Archive | March 2019

The Primal Imperatives and the Physical System

Let’s return to the subject of an earlier series of posts on what neurologists call “the four Fs” — the four primal drives or imperatives of fight or flight, feeding and, well, sexual reproduction, also referred to as “the basic instincts”. These are often associated with the so-called “Lizard Brain” — our evolutionary reptilian legacy and inheritance. And again we note here the recurrence of that odd tetrad of affects. This is not unexpected given that the physical system (spacetime) in which these primal imperatives must work themselves out is itself a four-dimensional or fourfold structure of two times (past and future) and two spaces (inner and outer).

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The Dance of Shiva: A Reinterpretation

Reflecting further on this notion of the “four cities” introduced in the previous post, I was led back to a reconsideration of the Dance of Shiva, the representation of which has intrigued and enchanted generations.

Dance of the Nataraj
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How Many Cities Are There?

Yesterday’s post about the two Global Brains as akin to a “tale of two cities” led me to ponder how many such “cities” there could conceivably be, or have been conceived as such. Oddly enough, there appear to be four.

We have, as mentioned, the “City of Man”, that being now constituted and consolidated as “the Anthropocene” as our “new within”, and the Global Brain conceived as the technologically mediated and interlinked milieu. This “City of Man” represents Blake’s Urizenic mode of consciousness or what Jean Gebser also calls “the mental-rational” structure of consciousness. This is the “Anthropos” of the Anthropocene.

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A Tale of Two Cities: The Two Global Brains

There are, today, actually two “Global Brains”. One is the Global Brain constituted by technology and adequately defined by Ervin Laszlo, as cited earlier from his book Quantum Shift in the Global Brain,

“The global brain is the quasi-neural energy- and information-processing network created by six and a half-billion humans on the planet, interacting in many ways, private as well as public, and on many levels, local as well as global.”

This Global Brain is the Anthropos of the Anthropocene, a hypersubject aptly described by Ata Ebtekar as being “an artificial hyperreal culture”.

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Let’s Talk About “Cultural Marxism”

I’ve been moved to once again muse on this trope of “cultural Marxism” after reading an article by Owen Jones about this, although the Jones article leaves much unsaid here. If the phrase “cultural Marxism” ever had a determinant meaning, it has now been extended to cover so many matters that it has lost any kind of discernible meaning, except as a manic and paranoid catchall notion to describe all things now perceived to be an existential threat.

In effect, and ironically, the trope “cultural Marxism” or “cultural Marxist” now performs the same ideological and social function for market fundamentalists as the terms “kafir” or “infidel” does for the Islamic fundamentalist.

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From Invisible Hand to Global Brain, II

In acquiring new productive forces men change their mode of production; and in changing their mode of production, in changing the way of earning their living, they change all their social relations. The hand-mill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam-mill society with the industrial capitalist.

Karl Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy

As I mentioned in a comment yesterday, I was rummaging about in my bookshelf and came across a book by Ervin Laszlo that I had read back in 2008 but had forgotten I had read. The full title of the book is Quantum Shift in the Global Brain: How the New Scientific Reality Can Change Us and Our World. (It’s always somewhat embarrassing to realise you’ve read a book but can’t recall a thing about it. So, I’ve begun reading it again.)

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From Invisible Hand to Global Brain

A very large aspect of the post-modern condition is the eclipse of purely objective measures and standards of truth and their displacement by almost exclusively subjective ones. There has been, in effect, an inversion of subjectivity and objectivity that is reflected in sayings such as “there is no out there out there”, which is to day, our “in here” has become our “out there”.

This turn of affairs is quite consistent with what we are finding in contemporary literature — everything from Rolf Jensen’s The Dream Society to Neal Gabler’s Life The Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality to Sri Aurobindo’s notion of an “Age of Subjectivism”. But it’s also this that informs Iranian musician Ata Ebtekar’s notion that we now live in “an artificial hyperreal culture”.

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