Object: ON HUMAN BRAIN DEVELOPMENT IN THE SOCIAL MATRIX OF FAILED REVOLUTIONS.
The problem here arises from the fact that reality is more than appearances and that focusing exclusively on appearances, on the evidence that strikes us immediately and directly, can be extremely misleading. . . . Basing themselves on what they see, hear, and bump into in the immediate surroundings . . . [most people] arrive at conclusions that are in many cases the exact opposite of the truth. Most of the distortions associated with bourgeois ideology are of this kind.
After all, few would deny that everything in the world is changing and interacting at some pace and in one way or another, that history and systemic connections belong to the real world. The difficulty has always been how to think adequately about them, how not to distort them, and how to give them the attention and weight that they deserve. Dialectics is an attempt to resolve this difficulty be expanding our notion of anything to include, as aspects of what it is, both the process by which it has become that and the broader interactive context in which it is found. Only then does the study of anything involve one immediately with the study of its history and encompassing system.Dialectics restructures our thinking about reality by replacing the common-sense notion of "thing" (as something that has a history and has external connections with other things) with notions of "process" (which contains its history and possible futures) and "relations" (which contains as part of what it is its ties with other relations). Nothing that didn't already exist has been added here. Rather, it is a matter of where and now one draws boundaries and establishes units (the dialectical term is "abstracts") in which to think about the world. The assumption is that while the qualities we perceive with our five senses actually exist as parts of nature, the conceptual distinctions that tell us where one thing ends and the next one begins both in space and across time are social and mental constructs. However great the influence of what the world is on how we draw these boundaries, it is ultimately we who draw the boundaries, and people coming from different cultures and from different philosophical traditions can and do draw them differently.(Dance of the Dialectic, Steps in Marx's Method, 2003, pp.13-14)
Our on-going research at CEIMSA on the role of ethics in the context of social class struggle has brought us to studies on the function and anatomy of the human brain. The American neurobiologist, Dr. Antonio Demasio's two books, Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain (2005) and Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain (2003), have been discussed in earlier CEIMSA bulletins. (Please see CEIMSA Bulletin #'s 348, 360, 369, 372, 399, 408, & 429.)
The 6 items below speak to some of the constraints which we must recognize if we are to effectively work for our own liberation within the cages and traps continuously being constructed by the capitalist political economy to nutralize us.
Item A., sent to us by Olivier Hignette, are two links to French language tributes to the life and work of Howard Zinn.
Item B. is a Democracy Now! interview with Canadian neurologist Dr. Gabor Maté, whose books include Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates And What You Can Do About It (2000) and In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction (2010).
Item C., sent to us by former Grenoble graduate student Frédéric Méni, is a two-part video essay on the American Nazi Party.
Item D., from Jean Bricmont, is an Internet link to the film that was made of his intervention at the CEIMSA conference on The Role of Ethics in the Context of Social Class Struggles which was held on the campus at Nanterre May 6, 2009.
Item F. is an announcement of our CEIMSA conference at Antigone Bookstore in Grenoble on the anniversary of the first day of the Paris Commune, 18 March 1871.
And finally, we offer CEIMSA readers a look at a report from The Onion on the importance of keeping a sense of humor.
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research
Université Stendhal Grenoble 3
from Olivier Hignette :
Date: 30 January 2010
Subject: Howard Zinn.
I am sure you already have the information about the interviews of Zinn at france inter, which I happened to follow while driving
A great guy indeed !
files are downloadable at this address
these are supposed to be mp3 files but are ogg. If you have problems playing ogg files, please let me know
from Democracy Now ! :
Date: 3 February 2010
Subject: “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts”: Dr. Gabor Maté, Physician at Vancouver Safe-Injection Site, on the Biological and Socio-Economic Roots of Addiction and ADD.
“In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts”: Dr. Gabor Maté, Physician at Vancouver Safe-Injection Site, on the Biological and Socio-Economic Roots of Addiction and ADD
Dr. Gabor Maté is the staff physician at the Portland Hotel Society, which runs a residence/harm reduction facility and North America’s only supervised safe-injection site in Vancouver, Canada, home to one of the world’s densest areas of drug users. The bestselling author of four books, we speak to Dr. Maté about his latest, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction, which proposes new approaches to treating addiction through an understanding of its biological and socio-economic roots. Maté also discusses his work on attention deficit disorder and the mind-body connection.
from Frédéric Méni :
Date 12 February 2010
Subject: Nazi America.
Hello Professor Feeley,
I hope everything is going well. Please tell me what do you think of this:
from Jean Bricmont :
Date: 6 May 2009
Subject: Inside Israeli Land Grabs.
La vidéo de la conférence faite à Nanterre le 6 mai 2009 est finalement presque prête-montée et raccourcie.
"Inside the Israeli Land Grabs"
On peut la voir sur l'Internet à :
from George Kenney :
Date: 12 February 2010
Subject: Podcast interview w/ David P. Colley re WWII.
David P. Colley's thesis in Decision at Strasbourg is not exactly original, but he's uncovered a key part of the history of World War II that's been almost completely forgotten. David's counterfactual argument is that if Eisenhower had allowed Lt. Gen. Devers to cross the Rhine in November 1944 -- which Devers was poised to do -- that the end of the war in Europe would have come several months sooner and the Battle of the Bulge never would have happened. Now, I'm not a military historian or strategist, but David's arguments make a lot of sense to me. Moreover, even if the counterfactual case were wrong, the process that led to Eisenhower's decision is fascinating, with a great deal of relevance to our understanding of contemporary military operations.
This podcast may not be to everyone's taste but if you do listen I hope you enjoy it.
As always, please feel free to redistribute the link.
Decision at Strasbourg
from Francis Feeley :
Date: 13 February 2010
Subject: An Invitation to an Antigone Bookstore event on 18 March 2010.
Obama after Bush
presented by Francis Feeley
18 March 2010