An updated adage for the post-political age: Ask not what your commodity can do for you, but what you can do for your commodity.
Two Oxford sociologists recently published a study concluding that engineers are more disposed than other professional demographic to join militant political groups (or, neocon parlance, "terrorist groups"). The finding itself--the empirical fact that rank-and-file terrorists are demonstrably likely to come from an engineering background of some kind--is less interesting than the analysis offered by the researchers to explain it (away).
Nine out of ten theorists agree: Volition, while constitutive of humanity, leads immutably to anxiety (in the "doomed to freedom" sense), from which it follows that the subversion of volition is simultaneously utopian and dystopian in its socio-political impulse; it liberates us from the burden of assuming autonomous subject positions in the world, but in so doing, it undermines the very core of our being.
To follow up on our "uncontroversial" class discussion yesterday, I wanted to offer some thoughts that will hopefully lead to greater analytical synergy between the two majoritary viewpoints being expressed, namely, a) dominant systems of representation (of which language is one example) are exclusionary insofar as they prohibit the expression of positions (identitarian, political, etc.) that diverge from normative standards, versus b) systems of representations always reflects the proclivities of their agents (e.g., humans who use language) and therefore present deficiencies will necessarily
I wanted to further explore two interrelated strands of discussion from last class: on the one hand, the consequences of Atwood's rendering her dystopia with fidelity to certain internal currents of various socio-political developments in the 1980's (e.g., Reaganism, porn-burning feminism, the "breakdown" of the East-West Cold War-era binary, etc.); and on the other, the political implications of distinguishing between "reasonable" and "dogmatic" forms of an ideological system (a distinction which was invoked at least once in an attempt to explain the basis of 1980's "anti-feminist" backlash [
I'm interested in what people make of Gibson's invocation of the mythologized Fall from Eden (common to the Western monotheistic traditions) to thematize Case's feelings about his initial neurological damage--and his ontological status more generally: "For Case, who'd lived for the bodiless exultation of cyberspace, it [the damage] was the Fall. In the bars he'd frequented as a cowboy hotshot, the elite stance involved a certain relaxed contempt for the flesh. The body was meat.