What Connects?


Part 1: Sucks or Rocks? Often I ask students to think beyond whether something is good or bad, or as I put it in my Youth Culture class, to push past whether it "sucks or rocks." "Good or bad for what?" I ask. "Good or bad for whom?" This can…

Inception Conceptions


Inception explores the possibility that not only is our unconscious public property, but that especially our unconscious is public property. Where many of us would look to find an innermost sanctum, the qualities that make us who we are, one discovers a crowd of strangers, a contest of cultural and…

The Fire Last Time


After about a year and a half of constant pain, I found myself almost entirely pain-free within twelve hours of being treated with Remicade (inflixiamb.) This is a little like being hurled onto the shore after days at sea, then lying there as the tide goes out: first the shallow…

Down the Rabbit Hole


My partner Liz claims that you never forget your first Hamlet. I think the same thing is true with the first work of philosophy with which you fall in love.  I was a late bloomer in this regard. I’d had a long flirtation with philosophy: a philosophy minor in college,…

Not Meanings, but Means


Somewhere Ursala LeGuin wrote that “the means are the ends.” Words I try to live by, but let me push them a little further to means without ends. Trajectories of thought, ways of living, where there are means, and only means. Here we have not a moral charter that claims…

My Bodies, MySelves


Call it the egghead version of championship wrestling.In one corner, you have Jacques Lacan, enraptured by a tragic vision: humans chase after an imaginary holism, an image of integration they can never achieve.In the other corner, Deleuze & Guattari, a tag team. Several teams, actually. They keep splitting and multiplying.…

Post Pain Diary 2


Meaning is my enemy.Disease has as much to do with me, with a narrative of who I am, as the weather. They are both, to use Spinoza’s term, external events: something my body undergoes, but utterly without a guiding purpose.To give the disease a telos or an end is to,…

Turing Machines All Over the Place


 I have often heard Turing machine this and Turing machine that. It’s only lately that I’ve actually read about the concept and come to understand that one aspect of Turning machine is that it aspires to be universal, capable of simulating other, more specialized machines. So now I’m seeing them…

House Pessimism


Lately I’ve been thinking about Gramsci’s “pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will. “ Not Gramsci’s use, so much as how it functions in some circles as a kind of slogan or shorthand. Specifically, I’ve been asking when does this maxim cease to be a consolation and become an…