Quasi Stellar- Apostolia Papadamaki

Posted on June 25, 2011

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BY CHOREOGRAPHER APOSTOLIA PAPADAMAKI – QUASI STELLAR

 

stillness

“…what I find myself excited by is stillness as a focus in the body.
When you think about stillness of course, you realise that the body is never still.
Stillness is a quality of the mind and body that ideally you always carry with you – and if you can tap into that stillness it seems to stimulate movement from a particular source.

I heard John Berger recently talking about writing being like smashing the silence around the word. It’s the same in dance. There’s a stillness around movement waiting to be broken
…and when you go through that stillness to find the movement,
there’s another stillness at the centre of that…and so it goes on.”

 

 

To sit still

To sit still
to have the flame in front
To enter the flame
and burn up what is unnecessary

To sit before a window
through the glass a northern pine, bare rocks
and way up out of the city white bears
and reindeer

To sit before a window
high above a gothic street
which sweats the southern sounds
of stretched night time
the ring of butane sellers
and other voices
bouncing betwee the cheeks of the houses.

A wild goose flaps its urgent wings
and mounts the air
to gain sky
above a group of trees at the field’s edge
and airborne , aims singularly where it must.

 

 

. Imagination

1. Words are for contemplation and aim to stimulate;
they are born of observation at a given point in time.
As dance moves, so does thought.

2. Improvising conveys a person’s thought and feelings at a specific time
– not waiting to be conclusions, these feelings and thoughts are able and desirous enough to take form…to be performed… movement coming from all of the many centres in the body.

3. The body has a potential of a wide range of expression and recognition of its environment.
It can orientate itself at the same time both in the tangible world of its sorroundings
and the intangible world of its imagination.
In the improvised moment the audience is present as the dance
deals creatively with these two spheres.

4. The body prefers differentiation   and individuation more than generalization and conclusions.
The body uses movement to expose the imagination.
In movement, imagination becomes physical.

Other thoughts

I am interested in how long things take to happen
and where we look while they are happening.

Movement is the osmotic interchange of the body with its environment
and dancing is the poetics of this exchange.

Improvisation is the act of composing instantly.

The dancing improviser
is moving in his or her most intuitive state
ready for
discovery,
creativity and
performance
all at the same time.

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Art is defined by Aristotle as the realization in external form of a true idea, and is traced back to that natural love of imitation which characterizes humans, and to the pleasure which we feel in recognizing likenesses. Art however is not limited to mere copying. It idealizes nature and completes its deficiencies: it seeks to grasp the universal type in the individual phenomenon. The distinction therefore between poetic art and history is not that the one uses meter, and the other does not. The distinction is that while history is limited to what has actually happened, poetry depicts things in their universal character. And, therefore, “poetry is more philosophical and more elevated than history.” Such imitation may represent people either as better or as worse than people usually are, or it may neither go beyond nor fall below the average standard. Comedy is the imitation of the worse examples of humanity, understood however not in the sense of absolute badness, but only in so far as what is low and ignoble enters into what is laughable and comic.

Tragedy, on the other hand, is the representation of a serious or meaningful, rounded or finished, and more or less extended or far-reaching action — a representation which is effected by action and not mere narration. It is fitted by portraying events which excite fear and pity in the mind of the observer to purify or purge these feelings and extend and regulate their sympathy. It is thus a homeopathic curing of the passions. Insofar as art in general universalizes particular events, tragedy, in depicting passionate and critical situations, takes the observer outside the selfish and individual standpoint, and views them in connection with the general lot of human beings. This is similar to Aristotle’s explanation of the use of orgiastic music in the worship of Bacchas and other deities: it affords an outlet for religious fervor and thus steadies one’s religious sentiments.

Aristotle’s editors gave the name “Metaphysics” to his works on first philosophy, either because they went beyond or followed after his physical investigations. Aristotle begins by sketching the history of philosophy. For Aristotle, philosophy arose historically after basic necessities were secured. It grew out of a feeling of curiosity and wonder, to which religious myth gave only provisional satisfaction. The earliest speculators (i.e. Thales, Anaximenes, Anaximander) were philosophers of nature. The Pythagoreans succeeded these with mathematical abstractions. The level of pure thought was reached partly in the Eleatic philosophers (such as Parmenides) and Anaxagoras, but more completely in the work of Socrates. Socrates’ contribution was the expression of general conceptions in the form of definitions, which he arrived at by induction and analogy. For Aristotle, the subject of metaphysics deals with the first principles of scientific knowledge and the ultimate conditions of all existence. More specifically, it deals with existence in its most fundamental state (i.e. being as being), and the essential attributes of existence. This can be contrasted with mathematics which deals with existence in terms of lines or angles, and not existence as it is in itself. In its universal character, metaphysics superficially resembles dialectics and sophistry. However, it differs from dialectics which is tentative, and it differs from sophistry which is a pretence of knowledge without the reality.

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The axioms of science fall under the consideration of the metaphysician insofar as they are properties of all existence. Aristotle argues that there are a handful of universal truths. Against the followers of Heraclitus and Protagoras, Aristotle defends both the laws of contradiction, and that of excluded middle. He does this by showing that their denial is suicidal. Carried out to its logical consequences, the denial of these laws would lead to the sameness of all facts and all assertions. It would also result in an indifference in conduct. As the science of being as being, the leading question of Aristotle’s metaphysics is, What is meant by the real or true substance? Plato tried to solve the same question by positing a universal and invariable element of knowledge and existence — the forms — as the only real permanent besides the changing phenomena of the senses. Aristotle attacks Plato’s theory of the forms on three different grounds.

First, Aristotle argues, forms are powerless to explain changes of things and a thing’s ultimate extinction. Forms are not causes of movement and alteration in the physical objects of sensation. Second, forms are equally incompetent to explain how we arrive at knowledge of particular things. For, to have knowledge of a particular object, it must be knowledge of the substance which is in that things. However, the forms place knowledge outside of particular things. Further, to suppose that we know particular things better by adding on their general conceptions of their forms, is about as absurd as to imagine that we can count numbers better by multiplying them. Finally, if forms were needed to explain our knowledge of particular objects, then forms must be used to explain our knowledge of objects of art; however, Platonists do not recognize such forms. The third ground of attack is that the forms simply cannot explain the existence of particular objects. Plato contends that forms do not exist in the particular objects which partake in the forms. However, that substance of a particular thing cannot be separated from the thing itself. Further, aside from the jargon of “participation,” Plato does not explain the relation between forms and particular things. In reality, it is merely metaphorical to describe the forms as patterns of things; for, what is a genus to one object is a species to a higher class, the same idea will have to be both a form and a particular thing at the same time. Finally, on Plato’s account of the forms, we must imagine an intermediate link between the form and the particular object, and so on ad infinitum: there must always be a “third man” between the individual man and the form of man.

For Aristotle, the form is not something outside the object, but rather in the varied phenomena of sense. Real substance, or true being, is not the abstract form, but rather the concrete individual thing. Unfortunately, Aristotle’s theory of substance is not altogether consistent with itself. In the Categories the notion of substance tends to be nominalistic (i.e., substance is a concept we apply to things). In the Metaphysics, though, it frequently inclines towards realism (i.e., substance has a real existence in itself). We are also struck by the apparent contradiction in his claims that science deals with universal concepts, and substance is declared to be an individual. In any case, substance is for him a merging of matter into form. The term “matter” is used by Aristotle in four overlapping senses. First, it is the underlying structure of changes, particularly changes of growth and of decay. Secondly, it is the potential which has implicitly the capacity to develop into reality. Thirdly, it is a kind of stuff without specific qualities and so is indeterminate and contingent. Fourthly, it is identical with form when it takes on a form in its actualized and final phase.

The development of potentiality to actuality is one of the most important aspects of Aristotle’s philosophy. It was intended to solve the difficulties which earlier thinkers had raised with reference to the beginnings of existence and the relations of the one and many. The actual vs. potential state of things is explained in terms of the causes which act on things. There are four causes:

  1. Material cause, or the elements out of which an object is created;
  2. Efficient cause, or the means by which it is created;
  3. Formal cause, or the expression of what it is;
  4. Final cause, or the end for which it is.

Take, for example, a bronze statue. Its material cause is the bronze itself. Its efficient cause is the sculptor, insofar has he forces the bronze into shape. The formal cause is the idea of the completed statue. The final cause is the idea of the statue as it prompts the sculptor to act on the bronze. The final cause tends to be the same as the formal cause, and both of these can be subsumed by the efficient cause. Of the four, it is the formal and final which is the most important, and which most truly gives the explanation of an object. The final end (purpose, or teleology) of a thing is realized in the full perfection of the object itself, not in our conception of it. Final cause is thus internal to the nature of the object itself, and not something we subjectively impose on it.

God to Aristotle is the first of all substances, the necessary first source of movement who is himself unmoved. God is a being with everlasting life, and perfect blessedness, engaged in never-ending contemplation. 

SUPERLUX

Philosophy of Nature

Aristotle sees the universe as a scale lying between the two extremes: form without matter is on one end, and matter without form is on the other end. The passage of matter into form must be shown in its various stages in the world of nature. To do this is the object of Aristotle’s physics, or philosophy of nature. It is important to keep in mind that the passage from form to matter within nature is a movement towards ends or purposes. Everything in nature has its end and function, and nothing is without its purpose. Everywhere we find evidences of design and rational plan. No doctrine of physics can ignore the fundamental notions of motion, space, and time. Motion is the passage of matter into form, and it is of four kinds: (1) motion which affects the substance of a thing, particularly its beginning and its ending; (2) motion which brings about changes in quality; (3) motion which brings about changes in quantity, by increasing it and decreasing it; and (4) motion which brings about locomotion, or change of place. Of these the last is the most fundamental and important.

Aristotle rejects the definition of space as the void. Empty space is an impossibility. Hence, too, he disagrees with the view of Plato and the Pythagoreans that the elements are composed of geometrical figures. Space is defined as the limit of the surrounding body towards what is surrounded. Time is defined as the measure of motion in regard to what is earlier and later. it thus depends for its existence upon motion. If there where no change in the universe, there would be no time. Since it is the measuring or counting of motion, it also depends for its existence on a counting mind. If there were no mind to count, there could be no time. As to the infinite divisibility of space and time, and the paradoxes proposed by Zeno, Aristotle argues that space and time are potentially divisible ad infinitum, but are not actually so divided.

After these preliminaries, Aristotle passes to the main subject of physics, the scale of being. The first thing to notice about this scale is that it is a scale of values. What is higher on the scale of being is of more worth, because the principle of form is more advanced in it. Species on this scale are eternally fixed in their place, and cannot evolve over time. The higher items on the scale are also more organized. Further, the lower items are inorganic and the higher are organic. The principle which gives internal organization to the higher or organic items on the scale of being is life, or what he calls the soul of the organism. Even the human soul is nothing but the organization of the body. Plants are the lowest forms of life on the scale, and their souls contain a nutritive element by which it preserves itself. Animals are above plants on the scale, and their souls contain an appetitive feature which allows them to have sensations, desires, and thus gives them the ability to move. The scale of being proceeds from animals to humans. The human soul shares the nutritive element with plants, and the appetitive element with animals, but also has a rational element which is distinctively our own. The details of the appetitive and rational aspects of the soul are described in the following two sections.

 

The Soul and Psychology

Soul is defined by Aristotle as the perfect expression or realization of a natural body. From this definition it follows that there is a close connection between psychological states, and physiological processes. Body and soul are unified in the same way that wax and an impression stamped on it are unified. Metaphysicians before Aristotle discussed the soul abstractly without any regard to the bodily environment; this, Aristotle believes, was a mistake. At the same time, Aristotle regards the soul or mind not as the product of the physiological conditions of the body, but as the truth of the body — the substance in which only the bodily conditions gain their real meaning.

The soul manifests its activity in certain “faculties” or “parts” which correspond with the stages of biological development, and are the faculties of nutrition (peculiar to plants), that of movement (peculiar to animals), and that of reason (peculiar to humans). These faculties resemble mathematical figures in which the higher includes the lower, and must be understood not as like actual physical parts, but like such aspects as convex and concave which we distinguish in the same line. The mind remains throughout a unity: and it is absurd to speak of it, as Plato did, as desiring with one part and feeling anger with another. Sense perception is a faculty of receiving the forms of outward objects independently of the matter of which they are composed, just as the wax takes on the figure of the seal without the gold or other metal of which the seal is composed. As the subject of impression, perception involves a movement and a kind of qualitative change; but perception is not merely a passive or receptive affection. It in turn acts, and, distinguishing between the qualities of outward things, becomes “a movement of the soul through the medium of the body.”

The objects of the senses may be either (1) special, (such as color is the special object of sight, and sound of hearing), (2) common, or apprehended by several senses in combination (such as motion or figure), or (3) incidental or inferential (such as when from the immediate sensation of white we come to know a person or object which is white). There are five special senses. Of these, touch is the must rudimentary, hearing the most instructive, and sight the most ennobling. The organ in these senses never acts directly , but is affected by some medium such as air. Even touch, which seems to act by actual contact, probably involves some vehicle of communication. For Aristotle, the heart is the common or central sense organ. It recognizes the common qualities which are involved in all particular objects of sensation. It is, first, the sense which brings us a consciousness of sensation. Secondly, in one act before the mind, it holds up the objects of our knowledge and enables us to distinguish between the reports of different senses.

Aristotle defines the imagination as “the movement which results upon an actual sensation.” In other words, it is the process by which an impression of the senses is pictured and retained before the mind, and is accordingly the basis of memory. The representative pictures which it provides form the materials of reason. Illusions and dreams are both alike due to an excitement in the organ of sense similar to that which would be caused by the actual presence of the sensible phenomenon. Memory is defined as the permanent possession of the sensuous picture as a copy which represents the object of which it is a picture. Recollection, or the calling back to mind the residue of memory, depends on the laws which regulate the association of our ideas. We trace the associations by starting with the thought of the object present to us, then considering what is similar, contrary or contiguous.

Reason is the source of the first principles of knowledge. Reason is opposed to the sense insofar as sensations are restricted and individual, and thought is free and universal. Also, while the senses deals with the concrete and material aspect of phenomena, reason deals with the abstract and ideal aspects. But while reason is in itself the source of general ideas, it is so only potentially. For, it arrives at them only by a process of development in which it gradually clothes sense in thought, and unifies and interprets sense-presentations. This work of reason in thinking beings suggests the question: How can immaterial thought come to receive material things? It is only possible in virtue of some community between thought and things. Aristotle recognizes an active reason which makes objects of thought. This is distinguished from passive reason which receives, combines and compares the objects of thought. Active reason makes the world intelligible, and bestows on the materials of knowledge those ideas or categories which make them accessible to thought. This is just as the sun communicates to material objects that light, without which color would be invisible, and sight would have no object. Hence reason is the constant support of an intelligible world. While assigning reason to the soul of humans, Aristotle describes it as coming from without, and almost seems to identify it with God as the eternal and omnipresent thinker. Even in humans, in short, reason realizes something of the essential characteristic of absolute thought — the unity of thought as subject with thought as object.

Ethics

Ethics, as viewed by Aristotle, is an attempt to find out our chief end or highest good: an end which he maintains is really final. Though many ends of life are only means to further ends, our aspirations and desires must have some final object or pursuit. Such a chief end is universally called happiness. But people mean such different things by the expression that he finds it necessary to discuss the nature of it for himself. For starters, happiness must be based on human nature, and must begin from the facts of personal experience. Thus, happiness cannot be found in any abstract or ideal notion, like Plato’s self-existing good. It must be something practical an human. It must then be found in the work and life which is unique to humans. But this is neither the vegetative life we share with plants nor the sensitive existence which we share with animals. It follows therefore that true happiness lies in the active life of a rational being or in a perfect realization and outworking of the true soul and self, continued throughout a lifetime.

Aristotle expands his notion of happiness through an analysis of the human soul which structures and animates a living human organism. The parts of the soul are divided as follows:

  Calculative — Intellectual Virtue
Rational  
  Appetitive — Moral Virtue
Irrational  
  Vegetative — Nutritional Virtue

The human soul has an irrational element which is shared with the animals, and a rational element which is distinctly human. The most primitive irrational element is the vegetative faculty which is responsible for nutrition and growth. An organism which does this well may be said to have a nutritional virtue. The second tier of the soul is the appetitive faculty which is responsible for our emotions and desires (such as joy, grief, hope and fear). This faculty is both rational and irrational. It is irrational since even animals experience desires. However, it is also rational since humans have the distinct ability to control these desires with the help of reason. The human ability to properly control these desires is called moral virtue, and is the focus of morality. Aristotle notes that there is a purely rational part of the soul, the calculative, which is responsible for the human ability to contemplate, reason logically, and formulate scientific principles. The mastery of these abilities is called intellectual virtue.

Aristotle continues by making several general points about the nature of moral virtues (i.e. desire-regulating virtues). First, he argues that the ability to regulate our desires is not instinctive, but learned and is the outcome of both teaching and practice. Second, he notes that if we regulate our desires either too much or too little, then we create problems. As an analogy, Aristotle comments that, either “excess or deficiency of gymnastic exercise is fatal to strength.” Third, he argues that desire-regulating virtues are character traits, and are not to be understood as either emotions or mental faculties.

The core of Aristotle’s account of moral virtue is his doctrine of the mean. According to this doctrine, moral virtues are desire-regulating character traits which are at a mean between more extreme character traits (or vices). For example, in response to the natural emotion of fear, we should develop the virtuous character trait of courage. If we develop an excessive character trait by curbing fear too much, then we are said to be rash, which is a vice. If, on the other extreme, we develop a deficient character trait by curbing fear too little, then we are said to be cowardly, which is also a vice. The virtue of courage, then, lies at the mean between the excessive extreme of rashness, and the deficient extreme of cowardice. Aristotle is quick to point out that the virtuous mean is not a strict mathematical mean between two extremes. For example, if eating 100 apples is too many, and eating zero apples is too little, this does not imply that we should eat 50 apples, which is the mathematical mean. Instead, the mean is rationally determined, based on the relative merits of the situation. That is, it is “as a prudent man would determine it.” He concludes that it is difficult to live the virtuous life primarily because it is often difficult to find the mean between the extremes.

Most moral virtues, and not just courage, are to be understood as falling at the mean between two accompanying vices. His list may be represented by the following table:

Vice of Deficiency

Virtuous Mean

Vice of Excess

Cowardice Courage Rashness
Insensibility Temperance Intemperance
Illiberality Liberality Prodigality
Pettiness Munificence Vulgarity
Humble-mindedness High-mindedness Vaingloriness
Want of Ambition Right Ambition Over-ambition
Spiritlessness Good Temper Irascibility
Surliness Friendly Civility Obsequiousness
Ironical Depreciation Sincerity Boastfulness
Boorishness Wittiness Buffoonery
Shamelessness Modesty Bashfulness
Callousness Just Resentment Spitefulness

The prominent virtue of this list is high-mindedness, which, as being a kind of ideal self-respect, is regarded as the crown of all the other virtues, depending on them for its existence, and itself in turn tending to intensify their force. The list seems to be more a deduction from the formula than a statement of the facts on which the formula itself depends, and Aristotle accordingly finds language frequently inadequate to express the states of excess or defect which his theory involves (for example in dealing with the virtue of ambition). Throughout the list he insists on the “autonomy of will” as indispensable to virtue: courage for instance is only really worthy of the name when done from a love of honor and duty: munificence again becomes vulgarity when it is not exercised from a love of what is right and beautiful, but for displaying wealth.

Justice is used both in a general and in a special sense. In its general sense it is equivalent to the observance of law. As such it is the same thing as virtue, differing only insofar as virtue exercises the disposition simply in the abstract, and justice applies it in dealings with people. Particular justice displays itself in two forms. First, distributive justice hands out honors and rewards according to the merits of the recipients. Second, corrective justice takes no account of the position of the parties concerned, but simply secures equality between the two by taking away from the advantage of the one and adding it to the disadvantage of the other. Strictly speaking, distributive and corrective justice are more than mere retaliation and reciprocity. However, in concrete situations of civil life, retaliation and reciprocity is an adequate formula since such circumstances involve money, depending on a relation between producer and consumer. Since absolute justice is abstract in nature, in the real world it must be supplemented with equity, which corrects and modifies the laws of justice where it falls short. Thus, morality requires a standard which will not only regulate the inadequacies of absolute justice but be also an idea of moral progress.

This idea of morality is given by the faculty of moral insight. The truly good person is at the same time a person of perfect insight, and a person of perfect insight is also perfectly good. Our idea of the ultimate end of moral action is developed through habitual experience, and this gradually frames itself out of particular perceptions. It is the job of reason to apprehend and organize these particular perceptions. However, moral action is never the result of a mere act of the understanding, nor is it the result of a simple desire which views objects merely as things which produce pain or pleasure. We start with a rational conception of what is advantageous, but this conception is in itself powerless without the natural impulse which will give it strength. The will or purpose implied by morality is thus either reason stimulated to act by desire, or desire guided and controlled by understanding. These factors then motivate the willful action. Freedom of the will is a factor with both virtuous choices and vicious choices. Actions are involuntary only when another person forces our action, or if we are ignorant of important details in actions. Actions are voluntary when the originating cause of action (either virtuous or vicious) lies in ourselves.

Moral weakness of the will results in someone does what is wrong, knowing that it is right, and yet follows his desire against reason. For Aristotle, this condition is not a myth, as Socrates supposed it was. The problem is a matter of conflicting moral principles. Moral action may be represented as a syllogism in which a general principle of morality forms the first (i.e. major) premise, while the particular application is the second (i.e. minor) premise. The conclusion, though, which is arrived at through speculation, is not always carried out in practice. The moral syllogism is not simply a matter of logic, but involves psychological drives and desires. Desires can lead to a minor premise being applied to one rather than another of two major premises existing in the agent’s mind. Animals, on the other hand, cannot be called weak willed or incontinent since such a conflict of principles is not possible with them.

Electric Girl

Pleasure is not to be identified with Good. Pleasure is found in the consciousness of free spontaneous action. It is an invisible experience, like vision, and is always present when a perfect organ acts upon a perfect object. Pleasures accordingly differ in kind, varying along with the different value of the functions of which they are the expression. They are determined ultimately by the judgment of “the good person.” Our chief end is the perfect development of our true nature; it thus must be particularly found in the realization of our highest faculty, that is, reason. It is this in fact which constitutes our personality, and we would not be pursuing our own life, but the life of some lower being, if we followed any other aim. Self-love accordingly may be said to be the highest law of morals, because while such self-love may be understood as the selfishness which gratifies a person’s lower nature, it may also be, and is rightly, the love of that higher and rational nature which constitutes each person’s true self. Such a life of thought is further recommended as that which is most pleasant, most self-sufficient, most continuous, and most consonant with our purpose. It is also that which is most akin to the life of God: for God cannot be conceived as practising the ordinary moral virtues and must therefore find his happiness in contemplation.

Friendship is an indispensable aid in framing for ourselves the higher moral life; if not itself a virtue, it is at least associated with virtue, and it proves itself of service in almost all conditions of our existence. Such results, however, are to be derived not from the worldly friendships of utility or pleasure, but only from those which are founded on virtue. The true friend is in fact a second self, and the true moral value of friendship lies in the fact that the friend presents to us a mirror of good actions, and so intensifies our consciousness and our appreciation of life.

Critique of the Earlier Theory of Forms

One of the most puzzling features of the late dialogues is the strong suggestion in them that Plato has reconsidered his theory of Forms in some way. Although there seems still in the late dialogues to be a theory of Forms (although the theory is-quite strikingly-wholly unmentioned in the Theaetetus, a later dialogue on the nature of knowledge), where it does appear in the later dialogues, it seems in several ways to have been modified from its conception in the middle period works. Perhaps the most dramatic signal of such a change in the theory appears first in the Parmenides, which appears to subject the middle period version of the theory to a kind of “Socratic” refutation, only this time, the main refuter is the older Eleatic philosopher Parmenides, and the hapless victim of the refutation is a youthful Socrates. The most famous (and apparently fatal) of the arguments provided by Parmenides in this dialogue has come to be known as the “Third Man Argument,” which suggests that the conception of participation (by which individual objects take on the characters of the Forms) falls prey to an infinite regress: If individual male things are male in virtue of participation in the Form of Man, and the Form of Man is itself male, then what is common to both The Form of Man and the particular male things must be that they all participate in some (other) Form, say, Man 2. But then, if Man 2 is male, then what it has in common with the other male things is participation in some further Form, Man 3, and so on. That Plato’s theory is open to this problem gains support from the notion, mentioned above, that Forms are exemplars. If the Form of Man is itself a (perfect) male, then the Form shares a property in common with the males that participate in it. But since the Theory requires that for any group of entities with a common property, there is a Form to explain the commonality, it appears that the theory does indeed give rise to the vicious regress.

There has been considerable controversy for many years over whether Plato believed that the Theory of Forms was vulnerable to the “Third Man” argument, as Aristotle believed it was, and so uses the Parmenides to announce his rejection of the Theory of Forms, or instead believed that the Third Man argument can be avoided by making adjustments to the Theory of Forms. Of relevance to this discussion is the relative dating of the Timaeus and the Parmenides, since the Theory of Forms very much as it appears in the middle period works plays a prominent role in the Timaeus. Thus, the assignment of a later date to the Timaeus shows that Plato did not regard the objection to the Theory of Forms raised in the Parmenides as in any way decisive. In any event, it is agreed on all sides that Plato’s interest in the Theory shifted in the Sophist and Stateman to the exploration of the logical relations that hold between abstract entities. In the Laws, Plato’s last (and unfinished) work, the Theory of Forms appears to have dropped out altogether. Whatever value Plato believed that knowledge of abstract entities has for the proper conduct of philosophy, he no longer seems to have believed that such knowledge is necessary for the proper running of a political community.

The “Eclipse” of Socrates The Theory of Forms

In many of his dialogues, Plato mentions supra-sensible entities he calls “Forms” (or “Ideas”). So, for example, in the Phaedo, we are told that particular sensible equal things-for example, equal sticks or stones (see Phaedo 74a-75d)-are equal because of their “participation” or “sharing” in the character of the Form of Equality, which is absolutely, changelessly, perfectly, and essentially equal. Plato sometimes characterizes this participation in the Form as a kind of imaging, or approximation of the Form. The same may be said of the many things that are greater or smaller and the Forms of Great and Small (Phaedo 75c-d), or the many tall things and the Form of Tall (Phaedo 100e), or the many beautiful things and the Form of Beauty (Phaedo 75c-d, Symposium 211e, Republic V.476c). When Plato writes about instances of Forms “approximating” Forms, it is easy to infer that, for Plato, Forms are exemplars. If so, Plato believes that The Form of Beauty is perfect beauty, the Form of Justice is perfect justice, and so forth. Conceiving of Forms in this way was important to Plato because it enabled the philosopher who grasps the entities to be best able to judge to what extent sensible instances of the Forms are good examples of the Forms they approximate.

Scholars disagree about the scope of what is often called “the theory of Forms,” and question whether Plato began holding that there are only Forms for a small range of properties, such as tallness, equality, justice, beauty, and so on, and then widened the scope to include Forms corresponding to every term that can be applied to a multiplicity of instances. In the Republic, he writes as if there may be a great multiplicity of Forms-for example, in Book X of that work, we find him writing about the Form of Bed (see Republic X.596b). He may have come to believe that for any set of things that shares some property, there is a Form that gives unity to the set of things (and univocity to the term by which we refer to members of that set of things). Knowledge involves the recognition of the Forms (Republic V.475e-480a), and any reliable application of this knowledge will involve the ability compare the particular sensible instantiations of a property to the Form.

Immortality and Reincarnation

In the early transitional dialogue, the Meno, Plato has Socrates introduce the Orphic and Pythagorean idea that souls are immortal and existed before our births. All knowledge, he explains, is actually recollected from this prior existence. In perhaps the most famous passage in this dialogue, Socrates elicits recollection about geometry from one of Meno’s slaves (Meno 81a-86b). Socrates’ apparent interest in, and fairly sophisticated knowledge of, mathematics appears wholly new in this dialogue. It is an interest, however, that shows up plainly in the middle period dialogues, especially in the middle books of the Republic.

Several arguments for the immortality of the soul, and the idea that souls are reincarnated into different life forms, are also featured in Plato’s Phaedo (which also includes the famous scene in which Socrates drinks the hemlock and utters his last words). Stylometry has tended to count the Phaedo among the early dialogues, whereas analysis of philosophical content has tended to place it at the beginning of the middle period. Similar accounts of the transmigration of souls may be found, with somewhat different details, in Book X of the Republic and in the Phaedrus, as well as in several dialogues of the late period, including the Timaeus and the Laws. No traces of the doctrine of recollection, or the theory of reincarnation or transmigration of souls, are to be found in the dialogues we listed above as those of the early period.

Human Female Study

Moral Psychology

The moral psychology of the middle period dialogues also seems to be quite different from what we find in the early period. In the early dialogues, Plato’s Socrates is an intellectualist-that is, he claims that all people always acts in the way they believe (at the time of action, at any rate) is best for them. Hence, all wrongdoing reflects some cognitive error. But in the middle period, Plato conceives of the soul as having (at least) three parts: a rational part (the part that loves truth, which should rule over the other parts of the soul through the use of reason), a spirited part (which loves honor and victory), and an appetitive part (which desires food, drink, and sex), and justice will be that condition of the soul in which each of these three parts “does its own work,” and does not interfere in the workings of the other parts (see esp. Republic IV.435b-445b). It seems clear from the way Plato describes what can go wrong in a soul, however, that in this new picture of moral psychology, the appetitive part of the soul can simply overrule reason’s judgments. One may suffer, in this account of psychology, from what is called akrasia or “moral weakness”-in which one finds oneself doing something that one actually believes is not the right thing to do (see especially Republic IV.439e-440b). In the early period, Socrates denied that akrasia was possible: One might change one’s mind at the last minute about what one ought to do-and could perhaps change one’s mind again later to regret doing what one has done-but one could never do what one actually believed was wrong, at the time of acting.

Critique of the Arts

The Republic also introduces Plato’s notorious critique of the visual and imitative arts. In the early period works, Socrates contends that the poets lack wisdom, but he also grants that they “say many fine things.” In the Republic, on the contrary, it seems that there is little that is fine in poetry or any of the other fine arts. Most of poetry and the other fine arts are to be censored out of existence in the “noble state” (kallipolis) Plato sketches in the Republic, as merely imitating appearances (rather than realities), and as arousing excessive and unnatural emotions and appetites (see esp. Republic X.595b-608b).

Platonic Love

In the Symposium, which is normally dated at the beginning of the middle period, and in the Phaedrus, which is dated at the end of the middle period or later yet, Plato introduces his theory of erôs (usually translated as “love”). Several passages and images from these dialogues continued to show up in Western culture-for example, the image of two lovers as being each other’s “other half,” which Plato assigns to Aristophanes in the Symposium. Also in that dialogue, we are told of the “ladder of love,” by which the lover can ascend to direct cognitive contact with (usually compared to a kind of vision of) Beauty Itself. In the Phaedrus, love is revealed to be the great “divine madness” through which the wings of the lover’s soul may sprout, allowing the lover to take flight to all of the highest aspirations and achievements possible for humankind. In both of these dialogues, Plato clearly regards actual physical or sexual contact between lovers as degraded and wasteful forms of erotic expression. Because the true goal of erôs is real beauty and real beauty is the Form of Beauty, what Plato calls Beauty Itself, erôs finds its fulfillment only in Platonic philosophy. Unless it channels its power of love into “higher pursuits,” which culminate in the knowledge of the Form of Beauty, erôs is doomed to frustration. For this reason, Plato thinks that most people sadly squander the real power of love by limiting themselves to the mere pleasures of physical beauty.

Late Transitional and Late Dialogues

Philosophical Methodology

One of the novelties of the dialogues after those of the middle period is the introduction-probably either late in the middle period or in the transition to the late period, but increasingly important in the late period-of a new philosophical method. In the early period dialogues, as we have said, the mode of philosophizing was refutative question-and-answer (called elenchos or the “Socratic method”). Although the middle period dialogues continue to show Socrates asking questions, the questioning in these dialogues becomes much more overtly leading and didactic. The highest method of philosophizing discussed in the middle period dialogues, called “dialectic,” is never very well explained (at best, it is just barely sketched in the divided line image at the end of Book VI of the Republic). The correct method for doing philosophy, we are now told in the later works, is what Plato identifies as “collection and division,” which is perhaps first referred to at Phaedrus 265e. In this method, the philosopher collects all of the instances of some generic category that seem to have common characteristics, and then divides them into specific kinds until they cannot be further subdivided. This method is explicitly and extensively on display in the Sophist, Statesman, and Philebus.

Critique of the Earlier Theory of Forms

One of the most puzzling features of the late dialogues is the strong suggestion in them that Plato has reconsidered his theory of Forms in some way. Although there seems still in the late dialogues to be a theory of Forms (although the theory is-quite strikingly-wholly unmentioned in the Theaetetus, a later dialogue on the nature of knowledge), where it does appear in the later dialogues, it seems in several ways to have been modified from its conception in the middle period works. Perhaps the most dramatic signal of such a change in the theory appears first in the Parmenides, which appears to subject the middle period version of the theory to a kind of “Socratic” refutation, only this time, the main refuter is the older Eleatic philosopher Parmenides, and the hapless victim of the refutation is a youthful Socrates. The most famous (and apparently fatal) of the arguments provided by Parmenides in this dialogue has come to be known as the “Third Man Argument,” which suggests that the conception of participation (by which individual objects take on the characters of the Forms) falls prey to an infinite regress: If individual male things are male in virtue of participation in the Form of Man, and the Form of Man is itself male, then what is common to both The Form of Man and the particular male things must be that they all participate in some (other) Form, say, Man 2. But then, if Man 2 is male, then what it has in common with the other male things is participation in some further Form, Man 3, and so on. That Plato’s theory is open to this problem gains support from the notion, mentioned above, that Forms are exemplars. If the Form of Man is itself a (perfect) male, then the Form shares a property in common with the males that participate in it. But since the Theory requires that for any group of entities with a common property, there is a Form to explain the commonality, it appears that the theory does indeed give rise to the vicious regress.

There has been considerable controversy for many years over whether Plato believed that the Theory of Forms was vulnerable to the “Third Man” argument, as Aristotle believed it was, and so uses the Parmenides to announce his rejection of the Theory of Forms, or instead believed that the Third Man argument can be avoided by making adjustments to the Theory of Forms. Of relevance to this discussion is the relative dating of the Timaeus and the Parmenides, since the Theory of Forms very much as it appears in the middle period works plays a prominent role in the Timaeus. Thus, the assignment of a later date to the Timaeus shows that Plato did not regard the objection to the Theory of Forms raised in the Parmenides as in any way decisive. In any event, it is agreed on all sides that Plato’s interest in the Theory shifted in the Sophist and Stateman to the exploration of the logical relations that hold between abstract entities. In the Laws, Plato’s last (and unfinished) work, the Theory of Forms appears to have dropped out altogether. Whatever value Plato believed that knowledge of abstract entities has for the proper conduct of philosophy, he no longer seems to have believed that such knowledge is necessary for the proper running of a political community.

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The image as a dispositif

The mediasphere as a theatre
The Psychosphere as a laborator
The mediactivisme as an actor
The subvertising as a disturbance in the relationship between
Infosphere and  Psychosphere

Imagination is a magic act. It’s a spell which can make the things
appear, so that you can hold them.” (Sartre: L’imaginaire)

What is interesting is not the image as a representation of reality,but its dynamic power, its ability to stir up and build projections,interactions and narrative frames structuring reality. What is interesting in the Image is its ability to select among infinite possible perceptual experiences, so that imagination becomes imagin/action.

Let’s think the Image as a narrational dispositif (disposing device,structuring device). As a stratum of consciousnes which is able to modify the projection of the body in the space, and which is
metamorphosing the meaning that we attribute to our experience. Edmund Husserl says that “consciousness is consciousness “of” something”. It means  that consciousness is intentionality, projection of a space,
temporal continuity where movement is made possible. Movement in time. Time in consciousness. Consciousness “of” something.

Representation “presents again” the thing to the consciousness, as if things exist immodifiably. L’image mouvement that Deleuze is talking about provokes effects in consciousness, and pre-disposes
consciousness to produce effects in the world. What we are interested in is the dynamic effect of the Image, the action that image is producing on the body, on the world where the bodies meet and desire,
and modify each other.

The technomedia mutation is inducing disturbances in the relationship between bodies, because it is producing a disturbances in the elaboration of the images, and pathologies in the intimate processing
of the world, and in the relational projection. The main political task of our time, in the age of video-electronic media, is the creation of video-poetic strategies, that means the creation of
narrational frames for action, mithopoiesis, dispositifs for building reality.

The Electro-Crucifixion

When I saw the picture of the iraqi detainee head-capped and electrified,  published on the newspapers on April 30th, I suddendly thought: “Bush has lost his war” Certainly since that moment the world
wide perception of the war has changed, something very deep went broken in the western mind. The narration has escaped from the hands of the American military media system. During the month of May 2004 it
has became crystal clear that the process of political and cultural transformation of the world is pivoting on the production and transmission of images: the Infosphere is producing narration which is
moving the consciousness of millions of people, and affect Economy, investment, and demand, as well as politics, and electoral shifts, and the explosions of violence, and the formation of alliances.

The concept of public opinion does not seem adapt to esplain what is happening. It is not exactly the opinion, that matters (opinion: doxa, critical discrimination between rational enonciations, consent and
dissent and logical motivation…). Rather I would talk of Imagination. Imagination is the dynamic space where the countless images reaching the collective consciousness are disposed in narrational formations. Through the stratification of images on the changing surface of collective memory dispositifs are built that are
able to project reality, psychic dispositifs modeling the attention to the events, filtering the input of news, shaping emotional reactions, and finally influencing the choice of people.

The Mediascape and the crisis of the advertising In the second half of the xx Century advertising has been the general process of production of the Imagination, and it has sustained, motivated and directed most
of the media production. The tv has been a tool of advertising, which has actually financed its huge production cost. The fonction of advertising is to expand and fluidify the market for the industrial products. In order to do that, it has built a world narration which is centered on consommerism and security. The american middle class, following Oliver Zunz, has been shaped by the diffusion of a narrational frame that is sayng more or less: “your life is trapped in the cage of ebndless work, but capitalism guarantees that in the leisure time you can buy gadgets and enjoy a relatively safe life.”
This narrational frame has fallen apart in the new millennium. After the crisis of the new economy, that has destroyed the illusion of a mass capitalism destined to the endless boom, the 911 schock has arrived. Television has always been showing catastrophes, and violence. But in the narrational frame of tv, violence is a spectacle you are not involved in, it is something afar, something that does not touch you personally. You sit on your armchair and you enjoy the show. Tv horror used to provoke a reassuring effect. “What happens in the tv is not happening to me” the worldwide middle class used to think. All of a sudden all this changed, on 911. In that day the screen did something unpredicted, schocking the global psyche in an irremediable way. The  screen did show a fiction in two times. First you see a tower which is smoking, because of an incident we did not understand the meaning. Then, twenty minutes later, just the time necessary for the tv station around the globe to tune in, the revelation: an airplane is entering the second tower, distroying it. In that moment the fifty
years old tv Onthology went broken. What we see is fiction or information? Everybody asked in those minutes. When we did understand that it was information, not fiction in the traditional sense, we knew that the  advertising was over. The pact between message and receiver was broken. Since then Mediascape has began its divorce from advertising and has began its marriage with Terror. The narrational frame is no more reassuring, and is promising everyday a new dose of horror. TV was showing horror before 911, but it was spectacultuar
horros, what means that it was faraway. Now the spectator has entered the show.

The asymmetric psychosphere May 2004. We have understood something more about the war of the images that is going on in the global Infosphere. What happens in the Infosphere is not determinable in a linear way, because it involves the Psycho-sphere, The cognitive effect of a message is not depending solely on its explicit content, is not determined only by its redundance. It depends also on some factors that difficult to determine in a conscious way. Aleatory and abherrant decodification happens in the relationship between the
mediascape and its social effects. War is nowadays a problem of influencing and controlling the global mind, and this control is becoming more and more aleatory and unpredictable. The war shakens territories that are not only phisical territories, it is provoking heartquakes and conflicts in zones of the social cognition that are
not nly the conscious ones. The western nervous system is undergoing a permanent stress whose effects cannot be predicted because they involve more and more the collective Unconsciousness. The goog american boys who have been sent to fight a war in the name of Good are geoing crazy. Their actions reveal an abyss of psychic misery. The western mind mirrors itslef in this abyss, and is on the verge of collapse.

The relationships inside the Mediascape (the colonisation of the mental time by the info-rlow emanating from the big corporations) influences the Infosphere, but the Infospher act on the social mind (the behaviour, the choices of people) in an asymmetric way, which is unpredictable, because the filter between the Infosphere and the human mind is the Psychosphere. And the Psychosphere is fragmenting and recombining the flow of images coming from the Infosphere in a way which cannot be programmed and predicted.

black hoods in the city In the squares of Bologna a group of activist have organised a performance: some blackhooded young persons were singing a childish song mixed with the Jimi Hendrix american anthem.
This kind of performance has been spontaneously repeated in many places in the world, in London, New York, Rome. What is the meaning of it? We have done this action because we wanted to bring out the
horror, to show it to the citizeins of our western cities. You can take for granted that the black hood will be part of the scenography in the antiwar demonstrations. What are the effects that we want to provoke in the collective unconscious? What kind of effects will be provoked by the culpabilisation campaign started by the publication of the pictures from Abu Ghraib?

The image dispositif

We mustlearn to target the effect of any action on the social imagination. We must be aware of the fact that images are today the basic political dispositif. By the word dispositif I refer to a semiotic engine which is able to act as the paradigm of a series of events, behaviours, narrations, projections modeling social reality.
What effect may be produced bu theblack hood? I have not a unambiguous answer, but I know that a possible effect of the campaign of culpabilisation of the West could be a cynical assumption of racism.
“You are accusing us to be racists? Well, we will put white hoods on our heads and we’ll go around hunting and burning and hanging and killing negroes and moslims” The Ku Klux Klan emerged in 1862 as an
effect of the culpabilisation of the southern life-style and ideology. And the KKK spirit is far from estinguished in North American culture. The culpabilisation and the insulation of the american people could
give birth to very dangerous effects. Only in November we will know if democratic fairness will prevail on cynicism, the murderous compensation of self-despise. The mise en scene of the black hoods has
something to do with the Artaud’s idea of theatre of cruelty: ritualisation of violence can help to overcome the horror and the need of revenge. But the path of therapy is not linear at all, and it can give way to perverted outcomes. We must develop a scientific consciousness of the process of psycho-social consciousness, in order
to improve our media action. We must think of the image as an interpretative and narrational dispositif

The Global Imagination is a theatre and a laboratory
The image as a theatrical dispositif

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War porn

“We are by nature all as one, all alike, if you see us naked…”

John Burton
(1576-1640)

The relationship we have with our bodies is a strange one, shifting precariously between fascination and loathing. We know the body is the seat of life just as the spirit is the spark of life, and yet a great many of us can’t fully grasp this.

We need to recognize that the body and the spirit are not separate but parts of the whole self. The only way for this to be possible is through acceptance of who and what we are. If we can’t accept our bodies in their totality we can’t experience the totality of our being, and we will remain divided and mired in spiritual, emotional and physical conflict. Our nakedness compels us to deal with our nature and the forces which shape us and carry us along through our lives.

MANO A MANO

My work is to make performance
– solo and company pieces – and my process,
amongst others, is to create instantly on stage…
to compose instantly..to improvise.

This work demands -and has demanded- a thorough
and constant research into 2 areas:one of COMPOSITION – how things are made
how they might go together  and  one of TECHNIQUE – abilities needed to have a close relationship between the creative self  and the mind/body

For many years I’ve been discovering and developing ways to impart this knowledge, this awareness.

Naturally influenced by all various physical experiences-sport, dance training, philosophy-,
I can say that the studies of  T’ai Chi, Alexander Technique and  Ki-Aikido have been radical in the clarifying and inspiring of the development of the technical area. As for the Compositional area, I have been much stimulated by musicians and writers as much as, if not more than, choreographers; inspired specifically by he ways many of the improvising musicians work together  in terms of the ‘company’ formation.

 In the TECHNICAL area we study  how the body/mind works, how its energies are manifested, the anatomy and its associated mythology and philosophy, and how to direct the body to give and receive on a kinesthetic  wave length.  Spine / hips / and skin are some of the central interests in this area at present…..along with the need  to be able to handle the weight the perceptions and the ordination/co-ordination.

In brief, the technical work centers on  kinesthetics    rather than aesthetics.and uses often a process of ‘reverse engineering’  to re-discover how we move, are moved.

In the COMPOSITION classes I deal with the subjects of  space / time / theatre / voice /entrance-exit / music / object /protagonist-antagonist-support. These areas are required for at least 2 reasons:

1. to be able to have an awareness and a refinement of intention  when deciding spontaneously in the act of improvising.

2. to have some references as tools of simple analysis to look in depth at what is made,  both by ourselves and the others when  working in a group configuration.

Without this ability -and the tools for it-we are often at the mercy of our subjectivity and
seldom have the complementary power of our  objectivity, a state which can reduce the nature of our ‘compositions’ to the  merely personal and lacking in the ‘universal’ power.

The 2 areas of teaching -technique and composition-naturally pose questions from one to the other, interacting as a figure of 8  spiraling  through the passage of the lessons.

A main interest now is also a detailed research into  the area of the moving body speaking and producing sounds;  this, integrating with the observation that the mind taps into  a certain layer of intelligence when moving.

This area I am at present calling “the kinesthetics of language  from  where do we speak
when do sounds become words  how do words occur
how do they occur to us  how might poetry happen  listening – surdity – and absurdity

verbs and bones  ,nouns and organs, adjectives and organs, adverbs and muscles

is there a difference between the words composed when sedentary (καθιστικός)  and those which come when moving   the play between the movement of words and the movement of the body in space  thoughts from a moving body thoughts from a stationary body  movements around a silent mouth  movements around a talking mouth  song and air.

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