Trees with Roots, without Ground

Descartes… observed: “Thus the whole of philosophy is like a tree: the roots are metaphysics, the trunk is physics, and the branches that issue from the trunk are all the other sciences . . .”

In what soil do the roots of the tree of philosophy have their hold? Out of what ground do the roots-and through them the whole tree-receive their nourishing juices and strength? What element, concealed in the ground, enters and lives in the roots that support and nourish the tree? What is the basis and element of metaphysics? What is metaphysics, viewed from its ground? What is metaphysics itself, at bottom? (Heidegger, “Existence and Being“, 1949)

Tree fighting the erosion of soil in Olympic National Park (Port Angeles, WA)
Tree fighting erosion in the Nature Institute (Godfrey, IL)

Philosophie et vérité (1965)

Someone sent me today this nice video of a dialogue between Badiou, Canguilhem, Dreyfus, Foucault, Hypolite and Ricoeur on truth, science and philosophy. It is nice seeing and listening to these great minds rather than reading their voices through the texts we teach and study at university. The manner in which they interact, dress, move, respond and act and the things that are left unsaid (but implied) are as just interesting as the ideas they posit. Alain Badiou is the only one still alive today.

Noise as Pure Potential

Michel Serres starts his book Genesis with the myth of Venus’ eruption from the ‘noise of the sea’. The idea of noise as potential for turbulent emergence seems to be the main theme of an interesting discussion on Serres by my Facebook friend  Jamie Allen. I got to know Jamie in his role as editor for Continent, a journal of philosophy and art.

continent. maps a topology of unstable confluences and ranges across new thinking, traversing interstices and alternate directions in culture, theory, biopolitics and art.

The talk is in Stroom Den Haag, Hogewal 1-9, The Hague, NL. More info can be found here.

Artists in residence Jamie Allen and Will Schrimshaw will lead two reading room sessions around the topic of noise as a form of pure potential. These sessions will discuss texts from Michel Serres, Friedrich Kittler, Gilles Deleuze and Gilbert Simondon.

“Death Must be Earned”

La Mort se Merite (“Death Must be Earned”) is a documentary in the making on the French writer Serge Livrozet. Livrozet, largely unknown outside of France, is probably most known for his role in the 1972 Melun prison protests and for the setting up of the Comité d’action des prisonniers which tried to abolish prisons. The collective would write a short book, De la prison à la révolte (“Prison Revolt”), for which Michel Foucault would write a preface (available in French). The book marked one of the first efforts towards a political analysis on the prison system written by an ex-prisoner. The trailer features English subtitles for those whose French is rusty.

Divinity: Notes on the Thought of Luce Irigaray

Interesting text by Abigail Rine Favale on the French feminist philosopher Luce Irigaray and her work on and relation to divinity and religion, available from the superb Critical Legal Thinking website.

Religion, she [Luce Irigaray] writes, ‘in some obscure way … holds together the totality of the self, of the community and culture’, and as such, it is crucial to consider ‘how we have been determined by this dimension and how we can, in the present, situate ourselves with respect to it’ (Key Writings, pp. 171, 145).

Sloterdijk Interview

The Huffington Post (or is it the WorldPost?) has an interview with Peter Sloterdijk. The discussion deals primarily with questions over ‘human domestication’, evolution and biological anthropology. Most of the points made are already covered in Sloterdijk’s widely and hotly debated “Rules for the Human Zoo” (Menschentreibhaus), which can be downloaded here in pdf.

The human being — especially in so-called “advanced civilizations” — is the animal that molds itself into its own pet. While evolution means adaptation to a natural environment, domestication means, from the outset, adaptation to the artificial.

More worthwhile perhaps is this video of a discussion between the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and Sloterdijk on architecture (in German).