Human-Oriented Philosophy


Infinite Thought has been posting updates on the student (and other) protests in the UK. Sad as it sounds, but I really can’t imagine American students protesting anything, unless they banned cell phones on campus.

9 thoughts on “Human-Oriented Philosophy

  1. Professor Marvel seems shocked that police might – gasp – resort to violence. Has he never been on a demonstration? Posts like his just show up the persistent political naivety of this lot. OOO has almost zero to say about society or politics that is of any use to anyone, which is why they more frequently talk about nonhumans or the metaphysical, terrain they clearly feel more comfortable on. And this despite Levi’s brave attempts to apply his stuff across the board, which is laudable but nevertheless fails to provide anything more than tired old structuralism or systems theory. And what was that line from the Prof a few weeks ago – only when a philosophy can spawn both a Left and a Right wing will it count as great philosophy. Very revealing.

    • Or maybe when his school is falling apart due to internal divisions?

      “School” suggests the desire for standardization but OOO is a movement which exists as long as people lead an internet conversation which attracts creating a “friends network”. Concepts, logic, definitions etc. are so last millennium – we have now tag clouds which express semantic neighbourhood and relevance through word frequencies. At the same time OOO still looks like or imitates philosophy by using its jargon, big thinkers names which are turned into adjectives and other habits.

      The format conversion into something web-style is irreversible and although I feel little enthusiasm about it, I think it is dangerous to grow resentments which are expressed by conservative criticism of cultural decline. It might be true that each of us is getting a little dumber, hyperactive, attracted by fads and too distracted for thinking deep but the “friends network” is also fast, adaptive and can respond to and interpret events on Twitter speed. It is certainly not a “shared mind” or global brain – this would still reflect the intention of turning things into a school where each individual replicates a unique collective cognitive set of opinions, a common reason. A “friends network” is robust with respect to slight deviations and a tag cloud or associative network doesn’t need the level of coherence being characteristic for last millenniums thinkers and certainly doesn’t bother much about causality.

      • This was a curious statement.

        “I think it is dangerous to grow resentments which are expressed by conservative criticism of cultural decline.”

        I don’t think it’s dangerous, just for the record, even though there are many extremely boring examples of this, which often include phrases like ‘Tea Party bullying’.

        “A “friends network” is robust with respect to slight deviations and a tag cloud or associative network doesn’t need the level of coherence being characteristic for last millenniums thinkers”

        Wow. It really sounds appealing. What else can you recommend as dissipation. I noticed on traxus’s Twitter he can’t even write dumb things, and that they’re even more than ‘slight deviation’ too. He wrote, and just the other day too: “social networking exposes the empty heart of addiction better than drugs/sex bc it’s so much less fun”, and he can do that really well too. I taught him how important it was for some of us to get laid frequently and not in a social-networking form, so it is my deepest wish that he is getting laid regularly (in real life!).

        “and certainly doesn’t bother much about causality.”

        This has been noted by myriad thinkers, and is indeed, ultimately, quite meritorious.

      • Wow. It really sounds appealing. What else can you recommend as dissipation.

        Sorry, if you talk to me and there is neither an erection nor a trip involved.

        Before everyone did soc. networking people spent lots of time in front of their television screens and if not they were also not a couple of Bonobos spending their whole day practising bodily pleasures ( it’s such a 1970s fantasy, no? ).

        So before we glorify the real social as an eternal excitement we shall ask if it hasn’t been always truly painful and boring and we knew about this all the time. That’s why we loved books so much – the most elaborated cultural code being accessible to us.

  2. That’s sort of a curious document too, but has some content, which was the point, not the drugs or sex. Traxus would have the ability, though, unlike me, to continue with the addiction in current form and further evolutions, while being able to concentrate on how unsatisfying it is. There could be many other things to compare this ’empty heart’ to, but you hit on the best one–television. But that goes at least as far back as the early 60s as something nearly all Americans had. As for the 70s, you’ve undoubtedly experienced that on social networking too, so if it gets ya off, I have nothing further, being an expert.

    Other than that, you sound more incomprehensible than in previous epochs: ‘the real social’ and ‘eternal excitement’ sound fairly subjective, but the possibility that social networking, unless strictly reined in and/or disciplined so that it doesn’t become the addiction traxus so astutely pointed to as unsatisfying, was, quite definitely, always understood as painful and boring, but primarily because it’s so new, not by comparison to books. And there’s television that isn’t enervation too. That’s the problem with all addictions, though, is that they’re enervating ultimately. Traxus’s coined phrase was ingenious because most who could perceive it wouldn’t continue to do it regularly. But they’ve all got their advantages and disadvantages. He probably wrote it like that because sex and (I suppose) drugs are very satisfying if not taken to excess, at which point they cause pain, whereas the ‘little buzzes’ of social networking have long been apologized for, by comparing them to physical activity of any kind, more mainstream forms of entertainment, writing, etc., but otoh, the reason I mentioned the ‘in its infancy’ aspect is because films going back to the 1899 World’s Fair, with nickelodeons, were all considered trash until silents really took off in the mid-teens of the 20th century, and then they became more respectable. An ‘erection’ or ‘trip’ is not possible in this case, but nor was it needed. That’s only for when it’s possible, and once was enough (however many times repeated) for me. It was, however, very interesting to go through it and out the other end, though, because that was how I proved that virtual sex was unsatisfying if all it was was an hors d’oeuvre which led to no main course. But it’s the ‘television’ that gives this last one some actual content–that it’s not interactive is beside the point: Neither is most musical or dance performance, most theater (still, even with some of it), and even most websites are not especially interactive beyond the fact that there’s usually some email in there. ‘Television addiction’ is interesting to me, because I have never watched much of it, and now don’t ever watch an actual television (I don’t have cable, and the converter is pretty sporadic and more trouble than it’s worth.) I noticed when I was a teenager one afternoon, when I watched a bunch of old movies on a Sunday afternoon for maybe 4-5 hours, the strange feeling of rottenness that came–even though the programs weren’t trash. Since then, I’ve either watched it not at all, or continued to use an old set just for watching old vhs’s which were never put on commercial dvd. As such, I do (as currently) once in a while find an old, hidden off-the-beaten track film that I’ll watch over and over, until it’s distilled into some sort of poetics, and the final form might be poetry or prose. But if it tells a story, it’s not the plot in the literal film, which is when you start noticing specific cars, what ‘desert’ means, as ‘with chaparral’ and some deciduous trees, or the full dry desert with cactus, etc., that’s not very erection-inducing either, but it turns me on right now.)

  3. Mikhail, say more (if you like) about why you can’t imagine protests like this breaking out on US campuses. I agree with you, but I’m trying hard to come up with a reason for this apparent incapacity of American students. Is it something in the water?

    • Not sure – they just don’t have the fire. American colleges/universities lost their political activism – not sure where or why. Kids these days are either “getting a college experience” or acquiring a set of skills for success – developing their political views and seeing themselves as a vital part of civil society is not on the list. I’d be happy to hear why myself.

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