All 4 entries tagged Ancient Greece

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November 09, 2004

Philosophy

philosophy was something Greek although brought by immigrants. The birth of philosophy required an encounter between the Greek milieu and the plane of immanance of thought. It required the conjunction of two very different movements of deterritorialization, the relative and the absolute, the first already at work in immanence. Absolute deterritorialization on the plane of thought had to be aligned or directly connected with the relative deterritorialization of Greek society. Deleuze, What Is Philosophy?, p.93
Chaos is an infinte speed of birth and disappearance. Now philosophy wants to know how to retain infinite speeds while gaining consistency, by giving the virtual a consistency specific to it. What is Philosophy? p.118

…conceptual experimentation without limit but with a principle of consistency, direction, becoming something.

The philosophical sieve, as plane of immanance that cuts through chaos, selects infinite movements of thought and is filled with concepts formed like consistent particles going as fast as thought. What is Philosophy? p.118

November 06, 2004

The ethics of rivalry, friendship and the creation of concepts in Ancient Greece

We do not lack communication. On the contrary, we have too much of it. We lack creation. We lack resistance to the present. (What Is Philosophy? p.108)

Ecstasy of communication = that which promises absolute deterritorialization, but in fact delivers only immediate reterritorialization on the concept of communication (pure exchage) itself. Deleuze and Guattari's criticism of Habermas and idea of founding an ethics on communicative action.

Instead they argue that the creation of concepts only occurrs when communication breaks down within a pre-constituted milieu. The impoprtance of the Greek sense of philosophical rivalry is precisely that. Friends who can misunderstand, or who have to forge a new concept to achieve an understanding, who necessarily have to philosophize because of their relative difference. The new concept makes an irreversible difference, an absolute deterritorialization, but the friends-rivals must move towards it in their own way. This act of mutual but differentiated moving-towards, this relative deterritorialization, also acts to define the rivals to each other more clearly. They understand the work that each must do to achieve the agreement on the new concept. It is in the work of that relative deterritorialization on the creation that Deleuze and Guattari find an ethic of friendship-rivalry.

And we should remember that this ethic emerged to serve diplomacy, international relations, a rhizomatic maritime people engaged with complex engagement with the East: the Greek people.


November 03, 2004

Migration and geophilosophy

Follow-up to Ted Simon and the art of deterritorialization from Transversality - Robert O'Toole

Two perspectives on migration and deterritorialization, the recieving milieu and the migrant…

…philosophy was something Greek – although brought by immigrants. The birth of philosophy required an encounter between the Greek milieu and the plane of immanance of thought. It required the conjunction of two very different movements of deterritorialization, the relative and the absolute, the first already at work in immanence. Absolute deterritorialization on the plane of thought had to be aligned or directly connected with the relative deterritorialization of Greek society. Deleuze, What Is Philosophy?, p.93
I looked at myself in the same light, as a monkey given my life to play with, prodding it, trying to stretch it into different shapes, dropping it and picking it up again, suspecting always that it must have some use and meaning, tantalized and frustrated by it but always unable to make any sense of it. Ted Simon, Jupiter's Travels

June 07, 2004

Fearless Speech, Foucault, parrhesia and blogging

Follow-up to Journalists, imperceptibility and the threat of blogging from Transversality - Robert O'Toole

The Greeks of course have 'been there, done that'.

One of the books that I am reading at the moment is Fearless Speech, a transcript of Michel Foucault's lectures on parrhesia in Ancient Greece. It's a complicated concept which, as Foucault demonstrates, evolves within the Athenian debate on democracy and good governance. He explains how, to start of with, the concept expressed how the Greeks valued most highly the speech given by an individual citizen both in a state of freedom and in defiance of the threat of violence. That threat was fundamental, for it shows that the statement of the speech was more important than the speaker. It goes so far as seeing the life, welfare and continued existence of the speaker to be of no importance in relation to the importance of the utterance, of a sequence of utterances that together form a dialiectic from which the best policy will be logically selected. The speaker is made imperceptible.

It seems odd at first that Foucault, at the cutting edge of a new approach to ethics, should have given such a scholarly series of lectures on the Greeks. He doesn't seem to be too concerned with unpicking the obvious contradictions in this concept of parrhesia, which after all was quite adequate for a long period of history. But what Foucault is really interested in is showing how a smoothely operating concept like parrhesia becomes problematic and is disrupted by a change in circumstances, by something imperceptible in its operation being drawn out from the shadows. Just as blogging draws out the previously imperceptible traits of the blogger from the journalistic process.

Foucault describes the problematic of parrhesia as it became posed for the Greeks:

Democracy is founded by a politeia, a constitution, where the demos, the people, exercise power, and where everyone is equal in front of the law. Such a constitution, however, is condemned to give equal place to all forms of parrhesia, even the worst. Because parrhesia is given even to the worst citizens, the overwhelming influence of bad, immoral, or ignorant speakers may lead the citizenry into tyranny…

So the personality of the speaker is drawn out, made perceptible, and allowed to disrupt the smoothe communication of the parrhesiastic statement. Although it is posed here as an issue of morality, it is clear that the driving force is a technical development: commerce based political organisation, which increasingly has power amongst the demos. Pushing the integrity of the speaker out into the open challenges the concept of parrhesia, and adds to it a critical function in the analysis of the role of power and money.

For us now, with the onset of blogging as a new arrangement of speech and identity, it is what comes after this crisis that is of most interest. In response to the technological drawing out of the speaker, a technics of the individual, of integrity, balance, morality and judgement develops – what Foucault calls 'the care of the self'. A set of techniques for identifying and managing the person to promote good parrhesia. Resulting in an approach to the self that, although not Christian or modern, remained influential.

The question now then is this – will the drawing out of the blogger from imperceptibility transform in some way our techiques of self? For readers of Foucault, this is of prime interest.