left is not ready for radical change and campaign instead for stabilising European capitalism? This paper argues that, however unappetising the latter proposition may sound in the ears…

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Occupy Frankfurt – March 18th 2015

The morning

The morning

The most astonishing thing happened when I drove back out of Frankfurt in the evening and put on the radio to hear a Frankfurt station reporting about the day. Frankfurt in ruins. At home I checked the internet for the headlines. The discrepancy between what happened – what I experienced – and what was reported was much bigger then expected. It was all about Frankfurt burning. Even my mother called in the afternoon to check what was going on in Frankfurt. But there everything was over at 8 in the morning. I ran right into one of three hot spots at around 7 a.m., right into a teargas cloud where black block activists were hard at work setting up a barricade at one of the bridges over the river Main. But it was over at 8, right in time for breakfast. Some cars burned. Some tires. Lots of black smoke. And than it was over. Continue reading

NON GOES ON

NON-LINE

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We launch a new German blog. The content will be a heavy deviation form everything  discussed here and anywhere else in the non-buddhist scene.

The first instalment has six texts. Five German, one English. But English speaking enlightenment seeking humans mustn’t grieve.  Partly we bring to German what is available in English anyway.

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For example a blog post by Alexander Galloway about NETWORKPESSIMISM.

Or that text about Accelerationism. EIN STURZ VOM PFERD – EIN NEUER FUTURISMUS MACHT VON SICH REDEN. In this case too there is enough available in the English speaking world. No worry. But is Accelerationism really new or is it some kind of déjà vu? And what has a horse to do with it.

Something different is the first part of a discussion about the economic views of Syriza’s Yanis Varoufakis: VAROUFAKIS? ERRATISCHER MARXISMUS ODER NON-MARXISMUS? Is he still beholden to a psychological reading of financialisation? What does a different reading looks like? One in which experience vanished in favor of high-frequency a-personal algorithms pulsing in an entirely different universe unreadable by man.

The one and only English article is a documentary about Detroit and Techno. STAYING UNDERGROUND. Detroit and Techno and (in part) how the Germans stole the rhythm. Lot’s of (hints to) good music here.

Then we have GLITCHÈD TWITTERAUDIO. You must not read the text. Check out the mp3-file and get down to hear while you meditate about what really reigns.

That’s all a walk on the the NON-LINE. The non-line criss-crossing every other X. Beyond the dead human.

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NON-LINE

Foucault and the Non-Fascist way of life.

glad-dayI would like to respond to Matthias post “The irrelevant” in a comprehensive way. Unfortunately my knowledge of Foucault’s thought  is cursory and, for the most part, comes by way of summaries and interpretations written by third parties. But since we are talking here about ideas extracted from philosophical systematization and judged on their usefulness, a form of anarchic or schizoid  practice of thought might be excusable and even preferable

Useful for what though? perhaps for a project to extract working concepts from philosophy –-axiomatic terms that speak in a libitory way without reducing the human to the status of a predicate of a Subject, be it Philosophy, History, Ideology, Science, Politics, Morals, or Ethics. Continue reading