Sunday, March 31, 2019

Analysis of Intellectual Mythology

In the days of the Enlightenment, science was rightly seen as being in the forefront of the struggle against religious mystification, superstition and dogma. Today science has replaced religion as the source and authority of truth. Every source of truth must, in the nature of things, also be a source of falsehoods, against which it must itself struggle. But it may also be a source of intellectual mythology, against which it is typically powerless. One great and barely recognized source of such mythology in our age is science itself. The unmasking of scientific mythology (which is to be distinguished from scientific error) is one of the tasks of philosophy. For philosophy is not the under-labourer of the sciences, but rather their tribunal; it adjudicates not the truth of scientific theorizing, but the sense of scientific propositions. Its aim is neither to engage in nor abjure science, but to restrain it within the bounds of sense, to curb the metaphysical impulse that is released by misinterpretations of the significance of scientific discoveries, to restrain scientists and philosophers (who have been beguiled by their myth-making) from metaphysical nonsense.

-- P. M. S. Hacker. Wittgenstein's Place in Twentieth-Century Analytic Philosophy Oxford: Blackwell, 1996 (p.123).

Jan Matejko, “Copernicus” (1872)

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Vernal Memorandum - Two (three) New Books

Dear Colleagues:

On behalf of International Authors in collaboration with Null23, I am happy to announce the publication of two new books by Michael Butterworth: Butterworth and My Servant the Wind. Congratulations to Mr. Butterworth and Null23 publisher Gareth Jackson. Cover images of the new books appear at the end of this communication.  The balance of the “press kit” follows:
Butterworth presents the collected short works of the author Michael Butterworth—previously found in long out of print anthology paperbacks and yellowing magazines such as New Worlds and other offshoots submerged by the accumulation of time, and which have been mostly lost and overshadowed by his later “Ecker” infamy as the co-publisher of the Northern provocateurs Savoy Books... These works are often located in a post atomic wasteland of haunted deserts, conjoined with a dislocated Manchester of memory—being speculative fictions with veins of autobiography. The page becomes a structural space in which narrative is dismembered and arranged. Place becomes uncertain and hallucination is explored with thoughtful rigour. Neither of the future nor of then, these are works which occupy an era but conversely exist outside of any catalogued time.

My Servant the Wind: Navigating his story, there is nothing linear; autobiography becomes speculative memoir that crosses into fiction. In alien contacts the geography of the page disintegrates and time has become uncertain—located neither here nor there. The wind is blowing from the future deserts which he remembers from his youth. He is haunted by himself and memories of the apocalypse. He has travelled through new worlds and wild turbulence, protracted labour—a difficult birth. The wind blows a novel against his receiver and he transcribes…

Michael Butterworth is a UK author, publisher and editor. He was a key part of the UK New Wave of Science Fiction in the 1960s, contributing fiction to New Worlds and other publications. He began publishing small press literary magazines, including Corridor in 1969, and in 1975 founded Savoy Books with David Britton. He co-authored Britton’s controversial novel Lord Horror (1989), and in 2009 launched the contemporary visual art and writing journal, Corridor8. His last book was a memoir, The Blue Monday Diaries: In the Studio with New Order (2016). He is a regular contributor to Emanations. Website.

Descriptions of the new books as well as links to respective Amazon sales pages can be found at the International Authors website, HERE

Here are links to Amazon, UK:


Other business:

Our interests and strategies vary widely, and beyond our concerns for experimentation, mythology, satire, and metaphysical hypotheses, our creative paths are as diverse as they are unique.  Nevertheless, it is our shared keenness for creating something new—or the illusion of something new—that unites our efforts in a formal and identifiable aesthetic. Apropos to the wording of our Emanations Call, I should not wish to alter that formula, nor should I wish to favor specific aesthetic paradigms that might narrow our understanding of what is possible.  Nevertheless, when a significant work of criticism emerges that so closely addresses our interests, our methods, and our aspirations, it is necessary to bring that touchstone to the attention of our consortium, and to suggest that everyone “have a look.”  Ergo, I am happy to note the recent publication of the third edition of Richard Kostelanetz’s A Dictionary of the Avant-Gardes (Routledge, 2018).  By clicking the link to the Amazon page, you can view a description of the new volume (including my brief review). Please consider purchasing the book.  Alternatively, I urge you to contact your university and public libraries to ask them to add the book to their collections.  In considering the opportunity we have to use our community to advance our various projects—related or otherwise—I think you will agree that Mr. Kostelanetz’s book represents a remarkable lens through which we may view the philosophical, historical, and critical concerns that have drawn us together to pursue our work.

Amazon link

Amazon, UK link

Finally, I am at work completing the Invisible Tower Trilogy. Please anticipate a late-summer Call for Emanations 8.

Please broadcast this information widely.

With best wishes,

Carter Kaplan
International Authors

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Professor Hodges in the Guise of the Mysterious Disagreebler: both esoteric and exoteric, and neither

One again I have recourse to Professor Hodges for stimulating source material to generate intriguing blog material, which will assuredly further enliven my own inviolable electronic demesne.

The matter I bring to the attention of the Unaffiliated International Commonwealth of Wits and Highbrows is rather cryptic, and properly so, for here (once again) we are treading into the mysterious realm of Emanations: Chorus Pleiades, and Professor Hodges' mysterious contribution to that volume, which he calls "Contemporary Conversations:  Dr. Benjamin R. S. Franklin in Dialogue with the Disagreebler."

I'll let the good doctor (I mean Hodges) speak for himself; albeit said, I should be remiss if I did not warn you, dear reader, to be prepared for a stiff shove! 

Please click HERE.

Horace Jeffery Hodges

Monday, March 18, 2019

"Western Civilization" or "Middle Class Commonwealth"?

In a March 14, 2019 post titled "The End of the West?" appearing in his blog Gypsy Scholar, Professor Hodges quotes Andrew J. Bacevich, who asks if we are now living in "A World Without the West"?  Mr. Bacevich begins:
Does the West still exist? Most American politicians, journalists, and policy intellectuals seem to think so, or at least they pretend to . . . . In its heyday, the West--used more or less interchangeably with the phrase "free world"--was much more than a conglomeration of countries. The term itself conjured up a multiplicity of images: peoples sharing a devotion to freedom and democracy; nations mustering the political and cultural cohesion to stand firm in a common cause; sacrifice and steadfastness in the face of evil . . . . For several decades after 1945, the West imparted legitimacy to U.S. claims of global leadership. Nations said to make up the West endorsed, or played along with, the notion that the United States was exceptional and indispensable. Endlessly reiterated in stump speeches and newspaper editorials, this proposition came to seem self-evidently true -- or at least expedient. Today, it is neither. Seven decades after World War II and three decades after the end of the Cold War, to pretend that something called the West, taking its cues from Washington, continues to play an organizing role in international politics is to indulge in a vast self-deception. It's time to see the world as it is, not as we might wish to remember it. The collapse of the Soviet Empire at the end of the 1980s robbed the West of its principal geopolitical rationale. Nominally, Western unity derived from common values; in reality, it derived from a common threat. Once the threat vanished, centrifugal forces were certain to make their appearance.
I wonder, could there be some alternative language that will allow us to grasp the issue more effectively, or help us to uncover additional dynamics that will help to clarify the issue? I think so. Here is my suggestion:

Though obviosuly not his express intet, Bacevich's nevertheless neatly sets the "delimitations" for the concept (and the phrase) we call "The West."  And of course I am aware "The West" was used prior to WWII; Spengler, for instance. ( And when, by the way, did the phrase emerge?)

But rather than the bold refication of some sort of western "realm," what is rather more essential to the matter he considers is the "Middle Class" as a societal phenomenon in world history--the broad movement towards democratization, rule-of-law and the utilitarian distribution of goods and services that "flourished" in the Renaissance, moved through five centuries of evolutions and re-formulations, and which won a precarious "victory" in 1945. That is to say, "The West" he speaks of is a post-WWII geopolitical designation, and it's substance has been the protections that political group (The West) has in the past seven decades extended toward the Middle Classes in North America, Western Europe, South Korea and Japan.

So while we should be concerned about "The West" and speak of it as does Bacevich, we should also do well to talk about the Middle Class as a global movement (and a grouping) that is participating in, regulating, protecting, and benefiting from equitable trade, democracy, rule of law, and cultural, religious and ethnic pluralism, etc.

It is these things--equitable trade, democracy, rule of law, and cultural, religious and ethnic pluralism--that are under threat.

I'll close with something Aristotle said:
Thus it is manifest that the best political community is formed by citizens of the middle class, and that those states are likely to be well-administered in which the middle class is large, and stronger if possible than both the other classes, or at any rate than either singly.
-- Aristotle, The Politics, Book IV, Part XI

Friday, March 15, 2019

Inevitable Necessity

The idea that man is an unconscious victim of external forces, or internal necessities, is one of the greatest intellectual orthodoxies of our time. Ever since the waning of traditional religions, men have been convincing themselves of one inevitable necessity after another, until the point has been reached where some of them have actually started to become operative in detail. Whether or not this desire to discover some omnipotent external force signifies an intellectual rage for order and understanding or rather a deep psychological drive to identify with a superhuman force and avoid responsibility is open to question: but its existence is beyond dispute. It can be seen in the Marxist appeal to inevitable laws of history, in the Freudian appeal to basic drives of the libido and most recently in the appeal to underlying forces of technology by Galbraith and McLuhan.  

  -- Charles Jencks. Architecture 2000: Predictions and Methods

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Preface to Political Philosophy

Too often, political philosophy is used as a license to write history without any facts.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Professor Hodges, sans burning giraffes

In a recent exchange, I encouraged Professor Hodges to convert one of his blog posts into a surrealist poem, in which task he has excelled, even though  his poem contains no burning giraffes. After examining the following images, please click HERE for the rest of the story.

"The Burning Giraffe" by Salvador Dali, 1937  


Monday, March 11, 2019


To this blog, I've added material reflecting the publication of my articles on "Herman Melville" and "Michael Butterworth" in The Dictionary of the Avant-Gardes, and added a link to that book. Look to the right of the screen.

To view the book, please click the cover image:

Sunday, March 10, 2019


The rise of Google, Apple and Amazon are more recent than I recall, which is perhaps a reflection of how entrenched they are.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Cosmological Gelatin

Recapitulating, we may say that according to the general theory of relativity space is endowed with physical qualities; in this sense, therefore, there exists an ether. According to the general theory of relativity space without ether is unthinkable; for in such space there not only would be no propagation of light, but also no possibility of existence for standards of space and time (measuring-rods and clocks), nor therefore any space-time intervals in the physical sense. But this ether may not be thought of as endowed with the quality characteristic of ponderable media, as consisting of parts which may be tracked through time.
--- Albert Einstein (Leiden address, 1920)
The Phenomenon of Gravitational Lensing

  Please click HERE to read the entire lecture.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Women Forward, Part 2: Innovative Women, curated by Yuko Nii

From the curator's statement:
Presenting 21 outstanding women artists with diverse cultural background, heritages, and nationalities, this exhibition showcases works that are extraordinary, eye-opening, and inspiring. 
March is “National Women’s History Month,” which highlights the contribution of women to both contemporary society and historical events. There are quite a few celebratory events to honor women all over the city and the nation every March, including in the art world. These events are encouraging and powerful. In March 2009, we presented Women Forward, a special show celebrating women artists, along with a full exhibition catalogue. Ten years later, we are looking forward to holding another show focused on the achievements of women artists.
Over the years, the WAH Center has shown a great number of women artists who work in traditional mediums or manners. Having trained technical skills, they have demonstrated a great sense of color and composition in their chosen subject matters in all medium including painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture, etc. and these works are superbly executed.
For this exciting show the WAH Center is celebrating innovative women artists whose works express unique concepts, visions, and observations through non-conventional techniques or manners and new mediums. While some of these women artists use the more familiar, conventional mediums, they have a gift of opening the eye to an unseen mystery. They have a special ability to spot abstract shapes and forms in nature; these images reveal a hidden message that most people do not see.
 To view the Ms. Nii's full statement, please click HERE.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Agenda, 2019

Next several weeks:

1) Send copies of The Scarlet Letter and Creation of the World to various people.
2) Prepare to launch two new books from Michael Butterworth.
3) Grade papers.

Next several months:

1) Visit interesting places.
2) Revise and produce the second two volumes of the Invisible Tower Trilogy.
3) Send out Call for Emanations 8.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Richard Kostelanetz's A Dictionary of the Avant-Gardes

The third edition of Richard Kostelanetz's A Dictionary of the Avant-Gardes is now available

Kostelanetz's detailed examination of the subject is readable, informative, entertaining, and very difficult to set aside...

I have contributed articles on Michael Butterworth and Herman Melville.

(And the book contains an article on me.)

Please click HERE to view the Amazon sales page.  Pricy, but people might ask their libraries to purchase the book...