Posts Tagged ‘ Psychoanalysis ’

A Glorious Autotune

Please, watch the following music video:

I really cannot offer any critique, save for one thing. This is what autotune was designed for. Autotune has received huge amounts of bashing, much of it probably well-deserved. I would argue that it is through music like this that autotune has remarkable potential. Granting song  to non-singing types, particularly innerlekshul types, is something beautiful indeed.

But, for a moment, let us consider a Heideggerian analysis of autotune. In “The Question Concerning Technology,” Heidegger shows that the supreme danger of all technology is that humans presume their mastery. The danger he sees is that we ignore the effects technology has on us, that we merely see technology as something we have created. Heidegger’s analysis applies to the discussion of autotune in two ways. For one, autotune is a technological innovation. Secondly, the Arts are technology. This second point is where it is helpful to have a literary perspective: one of the greatest achievements in literary theory is the consideration of ideology. Although I do become suspicious when so many aspects of literary theory are dependant upon Freud, Marx, Derrida, and Foucault…

So what of Heidegger? My favorite line in the song is, “The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will, one day, venture to the stars.” Heidegger, I believe, would particularly enjoy the first sentence. The sky calls to us — we do not call to the sky. This is classic Heidegger. He uses the word “poiesis” (“bringing forth”)to describe all change, all action, all creation. Specifically, he uses the word “phusis” (related to “physics”) to describe the poiesis of nature. Nature is indeed poetic (N.B. the common root!); the sky does call to us. Heidegger would also like the second quoted sentence. It puts the responsibility on us. We must answer the call of the sky. Human poiesis (i.e. techne) is thereby the response to that call — and it is absolutely a response for which we are responsible.

Heidegger, I would argue, treads the treacherous division between existentialism and essentialism. Given his Nazi involvement, his philosophy is likely to be quite dangerous. But, as he writes, the supreme danger contains the saving power; it is important to tread carefully through Heidegger’s thoughts. Technology (as science or art) as huge potential for disaster (for instance, Twilight), but a still more glorious dawn awaits.

I almost blogged on this article instead. Silly Canadians…

Evidently, My Angriest Post Yet!

I’m pretty sure Nietzsche is stalking me. I’ve been studying his work in my Philosophy class (Philosophies of Violence and Nonviolence), and I’ve begun reading “Thus Spake Zarathustra.” It’s fun stuff. But like I said, I’m seeing him everywhere. I recently re-read a short story I wrote (a little less than a year ago) and saw elements of the crazy German everywhere. Incidentally, I sent the story in to Crazyhorse. We’ll see if them Southerners can accept a story from, not a Yankee, but a proud Midwestern boy…

I also had the “fortune” of watching the movie, Waking Life, recently. To quote Frank Zappa’s “Valley Girl,” — “Gag me with a spoon!”

Waking Life is an irritating assembly line of relativism. In short, it’s perfect for the current state of intelligence in this country. While the subject of dreams and the subject of reality are both interesting to me, the manner in which Waking Life touches them both is damningly obscene. Rather than actually go into any actual analysis of reality, the rotoscoped (yes, I learned that term from the Wiki article) actors give us antiseptic sound bites (I was struck by how many things said in the film were as vague as the mouth-farts of politicians). Existentialism (Sartre) was praised as a God-send. It was then denounced, three seconds later, by the same character who so swore by it in a logic-death-spiral that’s still got me spinning. Seriously. Existentialism was praised, then essentialism was praised. Oh, and apparently he didn’t believe in post-modernism. Never mind the fact that his logic was assuredly post-modern…

There were a LOT of generic Eastern philosophical thoughts tossed around. I’m hoping that the point of their brevity was simply to make us think. Because if they were designed to make us consider they were too passing and too arbitrary. The best scene involves a strange man holding onto a telephone pole, many feet off the ground. When asked, he replies that he doesn’t know what he’s doing up there. I loved that. But then, they ruined the absurdity by adding the phrase, “He’s all action and no theory, we’re all theory and no action.” Oh bother…

And Nietzsche was there!

Ephemeral quotes, lost in the myriad insanity, proved his existence to me yet again. Things about fear as the most basic human trait. Things about creativity, and dynamic human spirit. I believe I recall vague things about “eternal return.” Then there was the ultimate thing: mention of going-over.

God, how I love Nietzsche for the over-goer. Granted, I don’t like his approach (I don’t like violence). But it’s still such a wonderful, remarkable thing! Zarathustra praises the failed tight-rope walker — for he has over-gone his potential. He has taken a risk! A much forgotten art indeed, that taking a risk… but what did Waking Life do with dear old Friedrich’s concept of over-going? It neglected the best part!

To over-go, one must under-go as well! The tight-rope was the whole of mankind. The walker’s over-going of his personal ability coincided with his under-going. To over-go, we must also fail. Waking Life is too happy-happy-joy-joy (not the Ren & Stimpy kind, though that would be amusing) in its approach — failure is not one of its options. “Dream is destiny,” we are told — and destiny is ever elusive. We’re all individuals (in-duh-viduals), Waking Life wants us to believe. But how are we individuals, I ask? Well (apparently) we’re dreamers. Or we’re supposed to be anyways. Which to me sounds like individualistic relativism…

Oh well. Here’s a clip from the blasted thing:

Apparently I’m been devoured by that iguana. I don’t dream. Dreams can be saved for my writing, and nightmares too 🙂

(Almost forgot to mention that I am crazy about that music. Sweet, mad stuff it is!)

Zombies + Lacan = ?

Someone recently shouted, “let’s go kill some Nazi zombies!” I learned yesterday that “let’s go kill some Nazi zombies” is not the raving of some drugged up lunatic, but a simple invitation to play some Nazi-zombie-filled video game.

What does this say about the way I understand language if “Nazi zombie” registers drugs instead of video games in my mind? Could one simply write me off as a cynic (assuming drugs are worse than video games), or am I merely too far outside of gaming culture to understand the subtle delights of using various weapons to silence the jawohls of the undead? I’m going to explore that below, but I’m going to use Lacan’s ideas — that said, I am totally confused about what I’m attempting here, so it probably isn’t actually very Lacanian and it probably isn’t very sensible.

Zombie as a word conjures up associates of cheesy/hilarious/not-scary old zombie films. You’ve got to love Shaun of the Dead! It does not make me think of video games. Zombie also makes me think of an old friend of mine who was once fully captivated by books about voodoo and the like. Still no connection to video games. My underlying understanding of “zombie” is simply as something amusing — and Nazis aren’t what you would call amusing. How did I come to this non-gaming understanding of the brain-eating-undead? Well… pretty much through others. Without those horribly made (and purposely horribly made) zombie-flicks, my understanding of zombies — that is, my immediate understanding of the word when spoken — is that they are funny.

Yet some people take zombies seriously (I think?). Clearly zombie movies have not fallen away completely, although it seems like faster incarnations are becoming popular — but really, what good is a horror movie if all the scares are just surprises? Lame. So apparently the others who help determine my view of zombies are different others than those who help frame the view of zombies as scary. Or are they? Perhaps the key is far more complicated than all that. Is it really permissible to rule out anyfactor in a person’s life when we want to figure out what something means to them? It seems to me that if you separate one part of a person’s life from the whole, it becomes not their life, but someone else’s.

Now if we consider that I don’t live in the world of video-gaming, it probably is not important for me to know that there are Nazi-zombies. So the undead remain for me an object of mockery. Quite honestly, the absurdity of the idea should be enough to make anyone laugh. Then again, the pixels of my character’s life are not in danger of them, so I can laugh without fear… Nazi-zombies are still nonsense.