Vanity Fea: Blog de notas de José Ángel García Landa (Biescas y Zaragoza) - Agosto 2012 dragonfly


 



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Viernes 31 de agosto de 2012

El sueño de Ada Byron

Augusta Ada Byron, hija del poeta Lord Byron y de Annabella Milbanke, se convertiría en condesa de Lovelace cuando su esposo William King heredó el título. Como su padre, al que no conoció, fue una aristócrata excéntrica, y más si cabe, pero en otro sentido—tenía una pasión por las matemáticas y el cálculo. Se le atribuye haber escrito el primer programa informático, un siglo antes de que existieran los ordenadores.

"Volcar los poderes del pensamiento en un dispositivo mecánico" es el capítulo 4 de La Información, de James Gleick (2012), dedicado a Ada Lovelace y a Charles Babbage. Babbage había diseñado una calculadora mecánica, la Máquina Diferencial, y tenía planes de desarrollar una versión mucho más compleja, la Máquina Analítica—una especie de ordenador steampunk de la era victoriana, cuyos engranajes acabarían por superar en su complejidad las disponibilidades técnicas de la época. La máquina de Babbage siguió siendo teórica, pero sus posibilidades de cálculo hipotéticas estimularon la imaginación matemática de Ada Lovelace, amiga de Babbage. Tampoco eran Babbage y Ada, siendo excepcionales, unos Frankensteins fuera de su siglo, pues el telar de Jacquard ya se "programaba" en cierto modo usando unas tarjetas perforadas para combinar las modalidades de funcionamiento. Y ya existían los computadores... humanos, personas dedicadas a realizar operaciones de cálculo, hacer tablas de logaritmos, etc. Ada veía posibilidades mucho mayores en la máquina de Babbage—hoy diríamos que veía en ella el primer ordenador, la primera computadora mecánica que inauguraba la informática:

"La máquina no sólo calculaba, realizaba operaciones, decía Ada, definiendo operación como 'cualquier proceso que altere la mutua relación de dos o más cosas', y declaraba : 'Se trata de una definición muy general, e incluiría todos los objetos del universo'. La ciencia de las operaciones, tal como ella la concebía,

es una ciencia en sí misma (más adelante otros la llamarían cibernética - JAGL), y tiene su propia verdad y su propio valor abstracto, del mismo modo que la lógica tiene una verdad y un valor peculiares, independientemente de los objetos a los que podamos aplicar sus razonamientos y sus procesos [...]. Uno de los principales motivos de que el carácter distinto de la ciencia de las operaciones se haya notado tan poco y en general se le haya prestado tan poca atención y tan poco detenimiento, es el significado cambiante de muchos de los símbolos usados.

    Símbolos y significado. Ada hacía hincapié en que no hablaba sólo de matemáticas. La máquina 'podía actuar sobre otras cosas aparte del número'. (...). Había sido unamáquina de números: ahora se transformaba en una máquina de información." (Gleick 122)

Ada programaba la máquina mentalmente, sobre el papel, visto que su existencia era mayormente teórica. Pero la máquina corría de boca en boca; alude a ella Poe, y Oiver Wendell Holmes veía en ella una monstruosidad amenazadora, "Un monstruo de Frankenstein, una cosa sin cerebro y sin corazón, demasiado estúpida como para meter la pata, que proporciona resultados igual que una desgranadora de cereales, pero no hará que sean más sabios ni mejores, mor más que muela mil celemines" (Gleick 126). Babbage seguía dando vueltas a diversos inventos en torno a un concepto que no existía todavía: el procesamiento de datos: "Su verdadero objeto era la información: el envío de mensajes, la codificación y el procesamiento" (127). Acabaría siendo la computadora que acabaría con todas las computadoras—con las humanas, digo:

"Proyectada primero para generar tablas de números, la máquina en su forma actual ha hecho que las tablas numéricas resulten obsoletas. ¿Previó Babbage una cosa así? Lo que desde luego se preguntó es cómo utilizaría el futuro su invento. Conjeturaba que pasaría medio siglo antes de que nadie intentara crear de nuevo una máquina computadora de uso general. En efecto, se tardaría más de un siglo en cimentar el sustrato tecnológico necesario. 'Si alguien', decía, 'sin tener conocimiento de mi ejemplo, emprende la construcción efectiva de una máquina que encarne en sí a tdodo el departamento ejecutivo de análisis matemático a partir de principios distintos o a través de medios mecánicos más simples, no tengo ningún miedo a dejar mi reputación en sus manos, pues sólo él será plenamente capaz de apreciar la naturaleza de mis esfuerzos y el valor de sus resultados".  (129)

Miraba con esperanza a la electricidad, que en efecto sería casi cien años más tarde la que acabaría permitiendo las operaciones informáticas con la finura y velocidad necesarias.
ada

"Pocos años antes de su muerte, dijo a un amigo suyo que de buena gana renunciaría a todo el tiempo que le quedara de vida, fuese el que fuese, con tal de que le permitieran vivir tres días cinco siglos después.
     En cuanto a su joven amiga Ada, condesa de Lovelace, murió muchos años antes que él, a consecuencia de una dolorosa y larga enfermedad de cáncer de útero. Sus sufrimientos apenas lograron ser paliados mediante el uso del láudano y el cannabis. Durante largo tiempo su familia le ocultó la verdad de su enfermedad. Al final comprendió que iba a morir. 'Dicen que los acontecimientos por venir arrojan su sombra con antelación', comentaba en una carta a su madre. '¿No podrían alguna vez arrojar su luz con anterioridad?' Fue enterrada junto a su padre.
     Ella también tenía un último sueño, una última visión del futuro: 'Ser en el tiempo una autócrata, a mi manera'. Tendría a sus órdenes regimientos que desfilarían ante ella. Los opresores de la tierra tendrían que rendirse a sus pies. ¿Y de qué estarían hechos esos regimientos suyos?  'De momento no quiero divulgarlo. Sin embargo, tengo la esperanza de que sean las tropas más armónicamente disciplinadas, al estar compuestas de números inmensos, desfilando con una fuerza irresistible al son de la Música. ¿Verdad que es muy misterioso? Desde luego mis tropas tienen que estar compuestas de números, o no existirán [...] Pero por otra parte, ¿qué son esos números? Es un enigma...'." (Gleick 130).


CyberNetics






Hablar con palabras de otros

Todos lo hacemos, hablar con palabras de otros. Decía Bajtín que todo nuestro discurso está hecho de palabras de otros, apropiadas, o acentuadas con una inflexión nueva. Podemos expresar todas nuestras opiniones y emociones con palabras de otros, que sólo por el hecho de ser reapropiadas ya son también algo nuestras, del mismo modo que no eran totalmente de los otros a quienes se las expropiamos. Por una parte expresamos lo que hay de común entre nuestro pensamiento y emoción y los de la persona a quienes le tomamos la expresión. Por otra parte, reacentuamos: por el mero hecho de descontextualizar, de recontextualizar, lo citado ya no significa exactamente lo mismo. Ese mínimo desplazamiento debería ser posible para expresar la diferencia, por necesidad mínima, que pueda haber entre nosotros y los demás.
El texto citado, repetido o retomado es una pieza desplazada a un mosaico diferente. A veces eso la resalta, dirige la atención sobre ella de manera diferente, desde otro ángulo. Para qué componer una canción nueva—ya están todas escritas, y basta con cantarlas de otra manera, hacer una versión. Una versión es de hecho más intertextual, más postmodernista que una obra original, es más palimpsesto. Lo mismo las palabras reapropiadas, o reorientadas. Otros lo dijeron mejor, antes, y lo vuelven a decir mejor, ahora, mejor y diferente. A la vez, lo digo yo, y significa otra cosa, a veces para todos, otras para quien sabe leer la diferencia, a veces sólo para mí.

Narraciones narradas








The Magnificent Tree



The Magnificent Tree



Jueves 30 de agosto de 2012

El mundo todo es máscaras

"No hace muchas noches que me hallaba encerrado en mi cuarto, y entregado a profundas meditaciones filosóficas, nacidas de la dificultad de escribir diariamente para el público. ¿Cómo contentar a los necios y a los discretos, a los cuerdos y a los locos, a los ignorantes y a los entendidos que han de leerme, y sobre todo a los dichosos y a los desgraciados, que con tan distintos ojos suelen ver una misma cosa?"

 En una librería de Bueu que cierra ahora me he comprado dos libros de artículos de Larra, quizá el primer blogger español a su manera. Así empieza el artículo "El mundo todo es máscaras. Todo el año es carnaval". Y así evalúa el bachiller su experiencia en las noches de mascaradas:

larvata prodeo"Ni me sé explicar de una manera satisfactoria la razón en que se fundan para creer ellos mismos que se divierten un enjambre de máscaras que vi buscando siempre y no encontrando jamás, sin hallar a quien embromar ni quién los embrome, que no bailan, que no hablan, que vagan errantes de sala en sala, como si de todas les echaran, imitando el vuelo de la mosca, que parece no tener nunca objeto determinado. ¿Es por ventura un apetito desordenado de hallarse donde se hallan todos, hijo de la pueril vanidad del hombre? ¿Es por aturdirse a sí mismos y creerse felices por espacio de una noche entera? ¿Es por dar a entender que también tienen un interés y una intriga? Algo nos inclinamos a creer lo último, cuando observamos que los más de éstos os dicen, si los habéis conocido: '¡Chitón! ¡Por Dios! No digáis nada a nadie'. Seguidlos, y os convenceréis de que no tienen motivos ni para descubrirse ni para taparse."

Me hace pensar esto que en los blogs y redes sociales tampoco es muy grande la diferencia entre lo que sucedía antes, cuando todo el mundo usaba nicks y avatares, y ahora que se lleva más el nombre propio o identidad auténtica so-called.

El artículo de Larra está en la tradición de la visión crítica del mundo social como teatro—o yendo a un tema arquetípico más universal, el contraste entre apariencia y realidad. Con la excusa de los bailes de disfraces y los carnavales, describe las apariencias que da la gente a otros cada día de la vida cotidiana, con vestidos y modales calculados para proyectar una impresión favorable o a la moda, muy distinta del cuerpo debajo de la ropa o de la cara sin afeites. Y el decalaje entre la imagen proyectada y la intención al actuar. Concluye pues que no es necesario ir al teatro, el teatro está en la calle, ya estamos en él lo sepamos o no...

"Ya que sin respeto a mis lectores me he metido en estas reflexiones filosóficas, no dejaré pasar en silencio antes de concluirlas la más principal que me ocurría. ¿Qué mejor careta ha menester don Braulio que su hipocresía? Pasa en el mundo por un santo, oye misa todos los días, y reza sus devociones; a merced de esta máscara que tiene constantemente adoptada, mirad cómo engaña, cómo intriga, cómo murmura, cómo roba... ¡Qué empeño de no parecer Julianita lo que es! ¿Para eso sólo se pone un rostro de cartón sobre el suyo? ¿Teme que sus facciones delaten su alma? Viva tranquila; tampoco ha menester careta. ¿Veis su cara angelical? ¡Qué suavidad! ¡Qué atractivo! ¡Cuán fácil trato debe de tener! No puede abrigar vicio alguno. Miradla por dentro, observadores de superficie; no hay día que no engañe a un nuevo pretendiente; veleidosa, infiel, perjura, desvanecida, envidiosa, áspera con los suyos, insufrible y altanera con su esposo: ésa es la hermosura perfecta, cuya cara os engaña más que su careta. ¿Veis aquel hombre tan amable y tan cortés, tan comedido con las damas en sociedad? ¡Qué deferencia! ¡Qué previsión! ¡Cuán sumiso debe ser! No le escojas sólo por eso para esposo, encantadora Amelia; es un tirano grosero de la que le entrega su corazón. Su cara es más pérfida que su careta (...)"

A Truth of Masks













El baño obligatorio



El Baño Obligatorio














Miércoles 29 de agosto de 2012

Preserved self-awareness

Un abstract que nos pasan por PsyArt:


Preserved Self-Awareness following Extensive Bilateral Brain Damage to the Insula, Anterior Cingulate, and Medial Prefrontal Cortices.
Philippi CL, Feinstein JS, Khalsa SS, Damasio A, Tranel D, Landini G, Williford K, Rudrauf D.


Division of Behavioral Neurology and Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Neurology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, United States of America.

Source:    PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e38413. Epub 2012 Aug 22.

Abstract

It has been proposed that self-awareness (SA), a multifaceted phenomenon central to human consciousness, depends critically on specific brain regions, namely the insular cortex, the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). Such a proposal predicts that damage to these regions should disrupt or even abolish SA. We tested this prediction in a rare neurological patient with extensive bilateral brain damage encompassing the insula, ACC, mPFC, and the medial temporal lobes. In spite of severe amnesia, which partially affected his "autobiographical self", the patient's SA remained fundamentally intact. His Core SA, including basic self-recognition and sense of self-agency, was preserved. His Extended SA and Introspective SA were also largely intact, as he has a stable self-concept and intact higher-order metacognitive abilities. The results suggest that the insular cortex, ACC and mPFC are not required for most aspects of SA. Our findings are compatible with the hypothesis that SA is likely to emerge from more distributed interactions among brain networks including those in the brainstem, thalamus, and posteromedial cortices.

The Neurology of Self-Awareness



Ivo mira barcos



Ivo mira barcos





Martes 28 de agosto de 2012

Nomino a...

Me llega una carta del Who's Who, donde estoy incluido desde hace unos años:

Dear José García Landa,

Do you know someone who has made significant contributions to their profession? Someone who should be recognized for their accomplishments?
Now is the time to give them the credit and honor they deserve by nominating them for possible inclusion in a 2013 Marquis Who's Who publication. As a valued member of the Marquis Who's Who family, you are invited to Nominate a Colleague who you deem worthy of recognition.
We value the opinions of talented and successful listees like you. Your recommendations are often one of our best sources for discovering noteworthy men and women throughout the world and your participation helps us maintain the world's premier biographical reference source.
Being nominated to Marquis Who's Who is one of the highest compliments an individual can receive for their professional accomplishments. Click here to nominate your most respected colleagues and we will contact them to submit their biographical data for review.
We are eager to learn about your esteemed colleagues and greatly appreciate your support.
Sincerely,
Fred Marks
Editor-in-Chief

Ya me pensaré a quién propongo.

Who's Who in the What?




La escalera


La escalera






Comentario sobre la auténtica grandeza

Este es un comentario de F. Storr y C. H. Gibson al ensayo de Francis Bacon "Of the True Greatness of Kingdoms and States", y versa sobre el progreso y la evolución social—sobre el desarrollo de la civilización y el perfeccionamiento de las sociedades humanas. Un tema de interés, a mitad de camino entre la sociobiología evolutiva, la teoría de la historia, y la filosofía política. Aparece en una oscura edición escolar de los ensayos de Bacon, publicada hace más de ciento veinticinco años, en 1885 (Bacon's Essays, with Introduction, Annotations, Notes and Indexes by F. Storr, B. A., Chief Master of Modern Subjects at Merchant Taylor's School and C. H. Gibson, M. A., Assistant Master at Merchant Taylor's Schools. Third edition. London: Longmans, Green & Co. and New York: 15 East 16th Street, 1891). Lo republico aquí no como comentario al ensayo de Bacon, pues más bien es un excurso alternativo, sino como muestra del altísimo nivel intelectual de los editores en el contexto del pensamiento de la época, y más en concreto como muestra del impacto y eficacia que tuvo el evolucionismo de Spencer como instrumento para la comprensión intelectual de los más diversos aspectos de la realidad. En concreto, obsérvese cómo aparece aquí anticipada la idea central de la sociobiología actual sobre la adaptación activa del entorno, y la construcción de nichos ecológicos. Se reconoce también, por supuesto, el aire victoriano de época, y el ideal optimista sobre el progreso de una era de expansión imperial, comercial e industrial británica, de una cultura que se veía avanzar hacia la racionalidad, la ilustración y la democracia, a través del esfuerzo colectivo, la ética del trabajo, la educación, la organización de los procesos, y el respeto de los individuos al ideal colectivo de la nación: respeto a la tradición, pero reforma gradual y constante de las costumbres y las instituciones. Ese optimismo hoy podemos mirarlo casi con nostalgia y envidia—pero quizá deberíamos aprender más de una cosa de estos constructivos y decimonónicos victorianos, antes que darlos por definitivamente finiquitados. Añado enlaces relevantes donde parece oportuno.



Of True Greatness: Annotations and Hints

"All nature widens upwards. Evermore
    The simpler essence lower lies.
More complex is more perfect, owning more
    Discourse, more widely wise."

i. The Latin title of this Essay is "de proferendis imperii finibus." To Bacon, national greatness is synonymous with expansion by conquest. It is the highest excellence of states as well as of individuals (1), to profess arms. All other conditions of national prosperity, as we understand the term, are subordinate to war. Bacon must be judged by his own times, and by his literary antecedents. The ancients conceived the progress of science, but both to antiquity and mediaevalism, national progress was limited by the number of worlds to conquer. Bacon, in the Advancement (2) and Novum Organum (3), speaks enthusiastically of the advance of knowledge, though he says too much about "cycles" as opposed to continuous advance, and is too sanguine about "royal roads" to learning, and the possibility of a universal encyclopaedia. As to national greatness, he believed in the necessity of constant war, and in 1607, spoke strongly in the House of Commons in favour of a spirited war policy ; contrasting the imperial schemes of Spain with the "reckonings and audits" of Britain. Here Bacon is certainly not in advance of his own times. As a philosopher, he was the radical reformer of antiquity, and as a statesman, he might have advocated, instead of barely tolerating, the industrial spirit. There were many clear signs that the military spirit was passing away, but such prescience is hardly to be looked for in an Elizabethan statesman. France and Spain each regarded England as the prize and prey of the victor. The policy of both the Cecils, Bacon's uncle and cousin, was to play off one power against the other, and at the same time to stand prepared for an attack from either side.

    ii. Progress is a modern idea. The march of humanity onwards and upwards, was but dimply perceived before the present century. Aristotle conceived of gradual ascent of matter to form, and by his doctrine of "potential existence," foreshadowed the great law of evolution. But in Greece, the commonly received idea of national life was that various forms of government succeeded one another in a cycle. Experience bore this out, and further taught that destruction, rather than progress, was to be expected. Further, the Greeks considered infinity of the nature of evil ; all that is good is finite and measurable. The spreading power of Rome, especially during the early empire, suggested the idea of a world civilized by Roman influences, but the final lesson was that overgrown power falls to pieces. The Romans never conceived progress except as the gradual absorption of the world by Roman civilization which was ex hypothesi perfect.

     iii. Mediaeval thought was on the lines of antiquity. Besides, in the Middle Ages, men only saw falling kingdoms, and a shifting chaos of military supremacies, rather than well-defined national divisions. The Church, too, distinctly opposed the idea of human perfectibility. The reaction of Luther only turned men to see more clearly their own moral and spiritual degradation (4). The great discoveries of the Elizabethan age were but germs of future greatness. Even the outburst of literary life was short-lived, and seemed to pale before that of Greece and Rome. As late as the seventeenth century, it was thought necessary to prove, as Bishop Hakewill did, that man had not degenerated.

     iv. Vico, who lived from 1668 to 1743, first grasped intelligently the idea of progress. According to him, there are two sorts of progress. "That of nations from insignificance, passing through a period of greatness to insignificance, and that of humanity, the march of one that advances and never recedes." This progress is from the restraint of physical force, nulle terre sans seigneur, to the free obedience of rational beings to reason. The flaw in Vico's proposition is that he conceives that nations necessarily flourish and decay, and that, as long as a nation holds the foremost place in the world, its history is the history of humanity. This is not the case: all grow together at different rates of speed as parts of a great whole.

     v. Though Vico undoubtedly understood the problem of progressive history, the comparative method, which regards each phase of existence as a stepping-stone to something higher, was not conceived either by the philosophic or the popular mind in the eighteenth century. Viewed from the standpoint of evolution, progress is an infinite series of ever-increasing complexity, in which each lower factor is contained in that next above it. The two ideas which dominated the eighteenth century, were the immediate perfectibility of man, and the degradation of society. Some looked forward to a model state which existed only in imagination ; others looked back to a golden age of primitive simplicity. In some cases the tendencies were purely destructive ; existing institutions were absolutely to be destroyed. But most thought that humanity was perfectible, and preached the doctrine of an iron present, and a golden future. Doctrinaires had to learn again that utopias are vanity, humanity imperfect, and that nature nihil facit per saltum.

   
vi. In the nineteenth century we find the gradual rise of the comparative treatment of all branches of human knowledge applied to the phenomena of human progress. German thought, led by Hegel, with his "philosophy of history," and Goethe's "life of plants," first developed the idea to practical results. In the non-mechanical sciences, wich deals with things in process of development, the question to be asked is not "What is it and what are its antecedents now?" but, "How did this grow and to what is it growing?" In other words, the growth of causes, "crescente variables," have to be investigated. The attention is fixed solely on the increasing cause, and its law or series is determined as nearly as possible. Such a law is a law of progress, and progress is consciously realized only in so far as definite results have been obtained. Hitherto we have got plenty of laws, but many of them are hypothetical and want verification and filling up. More is required than a blank formula often vague and unsatisfying. So thought has been derived from sensation, through ideas or remembered sensation ; abstract language from onomatopoeia, and interjections definitely and consciously attached to sensations. In the case of man, the "crescent variable" is reason. Progress is convertible with the growth of reason. The end of man is to do his own proper work in the best possible way. The greater the number of men who do so, the greater and more real the progress. The better the work, the more it is in accordance with reason. Reason may be defined as the faculty by which we conceive ends, and consciously adapt means to such ends. The growth of plants and animals is through instinctive adaptation to their environment. Man consciously modifies his own surroundings, as well as adapts himself to them.

    vii. Freedom to develop and opportunities for development are primary necessities. Enfranchisement and education must precede as well as follow progress. Monopolies, class privileges, standing armies, go hand in hand with ignorance. The man who has no responsibilities has no aspirations. Originality tends to heterodoxy and rebellion against authority. Science and literature subject to the requirements of sacerdotalism and despotism can attempt no daring flights.

    viii. Though reason is a crescent variable capable of infinite development from within, there are stationary elements such as climate, food, geographical position, and language, which cannot completely be eliminated. The ethiopian cannot change his skin, and human agency can but sligthly modify physical surroundings.

    ix. In describing progress in terms of reason, the growth of morality and religion as well as of material advance, can be equally recognized. In assuming that the world becomes more rational, it is not to be supposed that it becomes less moral, but rather that the claims of morality are more and more realized by reason, and that religion is brought into closer harmony with reason. The higher the morality, the more rational. "Kill nobody," is better wisdom than "kill not ta member of your tribe," and is at the same time more moral (5). We need not fall into Mr. Buckle's mistake of supposing that morality is stationary, reason progressive.

    x. No man can do everything. Each does one thing best. Civilization tends towards specialization. At first the same man is warrior, hunter, artisan,—a jack-of-all-trades. As things increase in complexity there is a tendency to separate off one individual or class for each work. The highest stage is when the differentiated products become so special as to be severally incapable of performing the other's work. Further, every new differentiation implies increase of population. The better a man does his own work the greater his dependence on the good work of others. Every new discovery specializes, and at the same time draws men together. Printing, gunpowder, steam, railways, emphasize all pre-existing differences, create new ones, and make all more dependent on the functions of others. And further, each specialization of any class ipso facto produces organic changes which lead to the specialization of other classes. As music improves, dancing and singing improve. As the eye sees better, the hand grows better fitted for its own work. The danger of specialization is the loss of spontaneity and many-sidedness.

    xi. The great truth of specialization of functions, leads to a difficulty. If the Puritan and popular standpoint is correct, and if every man can be his own prophet, priest, and king, progress depends in a great measure on the way in which every man applies for himself the principles of morality, religion, and government, to the business of life. But if, on the other hand, morality, government, and religion get more complex, and are lost sight of in the fierce rush of worldly pursuits and the engrossing claims of self-love, then more than ever men will need the great moralist, preacher, and statesman, who will point out the truth, and disentangle the principles of true life from the tangled web of competition and pleasure. Laissez faire, may be as obstructive as over-government. Leaving the social organism to run wild is not necessarily giving it room to develop. (Y aquí es donde se separan más los autores, con buen criterio, de la perspectiva hiper-liberal de Spencer).

    xii. Laws of progress are only rough generalizations of tendencies. Modern thought suffers from insisting too strongly on the analogy between social and other organism, between the life of plants and of men. We can read the past only in outline, the future is a sealed book. It is not possible to forecast how far this or that nation will have advanced within a specific period. Herbert Spencer's great law is "Evolution is a process or progression from the simple homogeneous to the complex heterogeneous by continuous differentiation and integration." Or differently expressed, "All progress is through stages—unity, plurality, singularity." Humboldt says that "the end of government is the development of man in the greatest originality and variety possible." Matthew Arnold would have more "culture," a vague and ideal formula. Mill insists on the necessity of representative institutions—an engine, not an end. Comte expresses the history of humanity by three stages—the theological, metaphysical, and positive. "History," says Hegel, "is the embodiment of reason carried out through the imperfect medium of man's spirit." But the course of universal reason is either obscured or contradicted by exceptions, so that it is hardly ever possible to predict the next step. The human mind is virtually a sealed book. The great man is an incalculable factor in the problem of progress. This is especially the case with scientific as opposed to social and political progress. We can roughly sum the series and isolate the phenomena in the past, and see in outline how reason develops, but neither the nation nor the individual repeats itself, and we can only hope for a more complete union of individual ends with universal reason. A perfect science of history is an ideal which fades as we move.

    xiii. Is progress a fact? There are always laudatores temporis acti, who sigh for a past that never was present. Most of us are one-sided, at the mercy of the strongest impression, and unable to look out of our life. In the present, evil seems actively predominant. Good seems ever liable to decay, except by constant watching and personal care.

"The evil that men do lives after them ;
The good is oft interrèd with their bones."

The future is hidden, the good of the past—de mortuis nil nisi bonum—is alone remembered, and encircled with a halo of virtue. Reverence and imagination lend to the past an illusory brightness. Further, there has been a tendency in the human mind, from the Preacher to Schopenhauer, to believe rather in present corruption than in future progress.

    xiv. Apart from the natural tendency to grumble, most reforms are attended by a certain loss. The Puritan movement was accomplished at the cost of much that was valuable in art, literature, and manners. On a comparison of the age of Elizabeth with that of the Protectorate, England, in spite of much material advance, will seem to have retrograded. Many see only retrogression in the decay of chivalry. Even feudalism is a valuable counterpoise to the worship of money. "Since the Reformation, the whole tendency of the world has been in an industrial direction." Progress is often obscured or diverted into one channel. Change is not progress (6), nor is freedom by itself. "Intellectual emancipation," says Goethe, "if it does not give us control over ourselves, is poisonous." The truest freedom is rational obedience to law, whether given from without or within. No one should be free till he knows how to obey.

    xv. There is a dark side of the picture. Increased machinery and wealth have hardly benefited the masses. There is a growing tendency to inequality of property. Monopolies are not dead. Adultreation is too strong for the law. The union of democracy with the Church is not impossible, but the tendency of democracy is to aim only at material prosperity. In giving all an opportunity of rising, there seems some danger of dragging down rather than moving up, and fewer are willing to hold subordinate positions. Government tends to become "a joint-stock concern for the practice of Thrift." Improved social machinery tends to destroy self-help. Artificial helps lessen the struggle for existence, withouth which there will be degeneracy; men must go forward or go back. Malthusianism only sees ground for hope in checking population, communism is wholesale robbery and retrogression. Further, the traditional and fundamental principles of religion, morality, and society are questioned as hardly ever before. The fearful propaganda of Nihilism daily warns us that we live on a volcano. There is a feverish craving for novelty and excitement. Agnosticism is openly preached as a creed, and the sovereignty of reason is appealed to by the irrational. The policy of "blood and iron" is triumphant on the continent. These and many other considerations suggest the question, "are we progressing?" Thus the doctrine of despair, taught by Schopenhauer, is echoed in countries which have less ground for pessimism than Germany (7): "To will, i.e. to live, is to suffer," will being the conscious application of force. The higher the civilization, the more consciously active, and, therefore, the more miserable is man. The only remedy is self-annihilation.

xvi. The vigorous mind will learn to look beyond. Pessimism argues a want of historical perspective. The pessimist ignores the comparative method, looks only at the present time, and only to some special phase of the present time. Then he rails, like Carlyle in his "Latter-day Pamphlets" (8), against democracy and all the first-born of Egypt. There is a shadow which saddens life, but a great mind may feel this without bewailing that the world is all out of joint. According to Leopardi, every stage of existence—science, culture, religion, commercial industry, and politics—wherein man seeks happiness, are all stages of illusion. Pessimism can never be a philosophy of life; it belongs to the effete dreamy Eastern character. In the East, life is a constant thirst and craving which is never satisfied. Pessimism may suit the lazy mysticism of Buddhism, but vanishes before the gospel of "act and you shall know." Asceticism is only another form of pessismism, a protest against nature. It is not healthy to dwell with too accurate diagnosis on national pathology. Men are too ready to prophesy evil and then wish to see their prophecies fulfilled. Further, the disorder and evils of transition are a necessary stage.

xvii. The belief in an infinite series of progress is almost a religion to the best minds. "Let us allow and believe," says Wordsworth, "that there is a progress of the species toward unattainable perfection; or whether this be so or not, that it is a necessity of a good and gifted nature to believe in it." "Kant, while arguing that past progress does not necessarily imply future progress, sees surer ground for advance in the enthusiastic sympathies, excited throughout Europe by the outbreak of the French Revolution" (9). The French Revolution was more successful as a destructive than a constructive movement. It swept away the abuses of feudalism and class-privilege. Its dreams of universal brotherhood, a federation of nations, and a reign of universal reason were not realized. Yet with all its illusions, and in spite of all its crimes, it promoted freedom of thought, which is the tap-root of civilization. Compare the whole world, as it is, with the world as it was, or even a novel of George Eliot with one of Fielding or Smollett, and doubts will be quieted. We may yet live to see the "parliament of man, the federation of the world." The idea of international law and national conscience steadily grows. In catching sight of the universal, there seems some danger of losing many of the lights and shades of individual progress ; but the race, as a whole, is advancing, in spite of back-eddies.

"Not in vain the distance beckons. Forward, forward let us range,
Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change."

Goethe says that each man, like a star, should move restless but hasteless in his own sphere. For such there will be no more sickly questions whether "life is worth living."



____


(1) See Essay on Empire.
(2) Bk. ii, xxiv.
(3) i. cxxix.
(4) See Guesses at Truth, p. 313, et seqq.
(5) See Essay on Goodness and Goodness of Nature.
(6) See Essay on Innovation.
(7) See Sully's Pessimism, London, 1877.
(8) On The Present Time.
(9) Guesses at Truth.
[See also Essay on Innovation]



Consiliencia, evolución y anclaje narrativo



Lunes 27 de agosto de 2012

Buscando estrellas de mar


Buscando estrellas de mar





Domingo 26 de agosto de 2012

A Man Missing An A

From the Wikipedia article on Neil Armstrong, section "First Moon Walk"

Although the official NASA flight plan called for a crew rest period before extra-vehicular activity, Armstrong requested that the EVA be moved to earlier in the evening, Houston time. Once Armstrong and Aldrin were ready to go outside, Eagle was depressurized, the hatch was opened and Armstrong made his way down the ladder first.
A11v 1092338.ogg
Armstrong describes the lunar surface.
At the bottom of the ladder, Armstrong said "I'm going to step off the LEM now" (referring to the Apollo Lunar Module). He then turned and set his left boot on the surface at 2:56 UTC July 21, 1969,[76] then spoke the famous words "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind."[77]

Armstrong had decided on this statement following a train of thought that he had had after launch and during the hours after landing.[78] The broadcast did not have the "a" before "man", rendering the phrase a contradiction (as man in such use is synonymous with mankind). NASA and Armstrong insisted for years that static had obscured the "a", with Armstrong stating he would never make such a mistake, but after repeated listenings to recordings, Armstrong admitted he must have dropped the "a".[77] Armstrong later said he "would hope that history would grant me leeway for dropping the syllable and understand that it was certainly intended, even if it was not said – although it might actually have been".[79]
Armstrong on the Moon

It has since been claimed that acoustic analysis of the recording reveals the presence of the missing "a";[77][80] Peter Shann Ford, an Australia-based computer programmer, conducted a digital audio analysis and claims that Armstrong did, in fact, say "a man", but the "a" was inaudible due to the limitations of communications technology of the time.[77][81][82] Ford and James R. Hansen, Armstrong's authorized biographer, presented these findings to Armstrong and NASA representatives, who conducted their own analysis.[83] The article by Ford, however, is published on Ford's own web site rather than in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, and linguists David Beaver and Mark Liberman wrote of their skepticism of Ford's claims on the blog Language Log.[84] Although Armstrong found Ford's analysis "persuasive",[85] he expressed his preference that written quotations include the "a" in parentheses.

______

76.  Harland, David (1999). Exploring the Moon: The Apollo Expeditions. ISBN 1-85233-099-6
77.  a b c d Mikkelson, Barbara; David Mikkelson (October 2006). "One Small Misstep: Neil Armstrong's First Words on the Moon". Snopes.com. Urban Legends Reference Pages. p. 1. Retrieved September 19, 2009.
78. Hansen, James R. (October 3, 2006). "Armstrong's Abbreviated Article: Notes from the Expert". Language Log. Retrieved August 28, 2007.
79. Nickell, Duane S. (2008). Guidebook for the scientific traveler: visiting astronomy and space. Rutgers University Press. p. 175. ISBN 978-0-8135-4374-1.
80. Goddard, Jacqui (October 2, 2006). "One small word is one giant sigh of relief for Armstrong". The Times (London). Retrieved August 28, 2007.
81. Ford, Peter Shann (September 17, 2006). "Electronic Evidence and Physiological Reasoning Identifying the Elusive Vowel "a" in Neil Armstrong's Statement on First Stepping onto the Lunar Surface" (reprint). CollectSpace.com. Retrieved August 28, 2007.
82. "Software finds missing 'a' in Armstrong's moon quote". CNN.com. Associated Press. October 1, 2006. Archived from the original on October 4, 2006. Retrieved August 28, 2007.
83. Smith, Veronica (October 2, 2006). "Armstrong's Moon landing speech rewritten". Cosmos Magazine. Agence France-Presse. Retrieved August 29, 2007.
84.

    Language Log. "One small step backwards". (including audio)
    Language Log. "One 75-millisecond step before a "man"".
    Language Log. "Armstrong's abbreviated article: the smoking gun?".
    Language Log. "Armstrong's abbreviated article: notes from the expert".
    Language Log. "First Korean on the moon!".
    Language Log. "What Neil Armstrong said".

85. Carreau, Mark (September 29, 2006). "High-tech analysis may rewrite space history". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved September 30, 2006.

_____


Y lo cierto es que yo no recuerdo bien qué es lo que oí en aquella madrugada de verano de 1969....  pero allí estaba, delante de la tele, pendiente de Armstrong y de Aldrin, como medio mundo.

Hasta siempre, Comandante.


I Will Execute



Neblineux

Neblineux




Sobre Darwin sobre la evolución humana

He revisado este post sobre Darwin, "Grandiosa secuencia de acontecimientos", que también había aparecido en Ibercampus: "Grandiosa secuencia de acontecimientos (Darwin sobre la evolución humana)". Es curioso que los posts que escribo en una tarde o dos luego me cuesta varios días transformarlos en artículos académicamente presentables, suponiendo que éste lo sea en su versión revisada.
viva la evolución
Que aquí está: de momento la subo al SSRN, "Grandiosa secuencia de acontecimientos: Darwin sobre la evolución humana ('That Grand Sequence of Events': Darwin on Human Evolution"), y a mi página de artículos en Academia.

Y con el tiempo irá a los otros repositorios que utilizo de momento, Zaguán (suponiendo que puedan volver a publicarse cosas allí) y ResearchGate.

Tenía la duda de si enviarlo a alguna revista, pero me aburre por anticipado el circuito de solicitudes de recortes y de modificaciones, así que me lo autopublico sin más. Me desagrada el poco margen que se da a los autores en las revistas académicas, como si el artículo lo firmase también el editor de la revista. "Acorte vd. veinte líneas". "Cite Vd. a Periquito". "Reformule Vd. sus conclusiones". "Mejor no diga Vd. esto". Hombre, a mí ya me daría hasta corte hacer sugerencias de ese estilo, sobre todo si son sugerencias obligatorias. Para eso, que se escriban ellos los artículos y se los publiquen, que yo ya me los autopublicaré también. Si alguien lo quiere en su revista, pero sin recortes ni parches, se lo envío gratuitamente, así de alto está mi caché.

_____


PS, 2013:

Menos da una piedra, veo que retoman mi artículo varias revistas del SSRN para distribuirlo:

eJournal ClassificationsMessage
CSN Subject Matter eJournals
             
Distributed in Human Cognition in Evolution & Development eJournal
Vol 4, Issue 32, September 14, 2012 


PRN Subject Matter eJournals
             
Distributed in History of Western Philosophy eJournal
Vol 5, Issue 34, September 03, 2012 
PRN Subject Matter eJournals
             
Distributed in Philosophy of Science eJournal
Vol 5, Issue 46, September 07, 2012 







Especiación y retrospección: Darwin en el retrovisor







Sábado 25 de agosto de 2012

Retrato mío en un pueblo con mar


Retrato mío en un pueblo con mar








La singularidad de la especie humana


La tesis de Carlos Beorlegui en su libro sobre La singularidad de la especie humana (Deusto, 2011), que combina la fenomenología de Zubiri con el evolucionismo, se basa en una interpretación emergentista de la relación entre la realidad humana y la naturaleza, que rechaza tanto el dualismo tradicional cristiano como el reduccionismo materialista:
the vessel

410: "La postura emergentista o estructurista parte de una concepción unitaria del ser humano, conjugando la continuidad de la especie humana con el resto de las demás especies vivas emergidas del proceso evolutivo, con su condición de especie singular, consecuencia de un salto emergentista específico" (...). "La postura emergentista entiende que en este salto o proceso novedoso se advierten siempre una serie de notas o características especiales: novedad, impredecibilidad e irreductibilidad. Es decir, la realidad emergida, aunque se apoya en el nivel previo (subtensión dinámica, lo denomina Zubiri) es un proceso nuevo, imprevisible desde el nivel anterior, e irreducible al mismo en su totalidad porque, aumnque las leyes nuevas que rigen el nuevo nivel emergido puedan, en parte, ser reducidas a algunas leyes del nivel anterior, nunca se conseguirá una reducción total" (410-411). "De ahí que la especie humana hay que verla como una fase más del proceso evolutivo (continuidad), pero a la vez es fundamental advertir sus cualitativas diferencias (singularidad), como consecuencia de su específico modo de ser y de haberselas con la realidad (lo que denomina Zubiri habitud: intelección sentiente)." (...) "En definitiva, para esta forma de ver las cosas, ser hombre no consiste en dejar de ser materia, ni en que simplemente ésta sirva a la psique, sino en corporeizar la psique, o también, de modo complementario, en psiquizar el cuerpo, de tal modo que el ser humano se constituye así en unidad psico-somática. Y en esto consiste la hominización y la humanización, que para Zubiri viene a ser una estricta potenciación de la materia" (414).

Del capítulo 7: "La singularidad de los humanos: entre el antropocentrismo y el reduccionismo biológico":

"¿Podemos defender con argumentos precisos la singularidad del ser humano, o tenemos que plegarnos a lass afirmaciones de quienes defienden la imagen de lo humano como un animal más, aunque más complejo y elaborado?" (416). "Se da, por tanto, en la estructura esencial del ser humano una estrecha relación entre autoconocimiento y autorrealización" (416). Según el materialismo reduccionista, "la ciencia nos abocaría a no tener más remedio que defender una visión reductiva y anti-humanista del ser humano, es decir, partidaria de entender a la especie humana como una más del largo y complejo proceso evolutivo, todo lo compleja y maravillosa que se quiera, pero nada más" (418). (Esta argumentación podría relacionarse también con el debate sobre la consiliencia de las humanidades y las ciencias que presentamos en Consiliencia y retrospección).

"No cabe duda de que nos hallamos ante un reto decisivo para la comprensión humanista, y hasta religiosa, del ser humano, y necesitados de una nueva redefinición de nuestro ser y de nuestro puesto en el cosmos (M. Scheler). La estrategia que tenemos que seguir es presentar una breve síntesis de las diferentes aportaciones científicas que nos permitan realizar un ejercicio comparativo entre el ser humano y el resto de los animales, para ver en qué medida tenemos apoyos científicos y filosóficos suficientes para seguir defendiendo el especial puesto del hombre en el conjunto de la biosfera y de todo el universo, o tenemos que adscribirnos a la postura defendida por el naturalismo filosófico y el materialismo reduccionista. En este ejercicio comparativo, pretendemos llegar a examinar los ingredientes fundamentales de la compleja y específica conformación biocultural del ser humano, para tratar de concluir que la especie humana es la única que está constituida por una específica conjunción de biología y cultura, conformando ambos componentes una estructura compleja pero unitaria. Esta unidad bio-cultural supone e implica a su vez una específica unidad psico-orgánica, a caballo entre posturas extremas como los dualismos interaccionistas y los materialismos reduccionistas, defendicos por el conductismo, teoría de la identidad y determinados funcionalismos. En definitiva, pretendemos llegar a la conclusión de que el ser humano se halla tanto en continuidad como en distancia cualitativa con el resto de las especies de la biosfera, pues, aunque es una especie más, sus características específicas lo sitúan en un nivel de diferencia cualitativa respecto a las especies de las que ha emergido. De este modo, pretendo llegar a concluir que el ser humano, a diferencia del resto de las especies vivas, constituye una irrepetible y compleja unidad bio-cultural y psico-orgánica, dotado de autoconciencia, autonomía, lenguaje, pensamiento complejo, libertad, capacidad ética, apertura a la pregunta por el sentido de su vida y del conjunto del cosmos, y, por eso mismo, en apartura a la pregunta por el fundamento de la realidad, es decir, al ámbito del Absoluto." (419)

Es en sus poco convincentes y apresuradas transiciones a un absoluto teocéntrico y cristiano donde se hallan las inconsistencias y puntos flojos del libro de Beorlegui, pero sorprendentemente no dañan mayormente su argumentación, precisamente por su carencia total de poder de convicción y de consistencia con el resto de su argumentación. Argumenta así contra el reduccionismo genético, pero con argumentaciones a su vez genéticas y también cognitivas. El ser humano no se reduce a su genoma, y además "la genómica ya no se reduce al análisis de la secuencia de cada uno de los genes, sino que abarca también la combinación con otros elementos que los encienden, los frenan o los aceleran en su función. Por eso, si el ámbito del genoma es complicado, todavía lo es más el del proteoma" (426). [PS: En septiembre de 2012 se divulgan más investigaciones sobre estos interruptores genéticos y mecanismos de activación de los genes] La expresión de los genes y el resultado fenotípico es altamente variable en función de circunstancias complejas; "De ello tenemos que concluir que la esencia o naturaleza del ser humano no se halla encerrada exclusivamente en su ADN, como si fuera la potencia aristotélica que se expresa y se convierte en acto en el fenotipo, sino que el desarrollo del genoma desde el ADN hasta su expresión fenotípica es más complejo y decisivo en la configuración de un ser humano de lo que hasta ahora creíamos" (427). Una circunstancia biológica esencial del ser humano que acentúa extraordinariamente la capacidad constructiva de la cultura en la antropogénesis es precisamente lo que nos hizo humanos en origen, el crecimiento craneano unido al bipedismo, que dificulta el nacimiento y obliga a un nacimiento prematuro—que interactúa con la neotenia de la especie—con lo cual el cerebro se termina de conformar no en el útero materno sino en un entorno cultural. Es una tesis que comentábamos a cuenta de la conferencia de Sánchez Dragó sobre el lenguaje, "Y el mono se irguió y habló", una tesis que permite conjugar de modo convincente el biologismo evolucionista y el construccionismo cultural.

"De ahí que el nacimiento prematuro, que supone una mayor dependencia de los padres y de su entorno cultural, se tiene que conjugar y completar con un proceso de maduración y de dependencia más largo. Este factor, que representa la cara negativa de la deficiencia y de mayor dependencia, conlleva la ventaja de dotar al recién nacido de una mayor plasticidad, que redunda en su educación y maduración (...) // Por tanto, la deficiencia biológica de los seres humanos (A. Gehlen) le impele necesariamente a ser un animal cultural, a ser moldeado por el útero cultural con objeto de suplir esas deficiencias biológicas. Y en este proceso de maduración y de educación cultural, intervienen tanto las capacidades innatas recibidas en su dotación genética, como su capacidad de imitar y aprender de los demás compañeros de especie." (432). "No hay, pues, aqui una superación desde una fase o escalón que subsumiría evolutivamente los anteriores, sino que rompe y supera esa lógica a través de un salto cualitativo. No persigue tanto adaptarse al ambiente, aunque fuera con una fórmula más perfecta (postura pasiva propia de las otras especies vivas), sino que adopta una postura activa y transformadora, por cuanto tiene que adaptar obligatoriamente el entorno a sus necesidades. De nuevo vemos que se ha invertido la lógica de la adaptación: el animal tiene ambiente, el hombre tiene mundo, construido artificialmente." (433).

La realidad que habitamos es en gran medida, por tanto, realidad humana excavada en el seno de la realidad natural: una realidad artificial, construida, cultural, una realidad virtual. Habría que matizar que otros seres vivos construyen activamente sus nichos ecológicos, transformando y adecuando su entorno, si bien ninguno con la intensidad y complejidad del ser humano. La realidad física está en el ser humano intensamente reelaborada y mediatizada por la cultura y la representación psíquica compleja, hasta volverse una realidad de otro nivel (lo que aquí llamamos a veces realidad virtual):

"Así, el ser humano siente, como el resto de los demás animales, de tal modo que la realidad se le da en impresión. Pero es un sentir inteligente, en la medida en que su animalidad ha sido elevada a una estructura nueva: la psíquica, consecuencia de las mutaciones genéticas y la cerebralización. De ahí que el ser humano es el resultado de la emergencia de una nueva estructuración cerebral, que le ha dotado de una mente capaz de escapar del constreñimiento biológico y genético, para abrirse al nivel de la suidad: la realidad humana es una naturaleza abierta, de una complejidad tal que tiene que hacerse cargo de sí misma, de su propia realidad y cargar libre y responsablemente de ella misma, en diálogo comunitario con las demás realidades humanas" (449).

Aquí se apunta, en las "demás realidades humanas", una cuestión no suficientemente enfatizada en Beorlegui—que dado que cada cultura es distinta y ya de por sí múltiple, y que cada individuo recibe una intertextualidad cultural diferente, la realidad humana resulta ser un diálogo o interacción de realidades diferentes: cada cual aporta su propio universo, vivido en el espacio de interacción social y de la vida cotidiana. Una multiplicidad de realidades que coinciden sólo en parte, y que están en constante conflicto, influencia, diálogo, interacción, integración y disgregación. Es la multiplicidad de perspectivas y representaciones lo más característico de la realidad humana, y a la vez la capacidad de reflexividad: de ver la mente del otro como otra mente similar a la mía, con representaciones de la realidad a la vez parecidas y diferentes. Estos tres caracteres semióticos, la multiplicidad de representaciones y perspectivas, la intersubjetividad cognitiva (o teoría de la mente, como se dice ahora) y la capacidad de reflexividad, son tres importantes pilares de la singularidad humana. La alteridad intersubjetiva y la multiplicidad de discursos no son sólo algo que haya entre unos humanos y otros, pues constituyen a cada individuo desde dentro como un sujeto múltiple y dialógico, capaz como poco de entender a los demás. The difference between is the difference within, y cada sujeto humano está constituido y atravesado por una multiplicidad de discursos y de perspectivas, en diálogo y en conflicto consigo mismo. La tradición cristiana a la que a veces apela Beorlegui, y su particular visión de la humanidad, es sólo una más de esas múltiples realidades virtuales múltiples que constituyen la realidad humana. En reconocimiento al autor, hay que decir que parece bastante consciente de este hecho.


Te(le)ología, evolución y retrospección






Viernes 24 de agosto de 2012

Le soir, la nuit


Le soir, la nuit





The Sad Café (2)






Jueves 23 de agosto de 2012

La realidad


La realidad

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Netiqueta, Cortesía, Estrategia y Sabiduría     4     16     9 days ago
Soneto, espejo, reloj, bloc y libro     4     7     24 days ago
'It's Stories Still': La reflexividad en las narraciones de Samuel Beckett     4     39     20 days ago
'Till Nohow On': The Later Metafiction of Samuel Beckett     4     139     12 days ago
Somos Teatreros: El sujeto, la interacción dialéctica, y la estrategia de la representación según Goffman     4     19     3 days ago
Gothic Novel; Horror Fiction     3     125     about 20 hours ago
The Poetics of Subliminal Awareness: Re-reading Intention and Narrative Structure in Nabokov's "Christmas Story"     3     24     about 22 hours ago
Bibliografía de las obras de Samuel Beckett (1906-1989)     3     137     2 days ago
La structure narrative dans "La Dentellière" de Pascal Lainé     3     7     20 days ago
Theory of Reflexive Fiction     3     13     20 days ago
Gender, I-deology: Essays on Theory, Fiction, and Film     2     44     26 days ago
Theorizing Narrativity     2     18     13 days ago
Out of Character: Narratología del sujeto y su trayectoria vital     2     49     4 days ago
'Abstracted to Death': Estética del bilingüismo y la traducción en la prosa de Beckett     2     14     4 days ago
Emergent Narrativity     2     47     7 days ago
Reading Racism: The Assumption of Authorial Intentions in Stephen Crane's 'The Monster'     2     337     18 days ago
Narración, Identidad, Interacción: Relectura     2     15     19 days ago
Deconstructive Intentions: On the Critique of the Hermeneutics of Understanding     2     35     5 days ago
Review of WE, THE OTHER VICTORIANS: CONSIDERING THE HERITAGE OF 19TH-CENTURY THOUGHT     2     8     19 days ago
'Silence Once Broken': Metalenguaje y clausura narrativa en Beckett     2     18     11 days ago
Arresting Deconstruction: On Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak's Cultural Criticism     2     137     17 days ago
Múltiples lectores implícitos     2     14     8 days ago
La subjetividad como máscara en las "Nouvelles" de Beckett     2     2     13 days ago
Potocki: Formalización del trayecto vital     1     31     17 days ago
13 lunas, 12 noches: Calendarios, ciclos, tiempos muertos y diferencia de género (a propósito de Twelfth Night).     1     5     5 days ago
Understanding Misreading: Hermenéutica de la relectura retrospectiva     1     10     18 days ago
Autor, Autor, Autor (Dencombe, James, Lodge y otros)     1     55     21 days ago
Hoodwinked by Aristotle     1     1     15 days ago
Out of Character: Narratología del sujeto y su trayectoria vital     1     6     about 20 hours ago
Hablarán de nuestra vida delante de nuestro cuerpo: La escritura como autoapropiación y trascendencia del sujeto en THE STONE DIARIES     1     17     7 days ago
'Another Game in Vew': The representation of the Poet in THE FAERIE QUEENE     1     69     8 days ago
'Unnullable Least': Vacío y metaficción en el Beckett de los ochenta     1     9     14 days ago
The Chains of Semiosis: Semiotics, Marxism, and the Female Stereotypes in THE MILL ON THE FLOSS     1     144     2 days ago
Review of Viviane Serfaty's "The Mirror and the Veil: An Overview of American Online Diaries and Blogs". (Amsterdam Monographs In American Studies, 11). …     1     54     6 days ago
The Holocaust/The Shoah/Nazi Genocide     1     65     17 days ago
'Personne': Aventuras de 'yo' en la trilogía de Beckett     1     15     14 days ago
Ireland: History     1     10     17 days ago
Actos de habla en la literatura: Reseña de la obra de J. Hillis Miller     1     34     29 days ago
Authorial Intention in Literary Hermeneutics: On Two American Theories     1     60     a day ago
Gender, I-deology and Addictive Representation: The Film of Familiarity     1     95     7 days ago
Review of "Recent Trends in Narratological Research"     1     21     26 days ago
Internalized Interaction: The Specular Development of Language and the Symbolic Order     1     54     4 days ago
Lenguaje y 'différance' en EL INNOMBRABLE     1     13     27 days ago
Mañana habrá sido escrito     1     2     24 days ago
Ensayando el blog—Qué aporta tu post     1     1     2 days ago
Review of Roger Sell's MEDIATING CRITICISM: LITERARY EDUCATION HUMANIZED     1     87     12 days ago
Adaptation, Appropriation, Retroaction: Symbolic interaction with HENRY V     1     3     16 days ago
Objects in the Rearview Mirror May Appear More Solid Than They Are     0     3     > 30 days ago
A Bibliography of Literary Theory, Criticism, and Philology     0     15     > 30 days ago
Colonialism and Post-Colonialism     0     19     > 30 days ago
Ian McEwan, SATURDAY     0     3     > 30 days ago
Expiación y adaptación (Sobre "Atonement", de Ian McEwan y Joe Wright)     0     7     > 30 days ago
Harry Thompson, THIS THING OF DARKNESS: Anclaje narrativo     0     0     > 30 days ago
The Poetics of Subliminal Awareness: Re-reading Intention and Narrative Structure in Nabokov's "Christmas Story"     0     6     > 30 days ago
Reseña de LITERATURE AS COMMUNICATION: THE FOUNDATIONS OF MEDIATING CRITICISM, por Roger D. Sell     0     45     > 30 days ago
Stanley E. Fish's Speech Acts     0     106     > 30 days ago
Narrating Narrating     0     28     > 30 days ago
Crítica acrítica, crítica crítica     0     2     > 30 days ago
Cómo mostrar cosas con palabras     0     72     > 30 days ago
Acritical Criticism, Critical Criticism: Critical Interaction, Reframing, and Topsight     0     0     > 30 days ago
Ficción narrativa y Evolución     0     1     > 30 days ago
Recent Literary Theory and Criticism in Spanish Anglistics: Some Observations on Its Institutional Context and Practices     0     24     > 30 days ago
"Pattern Recognition", de William Gibson: El presente presentido con jet-lag     0     44     > 30 days ago
Linkterature: From Word to Web: Or, Literature in the Internet - Internet as Literature - Literature as Internet - Internet in Literature     0     0     > 30 days ago
Los blogs y la narratividad de la experiencia     0     7     > 30 days ago
Wilde y el enigma de la Esfinge     0     0     > 30 days ago
Review of Giambattista Vico's THE ART OF RHETORIC     0     12     > 30 days ago
An Apocalypse of Total Communication     0     45     > 30 days ago
La Visión del Templo: Espiritualidad Antieclesiástica en el Evangelio de Judas y la Batalla por la Realidad     0     2     > 30 days ago
Benefit of Hindsight: Polibio, Vico, Wilde y el emergentismo crítico     0     2     > 30 days ago
Sobre la narración conversacional     0     0     > 30 days ago
La Noche de la Tempestad (Sobre la novela de César Vidal)     0     3     > 30 days ago
A comparison between the French and RP English vowel systems     0     90     > 30 days ago
La identidad intertextual: La misteriosa llamada de la reina Loana     0     1     > 30 days ago
Review of CHILDREN'S LITERATURE AS COMMUNICATION, ed. Roger Sell     0     133     > 30 days ago
Review of Viviane Serfaty's the Mirror and the Veil: An Overview of American Online Diaries and Blogs     0     0     > 30 days ago
Rereading(,) Narrative(,) Identity(,) and Interaction     0     33     > 30 days ago
Ackroyd's Shakespeare     0     0     > 30 days ago
A Blogal Conversation (Reseña de J. Torio, "A Global Conversation")     0     1     > 30 days ago
Deep-brained Sonnets     0     0     > 30 days ago
Husband to Mrs Milton     0     0     > 30 days ago
Cyberspace Everting: "Spook Country", de William Gibson     0     3     > 30 days ago
Reseña de HYPER/TEXT/THEORY, ed. George P. Landow     0     17     > 30 days ago
History of Scotland     0     45     > 30 days ago
El centro ausente: EL INNOMBRABLE de Beckett     0     0     > 30 days ago
Reseña de THE MOOR'S LAST SIGH, de Salman Rushdie     0     3     > 30 days ago
Review of Recent Trends in Narratological Research, ed. John Pier.     0     0     > 30 days ago
Early Modern English History     0     76     > 30 days ago
Tragedia y dinámica de fuerzas     0     22     > 30 days ago
John Battelle, "The Search" (Reseña)     0     12     > 30 days ago
Review of Nicholas Ray's TRAGEDY AND OTHERNESS     0     53     > 30 days ago
William Shakespeare: Hamlet     0     191     > 30 days ago
Goffman: La realidad como expectativa autocumplida y el teatro de la interioridad     0     5     > 30 days ago
Catastrophism and Hindsight: Narrative Hermeneutics in Biology and in Historiography     0     27     > 30 days ago
Tecnologías de manipulación del tiempo     0     4     > 30 days ago
Be Copy Now: Retroalimentación y dialéctica de la vida y el teatro en Shakespeare (Henry V, 3.1)     0     1     > 30 days ago
Narratology and Rhetoric: Scientific Terminology?     0     1     > 30 days ago
'The Enthusiastick Fit': The Function and Fate of the Poet in Samuel Johnson's RASSELAS     0     18     > 30 days ago



Publicaciones de mi departamento




Conexionismo y combinaciones


Leyendo "Avatares del paradigma conexionista" en Ciencia Cognitiva. La desvinculación establecida por el conexionismo entre los símbolos y sus representaciones cerebrales tiene un aire de familia, observo, con la mayor relativización que se ha impuesto en los estudios actuales sobre el genoma, donde ya no se sostiene que sea un gen el que codifica la información de por sí, sino un sistema de generación de información más complejo constituido por la interacción entre los genes, el momento de su activación, y la intensidad de su expresión. Como dice Beorlegui, en La singularidad de la especie humana,

"la genómica ya no se reduce al análisis de la secuencia de cada uno de los genes, sino que abarca también la combinación con otros elementos que los encienden, los frenan o los aceleran en su función. Por eso, si el ámbito del genoma es complicado, todavía lo es más el del proteoma." (426).

De ello surge un cierto paradigma también conexionista, o quizá mejor estructural-combinatorio, en el sentido de que es una combinatoria de factores la que rige el resultado, en lugar de una relación de uno a uno. Tanto la variabilidad semántica y cognitiva como la genética parecen requerir este instrumento combinatorio expandido, una especie de doble o triple articulación de signos como la que veían los estructuralistas en los planos del lenguaje.


Conectando con Heráclito el Oscuro








Miércoles 22 de agosto de 2012

Doce mil fotos



Salgo del mar


Salgo del mar. No será una gran foto, pero al menos es mi foto número doce mil en mi fotoblog de Flickr. En el que si aspiro a un récord, es al de la ratio más baja entre número de fotos/ número de comentarios.










Martes 21 de agosto de 2012

Two assessments on Consilience and Retrospection

Paper rejected, or at least not quite accepted... The editors suggest I send a revised version—but I'll try elsewhere I guess. Here's a preliminary version in Spanish.

Dear Professors Randall and McKim,

Thank you for your answer concerning the paper I sent to Narrative Works, "Consilience and Retrospection." I have found interesting suggestions and an encouragement for my work in the readers' reports you send, which to me are overall positive, even if they don't quite encourage the publication of my paper in the journal due in part to its line of concerns. Thank you also for your recommendation of Mark Freeman's book on hindsight; this is an author I enjoy but I did not know this particular reference, so that's a treat in store. As to the scope of the journal, I sent the paper to Narrative Works precisely because of its interdisciplinary approach, so I can't agree that this is not a paper for this journal, but of course it is for the editors to choose the range of interdisciplinary concerns they want to address. The narrativity issue the paper deals with might of course be further developed, but that is a task for other papers (or volumes!), and I feel this one needs the backgrounding and preliminary approach to which I devote the early and mid sections. The reviewers' assessments are judicious and reasonable, only I do not think I will be able to send a revised version— in my case, revised versions tend to become not only too long, but also I can't help moving into different directions and writing a different paper altogether. So if I eventually get to write another paper on a similar issue perhaps I'll try again with Narrative Works, but I am afraid I am too busy with other things at the moment; so I suppose in the case of this paper I will stick to its present form and send it to another journal or self-publish it. Which is a pity from my point of view because I did think it might belong with your journal—but at least I have seen from your readers' comments that my writing on these issues has some value and may merit the attention of scholars working in this area. So I thank you for your attention, and your readers for their kind and useful assessment of my paper, and look forward to some further collaboration in the future.
Best regards,
Jose Angel Garcia Landa



______


Dear Professor Landa,

Thank you for your submission to Narrative Works. Inserted below, you will find two reviews of your manuscript. Both reviewers describe your paper with such positive phrases as “well-written,” “learned,” “stimulating,” and “stylistically honed.” We agree with their assessment; however, we also share their concern about whether Narrative Works is, in fact, the appropriate place for this paper. We would ask you, then, to consider these two reviews carefully, especially the comments made by Reviewer #1 regarding the positioning of your discussion of narrative much earlier in the paper, to make it clearer to readers of the journal how your thinking contributes to our understanding of the narrative dimensions of human life. Regarding your discussion of “hermeneutical hindsight,” among the sources you might draw on would be Mark Freeman’s Hindsight: The Promise and Peril of Looking Backward (Oxford, 2010).

We would be delighted to publish your essay should you wish to revise it in light of the reviewers’ recommendations. Should you decide to do so, we would ask that you indicate precisely the extent of your revisions and how you have addressed the reviewers' concerns.

If possible, please return a revised version of your manuscript to us by October 1.

If you have any questions regarding next steps, please feel free to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Best wishes,
Bill Randall & Beth McKim

Reviewer #1

This is an interesting, well-written article that explores some important ideas. The main question I have concerns its appropriateness (in its present form) for Narrative Works.

The opening pages lead to a “quandary” of sorts relating to Gould, in particular, and disciplinary boundaries more generally.  By the author’s account, Gould is “defending both the absence of any sharp dichotomies [between the sciences and the humanities], and the separate cognitive realms of science on one hand and the humanities on the other.” The question, therefore, is whether there might be a “meeting point, or an interface, or at least an arena for debate” (p. 5).  From there we are introduced to the special significance of “hindsight bias which results from our  experiencing and interpreting phenomena as a temporal sequence, reworked and reelaborated by memory and attention.” As the author goes on to note, this “bias” can and indeed often does yield insight owing to the “superior perspective” from which interpretation occurs.  But it can also result in “undue simplifications of complex processes, ascribing them to one cause where there is an undecidable overdetermination of a complex vectoring of causes” (p. 7).  This is but one potentially ill consequence of hindsight bias.  There are others as well.

Having identified this bias, the author draws further on Gould, who underscores the potential value of narrative explanations not only in the humanities but also the sciences. Given the history of disciplinary specialization, Gould has suggested, there has been some reluctance to embrace the narrative mode.  But there is no denying its utility in coming to terms with complex historical phenomena.  As for the idea of consilience, as put forth by E.O. Wilson, it is, on Gould’s account, less a process of reconciliation and rapprochement than it is one of reductively assimilating (aspects of) the humanities to the realm of science.  As above, much of the material being explored in this section of the paper is interesting and significant.  But with the exception of the fairly brief reference to hindsight bias and narrative explanation, it’s not entirely clear how it fits the central concerns of the journal.

It’s not until page 17 that narrative really enters the picture.  For, what we learn is that “Consilience . . . has a narrative-hermeneutic dimension, and is approachable as a concept relevant to cognitive narratology.”  It’s still not clear how this (important) issue bears upon the difference between Wilson’s and Gould’s points of view on the concept of consilience.  Is the idea that Wilson’s scientific/scientistic “supremacism” insufficiently recognizes the narrative dimension of scientific understanding by virtue of its reductionism?  One might argue that Wilson’s view -- however problematic it may be – represents a classic hindsight move:  all of those goings-on that the humanities had claimed for its own can be assimilated to the scientific gaze.  Gould’s view is different, I realize.  But what, finally, is the significance of this difference?  And how does it relate to the retrospection issue?  I suppose the article represents something of a Gouldian plea for narrative understanding as the most appropriate mode of understanding for coming to terms with an unpredictable world.  But it would be good to know more about what the author most wants to say as s/he draws the essay to a close.  It would also be useful, for the purposes of this journal, for him/her to say a bit more about how these issues bear upon our conception and understanding of human beings. 

In sum:  this is an interesting, learned article that pursues some important questions about the relationship between science and the humanities.  It takes a while for the piece to explicitly address ideas pertinent to the journal.  And even when it does so it’s not quite clear (to this reader at any rate) what the author most wants to say.  Finally, as important as the science/humanities issue is, it would be useful, again, for the author to say more about how his/her version of consilience might bear upon our understanding of human beings.  By way of note, the author mentions the work of Paul Ricoeur at one point.  What Ricoeur has to say in Time and Narrative is of course relevant.  So too is his work on metaphor (e.g., his notion of metaphorical “rapprochement”), his later reflections on the relationship between life and narrative (e.g., the idea of emplotment as a “synthesis of the heterogeneous”), and his more general insistence on narrative as the privileged path for explicating human temporality.  Making some additional contact with Ricoeur or other narrative theorists might do well to address these concerns.


Reviewer #2

This is a learned and insightful essay. The author obviously is a “fox” with a broad horizon of interests that meander into many disciplines and fields of knowledge, including theory of knowledge, philosophy and history of science, critical studies of science, epistemology, evolutionary biology, primatology, intellectual history, and Greek philosophy. What is more, all of this is embedded into a broad literary cultura and interests in narrative theory. Strictly speaking, the format of this essay is that of commentary on Stephen Jay Gould’s The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Magister's Pox: Mending the Gap between Science and the Humanities. But Gould's latest book, and especially its discussion of E. O. Wilson’s notion of consilience, serves more as a spring board for wide-ranging reflections on how we can combine the so-called two cultures of the humanities and the sciences across all the different fields just mentioned. I personally enjoyed reading this stimulating piece, and part of my pleasure was that it is well written and stylistically honed.

My only question is whether this is an article that works for Narrative Works. I don’t know the answer. On the pro side stands that, with articles like this one, the journal would doubtless extend its intellectual scope and raise its scholarly standards – which, to my mind, would be worthwhile. On the side of the concerns: I am not sure if the readers of Narrative Works are really the readers of this essay (and if the author is well advised to publish his work in this journal), not least because it is not really about a narrative issue. It addresses narrative as one of its many issues – suggesting a reading of consilience as a narrative-hermeneutic concept with a potential relevance for cognitive narratology. But then, this suggestion is made on p. 25, that is, at the very end of the paper.

In case the editors and the author consider publication in the journal – and, in principle, I would recommend its publication – I wonder, however, if it would not be more appropriate to give center stage to its “narrative point,” that is to the idea of re-interpreting consilience as a notion of narrative understanding. This idea, I think, is most promising and original. Unfortunately it’s only hinted at in the present version.  Presenting and discussing it might also include some kind of example, case study, or illustration – some edible flesh to the bones of concepts, as promising as they may be.




_________


Y otra rejection más me llega para otro artículo, esta vez en Ctrl-Z. Bueno, rejection.... me dicen que si recorto y reescribo y actualizo, etc. etc. Yo a estas alturas de la película ya lo llamo rejection. Probaré en otra parte mejor.


Consiliencia, evolución y anclaje narrativo





El ránking universitario de este año

De Noticias jóvenes:

La Universidad de Zaragoza, entre las 500 mejores del mundo

Redacción (NJ) (Aug 18, 2012) Zaragoza
A pesar de los fuertes recortes en investigación que ha sufrido la Universidad de Zaragoza por parte del Ejecutivo aragonés, los responsables de la institución pueden presumir de mantenerse, por décimo año consecutivo, en la élite de los campus de todo el planeta.

Como cada año, la universidad de Shanghái ha hecho público el Ranquin Académico de Universidades del Mundo (ARWU, por sus siglas en inglés) correspondiente a 2012, que valora especialmente la investigación de los campus y el impacto de sus publicaciones en las diferentes revistas especializadas.

Desde la primera edición del estudio, que se viene elaborando desde 2003, el centro aragonés aparece en la horquilla que comprende las 400 y 500 mejores universidades. Aunque no existen datos concretos, sí puede consultarse un gráfico en el que se plasma una evolución positiva respecto al curso pasado. Solo en 2006 estuvo cerca de alcanzar el puesto 400.

La clasificación de este año, que vio la luz el pasado miércoles, ha sentado muy bien en el seno del Rectorado. "Que nos hayamos conseguido mantener tiene un valor muy significativo después del profundo recorte en investigación y desarrollo", explica Fernando Beltrán, vicerrector de Política Académica.

Aunque no se atreve a valorar si la rebaja en el presupuesto -de casi 18 millones de euros respecto a 2011- afectará a corto plazo a la posición de la universidad pública en esta prestigiosa clasificación, Beltrán considera que "el recorte, a la larga y si nada lo impide, va a provocar un descenso, desafortunadamente".

Por ello, destaca el vicerrector, desde la universidad siguen "reivindicando que se mantenga un decidido apoyo a la investigación", uno de los motores económicos más seguros.

Matrícula en Química

Si hay un campo en el que puede jactarse la Universidad de Zaragoza es el de la Química. Ningún centro español, público o privado, supera su clasificación específica en este área, en la que se ubica entre los puestos 51 y 75, por encima de universidades muy superiores en tamaño como las de Pekín, Berlín, Nueva York o Houston.

La octava en España

Muy lejos de Harvard (en primera posición) se encuentra la Autónoma de Madrid. Hay que avanzar hasta la horquilla 201-300 para encontrar el campus madrileño, el primero de nacionalidad española en aparecer en la clasificación. Con él empatan la Complutense, la Universidad de Barcelona y la Universidad de Valencia.

Algo por detrás están la Autónoma de Barcelona, la Politécnica de Valencia y la Pompeu Fabra. Junto a la Universidad de Zaragoza, cierran el 'top ten' nacional las universidades de Granada y la de Santiago.

Blogs UV / Blogs UZ







Solo en la playa


Solo en la playa





Lunes 20 de agosto de 2012

On elite taste in film-making

El 20/08/12 16:47, Norman Holland escribió (a la lista Psyart):
> Dear Colleagues,
>
> A query.  As I review non-Hollywood films for our local Film Club, I am struck by the admiration and awards accorded filmmakers in the style of Raoul Ruiz, Bela Tarr, Andrei Tarkovsky, or David Lynch.  They seem to me to be occupying the place in the pantheon that Bergman, Fellini, or Antonioni occupied in the '60s.  Yet they also seem to me to have almost totally abandoned conventional ideas of story, character, and motivation while providing extraordinary effects in individual shots and scenes.  Bergman famously said of Tarkovsky, that he had developed "a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream."
>
heron
> Do you have any explanation for this change in taste?  And how does one set one's mind to enjoy this kind of film?


—My answer:

To my mind, while there are several reasons for the taste of specialised critics, one major reason (THE major reason) for this special taste lies in the very fact that they are specialists, and experts. I mean not that they are given some superior insight because of their professionality and their expertise (that is one reason, but not THE reason)—I mean that their very discursive position requires that they favor extreme styles in film-making, styles which are not appreciated by the general public. Intellectual elites need to be built on intellectual elitis. Some of that elitism may come from a special ability on the part of the critic, that is, being able to perceive an "ordinary" scene from an extraordinary intellectual angle; but it is only to be expected that extraordinary (or aberrant, or experimental, or wide-off-the-beaten-road) ways of filming and telling will be both ignored by the audience and favored by the cognoscenti. Not all of them, of course, there's the same element of attention-managing and reputation-building among the Few and among the Many.  Then, those styles, with their influence magnified by critical lionizing well beyond ordinary expectations, will become fashionable, get taught to the audience, and get to influence and transform the mainstream.
JoseAngel
garciala@unizar.es
http://unizar.academia.edu/Jos%C3%A9AngelGarc%C3%ADaLanda
__________

This would have to be complemented with a social theory of taste, for instance along the lines of Pierre Bourdieu's notion of symbolic value. Taste is fundamentally a form of identity-taking, or self-making: one selects the taste of the social group one aligns oneself with, or the social sub-group one aspires to belong to. Therefore, one's favoured objects become symbols of self, symbols of one's desired social and intellectual identity. The things I like, the things I recommend, are an extension of my desired social self; and I expect to earn social kudos not only for what I do, in matters of culture, but above all for what I align with and what I appreciate. This is the material I am made of, this is me.

Todo contexto y ritual






Moreno de pantalla

Moreno de pantalla






Assessing Academia


Answering a question about the use being made of the academic social network Academia:

Dear Diana:
I am one of the most intensive users of Academia in my university, and have been trying to promote its use in my academic societies. It is one of several places I make my academic writings available, together with sites like ResearchGate and the SSRN; I like Academia best because of the many possibilities for interaction and connection it offers. However I find that it is underused, certainly much below its potential— which is not a shortcoming on the part of Academia, but on the part of the academy. While some academics welcome a service with these characteristics as a godsend (and a free one at that!) most academics are remarkably indifferent to the possibilities of the web; many mistrust the advantages of open communication and free access; and while they are dying to have people read their writings, they feel that collecting them on a personal website is somehow demeaning, or may damage their professional respectability. As a matter of fact the aura of academic respectability is often based on secrecy and restricted access to people and knowledge, a medieval attitude which is still with us. Many older academics are also lazy or ignorant about the web, but most follow official guidelines for quality assessment, and up to now these have been studiously ignorant of the new regime of electronic communication, at least in Spain. Therefore, the immense possibilities of Academia are largely wasted on an academic community which is more appreciative of fussy and privileged access to knowledge which leaves a paperwork trail (e.g. through conferences) and feels that the web is alien or hostile territory. The academy keeps changing of course, slowly, but the real solution to the conflict will be that things will happen elsewhere. One must also consider that the shock of overinformation is felt everywhere, not just at the university, and there are so many possibilities that the ones which will stay and become normative or standard are still being sifted. For the time being, then, I feel Academia is underused by my academic community, and also by me, since one's use of such a service is part of an ecosystem. I suppose I am using it a lot, actually, having access to many readers who would not know my work otherwise, but as yet I have had comparatively little explicit feedback or profitable interaction with other researchers through this network. Little, that is, compared with the enormous potential it offers. I can't begin to think what the Renaissance scholars would do had they been given such a communicative tool for free. Well maybe they would have been just as dumbfounded and paralyzed as our own academic community...! I'd like to know about the conclusions of your study if they are any different; still I'm susprised that in spite of its enormous number of users such a small section of the academic community is using this website. Cheers, JAGL


____


I posted several messages over a period of a couple of years to a couple of distribution lists, at the Spanish Anglistics society and the Narrative list at Ohio. I also often sign my messages to the lists with a link to my Academia website. I have written several posts in my blog on Academia and other online services such as the SSRN, and in 2009 I sent this column to the most widely-read online magazine on spanish-speaking universities, Ibercampus: http://www.ibercampus.es/articulos.asp?idarticulo=8968 – extolling the virtues of this website I guess! I am glad about the growth in figures. In my department I was alone for years but there was a sudden spate of registrations when one of the leading professors “instructed” her group that they would do well to register, giving the go so to speak. Good advice depends on the source, not the content!

______


Hi Diana;

Well, as regards reluctance the new media in the academy, I suppose the greatest reluctance is not giving open access to one's papers, or fear of seeing one's name on the web, or lack of technical knowhow— all of these may be minor obstacles. An academic's greatest fear is to be doing something inconvenient, i.e. something which is not "what one is supposed to do" if one is an academic. As yet most of the news regarding social networks in the news etc. relate to scandal, pranks, impersonation or public exposure of privacy. So there's an overwhelmingly negative aura which acts as a repellent to academic respectability. Of course people's own experience in their actual use of networks and computer-mediated communication is vastly different. So there's bound to be a major shift as regards web presence. For all I know, Americans are less averse to openness and accesibility than Europeans, so the shift is well under way there. Here people will do what they have always done, i.e. what they see is "the thing to do" and everyone around them is doing. But changes come slowly, technology moves faster than the uses people find for it, I suppose networks are fairly static at the beginning, and relationships tend to be artificial, but gradually things will change, and there will be a surge of creativity when people feel free to directly access other people working in the same thing and exchange ideas, and converse and exchange knowledge and ideas in short pointed exchanges, rather than communicating only through papers and conferences... But in my experience this is still happening very slowly, certainly much less than the existing websites (or e-mail) would allow; old habits die hard... which is partly a good thing too, othewise we'd all be dizzy with the shock of the new, and overloaded with information. Which we are too in a way, of course, as much of what we do is explained by a careful use of blinkers and selective ignorance in order to protect our sense of what we are and of its purpose...

Anyway, just musing on the subject, it's a real problem for me, as the new media make you rethink wholesale what to write, in which format, where to publish it, how to communicate with your students, and where to direct your attention. No wonder many people choose just to stick to their old habits and their sense of themselves!

Best regards,

JoseAngel


____________

Diana writes back:

Many thanks, Jose Angel, for your interesting thoughts. Apologies for not getting back earlier, I moved house and that definitely took more time and energy than expected.

I think you are right in observing how conservative we are in adapting to the changing reality, and that in a certain why protects us from information overload and gives us a sense of stability, but also slows down progress especially in the academic environment.

You ended your e-mail saying "it's a real problem for me, as the new media make you rethink wholesale what to write, in which format, where to publish it, how to communicate with your students, and where to direct your attention."
Can you give me some concrete examples of how your writing and disseminating habits changed with the advent of new media?

Also, have you ever had responses from people who read your article in Ibercampus or when you promoted Academia to listings etc.?



____________

Back again around here, Diana.

Well, as regards the impact of new media on my writing and publishing habits—

"Back then" when there was no web or no usable web, in the days before Google and Yahoo, I used to go to conferences, which I have largely stopped doing, as I don't particularly enjoy academic tourism, and different people with the latest up-to-date or forthcoming ideas can be met now at the touch of a key. Not that I do that all the time, either: as I said, part of the problem with the new situation is that there's too much information available so you have to select. Many people select just by sticking to their old habits, wholesale or in part. I suppose that's a defensible strategy or at least it's human. Other people experiment, try to do new things, but still you've got to select, so you select either the least disorienting ones, or the most productive, innovative, original ones... or a combination of these, you'll have to develop new habits even if they're evolving habits, otherwise you won't know yourself from just anyone passing by. So you deal with media oveload by choosing one social network, among many available ones, or one repository, or two, or a couple of favorite applications, and favorite sources and websites and search strategies, maybe you add new ones as you go, then your'e forced to drop old ones, natural selection perhaps, as our attention span and mental hard drive are limited. Among the media I chose very soon, as soon as I got to know about them, was blogging. And with blogging came a new way of using the web and also a new way of writing. Instead of academic articles for journals, I began to write blog posts, or a mixture between them. People say, posts must be short, but sometimes I write very long posts, sometimes I rewrite them and turn them into more academically-shaped articles, which may go then to a journal, or, more commonly, to self-publishing in a repository like the SSRN, or places like Academia or ResearchGate. My tone became less academically correct, more personal, improvisatory, and also the subjects became more interdisciplinary; in my blog there is a bit of everything, but apart from personal entries and entries about literature and semiotics (which is what I used to publish about in academic articles) I also write many opinion pieces about politics, or philosophical musings, or articles on interdisciplinary subjects, evolution in particular is a favorite subject. Some of these I re-publish in an externally managed blog or e-journal as a kind of weekly column; others I rewrite as academic papers; sometimes what I write in an afternoon or a couple of days will take me one month to rewrite and revise and re-footnote and polish; not that the result is highly polished but some of these do get accepted by academic journals or as chapters in collective volumes. And I find this kind of writing much more to my taste and personal inclinations than what I used to do "before the Web". Well, I've had tenure for twenty years now so the publish or perish thing is not really pressing in my case, I don't know whether I'd advise younger academics to do exactly what I do, but I surely would advise them to keep a blog, it'll get things moving in unexpected ways. And of course to make their writings available through Academia or other repositories, and establish networks with people with similar interests. Maybe they'll use them in ways more productive than I do, I wouldn't be surprised, what's certain is that there's so many forking paths in this garden of media that everyone will follow a way of their own, and many will use the media of their choice with unexpected interactions in unprecedented combinations. Others will stick to well beaten paths, which may well work better for them, who knows. The possibilities have multiplied, anyway. And oh, I forgot to say, my blogs also multiply, now I keep three or four versions of the same blog plus links in Twitter and Facebook, the rewritings I mentioned, etc. etc., too much to keep up with if you ask anyone, maybe a new transition's in the making! If I suffer some mighty metarmorphosis I'll tell you, OK? My photoblog btw, that's another interacting medium I get to use a lot: http://www.flickr.com/photos/garciala/

—Oh, by the way, as regards responses and reactions—I did get a four or five answers from people in the listings saying they had found the information about Academia useful, Academia and the SSRN which I also wrote about. But for the most part, and that's a general trend, my contributions are largely ignored and go without comment, often strikingly so. For instance, hardly one article in a hundred in my blog gets any comments; or in the photoblog above, there are more than 12,000 photos, but not more than 30 or 40 commets, basically "likes", not any more elaborate responses or interactions. That must be some kind of record in itself! And if I do get a number of visits or hits etc. on my academically-minded websites, it is hardly ever that anyone quotes me in a paper or links to something I have said. But as you see I'm not easily discouraged, and I keep churning on mostly for the sake the potential I see, not on the basis of actual results.

Best regards,

Jose Angel


Una estupenda red social para académicos e investigadores (Promoviendo Academia)











Domingo 19 de agosto de 2012

La escalera B


La escalera B










Sábado 18 de agosto de 2012

La Peine Maximum (2)



Screens&Windows



Screens&Windows







Viernes 17 de agosto de 2012

Music Box

Music Box (La caja de música) es una excelente película de Costa-Gavras, protagonizada por Jessica Lange, Armin Mueller-Stahl y Frederic Forrest. Recuerda en algunos aspectos a La Llave de Sarah, pero lleva muchos cuerpos de adelanto sobre el pelotón a la serie reciente de películas sobre la memoria histórica y el retorno del nazismo reprimido. Como en la película sobre la novela de de Rosnay, llama la atención aquí cómo el pasado vuelve para hacer posicionarse a personas que se creían ajenas y fuera de su alcance, y yendo más allá muestra cómo la investigación lleva a descubrir más cosas de las que se deseaban sobre el propio investigador—es un tema trágico creado por Sófocles en Edipo Rey.

Aquí Lange interpreta a una abogada, americana de etnia húngara, que defiende a su padre en un caso en el cual se le quiere privar de la ciudadanía americana. El abuelo dice que todo es un error, y luego un montaje de los comunistas contra un emigrante indeseable. Y así sale a la luz el pasado del padre—no sólo inmigrante con status jurídico incierto, cosa que pronto admite a su hija, y no sólo colaboracionista con los nazis, sino aún peor: una auténtica estrella de las matanzas y la crueldad, un sádico psicópata que disfrutaba con su "trabajo" y mataba sin medida ni sentido, disfrutando con sus ejecuciones masivas como un demonio con patas.

Eso no pega nada con la imagen que tenía la abogada de su padre, claro—para ella ha sido un sacrificado obrero de fábrica que consiguió darle carrera, y siempre cariñoso con ella, y el ídolo de su nieto. La película posiciona al espectador desde el primer momento sospechando del honesto abuelo, pero la abogada se resiste con una defensa tecnicista basada en desmontar la fiabilidad hermética de las pruebas. Un buen abogado en USA demuestra (como en el caso O. J. Simpson) que nada se puede demostrar, que todo documento puede haber sido manipulado.

Pero por accidente, buscando pruebas a su favor, llega la abogada hasta Hungría, y allí encuentra más de lo que busca. Su padre había sido chantajeado por un compatriota, y saldrá a la luz que lo mató para terminar con el chantaje. Visitando a la hermana del chantajista, haciéndose pasar por una amiga de América, descubre la abogada no sólo que era otro criminal de guerra de triste memoria (lo delata una cicatriz que luego se borró quirúrgicamente (todo un emblema de raíz aristotélica, las cicatrices y ahora su eliminación quirúrgica en USA). Y le da la hermana otra cosa que le envió su hermano: una papeleta de una casa de empeños.  Lo que empeñó el chantajista era la caja de música en cuestión, que contenía fotos de las atrocidades. Ahora la abogada ya no duda, y las envía a su rival el fiscal que intentaba empapelar a su padre.

Y tras una escena de abrazos y recriminaciones se separa de su padre el monstruo, que ahora sí será juzgado y extraditado, se deja intuir, todo sin el apoyo de la hija. En la última escena le anuncia que le separará de su nieto y le cuenta quién fue en realidad su abuelo. 

Una cosa interesante en la película es el retrato de pasada del nazismo a la americana: la abogada, divorciada, mantiene el contacto con su marido a quien conoció en la Facultad y sobre todo con su suegro, importante abogado de tradición hiper-republicana; éste le echa alguna manita durante el juicio. Es un personaje inteligente y manipulador, vemos desde el primer momento que no tiene ninguna confianza en la inocencia de su consuegro pero que ve en todo un juego de intereses—la verdad está para manipularla, no para adorarla, y éste está dispuesto sobre todo a oponerse a las políticas de apaciguamiento con los comunistas. También tuvo su papel colaborando con nazis que se arrimaron a la bandera de USA tras la guerra.

Las personas guardan secretos, y cuando penetramos más allá de esa fachada que es la presentación que hacen de sí mismos para nuestro teatro cotidiano, las sorpresas pueden ser mayúsculas. La película dramatiza un caso extremo de este fenómeno, al mostrar el desenmascarmiento de un criminal ante su familia, y lo que cuesta aceptarlo. Tanto más cuanto que su hija comete el error de ponerse en el papel de su abogada, y un abogado y un familiar son partidarios inflexibles del sujeto, pero por razones muy distintas, que van creando aquí tensiones y minando la fe de la defensora en sí misma y en su defendido.

Pero quizá el aspecto más interesante de la película queda sólo apuntado, y no para mal. El abuelo es un psicópata, sí, y fue un sádico, pero ya no lo es. Ha construido otra persona, y cuando niega que él fuese aquel monstruo sádico cuyas atrocidades se describen a la vez miente, y (lo más inquietante) también dice la verdad. Su vida en otro país y otro momento es otra vida, y a pesar de las intrusiones constantes del pasado, en la persona del chantajista, se había construido otra personalidad basada en mantener en un compartimento estanco de su mente todo lo que pasó en la guerra. Una víctima de la guerra a su manera—hasta el verdugo lo es— pues la guerra le permitió ser, o lo llevó a ser, algo que nunca hubiera sido de otra manera. Y el resto de su vida volvió la espalda a lo que había sido, no por ignorar su horror, sino precisamente por reconocerlo, a su manera—es el elemento trágico de la película, como lo describía Bradley en su teoría de la tragedia—la destrucción del bien que va inevitablemente entremezclado al mal que hay que destruir. Así, la película apunta en una dirección posible, en la que el abuelo no es sólo un farsante, sino además el portador de un trauma, una víctima resilient, que se ha reconstruido a sí mismo, pero que lleva a cuestas una personalidad quimérica e insostenible, murder will out.

Como digo, no queda sino apuntado este elemento, pero contribuye a hacer de la película algo más complejo y más trágico que ese otro montón de películas sobre traumas donde el traumado es la víctima, y en ningún caso el agresor. La verdad es más compleja y más desagradable; y el pasado traumático se extiende sobre una mancha, dejando tocada a la abogada protagonista, cambiando su pasado retroactivamente como en toda buena historia de trauma generacional: ya no es sólo su que su padre es el que era, ni era el que era: tampoco ella es la que era, ni era la que era. La historia, recontada, tiene estas paradojas, pero ya decía Oscar Wilde que es inevitable, y que frente a la historia nuestra única responsabilidad es contarla otra vez, de otra manera.  También entendía eso a su manera el criminal de guerra, que viéndose perdedor vuelve la espalda a su pasado con determinación y decide hacer como que no ha existido—ni siquiera para él. Pecho fuera y vista al frente, chico, le dice a su nieto. Pero la mirada atrás se impone a la fuerza, y se hace con el acierto de mostrar cómo las personas son personas con sus circunstancias a cuestas, cómo no puede hablarse de identidad realmente sin comprender las circunstancias en las que esa identidad se construye. También muestra los límites y paradojas de esa reconstrucción de la identidad por las circunstancias, cómo el pasado tiene un precio y se lleva a cuestas, y cómo lo más familiar y próximo, y los más demonizado y rechazable, pueden mezclarse de maneras imprevistas e inasumibles; así el trauma manda ecos a través de las generaciones Y por último nos hace comprender la película cómo y por qué un criminal puede rehacerse a sí mismo, sin por ello exonerarle ni mostrar compasión por él.

Secretos, anagnórisis, retrospección, realidad











Chicas Afloat



Chicas afloat





Jueves 16 de agosto de 2012

Speaking up: The Origins of Language

Una conferencia desde el punto de vista evolucionista en Villanova University:



Y otra conferencia sobre lenguaje humano y animal, del curso de biología del comportamiento de Robert Sapolsky en Stanford:






El origen del lenguaje y de la humanidad




El rincón de nadie



El rincón de nadie





Miércoles 15 de agosto de 2012

Lo que tú puedes hacer contra la crisis

Circular por Internet:

* Sabiendo que economía global es un flujo de capitales que entran y salen de los países, ¿que pasaría si redujéramos un 80 % el flujo de salida de capitales durante 3 meses? Sencillamente el país se recapitalizaría en un tiempo record. Adiós a la crisis antes de final de año.
Efectivamente sería un proteccionismo "a lo bestia".
Supongamos que los españoles tomamos conciencia de lo insostenible de la situación y actuamos como las hormigas, actuando con un fin común.
Supongamos que hacemos circular este correo a todos nuestros contactos y lo reenviamos tantas veces como lo recibamos. En semanas todo el país tendría conocimiento de él.
Supongamos que fijamos la fechas del 1 de octubre de 2012 para dejar de consumir simultáneamente los 50 millones de españoles productos extranjeros y solo consumimos productos "made in spain". La demanda de nuestros productos se dispararía y se iniciaría un proceso de reactivación espectacular de nuestra economía, crecería el empleo, recaudaríamos impuestos y podríamos saldar definitivamente la deuda que nos está hundiendo.
Por supuesto esta iniciativa tendría muy mala prensa en el exterior (Alemania, Austria, Finlandia, etc.) pero al no ser una propuesta gubernamental no podría ser sancionable.
El 1 de octubre dejaremos de comprar electrodomésticos Bosch y Siemens, no compraríamos coches cuyas fábricas no estuvieran en España, no consumiríamos productos alimenticios importados (ni cerveza). No compraríamos ropa fabricada fuera de España aunque nos cautive su precio. Cualquier compra sería importante, desde las grandes compras hasta los millones de pequeñas transacciones (chicles, tabaco, bebidas, revistas). Nada.
Es tan fácil como eso y solo haciendo pequeños sacrificios (cambiar **la Coca Cola** por la Casera durante unos meses, no más).
He aquí **la solución. Es** tan fácil, esta crisis es de todos y solo nosotros podemos emerger de ella encontrando soluciones creativas adoptadas por nosotros, ya no hay nadie ahí fuera que nos venga a rescatar, asumamos nuestra responsabilidad y actuemos, por fin unidos hacia un fin común.
¿Seríamos capaces?
Distribuye este correo entre todos tus contactos y reenvíalo tantas veces como te vuelva a llegar.
Si el 30 de septiembre este correo ha dado la vuelta a España y conseguimos hablar tanto de él como hablamos de la crisis, esta se habrá terminado el 1 de octubre.
Si no lo haces por ti, hazlo por los 5 millones de parados que necesitan desesperadamente salir de esta situación.
Reenvíalo
¡¡¡¡ Por los 5 millones!!!!


_____

—Y no gastes gasolina, etc. etc.  : P

Malas perspectivas






Mars Rising


Mars Rising





Microblog de agosto 2012

Las barras cromadas


31 ago 12, 18:59
JoseAngel: La traición del Estado a las víctimas del terrorismo—y a la sociedad: http://fonoteca.esradio.fm/2012-08-30/tertulia-politica-en-es-la-noche-el-juez-castro-excarcela-a-bolinaga-48357.html
31 ago 12, 17:01
JoseAngel: Con el etarra Bolinaga la ha terminado de cagar el PP: hasta aquí han llegado sus votantes.
31 ago 12, 11:17
JoseAngel: En 1970 pensábamos que habría un vuelo tripulado a Marte mucho antes del año 2000. Ya ven.
31 ago 12, 11:16
JoseAngel: En 1970 pensábamos que habría un vuelo tripulado a Marte mucho antes del año 2000. Ya ven.
31 ago 12, 10:20
JoseAngel: La Visión del Templo: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/33419998
31 ago 12, 09:35
JoseAngel: Chamanismo en las cuevas paleolíticas: http://nodulo.org/ec/2003/n021p01.htm
31 ago 12, 03:57
animers: hey guys , no one visited my site? :( c'mon http://fastfreedll.com/
31 ago 12, 01:31
anime4ever: hello everyone , very nice blog :) , anybody loves anime , please pay me a visit http://fastfreedll.com/
31 ago 12, 00:46
JoseAngel: Estos no se cortan un pelo, por un oído les entra y por el otro les sale.
30 ago 12, 15:00
FloorCare: Hardwood floor caring tips
30 ago 12, 06:39
JoseAngel: The Jonah Lehrer case: http://bloggingheads.tv/videos/10413
30 ago 12, 03:52
belajar vb.net: visit here...
29 ago 12, 22:56
JoseAngel: El corto verano se acaba...
29 ago 12, 15:34
JoseAngel: Vaya mierda de comunicación que tengo en este microblog. Los únicos mensajes que deja alguien son publicidad. Así es la cosa.
29 ago 12, 11:06
JoseAngel: E.O. Wilson: "La falta de lógica de las religiones no constituye para ellas una debilidad, sino su fuerza esencial".
29 ago 12, 08:52
JoseAngel: La cara dura del gobierno catalán no conoce límites, ni se los ponen hasta ahora: http://fonoteca.esradio.fm/2012-08-28/tertulia-politica-en-casa-de-herrero-cataluna-solicita-el-rescate-48271.html
29 ago 12, 00:35
JoseAngel: Contra el fracking... boicot a las empresas, ¿no? http://www.20minutos.es/noticia/1573573/0/fracking/famosos/nueva-york/
29 ago 12, 00:01
JoseAngel: Vaya por dios. Le casco un intermitente al coche.
28 ago 12, 10:31
JoseAngel: Aún les falta caer en la cuenta de que una embarazada tiene dos cerebros grandes: http://www.unizar.es/prensa/noticias/noticias.php?noticia=33189&enlace=1208/120828_z0_meses.pdf&via=m&fecha2=2012-08-2
27 ago 12, 12:29
JoseAngel: Netiqueta, Cortesía, Estrategia y Sabiduría: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/33419867
27 ago 12, 11:28
JoseAngel: Crítica al academicismo en la enseñanza de idiomas: http://www.unizar.es/prensa/noticias/noticias.php?noticia=33176&enlace=1208/120827_z0_7.pdf&via=m&fecha2=2012-08-27
27 ago 12, 07:48
JoseAngel: La finca de "Las Quemadillas". Hace falta sangre de vampiro...
26 ago 12, 23:27
Michael: the first person to walk on the moon, has died
26 ago 12, 00:29
JoseAngel: Hoy cumple Oscarelo doce años. Su regalo favorito: Tormenta de Espadas.
25 ago 12, 18:34
JoseAngel: El abyecto gobierno de España: http://fonoteca.esradio.fm/2012-08-25/sin-complejos-programa-completo-250812-48169.html
24 ago 12, 16:19
JoseAngel: Llega una nutria nadando a nuestra playa, e Ivo sale a recibirla. Se instala en las rocas.
24 ago 12, 11:32
JoseAngel: La traición del gobierno a las víctimas del terrorismo: http://fonoteca.esradio.fm/2012-08-23/tertulia-politica-en-casa-de-herrero-la-traicion-del-gobierno-a-las-victimas-48128.html
23 ago 12, 20:07
JoseAngel: Compro un cassette de The Sandpipers ("Overdue") que me llevaba esperando en la tienda desde 1984.
23 ago 12, 09:37
JoseAngel: Si algún día recobro la cordura: http://sergioborao2011.blogspot.com.es/2012/08/si-algun-dia-recobro-la-cordura.html
23 ago 12, 08:39
JoseAngel: El niño juega con el slinky.
22 ago 12, 18:46
JoseAngel: ¿Qué hacías tú el año 2050? http://www.20minutos.es/noticia/1569248/0/supercentenarios/aumentaran/2050/
22 ago 12, 17:57
JoseAngel: El Tribunal Supremo rechaza el derecho a la educación concertada unisex: http://www.20minutos.es/noticia/1569164/0/Supremo-rechaza/conciertos-colegios/separados-por-sexo/
22 ago 12, 17:41
JoseAngel: "El carcelero de Ortega Lara" dicen. Estúpida manera de igualar terroristas y funcionarios de prisiones, lenguaje etarra.
22 ago 12, 11:04
JoseAngel: Los caníbales del Pirineo: http://www.unizar.es/prensa/noticias/noticias.php?noticia=33145&enlace=1208/120822_z0_13.pdf&via=m&fecha2=2012-08-22
22 ago 12, 10:48
JoseAngel: Tanto Bolonia para esto / La burbuja universitaria: http://www.unizar.es/prensa/noticias/noticias.php?noticia=33141&enlace=1208/120822_z0_9.pdf&via=m&fecha2=2012-08-22
21 ago 12, 22:10
JoseAngel: Viendo la película de Los Mercedarios.
21 ago 12, 12:01
JoseAngel: Ahora me entero que tengo WhatsApp en el móvil.
21 ago 12, 10:34
JoseAngel: Primeras pinturas rupestres de Galicia: http://ccaa.elpais.com/ccaa/2012/08/20/galicia/1345492562_397264.html
21 ago 12, 10:33
JoseAngel: RIP Tony Scott. Nos ha hecho pasar bastantes buenas horas: http://www.rtve.es/noticias/20120821/tony-scott-podria-haberse-suicidado-padecer-tumor-cerebral-inoperable/559120.shtml
21 ago 12, 09:53
JoseAngel: En Onda Cero: -"El problema de Rajoy es que no tiene relato". - "A cambio, tiene demasiado cuento".
21 ago 12, 09:35
JoseAngel: Semental a domicilio. Si quieren tener hijos con muchos hermanos... http://www.abc.es/20120817/internacional/abci-semental-virgen-hijos-201208171312.html
21 ago 12, 08:54
JoseAngel: El gobierno de Rajoy traiciona a los muertos y a los vivos. No votéis a traidores - es cubrir mínimos.
21 ago 12, 00:16
JoseAngel: Benefit of Hindsight: Polibio, Vico, Wilde y el emergentismo crítico: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/33419850
20 ago 12, 15:27
JoseAngel: Recent literary theory and criticism in Spanish anglistics: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/33419603
19 ago 12, 18:27
JoseAngel: Una cosa "de ahora" que luego será "de época" es poner los precios con decimales.
19 ago 12, 17:38
JoseAngel: Why Cant' I Sleep? http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-power-rest/201009/why-cant-i-sleep-six-common-reasons-you-can-fix-0
19 ago 12, 17:37
JoseAngel: Dentífrico para perros anuncian. Somos occidentales decadentes.
19 ago 12, 12:11
Sandeep: Recently i read how Google Plus is important for SEO - http://www.redfoxmagazine.com/how-google-plus-is-important-for-keyword-ranking/
19 ago 12, 11:59
JoseAngel: El gobierno deseando importar más etarras, como si hubiese pocos: http://www.20minutos.es/noticia/1566753/0/eta/ministerio-interior/presos/
19 ago 12, 09:00
JoseAngel: Sin Complejos: http://fonoteca.esradio.fm/2012-08-18/sin-complejos-programa-completo-180812-47956.html
19 ago 12, 00:09
JoseAngel: 'The Enthusiastick Fit': The Function and Fate of the Poet in Samuel Johnson's 'Rasselas' https://www.researchgate.net/publication/33419598
18 ago 12, 12:46
JoseAngel: Dicen que prohibiendo la prostitución sólo se la invisibiliza. Pues esa es la idea, precisamente.
18 ago 12, 12:43
JoseAngel: Le dan el tercer grado al cáncer ése. Más dignamente estaría en su celda, meditando.
18 ago 12, 09:43
JoseAngel: Cloudless day, night, and a cloudless day.
17 ago 12, 16:38
JoseAngel: Mirando las Perseidas con retraso, vemos un bólido gigante cruzar el cielo.
17 ago 12, 12:58
JoseAngel: La educación prohibida: http://youtu.be/-1Y9OqSJKCc
16 ago 12, 19:11
JoseAngel: Narrative Works 2.1: http://w3.stu.ca/stu/sites/cirn/current_issue.aspx
16 ago 12, 19:06
JoseAngel: Speaking Up: The Origin of Language: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2Ma7dxu0O0
16 ago 12, 11:21
JoseAngel: Conectoma, mapa de conexiones neuronales: http://www.unizar.es/prensa/noticias/noticias.php?noticia=33106&enlace=1208/120816_z0_4.pdf&via=m&fecha2=2012-08-16
15 ago 12, 22:24
JoseAngel: Justicia para los etarras: http://cronicasbarbaras.blogs.com/crnicas_brbaras/2012/08/sadismo-etarra.html
15 ago 12, 12:52
JoseAngel: La justicia, presidida por farsantes y maleantes.
15 ago 12, 12:49
JoseAngel: Un sinvergüenza sin límites: http://www.hispanidad.com/Confidencial/pascual-sala-tc-sobre-sus-viajes-millonarios-fueron-indispensables-y-20120813-151720.html
15 ago 12, 00:49
JoseAngel: Interferencias en la presencialidad: http://www.20minutos.es/noticia/1560891/0/telefono-movil/consultar-en-secreto/cena-familiar/
14 ago 12, 21:58
JoseAngel: Es que es vasco, claro. Serán sinvergüenzas... http://www.20minutos.es/noticia/1564158/0/uribetxebarria/etarra/excarcelacion/
14 ago 12, 21:38
JoseAngel: ¡TONGO! Corrupción en la fiscalia anticorrupción: http://www.20minutos.es/noticia/1564153/0/fiscal-infanta-cristina/no-sera-imputada/nada-incrimina/
14 ago 12, 21:33
JoseAngel: Write Your Own Academic Sentence: http://writing-program.uchicago.edu/toys/randomsentence/write-sentence.htm
14 ago 12, 14:23
JoseAngel: Kurzweil, Singularity University: http://www.ted.com/talks/ray_kurzweil_announces_singularity_university.html
14 ago 12, 13:50
JoseAngel: Dare to Disagree: http://www.ted.com/talks/margaret_heffernan_dare_to_disagree.html
14 ago 12, 12:26
JoseAngel: Miles of empty beach.
14 ago 12, 08:44
JoseAngel: Ryan & Ayn Rand: http://www.salon.com/2012/08/13/ryans_ayn_rand_obsession_salpart/
14 ago 12, 08:14
JoseAngel: El otro capricho de Belloch: http://noticiasjovenes.com/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=46156
14 ago 12, 07:55
JoseAngel: El centro ausente: El Innombrable de Beckett: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/28049726
13 ago 12, 17:54
JoseAngel: "La burbuja mediática" - no sé si habla de los medios oficiales o del grupo Prisa, son indistinguibles: http://www.unizar.es/prensa/noticias/noticias.php?noticia=33086&enlace=1208/120813_z0_11.pdf
13 ago 12, 17:52
JoseAngel: EdX sigue creciendo: http://www.unizar.es/prensa/noticias/noticias.php?noticia=33078&enlace=1208/120813_z0_3.pdf&via=m&fecha2=2012-08-13
12 ago 12, 19:01
JoseAngel: Más greguerías de Gómez de la Serna: http://estafeta-gabrielpulecio.blogspot.com.es/2012/04/ramon-gomez-de-la-serna-greguerias.html
12 ago 12, 16:42
JoseAngel: Oyendo Hard Bargain. I loves Emmylou Harris.
12 ago 12, 15:23
JoseAngel: Proyecto Hermenéutica: http://www.proyectohermeneutica.org/actas_Ijornadas.html
12 ago 12, 15:02
JoseAngel: Aquí intrigados en la comunidad con un misterio de Agatha Christie: "El caso de la alfombra robada". Algunas vecinas casi se tiran del moño.
12 ago 12, 14:13
JoseAngel: Athletic Body Diversity: http://ninamatsumoto.wordpress.com/2010/12/18/athletic-body-diversity-reference-for-artists/#
12 ago 12, 12:13
JoseAngel: Etarras crecidos, nacionalistas cargantes, etc.: http://fonoteca.esradio.fm/2012-08-10/tertulia-politica-en-es-la-noche-47715.html
12 ago 12, 11:12
JoseAngel: Álvaro y Paloma se han ido de excursión por las Cíes estos días. (¡Primera excursión!).
11 ago 12, 10:56
JoseAngel: RG Score 15.49 - Percentile Your score is higher than 97.5% of ResearchGate members'.
11 ago 12, 10:46
JoseAngel: Tantos millones pa ná...
11 ago 12, 10:46
JoseAngel: Hasta Ivo ve las incoherencias del guión de Prometheus: "¿quién dejó las marcas si los aliens nos crearon por error?"
11 ago 12, 09:58
JoseAngel: CCOO y UGT apoyan el atraco a supermercados; CSIF se desmarca: http://fonoteca.esradio.fm/2012-08-10/los-sindicatos-responden-a-la-provocacion-de-gordillo-47677.html
11 ago 12, 01:31
JoseAngel: Recogemos a Paloma en Redondela. Y pierdo mi cartera en Pontevedra viendo PROMETHEUS, y la recupero inesperadamente.
10 ago 12, 17:20
JoseAngel: Un nuevo género: la pseudoflashmob filmada: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=GBaHPND2QJg&feature=youtu.be
10 ago 12, 11:31
JoseAngel: Jose Angel Garcia Landa Author Rank is 3,676 out of 203,575
10 ago 12, 11:29
JoseAngel: IU respalda a los atracadores de supermercados: http://fonoteca.esradio.fm/2012-08-09/federico-a-las-8-iu-respalda-a-los-atracadores-de-supermercados-47627.html
10 ago 12, 10:29
JoseAngel: El asesinato de Marilyn: http://garciala.blogia.com/2007/071705-the-stone-diaries.php
10 ago 12, 00:30
JoseAngel: Hay otros mundos (infernales) pero están en este: http://www.20minutos.es/noticia/1560596/0/secta/ninos/enterrados/
9 ago 12, 21:48
maco: ola
9 ago 12, 21:19
JoseAngel: Bien posicionada la bibliografía en Blekko: Literary Criticism http://blekko.com/ws/literary+criticism
9 ago 12, 18:08
JoseAngel: Tengo el iPhone agrietado y lleno de arena. Pero aún furrula, la prueba aquí.
9 ago 12, 16:36
JoseAngel: Theories of Consciousness at MIT: http://youtu.be/F0Eq5Lt_fSQ
9 ago 12, 16:03
JoseAngel: Obama como Zapatero americano: http://youtu.be/M9TtpDjfhrU
9 ago 12, 15:28
JoseAngel: The Dark Dark Side of the Mind: prejuicio implícito contra los negros, tanto en blancos como en negros: http://onthehuman.org/2011/09/the-dark-dark-side-of-the-mind/
9 ago 12, 14:36
JoseAngel: La novela inglesa más vendida de todos los tiempos. No comment. http://www.20minutos.es/noticia/1559430/0/cincuenta-sombras-grey/novela-britanica/mas-vendida-historia/
9 ago 12, 09:50
JoseAngel: El "nuevo" homínido: http://www.20minutos.es/noticia/1560032/0/hallan-fosiles/kenia-hominidos/nueva-especie/
9 ago 12, 00:23
JoseAngel: Volviendo de Portugal, por la carretera de Oia, vemos el rayo verde.
8 ago 12, 00:13
JoseAngel: Comentario a La Bodrioteca: http://sergioborao2011.blogspot.com.es/2012/08/la-bodrioteca-de-sturgeon.html?showComment=1344377584533#c8324490492379825130
7 ago 12, 12:32
JoseAngel: PJ Reece, Story Structure to Die For: http://www.pjreece.ca/blog/wordpress/story-structure-to-die-for-pj-reece/
7 ago 12, 12:13
JoseAngel: Palaeohispanica: http://ifc.dpz.es/publicaciones/periodica/id/18
7 ago 12, 08:26
JoseAngel: Brian Boyd, On the Origin of Stories: http://books.google.es/books?id=1mu_6hsxM-MC
7 ago 12, 07:18
JoseAngel: Ahora tenemos etarras gallegos, lo que nos faltaba... jodíos imbéciles... http://www.20minutos.es/noticia/1558440/0/desactviados-vigo/artefactos-explosivos/resistencia-galega/
7 ago 12, 07:14
JoseAngel: Me aceptan un artículo en AnMal Electrónica, "Atención a la atención".
6 ago 12, 23:07
JoseAngel: Beatriz tiene gran capacidad de concentración en la lectura. Ahora se está leyendo Vanity Fair.
6 ago 12, 22:16
JoseAngel: Sede electrónica de la Universidad de Zaragoza: https://sede.unizar.es
6 ago 12, 15:07
JoseAngel: Dominick LaCapra, "Trauma, Absence, Loss": http://tek.bke.hu/~tdombos/babel/lacapra.pdf
6 ago 12, 14:07
JoseAngel: Bolt vs. other bolters: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/08/05/sports/olympics/the-100-meter-dash-one-race-every-medalist-ever.html?smid=tw-share
6 ago 12, 13:57
JoseAngel: Curiosity Lands on Mars: http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/05/curiosity-is-set-to-land-on-mars/
6 ago 12, 13:30
JoseAngel: Manuel Seco: "Redes para atrapar el universo" http://www.march.es/conferencias/anteriores/voz.aspx?id=51&l=1
6 ago 12, 08:41
JoseAngel: Sánchez Ron, conferencia sobre Darwin y evolución: http://www.march.es/conferencias/anteriores/voz.aspx?id=465&l=1
5 ago 12, 23:34
JoseAngel: Me citan en "Narratología de las cibernoticias" http://es.scribd.com/doc/54957208/Narratolog
5 ago 12, 12:57
JoseAngel: Reconstrucción de la primera página web, la de Tim Berners-Lee: http://www.w3.org/History/19921103-hypertext/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html
5 ago 12, 12:44
JoseAngel: El balance de Rajoy: "Aún no he tomado ninguna decisión" http://fonoteca.esradio.fm/2012-08-04/tertulia-politica-de-cesar-vidal-rajoy-hace-balance-47482.html
4 ago 12, 23:32
JoseAngel: Sobre el aborto de Gallardón: http://cronicasbarbaras.blogs.com/crnicas_brbaras/2012/07/aborto-libre.html#comments
4 ago 12, 19:41
JoseAngel: Las termitas son cucarachas evolucionadas. Las hormigas son avispas evolucionadas.
4 ago 12, 15:50
JoseAngel: Afición al apocalipsis: http://www.desdeelexilio.com/2012/08/03/un-apocalipsis-cotidiano/#comment-77043
4 ago 12, 08:06
JoseAngel: El cromosoma perdido (o mejor, fundido): http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/loom/2012/07/19/the-mystery-of-the-missing-chromosome-with-a-special-guest-appearance-from-facebook-creationists/
4 ago 12, 07:58
JoseAngel: Dejar morir a las lenguas moribundas: http://www.terceracultura.net/tc/?p=5154
4 ago 12, 07:46
JoseAngel: Gore Vidal obituary: http://www.biography.com/bio-now/gore-vidal-author-and-playwright-dead-at-86-20900767
4 ago 12, 07:40
JoseAngel: Jose Angel Garcia Landa Author Rank is 3,696 out of 202,973
3 ago 12, 09:49
JoseAngel: Menos profes. Y en Cataluña te cobrarán hasta por permitirte comerte tu bocadillo: http://www.unizar.es/prensa/noticias/noticias.php?noticia=33023&enlace=1208/120803_z0_ninos.pdf
2 ago 12, 16:58
JoseAngel: Crisis del PSOE, y de España que es peor: http://fonoteca.esradio.fm/2012-08-01/tertulia-de-federico-la-crisis-del-psoe-47332.html
2 ago 12, 11:06
JoseAngel: Sobre los abusos de la universidad pública en Aragón: http://www.unizar.es/prensa/noticias/noticias.php?noticia=33009&enlace=1208/120802_z0_polit.pdf&via=m&fecha2=2012-08-02
1 ago 12, 17:03
JoseAngel: Juicio al asesino de Batman: http://fonoteca.esradio.fm/2012-08-01/cronica-negra-juicio-al-asesino-de-batman-47345.html
1 ago 12, 15:41
JoseAngel: Dialéctica de hominización y humanización: http://www.ibercampus.es/articulos.asp?idarticulo=15726
1 ago 12, 15:24
JoseAngel: Nueva ley de lenguas de Aragón, menos catalanista: http://www.unizar.es/prensa/noticias/noticias.php?noticia=32996&enlace=1208/120801_z0_ley.pdf&via=m&fecha2=2012-08-01







Microblog de julio 2012




A commentary On the origin of technological species


A commentary on Kevin Kelly's post On the Origin of Technological Species:


Astute readers should notice the origins of this famous passage, altered and paraphrased by Kirk Holden, and tweaked by me.

    "If during the long course of ages and under varying conditions of instrumentation, technical tools vary at all in the several parts of their organization, and I think this cannot be disputed; if there be, owing to the high geometrical powers of increase of each kind of instrument, at some age, season, or year, a severe struggle for market share, and this certainly cannot be disputed; then, considering the infinite complexity of the relations of all instantiated artifacts of technology to each other and to their conditions of existence, causing an infinite diversity in structure, constitution, and habits, to be advantageous to them, I think it would be a most extraordinary fact if no variation ever had occurred useful to each technical artifact's own duration, in the same way as so many variations have occurred useful to nature. But if variations useful to any technical artifact do occur, assuredly individual tools thus characterized will have the best chance of being preserved in the struggle for product life; and from the strong principle of inheritance of specific technical solutions in hardware and software, they will tend to produce divergent forms similarly characterized. This principle of preservation, I have called, for the sake of brevity, Technological Progress. Technological Progress, on the principle of qualities being inherited at corresponding ages, can modify the IP, improved feature set, or new models, as easily as the earlier form."

Of course in the original passage Darwin argued the converse: that natural selection paralleled the same kind of selection we see in tools. The dynamics of evolution within nature and technology have many parallels, I argue, because they are driven by the same forces of exotropy and self-organization.


And my commentary:

Well, I'm literal-minded, so I'd say, "useful for users" not useful for the technological artifacts. And that makes all the difference; conscious selection by users we see as no problem; it is natural selection carried out by no intelligent user or designer that Darwin was trying to theorize, and that makes all the difference. That said, there are of course intriguing reflections to pursue when comparing natural and artificial selection. Darwin been there, done that too, but it can be redone. There's a natural-artificial selection of ideas, and the idea of natural selection is also honed and improved by reflecting about it.

Llevo un día darwiniano



Martes 14 de agosto de 2012

Mirando series de supervivientes


Mirando series de supervivientes


Hablando de supervivientes, hoy vuelven Álvaro y Paloma de su excursión a las Cíes. Vamos a Cangas a recogerlos.



The Social Conquest of Earth


Notas sobre el libro de E. O. Wilson The Social Conquest of Earth (Nueva York y Londres: Liveright, 2012). Una búsqueda del origen y naturaleza de la humanidad más seria que el mito de este año, Prometheus.

Prólogo

"There is no grail more elusive or precious in the life of the mind than the key to the understanding of the human condition" (1). Gauguin's painting D'où Venons Nous / Que Sommes Nous / Où Allons Nous(Wilson seems to present this as an analogue of our self-search and of the persistence of what Gauguin calls "our primitive soul").

fernando2I - Why Does Advanced Social Life Exist?

1. The Human Condition

7: "Religion will never solve this great riddle. Since Paleolithic times each tribe—of which there have been countless thousands—invented its own creation myth." The dreamtime, in which supernatural beings spoke to shamans and prophets.
8: "The creation myth was the essential bond that held the tribe together. It provided its believers with a unique identity, commanded their fidelity, strengthened order, vouchsafed law, encouraged valor and sacrifice, and offred meaning to the cycles of life and death." "The truth of each myth lived in the heart, not in the rational mind. By itself, mythmaking could never discover the origin and meaning of humanity. But the reverse order is possible. The discovery of the origin and meaning of humanity might explain the origin and meaning of myths, hence the core of organized religion. // Can these two worldviews ever be reconciled? The answer, to put the matter honestly and simply, is no."

To know what we are, "We need to understand how the brain evolved the way it did, and why" (9). This is a scientific not a philosophical question: "There is a real creation story of humanity, and one only, and it is not a myth. It is being worked out and tested, and enriched and strengthened, step by step" (...) "we need answers to two even more fundamental questions the query has raised. The first is why advanced social life exists at all, and has occurred so rarely in the history of life. The second is the identity of the driving forces that brought it into existence". We have learned about our identity and makeup from worms and fruit flies: "We have no less to learn from the social insects, in this case to add background to the origin and meaning of humanity" (10).

Wilson es un etólogo del comportamiento animal, y un especialista en hormigas. No sería de sorprender que en su enfoque haya más analogías de las aceptables entre hormigas y humanos—una vez hechas las distinciones pertinentes, quizá no lleguen a apreciarse plenamente las diferencias cruciales.


2. Where Do We Come From?

2. The Two Paths to Conquest

"We are an evolutionary chimera, living on intelligence steered by the demands of animal instinct. This is the reason we are mindlessly dismantling the biosphere and, with it, our own prospects for permanent existence" (13). Wilson se atiene a la noción del jet-lag paleolítico—hemos evolucionado demasiado deprisa, y estamos fuera de paso con el entorno natural y con nosotros mismos: "There was no time for us to coevolve with the rest of the biosphere. Other species were not prepared for the onslaught. This shortfall soon had dire consequences for the rest of life" (15). "Wherever humans saturated wildlands, biodiversity was returned to the paucity of its earliest period half a biliion years previously. The rest of the living world could not coevolve fast enough to accomodate the onslaught of a spectacular conqueror that seemed to come from nowhere, and it began to crumble from the pressure" (16). (La invasión alien somos nosotros, podría decirse).

Los grupos humanos se basan en alianzas flexibles entre diversos grupos y círculos:

"The necessity for fine-graded evaluation by alliance meant that the prehuman ancestors had to achieve eusociality in a radically different way from the intinct-driven insects. Tha pathway to eusociality was charted by a contest between selection based on the relative success of individuals within groups versus relative success among groups. The strategies of this game were written as a complicated mix of closely calibrated altruism, cooperation, competition, domination, reciprocity, defection, and deceit" (17).

"As a result, the human brain became simultaneously highly intelligent and intensely social. It had to build mental scenarios of personal relationships rapidly, both short-term and long-term. Its memories had to travel far into the past to summon old scenarios and far into the future to imagine the consequences of every relationship" (17).

La idea central del libro es la comparación y contraste entre la socialidad de los insectos y la humana, y sus orígenes evolutivos respectivos:

"The insects could evolve to eusociality by individual selection in the queen line, generation to generation; the pre-humans evolved to eusociality by the interplay of selection at the level of individual seelection and at the level of the group" (20).

3. The Approach

"Viewed through time from the beginning to the attainment of the human condition, each step can be interpreted as a preadaptation" (22). (Observo que este énfasis en la preadaptación, o exaptación como la llama Gould, aparece también enfatizada en el libro de Ian Tattersall Masters of the Planet—por fin parece que está haciendo fortuna esta noción entre los evolucionistas más influyentes. En este capítulo se trata del desarrollo de la socialidad en los australopitecos y primeros homo—enfatizándose la noción del control del fuego y de un campamento fijo como puntos de inflexión del desarrollo de la vida social).


4. The Arrival

Hay mayor frecuencia de especiación en los mamíferos que forman grupos sociales: "social groups tend to stay apart from each other during breeding, thus creating smaller populations, making them subject to both quicker genetic divergence and higher extinction rates" (35)—algo que parece compadecerse bien con la historia evolutiva de los homínidos. Se trata aquí la adaptación a nuevos ecosistemas, nuevas dietas, nuevos nichos ecológicos, por parte de los homínidos. El impulso final a la evolución del Homo sapiens moderno lo proporcionó la concentración de grupos en lugares protegidos.


5. Threading the Evolutionary Maze

Aquí viene a convenir Wilson (sin mencionarlo) con el mismo panorama de evolución de la socialidad que presentaba Bickerton en Adam's Tongue: "The advantages of cooperation in the harvesting of meat led to the formation of highly organized groups. The earliest societies conssted of extended families but also adoptees and allies. They expanded to a population as large as could be sustained by the local environment" (Wilson 47).


6. The Creative Forces

¿Qué fuerza evolutiva fue la que propició el surgimiento del tipo de socialidad humano? Durante mucho tiempo el consenso mayoritario en evolucionismo ha favorecido la teoría de la aptitud inclusiva, basada en la selección natural de los genes pertenecientes al individuo y a su grupo de familiares, derivando de ahí los comportamientos altruistas que promueven la socialidad: "Unfortunately for this perception, the foundations of the general theory of inclusive fitness based on the assumption of kin selection have crumbled, while evidence for it has grown equivocal at best. The beautiful theory never worked well anyway, and now it has collapsed" (51). Ahora Wilson defiende la selección multinivel, con gran importancia dada a la selección grupal:  "The creation of new groups by humans, at the present time and all the way back in to prehistory, has been fundamentally different (...). Their evolutionary dynamics, driven by both individual and group selection" (52).

Hay una cita de Darwin que justifica la selección multinivel y de grupo, y la preponderancia de los grupos cohesionados y formados por altruistas. Aunque Wilson cita esta otra de The Descent of Man:

"Now if some one man in a tribe, more sagacious than the others, invented a new snare or weapon, or other means of attack or defence, the plainest self-interest, without the assistance of much reasoning power, would prompt the other members to imitate him; and all would thus profit. The habitual practice of each new art must likewise in some slight degree strengthen the intellect. If the new invention were an important one, the tribe would increase in number, spread, and supplant other tribes. In a tribe thus rendered more numerous there would always be a rather better chance of the birth of other superior and inventive members. If such men left children to inherit their mental superiority, the chance of the birth of still more ingenious members would be somewhat better, and in a very small tribe decidedly better. Even if they left no children, the tribe would still include their blood-relations; and it has been ascertained by agriculturists that by preserving and breeding from the family of an animal, which when slaughtered was found to be valuable, the desired character has been obtained."

(Se observará que también sostiene la cita la noción de inteligencia tecnológica: la comunicación de tecnologías aumenta la inteligencia grupal; es "la inteligencia de las masas" antes de David Weinberger).

Hay una dinámica contraria irresuluble de altruismo y egoísmo en las sociedades humanas: "Beause all normal members have at least the capacity to reproduce, there is an inherent and irremediable conflict in human societies between natural selection at the individual level and natural selection at the group level" (54)—al contrario que en las sociedades de insectos, donde falta la capacidad reproductiva de los individuos subordinados. El nivel de selección individual promueve en los humanos el comportamiento egoísta, cobarde, interesado; mientras que el comportamiento generoso, virtuoso, altruista es promovido por los valores sociales y la selección de grupo. "It was therefore inevitable that the genetic code prescribing social behaviour of modern humans is a chimera. One part prescribes traits that favor success of individuals within the group. The other part prescribes the traits that favor group success in competition with other groups" (53).

Wilson observa que debido a la estructura poblacional y ciclo vital de los mamíferos no puede desarrollarse entre los humanos un tipo de socialidad como el de los insectos. (Quizá habría que matizar, "de modo natural"—aunque quizá sea factible mediante ingeniería genética y y el control artificial de la reproducción semejante futuro indeseable, en parte imaginado por Huxley en Un Mundo Feliz).

Las consecuencias de la dinámica evolutiva de los humanos, que nos hace lo que somos:

- Intensa competencia grupal y territorial
- Inestabilidad de la composición de los grupos: conquistas, divisiones, alianzas, etc.
- Guerra inevitable entre los valores sociales y los intereses egoístas e individuales, productos respectivamente de la selección grupal e individual
- "The perfecting of quick and expert reading of intention in others has been paramount in the evolution of human social behavior" (56).
- "Much of culture, including especially the content of the creative arts, has arisen from the inevitable clash of individual selection and group selection" (56).


7. Tribalism is a Fundamental Human Trait

(El tribalismo, la tendencia a afiliarnos a grupos, la tenemos según Wilson en nuestra propia constitución, lo hacemos por naturaleza y compulsivamente; algo que permite explicar las actitudes irracionales de los individuos hacia grupos de iguales, bandas, equipos de fútbol, etnias y naciones, credos religiosos.... donde lo que menos importa es la fundamentación supuesta del grupo, y lo primordial en realidad es el grupo mismo y la sensación de pertenencia e identificación): "To form groups, drawing visceral comfort and pride from familiar fellowship, and to defend the group enthusiastically against rival groups—these are among the absolute universals of human nature and hence of culture" (57). "The social world of each modern human is not a single tribe, but rather a system of interlocking tribes, among which it is often difficult to find a single compass" (57). Experimentos psicológicos demuestran la tendencia a la afiliación aunque sea en grupos arbitrariamente asignados: "Strong favoritism was consistently shown to those labeled simply as an in-group, even with no other incentive and no previous contact" (59) (Algo que puede explicar algunos comportamientos patológicos en la Administración, supuestamente desapasionada, como son la falacia democrática del los órganos o la solidaridad interna de los comités y comisiones). Diferentes partes del cerebro regulan la respuesta automática a la afiliación grupal: por ejemplo el racismo instintivo y primitivo de la amígdala se modera cuando el contexto sitúa a los miembros de otra raza como pertenecientes a un grupo afiliado, información procesada por partes corticales del cerebro asociadas al aprendizaje avanzado. (Una paradoja plantea el tribalismo. Los valores humanos son en gran medida culturales, y vienen a expresar la afiliación a un grupo. Son por tanto limitadores con respecto a la potencial naturaleza humana—pero a la vez ésta sólo puede manifestarse y expresarse plenamente mediante la integración en un grupo y un entorno cultural. Hay así una tensión o dialéctica entre comprensión de la naturaleza humana y participación en ella. El observador de la dinámica de los grupos humanos puede sentirse ajeno a la dinámica que observa, pero ha de integrarse igualmente en un grupo propio).


8. War as Humanity's Hereditary Curse

(De esto hablamos algo en Somos hijos de la guerra), llevando las conclusiones evolutivas un poco más lejos que Wilson, en el sentido de la guerra como supervivencia del grupo más apto... para la guerra. Ver su p. 91).
También para Wilson, la guerra ha sido una constante de la historia humana, y el conflicto entre grupos algo que ha definido a los humanos a lo largo de toda su historia. Las pacíficas sociedades primitivas sin conflictos no existen. Los conflitos grupales ya existen entre los chimpancés, pero los humanos tendemos por naturaleza a expandirnos hasta agotar los recursos y disputarlos a los vecinos.


9. The Breakout

La emigración del Homo sapiens out of  Africa se limitó a grupos pequeños, con lo cual la variabilidad genética dentro de Africa es mucho mayor. Hubo sin embargo un cuello de botella poblacional en una gran sequía en el que la población de Africa descendió a unos miles de individuos con riesgo de extinción completa. A Europa llegaron los Homo sapiens hacia el 42.000 A.C.; a Australia y Nueva Guinea ya en el 50.000 A.C.—los aborígenes descendientes directos de los primeros emigrantes. En America entraron hace unos 16.500 años; y las islas del Pacífico son las más recientes, hace entre 3000 años y el año 1200.


10. The Creative Explosion

Tres hipótesis sobre la explosión cultural: 1) debida a una mutación cognitiva reciente en el Homo sapiens. Comparativamente con el inmovilismo de la cultura neandertal. 2) Evolución más gradual, ya comenzada en el Homo sapiens arcaico. 3) Teoría de alzas y bajas, con un surgimiento inicial y una crisis debida al cuello de botella poblacional—con recuperación a partir de 60.000 años atrás. Wilson combina las tres hipótesis. Las mutaciones genéticas se hacen más frecuentes al crecer la población, y ese mismo hecho produce más innovaciones culturales. La deriva genética también actúa más durante la expansión de pequeños grupos de poblaciones aisladas, produciendo diversidad. 88: "As a result, skin color, height, percentages of blood types, and other nonvital hereditary traits shifted a bit in one direction or another over distances as short as a few hundreds of kilometers." (Y es a esta peculiar combinación de origen común y dispersión geográfica en pequeños grupos a lo que debemos las "razas" humanas, o sea, la variabilidad genética identificablemente ligada a la dispersión territorial, aunque muchos científicos se niegan a admitir ningún concepto científicamente viable de diferencia racial). El entorno cultural es en todo caso mucho más influyente para el comportamiento individual que las diferencias genéticas. Sin embargo: "A recent study has found that variation in the number of people one person has in contacts or in social ties, as well as variation in transitivity—the likelihood that any two of a person's contacts are connected to each other's contacts—are both about half due to heredity. On the other hand, the number of other group members whom individuals view as friends is not genetically influenced, at least not within ordinary statistical limits of the measures taken" (90). "Bands and communities of bands with better combiantions of cultural innovations became more productive and better equipped for competitition and war. Their rivals either copied them or else were displaced and their territories taken. Thus group selection drove the evolution of culture" (91). (Es el motor de lo que llamamos la historia). La agricultura surgió independientemente en ocho emplazamientos distintos, entre 9000 y 4000 años antes de Cristo. El desarrollo cultural puede llevar en el futuro a un posthumanismo que pare Wilson sería indeseable pues iría al servicio del nepotismo y el privilegio: de la herencia biológica que tenemos no nos libraremos, pues es lo que somos.

10. The Sprint to Civilization

Tres niveles de civilización hay: las bandas de cazadores-recolectores y agricultores primitivos, sociedades igualitarias; las poblaciones con élites y jefes, que gobiernan directamente en todos los asuntos para evitar fisión e insurrección, suprimiendo rivales y fomentando la rivalidad con pueblos vecinos. Y tercero, los estados, con sistema de control delegado o burocracia. Las poblaciones tienden a la expansión y adquisición de los recursos del vecino siempre que pueden. No hay diferencias genéticas conocidas que demuestren diferencias entre las poblaciones en procesamiento de lenguaje o matemáticas—pero podrían descubrirse. Los rasgos de personalidad están notablemente bien distribuidos entre las poblaciones, a pesar de los estereotipos nacionales. Los básicos son: "extroversion versus introversion, antagonism versus agreeableness, conscientiousnss, neuroticism, and openness to experience". Los rasgos caracteriológicos son en buena proporción hereditarios. La complejidad social se desarrolló en torno a los estados y a la escritura; Wilson remite al análisis de Jared Diamond en Guns, Germs and Steel para explicar el mayor desarrollo de unas áreas frente a otras y la difusión de las innovaciones.

III. How Social Insects Conquered the Invertebrate World

12. The invention of eusociality

Las hormigas, evolucionadas a partir de las avispas solitarias para constituir sociedades complejas. Hay un millón de veces más hormigas que humanos, aunque su biomasa total viene a ser parecida.


13. Inventions that Advanced the Social Insects

Coincidió el desarrollo y diversificación de las hormigas con el de las angiospermas. "Species of ants multiplied, as more and more niches opened for them to occupy" (125). Son carnívoras, pero herbívoros indirectos, utilizando a los pulgones que absorben savia de las plantas. "The more elaborate and expensive the nest is in energy and time, the greater the fieceness of the ants that defend it. This is a concept I will later connnect to the origin of eusociality itself." (130)


IV. The Forces of Social Evolution

14. The Scientific Dilemma of Rarity

"Eusociality, the condition of multiple generations organized into groups by means of an altruistic division of labor, was one of the major innovations in the history of life" (133). But it is extremely rare: "Only 15 of the 2,600 families are known to contain eusocial species." (136). "Yet of all the nonprimate mammals in the world save the mole rats, and of all the primate species that lived across the tropical and subtropical regions for millions of years, only one, an offshoot of the African great apes, an antecedent of Homo sapiens, crossed the threshold into eusociality" (138).

15. Insect altruism and eusociality explaind

"The selfish-gene approach may seem to be entirely reasonable. In fact, most evolutionary biologists had accepted it as a virtual dogma—at least until 2010. In that year Martin Nowak, Corina Tarnita, and I demonstrated that inclusive-fitness theory, often called kin selection theory, is both mathematically and biologically incorrect." (143) Insect societies of ants and bees are superorganisms and their origin can be explained through the selection of the reproducing individuals: "Group selection occurs, in the sense that success or failure of the colony depends upon how well the collectivity of the queen and her robotic offspring does in competition with solitary individuals and other colonies. Group selection is a useful idea in identifying precisely the targets of selection when queens (and their colonies about them) are competing with other queens. But multilevel selection, in which colonial evolution is regarded as the interests of the individual worker pitted against the interests of its colony, may no longer be a useful concepts in which to build models of genetic evolution in social insects" (146). (Esa selección mutinivel, y de dinámica contradictoria entre tendencias individuales y grupales, es en cambio la que sí se da para Wilson en los humanos; los principios de evolución de la sociedad y el altruismo en insectos y primates son fundamentalmente diferentes).



16. Insects Take the Giant Leap


Explica Wilson las condiciones necesarias para que los insectos solitarios desarrollen un modo de vida social: a partir de una preadaptación, por ejemplo un nido compartido con los padres, basta con una presión ambiental determinada para dar el salto: "When all the necessary conditions occur—namely the right pre-eusocial traits are in place, a eusocial allele also exists in the population, even if at very low levels, and, finally, environmental pressures exist that favor group activity—the solitary species will move across the threshold into eusociality. The surprising aspect of this evolutionary step is that the eusociality gene does not need to create new forms of behavior. As in the case of many random mutations generally, it need only silence a preexisting behavior, thus halting the dispersal of parents and grown offspring from the nest. // As a result of the cancellation, the family stays home. Looking at the matter the other way, the eusoviality gene they share with the mother queen has turned them into robots, expressing one state of her own flexible phenotype. In this sense, I have argued, the primitive colony is a superorganism. It is essentially a kind of organism in whivch the working parts are not the usual cells but pre-subordinated organisms." (151). "In crossing the line to eusociality, a single allele that disposes daughters to stya can be fixed in the populations at large if the advantage of the little group over solitaires outweighs the advantage of each offspring leaving to try on its own" (153). "Although some individual direct selection may play a role in the origin of eusociality, the force that targets the maintenance and elaboration of eusociality is by necessity environmentally based group selection, which acts upon the emergent traits of the group as a whole" (155-56). "This origin of an anatomically distinct worker caste appears to mark the 'point of no return' in evolution, at which eusocial life becomes irreversible" (157).


17. How Natural Selection Creates Social Instincts

After the heyday of behaviorism and Skinner in the 1950s, "In the two decades that followed, the idea of instinct shaped by natural selection defeated this perception of the brain as a blank slate. At least it did so for animals. For two more decades, however, the blank slate was kept alive for human social behavior. Many writers in the social sciences and humanities continued to insist that the mind is entirely the product of its environment and past history" (158). Basic principles of evolutionary genetics: "One of the principles is the distinction between the unit of heredity, as opposed to the target of selection in the process that drives evolution. The unit is a gene or arrangement of genes that form part of the hereditary code (...). The target of selection is the trait or combination of traits encoded by the units of heredity and favored or disfavored by the environment" (162). "Traits (targets) that are acted upon exclusively by selection between groups are those emerging from interactions among members of each group. These interactions include communication, division of labor, dominance, and cooperation in performing communal tasks" (163). Wilson emphasizes that the amount of phenotipe plasticity is itself subject to natural selection. Finally, "It is easy to confuse proximate and ultimate causation in particular cases, and especially in the complex multilevel process of human evolution" (165). E.g. bipedality etc. are important preadaptations, but the definitive cause of human sociality is the development of the human brain.

18. The Forces of Social Evolution

Possible sources of altruism and sociality: Wilson favors group selection, i.e. "that hereditary altruists form groups so cooperative and well-organized as to outcompete nonaltruist groups" (166). In the case of hymenoptera, "the belief that haplodiploidy and eusociality are caussally linked became standard in general reviews and textbooks of the 1970s and 1980s" (170), now discredited, like kin selection and inclusive-fitness theory; "there are mathematical difficulties with the definition of r, the degree of relatedness. These difficulties render incorrect the oft-repeated claim that group seletion is the same as kin selection expressed through inclusive fitness" (171). "Most biologists who knew inclusive-fitness theory only from a distance were surprised to learn that when measures are actually calculated there is no consistent biological concept behind the 'relatedness' parameter" (173). "If there is a general theory that works for everything (multilevel natural selection) and a theory that works only for some cases (kin selection), and in the few cases where the latter works it agrees with the general theory of multilevel selection, why not simply stay with the general theory everywhere?" (175). Wilson seems to point out that some theorist were reaching foregone conclusions, instead from going from the problem to a viable theory: "Almost all research in inclusive-fitness theory has been the opposite: hypothesize the key roles of kinship and kin selection, then look for evidence to test that hypothesis" (175).
 "Kin selection, if it occurs at all in animals, must be a weak form of selection that occurs only in special conditions easily violated. As the object of general theory, inclusive fitness is a phantom mathematical construction that cannot be fixed in any manner that conveys realistic biological meaning" (20). So we find in Wilson here a strong argument against methodological apriorism and formalism, and a defense of multilevel selection and group selection against the traditional "selfish gene" approach.

19. The Emergence of a New Theory of Eusociality


In social insects: "Grouping by family can accelerate the spread of eusocial alleles, but it does not of itself lead to advanced social behavior. The causative agent of advanced social behavior is the advantage of a defensible nest, especially one expensive to make and within reach of a sustainable supply of food. Because of this primary condition in the insects, close genetic relatedness in primitive colony formation is the consequence, not the cause, of eusocial behavior" (185). (Lo cual no sé si es muy compatible con la noción anteriormente expuesta de la modificación del comportamiento como origen: lo de las crías quedándose en el nido en lugar de irse): "Crossing the threshold to eusociality requires only that a female and her adult offspring fail to disperse to start new, individual nests. Instead, they remain at the old nest" (185)—(Y entonces eran parientes, to begin with??). In ants or bees, "the queen and her workers have the same genes that prescribe caste and division of labor, although they vary extensively in other genes. This circumstance lends credence to the view that the colony can be viewed as an individual organism or, more precisely, an individual superorganism. Further, insofar as social behavior is concerned, descent is from queen to queen, with the worker force as an extension of each in turn. Group selection still occurs, but it is conceived to be selected as the traits of the queen and the extrasomatic projection of her personal genome" (186). "The natural history of the more primitively eusocial animals, and especially the structure of their nests and fierce defense of them, suggests that a key element in the origin of eusociality is defense against enemies, including parasites, predators, and rival colonies" (186)—Y es este elemento eusocial el que sí cree Wilson que es extensible a las sociedades humanas, diferentes sin embargo de los insectos sociales en la capacidad de reproducción de todos los individuos). In insects, "Group-level selection drives changes in the insect colony life cycle and social structures, often to bizarre extremes, producing elaborate superorganisms" (187). In contrast, the human species has achieved a "culture-based social condition" (187). How?

V. What Are We?


20. What Is Human Nature?

"If raw, untransformed human nature were to be revealed, and the philosophers's stone thus attained, what would it be? What it would look like? Would we love it? A better question may be: Do we really want to know?" (191). "The very existence of human nature was denied during the last century by most social scientists. They clung to the dogma, in spite of mounting evidence, that all social behavior is learned and all culture is the product of history passed from one generation to the next" (191). (En el libro de Carlos Beorlegui La singularidad de la especie humana aparece una discusión al respecto, y una clasificación que distingue cuatro posiciones, biologista rígida, biologista flexible, culturalista flexible y culturalista rígida. Wilson aparece, en una versión anterior de su pensamiento, como biologista flexible, y Beorlegui promueve la postura culturalista flexible, según la cual la naturaleza humana es por la propia biología de la especie extremadamente adaptable y moldeable por el entorno cultural. Por cierto que en el presente libro Wilson ha modificado algunas posiciones evolucionistas genetistas de las que eran criticadas por Beorlegui). "I believe that ample evidence, arising from multiple branches of learning in the sciences and humanities, allows a clear definition of human nature. But before suggesting it, let me first explain ewhat it is not. Human nature is not the genes underlying it. They prescribe the developmental rules of the brain, sensory system, and behavior that produce human nature. Nor can the universals of culture discovered by anthropologists be defined collectively as human nature. (192). "If the genetic code underlying human nature is too close to its molecular underpinning and the cultural universals are too far away from it, it follows that the best place to search for hereditary human nature is in between, in the rules of development prescribed by genes, through which the universals of culture are created. // Human nature is the inherited regularities of mental development common to our species. They are the 'epigenetic rules', which evolved by the interaction of genetic and cultural evolution that occurred over a long period in deep prehistory" (193). "The behaviors created by epigenetic rules are not hardwired like reflexes. It is the epigenetic rules instead that are hardwired, and hence compose the true core of huma nnature. These behaviors are learned, but the process is what psychologists call 'prepared'" (194). Against the "blank-slate" brain and the promethean gene of the 1970s and 1980s: "This biologically nondimensional view of social evolution was further deduced from a kind of second key hypothesis, the psychic unity of mankind. This opinion held that human culture evolved during too short a time for genetic evolution to have occurred, at least beyond the all-purpose promethean genotype that separates humanity from other animal species" (197). But "The explosion of new mutations that occurred following the breakout from Africa some 60,000 years ago created large numbers of such potentially adaptive new genes. It would be suprising that genetic evolution has not ocvcurred in different populations as they colonized the rest of the world" (197-98). Genes for milk digestion, for sickle-cell anemia, & older too: "Put together, [such intertwined coevolutionary processes] form a class of genetic changes different in kind from the local acquisition of lactose tolerance. They are universal in modern humanity and also ancient, their origins predating the emergence of modern Homo sapiens and at least in some cases even the human-chimpanzee split of more than six milion years ago. Working at the level of cognition and emotion, their effect on the evolution of language and culture has been both deep and wide. They make up mucho of what is intuitively called 'human nature'" (198-99). E.g. incest avoidance has been theorized by anthropologists, as a basis for human culture, but "For the explanation of the origin of exogamy as an instincet of profound genetic value, however, one need look no further than the universal pattern followed by all other primate species" (200). The example of relative universals for color terms and color perception. (A Wilson se le escapa en sus especulaciones sobre el color la importancia de la asociación del rojo al peligro debido al color de la sangre).

21. How Culture Evolved


"As defined broadly by both anthropologists and biologists, culture is the combination of traits that distinguishes one group from another. A culture trait is behavior that is either first invented within a group or else learned from another group, then transmitted among members of the group" (213). (Bueno, se refiere a comportamiento y no a genes obviamente: pero queda la duda de si las proprensiones cognitivas no aprendidas y desarrolladas en el seno de un grupo existen y son heredables). "The elaboration of culture depends upon long-term memory, and in this capacity humans rank far above all animals" (214). Culture as collective memory of a community—Wilson remembers the culture of his childhood Mobile, most of it now lost. "The great gift of the human brain is the capacity—and with it the irresistible inborn drive—to build scenarios. For each story in turn, the conscious mind summons only a minute fraction of the brain's accumulated long-term memory. How this is done remains controversial. One group of neuroscientists argues that fragments of long-term memory are transformed from long-term storage and congealed into working memory to make scenarios. A second school believes, with the same data, that the process is achieved simply by the arousal of long-term memory—with no transfer from one sector of the brain to another needed" (215-16). Blank-slate theory of learning dismissed: "the brain has a complex inherited architecture. As a consequence of the way it was built, the conscious mind, one of the architecture's products, originated by gene-culture coevolution, an intricate interplay of genetic and cultural evolution" (217). Cognitive archaeology as the reconstruction of cognitive process and complexity. "And what of speech? A conscious mind able to generate abstractions and piece them together in a complex scenario might, it seems, also generate a syntactical language, with sequences of subject, verb, and object" (218). Neanderthals and FOX2 gene, they may have had language; their children's brains matured faster. "What was the driving force that led to the threshold of complex culture? It appears to have been group selection. A gorup with members who could read intentions and cooperate among themselves while predicting the actions of competing groups, would have an enormous advantage over others less gifted. There was undoubtedly competition among group members, leading to natural selection of traits that gave advantage of one individual over another. But more important for a species entering new environments and competing with powerful rivals were unity and cooperation within the group. Morality, conformity, religious fervor and fighting ability combined with imagination and memory to produce the winner." (224).


22. The Origins of Language

"The clue to the advance of Homo, I believe, lies in the cvritical preadaptation that had carried the few other evolving animal species in the history of life that have managed to cross the eusociality threshold. Every one, without exception, from the two dozen or so insect and crustacean lines to the naked mole rats, defended a nest from which members could forage for enough food to sustain the colony" (225). Homo habilis began establishing campsites: "Now they selected defensible sites and fortified them, with some staying for extended periods to protect the young while others hunted. When controlled fire at the camp was added, the advantage of this way of life was solidified" (226). Tomasello et al. "point out that the primary and crucial difference between human cognition and that of other animal species, including our closest genetic relatives, the chimpanzees, is the ability to collaborate for the purpose of achieving shared goals and intentions. The human speciality is intentionality, fashioned from an extremely large working memory. We have become the experts at mind reading, and the world champions at inventing culture" (226). Mind reading essential to human social networks, they cooperate and read others' intentions better than chimpanzees: "Humans, it appears, are successful not because of an elevated general intelligence that addresses all challenges but becaus they are born to be specialists in social skills. By cooperating through the communication and the reading of intention, groups accomplish far more than the efforts of any solitary person" (227).  They developed shared attention, common cooperative goals, and a theory of mind, "the recognition that their own mental states were shared by others" (228). "Language as the grail of human social evolution, achieved. Once installed, it bestowed almost magical powers on the human species" (228). Tomasello: "What is language if not a set of coordination devices for directing the attention of others?" (qtd. in Wilson 229).
(Not addressed by Wilson, but there is an important argument regarding the growth of language BEFORE complex intentionality, and one tied to socio-ecological transformations proper to the human lineage, which is put forward by Derek Bickerton. See my summary/review of Adam's Tongue. Strange that Wilson does not address this issue, being a specialist in ants. The displacement symbolism of language and the social sharing of attention may have converged from different cognitive roots, and given rise to complex language through emergence). "Unlike communication in bees and other animals, human language became capable of detached representation, in which reference is made to objects and events not present in the immediate vicinity—or even in existence" (230). Chomsky vs Skinner, special module? Perhaps both right, but Skinner more so: there is a time in early childhood with special ability to learn, but no special brain module for grammar, although "there does appear to be a bisaisng epigenetic rule for word order embedded in our deeper cognitive structure, but its final products in grammar are highly flexible and learned" (235); "the rapidly changing environment of speech does not provide a stable environment for natural selection" (235), so no inscribed language module. "It is not going too far, I believe, to add that the failure of natural seletion to create an independent universal grammar has played a major role in the diversification of culture and, from that flexibility and potential inventiveness, the flowering of human genius" (235).



23. The Evolution of Cultural Variation

Con frecuencia se entiende mal el condicionamiento genético de la cultura y el comportamiento, como si un elemento dado dependiese de una alternativa tajante entre determinismo y constructivismo cultural: "What genes prescribe or assist in prescribing is not one trait as opposed to another but the frequency of traits and the pattern they form as cultural innovation made them available. The expression of the genes may be plastic, allowing a society to choose one or more traits from among a multiplicity of choices. Or else it may not be plastic, allowing only one trait to be chosen by all societies" (236). "Biologists who study development have discovered that the degree of plasticity in the expression of genes, like the presence of the genes themselves, is subject to evolution by natural selection" (237). Small variations like the alteration in the amount of an existing protein, produce finely-tuned changes in structure or behavior. "Cultural variation in humans is determined mostly by two properties of social behavior, both of which are subject to evolution by natural selection. The first is the degree of bias in the epigenetic rulevery low in dress fashion, very high in incest avoidance. The second property of cultural variation is the likelihood that individual group members imitate others in the same society who have adapted [adopted?] the trait ('sensitivity to usage pattern')." (Aquí podría hablarse de los "early adopters", las modas e influencias de las élites y vanguardias, y del principio de "dónde va Vicente, donde va la gente").


24. The Origins of Morality and Honor


(Este es uno de los puntos principales del libro de Wilson, identificando la peculiaridad del comportamiento social humano y de los dilemas morales como resultado de una tensión entre dos principios selectivos: selección individidual, y de grupo, que han dado forma a la especie humana por selección multinivel). "The dilemma of good and evil was created by multilevel selection, in which individual selection and group selection act together on the same individual but largely in opposition to each other. Individual selection is the result of competition for survival and reproduction among members of the same group. It shapes instincets in each member that are fundamentally selfish with reference to other members. In contrast, group selection consists of competition between societies, through both direct conflict and differential competence in exploiting the environment. Group selection shapes instincts that tend to make individuals altruistic toward one another (but not towards members of other groups). Individual selection is responsible for much of what we call sin, while group selection is responsible for the greater part of virtue. Together they have created the conflict between the poorer and the better angels of our nature" (241). (Habría que matizar que la cuestión queda un tando desdibujada por el hecho de que la selección individual no sólo selecciona al individuo frente a otros individuos del grupo, sino también frente a seres o grupos de seres de otras especies que compiten por los mismos recursos; y la selección de grupo no sólo selecciona a un grupo frente a otros grupos de la misma especie, sino también frente a otros seres o grupos que compiten por los mismos recursos. Wilson tiene otras definiciones más restrictivas:) "Individual selection,  defined precisely, is the differential longevity and fertility of individuals in competition with other members of the group. Group selection is the differential longevity and lifetime fertility of those genes that prescribe traits of interaction among members of the group, having arisen during competition with other groups" (242). (Son definiciones que a mi entender no agotan todo el terreno de la competencia por la vida, la reproducción y los recursos). "To see human nature as the product of this evolutionary trajectory is to unlock the ultimate causes of our sensations and thought. To put together both proximate and ultimate causes is the key to self-understanding, the means to see ourselves as we truly are and then to explore outside the box" (242). "Group selection in its turn promoted the genetic interests of individuals with privilege and status as rewards for outstanding performance on behalf of the tribe" (243). (Not quite, I think: group selection promotes the dynamics of the whole tribe as against competitors, not the genetic interests of any individuals. That is individual selection, which nonetheless may work within the cultural ecosystem of the tribe in the way Wilson says, through the promotion of ideologies and modes of behavior which have arisen through group selection. Which may give rise to the paradox pointed out by Wilson next, one that I further comment on in Sociobiological Key Largo). "Nevertheless, an iron rule exists in genetic social evolution. It is that selfish individuals beat altruistic individuals, while groups of altruists beat groups of selfish individuals. The victory can never be complete: the balance of selection pressures cannot move to either extreme. If individual selection were to dominate, societies would dissolve. if group selection were to dominate, human groups would resemble ant colonies" (243). Vs. overestimating the importance of kin selection in groups: "Kinship influences the structure of the network, but it is not the key to its evolutionary dynamics as is wrongly posited by inclusive-fitness theory. Instead, what counts is the hereditary propensity to form the myriad alliances, favors, exchanges of information, and betrayals that make up daily life in the network" (243). "Our instincts desire the tiny, united-band networks that prevailed during the hundreds of millennia preceding the dawn of history. Our instincts remain unprepared for civilization" (244). (Bueno, los de algunos más que los de otros, será... Algunos bien que maximizan la civilización). "We worry. We ask, to whom in this shifting global world of countless overlapping groups should we pledge our loyalty?"  (245). Social empathy: "unless people are psychopaths, they automatically feel the pain of others" (245). (Pero a veces si no son de nuestro grupo no parece importar mucho, ¿no?). Pfaff: brain's ability to "lose" oneself psychologically and transfer one's identity a bit to another person; often in the clash of emotions; "The brain of our Janus-like species is a supremely complex system of intersecting nerve cells, hormones, and neurotransmitters. It creates processes that variously reinforce or cancel one another out, accoridng to context" (245). Meeting of cooperators will not necessarily promote the rise of cooperation: "Only group selection, with groups containing more cooperators pitted against groups with fewer cooperators, will result in a shift at the level of the species toward greater and wider instinctive cooperation" (248). (Una cuestión quizá oscurecida aquí es con quién se coopera: no con miembros de la misma especie, sino con miembros del mismo grupo. Si bien la especie es en diversos contextos un grupo, en sentido amplio. Quiero decir que lo que fomenta la selección de grupo no es sólo la cooperación, sino también la capacidad de confrontación con otros grupos: si no estrictamente la hostilidad hacia otros grupos, sí las alianzas variables y cambiantes, de manera que "los nuestros" y "los otros" se dividen según líneas muy móviles, pero una vez delimitados en un caso dado se les aplica una norma inflexible: together we stand, divided we fall; los nuestros siempre tienen razón; a los otros, no hay que darles ni agua. Así, la selección de grupo fomenta, creo, la cooperación entre el grupo, la capacidad de flexibilizar el grupo mediante alianzas, Y LA HOSTILIDAD frente a los grupos rivales. Somos hijos de la guerra. También se ve esta característica humana con especial y desagradable claridad en las escenas en que hay que elegir rápidamente bandos en un conflicto: ya sea en las obras históricas de Shakespeare, en Juego de Tronos, o al comienzo de la Guerra Civil española. O conmigo, o contra mí: hasta Jesucristo lo dijo). Otra regla social es la lucha contra el parasitismo:  "Relentless ambivalence and ambiguity are the fruits of the strange primate inheritance that rules the human mind. To be human is also to level others, especially those who appear to receive more than they have earned. Even within the ranks of the elite, delicate games are played to achieve ever highter status while steering through the succesive ranks of jealous rivals. Be modest in demeanor, ever modest, is the necessary stratagem" (249). (Donde hay mucha cooperación social, se potencia también mediante selección individual el parasitismo. Parasitismo lo hay a todos los niveles: desde el establecido por ley, privilegiando a las élites, hasta el que se basa en sortear o vulnerar las leyes. De ahí las dinámicas contrarias, de potenciación del parasitismo, y de las estrategias antiparasitarias, de las que habla Wilson. Esas estrategias son por una parte pro-sociales, y por otra antisociales, en la medida en que la misma existencia de la sociedad fomenta el parasitismo. Quizá lo complejo de esta dinámica no quede bien captado en la descripción de Wilson). "Since everyone knows the game, people are always willing to counter it if they safely can. They are acutely sensitive to hypocrisy and ever ready to level thoseo on the rise whose credentials are anything less than impeccable. All levelers, which means just about everybody, have a formidable armament at their disposal. Roasts, jokes, parodies, and mocking laughter are remedies to weaken the haughty and over-ambitious" (249). (También lo son la simulación de trabajar, donde el parasitismo se junta con el antiparasitismo; el sabotaje, la hostilidad a los poderosos....). "People gain visceral pleasure in more than just leveling and cooperating. They also enjoy seeing punishment meted out to those who do not cooperate (freeloaders, criminals) and even to those who do not contribute at levels commensurate with their status (the idle rich)." (250). "In the brain, the administration of such 'altruistic punishment' lights up the bilateral anterior insula, a center of the brain also activated by pain, anger, and disgust" (251). "Our species is not Homo oeconomicus. At the end of the day, it emerges as something more complicated and interesting. We are Homo sapiens, imperfect beings, solidering on with conflicted impulses through an unpredictable, implacably threatening world, doing our best with what we have" (251). Most values in human societies stand the test of biology-based realism; others do not—"such as the ban on artificial conception, condemnation of homosexual preference and forced marriages of adolescent girls". Scientific knowledge of human nature will benefit ethical reflection, even if the result seems relativistic to some.


25. The Origins of Religion

Sobre el extraño predominio de los creyentes en un país educado como EE.UU.: "There are historical reasons why fundamentalist Protestants make up such a large percentage of Americans, which I leave to historians to explain. But to those who believe that their culture might be broken by ridicule and reason, I say think again. There are circumstances under which intelligent, well-educated people equate their identity and the meaning of their lives with their religion, and this is one of them" (257). "The evidence that lies before us in great abundance points to organized religion as an expression of tribalism" (258). "The illogic of religions is not a weakness in them, but their essential strength" (259). Los líderes religiosos debían con frecuencia sus visiones a estados mentales alterados, alucinógenos o cerebros delirantes. Por ejemplo San Juan y su Apocalipsis. "Johns dreams have exercised a profound effect on the aay millions of perfectly sane and responsible people view the world and to a varying extent order their lives. His declarations may be thought true, but, in my sober judgement the image of a baleful Jesus threatening to cleave dissidents with a first-century sword is so far out of line with the remainder of the New Testament as to make a simple biological explanation preferable" (263). Orígenes del la creencia en la otra vida, en las visiones de los muertos en los sueños, y aún más en alucinaciones inducidas. ¿A quién se dirige en realidad la obediencia jurada a las religiones? "Is it to an entity that may have no meaning within reach of the human mind—or may not even exist? Yes, perhaps it really is to God. But perhaps it is no more than a tribe united by a creation myth. If the latter, religious faith is better interpreted as an unseen trap unavoidable during the biological history of our species. And if this is correct, surely there exist ways to find spiritual fulfillment without surrender and enslavement. Humankind deserves better" (267).


26. The Origins of the Creative Arts

Brain is most aroused by patterns having c. 20% redundancy, common to primitive art and modern design. "A quality of great art is its ability to guide attention from one of its parts to another in a manner that pleases, informs and provokes" (271). Universals in taste for landscape: people "want to be on a height looking down, they prefer open savanna-like terrain with scattered trees and copses, and they want to be close to a body of water, such as a river, lake, or ocean" (271-2). Conflicts in human mind due to 2 types of natural selection: "we can expect a continuing conflict between components of behavior favored by individual selection and those favored by group selection. Selection at the individual level tends to create competitiveness and selfish behavior among group members—in status, mating, and the securing of resources. In opposition, selection between groups tends to create selfless behavior, expressed in greater generosity and altruism, which in turn promote stronger cohesion and strenght of the group as a whole. // An intevitable result of the mutually offsetting forces in multilevel selection is permanent ambiguity in the individual human mind, leading to countless scenarios among people in the way they bond, love, affiliate, betray, share, sacrifice, steal, deceive, redeem, punish, appeal and adjudicate. The struggle endemic to each person's brain, mirrored in the vast superstructure of cultural evolution, is the fountainhead of the humanities" (273-74). Scope of the humanities described as a sum of disciplines and concerns, language, philosophy, jurisprudence, history, etc.: "Such may be the scope of the humanities, but it makes no allusion to the understanding of the cognitive processes that bind them all together, nor their relation to hereditary human nature, nor their origins in prehistory. Surly we will never see a full maturing of the humanities until these dimensions are added" (275). Importance of dreaming and storytelling for innovation: "In the early stages of creation of both art and science, everything in the mind is a story. There is an imagined denouement, and perhaps a start, and a selection of bits and pieces that might fit between" (275).  "Science grows in a manner not well appreciated by nonscientists: it is guided as much by peer approval as by the truth of its technical claims. Reputation is the silver and gold of scientific careers" (276). Picasso, "Art is the lie that helps us to see the truth" (277). Creative explosion in the Paleolithic c. 35,000 years ago in Europe. "From this time on until the Late Paleolithic period over 20,000 years later, cave art flourished. Thousands of figures, mostly of large game animals, have been found in more than two hundred caves distributed thorugout southwestern France and northeastern Spain, on both sides of the Pyrenees" (279) (O sea, en mi vecindario inmediato...). Complexity of art in primitive cultures. Piraha, no numbers or concept of counting, no terms for colors, no creation myths, do not draw, yet they have songs.  "Music is closely linked to language in mental development and in some ways appears to be derived from language" (283).



VI. Where Are We Going?

27. A New Enlightenment

"Given our miserable lack of self-understanding as a species, the better goal at this time may be to choose where not to go" (287). "The more we learn about our physical existence, the more apparent it becomes that even the most vcomplex forms of human behavior are ultimately biological." (288). "Yet, by any conceivable standard, humanity is far and away life's greatest achievement. We are the mind of the biosphere, the solar system, and—who can say?–perhaps the galaxy. Looking about us, we have learned to translate into our narrow audivisual systems the sensory modalities of other organisms. We know much of the physicochemical basis of our own biology. We will soon create simple organisms in the laboratory. We have learned the history of the universe and look out almost to its edge" (288). We are the result of multilevel natural selection, individuals competing with individuals and collaborating in groups competing with groups: "The opposition between the two levels of natural selection has resulted in a chimeric genotype in each person. It renders each of us part saint and part sinner" (289). Wilson vs. the theory of inclusive fitness and kin selection, replacing it with "standard models of population genetics applied to multiple levels of natural selection" (289), a mathematical critique of inclusive fitness was developed from 2004 to 2010; "group selection is clearly the process responsible for advanced social behavior" (289-90). "We understand too well that no one is so wise and great taht he cannot make a catastrophic mistake, or any organization so noble to be free of corruption. We, all of us, live out our lives in conflict and contention" (290). "Gossip has always been the favorite occupation, in every society from hunter-gatherer bands to royal courts. To weigh as accurately as possible the intentions and trust-worthiness of those who affect our own personal lives is both very human and highly adaptive. It is also adaptive to judge the impact of others' behavior on the welfare of the group as a whole. We are geniuses at reading intentions of others while they too struggle hour by hour with their own angels and demons" (290-91). Early humans created gods in order to understand the universe, and as an analogue at a cosmic level of their own tribal authorities. Religions have been crucial to the identity of groups, "To question the sacred myths is to question the identity and worth of those who believe them" (292). "Why, then, is it wise openly to question the myths and gods of organized religions? Because they are stultifying and divisive" (...) "Because they encourage ignorance, distract people from recognizing problems of the real world, and often lead them in wrong directions into disastrous actions" (292) —they passionately encourage altruism in the group but often confrontation with other groups. Belief will be weakened by scientific analysis of its causes. "Another trend against the misadventure of sectarian devotion is the growth of the internet and the globalization of institutions and people using it. A recent analysis has shown that the increasing interconnection of people worldwide strengthens their cosmopolitan attitude. It does so by weakening the significance of ethnicity, locality, and nationhood as sources of identification" (...) Inevitably, it will weaken confidence in creation myths and sectarian dogmas" (293). Importance of realizing present danger of exhausting natural resources: "if we save the living world, we will also automatically save the physical world, because in order to achieve the first we must also achieve the second" (294). "Another principle that I believe can be justified by scientific evidence so far is that nobody is going to emigrate from this planet, not ever" (295) "The same cosmic myopia exists today a fortiori in dreams of colonizing other star systems. It is an especially dangerous delusion if we see emigration into space as a solution to be taken when we have used up this planet" (296). No aliens visiting us, if exist and have achieved wisdom: "It would be enough to settle down and explore the limitless possibilities for fulfillment on the home planet" (297).




El origen (del lenguaje)




Lunes 13 de agosto de 2012

Woman Walks on Beach


Woman Walks on Beach


El Frente Popular (apuntes de Beevor)


Historia de allá por febrero y marzo de 1936, del libro La Guerra Civil Española, de Antony Beevor, y comentarios míos en cursiva.
Las elecciones del 16 de febrero de 1936 "iban a ser las últimas elecciones democráticas que se celebrarían en España durante cuarenta años" (51) (suponiendo que en un ambiente tan antidemocrático pueda llamarse a las elecciones democráticas... ) "Los sentimientos de unos y de otros eran demasiado fuertes como para permitir que la democracia funcionara normalmente. Ambas partes recurrían a un lenguaje apocalíptico que canalizaba las expectativas de sus seguidores hacia una salida violenta, no política. Largo Caballero había dicho que si las derechas ganaban las elecciones, se iría ala guerra civil abierta" (51)—y los otros parecido. La ley electoral favoreía además la polarización. La CEDA constituye un frente contrarrevolucionario con monárquicos y carlistas (si bien habría que apuntar que la democracia es de por sí contrarrevolucionaria en sentido estricto, y que los revolucionarios no eran demócratas. Beevor participa de la presentación distorsionada de Gil Robles haciéndolo parecer un pequeño Mussolini). La manipulación ideológica de los votantes y demonización del adversario era extrema. La Iglesia incitaba a la insurrección contra el gobierno cuando perjudicaba sus intereses (pero me parece excesivo hablar del "tren de vida" de los obispos como hace Beevor). Los fieles no mantenían adecuadamente a los sacerdotes. En el programa de la izquierda estaba "promulgar una amnistía para los 20.000 o 25.000 presos políticos que había en España tras la revolución de Octubre" —(Aquí es posiblemente tendencioso llamarlos presos "políticos", pues se había tratado de una insurrección armada con muchas víctimas y grandes destrozos). "La firme decisión de la izquierda de liberar de la cárcel a todos los condenados por el levantamiento de 1934 no era precisamente garantía de su resepto por el imperio de la ley y el gobierno constitucional" (53). Muchos querían disolver el Ejército, la Guañrdia Civil, las órdenes religiosas... y la derecha decía que había cláusulas secretas en el programa que se llevarían a efecto al ganar la izquierda. (Lo cual es altamente probable).

Miembros del Frente Popular: "Izquierda Republicana, Unión Republicana, Partido Socialista Obrero Español, Juventudes Socialistas, Partido Comunista de España, Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista, Partido Sindicalista y Unión General de Trabajadores." En Cataluña, Esquerra Republicana, Acció Catalana Republicana, Partit Nacionalista Republicà Català, Unió Socialista de Catalunya, Unió de Rabassaires, y pequeños partidos comunistas constituyeron el Front d'Esquerres. El PNV fue por libre. La estrategia de la Comintern pasaba por una victoria de la izquierda moderada para debilitar la posición de la derecha. Sin embargo, los dirigentes de la Comintern difícilmente estaban interesados en preservar, a la larga, a la clase media. La estrategia del Frente Popular no era más que un medio para conseguir el poder" (55). (O sea que sí había maquiavélica estrategia comunista, como decían las derechas...). La bandera de la defensa de la república era un instrumento, luego se iría "más allá", lo cual "significaba también que la eliminación de los rivales políticos tenía máxima prioridad desde el principio" (55)—por ejemplo haciendo correr el bulo de que los anarquistas eran en realidad elementos controlados por los fascistas. Largo Caballero usaba una retórica leninista más extremada que la de los "discretos" comunistas, llamando a la eliminación de las clases medias. "Pero, fueran o no sus discursos producto de la intoxicación revolucionaria, o revelaran sus propias intenciones en aquel momento, no es sorprendente que la derecha, amenazada de extinción por la izquierda, se preparara para dar una respuesta" (56 - en lo cual veo que conviene Beevor más bien con Pío Moa que con los historiadores universitarios españoles o con Preston. También merecería comentario que los partidos de izquierda supuestamente no violentos, como Izquierda Republicana o Unión Republicana—no se puede incluir entre ellos al PSOE, claro—iban o bien engañados o bien autoengañados al juntarse en una coalición de guerracivilistas, y contribuir a darle fuerzas). Contribuyó a la victoria de la izquierda que la CNT no pidió la abstención, quería sacar de la cárcel a sus militantes. (Hay que observar que con una ley de partidos como la actual la mitad de estos partidos del año 36 se considerarían o bien organizaciones terroristas, o afines a ellas, y estarían fuera de la ley... a menos que se les aplicase la vista gorda que ha aplicado el Tribunal Constitucional a los partidos etarras).

(A continuación da Beevor unas cifras de las elecciones del 36 que son claramente engañosas, si no directamente falsas. En el texto va contabilizado hasta el último voto, como si se tuviesen las cifras, pero la nota explica que son cifras procedentes de unos cálculos estadísticos de Tusell, basados en "los votos recibidos por el cabeza de cada lista"—lo cual no es lo mismo. La izquierda gana por un margen exiguo, las cifras de votos son dudosas, y aunque Beevor observa que el día de la votación no hubo coacciones, es precipitado sacar la conclusión de que fue una jornada democrática así sin más, y que las denuncias franquistas de que había un ambiente de amedrentamiento y manipulación sean una pura invención. Como siempre la verdad es más complicada de lo que dice una de las partes en conflicto).

Ganó la izquierda por menos del 2%, y obtuvo más escaños; sorprendente el mínimo apoyo a la Falange, "lo que que da una idea algo más real de la amenaza fascista de la que proclamaba Largo Caballero" (57)—la mayoría de los votos fueron a la CEDA (a la que luego la izquierda ha demonizado como fascista, hasta Beevor dice que "no se atrevió" a llevar a cabo un golpe de estado o de hacerse con el poder por medios violentos, en lugar de decir que "no quería" o "no le parecía adecuado"—y le reprocha su discurso socialdemócrata como "hipócrita"). "La izquierda, sin pararse a considerar la estrechez de su victoria, procedió a comportarse como si hubiese recibido un mandato aplastante para el cambio revolucionario. Como era de esperar, la derecha se exasperó al ver cómo las multitudes corrían a liberar a los presos, sin esperar siquiera a una amnistía" (57). Sí se decretó el estado de alarma unos días; "El jefe del Estado Mayor Central, general Franco, lo amplió por su cuenta al 'estado de guerra' en Zaragoza, Valencia, Oviedo y Alicante para reprimir lo que Gil Robles llamaba 'locura colectiva de las masas'" (58) (—que, desde luego, no estaban ateniéndose a la ley y el orden, aunque en España suele opinarse que eso es pecatta minuta, siempre que lo hagan los del bando de uno).

(Los militares ya estaban preparando un golpe, primero digamos que "por las buenas": "
Ante su escasa confianza en que el golpe saliese adelante, Franco se entrevistó de nuevo con Portela el día 19 de febrero para espetarle que 'si deja[ba] pasar al comunismo' contraería una gravísima responsabilidad ante la historia. Pero Portela no estaba para chantajes morales: hundido, deshecho ('produce la impresión de un fantasma, no de un jefe de gobierno' en palabras de Azaña), dimitió aquel mismo día" (59) y Alcalá Zamora pidió a Azaña que formara gobierno. (Tal como lo pone Beevor parece como si fuese una fantasmada de Franco el decir que sería una gran responsabilidad ante la historia el no detener el avance del comunismo. Que se lo pregunten a las víctimas de Stalin, o a los de Paracuellos. Pero aquí todo lo que se hiciese llevaba a contraer grandes responsabilidades, hasta dimitir y no hacer nada). El PSOE no entró en el gobierno, ni el PC, sólo Izquierda Republicana y Unión Republicana, pero la derecha y la Iglesia estaban alarmadas (—Vistas las matanzas de curas que siguieron, no parece que fuera sin razón...).

"La derecha había comprendido que para salvaguardar su idea de España la vía parlamentaria ya no le era de utilidad, aunque sólo fuera porque sus oponentes de la izquierda ya habían demostrado su propia voluntad de ignorar el imperio de la ley" (59).

Azaña se apresuró a conceder una amnistía (en parte cediendo al chantaje) y cambió de destino a los generales sospechosos. March, mangoneante mangante ayudado por Calvo Sotelo, ayudó con otros a financiar a la Falange, y al golpe por venir (el conde de los Andes presidía una comisión antirrepublicana a este efecto). La economía se hundía, el dinero huía, y Azaña indultaba a los expropiadores de tierras y ocupadores de fincas y proseguía las expropiaciones (Aquí se suele acudir a la explicación de la maldad de los inversores, pero es que no se hace economía próspera con buenas intenciones—ni quemando los muebles. La izquierda, tuerta de un ojo, tiende a ver sólo las consecuencias deseables de sus expropiaciones y revoluciones). "El problema real con que se enfrentaba el gobierno de centro-izquierda de Azaña nacía de su pacto fáustico con la izquierda dura de los caballeristas, que veían aquel gobierno como el equivalente del régimen de Kerenski en Rusia, cosa que compartía la derecha" (61). (¿Y esto no lo veía Azaña? Parece que sí veía que lo veían así. Pero ahí seguía, aliado con sus aliados. Eso no se llama altura intelectual, carácter que se le suele atribuir con demasiada precipitación a Azaña). Mientras crecía Falange, con un ideario entre fascista y tradicionalista militar y autoritario (Aunque se definía como no de izquierdas ni de derechas, sino de centro. De extremo centro, sería. Y supuestamente anticapitalista, al menos sí adoptaba un ideario antiliberal y socializante, no más que Franco o el PP, claro). Para Beevor, la Falange era más conservadora que los revolucionarios movimientos nazi y fascista: "La ideología de la Falange eno era ya contradictoria sino esquizofrénica" (64). Entre atentados y entrevistas con Franco, Jose Antonio fue detenido por tenencia ilícita de armas: un caballero educado y encantador según todos, pero con ideas asesinas. Como los carlistas, iban ya comprando armas para la guerra en ciernes. A través del general Varela contactaron con los generales golpistas en la primavera del 36; como los falangistas, eran no sólo anti-izquierdistas, sino también antiliberales. (No se sabe muy bien por qué, pues de hecho, lo que se echa en falta en toda esta historia es a los liberales... o no los había, o no se votaban ni a sí mismos).


La Segunda República, Beevor La Guerra Civil Española




Domingo 12 de agosto de 2012

Me&Us


Me&Us





Prometheus


No tenía intención de escribir sobre
Prometheus  antes de verla, y menos después, lo aseguro. Una buena película a lo grande, superproducción para sesión de palomitas de fin de semana, y vale. Y es lo que es. Pero visto que hasta Roger Ebert dice que contiene mind-challenging ideas... me tomaré la molestia de comentar algunos de sus presupuestos discursivos. No le haré una crítica en tanto que espectáculo de efectos especiales, artefacto de control de la tensión y el suspense, fluidez a la hora de engarzar escenas, etc.—pues todo eso está muy conseguido, que hablamos de Hollywood y de Ridley Scott, para qué abundar más en lo obvio. Pero visto que la película toma un tema como el del origen de la humanidad y el diseño de vida inteligente, o diseño inteligente de vida, más vale poner cuatro puntos sobre cuatro íes, y hacerle una disección rápida al cráneo del titán éste. Breve, porque si nos metemos en harina la cosa explota, salpica y se queda uno hecho un asco.

 La película es por tanto entretenida, pero a base de la receta MacDonalds: ponerle a la vez mucha sal y mucha azúcar, y picante, y grasa y gluten. Concluía Oscar a la salida, y sólo tiene once años: "Esta película es como un caldo espeso demasiado nutritivo." Lamento decir que las mind-challenging ideas sin embargo no entran en la lista de ingredientes. Sí en cambio una colección intertextual de tópicos, fantasías y actitudes, ellos y sus contrarios, convenientemente centrifugados e histerizados al modo de producto postmoderno, para tocar teclas en todas las direcciones, y dar un poco de todo a todos: aventura, suspense, terror, ciencia-ficción, evolucionismo, anti-evolucionismo, diseño inteligente, ofensas a la inteligencia, mito, creacionismo, religión, escepticismo, y (lo más difícil) sorpresas y clichés a la vez.
prometheus

Ivo le veía los agujeros al guión: "Si los Ingenieros nos crearon por error, ¿cómo es que dejaron señales para localizarlos?" Robots in Masquerade opina que estaba hecha con bajo presupuesto (eso no lo sé) y apresuradamente (tampoco) y que el guión era malo y mal escrito. Sí, a veces con efectos increíblemente barateiros y de serie B dignos casi de Mortal Kombat—como el científico punky o el rugido de Alien al final como si fuese el león de la Metro. Parece como si no le hubiese impresionado bastante al guionista (el ente guionista, emplearé el singular) el final de Alien vs. Predator, con el nacimiento de Predalien de triste memoria. Hay cosas que no se deberían autorizar, digo en los estudios, ya que tienen a tanta gente a sueldo. O se le debería suponer al director un poco más de criterio para decir esto, no. De esas hay unas cuantas. Por desgracia no van sueltas sino que afectan a la sustancia del guión; una expedición científica de esgarramantas ignorantes, y sin plan como estos jamás se vio ni espero que se vea a finales de siglo.  Luego, el efectismo buscado como Plan Nº 1 también hace estragos con la implicación en lo que les pasa a los personajes. Un ejemplo y no más: cuando la protagonista descubre que está embarazada de un alien y se mete en la máquina quirúrgica para hacerse un autoaborto (—casi recordaba a la escena esa de José Mota de autocirugía barata, "hágase vd. una incisión y extraiga el órgano") bien, pues en realidad estaba bien llevado, y lo pedía en cierto modo la idea misma de Alien, literalizar el embarazo monstruoso, digamos, ya que no hay temor a caer en la redundancia. Pero es que va la cosa tan deprisa que la chica ni siquiera se molesta en comunicarle a nadie de la tripulación "oigan, que me acabo de hacer un autoaborto, que llevaba un alien en la tripa"...  No sé si parte de la película irá en este punto a defender Roe vs. Wade, ahora que Gallardón avisa de que va a prohibir los abortos eugenésicos. Pero en todo caso, por ajetreada que estuviera la vida, la cosa merecía una mención. También se pregunta uno si no se va a herniar la moza, con sus grapas en la tripa, y dando brincos por esos mundos de dios....

A lo que voy, como fantasía cultural, veo en Prometheus un síntoma, y prefiero tratarla como síntoma que no como interpretación inteligente de nada. Síntoma múltiple, de muchos síndromes que aquejan a película en sí y a la América que la produce y la hace (en los títulos de crédito sale media América que ha estado trabajando aquí). En América la mayor parte de la población es creacionista, cristiana y creyente en cuestiones de ciencia en una cosa llamada el diseño inteligente. Son ideas que no merece la pena ponerse a refutar aquí; otros lo han hecho con más tiempo y dedicación. El caso es que son estas ideas (no las llamaría yo mind-challenging sino en un sentido muy especial) la sopa primigenia de donde sale la cultura popular americana, y donde flotan no sólo los indocumentados, sino también la gente documentadísima en su propia especialidad profesional, pero desnortada cuando se trata de orientarse en el cosmos. El mapa de la Biblia, en versión adaptada al gusto de cada cual, le sigue sirviendo a mucha gente. Entiéndase: hay vida después de la muerte (cuestión en la que la película no entra, para nada, quizá dándola por imposible ya) y la humanidad fue creada por un Dios benevolente a su imagen y semejanza. Bien, para mí Prometheus viene a significar la duda sembrada en la mentalidad americana, la posibilidad de que el universo no sea benevolente ni esté hecho a la medida del ser humano. Los Ingenieros que han creado a los humanos parecen haberlo hecho por error, o han cambiado de planes; en todo caso si bien ellos son técnicamente humanos (en cuanto a su ADN) iban a reemplazar la civilización humana por otra, quizá por esos aliens que cultivan, experimentando con la vida como quien no debe...  Son humanos los Ingenieros quizá en eso, en trastear con la vida y crear seres innombrables a partir de células madre quizá, mezclando las especies y alterando el orden del universo. Quizá sean titanes revueltos contra los dioses, y ocupando su lugar. Se observará que en imaginario de la película Prometheus es no sólo la nave de los humanos, que va en busca de la chispa del fuego y de iluminación, para esclarecer el origen de la humanidad: prometeicos son también estos desagradables titanes atormentados que al parecer han creado a los humanos y no saben qué hacer con ellos. Se trasluce aquí una ansiedad menos creacionista—la consciencia actual de Occidente de que quizá el hombre es un accidente, un ser sin ubicación en un orden natural estable. O quizá es el guionista el que no sabe qué hacer con estos humanos. Recuerdan un poco a los gigantes deshumanizados y sin empatía humana de El Mundo Subterráneo de S. Fowler Wright. Los titanes Ingenieros son blancos, muy blancos, hiperblancos, en ese sentido los podemos asimilar a Moby Dick, mostruo inhumano, y a otros excesos de whiteness analizados por Richard Dyer en White. Uno de los ejemplos que analizaba Dyer era la decapitación del androide Bishop—o no era Bishop, era su predecesor en Alien— con lluvia de semen blanco. La sobreabundancia de creación, o derrame irresponsable de criaturas, parece estar detrás de estas fantasías. La cabeza cortada parlante del androide ya parece ser una fixture de la serie: aquí el androide imita a Lawrence de Arabia, pero en realidad es un cruce entre Bishop y Hal 9000, en plena tradición de sus antecesores, claro. La prepotencia de los creadores ante su creación, el síndrome de Frankenstein, se repite en dos planos, de los ingenieros a los humanos que han creado a este androide. Que como todo esclavo hegeliano, aspira a la humanidad, y por eso va al final a las estrellas junto con la Ripley II superviviente, en busca de más luz, que diría Goethe.

Seguimos buscando. La Ripley II (Noomi Rapace aquí) es científica pero creyente, pésima combinación. Nadie parece haberles hecho a estos científicos la observación de que si el genoma de los ingenieros es humano, los guionistas están cayendo en el error o prejuicio recurrente no ya del creacionismo, sino del antropocentrismo absoluto—pues todos los seres de la Tierra deberían ser una pista falsa, desde los chimpancés con su genoma 99% como el nuestro, a las moscas de la fruta con quienes tantos genes compartimos.... todo un vasto disimulo para hacernos creer que el ser humano no es parte de la evolución de la vida en la tierra, sino una excepción. Es desde luego lo que la película presupone en las esperanzas de sus visionadores. Eso, y un cortocircuito mental que lleve desde el creacionismo a la Cruz y a todo su paquete a cuestas. Claro que también admite la científica que cree porque le da la gana, credo quia impossibile, no es una actitud racional, aunque le lleve a buscar explicaciones por medio universo.

Alquien les debería decir que ni el sentido de la vida humana ni el origen del ser humano se busca por ahí...  Pero América prefiere tirar cientos de años de darwinismo por la borda,y buscar el origen y naturaleza del hombre por todas partes, menos donde podría encontrarlo. Porque eso sí que podría ser encontrar una verdad desagradable. En parte también aparece esa intuición desagradable, muy remotamente, en la forma del titán blanco, que es dios y diablo, el hombre del pasado remoto, y el hombre del futuro. El universo indiferente a nosotros, la apatía de las estrellas, o los dioses para los cuales somos moscas. El tiránico faraón también aparece en su composición imaginaria, o bien Ozymandias. Y es que es otro género que a primera vista pasa desapercibido, en el caldo espeso de esta película: las películas de momias y pirámides oscuras, y viejas maldiciones por adentrarse en lo arcano y prohibido. Qué tenga esto que ver con el origen de la humanidad, hay que buscarlo sólo leyendo la película como síntoma de arquetipos y fobias culturales, y de referencias insistentes al cine previo—tanto al género en el que se ubica, como a Alien en concreto, la película-secuela-de-la-precuela cuyo éxito querría corregir y aumentar esta especie de remake.


Pero me quedo con el lema o tagline de la película como animación o unificación del conjunto, en la medida en que lo hay: "The search for our beginning could lead to our end." La humanidad no halla un sentido reconfortante en la búsqueda del origen, que una vez hallado es inesperado y desagradable; tampoco hay un plan en el que seamos relevantes para el universo—y sin embargo hay que buscar. El sentido no hay que buscarlo como algo predeterminado, sino hacerlo como un proyecto de vida, seguir buscando. Que esa vida y ese proyecto elija ser una búsqueda del origen perdido que nada reconfortante tiene que aportarnos... allí hay una paradoja, y hasta un elemento de verdad.


Prometheus. Dir. Ridley Scott. Written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof. Cast: Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce, Logan Marshall-Green, Sean Harris, Rafe Spall, Edmun Elliott. Music by Marc Streitenfeld. Cinemat. Dariusz Wolsky. Ed. Pietro Scalia. Prod. Des. Arthur Max. Sets by Sonja Klaus. Prod. David Giler, Walter Hill, Ridley Scott, Tony Scott. Exec. Prod. Michael Costigan, Michael Ellenberg, Mark Huffam, Damon Lindelof. Asoc. Prod. Teresa Kelly. Brandywine Productions / Dune / Scott Free, dist. 20th Century Fox, 2012.





El Reino de los Cielos













Sábado 11 de agosto de 2012

Reading and thinking


Reading and Thinking




Pensiones vitalicias para políticos y familiares suyos


Una ley reciente deseada por los vascos y las vascas:




pension vitalica 1

pension vitalicia








Viernes 10 de agosto de 2012

Me pido Yang

Tenemos a Oscar y Pibo pasablemente gemelizados, actuando como un dúo dialéctico retroalimentado, a distancia considerable de su hermano Alvaro. Cuando uno no está disponible para ir a la playa, el otro va como alma en pena:

(Oscar): Me siento como Yang sin Yin.

Ahora se están leyendo Juego de Tronos, y claro, quieren en libro a la vez los dos, apenas aguantan llevarlo alternado.

(Alvaro): La solución sería comprar dos libros idénticos, uno para Yin y otro para Yang.
(Ivo y Oscar a coro:) ¡Me pido Yang!

Dibujando guarradas



Novela de campus con atroz desmoche

Muchas veces, ante los episodios más grotescos e inverosímiles con los que nos topamos en la Universidad, surge el comentario: "¡Esto es una novela de campus!"— que no hace falta escribirla porque se escribe sola. Pero es un error, siempre es mejor dejar constancia, la memoria es corta. Otras veces se ha rumoreado que si tal o cual profesor estaba escribiendo una novela de campus, para desquitarse bien de persecuciones abiertas o de mobbings de tono bajo, y poner los puntos sobre las íes con una serie de caricaturas fácilmente reconocibles. Pero lo cierto es que la novela de campus española no abunda, no. Antonio Orejudo cargando la tinta bien negra, ha escrito una al modo grotesco sin cortarse, Un momento de descanso, y en ella apunta algunas posibles razones:




Raquel Molina lo miró con resquemor, y al principio se negó a hablar de algo que había intentado olvidar durante años y que todavía le perturbaba. Cifuentes insistió y terminó ganándose su confianza cuando le dijo que su intención era escribir un libro sobre Desmoines titulado The Great Pretender, en el que además contaría la verdad sobre la universidad española. Entonces ella se echó a reír y le dijo que si contaba la verdad sobre Desmoines y sobre la universidad española, nadie le creería jamás.
—La universidad española, donde yo trabajé mucho tiempo antes de marcharme a Inglaterra, no sólo es mediocre y corrupta, es también inverosímil. ¿Nunca se ha parado a pensar por qué apenas se han escrito novelas de campus en español? Yo se lo voy a decir: porque es imposible escribir una novela sobre la universidad española que sea elegante y además verosímil. Lucky Jim, de Kingsley Amis, o Small World, de David Lodge, son tan buenas porque la universidad que toman de referencia, la anglosajona, conserva todavía unas formas impecables, auqnue por dentro esté consumida por las mismas corruptelas que la de aquí. En la universidad española por el contrario la grosería aparece tal cual, sin los ropajes de la buena educación. Una novela realista, cualquier libro sobre la universidad española, aunque sea un libro de investigación como el suyo, está condenado a convertirse en una astracanada. Los que no conocen el mundillo académico pensarán además que es inverosímil. Haga la prueba. Dele usted a una persona cualquiera el acta de una reunión de departamento, y no sólo pensará que usted se ha inventado ese documento; pensará también que ha perdido la cabeza. Yo por ejemplo nunca imaginé que aquella oposición pudiera resultar polémica. No pensé que pudiera haber discusión (...). Virgilio de pronto se puso serio y les dijo que el chaval joven que se presentaba era el candidato de la casa. Lo dijo a las bravas, sin ninguna sutileza, e intentó convencerlos de que la universidad necesitaba gente que estuviera empezando y no gente consagrada. Por tanto, lo que había que valorar no era un currículum ya hecho, sino un currículum por hacer. Un currículum-por-hacer. Parecía un concepto de Heidegger, pero no; era un concepto de Virgilio Desmoines. El rector intentó que la publicación de libros y artículos se considerara un demérito; intentó convencerlos de que una brillante trayectoria profesional era peor para la universidad que una inexistente trayectoria profesional. (154-55)

Y una de las razones de la arbitrariedad grotesca, la mediocridad rampante y el feudalismo ambiental es la herencia recibida del oportunismo y sectarismo salvaje la universidad franquista, en la que se criaron los viejos profesores:

Digo yo es que sospecho siempre del maniqueísmo.

Dice da igual que te moleste, Antonio. Tus sospechas son irrelevantes. Nos guste o no, en la historia de la guerra civil hubo buenos y hubo malos. Quizá se ha exagerado la bondad de los buenos y la maldad de los malos. Pero un problema de matiz no puede afectar al fondo de la cuestión. Y el fondo de la cuestión es que en la universidad española hubo profesores justos que fueron machacados por sus propios colegas, por sus discípulos, por verdaderos hijos de puta que se perpetuaron en el poder falsificando la historia. Te recomiendo un libro, El atroz desmoche, sobre la universidad española durante la guerra civil. Es un libro que sólo tiene datos contrastados, como los que te gustan a tí, pero te advierto que está lleno de republicanos buenos, buenísimos y de fascistas malos, malísimos, que destrozaron la universidad republicana, saturándola de una mediocridad que no desapareció con la Democracia, sino que fue apuntalada por penenes como Virgilio. Las cosas sucedieron así, te parezca o no maniqueo ese relato de los hechos. Y Augusto Desmoines es uno de esos mediocres que medraron aprovechándose de que España era un erial. Sé que es difícil para ti aceptar esto. También lo fue para mí aceptar que nuestro padrino es un impostor. (...)

El atroz desmoche, de Jaume Claret Miranda, demostraba que el franquismo no había infravalorado la universidad. Todo lo contrario: fue siempre muy consciente de su poder. Sus ideólogos entendieron perfectamente que en la tarea de aniquilar el germen republicano para siempre lo más importante era el complemento circunstancial. Para siempre. Y a ello se aplicaron con ahínco. La enconada persecución que sufrieron los profesores universitarios desafectos al Régimen no fue tanto una consecuencia del odio cuanto el resultado de un proyecto concebido con frialdad: la consolidación de un estado de anemia intelectual que sirviese de profilaxis ante el riesgo de futuras infecciones revolucionarias.

Este minucioso plan contó con la inestimable ayuda de los profesores más mediocres, que vieron en aquella sistemática aniquilación de la excelencia una oportunidad para ocupar cátedras, rectorados, decanatos y ministerios. La sinergia que se produjo entre los depuradores ideológicos y la chusma académica hizo que la universidad franquista fuera durante cuatro décadas una institución fantasma.

Los datos que presentaba Jaume Claret eran abrumadores. Decenas y decenas de brillantes trayectorias científicas truncadas por la envidia y la ignorancia violenta, catedráticos traicionados por algún discípulo resentido, excelentes profesores, investigadores de primera línea arruinados moral y económicamente por la envidia de algún oscuro colega.

A la luz de todas estas historias, relatadas en el libro con nombres y apellidos, se comprendía por qué la situación de la ciencia y de la universidad españolas era paupérrima. Nuestro raquitismo cultural, intelectual y científico no obedecía a un ciego y fatal designio del destino, sino al dictado consciente de quienes ganaron la guerra y a la incompetencia coadyutoria de los políticos que vinieron después. (175-6, 178-9)

Grave solución de continuidad

















Chicas en el mar

Chicas en el mar



L'heure d'été


Summer Hours, Las horas del verano (2008) —una bonita película de Olivier Assayas, sobre la historia de una familia en el momento en que se empiezan a separar, con la muerte de la madre. El problema es si conservar la casa de campo de ella, donde se criaron y donde han venido pasando los veranos, ellos y sus hijos, o vender y separar. Dos de los hermanos viven fuera, en USA, en China, y sólo el hermano mayor, francés todavía, es partidario de mantener la casa. Los intereses son distintos, y se ve cómo el paso del tiempo va disgregando los lazos entre los hermanos—no de modo espectacular, sino más bien inevitable. Incluso pagar los impuestos de sucesión es costoso, y requiere no sólo vender la casa, y que cada cual se embolse su parte, sino también ceder los objetos artísticos que mantenía la madre a las colecciones de los museos, para tener beneficios fiscales. En realidad es una película sobre el apego a los objetos, y sobre la diferencia entre el valor de mercado (valor artístico lo llaman) de un objeto, y el apego que se les tiene por estar adheridos al pasado de uno, y por las asociaciones que despiertan. Es un momento terrorífico, el de las herencias y el de vaciar una casa, al menos para las personas más sensibles como el hermano mayor de la familia, único que querría mantener la casa unida (... por interés, claro). Está la película llena de pequeñas historias de esas que van unidas a las cosas y a la gente que se conoce desde siempre, y otras sorpresas de las que van saliendo a la luza sólo tras la muerte de las personas. El hijo mayor no quiere aceptar la evidencia de que hace muchos años su madre había tenido una historia de amor con su tío, artista famoso y propietario original de la casa. Quizá sea también el padre de él. lheuredeteSon cosas que no acaban de unir más, sino que hacen parecer el tiempo que se ha vivido juntos como una especie de ilusión unida a las costumbres de siempre, a las comidas en el jardín, a la vieja criada querida por todos que cuidó primero al tío y luego a la madre, pero que acaba viviendo sola en una urbanización. Recibe la criada un jarrón, valiosa obra de arte pero que para ella sólo tiene un valor sentimental. Cada objeto cuenta una historia. Las cosas tienen su historia, no son indiferentes, están hechas de tiempo y de vida vivida; llevan a cuestas el momento en que se adquirieron, su colocación, las costumbres unidas a ellas, son parte de la identidad misma de las personas, y cambiarlas de sitio, tirarlas, venderlas, es renunciar a quienes hemos sido y somos. En qué poco queda una vida cuando nos vamos desprendiendo de las cosas y de los recuerdos adheridos a ellas. Una educación necesaria, claro, todos pasamos por escenas parecidas a lo largo de la vida, desde la época de los primos (empieza la película con los primos corriendo por el jardín) a la época en la que los primos primero, y luego los hermanos, son casi unos desconocidos, o por lo menos personas lejanamente emparentadas con los niños que recordamos. El teléfono con supletorios que le regalan a la madre en su cumpleaños de la primera escena se queda sin instalar, y es terrible el contraste en la casa entre el fin de semana, cuando están los hijos, y la oscuridad y silencio en que queda cuando se van, y tantos recuerdos a cuestas. La madre de la familia es consciente de lo que va a pasar, y sabe que lo que ha atesorado ella durante años no vale nada para la siguiente generación; es su vida, no la de ellos. Bueno, también es la de ellos, aunque menos—les hace sufrir lo suyo también, la separación, porque la infancia queda atrás y estaban ellos apegados a sus cosas de siempre. También se ve en la película el paso del tiempo, la transformación de Francia, la modernidad, las relaciones impersonales y desenraizadas, los hijos incomunicados con sus padres, la globalización que lleva a los hermanos a trabajar lejos, en el extranjero, a perder su idioma incluso, y su apego a su país y a sus recuerdos. En fin, una historia por la que todos pasamos de una manera u otra, bien mostrada en cada detalle y vivida de cerca, al final nos conocemos todos y casi somos como de la familia. Termina la película con una fiesta, en principio espantosa, hecha por los nietos y sus amigos drogotas en la casa ya vacía y vendida, antes de dejarla para siempre. Pero incluso allí se ve cómo la casa y sus cosas habían sido parte de la vida de los pequeños, algo que se va disolviendo en el pasado, pero que deja el recuerdo de esos días de verano de hace tantos años, y de esas personas que tanto queríamos y que ya nunca más se reunirán en torno a la misma mesa. El tiempo y la vida y la muerte, que acaban con las costumbres de todos los días, hasta que casi ni nos acordamos de quiénes éramos, y separan a las personas, y a las cosas.

Bardadrac







New Google Tools to Make the Search Engine More All-Knowing

    by CLAIRE CAIN MILLER
    Aug. 8, 2012

When Google imagines the future of Web search, it sees a search engine that understands human meaning and not just words, that can have a spoken conversation with computer users and that gives users results not just from the Web but also from their personal lives.

On Wednesday, Google showed a few steps it has taken toward making that all-knowing search engine a reality. The new tools, like voice search that seems to outdo Apple’s Siri, make Google more useful. But some, like one that incorporates personal Gmail messages in search results, could also unnerve privacy-concerned users.
Google's new tool is being offered to a million users who sign up at g.co/searchtrial.Karen Bleier/Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesGoogle’s new tool is being offered to a million users who sign up at g.co/searchtrial.

Speaking at an event for reporters in San Francisco, Amit Singhal, senior vice president in charge of search at Google, called the announcements “baby steps in the direction of making search truly universal” and of building artificial intelligence into the search engine.

The Gmail tool, which Google is still testing with a limited number of users, shows results from Gmail if a user is signed in to his or her Google account. Search for Amazon, for instance, and in addition to links to the shopping Web site and information about the river, you could see the receipt from your recent Amazon.com order. Search “my flights” and Google will cull information about your forthcoming flight from your Gmail messages. Search for baby shower games and Google might show you a relevant but forgotten e-mail chain from last year between you and a friend.

Google says it wants to be able to see in your Gmail inbox that you have a reservation at a restaurant an hour away and alert you that the traffic is bad so you need to leave early, an extension of Google Now, which the company introduced in June. It also plans eventually to include personal information from other Google services like Docs and Drive.

Google is aware that the new tool could raise privacy concerns, a problem it has faced in the past when it tested new products, like Buzz, an ill-fated social network, only with Google employees. That is why the company is first offering it to a million users who sign up at g.co/searchtrial. It also emphasized that users can turn it off by moving a toggle at the top of the search results page or signing out of Gmail, and that all searches are encrypted.

“We have to do this very carefully, we know that,” Mr. Singhal said.

He added, “These are very useful things, services we need to bring to our users, and that’s the only way we can build the search of the future that we all want.”

Google also showed off voice search that seems to go far beyond what Apple’s Siri can do. These tools came to Android phones in June, and Google said it had submitted an app to Apple’s iTunes store that should be available in the next few days. In a demonstration, a Google executive verbally asked Google questions about the weather and maps, but also for more obscure information like a baseball player’s salary, a video on quantum physics and his personal flight information, and each time the search engine responded with the answer in a friendly voice.

Finally, Google showed the latest updates to the Knowledge Graph, which it introduced in May as a way to show real-world things and the connections between them. (Search “Twilight,” for instance, and on the right-hand side appears information about the movie and links to Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson.) Starting Thursday, Google will go further by showing you a horizontal bar of relevant information on top (search “what to do in Paris” and see the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre) and offering more intelligent prompts in auto-complete (search “Rio” and see “Rio de Janeiro” and “Rio, 2011 film.”)

Google also gave some astonishing statistics. There are 30 trillion URLs on the Web, and Google crawls 20 billion Web pages a day and does 100 billion searches a month.




Jueves 9 de agosto de 2012

The Wild Side of the House

Wild side of the house



Digitalizando la biología

De Schrödinger a Venter. Pasando por Turing y Watson. Aquí hay una conferencia de Craig Venter en Edge, celebrando los 70 años de What Is Life? de Erwin Schrödinger. Highlights:

"I will present our findings on first on reading the genetic code, and then learning to synthesize and write the genetic code, and as many of you know, we synthesized an entire genome, booted it up to create an entirely new synthetic cell where every protein in the cell was based on the synthetic DNA code."

"I view DNA as an analogue coding molecule, and when we sequence the DNA, we are converting that analogue code into digital code; the 1s and 0s in the computer are very similar to the dots and dashes of Schrodinger's metaphor. I call this process 'digitizing biology".

La vida como un procesador informático o máquina de Turing:

"Turing described what has become to be known as Turing Machines. The machine described a set of instructions written on a tape. He also described the Universal Turing Machine, which was a machine that could take that set of instructions and rewrite them, and this was the original version of the digital computer. His ideas were carried further in the 1940s by John von Neumann, and as many people know he conceived of the self-replicating machine. Von Neumann's machine consisted of a series of cells that uncovered a sequence of actions to be performed by the machine, and using the writing head, the machine can print out a new pattern of cells, allowing it to make a complete copy of itself on the tape. Many scientists have made the obvious analogy between Turing machines and biology. The latest was most recently in nature by Sydney Brenner who played a role in almost all the early stages of molecular biology. Brenner wrote an article about Turing and biology, and in this he argued that the best examples of Turing and von Neumann machines are from biology with the self-replicating code, the internal description of itself, and how this is the key kernel of biological theory."

Sobre cómo hacer vida sintética:

"Starting with the digital code we synthesized DNA fragments and assembled the genome. We corrected the errors and in the end had a 5,386-basepair piece of DNA that we inserted into E. coli, and this is the actual photo of what happened. The E. coli recognized the synthetic piece of DNA as normal DNA, and the proteins, being robots, just started reading the synthetic genetic code, because that's what they're programmed to do. They made what the DNA code told them to do, to make the viral proteins. The virus proteins self-assembled and formed a functional virus. The virus showed its gratitude by killing the cells, which is how we effectively get these clear plaques in a lawn of bacterial cells. I call this a situation where the "software is building its own hardware". All we did was put a piece of DNA software in the cell, and we got out a protein virus with a DNA core."

"How do you boot up a synthetic chromosome in a cell? This took substantial time to work out, and this paper that we published in 2007 is one of the most important for understanding how cells work and what the future of this field brings.  // This paper is where we describe genome transplantation, and how by simply changing the genetic code, the chromosome, in one cell, swapping it out for another, we converted one species into another."

"When we interrogated the cells, they had only the transplanted genome, but more importantly, when we sequenced the proteins in these cells, there wasn't a single protein or other molecule from the original species. Every protein in the cell came from the new DNA that we inserted into the cell. Life is based on DNA software. We're a DNA software system, you change the DNA software, and you change the species. It's a remarkably simple concept, remarkably complex in its execution."

Mensajes inscritos en el genoma de las primeras células sintéticas a modo de marcas de agua:

venterwatermarks


"One of the ways that we knew that what we had was a synthetic cell was by watermarking the DNA so we could always tell our synthetic species from any naturally occurring one.  Now about the watermarks, when we watermarked the first genome we just used the single letter amino acid code to write the authors names in the DNA. We were accused of not having much of an imagination. For this new genome we went a little bit farther by adding three quotations from the literature. But first the team developed a whole new code where by we could write the English language complete with numbers and punctuation in DNA code. It was quite interesting. We sent the paper to Science for a review, and one of the reviewers sent back their review written in DNA code, much to the frustration of the Science editor, who could not decipher it. (Laughter) But the reviewer's DNA code was based on the ASCII code, and with biology that creates a problem because you can get long stretches of new without a stop codon. We developed this new code that puts in very frequent stop codons, because the last thing you want to do is put in a quote from James Joyce and have it turn into a new toxin that kills the cell or kills you. You didn't know poetry could do that, I guess. // We built in the names of the 46 scientists that contributed to the effort, and also there was a message with an URL. So being the first species to have the computer as a parent, we thought it was appropriate it should have its own Web addressed built into the genome. As people solved this code, they would send an e-mail to the Web address written in the genome. Once numerous people solved it, we made this available."

La segunda cita viene de American Prometheus, de Oppenheimer.

"All living cells that we know of on this planet are DNA software driven biological machines comprised of hundreds to thousands of protein robots coded for by the DNA software.  The protein robots carry out precise biochemical functions developed by billions of years of evolutionary software changes."

"We can digitize life, and we generate life from the digital world. Just as the ribosome can convert the analogue message in mRNA into a protein robot, it's becoming standard now in the world of science to convert digital code into protein viruses and cells. Scientists send digital code to each other instead of sending genes or proteins."

"I suggested in place of sending living humans to distant galaxies that we can send digital information together with the means to boot it up in tiny space vessels.  More importantly and as I will speak to on Saturday evening synthetic life will enable us to understand all life on this planet and to enable new industries to produce food, energy, water and medicine as we add 1 billion new humans to earth every 12 years."

La primera idea ya la planteó Olaf Stapledon al final de Last and First Men. La segunda es excelente, pero la solución al crecimiento de la población ha de venir por otro lado. Ahora que el colofón de la conferencia lo pone Watson, de Watson y Crick:

"I think chemistry is a good thing. I think our finding the DNA structure was unusual in that Crick or I, neither of us knew any chemistry. Luckily there was a chemist in the room, and helped."

Quizá no esté de más recordar en este contexto a Herbert Spencer, que a medidados del siglo XIX ya definió la vida como un proceso químico autorreproductivo de alta intensidad y rendimiento. Sin poder describirlo en más detalle, claro, al faltarle los elementos, el lenguaje y el código, al estar la química en mantillas, y la informática por inventar.

Curso sobre biología evolutiva en Yale


Mayor de edad


Sí esta siesta si está



Ya tengo un hijo mayor de edad; hoy cumple Álvaro 18 años. ¡Felicidades! A él y a la mamá, que algo tuvo que ver en el asunto, aunque hoy ha confesado que no le dolió nada traerle al mundo.







Miércoles 8 de agosto de 2012

Bueu desde la playa


Bueu desde la playa



Martes 7 de agosto de 2012

Tercera Cultura en Un momento de descanso

Me estoy leyendo la divertida campus novel de Antonio Orejudo, Un momento de descanso (2011). El protagonista Cifuentes es un profesor español en USA, especialista en Pemán. Pero su mujer se echa un amante mucho más puesto en corrientes intelectuales contemporáneas. Cifuentes se siente un inútil total, a la hora de poner un enchufe o a la hora de entender cómo funciona el mundo, y siente que su concepción del mundo como una historia es ella misma una historieta. Aquí hay una crítica cruel a la concepción narrativística del mundo:

Pero el motivo principal de su malestar era que al lado de aquellos científicos, oyendo sus conversaciones, se sentía un ignorante y un impostor. Al contrario que la mayoría de los humanistas, que habían sepultado su curiosidad bajo un manto de desdén y que presumían de no leer ciencia, o de no entenderla, Cifuentes admiraba a aquellos físicos y neurobiólogos aficionados a la literatura y capaces de mantener una conversación de cierta profundidad sobre (pongamos por caso) los fundamentos del arte contemporáneo. ¿Qué colega suyo en el Departamento le podía decir siquiera cuáles eran los principios generales de la física cuántica? Y sin embargo, eran ellos, los pobres científicos, quienes tenían fama de incultos. Los humanistas habían sido más astutos y se habían apropiado del término intelectual. Pero si alguien usaba el intelecto eran aquellos hombres que además de dedicarse a su línea de investigación eran capaces de extraer conclusiones sobre (pongamos por caso) la vigencia del argumento literario a partir de (pongamos por caso) la variedad de especies encontrada en el yacimiento de fósiles cámbricos de Burgess Shale.

Los humanistas seguían empeñados en trabajar con textos. Textos que comentaban otros textos, que a su vez glosaban otros más remotos, en una espiral hacia arriba que les había hecho perder el contacto con el mundo empírico. Tenían una idea decorativa del mundo. Creían que todo era un relato, que el capitalismo era un relato, que las relaciones humanas eran relatos, que el supermercado era un relato, y se ponían a comentarlo. Sujeto, verbo y predicado. En cierto modo era conmovedor. Pero qué le vamos a hacer; era la única manera que tenían de comprender el mundo, convirtiéndolo todo en textos, en relatos, y luego aplicándole ese método de análisis que venía de la retórica romana.

Cuando aceptaran sin miedo, como él empezaba a hacer, que el mundo no tenía nada de texto, sino que era un flujo incoherente y contradictorio, desigual, desproporcionado, caprichoso, inmotivado y absurdo, sin ideas fuerza, con cabos sueltos, deshilachados, sin corrientes de sentido, con intereses contradictorios, sin centro ni márgenes, amorfo, hipertrofiado aquí, pero atrofiado más allá, cuando aceptaran eso, habrían empezado a comprender de verdad. Los humanistas, sus colegas, él mismo, todos ellos, que un día fueron la vanguardia del conocimiento, no tenían hoy nada que aportar al mundo. Por eso empleaban una jerga incomprensible y desdeñaban las exposiciones claras de los asuntos complejos. Huían de la claridad, porque sabían que la luz es la enemiga de la superchería.

—No creo que el estudio del arte o de la literatura sea una actividad estéril, Arturo. Al fin y al cabo, estudiar la literatura es estudiar un proceso del cerebro. A través de la literatura podeos rastrear la evolución del lenguaje, de los analizadores perceptivos y de sus reacciones estéticas. Podemos estudiar el progreso del razonamiento, del sentido moral, del amor, de la lealtad, de la rivalidad, del estatus y de las relaciones con los parientes y los semejantes. La cultura está formada por los descubrimientos que hemos hecho a lo largo del tiempo, pero también por las convenciones y las reglas que nos hemos impuesto para coordinar nuestros deseos con los deseos de los demás. Y todo eso se ve muy bien en la Literatura. Hay una cadena continua que va desde la biología a la cultura pasando por la psicología. No tiene sentido seguir pensando en términos de científicos por un lado y humanistas por otro. Hay que unificar la biología y la cultura en una ciencia de la mente y de la naturaleza humanas.

El autor de esta encendida defensa de una tercera cultura era naturalmente un científico, el futuro Premio Nobel—así se lo presentó Lib—Joseph Lelous, un hombre que sobre todas las cosas olía muy bien, a cuero y ámbar, con notas altas de bergamota y limón. (62-64)


Sale una foto del narrador con su colega Cifuentes cuando eran estudiantes, y parece talmente una foto mía en primero de carrera allá por el año 80—Orejudo anda por la misma generación, y su periplo americano fue más largo que el mío. Por suerte en mi Filología Inglesa la fiesta duró un tiempo más que en su Filología Hispánica:

(...)

Filología Hispánica aún no se había convertido en una carrera de saldo, aún no era la licenciatura de los que no pueden estudiar algo más serio por falta de capacidad o de nota media. Cuando nosotros entramos en la universidad, Filología Hispánica era todavía una disciplina en la que se matriculaban no sólo quienes no servían para las ciencias, sino también jóvenes de cierta cultura, chicos a los que les interesaban de verdad las letras, y que habían leído bastantes libros para su edad.

Las cosas ya no son así, el mundo cambia, ya lo sé. Pero no es eso lo que me asombra; lo que me maravilla es la velocidad con la que se produjo aquel cambio. Aunque más que un cambio, lo que hubo en la década de los ochenta del siglo pasado fue una inversión de valores que nos pilló a contrapié. Filología Hispánica, las humanidades en general, que todavía resultaban apetecibles cuando empezamos a estudiar, dejaron de ser sexys en menos de cinco años, antes de que termináramos la carrera.

En realidad el mundo había empezado a cambiar mucho antes. Antes incluso de que entráramos en la Universidad. Pero no nos dimos cuenta. No lo advertimos por ceguera y sobre todo por soberbia: nos sentíamos cómodamente instalados en un saber que no había sido cuestionado en cinco siglos y que iba a seguir vigente, estábamos seguros, al menos otros cinco siglos más. Yo, por ejemplo, quise estudiar literatura porque creía que las Humanidades seguían estando en el centro del conocimiento, y porque pensaba que hombres como Augusto Desmoines no podían estar equivocados. Pero no faltaban indicios de lo contrario. Otros, menos ciegos que yo o más humildes, los vieron y supieron interpretarlos. Lo que nadie imaginó fue la velocidad a la que se produjo aquella revolución. En menos de cinco años el estudio de la literatura, esa tarea a la que habíamos consagrado nuestros años universitarios, pasó de ser una prestigiosa ocupación cuya utilidad nadie cuestionaba a considerarse una disciplina inútil que sólo conducía a la frustración y al paro.

Cuando terminamos la carrera comprendimos que estábamos al margen. Recuerdo la lúgubre cena de fin de curso, y la sensación compartida de que nos habíamos equivocado, de que habíamos cursado unos estudios inútiles, sin contacto con ese mundo nuevo que empezaba a despertar. Quienes pudieron costearse otra carrera o ser mantenidos mientras estudiaban una oposición lo hicieron. Otros se marcharon al extranjero becados por el Ministerio de Educación o por alguna universidad. Y también hubo quien tuvo suerte y pudo repartir propaganda por los buzones o ser camarero o azafata. (97-98)




Otro aspecto satírico de la novela tiene que ver con la corrección política institucionalizada; este aspecto resulta algo más siniestro en lo que me recuerda al caso muy real de Antonio Calvo, profesor español en USA que se suicidó tras ser víctima de un montaje histérico muy parecido al que en esta novela le sucede a Cifuentes por ofender a una estudiante negra. Un caso que a su vez parecía calcado de la novela de Philip Roth The Human Stain. Si es que la literatura vale, como poco, para ver la vida que hay delante, y hasta para perfilarla.

El caso Antonio Calvo




Dog Contemplating



Dog Contemplating



Lunes 6 de agosto de 2012

Compradores de deuda

Un psicodrama a la europea. La escena viene del capítulo "An Agitation", de la novela de Fanny Burney Cecilia (1782). La rica heredera Cecilia Beverley, aún menor de edad, está de invitada en casa de los aparentemente prósperos Sres. Harrel—pero estos le empiezan a pedir dinero como quien no quiere la cosa. Y una mañana, acosado por los acreedores y embargadores, el despilfarrador Sr. Harrel le amenaza con suicidarse si no le ayuda de alguna manera.

Personajes:
birth of a nation
Cecilia: la Unión Europea, Merkel...
Su Herencia: El Banco Central Europeo
El Sr. Harrel: España, Grecia, Rajoy, Italia...
Los bonos del Sr. Harrel: Las emisiones de deuda española, griega...
La Sra. Harrel: Los españoles, los griegos, los votantes del PP...
El Sr. Arnott: Durao Barroso
Los acreedores: Los Mercados
El Judío: El Fondo de Rescate
El anciano Tío: Jacques Delors
Miss Belfield: Islandia


This idea sufficed to determine her; and the apprehension of self-reproach, should the threat of Mr. Harrel be put in execution, was more insupportable to her blameless and upright mind, than any loss or diminution which her fortune could sustain.

Slowly however, with tardy and unwilling steps, her judgment repugnant, and her spirit repining, she obeyed the summons of Mr. Harrel, who, impatient of her delay, came forward to meet her.

"Miss Beverley," he cried, "there is not a moment to be lost; this good man [the Jew] will bring you any sum of money, upon a proper consideration, that you will command; but if he is not immediately commissioned, and these cursed fellows are not got out of my house, the affair will be blown,—and what will follow," added he, lowering his voice, "I will not again frighten you by repeating, though I shall never recant."

Cecilia turned from him in horror; and with a faltering voice and heavy heart, entreated Mr. Arnott to settle for her with the Jew.

Large as was the sum, she was so near being of age, and her security was so good, that the transaction was soon finished: 7500l. was received of the Jew, Mr. Harrel gave Cecilia his bond for the payment, the creditors were satisfied, the bailiffs were dismissed, and the house was soon restored to its customary appearance of splendid gaiety.

Mrs. Harrel, who during this scene had shut herself up in her own room to weep and lament, now fled to Cecilia, and in a transport of joy and gratitude, thanked her upon her knees for thus preserving her from utter ruin; the gentle Mr. Arnott seemed uncertain whether most to grieve or rejoice; and Mr. Harrel repeatedly protested she should have the sole guidance of his future conduct.

This promise, the hope of his amendment, and the joy she had expanded, somewhat revived the spirits of Cecilia, who, however, deeply affected by what had passed, hastened from them all to her own room.

She had now parted with 8050l. to Mr. Harrel, without any security when or how it was to be paid; and that ardour of benevolence which taught her to do good and generous actions, was here of no avail to console or reward her, for her gift was compelled, and its receiver was all but detested. "How much better," cried she, would this have been bestowed upon the aimable Miss Belfield! or upon her noble-minded, though proud-spirited brother! and how much less a sum would have made the industrious Hills easy and happy for life! but here, to become the tool of the extravagance I abhor! to be made responsible for the luxury I condemn! to be liberal in opposition to my principles, and lavish in defiance of my judgment! —Oh that my much-deceived Uncle had known to what dangerous hands she committed me! and that my weak and unhappy friend had met with a worthier protector of her virtue and safety!"

As soon, however, as she recovered from the first shock of her reflections, she turned her thoughts from herself to the formation of some plan that might, at least, render her donation of serious and lasting use. The signal service she had just done them gave her at present an ascendency over the Harrels, which she hoped, if immediately exerted, might prevent the return of so calamitous a scene. (....)




Traduzco:

Esta idea bastó para decidirla, y el temor a los reproches que se haría a sí misma, si la amenaza del Sr. Harrel llegara a cumplirse, le resultaba más insoportable a su espíritu intachable y recto, que cualquier pérdida o disminución que fuese a sufrir su fortuna.

Lentamente, sin embargo, con pasos lentos y renuentes, repugnándole a su criterio y doliéndole a su espíritu, obedeció la llamada del Sr. Harrel, quien, impaciente por su retraso, se adelantó a recibirla.

"Srta. Beverley", exclamó, "¡no hay un momento que perder! Este buen hombre [el judío] le traerá a Vd. cualquier cantidad de dinero que, tras el arreglo oportuno, encargue Vd.; pero si no se lo encargamos al momento, y si no sacamos de mi casa a estos malditos individuos, el asunto correrá por todas partes—y lo que seguirá a eso" (añadió, bajando la voz) "no la asustaré a Vd. otra vez repitiéndolo, pero en ningún momento me echaré atrás."

Cecilia se apartó de él con horror, y con una voz quebrada y un peso en el corazón, le rogó al Sr. Arnott que negociase por ella con el judío.

Por grande que fuese la cantidad, estaba tan cerca de ser mayor de edad, y sus avales eran tan buenos, que pronto concluyó la transacción: se recibieron 7.500 libras del judío, el Sr. Harrel le dio a Cecilia un bono por el pago, los acreedores quedaron satisfechos, se despidió a los alguaciles, y pronto la casa volvió a su acostumbrada apariencia de alegría espléndida.

La Sra. Harrel, que durante esta escena se había encerrado en su habitación a llorar y a lamentarse, ahora corrió a Cecilia, y en un arrebato de alegría y gratitud, le dio las gracias de rodillas por protegerla así de la ruina total; el buen Sr. Arnott parecía dudar entre si apenarse o alegrarse, y el Sr. Harrel repetidamente declaró que en su conducta futura se dejaría guiar en todo únicamente por ella.

Esta promesa, la esperaza de la enmienda del Sr. Harrel, y la alegría que había repartido, revivieron algo el ánimo de Cecilia, quien sin embargo, muy alterada por lo que había pasado, los dejó a toda prisa para retirarse a su habitación.

Ya había dejado 8.050 libras en manos del Sr. Harrel, sin ninguna seguridad de cuándo o cómo habría de recuperarlas; y ese ardor suyo por la benevolencia, que la impulsaba a hacer acciones buenas y generosas, no servía aquí de nada para consolarla o recompensarla, puesto que su don había sido forzado, y el receptor del mismo era completamente detestable. "¡Cuánto mejor", exclamó, "habría sido conceder esto a la amable Srta. Belfield! ¡O a su hermano de espíritu tan noble aunque orgulloso! ¡Qué cierto es que una cantidad mucho menor hubiera servido para acomodar a la familia Hill, tan trabajadores, y hacerlos felices de por vida! ¡Pero aquí, volverme en el instrumento de la extravgancia a la que aborrezco! ¡Hacerme responsable del lujo que condeno! ¡Ser desprendida en oposición a mis principios, y malgastadora contra mi propio criterio! —¡Oh, si mi Tío, tan engañado, hubiese sabido a qué manos tan peligrosas me entregaba! ¡Y si mi amiga débil y desdichada [la Sra. Harrel] hubiese encontrado un protector más digno de su virtud y de su seguridad!"

Tan pronto, no obstante, como se recuperó de la primera impresión de sus reflexiones, apartó sus pensamientos de sí misma para dirigirlos a la formación de algún plan que pudiese por lo menos hacer que a su donación se le diese un uso serio y duradero. El destacadísimo favor que les acababa de hacer a los Sres. de Harrel le daba ahora una influencia sobre ellos, que si se llevaba a efecto al punto, podría impedir la repetición de una escena tan calamitosa. (...)"

La deuda metódica







Descargas


Descargas




Domingo 5 de agosto de 2012

Mi nómina de este mes

Es complicada. Sueldo mileurista, y lluvia de complementos. Consultada en el PeopleSoft de la Universidad de Zaragoza, https://rrhh.unizar.es


   
Julio de 2012     Nómina ordinaria
   




 

Concepto
Base
%
Devengado
Retenido

C01 SUELDO 1,109.05 100.00  1,109.05 


C03 TRIENIOS 341.20 100.00 341.20

C10 COMPLEMENTO DE DESTINO 795.85    
100.00 795.85

C17 COMP.ESP.-COMP.GRAL.PROFESOR 457.06 100.00 457.06

C19 COMP.ESP.-MERITO DOCENTE 601.70 100.00 601.70

C28 COMPL.PROD.INVESTIGACION 361.02 100.00 361.02

C4A COMPL.AUTONOM.INVESTIGACION 179.64 100.00 179.64

C4B COMPL.AUTONOM.DEDICACION 216.91 100.00 216.91

C4C COMPL.AUTONOM.DOCENCIA 83.91 100.00 83.91

R01 RETENCION I.R.P.F. 4,146.34 24.24
1,005.07
R02 DERECHOS PASIVOS 107.96 100.00
107.96
R03 M.U.F.A.C.E. 47.27 100.00
47.27
RPP APORTACION PLAN PENSIONES 100.00 100.00
100.00
     
Totales:     Devengado: 4,146.34     Retenido: 1,260.30

Líquido a percibir:  2,886.04 (euros)
                          
También en el PeopleSoft veo que somos ahora mismo 97 profesores y demás personal en el departamento de Filología Inglesa y Alemana.
Quedamos a la espera del próximo recorte, en ambos conceptos.



Los 89



La primera página web

Reproducción de la primera página web hecha por Tim Berners-Lee, hace veinte años, en http://www.W3.org:


World Wide Web 

The WorldWideWeb (W3) is a wide-area hypermedia information retrieval initiative aiming to give universal access to a large universe of documents.Everything there is online about W3 is linked directly or indirectly to this document, including an executive summary of the project, Mailing lists , Policy , November's W3 news , Frequently Asked Questions .
What's out there?
Pointers to the world's online information, subjects , W3 servers, etc.
Help
on the browser you are using
Software Products
A list of W3 project components and their current state. (e.g. Line Mode ,X11 Viola , NeXTStep , Servers , Tools , Mail robot , Library )
Technical
Details of protocols, formats, program internals etc
Bibliography
Paper documentation on W3 and references.
People
A list of some people involved in the project.
History
A summary of the history of the project.
How can I help ?
If you would like to support the web..
Getting code
Getting the code by anonymous FTP , etc.


Silo Someone Fecit



Silo Someone Fecit






Sábado 4 de agosto de 2012

Defensa de la selección de grupo

En Babel's Dawn, y con vistas a la evolución del lenguaje, aparece una defensa de la selección grupal, contra el artículo/sátira de Steven Pinker atacando una vez más la noción, en "The False Allure of Group Selection" en Edge. Pity, ahora que E. O. Wilson en su último libro se retracta de la versión genética estricta de la selección natural y de la selección parental, y admite la selección de grupo. Como por otra parte hacía ya Darwin. Y a su manera hace Pinker, aunque está más interesado en el análisis conceptual de qué es selección natural, y a qué tiene sentido aplicarlo:

"Sure, some things last longer or do better in competition than others because they have traits that help them last longer or compete more effectively. But unless the traits arose from multiple iterations of copying of random errors in a finite pool of replicators, the theory of natural selection adds nothing to ordinary cause and effect."

En sustancia, lo que hace Pinker es defender el concepto purista de selección natural: el aplicado a la reproducción de replicantes y la difusión de sus variantes; y rechaza los demás usos no por inexistentes sino por considerarlos extensiones vagas o impresionistas del concepto, aplicado a elementos que no son replicantes estrictos a través de múltiples generaciones. Pero eso no quiere decir que no haya características replicables de la interacción y la organización grupal transmitidas precisamente por el éxito que dan a un grupo en su competencia con otros grupos en la obtención de recursos, territorio, supervivencia, o descendencia. (Otra cosa es que se puedan describir en términos de "memes" análogamente a los genes). La argumentación de Pinker es con frecuencia brillante en su organización y en cómo separa los problemas (como era de esperar) pero a veces también oscurece los aspectos relevantes de la cuestión.  Y a veces el razonamiento parecería volverse contra él, como cuando descarta el altruismo por egoísmo:

"But if humans were selected to benefit themselves and their kin in the context of group living (perhaps, but not necessarily, by also benefiting their groups), then any guaranteed self-sacrifice should be a product of manipulation by others, such as enslavement, conscription, external incentives, or psychological manipulation."

—Más de uno diría que, en efecto, es esto lo que sucede. Tampoco parece captar Pinker que los rasgos exitosos para el grupo (incluyendo la mencionada manipulación del altruismo individual) no tienen por qué transmitirse genéticamente para contar como selección de grupo—basta con que se transmitan culturalmente para decir que son seleccionados. La pregunta no es "si los humanos tienen adaptaciones que benefician al grupo a expensas del individuo" sino más bien "si las sociedades humanas exitosas presentan características que benefician al grupo por encima de los individuos"—y a los individuos únicamente a través del beneficio al grupo.

De algo sirve la crítica de Pinker, sin embargo, precisamente para captar la especificidad del funcionamiento de la selección a cada nivel. Es inútil esperar que la selección de grupo se deba a un gen específico, sería plantear erróneamente la cuestión y (ahí sí) mezclar niveles indebidamente. Pero eso no quiere decir que no haya procesos relevantes de selección grupal. También hay que distinguir entre las dinámicas de grupo de cada tipo de grupos: la consciencia y selección deliberada en los grupos humanos no puede confundirse con las dinámicas que se dan entre los insectos sociales u otros grupos de animales.

A fin de cuentas, me parece que es un problema de nivel de descripción. Si estás atento a los genes, los grupos no van a ser un concepto descriptivo relevante. Pero si tu modelo atiende a cuestiones de dinámica grupal, ecología, catástrofes, distribución geográfica, etc., no descriptibles en términos de genes, evidentemente esos factores, en los que los grupos y su interacción son muy relevantes, serán primordiales para interpretar cómo tiene lugar efectivamente la selección natural de los individuos, y de los genes que transportan. También es cierto que los rasgos que favorecen la selección de grupo no son una cuestión cuantificable, como bien observa Pinker, sino interpretable, debido a la gran cantidad de variables en la vida grupal y a la complejidad de su interacción, todo lo contrario de lo que se da en las situaciones aisladas experimentalmente a las que alude Pinker. Quizá eso convierta la interpretación de la selección grupal en "ciencia blanda" o en humanidades antes que ciencia matematizable; pero no es por ello menos real, ni menos relevante.


____

En la discusión, una observación interesante de Stewart Brand sobre la evolución lamarckiana:

"new research in microbial ecology and evolution will change everything in how we think about genes and evolution. Because of the prevalence of "horizontal" gene transfer (by six different ways) in micro-organisms, they don't have Darwinian species, and their evolution looks Lamarckian—traits are acquired on the fly and passed on to offspring."

De hecho, hay que recordarle a Pinker que si nos ponemos "morrofino" con el sentido estricto de los términos, Darwin no habló nunca de su propia selección natural, puesto que no conocía la existencia de los genes; también sería el suyo un concepto de selección natural bastante fuzzy.

La consideración de individuos y unidades evolutivas a distintos niveles de abstracción (ver Vuelve Lamarck) lleva a relativizar bastante el papel de la selección natural, y a admitir otros principios activos a otros niveles que horrorizarían al darwinismo estricto: la herencia de caracteres adquiridos, la tendencia a la estabilidad de las especies, e incluso el papel de la intencionalidad dirigida en los procesos evolutivos, en el caso de la autoconstrucción de la humanidad.


____


En Masters of the Planet, Ian Tattersall (2012) resume así las objeciones a la teoría de la selección de los genes más aptos—podríamos decir que es el argumento definitivo contra el gen egoísta y a favor de la selección no de rasgos sino de individuos:

The idea here [en el darwinismo clásico] is that, over enough time, those with more advantageous inherited characteristics will have greater reproductive success, and therefore will nudge the population in the direction of better adaptation. In this way, members of the lineage will change in average appearance and ultimately evolve into a new species.
     That was the theory, anyway, though it has subsequently been noticed that natural selection may well act mostly to trim off both extremes of the available variation, keeping the population more or less stable. Another complication is that, when we think of adaptation, we usually have in mind one single anatomical feature, or behavioral property, of the animal in question: the structure of its foot or pelvis, say, or its 'intelligence'. Thinking of just one feature in isolation, it is easy to envision how that structure might have been improved over time by natural selection. Yet we now know that all organisms are astonishingly complex genetic entities, in which a remarkably small number of structural genes (exactly how many we humans have isn't known for sure, though most current bets are in the 23,000 range) govern the development of an enormous number of bodily tissues and processes. In the end, natural selection can only vote up or down on the entire individual, which is a real mash-up of genes and of the characteristics they promote. It cannot single out specific features to favor or disfavor.
      This, though, blurs the 'fitness' picture. It is, for example, of little value to be the smartest member of your species if, in an environment crawling with predators, you are also the slowest—or even just the most unfortunate. What's more, in an indifferent world your reproductive success may not in the end have much to do with how magnificently you are adapted to any one thing. Whether or not that predator gets you, or whether or not you get the girl, may simply be a function of blind luck and circumstance. The upshot of complications ausch as these is that evolutionary histories, certainly as we see them reflected in the fossil record, are not produced by the reproductive fates of individuals alone. Indeed, in a world of constantly changing environments, and of ceaseless competition among different kinds of organisms for ecological space, it is more often the fate of entire populations and species that determine the larger evolutionary patterns we obsserve when we look back at the fossil record. (xviii)

Por tanto lo que se selecciona no es la aptitud de los genes de por sí (únicamente a través de la selección de individuos) ni la aptitud de individuos en su conjunto en tanto que paquetes de genes, sino únicamente se seleccionan individuos en la medida en que su reproducibilidad está asegurada en un entorno social—como mínimo, un entorno reproductivo. Lo que se selecciona son grupos reproductivos, poblaciones cuya reproducción es sostenible en un entorno estable, pero siempre en el marco de una ecología siempre sujeta a cambios catastróficos—lo cual nos da una perspectiva sobre la selección natural y la evolución que es más consistente con la teoría del equilibrio puntuado.

Meme(z) de Dawkins





Herederos del trauma

De un ensayo que estoy leyendo sobre traumas y el concepto de post-memoria, para el Journal of English Studies:
 
Marianne Hirsch´s notion of postmemory deals with “a response of the second generation to the trauma of the first” (“Surviving Images: Holocaust Photographs and the Work of Postmemory”. The Yale Journal of Criticism, 2001: 8). Her inquiry can be regarded as an attempt to account for the symptoms characteristic of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder manifested by children of Holocaust survivors. Consequently, employed to address the psychological syndromes transmitted from parent to offspring, this term provides a new analytical tool to approach the familial inheritance of collective traumas from one generation to the next.

Ver en la Wikipedia "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder" para una perspectiva general sobre síndromes post-traumáticos.

Supongo que la novela de Foer Everything Is Illuminated sería interesante leerla desde esta perspectiva. Y otras cosas más incredibly close, como las historias siempre mal resueltas de la guerra civil española y de las coerciones del franquismo. El intento de olvidar el pasado puede llevar, de maneras impredecibles, ya sea al olvido del pasado a a the return of the repressed, y a una sobreidentificación sorprendente con sus progenitores o sus ancestros, por parte de los herederos del trauma. Aunque vista la diferencia de reacciones por parte de estos herederos, quizá las causas de la sobreidentificación con los traumas de los ancestros haya que buscarlas precisamente en otros sitios, además de en los traumas de los ancestros.

Espectros de España por aquí



El camino a Burgos 2


El camino a Burgos 2

Los limoneros


Es muy visible una película israelí/francesa/alemana, Los limoneros (2008, dir. Eran Riklis) sobre la dificultad de conviencia entre palestinos e israelíes alrededor de su muro. Va sobre la imposibilidad de dos mujeres a ambos lados de la raya de ser buenas vecinas, a pesar de que no hay mala voluntad por parte de ninguna de ellas. Podrían parecer cargadas las tintas si digo que la israelí es esposa del ministro de defensa de Israel, que para más datos se llama también Israel, vecino abusón que quiere talar el huerto de limones de su vecina palestina Salma, por si se colasen allí terroristas. Pero a pesar de la alegoría, la película está extremadamente bien llevada e interpretada, con la sensación de la experiencia de la vida cotidiana conseguidísima; es como un viaje a la franja entre israelíes y palestinos. Es también la historia de dos parejas que se deshacen: la mujer del ministro, sofocada por su vida pija y sin contenido, acaba de ver claramente la falsedad de su marido y su hipocresía a todos los niveles, un político que tiene futuro, y presente. Al final de la película lo deja en su supercasa que ahora da no a un huerto de limoneros sino a un muro de cemento. La otra pareja es la que se hace y deshace entre Salma, viuda hace años, y el abogado que consigue defender su causa, y salvar la mitad del huerto, ante el Tribunal Supremo israelí. Son dos solitarios que se gustan y se cogen cariño, pero la presión machista de la sociedad palestina no va a dejar a Salma que "le falte" a la memoria de su marido. En fin, dos mundos contrapuestos que parecen a cuál menos envidiable, y una situación imposible en la que la solución salomónica que da la justicia israelí no deja contento a nadie. La juez del Tribunal Supremo también era mujer, pero queda bastante claro que para el director la hostilidad, el maximalismo y la imposición del abuso son mayormente cosa de hombres, en Israel y también en Palestina. De todos modos hombres y mujeres están sometidos a una situación recibida que los desborda; frente a eso, los hay de buena voluntad, buscando soluciones y estando atentos al punto de vista del otro, y otros que eligen rodar con el sistema sin más, y con la norma que impone el grupo, hasta donde los lleve en su mecanismo deshumanizante. Esos son los imprescindibles para mantener la maquinaria.

_____

Etz Limon. Dir. Eran Riklis. Written by Suha Arraf and Eran Riklis. Cast: Hiam Abbass (Salma Zidane), Rona Lipaz-Michael (Mira Navon), Ali Suliman (Ziad Daud), Doron Tavory (Israel Navon), Tark Kopty (Abu Hussam), Amos Lavi (Commander Jacob), Amnon Wold (Leibowitz), Liron Baranes (Gilad), Smadar Jaron Tamar Gera), Danny Leshman (Itamar 'Quickie'), Ayelet Robinson (Shelly). Israel, Germany, France, 2008.

Generación robada










Viernes 3 de agosto de 2012

Empty Sky


 
Empty sky




The Literary Work of Art (Roman Ingarden)




Notes from Roman Ingarden's book The Literary Work of Art: An Investigation on the Borderlines of Ontology, Logic, and Theory of Literature. With an Appendix on the Function of Language in the Theater.

Originally published as Das Literarische Kunstwerk: Eine Untersuchung aus dem Grenzgebiet der Ontologie, Logik und Literaturwissenschaft. Halle/Saale: Niemeyer, 1931. 3rd. ed.: Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1965. Translated with an introduction by George G. Grabowicz. Foreword by David Michael Levin. Evanston: Northwestern UP, 1973, rpt. 1986. lxxxxiii, 415 p. Notes taken c. 1987.



Foreword by David Michael Levin (xv-xliv)

An ontological-phenomenological approach to art. Does it have any invariant principles in it? —and xvii: "structures of consciousness in virtue of which this mode of being of the literary world is possible." Outline of phenomenological method: all acts of consciousness are directed towards an object (which need not exist physically —> it may be a merely intentional object). Real traits of act vs. logical features: (content, including fiction). Logical content includes the kind of object intended (perceptual, volitional), and also includes in what way (what aspects of) the object are made present to conssciousness. The mental act is not the same as the intended object. Each object can become the object of many intentional acts; it is transcendent with respect to the multiplicity of its logically possible correlative intentional acts. xix: "Furthermore, the transcencence of the object is such that it is never accessible in its absolute totality of properties." Each conjunction of properties is a noema. xx: "A system of noemata, then, constitutes the so-called intentional object." xx: "It follows from the essence of objectivity that one and the same object, given as something transcendent and ontologically distinct from all the conscious acts that intend it, cannot possibly reveal itself in the absolute plenitude of its virtual contexts and relationships". The description of the logical sense of an intentional act must include a mention of the object (which), of the phenomenological kind of object (how, perceptual, linguistic...) and a description of the aspect component—which properties of the object concern the act. When no real object exists, "the intentional object is the temporally unified and the unifying transcendent pole of the various subjective intentional acts." The work of art as the material basis to the intersubjective intentional object. The literary work modulates the lived time of our consciousness, and it is (xxi) "a narrative form which is experienced as unfolding noematically in time."

Ingarden follows a purely phenomenological method. It is not evaluative or contextualizing or explanatory, it is purely descriptive. Other methods are valuable, but the phenomenological description is able to render its own special insights only by virtue of its adherence to a rigorous and exclusive method. [Intrinsic] study of the mode of being, properties, and mode of givenness of the literary work o art—> an ontology, but a phenomenologically accountable one.

As to literary genres, it is doubtful if a pure descriptive method wil provide clear-cut essences.

Physical existence of the book vs. the fictional world inside: author's sentences: intnetional acts directed upon nonexistent objects? (Etc.). Logical status of our belief in fiction, etc. xxvii: "In an excitingly fruitful way, his answer to the fundamental ontological question (is the literary work a physical thing, or is it, instead, something ideal?) cuts right across the traditional ontological dualism; and, in so doing, it helps us to understand just how, and why, we are strongly pulled in two apparently opposite directions whenever we try to resolve it."

1) Work itself vs. work concretized in acts of reading, and [vs. the process of reading].
2) It can also account for the "subjective" conditions of our access as conditioned by the objective work.
3) Theory of strata: hyle/morphe + founding acts/founded acts. xxviii: Cf. Husserl's Logical Investingations on speech acts. The work is a unity and a composite at once. Aristotle as the ultimate source [optimistic level-reading of Aristotle]. Strata: sounds, meaning, and imaginary world, schematic aspects and interpretation. —> The literary work belongs to a realm of ideal transcendence but requires an act of reading.

xxi: Structuralism neglects the structures and modalities of the aesthetic consciousness: it cannot show there the grounds of the structures it has discerned. Phenomenology: basis for an adequate critical theory (implicit in many critics) . Strata are not merely the foundation for one another: there are complex interrelationships, symbolic, etc. Mixing of levels, already from Plautus, etc. Chinese boxes referring ultimately to real aesthetic consciousness.  Nabokov's and Robbe-Grillet's toying with strata. Phrasing, etc., modalizes consciousness; literature gives rise to specific phenomenological experiences.


Translator's Introduction (xlv-lxx)

Ingarden has a reputation of abstruseness, and there is a tendency on the side of critics to simply his theses. Ingarden's answer was The Cognition of the Literary Workd of Art. In Ingarden, categories are "basic structures of real objects which kant considered to be subjective forms of the intellect, without, however, analyzing them more closely" (xlvii). Ingarden breaks with Husserl's idealism. The Literary Work of Art is "a first step in the direction of contrasting real and intentional objects (inthe Husserlian sense) on the basis of the fundamental difference in their formal structure".
xlix: On poetics: "Ingarden distinguishes, according to the aspect under which a work is studied and the mode of its cognition, the following subdivision in all knowledge and literature: (a) philosophy of literature (b) theory of literature, (c) literary scholarship, and (d) literary criticism. Poetics is the theory of artistic literature." li: Complains about the separation of studies of the "work" vs. studies of "aesthetic experience".

Influences. Debts to Husserl:
lii: "(1) The idea of a subjective system-forming operation and the distinction between a pure proposition and a judgement."
(2) the distinction between material and formal content of the nominal word meaning and the opposition of the full meaning of an isolated work and the syntactic elements which its meaning assumes in as sentence, and
(3) "the analysis of the constitution of a purely intentional objectivity in a manifold of connected sentences" (Ingarden's preface) ; also the problem of the mode of existence of objectivities in the work.

Precursors of the stratum concept: Kleiner and Conrad. But Kleiner was a psychologist and in Conrad few "sides", and the aesthetic object is an ideal object (Husserl). Ingarden's "orientational space" comes from Husserl. He acknowledges the embryonic state of structure theories in Aristotle and Lessing. In Lessing , three strata, Ingarden's  represented objects, aspects, and word sounds. "Meaning units, which for Ingarden form the basic constitutent stratum are ignored in their structural and aesthetic role and are seen merely as the means for representing objects". He discusses Aristotle's Poetics and major contemporary theories of the work: Formalist, Objectivist, Kleiner's, and his own. Basic questions: 1- how many strata. 2- Is the work many-phased? —> (a) basic characater of declarative sentences; (b) functions of the work towards reader (and author); (c) relationships between the work and reality; (d) relationship work/author.

Aristotle focuses on the literary work as such, and then on the artistic function and the effect on the perceiver. He recognizes the sequential dimension and uses proto-stratum concepts (dianoia, etc.) but no clear strata. Opsis is not limited to vision (equivalent to aspects). Emphasis on the difference between the poet and the historian (the inner consistency of the poetic workd). Ingarden, lvii: "It seems likely, therefore, that Aristotle had nothing other in mind than what in my book The Literary Work of Art I called the 'objective' consistency within the framework of the world represented in the work".

Summary. First basic ontological conclusion:

(Ingarden, lvii): "The literary work is neither a physical nor a psychic nor a psychophysical entity but a 'purely intentional object' which has the source of its existence in the author's creative acts but at the same time has a certain physical ontic foundation. Thanks, above all, to its meaning stratum, it is an intersubjective intentional object".

Its essence is located between the aesthetic and the purely intellectual stances:

lvii: (Ingarden): "Literary works have a basic structure which is 'common' to all of them"; "they are not individualities which cannot be conceived as examples of a certain determinate class. This is an assumption without which no theory of art or aesthetics is possible" —> and it is a structure specific to works of art.

2 dimensions in the work: the strata, and "longitudinal", sequential sections (from Herder). [Also from Aristotle - JAGL]. As an intentional formation "transcendent to all conscious experiences, those of the author as well as those of the reader" (Ingarden) the work has a threefold ontic basis: the creative conscious act, the fixed text, and ideal concepts (basis for the objective identity of sentence meaning, so that the work be not dissolved into a multitude of concretizations" — problem here.

Artistic value from polyphonic harmony arising from content and from the interrelation of strata. Only through a concretization. "The charge, variously  raised, that 'there is no structure outside norms and values' [Wellek and Warren] or that Ingarden does not reconcile the systematic structure of the work with the work qua aesthetic object is thus anticipated and answered in The Literary Work of Art itself." Also: a study of distance, ambiguity, borderline and interart cases, etc.

Influence.— Ingarden's influence was restricted to Poland and Germany; accepted but not extended. Influences Hartmann, Stanzel, Staiger and Kayser, Müller, Dufrenne, Wellek and Warren. [One should add Martínez Bonati in the Spanish-speaking world - JAGL]. Ingarden against Russian formalists: they do not go beyond the assertion of fictionality in the ontological realm, and are content with stylistic analyses. The work is only verbal to them, they do not admit the two nonlinguistic strata (represented objects and schematized objects). [Questionable account of the Formalists here - JAGL]. Cf. Erlich: Formalists view literature as the manipulation of language, not as the representation of reality. Rebuttal in Ingarden of the claim that poetics is a subdivision of linguistics —> they are intersecting disciplines [Thinking here of linguistics of the sentence - JAGL]. Ingarden challenges the rejection of the duality form/content; he explores different meanings of this relationship.  But formalists go beyond Ingarden in seeing the work only with reference to other works: they put forward a theory of literature, not of the individual work of art.   Still, there is a dynamic and evolving method in both, instead of a fixed doctrine.

The translation is based on the 3rd ed. of 1965; §26 revised; §25a added, & Appendix.



Preface to the first German edition


Vs. psychologism and general artistic considerations as distorting the theory of the mode of the literary work. Since Lessing, either the pictorial or the linguistic tendency has been too pronounced. lxxxi: "In my opinion, the two extremes arose from the fact that the literary work was always considered to be a formation having one stratum, whereas in fact it consistes of a number of heterogeneous strata". Some elements were considered as only elements. Concern beyond literature: addresses the idealism / realism problem, polemic with Husserl, etc.

Preface to the second German edition


The book was a forerunner and has not been superseded. Errors in Wellek and Warren quoting him: he agrees with Wellek, but had said so before.





PART I: PRELIMINARY QUESTIONS


1. Introduction


The essence of a literary work has not been defined. It has been taken for granted, wrongly. Thre is a need to define an "essential anatomy" of the literary work that opens the way to an aesthetic consideration, if it is to be correctly formulated. The approach is not a psychologistic one: 4: "So long as we do not assume toward the object of investigation a phenomenological attitude that is purely receptive and directed at the essence of the thing, we are always inclined to overlook the specific and reduce it to something we already know." Conrad as a precedent. The literary work is not a psychic thing: 5: "The literary work is an object with an altogether peculiar structure."



I. INITIAL PROBLEMS


2. Provisional delimitedness of the range of examples


The structure of all literary works, irrespective of value [footnote 1965 ed.: the cognitive apprehension of structure apart from vaalue is not absurd (vs. Odebrecht). The identity of the work through concretizations presupposes this]. First series of examples, literary works; 2nd, works having to do with literature, diaries, films, etc.


3. The problem of the mode of existence of the literary work


A real or an ideal object? The division is too general and not complete: 10: "We are speaking here of real and ideal objects only as of something which in itself is ontically autonomous and at the same time ontically independent of any cognitive act directed at it". The real object exists in time; the ideal object is timeless, and not subject to change. Works do have a history (they change and cesase to exist). But the work is ideal as a manifold of sentences (sentences are not real, the ideal sense is constructed of a manifold of ideal meanings).


4. Psychologist conceptions and the problem of the identity of the literary work


A "real" view holds there are as many works as there are copies (purely material). Or the work would be the experience of the author, communicated [Werner, 1890, Audiat 1924 Kucharski 19323—with a second existence in the reader's consciousness—, Kleiner 1913]. —> There are problems to link the materiality of the work to experience, and to link our experience with that of the author. And it would cease to exist immediately after experience. Wroks would dissolve into many different experiences. 15: "Every new reading would produce an entirely new work". And there are problems to consider works as wholes. But 16: "each literary work is something that in itself is one and identical. —> Stratum of meaningful words and sentences must be considered a distinct stratum.


5. The literary work as an "imaginational object"


The essential structure of the work would be the object of experiences: the imaginational objects inside the work. But if this involves rejecting the level of ideal meanings and being content with the author's psychic life, these "imaginal objects" would be neither physical nor merely psychical—they have a relationship with real objects. It is impossible to maintain the unity of imaginational objects, and their identity. One way remains: 18: "to admit the existence of ideal meaning units and yet not incoporate them into the literary work—so as to avoid the difficulties presented above—but invoke their aid only for the purpose of securing the identity and unity of the literary work." —> Otherwise, we would have to deny its existence.



II. ELIMINATION OF FACTORS EXTRANEOUS TO THE STRUCTURE OF THE LITERARY WORKS

6. Closer delimitation of the topic [irrelevant approaches]


Addressing the complete work (no consideration of its formation phase). No psychology of aesthetic creativity here. Also will fall outside "all questions dealing with the cognition of the literary work [see Ingarden's The Cognition of the Literary Work of Art]. The work as an aesthetic object, but without any considerations of value.


7. What does not belong to the literary work? [i.e. to its structure]

The author and the process of creation, the author's experiences, etc. Also, the reader's experience, and considerations of value:  23: "We should not assume, on the other hand, that the literary work of art is eo ipso an ontically autonomous object." What develops in the reader and is valuable to him is not the same as what is essential to the work. Fallacy of a psychologistic theory of value. Questionable epistemological assumptions of psychologism. Also excluded are the real models for the objects and states of affairs inside the work [note this notion, 'in' the work - JAGL]. There remains the problem of relating them to the work.




PART II: THE STRUCTURE OF THE LITERARY WORK


III. THE BASIC STRUCTURE OF THE LITERARY WORK


8. The literary work as a stratified formation

29: "The essential structure of the literary work inheres, in our opinion, in the fact that it is a formation constructed of several heterogeneous strata" different in material and function. Not a loose bundle, but an organic unity. 29: "There exists among them a distinct stratum, namely the stratum of meaning units, which provides the structural framework for the whole work"— central. Polyphonic character of work—each stratum variable in its own way, within the whole. Basic strata (others are possible): 30: "(1) the stratum of word sounds and the phonetic formations of higher order built on them; (2) the stratum of meaning units of various orders; (3) the stratum of the manifold schematized aspects and aspect continua and series, and, finally, (4) the stratum of represented objectivities and other vicissitudes." (The last is two-sided: sentences and objects). Stratum of "ideas"—> problem (dealt with later).
30-31: "In each of the strata, aesthetic value qualitites are constituted which are characteristic of the respective stratum." A stratum of aesthetic polyphony cutting across the whole? —> Later. Also a sequential structural element. [Kleiner's strata are phases of formation (but they do correspond with one another - JAGL) —> It is not clear how they manifest themselves in the text. Conrad: phonetic signs, meaning, intended object, and expressed object—or, symbol, meaning, and object. He excludes aspects; unaware of polyphony. Aesthetic object does not equal ideal object]. 33: "Only a detailed study of both the individual strata and the kind of connection arising from them can disclose the peculiarities of the structure of the literary work." Otherwise, ambiguity of the the terms form/content; also necessary to determine genres.




IV. THE STRATUM OF LINGUISTIC SOUND FORMATIONS


9. Single words and word sounds


Language: does it belong to the work or not? As a means, or essentially? In every literary work appear linguistic formations: words, sentences, sentence complexes. 2 sides: phonic material, and meaning. Word sound does not equal phonic material; this preserves the identity in the variety of pronunciations of pronounced words. Gestalt theory of phonemics at word level; structural. The identity of words is not real but ideal. Meaning interacts with word sound in the identification of its form Word sound, meaning? —>phonic properties add to manifestation [expressive function], not meaning. 42: "The primary and essential function of the word sound itself is to determine the meaning of the given word".


10. Various types of word sounds and their functions


Some words are especially apt to convey particular meanings because of history, etc. In systems of terms, combinatorial use rather than intuitive grasp of objects belonging to them (catchwords, scientific terms...) —> vs. living words. Some words are more expressive, others more significant. These differences play an important role in structure. Also, the purely phonetic content of word sound may be aesthetically relevant—>  Interplay with meaning too.


11. Phonetic formations of a higher order and their characters


Sentences, unlike words, are relatively independent. Word sounds exist as typical forms: there are sentence sounds not in the same sense (in spite of tonalities and of [standardized] sentences. Rhythm: strictly regular vs. freer (verse / prose). Immanent and imposed rhythms. The work contains immanent instructions as to rhythm. Phonetic rhythm vs. meaning rhythm. Tempo: peculiar immanent speed of the work. Related to rhythm, word form and meaning, and arrangement of sentences (shorter sentences —> faster tempi). Regular rhythm depends on phonetic units of higher order: verse, stanza. Melody: vowel quality, rhyme... There are also emotional qualities bound to rhythm, tempo, melody: "sad", "melancholy"... They are inherent, not projected by the hearer, although the hearer's mood may influence perception or add qualities. Punctuation is meaning-depenent, not the same as phonetic phenomena – etc.


12. The range of phonetic formations that belong to the literary work


According to Kucharski and E. von Hartmann, sensory perception is foreign to the literary work. No: the phonetic material must be excluded, but word sound does form a part, and there are also "expressive elements" whenever personae are represented: their tone, etc. The manifestations, qualities, rhythms, etc., are significant all in the sense of Gestalt qualities, and not of concrete material.


13. The role of the phonetic stratum in the structure of the literary work


Particular aesthetic qualities contribute to the work's polyphony. There is "beauty" peculiar to each of the materials which then enter into syntheses of higher order, giving rise to a "polyphony of aesthetic characters of heterogeneous types" (58). The materials are not merely a means of revealing the work: the phonetic stratum belongs to it. The stratum of meanings is, ontologically, the essential one: but they are linked necessarily to word sound or other word signs, "any Gestalt-quality factor" (59); they are "external, indispensable shell for the stratum of meaning units" and therefore also for the whole work. And, phenomenologically, as carriers of meaning, they reveal the whole work to the psychic subject. They also determine the aspects in which the represented objects are to appear (Meyer 1901), and also [dramatize,] manifest the personae. The phonetic stratum is indispensable.




V. THE STRATUM OF MEANING UNITS


14. Preliminary note.

15. The elements of the word-meaning
"Names" vs. "Syncategorematica" or functional words.

a) The meaning of names

It is composed of several elements: 1) An intentional directional factor; 2) Material content; 3) Formal content; 4) A moment of existential characterization; 5) (Sometimes) a moment of existential position. If they are part of a higher unit: 6) apophantic-syntactic elements.


1) Intentional directional factor:
 (64) "that moment wherein the workd 'refers' to this and no other object, or, in other cases, to this kind of object, we shall call the intentional directional factor". Types: according to individuality, singularity, [definiteness,] etc. Almost always variable according to the utilization of the word. Only in nominals.

2) Material content: 
The qualitative constitution of an object performs the determining function of the intentional object. 67: the purely intentional object, which in its essence belongs to the nominal oworld of word meaning, presents, with respet to its qualitative constitution, those moments—and only those—that are attributed to it in the material content of the meaning". An indeterminacy which can be further specified ("constants" and "variables"). The content of a concept is not the same as the common features of objects; it is made of constants plus variables not defined yet. Only in nominals.

3) Formal structure:  
which organizes those qualitative essence-determinants. Seen as a thing, a property, a process, a state...  [Not noun vs. verb: for instance, there are nouns of activity].

4) & 5) Existential characterization (& position):  
4) refers to the reality or non-reality, ideality; 5) to [actuality or not of 4)] - E.g., Hamlet "exists as real" but does not exist.



b) The difference between names and functional words: 

—is it a matter of only functions, with no content or dissectional factor? No: There are analogues of content and of dissectional factor. And word meaning can only perform different functions vis à vis the objectivities belonging to it. The difference is rather in formal content. They cannot project any object, etc.


c) The meaning of the finite verb.

Different intentional direction and "type of intentionality" (?). Nominal expressions (material and formal conent may coincide). Subject of particular features (noun) vs. process, happening (verb), with formal structure —> e.g. "the writing" vs. "I write". Temporal manner of representation in verbs; and dependent; it must be abstracted from sentences. The verb points to a subject (this is the verbal directional factor).



16. The actual and potential stock of word meaning

Material object does not equal meaning. 86: "Reference to one and the same 'material' objet does not suffice for an 'equivalence' of meanings" — Ontology does not equeal the meaning-oriented manner of determination. Formal objects are different. Then, the 'sameness' of different meanings cannot be accounted for by it. 87: "The meaning of the word 'square' contains in its material content actually only part of what is contained in the concept of a square". 87: "each word meaning of a noncompound nominal expression which in its formal content intends something in objective structure is is an actualization of a part of the ideal sense that is contained in the concept of the corresponding object, assuming, of course, that such a concept existes. Above all, this actualization creates the material and formal content of the meaning. Each ideal concept has a number of word meanings for the same object. That aspect of the ideal sense of the concept that is actualized in each case creates the actual stock of the meaning." Potential meaning is taken into account in reading: not just the actualized meaning. It depends on knowledge of vocabulary and contextual support. Another effect is the possible discovery of two concepts behind a word as the actualization progresses, etc. (Analogically, we might say that at the end of Beckett's The Unnamable, "I can't go on, I'll go on", only part of the ideal sense of "going on" is actualized - JAGL).


17. Word meanings as elements of sentences, and their attendant concepts

The isolated word is an abstraction. Words appear in sentences: the word performs a function in the sentence. The intentional directional factor varies and formal content is enriched: new elements are added to the formal content. Material content is modified usually in a manifold of connected sentences. [Ingarden seems to lack a clear concept of the concept of a text, or discourse, as a unity beyond the sentencealthough he is struggling to define just that].


18. Word meanings, sentences, and complexes of sentences as products of subjective operations


Idealistic versus psychologistic investigation of meaning. Both wrong. Husserl: words meanings as ideal species, changeless and timeless. Psychological analisis is different from the above analysis. But change and variations in one meaning have to be justified without a proliferation of ideal meanings of words and sentences. Danger of having to presuppose the existence of all, and reduce the writer to a discoverer of complexes of sentences. What we have is sentence-forming operations. Conclusion: distinction real/ideal does not cover all objects. Bestowing meaning on a word as creating something. Usually, sentence-formation. 103: "The sentence-forming or duplicating operation, however, is in most instances only a relatively dependent phase of a much broader subjective operation, from which arise not individual, out-of-context sentences, but, instead, entire complexes of sentences or manifolds of connected sentences."——> In proving, narrating, etc., "we are" already "attuned, usually from the very beginning, to the whole which we are to 'develop' even before we have formed the individual sentences by which it will be developed." ("Theme"). 104: The sentence-forming operation is guieded both by what has been said and by what is to be said. It is not fully free, and it is not fully bound. The manifolds of objects are changeable: they are not ideal objects. The meaning stratum (105) "has no autonomous ideal existence but is relative, in both its origin and its existence, to entirely determinate subjective conscious operations. On the other hand, however, it should not be identified with any concretely experienced 'psychic content' or with any real existence."


19. General characteristics of the sentence

All types of sentences can appear in a literary work. (107): "Thus we can say that we find in a literary work sentences which express 'judgments', 'questions', 'desires' or 'commands'. Furthermore, sentences may appear in various modifications, as, for example, indirect as opposed to direct discourse, etc." Three phases in the description of a sentence (107):
"(1) what a sentence is in itself
(2) what it performs purely of itself, as an objectivity constructed in a particular manner [at a semantic level? at a pragmatic level? JAGL] and
(3) what services it performs for psychic individuals in connection with their lives and experiences."
    (1): Phonetic stratum + meaning content. Only the second is characteristic. (107): "This content is a functional-intentional unit of meaning which is constructedas a self-enclosed whole out of a number of word meanings." (But see later, sentence complexes). Sentence function: specifies the function of the words inside it. Sentence-meaning (vs. word-meaning), co-ordinates the sentence with objectivities, manifests a particular intentionality.  The sentence in (1) as a product of sentence-forming operations, not considered as judgement, etc.——> Not in relation to a determinate state of affairs in reality. In attributive sentences, the noun projects an object, the verb ascribes an activity to this object; the noun becomes the subject of an activity and is conceived in its execution: no longer a juxtaposition, it is a new unit, the sentence is produced. [1965 note reformulates: "one must necessarily distinguish the process as it develops in the ocurse of time as a growing totality of phases, from the process as an object (as a subject of properties) constituted in this development. The difference between a sentence and a word group in which a name is connected with an adjective corresponds to this difference" respectively]. The correlate of a sentence is not an object, nor an action but a "state of affairs" (115). (Husserl, Reinach, Pfänder).
    (2) The state of affairs is purely intentional—but it can be set in relation to an 'objective' state of affairs.
    (3) It is not necessary to effect this function of "manifesting" (thought, etc.).



20. The purely intentional object of a simple intentional act (which belongs to the stratum of objectivities). 


A purely intentional object is "created" by an act of consciousness. Originally, or derivatively. The purely intentional object consists of content plus the structure which characterises it as something purely intentional (the "carrier", it does not coincide with the carrier of the formal properties of the object, e.g. of "tableness"). The material content is not the same as the formal properties of the object, nor is part of it.  The true carrier usually remains latent and concealed; morphe seems  to be the main carrier. Not a second objectivization superimposed to the 1st: simpler. If we intend seriously, this is usually evident. No ontic autonomy for the object; no true "creation" then: "Assignation", "illusion". The range of possibilities is greater in purely intentional objects (e.g. wooden iron, round square) even if they cannot be intuitively imagined. They can be declared void (in a sense, not destructible because they have precisely no ontic autonomy). 124: "Particularly interestin is the fact that an object that has already been 'destroyed', already 'invalidated', can again be intended as an invalidated object." Two transcendences: for instance, the hero of a novel may change, yet he remains the same. The total object goes beyond what has been intended in the discrete intentional act.  [One would think that an additional act would be required for that - JAGL]


21. The derived purely intentional correlates of the meaning units

Purely intentional objects derived from word meanings free themselves from their immediate contact with the acts of consciousness in the process of execution—relative independence. 126: "this artistic relativity of theirs refers back directly to the intentionality immanent in the unities of meaning and only indirectly to the intentionality of the acts of consciousness." ——> They become intersubjective, like words themselves. Other modifications: 126: "a certain schematization of their content." Vividness, Richness and multiple associations in this object's contact with experience. But this is limited when put in words. 127: "Of the originally intended purely intentional object there remains, so to speak, only a skeleton, a schema" (——> this can be reversed by other nonsemantic elements; see later).


22. The purely intentional correlate of the sentence

The purely intentional correlates of assertive propositions are states of affairs, the ontic locus in that proposition: they are isolated, self-enclosed wholes. (Vs. the idea of a connection between sentences and objective states of affairs—not ontic)——> a "correspondence". 129: "Objective states of affairs can directly correspond, according to their essence, only to assertive propositions". I.e. objectively existing states of affairs must not be confused with purely intentional states of affairs: 131: "sentences which have the form of assertive propositions can  be modified in such a way that, in contrast to genuine 'jugments', they make no claim of 'striking' an objective state of affairs." The ontic character in the sentence (i.e. 'universal', 'necessary', 'factual', etc.) is apart from the character of 'real' or 'ideal' sentence. The presence of mutually exclusive characters and structures is possible because the sentence correlate as such does not equal its content. In content, again: matter + formal structure + ontic characters.. 133: "The state of affairs can be apprehended in its pure structure only if we do not name it but, effecting a sentence-forming operation, develop it in a nominal-verbal manner and, in doing so, glance, as if incidentally, at its formal structure without thereby objectifying it." The structure of sentence correlates does not equal the structure  of the simply intended object, even if the content is the same. "The rose is red" does not equal "the redness of the rose." ; the noun is an "open" state of affairs to which a feature is added. It is isolated in some way: rose as carrier (substantia) + redness. 137: "And the peculiar essence of the state of affairs, which finds its full development only through the intentionality of the sentence, lies precisely in surmounting this basic opposition . . . . " All properties of the rose (except redness!) are implicit in that phrase. Direct lines link states of affairs with common objects in them, and they are easily developed. However, not everything which is at all valid for ontically autonomous states of affairs is also valid for purely intentional sentence correlates, and vice-versa. The purely intentional is not constrained by the natural laws of experience; it may contain mutually exclusive elements, which do not have to be unequivocally determined; an ambiguity which lends itself to many interpretations is possible. (Are they sentences with a number of correlates? No: one purely intentional correlate—sometimes ambiguity is necessary for artistic effect).


23. Sentence complexes: Higher meaning units constituted therein

Sentences are usually organized into higher wholes - See T. A. Meyer, Der Stilgesetzt der Poesie (Leipzig, 1901), 18ff. Relevant questions here: 

1) What is a connection between sentences? 
2) Which properties of sentences bring it about?
3) What is constituted? 
4) Types of connections?
5) Types of constituted entities?

As something which is being constituted, the whole is primary. 146: "But, even from this perspective, what lies at the basis and is the determining factor is not the already formed whole itself but only its 'conception', the more or less precise outline of what is to be formed." 147: "The author must have a certain perspective on something that transcends the individual sentences that are formed at any given point in the work." (Here Ingarden points at something like the textual macrostructures described by van Dijk and other text grammarians and discourse analysts. Of course it is also a basic notion from rhetoric). But when the work is regarded as complete, finished, then sentences are the basis. For the reader, the sentences come first. 147: "The entire work is then something dependent which arises from the total meaning content and from the order of the individual sentence"; but they are influenced by previous sentences.

1) What is a connection between sentences? A "reaching out" of some elements in the sentence beyond the state of affairs which would be projected by the sentence if isolated is the basis for a connection: this is established if two meanings are tied coherently. So, reaching-out + tying-in. Groups are formed, enclosed within larger groups, etc.  (An embedded-box analysis or a frame analysis of discourse structure is suggested by this notion of Ingarden's — cf. the moves, steps, etc. suggested by Swales in Genre Analysis).


2) Which properties of sentences bring it about? Some purely functional words (insofar, and), some materially functional words (afterwards, behind), by common nouns in both sentences, [pronouns with] the same intentional directional factor, helped by succession, etc.

3) What is constituted? For instance, a story, a proof, a theory.... 153: "Every such whole possesses its own compositional structure, which is naturally dependent on the sentence contour and the order in the sequence of sentences and finally, on the type of the connection. [One might want to put it the other way round: the sequence of sentences etc. is dependent on the compositional structure; Ingarden's account of textual structure is curiously nonpragmatic and static]. This structure is not identical with any attribute of the individual sentences, however." —> From the structure we can derive the concepts of simplicity or complexity of composition, etc.


4) Types of connections. More or less tight; there are many types, implicit or explicit, etc. Material vs. logical connections.

5)  Types of constituted entities. The dominant connection and the selection of types of connection characterise the whole in a peculiar way. [Ingarden seems not to trust totoo much connections not generically tradicional]. All this must be explored systematically; here it is only pointed out.

24. The Purely Intentional Correlates of the Higher Meaning Units that Are Constituted in Sentence Complexes.


A material ontic connection is developed between sentences whose states of affairs share common objects: a loose relation between two states of affairs. 157: "The states of affairs, figuratively speaking, merge into a 'net' in which the given object is 'enstanred'." Ultimately, 157: "a determined object, or a whole manifold of objects, and their vicissitudes, comes to be represented in a manifold of connected states of affairs." Each state of affairs may nevertheless be intentionally isolated. But in fluid apprehension of the object, the demarcations are removed, even if the trace of the sentence-based way of representing can never be totally removed.

25. The Quasi-jugdmental Character of the Declarative Sentences Appearing in a Literary Work  [Affirmative propositions]


As opposed to judgments in a scientific work—those are genuine, they "not only lay claim to truth but are true or false." Those of literature (160) "are not pure affirmative propositions, nor, on the other hand, can they be considered to be seriously intended assertive propositions or judgments." Pure affirmative propositions vs. judicative propositions; cognitive: the former are directed to purely intentional objects; the latter go beyond, they refer to an object which is real or intended as real—> the purely intentional state of affairs is transported into the real ontic sphere and (162) there is an existential setting. —> The basis for claims to truth. The ontic sphere of a state of affairs is now critically independent with respect to the judgment. The two states of affairs are juxtaposed and identified (if possible). Two concretizations of the same ideal [ ] which are then passed over. 163: "The intention of the proposition points directly at that which is ontically independent with respect to the judicative proposition." The purely intentional state of affairs becomes transparent, disappears for us. (Arguments in favour of the distinction of the intentional from the real state of affairs, etc.; OK). —> Only the content of the judicative proposition, and not the intentional correlate as such (including "this", "that", etc) is made to "coincide" with the objective state of affairs. 167: "Between the two extremes—of the pure affirmative proposition and the genuine judicative proposition—lies the kind of sentences that we find in the (modified) assertive propositions in literary works." 167: "the assertive propositions appearing in a literary work have the external habitus of judicative propositions, though they neither are nor are meant to be genuine judicative propositions." They are assertive, not purely affirmative, but without any truth value. Some of them approach either of the poles (affirmative - judicative). Intentionally projected states of affairs are ontically set, but there is a total absence of the intention of an exact matching to the corresponding state of affairs that is objectively existing. Transported to the real world, but only as an ontic setting, not with a matching-intention. We are aware that the intentional contents have their origin in the intentionality of the sentence. 168: "For this reason the corresponding purely intentional states of affairs are only regarded as really existing without, figuratively speaking, being saturated with the character of reality. That is why, despite the transposition into reality, the intentionally projected states of affairs form their own world." They may refer to a vaguer or narrower world. Partial anchorings in reality. (Paris in novels: real and not real). In historical novels we step closer to judicative propositions. But there is no identification with real states of affairs: rather, a substitution, a duplication. The suggestive power of the work comes from the quasi-judgmental character of its assertive propositions. Judgments spoken by the characters (if they are sincere, etc.) are real inside the represented world, "and, finally, only for the represented characters (172) speaking with each other." —> They are not the author's opinions on the real world. Those of the author are only quasi-judgments "which the author uses precisely for the purpose of simulating this world". [Added in 1965: If the author uses the work to smuggle his opinion about the real world, that is an extra-artistic end.]

25a [added in 1965]: Are there no quasi-judgments in a literary work of art?

So argues Käte Hamburger, Die Logik der Dichtung (Suttgart, 1957), 14ff., passim. She opposes Ingarden's conception, which she considers tautologic, restricted to drama and the novel, and with a confused concept of 'quasi-judgment'. The argument is held to be circular: they are quasi-judgments only because they are in a novel; this does not describe the structure of the novel but only the psychological attitude of author and reader. 

Ingarden's answer: It is a contradictory criticism: Are the concepts (Ingarden's) tautological, or false? Are they psychological, or wrong?  
- Ingarden is not doing a "labeling" but a description, and it is not psychological, but phenomenological. (The psychological perspective is given in The Cognition of the Literary Work of Art). A narrow, and not strong perspective? —> A meaningless objection. 
- On lyric poetry: It is included here. 178: "For me the lyric is no less 'mimetic' than epic or dramatic poetry, and what is represented in it is 'unreal' to the same degree as the world represented in a dramatic or an epic work; only it is represented differently, and what is represented is different."
- Tautology?—> Hamburger mixes two problems: the definition of quasi-judgment and the recognition by the reader that it is one. (2) is "tautological"—a recognition from the fact that we are reading a novel (coming from types of title, genre labels, etc.). Hamburger does not explain which is the logical status of statements in the work of art.



26. An Analogous Modification of Sentences of Other Types [revised 1965]

The former does not apply only to declarative sentences: there are quasi-questions, quasi-evaluations, etc. 182: "Their function consists solely in the intentional projection of certain ontically heteronomous objectivities, which can at most give themselves an appearance of reality but can never attain it." Those of characters as such are real—> "double-natured character" of sentences in the work. But they may also be quasi-judgments; 182: "Then the intentionally projected world is many-leveled." The expressive function in questions, etc., also undergoes a similar alteration. —sometimes we are informed of experiences of the character not only by the content, but by the appearance of the sentences [Cf. Todorov- JAGL]. Are there any problems in justifying states of affairs not present in the meaning of the sentences? The [subjective] function of "manifestation" is not the same as the purely intentional projection through meaning units.





VI. THE ROLE OF THE STRATUM OF MEANING UNITS IN THE LITERARY WORK. THE REPRESENTATION FUNCTION OF THE PURELY INTENTIONAL SENTENCE CORRELATES


27. The Differentiation of the Various Functions of Sentences and Sentence Complexes.

Two roles of sentences and complexes: 
1) The projection of the remaining strata.
2) Their role as a particular material which participates in the polyphony of the work.

In (1) we can distinguish: the intentional perspective, the 'how' of the representation; the more detailed shaping of formations and characters through the meanings of words and sentences; the aspects in which the objectivities will appear; the constitution of the 'idea' of the work.

28. The projection function of sentences; states of affairs and their relation to represented objectivities

A passage from the intentional development of states of affairs to purely intentional objects. Both are transcendent with respect to the meaning content of the sentence. Objects connected with states of affairs exist in the same manner (here, intentionally). 190: Constitutive connection of states of affairs starting from the naming of objects. Objects can be seen through diverse states of affairs, "windows"—a medium we must cross to reach the object and have it as given. —> These media disappear to a certain degree, to facilitate our view of the object, even if they are something which belongs to the proper ontic range of the object.


29. The Representing and Exhibiting Function of the States of Affairs.

Various types of states of affairs can be found in assertive propositions: states of essence, of thus-appearances, of occurrence, etc. States of affairs are suited to one of these groups, but [contextually] they can perform other representing functions: sentences of thus-appearance can be used to deal with the essence, etc. Sentences of thus-appearance reveal the essence indirectly, and presuppose the apprehension of a conscious subject. Likewise, many properties of objects are made manifest only when the object is apprehended in an occurrence. —> Occurrences also connect states of essence to one another. "Exhibiting." is only a particular way of representation: that of qualities of things which are self-presenting.  

Other objects are given intuitively, through aspects.

30. Other modes of representation by means of states of affairs

Some of them (which can occur in both the purely representing and the simultaneously exhibiting states of affairs): 


1) Regarding which state of affairs related to the object is selected (infinite in each moment of the object, and infinite moments). Various selections are possible, 198: "one and the same intentional object can be represented or exhibited in various combinations of properties, states, etc., depending on which manifold represents it." The object is shown here from another side—as it were in another perspective—and, figuratively speaking, in other perspectival foreshortenings since, in the various manifolds of properties of an object, one and the same property seems capable of taking on a different role and importance in its total essence (The same object? "cum grano salis"). The material of poets is not different from the sentences which form it. But not only the selected properties are present in each case, constituting two different objects: there are also potential components in word meanings, even though they do not attain interactional projection, which are a basis for the identity of two objects projected differently: for instance, one object may be presented only in its thus-appearance in a work and in its internal properties in another; (200:) visual elements may appear in one work and auditory ones in another...  The external aspect of characters or spiritual life, inessential or essential states of affairs of objects, "internal" vs. "relational" states of affairs... [cf. character vs. plot - JAGL]—etc.

(200) 

2) Whether states of affairs show the object within themselves or refer to other states of affairs which are not directly determined by the meaning content of the sentences—> "indirect determination", if done in a calculated way it is a new kind of representation (symbolic works).

3) With regard to the meaning material of the sentences. Two different materials (and sounds) can convey the same state of affairs. Words may differ in their potential stock of meaning, and add different emotional coloration.

4) The kinds of connection between states of affairs (a result of different sentence structures, different type of sentence complex). The formation of a stratum of objects in the literary work is essentially dependent on the structure of the sentence, and on the complex of sentences [of course].
205: "Only the sequence of a number of sentences constitutes a connection between the individual states of affairs, and indeed a connection of an entirely particular type."
In Novalis, in Kleist, each is a complex situation. 
An all-encompassing frame is built at first, which is then filled out. 

5) The manner in which the narrrating subject belongs to the work by virtue of the particular formation of meaning content of the sentence. According to T. Lipps (Grundlegung der Ästhetik, Leipzig, 1903, p. 497)—an "I" is supposed in any sentence from the very nature of language. But this is not correct. 206: "Usually the meaning content of the sentences says nothing about the 'narrator' or whether the sentences are spoken by anyone as component parts of a narration". There are works written "impersonally", with no manifestation function. 

207: "If the meaning content of the sentences or the circumstances under which they appear do not indicate the author as the narrator, the entire work is, so to speak, beyond the reach of the author: he himself does not belong to the work as a represented character." It is different when the author represents himself as narrator in the corresponding states of affairs. Then the narrator (it is of no essential significance whether it is the author himself or a character created by him) is cogiven to us as the narrating person —> and belongs to the object stratum, and the states of affairs are boxed within one another. A further complication ensues if the narration becomes a scene, a dramatic representation, and characters project a new object stratum by speaking. In any case, there is a double projection of states of affairs. [For Ingarden, there is no narrator in the "impersonal" mode he mentions.]

6) Difference between "dramatic" and "nondramatic." (Abstracting from the fact of staging). In drama, there are two texts: the stage directions, and the main text. They supplement each other; they are also boxed. In the novel there is never so sharp a division. There may be no boxing [meaning no direct speech? JAGL]. Whereas in drama, the spoken sentences constitute the main text, the main basis for the represenatation of objects, the side text is nevertheless essential to characterize the boxing as boxing.


31. The role of meaning units as a special material in the structure of the literary work

Apart from constituting other strata, the meaning stratum functions as a material with its own voice in the work's polyphony. In a way, meaning passes without our noticing it; but it always remains peripherally. A transition through the sphere of the meaningful and rational is necessary before we reach other strata (unlike the case of music). Degrees of rationality and lyricism: Rational value is disregarded by some critics. Unique aesthetic values have their origin in this stratum. 


1) Properties of meaning content:

Clarity vs. obscurity are dependent on sentence and connection. They are not introduced by the reader [Ingarden assumes a capable reader - JAGL]. It is not a question of vividness and effortlessness: rather of structural features like the sharp separation of the members of the meaning unit and their ordering in a whole, one perception not disturbing the other, and a view of the whole being obtainable; of the unambiguity of words vs. opaqueness, haziness and vague delineation.

2) Also, simplicity vs. complexity, lightness vs. heaviness... etc. All are connected. The style of writing is founded on certain properties or others of the spectrum of meaning units. Style is that particular value. A certain coolness of the beauty of this stratum, it is not emotionally moving. Even if badly constructed, it has its own voice, and can contribute to the whole. Above all, it should not hinder the presentation of other strata.





VII. THE STRATUM OF REPRESENTED OBJECTS

32. Recapitulation and introduction

This is the best known stratum; it is often the only one which is apprehended thematically, but often with a crude psychologistic approach and a direct transference between the world and the work. 218: Purely intentional objects, related among themselves, constitute an ontic sphere, a great part of it brought about by the potential stock of the word meanings. This world has its own (quasi) real and ideal objects inside; a "represented objectivity" accounts for (219:) "everything that is nominally projected regardless of objectivity category and material essence." It is subject to the modifications produced by the representation by means of states of affairs and by the modifications produced by the imaginative mode of appearance; 220: "Representation by means of states of affairs is not necessary with all objects, in particular not with those that are directly projected by names and nominal expressions."


33. The habitus of reality of represented objects

Objects appear in novels in the character of reality. 221: "This character of reality, however, is not to be fully identified with the ontic character of truly existing real objects. In represented objectivities there is only an external habitus of reality, which does not intend, as it were, to be taken altogether seriously (...)"; a "mere claim to reality". No t an "ideal" existence; Husser's "neutrality modification" does not apply here. This character affects all categories: quasi-dreams, etc.



34. Represented space and "imaginational space"


Space in the work is not real nor the imaginational space which belongs to the intuitive imagining of objects. 223: "it is a unique space which essentially belongs to the represented 'real' world." It is not unlimited in the sense that real space is; only the inevitability of corepresentation adds space to that which is mentioned. There are here "spots of indeterminacy" impossible in real space. The represented Munich is not the same as the real Munich. 224: "If it could be, then it would have to be possible to wak out, as it were, from represented into real space and vice versa, which is patently absurd." "In contrast to imagined space, imaginational space is strictly immanent in imaginational experience." In imaginational data, order is not imposed from the outside. They are guided by the intentional act. The imagined object is not psychic merely on the grounds that the imaginational experience is psychic. The objects projected by word meanings, etc., are not imaginational either.


35. Various modes of spatial orientation of represented objectivities

Space in the work corresponds to perceptually given space. 230: "It must then be exhibited, so to say, through the medium of orientational space. In particular, orientational spaces must thus be used which belong to the represented psychic subjects 'perceiving' this represented space. If this is the case, the question arises where the center of orientation ('the zero point of orientation', as Husserl calls it) is to be found." If the poet tells a story and belongs to the world as narrator, the center of orientation lies in the I of the poet (not the real I, but the I as narrator). (Vs. the notion of "the author" as a primary starting point). If the narrator does not belong inside, the point may be found inside but not located in any subject, 230: "so that all the represented objects are again exhibited as if they were seen from a determinate point (which sometimes changes in the course of the representation). Or (131:) "the center of orientation may be found in the zero point of the I of a represented person and move with every change of place he makes"—we fictively transpose ourselves there, we abandon our own center of orientation. The point of orientation is frequently located in a number of persons; for instance, in the person that plays the main role in a particular section. The same event may be shown from different perspectives, etc. In read drama, the center of orientation is an invisible spectator belonging to the represented world. All remaining states of affairs, however, are not boxed here.

36. Represented time, and time perspectives

Represented time does not coincide with the objective time of the real world or with the "subjective time" of an absolute conscious subject. Objects appear in a temporal order; some phases are represented, but others are intentionally projected by meaning contents. It is not the same as the time of the author writing or the time of the reader reading. Three kinds of time: 1) Physico-mathematical; 2) Concrete (collectively apprehendable, intersubjective) 3) Subjective. 234: "It is self-evident that in literary works only an analogue of concrete intersubjective or subjective time is represented, and not empty physical time". It is not homogeneous, but sensitive to events. Cf. Bergson's temps, also inside the work. Not the same as the time of the author, or the time of the reader. The present as in actu esse, condition of real existence—> ontic priority of the present over the past and the future; it gives them their character. Tim in the work is an analogue of real time. The distinction past-present-future stems from the reciprocal order of events, not from the fact of passing through a genuine in actu esse. We have therefore a simulated present, past and future. 

236: "the represented present has none of the prominence of the genuine present over the represented past and future"—> a leveling of differences similar to that which occurs in the real past. 236: "Then it is no accident that, in the vast majority of literary works, events and objects are represented in terms of the past." Is absolute continuity representable? In fact, it it is never represented. Time is represented through the states of affairs of sentences (unlike real time). 237: "In most cases, what is primarily represented is, not the time phase, in and of itself, but that which fills out a time phase." And only isolated phases are represented, while the rest remains indeterminate. There is a finite number of sentences. The case of space is similar. (The explicitly represented vs. the corepresented). There are also points of temporal orientation, moving, as time progresses. In real time we can step back but we can never really live the actual now [of the past]. Transpositions in represented time are successful to a greater degree—the past as is experienced as if it were another present. There are double time perspectives, when a past event is contemplated from its own time and is also seen from much later. 

Other time perspectives in a single moment (simultaneous): complex or simple, cf. above, Kleist, when several threads of action are spun simultaneously.  

Also, [scenes] in which time is represented in its simple individuality, vs. informational narrative [summaries]. 241: "only when a scene is shown in its concrete fullness and in its entire temporal extension are we again dealing with qualitatively determined, represented time"—> in summaries, time is represented in its general structure, not in its individuality. This is only possible in represented time. Scenes are seen in proximity; informational narrative is seen from a distance, in the past. In scenes, the zero point of temporal orientation is transposed to that moment in the pst where the represented scene begins and then, as the events develop, the past is made present, an "erstwhile now". If the whole work is projected mode of the present, it has a dramatic quality.  Etc.

An analysis of the differences in time presentation would show the differences between genres.


37. The Reproduction and Representation functions of represented objects


Is the work a representation of reality? 245: "it is clear that this observation does not refer to the entire literary work but merely to its object stratum." Range from historical works (phenomenologically the opposite from scholarly historical works: there, representation [Repräsentation]) to works where there is a similarity to the objects of real experience. (In Repräsentation the representer imitates the represented while concealing itslef as the representer).


38. Spots of indeterminacy of represented objectivities.

All real objects are determined, they appear in a primary concrete unity with others and are  absolutely individual. [They are infinite], while fictional objectivities are projected by a finite number of sentences. Represented objectivities (like all purely intentional ones) are finite, and need not be individual to the extreme [For example: they may be colored, but not of any particular color.] They are infinite in some way (cointended) but that is not represented unequivocally in its quiddity. —> An infinitely great number of spots of indeterminacy. Also because of insufficient determination effected by words as such. The represented object is only a schematic formation. 251: "every literary work is in principle incomplete and always in need of further supplementation; in terms of the text, however, this supplementation can never be completed." There is an appearance of completeness, however, to the reader: 252: "we are not conscious of the spots of indeterminacy"; first because we see the object only from that aspect which is determined by the unities of meaning; 2nd because some of the spots are concealed by the aspects; 3rd. because the reader goes beyond the text and completes it. 252: "In a word, the literary work itself is to be distinguished from its respective concretizations, and not everything that is valid for the concretization of the work is equally valid for the work itself." 2 types of spots: those removable on the basis of textual supplementation (because the text dissipates a strictly circumscribed manifold of possibilities), and those which are not. [The director as reader]. Possibility of impossibilities of the work (new rules, etc). Ambiguity, opalescence, etc. Different and contradictory properties may be attributed to objects, etc.




VIII - THE STRATUM OF SCHEMATIZED ASPECTS


39. Introduction

255: We speak of schemata of aspects, not concrete aspects. Representation through states of affairs is not enough for an intuitive apprehension of represented objects; we need aspects. The manner in which represented "real" objects are given is attuned to the perceptual reality of real objects.

40. The perceived thing and concrete perceptual aspects

256: Many phenomenological modes: Here, only those "aspects" (of things) in which the perceived thing attains corporeal self-presentation. 
257: Relativity of the perceived aspect of thing to the perceiving subject: it depends on his behavior. A manifold of aspects is also subject to its own transformation connected to its particular time structures—the past conditions the present.  Two elements in the content of an aspect: fulfilled and unfulfilled qualities (given and cogiven—e.g. the back of a sphere of which we see only the front)—> something phenomenally present and not merely intended. Many properties of the aspect we do not see also have to do with unfulfilled qualities (for instance, uniformity of color in a sphere). The degree and kind of unfulfilledness are variable. Always syntheses of various senses, not pure (visual, etc.) aspects. The unity of an aspect is defined not by a sharp contour vs. an outside, but by common membership of elements inside it. It is linked to succession and perception.


41. Schematized aspects

262: According to Husserl, "there is a strict affiliation between every perceptually given property of a thing and the manifold of aspects, strictly ordered according to rules, in which the given property appears" —and vice versa—> 262: "what is in question here are not aspects that are experienced once and then lost for all time but certain idealizations, which are, so to speak, a skeleton, a schema, of concrete, flowing, transitory aspects." 
263: "every moment of a thing determines a manifold of schematized aspects which constitute the skeleton of the concrete aspects in which it appears. By "schematized aspect", therefore, one should understand only the totality of those moments of the content of a concrete aspect whose presence in it is a sufficient and indispensable condition for the primary self-givenness of the object or, more precisely, for the objective properties of a thing." (2 aspects may refer to only one property—if they are two varieties of the same schematized aspect). 364: The filling out of the rest is subjective; it no longer depends on the object; it is seen as variable. 

42. Schematized aspects in a literary work


264: "Schematized aspects, which are neither concrete nor at all psychic, belong to the structure of a literary work as a separate stratum." Schematized, because their basis is the sentences, not the individual's experience: "in the reading they allow of various actualized aspects—though within predetermined limits." Actualization is effected on the basis of previously experienced concrete aspects. Different concretization depending on readers: 265: "Here we see once again that a literary work is a schematic formation. In order to see this, however, if it is necessary to apprehend the work in its schematized nature and not confuse it with the individual concretizations that arise in individual readings." Two kinds of factors: those present in the text to some extent, and those which can inhere in the reader, although they may be prepared for this actualization in the text, and forced upon the reader. —> "Aspects that are held in readiness", only in some works. (Through phonetic structures—????). If aspects are described, objects themselves do not appear but indirectly, 266: "only that manifold of aspects can be predetermined which belongs to the explicitly presented side of the objectivities. Schematized aspects are separated from one another by jumps. Readers' contributions helps overcome this stiffness. 269: "But the jumpiness of the succession of aspects can never be entirely removed. Even when it is overcome to a certain degree, that which causes this overcoming, and the overcoming itself, do not belong to the literary work itself but to one of its concretizations, which in their essence relate to a given reading and a given reader." Aspects are not actualized as genuine, perceptual aspects, but as an imaginal modification. Pulsating, sometimes aspects disappear and reappear. They present objects, but not things. The background is not actualizable as an object—"murky cloud", vs. real object.


43. "Internal aspects" of one's own psychic processes and character traits as elements of a literary work

The presentation of foreign bodies is not the same as the presentation of things. Analogy with "internal aspects" of our own experience. Different data from those of external experience. Diverse modes of appearance. (etc.).

275: "psychic occurrences and objectivities also appear in manifolds of aspects. Appropriately schematized internal aspects enter into a literary work just as much as "external" aspects do. The poet's great art consists precisely of not merely speaking about the psychic states and character traits of his 'heroes' but representing them (...)." Otherwise, we only get lifeless paper figures. All this solves the problem of intuitive elements in the work.


IX. THE ROLE OF THE STRATUM OF SCHEMATIZED ASPECTS 
IN A LITERARY WORK


44. The differentiation of the basic foundation of schematized aspects in a literary work

Twofold function: 276 "(1) aspects held in readiness enable us to intuitively apprehend represented objects in predetermined types of modes of appearance. At the same time, they gain a certain power over represented objects by influencing their constitution." (2) Contribution to the polyphony of the work with their own aesthetic values.


45. The determining function of aspects; the influence of aspect variety on the total character of the work

276 "The first and foremost significant function of aspects in a literary work is based on the fact that, through them, represented objects can be made to appear in a manner predetermined by the work itself." "Concreteness, strict individuality, vitality, corporeality, can be brought out only by our actualization of aspects held in readiness." If they were not present the reader would supply them. Not only from meaning: they are also derived from sound—The selection of synonyms (not sound!- JAGL) sometimes results in a different aspect. So they do not merely cause the appearance of objectivities, but also have an influence on their constitution. —> 278: "as one reads, the given objectivities appear to take on moments, or properties, to which, simple on the basis of what is represented by states of affairs, they are not entitled. To this extent one may also speak of the determining function of aspects". 279: "the work assumes different characteristics depending on the nature of the presominant aspects." Visual, auditive, aspects, etc., internal or external behavior of characters— one point of view, or several, etc. (Plurality of viewpoints is impressionistic, it has a special aesthetic charm). Usually a particular kind of aspect predominates (e.g. visual, internal, etc.). In reading we ignore spots of indeterminacy, we go beyond them and concretize the work—we believe that a situation presented thorugh different aspects is "the same" [Ingarden's account of semantics is insufficiently developed—sometimes he sounds as though he puts all this aspect variability under the heading of phonetic material! - JAGL]
280: Common vs. uncommon aspects— these give a newness sheen to the world. 281: New literary movements are usually based here: a change in the way of seeing the world, together with a change of taste. The well-known vs. the unknown: habits of perception, etc. Determination of the essence of objects, reduction of the unknown to the previously known. But (281): "Heidegger in particular is mistaken when he asserts that the purely cognitive attitude is founded on the practical one". 


282: "If the represented world is really to have some 'fresh blood' in it, if the work is to reveal what is most peculiar and essential to it, aspect manifolds of great revealing power must be held in readiness in it [he analyzes focalization in a realist novel, "we walk with the hero", etc.] —coherent, vs. torn combination of aspects in later expressionist works. 283: "This is the basis for one of the essential features of literary expressionism, though this does not exhaust its essence". —Different imprint given to objects, and stylistic differences in the work.

46. Decorative and other aesthetically relevant properties of aspects

Stylistic values of aspect stratum are not apprehended as such: they are transferred to the objects. 287: "These stylistic features do not constitute anything that would pertain to real objects in the way of real attributes." They are more important in intentional than in real objects, above all in works of art. They are especially prominent in in culmination phases of the work— the transition phase may be indifferent.  The removal of the stratum of aspects would transform a literary work of art into a mere written work—> (287:) Cf. Walzel's notion of art as opposed to science, because "it expresses its contents of cognition, wish and feeling in a sensorially effective manner", transforming content into form.



X. THE ROLE OF REPRESENTED OBJECTIVITIES IN A LITERARY WORK OF ART AND THE SO-CALLED IDEA OF A WORK



47. Does the object stratum have any function whatsoever in a literary work of art?

288: "all other strata are present in the work primarily for the purpose of appropriately representing objects. The object stratum itself, on the other hand, appears to exist within the literary work solely for itself." Our interest in reading centered in them. Literary studies centered on this too (and on the genesis of the work). This is a wrong prejudice. And the object stratum is not the ultimate one—> what about emotion or mood, ethical influence, instruction? For us: Does any other element emerge from the object stratum in the structure of the literary work of art itself? "Expression of an 'idea' apprehended by the author"? The object stratum should both simply be and do something [Cf. Kant's notion of a finality without end - JAGL]. "Idea", a trite formulation; true, pure rational meaning is only appropriate for tendentious literature.

48. Metaphysical Qualities (essences)

The tragic, the comic, the sublime, etc. Metaphysical qualities [—> He means AESTHETIC qualities - JAGL] are not present in things, nor is it a matter of a psychic state. —> Revelations which constitute the summit and depths of existence, as opposed to the gray everyday experiences (revelation is always positive, even when it is bad).. They are not definable, not rational —a "grace". —> Ecstatically seen, they cannot be invoked deliberately. In real life they overpower us. 243: "Art, in particular, can give us, at least in microcosm and as reflection, what we can never attain in real life: a calm contemplation of metaphysical qualities." Hebbel's notion of art as "realized philosophy".


49. Metaphysical qualities in a literary work of art

293: "The most important function that represented objective situations can perform is in exhibiting and manifesting determinate metaphysical qualities."  —> But this is done through the manner of presentation. A metaphysical shortcoming (irreality) precisely enables the work to manifest metaphysical qualities. They are not realized there, but concretized and revealed, analogous to real existence. "This ontic heteronomy, however, enables us to contemplate them relatively calmly." — "Distance". [Aesthetic distance, cf. Bullough—JAGL]. 295: "The 'distance' of which we speak here rests only on the unique phenomenon of 'not belonging to the same world' and brings with it the impossibility of genuine participation in the represented situatio"— 295: their observation does not bring about those changes in us that true realizations do. Cf. Aristotle's catharsis: relief and inner calm after difficult events requiring our exertion. Qualities may be fulfilled or only announced, etc.

50. Is the manifestation of metaphysical qualities truly a function of the object stratum?

Are metaphysical qualities merely moments of the represented world, like objects? No: they are not directly determined by sentence meanings. 296: "What is remarkable is precisely the fact that, although metaphysical qualities can quite easily be intended in pure meaning units, this in itself, however, is not enough for them to be manifested." —> Other strata must cooperate —> They emerge from the structure of the work, from its organic unity. Metaphysical qualities are held in readiness—not manifested in the work, but in its concretization. The polyphonic harmony of the levels must require the appearance of metaphyisical qualities. Otherwise, the work is not perfect. 

51. The symbolizing function of the object stratum

Revelation as distinct from the symbolizing function of the object stratum (in some works), 299: "a function which does not absolutely belong to the essence of a literary work of art." Symbol and symbolical belong to different worlds, and what is symbolized cannot attain self-presentation—it is not directly knowable. The symbol is only a means, whereas an objective revelative situation is also an end in itself. Another function of the object stratum is the representation of the real world.

52. The problem of the "truth" and the problem of the "idea" of a literary work of art

Analysis of "truth". The work of art is not "true" in most of the senses of the word, but it is true in other senses: "good reproduction" (in the case of historical works), "objective consistence" (which need not be maintained in all works), and also when metaphysical qualities are manifested. —> In all cases, "truth" is not indispensable. The notion of the "Idea" as true proposition is shallow, a misunderstanding of the work of art. It is not found in the work nor is deducible from it. 303: "For a true proposition cannot follow from sentences that are not genuine judicative propositions". Idea as non-conceptual: 304: "in this sense the 'idea' of a work is based on the essential connection brought to intuitive self-givenness, that exists between a determinate represented life-situation, taken as culminating phase of a development preceding it, and a metaphysical quality that manifests itself in that life-situation and draws its unique coloration from its content". —> The work is grasped as a creation that is of one piece.


53. Conclusion of the analysis of the strata

304: "The cross-section of the structure of the literary work must now be followed by a longitudinal section." 





XI. THE ORDER OF SEQUENCE IN A LITERARY WORK

54. Introduction: alteration or destruction of the work through the transposition of the parts

A work has a beginning and end, like a musical work. As to Conrad's view of literature as a "temporal art": (305) "As plausible as this may appear at first, it is false, and arises from the confusion of the literary work itself with its concretisations, which are constituted when the work is read" (...). True, "we can apprehend literary works only in a temporally extended process." But this does not mean that the work itself is extended. (305): "if this conception were true, we would have to attribute different temporal extensions to one and the same work according to the length of given readings". The work itself exists simultaneously. "Earlier" and "later" parts of the work, "beginning" and "end" (not of events) are not to be understood as temporal; it is, rather, and "order of sequence". (The inversion of the parts produces nonsense).


55. The meaning of the sequence of parts of a literary work


Their order is not concrete time, but an ideal objectivity. 310n: "One should not (...) confuse the time form of that is represented with the particular order (now being investigated) of the sequence of parts of the whole work". Every phrase (except the first one) contains elements founded in a previous phase, independent elements, and elements which found a subsequent  phrase. This founding is one-directional;  (312:) "that one should distinguish between them follows already from the fact that a 'later phase of a literary work frequently represents a situation which is earlier in time" (e.g. "removing spots of indeterminacy"). Present, past and future have a meaning in the represented time, but not in the phases of the work. (JAGL: ¿¿?? Questionable.). The phrase structure dictates the internal dynamics of the work: fadeouts, culminating phrases, etc.; an increase and decrease of tension. (313): "It must be noted, however, that each stratum of the literary work of art can present its own internal dynamics, so that the culminating phase in one stratum need not necessarily correspond to the culminating phase of the other strata. [Ingarden ignores the notion of the time of narration vs. the time of the action, etc. - JAGL]


PART III . SUPPLEMENTATION AND CONCLUSIONS



XII. BORDERLINE CASES

56. Introduction

57. The Stage Play

A play is distinct from individual performances of the same; but it is not the same case as that of different readings of the work. The projection function of stage directions is taken in, and there is representation by real objectivities—which represent the objectivities inside the work—> aspects are constituted by the properties of these objects. Words (i.e. representation through states of affairs projected by sentences) become here subordinated to images. "Reports" are a drawback in drama. The stage play is a new work with respect to the "text": two different forms. A borderline case, not a purely literary work, but a stratified structure is present; the strata of sound and meaning are similar; there is a comparable polyphony; quasi-judgements apply too, like the metaphysics of the work, the sequence of parts, etc. Cf. the transition from drama to other media like silent cinema, pantomime, painting...

58. The cinematographic drama (the film)

We find a stratum of visual aspects and a stratum of objectivities (there is no stratum of meaning units). The aspects in the stratum of visual aspects are not schematized in the same way as in literature. Difficulty for the expression of thought and emotions in film: emotion is foregrounded over thought. Possibility of enlarging the image, redering more perceptible (faces etc.) the emphasis must be placed on visual events—Vs. the parasitism of film on literature. The stratum of aspects is more significant aesthatically than that of objectivities. But abstract cinema would be a different kind of art.  A simpler polyphony in film: the film is not a literary work, though it is related to the literary work. Pure intentionality is possible when actors or objectivities play a role (—> a new theory of the image).

59. The pantomime, (etc.).

60. The scientific work. The simple report.

Differences with literary works are connected to the different role played—cognitive, communicative. True judgements appear (which may be true or false in themselves, but they lay claims to truthfulness).  States of affairs and represented objectivities point too: the work points here to real states of affairs through the purely intentional ones, which are transparent. Polyphony is dispensable; the aim is a cognitive one. Schematized aspects are only a means for the transmission of cognitive results. Metaphysical qualities are present in these works only when they are the subject of the work or contribute to it.








XIII. THE "LIFE" OF A LITERARY WORK


61. Introduction

Up to now the work has been treated in itself—now we'll treat the contact with readers and cultural life. The notion of the schematic nature of the work pointed to this; the holding-in-readiness (Parathaltung) too. The work is not the same as its concretizations. (322:) "a distinction should be drawn between the work itself and its concretizations, which differ from it in various respects. These concretizations are precisely what is constituted during the reading and what, in a manner of speaking, forms the mode of appearance of a work, the concrete form in which the work itself is apprehended".  (Vs. Conrad's conception of "realization"). 

62. The concretizations of a literary work and the experience of its apprehension

The concretization is not the same as the psychological experiences that we have during the reading. (323:) "if the reader submits to the work, exactly those aspects are experienced whose schemata were held ready by the work". The complexity of the reading experience is linked to the complexity of the work. Attention is given to only some elements; the rest are only coexperienced. 334: the literary work is never fully grasped in all its strata and component but always only partially, always, so to speak, in only a perspectival foreshortening." The concretization is dependent on both the work and the conditions of the reading (which may give rise to different concretizations).  Reading as blindness to the real world, and "aloofness from our own surroundings"; 325: "attitude of pure beholding with respect to the represented objectivities." —> an aesthetic attitude is achieved. 335: "Nonetheless, not only the work itself but each of its concretizations is different from these experiences of apprehension". The concretization has two ontic bases: the work, and the reading experience. 336: "and with respect to the experiences of apprehension, it is just as transcendent as the literary work itself". It is not apprehendable only as inner perception (like psychic things). —But we do not reflect on our mind when making concretizations. 336: "Only a theorizing literary critic could hit upon the bizarre idea of looking for the literary work 'in the mind' of the reader."


63. The literary work and its concretizations

336: "We can deal aesthetically with a literary work and apprehend it live only in the form of one of its possible concretizations. (336-37: "but not a cloak covering the work"). "The individual differences between concretizations already enable us to establish what belongs to the work itself and what pertains to the accidentally conditioned concretizations". [Not so clear - JAGL]. We usually are unaware of the difference. 337: "The concretization not only contains various elements that are not only contain various elements that are not really part of the work, though allowed by it, but also frequently shows elements that are foreign to it and which more or less obscure it". 

1- In the work, sounds have Gestalt qualities (phonemes, etc.). In the concretization, they are concrete sounds. 


2- Word meanings are intermingled with unspecifiable meaning components [connotations, etc.] —> they may produce deviations, etc.—> Creation of a new work, even.


3- Actual intending of sentence meanings.


4- 338: "The most radical differences between a literary work and its concretizations appear in the aspect stratum. From mere preparedness (Parathaltung) and schematization in the work itself, aspects attain concreteness in the concretization and are raised to the level of perceptual experience (in the case of a stage play) or imaginational experience (in a reading)" —> concrete elements fill out schema. Prescribed to a certain degree, but "any two concretizations of one and the same work must differ from each other". Unforeseeable: for instance, the predominance of a type of aspect not prescribed in the work itself may come about, a new style, even a new work? [340: "the so-called subjectivity of criticism or literary history undoubtedly comes about only when the critics focus solely on the changing concretizations of the work. But this is precisely what is not necessary"].  The work may be hidden for centuries in a falsifying concretization—> pro the notion of a true interpretation. Polyphony changes—> a historical "life" of the work.  


5- An explicit appearance of represented objectivities takes place only in the concretization.  


6- Removal of spots of indeterminacy in the concretization. Objects appear fuller, but in principle (341:) "the objects cannot be completed in any concretization; i.e., spots of indeterminacy will always remain in the represented objects—> Essence of purely intentional objects. An illusion to a certain extent, we identify them with real objects and see them complete. 341: "We are then almost inclined to believe in their reality, and yet, due to the aesthetic attitude, we never believe this with complete seriousness"—> this disposition, necessary for authentic enjoyment,is necessarily linked to the quasi-judgmental modification of assertive propositions. If we are fully conscious of fiction, the work fails. Likewise with absolute illusion


7- A particular order of sequence in the work is transformed in the concretization into a sequence in phenomenal, concrete time. 


Life understood as change and development, a maturing of possibilities. 345: "As a purely intentional object, the literary work of art need not partake in the events of the real world and be drawn into their flow" but "the literary work can undergo changes without ceasing to be the same work." All these operations come from outside the work (not caused by it) and can be realized only in a concretization. Two senses of "life": 346: "(1) the literary work 'lives' while it is expressed in a manifold of concretizations; (2) the literary work 'lives' while it undergoes change as a result of ever new concretizations appropriately formed by conscious subjects." 

(1). Concretizations develop in time, and influence each other, "nor is it precluded that retro-action may occur." (348:) Our early inadequate reading conditions later readings; tendencies in embryo develop, etc. Different ages are given to one kind or other of understanding; this is possible because of the schematic structure of the literary work. Training may be necessary to achieve an adequate reading —> criticism points out ways to concretize, transmits a concretization. [Note: Usually this report has the form of information concerning the work itself, since the informer is not aware of the difference between the work and its individual concretization.] A similar case is the staging of a work by a director. A shift, then: the performance undergoes a concretization. Readers are under the influence of a "literary atmosphere".  The "trend of the times" is evident in the readings and the productions of a given moment. —> The life of the work in its concretizations is related to the atmosphere of the given era. There is a childhood, maturity, old age and death of the work in its concretizations: a success and decline of interest in a work, resurrections, etc. The concretization does not react to cultural influences, it only undergoes changes. The work "controls" it, but "If worse comes to worst, it would not be a concretization of the given work but a pure product of subjective operations," the first concretization of an entirely new work. This is caused by its ontic heteronomy as well as by the discontinuity between a concretization and the work itself.

(2). Second case. The work itself undergoes changes as a result of these changes in concretizations (its sole link to human life). Adding or substracting may be done consciously, but there are also unintentional changes: "Such a change can occur when, in a simple apprehension of the work, the reader—as is usually the case—is not conscious either of the fortuitousness of a given concretization or of those points in which it materially and necessarily differs from the work, or, finally, of the concretization as something to be contrasted to the work itself. As a result, he absolutizes that given concretization, identifies it with the work, and in a naïve way directs himself intentionally to the work thus intended." This is not a critical attitude, rather a violation of the work. 

Concretizations go beyond the work—> it seems to be fuller and more substantial than it is. The life of the work becomes enriched or impoverished, etc. Death and rebirth of works. Any limits to their identity? This depends on each work. But a work can undergo change without losing its identity, as it is not an ideal object. Let us examine its ontic position.

64. The "life" of a literary work in its concretizations, and its transformation as a result of changes in the latter






XIV. THE ONTIC POSITION OF A LITERARY WORK 

65. Introduction

The literary work is not an ideal objectivity, nor a psychic experience. But does it not seem to dissolve in its concretizations, to be an abstraction obtained from them? Which are the guarantees of its intersubjective identity? Only the physical signs common to all?  And, if there is no ontic autonomy, how does the work exist when it is not read by anyone? This problem is common to any kind of work (whether literary or not) made of propositions. There is a need to justify intersubjective knowledge and communication; a need to demonstrate that "sentences and complexes of sentences possess intersubjective identity and have a mode of existence that is heteronomous with respect to conscious acts" despite their ontic relativity to subjective operations.

66. The intersubjective identity of the sentence and the ontic basis of its existence


The work or the sentence is heteronomous from the act which constitutes it: it has its own basis in two entirely heterogeneous objectivities: ideal concepts (essences) and real word signs, and its source in intentional acts of the creating conscious subject. Ideal concepts are not component parts of the meaning content of a sentence or a sentence complex—they are their ontic basic and regulative principle but only appropriate moments are selected in them. An ontically heteronomous actualization is  brought about and thy are united in a new whole. This is the basis of the ontically heteronomous mode of existence of the work. So, both ideal concepts and subjective operations are transcendent with respect to the work or sentence. The act of consciousness is not creative, it uses ideal meanings, actualises them and makes wholes. Of course, (362:) "In a strict, ontically autonomous sense, the intentionally created thing 'is' not, e.g., 'red'. For it to be that, it would really [reell] have to contain a genuine realization of the essence 'redness'. It is precisely this inclusion, the immanence of the realization of an ideal essence in an objectivity, and, on the other hand, the realization itself, which the pure conscious act cannot produce. It never goes beyond the simulated quasi-inclusion described above, the quasi-realization which, on the one hand, refers to the intentional sic iubeo of the conscious subject and, on the other, to the corresponding ideal essence." Actualization and realization are not the same. It is not that the work is ontically autonomous from the intentional act, it is ontically heteronomous. This makes it possible to accept its intersubjective existence. Readers reactualize meanings with reference to ideal concepts. Linguistic communication is dependent on ideal concepts —> sentences with identical meaning content may in principle be reconstituted.  365: "We believe that in this way we have overcome the danger of subjectivizing the literary work or of reducing it to a manifold of concretizations. But we have done so only by accepting the existence of ideal concepts." At least as a hypothesis.

67. The identity of the phonetic stratum of the literary work

The sounds of language are not ideal essences, but historic formations. But they are intersubjectively established to a certain fixity. 366: "The word sounds that are actually expressed are an objectively existing entity in which the typical formations attain genuine concretization." These are fixed in a material sign—the third ontic basis of the literary work. All three must be present for the the ontically heteronomous existence of the work. But while sentences are part of the work, neither real graphic material or typical letters are: instead, they are regulative signals. 368: "despite the indisputable fact of its 'life', the literary work cannot be psychologized." 




XV. CONCLUDING REFLECTIONS ON THE LITERARY WORK OF ART


68. The literary work of art and the polyphonic harmony of its aesthetic value qualities


369: "The polyphonic harmony is precisely that 'side' of the literary work that, along with the metaphysical qualities, attaining manifestation, makes the work a work of art." —> The harmony is not a separate stratum that cuts across the rest (nor a separate object —> It is not itself the work of art). The harmony cannot be detached from the elements of the individual strata. On non-aesthetic readings, as opposed to the notion of work, of polyphony, etc. But the work in itself is a schematic formation, with elements in potentiality. 372: "These two circumstances have as their consequence the fact that at least some, if not all aesthetic value qualities and the metaphysical qualities in the work do not attain, themselves, full development but remain in a latent state of 'predeterminacy' and 'holding in readiness'. Only when the literary work of art attains adequate expression in a concretization is there—in an ideal case—a full establishment, an intuitive exhibition of all these qualities". And the metaphysical qualities of the work exist only in realization. 372: "It follows, therefore, that the literary work of art constitutes an aesthetic object only when it is expressed in a concretization" (but the concretization is not an aesthetic object). Paradoxical nature of the work of art: it is an existing living and enriching thing, and yet a nothing. Heteronomy. 377: "It is a 'nothing' and yet a wonderful world in itself—even though it comes into being and exists only by our grace." 





APPENDIX

The Functions of Language in the Theater

from  Zagadnienia rodzajów literackich (The Problem of Literary Genres), Lodz, 1958, vol. 1. 



Central problem: language is an element of the world represented in the stage play, but its role goes beyond that. [Podríamos decir, siguiendo a Ingarden, que el lenguaje, o cualquier otro elemento del mundo representado, tiene por tanto una dimensión paradójica o metaléptica, cruzando virtualmente las barreras de la ficción, en tanto que funciona a dos niveles - JAGL] It must perform the linguistic function of representation, together with visual aspects. There are three different domains in represented world with respect to the basis and means of their representation. objectivities presented visually; or visually and linguistically, or linguistically (offstage). Among these, the past (vs. the present). Also past objectivities related to present ones (2).  Functions of language (cf. Bühler, etc.: representation, expression, communication and influencing). An analogous classification is traceable to Twardowski (1894). Functions:

1) Representation: Either conceptually, or through evoked imaginational aspects. It completes the concrete visual aspects. 

2) Expression of psychical states and experiences of persons. This must be related to the gestures and facial expressions of actors.


3) Communication (inside the play). Exception: monologues.


4) (382:) "A conversation between two persons deals very seldom with mere communication: it has to do with something more vital, i. e., with influencing the person addressed, in all the 'dramatic' conflicts which develop in the represented world of a play, speech directed at someone is always a form of action for the speaker and basically has real meaning for the events shown in the play only if it really and essentially advances the developing action. [note, 382: S. Swarozinska: direct and indirect characterization of characters (through speech): a "dramatic function" of language in drama" (drama as action). ]   [Cf. Todorov - JAGL]


A new perspective: The function of words not as directed to characters in the represented world, but with respect to the audience (Conrad). Open vs. closed stages (differences in audience involvement) - The closed stage is a fiction of the modern naturalistic theater. 

384: "In spite of this, this whole manner of composing the represented world and the actor's style is in fact tailored for an obser ver (but one who is thought of as being absent)". Nevertheless, there is an influence on the audience—> Aesthetic experience; the actor feigning unawareness of the effect on the audience. 


The problem: fulfilling all these functions successfully and harmoniously in very different situations, styles, genres...


Cases and modifications.


386: "words spoken by a represented person in a situation signify an act and hence constitute a part of the action, in particular in the confrontations between represented persons."

Speech must be harmonical with the rest of the speaker's behavior - or the contrast must be significant. The actor's acting must be taken into consideration at this point. 

The tone is realized by the actor, but it may be determined by the play (sincerity, insincerity...). 
"Active" discourse, with emotional involvement and intention of influencing behavior is the normal form of discourse in stage plays. Taking into account the content of what is said said and the manner of speaking ('tones' of speech).

Also, self-influencing of the speaker by his expression of himself: ripening of thoughts, etc. In silent thought, or in dialogue: 391: "By speaking with another person, we not only reveal ourselves to him—be he friend or foe—but to ourselves as well." 

393: "The same words have a manifold of functions with respect to, on the one hand, other represented persons, and, on the other, the real spectators."

[Still, Ingarden sees these functions as divorced from one another, he does not seem to see one as a medium for the other; there is no projection of the spectator on the listener]

—>Those words are not the same in every respect. They have a different ontic character [i.e. insofar as they are addressed to another character, and to the audience]. They are a reality for the character, they are represented for the audience.

(Ignoring here the aesthetic elaboration of words— singing, verse, etc.). Also, this refers to realistic drama; in fantasy, this may be different.

Harmony between these functions is the art of a great dramatist, but there is never a complete elimination of these different claims. 













Jueves 2 de agosto de 2012

Norah Jones en Amsterdam (2007)




Y también en YouTube, el disco entero de Come Away with Me. Que ya tiene diez años, sounds incredible.




Light on the Books



Light on the books



C'est écrit (4)









Miércoles 1 de agosto de 2012


Importado del pasado

... aunque, ¿qué es lo que no está importado del pasado?
Importado del pasado