Filed under: philosophy, difference, text, narrative, fiction, the political — sdv @ 06:25:47 pm

always like the notion of intertextuality, its the way it invites us, the reader to understand and interpret a text as a meeting of texts. In structuralist and formalist approaches to texts and reading this has been understood as source or quotation bound. But equally it can be understood as reintroducing history into structuralism and formalism,the texts that Duras and Burroughs read and which enabled The Sailor from Gibraltar and The Ticket that Exploded to exist, also introduce history into the experiments. Duras interest in revolution, Burroughs use of science fiction are useful materials for this method. But perhaps the delineating of the connections between the internals of a text and the externals demonstrate the extent to which both writer and reader are in process. Not for nothing do I mention those most carnivalesque and polyphonic of writers…


Dumezil and the Media

Filed under: culture, philosophy, difference, text, the political, spectacle — sdv @ 07:59:39 pm

I’ve been wondering recently whether a modification isn’t required in my understanding of Georges Dumezil and his definitive analysis of Indo-European mythology, specifically of political sovereignty which has two poles, the king and the jurist. For whilst I have tended to accept the Deleuzian proposition that says that science has supplanted religion as the juridicial pole, as the pole of legitimation, and whilst the king even in our liberal parliamentary democracies has remained fundamentally unchanged as the despotic pole, as power. Clearly the structure has remained unchanged but I’m wondering whether in the light of the work I am doing in relation to the spectacle, to the mass media whether I shouldn’t be arguing that the media, the spectacle itself has not recently supplanted both science and religion to become the jurist-media, the acknowledged legislator, the creator of pacts which the ‘king’ is beholden to… the jurist-media, the jurist-spectacle…


Atkins, Science and ...

Filed under: culture, philosophy, difference, text, the political, spectacle — sdv @ 01:43:34 pm

The question that springs to mind with Peter Atkins book On Being is how should one read it ? It’s not a question raised to refuse or even address his atheism which is honestly felt and correct, or even to critique his non-philosophy with its expressed desire to place science in its stead. But rather to address the question of science and what means, which for Atkins is the royal road to truth and knowledge. And with truth and knowledge we always dealing directly with questions of social and political power. It is critical to realize that science in this sense remains the royal and state science instantiated with Galileo brought to fruition with Newton and the invention of the Royal Society.. In general philosophers and sociologists of science (and their ilk ) all avoid speaking royal and state science. But given that science has supplanted the spectacle of religion as the juridical and ideological support, the core of this society, it is time to discuss this again. Not to ask as a philosopher of science might about ’science’ but instead to think in terms of science and its relationship to capitalism, not in the general sense of any capitalism but rather in the sense of the specific flavour of capitalism that we exist within, this capitalism.

How then should science be understood in relation to Atkins discussion of it ? My initial references above are related to the replacement of religion by science as the ideological support of sovereignty as described and defined by Dumezil and his successors. And yet perhaps the notion of political sovereignty as described by Georges Dumezil in Mitra-Varuna and the Destiny of the King as having the two symbolic but still very real functions which are so obviously attractive as a means of describing our histories, which he names as ‘the magician-king’ and ‘the jurist-priest’, with the alternate names known as ‘the despotic king’ and ‘the legislator’, it is the latter which has the function of being the legitimator of the system. In all cases these two poles of sovereignty stand in opposition to one another, the first implying despotic violence and the latter implying regulation and justification, of course they are an unseperable dualism, that together make up the social and ideological function of political sovereignty. The critical relevance of this concept is that within our recent societies Science has supplanted religion so that what were jurist-priests are now jurist-scientists. But where Deleuze and Guattari present science in two different modes implying on the one side royal and on the other nomadic science, its clear but both these scientific modes function in the role as advisers to the state just as historically religion always have multiple modes.

It is one of those strange synergies that interests me with Debord’s related comments on Science and capitalism. Where he says: “It is sometimes said that science today is subservient to the imperatives of profit, but that is nothing new. What is new is that the economy has come to declare open war on humanity attacking not only our possibilities for living but our chances of survival. It is here that Science – renouncing the opposition to slavery that formed a significant part of its own history - has chosen to put itself at the service of spectacular domination. Until it got to this point Science possessed a relative autonomy. It knew how to understand its own portion of reality; and in this has made an immense contribution to increasing economic resources. When the all powerful economy lost its reason – and it is this which defines these spectacular times – it surpassed the last vestiges of scientific autonomy, both in methodology and in the practical working conditions of its ‘researchers’. No longer is science asked to understand the world, or to improve any part of it. It is asked instead to immediately justify everything that happens…”


serres - timescales and spectacle

Filed under: philosophy, event, difference, text, the political, spectacle — sdv @ 03:13:31 pm

To safeguard the earth or respect the weather, the wind and rain, we would have to think toward the long term and because we don’t live out in the weather, we’ve unlearned how to think in accordance with its rhythms and its scope. Concerned with maintaining his position, the politician makes plans that rarely go beyond the next election, the administrator reigns over the next fiscal budgetary year, and news goes out on a daily and weekly basis, As for contemporary science, its born in journal articles that almost never go back more than ten years; even if work on the paleoclimate recapitulates tens of millennia, it goes back less than three decades itself.


a good reader

Filed under: philosophy, difference, text, Deleuze — sdv @ 11:44:04 am

…some comments on my reading of Deleuze is the current (quite reasonable) example that is causing me to think about this… If you are a good reader of a philosopher, which makes the assumption that such a thing as a good reader and good reading is desirable and useful, and equally it contains the implicit assumption that bad readers and bad readings also exist. But I’m not so sure about this myself anymore, because I suspect that bad readings which might also be thought of as misreadings are nearly always more useful than the good and faithful readings. Though you may object to the idea of faithful in this context still it feels to me as if what people who implicitly claim to be good readers want is that we collectively read a text and arrive at a unified understanding. Which is precisely what I’m not interested in…

In the texts of Deleuze case the two feet of secondary texts (on my shelf) on Deleuze and Deleuze and Gauttari adequately demonstrate the impossibility of deciding what a good reading might be. But still people speak to me as if this is possible, as if the goal should be to read well. Whereas I think that reading badly is clearly more useful and probably more humane…

Feel free to continue to engage in your good readings though.

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