Saturday, March 31, 2012

Nests

As I noted in this post from the complexity pomo thread, DeLanda's "nests" are of a different kind than the hierarchical nests of inclusion. Much like the image in my avatar I'm seeing more of a bird's nest, a meshwork of twigs and miscellanea that yet cohere.

A comment on integrality

I've been using DeLanda's material from my recent posts in the IPS thread "Complexity and postmodernism." Balder said:

"Speaking of Deleuze (I agree DeLanda's presentation of him is very lucid), his notions of multiplicity and the 'manifold' play a big role in a number of the essays in Polydoxy.  There's a new, complex gestalt forming here, it seems, with these various thinkers and themes meshing in interesting ways (the manifold connections among which I admit to sensing more darkly and intuitively, rather than clearly and lucidly, at this point)..."

I replied:

Intensive Science continued

As he said earlier, he uses the science of dynamic systems. From this he explores how undifferentiated, intensive capacities give rise to differentiated, extensive forms. As but one example he uses embryogenesis. When an extensive form is completed we get an idea similar to Bryant's withdrawal. He says:

"But the basic idea is that is that once a process of individuation is completed, the intensive factors that defined this process disappear or become hidden underneath the extensive and qualitative properties of the final product" (59).

Friday, March 30, 2012

Intensive Science

Continuing from the last post I'll post a few excerpts from DeLanda's book as I read it. See that post for a link to a free e-version.

"Delueze is...a realist philosoper....[but] not a realist about essences or any other transcendent entity...something else is needed to give objects their identity and what preserves this identity through time. Briefly, this something else is dynamical processes" (2-3).

In the "real and false reason" thread I contended that there was another kind of math at the root of an alternative complexity different from the algebraic sets Commons uses to build his hierarchical complexity. I made reference to Deleuze and his use of differential calculus and indeed DeLanda is going into that in chapter 1. He uses this math to ground Deleuze's notion of multiplicity and the manifold. He says:

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Comment on rhizome imagery

Something screwy happened to my blog in that I cannot post comments to my own posts! I have Google working on that. In the meantime in response to the comments to that post:

As Andy seems to indicate, such meshworks are a combination of the horizontal and the vertical. After all, "complexity" in involved. It's just much more "distributed" than would appear from a strictly unbalanced hierarchical view. So yes, of course I see progressive political views as much more "evolved," especially in light of how they take into account exactly what I'm talking about, this distributed nature of complexity rather than a simple formal hierarchy. More complex connections are vertical and horizontal, and not in the hierarchy/heterachy dichotomy Wilber proposes.

For example, DeLanda says this: ""The dichotomy between hierarchies and...meshworks, should be understood in purely relative terms. In the first place, in reality it is hard to find pure cases of these two structures....hierarchies give rise to meshworks and meshworks to hierarchies" (source). I'm currently reading his book Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy (Continuum, 2002),* where he explores Deleuze's rhizomatic complexity from a scientific perspective. A brief excerpt with more to follow:


"Delueze is...a realist philosoper....[but] not a realist about essences or any other transcendent entity...something else is needed to give objects their identity and what preserves this identity through time. Briefly, this something else is dynamical processes" (2-3).

* Link to free Scribd version.

Rhizome imagery

Here are a couple of rhizome images, one from a neural network only microns wide, one from our current universe, billions of light years wide. Do these images look like nested, hierarchical complexity? Or a different kind of rhizomatic complexity? The images we use affect how we create philosophical models (and vice-versa), so which seems more akin to the Real?

Rifkin on the third industrial revolution

Jeremy Rifkin has a new article today in the World Financial Review. For the most part it is a rehash of his earlier material. One new aspect I found interesting is 3-D manufacturing, and the technology that allows for it. As usual I appreciate that as a result of the third industrial revolution (TIR) "the traditional, hierarchical organization of economic and political power will give way to lateral power organized nodally across society."* All the TIR tech and accompanying philosophy he talks about is NOW, not some future fantasy. I'd think it would behoove integralites of any stripe to get with the real frothy (foamy?) edge, eh? Perhaps the TIR is also the super-integral, translucent (no color-coded) third tier?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dierkes on authentic spirituality

Balder started an IPS thread on Dierkes' piece at Beams & Struts. My comments so far. See the IPS thread for ongoing discussion.

Two of Dierkes' points with which I agree:

"What if Gafni and Cohen aren’t in fact arguing over the exact same territory? What if their respective spiritual practices are each picking up on a distinct dimension or stream? What if they are in fact correctly interpreting the differing experiences they are having—since they are arising from different practices?"

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Budget for All details

The Congressional Progressive Caucus finalized some of the details of their proposed budget. A few of the many details follow:

Eliminate corporate welfare for oil, gas, and coal companies. The Budget for All repeals exploration and development expensing, preferential tax treatment of royalties, and domestic manufacturing deductions, among other tax preferences, for oil, natural gas, and coal producers.

Wall Street Gaming Tax. This policy would enact a tax on derivatives, credit default swaps, and other exotic financial products, including both sides of futures and forwards, option premiums and foreign exchange spot transactions. This is a tax levied directly against the types of opaque, complex trades that Wall Street manipulators used to inflate their profits and were a direct cause of the financial crisis. This policy would use tax base and rates as follows: stock transactions at 0.25%, bond transactions at 0.004%, option premiums at 0.25% per year to maturity, foreign exchange transactions at 0.004%, and futures and swaps at 0.01%

Some clarifications on actor network theory

In response to Andy's comment in that last post I offer some excerpts from Latour's article by the above name:

"This theory has been often misunderstoond and hence much abused.... The first mistake would be to give it a common technical meaning in the sense of....a computer network. Such is not however the basic metaphor of an actor-network.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The presuppositions of telelogical wholes

Some thoughts circulating in my brain follow from discussions in two IPS threads, “Enactive Realism” and “Spheres.”

Per Takaki implicit knowing seems to be embodied and enactive. That is, even though there is a higher order contextualizing it cannot exist without the lower parts that afford it. When such higher orders emerge then the lower orders are implicit to its explicit knowing. In other words, it is a bottom up system in that there is no higher order whole without its parts. In still other words, there is no totalizing whole that existed before manifestation that involves into the parts. The parts evolve into particular wholes, always set in specific contextualization, with the implicit arising from such evolution, not the other way around. We see this same notion of embedded, embodied and immanent objects in Bryant's dynamic, and uniquely particular, systems.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Budget comparison

Robert Borosage's Huff Post article today compares the two budget proposals previously posted today. For example, Republicans:

"Tribunes the 1%; cuts taxes on the rich; cut health care for millions; end Medicare as we know it; cut access to college; the poor pay for deficit reduction; let America decline; overseas tax havens; pad the Pentagon.

The People's Budget:

"Hold Wall street accountable; tax the rich; reform health care; pare the Pentagon."

* Update: Compare the new CPC Budget for All with the alternative at this Daily Kos post.

The Republican Budget

Let's compare the Republican budget proposal compared to the progressive budget in the last post. From Robert Reich's Huff Post article dated today:

"The real contrast is over what the plan does for the rich and what it does to everyone else. It reduces the top individual and corporate tax rates to 25 percent. This would give the wealthiest Americans an average tax cut of at least $150,000 a year. The money would come out of programs for the elderly, lower-middle families, and the poor.  Seniors would get subsidies to buy private health insurance or Medicare -- but the subsidies would be capped. So as medical costs increased, seniors would fall further and further behind. Other cuts would come out of food stamps, Pell grants to offset the college tuition of kids from poor families, and scores of other programs that now help middle-income and the poor."

See the article for the rest. Which plan do you prefer?

The People's Budget

The People's Budget is still around, still trying to gain traction in a corporately dominated US Congress. It is the proposal by the Progressive Caucus of the Democrat Party. Granted many Democrats voted it against it in previous incarnations because many Democrats are corporate lackeys too. But not all of them, to wit this budget. Here are the talking points and I urge you to support this, even though it does not have the votes to succeed. However if you will vote in the next elections, and encourage others to do so as well, perhaps we can regain the House and enough votes in the Senate to get something like this done? (By the by, Bernie Sanders was one of the founding members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.)

From their website:

The People’s Budget eliminates the deficit in 10 years, puts Americans back to work and restores our economic competitiveness. The People’s Budget recognizes that in order to compete, our nation needs every American to be productive, and in order to be productive we need to raise our skills to meet modern needs.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Progressive spheres

In our continuing IPS discussion of Sloterdijk's philosophy and politics I highlight the following:

Balder: I agree with your points, Ed, and agree with Honneth that it would be both important and helpful for him to situate his views on this vis-a-vis the ill-gotten gains of many speculators and other financial elites (and cooperating government players) who are gaming the system at our, and our future generations', expense.  My only caveat is that we should probably read his comments in the context of the German situation, where (I believe, based on a Wikipedia search) the taxation rate of the wealthiest members is at 45%.  The critique of 'resentment' as an informing mood in (Green) cynicism is also a legitimate one, I expect, at least for certain prominent thinkers and schools of thought, so I would not want to summarize 'liberal'/left views as being uniformly and universally in line with the sentiments you express (since 'the left' includes a broad range of people across cultures and across several developmental stages).

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sloterdijk's politics

While Latour dealt with Slot's first controversy this wikipedia entry deals with the latter on the welfare state.* It says:

“According to Sloterdijk, the institutions of the welfare state lend themselves to a system that privileges the marginalized, but relies, unsustainably, on the class of citizens who are materially successful. Sloterdijk's provocative recommendation was that income taxes should be abolished, in favor of a system in which the fiscal needs of the state are met by voluntary contributions from the rich. Achievers would be praised for their generosity, rather than being made to feel guilty for their success, or resentful of society's dependence on them.”

Latour on Sloterdijk

Balder started an IPS thread on Sloterdijk's trilogy Spheres. Therein a link was provided to a book about Slot called In Media Res. We'd previously discussed the "affair" wherein Slot was accused of being a neo-fascist pig by a few of Habermas' mouthpieces. So I was curious if this book addressed it. From the introduction:

"Sloterdijk reiterates some of the more familiar libertarian critiques of the welfare state, and he literally sides with the idea that the unproductive feed off the productive, over the leftist idea of the exploitation of labour by capital. Given the fact that, worldwide, the poor work under overwhelmingly deplorable conditions to produce what the rich buy for next to nothing, Sloterdijk’s plea is not difficult to interpret as a form of ideological ‘desolidarization'.... Honneth provides a critique of Sloterdijk’s (recent) work, not just of Sloterdijk’s intervention in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and diagnoses it as the ideological legitimation of a new conservative political and economic elite" (17).

Friday, March 16, 2012

Overworking employees is just plain stupid

This article highlights what every worker knows but apparently most managers do not: Overwork doesn't produce more but rather less. And it egregiously harms a company's main asset, its human resources. Even if a company's main goal is profit, it will rise only if it focuses on its people. And every weekly hour worked over 40 is counterproductive and literally kills its main asset.  I know this intimately from my last job, adverse health effects from overwork being a significant reason I left. I chose not to let a job kill me.

Recall the recent Goldman employee who quit due to the obsessive focus on profit at the expense of clients. Inherent to that same culture is worker abuse in the name of maximizing profit through the rationalization of "productivity" and being a "team player," issues dealt with in this article. Excerpts:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The truth about the USPS

Conservatives want us to believe that the postal service is going bankrupt because they are inefficient and cannot compete. Let UPS and FedEx take over completely, since they are a private business and do it better. But is this all true? This Salon article begs to differ. Republicans have hobbled the post office under conditions no other business must endure, public or private. And they did so deliberately to destroy it and further weaken public unions so that private business could take over. Please inform yourself and support the legislation proposed at the end. From the article:

"The post office’s immediate crisis is largely of Congress’s own making....in the first quarter of this fiscal year, the post office would have made an operational profit, if not for a 75-year healthcare 'pre-funding' mandate that applies to no other public or private institution in the United States.

Taibbi on the Goldman resignation

Matt Taibbi's blog yesterday addressed Greg Smith's public resignation from Goldman Sachs in the NYT. He admits that all the liberal exposes, Congressional reports like Levin's (which confirm Smith's complaints) or even the Occupy movement will have little effect on this behavior. What will is when such insiders start leaving and influencing others to do the same, thereby affecting the bottom line, the only line these vampires understand. Goldman's stock plummeted from the news and hopefully clients will start to pull out in droves. Granted most of the big investment banks have the same attitude so perhaps now is the time for ethical entrepreneurs to go back to the days when investment brokers held foremost their client's interest? They'll still make a decent profit by so doing, just not a killing (as in killing the whole economy).

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Goldman Sachs Director resigns

See his resignation letter, which was posted in today's NYT. This is no surprise to us 99%. For example, he says:

"To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money.

Lakoff's advise to progressives

Continuing from the last post Lakoff's recent Huff Post piece offers a similar analysis and offers some advice. He agrees that conservatives tend toward the the ideal of the strict and authoritarian father who one must accept without challenge. This gets externalized to institutions like the Church and the Market and expresses politically as "democracy is about liberty, individual responsibility and self-reliance -- the freedom to seek one's own self-interest with minimal or no commitment to the interests of others. This implies a minimal public and a maximal private." For liberals it is more about a balance between self and other, given the familial balance of power between the father and mother. This gets externalized as follows:

Political biases

Since the postmodern revolution it is difficult to not see that our epistemological biases shape what we believe. We no longer have a naive trust that there are objective facts that we merely discover and upon which everyone can agree. Granted there is a real world there as basis for our conceptual constructions but we no longer hold that we can see it as it is in itself via direct perception or transcendental reasoning. A relative newcomer to the philosophical scene, speculative realism, asserts we can realistically hypothesize such a real world as basis, even make accurate, useful and empirical predictions about it, but still allows for its withdrawal from human perception or reasoning in that we cannot fully know it in any kind of direct 1-to-1 relationship. Still, it seems we can get relatively better and worse views based on empirical evidence, which are grounded more in reality and less in bias, even if never perfect.

So how does this play out in politics? Are conservative and liberal viewpoints merely equal opposites that need some form of balance via compromise to arrive at workable solutions? We've seen time and again Obama work with this assumption, and after coming to what appeared to be a bi-partisan compromise he was repeatedly rebuffed with no conservative votes whatsoever. So let's take a look at yet another study of political biases, and which seem closer to the empirical evidence. In this article Chris Mooney of AlterNet examined this study. Here are some of the things it revealed through his eyes. You'll see some of the same empirical conclusions that Lakoff and Johnson come to from the "real and false reason" thread.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Conservative economic head in the sand

And up their ass. For the third straight month the US has created 200,000+ private sector jobs. And yet this story in buried in their media outlets and just plain ignored by their politicians. Hence we get their incessant focus on contraception and specious misdirection about it being a religious issue instead of a health coverage issue. All of which only serves to alienate women voters, even in their own Party. Here's Rachel Maddow on the facts about job growth. Oh yeah, facts (like science and education) are something else conservatives run from. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Meditative purity?

This talk of an embodied perception or realization beyond mind, or at least distinct therefrom, never did sit well with me (or kela). We've discussed this many times and ways in several threads in this forum and its predecessor at Gaia. (The Levin thread at this forum and its predecessor thread are examples. A sample here and below.*) It's as if there is a kind of purity involved, in that meditation discloses a kind of direct and unfiltered perception of that which is, Reality, which is somehow clouded over and/or distorted and/or obscured by the mind. This thread kela started, and this post and following, offer some of the more recent discussions about this. A few excerpts:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Embodying OOO & Avatar

In this IPS post Dial articulates what's missing for him in Bryant's OOO. Related to this is Ivakhiv's blog post on the upcoming conference on the non-human turn. My comments from this post:

Of note in looking at the conference description was the comparison of the non-human with the post-human, e.g. of the latter referencing Katherine Hayles’ How We Became Posthuman. (Recall my references to her in comparing dynamic systems and deconstruction here.) Relating to Hayle's posthumanism* see Ivakhiv's initial review of Avatar here, and a synopsis of reviews here.** We see reverberations of this in Dial's recent comment, in that the body (like the Na'vi) is being posthumanized via a non-humanism of object relations, and hence the likes of Ivakhiv's process-oriented, embodied environmentalism as response to OOO. Also see our previous discussion of Avatar here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Memes, emotions and views

Andrea Diem-Lane's recent article at IW discusses Blackmore's memes. Therein she says:

"Quite clearly, ideas that tap into the emotions have a better chance of spreading....two are primary: desire and fear (or, as Freud would have it, Eros and Thanatos).... Overall, all of this suggests that content is secondary to transmission. How a message is spread is more important that what the message says."

Monday, March 5, 2012

Lucid clarity

In a recent IPS post in the OOO thread Dial criticized Bryant for lacking a certain connection to what is beyond language. So much so that Bryant's lucidly clear thinking and writing style might even be an impediment thereto. I begged to differ per this post, copied below.

For me Bryant answers your charges nicely in this post about his garden.

“I have to surrender myself....I don’t have mastery over any of this, but can only collaborate with all of these entities and negotiate, opening myself to surprise and the tendencies of these agents.”

Friday, March 2, 2012

Body practice

In the IPS "what 'is' the differance" thread Dial inquired:

"How exactly would you argue for deconstruction as being a genuine praxis that has effects beyond how we respond to written texts? How would you argue for thought alone having effect on more than thought alone? How does deconstruction move the body? How does it develop non-attachment in all our activities?"

I replied:

Object/process clarifications

Following are some recent posts in the IPS OOO thread from pp. 51-2:

Bryant explores several of the problems encountered with his idea of substance in this post. A few relevant tidbits:

"From the foregoing we can see why the concepts of multiplicity and difference arise.... The concept of difference arises out of issues of just how to account for the individuality of substance.... Multiplicity invites us to think the identity of substance not as an unchanging substrate but rather as an activity on the part of substance over the course of its ongoing life.