Thursday, April 30, 2009

Speculative Heresy has a Non-Philosophical Dictionary.
Heidegger tried to reunite in “Being” as ontological Difference (with the existent) the multiple significations and modalities of Being which philosophy had elaborated and dispersed. There is then no concept not only more general and more transcendent, but also more envelopping than that of Being and then its own unity and provenance (sense, truth, locality, etc.). Heidegger confirms the telos of every philosophy, even if Being is his principal object (Being qua Being) and its element, even if it is an originary-transcending, an ekstatico-horizontal and temporal opening, a “rift” and “clearing,” (Heidegger), or even a void and a pure multiple (Badiou). A law of essence desires that the concepts of “being” be inseperable from the duality of a division and from a more or less divided horizon, indeed disseminated; from a multiple and a void without which it is unthinkable. Hence Heidegger’s effort to simultaneously protect nothingness, the void, the nihilist “vapor” and to deliver them from Being by “barring” it in a non-metaphysical way. But nothing of this touches upon philosophy, upon its effort to think itself and discharge itself from the metaphysics which cannot avoid positing Being as a presupposed which has primacy not only over the Existent but also over the One which it affects from its own division, and partially over the Other.

The Darcys have some advice.
4. Do not avoid Heidegger. Eventually he will catch up to you, establish the non foundational clearing and use its "ground" to "let the light shine" on your newly crushed "being-in-the-world.” Deal with it, or go learn how to build webpages at the community college in Dartmouth.
Pasha Malla talks poetry, and what poems should be filmed.
[Ed] Dorn’s Gunslinger would be a really great Western— among other things, the book-length poem includes a perpetually stoned talking horse who, fittingly, has an affinity for spouting Heidegger (you’d have to be high to have an affinity for Heidegger!).
That's my excuse. What's yours?
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Jacques Derrida was Jean-Luc Nancy's interview subject.
J-LN: For my part, in my work on freedom, I was compelled to ask myself if the Heideggerian partition between Dasein on the one side and, on the other side, Vor- or Zuhandensein would not reconstitute a kind of distinction between subject and object.

JD: The categories of Vorhandenheit and Zuhandenheit are also intended to avoid those of object (correlate of the subject) and instrument. Dasein is first of all thrown. What would link the analytic of Dasein with the heritage of the subject would perhaps be more the determination of Dasein as Gewoifenheit, its primordial being-thrown, rather than that of a subject which would come to be thrown, but a being thrown which would be more primordial than subjectivity and therefore also than objectivity. A passivity which would be more primordial than traditional passivity and than Gegenstand (Gegenwurf, the old German word for object, keeps this reference to throwing, without yet stabilizing it into the stance of a stehen). I refer you to what I have said about the dé-sistance on the subject of the subject in Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe. I am trying to think through this experience of the throwing/being-thrown of the subjectile beyond the Heideggerian protocols about which I was just speaking and to link it to another thinking of destination, of chance and of destinerrance.

Starting at “birth”, and possibly even prior to it, being-thrown reappropriates itself or rather ex-appropriates itself in forms which are not yet those of the subject or the project. The question “who” then becomes: “who (is) thrown?” “Who becomes “who” from out of the destinerrance of the being-thrown?” That it is still a matter here of the trace, but also of iterability means that this ex appropriation cannot be absolutely stabilized in the form of the subject. The subject assumes presence, that is to say sub-stance, stasis, stance. Not to be able to stabilize itself absolutely would mean to be able only to be stabilizing itself. Ex-appropriation no longer closes itself; it never totalizes itself. One should not take these figures for metaphors (metaphoricity implies exappropriation), nor determine them according to the grammatical opposition of active/passive. Between the thrown and the falling (Verfallen) there is also a possible point of passage. Why is Geworfenheit, while never put into question, subsequently given to marginalization in Heidegger’s thinking? This is what, it seems to me, we must continue to ask. And ex-appropriation does not form a boundary, if one understands by this word a closure or a negativity. It implies the irreducibility of the relation to the other.

Reading the Maps locates the poet Ted Jenner.
In the middle of one of his poems about the Scandinavian wilderness, Tomas Transtromer suddenly exclaims:
This is not Africa.
This is not Europe.
This is nowhere other than ‘here’.
Like Transtromer, Jenner is determined to make us see the particulars that our general theories and categories can hide. Ted’s attention to detail reflects the influence of the French ‘miniaturist’ poets Francis Ponge and Michael Deguy, as well as the philosophy of Martin Heidegger. Heidegger often notes that the normal, everyday world around us – ‘the given’, in his jargon – is usually something we take for granted, a sort of ‘equipment’ that we use to achieve our ends. In moments of crisis or inspiration, though, we can experience a ‘break in familiarity’ that suddenly makes us aware of the concreteness and sheer detail of the world that surrounds us.
As Talking Heads put it.
This is not my beautiful house!
And you may tell yourself.
This is not my beautiful wife!

At the end of another post, there's Ted Jenner's poem "Heidegger's Instep", used in a flyer.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009

rantnrave-88 on leaping-in-for drugs.
Heidegger contends that there is an alternative attitude that a therapist can adopt in relation to the patient. This is illustrated in the concept of "leaping-in-for" or "intervening care." This form of therapy occurs when the therapist simply imparts upon the patient a solution to their problem. For example, a patient gains nothing when a therapist recites psychological jargon on the disorder in question. Though this information may appropriate for the circumstances, the patient is not aided by the therapist at relating the problem to his existential issue or his fundamental way of being-in. The patient is thus dependant upon the therapist to solve his problem for him. This method stands in opposition to leaping-ahead as the therapy does not fall, even partially, under the responsibility of the patient. Rather the cure to the patient’s existential issue is merely given to them. This effectively teaches them nothing about the reality of their being-in-the-world nor does it present a lasting solution to the issue at hand. As Heidegger explains, "intervening care discourages Dasein’s movement towards appropriating her own-most possibilities" Medard Boss attests that this process also weakens the existential status of the therapist as their task is to "respond to the appeal of the patient to be." The patient is made to rely on the crutch of the treatment rather than being taught how to stand on their own two feet. They have no way of relation to the solution proposed by the therapist and thus do not make it their own. No new perspective is adopted and the patient learns nothing about their existence beyond a text book illustration of their problem. In leaping-in-for, the therapist behaves as if the patient is suffering from a common physical abnormality which can be cured with a preconceived remedy.
Consciousness. Locke invented it.
Locke argued that a person's identity over time resides in their consciousness (he coined this term, and here introduced it to the English language) of being the same self at a later time as at an earlier, and that the mechanism that makes this possible is memory.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Caution, equations are not the world.
Putting it more philosophically, take 1+1 = 2. This does not mean: "Give me another and we'll have twice as much." The "ones" here live in the imaginary world of mathematics. They are the same as each other and do not refer to anything. In the real world, though, there are no ones or twos, just things.
That's because math itself isn't just numbers, and the physical world itself isn't mathematical.
Modern physics is called "mathematical" because it makes use, in a remarkable way, of a quite specific kind of mathematics. But it is only able to proceed mathematically because, in a deeper sense, it is already mathematical. Τα μαθήματα means, in Greek, that which, in his observation of beings and interaction with things, man knows in advance: the corporeality of bodies, the vegetable character of plants, the animality of animals, the humanness of human beings. Along with these, belonging to the already-known, i.e., "mathematical," are the numbers. When we discover three apples on the table we recognize that there are three of them. But the number is something "mathematical." Only because numbers represent, so to speak, the most striking of the always-already-known, and therefore the best-known instances of the mathematical, is "the mathematical" directly reserved as a name for the numerical. The essence of the mathematical, however, is in no way defined in terms of the numerical. Physics is, in general, knowledge of nature. In particular, it is knowledge of material corporeality in motion; for corporeality manifests itself immediately and universally -- albeit in different ways -- in all natural things. When, therefore, physics assumes an explicitly "mathematical" form, what this means is the following: that through and for it, in an emphatic way, something is specified in advance as that which is already known. This specification concerns nothing less than what, for the sought-after knowledge of nature, is henceforth to count as "nature": the closed system of spatio-temporally related units of mass. Pertaining to this ground-plan, in accordance with its prior specification, are to be found, among others, the following definitions. Motion is change of place. No motion or direction of motion takes precedence over any other. Every point is equal to every other. No point in time has precedence over any other. Every force is defined as -- is, that is, nothing but -- its consequences as motion within the unity of time; and that means, again, change of place. Every natural event must be viewed in such a way that it fits into this ground-plan of nature. Only within the perspective of this ground-plan does a natural event becomes visible as such. The ground-plan of nature is secured in place in that physical research, in each step of investigation, is obligated to it in advance. This obligation, the rigor of research, has, at a given time, its own character in keeping with the ground-plan. The rigor of mathematical science is exactitude. Every event, if it enters at all into representation as a natural event, is determined, in advance, as a magnitude of spatio-temporal motion. Such determination is achieved by numbers and calculation. Mathematical research into nature is not, however, exact because it calculates precisely; rather, it must calculate precisely because the way it is bound to its domain of objects has the character of exactness.

P. 59-60
Pragmatism falls under the scythe of the "Liberal Fascism" witch hunt. Yup, William James, fascista!
Moreover, Georges Sorel, the philosophic father of both Italian Fascism and Leninism, was a devout follower of James. It's been said many times that Sorel's great accomplishment was to marry James' "Will to Believe" and Nietzsche's "Will to Power." Moreover, the influence worked both ways. James was hugely influenced by the Italian Pragmatists. He deeply admired Giuseppe Prezzolini — later a New Republic contributor and muckety-muck at Columbia University's pro-fascist Casa Italiana. In a letter to the philosopher FCS Schiller James wrote of Giovanni Papini: "Papini is a Jewel! To think of that little Dago putting himself ahead of every one of us … at a single stride.”

The relationship between Pragmatism and Statism is hard for some to see at first blush. But it boils down to the fact that the Progressives used Pragmatic philosophy (correctly or not) to destroy the Old Order of liberal democracy. It was a tool, sometimes sledgehammer, sometimes scalpel, aimed at dismantling the "old ideas" that held back the free exercise of will by social planners and others who wanted to start the world over at year zero, or at least to reshuffle the existing deck for a "new deal."

Tisha on Lacan's symptom as appropriation.
Lacan explicitly linked his therapy with the history of prudence by declaring that the end of the intervention was to acquire how to make something with one's symptom. His phrase is, "savoir-y-faire." "Savoir-y-faire intends something like addressing with it, 'with intensions of getting obviate it, 'unlacing oneself from it'; it makes not regard acquiring a acquirement, but sieving something out, getting eliminate a onus or botheration. It hence connote an unknotting or denounement". The intervention directs at altering the analysand's relationship with and attitude toward jouissance. To acknowledge the symptom as a figure of fate, as "belonging-to-me" (repeating Heidegger's Ereignis), is to take duty for one's history.
I like the graphic of the three rings of realities (real, symbolic and imaginary) knotted together by the symptom - an analogy of the dance of Ereignis at the intersection of the fourfold.
The mirror-play of the world is the round dance of appropriating. Therefore, the round dance does not encompass the four like a hoop. The round dance is the ring that joins while it plays as mirroring.

P. 180
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Wozu Dichter?

Damon Young takes the prize.
Heidegger on the
3.10 Lilydale express.
For those of you without Liddell and Scott on your devices, ἐκφανέστατον (ekphanestaton) is: that which shines forth.

More on Damon's blog, That Young Philosopher.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Forbes on Alva Noe's work.
Attempting to understand the mind in isolation from that outside world is akin to trying to understand the movements of a dancer without any knowledge of the music that is being danced to or trying to understand emotions simply by looking at the movement of the facial muscles involved in smiling or frowning. "The mind is an ecological phenomenon," Noe says. "We are in the world and of it, not trapped in some cavern of consciousness."

Noe says that the neurobiologists don't do justice to the complexity of what they are studying because they look at one small, reduced part of the puzzle. He is following the example of his colleague professor Dreyfus, who often quotes the German philosopher Heidegger about how you can't really understand what a hammer is unless you also understand nails, wood and the human need for shelter.
The forces of control take down Heidegger en castellano. Press release here. Who's next?
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
I was reading Babette Babich's paper on The Ister, the documentary, for next month's Heidegger Circle, and at the end there's Hölderlin's poem, with a translation "attuned to word order". I put on the Bruno Ganz "Hölderlin" album and followed the poem. I was surprised that Bruno skipped a line:
Sie sollen nemlich
Zur Sprache seyn.
Translated as:
They should namely
To language be.
I looked up the poem in my Sieburth (1984) translation of Hölderlin's hymns, and it doesn't have that line either. Then I looked in the 1942 lectures on the poem. Heidegger reads the poem at the beginning, with that line. William McNeill and Julia Davis translate it as:
Namely, they are
To be to language.
They [rivers] are beyng toward language. They give the needed sign.
Baudrillard on thinking in the future.
Nina Zivancevic: Is there a possibility to train new generations to think, to develop their own modes of thinking independent from virtual categories?

Jean Baudrillard: I don't think there is any hope at all. If you think about the education the way it was some time ago, it had some value system, and with virtual reality there is no value system, there is no problem of freedom any longer-- that used to be an important problem-- but now we do not have it at all, so we have rather the disappearance of the term of the problem as such. And this is the final solution, which has quite a big and mortal resonance. But, I always keep the idea of revesability of things, that something can be changed and I spoke about it when I was discussing seduction and obscenity, but this all brings now a certain negative aspect to things…I would rather here remember Heidegger's question which he asked: if we were to go to the boundary of technology , to the very end of technology , should we find there a constellation of secrets? So, let us hope to find this positive answer in there, as there is a possibility of a vision which is optimistic in all this. If there are computers, artificial intelligence next to us, if the machines are doing things for us, then it can also happen that we remain alone with thought as such, that is, if there is still a hope that some thinking remains with us, then this thinking will be radicalized and in that - and the notion of game as a form of chance enters here--I see a real chance for existence of thought as such, an extreme, radical thought. But, watch out-- there is a fat chance that thinking does not remain with us altogether, and that is a problem, like it is with every form of cloning-- there is a possibility that a man as species disappears.

The Financial Philsopher on how to be rich.
•Heidegger placed an emphasis on language as the vehicle through which the question of one's being (existence) could be unfolded. He is certainly not the first philosopher who has warned of (and complained about) the inadequacies or sometimes complete falsehoods of language and the words that we use to communicate ideas.
•If, for example, one assumes (and acts in accordance to) the conventional definition of words, such as rich, strength and success, one is then bound to the limits of such definitions. If you defined rich as meaning "the point at which I have enough," you are rich at the very moment you decide that you are content, regardless of your financial worth, which is a conventional measure of rich.

thing theory on how thingness shines forth from different jugs, with pictorial examples. Ork! Ork! Caveat: NSFW.
Vivian Gornick explains the Hannah and Martin affair.
The control in the story is Karl Jaspers. What Arendt saw in Heidegger, he saw too. What she felt, he felt too. He yearned for the company of Martin Heidegger’s conversation. When the war was over, Jaspers thought continually of seeing his former brilliant student. The two men wrote a number of times to one another (Heidegger wanted reconciliation badly), but they never again met. Heidegger had been a Nazi who had neither repented nor apologized; that, in the end, carried more weight with Jaspers than the beloved greatness of mind. It was hard for Jaspers-—when Arendt came to visit he spoke openly of his difficulty—-but he was a man of integrated feeling. He understood his conflict, and he subdued it. He acted rationally.

Hannah Arendt could not avail herself of Jaspers's solution. She had been the student, not the teacher, and she had slept with Heidegger. Worship of the transcendent mind, once eroticized, can (and for her I believe it did) become a thing one bonds with somewhere in the nerve endings. Once an experience becomes fused with an irreducible sense of self—-and this is inescapable-—the impulse to rationalize its "contradictions" replaces the impulse to act rationally and looks, to the one doing it, like the same thing. To explain Heidegger's Nazi sympathies is harmless became a reasonable undertaking for Arendt, as reasonable as she was to herself. I understand the act perfectly. I grew up in the company of people unable to separate from the Communist Party when to stay meant to go on explaining the inexplicable, but to leave—-to walk away from the only transcendence they would ever know—-meant living with a granulated ache in the nerves that would tell themfor the rest of their lives theyed been expelled from Eden. And this, they decided, they simply could not do. Such "decisions" are taken in a place in the psyche well below the one where rational thought operates effectively—-the place that Arendt, essentially, discounted.

Pp. 110-1
Tuesday, April 21, 2009

think Buddha on not taking oneself too seriously.
In the book Hofstadter develops an astonishing – but, I think, rather convincing – view of the self (or even of the “soul”): not as some kind of non-material or spiritual entity beamed down from God (remember Him?) knows where; but instead as something that arises out of the world, something that is fluctuating and changing yet nevertheless semi-stable, and something that is impossible to locate in a single place within the cranium, but that is smeared out across the world; in our own heads, certainly, but also in the heads of those who we know, of those whom we have encountered. My self, that is to say, is not so much a thing, as it is a mass of self-reflexive, loopy patternings.


[W]e might conclude that the trick is not to try to jettison the idea of the self, but instead to not take ourselves so seriously. And yet this, too, doesn't seem to ring true. Part of the strange loopiness of the hallucination of the self is that we cannot find a place to stand outside the self from which we can not take ourselves seriously. In Being and Time Heidegger talks about how we are beings for whom our own being is always an issue: taking ourselves seriously is simply a part of the deal.
In other words, not takings one's self too seriously.
Charlotte Greig on evolving abortion considerations.
“I do remember reading Heidegger, about the subject and object relation, which is quite abstruse and in way seems to be quite divorced from one’s everyday experience. I think I didn’t understand it at the time. But then I did this course in existential psychotherapy.”
What Greig found was that, surprisingly, Heidegger threw light on the central dilemma of her novel: whether to have an abortion.
“I was interested in that abortion debate and it has changed, because it used to be, as I remember, about the rights of women, and it was about whether women could be sexually licentious and not obey their husbands. By giving women the pill you were giving them freedom, basically, and there were a lot of people who thought that was wrong. When I went to Sussex the abortion laws were only about five or six years old. We take it for granted now but it was still a very new triumph for women to have that so we were all very protective about it.

“But I always remember feeling there was something wrong about that. There’s long speech by Fiona in the novel, when she says it’s like having a tooth out, and you just don’t go into the moral dilemma of it, because it’s so easy to play into the hands of what we now call pro-lifers.

“Nowadays the whole debate has changed to the rights of the foetus, which wasn’t really considered in those days. But I still thing that whole way of looking at it, of rights, of the rights of the woman and the rights of the foetus, is the wrong way to look at it and I think Heidegger gives you a way through that. The Heidegger is in there for ontological reasons really, that’s to say it’s all a continuum, the baby is attached to you, it is one being, and then there’s the social world outside, and the environment, and this is all something which is connected and you have weigh it all up together.”
Are you thrown into a situation, or are you merely falling?
The 38-year-old got the idea to show life as an act of falling from the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, who “described human existence as a process of perpetual falling.”

“I have a background in rock climbing, martial arts and even acting,” Skarbakka told Lauer. “And I thought, ‘How can I pull together these threads of something I enjoy doing and make some interesting artwork out of it?’ ”
If you're art, then you must be shining.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Raymond Tallis on the perils of Palin and knowingness.
Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time (1927) deals with this ubiquitous mode of knowingness. It’s a pity it provoked him into the adverse judgement that those whose thoughts are ‘they-thoughts’ have lapsed into ‘inauthentic being’. In fact, there is no clear boundary between, on the one extreme, the they-talk necessary for survival, and on the other, the abject existential capitulation to the unexamined life which is inauthenticity. The they-talk required to catch a bus, to work as part of a team, to be a successful farmer, or to be a pleasant companion on a journey, is pretty extensive. ‘Gassing’ encompasses the bonhomie, camaraderie, the kindness of the decent person who wants to make us feel at home. At a more profound level, ‘they-talk’ is an expression of one’s membership of an epistemic community, itself a condition of keeping one’s grip on a responsible life. Hence the necessity of being something of a ‘ditto head’.
Jacques Derrida on metaphysics and the abyss of truth, from Spurs.
Each time that Heidegger refers the question of being to the question of the proper-ty (propre), of propriate, of propriation (eigen, eignen, ereignen, Ereignis especially) this dehiscence bursts forth anew. Its irruption here though does not mark a rupture or turning point in the order of Heidegger's thought. For already in Seim und Zeit the opposition of Eigentlichkeit and Uneigentlichkeit was organizing the existential analytic. Once there has been a certain valuation of the property (propre) and Eigentlichkeit, it can never be interrupted. This Permanency, which is that of valuation itself, must be accounted for and its necessity unremittingly interrogated. The order of Heidegger's thought is, however, regularly disoriented by an oblique movement which inscribes truth in the process of propriation. Although this process is as if magnetized by a valuation or an ineradicable preference for the property (propre), it all the more surely leads to this proper-ty's (propre) abyssal structure. In such a structure, which is a non-fundamental one, at once superficial and bottomless, still and always <<flat,>> the proper-ty (propre) is literally sunk. Even as it is carried away of itself by its desire, it founders there in the waters of this its own desire, unencounterable-of itself. It passes into the other.

In its turn, the opposition between metaphysic and non-metaphysic encounters its limit here, the very limit of that opposition and of opposition's form. This might give the impression then of a new metaphysic of property, indeed a new metaphysic. The many instances of such an impression are in fact attested to by the abundance and connotative qualities of statements to that effect. But—-if the form of opposition and the oppositional structure are themselves metaphysical, then the relation of metaphysics to its other can no longer be one of opposition.

Abysses of truth
Metaphysical questions and the question of metaphysics have only to be inscribed in lhe more powerful question of propriation for their space to be reorganized. This occurs quite regularly, if not in fact spectacularly. Its first incidence in the final chapter of Nietzsche (Die Erinnerung in die Metaphysik) is not a fortuitous one. Here a proposition of the type <<Das Sein selbst sich anfänglich ereignet>> (which, as Klossowski has aptly observed, defies translation) gives way to a proposition in which <<Being>> itself is reduced (Das Ereignis er-eignet)—-gives way, but only after the intervention between them of <<... und so noch einmal in der eigenen Anfängnis die reine Unbedurftigkeit sich ereignen läßt, die selbst ein Abglanz ist des Anfänglichen, das als Er-eignung der Wahrheit sich ereignet.>> Finally then, once the question of production, doing, machination, the question of the event (which is one meaning of Ereignis) has been uprooted from ontology, the propert-y or propriation is named as exactly that which is proper to nothing and no one. Truth, unveiling, illumination are no longer decided in the appropriation of the truth of being, but are cast into its bottomless abyss as non-truth, veiling and dissimulation. The history of Being becomes a history in which no being, nothing, happens except Ereignis' unfathomable process. The property of the abyss (das Eigentum des Ab-grundes) is necessarily the abyss of proper-ty, the violence of an event which befalls without Being.

Perhaps truth's abyss as non-truth, propriation as appropriation/a-propriation, the declaration become parodying dissimulation, perhaps this is what Nietzsche is calling the sryle's form and the no-where of woman. The gift, which is the essential predicate of woman, appeared in the undecidable oscillation of to give oneself/to give oneself for, give/take, let take/appropriate. Its value or price (coût) is that of poison. The price (coût) of a pharmakon. Heidegger, furthermore, in Zeit und Sein (1962), submits the question of Being itself to the enigmatic operation of the abyssal gift (le don s'endette/le don sans dette).

In his development (which cannot be reconstructed here) of the es gibt Sein Heidegger demonstrates that the giving (Geben) and the gift (Gabe), which in fact amount to nothing (to neither a subject being nor an object being), cannot be thought of in terms of Being. Because they constitute the process of proptiation, the giving and the gift can be construed neither in the boundaries of Being’s horizon nor from the vantage point of its truth, its meaning. Just as there is no such thing then as a Being or an essence of the woman or the sexual difference, there is also no such thing as an essence of the es gibt in the es gibt Sein, that is, of Being’s giving and gift. The <<just as>> finds no conjuncture. There is no such thing as a gift of Being from which there might be apprehended and opposed to it something like a determined gift (whether of the subject, the body, of the sex or other like things—so woman, then, will not have been my subject.)

Pp. 115-21

Unsane and Savage on a:
comparison between the verticality of the Neoplatonic metaphysics and the Seyn of the Ereignis as immediate horizontal ground
J.G. Ballard, R.I.P.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Towards a rapprochement of Céline.
At a time when Heidegger is being championed by a new generation of writers and thinkers – Tom McCarthy, Simon Critchley, Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Maxi Kim, and Lee Rourke, why not attempt what Paul Celan may have been trying in "Todtnauberg" and not reproach Céline for his political actions but begin a rapprochement on the basis of his compulsive compassion and the quality of his extraordinary novels?
I don't recall stumbling across compassion when I read Céline -- it's been decades -- but then I don't find it in "Todtnauberg" either.
Terry Eagleton is keen on theology.
If Marxism once held out a promise of reconciling culture and civilization, it is partly because its founder was both a Romantic humanist and an heir of Enlightenment rationalism. Marxism is about culture and civilization together-sensuous particularity and universality, worker and citizen of the world, local allegiances and international solidarity, the free self-realization of flesh-and-blood individuals and a global cooperative commonwealth of them. But Marxism has suffered in our time a staggering political rebuff; and one of the places to which those radical impulses have migrated is-of all things-theology. In theology nowadays, one can find some of the most informed and animated discussions of Deleuze and Badiou, Foucault and feminism, Marx and Heidegger. That is not entirely surprising, since theology, however implausible many of its truth claims, is one of the most ambitious theoretical arenas left in an increasingly specialized world-one whose subject is nothing less than the nature and transcendental destiny of humanity itself. These are not issues easily raised in analytic philosophy or political science. Theology’s remoteness from pragmatic questions is an advantage in this respect.

if:book on the ontological problems with the Kindle.
The Kindle may feel, at present, isolated and bereft of context, but this is because its readiness-to-hand is concealed by a lack. Something is missing, or, to use Heidegger's jargon, "obtruding." Birkerts maintains that the issue is one of context, but this is perhaps irrelevant. What matters is not the nature of what's missing but that something is missing at all. In Heidegger's philosophy, people will resist imperfect equipment, especially when its faults obtrude upon their interactions with the world.

Bumped: More discussion of the matter on Snarkmarket. And Terry Winograd's chart of library vs. information-retrieval cultures.
Krzysztof Ziarek on the connection between Dada and Heidegger.
Calling the alternative to technology poiesis, Heidegger is not at all sure whether this distinction can still be meaningful, whether the poietic can mark a difference from the technological or whether, instead, it explains itself fully within the fold of technology. The avant-garde, in particular Dadaism, seems to be, by contrast, a celebration of precisely that very possibility of art as a different, postaesthetic poiesis. The tenor of avant-garde art, the frenetic pace of its linguistic and artistic innovations, stands in marked contrast to Heidegger's cautious meditative approach. While Heidegger investigates the historical conditions in modernity under which such a transformation into a postaesthetic art could be possible, the avant-garde advertises its works as the very stage where such transformation takes place. It is obvious that Heidegger would have had little patience for the irony with which Dada questions and refashions the links between art and the everyday, for the playful mundaneness of Duchamp’s ready-mades or the clowning meanders of Tzara's manifestoes. And yet, underneath the cautious, almost skeptical look with which Heidegger regards contemporary art and the bravado with which Dada dismisses the past and ridicules the present in its works, a common thread of concern with the event of experience connects these two, so different. approaches. In his insistence that "Dada does not mean anything", Tzara does not simply scandalize the literary public and upset their expectations of meaningfulness and coherence. He also indicates that the level on which Dadaism wants to engage being reaches beyond the play of signification into the event structure of experience which Dada attempts to release from the conventions of everyday being.

Pp. 108-9
Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Chasm explains what's going on.
Science is embedded in an enframed mindset by which the Nietzschean impulse to optimize translates into the outcomes of science, technology. The more this ontotheology spreads the more we relate to the world and ourselves differently. In fact, Heidegger says at one point that only "what is calculable is being." In other words, the very words we use must refer only to real things as determined by this pervasive ontotheology. This is his reason for being critical of science. As it produces more insight, the more Heidegger's critique of technology becomes apparent, and for Heidegger, the situation of this ontotheology is not replacing itself as it did in the past. Our way of talking is, now, stale. We've grown into a dogmatism within this enframed mindset and alienated ourselves from the very primordial relations that shape human experience.
Entitled Opinions and its ethno techno theme music, is back, starting the new season with a discussion of Sartre.
Franco Volpi, R.I.P.

Nothing in the anglophone press. What are they good for?
First steps down the path, from Charlotte Greig's A Girl's Guide to Modern European Philosophy.
It was an easy enough choice. I'd heard Martin Heidegger's Being and Time was one of the most incomprehensible books ever written, and it was an optional text as well, which was another feature that attracted me: pointless as well as difficult. I went over to the short-loan shelf to see if I could find it, but it wasn't there, so I climbed up the spiral staircase to the philosophy section on the next floor. I didn't go up there very often, but when I did I always liked it and wondered why I didn't use it more. It was a quiet corner of the library where you could stand among the enormous leather-bound volumes and peer over the railings at the people below without being seen. Somehow being up there made me feel secure, as though 1 was observing the world from my stronghold of lofty ideas on high.

I found the book and took it down from the shelf. When I looked at the library stamp at the front, I noticed that hardly anyone had ever taken it out. As I flicked through the pages, I saw that the main text was full of German words, hyphenated phrases, and repetitive, apparently nonsensical sentences, and there were also passages in Latin and Greek. It looked completely impenetrable, which was just the kind of thing I'd been looking for, so I went over to a chair by the window and started to read.

I’d come across this sort of writing before, with Hegel, but Heidegger was farther out than that: so far out that he was almost just a dot on the horizon. Not only did his ideas go round in circles, like Hegel's, but there were also bizarre phrases like 'ready-to-hand', 'present-at-hand', 'towards-which', and 'for-the-sake-of' which jumbled ordinary words together in a way that seemed to make no sense. On top or that, every time he had something really important to say, he went into Greek or Latin, neither of which I understood, so I could only guess what he meant.

I mustered my concentration, but after an hour or so, I was none the wiser as to what Being and Time was about. Reading Heidegger was like listening to two people having a conversation in a foreign language: you occasionally thought you might have understood one or two words here and there, but you had absolutely no idea what they were talking about in general.

Even so, there was something about the text that fascinated me. Perhaps it was the idea that someone would set out to understand what it fundamentally means for us to be here, to 'be in the world' as he put it; and that they'd start by reviewing all philosophy hitherto, from Plato on, and pronounce that everyone else since the beginning of time had got it completely wrong; and that they'd go on to claim they'd finally found what it was that was missing from the history of human thought: and that they’d then dream up new combinations of words for their inexpressible ideas, and string them all together with hyphens, and expect people to take them seriously. It was such an impossible task, and so insanely ambitious to attempt it, that it almost brought tears to my eyes. And then there was the writing, which was so abstruse that I wondered at times if Heidegger was mad, or if this was a case of the emperor’s new clothes and he was just taking the piss out of a load of academics, the way Nietzsche did a lot of the time; but whatever the case, you had to admire the guy's nerve.

Pp. 140-2
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
The gardens in Hölderlin's poem We set out from the abyss....
A wild hill looms over the slope
Of my gardens. Cherry trees. And sharp breath blows
Through rock's holes. Here I am everything
At once.

P. 199
The self-inflicted damage of the recording industry.
[S]ome speculate that the return to vinyl is not just a hipster status move. The limitations of the vinyl medium itself prevent the extreme compression and loudness that CD's allow. CDs have always been something of a double-edged sword; they are great because they have far greater dynamic range than preceding media, capable of bringing sound quality closer than ever before to that of a live experience. On the other hand, this greater dynamic range means that the loudest highs are louder than on any medium before. Vinyl may have less dynamic range, and therefore be overall less capable than the CD, but, in practice, modern music mastering doesn't take advantage of the CD's greater dynamic range—only of its capacity to be the loudest. That's the real shame. What could therefore be the audiophile's wet dream is his nightmare, so he'll have to keep turning to vinyl, which at least isn't affected by the loudness war.
You can hear the problem on many of the remastered re-released albums. Even though the originals were mastered for vinyl, and CDs allow more dynamic range, the remastered CD instead sounds worse than the original album. Sadly, many albums are not available on vinyl. It is worth pointing out that with many of the LPs being released, you get the MP3 for free, indicating the true value of digital media.

Executive Advisory on issues on the way to improving healthcare.
It is difficult to design sophisticated tools that allow for human "throwness", avoid breakdown (or handle it gracefully), and reach the stage of readiness-to-hand. This is especially true in a highly human-dependent work environment that moves at an accelerated and interrupt-driven pace. Unless the technology you place into that environment is "ready-to-hand", it will inhibit effective work rather than supporting it.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
At last, the waiting is over. Scholars have uncovered the 4'33" of the theater, by Samuel Beckett, of course.
"In what was surely a conscious decision by Mr. Beckett, the white, uniform, non-ruled pages, which symbolize the starkness and emptiness of life, were left unbound, unmarked, and untouched," said Trinity College professor of Irish literature Fintan O'Donoghue. "And, as if to further exemplify the anonymity and facelessness of 20th-century man, they were found, of all places, between other sheets of paper."

"I can only conclude that we have stumbled upon something quite remarkable," O'Donoghue added.

According to literary critic Eric Matheson, who praised the work for "the bare-bones structure and bleak repetition of what can only be described as 'nothingness,'" the play represents somewhat of a departure from the works of Beckett's "middle period." But, he said, it "might as well be Samuel Beckett at his finest."
Monday, April 13, 2009
I went to a talk on metaphysics by Marcia Sá Cavalcante Schuback today, at a local university. It was on the who of being - human projected metaphysics. She started with Hölderlin's "What is the life of man?" poem, the Michael Hamburger translation. Here's the less stilted Richard Sieburth translation:
What is the life of man? An image of divinity.
As they all wander beneath the sky, mortals
Look to it. As if reading
A scripture, men imitate infinity
And riches. Well, is the simple
Sky rich? Silver clouds are in fact
Like flowers. Yet rain down
Dew and damp. But when the simple
Blue is effaced, the sky,
Mat as marble, shines like ore,
Indicating riches.

P. 213
The talk referenced B&T, What is Metaphysics?, On the Essence of Ground, and Schelling on the image in the light. I didn't get a copy of the handout, but my notes lead me to look this up.
Projecting as this revealing that pertains to making-possible is the proper occurrence of that distinction 'between' being and beings. The projection is the irruption into this 'between' of the distinction. It first makes possible the terms that are distinguished in their distinguishability. The projection unveils the being of beings. For this reason it is, as we may say in borrowing a word from Schelling, the look into the light of a possible making-possible [Lichtblick ins Mögliche-Ermöglichende] in generaL The look into the light tears darkness as such along with it, gives the possibility of that dawning of the everyday in which at first and for the most part we catch sight of beings, cope with them, suffer from them, and enjoy ourselves with them. The look into the light of the possible makes whatever is projecting open for the dimension of the 'either/or', the 'both/and', the 'in such a way', and the 'otherwise', the 'what', the 'is' and 'is not'. Only insofar as this irruption has occurred do the 'yes' and 'no' and questioning become possible. The projection raises us away into and thus unveils the dimension of the possible in general, and what is possible is in itself already articulated into possibly 'being in such a way or otherwise', into the possibility of 'being or not being'. Why this is the case, however, we cannot discuss here.

What we presiously pointed out as individual characteristics have now been unveiled as originarily interwoven into the unity of the primordial structure of projection in a unitary manner. In projection there occurs the letting-prevail of the being of beings in the whole of their possible binding character in each case. In projection world prevails.

Pp. 364-5
David E. Cooper comments on Heidegger's 'Cézanne' poem and Julian Young's translation.

Cézanne - The Gardener Vallier 1906

Heidegger’s point, so construed, is that there is serenity, and therefore happiness, in caring for living things in response to their needs and demands. I suggest, however, that Heidegger’s thought extends well beyond this point. The ordinary German word Gelassenheit indeed refers to serenity, and Heidegger does not want us to ignore that meaning. But in his writings, the expression also has the sense or 'releasing' or 'letting be'. A person who is gelassen is not only serene, but is letting something be, appear, become present; indeed, the reason, for Heidegger, that this person enjoys such serenity is that he or she is not imposing, not dictating how things shall be. Similarly, the word 'inconspicuous', in Heidegger's later writings, indicates something other than being hidden or obscured in the obvious way that features of the earth or soil, to which the gardener must attend, may be. In fact, he uses the word to describe the very 'ground’ of all things, of the world: something that is not itself noticed, but is the condition for there being anything to notice. The serene gardener who 'releases' and cares for the products of the earth, therefore, exemplifies or embodies the relation of co-dependence: the relation, in Heidegger’s vocabulary, between a human agency that 'releases’ things and the inconspicuous 'ground' of the world that presences for human beings.

Heidegger's poem should be taken in conjunction with a remarkable lecture he gave in 1951, 'Building Dwelling Thinking'. Building, in Heidegger's sense, includes, as I noted earlier, cultivation. And cultivation, in his sense, is less the 'making [of] anything’, than a caring for, a 'preserving and nurturing', as when the gardener 'tends the growth that ripens into its fruit of its own accord'. Heidegger argues that we do not, as conventionally assumed, ‘dwell because we have built [and cultivated|’; rather, 'we build [and cultivate]... because we dwell'. 'Dwelling' is his name for what is, or at any rate should be, 'the basic character of man's being’. An enlightened or 'authentic' human life is that of 'dwelling’. Clearly, by 'dwelling', Heidegger does not only mean living somewhere, rather than nowhere: to dwell is to live somewhere, but in a certain way. What this way is, is suggested by the etymology of the German word wohnen, which Heidegger traces back to words meaning peace, freedom, sparing, and preserving. In effect, to dwell is to 'remain at peace' through freeing or sparing, and then caring for and preserving, things. To free things is to allow them to be experienced as the 'gifts’ they are, to allow the world to become present for us through our engagement with it, but without our imposing upon them alien purposes. In other words, the authentic
dweller is gelassen: he or she serenely 'lets be'.

The poem and the lecture, then, combine to present an image of gardening or cultivation as a practice which, engaged in with an appropriate sensibility—-engaged in 'thinkingly', as Heidegger would say—-embodies more saliently than any other practice the truth of the relation between human beings, their world, and the 'ground’ from which the 'gift' or this world comes. In Heidegger's poem, as in Cézanne's paintings of the same man, the gardener Vallier becomes the peculiarly appropriate embodiment or symbol of a serene life led in attunement to truth. People who are able to recognize him as this symbol are on their way to being able, as well, to recognize why The Garden is distinctive and why The Garden matters.

Pp. 158-161

WhooshUp on truth.
Heidegger claimed that truth is not a correspondence (proposition to object guaranteed by the mind of God or some such transcendent source) by rather an “event.” This event occurs in the movement between my solicitation of an entity and what the entity reveals. The space between my solicitation and the entity is the “open region.” It is in this “open region” that truth might be glimpsed.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Julian Young on gardening.
4. An example of the first kind of active caring-for earth might be drawn from gardening. (Heidegger observes that though the discussion in 'Building Dwelling Thinking' is confined to the topic of 'construction', 'bauen' (to build) really means not only 'to construct' but also 'to cultivate'. (One speaks in German of a 'Weinbau'. vineyard, a farmer is a 'Bauer'.) The following might, therefore, he thought of as a contribution towards a 'second part' of that essay.)

Passive caring-for the earth is. of course, a central part of authentic gardening. As a dweller in a holy world, the authentic gardener will reverence the fundamental order of things already present in the site that is to be the garden rather than seeking to bulldoze a novel order. She will seek to 'tread lightly' on the site. Sometimes, however, her care for the site will be active rather than passive. Under what conditions? The Sukutei-ki, the classic, eleventh-century manual of Japanese gardening tells us that when constructing a garden we are to 'listen to the request made by the land'. This is advice that will be followed by the authentic gardener. The 'request' may, for example, be for a lake. A correctly designed, planted and positioned lake may 'bring forth' the local birdlife, and in virtue of the serenity of its calm surface allow the contrasting 'stirring and striving' of the surrounding landscape to show forth in a more complete way. It also, of course, lets the contours of the landscape show forth by allowing them to repeat themselves in the mirror of its surface.

Both these aspects of gardening are, it seems to me. recorded in the first verse of Heidegger's 'Cézanne', a poem inspired by Cézanne's portrait of his gardener:

The thoughtfully serene [Gelassene], the urgent [inständig]
stillness of the form of the old gardener
Vallier, who tends the inconspicuous on the
Chemin des Lauves.
The old gardener's 'tending’ is his passive caring-for the earth. And his 'urgent stillness' is, I suggest, an action-ready listening - a listening for and to 'the request made by the land’. (Notice the gardener's serenity, his Gelassenheit. As a dweller in a holy world he exhibits no anxiety in the face of his advanced mortality.)

5. Another example of active caring-for earth is 'organic' farming. Unlike farming which, as a branch of the 'mechanized food industry', uses glass houses, artificial fertilizers and EU subsidies to compel the earth to yield whatever consumers demand, farming that actively cares-for the earth will be that which cultivates crops that bring forth the potentialities of the local soil, the terroir (both 'soil' and 'region'), as the French call it. Good vintners do this. One tastes the flint in the chardonnay.

P. 107-8
Saturday, April 11, 2009

denske.com on the spirit of edo, or understanding what's going on in On the Way to Language.
And then he talks about the emptiness of the Japanese Noh-stage as something unaccceptable to Europeans for some reason, apparently content to ignore similar European art forms, from ancient Greek drama through to Elizabethan drama.

I think it helps to understand the larger context.

The Persistence Of This Illusion Is Astonishing on the opening that lets Heidegger in.
The big Idea is we have reached the end of the evolution of human society and a nice Danish style liberal democracy is it’s apotheosis. Ok then if that’s the case then I am right where I should want to be only I still can’t get any motivation except the motivation toward motivation. Perhaps I am just giving off some heat. From where I’m watching lately I can barely make out any actual beings other then myself. All the other ones are just so confused and beside the point. But then what’s the art for? I don’t think I can be satisfied with pure form.

That’s right where Heidegger comes in.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Advocating the destruction of social norms and the Truth-Event, from Geoff Boucher's The Charmed Circle of Ideology: A Critique of Laclau and Mouffe, Butler and Zizek.
Decisionism—as exemplified by Carl Schmitt—departs from a monological concept of subjectivity and postulates a prediscursive kernel that acts as the nucleus of decisions, without reference to ethical norms. On the basis of the theory of the “abyss of freedom,” it is impossible for Žižek to avoid an ethical decisionism that intensifies the problems of Heidegger’s theory of the “resolute decision” upon an existential project, elaborated in Being and Time (1927). Heidegger’s conception of “anticipatory resoluteness” through the recognition of the “mineness of death” is overshadowed in contemporary debates by Heidegger’s notorious Nazi entanglement. The major philosophical problem with Being and Time is not decisionism, however, but the transposition of the individual “resolute decision” onto the “historical destiny” of social collectives. As Žižek explains, the resulting neglect of the element of sociality means that the individual decision is ethically indifferent, while nations are treated as persons with a “destiny”. Ethical decisionism might therefore not be Heidegger’s problem—but it certainly is Žižek’s, for Žižek supplements a theory of the “insane” decision, which results from the breaking of social bonds, with the postulate of a pre-symbolic kernel, in the form of a unitary will, that precedes the decision. This not only neglects the medium of sociality—an “inadequate deployment of the Mitsein”—it actively negates social existence and advocates the destruction of social norms and political legitimacy. On the basis of this theory, Žižek—the defender of Cartesian philosophical science against the onslaughts of the postmodern relativists—finds it difficult to discriminate between democracy and totalitarianism without resorting to a determination of social content that contradicts the asocial character of the Truth-Event.

P. 221
The Harvard Crimson reviews The Examined Life.
Philosophical thinking has traditionally taken place in the written form, which gives both its deliverer and its audience enough time to explore ideas in-depth and parse out the details of the arguments. Taylor is justified, then, in the fast-paced aspect of her endeavor—with only 10 minutes to talk through their ideas, none of these thinkers are about to make a philosophical break-through. Ronell tells a helpful anecdote about Heidegger’s abandonment of what he believed to be institutionalized philosophy in favor of simply thinking. Indeed, Taylor’s film presents nothing like a close reading of “Being and Time,” but it does rouse its viewers to consider various takes on what it might mean to be alive today.
Thursday, April 09, 2009
The Nation reviews Anne Carson's translation of An Oresteia.
Carson is acutely conscious of the differences, in mood, worldview and style, among the three tragedians she translates. It is, then, a disappointment that she does not entirely succeed in making them sound properly distinct from one another. In Greek, Aeschylus is a far denser, more difficult writer than either of the others, fond of strange syntax and puzzling neologisms. Carson tends to eliminate a lot of the difficulties. For instance, when Agamemnon decides to kill Iphigeneia, he frames his decision in oblique, confusing language that perhaps speaks to his unwillingness to face up to what he is doing. A literal translation might go, "For hyper-enragedly desiring in angry lust for a wind-stopping sacrifice and girlish blood is right. May it indeed go well." Carson gives a version of these lines whose only fault is clarity: "Their desperation cries out for a sacrifice to change the winds,/a girl must die./It is their right./May the good prevail!"
Wozu Dichter?

Alina Gregorian's "9 X Heidegger".
There used to be nine planets.
There used to be a sun on top of the galaxy
that played Chopin on a tiny violin.
The astronaut said it was sad.
The moon used to say hello
twelve minutes before the light of dawn
The being of this being
was trusted to be alone.

Bitter Wallet on the wii of art.
With equipment – pencils, paintbrushes, what have you – their very usefulness distracts us from the fact that they were indeed made. Equipment does not proclaim its creation as part of its content.

What might Heidegger make of the new WiiSpray prototype made by German Bauhaus University graduate student Martin Lihs? Design students at the University created a prototype Wii controller with Lihs that is made to look and feel like a can of spray paint.
Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Continental Philosophy interprets "A Dialogue on Language".
From this, I understand that hermeneutics is not the interpretation but that which makes the interpretation possible. I found it similar to what we had talked about in class about Being, not Being being itself but rather the essence through which being can exist. Language enters the realm between the sensuous and the suprasensuous. We use language to describe the world but it itself is not completely descriptive in that we often find difficulty describing or explaining things.
mheidegger is using Twitter. Doesn't improve my regard for twits one iota.
Monday, April 06, 2009
Separated at birth?

Simon Critchley

Alva Noë
Projecting Heidegger to the iPhone.
"There are many ways that humans and networks come together. The philosopher Martin Heidegger famously explained that for a blind person, a cane becomes not a tool, but an extension of his arm. That, quite frankly, is how I think of my iPhone. It's not a technology; it's the way I project myself and tap into the global hive-mind."
Sunday, April 05, 2009
The shadow indicates hidden being.
(13) Everyday opinion sees in the shadow merely the absence of light, if not its complete denial. But, in truth, the shadow is the manifest, though impenetrable, testimony of hidden illumnination. Conceiving of the shadow this way we experience the incalculable as that which escapes representation, yet is manifest in beings and points to the hidden being [Sein].

P. 85
Simon Critchley explains the dominant mood.
3:AM: The initial sense of where your philosophy begins is undoubtedly what one could call a pessimistic moment. You have said that philosophy begins in disappointment and you acknowledge nihilism as something prominent that needs to be overcome.

SC: Yes, nihilism is the obvious response to the death of God, by which we mean the collapse of any transcendent basis for morality, the value of everything. Just to say well God is dead in one breath is to say in another that nothing means anything, and nothing means anything is the moment of nihilism. Nihilism is the affirmation of meaninglessness. That’s my conception of nihilism. Nihilism is the moment that’s been punctured in a way which can lead you to declare nothing means anything [and] one element in youth culture which is persistent; a rejection of the old gods.

3:AM: Romanticism and fatalism.

SC: You find that in punk, in the Sex Pistols, the cult of death in musical figures. So we abandon. The meaning evaporates, and we feel abandoned.
The age of volatile meaningfulness.
Light and shadow.
Wherever we may look, the discussion of the principle of reason becomes obscure with its very first steps. And that is how it should be. For we would like to elucidate the principle of reason. What is lucid and light needs the obscure and the shadowy, otherwise there would be nothing to elucidate. Goethe once mentioned a sentence of Johann Georg Hamann, the friend of Herder and Kant. Hamann’s sentence reads: "Lucidity is a suitable apportionment of light and shadow." Goethe added to this briefly and concisely: "Hamann—listens!"

P. 9
I've been on vacation. Traveling and walking about, in weather.

When you are in your space, you can plug your music into the car or hotel room's sound system, and use music to lubricate what's going on, participating in the acoustic world. When you move about outside, you can jack your music into your ears, but then the music isn't part of the general ambience. You don't hear the conversations around you, the wind in the leaves, the phone chirping, the truck accelerating. You are jacked directly into the music production, the mixing desk, the mastering lab. It's just you and the music. The music doesn't participate in your world.

For my birthday I got a Buddha Machine.

It's a gadget in the form of a transistor radio that plays loops of Cologne style electronica. There's a button to cycle through the dozen loops, a switch to adjust the speed the loop is played at, a switch for volume/off, and a socket to jack it into your sound system. It's a nice ingredient to the ambience of a room, when we're reading or playing a game. Sofia already had a similar device that plays buddhist chants, and is sold outside temples in Taiwan.

I wanted to be able to add my own loops, so I searched for an MP3 player with a speaker. I was surprised I couldn't find anything in the form of a pocket sized transistor radio, but I found the Zen Stone.

Being the size of a zippo lighter, it is very easy to carry around. It plugs into a USB port to copy files, no special software required. It has a random play setting, volume, skip track and skip folder buttons. Now I can participate in my acoustic ambience when I'm about; wandering and wondering what's the soundtrack of a zen stone in a zen garden?

For when Ereignis is not sufficient.

Appropriation appropriates! Send your appropriations to enowning at gmail.com.

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