Saturday, May 08, 2004

I Like what Brian Massumi has to say about hope.

It seems like a pretty buddhist approach. No hope. No Fear. Recognizing how uncertain the display of mind is.

"I’d like to think about hope and the affective dimensions of our experience — what freedoms are possible in the new and ‘virtualised’ global and political economies that frame our lives. To begin, though, what are your thoughts on the potential of hope for these times?

From my own point of view, the way that a concept like hope can be made useful is when it is not connected to an expected success — when it starts to be something different from optimism — because when you start trying to think ahead into the future from the present point, rationally there really isn’t much room for hope. Globally it’s a very pessimistic affair, with economic inequalities increasing year by year, with health and sanitation levels steadily decreasing in many regions, with the global effects of environmental deterioration already being felt, with conflicts among nations and peoples apparently only getting more intractable, leading to mass displacements of workers and refugees ... It seems such a mess that I think it can be paralysing. If hope is the opposite of pessimism, then there’s precious little to be had. On the other hand, if hope is separated from concepts of optimism and pessimism, from a wishful projection of success or even some kind of a rational calculation of outcomes, then I think it starts to be interesting — because it places it in the present.

Yes — the idea of hope in the present is vital. Otherwise we endlessly look to the future or toward some utopian dream of a better society or life, which can only leave us disappointed, and if we see pessimism as the nature flow from this, we can only be paralysed as you suggest.

Yes, because in every situation there are any number of levels of organisation and tendencies in play, in cooperation with each other or at cross-purposes. The way all the elements interrelate is so complex that it isn’t necessarily comprehensible in one go. There’s always a sort of vagueness surrounding the situation, an uncertainty about where you might be able to go and what you might be able to do once you exit that particular context. This uncertainty can actually be empowering — once you realise that it gives you a margin of manoeuvrability and you focus on that, rather than on projecting success or failure. It gives you the feeling that there is always an opening to experiment, to try and see. This brings a sense of potential to the situation. The present’s ‘boundary condition’, to borrow a phrase from science, is never a closed door. It is an open threshold — a threshold of potential. You are only ever in the present in passing. If you look at that way you don’t have to feel boxed in by it, no matter what its horrors and no matter what, rationally, you expect will come. You may not reach the end of the trail but at least there’s a next step. The question of which next step to take is a lot less intimidating than how to reach a far-off goal in a distant future where all our problems will finally be solved. It’s utopian thinking, for me, that’s ‘hopeless’."

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Nomad Mind

Been reading Deleuze and Massumi and De Landa. Rhizome. Nomad Mind.
Seems to be akin to observations during meditation
how the roots of thought sprout and spread
how all *things* are the forces that lead to them or lead them
away from us and our thoughts

the brake lights last night of the car before me
forces of electricity and foot and previous cars and feet in a line a stop light triggered by patterns of traffic, and timing signals set by those who study patterns of traffic and triggered also by pressure of the weight of a car and the bodies within, on a plate embedded in the road by burly guys who drink beer the night before and place the plate a little deep and the wives and kids and the cost of beer because of the price of oil at the time of the construction of the road set by hostage crises in Iran because of the Shah and previous USA administrations and the way the brits carved up the middle east and spread to AMerica driving down the native populations......