Philosophy · Social/Politics · Theory

The Spirit of Terrorism

Not only are all history and power plays disrupted, but so are the conditions of analysis. One must take one’s time. For as long as events were at a standstill, one had to anticipate and overcome them. But when they speed up, one must slow down; without getting lost under a mass of discourses and the shadow of war (“nuage de la guerre”: literally clouds announcing war), and while keeping undiminished the unforgettable flash of images.

All the speeches and commentaries betray a gigantic abreaction to the event itself and to the fascination that it exerts. Moral condemnation and the sacred union against terrorism are equal to the prodigious jubilation engendered by witnessing this global superpower being destroyed; better, by seeing it more or less self-destroying, even suiciding spectacularly. Though it is (this superpower) that has, through its unbearable power, engendered all that violence brewing around the world, and therefore this terrorist imagination which — unknowingly — inhabits us all.

That we have dreamed of this event, that everybody without exception has dreamt of it, because everybody must dream of the destruction of any power hegemonic to that degree, – this is unacceptable for Western moral conscience, but it is still a fact, and one which is justly measured by the pathetic violence of all those discourses which attempt to erase it.

Excerpt from an essay by Jean Baudrillard. Read it HERE or HERE

Book-Text-Read-Zines · Earthly/Geo/Astro · Eco/Adaptable · Social/Politics

The death of environmentalism: Global warming politics in a post-environmental world

This essay by Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus was released at an October 2004 meeting of the Environmental Grantmakers Association, and it’s been ruffling feathers ever since.

Introduction

To not think of dying is to not think of living.
— Jann Arden

Those of us who are children of the environmental movement must never forget that we are standing on the shoulders of all those who came before us.

The clean water we drink, the clean air we breathe, and the protected wilderness we treasure are all, in no small part, thanks to them. The two of us have worked for most of the country’s leading environmental organizations as staff or consultants. We hold a sincere and abiding respect for our parents and elders in the environmental community. They have worked hard and accomplished a great deal. For that we are deeply grateful.

At the same time, we believe that the best way to honor their achievements is to acknowledge that modern environmentalism is no longer capable of dealing with the world’s most serious ecological crisis.

Over the last 15 years environmental foundations and organizations have invested hundreds of millions of dollars into combating global warming.

We have strikingly little to show for it.

Read it via GRIST

Book-Text-Read-Zines · Philosophy · Social/Politics · Theory

Public Uses of History: Expectations and Ambiguities by Jacques Revel

In 1876, the first issue of the Revue historique was published in Paris. The birth of the journal is commonly seen as a founding moment. History was now defined as a professional discipline, with explicit scientific and more precise methodological requirements, with specific and codified forms of training and a strong sense of academic community. There is nothing here that is specific to France: actually, the German model of historical erudition had inspired a number of national communities in Europe and outside Europe. On the occasion of the first issue of the new Revue, one of the directors, Gabriel Monod, a leading figure of the time, addressed future contributors. In his editorial, he recommended “avoiding contemporary controversies, addressing the subjects of their studies with the methodological rigor and absence of bias required by science, and not seeking arguments for or against any theory involved indirectly only.” Monod then explained the insufficient progress of the discipline in France as resulting from “political and religious passions” which, “in the absence of scientific tradition” had not been curbed. Hence the utmost restraint was called for. A new time was open to science, method and objectivity after decades of tense, dense, and exhausting ideological conflicts on the French Revolution, the absolute monarchy and the conflicting relations between Church and State over centuries. Historians would better choose to cool their objects of study down and avoid contemporary topics. Distancing the past now was a pressing requirement.

Via Transformation of the Public Sphere

Art/Aesthetics · Book-Text-Read-Zines · Education · Human-ities · Social/Politics · Technology

Switching Codes: Thinking Through Digital Technology in the Humanities and the Arts

Half a century into the digital era, the profound impact of information technology on intellectual and cultural life is universally acknowledged but still poorly understood. The sheer complexity of the technology coupled with the rapid pace of change makes it increasingly difficult to establish common ground and to promote thoughtful discussion.

Responding to this challenge, Switching Codes brings together leading American and European scholars, scientists, and artists—including Charles Bernstein, Ian Foster, Bruno Latour, Alan Liu, and Richard Powers—to consider how the precipitous growth of digital information and its associated technologies are transforming the ways we think and act. Employing a wide range of forms, including essay, dialogue, short fiction, and game design, this book aims to model and foster discussion between IT specialists, who typically have scant training in the humanities or traditional arts, and scholars and artists, who often understand little about the technologies that are so radically transforming their fields. Switching Codes will be an indispensable volume for anyone seeking to understand the impact of digital technology on contemporary culture, including scientists, educators, policymakers, and artists, alike.

Edited by Thomas Bartscherer and Roderick Coover. 448 pages | 40 halftones, 4 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 2011

Text and Image via The University of Chicago Press Books