[-empyre-] Rock Theory

davin heckman davinheckman at gmail.com
Wed Apr 22 23:34:03 EST 2009

This is an intersting thought....  How does a person abstract
themselves?  The process of cognition itself is a process of
abstraction...a move from the perception of primary phenomena to a
restructuring of the present through narrative representation.  This
is where, I think, the identity of the individual is felt most

On Tue, Apr 21, 2009 at 10:23 PM, Michael Angelo Tata, PhD
<mtata at ipublishingllc.com> wrote:
> Yes--it seems that dematerialization and thoughtlessness go together.
> Whether we are talking about money, capital, or arms.  Perhaps to be
> thoughtful, we need to de-distance ourselves from concrete entities become
> abstractions: the thing may need to re-appear after all in order for there
> to be an ethics.
> *******************************************
> Michael Angelo Tata, PhD  347.776.1931-USA
> http://www.MichaelAngeloTata.com/
>> Date: Tue, 21 Apr 2009 17:04:58 -0400
>> From: davinheckman at gmail.com
>> To: empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] headline: human interaction reaches junk status!
>> I think you are right to suggest that I am downgrading human
>> interaction to junk status. And I cannot say that it was necessarily
>> ever different. But I still want to the kind of person who does not
>> always act like an idiot and who is willing to make changes to build a
>> world that is different.
>> I don't know that junk status is absolute. If somebody wants to make
>> an argument in favor of one way of doing something over another, then,
>> my judgment is wrong precisely because I have claimed that everything
>> is so "thoughtless." If someone says, "No, Davin. You are wrong. I
>> am not as thoughtless as you think." And if they can articulate this
>> thought, it would be hard for me to insist otherwise. But, if people
>> don't care to explore the space of their consciousness (and better
>> yet, share it), instead preferring to ride on cruise control, then in
>> that particular case, they have been thoughtless. And, of course,
>> nobody should have to prove they are thoughtful to me.... but they
>> should try to prove it to themselves from time to time, the more the
>> better.
>> While I am sure that people have always been pretty thoughtless, it
>> strikes me as particularly true in our age of relentless busyness. I
>> am particularly taken by Virilio's arguments about speed and
>> cybernetics, particularly the notion that acceleration leads to
>> decreased capacity to respond responsibly, so judgment is increasingly
>> embodied in formulas and cybernetic systems. When we killed each
>> other with rocks, you had to look at the person you were going to
>> crush before you crushed them. Today, when you kill someone at
>> supersonic speed, you just plug in some coordinates, and the machine
>> does the rest. Or, you can just kill through default by destroying
>> infrastructure and imposing embargoes. This is thoughtlessness on an
>> ultimate scale.
>> I'm plenty thoughtless myself. And I feel like I should be more
>> thoughtful. And when I try to be thoughtful, it is usually fairly
>> exhausting and often frustrating. But, on the other hand, it's also
>> very rewarding in its own way. It's usually accompanied by some
>> feeling of guilt, possibly some immediate changes in my behavior, and
>> eventually a sense that I tried to do something other than what I
>> would have done had I not been mindful. It's a modest reward, and
>> maybe it is an impossible way to change anything in all but the most
>> minute ways, but I would like to believe that if enough people even
>> devoted a modest slice of each day (5 minutes) to something as simple
>> as studying and reflecting upon some injustice that they themselves
>> have inflicted upon another, either through action or omission,
>> directly or indirectly, that the world we would create would be much
>> more ethical. (Jeez! I guess I am becoming a whacko.)
>> Peace!
>> Davin
>> On Tue, Apr 21, 2009 at 3:30 PM, Nicholas Ruiz III
>> <editor at intertheory.org> wrote:
>> >
>> > Indeed, the consumer society has been rotten forever...but at least we
>> > can switch the channel from the wedding planners to the forensic
>> > pathologists...sounds like you're downgrading human interaction to junk
>> > status...but we might ask...when was it different? When was the way we
>> > were...'here'...I'm just curious to know... :-)
>> >
>> > NRIII
>> >
>> >  Nicholas Ruiz III, Ph.D
>> > Editor, Kritikos
>> > http://intertheory.org
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > ----- Original Message ----
>> > From: davin heckman <davinheckman at gmail.com>
>> > To: soft_skinned_space <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
>> > Sent: Monday, April 6, 2009 10:32:43 PM
>> > Subject: Re: [-empyre-] empyre Digest, Vol 53, Issue 6
>> >
>> > I think this might be why gift giving can be so subversive, because if
>> > we were to resign ourselves, say, to viewing the cash nexus as the
>> > only medium for exchange...  gift giving implies that the cash nexus
>> > is incomplete or insufficient.
>> >
>> > If you give a gift (say, you give someone a copy of your favorite
>> > book) and it returns to you with an expected equivalent compensation
>> > from the recipient ($27.95), then this is a business transaction.  If
>> > the gift returns to you in all of the various ways that gifts can...
>> > you strengthen a bond of friendship, you feel a little bit better,
>> > maybe even you hope that someday someone will give you a gift (maybe a
>> > mix tape or their favorite music or a copy of THEIR favorite book), or
>> > whatever...  it cheapens the whole idea of economics by suggesting
>> > that something else matters more.  Say you are a jerk and you neglect
>> > to say "thank you" for a gift, this implies that the money or the time
>> > spent is not an issue....  it's a fundamental "lack of respect" or
>> > something social that you have screwed up.  It's not fraud, theft, or
>> > a crime against property....  it is an offense against a human being,
>> > it hurts people's feelings, it disrupts the social order, it is
>> > inconsiderate, etc.  Or, the giver might not even mind.  In any case,
>> > at the very most it allows capitalism a role in human relations, but
>> > it is not the dominant role.
>> >
>> > On the other hand, there are a great many "human" situations which
>> > require gift giving, but which have been fairly formalized and are
>> > being turned into transactions.  Weddings, for instance.  The
>> > historical role of wedding gifts was to help the new couple establish
>> > a home.  To help streamline this process for the benefit of guests,
>> > people started creating registries.  And today, people....  even those
>> > who already have a home together...  just request a bunch of new stuff
>> > that they didn't get around to buying yet....  and they hope that in
>> > exchange for a superfluous ceremony, you will buy them a specific set
>> > of dishes which is nicer than the decent set they already own.  I am
>> > looking forward to the day when all weddings will be handled by
>> > paypal....  you can pay money in small denominations to see virtual
>> > images of what the wedding would look like if it were to take place,
>> > and even pay extra to be in the wedding party.  The money could even
>> > be placed in escrow in case of divorce.  And then, after five years of
>> > virtually wedded bliss, you can take the money out of the escrow
>> > account and have a live action ceremony.  I know I am being cynical
>> > about these things.  And the truth is, I actually like weddings a
>> > great deal.  But I am a sentimental person, so I am suspicious about
>> > those things which turn the objects of my sentiment into commodities.
>> > It's not the couples that upset me...  it's this whole industry which
>> > says, "OK, now, you are supposed to act like this.  He is supposed to
>> > act this way.  She is supposed to be like such and such."  (I even
>> > went to a wedding where we had to take all kinds of pictures of things
>> > that didn't happen during the wedding.  Like walking down a flight of
>> > stairs and pretending that we were waving to people that weren't
>> > there, over and over again, and lots of people yelling about how to
>> > look comfortable and pleased.  It was surreal.  Think of mushrooms in
>> > painful shoes, and that about is what it was like.)  But to bring it
>> > back to gift giving, here you have the market trying to turn weddings
>> > into cash by selling it as a particular type of reality show.
>> >
>> > Sorry to ramble.  Good thing there are no page limits.
>> >
>> > Peace!
>> > Davin
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > On Mon, Apr 6, 2009 at 7:40 PM, Cinzia Cremona
>> > <cinziacremona at googlemail.com> wrote:
>> >>>As for reciprocity, for Derrida, there is a fundamental dissymetry
>> >>> between
>> >>> myself and the Other, as well as among myself and the "other >others"
>> >>> with
>> >>> whom I share social concourse: the gift I am expected to hand over to
>> >>> the
>> >>> deity is one which will not be reciprocated, but >refused, causing me
>> >>> to be
>> >>> remunerated in a posthumous order where spirirual riches accumulate,
>> >>> but
>> >>> only if I forget.  With DNA in the place >of the Other, does this
>> >>> dissymetry
>> >>> remain, or is the playng field leveled?
>> >>
>> >>>For Derrida, to give is to forget that one has given: but can we forget
>> >>> our
>> >>> investments?
>> >>
>> >> I am glad I haven't missed this latest discussion, although it is hard
>> >> to
>> >> find the time to follow the conversation as it deserves.
>> >>
>> >> In relation to the passage above, I was thinking about Derrida's
>> >> contretemps
>> >> - when I give, I do not forget my gift, but I do not know when I will
>> >> see
>> >> what the return might be ... or from what direction it might come. How
>> >> about
>> >> reading dissymetry and lack of reciprocity as a possible wider form of
>> >> circulation of capital, and of a larger variety of forms of capital?
>> >> The
>> >> gifts I receive might not be comparable to the gifts I have given in
>> >> terms
>> >> of a certain value system, but I might still depend on them, or they
>> >> might
>> >> be priceless from a different perspective. Also, I find it quite
>> >> plausible
>> >> to expect gifts from those I have not given to, and have no intention
>> >> or
>> >> capacity to give to.
>> >> --
>> >> Cinzia
>> >>
>> >> Visions in the Nunnery
>> >> 22 to 31 May 2009
>> >> openvisions.org
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