Saturday, April 24, 2010

[Yasmin_discussions] Narcissism and Anthropocentrism


I would like to pick on your comment about the three ways that one

"I think it could be useful to approach the topic of the "anthropos"
in three ways,
according to what has been stated by Morin ( La méthode . L'Humanité
de l'humanité, l'identité humaine , 2001):

Anthropos as 1. human being, 2. individual, 3. part of the society.

First the reference to the work of Edgar Morin is very relevant and it
would be interesting
to unpack how his ideas are relevant to the art/science/discussion
particularly because
it brings in the issue of systems theory and cybernetics. With a
systems or network theory,
the individual is not the locus of action but the network structure,
and it is impossible to
consider the individual independent of the network it is part of. Can
networks be narcissistic?

The definition of an individual is a difficult concept, because we associate
the individual with personhood and identity. There was an interesting
panel at the
recent meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science which
a paper by philosopher Thomas White which had the provocative title "
Dolphins as non-human persons"/
That wording in itself is a great example of anthropocentric narcissism !!

Diana Weisse presented a paper on self awareness in Dolphins and Lori
White discussed the various ways that the neurobiology of dolphins differs
from human neurobiology.

Tied to the concept of individuals is the idea that individuals are different
from each other, and reflecting their personal history.It doesnt make
a lot of sense
to talk about cells as individuals or even galaxies.

The speakers at the AAAS panel pointed out that Dolphins "pass' many of the
tests that we associated with "individual personhood":
=They are alive
=Aware of their environment
=Have emotions
=have personalitites
=exhibit self control
=treat others appropriately, even ethically
=recognise themselves in a mirror
= pass the theory of mind test and interpret what others are thinking

For what its worth dolphin minds are bigger (1600 grams) than human
brains( 1300 grams)
There is a lot of interest in the art/science artworld these days on
developing artistic
practice with other life forms in various kinds of ways. And artmaking
is not restricted
to humans but is also engaged by other species

see for instance the work of Hollis Taylor

Violoniste, compositrice et ornithologue américaine/australienne.
Music has long been situated between nature and technology but has
been expanding in both directions. Its edges are now blurred and
contested as never before. When sonographic analysis of birdsong
recordings became possible, biologists apprehended the subject. My
dissertation, Towards a Species Songbook: Illuminating the Song of the
Australian Pied Butcherbird (Cracticus nigrogularis), links a
musician's trained ear and traditional notation with the latest
developments in neuroscience, ornithology, field recording, and
sonography. The research also addresses another ongoing problem within
the discipline: definitions of music and culture often assume a
strictly human agency.

or Rachel Mayeri who has been working in the area of Primate Cinema:

Primate Cinema:
How to Act like An Animal
Sign up for a free workshop at Interspecies at A Foundation London on
3 October 2009
Single Channel Splitscreen, Mini-DV, 6 minutes, 2008
How to Act like an Animal

Superhuman strength, superhuman smell, hunting, nesting, snacking all
day, not having to clean up after yourself, swinging through the air
on branches, being grabby, not having to form sentences, screeching,
barking, hooting, whimpering, shit-flinging, public nudity, sex,
grooming, being groomed, wrestling, eating with your hands, eating
without hands, biting others, suckling.

Acting like an animal seems like a lot of fun. But we know from nature
documentaries that it is rough out there (it's a jungle). There are
other animals who want to kill us. There's no guarantee of finding
enough food in a day. There are struggles for power within our own
family. There's no semblance of a justice system or shelter from the
cold or heat. No one will have a barbeque, because animals are
notoriously bad planners nor can they grill.

Both Holls Taylor and Rachel Mayeri work with "individual" animals -
who presembaly are as narcissistic
and species-centric as we are !!

there are artists working i art science practice in each of the three
levels that Amos gives:

Anthropos as 1. human being, 2. individual, 3. part of the society.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Amos Bianchi <>
Date: Fri, Apr 23, 2010 at 4:07 PM
Subject: Re: [Yasmin_discussions] Narcissism and Anthropocentrism

Dear Francesco,

here below my post.


At the opening of yout thread, the narcissism seems to be related to
humankind but, in a following step, it suddenly becomes part of the
essence of the individual. I think it could be useful to approach the
topic of the "anthropos" in three ways, according to what has been
stated by Morin ( La méthode . L'Humanité de l'humanité, l'identité
humaine , 2001): anthropos as 1. human being, 2. individual, 3. part
of the society. By this complex approach the risk to shift from a
concept of the anthropos to another one (i.e., from humankind to
individual), because all the concepts, and the derived reciprocal
feedbacks, must be taken in consideration at the same time. Moreover,
even if the language seems to be just a property of the anthropos (see
Maturana and Varela, Autopoiesis and Cognition , 1991) differentiating
it from other living beings, the biblical domination of the man on the
nature is passed over, in order to get a new relation with the other
that assumes at least three different meanings: other from me, other
from my culture, other from my species, each of these definitions
including (and not excluding) the other ones.


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