Archive | November 2013

Stephen Harper and “Absolute Power”

There is a disturbing trend amongst the “democracies” (if one can still meaningfully call them that) towards increasing centralisation of political power in the executive, especially amongst those nations of the so-called “Anglosphere”. Canada is no different in that regard.  Here, as elsewhere, despite all the vain rhetoric about “open government”, of enhancing “transparency and accountability”,  of small government and “Big Society” (in the words of the UK’s David Cameron), the tendency is in the exact opposite direction from the Big Rhetoric.

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From Proletariat to Precariat

Probably one of the main reasons that the political and social philosophy of Karl Marx failed to preserve its relevance and potency in the post-World War world was owing to its reliance for its effective realisation upon an enduring class of labourers called “the proletariat”. This social class of toilers no longer exists in the same way Marx understood the condition of labour and of the working class of his time. No one today speaks of “the proletariat”, at least in the Western context (although it might be said to exist still in places like the sweatshops of Bangladesh). Instead, some today speak of a “precariat”, and this creature is something quite different from the traditional proletarian.

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Shamans, Satyrs, and Cyborgs

It is very instructive to compare the meaning of the Shaman, the Satyr, and the Cyborg as variations on a single them, and that these types correspond to the different structures or articulations of consciousness as described by Jean Gebser in his Ever-Present Origin (for they do represent something that is, in fact, abiding about the archetypal human). They all, in their own terms, represent the intersection of the natural and the supernatural, the temporal and the eternal, but within the framework or context of their own consciousness structure.

In those terms, the shaman is the image of the magical structure, the satyr the same image within the context of the mythical structure, and the cyborg the same image within the context of the mental-rational (or technological) structure, for the cyborg as symbolic form relies as much for its meaning equally upon the persistent, unconscious influence of the magical and mythical.

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