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Tehom and Ruach Elohim in the Pool at Bethesda?

September 20th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — for Catherine Keller, whose book Face of the Deep is a wonder ]
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Meditating on the first quote below these days, as I gradually make my way into Catherine Keller‘s work of poetic theology, I am reminded of the second —

— as if the first were a general principle, and the second a scaled-down and localized version of that principle.

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Catherine Keller, Face of the Deep

I’ll return for a full review of this book once I’ve finished reading it — a slower process than I’d have liked, given my current state of health!

I find JustKnecht’s Loom of Form and Meaning truly brilliant

September 20th, 2019

[ reposted from BrownPundits — by Charles Cameron — few things in life are as delightful as finding kinships of mind and heart ]
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Brilliant, IMO — and hopefully of use to Ali Minai, Mike Sellers and others in the field of artificial intelligence — here the Loom is, as JustKnecht presents it on Medium:

9 categories can be used to classify how forms, meanings and the connections between them change, develop and evolve in relation to each other. Put anything at the top left of this table, then:

  • re-express the idea of it in a different form (horizontal movement towards the right of the loom, e.g. from Mercury the Roman god to Greek Hermes and Egyptian Thoth), or else
  • reinterpret that particular form with a different idea (vertical movement towards the bottom of the loom, e.g. from Mercury as god to the metal or planet of exactly the same name), or
  • vary both the form and the meaning (with ideas and forms both contrasting towards the bottom right of the loom, e.g. follow Mercury into the domain of trees, according to standard tables of correspondence in European culture, to the fast-growing hazel — hazel groves often being associated with gateways to the underworld, and Mercury himself being a guide to the underworld).
  • **

    Further readings:

  • JustKnecht, The Loom of Form and Meaning
  • JustKnecht, The Loom of Verbal Reasoning
  • JustKnecht, Rattlesnake Games – Introduction and Example
  • JustKnecht, Connecting forms to contexts in Rattlesnake Games
  • **

    JustKnecht‘s Loom would be a powerful tool by which to analyze many uses of my DoubleQuotes format.

    My own HipBone Games, like JustKnecht‘s Rattlesnake Games, are inspired by Hermann Hesse‘s Glass Bead Game as described in his novel of that name — and there’s enough kinship between them that Derek Robinson‘s comments on my own games and Ai may be of use, mutatis mutandis, in setting a context for Rattlesnake Games, too:

  • Derek Robinson, HipBone Games, AI and the rest
  • The music of snakes and computing machines

    September 19th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — with enough joy here for all lovers of classical music, herpetology and the national pastime — but I’m stunned by one most curious herpetology-Bach crossover in particular — and more ]
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    Here’s a fine DoubleQuote:

    I gave you the snake first, in about as amusing a context as I could find: Now here’s the serpentine windings of a Bach melody, as tracked by musical-graphics maestro Stephen Malinowski::

    The music is Bach’s Cantata 140 (Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme), performed by members of the Netherlands Bach Society (s part of their All of Bach project.

    **

    I think of the vaulted arches of Hermann Hesse’shundred gated cathedral of mind as places where science / technology and the arts / humanities map closely to one another — my locus classicus being the analogy between van Gogh‘s night sky and von Karman‘s vortex street, with which by now you are likely all familiar..

    Far more unexpected, yet incredibly rich, it seems to me, is this close correspondence between music and snake. Does this suggest any further explorations to anyone? Ali Minai, anything this suggests for AI? Anyone?

    Ada Lovelace‘s vision of the applicability of the Jacquard loom’s punched cards to Charles Babbage‘s engine is another instance, at the apex of an arch, I think — and it’s interesting to note that Lady Lovelace speculated that Babbage‘s machine

    might act upon other things besides number… the Engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent

    Howzzat? as we cry out in cricket.

    The Wearing Thin of the Nation State

    September 16th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — following on from Climate change & its impacts, rippling out across all our futures, 2 on national sovereignty and climate migration — with Hakim Bey’s TAZ and more ]
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    Three books by Peter Lamborn Wilson

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    Two instances of our theme — The Wearing Thin of the Nation State — crossed my bows in utterly unrelated posts via Academia today, and they make a fine DoubleQuote:

    From John Sullivan‘s Criminal Enclaves: When Gangs, Cartels or Kingpins Try to Take Control:

    Criminal enclaves are areas where lawbreakers (gangs, cartels, criminal warlords) exert political and social control. Essentially these areas are “other governed spaces.” The state may or may not be absent — although its hold is certainly challenged — but other informal governance structures, such as gangs, wield substantial political influence or control. These other governed spaces can range in size from neighborhoods, barrios or favelas (i.e., failed communities) to failed or feral cities — such as Brazil’s notorious City of God favela or Ciudad Juárez during the height of cartel control or Veracruz and Acapulco — to failed states or regions, such as an entire nation — extremely rare — or a substate region such as Mexico’s Tamaulipas. These enclaves are essentially incubators of state change or transition as described by Charles Tilly in his essay “War Making and State Making as Organized Crime.” This process of criminal challenges to states can be described as criminal insurgency, where bands of outlaws erode sovereignty while potentially altering the nature of states. In addition to geographic scope, criminal enclaves can vary in their degree of control over governance. They can exist as parallel states, exerting control over some functions (i.e., taxation, monopoly of violence and justice, and the provision of social goods), while the state still retains control over others.These enclaves could also fully supplant the state when it is absent or lacks solvency, which I define as the sum of legitimacy and capacity. They could also form a hybrid where criminal networks and corrupt politicians cooperate to extract wealth and wield power (as is the case in narco-cities or mafia states).

    I’d like to offer, by way of comparative, this excerpt from Abbe Mowshowitz as quoted in Bill Benzon‘s and his
    Virtual Feudalism in the Twenty-First Century:

    Absent a sense of loyalty to persons or places, virtual organizations distance themselves—both geographically and psychologically—from the regions and countries in which they operate. This process is undermining the nation-state, which cannot continue indefinitely to control virtual organizations. A new feudal system is in the making, in which power and authority are vested in private hands but which is based on globally distributed resources rather than on possession of land. The evolution of this new political economy will determine how we do business in the future.

    That’s my DoubleQuote.

    **

    That’s interesting, I think — but what’s even more so is the quote that initially caught my eye in Bill B‘s paper:

    In 2017, Denmark became the first nation to formally create a diplomatic post to represent its interests beforecompanies such as Facebook and Google. After Denmark determined that tech behemoths now have as much power as many governments — if not more — Mr. Klynge was sent to Silicon Valley.“What has the biggest impact on daily society? A country in southern Europe, or in Southeast Asia, or Latin America, or would it be the big technology platforms?” Mr. Klynge said in an interview last month at a cafe in central Copenhagen during an annual meeting of Denmark’s diplomatic corps. “Our values, our institutions, democracy, human rights, in my view, are being challenged right now because of the emergence of new technologies.” He added, “These companies have moved from being companies with commercial interests to actually becoming de facto foreign policy actors.”

    That’s quoted from Adam Satariano, The World’s First Ambassador to the Tech Industry.

    Ambassador to the Tech Industry? Ambassador to the Tech Industry, okay. The ground is shifting under our feet.

    **


    Detail from Ceasefire’s account of the Temporary Autonomous Zone

    Peter Lamborn Wilson aka Hakim Bey, with his interest in the Barbary Corsairs, must have been one of the earlier writers to discuss what he termed Temporary Autonomous ZonesTAZ for short — and its no surprise he’s an eccentric scholar of Islamic Heresy and the Margins of Islam! And what a life he’s led — studying tantra with Ganesh Baba in India, in Pakistan “mixing with princes, Sufis, and gutter dwellers”, an associate in Iran of Henry Corbin, editor of the journal Sophia Perennis under the guidance of Seyyed Hossein Nasr, house-mate in NYC with William Burroughs — though let’s not forget some far darker stuff [cf “Bey’s endorsement of adults having sex with children”, Wikipedia].

    **

    Narcos in Mexico to Bill Burroughs in Tangiers and NYC isn’t too great a hop: life on the margins is liminal by definition, disruptive — and disruption is what all of our examples above have in common.

    Bey on the TAZ:

    Getting the TAZ started may involve tactics of violence and defense, but its greatest strength lies in its invisibility–the State cannot recognize it because History has no definition of it. As soon as the TAZ is named (represented, mediated), it must vanish, it will vanish, leaving behind it an empty husk, only to spring up again somewhere else, once again invisible because undefinable in terms of the Spectacle. The TAZ is thus a perfect tactic for an era in which the State is omnipresent and all-powerful and yet simultaneously riddled with cracks and vacancies.

    How will the nation state respond, adapt?

    Human sacrifice 2019, and his name was Khashoggi

    September 13th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — on the half-hidden motivation that gives glee to an act of outright butchery ]
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    My source:

    There’s a lot that is, as the title suggests, gruesome here, both in the telling, and in the deeds and conversations that are told.

    One comment stood out for me, however, as a student of religions, and one whose studies indicate that religious drivers are to be taken more seriously in wars and other forms of violence than our cynical, skeptical, secular world is prone to believe. Here it is:

    At the end of the conversation, Mutreb asks whether the “animal to be sacrificed” has arrived. At 1:14 p.m., an unidentified member of the hit squad says “[he] is here.”

    I don’t want to be needlessly literalistic about the point I’m making, because I don’t mean it to be taken literally, and couldn’t quite explain how to take it — except seriously. But here it is:

    human > animal > sacrifice — this is a very potent & archetypal set of transforms

    Seeing humans — Jews, for instance — as animals make it much easier to kill them en masse — as in the Shoah, for example. That part of the psychology of Khashoggi‘s killers is easily understood in the wake of the Nazi atrocities, the Khmer killings, the Rwandan massacre — and genocides in general.

    What is perhapos harder for us to come to grips with is the power of the third element — sacrifice.

    Sacrifice — the word means making sacred — invokes what Paul Tillich calls ultimate concern, which corresponds to the notion of existential threat with an added dimension..

    It gives participants the sense they are not only facing a life and death situation, but one involving the better angels vs the deepest depths of despair.

    People who are moved at this level tend to move decisively on those impulses.

    That’s — more or less — what I meant to suggest.


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