Monday, May 30, 2011

i love the smell of napalm in the morning...,

Video - Colonel Kilgore's hellicopter attack on a Vietnamese village

RoofbrainChatter | Most of my writing, like that of some others, is not addressed to what things mean, but to issues involved in the fact that no amount of clarity regarding what things mean can take one across the gap separating one how things mean from another how things mean.

Recently brought to my attention is an exceptional piece of research and writing by the Japanese scholar, Shigehisa Kuriyama working at the Nomura Institute for Studies in the History of Medicine located in Tokyo (apparently written in English, based on original sources in ancient Greek, Chinese and Japanese: THE EXPRESSIVENESS OF THE BODY and the Divergence of Greek and Chinese Medicine. N.Y.: Zone Books, 1999). In sections entitled Styles of Touching, Styles of Seeing, and Styles of Being, he explores the extraordinary differences in perception of the body, the world, and the selfhood in interplay with evolving medical models by consideration of medical palpation, presence or absence of symptom reference to muscles, and so on. The period of reference is about 400 BC to 200 AD in both China and Greece (including the Mawangdui medical texts unearthed in 1993 in a Western Han tomb which are the earliest known and date to the period before emergence of acupuncture in Chinese medicine).

Mostly, this book would be interesting particularly to those who are into studying details of Chinese medical model and traditional modes of thought and awareness. One of the footnotes, I found particularly interesting and confirmatory of suspicions I have voiced, but have been unable to document.

Quoting No. 102, p. 300: “Albrecht Dihle thus notes that the Homeric term menos comes ‘indeed very near to the modern notion of will,’ but adds that menos ‘does not belong to the normal or natural equipment of man according to Homeric psychology.’ It comes from the gods, as ‘an additional gift, provided only on a special occasion and not supposed to become a lasting part of the person…’ (THE THEORY OF THE WILL IN CLASSICAL ANTIQUITY [Berkeley: U.C. Press, 1982, p.34]). We may recall in a related vein, how Homer's Agamemnon blames his tragedy not on any personal decisions or actions, but on ate, a distinctly impersonal clouding of the mind. E. R. Dodds (THE GREEKS AND THE IRRATIONAL [Berkeley: U.C. Press, 1951, pp.15-16]) interprets this not as a self-justifying evasion, but as a reflection of the fact that the Homeric Greeks had no concept of a unified personality. Bruno Snell, to whom Dodds refers, famously argued, indeed, that the Greeks in Homer's time didn't even ‘yet have a body in the modern sense of the body’ did not, that is, ‘know it qua body, but merely as the sum total of his limbs.’ (THE DISCOVERY OF THE MIND IN GREEK PHILOSOPHY AND LITERATURE [N.Y.: Dover, 1982; German edition, 1948, pp.6-8]). [[Not surprising, a German author!]] For a critique of Snell's position see Bernard Knox, THE OLDEST DEAD WHITE EUROPEAN MALES (N.Y.: W.W. Norton, 1993, pp.37-41.)” [[Not surprising, author with a British name!]]

I would go further. This is not, for me, a mere matter of archaicizing “body image”, but whether or not IBEs (in-the-body experiences) were commonplace. Surveying history, not only was there little experience of “passing time” even in pre-Renaissance Western Europe (much evidence of this in medieval art, architecture, and early polyphony), the vast majority of human beings who existed on this planet never experienced a habitated physical body sensed as distinct from the non-body, distinct, that is, from the “other” or the “object”. In the right circumstance, there was no perceptual distinction makeable between “my” foot and “your” foot, between something happening to your foot as distinct from something happening to my foot. Your foot is my foot in immediate proprioceptive awareness (a suggestion of this actual awareness is had in inability to localize the limb in emergence from local anesthesia: which I first experienced at age 14 in surgery on my left big toe). There were “right circumstances” for every other imputed part of the imputed anatomy. When translators of treatises on Chinese medicine assume human physical body distinct from trees, streams, and winds, they undoubtedly error greatly, for in states of identity-transparency no such is actually registered (gardening, geomancy, chronomancy, and medicine were actually just one thing). The notions of “functional correspondences” of “correspondence between a macrocosm and a microcosm” misrepresent the case: the distinguished structures to which functional correspondences are mapped are distinct identities only after the Western or modernizing cultural fact of enculturated IBE habituation, and CORRESPOND to nothing in the actual case. The not-experienced distinction has later in history been imputed to be a correspondence. Perceptual-set determines even the structures experimentally identified. Perceive through the filter of an either/or logic and you will discover and verify 2-structures everywhere in the world around you, and within the physical body you consensually construct with your EMERGENT PROPERTY as being distinct from the “flow” the “mo” the Tao, the meeeeeeeow.

I think such imputations have not been mere matters of changing styles of touching and seeing. These imputations have proceeded by holocausts: the 30 million Chinese who died in the 8th century Tibetan invasion of China; the similar number who died in the 17th to 19th centuries North American holocaust; the 4 million Cambodians who died as a result of the 20th century American bombing/invasion of Cambodia: three particularly pointed thematically-related instances. The list of holocausts is a long one: there has been a cognitive (and accompanying neurological) implosion within the human species transpiring since collapse of the “Bicameral Mind”, which has removed more and more categories of subjective cognitive capacity. Even in the span of one lifetime, onset of major cognitive deficits can be “witnessed”. The truncation of the Japanese female voice-throw range in the lower register (indicating collective loss of certain categories of emotional and perceptual experience); the huge expansion of “minimal permissible distance” in Japanese personal space and associated changes in public touching conventions (indicating a diminished intersubjectivity): these are two instances of cognitive implosion which reached cusp essentially in a decade in Japan, the 1960s. The same type of transition is currently seen in Thailand, with displays of personal behaviors startling in their similarity to those seen in 1960's Japan. And there is little or no CONSCIOUS registration of the intergenerationally imposed cognitive deficit. This is globalization, folks!

Regarding the first question you raise: In the late-70s, I had lengthy discussions with a Japanese psychiatrist with much experience treating acute schizophrenics. Almost without exception, his patients, largely of urban experience, exhibited in their abreactions archetypal themes filled with Shinto reference: village shrines, sacred trees, totem animals, spirit entities of every sort. The generation under 40, it seems to me, may have little or no experience of traditional rural Japanese life, and they may have little knowledge of concrete detail concerning “how life was then”, but on a subliminal level the Japanese mind remains deeply animistic -- even if given individuals consciously deny such beliefs.

Western anthropology pretty much equates animism with spirit belief. I think this is mistaken. Spirit belief is not necessary to, and, when present, is only a superficial expression of, animism, which is more accurately viewed, I believe, as an expression of “identity transparency”. I prefer this term to “participation mystique” which has a connotation of primitivism not at all justified -- given that subject-subject and subject-object empathic fusion requires access to elaborate simultaneous awareness states of consciousness not easily experienced by the uncultivated awareness.

Urban versus rural may not be the real issue. Explicit animism in Japan has probably fallen into abeyance due mostly to the fact that the traditional arts, crafts, and inner disciplines are no longer being practiced as widely or as authentically as they were only one or two generations ago. The relative absence of analogical and metaphorical reference in contemporary Japanese architecture (compared to the traditional) may well be another factor promoting conscious abeyance of animism (which abeyance, I believe, has unconsciously been psychologically compensated for by the flood of highly fetishized pornography which came on the scene beginning in the early-1970s).

Regarding the second question you raise: I think Schrödinger must certainly have had quite elaborate experience of “identity transparency” (and thus of animism) and that this played a significant role in the production of his famous wave equation. I also think it played a role in his refusal to embrace the probability interpretation of his equation. Indeed, I view much of the problematics associated with quantum theory as being the result of an absence of animistic experience on the part of those doing the interpreting.

At the beginning of this 21st century, the monoculture use to which the evolving techno-base is being put is imposing a uniformization and subjective-intersubjective cognitive and neurologic deficit omniculturally on such an unprecedented scale, that, given the history of holocausts associated with this millennia-long cognitive implosion, one would have to be oblivious to human history to believe THE NEW WORLD ORDER will be imposed absent holocausts of unprecedented scale. It's a ridiculous notion entertained only by those with huge neurologic lacunae.

Being uninformed is not only a mark of distinction in America, it is a matter of national pride.

Cell phones will be to the present generation what cigarettes were to the WWII generation.

It has been a long time since there were students in American universities; now, there are only trainees.

Intergenerational memory of inner states is far poorer than the famed limitations of institutional memory: collective amnesia is endemic to the human species.

Anyone with a voice at this juncture is not doing any good. If the person were doing good, knee-jerk nesting instinct protecting the current institutionalization would not allow him or her a voice.

When U.S. officials responsible for causing the Cambodian holocaust were not held legally culpable for their acts -- indeed, one even received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts -- who could possibly imagine U.S. officials being held responsible for their acts in the Waco deaths? They were not held responsible for the Hansford irradiation; the production of Agent Orange at a location on the waterfront in Alexandria, Virginia, at the time surrounded by a densely populated ghetto community, which, when gentrified to upper-middle class, the City Public Works Department required 12 feet of dirt removed, a plastic shield placed, 12 feet of new dirt installed before building could proceed; the testing of electromagnetic pulse weapons for well over a decade in upper-middle class suburban Virginia and Maryland, which, in all likelihood, was involved in triggering or inducing fulminations of SLE and other radiation-sensitive degenerative autoimmune and demyelinating diseases; and so on; and so on.

Nothing significant will be done until the wave moving from the periphery to the power centers begins to break. All sorts of interest will arise at that point, but only the most meager of undertakings will then be possible.

The current hiatus in physics, with its 100-year-long arguments about how many quantum angels can sit on the head of a nonlocal pinpoint, will not be resolved by any scientific discovery, experimental demonstration, or superlatively argued grand unification theory; it will be transcended by an act of intention in the area of monetary systematics. That is one of the hidden agendas of my proposal concerning m-valued currencies.

As I have been working on these ideas for over twenty years and have discussed them with many people of diverse backgrounds, your recent response has been valuable in focusing my attention. Perhaps you will permit me a brief second stab at a succinct explanation.


nanakwame said...

Yes our consciousness allows
Multiple actors, I enjoy the line of thought, and am not going to judge what
was is primative or animalistic right now in this. Like the new found tribe
that has no language for time, in our 21st Century, yet; in Portuguese they do.
When we know: that space is predominate even with the human,  3 space 1 time. Yet I rather listen to those
in this line of reasoning:

Mary Midgley later criticized the
belief that humans could be understood in terms of their genetic make-up, as
she interpreted Dawkins' The Selfish Gene (1976)
to suggest. Instead, she argued that human beings and their relationship with
animals could be better understood by using the qualitative
methods of ethology and comparative

There are many pop psycholgoist
today including us. I refer to the new associations, and new why of
perceptions, which includes the confirmed experiences
in nerology, where Freud came from, is what I look for.

There many good
writers out there who can make connections on presumations and some standard reasoning. If
we are a hierarchal matrix even in our guts, to who do we assigned arbiter to consider
something as sophisticated, our infantile self, when at times we don’t know who
we are becoming? Like your love of the psychopath, can you tell in everyone whom
is to act this madness out, would it be a man who is animist or materialist?

If we can love a
planet call Venus, and love a woman by the name of Venus, what is its similarity?
And why are comic books and all its lucrative spin offs, so loved, even among
brains like you?

I love the quite sound
of a bird, even in the Nam;
our niggardliness has heightened that love.


CNu said...

Like your love of the psychopath, can you tell in everyone whom is to act this madness out

game recognize game...,

And why are comic books and all its lucrative spin offs, so loved, even among brains like you?

back in the day (and you must draw that distinction) comic books were where you could inexpensively go to immerse yourself in fantasies of extremely nutty people talking bombastically big shit and wielding stupendously vast power. (seriously, anybody wearing their draws over their tights in public is crazier than a loon, and bound to get into fights with others)