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Sybrand Veeger

MICRO CHANGES - JAN/FEB 2019 Prose Sybrand Veeger Uncategorized

Cries of Flux

Written by Sybrand Veeger

Everything is flux or energy or motion or fire or change so

Everybody is beat, pulse, thump, pump, thump, pump, rush!

I sometimes feel and listen to my neck’s pulse on the pillow when I’m half asleep while imagining my skin translucent I watch my blood race in shoots from my heart to my heart to my heart roaring through ventricles and valves and chambers and pipes and pistons self-orchestrating the fiery flux of this sanguine concerto in thick red minor to which I tend to dream of dancing in straight cardiac tempo echoed by a chorus that inhales and exhales and expands and contracts while inflating sacks of airy oxygen producing exhalations of life and thought and memories and words and dreams and causing inhalations ad absurdum finitum finitum finitum finitum!

“Stop! Bodies never stand still! Accept the bloody fire of flesh!”

Everything is flux or energy or fire or stream or change so

Every soul’s motion parallels the flow of breath and blood!

I sometimes stand beside my spirit’s stream to observe the ebbing flow of consciousness covered by surface currents made of perceptions coloring the mental water that rushes rainbow-dyed by the senses and is carried through by an undercurrent of fears and anxieties and joys and excitements causing the tide of this river of subjectivity which direction is determined by imagination and which flooding is seldom barred by the weak dams of rational thought!

“Stop! Minds never stand still! Accept the perpetual stream of spirit!”
Jonas Guigonnat Poetry Sybrand Veeger TRANSFORMATIVE TECHNOCRATS - December 2018

What Would A Technecracy Look Like?

Written by Sybrand Veeger and Jonas Guigonnat

Sybrand:

There is something romantic about an etymological voyage,
Something utopically revealing –
The feeling is akin to tracing back your genealogical roots:
Familiarizing yourself with familiarity,
Fathoming alternative familiarities:
Unearthing roots
To imagine trees.

Let me share a genealogical log with you:

This time Heidegger was my guide,
That German Virgil of meaning –
We sailed down into the etymological piths of technology,
That timeliest of concepts.

Currently, he said while descending,
Techno means something radically different from its Greek root:
Techne signifies something other than
Instrumental manipulation,
The obsession with means,
The encasing and concealment of nature.

Techne, rather, is not opposed to nature –
The craftsman, artisan, manufacturer,
Akin to the poet and the painter,
Brings forth a creation,
And, like nature’s disclosure of light,
The technecrat reveals,
un-conceals.

From this root, I imagine a tree,
I utopize:
What would a technecracy look like?

Jonas:

What would it be?
A possibility
A rhetoric answer to the didactic –
What would hell look like?
A travel through the world of words,
Might not be worth the bet:

Forgotten corners
Of human abysses.

It is now my turn to share something with you:

This time is not different than any other,
Chaos shall be our only friend –
Time and words are no sea to be sailed on,
For near those places there are no grounds to be found.

Mistakingly, heading toward nowhere,
Techno means the same as any other word:
Techne suggests the dream of
Human’s manipulation,
The creation of means,
The enchaining and impairment of nature.

Techne, then, becoming an arm of nature –
The charlatan, conman, mindreader,
Attached to the same fear that drives the righteous one,
Brings forth an illusion,
And, similar to nature’s inexistent logic,
The technecrat steals,
Mis-reveals

From this abyss, I shall see no tree,
I temporize:
What could a technocracy look like?

Sybrand:

Surely, from the hellish wells of history,
From the depths of human chaos,
At least one meaningful bucket can be drawn,
To pour upon ourselves,
To awaken us from present drowsiness?
To quench our thirst for hope?

Techne – that hellenic understanding of technology,
Reinvigorates our relationship with Gaia:

Re-embedded in the natural,
Technological production
Mutates into technelogical creation:

Re-embedded in the natural,
Productivity re-evolves into an essential craftsmanship,

Re-embedded in the natural,
Power as coercion becomes
Power as potential:
Common statecraft replaces
Distant democratic delegation,

Desperately in need of reinterpretation,
Let’s unearth the roots of our technological foundation,
To give birth to an earthlier sense of future procreation.
Poetry Sybrand Veeger TRANSFORMATIVE TECHNOCRATS - December 2018

To Whistleblowing

Written by Sybrand Veeger

“Living comfortably yet unfreely –
That is something many are willing to accept.”

“Not me,” he says.

He spotted abuse and recognized its accumulation –
He could observe, from within,
The architecture,
Intricate and infinitely pervasive,
Of the Orwellian Leviathan:
Big brother’s eyes and ears multiplying,
And multiplying,
To see and hear all things communicated.
The most intimate of conversations – recorded,
A sensual exchange of images – surveilled and documented,
A google drive of private poetry – filed and stored.

The panopticon turned almighty,
Turned God?

“Don’t you realize you’ve helped create this monster?
Blow the whistle or I will end you!
You filthy animal!
I will eat through you like a worm and you will die a slow, painful death.”

His conscience made him an offer he couldn’t refuse…

The whistleblower, the bureaucrat,
The coggest cog in the omnipotent machine,
Turned martyr of some sorts,
Sacrificing his freedom for democracy? For the people?

I’m not sure.

His conscience simply played Don Corleone on him,
Threatened him with capital punishment.
Did he act out of heroism? Out of courage? Noble valiance?

Did he transcend his individuality to reach out for something greater?

I’m not sure.

One blows the whistle to self-preserve,
To survive;
Like a meerkat, in panic, calling out for the predators that nobody else can see.

The predators are dangerous, surely,
They’ll invade, sack, kill and eat up till stuffed.

What if the meerkat remained silent?
Wouldn’t conscience, then, become the most threatening,
The most dangerous of predators?

The whistleblower’s cry is the sound not of courage,
But of necessity:
Instinctiveness,
Biology.

I unsurely conclude:
Conscience defies the line drawn
Between nobility of heart and primitivity of gut;
Between what is deemed exclusive to a few higher spirits,
And what is common to all creatures,
Base or brave,
Courageous or cowardly.
Poetry Sybrand Veeger THE BODY AS A PRISON - November 2018

That Godly Chord That Strikes My Ear

Written by Sybrand Veeger

That godly chord that strikes my ear,
Pounds me down to beastly state:
A punch or blow that meets no fear,
That sends me through a holy gate.

My eyes drown, my hairs erect:
A scale of notes can madden – paralyze!
Yet, music-shock means to resurrect,
To lift off and hear God or Nature’s cries.

Happiness, joy, excitement: words insufficient
To describe the beautifully invasive mania.
Description: to do justice insufficient
To the perplexity of clarity: experienced contradiction.

A mental ascension? A bodily hijack?
Chopin’s ballade is psycho-physical kidnap:
Is it accurate to distinguish body and mind?!
Not when music strikes – when I yield to the sublime.

Sybrand Veeger THE BODY AS A PRISON - November 2018 Tjan Ho Lai

Parallel Spinozas, the Craftsman and the Philosopher

Written by Sybrand Veeger

Baruch Spinoza: the name of the 17th-century, Dutch, daytime lens-grinder, and nighttime philosopher, of the excommunicated Amsterdam Jew, of a solitary yet dextrous lens-grinding body, of a joyful and infinitely thought-provoking mind. Baruch means the blessed, Spinoza, he who comes from a spiny place.

Baruch Spinoza: the blessed spirit from the spines.

Spinoza had one method for the making of telescopes and metaphysics – Euclidean geometry. One begins with a number of axioms, these are irreducible and self-evident truths about the world, to then deduce certain optical theorems, or philosophical propositions, that follow strictly from these truths, to determine the concavity, convexity, transparency, and opacity of what we can see, of what we can know.

What did he see? What did he know?

As preliminary work, he had to wipe off the foggy dualism left by the Cartesians, who thought that mind and matter were divinely connected through the work of an intervening God. The axioms then led the blessed telescope-maker to a different idea, to develop a clear and pristine metaphysical image.

Excommunication curse of Spinoza by the Amsterdam Jewish Community. Photo: Tjan Ho Lai

Axiom 1: God is Nature

First, he observed that God must be equal to nature. God, or nature, is the one and only substance constituting the world, it is everything that is – there is by definition nothing outside of it because what would be outside of it wouldn’t be. The oneness of the world, the identity of God and nature, constitutes Spinoza’s first theorem: monism.

For Spinoza, the craftsman, this meant that Jupiter and the telescope with which he observed it worked according to the same fundamental laws. For Spinoza, the metaphysician, it meant that the truth about the world and the mind with which he conceived it were fundamentally identical.

Axiom 2: God-Nature has Infinite Forms

Second, he saw that because God-Nature is absolutely infinite, it follows that it has infinite forms of expression. Merely two of these forms, which Spinoza calls attributes of God-Nature, are conceivable to us – thought and matter. Attributes are how God-Nature expresses itself and they are infinite in their quality as attributes. It follows that there is an infinite amount of infinite attributes: the limitless expressionism of God.

Spinoza observed that due to the existence of one substance only, “[t]he order and connection of ideas is the same as the order and connection of things” (7, 2, Ethics). Geometrically, and optically, attributes form a parallelogram of lines that never touch each other but express in different forms the one substance, God-Nature. There is a correspondence between attributes, in the sense that attributes always express the same thing, but there is no real causal interaction connecting them. Mind and matter never really touch, they run parallel, never perpendicular.

Axiom 3: God-Nature has Infinite Production

Third, Spinoza observed the work of God-Nature, it’s infinite production. If attributes are the forms of expression, then modes are the content of expression, what is expressed. Modes can be infinite, like, say, energy; and modes can be finite. Modes can be simple, like the asteroid, or can be complex enough to be self-conscious, like the human.

Spinoza noticed that he was one mode of God-Nature, operating through two parallel attributes, Spinoza as the craftsman, and Spinoza as the philosopher. Spinoza’s lens-grinding body, expressed through the attribute of extension; Spinoza’s metaphysical mind expressed through the attribute of thought. One mode of God-Nature, one individual, constituted by a body and a mind: two parallel expressions of the same thing.

Photo by Adrien Olichon

What We Can Know

Body and mind, therefore, are modes forming a complex, self-conscious union, an emergent mode – the human individual. My body is the expression of my individuality in God-Nature’s attribute of matter, whereas my mind is the expression in God-Nature’s attribute of thought. My mind is the idea of my body, and my body is the object or ideatum of my mind. Mind and body are lines that never touch, yet the order and connection of the idea, my spirit, is always parallel to the order and connection of the ideatum, my body. There is a perfect correspondence between the mental and the physical, neither comes a priori, like two mirrors facing each other in parallel, reflecting themselves to infinity.

Spinoza, daytime lens-grinder and nocturnal philosopher, did not only deduce the parallel relation between mind and body, but also lived according to it, personified it. He made parallelism an expressionist ethic.

Browsing through Spinoza’s biography at the Jewish Historical Museum. Photo: Tjan Ho Lai