Friday, February 13, 2009

the body as text: the deterritorialization of the self

In the Beginning was the Word.
John I:1

Mark Pesce writes in Ritual and Virtual: "The deterritorialization of the self is the essential feature that marks human entry into cyberspace. In the universe of infinite connection and possibility the only possible ontology is magical; reality as that which is invoked, the world conformant to will. The techniques of magical will, quintessentially linguistic, require a conscious mastery of the relationship between word and world. At the end of history comes the Word."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

veil of ignorance

Is philosophy the highest of the highest - the summum bonum - as Baruch Spinoza claims? Can philosophy remove the veil of ignorance?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Quintessential Flores

Quintessential Flores – A photo essay by Henri Ismail

Portuguese traders and missionaries came first to Flores in the sixteenth century – that explains why ‘Flores’ is etymologically derived from the Portuguese word for flower. They called themselves discoverers – as if the island was uninhabited. They saw themselves as bringers of civilization in the name of Enlightened Europe in general and Rome in particular. Half a millennium later almost the entire population of Flores is Catholic. As one priest remarked, even Flores’ grass is Catholic. However, older cultural traits have survived beneath the prevalence of Catholicism. Religion and culture are interwoven in the daily lives of the Floresians. The Abrahamic religions seem to find this problematic and frown upon heterodoxy. After all, the second Commandment of the Decalogue in the Old Testament requires from believers to belief in no other God than God. This means that the believer is not allowed to worship a similitude or to worship old pagan rites. The Floresians, though, are generally too poor to worship the golden calf of consumer fetishism. Moreover, it can be seen as a strength that Catholic and Flores’ civilizations co-adapted over the ages. Acculturation, therefore, is a dialogical process that changes all who are involved. Purity is solely reserved for the eerie heavens – but now and here, on this volcanic island, a free tropical breeze of exchange so far from Rome. Catholicism has flowered beautifully and is visible in every fiber of the society of Flores.

Text by Roy Voragen

Henri Ismail is a Jakarta based photographer. He also made the photo essay Paradise Lost!, see here.


See also here. And see here for my contribution.