Why be a lord of time when you are already a Criminal?
A Sequence of essays investigating the crimes we commit, and what we might do about it.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The three rhythms

The dark saga of hope and dissolution that is modern capitalism - is clearly a saga in three acts - were each act each rhythms ossicalted between one inviduals mind and many minds: it is in me but also you and they...
The first act is the rules of the future - the world of endless prosperity we are surely all nearly about to have. This is a world which occupies many levels. there is confidence in far flung futures in the stars or global or envirnmental melt down - futures that then trickle back into or day o day futures, into what be believe is happening now. Our own confidence is then also always also a world of the future- a looking to the future we believe in... years, in the here and now. It is a truism that science fiction is always written about the present- but it is also the case that the present is always re-writting itself in it own future possibility.
The future is a world which is gloriously complex and complicated. No policy is every simple: it rather in its aspiration, and its fears plays across an entire register of the future and different possible futures to come. In acing then for the future one act in the here and now but with an eye of perceived threats, or joys or merely events. The future is then never simply resovable into a here or now. Forcasting the future is then complex as the forecast itself brings with it a time that is not directly realized - a time of myriad options, and are necessarily to be thought.
The second great rhythm is that of the past line, a great trend lien that collapes all the myriad of possible futures into a sequence of frozen events, and then allows judgement calls to be made and implication read in the light of those events. A move that then endless judges the remain of possibilities sorting out those that were mere dream or wild speculation from more possible realties (a distinction that it is all too easy to lose. a past that has of course its own deep resonances,differnet connection can be drawn between the same basic events alone pas lines, longterm trends and short terms trends can then be seen, as can gradual evolution or quick revolutions.
The past then is what ever politician fears- for they know that it is the impossible line in which they will be judged. A line made all the more difficult because how it is judges is in the light of the fact that it is always of the past. That is the judgement is always made in another time which reflects back upon itself and how it got there - looking to events then as if they were a narrative - and judging the judgement calls according to that narrative of that other time.
Finally there are the rhythms of the present. A here an now in which we actually live day of day. tis world is distinct again(and no more real). it is the world were events must fall or remain forever a mere fear or possibility. It is then the domain that when they do fall they always fall in a tranformationary experience and change everything. But do not happen the place in which then become mere myths and drift of into the kingdoms of possible delusions. More importantly it is the humdrum of everyday little choice free from pic pictures a humdrum that quiet builds it own world across its interaction: A world where its normality becomes then itself an impress.
A schemata then that is fundamental Heideggerian emerges. and yet with this partial difference. What Heidegger calls the Augenblick- the moment of revolution that takes you in the present from the future to the past, is a little bit more diverse and complex that that. for the Augenblick the point where one rhythm changes into another is not fixed - it is not one place one falling into - but it rather a complex transtion where many jumps of tense are possible.
In all these switches there are three or four basic methods. Firstly there are passions that lodge themsevles in one tense as they look into another. desire then lodges itself into both or either the pastor the presennts and erodes or moves towards the future. It then assumes a future is possible and translated directly or indirectly into another tense opening up possibilities in the past or the present, making things feel more real. The Greed of a property speculation is then written in the langauge of desire as it looks to an open future, and attempts to treat that open future as if it could be realized right here in the trends of he past or the wealth of the present. Desire might be defined then in this diagonal line drawn towards the future.
Secondly it is clearly possible that the rhythms of each each tense do invert from time to time. the future then translates into the past as mere empty dream and delusions - while the past becomes future as a tyranny of what must be done an no choice about it.A recession or depression swaps or a metalevel past for future. likewise it is very easily for the [resent to move into the future - and restrict possibilty (we must manages what we have), whole the futures tumbles into the present as some species of paranioa (the handcart to take us to hell). The past then swaps into the past as absolute tradition, and the past into the present as limited resources etc. Each tense need not its position as a tense, it can impose a different rhythm elsewhere- and will do so.
Thirdly it is clear that in all these rhythms wars we expect individuals to navigate us paths between these unreconcilliable rhythms. There role is then to map an impossible line looping up tenses defining point they tumble and change into one another. An exalted position we do not actually allow to most leaders of course (although we all dream we could and do if the right leader comes alone). Leaders then are meant to actually make the impossible possible and end the rhythm war - except of course we would actually for all our demands) never allow this to happen. a a paradox that has its own rhythm.
Finally between rhythm there lies endless domains of possible analysis and thought. we can create figures to capture them, or discipline to understand them. The future can be made real to the past and visa versa. New languages of translation of rhythms open out to us all - and in their constellations we are caught and defined or rethrown.

We caught in the the rhythms war of unreconcillable tenses whose endless conjunctions creates new possibilities rather than resolutions: A world which is rich, diverse, productive, and yet never simple....

Friday, November 19, 2010

Towards an Archy for the Internet

Just as we have given up on the ideal of the ancient Greek practice of having very many different states, each with their own unique constitution (for we all ought to be democracies now, even if many of us are actually oligarchies and tyrannies) - alone comes the internet- which clearly re-invents this multiplicity.
What after all are the 'great' dominant site (The Wikipedia, Google, Facebook etc) but an an ...Archy ;As is certain constitution, which loops individuals up one with the other and defines their relationships with each other.
Our Friendships our commerical actions, our every life history or family find their echo and are articulated upon the internet and different ways. It then echoes as a refrain what we do and articulates it in different ways.
A fact that is of course challenging to the status quo of our minds. What does it mean after all to be able after twenty years or so to refine our past, with its friends or music? what does it mean to be able to have world to flirt with? And how we live i world were one really can buy globally - what are ones loyalityes? Each great-site actually poses a question or perhaps runs an experiment, where in an action we are caught up changing or challenging our natures. We need be as we were, and the internet is how we change (although where this leads, butter, moth or merely perpetual puppea is never clear). A great pan-hellenic Experiment of the what the mind might be in new and shifting context - is being poured across these differing Archies.
Each archy puts in play and shares in differing our images. our talent, and ambitions but also our memories and feelings. more than that memory and feelings are incited to be shared. we become then a thing that bleeds across its own sharing- that that is invent or thinking about new feelings to share, and dreams of those feeling or talents actually resonating into others. we become a strange poet or prostitute of souls, articulating our bits (real or imagined) in the hope others might use them - and we turn ourselves into a celebof this or that constitution,
Here need a little caution, for there are other subtler element here. the networks that are created by the internet reflects also the global situation and bars of language and nation. A world where these bars need not be is opened up, but not necessarily inhabited (as yet or perhaps at all). their is clearly then a silent geography also in the internet- defining. our old way of thinking has not dies, is merely conjured anew in a slippery different landscape, where it need not be. and yet as that landscape echoes its actually usage and develops accordingly, it is likely enough that echoes of this nationism in relfection will linger for a long time.
More that that in a sense each of these great sites - are not just another clever application, but also actually define what the internet is for. Google or Facebook then defined actual use of the thing and carry on defining it. The point bring their are no clear rules about what the internet is for or even what it is: It is defined only in the way people use it (as library or marketplace or meat market or Porn library). In the best tradition of greece then, each of the great-sites are not merely a constitution, ways of looping people together, but also provide a template for a political type - and Archy. This template is at once unique to that site, but also but there- other sites might well look on it, and how it allowed change to seeps across the net , and react.
There is then that ancient greek feeling of possibility New sites emerge, and with it new uses, and we look always to the next site, the new constitution, the perfect program perhaps, and debate what it should be and how it will link individuals - the constitutions it will invent.
But as with the best Greek constitutions there are extra rules, defining how these sites operate (what they expect from their citizens) and how they compete. Sites will then not merely be about sharing between folk, but also must have some means of making those folk pay. Thy will then define in their means of sharing, a second stream, a means of wealth generation (or if they do not that itself is an issue). The idealism of the constitution is then tinged with the fact that the manner individuals are looped, the new way they might share anything or more often nothing in particular, must at some point itself be a money making opportunity: be that directly or indirectly- apps or Ads - what we do or what is done to us....
The Internet then is in the process of rethrowing something in our minds, and trying (and only partially slicing to pry open that something, and render it lucid to capitalism and making money. Likewise it is clear that the state has to recover itself in the internet, and find new ways to be important - to make us all safe or tax us or whatever. The Internet actually challenges the Post-Elightenment Capitalist-National consensus about what, who and how individual actually is. As persia rallied agianst greece then the government looks in fear at the internet. Finally in this list of old powers their are the exciting merchants of information (real or imagined)- the news-organization and publishers, who need to find ways of either fitting into some if not all of these constitutions (and even becoming an Archies in their own right)... Or else to must cosy up to internet companies in some manner, offering them something or else (finally) learning to do with out.
No wonder then the state lumbers about trying to make us fear for our very identity - and the capitalist bandwagon attempts to impose the Laws of copy write onto the new terrian. It has to - for an issue of survival of the old system in these new Archies.
but as they link together individuals, and so intent constitution each of the great-sites, become to a degree clonable. That is they learn from each other- and from the progression of sites. Here there is a clear odd enough process in play. for great-sites live and die by their twin abilities constantly define new ways of sharing information and looping individuals together or else being the dominant way by being the best or at leas the one everyone continues to use).
Great-sites then become established around one thing they do - and then clone there own principle, in the knowledge that others will be also cloning it, and bleed it across the internet: a search design, becomes a developer of ready to hand application, and then becomes a phone maker. The point being that the constitution are then open affairs - elements can be borrowed or lent- aspects developed. Sharing is never simple - it has many faces - and everyone can share (and is ever great-site will borrow elements of each other and attempt to make them their own, while diversifying what they do).
At the same time there is a real mass logic here. Certain application only work when very many people share them. more than that mass phenomena start to exist across the folk caught up together- sites generate then their own manner, their lifes as people join them. they further differentiate then in this sharing (and develop) Sites then that do not have the critical mass, however wonderful they might be simply loose out.
Their is a wonderful Pelopennsian total war being waged by the great sites of the internet. each have to continue expanding both what they do and who uses them in order that they survive: That is in order that other sites do not merely strip them of their constitution (and is clone their way to link individuals), and then run off with their citizens.
Running across these constitutions is another silent factor - an issue of landscape - the internet is defined by its codes and its neutralities. It only exists as it does as long as the number do not run out, and the freedom of what can be said and shared, but also how it is are preserved. Alter these and you have really changed the landscape for the net- changed what it is and what it will do and how it then evolve (which is not necessarily a bad thing). The Internet like Greece is caught up in the landscape that allowed it to be possible, change that landscape and everything might slip.
In Short i these days of ours, ti s clear the Internet is fast becoming to topic of interest in the fat world at least- as massive social experiment, what many up into it and actually quietly challenges many many things. the question will be then will this challenge be sustained, or will ancient Persia or merely the Rule of Empire prevail once again? And will the shifting archies themselves stablize into a number of shared established Aristoltian forms (he has six) - or wil lthe anrachy continue for the forseebale future at least.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The meridian Line

We all have them - or perhaps half a dozen of them.
that all nice- collective- Meridian line- that we think defines or ought to define normality.
It is the line that everyone ought to follow- that everyone would follow if we were not being led astray by...
The shifting complexity of the world, becomes rather easily resolved into a handful of collective viewpoint.
Further thought becomes unecessary -
It also goes without saying that such line in the shifting sand are necessary volatile and collective.
They need to be collective in that it is in the sharing the viewpoint - or at least in the imagination of another in ones head, in their reality in oneself - that the lines gathers its power and meaning - and passions.
It also follows that these meridians are divisive- and that is the point: that is they define a norm, which is of course not share in the welter of being. The norm becomes then a standard to rally to, and otherwise bewildering complexity and oddity or perhaps merely the press of possibility is rationalized and contained in quiet or stroppy loathing.
Us against the world - hey!

The trouble is then that Meridian are the stuff of gangs -a collective piece of certainty- and gangs sell newspapers, and create politics.
All of which is fine - what else is a nation ? what else have they ever been (for good or evil)? What else are the traditional lines of left and right, but a making sense and creation of very basic meridian lines.
How else are you going to have a state?
There is nothing wrong with meridians in themselves (beyond the fostering of gross but necessary simplification).
That is not really the trouble,
The problem is rather that there is a threefold complexity clearly emerging the rules and meridians.

1) Firstly the old meridians lines, which kept the world simple have spilt and become endlessly more complicate. We simply have then dozens of meridians, all quietly opposed, and gently or loudly loathing one another.
2) Meridians are becoming self consciously very stroppy - in the best evangelical way. This is a mixed curse. In times before when a median was easily dominant it was quietly oppressive. Racism, for example in all its forms simply was everywhere- and so it did not need to fight its corner: The only warrior meridians were self conscious minorities - who certainly fought and converted, and aimed to be the majority few. Meridians used to tend to be powerful - and quiet (or ill or good) affairs. In the current situation all meridians are under threat, and feel they need to make a fuss - as they always feel like those religious or social minorities. Our meridian lines have become the the battle ground for self appointed minorities - as we are all the rebels now.
3) And yet at the same time- we lie is a society where the appeal is always to the old logic of democracy, and the majority having sway. Each meridian line then needs to make its pitch as the majority- as - the consensus. It will look then for ways to prove that it does hold such sway -and will rationalize set backs in terms of paranioa, and conspiracy.
Meridians then wage war as if they were a minority, and yet do so in the guize and name of the majority.
They want it all ways .
The trouble of course that these self appointed minority are becoming powers because the old simply meridians have shattered. Governments simple assumptions then that the support is out there, has slipped, and the new meridian lines matter.
All of which raises the deep question of whether one can really govern in the name of a handful of meridian lines, and their violently oppositions? It might well not be possible- it is surely hardly desirable. And if one cannot what will follow not merely politically, but all our sanity. the point after all of these lines in the sand was not initially political so much as personal -they are how the locate ourselves in the choasmsos of modernity..
A rhythm war based of meridian lines, and their willful incomprehension of other point of view, is not the wisest of moves, and yet it appears to be where we are heading.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Here or there - the Rhythm war:

The Rhythm war of Change.

The war is everywhere- and very very brutal.
It gathers desperate events, placing them one against the other – making them matter, making them important. The changing cycles of nature are bound to a logic of nation states, and the desire to endlessly grow and have the possibility for change, and they all become the water wars. Or again the desire to endlessly grow ones state, and have the possibility to become ever wealthier (or at least to make good an ancient injustice), slips into a currency war, which looms over the entire system. Rhythm wars happened endlessly when w are making or ensuring other plans. That is when we are acting at on time to ensure one future, not forgetting that our actions have effects in lives far removed from our own – life’s where our actions will have a very different feel and power form the ones we attribute to them. As there philosopher Deleuze says we live in world full mini-universes, and personal cosmoses, each akin to a monad- and yet all these worlds impinge one upon the other, all constantly break each other, and force each the change in ways unlooked for or an wanted: In short the Rhythm war…
A war which has two deep strategies, two ways we endless try to understand how others impinge upon or world. The strategies fall roughly two old philosophical or theological debates: Strategies are either transcendental or immanent. Transcendental strategies work up imposing that land that is between us all, as if it were something real (if not actual). In Rhythm war is then held within a nexus of change, change than is deduced or understood in its actions – and which might (or might not) have laws or homogeneity of its own. rhythms are then all caught in a greater laws or power, one we must cohere within. The alternative view point insists that actually all rhythms and their effects one upon the other are immanent and emergent. There are no given rules, really none The uses rather emerge at the time and the place, in the conflict, and developed and change as it changes. One cannot then use the model of western developed to understand Eastern industrialization and can not assume that one model of thought must win.
Both these view point then insists the world is akin o an experiment (what else is a rhythm war but the insistence that all is experiment and changing). But the nature of the experiment is simply different. in the first transcendental account, what is being demonstrates is an underlying principles which is to be witnessed in the fall of an apple or the growth of a market. There are then ‘divine facts or rules at play. In the second experiment theories are merely caught as part of the system – caught within its exchange. They are not tested so much as belief in them is itself an effect, or rather changes everything. A theory is then not an explanation for much as an agent for change. In understanding and thing it, we allow ourselves to do or feel or believe more. We change then the position of our rhythm in relations everyone else. In both these strategies thought is linked to changing the world we are within. We open our minds to other rhythms, and gain the right to slip worlds. The only real debate is about the engine that takes between worlds. Can we understand it in a formal (if temporary) constructs - a genuine time machine. Or is the time machine merely the action of flipping itself, and the ideas that in thinking them allow us to change our fate and nature.
These alternate ways we situate ourselves between worlds might seem rather poetic and very abstract. And yet they are the stuff of political day to day life. The problem every politician faces, is that they only get elected by advocating one or other of these strategies. A strategy that is then made to make sense of their actions, but also of all the other actions in the word beyond their immediate concern. So that it is the role of the politicians and the language they sell to provide for a nation (or a ‘people’ or perhaps a localized landmass) a set of machines or threads to understand the rhythm war through. There are them two great moves one can make. One might talk about trusting a people to act and to think – one light then don the garb of the immanent mind (or at least say letting it free is the goal)– or one might talk airily about change and hope that lie between us all, that we all might believe in. both strategies are clearly in play at different point of the globe and the movement, and both a revealing their strengths and weakness, in the rhythm wars as it opens into our political world.
Taking the transcendental first, Obama was clearly is greatest modern prophet. A man who could paint a picture in words of a world that lay between all, and hope or dream we all could believe in and identify with. It did not really matter that this dream was not fleshed out, for the transcendental image of it was enough. It could come to pass – for we all had the dream. The trouble of course is that it never quite works that way. The manner in which one transcendental theory into the actual world is always at once open and difficult. One never gets the world one wanted, and never the political reforms. They get caught in the real politic of immanent life, and muddled up – and the problem that Obama and every politician then faces is what o do when it all goes not work out as it should in theory.
At which point philosophy fairly bubbles with rather a lot of models for understanding what happens, and the consequences of this failure- models that go right to the heart of what the transcendental might be, and how we might understand it. That is reasons why merely raising the manner of belief and change (or nationalism) is so very bad an idea. Theories that might be classified in two types, there are those that think that the transcendental change is beyond our nature, either because it is structurally separate or merely apriori to it: alternatively there are those theories that accept that we are transcendental in nature, and then go on to show why this fact itself makes for difficulties. All of which again is hopelessly abstract, and yet provides a structure to locate different explanations.
The classic example of the first of these options, a structural transcendental, is Marx. Marx suggested that it was the economy stupid that drove the entire show onwards. Our endless chatter about our aspirations and our hopes, of what we were going to change this or that was at worst codswallop, and at best merely a way of attempting in some garbled manner to understand the realities of the economic world in which we were all bound up. The economy defined then what we as individual could do, and how at a base level we ought to relate to one another. Our social position then set our limits to aspirations (including exact what we meant when we should have no limits). Politicians would then be judged not by the transcendental world they wished in impose upon the body politic but rather according to the realties of these great truth. If the economy stagnates then the politician is doomed, because one transcendental world, the economy, trumps every other. A reality that Obama probably understands rather well…
All of which explains why he is currently in difficulties no doubt – but not why those difficulties have lead to the rise of the rabid right. This fact is caught up by another rather more uncanny account of the transcendental - an account derived ultimately from Hume. Hume suggested that the real problem with arguments based upon passion, is that they carry their own truths. Passion impose upon a mind a glamour or intensity akin to actual reality (and its peculiar vividness), and yet lack realties universality. That is we agree there is theory that thing before us, because reality carries it own inner light (is different from dreams and is collective- we all see it there). We can then agree about the nature of the world. But passions? They are another matter, their light might lead us in many direction even as we feel them, and agree about there nature. We demand something somewhere HAPPENS, demand a change that is really real, and yet quarrel about what that change is. To promise a world that is somehow better, and open up the great myth of change everyone can belief in, and hope for the future, is to loose control of what that hope will be. For each and everything individual will take that hope into their own lives and live it or feel as they chose or more likely as groups them choose. It might then open out on many different sliding worlds, and become the stuff of rhythm wars. So that passions (and unlike perceptions) immediately open out on man worlds – and for us to feel the same thing is not for us to agree about anything. Emotive politics which conjures up the demonic passions is then a very dangerous form of politics for those passions bite back. A move that then warps ones own rhetorical and feeling it inspires so that they become quite different. Ones appeal to a nation and to change, can in the ears of pople who for deep seated (and possibly highly dubious reasons) dislike what one is (and the colour of ones skin); It becomes the a challenge. They must provide a counter vision or feeling – or perhaps better high-jack that sentiment and then portray the raiser of the feeling as the very who was trying to control ones mind (which is not absolutely false). For what else is the devil but the force that raises feelings in us we want, and yet does so in times and place or in a context we cannot countenance. What else is temptations but the inappropriateness of these passions?
But if the transcendental lies a little closer to home- what if it was enclosed within human hearts - Or minds? What if then change was something we all could understand? The trouble immediately is, Kant would suggest that such change is invariably of two very different kinds- o different takes of freedom. One might then understand freedom merely in terms of unloosening the bounds for a life, or one might understand it as something higher and better – the right to rethink what one is. The trouble is both of these two moves remain thoroughly transcendental, as to problematic in the application. To take the first change we might believing. A change which sees us fee ourselves from those forces (understood as government or perhaps economic circumstance) which are holding us back. The trouble is that these forces might be exactly the problem – and getting rid of them is likely to create endless problems not only for others but also for oneself. The appeal then to change or freedom pens out a Mickey mouse world where ranging against the day to day restriction we actually all face (and do so o that we might actually live in a society that is capable of doing stuff – which is government after all), becomes confuses with a wider fear of economic melt down and global shake up. Government becomes then easily blamed and ‘restriction’ seen as the problem, when the real concern is unwarily elsewhere.
However the alternative transcendental position is no less hard to navigate. Even if one can agree on the changes one seeks, on the transcended principle, how can one turn them into practical politics? Or better how can one do so in a world where a lot of people will reject the method (whatever it is) one chooses a fact that really matter as it is the method the means that create the ends (or at least allow for), whatever the transcendently rhetoric might say. We all want clinical excellences and merely get NICE (which is fine, but then is caught in the problem of being a government agency…) We want then one thing and yet once again get the other, and thought transcendental gets swept up on the rhythm war.
But what then happens if one simply gives up of the struggle to impose rhythm – that is if one runs with the immanent laws of rhythm production. A move that is fine is a way and yet always opens one out to a real dilemma. The philosopher Spinoza pointed out we share two quite distinct things. On the one hand there are great ideas which transform everything, running across societies and the world, making thing different – ethics of reasons and freedom, and the cohere to, and live through our live. These immanent constructions are what we are after in the bigger society we seek. And yet even if these forces were all there would be a problem, Spinoza suggests. For while these elements are ultimately compatible then tend to criss cross each other. Truths then break one another or at least transform ones understanding of what each are. One does to them for a simple axis of the known, and a manner of government. One rather simply has to accept that what this axis is and how it changes itself and so evolves throughout time (and so every truth or institution might radically change) reason does not then insulate one against the rhythm war- it merely makes one relaxed about it- but that might not make a state
The problem is worse because running parallel to these forces are much louder and stroppier feels was also share, feelings that then distort their truths and pull their realties towards this or that nosy concern. We start then with a high ethic about reasons and freedom, something nice abstract and say (and so sellable) and end up in competing claims and arrant selfishness which tend to advantage the stroppy and the wealthy. We tend then to give everything to those middle class elbows – and do in the name of freedom. In short the freedom to immanently generate rules transforms back into the ethics to the market place, and the economy - which after all is something at once in both worlds- transcendental and yet immanently create. The only alternative model is to limit the number of free individuals (Spinoza suggested only thirty or so) – individuals that then in their sharing allows all the rest of us to share. Well maybe – but the trouble is that this limit appears in the real world to impose suffering elsewhere (China obviously comes to mind here -).
In short the rhythm way imposes a semi-intractable problem for politics. It becomes rather tricky well to be frank impossible, to define where politics should be, and who it acts upon. It straddles world and rhythms and does not for all its talk of master and nationhood. Which of course catches in the real paradox and it is to government we look for answers in the rhythm war -and yet no government can provide such answers or even leadership – for they are riven as the rest of us. A fact that is likely to matter more and rhythm wars gather apace.