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Showing posts from July 29, 2012

Parmenides and Red Riding Hood

An old post I've redone for clarity's sake Marc Soriano on his book, Les contes de Perrault, culture savante et tradition populaire: “Ai-je mené mon enquête, ou mon enquête m'a-t-elle mené?”[Have I led my research, or has my research led me?] Which   brings me to a familiar story. A man tells this tale in a poem: in a chariot balanced on bronze eight spoked wheels, with an iron axle, pulled by wise horses and led by celestial maidens, he comes to the portal of night and day and is there greeted by a goddess who cries out to him that he has left the beaten track of men. The goddess then proceeds to tell him a cosmic secret. There are two ‘routes’ of inquiry: that of what is, and that of what is not. Philosophers, enraptured by what is and what is not, have neglected the question that some more naïve inhabitant of roads, ways, trails, streets, pistes, sentiers, Wege, some vagabond, some pour lost soul, might ask – say a girl wearing a red hood, entering a forest a

To see the world in a grain of epsom salt...

To see a world in a grain of sand is, admittedly, a grand thing; to see it in a grain of Epsom salt is perhaps more to the purpose when seeking to understand the capillary relations between imperial trading companies, print culture, and the revamping of the notion of property that occurred in the 18 th century as a mental prelude to the industrial revolution in the sphere of production. The story of the first patented pharmaceutical method is crisply told in Adrian Johns’ history of intellectual property wars. Briefly, Nehemiah Grew, the secretary of the Royal Society, developed a process for extracting a mineral salt from the spring near Epsom. Formerly, the water there had been bottled for resale; this, however, was an unsatisfactory mode of distributing the health-giving waters, because the water spoiled quickly, primo, and secundo, the druggist was not averse to adding regular water to the bottle, adulterating the product. Grew, with the help of a “trusted operator” named  

tolstoy and pussy riot

The Most Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church issued a ruling in February, 1901, that read in part: “In our days, God has permitted a false teacher to appear: Count Leo Tolstoy. A writer well known to the world, Russian by birth,and Orthodox by baptismand education, Count Tolstoy has been seduced by his intellectual pride; has insolently risen both against the Lord and his Christ and against his holy hermitage; and has publically, in the sight of all humankind, repudiated the Orthodox Mother Church which reared and educated him.” This was the Church’s notice that Tolstoy, for writing The Kingdom of God is within you, Resurrection and supporting a radical pacifism, was no longer a member of the Church. In Resurrection, Tolstoy had parodied Pobedonostsev, the head of the Church in Moscow. After the novel came out, “Pobedonostsev personally visited TsarNikolai II to acquire his approval, which he obtained.” [A history of Russian Christianity, 202] In 2010, the Church

copyright, occupation, colonization

In the Latin roots of occupation, two meanings apply. One has to do with holding a position – or employment – while the other has to do with capturing or holding a possession. For anyone who lived consciously through the 00s, occupation has an eerie pertinence, from the war in Iraq that colored the decade to the movement against Wall Street that ended it. Occupation was at the root of the moment – with all that it implies of violence sublimated by law. Occupation, as it happens, colors one of the conceptual moments in the evolution of intellectual property law in the 18 th century – laws that have grown ever more powerful in the great global fuckfest of capital.   For in trying to understand and incorporate intellectual property into the general law on property, occupation was considered, for a while, as a touchstone that would help transform the author or machinist’s claim to a monopoly privilege into an affair dignified by law. There was a moment in the 18 th century in whi