Archive for July, 2010

narratives and meta-narratives

July 31, 2010 Leave a comment

great post from publicindivual on “Narratives and Meta-narratives”, quoted at length:

We can ‘place’ things into media in exactly the same way as traditional producers of media generate content, and this fact, coupled with the legitimating functors arising through the morass of social media (i saw it on youtube, it was totally a cellphone video of a dude getting jacked, etc.) creates an unbelievably virulent moment of paradigmatic instability. The instability is a tectonic shift between two or more power elites, but in the upheaval all political assumptions are relegated to concern about efficient use of resources, agile marketing, image branding, and chaos management. Catastrophe modeling and exponential growth planning, coupled with the tensions of technological adaptation and monocultural interpellation coming from the top down, restructuring with little or no long-term goals for productive growth.

“..a culture that gives precedence to the narrative form doubtless has no more of a need for special procedures to authorize its narratives than it has to remember its past.. In a sense, the people are only that which actualizes the narratives: { putting them into ‘play’ in their institutions – thus} by assigning themselves the posts of narratee and diegesis as well as the post of narrator.
“There is, then, an incommensurability between popular narrative pragmatics, which provides immediate legitimation, and the language game known to the West as the question of legitimacy-or rather, legitimacy as a referent in the game of inquiry. Narratives, as we have seen, determine criteria of competence and/or illustrate how they are to be applied. They thus define what has the right to be said and done in the culture in question, and since they are themselves a part of that culture, they are legitimated by the simple fact that they do what they do.”(emphasis added) – J. Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition

In this breakdown of the grand narrative against which the Apophenion engenders disruptive transformation, where subaltern bubbles up into counterpublic before colonialist systems can even be fully implemented, all us wireheads wetwebbed together in synchronic telepathy, military grade psychics using black market radionics like some doktor sleepless comic. against this black future perfect come present tense the meta-narrative left is T.S. Eliot waves across an economic wasteland downturn. Terror marketing was for punters, the shit coming down the pike is direct emotional control of shoppers.

My expansion of Lyotard’s original quote, which was skipped over in the original, is in {curly brackets}.

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Philippe de Cherisey and the Priory of Sion Hoax

July 30, 2010 Leave a comment

from priory-of-sion-secrets forum:

Philippe de Cherisey from Stone and Paper:

“Ah dear reader, to whom we told everything and yet you heard nothing, what honor, you poor dummy, could we bestow upon you and how could take seriously all these complaints about us stuffing your brains up. Certainly Gérard de Sède and I stuffed your brains up, but isn’t that what you want – cheap fantasies that have only one purpose, to enrich the people who create them.

No doubt you think that we poets take a sadistic pleasure in fooling you? But alas we don’t. I repeat: hoaxing people involves a laborious life of asceticism of which we are the first penitents until we succeed in creating a beautiful hoax that will fool us well before it fools you.”

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web of notes on Foucault’s Pendulum etc

July 28, 2010 Leave a comment

from everything2’s entry on Foucault’s Pendulum:

This Foucault’s theories apply then to the rest of the book and its texts–namely, the power of the word to make manifest, even when that which the word describes does not actually exist. And it is through machines–the computer Abulafia, Garamond Press–that these ideas take on life. It is in a museum dedicated to machines that Causabon hides, having witnessed the ritual murder of his friend and co-conspirator Belbo, owner of Abulafia, by the very cult who believed in Causabon and Belbo’s hoax.

BUT–we find that THEY know about Belbo’s text, the Plan in Abulafia, and yet don’t believe that it is all a hoax. THEY must have a secret which doesn’t exist, but which they believe exists because they need it to exist. The lies we create are the most appealing parts of our existence, for they construct meaning out of chaos. And it is this constructed meaning–these signs and symbols, these structuralist fantasies–that lead Belbo to his death.

“You mocked the creators of illusion, and now…you write using the alibi of a machine, telling yourself you are a spectator because you read yourself on the screen as if the words belonged to another, but you have fallen into the trap: you, too, are trying to leave footprints on the sands of time. You have dared to change the text of the romance of the world, and the romance of the world has taken you instead into its coils and involved you in its plot, a plot not of your making.”–Belbo’s files on Abulafia

from Deborah Solomon’s interview with Umberto Eco in the New York Times November 25, 2007:

DS – I am wondering if you read Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code,” which some critics see as the pop version of your “Name of the Rose.”

UE – I was obliged to read it because everybody was asking me about it. My answer is that Dan Brown is one of the characters in my novel, “Foucault’s Pendulum,” which is about people who start believing in occult stuff.

from Wikipedia’s entry on Foucault’s pendulum:

The three editors start to develop their own conspiracy theory, “The Plan”, as part satire and part intellectual game. Starting from Ardenti’s “secret manuscript”, they develop an intricate web of mystical connections. They also make use of Belbo’s small personal computer, which he has nicknamed Abulafia. Belbo mainly uses Abulafia for his personal writings (the novel contains many excerpts of these, discovered by Casaubon as he goes through Abulafia’s files), but it came equipped with a small program that can rearrange text in random.

They use this program to create the “connections” which inspire their Plan. They enter randomly selected words from the Diabolicals’ manuscripts, logical operators (“What follows is not true”, “If”, “Then”, etc.), truisms (such as “The Templars have something to do with everything”) and “neutral data” (such as “Minnie Mouse is Mickey Mouse’s fiancée”) and use Abulafia to create new text.

Casaubon jokingly suggests that to create something truly new Belbo must look for occult connections in non-obvious contexts, such as by linking the Kabbalah to a car’s spark plugs. (Belbo actually does this, and after some research concludes that the powertrain is a metaphor for the Tree of life.) Pleased with the results of the random text program, the three continue resorting to Abulafia whenever they reach a dead-end with their game.

from Wikipedia’s entry on telluric current:

The main plot of the novel Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco revolves around search of the Ombilicus Mundi (Latin: The Navel of the World), the mystic Center of The Earth which is supposed to be a certain point from where a person could control the energies and shapes of the earth thus reforming it at will. The novel takes this even further by suggesting that monuments like the Eiffel Tower are nothing more than giant antennae to catalyze these energies.

from Wikipedia’s entry on zairja:

A zairja was a device used by medieval Arab astrologers to calculate ideas by mechanical means. It used the 28 letters of the Arabic alphabet to signify 28 categories of philosophic thought. By combining number values associated with the letters and categories, new paths of insight and thought were created.

It is thought that Catalan-Majorcan mystic, Ramon Llull (1234-1315) in his travels and studies of Arab culture, became familiar with the zairja, and used it as a prototype for his invention of the Ars Magna (The Great Art).

from Wikipedia’s entry on Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius:

One of the major themes of “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” is that ideas ultimately manifest themselves in the physical world and the story is generally viewed as a parabolic discussion of Berkeleian idealism – and to some degree as a protest against totalitarianism.

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feedback in credit-based monetary systems

July 27, 2010 Leave a comment

In light of the recent economic crises, and because fiat money is typically given as an example of the Tinkerbell Effect, it is worth looking closer at some aspects of this.

deleted from Wikipedia’s entry on fiat money, but still available in slightly altered form elsewhere on the net (like’s page on fiat currency):

…fiat money’s value is unrelated to the value of any physical quantity, for instance gold, but is typically backed by a state’s future tax incomes…

Feedback in credit-based monetary systems
Global capitalism, wherein a currency is widely traded as a commodity in itself, is more likely to rely on credit money which can reflect both (commodity) supplies and protections of supplies (by states’ military fiats). It is not held stable by any one state but rather by tension between states, as investment migrates from currency to currency in an open “money market”. As long as there is an international feedback mechanism, such that states attempting to inflate their currency suffer a corresponding drop in international buying power, and an internal feedback mechanism, so that the government is liable for economic failures that stem from fiscal or monetary irresponsibility, the money system does not take on the characteristics of a fiat money system. However, to proponents of hard money such mechanisms are not to be trusted, and all money not directly based on specie redeemable on demand is “fiat money”. This means that today all the currencies are fiat money, because none is based on specie redeemable on demand (generally gold).

The regime of asset-based money, or credit-based money – in which banks create currency as intermediaries and governments, in turn, back the banking system – produces a different series of problems. In no small part because it is not immediately easy to differentiate sound currencies from unsound ones, and it is possible to convert credit-based money into fiat money by a legal act or regulation. The question of confidence dominates credit-based money, the confidence that a particular central bank or government will not act in a manner contrary to its national interest by allowing the money supply to rise or fall too much. Part of the system of confidence includes holding of reserves to be able to support a currency if attacked, and the issuing of debt to regulate the supply of currency.

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hyperreality ii: vs virtuality

July 26, 2010 Leave a comment

from Wikipedia’s entry on Hyperreality:

Hyperreality vs. Virtual Reality

Hyperreality, however, is different. It includes virtual reality, yet it is not virtual reality per se. Hyperreality creates virtual reality to be an experience in the physical reality, so that virtual reality and physical reality interact with one another. Virtual reality provides virtual worlds that seem more “convincing” to those who experience it. However, hyperreality, provides “HyperWorlds” that blurs the line between what is “real” and what is “virtual” and make it appear “natural.”[3]

Tiffin explains that the difference between virtual reality and hyperreality is like the difference between cinema and telephone. Cinema is an early attempt to create virtual reality. When people enter the cinema, the lights go out, and then everyone becomes quiet and lets the projector “take over their perceptual system”. Hyperreality, however, can be compared to a telephone. When two people interact with each other via telephone, they each feel that they are convinced that they are real themselves, and the other person virtual. Though trapped in a virtual reality AND physical reality, their action, the conversation on the phone, seems natural. The presence of voice in the real and virtual world creates a natural mode. The listener easily distinguishes the telephone voice and the real voice. In the same way, it is easy to recognize the virtual from real in hyperreality.[4]

“A HyperWorld is not only where what is real and what is virtual interact, it is where human intelligence meets artificial intelligence.”[5]

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take your desires for reality

July 24, 2010 Leave a comment

from Wess Daniels’ “Desire and the Imagination of the Kingdom”:

Duncombe puts it in political terms:

“Progressives should have learned to build a politics that embraces the dreams of people and fashions spectacles which give these fantasies form – a politics that understands desire and speaks to the irrational; a politics that employs symbols and associations; a politics that tells good stories. In brief, we should have learned to manufacture dissent” (9).

from Jesse Cohn’s An Exemplary Failure:

In 1968, Situationist incendiaries attempted to disrupt an equation that ran something like this : my desires are only ideas in my head, and ideas are not real, therefore my desires are unreal, and I must adapt myself to reality . Instead, the Situationists called on the students and workers of Paris to “take your desires for reality.” This was not a call to mistake wishes for facts, but a call to take in the active sense of the verb : to seize, to grab hold of. The aim was to obliterate the spurious division of “reality” and “ideality” in revolutionary action.

from Psychogeography and the dérive:

The following text is taken from ‘The most radical gesture: The Situationist International in a postmodern age’ by Sadie Plant and published by Routledge. Read it, and live without dead time.

…The situationists’ desire to become psychogeographers, with an understanding of the ‘precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals’, was intended to cultivate an awareness of the ways in which everyday life is presently conditioned and controlled, the ways in which this manipulation can be exposed and subverted, and the possibilities for chosen forms of constructed situations in the post-spectacular world. Only an awareness of the influences of the existing environment can encourage the critique of the present conditions of daily life, and yet it is precisely this concern with the environment which we live which is ignored.

“The sudden change of ambiance in a street within the space of a few meters; the evident division of a city into zones of distinct psychic atmospheres; the path of least resistance which is automatically followed in aimless strolls (and which has no relation to the physical contour of the ground); the appealing or repelling character of certain places – all this seems to be neglected.”
(Guy Debord, ‘ Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography)

…the situationists developed an armoury of confusing weapons intended constantly to provoke critical notice of the totality of lived experience and reverse the stultifying passivity of the spectacle. ‘Life can never be too disorientating,’ wrote Debord and Wolman, in support of which they described a friend’s experience wandering ‘through the Harz region of Germany while blindly following the directions of a map of London.’

Such disorientation was not craved for its own sake. But as a means of showing the concealed potential of experimentation, pleasure, and play in everyday life, the situationists considered a little chaos to be a valuable means to exposing the way in which the experiences made possible by capitalist production could be appropriated within a new enabling system of social relations.

from the Wikipedia entry on Situationist International:

The core arguments of the Situationist International were an attack on the capitalist degradation of the life of people and the fake models advertised by the mass media, to which the Situationist responded with alternative life experiences. The alternative life experiences explored by the Situationists were the construction of situations, unitary urbanism, psychogeography, and the union of play, freedom and critical thinking.

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rosicrucianism, situationists

July 23, 2010 Leave a comment

from Wikipedia’s entry on Rosicruianism:

The manifestos were and are not taken literally by many but rather regarded either as hoaxes or as allegorical statements. The manifestos directly state: “We speak unto you by parables, but would willingly bring you to the right, simple, easy, and ingenuous exposition, understanding, declaration, and knowledge of all secrets”.

Some say the writers were moral and religious reformers and utilized the techniques of chemistry (alchemy) and the sciences generally as media through which to publicize their opinions and beliefs. The authors of the Rosicrucian works generally favoured the Reformation and distanced themselves from the Roman church and Islam. The symbol of Martin Luther is a cross inside an open rose.

The manifestos caused immense excitement throughout Europe: they declared the existence of a secret brotherhood of alchemists and sages who were preparing to transform the arts, sciences, religion, and political and intellectual landscape of Europe while wars of politics and religion ravaged the continent. The works were re-issued several times and followed by numerous pamphlets, favourable and otherwise. Between 1614 and 1620, about 400 manuscripts and books were published which discussed the Rosicrucian documents.

The peak of the so-called “Rosicrucianism furor” was reached when two mysterious posters appeared in the walls of Paris in 1622 within a few days of each other. The first one started with the saying “We, the Deputies of the Higher College of the Rose-Croix, do make our stay, visibly and invisibly, in this city (…)” and the second one ended with the words “The thoughts attached to the real desire of the seeker will lead us to him and him to us”.[5]

from Wikipedia’s entry on Rosicrucian Manifestos:

The Fama Fraternitatis and the Confessio Fraternitatis as they were known, caused an immense furore across Europe with their esoteric imagery and call for a universal spiritual and cultural reformation across the continent. To this day controversy continues whether they were a hoax, whether the Order of the Rose Cross really existed as described in the Manifestos, or whether the whole thing was a metaphor or ludibrium disguising a movement that really existed, but in a different form.

At one point, perhaps dismayed by how the Rosicrucian craze was getting out of hand, Andreae tried to bring the whole thing to a halt, writing of his shock at how ridiculous the whole thing had become and that the ‘game’ (suggesting he had never intended for the Manifestos to be taken so literally) was now ‘over’. Whether this indicates that the whole thing was a hoax or that Andreae was trying to protect something which had become public property in the wrong way is up for debate.

from Wikipedia’ entry on Fama Fraternitatis:

The Legend shows an agreement with six articles that they drew up Prior to their separation, bounding themselves one to another to keep:

1. That none of them should profess any other thing than to cure the sick, and that gratis.
2. None of the posterity should be constrained to wear one kind of habit, but to follow the custom of the country.
3. Every year, upon the day C., they would meet together at the house Santi Spiritus, or write the cause of their absence.
4. Every Brother should seek a worthy person to succeed him after his death.
5. The word CR should be their seal, mark, and character.
6. The Fraternity should remain secret one hundred years.

Rosicrucians clearly adopted through the Manifestos the Pythagorean tradition of envisioning objects and ideas in terms of their numeric aspects

from Wikipedia’s entry on ludibrium:

Ludibrium is a word derived from Latin ludus (plural ludi), meaning a plaything or a trivial game. In Latin ludibrium denotes an object of fun, and at the same time, of scorn and derision, and it also denotes a capricious game itself: e.g., ludibria ventis (Virgil), “the playthings of the winds”, ludibrium pelagis (Lucretius), “the plaything of the waves”; Ludibrio me adhuc habuisti (Plautus), “Until now you have been toying with me.”

The term “ludibrium” was used frequently by Johann Valentin Andreae (1587 – 1654) in phrases like “the ludibrium of the fictitious Rosicrucian Fraternity” when describing the Rosicrucian Order, most notably in his Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, published anonymously in 1616, of which Andreae subsequently claimed to be the author and which has been taken seriously, as virtually a third of the Rosicrucian Manifestos.[1] However, in his Peregrini in Patria errores (1618) Andreae compares the world to an amphitheatre where no one is seen in their true light. This conception of the Rosicrucian world as theater was popularized by the French Situationist Guy Debord in Society of the Spectacle (1967).

Paul Arnold translated Andreae’s usage as farce[2], but this conception has been contested by Frances Yates (Yate 1999), who suggests that Andreae’s use of the term implies more nearly some sort of “Divine Comedy”, a dramatic allegory played in the political domain during the tumult which preceded the Thirty Years’ War in Germany.

Similarly, the melancolic Jacques in As You Like It (1599-1600) asserts that “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players.”

It has been suggested that Situationist International was a ludibrium devised by Asger Jorn. Like the Rosicrucians, the Situationist International was a very small group which nevertheless became notorious, even if only for a while. This conception can function as a technique whereby mental projections can be cast into the social imagination.

Robert Anton Wilson has suggested that the Priory of Sion is a modern ludibrium:

The Priory Of Sion fascinates me, because it has all the appearances of being a real conspiracy, and yet if you look at the elements another way, it looks like a very complicated practical joke by a bunch of intellectual French aristocrats. And half of the time I believe it really is a practical joke by a bunch of intellectual French aristocrats. And then part of the time I think it is a real conspiracy.[3]

from Stewart Home’s introduction to the Polish edition of The Assault on Culture:

From Ivan Chtcheglov’s 1953 essay “Formulary for a New Urbanism” with it’s references to Campanella (“there is no longer any Temple of the Sun”) through to Debord’s recent writing, the Situationist circle has been obsessed with the occult, mysticism and secret societies. The editors of the post-Situationist journal “Here and Now” hinted at this when they ran a parody of a Debord collage on the cover of their double issue 7/8 – prominently featured was a Rosicrucian bee-hive. Inside, there was a review of Debord’s book “Commentaire sur la Societe du Spectacle” which was illustrated by a portrait of Adam Weishaupt, the eighteenth century founder of the Illuminati. The “Here and Now” editorial board appear to be suggesting that the SI emerge from three different traditions: one artistic, one political and a third which is largely ignored – that of the occult and secret societies. Since most ‘secret’ knowledge is non-verbal rather than actually being ‘secret’, it’s appropriate that Mike Peters and his friends should allude to this largely unrecognised influence by the use of pictures.

At this point, it’s perhaps illuminating to turn to a 1978 interview with Ettore Sottsass Jr who was an integral part of the milieu that formed itself into the Situationist International: “I was always interested in ancient cultures, the Egyptian, the Sumerian, the Central American and Jewish cultures… cultures that have left traces in our memories, from magic to religion to fanaticism. Technologies of life which are not always rational, like those of the East, which progress by constant training of the body and mind”. Of course, Sottsass broke with Jorn and Debord’s circle just prior to the foundation of the SI and today this Italian is best known for the typewriters he designed while working at Olivetti and the furniture he’s produced with ‘Memphis’! However, his attitudes are typical of those who belonged to the SI, even after the movement split into rival ‘cultural’ and ‘political’ factions.

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