Zeitgeist notes

Primary task: connections between the neoliberal, capitalist market system, the current nation states of the world, and isolated and melancholy individualism seem numerous, and worthy of some exposition. These notes are a start at collecting resources and thinking. (My intent is to populate this wiki page with relevant links, comments, and free associations, and more(?).)

Akwaeke Emezi - revolutionary imagination
... It’s a revolution against violent white institutions—police, prisons, the patriarchal family—but, just as importantly, it’s an uprising against white ways of being. The revolution will be ontological or it will be bullshit.

2022-06-17 decentralized, autonomous, and yet
/ what does a mushroom know? and can a human know it also? //

2022-07-08 notes on social defenses in organizations
... How new structures and work methods will interact with individual’s anxieties and whether they can be used to promote creativity and depressivity rather than institutionalize more primitive relations is a question of great import. (Krantz, p. 4)

Decentralized groups- psychodynamics plus
/ Larry Hirschhorn proposes emphasizing 'risk', 'fear of failure', 'desires' (and more?) to let the group dynamics be viewed and heard //

2023-05-21 Paul Roquet Ambient Media - notes ... the neoliberal emphasis on self-determination demanded more individualistic and autonomous moods.

2023-06-08: Orna Guralnik, et al. papers and discussion of psychoanalysis and socio-politics. I was led to this work from this New York Times Magazine article: I'm a Couples Therapist. Something New is Happening in Relationships (sorry for the long link, but maybe it allows access?)

2023-08-11: Reading in Martha Nussbaum - Upheavals of thought about her thinking of what the primitive emotions are for human infants. It is based on object relations and associated psychoanalytic notions. One current take-away for me is that our adult behavior is never free from our primary emotional and material experiences as infants. And as adults we learn to manage our primitive feelings of anxiety and aggression and live in the social systems we construct. We (I) must be aware of how today's world-wide anxiety can provoke infantile emotions and lead to maladaptive behaviors and outcomes.

Lukacs presaging the end of history
Lukacs presaging and critiquing the End of History argument in 1920:
... History becomes fossilised in a formalism incapable of comprehending that the real nature of socio-historical institutions is that they consist of relations between men(sic).

Mary Midgley - Science As Salvation
2023-08-27: as i read Midgley i see many current reports and op-eds on AI, machine learning, and material models of brains and thinking as just more examples of the philosophical separation of mind from matter. what is the purpose of this separation and these models of thinking and brains?

2023-08-28 Timothy Garton Ash - decline of the Russian empire
... We in the west should not kid ourselves that we can “manage” the decline of this nuclear-armed empire, any more than European powers could “manage” the decline of the Ottoman Empire in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. ...

2023-09-05 an ode to the news of the day

2023-09-16 Bandy Lee - psychic contagion
... Carl Jung warned against the menace of "psychic epidemics." Sigmund Freud explained the lurking, unconscious perils behind "civilization". And as Erich Fromm famously noted: "That millions of people share the same forms of mental pathology does not make these people sane." ...

2023-09-24 Peter Hotez
Scientists are targets. Leaders must defend us

  • The alternative is to follow the path of the Soviet Union: sidelining experts and sacrificing lives.

Jacqueline Rose - The Plague
"Only if you admit your ambivalence even towards those you love most is there the faintest chance that you will reach out across the world to everyone ....
There is a limit to how much we can psychically tolerate. This remains the fundamental insight of psychoanalysis, never more needed than today."

2023-10-26: This is from several years ago, but showed up for me in a neighboring social today. Pema Chodron: Letting Go of Hope. And I needed this today, and my takeaway is the next to last sentence: "The real thing that we renounce is the tenacious hope that we could be saved from being who we are."

2024-03-11: the need and desire(?) to separate us from them (me from you) is a bad habit .... 2024-03-10 Ken Homer - NYT Manifesting: " ... while the idea of manifesting may seem modern, the instinct to conflate spiritual forces, political and economic outcomes and our own personal desires is part of a longstanding American tradition that dates back much, much farther than the pandemic."

2024-03-12: Amitav Ghosh - Intimations of apocalypse
"Given the scale and diversity of the disruptions that are already being felt around the planet, it is hardly surprising that the prospect of a history ending apocalypse is once again being widely imagined."

2024-03-14: Zuboff points out how hard it was for people to comprehend totalitarianism. I feel that here in the USA we are struggling to comprehend what is happening in politics and society. from Shoshana Zuboff Surveillance Capitalism notes p. 336 in the print edition:

[Carl] Friedrich was among the first scholars of totalitarianism to address this experience of improbability, writing in 1954 that "virtually no one before 1914 anticipated the course of development which has overtaken Western civilization since then... none of the outstanding scholars in history, law, and the social sciences discerned what was ahead... which culminated in totalitarianism. To this failure to foresee corresponds a difficulty in comprehending."

2024-06-14: I am still thinking about the current nihilistic times by re-reading Wendy Brown Wendy Brown - Nihilstic Times, and today this excerpt from Christopher Lasch came to mind again:
from 2023-05-14 Notes on Gnosticism:

If the gnostic impulse finds expression in our time -- in the scientific dream of solving the mysteries of the universe, in New Age spirituality, more generally in a mood of extremity and existential nostalgia -- it is because we too, like so many who lived in the fading glow of the Hellenistic civilization, have lost confidence in the world around us. ...