#ontology per say
“One can not postulate a man who produces a paper-cutter but does not know what it is used for. Therefore, let us say that, for the paper-cutter, essence—that is, the ensemble of both the production routines and the properties which enable it to be both produced and defined— precedes existence”
Jean Paul Satre
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He mostly wrote on the process of meditation and attaining enlightenment, I doubt the texts would be useful to anyone who was examining it outside of the scope of Zen[21:53]His dialogue I assume you mean by the koans relating to Bodhidharma[21:55]The most famous is the "pacifying the mind" one I've heard.[21:57]Daruma faced toward the wall. The Second Ancestor (Eka/Huike) stood in the snow, cut off his arm, and said, “This disciple’s heart-mind has not yet been pacified. I beg teacher to pacify my heart-mind.” Daruma said, “Come here with your heart-mind, and I will pacify it for you.” Ancestor said, “My searching for heart-mind is completed, and I’m not able to obtain it!” Daruma said, "I have finished pacifying your heart-mind for you.” Mumon's comment: That broken-toothed old Hindu, Bodhidharma, came thousands of miles over the sea from India to China as if he had something wonderful. He is like raising waves without wind. After he remained years in China he had only one disciple and that one lost his arm and was deformed. Alas, ever since he has had brainless disciples. Why did Bodhidharma come to China? For years monks have discussed this. All the troubles that have followed since Came from that teacher and disciple.kefir55 — 20/03/2021One asked him: what is the word meant? He replied: This district's carrot is 108 kilograms In a sense he has those smugness in rejecting these question seemingly wanted to know the ontology of everything...トイレッタ — 20/03/2021Ah, those types of koans are very common.kefir55 — 20/03/2021Similar to the what you said before, why look for elephant if you are on it[21:59]And then some asked the Buddha what is the origin of the world buddha answered : i dont understand your question[21:59]for them, those question is wrongトイレッタ — 20/03/2021tbh, that is one of the "unanswered questions"kefir55 — 20/03/2021For me, those are puzzling.. and then I heard someone discussing about first you need to know semantic and pragmatic(edited)[22:00]to understand chinese philosophyトイレッタ — 20/03/2021He had a disdain for those sort of questions, thinking that they werent helpful[22:01]I doubt it was more of disdain at the end, but part of the poisoned arrow parable[22:02]Basically the Buddha countered one of those questions with a parable, saying: It's just as if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon, and the man would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a priest, a merchant, or a worker.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know the given name & clan name of the man who wounded me... until I know whether he was tall, medium, or short... until I know whether he was dark, ruddy-brown, or golden-colored... until I know his home village, town, or city... until I know whether the bow with which I was wounded was a long bow or a crossbow... until I know whether the bowstring with which I was wounded was fiber, bamboo threads, sinew, hemp, or bark... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was wild or cultivated... until I know whether the feathers of the shaft with which I was wounded were those of a vulture, a stork, a hawk, a peacock, or another bird... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was bound with the sinew of an ox, a water buffalo, a langur, or a monkey.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was that of a common arrow, a curved arrow, a barbed, a calf-toothed, or an oleander arrow.' The man would die and those things would still remain unknown to him.kefir55 — 20/03/2021Yes that oneトイレッタ — 20/03/2021Metaphysical speculation does not truth make[22:03]"Whether the world is finite or infinite, limited or unlimited, the problem of your liberation remains the same." -The Buddhakefir55 — 20/03/2021But it is really interesting that western philosophy would try to come up with some explanation like aristotle's unmoved moverトイレッタ — 20/03/2021eh, the west did have pyrrhokefir55 — 20/03/2021(not a cheap shot to western metaphysics tho)トイレッタ — 20/03/2021altho he was influenced by buddhism[22:05]western metaphysics is fine, but i mean[22:06]when u get to the point of aquinas declaring that time is not made out of instances in time.... perhaps take a step back?kefir55 — 20/03/2021why he said that?[22:07]is that because of religious concernトイレッタ — 20/03/2021No he was trying to jump out of Zeno's paradoxeskefir55 — 20/03/2021like reconcile man's agency with god's willトイレッタ — 20/03/2021But fell into a larger hole....[22:08]Basically guy thinks he has bigger head than he actually haskefir55 — 20/03/2021So he is not like Kant trying to prove man has the ability to start a new causal chain?[22:09]i doubt maybe he has religious reason behind his reasoningトイレッタ — 20/03/2021No, he is making a metaphysical conclusion to prove that a smart guy like him is obviously too smart for Zeno's paradoxes[22:10]"Instants are not parts of time, for time is not made up of instants any more than a magnitude is made of points, as we have already proved. Hence it does not follow that a thing is not in motion in a given time, just because it is not in motion in any instant of that time."[22:11]If instants are not part of time.... how can it not be in motion in any instant of that time... I dont understand, maybe i am too small brain[22:11]Needless to say Aquinas is not very well-known for his commentary on Aristotle physics...kefir55 — 20/03/2021I read some about the time concept of Augustine, Nietsczhe, Heidegger, Aquinas, Aristotle[22:14]let me find it tookefir55 — 20/03/2021That there could be an activity that has its end in itseH and therefore can be understood outside the means-end category never enters Thomas' considerations. For him, "every agent acts for an end . . . the principle of this motion lies in the end. Hence it is that the art, which is concerned with the end, by its command moves the art which is concerned with the means; just as the art of sailing commands the art of shipbullding."[22:39]They all have their own time speculation (I read from Arendt's The Life of the Mind)[22:42]But this seeming spatiality of a temporal phenomenon is an error, caused by the metaphors we traditionally use in terminology dealing with the phenomenon of Time. As Bergson first discovered, they are all terms "borrowed from spatial language. If we want to reflect on time, it is space that responds." Thus duration is always expressed as extension," and the past is understood as something lying behind us, the future as lying somewhere ahead of us.@kefir55> That there could be an activity that has its end in itseH and therefore can be understood outside the means-end category never enters Thomas' considerations. For him, "every agent acts for an end . . . the principle of this motion lies in the end. Hence it is that the art, which is concerned with the end, by its command moves the art which is concerned with the means; just as the art of sailing commands the art of shipbullding."トイレッタ — 20/03/2021Means-end is very important for Christians.@kefir55> But this seeming spatiality of a temporal phenomenon is an error, caused by the metaphors we traditionally use in terminology dealing with the phenomenon of Time. As Bergson first discovered, they are all terms "borrowed from spatial language. If we want to reflect on time, it is space that responds." Thus duration is always expressed as extension," and the past is understood as something lying behind us, the future as lying somewhere ahead of us.トイレッタ — 20/03/2021And neither the past, nor the future, is us per sekefir55 — 20/03/2021They have wacked philosophical speculation\ (even if it could be a good resource for future generation)(edited)[23:10]especially in the era of German Idealism[23:10]esp. Hegel[23:11]Almost unfettered creative freedom (to use our buzzword)[23:13]I wonder what would their philosophical speculation be like if they live in this era
It's fine to speculate, but looking at it all, there is a certain.... "beauty" in that creation process, be they the products of suffering, or the "simple" elucidations of looking at the world around us. In Zen there is a koan abt this: Sôzan asked Elder Toku, “'The true Dharma-body of Buddha is like the empty sky.It manifests its form corresponding to things –just like the moon on the water.' How do you explain the principle of this corresponding?” Toku said, “It is like a donkey looking into a well.” Sôzan said, “You put it in a nice way, but you were able to say only eighty percent.” Toku said, “How about you, Master?” Sôzan said, “It is like a well looking at a donkey.” The donkey looks into the well, the well looks at the donkey. Wisdom embraces all, without anything outside it; Purity prevails, with excessive abundance. Who can deliver the seal behind the elbow? No books are stocked in the entire house. With no thread in the loom the shuttle does the work, Beautiful patterns, vertical and horizontal, With exquisite designs, appearing of themselves.(edited)[00:16]The German Idealism that is, let's say "created", are they not products of people who live and are not merely the scribbles upon a page? Perhaps to even say this is to resort to humanism, but is it not much easier to deal with humans than to deal with, say, God?kefir55 — Yesterday at 00:33But then a lot of ink spilled just to deal with the textual analysis without looking at them with the huge historical context.. But then if you interpret every philosophy under its historical context, are we making the mistake of assuming the past with the present, and hence diminishing the insights they might have?[00:34]So I am torn on that...トイレッタ — Yesterday at 02:11I wasnt talking much abt that. I was thinking more abt thinking abt philosophy as a representation of a "world", manifesting and corresponding to things.[02:12]As for the interpretation of philosophy textually or historically.... why cant we do both? Or perhaps, even include the fact that the ink was spilled by humans?kefir55 — Yesterday at 03:26Agreed
What, really, is the difference between a "path" and a "belief"? Take for example, the Eastern religions. The Buddhists have the Noble Eightfold Path, the Tao has the Tao (literally meaning "Way"), the Hindus have the Yogas (Karma Yoga (path of action), Bhakti Yoga (path of devotion), Jnana Yoga (path of knowledge), etc.). It also happens that the Eastern religions have many schools that do not necessarily exist in extreme antagonism to each other on religious grounds (politics will always be a factor between schools/sects). The common layman even in an Asian country may not recognise the difference all that much. Looking towards the Abrahamic religions, they appear to be more cemented upon beliefs, whereby it is dogma that distinguishes schools and the content of the beliefs that results in distinguishment from different schools/sects. From the very beginning of anathema and declaring heresies, what that results are dogmatic differences that are very hard to bridge. It also happens that the different schools/sects are always antagonistic to each other, even escalating often to that of violence. (Wars of religion, catholics vs protestants, etc.) Also, the differences of Catholics and Protestants and the other schools are quite prominent and sometimes even exaggerated. What then really differentiates these two approaches? One might say that both has a bit of each: no religion ever exists without beliefs, and even in Abrahamic paths there is a form of "laws" or morale code that sets a certain "path". Perhaps what that may be different here is a "progress of time". In these paths, one continuously acquaints oneself more and more with the "general" flow and growth of a person. To "stray from the path" is not stemming from the action of the instantaneous moment of time, but from a change in "orientation". To compare with the "beliefs", there appears to be "fixed" moments, i.e a moment of salvation, etc. Focus is placed upon that event past or future.[13:10]Hence consider the Abrahamic sin, posited as events frozen in instants for which a "payback" in terms of repent, forgiveness, etc. has to be achieved, and this seemingly tends towards the recuperance of a deficit, and results in a 0-sum game. It is like a.... ECG curve, going up and down. Karma of the Dharmic religions operates differently, in that since the cause and effects are never "set in stone" nor do they merely "mete out" in isolation, what that exists appears more of a... "web", move but a singular point and the whole web moves in unision, an action has "echoes" that transcend time.[13:13]For one to that "belief" to exist, there has to be a continuous investment without compromise in it, or else it sways into dogmatic differentiation. For a "path" to exist, it too has to be continuously invested. But the belief puts it "right here", a "path" puts it "there". But how can this account for the differences of the "progress of time"?[13:15]Perhaps consider a mountain analogy: a belief puts one directly below the peak, and the "verticality" of it is the investment required, and due to its impracticality there is always going to be a difference in that peak and oneself, so that investment is really a sink. But with "paths" as those leading up to the peak, there also has to be a "horizontality", that which is acheived in time towards a peak, so that investment results towards that (albeit also with much difficulty and time). Take Christ: he was the Son of God since before He was born. But the old Indian (Gautama) was not always a Buddha.
"Man made in the image of God"... and then it led to endless debate to reconcile our innate sense of free will and then God's will, and then it extended to the debate on the evil and good (Who willed Evil to happen). For me, this process is interesting.
Hence, when we come to Paul, the accent shifts entirely from doing to believing, from the outward man living in a world of appearances (himself an appearance among appearances and therefore subject to semblance and illusion) to an inwardness which by definition never unequivocally manifests itself and can be scrutiuized only by a God who also never appears unequivocally.
トイレッタ — Yesterday at 14:55
That accent shift is significant: many of the Eastern religions, particularly the Dharmic ones, stress the differences of the illusory and the real. That "path" makes some sense in terms of this "doing". The "belief" however, seems to be inward in a perverse fashion: Man's inner nature is subject to the most external force possible, that of God.
God never manifests "inwardly", I posit. Congregation is key to the Christians.
The confession too is committed between one and a pastor, an ordained who is initiated.
kefir55 — Yesterday at 14:56
Paul would said because Jesus's demand of doing (in Old Testament) is too overwhelming
Then he introduced this concept of eternal self through salvation to move into kingdoms of god when the world ended(edited)
トイレッタ — Yesterday at 14:57
>a man who is deemed perfect in every way demands you to be like him >its too overwhelming for man gee i wonder...
kefir55 — Yesterday at 14:57
The impossibility to be a Perfect Man whipped you into a BETTER MAN
トイレッタ — Yesterday at 14:58
The "better man" will always be lesser.(edited)
Hence what that is created is a hole, digging itself deeper with the ever-continuing investment, as a man's efforts sweat more vulgarity in the chastity of perfection
why else is the "baptism at birth" the apex of purity?
Purity exemplified through the infant of Jesus?
The precise moment where all is wiped clear.
kefir55 — Yesterday at 15:00
It is a hole in the beginning
トイレッタ — Yesterday at 15:01
That is more or less agreed upon across religions.
kefir55 — Yesterday at 15:01
A trap that set off more inquiries
トイレッタ — Yesterday at 15:01
The question is, what of it?
kefir55 — Yesterday at 15:02
Probability to be a good person with your innate sense? Like Job?(edited)
トイレッタ — Yesterday at 15:03
As if there is always a "true" innate: then what of internal conflict?
Is that an innate sense that is the conflict itself? An innate pitched against another? A corruption?
It would be possible, to have an innate that is always "clear". But they tend to be called "simple-minded".
kefir55 — Yesterday at 15:03
It is a conflict always
トイレッタ — Yesterday at 15:05
If it is a conflict, what determines the victor? If it is one's own discernment, then the innate is not "good", since one can choose either (and free will has to come into place here). If it is not, then who decides?
But then there is another question: how is there a "discernment" separate from these two opposing forces?
they are all innate or are they not?
kefir55 — Yesterday at 15:05
I should have quotation mark "innate"
I am not saying we have a true innate sense like an organ that independent of all the flux
トイレッタ — Yesterday at 15:08
If there is conflict, which side do we choose? When we choose one side, do we automatically discredit a part of it for another? Or perhaps it now changes the dialectic again, that an internal decision just "decides" the discernment of innate vs that which is external? Or is the conflict that exists not one that exists "innately", but if so then why is it a conflict internally? Even the "flux" is hinted to be external: but decision rests like a hair resting on a pin.(edited)
But.... truthfully, none of these questions compare than to take a good look yourself....
kefir55 — Yesterday at 15:11
In the book I read, Arendt's The life of mind, she tried to answer your questions. She surveyed about how philosophers see about the conflict within one self. Is it about conflict between will and intellect, or is it about the faculty of Judgement we have (acquired from others?)
トイレッタ — Yesterday at 15:12
I think it is multi-faceted, altho the misanthropist me will devolve it into a matter of "selfish introspection".
The "will" or the "intellect" will be as according to what "I see fit".
kefir55 — Yesterday at 15:15
Although the past philosophers, when they tried to figure out when our decision flows from, are fixated into reconcile "this or that created the space of decision-making" with the external authority, be it God, their pressupposed physical law (bad science?), or their time-concept stemmed from their own political ideal (Hegel, Heidegger..).
トイレッタ — Yesterday at 15:15
Meta-analysis: when reading the different opinions, what discerns? I say that is where the decision flows from.
But perhaps that is only the clearest image of the fog I can provide. Still, if it is a fog it is a fog.
kefir55 — Yesterday at 15:17
トイレッタ — Yesterday at 15:17
Why, are words going to put it even clearer?
kefir55 — Yesterday at 15:18
Then what is metaphor?
Words invoke imagery
Is true picture gave power to the words through association? Or the words created the imagery through playing on our imagination
トイレッタ — Yesterday at 15:19
This is ignoring the fact that sometimes people just would fail to comprehend the metaphor.
Or perhaps it is us who want to impose our own image....
Words be the tool, but perhaps we are happy as long as the congregation nods their heads sheepishly.
@トイレッタWhy, are words going to put it even clearer?
kefir55 — Yesterday at 15:20
why do you think like this? Is there some influences you can recommend?
is it like those poetic x Heidegger?
@kefir55why do you think like this? Is there some influences you can recommend?
トイレッタ — Yesterday at 15:21
I think this part comes from influence from Zen, which is very much anti-"words" in a sense.
kefir55 — Yesterday at 15:23
i think western philosophers also gone into question the problem of words in philosophical inquiry
it goes into direction of poetic appraisal,... aestheticatization of words/sentences for _leaving a blank pretentiously?(edited)
トイレッタ — Yesterday at 15:26
If a blank is pretentious, is silence pretentious? Or how about a pause in music...? Is there any point where really there is nothing in that trains of thought? Or are they simply leaving a space for our own introspection and expression of something, despite already set the stage, the actors and the props? Is that then manipulation of the stone to want to form a statue from itself, or simply letting the uneeded bits fall off?
Or perhaps we are pretentious in thinking that there is anything expected but oneself, whatever it may be? Perhaps they exist as a "poke" towards one's own thinking of oneself from oneself? Perhaps the silence is an indication like tempo in music, to just tell us shut up of what we think and just.... watch, listen.(edited)
kefir55 — Yesterday at 15:29
Sometimes I felt like they are trying to induce expression of something, with the stage, the actors and the props already set, and let ourselves to bring out the conclusion he would have hoped for
It's really interesting to talk to and/or be around people who have experienced shit similar to what you have but not the same, because on one hand you want to relate (because of course you do, because we all want to relate, because there is love for one another intrinsic to our soul/species-essence.) But then the more you learn about one another's experiences the more you realise they no longer want to relate, because they no longer see you as one of their kind. They can Empathize or Sympathize, for sure, but that's categorically different. Because empathy and sympathy are morally loaded processes in a way that simple recognition of the self through another ain’t; you can express sympathy out of a sense of duty - heck, I’d even say it’s maybe usually right to do that - but you can't express Identification. Because identification is not a kindness and more surely, than that it ain’t a social norm. In fact, I think some on this blue webbed site here have described it as (quote) mortifying. But this puts both participants in this interaction in, uh, a quandary. Because now the relation taking place is no longer - if you'll pardon the loaded term - "natural". The care one has for one's fellow persons is altogether different from the care one has for one's fellows per se. The first is basically voluntary, the second basically Isn't. It's more nuanced than that, but i do think that's what it comes down to in the last case. And that brings us to a third sort of caring which is - and I hope this is uncontroversial - the hardest one, or at least the most complex. And that is of course relating to the Other as such, a connection borne of difference rather than formed in spite of it. I'm kind of spitballing here but my guess is that a big part of the difficulty here is intrinsic and not just social conditioning. Because to care for the Other as such is to, uh, is to recognise one's own incompleteness, to recognize one's own otherness. One's own identity as a Human rather than the Human. Nobody thinks of their experience as complete until they're asked to call it fundamentally, permanently, and essentially incomplete. It's one thing to say “Obviously I Don't Know Everything” but it's another altogether to say, them, “...and I must live and love and Act in the world with the knowledge that I am partial.” (Pun intended.) We're all fragments of a panoply, y’know? Chips off the old block. Whether that's random selection or design doesn't matter in this case, cos - cos the thing here, the big thing that it all boils down to, is that we all come from the same place but we're not all the same anymore. That's a pretty heavy fact. It's also definitely a fact in just a8out every ontological framework out there. Were I wiser and slash or less crazy this'd be the part where i'd drop a satisfying moral punchline but, alas, no. I’m fresh out of those. I’m just as clueless as you, dear reader. Shit sucks. What else can you do, then, but Hope.
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psych. im not leavin this in the tags. it's good actually.
#it's really interesting to talk to and/or be around people who have experienced shit similar to what you have but not the same#because on one hand you want to relate because of course you do. because we all want to relate.#because there is love for one another intrinsic to our soul/species-essence. but then the more you learn about one another's experiences the more you realise #they no longer want to relate 8ecause they no longer see you as one of their kind. they can Empathize or Sympathize for sure but that's categorically different #8ecause empathy and sympathy are morally loaded processes in a way that simple recognition of the self through another 8nt #you can express sympathy out of a sense of duty. heck. id even say its maybe usually right to do that. #but you can't express Identification. because identification is not a kindness and more surely than that it 8nt a social norm #in fact i think some on this blue webbed site here have described it as quote mortifying #but this puts both participants in this interaction in a. uh. quandary. because now the relation taking place is no longer - if you'll pardon the loaded term - "natural". #the care one has for one's fellow persons is altogether different from the care one has for one's fellows *per se* #the first is basically voluntary. the second basically Isn't. #it's more nuanced than that but i do think that's what it comes down to in the last last case #and that brings us to a third sort of caring which is - and i hope this is uncontroversial - the hardest one #or at least the most complex. and that is of course relating to the Other as such. a connection borne of difference rather than formed in spite of it #i'm kind of spitballing here but my guess is that a 8ig part of the difficulty here is intrinsic and not just social conditioning. #because to care for the Other as such is to. uh. is to recognise one's own incompleteness. is to recognize one's own otherness #one's own identity as A Human rather than The Human #no8ody thinks of their experience as complete until they're asked to call it fundamentally. permanently. essentially. incomplete. #it's one thing to say Obviously I Don't Know Everything 8ut it's another altogether to say #then #'and i must live and love and Act in the world with the knowledge that I am partial #pun intended #we're all fragments of a panoply. yknow. chips off the old block. whether that's random selection or design doesn't matter in this case cos #cos the thing here. the big thing that it all boils down to is that we all come from the same place but we're not all the same anymore. #that's a pretty heavy fact. it's also definitely a fact in just a8out every ontological framework out there. #if i were wiser and slash or less crazy this'd be the part where i'd drop a satisfying moral punchline but #alas; no. im fresh out of those. im just as clueless as you - dear reader. #shit sucks. #what else can ya do then but Hope.
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2015 film-essay edited from the following material (as per the guidelines of my undergraduate module)
Le Cinema à Vapeur, compilation of films by the Lumière brothers (André S. Labarthe, 1995)
Une Séance Méliès, compilation of films by Georges Méliès (Jacques Meny, 1997)
North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959)
Mean Streets (Martin Scorsese, 1973)
Grave of the Fireflies (Isao Takahata, 1988)
The Piano (Jane Campion, 1993)
Monsoon Wedding (Mira Nair, 2001)
Transcript available after this essay.
Audiovisual Criticism: reflective disclosure
My Audiovisual Criticism film-essay is called reflective disclosure, as it is an experimentation on film’s phenomenological nature. An initial approach to this piece was inspired by Edward S. Small’s enquiry: “could images themselves provide high level cognitive functions, functions that could bypass the potentially muddy mediation of linguistic signs?” (1994: 6). Mixing elements of direct and written theory, I based my research on some fragments of the footage that was available to us (module guidelines), disregarding any narrative continuity. The progress and interpretations of this experiment are consigned in written form, hence completing the circle of direct and written theory. I will analyse my research on the notion of filmic experience, and how these experiments led me to insightful discoveries on disclosure and world experiencing through filmic language. These notions stem from phenomenology, and in particular Martin Heidegger’s works— the terminology used here takes his research as a point of reference. An individual’s experience of what is happening in the world, their acknowledgement of what the world discloses can be understood as world experiencing. My permanent search of disclosure is thus an application of ‘aletheia’, or ‘the state of becoming non-hidden, the opening towards the world’, which in turn feeds back into our world experiencing.
After defining my theme in phenomenology, I started to build my piece by using physical fragments to develop new “semiological value” (Roland Barthes, 1972: 136)— I use the term ‘physical fragments’ to encompass video, audio, stills, and words that I extracted from films and readings. I followed my instinctual fascination with a few close-ups and scenes, and soon remarked that similarities were appearing across the films. I isolated and regrouped those fragments, breaking any narrative flow they belonged in: I could now work with the haunted look on a face, the reaching hands, the playful gaze, the flow of people, or the busy streets. With the same process as Fabrice Mathieu’s In the Shadow (2011), I collected visual fragments that became connected in the light of my experiment. I started to assemble the clips and words through superimposition in a palimpsest collage, creating ‘clusters of meaning’. Small explains that:
[Articulation] attends to those joints that constitute any connected parts—such as the phonemes of speech […]. And cinesemiotics was to find some such articulation in the system of motions pictures precisely where Eisenstein had found it decades before—within the montaged interstices that are the foundation of Metz’s grande syntagmatique. (1994: 9)
Black screens were useful to frame my ‘clusters’ and articulate meaning, which I later seamed with audio fragments. Through this collage, film semiotics revealed themselves to me— the phenomenological nature of my theme put the state of experiencing in focus, revealing itself in the fragments I selected, therefore shifting the visuals’ original meaning to an iconographical one. As Jean Epstein says, “[a close-up] has the air of an idea” (1988: 239). My fascination with some close-ups (or reframing of fragments on a detail) was motivated by this intimacy and raw feeling they produce. This iconographic language was made meaningful by the contrast and effect between the fragments (flashing, dissolving, superimposed, reframed), the resulting friction bringing them to disclosure: “each sign or symbol articulates one’s phenomenology in a distinct manner […]” (Small, 1994: 8).
With cinesemiotics and a sense of experiencing starting to disclose itself on the screen, I explored the possibilities montage gave me. It allowed for more depth to the “ideological substance” (Barthes, 1972: 136) of my piece, which was quickly defining itself as my interpretation of the fragments’ new meaning influenced my actions. Following Jean-Luc Godard’s All the (hi)stories (1998), I gained depth through a non-linear, vertical montage. It allowed a polyphony of voices and sounds to guide the audience through this reflective experiencing my piece was starting to show. Walter Murch explains that:
The tension produced by the metaphoric distance between sound and image serves somewhat the same purpose, creatively, as the perceptual tension produced by the physical distance between our two eyes […]. The brain is not content with this close duality and searches for something that would resolve and unify those differences. And it finds it in the concept of depth. (1994: xx)
This concept of ‘metaphorical distance’, coincidentally, translated itself several times in my piece. I used spoken-word passages in French (from the Lumière footage’s voiceover) as a link unifying the several segments of my piece— their first purpose was to resonate with the images on the screen, but they eventually added some distance between their theoretical nature and the images’ visual processing. Through this depth, both generated new interpretations of each other (e.g. “the camera gaze” coinciding with an extreme close-up of half-hidden eyes). In the last segment of my piece, the rail tracks become double as if the viewers’ eyes cross, reminiscent of the focus jump between depths of meaning— the original, the connotative, the reflection on new possibilities offered by the audiovisual medium, the audiovisual self-reflection on ourselves… The simultaneous elements on screen are made sense of in our mind, corresponding to Barthes’ theory that “concept, […] appears in global fashion, it is a kind of nebula, the condensation, more or less hazy, of a certain knowledge. Its elements are linked by associative relations: it is supported [by a depth, its] mode of presence is memorial” (1972: 120-121). The ‘physical fragments’ together became fragments of the self, a glimpse into the world experiencing I was researching in cinema; the way they work together making apparent the concept of disclosure and synchronicity. Film reveals itself as a language of signs and an experiencing that are disclosed through montage: “its major function is […] to theorize upon its own substance by reflecting back on its own intrinsic semiotic system(s)” (Small, 1994: 5).
After my initial experimentations on film phenomenology, I reflected upon which notions in particular were governing my reasoning. I thus concentrated my efforts on making abstract concepts such as disclosure and synchronicity (in our world experiencing) visible. This notion of synchronicity, which became visible through editing, is inspired from Carl Jung’s work. Joseph Cambray qualified this synchronicity as:
Disparate elements without apparent connection [brought] together or juxtaposed in a manner that tends to shock or surprise the mind, rendering it open to new possibilities, for a broadening of the view of the world, offering a glimpse of the interconnected fabric of the universe. (2009: 31)
Through my initial isolation, classification and then superimposition of acausally related visuals, some recurrences of ‘meaningful coincidences’ started to manifest— and this regardless of temporal or spatial origins. I carried on interconnecting these frameworks of (synchronicity, disclosure, world experiencing) to see what they could generate while they melded. Direct theory being reflective in nature, I pushed it towards the limits of self-reflectivity through mythical layers of meaning (as explained by Barthes):
In myth there are two semiological systems, one of which is staggered in relation to the other: a linguistic system, the language (or the modes of representation which are assimilated to it), which I shall call the language-object, because it is the language which myth gets hold of in order to build its own system; and myth itself, which I shall call metalanguage, because it is a second language, in which one speaks about the first. (1972: 113-114)
I experimented on the cinematic language-object (through the search for new semiological value) and the cinematic metalanguage (through the depth in ideological substance) thus letting me access two other planes of meaning. The first one concerns the possibilities of audiovisual thinking, which in turn brings a second disclosure: how humanity indexes its world experiencing, giving filmmaking the power to shape and catalyse the collective unconscious. Links and similarities reveal themselves through the layering of different times and spaces, for both fictional and non-fictional film fragments: it is proof of the synchronicity between each individual’s world experiencing, as well as a direct opening in humanity’s organisation of memories (collective unconscious). Some fragments are deeply lodged in there, be it the plane chase scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s North By Northwest (1959) or the intimacy of a hundred faces’ layered close-ups. The possibilities offered by audiovisual thinking are still being experimented on. It is logical to expect new insights from another type of thinking when researching a subject— as Small indicates, “Eisenstein […] began his writings with this very vision, his quest for a cinematographic analogue to philosophical discourse” (Small, 1994: 5). Audiovisual thinking, and experimental films as ‘direct theory’ provide a new take on the ontological questions experiencing brings out, thus most self-reflectively disclosing new answers. This film-essay could be considered as an audiovisual form which frames the transformations of materials when they undergo various treatments, or how the mind processes and associates audiovisual information: either while putting together the film-essay; or, also, as a self-reflection on humanity’s world experiencing (governed by the recorded synchronicity transcending time and space), then humanity’s processing of memories into the collective unconscious.
To conclude, redacting this piece completed the film’s movement towards self-reflection: the use of a mimetic criticism to reflect on film experiencing and disclosure, mirroring the audience’s own world experiencing. Very experimental but nonetheless insightful, this Audiovisual Criticism piece helped me put abstract theories into concrete applications. As Small explains, “the Greek ethymology for theory is, after all, hardly intrinsic to verbal discourse: theoria, ‘a looking at’” (1994: 6). By coming back to Ancient Greek principles such as those reused in phenomenology (disclosure or ‘aletheia’), the emphasis on visual and aural perception were able to, without a doubt, broaden my understanding of film’s nature.
Barthes, Roland, (1972) Mythologies, Translated from French by Lavers, Annette, New York: The Noonday Press (first published: 1957)
Cambray, Joseph, (2009) Synchronicity: nature and psyche in an interconnected universe, USA: Texas A&M University Press
Epstein, Jean, (1988) “Magnification” from Abel, Richard French film theory and criticism: a history/anthology, 1907-1939, Vol. 1, 1097-1929 pp. 235-241, Princetown, N.J: Princetown University Press
Murch, Walter, (1994) “Foreword” from Chion, Michel; edited and translated by
Gorbman, Claudia, Audio-vision: sound on screen pp. vii-xxiv, Chichester: Columbia University Press
Small, Edward S, (1994) “Experimental Film/Video as Direct Theory” from Small, Edward S, Direct Theory: experimental film/video as major genre pp. 1-11, Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press
Mathieu, Fabrice, (2011) Dans l’ombre / In the Shadow, [Vimeo] Available at: http://vimeo.com/23200726 , last accessed 15/07/2014
Toutes les histoires [All the (hi)stories], (1998) Directed by Godard, Jean-Luc, [DVD]
North by Northwest, (1959) Directed by Hitchcock, Alfred, [DVD]
Translated transcript of the French footage
00:03 — The image comes into life.
00:33 — Randomness.
Yes. Randomness and reality. Are they more talented than all of the world’s filmmakers?
00:41 • RANDOMNESS
00:44 — This gaze that we call a camera-gaze, this gaze is felt as a paradox of perception. A semantic incongruity that thwarts the operator’s strategy and the collaborative discipline of the mise-en-scène. As if a speck of reality had suddenly escaped from the centrifugal force that ensures its cohesion.
01:03 • TIME
01:33 — Because intimates wander in time.
01:38 • SPACE
02:13 — To travel back in time and approach the founding myths, the filmmaker borrows from theatre its art of the fake and its naive clichés.
03:03 — Cinema altered us.
03:16 — These animated photographs hardly have time to surprise us that they then charge themselves with a past they ignored. In truth we look with our ears, and we listen with our memory.
03:39 — Our eyes have come back from everything. Each of these images awaken multitudes in the same way a train now always conceals another, which conceals another… Also, didn’t the magnetic snow that accompanies us in our sleep get the best of the back nothingness from which arose the first films of the Lumière cinematograph?
Doesn't saying liberalism ignores class conflict ignore liberal Socialist figures like Carlo Rosselli and Brett Heinz?
I won’t speak about Brett’s beliefs in specific because that’s tacky, though I suspect what I’m about to write will make our disagreements clear. But:
Answer 1) Sure, but liberal socialism isn’t a substantial force within liberalism. Like, most societies today are not organized around “liberal socialist” principles; the thing I was speaking on was liberalism as the organizational principles and prevailing worldview of global capitalism.
Answer 2) I don’t think liberalism ignores class conflict, per se. I think such a thing would be basically impossible for any modern political ideology or organization. In fact, liberalism is very obviously quite anxious about such conflict, and has been for centuries. For example, here’s late-blooming liberal socialist John Stuart Mill, in his Considerations on Representative Government (1861).
“Of the Infirmities and Dangers to Which Representative Government is Liable”:
In all countries there is a majority of poor, a minority who, in contradistinction, may be called rich. Between these two classes, on many questions, there is complete opposition of apparent interest. We will suppose the majority sufficiently intelligent to be aware that it is not for their advantage to weaken the security of property, and that it would be weakened by any act of arbitrary spoliation. But is there not a considerable danger lest they should throw upon the possessors of what is called realised property, and upon the larger incomes, an unfair share, or even the whole, of the burden of taxation; and having done so, add to the amount without scruple, expending the proceeds in modes supposed to conduce to the profit and advantage of the labouring class?
(Sidebar: At least part of Mill’s proposed solution to this “problem” was to give increased political and electoral power to the “better educated.”)
Instead, my view is that liberalism attempts to obfuscate and paper over class conflict through several mechanisms, most notably nationalism, the state, and the legal contract (or the law more broadly). Since liberal socialists are not really opposed to any of those things, I think it would be fair to say that they are not making an especially radical break with that quality of liberal thought and practice.
Answer 3) I personally think that the concept of “liberal socialism” is mostly nonsense beyond like, a historical descriptor of a strain of thought, and that those who are now known as “liberal socialists” are not exempt from the obfuscation of class conflict. There’s Mill, who essentially adopted socialist language as a way of solving the problem I quoted above. There’s also Rosselli, who you mentioned, whose defining qualities are contrarianism towards the Comintern and exceptionally romanticized thinking about the liberal bourgeoisie. (Ironically, this puts him in greater continuity with vulgar “worldview Marxism” than he would realize.) And there’s Rawls, who rarely talks about class conflict and whose methods for changing society are exhausted by adding new inheritance laws to the U.S. Constitution and invading countries that we don’t like. We don’t like him around here.
(FWIW I think Rosselli is one of the more respectable of this bunch, as both an anti-fascist and as someone who has a comparatively more critical attitude towards how liberalism turned out.)
In other words, for the most part I think "liberal socialists” are just liberals who define both “socialism” and “liberalism” in highly idiosyncratic ways. This is part of what makes liberalism effective. It has just enough content and gaps to readily absorb ideas and discourses from other political philosophies while still remaining distinctly “liberal,” and in power, it has the ability to make other worldviews either play on its turf (money, state, positive law) or remain largely irrelevant.
It’s worth noting that Rosselli’s account of liberal socialism is essentially “socialism, but with liberal values like freedom and equality!” Socialism gives substance to liberalism’s “procedural” values. See Liberal Socialism (1930):
(Sidebar: Most of the historical picture here is patently false.)
Now on the surface level, there’s anything inherently objectionable about the idea of socialism (as an ideology and a movement) being a descendant of liberalism; this seems fairly obvious, even for most strains of Marxism and anarchism.
But Rosselli’s formulation presumes 1) that liberalism as an “ideal” is in some way meaningfully committed to freedom and equality, which it has not, in my view, and 2) that liberalism - again, the ideal - “owns” those values, that they are in some way original to liberalism (and that they are somehow more constitutive of liberalism’s identity than, say, markets). That’s why Rosselli sets himself up as an anti-Marxist: his view is that Marxism is inherently incompatible with the “liberal values” that he thinks are important. This is also Charles Mills’ view, and I think it’s untenable for a couple different reasons.
I think like any worldview, liberalism is made up of:
an axiology (various value commitments to individual pursuit of the Good, protection of rights, “””””consensual””””” governance),
a social ontology (usually atomized & self-interested individuals who are of equal moral personhood),
a theory of history (progress/accumulation),
a political methodology (reform through positive law, basic necessity of the state-form),
and an economic worldview (private property is a positive right, and markets and money are the most effective available force for allocating resources and preserving civilization).
[Credit to Mills for part of this framework.]
So like, I don’t think it actually makes sense to say that committing to some portions of that axiology or social ontology (those that emphasize individual freedom and self-actualization, and equal moral personhood) means that you’re doing a “liberal” form of socialism. Many Marxists and anarchists are committed to those values and are very obviously not liberals, or even “liberal socialists” - what renders these things distinct is the political methodology and economic worldview!
And if you’re committing to all portions of the liberal worldview, then I guess that’s fine, but at that point it seems like you’re just doing liberalism, and I’m not sure what socialism has to do with it.
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“Love is the Argument (from PIE root *arg-’to shine’), the true gold that, outshining all other arguments, cannot be proven or denied, bought or sold, by any silver. It’s lesson is not a question of doctrine, but of waking up from oneself, of coming to life, as per the Universal Message: ‘I have come not to teach but to awaken. Understand therefore that I lay down no precepts [...]. You have not to renounce anything but your own self. It is as simple as that, though found to be almost impossible.’ - C.B. Purdom, The God Man (pp. 343-4)
Almost. Therefore, rather than speak to the question of will in the sense of the how--and how frequently deceptive and self-deluding is the will of the person asking the ‘how’!--I will just say a few words about this almost as the space for the ‘cultivation of the will’ in the civic terms by Boris Ondreička (’Can we cultivate a will? Can we cultivate a will of civic environment? QUESTION OF WILL wants to search for productive ontologies before the world degenerates to an urgency of reparative oncologies’). Specifically, because mind touches truth only by stripping away it’s falsehoods, and because in social matters this means above all seeing through one’s personal falseness, I will speak to the issue of spiritual barreness, the lack of ‘the inward beauty of spontaneous love’ as the desert ground where, precisely in the space of the manifest impossibility of the task, will may be seeded into love’s garden. Since love is not amenable to inner or outer force, the image of planting in desolate ground is a properly hopeless figure for this order of cultivation of which, because it clearly will not work, just might work in the right way, that is, spontanenously.
- On The Darkness Of The Will, Nicola Masciandaro
“The Whim Of Reality: On The Question Of The Will :28-9″
CHAPTER 1: INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY
ICT- is the technology required for information processing, in particular, the use of electronic computers, communication devices and software applications to convert, store, protect, process,transmitt and retrieve information from anywhere, anytime.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (Al)
-Artificial Intelligence or AI is an area or branch in computer science which highlights the creation of intelligent machines that work or react like humans. To simply say, intelligent machines that mimics human actions.
-is also called as machine intelligence.
LESSON 2:ONLINE,SYSTEM,FUNCTION AND PLATFORMS
ONLINE SYSTEM- are open from any PC anyplace where there is an Internet association. This implies you can get to and deal with your business anyplace on the planet with no product.
COMMON ONLINE PLATFORMS
1. SOCIAL MEDAI PLATFORM
-means a mobile and/or internet-based platform used and controlled by a Seller or any of its Affiliates for the exclusive purpose of promoting the Business, including any profiles or accounts on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, Snapchat, and YouTube, in each case, to the extent exclusively related to the Business.
2. E-COMMERCE PLATFORM
-is a software application that allows online businesses to manage their website, marketing, sales, and operations.
3. ONLINE LEARNING PLATFORM
- is an integrated set of interactive online services that provide trainers, learners, and others involved in education with information, tools and resources to support and enhance education delivery and management.
4. ONLINE VIDEO PLATFORM
-provided by a video hosting service, enables users to upload, convert, store and play back video content on the Internet, often via a structured, large-scale system that may generate revenue.
•Web 1.0 refers to the first stage of the World Wide Web evolution. Earlier, there were only few content creators in Web 1.0 with the huge majority of users who are consumers of content. Personal web pages were common, consisting mainly of static pages hosted on ISP-run web servers, or on free web hosting services.
In Web 1.0 advertisements on websites while surfing the internet is banned. Also, in Web 1.0, Ofoto is an online digital photography website, on which user could store, share, view and print digital pictures. Web 1.0 is a content delivery network (CDN) which enables to showcase the piece of information on the websites. It can be used as personal websites. It costs to user as per pages viewed. It has directories which enable user to retrieve a particular piece of information.
•It refers the evolution of web utilization and interaction which includes altering the Web into a database. In enables the upgradation of back-end of the web, after a long time of focus on the front-end (Web 2.0 has mainly been about AJAX, tagging, and another front-end user-experience innovation). Web 3.0 is a term which is used to describe many evolutions of web usage and interaction among several paths. In this, data isn’t owned but instead shared, where services show different views for the same web / the same data.The Semantic Web (3.0) promises to establish “the world’s information” in more reasonable way than Google can ever attain with their existing engine schema. This is particularly true from the perspective of machine conception as opposed to human understanding. The Semantic Web necessitates the use of a declarative ontological language like OWL to produce domain-specific ontologies that machines can use to reason about information and make new conclusions, not simply match keywords.
Theology of Primacy and Orthodox Apologetics
Question: Do you have any insights on Orthodox ecclesiology? I feel like a lot of Orthodox apologetics (popularly at least) are essentially anti-Roman Catholic in nature and just assert that we do not believe in "papalism", while skirting over and ignoring what we actually do believe. I am wondering if you have any thoughts regarding issues such as primacy in the Orthodox Church and what exactly makes a council authoritative?
Skip to the bottom for links to my other posts addressing the issues you raise.
Apologetics by its nature will generally be reactionary. Unfortunately, a substantial proportion of apologetic work to this end is poorly informed and argued.
More constructive proposals can be found in the writings of theologians such as +John Zizioulas (Being as Communion, Communion and Otherness, and many other texts), Nicholas Loudovikos (Eucharistic Ontology, Church in the Making, and many others), the two edited volumes Primacy in the Church compiled and edited by John Chryssavgis, and books like Olivier Clement’s You are Peter and the classic The Primacy of Peter put out in the 1960s in response to the opening of the first real dialogues with the Christian West in centuries. However, it should be said that studying constructive theological proposals will sometimes require the Orthodox reader to undergo a paradigm shift where one can strongly disagree with a particular aspect of a proposal without seeing it as a matter of heresy proper. This goes to the heart of the nature of theology itself- whether it is essentially reactionary-.only utilized in response to heresy- or essentially constructive -a divine calling to enter with our whole mind into the mystery of God in Christ.
Such a constructive project undercuts certain popular but mostly wrongheaded ideas about a major division between Orthodox mysticism and Western rationalism, the inadmissibility of Scholasticism as a method of theology (I am not saying that constructive theology is the same thing as Scholasticism, but that the Scholastic tradition extends beyond the West and is not intrinsically an aberration) as opposed to the false conclusions of particular Scholastics, and the popular idea, especially on the Internet, that ecumenism per se is a heresy. I include in this position the idea that “good ecumenism” is restricted to enunciating the mistakes of those communions separated from the historical Orthodox faith and communion.
This rejection of ecumenical dialogue (apart from repeating previously enunciated condemnations) sometimes comes from a sincere and good desire to affirm that truth is objective and that the Orthodox tradition is the unique heirloom of divine Truth preserved in and by Christ’s Church. Yet while contemporary practical ecumenists fall far short of the standard set by giants such as Georges Florovsky, the question of ecumenism in principle cannot be resolved by the shallowness and bureaucratic nature of its practice (as opposed to a theologically rooted ecumenism whose operation belonged to those whose ecclesiastical office were rooted, as it is supposed to be, in the sacramental transmission of the priesthood rather than the creation of a bureaucracy after the pattern of inter-state relations with their embassies, excessive and constant formal courtesies endlessly played up in flowery language, and most of all- an abiding cold distrust ensuring that cooperation is rooted only in the advancement of a temporarily mutual self-interest.
Needless to say, I am not a fan of most practical ecumenism as it is carried out today. But even so, as I have argued elsewhere on this blog, the idea that there are degrees of ecclesiality present through the activity of the Holy Spirit in the sacraments of apostolic succession, Eucharist, and Baptism outside the canonical boundaries of the Orthodox Church is not a new idea formulated by modernists under the influence of the Second Vatican Council, but is an idea with precedent throughout the Middle Ages and among canonized Saints of the Orthodox Church.
My point here is that if one wants to seriously work on this question, one must be open to reading works of theologians within the academy with which one will disagree in part. I disagree with certain aspects of Fr. Schmemann’s liturgical theology, but this does not make him a second Arius whose work is only to be read for the purpose of refutation. If Augustine can appreciatively and extensively cite and develop the biblical commentary and theology of a Donatist like Tychonius, then we can certainly appreciate the theology of canonical theologians without agreeing with everything they say.
Here are relevant discussions of the questions you raise:
On the nature of tradition and authority:
On what makes an Ecumenical Council:
On the primacy of the Bishop of Rome in Orthodox and patristic thought:
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I absolutely LOVED REH!! Please give us all your thoughts about it if you don’t mind! One of my favourite games ever and Markus is my beloved but...man...Heath and Randal...oof...(I do wish Zhang had a route though)
Man, I should replay it before I try to write something coherent—I had so much to say about the way it handles storytelling and uses the player’s expectations to full-throttle them into facing their own bias, own lies, own cowardice in the face, the violence of it, the vengefulness of it, and the harmony and symmetry of the interweaving trinity—three clans, three mentors, three endings each, three secret endings that leave you staring at the screen heart-punched, three dark and anonymous and profound encounters per routes,... and there must be more. I love how the world and story-systems are structured, a sturdy symbolically-pregnant foundation that keeps you grounded while the smoke and mirrors of the premise dissolve into something much more subjective, multi-faceted, extremely thought-provoking. I love how it talks about ideals (or lack thereof) and politics and power without manhandling you into any Manichaean dichotomy, how the game-world doesn’t work for you, around you. I love how the game holds you accountable unflinchingly. No coddling. I love how it handles power-imbalance and consent, too—risky, but good, and harsh and true. Even if you don’t agree with everything the game has to say—about humanity, about culture, about power, about integrity, about need, about the self, about reality, about fiction, it forces you to think about where you stand and to challenge what you haven’t challenged.
I think I played it one year ago or so? Then I monologued for ever (there was wine involved) about meta-writing and perception and whatever the fuck is going on in Markus route because that route is so good from a narrative, stylistic, emotional, ontological, and semiotic standpoint. Then my friends played it. One of them cried a lot about Randall, not gonna lie.
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long feelings post under the cut. if you’re going to try to read it i’d like to know because it is very personal. please like it if you do. it might not be readable at all. it certainly wasn’t written with the intention of being read by anyone other than me.
part 1: eight legs
firstly, an apology. what follows is tangent after tangent after tangent because what this is about is not church or christianity or even about relief from whatever it is people need relief from - it is about unweaving and it is about how i feel. it is mostly about how i feel. so, here i am:
when I am very young and also when I am as old as I am now, I am in church. they are not the same church, but they are the same kind of church. their space was woven intentionally - it is made of a fabric that feels like home to particular kind of person. it did not, and never has felt like home to me.
most recently I was in St. James church in piccadilly, london. I am there because I am friends with someone who is the mentee of someone who is friends with someone or other. and this makes sense because i live uh, nunnery-adjacent. and so, i go, on a Sunday morning as is the custom for these people. and the whole time I was there, I was keenly aware of my kleptoparasitism. there was a web made for people to eat and I first ate the architect and then the food.
after the service (they call them that, they call them church services. you might think the church in that phrase refers to the building but it doesn’t, it refers to the congregation. community is something that is pre-eminently important to these people. that is why when you first attend university you will find a hundred groups with names like ‘Koinonia’ try to proselytize and 9 times out of 10 what these groups are really hiding behind greek words and community spirit is the fact that they too are kleptoparasitic (but more on that later). what exactly is in service of what is anyone’s guess) they announce their upcoming events. lgbt+ group meeting that afternoon, raffles being held to raise money for charity, youth group won’t be in the usual room this week. etc. etc. you know the deal. and of course, because everyone who is at church on a sunday morning is there for something entirely other than the fact that a god they don’t believe in has decreed that they will suffer for all eternity should they fail to properly aggrandize the already almighty creator of the universe who apparently has that special kind of ego that needs to be fed or else will throw a tantrum of apocalyptic proportions, they mill around afterwards and talk. and the talk is never that deep because it’s designed (not consciously you understand, when I say designed I don’t mean to imply that they were the designer or that there was a designer (and no, we won’t discuss the teleological argument for the existence of god in this post)) to be welcoming and there is seldom anything more repulsive than the facile musings of people butchering the nuances of questions that keep you up at night. but it’s not repulsive because they don’t talk about that. they talk about the local cafe and they talk about the weather and they talk about their kid or grandkid who just moved away to study hydrology or abroad as part of a tefl course or whatever it is. and then I go to one of those cafe’s that the older people talk about with my friend and two of the younger people who are of a similar age to me, which, of course, is rare in this kind of church because it’s a traditionally musing type of institution and people my age tend more to be drawn to the a-musing. i think that typology is meaningful, and i think there are real reasons for it and i think it manifests in evangelism, and the reason you’re even here is because your friend, the mentee of the lady with the friend who is someone or other, is dating someone else who in strict rebellion to overbearing parents perhaps, has maintained their tradition in the least pleasing manner to them and joined a newer age christian cult-like group and you’ve gone to that on her asking and because you’re nunnery-adjacent, this all makes sense in context. but that’s not what this is about yet, because those guys are also web-stealers in a far more interesting way in that they too are spiders but like the pirate spider they are anatomically incapable of making their own web though they do in fact still produce silk. and so you think a bit about what kind of pain these people are in who cannot wait - who cannot sit through the musing ceremony and need a hit right away from the web - who need to be amused. the kinds of people who talk in tongues and feel the holy spirit and sing christian rock and give all their money to their pastor who is a man and is married and lives in the tax-free church and twenty years later will be found out to have been sleeping with most of the women that attend his services looking for some kind of relief from something that nobody else has been able to offer. and so I’m not there right now, i’m with the older musing type group who are inexplicably younger this time, by pure coincidence perhaps, and i sit and i look into their eyes and i see the kind of deep sadness that everybody carries around with them pretending that they don’t.
and you wonder if the utter emancipation from spiritual agony that they have been promised will ever be delivered. not to them per se, but to anyone.
most orb weaver spiders will eat their webs in the morning and rebuild them in the evening. most people will not unweave their fabric when it is requires repair.
so, koinonia - the evangelicals. what are they so desperate for that they’re willing to say and believe the most incomprehensible shit that you’re sure no human could believe unless they were indoctrinated from birth? and are they all after the same thing even? like, does someone who believes in god in a bottom-up kind of way even believe the same thing as someone who believes in god in a top-down kind of way? when one belief would shatter and the other snap. well i don’t know, but it’s not the people who believe from birth that interest me. it’s the converts. and they’re after what i once thought we were all after: a cure for loneliness.
so they’re cold right? they’re like, dreadfully cold, and you can’t quite empathise yet, because you’ve spent a couple of nights on the streets but you won’t know what it means to be really cold for about another year, but you can sympathise. so you get them a cup of coffee. and you remember all the times your friends have got you a cup of coffee. and you start to see the eyes of god looking at themselves, reflecting something. but you’re not willing to believe in some seriously inflated and dodgy ontological claims or adopt this antiquated metaphysical model of the universe just because someone else is in pain and you can imagine what it’s like to be them because you’re in the same kind of pain. but then you think forward to the older people in the musing church (forward because this hasn’t happened yet, and will only happen in reaction to the events unfolding now. but entirely predictably because as I say, it’s the same kind of church as when I am very young) and suddenly the vapid small talk about local cafe’s looks very much like a profound kind of love that you were too blind to even begin to comprehend at the time (the time being, the future).
part 2: eight eyes
confessions: some of them are even true (some are not)
1. when ralph waldo emerson said 'the only way to have a friend is to be one' and when emily dickinson said 'parting is all we know of heaven and all we need of hell' and when david foster wallace said ‘everything I’ve ever let go of has claw marks on it’ and when john donne said ‘never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee’ and when dostoyevsky said ‘we are all responsible for everyone else—but I am more responsible than all the others’ and when mary shelley said ‘life, although it may only be an accumulation of anguish, is dear to me, and I will defend it’ and when simone de beauvoir said ‘her wings are cut and then she is blamed for not knowing how to fly’ and when the people i love said ‘i love you’... i felt that
2. I often feel like I’m stuck in some kind of tantalian punishment - stuck between food and water except, i’m stuck between past and future - we convince ourselves that anger is used to change the future but more often we hold it in an attempt to change the past. not that i’m a particularly angry person mind you, it’s just a nice metaphor for particularly strong emotions you understand - i’m not specifying the emotions. of course, i don’t admit that - not to myself. so the metaphor, in conversation form goes something like:
person 1: I am angry
person 2: why?
person 1: I was wronged
person 2: well... why are you angry about that?
person 1: what? why? that’s not how it works. not at all. it’s not for anything. I just am.
person 2: okay, well, how does being angry feel?
person 1: it feels bad! I feel hot, I feel... wronged. it was wrong! that thing that happened. it’s not right.
person 2: well. if it feels bad. would you like to try to move past it?
person 1: move past it?! what are you talking about. it feels bad but i need to feel it. i deserve to feel this. are you going to try to take away what i deserve?
person 2: you deserve to feel bad?
person 1: what?! no! i was the one who was wronged.
person 2: so why do you want to keep your anger? if it makes you feel bad that is.
person 1: because... because it feels good. it feels bad. i don’t know! i need to feel something! i have to feel something. can’t you understand? i don’t feel anything. i never feel anything. i have to feel this. i’m not anyone. i need to be someone. this is who! i have to. why can’t you understand? why?
person 2: look... i get it okay? i get that you’re feeling something right now. more than one thing actually. but if i’m really honest, i want to make sure you understand that sudden and jarring and pretentious perspective switch from first to second person that happened in part 1, maybe there was a reason for that. maybe, the anger is an excuse.
person 1: an excuse? it’s not an excuse. it’s not anything. you don’t get it. i need this because without it i am powerless. without it, i give in. the universe wins.
person 2: the universe wins?
person 1: yeah, indifference wins. the big black emptiness of space wins. that’s repugnant to me. nihilism can’t win. it can’t. i can’t let go of this anger. even if i accept that it’s hurting me. even if holding onto it burns me. like, down to the core of me. even if it’s the heaviest thing in the world to hold. i have to hold it. because someone needs to be angry. not just for the wrong that was done to me. for all wrongs. someone should hurt. there needs to be something. you can’t take that away from me. you can’t let the universe win.
person 2: look. i love you. there, did the universe win that one? i wasn’t angry and indifference didn’t win.
person 1: you’re missing the point. you’re purposefully missing the point.
person 2: yes. because the set up is all wrong. the universe doesn’t win anything if you learn to let go of your anger. it’s not playing. you’re not in competition with the universe and it’s not advocating for nihilism. your universe, the one you imagine and project, simply does not exist.
person 1: i can tell you’ve never been cold or hungry or truly desperately alone before
person 2: the universe made you didn’t it?
person 1: what?
person 2: the universe made you. doesn’t that suggest that, whatever it is the universe is rooting for, is not total ambivalence? it made you, and you care, maybe that’s its way of caring.
person 1: no. the universe doesn’t get credit for me. if you are kind because you have been hurt, that is not a kindness put into the world from whatever hurt you.
person 2: i’m not trying to give the universe credit for anything. like i say, the universe isn’t playing. you are. i’m just saying. letting go isn’t a vote for nihilism.
person 1: i’m still holding onto my anger. i’m going to use it. i’m going to use it to make the future better.
person 2: who would you rather helped shape your future: the wounded or the healthy? can’t you see that by hurting yourself like this, you’re becoming the burden you’re trying to remove from yourself?
person 1: frankly, that’s horseshit.
person 2: and that’s an excuse for an excuse. you want to do better, do better. don’t just say, i’m angry, and live with that. do something. be something! can’t you understand? you need to feel something! it’s not anger - it’s not this - it’s not feeling this, that’s how you feel something!
person 1: how?! what? what are you saying? that doesn’t mean anything! that’s literally meaningless. what the fuck are you talking about?
person 2: of course it’s meaningless to you. because you’ve woven a narrative for yourself in which you are correct, and defined the rules of your own engagement. i’m not going to be able to convince you with any standard you find satisfying, because you’re only satisfied by what you’ve already considered. you’re afraid of what you don’t understand
person 1: you’re projecting
person 2: which is like, awfully convenient for you isn’t it?
3. when i’m in a very high up place, i often want to jump. ‘want’ is the wrong word of course. i don’t want it - i have to actively stop myself. why am i actively stopping myself if it’s something i want? i don’t want it! but a part of me thinks, this is it... this is how to take control. i’m going to slip and fall, but if i throw myself off, there is no chance of that, it will have been done by my hand. my will. it will have been what would become part of whatever plan i will have had. the same with wanting to walk into cars in traffic - or to drag razors across my skin, or to tie heavy bricks to myself and jump in a river.
4. the ouroboros is not an expensive pet to keep. it does not require much in the way of food at all. we keep ourselves expensively. what does it cost to bear teeth? too much for me i think. more than i am willing to give.
i keep thoughts in my mind about death and violence and gratuity and reciprocity. i don’t want them. the psychic costs of teeth are at a premium. it’s just. hurt. hurt. hurt.
and in some pathetic way, i think to myself that there is a way to use your teeth that does not involve eating hands. that they can create rather than destroy. that they can! but of course, none of that is enough. it never is.
5. searle has this phrase to highlight the difference between conscious entities and non-conscious ones, he says 1st person ontology and 3rd person ontology. the idea being, that some things are aware of themselves, they are aware that they are a part of their own ontological account of the world. and others, well, it’s just the chaos of the world and its interactions. there certainly is something it is like to be in control of what you do, call that choice - but to not be in control, to be, a subject with no will... well, that’s pretty much hell actually.
and to be really explicitly clear here, i’m not talking about being subject to authority or whatever, it’s not about being able to control the direction of your life in some grand unifying sense. it’s far more basic than that. it’s sitting in place, willing yourself to move your arm and your arm simply will not move for you. if you do insist on calling it an authority thing, then it’s not that other people have authority over you, it’s that you don’t have authority over yourself. you want to move your arm? request denied. you want to get up? request denied. you want to say the words that are raging inside you? take a guess.
to be trapped in yourself - and it’s not always a static thing i should add. it can be to be trapped in a certain activity. like, back when i was a teenager i had this thing for logic puzzle type games - and that seems fine on the face of it. but there i was, playing minesweeper, when suddenly i realised i couldn’t do anything else. and the more i tried the more i became aware that i wasn’t even thinking about the game - i wasn’t thinking at all. it was just motions to keep myself busy. and the motions themselves got pretty good after a while. because i was trapped for a long time, and a recurring time too. i might play one game at 10pm just before bed, and then i’m trapped and i’m in hell for the next 24 hours. i cannot count the times i never managed to get any sleep some nights because i was begging myself to sleep and i would not cooperate... i got pretty good at minesweeper if you’re wondering. a 5 second average, with a highscore of 2 seconds.
and it’s not always things as innocuous as minesweeper. imagine just pathetically masturbating four or five times in a row just to feel something, anything at all. to squeeze some dopamine out of your brain - or at least that’s what you’re telling yourself, because it sure beats telling yourself the truth which is that you’ve been begging yourself to stop for the last several hours and it’s not even that your request is being denied anymore, it’s more like it doesn’t even register as a request.
to be aware, painfully aware of yourself, and to not be able to do anything to change it, to assert any control. that’s a form of hell and it’s also a reality for me unless i am very careful and conscious and generally buzz-wordesque in my ‘presentness’. if i am for one moment, not ‘mindfull’ then i will slip and my mind will no longer be my own. i will no longer be driving, i will be a passenger watching someone who most certainly has not passed their driving test take the wheel with the kind of glee a three year old gets when they break into a confectionary cupboard and are about to do something that they will regret in three hours when their throat is burning from the vomit but are literally incapable of even beginning to form that thought at the moment its conception would have been remotely useful.
6. natural language is messy - it’s big and winding and as a tool for communicating it’s flawed. it, like any tool (as every tool is a mirror of sorts), reflects the myriad little conflicts in all of us who use it. and something that’s really quite telling is that contradictory statements in natural language are rarely meaningless. they are often employed in meaningful ways that only the most obnoxious pedant (first year philosophy undergraduates (i was one too once, i’m allowed to say it)) would think to refute on syntactic grounds.
a lot of people tell me that there is nothing behind the contradictions that we hold inside ourselves - that they are mistakes we make and nothing more. and that just feels very wrong to me? like, take this conversation between alice (no, not that alice) and hannah.
hannah: [something contradictory]
alice: that’s a contradiction
alice: well, whatever you said is wrong, because it’s a contradiction.
hannah: huh? you’re just assuming that or what?
alice: well, no, contradictions aren’t true. so if you say something is a contradiction then you know that the opposite of what you’ve said it true.
hannah: well that’s definitely wrong. you’re mixing up the law of non contradiction and the law of the excluded middle. you’re trying to attribute the consequence of either p or not p to contradictions all being wrong, or something like that
alice: uh, well, maybe i misspoke, as all contradictions are obviously wrong-
hannah: -wait, you’re getting ahead of yourself. that isn’t obvious.
alice: sure it is... because like... explosion.
hannah: i’m listening but i’m definitely going to need more to go on than ‘because explosion’
alice: ok, so, if a contradiction were true then we’d be able to prove anything.
alice: ok, so, imagine you have any proposition at all.
hannah: kittens are cute
alice: sure, great, kittens are cute. but imagine you held that both kittens were cute and kittens were not cute.
hannah: okay, i’m imagining that.
alice: well isn’t it true that because you’re positing that kittens are not cute then the whole proposition of ‘kittens are not cute or, and here i can insert literally anything, for example, the moon is made of cheese’ is true - because kittens are not cute is true, and so the whole ‘or statement’ works out to be true.
hannah: um... i think we might have problems here but please continue
alice: okay, so we have both, ‘kittens are not cute or the moon is made of cheese’ and ‘kittens are cute’, so we can reasonably conclude that ‘the moon is made out of cheese’, and remember that was just an example. it could have been anything!
hannah: could it have been?
alice: any proposition? yes. you saw that.
hannah: and what happens if i disagree?
alice: well. you’d be wrong... you can’t argue with logic without, y’know, contradicting yourself
hannah: so, i can’t disagree with contradictions being bad without contradicting myself? i’m not sure i see the problem
alice: no, no, not contradicting yourself, just being wrong. i misspoke, sorry.
hannah: right, that’s fine. but look, i’m not sure even you believe the proof you’ve given here.
alice: what? of course i do, it’s inarguable
hannah: no not really, you’re slipping between what counts as proof for formal languages and what counts as proof in natural languages - you can’t say that if i disagree with contradictions being bad i contradict myself in any formal sense, so you want to say it in a natural sense. but you don’t want to say that, because it feels sloppy. it doesn’t feel rigorous enough to be a proof of anything. so you give your argument in terms of the logic you’re trying to prove. like, think about it, does material implication really capture what we mean by the word ‘if’? and if it doesn’t, then does your argument still work?
alice: i’m not sure what material implication has to do with my argument. i didn’t use an ‘if’ clause, i used a disjunction.
hannah: yeah but they’re the same thing. disjunction and conjunction are just ways of arranging implication and negation, or vice versa depending on your ontological takes right.
alice: okay - yeah, i think i recall something like that. so what’s wrong with material implication?
hannah: well do you really think that because the moon is actually not made out of cheese then: if the moon is made out of cheese then, and i can put any proposition here, for example, kittens aren’t cute, and that just be like, a true thing that anybody who wasn’t totally unhinged would think would follow as a logical implication?
alice: ah, okay, i see where you’re going with this. sure, the whole, ‘if, then’ thing doesn’t capture relevance - but the secret is that it isn’t supposed to. it doesn’t actually mean ‘if, then’, it’s just a particular way of arranging arguments to manipulate truth values.
hannah: right, but notice how you’re actually taking it out of formal contexts and applying it to natural language ‘if, then’ statements, and acting as if because it were formal it carries more authority, or is somehow more true, when the opposite is true.
alice: huh, maybe.
hannah: so can you maybe understand that, when i say something deeply personal. when i have woven a narrative inside me that is at odds with itself. when what i feel, to the very core of me, is contradictory and someone tells me, without even considering it, that it’s meaningless or wrong or whatever, just on the grounds of it being a contradiction - well... can you understand how that feels maybe?
7. a hand that can touch can be touched. an eye that can see can be seen. love can be loved. and the converse is all true too, hands can be not held, eye contact can be avoided, love can be hated.
often i feel like, there’s a knife picking, and at times hacking, its way through my flesh and ripping through my organs. like, it starts slipping through my ribs and twisting and it scratches my lungs and they start to fill with blood, but not quickly mind, i can still breathe just about it’s just heavy and slow. and then it sinks down low, like it’s ripping through my stomach, and suddenly it’s not the knife anymore but there is this excruciating pain and it feels as if my stomach acid is leaking out and corroding my organs from the inside.
and there seems to be... no cause for these feelings. sometimes, i am just hit with incredible and excruciating pain and the fact that i know that can happen at any time means i’m always carrying around at least some base level of stress. my hair comes out in clumps in the shower. i can barely eat.
8. so, the rest of these may or may not be true. it’s whatever. this one is a bit different. this one is the most important to me and the hardest to write about. it’s true.
there’s this thing, that i think is not unique to me where, you try to stimulate yourself at all times. not necessarily in a self-harm way at first. just like, if it’s quiet you put on music. if you’ve got some free time you find something to do immediately, not because you want to do whatever it is you end up doing, but because you know that you cannot be left alone with yourself. you cannot bear to exist without some distraction or other. because if you aren’t distracted you get to thinking. and if you get to thinking well... by then it’s already too late. because there’s this one topic that i’m going to be thinking about. i know it. it’s always the same. if i catch myself for a split second, where i’m not either dulling myself or distracting myself or forcing a task on myself then i know what’s going to happen. and that has to be avoided because it never ends well. it’s the kind of feeling like, somehow you’re grateful for the bland maximally generic music-substitutes they blare out in elevators because now you have something, anything, that isn’t your own voice in your head. so anyway... here’s what i get to thinking about:
i mentioned earlier, in passing, that what i once thought we were all after was a cure to loneliness. i’m not so sure about that anymore. but i certainly know that i am. i often feel like i’ve built a maze around me and as i place the last brick, i realise i’m at the centre and i do not know the way out. i am trapped by the narratives i weave. alone.
there is something, i think it is who i am in me, that wants to be known. that wants to know. and if only i could express myself, i would be known and all this pain would leave me. because i am in pain. i’m in so much pain, how can you not feel it? don’t i carry it around with me like a heat so intense that surely anyone in a radius large enough to hear me speak could not fail but to be burned by it? surely there is some primal recognition here, the same thing i thought i saw in everyone - was it not always the pain of being alone? the pain of being misunderstood?
i have particular hermeneutic lacunae. i do not have the language to convey what is meaningful to me. there are things that i must express, about myself, that i cannot express. i have to say it. i have to! it’s unsayable. but clearly it isn’t. it’s just... unsayable by me. perhaps it is not the mark of a healthy person to become so completely obsessed with expressing the inexpressible.
and so i say too much. fully aware how neurotic and self-obsessed that makes me. which means i can’t really get through a conversation without explaining to my interlocuter that, yes, i am aware i am completely neurotic - don’t mind me.
urhg. i can’t say this right now. this is the most important part and i just cannot articulate it in any cohesive way. if you’re reading this, that means i haven’t edited it out, and this post is a failure. i think i’ve spoken on this before though, so... here [x], this is kind of what i’m talking about.
this will undoubtedly come up again later and i will try to explain it better then. for now it’s just. fuzzy. far too fuzzy and it makes me feel way to bad to not be able to write about it and i’m not going to torture myself continuing beating my head against this wall when i know i can’t explain right now.
part 3: spermatheca
the funny thing about masochism is that, sure there’s something painful going on, but when you take away the labels: pain, pleasure, whatever, and you really just let yourself feel it without imposing any judgements on the sensation itself, then what you find is something... kind of perverse. that all sensation is unique in a plethora of separate and interconnected ways. and if you sit with your pain, you really sit with it, it transforms itself into a profoundly interesting experience. strangely addictive. and your own impulsive reactions to it, fear, flight, avoidance, whatever they are, don’t really go away the more you let yourself enjoy the experience. and that too is interesting. it’s a web of discrete sensorial bliss. a masterwork of craftsmanship. something, you would never, ever, want to unweave.
this umbral part of your consciousness that lets you enjoy whatever stream of experience you are at any given moment is intimately connected with the musing and amusing category of church that we talked about earlier. because whatever it is they’re after, and i’m not saying it is the same thing, is somehow so totally gratifying that you would do or believe or be literally anything to achieve it. this epiphanic bliss of enlightenment or like, a really intense orgasm, is chased by these two groups, the musers and the amusers.
to muse, to ponder, to excogitate, to think over slowly - to amuse, to laugh, to react instantly, to not think. to have two approaches to a singular problem, the problem here being of spiritual agony, would suggest that the approaches manage to do the same thing. but they are, in a very literal sense, achieving the exact opposite of one another.
the muser asks us to stop, to slow down, to think about what we might get ourselves into. to avoid pain. and the amuser calls back to them, ‘but have you never once experienced that ultimate bliss of consciousless sensation? have you never felt the hand of god grab hold of your throat and squeeze? have you never wondered why when you awoke your mouth was wet and your knees trembled?’
and the truth is, they have experienced this. both of them have. the amuser and the muser alike. but what the muser has seen, is that trying to chase that experience is in many ways chasing oblivion. it’s akin to asking your echo to quiet itself, to looking in a mirror to check that your reflection is not in it. the amuser knows this of course, but it’s not like it matters. because once you’ve had that particular beatific vision, your life becomes forfeit - anything that you have, is had in relation to the seraphic orgasm that so totally dominates all joy you could possibly have. it’s so eclipses whatever you might have once thought you wanted that to do anything other than rapturous begging of, whatever really but divinity in this case, for just one glimpse of that ecstasy is a complete waste of your time.
and so they do this - they beg. on their knees they grovel with every ounce of their being. please, give me anything, anything at all, and of course, nothing comes. so nightly, they just lose it. they lose themselves so completely as to invoke a kind of momentary ego-death. what happens next is anyone’s guess but it’s safe to say it makes the rest of the night endurable, and then they wake up with blood on their lips and they think I must weave my way to forgiveness. totally blind to the fact that it is the web that has trapped them in this hell in the first place.
and so they weave, because of course they do, and they strengthen their community bonds. and all the members of the community, the church in this case (but please keep in mind, this is a particular case of a general phenomenon), huddle together and they say their insular memetic prayers for one another and they look deep into one another’s eyes and see the same kinds of pain they feel in themselves and think ‘yes, this is where i belong. with people trying to cure themselves of the same pain i am in’. which is so totally fucked because literally everyone is in that pain, all the time and by adhering to the web they make themselves food for their community. they offer themselves up to be eaten. and they are, their insides are devoured with mirth and merriment and now that they have made themselves hollow for their community, now are they happy? no, of course not. but they are numb, and they don’t have to think about the searing pain of being denied the bliss they crave.
could this work for me? could i numb myself with community? not religious community, just... any? i doubt it. i don’t even like myself. why would i like people who are like me?
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Ancient Greek, the language of the future
by Eugenia Manolidou, conductor.
“I read with interest Mr Dimos’s article that was published in the “Opinions” column on October 17th 2020. Please allow me some comments regarding it.”
[GEMSOFGREECE NOTE: I have read both articles and many things stated by Mr Dimos had me disagreeing or straight out displeased. Eugenia Manolidou responded with an article of her own, apparently motivated by similar feelings. I think her article is an enjoyable read and I agree on many levels while on others I can’t have an opinion due to lack of sufficient knowledge. I thought some of you would be interested in it, so I am translating the article in English. The article is informative for both Greek speakers and people interested in the Greek language and culture as well as the pronunciation of Ancient Greek. In the link, you can find the sources she used at the end of the text. I must now add that I did not necessarily expect to enjoy an article written by Mrs Manolidou (she’s well known in Greece and married to a politician) but that’s a personal impression that perhaps shouldn’t influence you. Going on with the article under the cut.]
I’ll begin with its title, “Can a dead language live again?”, which clearly refers to our language, Ancient Greek. I call it “ours” because even though we don’t comprehend it very well when reading ancient texts, we however use it in our everyday speech, even without realizing it.
For example, we might not know that the word αὐδή (avdí) means voice but we say very often “έμεινα άναυδος” (émina ánavdos = I was left speechless / voiceless). We might not know the phrase «ξύλου ἅπτεσθαι» (= knock on wood) but we always search for wood to knock when trying to avoid a bad omen.
Of course, I should not even start with the vocabulary in sciences, arts and literature because the list is endless. The Greek language is a living language that has survived not because we say so but because it remains in the international vocabulary by enriching most European languages.
Every year, students of the Classical Studies abroad rush to acquire books, teaching methods for Ancient Greek from Oxford, Cambridge and the rest acclaimed publishing companies. I will refer to the publications POLIS Institute Press of the Jerusalem Institute of Languages and Humanities with the title «Λαλεῖν τῇ κοινῇ διαλέκτῷ τῇ ζῶσῃ» (=Speaking the common living dialect). Meaning, the Common Greek, the living.
It is known that almost all schools in Europe kindle interest and enthusiasm in kids to learn the Classical Languages - and not “dead” so as to condemn them in advance - Latin and Greek. And yes in most countries they are taught with the Erasmian pronunciation because it helps them understand the dictation. Just for that. Not because they think it’s the correct pronunciation. Not anymore.
The Erasmian being an accurate description of how the ancients talked is an outdated thesis which many of the intellectuals and professors in Europe have now understood and explained. I will try to add some arguments in favor of this statement in short.
For those who don’t know, Desiderius Erasmus Roterdamus (1466 – 1536) was a Dutch monk who invented a method that would help those who learned Ancient Greek to write it down correctly. So, where someone would say “Χαίρε” (hére) and write it as «χέρε» (because that’s how it sounds), Erasmus explained that they should think of it as “háire” in order to write it correctly. But he never urged people to pronounce it like that.
Besides, in his book Colloquia Familiaria in the chapter “Echo”, he explains how to pronounce the diphthongs -onis, ονοις / -kopi, κόποι / -lici, λύκοι / -logi λόγοι/ and so on. Erasmus never said this is how Ancient Greeks talked, he just urged his students to memorize the correct dictation by ear. No European language is spoken exactly as it’s written.
We all think of such tricks to write words correctly. For instance, we think “extra-ordinary” but no fluent speaker of English pronounces it like that. Unfortunately, during the Renaissance in Europe, when the arts and literature were greatly inspired by the Greek mythology, history and philosophy, Greece under the centuries-long Turkish occupation couldn’t be a match for the rest of Europe. So when the French, German and Italian aristocrats spoke Ancient Greek to each other, we spoke a mix of Greek, Turkish and Italian, a blended language that we would hardly comprehend nowadays. And thankfully, our language survived thanks to the Church and the Scripts, which are written in Ancient Greek.
Therefore we did not know the way Ancient Greek was spoken in Europe. Here in Greece, we didn’t know. There were Greeks who didn’t live in Greece during the Ottoman rule though who knew. One of them was the priest Konstantinos Economou of Economon (1780-1857) who in his work «Περὶ τῆς Γνησίας Προφορᾶς τῆς Ἑλληνικῆς Γλώσσης» (=Regarding the Authentic Pronunciation of the Greek Language), Saint Petersburg 1829, explains why there’s no way the Ancient Greeks separated the diphthongs.
First of all, they were called “diphthongs” which means “two sounds in one”. If they don’t mean that, then why call them this way? Just like Andrea Marcolongo says in her book «La lingua geniale» , which translates to “the genius language” and not “the wonderful language”, with the subtitle «9 ragioni per amare il Greco», meaning, “9 reasons to love Greek” (Ancient Greek clearly, that’s what they always mean by “Greek” in Europe), there is no language more rich, precise and well-studied than Greek. Otherwise we wouldn’t have diphthongs, let alone a need for a diacritic mark( mark used to indicate a vowel forms its own syllable). We say «αρχαιολογία» and in English it’s archaeology, «παλαιοντολογία» and it’s «paleontology». But we say «αρχαϊκό» (note the diacritic) and in English it’s «archaic».
Let’s examine some more words: We say «ατμόσφαιρα» which in Latin is atmosfera. We say αίνιγμα, in latin it’s enigma. We say ενέργεια, in latin “energia” / αιθήρ, in Latin etere / Aίγυπτος, Egitto / μυστήριο, mistero / φαινόμενο, phenomenon / εγκυκλοπαίδεια, enciclopedia. The list is long and if we get ourselves into the scientific vocabulary (ginecologo, ematologo, pediatro), we will never end with this. In short, Latin, a “sister” language to Greek, saved through itself the pronunciation of Ancient Greek.
One more argument: the Greek words can be stressed exclusively in three syllables: the ultimate, the penultimate or the antepenultimate. If we separate the diphthongs, the punctuation gets out of hand. So instead of “hérete”, we would say “háirete” which is obviously wrong. With the separation of the diphthongs, the Dactylic Hexameter (the rhythmic scheme of Ancient Greek epic poetry) would collapse. Perhaps you’ve heard the attempts of the Europeans to recite the Iliad or the Odyssey.
Homer’s poetic epic has a completely different sound due to the loss of the Hexameter. Besides, just like Erasmus said and Economou quotes in his book: «Conducendus aliquis, natione Graecus, licet alioquin parvum eruditus, propter nativum illum ac patrium sonum, ut castigate graeca sonari dicantur.» Meaning, “Call someone, Greek in nation, even with little or no education, for that native sound, so that you learn the exact and natural pronunciation of Greek.”
What’s truly pitiful in this situation is not how foreigners learn to speak Ancient Greek. The true shame is that such a beautiful, rich and living language, our language, is more appreciated, loved and respected abroad than in Greece. I admire the people who try so hard to learn a language for which they don’t even know the alphabet. And yet they try, they learn it, they speak it, they teach it and that’s why the big publishing companies still publish teaching methods for Ancient Greek.
In the foreign universities, most professors teaching Ancient Greek are foreign. Foreign professors tutoring foreign students. It’s them who come to Greece for vacation and crowd our monuments and museums, which are right on our feet and yet we consider a visit there as a nuisance. If we truly want to love our language, our history and culture, we should be taught Ancient Greek from a young age, as a living language, like they do abroad.
With simple, comprehensible texts, from the mythology, from Aesop, from simple sayings and delphic orders, our language is full of them. So instead of occupying ourselves with whether Homer’s sheep cried “vee” or “beh” and instead of trying to decode why the Greek rooster says kokoriko while the English rooster says Cock-a-doodle-doo - he does neither - let’s try to make our children understand the importance, the meaning and the symbolism of the Naval Battle of Salamís instead of a plain «ὦ παῖδες Ἑλλήνων, ἴτε» (= O children of the Greeks, arise), dry and withered.
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Anjuum Khanna - Why Artificial Intelligence Matters
Anjuum Khanna-Today I will talk about most commonly used technology disruptor about which we heard a lot. But I always mention in my blogs that we hear about what technology has done to our world, in the same we should also look forward to unfold future for more opportunities.
So, in Anjuum Khanna’s simple words let’s define AI. As the name speaks it is known as “artificial intelligence” or “machine intelligence”. So Artificial intelligence (AI) is a special feature of machines, in comparison to the natural intelligence displayed by humans and other animals. In computer science, AI research is defined as the study of “intelligent agents”: any device that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of successfully achieving its goals. So when a machine is involved in a function like “problem-solving” or “learning” it is also known as artificial intelligence.
As intelligence is a step above the common task so a task which is common is not intelligence. As per me, this word is a word which is full of disputes. So intelligence requires frequent innovation. Let us understand this with a small example. As optical character recognition is frequently excluded from “artificial intelligence”, has become a routine technology. At one point in time, this was the part of Artificial Intelligence. Right now these technologies are defined as artificial intelligence understanding human speech, competing at the highest level in strategic game systems (such as chess), autonomous cars, intelligent routing in the content delivery network and military simulations.
After this explanation let’s go to history, where we will see how and when AI was defined. Back in the 1950s, the fathers of the field Minsky and McCarthy described artificial intelligence as any task performed by a program or a machine that, if a human carried out the same activity, we would say the human had to apply intelligence to accomplish the task. This is a very simple definition which in Anjuum Khanna’s words communicate that any task which is done with intelligence by the human being is performed by machine can be called as artificial intelligence. So after many disputes in history, we have settled on few criteria like planning, learning, reasoning, problem-solving, knowledge representation, perception, motion, and manipulation and, to a lesser extent, social intelligence and creativity which undoubtedly belong to AI.
Type of AI
As per me (Anjuum Khanna), segregation is required to see the development stages of any product or technology. We can easily define AI into two categories:
Narrow AI is what we see all around us in computers today. Intelligent systems that have been taught or learned how to carry out specific tasks without being explicitly programmed how to do so.
Let me explain through few examples this type of machine intelligence is evident in the speech and language recognition of the Siri virtual assistant on the Apple iPhone, in the vision-recognition systems on self-driving cars, in the recommendation engines that suggest products you might like based on what you bought in the past. Unlike humans, these systems can only learn or be taught how to do specific tasks, which is why they are called narrow AI.
Artificial general intelligence is a futuristic intelligence and is the type of adaptable intellect found in humans, a flexible form of intelligence capable of learning how to carry out vastly different tasks, anything from haircutting to building spreadsheets, or to reason about a wide variety of topics based on its accumulated experience. This is the sort of AI more commonly seen in movies, but this technology doesn’t exist today.
As per the survey conducted by AI developers in between 2040 & 2050 this technology will start developing and by 2075 will achieve 90% of development. However few groups are still confused about its development as till the time we don’t have the hold on the functionality of the human brain we can’t even start with general intelligence.
For the better understanding of Artificial intelligence as per me (Anjuum Khanna) we should understand few basic technologies of this concept.
Machine Learning: –
In Anjuum Khanna’s definition, machine learning is a computer system which can feed large amounts of data, which is then used by the machine to learn how to carry out a specific task, such as understanding speech or captioning a photograph.
These are brain-inspired networks of interconnected layers of algorithms, called neurons, that feed data into each other, and which can be trained to carry out specific tasks by modifying the importance attributed to input data as it passes between the layers.
These are two supplementary topics which need to understand with artificial intelligence. One more of AI research is evolutionary computation. This is basically natural selection and sees genetic algorithms undergo random mutations and combinations between generations in an attempt to evolve the optimal solution to a given problem. This approach has even been used to help design AI models, effectively using AI to help build AI.
The most important question that comes to our mind is how AI will change this world. And I m (Anjuum Khanna) having my own thought process on the same. So let’s understand this with an example.
All of the major cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform provide access to GPU arrays for training and running machine learning models, with Google also gearing up to let users use its Tensor Processing Units — custom chips whose design is optimized for training and running machine-learning models.
All of the necessary associated infrastructure and services are available from the big three, the cloud-based data stores, capable of holding the vast amount of data needed to train machine-learning models, services to transform data to prepare it for analysis, visualization tools to display the results clearly, and software that simplifies the building of models.
These cloud platforms are even simplifying the creation of custom machine-learning models, with Google recently revealing a service that automates the creation of AI models, called Cloud AutoML. This drag-and-drop service builds custom image-recognition models and requires the user to have no machine-learning expertise.
Cloud-based, machine-learning services are constantly evolving, and at the start of 2018, Amazon revealed a host of new AWS offerings designed to streamline the process of training up machine-learning models.
For those firms that don’t want to build their own machine learning models but instead want to consume AI-powered, on-demand services — such as voice, vision, and language recognition — Microsoft Azure stands out for the breadth of services on offer, closely followed by Google Cloud Platform and then AWS. Meanwhile, IBM, alongside its more general on-demand offerings, is also attempting to sell sector-specific AI services aimed at everything from health care to retail, grouping these offerings together under its IBM Watson umbrella — and recently investing $2bn in buying The Weather Channel to unlock a trove of data to augment its AI services.
To know more about AI we need to learn through examples. Here are some examples to see its impact on all major industries.
AI in healthcare: This is the most critical industry as it requires precision and accuracy. The biggest bets are on improving patient outcomes and reducing costs. Companies are applying machine learning to make better and faster diagnoses than humans. One of the best-known healthcare technologies is IBM Watson. It understands natural language and is capable of responding to questions asked of it. The system mines patient data and other available data sources to form a hypothesis, which it then presents with a confidence scoring schema.
AI in business: Robotic process automation is being applied to highly repetitive tasks normally performed by humans. Machine learning algorithms are being integrated into analytics and CRM platforms to uncover information on how to better serve customers. Chatbots have been incorporated into websites to provide immediate service to customers.
AI in education: AI can automate grading, giving educators more time. AI can assess students and adapt to their needs, helping them work at their own pace. AI tutors can provide additional support to students, ensuring they stay on track. AI could change where and how students learn, perhaps even replacing some teachers. It can find out the gaps and help in resolving them.
AI in finance: AI in personal finance applications, such as Mint or Turbo Tax, is disrupting financial institutions. Applications such as these collect personal data and provide financial advice. Other programs, such as IBM Watson, have been applied to the process of buying a home. Today, the software performs much of the trading on Wall Street.
AI in law: The discovery process, sifting through documents, in law is often overwhelming for humans. Automating this process is a more efficient use of time. Startups are also building question-and-answer computer assistants that can sift programmed-to-answer questions by examining the taxonomy and ontology associated with a database.
AI in manufacturing: This is an area that has been at the forefront of incorporating robots into the workflow. Industrial robots used to perform single tasks and were separated from human workers, but as the technology advanced that changed.
Here we have seen many directions in which AI has worked and has improved deliverables. This technology is growing day by day and showing improvement in many fields.