[-empyre-] Resistance is Futile :)

Maria Damon damon001 at umn.edu
Wed Jul 3 09:33:26 EST 2013

resistance is fertile. and utile.

On 7/2/13 9:12 AM, Terry Flaxton wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Ah! Agency.
> Interesting that current descriptions of volition include the idea of 
> an instructor that determines when and how we will 'freely' respond - 
> which is of course contradictory to the idea of volition (The Master 
> and his Emissary, Iain McGilchrist, All Souls Oxford).
> I think whomsoever comments of what they think mind is - that they 
> would need to have investigated its functions on a practical level. To 
> have an opinion based upon reading texts and rehearsing understanding 
> must give way to practical investigations of consciousness.
> It might be supposed that we are all experts in 'mind' as we all have 
> one and operate it. But actually, from my experience I would say that 
> at any given time one might or might not be operating as a free 
> conscious entity. If the 'programmes' are running then volition is not 
> part of the functionality of mind.
> I would not accuse anyone of what you feared I might lay at your door 
> because at any given moment (because of the reason above) I might also 
> be doing just the same.
> I suppose my main point is that new constructs derived from prior 
> constructs or modes of thinking will only ever be appropriate to their 
> point of origination which lies in the past - but now the terms have 
> changed, subtly, but changed sufficiently to require approaches 
> untainted by learnt text and language behaviour.
> I think I outlined in my ISEA paper that Cognitive Neuroscientists 
> (CG's) have a base belief system that could be argued to be gnostic in 
> its outcomes. It certainly believes in 'progress', it believes in a 
> scaffolded system of behaviours exchanged between apes, first 
> mimetically, next diegetically through sound and eventually, 
> theoretically through a highly bureaucratised form of language. That 
> language was an operation of power, to bring to its adherents some 
> kind of control into an ape-eat-ape world.
> The parallel understanding that CG's distribute amongst their number 
> is the notion of a grand human project that began simply by 
> panto-miming to exchange information that would be remembered within 
> the brain (engramatically) and eventually export all of human memory 
> outside of our own minds into surrounding reality. Initially this was 
> through a simple exogram like a storytelling, a henge, a pyramid, a 
> book, a film and then recently, telematically... But with the advent 
> of computers and data (big or small, it doesn't matter) then the human 
> exogramatic project was coming to its conclusion - everything has been 
> placed outside of ourselves into surrounding reality.
> But:
> Data is not real and neither is reality so we are now a little bit 
> confused about where 'value' lie.
> It's a process and we're not sure about the center of our being. Is it 
> empty? Does it contain secrets that can reveal the meaning of life? 
> How can we find out? Is a hand carved object of greater 'value' than 
> an experience gained through a platformed app? Is painting dead? Do 
> single images matter any more? Does large image display simply render 
> spectacle as a consuming experience? What's going on?
> We are velocitised - accustomed to speed. We can move at 160 
> kilometres per hour and we're not sure anymore when we're travelling 
> at 40.
> This was predicted by McLuhan when he insighted that the medium is the 
> human inner core exogramatically revealed.
> Though we are at play here, teasing meaning through online 
> communication - the intent is deadly serious: how might we reveal 
> truth between our concerned selves so that we are equipped to deal 
> with the paradigm change that many of us feel is at work deep in our 
> consciousness?
> Best, Terry
> Big Data - is the world itself, prior to our local terminals or selves.
> On 2 Jul 2013, at 13:13, Simon Biggs <simon at littlepig.org.uk 
> <mailto:simon at littlepig.org.uk>> wrote:
>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>> Hi Terry
>> Some very interesting and nuanced ideas here. Where is thought? Where 
>> is mind? Where is the voice in our heads we often characterise as 
>> thinking? What other forms might thinking/thought assume, especially 
>> in a technological society? How can we, in this context, avoid a 
>> dualist dead-end? Contested territory.
>> Philosophers like Andy Clark might propose that mind and cognition 
>> are not functions of the individual sentient being but a networked 
>> and extended process that engages multiple agents - not just people 
>> but technical and other systems. Sue Hawksley (another of this 
>> month's discussants) undertook her PhD supervised by Andy and she 
>> might wish to comment on this. Bruno Latour's work on on inter-agency 
>> is highly salient here.
>> James Leach, an anthropologist who was a guest on empyre about a year 
>> ago, might propose that mind is not a property of the individual but 
>> a negotiated collective (social) state from which we individually 
>> emerge (although in his thinking the notion of the individual is 
>> likely problematic). In this context the individual 
>> mind/self/internal-voice emerges from a complexity of voices that 
>> situate themselves through various performative activities.
>> Big Data could be considered in these terms - a sort of dark matter 
>> that permeates what we recognise as knowledge - that which we can 
>> articulate as a shared understanding of things. How does Big Data, as 
>> a form of collective pre-knowledge, relate to our perception of 
>> things and sense of self in a technologised society? Returning to 
>> Latour, how might his insights into scientific practices interact 
>> with Leach's ideas concerning the social performance of the self? 
>> More generally, how might we consider these questions in relation to 
>> networked social media, where many of these processes can be seen 
>> played out?
>> I fear you will read what I've written here and think it is of an ilk 
>> you might consider as an "obsessive compulsive rehearsing of highly 
>> stratified bureaucratic cataloguing of meaning". It might well be. If 
>> so then I'd be especially interested in your thoughts.
>> best
>> Simon
>> On 2 Jul 2013, at 08:36, Terry Flaxton <Terry.Flaxton at uwe.ac.uk 
>> <mailto:Terry.Flaxton at uwe.ac.uk>> wrote:
>>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>>> I'm not sure how the list works but I offer what follows as a 
>>> provocation for discussion:
>>> I sat through ISEA, as with many other conferences and for a long 
>>> time an idea has been growing in me that challenges what I've been 
>>> hearing: I /feel/ that theoretical constructs /alone/ are without 
>>> worth. Put another way: The end of theory is nigh.
>>> Take a construct like that of 'Big Data' where we now have accepted 
>>> an idea that there are trawling algorithms that can find sufficient 
>>> meaning to agglomerate a conclusion from our collective behaviour 
>>> both online and via social media. But this is a narrative construct 
>>> about one behaviour that has /appeared/ to have been successful. 
>>> Whether it is really successful is another thing.
>>> Big Data, if it exists, is a consequence of two things: 
>>> Industrialisation of repetitive tasks and the tendency of the 
>>> Western Mind to require a /particular/ kind of answer. The 
>>> 'repetitive tasks' in this case are the so called democratic free 
>>> thoughts of earths individuals - thinking as if freely and yet 
>>> constrained by an obsessive compulsive rehearsing of received 
>>> thinking. I'm not sure whether the Eastern Mind is susceptible to 
>>> the same level by left brain dominant thinking - I suspect though, 
>>> that this is also the case.
>>> ...But Big Data does not exist. It is a fairy tale for consumption.
>>> A cognitive approximation of hope and fear distributed within a 
>>> fairy-tale mime.
>>> Theory, or the obsessive compulsive rehearsing of highly stratified 
>>> bureaucratic cataloguing of meaning, by the societal grouping known 
>>> as /academia/ (and associated groupings)/, /is now dead.
>>> Here are my reasons for /thinking/ this:
>>> For several million years the human project has advanced its 
>>> requirement to export memory and knowledge outside of itself, beyond 
>>> the material, into its exogramatic form, data.
>>> Prior cognitive distributive networks are reconfiguring to enable 
>>> this development to engage in valuable exchange, but the 'language' 
>>> that has served us well previously, is no longer fit for task and is 
>>> currently responsible for remediating the vista before us -- the 
>>> consequence is that the landscape we view seems to appear as one 
>>> thing, but is in fact something else altogether.
>>> Effectively our thinking minds are getting in the way.
>>> New 'language' is developing but due to an increased velocitisation 
>>> of human experience language is lagging behind neural developments - 
>>> the reason being, theoretic language per se developed from the needs 
>>> of the prior paradigm and is of a ratiocinatory bureaucratic 
>>> construction. Using it to describe something that is beyond its 
>>> nature renders it inherently reductionist.
>>> We now need to conceptualise new forms of communication to suit and 
>>> be relevant to the paradigmatic changes within cognitive 
>>> distributive networks -- Fortunately for us, Art is the primary 
>>> vessel for this communication. Unfortunately for us, current 
>>> artistic behaviour is rehearsing past and increasingly irrelevant 
>>> concerns.
>>> In developing an appropriate response to the nature of the incoming 
>>> paradigm, we need to /cognate/ beyond the kinds of thought we have 
>>> known until now - we need to create new behaviours that utilise our 
>>> next developmental stage of mind, which uses entrainment rather than 
>>> ratiocinatory, rehearsed frontal lobe behaviour, as its primary form.
>>> ...So I've stayed away from the analogue based theoretical language 
>>> of the last 70 years because that use of language compromises the 
>>> possible changes. Given my proposition, ratiocination is the 
>>> 'worry-beads' of the mind, but entrainment is a possible way of 
>>> leading towards a way in which the human psyche can now begin to 
>>> respond. There's nothing wrong with the thinking mind -- in its 
>>> place - which is to follow, rather than lead human cognition.
>>> The thinking mind takes its lead from the deep cognitive mind.
>>> Between the two is the intermediary state, which used to be 
>>> described as intuition. It processed deep cognition and rendered it 
>>> understandable to the thinking mind - intuition in gnostic circles 
>>> was known as inward teaching, where the thinking mind was 
>>> 'instructed' in its duties. Now intuition is simply /the 
>>> intermediary process - /because our late Enlightenment thinking 
>>> requires demystification. But demystification empowers thinking and 
>>> disempowers intuitive cognition.
>>> This description is another fairy tale - but:
>>> Becoming sensitive to the production of this mechanism is the 
>>> primary behaviour required for understanding the incoming paradigm - 
>>> and resistance, in this particular case, is futile.
>>> Terry Flaxton
>>> Professor of Cinematography and Lens Based Media
>>> University of West of England
>>> http://www.visualfields.co.uk/flaxtonpage1.htm
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> empyre forum
>>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au <mailto:empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
>>> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
>> Simon Biggs
>> simon at littlepig.org.uk <mailto:simon at littlepig.org.uk>
>> http://www.littlepig.org.uk <http://www.littlepig.org.uk/> 
>> @SimonBiggsUK http://amazon.com/author/simonbiggs
>> s.biggs at ed.ac.uk <mailto:s.biggs at ed.ac.uk> Edinburgh College of Art, 
>> University of Edinburgh
>> http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/edinburgh-college-art/school-of-art/staff/staff?person_id=182&cw_xml=profile.php
>> http://www.research.ed.ac.uk/portal/en/persons/simon-biggs%285dfcaf34-56b1-4452-9100-aaab96935e31%29.html
>> http://www.eca.ac.uk/circle/  http://www.elmcip.net/ 
>>  http://www.movingtargets.org.uk/  http://designinaction.com/
>> MSc by Research in Interdisciplinary Creative Practices 
>> http://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/postgraduate/degrees?id=656&cw_xml=details.php
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au <mailto:empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
>> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
> Terry Flaxton
> Professor of Cinematography and Lens Based Media
> University of West of England
> http://www.visualfields.co.uk/flaxtonpage1.htm
> + 44 (0) 117 328 7149
> +44 (0) 7976 370 984
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

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