Friday, June 18, 2010

The Political philosophy of Jeet Kune Do

In early history sovereigns were conquerors and it was well known. The violence was apparent and easy to identify.

Now sovereigns are law givers who ask you to die for the country/race.

To paint a romantic picture of the age of conquer as better than the effaced violence in our age of laws is too fall in to the same utopian trap. It is also worth pointing out that attempts to create romanticized golden ages usually result in overt totalitarianism. We should be looking to the future, where technics/biopower/disciplinary power will usurp the life-taking power found in the conqueror and the eloquent justifications of violence found in the law. These new sovereignties will amplify old powers of sovereignty by locking them in to pre-established patterns that are insulated further and further from human action. Slowly ceding control over humans' social world to machinery and science in the from of economics. The path we are on leads to an omnipresent panopticon.

We need to find some kind of sovereignty outside of these 5 metonyms, or at least excise the portions that are just baggage.

One possible way to accomplish this may be to resort to Jeet Kune Do. This is a martial arts methodology developed by Bruce Lee, the full name is Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do (Jun Fan being Bruce Lee's chinese government name), or: Bruce Lee's Way of the Intercepting Fist.

In martial arts one is expected to choose a style or a few style and master them. Bruce Lee decided instead to create a methodology: the way of the intercepting fist. This method was to take what was most valuable from all the styles he knew and discard those elements of the styles which were non-competitive in comparison. In this fashion a specific type of "way of the intercepting fist" arose: bruce lee's way of the intercepting fist. Bruce was very explicit concerning the fact he was not creating another style, but a methodology to create one's own style.

The philosophy of Jeet Kune Do much like the name implies is a counter-offensive method. Meaning that Jeet Kune Do does not involve naked aggression, but counter-attacks. In Jeet Kune Do one does not attack until attacked. Once attacked, the fist is intercepted, and a counter-attack is used.

I think that Jeet Kune Do may present a space in which to construct new ideas of sovereignty from the discarded husks of previous epistemes. To create a democracy that will not allow sovereign emergency powers under any circumstances we will need to utilize the whole human knowledge both at present and throughout history. To create a sovereignty that includes easily available participation in politics, some sort of permutation of direct democracy and micro-computing we have to be prepared to discard antiquated theories. Such as: democratic peace theory, libertarian corporate de facto ownership of the world, communist government de facto ownership of the world, or realism's inability to recognize why people care about friends and family (because you should be at war with them).

At the same time we are enacting an idea that has not been thought of yet, we will also have to be escaping the traps: Hobbes's trap: in order to overcome a great sovereign power, one must always resort to the use of an even greater sovereign power. How can one practically overcome this? Schmitt's trap: politics is marked by defining friends, and enemies. One cannot have politics without enemies.

"I have not invented a "new style,"...On the contrary, I hope to free my followers from clinging to styles, patterns, or molds... My movements are simple, direct and non-classical. The extraordinary part of it lies in its simplicity. Every movement in Jeet Kune-Do is being so of itself. There is nothing artificial about it. I always believe that the easy way is the right way. Jeet Kune-Do is simply the direct expression of one's feelings with the minimum of movements and energy...Again let me remind you Jeet Kune Do is just a name used, a boat to get one across, and once across it is to be discarded and not to be carried on one's back."
-Bruce Lee

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

the revolution

Many individuals seem to believe that the current systems of control are oppressive.

Most of these same individuals believe that if they were the sovereign that things would be better. That under their control the world would know true justice.
Others argue that if they had their way the current system of sovereign control would be eliminated. Not under their control, but under their guidance the world would know true justice.

What I mean to say is: OK, revolution whatever, now what?

It seems centralization of power or control over massive amounts of people leads to tyranny. But complete decentralization is not possible, theoretically anarchists cannot paint a picture of a post-sovereign world. Communists would abolish private property. This is a basic practical fact of how to achieve "communism". Anarchists would abolish sovereignty. Both these actions seem simple, but we cannot truly define private property or sovereignty. We cannot make concrete linkages between these metonyms and their physical representations in physical de facto reality. Even if such linkages were established they would be inter-subjective in nature and subject to drastic changes over time. Not simply because of the evolution of language. This would be a result of the constantly detourning meanings of powerful words. Every individual in this world occupies a tactical position, every meal you eat is a meal another person cannot eat. Rewarding yourself with altruistic chemical rushes if you pull the convulsing fly from the web out of pity only means you have effaced the spider's suffering from starvation. Think about the debate over our current inter-subjective construction of "terrorism". Every different political agenda has a different definition for this word "terrorism", even every agency in the US federal government has disparate definitions. To create a world free of private property or state sovereignty would only mean to create a world in which the meaning of these words has been effaced. The definition of these phrases can be stretched so far as to make it impossible to ever accomplish the tasks of Communism and Anarchism.

Private property can be construed to mean anything under the immediate dominion of a living human body. To wear clothes is to possess them, if only for a short time. So in application: the abolition of private property would mean a huge increase in state power. Essentially there are two tactical positions: the state and the individual. There may be intermediate entities, but for the most part they will fall on one side or another of the border. Organizations with any type of fiat or veto power over individual's lives and/or actions can be grouped with the state. Any organization that does not control human action through implicit or explicit force would fall on the side of the individual.

At the point where the individual does not possess private property, the other tactical positions outside of the ontology of "individual" will receive the private property. We cannot define pieces of reality out of existence with wordplay. At the point an entity controls whether or not you are clothed or housed they are controlling an overt amount of veto and/or fiat power over your actions: they are grouped with the state. The abolition of individual private property can be phrased in a different way: The complete ownership of all non-human matter by the state. When phrased in this way the teleological aspirations of Communism seem more like totalitarianism, than democracy.


And now I must backtrack. First of all my grouping of entities with the state relies on my own definition of sovereignty which is the exercise of veto or fiat power over individuals. If you pull a gun on someone and steal their shoes you had sovereignty over that individual. And you will say: thats not a state, its not recognized by the UN or some shit. Bullshit. Sovereignty resides in individual actions their perception of truth and responsibility. Just because your robbery can be prosecuted does not mean that the entity prosecuting you is not a fucking criminal!

State Sovereignty:

States are just criminals that got so big they couldn't prosecute each other for criminal action, this does not change the basic fact of sovereignty: it resides in the individual. Sovereignty is (re)produced every single second of every day in the words, thoughts, and actions of individuals. If we all decided that the situation in the city where the police have the guns and we are unarmed should be reversed, it would be. If one by one Nazis refused to pour the Zyklon B, there would have been no holocaust. Soldiers that decide to put down their weapons and even interact with eachother because they have holidays derived from the same proto-holidays: Sacea, Winter Solstice, Christmas, etc. have denied the preceding day's truth of sovereignty. But much like Sacea the spell of absurdity/revelry fades as every other individual who refused to go along with the new tactical position of the revelers assimilated them back in to the old paradigm. This definition relies a great deal on Foucault's definition of power as "mutual, indefinite blackmail" (in Power/Knowledge). The popular definition of a state or sovereign state is one that is recognized as a sovereign state by other sovereign state. How tautological a definition in the first place? It sounds like a rule the winners invented to make sure nobody steals the legitimacy that arrives with the title "state".

Operational definition:

The reason I point out and defend this definition is because I essentially pushed on the definition of words to make sure this argument went through. Without seeing the reasoning behind the "mutual, indefinite blackmail" it is sleight of hand to use my operational definition of sovereignty in order to deconstruct two emancipatory goals.

If I didn't provide valid reasoning for sovereignty as the exercise of veto and/or fiat power over other individuals, then I would be succumbing to the same trap that attempts to put in to praxis these emancipatory ideals fall into. I do not wish to complicate further the pallimpsest of inter-subjective definitions, I want to simplify. Our non-material world is already too complex. I believe that this complexity leads to what social psychology calls paralysis of choice. The idea is that if there are 20 different cereals to choose from it would take forever to choose without some heuristic: brand name or maybe price. Cereal is a terrible metaphor for every choice a human makes. When a human makes a decision they do not write it down and weigh it down, they do not have a long time to figure out the pros and cons. Most of the time a human accesses what they know quickly and using the mental heuristics they have established to come to a decision.

Complexity of knowledge => Paralysis of choice => stupidity

I believe that the paralysis of choice has led to a plague of stupidity in humanity. This pestilence is not tamped down, but exacerbated for profit. Use of cheap psychological tricks in marketing (and everything is marketed today) amounts to mind control as it seeks to usurp veto and/or fiat power from your own mind. Such marketing may be sub-narrative, this is not pseudo-science subliminal messaging. These are the reproductions of the dominant episteme through what is not said. One cannot help but read between the lines. These sub-narratives condition individuals to never think of certain questions. To question the wisdom of a presidential administration's justifications for a two front illegal war located in two countries that were not primarily responsible for 9/11 is never even thought of.
It is not that the question is taboo, but that the question just never forms in an individual's mind who has immersed themselves so fully in the dominant paradigm. As the complexity becomes more paralyzing the adaptive youth become less susceptible and the envelope gets pushed. This is the status quo. This scourge spreads as marketing gives us false heuristics and normalized sub-narratives. Marketing is imperialism of the brain. Not simply metaphorical like Kalle Lasn talks about, it is real. Your thoughts are real, not only are these thoughts physical chemicals being tossed around your skull, but they create the conditions for physical reality. One cannot write a word until one thinks of it, one cannot build an object without a plan in mind, the only thing that grants continuity to our perception of this reality is knowledge/memory. As technology allows for proliferation of the nodes of knowledge normalization, the further immersion of individuals in to the current paradigm is a foregone conclusion. As Hegel said:

"What is 'familiarly known' is not properly known, just for the reason that it is 'familiar'. When engaged in the process of knowing, it is the commonest form of self-deception, and a deception of other people as well, to assume something to be familiar, and give assent to it on that very account"

As technology changes our physical reality by making stimulus that comes from entities rather than individuals the norm it is easier to make these agendas in to "truth". Like Goebbels says:

“The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly - it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over”.

Bounding the thoughts of your own mind, limiting what you see, the words you use, and the questions you ask. This is the the imperialism of the brain that is everywhere you look and listen. I do not know how to fight the modern contagion of stupidity, but its existence seems obvious at this point. People just gotta level up.

Back to Anarchism:

Although Anarchism has a valid aspiration and seemingly better thought behind it than other domination ideals. Liberalism/democratic peace theory is an ideal in which the world is conquered by liberal democracy. Libertarian theory is an ideal which would create a world in which all non-human matter will be owned by corporations. These involved domination.Communism required abolition of private property, which meant ceding of property to some non-individual entity. This would mean domination by a state or corporate entity. Anarchism seeks to overcome all these ideas by destruction of the state, to remove the tool of domination is to prevent domination.

Anarchism suffers from the same fault of all teleological ideals: Ends just provide a justification for immoral means.

Anarchism suffers from the same outcome of libertarian ideology and communism: where is the power displaced to? We see the power of private property displaced from individuals to entities in communism and libertarian ideology. Where is the power of sovereignty (de facto) and law (de jure) displaced to in anarchism? The power is displaced to individuals, in this fashion war is made a relic. But in our effort to erase war, we focused too much on the definition of war as a contest between state entities, by eliminating state entities we eliminate war. The praxis of such an ideal would mean that war between individuals would take the place of state war. We moved the borderlines of definitions in our heads, but there is still murder and injustice. The potential to kill another individual at will shall always reside within the human, nothing can remove this potential.

Any ideal to emancipate individuals from the tyranny of an oppressive power, has to become a more oppressive power in order to subordinate the original oppressive power. This is Hobbes' trap.

The most damaging turn to anarchist ideals in practice comes with the aftermath. In a world without state sovereignty nothing prevents tribes/nations from forming and engaging in war. So as soon as a revolution to destroy the apparatus of government has succeeded, 10 other governments will form in its place.

This is why I brought up my original question: ok, revolution whatever, now what?

We have not found a way out of Hobbes trap. Schmitt further entrenched us.

How do we overcome a great power without resorting to the use of a greater power? If there is no way to do so then sovereignty is inherently totalitarian and democracy is nothing but a dream for the future. As long as a head of state can proclaim their state of emergency which justifies their torture or disobedience of the Geneva conventions law on POWs; as long as the sovereign can proclaim themselves outside the law through this emergency, then law created by the people is an illusion.

The law of the people/representation/suffrage is a privilege that will only remain as long as the sovereign's whim allows it. Don't tell me that this is the fluke. There is no such thing as democracy in practice thus far. Until the exception/emergency/new norm falls outside the sovereign's power there will never be democracy.

Then the question is: where is the exception/emergency/new norm displaced to?

Friday, June 11, 2010


So why am I writing this. I had thoughts in my head, but writing them down doesn' it is self-indulgent. I like reading things that I have written before. I hope that a few people have read a bit and gotten something from it. That is at the back of my head, but to make it my focus would be to think that I have something to say that is more important. The aporia of life, the fact of existence being a denial of some other existence. If you save the fly, you starve the spider. We are all in a constant process of deferral of our moral responsibilities. Myself most certainly included, I bear personal responsibility for the choices I make. Nobody can deny free will or the sovereignty of the self. There is no escaping this fact. Every living thing has a tactical position that they defend and push. If this was not true, these living things would have chosen to stop living. Anyone who can read this, any living thing has a reason for existence that keeps them going, a tactical position that must be secured against the randomness of suffering, and an agenda in order to further secure such illusory safety. Again, identification of all security narratives as false hope does not mean that I have found the true hope. This does not mean that I can see the truth, but only that it seems apparent from the de facto state of reality that the future can never be predicted. Not simply the social activities of complicated life forms, but the entire fabric of reality. The amount humans do not know is staggering, we know god damn nothing about death. We do not comprehend insanity, is it simply socially constructed abnormality? completely biological? completely psychosomatic? permutations of these? Death, sickness, insanity, etc. can happen to any individual at any time. No matter how effective we become at tilting the probabilities in our favor. God does play dice with the fate of the world, every fraction of a second of every blink of an eye trillions of dice are rolled where the stakes are human lives and suffering. Empirically proven systematic ways to shift probabilities lead to the fantasies of immortality and invulnerability for the wealthy ubermensch. The finish line, the winners circle: celebrity. It is not a profession to be on television it is some sort of pseudo-religious ritual. One does not want money anymore, only to have their image reproduced and beamed to the far corners of the world. The reward is their clones spread out, repeating the thoughts and words: making them significant. The american dream is ....cliched. But this is another word for normal.

Vocations are a joke in this dream. Vast swaths of individuals sitting at desks pretending to do work. Their high credit limit gives them the fleeting feeling of celebrity. The feeling flees, because it is being chased with such bloodlust. The ignorance as to the cost: the slavery. The husb/ife the slow (re)production of magistrates, professionals, and land owners. The drugs. Be honest: The drugs. Something to dull the noise that crescendos as years pass. The stress, the isolation, the long hours, the money troubles...the divorce.

Then there is labor. Labor sells the hours of a human's life for gold... Well... you know... metaphorically; literally labor sells the hours of a human's life for fiat currency. But the deal is rigged. The contract was written by the boss's lawyer. The contract is enforced by a jurist who is the boss's BFF. But this is Upton Sinclair shit. Nowadays labor is no longer useful, it is obsolete. A sign of an older paradigm of economic growth. It is not a worthy profession, it is looked down upon. In the same way that smiles' self help gave people canon which legitimized not feeding the poor, the homeless non-people. That you and I see often when we walk in the city (that is any fucking city or town, humans without money to make rent are everywhere). This same mentality affects the working class. This condescension that "they are not doing the best they can considering their tactical positioning" that exemplifies attitudes towards the homeless is now how people look at labor. Which is silly considering the shrinking of the middle class and that the strike-slip fault lines of global laissez-faire capitalism are becoming apparent. The laborer spends a large portion of their time working, but not actually getting paid. In fact, they spend a large portion of their time working, and paying for the privilege to be able to do so. They spend their time and money procuring the correct attire for the environment. They spend the time before punching in waiting to be able to punch in not getting paid.Commuting an hour there and an hour back (if you're lucky). The commute means you pay before you even work: either exorbitant gas prices or overpriced antique public transit. But these are very simple little things. Now that the industrial economy is in its death throes (I do not say this like it is bad, I don't fucking know whats good or bad, just a subjective observation). The service industry. I want you to ask yourself how many people do you actually know and chill with that work in the service industry? If you are young or a minority my money is that the answer is a lot: Bartenders, Waiters/waitresses, cooks, cashiers, landscapers, essentially these are all things that people can easily do for themselves, but they pay a premium to others in order for them to do it for them. I mentioned earlier how the middle class is shrinking. This may seem to be unrelated, but in my opinion there will be a strong correlation. As the middle class shrinks(go into this next) they will have less disposable income. Less disposable income will lead to less consumption of service products: They will just make their own coffee, or their own drink, or mow their own lawn. If this correlation is true, than the service industry will suffer a decline leading to an extended period of high unemployment. I do not know how this will be alleviated, clearly these individuals will seek training and other jobs. But such an extended period of high unemployment, would have other repercussions on the entire economy. But most importantly would further catalyze the dissolution of the middle class. Because the people who utilize the service industry the most are the middle class. I love eating out, getting a delicious plate of food with a friend or two. But I am just passing the service industry paycheck I get to another worker and letting the bosses take a cut. If there was a database of individuals and their skills (free schools and post-crash sites starting to do this) I could just go to the cooks house and trade a service directly for a delicious plate of food. In this fashion there would be no graft given to the bosses. Most other service industry workers are the same way we perform a service others could easily do and we use our disposable income to do the same. Bartenders and waiters/waitresses are the best tippers out there. The service industry keeps itself afloat, because they are not paid a living wage. So two jobs, and your disposable income is the chance to play the role of the wealthy for a short period of time by consuming a service. To express fiat power over another human, to command and to have obeyed. A small taste of sovereignty of the other, a small taste of control, but it costs money. Ironically the people who daily (re)produce the bourgeois ideology of self-help that made homelessness a crime and labor a dirty word will be the same people slandered with it later. The edges of the service industry is where this is clearly evident, but this vicious cycle will spread until it engulfs the entire economy if the rules of our game don't change.

But why would the middle class shrink and the answer is two things, which we should be thinking of as one thing: Transportation and Energy. I even capitalized that shit. Cars. The personal automobile. An entire country constructed around the institution of the personal automobile: the highways, taxes for maintenance, subsidized steel, subisidized auto-industry. A history written by the personal automobile: The suburbs, white flight, property, status, fashion. A future of blood in the name of the personal automobile: Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia. In order to defend its tactical positioning the United States must ensure access to energy. Whoever has the energy can divvy it up for political allegiance. I'm not saying its a simple handshake thing, but Japan isn't thinking about invading the mainland for oil anymore. Its the energy stupid. And if a country spends such a vastly disproportionate amount of money on military spending like the United States does then they can afford to "control" the oil fields. As long as massive amounts of money are funneled to the military industrial complex then the oil fields can be occupied. As long as the oil fields can be occupied then the United States can maintain global pre-eminence. This is how our security is constructed. The security of our overconsumption. The bliss of never having to build a civilization that can fly. Even if such security is not an illusion, it is predicated upon the insecurity of others.

Labor is not the correct translation for how the products we consume are made. Our clothes, our shoes, our electronics, our everything. They are made by slaves. I will not say that there are certain places where children are and putting children to work is bad. The united States was putting children to work years ago, who are we to chastise when it is our own fault. We chastise, because in that way we can deny our responsibility albeit ever so slight. We know that we buy shit those slave children make, you and I know we share responsibility. But if we can do a two minutes hate every once in awhile. Kathie lee, nike, etc. Then we can ignore our complicity, we ignore the fact that it was not a few bad apples and we ignore the fact that there might be a solution. We ignore the fact it is not just children. There are more slaves today than at any other point in history. Let me give you the meta picture: There are two ways to develop an economy today. Number one is to protect your industry, because they may be new and can't compete yet on the world market. This runs the risk of making an inferior product and inferior industrial infrastructure in the long run, because of lack of competition. But in developing nations the only indigenous entity with the money/credit to build industry is the state. If a country wishes to maintain control of their own natural resources or control of their own product they have very few options. Most of the time this import substitution industrialization does end up creating products that can't compete in the world market. The other option (to develop while maintaining sovereignty) instead of industrialization is to produce a cash crop or natural resource. This can create jobs and infrastructure for an extended period of time, but there are downfalls. First of all if a country is selling off its natural resources they are being used to create a different product. The amount of money and jobs that would be created by an industry that created an end product would be substantially more, but would have the same pitfalls mentioned before. Nothing is infinite, eventually the natural resources will dwindle and what will a developing economy rely on then? Where will all the laid off workers go? These are just internal problems. The main problem with a cash crop or natural resource is that it is all you have. If you don't sell this fucking copper, your country will go bankrupt and they'll overthrow you! But there is one country that buys most of just about everything. The United States. So who do you think decides the price of copper?

*ring Ring*
United States: Hello?
Country A: Hey Sam whats up? oh boy it is your lucky day, have I got a shit ton of copper for you!
United States: O rly? You selling it for what 10 bucks a ton?
Country A: Haha! ya right, you old sly fox. Same as last year 15 a ton.
United States: ouch. See the thing is I just got off the phone with Country B and she just said that she had copper for 12 a ton.
Country A: Country b!? those assholes? You know you can't get better quality than my copper Sam.
United States: I mean that is an awful lot of mon-Click- oh one second I have another call. Hello?
Country C: Sam Listen, you drive a hard bargain but I'll do 9.
United States: One second -click- That is Country C on the other line telling me he'll sell them to me for 8 bucks a ton, if you don't make a better offer I'm hanging up...

and on and on.

Its called a race to the bottom. So what ends up happening you ask? Countries run out of resources, their currency defaults, there is a revolution, there is a slump in commodity prices and: enter the IMF. The IMF believes the only way to economic growth is through foreign direct investment (FDI). Essentially they want to make the country in to a stock and sell it on wall street. In order to do so a few conditions have to be satisfied: privatization of nationalized industry; massive loans with interest rates and payment schedules everybody knows can't be met; and the transfer of sovereignty to economist-priests. But why would they do that then? Two reasons: 1. Its the boss who signs the document, if shit goes down he'll just ship off to the caymans. 2. The only other choice is to disqualify themselves from the world economy.

One resource that does not suffer from all these predicaments is humanity. Humans are being shit out by the billion. Developing nations just as any nation have ample human resources. In the same way the proletarianization of the american immigrant took place global capitalism spreads with CIA death squads instead of pinkertons. Humans are not given a living wage, in order to survive their children must work. Everything is so fragile the second an income producer becomes sick or injured their security collapses. Why don't they quit? you ask. Why don't YOU quit? The same reason I don't quit I think: because I don't know any other way to live. This is how I've figured out how to manage so far. In same way a simple narrative of a farm family that had two sons. Meaning the farm was split in half. Maybe one of them sold his to share croppers, maybe one of them let it go to waste, maybe one of them sold it to a big landowner, maybe one of them sold it to the other to have enough land to actually farm and left for the city to seek wage work. Why did he go to the city? because that is where the narratives say is opportunity, in the same way they lied to american immigrants it was not opportunity it was fresh meat for the grinder. New humans to subordinate to some great inhuman machinery of wealth manufacture.

Last time I checked 85% of the world lived below what the United States calls the poverty line, which is somewhere around 18.5 I think.

But this is only pseudo-economics. I did not even touch upon the state of the police state. And even more topical I didn't even mention that eventually we're going to run out of oil. We need to build a civilization that can fly.