Eric McLuhan, Canada Peter Zhang, Grand Valley State University, USA
Originally published in China Media Research 13.4 (2017): 57-69. Republished in Open Horizons, 5.9 (2020)
Abstract: This article reflects on the jazzy nature of media ecology as a mode of inquiry, and then explores a series of media ecology related topics by proceeding in this mode. It downplays the thingness of “thought thought,” and reveals the living nature of “thought thinking.” As such, the article has an emergent and probing quality to it. The tacit invitation is for readers to privilege the in-between space in their own explorations.
Keywords: Media ecology, jazz, interology, Zen, Bergson, Fuller, Cage, I Ching
Introduction This article is the latest of a series of dialogues between the interlocutors on media ecology related topics. With the benefit of hindsight, it feels as if the authors have been playing some kind of jazz all along. To go beyond the dialogues per se, there seems to be a striking resemblance between jazz as a mode of music making and media ecology as a style of exploration into the human condition. Jazz is open score, radically inclusive, driven by nothing other than the players’ spurts of energy and mutual responsiveness. It is spontaneous, improvisatory, experimental, playful, in the moment, and undomesticated by rational time. Play is the purpose. There is never a wrong note. Seeming dissonance is treated as a source of energy and resolved with a sense of humor. Jazz is polyphonic, polyrhythmic, nonlinear, nonhierarchical, invitational, and communal. Starting in the middle is a given. As an interological activity, jazz is negentropic and gives the players the sensation of going beyond and beside themselves. A good jamming session means the jazz-becoming of the players. The ego gives way to a larger Self which is essentially a flow of communal qi, in the double sense of energy and spirit. For a radically individualistic society, jazz is therapeutic, deeply gratifying, and therefore ethical. As with jazz, so with dialogue. In a dialogue, the interlocutors are functions of each other, and the degree to which their potentialities get actualized is a function of the quality and timing of the questions they pose to each other. In musing on each other’s questions, the interlocutors face their own limitations, seek to maximize their resourcefulness, fine-tune their senses of decorum, and put to the test their capacity for finesse. A good question functions like a void that motivates the flow and circulation of psychic energy. It calls upon the mental apparatus and keeps it from being disengaged. Insofar as one has not reached satori, dialogue (mondo) is perhaps the most natural way to overcome one’s psychological blind spot and thus get unstuck or unblocked. It saves us from leaving things to our own wits, and gives us the opportunity to experience serendipity and synchronicity. An opportune question posed to one’s interlocutor may serve as a magic key to extricate him from one of his perplexities. Dialogue operationalizes the notion of mental ecology articulated by Bateson and Guattari. Like jazz, dialogue is an interological praxis. Media ecology McLuhan style has a jazzy quality to it. It is radically inclusive, encompassing wisdoms from all ages and all cultures. Artificial interfaces are created partly to put the mental apparatus in a playful mode so it could tackle thorny problems. The interfaces often turn out to be the loci of insights. This not only explains the rationale of the DEW Line Deck of Cards but also depicts McLuhan’s mode of operation. Given McLuhan’s attraction to Laozi’s notion of the interval between the wheel and the axle and the play it allows for, one can tell he is naturally attuned to the spirit of jazz, which is all about interval, interface, interplay, and interanimation. Jazz emerged from a cultural ground of orality alive in the deep south at a time when the cacophonic sonicscape of the industrial city had become a constant irritation. It manifested the culture’s effort to humanize the irritation with a great language. Likewise, media ecology as McLuhan practiced it was the response of a humanist steeped in the liberal arts tradition to a fast expanding technosphere, the centerpiece of which was the ensemble of culturally transformative technologies of communication. Like jazz, media ecology is interological in its fundamental impulse. The following sections have come into shape over an extended period of time, during which the interlocutors were both engaged with other projects. Apparently, the interlocutions created moments of diversion from those projects. As a matter of fact, though, they were of a piece with those projects, and offered innumerable opportunities for the interlocutors to approach those projects with play, perspective, and percipience. As mini-dialogues, they necessarily have an emergent and unfinished quality, which is precisely where the vitality resides. The reader is invited to replay them, extend them, riff off them, all in the spirit of jazz.
Thresholds of Interpretation
PZ: Titles are a species of paratexts, and, as such, thresholds of interpretation, so Gérard Genette (1997) suggests. In academic writing, a title is essentially a declaration, through which one claims a topic. A calibrated but impactful punch if you like. A singular fragment that cannot be otherwise, like fate. This is where one sets up the expectations, or creates a craving. A potent title vibrates with enduring energy, resists entropy, and holds the potential to make the work immortal. In a sound bite symbolic economy, we need an art of the fragment, a fragmatics. A project on titles from the perspective of “fragmatics” can be very interesting. EM: Against all this academic rot, place the reality. In the book world, for one place, the choice of title is up to the marketing department. Anecdotes are legion about excellent changes of name made by the marketers. The author is not often the best judge of what his or her book ought to be called. The title is a form of stage name. Actors and actresses have agonized over the proper name to use professionally. Cary Grant's real name is Archibald Leach. Think of Cher. Madonna. No actor ever used Joe Smith. Or actress, Jane Doe. Politicians and a few others are stuck with their actual names, sometimes with unfortunate results. Think of the wrangle over Barack Hussein Obama: the "Hussein" nearly finished him. (His childhood nickname was Barry--which he suppressed early and effectively.) A product's name is that upon which most buying decisions are made. Suppose you want to sell soap to women. Would you call it Dove, or Rotten Shit? Abrasive Cleanser or Oil of Olay? Or a perfume called Stinkweed, or Rotten Eggs?
Or invent a name that sounds good and means nothing, like Dexadril (medicine)? Or Microsoft? Have a look at a book called Naming for Power: Creating Successful Names for the Business World, by Naseem Javed. The writing is poor and it needs a good editing, but the contents are great, and useful. Nominalists maintain that names are neutral--and they are idiots, or have led lives far too sheltered from reality. The Realists are aware of the rhetorical power of names. Johnny Cash has a good song called "A Boy Named Sue." Worth a listen. Take a look at Peter Schworm’s article for The Boston Globe, “Colleges Find Juicy Titles Swell Enrollment” (September 8, 2009). PZ: Thinking of using “Media Ecology in a Jazz Mode” as the title for this piece but feel a bit hesitant. The concern is that people might think we don’t take things seriously. We’re certainly not playing a game of tennis, which is all about control, or getting the ball onto the other side of the court. Jazz is open, opening, inclusive, emergent, and reciprocal. It’s a process of collective voice finding, a collective enunciation, a corporate voice, and a metaphor for the democratic way of life. Another possibility is “Media Ecology in a Symbolist Mode,” which is not that much different, though, since “Symbolism is a kind of witty jazz” (McLuhan, 1962, p. 267). EM: Actually, I like jazz: it is from French, slangy, meaning conversation. And tennis, control aside, conjures images of serve and return, of tossing things about, so it is also a good candidate. I see the reasons for Symbolism, but think the other two are better as regards audience and imagery. An aside: Perhaps we might rename these exchanges a correspondence instead of a dialogue. The form and style actually are closer to an epistolary exchange of the old variety than they are to conversation.
PZ: Style is the man. An organic outering of the writer’s or speaker’s entire being. One cannot pretend to be Oscar Wilde, or Nietzsche. Over time, however, one can be affected by and gradually assume certain voices. Words give expression to and constitute mental postures. By assuming a certain mental posture repeatedly, it becomes a habit of the mind, or second nature. Reading Nietzsche does shape who we are. Alert passivity is no different than what Deleuze calls passive power, or affectability. Zazen (i.e., sitting Zen, or seated meditation) culminates in the exact same “state of being,” in which the mind is not perturbed or prematurely closed off by preconceptions or attachments, but works like a mirror, taking everything in but keeping nothing. The whole point of schooling that deserves the name is about developing the art of tuning oneself into that state of being, in which one is all ears to words of wisdom, appreciative of good examples of decorum in a wide array of social settings. That’s what we mean by “sensibility.” EM: Assumes that style is an element of self-expression. But style, as we know from rhetoric, is the area of put-on of the audience, not the speaker. One assumes, crafts, molds, a style according to audience, occasion (a party, a funeral, a satire, etc.), and effect wanted--all audience-dictated. PZ: Between the two views lies the difference between Platonists on the one hand and rhetoricians and media ecologists on the other. EM: And the difference is ground. Platonists are figure-minus-ground, i.e., abstract; rhetors use audience as ground for their figures.
PZ: This passage from Chuang Tzu looks interesting: The largest thing has nothing beyond it; it is called the One of largeness. The smallest thing has nothing within it; it is called the One of smallness. That which has no thickness cannot be piled up; yet it is a thousand li in dimension. Heaven is as low as earth; mountains and marshes are on the same level. The sun at noon is setting. The thing born is the thing dying. The southern region has no limit and yet has a limit. I set off for Yueh today and came there yesterday. I know the center of the world: it is north of Yen and south of Yueh [the equivalent of “North of Maine and south of Florida”]. Let love embrace the ten thousand things; Heaven and earth are a single body. (Watson, 1968, pp. 374-375) What comes to mind? Lewis Carroll? The Sophists? Acoustic space? Relativity? Quantum mechanics? EM: What comes to mind is a book of paradoxes. PZ: Chuang Tzu attributes these words to Hui Shih, the sophist. What do you see as the utility or serviceability of paradoxes? Chuang Tzu himself is fond of using them. EM: Paradoxy is a main figure (trope) of rhetoric. It calls for very quick wit. This figure can compress a complex situation into a very few words. E.g., the observation that Bucky Fuller's geodesic domes are "much bigger on the inside than they are on the outside." Recent masters of the paradoxical style include G. K. Chesterton. I'd recommend too Rosalie Colie's study, Paradoxia Epidemica: The Renaissance Tradition of Paradox as particularly helpful. PZ: Paradox (“para-doxa,” literally, contrary to existing notions) embodies the will to go beyond received wisdom, and oftentimes reveals truth of a higher order. EM: Para-, a prefix we took from Greek, means something more like beside or alongside, or against (in the sense of interface) or contrary to: as in paradox or parallel or parody or paralysis or paragraph. Paralysis = against loosening. Paradox = contrary to expectation (as you say). Parody = the road beside.
Things Come in Fours
PZ: Things come in fours. Is there a good explanation? Because four makes A : B = C : D possible? Because two makes for rivalry, three breeds suspicion, but four forms a configuration and makes for resonance, proportionality, and corporatism? There are four factors for any cause: finance, companion, method, place (财侣法地). These can be grouped together as resources, which are one of the four dimensions in terms of which you talk about business in The Human Equation: resources, product/service, maker, and user. I guess marketing is the function that brings all four dimensions together. It’s the soul of business. EM: Marketing the soul of business? Sure. And the soul of marketing? The customer. PZ: Four things to do to live a religion: belief, explication, practice, testimony (信解行证). The Buddhists have their four dignities (四威仪): walking, standing, sitting, lying (行住坐卧). There are four means of diagnosis in traditional Chinese medicine: looking, listening and smelling, asking, pulse taking (望闻问切). There are four treasures in the Chinese literati’s study: writing brush, ink stick, paper, inkstone (笔墨纸砚). The four arts with which the literary person conducts autopoiesis (self-fashioning) in ancient China: the lute, Go, calligraphy, and painting (琴棋书画). The four actions in the I Ching: to move, to distribute, to stand still, to collect. The corresponding trigrams are: Thunder (震), Wind (巽), Mountain (艮), Valley/Marsh (兑) (Dhiegh, 1973). I should say there is something peculiarly Chinese about this way of listing things. At once a mnemonics and a heuristic, it indicates what goes with what, what elements are indispensable for, let’s say, an operative assemblage. Typically, the relationship among the listed elements is one of correlativity and co-functioning instead of linear progression. The mode of thinking is correlative (关联性) rather than analytic, interological rather than ontological. That is not to say four is not one of the preferable numbers in the West. Four is the natural number of musicians in a rock band. EM: Things do come in fours, and the reasons and so on are detailed in The Human Equation. Briefly, there are four modes of utterance (the four modes of action) and so any innovation can take any of the four routes (modes of action) on its journey into existence. Eventually, no matter which route the innovation took in the first place, all four forms of the innovation will appear. It may take weeks, or it may take years, decades, centuries even, but eventually all four are used. Not all of the fours however satisfy the a:b::c:d relation, which could mean any of several things. But for those fours that do achieve the proportionality, the reason they do so is their grounding in the four modes of action (MOA). The MOA come first; they are as it were the birth canals for words of every kind, verbal or technological. PZ: In The Global Village, McLuhan and Powers (1989) point out: “All technology is an extension of these four capabilities” (p. 132.). He has the four senses (vision, hearing, touch, and smell) in mind, and treats taste as a variant of smell. On a separate note, I think you will find something familiar in this quote from Alan Watts (1989): “The Buddhist doctrine of the ‘Four Invisibles’ is that the Void (sunya) is to a Buddha as water to a fish, air to a man, and the nature of things to the deluded – beyond conception” (p. 170). EM: Very nice! He is saying that sunya is ground for the Buddha. Of course, ground is beyond conception, by its nature. All concepts are by nature figures. PZ:Sunya is a perfect synonym for khora. What you just said applies to khora perfectly well.
PZ: Other than standing, sitting, lying, and kneeling – the four basic postures according to The Human Equation, squatting can be a significant posture, too. There’s a relational dimension to postures. What posture to assume is a matter of decorum. There can be a hierarchy between sitting, standing, and kneeling. Who gets to sit first, who gets to sit where – these are socially coded. Zen adepts see the lotus posture as “a very stable and energizing position” (Hanh, 1995, p. 147). Taiji practitioners move from posture to posture to cultivate, maximize, or even infinitize their virtualities. Many of the postures are therapeutic in nature. By assuming the posture of “A Golden Rooster Standing on One Foot” (金鸡独立), for example, one can direct one’s qi (i.e., vital energy) downward, which can be beneficial if one’s inner equilibrium is disrupted by upward rushing qi. Walking on one’s knees is said to have the same effect. Yoga is another bodily-spiritual praxis that has a lot to do with the assumption of postures. EM: Squatting and floor sitting are constituents of the group of sitting postures. All four of the basic ones (stand, sit, lie, kneel) are heads of families. All of the postures share that A-is-to-B-as-X-is-to-Y set of relations. These are the topics of discussion in The Human Equation series. Half of Book 4 is devoted to posture, and quite a lot of the first Book as well. PZ: Vilém Flusser associates sitting with the settled and squatting with nomads. As he puts it: “… the settled sit and do not move about, whereas nomads move about and squat (instead of sitting properly)” (Flusser, 2003, pp. 49-50). For Kafka, there is a difference between a bent head and a straightened head. EM: What do bent and straightened mean to Kafka? PZ: Deleuze and Guattari (1986) have two equations on bent and straightened heads in their book on Kafka: Bent head: portrait-photo = a blocked, oppressed or oppressing, neutralized desire, with a minimum of connection, childhood memory, territoriality or reterritorialization. Straightened head: musical sound = a desire that straightens up or moves forward, and opens up to new connections, childhood block or animal block, deterritorialization. (p. 5)
The Four Senses of Scripture
PZ: In Magister Ludi, “Hesse writes of a distant future in which an order of scholar-mystics have discovered an ideographic language which can relate all the branches of science and art, philosophy and religion” (Watts, 1962, p. 21). This has something to do with Flusser’s short piece, “Our Shrinking.” EM: Mmmm. That would be our tetrads, would it not? PZ: Good one. What about computer codes? What about hexagrams? EM: For me, six is too great a stretch. Closest I can get is the five divisions of rhetoric. Tetrad level would have to include the action equations from The Human Equation. And the four senses of Scripture. And the Four Causes. PZ: Could you explain “the four senses of Scripture”? EM: The four are the literal (aka historical, a better term inasmuch as the Greek word “grammar” means, in Latin, literature; "literal" means the letters, what literally is written down), figurative (allegorical), moral (tropological), and spiritual (anagogical). The locus classicus on the four levels is Medieval Exegesis: The Four Senses of Scripture, by Henri de Lubac. It is in four volumes, of which the first three have been translated thus far into English (from French). I would strongly recommend that you get at least Vol. I from the library and have a look: it is a sort of survey of the practice of scriptural interpretation up to the end of the middle ages; the other volumes go into detail. The practice did not end then, of course, and continues to this day, the most notable recent example of which I know is The Theology of the Body by the late Pope John Paul II. This sort of work is the heart and soul of Grammar: literary interpretation, as we have talked about. So also it is no surprise that interpretation is one of those analogical structures of four elements. Protestantism by and large rejects manifold interpretation, and some even reject everything but strict literalism. There's an old rhyme that encapsulates the four levels – it is at least medieval in origin: Litera gesta docet. Quid credas allegoria. Moralis quid agas. Quo tendis anagogia. Approximately: The literal gives the things. Allegory, what to believe. Moral, how to act. Anagogy, where it all leads.
Aristotle’s Fourfold Causality
PZ: Things come in fours. In a right-hemisphere moment, Bill Guschwan (a field philosopher in Chicago) and I made a connection between tetralemma (expressed as: it is, it is not, it is both, it is neither) and the four causes, and wrote a probe about it entitled “Aristotle’s Fourfold Causality, Tetralemma, and Emergence” (Zhang & Guschwan, 2014). The main idea is: Formal cause (“it is”): enhances “it.” Material constraints (“it is not”): obsolesce “it.” Efficient solution (“it is both”): retrieves “it.” Final cause (“it is neither”): “it” flips into something unexpected. Does this make sense? Do you have a different take? EM: Check Laws of Media. In it, I showed the four causes in the a-b-c-d relationship: Formal Cause is to Final Cause as Material Cause is to Efficient Cause (if memory serves). But as far as I know, there is no topic or relation in which Formal simply provided enhancement while Material did the obsolescing, etc. Each of the four causes plays each of the four functions. PZ: I like your last point, which helps me to see around the corner. A tetrad can be developed for each of the four causes. Do you see any value in the probe? EM: A somewhat curious piece, that. Actually, it is too complex and too subtle for me to make much headway. I might suggest that as to the fours, there is never any sequential order to them: they are appositional. So one can start anywhere, with any one of the four choices, and proceed from it to any other. Or, working in the other direction, there is no telling which of the four will make its appearance first, or second. And one or two of the elements may take years to surface (any one or two). As to the fours--causal and tetradic--they do not coincide: we tried for over a year (well, not full-time, you understand) to find some manner in which they might do so, without result. However, I did learn while writing the essay "On Formal Cause" that our tetrad is really an analytic of formal cause! That explained why we never succeeded. The entire tetrad is formal causality laid bare. PZ: Put otherwise, the tetrad diagrams at a glance the fourfold functions of each medium as a formal cause. It embodies poetic wisdom, as Vico understands the term. EM: Yes. That's why, in my article on Formal Cause I called the tetrad "an analytic of formal cause itself"--the first such analysis ever proposed in the history of philosophy. Of course, formal cause is part of Grammar, as is Vico's Poetic Wisdom. PZ: If the essence of rhetoric is decorum, what would be the essence of grammar, as you use the term? Multi-level exegesis? Hermeneutics? Is it more or less a medieval enterprise? In what sense is formal cause part of Grammar? We talked about how formal cause belongs with rhetoric in a previous dialogue entitled “Formal Cause, Poiesis, Rhetoric.” EM: I open with apologies for making this brief: it deserves a long response. I use "Grammar" in the sense it is used in my father's thesis (published as The Classical Trivium) as the science of interpretation, but also as the tradition of learned commentary. See also Jean Leclercq's The Love of Learning and the Desire for God: A Study of Monastic Culture. As reported in Laws of Media, the four causes and the four levels of interpretation are parallel for deciphering the two Books, the twin sources of God's revelation: the Bible and the Book of Nature.
PZ: I was reading Deleuze’s “Plato and the Simulacrum” and it suddenly occurred to me that Platonism taken to an extreme flips into Sophistic (Deleuze, 1990, pp. 253-266). The same motif recurs in another piece authored by Deleuze entitled “Plato, the Greeks.” As he puts it: “Platonism is the philosophical Odyssey, which will be continued in Neoplatonism. It confronts sophism as its enemy, but also as its limit and its double…” (Deleuze, 1997, p. 136). To see the sophist in Socrates is to deconstruct Platonism. Similarly, Confucianism taken to an extreme flips into Taoism. The imperial court is the breeding ground for superior hermits. I continue to think entelechy has a lot to do with reversal and emergence. EM: I cannot disagree with your thoughts about Plato and Confucianism, but entelechy is another matter. As I recall, the logos of a thing was its essential structure, its pattern, its mode of being, its definition, i.e., its entelechy. On the other hand, "reversal" is a poor descriptor for what we meant, though we stuck with the term. "Reversal" is not intended to mean an opposite but rather a flip to a complementary position. I suppose complementarity is a soft form of reversal. (Think of husband and wife?) PZ: Yes, “reversal” should encompass right-angle divergence as well. Each thing is a different fold. It unfolds/evolves. But the way it unfolds/evolves is always already in its “seed.” This understanding sees entelechy as an eventless process. It denies any chance of a new thing emerging from the process. In “Aristotle’s Fourfold Causality, Tetralemma, and Emergence,” Bill and I were trying to promote a becoming-oriented understanding of entelechy and final cause, which is in line with Marshall McLuhan’s take on final cause in “Hidden Effects.” I tend to associate entelechy with final cause. If it means “definition,” then it should have more to do with formal cause. EM: It is very much related to Formal Cause. PZ: This line from McLuhan and Powers (1989) confirms your point: “[Innis] recovered for the West the world of entelechies and formal causality long buried by the logicians and teachers of applied knowledge…” (p. 155).
PZ: What do you make of the rhetorical use of the hyphen in “indivi-dualism” here? The new medium of linear, uniform, repeatable type... was directly responsible for the rise of... a psychological mode of introspection or inner direction that greatly intensified the tendencies toward indivi-dualism and specialization engendered 2000 years before by phonetic literacy. (McLuhan & Zingrone, 1995, p. 243) EM: I think it’s a typo. PZ: It may be profitable to view the spelling as intended, as suggesting a subject-object dichotomy, a self-world rivalry, a knower-known dissociation, and so on. The producer-consumer dichotomy and the content-form divorce are simply two among countless other manifestations of dualistic thinking. In contrast, Zen dharma is a nondualistic dharma (禅法是不二之法). That the Sixth Patriarch – one of the most gifted Zen masters – was an illiterate implies a lot. For the Zen-minded, the idea of the individual is no more than a useful illusion. Indivi-dualism is a contradiction in terms: at once indivisible and already divided. The implication is that phonetic literacy is schizophrenic in its psychic impact.
Continental vs. Analytic
PZ: Continental philosophy is more acoustic. Analytic philosophy is more visual. McLuhan sides more with continental philosophy. Agree? EM: Not sure what you are calling philosophy. From your distinction, I'd say that the one is right-brain and Grammatical; the other (analytic), left-brain and Dialectic. “Grammar” is from Greek, gramma, meaning, in Latin, littera, meaning, in English, letters (of the alphabet). So “Grammar” means literature, writing; a Grammarian was a man of letters. As a man of letters, of course, my father would sympathize with the Grammatical turn.
Logos vs. Eros
PZ: I was reading The Joyous Cosmology by Alan Watts, and it suddenly occurred to me that the hippie movement was a matter of privileging Eros over Logos. EM: Or, rather, Dionysus over Apollo? PZ: In his book chapter, “The Commerce of the Creative Spirit,” Lewis Hyde, too, privileges Eros over Logos. Susan Sontag displays the same impulse in her essay, “Against Interpretation.” In Proust and Signs, Deleuze has a chapter on antilogos. The Joyous Cosmology is an important source for media ecologists, insofar as the community continues to count psychedelics as media. Some people associate May ’68 with psychedelics. But one doesn’t want to go so far as to attribute it to psychedelics. To do so is to commit a species of media determinism.
Nomad Art, Nomadism
PZ: Nomad art is non-perspectival. There’s no long-range vision. The eye functions like a hand. “The hand has no point of view” (McLuhan & Parker, 1968, p. 35). Nomad art is the correct figure against the ground of the electric age, an age when nomadism naturally becomes a favorite topic among prescient thinkers, including Deleuze and Guattari, who coauthored Nomadology: The War Machine, and Flusser, who wrote The Freedom of the Migrant. Flusser (2003) points out in this book: “The catastrophe is that we are now forced to be free. And this explains our emerging interest in nomadism” (p. 46). Paul Virilio suggests that communication at the speed of light breeds what I call the neo-nomad, who moves on the spot. EM: Nice paradox! If one is forced to anything, one is not free. I might note that the old nomadism consisted of moving physical bodies around the planet, in physical spaces, whereas the new nomadism is out-of-body experience, that is, disembodied. The neo-nomad roams what is now called cyberspace and is simultaneously everywhere at once: nowhere man, a living breathing Utopian! Meantime, his body remains marooned in one place, a castaway irrelevancy. I gave a keynote speech to one of the MEA conventions on the topic of the neo-nomad. Movement on the spot is a synonym for isometrics: movement without displacement. PZ: I’d say internauts as nomads are a far cry from Toynbee’s nomads who change their habits so they don’t have to change their habitats.
PZ: The ancients definitely knew how to do more with less – how to achieve maximal inclusiveness within a single frame. I have ancient Egyptian art in mind when I say this. Rodin is an heir to this aesthetic. I wouldn‘t call ancient Egyptian art 3-D, which term calls to mind the illusion created by “perspective.” It’s more like multi-perspectivism (a precursor to Picasso), or temporal pluralism. The same can be found in drawings made by little kids, whose consciousness hasn’t been impoverished by mono-perspectivism. Their world is a world of plenitude. Instead of proportion, they aim for expressiveness – how to grasp the spirit of something as opposed to the lifeless geometric form. Once in a while, my daughter would ask me to draw things with her. Each time I find my drawing to be polluted by middle school math. Oscar Wilde was right: “As a method realism is a complete failure.” Realism is a media effect, a naturalized, self-forgetful one. Another hypothesis: For the ancients, vitality was a problem – something to tame or tranquillize. Paradoxically, by reducing vitality, by simplifying movements, by collapsing the three dimensional onto a flat surface (limitation makes for artfulness), they end up achieving a special kind of dynamism which the snap shot is incapable of capturing. Their art pieces can capture a duration of time, or the flow of time. The other thing: The resurgence or retrieval of flatness in modernist art, especially pop art. Tom Wolfe’s book, The Painted Word, is a good source on this. I see a possibility for your book on Egyptian art: Go big. Write something along the lines of “Art History: A Media Ecological Account,” which could be a trilogy or a book series. EM: I do enjoy your enthusiasm! It is both refreshing and infectious. And I would much like to do the book that you suggest, but I am presently way overcommitted on books: I have seven on the go just now. It’d be foolish to take on another until I have cleared a few of the present crop. From the tenor of your remarks, though, I infer that you have not actually got some Egyptian canonical images to move and dance. Mon ami, it is essential. The foundation of the entire enterprise is perception, and participation—“the beholder’s share.” Not ideas. In the book, I write that the Egyptian canon is not a precursor to Picasso, but rather the reverse. Picasso is a precursor to the revitalization of the Egyptian Style and its reappearance in our arts. Picasso sets the stage for, is the warm-up act for, the Egyptian discovery. Once you are practised in the movement stage, you’ll realize that they didn't "collapse the 3D onto a flat surface": that is tantamount to saying that the canon is a translation of their idea of 3D into terms suitable for a painting. But it isn't. And they weren't trying to translate in or out of 3D. For one thing, their syllabary wouldn't let them make the necessary break, the radical dissociation of sensibility. It is too soon to be playing with hypotheses: we need a measure of experience first, in this case. BTW, I know Tom's book but I had forgotten it. Thanks for the reminder. Now if only I can find my copy… Art is media ecology. An epigram from G. K. Chesterton is in order here: “The artistic temperament is a disease that afflicts amateurs.” PZ: What did Chesterton mean to say? The ancient Egyptians pulled off animation within a single frame. EM: The “artistic temperament” is an act, a pose affected by those who consider themselves, or who wish others to consider them "artistes." They are observed to be properly sensitive people--more sensitive than the ordinary mortal; they have all the "right" emotions and responses to situations. That is, they have all the emotions and sensitivities that artists are imagined (by the crowd) to have. In other words, “the artistic temperament” has nothing at all to do with art or with being an artist good or bad. I have known a great number of real artists, still do, and not a single one of them has or had the “temperament.” They were too busy being artists. Seems to me that Chesterton hit the nail right on the head.
PZ: I see some similarity between Mexican art and Egyptian art. Cf. the image below. Agree? EM: I get much the same vibrations that you do from this piece. The sensibilities of the two cultures are certainly closer to each other than either one is to ours. What is the approximate date of this piece? PZ: I took the picture at Hotel Villas Arqueológicas Cholula in San Andres Cholula, Puebla in March 2014. The painting should be fairly new. It immediately calls to mind your book manuscript on Egyptian art. Another thing the two cultures have in common is the pyramid, different as their pyramids are.
Education in a Telematic Society
PZ: What is worth teaching, what‘s the worth of teaching, when information is free? What would a forward-looking liberal education in a telematic society be like? What is more susceptible to obsolescence? EM: Wrong question. Ought to ask, what is teaching, when information is free. One realizes immediately that the content of teaching is not information but the student. A lecturer is someone who is paid to talk for 50 (or whatever) minutes. The teacher's job is to save the student's time. That answers the second question as well. PZ: Perhaps you could shed some light on the point: "The teacher's job is to save the student’s time.” EM: Sure. We are assuming the information environment as a fact of life. So a teacher who is still shoveling information is wasting his time and that of the students. They can get all the information they want at the touch of a button. What they need, then, is training in techniques of navigation, like any explorer. By this I do NOT mean "computer literacy" or any other "literacy": I mean training in discernment and sensibility, the sort of training that artists have always had to provide for themselves. Tools to do the job, which the teacher can supply or inculcate. That is, training of critical awareness, training of perception. Practical Criticism is one such route. Another skill that the student will find essential: memory training. It is scandalous that memory has not been part of the curriculum for two centuries. A good (trained, well-stocked) memory saves a huge amount of time in any scholarly enterprise. PZ: Memory is one of the five divisions of rhetoric. The good man, the man with virtue, is one who keeps working on his folds, who keeps working on himself as folds. Computer lingo breeds blindness to the crucial distinction between human memory and machine memory. Therein lies a posthumanist impulse. EM: "Folds" as in sheep? Not sure what the word betokens. Bent over? Computer "memory" has perfect recall; human memory is a making process, not recall at all. Perhaps inhuman is a better (and more familiar) term than the jargon, “posthuman,” which suggests that humanity has ended. Or has it? PZ: “Folds” as Deleuze uses the term in two of his books. The one is entitled Foucault, and the other The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque. One thing I’d add is that the virtue or power of the human brain is a function of cerebral folds and the astronomic number of micro-intervals in there. This should be a fruitful direction of interality studies. Flusser suggests that humans have difficulty forgetting, and therefore relearning. As he points out: “One advantage of artificial intelligences is that they have no difficulty forgetting. From them, we are learning the importance of forgetting” (Flusser, 2011a, p. 149). Posthumanity means the obsolescence of humans. And the medium/technology behind the obsolescence is genetic engineering. I felt this is becoming an increasingly relevant problematic to look into. The angst already shows itself in sci-fi movies. EM: …and the medium behind the medium/technology and the angst is the discarnate condition. An early symptom is surely Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Let me recommend a book to you, which I have ordered. Edmund Blair Bolles, Remembering and Forgetting: Inquiries into the Nature of Memory. One of his points is that what people need, along with a good memory, is a good "forgettery." Excellent study, by the way. Reviewed it for McLuhan Studies 1, No. 1 (1991), which I edited and produced. Among other contributors, Blair Bolles wrote an article for it. PZ: Psychic clearing is something valued by Zen practitioners. The vitality of the brain can be impeded by mental clutter. The scholar accumulates every day, whereas the Taoist/Zennist eliminates every day (为学日益, 为道日损).
Hendiadys, Interology, Probing
PZ: I was looking at this line of yours: “The root of dialectic is the logos hendiathetos, the word in the mind.” Hendiadys (literally, one through two, one by means of two) comes to mind. McLuhan found hendiadys useful and the resonant interval interesting but he does not have the typical dialectician’s interest in synthesizing or collapsing two into one. Instead of resolving the tension or friction, he found it to be a source of insight, a productive resource for stimulating fresh thought. As such, he has an interest in preserving the tension, or artificially creating some where it is missing. This makes him an interological thinker. Interology is his modus operandi. EM: What you call interology is basic poetics, keeping two (or more) levels of meaning afloat simultaneously. It is also a grammatical structure. The important thing is the resonant interval between the levels. See any of my tetrads or the equations in The Human Equation. See also all of analogy, metaphor, allegory, little epic (epyllion, the double-plot), and a dozen other things. PZ: In a letter to I. A. Richards dated June 12, 1968, McLuhan wrote: “Your wonderful word ‘feedforward’ suggests to me the principle of the probe, the technique of the ‘suspended judgment’, which has been called the greatest discovery of the 20th century.” To probe is to bring new interalities to bear on the potential meaning of what one is encountering, or contemplating. This understanding renders meaning radically open: meaning is not contained within the codes; rather it is a function of the probe or key one uses to unlock what one contemplates. To believe in probing is to believe in the interological nature of meaning. Speaking of probing, I’ve been entertaining the idea of doing a project entitled “Sounding the McLuhan Bell with Strange Hammers.” Maybe I’ve been doing this all along. EM: Beware: you are slipping into academic jargon: "interalities" and "interological"--suggest you drop them and use regular language if you want your writing to have any staying power. Pound, remember, got a lot of mileage out of straight talk: he defined meaning as "the dance of the intellect among the words." PZ: Point well taken. Geling Shang, the philosopher, coined the terms, for a good reason. Eventually he will develop a monograph or two on interology. I have a few more papers in me about the topic. The interological sensibility cuts across von Uexküll, Debussy, Deleuze, Virilio, Flusser, Media Ecology, modern science, the Chinese language, Chinese art, philosophy, and literature, among other things. There's something peculiar about our age that makes the term relevant and necessary. Interology foregrounds transformations in the interzone and sees the interzone or the zone of proximity as the locus of ethics. Speaking of Pound getting a lot of mileage out of straight talk, isn’t Joyce an equally valid counterexample? EM: Not at all. Joyce wrote Finnegans Wake using more than 40 languages at once, predominantly English. His intent is satire--of the reader--and training the reader's sensibilities. Spend an hour or two a day for a week reading the Wake aloud, and examine the results: it changes you profoundly. Your senses become almost painfully aware of words and nuances. When anyone around you opens his mouth you hear not only what is intended but loads of other things that are present but unintentionally so. Incidentally, the Wake is not a one-off: it had been written twice before: once in the 4th century (Martianus Capella) and once in the 12th century (Alan of Lille)--both of those in Latin. Now, if “interological” and so on were there for satiric purposes, I would welcome them, but they aren’t. The users are not playing or trying to enhance perception. The satire is inadvertent and the joke, if any is present, is on them.
Violence as a Mode of Communication
PZ: Came across this line by Virilio: ... in the suburbs now, speech is replaced by violence. The punch is the beginning of communication: a punch brings you back into proximity when words are lacking. (Armitage, 2001, p. 137) Virilio sees violence as a quest for sociality. In this sense, Fight Club is a timely and meaningful movie. For one thing, it addresses what we might call a “touch deficit syndrome.” Violence can be therapeutic. Kenneth Burke (1967) has a somewhat similar point: “War is cultural” (p. 319). EM: This is not news: violence as the quest for identity is one of the main themes of the book, War and Peace in the Global Village. PZ: Years ago, a professor asked the chair of his department, “Are we allowed to punch students here?” But that’s a different matter entirely. It could be that violence as a mode of communication is going through a revival as we lose our capacity to engage each other in a verbal, urbane way. It may not be a bad idea, after all, to apply this insight to urban riots and the like. EM: A friend, who is a forensic psychologist, reports that the most violent criminals he has to deal with are those with the least ability to express themselves. And Arthur Hearst, the optometrist who worked some with my father, studied criminals in the California system and found that those who were most likely to be back in jail soon after serving their sentences, i.e., those with the highest recidivism rate, were exactly those with the least training in or ability with literacy (the old-fashioned kind--reading and writing with paper and using the alphabet).
PZ: Form is figure. Formal cause is a matter of ground. There’s the risk for the two to be conflated. EM: Form and formal cause have been conflated for ages by people who have no sense of ground. Visual bias denies the subliminal. PZ: Decorum is entirely a matter of the right figure against the right ground. Propriety and strategic impropriety both rely on ground awareness. I see formal cause in this Flusser (2011b) quote: “Part of getting married is to be photographed, and weddings conform to a photographic program” (p. 56). The following line by Sylvère Lotringer, which points from figure to ground, can certainly be expanded: “Music is more and more linked to technology. The hottest music to date is techno, industrial...” (Virilio & Lotringer, 2008, p. 192). EM: Music was both one of the sciences (part of the quadrivium, along with arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy) and also an art. Music penetrated everything, including the ground of the universe--as "music of the spheres" which is probably best thought of as environmental muzak). As an art, it changes its tune (so to speak) with every new technology. Not, that is, that we have new instruments each time but that the modes of music relate directly to changes in the order of senses in human experience. Would you say that techno is one of the responses to the digital environment? What might some of the others be? Certainly Rap has a broad sensory function. For one thing, it dispenses with melody (sequence of notes) in favor of the sheer textures and rhythms of words alone and in groups, and it features a lot of the oral man's exuberance with words as things: the play of meanings in Rap is minor compared to the role of speech itself. We are close to the magical dimensions of utterance and logotherapy in all its varieties.
PZ: Found this line at UDLAP, a University in Pueblo, Mexico: “La posmodernidad no es otra cosa que la eclosion de los germenes premodernos que, tras el largo sueno de la modernidad, retoman un nuevo vigor.” The English is something like this: “Postmodernity is nothing more than the sprouting of premodern seeds that regain a new vigor after the long sleep of modernity.” EM: A horticultural take on retrieval? PZ: “Newton’s sleep” immediately comes to mind. The expression comes from William Blake: Now I a fourfold vision see, And a fourfold vision is given to me; ‘Tis fourfold in my supreme delight And three fold in soft Beulah’s night And twofold Always. May God us keep From Single vision & Newton’s sleep. (Keynes, 1956, p. 79) Blake is against the literalism of the Newtonian mindset. He wants us to see multiple significances in everything. EM: A fourfold vision that needed six lines to wrap the thought? Or perhaps he's wearing trifocal lenses in his glasses--counting the eyes separately? It is germane that Newton spent a great deal of time working on interpretation of the Book of Daniel, which is far from single-level but polysemous in construction and meaning. PZ: If I hear you correctly, Newton as a conceptual persona, as a stand-in for an intellectual paradigm, is a thin simplification of Newton the historical figure. Similarly, Plato’s corpus is far more ambivalent, complex, and interesting than Platonism. The latter is no more than a reified caricature of all that Plato has to offer. In the same vein, can you imagine reading Confucius as a Taoist, and Socrates as a sophist?
One Thing at a Time
PZ: In The Spirit of Zen, Alan Watts (1958) points out: The uncontrolled mind uses up its energy over innumerable worries, distractions and wandering ideas instead of giving itself to one thing at a time, and for this reason it never achieves completely what it sets out to do, for the moment it begins on one thing it runs off to others, exhausting itself with a tremendous amount of wasted activity. (p. 108) When all-at-onceness becomes environmental and pervasive, one-at-a-timeness comes back as a luxury, a privilege, and an art of life. Agree? EM: Well, let’s see. In my experience there are actually two stages to the process. First is obsolescence, then, subsequently, retrieval. They don't often coincide. The process of obsolescence takes a while to develop. It isn't as neat as turning a switch. I wonder, is Watts talking about multitasking when he mentions the uncontrolled mind? Multitasking is the direct opposite of one-thing-at-a-timeness, which latter is the direct product of literacy. But the multitasker does not have a consciousness; instead all tasks are handled in a sort of unconsciousness. To pay attention to a dozen things at once is to pay attention to nothing at a time. (No thing.) Advertisers have for decades found a way to use the audience’s inattention, to capitalize on the new situation. Couldn't you say that an early manifestation of multitasking is found in the person watching a TV show and not-quite-ignoring the ads when they interrupt? Not quite ignoring as the watcher knows exactly when the ad is over and the show resumes. Or how about the cell-phone (etc.) -using driver? PZ: All is to say we are probably more vulnerable, or more susceptible to the influence of advertisements than ever before since most of us are multitasking these days. The proliferation of multitasking means it is already obsolescent. The capacity to concentrate is becoming a rare commodity. People will turn to taiji, Zen meditation, and yoga, etc. to relearn how to concentrate. A parallel tendency was noticed by Susan Sontag (1966) in the realm of art back in the 60s: Once upon a time (say, for Dante), it must have been a revolutionary and creative move to design works of art so that they might be experienced on several levels. Now it is not. It reinforces the principle of redundancy that is the principal affliction of modern life. (p. 13) The total situation today necessitates the retrieval of the Zen ethos and aesthetic, characterized by emptiness instead of clutter, leisureliness rather than busyness, simplicity as opposed to elaborateness, English elegance as against Italian overdressedness. There is reason to believe that poetry will be revived and a new species of poetics will be desired into being. Many a soul is capable of capturing a sublime view of, say, the Cliffs of Moher, but the image creates an intense yearning for a refrain that matches the intensity of the pathos or affect that the view stirs up. An upsurge of creative energy is bound to burst forth to alleviate the yearning. The yin always calls into being the yang it deserves.
Henri Bergson (1859-1941)
PZ: An interesting passage from Deleuze (1995): … cinema was invented while Bergson’s thought was taking shape. Motion was brought into concepts at precisely the same time it was brought into images. Bergson presents one of the first cases of self-moving thought. Because it’s not enough simply to say concepts possess movement; you also have to construct intellectually mobile concepts. Just as it’s not enough to make moving shadows on the wall, you have to construct images that can move by themselves. (p. 122) Deleuze perceives a coincidence between Bergson’s thought and cinema. I was wondering whether Marshall McLuhan would say cinema was the formal cause of Bergson’s thought. With this question in mind, I chanced upon the following passage of McLuhan’s: [Wyndham Lewis] was horrified by Bergson and the time philosophy because it seemed to him to destroy various aspects of our Western culture. He said the whole Western culture was based on sight. But he moralized all his life about “ear people” like Bergson who were undermining the visual facets of Western culture. He attacked Spengler in the same way. (Stearn, 1967, p. 269) Reading the two passages together reveals something important: Bergson’s philosophy is acoustic and nomadic, not visual or sedentary. There is something Taoist or Zennist about Bergson’s evolutionary vision, the emphasis of which is more on elan vital as movement of differentiation, in the sense that life energy intuits and spontaneously takes up niches in Nature so species are different not only from each other but also for each other. The niches motivate morphogenesis. There is a striking resemblance between this aspect of Bergsonism and the Sixth Patriarch’s point that “All things have their own ways and therefore they do not hinder or afflict each other” (色类自有道, 各不相妨恼). As such, the ecosystem as an open and creatively evolving system is characterized as much by symbiosis and interdependence as by competition. In response to “the indeterminacy that quantum mechanics located at the most fundamental strata of material organization,” Heidegger affirmed “the authenticating power of death” whereas Bergson affirmed “the creative power of life” (Hershock, 2012, p. 77). This difference can’t be meaningless. The rise of ecological awareness marked a figure/ground reversal between the technosphere and the biosphere, and the end of the world’s age of innocence. The acceleration of technological advancement betokens the aging of the world.
Bucky Fuller (1895-1983)
PZ: What do you like about Buckminster Fuller? I find his point about pirates to be most enticing. EM: Thirty years ago, or 40, I was considered a bit of an expert on Bucky and his work. Certainly I was a big fan, and I even went to a few of the summer World Game workshops at Carbondale. When we put on the DEW-Line seminars at the Bahamas, I was instrumental in getting Bucky to be one of the four presenters. (The others: my father, Ted Carpenter, Harley Parker.) I was attracted to most of what Bucky had to offer, and fascinated with the geometry. At the time, I was thinking more of a career in mathematics. Built a number of domes, with students. Really “got into” his Dymaxion map. THAT still has enormous possibilities… A huge amount more can and ought to be said about Bucky. His work is tangential to media ecology. My father found very little that intersected with his own interests. The term (and the idea of) “synergy” was invented by Bucky Fuller. PZ: What do media ecologists have to learn from Bucky Fuller? EM: Bucky would have found media ecology of great interest because ecological principles are quite close to his own ideas, which he called "comprehensive anticipatory design science." He was particularly aware of forecasting effects (anticipatory) in design of technologies before they would be adapted by cultures or societies, which is a '60s take on ecology. And of course he was careful to conserve energy and materials in every undertaking--doing more with less. But his interests as an engineer led him toward geo-physical ecology more than social and perceptual ecologies, in which he had a tangential interest. Still, looked at the other way 'round, media ecology could learn much from his approach to problem-solving. He had a way of constructing anti-environments before attacking a situation or problem. For example, instead of beginning with a local condition, he would begin his thinking with "universe"--the largest environment--and work down and in from there. That approach always made the local situation figure against an immense ground and hence much more visible than in ordinary consideration. Media ecology generally does not do that sort of thing, which is one of its weaknesses. It does not have the imaginative tools. My father pointed out often that the job of the serious artist was to do something similar to awaken the perceptions of the ordinary man to environmental conditions, to make his invisible ground into a figure so it can be dealt with.
John Cage (1912-1992), the I Ching, and Finnegans Wake
PZ:Finnegans Wake was one of Cage’s favorite books, from which he derived texts for several of his works. Cage’s music was also heavily influenced by the I Ching. It’s based more on chance than the musician’s will. The I Ching is a book about change. The basic assumption is that the cosmos has a natural tendency toward negentropy, meaning that the new always emerges (note that Flusser holds the opposite viewpoint about nature, and sees humans as strategic players in pursuit of negentropy, which is almost synonymous with freedom). A closed system is susceptible to entropy because it is sealed off from the constantly mutating field of cosmic energy. As such, the I Ching implies an ethics of openness and throughness. Cage employs this understanding by leaving his music to chance – that which introduces the new, the negentropic. This kind of music is properly called cosmic muzak, or the piping of heaven (天籁), as distinct from the piping of man (人籁). His music is meant as a counter-environment to counteract the narcotic effect of our artificial environment. In his essay “McLuhan’s Influence,” Cage (1991) remarks: New art and music do not communicate an individual’s conceptions in ordered structures, but they implement processes which are, as are our daily lives, opportunities for perception (observation and listening). McLuhan emphasizes this shift from life done for us to life that we do for ourselves. (p. 170) I was wondering what you make of Cage in relation to Marshall McLuhan’s work and your own work. EM: Well, we knew John and met a number of times during the year and more when we were at Fordham in NYC. He was a lot of fun. He and I planned at one point to do a study together of Finnegans Wake, a musical probing of that landscape, especially the thunderclaps, which are musical compositions: they anticipated Rap by 50 years or more. He was fascinated by the thunders both as words and as music. Here’s an analysis of Thunder Two from the Wake, as I displayed it for a Canadian magazine not long ago. This thunder is composed of words that mean "thunder" in 17 languages or so. That makes it a most unusual word. First, it IS a word, a human utterance. Second, it recapitulates the human experience of thunder as played through the human sensorium of seventeen different sensibilities, so it has an onomatopoeic dimension. Third, it is statement without syntax: and it is itself a thunderclap. Fourth, it adheres to a strict discipline: all but one of the ten thunders in the Wake are exactly 100 letters long (think of tweets). It ought to be noted that thunder two is the only one of the ten that is self-referential. Other thunders have consistent inner thematic structure, but only this one refers to itself. For example, thunder nine (about the reciprocating engine and the motor car and airplane), is made up of words and phrases that mean "cough." Thunder six, ditto, with words that mean "shut the door." There's a huge random element to Joyce's composition, but those random components are still processed through an artistic sensibility. The thunders were moments of real modern magic in the fabric of the Wake: they were the means of transformation of culture via the senses and in response to technologies. And the Wake itself was designed to transform the reader. PZ: In “McLuhan’s Influence,” Cage (1991) acknowledges: Marshall McLuhan suggested that I write some music using the Ten Thunderclaps from Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. His son Eric McLuhan is writing a book showing that the Thunderclaps give poetically a history of civilization’s changes. I have taken McLuhan’s suggestion and am about to write the music. Therefore, not a moment passes without my being influenced by him and grateful to him. (p. 171) The title of the composition is Roaratorio (1979).
John Adams (born 1947) PZ: We need to talk about John Adams, the composer. What do you make of “Lollapalooza”? EM: Interesting sounds. I thought immediately of the music of George Gershwin, “An American in Paris” period. What do you find compelling here? Or innovative? Who might the audience be? Certainly not the same folk as Rap or Techno or House or even Rock. Or am I missing something? PZ: The musical equivalent of Sophistic. Seriously playful. Piously subversive. Joyously demonic. Rigorously chaotic. A collective psychic posture. An ode to simulacra. The music is immediately recognizable as being “modern.” Perhaps it would be more accurate to say it is “postmodern.”
Note:  Two appeared toward the end of 2015: Cynic Satire and The Sensus Communis, Synesthesia, and the Soul. Another appeared in 2017: the collection of The Lost Tetrads. Three others are in final editing just now: the last two of Human Equation, and the study of Egyptian art. The remaining one, a study of contemporary literacy, literacies, and publics, is still in draft form.
Correspondence to: Peter Zhang School of Communications Grand Valley State University 290 LSH, 1 Campus Dr Allendale, MI 49401 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
References Armitage, J. (Ed.). (2001). Virilio live: Selected interviews. London: SAGE Publications. Burke, K. (1967). The philosophy of literary form: Studies in symbolic action. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University. Cage, J. (1991). John Cage: An anthology. New York: Da Capo Press. Deleuze, G. (1990). The logic of sense. New York: Columbia University Press. Deleuze, G. (1995). Negotiations. New York: Columbia University Press. Deleuze, G. (1997). Essays critical and clinical. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (1986). Kafka: Toward a minor literature. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Dhiegh, K. A. (1973). The eleventh wing: An exposition of the dynamics of I Ching for now. Los Angeles, CA: Nash Publishing. Flusser, V. (2003). The freedom of the migrant: Objections to nationalism. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press. Flusser, V. (2011a). Does writing have a future? Minneapolis, IL: University of Minnesota Press. Flusser, V. (2011b). Into the universe of technical images. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Genette, G. (1997). Paratexts: Thresholds of interpretation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Hanh, T. N. (1995). Zen keys. New York: Doubleday. Hershock, P. (2012). Valuing diversity. Albany, NY: SUNY Press. Keynes, G. (Ed.). (1956). The letters of William Blake. New York: The Macmillan Company. McLuhan, E., & Zingrone, F. (Eds.). (1995). Essential McLuhan. New York: BasicBooks. McLuhan, M. (1962). The Gutenberg galaxy: The making of typographic man. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. McLuhan, M., & Parker, H. (1968). Through the vanishing point: Space in poetry and painting. New York: Harper & Row. McLuhan, M., & Powers, B. R. (1989). The global village: Transformations in world life and media in the 21st century. New York: Oxford University Press. Sontag, S. Against interpretation and other essays. New York: Anchor. Stearn, G. E. (Ed.). (1967). McLuhan: Hot and cool. New York: The Dial Press. Virilio, P., & Lotringer, S. (2008). Pure war: Twenty-five years later. Los Angeles, CA: Semiotext(e). Watson, B. (1968). The complete works of Chuang Tzu. New York: Columbia University Press. Watts, A. W. (1958). The spirit of Zen: A way of life, work and art in the Far East. New York: Grove Press, INC. Watts, A. W. (1962). The joyous cosmology: Adventures in the chemistry of consciousness. New York: Pantheon Books. Watts, A. W. (1989). The way of Zen, New York: Vintage Books. Zhang, P., & Guschwan, B. (2014). Aristotle’s fourfold causality, tetralemma, and emergence. ETC,71(1), 63-66.