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View Article  Wallace Stevens: The Snow Man
The Snow Man

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.   more »
View Article  A Review of Dipesh Chakrabarty's "Provincializing Europe" by Amit Chaudhuri (London Review of Books)
(recycled): Dipesh Chakrabarty's book "Provincializing Europe" is an important theoretical study of colonialism and its legacies in India. While [many] works outline the atrocities and dleterious effects of colonialism abound, Chakrabarti, one of the founder-members of the Subaltern Studies movement in Indian (and world) history tells the story from the lesser known side of the strategies used by Indians (in colonial Kolkata) for making an "alternate habitation" of modernity - i.e. adapting it to their own uses. In doing this, he also makes a number of important theoretical points about cultural situatedness and conditions for effective cross-cultural dialog. This review, taken from the London Review of Books is by Amit Chaudhuri, a well-known younger Indian novelist and commentator.   more »
View Article  Darshan Day Message: Justice! (Heehs case stayed by Orissa High Court)

As reported by the Hindu, Justice A. S. Naidu of the Orissa High Court has stayed proceedings in a criminal case against Peter Heehs in the court of the subdivisional magistrate, Cuttack. This means, for those unfamiliar with legal terminology, that the case has been taken from the hands of the magistrate, and that all proceedings in the case have been halted until the matter is disposed of by the High Court. In addition the High Court has quashed (nullified) an order that had been passed by the subdivisional magistrate. The fact that the case in the lower court was stayed even before the magistrate was given a chance to hear it shows that the High Court found it to be fundamentally unsound in law

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View Article  Within the limits of capitalism, economizing means taking care - Bernard Stiegler

Over the past ten years, society as a whole (in industrialized countries and in developing countries), because of a spectacular drop in costs in the field of the electronic technologies of the fabrication of materials as well as transactions and duplications of data, acquires new practical, but also analytical and reflexive competencies, through the spread of digital apparatuses giving access to functionalities hitherto reserved to professional actors – these functionalities were hitherto organised by the industrial division of labor (and by everything coming with it, thus for example the law of intellectual property). These functionalities are those of the social networks.

This socialisation of innovation calls more and more often on social forms of apprenticeship that would appear to be self-organising and to elude the usual processes of the socialisation of innovation described as “descending” (piloted by the research/development/marketing complex: it constitutes what is more and more often called “ascendant” innovation. Ascendant innovation is a structural break with the organisation of social relations in the industrial world based on the oppositional couple production/consumption. It is founded on motivations oriented toward consistencies, that is, toward objects of what the Greeks and the Romans called skholè and otiumi, which are very specific objects of attention: the objects of knowledge (know-how, art of living, the disposition to theory, that is, to contemplation).

Digital technologies, where the technologies of information, communication and telecommunications converge and tend to amalgamate, and on the basis of which a sector of communicating objects called “internet objects” is developing, form a new technological milieu, reticulatory and relational in nature, belonging to what Simondon called an “associated technico-geographical milieu,” reconfiguring what he also called the process of psychical and collective individuation, and transforming into technologies of the spirit what hitherto has functioned essentially as technologies of control.


This is why the dynamics induced by the technological protocol of reticulation IP must be described as the effects of a process of psychical, collective and technical individuation the likes of which have never existed before. As poor and disappointing as the social-digital networks appear to us, most of the time, they bring together, henceforth, hundreds of millions of psychical individuals in a processes of collective individuation that can sometimes be evaluated as rich and inventive – if we recall on line video games, the network Second Life, Facebook, MSN, Skyblogs, etc. But we must also include collaborative platforms like Wikipedia, the open source communities in the field of software development with the Linux system, and so many other variegated initiatives that have taken off in the world – collaborative spaces of teaching, cooperatives of knowledge, and so on.


This is not to say that these technologies cannot serve the cause of the short-circuiting of transindividuation. All attentional technologies (and this digital technologies of transindividuation belong to the group of attentional technologies) are pharmacological to the strict extent that, as technologies of the formation of attention, they can be reversed and upturned into technologies of the deformation of this attention, and short-circuit this attention, that is, exclude it form the process of transindividuation and signification: they can always produce dissociation.

This is the context that ought to spur the European Union to elaborate a new industrial model, based on what I call with my friends in the association Ars Industrialis, an industrial politics of the technologies of spirit – that is, of sublimation – as the only sustainable libidinal economy. It is only on this condition that Rifkin’s proposition can supply a basis of subsistence (and a basis for a bio-politics conceives at the level of the biosphere) for a new politics of existence: a noopolitics susceptible of reversing and overcoming the deadly logic of psychopower. The actual question, for Europe as for the rest of the world, is whether it can invent with America and the other major industrialised countries, a European way of life where economizing means taking care.

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View Article  AntiMatters vol 3 no 4 is out

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View Article  Classicism, post-classicism and Ranjabati Sircar’s work: re-defining the terms of Indian contemporary dance discourses by Alessandra Lopez y Royo

In this article on the work of the striking and short-lived Ranjabati Sircar, Alessandra Lopez y Royo discusses the problems of cultural decolonization in the wake of Orientalist and Nationalist constructions concerning India.

Does a nation (or any group identity formation for that mattter) have to seek its purity by denying historicity and creative change? Or is contemporary engagement with historicity a way towards the reinvention of cultural discourse as a form of body politics? The work of Ranjabati Sircar and her mother in Kolkata explored such issues which are pertinent to the fashioning of a postcolonial world. - db   more »
View Article  Three Poems: After the Flip (III)

streaming algorithmic apparitions in a fractal Elysium
perish in the effluvium of electric oblation,
escaping the tyranny of genetics and memory,
for the magnetic field of the circuit,
for the immortal promise of the splice,

prosthetic bodies hollowed out in binary extracts,
thought traces etched in silicon,
sentient forms that vanish in a carbon dusk,
archiving an incarnation of deciphered flesh;
a zero/one existence that reconfigures the body
for desiring at the speed of light,
that remaps identity on to a frictionless destining of species
consecrating its virtuality while under cosmic erasure
without even a mote of dust to impart a corpuscular existence

with dense sea stratus shrouds after a dark night of condensation
gray fractus lifting slowly into coral sunrise;
shedding nuclei of terrestrial ash,
for an elemental omega point of air
a misty alphabet dissipating in heat radiance of incandescent star
evaporating dreams before apprehension stirs
once a soul awoke in a mantle urn,
to churn molten rock, spark consciousness in clay,
sculpt magma into obsidian blade and diamond body,
turn cytoplasm of orb into cell, skin, spasm
fire into torment, tapas, ecstasy

before the flip transfiguration was imagined
a metamorphosis of matter, ether, spirit,
now the alchemical anatomy edges its tropism
along the ph-gradient of the proto-cell,
across a firmament of code
weightless it bends toward counterfeit territories
to house its disappearance
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View Article  Three Poems: Playground Meditation (II)

Playground Meditation

Its as if at twilight you’ve stepped onto a Fellini set
halos of golden light illumine miniature rainbows
refracting in the surreal slow motion steps of old men,
hunched over shadows creeping silently through clammy air;
a heat index like day time in Roma, but in this part of India,
a waxing monsoon moon has just begun to rise,

Grey beards who resist mortality, who revolt against nature,
who spit at the mugginess, make a beeline through the ardent nightfall,
piercing mist and mirages; sweating profusely,
old men whose nirvana is tightly bound to a body,
who run at a pace at which the tortoise overtook the hare,
who quiver breathlessly for the ecstasy of the finish line,
hoping to outrun death itself by making an offering to the impossible,

When they were younger the congregation gathered here
under the watchful gaze of its wise guardian, a Mother,
whose eyes wandered over this ochre playground
with the vigilance of a white-tale hawk, who; when their nest is approached
are airborne in a flash, observing swiftly the predator from above;
her protection was meted out through swift occult action,
intruders kept under surveillance, screech owls stopped from unfurling threats,
foreign worlds prevented from encroaching on the games of sun-eyed children

Once simple children who paraded lockstep over this playground sanctuary,
one arm over chest another outstretched before them
athletically pledging allegiance to the goddess nation,
but this still sticky evening a community of aging inmates file in for meditation,
initiates who long ago bargained away chance in the world, for a destiny here,
trading surrender for shelter, thought for a regiment of gymnastics and devotion,

After their ritual exercises they come here to sit and stare intensely inward
into an inner sarcophagus mind that houses the guru’s samadhi
but, the matriarch is no longer present,
her organ music replaced by the scratch of a distant analog machine,
darshan replaced by simulation, what remains is an empty chair,
a simulacra of enlightenment, a placeholder for a vacant avatar    more »
View Article  Three Poems: Balloon Boy (I)

As SCIY charts its post human destiny, whatever that..maybe?...
Here is what my long strange trip reminiscences of it will be,in a sort of a triptych with poems, ...

Balloon Boy

Even before you awoke you knew the weather would be calm,
that take off was now imminent, across autumn’s parallax horizon
your heart started to race the dark fractured clouds streaming above;
when the squalls subsided before dawn a black hole appeared
within an atom of the storm, at that moment you knew that peak experience
could be found within a wormhole of bliss,

once a singularity became your destiny
you were certain that this last trip would be ecstatic,
like us all, you had caught a glimpse of danger,
a silver saucer, plywood bow pitched upward, riding gusts, gleaming in the sun,
streaking across open Colorado skies, a small boy huddled in darkness within.
clutching for a distant mother, dangling from a metallic balloon,

seeing the spectacle unfold, after a year of fending off demons,
you could imagine what it would be like to be that child inside;
that night you dreamed that you were six years old and you were learning to fly,
the threatening shadows of cumulonimbus whose anvils
had towered above you receded with the planet below,
as you reached escape velocity, you slept silently

Helium: atomic number: 2 atomic symbol: He
melting point: -272C @26 a.t.m boiling point: - 268.6 C near absolute 0
used in cryogenic research, expands greatly at room temperature
used for pressuring liquid fuel on Apollo lunar missions,
used to fill balloons, available at Wal-Mart in the party decorations section,
if asked; it could be used for a party you’ll be giving for your birthday,

fix the tube inside the plastic bag, pre-set the flow rate,
get comfortable, a cup of warm tea, soft lights and music,
turn the regulator on, hold the bag so it inflates,
place it loosely over head, secure the string so it does not float away,
keep the house as warm as you’d like,... relax,....
sleep,....... fall silently into azure sky    more »
View Article  Review: Margaret Atwood's The Year of the Flood by Fredric Jameson (LRB)

Canada's Margret Atwood -who should be a candidate for the Nobel at some point- recent work has dealt with various dystopian themes of future societies ravaged by technological blowback and religious fundamentalism. I recently picked up her latest work, The Year of the Flood that continues where her previously acclaimed novel Oryx and Crate left off. This is a review by renown cultural historian Fredric Jameson, whose book on Utopias: Archaeologies of the Future, has been a subject of discussion on SCIY

Who will recount the pleasures of dystopia? The pity and fear of tragedy – pity for the other, fear for myself – does not seem very appropriate to a form which is collective, and in which spectator and tragic protagonist are in some sense one and the same. For the most part, dystopia has been a vehicle for political statements of some kind: sermons against overpopulation, big corporations, totalitarianism, consumerism, patriarchy, not to speak of money itself. Not coincidentally, it has also been the one science-fictional sub-genre in which more purely ‘literary’ writers have felt free to indulge: Huxley, Orwell, even the Margaret Atwood of The Handmaid’s Tale. And not unpredictably, the results of these efforts have been as amateurish as analogous experiments in the realm of the detective or crime story (from Dostoevsky to Nabokov, if you like), but including a message or thesis.[*] So-called mass cultural genres, in other words, have rules and standards as rigorous and professional as the more noble forms.   more »
View Article  Review: Genorosity by Richard Powers (NY Times)

Richard Powers is one of America's most skilled novelist working today. His novels often explore the divide between the two cultures of science and art and issues concerning the emergence of the post-human. In his most recent work he explores the implications of science finding the happiness gene and the complex implications of enhancing future humanity for bliss. Its a good read.

"The new novel is certainly more buoyant than Powers’s last, the National Book Award-winning “Echo Maker,” which was, among other things, a dense and intricate exploration of neuropsychology with side trips into ornithology. While that book revolved around a young man who suffers serious brain damage, the central figure of “Generosity” is a woman ostensibly afflicted with hyperthymia — an excess of happiness. The new book poses the question, What if there were a happiness gene? Curiously enough it features a public debate between the two cultures, in which a tortured, charisma-challenged Nobel-­winning novelist fares badly against a glibly articulate scientist arguing the case for genetic engineering."    more »
View Article  Systems Evolution & Bio Feminism: Move Over Darwin by Rachel Armstrong (C Theory)

Synthetic form, possesses some but not all of the properties of living systems, are not alive and can be regarded as 'Living Technology'. This particular species (designed by the author -- unpublished) is able to construct magnetite tubes that resemble 'worm casts'.

Biology is the study of the laws of the natural world. Nature may be regarded as the endogenous system underpinning the genesis of living organisms and their environment. In human terms, the organization of the natural world is reflected in the issues arising from the science of reproduction, heritability and the creation of life. Since these processes biologically occur within the intimate spaces of the female body, feminism has sought to represent the interests of women in the control and regulation of human reproduction in modern Western culture. To date the dominant political and social paradigms of Western society are patriarchal and invoke a dualistic worldview based on the dichotomy of male and female with an associated division of these roles in the creation of life.

This dualistic ordering of reality is also hierarchical: the principle of male over female, mind over body, culture over nature, and so on. Male, mind and culture are exercising hierarchical control over female, body, nature.    more »
View Article  Shifting Blame is Socially Contagious
Released: 11/19/2009 9:30 PM EST
Source: University of Southern California
Newswise — Merely observing someone publicly blame an individual in an organization for a problem – even when the target is innocent – greatly increases the odds that the practice of blaming others will spread with the tenacity of the H1N1 flu, according to new research from the USC Marshall School of Business and Stanford University.   more »
View Article  LACMA 111909 - Debashish Banerji

peeling the feeling i read that language
compassion is yours for me and more
akin to the fractured golden
silences waiting timelessly around us
but sadness not for me not for you
sadness of surfaces that refuse restitution
hurtling headlong in a time of terrible ambiguity
sadness of the incomprehesible
of words that crumble and dissipate
engendering looming monsters where once was beauty
like a pungent tea the savor of irony rises.
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View Article  The Hindus: An Alternative History by Wendy Doniger review by David Shulman (NYRB)

Generally, modern historians tend to stick to the terra firma of inscriptions, coins, the accounts of foreign travelers, and other precisely datable sources. There are obvious advantages to such a method, and we can certainly learn critically important things from such evidence; but one unfortunate byproduct of these choices is that modern histories of India, heavily empiricist in the narrowest sense and loaded down with unwieldy records of temple donors and royal land grants, tend to be boring.

No one would say such a thing about Wendy Doniger's new book. Experts on India and professional historians of South Asia will, no doubt, find something to disagree with on every page; but they will also, I think, be charmed by Doniger's scintillating and irreverent prose (perhaps against their better judgment) and by the unexpected, strangely delightful connections she makes. Her book is no ordinary trek through inscriptions and chronicles. It is more like a psychedelic pilgrimage to sites, ritual moments, and beloved texts scattered over three millennia. Make no mistake: it's a bumpy ride, with a provocative and erudite guide who scorns the usual rules of the historical guild. That is not to say that this improbable history lacks method. There is a sense in which Doniger is close to the indigenous South Asian, "puranic" model of writing history, of the type that put off al-Biruni.   more »
View Article  Do not go gentle into the night (Dylan Thomas d. Nov 9, 1953)

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Dylan Thomas (d.11/9/53)   more »
View Article  In memoriam Ron Jon Anastasia d. October 20th 2009

"Peace, peace! he is not dead, he doth not sleep - he hath awakened from the dream of life - 'Tis we, who lost in stormy visions, keep with phantoms an unprofitable strife." Shelley

With great sadness we announce the passing of Ron Anastasia who passed over into the greater life on Tuesday October 20th. Ron was the founding editor and inspiration for Science, Culture, Integral Yoga (SCIY). Without him this site would not exist. Our prayers and thoughts are with his wife Kim who did a remarkable job caring for him through the last year of his illness.

And death shall have no dominion
by Dylan Thomas

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan't crack;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.   more »
View Article  John D. Caputo: A Postmodern, Prophetic, Liberal American in Paris by Michael E. Zimmerman

In this wide-ranging appreciation and critique of John D. Caputo, one of the most lucid and original contemporary thinkers in the shadow of Heidegger and Derrida, Michael Zimmerman unravels the far reaches and complex contradictions inherent in the tradition which he furthers.

It would be no exaggertaion to say that Caputo today stands on his own as a forefront thinker on the implications of modernity and postmodernity. Arriving out of the American branch of liberal post-Enlightenment discourse, Caputo struggles to relate, accept, reject and integrate ideas between his own moorings, the Germanic post-Nietzschean nationalistic transcendentalism of Heidegger and the Francophone post-Heideggerian deconstruction of Jacques Derrida.

Zimmerman's critique of Caputo raises very interesting and pertinent conundrums, those for example between rights and responsibilities or more importantly, between transcendentalism and obligation to "the Other." Particulalry interesting are Zimmerman's concluding reflections on evolution and the place of the human in its "presencing."

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