Archive for July, 2011

Theodor Adorno, the difference between information and knowledge

Posted in Art, Crisis, Culture, current events, Democracy, Ethics, Financial crisis, News, Philosophy, politics, Religion, Revolution, Society with tags , , , , , , , , on 31/07/2011 by Living out of Eden

'White on White' Kazimir Malevich (1918).

As anyone who have read many of the posts of this blog might have realized, it is not about investigating recent events, or news, or research of information. There are too many blogs dedicated to that approach to current events.

In fact, I wish there was a “Theme” or format that allowed me to have all posts displayed at the same time, instead of by chronological order. Just as if it was a “post-cloud” (@Wordpress staff: I’m giving you ideas), since they are subject-related and not quite time-related.

Without attempting to develop a “quick-reference guide” to Philosophy, I will try to describe the approach and aims I have.

I ‘ve read and studied Theodor W. Adorno for a while now, and what I found absolutely challenging is the way Continue reading

Path

Posted in Crisis, Culture, current events, Democracy, Ethics, Financial crisis, Philosophy, politics, Society, Technology on 26/07/2011 by Living out of Eden


Beyond the context of the current synchronic financial crisis, we find ourselves today, in a crossroad where several factors converge, heralding a “Perfect Storm”. As Sir David Attenborough quotes in his recent conference at RSA, “People and Planet” , population growth, climate change and peak oil production will determine a severe turmoil in global society, with devastating consequences in such a short time, that many of us will witness it.

Society has “natural” roots based on immanent physical and emotional characteristics of human beings: biological needs, joy, love, fear, need of getting together, optimizing results of production, trying to get as much leisure time as possible, having control on each one’s own life.

On the other hand, there are drivers from the cultural-artificial environment, that lead the evolution of any social group. Interaction, communication, serendipity, trigger new ways of conceiving reality and generate quantum leaps interrupting the continuum of historic facts as known.

Both aspects need to be addressed: individual / collective, one towards the biological brain, the other towards the social brain.

The aims could be described as societies thriving in the achievement of the maximum AUTONOMY. The individual would gain it’s own autonomy in the same movement than society as a whole.

To reach this status, there must be an AWARENESS and ENVISIONING of the new conditions, which, the same as every milestone in human evolution, both represent a new certainty on the full potential of mankind at a certain time.

In addition, ETHICS / EMPATHY are a perfect pair which concepts I love both. The first one relates to one’s own behavior, when alone, doing things just because of one’s conviction and not measured on the benefit or loss they might bring. It’s a mean to get through the short term, with a teleological perspective, towards the long term. The other is what keeps a social network cohesive. Bonds between individuals translate into the cohesion of a social body. If a simple mechanism replaces the network, it will probably be more efficient and run even faster, but surely will not do it better.

What are the key drivers in today’s society that enable this change more in these days, than in any other time of human history? Continue reading

Expiring date

Posted in Crisis, Culture, current events, Democracy, Economy, Ethics, Financial crisis, News, Philosophy, politics, Revolution, Society on 25/07/2011 by Living out of Eden


The economic-politic phenomena taking place along this last global crisis, cannot be understood anymore, under the same theories and models even than those of the last 10 years. The same happens with the recent attacks in Norway and all the rest since 9-11, that the “isolated lunatic” or “fundamentalist terrorist cells” explanations are not satisfactory enough.

The concept that the “resources utilization” of the central economies (assuming that they are fed with natural and human ones without limit), represents a collapse of the system, is a severe conceptual misleading approach, as far as capitalism is not being under crisis, but exactly the contrary: it is currently heading towards a peak phase. These explanations are a mere “placebo” for those of us who are being dismissed from a structure that each time concentrates more wealth in small amounts of people and spreads poverty between the vast rest of society.

The rage and anger in the people can be contained somehow, if some idea of justice is still maintained even under it’s opposite framework of social unfairness. The last demonstrations in several countries of the globe, under the motto “Take the streets” are just allowing people to letting off steam. Should the true underlying structure see the light of day, it would be simply unbearable and could probably lead to an authentic collapse of society as we know it.

Economy has ALWAYS been an abstract number, that’s its’ prime aim: make profit, savings, material progress. Humanity, on the contrary, as a global entity with moral and ethic values, has ALWAYS been kept apart from the latter, so as not to Continue reading

Fear

Posted in Crisis, Culture, Democracy, Philosophy, politics, Religion, Society on 24/07/2011 by Living out of Eden

We live immersed in fear. It’s almost the only thing that is true. We are scared of losing our acquaintances, our goods, our jobs, our lives. And that fear is our leading compass.

It’s not  a natural fear, but it has become nature to us: it’s already been built-in into our perspective of life in such a way, that we cannot separate ourselves from it anymore, not to distinguish it, nor to face it. Culture has successfully managed the issue, when in small doses, it has injected us the supposed antidote to assimilate death and its’ effects in each of our daily actions.

Society educates us revealing the threats and hazards of living (what happens to others), while at the same time and in the same process, it insinuates the path to avoid those disgraces. It’s an easy way: sometimes it’s more than enough not to look at reality, while at other times, an apparently difficult exercise is required, which implies engaging with an idea, a  project, although we know it bursts at every seam, and we know we are pawning our future. They’ve done a superb job, hiding from us all other possible alternatives. The absolute has been erased.

Religions, far away from strengthening us, they weaken us by talking about setting us free from the  of Death, about Heaven and being together with God, even up to the point to persuade us that death is only a small step to a better life. However, committing suicide is considered sin and not a shortcut to Kingdom of Heaven. The conflict created inside of us is of such a scale, that we cannot get rid of it without religions. Maybe that’s the reason why we are initiated in them at such an early age.

Two thousand years after we were told to love our brothers, they became a threat. We only accept as brothers today, those who are Continue reading

George Grosz

Posted in Art, Culture, Society with tags , , , , on 16/07/2011 by Living out of Eden

 

 

 

 

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2011 – A human odissey

Posted in Crisis, Culture, current events, News, Philosophy, politics, Society, Technology with tags , , , , , , , , on 09/07/2011 by Living out of Eden

Having been the launch of the last SST mission confirmed today, I thought it would be a great moment to put this achievement into perspective.

I have to say, prior to any other consideration, that I’m obsessed with space since I knew I was myself. If I just would have been born in the States (U.S.A. I mean) or in the U.S.S.R., I’m sure I would have chased a career as an astronaut.

The video of  Space Shuttle “Endeavour” docked to the ISS from NASA Multimedia archive, is astounding. I never thought I would be able to see such a manoeuvre actually happening, out from a science-fiction movie.

Lately, I’ve been reading Theodore Adorno texts, one of them called ” Reason and Revelation”, as a contrast between the rational and the mystic sides of human societies, and the tension between scientific knowledge and religious and spiritual beliefs. Followed by another titled “Progress” in which Adorno explores the actual meaning and status of human progress in society as a whole.

The conception of how society moves forward as a whole, is 100% connected to events like the one I’m bringing to discussion.Its’ undeniable technical progress is definitely not automatically transmitted into social progress, since they are contemporary to Continue reading

Innovation: please, but only in small installments

Posted in Crisis, Culture, current events, Democracy, Economy, Philosophy, politics, Revolution, Society, Technology on 07/07/2011 by Living out of Eden

We are definitely living in a technological era.

Information Technology invades almost every aspect of our lives. From the more public to the more intimate one.

However we must distinguish between two concepts that most of the times, are used as synonyms: Technology = Progress.

Undoubtedly, technology enables progress, but by no means have we to approach this relation as a “cause-effect” one.

From the field of Architecture (so we can move away a bit from the “gadget” world and see a more illustrative example), we have more than enough proofs of this common misunderstanding. The Modern Movement pushed the limits of construction technology to the point where “buildings could float”. Expressionism made transparent buildings that could not conceal any mystery.

While in the context of culture, these architectural innovations were developed and worshipped socially, psychoanalysis was also bringing into light and making visible (or at least audible), what had been concealed for centuries at subjects individual level.

The contradictory aspect of both approaches was that although avant-garde works were being risen to the status of cultural referents for the new imagery of the Modern Era, buildings themselves were under fire, by a demolishing criticism from the “user” point of view.

The Ville Savoie, the Farnsworth house are just two examples of this opposition between innovation and conservativeness, when both owners found “unbearable” their respective houses to live in.

All this only to make an introduction to the different approaches we have when dealing with “the new” stuff.

In general, we are keen on sleek design cars, mobile phones, even clothes and sunglasses. While we dream of having a car like this one:

Aston_Martin_Vantage_V8

Or even this much less expensive one:

we fantasize with a house like this one!!!!!!

There’s an inner contradiction in our culture, when embracing technology, avant-garde and innovation so strongly in some aspects and rejecting it at the same time, when related to other fields.

Which are the fields in which innovation is so reluctantly accepted? Continue reading