Sunday, July 26, 2009

Heideggerian critical philosophy of technology provides a useful counterbalance

Thinking about the moon landings, I can't help thinking about the space race, the arms race, the Cold War, and the massive technologization of society that followed world war two... But I also think about how the photographs have affected people on a deep, and not only conscious, level, making it that much more possible for us to think of humanity as a single entity, and more importantly, of the earth as a single interconnected set of living processes. anotherheideggerblog Saturday, July 25, 2009
Interview with Adrian Ivakhiv
Our latest interview is with Adrian Ivakhiv, Associate Professor of Environmental Thought and Culture with a joint appointment in the Environmental Program and the Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. He is also runs one of my favorite blogs over at Immanence.

Heideggerian pessimism regarding technology, including that represented by the moon landings, is a perspective that has influenced me, and it's one I continue to consider important for any future environmental or ecological thought. Along with the writings of a more Marxist-influenced kind of geography (such as Denis Cosgrove's work on environmental and global visuality), a Heideggerian critical philosophy of technology provides a useful counterbalance against those in the environmental movement for whom the photos of Earth from space are nothing but a positive cultural touchstone in the movement toward global environmental awareness. Thinking about the moon landings, I can't help thinking about the space race, the arms race, the Cold War, and the massive technologization of society that followed world war two. In fact, I think of a television ad that played some years ago for "Tang," the orange flavor-crystal soft drink that made its name when it was used by NASA in its Gemini flights. In the ad a couple of animated "moon men" come to Earth bearing rocks which they want to trade for Tang, the drink they apparently gained a taste for when astronauts brought it to the moon. So I think of the moon landings also as part of the commercialization of massive technological enterprise - a way to get the American people on board in something much larger, and much less salutary, than the "one small step for man" that Neil Armstrong famously referred to. [...]

There is a strong resonance between Heideggerian thinking and deep ecology (or biocentrism). Many of the influential thinkers associated with the deep ecology movement - Arne Naess, Bill Devall, George Sessions, Neil Evernden, Dolores LaChapelle, among others - refer to Heidegger at least in passing. Some, like Evernden and LaChapelle, have worked with Heideggerian ideas fairly extensively. And ecophilosophers including Michael Zimmerman, Bruce Foltz, Laura Westra, and Ingrid Leman-Stefanovic, while not necessarily identifying themselves as "deep ecologists," have brought a fair bit of refinement into the environmental application of Heideggerian concepts.

The key Heideggerian ideas that have been taken up within biocentric writing are, first and foremost, his critique of technology, i.e. its essence as Gestell, the disclosure of things as raw material for human use, and, secondly, his notion of Gelassenheit (commonly translated as "letting things be"). Heidegger's later writings on poetry, art, and language as the "house of being" have also influenced a certain subset of ecocritics (ecologically oriented literary and cultural critics) including Jonathan Bate, Greg Garrard, and Kate Rigby.

That said, Heidegger has been critiqued (rightly, I think) for a residual anthropocentrism and human-animal dualism, and his involvement with Nazism has negatively affected the extent of interest among environmentalists in his philosophy. In the end, I would say his philosophy has been one among several sources, often taken up somewhat superficially (as in the influential 'Deep Ecology' text co-written by Devall and Sessions in the 1980s) though at least occasionally with a fair bit of rigor, but it has been a crucial one only for a limited subgroup of biocentric thinkers, and less so for activists. Deep ecology, it should be mentioned, evolved in constant conversation with the activities of movement activists, including the radical wilderness activism of Dave Foreman and other founders of Earth First! and the more broadly political work of later Earth First! activists and related groups. Its theoretical positions have also been refined and developed in dialogue with those of social ecologists, ecofeminists, postmodern and poststructural ecologists, pragmatist ecophilosophers, more mainstream (rights based, etc) environmental ethicists, and perhaps most closely with Buddhist and process-relational environmental thinkers (some of whom, like Joanna Macy and Freya Matthews, identify with the "deep ecology" label and others of whom do not). Within this broader field of critical environmental thought, Heidegger is one of many reference points, but he does constitute an important link between ecophilosophy and continental philosophy. [...]

(I also find Bakhtin's emphasis on the dialogical nature of meanings useful; without Heidegger, there'd be no Derrida, no Foucault, and perhaps a different deep ecology as well. But then Heidegger makes room for all these things; he just didn't analyze technology with the nuance and refinement that we can apply in a post-McLuhan, post-Latour, and indeed post-Heidegger world.) ... Posted by Paul Ennis. Labels: , , , , ,

*** Heidegger and Asian Thought: Graham Parkes: Books
S_Mir (Pala) - See all my reviews Furthermore, it has also been claimed that a number of elements within Heidegger's thought bear a close parallel to Eastern philosophical ideas, particularly with Zen Buddhism and Taoism. An account given by Paul Hsao records a remark by Chang Chung-Yuan claiming that "Heidegger is the only Western Philosopher who not only intellectually understands but has intuitively grasped Taoist thought."

Friday, July 24, 2009


Digital Individuations from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects

I have often argued that the task of philosophy is to think the present. In my recent interview I observed that philosophy cannot proceed without its others. These two issues are interrelated. In striving to think the present, philosophy strives to think the differential of its time and of a life that requires new conceptual creations seeking to comprehend the real of reality. If there is a greatness to Marx and his historical materialism, it is in the manner in which he strives to think the present. When Marx analyzes, for example, the factory and the working day, the aim is not simply to engage in a moralistic exercise of denouncing exploitation.

No, Marx is no Luddite, nor is he a moralist. He is not a Luddite because his aim is not to return us to a prior form of pastoral social organization. He is not a moralist because he does not begin with a set of pre-defined, a priori normative values, but instead seeks to determine how particular sets of values emerge out of the organization of the historical moment. Rather, while Marx sniffs out forms of alienation and exploitation in these new forms of social organization, he also seeks to determine the affordances or potentials that have been rendered available as a result of how bodies are individuated or formed within these new machines.

For example, Marx argues that the factory disciplines the worker and forms a collective organization that affords the possibility of a revolutionary overturning current regime of production. The factory is not simply a site of alienation and exploitation for Marx, but is a milieu of individuation that forms a new type of body and subjectivity that opens the possibility of a new social order.

I think this sort of analysis is what is missing in a number of the conservative critiques of the new technology. Rather than lamenting the manner in which people are not good readers and writers in the way they were fifty years ago– which is much like lamenting the manner in which workers are not like feudal peasants, i.e., apples and oranges –we should instead seek to determine the new individuations that are taking place within this mechanosphere, the emergent forms of subjectivity, the new structures of cognition, and the new affordances for very different ways of living.

Thursday, July 23, 2009 Interview with Levi R. Bryant
Today we interview
Levi R. Bryant, author of Difference and Givenness: Deleuze’s Transcendental Empiricism and the Ontology of Immanence and co-editor (along with Graham Harman and Nick Srnicek of the forthcoming The Speculative Turn: Continental Materialism and Realism. Many of you will also know Levi from his excellent blog Larval Subjects.

I thus think there are two Heidegger’s. There is the Heidegger that went very far in the deconstruction of ontotheology and what I like to call the “little demiurge” or the sovereign subject, but there is also this other Heidegger that seems to perpetually recoil from this destitution, striving to discover some new ground, meaning, or identity. This has led to a lot of mischief both in his own life and in subsequent engagements with his work. For example, technology studies have been pushed back a great deal as a result of his moralizing and Luddite attitude towards enframing. anotherheideggerblog

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Integral well-Being based on the consciousness perspective of Sri Aurobindo's teaching

The Institute Mirravision Trust Sri Aurobindo The Mother Our Guide Predecessors Our Mission Our Vision Integral Yoga Psychology

Mirravision Trust is formed with a professional group of psychologists, psychiatrists, social scientists along with spiritual sadhaks. The aim of the trust is to study, design and implement and encourage the implications of Sri Aurobindo's and the Mother's thought in the areas of psychology, mental health. Psychiatry, health and well-being, education and social sciences at large. The central aim of Mirravision is to bring into light Sri Aurobindo's and Mother's teachings to the professional world with a goal to implement it in academic as well as in applied fields.

Mirravision Trust is named after Mirra Alfassa, the Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, who is the executrix of Sri Aurobindo's vision as well as his collaborator in the new evolutionary work that is to manifest the future models of human being. Mirravision Trust is being formed as a non-profit, public charitable trust encouraging education, training, research and deliverance of its applications to humanity at large, with a special focus on mental health. Mental health with its unique nature and complexities needs a novel approach. In fact, any approach to mental health remains incomplete unless it is integrates cultural, subjective and spiritual dimensions.

Mirravision will combine all the three dimensions to formulate a new approach with both conceptual clarity and practical applications. Keeping this in view, it would undertake an innovative understanding of the human psyche, designing of psycho-spiritual spaces (akin to ashram-based communities) that facilitate development of various dimensions of consciousness and provide training of people in personal growth, psychological perfection and transformation of consciousness. Besides sponsoring the Institute for Integral Yoga Psychology, Mirravision Trust also strives :

1. To establish specialized clinics, community centers, hospitals for the public and community rehabilitation centers for the mentally ill and psychosocially maladjusted, physically handicapped, mentally challenged and drug- dependent subjects based on Integral perspective.
2. To promote, develop, run, and manage specialized community spaces for practical programs of personality development, psychological growth , integral health, and integral well-being based on psycho-spiritual space approach with special emphasis on mental health.
3. To integrate community / Ashram life based on psycho-spiritual spaces into psychotherapy, counseling, and psychopharmacology with special emphasis on mentally ill and mentally challenged.
4. To promote the concept of Integral well-Being based on the consciousness perspective of Sri Aurobindo's teaching and develop appropriate curriculum, research, training program, professional net-work and practicing fields for the purpose.
5. To promote the cause of Integral health including mental health based on the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother through research, action oriented strategies, social support system and liaison with other like-minded organizations/movements.
6. To help the aged, sick, helpless and indigent persons and set up special geriatric services based on dignity and values of living and dying.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Pride characterizes modern life

Nietzsche’s Prophetic Voice Still Speaks