sexta-feira, 30 de julho de 2010

A population

“What we are trying to say is that there is indeed one exterior milieu for the entire stratum, permeating the entire stratum: the cerebral-nervous milieu. It comes from the organic substratum, but of course that substratum does not merely play the role of a substratum or passive support. It is no less complex in organization. Rather, it constitutes the prehuman soup immersing us. Our hands and faces are immersed in it. The brain is a population, a set of tribes tending toward two poles.”

“Queremos dizer que há, efetivamente, um meio exterior comum em todo o estrato, envolvido no estrato inteiro, o meio nervosa cerebral. Ele provém do subestrato orgânico, mas este não desempenha, é claro, o papel de um subestrato, nem de um suporte passivo. Ele próprio não apresenta uma organização menor. Constitui antes a sopa pré-humana onde estamos mergulhados. Aí banhamos as mãos e o rosto. O cérebro é uma população, um conjunto de tribos que tendem para dois pólos” (p. 81)


Guattari & Deleuze

Deleuze & Brain

Journal of Neuro-Aesthetic Theory #2 (2000-02)

Five Propositions on the Brain

Gregg Lambert and Gregory Flaxman


Many people have a tree growing in their head, but the brain itself is much more a grass than a tree”—Gilles Deleuze, A Thousand Plateaus

First Proposition: Philosophy and science share a brain

The encounter between philosophy and science constitutes an event of a special kind, since the event as such envelops both in a mutual form of thinking—of thinking through the other. We know all too well the vulgar forms that this event seems to conjure—the political reckoning with the possible ends of, say, genetic research or the production of chemical weapons. But in fact the event dwells in the “sense” that philosophy makes of science because philosophy does not settle for dogmatic statements or stupid clichés; rather, it undertakes the conceptualization of what often remains, in science, a chaos that is captured or tamed. As Deleuze and Guattari write, “Mathematical equations do not enjoy a tranquil certainty that would be like the sanction of dominant scientific opinion, but emerge from an abyss that makes the mathematician ‘skip over calculations,’ anticipating being unable to effect or arrive at the truth without ‘colliding from one side to the other.’”[1] Science, they explain, creates functions, but the task of philosophy is to conceptualize these functions, just as it is the task of philosophy to conceptualize the percepts and affects of art, to open thought to the chaos of these domains.

Even (or perhaps, especially) in the context of science, philosophy encounters a kind of chaos into which its own thinking is plunged. This is the risk or danger of philosophy, but it is also, in the context of new scientific development, especially in neuroscience, the confrontation with thinking itself, the confrontation with “what is called thinking” (Heidegger). Neuroscience and philosophy come together around the event called the brain, which is immanent with all events, every effort to think, because thinking always involves a confrontation with thought itself. In this respect, we cannot understand the brain if we cannot realize straightaway that the brain and the mind are not the same thing. The former is the object of a philosophical form of science, whereas the latter describes the “encounter” (Kierkegaard) of philosophy with science. The encounter can happen anywhere, or at any time, but the nature of the event must include both philosophy and science.

Second Propositions: The brain is not a “subject”

What do Deleuze and Guattari mean when they say we must conceive of the brain no longer from the position of a “Subject”? “We will speak of the brain as Cezanne spoke of landscape: the human is absent, but everything takes place in the brain.”[2] How do we achieve this pure perspective, the perspective of the brain, apart from its secondary connections and integrations? The question is potentially misleading because, if the true perspective of the brain belongs to what Deleuze and Guattari, employing the language of Whitehead, call the “superject,” then we cannot in fact recourse to any meta-narrative or metaphysical sense of the brain. There is no “brain behind the brain,” since this would only reinforce a conception of the brain as the internalized projection of a Subject who “acts, thinks, feels, wills, and desire”— yet another anthropomorphism of the brain!

As Deleuze and Guattari write, the brain “is neither an image (Gestalt) nor a perceived form, but a form in itself that corresponds to no external view.”[3] For this reason, the brain cannot be defined as a relation between perception and consciousness, since it is the totality of all relations, including those not yet actualized. This is why the totality specific to the brain is always partial in the sense that a plane of immanence is only partially composed in relation to other planes. It makes sense, therefore, according to Deleuze, to consider the brain in terms of relative speeds and intensive states. For example, what is the intensity accorded to perception, as distinguished from memory or recollection processes? What is the speed specific to consciousness, as distinguished from unconscious processes that exist below the threshold (or qualitative limit) of perceptions or recollections bound by a certain sensory-motor apparatus? It no longer makes sense to define the brain topologically (that is, in terms of specific spatio-temporal coordinates), since the brain is everything and everywhere, regardless of time and space. The brain is virtual, not a space but a plane (plan) that provides the conditions of time and space (actualization of the virtual). This in turn reshapes the organically determined brain, giving form to the “gray matter” of possibilities.

Third Proposition: The cinema is a cerebral machine or image of the brain

If the brain is a plane of immanence or consistency, then we might understand its function through networks of images themselves. The brain is a screen, Deleuze says, but the screen, the cinema, is also a brain, an organization of images and memories whose connections (regular or irrational) comprise an “image of thought.” In this respect, Deleuze’s two books on cinema form a single meditation on the brain itself and its various images. Each director that Deleuze discusses formulates the brain differently (yes, there is a cerebral style), but Deleuze singles out Stanley Kubrick as the director whose work takes a turn toward the full cerebralization of cinema. The brain and the world are virtually identical in Kubrick’s films because the world itself has become brain, a vast neural arrangement. For example, we find an image of the brain in the perversely centralized “war room” of Dr. Strangelove (1964), the hermetic maze of trenches in Paths of Glory (1957), the literal maze located in the property of the Overlook Hotel in The Shining (1980), or the regimented symmetry of the marine barracks in Full Metal Jacket (1987).

Hence, while the world and brain are immanent, Kubrick contrives a world in which brains are environs that multiply and encounter other brains. Let us take what is perhaps the most vivid characterization of this topological problem, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), where the brain is also objectively present in the form of the black monolith. Here, the brain is divided between a representation of the whole (the brain is the world); the presence of a distinct but impermeable thing represented by the monolith (a presence-in-itself, or Ding an sich, having neither an inside nor a definite external form); and finally, the generalized power that seems to be responsible for the plan of evolution on a planetary and cosmological level. Within this unfolding, naturally, there are special moments—divergences, bifurcations, forking paths, which stand out as “events.” The first of these is the “eventuation” of technology, before which the monolith’s arrival already anticipates this remarkable leap. A simple bone is transformed into a tool (a weapon), then later, with one of the greatest match-cuts in the history of cinema, into a spaceship capable of interplanetary travel. As Deleuze writes, Kubrick transforms the story of evolution itself, that is, the story of the brain, into a journey that leads both to the furthest reaches of space and, at the same time, to the differentiation of brain cells in the human embryo. “At the end of the ‘space odyssey’, it is following a fourth dimension that the sphere of the foetus and the sphere of the earth have a chance of entering into an incommensurable relation, unknown, one which would convert death into a new life.”[4] The brain, we could say, retains all possibilities (even birth or re-birth), but they have to be selected, chosen, and actualized.

Fourth Proposition: There are many brains but there is also a dominant image of the brain

As Deleuze argues, there are different brains—molecular, chemical, and even cinematic. One cannot reduce these other brains to avatars “created” by human intelligence, as a kind of externalized or “artificial” manifestation of a purely virtual brain. Rather, the computer is an actualization of a new brain and not an extension of the human faculty in the form of a cybernetic mechanism. The creation of the computer introduces the distinction between “artificial” and “natural” intelligence, and it is only from this point that we begin speaking of two brains, or of one brain that becomes highly differentiated from itself. Again, Kubrick’s portrayal of HAL 9000 in 2001 gives us a vivid illustration. HAL is not just the computer that runs the Discovery, HAL is the spaceship itself in its entirety. The astronauts “occupy” HAL, and he feels within him their presence and location, including the astronauts still in hibernation who are linked to his systems. At the same time, there is a location that does occupy HAL in the same manner, originally ascribed to the thoughts of astronaut Frank Bowman, which introduces a schism or paranoid formation. HAL’s calculated solution to this schism is simply to remove astronauts Dave Bowman and Frank Pool from its own body, thus resolving the logical impasse.

An example of the chemical brain can be illustrated in the phenomenon of drugs. Is it, in fact, that the human brain is altered or modified by the chemical properties of the drug, or rather that we experience the introduction of another brain, a chemical brain that subordinates and makes use of the organic brain as one of its own exterior lobes or partial surfaces? In both these definitions we see that although the human is located as the intersection with these other brains, they are in no way subordinated to its image. The human brain is only one of several brains, only one path in which the brain is actualized along divergent lines, “the human being only one cerebral crystallization.”[5] At the same time, one could say that the actualization of the cybernetic brain has increased the number of circuits and pathways—perhaps even all the way to infinity—than were thought to be possible for the human brain beforehand. This event in the history of consciousness only appears to happen instantaneously, but it has in fact been prepared gradually by a series of evolutionary leaps. Recalling again the scene from 2001 where the bone spirals in the air and is suddenly transformed into a spaceship orbiting the earth, this event only appears to happen “in the blink of an eye,” since Kubrick wants to show the full crystallization of the idea that first sparks in the primitive intelligence. From the perspective of the idea itself, there is little difference between a bone and a spaceship (a difference, strictly speaking, of material composition), since both are objects that represent a certain cerebral objectification whereby the brain invests itself in matter and transforms the world into brain-matter.

Fifth Proposition: The future (of the) brain

The future (of the) brain seems, at this point, to be determined by the opposition between organic and cybernetic. We might employ Deleuze and Guattari’s terminology to say that while the human brain is deterritorialized onto the circuitry of the cybernetic brain, the cybernetic brain is simultaneously reterritorized onto the human brain. Consequently, the human brain has begun to wander through the wider circuits and pathways of the computer—even to the point where the distinction between human and cybernetic is blurred, if not dissolved altogether. Nevertheless, the human still tries to conceive of this relationship between the two brains according to an earlier former-matter distinction, by which it would appear that the human brain was simply employing the cybernetic brain as a path to its own actualization. Thus, there is more than a vestige of Hegelianism remaining in contemporary scientific narratives of the brain, in which Spirit (or Mind) takes a circuitous path of externalization in order to achieve a final identification between the actualized brain and the ideal that is potential in matter. We maintain, rather, that the mind is only the “ghost in the brain,” the sensory-motor double that has taken control of thinking but that thought is always catching the image of, like a strange spirit whose haunting we only dimly perceive. In neuroscience and the philosophy of mind, one usually finds the question of the cybernetic brain treated in terms of the possibility of artificial intelligence. For instance, the question arises as to whether it would be possible to create an intelligent machine (i.e., a “conscious” machine). But isn’t this the most feeble means of imagining the brain, determining its capacities and powers according to an organic (“human”) configuration? Deleuze is fond of Spinoza’s claim that “we do not know what a body can do,” but we are no closer to knowing what a brain can do when we reduce even its cerebral productions to reproductions, to making a “brain like our own.” Two dangers belong to this desire: the creation of a “disciplinary brain,” and the production of a new unconscious brain.

The first danger, the creation of a disciplinary brain, recalls Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (1971), where the director explores the moral question that is attached to the sensory motor schema of the cinematic brain as a manner of correcting or rectifying the deficiency of the organic brain. Kubrick reverses the usual moral cliché concerning representations of sex and violence by already recognizing, in the very question itself, the splitting of the human subject into two brains that have already at a certain moment entered into combat, or of the idea of a higher brain that is able to control and subdue the lower, organic brain. In the middle of the film, the main character is connected to an apparatus not unlike that of film itself, where a soundtrack is repeated in conjunction with a series of images in order to produce a specific motor-response on the part of the subject. The result is uncontrollable nausea and vomiting. Thus, the “action-image” that belonged to the organic brain of the violent criminal is altered by the introduction of another sensory motor-schema, creating “new circuits” that effectively introduce a moralizing force.

The second danger–the reproduction of an unconscious brain–can be found in the project Kubrick was planning before he died, which Steven Spielberg used as the basis for A.I. (2001). The film revolves around the mission to make a life-like robot, a boy “who can love.” Here we might note that the seemingly preliminary question of mechanical feeling or affection has already been converted into a human emotion and, more to the point, a question of object-relations. The attempt to produce a life-like child induces in the robot a program that is transported from the organic brain, which is dominated by the logic of the lost object and of a never-ending mourning that we call consciousness. However, instead of the consciousness of death (“I will someday die”), we encounter the traumatic consciousness of artificiality (“I am not real”), which in turn produces a new form of unconsciousness—an unconscious that is specific to the cybernetic brain. Thus, a final irony associated with the desire to “make a brain like our own” is the creation of an unconscious desire in the cybernetic brain, even the possibility of a primary narcissism that would absorb all its functioning. From this point onward, the cybernetic brain would be subject to crashes that have nothing to do with gaps in its programming (as was the case with HAL 9000), but rather with the entire field of the virtual when it is mediated by the question of desire.


1. Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Qu’est-ce que la philosophie? (Paris: Minuit, 1991), 191. All translations in the text are made by the authors.

2. Ibid, 198.

3. Ibid, 198.

4. Gilles Deleuze, L’Image-Temps (Paris: Minuit, 1985), 268.

5. Qu’est-ce que la philosophie?, 202.

Gregg Lambert is an associate professor of English at Syracuse University. He is the author of The Non-Philosophy of Gilles Deleuze (Continuum, 2002) and Report to the Academy: The New Conflict of the Faculties (Critical Studies in Humanities) (The Davies Group, 2001).

Gregory Flaxman is finishing his doctorate in the Program in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the editor of The Brain is the Screen: Deleuze and the Philosophy of Cinema (University of Minnesota Press, 2000).

quinta-feira, 29 de julho de 2010

so what?

Do Blog de Contardo Calligaris, o brilhante psicanalista:

29 de julho de 2010

RESISTI A pedidos e pressões para que comentasse o caso do goleiro Bruno. Não gosto de especular sobre investigações inacabadas ou acusações ainda não julgadas.

No entanto, especialmente nos crimes midiáticos, sempre há fatos e atos que merecem comentário e que não dependem da culpa ou da inocência de suspeitos ou acusados.

Por exemplo, durante a investigação sobre a morte de Isabella Nardoni, o fato mais interessante era a agitação da turba: diante da delegacia de polícia, os linchadores pulavam e gritavam indignados só quando aparecia, nas câmeras de TV, a luz vermelha da gravação.

Há turbas parecidas no caso do goleiro Bruno. E, além das turbas, também alguns delegados de polícia parecem se agitar especialmente quando as câmeras estão ligadas, o que, provavelmente, não contribui ao progresso das investigações.

Mas o que me tocou, nestes dias, foi outra coisa. Segundo o advogado Ércio Quaresma Firpe, que defende o goleiro Bruno, a polícia estaria investigando um crime inexistente, pois Eliza Samudio estaria viva e se manteria em silêncio e escondida pelo prazer de ver o Bruno acusado e preso. Para perpetrar essa vingança, aliás, Eliza não hesitaria em abandonar o próprio filho de cinco meses.

É uma linha de defesa que faz sentido, visto que, até aqui, o corpo de Eliza não apareceu. Mas o advogado Firpe, para melhor transformar a vítima presumida em acusada, tentou apontar supostas falhas no caráter de Eliza soltando uma pérola: "Essa moça", ele disse, "é atriz pornô".

Posso imaginar a expressão que acompanhou essa declaração: o tom maroto que procura a cumplicidade de quem escuta, uma levantadinha de sobrancelhas para que a alusão confira um valor especialmente escuso à letra do que é dito.

Estou romanceando? Acho que não. De mesa de restaurante em balcão de bar, já faz semanas que ouço comentários parecidos, de homens e mulheres, mas sobretudo de homens: Eliza Samudio era "uma maria chuteira", uma mulher fácil.

Será que essas "características" de Eliza absolvem seus eventuais assassinos? Claro que não, protestariam imediatamente os autores desses comentários. Mas o fato é que suas palavras deixam pairar no ar a ideia de que, de alguma forma, a vítima (se é que é vítima mesmo, acrescentaria o advogado Firpe) fez por merecer.
Pense nos inúmeros comentários sobre o caso de Geisy Arruda, aluna da Uniban: tudo bem, os colegas queriam estuprá-la, isso não se faz, mas, também, como é que ela vai para a faculdade com aquele vestidinho curto e tal?

No processo contra um estuprador, por exemplo, é usual que a defesa remexa na vida sexual da vítima tentando provar sua facilidade e sua promiscuidade, como se isso diminuísse a responsabilidade do estuprador. Isso acontece até quando a vítima é menor: estuprou uma menina de 12 anos? Cadeia nele; mas, se a menina se prostituía nas ruas da cidade, é diferente, não é?

Diante de um júri popular, essas considerações funcionam, de fato, como circunstâncias atenuantes: talvez estuprar "uma puta" não seja bem estupro.

Em suma, quando a vítima é uma mulher e seu algoz é um homem, é muito frequente (e bem-vindo pela defesa) que surja a dúvida: será que o assassino ou o estuprador não foi "provocado" pela sua vítima?
Atrás dessa dúvida recorrente há uma ideia antiga: o desejo feminino, quando ele ousa se mostrar, merece punição. Para muitos homens, o corpo feminino é o da mãe, que deve permanecer puro, ou, então, o da puta, ao qual nenhum respeito é devido: uma mulher, se ela deseja, só pode ser a puta com a qual tudo é permitido (estuprá-la, estropiá-la).

Além disso, se as mulheres tiverem desejo sexual próprio, elas terão expectativas quanto à performance dos homens; só o que faltava, não é? Também, se as mulheres tiverem desejo próprio, por que não desejariam outros homens melhores do que nós?

Seja como for, para protestar contra a observação brejeira do advogado Firpe, mandei fazer uma camiseta com a escrita que está no título desta coluna. Mas o ideal seria que ela fosse adotada pelas mulheres. Podem mandar fazer, sem problema; o advogado Firpe não tem "copyright" da frase.

quarta-feira, 28 de julho de 2010


Dîtes-moi que je suis belle (Yvette Guilbert), de 1928...

Nesse domingo (25/07) assisti “Je ne sais quoi...”, uma peça originalmente exibida no Théâtre la Vieille Grille, em Paris, e que foi apresentada no Teatro José de Alencar. Escutei mais do que a alma de Nathalie Joly, interpretando o amor de Freud por Yvetter Guilbert (uma das cantoras do Moulin Rouge)... eu permaneci aos 1 minutos e 48 segundos, repetindo e não esqueci...


A ironia do fascínio e do temor que o feminino proporciona(ria-me) é exatamente o insuportável silêncio da ausência e da incompletude que o controle despótico e senil do masculino jamais saberá lidar por completo. Suportar, então, o rastro trágico do feminino, à sobra da monstruosa presença de toda-a-falta possível, é uma atitude não-toda-fálica de entrega... de aposta... de delírio, c´est ça?

Um bom estudante

(...) Remington wrote, “ I’ve known Weller a long time. He is an extraordinary student… of exactly WHAT… I have no idea.”

terça-feira, 27 de julho de 2010

pedrinhas, pedrita

Publicado na Folha de SP, caderno Ilustrada - 26/07/2010

-- "Do ponto de vista da pedra", por Luiz Felipe Pondé

NUMA MADRUGADA, afundo em cigarros e insônia. Na TV a cabo, cenas de um filme chinês, "2046 - Os Segredos do Amor", fotografia de cores fortes, músicas incomuns, mulheres lindas, ancas deliciosas que sobem e descem escadas e se arrastam entre os lençóis. O filme não deixa de ser uma ode a esse antigo vício que muitos de nós, homens, temos: a paixão pelas mulheres e a mistura de afetos que as atormenta, a beleza insustentável, a forma infiel do corpo, o tédio incurável.
Uma chinesa se apaixona por um japonês. Seu pai a proíbe de amar o japonês, afinal o ódio aos horrores da guerra causados pelos japoneses justifica sua fala. O ano é 1967.
Ele volta para o Japão. Ela enlouquece, adoece, é internada. Põe-se a falar sozinha, definha sob a opressão da saudade. Vaga pelo quarto abraçando sombras.
E, aí, o filme me ganha definitivamente. Sim, eu sei que pessoas saudáveis não sofrem assim. Mas, em minha obsessão pelos que morrem de amor, não consigo admirar quem resolve bem a vida. Tenho certa paixão por quem fracassa no combate ao afeto. Certamente, tenho algum trauma primitivo, daqueles que fundam nossa personalidade despertando nossa alma.
Tem gente por aí que se julga inteligente porque não acredita na existência da alma -pobres diabos. Eu sei que podem me achar excessivamente cético, mas eu só acredito em Deus e na alma. Em mais nada. Eu, aliás, confio mais em almas penadas. Que assustam os sonhos à noite. Sim, eu sei. Melhor aqueles que tomam remédios, fazem terapias objetivas, meditam 15 minutos diariamente e viram budistas. Mas eu me encanto facilmente por gente que, como essa heroína chinesa, adoece de amor.
Vagando pela casa tentando relembrar cada palavra dita, cada cheiro, cada silêncio, cada gosto na boca, o toque da língua, a saliva, escorrendo a mão pelos seios, numa dança doce e macabra de acasalamento. Sozinha, beijando as paredes. O rosto coberto de lágrimas, os olhos vidrados, a boca salgada, a voz rouca de tanto gritar sozinha para os céus.
A incompreensão de todos à sua volta por tamanha incapacidade de se tornar indiferente ao amor morto. Sentir-se como uma folha esmagada contra o chão, elevada pelo vento, seca de tanto afeto, evocando a misericórdia dos deuses, eis minha fenomenologia do amor.
Lembro-me do conto de Edgar Allan Poe "A Queda da Casa de Usher". Não me esqueço da doença que afeta o irmão e a irmã Usher. O talento monstruoso do melancólico Poe esmaga o leitor de sensibilidade diante da morbidez do amor impuro entre os irmãos Usher, fundando uma cumplicidade de segredos na distância entre os séculos.
A degeneração mortal dos irmãos se materializa numa sensibilidade insuportável para com os detalhes concretos da existência física. As roupas pesam na pele, os sons das palavras faladas em voz baixa rasgam os ouvidos, o paladar da língua é ferido pelo gosto sem gosto do alimento, a claridade de um dia sombrio ofusca a pupila infeliz diante do peso da luz, o ruído das relações humanas tortura o lento passar das horas, até as pedras das paredes da casa de Usher são agonia.
Miseráveis irmãos buscam a nudez, o silêncio, a fome, a escuridão, a solidão como cura. A vida, pouco a pouco, se torna morte, buscando o impossível repouso na ânsia de se fazer também pedra.
Amar é estar impregnado de uma presença, como o acúmulo dos anos se torna limo entre as pedras. Como uma forma de infecção invisível que une corpo e alma no desejo.
Sim, eu sei que se trata de um modo ruim de viver. Devemos fazer o culto da vida saudável. Mas não consigo. Encanta-me a personagem que perde a batalha contra si mesma como minha chinesa insone.
Morbidez? Pouco importa. Fôssemos apenas um bando de mamíferos alegres, ao longo de nossos milhares de anos de existência, não sobreviveríamos. A dor é que nos adapta ao ambiente hostil.
O "direito à felicidade" é a nossa grande falácia: hoje somos superficiais até do ponto de vista das pedras. Já Tocqueville, no século 19, temia que a "mania da felicidade" tornasse todos nós os tolos do futuro. Amém.

Publicado na Folha de SP, caderno Ilustrada - 10/07/2010

-- "O teólogo marxista", por Antônio Cícero

O PROFESSOR de teoria literária Terry Eagleton, da Universidade de Lancaster, que se considera marxista, declarou há poucos dias que "Deus volta ao debate intelectual de duas maneiras: há uma polêmica contra ele, por um lado, e, por outro, um aproveitamento de recursos teológicos por parte de uma série de pensadores de esquerda declaradamente ateístas".
Segundo Eagleton, o trabalho teológico mais importante de hoje está sendo feito por ateístas de esquerda. Isso se explica porque, "quando a esquerda passa por tempos difíceis, não pode se dar ao luxo de olhar os dentes do cavalo, como se diz. E, se descobre que algumas ideias teológicas podem ser úteis, então, por que não?".
Nesse contexto, Eagleton cita Habermas, Badiou, Agamben, Zizek.
Pelo jeito, os tempos estão mesmo bicudos para os marxistas. Houve época em que eles jamais sacrificariam um princípio tendo em vista a solução de uma dificuldade conjuntural. Ora, o ateísmo e o materialismo se encontravam, para Marx, entre as mais fundamentais questões de princípio. Para ele, a crítica da religião era a condição sine qua non de toda crítica.
Agora é diferente. Primeiro, os marxistas à la Eagleton julgam a utilidade de uma ideia -e não mais apenas a de uma tática- como critério para adotá-la: isto é, aderiram ao pragmatismo epistemológico; segundo, consideram úteis as ideias teológicas; terceiro, consideram fazer o trabalho teológico mais importante de hoje.
Não deixa de ser curioso, pois "ateísta" é quem não acredita em Deus; e "teologia" é a ciência que trata de Deus. Como pode ser útil tratar-se de alguma coisa em que não se acredita, a menos que seja para negá-la? Como é possível ignorar que quem faz trabalho teológico é necessariamente teísta, ou que quem é ateísta não faz trabalho teológico?
Talvez eu não esteja sendo bastante "dialético", ao dizer essas coisas... Eles, porém, não estão sendo nada materialistas, ao se dedicarem ao "trabalho teológico mais importante de hoje".
Ora, abandonar o materialismo é necessariamente abandonar o MATERIALISMO dialético, isto é, a filosofia marxista, e abandonar o MATERIALISMO histórico, que pretende ser a ciência marxista da história. Logo, esses soi-disant marxistas abandonaram de fato o marxismo, mas não têm (exceto, sem dúvida, nos confessionário dos seus párocos) coragem de confessá-lo.
Mas creio ser possível entender por que "marxistas" como Terry Eagleton e Alain Badiou, que, segundo Eagleton, é "o maior filósofo francês vivo", abandonando, na prática, o materialismo, pretendem tornar-se teólogos. É que, antes de serem "marxistas", eles são "revolucionários", ou melhor, apocalípticos.
Recentemente a revista "Serrote" publicou um capítulo do livro "Razão, Fé e Revolução", de Eagleton. Em determinado ponto, ele tenta explicar o pensamento de Badiou.
"Para ele, a fé consiste numa lealdade tenaz ao que chama de "evento" -um acontecimento absolutamente original que está desconjuntado do fluxo suave da história e que é inominável e inapreensível no contexto em que ocorre. Verdade é o que corta na transversal da fibra do mundo, rompendo com uma revelação mais antiga e fundando uma realidade radicalmente nova [...]. Os eventos citados por Badiou são um tipo de impossibilidade quando medidos por nossos padrões usuais de normalidade."
Diga-se a verdade: são uma impossibilidade quando medidos pelos padrões universais da RACIONALIDADE. Em suma, a revolução que esses novos teólogos propõe nada tem, de fato, a ver com o marxismo, que se pretendia o suprassumo da racionalidade, pois ela consiste num milagre. "Milagres ocorrem sim", diz Slavj Zizek, também explicando o pensamento teológico do papa Badiou.
Segundo esse modo de pensar, a verdade só é discernível pelos membros da nova comunidade de crentes. A rigor, não passa, portanto, de uma crença. Comentando - e aprovando- tais teses, Zizek especula que a verdadeira fidelidade ao acontecimento é "dogmática" no sentido preciso de ser fé incondicional, de ser uma atitude que não procura boas razões e que, por essa razão mesma, não pode ser refutada por nenhuma "argumentação".
Ora, ocorre que aquilo que se imuniza contra a razão é exatamente o irracional. Em suma, trata-se do mais puro irracionalismo religioso.

domingo, 25 de julho de 2010


"Os bolsistas do ProUni estão entre os melhores universitários brasileiros do século XXI"

Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, Presidente da República
Brasília, 20/07/2010 - Ato que sanciona o Estatuto da Igualdade Racial (transmitido pela TV NBR)

sábado, 24 de julho de 2010

Coisas do tempo-futuro que chegou ao presente

Em um programa (de alto nível) na Holanda, podemos ter o maior filósofo da Eslovênia, ministrando uma aula completa em língua inglesa, para criticar o Sistema Liberal contemporâneo. É o tipo de "nova" Humanidades, de novo refinamento, de nova aquisição desterritorializada, que nenhuma Escola ou Universidade pode conceder - talvez, mediar... é o tipo de "formação humanística da atualidade", que não está localizada numa cátedra. E que, portanto, exigiria uma flexibilidade e esclarecimento enormes do indivíduo para não apenas ir buscar o que lhe é fundamental, mas, antes mesmo, ter a capacidade de formular claramente as necessidades que irão revestir-lhe com o futuro de maior liberdade e dignidade. Essa seria a tradução atual... de um Projeto que furou!

O vídeo é incrível:

Estudando em voz alta...

Manuel DeLanda – “The Philosophy of Gilles Deleuze”, Lecture at The European Graduate School (Switzerland, 2007): Available:

“[Deleuze] studied very carefully Non-Human Expressivity (…) the real Otherness which is Geology, Chemistry, Biology. So Deleuze´s Theory of Expressivity in ´The Geology of Morals´ [a chapter of ´A Thousands Platôs´, v.1] begins by saying everything, even Inorganic creatures, expresses themselves: a Crystal expresses its identity in its form, in its way of interacting with light, in its way of bouncing rays of light, and refracting, and reflecting rays of light; regardless of whether there is a human holding this Crystal and producing a rainbow, the very Crystal itself could refract that ray of light, produce a rainbow and express itself; even Atoms, in their humble being, express their identity: when a Atom of Hydrogen, or an Atom of Hellion, or an Atom of Carbon interacts with radiation, he leaves a fingerprint of their identify over that radiation: astrophysics can take photographs of that fingerprint and identify (…)”

* “Mille Plateaux” foi publicado, na Paris de 1980, por Guattari & Deleuze

sexta-feira, 23 de julho de 2010


As pesquisas do neurocientista Paul Zak (Claremont Graduate University, demonstraram que:

10 minutos regulares de Twitter, ao longo de 6 semanas, correlacionam-se à variação de 13,2% dos níveis da Ocitocina e à redução de 10,8%-14,9% do cortisol e do ACTH no sangue. Pasmem! Trata-se do primeiro estudo de Neurociência Social aplicada à química do bem-estar nas Redes Sociais Virtuais. Wow!,2


Um ótimo texto - apesar de breve...
pensar o PósHumano no diálogo com o "Humanismo" e o "Humanista"

rhizomes.20 season 2010

Cary Wolfe, What is Posthumanism?
Review by L. Michael Sacasas

Wolfe, Cary. What is Posthumanism? Posthumanities series, ed. Cary Wolfe. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010. 357 pp. $24.95 (978-0-8166-6615-7)

A More Persistent Posthumanism

[1] According to Cary Wolfe, Professor of English at Rice University and a leading figure in the emerging fusion of critical theory, Animal Studies, and the posthumanities, the problem with much of what passes for posthumanism (or sometimes transhumanism) is that it is not sufficiently posthuman. To illustrate, Wolfe cites the Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom, who, in his essay "A History of Transhumanist Thought," explicitly grounds the post/transhumanist project in notions of human perfectibility, rationality, and agency rooted in Renaissance humanism. Bostrom's genealogy of post/transhumanist thought proceeds from Pico della Mirandolla's association of human dignity with the human being's responsibility for shaping their own nature and Francis Bacon's promotion of the new science as a tool of human mastery over the natural world. Post/transhumanism in Bostrom's account "has its roots in rational humanism." In another frequently cited example of posthumanism as merely hyper-humanism, Hans Moravec, in Mind Children: The Future of Robot and Human Intelligence, imagines a scenario in which a human consciousness is downloaded into a computer and carries on essentially unchanged. Wolfe approvingly cites N. Katherine Hayles's critique of Moravec: "When Moravec imagines 'you' choosing to download yourself into a computer, thereby obtaining through technological mastery the ultimate privilege of immortality, he is not abandoning the autonomous liberal subject but is expanding its prerogatives into the realm of the posthuman" (xv). Moreover, Moravec's scenario and the varieties of posthumanism that it represents conceive of posthumanism as a transcendence of embodiment. Here again Wolfe aligns himself with Hayles: "[P]osthumanism in my sense isn't posthuman at all – in the sense of being "after" our embodiment has been transcended – but it is only posthumanist, in the sense that it opposes the fantasies of disembodiment and autonomy, inherited from humanism itself, that Hayles rightly criticizes" (xv). Yet Hayles is also among those who, in Wolfe's view, have not gone far enough, because hers is a posthumanism that is articulated in a theoretical framework that reinscribes humanist notions of historiography. In other words, Hayles still represents a humanist way of being rightly posthuman.

[2] The persistent posthumanism Wolfe articulates is an effort to recover the human rather than transcend it, but the human in this account is not the autonomous, rational subject that humanism gave to itself; rather, it is a notion of the human that is aware of its

embodiment, embeddedness, and materiality, and how these in turn shape and are shaped by consciousness, mind, and so on... It allows us to pay proper attention to... the material, embodied, and evolutionary nature of intelligence and cognition, in which language, for example is no longer seen (as it is in philosophical humanism) as a well-nigh-magical property that ontologically separates Homo sapiens from every other living creature. (120)

Just over ten years separate N. Katherine Hayles's How We Became Posthuman (1999) and Cary Wolfe's What is Posthumanism? (2010). In the intervening years Wolfe has been articulating a more persistent posthumanism by combining the insights of second order systems theorists Humberto Maturana, Fransisco Varela and especially Niklas Luhmann with those of Jacques Derrida. He has also been a leading force in the evolution of Animal Studies into a rich and vibrant field of research. What is Posthumanism? is the eighth installment in the Posthumanities series published by the University of Minnesota Press, a series edited by Wolfe himself. The series, which was inaugurated in 2007 with a reprinting of Michel Serres's The Parasite and has included a contribution by Donna J. Haraway, When Species Meet (2007), embodies the alignment between Animal Studies and a more persistent posthumanism that Wolfe has been enacting in his previous work, most notably Animal Rites: American Culture, the Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory (2003).

[3] Wolfe divides What is Posthumanism? into two main sections. The first section, titled "Theories, Disciplines, Ethics," develops a theoretical framework, while the second section – "Media, Culture, Practices" – applies this framework to an analysis of visual art, film, architecture, literature, and music. All but one of the eleven chapters gathered here appeared previously as journal articles or book chapters and this gives the whole a somewhat disjointed feel. However, crucial themes recur throughout the work, lending it coherence if not quite flow. Also, as the chapters have been reworked for the present volume, frequent pointers backwards and forwards pepper the text as if to bind the chapters together with feedback and feed-forward loops. These very frequent efforts to indicate links to previous and later chapters also have the (intended?) effect of suggesting the notion of recursivity within autopoietic systems that plays a critical role in the second order cybernetic tradition upon which Wolfe draws so heavily.

[4] Two crucial arguments unite these disparate essays. The first is that posthumanism entails the effacement of any presumed ontological divide between the human and the animal. The second and related argument running through the whole is that great care must be taken to ensure that this effacement is not undertaken in ways that reinscribe the very assumptions that produced the animal/human divide in the first place. Second order systems theory is a critical component of Wolfe's theoretical framework precisely because it attends to both of these concerns. Historically, the ontological divide between the animal and the human has been secured by grounding human personhood in the use of language to create meaning. Within second order systems theory meaning is disarticulated from language and stems rather from the preference of human and nonhuman (even non-biological) systems for reducing complexity or "noise" which autopoietic systems must do if they are to survive. Meaning then is produced by each system that constitutes itself within its environment through autopoietic closure. Human beings are just one of many autopoietic systems sharing their environment with a wide range of non-human animals, each "bringing forth a world" in a meaningful, even if not human, way. On this point, and many others throughout, Wolfe finds Luhmann and systems theory to be in basic agreement with Derrida, even when they approach problems from different angles of entry – Derrida seeks to release difference from reality, while systems theory explains how systems cope with that difference. Those who have read Hayles's account of second generation systems theory and her warnings of its tendency to disembody information and so abet the drift toward disembodiment in certain strands of posthumanism may wish that Wolfe had engaged Hayles directly at this juncture.

[5] The same concerns are evident in the third chapter, "Flesh and Finitude," which Wolfe identifies as the most ambitious in the book. Here, Wolfe examines and critiques recent efforts to attend to the animal in bioethics, particularly in the work of philosophers such as Peter Singer and Martha Nussbaum, who, rightly and honorably, attempt to take seriously the ethical standing of non-human animals. Yet, neither Singer's Utilitarianism nor Nussbaum's modified Aristotelianism are able to finally succeed in securing what they seek because they both tend to extend rights to animals from within the same exclusionary framework that had previously denied them. In Wolfe's view, and here he draws heavily on the work of Cora Diamond, what is needed is a form of philosophy that does not confuse the "difficulty of philosophy" with the "difficulty of reality." The difficulty of our efforts to give analytic expression to the horrors we find literally unspeakable, but no less real, cannot preclude us from suffering. "Philosophy can hence no longer be seen as mastery, as a kind of clutching or grasping via analytical categories and concepts that seemed for Heidegger, 'a kind of sublimized violence'.... Rather, the duty of thinking is not to deflect but to suffer... our 'exposure' to the world" (71). So Diamond begins to ground our response to non-human animals in a shared sense of frailty, vulnerability, and ability to suffer. But with Derrida, Wolfe wants to go further still. Not only are we physically and biologically vulnerable, we are also subject to the materiality and technicity of language which exists independently of us and which, (in a posthuman recognition) as an ahuman prosthetic, renders the nonhuman already a part of our being.

[6] Nussbaum and Singer here again represent humanist forms of posthumanism. In their concern for non-human life and their desire to secure rights for animals they are certainly expressing a certain posthumanism, but their way of thinking through the problem marks them still in some sense humanist. Derrida again emerges as the more persistent posthumanist who not only advocates for the non-human animal, but does so in a way that challenges the dominance of humanist modes of thought. The contrast appears again in the sixth chapter, "From Dead Meat to Glow-in-the-Dark Bunnies," which explores the visual art of Sue Coe and Eduardo Kac. Coe's concern is to draw sympathetic attention to the plight of animals that are subjected to the "untold horrors of the slaughterhouse." To this end, her artwork frequently represents the face of animals begging to be recognized and heard. "Coe's melodramatic renderings themselves," according to Wolfe "harbor a more fundamental ... representationalism, a signifying regime whose best name might well be 'faciality'" and which privileges the humanist subject mode of experiencing reality (155). Her work is "humanist in a crucial sense ... it relies on a subject from whom nothing, in principle, is hidden" (167). By contrast Kac "subverts the centrality of human and of anthropocentric modes of knowing and experiencing the world by displacing the centrality of its metonymic stand-in, human (and humanist) visuality" (162). In doing so he does not draw our vision to a subject that we as humans will deign to recognize; rather, he questions our very ability to see with the all-encompassing humanist vision. For Wolfe, Kac's is is the more persistent posthumanism.

[7] Other chapters, which include a moving exploration of Lars von Trier's film Dancer in the Dark and an insightful reading of Emerson's philosophy guided by the work of Stanley Cavell, continue to sound these two principle themes. The ontological divide we have imagined between ourselves and the non-human world is not nearly as impassable as we have been led to believe, partly because of what we have come to know about certain animals, but also because of what we are remembering about ourselves in these posthuman times. This recognition, however, must be framed not in terms of a granting to the other what we think ourselves to be, but by a radical reconfiguration of how we even think of ourselves in the first place.

[8] According to Wolfe, comprehending a "new reality" in which human beings occupy a universe "populated by... nonhuman subjects" requires a posthumanism which entails "an increase in the vigilance, responsibility, and humility that accompany living in a world so newly, and differently, inhabited" (47). What is Posthumanism? does not present the reader with a definitive answer to the question posed by its title – this would hardly be possible at this juncture. It does, however, offer an embodiment of Wolfe's vision played out in a wide array of cultural, institutional, and artistic sites of inquiry, with each chapter functioning as a stimulating theoretical probe contributing to the emergence of a new paradigm of research and knowledge.