a) The state is absolutely against the rights of women
b) The state's values are to support those who have, rather than those who have not
from a and b - female women are the most worst off because of the way the state has constructed society
c) The welfare state is in a time of radical decay
from a and c - we can no longer rely on the state, we need to fight it's injustice and construct our own alliances because dependencies on the state keep us poor and disempowered.
d) We're very strong, noble, and deserve to be equal. Also we've accomplished a huge amount and have strong voices (seems to contradict c and a? and b?).
NOW - before you all cry fowl and say that state isn't absolutely against the rights of women, I'm going to put it out there that I believe every one of these points has truth to it, I do generally believe the state is entirely the enemy of justice, and needs to be abolished. Whether you agree with that or not, however, is not important to my case - what is important is that the task of justice is conceived of as 1) an imperative and 2) an impossible, or at least seemingly impossible task. I believe this to be the case.
However, if you noticed how strange d) looked in relation to the others, this is because it takes the position of "redemption" - "We're fucked, but it's going to be ok because, or we shouldn’t give up because". Redemption is the opiate of the weak. It's an up note, and it's important to end on an upnote, but what the feminist movements needs is not to redeem itself for what it's already done but rather to have direction. Now, it's not surprising that there was no real direction laid out in the meeting, because what direction can you take against the hegemony of an evil state - it's an impossible task, right? Wrong - it's an impossible task because you've conceived of yourself as a soldier in battle, a soldier in allegiance with others with common interests. It's a Marxist discourse.
What is required is strategic intervention - pushing points, pushing people's buttons at the right places and the right times. Inverting the discourse from within itself. The discourse of the state is a) immensely powerful (easily powerful enough to collapse itself) and b) fraught with its own undoing. What is required is not to fight against ideology because it is untrue, but rather to operate within ideology, undoing it from the inside. The Punk "fuck you" discourse will always have a place, but it should not co opt all the voices which could be having a far greater effect moving from within.
"Within", however, doesn't need to mean within the mainstream discourse. It could mean moving within sub cultures which spread across mainstream populations but only come into being a certain activities or festivals.
Put differently: the feminist discourse talks about "healing", and healing is great. However, the healing is happening currently on the level of the field hospital in the war in which women are the soldiers. Medicine needs to move from the field hospital to the puppet hospital, and strategically intervene in the sickness of discourse at large, everywhere (not just on the DTES).
1) The Neighbour/The Other/Language as devisive.
Firstly, he opposes Levinas' theorization of the other for being one sided and thus on its own terms the most grotesque violence against the other. He argued that the politicization of our society is as "the fear of the neighbour" - the neighbor is the homely face under which lurks an evil, (uncanny) spectre. Fear of the neighbor is related to proximity - the global village, and communication. More communication, more epistemic proximity between societies which are traditionally seperated by a gulf of a thousand miles, means more conflict between them (his prime example is the Mohammed cartoons). Alianation is sometimes useful - alianation maintains the abyssmal gulf between the self and the other. Habermas, others, argue language is the essential structural tool of unity - it is through language that we can understand each other, and even in conflict, conflict through language presupposes that we comprehend each other to some extent. Zizek flips this: Language is perhaps not the greatest tool of unity, but the greatest divider. It's because of language that it is easier to communicate with a Mongolian's dog than with the Mongolian person. Language makes it possible for us to be much more divided and in conflict than animals.
2) Violence (subjective/objective)
Violence is normally understood only as subjective violence - individuals breaking the peace, assaulting, breaking, smashing, graffiti-izing, setting cars on fire. However, to properly understand any instance of subjective violence it is neccesary to understand the huge amount of "objective" violence going on all the time to ensure the maintenance of the 'zero level' (I would say, "the peace").
3) tolerance/ intolerance
Why are so many political problems today spun as problems of intolerance? Huntington's book "the clash of civilzations" is close to Fukayama's - the end of history is an endless clash of civlizations because when the individual is decidedly the unit of spirit, the only unifying force strong enough to maintain conflicts is cultural. Culture is the velvet curtain which replaces the iron curtain of ideology. In liberalism, the cultural sphere is the private sphere (a reversal - of course the cultural sphere is traditionally public). (quote from Zizek: "Culture is literally transsubstantiated"). Standard paradox: tolerance is only possible in individualistic democratic countries, justifies the invasion of oppressive societies. Not actually a paradox, there are limits of tolerance (KKK?). This is the wrong "cultural studies" road.
a) Even if a universality is false (i.e. human rights), it has actuality as a discourse and can function as emancipatory. The very criticism of human rights is conditioned on there being a (admitantly flawed) discourse on human rights at all. Example: French Revolution begat the haiten revolution.
b)Marxist (and Hegelian) hermenutics (study of interpretation) are at their best not when subverting apparent universals, revealing them as particular, but rather the opposite - when revealing the apparently particular as universal. Capitalism is brutally universal, but experienced as perticular. One's desires to grow wealthy and purchase consumer goods are experienced as perticular, but make up par excellence a universal structure that is cultureless. You yourself are rarely aware of the world historical dimension of every particular act. (Of course! Methodological individualism prevents recognition of any Weltgeist!)
3)Dominant ecology of fear
Fear is mostly fake, in a perticular sense. Those who predict the catastrophe themselves hope it won't happen. Disconnect between "knowing" and belief. We know that global warming is a real problem, but the more we know it even as certainty, the more we can't believe it, the more we hope we'll be alright. Some argue this is because we are too scientific and that our common sense is unable to accept global warming because it becomes set in opposition it scientific cognition (looking at graphs versus staring out the window at a mountain). Thus, some argue that we need to return to an ecological naturalism relation to the world. Zizek: Wrong - we must instead unlearn the most basic coordinates of the life world, we must grow up and realize we have no where to which to return.
4) No way back
What does this "no where to return to" mean? Nature (me: physis) has no natural cyclical state. Sure, it has a cycle it has been following for several hundred thousand years, but there is nothing essential and permanent about this cycle (Platonic bias - permanence). We are natural beings, and nature has adjusted herself to the pollution which we spew. To stop polluting would cause dire catastrophe (cites scientific paper). Should we do what we can to lower our pollution? Of course, but we should not think that we are causing a catastrophe and that nature is devoid of catastrphe herself. We run off oil - oil is fossil fuel - the result of a horrible catastrophe - we run our society off past catastrophe. We need to cut off our epistemic embedeness is a false conception of ecology and cut ourselves loose into the abyss, MORE philosophical madness. Example: "I despise the dust that forms me and speaks to you". The destruction of the world is a small cosmic event,although it may be a large event on the scale of the solar system.
[I don't agree with this part of Zizek's analysis entirely, partially because I think he's wrong about capitalism being culture-less. My argument for this is grounded on an epochal history of being, whereas Zizek only seems to recognize one epoch and thus finds salvation in the very heights of nihilism and cold calculation]
5) False Urgency
Today Bill Gates in interviews will say that it doesn't matter how many computers he can sell if world hunger remains such a huge problem. Immediate refuge in actions, thought condemned as not doing anything. But immediate action (i.e. sending used T shirts to third world countries undermines attempts at starting their own factories) to "help" with world poverty often does nothing to help the problem. Thus, withdrawal, to "Learn, Learn, and Learn"- Lenin, is perhaps not such a bad option. There is a need to oppose the immediate demand to action because it does not allow time for the thought which would keep such action from merely reinforcing the structure which allows for the maintenance of so much objective violence. Charity as the last moment of capitalist accomadation is taking on a purely economic function (maintain status quo). "Only through patient theoretical work, something will emerge. Knowledge we need more than ever."
www.ladyada.net/ has many projects, but they all spring out of a spirit that is other than capitalism, ever greater subjection of nature, or the will to power. Rather, they are playful. They play with consciousness, perception, presentation. Play with technology. Technology, techne, being brought into being through humans bringing together matter with form. Art is techne a fortiori. Art - exemplary being. A racing Sekine, exemplary reconstitution of thrown aside parts. Thrown aside parts, recycling to make mp3 players, expression and entertainment in the age of the world's night. For us, not free form expressionism, but using the meaning of technological objects against, and towards the realization of, the meaning of technology and the character of truth in the age of technology.
Why would you prepare your turkey the hard way, if you could go straight from frozen pre stuffed with a butterball? Hmm, maybe if you wanted your turkey to be a work!
Why would you prepare your turkey the hard way, if you could go straight from frozen pre stuffed with a butterball? Hmm, maybe if you wanted your turkey to be a work!
However, if striking contrast between the edge of the sea and the edge of the land is what you seek, I must say that Neah Bay in Washington State fills that bill with more robustness. What is distinctive about Tofino is a little more subtle than that. The Telos of the community, being almost entirely devoted to certain kinds of tourism (see Uculette for a real working town, 30 km south of Tofino), draws a certain group of visitors. The ease of travelling there without a car (Bus, Ferry, Tofino bus) makes it accessible for travellers en masse.
But, it's not just that that makes Tofino distinctive. Maybe that it's one of the very few places you can drive to the west coast in Canada. Maybe it's the at-ease which (for me at least) pervades the Canadian landscape but disperses as you pass by the powerful border guards into the land of oz.
But, actually, that's likely not it either. Maybe it has to do with Surfing, which, despite being bound up in fashion and technology, provides a medium for mixing your labour with physis, and becoming attunted to the strength of the oceans and the sun and the moon. Maybe it's that the at-ease I spoke of is actually just the pseudo-legality of marijuana.
Or maybe it's the sense that I can go back alone.
The logic this time is that I am unable to do my thesis research at home, at such close proximity to my brothers and parents. I think it's decent logic. Also, moving in with Michelle, a long time friend, is an exciting prospect. Since I've moved home I've felt in a limbo - my life on hold until this degree is complete. Maybe I need this difference, this shock or new awakening to awaken my Will, to summon it such that I may complete this morsel of paper and press on to new and better things.
My first experience with a real westcoast festival, an ar festival, a dance festival, a temporary nation sharing th common goal of enlightenment for a weekend, was th Shambahla music festival. While there were a few lifers, the tin proportion of rock music in comparison to trance, drum and bass and down-tempo psychedelic/cosmic beats literally drummed th everyday way of looking at things out of people
The festival consisted of 5 dance stages (trance/drumandbass/hip hop/I don't know all the names for these things), one rock stage, and one non official stage in a small tent which played downtempo beats extremely loudly. Each night the music went on until noon the next day at at least 3 of the stages. The nights consisted of dancing, getting tired, wandering to another stage, possibly aquiring food along the way, and then continuing to dance. the nights end when tiredness sets in, usually after the sun comes up or at least first light is showing.
I didn't make a whole lot of friends persay, but then again, it's kind of hard to talk to people in the normal making friends conversations when the music is just really loud the whole time. Instead, I connected with people on a more physical-intentional level in ek-static dance. Ek-static dance is the tribal dance communities' word for it anyway, a simpler description would be shake your booty till your teeth fall out. The only new friend I had the privledge to speak with at length about the mysteries of being was Phong, who is in his own right so exceptional that meeting him certainly makes up for not meeting many others. Aside from Phong (was was a part of both Shambala express and Vancouver express) I met Matthias' friend Carlos who spoke to me about Gergieve (I'm likely spelling that wrong). Also, I met a girl from Victoria named Sara
The stages were the beach ("Living Room") - a stage on the border between the beach and the woods, with two dance floors (one on the beach, one in the woods). The best dance floor because it was made of wood, was the smallest, played the best music. The Fractal Forest played music closer to club mixes. It felt like being in a club, with lots of screens and visuals all around, except you are actually in a forest. The main stage was pretty much normal, just a stage with a wall around it. The Ewok village has a geodesic type roof, many balconies. The Portal is a new stage, like the Living Room in feel of the music, but always at a higher intensity. Probably the best rave stage. Also, right near to the portal is the renegade Seed of Life stage, where calmer music blasts at the limit of the speakers ability to produce it. Still, with earplugs on it was an appropriate place to chill.
The food was amazing. If I had known how great the vendors would be, I wouldn't have brought so much gear. Godiva's vegetarian express served the most amazing hot fresh halavah for 3$, plus you got served by an angel. Too many others to list, but I will mention Elfin Cones, run by the Fungineers. Elfin cones are 5$ ice cream cones dairy free made with hemp. I did not believe they were dairy free until I talked to many different people there. They actually taste like cream. Not like sherbet. It's ridiculous. Also, sometimes the elfin cones are wacky.
What I learned about dance (no one told me this, this is what I assembled for myself out of actually dancing). Dance is physical expression. Expression is gesture, gesture is intentional. Dance is communication. Dance is not aesthetic in its primary aspect, in the same manner that the jug is not aesthetic in its primary aspect. Movement of the body in dance awakens awareness in the dancer of their own body. Once this awareness comes to fruition, dance is no longer inhibited by "does this look cool", because style is no longer seen as the value but simply an effect.
At the ek-static dance workshop there was a lot of talk (although mostly movement) about shakras, and communing with the earth, sky, mortals and gods (although they didn't use that term set directly). Cosmic energy flowing through the body seems like an effective way that many people are able to come into awareness of their own physicality, but it also undermines that physicality by positing a ground of the physical which exists in the metaphysical. Of course, if we realize that metaphysics themselves are physics, and that what we call physics are mostly metaphysics, these bifurcations will cease to bring about the troubles that they do now. They do bring about troubles now though, one effect of which is a general resentment towards academic types in the whole community. Philosophy/theory is conceived purely as idea, and is seeing as a veil which can aid practice but is ultimately distinct from it. Philosophy is in fact, a practice itself. It would help, however, if there were more live philosophers who taught philosophy in this way.
While this account of the festival might repel some people, I don't think I know a lot of people who would not enjoy themselves if they came to it with an open mind and a full stomach.
And then I realized, they are the artists.
Delving a little deeper, it seems that generally miscomprehensions about Heidegger's rejection of Abstract art comes from miscomprehension in the commentators on the issue of Ge-stell and its relation to nihilism and representation. Young says that Art must be representational in order to represent the world as holy. The world cannot be represented as holy, the world can be revealed as holy in images but in order to do this the art must leave the sphere of representation/symbolism. Heidegger condemns images like the "black square" as functions of modern technology not because they are themselves a branch of technology but because they represent it. Representational art is essentially metaphysical, and thus nihilistic because nihilism is the underlying law of metaphysics (the nihil in nihilism is the annihilation of being). Thus, the black square is not "innocuous" but rather is an expample of the danger as such because calling it "art" means elevating the representation of nihilism/gestell to the status of art, and glorifying being itself as a value.
The question is not can semi-representational art be poetic, but rather can non-representational art be poetic? If it merely represents the transforming of being into a value, can it represent this as such and thus expose the destitution of the needy times? Need my thesis condemn non-representational art as thoroughly nihilistic? Or, can it be praised out of the Beitrage for bringing about the lack of crisis?
But what is Time? Philosophers have their ideas - time is a never ending sequence of "nows", or, time is a way of orienting yourself towards the future out of the past. Time is ek-static, made up of there stases: future, past and present? The plurality of their ideas asserts one basic un-graspable fact: time is an illusion. Time is an illusion that keeps us from grasping space. We can hardly see space, except in a glance, because we are too afraid of loosing our time - of wasting it, of not seeing it as it slips away. We must "make the most" of our time here, as they say. They - who? Everyone, especially me. I'm the worst - don't waste your time I'll say. Don't linger, don't meander around irresolutely or in bad faith.
Not this time.
This trip is about space. It's easy to do in North America; space is abundant. Abundant quantity. Abundantly full of people, of their goods - cabbages, carrots, tyco RC. But this trip isn't about people, it's about space. Not about people living in space, not about "surroundings". No, it's about the pure vastness which lays itself out before the horizon. It's about driving at the horizon quickly enough to see it's retreat, to see it's illusory edge. When the horizon quivers and appears as horizon the true vastness of space is recognized for the first time.
So we will need roads. This puts Canada's north right out. Plenty of Space, but the determination required to cross it would require a continued attachment to time. What time is the sun going down? How many days rations do we have left? How far to the next outpost ("far", in this sense, is always a measurement of time).
Thus, to escape time the niceties of material existence will need to be maintained. Diners. Fuel stations. At such intervals that the intervals (a measure of time) can be forgotten. The prairies would suit. Many places, in effect, would suit: the midwest, the deep south, death valley. The choice is made for no reason, the central and south central states. Desert. Vast distances. Two lane and four lane blacktop. The season is unimportant, although the death of the summer heat would be best. Somewhat reminiscent of Captain Beefheart's reasoning for moving to Arizona. The vehicle? Any will do, but my choice is a 1981 Camaro Z28 coupe with T-tops. Not much of a choice really, it's just the car I own. Not a "practical car" if your desired ends are cheap transportation, but satisfying if you desire attitude. Old, mean, fast and loose. Doubles the limit easily, and lays rubber like it's 1969 - that's an idea not a date. I'm not even going to make a joke about how much it drinks...
The question of companionship is a difficult one. Certainly an argument can be made that such a trip is best attempted alone. Face the vast distances alone. Face the solitary confinement of mountain ranges. alone. But I'm not alone, I have a girlfriend. Better still, a girlfriend who likes the dead kennedys, riding fast with the t-tops out, getting pissed at dirty bars, and kinky sex in crummy motels. So, what kind of fool would I be to leave her in the Canadian winter, slave to the daily gambit whilst I went whirring around deserts contributing to global warming with no purpose? Her name is Marlene.
Which brings me to the last methodological conern - purpose. We live in a society where reason is often praised as a highest value, but if we look carefully we see that it is never reason that determines values, goals, truths, or ends. Reason is merely subjective, instrumental. Reason is merely technology. But, since politiciens, religious fanatics, new world mystics have all of a sudden given us a thousand other (by definitionirrational) sources for meaning, we hardly miss it at all. This trip is not without purpose, it is not "aimless", although on the surface it appears to be nothing but sheer purposelessness. Rather, the purpose of the trip - which must be at all costs ignored and forgotten if it is to be achieved - is to annihilate time to let space show itself as itself.