Monday, April 27, 2015

Home Alone

From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring—
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow—I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone—
And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone—
Then—in my childhood—in the dawn
Of a most stormy life—was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still—
From the torrent, or the fountain—
From the red cliff of the mountain—
From the sun that ’round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold—
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by—
From the thunder, and the storm—
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view—
- Edgar Allan Poe, “Alone”

Friday, April 24, 2015

No Return

ONE other bitter drop to drink,
And then -- no more!
One little pause upon the brink,
And then -- go o'er!
One sigh -- and then the lib'rant morn
Of perfect day,
When my free spirit, newly born,
Will soar away!

One pang -- and I shall rend the thrall
Where grief abides,
And generous Death will show me all
That now he hides;
And, lucid in that second birth,
I shall discern
What all the sages of the earth
Have died to learn.

One motion -- and the stream is crossed,
So dark, so deep!
And I shall triumph, or be lost
In endless sleep.
Then, onward! Whatso'er my fate,
I shall not care!
Nor Sin nor Sorrow, Love nor Hate,
Can touch me there.
- William Winter, "The Rubicon"

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Lapsing into Silence

Subject as an 'answer of the Real'

What, then, is the status of this subject before subjectivation? The Lacanian answer would be, roughly speaking, that before subjectivation as identification, before ideological interpellation, before assuming a certain subject position, the subject is the subject of a question. At first sight, it may seem that we are here again in the middle of traditional philosophical problematics: subject as a force of negativity which can question every given, objective status of things, introducing the positivity of openness of the questioning... in a word, the subject is a question. But the Lacanian position is the exact opposite: the subject is not a question, it is an answer, the answer of the Real to the question being asked by the big Other, the symbolic order. It is not the subject which is asking the question; the subject is the void of the impossibility of answering the question of the Other.

To explain this, let us refer to an interesting book by Aron Bodenheimer: "Why? On the Obscenity of Questioning." Its fundamental thesis is that there is something obscene in the very form of asking a question, without regard to its content. It is the form of the question as such which is obscene: the question lays open, exposes, denudes its addressee, it invades the sphere of intimacy; this is why the basic, elementary reaction to a question is shame on the bodily level, blushing and lowering our eyes, like a child of whom we ask, 'What were you doing?' It is clear in our everyday experience that such a questioning of children is a priori incriminating, provoking a sensation of guilt: 'What were you doing? Where were you? What does this white spot mean?' Even if I can offer an answer which is objectively true and at the same time delivers me from guilt ('I was studying with my friend,' for example) the guilt is already admitted on the level of desire; every answer is an excuse. With a prompt answer like 'I was studying with my friend,' I am confirming precisely that I did not really want to do so, that my desire was to stroll about, or something of that nature...

Questioning is the basic procedure of the totalitarian intersubjective relationship: one need not refer to such exemplary cases as police interogation or religious confession; it is quite sufficient to recall the usual abuse of the enemy in the real-socialist press: how much more threatening is the question 'What is really hiding behind... [the demands for freedom of the press, for democracy]? Who is really pulling the strings of the so-called new social movements? Who is really speaking through them?' than the vulgar, direct positive affirmation: 'Those who demand the freedom of the press really want to open the space for the activity of counter-socialist powers and in this way diminish the hegemony of the working class...' Totalitarian power is not a dogmatism which has all the answers; it is, on the contrary, the instance which has all the questions.

The basic indecency of the question consists in its drive to put into words what should be left unspoken, as in the well known dialogue: 'What were you doing? You know what!' 'Yes, but I want you to tell me!' Which is the instance in the other, in its addressee, that the question is aiming at? It aims at a point at which the answer is not possible, where the word is lacking, where the subject is exposed in his impotence. We can illustrate this by the inverse type of question, not the question of the authority to its subjects but the question of the subject-child to his father: the stake of such a question is always to catch the other who embodies authority in his impotence, in his inability, in his lack.
- Slavoj Zizek, "The Sublime Object of Ideology"

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

How to Entangle Your Quantum

With QE there is a
Spookiness factor
According to Einstein

When we take two electrons that are proximate
Their actions mirror each other
When we separate those two electrons at massive distances
And we change the spin on one
We get instantaneous change on the other

No time lag
Through these experiments it has been suggested that
If there is an unseen mechanism communicating between the two particles
Then it would have to be traveling at 10,000 times the speed of light

I think our quanta are entangled

The physical laws of the universe
As seen through Newtonian mechanics
Have been useful
They are rational and make sense when matched with the correct scale

However, as we approach the very small, the very large, and the infinite
Newtonian laws fall away
Some might even see it as rationality falling away
That’s what Einstein suggested

I see it otherwise
Join me down the rabbit hole?
- AD Mullin, "Quantum Entanglement" (Oct 15, 2014)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Urban Kintsugi

About the Artist

Urban Exploration and Intervention: Repair with Gold, Kintsugi from Rodas Bisrat on Vimeo.

from Wikipedia
Kintsugi (金継ぎ?) (Japanese: golden joinery) or Kintsukuroi (金繕い?) (Japanese: golden repair) is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-e technique. As a philosophy it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

Lacquerware is a longstanding tradition in Japan, at some point it may have been combined with maki-e as a replacement for other ceramic repair techniques. One theory is kintsugi may have originated when Japanese shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa sent a damaged Chinese tea bowl back to China for repairs in the late 15th century. When it was returned, repaired with ugly metal staples, it may have prompted Japanese craftsmen to look for a more aesthetic means of repair. Collectors became so enamored with the new art that some were accused of deliberately smashing valuable pottery so it could be repaired with the gold seams of kintsugi. Kintsugi became closely associated with ceramic vessels used for chanoyu (Japanese tea ceremony). While the process is associated with Japanese craftsmen the technique was applied to ceramic pieces of other origins including China, Vietnam, and Korea.

As a philosophy kintsugi can been seen to have similarities to the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, an embracing of the flawed or imperfect. Japanese æsthetics values marks of wear by the use of an object. This can be seen as a rationale for keeping an object around even after it has broken and as a justification of kintsugi itself, highlighting the cracks and repairs as simply an event in the life of an object rather than allowing its service to end at the time of its damage or breakage.

Kintsugi can relate to the Japanese philosophy of "no mind" (無心 mushin?) which encompasses the concepts of non-attachment, acceptance of change and fate as aspects of human life.
"Not only is there no attempt to hide the damage, but the repair is literally illuminated... a kind of physical expression of the spirit of mushin....Mushin is often literally translated as “no mind,” but carries connotations of fully existing within the moment, of non-attachment, of equanimity amid changing conditions. ...The vicissitudes of existence over time, to which all humans are susceptible, could not be clearer than in the breaks, the knocks, and the shattering to which ceramic ware too is subject. This poignancy or aesthetic of existence has been known in Japan as mono no aware, a compassionate sensitivity, or perhaps identification with, [things] outside oneself. ”
—Christy Bartlett, Flickwerk The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics
h/t - Jen