Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

"What is determined, bear, as I can, I must, knowing the might of strong Necessity is unconquerable." -- Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound

"Space Traveler" by Amos Sewell






















(How was this post created?  Please click HERE for a note on methodology.)

Monday, December 11, 2017

Bladerunner 2049

Last night on her streaming radio program Ancient of Days, Tessa B. Dick suggested that the new Blade Runner 2049 film is director Ridley Scott's vision rather than Philip K. Dick's. I think she makes an excellent point, and I would like to take it further. 

In many ways the first Bladerunner film was rather Scott's vision, too. Scott makes both films into a sort of sallow post-Christian showcase for cheap virtue signaling, an exercise in some sort of punk rock auto-destructive-ugly-human-self-image-freakout, and accomplishes very little beyond transforming cinemas around the world into "psychic-driving" laboratories for subjecting people to his trademark violence porn. Sitting through the film--like sitting through most of Scott's films--is equivalent to a kind of psychological self-mutilation; and there is an "addictive" quality to it, which is no doubt the point, anyway so far as Hollywood is concerned. I think Scott got away with such foolishness in the first film because, in terms of art direction and ultra-violence, it was so "new" in 1982, but in the second film viewing the same rubbish all over again becomes quickly boring, so much so that the new film serves to underscore the sensationalism that, it now seems obvious, is the essence of the original film. The new film absolutely stinks with cheap virtue signaling that in its way compliments the sickening images and violence, and, moreover, the film is larded with possible threads to be picked up in a franchise of yet more addictive--that is to say profitable--sequels.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Higbrow Creed; or, on the road to Eudemonia

 
Aristotle teaching Alexander























 “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” 
 
                 --Aristotle, Metaphysics
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/aristotle_100584
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/aristotle_100584
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/aristotle_100584

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

"The Lottery"



My highbrow friends will find it worthwhile to consider Shirley Jackson's short story in the context of René Girard's compelling discussions of sacrifice and "mimetic desire."

Friday, December 1, 2017

New Ceramics by Kai Wayland

Kai Wayland's art appears on of the covers of many International Authors books. He is now creating ceramic pieces, which are available for sale.  Please clock HERE to view examples of his remarkable work.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Monday, November 20, 2017

Emanations 7: Call for Submissions

International Authors and the editors of Emanations are happy to announce a Call for Submissions:


Emanations 7

Emanations is an anthology series featuring fiction, poetry, and essays. The emphasis is on alternative narrative structures, new epistemologies, peculiar settings, esoteric themes, sharp breaks from reality, ecstatic revelations, and vivid and abundant hallucinations.

The editors are interested in literary writing. We seek fiction and poetry that present unworldly ways of seeing, feeling, and describing. Recognizable genres -- science fiction, fantasy, horror, political dystopia, satire, mystery, local color, romance, realism, surrealism, and postmodernism -- are fine, but the chief idea is to make something new, and along these lines the illusion of something new can be just as important.

If a story or poem makes someone say, “Yes, it is good, but what is it?” then it is right for Emanations.  


Essays should be exuberant, daring, and free of pedantry. Accounts of unusual travels will fit well into Emanations 7. Length is a consideration in making publication decisions, but in keeping with the spirit of the project contributors should consider length to be “open.”

Our editorial vision is evolving. Contributors should see themselves as actively shaping the “vision” of Emanations. While there are no set themes, volume-to-volume we have found that certain subtle and indirect tendencies are at work characterizing each new production.  Hence, in Emanations: Foray into Forever, the readers can detect nuanced glimpses into conceptions of Eternity.  In Emanations: 2 + 2 = 5, the tenor is vaguely dystopian. Most recently, Emanations: I am Not a Number encourages transcending the limits of our utilitarian civilization and its compartmentalized identifications. The tone of the volume is appropriately shadowy.



In anticipation of Emanations 7, the editors have been discussing the Pleiades as a point of departure. When you look directly at the Seven Sisters you can’t make out detail, just a blur, but if you look slightly to one side of them they become visible in peripheral vision. Their number and positioning relative to each other can be clearly discerned. This peripheral field compares to the literary task of describing experience in a space and a time outside of the collective semantic illusion; as in glancing slightly askance, the Pleiades appear in all their sisterhood, in the stream-of-continuity, as a formless non-self that thrives in that transparent moment that is as boundless as it is elusive. In counterpoint to the sixth volume’s darkness, we should like to see Emanations 7 arouse intimations of affirmation and light.



Email files with brief cover note to:

IAsubmissions@hotmail.com

Review of Submissions begins May 1, 2018

Contributors should place their name in the subject heading, and they should include their name and contact information in the submitted file.



Emanations is a not-for-profit literary project and contributors cannot be compensated at this time. All proceeds from the sale of Emanations will support the efforts of International Authors to publish new voices from around the world. Contributors receive a copy upon publication. Only one complimentary copy will be sent to each contributor; the fortunes of the mail, particularly international mail, is beyond the control of International Authors.

The project is a collaborative effort, and as we share ideas the “vision” transforms, evolves, and grows. When we write stories and poems we hope to bring to bear the entire battery of modern and postmodern literary devices. More simply: we like good, strong writing. Our essays are incisive, precise, keen, challenging, and driven by the writer’s desire to advance an intelligent audience’s understanding of exotic subjects.



The Fine Print:


1) Submit files as follows: double space, Microsoft Word, Times New Roman size #11.  Set Tabs for .2” and set spacing at 15. Use smart quotes. This will help reduce the workload as the editors format book for publication.

2) No simultaneous submissions (contributors should get fairly quick feedback anyway, especially if their submission meets our needs). Material that is obviously pulled from a file and has nothing to do with the goals of the anthology won’t get any feedback beyond the initial acknowledgement.

3) Word count/line count? See details above. We’re flexible, but contributors should be sensible when considering what they send in. A novella? Well, maybe, and so on.... Rules of thumb: a) Stories: very short to 20-30 pages. b) Poems: send in 5-10 pages. c) Essays: 5-10-30 pages.

4) Published as hard copy only -- Emanations will be available on Amazon. Participants who make a substantial contribution of material, editorial work, or art will get a copy. It can take some time to get copies to contributors outside of North America. In the case of our first anthology, for example, it took forty-five days to get a copy to a contributor in to Nepal. As described above, only one copy will be sent to each contributor; the fate of the mail, particularly international mail, is beyond the control of International Authors.

5) International Authors is a consortium, and as such every contributor is a “member” of our community, and contributors are encouraged to help promote the anthology by sending review copies to newspapers, journals and relevant Web sites.

6) Copyright “reverts” to contributors upon publication. That is, after an accepted piece appears in Emanations, the contributor can publish their piece elsewhere. Contributors should understand that Emanations will remain for sale on Amazon indefinitely. All materials appearing in Emanations are under the exclusive copyright of the contributing writers and artists.

7) Note to poets: Please do not send poems as individual files. All poetry submissions should be sent as a SINGLE MircosoftWord file formatted in Times New Roman, size 11.  Please submit three to ten pages.


8) Note on calendar: The editors will not review submitted files until May 1, 2018. 



Contributors submitting work to Emanations agree to these points. 



Published by International Authors

Board of Editorial Advisors

Ruud Antonius, Netherlands/UK/Switzerland
Steve Aylett, UK
 Bienvenido "Bones" Banez, Jr., Philippines/US
Holly Baumgartner, US
Cedric Cester, Spain
Sushma Joshi, Nepal
Devashish Makhija, India
C. E. Matthews, N. Ireland
Aziz Mustafa, Kosovo
Michael Moorcock, US/UK
Kai Robb, US
Ebi Robert, Nigeria
Joel K. Soiseth, US
Stephen Sylvester, US
Don Tinsley, US
 



Saturday, November 18, 2017

Politics Now, Continued

Here is the conclusion to Chapter 23 “Human Terrain” from Annie Jacobson’s The Pentagon’s Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America’s Top Secret Military Research Agency:
For the Deep Exploration and Filtering of Text (DEFT) program, DARPA [Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency] requested from Congress $28 million to develop computer algorithms to allow machines to scour vast arrays of text-based messages from “free text or semi-structural reports, messages, documents or databases,” so as to pull “actionable intelligence” out of ambiguously worded messages. “A key DEFT emphasis is to determine the implied and hidden meaning in text through probabilistic inference, anomaly detection and disfluency analysis.” The only way to determine if a person’s message or part of a message was anomalous or irregular would be to have a much larger database of that user’s messages to compare it to. How DEFT is used in the United States is classified, and DARPA declined to answer general questions. These are just three [analysis of patient data across electronic medical records systems, Nexus 7 (monitors social networks), and DEFT] out of nearly three hundred DARPA programs that were in development for fiscal year 2015, with a requested budget of $2.91 billion, not counting classified budgets.
It is impossible for American citizens to know about and to comprehend more than a fraction of the advanced science and technology programs that DARPA is developing for the government. And at the same time, it is becoming more possible for the federal government to monitor what American citizens are doing and saying, where they are going, what they are buying, who they are communicating with, what they are reading, what they are writing, and how healthy they are.
All this raises an important question. Is the world transforming into a war zone and America into a police state, and is it DARPA that is making them so?      


















 Please click HERE to learn more about this intriguing book.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Conversations with Philip K. Dick

Conversations with Philip K. Dick is in many ways a sequel to Tessa B. Dick’s 2010 memoir Philip K. Dick: Remembering Firebright, but it is also a different kind of book. Both books offer readers and scholars important insights into PKD’s intriguing philosophical concepts and details about the process and aims of his art. But while the first volume presents a mostly positive sketch of a driven author suffering economic and health issues resulting from his strenuous work, this second volume is more candid and shows PKD’s darker side, with descriptions and explanations of his domestic idiosyncrasies, which on occasion could be manipulative, distasteful and cruel. This character sketch is mere preface, however, to an exploration of PKD’s personal career, which in some ways is as dark and sinister as some of his novels.  Dick (Tessa—TBD) outlines a number of incidents, encounters and intrigues—and some of them with far-reaching political implications. This material, accurately and succinctly described, includes PKD’s contact with the Berkley progressive scene, in which Dick was a deeply-albeit-curiously-positioned figure, encounters with academics whose political interests go beyond the philosophical implications of literary criticism, PKD’s kidnapping in Vancouver (which TBD leaves largely unexplored), the November 17, 1971 ransacking of his house, his contacts with the FBI, his curious business dealings with Polish author Stanislaw Lem and Austrian critic and literary agent  Franz Rottensteiner, PKD’s paranormal experiences, which TBD confirms, but also his more “dramatic” experiences that, in characteristic fashion, PKD is able to immerse himself into enthusiastically while at the same time recognizing the health issues (high blood pressure, “micro-strokes”, over-work) that become the basis for rational explanations of his metaphysical insights; for example, the “pink light” episode and the sprawling theological dualism that he explores in the over-emphasized “Exegesis”, which I take to be more of a commonplace book or diary than a valid statement of PKD’s metaphysical beliefs. (Elsewhere, I will write on PKD’s theology, which I believe is firmly Episcopalian and orthodox—though expressed idiosyncratically).  I should add here, too, that TBD provides descriptions of her husband’s creative process, with explanations of his exploration of a cosmogony that rivals his Gnostic and dualist speculations (which were evidently fostered by his relationship with Bishop James Pike, and who was very much a more challenging influence than any encounters with rectangles of pink light).  Also, TBD describes PKD’s plans for sequels to the novels The Man in the High Castle and The Penultimate Truth.

PKD was a meticulous explorer of his own life, examining—indeed cannibalizing—his odd, esoteric, original, and even “absurd” experiences for both the material of his art and bases for analyses of the spiritual and intellectual malaise that marked his times, and which in particular marked the “counter-culture” that he so deeply identified with, but also so firmly and brilliantly rejected. I hope TBD will follow this volume with another that will drill more deeply into the political intrigues toward which Dick had found himself drawn.  Such a volume could serve as an important backdrop for reading what I take (in terms of historical, cultural and political documentation) to be two of Dick’s most important novels: The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, and the semi-autobiographical novelization of his close relationship with Bishop James Pike, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer.  In the meantime, as these novels are discovered, and as TBD prepares that hoped-for third volume, Conversations with Philip K. Dick will serve as an important basis for new study and new insights into the thinking of a significant philosopher—and quite possibly the most ingenious American novelist of the second half of the Twentieth Century.


















Please click HERE to view the Amazon description.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Jules Verne's Nautilus

Verne's submarine, which is pretty clearly described in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,  has inspired a great variety of artistic interpretations.  Here are several designs which I believe come closest to the description offered by Verne, and, at the bottom, the Disney version:


















To view more Nautilus images, some of them very exotic, visit Michael and Karen Crisafulli’s Catalog of Nautilus Designs. Please click HERE.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Professor Hodges on "De-Radicalization"

Responding to a recent Highbrow post (Friday, Nov. 10), Professor Hodges deploys a kind of hysterical irony to underscore the absurdity of contemporary political logic. Please click HERE.

Considering, however, the nature and the subject of his criticism, and the (let's call it) intellectual corruption that he seeks to expose, does satire represent an appropriate response?

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Online catalog for the Terrance Lindall Retrospective

Please click HERE for a free, on-line book describing the life and career of artist, illustrator and philosopher Terrance Lindall. 

A retrospective of Lindall's work, curated by Yuko Nii, will be on display at the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center, in Brooklyn, NY, December 17, 2017 through January 13, 2018.  Please click HERE to learn about the December 16, 2017 reception and gala dinner.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Anticipating Emanations 7

Our editorial vision for Emanations is evolving. While there are no set themes, volume-to-volume we have found that certain subtle and indirect tendencies are at work characterizing each new production. Hence, in Emanations: Foray into Forever, readers can detect nuanced glimpses into conceptions of Eternity. In Emanations: 2 + 2 = 5, the tenor is vaguely dystopian. Most recently, Emanations: I am Not a Number encourages transcending the limits of our utilitarian civilization and its psycho-compartmental identifications. The tone of the volume is appropriately dark.

In anticipation of Emanations 7, the editors have been discussing the Pleiades as a point of departure. When you look directly at the Seven Sisters you can’t make out detail, just a blur, but if you look slightly to one side of them they become visible in peripheral vision. Their number and positioning relative to each other can be clearly discerned. This peripheral field compares to the literary task of describing experience in a space and a time outside of the collective semantic illusion; as in glancing slightly askance, the Pleiades appear in all their sisterhood, in the stream-of-continuity, the formless non-self that thrives in that transparent moment that is as boundless as it is elusive. In counterpoint to the sixth volume’s darkness, we should like to see Emanations 7 arouse intimations of affirmation and light.



Friday, November 3, 2017

Models of Emergent Artificial Intelligence

In a recent interview published in Wired Magazine (described HERE in a Cambridge News article),  Prof. Stephen Hawking again expresses his concern that the human race could be replaced by Artificial Intelligence.

We can only wonder what this Artificial Intelligence--indeed, a new life form--could look like.  Very possibly, it is naive of us to look for an AI "emergent life form" that has the characteristics of human personality--something like HAL in 2001. Indeed, it might have very little in common with mammalian, avian, or even reptilian structures of intelligence and patterns of behavior. Rather, the new emergent AI life form could have a mentality resembling the nodal nervous system of Cephalopods, or perhaps something even more "alien", and thus it could be unrecognizable until it suddenly appears--or until we find ourselves suddenly replaced by it. Indeed, it might already be here, its sense of self, and, more importantly, its sense of self-preservation existing presently in the internet.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

On exhibit December 17th, 2017, with the Milton collection, at the WAH Center






















Scroll of the Queen Mother, painted by Satake Eikai, holding a Japanese Pear (apples, pears can be considered the same fruit), collection of the Yuko Nii Foundation's Milton Collection.

Please click HERE for more information.