words  TEST
excavation; plane of immanence; eternal recurrence

Neoliberalism: the Antidote
Invisible University



Man is a Bridge:
the Twenty First Century is Nietzsche's Century

Steve Jobs Was a Low-Tech Parent (the New York Times, 9-10-14)

Screen Addiction Is Taking a Toll on Children (the New York Times,  7-6-15)

The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food (the New York Times, 2- 20-13)

from Edward Hopper Paints His World

This site is an enquiry into the post-paleolithic development of the primate homo sapiens--of culturally, historically, and politically-based developmental differentiation and divergence that is regressive as well as progressive, pathological as well as creative, and which, as Mary Midgley (The Solitary Self: Darwin and the Selfish Gene, p. 52) has noted, can be called "pseudo-speciation."  To see what I mean, consider this example from Sophia Rosenfeld, A Revolution in Language: the Problem of Signs in Late Eighteenth-Century France (Stanford, 2001).  Two other examples, drawn from the current political scene, are the Musso rant (a Tea Party performance) and the Ground Zero debate.  The enormous cognitive gulf between the enlightened representatives of the French Revolution and the villages folk, between the two protagonists in the Ground Zero debate, and between Musso and the modern civilized citizen, has been inadequately conceptualized.  The concept of pseudo-speciation--a variation on the theme man is a bridge--holds the key to decoding, among other things, the two-party discursive field of American politics, the inner life of those who created the UAW, and the patterns of police behavior so much in the news.  This concept of pseudo-speciation also holds the key to deciphering both Figure 1 and the rhetorical performances of the GOP (see the GOP as the Stupid Party?  An Inadequate Conceptualization).

The three links to recent New York Times stories in the cell above, when read in the context of this site, exceed the intentions of their authors.  Read them together with these brief excerpts from Ehrenberg ("Today, many of our social tensions have been expressed in terms of implosion and depressive collapse or, in a similar way, its flip side: explosions of violence, rage, the search for new sensations"), Stiegler ("the entropic vicious circle that leads to dissociation, desocialization, and disindividuation") and these more lengthy excerpts from Hall et. al. and Usher (here).  Then look at the Nietzsche excerpts in Nihilism.  This--the inner world of neoliberalism--is not a pretty picture.  And there's more to come.

This concept of pseudo-speciation is the antithesis of the varieties of neo-racism that now permeate the semiosphere--for example, Nicholas Wade's neo-racist A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History* (Penguin Press, 2014), and Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending's neo-racist The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution (Basic Books, 2009).  Serious neo-racist works, such as these, have three characteristics.  First, " . . . the authors employ an undefined and oftentimes arbitrary racial classificatory scheme, assume race to be a natural fact, use ethnocentric metrics to measure intelligence and attempt to lay the ground work for the racial classification of humanity by intelligence."**  Second, these works merely dress up in psuedo-scientific terms the dark side of neoliberalism--its racist mass appeal; and third our whole culture seems to be animated by a feverish hostility to understanding humans as extremely complex cultural historical, ontologically indeterminate organisms. 

*See Jonathan Marks' review and blog (anthropomics).  Also Geneticists say popular book misrepresents research on human evolution (Nature)

**reviewed by Cadell Last, Explorations in Anthropology, Vol.12, No. 1, pp. 120–123.

            Figure 1.  PISA Math Scores, 2003 - 2012: 25 Nations

Southeast Asian nations are in light blue; Scandinavian nations + Switzerland
in dark blue; Anglo-Saxon nations in orange; France, Germany, Belgium and Poland in green; Italy, Portugal and Spain in brown; the United States in red.  (The advanced capitalist nations.  Some have been omitted for the sake visual clarity).

Note the decline in the Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian nations.  The results of the 2015 tests will be released in December of 2016.

The situation that we face today . . .

a. the wreckage of socialism;

b. the persistence of fascism;  and

c. the triumph of nihilism as the socio-cultural engineering project of global corporate networks of unimaginable reach and power, generating an entropic process of disindividuation. 

Wreckage, persistence and triumph.  The wreckage of the entire cultural-historical self-formative project (Bildung) that grew out of the Enlightenment.  The persistence of the political culture, psychological dispositions and modalities of action of ressentiment.  The triumph of mass consumption as a mode of absorption and transformation of the organism.  (The fiction of freedom, the subversion of individuation, the commodification of distress.)  Essential to understanding this situation: a concept of pseudo-speciation.

pseudo-speciation I

The graphic to the right represents the cognitive developmental modalities that span the entire history of the tribe hominini, which contains the genus homo (the only extant variety of which is homo sapiens sapiens) and the genus pan (this latter contains chimpanzees and bonobos).  Consider the excerpts from the work of Donald, Wrangham and Wilson, Price and Feinman, Gomez, Tomasello, Chase, and Dupré in ArchaeologyAnthropology, regarding the ontologically indeterminate nature of homo sapiens as cultural-historical primate . . .  and note the references to Vygotsky.

Donald observes that contemporary homo sapiens' semiotic behavior "contains within it a trace of each of our previous stages of cognitive evolution."  Wrangham and Wilson state that "patterns of collective violence found among humans include similarities to those seen among chimpanzees."  Gomez writes of "the possibility that, at a reduced scale, the mind of an ape can be upgraded by giving him, on the one hand, a regime of socially controlled attention and interactive experiences with humans, and on the other, a new, more explicit form of representing the world, would confer dramatic support to the Vygotskian notion that higher cognition can be created through cultural processes of development that change the nature of cognitive ontogeny."
Figure 2. cognitive developmental modalities that span the history of the tribe hominini (cognitive-linguistic cardinality)
canThe Quantum Heterogeneity of Dasein in the context of Merlin Donald, A Mind So Rare, Table 7.1,p. 260 (apologies to George Cantor)


i =  4  internet and extended mind

i =  3  Foucault (Hegel, Nietzsche . .
i =  2  Formal operational
i =  1  Concrete operational
i =  0  Pre-operational/oral-mythic
i = -1  Mimetic/gestural
i = -2  primate

pseudo-speciation II: Topologies of the Two-Party System

The Piagetian performative modalities (pre-op, concrete-op, and formal-op) have proven more useful that Piaget's conception of development, and are elucidated in Michael Cole's standard textbook, The Development of Children.  (see PISA link.)  Piaget's cognitive modalities help to decode and clarify standard semoitic domains, especially Cable TV.  (see Semiotic Regimes.)  It is, however, necessary to bring to bear psychoanalytic concepts if we are to understand the rhetorical performances of newscasters, journalists, and politicians, as well as the man in the street (here meaning interview subjects).  The graphic at the right does this.  For why I refer to this as topologies see Semiotic Regimes.

These performances must be understood through the lens provided by Eli Rozik, The roots of theatre: rethinking ritual and other theories of origin (University of Iowa Press, 2002).

                                       LEFT                        RIGHT  
    TOPOLOGY            depressive*               paranoid-schizoid*      
POLITICAL STYLE   progressive               proto-Dorian
    COG MODE            formal + concrete   pre-operational + psuedo-     
+ gestural
*Simon Clarke, Social Theory, Psychoanalysis and Racism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003)
But it is only in actually exercising these skills in social interaction with others during ontogeny that children create new representational formats and new inferential reasoning possibilities as they internalize, in Vygotskian fashion, their coordinative interactions with others into thinking for the self. The result is a kind of cooperative cognition and thinking, not so much creating new skills as cooperativizing and collectivizing those of great apes in general. And so let us tell a story, a natural history, of how human thinking came to be, beginning with our great ape ancestors, proceeding through some early humans who collaborated and communicated in species-unique ways, and ending with modern humans and their fundamentally cultural and linguistic ways of being.

This emergent property of human culture has important implications.  It makes the nature of human social life different in fundamental ways from that of all other species (in spite of the continuities that also exist).  It makes it possible for groups of humans to coordinate their behavior in ways that are impossible for nonhumans.  It changes the relationship of the individual to the social group.  Because culture provides motivations for the behavior of the individual, it gives the group a means of controlling the individual that is absent among other primates.
An artist's interpretation of the hominins that lived near the Sima de los Huesos cave in Spain
from Baffling 400,000-Year-Old Clue to Human Origins
Price and Feinman:
In a very real sense, human society over the last 100,000 years or more may have been characterized by a fundamental tension between relations based on dominance, hierarchy, and kin altruism (part of our primate heritage) and new capacities for social cognition, cultural learning, alliance building, and cooperation, whether the latter behaviors were learned or part of recently acquired innate tendencies.

These works establish the scale--the archaeological scale--within which we are compelled to consider the current condition of homo sapiens.  We are compelled because these works are state-of-the-art research whose relevance to decoding Figure 1 and the discursive, theatrical, and ritual practices of the GOP is obvious: the Cassirer Rule applies.  And, as the excerpt from Dupre (next cell below) indicates, what we encounter in the photo of the three communists is a very specific and well-defined moment in the cultural-historical, cognitive-developmental trajectory of the tribe hominini.  As Saul Wellman (in my 1975 interview with him) put it to me,

Flint is what I consider to be the asshole of the world; it's the roughest place to be.  Now we recruited dozens of people to the Party in Flint [after WWII], and they came out of indigenous [native white] folk.  And those are the best ones.  But we couldn't keep them in Flint very long, once they joined the Party.  Because once they came to the Party a whole new world opened up.  New cultural concepts, new people, new ideas.  And they were like a sponge, you know.  And Flint couldn't give it to them.  The only thing that Flint could give you was whorehouses and bowling alleys, you see.  So they would sneak down here to Detroit on weekends--Saturday and Sunday--where they might see a Russian film or they might . . .  hear their first opera in their lives or a symphony or talk to people that they never met with in their lives.

Saul Wellman, Robert Thomson, and David Doran at Fuentes de Ebro during the Spanish Civil War
This comment by Saul Wellman (one of Michigan's leading Communists in the immediate post-war years) capture the inner logic of the genetic ontology bildung and the will to power.  (See Bildung: Was Mozart a Communist?) [Beard on Lippmann re. character of Progressivism]

These excerpts from John Dupré, "Causality and Human Nature in the Social Sciences," in Processes of Life: Essays in the Philosophy of Biology (Oxford, 2012) directly address the inner dynamic of progressivism, a term that encompases the variety of political forms that are homologous in the context of a concept of development: the three communists in the photo, the table of bildungs-proletarians at the right, and the Keynesian elite in the New Deal state.

It is . . . clear that recognition of the variety of factors involved in development makes possible a diversity of individual outcomes within even quite narrowly defined populations. (285)

 . . . the human mind . . . involves a new level of capacity to transform the world beyond the organism. (291)

If I simply act in pursuit of whatever passing whim is uppermost at the moment I exhibit no more causal power than any other animal.  If I choose to build a bridge, write a book, or cook dinner, and subordinate my choice of actions to this decision, I exercise to a greater or lesser degree a distinctively human ability to shape the world.  In the social realm, the ability to conform to principle, above all moral principle, is the kind of regimentation of behaviour that constitutes a uniquely human achievement. (291)

 . . . it is the fitting of action into some kind of systematic pattern that distinguishes the truly free agent from one who merely has the ability to respond to the whim of the moment; and . . .  [what emerges is] the ontological picture of the human agent as an entity enabled to pursue complex goals or engage in patterns of action over time by the acquisition of a uniquely rich range of capabilities. (293)

I wish to emphasize particularly the ability of cultural evolution to transform the developmental niche.  And here, at least in contemporary developed countries, it seems clear that humans have learned in quite recent times to construct a remarkably novel environment for the development of their young. . . .  [T]hese prodigious changes to the human environment, concretizations of our rapidly evolving culture, profoundly affect the developmental resources available to growing humans.  For that reason their introduction should be seen as representing major evolutionary change. (284)

Bildungs-proletarians of Detroit's East Side: interviews
Frank Fagan
Murray Body UAW Local 2
Dick Frankensteen Dodge Main
UAW Local 3
Charles Watson Dodge Main UAW Local 3
Joe Adams Dodge Main UAW Local 3
Joe Ptazynski
Dodge Main UAW Local 3
Earl Reynolds Dodge Main UAW Local 3
Francis Moore Hudson
UAW Local 154
John McDaniel Packard
UAW Local 190
Harry Kujawski Packard UAW Local 190
Eddie Dvornik Packard UAW Local 190
James Lindahl*
UAW Local 190
Leonard Klue Michigan Steel Tube UAW Local 238
Paul Silver
Detroit Steel Products
UAW Local 351
N = 35 interviewees
Midland Steel
UAW Local 410
Bill Jenkins Chrysler Highland Park
UAW Local 490
Tony Podorsek
body-in-white supervisor Dodge, Cadillac

Bildungs-proletarians of Flint and Pontiac: interviews
Norman Bully Buick (Flint)
UAW Local 599
Larry Jones Chevrolet (Flint)
UAW Local 659
Bill Genski Fisher Body #1 (Flint)
UAW Local 581
Cliff Williams Yellow Cab (Pontiac)
UAW Local 594
Saul Wellman

pseudo-speciation III

Fig 3 summarizes The Quantum Heterogeneity of Dasein: Table of Sources.  Notice that the three post-paleolithic genetic ontologies are built around three of Nietzsche's key concepts: Ressentiment, Bildung and the will to power, and nihilism. 

Figures 1 and 2 are about cognition.  They leave out
modalites of social and psychological being/praxis (as distinct from cognitive performativity).  Figure 3 is both biological and psychoanalytical.  The post-paleolithic genetic ontologies are effects of power, in Nietzsche's sense of power as confinement and its effect: ressentiment; in Foucault's sense of power as productive (as in Dupré above); and in a third sense of power: nihilism as the effect of the socio-cultural engineering project of global corporate networks of unimaginable reach and power, generating an entropic process of disindividuation.  The book (as written about by Bellow and Roth) is dead.

The Quantum Heterogeneity of Dasein is generated by the application of the
Cassirer Inclusion Rule and the Margolies Exclusion Rule (see Philosophy and History).  A different kind of rule is the Hamilakis Rule (Yannis Hamilakis, Archaeology and the Senses: Human Experience, Memory, and Affect (Cambridge, 2013)  This rule demands critical awareness of the crippling effect of the Cartesian presuppositional matrix on the usefulness of texts: the Cartesian self and the associated rhetorical elements of belief, motive, and idea(ology).  This matrix appears in its crudest form on cable TV "news" shows.  But it has been hegemonic in academic discourse.  Has been, but no longer (The Sapient Mind).

QHD-5 should be thought of as an operator deployed in any encounter with an "empirical" field.  The GOP as the Stupid Party: an Inadequate Conceptualization is a result of such a deployment.  It is a plane of immanence.
Figure 3. The Quantum Heterogeneity of Dasein: 
5 Genetic Ontologies
On 'Romantic Science' (Luria)

Archaeological Site:Midland Steel
Relatons of Authority.  Division of Labor.

Personnel Records
Accident Reports
UAW Local 410 Papers (Walter Reuther Archives)
Interviews (N=35)
         Midland Steel Corporation: Organizational Chart

Archaeological Site:Detroit's near east side
Relations in Space-Time

Dodge Main
Detroit Steel Products
Murray Body
Michigan Steel Tube
Chrysler-Highland Park

Myth of Proletariat: the problem of agency
Dodge Main, center.  Midland Steel, lower right.  Detroit Steel Products just out of sight, lower left.  Michigan Steel Tube about five blocks north of Dodge.  Murray Body two block east of Dodge.  Chrysler Highland Park is just to the north west of Dodge.  Packard is just out of sight at the lower left of this photo.
Archeological Site: Michigan Steel Tube (UAW 238)


1.  Progressivism as habitus and networks
2.  FDR as symbol
3.  Bildung as embodied: N=34
4.  the problem of Flint and Pontiac (tar pit incident, collapse of UAW locals)

1.  Romantic science

Alexander Luria, Lev Vygotsky's intellectual comrade, spoke of a 'romantic science', a bringing together of the humanistic, novelistic approach to human experience, with the nomothetic, or positivistic, scientist(ic) approach.  Here you see organizational charts, plant layouts, wage rates, technical descriptions of jobs and machines--the stuff of positivistic science.  The problem, however, is that if you actually talk to the people involved--the forceful agents of praxis--all this becomes mere background, a theatrical setting, almost, for the drama of human becoming.

Here's a case in point.  I'm interviewing Cliff Williams (Yellow Truck and Bus, which he referred to as Yellow Cab, its name before it was bought out by GM in the 1920s and moved from Chicago to Pontiac, as did Williams), one of the inner circle of CIO organizers who faced the usltimate disaster that might befall a modern union: their local unions, in Flint (156) and Pontiac (159), were taken over by the Black Legion, the Ku Klux Klan of the north in the early thirties into the early forties.  This disaster has been noted by Walter Ruether's biographer, by letters within the UAW regarding this situation, and registered in the NLRB elections of 1939/40, in which the fundamental divison appeared: in Flint Buick, and in Pontiac Yellow Truck, were immune to the appeals of the Black Legion.  But in Fisher Body and Chevrolet it was another story.  Buick and Yellow Truck were based on older, more craft-oriented modes of production (similar to Packard in Detroit and Studebaker in South Bend, Indiana).  Fisher body and chevrolet, on the other hand, were newere, more mass-oriented, and filled with hillbillies.  Here the Black Legion thrived, nothwthstanding its organizaotional incompetence and its intellectual limiations.

All this I get from Cliff w
Williams discussion of events, people, and processes in Flint and Pontiac.  Her are some wxcamples from my 12 hours of interviews with him.

1.  on the crisis of 1938-9, hhis letter to John L. Lewis, Lewis's responsse.
2.  the description of Black Legionaire Bert Harris in the duses pickets of 1939
3.  his descpriton of the socio-cultural charcgter of the various plants and epartments.
4.  his atemtp to impress upon me the imprtance of the intellectual mentoring of an individual from New America (Ann Arbor?)
Michigan Steel Tube