elizabeth lane lawley
michael "OC" clarke
e v h e a d
sweet fancy moses
wood s lot
m. melting object
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
I've been up for two days now, and just a while ago I had a full bore panic attack. I haven't had one for quite some time now, so it was interesting. As much as not being able to breathe can be interesting, and being terrified of something that already happened long ago and it's over now, whatever it was, so why is living one more minute suddenly so hard, so frightening? You ask yourself and there's no one there to answer. Incoming. Breathe, just breathe, just ride it out. Incoming still, though, like something alien at your chest, your solar plexus, trying to either get in or get out. sexus, nexus, never promised you a rosy crucifixion. but you're not half so clever, are you, when it's there, immediate, filling you with dread that there is no inside inside, no reason, no letup.
It doesn't last though. What does? Not that it's any consolation, unless abstract ideals like oh-now-I-get-it Impermanence give you some twisted flashback rush of perfect insight. I can't even remember what it feels like. A sure sign of dissociation. Because what it feels like is what it means. And what that means is that that's all that means. Feel into it. Breathe. Ride it out. How many more years of this, you ask yourself, and then another wave hits you, harder, deeper. The feeling of feeling nothing at all, but so intimate. despair a scalpel slipping up into your heart, grief just a word, a random sound with no referent.
Then I remembered I'd meant to blog something else this morning in that thing about Spengler or personality disorders, whatever it was. The part I forgot to write about was this. that lately I've been thinking a lot of people... well, some people, say something like, oh yeah, I did psychedelics for a while there way back when. but then I had a bad experience. And I realized this morning that for a lot of these people, the "bad experience" was that they finally took enough. that comfortable vantage point that was who we thought we were vanishing snap your fingers just like that, just gone. but not so fast that you didn't feel it slipping and clutch, no time to call out, to say goodbye, frozen in the headlights, whiting out. person, persona, personality. a mask, from the Greek. no one looking out through the eyes. awash in everything at once. no holding on, no holding back. you die. I did. every time. pure terror. but quick. because then it was over and you were through. through as in done or into or, way it was for me, just there. and I would open my hands then and feel the wind in my hair, electric, and speak into the living breathing world: it's so good to be back.
The only things I've ever trusted in my life were love and acid. I wonder if I had to do it all again, would I have the balls.
11:16 PM | link |
Wow, how'd that happen!?!
3:04 PM | link |
The Decline of the West
Nothing like a little Oswald Spengler to get your reality-testing gear tuned up. I remember trying to read the guy in college -- that is, during my several-month experiment in higher education -- and not being able to understand fuckall of what the words meant. I read the same paragraph five or six times and realized I just didn't have the intellectual capacity to grasp whateverthehell it was Ol' Oswald was trying to tell me. It took me years to realize that the potent weed I was concurrently toking in great greedy lungfuls might have had something to do with my state of utter incomprehension.
But that was just an aside about the title slug.
What I really meant to say here, was that earlier this evening I was reading about (it should come as no surprise if you've been tracking) self esteem. Specifically: The Myth of Self-Esteem: Finding Happiness and Solving Problems in America, which is quite good, if a bit dry and passionless. But what can you really expect from academics who never learned the value of an all-out frontal ad hominem ass ripping. Nonetheless, the history of the concept is well developed, and the bibliography superb. As you may know, I have a few problems with the whole bag of shit encompassed by the curiously paradoxical yet hyper-enthusiastic revival of self-esteem sloganeering. Paradoxical for at least two reasons. First, there is no empirical basis for all
the wonderfulness attributed to this essentially vacuous notion. If you won't swallow this on my say-so alone, check out Evil: Inside Human Cruelty and Violence
by megahoncho social psychologist Roy F. Baumeister, wherein he documents in detail this lack of evidence, and spends some considerable time explaining why serial killers, for instance, are much more likely to have high self esteem than, say, your average merely pissed-off blogger. Second, it's odd, to say the least, that people who seemingly love to look down their nouveau riche trustafarian noses at the spiritual backwardness of ... ugh... "The West," preferring instead the "Eastern" path of egolessness would be so caught up in endlessly fascinated preoccupation with the Self. Doncha think? Not to mention that... can we talk here? I mean, this really blows me away. Not to mention that referring to the various and (very) sundry religions of Asia as "Eastern Spirituality" is just plain dumbfuck stupid. Hinduism, for instance, is as theistic as it gets, right in there with Christianity, Islam and Judaism in this respect. And of course, in the more "mystical" aspects of this kind of setup, the Soul is the perfect mirror of the Godhead. Scratch any of your basic Self Esteemers and that's what you'll find right below that level of profundity technically referred to as skin deep. To wit: the great masculine and feminine conjoined Maha-Mom-and-Dad. I'm tellin ya, it's fucking Jungian is what it is.
Let's see, do we need a paragraph here? I think we needed one a while ago, but who edits anymore? Point being that, contrariwise to the Hindoo mumbo jumbo -- from those terrific folks who brought you Tupak Chopra -- it is an essential tenet of Buddhism that any notion of God or Self is a major, nay an insurmountable, obstacle on The Path to Enlightenment, the goal of which is generally not described in any detail as there's no one home to experience it. At least not in the way our Inner Jamaican I-and-I think about being home. This is also downright fucking Jungian -- which is why I have a few problems with Jung and his oddball ideas about individuating toward an essentially inscrutable Self. As the Cars once said: It's all mixed up.
However, having said all that, and thrown in my patent-pending brand of off-the-cuff comparative religiosity to confuse you even further, you're probably wondering what that grafik up there has to do with any of this. If you're still reading, that is. The girls have likely all surfed away in a fine umbrageous huff, and the guys are jacking off. But the reason I put it there was to show that I'm, you know, flexible. I mean, self-esteem appears to me to be little more than an insider code word for closet narcissism. But self respect is a worthy, if lately seldom called upon, attitude. So dudes, if you tried to click on that one, you're really fucked up. And ladies, if you tried, you're just plain fucking sicko warped. Perception and reality... Perception and reality... It just keeps messin with your head, don't it?
But since it's already 6:30 and The Myth of Self Esteem's wonderful bibcites led me to Amazon, and Amazon led me to wonders of the intellect yet unimagined, and since I just sorta kinda en passant dropped a reference to narcissism -- did you catch me just workin it in there? -- let me share with you what über-shrink Theodore Millon has to say about the syndrome in his hugely fat and unfortunately way too expensive (hint-hint) Disorders of Personality: DSM-IV and Beyond, 2nd Edition.
The label "narcissistic" connotes more than mere egocentricity, a characteristic found in all individuals who are driven primarily by their needs and anxieties. More particularly, narcissism signifies that these individuals overvalue their personal worth, direct their affections toward themselves rather than others, and expect that others will not only recognize but cater to the high esteem in which narcissists hold themselves. This form of self-confidence and self-assurance is conducive to success and the evocation of admiration in our "other directed" society. It falters as a lifestyle, however, if the person's illusion of specialness is poorly founded in fact or if the supercilious air is so exaggerated as to grate on and alienate significant others.
Perhaps the diagram (above right) will explain this better.
In contrast to the antisocial personality, the self-centeredness of the narcissist is not anchored to feelings of deep distrust and animosity. Narcissistic individuals are benignly arrogant. They exhibit a disdainful indifference to the standards of shared social behavior and feel themselves above the conventions of the cultural group, exempt from the responsibilities that govern and give order and reciprocity to social living. It is assumed that others will submerge their desires in favor of the narcissists' comfort and welfare; they operate on the fantastic assumption that their mere desire is justification for possessing whatever they seek. Thus, their disdainfulness is matched by their exploitiveness, their assumption that they are entitled to be served and have their own wishes take precedence over others without expending any effort to merit such favor. In short, narcissists possess illusions of an inherent superior self-worth and move through life with the belief that it is their inalienable right to receive special considerations.
10:18 AM | link |
Monday, January 19, 2004
oh that's just perfect
I asked a clerk if Barnes & Noble where the True Crime section was. "I'm looking for some ideas," I said. She turned and gave me this sly look, her eyes laughing. It was only then that I noticed how cute she was. God, I do love intelligent women whose lights are still on.
[gotta run... to be continued...]
4:24 PM | link |
Sunday, January 18, 2004
One for Weinberger
So there I was a couple mornings ago, browsing through the Blackwell Dictionary of Philosophical Quotations for references to solipsism, which for some reason, turn out to be damned hard to locate in the general literature, when mirabile dictu, I came across the following. I immediately called Don and read it to him, which produced the desired (and suspected) effect of sardonic chucking. I figured he was among the very few who might -- as we are wont to say these latter days (stupidly, though I've said it myself) -- get it. But I know another who will get it too. So this one's for you Dr. Weimeraner!
"...acceptance of the computational theory of the mind leads to a sort of methodological solipsism as a part of the research strategy of contemporary cognitive psychology... My point, then, is of course not that solipsism is true; it's just that truth, reference and the rest of the semantic notions aren't psychological categories. What they are: they're modes of Dasein. I don't know what Dasein is, but I'm sure that there's lots of it around, and I'm sure that you and I and Cincinnati have all got it. What more do you want?"
Pretty funny, no? But I'll tell you what more I want. I want these fucking AI freaks to eat shit and die. Yes, that would please me no end. For instance, Amazon Top 100 reviewer Lee Carlson can bite my crank. Here's a clip from his review of the book from which the above quote was taken, to wit, RePresentations: Philosophical Essays on the Foundations of Cognitive Science by Jerry Fodor. The book was published by MIT Press in 1981. Keep that date in mind. Carlson's review, excerpted below, is dated December 18, 2002.
"...developments in A.I. may indeed make these discussion [sic] not as vacuous as they currently are, and so it may in some sense be helpful to analyze some of these arguments, with also the hope that they can shed light on the nature of intelligence and help those who are interested in the building of an artificial mind.
Carlson also wrote a 2-star review of The Cult of Information: A Neo-Luddite Treatise on High Tech, Artificial Intelligence, and the True Art of Thinking by Theodore Roszak, which ends thusly:
When philosophers see the rise of thinking machines in the near future, their philosophical theories will have to adapt themselves to the abilities of these machines. And the machines themselves will have their own (unique) theories about their abilities."
"One can imagine... the possibility that the machines will themselves begin to write books that offer arguments for the intelligence of their authors. Such a prospect is awesome."
Yeah, whoa, awesome, dude! You fucking moron. Not that Roszak is any pal of mine. But I dislike him for diametrically different reasons than does our Top-100 Mr. Carlson. Like say, Roszak's delusional Gaia-mongering New Age ecopsychology claptrap.
But that's another story, not the one we're telling here. Just a little vitriolic side trip. They're so hard to resist. But you did remember the date Jerry Fodor wrote RePresentations, didn't you? I knew it. You forgot. It was 1981. And this is important because why? It's important because in 2000, a couple years before the above-quoted review by Mr. Carlson (hereinafter, if at all, the dumb cunt), MIT published another book by Fodor called The Mind Doesn't Work That Way, which you would not be wrong in thinking was a fully intended slam on Steven Pinker's How the Mind Works. (You still tracking here, Frederick?)
So here's a bit of what Fodor had to say nearly 20 years later...
"There is, in short, every reason to suppose that the Computational Theory [of Mind] is part of the truth about cognition.
I must study Fodor more closely, as he has clearly mastered the knack of royally pissing off entire disciplines without using my kind of, shall we say, questionable language. Allow me to just comment about the passage above: HOOOO WEEEE! Jerry, you a regula motha fucka!
But it hadn't occurred to me that anyone could think that it's a very large part of the truth; still less that it's within miles of being the whole story of how the mind works. (Practitioners of artificial intelligence have sometimes said things that suggest they harbor such convictions. But, even by its own account, AI was generally supposed to be about engineering, not about science; and certainly not about philosophy.)" [p. 1; italics in original]
But it gets even better. For me, anyway. Not sure if it'll be good for you too. I guess I should first explain that Fodor was among the original founders of cognitive psychology, which was a big deal at the time (the beginning of the '60s, roughly), because before that it was all behaviorism, a la J.B. Watson and that twisted evil bonehead,
B.F. Skinner. Another of the founders was Jerome Bruner. Now, given that I personally despise and detest cognitive psych only a demi-iota less than AI, and for much the same reasons, I was delighted in the early days of the godforsaken year 2003 to stumble across this quote from Bruner in anthropologist Clifford Geertz's
Available Light: Anthropological Reflections on Philosophical Topics, which I just happened to have lying about. The first part is Geertz, the second Bruner...
After awhile, Bruner himself became disenchanted with the Cognitive Revolution, or at least with what it had become. "That revolution," he wrote at the beginning of his 1990 Acts of Meaning, a "goodbye to all that" proclamation of a new direction,
was intended to bring "mind" back into the human sciences after a long and cold winter of objectivism... [But it] has now been diverted into issues that are marginal to the impulse that brought it into being. Instead, it has been technicalized in a manner that undermines that original impulse. This is not to say that it has failed: far from it, for cognitive science must surely be among the leading growth shares on the academic bourse. It may rather be that it has become diverted by success, a success whose technological virtuosity has cost dear. Some critics... even argue that the new cognitive science, the child of the revolution, has gained its technical success at the price of dehumanizing the very concept of mind it had sought to reestablish in psychology, and that it has thereby estranged itself from the other human sciences and the humanities." [from Available Light, page 189]
I don't know quite how I got here from Fodor's funny take on Dasein. But since I did -- everything being connected to everything --- here's another little factoid you probably never thought about, even if, like David Weinberger but unlike myself, you did read Heidegger. Literally translated, Dasein means...
and so, in conclusion,
if you see Raphael,
you tell that asshole...
that the intertext is alive and kicking.
same as it ever was.
And I don't know about you,
but I'm about ready for a ham sandwich.
12:52 AM | link |
"RageBoy: Giving being fucking nuts a good name since 1985."
28 October 2004
||More of Chris Locke's photos
Until a minute ago, I had no photos. I still have no photos to speak of.
I don't even have a camera. But all these people were linking to "my photos."
It was embarassing. It's still embarassing. But I'm used to that.
what I'm listening to...
egr on topica
on yahoo groups
terms of service
It is too late.