lemmy caution

From Ian Bogost's "Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame Criticism"

A long citation with a fairly straightforward point, but I think it worth transcribing in full:
In The Savage Mind, the structuralist anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss characterizes two modes of thought, the mythical and the scientific. Mythical thought is grounded in observation of the sensible world, whereas scientific thought  is grounded in the imperceptible. Lévi-Strauss drawns an analogy between mythical thought and bricolage, a French word with no precise English equivalent, but similar to our notion of tinkering, of dabbling. The bricoeur is a skillful handyman, a jack-of-all-trades who uses convenient implements and ad hoc strategies to achieve his ends. Unlike the engineer, the scientific thinker who strives to construct holistic, totalizing systems from the top down, the bricoleur performs his tasks from spare parts, from odds and ends. The scientist strives to create events by means of structures, whereas the bricoleaur seeks to create structures through events.
    In his critique of Lévi-Strauss's reliance on scientific thought as a production of universalism, Jacques Derrida shows that even the engineer is a bricoleur himself, a myth:

A subject who would supposedly be the absolute origin of his own discourse and would supposed construct it "out of nothing," "out of whole cloth," would be the creator of the verbe, the verbe itself. The notion of the engineer who had supposedly broken with all forms of bricolage is therefore a theological idea: and since Lévi-Strauss tells us elsewhere that bricolage is mythopoetic, the odds are that the engineer is a myth produced by the bricoleur.
Extended the idea that technology is implicit philosophy is the possibility that it is also a kind of poetics. Is Heidegger a little too quick to see the technological mode of revealing as just the reduction of all being to standing reserve? (Saying he was "a little too quick" is admittedly lazy: better to say, does his position on technology beg the question of technology?)

Metro logos.

Another LJ/etc thing: the logos from all the metro transit lines on which I've travelled to date.

This one indulges in a multitude of sins: not only a "this is who I am!" performance of the identity one wishes to project, it also participates in the whole "geographic name-dropping" phenomenon, as if the cachet of being an international jet setter hasn't long reached its sell-by date. In fact, I think we need to spread a sense of just how irresponsible it is to promote such Wanderlust. Yet we continue to fetishize travel, mock the yokels who don't do it (when it seems that a mass-transit using European who takes an annual jet-holiday may be a greater polluter than a car-commuting American who has never left their own state.)

I'm as guilty as anyone of all this, from soup to nuts: the geographic name-dropping (among my worst habits: any of you unfortunate enough to converse with me in person, please feel free to kick me in the shins when I start doing it), the valorization of travel, the indifference to its consequences. And I'll probably die "guilty." I have no plans to stop travelling.

I want to see Samarqand someday.

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(no subject)

Most of you know that this isn't my primary soap-box - I usually just scatter debris and rags here, and supposedly save the true pearls for my "real" blog, zang.org.

For the most part, however, I've had a lot more debris than pearls to distribute, so perversely enough, this has been the more active site. But I've recently finished migrating the material from my older zang.org site, which ran on Blosxom, to Blogger.

(As an aside: the person with whom I do consulting work and I are at loggerheads about the value of Google. He's a career Microsoft professional who relies on the thick client/managed services/local data model in his consulting work. He points out, correctly, that Google doesn't offer much for consultants to work with, but is very good for content providers. Since I left the industry for academia, of course, I come closer to the "content provider" side of the formula, and further from the "service provider," so the Googlized world is somewhat more simpatico for me, now that I'm far less interested in hosting my own web services in my living room.)

In any case, you six people who are reading this: feel free to drop by the zang.org site. I'm going to be more focused on new media/ludology/media theory/aesthetics and such there, and will use this place to talk about my cat (when I have one) and what I had for dinner.

Oh: mushroom burgers.


"Technology at present is covert philosophy; the point is to  make it openly philosophical." - Phil Agre, Computation and Human Experience (1997).

Open question: does reductive materialism (as describe by, among others, the Churchlands), by which experiences that were once described in terms of mental states (sadness) become explained increasingly by the substrates which produce them (low serontonin and dopamine production, depression as a diagnosis) subsist of a change of explanation, or does the qualia of sadness itself irrevocably shift when it is treated in terms of those substrates? (Not that inner experience has a continuous history up to this point: the interiorization of experience could be seen as part of modernity - consider the nature of the doctrine of the humors to explain affect. Was modern sadness itself invented, and do we now exist in a re-materialization of affect?)
lemmy caution

for consideration.

"There is nothing old under the sun." - Marshall McLuhan.

Every repetition is a distinct event; every looking back is a contemporary gesture. All nostalgia is for something once new, and that nostalgia itself is new.
lemmy caution

(no subject)

A hundred birds admiring the peacocks

by word,  touch, and thought,

my beloved samantha, you carry me aloft.

with a symphony of gestures, signs, and sensations,

you inscribe me with the riches of your world

and make every new day

the day of


- wm