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Incoming links
from Weird Studies/Glass Bead Game
    • There was a mention of Finite and Infinite Games but it included a bit of a sneer at it for being read by "business people". I found that off-putting even though I certainly share in that kind of snobbery. There's a mild but definite aura of subcultural elitism around WS, of being better than the normies.
    • At the very end
      • The act of divination is when you have an instance in real life (work, minefield etc) with high stakes, life and death, and turn it into a game, by abstracting and stepping out of (in order to serve its concrete unfolding). (paraphrase)
      • They (Tarot, I Ching, GBG) are games, but are infinite games (and there is only one infinite game).
      • Learning to make life a game, playing with the relationship between play and the serious (see WorkPlay). The glass bead game as a representation of the esthetic. Divination as a way to play without losing the stakes, as an artwork that is for full blown goals...
      • Mentioned the word "entelechy" which I have to admit I have no fucking idea what it means. OK like Aristotelian soul or Leibniz monads https://www.britannica.com/topic/entelechy
        • The term was revived around the turn of the 20th century by Hans Driesch, a German biologist and philosopher, in connection with his vitalistic biology to denote an internal perfecting principle which, he supposed, exists in all living organisms.
from The Flip, Jeffrey Kripal
  • To be fair: on listening to him on Weird Studies he says that mind and material are two sides of the same coin (a nice extension of the "flip" metaphor), so I'm probably not going to have any deep disagreement with him.
from Weird Studies/Unabomber
    • Well this ep was in my wheelhouse. Not so much about the Unabomber as with the various weird countercultural threads tied to cybernetics, the agency of technology (they cite What Technology Wants ) and Kacinzky's reaction.
    • It's kind of funny how they issue hasty disclaimers that while K had a point, we don't really advocate murder in pursuit of anti-technocratic goals.
    • They really hate Twitter and Facebook, more than I do for sure. Technology as an overmind that subsumes our own minds.
    • Weird reference to unspecified "MIT Scientists". (just before 33:00 mark)
    • Gelertner's Mirror Worlds mentioned. I think he's probably misinterpreting Gelertner's intent, but maybe not, he's got some weirdness about him.
    • Discussion of how technology creates and solves problems. Argh they really are out of tune on this stuff, that's the only way I can put it. Of course I'm an "MIT scientist" so maybe I'm part of the problem, what they are against. They are conflating technology and capitalism and modernism...it's not technologists that generate ceaseless change, read your Marx.
    • They even discuss this, but say technology is better term than capitalism for what they are talking about. (around 40:00 mark)
    • "Maybe the world will be better with climate change" – eyeroll. Wants a less apocalyptic tone...
    • Mentions Uber as height of technocratic ideal. Well yes, but this is a much different technocratic ideal from the utopias of the 20-60s.
    • The Wayback Machine is basically the Akashic Record.
    • Second card dealt (wow that is on point):
    • image.png
    • Ah Stewart Brand comes up (incorrectly credited with inventing the term "personal computer"). And they cite Le Guin's Almost Coming Home which I really want to reread.
    • And the Brautigan poem about machines of loving grace...of course.
    • Oh nice comparing Whole Earth Catalog with the Hexen deck and the film The Net that they are talking about...all are primarily networks of ideas.
from Weird Studies/Colin Wilson
    • Interesting background on Wilson. I've been carting around both The Outsider and The Occult for decade without reading them, maybe now is the time to remedy that.
    • He was an autodidact that ran into some hostility from the British class system.
    • His ongoing project of "optimistic existentialism" – not sure what that means.
    • Story of how he started out living in a tent in Hampstead Heath and spending his days in the British Library autodidacting – and then eventually had a huge library. Must have made bank and bought a house sometime in between, but they didn't discuss that!
    • Faculty X – something which is supposed to explain various occult phenom. Not a sense so much as the ability to integrate sensation into wholes. The root of imagination, of being able to picture worlds other than the immediate surroundings.
    • Wilson is future-oriented rather than past-oriented, sees the occult as blending with science to produce the knowledge of the future. Mentions cybernetics as a start.
    • The life force, mana, chi. Banished by modernism but it shouldn't be, it points to something real.
    • The usual confusion about teleology and reductionism, but this time motivated by anti-natalists like Benatar(?) I think I agree about anti-natalists but for completely different reasons. This is JFM who is Catholic and really hates nihilism, both the Foucauldian and scientific-materialist varieties.
    • Also boxing, interesting – it's ugliness reflects that of life, that's why PF follows it. OK.
    • The universal agent?
from Weird Studies/Michael Garfield
    • Talking about his theory of The Glass Age, which I find interesting but unconvincing. It's that modernity is definied by the use of glass, in buildings (they mention the Crystal Palace but oddly not the very dominating role of glass in modernist skyscrapers), in lenses, mirrors, test tubes.
    • Garfield has his own podcast, Future Fossils, which seems interesting but I haven't had time to get into it. He's affiliated with the Santa Fe Institute and seems to be a bridge between the weirdosphere and the more scientific and technical worlds. The Visionary Art of Michael Garfield – michaelgarfield
    • Mentioned "the agency of materials" and hypermodernity...sigh, I'm behind in all these trendy areas. Also speculative realism. We know the world is unknowable. OK.
    • Some stuff about UFOs and the dimensions of the moon that were way too in left-field for me, to put it as politely as I can.
    • McLuhan, move from ear to eye. The eye suggest separation, private property, exclusion, whereas hearing is immersive (they've talked about this before).
    • Talk about the ancient image as the stars and planets on glass spheres (where did that come from, surely glass spheres weren't that common in the ancient world? )
    • Blind spots – also sounded like bullshit, sorry.
    • A misunderstanding of Xeno's Paradox (I think)
    • Some stuff about extension of the nervous system (after Gregory Bateson ) but I'm not sure what the issue, isn't it obvious that technologies extend our nervous system? Mentioning Jaron Lanier and haptic feedback...JFM seems confused, insisting on the reality of the self, the others seem closer to my (correct) view. "The absolute singularity of your personal experience". Irreducible and real.
      • Hm, seeing hints of his Catholicism, manifested here as virulent opposition to anything that seems to point towards nihilism. I don't think I necessarily agree, but I appreciate his forthrightness and his ability to articulate these strong feelings.
    • "The self is distributed" but I am not quite sure what they mean by that.
    • Funny Garfield and JFM are making very different.
    • Story about an egoless person at Burning Man (no default mode network).
    • "Through meditation you can become the kind of person Sam Harris approves of"
    • "The scientific method changes when you are tripping balls"
    • Some stuff on augmented science and the nature of knowledge...I think that's another conversation.
    • JFM: insisting (from Bergson) that philosophy is about the singularity that you are.
from Weird Studies/Gebser
    • Name comes up a lot. An. "integralist" philosopher, I have to admit that sets off my hackles. But I'm trying to overcome them. Other people in that sphere: Ken Wilber, Teilhard de Chardain, Jung, William Irwin Thompson.
    • Integralism ≡ holism ≡ soulism and I reject it, except, I also seem to long for it or something, which is why I find myself hanging out with magicians and occultists even if I can't bring myself to share their beliefs. Or to some extent maybe I feel I've just exhausted what materialism | postmodernism | nihilism can do for me, and in despair turning to what I have rejected.
      • Will say this for the WS people is that they bring a deep sense of reflection and irony to religious subjects. Not snark-irony, but playful-distance-irony. That's very attractive, or resonant, or whatever. They are extremely sharp but in ways that I tend to undervalue.
    • Perspecitivalism self and modernism.
    • "Structures of Consciousness" McLuhan connection.
    • Are structures linear, historical, developing, or just alternatives that are always available? Multilayered, like an organism (or software layers in my own parlance).
    • Clock time accelerates and breaks the perspectival world (this sounds very much like Technic and Magic story).
    • The integral is time freedom (achronon) ??? Untimely, not as eternity but leaving the time dimension entirely...Nietzsche...Bergson's subjective time. "Quintessence of time" is time reclaimed for the subject. Spatialization of time.
    • JFM spiel at around 28:00 damn I felt like I almost got what he was talking about there for a second. Hm. I have no problem from intellectual level distinguishing between spatialized, measured, clock-based time and subjective time, time as experience. But I feel like he's making some larger point about these things that I just don't quite get, that the clock time is harmful, inimical to personal time and must be fought at some level.
      • That also I don't have any problem believing: I'm very fortunate to have a good job where I can largely manage my own time, but I think of those poor below-the-API Amazon workers or Uber drivers, with their every instant tracked and subjected to judgement. They are truly being reduced to machinery, at some really deep level, and it's offensive. They are slaves of the clock and there needs to be a rebellion. (well today (April 1 2022)was a rare successful union vote of Amazon workers).
    • aperspectival works, Joyce and Picasso
    • OK, the discussion around 35:00 or so got way the fuck too into the abstract for me to follow. Something was unfolding, but you don't want to think of it as development because that's bad somehow (because it's too linear and spatialized maybe?). Anyway they lost me here.
    • JFM ideology, magic (for instance) has been outlawed by modernism and needs to be restored. Not to discard modernism, but to bring back what it rejected.
    • But you can't synthesize them dialectically, you have combine them "integrally". I have no idea what that means. Wilber is too perspectival?
    • The arational as presence.
    • Negative Dialectics – Perspectival claims upper hand over other, not A, not B, not A+B, but ... neither A nor B, beyond any of the settled positions. Thought not enough to get you there, you need something experiential like meditation. I'm down with this program.
    • So what is neither perspictival nor unperspcetivale? Equates to satori.
    • Cultivating a deepened sense of presence.
    • Intensifying the presence of art through practices. Quiddity. Long Viewing.
    • That word sustasis (?) they keep using...when the object gazes back.
    • Getting a wink back from the dark...discovering the other through a nonrational communion.
    • Always a latent faculty in us for this stuff. Dōgen ref. Story about the Age of Degenerate Law and the rise of Pure Land Buddhism, which was new to me. Dogen's model of time, as awakening as atemporal.
    • Ever-present origin, its atemporal somehow, orthogonal to everything. Integrality can spring forth....the presence of origin. It wants to realize itself in us...something compels us to realize the whole, we can't avoid it, we already participate in it.
    • It is our intent to furnish evidence that the aperspectival world, whose nascence we are witnessing, can liberate us from the superannuated legacy of both the unperspectival and the perspectival worlds. In very general terms we might say that the unperspectival world preceded the world of mind- and ego-bound perspective discovered and anticipated in late antiquity and first apparent in Leonardo's application of it. Viewed in this manner the unperspectival world is collective, the perspectival individualistic. That is, the unperspectival world is related to the anonymous "one" or the tribal "we," the perspectival to the "I" or Ego; the one world is grounded in Being, the other, beginning with the Renaissance, in Having; the former is predominantly irrational, the later rational.
from Weird Studies/Tarot
    • See Tarot .
from Weird Studies/Lem's New Cosmogony
    • Ending the deadlock of science and religion by postulating emergent entities that can rewrite the rules of physics.
    • 41:00 Lem at hear a scientific naturalist, but something of a heresiarch
    • Science and religion, conccious neutrality, resulting the blindness of science...closely connected with intentionality...such stuff became taboo in science...sealed the lips and brains of science...
    • Weirdosphere is definitionally theistic? Uh-oh. Lem trying to introduce intention without god.
    • Reason and Wonder, David Pruitt (also on split of science religion and how coming back together)
      • anti-entropy as love?
    • Creation as ongoing (Teilhard)
    • His Master's Voice (Lem novel)
    • From the book:
      • The sciences of the time held, more or less, to the following schema: if we wish to know the mechanism of a clock, the fact of whether or not there are bacteria on its cogs and counterweights has not the least significance, either for the structure or for the kinematics of its works. Bacteria certainly cannot influence the movement of a clock! In precisely the same way it was con­sidered that intelligent beings could not interfere in the move­ment of the cosmic mechanism, and hence that that mechanism should be studied with complete disregard for the conceivable presence of beings in it.
      • This unpleasant, even vexing impression derives, I think, from our regarding any synthesis of physics and the will to be inadmissible—I would even say, indecent—to the rational mind. For myths are a pro­ jection of the will. The ancient cosmogonic myths, in solemn tones, and with a simple-hearted innocence that is the lost para­dise of humanity, tell how Being sprang from the conflict of demiurgic elements, elements clothed by legend in various forms and incarnations, how the world was born of the love- hate embrace of god-beasts, god-spirits, or supermen; and the suspicion that precisely this clash, being the purest projection of anthropomorphism onto the blank space of the cosmic enigma, that this reducing of Physics to Desires was the prototype the author made use of—such a suspicion can never be altogether overcome....the attempt to expound it in the language of empiricism smacks of incest, of a vulgar inability to keep separate concepts and categories that have no business being joined in an indiscriminate union
      • He converted me; I can even point to the place in A New Cosmogony that accomplished this. I re­ fer to Section Seventeen of the sixth chapter of the book, the one which speaks of the marvelment of the Newtons, Einsteins, Jeanses, and Eddingtons at the fact that the laws of nature were amenable to mathematical expression, that mathematics— the fruit of the pure exercise of the logical mind—could prove a match for the Universe. Some of those greats, like Eddington and Jeans, believed that the Creator Himself was a mathema­tician and that we descried, in the work of creation, the signs of this His characteristic.,,Mathematics, an approximation of the structure of the Universum, somehow never quite manages to hit the nail squarely on the head hut is always just a little of! the mark...Mathematics and the world will converge,... when the work of creation has reached its goal, and it is still in progress. The laws of nature are not yet what they are “supposed” to be; they will become such not as a result of the perfecting of mathematics, but as a result of actual transformations in the Macrocosm!
        • also not to be a spoilsport but this implies that the macrocosm is evolving in time, which leaves time out of the theory...
      • For it is purely by reflex that we think of the entire material world as yielding to the following sharp logical dichot­ omy: either it was created by Someone (and then, standing on the ground of faith, we name that Someone the Absolute, God, the First Cause) or, on the other hand, it was created by no one, which means, as when we deal with the world as scien­ tists, that no one created it. But Acheropoulos says: Tertium datur. The world was created by No One, but all the same it was created; the Universe possesses Makers.
        • This is key
      • such disciplines as game theory or the algebra of conflict struc­tures
      • Wonder what "algebra of conflict structures" refers to, sounds intriguing.
      • At last a state of cautious neu­trality was reached between Science and Faith, the one endeavoring not to get in the way of the other. It was as a result of this coexistence, touchy enough, tense enough, that the blindness of Science came about, evident in Science’s avoidance of the ground on which rests the idea of the New Cosmogony. This idea is closely connected with the notion of intentionality —in other words, with what is part and parcel of a faith in a personal God. For intentionality constitutes the foundation of such a faith. According to religion, after all, God created the world by an act of will and design—that is to say, by an intentional act. And so Science declared the notion to be sus­ pect and even forbade it outright. It became, in Science, taboo; one was not permitted even to make the least mention of it, lest one fall into the mortal sin of irrationalistic deviation. That fear not only sealed the lips of the scientists; it sealed their brains as well.
      • The Cosmogonic Game proceeds differently from that of chess, for in it the rules change—that is, the manner of the moves, and the pieces themselves, and the board.
      • My procedure was heretical in the extreme, because science’s first premise is the thesis that the world comes “ready-made” and “finished” in its laws, whereas I was assuming that our present Physics represented a transitional stage on the way to particular transformations.
      • Gödel’s proof could not have been drawn, because then the laws governing the constructibility of mathematical systems were different from what they are today.
      • OK, don't like, because Gödel doesn't depend on any physics, and math cannot be different in different universes.
from Weird Studies/Introduction
    • Where it all began.
    • Magic as the Other of modernity
      • This idea is hyper-developed in Technic and Magic. I'm not sure how much I like it. It seems to be based on a rather crude dualism. But OK, let's roll with it.
    • "interested in ideas that are hard for us to think"
    • "things that don't fit" – paranormal, Fortean sorts of things. Things that don't fit into the way the world works.
from free will
  • Ah this is exactly the opposite of the Weird Studies stance, and I'm sort of torn between them, although trying to lean Weird because I like those people better, but by my inner nature I'm probably more Rationalist, bitch about it though I might.
from Meditations on the Tarot
  • A book of "Christian Hermeticism", organized as a commentary on the major arcana of the Tarot . A mainstay of Weird Studies. It's an amazingly rich book, although the Christian perspective is hard for me to swallow.
from Weird Studies/Mr Punch
from Technic and Magic
  • book by Federico Campagna, via Weird Studies. Posits two contrasting "cosmogonic forces"; Technic, which dominates today's world, and Magic, an alternative approach to reality that is supposed to be liberatory or at least not subject to Technic's flaws, which include being ultimately self-destructive of the very reality it attempts to construct.
from Weird Studies/Erik Davis
from Weird Studies/Radical Mystery
    • One of those more philosophical episodes where I have this reaction of extreme frustration; I feel like the hosts are onto something very close to my own views but just different enough that it causes dissonance, like if you play two adjacent piano keys.
    • In this case they are dealing with one of the fundamental principles of Weird Studies, Radical Mystery, which seems to be something like: the cosmos is inherently mysterious, and in a way that goes beyond mere unknowability. Some quality baked into the foundations of reality makes it weird, or mysterious (not quite the same thing but related). This manifests in paranormal phenomena like UFOs.
      • Taking that stuff seriously is where I get out of the boat, but OTOH the hosts take great pains to emphasize that the paranormal can't be studied by science, because its too idiosyncratic and unrepeatable. Given that, my science-nerd self can't really object, although I'm not sure what you are supposed to do about it. Weird shit happens, it can't be predicted or reasoned about, so, what are you supposed to take from it?
    • They were talking about a certain kind of experience – forget the term they used, but when objects take on a certain intensity, a thisness, a presence to them. I've experienced that on psychedelics, and its one of the more striking phenomena, I've always wanted to understand it better.
    • First there is a mountain Then there is no mountain Then there is
    • Plotinus, the problem of the undescended soul.
    • In Soto Zen, no awakening, just practice (but there is a diversity of opinion)
    • Spiritual practice should be a confrontation with death with no guard rails. Has to be dangerous to be a real initiatory experience.
    • Listening to the podcast itself is such a dangerous act – to be born and die to oneself... This Is It. Um, OK, this doesn't feel that dangerous but maybe it is, maybe I am risking my sanity (or at least my identity) by ingesting all this stuff and trying to take it seriously.
from Weird Studies/Pit and the Pyramid
    • This one was focusing on two pieces of music, neither of which was familar to me. Also I listened to it in the car to and from a periodontist appointment so I'm not in what you'd call the most open mood.
    • Funny that I never even heard of The Nervous Set, it sounds like my kind of thing. It's the source for Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most.
    • They had one of those convos about postmodernism and nihilism. These guys are deliberately somewhat intellectually conservative, I guess understandable if you are an academic humanist where pomo nihilism is the dominant philosophy. I'm just a complete outsider and to me antifoundationalism seems kinda hip, it can actually be a solution to the philosopher's blues rather than a problem. But I'm weird.
    • PF told a story about his father, who was a depressed philosopher and an angry atheist, "god doesn't exist and he's an asshole". That's sort of my base view as well, but I'm trying to lever myself out of it. (reminds of Yossarian and belief ).
    • Marx on commodification.
from God in Search of Man, Abraham Joshua Heschel
  • This is resonating with my current struggles with Weird Studies. And of course I come from a field that has no problem thinking it can model the human mind.
from Weird Studies/Jung on Art
    • Jung as "making the world safe for esotericism", that is, finding ways to talk about it which don't sound idiotic.
    • A pretty fair dissection of the differences between science and art: science looks for the general, art is always singular. That is pretty fair to science. I'm still of the opinion that one should not be afraid of reductionism.
    • Works of art as autonomous wholes. OK. To the extent that anything is an autonomous whole, why should an artwork not be one. Recalls Sloterdijk's description of Rilke's poem in You Must Change Your Life, which is about an artwork being not only agentic but godlike, commanding and demanding something from the viewer.
    • Fantasy – bringing about something from the past that has been lost (as opposed to SF's future orientation)
    • Jung's role as part scientist, part mystic (Red Book was apparently hidden)
    • Jung's politics – flourishing of individuals. So s bi bourgie for the left.
    • Jung as "modernomancer". Like necromancy is aimed at death (or death's power over us), Jung aims to defeat or tame modernity, using it against itself. "Use modernity to create a space of non-modernity". An unlawful techne. A modernomacner does not succumb to modernity or act as its priest (like Freud). Jung used modernity for awakening, not for traditional Enlightenment (rationality).

    • Part 2

    • Against reductionist theories of Art
    • demarcating Art and Science (particularity/generality)
    • archetypes and symbols
    • what primordial image lies behind the image of art
    • [on walk] on the nature of archetypes, the difference between art that "gleams" with this sort of higher power and more "artisanal" art that has (only) mundane purpose.
    • Art that is of the time and art that is from the depths, the latter is supposed to be superior. Not so sure, I remember Otto Piene at MIT emphasizing that he and his art was of a specific time and that was part of the point.
    • To work with the archetypes you have to treat them as entities (agents). As Jung calls it "an autonomous complex". A luminous parasite that takes over the artist. Kind of Lovecraftian.
    • Conversation eventually found its way to Wagner and his idea of a Gesamkunstwerk,
      • but detoured with a discussion of auteur theory, which seemed off. Movies are gesamkunstwerk because of the overwhelmingness of the medium, not because of the control of a single auteur. (note: what the hell do I know compared to the actual artists discussing this)
      , and the relations between Wagner's work and his virulent anti-semitism. PF is a Wagnerite but of course appalled and embarassed by Wagner's politics, which is fine (in fact my mother, a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany, was a huge Wagner fan). He complains that the "reduction" of Wagner's art to politics is crass.
      • I really did not like this. It seems absurd to think that someone with such strong and emotional opinions about Jews would keep those feelings separate from his work. How is that even possible? Maybe if you really think of the artwork as an independent being conjured out of "the imaginal", then it doesn't inherit the emotions or moral failings of the author?
        • Or is this just a variant of the constant tedious arguments about who or what deserves to be canceled. In that case I'm probably on the same side as the hosts, I'm happy to let people view and admire the artworks of horrible human beings. But you still have to acknowledge the horrible aspects, that's definitely a necessary part of the reception of an artwork.
      • The imaginal is a force like the Alps, part of reality, and thus real art is not mere culture (human) but also a tapping-into of these cosmic forces.
        • The artwork will make use of the nasty parts of the human as well as the good. t's not so much that the artwork is noble while the creator is vile; it's that the artwork points to a realm outside the moral. outside the historical. You can't say no to art because of its moral content.
      • Soul-making. Disenchantment from modernity.
      • re the autonomy of artworks:
    • The actual essay

    • Grump grump another person who thinks explaining something is to diminish it. This attitude is extremely common, especially in the WS-sphere but it drives me nuts.
    • no trace of "mind" can be found in the natural instincts of animals
    • o rly?
    • Some stuff about how a work of art transcends the mere psychological and physical processes of the author. I find that ho-hum, but then:
    • But a work of art is not transmitted or derived - it is a creative reorganization of those very conditions to which a causalistic psychology must always reduce it. The plant is not a mere product of the soil; it is a living, self-contained process which in essence has nothing to do with the character of the soil. In the same way, the meaning and individual quality of a work of art inhere within it and not in its extrinsic determinants. One might almost describe it as a living being that uses man only as a nutrient medium, employing his capacities according to its own laws and shaping itself to the fulfilment of its own creative purpose. (emph added)
    • Distinguishing art where the artist is in control from the other kind:
    • They come as it were fully arrayed into the world, as Pallas Athene sprang from the head of Zeus. These works positively force themselves upon the author; his hand is seized, his pen writes things that his mind contemplates with amazement. ... He can only obey the apparently alien impulse within him and follow where it leads, sensing that his work is greater than himself, and wields a power which is not his and which he cannot command. Here the artist is not identical with the process of creation; he is aware that he subordinate to his work or stands outside it, as though he were - a second person; or as though a person other than himself had fallen within the magic circle of an alien will.
    • We would do well, therefore, to think of the creative process as a living thing implanted in the human psyche. In the language of analytical psychology this living thing is an autonomous complex. It is a split-off portion of the psyche, which leads a life of its own outside the hierarchy of consciousness. Depending on its energy charge, it may appear either as a mere disturbance of conscious activities or as a supraordinate authority which can harness the ego to its purpose
from Weird Studies/Joshua Ramey
from Weird Studies/Blade Runner
  • Don't know if that's an accurate depiction of Ridley Scott's thinking but it certainly encapsulates the Weird Studies stance. I'm all of those things (in part) and I feel attacked. I'm asking for it of course by hanging out in their world. My defense – looking for a noncynical version of materialism, a positive version of irony (see A Case for Irony ).
from Weird Studies/Holiday Bonus
    • They do Adventure Time! That was fun. Focusing on the 2-part episode Puhoy where Finn dreams an alternate life in Pillow-land. Some speculation on the nature of alternate selves, separate memory sets. They also mentioned Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
    • Severance is an obvious artistic take on it, but this ep was from 2020.
from Weird Studies/Request List
    • This page is not about an episode; it's my list of things that I think it would be cool for them to cover that they mostly haven't yet, and seem like they would fit in well, and in many cases I feel I am in need of guidance.
    • Bataille's The Sacred Conspiracy
    • 'Pataphysics
      • structurally similar to Weird Studies – a general science of the exceptional
    • Thomas Pynchon, Don Delillo
      • huh that is a really big omission! I think their work is pretty god damned weird in their way, and Pynchon is kind of foundational. Also Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian was weird enough to freak me out.
    • The Black Rider, Tom Waits/Burroughs/Robert Wilson
      • Or the entire Waits oeuvre come to think of it.
    • Mr. Burns
      • ok this is obscure but I thought it was great and relates to their "trash stratum" idea
    • Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer
      • They've discussed the movie Annihilation that was based on these, but the books are much weirder IMO.
    • The Prisoner
    • John Zorn, his work is drenched in hermetic stuff. Also Secret Chiefs 3 and other Zorn collaborators.
    • Christopher Alexander
      • Alexander's last masterwork, The Nature of Order , called for both an architecture and metaphysics with radically different assumptions than modernist materialism, one in which "centers" and "life" were fundamental aspects of reality. That sounds like a WS sort of thing.
    • The Fly
      • There is a Cronenberg episode, haven't gotten to it yet
from Weird Studies/Pattern Recognition
    • Admiration for Gibson's prescient vision and skill in rendering a world which is superficially like ours yet very strange.
    • As they are wont to do, the conversation goes to the nature of magic and the relationship between symbols and reality. The context is Gibson's largely symbolic world of semiotic signs – tif there is no other nature, then it's not that mysterious.
      • But when they do that I always want to jump up and say "computation has a theory of that!". See computational constitution. But these guys are anti-tech humanists, more or less.
    • The symbol as having two sides, from the original definition. The dark side where everything connects. The opposite from the superficial, well-lit side.
      • The word symbol derives from the Greek σύμβολον symbolon, meaning "token, watchword" from σύν syn "together" and βάλλω bállō " "I throw, put." The sense evolution in Greek is from "throwing things together" to "contrasting" to "comparing" to "token used in comparisons to determine if something is genuine." Hence, "outward sign" of something. The meaning "something which stands for something else" was first recorded in 1590, in Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queene. – Symbol - Wikipedia
    • Surfaces that hide depths. Mercury.
    • The revelation of the top of the pyramid. Yes that is a typical Gibson ending, the real powers of the earth who are driving things are revealed. In this case, the "baron of attention" (Bigend) meets a Russian oligarch.
    • A novel about discovering agency, fighting off the attention vampires. Intention vs. attention.
    • Mentioning Rushkoff's Program or Be Programmed which I should read if only for the title.
      • This show is about a certain streak of anti-pessimism or anti-miserablism, and this stance is key, the persona of the magician is someone aware of the forces in which they are enmeshed, who can listen to the voices and do something with them.
from The Flip, Jeffrey Kripal
  • Kripal was academic advisor to Erik Davis , and has been on Weird Studies and some of them were in graduate school together...it's a fun crowd.
from 2021 Year-end review
  • Also got some appreciation from the guys on the Weird Studies Discord.
from Weird Studies/Brian Eno
    • Experiment, this one I will take notes live (usually hard to do because I listen to podcasts while driving or walking)
    • Compares Eno to McLuhan, William Gibson, Glenn Gould (?)...in I guess they are very thoughtful about the nature of our attention and the techniques used to manipulated it. Theorists of the background
    • Documentary Imaginary Landscapes sounds good.
    • They also don't quite see Eno as "Weird" at least not obviously so. But "Weird" is weirdly hard to define so Eno might weirdly fit in.
    • Nice theory of the grunginess of airports
    • Suspicious of rhizomes and obliterating subjectivity...which makes sense given the slightly reactionary outlook of these folks...
    • They are on about "content" but that's not very interesting.
    • Hm, the idea that the Deleuzian reality of flows and rhizomes has actually come about since the 60s/80s and it sucks...interesting.
from Weird Studies/Skepticism
    • Weird Studies Episode 108: On Skepticism and the Paranormal mostly about the book The Trickster and the Paranormal, by George Hansen. For me, this wins the book-I-would-be-most-embarassed-to-be-caught-reading prize, out of all the things discussed on WS so far. IOW, I had trouble with this episode due to what I guess is lingering scientism.
    • Distinguishing between true skepticism (which means assuming no axioms), and the Skepticism™, the James Randi/CSICOP variety, which is more like materialist fundamentalism (they didn't use that term). Robert Anton Wilson as a good avatar of the first kind.
    • Science vs. Scientism. Their description of science was pretty good, a few quibbles (like, not all science is lab science, repeatability is important but not always achievable eg as in cosmology). Also a good appreciation of science as a culture, which is absolutely true (their agenda, though, is to say that because science is a particular culture, it is not as universal as it pretends to be. That's more questionable).
      • This is one spot where I had a strong disagreement -- their idea (implied at least) that the culture of science is accidental, that science ignores UFOs because of cultural biases that are arbitrary, and could at least in theory be changed. This seems quite wrong to me -- science is radically a culture, and a science with a different culture wouldn't be science. The book seems to acknowledge this, at least some of the time.
      • Also note that their other big point (see below) -- that paranormal phenomenon tend to be singular, to be anti-structural and anti-regular -- well, that explains why science avoids them, because science is definitionally no good at that kind of thing.
    • They paint skeptics like CSICOP as marginal to real science, patrolling the borders. I think that's pretty right, except that they seem to imply this shouldn't be happening, my inclination is to treat it as just a part of the necessary culture of science, its one way of reinforcing its worldview and its rule. But it is very true that whatever CSICOP does is kind of fringe; real scientists are in their laboratories or trying to wring statistical significance from their data, and do not spend time worrying about UFO believers, let alone arguing with them.
      • Huh just noticed an analogy to my tedious fights with wingnuts hobby – I'm hardly a mainstream liberal, but I seem to have chosen a role where I patrol the boundaries of political discourse and try to fight off the enemies of the liberal order. And I unavoidably take on some of their characteristics.
    • Paranormal events have something about their nature that makes them ungraspable by the methods of science and rationality. But that doesn't mean they aren't real, and to claim otherwise is scientism, which is obnoxious or intellectually imperialist or something like that. CSICOP and similar organizations patrol the borderlands of science but can't help take on some of the aspects of the phenomenon they aim to exclude from reality.
      • Science studies phenomenon that are repeatable and rule-governed, that's just what it is good for. It's a bad tool for understanding the inherently unique, which includes personal experience and the paranormal.
    • It's funny but the view of the paranormal these guys have almost seems like it would pass through a science filter with no problems at all. If such experiences are flukes and unrepeatable, well, then science can't say much about them, for or against.
    • There's a real difference in attitude; science tries hard for legibility, repeatability, explanation. But it can't encompass everything and a certain type of mentality is concerned with avoiding being labeled, of existing outside the realms of repeatability and normality. I can appreciate that, but you can't have a science of it, or if you can, you have to deal with the inherently reflexive self-undermining nature of the enterprise.
    • Freud v Jung, Freud's quote about the "black mud tide of occultism". Very telling. I suppose with my background I am much more of a Freudian, but his attitude is collapsing and in the weird new world we need Carl:
    • Freud said to me, “My dear Jung, promise me never to abandon the sexual theory. That is the most essential thing of all. You see, we must make a dogma of it, an unshakable bulwark.” . . . In some astonishment I asked him, “A bulwark against what?” To which he replied, “Against the black tide of mud”— and here he hesitated for a moment, then added— “of occultism.” C. G. Jung, Erinnerungen, Träume, Gedanken, 1963
    • JFM: the experience of a ghost is real, when someone says its a product of carbon monoxide or banging pipes, that's a causal explanation, which misses the point, the reality is in the experience.
    • Also says elsewhere that the overwhelming testimony of personal experience with ghosts, UFOs, etc has to be valid because democracy.
      • That sounds snide, but it's accurate ... and I find myself in disagreement, I am perfectly happy to be an aristocratic snob when it comes to epistemology. Maybe that makes me an asshole, putting ideology ahead of people's lived experience.
    • But OK, point taken that there is no principled way for science to say that "paranormal experiences aren't real", because they are very real as experiences, there's no denying that. Science has no good way to talk about experience, weird or otherwise, and should remain silent, ruling in its own magisterium of the publicly observable and repeatable.
    • But then you can't have it both ways. If paranormal experiences are inherently subjective and personal, then any attempt to make a science of parapsychology is doomed to failure. That may explain why it seems so cringe to me, the internal contradictions are kind of obvious. It's trying to mix science and something else, more like personal spirituality, and they don't mix very well.
    • Random personal note: for a time I actually worked at SRI, the research lab where a ton of parapsychology research was done: Parapsychology research at SRI - Wikipedia However, I was there decades later and in the AI/bioinformatics department which had a much different agenda.
    • Weird doppelganger story – point being, doesn't matter about supernatural causes, reality is inherently weird, and skepticism can't touch it. JFM: this means reality itself is a miracle? Point with boiling point of water and miracles seemed very confused.
    • Quote from Crowley from Magick Without Tears resonated – the infinite improbability of these particular circumstances. Every phenomenon is equally improbable, so everything that exists does so by means of coincidence.
from Weird Studies/Bandwagon & Mandy
    • Films as an extension of dreaming.
    • I haven't seen either of these pictures.
    • Some interesting stuff on film theory, pure motion, Bergson and Deleuze pop up.
from Weird Studies/Nietzsche on History
    • Nietzsche's character, the difference between the literary form and his real one.
    • Good new word, interpellation, which is how Nietzsche kind of forcefully grans and re-constructs his reader. At least that's my interpretation of what they are saying. I've noticed this same thing in other writers, notably Sloterdijk.
    • Recommended Alexander Nehamas, Nietzsche: Life as Literature, in the context of Nietzsche's frequent self-contradiction. Best understood through transformation, not a mere bunch of propositions.
    • Awareness of history as a peculiarly human trait, animals may be conscious but not in that way, not of that.
      • Not that they talked about this, but is history basically ≡ narrative? That is, history is just a sort of collective narrative sensemaking, and personal narratives aren't that different.
    • Three kinds of history: critical, monumental, heroic? DIdn't quite capture that one. Seems to me there are lots of approaches to history, don't see why those should exhaust the possibilities. But not really my area of expertise. Also seems to leave out Marxism which if nothing else is an attitude towards history...and not just "critical", which is probably the bucket it would fall in.
    • The discussion about Confederate monuments seemed way the hell off base to me, it ignored the blatantly political purposes they serve. Seemed really odd not to mention that, but maybe I'm more of a standard liberal than they are, or maybe they just don't think politically as much as I do. Anyway that was just a side point so not to make a big deal of it.
    • Two ways of escaping (transcending?) history: the unhistorical (which is just forgetting and very common) and the suprahistorical, which is tantalizingly vague, but seems to involve a light playful sprit that can appreciate (or cause) the manifestation of the eternal in the midst of the flow of time and the historical. Cites Finite and Infinite Games.
    • "Seriousness is Stupidity sent to College" – PJ O'Rourke(?)
      • in the context of Nietzsche on Wagner. Music more laughter, tragedy is OK but less ponderousness please.
from Weird Studies/Garmonbozia
from Weird Studies/Naked Lunch
    • More about the film than the Burroughs novel.
    • Opening discussion of fox/hedgehog mapped onto Beatles and themselves. Interesting. I guess I am a hedgehog of sorts, I basically have one idea, couldn't quite tell you what it is but "agency" is trying to point there.
    • One of the epigraphs, from Burroughs, paraphrasing from memory: "Hustlers of the world, you will finally realize there is one mark you cannot beat, the mark inside."
      • Hm, I think this is a typical algebraic Burroughs construction, that points to a certain kind of negative self-awareness. It instantly paints a picture of Maya, the mind constantly feeding illusions to itself (and others) but ultimately failing.
    • Nostalgia for things you never experienced.
    • Fluidity of world-crossing, yep.
    • Oddly they didn't know Burroughs has the IP on "zones", they got it from Tarkovsky.
    • It's kind of like fan fiction...or a remix of Burroughs material.
    • JFM is a big Burroughs fan.
    • "Wall-to-wall mindfuckery" (heh)
    • Burroughs, junk gives you crystalline clarity into the working of the mind (as says de Quncey), lucidity. Suppresses affect and lets you see the machinery. Heh take that MM.
    • The resonances of different drugs at different times.
    • JF hasn't done acid, how can that be
    • de Qunicey, art and crime. All art is subversive, its ontologically part of the process. Is that really true? (subject of JFM book, which I ought to read). "Works of art are machines for destroying ideology".
    • Art is not group-ish, it's about the response to an individuals absolute aloneness...works of art are also always singular.
    • You can't play the same piece of music twice the same way, because you and the situation are never the same.
from Weird Studies/Charles Taylor and Disenchantment
    • On Charles Taylor and Disenchantment
      • Cartesian self with hard boundary, as opposed to enchanted self that was more involved with the world. Disenchantment equated with limiting mind to self and removing it from world.
      • the "buffered self" vs the porous self
      • mentions Jeff Kripal
      • Jacqus Ellul, christian anarchist, Laity (?), secularization, The New Demons
        • "we live in the most religous state ever" (state, technology, etc are transcendent, and so default we don't notice them). Myths of History and Science (which have nothing to do with the practice of history or science)

    • Later: less impressed with their arguments against atheism and that humanism is worship of anthropos...ok, maybe know what they are getting at, but this dualism between the transcendent and the immanent is the sign of a braindamaged philosophy mind. They aren't opposed! They coexist! It's stupid to argue for or against the transcendent. I mean, they are defensive because of people like Dawkins and Pinker, can't really blame them.
from Magister Ludi
  • Between its subject and its form and narrative techniques, it is so damn spiritual that it is almost embarrassing. It is Apollonian to the max, lacking any note of sex or violence. There are basically zero women in the book, and while Knecht's has some close relationships with his male colleagues and teachers, these are deep intellectual friendships without a hint of anything more. Castalia and its inhabitants are far removed from the passions and violence of normal existence and history. They have perfected the via contempliva; the Castilian teachings include meditation techniques, in fact Weird Studies said it's one of the very rare depictions of meditation in literature.
from Weird Studies/Hyperstition
    • Deleuze and deterritorialization, Lynch scene where they drive from highway down progressively smaller roads...the weird happens in deterritorialized spaces. Line of Flight ≡ that which moves in a deterritorialized direction. ≡ destabilized meanings.
    • They aren't being particularly Landian.
    • What makes a mythos?
    • Like memes (that sounds right). Land examples: "the holy city of jerusalem", cyberspace, money.
    • Discussing The Selfish Gene , Dawkins can't quite do it without bringing in telos language.
    • Good emphasis on the agency of the ideas themselves. Not just agency, auto-telic, autopoeitic (they do use the term autopoesis later on, I think in a quote from William Irwin Thompson).
    • Hyperstition undermines rationality and leaves you in a world of chthonic drives
    • Social construction vs hyperstition. They seem to think there is some big difference there; that hyperstition is more in touch with the real or something (not sure I get the distinction, seems based on a cartoon idea of social construction, but what do I know). Hyperstition as "in touch with cosmic forces" in a way social construction is not.
      • But I think this is a slightly lame view of hyperstition, it's not that they are in touch with cosmic forces, they are the cosmic forces.
        • Speaking of lame, there was explicit discussion of how out-there Land and his ideas were, and how the WS folks are bourgeoise Subaru-driving weenies compared to him (me too of course).
    • Tale of the Toronto egregore. The 16th century car mechanic.
    • image.png
    • Discussion of the nature of magick and the importance of banishing: "I like to have ideas, but I'm not a fan of ideas having me".
    • Supplement

    • Against totalizing ideologies (OK). But I thought their anti-politics was kind of naive.
from Weird Studies/Ballard & Leguin
    • A discussion of two short stories, "She Unnames Them" by Ursula K. Le Guin and “The Giaconda of the Twilight Noon,” by JG Ballard. Lots of interesting resonances are discovered.
    • Orality and Literacy came up, they are greatly appreciative of the utterly radical difference between oral and literate cultures.
    • Towards the end, conversation veered (as it tends to) into.a defense of the Imaginal against its reductionist enemies. Mentioned the sources for the idea in some Sufi philosophy, which sounds worth knowing about...but not on the web page, they are usually so good with references.
    • Alan Moore in Promethea talked in a similar way about what he called "the immateria", but it's the same idea, a world that is imaginary in some sense but also perfectly real, because it can be experienced. And maybe it's exactly what Jung meant by the collective unconscious and its population of archetypes.
    • Something about the idea irks me, I'm not sure why, I am certainly not against the imagination and I'm have zero problems with the notion that immaterial things like ideas can exert real-world causality – I mean, I'm a programmer, I do it for a living. Maybe it's framing it as a separate world? That smacks of dualism, it's just the mind/body split projected onto the cosmos. The imagination becomes something like Bali or some other foreign land where one may visit, admire, and absorb culture but you always return to prosaic default reality. Or a TAZ where a different and better logic makes things go. A Separate Reality, as Carlos Casteneda called it.
from Weird Studies/Bergson
    • According to them, Bergson is a major figure in a minor strand of philosophy, process philosophy, includes Whitehead, Heraclitus, and more recently Deleuze who is mostly responsible for revived interest in Bergson.
    • JF: interested in relationship to Zen. He sees Bergson as very related, pointing to the same thing.
      • 2 forms of knowledge: analytical and intuitive? Move round the object / enter into it. Analytical knowledge is relative, the intuitive is a path to the absolute.
    • Need to go back and do Heraclitus and Dogen spisodes, clearly.
    • Very interesting riff on boxing and piano and how they are taught, how they are experienced, how they are practiced. Analytical vs intuitive flow states. OK, yeah. Zen as a striving for flow states (really?). I want him to read Talk's Body
    • Stuff about being vs becoming, process philosophies can't explain any kind of stability in the universe.
      • This struck me as dumb (But I don't know whether dumb is in Bergson, WS guys, or me) because obviously there is structure in the universe and if process philosophy denies these can exist, then it's just stupid and we shouldn't waste time on it. I suspect that is not what it says, but I'd have to actually read more Bergson to figure this out.
      • Hyperchaos as sort of a pre-instantiated universe from which the actual emerges out of some kind of fluctuation? I don't know, sounded a lot like Boltzmann Brains or Mathematical Universe theorizing, but with a more dramatic philosophical presentation. Add it to list of things I need to read up on.
    • JFM: doesn't understand how there can be anything at all without some pre-existent Platonic form. Argh. Oh well I actually can't dismiss this view with a computational sneer like I used to be able to do.
from Future Fossils
  • A podcast from Michael Garfield, who has some connection to the Santa Fe Institute and covers somewhat woo-ish science. Interestingly, I have a lot more trouble digesting this than I do Weird Studies, although they are close in the podcast-space. I think it's because WS is art+woo, which makes sense to me, art is kind of woo anyway, and to the extent I have opinions about it, they are similar to those of the hosts. it challenges. Whereas science+woo produces a mental dissonance for me, and I have problems resolving it, I always want to start an argument.
from Weird Studies/Borges
    • Focusing on Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius. I already know this story very well so mostly interested in how they situate it and relate it to other things in the Weirdosphere.
    • Idealism: could it be like a virus? The universe is materialist, but idealism comes along...that is still metaphysical materialism as far as I am concerned. Oh the term cybernetics and emergence comes up, that's good. (around 19:00)
      • Does this change "the nature of reality"? There's no time without consciousness (questionable) so the world is idealist from the beginning (cite of Ægypt, interesting).
      • Do fossils exist? (Sigh, this discussion sounds dumb)
    • Borges avoids polemic or critique, he just describes some idea and lets reader figure out how to feel about it (for the most part).
    • Tlön: endless passion for metaphysics, which they treat as a branch of fantastic literature
    • Greatest moment in Western canon: In Wagner's Ring...
    • He (JM) is an idealist if the idea is that ideas are real. But also passionate about the world existing independent from human observer.
    • "parachronic time" related to Meillassoux , hyperchaos?
    • Michael Garfield mentioning Karl Schroeder, Degrees of Freedom, a haptic vest that allows you to feel the presence of wildlife...
    • The American slaveowner character, Ezra Buckley, a nihilist Tlönist who leaves his wealth to the effort on the condition that they "have no truck with the imposter Jesus Christ". Christ not just as son of god but emblem of the spirit in the material world.
    • Alliance between capitalists and esoteric illuminati
    • Lovecraft and the inhuman at the heart of the human.
    • Weird fiction and "the thing" – something that has been there without us, that is strange...outside of idealism because it pre-exists minds. But given the unconscious, we (humans) are the thing, strange to ourselves. Idealism does not allow for the new.
      • Glad that these people are as down on idealism as they are on materialism. But they post a "weird idealism", one more like magick. Compare to Pepsi and Sprite. Yeah yeah yeah this renews my faith in these guys.
    • Ref to Aleister Crowley injunction “For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect.”
    • Ref to Nietzsche line about how we haven't killed God because we still believe in grammar. Bergson, free will, real time.
from Weird Studies/Games
    • A lot of stuff on Play, citing the usual classics like Homo Ludens. Good but not new to me. And I realize these notes come out much different if I listen to the episode while driving, and can't take notes as I listen.
    • I really liked the identification of Play or Games as an "Arcanum", and I think I know sort of what they mean by that. Like the Major Arcana of the Tarot, Play is a concept bursting with meaning, and not reducible to some simple formalism. It has a certain character, it's not just an abstract idea, but a kind of living force, something that cannot be understood in the usual rationalistic sense, but in requires relationship and interaction, and in some sense demands them.
    • And I really didn't like it when they start to talk about Richard Dawkins and teleology. This is an area where I think they are just confused about what Dawkins is saying, and the reality is that he is on their side, his vision of reality is plenty weird and not at all lifeless. Of course Dawkins is kind of an ass about anything spiritual so I don't blame them for thinking he's their enemy. But it makes me wonder where I fall; I may just be too much of a science-guy type to embrace the magical aspect of reality like these guys do.
from weird computer science
  • My personal take on Weird Studies is that computation, properly understood, is fucking weird. But it's also pretty rationalist and boring in its implementation, so what exactly do I mean? Here's a list of some of the more weird-leaning people or projects in CS.
from Weird Studies/Lovecraft
    • Nice side-by-side comparison of PKD and Lovecraft, except for the stupid "Dicklove" name.
    • PF described a category of fiction that sort of reaches out of the page and warps you, PKD being the archetype...this sounds a lot like Erik Davis theory.
    • Ghost stories vs. Weird fiction – the former present an intrusion of the supernatural into a stable world (which is eventually banished generally). The latter present a character discovering that the world he inhabits is fundamentally strange at its foundations. Ghost stories suture the wound, the weird writer leaves you bleeding (or gives you an infection).
    • Weird fiction doesn't actually have or emphasize narrative, given they are trying to describe this timeless thing. So not much distance between pulp and avant garde.
    • Sloterdijk's immunology and cancer...cancer as a betrayal from within, no buffering will help you. In Lovecraft, the buffer collapses.
      • What is cancer? Crabs are monstrous, also a symbol of the unconscious because they walk sideways and seem so inhuman...so cancer is a Great Old One (OK, now I'm going to think of PICI as Charles Stross Laundry, where nerdy wizards deploy math weapons against eldritch monsters).
    • Nyarlathotep
      • Based on Tesla? Interesting
from Weird Studies/Mumbo Jumbo
from Weird Studies/BW Powe on Visionary Literature
    • Four principles of inspiration: duende, greening (viriditas), entheos...relates to a concept in Deleuze of "spiritual automaton".
    • Eliot on Baudelaire, "the courage to be damned".
    • no warning label, no informed consent on the visionary experience (didn't he just say this on another episode? Yes Weird Studies/Tarot/The Moon )
    • Academics are people who tend to let themselves be overtaken by ideas.
      • Learn to perform a Banishment on ideas or at least learn to take them lightly. Have a psychic defense system. Negate the idea, and to balance Affirm the common everyday world.
    • JFM remark on Deleuze and the non-philosophical
    • Hm this episode didn't quite click for me, too academic or meta-academic or something.
from Weird Studies/Blade Runner
    • Unexpected ref to The Selfish Gene (replicants ≡ replicators). They read a great passage which paints genes as agents. highlights the weirdness and frankly sinister overtones.
    • I want to jump up and yell, "A Scanner Darkly" was a much more Dickian film. I don't know, I love the film but I don't identify with it so much, being a more hardcore SF fan? But Bladerunner certainly has its merits and does touch on important PKD themes.
    • "Sometimes the worst curators of a work of art are its creators"
      • in reference to Ridley Scott's adding elements to the later cuts
        • primarily the unicorn that either marks Deckard as a replicant or is some kind of token of a larger, more alive world
        • Some further commentary on unicorn from JFM (Discord):
          • The film is challenging you to believe in magic. It's pushing you to the edge where science fiction bottoms out in fantasy, and fantasy asserts itself as the ground of dream, magic, myth, i.e. reality.... The horn of the unicorn is a middle-finger held at all the cynics, materialists, and ironists of postmodernity.
          • Don't know if that's an accurate depiction of Ridley Scott's thinking but it certainly encapsulates the Weird Studies stance. I'm all of those things (in part) and I feel attacked. I'm asking for it of course by hanging out in their world. My defense – looking for a noncynical version of materialism, a positive version of irony (see A Case for Irony ).
          • I see the unicorn as a direct challenge to the obligatory profession of disbelief and scorn before the possibility that the world may be grounded in the good, that meaning might override all our attempts to deny its existence, that faith and hope are better aligned with the Real than systematic doubt and despair, that culture is more than a function of memetic replication (as Dawkins argued).
    • Serpent and Dove (Serpent is technic/rationalism/mechanism, Dove is some external animating spirit)
    • Around 50:00, discussion of agency and decentering, in context of Jameson, Freud, Ricouer,
      • postmodern decentering is a false-friend to Budddhist no-self.
    • human ≡ freedom to choose the good, escape determinism. also existential suffering
    • Really nice analysis of the noir detective as a kind of actual eye, surveying and traveling through the urban landscape, and as a shamanistic figure that can travel between worlds that are ordinarily separated (high society, street, sordid criminal haunts). Seems almost too obvious but it struck me afresh.
      • Detective as a homeless figure, able to travel the worlds but belonging to none of them (well, he has the traditional dingy office).
        • "his being is mobile", mentions famous crane shot from Touch of Evil
    • Something about the time of the early 80s. Other films exploring replicant monsters, pop songs about being surveilled. "The last analogue chapter of our species". These films all came out right before that cultural shift.
from Continental Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction
  • I'm trying to locate the WS guys, who are definitely anti-scientism, but also anti pomo-nihilism and are pretty refreshingly non-obscure – they always seem like they are striving for clarity, will give them that much.
from 2021 Year-end review
Twin Pages

Weird Studies

08 May 2021 06:30 - 15 May 2022 08:10

    • My current fave podcast, covering art and philosophy from a very specific angle, which is difficult to describe but very real, it's the subject of their mostly-fake academic subfield. The weird is that which cannot be characterized, so there is a certain enjoyable level of irony going on here about the project, which is playful and yet deadly serious.
    • The episodes are always thought-provoking, and the guys have tastes which at least overlap strongly with mine. (They tend to be too art/occulty/woo-woo, and I have issues with that, but I have decided to suppress my scientimism gag reflexes).
    • I just realized that this site started out by having a collection of linked notes in response to rationalism LWMap/A Map That Reflects the Territory, and these guys are like the polar opposite, they are quite militantly anti-rationalism, that's kind of their thing. Not to oppose reason as such, but certainly its deployment as civilizational ideology
      • See Technic and Magic for an elaborately developed theory of evil rationalism (technic) vs its salvific opposite magic.
      , its role in capitalism and the dehumanizing effects of science and modernity. My relationship to both groups is weirdly similar: kind of attracted but also repulsed by certain elements, and writing a bunch of web pages to try to work out where I stand.
    • Their episodes are so rich I'm going to try to give each one its own page (see the sidebar). I haven't even listened to that much of their back catalog, but every one I have listened to has provoked interesting thoughts. Making a page-per-episode is a bit of an experiment and some might be kind of skimpy.