Thursday, September 27, 2007


Continuum Concept

The continuum concept is the idea that in order to achieve optimal physical, mental and emotional development, human beings — especially babies — require the kind of experience to which our species adapted during the long process of our evolution. For an infant, these include such experiences as constant physical contact with her/his mother (or another familiar caregiver as needed) from birth; sleeping in her/his parents' bed, in constant physical contact, until s/he leaves of her/his own volition (often about two years); breastfeeding "on cue" — nursing in response to her/his own body's signals; being constantly carried in arms or otherwise in contact with someone, usually her/his mother, and allowed to observe (or nurse, or sleep) while the person carrying her/him goes about his or her business — until the infant begins creeping, then crawling on her/his own impulse, usually at six to eight months; having caregivers immediately respond to her/his signals (squirming, crying, etc.), without judgment, displeasure, or invalidation of her/his needs, yet showing no undue concern nor making her/him the constant center of attention; sensing (and fulfilling) her/his elders' expectations that s/he is innately social and cooperative and has strong self-preservation instincts, and that s/he is welcome and worthy.

In contrast, a baby subjected to modern Western childbirth and child-care practices often experiences traumatic separation from her/his mother at birth due to medical intervention and placement in maternity wards, in physical isolation except for the sound of other crying newborns, with the majority of male babies further traumatized by medically unnecessary circumcision surgery; at home, sleeping alone and isolated, often after "crying her/himself to sleep"; scheduled feeding, with her/his natural nursing impulses often ignored or "pacified"; being excluded and separated from normal adult activities, relegated for hours on end to a nursery, crib or playpen where s/he is inadequately stimulated by toys and other inanimate objects; caregivers often ignoring, discouraging, belittling or even punishing her/him when he cries or otherwise signals her/his needs; or else responding with excessive concern and anxiety, making her/him the center of attention; sensing (and conforming to) her/his caregivers' expectations that s/he is incapable of self-preservation, is innately antisocial, and cannot learn correct behavior without strict controls, threats and a variety of manipulative "parenting techniques" that undermine her/his exquisitely evolved learning process.

Evolution has not prepared the human infant for this kind of experience. S/He cannot comprehend why her/his desperate cries for the fulfillment of her/his innate expectations go unanswered, and s/he develops a sense of wrongness and shame about her/himself and her/his desires. If, however, her/his continuum expectations are fulfilled — precisely at first, with more variation possible as s/he matures — s/he will exhibit a natural state of self-assuredness, well-being and joy. Infants whose continuum needs are fulfilled during the early, in-arms phase grow up to have greater self-esteem and become more independent than those whose cries go unanswered for fear of "spoiling" them or making them too dependent.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Far Shores, Nearer

Enrich Language

Language shapes human thought – suggests a counting study in a Brazilian tribe whose language does not define numbers above two.

Hunter-gatherers from the Pirahã tribe, whose language only contains words for the numbers one and two, were unable to reliably tell the difference between four objects placed in a row and five in the same configuration, revealed the study.

Experts agree that the startling result provides the strongest support yet for the controversial hypothesis that the language available to humans defines our thoughts. So-called “linguistic determinism” was first proposed in 1950 but has been hotly debated ever since.

“It is a very surprising and very important result,” says Lisa Feigenson, a developmental psychologist who has tested babies’ abilities to distinguish between different numerical quantities. “Whether language actually allows you to have new thoughts is a very controversial issue.”

Peter Gordon, who carried out the experiment, does not claim that his finding holds for all kinds of thought. “There are certainly things that we can think about that we cannot talk about. But for numbers I have shown that a limitation in language affects cognition,” he says.

“One, two, many”

The language, Pirahã, is known as a “one, two, many” language because it only contains words for “one” and “two”—for all other numbers, a single word for “many” is used. “There are not really occasions in their daily lives where the Pirahã need to count,” explains Gordon.
In order to test if this prevented members of the tribe from perceiving higher numbers, Gordon set seven Pirahã a variety of tasks. In the simplest, he sat opposite an individual and laid out a random number of familiar objects, including batteries, sticks and nuts, in a row. The Pirahã were supposed to respond by laying out the same number of objects from their own pile.

For one, two and three objects, members of the tribe consistently matched Gordon’s pile correctly. But for four and five and up to ten, they could only match it approximately, deviating more from the correct number as the row got longer.

The Pirahã also failed to remember whether a box they had been shown seconds ago had four or five fish drawn on the top. When Gordon’s colleagues tapped on the floor three times, the Pirahã were able to imitate this precisely, but failed to mimic strings of four of five taps.

Babies and animals

Gordon says this is the first convincing evidence that a language lacking words for certain concepts could actually prevent speakers of the language from understanding those concepts.

Previous experiments show that while babies and intelligent animals, such as rats, pigeons and monkeys, are capable of precisely counting small quantities, they can only approximately distinguish between clusters consisting of larger numbers. However, in these studies it was unclear whether an inability to articulate numbers was the reason for this.

The Pirahã results provide a much stronger case for linguistic determinism, says Gordon, because, aside from their language, they are otherwise similar to other adult humans, whereas there are many more factors that separate babies and animals from adult humans.




I recently spent some time with a senior executive in the structured product marketing group (Collateralized Debt Obligations, Collateralized Loan Obligations, Etc.) of one of the largest brokerage firms in the world. I was in Roses, Spain attending a wedding for a good friend of mine who thought it would be an appropriate time to put the two of us together (given our shared interests in the structured credit markets). This individual proceeded to tell me how and why the Subprime Mezzanine CDO business existed. Subprime Mezzanine CDOs are 10-20X levered vehicles that contain only the BBB and BBB- tranches of Subprime debt. He told me that the “real money” (US insurance companies, pension funds, etc) accounts had stopped purchasing mezzanine tranches of US Subprime debt in late 2003 and that they needed a mechanism that could enable them to “mark up” these loans, package them opaquely, and EXPORT THE NEWLY PACKAGED RISK TO UNWITTING BUYERS IN ASIA AND CENTRAL EUROPE!!!! He told me with a straight face that these CDOs were the only way to get rid of the riskiest tranches of Subprime debt. Interestingly enough, these buyers (mainland Chinese Banks, the Chinese Government, Taiwanese banks, Korean banks, German banks, French banks, UK banks) possess the “excess” pools of liquidity around the globe.

These pools are basically derived from two sources: 1) massive trade surpluses with the US in USD, 2) petrodollar recyclers. These two pools of excess capital are US dollar denominated and have had a virtually insatiable demand for US dollar denominated debt…until now. They have had orders on the various desks of Wall St. to buy any US debt rated “AAA” by the rating agencies in the US. How do BBB and BBBtranches become AAA? Through the alchemy of Mezzanine-CDOs. With the help of the ratings agencies the Mezzanine CDO managers collect a series of BBB and BBB-tranches and repackage them with a cascading cash waterfall so that the top tiers are paid out first on all the tranches – thus allowing them to be rated AAA. Well, when you lever ONLY mezzanine tranches of Subprime RMBS 10-20X, POOF…you magically have 80% of the structure rated “AAA” by the ratings agencies, despite the underlying collateral being a collection of BBB and BBB- rated assets… This will go down as one of the biggest financial illusions the world has EVER seen. These institutions have these investments marked at PAR or 100 cents on the dollar for the most part. Now that the underlying collateral has begun to be downgraded, it is only a matter of time (weeks, days, or maybe just hours) before the ratings agencies (or what is left of them) downgrade the actual tranches of these various CDO structures. When they are downgraded, these foreign buyers will most likely have to sell them due to the fact that they are only permitted to own “super-senior” risk in the US. I predict that these tranches of mezzanine CDOs will fetch bids of around 10 cents on the dollar. The ensuing HORROR SHOW will be worth the price of admission and some popcorn.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Glide, Soar

Music Review - Into The Arctic - Terje Rypdal

Perhaps the most overlooked guitarist in the invisible Catalogue of All Things Progressive, Terje (commonly anglicized as "Terrie" though it's properly pronounced "Ter-yuh," or so I'm informed by those hailing from the region) Rypdal is prolific and perfectly at home in the progressive alley, though chiefly ignored there. Here was a guy inescapably destined for musicianhood. His father was a devoted clarinetist and, as a child, Rypdal started out on piano, switched to trumpet, then went on to guitar - this last time self-educated. Like most young players of the period (born 1947, Norway), he got into rock and roll and greatly admired England's The Shadows and America's Ventures, himself forming two bands, the Vanguards (1962-7) and Dream (1967-9, and not the Brecker band), the second of which released one LP, Get Dreamy.

In that frame, making a move to expose his solo work, the Dream LP having been sufficiently impressive, Bleak House released in 1968. The experience garnered with these ventures was one he greatly enjoyed and decided him to forsake former aspirations in electrical engineering, getting serious about music theory and attending the Oslo Music Conservatory (now the Norwegian State Academy of Music). Thus ensconced, Rypdal played in the pit band for a Nordic staging of Hair, wetting his professional feet. Continued studies led first to the regionally well-respected Finn Mortensen and thence to George Russell, who espoused a unique Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization. Russell immediately recognized a formidable talent when he saw it, enlisting the young axeslinger to play on his recordings.

Electronic Sonata for Souls Loved by Nature (1969) was to be Russell's most lauded work and carried not just Rypdal but also countrymates Jon Christenson and Jan Garbarek, who, along with Terje, would soon become firm vertebrae in the early ECM Records backbone. Red Mitchell and Manfred Schoof likewise appeared, with Russell himself on piano, and it was blaringly obvious the guitarist was not going to have to spend any more time in the minor leagues. Though his presence on the wonderfully bizarre avant-jazz slab turned out to be minimal, it provided instant name recognition. Unsurprisingly, Garbarek and Christensen were the stand-outs in that swerving, swaying, early masterpiece while Rypdal got in a few Hendrixian and idiosyncratic licks. Russell though, was gratified with all three, booking them into a studio as a separate ensemble, recruiting yet another future ECMer, Arild Anderson, on bass. The band was named Esoteric Circle (releasing an album in 1969, though this one disc wouldn't appear in the U.S. until '76).

The guitar figured far more prominently here. From the outset, Rypdal can be heard right behind Garbarek's lines, with Christensen and Anderson equally sure-footed. The young axemeister's McLaughlin influences come leaping out, and, enjoying a freer stage, he sounds not unlike an undistorted member of the Lifetime band, quite similar to Mahavishnu John's work with Miles in that epochal period. Christensen is here the most boisterous he'd ever be, intelligent, sophisticated, but much louder, brasher, and in your face, something like a mild Ronald Shannon Jackson. The sobriquet of 'fusion' hits the group's nail far more squarely on this outing than had the more elliptical Russellian style, as the gents were basically just blowing, oft starting out with manners only as a pretext to intensive muscle flexing. Russell had the maturer voice, counting more years of experience and study, but the lads hadn't been unconscious, only slightly handicapped with youthful exuberance and a trifle of the impatience that always marks such formative years. Nonetheless, the LP's a must-have for outside jazz and fusion aficionados - solid, invigorating, adventurous, and sufficiently timeless, speaking through several decades.

'69 was a good launch year for the guitarist in more ways than one. He sat in on recordings with Jan Erik Vold (the Briskeby Blues LP) and The Baden-Baden Free Jazz Orchestra (Gittin' to Know Y'all), rubbing shoulders in such a way that the gigs would now begin flowing freely but leading up to a meeting with Manfred Eicher that would prove more fruitful than any other opportunity. Garbarek had already signed to Eicher's label (ECM) and Rypdal appeared on his 1970 Afric Pepperbird LP. No sooner was that done than the very next year saw his own debut, on an eponymous disc (1971), boasting the expected Garbarek and Christensen but also some of Norway's other top dawgs: Bobo Stenson, Arild Andersen, and so on, including his then-wife Inger Lyse on vocals. Moody, laconic, and abstract, the LP's as fine an introduction as might be desired. Everyone had a chance to strut, with Rypdal embedded like the foremost jewel in an effusive crown.

The lead track, "Keep It Like That - Tight," was portentous of what would be the stringbender's chief voice for many years. Distorted wailing lines lofting to the clouds, riding with occasional squealing airbrakes and lowing growls, the album lacked not an iota for McLaughlin's dragon-riding quotes nor Rypdal's own trademarks, but the follow-up track, "Rainbow," showed the more considered aspect of the guitarist's writing, fleshing out the sort of deeply frozen airy Norwegian spirits that so attracted Eicher to base his label in such works to begin with. 'Ere long, the guitar is laid down, switching to flute, while Eckehard Fintl dubs in his moaning oboe atop a bowed bass obliquing the background. Though Rypdal would occupy a strange psychedelic/prog/fusion/jazz/avant-garde position for a long time, there was a neoclassical dimension germinating here that woud fully bloom later on, when viable opportunities presented themselves. Meanwhile, eerieness was not a condition scamped by the player and the 15:45 "Electric Fantasy" gave an opportunity to dwell at length on the dark side, with wife Inger waxing forlornly angelic in the foreground. Like Abercrombie, when he switched from wailing maniac to leader, Rypdal was chastening himself appreciably on this track, favoring the group format. This trait would have considerable influence on his entire oeuvre, but this degree of it would last only just so long; certain moods would later see him stoking personal fires much more pointedly.

Whenever I Seem to be Far Away (1974) started out with Odd Ulleberg's beautiful french horn and Pete Knutsen's mellotron, referentially prog until the rest of the band crashes in, fusioning things up lustily. Rypdal was now into a Fripp/Falsini mode, with Hendrix and McLaughlin yet strongly lapping up on the stones at the cosmic shore; the group's sound waxed frequently somewhere between the spacier King Crimson and Eberhard Weber. Knutsen aped both Fripp and MacDonald in brief spurts, plying the divine mellotron for one of the most aggressive exposures it would receive on any ECM disc. Though the Rypdal has ever been on the slow side, not often going into sixteenths or beyond (while certainly not downshifting to Szabo levels), here he took the gloves off and burned in several reserve moments, an incandescing pyre flaming brightly in the song's eventide pools.

Mellotron dominates "The Hunt" for a reason that becomes plain as the flip of the disc is reached: it balances out what was to come. Already, Terje's classical affinities were surfacing. He'd recruited members of the Sudfunk Orchestra to play on the closing B-sidelong title cut, a gorgeous neoclassical opus as melancholy as the legendary Dane in the bard's mad play. That track was completely unexpected, immensely surprising. The depth of feeling and restraint astonish the listener... this was the guy who was tearing it up in his rock moments, bending prog and spinning jazz until both got dizzy, now tilting the quill to a magnificent chambery opus. A third of the way in, the guitar enters with Holstian splendor, pumping frantic blood into sanguine veins, only to collapse back to a depressive glorious funk, once more Mahlerian. The strings tease and coax, gremlins antagonize the central theme to excess, then Rypdal becomes the focus, the orchestra floating around his laments, a disciplinedly Faustian voice. In whole, his dogged devotion to the sound of the entire ensemble was extremely evident.

Odyssey issued (1975), a double-LP, just as the progrock movement was hitting the end of its not-very-long apogee in the musical landscape. What the Moody Blues, Hendrix, King Crimson et al had wrought was in full flower but would soon start its multi-year topple. Rypdal was never very much in the genre's eye but savvy consumers knew both him and the impeccable ECM, constantly on the lookout for new material from each. Few musicians could be said to be molded in the same spirit of extreme adventurousness and wide open possibilities as Terje. Brynwulfe Blix played a highly unorthodox organ- slow, spacy, never once betraying itself as the perennial instrument of favor amongst boozy, business-suited, cocktail bar habitants. His application of it dealt in a wholly synthesizerish spin, advantaging long drawn out nuances that few to that time, or since, ever bothered with. The whole five piece fell perfectly into cerebrally somnambulistic trancing on "Rolling Stone," one of Rypdal's early classics, a truncated version of which would appear on the rare-ish New Jazz Festival '75 disc. The guitarist's style was fairly settled now and he'd hold to it for an appreciable period, to the delight of a building fan base.

1976's After the Rain commenced a concentration into that voice. This LP was a Mike Oldfield-ish affair: every instrument (electric and acoustic guitars, string ensemble, piano, electric piano, soprano sax, flute, bells, and, yes, tubular bells) was played by the guitarist exclusively. Only wife Inger had any auxiliary part, encanting wordless etherealities. Most musicians, allowed such self-indulgence, disappoint rather horribly- not so Rypdal. This was the most engrossing collection to date and would remain one of his better releases, holding a delicate interface between sparse surreality and Satie-ish ghostly lushness, slowly billowing with soft breezes, deftly illuminating the composer's truest playing voice. That mutant guitar sang like an otherwordly feline, nimbly jumping levels in slow arcs, glistening with Jovian pastels.

But a one-man horse is never meant to be ridden far, so when Waves rolled into the market, Terje had recaptured Jon Christensen, then snagged the estimable Palle Mikkelborg (trumpet, fluegelhorn, and keyboards). The album, titularly bulking up on the metaphor of the last disc, was pronouncedly weightier and drifted noticeably more to the trad side of jazz, Mikkelborg being the chiefest instigator. The trumpeter doubled on keyboards, as did Rypdal, who wrought a strikingly mouth-harpy patch that sprinted lankily, squeaking and fidgeting alongside the mournful trumpet. The eternally solemn baseline remained rock solid, chill Nordic psyche ever leaning over each player's shoulder, attentive that creators never forget heritage and nurture. Rypdal hadn't really hogged the spotlight at any point in his entire career, even when soloing on After the Rain. This meant that he was back to complementary playing and this date became actually more Mikkelborg's showcase than the guitarist's. The atmosphere's energetically somber except for a bizarre "Stenskoven," more toward what Frisell would later do with Americana themes than anything else and a jaded carnival ditty in progressive drag.

The Rypdal/Vitous/DeJohnette release (1979) was striking in several ways. DeJohnette had been listening closely to Christensen, and if there's anyone a drummer can be complimented in being emulated by, it would be Jack DeJohnette. He, of course, is more muscular than Christensen but the correlative tempering placed upon his appearance on this disc is marvelous. Miroslav Vitous, ex-Weather Reporter and long a staple in the early fusion scene (having played with McLaughlin and such) came equipped with an Eberhard Weberian proclivity to bowing in highly lyrical lines, never content to merely sit as a rhythm box. Above them, Rypdal swooped and scried, a bent angel weeping at the world's pain, relishing its mysteries, warping between dimensions. The trio harked back to the Odyssey days, brimming with fog and muted light, dew-swept and glacially arid. The addition of keyboards heightened tenor tremendously, Vitous' bowing oft lost in the context, blending like a synthesizer atop Rypdal's sensitive ivory tones, as in "Will." ECM had flashed back to its origins.

Mikkelborg and Christenson returned and the guitarist took up keyboards once again for the John Surman-ish intro to Descendre (1980), appropriately tapping out declivitous notes for "Avskjed," a different affair from Waves, funereal in its long slow rock base. Guitar and trumpet, for one, were now mated for a lament of Hesse-ian proportions. Mikkelborg remains remarkaby tamed to the vision, so the carry-over eerieness of the previous disc is cut only by an occasional distant night-slickness, an atmosphere trumpets are so heir to. Rock pulses, never a high-profile ingredient, return in "Innseiling," rev'ing up the blood. Nowhere, though, does the previous "Stenskoven" bedlam-circus traipse in, thus the normative Usherian pall remained. Rypdal prefers not to stray far from his unique mindset and doesn't have to, the entire mode's so far beyond the pale of standard recital that any notion of competition would be slight and seldom; moreover, the listener must ever come to him, not the other way around.

Then DeJohnette and Vitous cycled through once more. If Descendre had been influenced by Rypdal/DeJohnette/Vitous, then so was the new To Be Continued (1981), similarly peppered with spikes from its predecessor. Everyone was clearly more in the mood to be an upstart, not quite so narcotic as the first time out, anarchy a palpable tension. Terje bows his guitar, fooling the listener that Vitous, who was in the background plucking, was tweaking a high register squeal from his axe. Vitous then uncharacteristically grabs a piano while the guitarist picks up flute once more; Jack, not to be outdone in the switch-around derby, contributes vocables in the far far background, replacing the now-divorced Inger. Everything was like the first days... yet it wasn't.

This long artistic curve produced the David Darling (cellist) pairing, Eos (1984), where Terje came out roaring in "Laser," the most rock-rooted solo he'd ever unleashed. Pure freakout, something meant for spotlit framing during a concert's peak, it wasn't unlike the kind of burn sessions Rhino, Blackmore, and others produced by the truckload in the 70s. The sequence had no precedent in his oeuvre but everyone had been waiting for it: a stark unaugmented middle eight slotted as an entire song. Was it a toss-off, to fill space? Possibly, but not probably. Every so often, a player has to answer the unasked question and it was the Norwegian's turn in the barrel. That settled, Darling - then a formidable violinist, now a New Age drekmeister - cut in a laconic dirge, trading bowed lines. The phraseology's slow and meltingly delicious, guitar emerging from beneath the earth to intone bizarre distorted groans and grumbles. It's here that Rypdal's genius is most clearly seen. He's constantly at work expanding a highly personal vocabulary and the duet gives him a low-end boost like never before. The result's chilling - in the title cut, especially, akin to the sort of interplay Ian MacDonald's mellotron and Robert Fripp's guitar never got around to in King Crimson. 'Exquisite' doesn't begin to describe it. In point of fact, though it couldn't be known at the time, the song foreshadowed later much more pronounced neoclassical urges.

It turned out though that "Laser," and not "Eos," was to be the unfolding determinant. Chaser (1985) showed the semi-Sharrockian side of the player. This LP and the two following would be the closest he'd ever get to actual rock, finally dredging up a more stable reliance on speed clusters and military backbeat, the ingredients defining the form. Andun Klieve was an adaptable percussionist, at first providing an irresistibly infectious fire heating up Rypdal's long smoldering passion. Curiously, Bjorn Kellemyr clamped down the bass volume, creating an oceanically quieter background. Though presented with numerous opportunities to roar, he took none of them, preferring to be the sole pulsey rhythm player, laminating embellishments as needed. It was the '80's but Rypdal was reviving the meltingly descriptive ploys of the '70's guitar environment, where texture and illustration were staples, not merely the more adjunctive speed and complexity.

Blue (1987) commenced oddly, with mutated Crusaders echoes, containing elements never heard in Rypdal's catalogue. "The Curse" contained a strange little gremlin, wherein it seemed the guitar belched during the closing seconds of the short introductory tune, slurhand and whammy bar blending for a human-sounding gulp and eructation amidst scatterings of nervous riffs. Terje's decision to lean more heavily, albeit with a measured hand, into his keyboard was likewise a wise decision. No sooner does "Kompet Gar" well up than the synth provides a lush backdrop and Rypdal slides down a bizarre stuttering buzz-saw rock mode, running back up the high register like Oldfield in the throes of the Killing Fields soundtrack. The song marked a new definition, simultaneously more abstract yet closer in fidelity to fusion norms. He splayed himself across it as if in a Pollock painting. The normally pensive player had never been this prolix nor this weirdly melodic. A sudden blaze of illumination was in progress... but, sadly, not an epiphany, for it would never be repeated. All the stops were pulled out, every trick in his book came rocketing up, and ears smiled in delight. An unexpected surprise. "Og Hva Synes Vi Om Det" couldn't have been more arresting, either. Extremely Enoidal, it was an ambiental wash worthy of Music for Films and the exact opposite of "Kompet." Equally unusually, both songs comprised the core of the LP and were the only two not written solely by Rypdal.

The Singles Collection (1989) wasn't billed as a Chasers band but that's what it was, plus one, as the liner notes in the CD version show. Allan Dangerfield manned the keyboards exclusively. At this point, Rypdal was irritated with the direction of modern jazz (remember, this was the mid-'80's and everyone was sprinting towards the elevator), so he decided to show up at that year's Molde Jazz Festival and have a showdown. Tipping over the cauldron, out spilled a potpourri of psychedelia, down and dirty instrumental rock, edgy fusion, several hybrids, and his usual what-the-hell-was-that? twist on an unnamable genre only he occupied. If Terje wanted a fight, he got it. Die-hard Rypdalians were somewhat put off by the jagged change of pace, not to mention the abandonment of Arcturan meadows, while jazzers recognized the overtures and undertones - especially Dangerfield's flights into both Auger and McGriff sidepockets - disdaining the rocky side. Fusionists were enamored of much of this surprise but not all. The war was on.

A denouement of sorts was eventually reached when, several years later, everyone, now given a decent span in which to sort Singles out, agreed the damn thing was pretty unique and worthwhile. Some even had the presence of mind to realize the Norwegian had gotten a trifle Metheny-ish in the oddest of ways, daring to take on a whole plethora of styles at once, as Pat had in the epochal Wichita Falls and Offramp. A few of them even wondered what this might presage. If the guitar player was as restless as he seemed to be, he mightn't remain long rooted to this more energetic spot.

That conjecture proved prescient. 1991 saw the release of Q.E.D., with a 14-piece small orchestra (Rypdal included) plus conductor, signaling that the player-composer was leaving behind the morés of the past. The years since have seen him engaging in further fantastic opuses with orchestras and ensembles, maintaining his presence but scripting largely to wring full-scale adventures away from the previous more intimate process. That these works have been dauntingly impressive is beyond dispute, but they separated him fully from his guitar-based work and so it's here that we cease chronicling this wizard within the confines of axe-oriented considerations.

He's placed within the pantheon through accomplishments as an extremely iconoclastic musician who spent two decades constantly polishing and extending a niche all his own, excelling within it like few have anywhere, even in much more familiar derivative milieus. Only the tiniest fraction of players can claim to have produced as unique a sound as Terje Rypdal: Holdsworth, Fripp, Hendrix, and not many others beyond.

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The trouble with being punctual is that nobody's there to appreciate it.

Women's creed: Men are like linoleum. If you lay them right the first time, you can walk on them for 20 years.

I was caught cheating on my metaphysics final. I looked into the soul of the boy next to me.

Love is the answer, but while you are waiting for the answer sex raises some pretty good questions.

May I have the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to hide the bodies of those I had to kill because they pissed me off.

All my life, I always wanted to be somebody. Now I see that I should have been more specific.

Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same.

Committee - A group of the unwilling, picked from the unfit, to do the unnecessary.

I am not a vegetarian because I love animals; I am a vegetarian because I hate plants.

Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.

Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying.

I never forget a face, but in your case I'm willing to make an exception.

This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.

The pen is mightier than the sword, and considerably easier to write with.

I always arrive late at the office, but I make up for it by leaving early.

I'm spending a year dead for tax reasons.

Psychiatrist - someone who goes to a strip club and watches the audience.


Friday, September 21, 2007

Para AJ

Scarcity, Poverty, Apocalypse

DM: I'd like to talk with you about "scarcity" and "catastrophe". On the talk shows there is even discussion of an impending collapse of society due to dwindling oil supply. The concepts of scarcity and collapse are hardly new, and obviously the invasion of Iraq brought the issue of oil into sharp focus. Can we start with the sacred cow of scarcity?

IB: Sure. With respect to oil, we should begin with the observation that the general problem for the petro-barons has always been glut, or to put it another way, how to keep oil scarce. They've done a pretty good job, although all monopolies have to be measured against De Beers, who have the corner on diamonds. They are the world's masters at constructing scarcity, in this case, of crystalline carbon, which is actually rather common in the earth's crust. So one thing to make clear is that the invasion and occupation of Iraq is not about absolute scarcity. For sure, the history of oil is complex, and the fluctuations in the supply of oil have an extraordinarily complicated relation to price, demand, and reserves. But in order to understand scarcity - whether of oil in particular or of commodities under capitalism in general - you have to look at the discourses of scarcity and of poverty. And that means you have to look at the historical moment of the institutionalizing of economics – defined in the textbooks as "the study of choice under scarcity" – as the dominant way of talking about the world, and the relation of these to capitalist modernity. And that story is indeed interesting.

In order to understand "scarcity" as a sacred cow, we have to go back to the Reverend Thomas Malthus. Because, no question, we are living in a Malthusian world. By that I mean that Malthus' way of framing the issue of human welfare has triumphed. And I think it's especially important for the Left to understand this. Particularly those who got drawn into politics through concern about the environment, who count themselves as "green". Scratch an environmentalist and probably you'll find a Malthusian. What do I mean by that? What is it to be Malthusian? Well, it's to subscribe to the view that the fundamental problems humanity faces have their roots in the scarcity of the resources that sustain life, because the world is finite and we are exhausting those resources and also perhaps because we are polluting them. Notice how this mirrors the basic assumption of modern economics – choice under scarcity. In his notorious essay published in 1798, Malthus argued, or rather asserted, that population growth, especially of poor bastards, would inevitably outrun food supply, unless the propertyless were restrained from breeding. He advocated that poor people be crowded together in unhealthy housing, as a way of checking the growth of population. Remember, this is the world's very first economist we're talking about here.

And don't forget that Malthus was in his own time consciously devising a counter-revolutionary science of economics and demography: his essay was a response to a famous best-seller by the utopian anarchist William Godwin, husband of the feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and father of Mary Shelley who later wrote Frankenstein as a warning against the hubris of (male) science. Godwin had written An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice during the euphoric period after the storming of the Bastille in 1789 and the overthrow of the French monarchy. Godwin's optimistic, atheist, rationalism was born of the revolutionary events happening across the Channel – "Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive", in the indelible line of Wordsworth. But as the counter-revolution set in, Thomas Malthus felt emboldened to compose his Essay on the Principle of Population as an explicit response to Godwin's vision of an ample life for all. Malthus invented an "iron law of nature" intended, rhetorically, to put a damper on Godwin and the perfectibilians, and in practical political terms to discourage "idling" and illegitimacy and to cut away the existing welfare system which was a safety net for the poor.

DM: So help us understand Thomas Malthus.

IB: Malthus was born into a well-off family in late 18th century England, and although he was ordained in the Anglican Church, he becomes the world's first paid economist, in the service of the East India Company. The company started in 1600 with a charter from Elizabeth 1 to monopolize trade with Asia, and by Malthus' day agents of the company ruled India, Burma and Hong Kong for the British crown, so that no less than one fifth of the world's population was under its authority, backed by the company’s own armies, who fought under the English flag of St George. It's no coincidence that somebody in Malthus' position, at that time and place, would be involved in devising a science of "economics", and its associated discourses of "scarcity", "laissez faire", and "poverty". The English scene that Malthus is born into was in radical transition from a world of custom and common land to one based on the absolutization of private property, in which the actual producers of food are being cut off from the land as a means of livelihood. And that's a very specific move that the capitalists and landlords in parliament are making.

So here is the essential point: the people of England, I mean the commoners, in 1800 are being literally excluded by fences enclosing the common lands that had sustained them for centuries. They are living the new scarcity that is being produced around them.

This is the same process that is now ruthlessly in train around the globe under the sign of "structural adjustment" and "conditionalities" devised by the IMF and the World Bank, being applied to the global South. But it was first described as long ago as 1515 in a powerful essay by Thomas More called Utopia, because he saw it happening all around him in England five hundred years ago.

George Caffentzis, the philosopher of money, and his colleagues in the Midnight Notes Collective were the first, in the early 1980s, to develop the idea that the neoliberal project is, in its essence, a form of "new enclosures", taking the tactics of the English enclosures to a planetary level and creating this time a fully globalized proletariat.

Expropriation of the commons was, in other words, not a one-time event at the dawn of capitalism. And Malthus was the economist rationalizing and justifying the cutting off, or another way to put it is the rendering scarce, of the means of subsistence for the laboring poor, in the name of thrift and self-control and the efficiency of private property.

So the "dismal" science of economics is being born at the same time as this process of proletarianization is happening. It would be hard to exaggerate the role of Malthus and the way his assumptions are built not just into economics, but into a whole range of modern forms of knowledge, for example, biology, genetics, demography. These disciplines all bear the stamp of Malthus.

In the same way, it's no coincidence that the sixties counterculture, which was to some extent a gift economy and had a kind of primitivist strain, could inspire a book like Stone Age Economics, written by the anthropologist Marshall Sahlins to combat the projection of capitalist scarcity back onto all of human history. It's an interesting counter-myth, that conjures a neolithic world of abundance rather than scarcity. Nevertheless, if you look at the impulses behind the environmental movement of the sixties and events like Earth Day, or back-to-the-landers and their bible The Whole Earth Catalog, you will find the spectres of Malthus – scarcity, overpopulation, famine. The same goes for the Berkeley bumper-sticker "Live Simply, That Others May Simply Live." Or the countercultural manifesto for vegetarians, Diet For A Small Planet. Francis Moore Lappe's book was enormously popular in the 1970s, and it begins with a discussion about "reaching the very limits of the earth's capacity to produce food" and how a vegetarian diet was a way out of the "the earth's natural limitations".

DM: So how do you answer the question of carrying capacity? Are you saying that the earth's resources are infinite? That we're just going to go on and on and on?

IB: No, not at all. I want to make this very clear: I am not in any way saying that the earth's resources should be used up willy-nilly, that societies shouldn't concern themselves with how to live on the planet in the most sane and sustainable way possible. But it's always – historically – an empirical, local, question: How much water is available? How much grazing will a pasture allow? Who's encroaching? How much mast for the pigs or firewood is X entitled to? Will we have to send Y away to work in the city?

What I'm trying to say here is that the vulgar error made by modern Malthusians is to assume that the human story hasn't in fact been about dealing with this problem of the carrying capacity, if you want to put it that way, of particular patches of land. There's a word for it. It's called stinting. Commoners have "use-rights" - say, to pasture animals, to take fodder, to gather firewood, to harvest fruits and berries and nuts - but only if you live there, and only certain amounts, depending on the ecological, historical knowledge of the local community about what would stretch it too far. Action informed by local knowledge, typically, is not going to cause ecocide. I'm not saying ecological destruction hasn't occurred in the human past - the deforestation of the coastal areas around the Mediterranean sea is a classic case, caused by centuries of Imperial Roman overfarming - but it tends to be by non-locals and elites. Let's call it the state. The major culprit in modern times is capitalist farming in private hands.

Despite this reality, the blame is laid at the door of the world's commoners. Take for example Garrett Hardin's famous 1968 essay, "The tragedy of the commons", published in the journal Science. This was an enormously influential text by a Texan zoologist, based on no sociological research whatsoever, and in profound ignorance of the actual history of commoning. Hardin asserted that all common resources (such as pasture, a favorite example) will inevitably end in ruin because of over-exploitation by selfish individuals. Hardin's fable was taken up by the gathering forces of neo-liberal reaction in the 1970s, and his essay became the "scientific" foundation of World Bank and IMF policies, viz. enclosure of commons and privatization of public property. The plausibility of Hardin's Malthusian claims doesn’t survive a moment's scrutiny. Ask yourself - was the disaster of the Dust Bowl a tragedy of the commons or of capitalist agriculture under private ownership?

But the historical facts are irrelevant. The case is an ideological one, and Hardin was holding up a mirror to modern homo economicus. The message is clear: we must never treat the earth as a "common treasury". We must be ruthless and greedy or else we will perish.

Carrying capacity is now very hard to discuss in a context of extensive agriculture under a capitalist regime which by any accounting (by anyone other than a capitalist economist) is extremely inefficient. It is not well known, for example, that by a unilateral act of Congress the navy seized dozens of small islands around the world in the late 19th century to secure supplies of guano, in order to fertilize the US continental soil which was being ruthlessly depleted by the Western farmers. Today instead we are dependent on fossil fuels, and that too goes along with vast subsidies, price fixing, tax breaks, and hidden costs. What would the price of a gallon of gasoline be if you factored in the cost of the Sixth Fleet and all military bases around the world?

So there's no denying that capitalism is now threatening the basis of life on earth. Certainly that's true. But I refuse to cave in to Malthusian assumptions. Why is it not possible to imagine a reorganization of agriculture, and I don’t mean some new technofix from Monsanto. It will surely mean agrarian revolutions, though the content of those revolutions would be contested, to say the least. Marxists have always thrilled to the sight of really big tractors. They don't much like to hear about watersheds and foodmiles and small Kropotkinian communes. I will guess that among the non-negotiable requirements will be a transvaluation of soil (stripped, by the way, of any fascist metaphysic), along with a revolution in biology which will need to find new roots in microbial ecology, while at the same time reviving the disparaged arts of the naturalist.

DM: It seems that a lot of naturalists, by which I mean natural scientists, biologists, and such, tend to weigh in on these debates. They always appear to stand outside or above the realm of politics and economics. They are merely talking about Nature, of which humans are just a part. I'm thinking of Jared Diamond, and how popular he is at the moment.

IB:Yes, Diamond is another good example, a tropical ornithologist turned historian of the fate of human societies. He must be discussed alongside Garrett Hardin, as well as Paul "Population Bomb" Ehrlich and the entomologist E.O. Wilson – they all wrote hugely popular books. Crucially, all of these men see themselves as students of Charles Darwin, himself a brilliant naturalist. Darwin admitted that it was none other than Malthus the economist who provided the final, essential piece to Darwin's picture of the workings of Nature. He sat up one night, so the story goes, when he was reading Malthus' Essay on Population and he says that he realized "It's Malthus! That's how I can explain evolution!" Now evolution was not the invention of Darwin, actually his grandfather Erasmus had been a kind of evolutionist. What was new was his conception of the mechanism, the engine that drives evolution which leads to the formation of new species and the staggering variety of life-forms, in all their beauty and bizarreness. That's what he called "natural selection". The basic, Malthus-style, argument is simple: overpopulation creates competition for the resources available, and favors those offspring better adapted to exploit local conditions and resources. So this is the scenario on which economics and Darwin's account of natural history are founded – a kind of anti-Eden, with too many organisms locked in a war of all against all. So Darwin was projecting Malthus onto the realm of nature.

In Guns, Germs and Steel Jared Diamond rehearses, without knowing it, an old 18th century argument using the accidents of geography to explain, and in fact justify, the colonization of the planet by European powers. The only difference is that he clothes the narrative in anti-racist drag. His conclusion is a (neo)Malthusian message: life is a struggle for survival in a world of scarcity. True enough for millions for people, but not because of any "iron law of nature". Diamond's latest book, Collapse, rams home the same Malthusian message in a series of historical horror-stories of resource exhaustion and societal catastrophe.

One Long Catastrophe

DM: I'd like to talk about why so many Americans, steeped in Judeo-Christian ideology, are attracted to catastrophism in the first place. It seems to me the underlying ideology is ultimately passive, it takes the world out of our control because it's all going to end and there's nothing we can do. But things continue on, and that's a much more difficult problem to deal with.

I think here of Derrick Jensen, who seems to witness the first signs of extreme environmental destruction around him and therefore prophesies the end of civilization. Would that it were that simple! In fact, societies tend to survive catastrophe and persevere, though the result may not be pretty or comfortable.

IB: Again, no one is saying that we aren't facing serious, extremely grave problems. What we are questioning is the millenarianism, the endism, you could call it, which is only part of a general ideology of "catastrophism". This is the idea that the human drama is played out on a finite terrestrial stage. There is an abrupt beginning and an abrupt end, the whole affair lasting in one version just six thousand years. Darwin had to abandon his Christian catastrophism and for that he depended upon the great geologist Lyell who posited the very unbiblical idea of "deep time", and immensely slow, gradual, change. Since Darwin's time, for a hundred a fifty years or so, the predominant view in science has been gradualism.

The politics of gradualism are very important here. Conservative in many ways, and certainly non-revolutionary. a Darwinian world is a natural meritocracy, in which of course only the deserving survive. Perhaps you can see why secularizing Victorian gentlemen – imperialists, really – would believe that competition produces progress and the survival of the superior races of animals and, of course, men.

So for more than a hundred years the earth sciences tended to discount catastrophes, but towards the end of the 20th century, catastrophism begins coming back, big time. Let's call it neo-catastrophism. Part of the explanation is no doubt due to the rising political power of apocalyptic Christians and evangelicals in the United States. But at least as important, in my view, is the catastrophe of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the building of a weapon that scientists began to believe could produce the end of everything. Omnicide.

I would say there's been half a century of preparation for what is now a full-blown ideological sea change, from a slow, gradual view of the world to a universe of large scale, rapid changes that shape everything.

DM: But don't both make a certain sense? Gradualism and catastrophism? Long, slow change and rapid dramatic change?

IB: Of course it's both! Both are true, but I'm talking about ideology here. For sure, when you're trying to understand the natural history of earth, you have to have consider sudden violent events as well as wind erosion.

DM: Asteroids hit the planet every once in a while?

IB: Just so. Take the major extinction event at the K/T, the Cretaceous-Tertiary, boundary. Most in the field of earth science now believe there was an impact in the Yucatan 65 million years ago which doomed the dinosaurs, and produced a kind of nuclear winter effect.

DM: And produced the Gulf of Mexico?

IB: And a tsunami which was maybe a mile and a half high. An unimaginably large event. This is not so appealing to the settled Victorian imagination of Darwin, who preferred to contemplate the action of water, and the slow scrutiny of a Malthusian god, selecting out the fitter organisms. Now, as I've said, I take it that we have to investigate the world and our condition, and our history, by examining the reality of catastrophes and extinctions together with those gradualist principles also being at work at the same time.

But one question we must ask is: Why are we so obsessed with catastrophe and "endism" right now?

DM: I propose that it is a symptom of a state in which people in the First World, in the global North, are finally seeing some of the dire results of five centuries of capitalist exploitation. The past five hundred years have seen cataclysmic disasters like famines, plagues, etc. all over the Third World. Now the denizens of the overdeveloped countries are seeing oil wars, which of course are nothing new, and mass extinctions, nothing new either. But it is all causing folks like Jensen to claim that civilization is about to end.

It seems like a book that helps us to understand this is Mike Davis's Late Victorian Holocausts. Prior to that period there had been famine, but nothing on the scale of what happened in the 19th century, in previously healthy societies. The famines in India, and the famines in Africa, were produced by British colonialism. And the landscape there looked like the Apocalypse: Plague, War, Death...

IB: That's a really important point. And Amartya Sen, the sociologist of famine, comes to same conclusion from a different angle. Sen's striking claim is that you don't get famine, really, where there's "democratic" entitlement to food. When you examine starvation in 19th India and Ireland, yes, they have to do more with the history of colonialism. It is also helpful in thinking about contemporary "natural disasters", so-called – I'm thinking about the huge loss of life in earthquakes in the South, and the tsunami that drowned so many Achenese, or closer to home, to contrast post-Katrina New Orleans with the firestorms of Malibu, where state subsidies rountinely rebuild the houses of Hollywood executives.

So what we're saying here is: it's important to notice the ideological move that naturalizes events which are the result of human decisions. It turns disasters that have as much to do with human agency and decision into natural and inevitable events.

DM: The problem is that people confuse states with peoples, empires with humanity. Capitalism is poisoning the earth, no one is disputing that, but the ecological Malthusians see this and claim that the species as a whole is destroying the earth.

IB: Well, I can't say it too clearly. In my critique of scarcity, I'm not saying that there isn't scarcity. But we have to understand why and how scarcity is produced, and it's crucial, I think, to do the work of unpacking the ideology behind scarcity and neo-catastrophism. For one thing, it's interesting to ask: "Why all this talk of scarcity and collapse now?" After all, catastrophes are a permanent feature of history. So when you hear someone say, "The world's food supply is going to run out in such and such a year", well, excuse me! Forty thousand children die each day from the effects of malnutrition. Or perhaps I should say – from the causes of malnutrition. For these souls it's already too late. And there are millions of people - the so-called precariat - for whom catastrophe is always looming. This isn't the future we're talking about. It's tonight, it's happening right now. So it seems a bit naive for Northern environmentalists to be proclaiming apocalypse at this point.

In other words, if we look at the history of the world under five hundred years of capitalism, we should be talking catastrophe. Of course we should. It's been one long catastrophe. But we should refuse to do so in Malthusian terms, blaming the state of affairs on overpopulation, poverty, or lack of restraint in the slums of the world. And we should be aware that catastrophism and apocalypse talk are especially congenial to fundamentalists.

DM: Let's talk about how all of this relates to intervention, by which I mean the perceived need for the West to come to the rescue, with food and medicines, of the starving people of the world, particularly Africa. I think here of the recent calls for international aid to Darfur. It's always a call for intervention very late in the game, with no analysis of the systems that got us here. Isn't Africa as a continent still a net exporter of food, to this day?

IB: Indeed it is. In the global division of labor, Africa's role is to be a source of raw materials, mineral and vegetable; value is added elsewhere. It is true there are a few high value cash crops; for instance, jet airliners full of refrigerated cut flowers fly out of Harare every day bound for Europe, while millions of food-insecure Zimbabweans go to bed hungry. You're right, of course – intervention happens way too far downstream. It only confirms Africa as a hopeless basket case.

DM: And this same tone, this same kind of call, we now hear coming from Al Gore and company, for the world to "do something" about climate change. Again, we must do something, anything, except of course address the causes of what got us here in the first place!

I have an idea to help with climate change: let's start with a global moratorium on highway construction. If this winds up hurting any local economies, Toyota and British Petroleum will gladly pay the costs, as they want to help out with the challenge to stop global warming, right?

IB: Quite typically, BP has just offered a half billion dollars over the next decade to the University of California and the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (whose raison d'etre is to design nuclear weapons) to develop GM crops to make alcohol to replace fossil fuel. At one stroke this is supposed to combat global warming and to address the purported scarcity of oil.

What is so poignant is that things could be otherwise. We don't in fact live in a world of Malthusian scarcity. Far from it. Even Malthus himself acknowledged this when he spoke of "nature's mighty feast". And yet the history of modernity is the history of enclosure, of the cutting off of people from access to land, to the common treasury and to the fruits of our own labour. Excluded by fire and sword and now "structural adjustment". Everywhere you look, there nothing much natural about it, this kind of scarcity. It's a story of artifice and force. No wonder the fables offered us by modernity's clerisy are the Prisoner's Dilemma and the Tragedy of the Commons. The premises of the science of economics are a disgrace, and so are all the proliferating offspring of Malthus. Our first task is to kill these sacred cows of capitalist modernity.

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Happy Faces

Traversing Cultural Barriers

Born and raised in the cosmopolitan climate of Beirut in the sixties and seventies, Rabih Abou-Khalil leaned to play the oud, the Arabian short-necked lute, at the age of four. In the Arab world this instrument is as popular as the guitar or the piano in the West and is the composer's instrument par excellence. The Lebanese civil war forced him to leave his country in 1978 to study classical flute in the German city of Munich, where he was tutored at the Munich Academy of Music by Walther Theurer. The analytical preoccupation of the European dassical tradition enabled him to grasp Arabic music from a further, theoretical position, opening his eyes to the possibility of operating simultaneously within musically divergent systems. Whereas Arab instrumentalists were content to imitate human voice techniques, Abou-Khalil set out to explore new ways of playing his instrument. Music critics have even recommended his accomplished technique as a "study for jazz guitarists"; his ballads, on the other hand, rekindle memories of the poetic dawn of Arabian culture, without ever sounding even remotely traditionalistic.

Rabih Abou-Khalil has asserted himself in the avant-garde as a composer as well as an instrumentalist. This is not just because he is ahead of his time - but because he also questions what others might pursue without further reflection. With his original composing technique, his unconstrained, yet daring approach to classical Arabic music, he has found a musical language entirely his own. Commissioned by the Südwesrfunk (Southwest German Radio), Abou-Khalil wrote two unusual compositions for string quartet in his own rhythmically and melodically charged style. The maiden performance with the Kronos String Quartet was the highlight at the Stuttgart Jazz Summit in 1992. On his CD, "Arabian Waltz", with the Balanescu String Quartet he successfully integrated the string quartet - for centuries the domain of European classical music - into his musical language.

What superficially appears to be a chance encounter between opposing instruments and a seemingly antagonistic dash of talents from different musical worlds is in fact the result of a well pondered upon concept. Under Abou-Khalil's guidance these undeniable differences by no means descend into Babylonian confusion. On the contrary, cosmopolitan musicians from different cultural backgrounds draw inspiration from their shared intuitive understanding of the serious challenge they face in interpreting Abou-Khalil's music. The intellectual and emotional identification with these compositions unleashes charges of enthusiasm in each of the players, inciting new heights of musical mastery. Yet the temptation of individual one-upmanship is never as strong as the collective innovative endeavor and exploration into uncharted terrain. The highly varied works by Abou-Khalil - all nonetheless derived from this very elixir - now stand in their own right, extending so far beyond convention that they somehow elude all fixed categories. Abou-Khalil's music thrives on creative encounters and not on exoticism. From a combination of diverse cultural elements something very personal and coherent emerges. Thus it would be fruitless to mull over descriptions such as Orient or Occident, jazz, world music or classical.

Commissioned by the BBC Concert Orchestra to write music for orchestra, Abou-Khalil wrote works that were performed in London and Chichester. For another project for the German city of Duisburg he chose to collaborate with the Ensemble Modern, one of the most renowned orchestras specializing in contemporary music. "While working with Rabih Abou-Khalil, I was starkly reminded of a saying by Herbert von Karajan: 'Do not play the bar along with the music, play across the measure'." That was how Dietmar Wiesner, the flute player of the Ensemble Modem, summed up his impressions from the rehearsals: "Unbelievably fine, irregular rhythms, masterfully formed into melodic chains that remain in a floating condition, never setting to land, and thus reaching a high level of charm that relentlessly pulls the listener into its magic."

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007


The Shock Doctrine

One of those who saw opportunity in the floodwaters of New Orleans was the late Milton Friedman, grand guru of unfettered capitalism and credited with writing the rulebook for the contemporary, hyper-mobile global economy. Ninety-three years old and in failing health, "Uncle Miltie", as he was known to his followers, found the strength to write an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal three months after the levees broke. "Most New Orleans schools are in ruins," Friedman observed, "as are the homes of the children who have attended them. The children are now scattered all over the country. This is a tragedy. It is also an opportunity."

Friedman's radical idea was that instead of spending a portion of the billions of dollars in reconstruction money on rebuilding and improving New Orleans' existing public school system, the government should provide families with vouchers, which they could spend at private institutions.

In sharp contrast to the glacial pace with which the levees were repaired and the electricity grid brought back online, the auctioning-off of New Orleans' school system took place with military speed and precision. Within 19 months, with most of the city's poor residents still in exile, New Orleans' public school system had been almost completely replaced by privately run charter schools.

The Friedmanite American Enterprise Institute enthused that "Katrina accomplished in a day ... what Louisiana school reformers couldn't do after years of trying". Public school teachers, meanwhile, were calling Friedman's plan "an educational land grab". I call these orchestrated raids on the public sphere in the wake of catastrophic events, combined with the treatment of disasters as exciting market opportunities, "disaster capitalism".

Privatising the school system of a mid-size American city may seem a modest preoccupation for the man hailed as the most influential economist of the past half century. Yet his determination to exploit the crisis in New Orleans to advance a fundamentalist version of capitalism was also an oddly fitting farewell. For more than three decades, Friedman and his powerful followers had been perfecting this very strategy: waiting for a major crisis, then selling off pieces of the state to private players while citizens were still reeling from the shock.

In one of his most influential essays, Friedman articulated contemporary capitalism's core tactical nostrum, what I have come to understand as "the shock doctrine". He observed that "only a crisis - actual or perceived - produces real change". When that crisis occurs, the actions taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. Some people stockpile canned goods and water in preparation for major disasters; Friedmanites stockpile free-market ideas. And once a crisis has struck, the University of Chicago professor was convinced that it was crucial to act swiftly, to impose rapid and irreversible change before the crisis-racked society slipped back into the "tyranny of the status quo". A variation on Machiavelli's advice that "injuries" should be inflicted "all at once", this is one of Friedman's most lasting legacies.

Friedman first learned how to exploit a shock or crisis in the mid-70s, when he advised the dictator General Augusto Pinochet. Not only were Chileans in a state of shock after Pinochet's violent coup, but the country was also traumatised by hyperinflation. Friedman advised Pinochet to impose a rapid-fire transformation of the economy - tax cuts, free trade, privatised services, cuts to social spending and deregulation.

It was the most extreme capitalist makeover ever attempted anywhere, and it became known as a "Chicago School" revolution, as so many of Pinochet's economists had studied under Friedman there. Friedman coined a phrase for this painful tactic: economic "shock treatment". In the decades since, whenever governments have imposed sweeping free-market programs, the all-at-once shock treatment, or "shock therapy", has been the method of choice.

I started researching the free market's dependence on the power of shock four years ago, during the early days of the occupation of Iraq. I reported from Baghdad on Washington's failed attempts to follow "shock and awe" with shock therapy - mass privatisation, complete free trade, a 15% flat tax, a dramatically downsized government. Afterwards I travelled to Sri Lanka, several months after the devastating 2004 tsunami, and witnessed another version of the same manoeuvre: foreign investors and international lenders had teamed up to use the atmosphere of panic to hand the entire beautiful coastline over to entrepreneurs who quickly built large resorts, blocking hundreds of thousands of fishing people from rebuilding their villages. By the time Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, it was clear that this was now the preferred method of advancing corporate goals: using moments of collective trauma to engage in radical social and economic engineering.

Most people who survive a disaster want the opposite of a clean slate: they want to salvage whatever they can and begin repairing what was not destroyed. "When I rebuild the city I feel like I'm rebuilding myself," said Cassandra Andrews, a resident of New Orleans' heavily damaged Lower Ninth Ward, as she cleared away debris after the storm. But disaster capitalists have no interest in repairing what once was. In Iraq, Sri Lanka and New Orleans, the process deceptively called "reconstruction" began with finishing the job of the original disaster by erasing what was left of the public sphere.

When I began this research into the intersection between super-profits and mega-disasters, I thought I was witnessing a fundamental change in the way the drive to "liberate" markets was advancing around the world. Having been part of the movement against ballooning corporate power that made its global debut in Seattle in 1999, I was accustomed to seeing business-friendly policies imposed through arm-twisting at WTO summits, or as the conditions attached to loans from the IMF.

As I dug deeper into the history of how this market model had swept the globe, I discovered that the idea of exploiting crisis and disaster has been the modus operandi of Friedman's movement from the very beginning - this fundamentalist form of capitalism has always needed disasters to advance. What was happening in Iraq and New Orleans was not a post-September 11 invention. Rather, these bold experiments in crisis exploitation were the culmination of three decades of strict adherence to the shock doctrine.

Seen through the lens of this doctrine, the past 35 years look very different. Some of the most infamous human rights violations of this era, which have tended to be viewed as sadistic acts carried out by anti-democratic regimes, were in fact either committed with the intent of terrorising the public or actively harnessed to prepare the ground for radical free-market "reforms". In China in 1989, it was the shock of the Tiananmen Square massacre and the arrests of tens of thousands that freed the Communist party to convert much of the country into a sprawling export zone, staffed with workers too terrified to demand their rights. The Falklands war in 1982 served a similar purpose for Margaret Thatcher: the disorder resulting from the war allowed her to crush the striking miners and to launch the first privatisation frenzy in a western democracy.

The bottom line is that, for economic shock therapy to be applied without restraint, some sort of additional collective trauma has always been required. Friedman's economic model is capable of being partially imposed under democracy - the US under Reagan being the best example - but for the vision to be implemented in its complete form, authoritarian or quasi-authoritarian conditions are required.

Until recently, these conditions did not exist in the US. What happened on September 11 2001 is that an ideology hatched in American universities and fortified in Washington institutions finally had its chance to come home. The Bush administration, packed with Friedman's disciples, seized upon the fear generated to launch the "war on terror" and to ensure that it is an almost completely for-profit venture, a booming new industry that has breathed new life into the faltering US economy. Best understood as a "disaster capitalism complex", it is a global war fought on every level by private companies whose involvement is paid for with public money, with the unending mandate of protecting the US homeland in perpetuity while eliminating all "evil" abroad.

In a few short years, the complex has already expanded its market reach from fighting terrorism to international peacekeeping, to municipal policing, to responding to increasingly frequent natural disasters. The ultimate goal for the corporations at the centre of the complex is to bring the model of for-profit government, which advances so rapidly in extraordinary circumstances, into the ordinary functioning of the state - in effect, to privatise the government.

In scale, the disaster capitalism complex is on a par with the "emerging market" and IT booms of the 90s. It is dominated by US firms, but is global, with British companies bringing their experience in security cameras, Israeli firms their expertise in building hi-tech fences and walls. Combined with soaring insurance industry profits as well as super profits for the oil industry, the disaster economy may well have saved the world market from the full-blown recession it was facing on the eve of 9/11.

In the torrent of words written in eulogy to Milton Friedman, the role of shocks and crises to advance his world view received barely a mention. Instead, the economist's passing, in November 2006, provided an occasion for a retelling of the official story of how his brand of radical capitalism became government orthodoxy in almost every corner of the globe. It is a fairytale history, scrubbed clean of the violence so intimately entwined with this crusade.

It is time for this to change. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been a powerful reckoning with the crimes committed in the name of communism. But what of the crusade to liberate world markets?

The desire for godlike powers of creation is precisely why free-market ideologues are so drawn to crises and disasters. Non-apocalyptic reality is simply not hospitable to their ambitions. For 35 years, what has animated Friedman's counter-revolution is an attraction to a kind of freedom available only in times of cataclysmic change - when people, with their stubborn habits and insistent demands, are blasted out of the way. Believers in the shock doctrine are convinced that only a great rupture - a flood, a war, a terrorist attack - can generate the kind of vast, clean canvases they crave. It is in these malleable moments, when we are psychologically unmoored and physically uprooted, that these artists of the real plunge in their hands and begin their work of remaking the world.

Torture: the other shock treatment

From Chile to China to Iraq, torture has been a silent partner in the global free-market crusade. Chile's coup featured three distinct forms of shock, a recipe that would re-emerge three decades later in Iraq. The shock of the coup prepared the ground for economic shock therapy; the shock of the torture chamber terrorized anyone thinking of standing in the way of the economic shocks.

But torture is more than a tool used to enforce unwanted policies on rebellious peoples; it is also a metaphor of the shock doctrine's underlying logic. Torture, or in intelligence parlance, "coercive interrogation", is a set of techniques developed by scientists and designed to put prisoners into a state of deep disorientation.

Declassified manuals explain how to break "resistant sources": create violent ruptures between prisoners and their ability to make sense of the world around them. First, the senses are starved (with hoods, earplugs, shackles), then the body is bombarded with overwhelming stimulation (strobe lights, blaring music, beatings). The goal of this "softening-up" stage is to provoke a kind of hurricane in the mind, and it is in that state of shock that most prisoners give their interrogators whatever they want.

The shock doctrine mimics this process precisely. The original disaster - the coup, the terrorist attack, the market meltdown - puts the entire population into a state of collective shock. The falling bombs, the bursts of terror, the pounding winds serve to soften up whole societies. Like the terrorised prisoner who gives up the names of comrades and renounces his faith, shocked societies often give up things they would otherwise fiercely protect.

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Magic By Misdirection

Why was Michael Jackson’s court case covered so closely? Because it’s as good a way as any to distract you from substantive issues. As some say, “Go back to sleep people. Your government is in control.” This essay explains precepts of magic in an attempt to explain how media affects our perception.

In today’s free-market economy, newspapers have become advertising delivery mechanisms and ethnic media profit through the divisions they perpetuate. Mass media is misdirecting the focus of civilization. By understanding how magic works, we may better understand media’s influence on our perception.

Magic is not a thing or a physical act, but a state of mind that approaches the sublime but is more aptly referred to as phantasmagorical. Magic occurs at the intersection of a performer and an audience. There is intentionality to the perception. A stone that looks like an eagle is not magic, regardless of whether or not it is carved to represent the physical traits of an eagle. A sculpture maybe a catalyst to an altered state of mind, but I am reticent to call a sculpture magical. Some panoramas feel almost magical to me, but real magic is dynamic and ephemeral. Magic is the process of engineering an experience where reality emerges as it cannot be, and yet the audience is compelled to set aside their disbelief and flow with the experience as long as it lasts.

Creating an illusion entails tweaking our visual prejudices. We drop a coin, and it falls. We know this to be true; we have seen the force of gravity pull objects to Earth since before we had words to articulate the phenomena. What most non-perceptual psychologists DON’T recognize is the extent that our mind projects our expectations, our visual prejudices, onto our sight.

The Theater of The Mind

If a magician creates the physical gesture of dropping a coin from one hand to another, yet palms the coin so it doesn’t actually fall into the second hand, most minds will see the coin fall. The term for this sight projection is sight retention. A normal mind will literally “see” the coin fall. This specific visual hallucination is called a projection, our mind projects its expectation of reality onto our sight. The magician makes note of the triggers that cause these visual breaks from reality and assembles a presentation that often includes a series of these triggers, often strung together through a narrative known as patter. A person who engineers a magical frame of mind, phantasmagoria, for an audience may or may not be a performer on a stage. If the person who engineered a magical experience is not the actor presenting the feats, they are the puppet-master of the experience, where the magician is a marionette, performing in the puppet-master’s phantasmagorical production. Clock makers of the 17th Century created automatons, mechanical men whose gears and riggings could be activated to perform the tricks of magicians. These clock makers were not magicians; they were the puppet-masters of their metal figurines that could perform magic, even in the absence of their creators.

Managing Perceptions

Creating magic requires the recognition of stages within stages, seeing micro-stages within macro-stages. The macro-stage is the physical place the audience encounters the magic. A magician may perform on a traditional proscenium stage, in a parlor, at a dinner table or on a street corner—whatever location the magician interacts with their audience becomes the macro-stage. The micro-stages emerge as the audience shifts their attention. David Copperfield regularly performs coin tricks in front of audiences in excess of 2,000. How? He manages the micro-stages, the focus of his audience. By focusing his own attention, with all his body, on a silver dollar, he can command the attention of 2,000 sets of eyes, whose minds enjoy the representation of a miracle as he makes the coin vanish. Copperfield directs the focus of his audience. Site retention won’t work unless the audience’s mind is engaged. The mind must not only see the cues that trigger the mental projections, but the mind must be so immersed in its focus that the mind accepts the magician’s cues as real. The creation of these cues, the intentional use of projection triggers, is the keystone to invoking illusion.

Misdirection is the magician’s ability to secretly do one thing by directing the audience’s attention on something else. Direction is the root of misdirection. Managing the micro-stages of an audiences focus is at the heart of misdirection—movement hides movement. When the puppet-master doesn’t want the audience to see the magician load the dove in a scarf, he choreographs the magician-puppet to “steal” the dove-load during another movement. Sound impossible? Harry Blackstone used to have an elephant walked on stage, up-stage-left, while he commanded attention down-stage-right. When Blackstone gestured up-stage-left, the audience was amazed to suddenly see an elephant.Why Call Mass Media Magic?

When I use the word magic, I’m not speaking about supernatural powers. In this manifesto, magic is the act of facilitating a phantasmagorical experience, the acceptance of a world where natural laws do not apply, presented as though the magical act is a “normal” reality. There is a difference between being fooled and being entertained by a magician. Being fooled simply leaves the audience feeling duped, but a magician engages the audience and makes it okay for the audience members to live inside the illusion. The role of the magician is to enchant the audience, to facilitate their willing suspension of disbelief, allowing the audience to flow with the magical presentation, and blinding them from seeing the mechanics of how things are really working. If the role of the magician is to enchant the audience, to facilitate their willing suspension of disbelief, then I hold that mass media is the greatest magician of all time. Mass media focuses our attention on the sensational, blinding our perception from what supports the reported phenomena. Marketing drives mass media. The primary role of media is to market reality, to present our reality as normal.

World media is a magic show.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007



Vaisheshika, or Vaiśesika, developed from Nyaya. Vaisesika espouses a form of atomism and postulates that all objects in the physical universe are reducible to a finite number of particles.


In its classical form, however, the Vaishesika school differed from the Nyaya in one crucial respect: where Nyaya accepted four sources of valid knowledge, the Vaishesika accepted only perception and inference.

The categories or padartha

According to the Vaisheshika school, all things which exist, which can be cognised, and which can be named are padārthas (literal meaning: the meaning of a word), the objects of experience. All objects of experience can be classified into six categories, dravya (substance), guna (quality), karma (activity), sāmānya (generality), viśesa (particularity) and samavāya (inherence). Later Vaiśesikas added one more category abhāva (non-existence). The first three categories are defined as artha (which can perceived) and they have real objective existence. The last three categories are defined as budhyapeksam (product of intellectual discrimination) and they are logical categories.

1.Dravya (substance): The substances are conceived as 9 in number. They are, prithvī (earth), ap (water), tejas (fire), vāyu (air), ākaśa, kāla (time), dik (space), ātman (self) and manas (mind). The first five are called bhūtas, the substances having some specific qualities so that they could be perceived by one or the other external senses.

2.Guna (quality): The Vaiśesika Sūtra mentions 17 gunas (qualities), to which Praśastapāda added another 7. While a substance is capable of existing independently by itself, a guna(quality) cannot exist so. The original 17 gunas (qualities) are, rūpa (colour), rasa (taste), gandha (smell), sparśa (touch), samkhyā (number), parimāna (size), prthaktva (inidividuality), samyoga (conjunction), vibhāga (disjunction), paratva (priority), aparatva (posteriority), buddhi (knowledge), sukha (pleasure), dukha (pain), icchā (desire), dvesa (aversion) and prayatna (effort). To these Praśastapāda added gurutva (heaviness), dravatva (fluidity), sneha (viscosity), dharma (merit), adharma (demerit), śabda (sound) and samkāsra (faculty).

3.Karma (activity): The karmas (activities) like gunas (qualities) have no separate existence, they belong to the substances. But while a quality is a permanent feature of a substance, an activity is a transient one. Ākaśa, kāla (time), dik (space) and ātman (self), though substances, are devoid of karma (activity).

4.Sāmānya (generality): Since there are plurality of substances, there will be relations among them. When a property is found common to many substances, it is called sāmānya.

5.Viśesa (particularity): By means of viśesa , we are able to perceive substances as different from one another. As the ultimate atoms are innumerable so are the viśesas.

6.Samavāya (inherence): is defined as the relation between the cause and the effect. Praśastapāda defined it as the relationship existing between the substances that are inseparable, standing to one another in the relation of the container and the contained. The relation of samavāya is not perceivable but only inferable from the inseparable connection of the substances.

Epistemology and syllogism

The early vaiśesika epistemology considered only pratyaksha (perception) and anumāna (inference) as the pramanas (means of valid knowledge). The other two means of valid knowledge accepted by the Nyaya school, upamāna (comparison) and śabda (verbal testimony) were considered as included in anumāna. The syllogism of the vaiśesika school was similar to that of the Nyaya, but the names given by Praśastapāda to the 5 members of syllogism are different.

The atomic theory

The early vaiśesika texts presented the following syllogism to prove that all objects i.e. the four bhūtas, prithvī (earth), ap (water), tejas (fire) and vāyu (air) are made of indivisible paramānus (atoms): Assume that the matter is not made of indivisible atoms, and that it is continuous. Take a stone. One can divide this up into infinitely many pieces (since matter is continuous). Now, the Himalayan mountain range also has infinitely many pieces, so one may build another Himalayan mountain range with the infinite number of pieces that one has. One begins with a stone and ends up with the Himalayas, which is obviously ridiculous - so the original assumption that matter is continuous must be wrong, and so all objects must be made up of a finite number of paramānus (atoms).

According to the vaiśesika school, the trasarenu (dust particles visible in the sunbeam coming through a small window hole) are the smallest mahat (perceivable) particles and defined as tryanukas (triads). These are made of three parts, each of which are defined as dvyanuka (dyad). The dvyanukas are conceived as made of two parts, each of which are defined as paramānu (atom). The paramānus (atoms) are indivisible and eternal, it can neither be created nor destroyed. Each paramānu (atom) possesses its own distinct viśesa (individuality)




Nyāya (Sanskrit ni-āyá, literally "recursion", used in the sense of "syllogism, inference") is the name given to the root orthodox or astika school of ancient Indian philosophy—specifically the school of logic. The Nyaya school of philosophical speculation is based on texts known as the Nyaya Sutras.


The most important contribution made by the Nyaya school is its methodology. This methodology is based on a system of logic that, subsequently, was adopted by a majority of other ancient Punjabi schools, orthodox or not.

However, it is more than logic in its own right. Its followers believed that obtaining valid knowledge was the only way to obtain release from suffering. They therefore took great pains to identify valid sources of knowledge and to distinguish these from mere false opinions. Nyaya is thus a form of epistemology in addition to logic.

According to the Nyaya school, there are exactly four sources of knowledge (pramanas): perception, inference, comparison, and testimony. Knowledge obtained through each of these can, of course, still be either valid or invalid. As a result, Nyaya scholars again went to great pains to identify, in each case, what it took to make knowledge valid, in the process creating a number of explanatory schemes.


The Naiyayikas (the Nyaya scholars) accepted four means("pramana") of obtaining correct knowledge (prama), viz., Perception, Inference, Comparison and Word.

Perception, called PratyakŞha, occupies the foremost position in the Nyaya epistemology. Perception is defined by sense-object contact and is unerring. Perception can be of two types:
  1. Ordinary (Laukika or Sadharana), of six types, viz., visual-by eyes, olfactory-by nose, auditory-by ears, tactile-by skin, gustatory-by tongue and mental-by mind.
  2. Extra-ordinary (Alaukika or Asadharana), of three types, viz., Samanyalakshana (perceiving generality from a particular object), Jñanalakshana (when one sense organ can also perceive qualities not attributable to it, as when seeing a chili, one knows that it would be bitter or hot), and Yogaja (supernatural abilities). Also, there are two modes or steps in perception, viz., Nirvikalpa, when one just perceives an object without being able to know its features, and Savikalpa, when one is able to clearly know an object. All laukika and alaukika pratyakshas are savikalpa. There is yet another stage called Pratyabhijñā, when one is able to re-recognise something on the basis of memory.
Inference, called Anumana, is one of the most important contributions of Nyaya. It can be of two types: inference for oneself (Svarthanumana, where one does not need any formal procedure, and at the most the last three of their 5 steps), and inference for others (Parathanumana, which requires a systematic methodology of 5 steps). Inference can also be classified into 3 types: Purvavat (inferring an unperceived effect from a perceived cause), Sheshavat (inferring an unperceived cause from a perceived effect) and Samanyatodrishta (when inference is not based on causation but on uniformity of co-existence). A detailed anaysis of error is also given, explaining when anumana could be false.

Comparison, which is the rough translation of Upamana. It is the knowledge of the relationship between a word and the object denoted by the word. It is produced by the knowledge of resemblance or similarity, given some pre-description of the new object beforehand.

Word, or Shabda are also accepted as a pramana. It can be of two types, Vaidika (Vedic), which are the words of the four sacred Vedas, and are described as the writings passed down from antiquity, and Laukika, or words and writings of trustworthy human beings.

Theory of inference

The methodology of inference involves a combination of induction and deduction by moving from particular to particular via generality. It has five steps, as in the example shown:

1. There is fire on the hill (called Pratijñā, required to be proved)
2. Because there is smoke there (called Hetu, reason)
3. Wherever there is fire, there is smoke (called Udaharana, ie, example)
4. There is smoke on the hill (called Upanaya, reaffirmation)
5. Therefore there is fire on the hill (called Nigamana, conclusion)

In Nyaya terminology for this example, the hill would be called as paksha (minor term), the fire is called as sadhya (major term), the smoke is called as hetu, and the relationship between the smoke and the fire is called as vyapti(middle term). Hetu further has five characteristics: (1) It must be present in the Paksha, (2) It must be present in all positive instances, (3) It must be absent in all negative instances, (4) It must not incompatible with the minor term or Paksha and (5) All other contradictions by other means of knowledge should be absent. The fallacies in Anumana (hetvābhasa) may occur due to the following:

Asiddha: It is the unproved hetu that results in this fallacy. [Paksadharmata]

  1. Ashrayasiddha: If Paksha [minor term] itself is unreal, then there cannot be locus of the hetu. e.g. The sky-lotus is fragrant, because it is a lotus like any other lotus.
  2. Svarupasiddha: Hetu cannot exist in paksa at all. E.g. Sound is a quality, because it is visible.
  3. Vyapyatvasiddha: Conditional hetu. `Wherever there is fire, there is smoke'. The presence of smoke is due to wet fuel.
Savyabhichara: This is the fallacy of irregular hetu.

  1. Sadharana: The hetu is too wide. It is present in both sapaksa and vipaksa. `The hill has fire because it is knowable'.
  2. Asadharana: The hetu is too narrow. It is only present in the Paksha, it is not present in the Sapaksa and in the Vipaksha. `Sound is eternal because it is audible'.
  3. Anupasamhari: Here the hetu is non-exclusive. The hetu is all-inclusive and leaves nothing by way of sapaksha or vipaksha. e.g. 'All things are non-ternal, because they are knowable'.
Satpratipaksa: Here the hetu is contradicted by another hetu. If both have equal force, then nothing follows. 'Sound is eternal, because it is audible', and 'Sound is non-eternal, because it is produced'. Here 'audible' is counter-balanced by 'produced' and both are of equal force.

Badhita: When another proof (as by perception) definitely contradicts and disproves the middle term (hetu). 'Fire is cold because it is a substance'.

Viruddha: Instead of proving something it is proving the opposite. 'Sound is eternal because it is produced'.

The Nyaya theory of causation

A cause is defined as an unconditional and invariable antecedent of an effect and an effect as an unconditional and invariable consequent of a cause. The same cause produces the same effect; and the same effect is produced by the same cause. The cause is not present in any hidden form whatsoever in its effect. The following conditions should be met:

1. The cause must be antencedent [Purvavrtti]
2. Invariability [Niyatapurvavrtti]
3. Unconditionality [Ananyathasiddha]

Nyaya recognizes five kinds of accidental antecedents [Anyathasiddha]

1. Mere accidental antecedent. E.g., The colour of the potter's cloth.
2. Remote cause is not a cause because it is not unconditional. E.g., The father of the potter.
3. The co-effects of a cause are not causally related.
4. Eternal substances, or eternal conditions are not unconditional antecedents. e.g. space.
5. Unnecessary things, e.g. the donkey of the potter.

Nyaya recognizes three kinds of cause:

1. Samavayi, material cause. E.g. Thread of a cloth.
2. Asamavayi, colour of the thread which gives the colour of the cloth.
3. Nimitta', efficient cause, e.g. the weaver of the cloth.

Anyathakyativada of Nyaya

The Nyaya theory of error is similar to that of Kumarila's Viparita-khyati. The Naiyayikas also believe like Kumarila that error is due to a wrong synthesis of the presented and the represented objects. The represented object is confused with the presented one. The word 'anyatha' means 'elsewise' and 'elsewhere' and both these meanings are brought out in error. The presented object is perceived elsewise and the represented object exists elsewhere. They further maintain that knowledge is not intrinsically valid but becomes so on account of extraneous conditions (paratah pramana during both validity and invalidity).