Monthly Archives: September 2012

mobius Seminar on the End of Words, June 7-9, 2013

Friends, mobius has the effing incredible opportunity to offer a workshop in mystic practice at the Rhetoric Society of Amerika’s annual meeting in the sacred town of Lawrence, KS, old stomping grounds of the great William S. Burroughs. The description is below, and there a few slots left. The workshop promises to be effing radiant: teaching peeps how to dwindle their narrative mind always is!

You can click here to register for the workshop.

 

The Ends of Words: Mystic Practice and Rhetorical Limit Experience

Workshop Leader:

Richard Doyle, Penn State University

“The old writer couldn’t write anymore because he had reached the end of words, the end of what can be done with words. And then?”  William S. Burroughs, The Western Lands

Writer Alan Watts once described himself as being in the business of “Effing the ineffable” – putting the unspeakable into words. This workshop will explore the tensions endemic to effing the ineffable. Mystic rhetorical practices are collectively defined by this paradoxical attempt to describe the indescribable, and in so doing they explore the rhetorical limits of any given historical moment or domain. And mystic texts, while often well out of the mainstream in their content and style, are hardly marginal in the usual sense; perhaps precisely because mystic writers must explore the very limits of discourse, mystic texts are at the core of many rhetorical traditions, where they explore the limit experience (Bataille) of language in the space of all possible rhetorical practices. And this “end” of words can at times also be their very telos, as in the eighth century Sanskrit chant “Nirvana Shatakam” or the fourteenth century English mediation manual the “Cloud of Unknowing”. Exploring an itinerary from these early texts to twentieth century science fiction writer Philip K. Dick’s The Exegesis, the workshop will collaboratively map some rhetorical domains of what is possible, and not possible, to “eff.”

Texts:

Anonymous, The Cloud of Unknowing ( short selections)
De Certeau, Michel. Mysticism
Dick, Philip K. The Exegesis (short selections)
Leonard, Ron. The Transcendental Philosophy of Franklin Merrell-Wolff ( pp. 107-155)
Merrell-Wolff, Franklin. Transformations in Consciousness (short selections) Adi Sankara, “Nirvana Shatkam

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The Singularity is Within You: The Hero’s Journey Beyond Thought

What information consumes is rather obvious: It consumes the attention of its recipients. Herbert Simon

Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. Luke 17:21

The accelerating state of technological change has led many commentators to declare an incipient “singularity” wherein technological intelligence supersedes the capacities of human thought and humans are left behind in the double time march of Lamarckian techno-evolution. While these commentators have focused their analysis primarily on the material world of technological innovation,  they have paid less attention to the subjective experience of this rapid technological evolution. Recent research in neuroscience supports the testimony of mystics over the millenia who have testified that our subjective experience offers an ecstatic fourth state of consciousness beyond waking, dreaming and dreamless sleep activated by the disciplined focus of subjective attention: Turiya. This talk argues that the near term singularity on the horizon is the collective and highly distrbuted re-discovery of the capacities of human attention currently strained beyond its evolved capacities by the ongoing radical infoquake. This time, the Hero’s Hourney is evolutionary: In the crosshairs of ever proliferating information and finite attention, the mind, in attentional crisis, finds that it can no longer rely on the ego and its avatar, the “I”, and gropes toward the long neglected subjective experience of human beings, a very real but seldom explored domain “beyond thought” to which the Hero’s journey has always implicitly pointed. Here practices and technologies of the singularity within that leverage neuroplasticity and the exploration of the vast space of subjective awareness become both necessary and sufficient to heroic survival on an informatic planet in ecosystemic distress. Techniques for provoking a runaway process toward the singularity within will be discussed.

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