From April, 2019

from the books: Capital, vol. 1, 1867, Ch. 3, Karl Marx and A Companion to Marx’s Capital, 2010, David Harvey

Key: (page numbers for Penguin Classics edition of Capital), [page numbers for David Harvey’s Companion to Capital]   Chapter 3   1. The Measure of Values Gold acts as a universal measure of value, and only through performing this function does gold, the specific equivalent commodity, become money Money as the measure of value is the necessary form of appearance of the measure of value inherent to commodities: labor-time (189) The expression of the value of a commodity in gold looks like this: x commodity a = y money commodity This is its money-form, or price This kind of equation (with gold as the equivalent form)…

from the books: Capital, vol. 1, 1867, Ch. 2, Karl Marx and A Companion to Marx’s Capital, 2010, David Harvey

Key: (page numbers for Penguin Classics edition of Capital), [page numbers for David Harvey’s Companion to Capital]   Chapter 2 [47] Marx’s purpose: define socially necessary conditions of capitalist commodity exchange and create a firmer ground to consider the money-form in chapter 3 (178) The “guardians” of commodities must place themselves in relation to each other as persons whose will resides in those objects in order for those objects to enter into relations as commodities The guardians must therefore recognize each other as owners of private property (a juridical relation) The content of this juridical relation (or relation of two wills) is determined…

from the airwaves: Entitled Opinions, Quinn Slobodian on “Neoliberalism”

  Neoliberalism Term is used in different contexts for different purposes: A period of global capitalism; beginning in 1970s with oil crisis and break down of Bretton Woods system Move from manufacturing to services, and especially the rise of finance as a dominant force in the “global North” the introduction of deregulation, privatization, and liberalization in policy in both the “North” and global “South” after the debt crisis in 1982 Finally, a general move to a post-Fordist, or immaterial rather than material economy Policy package: (e.g. deregulation, privatization) replace preexisting principles of the welfare state and redistribution with principles of constant risk Emphasize importance of…

from the books: Capital, vol. 1, 1867, Ch. 1, Karl Marx and A Companion to Marx’s Capital, 2010, David Harvey

  Key: (page numbers for Penguin Classics edition of Capital), [page numbers for David Harvey’s Companion to Capital]   Chapter 1, section 1   (126) It is the commodities’ physical bodies that are the useful things, or use-values Commercial knowledge of commodities: special branch of knowledge grounded in use-value of commodities Use-values are only realized in use or consumption Use-value is material content of wealth Also, in capitalist mode of production, use-values are the material bearers of exchange-value (127) From the fact that a quarter of wheat is exchanged for x polish, y silk, and z gold the valid exchange…

from film: HyperNormalisation, 2016, Adam Curtis

1975. Setting: NY and Damascus; Both see change in power from politics to something… else NY Politicians for 30 years had been borrowing money from banks to pay for growing services and welfare Early ’70s, middle class flees city, their taxes disappear too Banks lend city even more; worried about whether city could pay back its debt 1975: lending stops; city holds regular meeting to issue bonds in return for the loans, overseen by city’s financial controller Banks don’t show up; don’t want bonds This day marks radical shift in power Banks insist that, to protect their loans, they should be allowed to take control of the city…

Myth and Justice in Plato’s Protagoras and Gorgias

After a prolonged and multifarious discussion on virtue in the Gorgias, Plato has Socrates recount an eschatological myth (Socrates calls it a logos, or account) to his interlocutors. At first glance, Socrates’ telling of the myth runs counter to his condemnation of oratory; it appears to diverge from the Socratic elenchus, which crucially hinges on the active exchange of dialogue, by masking as a unidirectional narrative. Drawing upon Protagoras’ myth (muthos) propounded in Protagoras, one gleans critical differences between the two narratives—that of the philosopher seeking justice, and the sophist seeking gratitude. In light of Protagoras’ sophistic myth, one understands…

Erotic Philosophy as Ritual in Plato’s Symposium and Phaedrus

A common theme underlies two of Plato’s dialogues on love and desire: the divine. The Symposium depicts Socrates and company paying homage to Love at the request of Phaedrus during a ritualistic drinking ceremony. The partiers give speeches concerning the origins, meanings, and effects of eros (love, desire). Socrates’ speech provides a structured picture of eros as a mechanism for ascending to the highest form of Beauty, thereby attaining happiness. In Phaedrus, Socrates and Phaedrus embark on a small, but inspiring journey outside the walls of Athens. Upon entering the bucolic setting, the interlocutors sense the presence of gods and…

Truth and the Individual in Robert Musil’s Blackbird

In The Analysis of Sensations, physicist Ernst Mach at once shatters the realist’s conception of the world and the self. Polemicizing against Rene Descartes’ dualism, and classical rationalism in general, Mach reduces all of reality to localized, yet fully relativized complexes of sense data.[1] His universe is one in which the permanent is illusory and “facts” are mere descriptions of the relations between dynamic connections of sensations. There is no “I”, no ego, no Truth—at least not in any tangible sense. Robert Musil and his Austrian contemporaries warily absorbed Mach’s theory. It ripped the stable metaphysical rug from beneath their…

From Polythetic to Synthesized: Definitions of “Religious Daoism”

Carving a well-defined image of religious Daoism out of the block of ancient and medieval Chinese thought and tradition is a laborious task. The development of Daoist concepts from the Warring States period to the fall of the Han dynasty is amorphous—an ephemeral composite of figures, beliefs, scriptures, traditions, and communities. Reflecting this problematic and multivocal nature of Daoism, academia surrounding the religion is equally as variegated. Some academics propound a relatively boundless survey of the general concepts of Daoism, but ultimately fail to provide an efficacious definition by which to capture the religion’s distinguishing features. On the other hand,…

Shangqing: Individual’s Community

Community remains a central concept in religion and religious studies. Daoism is no exception to this rule. Many scholars of Daoism associate the religion’s birth with the emergence of the Celestial Masters (est. 142 C.E.), a hierarchically arranged community—or institution—that consisted of priests, libationers, and clerical members. Using the Celestial Masters as a comparative tool, one cannot ignore a conspicuous lack of community in the Shangqing (Supreme Purity) Daoist tradition. The materialism indicative of Ge Hong’s (ca. 280 – ca. 343) alchemy, adopted and internalized by the Shangqing school, renders the latter primarily individualistic and, therefore, problematically defined as an…