Dear Diary Moments:

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d63
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Dear Diary Moments:

Post by d63 »

Dear Diary Moment 3/6/2020:


I’ve recently been reading a lot about the US Constitution and have come to realize that I can utilize it in one of my favorite ways: that of framing one of my more practical/political immersions in terms of my more ethereal immersions in philosophy. In this case, I’m seeing it in terms of the pragmatic overlap between Rorty’s pragmatism and Deleuze’s emphasis on creativity over intellectual authority. In the case of Rorty, it is about the argument that we need to give up on the idea of some over-riding epistemological system that will demarcate between true statements and false ones. To him, it is about whether a statement seems sufficiently justified in the sense of language being a tool by which we engage with the world. To do otherwise is to succumb to some authoritarian thought system. And Deleuze takes a similar route in encouraging us to not ask what any of his writings mean but rather what they do for us. As he and Guatarri point out in A Thousand Plateaus:


A book does not mirror the world; it, rather, forms a rhizome with it.


And we need to think of the U.S. Constitution in this sense. We need to think of it as a loose framework for what it means to live in a just society and have a little more faith in ourselves to determine how that is carried out. As Trump has clearly shown, the constitution will not insure the just society most of us are seeking. It is little more than a document, a kind of literature that only works if we continue to insist on the gentlemen’s agreement involved in it. This is why we need to dismiss all claims to an “originalist” or “strict” interpretation of the constitution. These are little more than a sheep’s clothing draped over the wolf of a neo-liberal agenda. And the 9th amendment of the Bill of Rights suggests that this exactly what we were tasked to do by the original founders.


What we rather need to do is take the cue of our peers and brethren across the pond and north of us and work from a body of literature while working from our own instincts about what constitutes a just society. Like it or not, we’ll have to play it by ear. And their successes utilizing such a approach (and despite the failures –think Boris Johnson and Brexit (should be proof enough.
d63
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Re: Dear Diary Moments:

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Dear Diary Moment 3/12/2020:

I recently listened to the audiobook for Paul Krugman’s Arguing With Zombies: Economics, Politics, and the Fight For a Better Future –as usual with his books: he was offering a collection of his blogs and editorials for the New York Times. And confession: this is clearly a matter of confirmation bias in that he brought up something I have thought for some time. The point he made was that when it comes to arguments for FreeMarketFundamentalism, we have to take a good look at the motivations of those making those arguments. This, of course (from the perspective of informal Logic), is considered a “Circumstantial Ad Hominem”. And within the framework of Logic studies, it makes sense in that while we generally get arguments for FreeMarketFundamentalism from those most likely to benefit from it: the rich. But we still have to take the argument on its own merit as if it could be argued by someone that didn’t share that benefit from it. We see a similar dynamic at work with the Tu Quoque argument that argues, in an ad hominem manner, that one be consistent with their selves. For instance, if were arguing a pro-choice position with a pro-lifer and found out that they had gotten an abortion their selves, it would be pointless for you to point that out since any argument they might make might be offered by someone that didn’t have an abortion.

However, while informal logic is a useful tool that can help one whittle an argument down to its strongest form, the whole discipline of logic tends to work in its own little world where everything falls into a predefined place while being mostly detached from the real world. There's a kind of Marcusian operationalism at work in it based on an appeal to authority. Zeno’s logic makes perfect sense as concerns the arrow. But we’re hardly inspired to go prancing around between an archer and his target.

The political and social world is a different world altogether. In it we have to work from the pragmatic truth test as compared to the correspondence and coherence truth test. In this sense, the pragmatic truth test is a synthesis of the previous two and then some in that it is about what argument works: what seems sufficiently justified. But it’s not just a matter of whether an argument works; it is equally a matter of who that argument is working for and why.
d63
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Re: Dear Diary Moments:

Post by d63 »

Dear Diary Moment 3/20/2020:

Throughout my process in which I have either been engaged with, or fully immersed, in culture and the creative act (in my teens, I thought it my manifest destiny to become a rockstar), I have tended to get some of the best advice from sources outside of the cultural high end. For instance, the best advice I ever got on the creative act actually came from an interview of a famous cook. As he pointed out: the main ingredient of a good cook (excuse the pun (is a good taster. And how could that not apply to the creative act no matter what medium?

But the one that haunts me now seems relevant to the very surreal situation we find ourselves in now. Like most people, I have gone through some really shitty phases. And with those phases always came a tendency to try to assert my will, to find some scheme that could make things work for me when the forces described by chaotics seemed to be working against me. And it always ended the same: me surrendering to the situation (of letting go of the wheel (or what Alan Watts simply referred to as “letting go” in a Taoist sense. Sometimes the only way out is through; right?

But for all my effort, what finally set me on the right path was a documentary about people trapped in snow storms. Social scientists did a study on it and came up with a survivor MO. It comprised of an individual that looked at their situation and didn’t waste energy on assigning blame. It was an individual that looked at their situation and determined that it really didn’t matter whose fault it was. All they needed to know was that they were in a situation that they had to deal with and that if they just kept trudging forward, one way or the other, it would pass.

And this is why Trump’s attempts to make COVID-19 a “Chinese disease” are not only misguided but counter-productive. Sure: it started in China. But the scientific narrative is that a group of cold viruses found each other, felt that itch, had an orgy and made a baby. And even less productive is this idea of punishing everyday Asians for it. I think that drunk guy on a bus harassing an Asian woman should redirect his energy. He should go to China, get as drunk as he was in the video, and take his issues up with the authoritarian regime that participated in the cover-up that actually did participate in the situation we are dealing with. I mean even if that poor young lady was Chinese (even if she was from China), she would have been as much a victim of the cover-up as we are.

Once again: sometimes the only way out is through. And one way or the other we will get beyond it. Leave the blame for the historians.
d63
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Re: Dear Diary Moments:

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Dear Diary Moment 3/22/2020

Have recently been going through Rorty’s Objectivity, Relativism, Truth and am struck, yet again, with the double-edge sword we “fuzzier” thinkers are faced with. At the heart of Rorty’s pragmatism is the recognition that language is not a mirror representative of reality, but a rather tool by which we adapt to a given reality. Language is one of the primary means by which we have managed to evolve. I mean think about it: would we actually think with words unless we had developed a language to communicate with others outside of us in the first place. And given intimate relationship that implies, it’s easy to see how some confusion might emerge between reality and language.

And we see a pragmatic overlap with Deleuze who encouraged people, when reading his books, to not ask what it means but, rather, what it does. And this later evolves into his work with Guattari in which it was argued that a book does not so much reflect the world as form a rhizome with it. (Think: Rorty’s Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature.) The point here, again, is that language is not a matter of perfectly reflecting reality as it is utilizing it to create an effect on reality: a kind of feedback loop.

That said, we are now looking at the most telling expression of the double-edged sword when it comes Trump and many Republicans. They basically look at language as a tool that can get them what they want if they manipulate the rules of the language game –albeit to the point of divorcing language completely from reality. And this, of course, is what is behind these neo-classicist criticisms of Continental and Pragmatic thinkers: this complaint that the “fuzzier” thinkers and soft disciplines are to blame for the so-called “post-truth” society we are in.

The problem, however, for the neo-classicists is that they seem to think that the epistemological system of the Pragmatics and the Continental were prescriptive, like they were describing how thought should work, when, in fact, they were actually describing how thought actually evolves. What the Pragmatics and Continentals were doing is seeing thought, and its relationship with reality, for what it is as compared to what the neo-classicists think it should be. And they make this assertion based on the neo-classicists’ failure to find some “skyhook” or transcendent epistemological criteria by which all statements can be judged.

In other words, they put their faith in the free market of ideas and an open and democratic discourse that lets it come out in the wash, even if every once in a while it produces a Trump.
d63
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Re: Dear Diary Moments:

Post by d63 »

Dear Diary Moment 3/27/2020:

When Trump got elected, I knew it would pull me away from my more abstract pursuits such as French theory or Rorty’s pragmatism. It just seemed like an all hands on deck situation.

But this…. this is totally different. With the pandemic, even venturing into abstraction feels like a violation of some kind –like I’m engaging in a kind crass escapism or something.
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attofishpi
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Re: Dear Diary Moments:

Post by attofishpi »

I really feel sorry for the US ....Mr President Chump has done nothing by way of guidance on how to slow the spread - just blabs on with the usual ..we're doing a great job, tremendous things are happening bla bla wank wank. He is a huge part of the reason the US has the highest amount of infected people in the world. Instead of attempting to blow rose petals up the publics arse, he should have been honest about things and given direction.

The guy is a total moron - can't even speak without reading EVERYTHING from a sheet of paper!
About a week ago he did some speech where he said, everyone around the world is looking to us now (the US) - sure believe that muppet! the reason? = to see how NOT to do things.

On the flip side
I've been really impressed with how UK, Australia, NZ have been handling it as far as slowing the spread with a balance to keep some sort of economy afloat. Trump should have paid attention to those countries for a semblance of a clue.
d63
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Re: Dear Diary Moments:

Post by d63 »

attofishpi wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 12:50 am I really feel sorry for the US ....Mr President Chump has done nothing by way of guidance on how to slow the spread - just blabs on with the usual ..we're doing a great job, tremendous things are happening bla bla wank wank. He is a huge part of the reason the US has the highest amount of infected people in the world. Instead of attempting to blow rose petals up the publics arse, he should have been honest about things and given direction.

The guy is a total moron - can't even speak without reading EVERYTHING from a sheet of paper!
About a week ago he did some speech where he said, everyone around the world is looking to us now (the US) - sure believe that muppet! the reason? = to see how NOT to do things.

On the flip side
I've been really impressed with how UK, Australia, NZ have been handling it as far as slowing the spread with a balance to keep some sort of economy afloat. Trump should have paid attention to those countries for a semblance of a clue.
Amen!!!!!
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Lacewing
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Re: Dear Diary Moments:

Post by Lacewing »

attofishpi wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 12:50 am I really feel sorry for the US ....Mr President Chump has done nothing by way of guidance on how to slow the spread - just blabs on with the usual ..we're doing a great job, tremendous things are happening bla bla wank wank. He is a huge part of the reason the US has the highest amount of infected people in the world. Instead of attempting to blow rose petals up the publics arse, he should have been honest about things and given direction.

The guy is a total moron - can't even speak without reading EVERYTHING from a sheet of paper!
About a week ago he did some speech where he said, everyone around the world is looking to us now (the US) - sure believe that muppet! the reason? = to see how NOT to do things.
Well said. "Bla bla wank wank" sums it up nicely.
d63
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Re: Dear Diary Moments:

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Dear Diary Moment 4/16/2020:

Watching the live comedy shows I always have (Real Time w/ Bill Maher, Last Week Tonight w/ John Oliver, Full Frontal w/ Samantha Bee, and Saturday Night Live or even stand-up comedy) as well as the filmed sitcoms (SuperStore, Brooklyn Nine Nine, and Modern Family) in the new reality, I’ve been thinking a lot about humor which is important to my process since I consider humor an essential tool (most notably as concerns how I get my point across (and something I’ve always been thinking about to some degree or other.

And this point mainly came to me after watching Saturday Night Live’s at home edition. While I would not call it lame (I did chuckle at Kate McKenna and Adie Bryant’s breakdown during a Zoom conference), it simply was not as effective (didn’t make me laugh as much (as it use to be live. And I’ve seen as much with the other previously live shows as hard as they have tried to fill in the gap. I’m beginning to wonder if maybe they should resort to the same canned laughter that old sitcoms did and Chuck Lorre does in that much of what made/makes them work (I like Lorre's latest project: Mom (was/is a kind of threshold dynamic like that at work in mob situations: a feedback loop in which with the lowest threshold reacts through a violent act that provokes resistance that then sets off the next threshold and so on and so on. And this is what happens with a live audience or even canned laughter in that it gives you a necessary cue. And this has nothing to do with the talent of the actors involved.

What does still seem to work, however, are the prerecorded sitcoms: especially those without canned laughter such as SuperStore and Brooklyn Nine Nine. And this is because they tend to work from the Thurber Law of Humor: create a character that you fall in love with and keep coming up with reasons for others to fall in love with them. And as I have always found out, your best bet is to go for the chuckle and let the gut laugh create itself. This is what distinguishes humor (which leans towards character (from comedy which leans towards the joke. And it makes perfect sense given that the explanation many evolutionary scientists give for laughter is that laughter establishes trust.

To give you an example of what I’m talking about: imagine how much better off the crew of Saturday Night Live would be if, instead trying to reestablish their past glory, they tried to fill in the gap through a pre-recorded sitcom very much like 30 Rock, something like a comedy troupe trying to put on a weekly comedy show. Or imagine Maher, Oliver, or Bee, rather than trying to reproduce what they got from a live audience, simply presenting themselves as an alternative news program that focuses on given issues. By doing so, they lower the expectations from comedy to humor and stand a chance of becoming more effective. On top of that, they’re allowed to develop a character that people might come to love.
d63
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Re: Dear Diary Moments:

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Dear Diary Moment 6/6/2020:

Just today, I started on what I hope to be a long term project focused (immersed even (in Deleuze and Guatarri’s Anti-Oedipus that I hope results in a Philosophy Now article. (About time!!!! Isn’t it?) I started with Buchanan’s reader’s guide. And already I’ve come to recognize the import of the biographical aspect of it –that is along with recognizing how excellently written Buchanan’s book is. It just seems to me that we can better understand the book once we understand the different sensibilities between Deleuze and Guatarri in terms of Rorty’s distinction between a public and private approach to philosophy.

Guatarri is clearly the public philosopher in that he was the activist. He, for instance, created a psychological clinic in which both patients and staff shared all duties involved: patients and lower staff (janitors, maintenance techs, etc. (engaged in the more professional matters of talking to other patients (offering them the talking cure (while nurses and doctors shared in the more mundane matters of maintaining the facility. And note how similar this is to the communes experimented with in the 60’s and 70’s. But even more important: note how it was actually Guatarri that first undermined the whole Oedipal motif by eliminating the paternal element from the structure he created, not to mention the fact he was the source of the free-writing, surreal approach that characterizes the Anti-Oedipus.

Deleuze, on the other hand, was more the academic type that preferred more private approaches to philosophy. As Negri pointed out: while Guatarri was perfectly comfortable with engaging in more personal conversations, Deleuze was more evasive. This was because Deleuze was more comfortable with conceptual play for the sake of creating yet more concepts. At the same time, his approach involved an overlap in that he and Guatarri had the common attractor of social justice.

And I bring this up to point to how potent such a mix could be, to pose an argument for why the book was as important as it was.
d63
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Dear Diary Moment 6/18/2020:

I think one of the main log jams I’ve had as concerns Deleuze and Guatarri’s (via Artaud (Body w/o Organs (the BwO (is my failure to recognize what they meant by “body”. I failed to get it in the more expansive sense of any physical relationship between things: the alliances between them. We talk, for instance, of a body politic or body of knowledge or even a body of beliefs: think ideology (allegiances). And because of that, we can think of the economy as a body, most notably in terms of capital. It’s anything we create collectively that, in turn, takes control of our individual creative unconscious syntheses.

This reading of Buchanan’s reader guide to the Anti-Oedipus is really paying off.
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d63 wrote: Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:03 pm Dear Diary Moment 6/18/2020:

I think one of the main log jams I’ve had as concerns Deleuze and Guatarri’s (via Artaud (Body w/o Organs (the BwO (is my failure to recognize what they meant by “body”. I failed to get it in the more expansive sense of any physical relationship between things: the alliances between them. We talk, for instance, of a body politic or body of knowledge or even a body of beliefs: think ideology (allegiances). And because of that, we can think of the economy as a body, most notably in terms of capital. It’s anything we create collectively that, in turn, takes control of our individual creative unconscious syntheses.

This reading of Buchanan’s reader guide to the Anti-Oedipus is really paying off.
If I were you I'd look up "equivocation" by Aristotle.

Open brackets require a closing bracket (parantheses). Your style is unique, maverick, pioneering. ... 0 0fodjf aefkj ]=i9 q0 'kjm kgj -- Wouldn't you agree?
d63
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Re: Dear Diary Moments:

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Dear Diary Moment 8/2/2020:

Today, while doing my study point (at the “library” (in Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus Papers, I had a surprising moment of clarity –that is given how impenetrable Guattari’s writing seems. However, a lot of elements came together and presented me with a task that, to say the least, seems rhizomatic in nature. In other words, I run the risk of going all over the place while explaining little: traversing the infinite as Deleuze might say.

I think the one point of caption I can offer is a point that Guattari made earlier in the book: that a psychoanalysis that is not revolutionary in nature is no psychoanalysis at all. And this has to do with D&G’s distinction between neurosis, which is blockages of flows of energy, and perversion which is about letting it all go wherever it wants. And Guattari’s psychoanalysis (what could be seen as the foundation of schizoanalysis (is about basically bringing out the pervert in the individual as compared to the Freudian approach that simply attempts to tame the neurotic by convincing the subject to accept their role in the Oedipal triad: Mommy, Daddy, Me.

But what brought this on was my decision to finally look up what Guattari meant by polyvocal: that which is of many voices like a symphony. And we have to compare this to what he calls bi-univocal: that which is of two voices: male as compared to female, gay as compared to straight, white as compared to dark: that which can only result in a false dichotomy. And this pretty much typifies the whole poststructuralist/postmodern agenda: breaking down those false dichotomies for the sake of changing sensibilities in general. And it will take a change in sensibility to change the mess we are in. As Chris Hedges points out in the audio book I am listening to, America: a Farewell Tour, we simply cannot think we are going to just vote our problems away. We went through this with Obama. We thought he would be the president to finally stand up to Capitalism as it was being practiced. And in some ways he did. But the results were less than expected. But this wasn’t just Obama. It was us as well for voting him in then walking away and doing our own thing. This is exactly why the tea-party was able to slip in and take over the senate. In other words, we failed to change our sensibility. We failed to follow through with our rejection of Capitalism as it was being practiced.

We, of course, reacted by retreating to the pop-cynicism of Foucault that sees no redemption in any government institution. And this is where I go all Rortyian/Pragmatic on your ass. While I fully agree with the D&G attempt to seek revolution through personal transformation, we still have to work with what we have: we have to play the channels of power. And I would far rather play that sensibility against a government controlled by Democrats than I would any Republican one.

I mean think about it: if any party represented a paranoid center (as D&G describe: would it not be the Republicans?
d63
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Dear Diary Moment 8/6/2020:

One of the main fallbacks I tend to turn to with high theory such as D&G’s Anti-Oedipus or Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus Papers (which I just finished today: I start on the actual text tomorrow: is just letting it flow through me and seeing what catches. And sometimes this approach can lead to what feels like an epiphany achieved through a kind of osmosis. The catch, however, is that the results can be more vulgarized (or what I would call blue-collarized (than what you might find with more scholarly approaches such as that of Buchanan or Holland’s study of the Anti-Oedipus.

Another problem with the osmotic approach is that you often find yourself behind yourself in that you will get certain instincts about what is being said while never really fully articulating it. Such are the pleasures of philosophy.

The epiphany that hit me today (that is in my last study point in Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus Papers (is the extent to which psychoanalyses exploits the three syntheses of the unconscious: the connective, the disjunctive, and the conjunctive. The important thing to understand here is the 3 syntheses are perfectly involuntary: it’s just what our brains do. Psychoanalysis, on the other hand, is voluntary. And it is this voluntary aspect of it that makes it a tool of Capitalism.

Hence: D&G’s turn to schizoanalysis which works with the syntheses while offering 5 paralogisms that psychoanalysis utilizes in resistance to such seditious approaches to psychiatry and the expertise of its practitioners.
d63
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Re: Dear Diary Moments:

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Dear Diary Moment 8/13/2020:

Just started on a second run through the audio book of Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. And to give a summary, it’s about Milton Friedman's argument that FreeMarketFundamentalism (a.k.a. Neo-liberalism ( can never be implemented through democratic means. And he’s right on this point given that you cannot expect people (that is with full understanding (to vote for policies that put the interests of the rich above theirs, especially if it comes at their expense. Therefore, it has to take on the opportunistic strategy of waiting for some catastrophic event (whether man-made (a terrorist attack such as 9/11, a rise in crime, war, the election of a socialist president (as was the case with Allende and Pinochet’s military coup and dictatorship, and I would argue the election of Trump (or natural such as extreme weather events. The idea is to shock people into a more compliant state so that they’ll be more pliable to market solutions to their problems.

And this particular turn in my process seems timely given what we are going through with the pandemic. It would seem to be one of those perfectly opportune moments for the market to step in and implement policies that work in their favor.

But is that really the case here? It seems to me that what is mainly breaking down is producer/consumer Capitalism. Granted, the stock market seems to be doing well right now. But Wall Street has a tendency to delude itself into prosperity when the cold reality of purchasing power is always one step behind it. We saw as much (the catching up of reality (with the 2008 breakdown based on a deluded narrative of what was going on in the housing market, one that overlooked the basic realities behind it.

One argument I would make against Klein (even though I love her work (is that she forgets that the “shock doctrine” can sometimes work against the market much as it did during the Great Depression that turned us to more Keynesian solutions.
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