Michael Szpakowski
Since the beginning
Works in Harlow United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

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DISCUSSION

Re: Your role in stopping the war against Iraq..well that is where we started...


Hi Dyske
I do have to say that I find it extraordinary that
someone who rejects the notion of truth should be so
convinced that
"everyone is prejudiced to a degree",
which of course I accept as a truth in the general
formulation which you give, although I certainly would
reject the stronger version you implied earlier that
everyone is to some degree racist.
Racism is not a biological fact or urge but a
construct and not a value free construct but a
specific social, political and historical phenomenon
which arose at the same time as the slave trade.
The point that I have been making piecemeal in reply
to your posts is once again borne out here: that in
the very mails in which you reject "truth" you smuggle
in by the back door assertions which you assume to be
"true" and this finds its most radical form in your
last mail when you reject effectively any possibilty
of doing science, for by your argument applications in
technology can happen not because we "know" something
but actually by the merest of chances and therefore
knowledge of the actual workings of any technology
will remain forever out of our grasp. I hope I've made
it plain that I reject this position entirely -it's
reductio ad absurdam is a position of extreme
solipsism
in which we can know nothing about the world, not even
that our senses are not systematically deceiving us
about *everything*.
Now, gripping as all this is we have moved a long way
from the discussion of the impending war.
I'm sorry that you adopt a position of neutrality
about that - I believe you are mistaken in this - you
strike me as a humane and decent human being and I
certainly don't wish to impute evil motives to you in
this matter ( as I certainly do for example in the
case of Bush and Blair).
I do continue to believe that your argument engenders
the most dangerous passivity and for me
" philosophers have explained the world - the point
however is to change it" , so, fun as it is chatting
to you I think as far as the broader philosophical
canvas is concerned I will have to agree to differ
with you.
On the matter of the impending war I am happy to
continue the discussion on matters of fact, although I
feel this could be hampered to an extent by your
rejection of such an animal!
Michael

http://www.stopwar.org.uk/

--- Dyske Suematsu <dyske@dyske.com> wrote:
> > Quantum mechanics offers an explanation of things
> that
> > happen at the sub atomic level -it supplements
> rather
> > than supplanting Newtonian physics.
> > It's introduction in your argument is a red
> herring:
> > nobody has ever suggested that there may be
> > significant quantum effects at work in the
> mechanical
> > operation operation of a plane.
>
> Before I address this issue, I must preface it with
> the fact that I am no
> physicist. I can only argue within my knowledge of
> physics.
>
> Many consider Quantum mechanics to be a paradigm
> shift of sorts from
> Newtonian physics, since the former was invented to
> explain sub-atomic
> phenomena that were not possible with the latter.
> While it may not have
> changed the practical usage of Newtonian physics,
> Quantum mechanics put
> Newtonian physics in a new light. It is true that,
> for all practical
> purposes, things at the sub-atomic level will not
> make any difference to the
> plane staying in the air. In this sense, the
> discovery of Quantum mechanics
> did not make any practical contribution. But when we
> are speaking of "the
> truth" we are not simply speaking of practical
> matters. After all, humans
> were able to boil water before we had any scientific
> explanations for it,
> and the explanations did not do much to the process
> either. Most of us are
> still using fire to boil water. Likewise, one could
> explain the sub-atomic
> phenomena occurring to the plane and to the air
> surrounding it with Quantum
> mechanics without having any practical consequences
> for it. Since there is
> no practical merit in doing such an analysis, most
> physicists would probably
> not bother with it. But this does not mean that the
> Quantum explanations
> cannot be applied to it.
>
> Many natural phenomena were/are unexplainable. Over
> time we came up with new
> explanations, or different explanations for the same
> phenomena. Ultimately
> the most relevant point of this argument is that
> just because we have an
> explanation for something, does not mean that we
> know "the truth".
> Explanations change over time, or there could be
> multiple ways of explaining
> something. Explanations are nothing more than
> interpretations.
>
> > To sum up - we have a theory which matches what we
> see
> > time after time actually happening - this is a
> truth
> > which is independent of opinion or the way it is
> > expressed in language.
>
> Just because we have not found a phenomenon or a
> theory that contradicts a
> particular theory, however long it is uncontested
> for, does not make it
> logically absolute. Scientific theories are
> constantly changing. Just
> because the sun has risen every day for the past
> zillion years, does not
> logically guarantee that it will rise tomorrow.
>
> > However you are in even more of a tangle than a
> > misunderstanding of the relationship between
> Newtonian
> > and Quantum physics, because your reference to
> named
> > theories , whether it be Newtonian Physics,
> Quantum
> > Mechanics or your putative future theory ,
> contains an
> > implicit acceptance that one or the other is
> closer to
> > the truth - which truth of course you want to deny
> > exists.
>
> Why does it contain implicit acceptance? Just
> because we have more
> explanations for things, does not mean that you are
> closer to the truth. How
> can you prove that? What if what you call "the
> truth" is behind you, not in
> front of you? And you have been building a whole
> army of explanations in the
> wrong direction, as it often happens with criminal
> investigations?
>
> > I utterly reject the assertion that "Racism is in
> all
> > of us. It is in you and it is in me"
>
> Prejudice is a matter of degree. Everyone is
> prejudiced to a degree. Can you
> claim that you are absolutely free of prejudices? If
> so, I guess you are an
> exception.
>
> One day when I was visiting my friend at his
> apartment, I was carrying a
> plastic bag full of take out food. At the front
> entrance of his apartment
> building, I pressed his buzzer, but he did not
> respond for a while. An old
> lady came up to the door and looked at me
> suspiciously, and asked, "Which
> apartment are you delivering it to?" Since I am
> Asian (Oriental) and Chinese
> food delivery is popular in the US, it is an
> understandable confusion, but
> if a blonde white girl was carrying the same bag, I
> doubt that she would
> have asked the same question. This is racism, a form
> of prejudice. We
> unconsciously engage in this type of offenses all
> the time. When people
> focus on criticizing other people for being racists,
> they tend to look away
> from their own racism inside.
>
> This is the sort of racism I was speaking of.
>
> -Dyske
>
> + ti esrever dna ti pilf nwod gniht ym tup
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> -> questions: info@rhizome.org
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DISCUSSION

Re: Your role in stopping the war against Iraq..well that is where we started...


But it isn't language or even some sort of neutral
'cultural construct' that makes skin colour or
ethnicity ( or indeed the way we 'choose' to
categorize it) matter in our society, but the
existence of racism, something which was actively
created by our rulers initially to justify the slave
trade.
As with the war in Iraq I am not agnostic about this
but choose to do what I can to combat it.
Indeed the issues are interlinked - the government in
UK are doing their best to link the issues of Iraq,
Asylum and Terror with the effect that they have
created a pogrom atmosphere and an opening for the
nazis to emerge from their sewers.
It's indicative of the kind of deadly passivity
engendered by your position, Dyske, that after the
initial concrete discussion of issues around the war
in Iraq the whole thing has meandered into vague and
abstract philosophising.
You still didn't answer my question:
If truth is a completely relative matter how do planes
work, indeed how are we e mailing each other or how
does any technology work?
Two supplementaries: is racism a bad thing that we
should actively opposes - yes or no?
Is 500,000 deaths in Iraq from sanctions by 1996 'a
price worth paying'( Madeleine Allbright) - yes or no?
Michael

--- Dyske Suematsu <dyske@dyske.com> wrote:
> Hi Ivan,
>
> You have given me a great example of suffering that
> is caused by our cultral
> construct. My point is that there is nothing wrong
> with terms such as
> "black" and "white". It is when you project this
> categorization back into
> reality, as if it was nature's intention to create
> these category, that
> someone like your sister must unnecessarily suffer.
>
> I agree, if she feels that she needs to identify
> herself with one or the
> other, I have no criticism. I don't need to add to
> her suffering by
> criticizing. My disappointment with Halle Berry, as
> I said, was my selfish
> wish that a Hollywood star like her would stand up
> against the societal
> pressures to be categorized when no such
> categorization is necessary. This
> will create a role model for others whose situations
> do not reasonably call
> for siding with either or.
>
> Best Regards,
> -Dyske
>
>
> > constructs, surely this is nothing to do with
> their skin colour but to do
> > with their position within society and their need
> to find a secure place
> > therein? I have an (adopted) sister who is half
> Lebanese, half British.
> > Growing up in a v. white town, she was generally
> called a
> > 'half-caste'. Now,
> > is that a term of abuse, or a useful statement of
> neutrality? I know what
> > she thinks. She has spent her life to date trying
> to reconcile
> > who and what
> > she is. I have watched her tie her life in knots
> trying to find a safe
> > harbour where she is accepted for what she is. And
> the thing is,
> > in 'white'
> > company she is white and in the company of arabs
> or persians she
> > (oh, remind
> > me, what colour are arabs, or are they neutral) is
> happy with herself.
> > Ivan
>
> + ti esrever dna ti pilf nwod gniht ym tup
> -> post: list@rhizome.org
> -> questions: info@rhizome.org
> -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
> http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
> -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
> +
> Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set
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DISCUSSION

quilt


We're well into Winter where I am. Even as I write the
snow is falling gently outside my window and no one
has finished the Fall Quilt in Curt Cloninger's
excellent Digital Quilt project

http://www.playdamage.org/fall/index.html

I need my next quilt fix. It's just an animated gif
and it's fun to do. There must surely be a quilt
shaped hole in someone's artistic agenda.
If you're of a Stanislavskian bent and you feel you
just can't do it now the season is past there are a
number of other meanings to the word fall!
best
michael

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DISCUSSION

Re: Your role in stopping the war against Iraq..well that is where we started...


< The planes do work. We know that they do. That does
not mean that we know
exactly why they do.>
Yes we do! Newtonian physics works just fine for
planes and suchlike.
< Some of it may be explainable
by Newtonian physics, but
as we all know, Quantum mechanics is refuting some
> of its claims.>
Quantum mechanics offers an explanation of things that
happen at the sub atomic level -it supplements rather
than supplanting Newtonian physics.
It's introduction in your argument is a red herring:
nobody has ever suggested that there may be
significant quantum effects at work in the mechanical
operation operation of a plane.
To sum up - we have a theory which matches what we see
time after time actually happening - this is a truth
which is independent of opinion or the way it is
expressed in language.
However you are in even more of a tangle than a
misunderstanding of the relationship between Newtonian
and Quantum physics, because your reference to named
theories , whether it be Newtonian Physics, Quantum
Mechanics or your putative future theory , contains an
implicit acceptance that one or the other is closer to
the truth - which truth of course you want to deny
exists.
I utterly reject the assertion that "Racism is in all
of us. It is in you and it is in me"
Speak for yourself.
Michael.

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DISCUSSION

Re: ---important---------RE: RHIZOME_RAW: Your role in stopping the war against Iraq


Vijay -I guess you've been going to the wrong
demonstrations since the ones I 've been on have been
fantastic multiracial, crossgenerational affairs full
of people who know a good deal more about the history
of the Gulf and British and American imperialism there
than the cynical lies put out by our "leaders".
best
Michael
--- Vijay Pattisapu <disco@junglist.com> wrote:
> Dyske or people in his stance are not being smug.
>
> The anti-war demonstrations I've been attending have
> been painful to be a part of. Idiotic potheads,
> insecure charlatans, and just bored kids in general
> were the kind of speakers and audience at each one.
> We just stand there and listen to drivel even worse
> than our politicians are putting out--nobody knows
> what the fuck they're talking about, and it seems
> that, subconsciously, because they already have a
> conviction, they don't care to know more, or, God
> forbid, listen to the other side's arguments.
>
> They hear that loaded ***word*** "WAR" and lift up
> their posterboards.
>
> The on-campus debates here have been worthless, to
> say the least. Neither side has any kind of
> knowledge of the situation at hand, historical
> knowledge of the situation, patience for clear
> cohesive thought, or even respect enough for the
> other side to speak. The campuswide debate resulted
> in nothing more than a handful of fistfights. Those
> 500,000 don't get anything out of us American idiots
> kicking the shit out of each other, do they?
>
> The protesters that I have seen have done nothing
> but empty out another word-- "DEMONSTRATION." I saw
> nothing but a demonstration of incompetence and
> teenage rebellion.
>
> Now I am just another one of those bored kids who
> goes to these charades. Because I have nothing else
> to do.
>
> Please, everyone, give Dyske the respect enough to
> analyze his arguments enough to give due response
> towards something constructive, as he has touched
> upon important issues that us bored kids have not
> been able to articulate.
>
>
> The worst thing you can do to a movement is assume
> that everyone onboard is in for the right reasons.
>
>
> -Vijay
>
>
> >Date: Tue, 28 Jan 2003 15:22:14 -0800 (PST)
> > Michael Szpakowski <szpako@yahoo.com> RE:
> RHIZOME_RAW: Your role in stopping the war against
> IraqReply-To: Michael Szpakowski <szpako@yahoo.com>
> >
> >
> ><Let me clarify my position on the war before I go
> on
> > (in order to avoid any
> > confusions). I'm neither for nor against it. I
> > understand both sides of the
> > arguments and they both make sense to me,>
> >well! you clarified your postion, we've avoided any
> >confusion - great - that must be a relief to the
> >parents of the 500,000 kids that have died because
> of
> >sanctions, and the thousands of young soldiers who
> >will die, or to those who will fall under the
> category
> >of 'collateral damage'.
> > What your apparently sophisticated arguments hide
> is
> >a contempt for any sort of real engagement with
> life ,
> >which inevitably means taking moral postions and
> which
> >inevitably means trying to establish the truth of
> >things which you dismiss so loftily.
> >You know - rather Wally Keeler, who at least is
> >passionate and cares, than your smug abstentionism.
> >
> >=====
> >http://www.somedancersandmusicians.com/
> >
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>
>
>
>
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