liceo posted:radical_dave posted:
i started reading the phenomenology of spirit by hegel, using the new english translation from the cambridge hegel translations. the translator, terry pinkard, has also written a book length commentary called Hegel's Phenomenology: The Sociality of Reason, which i'm reading alongside the primary hegel text as well. normally i wouldn't go to the trouble of reading a commentary while reading the book itself, but hegel is a truly abstruse dude. pinkard, though, goes to great lengths to explain his interpretation of hegel in much clearer language than the man himself used
get in the matrix chat where we were kind of group-reading that book earlier this year. i'm sure that others would be happy to pick the conversation/reading back up
i don't know how to join a matrix chat, but if you can message me details or a link i'd be glad to chat about the book. i need to spend some more time with it alone first, though.
i should warn you: from a marxist perspective at least, the way i'm approaching hegel might not be all that interesting or fruitful. the reading of hegel i'm interested in, at the present moment, is what's alternately referred to as the "post-kantian," "post-metaphysical," or "deflationary" reading of hegel. in the anglo world, this interpretation of hegel only became a live philosophical option sometime in like the 1970s or 80s, primarily through the works of commentators like robert pippin and terry pinkard, though others have followed since then. that's not the sole approach to hegel i'm interested in--the french reception of the phenomenology is of great interest to me, too, for example--but it's the one i'm interested in right now. since this isn't a version of hegel that marxists have typically grappled with, it might not shed any light on marx or other hegelian marxists. but, based on what little i know of the "post-kantian" hegel, and as a marxist myself who is interested in hegelian marxism, i suspect there will still be something of interest there. even if there's not though, for my purposes at least, that's not a big deal, because i'll still have made progress on some of my other, non-marxist interests in hegel.
basically: i'm reading the phenomenology because two of my ongoing reading projects cannot (or at least should not) proceed without first reading hegel, and one of them requires some background in this particular, "post-kantian" reading of hegel. more concretely: i've been trying to understand the analytic philosopher robert brandom over the years, and he recently published a book-length reinterpretation on the phenomenology which i plan to read eventually, in part because it's supposed to shed a lot of light on brandom's own philosophical system. brandom is broadly in this "post-kantian" camp of hegel interpreters, so i'm getting a grasp on the "post-kantian" reading of the phenomenology before i read his newest iteration of it. brandom's a bit weird though in that he draws on a lot of analytic philosophers' ideas in making sense of hegel as well as these "post-metaphysical" hegel interpreters.
btw when i say things like "i'm taking x interpretive stance on hegel" or "approaching to hegel from x angle," all i mean is that i picked a translation and a book-length commentary by someone developing this "post-kantian" reading of hegel, the audio lecture series i'm going through on the book developes this reading, and the bulk of the supplementary texts and resources i've been gathering for myself generally do as well.
the other reading project that pointed hegel-ward is my ongoing engagement with guy debord. the society of the spectacle was the first marxist work i ever encountered, so debord holds a special place in my heart, and i continually find myself returning to him, and the rest of the SI crew, every few years or so. in a 1971 letter, debord said "‘I will affirm to you straight away: I understand perfectly what I have written. Obviously one cannot fully comprehend it without Marx, and especially Hegel." so, i figure, i should probably read some hegel before my next debord re-read. i'd also like to read tom bunyard's new book specifically about the hegelian elements in debord's thought. bunyard's phd thesis (and the articles spun off from it) are some of the best english-language commentary of debord i've come across, so i'm excited for that. anyway, i have no idea whether this "post-kantian" reading of hegel will help me all that much in my debord-understanding, but i'll be keeping an eye out as i read this material for shit that's relevant. so maybe that, rather than this "post-kantian" hubbub, could provide a basis for conversation.
also, i'm taking notes as i read, and if i can work them up into anything coherent, i'll format them nicely and post a link to them here i could include a link repository to some of the supplementary reading material i've been gathering, as well. for now i'll post just two
the bernstein phenomenology of spirit lectures (audio recordings, syllabus, some notes/handouts):
the aforementioned tom bunyard's paper on debord's hegelian influences:
radical dave u may be interested in negarestani's recent intelligence & spirit, which is largely about using a transdisciplinary approach based on computation & information theory to engage with the pittsburghian reading of kant & hegel.
you're right on the money with that one, blinkandwheeze. i've been a huge negarestani fan since cyclonopedia--hell, i think i actually first found this forum because a google search lead to a cyclonopedia thread here. i picked up I&S around when it came out, attempted to read it, but put it down after a few chapters (during the one on time, specifically) because a lot of it was going over my head. i do plan to return to it at some point, just need to brush up on hegel, and, uh, i guess theoretical computer science too, first lol. negarestani is an absolute madman. anyway, I&S is definitely on my radar, i appreciate the suggestion
i mentioned to a friend that i signed up for an account on this forum and they immediately replied "oh ya i love that cyclone thread there haha"
edit: it's a bit hard to read now-a-days though, since some of the posts don't show up because some posters have deactivated their accounts. even without those posts, though, it's still one of the more interesting cyclonopedia-related things that a typical fan of the book comes across when googling shit about it
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can someone summarize cyclonopedia thanks
yes, you're welcome
can someone summarize cyclonopedia thanks
"Oil is real, and strong, and he's my enemy"
-Dr. Hamid Parsani
the first thing to note is that cyclonopedia is a work of theory-fiction, and must be interpreted as such. i think anyone who understands the words 'theory' and 'fiction' could, on their own, figure out what theory-fiction is about, more or less. but if you want t o read some pedantic, academic reflections on it, here's a link: https://www.full-stop.net/2020/10/21/features/essays/macon-holt/hyperstitional-theory-fiction/ cyclonopedia is an (or maybe the) exemplar of what theory-fiction is, and basically invented that genre/cannon of texts as far as i can tell. next, the actual content of the book:
oil is a sentient, cthonic entity waging a tellurian insurgency against the forces sun, from which it was birthed. only once oil is grasped within the context of the solar economy, and as an agentive-object, can we come to terms with it. we then come to see that oil, as a underground political agent, is a sort of narrative lubricant which fills in many seeming 'plot holes' in our supposedly human-agency-governed society.
for example, many social conflicts take place upon the the gog-magog axis (e.g. the west's war on terror vs. radical, jihadist politico-religious formations), and the conflicts themselves as well as events within them are often confusing or inexplicable. but once we realize that oil is the agent behind all of this, things start making more sense to us (though the implicatikns are grim).
there's also a bunch of stuff about deleuze, mereology, ancient near east demonology, and the RTS warcraft 3, among other things
cyclonopedia is very good, and many different kinds of readers have something to gain from it. for example, if you like 'weird fiction,' or lovecraftian horror, it's worth reading for just those elements of the text alone. if you like the kinds of continental philosophy negarestani draws on, it's worth reading to see what he does with it. etc. definitely read this book at least once in your life
edit: jeff vandermeer description: "Think Borges by way of Lovecraft by way of William Burroughs by way of…well, Negarestani" is a pretty good one. but even when you put it into its context, there's something very alien and weird about the book. ultimately it's sui generis
Edited by radical_dave ()
that sounds pretty typical for what you get when deleuze enthusiasts put a few brain cells to work thinking about what a materialist theory of history might look like. ill bump this thread when i read it, which will probably be 12-90 years from now
Rhizzone 2035: Stories about the grandkids and cyclonopedia analysis
i feel bad for abandoning the cyclonopedia thread after like a chapter but i'm glad it had some kind of impact & continues to bring people to this forum
during those heady strange times of the early 2010s, some weirdo acquaintances (who pointed me at this site) actually used Trisones to structure cells for practicing Thingness and terrorizing white supremacist communities online. In retrospect it was just larping and making shit up, juvenile adventurism that was never going to lead anywhere and could easily have gone very badly, but at the time it was extremely cool to follow the logic of the book to attack communities of shitty people by cultivating self-reinforcing loops of destructive paranoia and see it actually kind of work on a small scale. It was also a phenomenon very much of its era, these days I don't think you could do that sort of stuff anywhere near as easily now that all those once isolated tiny communities have diffused into the monolithic structures of the modern monopoly internet. Unless you have way more resources like the CIA lol
but that's what made the book so special to me. in a pretty bleak and hopeless time for the western left it hypothesized an attempt to return fire, a tentative response to the cultural hysteria of the war on terror years that hypothesizes turning the enemy's psyops terror and endless thirst for reckless resource extraction against them.
I should do a reread now so that I can look back on all that stuff from a decade ago and be incredibly confused at what the fuck I was thinking
anyway gonna check out cyclonopedia just 2 c what it's like
"Indians and Métis cannot count on any support from the white working class in their struggle against imperialism, at least not at this time. Part of the working class and its union aristocracy have disappeared into the capitalist ranks. Some unions and workers appear to be primarily concerning with getting a greater slice of the economic pie rather than promoting revolutionary struggle... Historically, white workers of the imperial nation generally have better working conditions, higher wages, and a higher standard of living than the workers of the colonies. The white workers' good conditions are due partly to the crude exploitation of the native workers in the Third World. Generally, white workers are inclined to oppose liberation and independence for native colonies... Nevertheless, there comes a time when all oppressed people must join together in a united struggle and form a new revolutionary class." (pg 181)
And he says this in apparent conflict with this:
"...it is not only white the native society that is colonized, but Canada and all of its citizens. White Canadians and Indian/Métis are in similar states of colonization. Canada has always been a colony, first of France, then of Britain, and now of America...Canada is a colony of America, and what happens to Indians and Métis to some extent applies to white Canadians who have their own national liberation struggle against the empire of the United States" (pg 177)
I think Adams was caught between the 'Canada as a neo-colony' line of the early anti-revisionist movement and his own true observation that White Canadians do have a material interest in imperialism. Could also be him facing the odds - that Indian communities are such a small minority of the population that decolonization necessitates a united front with the white labor aristocracy.
He also talks about the difficulties of building connections with the masses if you rise to the ranks of the petty-bourgeois stratum:
"The sudden change in lifestyle and status has serious psychological implications for colonized employees. The new status immediately isolated the worker from the masses of native people, which is what it is intended to do. Because the colonized's esteem has been so underdeveloped, the new status practically immobilizes him or her for effective communication with the rank and file natives at the local level" (pg 160)
I related to this a lot - in isolated and fragmented immigrant communities as soon as your family rises to the ranks of the petty-bourgeois class, you feel even more isolated, mentally culturally and physically from people, and it's difficult to regain that connection.
overall, this book would be my pick for a readsettlers.ca.
I've also been reading Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China by Leslie T. Chang. It’s a good ethnography of factories in Dongguan and female experience, as female workers make up the majority of internal migrant workers. There are some really funny bits, like when you have some classes how to become successful, and the main advice is to lie your way through and it often succeeds, so the coach often gets calls even two years later from these students asking for advice, since they're in a job now they don't have the training for. But it also gives you a good look at how migrant workers often work for a factory only for a few months at best, and then leave, and how, if they lose their phone, all their friends are generally gone, as this is the only thing allowing for any binds in the fast moving world of migrant workers.
However, the author is herself diaspora and so has a very negative opinion about the Chinese Revolution, and especially the Cultural Revolution, which they feel must be voiced in the book for some reason. Which is fairly annoying, since I'm not particularly interested in hearing them complain how evil Mao was in treating their poor, poor family. They are even utterly bewilderd that some of her relatives were in any shape or form pro-Mao:
My father returned to China for the second time in 1979. The United States and China had established diplomatic relations; Deng Xiaoping was firmly in charge, rehabilitating the millions of victims of the Cultural Revolution and launching economic reforms that would soon change the face of the country. My father again requested to meet with Lijiao, and this time Lijiao and his wife were brought to Shenyang to meet him. When my father’s train pulled into the station, he could see Lijiao waiting on the platform, and he saw that he was crying. Lijiao wanted to know everything that had happened in the intervening thirty years. My father told him how hard life had been in Taiwan, how his mother had raised five children alone and most of the family friends dropped off after their father died. Lijiao talked about how much better life was under the Communists. He did not tell my father that he had been paraded through the streets as a class enemy when the Cultural Revolution began, and later sent to work on a rice farm near the Soviet border. He did not mention that his two sons were just then returning to the city after ten years of rural labor, or that neither of them had gone past the eighth grade. He did not say how his mother and father had died.
Still, the book is a very good look at the experience of the Chinese migrant workers, who make up 1/3 of the Chinese working class nowadays. Just ignore the authors' discussions of their own family and their history, they're generally boring and uninformative.
the aforementioned "Sociality of Reason" is the best guidebook to the Phenomenology, and Pinkard's translation is leaps and bounds ahead of earlier English translations. it used to be the easiest way to read Hegel was to be fluent in German, and earlier translators did not help matters by using different words for the same terminology. Phenomenology is never going to be an easy read, but all the more reason to value clarity and consistency whenever possible
finally, if you read too much Hegel, you run the risk of getting "Hegel brain" where you're prone to say such profundities as "the reason the USSR became a totalitarian hellhole is because (choose one of Stalin/Lenin/Engels/Marx) didn't properly understand Hegelian dialectics!"
to counteract this, i suggest reading Domenico Losurdo's book on Hegel. Losurdo argues (convincingly IMO) that, contrary top popular notions, Hegel did not become a stodgy old conservative bootlick for the Prussian Monarchy, he never abandoned his Revolutionary leanings, and much of his apparent praise for the existing order is self-censorship designed to get the authorities to look the other way
finally, there's Soviet philosopher Evald Ilyenkov, who does a great job of tying the history of dialectical thought from Spinoza on through to Lenin (including Hegel) and taking each thinker seriously every step of the way
Nice to see Prison of Grass and Night-Vision mentioned here, I really like those.
overall, this book would be my pick for a readsettlers.ca.
Speaking of this, has anyone read Canada in the World by Tyler Shipley? It's being touted as a heavy "readsettlers.ca" contender by some of my 'rades. Looks good but no one can touch Sakai's gift of gab obviously.
Speaking of this, has anyone read Canada in the World by Tyler Shipley?
the book is 60 bucks so I'm waiting for someone to bite the bullet and scan it.
I'm currently reading Night-Vision: Illuminating War and Class on the Neo-Colonial Terrain by Butch Lee & Red Rover. It's a fairly fascinating book, because it discusses gender in a way I haven't yet considered myself. However, what I have found so far jarring is that 1/3 of the book so far has been pure quotes.
i know, i found this low pRoportion of quotes dificult at first too, but u get used to it
other posters can only imagine the rollercoaster of emotions i went through in the moments from when i found a paper called "william james' pragmatism and PCP" to when i started reading the abstract
at least we have william james on nitrous oxide
started Karl Marx and the Birth of Modern Society: The Life of Marx and the Development of His Work (Volume I: 1818-1841). I've been interested in Michael Heinrich recently, and this seems as good a place as any to start with him. so far I've learned that next to nothing is known about Marx's life before he took the Abitur exam, so Heinrich has to fill out the details of Trier and the Jewish community there in order to speculate about the intellectual environment that Marx grew up in.
these anecdotes made me laugh:
Personal information about Marx’s youth is only available from two anecdotes handed down by his daughter Eleanor. Twelve years after Marx’s death, she wrote: “My aunts say that as a little boy he was a terrible tyrant to his sisters, whom he would ‘drive’ down the Markusberg at Trier full speed and, worse, would insist on their eating the ‘cakes’ he made with dirty dough and dirtier hands. But they withstood the ‘driving’ and ate the ‘cakes’ without murmur, for the sake of the stories Karl would tell them as a reward for their virtue” (E. Marx, 1895: 245).
In a biographical sketch prepared shortly after Marx’s death, Eleanor writes that he was “At once much loved and feared by his school fellows—loved because he was always doing mischief, and feared because of his readiness in writing satirical verse and lampooning his enemies” (E. Marx 1883: https://www.marxists.org/archive/eleanor-marx/1883/06/karl-marx.htm).