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Showing posts from December, 2019

Pheme

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Posted on facebook, December 30, 2013: I propose the word "pheme" to mean "stories presented as fact, which are spread around the internet, which turn out to be exaggerated, inflated, unsupported, hoaxes, or just plain false." It's basically a portmanteau of "false" and "meme," or "fake" and "meme," but it also happens to be spelled the same as Pheme, the Greek goddess of rumor.

The One, True, Correct Interpretation of Nietzsche (Aesthetic Materialism V)

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On Nietzsche's Perspectivism [SPOILER ALERT] "There are no facts, only interpretations." This is has become the Nietzsche quote, even more than "God is dead," which has become a bit passe (and of course Nietzsche didn't come up with that one).  Liquefactionists , especially, tend to love this quote.  "There are no facts, only interpretations" would seem to be the rallying cry of what is sometimes called postmodernism , if such a thing as a postmodernist rallying cry could exist.  Perhaps postmodernism could be renamed The Great Unrallying.  Postmodernism is the name we give for what happened when the wind gave out from modernism's sails: the doldrums.  It's an understandable sentiment, and there is a strange kind of dignity to it.  Similarly and perhaps relatedly, William S. Burroughs used to complain about most Americans being Christians or similarly religious in one way or another, and then most of the rest of us being rationa
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The right is convinced that politics (and economics) are downstream from culture. But the right is winning on the economic front, while losing on the cultural front. The left maintains that the economic base of society in the final instance determines its cultural (and political) superstructure.  ("It's the economy, stupid!")  But the left is winning on the cultural front, while losing on the economic front.  In other words, both sides see themselves as losing in the way that matters to them. Both sides see themselves as winning only in a superficial and ultimately even counterproductive way, while losing on the front that is fundamental and primary.  How can this be true? Why aren’t both sides winning on the issues that truly matter to them, especially since the opposing side doesn’t really care about those issues? Why aren’t we living in an egalitarian society in which class and other forms of inequality have been abolished, which is at the same time a society

Aesthetic Materialism IV

See also Aesthetic Materialism I , II , and III . Why aesthetic materialism?  Why not some other form of materialism? The answer is simple: there is no other form of materialism.  Aesthetic materialism is the only materialism. Every attempt to ground materialism in something other than aesthetics winds up requiring some kind of transcendent justification - that  is to say, it proves not to be genuine materialism.  To ground materialism in aesthetics is to ground it in the senses, in what Marx in the first Thesis on Feuerbach calls "sensuous activity".  Anything that does not come from the sensuous is immaterial.  In this way, much of what is called materialism can be seen as a kind of idealism.  Indeed, Marx asserts that this is the "chief defect in all hitherto existing materialism".  But then again, the doctrine that says that idealism is the opposite of materialism is itself a kind of idealism. For instance, any attempt to ground materialism in a priori

The Relation of Science and History

We sometimes hear people speak of "the science of history".  But is history a science?  Can history be a science?  Or perhaps the Euler diagram should work the other way: rather than history being a type, or subset of science, so that the word "science" includes "history" as one of its many elements, perhaps history should instead include science.  Of course we do already speak, sometimes, of "the history of science".  Which, if either, of these terms should be the more totalizing, and which merely a useful constituent part, or tool? Of course scientific techniques are used in history.  We are all aware, for instance, of radiocarbon dating and x-ray fluorescence; perhaps more obscure are inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, palynology, electron-spin resonance for dating teeth, and so on.  This kind of research is to be lauded and expanded. Notwithstanding this, there are somewhat convincing arguments to suggest that whatever scientif

Anarchism + Despair = Heterarchy

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[Yep... for a while I was trying to invent my own political ideology.  This text was written years ago.  It looks like I was last working on it in 2007, though there are sections that are much older than that.  My opinions have shifted a bit since then... but I think it's worth bringing this to light.] What is Heterarchy? Lord John Dalberg-Acton, the first Baron of Acton, once famously wrote that “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  Heterarchy is the movement against this corruption, the movement to prevent every form of power from becoming absolute.  Power takes many forms, and heterarchists strive to counter each form of power with another form of power.  Thus heterarchists work against both big government and the influence of large corporations.  For heterarchists, any movement, (left-wing, right-wing, centrist, outsider, or even “heterarchist”!) will likely become corrupt once it gains power, if not sooner, and