Thursday, May 31, 2012

Florida voter purge

This has been a hot story in the US since the Republican FL Governor decided to purge 182,000 registered voters. Ed Shultz highlighted it again this evening. As you may have guessed, most of the purgees are registered Democrats. Coincidence? The purge is rationalized under a bogus pretense, that there is rampant voter fraud and this is necessary to preserve electoral integrity. But in the 2008 election there were about a 16 confirmed cases of voter fraud with over 8 million votes cast. And this is reason to disenfranchise 182,000 people? Granted not that many will likely be removed, but it is estimated that up to 35,000 eligible voters might be. Shultz gets at the real reason behind the FL purge. As current State poling stands, Romney cannot win the Presidency without winning FL's electoral votes.

Rhetoric about rhetoric

In the IPS OOO thread Dial has again challenged what he perceives as a lack of embodiment in Wilber and Bryant. The dialogue follows:

Dial: Is how does one express the relationship between mind-body-universals - or class thereof - when the very currency of the world is immanence - aka embodiment, aka assemblages. To my mind it's really not possible by means other than realized embodied expression. That is to say, it can't be propositional but must be expressive, rhetorical, performative, resonant.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Jon Stewart: "If the C word and the N word had a baby."

Jon Stewart returns to The Daily Show after a two-week vacation. And he is as funny and as on point as ever. The theme is Socialism, the S word that is the baby of the N and C words. The first clip is about Roger Ailes of Faux Snooze accusing Stewart of being socialist from a decade-old personal conversation, while Stewart with usual aplomb recalls the conversation differently. They were in Ailes' orgy bar and Ailes discussed the idea of Fox News, how it will "undermine the role of an independent press, while constantly whining that any reportage that deviates from a staunch conservative narrative is biased, while, at the same time, filling the editorial vacuum that it creates by building a conservative propaganda juggernaut in the guise of a news organization." Ailes went on to note that the tagline will be: "A fanatically micro-manged fiefdom where my own far right agenda and personal sense of victimhood drive every aspect of its operation--and balanced." Funny how memory works.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Postmetaphysical rigpa

Continuing from the previous post (see it for links):

For example, from p. 1 of the states thread a base state was described, tonic attention. It is a "condition for" contents in consciousness, akin to the embodied transcendental discussed above. And it can be honed and developed through meditative discipline. I've made the case that it requires the 'witness' of abstract formal thought for this development. The latter allows us to observe the contents of consciousness and slowly, methodically, let them unwind back to this base state.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Shentong and absolute withdrawal

Morton's 5/25/12 blog post is a quote from one of his shentong teachers:

"Imagine you were living in a house on the top of a mountain which was itself at the top of the whole world. Suddenly the entire structure of the house, which limited your view, just falls away and you can see all around you, both outside and inside. But there is not any 'thing' to see; what happens has no ordinary reference whatsoever; it is total, complete, unprecedented, perfect seeing. This is how it feels when Rigpa is directly revealed." --Sogyal Rinpoche

Again we see the 'house' as obstruction, with rigpa as all of those transcendent adjectives.

This blog post by Michael of Archive Fire blog might shed some light on Morton's shentong Buddhism, but in an unexpected way. Therein he is discussing the difference between absolute and relative conceptions of the withdrawn. He places Harman and Morton in the absolute withdrawn camp, with he and Bryant in the relative camp. Where it gets interesting is that the absolute camp is conflating the epistemic with the ontological. He contends that the epistemic is based on abstract conceptions, whereas our ontological relation to the world is based on direct, yet limited, bodily (structural) interaction.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Smore neologistics

Smore neologistics from this thread: *

You mentioned some other adjectives, through and across. I like both, since the idea seems to be about permeable membranes/boundaries. Crosscorporeal though has a nice alliterative ring but is not quite right. However if we maintain the a in across it seems more apropos, as in a/crosscorporeal or (a)crosscorporeal.* The a also hints at the 'void' spaces in any spongey object, or its hidden, reserved and empty (in the Buddhist sense) virtual aspect. It also specifies an objects singularity, as well as its relations in context with the entire word. We also have the words cross, corpo and real therein, with their many connotations. Cross for example has religious implications as well as Harman's four-fold nature. Corp of course of the body, and I just love the term real as in realism, etc.

What's at stake in WI recall?

Everything. According to Rachel Maddow: "Democrats should be fighting like the existence of their party depends on it. Because it does." Jillian Rayfield's Rolling Stone article discusses Maddow's recent TV segment on this (link in the article). Maddow lays out how WI governor Walker's strategy to disempower unions is part of a larger conservative agenda to remove any financial electoral competition. She shows that in 2010 campaign spending 6 of the 10 largest contributors were corporations, only 3 of them were unions. Conservative are not happy with this overwhelming advantage and want to eliminate unions altogether, thereby allowing them to completely dominate the spending wars and hence electoral outcomes.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Papantonio on banks

Mike Papantonio was guest hosting today for Ed Schultz's radio show. His opening monologue was outstanding. You can watch it here. He starts by quoting Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.

Jefferson: "I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous our liberties than standing armies."

Lincoln: "I have two great enemies, the southern army in front of me and the financial institutions in the rear. Of the two, the one in the rear is the greatest enemy."

Venture capital v. private equity

Conservatives frantically lie that an attack on private equity is an attack on capitalism, intentionally manipulating their half-wit constituency that has no grasp of such obvious differentiation.* Meanwhile President Obama has made clear the distinction between venture capitalism, which invests in businesses, and private equity, which guts them. And Romney complains that Bain also invested in companies like Staples, which was successful for everyone,** showing Bain wasn't just about private equity. So let's look at some facts.

Josh Kosman's Rolling Stone piece tells us that "Romney wants us to believe that critics of private equity are against capitalism. They’re not. They’re against a predatory system created and perpetuated by Wall Street solely to pump its own profits."

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Citizens United petition

Please see this petition being circulated by the The Daily Kos and sign/circulate if you agree, thanks.

Please sign the petition thanking the attorneys general from 23 states and D.C. who are taking part in a lawsuit challenging the authority of Citizens United to override laws that limit corporate spending in state elections. Click here to sign the petition from Daily Kos and Democracy for America.

Late last year, the Montana Supreme Court made the first crack in Citizens United by upholding a century-old state law banning direct corporate spending for or against candidates in state elections. Not long afterward, a right-wing group asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overrule that decision. Now, as the U.S. Supreme Court considers the case, the attorneys general from 22 states and D.C. have filed an amicus brief supporting Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock's bid to maintain limits on corporate spending in state elections.

With nearly half of all states on board, this is the largest coordinated legal effort against Citizens United yet. Winning this lawsuit would immediately curtail the corrosive effect that unlimited corporate dollars are having on our democracy at the state level, and also be a major step toward overturning Citizens United nationwide.

Please join with Daily Kos and Democracy for America by signing our petition thanking all of the attorneys general who are fighting against Citizens United. We will send them the signatures.

Keep fighting,
Chris Bowers
Campaign Director, Daily Kos

Growth & fairness

Robert Reich is right again, as usual. Fiscal Democrats think President Obama should focus on his economic growth accomplishments instead of harping on income inequality, as if they are diametrically opposed. Yet Reich points out that this is a false dichotomy that plays into the conservative narrative that Obama is attacking free enterprise. But growth and fairness are in the same progressive basket, both necessary for an economy that works for all instead of just a few. He says:

"The only way the economy can grow and create more jobs is if prosperity is more widely shared.
The key reason why the recovery is so anemic is that so much income and wealth are now concentrated at the top is America's the vast middle class no longer has the purchasing power necessary to boost the economy.

Bain Capital & the Sopranos

This article and video show the similarities of Mafia "bust outs" and private equity "buy outs." A main difference is that the later is legal, but only because of the morally criminal legislation that enables it, which should also be legally criminal. See the link for the text.

Arnsperger reviews Integral Economics

Christian Arnsperger reviews Integral Economics in the March 2012 issue of the Intergral Leadership Review. The book is by Lessem and Schieffer, which was discussed earlier in the IPS "progressive economics" thread. Arnsperger's work was also discussed therein, as well as a thread specifically devoted to his work. An excerpt of the review:

“What is problematic is that one of the paths – namely, the Western path of private enterprise and finance – has effectively silenced the others and deprived them of a distinctive voice on the global scene.... The widespread claim that 'There Is No Alternative' (TINA) to private-capital driven trade and finance based on a stark form of cultural and spiritual reductionism.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Our criminally bankrupt economic system

We've heard President Obama defending his campaign strategy to go after Romney's record at Bain Capital. He makes clear it's not capitalism or business per se to which he objects, just the kind of vulture capitalism in which Romney participates. Naturally the conservatives, unable to see nuance, shout that he's anti-business or anti-capitalism. But is the kind of capitalism Obama says he supports still in existence? And is his claim that private equity, whose goal is to maximize profits, truly "a healthy part of the free market?"

First off, recall Reich's expose on the nature of private equity investment with its profit-first motive. The money they use isn't their own, often coming from our pension or 401k funds. They do little to no due diligence with our money and have no legal repercussions if/when their investment goes bad, again leaving the people to pick up the dime. They drain companies of the money, fire employees, take their pensions and benefits and leave them loaded with debt so that they go bankrupt. And this is "a healthy part of the free market?" This is what private equity is. Perhaps it wasn't always this way, but the corrupt business/government loop has made this the rule rather than the exception.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bitbol on the transcendental

Another resource on this distinction between the transcendent and the transcendental is Bitbol's "Some steps toward a transcendental deduction of quantum mechanics." Excerpts follow with some comments:

“If we want to apply the transcendental method to quantum mechanics, we must adopt a thoroughly modernized version of it...what is needed to make the transcendental method acceptable nowadays is a shift of emphasis from passive reception and purely mental shaping to effective research activities and instrumental shaping” (3).

“The transcendental approach could then only survive and develop in the kind of version proposed by Neo-kantian philosophers such as Hermann Cohen or Ernst Cassirer, who both aknowledged to some extent the possibility of change of the a priori forms and their  plurality as well. Nowadays, there is also another flexible and pluralist conception of the a priori; it is the pragmatist version of transcendental philosophy as defined by Putnam after Dewey. It is relative to a certain mode of activity, it consists of the basic presuppositions of this mode of activity, and it has therefore to be changed as soon as the activity is abandoned or redefined” (4).

Petition to reinstate Glass-Steagall

I'm forwarding this message from Elizabeth Warren, Senate candidate from MA. Please consider signing the petition, thanks:

JPMorgan Chase revised its numbers. Since announcing an incredible $2 billion trading loss 12 days ago, the megabank has now lost another $1 billion, and maybe more, in just a few days. CEO Jamie Dimon is still claiming that it was just a sloppy mistake -- that JPMorgan doesn't need government oversight and accountability. But what if the next loss is $20 billion? Or more?

Tens of thousands of people like you have already signed my petition to Congress to pass a modernized Glass-Steagall Act. Will you forward this email to your friends, and ask them to sign it too at

For me, the basic idea is simple: banking should be boring. Checking accounts, savings accounts -- the things you and I rely on every day -- should be separated from the kind of risk taking that JPMorgan and the Wall Street traders want to take. For decades, the Glass-Steagall Act acted as a wall to separate hedge funds and risky investment banking from ordinary commercial banking. But in 1999, Congress repealed Glass-Steagall. This past week has reminded us that Glass-Steagall is as important as ever.

Please forward this email to your friends, and ask them to join you and tens of thousands of people in urging Congress to put Wall Street reform back on the table -- and pass a new Glass-Steagall Act today.

Thank you for being a part of this campaign -- and for helping to hold Wall Street accountable.
Elizabeth Signature

Monday, May 21, 2012

Choose your unconditional carefully

Continuing from the ongoing IPS OOO discussion, Dial commented on p. 62:

"If I understand the notion correctly, (and I may not) it also has much resonance with the concept put forth here by Marcus Boon in which 'enlightenment', 'utopia' and the psychoanalytic 'cure' are all seen as heuristic devices. None of them are actually attainable, yet all serve to provide resources against despair, and for action, with the result that while the projected fantasy is not attained, something real and of value, is. I'ts how my world works... The concept, itself, is Marx via Frederic Jameson, I believe. More generally, though, isn't a concept to come exactly that - a concept to come? At no point is it to be figured as an actual concept, rather it is the very possibility of an actual event - that huge openness before any  specific event occurs."

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The capitalist myth of job creation

Randi Rhodes made me aware of the following video below with Nick Hanauer, himself a multi-millionaire venture capitalist. Therein he makes the following points:

It is a myth that if taxes on the rich go up that job creation will go down. Who are the real job creators? The consuming public. Yes, an initial start up hires people. But without consumers to buy the products, the jobs created would evaporate. There is a necessary feedback loop between businesses and consumers. No consumer demand, no hiring. In fact the reverse, layoffs, something we're all too familiar with.

To come or not to come

No, this isn't about orgasm. Or about how withholding physical ejaculation might offer opportunity for multiple orgasms in men a la tantric sex. Granted that would be much more spectacular topic and no doubt garner many more page views that the boring philosophical meanderings to follow. I promise though that at some point I will indeed discuss tantric sex in that regard, both from the literature and personal experience.

For now, continuing from the last post on this topic, Balder raised a pertinent issue:

Balder: I struggle with the idea of the "unconditioned" as the yet-to-come.  Such a way of putting it doesn't make sense to me (meaning, I can't imagine what a yet-to-come unconditioned would even be, since the to-come implies an eventuality, which would seem to make the unconditioned a discrete conditioned event, i.e. a causal event or the promise of a future causal event happening at some point within the stream of conditioning).  In putting it in the neverland of the future, it also creates a kind of dualism (the impossible actuality is at an eternal remove from the actual).

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Smore bloodless transcendentals

Continuing from this post, Paul Patton, the other co-editor of BDD, writes chapter 1. Therein he says: 

“For both the task of philosophy...relies on a certain usage of the absolute or unconditioned” (17). For Derrida his “affirmative deconstruction” relies on this distinction between the conditioned and the unconditioned. But how is the later formulated? And how are both related?

For Derrida the unconditioned is impossible, forever to come and never arrives. And yet it is necessary to keep open the conditioned from being fixed and stagnant by inciting growth and novelty. Thus its relation to the conditioned is one of mutual penetration yet irreducible distinction. And avoids the foundationalism and dualism of some type of essential absolute realm apart from the relative. Hence there is no 'pure' conditioned or unconditioned, no bodiless (formless) absolute and no substanceless (in Bryant's terms) body/form. “In practice, it is never a question of pure... [unconditioned] since there is always some kind of 'transaction' or exchange involved” (20).

Bill Maher addresses the Facebook IPO

From his opening monologue last night.

"There has got to be a cheaper way to find out if your ex-girlfriend got fat. Facebook is a virtual world where the pathetic beg to be liked. It proves that there are vast riches to be made on the mass American propensity to fuck off. Before Facebook we all had to just wonder what passing acquaintances from high school had for lunch."

Friday, May 18, 2012

Incorporeal virtuality?

Continuing from this post, Lorraine says in chapter 2 of D&G:

“Deleuze takes the notion of the incorporeal realm of the event....the time of this realm of becomings is the time of Aion – an achronilogical time where everything has always has already happened and is yet to come....the 'pure event'” (32).

He goes on to describe the pure event in much the same terms as DeLanda, a virtual that does not apparently ever actualize. Bryant notes that not all of the withdrawn virtual is ever actualized in toto, but that some of it is usually actualized via exo-relations. This seems quite different from Lorraine's (and apparently DeLanda's) version, which forever remain virtual in a separate realm. This is highlighted by Lorraine:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Inside Goldman et al's naked short selling

See Matt Taibbi's 5/15/12 blog post on this. One of Goldman's lawyers inadvertently released documents revealing what investigators have been requesting for some time, information Goldman heretofore refused to release. Therein some not so startling facts were revealed as to the nature of vulture (vampire) capitalism. In essence, naked short selling is used "to artificially depress the value of the stocks they’ve bet against." In typical short selling a broker must borrow the stock it bets against and then return it when the price lowers, making a profit on the difference. In naked short selling though a fraud it perpetrated because no stock is borrowed in the first place. The broker then sells stock it doesn't possess, creating an artificial supply which devalues the stock, thus artificially manipulating its decline and making a profit on the short sell.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Time out of joint

Continuing from the never-ending IPS thread on OOO, on p. 57 I brought in DeLanda's reading of Deleuze's virtual and compared it with Bryant's reading and Derrida's notions. I started with this quote from DeLanda's Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy:

"This virtual form of time, involving the idea of absolute simultaneity, would seem to violate the laws of relativity. In relativistic physics two events cease to be simultaneous the moment they become separated in space, the dislocation in time becoming all the more evident the larger the separating distance....[but] in virtual space there are no metric distances, only ordinal distances that join rather than separate events.... Unlike a transcendent heaven inhabited by pure beings without becoming (unchanging essences or laws with a permanent identity) the virtual needs to be populated exclusively by pure becomings without being. Unlike actual becomings which have at most an intensive form of temporality (bundles of sequential processes occurring in parallel) a pure becoming must be characterized by a parallelism without any trace of sequentiality, or even directionality. Deleuze finds inspiration for this conception of time in phase transitions, or more exactly, in the critical events defining unactualized transitions. When seen as a pure becoming, a critical point of of temperature of 0 degrees C, for example, marks neither a melting nor a freezing of water, both of which are actual becomings...occurring as the critical threshold is crossed in a definite direction. A pure becoming, on the other hand, would involve both directions at once, a melting-freezing event which never actually occurs, but is 'always forthcoming and already past'.... Unlike actual time which is asymmetric relative to the direction of relative pasts and futures, a pure becoming would imply a temporality which is perfectly symmetric in this respect, the direction of the arrow of time emerging as a broken symmetry only as the virtual is actualized."

This is what you support if you use Facebook

This story by Ed Shultz shows that Facebook owners are part of the 1%, in that they don't want to pay their fair share of taxes. In fact, they don't want to pay any taxes and will use their wealth to avoid doing so. This is what you are supporting when you join and use Facebook. You are feeding the 1% out of some narcissistic social convenience to connect with your virtual "friends." Perhaps you should consider using or creating other social networks that don't support the kind of economic behavior that does not support our broader social security? Or does that even matter to you? Do you have the minimal amount of conscience to not support a company that is not in alignment with your social values?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Petition the DNC to invest in WI recall election

Ed Shultz has been hammering the Democratic National Committee for not responding to a request from local Democrat groups in WI to aid their efforts by investing about $500,000. The conservatives know how important this election is to the national arena, with about $25 million invested so far. Please consider pressuring the DNC to contribute by reading and signing this petition. Please also pass this along, as this election is too important to not succeed. Thank you.

The confusion of public & private morality

Check out the video with accompanying text from Robert Reich at this link. Text below.

"Mitt Romney's reaction to J.P. Morgan Chase's mounting losses from reckless trades is 'the market will take care of it.' His spokesman says 'no taxpayer money was at risk' so we don't need more financial regulation. Romney has even promised to repeal Dodd-Frank if he's elected president.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Bain's vulture capitalism

President Obama's campaign is going after Romney's record at Bain Capital, while the latter proudly proclaims his business experience at "creating jobs" gives him the edge. See Obama's two videos at this link debunking Romney's claims. They've also opened a website focusing on Romney's economics. Some copy from the latter:

"Using what’s called a 'leveraged buyout,' Romney and his investors would take control of a successful business, paying only a fraction of the total price. The rest would be paid for by loading the company up with debt, using the firm they were buying as collateral—so ultimately the company, not Romney, would be responsible for paying back the debt. That left Romney and his partners free to extract as much profit from the companies as possible.  In the face of mounting debt, the company would then be forced to cut costs—often by reducing wages and benefits, closing factories and stores, and laying off workers. Sometimes, this debt was enough to drive the company into bankruptcy. Mitt Romney wasn’t trying to build companies for the long term. His plan was to maximize short-term profits, and then resell all or part of the business before the debts came due. The goal was never to create jobs—the goal was to create wealth for investors, as even his former partner admitted.... This is the experience that Mitt Romney now cites as his qualification to be president, and the economic philosophy he would bring to the entire country."

German anti-austerity gaining strength

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been the champion of European austerity policies. But not everyone in Germany supports her or her party's policies. Sunday's election results from North Rhine-Westphalia refute Merkel's draconian conservative agenda. "The center-left Social Democrats and Greens – Germany's main opposition parties – won combined support of 50.4 percent in the election in North Rhine-Westphalia. That gave them a majority in the state legislature." Some see this as a sign that "the next chancellor will be a Social Democrat." One can only hope that the likes of social democracy returns to Germany and the rest of Europe. And perhaps this growing trend will influence the US?

Elizabeth Warren on Dimon

Elizabeth Warren calls for Dimon to resign from the NY Fed Board. Conflict of interest anyone? It's simply astounding that some folks can no longer see the obvious conflict. Support Warren for Senator in MA. This is another key electoral bellwether for a return to sanity in US politics.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

No surprise: Scott Walker is a liar

Is this really a surprise to anyone with half a brain tied behind their back? Walker has repeated denied, i.e., lied, that reducing collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin was necessary to balance their budget. What, with all those luxuries public school teachers could afford with their whopping salaries, like a TV or a microwave. Hell, some of them probably had I-Phones, the elite bastards. But this video shows that Walker's public face on the issue was a lie all along, not that we didn't already know it. In direct response to a question by a wealthy benefactor about how to make WI a right to work State and get rid of unions Walker flat out admitted that it was a "divide and conquer" strategy that must be tied to the budget problems.

Wall Street killed financial reform

Today on Meet the Press Jamie Dimon talked a good game, saying he supported much of Dodd-Frank, including the Volker rule. And that JP Morgan was lax in seeing sooner the risk inherent to the investments that led to the $2 billion dollar loss. But he reassured us that proper regulation is necessary and that he'll do what he can to further such legislation. Bull-fucking-shit!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Same old shit with the banks, still

JP Morgan's (JPM) latest fiasco reiterates the need for real financial reform and we just ain't getting it. Will this latest incident reinforce current reforms and overcome the humongous financial lobby fighting the reforms? Unlikely. JPM lost $2 billion recently trading on credit default swaps (CFS), the same instrument that caused the last meltdown. The SEC is investigating and Fitch downgraded the banks long-term credit. If the Volker rule in the new Dodd-Frank reform bill had been in effect that could not have happened. But the rule is not scheduled to take effective until July. It has also been resisted and watered down by financial lobbyists who insist that they can police their own industry. Jamie Dimon, head of JPM, has been leading the choir with this obviously spurious claim. This latest incident is further evidence to the contrary and reinforces not just implementing the current legislation but a return to much stricter rules like the original Sarbanes-Oxley legislation, which repeal was the main cause of the meltdown in the first place.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Continuing discussion from the last post leads to new neologisms. I have such fun with this stuff. Balder replied to one of Bryant's posts (comment 26) and Bryant replied (comment 27).

theurj: I see his point. It seems you're using the AQAL assumption about matter being a 3rd person outside. Edwards has aptly pointed out that kennilingus is itself reductionist with this view of matter, objects, artifacts, etc. In the blog post and comments Bryant was careful to define what he means by materialism, which bears little resemblance to the kennilingual reduction of matter while also having similarities to the overall integral project with its emergent levels of scale.

I also liked Philip's comment "we just don’t need idealism any more," akin to my "death to the transcendent!"

Objectile Madhyamakhorakaka

Continuing the IPS OOO discussion:

Balder: Bryant says it isn't a choice between being and becoming; rather being is becoming, becoming is being.  If being is becoming, meaning being isn't merely ongoing sameness but allows for or involves novelty and emergence, then we could also say that being is or involves a kind of ongoing creation.  So, if being involves ongoing creation, and if this creative becoming is none other than being, then being is also 'creator'.

theurj: Creation, yes. Even creator suobjects, to a degree through emergence. A creator "immutable god," no. Now we can argue whether shentong keeps their luminosity free of the "putative sin of Advaita" or not. They at least admit it is a sin and try to avoid it. That seems less likely the case with Thatamanil.

I find this from Morton's article in Speculations II relevant. He sees the parts of rhetoric "as simultaneous aspects of any object that render that object mysterious and strange yet direct and in your face. Accounting for them in this way prevents us from distorting them as present-at-hand entities or metaphysical substances" (214).

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Death to the transcendent!

Continuing the IPS discussion from this post:

theurj: Returning to DeLanda's notion, in ISVP he notes that the virtual is a "pure becoming" in "a time where nothing ever occurs but where everything is endlessly becoming in both unlimited directions at once...perfectly symmetric" (107). His strict dichotomy of being (actual) and becoming (virtual) here, as differentiated from Bryant's being is becoming and vice-versa, seems akin yet again to the way the absolute and relative are related in the shentong and rangtong views. And again relevant to Prigogine's criticism of such time symmetry in QM.

Monday, May 7, 2012

France & Greece refute austerity

Recall this post on austerity and how this was purposefully engineered by the banks for their own profit at the detriment to the rest of society. Well some of those European countries suffering economic hardship due in fact to such engineering are refuting the austerity punishment being inflicted upon them by the 1%. In France the socialist Hollande won the Presidential election promising to raise taxes on the rich, quit cutting social programs under the specious claim of austerity, and invest is creating jobs though government spending. Greece repudiated those favoring the proposed bailout. They follow other recent developments in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland, also rejecting conservative austerity. Also consider the UK's double-dip recession due to austerity measures.

Theme song

I've decided this is the theme song for my blog:

You come out at night
That's when the energy comes
And the dark side's light
And the vampires roam
You strut your rasta wear
And your suicide poem
And a cross from a faith that died
Before Jesus came
You're building a mystery

Being & becoming, virtual & actual, & whatnot

Following is some ongoing dialogue between Balder and me at the end of the IPS OOO thread:

Balder: If you have any thoughts on this, what is the OOO orientation towards the metaphysical question of Being?  Can "being" for OOO be described, as it is in metaphysics, as both immanent and transcendent: immanent because every thing or object is (in whatever spatiotemporal frame it manifests), and transcendent because being-as-substance is withdrawn and mysterious and ever eludes our (direct) knowing?  For instance, Shankara says that everyone can say of themselves "I am Brahman" simply because they exist, but Brahman cannot be known (is always mystery, withdrawn from apprehension).  Does OOO mirror this, but only on a localized or individualized level (everything is equally substance but there is no one underlying super-substance)?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Let Republicans in your vagina

This video from Funny or Die exposes conservative hypocrisy about claiming they want government out of our lives, except when it comes to when they don't. They desperately want control over the vagina, what with women demanding sexual satisfaction these days. Can't they just be happy with reading or talking on the phone or something while we get off in 30 seconds so they can get pregnant, stay at home and stay out of public life where they'll make more demands, like birth control and preventive health care?

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Continuing with themes explored in recent posts, let's play off Bryant's recent blog post on materialist oriented ontology (MOO). He finds kinship with Bennett's and Bogost's MOO and further differentiates with Harman. He also calls it body oriented ontology (BOO), which sounds a lot like holon oriented (HOO). For example, "Bogost’s claim that all units are simultaneously units and systems," akin to how we've defined holons. Another interesting neologism he coins is objectiles. We also see the difference between immutable present awareness with his withdrawn virtual, as the latter is not only not present (actual) but also not immutable. And immanent, not transcendent. Transcendentally immanent, as we saw above, but there is no inclusion of the transcendent so defined as immutable (aka onto-theological).

Friday, May 4, 2012

Smore shentong dong

In the thread where Pepper criticizes Wallace, Batchelor commented in the original linked discussion. I copied some of Batchelor's comments in the Pepper thread below, with some additions. He said:

"What is striking in the case of Alan Wallace is that the position he appears to present in his book regarding an atman-like (yes!) consciousness that underpins all experience (and reality itself?) is strongly influenced by Dzogchen, a practice and philosophy found in the Nyingma school, but a view that is rejected vehemently by Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Geluk school.... The Prasangika-Madhyamaka philosophy of the Gelukpa has no time at all for any kind of primordial or pristine consciousness, which, correctly I believe, it regards as a return to Vedanta. Much of Tsongkhapa’s polemical writings are taken up with rejecting this practice and its philosophical corrollary of gZhan sTong ('Other Emptiness').... It has always struck me that the “Mind and Life” dialogues between the Dalai Lama and scientists have suffered from a strong, though often unstated, bias towards Dzogchen and its reified and idealistic notion of atman-like consciousness. Many of the leading Buddhist voices at these events have been Dzogchen practitioners: the Dalai Lama himself, Matthieu Ricard, and Alan Wallace. (On another note, this kind of view is becoming normative of much 'Eastern spirituality' in the West, particularly under the influence of the neo-Vedantist Ken Wilbur and his followers/admirers — it is hardly surprising that Wilbur practices and endorses Dzogchen).... I believe that by positing an atman-like consciousness, Dzogchen (and similar teachings found in Chan/Zen – and even in the Theravada Forest Tradition) are implicitly abandoning the a-theism of the Buddha and embracing another theos called Pristine Consciousness/ the One Mind/ the One Who Knows etc."

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Continuing from my last post and comments, from the ongoing Batchelor thread:

From Integral Spirituality (Wilber, Integral Books, 2006) Chapter 5, "Emptiness and view are not two":

"'Without a conceptual framework, meditative experiences would be totally incomprehensible. What we experience in meditation has to be properly interpreted, and its significance—or lack thereof—has to be understood. This interpretative act requires appropriate conceptual categories and the correct use of those categories'.... Notice that 'cognition' is actually derived from the root gni (co-gni-tion), and this gni is the same as gno, which is the same root as gno-sis, or gnosis. Thus, cognition is really co-gnosis, or that which is the co-element of gnosis and nondual Sanskrit, this gno appears as jna, which we find in both prajna and jnana. Prajna is supreme discriminating awareness necessary for full awakening of gnosis (pra-jna = pro-gnosis), and jnana is pure gnosis itself. Once again, cognition as co-gnosis is the root of the development that is necessary for the full awakening of gnosis, of jnana, of nondual liberating awareness" (112-13).

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Varieties of nondual experience

Yes, this is a play on Wm. James The Varieties of Religious Experience, which I discussed in this IPS thread. We will, in fact, see the same type of debate about nonduality in that thread in what follows, which is a rehash of the Tibetan two truths debate. I explored the latter in this IPS thread on Batchelor, which was a rehash of an earlier Gaia thread called "letting daylight into magic." The excerpts following are from the end of the Batchelor thread, and which highlight the sticking point in the Magellan thread.

Given the recent discussion in the Magellan blog post I thought I'd revive this thread with Elias Capriles' book Sutrayana from the perspective of Dzogchen, available at Scribd. He said:

"The Dzogchen teachings resort to concepts and terms which are extraneous to Prasangika thought, and which are featured in the canonical texts of the Third Promulgation (dharmachakra) and in the philosophical schools based on them, such as the Yogachara School, the Madhyamaka-Swatantrika- Yogachara subschools of Madhyamika thought, and the subschools that make up the inner, subtle Madhyamaka (which are the Zhentongpa and Mahamadhyamaka subschools)" (9).