Sunday, May 29, 2011

Cameron Freeman on Derrida

In my research I came upon an Integral Life post of no significance with the usual kennilingus, but the comment by Cameron Freeman basically stopped the thread with his heresy. Excerpts of his sin follow:

I want to focus here on the connection between Judaism and the work of Jacques Derrida, arguably the most dangerous thinker in post-modernity – in order to show that Derrida is probably a more integrally orientated writer than many people realize. For my taste Derrida is a modern day Jewish prophet, for he exposes a certain "coefficient of uncertainty" in all of on our favorite texts and institutions, which causes all of us, democrats and republicans, religious and secular, the reasonable and the faithful, considerable discomfort.

He showed the green v-meme (post-modernity) that the destabilizing agency in his work is not a reckless relativism or nihilism but rather an affirmation, a love of what in later years he would call the “un-deconstructible.” For Derrida, the un-deconstructible is both a “singularity” as well as a pure and unconditional affirmation of something un-imaginable and inconceivable by our current standards of imagining and conceiving.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Caputo on pomo & relativism

John Caputo has been a major influence on me and has been pivotal in my understanding Derrida, as the latter's own writings can at times (but not always) be inscrutable. The following excerpts are from an interview clarifying what  postmodernism is and answering the spurious charge as to its relativism. I appreciate his clear, concise and easily understandable style and hope that he can answer your own questions along these lines. The excerpts:

Post-modernism is a catchword that has caught on. I use the word “post-modernism” when I want to draw a crowd. So when I run a conference, I always say it’s about post-modernism.

It’s not the best word in the world. It’s a word that belongs to architecture originally. The more technical word, I think, to describe the state of philosophy these days is “post-structuralism.” Which is a critique of structuralist ways of thinking. But let’s just stick with the word “post-modernism, ” and let’s say that modernism means the tradition running roughly from Descartes through the first half of the 20th century. It’s a tradition that recognizes, that draws very sharp lines between subject and object, private and public, professional and amateur, knowledge and emotion, faith and reason.

But when you use the word “post-modernism,” the sort paradigmatic modernist would be Kant, who divides the world up into three critical domains, where the Greek word “krisis” means boundary or divider. So that you have knowledge which is pure knowledge, you have ethics which is pure ethics, and you have art which is pure art. So you get art for the sake of art, ethics as pure duty, knowledge as a purely cognitive undertaking.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Swami Beyondananda aka Steve Bhaerman

Many of us grew up with this comic performer who made light of our new age beliefs. But he is also a serious thinker and also into the next wave of evolution, not just in consciousness but in political institutions. To kick off this thread I'll just post his recent blog on the whole end-of-the-world thing, but there is much more to come.

The BEGINNING of the World As We “Know” It?

“So the world didn’t end on May 21st. Sure, those who hoped to live happily ever rapture are a little disappointed, but hey – it’s not the end of the world, right?”
– Swami Beyondananda

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Otto Scharmer

Otto Scharmer came up a few times in the Varela thread so why not give him his own esteemed thread (at IPS)? His website is at this link and his blog can be found here. Here is a bit from the site.

From the Projects page:

Transforming Capitalism

The transforming capitalism initiative creates conversations with pioneers for a green, regenerative economy that works for 100% of humanity and earth. We intend to convene conversations that serve as a vehicle for an emerging global shift to a different civilizational model which works in ways that are more environmentally sustainable, personally empowering, socially inclusive, culturally creative, and societally transformative.

From the Publications page, articles and papers, “Seven acupuncture points for shifting capitalism to create a regenerative ecosystem economy”:

Sunday, May 22, 2011

New Wall Street investigation

Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone is on to a new Wall Street investigation that appears to have some teeth. The NY AG is looking into the banks’ mortgage securitization process. I hope this is legitimate and results in some convictions for the crime of the century. From the article:

This investigation has the potential to be a Mother of All Nightmares situation for the banks for a couple of reasons. For one thing, the decision to go after the securitization process is a total prosecutorial bullseye. This is the ugly heart of the wide-scale fraud scheme of the bubble era. Again, the business model during this time was a giant bait-and-switch scam. Sleazy lenders like Countrywide and New Century first created huge masses of bad loans, committing every conceivable kind of fraud to get people into loans (from doctoring income statements with white-out to phonying FICO scores to engineering fake appraisals). They then moved the bad loans quickly to the big banks, which pooled them and chopped them up (this is the “securitization” process), sprinkled hocus-pocus math on them, and them sold them to suckers around the world as AAA-rated securities.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Shock Doctrine documentary

Both Archive Fire and Integral Options blogs have recently linked to the documentary made from Klein's book of this title. It is timely, given the conservative, totalitarian takeovers of government we've been seeing in the US recently. The film provides a fascinating history of the Chicago School of Economics and how it was implemented, by Fridman's own admissions, on the shock doctrine. It is an ideology that does not mix at all with actual democracy, the later in fact being antithetical to its narrative.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Economic Transition Income

Arnsperger's latest blog post talks about a economic transitional income (ETI) that supports alternative, sustainable lifestyles. And this income would be a government welfare program for those that chose this more frugal, less consumptive way of life. This transitional income would be reduced over time as more sustainable economies gained ground and generated their own income, with the result being a transition into this as the main economy with the gradual phase out of what he calls industrial-financial-capitalism. He not only envisions what we're moving toward but how to get get there practically. I hope I'm still alive to see and participate in this ETI and be part of creating this new political-economy. (Actually I am now is small ways like promoting these ideas and already choosing a less consumptive lifestyle, but I could do more with societal support and assistance.) And note below its “spiritual” orientation. From section 4:4:

One central addition to the set of renewed framework conditions would be a deep overhaul of the current income-redistribution logic of our social democracies.

The most pressing issue, therefore, is what shape the transition toward a frugal economy will take.

But the transition to a post-fossil fuel age is not only a matter of external adjustments, but also of an altered worldview, a new conception of the good life. New macro-systemic conditions and an evolution in worldview actually go hand in hand and are a necessary condition for changes in personal behaviors and in spiritual as well as cognitive modifications.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Refresher on postmetaphysics

Perhaps I should again clarify what I mean by the terms "metaphysical" and "postmetaphysical." I don't think that postmetaphysics means the elimination of metaphysics concerning ontological statements, for of course postmeta partakes in that. As Balder said, "a post-metaphysical view does not reject metaphysics altogether, but reframes it and  holds it in a different way." Or put another way, remember this from the “Sunday Sermon” thread:

"Post-modernism is often understood simply to be a reversal of the many over the one. And although that may be the case with many post-modern thinkers this is simply modernity in another guise. Both Luce Irigaray and Raimon Panikkar have observed that the hegemony of the one can also take the guise of a multiplicity of private or relative truths. For Irigaray especially, breaking the hegemony of the one does not entail an abandonment of the idea of the universal but rather a recovery of a concept of the universal freed from its metaphysical pretensions.”

So then what does "metaphysics" otherwise mean if not an ontological commitment? What exactly is the criticism? I appreciate how Lakoff & Johnson frame this in Philosophy in the Flesh, as quoted in the “witness consciousness” thread:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Postmetaphysical Puritanism

Balder started a new thread by this name at IPS. Following are some excerpts:


In that article that Bruce linked to Lears writes: "As their critics began to realize, positivists had abandoned the provisionality of science’s experimental outlook by transforming science from a method into a metaphysic, a source of absolute certainty."

I was thinking earlier today, while going over a few posts here, that sometimes I see echoes of this kind of thing in discussions on this forum. In certain ways, postmetaphysics is held up as a kind of gold standard against which to measure or judge other ways of thinking and being. I mean, of course, it's a forum on postmetaphysics, duh -- but what I'd noticed were phrases suggestive of a .... postmetaphysical "puritanism" (or asceticism) -- a seeming yearning to cleanse or purge one's thinking of ideas and attitudes with any scent of the metaphysical on it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sam Harris: How to meditate

In our IPS discussion on Harris Balder brought to our attention his new blog post, "how to meditate." Therein he recommends vipassana as it is most easily shorn of its metaphysical accoutrement. I agree with Mr. Harris yet again. This is why vipassana is the only "Buddhist" meditation I've been able to take up and maintain over the years. Particularly the brand out of Spirit Rock in northern CA, which is still Buddhist in orientation but also allows a more generic approach.  Jack Kornfield is one of the founders and I like his mix of psychotherapeutic methods and western education in his overall presentation. I also very much appreciate how Spirit Rock still operates on dana and has not commercialized (i.e., capitalized for profit) its teachings. Of Kornfield's writings one of my favorites is this one on the limitations of meditation.

Following is the excerpt of Harris' blog Balder provided:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Michael Moore on bin Laden

Michael Moore has some recent comments on the killing with which I agree. Some excerpts:

The Nazis killed tens of MILLIONS. They got a trial. Why? Because we're not like them. We're Americans. We roll different.

I would like the evildoers to be forced to stand trial in front of that world. I know a lot of people see no need for a trial for these bad guys (just hang 'em from the nearest tree!), and think trials are for sissies. "They're guilty, off with their heads!" Well, you see, that is the exact description of the Taliban/al Qaeda/Nazi justice system. I don't like their system. I like ours. And I don't want to be like them. In fact, the reason I like a good trial is that I like to show these bastards this is how it's done in a free country that believes in civilized justice. It's good for the rest of the world to see that, too. Sets a good example.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The people vs. Goldman Sachs

The past few posts have highlighted that laws are only for the masses, not those at the top of the system who are always beyond the law because they can buy off those who make and enforce the laws. The recent world financial crisis is yet another example in a long line of just this obvious principle, and that so-called democracy is just an obfuscating rallying flag for capitalists to hide behind, since it is the furthest thing from their true agenda. To further reinforce the obvious Matt Taibbi's usual and fine investigative reporting discusses the case of Goldman Sachs as revealed in the US Senate subcommittee looking into the matter. Exactly when are we, the people, going to demand from our lawmakers that they and their corporate masters must be subject to the same laws as the rest of us?

Some excerpts from Taibbi's article:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The next step in US assassination policy

As an expansion of the bin Laden thread this news story takes the legality of US assassination to new heights. Now we're trying to kill American citizens who have not been charged with any crime, let alone been given a trial after such charges. Let's just move right to killing them because they are deemed an enemy of the State. WTF is going on?

Here are some excerpts from “U.S. tries to assassinate U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki” at Salon, by Glen Greenwald (see the article for the rest and discuss):

That Barack Obama has continued the essence of the Bush/Cheney Terrorism architecture was once a provocative proposition but is now so self-evident that few dispute it (watch here as arch-neoconservative David Frum -- Richard Perle's co-author for the supreme 2004 neocon treatise -- waxes admiringly about Obama's Terrorism and foreign policies in the Muslim world and specifically its "continuity" with Bush/Cheney).  But one policy where Obama has gone further than Bush/Cheney in terms of unfettered executive authority and radical war powers is the attempt to target American citizens for assassination without a whiff of due process.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hitchens on Chomsky & Moore

Hitchens' response to Chomsky's remarks (posted earlier) can be found here. Therein Hitchens calls the likes of Chomsky and Moore the "paranoid anti-war left," and that their  "unstated but self-evident that the United States richly deserved the assault on its citizens and its civil society." This reveals far more about his own right-wing worldview, since it can only frame legitimate criticism in such stark, anti-American terms. This "reasoning" is strikingly similar to what happened in the case of Mary Surratt being discussed in "the conspirator" thread, the reactionary response of conservatives to defending the alleged conspirator in Lincoln's death. If we don't buy their limited view wholesale we want the destruction of the US, all under the evil guise of asking that our governmental leaders, like everyone else, be held accountable to the rule of American, and international, law. Including, and especially, in times of war.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Redford's The Conspirator & bin Laden

I finally had opportunity to see this fine film by Robert Redford, the story of the trial of Mary Surratt. Surratt owned a boarding house where J. W. Booth and her son plotted the assassination of Lincoln. Her son escaped but she and the other alleged co-conspirators were tried before a military tribunal. The case against her in particular was fabricated but it didn't stop the tribunal, and the political forces behind it, from finding her guilty and sentencing her to hang with the others. It is a story of how law and the Constitution were suspended to provide an emotional release to the general public, since she was assumed guilty from the start.There was a line in the movie about how law must be suspended in a time of war, with the protagonist lamenting the tragic irony of such a statment.

The movie brought so many parallels to mind on the recent assassination of bin Laden.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Chomsky on bin Laden's killing

Chomsky finally speaks up, copied in toto from this source:

It’s increasingly clear that the operation was a planned assassination, multiply violating elementary norms of international law. There appears to have been no attempt to apprehend the unarmed victim, as presumably could have been done by 80 commandos facing virtually no opposition—except, they claim, from his wife, who lunged towards them. In societies that profess some respect for law, suspects are apprehended and brought to fair trial. I stress “suspects.” In April 2002, the head of the FBI, Robert Mueller, informed the press that after the most intensive investigation in history, the FBI could say no more than that it “believed” that the plot was hatched in Afghanistan, though implemented in the UAE and Germany. What they only believed in April 2002, they obviously didn’t know 8 months earlier, when Washington dismissed tentative offers by the Taliban (how serious, we do not know, because they were instantly dismissed) to extradite bin Laden if they were presented with evidence—which, as we soon learned, Washington didn’t have. Thus Obama was simply lying when he said, in his White House statement, that “we quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda.”

Thursday, May 5, 2011


In the IPS thread "what the fuck is going on" we've been discussing the apocalyptic visions rampant in new age conspiracies, in which kennilinguists are willing participants. Therein kela brought up the difference between sapiential and apocalyptic eschatology. I said:

"It seems there is a relation between the differences of sapiential and apocalyptic eschatology with the distinctions I was drawing between progressive and conservative religious politics in that thread. That is, a correlation between the latter being more attached to an "absolute" in distinction with the relative an hence the need to get to the end or highest level  which redeems the world etc. (kennilinguists included). Whereas the former sees more their relation in the here and now, how we make the world better through pragmatic political (en)action and in so doing redeem (the idea of) God. Also note Michael Lerner's response to Obama's death.

I then referenced a Psychology Today article that explores why people fall for conspiracy theories:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ding dong bin Laden's dead

bin Laden's dead, ding dong the wicked terrorist is dead. (Sung to the tune of the Wizard of Oz song about the wicked witch.)

Ok, yes it feels good to get vengeance on the bastard responsible for the 9/11 attacks on the US. The blood lust is thick and heavy in the US with not just his death but the manner is which it was executed, shot in the head at close range. The left eye, to be exact. An eye for and eye and all that. We feel relief that he was murdered in cold, calculating foresight, which by the usual legal standard is 1st degree murder. Ah, but this is war, where all is fair, eh?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Radical hermeneutics

I'm feeling kind of religious this Sunday morning, wanting to go to church but just cannot find one compatible with my postmetaphysical "beliefs." Which led me to realize, yet again, that this virtual online monastery/seminary (i.e., IPS Forum) is as close as I get to going to church so I might as well share where my religious impulse led this morning. The following reminds me of some of the discussions of late in the Big Stories thread, the differences between religious (or spiritual) and scientific cosmological stories, and how sometimes their mix just leads to a muddle (but not necessarily). Anywho, here is my Sunday Sermon by Saint Caputo from the brief essay "Radical Hermeneutics." (Btw, one can read his book Radical Hermeneutics (IUP, 1987) for free at this Scribd link, from which I'll draw further sermons with or without commentary, depending on how the Holy Spirit (aka daemon) moves me.)


"By "radical hermeneutics" I mean a theory of radical interpretation, and by radical interpretation I mean that interpretation goes all the way down, that there are no uninterpreted facts of the matter that settle silently at the bottom that can be unearthed by patiently peeling away the layers of interpretation. To say that interpretation matters all the way down is not to say that "anything goes;" it is simply to recognize that we are not God. The charge of "relativism" thrown up against theories of radical interpretation is a confusion and an obfuscation. "Relativism" is a red herring used by the God-and-apple-piety crowd; it does service for thinking when the discussion gets too complicated.