The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
Spawning snow and pink roses against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
World is suddener than we fancy it.
World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.

(Louis Macneice)

Here are three of my favourite readings in the hope that others will want to add their own and discuss their significance:

Jackson, M. 1989. Paths Toward a Clearing (Chapter 7, 'The man who could turn into an elephant'). An essay on shape shifting and personhood at different stages of life; one of the best 'reflexive' essays I have come across.

Cassirer, E. 1944. An Essay on Man: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Human Culture. (pp. 31-41). (where Cassirer discusses the implications of Helen Keller learning to use language.

De Certeau, M. 1984. The Practice of Everyday Life (especially chVII ‘Walking in the City’). Which as the title suggests develops an anthropology from the point of view of the pedestrian.


"We - as objects with personal order - objectify the occasions of our own past with peculiar completeness in our immediate present. We find in those occasions, as known from our present standpoint, a surprising variation in the range and intensity of our realised knowledge. We sleep; we are half awake; we are aware of our perceptions, but we are devoid of generalities in thought; we are vividly absorbed within a small region of abstract thought while oblivious to the world around; we are attending to our emotions - some torrent of passion - to them and to nothing else; we are morbidly discursive in the width of our attention; and finally we sink back into temporary obliviousness, sleeping or stunned... When we survey the chequered history of our own capacity for knowledge, does common sense allow us to believe that the operations of judgement... are those operations which are foundational... for an actual entity? (A.N. Whitehead)

Let us discuss subjectivity...

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Now please explain elleipsis since I have an expert on my hands.

ELLEIPSIS [is] a cornerstone of his theoretical researches about cultural practices.
I am thinking of the gap, for example; the process of thoughtful reconstruction we go through, before we reply to a rude boorish person who loudly demands our attention. Could we consider that under the rubric of ellipsis? Sincerity for instance is conveyed very differently by the use of a gap or not. Ellipsis suggests both disruption, fragmentation, the creation of gaps - but also ways round, or ways to connect, fragments and gaps.
Nikos, you are right to ask that we go beyond merely analysing these topics and instead take in the capacity for judgement and the appreciation of the whole. When I saw the word ellipsis I was immediately drawn to its rhetorical meaning - ellipsis (indicating an arc of knowledge by showing a lapse, absence, pause or gap), parable (throwing ideas for others to catch), hyperbole (a grand sweep). You took us instead toward the geometric - ellipsis, parabola, hyberbola: the ellipsis of a bridge that allows passage from one place to another giving a primary analogy. Of course the connection between geometry and oratory would have been self-evident to the classical Greeks. Similarly, since the OAC is also building some curious forms of gracefulness it is surely worth revisiting that moment. In so far as we can enable conversation, we should have the opportunity to create long arcs of reasoning and reflection. I wonder what terms we would need to consider for this? Certainly aesthetics and grace seem essential elements of a reflection on subjectivity. Both easily come to mean the 'dressing up' of something else: nonetheless they are of the essence of an architectonics of the self in any thoughtful discussion in so far as both are foundational of perception and are demonstrated in expression and jugement. I notice that you had some photographs of West African masks showing the figure of the person expressed in these ellipsoid forms. The aesthetic shows itself in the OAC both as a concern with self-transformation (framing but not being framed) but also in the question what is 'the object'; for instance is each message a self-contained object? If it is, then the aesthetic of the OAC becomes isomorphic with the schema of the 'take down' as a commodity - each 'message' = a 'take down' = 'a consumable' = a 'commodity'. But the ellipse offers us a different analogy; according to the ellipse what is said is not an object in itself, but a moment of expression within a movement.

NIKOS GOUSGOUNIS said:
Huon
Elleipsis is the lack of something,missing something or somebody it;s coming from the verb LEIPO = i am absent , i am missing AND its root is used in paragogue words such as the geometrical elleipsoid with which Aristarchus the eminent astronomer of Samos described correctly and also proved the ellipsoid orbit of planets a discovery that assured him that the earth as the other planets turn around the sun and not the opposite as Ptolemeus established for 1500 years. But then all the glory went to Kepler and Copernicus and Aristarchus was forgotten till recently. In mathematics, an ellipse (from Greek ἔλλειψις elleipsis, a "falling short") is the finite or bounded case of a conic section, the geometric shape that results from cutting a circular conical or cylindrical surface with an oblique plane (the other two cases being the parabola and the hyperbola). It is also the locus of all points of the plane whose distances to two fixed points add to the same constant.Eccentricity.

Also it was Apollonius of Perga [Pergaeus] (Ancient Greek: Ἀπολλώνιος) (ca. 262 BC–ca. 190 BC)who was a Greek geometer and astronomer noted for his writings on conic sections. His innovative methodology and terminology, especially in the field of conics, influenced many later scholars including Ptolemy, Francesco Maurolico, Isaac Newton, and René Descartes. It was Apollonius who gave the ellipse, the parabola, and the hyperbola the names by which we know them. The hypothesis of eccentric orbits, or equivalently, deferent and epicycles, to explain the apparent motion of the planets and the varying speed of the Moon, are also attributed to him. Apollonius was known for having cut off his servant's hand in frustration. Apollonius' theorem demonstrates that the two models are equivalent given the right parameters. Ptolemy describes this theorem in the Almagest XII.1. Apollonius also researched the lunar theory, for which he is said to have been called Epsilon (ε). The crater Apollonius on the Moon is named in his honor.

Now ,back to the anthropological studies I can say that the notion of elleipsis can be found in an indirect way in the LIMINALITY of Victor Turner. But on this subject we can discuss tomorrow after you put your ideas here.
Huon Wardle wrote,

according to the ellipse what is said is not an object in itself, but a moment of expression within a movement.

A beautiful sentiment, beautifully expressed.

Also a moral and practical challenge. Ellipses are closed curves, which can, however, intersect or lie tangent to each other. What do we make of moments where intersections or tangents occur?
That is neither mathematically nor physically true. Consider the orbits of comets, which regularly cross those of the planets. Neither set of orbits disappears.

NIKOS GOUSGOUNIS said:
When intersections and tangents occur then elleipsis is disappearing and becomes a simple point.
Thanks for that John, I seem to have lost an earlier reply I wrote but it was along these lines; if we change the analogy to wave - outward ripple - then we enter the territory of interference patterns, noise and tuning; interference can be creative of new significant patterns and or noisy. Interference will often open new potentialities as when Waddington poisoned drosophila flies thereby activating a genetically dormant extra set of wings. Waddington was the father of the anthropologist Carrie Humphrey I believe. By isomorphism I meant loosely that the (idealised) structure of an OAC 'message' might be almost identical to that of a commodity such as a journalistic take down or, with John's permission, an advert. But whether it is the same may depend on its subjective epigenesis so to speak (to borrow yet another language).

John McCreery said:
Huon Wardle wrote,

according to the ellipse what is said is not an object in itself, but a moment of expression within a movement.

A beautiful sentiment, beautifully expressed.

Also a moral and practical challenge. Ellipses are closed curves, which can, however, intersect or lie tangent to each other. What do we make of moments where intersections or tangents occur?
The new ontology and the question of post-subjective subjectivity ('the death of the individual').

I am going to be a little busy over the next few days, but I wanted to push forward a strand of discussion initiated in the ontology thread. The new ontologists largely take on and extend the critique of Western individualism by a theoretical decentring of the humanistic individual (the notion of the 'death of the [humanistic] individual'). Decentring the individual has a long history, but its direct effects in social science are relatively more recent. Latour draws his theories in this respect from some aspects of Peircean and Jamesian pragmatism, but also from structuralist narratology, theories of artificial intelligence and, importantly the anthropology of what was formerly called 'primitive' societies. Strathern decentres individuality by drawing on Melanesian material to show that persons are as much 'dividually' as 'individually' constructed. Her discussions of in vitro fertilisation exemplify this. For his part, Latour is centrally involved in expanding the remit of subjectivity, hence the following quote: ‘every assemblage that pays the price of its existence in the hard currency of recruiting and extending is, or rather has, subjectivity’. This extension of personhood/subjectivity to various entities that humanists do not regard as possessing it, is essential to the challenge posed by the ontological turn in my view. This is part of the motivation for exploring subjectivity here and I will be very interested to hear people's views and perspectives.
Huon, the material at the blog immanence should, I believe, be of interest to you. The blog is described as follows,

Immanence suggests co-implication, the implication of one thing in another (spirit in matter, mind in body, movement in repose, humans in nature), nonduality, the vitality of becoming rather than the stasis of being, the sufficiency of life in its generative relational flux, its vessels of light scattered for our gathering in each moment of darkness. Philosophers of immanence, from Heraclitus and Nagarjuna to Spinoza, Whitehead, and Deleuze, find inspiration in the middle of things, the moment-to-moment movement of thought, awareness, connection, action, rather than in large, transcendent, ventriloquistic forces (such as ideologies, ultimate causes, or apocalyptic narratives).

Immanence suggests a continuity and empathic resonance rippling between things. “When we try to pick out anything by itself,” John Muir wrote, “we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” This could have well been written by Nagarjuna or by Jacques Derrida in an errant wander outside the text (as his later writings often did). Derrida may be popularly known for saying that "il n-y a pas d'hors-text," or "there is no outside-the-text," but his writings on ethics, religion, politics, and animality make clear that this "no outside" is more akin to a Zen koan or Nagarjuna's "emptiness" than to a denial of bodies, spirits, and whatever else. Like Muir, both Derrida and Nagarjuna posit a world of what Buddhists call "codependent arising" (and see here), where things, ideas, and selves arise and make sense only in relation to others in a process of ceaseless becoming, the rhizomic connectivity of "and... and," as Deleuze and Guattari put it, rather than the binarism of "either/or."

This blog, like that process, will seek connections between environmental philosophy, cultural theory (especially in its poststructuralist and postconstructivist variants), and sciences and philosophies of the east, the west, and the ne(i)ther (the postcolonial, the fourth world, et al) -- connections to help make sense of the world in its current states of unrest, swerve, systemic shift, transition, and (r)evolution.

("Really, (r)evolution toward what?" you ask. How about to a socially and ecologically sustainable, post-carbon, self-renewing, radically democratic, globally just, and bioregionally diverse society. Murray Bookchin, I think, had spoken about utopianism being a necessity in our time. That would be effective, informing, inspiring, as opposed to pie-in-the-sky dreamy utopianism.)

An ethic of immanence is one of responsiveness shimmering across animate bodies to feel the collective breathing, the communion of subjectivity.

The blogger is

Adrian J. Ivakhiv*
Ph.D., York University, 1997

Associate Professor of Environmental Studies
Environmental Program / Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources

The Bittersweet Bldg., 153 So. Prospect St., Burlington VT 05401
University of Vermont
Tel: (802) 656-0180 Fax: (802) 656-8015
E-mail: Adrian.Ivakhiv@uvm.edu

Huon Wardle said:
The new ontology and the question of post-subjective subjectivity ('the death of the individual').

I am going to be a little busy over the next few days, but I wanted to push forward a strand of discussion initiated in the ontology thread. The new ontologists largely take on and extend the critique of Western individualism by a theoretical decentring of the humanistic individual (the notion of the 'death of the [humanistic] individual'). Decentring the individual has a long history, but its direct effects in social science are relatively more recent. Latour draws his theories in this respect from some aspects of Peircean and Jamesian pragmatism, but also from structuralist narratology, theories of artificial intelligence and, importantly the anthropology of what was formerly called 'primitive' societies. Strathern decentres individuality by drawing on Melanesian material to show that persons are as much 'dividually' as 'individually' constructed. Her discussions of in vitro fertilisation exemplify this. For his part, Latour is centrally involved in expanding the remit of subjectivity, hence the following quote: ‘every assemblage that pays the price of its existence in the hard currency of recruiting and extending is, or rather has, subjectivity’. This extension of personhood/subjectivity to various entities that humanists do not regard as possessing it, is essential to the challenge posed by the ontological turn in my view. This is part of the motivation for exploring subjectivity here and I will be very interested to hear people's views and perspectives.
That certainly links a good number of the thinkers involved, thanks. As well as the trend to decentre in this approach, there is also a strong analytical emphasis on demonstrating how subjectivity is taken up by entities such as computer networks or diseases: these are frequently talked about and recognised as agents, but then their role as agents or subjects is conveniently erased in the final account. This of course is talked about by Marx and others as fetishism, but it is a distinctive aspect of the kind of social critique being offered by especially, Latour and is given in a positive rather than negative (false consciousness) significance.

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