Given the way signifiers work, to be able say that you read something literally, anything, and then come out with only one interpretation, is an act of stupidity bordering on genius.
The frustrations, dilemmas and paradox of the demand to prove materialism from the idealist perspective
I’m a materialist (and I use this term here rather than atheist as there are plenty of dualist atheists), however having read a fair amount of and being aware of our pattern making sensory apparatus and neurological make-up, combined with the work of sociologists such as Durkheim and Levi Strauss on the importance of ritual, myth and imagination in the realm of ideas, I therefore have a healthy respect for imaginative practice as a form of poiesis.
However when struggling with this realm, and trying to understand spiritualistic beliefs as a materialistic representative practice that is a perfectly reasonable navigatory practice especially with regard concrete embodied life stresses and experiences, I sometimes, triggered by what seems to be a reactionary remnant of a religious idealism, hear a voice arguing for me to ‘prove it’, now if something is materialistic it must be provable and part of this is my uncomfortability at not being able to get the work done, knowing it is probably a life time’s work that will never be finished coupled with my difficulties at the current time, however another aspect of this phrase is the paradox of a demand from the ideal realm (as a signified discursive realm at least) that a paradox be solved, the problem is that this paradox is demanded from the metaphysical realm, that in a materialist sense, doesn’t exist so it is like asking me to prove something that itself is unprovable doesn’t exist.
I am well aware that this is in many ways a rehashing of Marx’s overturning of Hegel’s dialectic via Feuerbach. However in the realm of both praxis AND poiesis it seems to be a problem that stubbornly and frustratingly remains in the ideological apparatus and as a form of alienation is directly associated with the experience of psychosis.
I will be talking here January 21st 2015 at Housman’s London.
The ASSOCIATION OF MUSICAL MARXISTS present an evening of free improvised music, and discussion of the left’s relation to the current state of “mental health” service provision, including the work of Psychopolitics author Peter Sedgwick, and critique of the hegemonic neo-liberal “Recovery Model.” Speakers: Robert Dellar (author, Splitting in Two: Mad Pride & Punk Rock Oblivion); Alastair Kemp (editor, Newhaven Journal). Entry: £3 redeemable against purchases of books or t-shirts. People with beards will be refused entry.
There is a belief in the possibility of hearing the voices of the dead in acoustic media: tape, short-wave radio hiss, vinyl etc. called Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP); and then amongst voice hearers there is the experience of hearing what are called acousmatic voices.
An acousmatic sound is a sound where the original source is not known. Tristam Vivian Adams has written a fair bit about them and their use in film, such as Psycho, at the Vocalities blog (part of the Aural and Visual Cultures Department at Goldsmiths). Voice hearers can hear acousmatic voices either where they are disembodied, or embodied but in something alter such as a car tyre screeching, or a fox squealing, music, or even superimposed over someone else’s speech, almost as if a shadow impression.
Electronic Voice Phenomenon seems similar it is hearing ‘messages’ in different media, often accompanied by the belief that they are messages from the dead. Amongst other things I will be exploring any similarities or correlation between the two on this blog over the next couple of years.