Monday, April 30, 2012

Austerity and disaster capitalism


The banks continue to vulture economies worldwide. Recall that the US financial crises was intentionally engineered to cause economic collapse for the criminal gain of a few. Key regulations were removed that prevented said banks to both lend and speculate. Once freed of consumer protections they created a devastating mortgage scheme, lending to people they knew could not make good on their loans by eliminating underwriting standards altogether. Why would they do such a thing, knowing the loans would default? Wouldn't they lose money and go out of business? Well, if finance worked the way it used to that would be the natural result. But freed of those regulations they bundled all those toxic loans, had their cronies at the rating agencies say they were good as gold and then sold them en mass to 401k plans. To add insult to injury they then bet against the very junk bonds they created, knowing they'd make a huge killing because of the inevitable default. And all the while knowing that the government would bail them out, as they were now way to big to fail again from lack of appropriate regulations.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Republicans are the problem

Forget some specious post-partisanship that tries to "balance" left and right. Conservatives are counting on such weak liberal strategy to move their own agenda further and further to the extreme right. (Extreme wrong, actually.) I wholeheartedly agree with this recent article in the Washington Post, so will let these excerpts speak for themselves. Please see the entire piece:

"We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.

"The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition. When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Chop(ra) Suey

Check out this Integral Options post on Chopra's latest nonsense. Here's Julian Walker's comment:

"of course mind reduces to brain - this is an appropriate level of reductionism. no brain = no mind, period. damage the brain and you damage mental functioning.

Another metamodernism

In my research I came upon this wiki on metamodernism. Most of the references are to the journal Notes on Metamodernism. From an article in the journal:

"The prefix ‘meta’ has acquired something of a bad rep over the last few years. It has come to be understood primarily in terms of self-reflection – i.e. a text about a text, a picture about a picture, etc. But ‘meta’ originally intends something rather more colloquial. According to the Greek-English Lexicon the preposition and prefix ‘meta’(μετά) has several meanings and connotations. Most commonly it translates as ‘after’. But it can also be used to denote qualitative ‘changes’ or to designate positions such as ‘with’ and ‘between’. In Plato’s Symposium, for example, the term metaxy designates an ontological betweenness.

"Meta- does not refer to one particular system of thought or specific structure of feeling. It infers a plurality of them, and repositions itself with and between them. It is many, but also one. Encompassing, yet fragmented. Now, yet then. Here, but also there.

Meta-modernism

Some excerpts from a Caputo interview. The first could be aimed at a kennilingual obsession with boundaries and meta-paradigms, which seems more inherent to the modernist project.

"The...paradigmatic modernist would be Kant, who divides the world up into three critical domains.... And so modernism is very emphatic about drawing borders between things and enforcing those borders, policing those borders. Kant’s philosophy is a kind of meta-philosophy of meta-critique, which is a kind of science of science which polices borders. So it makes for very strong distinctions between subject and object, between politics and between public and private."

Friday, April 27, 2012

Present at hand


Continuing discussion in the OOO thread and Bonnie's blog post on the Magellan course led to the following ruminations:

Balder:

I've been looking forward to checking out his [Morton's] forthcoming book, Realist Magic.  I was just thinking and writing about perspectivalism last night.   My thought was that saying "all is perspective," as a move to avoid ontology, is problematic because it just smuggles the ontic into the epistemic: there is one real thing, and that is perspective (foundationally).

Regarding relationism being a metaphysics of presence, in your reading of Morton, do you think he's saying the problem with it is that it holds that relations are more real than objects?  Meaning that the move beyond this would either be to assert equal reality for both relations and objects, or to avoid asserting the primacy of either one?  Perspectivism or perspectival enaction might at least avoid the positive, perspective-independent assertion of networks or objects as metaphysically present things or "givens."  An integral approach, I believe, would hold that neither "object" (UR) nor "network/system" (LR) can be given primacy (that would be a form of quadrant absolutism).  But I don't think it could assert that objects or networks aren't real, to the extent that it remains committed to two theses: that perspectives are always embodied, and that such "bodies" are holonic.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

America is not old-white-male enough?


Recall Bryant remarking that conservatives support while males and the top 1% of the economic pie, while liberals the marginalized voices like women and minorities. It is then no surprise that in these polls Romney is leading Obama in only 1 category, while males over 50, while Obama leads with women and minorities.

This issue could not be made any clearer than what has been argued in the Supreme Court these past few days, the so-called Arizona “papers please” law that allows blatant racial profiling to send illegal immigrants packing back to where they came from. The conservative spin is that they're breaking the law so it's justified. The conservative majority of the Court, no surprise, seems to back the law. But are the motives for such legislation more insidious that what is spun?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Morton on the metaphysics of presence

Related to some of my comments on the Magellan course, following are a few excerpts from Morton's recent blog posts. From "Perspectivalism is the metaphysics of presence":

"A perspectival determination, as far as I can tell, is another kind of foundationalism. It's saying that perspective is more real than what is perceived or perspectivized or whatever.


From "Relationism, OOO and Sorites":

"Relationism...is a metaphysics of presence insofar as it holds that relations are more real than the entities they instantiate....in other words the network is a metaphysically present thing. To assert this is to regress to structuralism. Structuralism is the most elegant relationism ever devised. Derrida was already past that. We must move beyond."

From "Temporal parts, OOO and Sorites":

"The metaphysics of presence that underlies process philosophy...is a regression from, rather than progress beyond, Derrida."

Also check out "The shape of the I."

Monday, April 23, 2012

The logoi of power relations


Bryant has an informative blog post dated 4/22/12 on “relation, language and logic.” Therein he describes what I'd call a better version of vision-logic but of a very different kind that kennilingus. His distinctions allow a greater depth of analysis that expose the power dynamics in keeping certain worldviews hegemonic while marginalizing and manipulating the powerless. Such distinctions include how voices are related and not related, that such (non)relations are forged and not given, and how they are forged and maintained. A certain truth-propositional logic assumes that relations are pre-given and thus takes for granted as axiomatic the concomitant assumptions of the current power structure and thus perpetuates it. We see this for example in the likes of kennlingus conscious capitalism, which unconsciously assumes a propositional formal logic under the guise of vision-logic and thereby ignores the marginalized and perpetuates the power regime. Select excerpts of Bryant's more integral (ouch!) version follows:

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Cabin in the Woods

I highly recommend the new horror movie Cabin in the Woods. Not for like an Oscar or anything, just for fun. At first I thought another dumb slasher but I saw several approving reviews and gave it a chance. Well worth it. It's also funny and has an interesting plot twist with a neat revelation at the end, a theme we've touched on in this thread about horror and spirituality. I can't say more because I don't want to give it away.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Some responses to the Magellan course

Bonnie is doing an online course called Magellan at this link. She notified the IPS forum of it in this blog post. Therein and elsewhere I made some comments, following:

After listening to that lengthy tutorial I'm in agreement with much of Bonnie's presentation. Even up to the point where the transition between deficient rational and latent integral turns to paradoxical reasoning.* I too have used Gebser earlier in this thread and elsewhere, and combined with Levin, Goddard, Lakoff, Derrida (and more) have a different idea of what integral-aperspectival might mean. That's where we part ways for the most part, though still in partial agreement.

* Though as Hampson has noted (earlier in the thread), Gebser himself apparently did not have such a transition, which transition is typically labelled "postmodern." His life ended at the beginning of what might be called the pomo movement so many of its important insights were not incorporated into his oeuvre. Hence his own burgeoning ideas of the latent integral structure are deficient and would have benefited therefrom. Defining this latent integral structure is currently a proving ground where various theorists are struggling to legitimate their notions, vying for supremacy as to better paradigms.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The depth of the exteriors


Related to my last post here are some excerpts from Mark Edwards' “The depth of the exteriors, part 2”:

“Piaget's view of development is that of the internal maturation of individually located organising structures [mental schema].”

“Vygotsky recognised the developmental depth of the exteriors in a way that Piaget did not.”

“Vygotsky gained from Baldwin...the emergence of self out of the social dynamics, and the sociogenic origin of cognitive processes.”

“For Vygotsky, 'the social dimension of consciousness is primary in time and in fact. The individual dimension of consciousness is derivative and secondary' (Vygotsky, 1979, p.30).”

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cultural origins of human cognition

In the last page (9) of the IPS "real and false reason" thread I've taken a turn toward more cultural-historical interpretations of image schemas and basic categories. Following are some of those posts:

In my research I came upon another free e-book at Scribd (I love that place) called From Perception to Meaning: Image Schemas in Cognitive Linguistics (Mouton de Gruyter, 2005). Therein Kimmel says: “The classical account has overlooked that image schemas are not only generalized entities, but also ones that are instantiated in socio-cultural contexts” (287). He contends that some of the biases of classical image schemas (i.e. Lakoff & Johnson) are that they are, for example, universal, shape culture but not vice-versa and act as the foundational building block of higher, abstract levels. While acknowledging basic schemas like container and link cannot be broken down into constituent parts, there are also compound schemas that can be so divided. The latter type seems to be more prevalent in actual experience. One consequence of the classical view is that by analytically defining a simple schema, instead of compounding it with other schemas in gestalt situations, leads to the notion that the simple schema is more ontologically primary. Thus we see a hidden metaphysical postulate that OOO also questions with its strange mereology.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The private equity scam

Robert Reich does it again with this article and video, exposing the scam that calls itself private equity investment. First off, it's public money that is invested, typically from pension and 401k funds, i.e, our money. And if the investments go bad there is no personal accountability for the investment managers, since they don't lose a dime; again, it's we that lose our investment. This is partly due to bogus investment laws that do not require these brokers to do due diligence. Hence there is absolutely no motivation to protect the public and every motivation to recklessly play with our money, since they skim their profit from the top and to hell with what happens after that. That used to be called conflict of interest when laws were more responsible and responsive to the public good, but we can't have any of that now, can we?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The facts about US Corporate Taxes

Robert McIntyre sets the record straight in this Huff Post piece about the US allegedly having the highest corporate tax rates in the world. Excerpts:

"But it's the highest on paper only. In practice, the true U.S. corporate tax rate is barely half of the 35 percent nominal rate. A major study by Citizens for Tax Justice last November found that the biggest and most profitable Fortune 500 corporations paid only 18.5 per percent in federal income taxes on their U.S. profits from 2008 through 2010. Many companies paid little or nothing.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Edwards' lenses & Lakoff's image schemas

There are different kinds of preconceptual image schemas and basic categories: container, part-whole, link, center-periphery, source-path-goal, up-down, front-back and linear order are some examples. Concepts then build on these schemas: categories in general build on container schemas, hierarichal structures in terms of part-whole and up-down, relations in terms of links, radial structure in terms of center-periphery etc.

I find an interesting correlation here with Mark Edwards' pluralistic lenses. See table 9.2 from this ILR interview for example, where he lists these categories of lenses with some examples: holarchical, bipolar, cyclical, standpoint, relational. Also see table 8.1 from this interview for some cool graphics for the lenses. From the latter he says:

Constructive and deconstructive postmodernism @ Integral World

See this link for my essay at Integral World, an edited version of the IPS discussion on the same topic.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Women, Fire and Dangerous Things

I found a Scribd copy of the above  book at this link, which led me to continue the IPS "real and false reason" thread on p. 7. Following are the comments and quotes:

"The psychologically most basic level was in the middle of the taxonomic hierarchies....[and] is the only level at which categorization is determined by overall gestalt perception....[which is] perception of overall part-whole configuration" (46-7).

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Obama accurately frames the issues

President Obama spoke yesterday at the AP luncheon and laid out the stark contrast between progressive and conservative visions for America (full transcript). He asked: "Can we succeed as a country where a shrinking number of people do exceedingly well, while a growing number struggle to get by?  Or are we better off when everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules?"

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

DeLanda's mereology

It seems that DeLanda's presentation "A new ontology for the social sciences" was later included in Intensive Science, in some cases verbatim.

While he accepts that we must “construct an ontology around the basic notion of emergent property, that is, a property of a whole that is more than the sum of its parts, hence irreducible to those parts,” this is not an hierarchical mereological relation. This ontology must eliminate both Platonic essences as well as Aristotelian general categories or abstract classes. There is of course legitimate uses for general categories but the problem comes from their reification. His “flat” ontology therefore doesn't replace the nature of emergent wholes (a kind of hierarchy), just the emergent's claims to an essence and/or reified abstract class, which in both cases subsume the parts in its hegemonic inclusion. Flat in this case means both the constituent elements and the emergent entities retain their individual autonomy instead of one being completely subsumed or “integrated” by the other.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hendrix Little Wing

I was reading the Rolling Stone article on Hendrix being the number 1 guitarist of all time. It highlighted the song Little Wing as displaying Hendrix's virtuosity. I've heard the song probably hundreds of times but just the commercial version. So I found and heard for the fist time the extended, strictly instrumental version which is almost 7 minutes. Freakin' far out, man.

In response to Tom, I did, after the fact, at this link.