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Re: [xmca] The "mechanical OTHER" at the heart of Modernity

On 18 January 2012 15:54, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:

> Andy & Huw
> I want to thank you for your wonderful passionate dialogue on bringing the
> abstract to the concrete.
> As I'm struggling to listen in [within my ZPD] I believe this talk is
> central to my understanding.
> I also am trying to locate the "temporal" in this process as Mike is
> asking.
> I did not want to interrupt the conversation between Huw and Andy but
> wanted to post a paragraph I "sense" may be exploring similar topics. It is
> by Eugene Halton in his revoicing Mead in his article "Pragmatic E-Pistols"
> as he writes to Mead to say how his ideas are NOW received. [p.46]
> Halton is talking to Mead about Peirce's idea that a SIGN has a REALITY at
> any given moment as a POTENTIAL EXISTENCE. He then writes,
> Modern materialism would consider all of this reducible to ACTUAL
> existence.  Peirce claimed that such a NOMINALIST way of thinking, shaving
> OFF generality in the name of Occam's razor, actually cuts its own throat
> and ultimately renders science inexplicable. What if the modern era and its
> earnest scientists have been working for the MYTH of the macine, PROJECTING
> the subjective CLOCKWORK culture of their time ONTO the objective universe,
> truly DISCOVERING with the PRECISION of William Blake's painting of Newton,
> the TRUTH of the SINGLE-visioned PART, while sacrificing the VISION of the
> whole reality?  Blake's Newton, supple but hunched over his COMPASS,
> blinded to his SURROUNDS, is a VISUALIZATION of the paradox of ACCURATE
> viewing of the PART and blindness to the whole.  To put this in Peircean
> terms, MODERN SCIENCE is corrupt in its NOMINALISM, treating the REALITY OF
> GENERALITY which are the BASIS [round, foundation] of its LIFE, as
> UNREAL...... The modern worldview has been dominated by the MACHINE, by the
> universe of a giant CLOCK, and more recently the brain as a computer.
> These are NOT simply empty metaphors, but LIVING symbols of the MYTH OF OUR
> TIME, namely, that ultimately REALITY is a kind of machine and WE BUT PARTS
> of it.  The mythic element in this is the IDEALIZATION of the machine as
> defining nature, OF THE AUTOMATIC [closed designed systems]  AND the
> SIMULTANEOUS denigration of the SPONTANEOUS. [which becomes shadow]  ...It
> [the machine model] is an ALIENATION of human PURPORT, of the automatic
> IRONICALLY [rhetorically??] in the NAME of anti-teleological and even
> anti-mythical as VIRTUAL DIETY substitute.  Today that IMAGO [living
> cultural-historical metaphor] has come to DOMINATE in the diffusion of
> TECHNOLOGY [techne] and its COLONIZATION of the self through a plethora of
> devives.""
> I am not sure if others are linking or bridging these ideas to the
> conversation betweenHuw and Andy but I for one see "family resemblances"

My own view is that the zeitgeist has moved on to a variant of systems
thinking.  The ecology, the economy and global market forces are the
subject in all forms of media.  Although the institutions, including the
media, political or otherwise (if there is such a thing) are not able to
deal with them effectively.  I don't think there are many active thinkers
who still propose that the mind works like a traditional computer.  The
only time I see this sort of thing come up now, is in the form of articles
designed to get attention but little else, certainly nothing I'd call


> Larry
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