Durandus von Meissen

The Science of Cultural Criticism

Category: Interlude


Before proceeding to the aforementioned next contribution here: “Personal Value and the Existential Field,” and in light of the little “Content Demonstration” regarding Personal/Institutional Value in historical context of three years at Google, we bear a few more abstractions, try step-back, and see everything thus far in the Round, reflecting a Paradigm enclosing the rest.

We consider here that obtaining to this is, quite literally, to mirror an act of cognitive/affective synthesis, albeit transcendental and having a strong aesthetic urgency, involving what we once humorously termed an: “etiology of praxis;” discovering our Models, differentiating our analytic, and finding Cause as Moment, ideationally (rational) and sensationally (instinctual), in the Sphere of our Existential Field. (Sphere is to EF what Coin is to Obverse/Reverse Causal relation, while our Moment here is to Time what Time is to Space in Kant’s system.)

The Synthetic Paradigm, or momentum being actuated, remains an aesthetic sensibility that then becomes a literal and virtual Thing (Art), as that Observing is, in effect, that Observed; mirroring while affecting Moment to determine forcefully, emotively as some would have it, the Cultural Artifact and zeitgeist complex, whether principally determined personally or institutionally, having inherent or adherent Telic (instinct/reason), intensive or extensive Actuality (Dynamic) with implicit (tacit?) or explicit Identity, satisfying our Field Categories for the Objective/Subjective EF Differential Analysis given as our prelude to the “Models of Agency,” first projected in our “Prolegomena to the Models of Agency” preceding, Intelligence leading the way forward (organic/mechanic) and principally formative but cooperatively instrumental in the evolution of all variations of perceptive brilliance within and upon the EF. (“Repunzel, Repunzel: Let down your hair!”)

Still, before proceeding, one term should at least be acknowledged, or more carefully observed, whose unusual duplicity of reference to frames, (dual directional momentum, creating Value Vectors (VV)), can be describe as: AGENDA.

Still observing how much this Steerage crowds-in upon the Moment, sometimes unwillingly or exhaustingly imposed from without, or inspired from within, sometimes as an unwilling mind, focused upon the (demanding?) sense of some Event Stream, each Moment either Passing, Past, Now or Next; Maneuvering, Ordering, Building-up/pulling-down; thence Sustained against opposing, or kept with complimentary, winds, the heart and mind endures…”ships hurled upon raging storms, sometimes pressed-on, forlorn, the strong waves beating.” ~OH (p.39)

What is treated of in that following: PVEF, consists of all that preceding of Agency, Orientation, Interest, Perspective, Perception and Volition, that FRAMES the Models of Agency in the PMA and gives Impetus to every Event Stream (ES) any one can, has and will encounter.

Here would be the Marriage of our Objective and Subjective Paradigms, lending it forward to determine the outlines of our Transcendental Aesthetic/Synthetic Paradigm(s), resolving our Personal and Institutional Scope of Being into their various Telic or zones of influence with vectoring Values (differentiated) comprising the Moment, for Good or Ill. See the revolving brilliance of a newly minted silver coin, and perceive the clock-like wheel upon which your perspective turns to observe.

If successful, our attempt here to give Voice to this Other Paradigm may prove Cause as harbinger of a New Earth, of a New Heaven (too painfully Witnessed), the former rolled-up like a Scroll and the utterly unspoken made a new Dawn.

The Stage is set…the Orchestral Sphere rings…Dancers prepare and Magisterial Characters rehearse…from Farce to Comedy to Tragedy, some Utopian shores to traverse, at last. Adieu.



Interlude III

It’s been a long slog this year, first begun with a draft to treat of Personal Value in all its Causal insinuations upon the Perceptive Orientation of both the Rational and Instinctual Agency, from root worm to the ashen phoenix egg, stripping then clothing again the necessitating grounds of every moment of Existential Integrity (EI). Alas, not even a fifth run at that first draft has left this free thinker with other than profound pause, forgiving friends and willing acquaintances bidding clarity upon the assertion of such facts laid out here at Cultural Criticism (CC) to date.

As more questions are raised than discerning answers given (still upholding the lengthy piece on Personal Value, running past 8000 words, five times rebroached and entrenched in the Argument and but a quarter through the whole), we have discovered the shifting enigmas of Valence Value (VV) that torque Perspective this way and that, as to Agency Orientation (AO); while behind our two unruly steeds (Objective/Subjective Paradigms) high-stepping to rush-on, remains me to steer upon the Sun.

Among the many interesting blog Reading at WordPress, those best I had occasion to glance are forwarded here to those interested in CC, with some commentary. Half of time worthily invested being in the Company of those engaged with Ontology and Epistemology, and the reliably witty and insightful, sometimes bemused pondering that occur within and between the spheres of rational and instinctual cognition, whose many drivers of importance (scholars, analysts, theoriticians) sometimes bear overly on finer points of Agency, mistaking sometimes the Sentiment for Thought, or Ideality for the Necessitating Will. We observe here that not all stands to Reason, not all bends to Instinct; while together they run the Caduceus of Time that Messages the Gods themselves as where to Stand for Healing, the Way Through, and Oracular License to Speak for the Higher, timeless Wisdom.

Well then, Come…let US Reason together.

One fine voice suggested a certain Content Demonstration for our CC, while we mentioned (historically) how Voice was confined too much by the legislative inoculations of this time’s Ideational Iconography (standards of civil or scholarly discourse), such as were witnessed at the Huffington Post (see Censorship at HP here), invoking a sanitized “vanilla nice” for the equation of responsible civil society, knocking out from the multiplicity of Voice Orientations to Speech among Rhetoric for Comedy, Tragedy or Farce to wholly nullify the practice of truly meaningful and deep Social Communication; except for Farce, which seems so much to rule the day in this ‘civil’ society standard, falsely applied everywhere and hypocritical from heal to head.

Cowards like nothing better than to find excuse for accusing their opponents of not being ‘civil’, promoting War against their opponents all the while in their own right, while sanctioning standards of the lowest common denominator outright to justify their own vulgar and insistent ideology. Religion, Politics, Class, Race, Wealth…all symptoms of social structure bent for Division, and the undermining of Universal Welfare for all Species, to whom this Earth belongs. THIS is the Status Quo, whose end is cultural self-immolation for mankind.

So, we at Cultural Criticism devised an ideational mechanism of Content Demonstration outside of WordPress: an Historical Analytic on the landscape of three years time (developing most this last year in absence of contributions here), tying into the Event Stream (ES) those Personal Value Orientations set against proven Institutional Value Orientations, in open conflict with the State of Power ranging across the West and World, such as the Daily News’ Geist demonstrates (as once suggested for an interest in the Practice of Cultural Criticism):


Keeping in mind that the Personal Value System lays adjacent to the Humane of Welfare Evaluations, exactly through those several degrees of VV integration and the Cognition of Agency deployed for Empire, whether defensively or offensively attending distinct and mostly disparate Telic. Careful readers will have already browsed the “Models of Agency” here, and so will have little less than understanding of what divergence of Systems lends to our Analytic that proceeds.

It is here that we link-up with the Practical Application of Agent Orientation as to the driving forces of man’s social milieu (enculturation) and dialogue among contending parties (of interest). As it’s only sensible that one can only treat of the most familiar and ‘natural’ to their dispositions that fits most sturdily the ideational and affective value frames once or ever adopted, rehearsed, and clarified for spontaneous and authentic reflection, projection, assertion and reformation of the adjacent confluence of Event Stream, via pursuant Agency, we must take Example from the Historical Record to Speak upon the available and going Evidence. We are relying here upon the Applied Concept of Agency Integrity (AI), fleshed-out in the upcoming “Personal Value” ethic, as the architectural scaffolding and spirit of our Differentiation Analysis that proceeds; that is, distinguishing the Humane from Inhumane Value Systems mankind owns spontaneously or invents for nefarious ends. The moral import of this Analysis bodes Destiny to the human Species, as well as to the General Welfare of the Globe, universally speaking.

Having reduced the Evidence of Intelligence to a Humane and Inhumane Disposition (Values Orientation), and this to the Fundamental Causes of Value (Interest), we meanwhile are spinning-out this Voice as to Justice, Judgment, Interest and Rationalization (Obverse and Reverse Value in a dual directional momentum), to eventually see a clear Point of Departure from the Event Stream (such as the Example, Below) of contending forces, thus enabling Perspective to reaffirm less clever Standing against the tides of many ill-fortunes our history asserts and confirms.

Once the careful and intrigued reader passes these bounds and returns upon the Publication of our Trilogy: “The Odyssey of Heart,” and grasps the meaningful Trope of the “Golden Child,” “Dragon Hero” and “Birth of the Sojourner” contained therein (book 1/3 released on Amazon in Last Printing as of December 15, 2014), comparing the Personal Value Orientation with the Institutional Value Orientation provided in what is already offered and still follows, THEN we may conduct the next offering: “Personal Value” for our impatient Friends at WordPress.

As with all History, we pursue what follows from the most recent Moment, backwards till we arrive at “The Sprite of Fairhaven,” first Published in 1999 at Southwest Minnesota State University, Marshal, MN., but coinciding with the First Release Book: “Birth of the Sojourner” November 11, 2011.

Till then, Adieu.



Interlude II: “Rapunzel, Rapunzel: Let down your hair!”

Curious readers may wonder why we don’t come out and define Value here or offer a catalog of Values at the outset, which would seemingly be useful if the object of Cultural Criticism (CC) is indeed the very same. Such an approach would really be to place the Cart before the Horse in our view, however; so, with our Interlude here we will strive to review somewhat the terrain gone before and reflect for a few moments upon why treating Value as such would be potentially self-defeating for CC as a presumptive science.

One can imagine what dead-ends other applications of science in other fields would have, and actually have, floundered into from too confident and over-zealous forays into Definition of the very objects of their study before proving the many applications that the objects of their study may actually, as distinct from theoretically, possess; not the least misstep would be for Cultural Criticism to mistake Value as related to objects to be obtained from the Existential Field (EF), as something exterior to Agency itself. We could easily get ahead of ourselves here and lend a false impression of what Value principally involves and thereby confuse common knowledge with our analysis of the grounds upon which Agency rests and the modes through which Agency is expressed, still skirting their disparate causality as Instinctual and Rational (not necessarily contradictory, but seen or taken to be so in terms of intrinsic and extrinsic purpose and the effects these have upon Perception and the EF; vitality, abundance and flourishing vs scarcity and deprivation, for instance, lending consequence to humane and inhumane instantiations of Value for CC).

As the EF includes both an internal and external state, an affective and effective dynamic, and an intensive as well as extensive purposes of Agency, such an approach would likely only lead to a confusing jumble of ill-distinct definitions of particular Values, rather at odds with our aims at first to distinguish the modes through which Agency is perceived and actualized, quite apart from the terms of Value that often possess a two directional momentum in the EF: a condition of Agency in themselves with instinctual grounds, but also functioning as means to other Values in the EF rationally determined, being both Personally and Institutionally value-able; Intelligence being one such Value.

We take up the Value of Intelligence here and evaluate somewhat the distinction between the categories of Personal and Institutional Agency as it relates to Intelligence as a Value that actually constitutes the EF (among others), looking also for a way in which this Value can be said to possess a two directional momentum with intensive and extensive qualities that come to define Agency in certain contexts. Our attempt here is to begin a clarification process for the analysis of Value going forward in certain particulars, and to ponder whether and to what degree we may be looking at a distinction among Values that are at once Ontological for Agency (how it comes to be what it variously is), equating to the Personal category of the EF on the one hand, and Epistemological for Agency on the other (how Agency can be reasonably construed for our two categories (in practice)) in the sense that certain Values act to orient Agency within the EF and are afforded or otherwise assume existential validity (integrity) depending upon the context of the EF in which they are realized. This is a terrain not very well tamped down by those who have come before, so we acknowledge the fluid boundaries of our reflections here while being confident that much of this same terrain will be revisited, the discursive paths amended and some of what we may tentatively assert as decisive to be later discarded as mistaken identifications of our quandary, if not clarified.

The science of Physics first emerged from Academy joined hip to leg with its speculative counterpart: meta-physics, to proceed merrily on its way, more or less confidently aware of the parameters of its ‘science’ to develop enormously influential explanatory models that went on to shape the consciousness, perspectives and historical narrative of Progress for modern civilization and extent institutions across the whole gamut of Society. Further questions emerged from the content of these models, more data discovered and implications that indicated the incomplete or insufficiency of the given explanatory models, in some respect, to account for certain properties of or related to Matter as the object of this science. Voila, though not “all of a sudden” but more like a form of awareness that grows brighter with the realization of once unforeseen developments in the course of discovery, Physics had begun to reintroduce what once would have been recognized as metaphysical properties of Matter that, at the outset of the science would have been cruelly ridiculed as wholly outside the proper scope of the empirical discipline and methods first introduced. The science of Physics may well take a quantum leap forward in understanding its objects, their genesis and properties, all the while Society at large remaining fairly ignorant in what way certain tenants, upon which popular assumptions of the Real rests (what ‘matters’), are misapplied as a result of conceptions in Physics over 200 yrs antiquated; albeit the unqualified veracity of such assumptions in the popular imagination being more at fault than the explanatory models of the science itself, though neither exempt. So tricky, and potentially damaging for the Value of Intelligence, is the integration and translation of, really any, science (or candle-wick theology) to the status of public, and presumably common, knowledge. We will, however, not be playing the New Age quantum mechanics guru here.

And yet, the largely silent revolutions within the science holds vastly more profound implications for the going ontological and epistemological assumptions still informing the extent institutions of Society, of Education, of other sciences and what passes for heightened Intelligence in those societies where the narrative of the former Progress still holds primacy. What a cutting-edge, modern physicist understands of their science may then become largely divorced from the popular imagination about what Matter and its associated, materialistic theories means to their status of now atomized organisms; ie, individuals in a social context. Oops.

Problem being, given the current state of civilization built upon the scientific models of the last 200 yrs, inculcated in the popular imagination through Education and the materialistic ideals of Society we now live under, the cutting-edge Intelligence of the modern physicist might just as well be as incomprehensible to the average members of Society at large as any extra terrestrial Intelligence would be to the physicist of 200 yrs ago. They have so little in common, except those things which everyone takes for granted in the EF, to draw upon from their respective disciplines (metaphysics vs common knowledge), as to make their degrees of Intelligence utterly incommunicable. Of course, we’re describing a very rarefied field of Physics today; nonetheless, as an extension directly arising from the foregoing parameters of physics 200 yrs realized, modern developments can be said to squarely rest in direct line of all the previous without too unreasonable of leaps forward. Theoretical physicists, after all, are still physicists; and physics is still a rigorously defined branch of science; and the scientific mind goes largely to define the conceits of modern civilization and its Institutions. Enough said.

Probably the only sector of Society capable of grasping the implications of modern physics is the very sector most interested in utilizing the insight to its own advantage over all other competing interests; namely, Corporatism in league with the branches of National Governments of any importance the world over, and being the primary stakeholders in the scientific methods evolving today, will so soon have a grasp on the utility of the new discoveries as to make all bystanders virtually enthralled, and not in a positive way, before they know what hit them. At that point, there will be two operational modes of Intelligence on the planet; and one of them will be truly alien to the other for all intents and purposes.

Given the Institutional Values prevailing in the West today, it would be no mere guess as to who will be, or even now are, the Masters of the globe and whom the Serfs, once this transition makes its way into the light of day and is outed by the exigencies of emergency survival preparation looming on the horizon. So long as the status quo is arguably sustainable, one can expect more of the same socio-economic trajectory for civilization of at least the last few decades; while, more than likely it will not be until such time as the revolutionary implications for the going ontological and epistemological assumptions of the last 200 yrs actually gives way to the new science and its technological applications that Society is actually allowed to collapse (by the Masters), barring earlier environmental catastrophe (natural or man made) that simply makes life on earth untenable.

For our second diagnosis of Intelligence in the modern era and under the aegis of science, we turn to the concept of Artificial Intelligence (AI) about which more and more is being openly discussed in public; just about as weird as the quantum field and multiple dimensions to the common knowledge and experience of mankind. It’s a good example in modern times of the exclusionary dangers of too hastily arriving at Definition for our objects of study, as equally in physics as in psychiatry (ODD equals Psychological, Emotional, Political or Religious Dissent to authoritarian powers and the imposition of their Institutional Values) or the presumptive science of Cultural Criticism.

Few phrases conjure up the specter of Anthropocentric conceits better than this one alone, the model for which is, of course, human intelligence with very little awareness of the prejudices and bias involved in such a project; a concept of Intelligence summarily and best analogized in the operations of empiricism with all the mechanical rules of formal, mathematical logic esteemed under the guise of modern scientific methods. Well and good, if that’s all we intend to mean by AI, which would make Intelligence under such a model truly and literally quite ‘artificial’, having absolutely no correlate in the Real, let alone Natural, world, except the computer, for which there seems to be an inordinate zeal for comparison to the human brain among some neurologists and cognitive scientists of a materialistic and positivist bent.

Such a model must prove to be a pretty shoddy and poor attempt at organic intelligence observed across the whole spectrum of the EF and light years apart from the actual dynamic of Intelligence to be found across species even of very heterogeneous types, among which mankind is but one relatively (not at all absolutely) differentiated part from the whole constituting organic intelligence. This is true in no small part due to the very subtly nuanced material and energetic influences that go to Perception, at least half of which are not rational or rise to the level of cognition for the orienting Agency of any individual of any species; but also because some of the influences as experienced by other species are not material at all, as understood within the traditional framework of empirical studies, while such influences must be assumed to be relevant to humans in their capacities for Intelligence as extensions of the organic, evolutionary history of life on our planet. Just because one branch of human science does not allow for the influences coming from or even constituting the effective spacio-temporal milieu in which humanity moves about and has its being, in no way actually dissembles what occurs with Perception at the nexus of the human instrument with the total environment (EF). Why someone clever hasn’t cataloged the extensive history of erstwhile inexplicable but meaningfully punctuated coincidences between the inner and outer realms that the experience of generations of mankind can relate, remains a baffling question (one which the Jungian should be zealous to explore); but that’s understandable, given the empirical demands of the official iconography of science to date. The prospect of such lies outside the province of materialism, obviously; and anecdotal evidence is not an admissible standard of proof for any such nexus. It would, however, make excellent speculative fodder for ontology and emergent epistemology.

As for AI: if mankind is on the verge of duplicating some aspect of its own intelligence, it can only be in respect of a model of its practical rationality, which we have surely only begun to comprehend under guidance of empirical methods, certain determinative influences from, or of, the environment (EF) and organic heredity being mostly excluded from such a model (doubtless because of limited purposes designed for AI), resulting in a mere simulacrum of man’s logical functions derived from this same rational model, having next to nothing to do with organic intelligence realized across a broad spectrum of life on our planet.

The cognitive functions and dynamics of learning across species may well help to elaborate a rational model for such AI (cognitive functions are not purely rational functions, and cognition does not equate to methodical reflection understood as Reason for the human species); which would only be to admit that mankind participates in a learning dynamic that has an organic heredity, the rationalized process of which offers a human example of organic intelligence while merely verbalized by humanity’s idiosyncratic language. Other animals are evidently endued with a very similar learning process instinctively (non rationally), which mankind takes as its own specialized providence. It’s an anthropocentric conceit unworthy of a species that dubs itself Homo Sapiens, claiming for itself what is actually quite common for life on this planet, without all the verbal claptrap.

Such a rationalized model of learning is perhaps best exemplified by human intelligence, principally because we’re too narcissistic to condescend to how other species perform as effectively but lack the appendages requisite for fullest exploitation, (meanwhile, a popular conceit holds currency in the imagination of mankind that we don’t possess instincts (which is utterly preposterous)); but cannot be taken to be definitive for Intelligence as there are most certainly other aspects to organic intelligence that are not subject to empirical scrutiny: the sub-rational dynamics of Instinct that go to orient Perception for any animal in the EF and concomitant intuitions inexplicable to Reason but perfectly natural to Instinct among animals (which much of humanity has squelched in favor of a presumably objective Perception of a limited and limiting scope in the EF); the role of bio-electromagnetism and the interface of these with terrestrial electromagnetic influences (migratory behavior; social constructions among insects; herding behavior among fish and mammals; sheltering and flight responses in the face of pending weather and dangerous terrestrial events); photon and pheromonal affects that convect internal vitality, homeostasis and the sense of well being and expression of alert awareness, curiosity, tranquility (and others), beside the whole relatively unexplained role of aesthetic sensibility in the development (learning) and expression of Intelligence including creative and ritualized behavior in the courting process and other forms of spontaneous play that directly flow from and into the evolutionary imperative of adaptation and species survival.

From an evolutionary perspective (and what could be more evolutionary than organic intelligence?), all of these behaviors constitute Intelligence, which are manifestations of an internal dynamic having instinctual cause and the purpose of survival, beside cognitive determinations; and not just for survival but thriving life that includes pleasure as both means and ends (immediate reward, rest and rejuvenation), which human reason is ill equipped to fully comprehend or exploit.

Empirical methods of investigation of these matters will probably never be sophisticated enough to disclose the breadth and depth, or either the internal or external dynamics, of relationships existing for the subject with its environment that these manifest examples of Intelligence demonstrate. Consequently, AI must strictly be ‘artificial’, a fabrication, an imposture and pipe dream to date, unless what mankind is after is the automated reproduction of its own monstrous and inhumane values. Good luck with that!


Interlude I

In our last, very tentative, approach to the question: “What is Cultural Criticism” (not too inconspicuously on our site header here averring that it is a science), we chose to adopt a stream-of-thought approach to kind-of get our feet wet with the idea of later wading into the deeper recesses of this question. Before we launch upon that endeavor though, we take a few moments here to reflect upon some sensible, if slightly epic of tone, observations that may ease our passage into the profound waters that lay ahead. Perhaps not, but the gravity of our endeavor whispers otherwise, no matter what we are able to make of it going forward.

May the gentle reader allow, without abandoning hope to the contrary, that we here cannot yet begin to really, truly practice Cultural Criticism in a way deserving of our already established conceits; namely, that such a discipline is, in fact: a). a definitive science at all, traditionally understood, or, b). a discipline anywhere near worthy of the high calling we have made for it. Not as yet, of course; and, so far, nothing has been adequately provided for grounds to such conceits, but for some implications. However, we will recommend that the gentle reader expect us to here retrace, time and again, the very ground already trespassed, until the whole of the terrain is firmly tamped and made suitable for the clear and convincing passage of other, like-minded sojourners who, perhaps miraculously, find themselves returning here for what unfolds.

Nobody with a daring capacity for trailblazing and exploration of relatively unexplored terrain would ever doubt that any push into the strange and wonderful would not necessarily get them turned-around and disoriented, landing them again at their beginning to begin afresh. This being said, not in what regards our question as stated, but in what must be demanded of our answers; and not demanded once, or twice, but many times in different manner from various angles till the full luster of our Quest for science becomes obviously apparent, and convincing. Only then shall we be able to say with honest confidence whether the conceits delivered here are justified, or their promise a living possibility and not mere chimera of over-determined speculations.

So, while we assert that the discipline of Cultural Criticism (CC) holds the potential for immense importance to the viability of Civilization into the next century and beyond, and which discipline must rise as a Phoenix from the ash-heap of failed and out-lived paradigms (old wine skins?) gone immediately before, we would hope also to be conscientious of the rigorous demands a true science would make upon our darling pet, not forgetting to admit that this or that construction of intellectual architecture will likely call for some temporary and ultimately dispensable buttress before the dawning science can legitimately instantiate itself among mere mortals as hierophant to the greater mysteries sure to consequently follow. That is, if our stated conceits hold good to their promises. Time and artifice will tell.

Finally, the purpose of our little Interlude here, as those to come, may serve as a slight remedy to the logical or architectural shortcomings at risk in such a venture as we here set for ourselves; some little cosmic or plausibly farcical catharsis of too much pent importance, or something like how a tablespoon of locally drawn and raw honey may inoculate against the wild germs awaiting their turn about every corner. Some time to ruminate on our purposes, our failures, or certain points of interest that deserve closer, clearer, notice; or, perhaps, such as our esteemed Commentariate may invite. Till then, Adieu.