Thursday, June 26, 2008

QOTD: Hegel's Got You

(((Judith Butler; the inescapable logic of the dialectic; freedom is irrelevant [isn't that *almost* a great Hegel pun?]; resistance is futile; you will be assimilated.)))

Noticed this today in Michael Hardt's book on Deleuze.
References to a "break" with Hegel are almost always impossible, if only because Hegel has made the very notion of "breaking with" into the central tenet of his dialectic.
-- Judith Butler, Subjects of Desire p. 184
Why say "almost"? Hegel will always be tapping you on the shoulder. Indeed one wonders if there's anyway to avoid Hegel even if you make a point of never talking about him and never using any of his vocabulary. The thing is that that would be taken, with some justification, as a marker that you really aren't reckoning with arguably the most important philosopher in Western history.

PKD might compare the dialectic to a Chinese finger-trap -- the harder you try to get out, the more stuck you get. It might be better to avoid Hegel altogether, except that that would be dumb, not because you would look dumb, but because it would be like trying to do quantum mechanics while ignoring Heisenberg.

So, what is to be done with/about Hegel? Isn't that the most basic question in contemporary philosophy? Or am I making too much of it?


(((ICANN approves loosened rules on top-level domains; remember the old usenet days? i mean the really old ones? do they still do that?)))

According to the BBC:
The net's regulator, Icann, voted unanimously to relax the strict rules on so-called "top-level" domain names, such as .com or .uk. 

The decision means that companies could turn brands into web addresses, while individuals could use their names.

Under the new plans, there could be thousands of domain names based on any string of letters.
The smart one will register .diediedie ASAP. Clearly that's not me or I'd have done something about it before posting on my blog, even if no one reads it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I Am Become Chaos

(((cool science stuff: matter in the universe distributed in a fractal pattern; how can we hook this up with process philosophy? also: difficulty squaring general relativity with a fractal universe.)))

According to the New Scientist:
According to their latest paper, which has been submitted to Nature Physics, Sylos Labini and Pietronero, along with physicists Nikolay Vasilyev and Yurij Baryshev of St Petersburg State University in Russia, argue that the new data shows that the galaxies exhibit an explicitly fractal pattern up to a scale of about 100 million light years.

And they say if the universe does become homogeneous at some point, it has to be on a scale larger than a staggering 300 million light years across.
Apparently no dispute about the smaller scales. The question is mainly whether there's been enough time for gravity to produce clumps. The smoothing factor is also apparently connected to Einstein's theory of general relativity, which makes it easy to model the universe as smooth, but not so much to model it as, er, striated?

Regarding the latter point, doesn't that just mean that maybe it's time for a new model, or principle for the model? Like that's never happened before? Like we always expect that the stuff we know now is going to be how it actually is for all time? Because we're just that smart.

On the former point, doesn't the question of there being enough time leave us with the idea that the universe is in the process of forming fractal patterns on the largest possible scales? We're a chamber in a mighty big nautilus. Or something like that.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Quote of the Day: Theoria

(((We're back, I guess; hit and run foray into posting again -- gotta start easy; Brecht on theories; I have lots of them; Theories, I mean.)))

A man with one theory is lost. He needs several of them, or lots! He should stuff them in his pockets like newspapers.
-- Bertolt Brecht
This is maybe why Philip K. Dick must be recognized as a genius. By this criterion, he was about as found as a person could be. lulz, if you'll allow me. I aspire to being that not-lost.

Nod to Philosophy's Other for the Brecht quote.