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Messages - Cain

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Principia Discussion / Re: Really Real Discordians
« on: June 07, 2009, 08:31:08 pm »
That because he "contributes" (but not anywhere it can be verified) he cannot fit the profile of a Really Real Discordian, for Realness.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: A critique of the BIP
« on: June 07, 2009, 08:27:11 pm »
Most terrorists studied science at University.

Therefore, it is a dangerous career choice.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Grade 5 Syndrome.
« on: June 07, 2009, 08:23:05 pm »
And these are the people who continue to make being a Nigerian Prince/Tarot card reader/psychic/politician a viable profession.

They should have a statue built in their honour, really.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: A critique of the BIP
« on: June 07, 2009, 08:19:25 pm »

Cain was a foreign relations student.  Not quite the same thing.

Also, you two didn't take any "special time" to sneer at everyone else on the site before stating your case.

Pretty sure he did philosophy too.  Or maybe that just comes down to his default level of knowledge being terrifyingly high.

I did philosophy in my first year, yes, and two years previous to that as well.  And touched on Political Philosophy in my third year, for my Ideologies class.

Though to be honest in that year I learnt nothing new from the previous two, hence why I junked it for Classical studies.

Principia Discussion / Re: Really Real Discordians
« on: June 07, 2009, 08:12:12 pm »
Daruko does plenty of "creative" projects.  With his "friends".


Literate Chaotic / Re: a thought...
« on: June 07, 2009, 04:32:41 pm »
I like it.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Thinking about Slavoj Zizek
« on: June 07, 2009, 04:29:49 pm »
Some quotes, to get this rolling:

Zizek: Beyond Foucault

when a typical Cultural Studies theorist deals with a philosophical or psychoanalytical edifice, the analysis focuses exclusively on unearthing its hidden patriarchal, Eurocentric, identitarian, etc., ‘bias’, without even asking the … question: OK, but what is the structure of the universe? How does the human psyche “really” work?

Zizek conceptualises social reality as fissured and self-external, his wager being that reality itself is always-already based on some exclusion or inconsistency – reality, as we know it, is ‘not all’. And it is here, in these very gaps and interstices in the social edifice, that Zizek believes critical thought has its proper place.

Paraphrasing Marx, the step from Foucault to Zizek thus could be summarized as follows: by unmasking reality as contingent discursive fiction, poststructuralist criticism has only deconstructed the world in different ways. The point, however, is to identify the Real of what seems to be mere discursive fiction, and to change it.

At the outset of his essay ‘The Spectre of Ideology’, which would probably qualify as his most consistent piece of writing on the subject, Zizek defines the term in question as the ‘generative matrix that regulates the relationship between visible and non-visible, between imaginable and non-imaginable’ (Zizek, 1994b, 1). Such a definition introduces us to Zizek’s psychoanalytic conceptualisation of ideology as a radically split domain, or rather an elusive kind of knowledge divided between its explicit manifestation (a rationally constructed and linguistically transparent set of ideas) and its uncanny ‘appearance beyond appearance’ (an unthinkable, unrepresentable and unmediatable nucleus of disavowed enjoyment). By claiming that ideology regulates the dialectical relationship between the above two orders (in Lacanian terms, between the order of the Symbolic and the order of the Real), Zizek also undermines the parameters of critical theory ‘as we know it’, for he shifts the object of critical analysis onto what has hitherto been regarded as the non-ideological field  par excellence: the obscure realm of enjoyment – which, however, is not to be mistaken with mere pleasure, as it stands for the excessive and fundamentally disturbing dimension of libido that Lacanian psychoanalysis knows as jouissance.

Let us take, for instance, the often-rehearsed Zizekian argument that in their different guises all totalitarian systems rely on an instance of fetishistic disavowal. Particularly in his early production, Zizek tackles the question of ideological efficacy in both Nazi-Fascism and Communism, frequently resorting to Octave Mannoni’s formula on the contradictory nature of belief: ‘Je sais bien, mais quand-même …’ [I know very well, but nevertheless …] (see Mannoni, 1969). Zizek maintains that in totalitarian societies the power of ideology is, as a rule, reflected in the cynical attitude of the subjects, who know full well that the official ideological line (‘the Jews are responsible for all evils’; ‘the Communist Party represents the people’) is false, and yet they stick to it as a matter of belief – since, as both Pascal and Althusser knew very well, belief has less to do with reason and knowledge than with habit  and senseless (from Zizek’s standpoint: unconscious/traumatic) enjoyment.

The same principle of ‘totalitarian disavowal’, Zizek frequently argues, is also in place in liberal Western societies, where the cynical distance we are encouraged to take from any form of traditional ideological belief effectively suggests that we are being caught in the system’s ideological loop. The more we pride ourselves on being ‘free thinkers in a free world’, Zizek argues, the more we blindly submit ourselves to the merciless superegoic command (‘Enjoy!’) which binds us to the logic of the market. As with Hegel’s ‘Beautiful Soul’, the display of purity turns out to be the measure of impurity, innocence the measure of evil. From this angle, the very notion of ‘free will’ (extensively exploited, for example, by modern advertising) might be said to function, today, as a supremely ideological formula, since it binds the subject precisely to that deterministic universe it seeks to escape. Zizek, however, does not deny the existence of free will. His understanding of the notion is predicated upon the German idealist account of the concept developed especially by Schelling. Against the philosophical cliché that there is no place for free will in German idealism, since the world operates according to laws that are ultimately inaccessible to us, Zizek argues that the idea of subjectivity constructed by the German idealists does endorse access to freedom of will – provided, however, that we conceive of this freedom as a traumatic encounter with an ‘abyssal’ choice that has no guarantee in the socio-symbolic order. Zizek’s point is that free will implies the paradox of a frightful disconnection from the world, the horror of a psychotic confrontation with the radical negativity that ultimately defines the status of the subject.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Thinking about Slavoj Zizek
« on: June 07, 2009, 01:40:19 pm »
I know I went on a Foucault junket a while back, and I honestly think that was very helpful in causing some ideas for me, as well as intellectually interesting.

However, I've been poring over a recent publication by Palgrave Macmillan, which tries to investigate the work of Zizek against the background of Foucault.  The book probably explains it better than I do:

By unmasking reality as a contingent discursive fiction, we will argue, Foucauldian criticism has only deconstructed the world in different ways; the point, however, is to discern the Real in what seems to be a mere discursive construct, and to change it.

The book, then, is not an analysis of Zizek’s views on Foucault, although we will take them into account, but an exploration of Zizek’s work against the background of Foucault’s. While the writings of both Zizek and Foucault have been subjected to close scrutiny from a variety of perspectives, there is no study mapping the psychoanalytically informed theory of the former against the poststructuralist theory of the latter. There are two good reasons to approach Zizek through Foucault. For one thing, the Foucauldian oeuvre is one of the most enlightening reference points for an exploration of Zizek’s political philosophy, which is in many respects a ‘post-poststructuralist’ theory. Moreover, Foucault’s writings have come to satisfy a widespread demand among leftist critics for a cogent theory for the now unipolar world at history’s deplorable, yet inevitable end. Foucault-euphoria is symptomatic of a political constellation and an intellectual outlook which have been the primary targets of Zizek’s criticism since the fall of Soviet Communism. They form the foil to his endeavour to reinstate critical theory in the field of radical politics. Three questions underlie our enquiry:

What consequences do Foucault’s and Zizek’s theorisations have for emancipatory politics today? How do they affect the way in which we experience social reality? To what extent do they help us to imagine, account for and effect political change?

I think the last two are the most important, for various reasons.

So with this thread, I'm going to drop in notes and little bits of commentary and see where it goes.  Anyone else should feel free to jump in.  Since I have most of Zizek's books on my hard drive, this shouldn't be too hard, though it may take up a lot of time.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: A critique of the BIP
« on: June 07, 2009, 01:17:54 pm »
Also, posts like this make me think perhaps we should write a history of the BIP, and stick it somewhere prominent and obvious, so people know what is going on.

It's bad juju, man.  We know the fnords are out there, but using them offensively?  This is our left-foot path.

And this is a bad thing....why?  I mean, apart from the fact most people who call themselves left hand pathers are usually pantywaist Satanists and wannabe Sociopaths and Ayn Rand readers and generally take the whole "I am a God" thing way too seriously, and so set themselves up for hilarious and massive falls?

It was one work, three years ago*, by several different people, written in the heat of the moment and thrown together haphazardly.  You may be expecting too much in terms of consistency.

*(this being important because I'm a much better writer now then I was then.  From what I can remember, at least, which admittedly isn't much).

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: A critique of the BIP
« on: June 07, 2009, 12:57:00 pm »
Also its amusing to note all my parts were the ones which were well recieved, yet I mostly hate them and wanted to edit them out and replace them with something interesting.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: A critique of the BIP
« on: June 07, 2009, 12:55:16 pm »
yatto is winning this thread, so far.

I think the lesson to be learned from this is to be able to back up your opinions with something more substantial than "I don't like it, so it's not very Discordian".

Which was indeed the point of the thread.  I even restated it on the second page, just for those who missed the point first time around.

I was invited to post here, but I'm not going to reveal by whom.  When the guilty party recognizes me, I'll let him- or her- do that him- or her- self.

It was Ratatosk, via the Convert_Me Livejournal, with the candlestick.

thinks pretty much everyone who has read Principia Discussion in the past two days has figured that out.

« on: June 07, 2009, 12:02:04 pm »
I am sad there is no love for ROFL-Mao :sad:

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