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 Müdigkeitsgesellschaft (The Transparency Society)

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PostSubject: Müdigkeitsgesellschaft (The Transparency Society)   Mon Jul 11, 2016 12:46 pm

Just translated into English last year. This is the shit, this is what we need to be reading. Finally after years of searching I find a real fucking academic philosopher in the world today.

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I'll post detail about this short book once I'm finished with it. In the mean time, I highly suggested you get a copy. Almost everything else today in philosophy is garbage, compared to this. I mean, even decent theory in philosophy today doesn't begin to approach application or real-world, human value. The book 24/7 by Johnathan Crary was good too, but this one I think is even better.

 

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"Since the old God has abdicated, I shall rule the world from now on." --Nietzsche

"It would be wise to exercise caution with one's wishes." --Penny Royal AI

Odinwar <---[truth]---> Jeraz

Peace. War. Love. Wordz


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PostSubject: Re: Müdigkeitsgesellschaft (The Transparency Society)   Tue Jul 12, 2016 4:01 pm

Briefly on a passage from this book,



    "...transparency deprives things of all "appeal" [Reiz]and "prohibits fantasy from incorporating its possibilities; no reality can compensate us for their loss, because fantasy is self-activity that cannot be replaced in the long run by obtaining and enjoying." Simmel continues, "a part even of the persons closest to us must be offered in the form of ambiguity and opacity for their attraction to remain elevated for us." Fantasy is essential for the economy of pleasure. An object offered bare turns us off. Only the withdrawal and concealment of the object kindles it. Not enjoyment in real time, but imaginative preludes and postludes, temporal deferrals, deepen pleasure and desire. . . .What is more, the hyperreal over-focus and obviousness of media images paralyzes and suffocates fantasy. According to Kant, the imagination [Einbildungskraft] is based on play. It presumes room for play, where nothing is clearly defined or drawn. It requires a certain fuzziness and indistinctness. It is not transparent to itself, whereas understanding [Verstand] is marked by self-transparency. For this reason, understanding also does not engage in play. It works with unambiguous concepts."

    --Byung-Chul Han, The Transparency Society



I chose this passage here because I actually disagree somewhat. The way he uses "play" as ambiguousness and lack of need for "clarity" fits into the definition of positivistic transparency as hyper-communication of acceleration and linearity, in that play is disruptive and based on unmediated space; play is not "fluid" like how a thinking mind in its concepts is fluid, is his idea, and therefore the tyrannical positivity of transparency (capitalism, the capitalization of everything) must bend to directness over fantasy, material clarity of absolute reductions instead of unknown depth, concealment and secrecy. But it is also the case that play is already a kind of immanence of the transparent in its own "libidinal economy of desires" to which it is subservient even across and throughout play's disjointedness and imprecision. The spontaneity of play does not belie the clarity and depth of understanding, neither does this latter enforce the end of fantasy and private non-linear spaces -- except, as he says, in the transparency society where access and acceleration over-code all forms of communication including those of self-communication. But in this sense he is associating "understanding" largely with merely "calculation".

His bare point is that concealment, secrecy, and "cult" opacity are necessary aspects of depth and meaning, in how we transform images into rituals of significance and social bonding around temporal orders (history) converging in the present as continua of many different kinds of categories of relevance, many of which are directly incommensurate to each other except by the kind of "cult-ritual" pure aesthetics of the artful gaze, the distance that is latent in all presencing as he cites Heidegger, or the removed hermeneutics within all being. Transparency as access, acceleration and removal of pain preempts even the possibility of pleasure and meaning, he would say. I'm particularly interested in this idea that no reality can compensate us for the loss of fantasy and its "self-activity". There is an implicit acknowledgement of self-valuing in this idea.

 

___________
"Since the old God has abdicated, I shall rule the world from now on." --Nietzsche

"It would be wise to exercise caution with one's wishes." --Penny Royal AI

Odinwar <---[truth]---> Jeraz

Peace. War. Love. Wordz


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PostSubject: Re: Müdigkeitsgesellschaft (The Transparency Society)   Wed Jul 13, 2016 10:49 am

He has this idea of "cult value" he uses to oppose what he calls transparency. The inhumanity of radically positivistic transparency is countered by the humanity of a negativity of real value that hinges on being imperfect, generating perspective and thought in how it isn't a seamless flow of perfectly medial images that prescribe their effect absolutely. I think his conceptual framework is interesting, although so far I don't agree with it entirely. For one thing he relies a bit on Lacan's psychoanalysis and which is a bad conceptual framework, I want to re-think his ideas in a better framework such as what Parodites sustem and value ontology can offer.

Due to this dependency on Lacan Han's ideas smuggle in a little bit of implicit fascist closure; the limit of leftist thought is always how it posits certain things as grounds and unquestionable values without allowing those grounds and values to be examined. His idea that "exhibition value" is what capitalism maximizes to the detriment of real human value, he takes one step too far and claims that anything that expresses "exhibition value" (seeks to be an image of itself, seeks to be valued and reacted to simply on the basis of presenting itself qua itself and qua "exhibit") is necessarily inhuman and "pornographic". He discounts the possibility that such "porn" modes of expression are common and necessary aspects of regular human valuing, love, pleasure, as standards of beauty as such and as the value of communicating and enjoying in that beauty. So the simple fact that such expressive method can go too far becomes for Han a denouncement of the entire apparatus of valuing-communicating in that way, no matter to what degree.

A further connected criticism I have is that he assumes the zero-value status of quantified subjectivity. He basically says that only qualities matter and that pleasure, love, joy, meaning and beauty are not quantities at all. I used to think this too, but I now realize that these things are both qualities and quantities: every value and meaning is both a quality that is irreducible in itself as well as a quantity able to be expressed and/or realized directly as a matter of degree of itself qua itself, namely as quality. So the quantitative nature of pleasures, beauty, love etc. is a matter of developing by degree the pure quality of these as they already-always are; however there is another aspect of their quantitative nature, namely that indirect comparisons between values is quite possible even if a direct logically perfect 1:1 comparison between values is not possible. We can indirectly measure the comparative value between a pleasure and an emotion, or between beauty and meaning, or beauty and love, etc. and in fact humans do this all the time. Yes it produces imprecise relations and remainders, but that doesn't mean it doesn't occur or have reality and value.

This idea that meaning, values, etc. cannot be quantities is a dangerous idea, I think. As I said I recently believed this too, and saw only such things are pure qualities with no quantitative expression possible except through the lie and the false. But that's just not accurate, that belief is really just an expression of our own personal desire to hold these values and meanings in highest esteem, to praise them as pure quality "beyond the range of all degrading quantitative analysis". We self-value our values as if they were pure chunks of the Eternal, and in a sense they certainly are this, but not only this. They're also very "down to earth", very 'human' things.

Han's critiques of modern society of acceleration, superficiality, symmetry and image are very good critiques. I rarely see a higher level of theory like this coming out of academic philosophy. But the intensity to which his theory needs to self-value is betraying a whole scope of human reality and truth. Acceleration, reduction of pain, symmetry of images, and superficiality aren't always necessarily bad. Exhibition value in love isn't always necessarily "porn", and not all transparency and positivistic resistance to the negativity of pain is irrational or inhuman or leading always to burnout.

I'll keep reading and offer more analyses soon. Right now he's into the psychological subjective stuff, which I don't think he does as good a job at as the economic stuff. But I'll find the common link between both. In any case all this needs to be united into a single theory of human being and world.

 

___________
"Since the old God has abdicated, I shall rule the world from now on." --Nietzsche

"It would be wise to exercise caution with one's wishes." --Penny Royal AI

Odinwar <---[truth]---> Jeraz

Peace. War. Love. Wordz


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PostSubject: Re: Müdigkeitsgesellschaft (The Transparency Society)   Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:39 pm

Ok, attempts to clarify:

The "pornographic" image so called is supposedly an image without depth and, in my own words, fails to construct a metaphorical relation between the image and the self; "normal" images (real life, reading, music) are inherently always giving rise to subtle existential-epistemological structures that mediate self and world, that cause the salient experience to resonate deeply in one's own being in ways that one doesn't understand. This is because those experiences are triggering multitudes of hidden and far-removed mental and emotional connections that aren't conscious, and yet we "feel" there connections resonating, and we also feel order among them and an ordering of information into more meaningful patterns. With the modern pornographic image (supposedly, according to the author Han, includes film, news photos, advertising and real porn) this invoking into existence of a structure of deep metaphorical unconscious relations does not occur, because again in my own words there is a 1:1 perfect correspondence between the salient image and the inner experience of the self that perceives and responds. Supposedly no deeper work is going on with the perceiving of there pornographic images, because their goal is simply to arouse interest and hold attention and they do not provide an interiority of time by which reflection or contemplation, or unconscious work, can be done.

To the point he makes about time and film, equating film images with news photos and porn, and saying these films provide no temporal interiority of contemplation because one cannot shut one's eyes and look away without the image changing, a point of Barthes apparently, I actually disagree. Film as moving image simply extends the frozen image in time, the "frozen image" that one gets from a book or natural vista is in film actually created by moving parts, it is extra-dimensional, it does not simply remove the static but creates a moving stasis... The meaning is not lost, but actually increased.

If the meaning of witnessing a static image is involved in the closing of the eyes and contemplation aspect, then film forced this same meaning to a higher level of activity. One must now "think and feel meaning" within the movement of changing pictures, which mirrors real life. No one would be so absurd as to claim that real life experience is without meaning because the world is changing around oneself; likewise this claim that the image is pornographic if it moves when one isn't looking is unfounded. The more interesting point is about the 1:1 correspondence and inhibiting of metaphorical a structures.

Humans aren't so weak and dependent that they cannot deal with "empty" images. The author Han reveals a deep pessimism about humanity with his great concern that humanity is exposed to so much empty "pornography" in the visual world today. Conservatism is based on fearfulness and pessimism, I've noticed. Han is a conservative attempting to approach a progressive reality and trying to honestl incorporate that reality within his view and with a proper philosophical rational language, but his fearfulness and distrust shine through. It is sad, because his vocabulary and logic allow him to rise to great heights in contemplation and in synthesizing vast amounts of information and values, but he can only reinterpret those values and information along a quite narrow line. Although I'll keep reading and see if he finishes strong or not.

 

___________
"Since the old God has abdicated, I shall rule the world from now on." --Nietzsche

"It would be wise to exercise caution with one's wishes." --Penny Royal AI

Odinwar <---[truth]---> Jeraz

Peace. War. Love. Wordz


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PostSubject: Re: Müdigkeitsgesellschaft (The Transparency Society)   Fri Jul 15, 2016 3:45 pm

I realized that so-called empty images are having two different effects, depending on the richness of one's inner world that one already has: compassion and intelligence are functions of having a rich inner world, countless past experiences that enriched a person over a lifetime so far and all the learning and active work that person has done in the realms of all that experience; compassion and intelligence or "wisdom" are emergent secondary effect that come naturally from that kind of richness and activity of experience over a long time; so when a person with a rich inner experience views linear-empty images this doesn't have much impact on them, since they simply project that image into their own self-same depth and either dismiss it as irrelevant or actually use it as a means to further richness and depth. An empty experience or "pornographic image" as Han calls them is like a word, words have no meaning in themselves except for the contents and responses evoked as a consequence of the word, and empty images are exactly like this, they simply can act as "words" (flat symbols) at the behest of which already existing meaning can be recalled. But for someone without yet a rich inner world, flat-empty images insert themselves predominantly in consciousness and prevent the formation of depths; the ability to be unaffected by empty images lies either on the fact that a person has an inner richness or on the fact that a person simply ignores the emptiness and doesn't allow it to impede. But upon taking a closer look I'm thinking that even this ability to ignore is based on a prior richness of sorts, an ability to posit something counter to the empty image.

An empty image is very functional to a non-rich subjectivity, because emptiness is like a void demanding to be filled or at least to be used. A rich inner world naturally fills in empty things with meaning and/or simply puts the empty thing to work like it were a word in a sentence, but a non-rich inner world must become drawn in by the emptiness which really is one's own inability to fill in and/or use the empty symbol.

Han seems to focus only on the one side of the equation, the side where a non-rich inner world becomes enraptured with the empty image and which therefore said image becomes like a virus, a little bubble of emptiness that demands to be used and filled in but cannot. This may be how it is for some people and for so children (although I don't believe for all children); but this view ignores how the empty image is simply a function of another kind of language being spoken by minds and hearts far more versed in truths and in depths. For a non-rich mind the empty image acts like a vicarious depth, since its emptiness/void gives the (negative) impression of depths; for truly significant subjectivity probably possessed by roughly 10% of the populace, the empty image poses no threat at all and can even become useful and interesting as a pleasure or reprieve from the heaviness of depth, or as a stimulus for further inner mental-emotional activity.

This is a very important distinction and I'm quite surprised Han hasn't made it so far.

 

___________
"Since the old God has abdicated, I shall rule the world from now on." --Nietzsche

"It would be wise to exercise caution with one's wishes." --Penny Royal AI

Odinwar <---[truth]---> Jeraz

Peace. War. Love. Wordz


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PostSubject: Re: Müdigkeitsgesellschaft (The Transparency Society)   Sat Jul 16, 2016 1:11 pm

Ok, I withdraw my enthusiasm for this guy. I see exactly where he is and what his ideas are. At first I saw he was trying to construct a better more complete and open conceptual system, which in a way he is trying to do, but that doesn't excuse him from his banality and lack of creative free valuing. There are a handful of really good points in this book, and I would say a decent attempt to create a new philosophical language built from combinations of Nietzscheanism, Hegelianism, psychoanalysis, postmodernism, and a somewhat creative play of emotions into conceptual fluidity, but otherwise this book is a failure. I hope he takes notice and starts doing real work.

I recommend 24/7 by Crary over this book and author. Crary is an art and art/cultural history professor so he approaches things philosophically from an interesting angle. But still, there is a lack of serious "contemporary philosophy" in academia today. I wish I knew of even one that merited real respect.

 

___________
"Since the old God has abdicated, I shall rule the world from now on." --Nietzsche

"It would be wise to exercise caution with one's wishes." --Penny Royal AI

Odinwar <---[truth]---> Jeraz

Peace. War. Love. Wordz


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