Grievous Angel

Beast of Burden
Dissensus isn't about Mark.

(Well, maybe it is. But let's leave the mystery intact for a little while if it is, shall we?)

Anyway. It's always interesting to see a wholesale, kneejerk slagging off of entire classes of substances without any apparent concern for its harm or (heaven forfend!) benefit , either absolutely or relative other substances.

Insert here your favoured reasonable, measured argument about use, mindset and setting.

In the meantime, it's Friday night, I've been working all week and I'm going to stick one together before going downstairs to play with the boys.

Luka, you with me or are you going to be a girl?



Beast of Burden
a couple of points. first, on k-punk. then, the marijuana debate.

(1) so far as i know, k-punk's the best thing going on the internet. if anyone knows of anyone or anything near as good, show your cards now

and if we didn't have k-punk to play gadfly, i expect "dissensus" would die a quick death (at least the "thought" & "politics" sections)

so perhaps some gratitude is in order . . . .

does k-punk often strike a superior tone? yes. is it arrogance? no

does k-punk flaunt his learning? no. it's more like sharing the wealth. he probably has notebooks full of gems that he mines from other thinkers, and then he illuminates these gems in the light of his own prose poetry . . . .

do i agree with everything k-punk says? usually his conclusions, and usually his take on what ails contemporary culture and politics. like nietzsche, he's a first-rate symptomatologist . . . .

do i agree with k-punk on fundamental philosophical issues, his Modern Rationalism, his use of quasi-transcendental categories, his allegiance to the tradition that runs from Spinoza to Kant to Nietzsche to Deleuze? i haven't read widely enough or thought hard enough to really say, except that the professors and books that have most influenced my thinking run counter to this tide

do i agree with k-punk on the need for Communist Revolution? i agree with his diagnoses, not sure about the medicine . . . . certainly Strong alternatives to the current economic/political order need to be developed . . . . but until political alternatives are developed in thought, it's hard to say what to do (at the same time, an elaborate program of "what is to be done" would be undesirable and unworkable, contrary to human natality and the role of contingency)

am i perplexed by k-punk's invocations of Christ in the desert, the Christ who sets brother against brother, son against father, husband against wife? YES . . . . but i'm want to see how he puts it all together, Christ in the desert, the Gnostics, Spinoza, Nietzsche, Deleuze

(2) as for whether marijuana is good or bad, i think the Spinoza/Nietzsche approach is the best ------ whether something is good or bad depends on how it affects the "health" or "operation" of this or that person or machine or assemblage------- what's good for the goose may not be good for the gander ----- in most cases, regular marijuana use appears to result in stupefication, easy satisfaction, slavishness to small pleasure. but in other cases, especially in the case of painters and music-makers, marijuana appears to promote creativity, artistic sensitivity, etc ------- and perhaps marijuana helps take the edge off Black anxiety, resulting in "cool," but makes the lives of middle-class White folks entirely too soft

however, i think that k-punk's "Chronic" post was written not with an eye to the individual, which varies from case to case, but at the level of the wider culture . . . . marijuana may be good for this individual, bad for that individual, but for the culture as a whole its effect is pernicious ------ that's how i'd read the post

also, it's worth noting that any activity that has the effect of "easing tension" is bad on this view, not simply the drug marijuana . . . . so regular masturbation is bad (unless you're a would-be rapist) . . . . listening to music is bad insofar as it has a regular & predictable narcotic effect . . . . gluttony sans indigestion is bad ------ [[[[although marijuana use is especially bad b/c users imagine that they're rebelling against the system -- the masturbator is under no such illusion]]]]]

finally, when it comes to drug use, almost everything depends on how the user "conceives" of his drug use. what does the user think he is doing when he takes drugs? certainly one of the best things about illegal drugs is that their use serves to break down social barrierls. the white professional parties with the
black hustler. they get high together, listen to the same music, frequent the same bars and clubs. each knows he could be in the other's shoes -- and, indeed, getting high, getting out of oneself, promotes this consciousness ----- and this is true even when the drug is as supposedly superficial as cocaine


Beast of Burden
luka said:
my personal opinion is that mark has everything he needs to write brilliant things. i get visions of some paranoid claustrophobic sci-fi kafka buisness but instead of writing he spends all his intellectual energy trying to universalise his vision into some crackpot pseudo-philsophical teaching for all mankind. its immensly frustrating. you got your themes, you got your vision, you've got the ability so just get on with it. thats what i reckon. no more silly neologisms and references to continental philosophers, no ego and games and all that, a bit of focus, cut the fat off the meat, reduce it down and you'll have something wonderful. make the sentences beautiful. make them intense. fuck the teacher bit off.
Despite my comments above, I can see where Luka's coming from here . . . . Mark is exceptionally talented, has "everything he needs," and so he'd probably do well to "cut the fat off the meat, reduce it down" and WRITE BOOKS to rival Baudrillard and others

As for the "silly neologisms," I tend to agree that the whole "Leumerian" business is a bit puerile. However, perhaps Mark is trying to create his own conceptual vocabulary. That is, high-order philosophy is about creating new concepts, new words. So who really knows what Mark is up to . . . .

As for the references to Continental philosophers, I see that as necessary, not extraneous. All philosophy after Plato [indeed, including Plato] has been in conversation, in response to what others have written and said. Reference to the thoughts and words of others is a vice only when made in slavish deference to the requirements of academia . . . . And I think it should be obvious to all that Mark writes as a free spirit, not as an academic seeking institutional standing

And as for whether this entire blogging gambit distracts Mark from grander projects, I hope that he saves everything that he posts for future publication in BOOK form (or rather, saves the raw material for later refinement)
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well i had a busy day but...

having had time to catch up with this juicy thread, i must share with you the following:

as a habitual smoker i found k-p's post a little inflammatory ('porcine' ouch :mad: ), but happily don't recognise much of myself in the apathetic stereotype, sounds like marc has confused ganja w smack! he doesn't mention any psychic effects of the herb, except in a negative way as psychoses.
i enjoy many positive symptoms meself, a certain level of paranoia & healthy psychosis is highly beneficial to a creative & productive 21stC existence ;)

...but this thread has moved on to another whole discussion now, (altho i guess philosophy is another great hobby for apathetic escapists :D )
i tend to skip bits once people start citing names i know nothing about, so if we can't have a proper bibliography at least mebbie as this is after all the internet perhaps the odd hyperlink might avoid condescending explanations for the less well-read of us?

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Beast of Burden
stelfox said:
this endless circle-jerk of quoting deleuze, zizek et al to address what is essentially a personal beef strikes me as somewhat pathetic (it's a complete waste of valuable learning and intellectual energy, not to mention more passive-aggressive than even the most irritable spacehead).
Don't all considered positions begin as "personal beefs" or "personal affinities"? Otherwise, thought would be empty and formal, free of content, pale, bloodless . . . . Even if K-Punk would probably argue otherwise himself, I think the proper procedure is to tenderize the beef. Make it articulate and precise, less chewy. Soak it in theory . . . . Make the personal valid, make it true

K-Punk's post on marijuana, while informed by theory, is compelling because rooted in experience. He captures and mocks the speech of a familiar figure, the stoner

And I don't think that writing on the meaning of drug use constitutes a "waste of valuable learning and intellectual energy." I think that the meaning of drug use in society today is a monumental question that begs for serious thought . . . . When it comes to drugs, I think we're all pretty conflicted. Unsure what to think of our own behavior.

Drugs & music as religion for the godless? Meeting ground for strangers? Or mere monkeymatic pleasure seeking?

Also, as I indicated in a post above, marijuana is a much "softer" drug than other drugs. Because it is softer, less apt to derail the user if consumed frequently, marijuana is viewed as benign . . . . The merit of K-Punk's posting is in how he links up the "softness" of marijuana as a drug with the preferences of the Last Man. No harsh comedown, no wracked nerves, no needle to the arm, no revelation. Only satisfaction easily had.

Is K-Punk's account partial? Yes. But is it for that reason overly subjective or trivial? No
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Beast of Burden
it's condescending polemic based on stereotypes (these aren't a good thing, incidentally), not experience, dominic. it's not smart writing and if you'll permit *me* to come on like the teacher for once, annoying because i know mark is capable of so much more.


New member
and here i was thinking he was of the Burroughs-ian persuasion....

marijuana ain't bad - the apathetic 'do-nothings' are.

they would have reached that point through whatever narcotic (kapital!)... 95% of society are stoners potentially.


looka said:
if you're going to judge the tree by its fruit doctors can at least point to cured patients its true.
stop harasssing mark with suurealism you dadaist relativist :confused:
Well, you can't blame Mark entirely for the weed thing, he was responding to summat I wrote and a discussion we had recently. (Though, er, don't go blaming me for everything he writes that you don't agree with, eh), ho ho.

My initial post came off the back of something I've been thinking about for a while, that is, work out certain constitutive features of particular drugs. Not so much experiential stuff like recounting different experiences of the same drug, but trying to identify invariant features. Like, in what way does weed make you paranoid, or the way in which speed boosts assurance without making you over-confident like coke. Things like that. Not really scientific, but y'know.

It's not really a judgemental point, though have had some bad times with stoners, as I mentioned. But it's probably a question of discipline: if you can channel the muses and write poetic stuff about animals and nature, or play neat music, then why not? It's obvious that the history of literature/poetry/music would be bereft of a lot of the best stuff if it had all been written by a load of sober people....

polystyle desu

Memories of green
it's different strokes for different folks , innit ?

for me nothing better after having a nice smoke last night
then staying up using "The Mummies Of Urumchi" and web to catch up on proto- Celtic Hallstatt culture in the 5th Century as it extended into Halych /Galych - Galicia in what is now Western Ukraine , just looking for my mom's roots ...
Ck the clock , past midnight , 2 hours had passed . Slotted another round of music ...


New member
I have no deep theoretical insights here, so I'll make do with some random observation.

I used to smoke a fair bit and I was completely autistic on it. I'd sit in a corner with a J and not want to talk to anyone. It had the opposite effect on some of my mates.

What it was wonderful for was listening to music. I remember tuning into a London pirate in 2000 after a sesh. They were playing non-stop 2-step and the sounds formed these lithe, dancing alien creatures in my head. Like Aliens - but beautiful and sexy.

Er... anyway, other people's drug experiences are the height of tedium.

A nation on pot?

Well, it'd be fat, boring, incessantly talking about its minor emotional proble- oh, hang on. K-punk may be on to something there.


New member
Um, referring back several posts, but I'd just like to interject that people can say science is a discourse as much as they like, but science is not and will never be epistemologically equivalent to critical theory.

The thing that makes science science, is that it is based on empirically testable statements verified by independent individuals. So any statement about science such as "testosterone makes you male" can accurately be prefaced by "to the best of our knowledge". Statements based on science are made with precisely defined terms. Science is a collective endeavour.

Theory, on the other hand, is utterly different. It's based on individual viewpoints. A statement based on theory can only accurately be prefaced by "I think" or "Deleuze thinks". Statements based on theory need to have their terms defined, because every theorist seems to have a different definition of "gender" or "bodies without organs" or whatever.

If science is a discourse, the reason why it occupies its elevated position is not because of cultural prejudice, it's because it's the most convincing discourse out there (and I don't think "convincing" is an equivalent statement to "true" or "oppressive" btw). If you ask anyone to choose between what a superannuated frenchman considers masculinity to be about or what thousands of individuals working within a scientific framework think, most are going to choose the latter. That is why science superseded religion and continues to occupy the position it does. To claim otherwise is to invite justifiable ridicule, particularly if you claim to be "rationalist".

Not that anyone should need any evidence that scientists have a thorough grasp of theory, but theorists have very little grasp of science, but if you want proof, you need look no further than the <a href="">Sokal hoax</a>.


New member
Reply to Backjob

If science is always so empirically justifiable, why are there so many debates within it based upon the same data? I appreciate the hypothetical nature of scientific theories but am intrigued by your claim that the empirical evidence always sorts out disputes 'to the best of our knowledge'. The first example which springs to mind is the dispute between punctuated equilibrium and graduated evolution, but I could come up with others if pressed. Has anybody arrived at the Grand Unified Theory yet?

Theory is based upon individual viewpoints to the same extent that science is. If anyone says to you "Deleuze thinks", you should ask them why he thinks that. Deleuze (and other serious thinkers) argue on the basis of evidence; they do not draw theories out of a hat. Often, as with science, the evidence is contradictory.

Sokal? The initial hoax was very funny: Not because it showed he knew about theory whilst the editors of Social Text knew nothing about science, but because it showed that the editors were so happy to get a 'real scientist' submitting a paper to their science issue that they would publsh any old tat. This says more about the power of science than the paucity of theory, although I admit that several people made absolute twats of themselves in the aftermath; one of these was, of course, Sokal.


Beast of Burden
theory is by any definition, simply opinion. science is based in fact, as far as we can discern, therefore give me science any day over theory.


stelfox said:
theory is by any definition, simply opinion. science is based in fact, as far as we can discern, therefore give me science any day over theory.
a load of spurious opinionated bolix if you ask me
i mean the pope says he's infallible but that don't mean shit


what's this got to do with weed anyway?

mebbie a new thread for the great 'theory vs practise' debate?
&mebbie if we made it a poll we could see whether ganja-smokers are more or less inclined to talk theoretical bollix :D


yeah and it might be a nice idea to start a thread for theory bods to discuss theory amongst themselves without boorish oafs with chips on their shoulders about never finishing university butting in and shouting about theory being a load of pretnetious drivel. a little safe haven for them, free from carping and mockery.


New member
stelfox said:
theory is by any definition, simply opinion. science is based in fact, as far as we can discern, therefore give me science any day over theory.
My point was about critical theory contra scientific theory. I have a suspicion that when you say 'science', you actually mean 'engineering'.

Do you know many scientists? They are very opinionated people in my experience.
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Beast of Burden
when i say science i mean science, because that's what i said. if i meant engineering i'd have said engineering. and yeah, i know tons of scientists, one of whom recently came up with the best question i've ever heard: "so, art... what does it actually do?"