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from Weird Studies/Technic and Magic
    • Bill Hicks Marketing bit! One of my faves too.
    • In a world of technic, nothing exists for itself, its part of a system.
    • Book "retains its (academic) guild card", but it's a Trojan horse for non-secular things that you usually would have to go to your local occult bookshop for. True enough (and as they say, WS occupies a similar position).
    • mentions Birhane episode Weird Studies/Mechanical Dollhouse – but digital double is not the same as the person, who thinks they are? "under the domain of absolute language" but nobody thinks that. Is putting bios or particular cultural markings in you twitter bio making you a victim of Technic?
    • OK one point of hard agreement: JFM critiquing the modern form of identity, where people seem to have a desperate need to put labels on themselves (gender, etc). We may be coming from very different intellectual places but we can agree that there's something wrong with the kids today.
    • They express some disdain for Campagna's refusal to offer self-help, or more deeply to choose a side or acknowledge a single given reality. The idea we can just pick Technic or Magic as the foundation of the world is itself a Technic (bad) idea.
    • They point out that Campagna isn't saying anything that new, he's just taking the 300-year old romantic critique (seen in Blake, hippies, etc) of rationalism and putting it in a fancy structure.
    • JFM defined "creationism" in an interesting and non-standard way, which I can't recall but some of the exemplars were Chesterton. Opposed to emanationism, attributed to al-Ghazali, that God is involved in every causal act. Also called "brutalist". The idea that causation is always deep-down creation, the world is NOT simply a law-following mechanism. Malebranche, Messalioux, etc.
    • Technic as a satanic parody of a real metaphysics (but Campagna can't quite go there, despite his obvious disdain for Technic). JFM traces this back to atheism.
    • Magic as a form of alterity and liberation. PF stands shoulder-to-shoulder despite reservations. Erik Davis and Victoria Nelson other fighters in this army – I think they are opening up the very purpose of WS. Cool. WS is ironic because "studies" already puts you in the world of Techne.
from Weird Studies/Pan & Gyrus
    • Pan is not always in the picture, but always exerts an influence.
    • The place of Pan in Greek culture and mythology. Pan as liminal figure (half animal, half wild). A figure of mediation (alter to the Arcadians in the middle of Athens)
    • PF admits to not vibing with Pan. Is Pan in America? Maybe in the counterculture. Piper at the Gates of Dawn.
    • "the state that you fall away from is created by the fall" – that actually makes sense, there is nothing primitive until you are beyond it.
    • Hermes and Pan
    • Gyrus

      • Review of The Political Sociology and Anthropology of Evil: Tricksterology by Agnes Horvath & Arpad Szakolczai | Dreamflesh
        • Very interesting dissection of some deeply reactionary scholarship within anthropology.
        • He posted this on WS Discord, My response
          • Thanks for posting that. I'm really not competent to evaluate this kind of academic work, but I shared your basic reaction – it is alarming and toxic, and way over the line into antisemitism. As you point out, they are very clever about not being explicit about it, but it's too obvious, they must be aware of what they are doing. Tricksters indeed.
          • As to their actual thesis: at first at struck me as absurdly dense to think of tricksters as figures of evil (rather than ambivalence or amorality). Talk about not getting it. Then suddenly the opposite thought struck me as almost as hard: the connection is obvious, almost tautological. After all, the western conception of evil traces it back to the act of a trickster figure (the serpent in Eden), so duh. Of course tricksters are evil to reactionaries whose highest values are order, stability, and authority. Tricksters represent the opposite of all that, and so does modernity, with its radical skepticism and chaotic energies. It kind of makes sense from an ultraconservative perspective. Whether that perspective deserves intellectual attention is another question.
          • I sometimes worry about the murky links between antimodernism and antisemitism. Obviously there are plenty of ways to be antimodern (or postmodern or simply desiring to fix the obvious defects of modernity) that don't involve "luridly fantastical imagery of parasitism, underground machinations, and dark sacrificial rites" and obsessing about the purity of your effluences.
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 Weird Studies/Errol Morris, Lobsters
    • Revolves around Opinion | The Pianist and the Lobster - The New York Times a very long (and interactive
      • The interactive features include music (directly related) and some neat collapsible text widgets which I want to steal, maybe replace these sidenotes which don't work all that well.
      ) article on many things, but revolving around the question of where art and artistic ability come from.
      • Beans. Could it all come down to beans? We all wonder what that extra ingredient might be. If I had this extra ingredient in my makeup would I be a great composer, a great musician or a great mathematician? ... What is it that allows me to play? Could it be taken away? Could it suddenly vanish? Is it some property of my mind or brain? Could it be something external to me altogether?
      • Some interesting stuff on the mechanical nature of Beethoven's late music. Reminded me of this Omniorthogonal: Mental Music Machinery although that's about the machinery of a musical idiot (me) and this is about the machinery at the highest levels of classical musicianship.
      • Stuff on Nerval was interesting (know nothing of him except the lobster story)
      • Part of the genius of human intelligence is that we’re able to discern boundaries between ourselves and the world. But we could be wrong. About everything. Perhaps the boundaries we have imagined are not really there or have been incorrectly placed. Our cartography of the universe could be false, incorrectly imagined. In one of his last poems, Nerval wrote: “Often the most obscure of beings houses a hidden God; and like a nascent eye veiled by its lids, a pure spirit buds beneath the husk of stones!"
      • The WS guys highlighted this, and I agree, it's very striking. I vibe more with the "imagine all our boundaries are wrong" than the hidden God stuff.
      • Ref to Tor Nørretranders who I should read (I have his book The User Illusion)
    • The Dogen quote with the thousand eyes of the rock, of the tounge, of the mind...that was quite something. Totally wrong of course. Or, OK, not wrong, but incommensurable with the computationalist view of mind. The Eyes of Dogen | Hardcore Zen
      • Is it though? The tongue, at least, has thousands of sensors, not quite eyes but they fulfill part of the function of an eye, connecting physics and sensation.
      • I guess I have problems with panpsychism, or some versions of it.
    • Some stuff on agency when it comes to art (musical performance, etc). Mention of Libet experiment, and some nods to distirbuted-agency theory of mind. This episode might have been the closest the guys have come to my kind of cognitive science, which was interesting, because usually I have them kind of opposed to it (in my head, they don't really spend too much time on it.).
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.
    • Oh nice passage about how William was human because of his inner conflicts, how personality is the result of resolving those conflict successfully (very Ainslie) and madness the result of failing to...from The Blood Of The Saints : The Baptist's Head
    • image.png
    • Secrecy and the occult. Crowley opened up occult knowledge, now it's a section at Barnes and Noble which is a contradiction.
    • Mention of some Magical Marx and the hyperstitional nature of capitalism. Read from the Manifesto, I approve.
    • Connections between occultism and fascism (Evola). Well there is also Starhawk etc.
    • Refs to Dark Star Rising, Lachman toread
    • 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, predictably.
from Weird Studies/Hillman on Dreams
    • for Nura course
    • Must say that passage about how it's bad to understand atoms and genes pissed me off.
    • This episode was kind of meh, nothing very new about dreams, and the discussion of drugs was even more shallow. Leave that to the experts (like Erik Davis).
    • PF on Doors of Perception. Fabric important in the western tradition (its where painters could get non-figural). Brad Warner against drugs. Flying to the top of a mountain vs climbing there. Capitalism, acquistion (this is exactly what Chögyam Trungpa criticizes as spiritual materialism).
    • Drugs and dreams as rivalrous siblings
    • Sleep as a problem with capitalism, as an affront, as resistance (eh do not buy it, capitalism doesn't care). JFM hates Inception, doesn't say why but I can guess.
    • The reality of dreaming. They abyss, the world underneath, dreams a more real (because underneath, more fundamental?). Surrealism as over real. Scoffing at the GC theory of dreams (didn't realize that was so widesdpread). Surreal is akin to supernatural. The dream as the rejected cornerstone that becomes the capstone.
    • Perhaps I am not bought-in enough to the Weird, I have kind of the weaksauce take that they disdain, rather than embracing dreams as somehow more fundamental than the waking world. I want to grant dreams a degree of reality, they want a revolution where the dreams are more important than waking.
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)

    • JFM: there is no such thing as atheism, there is only deification of anthropos. Modernity is the magical procedure by which this is accomplished.
      • 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.
    • JFM disdain for Dawkins, natural selection, memetics. What is the one thing that cannot be a meme? Natural Selection! Darwin as Christ...this has elevated the human mind to a point not subject to evolution.
    • OK he has this exactly backward when he thinks atheists put the human mind outside of nature. Hmm...ok well I think I could interpret this so it made sense to me. He's saying, roughly, that the process of doing science (or atheism or materialism), even when it purports to explain mental things, necessary involves taking a standpoint outside of nature. I am willing to grant this is a valid critique of scientific materialism, you can see traces of it in the various cults that spring up around tech.
    • PF described his process of awakening (he didn't use that word) as gradually having his illusiorry bubble-wrap layers stripped away until he was an entity among other entities. A kind of gnosis, but of something that is already early, prior, like enlightenment you already have it (maybe it is the same thing).
from 2021 Year-end review
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 Entelechy | Definition, Example, Aristotle, & Leibniz | Britannica
        • 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 Weird Studies/A Glitch in the Matrix
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/Piranesi
    • This is a natural fir for WS. They make the point (obvious in retrospect) that The Hoouse is somthing like the Jungian unconscious, full of archetypes or representations (the statues).
    • They quote the very ineresting passage in which Piranesi defends his world
      • "Yes", said Raphael. "Here you can only see a representation of a river or a muntain, but in our world – the other world – you can see the actual river and the actual mountain." This annoyed me." I do.= not see why you say I can only see a representation in this World", I said with some sharpness. The word "only" suggests a relationship of inferiority. You make it sound as if the Statue was inferior to the thing itself. I do not see that that is the case at all; Iwould argue that the Statue is superior to the thing itself, the Statue being perfect, eternal, and not subjec to decay." "Sorry" said Raphael. "I didn't mean to disparage your world" (p 222)
    • This suggests the statues are like Platonic forms, except that they are derived from reality rather than being prior to it.
    • Some references to other episodes Weird Studies/A Glitch in the Matrix and Memory Palaces and I realized that MUE was me trying to construct a House for myself, or at least, my image of the user was like Piranesi, inhabiting this abstract space of concepts and navigating around in it. (Although I didn't intent to trap my users there forever).
    • Other obvious referents: Borges' Library of Babel (although that one was notable for its utter nihilistic meaninglessness, unlike The House). Gormenghast, the real Piranest, Escher. Interior fantasy spaces as a trope.
    • image.png
    • The notion that spiderwebs, beehives, and perhaps human architecture are like extensions of the body (there must be a word for that, I can't think of it at the moment)
    • Basements represent the unconscious...hm that explains why Californias are so shallow (most houses around here don't have basements, for whatever reason). (idea from Bachelard?)
from Weird Studies/Object Memory
    • I find the nerd in me bristling at the implied spiritualism. If objects resist, it is a function of our minds – we simply notice things more when they disobey or change from one Heidegerrian mode to the other (I can't remember what those fucking things are called). If a place seems to have memory, it is encoded in the minds of the people who intereact with and maintain the space, not in some gaseous miasma in the place itself.
    • And yet – what if that's true and doesn't matter? "The spirit of a place" is a real(ish) thing, regardless of its physical implementation.
    • They do some quibbling over the varieties and exact meanings of panpsychism, and whether mental qualities can escape physics. I had plenty of my own quibbles, but perhaps they are all irrelevant. I happen to be rereading Bruno Latour/We Have Never Been Modern and it suggests that the division into the material and the mental is just a magic trick, and a broken one.
    • They mentioned How Buildings Learn by Stewart Brand which seemed kind of out of place. There's nothing woo about Brand's theory, the "learn" is mostly metaphorical, he's talking about how buildings are adapted by their owners and occupants over time. But he does sort of freely agentify buildings when necessary, so OK.
    • Made me think of Chris Ware's monumental Building Stories.
from Weird Studies/Stalker
    • The zone appears. Makes me realize how much Annihilation owes to this. Kind of overly obvious now that I think of it.
    • Huh maybe not
    • Compare with Samuel Delaney's Dhalgren and read a wonderful William Gibson intro...have to get ahold of that.
    • Some stuff on color vision that had me gritting my teeth and wanting to go science-nerd on them. Not all that wrong, but still. Led to a discussion of qualities inherent in things (as opposed to the modern materialist view, where they are mostly held to be products of brain processes). Brought up what sounds like a really dumb Searle theory Seeing Things as They Are: A Theory of Perception.
    • Some of the film suggests a merging of technology with something else. Heidegger's Question Concerning Technology, techne vs poesis. (This particular quality of zones also a big part of Ballard's Crash, see Weird Studies/JFM on Zones )
    • Monkey (the telekinetic girl at the end) as representing some kind of ubermensch brought about by this union.
    • Can you live in The Zone? No, its impossible...even though people are drawn to it. "Every true artwork is a zone". You can visit but you can't live there.
    • Stalker as prefiguration of Chernobyl
    • The Zone as a return to Eden (well...a weirdly transfigured eden, but everything recovering its natural overgrown state). Monkey as Becoming Natural.
    • Notes from watching Stalker

      • Can't believe I haven't seen this before, esp since I've seen some much more obscure Tarkovsky films like Andrei Rublev, back in Boston when I had an intellectual life.
      • Very little science fiction in this, it's all Zone. Not a problem at all but don't mix it up with Robert Heinlein.
      • The physical depiction of the zone – as an overgrown former industrial wasteland or battlefield, muddy, decaying, and broken – is stunningly good, one assumes there is enough of this wreckage lying around the USSR that it was just a matter of scouting locations (not really true).
      • The commentary tracks on the Criterion disk were pretty good. Pointed out some of the cinematic techniques (the camera POV etc). Also the insanely difficult production history where a whole year's worth of footage was lost. And some glimpses of Tarkovsky's character and strikingly handsome visage.
      • The cinematography does not just show the weird, it itself is weird, violating the usual laws of coherence. In subtle ways that create a feeling, draws you in, doesn't hit you over the head with cleverness.
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 the podcast to cover, and seem like they would fit in well. Some of them are things I know well and just would like to hear their take; in other cases I feel a real need for some kind of intellectual guidance or companionship. This is roughly in chronological order as I think of things.
    • Bataille's The Sacred Conspiracy
    • 'Pataphysics
      • structurally similar to Weird Studies – a general science of the exceptional
    • Alan Moore, Promethea and in general. He's probably the best known serious advocate of magic in today's popular culture, surprised he doesn't come up more.
    • Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian was weird enough to freak me out. Given the show's concern with nihilism, it should be required reading. Both this and No Country for Old Men have characters that are literal embodiments of nihilism.
    • Book of the New Sun or Gene Wolfe more generally.
      • Apparently neither host has read Wolfe, that surprised me. JFM in particular should dig Wolfe's weird Catholicism.
    • The Black Rider, Tom Waits/Burroughs/Robert Wilson
      • Or the entire Waits oeuvre come to think of it. But TBR would make a great episode. There's been at least one Burroughs episode Weird Studies/Naked Lunch
    • Mr. Burns
      • ok this is quite obscure but I thought it was great and one of the few artworks to actually be about the trash stratum.
    • 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
      • Fits right in with the general paranoia about control, technic, scientism, etc.
    • 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
    • Kafka
      • kind of a rival with Lovecraft in my mind in the cosmic horror department. Well, not that much of a rival, they occupy different literary ecological niches. Anyway Kafka is a key weird author of the 20th century, begs to be taken head-on.
    • Jim Woodring
      • and many other comix artists: Charles Burns, R Crumb of course, Kim Deitch, plenty of others. They've done an ep on a Neil Gaiman work, Weird Studies/Mr Punch, but this stuff is weirder I think, at least formally.
    • Harry Smith 's Anthology of American Folk Music
      • and Greil Marcus' theory of "the old, weird America". Kind of obvious but would be interesting to hear them tackle it. Also in this bucket, Wisconsin Death Trip
    • Warren Sacks' The Software Arts
      • OK, this one is not as bviously weird as some, and maybe out-of-baliwick entirely. But – it applies humanistic techniques to what is normally treated purely as dry technology. That seems to point in a vaguely weird direction.
    • Sloterdijk who has come up a few times on the podcast.
    • Magical Marx, by which I mean, various Marxist-related theories that take into account the weird kinds of agency found in Marx (or in capitalism itself). Zizek, Mark Fisher...I'm not at all sure who to read in this space. WS seems to mostly avoid politics, and there's nothing wrong with that, but at some point if you are building a worldview you have to confront it. And there's this: ‘A Spectre, Haunting: On the Communist Manifesto,’ by China Miéville
    • Firesign Theater hm maybe. Now I'm going back to my childhood, the things that made me weird. Mad Magazine ? Tom Lehrer? Not sure how much there is to say about those two, but Firesign would seem to have the necessary interpretive depth.
    • Bedeviled they talk a lot about the daimonic, here's a book that shows the presence of demons at the heart of materialism.
    • A Case for Irony there's a lot of disdain for cheap pomo irony on the show, but irony done right is foundational to being and the weird, this book clarifies some of this for me.
    • Carnivàle HBO show, lots of magic. I'd like an excuse to rewatch.
      • Before the beginning, after the great war between Heaven and Hell, God created the Earth and gave dominion over it to the crafty ape he called man. And to each generation was born a creature of light and a creature of darkness. And great armies clashed by night in the ancient war between good and evil. There was magic then, nobility, and unimaginable cruelty. And so it was until the day that a false sun exploded over Trinity, and man forever traded away wonder for reason.
    • Richard Dawkins is anathema on the show due to his militant and rather anti-intellectual atheism, but I maintain that The Selfish Gene is itself a Weird text, or should be.
    • Andy Kaufman
      • kayfabe is an important WS concept
from malatheism
  • I just made up this term, which should not be confused with ts close relative Maltheism. Malatheism means the stance of "god doesn't exist and he's an asshole", a pithy description I got from Phil Ford of Weird Studies, also nicely fictionalized in Yossarian and belief.
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. Henri Bergson, free will, real time.
from Weird Studies/BW Powe on Visionary Literature
    • He writes on Northrop Frye, McLuhan, and other weird Canadians.
    • 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/Mr Punch
    • One of the few Neil Gaiman works I haven't read.
    • Have to say lately when I listen to the more philosophical or theoretical episodes (like Weird Studies/Colin Wilson) I find myself framing tedious arguments; but when these guys dig into an artwork I almost always enjoy it and learn something. But they don't generate as many notes.
    • Oooh they cited Understanding Comics. The gutters are where the action happens. Connects to trash stratum.
    • Punch and Judy as the fifth gospel, of Satan. OK!
from Good and Real
  • I want to push this to Weird Studies as the most diametrically opposed thing to their own views. Since they believe in enantiodromia, they should eat it up.
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/Last and First Men
from Weird Studies/Patreon
from Weird Studies/Nura course
    • I went through Weirding, an online course presented by the Weird Studies hosts. Disorganized notes below
    • Session 1 Trash Stratum

      • In this class, we consider how we might encounter the divine (in whatever guise) as it manifests in exotica music, professional wrestling, avant-garde Happenings, and other cultural forms. And we will consider the all-important pro-wrestling principle of kayfabe: maintaining and protecting the Inside of a divine encounter from a hostile and uncomprehending Outside.
      • Notes
        • There are 80 people here! Can't be too interactive, which is probably fine
        • VALIS: initiatory artworks, like Parsifal
        • false dichotomy between personal and universal interpretations...oh well.
        • trash stratum as escape, and a version of magical hermeneutics? (Aristotle 4 causes + fifth cause, diviners cause)
        • Dick offering third position: value from human and non-human beings
        • He's trashing camp and The Room (despite never having seen it) – charity is required. He rants against those who put themselves above the artwork, you must get down on your knees before it...doesn't like the "so bad its good" pose. OK – I don't care that much... asymmetrical consciousness ...
        • Passionate identification vs. ironic detachment
        • Artworks are people too (and should be approached with I-Thou)
        • image.png
        • The nature of pro-wrestling: blur the line between fiction and nonfiction.
        • Kayfabe – the great arcanum of all magic. Commitment, you weave your story into the world. Works (staged) vs Shoots ("real")
        • Andy Kaufmann! (Laurie Anderson stooged for him, didn't know that)
        • Uh oh Edge.org (Eric Weinstein on Kayfabe)
        • The mystery is ontological not epistemological.
        • Ramsey Dukes How to see Faeries
        • Roger-pol ? Astonish Yourself – Magic as empirical science
        • Awakening is an accident, and mediation makes you accident prone. – Baker-Roshi
      • Office Hours
        • Simondon on technology
        • Artists are good diviners, they see a future for objects...
        • Charnel grounds and filth
        • Machen and evil (Have not read him)
          • JFM: Deleuze: all that returns is noble, so no real evil (eh I want to argue)
        • PF: Arousing of the bodhi-mind, non-discrimination. does not mean "don't like anything more than anything else" – don't address under-the-abyss problems with above-the-abyss techniques.
        • Crowley's life as kayfabe (Or David Bowie self-creation project)
          • dada as erasing line between life and art (?) Trump as ultimate
          • Crowley acceptance of his fate
        • Musil ? Decadents – were they leaning into the dark to affirm the light...
        • Logos appears. when you fuck around and find out. John Cage answer to why there is suffering: to thicken the plot...Henry: I have transgressed, now I am back...blah.
        • Emanations...the New...Life ... OK I can vibe with this but I can't (yet) talk about it.
        • Acausal or hyperchaotic thing (seems to be a reference to some early convos that I haven't heard)...
        • Failures of divination (But its all that for a skeptic like me).
        • JFM: spirituality as learning about those parts of yourself (or reality) that you reject...A defence of traditional religion – empirical systems for exploring the imaginal world.
        • Daniel at 6:20 or so...should review.
        • Was going to raise the issue of the homeless – human trash – but not sure it was going to fly. Might be too real, and I have no business making people feel guilty.
          • I didn't bring this up in the discussion because it is not fun or spiritually fulfilling, but the juxtaposition of trash stratum with morality made me think of a glaring social problem where I live (San Francisco) – the homeless, essentially people who society has relegated to the trash stratum.
          • Jesus, I assume, would be at home with these dregs of society, but the good bourgie citizenry (myself very much included) avert our eyes. We can't look at these people, there need is too great, we have to ignore them most of the time.
        • OK somebody else did
          • Thanks for posting this. I was thinking along similar lines during the office hours, but I'm leery of getting too political or moralizing in these discussions. We have created a class of people who are basically garbage (in the eyes of society) and because we can't deal with this fact honestly, they pile up in the streets (esp in San Francisco), a constant reminder of social failure. Jesus, I assume, would be at home with these human dregs, but the good bourgeoise citizenry (myself very much included) avert our eyes.
        • Want to draw a line between trash stratum and repression, seem obviously related.
    • Session 2 The Zone

      • Reading the "Daimonic Reality" paper and barfing a bit
        • The Otherworld is always imagined as beginning at the edge of our known world....Scientism recognizes no Otherworld, but, as I intimated in my 'little history of daimons', daimonic reality has a way of subverting it. Thus scientism constructs its own literal versions of a transcendent and and immanent Otherworld. The former appears in the weird models of the universe articulated by astronomers and cosmologists; the latter appears in the speculations of nuclear physicists.
        • Man does that sound confused. It goes on, revealing a stunning ignorance of what science is about. It's like Tao of Physics but even stupider, electrons are like fairies! or UFOs!
        • The subtaomic Otherworld has its own elegance and a certain stark beauty, as the physicists are keen on emphasizing; but iut is grey and meaningless compared to the world William Blake saw in a grain of sand.
        • Well buddy, you are the person who decided that physics is a version of your Otherworld (an inferior one I guess). I don't really see them as being the same thing or in competition for my soul.
      • 3rd reading
        • the Zone is usually a singular, often unmoving place of anomalous materiality. Importantly distinct from magical phenomena themselves, “[t]he zone is the region, spatial or temporal or both in which the phenomena may occur;” it is an “‘order’ that is outside order.”
        • Indeed, it is my contention that Zones are instances where the noumenal mixes with the phenomenal; where the Outside intrudes on the Inside. The beaches of Kant’s Island of Reason are littered with constantly evolving and changing tide pools.
        • Detour into Kant.
        • systematization and standardization of the human experience in the understandable world of the phenomenal is our treasured Inside...Furthermore, this set of rules that organize our experience of space and time “consistently and predictably” produce a homogeneity, a sameness that determines what Amy Ireland calls our “anthropomorphic regime.” Such a regime, she goes on, creates a sense of normalcy and harmony amongst us insofar as everything is “ordered, familiar, comfortable, and homely.”
        • Wow cites Steve Harrison and Paul Dourish , “Re-Place-in Space: The Role of Place and Space in Collaborative Systems,” in Proceedings of the 1996 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work
      • The Talk
        • "comprehensively unsystematic" (reading from a text, eh)
        • Can a time period (he sixties) be a zone?
        • image.png
        • JFM OTOH wants to consider Zones as an objective thing, independent of human subjectivity.
        • Twilight Zone! Yes!
        • Blake double vision. Superior to single vision. Yeah I suppose. Imaginal things are objectively real, as indpendent as the thistle at least (eh).
        • Coleridge: subjective imagination vs primary imagination (latter is as real as the physical world). Sufi mundum ? More reality when you see the thistle an old man. Eh.
        • Zones as hauntings. Where the weird manifests into reality.
        • de Chirico another good example
        • a zone where imaginal beings pitch their tent in our world (or vv). Charles Taylor disenchantment.
        • Line that people keep experiencing daimons whether or not they have been banished...yeah I suppose. "minded entities that are on a level with the human yet not human".
        • 44% of American believe in ghosts...argh this is way too paranormal-religious for my taste.
        • liminality an example of bait-and-switch...
        • he seems to be making a case for the objectivity of the imaginal...this seems misguided to me.
        • cite of Mark Fisher Weird and Eerie. Eeriness, the feeling of being watched by something alien...or being such a watcher. F2F with the nonhuman.
        • Ep 59 on Walking addressed how to find zones. Exercise: go for a walk, with no destination or podcasts. look for a "cursor", a tug in a particular direction.
        • He hates "intersubjective" because it implies an objective (?) Art exists independently of humans (I still think this wrongheaded).
        • To me, something seems wrongheaded about the assertion than daimons etc are objectively real. Let's grant that they are real in some sense – they generate real experiences, if nothing else – but they aren't real like a physical object is real, or we wouldn't think of them as interesting – they'd be normal, not paranormal. So what is their reality like? It's not objective or subjective, but some third type of being.
          • Wow PF picked up on this and read it, I'm kvelling
          • Followup (unsent). Subjective and objective assume a certain cosmology (or constitution, in Latour terms). Zones and daimons fuck up the boundary, I don't think it's right to think of them on either side (purely real and objective or purely subjective)
          • Try again: I think this boils down to a (false) dualism, that something is either objective (eg, natural, physical, has its own existence apart from observers, measurable with scientific instruments) or subjective (all in the head, culturally constructed, basically made up and thus could easily be made differently in someone else's head).
    • Session 3 Art that looks back

      • Buber, should link my I and Thou Ribbonfarm essay. Or do I, how about listening to their take first? They are talking about finding thous in the inanimate, my essay is about how it's tough even with the animate.
      • No mention of Sloterdijk/Rilke ??? (comes up later)
      • Notes on Wastiau Two Congolese Masterpieces
        • Looking at art as "Tabwa" rather than the product of individuals is rather parallel to feeling that "all asians look alike" – somewhat defensible due to cognitive limits, but also obnoxious and colonialist. Good to be remembered that there were individual minds at work here.
      • Notes on Lecture – The Artwork Looks Back
        • Komar and Melamid, Healing Power of Art (not)
        • He's denouncing his youthful cynicism (I guess I agree but I don't care about academia, trendy or otherwise)
        • quote from Jodorowsky, Psychomagic
        • Assigning agency to art (from Duchamp episode, "this music loves me")
          • He is not sure what he meant – that's good, honest
        • Elkins, people who cry at paintings
        • Mumbo Jumbo, mutafica repatriazing stolen art works
        • Uchiyama, Just Bow
        • PF says I and Thou is full of Zen shit
        • Don't put such tight conditions on personhood
        • It is the borderlessnes of being that comes through an encounter with art.
        • Burning Man art kind of solves the museum problem ...
        • Nathan showed that Alex Grey book on art.
        • Robert Irwin: Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees
    • Session 4 The Dreaming

      • Reading Borges piece on dreams – actually pretty vanilla for Borges, but OK
        • The idea that there is a single dreamer. See I Am You
        • Also made me think of Chuang Tzu story about the dreaming butterfly.
      • Lecture
        • last week – artwork as imaginal being
        • before that - zone as habitat for imaginal being, trash stratum
        • "imaginal" – nonhuman intelligence
        • He is against dreams as trash (GC theory).
        • psychoanalysis
        • Dumpert quote – are people really that anti-imagination or anti-dream? I mean that was satirized in Hard Times but most people today give at least lip service to the importance of imagination.
        • "our attitude today" is that imagiantion and dream are epiphenom of the "real" world and not real in themselves.
        • "objective dream" – he means the dream as it is, before interpretation (not clear that means anything. Cats exist whether you perceive them or not, dreams – well, no).
        • Dreams present themselves as encounters (agree with that), thus anything we encounter is not us.
        • dream ego and waking ego aren't the same.
        • the fragmented nature of dream recollections is evidence for the reality of a larger world that they are glimpses of
        • we recognize dreamlikeness in some films (He didn't mention any, but Lynch and Tarkovsky come to mind)
        • Hillman, dream world is underworld (death and the past)
        • Why How What Who Where When
        • image.png
        • Dream is how immaterial beings clothe themselves in material garb...i like that...
        • Bergson dream theory (1901 or so)l He believed that memory was total (wrong).
        • 6pm explicit about how imaginal is real
        • Hm the problem is that listening to other people's dreams is boring.
        • western philosophy as sufferiing from skepticism to the point of insanity.
        • PF snarking on computational models of mind, pretty fairly actually.
    • Section 5 Diviner's Time

      • The lecture
        • He's going to talk about Wagner's Ring Cycle – it is structured by Diviner's Time. The Slit in Nothingness
        • Mahler's ambivalence about Wagner – two truths that must remain in dissonance (man vs. music)
        • The Ring as cosmic McGuffin
        • Alex Ross book
        • Moving between keys implies agency and being; the single E-flat chord in the opening is before being, above the abyss.
        • Ref to Laws of Form, nice. How do people know that book?
          • image.png
          • Wagner palled around with Bakunin? Learn something new ...
          • Wagner's encounter with Schopenhauer (and hence Buddhism) – "all things go their different ways / you can alter nothing"
          • JFM: Leitmotif as Platonic form, Ulysses as making the mundane transcendent.
          • P Craig Russel did a version of the Ring...highly recommended
      • Office hours
        • Ring Cycle Tarot!
        • Diviner's time has a feel, moments befall in a certain type of way, a certain flavor of eventfulness...
        • a certain formalized mechanism – the feel of time – time that has aspect of mind but is not just me....divinbation as a black light for seeing this higher temporality
        • Jaci: Science, JFM: Origin of Species is a Wagnerian book.
        • Jacob Foster science vs scientism – yeah ok maybe.
          • Wagner elucidates divinatory in all art, some modern stuff occludes that.
        • JFM mentioning his art theory (artifice short-circuits interpretation, hides the real mystery)
          • counter-initiatory texts, things that steer you away from initiation.
          • CIA anti-real-art conspiracy. OK. Capitalis God and Work a Religion (Jaci)
          • Nathan: Paradise Lost all-day performance
            • Magical realism as ghettoizing magic
            • Faraday building theory from Chladni lines??? Things that are permissible to study vs those that are not.
            • Freud evolving towards telepathy (?)
            • PF: ref Platonic Mysticisn (SUNY press) Hannegraf?
          • JFM: Adam Becker, What is Real? (Questioning Copenhagen interp)
          • Time that is minded, that has the univese looking back, that the intelligence of the u is back at us.
    • Week 6 Real Magic

      • Reading: BoA intro
        • Through the fabulations of fantasy, we test the Real, sounding its depths and learning, again and again, that there is more to this universe than any dogmatic con- strual would allow.
        • "imaginal" coined by Henry Corbin "mystics since time immemorial have been visiting places that are immaterial, yet totally real." – guess this is the crux of his belief. Coleridge, Jung ... "were united by a conviction that at least some of the images we see in visions, dreams, and fabulations are Things in the horror-genre sense of the term. That is, they are beings in a world of beings. Our world is not limited to matter as com- monly understood."
        • Insisting that the imaginal is important – OK
        • Insisting that it is real – iffy. I mean sure it is real on some sense, but to try to equate it with material reality is to miss the point.
        • Alright, maybe I shouldn't be fighting with this. I just never really got that much into fantasy roleplaying and thus am not that into magic. I resist it. Not even sure why...am I trying to overcome my resistance? Do I aspire (in the Callardian sense) to belief?
        • Unfortunately, getting any of it to work will require one thing that no book can give you, ... This is the seriousness that is integral to real imaginal play. In magic, you play for keeps or don’t play at all.
          • Yeah I have problems there.
      • Lecture
        • Radical otherness of dreams (from earlier). From Diviner's Time: "the aleatory nature of intelligibility as such" (no idea)
        • chance, contingency, and magick in the context of the real (?)
        • When modern people say luck we don't know what we are talking about (speak for youreslf jack).
        • Bruno's ten types of magic, each with its own causality. Modernism (materialism, immanent frame) denies the reality of these.
        • JFM: magic should eschew causality, not a "fifth cause" as in Ramey. But then modernism rejects it? (could not follow this at all).
        • Sorry I am confused, is the point that magic is acausal or that it works by forms of causality that modernity rejects?
        • Goals for magic theory: no occult forces, no turning-world-into-illusion (somehow retrocausality implies that?). Allowing naive realism to operate.
        • Propositional vs Compositional Tree as effect of non-tree vs form of tree. (Process is very non-tree, non-Platonic) (not sure why "compositional" is the right name )
        • image.png
        • "Intensive" means things exist as beings (?). Transcends the purely mechanical...
        • P and C are complementary, not exclusive (OK). "it is a tree before any causal blah" ... ugh. brute entities, transcending causal forces. We do this with human beings. (ugh).
        • trees in dreams do not require sunlight or are made of atoms. Well duh.
        • a dream like a person cannot be reduced (says who? oh well here's where we part company).
        • trying to move dream logic into real world (I guess this is how you get magic?)
        • real world causality real but not necessary (that is, contingent).
        • you believe in at least one brute entity (that acts non-causally). Bernardo Kastrup
        • image.png
        • Doesn't your belief in the human mean that they transcend the causal (no).
        • The argument that you can imagine anything seems really weak. All this fighting against causality seems misplaced to me.
        • No law of physics is really a law (Hume). Stupid as hell.
        • image.png
        • Semantics of Clocks vibe.
        • Seems like occasionalism which is another really moronic idea (or, more likely, one I don't understand)
        • The imaginal is real, what we call reality is the "actual". But the process of how things move from imaginal to actual is not causal, so magic has no causality? Or something? Seems very fucking confused.
        • The question of good and evil goes to the bottom of reality (hm).
        • Causation is the meter and rhyme of the world (Sets a pattern but it gets violated).
        • The world is a story before it is a clockwork mechanism (Nope!)
        • He's with Dun Scotus and scholastics (?)
        • Eric Wargo time loops as pure propositional block-universe theory of magic, completely different from this.
        • My question: Is this antifoundationalism? The idea that there isn’t really a single base layer to reality.
          • Answer: yes (other than esthetics maybe). (But believes in causality and science)v
          • How is covid intelligence an argument for dream-logic?
      • Office Hours
        • Watching video for OH1
          • PF: trying to defend magic as a worldview. Refs back to table from talk (proposition/compositional).
          • image.png
          • Kripal humanist 2-step (? heard that wrong)
          • JFM: we experience this magical universe all the time, it's not reserved for peaks (like enlightenment). "causation doesn't have the final word on the real". It's everyday mind.
            • Hm. Not sure what I think of that. I mean, props to everyday mind but it doesn't have a metaphysics...no damn it. Hm. He's putting me (and science and modernism) in the position of the asshole enclosing the commons of experience, expropriating everybody. Hm.
          • JFM: the problem is that we are not modern enough (ok, that is really good, he is not reactionary, he wants to go forward, or show that the magical is already within the modern)
          • Nothing is outside of participation – but some things (rationalism) tries to be.
          • From JF Martel : Magic, Science, Religion and the Scope of Rationality 14:47:36 From Dylan Burns : The psychologist Nathan Schwartz Salant used an image of a Klein bottle (3D version of moebius strip) to describe the therapeutic encounter. Both parties are in the bottle and in participation, and both are outside it, reflecting on it.
          • From David J : Sure. I haven't read Crowley personally but I really enjoyed this podcast that focused entirely on The Book of The Law and the phrase "Do as Thou Wilt" . 003 Do What Thou Wilt - WORP FM | Acast There is a pretty good summary on the page
          • David J thinking about ethics and causality – or what is anything for. How does magic inform "what to do"? JFM: "what matters" is important, better than materialist. imaginal outlook fuses "what is" and "what do i do". Magic as a form of pragmatism (He doesn't say that, that's an mt insight).
            • Plato: the good lies beyond Being (or beings). It simply is, but you can't even say that it is, it is a kind of groundlessnes that orients all beings (and becomes god in christianity). Good has to lie outside or beyond being.
              • Think I disagree, or at least, this sort of thinking is the root cause of a lot of shit.
            • What the sun is in the phys universe, the good is in the intellectual universe.
            • Duns Scotus univocity of being (opens the modern) – all things exist on the same plane before the nonbeing that is the good.
            • Camus and the existentialists nail the primacy of ethics. Nietzsche too. MEtaphysics is unnecessary to this world (with him there).
          • Nathan: de Broglie, pilot-wave theory, causality
            • both top-down and bottum-up feedback
            • graham harman overmining and undermining (sounds like useful terminology)
          • Jaci: a physical 3rd level Natural Selection for Least Action (ok should read this)
            • evolution exists because of entropy
            • entropy meets tzimtzum and emanationism
            • transcendence – entropy – nirvana – all things desire nothingness...
            • general reaction – doing this stuff without mathematics is pointless.
            • time only exists because of this search for equilibrium (that sounds suggestive at least)
            • entropy as increaseof creative freedom (??)
          • Joel Grus: from advertising to magic
            • circumspection – a good thing
            • JFM on causality which I still don't quite grasp. Ethics and causality linked.
            • However causal the mechanism was, there was an acausal decision...nah. He believes in freedom and contingency, and that ALL PHYSICAL PROCESES have this axiological nature? (Axiology about ethics and esthetics; distinct from metaphysics which is abotu causality).
          • Karolinska (?) Aristotle's Poetics rather than metaphysics. Efficacay of magic and power
            • Lewis Mumford and the machinic
            • JFM: bad to assume the mechanisms of nature are all of nature
            • modernity pushes mechanism so far it bumps up against the acausal (in a prim culture, it would be magical-causal).
      • Random notes
        • Dec 2nd, 2022
          • I found this week's material frustrating, and I'm not completely sure why. In general, when I listen to the podcast I often find myself in disagreement with things, sometimes quite strongly – but I always appreciate the clarity of the philosophical views expressed and explored there. Even when I disagree, the ideas and reasoning and motivations are clear enough, and I find it refreshing and clarifying to figure out for myself these points of disagreement, what they imply for my own ideas and values. To the extent possible, I feel like I am trying to broaden my own mind and that I am learning things. Nothing is better than that!
          • So why is this particular stuff so fucking irritating? It lacks that clarity, and it lacks a certain modesty. It is going from the honest inquisitiveness of the podcast to an attempt to lay down a kind of formalized worldview.
          • Maybe it boils down to Blake's "Everything possible to be believed is an image of truth".
    • Week 7 Practice

      • Note
        • Phil, that was a remarkable piece of writing, thank you for "assigning" it. Could really feel the presence
        • Quibbles: classism, holism. Don't quite trust "wholeness", something too static about it. But not the way she presents it.
      • Talk: I Really Should Be Practicing
        • MC Richards + Occupy(?!). Sloterdijk ref, ok.
        • The practicing person is one whose life is oriented to the repitition of an activity with a view to its perpetuation. (or flourishing)
        • The Invisibles image.png
        • Fenellosa. MIT Piano Drop. Process. Philosophical texts as wormcasts of the real activity.
        • Practicing as a way of being (rather than a particular activity).
        • Sound, experience, Timothy Leary
        • image.png
        • Agency in Battle of Algiers – accomplished through sound. Levy-Bruhl participation.
        • 0:45 what does he say about materialism?
        • Rushkoff Occupy Reality clip
        • image.png
        • Brouwer ref! A two-ity. Parachronic time
        • Chesterton Orthodoxy Eternal Revolution (!)
        • This was quite good! And touched on a bunch of my own touchpoints.
      • Office hours
        • habit and canalization (good and bad)
        • Winnicott, Playing and Reality (from Joel Grus)
        • Hollow Knight video game
        • Stravinsky quote about limits (also Fripp and Henry Miller)
        • Alex Henderson (NC) anarchism
        • Orwell quote from politics and english language: the inflated style of harold lasky...pf dubious about "the political"
        • JFM: Distributivism, catholic social teaching..
        • Dylan Burns: Climate Psychology Alliance
        • Hopecore and hopepunk
        • Adam Curtis Hypernormalization
        • Karolina Lebek: teaching a course on utopia
        • Notes for me:
          • Occupy is such an unusual semi-political term
      • Office Hours 2 (listening only)
        • Christmas dishes
        • Animal play as practice. PF: make-believe as a favorite topic. Kayfabe. Occupy had elements of it.
        • Kate Altheiser, animal musicality (a student of his)
        • Nathan, capitalism is a wave like elctromagnatism.
        • JFM: you can't reduce waves to motion of molecules (is he a Latour irreductions guy?)
        • Practice and canalization (again). This is good. Very important to make good choices about what you repeat. They should talk about resistance to practice though.
        • Zen and freedom. Looks like the negation of freedom but to the person sitting, that is freedom. And within the very limited freedom of classical music. Within these frames, the goal is perfect freedom...being what you are, the freedom of being (JFM: that is what real magic lecture was all about). Honestly I don't quite get. Sure, being is great, discipline may be totally wonderful, but how is it freedom?
        • Yeah skip that and stick to the topic
          • Discipline is great but in what sense is it freedom? I don't quite get that. Maybe it's because I don't quite believe in freedom.
            • Ah, but I am trying...I am selectiong versions of myself that believe...as have my illustriouos ancestors...
            • Freedom to choose a master, it sounds like. Freedom to follow a discipline.
      • PF: Practice is always breaking and reforming
      • JFM on Mulder had to realize he was on a non-rational quest..o.y vey
        • Monk Watering a dead tree (as analogy for practice). Or piano or dissertation. Long stretches of aridity.
        • Practice vs performance (my stupid hypertext is blurring the lines, may be the problem).
      • St John of the cross (dryness)
      • Habits of weirding (habits of self-creation, soul-creation, creating a destiny or telos. Not picked out of a menu).
        • Suggests both Aspiration and Inventive Minds
      • James on Habit in Principles of Psychology
        • could the young but realize how they will soon become ambulatory bundles of habit....oh my that is good.
        • Oh Ainslie too
    • Week 8 Hyperstition

      • If Weird Studies has an overarching theme, it may be the hunch that the fundamental principle of reality is neither inert matter nor pristine mind, but pure event—that is to say, drama, story, poesy, act. There is perhaps no better way into this thought space than with the philosopher Nick Land’s *hyperstition, *the notion that certain subjective imaginings can, in time, become objective realities.
      • Seems like a weak notion of hyperstition to me, which has nothing to do with subjective and objective. It's not subjectivities becoming objective, it's real powers calling themselves into being out of nothingness.
        • But that's just one phrase, I think in general he gets it as least as well as I do, probably better.
      • We will argue that by embracing hyperstition, one can make life a transformative process on the cosmic scale, a sacrament that leaves nothing unaltered, not even the remotest star.
        • or maybe not, I think Nick Land would barf up his amphetamines at this nicey-nice shit.
      • Nick Land reading! Alright, cool.
        • Read these, its a weird take-off on Burroughs.
      • Lecture
        • Weirding as a practice (or set)
          • Long viewing, cursor, (I haven't really done these properly I'm sorry to say)
          • Weirding as Negative capability
          • More like pluralism than skepticism – universe overdetermined (meaning, can be explained in multiple ways).
          • Weird philosophy is subjunctive, about how things could be (I have to say I'm not down with this really). Maybe, but not undecided. "supervenes on a deeper yes". Yes to absolute possibility. A knowing of radical mystery.
          • Large Sum example, boring. How can we define a world where this is possible. Second spear (Azande) – this stuff is all nonsense, at least as argument. Acausal events, they have no fucking clue.
          • Magician extracting possibilities from the field of the possible and makes it real. "reaching into the imaginal".
          • Well how do you do that: "Advanced Magic for Beginners"
          • image.png
          • image.png
          • What are the old ones? "the non-human real"...are they literally entities?
          • image.png
          • To Land and Burroughs the Old Ones are the good guys (chaotic, opposed to The One and The Law).
          • image.png
          • OK that one I can get behind.
          • "esthetic universe" as equivalent...not sure about that.
          • image.png
          • Mentions that we have problems dealing with fictions that are ridiculous or evil (Scientology, David Icke, etc, Q-Anon).
          • OGU vs MU One God universe tries to constrain hyperstition...
          • image.png
          • Burroughs control – works by limiting the imaginal
          • Linear time and OGU just other stories, will collapse into chaos at the end.
          • What does belief mean? If time itself is control, no place to put your trust. Nega-nosticism. Ethics of suspicion. Bad, so we have to trust the world.
          • Deleuze made this his final plea (?). Plato: the Good is beyond Being. JFM: the good manifests in the causal structure of reality(?). Leibniz: the best of all possible worlds.
          • Logos, Paremenides...
          • The everyday world is weird (OK agree there). But replacing our felt experience with a model de-weirds it.
          • Belief/suspicion abel/caine (dont know if I share his interp of that)
          • Burroughs/Land dismiss homely regularities of time.
          • Morton: symbiotic real? Meaning not given, must be enacted (OK?).
          • Lemur story overwrites Vollmer story? I don't see that.
          • Burroughs and ccru metaphysics are manichean, dualist, schizophrenic...all conspiracy theory shares this (?) as does politics (?). Split of the atom in Lynch's Twin Peaks...
          • pronoia solution, the idea that world is evolving towards to good (oppo of paranoia). You can trust this world...because
          • image.png
          • So...stupid question maybe: JFM are you saying that OGU is not so bad? Do you find yourself on the other side of Burroughs in his magical war? Or do you reject his framing, you don't seem to feel monotheism and magic are at odds.
          • Deleuze: philosophy is nothing without non-philosophy. (eg the world is right there, we know it, Dōgen ). Phi creates concepts to help us (yeah)
        • Office Hours 1
          • Nathan: Burroughs himself a hypersitition, suppression of homosex goes back 3000 years.
          • Lauren Holt works for Cambridge Institute for Existential Risk Lauren Holt
          • JFM: course should have focused on "The Event" – the irruption into time of soemthing that changes time itself (?).
          • Deleuze Guattari refrain, reflects on self. "the natal", pre-existing real forces.
          • Jaci: Burroughs OGU was his own accusatory viewpoint. Searching for forgiveness.
          • Warren Ellis and Declan Shelvey’s series INJECTION riffs on the ecru. Very cool series (two more GNs yet to come)
        • Office Hours 2
          • Renee mentioned the bleak tone of Nick Land material and thanked hosts for making something positive there. Yeah. "brimming with possibilities". Man, she (and others) are really filled with the spirit. Not sure I am, but I can appreciate it in others.
          • JFM: Deleuze style of teaching, not a transfer (reminds me of Minsky). "best letters were from surfers and origamists – they understand The Fold"
            • Goal: bring you into a new space for thinking
            • I completely love JFMs stance here. I should accept this and stop looking for reasons to fight.
            • PF: education is learning to take pleasure in your own thoughts – nice. Means you can do that for others.
              • I thought he was going to say practice, but I guess practice requires a conjunction of pleasure and thought.
            • Tells about a boddhisatva piano teacher – what was his secret? He made PF believe he could do anything...
            • Emergent intelligence – the party. Yes. Giving people license, permission, etc.
          • David: check out Nathan post. The David Icke problem – what about the too-weird shit (good question actually)
            • JFM: sympathetically and open. If you believe in daimons, don't jump on those who beleive in other daimons. Against ethos of suspicion. Approach sympathetically. Nobody has a picture of the whole or a final truth.
            • Modernity rooted in suspicion (eg scientist who says phys world is illusion) leads to nihilism...hm, kind of confused but who isn't.
            • JFM: ethos of trust in reality. A stable world needed for David Icke to be wrong. We can't account for stability and trust, so its a leap of faith (?). ref Errol Morris Weird Studies/Errol Morris, Lobsters anti-Kuhn.
            • PF: how do you know your path (away from consensus) is good (think of that Vimalakirti quote). Risk of Q-anon, gurus, etc.
            • JFM: Harner, Way of the Shaman (I have that) story about Ayhuasca entities and trust in the forest.
            • Jacob(?) mentioned antisemitism, good, Near-enemies of WS (land/burroughs). What's wrong with it?
            • JFM: Burroughs late embrace of cats, lemurs, love even. Nietzsche pluralism Deleuze
            • Nathan: re-emergence of gnosticism (on a 500year cycle). Pro-polytheism. Transfinite numbers implies polytheism (hmm). JFM: WS is pluralism in a spirit of trust. Recommend Tom Holland Dominion book. We don't want inquisitions.
            • PF: worse is better for ideas (VHS vs Beta). But he won't be part of it.
            • Nick: q about pronoia, can it be applied to art. JFM: rec Huysmans and decadence? Modernism negates ethics... Ligotti develops universe of trust (?). "The Order of Illusion" (hm sounds like Taussig Defacement is relevant). There's always meaning, hence value, hence The Good. Cormac M, etc, exploring the nihilistic limits but still in some way affirming an underlying layer (my words). Charnel grounds.
            • Realized that JFM (The Good) and PF (evolution and power) are re-enacting an old and dull philosophical argument (Gorgias maybe?). But the power of the show is that they are not fighting over that, they are looking for commonalities that transcend that difference.
              • Weird thought that this should be applied to AI Alignment, although not sure how.
            • Daniel: Road to Western Lands JFM: Freud Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Death Drive.
            • JFM: left-hand paths
    • General feedback

      • I wanted to say thanks for offering this course and the larger intellectual space you are in the process of defining, and for welcoming a wide variety of minds into it. It's been a pleasure, and continues to be. Thanks for letting us in to play in your world.
      • I began this course with a small amount of trepidation, which seems a bit silly now, but I worried because (a) I have significant differences with you guys, in background and maybe in other ways (b) it was clear that this course would be something intense and personal, not a mere intellectual exercise. That combination can lead to arguments – I was worried I'd fall into the Richard Dawkins obnoxious scientist role. Didn't want to do that, and I think I've avoided it.
      • WS is itself a kind of hyperstition. It's a living thing with a degree of autonomy, it has its own agenda, you guys created it but don't exactly control it. And we are all parts of it, servants of this greater thing, something we want but also something we feel a bit impelled towards despite ourselves, something we are drawn to. [again too fucking fancy]
      • WS is a Thou,
        • as opposite from say a Coursera course as you can get.
          • I like to think in opposites and oppositions don't I. I think the WS guys do to at some level, more than a good rationalist should.
      • The secret of difference. (Also true of NI, an intellectual TAZ)
      • Ethos of suspicion vs trust. I think I am starting to understand what you mean, and the contrasting readings of Burroughs and Land helped me see something. Modernity knocks out trust and replaces it with something gleaming, sterile, artificial, and not really with your best interests at heart (it's kind of like replacing an organic community with a shopping mall owned by a faceless global corporation).
      • Things that are born also die. The eternal OTOH
      • What do I really want to say? To be wrt to them? In relation, but what is the status nature of that relation, if there is one? Mutual respect would be ideal. Not above, not below, not against.
        • But I feel presumptious, because I'm insecure. But that's boring AF.
      • Why are we here? Presumably we all have our own personal reasons for being impelled in a certain direction.
      • WS as hyperstition
        • Kind of obvious maybe, but I wanted to say it.
        • It's a living thing, we are particpating in its emergence.
        • Even a magic-doubter like myself finds myself caught up in it. Pretty neat! Also a bit unnerving and scary.
        • Risk of spiritual materialism or something like it. Reifying into an ideology (better to stay a praxis)
      • The ethos of suspicion and its opposite
        • Everything is true
      • Argument and praxis
      • I-Thou and risk
      • The Good and the Dominant
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?
    • Updates

from Richard Dawkins
  • The well-known biologist and militant atheist. Because of the latter, he's somewhat of an anathema to Weird Studies, and I have to agree with them, Dawkins gives atheism a bad name by his crude approach to religion, and not coincidentally by also playing the philistine on Twitter:
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/Neighbor George
    • As usual, this drifited into the ontology of the supernatural and modernism. Bruno Latour came up. These discussions always get me thinking about my own views, and how they differ from that of the hosts, or perhaps aren't all that different.
    • Naturally all direct talk of the supernatural and the paranormal sets my teeth on edge. To which the WS people might respond, quite reasonably, if I don't like that kind of thing, why am I hanging around these precincts?
    • Well, one answer is that while parnormalism isn't very attractive to me, I share with the WS folks a sense that something is really wrong and broken with modenity, science, materialism, rationalism, whatever you want to call it. (So does everybody else pretty much, aside maybe from some overly aggressive Science Guy types). I've always liked art that questioned the hard edges of reality, a taste which I also share with WS, they just take ti a few degrees more seriously than I am willing to.
    • Everything you hate is part of you (including Donald Trump, ech).
      • Yeah I gotta admit the truth of that. It stands to reason – you have to represent the things you don't like. Aversion to things you don't like, attraction to those you do, it's the basic engine of samsara. Dvesha is the Buddhist term Dvesha (Buddhism) - Wikipedia).
        • My intense opposition to fascism worries me sometimes – the stronger and more justified the hate, the more likely that there is some part of myself I am not seeing.
    • MC Richards sounds interesting.
    • The fall into conceptualization.
from Weird Studies/Up and Over (Patreon)
from Weird Studies/Cutting (Patreon)
    • Cutting as the prime gesture of Macbeth
      • Defining gesture in cinema, also brutalist architecture
      • The moment of decision (is a cut), the witches cut the thread of fate
    • Made me think of Philip Pullman's Subtle Knife...Oh it did come up around 23:30
    • The jumpcut in 2001
    • Burroughs cut-ups
    • philosophies of the cut vs that of the flow
      • they do a lot of flow (Bergson, process philosophy etc)
from Weird Studies/Fall of the House of Usher
    • Every Poe story is an abyss whose shape is the story itself (forget who and paraphrased)
    • Personal aside: while I've read Poe, my initial image of him is from the game of Authors and a MAD Magazine bit, this isn't quite it
      • A tribute to Edgar Allen Poe (sung to the tune of "There's No Business Like Show Business")
      • There's no stories like Poe stories like no stories we know, If you like a tale that is appalling, If you like to murmur, shriek, and cry, If you like a tale with bodies falling, and spirits calling, Then Poe's your guy!
      • There's no people like Poe people, they all fill us with woe, If you like a tale that's filled with death galore, And spirits tapping upon your door, And some crazy raven shouting "Nevermore", There's no writer like Poe!
    • I have said that the sole effect of my somewhat childish experiment --that of looking down within the  --had been to deepen the first singular impression. There can be no doubt that the consciousness of the rapid increase of my superstition --for why should I not so term it? --served mainly to accelerate the increase itself. Such, I have long known, is the  law of all sentiments having terror as a basis.
    • Wow that is good. Just causually being extremely meta, noting dryly how terror recursively feeds on itself. Haven't listened to the podcast yet but I can guess what they are going to say, that this text has a kind of magickal causality, it does things to you, it draws you into its world and stance towards the world.
    • Many books and musical instruments lay scattered about, but failed to give any vitality to the scene.
    • It me!
    • His voice varied rapidly from a tremulous indecision (when the animal spirits seemed utterly in ) to that species of energetic concision --that abrupt, weighty, unhurried, and hollow-sounding enunciation --that leaden, self-balanced and perfectly modulated guttural utterance, which may be observed in the lost drunkard, or the irreclaimable eater of opium, during the periods of his most intense excitement.
    • It also me.
    • And thus, as a closer and still intimacy admitted me more unreservedly into the recesses of his spirit, the more bitterly did I perceive the futility of all attempt at cheering a mind from which darkness, as if an inherent positive quality, poured forth upon all objects of the moral and physical universe, in one unceasing radiation of gloom.
    • Some of the description of Usher (obsessed with music and radiating a certain disturbing energy) made it seem like a negative of the music master in GBG.
    • This opinion, in its general form, was that of the sentience of all vegetable things. But, in his disordered fancy, the idea had assumed a more daring character, and trespassed, under certain conditions, upon the kingdom of inorganization.
    • That's a cool phrase, "the kingdom of inorganization". A kingdom without a king I guess, mere anarchy and not the good kind.
    • The podcast

      • The decaying stones in a persistant (strong) structure, works as description of the house and of the story itself.
      • Some connections to their obsession with spirals vs flat circles, aka emergence, holism. Starts to get my hackles up, but didn't go very far.
        • Why exactly? "Emergence" is wonderful but people who talk about it as such (rather than any particular form of it) are either dumb or salesmen for something.
      • The trope of the decayed house...hm, reminds me of Sopranos opening. Decadence, awareness of decadence.
from Weird Studies/John Carpenter
from Weird Studies/a note on Yarvin
    • A contribution to a Discord discussion on politics. Thought this articulated some things I keep trying to pin down. (see neoreaction)
      • (note: I've got no interest in starting a vanilla political debate here, so I'm not directly responding to the question of whether Yarvin is or is not terrible or should or should not be cancelled, etc)
      • I must say I'm surprised to see the opinion that discourse and material power are separate here (although I know there must be a wide diversity of views). One of the things attracting me weird-wards is the realization that the old-school liberalism that I grew up with is just false in many respects, and one of those its its model of free speech. The liberal idea is that speech and discourse is highly separable from action and power, so you can let all manner of ideas be debated in the speech-sphere and hopefully the good ones will win out due to rationality and make it into the sphere of action.
      • But this is entirely wrong, and its particularly wrong for political speech, which is always aimed at producing some kind of power shift in the real world. Political speech is not about ideas, its about the political strength of people and coalitions. Everybody kind of knows this, too, except a few naive intellectuals.
      • And it's particularly wrong when it comes to fascism, which attacks the liberal and rational basis of society. Fascism doesn't operate on ideas; and the Trumpian form of fascism is explcitly designed to allow people to express their feelings without regard to any ground truths, which are dismissed as "fake news".
      • Liberalism doesn't really know how to defend itself against these toxic ideas, given its metaphysics. I view all the cancellation brou-ha-ha as kind of a weak immune response of liberal civilization against an invasive and potentially fatal disease. Like a biological immune response, it can go too far and cause more damage than it prevents.
      • Also I would think that all the weirdness at the margins of the Trump phenomena (Kek, meme magic, the Qanon cult, and the connections Yarvin and Nick Land) would be topics of great interest here. Maybe it's too unpleasant to think of how weird shit is being weaponized by malignant forces, but probably not good idea to ignore it either.
from Weird Studies/Mumbo Jumbo
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.
    • Mentions Little, Big which is also one of my faves.
    • 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 Dig
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 Weird Studies/Knocking on the Abyssal Door
    • This was a recording of a public presentation given at the DISI conference, which was mostly STEM people.
    • Azande, fifth cause. Things happen for reasons. I don't believe this because I am a modern, oh well,
    • Agonizing Aristotelianism ugh
    • Meaning is not in here or out there because the boundary is illusory – yes that's good. Somehow it implies magic is a thing – not sure how that works
    • Inventing dichotomies – the contintentals do this all the time (Bergson, Deleuze)
    • Aleister Crowley – all concepts below the abyss are to be opposed.
      • Mentions Laws of Form
    • Magic pings the ? like sonar
    • Plato's hidden mysticism
    • Wound up with a plea for the reality of weird phenomena against the crushing modernist materialism. As usual. Sigh. I do not understand what these guys think that "the reality of supernatural phenomena" buys them.
from Weird Studies/Bandwagon & Mandy
    • Films as an extension of dreaming.
    • I haven't seen either of these pictures.
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 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/sunn O)))
    • Really just a test of my Markdown parser. A doom-metal band, not my usual thing, actually quite brilliant in its way.
      • After this I should give the Zorn/Laswell disk another listen, thought it was too noisy the first time.
    • Living inside a sound, sound as event.
    • Wonder if these guys know Survival Research Labs
    • Clement Greenberg medium-specificity. I never really got that, I'm too square, expect the message and medium to be separate. Although I always like works that play with or break out of their form.
    • Cool Aztec poetry about transitoriness.
    • Architectural brutalism, JFM is a fan (recent convert). Some sublime beauty in its inhumanness. And especially in its decay (seemed somehow JG Ballard ian)
    • Works like Rothko that stretch the materiality of the medium to the point where it can show something non-human.
from Weird Studies/Erik Davis
    • Describes his relationship with occultists, which I thought was interesting. Dabbled with it, but decided it wasn't for him. He's so fascinating to me as someone who both inhabits all these scenes, but is also apart enough from them to write about them as a journalist and academic.
    • High Weirdness as a cautionary tale (and also a healing tale, for those who need it).
    • Weird Studies Episode 4: Exploring the Weird with Erik Davis
      • 20th anniversary of Techgnosis
      • Reviewing the 90s – the loss of subcultures.
      • Some stuff about the relation of the weird and probability which I thought was intriguing but vaguely problematic.
      • Inside vs. outside. Normie art links all the weirdness to internal (psychological) factors and diminishes the cool idea that it is the world that is weird.
      • Lovecraft vs Dick – in Dick, the weirdness is invading from without, in Lovecraft the protagonist approaches the weird and is swalled up by it.
      • (very paraphrased). Dick characters are in a social web, Lovecraft's are solitary.
from Weird Studies/Wild Wild Country
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/13 Heraclitus
    • Something appropriate about the fragementary nature of the Heraclitus that we have received.
    • Interesting metaphor of I Ching and other divination methods let you see the flow of time and experience by interfering with it, like a stick in a clear-running stream.
    • Oct 1st, 2022 a second listen
      • I think the fragment they identify as 41 is 120 in Davenport:
        • Wisdom is whole: the knowledge of how things are plotted in their courses by all other things.
      • As above, so below. Philosophy as a new category, only in the modern era have we drawn these boundaries between religion and spirituality and philosophy and science.
      • Freud as dark metaphor, well sure...depths of soul vs cold rationality. Yeah yeah yeah. Cites Mark Johnson "Meaning of the Body" isn't that the same one who did the metaphor book with Lakoff? Yes I agree completely that abstract thought is grounded in the body ... although might disagree on implications of that.
        • Deleuze, Spinoza ("we do not know what a body is capable of" – ooh yeah). Then they start talking about "astral bodies" which is not the same thing (AFAIK).
      • Frag 9: Asses would rather have straw than gold.
      • 14: Night-walked, magians, priests of bacchus...
      • Towards the end, some stuff on the reality of dreams and the dreamworld (citing Sandman). Yes that is the interesting question. Not so much as to whether the dream world "exists", it obviously does in some abstract way, in that we can refer to it as well as visit it. More, "what is the nature of this world's being and how does that relate to the mundane variety of being?"
      • I must say it somehow grates on me whenever the hosts play heroic-defenders-of-the-imaginal-against-all-those-squares. Possibly because I'm one the squares, but I don't think that's quite it.
      • Oh yeah, PF narrated a dream he had, where a bookstore he used to visit had changed character – previously a vast, dilapadated, utilitarian warehouse was now a trendy boutique, much "nicer" but the books themselves had largely vanished.
        • For some reason the meaning of this was mysterious to them, but it seems crashingly obvious: he's worried that his new-found fame and success has ruined the very things he loved that brought him to this level.
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 unus mundus
  • Just came across this term (from Weird Studies, naturally) and wonder what's the big deal. As a computationalist, I am perfectly happy with the idea that the worlds of psyche and matter are in reality the same world. And not just intellectually, it is part of my work, my practice. Gregory Bateson wrote a whole book on this (Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity).
from Weird Studies/Mechanical Dollhouse
    • I'm having trouble formulating my opinion about this episode and the underlying paper. I'd say I agree with its main point and purpose, but disagree on a lot of the details. Whether these details are interesting or not I can't be sure, they are significant to me but they don't really affect the main point.
    • The agreement: yes, the digital (as practiced in capitalism at least) leaves out important things in its attempt to be representation of reality, and as it takes over more of our lives, those things can become endangered, and so the takeover should be resisted.
    • The disagreements, well, there are many but here are a couple:
      • (1) This sort of discourse has a tendency to conflate things which are related but are not exactly the same: digital technology, computational theories of mind, the deployment of machine learning under capitalism, and the underlying mathematics. These are all obviously related, and they all no doubt have things wrong with them – but not exactly the same thing. Perhaps their problems may all be trackable to a single source such as "Cartesianism" or Technic, but maybe not.
      • (2) The constant allusions to computations lack of fluidity and ambiguity are really making me crazy, for the specific reason that all of modern AI is based on fluidity and ambiguity, that's how Machine Learning works, in contrast to earlier generations of AI that did have serious rigidity problems, and didn't work as well. If you've seen pictures from DALL-E or other AI art generators, you know that they don't lack in fluidity, shapes freely morph into other ones in a way that mimics surrealism.
      • Internally, all the recent successes of AI are due to adopting continuous mathematics over the discrete mathematics used by your father's IBM machine. That is, they do not work with binary on/off variables or rigidly-bounded categories, but with emergent, fluid, shades-of-grey. That is in fact central to their operation and why they have been successful, and distinguishes them from older approaches to AI that rested more on binary logic.
      • What DALL-E lacks compared to the original Dali is not fluidity, but any sense of semantics or meaningfulness. Dali's work connects to the sexual unconscious, but DALL-E's work connects to nothing, or maybe to the preconscious layers of the brain – not the repressed, but the basic physiological mechanisms of vision, shape detectors and the like.
    • Notes

      • the argument is that human beings and social systems composed of human beings are inherently, in Birhane's terms, absolutely unpredictable. And so any attempt by a technology to accurately predict human behavior, to accurately assess or represent human personality is essentially a doomed prospect that just won't work. And it will never.
        • JFM, podcast around 6:45
        • OK, a couple of problems here. First, modeling is inherently a project of approximation, it's never 100% accurate. So representations of the human can be good or bad but cannot be expected to be perfect. Second, AI claims in the limit not to "represent" the human but to simulate it and re-create it – which is even crazier than claiming to model it of course, but raises different issues than accuracy.
      • No, you don't have to fully understand something to automate it, that's practically the whole point of AI, especially the ML variety.
      • Discreteness vs continuous – but again, ML is all about the continuous.
      • analog vs digital photography – they get this kind of wrong as well. Analog photography relies just as much on the discrete as digital, and you can this in the phenomenon of "graininess" that is one of the major considerations for pre-digital photographers.
      • atomism blamed on Descartes or Newton...ok but I thought it went back to Lucretius.
      • "you predict in order to control" – well sort of. The question is, is this something human minds do (predict) and is it for reasons of control?
      • Control must assume categories are absolute – no not really. (23:30)
      • Creativity (24:30) - there's a long tradition of computational creativity (eg AARON). Lots of ink has been spilled on whether this is real or "the creativity of the serpent", but it ought to be acknowledged rather than just assuming computer systems can't be creative. There's been a lot of theorizing in the art world about how to understand generative art (see Generative art - Wikipedia).
      • AI Art systems seem to be missing something (true enough)
      • Cartesian model still haunts science – now that's true (they blame it on money, not sure that is right, but what do I know?)
      • John Cage didn't like improvisation? Who knew.
    • More
      • Predictive models, due to their use of historical data, are inherently conservative. They reproduce and reinforce norms, practices, and traditions of the past
      • Argh yes that is what predictive models do.
      • Given massive power disparity, those engaged in the practices of designing, developing, and deploying ML systems—effectively shoehorning individual people and their behaviours into prede- fined stereotypical categories
      • Argh, again, bad description of ML.
      • Ubiquitous deployment of ML models to high-stake situations creates a political and economic world that benefits the most privileged and harms the vulnerable.
      • I mean, probably true, but its capitalism that does this, ML just accelerates the process.
      • They do not invent the future. Doing that, OʼNeil (2016, p. 204) emphasizes, “requires moral imagination, and thatʼs something only humans can provide.”
        • – Yet (ok probably don't want to take that position)
      • We have so far looked at how individual people and social systems, as complex adaptive systems, are active, dynamic, and necessarily a historical phenomenon whose precise pathway is unpredictable. Contrary to this, we find much of current applied ML classifying, sorting, and predicting these fluctuating and contingent agents and systems, in effect, creating a certain trajectory that resembles the past
      • I have news, ML systems are nothing if not complex adaptive systems. And Artificial Life is not distinct from computation (as far as I know, I'm way behind in the field)
      • Technology that envisages a radical shift in power (from the most to the least powerful) stands in stark opposition to current technology that maximizes profit and efficiency. It is an illusion to expect technology giants to develop AI that centres on the interests of the marginalized. Strict regulations, social pressure through organized movements, strong reward systems for technol- ogy that empowers the least privileged, and a completely new application of technologies (which require vision, imagination, and creativity) all pave the way to a technologically just future.
      • Maybe picking on the language, but its interesting that the solution isn't "use technology for better purposes", or "train people who are marginal and anti-capitalist to be technologists". It's "a strong reward system". Guess we know who is in charge!
        • OK, really don't want to post that one!
      • better!

      • Truthfully I am having a mixed reaction to this episode and paper, but that's maybe because I work professionally with the digital and only do philosophy and critique in my spare time, strictly as an amateur. BUT – my one recentish attempt to write a somewhat academic paper is relevant to the subject of taxonomies,
      • Interesting episode and paper! I'm a computer guy, and only dabble in philosophy and cultural criticism, but my one sort-of academic publication in recent years is relevant to the subject of typologies which came up (they are called ontologies or object models in the trade): AMMDI: Politics and Pragmatism in Scientific Ontology Construction
      • more better ?

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
  • Also got some appreciation from the guys on the Weird Studies Discord.
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.
    • Fredrich Schiller comes up again.
    • 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/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/Trash Stratum
    • This is one of those key ideas in WS, they refer back to it all the time.
    • PKD of course, his beer-can-in-the-gutter image. The essence of Christianity, or at least his brand. "The stone that the builders refused".
    • The pragmatics of the trash stratum. It is what is ignored or scorned or repressed by the mainstream, so there is wisdom to be gained by studying it, secret knowledge.
    • Enantiodromia. The nature of Malkuth in Kabbala/Tarot (matter may be the lowest of the low, but it gives rise to the highest). Crowley uses philanthropy as an example. PKD career another.
    • Two flavors of gnosticism: monism, where the material world is redeemed, you just have to see through it properly, and the other kind, where it is an evil imprisoning force maintained by an evil spirit (the demiurge) that you must escape from (more Manichean).
    • A great Ligotti quote. His stories have this contraption-like quality (also found in Kafka and Borges )
    • The Alchemy of Trash - Techgnosis | Techgnosis Erik Davis
      • Los Angeles grew into a kind of theme park of the soul, a carnival of transcendence offering esoteric sources of entertainment, transport, and commodified wonder...There is a gnawing absurdity at the heart of this mystic carnival, this tacky tinseltown of snakeoil simulacra
    • Related to the SubGenius concept of bulldada.
      • WHAT IS BULLDADA? What is not? Bulldada is the nearly unexplainable label for that mysterious quality that impregnates ordinary things with meaning for the SubGenius no matter how devoid of value they may appear to The Others. Seeing in the vivisecting light of bulldada, we recognize that the most awe-inspiring artifacts of our civilization are not the revered artsy-fartsy pieces of "culture" displayed in our swankest art museums, universities and concert halls - as the Conspiracy would have us believe! - but are instead to be found in such icons as low-budget exploitation movies, lurid comic books, all-nite TV, sleazy Paperbacks of the Gods, certain bizarre billboards and pulp magazine ads, and literally any other fossil of raw humanity in all its shit-kickingly flawwed glory. Bulldada shows us that cheesiness tells the Truth and gives good Slack whereas status-mongered slickness is merely a sheen of sham value dangled as bait for the hungry dollars of the idiot bourgeois. The SubGenius is not interested in dignified "Learning" or even science fiction - no, what he craves is greasy SCI-FI.
    • Part 2 Weird Studies Episode 21: The Trash Stratum - Part 2
      • Different forms of irony. Commitment vs perspectivalism Notes from Underground as a portrait of toxic reflexivity.
      • A ref to Finite and Infinite Games, always nice. The bit was about how the function of art galleries is to protect us from art.
      • Some contempt for the cheap superiority-inflected irony of MST3000 and the like. OK.
      • "WS is partly about trying to define a space outside of modernity, but the attemtpt to escape modernity is the most modern thing ever" (paraphrased) – that made my ears go up because I said almost the exact same thing to one of my reactionary frenemies the other day.
      • Art as anarchy, escaping the efforts of classifiers and regulators
      • Borges The Approach to al-Mu'tasim
from Weird Studies/Raiders of the Lost Ark
from Weird Studies/On Weirding
from Weird Studies/Exotica
    • Liked the initial framing: yes this stuff is infected with colonialism, but still points to something deeper and more profound. "Primitives of an unknown culture"
    • Sacre du printemps vs. Les Baxter (high and low art approaches to similar theme)
    • Some discussion of how the hippies were just as much into cultural appropriation
      • Should say that I'm a bit diverged from the consensus on "cultural appropriation" as a bad thing. Exchanging bits of culture is just what humans do and we should do more of it, regardless of the evils of colonialism.
      as their elders that they were rebelling against. True, but everybody knows that, ex-hippies included.
    • Also a bit light in discussion of the political mechanics behind exotica – the US colonial push into the Pacific and the Carribbean. I get it, anticolonialism is a bit trite in academia and they are going for something deeper – the psychic role of these imaginary Others and their imaginal worlds.
    • Hm, this is not in their show, but a thought occurs: we white guys can no longer seek the exotic in tropical paradises now that we are enlightened, or trying to be. Where does that desire go? I wonder if the rise in sexual queerness and such is a reflection of this energy seeking new outlets. That is, we desperately desire to fuck or possibly be something that is Not Us. If dusky island beauties aren't available, and there are no more unknown spaces on the globe (episode did touch on that point) then we have to go local.
    • Touched on I and Thou at the end. Hm – anticolonialism is the objects insisting they are not Its and nust be treated as subjects (Thou). It puts the well-intentioned white guys in a difficult position, because I-Thou is only reached through grace, guilt doesn't really help you get there.
    • Relisten to the end for course (57)
      • a spectacle of the real, blurring the boundary between the imaginal and the real...consuming the resultant hybrid as a kind of truth.
      • Jack Smith fascination with self-created movie queens.
      • Real camp vs shithead camp. Not making fun of cheesiness, but fully vibing with it. Corniness as the other side of marvelousness
        • (not sure I buy this but maybe that just says something bad about me)
      • Can't handle it with tongs and a hazmat suit
      • Isaiah stance – identifying with the other
      • Taboo – that which is forbidden – desire for union with sexualized other (while also holding self apart)
      • Beefheart, Orange Claw Hammer (an ethonographic recording from an imagined culture) (they should do Waits)
      • Les Baxter vs the more modern carefully cultivated otherness.
      • We can't banish this attraction, we are always attacted to otherness...
    • JFM on I and Thou: say Thou to a thing is granting it an existence independent of yourself. Um OK.
    • exotica ≡ kayfabe
from Weird Studies/PKD
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 refer 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/Rodney Ascher
    • Weird Studies Episode 12: The Dark Eye: On the Films of Rodney Ascher
      • Didn't realize he did that film about the demonic Screen Gems logo:
        • The S From Hell (short film about a generation traumatized by a corporate logo)
      • Some stuff on the radical unknowability of the universe which makes me slightly uncomfortable. Not sure why. I mean, yes, the universe is radically unknowable, but still not sure if I'm ready to celebrate it quite as much as these guys, to welcome the darkness.
      • Yes I am strangely conflicted and not sure why, because I think I do welcome the darkness in my private thoughts. But in a public forum I have a tendency to get defensive, put on my rationality-and-enlightenment uniform and go to war. It's that MIT training.
      • Of course MIT and tech people have their own ways of being weird. They do not actually want to convert the universe into knowable bits, for the most part. The rationality of the MIT hacker is not the same rationality of, say, the RAND corporation and Robert McNamara. But they are related.
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 Brian Cantwell Smith
from Weird Studies/Duncan Barford
    • "Highly recommended – can't tell you why"
    • A magician and podcaster, I have seen his name around but have never heard or read him I think. Get a real sense of him from his voice, very soft-spoken and gentle.
    • Some stuff on the intimate nature of podcasting, how one of the purposes of coming toegether over these very private feelings (art, spirituality) is to relieve the loneliness. All these attempts to describe the indescribable are doomed to failure, but that doesn't mean they don't serve a purpose.
    • Art and magic have in common this tendency towards group formation, among other things.
      • Hm, yes that is part of my attraction and repulsion both.
    • Kant: the esthetic feeling presents itself as universal, and so we must share it.
    • "the ineffable requires constant speech"
    • Barford made a remark around 27:00 that annoyed me, to the effect that psychotics view their hallucinations as a source of comfort. That is quite not the case in schizophrenia, from my understanding.
    • Magic and spiritual practice as taking the self apart and requiring reassembly.
    • Because magic is base it also is a good vehicle for spiritual development – ok, not sure I follow.
    • Ooh cites Technic and Magic, different ethical frameworks? Don't remember that part.
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/Graham Harman
    • Have to say I've never quite got Object-oriented ontology. And was starting to have a bad reaction to this episode, which discusses it via Harman's essay The Third Table. The gist: the idea of TWO tables come from an old pop science work of Eddington – the ordinary view of a table from everyday human cognition and society, and the science! view of the table as a collection of particles and empty space. Philosophically, these correspond to idealism and materialism, locked in an endless war over what is really real. Harman postulates a third table, the table itself and for itself, which transcends and solves this battle, because table is really real.
    • At this point I'm tempted to use my amateur status to make the very non-scholarly argument that all this is extremely stupid. Idealism or materialism, at least in their fundamentalist forms, are obviously wrong and fighting about them has distracted smart people from reality for thousands of years. Arguing about what is really real is stupid. (this is equivalent to Latour's Irrieductions which expresses it more politely).
    • Harman agrees with the first part of the above – idealism and materialism are inadequate, but his solution seems more obfuscatory, requiring the granting of souls or something soul-like to objects like chairs and rocks that can't really support them.
      • [quote!]
    • But listening to this episode made me realize what Harman is talking about, which is not some abstract theory of the real, but an attempt to convey one of the more intriguing aspects of the psychedelic experience – the one where objects get this vivid glow of thisness, their being seems to shine out in a way that does indeed transcend their mundane material surfaces or everyday uses. I've always been fascinated by this, because I don't have a very good theory for it. Visual hallucinations, eg, are easy to explain as glitches in low-level visual processing layers. But why should a drug make random objects seem more alive, or charged with a strange sort of energy?
    • Harman doesn't exactly explain this either, in fact he is against the explanations offered by either of the two mainstream theories, which he calls "shams". The third table is not propositional, it isn't even knowledge as such, it's more relational, like love or sympathy or compassion. Sounds like I and Thou.
    • That makes a lot of sense, but it means OOO is closer to a kind of spiritual practice than it is science or any other kind of reasoned inquiry. That leaves open the question of why we need academic writing about it.
from Weird Studies/Dogen
from weird computer science
  • I have a minor goal of convincing the Weird Studies crowd that computation, properly understood, is fucking weird. But it also tends to be pretty rationalist and boring in its presentation, so there's a big culture gap. The weird resists definition and legibility, and computation tends to be about making things very explicit (OTOH, deep learning and related subfields seem to make a virtue of their uninterpretability).
from Weird Studies/Talking the Walk
    • Solvitur ambulato – it is solved by walking. There's the literal meaning (the common notion of taking a walk when faced with a difficult problem) and metaphorical (solving by demonstration or experiment)
    • Propositional knowledge vs knowledge of doing (procedural, although that is not a term they use). Musical knowledge is obviously of the latter sort.
    • Maps are digital (they are misusing the term, they mean its more objective-global rather than experiential-subjective).
    • Google Maps hasn't mapped anything – eh, that seems stupid to me, sorry. I guess I know what they are saying, but why say it that way? There are multiple ways to view reality and the google maps panopticon is one, kind of a neat one although of course it is no substitute for being there. (Oh they address this head on a bit later when they talk about de Certeau and voyeurism)
    • Embodied cognition. Bateson, Deleuze come up.
    • Conversation (like theirs) as emergent phenom ("problem" in Deleuze, but more like "mystery" to them)
    • Psychogeography and Situationists. A city exists in two places, analog and digital (I think they mean physical and ideational?). La derivee, walking while resisting the urban plan (cops and geography). Reminded me of Omniorthogonal: Strategies Against Architecture
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/M John Harrison
from Weird Studies/Victoria Nelson
    • Interviewing the author of Weird Studies/Neighbor George and "The Secret Life of Puppets" which I guess I have to read. They say it was foundational to what WS is doing, which I think means that it advanced the talking of the supernatural in a somewhat-respectible academic contexts. Not sure how I feel about that.
    • She is an "unabashed supernaturalist" and objects to translating things into "mechanical terms". Some of this sounds like "how to be a bit weirder than humanities departments will allow" which is not a topic of interest to me.
    • The book itself

      • Seems focused on the idea that fiction contains a lot of the supernatural that was banished by enlightenment rationalism, like it proves something? I'm not sure what the implication is supposed to be. The persistence of religion does not prove the existence of god, although it does indeed say something about the human mind and how it operates.
      • What does it prove? That "materialism", or at least, versions of it, leaves out the transcendent and is in some sense a conspiracy against it. Whose side are you on?
from Weird Studies/William James
    • I didn't know William James wrote a lot on psychic (paranormal) stuff.
      • The bizarre fact that psychical research has made little progress since its inception lays the ground for an engaging discussion on the limits of the knowable.
        • uh huh
    • "That's a problem for future Homer. Man, I don't envy that guy." (see future self )
    • These visions are both 'real' and 'unreal' (in a strictly materialistic sense). They emanate from the 'world soul' and the individual counterpart, the intuitive ego. They are an integral part of our existence which manifest themselves in different guises, based upon the prevailing culture of the percipients.
      • Interesting choice of words and I am trying to understand how something can be both real and unreal. What does that even mean? Well, fictional characters are obviously both unreal and real. Are UFOs etc to be understood in that light, as a kind of living fiction, a story that is so powerful it achieves a kind of reality?
        • If that were all that was meant, well, then there wouldn't be any real conflict with materialism, would there? Science may disdain the modes of fiction and narrative, but it cannot deny the fact that those things exist.
    • Around 1:13, JFM makes a kind of metaphysical argument: the laws of physics themselves have emerged from a larger chaos by a selection process (he cites Sheldrake, but I'm pretty sure there are more respectible proponents of something like this – Tegmark maybe?). And that they are more like habits than laws, and the underlying chaos can break through at any time and break them, hence the paranormal.
      • I really have to suppress an instinctive sneer – not even sure why. I get the feeling that these people really don't understand how scientific laws work. Why I think I know better, I couldnt' say. Just because I hung around MIT for decades? I was a programmer, not a scientist, and I have no special insight into the nature of the natural.
      • Anyway, once I am done sneering I can say, that's an interesting POV.
    • But pure chaos is literally incomprehensible, so we can't even see it. Connects to Hyperchaos
    • Synchronicity is acausal so can't have a principle. Well they are pretty direct about embracing the paradoxes
    • "the aleatory nature of intelligibility itself"?
    • Deleuzean quasi-causes, distinct from material cause (Suggests BC Smith to me)
      • As usual, I want to scream up and down and tell these people how computers work, because they are precisely tools that let you seamlessly combine material and semantic causation.
    • Confusing proabilistic and causal analysis. Even if synchronicities are acausal, they can't escape the laws of probability. What could that even mean? I think I might be able to stretch and come up with a version of what he's saying that makes sense ... well ... sorry, no I can't. Except that singular things happen that can't be analyzed probablistically because they are so singular. OK, maybe that's where my mind meets his.
      • Means "world as expression", ok, now it's just theism I guess. Blah.
      • "It's very hard to be clear" well I'll say, talking about these metaphysical abstractions is kind of absurd actually.
      • Ultimately there is no reason for anything, its a gratuitious (gift, or grace).
    • "doomed to enchantment" OK
from David Bentley Hart
  • Hugo (Hemagoblin) from the WS Discord kindly gifted me access to Hart's substack and pointed me to these essays. Some responses below. I should qualify them: these are just my off-the-cuff reactions, not an attempt at a serious counterargument. Hart is a pro at the philosophy game and I'm just a software geek with vague intellectual pretensions, so take them for what they are worth.
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, Carl 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 antiphilosophy
  • Hanno Sauer, The end of history (via WS Discord where it is being roundly mocked, to the point where I wanted to defend it (but didn't)):
    • Not so much anti-philosophy, but against the study of the history of philosophy ideas.
    • An example of meta-philosophy? It does, at least, engage directly with the question of what the actual goals of philosophizing are.
    • I think the fundamental question is whether philosophy is more like art (literature) or more like science. In the former case – well, nobody thinks that art automatically gets better over historical time. Modern art is not better than classical art, it's just different, and nobody finds it wrong to read classics that are thousands of years old. If philosophy is more like science though – a body of knowledge, not just a body of work – then it should indeed improve with time as new discoveries are made, and the knowledge should be detached from the names of the original discoverers – as he says, we don't read Newton to understand Newton's Laws.
    • My own opinion is that philosophy really is more like literature, but it has pretensions to science which trip it up (especially true for analytic philosophers; the continentals seems to know they are doing something more like literature or performance art).
from Weird Studies/Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams
    • Quoted a manfesto of Herzog where he sneers at cinema verité, that gave me a small sad since I have fond memories of Ricky Leacock at MIT Media Lab. JFM defended it later on though. Yay. And he does an excellent Herzog impersonation.
    • Some discussion of what Herzog is generally trying to do – is he a nihilist? Not really. He's trying to uncover and portray forces in the world that are larger than humanity (and may not care about us – that can sound like nihilism).
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 mind-destroying ideas
  • I note that I am, for reasons that are best left to my therapist, engaged in trying to cram as many mind-destroying ideas into my brain as my MIT-nerd foundational self will allow. That's why I'm obsessed with Weird Studies frankly. It's my mind and I'll destroy it if I feel like it, thanks.
from Weird Studies/The Wanderer
    • Listened to this one while driving around, so notes are sketchy. And it was largely meta, the hosts talking about the podcast and podcasting itself.
      • Went back for a 2nd listen, this episode is significant for me because they tackle scientific materialism fairly head-on.
    • flow states and religion. an unusually dumb discussion of neural vs transcendent. Sapolsky ref: he rejects free will, but faces the contradictions and nihilism (should check that out).
    • Bruno Latour ref. If you take away agency from humans you end up giving it to neurons or proteins etc. This insight was at the root of my dissertation but it's weird to hear it from Weird Studies. "They can't communicate an idea without assuming agents". YES. Selfish Gene ref. Latour: at the hypothesis stage you assume agency, and at the end you must use agecny to explain. But in the middle, its just math, not agency (hm, wish I had the exact ref).
    • PF: Sapolsky-style materialism is a form of asceticism. But not spiritual, so what's the point? JFM: Spinozan, a spiritually-responsible materialism. To be enlightened in this view is to acknowledge our meat-machine nature.
    • PF: submission is key (for science, spiritual practice, art) and moderns don't do it. Sloterdijk, askesis, we submit ourselves to practice.
    • Science presents itself as revelation just like the Upanishads (eh, not really)...Science assumes agency doesn't exist but it can't prove it. It's an axiom, and hence a choice.
    • Discussion of the preservation of media works: academic writing is not read by many people at the time but is preserved in libraries for a very long time, typically, podcasts feel like they are written on water.
      • I'm not sure if that's really true, some digital media is short-lived but audio recording formats are going to be reproducible for a long time. And the show is on Internet Archive) so is likely to be persisted as long as civilization doesn't collapse.
from Weird Studies/Evil Dead 2
    • Watched the movie – wow, over the top, can kind of see why they think it's worthwhile. Something deeply chaotic about it, over and above other horror movies. Take A Quiet Place or even The Thing – there's something deadly about, but it obeys rules, the humans have tactics against it. They may fail, but there's some sort of path to success.
    • In Evil Dead, by contrast, there are no rules. The magic formula is tripped and suddenly the dead rise but so does the furniture, and the trees outside, and your own hand. The dead don't have any goals or logic or fixed behaviors, they are just out to fuck up the humans as much as possible, and vice versa. They are pure malevolence.
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 Weird Studies/Reading Chairs
    • Can't believe they talked about the minutiae of reading chairs and wound up with an Ikea Poang...not that there's anything wrong with that.
    • Studies, ateliers, spiders webs. The workshop as an extension of mind, exobrain (not their term!). Room as an extension of self rather than a mere container.
    • Intellectuals prone to identify with their brain, body as just a servant and room just a container.
    • Book piling, sedimentation, etc. I definitely resonate.
from Weird Studies/Live in Chicago
    • Potions! Rituals around drug use. "weed head shit" – the pleasurable and unnecessarily ritualized consumption of substances.
    • A railroad train interrupted, feel sure I recognized the Santa Fe...
    • Freud and repitition.
    • The subjective attractions of ritual. Comfort, centering, making people pay attention to important and enjoyable and transient sensation.
    • Experience and "skinbags", well, they bettter not give me shit if I use Minsky's term "meat machines".
    • Magic works when you convince the universe that your preferred narrative just has to happen (poor paraphrase) - has to do with the narraive version of life. To be a real materialist you have to embrace story (YAY)
from Weird Studies/Garmonbozia
    • Garmonbozia as existential fear, the kind brought about by the threat of nuclear apocalypse and the general meaninglessness of modern life. Quotes Norman Mailer's White Negro, whoah:
    • Probably, we will never be able to determine the psychic havoc of the concentration camps and the atom bomb upon the unconscious mind of almost everyone alive in these years. For the first time in civilized history, perhaps for the first time in all of history, we have been forced to live with the suppressed knowledge that the smallest facets of our personality or the most minor projection of our ideas, or indeed the absence of ideas and the absence of personality could mean equally well that we might still be doomed to die as a cipher in some vast statistical operation in which our teeth would be counted, and our hair would be saved, but our death itself would be unknown, unhonored, and unremarked, a death which could not follow with dignity as a possible consequence to serious actions we had chosen, but rather a death by deus ex machina in a gas chamber or a radioactive city; and so if in the midst of civilization—that civilization founded upon the Faustian urge to dominate nature by mastering time, mastering the links of social cause and effect—in the middle of an economic civilization founded upon the confidence that time could indeed be subjected to our will, our psyche was subjected itself to the intolerable anxiety that death being causeless, life was causeless as well, and time deprived of cause and effect had come to a stop.
    • Ref Nihil Unbound, extinction not a possibility but an inevitability. Thus cosmic meaninglessness. The bomb as simply a reminder of our essential finitude, our ultimate death and disappearance.
    • Ref Machen's White People – Oppenheimer's "physicists have known sin" quote.
    • Some discussion of God as absolute ground of being vs. God as just one agent (being) among many. (see OGU vs MU). Ref to William James A Pluralistic Universe which sounds interesting.
from SSOTBME
  • SSOTBME Revised - an essay on magic, book by Ramsey Dukes, recommended by PF of WS. The full title is "Sex Secrets of the Black Magicians Explained", which is mostly a joke. The guy is very RAW-ish in that he is constantly playing around with his degree of seriousness, and talking about the fact that he is doing so...something inherently metacircular about this whole space, although I'd be hard-pressed to define it. As I mentioned in High Weirdness review, it's sort Hofstadter-ish self-reference games but coupled with a fairly aggressive Trickster energy, this stuff inherently is fucking with you.
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/I Ching
    • divination related. Listened to this one while driving so few notes.
    • They discussed the layered strata of I Ching commentary, how the core remains stable despite it all (the 64 hexagrams don't admit variation), how it should be addressed as a proces or living being. How it is somewhat aspiritual, being focused on worldly success.
from Weird Studies/SSOTBME
    • I actually have read SSOTBME on their earlier recommendation.
    • Let's see if I can give the general take: the author (Ramsey Dukes aka Lionel Snell) has a theory that divides human culture into four quadrants: Art, Science, Religion, Magic. Of roughly equal stature and importance. There's various dimensions these can be related to, like thought vs feeling. Magic is the interesting one of course, the others we kind of know how they work (although there is quite a lot of talk about the purpose of art and the nature of science on this show). Magic is hard to define, it resists the grasp of rational thought (aka science). It can involve a degree of animism, of assigning personality and agency to various natural objects, by a sort of as-if process. This is a holistic mode of cognition in contrast to the normie mechanical, reductionist one.
    • It touched on AI, and it occurred to me that their take is the opposite of Chapman's – they are celebrating the sketchy, semi-real agency of these artificial constructs, Chapman is alarmed by them.
from Weird Studies/Weird Music
    • Art makes stones stoney, AKA letting their true nature shine through our cloud of symbolic representations. (I have noticed this effect on psychedelics and really would like a name for it).
    • JFM: art offers a form of materialism that would put Newton and Darwin to shame. Real materialism, matter → mutter. Not a nihilistic or reductionist materialism, but one where matter is directly alive (see neovitalism ). OK.
    • Dylan's Jokerman. Great choice, that's a rich Dylan song that I've never really listened to closely before.
      • Keeping one step ahead of the persecutor within
    • Carl Jung's Aion, Satan or anti-christ as the repressed shadow of Jesus
    • They see some things in these lines that I don't
    • Freedom just around the corner for you But with the truth so far off, what good will it do?
    • but that's OK. A ref to poets in the US being free but meaningless, damn, that reminds me of somethign but I can't quite place it...was it Andrei Codrescu? No... damn I know I heard that exact sentiment but can't google it. Paul Auster? Kurt Vonnegut? Damn that is irritating.
    • Switch to Mephisto ?
    • Steven Pinker as Enlightenment punching bag (he deserves it). I'm not sure he believes that "soon we will know everything there is to know", I think that might be a strawman (repeated elsewhere like that Weird ≡ Good Patreon piece).
from Weird Studies/MC Richards
    • MC Richards was a kind of 60s art culture guru counterculture figure, one of those Zelig-like people who just turns up in a lot of places. Worked with John Cage notably.
    • Centering (quite literally in pottery). The role of the hand-touch in art (see Talk's Body ). A language spoken not by the lips but by the whole body.
    • Nature of the essay (an attempt, a circumnabulation)
    • Connection with Norman O. Brown, they were maybe lovers? They read a letter from her telling him to drop the abstraction and recognize the reality of individuals and bodies (or something like that).
    • The chapter

      • Opening is very I and Thou. Dialog between artist and material, how they greet each other. And holism
      • The discussion of the variety of pot making goals was very reminiscent of Christopher Alexander Notes on the Synthesis of Form.
      • And with listening too, it seems to me, it is not the ear that hears, it is not the physical organ that performs that act of inner receptivity. It is the total person who hears
      • I cannot escape paradox when I look deep into things, in the crafts as well as in poetry in metaphysics or in physics. In physics, matter is immaterial. The physical world, it turns out, is invisible, inaudible, immeasurable; supersensible and unpredictable. Law exists; and yet freedom is possible. In metaphysics, life and death in the commonplace sense collaborate in rhythms which sustain life. The birth of the new entails the death of the old, change; and yet the old does not literally die, it lives on, transformed.
      • I just liked that graf as a statement of problems.
      • This whole essay is such a beautiful rhapsody of wholeness and centering that it evokes a kind of evil counterpart in me – I don't trust all this wholeness, and in fact always have been an exile from it. That's my true being.
      • The creative spirit creates with whatever materials are present. With food, with children, with building blocks, with speech, with thoughts, with pigment, with an umbrella, or a wineglass, or a torch. We are not craftsmen only during studio hours. Any more than a man is wise only in his library. Or devout only in church.
      • Down with that
      • An act of the self, that's what one must make. An act of the self, from me to you. From center to center. We must mean what we say, from our innermost heart to the outermost galaxy. Otherwisewe are lost and dizzy in a maze of reflections. We carry light within us. There is no need merely to reflect.
      • It's odd reading this. I know exactly what she means, and honestly one yearns to share her truth, but I have a ton of resistance.
      • They have never heard of e. e. cummings, who lived in their city, nor of the New York painters. ... But they know well the life of the subway, the office, the factory, the union hall, the hassle for employment;
      • OK that sounds a bit patronizing and BartonFinking. I know she's just being honest though.
      • I have come to feel that we live in a universe of spirit, which materializes and de-materializes grandly; all things seem to me to live, and all acts to contain meaning deeper than matter- of-fact; and the things we do with deepest love and interest compel us by the spiritual forces which dwell in them.
      • That could be a WS mission statement.
      • I, like everyone I know, am instinctively motivated toward symbols of wholeness. What is a simpler, more natural one than the pot fired? Wholeness may be thought of as a kind of inner equilibrium, in which all our capacities have been brought into functioning as an organism.
      • In pottery, by developing sensitivity in manipulating natural materials by hand, I found a wisdom which had died out of the concepts I learned in the university: abstractions, mineralized and dead; while the minerals themselves were alive with energy and meaning.
      • Fair enough, everybody hates abstractions and valorizes the material and specific. Well – that's the countercultural standard line. I agree with it I guess, but it also seems boring and suspect somehow.
      • Some secret center became vitalized in those hours of silent practice in the arts of transformation.
      • Here practice is introduced.
      • The experience of centering was one I particularly sought because I thought of my- self as dispersed, interested in too many things.
      • Feel ya sister!
      • One is supposed to be ... Either a craftsman or an intellectual, by a snobbism which claims either hand or head as the seat of true power.
      • Well, and what is freedom? First of all, freedom seems to mean the absence of external restraint, the freedom to play. When we are free from external tyrannies, we seek freedom from our inner limitations. We find that in order to play we must be nimble and flexible and imaginative, we must be able to have fun, we must feel enjoyment, and sometimes long imprisonment has made us numb and sluggish. And then we find out that there are, paradoxically, disciplines which create in us capacities which allow us to seek our freedom. We learn how to rid ourselves of our boredom, our stiffness, our repressed anger, our anxiety. We become brighter, more energy flows through us, our limbs rise, our spirit comes alive in our tissues. And our gratitude is immeasurable for all the hours of labor that carry us forward.
      • he surrealists in France called it le point supreme and found it also at the center: le foyer central. When the sense of life in the individual is in touch with the life-power in the universe, is turning with it, he senses himself as potentially whole
      • We have to realize that a creative being lives within ourselves, whether we like it or not, and that we must get out of its way, for it will give us no peace until we do. Certain kinds of egotism and ambition as well as certain kinds of ignorance and timidity have to be overcome or they will stand in the way of that creator.
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 makes it a challenge for me to read as it is meant to be read – as a book of spiritual instruction.
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 requires relationship and interaction, and in some sense actively 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 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/On Beauty
from Weird Studies/Art for Art's Sake
    • The uselessness of art, or rather, its independence from normal ideas of utility. Very opposed to the modern trend of trying to justify art by its economic impact, or character-building, or whatever. Art is beyond all that! It is transcendent and self-justifying, or it is nothing.
      • All art is quite useless.
        • – Oscar Wilde
      • Poetry makes nothing happen.
        • Auden (they didn't use this, it's my own contribution!)
    • I have to admit I was not that down with this episode and its thesis, probably because I'm not an art-person and don't feel the same social forces they do. Is art really on the skids like they say, being ground down by neoliberal utilitarianism? I don't see it but I'm not in a position where I would. I imagine it is tough to be in the arts these days, but is it tougher than it was, say 30 ot 60 years ago?
    • At some points this veers close to anti-intellectualism. They are opposed to, say, anthropologists who try to come up with material reasons why cultures engage in art, because it's reductive. This is very analogous to people who disbelieve in the possibility of AI because a machine following the rules of mechanical causation obviously can't produce the lofty phenomena of human consciousness.
    • I just reject this kind of thinking utterly; its based on a dualism that is very baked in to the culture but I say fuck it. As I said in Introduction to Inventive Minds
      • [Minsky's] big trick was to face squarely the mechanical nature of the human mind and not be alarmed by it. Indeed, he found it rather delightful and intriguing. This put him at odds with standard-issue humanists, which suited him just fine.
from Weird Studies/Joshua Ramey
    • Haven't done this one yet but it touches on theory of probability so probably should. (Also divination which is usually an insuperable barrier for me; we'll see)
    • This is one of those episodes that gets too far into the occult or religious for me. Plus there was what seemed like an utterly confused discussion of randomness and chance. I'll allow that maybe they mean something other than the concepts from actual probability and statistics, they seem to be getting at something like that – a divination is an act that depends on chance but is definitionally not meaningless, the outcome of the "chance" operation means something
    • Notes on Politics of Divination: Neoliberal Endgame and the Religion of Contingency

      • The argument is that neoliberal market fundamentalism—the view that markets alone can resolve the problem of how to construct social life in the face of unforeseeable contingencies—is a perverse and disavowed colonization of archaic divination rites, the rituals through which human cultures, on the basis of chance, have perennially sought for more-than-human knowledge.
      • Well, I share a skepticism of "neoliberalism", but this seems somewhat misguided.
      • As the philosophical father of neoliberalism, Friedrich Hayek was explicit that markets not only contained but were in fact constituted by uncertainty. And yet, appropriately constructed, markets were supposed to be forms of cosmic order so powerful they would overcome the inability of human beings to foresee the future. Aware of the looming contradiction that markets must somehow transcribe knowledge of the unknowable future, Hayek argued that only disciplined market actors could appropriately channel this order. By implication, those who knew the unknowable would prove it through success.
      • Might have to actually read Hayek to see if this is fair. As I understand it, he doesn't claim that the market has any magic way to "transcribe knowledge of the unknowable future", just that it reflects a composite of individual desires and judgements. The future is not knowable but neither is it completely unknowable, one can make predictions, place bets on the likelihood of particular futures. There's absolutely nothing magic or occult about this. (Plenty of other things to hate about neoliberalism)
    • I'm trying to guess at the common thread that links free markets (in their ideological aspect) with divination. They are both ways to engage with the unknowability of the future? But divination assumes a cosmic mind to which one hopes to get access, free markets are nothing but games, with no higher purpose than winning.
      • If they are the eternalist and nihilist versions of the same thing: what is that thing? And is there a complete version? (I'm adopting Meaningness jargon)
    • Relisten Nov 27th, 2022

      • PF: The party of academia: if you can't find the party, be the party. Podcast as an alternative form/institution of conversation.
      • Hypothesis formation in science is a form of divination – well ok, sort of? Not sure what that is supposed to imply. Divination as a good general model for knowledge formation. (Based on Deleuze and Meillassoux in some way). Contingency.
      • From the book:
        • Market expertise...has come to occupy an ancient and perennial place in human culture, the site where human cultures have, from time immemorial, practiced many forms of divination: procedures by which human beings attempt to access knowledge of the unknown.
        • OK if divination covers any attempt to gain knowledge...well that is uselessly broad. Maybe it is the opposite of Latourish construction, since it implies that the knowledge is out there to be divined, rather than assembled.
        • Huh, realized that under this definition, predictive AIs are basically divination engines. Wonder if they've discussed that.
        • This book is an invitation to challenge neoliberal claims for the superiority of markets as a mode of dealing with chance, and to suggest that there have always been and can be again less deadly and more creative ways to engage with the unknown.
      • The stuff about chance seems really wrongheaded and ignorant to me. Maybe I just don't get it or am too much of a materialist naturalist.
      • OK here JFM says something that at least makes sense (paraphrasing from around 34:30): modernism says randomness is epistemological, a function of our ignorance or inability to do perfect prediction. But that's different than classical ideas of chance which pointed to an open, nondetermined future.
        • Alright, that makes sense and does indeed capture the scientific view of randomness, more or less (quantum and chaos theory aside).
        • In the divinatory sense, what number comes up on a die means something ... (Because divination I guess, can't see a good justification beyhond that).
      • Chance as epistemic is not politically neutral.
      • Divination as somehow required by the structure of reality. No particular arguments for this, it's just something right-thinking folks are supposed to see.
      • abduction as a form of divination? Really? I guess it has something of the magical about it, like "emergence"
      • ref to The Blank Swan: The End of Probability: Ayache, Elie: 9780470725221: Amazon.com: Books which looks interesting (or maybe not, can't tell)
        • In this revolutionary book, Elie redefines the components of the technology needed to price and trade derivatives. Most importantly, and drawing on a long tradition of philosophy of the event, from Henri Bergson, to Gilles Deleuze, to Alain Badiou, and on a recent brand of philosophy of contingency, embodied by the speculative materialism of Quentin Meillassoux, Elie redefines the market itself against the common perceptions of orthodox financial theory, general equilibrium theory and the sociology of finance.
      • Divination should never take the place of basic empirical science – that sounds good.
      • (some attitude) is not ony wrong but suicidal (54:00)
      • JFM no such thing as unextended mind ... I thought he was a theist?
      • Peirce : all animals are applied scientists, and applied psychologists...astrology etc serve as suggestions for what those might be. OK had to track this one down:
        • These things do indeed show us how superficial our science still is; but its littleness is made even more manifest when we consider within how narrow a range all our inquiries have hitherto lain. The instincts con- nected with the need of nutrition have furnished all animalswith some virtual knowledge of space and of force, and made them applied physicists. The instincts connected with sexual reproduction have furnished all animals at all like ourselves with some virtual comprehension of the minds of other animals of their kind, so that they are applied psychists. Now not only our accom- plished science, but even our scientific questions have been pretty exclusively limited to the development of those two branches of natural knowledge. There may for aught we know be a thousand other kinds of relationship which have as much to do with connecting phenomena arid leading from one to another, as dynamical and social relationships have. Astrology, magic, ghosts, prophecies, serve as suggestions of what such relationships might be.
        • IOW the universe is more compicated ontologically than we know, justifying practices that go beyond the known...
        • Something bugging me here, not even sure what. It's the reliance on attacking a straw-man rationalism? "I am on the side that is creative and not narrow minded". Yeah OK, me too, so what, everybody thinks they are that.
      • The bit of magic, the fool, is always present...ok...always calling to us to acknowledge the more...
      • Ramey: I am a hyperrationalist, because I believe shamanic etc explore actual spaces. Space and force underlie modernity... against the vague and foggy notion of the unknown...its very specific (I'm dubious). Declaration of war between modernity (capitalist, patriarchal) and divinatory/shamanic/indigenous/female woo).
      • PF: Divination is something we always have at our dispoal, lets us take back what has been stolen from us.
      • Occupy and Practice Divination. Humor.
    • Another skim of book

      • Theories of divination from Vico, they are a source of legitimizing power.
      • I think he hates neoliberalism because it pretends to eschew the divine but locates the divinatory power in the unholy mechanisms of the market. OK, kind of get that.
      • Honestly he makes me feel a lot more pro-market than usual. My attitude to neoliberalism (which I know under the name libertarianism ) is also disdain, but mixed with a certain admiration for the elegance and power of its machinery.
from Building Stories
  • I mentioned it somewhere to WS because they are into the animacy of the inanimate, and one of the main characters is an old brownstone building that is quite expressive.
from Weird Studies/Crowley
    • On Aleister Crowley. Who is practically normie these days.
    • Magick as striving for wholeness, not purity (including the bad parts of self)
    • Crowley: Magick is for all, it sounds so funny to hear these democratic sentiments from someone like him.
    • "Every man and woman is a star" – interpreted in Aristotelean(?) sense, individuals are outside nature, autonomous...not actually sure what this means and it seems to slightly contradict other things here, about the continuity of the universe.
    • The discussion of science vs magick is kind of dumb, sorry. "Magick looks at every level of reality as equally real" – kind of Latourish, but it misunderstands science in the usual way. Drives me nuts.
    • I was impressed and surprised by the discussion of causality and synchronicity. JFM didn't believe in it because of mechanism issues, which really surprised me. I feel like they are on the verge of an insight, and I'm on the verge of the same one although coming via a different path – maybe that all semantic relations have this atemporal quality, where causality is not strightforward and mechanistic...not sure that's it, it's a fleeting image of a thought, at best.
    • Principle of Sufficient Reason etc. That stuff leaves me cold
    • Narrative theory of reality
    • Burroughs: Money is the worst thing you can ask for in magic. (56:45)
    • Minsky contra Crowley around 23:00 (???)
    • 39:00 irreduction
    • Any intentional act is a magical act
    • Science deals with quantity, magic deals with appearance and the qualitiative
    • Erik Davis: irreducible weirdness
    • fin
from Weird Studies/Eyes Wide Shut
    • dreams are never just dreams
    • mentions witch-doctoring and that it includes the skilled revealing of the concealment, an idea I only have seen previously in MNM, is it more general than that?
    • Movie ironically points to its own artifice and in doing so elevates itself.
    • Kubrick's use of backlot – everything is there for a reason, has a story. Also in magic and conspiracy theories.
    • Some stuff on repetition and difference from Deleuze which sounded interesting but I confess I don't quite get it.
    • cross-Kubrick themes: there's always exactly one conscious character in a Kubrick film, and their awakening is often explicit (Starchild, Alex, Joker...Danny in The Shining I guess. Barry Lyndon?). A particular kind of awareness, waking up seeing the forces that control you and the world, not quite agentive. Yeah can kind of see that.
from Weird Studies/Shirley Jackson
from Weird Studies/Holiday Memories
    • DISI conference sounds like fun Home - DISI Templeton funded?
      • Yeah lot of big name speakers, moer STEM than arts.
      • Kristin Andrews studies animal cognition with a focus on agency (or morality and normativity)
    • Interdisciplinarity as like anarchist paradise, they do mention Hakim Bey's observation that everything accrues structure and eventually collapses under the weight. Derrida and Foucault used to be revolutionary, now they are just an alternative establishment.
      • Amen, the best academic thing I ever did was to carve out a little interdisciplinary TAZ Narrative Intelligence
    • Anarchist utopias and interdisciplinary gatherings are events, not things, you can experience them but not hang on to them.
    • They talk about coopting the underground and want to send them Chapman's MOP essay.
    • They were blown away by scientists finding teleological panpsychism etc in nature.
    • Met with some extended mind people (but don't name them, sigh)
from Weird Studies/On Modern Miracles
    • Can authors write characters that are smarter than they are? (PKD claimed to do that in his last book with Angel Archer). Must reread that.
    • MotT uses spirals frequently. And the show stands for something...something left out of mainstream educated opinion... "time is a flat circle"...
    • "the things our civilization likes are those that make things amenable to control" – and ok, yes, even in intellectual institutions this pressure for control, standardization, flatness. It's bureaucracy that they don't like. Administration.
    • Control and fear – Meillassoux claims to have done away with mystery (?).
    • PF has a good word for moderns and modernism. OK. "The problem is we aren't modern enough" – OK. 👍 .
    • Hearing aids as miracles (justifyijng modenism). OK, but you know, they aren't really! They are just technic, put to good human use!
from Weird Studies/Matt Cardin
    • Listened to this one while driving so don't have detailed notes. Sounds agency relevant though
    • Oddly I had just been reading Daemon Voices, a collection of nonfiction by Philip Pullman, someone who apparently has never been discussed on WS, which is kind of weird or non-weird. Pullman is kind of anti-religious and may not be to the taste of the hosts.
    • A mention that the Socratic dialogs are very I and Thou
from Weird Studies/Duchamp
    • The birth of modern art, when it finally went full critical, political, and discursive.
    • Music (or other art) that loves you back.
    • Citing Scruton (another big conservative). Art occurs in a space of love (agape).
    • The level of care in Kubrick, so viewer is saturated with meaning. Contrary to his autistic reputation. Yeah I'm down with that.
    • Larkin's jazz criticism – he loved the premodern form, but hated bebop etc. They read Larkin's bitter depiction of his readers as middle-aged middle-class mopes. "the benefits of modern jazz are vain because they neither help us enjoy or endure" So modern or postmodern games won't save you from your existential swamp. Enjoyment is not trivial, it's what you have left.
    • They lay into academic modernists and nihilists. I thought this was weak, because while I'm sure plenty of people like that exist it's probably better to engage with them as individuals than as a type. It's too easy to mock the tendency. But who are the bull goose nihilists? Brassiere (Nihil Unbound)? People who don't believe in beauty and transcendence? Name names, or is it just a layer of anonymous academic mediocrity?
    • Radical modernist nihilism is a luxury for the psychologically well-off.
    • Phil is very anti-Duchamp, they both are. They also hate punk, which really seems to be missing the point...I mean, punk hated itself (they mention this reaction).
      • I'm getting somewhat defensive and I don't even know why, something political going on there. I'm more pro-modernism than they are? More critical?
    • Cites Art School Confidential as a depiction of the consequneces of Duchamp. Yeah I can see how people who are really into their craft could hate the poseurs.
    • Man they really don't like this stuff. Surprising if only because they don't usually do shows around things they hate. They don't like theory, they want art that speaks directly.
      • The painters of Lascaux were doing something but they didnt call it art. Modernism, or bad modernism, says nothing about that, it just comments critically on what has already been done.
      • Affect vs concepts. Ok I'm a concept guy, I admit it. Overly verbal, less attuned to the essential sensual aspect of art. It may be a character defect.
      • There's no choice in art. Jung had theories on that. Art takes the artist over. Duchamp does not have this quality.
    • Reminded me of Travesties, in which the nature of art is discussed and batted about explicitly between James Joyce, Tristan Tzara, and the befuddled non-artist protagonist. Funniest thing ever. Also The Metamorphosis of Shit which includes a discussion of Duchamp's work.
    • "there's no room for tragedy in nihilism"
    • The basic stance of an authentic artwork: nevertheless. Life can be short, bitter, but I accept it, nevertheless.
      • I'm just transcribing this, not sure I buy it. It's a real feel but is it universal to all art? IOW is that always the message of real art? See mono no aware.
    • Deleuze (not a modernist) – art is not a communication, not at all, it bears no information, it is instead an act of resistance. Resists what? Death perhaps.
    • They acknowledge that the original critics were doing something necessary in "dynamiting the edifice", its the 20-year-old followers that piss them off.
    • A mystical core at the heart of all art, from Bach to hiphop to Lascaux. Again do I believe that? Don't know.
    • "Humanity didn't invent art, art invented humanity" – Line from JFM book (which I have yet to read). OK, it's a kind of agential refactoring but what are the consequences?
      • There's an unproblematic naturalist interpretation, which is that art was and is a technology that allowed us to be self-conscious new ways, and all that is truly human is bootstrapped on top of this capability. That sounds perfectly sensible, but it's different from saying that art is an agent that pre-existed and molded humanity in its image, which is intriguing but harder to believe in.e
from Byung-chul Han
  • Very trendy philosopher; popular within WS circles.
from Weird Studies/Bergson
    • Henri 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.
    • PF: 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.
      • The key dichotomy in Bergson is is what he calls intuitive knowledge vs analytical knowledge, and it seems to be exactly the same thing referred to as embodiment these days.
      • 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.
    • Scientists are not modern enough, still thinking in terms of classical categories. Bergson trying to give science the metaphysics it deserves. Huh interesting.
    • 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. But it seems to confuse pure flux with pure chaos, or the impossibility of any regularity or structure, which is dumb.
      • Can Bergson account for "terror" as a stable feeling across different situations?
    • 25:00 Bergson as solution to the old ideal/material philosophical dichotomy. Which is a reasonable goal/problem. Both sides are wrong, I can get behind that kind of thinking.
      • Reality escapes all categorizations, its an indescribable flux.
    • JFM: Everybody hates Plato, Plato is the ultimate anthropocentric thinker, moderns are trying to embrace the inhuman, JFM against that, feels like Platonic forms must pre-exist to organize the flux.
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/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/William James on Consciousness
    • Weird Studies Episode 17: Does 'Consciousness' Exist? - Part One
      • Some intro stuff on trying to define consciousness. Dennett appears as the enemy, they take his Consciousness Explained to be explaining it away, which I'm not sure is accurate.
      • Meillassoux After Finitude "the perfect marriage of philosophical essay and science fiction novel" – Kant as Ptolemaic counter-revolution "Kant is the ultimate hipster" (!?!)
      • Some critque of many-worlds theory. "The problem with materialism is that nothing can surprise us" – think they are quite wrong and this is bad manifestation of dualism.
        • Many-worlds as a way to hold on to the comfortable – I don't think anyone who grasps the implication of many-worlds would say that. It does preserve materialism, sort of.
      • James as a patron saint of the podcast. OK. Because he's trying to describe reality in a way that hold open the possibility of the weird.
    • Part 2
      • Undoing the default separation of things into objects and subjects, matter and mind, whatever. Yes. What if there's just one sort of thing ("experiences" – not a good name for it IMO).
      • Alright should read the essay Does Consciousness Exist? (1904). By William James in ESSAYS IN RADICAL EMPIRICISM (1904) // Fair Use Repository
        • I believe that consciousness, when once it has evaporated to this estate of pure diaphaneity, is on the point of disappearing altogether. It is the name of a nonentity, and has no right to a place among first principles.
        • My thesis is that if we start with the supposition that there is only one primal stuff or material in the world, a stuff of which everything is composed, and if we call that stuff  "pure experience", then knowing can easily be explained as a particular sort of relation towards one another into which portions of pure experience may enter.
      • This kind of thinking seems wrongheaded to me. It's trying to escape the mistakes of philosophy but is instead just making new ones. Also seems to suffer from being pre-cybernetic, almost as if he is groping towards it without quite reaching it.
      • Now at the same time it is just those self-same things which his mind, as we say, perceives; and the whole philosophy of perception from Democritus's time downwards has been just one long wrangle over the paradox that what is evidently one reality should be in two places at once, both in outer space and in a person's mind. Representative theories of perception avoid the logical paradox, but on the other hand they violate the reader's sense of life, which knows no intervening mental image but seems to see the room and the book immediately just as they physically exist.
      • Anti-representational, OK, can get behind that. Partly.
      • What are the two processes, now, into which the room-experience simultaneously enters in this way One of them is the reader's personal biography, the other is the history of the house of which the room is part. The presentation, the experience, the that in short (for until we have decided what it is it must be a mere that) is the last term of a train of sensations, emotions, decisions, movements, classifications, expectations, etc., ending in the present, and the first term of a series of similar inner operations extending into the future, on the reader's part. On the other hand, the very same that is the terminus ad quem of a lot of previous physical operations, carpentering, papering, furnishing, warming, etc., and the terminus a quo of a lot of future ones, in which it will be concerned when undergoing the destiny of a physical room.
    • This made me think of Brian Cantwell Smith's paper The Semantics of Clocks. Same idea, more or less, describe two parallel processes, physical and representational.
    • I honestly kind of hated the James essay, which surprised me, but perhaps I don't understand his brand of Pragmatism as well as I thought.
from Welcome to my Exobrain
  • I became a fan of the Weird Studies podcast, and have taken notes on various episodes and related materials. They tend to go too far in the opposite direction of Rationalism, and I follow them to the extent I can.
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.

Weird Studies

30 Oct 2021 02:15 - 12 Feb 2023 08:55
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    • 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 actually 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.

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