Sunday, November 25, 2012
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Saturday, November 17, 2012
“Thus one section of humanity, comparatively rich, hardworking, and creating considerable surpluses, has known how to, and still does know how to, exchange things of great value, under different forms and for reasons different from those with which we are familiar.”The ABOVE video was perhaps NOT the best example of one of them.
The way a given society chooses to annihilate the excess energy it produces is of the utmost importance. It is around this expenditure that a CULTURE is defined. Whether a society is aggressive, imperialistic, or non-violent all depends on the form the society gives to expenditure of surplus energy. Each society had a DEFINING CHOICE on how it would expend excess resources, building its values on an economically useless expenditure. The artifices of religion and art all form around this essential cultural activity, acting as recipients and modes of expression of the basic embodiment of surplus. Be it a church with its corps of people removed from economic activity, or a frugal dedication of energy in terms of a military structure dedicated to expansion, they all have their origins in the same need to find a channel for excess production.Excerpts from a paper by David L. R. Kosalka on Georges Bataille and the Notion of Gift
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
latest from The Hill
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.) was elected chairwoman of the House GOP conference on Wednesday, a victory for party leaders over insurgent conservatives."If you ain't got a uterus, you ain't qualified to speak for us Republicans."
McMorris Rodgers had received the quiet support of the highest-ranking GOP lawmakers in her closely watched bid for the fourth-ranking slot among House Republicans after Democrats won solid majorities of female voters in last week’s election.
The Washington state Republican, who has served two terms as the conference’s vice chairwoman, defeated Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), a favorite of conservatives, in a closed-door election among House Republicans.
Price, a former chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, had the support of Reps. Paul Ryan (Wis.), the recent GOP nominee for vice president, and Jeb Hensarling, the outgoing conference chairman.
Ryan said he was not disappointed in Price's loss, which some commentators said hurt Ryan's clout in the conference.
"Not at all. Cathy is going to be great. Tom is just a good friend," he said.
During the campaign season, Democrats pounded Republicans on social issues including abortion and contraception.
Senate Republicans elected a slate of white men to their top five leadership positions on Wednesday, and some GOP lawmakers feared the House would follow suit at a time when Republicans have said they need to find ways to reach out to women and minorities.
Speaker John Boehner (Ohio), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) will remain in the top three slots among House Republicans in the upcoming Congress, as expected.
As part of her pitch to fellow Republicans, McMorris Rodgers cited her fundraising chops and her work using social media to help circulate the Republican message. She had the support of several GOP committee leaders in her bid, including Rep. Fred Upton (Mich.), the head of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) was elected GOP conference vice chairwoman.
Following the vote, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said the House GOP "reelected the same failed Tea Party Republican leadership."
"With record-low approval and after voter rejection at the polls, House Republicans just doubled down on more of the same priorities that protect millionaires at the expense of the middle class,” DCCC spokesman Jesse Ferguson said in a statement.
Boehner also announced today that he has nominated Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) to chair the House Committee on Rules for the 113th Congress, replacing Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.).
"In Pete, we have a chairman who is not only respected by both parties, but a true public servant who will help ensure the House operates in a way that reflects the will, the priorities, and the expectations of the American people," Boehner said in a statement.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Excerpt from a paper by David L. R. Kosalka on Georges Bataille and the Notion of Gift
On the whole, a society always produces more than is necessary for its survival; it has a surplus at its disposal. It is precisely the use it makes of this surplus that determines it: The Surplus is the cause of the agitation, of the structural changes and of the entire history of society. But this surplus has more than one outlet, the most common of which is growth. And growth itself has many forms, each one of which eventually comes up against some limit. Thwarted demographic growth becomes military; it is forced to engage in conquest. Once the military limits is reached, the surplus has the sumptuary forms of religion as an outlet, along with games and spectacles that derive therefrom, or personal luxury.
Moreover, therein lies his primary challenge to traditional economics. In contrast to the classical notion of scarcity driving economic activity, he proposed a law of surplus. While classical economic thought emphasized the need for an efficient utilization of resources to fight the ravages of the scarcity of economic resources, he analyzed history in terms of the expenditure of excess energy and production. This put into question many of the classical historical assumptions, those of war as the competition among nations over scarce economic resources or that of the state as a Hobbesian limit placed on the competition of individuals fighting over those same resources. The impact of this refutation of classical economics cannot be underestimated.
The way a given society chooses to annihilate the excess energy it produces is of the utmost importance. It is around this expenditure that a culture is defined. Whether a society is aggressive, imperialistic, or non-violent all depends on the form the society gives to expenditure of surplus energy. Each society had a defining choice on how it would expend excess resources, building its values on an economically useless expenditure. The artifices of religion and art all form around this essential cultural activity, acting as recipients and modes of expression of the basic embodiment of surplus. Be it a church with its corps of people removed from economic activity, or a frugal dedication of energy in terms of a military structure dedicated to expansion, they all have their origins in the same need to find a channel for excess production.
It is within this general economic context, then, that Bataille begins an explication of the gift which first of all fundamentally related to a type of sacrifice. To understand Bataille’s notion of the gift, however, it is first necessary to see his conception of sacrifice and then how that relates to the gift. In a rational economy goods and production are either designated for meeting the general life needs of the populace or for the process of growth. All production then is designed with the future in mind, as part of a process of growth and expansion in which all objects are pre-ordained and understood as means towards the end, of the future telos of the economy. “The subject leaves its own domain and subordinates itself to the objects of the real order as soon as it becomes concerned for the future.” In the ritual destruction of material in the form of sacrifice, however, these goods are removed from that process, from that orientation towards a future telos. They are no longer seen as objects directed towards the use of the overall cultural system, but are seen in and of themselves, free of utilitarian domination.
Symbolically, along with the object itself, the one who offers the sacrifice is seen as removed from the demands of utility and consequently as possibly a sovereign subject. Those who offer the sacrifice are not completely dominated by the needs of the system or the process, but, rather, can exist free of their constraints in the moment of the sacrifice. Bataille examines these notions in light of Aztec sacrifice. While to modern sensibilities the immense level of human sacrifice in that culture seems an abomination, it represents the nature of sacrifice. In the words of Bataille, “The victim is surplus taken from the mass of useful wealth. And he can only be withdrawn from it in order to be consumed profitlessly, and therefore utterly destroyed. Once chosen, he is the accursed share, destined for violent consumption. But the curse tears him away from the order of things; it gives him a recognizable figure, which now radiates intimacy, anguish, the profundity of living beings.”
Those captured in war were sacrificed in place of the individuals of a particular culture. An immense symbolic tie was created between the victim of the sacrifice and those for whom the victim was a substitute. An immense level of intimacy is infused in the relationship with the victim. The victim is treated like a son, a daughter, or even as a king. By killing the associated victim, that victim is removed from the realm of the object. He can no longer be used for anything, and becomes simply itself, a sovereign subject in its absolute uselessness, and by association so is the one who offers the sacrifice. They enter the realm of the sacred, of the free subject who is not subordinated to the demands of useful production. “The world of the subject is the night: that changeable, infinitely suspect night which, in the sleep of reason, produces monsters. I submit that madness itself gives a rarefied idea of the free ‘subject,’ unsubordinated to the ‘real’ order and occupied only with the present.”
The notion of the gift in Bataille is closely related to that of sacrifice. Bataille basis his comments on the nature of the gift on the essay by Marcel Mauss, first published as “Essai sur le Don” in 1950 . Marcel Mauss (1872 – 1950) was the literal heir of Emile Durkheim and deeply involved in Durkheim’s project of sociology. While substantially a work of objective anthropology, the impact of the work, as Mauss makes clear in comments in his conclusion, was to be a critique, indeed an alternative vision, to utilitarian visions of capitalism. As Mary Douglas has argued in her foreword to the translation of the essay, “The Essay on the Gift was part of an organized onslaught on contemporary political theory, a plank in the platform against utilitarianism.”
At the heart of the essay lies a critique of anthropologists’ reading of gift-giving as a form of rational economic exchange. He berated anthropologists for imposing on other cultures preconceived models concerning the necessity and universality of economic exchange. Considering the analyses of gift exchange given by many of his contemporaries, Mauss argued that “current economic and judicial history is largely mistaken in this matter. Imbued with modern ideas, it forms a priori ideas of development and follows a so-called necessary logic.” Nevertheless, he found different aims than utilitarian economics had in its considerations of different systems of gift-giving. “Thus one section of humanity, comparatively rich, hardworking, and creating considerable surpluses, has known how to, and still does know how to, exchange things of great value, under different forms and for reasons different from those with which we are familiar.”
from Wikipedia on Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels:
Laputa had several methods of enforcing obedience from its subject towns. The island could be made to hover over a city indefinitely, depriving them of sunlight and rain. In more extreme situations, this would be combined with dropping large rocks on the inhabitants (which seems the first time that aerial bombardment was conceived as a method of warfare). Finally, the Laputans had the ability to lower their island directly onto a town, utterly destroying it. This was exceedingly rare, due to the risk it would pose to the integrity of Laputa itself.
As a result of oppressions and tribute demanded from them by Laputa, the Lindalinians rebelled against their governor and constructed tall towers at each of the four corners of the city. On top of these, they placed powerful lodestones, or magnets. The result of this was that when Laputa approached them, it was pulled toward these towers more swiftly than the king had expected. As a test, the Laputans then dropped several pieces of adamant, the substance from which their island was constructed. These were violently drawn to the towers. Realizing the situation, the king of Laputa had no choice but to give in to Lindalino's conditions. If he had not, the island would have been fixed in place and overthrown.
Monday, November 12, 2012
And night is coming down!
Will no one guide a little boat
Unto the nearest town?
So Sailors say -- on yesterday --
Just as the dusk was brown
One little boat gave up its strife
And gurgled down and down.
So angels say -- on yesterday --
Just as the dawn was red
One little boat -- o'erspent with gales --
Retrimmed its masts -- redecked its sails --
And shot -- exultant on!
Sunday, November 11, 2012
As the Maidens resumed their chant...
sweetly and keeps good time
let us sing in like manner
see how all is blooming
in meadow, farm and pasture.
The morning lark chatters
the little crow clamours
greeting all of creation
whilst the nightingale mourns
what is past and now lost.
Already the swallow flits
as the swan honks sweetly
mindful of the way of things
and the cuckoo echoes
through the verdant woods.
The birds sing so beautifully
the landscape dazzles
in all its diverse colours
and its re-birth releases
such fragrant aromas.
Far and wide the limes stretch out
their leaves, branches and blossoms
and thyme flourishes beneath them
emerald like the very grass
on which our dance is held.
And winding through this grass
a giggling stream murmurs
this place is so delightful
even the wind is hushed here
whispering as befits the season
* T.S. Eliot, "The Wasteland"
Saturday, November 10, 2012
..."fair Atalanta, swift of foot, the daughter of Schoeneus, who had the beaming eyes of the Graces, though she was ripe for wedlock rejected the company of her equals and sought to avoid marriage with men who eat bread."- Hesiod, "Catalogues of Women" (fragment)
from The Hill
The gender gap in the 2012 presidential election was the largest since Gallup began tracking the metric in 1952, according to data released by the polling firm on Friday.
President Obama won women by 12 percentage points, while Mitt Romney won men by 8. That’s a 20-point gender gap, edging out the 1984 election when Ronald Reagan defeated Democrat Walter Mondale in a landslide.
Reagan won both men and women in that election, but carried men by 28 points and women by only 10 – a disparity of 18 points.
2012 was the fifth straight election to feature a double-digit gender gap.
Still, Romney performed better among women than Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) did in 2008. Obama had a 14-point advantage among female voters over his GOP counterpart that year. Romney also outperformed McCain among men in this election – in 2008 Obama and McCain split the male vote.
The politics of gender played a significant role throughout the 2012 election, as Romney looked to cut into Obama’s advantage among female voters by framing the economy as a women’s issue.
Friday, November 9, 2012
A Voice Within.
Awake, ye damsels; hear my cry,
Calling my Chosen; hearken ye!
Who speaketh? Oh, what echoes thus?
A Voice, a Voice, that calleth us!
Be of good cheer! Lo, it is I,
The Child of Zeus and Semelê.
O Master, Master, it is Thou!
O Holy Voice, be with us now!
Spirit of the Chained Earthquake,
Hear my word; awake, awake!
- Euripides "The Bacchae"
from the Baltimore Sun
As if it weren't enough that Lena Dunham, the 26-year-old writing/directing/acting phenom who started a revolution this year with her HBO series "Girls," scored a $3.5-million book deal and has been granted the unofficial but unimpeachable title of "voice of her generation," she also appears to have won the presidential election — or at least to have been one of the driving forces behind the guy who did.
In a much-talked-about campaign video for the president, Ms. Dunham used her signature combination of cheeky irony and shocking forthrightness to compare first-time voting to first-time sex. "Your first time shouldn't be with just anybody," she says to her presumably young, presumably mostly female audience. "You want to do it with a great guy.... Someone who really cares about and understands women."
Though the video, which immediately went viral, sent some conservatives into convulsions, it also appears to have worked. As the exit polls showed, it was women, particularly single women, who were among the most instrumental in putting President Barack Obama over the top: 67 percent of them voted for him, according to an NBC exit poll.
From the womb all madness comes
ere it shines like the Sun
burning my skin
Mystery hounds my head into wilds
Where Jealous women Bleed death
How you midwife Abortion!
The song bleeds Madness
Through the hymen
Into e'ery hymn it flows
Song's blood severs my Head
Past the hymn, thoughtless, dead
We list in cloudy water
- Pentheus -
Thursday, November 8, 2012
ERG Theory - Existence (safety/security), Relatedness (friendship/esteem), Growth (self-actualization)
Thinkers. These consumers are the high-resource group of those who are motivated by ideals. They are mature, responsible, well-educated professionals. Their leisure activities center on their homes, but they are well informed about what goes on in the world and are open to new ideas and social change. They have high incomes but are practical consumers and rational decision makers.
Believers. These consumers are the low-resource group of those who are motivated by ideals. They are conservative and predictable consumers who favor American products and established brands. Their lives are centered on family, community, and the nation. They have modest incomes.
Achievers. These consumers are the high-resource group of those who are motivated by achievement. They are successful work-oriented people who get their satisfaction from their jobs and families. They are politically conservative and respect authority and the status quo. They favor established products and services that show off their success to their peers.
Strivers. These consumers are the low-resource group of those who are motivated by achievements. They have values very similar to achievers but have fewer economic, social, and psychological resources. Style is extremely important to them as they strive to emulate people they admire.
Experiencers. These consumers are the high-resource group of those who are motivated by self-expression. They are the youngest of all the segments, with a median age of 25. They have a lot of energy, which they pour into physical exercise and social activities. They are avid consumers, spending heavily on clothing, fast-foods, music, and other youthful favorites, with particular emphasis on new products and services.
Makers. These consumers are the low-resource group of those who are motivated by self-expression. They are practical people who value self-sufficiency. They are focused on the familiar-family, work, and physical recreation-and have little interest in the broader world. As consumers, they appreciate practical and functional products.
Survivors. These consumers have the lowest incomes. They have too few resources to be included in any consumer self-orientation and are thus located below the rectangle. They are the oldest of all the segments, with a median age of 61. Within their limited means, they tend to be brand-loyal consumers.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Saturday, November 3, 2012
...Partialtrieb, translated ... as “component instinct”; I would prefer partial drive - drive because, once beyond the AnIehnung (anaclisis, in English: leaning to or on) on the vital somatic functions, it has nothing to do with instincts whatsoever, and partial because it concerns a component of a totality that is never there, that never reaches a conclusion.- Paul Verhaeghe, "Neurosis and Perversion: IL N'Y A PAS DE RAPPORT SEXUEL"
In order to understand the importance of this idea, we have to go back to the concept of drive, Trieb. As you probably know, Freud defined the drive as a concept on the border between the psyche and the body, containing four basic components: source and pressure, aim and object. The first two belong to the somatic side, the other two to the psyche. Defined as such, the drive concept seems very easy to understand. It has a somatic source, probably something within the genital organs and the hormones, resulting in pressure which aims at relief, that is, coitus, with the other sex as appropriate object. In this respect, the drive is indeed nothing more than an instinct, directed by reflex actions and eventually functioning on the basis of childhood-conditioned fixations. This view is as easy to understand as it is wrong. It is wrong because it leaves out the two most fundamental characteristics of the drive. First of all, each drive is a partial one; secondly, each drive is essentially auto-erotic.
The aspect of being partial shows up in two ways. First of all, the drive is partial in relation to the idea of procreation, even in relation to the idea of coitus. Man may have an oral drive, an anal drive, and so on, but he does not have a totalised sexual drive. Freud will be very critical about the existence of a ganze Sexualstrebung, a total sexual urge. Secondly, each drive is partial in relationship to the body, in the respect that a drive never encompasses the whole of it. On the contrary, each drive seems to specialise in one part of the body or one bodily activity, either in an active or in a passive manner.
Psychosexual development results in an attempt to gather all these partial drives under the banner of genital or ‘mature’ sexuality, but this attempt is never a very convincing one. In spite of so-called genital maturity, it is quite obvious that everyone has his own favourite “pre-genital” predilections, which make it all the more difficult to construct the right tunnel.
This psychosexual development also shows the second characteristic very clearly, namely that these fragmented drives are directed to one’s own body. They are essentially auto-erotic. It is only later on that the object becomes an external one, and even then, it will never have the same importance as the original. From the point of view of the partial drive, the other always remains a means, never an end. The trajectory of the partial drive is curved, going around the other and returning to oneself, thereby creating a self-sufficient enclosure. So the aim of the partial drive is not the other as object, no, the aim is a certain jouissance. In view of this aim, the importance of the other has nothing to do with him or her as another human being. He or she has instrumental value only, and is indeed reduced to an object, even a partial one for that matter.