Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Curiosity, contemplation, & the cinematic

The Stone: The Flight of Curiosity New York Times (blog) - Justin Eh Smith - May 22, 2011
What appears to us today to be a core is only what is left over after a centuries-long process by which the virtue of curiosity — once nearly synonymous with philosophy — migrated into other disciplines, both scientific and humanistic. As this migration was occurring, many curiosity-driven activities — such as insect-collecting and star-gazing, long considered at least tributaries of philosophy — were downgraded to the status of mere hobbies. This loss of curiosity has played an important but little noticed role in the widespread perception that professional philosophy has become out of touch with the interests of the broader society.

(title unknown) from enowning In-der-Blog-sein
The Owl on what Arendt to read.
“Contemplation had once been the queen of knowing and philosophy, but modern rationalism had come to dethrone the queen and sit on the throne of knowing. The reversal of contemplation and action had to be reversed. This was the philosophic vocation of Heidegger and Arendt.”

Just got my copy of Stenger’s Whitehead book from Amazon. Firstly, it’s massive, and has a nifty, short but nice looking intro by Latour. But in thumbing through the book, it seems like a real wonder, and I’m so psyched to start to plow through this.
Starting the The Concept of Nature, the first work of the later (post-Principia) Whithead, Stengers weaves her text in and around citations from Whitehead right in the text differentiated by italics. The result is something more like the commentaries and exegeses of medieval scribes.

The relation between Bergson and SA in the matter of intuition, duration and the cinematic has been lately in my mind wrt the Vijnana Chatusthaya. Here is a passage from my essay on the subject, which includes another quote from SA. Delueze’s essay Bergsonism (particularly the chapter Duration as Immediate Datum) can provide potent passages to juxtapose with this:
In thinking about the experience of Time, Henri Bergson has noted that indeed all the past is present in every present object. This continuing presence and continuous passage of Time is what he calls duration. Gilles Deleuze points to this in his discussion of Bergson’s methodical use of intuition. It is due to the continuing duration of Time that one can intuit, that is, directly apprehend the past and the future in the present, for the sum total of developing realities in the present comprise the virtual space of the future. It is the extension of this intuition that Sri Aurobindo seeks, a conscious identity with the body of Time. The Bergsonian intuition of Deleuze bears comparison in its extended possibility in this quote from Sri Aurobindo:

The articulation of technology uncovers at least two trends: first, it harbors an impulse to duplicate, to create phantoms. Their numbers multiply as culture evolves. To see how: Alexander Graham Bell created the miracle that is a telephone. Space could no longer constrain verbal communication because the technology for the production of phantom sound was made possible.
However, by duplicating sound and enabling it to cut across continents, the telephone not only creates a double, but alsoenhances reality. This, I construe as the second trend. The two are closely tied since by (a) imitating the real, technology is also able to (b) transcend the real. It transcends by overcoming the limitations of reality, its finitude: […] There is a certain irony about the phantom. While it enhances an object, it also is one step removed from the object. 

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