Sunday, June 18, 2017

Zappan Conceptual DisContinuity

I've been listening to a lot of Frank Zappa lately, and it's helped a lot––particularly with dispelling the normative illusions of the Great Society. (Anybody remember the late 60s? I don't, maybe because I was there.) But...

I disagree that everything in the cosmos is a single note, and that everything in the universe is just a derivative vibration. As the girl's voice states, "that one note makes everything else seem so insignificant."

Precisely! If you say that it's all one note and every thing is just an echo of that, then you've made the Note more important than you or I, or that suffering being over there. It's ironic that Zappa hated the idea of Populist mediocracy, because that kind of holistic view––that we're all derivative of one essential meta-note––is precisely the same kind of holistic dis of individuation. The left-wing snake bites the right-wing tail.

I don't pretend to know the crux of the biscuit myself, because realistically I can't do that. But I suspect this paradox comes from Materialism: the big M tends to lead people in circles like that. You get to thinking that everything is made out of one thing (Matter, or a Note or a Tree or something). And you can't even think that without first thinking that there is someone capable of knowing what everything is.

It's really not easy being Real.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Nature Vs. Locality

This is coming up as a serious dichotomy in eco-ontological studies lately, as Morton (Dark Ecology) I think rightly points out that localistic eco-movements have nothing to say about how we're supposed to deal with things like Fukushima, macroeconomics, international relations and global warming. But...

I was just noticing how even though "natural" and "local" aren't supposed to mean literally the same thing, yet they do mean the same thing in terms of the images and the warm, fuzzy feeling of reliance and belonging they conjure. Even though knowledge of a local area can include knowledge of things like ecosystems, herbalism, fishing, etc., what "local knowledge" is usually said to mean are things like directions to places, which people to talk to about what, local customs, etc...

When did we get to be a society where it's required to assume that knowledge of "nature" is so different from "local" knowledge? Was it 200 years ago with Kant? Was it 12,500 years ago with Mesopotamia? Just yesterday? Hasn't even happened yet?

I think the answer to that may be up to us.