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View Article  Critical Digital Studies

a publishing note before the closing of years and farewells, in Oct the Sciy article: Louis Armstrong Int'l Airport,
written from my impressions of New Orleans post-Katrina ended up among the suspects in this compilation......

From the editors of CTheory comes a ground-breaking guide to digital culture,
written by theorists and artists who invented it.

Contributors include: Donna Haraway, N. Katherine Hayles, Eugene Thacker, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Stelarc, Steve Dixon, Sara Diamond, Mary Bryson, Lev Manovitch, Jordan Crandall, Christina McPhee, Stephen Pfohl, D. Fox Harrell, Alexander Gallaway, Anna Munster.

Critical Digital Studies: A Reader is available through:
University of Toronto Press
amazon.com et al.

The Critical Digital Studies companion website can be accessed at http://criticaldigitalstudies.net/.    more »
View Article  Trane: Alabama

As 2008 closes a farewell song that pays homage to a true evolution of consciousness. Given the historic election of Barack Obama as the first African American president this piece represents just how far we have come in the past 45 years. Alabama represents the sordid history of racism in America and the promise of deliverance from it through the sheer will of perseverance. The songs particular history is told as follows:

"In the early morning of Sunday, September 15, 1963, a gaggle of malcontents planted 12 sticks of dynamite in a window well outside the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The dynamite exploded eight hours later killing Denise McNair, 11, and Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Addie Mae Collins, all 14, in the process galvanizing the Civil Rights Movement. Three months later, on November 18, 1963, John Coltrane stepped up to the microphone in fabled Englewood, NJ studio of one Rudy Van Gelder and over a McCoy Tyner Tremolo, blew his searing and definitive statement on the subject of the bombing-- "Alabama."

The song itself is a meditation on loss and spiritual longing.

Its an especially cathartic song on this last day of 2008 with children, in other places, still perishing in bombings, when one begins to interrogate the evolution of consciousness in terms of the mere shifting of contexts....
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View Article  The BioArt of Eduardo Kac (cont)



"Specimen of Secrecy about Marvelous Discoveries" is a series of works comprised of what Kac calls "biotopes", that is, living pieces that change during the exhibition in response to internal metabolism and environmental conditions. Each of Kac’s biotopes is literally a self-sustaining ecology comprised of thousands of very small living beings in a medium of earth, water, and other materials. The artist orchestrates the metabolism of these organisms in order to produce his constantly-evolving living works.

Kac's biotopes expand on ecological and evolutionary issues previously explored by the artist (for example, in his transgenic work "The Eighth Day"). At the same time, the biotopes further develop dialogical principles implemented and theorized by Kac for approximately two decades.

The biotopes are a discrete ecology because within their world the microorganisms interact with and support each other (that is, the activities of one organism enable another to grow, and vice-versa). However, they are not entirely secluded from the outside world : the aerobic organisms within the biotope absorb oxygen from outside (while the anaerobic ones comfortably migrate to regions where air cannot reach). A complex set of relationships emerge as the work unfolds, bringing together the internal dialogical interactions among the microorganisms in the biotope and the interaction of the biotope as a discrete unit with the external world. The biotope is affected by several factors, including the very presence of viewers, which can increase the temperature in the room (warm bodies) and release other microorganisms in the air (breathing, sneezing).

The biotope is what Kac calls a "nomad ecology", that is, an ecological system that interacts with its surroundings as it travels around the world. Every time a biotope migrates from one location to another, the very act of transporting it causes an unpredictable redistribution of the microorganisms inside it (due to the constant physical agitation inherent in the course of a trip). Once in place, the biotope self-regulates with internal migrations, metabolic exchanges, and material settling.....
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View Article  Who Carries Out Spectacular Acts of Terrorism and Why? Nitasha Kaul (C Theory)

Spectacular Acts of Terrorism create Events which are designed to shift the public discourse by rupturing processes of dialogue and understanding. A Big Bang such as planes that crash into buildings, or trains that explode, or discotheques that blow up, or a rain of bullets across a city -- brings about a quantum shift in every single aspect of individual perception and public policy -- immediately. This is the deliberate outcome of such Spectacles -- they are planned to disrupt incrementalist and rational development of thought processes at every level of a pluralist functioning state and society. This is why they happen unannounced, this is why they happen simultaneously at multiple locations, and this is why they target places of public prominence.

Who carries out such Spectacular Acts? We hear that the terrorists in Mumbai were young men in jeans with rucksacks who went for carnage with smiles on their faces. It is foolish to assume that the terrorists who go for such Spectacles are desperate people interested in alleviating genuine grievances. Of course, terrorists fight for a cause. But that cause isn't what they kill for; the specificity and legitimacy of their cause (Iraq, Kashmir, Gujarat, Chechya, Afghanistan, whatever they may think it to be) is condensed into the general and universal terms of violence and hatred by those who recruit them and radicalise them. By the time they spray bullets and hold hostages, asking for justice on their own terms, they have long betrayed themselves and become prisoners of manipulated representations. ....
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View Article  The Incorrigible Dr. Berlinski

The keyword of the earth’s riddle is the gradual evolution of a hidden illimitable consciousness and power out of the seemingly inert yet furiously driven force of insensible Nature. Earth-life is one self-chosen habitation of a great Divinity and his aeonic will is to change it from a blind prison into his splendid mansion and high heaven-reaching temple. (Sri Aurobindo, Essays Divine and Human, p. 161)

The scientific theory is concerned only with the outward and visible machinery and process, with the detail of Nature’s execution, with the physical development of things in Matter and the law of development of Life and Mind in Matter; its account of the process may have to be considerably changed or may be dropped altogether in the light of new discovery, but that will not affect the self-evident fact of a spiritual evolution, an evolution of Consciousness, a progression of the soul’s manifestation in material existence. (Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, p. 868)

There can be hardly any doubt that the scientific account of evolution has to be considerably changed or dropped altogether. Dr. Berlinski (not a Christian, by the way) explains why.

View Article  Man on Wire (movie review)

"Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman--a rope over an abyss...
What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end"... Nietzsche

I just watched this excellent documentary and my conclusion was that the best description of wire walker Philippe Petit was that of an aspiring "overman".
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View Article  George W. Bush: "Iraq" (The Farewell Tour)

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View Article  9 is not 11 by Arundhati Roy (TomDispatch)

The single omnipresent historical reference in the American media immediately in the wake of September 11, 2001, was, of course,”Pearl Harbor”-- and those code words for it, "infamy" and "day of infamy," splashed in mile-high letters across the front pages of papers. What we had experienced, it was commonly said then, was "the Pearl Harbor of the 21st century." And with that image of the Japanese attack that began the Second World War for the United States went powerful, if only half-conscious, memories of how that war ended, of nuclear holocaust, and so the place where the World Trade Center towers went down was promptly dubbed "Ground Zero," previously a term reserved for the spot where an atomic blast took place.

Naturally, the idea that 9/11 was an "act of war," and that we were "at war," quickly and heavily promoted by the Bush administration, followed; and all of this would have been appropriate to a surprise attack by a nuclear-armed state, but not to an assault by 19 terrorists backed by a ragtag organization spread from Hamburg, Germany, to the backlands of Afghanistan. That the framework for taking in what had happened that day was so thoroughly askew mattered not a whit to most Americans at that time; and the rest, including the President's "Global War on Terror," came easily, if disastrously, in its wake. Now, "9/11" has become the "Pearl Harbor" of the twenty-first century, the antecedent and analogy of choice, and so, not surprisingly, it was on all but a few media lips, during the recent massacre and siege in Mumbai, India.

Arundhati Roy, the Indian activist and author of the prize-winning novel The God of Small Things was one of the earliest, strongest, sanest voices on this planet of ours to take on George W. Bush and his Global War on Terror. "The freshest voice on Earth," I called her back in 2003. She was an inspiration. Now, she turns to the events in her own country, in Mumbai, and explains just why using 9/11 as the analogy of choice there, as we once used "Pearl Harbor" here, will lead in no less terrible directions. ....
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View Article  The Theory of Positive Disintegration by Kazimierz Dabrowski

Kazimierz Dabrowski, a Polish psychiatrist and psychologist, developed the Theory of Positive Disintegration (TPD) over his lifetime of clinical and academic work:

"Intense psychoneurotic processes are especially characteristic of accelerated development in its course towards the formation of personality....
The person finds a 'cure' for himself, not in the sense of a rehabilitation but rather in the sense of reaching a higher level than the one at which he was prior to disintegration...."
"Through the constant creation of himself, through the development of the inner psychic milieu and development of discriminating power with respect to both the inner and outer milieus - an individual goes through ever higher levels of 'neuroses' and at the same time through ever higher levels of universal development of his personality...."   more »
View Article  Why Save Capitalism?
Huffington Post...Now I'm not stupid enough to forget that capitalism is also a system that has allowed a substantial though relatively small group of human beings to amass titanic wealth and, so to speak, to capitalize on that wealth by exercising transformative power over the whole planet and everyone on it. If they were all wise and benevolent, that might be a satisfactory arrangement; they aren't, and it isn't. So any discussion of how human history (let alone human well-being) might continue after the demise of capitalism must get a good fix on the roots of greed and why it has persisted despite the abundant evidence of its perversity.

...To those who doubt that humans en masse are capable of such spontaneous and sustained harmlessness, I reply that the shift has already begun. The great tide may have ebbed that bathed the 60s/70s in the glow that boomers still recall, but the energy behind it is perennial and flows readily without an assist from Birkenstocks or granola.   more »
View Article  The Mother's challenge to the financial world - 50 years ago

Money is meant to circulate. What should remain constant is the progressive movement of an increase in the earth’s production – an ever-expanding progressive movement to increase the earth’s production and improve existence on earth. It is the material improvement of terrestrial life and the growth of the earth’s production that must go on expanding, enlarging, and not this silly paper or this inert metal that is amassed and lifeless.....   more »
View Article  Sri Aurobindo's commentary on the Upanishads in the life of Rashaan Roland Kirk: Aug 7, 1936 - Dec 5, 1977

I wanted to provide a video of Kirk's performance to compliment this article and demonstrate some of the techniques and music described in it

Roland Kirk died 31 years ago on Dec 5th 1977, I believe his life illustrates what in the Isha and Kena Upanishad is referred to as the workings of Prana and Kratu . Following Sri Aurobindo's excellent commentary on these two Upanishads in this article - that has been recently updated - I trace the self-formulation of prana and kratu in the biography of this amazing musician

Prana, Kratu, Jazz
(the life and will of Rashaan Roland Kirk)

  By whom yoked moves the first life-breath forward on its path? By whom impelled is this word that men speak? What god set eye and ear to their workings?....  

- Kena Upanishad     more »
View Article  AntiMatters - New Issue Released

announces the release of its sixth issue (Vol 2, No 4, 2008)

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Sixth Issue PDF
Ulrich J Mohrhoff 1-6


Money and the Crisis of Civilization Abstract PDF
Charles Eisenstein 7-13
‘I’ = AWARENESS Abstract PDF
Arthur J Deikman 15-21
Evaluating Spiritual and Utopian Groups Abstract PDF
Arthur J Deikman 23-32
The Psychology of Atheism Abstract PDF
Paul C Vitz 33-44
A Mathematician’s Lament Abstract PDF
Paul Lockhart 45-71
Lockhart’s Lament — the Sequel Abstract PDF
Keith Devlin 73-79
Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us (abridged) Abstract PDF
Bill Joy 81-91
Life-Energy and Spiritual Experience Abstract PDF
Steve Taylor 93-106


The Birth of “Ecological Sustainable Society” Abstract PDF
Charles Birch 107-118

Book reviews

Review of Ghisi: The Knowledge Society PDF
Ulrich J Mohrhoff 119-133
Review of Sartori: The Near-Death Experiences of Hospitalized Intensive Care Patients PDF
Ulrich J Mohrhoff 135-143
Review of Carter: Parapsychology and the Skeptics PDF
Ulrich J Mohrhoff 145-153

Book excerpts

Will the Real Charles Darwin Please Stand Up? PDF
David Loye 155-185
Intuition and Human Knowledge PDF
Sri Aurobindo 187-204

AntiMatters is an open-access e-journal addressing issues in science and the humanities from non-materialistic perspectives
. It is published quarterly by the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Pondicherry.
View Article  Amitav Ghosh: Sea of Poppies interview Radio Open Sorce/ review TimesOnline

“One of my countrymen has put the matter very simply,” as Burnham says in the novel. “‘Jesus Christ is Free Trade and Free Trade is Jesus Christ.’ Truer words, I believe, were never spoken. If it is God’s will that opium be used as an instrument to open China to his teachings, then so be it. For myself, I confess I can see no reason why any Englishman should abet the Manchu tyrant in depriving the people of China of this miraculous substance.”

Popular will, democracy, representative government have as little to do with the action of Ghosh’s novel as Congress did with the war in Iraq. “Parliament?” Ben Burnham scoffs to a disbelieving Indian raja. “Parliament,” Burnham laughs, “will not know of the war until it is over. Be assured, sir, that if such matters were left to Parliament there would be no Empire.”

Our free-ranging conversation touches on, among other things,Niall Ferguson's apology for empire; the narrowing discourse in American media; Afghanistan and Pakistan today; the polyglot world of sailing ships; the anthropological eye; and the history of Asian words in English.

It is not his project as a novelist and an Indian, Amitav Ghosh remarks, to break the “imperial gaze” of British writers from Kipling to Conrad. Rather he would love to recapture the cosmopolitan vision of the American, Herman Melville — the real precursor, he says, of Barack Obama..... radio open source.   more »
View Article  Heaven's Smiley

The Western Sky in Pondicherry around 8 pm on Monday, December 1st, 2008 — the eve of the anniversary of the SAICE, which was founded by the Mother on December 2nd, 1943 — with the three brightest heavenly bodies after the Sun — the Moon, Venus, and Jupiter — in an auspicious configuration.