Monday, 9/10/18 – Creativity and Paradigm
Schedule of Events
Discussion: “Is resistance possible: creative and artistic responses to the matrix dilemma”
Facilitator: Gregory Sotir
5:30pm – 7:00pm
Lecture: “Paradigm and science fiction”
Lecturer: Ceri Shaw
7:00pm – 8:30pm
Open Mic: Ideas and Art: “What speculative movies have influenced you?”
8:30pm – 9:30pm
During this lecture we will explore the notion that perception places constraints upon the imagination. With reference to the work of R. G. Collingwood and Thomas Kuhn we will discuss the idea that the imagination plays the same role in science itself as it does in science fiction . We will introduce the concepts of absolute presuppositions, paradigms and ‘critical states’. We will also explore the philosophical antecedents of Kuhn’s work and assess its relevance and importance to modern science, science fiction and philosophy. Consideration will also be given to the work of Mark Buchanan who asks the question “Why Catastrophes Happen” in his recent book ‘Ubiquity’. The lecture will be followed by an open mic discussion titled “What speculative movies have influenced you?”
Level 1 reading:
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions: Thomas S. Kuhn
Level 2 reading:
The Idea of History: R.G. Collingwood
Level 3 reading:
Ubiquity: Why Catastrophes Happen: Mark Buchanan
“Is resistance possible: creative and artistic responses to the matrix dilemma”
Facilitator: Gregory Sotir
5:30pm – 7:00pm
HyperNormalisation (2016) by Adam Curtis
Discussion: Is Resistance possible?
Here is what I would like to discuss. Please investigate the links if you have a chance to:
In the present dilemma we face many challenges, not the the least of which is the ascendency of an aberrant political state in the US, one that borders on fascism. This rise of a real domestic terror is unfortunately supported by a well-armed population who feels they have been slighted, perhaps too a military that lacks a definable enemy, omnipresent technological innovations that diminish human foundations of privacy and redefine patterns of communication, truth, realness, etc., and a consumerist culture that is creating economic confusion and despair.
Questions: Is the US hegemony still intact? Does our culture still impose positive values onto the nation and world?
How does post-modernist sense of of authorship, and post-structuralist sense of truth play into this dilemma of resistance?
Is the failure to engage in any resistance, given the potential for environmental collapse, and to just record or respond to the present confusion merely collapsitarianism, or does it hold some artistic merit?
A few conceptual frameworks to ponder:
From Marxist analysis: Ideology and hegemony as a social balance.
“for Gramsci the state embodies “the hegemony of one social group over the whole of society exercised through so-called private organizations, such as the church, trade unions, schools, etc.,” in balance with the ensemble of public (coercive) organizations such as the state, the bureaucracy, the military, the police, and the courts. Thus, state power rests in a hegemonic equilibrium with alternated moments of force and consensus but without the necessity of predominance by coercion over consensus.” from The Concepts of Ideology, Hegemony, and Organic Intellectuals in Gramsci’s Marxism
Post-structuralism: “…poststructuralism, which sought the sources of power that authorized particular narratives. Baudrillard was not a postmodernist but a poststructuralist, for example, as the his discussion of the Gulf War clearly shows. It’s poststructuralism that finds facts debatable; postmodernism simply acknowledges that every observation is made from a position, and consequently those observations may differ, as positions differ.
When I have taught postmodernism and poststructuralism at three universities over 40 years now, I start with the simple point that all observations are made from a position. That position(s) can influence those observations. Such positions can be male versus female; poor versus rich; White versus Black; young versus old; and many others, and many in concert (Middle age Black Woman versus Teenage Native American boy…). The postmodernist simply declines to judge which of those observations is the most ‘real’ or true or valid. They may all be; some may be; none may be. But they are all interesting. Perhaps the best example of this that I have read is the first chapters of Mick Taussig’s Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wildman: A Study in Terror and Healing (U of Chicago Press, 1991), in which Taussig presents accounts (observations) from explorers, scientists, travelers, missionaries and others, all together, without trying to judge which of those positions is the more reliable — the result is an exceptionally rich picture of the western Amazon region in the late 19th/early 20th century.
Now, I continue with my students, if you then ask which observations become ‘authorized’ — which are given special treatment as real, true, valid, etc — you are being poststructuralist — you are exploring who has the power (in Foucault’s sense) to make some positions privileged, while other positions are not. You may then ask whether that power is contestable (i.e. ideology versus hegemony), how positions change, etc.”
—Bookbinders comments in the comments section for Postmodernism didn’t cause Trump. It explains him.
HyperNormalisation: The term “hypernormalisation” is taken from Alexei Yurchak’s 2006 book Everything was Forever, Until it was No More: The Last Soviet Generation, about the paradoxes of life in the Soviet Union during the 20 years before it collapsed. A professor of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, he argues that everyone knew the system was failing, but as no one could imagine any alternative to the status quo, politicians and citizens were resigned to maintaining a pretence of a functioning society. Over time, this delusion became a self-fulfilling prophecy and the “fakeness” was accepted by everyone as real, an effect that Yurchak termed “hypernormalisation” —from Wikipedia on HyperNormalisation
Using the 1999 film the Matrix as a beginning point, and the cultural phenomenon against Trump happily called The Resistance, this discussion will attempt to address some of the issues above as they relate to the present dilemma, by which I mean, the current state of interaction and clash between the present US social culture, technology, and the unfolding climate change realities.
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