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Gest 5: Visceral Fallacies

Conduction (the fourth inference) is visceral. The image logic (reasoneon) we are developing as Gest suffers fallacies just as does the reasoning of abduction, deduction, and induction. Physiognomic inference operates in the type-casting of cinema, exploiting the same emblematics as racism, as in Nazi propaganda. This danger is a reminder that electrate rhetoric articulates the visceral dimension of intelligence (racists are physically repulsed by miscegenation, for example). This effect of concrete logic should not be denied or euphemized, but addressed as a resource in understanding the thymotic force operating in personal and public discourse.

The existence of polysemous meaning has been noted throughout history–the repetition of patterns, the isotopies relating the different registers of the semiosphere (Lotman). Learning how to read these patterns is part of theopraxesis, since in the condition of the General Accident (that happens everywhere simultaneously [Virillio]) judgment and decision must be capable of registering macrocosm from details. That recognition of patterns does not dictate interpretation directly, to which may be added the Casandra effect. One of the better known examples of anticipation of disaster is the novel Futility, or The Wreck of the Titan, the 1898 novel by Morgan Robertson that foretold (in retrospect) the sinking of the Titanic (1912).

There is a pattern of imagery forming currently between the Zombie Apocalypse genre, and documentary scenes of migrants and refugees fleeing Syria and the Middle East attempting to gain asylum in the EU. The most immediate isotopy is triggered by the refugees walking from Hungary to the Austrian border. The trigger word is “Hungary” (Hungry). The zombie motif is a symptom, meaning that it expresses an Unconscious attitude manifested under repression or denial (those who engage in zombie play deny insist it is all in good fun). The “horror” theme of Night of the Living Dead evokes attraction/repulsion (fundamental reality of electracy). Richard Slotkin in his three-volume study of the myth of the Frontier in America reported on how the massacre of George Armstrong Custer at the Little Bighorn in 1876 was used by conservative powers in the East to fan fear by associating the swarming Indians with the rising tide of freed slaves and immigrants.

Recent reports show that Syria was destabilized in part by the effects of climate change on the region (drought). Many reports indicate that many millions of people will be displaced by these conditions globally. The present crisis is advanced warning of what is to come on a much larger scale. What policy response is in keeping with the imperative of well-being against disaster? The Zombie scenario warns of total war. Philosophers such as Jacques Derrida urge the self-described impossibility of Hospitality. It is important to note that left theory long ago identified our horror motifs as icons and emblems of life under Capitalism. Politics in any case concerns the just allocation of finite resources. The General Accident of climate change demands a holistic response.

2018-07-25T22:26:15+00:00 July 25th, 2018|Categories: Disaster, Intuition, News, Terms, Visceral|Tags: , |

Existential Disaster: Pasolini

White transparent blind. The Italian auteurist film director and semiotician, Pasolini, outlined a theory of education that is electrate, with its emphasis on the formative importance of early childhood, (the Paleo) as foundation for the other popcycle educations. Before parents, school, or television, Pasolini insists, your educative sources “are dumb, material, objective, inert, merely present. And yet they have their own language which you, like your companions, can decipher extremely well. I am speaking of objects, of things, of the physical reality that surrounds  you.” Pasolini’s education is of the same sort Blanchot associated with the writing of the disaster (the existential epiphany of his childhood window). The wide image comes out of such conditions, relevant also to the phenomenon of transitional objects interfacing inner/outer experience in a child/mother interaction (object relations).

  Our first memories are visual ones. In memory life becomes a silent film. We all have in our minds an image which is the first, or one of the first, in our lives. That image is a sign, or to be exact, a linguistic sign. So if it is a linguistic sign it communicates or expresses something. I shall give you an example. The first image of my life is a white, transparent bind, which hangs–without moving, I believe–from a window which looks out on to a somewhat sad and dark lane. That blind terrifies me and fills me with anguish: not as something threatening and unpleasant but as something cosmic. In that blind the spirit of the middle-class house in Bologna where I was born is summed up and takes bodily form. Indeed the images which compete with the blind for chronological primacy are a room with an alcove (where my grandmother slept), heavy “proper” furniture, a carriage in the street which I wanted to climb into. These images are less painful than that of the blind, yet in them too there is concentrated that element of the cosmic which constitutes the petty bourgeois spirit of the world into which I was born. But if in the objects and things the images which have remained firmly in my memory (like those of an indelible dream) there is precipitated and concentrated the whole world of “memories,” which is recalled by those images in a single instant– if,  that is to say, those object and those things are containers in which is stored a universe which I can extract and look at, then, at the same time, these objects and things are also something other than a container. . . . So their communication was  essentially instructional. They taught me where I had been born, in what world I lived, and above all how to think about my birth and my life. Since it was a question of an unarticulated, fixed and incontrovertible pedagogic discourse, it could not be other–as we say today–than authoritarian and repressive. What that blind said to me and taught me did not admit (and does not admit) of rejoinders. No dialogue was possible or admissible with it, nor any act of self-education. That is why I believed that the whole world was the world which that blind taught me: that is to say, I thought that the whole world was “proper,” idealistic, sad and skeptical, a little vulgar–in short, petty bourgeois. (Pier Paolo Pasolini, Lutheran Letters, trans. Stuart Hood. Carcanet Press: New York, 1987).

As may be inferred from the accumulating citations and references to Holton, Blanchot, Pasolini, Proust, and numerous examples of early childhood memories grounding the popcycle, the original aspect of konsult pedagogy is to recover, retrieve, this early education. By the time egents reach the age of five they have earned their visceral Ph.D.

2018-07-23T13:41:46+00:00 July 23rd, 2018|Categories: Disaster, Intuition, Memory, Mystory, Orientation, Tutorials, Visceral, Wide Image|Tags: , , |


Here is Existential Positioning (EPS) in experience.  How common is it to have an intuition of mortality during childhood? It is as if each person has to realize for him/herself individually what the sages codified in Ancient philosophy as ataraxy. Ataraxy is a state of mind in which the sage, realizing that s/he has no control over external events, decides to reduce her/his own desires. This ascetic view is associated with the stance that “philosophy is learning how to die.” Paradoxically, it may seem, philosophers insist that the realization that everyone dies is liberating. Since death is inevitable, why get so excited over one’s successes and failures in life? Of course, various response to this intuition are possible, such as carpe diem (seize the day).

The following piece is Ulmer’s pastiche of Blanchot’s epiphany. Pastiche is a useful form for mystory in which one’s own location within the discourses of the popcycle is mapped. Ulmer imitated Blanchot’s style and form, but substituted his own experience event. Exercise: compose your own primal scene as a pastiche of Blanchot’s epiphanic memory.

  A primal scene? The boy is eleven, starting seventh grade. His father explains that it is time to learn the value of work. He has arranged a job for his son with a friend whose name is Cutting and who owns a sheet metal shop. Every Saturday the boy rides his bicycle across town to Cutting’s Sheet Metal. The employees are done for the week at noon on Saturday. He has to arrive by noon so the boss can lock up, leaving the boy inside (he is too young to be trusted with a key). The job is to clean the shop — sweep the floor, gather up the tools and align them neatly in their designated places on the work benches, collect the remnants and clippings of the metal sheets scattered everywhere. It takes most of the afternoon to finish the chores. The shop is a cavernous open warehouse, with rows of heavy tables, the walls lined with shelves stacked to the distant ceiling with equipment, tools, metals. It is quiet, the stillness of dust motes swirling in the beams of sunlight filtered through the few windows high up near the roof, carving vectors through deep shadow. The sunlight catches the edges of a museum of blades, a taxonomy of every snipping snap slice chop saw hack rend rip cleave nip or severing machine. Half-shaped tin objects stand in rows behind piles of hammers and modelling frames. After so many weeks and months of Saturday noons the boy begins to lose touch with his former friends and companions, who go their separate ways.

  What happens then? The light and shadow of the industrial building open all at once onto a void, a black hole and white wall of divided worlds in this little infinite town: the official world of adults (parents, teachers, coaches, ministers, scout masters) that until then had constituted reality, and the unofficial world of his peers, whose existence he had only just discovered. Two completely different systems of virtue and vice, success and failure, winning and losing, visibility and invisibility, were enforced in these realms: systems Not only different, but opposite and in conflict. What earned admiration and respect in one was inversely judged in the other. He could not have articulated the revelation so abstractly then. The unexpected aspect of this scene is the sense of abandonment, solitary isolation, that overcomes the child, a spilling out or abjection, an absolute exhaling of substance, followed soon after by the inhaled relief of knowing that it doesn’t matter, since everyone and everything dies everywhere the same death.

2018-07-22T00:42:08+00:00 July 22nd, 2018|Categories: Disaster, Intuition, Memory, Mystory, Tutorials|Tags: , , , , , , |


5) Recognition. The kind of memory specifically supported in electracy is discussed in Konsult: Theopraxesis using the example of Marcel Proust’s involuntary memory (the event of remembrance when Marcel tasted the biscuit dipped in tea). Roland Barthes referred to the punctum or sting of recognition he experienced when viewing certain photos. This event of recognition signals the operation of intuition, the intelligence accessing deep memory formed during the visceral education of disposition in childhood. This visceral orientation is not accessed directly, but informs judgments of taste (Kant), of action in prudence (phronesis), constituting the thymotic dimension of all decision. The discovery of konsult is that mystory enables theopraxesis (integrated thought-action-imagine), mise-en-machine of visceral attraction-repulsion (passional intelligence). This logic of orientation is called flash reason, conductive inference, structured in the manner of poetic epiphany, adaptive for real-time augmented smart space. We will address this rhetoric throughout KE.

–Antonio Damasio: Context for flash reason, used in the composition and design of mystory.


In his most recent book (Self Come to Mind), the neuroscientist Antonio Damasio discusses the human capacity to recognize one’s  own being in features of the external world (natural and cultural things, events, works).  The world offers us a mirror in which to track the turns of our identity.  He offers an example of his own experience of this capacity.

It is an object that has helped him construct, interpret, ponder and crystallize his identity, or at least his idea of it. It came to him in the early 1970s, when he was in medical school at the University of Lisbon. The sculpture, made by a woman he had just begun dating (a fellow neuroscience student and a sculptor named Hanna Costa), is a little terra-cotta figure of a man seeming to fight his way forward in a storm. And it all but cried out to Dr. Damasio with a mysterious urgency.

“Somehow I felt that it was me, or belonged to me,” he recalled. “Even though she had done it before we met.”

The doctor was even more convinced that it was a sculpture of his favorite boyhood hero: Tintin, the boyish blond reporter and detective whose comic-book adventures, written by Georges Remi (a k a Hergé) from the 1930s to the early 1980s, delighted generations of European children. Dr. Damasio was one of them, having found endless inspiration in Tintin’s feats of derring-do and the restlessly inquisitive mind that dispatched mystery after mystery with faultlessly astute reasoning and a killer right punch.

In a review of Damasio’s book, Ned Block pointed to one significant area of disagreement, not with Damasio’s example, but with how the capacity  is interpreted.  It reflects not so much “self-consciousness” as “phenomenal” consciousness, related to Merleau-Ponty’s “flesh.”

But there is also a different kind, as anyone who knows what it is like to have a headache, taste chocolate or see red can attest. Self-consciousness is a sophisticated and perhaps uniquely human cognitive achievement. Phenomenal consciousness by contrast — what it is like to experience — is something we share with many animals. A person who is drunk or delirious or dreaming can be excruciatingly conscious without being wakeful, self-aware or aware of his surroundings. (Block)

For the purposes of flash reason this disagreement is beside the point.  It is important rather to mark this capacity as precisely the capacity augmented in the electrate apparatus, whose skill set is flash reason managing dromosphere information sprawl.  The funtion of measure in image metaphysics is this event of recognition (belonging to me).

2018-07-20T15:25:48+00:00 July 20th, 2018|Categories: Art, Design, Intuition, Memory, Mystory, Orientation, Theopraxesis, Tutorials, Visceral|Tags: , , |