1939 Heinz Kohut (1913-1981) was forced to emigrate from Vienna to Chicago when the Nazis took power. He was trained as a medical doctor in Austria but became known as Mr. Psychoanalysis in America where he played a central role in the twentieth-century psychoanalytic movement (Strozier 2001).

1966 Academics challenged the scientific establishment’s faith in objective science creating a schism among academics. Abraham H. Maslow contributed to the debate in his influential book entitled The Psychology of Science: a Renaissance (1966). In it he argued that by integrating experience (practice) and abstraction (theory), he wished to enlarge not destroy science.  However, Maslow rejected the concept of a neutral observer removed from reality and experience. Rifkin described how Maslow following Goethe and Kohut argued for more sensitive observers capable of incorporating more of the world into the self. These emphatic observers identify with “wider and more inclusive circles of living and nonliving things (Maslow 1966).” Maslow used AA as an argument for the legitimacy of knowledge claims from experience versus theory. Rifkin (2009:610) referred to Maslow’s “receptive strategy” of knowing in section entitled “Teaching Emphatic Science” in the chapter entitled “Biosphere Consciousness in a Climax Economy” in The Emphatic Civilization (2009). He cited Maslow:

“Can all the sciences, all knowledge be conceptualized as a resultant of loving and caring interrelationship between knower and known? What would be the advantages to us of setting this epistemology alongside the one that now reigns in “objective science”? Can we simultaneosly use both?” (Maslow 1966).

1970s The Chicago Institute had a lively intellectual atmosphere was polarized into two factions those who supported Freudian traditional psychoanalysis with its emphasis on drives (instinctual motivations of sex and aggression), internal conflicts, and fantasies and individual guilt and those who accepted Kohut’s empathic approach which embraced the post WWII zeitgeist with is emphasis on how issues of identity, meaning, ideals, and self-expression impact on emotional needs and concerns (Strozier 2001).

1978 The first self psychology conference was held in Chicago. Kohut replaced Freud’s structural theory of the id, ego, and superego with his own concept of the tripartite self (Flanagan 1996), self psychology with its emphasis on relationships. One’s “self states,” including one’s sense of worth and well-being, are met in relationships with others.

1980 A major conference on history and psychoanalysis was organized by Arnold Goldberg and Heinz Kohut.

Webliography and Bibliography

Rifkin, Jeremy. 2009. The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World of Crisis. New York: Jeremy T. Tarcher.

Strozier, Charles B. 2001 “Heinz Kohut: The Making of a Psychoanalyst.” New York:Farrar, Straus & Giroux.  See also this critical review of Strozier’s biography.

Flanagan, L.M. 1996. “The theory of self psychology”. In (Eds.) Berzoff, J., Flanagan, L.M., & Hertz, P. Inside out and outside in, New Jersey:Jason Aronson Inc.)

Maslow, Abraham H. 1966. The Psychology of Science: a Renaissance. South Bend: Gateway Editions, Ltd.  McIsaac, David S. 1997. “Empathy Reconsidered: New Directions in Psychotherapy. Washington: American Psychological Association. (McIsaac 1997:248 cited in Rifkin EC 2009) ftn 19

Kohut, Heinz. 1978. The Psychoanalyst in the Community of Scholars.” In Paul H. Ornstein Ed. The Search for the Self: Selected Writings of Heinz Kohut: 1950-1978. Vol. a. New York: International University Press. (Kohut 1978:702 cited in Rifkin EC 2009) ftn 20

Ornstein, Paul H.  Ed. The Search for the Self: Selected Writings of Heinz Kohut: 1950-1978. Vol. a. New York: International University Press. (Kohut 1978:82 cited in Rifkin EC 2009) ftn 21

Paul H. Ornstein Ed. The Search for the Self: Selected Writings of Heinz Kohut: 1950-1978. Vol. a. New York: International University Press. (Kohut 1978:714 cited in Rifkin EC 2009) ftn 22

Ornstein, Paul H.  Ed. The Search for the Self: Selected Writings of Heinz Kohut: 1950-1978. Vol. 1. New York: International University Press. (Kohut 1978:529 cited in Rifkin EC 2009) ftn 23

Ornstein, Paul H.  Ed. The Search for the Self: Selected Writings of Heinz Kohut: 1950-1978. Vol. 1. New York: International University Press. (Kohut 1978:707 cited in Rifkin EC 2009) ftn 24


 

Ferdowsi's Shahnameb: The Persian Book of Kings (c. 1000) Illustration Public domain. ?Miniature from the Berlin Manuscript of Firdausi's Shahnameh (1605)?

Ferdowsi

Imagine Goethe’s inner gaze marveling at majestic Mount Damāvand, the highest peak in the Middle East, immortalized in Persian literature through masterful works like Ferdowsi’s Shâhnameh. From its seemingly timeless lofty heights, Mount Damāvand, remains as unconstrained as the wind, in contrast with the social, political and historical changes unfolding all around it.

I was looking for the fertile, picturesque places with names like warm valley and seven creeks where the judge’s grandson grew up when I came across images of Mount Damāvand and learned of its history.

Illustrations inspired by Abolghassem Mansour-ibn-Hassan Firdausi Tousi (Ferdowsi)’s epic work entitled Shâhnâmeh (Book of Kings) (1010) were submitted by Iran for inclusion inclusion in the Memory of the World Register in 2007. They now host a gallery of illustrations.

“Abolghassem Mansour-ibn-Hassan Firdausi Tousi (Ferdowsi) was a prominent figure in Iranian poetry and the nationalist poet of the Persian Empire. He was born in the Iranian city of Tous in 941 and died in 1020, ten years after he finished his major epic work, the Shâhnâmeh (Book of Kings). This is one of the classics of the Persian-speaking world and is on a par with the ‘Iliad’ and the ‘Aeniad’ of the Greco-Romano cultural communities. An important feature of this work is that although during the period of its creation, Arabic was the main language of science and literature, Ferdowsi used only Persian and therefore helped to revive and maintain this important world language. Today Persian is spoken by over 65 million people in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan and diaspora communities. The Shâhnâmeh has also become an important text throughout Central Asia, India and the former Ottoman Empire. It has been copied countless times and three of these copies could be said to have universal value: the “Demotte Shâhnâmeh” made in the early 1300s for the Il-Khanid patron, Giyath al-Din ; the 16th Century “Houghton Shâhnâmeh” ; and the “Bayasanghori Shâhnâmeh”, which was made in 1430 for Prince Bayasanghor (1399-1433), the grandson of the legendary Central Asian leader Timur (1336-1405). Only the “Bayasanghori Shâhnâmeh” has survived and is kept under lock and key in the Imperial Library of the Golestan Palace in Tehran. The Shâhnâmeh represents the quintessence of aesthetic and literary values of the elite rulers of the Timurid Renaissance who dominated Central and Western Asia in the 15th Century.”

In the nineteenth century, Goethe considered Persian literature to be one of the four main bodies of world literature (Ferdowsi 2006) and his “Verstandnis des West-Ostlichen Divans” was inspired by Persian literature.

“When we turn our attention to a peaceful, civilized people, the Persians, we must — since it was actually their poetry that inspired this work — go back to the earliest period to be able to understand more recent times. It will always seem strange to the historians that no matter how many times a country has been conquered, subjugated and even destroyed by enemies, there is always a certain national core preserved in its character, and before you know it, there re-emerges a long-familiar native phenomenon. In this sense, it would be pleasant to learn about the most ancient Persians and quickly follow them up to the present day at an all the more free and steady pace (Goethe 1819 in Wiesehofer and Azodi 2001: Preface).”

For over 2600 years Persia has been at the geographic centre of trade and cultural exchange, friction If you draw lines from the Mediterranean to Beijing or Beijing to Cairo or Paris to Delhi, they all pass through Iran, which straddles a region where East meets West. Over 26 centuries, a blending of the hemispheres has been going on here—trade, cultural interchange, friction—with Iran smack in the middle.
 

“If we could realize that great works such as the Shahnameh [of Ferdowsi] exists in the world, we would not become so much proud of our own works in such a silly manner (Saint-Beuve cited in Wiesehofer 2001-08-18).”

Notes
1. This UNESCO site entitled Memory of the World hosts digital images like this 1430 illustration from the “Bayasanghori Shâhnâmeh” for Prince Bayasanghor (1399-1433). It illustrated one of the stories in Ferdowsi’s Shahnameb (1010) showing the tyrant Zahhak, nailed to the walls of a cave in Mount Damavand.

2. Some Poems in English

3. “FERDOWSĪ,ABU’L-QĀSEM (329-410 or 416/940-1019 or 1025), one of the greatest epic poets and author of the Šāh-nāma, the national epic of Persia. See also ŠĀH-NĀMA. […] The sum of such heartfelt, mature, and eloquently expressed views and ethical precepts regarding the world and mankind have led to his being referred to, from an early period, as ḥakīm (philosopher), dānā (sage), and farzāna (learned); that is, he was considered a philosopher, though he was not attached to any specific philosophical school nor possessed a complete knowledge of the various philosophical and scientific views of his time. [His sobriquet or pen name], Ferdowsī means “[man] from paradise” (Khaleghi, 1988, p. 92). From Encylopedia Iranica

4. The concepts of freedom and human rights allegedly originated in the first Persian Empire, as early as the c. 539 BC with the Achaemenid Persian Shāhanshāh Emperor Cyrus the Great (c. 600/576 BC – c. 530/29 BC). His successors including Darius ruled over a stable global superpower, the world’s first religiously and culturally tolerant empire administrated with the first human rights charter (Farrokh 2007:44, Robertson and Merrills 1996:7, Lauren 2003:11, Xenophon and Hedrick 2007:xiii) with a central government in Pasargadae for more than a thousand years. The borders of the Persian Empire ultimately extended from the Mediterranean to the Indus River, encompassing 23 different peoples and including nations and regions that by 2008 were called Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Jordan, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, and the Caucasus region (Del Giudice 2008-08:5).” It was Emperor Cyrus the Great who freed the enslaved Jews of Babylon in 539 B. C. providing them with necessary funds to rebuild their in Jerusalem through the Edict of Restoration. (Del Giudice 2008-08:5)”

5. Cyrus the Great Cylinder, The First Charter of Rights of Nations: (Farrokh 2007:44, Robertson and Merrills 1996:7, Lauren 2003:11, Xenophon and Hedrick 2007:xiii)

“In short, the figure of Cyrus has survived throughout history as more than a great man who founded an empire. He became the epitome of the great qualities expected of a ruler in antiquity, and he assumed heroic features as a conqueror who was tolerant and magnanimous as well as brave and daring. His personality as seen by the Greeks influenced them and Alexander the Great, and, as the tradition was transmitted by the Romans, may be considered to influence our thinking even now (Frye 1963).”

6. Richard N. Frye (1920- ), now a professor emeritus at Harvard devoted more than sixty years to teaching, learning and research on Persian history. He founded the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard and is the Aga Khan Professior of Iranian history at Harvard University. Frye’s books entitled the Nation of Archers (1954) and The Heritage of Persia (1962) The Heritage of Persia (Bibliotheca Iranica, No 1). Islam and the West. Proceedings of the Harvard Summer School Conference on the …
His mentor and predecessor, Arthur Pope was director of the Asia Institute in Shiraz.

“Thus, to refer to the Sasanian period of Iran’s history, Vahram-i Varjavand, seems to me to be a greatly heroised example of the millenary tradition, for he is a truly messianic personality, even though probably a greatly heroised form of the historic Bahrám Chobin. As I have frequently stated, in the past of Iran, for the people, history was not what really happened, or even what they thought had happened, but what they thought should have happened. This is a fundamental characteristic of the view of the past among a people who have a strong epic tradition and a messianic tradition of time speculation (Frye, 1974:57-69 1964: 36-54 cited in Buck 1998).”

7. Some useful translations
Shâhnameh Shahnameh (Farsi) Emperor
Kūrošé Kabīr or Kūrošé Bozorg Kurose Kabir or Kurose Bozorg (Farsi) Emperor Cyrus the Great
Koresh (Hebrew in Bible) Emperor Cyrus the Great
Dhul-Qarnayn (Arabic in Qur’an) possibly referring to Emperor Cyrus the Great.
Damāvand – Damavand
West-Ostlichen (German) West-Eastern

Webliography and Bibliography

Buck, Christopher. 1998. “Bahá’u’lláh as Zoroastrian saviour.” Baha’i Studies Review. 8. London: Association for Baha’i Studies English-Speaking Europe. pp.14–33.

Farrokh, Kaveh. 2007. Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War. History.

Frye, Richard N. 1963. The Heritage of Persia: The pre-Islamic History of One of the World’s Great Civilizations. World Publishing Company: New York.

Ghasemi, Shapour. “The Cyrus the Great Cylinder.” History of Iran. Accessed February 24.

Knappert, Jan. Ed. 1999.Encyclopaedia of Middle Eastern mythology and religion. Longmead, UK.

Robertson, Arthur Henry; Merrills, J. G. 1996. Human Rights in the World: An Introduction to the Study of the International. Political Science.:7.

Lauren, Paul Gordon. 2003. The Evolution of International Human Rights: Visions Seen. Political Science. p.11.

Xenophon; Hedrick, Larry. 2007. “Xenophon’s Cyrus the Great: The Arts of Leadership and War. History. p.xiii.

Del Giudice, Marguerite. 2008-08. “Persia: Ancient Soul of Iran: A Glorious Past Inspired by a Conflicted Nation.” National Geographic. PP. 34-67.
Ferdowsi, Abolqasem. 2006. Translated by Davis, Dick. 2006. Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings. Viking.

Goethe. 1819. Noten and Abhandlungen zu besserem Verstandnis des West-Ostlichen Divans.

Levinson, Von David; Christensen, Karen. 2002. Encyclopedia of Modern Asia. Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Wiesehofer, Josef; Azodi, Azizeh. 2001-08-18. Translated by Azodi, Azizeh. “Preface.” Ancient Persia: From 550 BC to 650 AD. I. B. Tauris. New Ed Edition.

Nurian, Mahdi. 1993. “Afarin Ferdowsi az Zaban Pishinian [The praises of Ferdowsi from the tongue of the ancients].” Hasti Magazine. 4. Tehran: Bahman Publishers.

Effendi, Shoghi. 1991. “Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster.” The Compilation of Compilations.Volume I. Baha’i Publications Australia.

Effendi, Shoghi. 1944. God Passes By. Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust.

Frye, Richard N. (1992), “Zoroastrians in Central Asia in Ancient Times.” Journal of the K. R. Cama Oriental Institute. 58: 6–10.

Richard Frye, 1974. “Methodology in Iranian History,” in Neue Methodologie in der Iranistik. (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1974): 57-69 [66]. Cf. idem, “The Charisma of Kingship in Ancient Iran,” Iranica Antiqua 6 (1964): 36-54.

http://www.traveljournals.net/explore/iran/map/m5119241/garmabdar.html

http://maps.nationalgeographic.com/map-machine#s=h&c=35.6907639509368, 52.032623291015646&z=9

http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Damavand


“How does information become transformed into knowledge, and knowledge into wisdom? (Yerushalmi 1994)? This commitment to rereading history from papyrus to hypertext parallels the commitment to philosophy from a cosmopolitical point of view. It is not merely theory for theory’s sake. Gatekeepers of the archives (and collective memory) wield power. Access to information is more than a legal right: it becomes an indicator by which effective democracies can be measured. (Derrida 1996a: 4). The mapping of archives of the infosphere needs to be concerned with uncompromised inclusivity as constitutive of a renewed, unbound, effective democracy in which plurality can co-exist with social cohesion. It requires a consistent and constant vigilance against complicity and complacence. It involves nurturing and encouraging diverse ways of seeing, knowing and remembering. The architecture of deconstruction facilitates the round-tables of discussions which invite, welcome and propel rather than discourage, exclude, dismiss and prevent convergences of divergent thoughts. The sparks of discord can illuminate the ashes and dust of the (missing) archives (Flynn-Burhoe 2000).

This is a blog version of a html webpage entitled “Mapping Memory: from Papyrus to Digitization: The Great Flood and the Arkh“. In 2000 (?) it was presented to a small eclectic group of dazzling student super-geeks and hackers brought together by a shared interest in the virtual and Carleton University star professor Rob Shields.

Abstract: This paper and webpage examines intersections between Jacques Derrida’s Archives Fever and texts, objects and events that informed Archive Fever: Plato’s Phaedrus, Freud’s Moses and Monotheism and Yerushalmi Freud’s Moses. (How) Is the authority of the archonte transformed by the digitization of archives? How can conceptual tools developed by Jacques Derrida enhance understanding of the concept of archives in this period of transformation? (How) can the structure of the archives allow for the co-existence of social cohesion and pluralism? To what extent is archival meaning co-determined by the structure of the archives? (Derrida 1996a: 16) To what extent is our access to knowledge, to collective memories barred by inadequate maps and ideological obstacles?

Keywords: archives, anarchives, digitization, cartography, pharmakon, plurality, democracy

With the digitization of data, archives have been inundated with a tidal wave of information. The great flood of the archives is both cause and effect of an expanding collective electronic memory and an enlarging field of inquirers and inquiries. Cultural groups resisting the homogenous mass culture of globalization, an increasingly informed citizenry insisting on accountability in governance and grass roots movements involved in risk management excavate the archives to legitimize claims and trace memories (Wallot 1996: 23).

In this complex infosphere of ‘…shifting nationhood, evolving governance, mutating organizations, and changing forms of records’ archivists attempt to maintain a creative tension and complementarity between their hybrid roles as gatekeepers of evidence and map-makers of society’s ‘…long-term memory, identity and values formation and transmission’ (Wallot 1996: 23). This involves nothing less than a re-examination of the theoretical roots and conceptual framework of the professional roles of archivists (Wallot 1996: 24).

In 1994 an international conference in London, organized by the Freud Museum and the Société Internationale d’Histoire de la Psychanalyse, focussed on ‘Memory: The Question of Archives.’ Derrida’s presentation Archives Fever which lasted over three hours was dedicated to Jewish historian, Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi whose ‘handsome’ book Freud’s Moses provided a catalyst for his own. Yerushalmi’s frustrated attempts at accessing certain exclusive archives while conducting his research on Freud, led to his paper ‘‘Series Z: : An Archival Fantasy’ presented at the same conference.

Derrida juxtaposes reflections on memory and archives with Freud’s psychoanalysis. Freud’s archives in Freud’s Museum, London and in the Library of Congress consist of thousand of items collected and stored under protective guardianship. Yet the archons of the corpus of the most-quoted man of the twentieth century seem to break all the rules of archival practice: the archived items are neither innocent, accessible nor dusty. Freud’s archives were not naive: they were self-conscious, wary of censorship therefore self-censored and incomplete. Freud’s own secrecy rivaled that of Goethe who was a ‘… great self-revealer, but also in the abundance of autobiographical records, a careful concealer’ (Freud 1930: 212). But then all archives are incomplete repositories, containing only those objects and artifacts that have survived the past (Yerushalmi 1994).

Even with the best archival practice the archival documents cannot be historical facts. Vital archival objects are articulated or constructed as historical in an interpretive process through the mind and imagination of the historian. History is constructed from documents retrieved from archival storage. And archival material can be constructed to contradict memory (Yerushalmi 1994).

‘Psychoanalysis aspires to be a general science of the archive, of everything that can happen to the economy of meaning and to […] its traces.’ The science (or art) of psychoanalysis depends on memory as data. Freud’s human subject achieved freedom from neurosis through memory management. In the economy of psychoanalysis memories can be called up, evoked, transmitted, named, categorized and relativized.

What is the nature of transmission of memories? Freud suggested ways of remembering that were relevant to psychoanalysis and inaccessible to ordinary histories. But he only once used the term ‘archives’ as a metaphor for memory. In 1898 he imagined memory as an open, accessible archive that was subjected to the will. He discarded the inadequate metaphor: memories can be stored but not all can be retrieved. (Yerushalmi 1991 Freud [1898]) Yerushalmi concluded that Freud abandoned the term ‘archives’ as a metaphor for memory since they have ‘…nothing in common. Memory is not an archive, nor is archive a memory bank’ (Yerushalmi 1994).

Archives, even Freud’s official Archives were not ‘the ultimate arbitrar of historical truth’ about Freud as it was widely believed by both his defenders and his attackers (Yerushalmi 1994). In spite of the sophistication of contemporary historians who recognize the limitations of archival documents, the unlocking of Freud’s most secretive archives, Series Z, led to a ‘fureur de l’inédit.’ This fury to publish previously unpublished archival documents was reminiscent of the 19th century heyday of scientific history informed by the cult of the archives. In the 1830s through the 1860s national governments opened their archives to research in an effort to protect their collective histories. Lord Acton proclaimed, ‘To keep one’s archives barred against the historians was tantamount to leaving one’s history to one’s enemies’ (Yerushalmi 1994).

Like an archaeologist, Derrida excavates the concepts of archives and memory. These pharmakon-like concepts contain both the cure and the poison. This homeopathy of thinking describes ‘archive’ as open, visible, accessible and undivided. Archives become an indicator, evidence, witness, a way of rewriting history, a return to origins, a return to the archaic, a search for lost time, scar-like traces on the surfaces of the body and an archeology of the surface. But archives are also dormant, lost, dissimulated, forbidden, censored, destroyed and incinerated. Through the secret archives or anarchives Derrida raises questions of transmission in the economy of memory. (1996a)

Derrida’s impressions of l’actualité have left their mark around the globe. Situating himself as one who lives between two worlds, a world citizen who is Jewish-French but also Algerian he argues for a philosophy from a cosmopolitico view point where transmission and alterité become the centre. In international conferences spanning three decades with diverse groups: arabo-islamic intellectuals, UNESCO, the Société Internationale d’Histoire de la Psychanalyse or at John Hopkins University, he challenges complacency and complicity. He reveals how philosophy is not shackled by an exclusive, solitary memory or language: it is stereoscopic, polyglot, multi-linear even bastardized, crossbred and spliced. He calls for a new role for philosophy, one in which a rereading of Plato, for example, becomes as urgent a task as new scientific results (Derrida 1996b). He adds a third space to columns of binary opposites: a space of tension, of sparks generated from divergent viewpoints (1981:73).

Derrida cites and questions Plato’s separation of live memory mneme from hypomneme. Archives are hypomneme along with inventories, citations, copies, lists and genealogies (1981:107). The archives are an extension of writing, commodified by power brokers, the sophists. Socrates’ words written by Plato, upheld the ‘art of memory.’ Writing was imperfect memory or even forgetfulness, dependent on signs; it was nonknowledge (1981:105). The recital of 25,000 lines of Homeric verse over several days was a manifestation of the living word, of knowledge, of the promise of limitless memory. But Socrates, “he who does not write” was written. When Derrida came upon a 14th century Italian print from the Bodleian Library, reproduced mechanically as a postcard he was enchanted. It became a visual metaphor for the archival object: in the scriptorium Socrates is writing with Plato standing behind him. By examining the relationship between the two fathers of meaning in Western thought, Derrida opened a space for a rethinking of transgenerational patriarchal transmission. He brought Freud’s ghost, his archives and his historian into the discussion. He reveals how secret archives and powerful archons dissimulate.

Derrida speaks and writes in a ‘scriptless’ hypertext, where intertextualitity can either enrich or confuse. Derrida’s reflections on Plato, Freud, Yerushalmi are constructed into complex layers of texts that defy a linear structure such as this paper. Its content is better adapted to the nonlinear format of the webpage. Fascinating and thought-provoking connections can be extrapolated following Derrida’s lead from papyrus to digitization. Both Plato and Freud circuitously lead us to the Black Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaton who introduced a form of monotheistic religion c. 1379 – 1362 BCE with Aton the god of the universe subsuming both Thoth the moon god and Amon-re or Amen the sun god. Plato as scribe for Socrates used a myth to discredit myth over logos. In Socrates’ version of the myth Thamus disparaged Theuth (Thoth) for inventing writing along with alchemy, geometry, astronomy and calculations. Theuth not only writes and represents Amon-Ra; he effectively replaced the god himself.

Freud investigated Egyptian monotheism as possible source of Moses’ monotheism. To these layers I would suggest another, accessible through archives that are still underused by western inquirers. Questions of intellectual genealogy and inheritance can be enriched (although not answered) by accessing Islamic archives. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and the Ptolmeac corpus influenced Islamic thought. Islamic law was informed by Solomon’s judicial system. Further in these archives monotheism is traced to the Patriarch common to Judaism, Christianity and Islam: Abraham. How would Socrates hypothetical journeys to Palestine and Syria and the possible influence of Hebrew sages on Socrates himself impact on the concept of bastardized, hybridized and spliced philosophies? Answers as evidence are not the issue. The answers to Freud’s question ‘Was Moses Egyptian?’ like Yerushalmi’s ‘Is psychoanalysis a Jewish science?’ take second place to the open-ended questions themselves.

Derrida’s papyrus and postcard connection led to the Bodleian Library. While reading my library copy of Postcards, the ghostlike presence of the postcard became so tangible, I almost expected ‘a missing letter’ scratched on the back of Plato and Socrates to fall out from between the pages. Following Derrida’s trail electronically I accessed the Bodleian Library’s medieval print section. The Bodleian Library seemed elusive, even exclusive: it is the main research library of the University of Oxford used by scholars from around the world. However, a number of their collections of medieval manuscripts are now available around the globe on-line. The mechanical reproduced images that appeared on my screen leaving their impressions were from Dante’s Divine Commedia. In a northern Italian 14th century illustration Dante and Virgil observe Mohammed and Ptolemy, both condemned to inferno for their heresies. The same medieval censorship that suppressed Ptolemy’s Geographia, and denied the monotheism of Islam, had also misread Socrates and Plato.

Was Artaud referring to Ptolemy when he proclaimed: ‘The library at Alexandria can be burnt down. There are forces above and beyond papyrus: we may temporarily be deprived of our ability to discover these forces, but their energy will not be suppressed’ (1981: 53). Instead the secret archives becomes a spectre, a ghost, a phantom protecting itself from detection, repression, censorship and destruction.

An entire corpus of Greek knowledge was rejected by early Christians fearful that the spherical globe violated their fundamental religious beliefs. Navigation and cartography are inextricably interwoven. Yet the historiography of cartography of our biosphere is one of ransacked, missing, secret and recovered archives. In 391 AD Christians mobs sacked the Alexandrian library including Ptolemy’s research. As Librarian of the Alexandrian, he had inherited centuries of Greek scholarship which he published in the Geographia. Arabo-Islamic scholars, unbridled by Christian fear of ‘Greek science’ translated and developed Ptolemaic maps for their journeys to India, Tibet and China. In 1154 Al-Idrisi, Arabo-Islamic geographer in a Sicilian court created a world map influenced by Ptolemy. The European period of world-wide expansion took place only after Medieval maps were replaced by Ptolemy’s science. McLuhan suggested that without maps as a means of communication “the world of modern science and technology would hardly exist” (McLuhan 1964: 157-8). What will be the suppressed memories, the missing links on the maps of the infosphere, on the maps of the archives? Who decides the grid and the structure?

Digitized, indexed and linked image, stills and motion, sound and text can be mapped by one author then unwrapped and re-mapped by an active reader. Virtual objects seem to float dislocated from space and time connected only by links, those ‘arrows frozen in time’ (Shields 2000). Once reproduced electronically, an urn, an 11th century map, a postcard letter or the Bodleian’s 14th century version of Dante’s Commedia are wrenched from the structure, context and content. John le Carré stated, ‘Nothing exists without a context.’ Descriptions and explanations can be lost leaving ‘vast holes in memory.’ Or the opposite can occur: Navigational tools, maps and charts can reintegrate structure to context and content (Wallot 1996: 14). Through electronic embedding, for example, virtual images of Inuit sculptures, those silent ambassadors of a dynamic living culture, can hyperlink context and content in rich layers of information.

Concept maps are not innocent; they become tools for data interpretation and ways of assigning value and meaning. Maps are not draped over reality; they exclude. They are like Derrida’s archontes, the archivists who wield authority (and power) over data, its interpretation, its storage and its accessibility. The archontes of electronic archives decide what is collected, described and classified or ignored, destroyed or virtually left hanging, unmapped and disconnected. What happens to the ‘other’ in cyber archives? If categories are not created, do they no longer exist? If there are no pointers, can they be found? Could the holocaust have happened in the age of electronic mail? Would there have been electronic traces of the crematoria?

“But of the secret itself, there can be no archive, by definition. The secret is the very ash of the archive. . .” Derrida’s concept of archives bridges the technical, political, ethical and judicial with poetry and ghosts. In Feu le cendre the holocaust ashes of the crematoriums contain traces of memories, names, letters, photos, personal objects and even keys. The ashes become the pharmakon. They are both cure and poison; they remain but are gone. They are the incomplete archives, traces of the disappeared, traces that speak of that ‘other’ memory.

The censorship of psychoanalysis, ‘a Jewish science’ led to an ethos of protective secrecy about Freud’s archives which continued throughout the 20th century. In 1885 and again in 1907 Freud completely destroyed all his correspondence, notes, diaries and manuscripts (Yerushalmi 1994). He wrote Moses and Monotheism, his only work specifically on a Jewish theme on the eve of Nazi occupation of Austria. Shortly after Freud’s forced exile to England and the completion of his manuscript, Freud died. His inquiry into the history of monotheism was a questioning of the role of religion itself. Was it possible to trace suppressed memories of a people as one can with individuals? Would such a project reduce religion to that of a social neurosis caused by deeply embedded and suppressed trans-generational memories? Freud wrote his first manuscripts knowing that censorship would prevent it from being read, at least in his lifetime. Catholic authorities were critical of psychoanalysis: this manuscript would provoke even greater antagonism. After his death any literature on psychoanalysis uncovered by the Nazis was incinerated as ‘Jewish literature.’ But Freud’s psychoanalysis of Jewish history and Judaism also sent a shock wave through the Jewish community. He hypothesized, like Otto Rank in 1909, that Moses was born to a Egyptian princess not to a Hebrew woman. Freud suggesting that Moses’ monotheistic religion was actually based on an existing Egyptian monotheistic religion, Aten. Further he sought out clues to Moses’ murder. In effect Freud was dismantling the Jewish claim to uniqueness. Freud died before the manuscript was published, without ever knowing the holocaust. He wrote for a secret archives, knowing readers were not ready, nor would they be until sometime in the future. Derrida describes the writing that seeks dissimulation as anarchives, the ‘other’ archives, the secret archives hidden from the flames of repression.

Yerushalmi’s book Freud’s Moses became an appeal to the spectre of Freud to reveal the contents of the secret archives, to provide answers that the archives did not hold. How did Freud’s personal life relate to his teaching or to the history of the psychoanalytic movement? In the final dramatic, audacious chapter entitled ‘Monologue with Freud,’ Yerushalmi addresses Professor Freud’s spectre in a ‘fiction which [he] somehow do[es] not feel to be fictitious’ (Yerushalmi 1991:81). Yerushalmi implores Freud to reveal to him “When your daughter [Anna in 1977 declared that psychoanalysis was a Jewish science] conveyed those words to the congress in Jerusalem, was she speaking in your name?”

Was Freud being loyal to Judaism, through disloyality? Was he recognizing its weaknesses without rejecting it outright? Was he refusing alienation and victimization? Was he protecting his own true subjective freedom by refusing to accept in its entirety an inherited ethnicity, religion, culture or nationality (Derrida 1996c)?

Yerushalmi did not expect the archives to provide evidence of Freud’s relationship to Judaism. But did he perhaps hope that Freud’s collection of antiquities would reveal some specifically Jewish objects? None were exhibited in a traveling exhibition of Freud’s antiquities in 1989. However, a year later exhibition curator Dr. Gamwell informed Yerushalmi, after he had sent off his manuscript, that at the Freud Museum in London, objects had been found “which are related to Freud’s Jewishness.” Included in the list of items was a Hanukkah Menorah which was in Freud’s study during his lifetime and a 1913 postcard to Karl Abraham which shows the arch of Titus. On the image depicting the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE with soldiers removing the Menorah from the Temple, Freud wrote, “The Jew survives it!” (Yerushalmi 1991).

Freud used his vast collection of antiquities from Greece, Rome and Egypt to illustrate his remarks during his therapy sessions. He compared the relatively unchanging nature of the unconscious to the antique objects in the study which had been entombed and preserved, then uncovered, unchanged.

The pivotal object however was the rebound bible which Freud’s father had presented to Freud on his thirty-fifth birthday in May, 1891. Yerushalmi became the first guardian, reader, doctor and the only legitimate archon (Derrida 1995:22) of Jacob Freud’s Hebrew dedication, which Derrida himself analysed in detail. Derrida described the law makers who create and maintain the archives: Freud’s father, Freud, Yerushalmi and the “arch-archiving of the family Bible of the arch-patriarch of psychoanalysis in the arca, cupboard, prison cell, cistern, reservoir.” (Derrida 1995:23) Using this specifically Jewish artifact Derrida ties together strands that had been threading through Dissemination, Feu le cendres, Postcards and Archives Fever. The impression is left by the Jewish father on his son. The one who writes is written by the father in the pre-Socratic language. The new skin of the Bible is covered with scar-like traces as reminders, as ways of remembering. The Bible as gift to the son continues to be the gift to Yerushalmi who yearned for the spectral presence of Freud.

The archives provide a deluge of information. But haunting questions remain: how does information become transformed into knowledge, and knowledge into wisdom? (Yerushalmi 1994)? This commitment to rereading history from papyrus to hypertext parallels the commitment to philosophy from a cosmopolitical point of view. It is not merely theory for theory’s sake. Gatekeepers of the archives (and collective memory) wield power. Access to information is more than a legal right: it becomes an indicator by which effective democracies can be measured. (Derrida 1996a: 4). The mapping of archives of the infosphere needs to be concerned with uncompromised inclusivity as constitutive of a renewed, unbound, effective democracy in which plurality can co-exist with social cohesion. It requires a consistent and constant vigilance against complicity and complacence. It involves nurturing and encouraging diverse ways of seeing, knowing and remembering. The architecture of deconstruction facilitates the round-tables of discussions which invite, welcome and propel rather than discourage, exclude, dismiss and prevent convergences of divergent thoughts. The sparks of discord can illuminate the ashes and dust of the (missing) archives.

CC 2000Maureen Flynn-Burhoe for comments, corrections and copyright concerns.


Cupboards, drawers, boxes and storage bins are open and private everyday objects are strewn about, turned into something public in preparation for the moving sale. Personal histories related to each item are re-examined. Will they survive without the physical archives? Do they need to?

Le Carré describes this tortuous upending of a home in A Perfect Spy as agents tramp through every cranny and cupboard of her house. Mary’s husband, gifted in the spy tradecraft, has gone missing. He’s taken a ‘retirement’ and is writing his autobiography. I am intrigued by his process because he wants his story to read like a fiction and he wants his hero, himself to be lovable. In her interrogation with the agents, she said,

He’s not writing yet. He’s preparing.

He calls it a matrix.

When he retires, he’ll write.

He’s still finding the line. He likes to keep it to himself.

Listen to this: ‘ When the most horrible gloom was over the household; when Edward himself was in agony and behaving as prettily as he knew how. ‘

It’s from something he read. When he reads a book he underlines things in pencil. Then when he’s finished it he writes out his favourite bits (Le Carré 1986:51).

I think of a mise-en-abime, the hypodiegetic and diegetic framing narratology but this is only a spy mystery. But I also think of the collage-montage and I remember Benjamin. It seems to be what I am doing with my blog. I underline with digg or deli.cio.us. I cut and paste using Flickr, Youtube, Google docs or WordPress itself. But unlike Benjamin or the perfect spy, I scrupulously hot link the most reliable url I can find to every image, citation, idea. The blog itself may seem fragmented or may link the images with new juxtapositions but the sources can be followed by the reader. So my blog is more like a collage-montage than writing.

Before being driven to suicide through physical and mental exhaustion while fleeing the Nazis at the French border in 1940, German cultural theorist, Walter Benjamin was working on a consuming project to educate his own generation and awaken a new political consciousness (Buck-Morss 1991: 336, 47 in Holtorf 2001) . Using the Paris arcades as his prime metaphor, through his passion for collecting fragments of everyday urban experience he wanted his contemporaries to engage in a cleansing memory work, history with an ethical dimension, to revisit 19th century Parisian social and cultural history. He introduced a new form of ‘writing’ which consisted of cutting-and-pasting original citations without citation marks.

Benjamin’s fragmented direct, literal quotations, images and things were purposefully taken out of context. In this way they were deliberately not reduced to generally accepted theoretical or methodological frameworks or categories. He wanted his contemporaries to question unchallenged assumptions about anthropological nihilism, iron construction, the flâneur, the collector and capitalism itself. Something new was created from the old by constructed these fragmented, de-racinated elements into a collage-montage by juxtaposing them in a new way. In this way Benjamin questioned commonly held notions of ‘representation as finding some correspondence with an exterior reality’ (Shanks 1992: 188-90 Holtorf 2001).

Webliography and Bibliography

Benjamin, Walter. 1991. Trans. Buck-Morss. Das Passagen-Werk. Gesammelte Schriften, vol. V [1982]. Frankfurt/M.: Suhrkamp. [English edition 1996]

Buck-Morss, Susan (1991) The Dialectics of Seeing. Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project [1989]. Cambridge, Mass. and London: MIT Press.

Holtorf, Cornelius. 2001. Walter Benjamin’s Passagenwerk.

Le Carré, John. 1986. The Perfect Spy. New York: Penguin.

Shanks, Michael (1992) Experiencing the Past. On the Character of Archaeology. London: Routledge.

Speechless

December 11, 2006


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Somewhere on the Pacific a small lifeboat shared by two unwilling and unlikely passengers rolled with the waves. Pi knew he could do more than just survive once he realized that Richard was dependent on him. Pi could fish. A Bengal Tiger, king of his own ecosystem, would die at sea without the help of the seventeen-year-old. The book really ended there; it didn’t matter after that what was truth or fiction. Pi’s understanding of power in everyday life was his new reality.

Speechless refers to both the writer and reader. At one level it’s about a writers’ block being blogged. At another level is refers to deafening silence that occurs when one speaks with too much feeling or mentions an uncomfortable idea in a nice place, a unpleasant reminder in polite company, a divergent idea in a space of group think, another perspective than the Renaissance perspective. But it also refers to robust conversations among political philosophers who understand the power of language and everyday life. Socrates, Plato, Derrida called for renewals in philosophy. They examined what we do with words, the role of memory. Speechless alludes to Derrida’s urgent appeal for a renewed democracy, for a revitalized philosophy from a cosmopolitical point of view.

The human eye can distinguish 16 values of grey but that’s not including the subtle differences in the colours of grey. We just don’t have the time to see the variations.

I began speechless on October 16, 2006. Two months later I have learned what a permalink is and how to make one. It’s the equivalent to the old web page’s index.html. Now I have to learn where to use it.

https://oceanflynn.wordpress.com/index.php/2006/12/11/speechless

The cloud of tags below has grown organically since I first began using WordPress as my main blog host on October 16, 2006. I am building my customized clouds of folksonomies by working on and learning from a number of Web 2.0 feeds. This includes a Flickr account for photo blogging which attracts alot of viewers. I have only a couple of dozen images but one image alone uploaded on October 22, 2006 was viewed 1,179 times over a period of 64 days! I reworked this image again and posted it on speechless under “Wave Algorithms.”

Featured folksonomy:

Benign colonialism is a term that refers to an alleged form of colonialism in which benefits outweighed risks for indigenous population whose lands, resources, rights and freedoms were preempted by a colonizing nation-state. The historical source for the concept of benign colonialism resides with John Stuart Mills who was chief examiner of the British East India Company dealing with British interests in India in the 1820s and 1830s. Mills most well-known essays (1844) on benign colonialism are found in Essays on some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy. Mills’ view contrasted with Burkean orientalists. Mills promoted the training of a corps of bureaucrats indigenous to India who could adopt the modern liberal perspective and values of 19th century Britain. Mills predicted this group’s eventual governance of India would be based on British values and perspectives. Those who adopt benign colonialism as a truth claim argue that education, health, housing and employment possibilities improved conditions for indigenous peoples as settlers, merchants and administrators also brought new industries, liberal markets, developed natural resources and introduced improved governance. The first wave of benign colonialism lasted from c. 1790s-1960s. The second wave included new colonial policies such as exemplified in Hong Kong (Liu 2003)), where unfettered expansion of the market created a new form of benign colonialism. Political interference and military interference (Doyle 2006) in independent nation-states, such as Iraq (Campo 2004 ), is also discussed under the rubric of benign colonialism in which a foreign power preempts national governance to protect a higher concept of freedom. The term is also used in the 21st century to refer to American, French and Chinese market activities in countries on the African continent with massive quantities of underdeveloped nonrenewable envied resources. Literature that challenges the assumptions of benign colonialism claiming colonialist project as it actually unfolded placed First Nations, Inuit and Métis at higher risks of vulnerabilities to catastrophes, to social exclusion and human rights abuses, have not been as widely publicized.

For more see Flynn-Burhoe (2007).

There is a widespread Canadian mythology that First Nations, Inuit and Métis are among those who benefited from settler colonies prempting, improving, managing and governing aboriginal lands, resources and educating, training, developing, serving, monitoring and governing its peoples. Those who adopt benign colonialism as a truth claim argue that education, health, housing and employment possibilities improved conditions for the indigenous peoples since the arrival of settlers. Literature that challenges the assumptions of benign colonialism claiming colonialist project as it actually unfolded placed First Nations, Inuit and Métis at higher risks of vulnerabilities to catastrophes, to social exclusion and human rights abuses, have not been as widely publicized. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) addressed these claims but the term benign colonialism is still a convenient truth for many. Celebratory and one-sided social histories of the Hudson’s Bay Company, the RCMP, and various government leaders such as John A. MacDonald or civil servants such as Indian Agents, northern adventurers, when viewed through the lens of settlers while ignoring the perspective of First Nations, Inuit and Métis contribute to on-going dissemination of distorted histories. Museums, maps and census contribute to these distorted histories by grave omissions.

Related citations:

“Today, Mill’s most controversial case would be benign colonialism. His principles of nonintervention only hold among “civilized” nations. “Uncivilized” peoples, among whom Mill dumps most of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, are not fit for the principle of nonintervention. Like Oude (in India), they suffer four debilitating infirmities – despotism, anarchy, amoral presentism and familism — that make them incapable of self-determination. The people are imposed upon by a “despot… so oppressive and extortionate as to devastate the country.” Despotism long endured has produced “such a state of nerveless imbecility that everyone subject to their will, who had not the means of defending himself by his own armed followers, was the prey of anybody who had a band of ruffians in his pay.” The people as a result deteriorate into amoral relations in which the present overwhelms the future and no contracts can be relied upon. Moral duties extend no further than the family; national or civic identity is altogether absent. In these circumstances, Mill claims, benign colonialism is best for the population . Normal relations cannot be maintained in such an anarchic and lawless environment. It is important to note that Mill advocates neither exploitation nor racialist domination. He applies the same reasoning to once primitive northern Europeans who benefited from the imperial rule imposed by civilized Romans. The duties of paternal care, moreover, are real, precluding oppression and exploitation and requiring care and education designed to one day fit the colonized people for independent national existence. Nonetheless, the argument also rests on (wildly distorted) readings of the history and culture of Africa and Asia and Latin America. Anarchy and despotic oppression did afflict many of the peoples in these regions, but ancient cultures embodying deep senses of social obligation made nonsense of presentism and familism. Shorn of its cultural “Orientalism,” Mill’s argument for trusteeship addresses one serious gap in our strategies of humanitarian assistance: the devastations that cannot be readily redressed by a quick intervention designed to liberate an oppressed people from the clutches of foreign oppression or a domestic despot. But how does one prevent benign trusteeship from becoming malign imperialism, particularly when one recalls the flowery words and humanitarian intentions that accompanied the conquerors of Africa? How far is it from the Anti-Slavery Campaign and the Aborigine Rights Protection Society to King Leopold’s Congo and Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”?

Here Doyle is referring to John S. Mill cited in “A Few Words on Nonintervention.” . 1973. In Essays on Politics and Culture, edited by Gertrude Himmelfarb, 368-84. Gloucester, Peter Smith.

See also WordPress featured blogs Benign colonialism.

Related tags: Tom Kent Royal Commission on Newspapers, Hackett and Zhao, economic efficiency, Power and everyday life, ethical topography of self and the Other, teaching learning and research, wealth disparities will intensify, C.D. Howe, Cannibals with Forks.Selected annotated webliography

Campo, Juan E.  2004. “Benign Colonialism? The Iraq War: Hidden Agendas and Babylonian Intrigue.” Interventionism. 26:1. Spring.

Doyle, Michael W.  2006. “Sovereignty and Humanitarian Military Intervention.” Hoover Institute.

Falk, Richard. Human Rights Horizons: the Pursuit of Justice in a Globalizing World. New York & London: Routledge.

Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. Benign colonialism. >> Speechless. Uploaded January 14th, 2007

Liu, Henry C. K. “China: a Case of Self-Delusion: Part 1: From colonialism to confusionLiu 2003.” Asia Times. May 14, 2003.

Kurtz,Stanley. 2003.”Lessons from the British in India.” Democratic Imperialism: A Blueprint. Policy Review.Mill, John Stuart. 1844. Essays on some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy.
Of these Essays, which were written in 1829 and 1830,

Current debates on colonization and human rights (Falk 2000) raise questions about the notion of benign colonialism. The dominant language, culture and values of colonizers imposed on colonised peoples is often narrated as salutary. Dominant social and cultural institutions contributed to faciliating the entry of indigenous peoples trapped in unsustainable subsistence economies. Previously colonised peoples claim that the colonization process resulted in a parallel process of the colonization of the minds of indigenous peoples. The process of decolonization of memory (Ricoeur 1980), history and the spirit is crucial for the social inclusion (OECD) of indigenous peoples and nations within nations, such as Canada.

 


Attar Conference of the Birds This image of this painting by Habib Allah (c.1600) “The Concourse of the Birds” is available from the Wikimedia Commons. The original is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This is an illustration of the Persian mystic, Faridu’ud-Din Attar’s allegory (c.1100?) “The Conference of the Birds” which I believe is also called Mantiqu’t-Tayr Language of the Birds. This work may have inspired Herman Hesse’s “Journey to the East.” It describes the seeker’s parallel journey to self-discovery, self-actualization, self-realization through the elusive search for God.

Tag clouds, Head in the Clouds, Love and Cyberdelirium

Attar is said to have met Jalálu’d-Dín Rúmí (1207-1273 A.D.) when the latter was still a child enkindling (sp.) him with the insatiable longing for the illusive and unknowable divine essence of all things. (I believe both these Persian mystics, who of course had great impact on Persian literature, also influenced European writers such as the German Romantic poets? Their work is important to me in terms of its philosophical, political and ethical implications during the period of colonization. But that’s another tag cloud.)

And I know she and I share a deep love for the Seven Valleys Haft-Vádí (1860). The Seven Valleys includes references and/or citations from Attar, Rúmí and Layla and Majnun.
According to Wikipedia, Kurdish poet Nezami (1100s?)’s famous adaptation of the story of Layla and Majnun (Leyli and Madjnun) from Arab folklore reads astonishingly like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. I believe that Layla and Majnin are to the East what Romeo and Juliet are to the West? There is even a suggestion that Eric Clapton’s song Layla was inspired by this Arab-Persian-Turkish-Kurd classic.

My Favourite citations-within-citations from Seven Valleys – Haft-Vádí (1860)

In the ocean he findeth a drop, in a drop he beholdeth the secrets of the sea.

Split the atom’s heart, and lo! Within it thou wilt find a sun.

From the Wikipedia entry on Seven Valleys – Haft-Vádí (1860)

the path of the soul on a spiritual journey passing through different stages, from this world to other realms which are closer to God,[1] as first described by the 12th Century Sufi poet Attar in his Conference of the Birds. Bahá’u’lláh in the work explains the meanings and the significance of the seven stages. In the introduction, Bahá’u’lláh says “Some have called these Seven Valleys, and others, Seven Cities.” The stages are accomplished in order, and the goal of the journey is to follow “the Right Path”, “abandon the drop of life and come to the sea of the Life-Bestower”, and “gaze on the Beloved”.


 

Black Pupil as Mirror the </p> <p>Other-Eye

I used AdobePhotoshop to digitally insert my own image onto the reflective surface of Leonie’s eyes. Black Pupil as Mirror: the Other-Eye (2004) is from my Flickr album.

I am using the free tools of cyberspace to tag, geotag, reference and categorize in an attempt to find myself by mapping where I have been and maybe contributing to an emerging organic taxonomy in the process. I am fortunate enough to have a monitor, a mouse and access to metablogging.

Before I went on leave from my studies, I was investigating the work of artists, political philosophers, theorists, anthropologists who had taken the ethical turn. There was already a call for a sociological imagination from a postnational point of view. The more I read the more it seemed public policy analysts, journalists, artists, rights workers, cultural workers, anyone involved in teaching, learning and research … could benefit from at least engaging — if only to disagree — with the arguments put forth. But these thinkers are part of the slow world. It takes time to read with a high tolerance for ambiguity. Most of these writers need to be read as we read hypertext. For someone already aware of their references their is no need to click on the hotword. For most of us we need to follow the links through a virtual labyrinth. It’s a way of reading that is in that liminal space between browsing and searching. I often felt like a detective looking for clues. It wasn’t enough for me to finally reach some heightened understanding of an argument or concept. I wanted it to be traceable so I could follow my own paths back and help someone else see the strength, utility and/or elegance of a thought. Or even to help me find it again so I could appreciate it anew. I had the advantage of a lifelong connection to the visual arts. I could picture the ideas. I am so grateful that there are these tools now that allow us to create these shareable mind maps. Rob Shields had suggested I introduce students in my Off-Campus Aboriginal Program to the concept of dialogism. Dialogism is more respectful of the other and therefore offers the potential for a more ethical relationship between Self and the Other. Bakhtin described this as the relationship between Self and the Other-I. I have played with that idea visually by using reflections, people mirrored in the eyes of others. Leonie’s eyes are particular good for this because they are so dark and reflective.

However, as discussed in chapter four above, Bakhtin’s Hermeneutik is of a distinctive character. Whilst he acknowledges the embeddedness of ‘Being’ or Dasein in tradition and in history, he does not shy away from the Marxian conclusion that modern society is riven with antagonistic material interests and that, accordingly, language can be seen as a medium of dissimulation and domination as much as a conduit of interpersonal communication and self-understanding. In drawing such a conclusion, Bakhtin sides with Habermas against Gadamer on this issue; yet, with certain provisos, he refuses the former’s recourse to a nomothetic or generalizing social science to justify the conduct of critique. In this he subscribes to Goethe’s famous dictum that ‘theory is grey but life is green’. To justify his particular interpretive stance, Bakhtin appeals to distinct ethical or moral standards which owe much to the tradition of German idealism (especially Kant) and as Clarke and Holquist point out, to certain theological/ religious idioms (such as Russian orthodoxy and the Jewish dialogical tradition of Buber, Levinas and others)” (Gardiner 1992:192).

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