Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Please, my goodness please... end the intern[m]e[n]t.

I'll quote Nietzsche, I think:

Something that has failed should be all the more honored just because it has failed — this agrees much better with my morality. — "God"

Does anyone has any... uh... ideas regarding how I might destroy the internet from, you know, outside the internet... I did put "The Martix" in my library queue, but if memory serves me, that movie was more of an inspirational bit than a how-to.

Seriously, the internet is awful. Go away.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

David Graeber is Funny

Stinkin' thrilled the Sun God is keeping longer hours (my normal not-so-stable ways are tailspun by 8 hours of daylight), the chickens are ostensibly responding to the extra bits of lightlove, as eggs are back in regular creation. I've been reading Debt: The First 5,000 Years and much like a clump of essays bundled under the title Revolution in Reverse, Graeber is amusing, especially in the notes section — the polite (or not) take-down being his forte, this one cracked me up:
As I remarked earlier, both Adam Smith and Nietzsche thus anticipate Levi-Strauss's famous argument that language is the "exchange of words." The remarkable thing here is that so many have managed to convince themselves that in all this, Nietzsche is providing a radical alternative to bourgeois ideology, even to the logic of exchange. Deleuze and Guattari, most embarrassingly, insist that "the great book of modern ethnology is not so much Mauss' The Gift as Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morals. At least it should be," since, they say, Nietzsche succeeds in interpreting "primitive society" in terms of debt, where Mauss still hesitates to break with the logic of exchange. On their inspiration, Sarthou-Lajus has written philosophy of debt as an alternative to bourgeois ideologies of exchange, that, she claims, assume the prior autonomy of the person. Of course what Nietzsche proposes is not an alternative at all. It's another aspect of the same thing. All this is a vivid reminder of how easy it is to mistake radicalized forms of our own bourgeois tradition as alternatives to it (Bataille [1993], who Deleuze and Guttari praise as another alternative to Mauss in the same passage, is another notorious example of this sort of thing).
Perhaps not a passage that will cause you to run to the bookstore (maybe crab-walk) so here's another I just enjoyed:
Similar ideas have become the basis of that most basic, dominant institution of our present economic life: wage labor, which is, effectively, the renting of our freedom in the same way that slavery can be conceived as its sale. It's not only our freedoms that we own; the same logic has come to be applied even to our own bodies, which are treated, in such formulations, as really no different than houses, cars, or furniture. We own ourselves, therefore outsiders have no right to trespass on us. Again, this might seem an innocuous, even a positive notion, but it looks rather different when we take into consideration the Roman tradition of property on which it is based. To say that we own ourselves is, oddly enough, to cast ourselves as both master and slave simultaneously. "We" are both owners (exerting absolute power over our property) and yet somehow, at the same time, the things being owned (being the object of absolute power). The ancient Roman household, far from having been forgotten in the mists of history, is preserved in our most basic conception of ourselves—and, once again, just as in property law, the result is so strangely incoherent that it spins off into endless paradoxes the moment one tries to figure out what it would actually mean in practice. Just as lawyers have spent a thousand years trying to make sense of Roman property concepts, so have philosophers spent centuries trying to understand how it could be possible for us to have a relation of domination over ourselves. The most popular solution—to say that each of us has something called a "mind" and that this is completely separate from something else, which we can call "the body," and that the first thing holds natural dominion over the second—flies in the face of just about everything we know about cognitive science. It's obviously untrue, but we continue to hold onto it anyway, for the simple reason that none of our everyday assumptions about property, law, and freedom would make any sense without it.
See, kinda funny, right? Not more than a few pages go by without him making light of us confused you-mans.

I want to share the terrifying response to a infrastructural breakdown in town yesterday, real quick: the local grocery store shut-down, resulting from this problem (which will most certainly be more regular and longer lasting in the near future). After being turned away, very politely by a store-worker, I hung out for a minute to see how my neighbors would respond. Rage. Angry fucks. Shock. I can't choose from almost-everything-I-can-imagine-eating!?!? Ahhhh!!! If this was enough to get folk all riled up, a chilling scene, for those of us who see various "disruptions" as the mode of the future times.