And by a prudent flight and cunning save A life which valour could not, from the grave. A better buckler I can soon regain, But who can get another life again? Archilochus

Sunday, February 26, 2023

RU Woke Enuf?

Slavoj Žižek,"Wokeness Is Here To Stay"
Some claim that “wokeness” is on the wane. In fact, it is gradually being normalized, conformed to even by those who inwardly doubt it, and practiced by the majority of academic, corporate, and state institutions. This is why it deserves more than ever our criticism—together with its opposite, the obscenity of the new populism and religious fundamentalism.

Let’s begin with Scotland, where Nicola Sturgeon’s government pushed woke-ism and LGBT causes (almost) to the end. In December 2022, it hailed a “historic day for equality” after Scottish lawmakers approved plans to make it easier for individuals to legally change their gender, extending the new system of self-identification to 16- and 17-year-olds. Basically, you declare what you feel you are, and you are registered as what you want to be. A predictable problem emerged when Isla Bryson, a biological male convicted of rape, was remanded to a women’s prison in Stirling.

“We have a person who identifies itself as a woman using its penis to rape two women.”

Bryson decided that he was no longer a man only after appearing in court on a rape charge. So we have a person who identifies itself as a woman using its penis to rape two women. It is quite logical: If maleness and femaleness have nothing to do with one’s body, and everything to do with one’s subjective self-definition, then one must put a penis-having rapist in prison with captive women. After protests, Bryson was put into a male prison. Again, this is problematic under Scottish law, since we have now a self-identified woman in male prison.

Sturgeon resigned because she alienated a part of the population that isn’t anti-LGBT, but simply rejects such measures. The point here is that there is no easy solution, because sexual identity is in itself not a simple form of identity, but a complex dimension, full of inconsistencies and unconscious features—something that in no way can be established by a direct reference to how we feel.

The recent controversy about the use of so-called puberty blockers concerns another aspect of this same complexity: The Tavistock clinic in London was ordered by higher authorities to restrict the use of puberty blockers that suppress hormones and in this way pause a child’s development of sex-based characteristics, such as breasts. Tavistock was administering these drugs to youngsters between 9 and 16 who appeared not to be able to choose their sexual identity. Tavistock’s clinicians reasoned that there is a danger that youngsters who can’t determine their sexual identity would make an enforced choice under the pressure of their environment, thus repressing their true inclination (to be trans, mostly). Puberty blockers were necessary to allow such youth to postpone their entry into puberty, granting them more time during which to reflect on their sexual identity before deciding on it at a more mature age.

Puberty blockers were administered to almost all children sent for assessment at Tavistock, including to autistic and troubled youngsters, who may have been misdiagnosed as uncertain about their sexuality. In other words, life-altering treatments were being given to vulnerable children before they were old enough to know whether they wanted to medically transition. As one of the critics said, “a child experiencing gender distress needs time and support—not to be set on a medical pathway they may later regret.”

The paradox is clear: Puberty blockers were given to allow youngsters to pause maturity and freely decide about their sexual identity, but these drugs may also cause numerous other physical and psychic pathologies, and nobody asked the youngsters if they were ready to receive drugs with such consequences. Dr. Hilary Cass, one of the critics, wrote, “We …have no way of knowing whether, rather than buying time to make a decision, puberty blockers may disrupt that decision-making process. Brain maturation may be temporarily or permanently disrupted.”

One should take a step even further in this criticism and question the very basic claim that arriving at sexual identity is a matter of mature free choice. There is nothing “abnormal” in sexual confusion: What we call “sexual maturation” is a long, complex, and mostly unconscious process. It is full of violent tensions and reversals—not a process of discovering what one really is in the depth of one’s psyche.

At many gender clinics across the West, doctors feel compelled to adopt an “unquestioning affirmative approach,” one critic noted, with little regard to other underlying mental-health crises troubling children. The pressure is, in fact, twofold. For one thing, clinicians are cowed by the trans lobby, which interprets skepticism regarding puberty blockers as a conservative attempt to make it more difficult for trans individuals to actualize their sexual identity. This is compounded by a financial compulsion: More than half of Tavistock’s income, for example, came from the treatment of youngsters’ sexual troubles. In short, what we have here is the worst combination of politically correct badgering with the brutal calculation of financial interests. The use of puberty blockers is yet another case of woke capitalism.

To be sure, both of these controversies resulted in at least partial victory for “anti-woke” forces: Sturgeon resigned, and the Tavistock clinic was closed. But the forces at work have a momentum that far exceeds the views of individual politicians and the dynamics of particular institutions. If anything, individuals and institutions are constantly attempting to accommodate themselves to strictures coming from elsewhere, rather than imposing them top-down. It is therefore certain that similar scandals will continue to multiply.

As if interest-group agitation and the compulsions of capital weren’t enough, wokeness can also draw upon reserves of religious strength. In our official ideological space, of course, wokenness and religious fundamentalism appear as incompatible opposites—but are they really?

Nearly a decade ago, the ex-Muslim activist Maryam Namazie was invited by London’s Goldsmiths College to lecture on the topic “Apostasy, Blasphemy and Free Expression in the Age of ISIS.” Her talk, which focused on Islamic oppression of women, was repeatedly and rudely disrupted by Muslim students. Did Namazie find allies among the college’s Feminist Society? No. The feminists sided with the Goldsmiths Islamic Society.

This unexpected solidarity is ultimately grounded in the similarity in form of the two discourses: Wokeness operates as a secularized religious dogma, with all the contradictions this implies. John McWhorter, a black critic of racial wokeness, has enumerated some of them in his recent book, Woke Racism: “You must strive eternally to understand the experiences of black people / You can never understand what it is to be black, and if you think you do, you’re a racist”; “Show interest in multiculturalism / Do not culturally appropriate.”

This is no exaggeration. Anyone who doubts the movement’s repressive potential would be well-advised to read “A Black Professor Trapped in Anti-Racist Hell,” Vincent Lloyd’s account in Compact of his encounter with wokeness at its worst. Lloyd’s credentials are impeccable: A black professor and director of the Center for Political Theology at Villanova University, he is the former director of his university’s black-studies program, leads anti-racism and transformative-justice workshops, and publishes books on anti-black racism and prison abolition, including the classic text Black Dignity: The Struggle Against Domination.

In the summer of 2022, Lloyd was asked by the Telluride Association to lead a six-week seminar on “Race and the Limits of Law in America” attended by 12 carefully selected 17-year-olds. Four weeks later, two of the students had been voted out by their fellows, and Lloyd himself was soon ostracized and booted. In his last class, each student read from a prepared statement about how the seminar perpetuated anti-black violence in its content and form, how the black students had been harmed, how I was guilty of countless micro-aggressions, including through my body language, and how students didn’t feel safe because I didn’t immediately correct views that failed to treat anti-blackness as the cause of all the world’s ills.

Lloyd compares these trends to “that moment in the 1970s when leftist organizations imploded, the need to match and raise the militancy of one’s comrades leading to a toxic culture filled with dogmatism and disillusion.” His critics relied on a series of dogmas, among them: “There is no hierarchy of oppressions—except for anti-black oppression, which is in a class of its own”; “Trust black women”; “Prison is never the answer”; “All non-black people, and many black people, are guilty of anti-blackness.”

But more crucial than content was the conflict of forms between seminar and workshop. Lloyd tried to practice the seminar, an exchange of opinions: One intervention builds on another, as one student notices what another student overlooked, and as the professor guides the discussion toward the most important questions. Seminars usually focus on a particular text, and the participants try to uncover its meaning patiently. By contrast, in the sort of anti-racist workshop that Lloyd critiques, the dogma is clearly established, and the exchange focuses on how and where somebody knowingly or unknowingly violated it. As Alenka Zupančič has noted, the universe of PC workshops is the universe of Berthold Brecht’s Jasager: Everybody says yes again and again, and the main argument against those who are not accepted as sincere partisans is “harm.” Here is how “harm” works, according to Lloyd:

During our discussion of incarceration, an Asian-American student cited federal inmate demographics: About 60 percent of those incarcerated are white. The black students said they were harmed. They had learned, in one of their workshops, that objective facts are a tool of white supremacy. Outside of the seminar, I was told, the black students had to devote a great deal of time to making right the harm that was inflicted on them by hearing prison statistics that were not about blacks. A few days later, the Asian-American student was expelled from the program.

Two things should surprise us here. First, this new cult combines belief in fixed, objectivized dogmas with full trust in how one feels (although only the oppressed blacks have the right to refer to their feeling as the measure of the racist’s guilt). A critical confrontation of arguments plays no role, which implies that “open debate” is a racist, white-supremacist notion. “Objective facts are a tool of white supremacy”—yes, so that, as Trumpists used to say, we need to generate alternative facts…

“The woke are a relatively privileged minority of a minority.”

To be clear: There is a kernel of truth in this. Those who are brutally oppressed can’t afford the deep reflection and well-elaborated debate needed to bring out the falsity of liberal-humanist ideology. But in this case, as in most other cases, those who appropriate the role of the leaders of the revolt are precisely not the brutalized victims of the racist oppression. The woke are a relatively privileged minority of a minority allowed to participate in a top quality workshop of an elite university.

Second, the mystery resides in the functioning of the big Other (the Telluride administrative authority, in this case): The view gradually imposed on all by the awokened black elite was the view of a minority (initially, even among the black participants). But how and why did these few not only succeed in terrorizing the majority, but even compelling the Telluride Association to take their side and decline to defend Lloyd? Why didn’t they at least assume a more nuanced position? How does wokenness, although a minority view, manage to neutralize the larger liberal and leftist space, instilling in it a profound fear about openly opposing the woke?

Psychoanalysis has a clear answer to this paradox: the notion of superego. Superego is a cruel and insatiable agency that bombards me with impossible demands and mocks my failed attempts to meet them. It is the agency in the eyes of which I am all the more guilty, the more I try to suppress my “sinful” strivings. The old cynical Stalinist motto about the accused at the show trials who professed their innocence—“The more they are innocent, the more they deserve to be shot”—is superego at its purest.

And did McWhorter in the quoted passage not reproduce the exact structure of the superego paradox? “You must strive eternally to understand the experiences of black people / You can never understand what it is to be black, and if you think you do, you’re a racist.” In short, you must but you can’t, because you shouldn’t—the greatest sin is to do what you should strive for… This convoluted structure of an injunction, which is fulfilled when we fail to meet it, accounts for the paradox of superego. As Freud noted, the more we obey the superego commandment, the guiltier we feel. The paradox also holds in the Lacanian reading of the superego as an injunction to enjoy: Enjoyment is an impossible-real, we can’t ever fully attain it, and this failure makes us feel guilty.

A series of situations that characterize today’s society exemplify perfectly this type of superego pressure, like the endless PC self-examination: Was my glance at the flight attendant too intrusive and sexually offensive? Did I use any words with a possible sexist undertone while addressing her? And so on and so on. The pleasure, thrill even, provided by such self-probing is evident.

And does the same not hold even for the pathological fear some Western liberal leftists have of being counted guilty of Islamophobia? In this telling, any critique of Islam can only be an expression of Western Islamophobia. Salman Rushdie is denounced for unnecessarily provoking Muslims and thus (partially, at least) inviting the fatwa condemning him to death. The result is predictable: The more the Western liberal leftists probe their guilt, the more they are accused by Muslim fundamentalists of being hypocrites who try to conceal their hatred of Islam. This constellation again perfectly reproduces the paradox of the superego: The more you obey what the Other demands of you, the guiltier you are. It is as if the more you tolerate Islam, the stronger its pressure on you will be….

This superego structure, then, explains how and why, in the Telluride case, the majority and the institutional big Other were both terrorized by the woke minority. All of them were exposed to a superego pressure that is far from an authentic call to justice. The black woke elite is fully aware it won’t achieve its declared goal of diminishing black oppression—and it doesn’t even want that. What they really want is what they are achieving: a position of moral authority from which they may terrorize all others, without effectively changing social relations of domination.

The situation of those terrorized by the woke elite is more complex, but still clear: They submit to woke demands because most of them really are guilty of participating in social domination, but submitting to woke demands offers them an easy way out—you gladly assume your guilt insofar as this enables you to go on living the way you did. It’s the old Protestant logic: “Do whatever you want, just feel guilty for it.”

“Wokeness” effectively stands for its exact opposite. In his Interpretation of Dreams, Freud reports on a dream dreamt by a father who falls asleep while keeping vigil at his son’s coffin. In this dream, his dead son appears to him, pronouncing the terrible appeal, “Father, can’t you see that I am burning?” When the father awakens, he discovers that the cloth on the son’s coffin has caught fire from a falling candle.

So why did the father awaken? Was it because the smell of the smoke got too strong, so that it was no longer possible to prolong the sleep by way of including it into the improvised dream? Lacan proposes a much more interesting reading:

If the function of the dream is to prolong sleep, if the dream, after all, may come so near to the reality that causes it, can we not say that it might correspond to this reality without emerging from sleep? After all, there is such a thing as somnambulistic activity. The question that arises, and which indeed all Freud’s previous indications allow us here to produce, is—What is it that wakes the sleeper? Is it not, in the dream, another reality?—the reality that Freud describes thus—Dass das Kind an seinem Bette steht, that the child is near his bed, ihn am Arme fasst, takes him by the arm and whispers to him reproachfully, und ihm vorwurfsvoll zuraunt: Vater, siehst du denn nicht, Father, can’t you see, dass ich verbrenne, that I am burning? Is there not more reality in this message than in the noise by which the father also identifies the strange reality of what is happening in the room next door? Is not the missed reality that caused the death of the child expressed in these words?

“The woke awaken us—to racism and sexism—precisely to enable us to go on sleeping.”

So it wasn’t the intrusion of the signal from external reality that awakened the unfortunate father, but the unbearably traumatic character of what he encountered in the dream. Insofar as “dreaming” means fantasizing in order to avoid confronting the Real, the father literally awakened so that he could go on dreaming. The scenario was the following one: When his sleep was disturbed by the smoke, the father quickly constructed a dream which incorporated the disturbing element (smoke-fire) in order to prolong his sleep; however, what he confronted in the dream was a trauma (of his responsibility for the son’s death) much stronger than reality, so he awakened into reality in order to avoid the Real….

And it is exactly the same with much of the ongoing “woke” movement: The woke awaken us—to racism and sexism—precisely to enable us to go on sleeping. They show us certain realities so that we can go on ignoring the true roots and depth of our racial and sexual traumas.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Starship... Ready for Orbit?

Book Review


Department of Philosophy Faculty of Arts, Silpakorn University, "The fragrance of time in the digital world" (Google translated from Thai)

The fragrance of time in the digital world

in The Scent of Time book. The German philosopher of Korean descent, Byung-Chul Han, discusses the role of time in modern society and its impact on our lives. Han argues that time has become a commodity in contemporary society, with people feeling constantly pressured to make the most of it in order to be productive and successful. Han states that this constant focus on time has led to a society characterized by fatigue and burnout. He also discusses how technology changes our relationship with time, and how technology causes feelings of disconnection and loneliness. This book is a thought-provoking exploration of the role of time in modern society and how time defines our lives....

In the above text, the author asks the AI, which offers a free trial like ChatGPT, to summarize the importance of Byung-cheol Han's book The Scent of Time, a Korean philosopher who later converted to German, stating that it should be summarized in 5-7 sentences in English.

The results are quite remarkable: AI was able to process the importance of the book, without much discrepancy, perhaps only about loneliness that wasn't the main issue.

As a university professor, the author immediately felt some threats that just by thinking, he felt tired.

However, the author would like to extend on the ai writings translated by Google translated above.

It doesn't share the value of the matter with either of them.

As AI has briefed us, digital technologies go hand in hand with capitalism and neoliberalism. It changes the human experience of time.

In short, Capitalism makes us evaluate everything as a commodity and a resource, including time.

The neoliberals believed in the effectiveness of the market and individuality, and now it is an era of acceleration, until it is said that even ordering food and serving it immediately is considered slow. What people glorify is efficiency.

The most effective way that capitalism exploits human beings is to make humans not feel exploited by giving us the freedom to exploit ourselves for success until we are exhausted and burnt out.

Han aimed to criticize. Michel Fugot French philosopher and Marxist theorist

In Fugot's case, Han saw that the analysis of a society of discipline, in which people were directed by certain disciplines, was appropriate for the last century.

For example, the analysis of prisons, insane hospitals, which has led to the classification of criminals and insane people, but today is a society where power and freedom go hand in hand. People are free to exploit themselves.

The Fugot method of analysis is therefore outdated.

Meanwhile, the Marxist method of analysis is Han sees it as unusable to society where people exploit themselves.

Moreover, a society covered by digital technology becomes an unconnected individual and suffers from depression. Moreover, it is impossible to create a revolutionary masses.

Han sees that in such a society, we will find a digital crowd (The Swarm) spewing drama at each other every day.

What is missing is a public space that will help weave conversations on important social issues, leading to conclusions.

Anyone can produce content and then publish it on social media without responsibility.

Unlike earlier publications, editors scrutinized and held accountable for writings in the media they oversee.

besides Politicians themselves do not have time to think and debate public issues that will lead to policy making and then implementing it.

In such a society, we can hear modern proclamations like encouraging speakers telling us to be happy rather than sarcastic remarks pointing out the social problems of revolutionaries.

You can see the symptoms of a society of success in the product advertisement Just do it, which means do it. Anything is possible anyway.

This causes losers and depressed patients.

Even more so nowadays, social media offers a picture of someone else's happy and successful life. It reinforces one's own failures. In spite of the images presented, they were bended. Cut, composed,

Bittersweetly, we often use applications to bend our faces and shapes (including the authors themselves) to look beautiful and look good, until "the world is distorted" in the literal sense.

In other words, we try to present our true self as a selling point, but inside it is hollow naked.

The suicide rate in a highly competitive society like South Korea is the result of people aiming for success and then becoming losers.

In addition Many human experiences that are time-bound are also affected.

For example, rest becomes preparation in order to work effectively.

Even bedtime, which is what represents the end of the day, becomes a distressed experience of insomnia. Instead of a warm time. Instead, we heard the clock tick tock.

This time of being smashed into pieces, it has affected our identity into a fraction of what lacks continuity.

When time breaks apart, the experience of duration or the fragrance of time also deteriorates.

Literature should give us a lot of clarity. Han's example is the French novelist Marcel Prust's In Search of Lost Time, which depicts his youthful experiences as "a long time ago, I went to bed early in the evening," which depicts happy days, especially experiences of time.

Or in a scene depicting the flavor of tea and madelelan, which restores childhood memories.

This literature focuses on the acceleration of the industrial age and points the way to re-establishing our self-gathering through our experiences over time.

Han sees that the solution to such problems is not to slow down life as the movement to live slowly. (slow living movement) claims

Because slowing down life is only what reinforces the symptoms of the disease. It's also not the same way to relive happiness.

The solution, however, is to find the scent of modern times, or to strike a balance between contemplation and action, which also engulfs the working life.

This is because contemplation requires time to be with oneself, thus bringing back the experience of time.

In addition Artistic experiences can also help us reconnect with the moment. Because viewing art takes time to reflect.

Art is also counterproductive to hasty and often easy consumption.

In a work called Undinge (2021), Han suggests that, in addition to time experiences, there is no need to worry. Digital technology also affects the experience of space and the things around it. Material objects are inextricably related to human life and that human beings give meaning to their own life or existence. Whether it's a table or a chair. The meaning of these utensils or devices is traced back to self-understanding, which is connected to others and the community around them.

Han sees an object or thing (ding) as something that creates stability or a peaceful space for human life.

But digital technology has broken down objects into information, making things undinge.

Man is no longer dependent on earth and sky. Instead, rely on Google Earth and the Cloud.

The authors see that an obvious example in this case is the minimalist lifestyle that has been trending since the last decade.

We see a picture of a minimalist guru of simple life, set in a white room with a few pieces of white furniture. This disgust seems to be a symptom of capitalism and neoliberalism today.

But if you think about it again, you will find that the removal of belongings according to the advice of the housekeeper, whether mini-list or marie kondo, leaving only the spark joy reflects the state in which human beings do not have the power to manage their lives other than their own belongings.

Our cosmic dwelling has become a clean, white space. It's no different from the necropolis or tombs of Greek times.

And we can only do this if we are sure that we have the money to buy things that will be used immediately in convenience stores.

actually A call for us to find the scent of time that suits the times by bringing back contemplation. To get the time to come back, we might have to fight, as director Nadrew Niccol's film In Time (2011) makes clear. And yet, Han's criticism of the society of success is worth listening to.

The most important We need to think seriously about the influence of digital technology or AI on ethnic, social and political issues.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Paradigm Paralysis?

Slavoj Zizek, "Neutrality brings neither peace nor justice"
Russia’s imperialist war is an act of colonialism, so those who claim neutrality forfeit their claim to discredit colonization anywhere

In May last year, before being re-elected as Brazilian president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Russian President Vladimir Putin bear equal responsibility for the war in Ukraine.

However, whether the refusal to pick sides comes from Brazil, India or South Africa, claiming to be “neutral” on Russia’s war of aggression is untenable.

The same is true of individuals. If a passerby saw a man relentlessly beating a child on a street corner, the witness would be expected to try to stop it. Neutrality is out of the question. On the contrary, the moral turpitude of inaction is deplorable.

How, then, should British musician Roger Waters’ remarks to the UN Security Council be regarded? In a video call, the activist and Pink Floyd cofounder claimed to be speaking for “four billion or so brothers and sisters” around the world.

He said that Russia’s war in Ukraine is illegal and should be condemned “in the strongest possible terms,” but then added:
“The Russian invasion of Ukraine was not unprovoked, so I also condemn the provocateurs in the strongest possible terms... The only sensible course of action today is to call for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine. Not one more Ukrainian or Russian life is to be spent, not one, they are all precious in our eyes. So the time has come to speak truth to power.”
Is Waters’ “truth” an expression of neutrality?
In an interview earlier this month with Berliner Zeitung, he said:
“Maybe I shouldn’t be, but I am now more open to listen to what Putin actually says. According to independent voices I listen to, he governs carefully, making decisions on the grounds of a consensus in the Russian Federation government.”
As an independent voice who follows Russian media very closely, I am well acquainted with what Putin and his propagandists “actually say.”

The major television channels are full of commentators recommending that countries such as Germany, Poland or the UK be nuked.

Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov, one of Putin’s closes allies, openly calls for “the fight against Satanism [to] continue throughout Europe and, first of all, on the territory of Poland.”

The official Kremlin line describes the war as a “special operation” for the de-Nazification and de-demonization of Ukraine.

Among Ukraine’s “provocations” is that it has permitted pride parades and allowed LGBTQ+ rights to undermine traditional sexual norms and gender roles. Kremlin-aligned commentators speak of “liberal totalitarianism,” going so far as to argue that George Orwell’s 1984 was a critique not of fascism or Stalinism, but of liberalism.

One finds nothing like this in the Western media, where the main motif is that Ukraine should be helped to survive.

Nobody has demanded that Russia’s borders be changed, or that some part of its territory be seized.

At worst, one finds counterproductive demands to boycott Russian culture, as though Putin’s regime somehow represents the likes of Alexander Pushkin, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Leo Tolstoy.

Just as Ukraine is supported against an aggressor, so should Russian culture be defended against its abuser in the Kremlin.

Triumphalism should also be avoided, and objectives should be framed in positive terms. The primary goal is not for Russia to lose and be humiliated, but for Ukraine to survive.

“Neutral” countries outside the West contend that the war is a local conflict that pales in comparison to the horrors of colonialism or more recent events such as the US occupation of Iraq.

However, this is an obvious dodge. Russia’s imperialist war is an act of colonialism. Those who would claim neutrality forfeit their standing to complain about the horrors of colonization anywhere.

Waters is a vocal exponent of the Palestinian resistance to Israeli colonization. Why is Ukrainian resistance to Russian colonization any less worthy of support?

Sometimes, things really are as simple as that, especially as Russia is preparing to celebrate the anniversary of its war with a new offensive.

It is obscene to blame Ukraine for Russian acts of destruction, or to mischaracterize the Ukrainians’ heroic resistance as a rejection of peace. Those, like Waters, who call for “an immediate ceasefire” would have Ukrainians respond to redoubled Russian aggression by abandoning their own self-defense. That is a formula not for peace, but for pacification.

It bears mentioning that Russia is counting on the “neutralist” argument eventually to prevail.

As military historian Michael Clarke explains, “the Kremlin’s plan will be to keep fighting until the West gets fed up and pressures Kyiv into appeasing them with whatever territory they have taken by then.”

Russia is digging in for a protracted war that would include the quiet mobilization of about 600,000 soldiers every year for the “indefinite future.”

Waters is almost right: Ukraine is indeed “provoking” Russia by refusing to submit to its imperial ambitions, even in the face of desperate odds. The only way that it could stop provoking its aggressive revisionist neighbor would be to surrender. The same, Waters would agree, is true of Palestine.

However, surrendering to imperialism brings neither peace nor justice. To preserve the possibility of achieving either, the pretense of neutrality must be dropped.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

The Model


Pavel Kroupa and Moritz Hoslbauer, "Our model of the universe has been falsified: The cosmological standard model is wrong"

New data from the Dark Energy Survey and South Pole Telescope suggest that the universe is less ‘clumpy’ than the standard cosmological model predicts. This has triggered speculation about new forces and insights into the nature of dark matter and dark energy. But this entire project is deeply misguided. We already have robust observations contradicting the standard cosmological model, showing that the universe is in fact more, not less, ‘clumpy’ than we thought. It’s about time the cosmology community faced these results, argue Pavel Kroupa and Moritz Haslbauer.

A recent publication in the journal Physical Review D with about 156 co-authors suggests the distribution of matter to be smoother than expected, based on the predictions of the standard model of cosmology [1]. This new data release by the Dark Energy Survey, was based on the findings of a telescope in Chile that measured the tiny distortions of the images of relatively nearby galaxy images, caused by their light being diverted due to the gravitational pull of foreground matter. The team also employed observations from the South Pole Telescope to measure distortions of the cosmic microwave background (CMB), again due to the uneven distribution of foreground matter. The CMB suggests that matter was nearly evenly distributed in the universe, about 400,000 years after the Big Bang. As time progressed and the universe aged and expanded, matter began to clump together under the influence of gravity. But the clumping observed by the South Pole Telescope also did not accord with the predictions of the standard cosmological model.

The cosmology community is already speculating on the back of these results, even though they are not statistically significant, imagining new forces and theories about the nature of dark matter and dark energy. But these new findings, while calling for tweaks in the standard cosmological model, fly in the face of a series of more robust observations that suggest that the standard cosmological model is not fit for purpose. Dark matter and dark energy are fictions with no empirical backing, and range of recent observations, including by the James Webb Telescope, are increasingly showing to anyone willing to see that the universe doesn’t look or behave the way the standard cosmological model predicts. It’s about time the cosmology community gave up on this theory rather than digging itself into a deeper hole filled with speculation and fantasy.

The standard model of cosmology assumes Einsteinian gravitation to be valid everywhere in the universe, and in order to match observational data, it has to postulate the existence of dark matter, 5 times the amount of normal matter, as well as dark energy, which supposedly comprises some 75 per cent of all of the energy content in the universe. The standard cosmological model also assumes the cosmological principle, according to which the universe looks the same in every direction. Using these assumptions, scientists can calculate how the initial smoothness of the cosmic microwave background evolved into an increasingly clumpy and moving distribution of matter, made of filaments, galaxy clusters and galaxies. The measurement of this process allows astronomers to test if the model is correct.

Observations tell us that the Universe is structured on every scale, amounting to a falsification of the standard model of cosmology with extreme statistical confidence

The recent observations and analysis of the Dark Energy Survey and South Pole Telescope data are incredibly complicated. The analysis needs to make assumptions on the statistical shape and orientation of galaxies in order to extract the evidence for extremely weak image distortions through gravitational lensing from fore-ground galaxies which requires a description of their distribution. Finding evidence for and measuring the distortions of the peaks in the CMB caused by gravitational lensing from the foreground matter distribution essentially involves the calculation of the lensing of a random field by a random field. For this, the not-distorted CMB fluctuation pattern needs to be known. And this requires a model of the CMB that is otherwise not testable. The results by the Dark Energy Survey and South Pole Telescope collaborations, that the measured distribution of matter is smoother than expected from the standard model, is a problem, not just for the standard model itself, but also for the research projects and collaborations that rely on it.

To begin with, we need to be careful to not over-interpret the results published by the DES and SPT collaborations in terms of possible physics. The indication of too much smoothness is not yet statistically significant enough at present to warrant a discussion about the need for a new physics.

What we do we know about the smoothness, or the lack thereof, of the matter distribution in the universe, from more direct measurements, is that it’s much clumpier and faster-moving in parts than the standard cosmological model allows. In fact, the observations tell us that the Universe is structured on every scale, amounting to a falsification of the standard model of cosmology with extreme (more than 5 sigma) statistical confidence. A serious physicist would never again touch a theory that has been ruled out at such a significance level.

All this was already covered in a previous article for the IAI [2]. A recent publication [3] finds that the motion of the Local Group towards the CMB seems to have a different velocity and direction to the same motion relative to very distant quasars and active galactic nuclei that should, however, yield a very comparable reference frame to that provided by the CMB. This indicates Gpc-scale matter flows and inhomogeneities. Similarly, but independently, the analysis of 570 galaxy clusters shows a strong indication for a bulk motion of matter over scales of hundreds of Mpc with a velocity of nearly 1000 km/s [4]. These are numbers that are entirely impossible in the comparatively smooth standard model. Another interesting recent observation by us is that the southern hemisphere has more early-type galaxies (i.e., rounder galaxies with less star formation) than the northern hemisphere which has more star forming, disk-like galaxies [5]. This result is statistically extremely significant. Although we speculated that this may be due to some yet unknown bias in the galaxy catalogues, we also note that the overabundance of early-type galaxies in the southern hemisphere approximately correlates with the CMB having more power and a higher temperature in the southern hemisphere [6, 7, 8]. At face value, this seems to suggest that the one side of the Universe had more power, was warmer and resulted in a different population of galaxies than the other side, violating the cosmological principle.
Given the above well-documented and published evidence, indicating significant matter lumpiness on all scales and at all times, why does the cosmological community appear to largely ignore it?

This all sounds crazy from the viewpoint of the dominant theory, standard cosmological model. But the data, including the recent observations by the James Webb Space Telescope, indicate that the very early Universe was a lot clumpier than the standard model allows. Massive galaxies have been observed fully formed merely a few hundred million years after the Big Bang, a lot earlier than previously thought possible [9]. The data thus robustly falsify the cosmological principle. While the same laws of physics may apply in every corner of the universe, the universe itself it is not the same everywhere.

Given the above well-documented and published evidence, indicating significant matter lumpiness on all scales and at all times, why does the cosmological community appear to largely ignore it? More specifically, and problematically, for the case in hand, why do the Dark Energy Survey and South Pole Telescope collaborations not take the documented inhomogeneities into account? Or worse, why does their analysis yield an observed universe that is, if anything, even smoother than the standard model predicts, and is thus in total contradiction with the real observed Universe which is significantly clumpier than the supposedly real universe that the Dark Energy Survey and South Pole Telescope collaborations are claiming to be measuring? Does this indicate some serious problem, some total failure of weak lensing analysis?

Driven by the unexpected smoother-than-the-smooth standard model results, the scientific establishment is already fired up with speculations about non-standard physics of "standard" dark matter and dark energy. It seems as if most of the cosmological community is just waiting to jump on any indication for additional dark physics in the dark sector, knowing full-well that any speculation might produce many papers (they say, after all, "publish or perish") that have a content that can practically never be checked to be of any physical relevance, by the dark nature of dark physics in the dark sector. Maybe this is where the modern theoretical physicist, being perhaps arrogant through mathematical prowess, fails the basic mission that must be the advancement of understanding nature rather than contriving increasingly complicated mathematical theories? Sabine Hossenfelder [10] has already eloquently touched on this issue. Thus, rather than discarding the standard cosmological model, our scientific establishment is digging itself ever deeper into the speculative fantasy realm, losing sight of and also grasp of reality in what appears to be a maelstrom of insanity.


[1] "Joint analysis of DES Year 3 data and CMB lensing from SPT and Planck III: Combined cosmological constraints", DES and SPT collaboration:

T. M. C. Abbott et al. (DES and SPT Collaborations)

Phys. Rev. D 107, 023531


[2] "Dark Matter Doesn't Exist", Kroupa, P., iai, 12th July 2022


[3] "A Challenge to the Standard Cosmological Model", Secrest, N. J., et al. 2022, ApJ 937, 31


[4] "Cosmological implications of the anisotropy of ten galaxy cluster scaling relations", Migkas, K., et al. 2021, A&A 649, 151


[5] "Anisotropy in the all-sky distribution of galaxy morphological types", Javanmardi, B., Kroupa, P. 2017, A&A 597, 120


[6] "Asymmetries in the Cosmic Microwave Background Anisotropy Field", Eriksen, H. K., et al. 2004, ApJ 650


[7] "Hemispheric asymmetry and cold spot in the Cosmic Microwave Background", Planck 2013


[8] "CMB anomalies after Planck", Schwarz, D., et al. 2016, CQGra 33, 4001


[9] "Has JWST Already Falsified Dark-matter-driven Galaxy Formation?", Haslbauer, M., etal. 2022, ApJ 939, 31


[10] "Lost in Math : How Beauty Leads Physics Astray", Hossenfelder, S., 2018. New York: Basic Books. OCLC: 1005547825. ISBN: 9780465094257.


Saturday, February 11, 2023

Wolfram on Chat GTP

Is ChatGTP the Guattarian paralogical nomadology of language par excellence?  7 layers of cortex abstraction and deterritorialization in computer or human brain's Neural Rhizome.  A Schizoanalysis.

from Wikipedia:

Deleuze and Guattari write in the fourth chapter of Anti-Oedipus, "Introduction to Schizoanalysis", that in effect, schizoanalysis asks "What are your desiring-machines, what do you put into these machines, what is the output, how does it work, what are your nonhuman sexes?".

Deleuze and Guattari develop four theses of schizoanalysis:
Every unconscious libidinal investment is social and bears upon a socio-historical field. 
Unconscious libidinal investments of group or desire are distinct from preconscious investments of class or interest. 
Non-familial libidinal investments of the social field are primary in relation to familial investments. 
Social libidinal investments are distinguished according to two poles: a paranoiac, reactionary, fascisizing pole and a schizoid revolutionary pole.

Sex and the Married Philosopher...

 ...something's alway's intruding... :(


Philosophy asks the Question, "Is there a version of virtuous humor that survives?"
The acceleration of contemporary life also plays a role in this lack of being. The society of laboring and achievement is not a free society. It generates new constraints. Ultimately, the dialectic of master and slave does not yield a society where everyone is free and capable of leisure, too. Rather, it leads to a society of work in which the master himself has become a laboring slave. In this society of compulsion, everyone carries a work camp inside. This labor camp is defined by the fact that one is simultaneously prisoner and guard, victim and perpetrator. One exploits oneself. It means that exploitation is possible even without domination.
― Byung-Chul Han, The Burnout Society

Now there is a concept of Punching up and Punching down in comedy. As someone who buys the conclusion of The Burnout Society will notice there is an immediate threat to humor. Suddenly anyone can be offended! You are punching yourself in both directions up and down at the same time with practically any joke that tackles the issues of the society of laboring and achievement. Someone is bound to say you are "punching down" while another will retort he's "punching up" and lead to a sort of polarization which is an unintended consequence.

Is there a version of virtuous humor that survives under this premise? And is there a way to take "the joke"?


Byung-Chul Han, "In the Swarm: Digital prospects" (an abstract)
No respect -- Outrage society -- In the swarm -- Demediatization -- Clever Hans -- Flight into the image -- From the hand to the finger -- From farming to hunting -- From subject to project -- The Nomos of the earth -- Digital ghosts -- Information fatigue -- The crisis of representation -- From citizen to consumer -- The recorded life -- Psychopolitics.

"Digital communication and social media have taken over our lives. In this contrarian reflection on digitized life, Byung-Chul Han counters the cheerleaders for Twitter revolutions and Facebook activism by arguing that digital communication is in fact responsible for the disintegration of community and public space and is slowly eroding any possibility for real political action and meaningful political discourse. In the predigital, analog era, by the time an angry letter to the editor had been composed, mailed, and received, the immediate agitation had passed. Today, digital communication enables instantaneous, impulsive reaction, meant to express and stir up outrage on the spot. Meanwhile, the public, the senders and receivers of these communications have become a digital swarm -- not a mass, or a crowd, or Negri and Hardt's antiquated notion of a "multitude," but a set of isolated individuals incapable of forming a "we," incapable of calling dominant power relations into question, incapable of formulating a future because of an obsession with the present. The digital swarm is a fragmented entity that can focus on individual persons only in order to make them an object of scandal. Han, one of the most widely read philosophers in Europe today, describes a society in which information has overrun thought, in which the same algorithms are employed by Facebook, the stock market, and the intelligence services. Democracy is under threat because digital communication has made freedom and control indistinguishable. Big Brother has been succeeded by Big Data."

Pooh-Pooh-ing Axions and Grand Unified Theories of Physics

As for me, I kinda like Axions...

Incompleteness... an Eastern philosophy could live with it (Immanence).  But a Western one of "transcendance" cannot.

Sunday, February 5, 2023

On Most Grand Narratives

Slavoj Žižek , "Covering up the impact of trauma with symbolic images" (Google Translate from Turkish)
pre: Angelus Novus)

His fellow theologians who visited Job, who suffered great disasters, suggested that Job attach meaning to the disasters he experienced with their comments. The real greatness shown by Job is that he insists on the meaninglessness of the disasters he has experienced rather than defending his innocence. When God finally appears, the defender of faith confirms Job's attitude toward the theologians.

The same structure exists in a Freudian dream: Irma's injection At the very beginning of his dream, Freud is talking to Irma, whose treatment is disrupted by an inflammatory injection. As he speaks, Freud approaches Irma, sees her face and mouth, and notices the eerie of the live red flesh inside his mouth. At this moment of unbearable horror, the tonality of the dream suddenly changes and it turns into comedy: three doctors appear, friends of Freud, they tell in ridiculous professional jargon that it is not anyone's fault that Irma became inflamed from the injection, but enumerating numerous mutually exclusive reasons: it could not have already been injected, the injection was sterile, and so on.

At first there is the traumatic encounter, there is the confrontation with the raw flesh in Irma's throat, then suddenly it turns into comedy, three ridiculous doctors negotiate to save Freud from facing the actual trauma in the dream. The function of these three doctors is the same as that of the three theological friends who visit Job: to conceal the impact of trauma in symbolic images.

(from Slavoj Žižek, The Book of Violence)
Turkish: Işık Barış Fidaner

Niklas Luhmann - A Theory of Everything Sociological

Niklas Luhmann - More Detail

Solitude/ Boredom - The 21st Centuries Absent Safe Space

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Artificial Intelligence vs. Artificial Communication

Elena Esposito and Hans-Georg Moeller discuss intelligence, algorithms, and communication.

The Immanent vs. Transcendent Qualities of intelligence?

On the Priming of New Engines of Thought

...and our New Age of Profilicity
Instead of talking of an "ideology", which again reflects the notions in coupling with thinking, ChatGPT reproduces jargon, including the jargon of authenticity as we saw at the beginning, and importantly the jargon of liberalism or tolerance as we (also) saw at the beginning, through data processing. So, through language, both thinking in the form of ideology, and algorithms in the form of reproducing jargon, provide Society precisely with that kind of jargon, which by the way is useful for society because it provides orientation, It provides, so to speak, commonly understood content. Language is by its nature highly jargon driven, and both intelligent and artificial communication reproduce such jargon or, as it used to be called with reference to intelligent rather than artificial communication, "ideology". 

Friday, February 3, 2023

Emergence vs. Immanence vs. Transcendence vs. UnIntelligibility

(en noun)
The act of rising out of a fluid, or coming forth from envelopment or concealment, or of rising into view; sudden uprising or appearance.
In particular: the arising of emergent structure in complex systems.
See also
* eclosion

(countable) the act of surpassing usual limits
(uncountable) the state of being beyond the range of normal perception
(uncountable) the state of being free from the constraints of the material world, as in the case of a deity
superior excellence; supereminence
* A. V. G. Allen
The Augustinian theology rests upon the transcendence of Deity at its controlling principle.
Related terms
* transcend * transcendency * transcendent * transcendental * transcendently
* immanence

im·​ma·​nent ˈi-mə-nənt
Synonyms of immanent
beauty is not something imposed but something immanent
—Anthony Burgess
: being within the limits of possible experience or knowledge
...to my best knowledge, the book was not dedicated to erotic problems of people in outer space... As Solaris' author I shall allow myself to repeat that I only wanted to create a vision of a human encounter with something that certainly exists, in a mighty manner perhaps, but cannot be reduced to human concepts, ideas or images. This is why the book was entitled "Solaris" and not "Love in Outer Space".

 — Stanisław Lem,

Wikipedia Plot Summary of Solaris
Solaris chronicles the ultimate futility of attempted communications with the extraterrestrial life inhabiting a distant alien planet named Solaris. The planet is almost completely covered with an ocean of gel that is revealed to be a single, planet-encompassing entity. Terran scientists conjecture it is a living and a sentient being, and attempt to communicate with it.

Kris Kelvin, a psychologist, arrives aboard Solaris Station, a scientific research station hovering near the oceanic surface of Solaris. The scientists there have studied the planet and its ocean for many decades, mostly in vain. A scientific discipline known as Solaristics has degenerated over the years to simply observing, recording and categorizing the complex phenomena that occur upon the surface of the ocean. Thus far, the scientists have only compiled an elaborate nomenclature of the phenomena, and do not yet understand what such activities really mean. Shortly before Kelvin's arrival, the crew exposed the ocean to a more aggressive and unauthorized experimentation with a high-energy X-ray bombardment. Their experimentation gives unexpected results and becomes psychologically traumatic for them as individually flawed humans.

The ocean's response to this intrusion exposes the deeper, hidden aspects of the personalities of the human scientists, while revealing nothing of the ocean's nature itself. It does this by materializing physical simulacra, including human ones; Kelvin confronts memories of his dead lover and guilt about her suicide. The "guests" of the other researchers are only alluded to. All human efforts to make sense of Solaris's activities prove futile. As Lem wrote, "The peculiarity of those phenomena seems to suggest that we observe a kind of rational activity, but the meaning of this seemingly rational activity of the Solarian Ocean is beyond the reach of human beings."[4] He also wrote that he deliberately chose to make the sentient alien an ocean to avoid any personification and the pitfalls of anthropomorphism in depicting first contact.

Happy Happy Joy Joy!

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Don Cossacks Reclaim Homelands...


SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK, "Death or Glory in Russia"

The Russian state’s ideological madness and reversion to warlordism have been abetted by a religious fundamentalism that openly celebrates death in the name of achieving a god-like status. As Vladimir Putin’s propagandists are telling Russians, “Life is overrated.”

LJUBLJANA – Rumors are flying about veiled jockeying within Russia over who will replace President Vladimir Putin, now that his war of aggression in Ukraine has gone so disastrously wrong. Such a struggle cannot fail to expose the morbid pathologies of Russian politics. The key players are not organized political parties but rather gangs of oligarchs who preside over various informal nodes of power.

This explains why Russia’s most effective military force on the front line in Ukraine, the mercenary Wagner Group, is not even a part of the Russian army. Russia is now a land of warlords, something one generally associates with rogue and failed states. Its current and aspiring leaders are trafficking in fever dreams of battlefield glory. Implicit in this martial culture is a Hobbesian view of life as solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short – and increasingly cheap.

The rise of private armies in and around Russia has led to some genuinely funny developments. For example, last year, former members of US and other Western armed forces organized a voluntary military unit to fight on the Ukrainian side. With pitch-perfect irony, they call themselves the Mozart Group – a direct riposte to the Wagner mercenaries (both names being of a German composer). One can only hope they will bomb Russian army positions with weapons more powerful than chocolate Mozartkugeln.

But the humor ends there. Russia’s apparent reversion to warlordism has been abetted by a strain of Russian religious fundamentalism that openly celebrates death. Some Russian clergy have been telling their congregations that they can “become themselves” only through the act of killing. The “special military operation” in Ukraine, they are told, is a struggle for “all of God’s creation.” As one of Putin’s chief propagandists, Vladimir Solovyov, said in a New Year’s message on Russian television:

“Life is highly overrated. Why fear what is inevitable? Especially when we’re going to heaven. Death is the end of one earthly path and the beginning of another. Don’t let fear of death influence decisions. It’s only worth living for something you can die for, that’s the way it should be ... We are fighting against satanists. This is a holy war, and we have to win.”

Likewise, Magomed Khitanaev, a Chechen theologian and Russian army commander, portrays Ukraine as a latter-day Sodom and Gomorrah: “We’re asking: Oh, Ukrainians, why did you permit gay parades in Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Odessa? Why did you permit it? Why didn’t you come out against them, against your government that was overtaken by fascists? Without shame before God, people, they are openly, manifestly spreading their filth.”

To understand contemporary Russian ideologists like Solovyov and Putin’s so-called “court philosopher,” Aleksandr Dugin, one must examine the tradition of Russian “cosmism,” a philosophical movement that began with the nineteenth-century educator Nikolai Fedorov. As Jules Evans, a philosopher at Queen Mary University of London, writes, Fedorov “was nicknamed the ‘Socrates of Moscow,’ because of his ascetic habits and his radical philosophy. He had one all-encompassing goal: the achievement of immortality and the resurrection of the dead.”

Among Fedorov’s twentieth-century followers was the Soviet rocket scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (who theorized about space travel), the science-fiction writer Alexander Bogdanov (who believed that one could prolong one’s life through blood transfusions), and – in a fitting coincidence – the religious thinker Vladimir Solovyov.

According to Evans, this earlier Vladimir Solovyov called for, “a universal theocracy under a Russian czar, to hasten humanity’s ‘long and difficult passage from beast-mankind to God-mankind.’” Once accomplished, adherents to the faith would “become immortal spiritual beings – only Christ has reached this stage so far, but all humanity will soon follow.” While Solovyov believed that this evolution could be advanced with magic, Fedorov himself advocated scientific means. But both ultimately “agreed that humanity would be saved by Russian theocracy.”

Denys Sultanhaliiev of the University of Tartu has explored the links between the two Solovyovs and established a clear lineage from Russian cosmism, in both its mystical and scientific forms. There is a direct through line from the cosmism that prevailed in the first decade of the Soviet Union to the nihilism and nuclear brinkmanship on display today under Putin.

A belief in resurrection and eternal life is key. But cosmism could emerge only within the Russian Orthodox version of Christianity, whose basic formula is “God became man so that man will become God.” That is how cosmists interpret the appearance of the God-man Christ: as a model for what all of humanity should pursue. By contrast, Martin Luther saw man as an excrement of God – as something that fell out of God’s anus.

As we watch ideological madness play out in Russia, we must be mindful of its roots in Russian Orthodoxy. Many in the West now view that tradition as an antidote to the liberal decadence that Western Protestantism supposedly unleashed. In a perverse way, they are right: death solves all problems.
from Wikipedia:
The Don Cossacks were revived in the early 1990s and were officially recognised by the Russian Government in 1997, its Ataman holding the rank, insignia and uniform of a full Marshal.

In 1992 they joined the separatist forces during the Transnistria War.[29]

Don Cossacks volunteered by hundreds to fight in South Ossetia during the 2008 Russo-Georgian war.[30]

In 2009, the Ukrainian Security Service banned a leader of the Don Cossacks from entering Ukraine in order to prevent the creation of an illegal parliamentary formation on Ukrainian territory.[31]

Since 2014, members of Don Cossacks have participated in the war in Eastern Ukraine as independent volunteers for the pro-Russian Donbass militias. Reportedly several military formations were formed though most of these groups were subsequently disbanded and integrated into the armed forces of the DPR and LPR.
The "Wild Fields" of Eastern Ukraine