Keyword Search Results
There were 166 results from your search for keyword(s): 'Rationality'.
- "See is just a movie in your eyes," said Garth. "It's not out in the world."
"It's not out there, it's not dark matter or anything else. It's just in your eyes. A movie. And the only difference is that everyone else has the same movie playing. Cynthia, Philip, Alice, their movies agree. So they can see. You and I are watching the wrong movie, so we're blind."
Evan and I were silent.
Source: As She Climbed Across the Table, p. 134
- "The trouble is that when they have taken Peyote, they no longer obey us."
"It is the same with Peyote as it is with everything human. It is a marvelous magnetic and alchemical principle, provided one knows how to take it -- that is to say, in the proper doses and according to the proper gradations. And above all, provided one does not take it at the wrong time or in the wrong place. If after taking Peyote the Indians seem to go mad, it is because they are abusing it in order to reach that point of disorderly intoxication in which the soul is no longer subject to anything. In so doing, it is not you whom they are disobeying but Ciguri itself, for Ciguri is the God of the Prescience of the just, of equilibrium and of self-control. He who has truly imbibed Ciguri, the true meter and measure of Ciguri, MAN and not indeterminate PHANTOM, knows how things are made and he can no longer lose his reason, because it is God who is in his nerves and who guides them.
Source: The Peyote Dance, p. 28
- "Traditional" theory is always in danger of being incorporated into the programming of the social whole as a simple tool for the optimization of its performance; this is because its desire for a unitary and totalizing truth lends itself to the unitary and totalizing practice of the system's managers. "Critical" theory, based on a principle of dualism and wary of syntheses and reconciliations, should be in a position to avoid this fate.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 12
- 'Being realistic' may once have meant coming to terms with a reality experienced as solid and immovable. Capitalist realism, however, entails subordinating oneself to a reality that is infinitely plastic, capable of reconfiguring itself at any moment. We are confronted with what Jameson, in his essay 'The Antinomies of the Postmodern', calls 'a purely fungible present in which space and psyches alike can be processed and remade at will'...How could it ever be possible for us to believe successive or even co-extensive stories that so obviously contradict one another? Yet we know from Kant, Nietzsche and psychoanalysis that waking, as much as dreaming, experience, depends upon just such screening narratives. If the Real is unbearable, any reality we construct must be a tissue of inconsistencies. What differentiates Kant, Nietzsche and Freud from the tiresome cliché that 'life is but a dream' is the sense that the confabulations we live are consensual. The idea that the world we experience is a solipsistic delusion projected from the interior of our mind consoles rather than disturbs us, since it conforms with our infantile fantasies of omnipotence; but the thought that our so-called interiority owes its existence to a fictionalized consensus will always carry an uncanny charge.
Source: Capitalist Realism, p. 54-56
- 'Has it ever occurred to you, Oedipa, that somebody's putting you on? That this is all a hoax, maybe something Inverarity set up before he died?'
It had occurred to her. But like the thought that someday she would have to die, Oedipa had been steadfastly refusing to look at that possibility directly, or in any but the most accidental of lights. 'No,' she said,' that's ridiculous.'
Fallopian watched her, nothing if not compassionate. 'You ought,' quietly, 'really, you ought to think about it. Write down what you can't deny. Your hard intelligence. But then write down what you've only speculated, assumed. See what you've got. At least that.'
Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 129
- 'How very lucky that I happened to meet him there just this evening! The Unconscious is kind. But there's design in it, too; human design in it. If I hadn't known Komissaroff was given to boating, I couldn't have laid such a trap for him so easily.'
Source: For Maimie's Sake: A Tale of Love and Dynamite, p. 47
- 'It is here somewhere,' the Sergeant said, 'or beside a place somewhere near the next place adjacent.'
Source: The Third Policeman, p. 110
- 'No, Mrs. Somebody,' the old Captain assented, with a sagacious nod; 'she certainly hasn't. She's been brought up clean away from all nonsense, all hypocrisy, all humbug of every kind; and you won't find a better girl going anywhere than our Maimie. She's been brought up obedient to reason, and to reason only. I've treated her systematically with pure reason. I'm an old sailor, and on board ship we used all to have a great deal too much authority and too little reason. I hate authority -- I detest authority; I'm all for reason. Miami, my dear, I'm opposed to authority, am I not, and all for reason?'
Source: For Maimie's Sake: A Tale of Love and Dynamite, p. 36
- The Assignment repeatedly demonstrates a concern with the problematics, and especially with the political implications, of literary realism...[T]he critique of realism offered by neo-Marxist critics suggests its repressive potential as a "fantasy of surveillance" corresponding to nineteenth-century developments in psychiatry and urban sociology, a form of policing, enforcing social norms and denying aberrations. Yet in spite of the frequency with which recent critics cite Bakhtin's argument that the realistic novel's dialogism brings about "a destruction of any absolute bonding of ideological meaning to language, which is the defining factor of mythological and magical thought," the critique of realism as allied with official views of reality remains a key point in the postmodernist program (Bakhtin 369).
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 114-115
- The victim is a surplus taken from the mass of useful wealth. And he can only be withdrawn from it in order to be consumed profitlessly, and therefore utterly destroyed. Once chosen, he is the accursed share, destined for violent consumption. But the curse tears him away from the order of things; it gives him a recognizable figure, which now radiates intimacy, anguish, the profundity of living beings.
Source: The Accursed Share, p. 59
- Throughout the twentieth century, most terrorist fiction, even that critical of popular beliefs about terrorism, continued to follow the conventions of nineteenth-century realism. For their part, government officials and the press still construct terrorism much as popular fiction does, and terrorists continue to stage their spectacles with an eye to what is now a global stage. Recognizing how often revolutionaries, politicians, and journalists draw on the familiar terrorist story inevitably leads to wondering how it might be disrupted, and Friedrich Dürrenmatt's The Assignment offers an extended response to that question. In this 1986 novella, Dürrenmatt links the inadequacy of familiar representations to the limitations of realism itself, blending an absurdist critique of contemporary politics with a postmodern conception of terrorism.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 108
- A dizzying hypothesis: rationality, culminating in technical virtuality, might be the last of the ruses of unreason, of that will to illusion of which, as Nietzsche says, the will to truth is merely a derivative and an avatar.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 5
- Absurdity in the manner of Mark Twain, with which the American culture industry flirts from time to time, could be a corrective to art.
Source: Dialectic of Enlightenment, p. 113
- After 9/11, we found ourselves in an apparently open-ended and permanent state of emergency, a 'war against terror', whose ramifications are as inscrutable as terrorism itself...When society feels under threat, attempts at rational analysis are often openly resisted as giving aid and comfort to, or even sympathizing with, the enemy.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 1-2
- After the rupture with the PCF as recorded in the still magnificent document 'Du temps que les surréalistes avaient raison' (1935), the Surrealists joined with Georges Bataille in 1935 to form a radical left non-party formation named Contre-Attaque: Union de luttes des intellectuels révolutionnaires, not only to challenge the Party but to explore 'the continuation of politics by other means' (Bataille). in so doing, both Bataille and Beton are clear that the creation of the Front Popular in 1935 would not in itself be sufficient to bring about the kind of radical transformation of values that would alone suffice: it is not merely a rejection of capitalism and the bourgeoisie that would be required, but a fundamental change in the values and conceptions of reason that had informed Western and European self-understanding, the very values which, Nietasche and Valéry had argued in a manner definitive for the Surrealist generation, were also the basis of European nihilism.
From chapter: Failure and Community: Preliminary Questions on the Political in the Culture of Surrealism, M. Stone-Richards
Source: Surrealism, Politics and Culture, p. 302
- All three, the Hausmeister, Max, the park attendant, were aware that Ulrich's father had worn a monocle, and that his name was Ulrich von Hargenau, and that he had died for his fatherland, another euphemism, and that Ulrich and his brother had dropped the von, a gesture that was universally regarded with suspicion and a quite irrational anger. As a rule, people did not drop their von. The Hausmeister, Max, and the park attendant also knew that Ulrich had been up to his neck in left-wing politics, and that as recently as nine months ago he had been involved in a long drawn-out trial in which his evidence had been used by the prosecution to build an airtight case, enabling them to lock up what everyone considered a bunch of ill-mannered agitators. In some quarters there was more outrage about their alleged bad manners than their left-wing rhetoric.
Source: How German Is It, p. 34
- An oracular irrationalism has established (especially with Bergson and the majority of German philosophers and intellectuals) the habit of ignoring or at best deploring the existence of such an inferior being as a rationalist. To them the rationalists -- or the 'materialists', as they often say -- and especially, the rationalist scientist, are the poor in spirit, pursuing soulless and largely mechanical activities, and completely unaware of the deeper problems of human destiny and of its philosophy. And the rationalists usually reciprocate by dismissing irrationalism as sheer nonsense.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 33
- And I think that restlessness is rarely torrential, and yet...the desired designation could never lend itself to so free a shape. To connect it, as André Breton has done, to certain freedoms of expression, certainly had more than one advantage; and automatic writing was more than a petty provocation. Insubordination, if not extended to the domain of images and words, is still no more than a refusal of external forms (such as the government or the police) when ordered words and images are entrusted to us by a system which, one thing leading to another, causes the entirety of nature to be submitted to utility. Belief -- or, rather, servitude to the real world -- is, without the shadow of a doubt, fundamental to all servitude. I cannot consider someone free if they do not have the desire to sever the bonds of language within themselves. It does not follow, however, that it is enough to escape for a moment the empire of words to have pushed as far as possible not to subordinate what we are to anything.
Source: The Absence of Myth, p. 49
- And yet, can the knowledge deriving from reason even begin to compare with knowledge perceptible by sense? No doubt the number of people crass enough to rely exclusively on the former and scorn the latter are sufficient in themselves to explain the disfavour into which everything deriving from the senses has gradually fallen. But when the most scholarly of men have taught me that light is a vibration, or have calculated its wavelengths for me, or offered me any other fruits of their labours of reasoning, they will still not have rendered me an account of what is important to me about light, of what my eyes have begun to teach me about it, of what makes me different from a blind man -- things which are the stuff of miracles, not subject matter for reasoning.
Source: Paris Peasant, p. 9
- Both [Popper and Strauss] suggested that modern liberal democracies were vulnerable to totalitarianism because of societal tensions caused by scientific erosion of traditional beliefs that otherwise reinforced established laws and norms.
Source: Conspiracy Theory in America, p. 79
- Breton identified the 'reign of logic' as the principal means employed to suppress the imagination's innate rebelliousness. The influence of positivist philosophy and analytic reason had banished all forms of magical thinking from contemporary life; humanity, having lost any sense of its own purpose, consequently found itself incapable of accepting responsibility for its own destiny. As a result, 'experience has found itself increasingly circumscribed', leaning 'for support on what is most immediately expedient', 'protected by the sentinels of common sense', and 'any kind of search for truth which is not in conformance with accepted practice' was now forbidden.
Source: Surrealism, Politics and Culture, p. 7
- Brute facts in their speechless horror are the very substance of serious terrorism discourse...As if to dispel any doubts regarding terrorism's compelling reality, it is routine for writers to begin their journalistic reports or scholarly papers with...dreadful statistics about the innocent victims. These are indeed the hardest of facts, and who can doubt their validity?
It is difficult to transcend the initial shock over such numbers in order to contemplate the reality behind them. The reporting of innocent travelers killed in the bombing of an airplane is so brutally factual that no possible explanation makes sense; indeed it is so "real" that it requires no frame, so "true" that no interpretation is necessary, so "concrete" that no meaning need be inferred. Its reality appears to belong more to nature than to society. This is discourse so overwhelmed by the "reality effect" of the facts that the very suggestion that it authenticate itself appears ridiculous.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 5
- But the reduction of "that which is" to the order of things is not limited to slavery. Slavery is abolished, but we ourselves our aware of the aspects of social life in which man is relegated to the level of things, and we should know that this relegation did not await slavery. From the start, the introduction of labor into the world replaced intimacy, the depth of desire and its free outbreaks, with rational progression, where what matters is no longer the truth of the present moment, but, rather, the subsequent results of operations. The first labor established the world of things, to which the profane world of the Ancients generally corresponds. Once the world of things was posited, man himself became one of the things of this world, at least for the time in which he labored. It is this degradation that man has always tried to escape. In his strange myths, in his cruel rites, man is in search of a lost intimacy from the first.
Religion is this long effort and this anguished quest: It is always a matter of detaching from the real order, from the poverty of things, and of restoring the divine order.
Source: The Accursed Share, p. 57
- But while the trivial pleasures of culture have their place as a relief from the trivial worries of practical life, the more important merits of contemplation are in relation to the greater evils of life, death and pain and cruelty, and the blind march of nations into unnecessary disaster. For those to whom dogmatic religion can no longer bring comfort, there is need of some substitute, if life is not to become dusty and harsh and filled with trivial self-assertion. The world at present is full of angry self-centred groups, each incapable of viewing human life as a whole, each willing to destroy civilisation rather than yield an inch. To this narrowness no amount of technical instruction will provide an antidote. The antidote, in so far as it is a matter of individual psychology, is to be found in history, biology, astronomy, and all those studies which, without destroying self-respect, enable the individual to see himself in his proper perspective. What is needed is not this or that specific piece of information, but such knowledge as inspires a conception of the ends of human life as a whole: art and history, acquaintance with the lives of heroic individuals, and some understanding of the strangely accidental and ephemeral position of man in the cosmos -- all this touched with an emotion of pride in what is distinctively human, the power to see and to know, to feel magnanimously and to think with understanding. It is from large perceptions combined with impersonal emotion that wisdom most readily springs.
From chapter: 'Useless' Knowledge
Source: In Praise of Idleness, p. 26-27
- Capitalism, bureaucracy, and science -- all expressions of instrumental rationality -- constitute the real core of Enlightenment. They turn nature into an object of use, progress into alienation, and freedom into control. Autonomy is a nuisance and critique is a threat. Enlightenment may be associated with such ideals. But its real goal is standardization and control. In the name of liberation, its advocates wound up fostering a rationality of technical domination. The irrational beliefs that the Enlightenment originally sought to destroy thus reappeared as its own products.
Source: Critical Theory, p. 55
- Classical economy imagined the first exchanges in the form of barter. Why would it have thought that in the beginning a mode of acquisition such as exchange had not answered the need to acquire, but rather the contrary need to lose or squander? The classical conception is now questionable in a sense.
The "merchants" of Mexico practiced the paradoxical system of exchanges that I have described as a regular sequence of gifts; these customs, not barter, in fact constituted the archaic organization of exchange. Potlatch, still practiced by the Indians of the Northwest Coast of America, is its typical form...Potlatch is, like commerce, a means of circulating wealth, but it excludes bargaining. More often than not it is the solemn giving of considerable riches, offered by a chief to his rival for the purpose of humiliating, challenging and obligating him. The recipient has to erase the humiliation and take up the challenge; he must satisfy the obligation that was contracted by accepting. He can only reply, a short time later, by means of a new potlatch, more generous than the first: He must pay back with interest.
Source: The Accursed Share, p. 67-68
- Either Trystero did exist, in its own right, or it was being presumed, perhaps fantasied by Oedipa, so hung up on and interpenetrated with the dead man's estate. Here in San Francisco, away from all tangible assets of that estate, there might still be a chance of getting the whole thing to go away and disintegrate quietly. She had only to drift tonight, at random, and watch nothing happen, to be convinced it was purely nervous, a little something for her shrink to fix.
Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 82
- Even literal acts such as the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 are surrounded by vast doses of nonfactual guesswork, scholarly interpretation, political manipulation, and judicial indictments. As a result, when, on November 14, 1991, the U.S. accused two Libyan officials of the Lockerbie massacre, most family members and journalists who had followed the three-year investigation remained skeptical. Experts were quick to dispute, on various technical grounds, the theory that a simple microchip timer recovered from the wreckage set off the explosion, and reiterated the existence of contradictions and evidence pointing to other culprits now exculpated in a clear case of skewing raw data for political ends...Whether "blood feud" or "international terrorism" means little to the victims of Lockerbie, the difference in political rhetorics is critical for the rest of us. The monster is there, but what are its qualities?
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 11
- For the scholarly advocates of corporate culture who proliferate in game studies, none of this appears to be a problem: 'games serve the national interest by entertaining consumer-citizens and creating a consumer-based demand for military technology' that is unrelated to actual violence (Hall, 206; Power 2007: 277). But academics who are involved with these delightful paymasters would do well to read some scientific history. In his testimony to the US Atomic Energy Commission, J. Robert Oppenheimer, who led the group that developed the atomic bomb, talked about the instrumental rationality that animated the people who created this awesome technology. Once these scientists saw that it was feasible, the device's impact lost intellectual and emotional significance for them -- overtaken by what he labelled its 'technically sweet' quality (United States Atomic Energy Commission, 1954: 81).
From chapter: Terrorism and Global Popular Culture by Toby Miller
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 109-110
- From the start of the Cold War through to the present day, international political and legal bodies have had to deal with many dodgy claims of self-defense. However, almost all such claims have involved acts of either anticipatory self-defense or collective self-defense/counter-intervention. This can obscure the fact that during a more distant time period -- namely, the twenty-year interregnum of the inter-war period and the immediate aftermath of World War II -- international concern was focused to a large extent on pretextual claims of self-defense based on false flag attacks.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 10
- From this point of view [imprecision as a virtue], we may criticize a doctrine like that of Wittgenstein, who holds that while science investigates matters of fact, it is the business of philosophy to clarify the meaning of terms, thereby purging our language, and eliminating linguistic puzzles. It is characteristic of the views of this school that they do not lead to any chain of argument that could be rationally criticized; the school therefore addresses its subtle analyses exclusively to the small esoteric circle of the initiated. This seems to suggest that any preoccupation with meaning tends to lead to that result which is so typical of Aristotelianism: scholasticism and mysticism.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 99
- Gift-giving has the virtue of a surpassing of the subject who gives, but in exchange for the object given, the subject appropriates the surpassing: He regards his virtue, that which he had the capacity for, as an asset, as a power that he now possesses. he enriches himself with a contempt for riches, and what he proves to be miserly of is in fact his generosity.
But he would not be able by himself to acquire a power constituted by a relinquishment of power: IF he destroyed the object in solitude, in silence, no sort of power would result from the act; there would not be anything for the subject but a separation fro power without any compensation. But if he destroys the object in from of another person or if he gives it away, the one who gives has actually acquired, in the other's eyes, the power of giving or destroying...He is rich for having ostentatiously consumed what is wealth only if it is consumed.
Source: The Accursed Share, p. 69
- Gift-giving is not the only form of potlatch: A rival is challenged by a solemn destruction of riches. In principle, the destruction is offered to the mythical ancestors of the donee; it is little different from a sacrifice. As recently as the nineteenth century a Tlingit chieftain would sometimes go before a rival and cut the throats of slaves in his presence. At the proper time, the destruction was repaid by the killing of a large number of slaves. The Chukchee of the Siberian Northeast have related institutions. They slaughter highly valuable dog teams, for it is necessary for them to startle, to stifle the rival group. The Indians of the Northwest Coast would set fire to their villages or break their canoes to pieces. They have emblazoned copper bars possessing a fictive value (depending on how famous or how old the coppers are): Sometimes these bars are worth a fortune. They throw them into the sea or shatter them.
Source: The Accursed Share, p. 68
- He had known for a while that certain episodes he dreamed could not be his own. This wasn't through any rigorous daytime analysis of content, but just because he knew.
Source: Gravity's Rainbow, p. 13
- Herbert Marcuse has identified 'the surrealistic effort' as one that asserts that there are forces operating in the world '[with] which we refuse to come to grips. We are subject not only to the causality of reason, as explored in the natural sciences and in common sense, but also to "irrational," surreal or subreal (in terms of accepted rationality) forces'. In tackling this cultural repression, Surrealism provides 'more than a mere enlargement of our perception, imagination, reason'; it is also a project for the 'restructuring and redirection of the mental faculties [...] to undo the mutilation of our faculties by the established society and its requirements'.
Source: Surrealism, Politics and Culture, p. 4
- How mankind loves to remain transfixed at the very doors of the imagination! This prisoner would dearly love to escape, but he hesitates on the threshold of possibilities, dreading that he may find he has stepped on to a rampart walk leading back to its own casemate. He has been taught the mechanism of the logical sequence of ideas, and the poor fellow has assumed that his ideas are connected. So he justifies his reason and his delirium by means of delirious reasoning.
Source: Paris Peasant, p. 60
- Humanity pays for an increase in power over nature with the loss of subjectivity. Blind to the domination in which it was engaged, equally blind to the reaction it was nurturing, Enlightenment humanism was incapable of understanding that in its "innermost recesses there rages a frantic prisoner who, as a fascist, turns the world into a prison." [quoting from Adorno & Horkheimer I think]
Source: Critical Theory, p. 55
- Hume's negative result establishes for good that all our universal laws or theories remain for ever guesses, conjectures, hypotheses. But the second negative result concerning the force of counterinstances by no means rules out the possibility of a positive theory of how, by purely rational arguments, we can prefer some competing conjectures to others...To put it in a nutshell, Russell's desperate remark that if with Hume we reject all positive induction, 'there is no intellectual difference between sanity and insanity' is mistaken. For the rejection of induction does not prevent us from preferring, say, Newton's theory to Kepler's, or Einstein's theory to Newton's.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 111
- I do not know of anything more 'rational' than a well-conducted critical discussion.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 114
- I do not wish to imply that conspiracies never happen. On the contrary, they are typical social phenomena. They become important, for example, whenever people who believe in the conspiracy theory get into power. And people who sincerely believe that they know how to make heaven on earth are most likely to adopt the conspiracy theory, and to get involved in a counter conspiracy against non-existing conspirators. For the only explanation of their failure to produce their heaven is the evil intention of the Devil, who has a vested interest in hell.
Conspiracies occur, it must be admitted. But the striking fact which, in spite of their occurrence, disproves the conspiracy theory is that few of these conspiracies are ultimately successful. Conspirators rarely consummate their conspiracy.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 351
- I no longer wish to refrain from the errors of my fingers, the errors of my eyes. I know now that these errors are not just booby traps but curious paths leading towards a destination that they alone can reveal to me. There are strange flowers of reason to match each error of the senses. Admirable gardens of absurd beliefs, forebodings, obsessions and frenzies. Unknown, ever-changing gods take shape there...It is a knowledge, a science of life open only to those who have no training in it.
Source: Paris Peasant, p. 10
- If capitalist realism is so seamless, and if current forms of resistance are so hopeless and impotent, where can an effective challenge come from? A moral critique of capitalism, emphasizing the ways in which it leads to suffering, only reinforces capitalist realism. Poverty, famine and war can be presented as an inevitable part of reality, while the hope that these forms of suffering could be eliminated easily painted as naive utopianism. Capitalist realism can only be threatened if it is shown to be in some way inconsistent or untenable; if, that is to say, capitalism's ostensible 'realism' turns out to be nothing of the sort.
Source: Capitalist Realism, p. 16
- If the demands of humanity are to have a chance to partially triumph in the practical sphere, they must take pains with specifics, and for this reason get science in their camp.
Source: Arcanum 17, p. 68
- Imperialism, militarism, economic exploitation, patriarchal family structures, religious dogmatism, and the false needs generated by consumerism all render it irrational. Only a kind of primal guilt maintains the identification with its values and institutions.
Source: Critical Theory, p. 70
- In his paper, "Fearing Fictions," Kendall Walton proposes the notion of "quasi-fear" for that fright experienced when contemplating on a movie or TV screen agents (such as a terrible green slime or the creature from the Black Lagoon) that the viewer knows for certain are only fictional. Then there is the fear of a person afraid of a nonexistent ghost or burglar who are nonetheless "real" since the person believes that they are present. Fear of terrorism is never solely fictional, as in the first case, but is rather of the second type. Still, faced with the extraordinary fact that during one single month 10 million Americans decided to stay at home rather than take an airplane reportedly because of a terrorist threat issued several thousands miles away by a beleaguered dictator, one questions whether they were dissuaded by real feelings of terror or were engaging in some sort of make-believe in which they acted "as if" the threats posed real danger to their lives...
Terrorism discourse is characterized by the confusion of sign and context provoked by the deadly atrocity of apparently random acts, the impossibility of discriminating reality from make-believe, and text from reader. These strange processes and their mix make terrorism a queer phenomenon. Emptying the sign of its deadly messages seem to be, following Barthes's advice, the best antidote to the experience of terror. And nothing appears to be more damaging to the ghosts and myths of terrorism (for audience and actors alike) than fictionalizing them further to the point that fear dissolves into "as-if" terror.
The discourse's victory, then, derives from imposing a literal frame of "this is real war," "this is global threat," "this is total terror." Its defeat derives from writing "this is an as-if war," "this is an as-if global threat," "this is make-believe total terror."
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 28-29
- In our cities, the avenues running parallel from north to south all converge in an empty lot made up of our jaded detective's eyes. We no longer have any clue as to who asked us to solve this murky case. The uncovering of the plot, the right no longer to think and act as a herd, the unique opportunity we still have to regain our raison d'être--of all this, nothing survives the course of our dream but a hand closed save for an index finger imperiously pointing to a spot on the horizon. There, in utter purity, the air and light are beginning to incite the proud uprising of all the things that have been thought yet barely framed. There, restored to his original sovereignty and serendipity, man preaches to himself alone, it is said, an everlasting truth that is strictly his own. He has no notion of this hideous arrangement of which we are the latest victims, of this foreground of reality that keeps us from budging.
Source: Introduction to the Discourse on the Paucity of Reality, p. 143
- In science, we take care that the statements we make should never depend upon the meaning of our terms. Even where the terms are defined, we never try to derive any information from the definition, or to base any argument upon it. This is why our terms make so little trouble. We do not overburden them. We try to attach to them as little weight as possible. We do not take their 'meaning' too seriously.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 97
- In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 91
- In the 9/11 context, the key taboo claim is that the government is not well-intentioned toward its citizenry. Importantly, this claim is no more entertained by the establishment today than the claim that workers lacked equal bargaining power was entertained by the Lochner-era establishment. It is not entertained because it impugns a formidable paradigm, according to which government officials and agencies in the First-World West uniformly and consistently work to advance the welfare of the citizenry at large.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 23
- In the empirical sciences, which alone can furnish us with information about the world we live in, proofs do not occur, if we mean by 'proof' an argument which establishes once and for ever the truth of a theory. (What may occur, however, are refutations of scientific theories.)
Source: Popper Selections, p. 91
- Incredible as it may seem, the Tarahumara Indians live as if they were already dead. They do not see reality and they draw magical powers from the contempt they have for civilization.
Source: The Peyote Dance, p. 3
- Is there anything but a discourse of the real and the rational?
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 14
- It is a characteristic of the modern romantic hysteria that it combines a Hegelian collectivism concerning 'reason' with an excessive individualism concerning 'emotions': thus the emphasis on language as a means of self-expression instead of a means of communication. Both attitudes, of course, are parts of the revolt against reason.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 44
- It is frequently assumed that imagination has a close affinity with emotion and therefore with irrationalism, and that rationalism rather tends towards an unimaginative dry scholasticism...But...it appears that rationalism must encourage the use of imagination because it needs it, while irrationalism must tend to discourage it. The very fact that rationalism is critical, whilst irrationalism must tend towards dogmatism (where there is no argument, nothing is left but full acceptance or flat denial), leads in this direction. Criticism always demands a certain degree of imagination, whilst dogmatism suppresses it.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 44
- It is my firm conviction that this irrational emphasis upon emotion and passion leads ultimately to what I can only describe as crime. One reason for this opinion is that this attitude, which is at best one of resignation towards the irrational nature of human beings, at worst one of scorn for human reason, must lead to an appeal to violence and brute force as the ultimate arbiter in any dispute. For if a dispute arises, then this means that those more constructive emotions and passions which might in principle help to get over it, reverence, love, devotion to a common cause, etc., have shown themselves incapable of solving the problem. But if that is so, then what is left to the irrationalist except the appeal to other and less constructive emotions and passions, to fear, hatred, envy, and ultimately, to violence? This tendency is very much strengthened by another and perhaps even more important attitude which also is in my opinion inherent in irrationalism, namely, the stress on the inequality of men.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 38
- It is necessary at this point to note a dual origin of moral judgments. In former times value was given to unproductive glory, whereas in our day it is measured in terms of production: Precedence is given to energy acquisition over energy expenditure. Glory itself is justified by the consequences of a glorious deed in the sphere of utility. But, dominated though it is by practical judgment and Christian morality, the archaic sensibility is still alive: In particular it reappears in the romantic protest against the bourgeois world; only in the classical conceptions of the economy does it lose its rights entirely.
Source: The Accursed Share, p. 29
- It is one thing for an undertaking to be possible and another for it to be just. Knowledge is no longer the subject, but in the service of the subject: its only legitimacy (though it is formidable) is the fact that it allows morality to become reality. This introduces a relation of knowledge to society and the State which is in principle a relation of the means to the end. But scientists must cooperate only if they judge that the politics of the State, in other words the sum of its prescriptions, is just. If they feel that the civil society of which they are members is badly represented by the State, they may reject its prescriptions. This type of legitimation grants them the authority, as practical human beings, to refuse their scholarly support to a political power they judge to be unjust, in other words, not grounded in a real autonomy. They can even go so far as to use their expertise to demonstrate that such autonomy is not in fact realized in society and the State. This reintroduces the critical function of knowledge. But the fact remains that knowledge has no final legitimacy outside of serving the goals envisioned by the practical subject, the autonomous collectivity.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 36
- It is tempting to avoid the decision altogether [note: the choice between unitary/totalizing/functional science and oppositional/critical/dual interpretation/argument as the ultimate in knowledge and best single way forward for society] by distinguishing two kinds of knowledge. One, the positivist kind, would be directly applicable to technologies bearing on men and materials, and would lend itself to operating as an indispensable productive force within the system. The other -- the critical, reflexive, or hermeneutic kind -- by reflecting directly or indirectly on values or aims, would resist any such "recuperation."
I find this partition solution unacceptable. I suggest that the alternative it attempts to resolve, but only reproduces, is no longer relevant for the societies with which we are concerned and that the solution itself is still caught within a type of oppositional thinking that is out of step with the most vital modes of postmodern knowledge...For brevity's sake, suffice it to say that functions of regulation, and therefore of reproduction, are being and will be further withdrawn from administrators and entrusted to machines. Increasingly, the central question is becoming who will have access to the information these machines must have in storage to guarantee that the right decisions are made.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 14
- It is useful to make the following three observations about language games. The first is that their rules do not carry within themselves their own legitimation, but are the object of a contract, explicit or not, between players (which is not to say that the players invent the rules). The second is that if there are no rules, there is no game, that even an infinitesimal modification of one rule alters the nature of the game, that a"move" or utterance that does not satisfy the rules does not belong to the game they define. The third remark is suggested by what has just been said: every utterance should be thought of as a "move" in a game. This last observation brings us to the first principle underlying our method as a whole: to speak is to fight, in the sense of playing, and speech acts fall within the domain of a general agonistics.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 10
- It is...impossible to judge the existence or validity of narrative knowledge on the basis of scientific knowledge and vice versa: the relevant criteria are different. All we can do is gaze in wonderment at the diversity of discursive species, just as we do at the diversity of plant or animal species. Lamenting the "loss of meaning" in postmodernity boils down to mourning the fact that knowledge is no longer principally narrative.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 26
- It isn't just in physics that it's impossible to calculate the momentum and the position of a particle simultaneously. It's the same where the possibility of calculating both the reality and the meaning of an event in news coverage is concerned, the imputation of causes and effects in a particular complex process, the relationship between terrorist and hostage, between virus and cell...Uncertainty has filtered into all areas of life...And this is not an effect of the complexity of the parameters...It is a radical uncertainty, because it is linked to the extreme character of phenomena and not just to their complexity.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 57
- It was through the critical rejection of all existing political, social and moral codes that Fourier said he first caught a glimpse of the mechanisms of 'passionate attraction' -- natural impulses and cadences that occur on a level below the threshold of thought processes and which persist regardless of civilization's attempt to repress them through the artificial constructs of moralization, rationalization, guilt, fear and intolerance. If one were to recalibrate his or her life to that unified rhythmic pulse buried under the noise and tumult of modern life, and work toward building social formations that were similarly fine-tuned to these rhythms, then human life would evolve into a new, more natural harmonious order of cooperative unity, free passion, profound fulfillment and ludic pleasure.
From chapter: Attacks of the Fantastic, Donald LaCoss
Source: Surrealism, Politics and Culture, p. 273-274
- Like Burroughs, Spinoza shows that, far from being an aberrant condition, addiction is the standard state for human beings, who are habitually enslaved into reactive and repetitive behaviors by frozen images (of themselves and the world). Freedom, Spinoza shows, is something that can be achieved only when we can apprehend the real causes of our actions, when we can set aside the 'sad passions' that intoxicate and entrance us.
Source: Capitalist Realism, p. 73
- More than half of patients who have lost a limb suffer from the irritating illusion that it is somehow still there. This illusion can be surprisingly strong, to the extent that the patient still feels the results of using his phantom limb. The neuroscientist Vilayanur Ramachandran, one of the best known researchers into phantom limbs, tells the story of his patient whom he asked to lift a cup with his phantom hand. Just as he is about to reach out with the stump of his arm Ramachandran pulls the cup away. The patient cries out in pain. What is the explanation? The patient was just reaching through the cup handle and has felt the pain of his illusory fingers being twisted as the cup was pulled away. Even though the twisted finger was illusory, the pain experienced by the patient was as real as the cup that caused it.
Phantom limb can be extremely distressing or the patient, for they are often experienced as painful, burning, itching, or twisted into uncomfortable positions. In addition they are not easy to treat, not least because there is nothing to one found where the patient says the pain is coming from. In the past it was generally thought that the pain experienced in phantom limbs was the result of an inflammation of the nerve endings where the limb had been amputated. The nonsensical information that these nerves ending nowhere would then send back to the brain was experienced as pain. As a treatment sometimes a second amputation was carried out in order to remove the stump with the affected nerve endings, thereby stopping the pain at least temporarily. This tended not to be very successful; sometimes patients were not just left with the pain of the phantom limb but also experienced additional pain in the phantom stump...
Ramachandran came up with a new course of treatment. If the brain could somehow be convinced that the missing limb could still be moved, it might unlearn its assumptions,ption that the limb is paralyzed and stuck in an uncomfortable position, thereby removing the pain. But how does one move an object that does not exist? To do this Ramachandran constructed a device called the mirror box.
This is a simple wooden ox with two holes and a mirror serving as a middle partition. In the case of a patient with a left phantom hand he would put his right hand through the right hole and the stump through the left hole. The top of the left half of the box would then be covered. As the patient looks into the right half he seems to see his left hand restored -- it is the left-and-right reversed mirror image of his right hand. If the patient now makes a fist with his right hand it looks as if his left is clenching in unison. It appears to the brain s if it is indeed able to move the paralyzed phantom hand together with the healthy right hand.
Somewhat surprisingly, this very simple treatment of a very complex condition has led to the long-term improvement of many patients suffering from phantom limbs stuck in painful positions. Ramachandran's mirror box provides us with an interesting example of a case where a mirror image actually has a causal effect on the real world
Source: Twelve Examples of Illusion, p. 170-171
- My main contention is that, however long Americans might domestically be prepared to live with a no-decision regarding the official 9/11 account, international law can no longer tolerate it. The core mission of the premier public international body -- the United Nations -- is to perform its "jury" function of determining whether an act of aggression has occurred...I will argue that officialdom and scholars appear to be in the grip of an intellectual formalism every bit as vise-like as the "Lochner-era Formalism" American law students are taught to frown upon and deride from the very first moment of their studies. This formalism functions in the nature of a gate-keeper, letting some ideas, issues and facts into our minds and (from there) into the public domain, whilst sternly barring others. As for what lies back of this formalism, lending it its terrible strength, two sadly plausible guesses emerge: fear and its handmaiden, corruption.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 8-9
- My thesis is that this Darwinian procedure of the selection of beliefs and actions can in no sense be described as irrational. In no way does it clash with the rational solution of the logical problem of induction. Rather, it is just the transference of the logical solution to the psychological field. (This does not mean, of course, that we never suffer from what are called 'irrational beliefs'.)
Source: Popper Selections, p. 113
- No longer an autonomous political reactionary [i.e., in the famous Berton-with-surrealists collage], Berton has been made into an object to which others react. As I have suggested, this transformation is critical to surrealist praxis more broadly: such an objectified, aestheticized figure becomes a spur for the derangement of systematic thought rather than a model for imitation. This, I propose, is how it became possible for Germaine Berton to serve as both an object and an influence for the surrealist group.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 93
- Once upon a time there was a reality
Who never could get to sleep at night
And so her fairy godmother
Really took her by the hand
The re the re the reality
Source: Paris Peasant, p. 56
- One might say that it is the natural Unconscious which not only repairs in them the damages of fatigue but also corrects those natural perversions of a great principle by which [the Tarahumara] explain the existence of all infirmities...The truth is that the Tarahumara despise the life of their bodies, and live only for their ideas -- that is, in a constant and quasi-magical communication with the superior life of these ideas.
Source: The Peyote Dance, p. 8-9
- Over the past thirty years, capitalist realism has successfully installed a 'business ontology' in which it is simply obvious that everything in society, including healthcare and education, should be run as a business. As any number of radical theorists from Brecht through to Foucault and Badiou have maintained, emancipatory politics must always destroy the appearance of a 'natural order', must reveal what is presented as necessary and inevitable to be a mere contingency, just as it must make what was previously deemed to be impossible seem attainable.
Source: Capitalist Realism, p. 17
- Promote a clandestine trade in ideas, of all inadmissible ideas, of unassailable ideas, as the liquor trade had to be promoted in the 1930s. For we are already in a state of full-scale prohibition. Thought has become an extremely rare commodity, prohibited and prohibitive, which has to be cultivated in secret places following esoteric rules.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 106
- Rationalism is closely connected with the belief in the unity of mankind. Irrationalism, which is not bound by any rules of consistency, may be combined with any kind of belief, including a belief in the brotherhood of man; but the fact that it may easily be combined with a very different belief, and especially the fact that it lends itself easily to the support of a romantic belief in the existence of an elect body, in the division of men into leaders and led, into natural masters and natural slaves, shows clearly that a moral decision is involved in the choice between it and a critical rationalism.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 36
- Recently I do not go in for much coherent thought, however on that occasion I actually made a plan of action.
Source: The Hearing Trumpet, p. 9
- Scholasticism and mysticism and despair in reason, these are the unavoidable results of the essentialism of Plato and Aristotle. And Plato's open revolt against freedom becomes, with Aristotle, a secret revolt against reason.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 100
- Science has always been in conflict with narratives. Judged by the yardstick of science, the majority of them prove to be fables. But to the extent that science does not restrict itself to stating useful regularities and seeks the truth, it is obliged to legitimate the rules of its own game...For example, the rule of consensus between the sender and addressee of a statement with truth-value is deemed acceptable if it is cast in terms of a possible unanimity between rational minds: this is the Enlightenment narrative, in which the hero of knowledge works towards a good ethico-political end -- universal peace. As can be seen from this example, if a metanarrative implying a philosophy of history is used to legitimate knowledge, questions are raised concerning the validity of the institutions governing the social bond: these must be legitimated as well. Thus justice is consigned to the grand narrative in the same way as truth. Simplifying to the extreme, I define postmodern as incredulity toward metanarratives...Is legitimacy to be found in consensus obtained through discussion, as Jürgen Habermas thinks? Such consensus does violence to the heterogeneity of language games. And invention is always born of dissension. Postmodern knowledge is not simply a tool of the authorities; it refines our sensitivity to differences and reinforces our ability to tolerate the incommensurable.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. xxiii-xxv
- Scientific knowledge requires that one language game, denotation, be retained and all others excluded. A statement's truth-value is the criterion determining its acceptability...In this context, then, one is "learned" if one can produce a true statement about a referent, and one is a scientist if one can produce verifiable or falsifiable statements about referents accessible to the experts...Unlike narrative knowledge, [science] is no longer a direct and shared component of the [social] bond. But it is indirectly a component of it, because it develops into a profession and gives rise to institutions, and in modern societies language games consolidate themselves in the form of institutions run by qualified partners (the professional class). The relation between knowledge and society...becomes one of mutual exteriority. A new problem appears -- that of the relationship between the scientific institution and society.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 25
- Set up as part of Kitchener's attempt to win the war, the concentration camps were by any standard abominable. From November 1900, the British Army had introduced new tactics in an attempt to break the Boers' guerrilla campaign. Kitchener initiated plans to flush out guerrillas in a series of systematic drives, organized like a sporting shoot, with success defined in a weekly 'bag' of killed, captured and wounded. The country was swept bare of everything that could give sustenance to the guerrillas, including women and children. Some 30,000 Boer farms were burned to the ground and their animals slaughtered. It was the clearance of civilians, virtually ethnic cleansing, uprooting a whole nation, that would come to dominate the public's perception of the last phase of the war.
A total of 45 camps were built for Boer internees and 64 for native Africans. Of 28,000 Boer men captured as prisoners of war, almost all were set overseas. The vast majority in the camps were women and children. Inadequate shelter, poor diet, total lack of hygiene and overcrowding led to malnutrition and endemic contagious diseases such as measles, typhoid and dysentery. Coupled with a shortage of medical facilities, over 26,000 women and children were to perish in the British concentration camps.
Source: Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War, p. 47
- She could, at this stage of things, recognize signals like that, as the epileptic is said to -- an odour, colour, pure piercing grace note sounding his seizure. Afterwards it is only this signal, really dross, this secular announcement, and never what is revealed during the attack, that he remembers. Oedipal wondered whether, at the end of this (if it were supposed to end), she too might not be left with only compiled memories of clues, announcements, intimations, but never the central truth itself, which must somehow each time be too bright for her memory to hold; which must always blaze out, destroying its own message irreversibly, leaving an overexposed blank when the ordinary world came back.
Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 71
- She fell asleep almost at once, but kept waking from a nightmare about something in the mirror, across from her bed. Nothing specific, only a possibility, nothing she could see.
Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 76
- Since all argument must proceed from assumptions, it is plainly impossible to demand that all assumptions should be based on argument.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 34
- So my answer to the questions 'How do you know? What is the source or the basis of your assertion? What observations have led you to it?' would be: 'I do not know: my assertion was merely a guess. Never mind the source, or the sources, from which it may spring -- there are many possible sources, and I may not be aware of half of them; and origins or pedigrees have in any case little bearing upon truth. But if you are interested in the problem which I tried to solve by my tentative assertion, you may help me by criticizing it as severely as you can; and if you can design some experimental test which you think might refute my assertion, I shall gladly, and to the best of my powers, help you to refute it.'
Source: Popper Selections, p. 53
- Some people dislike seeing their fellow men burning at the stake, and others do not. This point (which was neglected by many Victorian optimists) is important, for it shows that a rational analysis of the consequences of a decision does not make the decision rational; the consequences do not determine our decision; it is always we who decide. But an analysis of the concrete consequences, and their clear realization in what we call our 'imagination', makes the difference between a blind decision and a decision made with open eyes; and since we use our imagination very little, we only too often decide blindly. This is especially so if we are intoxicated by an oracular philosophy, one of the most powerful means of maddening ourselves with words.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 37
- Surrealism began historically by appropriating all the advantages of madness -- that is, of the Mind functioning outside the confines of reified Reason -- while avoiding its disadvantages. It was not without humor that the prerogatives of the hysteric, the paranoiac, the schizophrenic became the prerogatives of surrealists. Precisely because they have not been mad, surrealists have been able to use madness creatively, or rather dialectally, in the service of Revolution. Had madness not come to the rescue, moreover, Reason would not have been reborn.
From chapter: Humor: Here Today & Everywhere Tomorrow, Franklin Rosemont
Source: Arsenal: Surrealist Subversion, p. 83
- Technical rationality today is the rationality of domination.
Source: Dialectic of Enlightenment, p. 95
- Terrorism, however defined, is certainly a calculated assault on the culture of reasonableness. It is also, surely, liberalism rather than democracy that is threatened, not so much by violence itself as by the state's reactions to it -- often, as Schmid notes propelled by popular demands...It is here that the problem of defining terrorism and evaluating the threat it poses becomes acute; the very imprecision of the concept and its operation leads to loose definition of the powers taken to oppose it, while (as in war) the blanket of national security smothers the interrogative powers on which public accountability depends. Without the effective interrogation of legislation and executive action there is no liberal democracy.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 140
- The "formalism" of which the Justices [of the Lochner-era] stood accused by their critics -- both at the time and since -- amounted to an intellectual insulation from "social facts" that kept fro from appreciating the realities of modern industrial relations. Those realities fatefully disadvantaged workers in contract negotiations with their would-be employers and rendered talk of "freedom of contract" cruelly farcical. By refusing to gaze upon those realities and draw the necessary inferences from them in assessing protective legislation, the Justices were, in Roscoe Pound's colorful words, behaving as "[l]egal monks who pass their lives in an atmosphere of pure law, from which every worldly and human element is excluded."...Strangely enough, those judges were both virulently anti-empirical and empirical at one and the same time. Their anti-empiricism was dictated by an abstract, and highly ideological, laissez-faire-era assumption about the nature of equality in modern industrial relations...The only way [pro-labor] legislation might be justified was on narrow "health" grounds: If the legislature could show that its law was intended only to safeguard the physical health of the workers, rather than to paternalistically interfere in the industrial bargaining relationship itself, the law might pass constitutional muster. Interestingly, it was at this point in their reasoning that the Lochner-era judges suddenly became very interested in the real world. For on the question of health dangers, they were not content merely to accept the say-so of the legislature (i.e. they were not prepared to be bound by the mere "forms" of legislative assurances), but instead insisted on reviewing the health facts for themselves in an exercise of quasi-de novo review.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 20-22
- The "great constructions of the intellect" -- whether concepts such as Revolution, Justice, "Decency and Integrity," or movements such as surrealism and communism -- are never truly revolutionary or shocking because their aim of imposing a conceptual order fails to indulge the "desire to see" that resurrects L'Oeil de la Police, and even X Marks the Spot, from their idealism. Whereas human life, Bataille claims, "always more or less conforms to the image of a soldier obeying commands in his drill," the inverse is true of spectacles of horror. The "sudden cataclysms, great popular manifestations of madness, riots, enormous revolutionary slaughters" all manifest an inevitable backlash against this image.
In this context Sade becomes the true revolutionary to the extent that the "desire to see" which is exercised in his works is as cataclysmic and as unredeemable as the madness of crowds...[T]he Revolution was not the product of rhetoric or intentional political speech but the consequence of a collective desire to participate in Sade's scream...The screamer, according to Bataille, had truly stared into the darkest recesses of horror without seeking refuge in a "prison" of intellect, and this scream was itself seductive in turn.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 153
- The 1662 book La logique, ou l'art de penser (often called just Logic or Port-Royal Logic, after the Jansenist convent of Port-Royal) by Antoine Arnauld and Pierre Nicole included a criticism of the principle of 'probabilism'. This referred to how issues should be decided by appealing to authorities. The book also included one of the first usages of the word 'probability' in a more modern sense. In this single book, we can see the transition from medieval notions of truth derived from authority to scientific notions of truth derived from evidence.
Source: The Improbability Principle, p. 63
- The analysis offered by de Tocqueville a hundred years ago has been fully borne out in the meantime. Under the private monopoly of culture tyranny does indeed "leave the body free and sets to work directly on the soul. The ruler no longer says: 'Either you think as I do or you die.' He says: 'You are free not to think as I do; your life, your property -- all that you shall keep. But from this day on you will be a stranger among us."
Source: Dialectic of Enlightenment, p. 105-106
- The Aztecs, about whom I will speak first, are poles apart from us morally. As a civilization is judged by its works, their civilization seems wretched to us. They used writings and were versed in astronomy, but all their important undertakings were useless: Their science of architecture enabled them to construct pyramids on top of which they immolated human beings.
Their world view is singularly and diametrically opposed to the activity-oriented perspective that we have. Consumption loomed just as large in their thinking as production does in ours. They were just as concerned about sacrificing as we are about working.
Source: The Accursed Share, p. 46
- The Committees of Public Safety and General Security, even more than the Convention from which they sprang, represented the progressive avant-garde of the French Revolution. They pioneered representative democracy and equality before the law. It was their adoption of terror that first imprinted the word 'terrorist' in the political lexicon, and transformed the Revolution in the eyes of many outsiders from a liberating to a destructive force. At the same time, their rationalism itself drove them to rework the justification of political violence. They had to find justifications for violent killing, especially lynching -- the most problematic kind of violence because the most threatening to an ordered society.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 38
- The day seems long past when a sorcerer could use art to confuse and destroy the enemy. Even when Brecht evokes the "house of Tar" to take on the Third Reich, we take it as mere metaphor. Poet at work, we say.
But what if this distinction between art and war is fatuous, that all along the science of war has been a misnomer, just like the distinction between metaphor and reality? How else to explain the frisson we feel when we come across an ancient Chinese manual of war such as that of Sun Tau, reeking of the magic of antiquity and Orientalism, and nod our heads in respect? For one of the strangest things about war whether ancient or postmodern is that as a pumped-out, puffed-up "science," it reeks of craft and witchcraft, accident and chance, as much as planning. Indeed the more "scientific" or "technological" it appears, the more arcane and mysterious, also. Guerrilla warfare makes this doubly so. Clausewitz is known on account of his equation of politics with war, but is not politics merely the tip of a submerged continent of power whose outlines we dimly discern and whose uncanny force we feel?
To combine a magician, a surrealist painter, and a zoologist, as in the British War Office, is pretty much the mind-set that any of us interested in brushing history against the grain might espouse. So how might one out-camouflage their camouflage? That was John Heartfield's strategy with photomontage in Berlin around the tie Brecht wrote his poem about the anxieties of the regime. Heartfelt was a pioneer in the art of photomontage, cutting up images, rearranging the parts, and adding some new ones and a caption so as to reverse the message or expose its hidden meanings. This would be to counteract the macabre artistry of "love beads," [note: on soldiers] themselves a sardonic transgression of transgression. It is also what Delouse and Guattari ["Treatise on Nomadology: The War Machine" from A Thousand Plateaus] were getting at with their labored notion of the war machine, a machine they saw as the anarchic special ops built into any army, yet antithetical to it....
Camouflaged soldiers bring into being a most curious amalgam of the allegedly utilitarian and the unacknowledged exotic. Blending with the animal world and the love of imitation therein, together with the aesthetic pleasure of theatrical disguise, the coloration we call camouflage illustrates how narrow is the view of the practical, workaday world if it does not admit that the most practical is also the most aesthetic when transplanted from the field to the battlefield.
To date the field of aesthetics has paid scant attention to its affinity with the animal and with war, just as it has fought shy of magic and conjuring. So-called primitive societies knew better. To open this doorway, as with the war machine, or with Tom Mitchell's pointed question, "What do pictures want?" is to recast the division between the aesthetic and the practical, a first step to understanding how truth now functions in the Terror of the war against terror.
Source: Zoology, Magic, and Surrealism in the War on Terror, p. S116
- The dissemination of popular songs, by contrast, is practically instantaneous. The American term "fad" for fashions which catch on epidemically -- inflamed by the action of highly concentrated economic powers -- referred to this phenomenon long before totalitarian advertising bosses had laid down the general lines of culture in their countries. If the German fascists launch a word like "intolerable" [Untragbar] over the loudspeakers one day, the whole nation is saying "intolerable" the next.
Source: Dialectic of Enlightenment, p. 134
- The game of science thus implies a diachronic temporality, that is, a memory and a project. The current sender of a scientific statement is supposed to be acquainted with previous statements concerning its referent (bibliography) and only proposes a new statement on the subject if it differs from the previous ones.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 26
- The generation of the American Revolution was imbued with the ethos of the Enlightenment, which expected freedom of speech and inquiry to fuel gradual but steady progress in knowledge, technology, tolerance, and civility...However, the rise of totalitarianism in Europe, World War II, and the Cold War challenged this optimistic vision of history...
Source: Conspiracy Theory in America, p. 82
- The great philosopher David Hume had something relevant to say about miracles. He wrote that 'no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish.' In other words, the evidence for a miracle is convincing only if alternative explanations are less probable -- and these alternative explanations include fraud, mistakes and so on. Hume went on to say:
'When any one tells me that he saw a dead man restored to life, I immediately consider with myself whether it be more probable that this person should either deceive or be deceived, or that the fact which he relates should really have happened. I weigh the one miracle against the other; and according to the superiority which I discover I pronounce my decision and always reject the greater miracle.'
Source: The Improbability Principle, p. 44
- The morality to which André Breton is drawn is rather poorly defined, but it is -- if such a thing is possible -- a morality of the instant. What is essential about it is the demand imposed on whoever expresses a will to choose between the instant -- the value of the present moment and the free activity of the mind -- and a concern for results which immediately abolish the value and even, in a sense, the existence of the instant. The accent is placed not on the fact of choosing but on the content of the choice proposed. It is only the incommensurable value of the instant that counts, not the fact that all would be in suspension. More precisely, what is at stake...prevails to a large extent over the fact that the decision belongs to me and gives me authority. Liberty is no longer the liberty to choose, but the choice renders a liberty, a free activity, possible, requiring that once decision is fixed upon it I do not allow a new choice to intervene, for a choice between the diverse possibilities of the activity unleashed would be made with a view to some ulterior result (this is the significance of automatism). The surrealist decision is thus a decision to decide no longer (that is, the free activity of the mind would be betrayed if I subordinated it to some result decided beforehand).
The profound difference between surrealism and the existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre hangs on this character of the existence of liberty. If I do not seek to dominate it, liberty will exist: it is poetry; words, no longer striving to serve some useful purpose, set themselves free and so unleash the image of free existence, which is never bestowed except in the instant...If we were genuinely to break the servitude by which the existence of the instant is submitted to useful activity, the essence would suddenly be revealed in us with an unbearable clarity...The seizure of the instant cannot differ from ecstasy (reciprocally one must define ecstasy as the seizure of the instant -- nothing else -- operating despite the concerns of the mystics).
Source: The Absence of Myth, p. 66
- The most intimate reactions of human beings have become so entirely reified, even to themselves, that the idea of anything peculiar to them survives only in extreme abstraction: personality means hardly more than dazzling white teeth and freedom from body odor and emotions. That is the triumph of advertising in the culture industry: the compulsive imitation by consumers of cultural commodities which, at the same time, they recognize as false.
Source: Dialectic of Enlightenment, p. 136
- The only valid excess was one that went beyond the bounds, and one whose consumption appeared worthy of the gods. This was the price men paid to escape their downfall and remove the weight introduced in them by the avarice and cold calculation of the real order.
Source: The Accursed Share, p. 61
- The problem for Milner was that he underestimated the impact that allegations of slavery and reports of vicious floggings would have on even his trusted Liberal friends like Asquith. Indeed, Milner was at times such a driven man that he failed to take account of the weight of opposition ranged against him. He warned his friend, Richard Haldane: 'If we are to build up anything in South Africa, we must disregard, and absolutely disregard, the screamers.'
Source: Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War, p. 53
- The purpose of automatic writing is to discover the marvellous but not to fabricate it deliberately. Les Champs Magnetiques, unquestionably inspired by the development of the psychoanalytic method, is not a series of exercises intended to demonstrate the results of this method, but arose above all from the application of a distinctly new type of literary discipline, and the application of a deliberate experimental principle concerning the factor of varying speed when writing spontaneously...The first principle ruling the production of Les Champs Magnetiques was that none of its words, phrases or sentences, once having found their way to paper through the authors' intermediary, were to be in any way altered or improved...The discipline involved in automatic writing is that of vigilantly resisting the temptation to interrupt the stream of consciousness, or rather of the theoretically subjacent consciousness, or to interfere with or in any way alter post facto the results obtained 'with laudable disdain as regards their literary quality'. The other factor...of capital concern to the authors during their collaboration is that of the range of varying speeds at which the dictation of the subconscious may be registered.
From chapter: Introduction by David Gascoyne
Source: The Magnetic Fields, p. 14-15
- The rationalist attitude is characterized by the importance is attaches to argument and experience. But neither logical argument nor experience can establish the rationalist attitude; for only those who are ready to consider argument or experience, and who have therefore adopted this attitude already, will be impressed by them. That is to say, a rationalist attitude must be first adopted if any argument or experience is to be effective, and it cannot therefore be based upon argument or experience...We have to conclude from this that no rational argument will have a rational effect on a man who does not want to adopt a rational attitude. Thus a comprehensive rationalism is untenable.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 35
- The rationalist tradition, the tradition of critical discussion, represents the only practicable way of expanding our knowledge -- conjectural or hypothetical knowledge, of course. There is no other way. More especially, there is no way that starts from observation or experiment. In the development of science observations and experiments play only the role of critical arguments. And they play this role alongside other, non-observational arguments. It is an important role; but the significance of observations and experiments depends entirely upon the question whether or not they may be used to criticize theories.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 30
- The report does not render the bloody room legible; rather it catalogues the impressions left by objects in the room in a way that isolates empirical detail from analysis and inductive reasoning. The elements of empirical reality may all be present, but their arrangement is not subject to logical reconstruction, nor does it obey the continuities of naturalist description; the details instead form a meticulous yet blindly taxonomic inventory. This primal scene of murder may know something, but it does not necessarily make any sense.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 29
- The scene was real and incontrovertible, and at variance with the talk of the Sergeant, but I knew that the Sergeant was talking the truth and if it was a question of taking my choice, it was possible that I would have to forego the reality of all the simple things my eyes were looking at.
Source: The Third Policeman, p. 75
- The simple hearts of architects are free of all perversity.
Source: Paris Peasant, p. 57
- The situation seems to be this. aristotelianism and related philosophies have told us for such a long time how important it is to get a precise knowledge of the meaning of our terms that we are all inclined to believe it. And we continue to cling to this creed in spite of the unquestionable fact that philosophy, which for twenty centuries has worried about the meaning of its terms, is not only full of verbalism but also appallingly vague and ambiguous, while a science like physics which worries hardly at all about terms and their meaning, but about facts instead, has achieved great precision. This, surely, should be taken as indicating that, under Aristotelian influence, the importance of the meaning of terms has been grossly exaggerated. But I think that it indicates even more. For not only does this concentration on the problem of meaning fail to establish precision; it is itself the main source of vagueness, ambiguity, and confusion.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 97
- The surrealist slogans aim likewisse to rein scribe the inchoate "realm of our experience" as an intersubjective and textually overdetermined framework; yet rather than providing the means to ensure its logical, ordered resolution, the slogans are distributed with an aim to "deprive us of a frame of reference" in order to recast knowledge as what Maurice Blanchot has called a communication with the unknown. This unknown referred neither to the unknowable nor to the transcendental reality of the noumenon, but rather to the point at which interpretive systems break down -- the limits of understanding. That is, extending the surrealist assassination of unitary logic and its ideological confines into the realm of the everyday, the activities of the Surrealist Research Bureau attempted to apply this mortal blow as a form of communication that would actually prevent any singular, unitary idea from taking shape.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 46
- The telephone is supposed to be useful, but of course it is nothing of the kind: see how man is seized with convulsions as he screams Hello! into his receiver. What is he but an addict of the dope called sound, dead-drunk with conquered space and the transmitted voice?
Source: Paris Peasant, p. 64
- The trouble is that you fail to appreciate the limitless strength of the unreal. Your imagination, my dear fellow, is worth more than you imagine.
Source: Paris Peasant, p. 61
- The value of warfare in Mexican society cannot mislead us: It was not a military society. Religion remained the obvious key to its workings. If the Aztecs must be situated, they belong among the warrior societies, in which pure, uncalculated violence and the ostentatious forms of combat held sway. The reasoned organization of war and conquest as unknown to them. A truly military society is a venture society, for which war means a development of power, an orderly progression of empire. It is a relatively mild society; it makes a custom of the rational principles of enterprise, whose purpose is given in the future, and it excludes the madness of sacrifice. There is nothing more contrary to military organization than these squanderings of wealth represented by hecatombs of slaves.
Source: The Accursed Share, p. 54-55
- The way of science is paved with discarded theories which were once declared self-evident; Francis Bacon, for example, sneered at those who denied the self-evident truth that the sun and the stars rotated round the earth, which was obviously at rest. Intuition undoubtedly plays a great part in the life of a scientist, just as it does in the life of a poet. It leads him to his discoveries. But it may also lead him to his failures. And it always remains his private affair, as it were...[I]t indicates that the 'intellectual intuition of essences' or 'pure phenomenology', as Husserl calls it, is a method of neither science nor philosophy. (The much debated question whether it is a new invention, as the pure phenomenologists think, or perhaps a version of Cartesianism or Hegelianism, can be easily decided; it is a version of Aristotelianism.)
Source: Popper Selections, p. 94
- Then the persecuted surrealists will be found in cafés chantants, taking advantage of the confusion to peddle their recipes for infecting images. An attitude, a reflex action, a sudden betrayal of irritability on the part of certain customers will suffice for them to be suspected of surrealism by the police who are keeping them under observation. I can already visualize the law's agents provocateurs with their wiles and their tarps. The right of individuals to forge their own destiny will yet again be restricted and challenged. Public peril will be invoked, or the general interest, or even the preservation of humanity itself...Young people will plunge passionately into this serious, unprofitable game. It will pervert the course of their lives. The Faculties will be deserted, the laboratories closed down. The very idea of armies, families, professions will become inconceivable. Then, in the face of this ever-increasing disaffection of social life, a great conspiracy of all the dogmatic and realist forces of the world will be organized against the phantom of illusions. It will win...
Source: Paris Peasant, p. 66
- Then what is up the lane?
I cannot say. If he said that eternity was up the lane and left it at that, I would not kick so hard. But when we are told that we are coming back from there in a lift -- well, I, begin to think that he is confusing night-clubs with heaven. A lift!
Surely, I argued, if we concede that eternity is up the lane, the question of the lift is a minor matter. That is a case for swallowing a horse and cart and straining at a flea.
No. I bar the lift.
Source: The Third Policeman, p. 109
- There is an essentially modern tragic symbol: it is a sort of large wheel which is spinning and which is no longer being steered by a hand.
Source: Paris Peasant, p. 118
- There is only one element of rationalist in our attempts to know the world: it is the critical examination of our theories. These theories themselves are guesswork. We do not know, we only guess. If you ask me, 'How do you know?' my reply would be, 'I don't; I only propose a guess. If you are interested in my problem, I shall be most happy if you criticize my guess, and if you offer counterproposals, I in turn will try to criticize them.'
Source: Popper Selections, p. 30
- There is, then, an incommensurability between popular narrative pragmatics, which provides immediate legitimation, and the language game known to the West as the question of legitimacy -- or rather, legitimacy as a referent in the game of inquiry. Narratives, as we have seen, determine criteria of competence and/or illustrate how they are to be applied. They thus define what has the right to be said and done in the culture in question, and since they are themselves a part of that culture, they are legitimated by the simple fact that they do what they do.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 23
- This epistemological shift in police work is not without effect on literary constructions of the corresponding enemy figure, the terrorist...The problematic status of the vanishing figure is not just a motif: it is a structural effect of literature engaging with the question of enmity under conditions of electronic tracing. Narrativizations of terror take place in the immediate vicinity of cultural techniques that operate strictly formally and syntactically, and in an epistemic space characterized not only by the mimetic effects of the sign but by a formation of series and syntactic operations. From the 1970s on, the precarious state of the terrorist figure points to a system of tracing and searching that rests upon a dissolving of mimetic effects into discrete sets of calculi, a system that consequently operates in the realm of the symbolic.
From chapter: Hendrik Blumentrath, Enmity and the Archive
Source: Literature and Terrorism: Comparative Perspectives, p. 81,82
- This is where definitions matter and where the influence of the media in making things 'obvious' is particularly stark. By privileging certain associations -- for example, of Islam as a 'violent' religion, of the West as a 'victim' of terrorist attacks, of terrorism itself as a form of violence carried out against 'democratic' states -- the media assist in the naturalization of particular interpretations of terrorism and thus legitimize specific strategies used to confront terrorist actions. Such strategies might include passing domestic anti-terror legislation, curbing civil liberties in order to reduce the threat of terrorism and invading, occupying and bombing countries that are said to host terrorist elements -- all in the name of a 'war on terror' conducted by a 'civilized' West against a less civilized 'other'.
The problem is that there is no single, commonly accepted definition of terrorism on which to base such associations and therefore no independent and reliable way of assessing what constitutes a terrorist act; hence the old adage that 'one person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter'. There are instead interpretations: socially constructed understandings of events based on 'conscious efforts to manipulate perceptions to promote certain interests at the expense of others' (Turk, 2004: 490).
From chapter: Introduction
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 6-7
- This law of physical reciprocity which we call charity the Indians observe naturally, and without a trace of pity. Those who have nothing because they lost their harvest, because their corn has burned, because their father left them nothing, or for whatever reason which they have no need to explain, arrive at dawn at the houses of those who have something. Immediately the mistress of the house brings them whatever she has. No one looks at anyone, neither the one who gives nor the one who receives. After he has eaten, the beggar leaves without thanking or looking at anyone.
Source: The Peyote Dance, p. 5
- This way of inquiring into sociopolitical legitimacy combines with the new scientific attitude: the name of the hero is the people, the sign of legitimacy is the people's consensus, and their mode of creating norms is deliberation...It is clear that what is meant here by "the people" is entirely different from what is implied by traditional narrative knowledge, which, as we have seen, requires no instituting deliberation, no cumulative progression, no pretension to universality; these are the operators of scientific knowledge. It is therefore not at all surprising that the representatives of the new process of legitimation by "the people" should be at the same time actively involved in destroying the traditional knowledge of peoples, perceived from that point forward as minorities or potential separatist movements destined to spread obscurantism.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 30
- Thus the scientific view of the definition 'A puppy is a young dog' would be that it is an answer to the question 'What shall we call a young dog?' rather than an answer to the question 'What is a puppy?' (Questions like 'What is life?' or 'What is gravity?' do not play any role in science.) The scientific use of definitions, characterized by the approach 'from the right to the left', may be called its nominalist interpretation, as opposed to its Aristotelian or essentialist interpretation. In modern science, only nominalist definitions occur, that is to say, shorthand symbols or labels are introduced in order to cut a long story short.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 92
- Utopia makes us aware that what we have is not necessarily what we want and that what we want is not necessarily all we can have. Enlightenment thinking becomes open to criticism -- according to Bloch -- insofar as it reduces the rational to the real, and it remains blind to the unrealized utopian elements buried in magic, madness, childhood fantasies, and the like. Arguments can be made that he romanticized these states of mind, over identified with those who laud them, and overestimated their salience for utopian philosophy. But the critical moment of Bloch's enterprise is an attempt -- one that stands squarely within the tradition of critical theory -- to illuminate the ratio of the irratio. This is of importance not simply for making sense of magic and mysticism but for understanding the "false utopias" embedded in racism and other ideologies that privilege the intuitive and the irrational.
Source: Critical Theory, p. 68
- Was Hamlet mad? Was Trellis mad? It is extremely hard to say. Was he a victim of hard-to-explain hallucinations? Nobody knows. Even experts do not agree on these vital points...The more one studies the problem, the more fascinated one becomes and incidentally the more one postulates a cerebral norm...One man will think he has a glass bottom and will fear to sit in case of breakage. In other respects he will be a man of great intellectual force and will accompany one in a mental ramble throughout the labyrinths of mathematics or philosophy so long as he is allowed to remain standing throughout the disputations. Another man will be perfectly polite and well conducted except that he will in no circumstances turn otherwise than to the right and indeed will own a bicycle so constructed that it cannot turn otherwise than to that point. Others will be subject to colours and will attach undue merit to articles that are red or green or white merely because they bear that hue. Some will be exercised and influenced by the texture of a cloth or by the roundness or angularity of an object. Numbers, however, will account for a great proportion of unbalanced and suffering humanity. One man will rove the streets seeking motor-cars with numbers that are divisible by seven. Well known, alas, is the case of the poor German who was very fond of three and who made each aspect of his life a thing of triads. He went home one evening and drank three cups of tea with three lumps of sugar in each, cut his jugular with a razor three times and scrawled with a dying hand on a picture of his wife good-bye, good-bye, good-bye.
Source: At Swim-Two-Birds, p. 217-218
- Watching Children of Men, we are inevitably reminded of the phrase attributed to Fredric Jameson and Slavoj Žižek, that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism. That slogan captures precisely what I mean by 'capitalist realism': the widespread sense that not only is capitalism the only viable political and economic system, but also that it is now impossible even to imagine a coherent alternative to it.
Source: Capitalist Realism, p. 2
- We cannot really love 'in the abstract'; we can love only those whom we know. Thus the appeal even to our best emotions, love and compassion, can only tend to divide mankind into different categories. And this will be more true if the appeal is made to lesser emotions and passions. Our 'natural' reaction will be to divide mankind into friend and foe; into those who belong to our tribe, to our emotional community, and those who stand outside it; into believers and unbelievers; into compatriots and aliens; into class comrades and class enemies; and into leaders and led.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 40
- We do not need to wait for Children of Men's near-future to arrive to see this transformation of culture into museum pieces. The power of capitalist realism derives in part from the way that capitalism subsumes and consumes all of previous history: one effect of its 'system of equivalence' which can assign all cultural objects, whether they are religious iconography, pornography, or Das Kapital, a monetary value. Walk around the British Museum, where you see objects torn from their lifeworlds and assembled as if on the deck of some Predator spacecraft, and you have a powerful image of this process at work. In the conversion of practices and rituals into merely aesthetic objects, the beliefs of previous cultures are objectively ironized, transformed into artifacts. Capitalist realism is therefore not a particular type of realism; it is more like realism in itself.
Source: Capitalist Realism, p. 4
- We may prefer some competing theories to others on purely rational grounds. It is important that we are clear what the principles of preference or selection are. In the first place they are governed by the idea of truth. We want, if at all possible, theories which are true, and for this reason we try to eliminate the false ones. But we want more than this. We want new and interesting truth. We are thus led to the idea of the growth of informative content, and especially of truth content...Thus our logical analysis leads us direct to a theory of method, and especially to the following methodological rule: try out, and aim at, bold theories, with great informative content; and then let these bold theories compete, by discussing them critically and by testing them severely.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 112
- We tend to note only evidence and evens supporting our theories, and ignore any pointing in the other direction. This is called confirmation bias...In his Novum Organum (The New Organon), Francis Bacon, who was a pioneering in laying down the principles of science, said:
The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion...draws all things else to support and agree with it. And though there be a greater number and weight of instances to be found on the other side, yet these it either neglects and despises, or else by some distinction sets aside and rejects ... men, having a delight in such vanities, mark the events where they are fulfilled, but where they fail, though this happen much oftener, neglect and pass them by.
Source: The Improbability Principle, p. 35
- What is offered is not Italy but evidence that it exists.
Source: Dialectic of Enlightenment, p. 119
- What is the mystique of something that, while statistically less fatal than choking to death on one's lunch, has been perceived as one of the greatest public threats? What are the cultural premises and discursive strategies that provide terrorism with its rhetorical power? Why do America's few domestic "terrorist" murders annually arouse a fear that, annually, 25,000 "ordinary" murders cannot? As in the "referential illusion" of the realist aesthetic of modern literature, "the very absence of the signified...becomes the very signifier of realism." [Latter quote from Barthes, The Rustle of Language, p. 148]
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 6
- With each step forward, with each problem which we solve, we not only discover new and unsolved problems, but we also discover that where we believed that we were standing on firm and safe ground, all things are, in truth, insecure and in a state of flux.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 7
- With the predominance of information technology and global networks of power, war has become both 'postmodern' and 'discursive', [Chris Hables Gray] argues: 'its unity is rhetorical'. What characterizes it are 'the metaphors and symbols that structure it, not...any direct continuity of weapons, tactics, or strategy between its various manifestations...'...Any survey of statements made by politicians in the aftermath of 11 September would certainly suggest that rhetoric and the figurative did play a major part in the event and the responses to it...The attacks on the buildings were declared to be not just an attack on the US as a whole, as bin Laden suggested; for US Secretary of State Colin Powell, 'It wasn't an assault on America. It was an assault on civilization, it was an assault on democracy', and on 'the twenty first century' itself.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 4
- Wittgenstein, taking up the study of language again from scratch, focuses his attention on the effects of different modes of discourse; he calls the various types of utterances he identifies along the way...language games. What he means by this term is that each of the various categories of utterance can be defined in terms of rules specifying their properties and the uses to which they can be put -- in exactly the same way as the game of chess is defined by a set of rules determining the properties of each of the pieces, in other words, the proper way to move them.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 10
- [A] proposal can, we hope, be rationally criticized; and if we are rational agents we will want it to survive, if possible, the most testing criticism we can muster. But such criticism will freely make use of the best tested scientific theories in our possession. Consequently any proposal that ignores these theories (where they are relevant, I need hardly add) will collapse under criticism. Should any proposal remain, it will be rational to adopt it.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 114
- [A] rationalist, even if he believes himself to be intellectually superior to others, will reject all claims to authority since he is aware that, if his intelligence is superior to that of others (which is hard for him to judge), it is so only in so far as he is capable of learning from criticism as well as from his own and other people's mistakes, and that one can learn in this sense only if one takes others and their arguments seriously. Rationalism is therefore bound up with the idea that the other fellow has a right to be heard, and to defend his arguments.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 43
- [A]fter ten years of seeing Europe crushed under the boots of fascist murderers and their self-serving political collaborators, the time had come for an even more revolutionary flavor of liberation that had exceeded the fantasies of Marx and Engels -- there was a need for a set of ideas that would totally reorder the very fabric of the universe in the service of freedom, and the Surrealists saw this as the best reason for a renaissance of Romantic socialism and Fourierist poetics. In a postwar political climate dominated by the viciously cynical Jesuit device of 'ends justify means', talk of Fourier introduced two things that were sorely lacking: a blackly humorous critical (and therefore revolutionary) spark and an unwavering dedication to the complete emancipation of human beings. 'Action, even in the rigorous and unquestioned form it takes today for those who fight in the name of liberty, will only be valuable so long as our interpretation of the world...will not have the brakes slammed on it', Breton thundered. The revolutionary poetry of Fourier's socialism was exactly the kind of critical extravagance that a truly free and freedom-respecting society should be able to tolerate and welcome.
From chapter: Attacks of the Fantastic, Donald LaCoss
Source: Surrealism, Politics and Culture, p. 279-280
- [A]n institution differs from a conversation in that it always requires supplementary constraints for statements to be declared admissible within its bounds. The constraints function to filter discursive potentials, interrupting possible connections in the communication networks: there are things that should not be said...However, this hypothesis about the institution is still too "unwieldy": its point of departure is an overly "reifying" view of what is institutionalized. We know today that the limits the institution imposes on potential language "moves" are never established, once and for all (even if they have been formally defined). Rather, the limits are themselves the stakes and provisional results of language strategies, within the institution and without...Reciprocally, it can be said that the boundaries only stabilize when they cease to be stakes in the game.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 17
- [Borel's] law says, 'Events with a sufficiently small probability never occur.'...Borel is relating 'very small probabilities' to human scales, and that's what he means: in human terms the probability is so small that it would be irrational to expect ever to see it happen; it should be regarded as impossible.
Source: The Improbability Principle, p. 22
- [C]learly...not all consequences of our actions are intended consequences; and accordingly...the conspiracy theory of society cannot be true because it amounts to the assertion that all results, even those which at first sight do not seem to be intended by anybody, are the intended results of the actions of people who are interested in these results.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 352
- [Dialectic of Enlightenment] investigates how scientific (or instrumental) rationality expels freedom from the historical process and enables reification to penetrate every aspect of society. Even art turns into just another commodity and loses its critical character...Horkheimer and Adorno respond to the "totally administered society" with a systematic assault on systematic thinking.
Source: Critical Theory, p. 51
- [D]espite the impressive body of serious literature that has emerged since 9/11 challenging the official version of the attacks and strongly suggesting that they were either perpetrated by elements of the U.S. Government or allowed by them to happen, neither the U.N. nor NATO has ever bestirred itself to re-visit the crucial issue of responsibility/authorship. This reluctance to ask hard questions in the halls of international institutions that are charged with the duty to "go there" and vet claims of national self-defense has unfortunately been matched -- non-discourse for non-discourse -- by the silence of scholars.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 5
- [E]nlightenment is totalitarian as only a system can be. Its untruth does not lie in the analytical method, the reduction to elements, the decomposition through reflection, as its Romantic enemies had maintained from the first, but in its assumption that the trial is prejudged...It equates thought with mathematics. The latter is thereby cut loose, as it were, turned into an absolute authority...For the scientific temper, any deviation of thought from the business of manipulating the actual, any stepping outside the jurisdiction of existence, is no less senseless and self-destructive than it would be for the magician to step outside the magic circle drawn for his incantation; and in both cases violation of the taboo carries a heavy price for the offender.
Source: Dialectic of Enlightenment, p. 18-19
- [E]very thought resembles play, with which Hegel no less than Nietzsche compared the work of the mind. The unbarbaric side of philosophy is its tacit awareness of the element of irresponsibility, of blitheness springing from the volatility of thought, which forever escapes what it judges. Such license is resented by the positivistic spirit and put down to mental disorder.
Source: Minima Moralia, p. 127
- [Fourier's] Theory of the Four Movements offers detailed accounts of life following this cataclysmic transmogrification. The auroras of the northern and southern circumpolar regions become more active and more frequent, eventually expanding to link together like the rings of Saturn and filling the earth's skies with rippling curtains of colour, light and heat. Over time, the outer edge of the earth's aurora-ring will extend to the corona of the sun, and the ensuing radiation will trigger a magical change in the natural world -- animals will learn to play musical instruments, stars will copulate and spray us all with their sexual fluids, weather patterns will shift, new moons begin to revolve the earth, and the chemical composition of the world's oceans change to 'aigresel', a tart, potable liquid. Even the human body mutates under the rays of the 'northern crown' as human beings overcome the need for sleep and grow taller. Humans will also sprout an 'archibras' ('ancient arm'), a prehensile tail with a sensory organ at its tip that will act as a fifth limb and enable one 'to swim as fast as a fish', to 'reach a branch twelve feet high', to triple one's natural leaping velocity, and to form a revolving, conelike 'inverted parachute by means of which one can fall from a considerable height without risking more than a bruise'.
From chapter: Attacks of the Fantastic, Donald LaCoss
Source: Surrealism, Politics and Culture, p. 274-275
- [F]antasies can achieve a causal status once they have been institutionalized in beliefs, values, and social groups. (From the introduction)
Source: The Occult Roots of Nazism, p.
- [F]rom one illusion to another you end up repeatedly at the mercy of the illusion Reality. And yet I have given you everything: the blue of the sky, the Pyramids, motorcars. Why should you lose faith in my magic lantern?
Source: Paris Peasant, p. 64
- [In critical rationalism] there are in the main only two ways in which theories may be superior to others: they may explain more; and they may be better tested -- that is, they may be more fully and more critically discussed, in the light of all we know, of all the objections we can think of, and especially also in the light of observational or experimental tests which were designed with the aim of criticizing the theory.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 30
- [Kirchheimer] In any event, the replacement of the legislative functions of Parliament with the federal president's emergency decree-based rule means that the concept of legality has been robbed of its previous meaning. We are not dealing here with a set of passing incidents. Rather, rule by emergency decree--and thus the fusion of legislative and executive authority--has taken on a permanent character in such a manner so as to leave no room for the core element of the principle of legality, the scrutiny of the administration against the yardstick of the law. So when there is talk today about the legality of government action as a way of contrasting its actions to those of "illegal" oppositional groups, obviously an altered version of the traditional conceptualization of legality is inherent in this discourse.
Source: The Rule of Law Under Siege, p. 48
- [Kirchheimer] It is difficult to consider it a moral victory for National Socialism that it has hammered into people's heads the idea that those with different political views are "subhuman."
Source: The Rule of Law Under Siege, p. 150
- [Kirchheimer] The emergency regime...is not characterized by legality but by legitimacy, an appeal to the indisputable correctness of its actions and goals. Essential to the concept of legality is not simply the fact that power has been acquired by legal means, but, more important, that it be exercised in a legal fashion. Nothing makes the shift in accent from a political system based on legality to one based on an appeal to legitimacy more clear than Chancellor Brüning's now famous comment: "If you gained power by legal means but then declared that you intended to disregard legal boundaries, that cannot be considered legality."
Source: The Rule of Law Under Siege, p. 49
- [Kirchheimer] The scope of political offenses has been expanded beyond all limits. Any activity of a political, social, or religious nature that is not expressly condoned by the government can be punished with a severe prison sentence or the death penalty. Judicial decision makers give themselves the widest possible freedom in the interpretation of criminal regulations that already are formulated rather broadly...Another rather idiosyncratic feature of this type of legislation makes it possible to punish undesirable expressions of opinion even when their truthfulness can be demonstrated...Rather than undertaking a nonpartisan examination of the evidence of the case, the regime's view is automatically assumed to be truthful, and everything else is dismissed as slanderous claims that distort the truth.
Source: The Rule of Law Under Siege, p. 151
- [Kirchheimer] Whereas the rule of law once represented a quest for objectification by means of legal guaranties and the formulation of clear standards, an opposing ideal is now transformed into the quintessence of Adolf Hitler's German rule of law. Guarantees of justice are no longer located in the statute, but in the extent to which the individual decision accords with National Socialist thinking.
Source: The Rule of Law Under Siege, p. 144
- [Mosse] would write that 'the chief problem facing any historian is to capture the irrational by an exercise of the rational mind.' This would mean that scholarly work 'has to operate with the instruments of rationality in a so largely irrational world, it has to recapture the irrational rationally and thus it is in danger of getting it wrong.' At the same time, he corrected the common tendency to associate the irrational or non-rational with nihilism tout court, for fascism was not nihilistic but had its own peculiar value system.
A key aspect of this approach was to understand the nature and use of myth, something that the non-theoretical Mosse did very well in empirical and eclectic terms, though he never developed any broad concept of myth. His own approach he called, not inaccurately, 'a history of perceptions.' In a letter of 1990, Emilio Gentile pointed out to Mosse that he employed the concept of myth in two different ways, which one is tempted to term the authentic and the inauthentic, the first involving the 'irruption of the sacred' in a living faith, the second a cynical propaganda manipulation. Mosse acknowledged this problem without hesitation, saying that "I have never been able to get a satisfactory definition of myth, and as far back as 1960 Leonardo Olschki . . . told me that my use of myth was very problematic. Myth is both artificial and a sincerely held belief. I don’t think that they exclude each other."
Source: George L. Mosse and Walter Laqueur on the History of Fascism, p. 754
- [Mr Scogan speaking:] "If you want to get men to act reasonably, you must set about persuading them in a maniacal manner. The very sane precepts of the founders of religions are only made infectious by means of enthusiasms which to a sane man must appear deplorable. It is humiliating to find how impotent unadulterated sanity is. Sanity, for example, informs us that the only way in which we can preserve civilization is by behaving decently and intelligently. Sanity appeals and argues; our rulers persevere in their customary porkishness, while we acquiesce and obey. The only hope is a maniacal crusade; I am ready, when it comes, to beat a tambourine with the loudest, but at the same time I shall feel a little ashamed of myself."
Source: Crome Yellow, p. 123
- [Neumann] All three functions of the generality of laws -- obscuring the domination of the bourgeoisie, rendering the economic system calculable, and guaranteeing a minimum of liberty and equality -- are of decisive importance and not just the second of these functions, as the proponents of the totalitarian state claim. If one views -- as, for example, Carl Schmitt does -- the generality of laws as a means designed to satisfy the requirements of free competition, then the conclusion is obvious that with the termination of free competition and its replacement by organized state capitalism, the general law, the independence of judges, and the separation of powers will also disappear and that the true law then consists either in the Führer's command or the general principle (Generalklauseln).
Source: The Rule of Law Under Siege, p. 118
- [Neumann] Voltaire's statement that freedom means dependence on nothing save law refers only to general laws. If the sovereign is permitted to decree individual measures, to arrest this man or that one, to confiscate this or that piece of property, then the independence of the judge is extinguished. The judge who has to execute such individual measures becomes a mere policeman...Equality before the law is, to be sure, "formal," that is, negative. But Hegel, who clearly perceived the purely formal-negative nature of liberty, already warned of the consequences of discarding it.
Source: The Rule of Law Under Siege, p. 118
- [Quoting G.K. Chesterton:] A madman is not a man who has lost his reason: he is a man who has lost everything except his reason.
Source: Paris Peasant, p. 202
- [R]ationalism is closely linked up with the political demand for practical social engineering -- piecemeal engineering, of course -- in the humanitarian sense, with the demand for the rationalization of society, for planning for freedom, and for its control by reason; not by 'science', not by a Platonic, a pseudorational authority, but by that Socratic reason which is aware of its limitations, and which therefore respects the other man and does not aspire to coerce him -- not even into happiness.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 43
- [S]cientific knowledge does not represent the totality of knowledge; it has always existed in addition to, and in competition and conflict with, another kind of knowledge, which I will call narrative in the interests of simplicity.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 7
- [T]he enemy had become more and more abstract, a barely perceptible target for the marksman aiming through a telescopic sight, a subject of pure surmise for the artillery, and as a bomber pilot, he could, if pressed, indicate how many cities and villages he had bombarded, but not how many people he had killed, nor how he had killed and mangled and squashed and burned them, he didn't know...and after the attack he did not feel himself a hero but a coward, there was a dark suspicion in him sometimes that an SS henchman at Auschwitz had behaved more morally than he, because he had been confronted with his victims...
Source: The Assignment, p. 113-114
- [T]he Nuremberg Tribunal rejected the Nazis' claim that Germany's judgment was conclusive on the matter of her need to invade Poland and Norway in self-defense, noting that "whether action taken under the claim of self-defense was in fact aggressive or defensive must ultimately be subject to investigation and adjudication if international law is ever to be enforced."
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 37
- [T]he suffering or pleasure we experience is determined to a crucial extent by the way in which we superimpose existents on appearances. As we saw in the example of the lung-cancer patients [note: surgery decisions vary depending on whether outcomes are presented as percent chance of death or percent chance of survival] the situations we experience as agreeable or disagreeable are not just out there, but depend to a crucial amount on the way we construct these situations ourselves.
Source: Twelve Examples of Illusion, p. 68
- [W]e can discern a common conception of the social [note: in 'traditional' social theory]: society is a unified totality, a "unicity." Parsons formulates this clearly: "The more essential condition of successful dynamic analysis is a continual and systematic reference of every problem to the state of the system as a whole...A process or set of conditions either 'contributes' to the maintenance (or development) of the system or it is 'dysfunctional' in that it detracts from the integration, effectiveness, etc., of the system." The "technocrats" also subscribe to this idea. Whence its credibility: it has the means to become a reality, and that is all the proof it needs. This is what Horkheimer called the "paranoia" of reason.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 12
- [W]hen surrealism put forward the idea of myth, it was in response to a vibrant nostalgia in the mind of contemporary peoples, which has been alive not only since Nietzsche but even since German Romanticism. Moreover, religion is constituted by the connection to the myth of rituals. No one, then, can fail to know that the clearest certainty of surrealism is to manage to rediscover the attitudes of mind that allowed primitive man to combine in ritual and, more precisely, to find in ritual the most incisive and tangible forms of poetic life...it is simply a question of exploring all that can be explored by man, it is a question of reconstituting all that was fundamental to man before human nature had been enslaved by the necessity for technical work.
Source: The Absence of Myth, p. 75
- [W]hoever adopts the rationalist attitude does so because he has adopted, consciously or unconsciously, some proposal, or decision, or belief, or behaviour; an adoption which may be called 'irrational'. Whether this adoption is tentative of leads to settled habit, we may describe it as an irrational faith in reason...Irrationalism is logically superior to uncritical rationalism.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 35