“I ask your indulgence if I close on a personal, existential note. We live in a time when we are flooded with information in every field of endeavor, a deluge from which Freud scholarship is not exempt. It has has become a veritable industry over which it is difficult to maintain even bibliographical control. The amount of sheer information increases incessantly. I confess that I have reached an age when I am haunted by the question of when information becomes knowledge. What I have presented here is only a special instance of that larger Angst. I am perhaps not yet old enough to seek the further line where knowledge becomes wisdom (Yerushalmi Series Z 1997).”

Flynn-Burhoe. 2000. ‘Memory – The Question of Archives’ Review of Yerushalmi, Yosef Hayim. 1997. Series Z: An Archival Fantasy’ Journal of European Psychoanalysis - Number 3-4 1997

Derrida’s presentation Archive Fever at the 1994 conference “Memory: The Question of Archives” was dedicated to Yerushalmi whose book Freud’s Moses had moved him. The conference was hosted by the Freud Museum and the Société Internationale d’Histoire de la Psychanalyse, London, June 3-5, 1994 and organized by Elisabeth Roudinesco. [Y.H.Y.]

Yerushalmi began his text with a Kakfaesque description of the archives’ doorkeeper. It is a thinly disquised reproach for the exclusivity of access to Freud’s archives, particularly to series Z. Yerushalmi was dismayed to find that access to Series Z, Freud’s archives in Washington, was severely limited to a group of insider scholars.

Yerushalmi notes the unique published citation by Freud where he used the term ‘archives,’ in an early paper (1898) on “The Psychical Mechanism of Forgetfulness” (Zum Psychischen Mechanismus der Vergesslichkeit). He writes:

Thus the function of memory, which we like to imagine as an archive open to any who is curious, is in this way subjected to restriction by a trend of the will…

Yerushalmi chose to focus his discussion only on archives. An archive is not a memory bank nor are the documents in an archive part of memory; “…if they were, we should have no need to retrieve them; once retrieved, they are often at odds with memory.”

Although Yerushami, the historian, has done research in archives in Lisbon, Madrid, Valladolid, Salamanca, Venice, Verona and Jerusalem but rarely in the Freud Archives.

Yerushalmi illustrated the persistence and continuity of the archivist as gatekeeper through the 1909 case of Robert Ross. Ross presented Oscar Wilde’s original manuscript of De Profundis to the British Museum on condition that it be sealed for sixty years to prevent it from falling into the hands of Lord Alfred Douglas, the agent of Wilde’s ruin. Through a 1913 libel suit Douglas, received a copy which he intended to publish. Ross speedily had his own copy published in New York which secured copyright. In 1949 Wilde’s son published the full and correct text but the British Museum respected Ross’ agreement and access is still denied.

Yerushalmi questions the logic behind restricting or forbidding access to certain documents well into the 21st century! He was not alone. Janet Malcolm’s 1984 publication “In the Freud Archives” made the inaccessibility une cause celebre.

Meanwhile, attacks against psychoanalysis, fused with assaults against the personal integrity of Freud himself, have by now reached an unprecedented crescendo of vilification. One result is a widespread belief that the real truth, for better or worse, is in the Archives, and that once they are fully accessible the truth will out. What both attackers and defenders of Freud have in common is a faith in the facticity of archives, in the archival document as somehow the ultimate arbiter of historical truth.

Yerushalmi traced the cult of the archive to the 1830’s and especially after 1860, when national governments eager to protect their collective histories, opened their archives to research. Lord Acton put the reason succinctly:

“To keep one’s archives barred against the historians was tantamount to leaving one’s history to one’s enemies.” Lord Acton

“The historians came, the writing of history (at least political history) was put on a firmer basis than ever before. It was the heyday of scientific history, full of optimism. The crisis of historicism was not yet on the horizon and the archival document seemed to herald a historiographical millennium. Paleography became a science and the archivist a professional, nowhere more superbly trained than at the École des Chartes, established in Paris in 1821. By the end of the century one spoke somewhat bemusedly in France of la fureur de l’inédit, the furor to publish the unpublished document.”

In “Monologue with Freud” Yerushalmi calls Freud’s archivists “zealous epigoni [who] have stationed themselves, like gnostic archons, to bar the way to the hidden knowledge.” (FM 1991:81)

By the late 20th century historians were more sophisticated; recognized the limitations of archival documents. And at that time series Z is unlocked. leading to anothfureur de l’inédit’. Yerushalmi questioned what that will change.

He described the ideal archival material:

  1. It should be naive, created for other purposes than research: the production, storage and maintenance of personal correspondence, tax records, contracts, deeds.
  2. It should be dusty from lack of handling. Half a century after the French Revolution a Prussian historian finally opened the dust-laden papers regarding the Reign of Terror, a proof of their legitimacy.
  3. The researcher recognizes that all archives are incomplete: not all documents are collected, archived and/or preserved. And any document requires contextualization by data both in and outside the archives and even the field of study.
  4. The “…archive is not a repository of the past, only of certain artifacts that have survived from the past, and we encounter them in the present. The contents of archival documents are not historical facts except on the most primitive level dates, names, places. The truly vital data in these documents do not become historical until, filtered through the mind and the imagination of the historian, they are interpreted and articulated.”

The zealous guardians of The Freud Archives including Anna Freud, Freud’s devoted daughter protected Freud’s reputation in the creation and maintenance of the archives. Yerushalmi compares these documents to “… André Gide’s journals, where one senses that as he writes one eye is gazing at posterity.” This contrasts with Kafka’s diaries, whose publication he never dreamed.

Freud’s papers have been handled regularly. Yerushalmi cites examples of discrepancies between Freud’s correspondance with Fliess and actual publications in which passages were excluded. “The most significant and irremediable gap in the Freud Archives is the result of Freud’s own doing. On two occasions [in 1885 and 1907], Ernest Jones observed, he completely destroyed all his correspondence, notes, diaries and manuscripts. The letter of April 28, 1885 to Martha, announcing his determination to thereby frustrate his future biographers, is too well-known to be quoted yet again.”

Yerushalmi concludes that “[n]othing in the Freud Collection nor in any other archive can possibly decide any of the major scientific or philosophical issues that have arisen in the ongoing controversies over Freud. No document can prove or disprove the validity of Freudian psychoanalytic theory nor the efficacy of psychoanalytic therapy. Infantile sexuality, the existence of the unconscious, the mechanisms of repression, and other central tenets of Freudian theory, are not subject to archival arbitration.”

“What do we really want to know, and how can the Archives be of help? My own order of priority would be: To understand Freud’s teaching; to understand the history of the psychoanalytic movement; to understand Freud’s life insofar as it relates to the first two goals.” “…[I]t entails coming as close as possible to his own intentions. This, as I have argued elsewhere must take pride of place. At least in his published works Freud was consciously trying to communicate various ideas to his readers. That these works, like all texts, also contain latent meanings of which he was unaware, that they can be approached with a variety of hermeneutic strategies, does not absolve us from rigorously seeking their conscious intentionality which, alone, can keep us from flying off the deep end. For that, not only is the value of a correct text self-evident, but any information relevant to its evolution, whether through variants or revisions, or through letters in which Freud discusses work in progress. It is in this sense that the letters in Series Z may make their most important contribution. But even then the archives are only an aid. Ultimately the student must bring to an understanding of Freud’s work his or her philological, literary, and historical instincts, and an entire culture derived from other fields. Philip Rieff’s Freud: The Mind of the Moralist (1959) remains, in my opinion, one of the most penetrating explorations of Freud’s thought. And Rieff never even consulted an archive. “

The history of the psychoanalytic movement (I have in mind only Freudian psychoanalysis). Here, surely, our men and women from many countries will have reaped abundant harvests. But how much wheat and how much chaff? Any history of the psychoanalytic movement cannot ignore the archives, but it must also transcend them. Once again all depends on how we conceptualize the problem. If we have in mind a historical narrative of its leading personalities, its congresses and schisms, its dispersal after the German catastrophe of 1933 and the Austrian of 1938, then certainly these and many other aspects will have been fleshed out by Series Z. But this kind of history remains business as usual. I shall take as an instance Phyllis Grosskurth’s The Secret Ring: Freud’s Inner Circle and the Politics of Psychoanalysis published three years ago to considerable acclaim. Assuredly the book contains new and sometimes vivid details Ms. Grosskurth had spent time in several archives, including the Rank papers at my own university, and she writes well. For me, however, the book, like so many others in the genre, represents yet another missed opportunity. That Freud’s secret entourage, the Committee was racked by dissentions, backbiting, competition for Freud’s imperious favor, was essentially known. The issue that is never addressed, is how this group of quite imperfect and in many ways incompatible men were able to sustain and propogate not only a therapy, but a teaching that became a vital component of Modernism around the globe. And, in a larger sense, is this not the issue for any history of the psychoanalytic movement worthy of itself not merely to describe its inner workings or proselytizing activities, but to ask what prior spiritual or cultural needs did Freud’s teaching fulfill that enabled it to spread from a small group of Jews meeting in 1902 at Berggasse 19, to become what W.H. Auden called after Freud’s death a whole climate of opinion?”
I come finally to the vexing question of Freud’s biography and here I am prepared to abandon my parable. I am only certain that the men and women from many countries will not find anything of significance about Freud’s childhood and adolescence. That stumbling block to biographers, especially those who are psychoanalytically oriented, will remain. Some information about Freud’s parents may perhaps yet be found in Moravian and Viennese archives. As for Freud’s mature life, for reasons already given I doubt that very much of a sensational nature will be found in Series Z, though of course one cannot be sure. Once again, however, I feel that the really important issues extend beyond the archives.

“The other issue is so vital and so complex as to require a conference of its own. I have in mind the relation between biography and a person’s achievement. How much of the former do we need to know in order to understand the latter?[...] How much about Freud’s life must we know in order to interpret The Interpretation of Dreams? Or would our interpretation simply be different, with less ferreting for biographical links and more concentration on what he was trying to teach us? [...]Ironically, it may have been Freud himself who first opened this Pandora’s Box, but let’s not hold this against him. Rather, let us ask must we really know whether Freud slept with Minna? Those who want to discover that he really did, are gripped by an unstated and faulty syllogism: a) Freud presented a public image of a devoted husband; b) Freud comitted incest with his sister-in-law; ergo Freud is not to be trusted, and so neither should his work… “

“I ask your indulgence if I close on a personal, existential note. We live in a time when we are flooded with information in every field of endeavor, a deluge from which Freud scholarship is not exempt. It has has become a veritable industry over which it is difficult to maintain even bibliographical control. The amount of sheer information increases incessantly. I confess that I have reached an age when I am haunted by the question of when information becomes knowledge. What I have presented here is only a special instance of that larger Angst. I am perhaps not yet old enough to seek the further line where knowledge becomes wisdom.”


TEXT ONLY|
ARCHIVES|
BIBLIO|
BODLEIAN|
CITATIONS|
CHRONO|

HOME|
FREUD|
MEMORY|
PLATO|
YERUSHALMI|
FREUD’S MOSES|
PHAEDRUS|
AUTHOR|

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


Digitage on Barbara Kruger's Nature/Culture Barbara Krueger’s (1983) “We Won’t Play Nature to your Culture” somehow comes to mind when reading Žižek on nature/culture.

During breaks I would walk through empty rooms to discover changes curators had made in their spaces. I was a teenager when I began to feel at home in the silent, often light-filled buildings that held public art collections. I was annoyed by, resented, then was intrigued by, read about, studied, spent time with pieces that came to be my favourites. Visual artists were deeply informed about and experimenting with emerging, complex theories, cultural studies, political philosophy . . . academics did their best to avoid them until it became impossible to do so.

Reading Slavoj Žižek’s Organs without Bodies is a lot like my non-linear NGC meanderings in the 1990s. His writing provokes me but there is enough brilliance there that makes me keep his book in the reading stand beside my monitor, opened at different pages on different days. He is not a lazy thinker. Each page is like a hypertext reader indexing a myriad of artists, philosophers, scientists and entrepreneurs. He discusses Hawkins, Hegel, Heidegger and Hitchcock with equal comfort because he has actually ‘read’ and analysed’ their work.

I was drawn to his chapter section on hyphen-ethics more because of the probing, unsettling questions it raises than because of his conclusions. It will be one of those recurring themes that will be part of my own lifelong teaching, learning and research.

“What is false with todays discussion concerning the ethical consequences of biogenetics is that it is rapidly turning into what Germans call Bindenstrich-Ethik, the ethics of the hyphen – technology-ethics, environment-ethics, and so on. This ethics does have a role to play, a role homologous to that of the provisional ethic Descartes mentions at the beginning of his Discourse on Method: when we engage on a new path, full of dangers and shattering new insights, we need to stick to old established rules as a practical guide for our daily lives, although we are well aware that the new insights will compel us to provide a fresh foundation for our entire ethical edifice (in Descartes case, this new foundation was provided by Kant, in his ethics of subjective autonomy). Today, we are in the same predicament: the provisional ethics cannot replace the need for a thorough reflection of the emerging New (Žižek 2004:123).”

“In short, what gets lost here, in this hyphen-ethics, is simply ethics as such. The problem is not that universal ethics gets dissolved in particular topics but, on the contrary, that particular scientific breakthroughs are directly confronted with the old humanist “values” (say, how biogenetics affects our sense of dignity and autonomy). This, then, is the choice we are confronting today: either we choose the typically postmodern stance of reticence (let’s not go to the end, let’s keep a proper distance toward the scientific Thing so that this Thing will not draw us into a black hole, destroying all our moral and human notions), or we dare to “tarry with the negative (das Verweilen beim Negativen),” that is, we dare to fully examine the consequences of scientific modernity with the wager that “our Mind is a genome” will also function as an infinite judgment (Žižek 2004:123-4).”

“The main consequence of the scientific breakthrough in biogenetics is the end of nature. Once we know the rules of its construction, natural organisms are transformed into objects amenable to manipulation. Nature, human and inhuman, is thus “desubstantialized,” deprived of its impenetrable density, of what Heidegger called “earth.” Biogenetics, with its reduction of the human psyche itself to an object of technological manipulation, is therefore effectively a kind of empirical instantiation of what Heidegger perceived as the “danger” inherent to modern technology. Crucial here is the interdepedence of man and nature: by reducing man to just another object whose properties can be manipulated, what we lose is not (only) humanity but nature itself. In this sense, Francis Fukuyama is right. Humanity itself relies on some notion of “human nature” as what we inherited and was simply given to us, the impenetrable dimension in/of ourselves into which we are born/thrown. The paradox is thus that there is man only insofar as there is inhuman nature (Heidegger’s “earth”). (Žižek 2004:124).”

Notes
Slavoj Žižek is a dialectical-materialist philosopher and psychoanalyst. He also co-directs the International Centre for Humanities at Birkbeck College. The Parallax View appeared last year.

Webliography and Bibliography

Žižek, Slavoj. 2004. “Against hyphen-ethics.” Organs without Bodies: on Deleuze and Consequences. New York/London: Routledge. pp. 123-132.

Titles >> Subtitles: Organs without Bodies >> on Deleuze and Consequences >> Consequences >> Science >> Cognitivism with Freud, Autopoiesis, Memes, Memes Everywhere, Against Hyphen-Ethics, Cognitive Closure?, “Little Jolts of Enjoyment”,

folksonomy: cultural studies, theory, philosophy, Deleuze, globalization, democracy, democratization, war on terror, Joan Copjec, biogenetics, hyphen-ethics, capitalism, Richard Dawkins, Jacques Derrida, Daniel Dennett, ethics, Ethical turn, Habermas, Kant, Laclau, Levinas, Lacan, Varela, religion, Pascal, Spinoza, The Quite American, Hegel, Heidegger, Massumi, Fukuyama, liberal democracy, Self, personhood, ethics, mind/brain, mind body, psychoanalysis, nature/culture, technology, mind and consciousness,

More by Slavoj Žižek:

Žižek, Slavoj. 2003. “Bring me my Philips Mental Jacket: Slavoj Žižek welcomes the prospect of biogenetic intervention.” London Review of Books. 25:10. May.

Žižek, Slavoj. 1999. “Attempts to Escape the Logic of Capitalism.” Review of Vaclav Havel: A Political Tragedy in Six Acts by John Keane.” London Review of Books. 21:21. October 28.

Žižek, Slavoj. 1999. ‘You May!’ London Review of Books. 21:6. 18 March.

Bildung:

April 8, 2008


Friedrich's Antithesis

In 2004 just before I became totally lost in my cybernarcosis, cyberdeliria, enraptured by the deep internet I played with the digital image of the foremost German Romantic landscape painter David Casper Friedrich’s (1774-1840) Wanderer Overlooking the Sea of Fog (1818 ) His anti-classical work was part of a new synthesis of art, philosophy, and science focusing on the natural world which seemed somehow embued with the spiritual experiences of life. Friedrich’s timeless depiction of a wanderer looking out over a sea of fog evokes the journey of life towards higher more difficult summits. I enjoy the irony that the man depicted in his original image was a mere warden, not a world traveller. David Casper Friedrich gained the admiration of the poet Goethe, “the initiator of the tradition of the Bildungsroman, the novel of formation” (more). “In Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship the protagonist undergoes a journey of Bildung, or self-realization” (more).

    “With interventions into man’s genetic inheritance, the domination over nature reverts into an act of taking-control-over-oneself, which changes our generic-ethical self-understanding and can disturb the necessary conditions for an autonomous way of life and universalistic understanding of morals (Jantschek 2001 cited by Habermas cited in Žižek 125).”
      Bildung is the painful struggle to form/educate one’s natural dispositions through which an individual develops his/her moral identity.
      Žižek summarized Habermas’ concern with biogenetics argued that biogenetics threaten a vital concept of moral identity formation based on the painful lifelong struggle (Bildung) to realize one’s innate potential while educating one’s natural dispositions. Direct biogenetic interventions render the notion of such an education meaningless. Also, at an intersubjective level

      tag cloud: biogenetics,

      Webliography and Bibliography

      Habermas, Jurgens. Lecture. Marburg.
      Jantschek, Thorsten. 2001. “Ein ausgezehrter Hase.” Die Zeit. July 5.
      Žižek, Slavoj. 2004. “Against hyphen-ethics.” Organs without Bodies: on Deleuze and Consequences. New York/London: Routledge. pp. 123-132.

      Bateke Mask, Icicles, Full-Moon He is a young doctor literally without borders who chose to work with AIDS patients. When he was forced to leave his own strife-torn country as refugee he left behind his family including the woman he hopes to marry. She too is a doctor and because of his political situation, she was forced to leave her country recently as well. At the time she left, the safest African country seemed to be Kenya.

      For awhile he accepted what his newly adopted country offered him as work: he joined the ranks of over-qualified African-Canadian security guards. While living through the horrors of everyday violence in his home country, he was able to sleep at night because his family and friends provided an almost impermeable sense of social cohesion. Alone in Canada, working at a job that offered no future, exiting the role of professional health care worker, his sense of self, of his identity was profoundly shaken. Then the nightmares began. Why is it that trauma as mental illnesses is integral to a western medical system yet depression, PTSD are not a prominent part of the medical profession in Africa where people are faced with struggle for the most basic human needs, such as freedom from violence, minimal nutrition and even water?

      As he follows the violent eruptions in Kenya his first concern is finding a way to secure safety for his life partner. He feels that if she were here beside him in Canada that the two of them together could survive.

      Meanwhile he has found another job. It seems ironic yet fitting that he works with the most at-risk Canadian populations, the urban homeless. He is learning rapidly that most of those living on the streets are mentally ill. Of this group how many are First Nations and Inuit? How many are women? These are the groups who are most vulnerable to social exclusion and who will not find the health care they need in the public system but who will never be able to access a private system.

      As I read about the public/private health care debates I cannot help but think of those who are excluded. Even as a newly arrived immigrant, I want to believe that he will not be of those. I have met so many immigrants particularly from Africa who remain underemployed for their entire work lives in Canada. Will our desparate need for doctors faciliate the process for him and his partner? Perhaps even their perspective will transform in some small way, a system that has come to depend on market solutions for all social problems.

      How would I present this topic as a part of a robust conversation where divergent voices could be heard including First Nations, Inuit and immigrant students to enhance their understanding of social history in Canada and comparative social histories (particularly with other OECD nations)? How can I share the relevance of Derrida’s urgent call for a need for philosophy from a cosmopolitical point of view? What tools can I develop to enhance cross- and interdisciplinary readings without sacrificing legitimacy (academic capital) based on a system of closed disciplines?

      tag cloud: Open Source, memory palace, memory work, sociological imagination, governance, Derrida, cosmopolitical, democracy, liberal democracy, social democracy, economics, elite studies, vertical mosaic revisited, Jeffrey Sachs, Stephen Harper’s relation to the Calgary School, wealth disparities will intensify, vulnerability to social exclusion, human rights, judiciary, Canadian elite studies, academia,

      Concepts

      Ccollective conscience as used in modern societies a way of describing how an entire community comes together to share similar values. French sociologist, Émile Durkheim (1893). Other forms of collective consciousness through a sociological imagination include solidarity attitudes, memes and extreme behaviors like groupthink, herd behavior. Herd behaviour through a political science lens is explored as a weakness in governance as in mob rule. Through a spiritual imagination collective consciousness is discussed as an outcome of meditation and self-realization.

      Timeline of social history related to changing interpretations of the concepts of social consciousness, social cohesion, social inclusion, social exclusion in process . . .

      1789 Thomas Jefferson in correspondence to James Madison argued that majority rights cannot exist if individual rights do not (Jefferson 1989).

      1893 French sociologist, Émile Durkheim (1858-1917) published his first book The Division of Labor in Society in which he “argued that religion plays an important role in uniting members of segmentary (i.e., clan-based) societies through the creation of a common conscience or consciousness (conscience collective). The contents of each individual’s consciousness largely coincide with those of others, and such a society is therefore integrated by mechanical solidarity, or the mutual likeness of its members. As societies become more differentiated and individuated, the division of labor increasingly requires a new morality of specialized service. Organic solidarity, based on a “categorical imperative” of specialized, yet mutually supportive social performances, displaces the need for a collective consciousness (Swatos nd ).” (1893), and his third one, Suicide (1897), contain significant and mutually congruent analyses of religion in the context of a focus on other sociological problemsand guiding figure in the influential French or “Durkheim school” of sociology. Born to Jewish parents in Epinal, in the Eastern part of France, his father was a prominent rabbi in the region, while his grandfather and great-grandfather had been rabbis before him. As a youth, Durkheim himself was apparently destined for the rabbinate but instead entered on a course of secular education. At the École Normale Superieure in Paris, he concentrated on philosophy but also explored a wider range of political and social issues. Among his eminent classmates were Henri Bergson, Jean Jaurès, and Pierre Janet. After a year of study in Germany (1885-1886), Durkheim secured a position at Bordeaux in 1887. There he taught pedagogy and social sciences until 1902, when he was called to a professorship of education (later changed to include sociology) at the Sorbonne in Paris, where he remained until his death in 1917. Although he had already emerged to prominence at Bordeaux, Durkheim became a leading figure in French intellectual life during his years in Paris, and his work exercised a strong influence in official educational circles as well as the social sciences (Swatos nd).”1895 French sociologist, Émile Durkheim (1858-1917) published The Rules of Sociological Method which presents “Durkheim’s distinctive sociological approach, with its emphasis on the reality of society (versus the individual level), the need to study social facts as things (choses) , and the comparative, analytical method (Swatos nd ).”

      1989 Sanford Levinson published Constitutional Faith in which he argued (1989:60) Note that the US Constitution states that unlike a pure democracy, in a constitutional republic, citizens in the US are not governed by the majority of the people but by the rule of law (Levinson 1989 ).”Constitutional Republics are a deliberate attempt to diminish the threat of mobocracy thereby protecting minority groups from the tyranny of the majority by placing checks on the power of the majority of the population. The power of the majority of the people is checked by limiting that power to electing representatives who govern within limits of overarching constitutional law rather than the popular vote or government having power to deny any inalienable right.[41] Moreover, the power of elected representatives is also checked by prohibitions against any single individual having legislative, judicial, and executive powers so that basic constitutional law is extremely difficult to change. John Adams defined a constitutional republic as “a government of laws, and not of men.” (wiki)”

      Webliography and Bibliography

      Jefferson, Thomas in correspodence to James Madison. ME 7:455, Papers 15:393.

      Levinson, Sanford. Constitutional Faith. Princeton University Press, 1989, p. 60

      Swatos, William H. Jr. Ed. “Durkheim.” Encyclopedia of Religion and Social Science. Hartford Institute for Religion Research. Hartford, CT. http://hirr.hartsem.edu/ency/durkheim.htm

      to be continued . . .

      CC Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2008. “Collective consciousness, social cohesion, social inclusion and social exclusion” January 13, 2008.

      See also

      CC Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2008. “What is Being Done in the Name of Social Cohesion?” << Speechless. March 12, 2008.


      How can a Canadian social scientist in 2007 set aside economic development, energy security, youth perspectives, mental and spiritual health issues to focus on climate change as it related to hunting, sea ice, and the maintenance of an Inuit [pre-contact?] way of life? What kind of questions were posed in encounters with “Inuit in their homes, in their offices, at the hotel, on the street, [. . .] on weekends as well as weekdays?” How much trust and intimacy can you develop in each community as you seek Inuit to gather impressions when the six-week enquiry is divided between tiny, remote towns, communities and hamlets like Nain in northern Labrador; Kuujjuaq in Nunavik; Iqaluit, Igloolik, Arctic Bay in Nunavut; Yellowknife, NWT and the Inuvialuit in western Arctic Ocean communities like Paulatuk and Tuktoyaktuk reached in twenty-five zigzag flights covering 24,000 kilometres? How does that put people in the picture in our studies of the Arctic? Where is the background context based on Inuit-initiated research? Where are the sources so a public policy researcher can follow through with questions arising from this article? Has this article and lecture by the same name helped in anyway to revisit the distorted history of the Inuit as called for in the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People (1996)? These are some of the questions in response to Griffiths’ (2007) article published in the Walrus magazine. 

       It is misleading to suggest that increased suicide will be a future unintended consequence of the destruction of the Inuit lifestyle without acknowledging the heart-rending on-going tragedy of youth suicide epidemic, with rates that are among the highest in the planet, that directly or indirectly touches every northern Inuit community as well as thousands of urban Inuit in the south. How can any social scientist claim a people-centred ethnography while skimming over key social issues and structional changes affecting Inuit lives such as land claims implementation and human rights concerns regarding access to housing, employment, health and education services (the early exit from schooling). Two or three well-edited and well-researched paragraphs could have briefly traced a critical Inuit social history to dismantle some of the commonly held myths about the north. Readers would have benefited from a more accurate thumbnail sketch of the complexity of Inuit today: linguistic disparities, Inuit governing bodies, local initiatives, the long history of meddling in Inuit affairs by successive waves of interlopers. At the end of the lecture did the assistant from PEI understand that Inuit do not live in igloos anymore and that there are Inuit hunters who are politically-saavy individuals with cellphones and computers who travel frequently to regional, national and international conferences. Did no Inuit in his travels mention the northerly creep of flora and fauna? Would Griffiths not have found both those who are deeply troubled, skeptical or even optimistic about climate change among Newfoundland fishers, PEI farmers, Alberta ranchers, First Nations hunters? Would isolationist southern fishers, farmers and ranchers not also be found to be ruled by immediacy, pragmatic and immediate in their responses to climate change? “As in the Arctic, local opinion tends to be conservative. Quite apart from the collapse of Canadian historical awareness and our ability to interrogate the future, opinion everywhere is presentist in its intent to keep things as they are (Griffiths 2007).” Did Griffiths manage to make meaningful any larger significance derived from local observations he gathered in six weeks?

      “Inuit in particular may have something to tell us about civility as we extend it from the domain of human relations to that of nature at a time when the human condition is directly threatened by civilization (Griffiths 2007).”

      “A crisis narrative is one that tells of impending disaster, explains why it is coming, and instructs the threatened in what to do. It is presented by others, familiar or foreign, who seek to persuade us of their view of our situation, and of our need to join promptly in the measures they recommend. But for those who already see themselves as put upon by unfamiliar or foreign others, the call to accept a crisis narrative is especially galling. A discourse of disaster that originates with others who are known to be dominant cannot but present a threat to our autonomy, to our ability to set our own priorities, to trust what we observe and experience in our everyday lives. This is what Louis Tapardjuk was talking about in Igloolik. Accepted, crisis narratives legitimate the authority and control of distant experts, officials, and decision-makers. They open the way to large-scale intrusions into our way of life (Griffiths 2007).”

      Franklyn Griffiths, George Ignatieff Chair emeritus of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Toronto and co-founder of the Arctic Council, “travelled from one end of Canada’s Arctic to the other — from northern Labrador to the mouth of the Mackenzie River — between late April and early June. Seeking out and gathering impressions in encounters with Inuit from Nain to Kuujjuaq and Iqaluit to Igloolik and Arctic Bay, and on out to Yellowknife, Inuvik, Tuktoyaktuk, and Paulatuk, I flew some 24,000 kilometres in twenty-five flights. His initial contacts were with the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK). [. . .] I saw Inuit in their homes, in their offices, at the hotel, on the street, wherever I could, on weekends as well as weekdays. Setting aside economic development, energy security, youth perspectives, public health including the mental and spiritual, and any number of other possible themes, I determined to centre on climate change as it related to hunting, sea ice, and the maintenance of an Inuit way of life (Griffiths 2007).”

      James Lovelock (2006) in his fictional horror story of climate change, a sensationalist crisis narrative, The Revenge of Gaia, described a world that’s became so unbearably hot that almost all humanity was destroyed and the last remnants of humankind subsisted in the High Arctic where they were forced to relocate. It became so hot there would be camels in the Arctic.

      Sheila Watt-Cloutier, “the former international chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, who is seeking to bring the US government before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. She and other Canadian and Alaskan Inuit claim that the Inuit way of life is being destroyed as a consequence of greenhouse gas emissions produced by the United States (Griffiths 2007).”

      Inuvialuit in communities like Paulatuk and Tuktoyaktuk “are the most clearly menaced by foreseeable change, which could see average surface air temperature rise by as much as 6°C by the end of the century — about three times the expected global mean increase (Griffiths 2007).”

      “[T]he Arctic is the world’s climate change barometer. Inuit are the mercury in that barometer. What is happening in the Arctic now will happen soon further south.” Inuit are adaptable and resourceful, she added. But she also foresaw “a time — well within the lifetime of my eight-year-old grandson — when environmental change will be so great that Inuit will no longer be able to maintain their hunting culture. Global warming has become the ultimate threat to Inuit culture and our survival as an indigenous people.” Speaking on her behalf to a meeting in New York, Mary Simon drew Watt-Cloutier’s message to a very fine point a couple of years earlier: “When we can no longer hunt on the sea ice and eat what we hunt, we will no longer exist as a people (Griffiths 2007).”

      Kusugak’s (2006) Unikkaaqatigiit Putting the Human Face on Climate Change: Perspectives from Inuit in Canada publication refers to the fearful possibility of “having to completely reinvent what it means to be Inuit.”

      Who’s Who

      2000 Of all Inuit it was the Inuvialuit who first took climate change seriously, this with a path-breaking video co-produced with the International Institute for Sustainable Development and presented to Kyoto delegations at The Hague in 2000. Today, the Inuvialuit are planning for the relocation of coastal communities threatened by intense storm activity and rising sea levels (Griffiths 2007).”

      2006 Kusugak, Jose. 2006. Unikkaaqatigiit Putting the Human Face on Climate Change: Perspectives from Inuit in Canada.

      2007 Organized by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences and held six times a year, the Breakfast on the Hill Lecture Series brings together parliamentarians, government officials, the media and the general public to hear important research on pertinent issues. In this November 22nd lecture, Franklyn Griffiths, Professor Emeritus of Political Science and George Ignatieff Chair Emeritus of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Toronto, presented his findings on climate change, the Inuit and Arctic sovereignty. Entitled “Camels in the Arctic?“, this lecture is based on research Griffiths did while traveling in the Arctic.

      2007 Griffiths, Franklyn. 2007. “Camels in the Arctic?” Walrus Magazine. November 30.

      Kusugak, Jose. 2006. Unikkaaqatigiit Putting the Human Face on Climate Change: Perspectives from Inuit in Canada.
      Franklyn Griffiths is George Ignatieff Chair emeritus of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Toronto. He helped establish the Arctic Council.

      Jose Kusugak is a past president of the national Inuit organization, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.

      Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK)

      Webliography and Bibliography

      Griffiths, Franklyn. 2007. “Camels in the Arctic?” Walrus Magazine. November 30.

      Griffiths, Franklyn. 2007. “Camels in the Arctic?” Breakfast on the Hill Lecture Series. November 22. Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

      http://cpac.ca/forms/index.asp?dsp=template&act=view3&pagetype=vod&lang=e&clipID=513

      CC Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. “Inuit Communities as the New DEW Line: Camels in the Arctic?” >> Google Docs. November 30, 2007.

      CC Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. “Inuit Communities as the New DEW Line: Camels in the Arctic?” >> papergirls. November 30, 2007.

      post to del.icio.us.


      For ten years (1990-2000) I had the most seductive job a visual artist could imagine as contract art educator at the National Gallery of Canada. The largest spaces in the gallery were devoted to the growing collection of contemporary art. So most educators included some contemporary art along with European, RCA, Group of Seven and modern art . . . in their survey tours of the collection. In the 1990s contemporary art was almost entirely postmodern and it was there in the early 1990s I experienced my own personal experience of the powers and limits of oppositional postmodernism (Altieri 1990). Perhaps I should have paid more attention that day to where the students were from. But they were an animated, interesting and interested group and the Hans Haake exhibition had just opened. I think it was Hans Haake’s (1983) controversial artwork Here is Alcan (Stephen Biko) (purchased by the National Gallery of Canada in 1983) that abruptly ended my tour. This image of Biko’s severely swollen battered face haunts the history of apartheid and adds weight to the Mandela’s honouring of those heroes like Biko who sought “to redeem the pledge to give a more human face to a society for centuries trampled upon by the jackboot of inhumanity (Mandela 1997). The professor who accompanied the group of CEGEP students from Jonquiere seemed to be personally insulted by Haake’s critique of Alcan and insisted his students leave the gallery immediately.

      Yesterday was the thirtieth anniversay of Biko’s death in his prison cell in Pretoria, South Africa. Biko’s friend and biographer, British journalist Donald Woods’ gruesome postmortum photo of Biko was published around the globe resulting in such international indignation that the Security Council was forced to finally enforce the arms embargo they had instated in 1963. In 1994 Nelson Mandela acknowledged that the death of Biko was the first nail in the coffin of apartheid (Conchiglia 2007).

      A decade ago Nelson Mandela unveiled the bronze statue of Stephen Bantu Biko by Naomi Jacobson as a contribution towards immortalising his life:

      It also gives a certain kind of joy that the financial cost of creating the statue was footed by people in the creative field, including Denzel Washington, Kevin Kline and Richard Attenborough who will be remembered for the film on Biko, `Cry Freedom’. Another contributor is Peter Gabriel whose song `Biko’ helped keep the flame of anti-apartheid solidarity alive. This collaboration of British and American artists bears eloquent witness to Steve Biko’s internationalism (Mandela 1997).

      Contemporary artist Jamelie Hassan (1987) reviewed Haake’s work,

      Among the other works in this survey, Void Mean has the most visual and emotional impact — perhaps because it brings home Canada’s duplicity in tolerating Alcan’s involvement in the apartheid regime. It is in works like Void Mean that the full potency and immediacy of the issues reach us (and bravo to the National Gallery of Canada, who arranged for its loan during a moratorium on the loan of works from their collection so that Void Mean could be seen in the one Canadian gallery on the Haacke tour). Alcan’s corporate presence is appropriated from its promotional material and juxtaposed to two benign sepia images of a Montreal opera sponsored by Alcan. These images bracket a central, coloured, violent news photo of the dead Stephen Biko. In the accompanying text, Alcan’s involvement in South Africa is described: ‘The most important producer of aluminum sheet and the only fabricator of aluminum sheet in South Africa. From a non-white work force of 2,300 the company has trained eight skilled workers’ (translation from the French). To underline its source, the work is fabricated from aluminum storm windows: the top panels contain Alcan’s silver logo; the bottom panels, the images of the opera and Biko, to reinforce the reality of the violence perpetrated (Hassan 1987).

      Bibliography

      Altieri, C. 1990. “The Powers and the Limits of Oppositional Postmodernism.” American Literary History. 2: 443-481.
      Bois, Yve-Alain; Crim, Douglas; Krauss, Rosalind; Haake, Hans. 1984. “A Conversation with Hans Haacke.” October. Vol. 30. Autumn: pp. 23-48.

      Conchiglia, Augusta. 2007. “Steve Biko, la conscience noire.” Le monde diplomatique. September 12, 2007.

      Hassan, Jamelie. 1987. “Hans Haacke at The Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, May 15 – June 21.” Vanguard, Vol. 16:4, Sept/Oct 1987.

      Mandela, Nelson. 1997. “Address at 20th Anniversary of Steve Biko’s Death.” East London, 12 September 1997. http://www.anc.org.za/ancdocs/history/mandela/1997/sp970912.html

      Creative Commons License 2.5 Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. “Stephen Bantu Biko (1940-1977) Thirty Years Later.” >> speechless http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=ddp3qxmz_361xsrzrh


      Stephen Colbert patented the WORD unquisition in honour of Onfray. He describes the work of unquisitionists as, “Missionary secularists [who] are working hard to convince the faithful not not believe what they don’t.” (Colbert 2007).

      Karen Armstrong, a prominent British author on religion, claims that missionary secularism mimics the ardor of Christianity, Islam and Marxism, all of which have at their core an urge to convert nonbelievers to their world view (Higgins 2007 ).

      Michel Onfray chose Delacroix’s Jacob Fighting the Devil for the cover of his controversial book entitled Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam (2007). It is one of a series of publications that are part of the rise in missionary secularists’ Atheist manifestos such as Sam Harris’ Letter to a Christian Nation, and Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion, Michel Onfray’s Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. and Christopher Hitchens’ God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.

      Michel Onfray, who has a enormous cult following as philosopher and high-priest of atheism, advocates work by Marx, Foucault, Nietzche, Gilles Deleuze, and Jeremny Bentham instead of the Bible or the Koran. His interview with Nicolas Sarkozy on Philosophie Mag has an enormous impact.

      D’un côté, un philosophe athée, antilibéral, hédoniste et libertaire. De l’autre, un candidat à la présidentielle n’hésitant pas à remettre en cause la loi sur la séparation de l’Église et de l’État, un ministre de l’Intérieur rêvant au rétablissement de l’autorité. À notre initiative, les deux hommes se sont rencontrés. On s’attendait à un choc frontal, il a été question de la croyance, du mal, de la liberté, de la transgression (Nicolas Sarkozy et Michel Onfray: Confidences entre Ennemis).

      In the course of the interview Onfray ceremoniously offered Sarkozy gifts of his own secular bibles:

      Totem et Tabou, je vous l’offre parce que Sigmund Freud y traite du meurtre du père et de l’exercice du pouvoir dans la horde. L’Antéchrist de Friedrich Nietzsche, pour la question de la religion, la critique radicale de la morale chrétienne à vous qui, parfois, allez à la messe en famille. Michel Foucault, c’est une lecture que je recommande plus particulièrement au ministre de l’Intérieur, adepte des solutions disciplinaires. Dans Surveiller et punir, Michel Foucault analyse le rôle du système carcéral et de l’emprisonnement, puis de leur relation avec la norme libérale. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, enfin, car il montre qu’on peut ne pas être libéral sans pour autant être communiste (Nicolas Sarkozy et Michel Onfray: Confidences entre Ennemis).

      Delacroix’ painting Jacob Fighting the Devil is visible on this theatrical poster for Director Sally Potter’s (1997) film The Tango Lesson.

      Poster provided through Wikipedia by Sony2.

      Key words: evangelical atheist, Unquisition, Atheist, Awakening Secular, Selling Nothingness, Colbert, Michel Onfray, Christopher Hitchens vs Lou Dobs,

      Notes
      1. This is a file from the Wikimedia CommonsThis illustration was made by Gloumouth1. Please credit this : Gloumouth1, http://gloumouth1.free.fr (An email to gloumouth1 at laposte.net would be appreciated too).

      2. Wikipedia advises that the use of scaled-down, low-resolution images of posters to illustrate the film, event, etc. in question or to provide critical analysis of the poster content or artworkEnglish-language Wikipedia, hosted on servers in the United States by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, qualifies as fair use under United States copyright law. Any other uses of this image, on Wikipedia or elsewhere, may be copyright infringement. See Wikipedia:Non-free content for more information. To the uploader: please add a detailed fair use rationale for each use, as described on Wikipedia:Image description page, as well as the source of the work and copyright information. Fair use rationale:This image is being used to illustrate the article of the movie in question and is used for informational purposes only. This image is of low resolution. It is believed that this image will not devalue the ability of the copyright holder to profit from the original work. Image used for comment, reporting, and teaching qualifies as Fair Use.

      3. Images are only available in the Google docs version Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. >> http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=ddp3qxmz_233dqs84d”> “Unquisition: Selling Nothingness.”

      Webliography and Bibliography

      Colbert, Stephen. 2007. Unquisition. May 3.

      Delacroix, Eugène. Jacob Fighting the Devil. Lutte de Jacob avec l’Ange. Eglise Saint Sulpice Detail. 2005.1

      Hitchens, Christopher. 2007. God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Twelve/Warner Books. 

      “Jacob Fighting the Devil.” chapter 32 of Genesis

      Kinsley, Michael. 2007. “In God, Distrust.” Sunday Book Review. New York Times. May 13.
      Lacroix, Alexandre, Truong, Nicolas. 2007. “Nicolas Sarkozy et Michel Onfray: Confidences entre Ennemis.” Philosophie Mag. No. 8. >> Philomag.com

      Onfray, Michel. Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

      Higgins, Andrew. 2007. As religious strife grows, atheists seize pulpit.” Northwest Herald. >> nwherald.com. April 13.   

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