PKD’s Timothy Archer on music (vs. Bifo on poetry?)


Regarding our conversation on why Bifo was interested in poetry, rather than, say, music: this is a short passage from Philip K. Dick’s The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, in which the title character is discussing Beethoven’s Fidelio with his daughter-in-law:

“It goes beyond beauty,” Tim said. “It involves an apprehension of the nature of freedom itself. How can it be that purely abstract music, such as his late quartets, can without words change human beings in terms of their own awareness of themselves, in terms of their ontological nature? Schopenhauer believed that art, in particular music, had — has — the power to cause the will, the irrational, striving will, to somehow turn back onto and into itself and cease to strive. He considered this a religious experience, although temporary. Somehow art, somehow music especially, has the power to transform man from an irrational thing into some rational entity that is not driven by biological impulses, impulses that cannot by definition ever be satisfied…”


David Ruccio on “Class before Trumponomics”

Perhaps of interest in the wake of Lazzarato and Bifo.

My Desiring-Machines

Ruccio has posted three incredibly clear and insightful installments on the state of class relations in the US since WWII. They’re great empirical support for many of the economic trends that those of us who deal in political/urban theory are used to reading, but without any concrete evidence.

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Sure, you can learn French words from an app…

…but if you really want to learn it, get a French lover. Evan’s words of wisdom today reminded me of this commercial — or one like it — that I saw within the last year or so.

We were talking about Bifo’s assertion that children today learn more words from the “linguistic machine” than their mothers. This machine, as we understood it, is the network if caretakers and media that participate in the child rearing process. Bifo was raising the question of the potential effects of severing the emotional connection to the mother from language acquisition, and he pointed out the way that contemporary fiction renders the fragility of affective connections (he mentions Franzen’s The Corrections, and I assume he’s referring, at least in part, to Chip’s strange fall and distance from his family — a drug-fueled affair with a student, stealing fresh salmon by stashing it in his leather pants, etc.).

But this video shows something different altogether:  an attempt to expand the range of potential emotional relationships  via another addition to the linguistic machine. This machine, however, does not teach the user anything, but rather stands in for learning — a mere tool. How does this technology fit into Bifo’s scheme? A way to promote connection? (This seems like a great illustration of a standardized connection rather than a conjunction as a becoming-other). The birth of a new affective relationship– a dependency on the device to expand capacities? (Also understood as another move by the “tryborgs” to make conjunctions, to become-other…thanks to Cheryl for introducing me to this idea).  A deepening of the economic logic that has distanced children from their mothers in the first place? It seems to me like it’s at least some combination of these three things, and probably more.

Why do we need poetry?

James Wright once asked in an essay on the great poet Pablo Neruda: “Why do we need poetry?” His answer: “Great poetry folds personal death and general love into one dark blossom.” This is the sense of the concrete universal and singular truth of death’s finality, combined with the abstract truth of love brought under […]

Slow scholarship 

For Slow Scholarship: A Feminist Politics of Resistance through Collective Action in the Neoliberal University | Alison Mountz, Ranu Basu, Jenna Loyd, Becky Mansfield, Anne Bonds, Trina Hamilton, Winifred Curran, Roberta Hawkins, Risa Whitson, and Margaret Walton-Roberts –

debt, or …

I’ve been pondering the sidebar conversation regarding  Lazzarato’s economistic focus of debt, and the discussion of other forms of debt worth negotiating , mentioned at different points by Peter, Evan and Mark… Having not read Butler, but thinking about the sentiment, I wonder if there are more suitable words that might embrace the positive indebtedness we have (to parents, for example), as opposed to an asymmetrical relation that engenders some form of ‘beholden’-ness?

Gratitude is one word that comes to mind.There are many others, I’m sure….  But I wonder if word choice obviates the tension, or if it relational?