Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: For Good Friday

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  • Kracklite,

    I think your introduction of Renaissance Humanists into the discussion was an attempt to avoid answering my question about Animists. But it turns out that you think the Humanists were Animists. Whatever next?

    As a matter of fact, I do think that they were animists, according to my definition above. Not consciously so... though there are many indications that some were deliberate about it. Personifying forces of nature and culture becomes animism by default. I tend to use classical or classically-inspired examples because the Greeks and their Renaissance followers tended to be very self conscious and articulate about their beliefs and we have access to their literary legacy.

    'An attempt to avoid'? Oh dear. You do have a conspirational view of people. In biology, there are two kinds of taxonomist - 'lumpers' and 'splitters'. Lumpers see every new specimen as a representative of an already described species, splitters see every new specimen as a representative of a new species. I'm a linker. I am interested in finding correspondences and discordances between things. Any thing considered purely on its own terms reveals nothing new or interesting.

    Maybe I'm not even a linker. My Master's supervisor warned me off studying deconstruction, saying that it came too naturally to me.

    You appear to be making rationalism synonymous with utiopianism

    Yes, if you like. I regard rationalism, specifically scientific empiricism as an extremely useful methodology, but to treat it as an exemplar for all fields of perception and behaviour is absurd in my opinion. 'Utopian' in another word.

    I wonder, do strawmen compare penis sizes?

    Probably while dancing on the head of a pin.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    Personifying forces of nature and culture becomes animism by default.

    Could go on about the concept of Genius loci and (the neoplatonist) Plutarch's essay on Socrates Daemon. I'm sure there's a paper to be written on the projection of or attribution of consciousness to the external world and the development in later centuries of anthropocentric humanism.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Could go on about the concept of Genius lociand (the neoplatonist) Plutarch's essay on Socrates Daemon. I'm sure there's a paper to be written on the projection of or attribution of consciousness to the external world and the development in later centuries of anthropocentric humanism.

    We should try to get booze into you more often. Cracking discussion, what a pleasure to read through these posts.

    (I assume you have read Techgnosis, yes? In the very off chance you haven't, get thee to a library, pronto.)

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    Hi Giovanni, yes I have.

    Gregory Benford once said, in response to Clarke, that technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced, which is Erik Davis' point, I take it. I've had some good discussions on the topic with a transhumanist friend.

    And I get booze into myself far too often or not often enough.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I took his broader point to be that even a hyper-rationalist project such as cybernetics can become and has indeed become the perfect breeding ground for starkly other-than philosophies, showing how fragile the edifice of contemporary post-religious attitudes (we don't need it, we have evolved past it, we have reason and we are in control of nature) really is. And his understanding and ability to describe and explain the rhetoric of cyberspace, its dense and downright shamanic symbolism, is quite wonderful. In a manner of speaking the proof of his argument is that the book reads so bloody well.

    And he has a cracking website, to boot.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    Let's not concerntrate too much on Jebus or any other transcribed errors but rather the message of the man and communion within our community.
    For me being in a Church helps me feel a stronger member of my community and helps me when I fail from time to time, not to mention celebrate the lives of those around me.

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Ah yes, Christian Rock. I'd rather listen to this...

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Christian Rock

    That's what gets me. So much religious music is fabulous. Then suddenly in the 80s: Amy Grant and Stryper. What gives?

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Christian rock sucks when it's a band aping the style of a secular group. But when the group is good on their own terms and just happens to be writing songs about religious themes, then it doesn't suck.

    Evidence:

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    I'd rather listen to this.

    <object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/_aIhh9nFYv4&hl=en&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0x3a3a3a&color2=0x999999"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/_aIhh9nFYv4&hl=en&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0x3a3a3a&color2=0x999999" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    Crap my embed didn't work.I give up...

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    The The, Jackson Browne, Christian rock? Come on, give the poster some credit. These are not the sort of people you see at Parachute.

    And don't get me started on that Wiccan easy listening. Why all that bad art? And what's so wrong with the letter I that it has to be changed to Y?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    Scott's embed was Black Sabbath's Paranoid, in case you were wondering.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    I'll just use boring old links next time. I'm clearly incompetent. And I don't even have a deity to blame for my ineptitude.

    Maybe I'll just go off and gorge on easter eggs.

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    Maybe I'll just go off and gorge on easter eggs.

    Not till Sunday, young man, or Jebus will beat you.

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Jake Pollock,

    Christianity in rock:

    Raumati South • Since Nov 2006 • 489 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    Not till Sunday, young man, or Jebus will beat you.

    And I thought owning a copy of "The God Delusion" would be the thing that set him off.

    The ways of our Lord are indeed a mystery.

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Robert Fox,

    AC Grayling has an interesting critique of Gray's Black Mass here:

    http://newhumanist.org.uk/1423

    His point seems to be that secular humanism, through rationalism/science and democracy, can engender ad hoc progressive political outcomes whereas utopian political ideologies tend to be exclusive totalitarian monoliths and therefore counter enlightenment. He figures that Gray's failing is that he lumps them together and therefore cant see the wood through the tree's as it were.

    Since Nov 2006 • 114 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I'll just use boring old links next time. I'm clearly incompetent.

    No, you're too clever. The secret knowledge is that you only have to paste in the URL.

    And here is your YouTube:

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22839 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    The secret knowledge is that you only have to paste in the URL.

    It's secret Knowledge, Bro.

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    Giovanni, yes, thank you, you're right. I was being glib. Or, to be glib again, as Ken McLeod put it, 'the rapture of the nerds'. Seriously though, the book is a wonderfully elegant and rich melange of living myth and technology. Thanks for the link.

    Robert:

    figures that Gray's failing is that he lumps them together and therefore cant see the wood through the tree's as it were.

    My problem with Gray is in his treatment of lineage as synonymous with category, specifically in Black Mass he argues that since Nazism appropriated some Enlightenment principles, therefore the Enlightenment is essentially a form of proto-Nazism. That is, I think, apart from being a literary Godwinism, just silly. My problems with the Enlightenment have more to do with the issues outlined by John Ralston Saul in Voltaire's Bastards , but that's for another day... despite my basic respect (shared with JRS) for Voltaire.

    Generally I'm uncomfortable with absolutist or essentialist arguments anyway as being a triumph of pedantry over intelligence.

    Embeds. Bah. I have a slowdem at home and free broadband at work. It'll have to bloody wait for Tuesday. In the meantime, I'll discard the Jesus Jingles for some good Christian music - now will it be Bach interpreted by the poster boy for autism, Glenn Gould, or Thomas Tallis (who never bore anyone any malice, except for an organist named Ken, who played badly now and then)?

    BTW, just saw Rem Koolhaas: A Kind of Architect at the World Cinema Showcase today. Welly gets another screening on Sunday and Auckland gets some later. Strongly recommended for anyone interested in architecture and/or situationism. The film is a rich feast of graphics and a superb presentation of Koolhaas' methodology. It's truly necessary for any architecture student. If Hubertus Bigend was an architect...

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    No, you're too clever. The secret knowledge is that you only have to paste in the URL.

    Thanks Russell. I'll try again

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Robert Fox - really enjoyed that Grayling article.

    A bit sad that no-one has taken my carefully-offered fly about the underlying physiological/psycological/indeed,*genetic* reasons as to *why* humans believe in irrational things.

    Also a bit sad that some posters seem to think there is mystery associated with the bush (or the sea) that is somehow spiritual/religious (according to human definitions.) I once had 7 giraffe weevils (te waka-a-Maui/te-waka-atua) appear/hatch-out? on one of my large indoor plants...this year, it was bumble bees (dozens, literally, inside, and wanting egress.) In good cicada seasons, I have many many patiently waiting for me to open my ranchsliders out into the sun...they will climb upon my forefingers & wait until the glass is gone-

    There are really good reasons to explore these circumstances, and they have nothing to do with spookiness. There is mystery associated with bush & sea - because we dont know enough yet-

    This from a person who has kept dream diaries for 40 years - and found ZILCH correlation with anything that occurs in reality - and from a person who loves insects (and not just to eat!)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I'm worried you'll tell us you love children next.. :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19728 posts Report Reply

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