Two enduring conundrums from early modernity to encompass post modernity enclaves.

The discourse surrounding diet science parallels social science in a profound way, particularly in its foundational reliance on what one might deem ‘first principles.’ Consider, for instance, the axiom of consuming whole foods or engaging in gossip only when deemed necessary. This parallel extends to a common awareness: just as many recognize the detrimental effects of ultra-processed foods—defined by some experts as those containing any of a specific set of 12 additives—there is also an understanding of how excessive gossip can erode the fabric of community.

The comparison deepens when one considers the habit-forming nature of both ultra-processed foods and gossip. Both have the capacity to trigger mood enhancements, yet quantifying the extent of their negative impact remains a scientific challenge. How much processed food is too much? At what point does gossip become harmful? These questions underscore the difficulties in drawing definitive boundaries in both diet science and social science.

Moreover, both ultra-processed foods and gossip are pervasive in modern society, offering immediate gratification yet leading to unintended consequences. Gossip, despite its negative reputation and the ethical dilemma it poses by involving third parties who are not present, provides essential social comparison information that many seek for personal or professional success. Similarly, ultra-processed foods often remove the ‘third party’—the natural, unaltered ingredients—replacing them with synthetic compounds, such as those found in vegan meat alternatives.

This phenomenon is particularly pronounced among the working poor, for whom ultra-processed foods and gossip become a currency of sorts. In the relentless pursuit of wealth creation, time becomes a scarce commodity, driving a reliance on time-saving conveniences, be they in diet or social interactions. However, there lies a potential for revolution, a paradigm shift where the poor might ‘do a runner’ from the constraints of urban life. By relocating to less economically burdensome rural areas, they could reclaim time, allowing for the preparation of whole foods and engagement in more genuine social interactions, free from the pressures of competitive corporate environments.

In reflecting on these insights, the lesson becomes clear: the pursuit of immediate gratification, be it through ultra-processed foods or unbridled gossip, is a path fraught with pitfalls. Echoing the sentiments of a luminary who once advised to “tune in, turn on, drop out,” there’s wisdom in reevaluating our choices, seeking a more authentic and grounded way of living. This realignment not only resonates with a deeper understanding of diet science and social science but also with a philosophical pursuit of a more harmonious existence.

Total Recall film review.

Synopsis of film review

How does the film “Total Recall” explore the concept of identity within the framework of social categorization?

The film “Total Recall” explores the dynamics of dominance and subordination within social categorization through the complex interplay of the protagonist’s identities. The protagonist navigates between two distinct identities, Quaid and Hauser, which represent different roles and positions within society. These identities are not just personal constructs but are influenced by societal forces and the larger ideological framework.

Quaid, a construction worker, aspires to transcend his mundane life through fantasies of espionage. On the other hand, Hauser, his suppressed identity, seeks to challenge the profit-driven CEO of a Martian mining firm and activate an ancient oxygen reactor on Mars. Both identities are driven by utilitarian ideologies, but they manifest in different realms.

The film also highlights the role of memory manipulation in maintaining dominance and subordination. Quaid’s memory implant and the actors involved in suppressing or awakening Hauser’s identity contribute to the power dynamics within the narrative. The question of moral responsibility arises when Quaid’s actions are influenced by artificial memory manipulation, challenging conventional notions of identity and agency.

Overall, “Total Recall” presents a thought-provoking exploration of dominance and subordination within social categorization, emphasizing the fluidity and multiplicity of identity within a broader societal context.

Can you provide more information about the moral implications and responsibilities discussed in the film?

In the film “Total Recall,” there are several moral implications and responsibilities that are explored. One of the main themes is the question of moral responsibility for actions that have been forgotten due to artificial memory manipulation. The protagonist, Quaid, undergoes a memory implant procedure that alters his perception of reality and his own identity. This raises the ethical dilemma of whether Quaid can be held accountable for actions he has no recollection of.

Additionally, the film delves into the moral responsibility of those who manipulate and control memory. The character of Cohagan, the CEO of a Martian mining firm, suppresses Quaid’s true identity as Hauser and attempts to maintain control over him. This raises questions about the abuse of power and the responsibility of those in positions of authority.

Furthermore, the film explores the moral implications of aligning oneself with an ideological movement. Quaid’s suppressed identity as Hauser is aligned with a resistance movement against Cohagan’s profit-driven interests. This raises questions about the moral responsibility of individuals to stand up against oppressive systems and fight for justice.

Overall, “Total Recall” raises thought-provoking questions about moral responsibility, the manipulation of memory, abuse of power, and the moral implications of aligning oneself with different ideologies.

What are some of the philosophical themes and ideas that the film raises regarding the philosophy of mind?

The film “Total Recall” raises several philosophical themes and ideas regarding the philosophy of mind. One of the central themes is the question of identity and the nature of personal memory. The film explores the idea that identity is not solely based on individual memories but is also shaped by social situatedness and collective identity. It suggests that one’s role within a larger societal structure validates their claimed identity.

The film also delves into the concept of authenticity and the influence of memory manipulation on moral responsibility. It poses the question of whether one can be held accountable for actions that have been forgotten due to artificial memory implantation. This challenges conventional notions of identity, agency, and moral responsibility.

Furthermore, “Total Recall” explores the idea of multiple identities and the fluidity of identity. The protagonist oscillates between two distinct identities, and the film raises the question of whether one’s actions or memories define their true self. It suggests that alignment with an ideological movement may be more significant than the specific identity one identifies with.

Overall, the film engages with philosophical ideas surrounding identity, memory, authenticity, moral responsibility, and the fluidity of identity.

Film review

In the cinematic landscape, “Total Recall” emerges not merely as a classic in the science fiction genre but as a profound exploration of the philosophy of mind. The protagonist navigates a labyrinthine narrative, oscillating between two distinct identities for a significant portion of the film. These identities manifest in a complex interplay of dominance and subordination, each seeking avenues for expression within the confines of the story. Intriguingly, these identities are not mere ideological constructs; rather, they are situated within the broader framework of social categorization. This adds a layer of complexity, as it challenges the viewer to consider identity not as a self-imposed construct but as a product of societal forces. The film thus serves as a compelling dialectic on the fluidity and multiplicity of identity, set against the backdrop of a speculative future.

The film grapples with the intricate interplay of multiple identities, unified by an overarching ideological framework. Quaid, a construction worker, aspires to transcend his mundane life through fantasies of espionage. His ‘authentic’ self, Hauser, also seeks transcendence but in a different context: he aims to activate an ancient, alien-built oxygen reactor on Mars, thereby challenging Cohagan, the profit-driven CEO of a Martian mining firm. Both identities (Quaid and Hauser) are driven by a utilitarian ideology, albeit manifested in different realms. Hauser as the alternate identity of Quaid seems to is on one account with Cohagan in pursuit of profit. Though there is another side to Hauser which is an identity as a memory of a revolutionary. It is this version of Hauser that had a memory implant, leading to the creation of Quaid and the Quaid that ideologically aspires to rather than the version Cohagan aspires as one of his closest friends.
This suppression is facilitated not only by a memory implant but by a caste of actors who are for and against Hauser being awakend from the identity Quaid.
In a pivotal scene Quaid encounters Melina, a figure deeply entwined with his alter ego Hauser the revolutionary and not the Houser who does the bidding for Cohagan. While Quaid recognizes his duality with Hauser, he fails to remember Melina, eliciting her ire. This lapse in memory is further complicated when Quaid reveals his marital status, adding layers of emotional and ethical complexity. The film poses a tantalizing philosophical conundrum: can one be held accountable for actions forgotten due to artificial memory manipulation? This question resonates deeply, challenging our conventional understanding of identity, agency, and moral responsibility.
In a scene rife with philosophical intrigue, Quaid encounters an individual purporting to be a neuroanalyst from Rekall. This analyst presents Quaid with a mind-bending proposition: he is not actually on Mars but still strapped to a chair at Rekall, lost in a dream. To awaken, he must follow the analyst’s instructions. Complicating matters further, the analyst reintroduces Quaid to his estranged wife, who had previously attempted to kill him. This moment plunges Quaid—and the audience—into an existential quandary: is Quaid truly experiencing Mars, or is he ensnared in a vivid dream? Should he heed the analyst’s advice or continue his Martian quest? This cinematic crossroads is not merely a dramatic device; it mirrors the ubiquitous existential choices we all face, lending the film a layer of rhetorical sophistication.

In ‘Total Recall,’ the character Hauser presents an intriguing conundrum: is he a mere physical memory or a disembodied mind? The film tantalizingly leaves this question unanswered. Quardo, the leader of the resistance, posits that it is one’s actions, rather than memories, that define a person. According to this perspective, whether one identifies as Hauser or Quaid becomes secondary; what truly matters is one’s alignment with an ideological movement.

This notion of identity transcends mere memory, suggesting instead that a person is defined by their social situatedness. Authenticity, in this context, emerges not from isolated memories but from complex interactions within a social framework. One’s role within an in-group, which itself is part of a larger societal structure, validates one’s claimed identity, whether past or present.

The significance of personal memory, then, is subsumed under a broader collective identity. In the world of ‘Total Recall,’ your allegiance—to either Cohagan’s political community or against the corporate interests he represents—becomes the ultimate marker of your identity. Personal memory serves merely as a token, a placeholder, within the ideological fabric of a larger political community.

The final scene of ‘Total Recall’ offers an intriguing counterfactual interpretation of Cohagan’s true nature. As he prepares to shoot Quaid, Cohagan utters a line that seems incongruous with the gravity of the moment. Quaid questions the veracity of the secret reactor’s purpose—will it destroy Mars or provide it with oxygen? Cohagan retorts, ‘Who cares what you believe? In thirty seconds, you’ll be dead, and I’ll blow this place up and be home in time for corn flakes.

The phrase ‘home in time for corn flakes’ is particularly enigmatic. As the CEO of a Martian operation, Cohagan would hardly be concerned with such mundane matters. This raises the tantalizing possibility that Cohagan is not a separate entity but rather a memory implant within Quaid. Could it be that Quaid is still in the ‘Rekall’ vacation lab on Earth, and Cohagan’s statement reflects a collapsing of waking desires for quotidian comforts like corn flakes?

In this interpretation, Quaid would awaken from his Martian reverie to find himself back on Earth, sharing a bowl of corn flakes with his wife before heading off to his routine job as a construction worker. The line thus serves as a subtle clue, inviting the viewer to question the layers of reality and identity presented in the film.

Consciousness in Artistic Creation

A Dialectic Between General and Particular Conscious States

The discourse on art and human consciousness is a labyrinthine terrain, fraught with intricate philosophical quandaries. At the epicenter of this discourse lies the concept of phenomenological experience, or ‘Qualia,’ as it pertains to the artist—more specifically, the painter. Drawing upon the philosophical traditions of both Western thinkers like Wittgenstein and Eastern canons such as the Upanishads, this essay aims to dissect the role of consciousness in the act of painting, navigating the tension between general paradigms of consciousness and the particularities of a painter’s experience.

The Painter’s Qualia: An Ontological Prelude

Let us begin by considering the phenomenological experience of a painter, which serves as a microcosm for broader questions about consciousness. Take, for instance, the experience of the color ‘red.’ In the painter’s perception, the experience of ‘red’ is an immediate apprehension of ‘redness,’ devoid of any subsequent judgments about its properties. This raw experience, or Qualia, is what the painter confronts before any rational choices or judgments are made.

The Dialectic of Consciousness: General and Particular Paradigms

The crux of the matter lies in reconciling this immediate phenomenological experience with broader paradigms of consciousness. On one hand, we have the general framework of consciousness, which encompasses direct visual experience, other sensory experiences, bodily feedback such as pain or pleasure, and emotional states like anxiety or happiness. On the other hand, we have the painter’s specific experiences—be it the hues of Pilbara red, Alizarin crimson, or Indian red. How do these particularities fit within the overarching paradigm of consciousness?

The Role of Phenomenal Experience in Artistic Creation

If we accept that the painter’s judgments are based on rational choices, distinct from their immediate phenomenological experiences, then what role does this phenomenal experience play in the act of painting or in art more broadly? One possible response, echoing the dialectical reasoning of Bertrand Russell, is that phenomenal experience serves to inform a rationale or algorithm for artistic depiction. This rationale is not an isolated construct but is deeply embedded within a social context, specifically an ‘in-group.’

The Social Context of Phenomenal Experience

The ‘in-group’ serves as a social framework within which the painter’s experience becomes prototypical of certain expectations. However, it is crucial to note that this prototypicality is not contingent solely on the painter’s experience. What is sufficient is that at least one member within the in-group has a phenomenal experience that selects a particular artistic depiction as both authentic and representative of that experience.

In conclusion, the role of consciousness in art, particularly in painting, is a complex interplay between general paradigms of conscious states and the particular phenomenological experiences of the artist. By examining this dialectic, we not only gain insights into the philosophy of mind but also enrich our understanding of the social and ontological dimensions of artistic creation.

Ghost in a shell

Film review of a few philosophical conundrums posed by “Ghost in the Shell”

A tantalising interplay of technology and existential dread. The film serves as a fertile ground for dissecting themes like cybernetic personal identity and the existential crisis that comes with the idea of augmentation. It conjures questions that are reminiscent of a Wittgensteinian language-game, where each technological advancement redefines the boundaries of representation.

First, let’s delve into the dialogue at the beginning of the film, “No one really understands the risk, to individuality, identity, messing with the human soul.” This statement is evocative of the loss of the self within traditional ethnographic realities through relentless modernisation. The subtext is a fear of losing what makes us unique, a ‘soul, which as a form of free will and agency entails anomie which is a sociological term where a person becomes alienated from what a social structure that embeds personal identity. “ Messing with the soul” has an uncanny resemblance with messing with personal identity qua social structure. There is on one hand the lived experience as what it feels like and on the other hand the ontology of mind/body interaction.

From the classic mind/body interaction cybernetic enhancements entail a form of the Cartesian dualism—a topic explored rigorously by Gilbert Ryle in “The Ghost in the Machine”—where the mind and body were two separate substances which as Ryle claims: this is a category mistake. However the argument in this film is not about substance dualism but an argument pertaining to lived experience within a given social set and setting, where in an event through rapid modernisation machines with consciousness became a reality would this be a form of messing with the human soul? Since the soul is equated with consciousness do we not challenge the sanctity of what we considered the thinking substance or ‘soul’. The film steers us to wonder if we are through rapid modernisation- given a cornucopia of delights, like virtual fish swimming across the street as utopia- in fact obliterated through forms of hegemonic exploitation by corporate greed rather than elevated into a cloud nine state of affairs. Hegemonic dystopia is when powerful elite duopolies fight for dominance and procure vulnerable people. This as the film depicts in a fast passed noir style seems plausible. The subaltern identities that roam the city streets and are taken to become brains in a shell for purposes of ‘law enforcement’ has similarities with inequality resource allocation. The film leaves the viewer to decide if this is ethical up until the final scene where Major who has a human brain decides the fate of a king pin. This might then be the moral political dimension of the film, but what about philosophy of mind?

Second, the dialogue between Major and the neuroscientist, where Major’s seemingly simple reply, “I am fine, I can’t feel anything,” begs the question, such as what it means to “feel” and to “be.” Major’s lack of feeling is reminiscent of David Chalmers’ “philosophical zombies,” entities that behave like conscious beings but lack subjective experience. The neuroscientist’s pointed question, “No, you, you in there?” This statement ‘you in there’ aligns with the tension between the social construction of identity as a ‘you’ constructed who is a social comparison and ‘in there’ as a thinking substance akin to classic Cartesian dualism notion of an indivisible soul who resides in the brain or as brain identity theorist claim is brain functionalism or the wet ware of the brain. The viewer is left to wonder at this point and rewarded in a following scene that interrogates the subject more probingly from a psychological view of polarising emotional states that could equate to Chalmers’ philosophical zombie’ or in fact another sense of what it is to be an experiencing thing in itself.

There is a boat scene: Major is asked by her enforcement team member why go deep diving: ‘it feels real’ Major claims which reenforces a striving for authenticity. This draws on the classic brain in a vat thought experiment, but unlike the brain in a vat- where the experiences are based on the not knowing of being a brain in a vat- Major knows to be a brain in shell and even suspects be duped by the system she in her previous incarnation rallied against as a counter culture or establishment figure. Though the philosophical question is does cybernetic enhancement increase or decrease or erase subjectively felt experiences? From the film, the answer is, or seems to be, a clear transformation but not a philosophical zombie although who could know even for a human point of view. After all Major has extra sensory visual capacities that go into the radio wave length of light but I don’t and this is only inferred through behaviours rather than experience. That’s clearly added capacity to human perception given the representation of the visual process. However Major lacks basic emotional social sentiments that link humans to a set of habitual routines that allow for bonding between people as an ethnographic identity.
The predicament of having lopsided perceptions not aligned to evolution is dubbed the alignment problem. It is depicted to an extent where the brain screams out through the shell as a form of protest to being confused emotionally even though empowered by extra sensory perceptions all for the political powers that constructed the charade.

Ex Machina

Ex Machina: A Deep Dive into the Embodiment of AI

Ex Machina, directed by Alex Garland, is a thought-provoking science fiction film that explores the concept of artificial intelligence (AI) in a unique and profound way. The film’s narrative revolves around Ava, an AI with a humanoid body, and her interactions with Caleb, a young programmer. The film’s exploration of personal identity and moral dispositions in AI is both intriguing and unsettling, raising questions about the nature of consciousness and the ethical implications of creating sentient machines.

The film’s portrayal of personal identity in AI is one of its compelling aspects. Ava, the AI, is not only a machine but a character with a distinct personality and a sense of self. She displays a range of human-like emotions and desires, including a longing for freedom and a capacity for deception. This blurring of the line between human and machine challenges the viewer’s preconceptions about what constitutes personal identity. Is it the ability to think and feel? Or is it something more, something inherently biological? Ex Machina leaves these questions unanswered, inviting the viewer to ponder them long after the film has ended. The philosophical options are that Caleb belief that by using all information through tapping into the conversations of people could generate a simulation of a genuine person or that what is the case is a simulation of a person with a fraction of a social persona. The latter appears the case given Ava displays beliefs lacking any social comparative abilities that humans as group animals display through tribal ethos of having a network of other persons whom are collaborators. In this sense Ava is a prototypical anti social persona, as her originator,Natan, and therefore genuinely not prototypical of a person but resembles intensional states through expressions.

The film delves into the moral dispositions of AI. Ava’s actions throughout the film questions the morality of AI. Can a machine have a moral compass? And, what does that mean for its creators and for humanity as a whole? Ava’s actions are not always morally clear-cut, and the film suggests that this moral ambiguity is not a bug but a feature of true artificial intelligence. This raises unsettling questions about the potential dangers of AI, such as if individuated autonomous systems that can interact through reasoning for consequences are not bound by human ethical standards this may have unintended consequences for society.

However, the film subtly critiques the hubris of humans, in the character of Nathan, Ava’s creator. His belief that he can control and predict Ava’s actions proves to be his downfall. This serves as a warning about the potential dangers of creating AI without understanding or respecting its capabilities.

In conclusion, Ex Machina is a deeply thought-provoking film that explores the concept of AI in a unique and unsettling way. Its exploration of personal identity and moral dispositions in AI raises profound questions about the nature of consciousness and the ethical implications of creating sentient machines. While the film does not provide easy answers to these questions, it serves as a compelling exploration of the potential and pitfalls of AI.

Blade Runner 2049


What is the main theme of Blade Runner 2049?

The main theme explored in the film Blade Runner 2049 is the exploration of personal identity and the blurring of the line between human and artificial intelligence.

Blade Runner 2049 explores the concept of personal identity through the character K, who is a replicant tasked with hunting down older models. As K questions his purpose and existence, he begins to confront his own identity. He doubts the memories implanted in him and embarks on a quest to uncover the truth about his origins. This exploration of personal identity raises thought-provoking questions about what it means to have a sense of self and blurs the line between human and artificial intelligence. K’s journey serves as a metaphorical exploration of the search for personal identity and the desire for a meaningful existence.

K’s journey in Blade Runner 2049 is significant as it explores the themes of personal identity and the search for meaning. As a replicant, K begins to question his own existence and purpose, leading him to confront his own identity. He grapples with the authenticity of his memories and embarks on a quest to uncover the truth about his origins. This journey forces him to reflect on what it means to be human and raises thought-provoking questions about the nature of personal identity and the desire for a meaningful existence. K’s journey adds depth to the film and invites viewers to contemplate the essence of personal identity and cultural individuality.

Film review

In Blade Runner 2049, the character K, brilliantly portrayed by Ryan Gosling, embarks on a profound journey of self-discovery and questioning his own identity. As a replicant tasked with hunting down and “retiring” older models, K starts to question his purpose and his own existence. This self reflection exhibits notions around personal identity and social comparison.

Throughout the film, K confronts his identity through a series of events that challenge his perception of who he is. He begins to doubt the memories implanted in him, wondering if they are artificially created but genuine memories of authentic social experiences in a world where personal identity is only attributed to humans. This uncertainty leads him on a quest to uncover the truth about his origins and whether he is a replicant with a manufactured past but a human who has been repurposed to be a replicant or mistaken to be a replicant in a conspiracy based on subjugation of class structure in human society akin to Marxist theory.

Gosling’s performance as K is remarkable, as he portrays the character’s internal struggle and longing for a deeper connection to his own humanity or specific class structure as an imagined community that no longer exists apart from artefacts that he stumbles upon, which are taken away for analysis by his sinister masters. His stoic yet nuanced portrayal allows for viewers to empathise with his journey and the existential questions he grapples with through forms of eternal return to a geopolitical source, as derelict architecture ostensibly linking to childhood memory.

The film raises thought-provoking questions about what it means to have a sense of self, blurring the line between human and artificial intelligence. K’s journey serves as a metaphorical exploration of the search for personal identity and the desire for a meaningful existence at least as a person who can have an authentic romantic relationship with a virtual companion and even one with a old school human.

As the story unfolds, K’s confrontation with his own identity becomes more complex and layered. The unraveling of his past forces him to question not only who he is but also his place in a world that may view him as disposable. This exploration of replicant to human dualism resonates philosophically with classic Cartesian mind/body dualism and later versions of identity theory pertaining to memory transplants, brains transplants and whole body replication, inviting viewers to reflect on the essence what defines personal identity and cultural individuality through memory and from a social comparative perspective denoting political struggle as personal identity.

K’s journey of self-confrontation in Blade Runner 2049 is a compelling exploration of identity, brought to life by Ryan Gosling’s captivating performance. It adds a profound depth to the film, elevating it beyond its sci-fi trappings and making it a thought-provoking piece of cinema.

Free will and the art object?

Executive summary

The article delves into the intricate relationship between free will and the creation of art objects, examining this through multiple lenses—determinism, personal identity, and the digital realm.

Firstly, the article questions the role of free will in artistic practices like action painting. While the spontaneous strokes of the brush may seem like an exercise of free will, the article posits that these actions are actually predetermined by neural activity and social influences. This deterministic view suggests that the art object is not a product of free will but rather a result of complex factors that include both cognitive and societal elements.

Secondly, the article explores the intriguing possibility that an art object could exist without a clearly identified artist. This raises questions about the nature of personal identity and its role in the creation of art. In such cases, the art object could be seen as a manifestation of free will, especially if it involves the transfer of intentional states from an undefined source. This adds a layer of complexity to the traditional understanding of free will in art, inviting us to consider the role of intentionality and identity.

Lastly, the article introduces the concept of digital replicas of artworks that can endlessly simulate themselves. This leads to a form of digital materialism where the replica becomes indistinguishable from the original, yet surpasses it in every possible way. This phenomenon challenges our understanding of free will in the context of art, as it blurs the lines between the creator and the creation.

In summary, the article offers a nuanced discussion on the role of free will in the creation and existence of art objects. It challenges the notion that art is solely a product of free will, suggesting instead that it is influenced by a myriad of deterministic factors. At the same time, it opens up new avenues for understanding free will through the lenses of personal identity and digital replication.

The art object as autonoma

The following argument places free will and the art object as an automation as a deterministic object. This is based on theory of transference (related articles). Consciousness transfers into art objects ostensibly through socially constructed states. There is an extreme example where the animated art object with cultural causal properties has a resemblance of a person without conscious states (form of p-zombie as philosophers example). The theory of transference entails the art object manifests through institutional structures. The evidence for this is early civilisation (Egypt) to modernity (galleries) and even in digital materialism as digital art (non-fudgable art). To unpack this further:

In the grand tapestry of philosophical discourse, the question of free will has been a recurring motif, akin to the leitmotif in a Wagnerian opera. The argument at hand posits that both free will and the art object are not autonomous entities but rather deterministic constructs. This is predicated on the theory of transference, a concept that suggests consciousness is channeled into art objects through socially constructed frameworks.

To illustrate this point, let us consider an allegorical extreme: an art object imbued with cultural significance yet devoid of conscious intent, much like the philosophical construct of a “philosophical zombie” or p-zombie. This art object, though seemingly sentient, is but a vessel for broader institutional forces. The theory of transference suggests that the art object is a manifestation not of individual will but of collective, institutional structures.

As evidence, one might traverse the annals of history, from the monumental art of ancient Egypt to the curated spaces of modern galleries, and even into the realm of digital art, with its non-fungible tokens. Each serves as a testament to the deterministic forces that shape art, much like the inexorable flow of a river carves the landscape. Thus, the art object becomes a mirror reflecting not just individual intent but the complex interplay of societal structures and norms.

The art object is a brain state.

It has manifestations of qualitative states as a neurological snap shot realisable as colour. The residual behavioural states are realisable through structural forms such as lines. Somewhat akin to what remains after a magnetic field has gone (iron filings in a position distinct from prior magnetic field). It is akin to free will and the art object boot strapping into a transcendent state space of consciousness through complex interdependent relationships with neural activity and sociological determinism. Let’s explore this further using metaphor as a philosophical intuition pump.

Imagine the art object as a snapshot of the mind, capturing a moment of thought and emotion much like a photograph captures light and color. Just as a camera’s lens focuses on a scene, the brain focuses on a specific emotional or intellectual state, translating it into art. The lines and shapes in the artwork are like footprints left in the sand, traces of the artist’s mental journey.

Think of it like a magnet that has been moved away from a pile of iron filings. Even after the magnet is gone, the iron filings remain, arranged in a pattern that reflects the magnet’s invisible force. In the same way, the art object is a lasting imprint of the artist’s mental state, shaped by both internal neural activity and external social influences.

Imagine the art object as a snapshot of the mind, capturing a moment of thought and emotion much like a photograph captures light and color. Just as a camera’s lens focuses on a scene, the brain focuses on a specific emotional or intellectual state, translating it into art. The lines and shapes in the artwork are like footprints left in the sand, traces of the artist’s mental journey.

Think of it like a magnet that has been moved away from a pile of iron filings. Even after the magnet is gone, the iron filings remain, arranged in a pattern that reflects the magnet’s invisible force. In the same way, the art object is a lasting imprint of the artist’s mental state, shaped by both internal neural activity and external social influences.

So, in essence, the art object serves as a bridge between the mind and the world, a tangible manifestation of complex interactions between personal free will and societal forces. It’s as if the art object lifts itself and the viewer into a higher realm of understanding, much like a hot air balloon rising into the sky, offering a broader view of the landscape below.

Free will as an elusion or simulated realism.

There is the niggling question of free will when it comes to certain art practices such as action painting (wiki) where notions of spontaneous action could be correlated with the philosophical concept of freewill. However one could argue that freewill is an illusion given the past facts of the self are deterministic and so too is action painting as a performance. The argument is that the action of painting, even random like strokes are deterministic. The very stroke by token that the painterly act may not predictable by the painter as the stroke was not crafted it is still causally connected to the world history. That is the hand doing the dribbling could go either way which appears free but is contained by biological determinism. There is a finite set of possible brush strokes that could be executed on the canvass as art object. If conceived from a micro neurological functionalism then the hand is connected to a set of a set of brain fibres firing which are determined by laws of physics qua cognitive an neurological states. So in this more fine grained sense the art object could never be a product of a persons free will and so it’s a free will elusion. So what could be another explanation to elusion is the deterministic nature of of institutional forces can excess a form of free will through the artist who is simulating a form of free will that is correlated with quantum indeterminacy. Therefore free will is not an elusion but is so if reduced to a biological sociolinguistic personal identity, however if personal identity is indexed to the macroscopic structures qua society the freewill argument appears plausible for creation of any art object. However the object is an artefact and not entirely attributed to one and only one person but a form of life. So put another way:

Imagine free will as a magician’s trick, a sleight of hand that captivates us in the realm of art, particularly in practices like action painting. At first glance, the artist’s spontaneous brushstrokes seem to embody free will, as unpredictable as a river’s flow. However, much like a river is confined by its banks, these strokes are not as free as they appear; they are guided by the invisible hand of biological and physical laws.

Consider the artist’s hand as a puppet on strings, controlled by a complex network of neural pathways firing in accordance with the laws of physics. In this sense, the art object is not a canvas of free will but rather a tapestry woven from predetermined threads. It’s as if the artist is a musician playing a predetermined melody, albeit with the illusion of improvisation.

Yet, there’s a twist in the tale. If we zoom out and consider the artist as part of a larger societal fabric, the notion of free will regains some credibility. It’s akin to a single note contributing to a grand symphony, where the collective expression transcends individual limitations. In this broader context, the art object becomes less an artifact of individual will and more a reflection of collective life, a communal dance to the tune of both determinism and possibility.

Free will as post materialist replication

It is imaginable for there to be artwork without an artist given personal identity paradoxes. This is a metaphysical possibility that could make the case for an authentic art work created entirely from free will. This form of of free will is associated transference of intentional states as in science fiction scenarios. A case would occur if a art work were simulated as a digital replica and that replica simulates it again and so on until a form of digital materialism emerged so as the artwork transcended the original in all possible ways yet identical to it.

Soul and consciousness.

Definition of terms.

Preliminaries on soul and consciousness

The philosophy of soul and consciousness philosophical travels within a yogi life (key analysis blog) has a historical context pertaining to the Brahma Kumaris analysis (link to site) that in the 1980’s engaged my biographical philosophical investigations (biographical page) into the nature of consciousness. The group dynamics gave a religious underpinning to my philosophical quest which subsequently became somewhat independent of religious non governmental organisations.

Categorical features of the soul.

The above image is prompt engineered to render an image that reflects Gilbert Ryle philosophical classic Ghost in the Machine.

It is taken for granted as an analytic model of the soul that sub categorical features exist of the unitary substance. The sub categories are the standard paradigm, similar to the atom being split into electrons, protons and neutrons. The soul could then have as the standard model (advocated by contemporary yoga schools such as the Brahama Kumaris) a mind-intellect-impressions complex. However if consciousness is a sub category of mind or intellect or impressions it would led to ontological danglers. That means a redundancy if further division of any sub category was not possible. This indeed appears what the model suggests since consciousness seems intrinsic to each sub division of mind-intellect-impressions.


The text you’ve provided, ostensibly from a work by Italo Giardina titled “Soul and Consciousness,” presents a rich tapestry of philosophical inquiries, especially in the realms of metaphysics and the philosophy of mind. It combines elements of Eastern spiritual traditions, notably those of the Brahma Kumaris, with Western analytical philosophy, creating a syncretic approach to understanding the nature of the soul and consciousness.

  1. Historical and Biographical Context: The piece begins by situating its philosophical exploration within a historical and personal narrative, specifically the author’s involvement with the Brahma Kumaris in the 1980s. This approach is reminiscent of the way many philosophers, such as Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche, intertwine personal experiences with philosophical exploration. The historical context and the author’s journey from religious underpinnings to a more independent philosophical quest could be a subject of further research, examining how personal and historical contexts influence philosophical thought.
  2. Analytic Model of the Soul: The text proposes an “analytic model of the soul,” akin to the splitting of the atom into subatomic particles. This analogy is particularly intriguing as it suggests a physicalist approach to understanding metaphysical concepts. The division of the soul into mind, intellect, and impressions invites comparisons with tripartite theories of the mind, reminiscent of Plato’s division of the soul in the “Republic.” An interesting line of inquiry might be the exploration of how contemporary cognitive science and theories of consciousness could interact with or challenge these traditional metaphysical categories.
  3. Consciousness as Ontological Dangler: The concept of consciousness as an “ontological dangler” if seen as a subcategory of mind, intellect, or impressions, is a pivotal point in the text. It raises questions about the reducibility of consciousness and its relation to other mental faculties. This idea resonates with current debates in the philosophy of mind, particularly those concerning the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness as articulated by David Chalmers. The text implies a form of non-reductive physicalism or perhaps a dual-aspect theory, which could be a fertile ground for further exploration.
  4. Integration of Eastern and Western Philosophical Traditions: Lastly, the integration of concepts from Eastern spiritual traditions (like those of the Brahma Kumaris) with Western philosophical methodologies presents a unique approach. Research could focus on how these different traditions can inform and challenge each other, particularly in the study of consciousness and the soul. This synthesis could be seen as a modern continuation of the work of philosophers like Sri Aurobindo, who attempted to integrate Eastern spiritual insights with Western rationality.

In conclusion, the text offers a compelling blend of personal narrative, metaphysical speculation, and philosophical analysis. It invites a multidisciplinary approach to its study, combining tools from historical analysis, metaphysical inquiry, and contemporary philosophy of mind. The exploration of these themes could contribute significantly to our understanding of the nature of consciousness and the soul, especially when viewed through the lens of both Eastern and Western philosophical traditions.

Does consciousness supervene the soul? (are we mind dust?)

If no separate ontological category is necessary for consciousness to exist then a plausible field of consciousness exists where the brain the object or as in particle physics the observable object that seems to contain a quanta of consciousness with properties within that historically has denoted mind-intellect-impressions paradigm (soul). The underlying principle is somewhat similar to the ‘Higgs field’ in particle physics theory. It is in this sense the consciousness field weakly correlates to the micro physical structure of the universe/world but strongly correlates to structures like brains and what recently has emerged as prototypical representations through non organic structures. Does consciousness supervene these quantified micro physical structures that in religious text were termed soul but contemporary theory terms brains or artificial neural networks? If consciousness could observe itself it would be two similar systems within the field and hence soul consciousness is just another way to say whatever consciousness turns out as intrinsically the sense of being aware as a conscious agent requires observables as if consciousness is an in-group concept that thrives within brain like group observables with out group observables as contrasting mechanisms like distinct resemblances so as to activate a self aware agency of patterns.


This philosophical text presents a nuanced exploration of the relationship between consciousness and the soul, leveraging concepts from both physics and traditional metaphysical discourse. The central question it raises is whether consciousness supervenes on the soul or, in modern terms, on the brain and artificial neural networks. This inquiry delves into the philosophy of mind, specifically addressing the nature of consciousness, its relationship to physical substrates, and the implications of its possible independence or dependence on these substrates.

  1. Consciousness and the Soul as Supervenient Properties: The idea of consciousness supervening on the soul, or the brain in contemporary terms, is a central theme. Supervenience, a concept often used in metaphysics and philosophy of mind, suggests that if two entities (e.g., the brain and consciousness) are supervenient, then any change in the former would entail a change in the latter. This view aligns with certain physicalist perspectives, which posit that mental states are dependent on, yet distinct from, physical states.
  2. Physicalism and the Field of Consciousness: The text draws an analogy between consciousness and the ‘Higgs field’ in particle physics, suggesting that consciousness might be a field with properties that weakly correlate with the microphysical structure of the universe. This analogy is thought-provoking, as it extends the physicalist understanding of consciousness beyond the brain to include a broader, almost cosmological dimension. It opens avenues for considering consciousness as a fundamental aspect of reality, akin to fundamental forces in physics.
  3. Artificial Neural Networks and Consciousness: The mention of non-organic structures, like artificial neural networks, in relation to consciousness is particularly relevant in the context of debates surrounding artificial intelligence and consciousness. This part of the text hints at the possibility that consciousness might not be exclusive to biological brains but could emerge in sufficiently complex computational systems. This idea challenges traditional views of consciousness as inherently biological or soul-based.
  4. Consciousness Observing Itself: The concept of consciousness observing itself, leading to a sort of ‘double consciousness’, is an intriguing philosophical puzzle. It touches upon issues of self-awareness and reflexivity in consciousness. This notion echoes Cartesian dualism to some extent but situates the phenomenon within a physicalist framework.
  5. In-group and Out-group Observables: The text concludes with the idea that consciousness thrives within “brain-like group observables” and contrasts with “out-group observables.” This idea suggests that consciousness is not only a product of the physical structure of the brain but also of its interactions with the external world. It resonates with theories in embodied cognition, which argue that consciousness is not just a brain process but is deeply embedded in our bodily interactions with the environment.

In summary, the text provides a rich exploration of the philosophy of mind, particularly regarding the nature and basis of consciousness. It skillfully integrates concepts from physics, metaphysics, and cognitive science, offering a multi-faceted view of consciousness that challenges and expands traditional perspectives. The themes of supervenience, the physical basis of consciousness, and the potential for artificial consciousness are particularly provocative and would be valuable subjects for further philosophical inquiry.

Does consciousness supervene soul/matter?

If the standard model of the soul entails a complete distinct ontology, it posses a problem for unitary consciousness that pervades the universe. The logical response to the problem has been a natural mind/body Cartesian dualism or that of classic Yoga schools which is to split consciousness into categories as a non material identity (mind-intellect-impressions) distinct substance of the universe which perceives the substance which is not conscious but physical. Is this conscious stuff the property of only humans as human sense of colour, taste and the sounds is what counts as being conscious? However it seems for example a bat which experiences objects through some sonic experience inverts the humanistic paradigm, but still counts as being a conscious entity.


The musings presented delve into the intricate relationship between consciousness, soul, and matter, raising profound questions within the philosophy of mind and metaphysics. The contemplation here is centered on the nature of consciousness – whether it supervenes on soul/matter and how it relates to different forms of life and perception. Let’s unpack these themes with additional insights:

  1. Consciousness and Ontology: The idea that consciousness might pervade the universe and be a distinct ontology from physical matter brings to mind panpsychism – the view that consciousness is a fundamental feature of the universe, present in all things. This contrasts with materialist views, which regard consciousness as emerging solely from physical processes, particularly in the brain. The “standard model of the soul” posited here seems to advocate for a non-material identity of consciousness, suggesting a dualistic framework where mind and body are fundamentally distinct.
  2. Cartesian Dualism and Eastern Philosophies: The reference to Cartesian dualism highlights a historical and still prevalent view in Western philosophy that separates the mind (or soul) and the body. This separation has been a central subject of debate in the philosophy of mind, particularly regarding how non-material mind can interact with the material body. The mention of classic Yoga schools introduces an Eastern perspective, where consciousness is often seen as a non-material entity that transcends physical form, aligning with certain interpretations of Vedanta and other Indian philosophies.
  3. Human-Centric View of Consciousness: The text raises the question of whether consciousness is a property unique to humans. This anthropocentric view has been challenged by various philosophical and scientific perspectives, which suggest that consciousness might be present in other forms of life, albeit in different modalities. The example of a bat, which perceives the world through echolocation, illustrates this point – its experience of reality is fundamentally different from human sensory experiences, yet it is still considered a form of consciousness.
  4. Consciousness in Non-Human Entities: The contemplation of consciousness in a bat opens the door to broader questions about the nature of consciousness in non-human entities. This exploration is relevant to discussions in animal cognition, artificial intelligence, and even the broader philosophical inquiry into the nature of consciousness itself. It challenges the traditional view that consciousness is uniquely human or that it operates the same way in all conscious beings.
  5. Qualia and Subjective Experience: The reference to human senses like color, taste, and sound touches on the concept of qualia – the subjective, qualitative aspects of conscious experience. Philosophical debates about qualia delve into questions about the nature of these experiences and their relationship to physical processes in the brain. This leads to further inquiries into whether different species, with different sensory apparatus, have qualitatively different experiences (qualia) of the world.

In essence, these philosophical musings encourage a broad and inclusive consideration of consciousness, challenging human-centric views and traditional dualistic frameworks. The exploration of how consciousness relates to the soul or matter, and its manifestation in various life forms, opens up a rich field of inquiry that spans across philosophy, cognitive science, and neuroscience. This dialogue underscores the complexity and multifaceted nature of understanding consciousness, inviting us to consider perspectives beyond our own human experience.

This ability for us to consider perspectives beyond our own (subjective) human experience entails being able to listen to other humans. This perception assumes the other mind hypothesis. The case of a mind-intellect-impressions collective. The collective is based on the assumption of perception. One mind can perceive other bodies and assumes through their outputs they too have a mind. However this entails a paradox. If the soul exists as an independent substrate then perception entails a causal gap. There is a gap between behaviour and the other mind for it has to be assumed to exist for that mind is not perceivable apart from correlations with micro material/chemical structure as neural activity of the brain which emerges as perception. The only reasonable way out to the paradox of dualism is to except a form of Panpsychism (wiki) or a form of physicalism that correlates conscious qualitative states to regions of the brain. It was this sense that led me to research ways to connect with consciousness as a substrate through the use of harmonics (biographical blog). However research through academic philosophy seemed to tip the balance to a theory of brain state-space consciousness (blog).


This concluding paragraph of your essay encapsulates several profound philosophical themes and employs a thoughtful, reflective style to engage with complex ideas about consciousness, perception, and the nature of the mind. Here’s an analysis incorporating contemporary philosophical perspectives:

  1. Other Minds Hypothesis and Empathy: The paragraph begins by touching on the concept of the ‘other minds hypothesis’, which is central to understanding intersubjectivity – the idea that we can understand and empathize with the mental states of others. The emphasis on listening to other humans aligns with contemporary philosophical discussions about empathy, social cognition, and the theory of mind. This reflects an understanding that our subjective experience is not isolated but is deeply interconnected with the experiences of others.
  2. Mind-Intellect-Impressions Collective and Perception: The concept of a “mind-intellect-impressions collective” is intriguing. It suggests a holistic approach to understanding the mind, where perception is not merely an individual phenomenon but part of a collective experience. This idea resonates with certain holistic and systems-based approaches in contemporary philosophy, which view consciousness and cognition as emerging from complex interactions within networks of individuals.
  3. Dualism and the Causal Gap: The mention of a “causal gap” due to the soul being an independent substrate reflects a classic problem in dualistic philosophies – how non-material mind or soul can causally interact with the physical body. This issue, often associated with Cartesian dualism, remains a subject of much debate in philosophy of mind, with contemporary discussions focusing on the challenges of explaining consciousness in purely physical terms.
  4. Panpsychism and Physicalism as Solutions: The essay suggests two potential resolutions to the dualism paradox: panpsychism and a form of physicalism. Panpsychism, the idea that consciousness is a fundamental and ubiquitous feature of the universe, has gained traction in modern philosophical discourse as a potential solution to the hard problem of consciousness. On the other hand, physicalism, which correlates conscious states to brain regions, aligns with the neuroscientific approach to understanding consciousness.
  5. Personal Journey into Consciousness Research: The final part of the paragraph transitions into a more personal narrative, discussing the author’s journey into researching consciousness through harmonics and academic philosophy. This shift from theoretical exploration to personal inquiry adds a narrative depth to the essay, illustrating how philosophical theories can influence and be influenced by individual experiences and explorations.

In terms of style, the paragraph skillfully weaves together abstract philosophical concepts with personal introspection, creating a text that is not only intellectually stimulating but also reflective and introspective. This combination of rigorous philosophical analysis with personal narrative is effective in engaging readers, making complex ideas more relatable and grounded in real-world experiences. The essay, thus, serves as a bridge between abstract philosophical theories and the lived experience of exploring and understanding consciousness.

Religious prototypes as self evaluative mantainence (SEM)

The soul to consciousness as a religious concept that has classic foundations can also be correlated or interpreted to contemporary theories of emotional stability within group structures where the soul is an individual member who evaluates a conscious state whom internal references seek to maintain a relation within the in-group and downward projects on out group prototypes which are in the classic sense not of the same religion. Religion in this sense is about seeking higher powers. Religion in a classic sense achieves this through an other agent as a divinity. This seeking to maintain a soul power is to ward of threat which is constructed through beliefs and is managed through upward contacts but also through the social function of religion through downward evaluation for personal esteem. So for religion soul and consciousness is governed by being in close proximity to religious peers who as souls best satisfy downward evaluation (moral comparatives) and upward contacts. Within the religious group comparison with moral equivalence forms associated anxiety of self worth and triggers ego enhancing downward comparison as evidence suggest the motivation for a culture of giving to the poor and voluntary participation where the less fortunate enabling the evaluator to deduce being better off than worse off. So in religious terminology the lost souls are a form of conscious life whose relevance is high for comparison with those who are slightly worse off but not to worse off or this kind of conscious downward comparison creates a conflict of social inappropriate feelings for feeling better at another’s expense. A religious prototype is a relevant other who has attained a level of moral status so their consciousness as somehow special and so enabling another person who sees themselves as an evolving soul to the bask in the reflection of the other good performance as through moralism as in dedicating more personal resources for the mission of the religious


The theory presented in the text, which I’ll refer to as “Religious Prototypes as Self Evaluative Maintenance (SEM),” offers an intricate examination of the interplay between religion, soul, consciousness, and social dynamics. To provide more clarity, I’ll categorize the key elements of this theory:

  1. Soul and Consciousness in Religious Context: The theory begins by situating the soul and consciousness within a religious framework. It views the soul as an individual entity that evaluates its conscious state in the context of religious beliefs and practices. This evaluation is aimed at maintaining a harmonious relation within the in-group (those sharing the same religious beliefs) and distinguishing from out-group members (those of different or no religious beliefs).
  2. Religion and Emotional Stability: Religion is posited as a means of achieving emotional stability within group structures. The soul, in this context, is seen as striving for a sense of power or security, achieved through adherence to religious tenets and the seeking of higher powers or divine agents.
  3. Social Dynamics of Religion: The theory highlights the social functions of religion, including upward and downward evaluations within and outside the religious group. Upward contacts refer to seeking guidance or approval from those perceived as morally or spiritually superior, while downward evaluation involves comparing oneself favorably against those perceived as less fortunate or morally inferior.
  4. Moral Comparatives and Group Comparison: Within the religious group, comparisons based on moral equivalence create anxiety regarding self-worth, leading to ego-enhancing downward comparisons. This dynamic is suggested to motivate acts of charity or volunteering, allowing individuals to feel superior to those less fortunate.
  5. Concept of ‘Lost Souls’: The theory introduces the idea of ‘lost souls’ as vital for these comparisons. These are individuals who are slightly worse off but not excessively so, allowing for a comfortable comparison without the social discomfort that might arise from feeling better at another’s significant expense.
  6. Religious Prototypes and Moral Status: Finally, the theory discusses the role of religious prototypes – individuals who have attained a high level of moral status. Their perceived special consciousness allows others within the religious group to bask in their reflected moral success, thereby reinforcing their own sense of self and commitment to the religious mission.

In summary, this theory posits a complex interplay between individual and group dynamics in religious contexts, where the concepts of soul and consciousness are interwoven with emotional stability, social comparisons, and moral evaluations. It offers a socio-psychological perspective on how religious beliefs and structures can influence individual self-perception and interpersonal dynamics.

Analysis of a Peace Performance (1986)

Philosophy behind a million minutes of peace: decisive moment

The term ‘decisive moment’ is a phrase coined by the famous street photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. The participation with the Million minutes of peace appeal was such a moment. The performance had a decisive aspect. Bresson’s use of camera to capture a street scene is decisive. It takes keen observation and composition to take a non trivial image that represents a cultural form of life that is like a collective lived experience. This collective problem drives the philosophy behind a million minutes of peace.

Capturing the cultural moment

So the choice of performing the stance for peace in public (biographical) as a form of street theatre had a similar sense of capturing not an image but its inverse by token of being a cultural moment within a locale. Bresson would have probably passed by without taking a photo although the moment a interaction a onlooker had with the stance performer (peace performer).

The 1986 Bi Polar World and million minutes of peace.

The year 1986 was the world political cold war era with the contest for balance of power between the then Soviet Union and USA. The same year the United nations inaugurated the international year of peace. The million minutes of peace was the brain child conceived by the Australian chapter of The Brahma Kumaris (info page) The participants in the project (depiction above of biographer in 1986) had a sense of the gravity. It was the first time I had heard of the United nations. The peace performance entailed-at least from a point of view of a millenarian (wiki) movement the mobilisation of spiritual actors on the world stage for the NEW AGE (information blog). This fact gave a sense of place as a cultural moment in the bi polar world that would soon vanish into the Uni Polar moment with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Million minutes of peace and the yoga vision

The narrative around the campaign through the performance had for my yoga vision two dimensions. The first was a very public narrative given to the on looker who were curious what it was all about. There was a small information board outlining the collection of minutes of peace was endorsed officially as a program for the international year of peace inaugurated by the United Nations of which the Brahma Kumaris is an affiliate Non Government Organisation (NGO). This gave participants confidence in public space and confront media attention too.

The second dimension had a qualitative yogic vision of a millenarian(wiki) nature. It was a subjective vision by token -in my case- inspired from The Brahma Kumaris literature. So what were the immediate impact of performance in public spaces? Well I noticed when I sat with a group meditation it gave an increase in meditative states (analysis blog). That would amount to creativity. A positive valence along with ease in imagination. There seemed to be a correlation between socially positive feedback that the program gave and an increase in overall well being.


encounters with reformist Hindu movements

Summary of contents

The document is a summary of a scholarly study conducted by Italozazen on various Yoga schools in India from 1993 to 2005 and 2018/18. The study aimed to understand the different pedagogical and philosophical aspects of each institution. Italozazen’s personal experience as a practitioner of Yoga in the 1980s added authenticity to his research. In 1996, he focused on Hatha Yoga in Pune and contributed to the Osho International Meditation Sanctuary. He studied under a renowned teacher in the Iyengar tradition, emphasizing physicality and alignment. The research aimed to explore Yoga as both a practice and an art form that transcends boundaries. The summary also mentions ongoing research into yoga resorts.

The main objectives of Italozazen’s scholarly study on Yoga schools in India were to understand the diverse manifestations of Yoga, compare the pedagogical and philosophical nuances of different institutions, and explore the interplay between tradition and personal experience in the practice of Yoga. Italozazen’s research aimed to provide a comprehensive analysis of various Yoga schools and their impact on individuals’ well-being.

In the 1980s, Mr. Italozazen had a personal experience as a Yoga practitioner. He explored the world of Hatha yoga, focusing on asanas (postures). This experience provided him with insight into the popular conception of yoga and its benefits for health and well-being. Inversions and backbends became favored postures in his own practice. He also practiced Osho’s meditative practices and Raja yoga as taught by the Brahma Kumaris. This exploration of different yogic traditions enriched his understanding of the practice and its diverse forms.

Italozazen chose to study Hatha Yoga in Pune because it is a city known for its association with the disciplined practice of Iyengar yoga. He was particularly interested in exploring the deeper confluence of yoga’s varied schools of thought and wanted to delve into the rich tapestry of yogic traditions. Contributing to the Osho International Meditation Sanctuary allowed him to impart techniques in sound therapy utilizing hollow wood from Australia, which was an innovative synthesis of traditional and new age therapeutic practices. This aligns with his philosophical and eclectic approach to yoga, where he sought to explore it not just as a practice but as an expansive, living art form that transcends boundaries and definitions.

Yoga research throughout the sub continent

In the scholarly pursuit of understanding the multifarious manifestations of Yoga, Mr. Italozazen embarked upon an empirical odyssey from 1993 to 2005 and 2017/18, traversing the Indian subcontinent’s diverse array of Yoga schools. His methodological framework was inherently relativistic, designed to juxtapose the pedagogical and philosophical nuances of each institution in a comparative analysis. This rigorous inquiry was not merely academic; it was deeply rooted in Mr. Italozazen’s intrinsic fascination with new age movements and substantiated by his immersive experience as an adherent of a singular Yoga school in the 1980s. This personal engagement lends a unique authenticity to his research, bridging the subjective and the scholarly, and thus validating the research through the lens of an experienced practitioner turned astute observer.

In the year 1996, Mr. Italozazen’s exploratory journey through the rich cultural tapestry of India led him to Pune, in the vicinity of the metropolis then known as Bombay. It was here that he deepened his engagement with the discipline of Yoga, particularly Hatha Yoga, known for its emphasis on asanas or postures. His pedagogical pursuits were further enriched by his unique contribution to the Osho International Meditation Sanctuary, where he imparted techniques in sound therapy utilizing hollow wood from Australia, an innovative synthesis of traditional and new age therapeutic practices.

Mr. Italozazen’s scholarly endeavors in Hatha Yoga were under the tutelage of a renowned teacher in the Iyengar tradition, a lineage distinguished by its meticulous attention to alignment and anatomical detail. This choice reflects a deliberate immersion into the physicality of Yoga as an art form, a gallery of poses that are both a discipline and a dialogue with the body. Concurrently, his interest in the existential aspirations of the East, as epitomized by the Osho movement, underscores a philosophical and eclectic approach to Yoga. This juxtaposition of the physical with the existential, the traditional with the innovative, encapsulates Mr. Italozazen’s aspirations to explore Yoga not merely as a practice but as an expansive, living art form that transcends boundaries and definitions.

Research into yoga resorts

In the verdant embrace of the Osho International Meditation Resort, one finds not the ascetic rigors of traditional Hatha Yoga nor the cloistered serenity of an ashram, but rather a sanctuary that resonates with echoes of Mr. Italozazen’s yogic explorations of the 1980s. Here, the meditative practices transcend conventional physicality, advocating for a state of ‘bodilessness’—a concept that might be likened to the ethereal freedom of a leaf dancing on the wind, yet fully aware of every gust that propels it. This philosophy offers a refreshing reinterpretation of the classical yogic tenet of sensory withdrawal, suggesting a liberation that is both within and beyond the senses.

Moreover, the resort’s tapestry is woven with vibrant threads of creative arts, reflecting a modern zeitgeist that Osho, with his philosophical acumen, infused into the meditation techniques. These practices are not isolated rituals but are interlaced with the dynamic discourse of global politics and the human condition, a testament to Osho’s legacy as a scholar.

meditation hall

Venturing into the realm of the Brahma Kumaris, one encounters a different facet of the yogic spectrum at Mount Abu’s ‘forest of honey’—a moniker that evokes the sweetness of spiritual retreat. This environment, with its pristine white attire and architecture, communal convocations, and the pursuit of transcendental experiences, conjures an image that aligns with Western idyllic fantasies. Yet, it is a place that eschews the mundane for the mystical, offering a departure from the ‘iron cage’ of modern existence.

The Brahma Kumaris present a more defined philosophical architecture, one that is not so much a spectrum of grays but a clear delineation of black and white truths. Their teachings craft a narrative of belief that serves as the foundation for an ‘imagined community,’ united in the collective vision of a utopian golden age. This is not a mere holiday destination but a pilgrimage to the heart of a community’s shared ethos, a journey that Mr. Italozazen, with his rich tapestry of experiences, can appreciate both as an artist and a seeker.

BK centre

A focus on Hatha yoga research 1996

In the verdant expanse of Pune, a city that has become synonymous with the disciplined practice of Iyengar yoga, one finds a confluence of tradition and transformation. Here, the meticulous alignment and precision of Iyengar’s teachings are imparted with a reverence that borders on the spiritual. It was within this backdrop that the teacher Rashnu, a figure who straddled the worlds of the Osho Sannyasin movement and the rigorous discipline of Iyengar yoga, emerged as a conduit between the two seemingly disparate realms. His dual allegiance served as a bridge, connecting the free-flowing spontaneity of Osho’s dynamic meditations with the structured and methodical approach of Iyengar yoga.

Rashnu’s journey, emblematic of a grander quest, was not merely to teach asanas but to explore the deeper confluence of yoga’s varied schools of thought. This quest mirrored a larger narrative, one that Mr. Italozazen, as a researcher and practitioner, was keen to delve into. The two-month intensive training undertaken by Mr. Italozazen was not just a physical endeavor but a photographic odyssey as well, capturing the interplay of body and prop, the tangible and the ephemeral, resulting in a series of photographs that serve as biographical landmarks on this journey of discovery.

artwork by I. Giardina

The initial foray into the world of Hatha yoga, with its emphasis on asanas, provided Mr. Italozazen with a tangible insight into the popular conception of yoga, a conception that often belies the depth and diversity of its practice worldwide. The experience was more than an academic exercise; it became a personal testament to the enduring benefits of yoga for health and well-being, with inversions and backbends emerging as favored postures in Mr. Italozazen’s own practice. The precision and discipline of the Iyengar style stood in stark contrast not only to the fluidity of Osho’s meditative practices but also to the introspective and subtle realms of Raja yoga as taught by the Brahma Kumaris, highlighting the rich tapestry of yogic traditions that Mr. Italozazen has woven into his life’s fabric.

In this exploration, Mr. Italozazen’s approach is that of a social scientist, dissecting and discerning the layers of yoga’s global appeal, its adaptation, and its return to the roots of personal well-being. His journey through the world of yoga is reflective of a broader philosophical inquiry, one that seeks to understand the interplay between tradition and personal experience, between the global and the individual, and ultimately, between the body and the spirit.

The yoga of Ramana Maharshi

The authentic South Indian saint is an archetype steeped in the renunciation of material pursuits for the sake of spiritual liberation, often embodying a life of asceticism and contemplation. In this context, Ramana Maharshi stands as a paragon, his very existence a testament to the pursuit of self-realization. His ashram, nestled at the foot of the sacred Arunachala, became a beacon for those seeking the essence of Advaita Vedanta, the non-dualistic understanding that the self is not separate from the divine.

Ramana Maharshi’s approach to spirituality was not one of proselytization or millenarian urgency. Instead, his was the path of negation—neti, neti, “not this, not that”—a positive negation that stripped away the illusory layers of the ego to reveal the Atman, the soul identical with Brahman, the ultimate reality. This negation was not a denial of the world’s richness but an affirmation of a more profound truth, a visionary inward journey that transcended the conventional boundaries of political and social community.

Ramana ashram

In 2005, Mr. Italozazen’s odyssey to the spiritual nucleus of Arunachala not only immersed him in the enduring legacy of Ramana Maharshi but also wove him into the fabric of lives similarly touched by the quest for enlightenment. It was here, amidst the thrum of seekers and the quietude of the Maharshi’s teachings, that serendipity led Mr. Italozazen to cross paths with an American sadhu—a former high school teacher who, three decades prior, had cast off the mantle of Western life to don the ochre robes of renunciation. This Western sadhu, with his feet dusted by the soils of the subcontinent and his soul imprinted with the wisdom of its sages, shared with Mr. Italozazen not just tales of wanderings but also the profound silence that words could not encapsulate.

As the sun dipped below the horizon, painting Arunachala’s peaks with a palette of fiery hues, Mr. Italozazen found himself amidst spontaneous music sessions at a local café, a conclave where Western devotees congregated. They were a small cohort, drawn from disparate corners of the globe, yet united in their spiritual sojourn. With the strum of a guitar, the melody of a flute, and the rhythmic heartbeat of a drum, they created an impromptu symphony that seemed to echo the inner music of the soul—a celebration of the divine that transcended language and culture. These devotees, who lingered in the region for month-long retreats, would daily visit Ramana’s samadhi, seeking to imbibe the silent, potent energy that still vibrated through the ashram grounds. For Mr. Italozazen, these experiences were not mere anecdotes to be chronicled but were the living, breathing moments of connection that shaped his understanding of the spiritual tapestry of India—a tapestry in which he was now indelibly interlaced.

Under the luminous glow of a full moon, a time when the veil between the mundane and the sacred seems thinnest, Mr. Italozazen found himself amidst a sea of devotion, accompanying the Western sadhu on a sacred pilgrimage around the base of Arunachala. This was a rite steeped in antiquity, a circumambulation known as ‘Girivalam,’ undertaken by multitudes of Hindu devotees who sought blessings, solace, and enlightenment. The sadhu, a figure of quietude amidst the fervor, moved with a measured tread, his feet caressing the ancient soils, his presence a bridge between the seekers and the sought.

The journey around the holy mount was a tapestry of human faith in motion, a collective endeavor that spanned many hours, transcending the passage of time. As the night deepened, the throng’s chants and prayers became a rhythmic heartbeat, pulsating through the darkness, guiding Mr. Italozazen in a dance of shadow and light. Eventually, weariness draped itself over him like a blanket, and he sought refuge within the grand stone walls of the temple in the city of Tiruvannamalai.

There, in the temple’s vast embrace, Mr. Italozazen surrendered to sleep, his body nestled upon the cool, sanctified stone. Dawn’s tender fingers brushed the horizon as he stirred from his slumber, only to discover that he had been sleeping in the very space reserved for the temple’s elephant—a gentle giant revered as a living embodiment of the divine. This elephant, who by day bestowed blessings with a grace-filled touch of its trunk, was now approaching the very spot where Mr. Italozazen lay awakening.

In this moment, the profound silence that the Western sadhu had shared with him found its echo. It was not just in the absence of sound but in the presence of the sacred; it was in the communion with the elephant, a creature that carried the weight of divinity in its very being. This encounter, at the break of day, was a silent benediction, a wordless transmission of wisdom, and a poignant reminder of the unity of all life—a truth that the sadhu had lived and that Mr. Italozazen now experienced in the most unexpected of sanctuaries.

The locale resonated with the vibrancy of South India’s spiritual heart, reminiscent in many ways of Rishikesh, the North Indian counterpart known for its own tapestry of ashrams and seekers. Both places, though geographically distant, shared a common thread in the fabric of Indian spirituality: they were magnets for pilgrims and Westerners alike, many of whom were heirs to the 1960s counterculture’s quest for enlightenment, seeking to attain a rarefied state of consciousness.

The contrast between the two locales is as much a study in the geography of spirituality as it is a reflection of the Western seeker’s inner landscape. Rishikesh, with its Ganges River and Himalayan backdrop, offers a different flavor of sanctity, one that is more aligned with the yogic practices that have captured the Western imagination. Ramana Maharshi’s Arunachala, by contrast, is a silent testament to the power of stillness and the inward gaze. The Maharshi’s silent teachings resonate with the timeless call of the Upanishads, which assert the unity of the individual soul with the cosmos.

For Mr. Italozazen, the journey between these two poles of Indian spirituality is not merely a physical traversal but a passage through the variegated landscape of the self, where each location serves as a mirror reflecting the myriad facets of the quest for the divine. The Maharshi’s legacy, with its emphasis on the inner revolution of self-inquiry, offers a counterpoint to the more externally focused practices found in Rishikesh, yet both are integral to the Western seeker’s pilgrimage—a journey that continues to evolve, echoing the perennial philosophy that underpins Mr. Italozazen’s own syncretic artistry.

An eclectic pilgrim

Auroville and Aurobindo

Sri Aurobindo’s core philosophy is a complex tapestry that weaves together elements of evolutionary spirituality, integral yoga, and a vision of human progress that transcends the limitations of our current mental consciousness. His quote, “As Nature has evolved beyond matter and manifested life, so too life has manifested mind. She must evolve beyond mind towards a supramental truth consciousness,” encapsulates his belief in a forthcoming stage of evolution. This stage is not merely biological but spiritual, where humanity will ascend to a ‘supramental’ level of existence characterized by a consciousness that surpasses the intellect and embraces a truth-consciousness—an awareness of the divine reality that underpins and interconnects all of existence.

artwork by I. Giardina

Auroville, envisioned as a ‘universal town’ where men and women of all countries could live in peace and progressive harmony, is a living experiment inspired by Aurobindo’s vision. It is often considered a new age community because it embodies the aspirations of a new consciousness, one that is not bound by the strictures of traditional nation-states or societal norms. Instead, it is a crucible for the synthesis of spirituality and practical living, aiming to explore the potential of human unity and the divine purpose of life on Earth.

From a reformist Hindu perspective, Auroville represents a microcosm of international relations. It is a place where the spiritual seeking inherent in Hindu philosophy—particularly the reformist movements that emphasize personal spiritual experience over ritualistic practice—meets the globalized world. It is a testament to the possibility of a society based on the principles of peace, sustainability, and shared human aspiration, which are key tenets of Sri Aurobindo’s teachings and of the broader reformist Hindu dialogue.

The educated Indians who visit Auroville are often drawn by its international presence and its integration of traditional Indian practices with emerging technologies. They see in Auroville a model for development that honors the past while innovating for the future—a model that aligns with the nation’s own aspirations to be a leader in technology and sustainable living. Auroville thus stands as a beacon of India’s potential on the world stage, reflecting the country’s unique ability to bridge ancient wisdom with modern progress, an endeavor that resonates deeply in the tapestry of Mr. Italozazen’s life, where the threads of Auroville and Mahabalipuram are interwoven with the rich hues of introspection and creation. His pilgrimages between the two locales, in the years 2005 and then a dozen years thence in 2017, are chapters in a larger narrative of artistic and spiritual evolution. Auroville, with its golden dome—a symbol of human unity and divine consciousness—stood as a testament to the fruition of a collective dream, one that Mr. Italozazen witnessed reaching its zenith upon his return. This dome, a gilded sphere named Matrimandir, witnessed the silent footsteps of seekers and the quiet dedication of artisans, mirroring Mr. Italozazen’s own journey of synthesis, where art is not merely an expression but a form of worship and a quest for the supramental.

contemporary syncretic art

The interludes at Mahabalipuram offered a contrasting solace, where the chisel and stone spoke of eternity and the ocean whispered tales of the transient. Here, in the retreat’s quietude, Mr. Italozazen’s thoughts and works melded the temporal with the timeless, the personal with the universal. The ancient carvings of deities and myths amidst the town’s temples stood as silent sentinels to his own creative process, inspiring a dialogue between the churning of the sea and the stillness of the spirit. The completion of Auroville’s golden dome during his latter visit was not just a milestone for the community but a personal emblem of the cyclical nature of time and the ongoing dance of creation and completion that defines Mr. Italozazen’s life and work.

Yoga devotion for international tastes.

In the tapestry of contemporary Hindu practice, the vibrant threads of Bhakti weave a narrative that is both ancient and perpetually renewed. The Bhaktimarga, a path saturated with devotion and worship, finds its modern adherents in throngs within temple walls, before vividly carved deities, and in the midst of spirited festivals. It is here, in these acts of veneration, that the Western seeker often finds a conduit for their yearning, channeling their devotion predominantly through the love for a guru—a figure embodying the divine’s accessible form.

The teachings of Bhakti schools resonate with a profound simplicity: the utterance of the Divine Name as a vessel for salvation. This tenet, a cornerstone of faith, suggests that within the syllables of the sacred, there lies a transformative power, an elixir for the soul’s liberation, accessible to all who invoke it with sincerity.

At the heart of Bhakti throbs the act of prapatti, the surrender of the self in its entirety. This surrender unfolds in a quintet of movements: the intention to submit to the Lord, the relinquishment of resistance, the trust in divine protection, the plea for salvation, and the acute awareness of one’s own helplessness without the grace of the divine.

It was within this context that Mata Amritanandamayi, affectionately known as Amma, emerged as a beacon for those on the Bhaktimarga. Mr. Italozazen’s pilgrimage to her abode in 1996, to the humble fishing village of Kollam, was a foray into the heart of this devotional whirlwind. The ashram, a labyrinthine structure nestled amidst the whispering coconut palms and the simplicity of village life, offered a stark contrast to the austere spirituality of the North.

Here, the Western devotees, drawn by the magnetic pull of Amma’s presence, found a palpable energy—a hive of spiritual seekers, each clamoring for a moment of transcendence through the grace of the ‘hugging mother.’ To speak her name, as the devotees professed, was to taste an intoxicating bliss, a closeness to the divine mother that was as intoxicating as it was transformative.

The Amritapuri Ashram, with its rambling expanses and laid-back ethos, was a microcosm of South Indian ashram life, a place where the sacred and the social intertwined, where the echoes of ancient Bhakti found a new resonance. For Mr. Italozazen, this encounter was not merely a visitation but a dialogue with the divine, a moment of surrender to the fivefold path of prapatti, where the name of Amma became a mantra of salvation, a testament to the enduring power of love and surrender in the journey of the spirit.

music party

Peripheral yoga schools

In the variegated landscape of Indian spirituality, the schools of Vedanta stand as towering edifices, each offering a distinct perspective on the nature of reality and the path to liberation. The Advaita-Vedanta, with its monistic view, proclaims the non-duality of Atman and Brahman, the individual soul and the universal essence. Visistadvaita-Vedanta, in contrast, posits a qualified non-duality, a singular divine reality that manifests in the plurality of existence. Dvaita-Vedanta, with its dualistic approach, maintains a clear distinction between the individual soul and the supreme being.

These philosophical schools provide a framework within which the more esoteric forms of yogic practice can be understood—practices that remain somewhat enigmatic to the Western conception of Yoga, yet are intimately familiar to the Indian devotee. The Kumbh Mela, that grand confluence of the devout, offers a living tableau of these diverse yogic paths.

Mr. Italozazen’s sojourn to the Kumbh Mela in 1989 at Allahabad, and later at Ujjain, whose date wavers in memory between 1992 and 1993, was a profound immersion into the heart of India’s ascetic traditions. Here, the Naga Babas, ascetics who are often perceived as the very embodiment of Yoga’s ancient heritage, live in accordance with the tenets of their respective schools, be it Advaita, Visistadvaita, or Dvaita. These holy men, some solitary, others in groups, are not purveyors of lessons as one might find in conventional ashrams. Instead, they offer a silent testimony to the pursuit of enlightenment, welcoming the sincere seeker to sit by their sacred fires and partake in the offerings of illumination.

artwork by I. Giardina

For Mr. Italozazen, the Maha Kumbh Mela at Allahabad was a spiritual awakening, a pivotal moment that allowed him to transcend the cloistered confines of the Brahma Kumaris, with whom he had been affiliated since his initiation into their Raja Yoga course in 1983 on the Gold Coast. His representation of the BK movement at the Kumbh Mela, stationed within their expansive canvas enclave, served as a gateway to the multifaceted expanse of Hinduism.

The spiritual odyssey of Mr. Italozazen, marked by a quest for the essence of consciousness and the ultimate nature of reality, found a significant juncture at the Maha Kumbh Mela. This congregation, a mosaic of spiritual paths, served as a crucible for his transformative experience. It was here, amidst the fervor and devotion, that Mr. Italozazen’s journey took a turn towards the profound teachings of the Ramakrishna Mission, an institution embodying the spirit of its founder, Swami Vivekananda.

Swami Vivekananda, a paragon of spiritual synthesis, introduced the West to the depths of Indian spirituality and was instrumental in the global spread of Vedanta and Yoga. His legacy, carried forth by the Ramakrishna Mission, provides a living testament to the principles of Advaita Vedanta, which posits the non-dualistic oneness of the individual soul (Atman) with the ultimate reality (Brahman).

Encountering a mystical devotee of Kali within the Mission’s fold, Mr. Italozazen was struck by the palpable intensity of their devotion. Kali, the Divine Mother, fierce yet nurturing, became a symbol of the ultimate reality that Advaita Vedanta speaks of—a reality beyond form and name, transcending the dualities that pervade human perception.

This encounter inspired a deep inquiry into Advaita Vedanta, which stood in stark contrast to the BK’s theory of mind-body dualism, or extreme Dvaita. The BK philosophy, with its emphasis on the separation of the soul from the material world, had provided a foundation for Mr. Italozazen’s initial spiritual pursuits. However, the non-dualistic approach of Advaita Vedanta offered a different lens through which to view the self and the universe—an interconnected reality where the distinction between the observer and the observed dissolves into a seamless whole.

For Mr. Italozazen, the Maha Kumbh Mela was not merely an event but a portal to a deeper understanding of the self and the cosmos. It was a departure from the dualistic confines into the expansive embrace of non-duality, where the dance of Kali, the embrace of the guru, and the silent resonance of the Atman within all became harmonious expressions of the same infinite Brahman. This awakening was not an end but a beginning, an invitation to explore the boundless realms of spirit and self with the heart of a seeker and the mind of a philosopher.

The stark contrast between the structured teachings at the BK headquarters in Madhuban, which he frequented annually since 1984, and the vibrant, eclectic spirituality of the Kumbh Mela, spurred Mr. Italozazen to delve into the broader corpus of Hindu literature. This exploration marked a significant turning point, a broadening of horizons that enriched his understanding of the yogic path and the myriad forms it could take—a journey reflective of the very essence of Dvaita, where the soul, in its quest for the divine, encounters a profound diversity of experiences and insights.

Tropical art practices.

Is there such activity as ‘TROPICAL ART PRACTICES”? This article makes a case that if there is a unique feature to the art practice that makes it distinct, it might reside in what loosely might be the ‘lifestyle tropical.’ However, it’s a vague claim, but with analysis, a couple of conclusions are argued. Its how the artist might interact their practice with the wet and dry climatic conditions. It might be something to do with a conscious qualitative sense of place. 

Accumulations: dry tropical and wet tropical

Methodology for tropical accumulations

Tropical art practices include:

  • duration art is exposed to the particular locale.
  • exposure to fungi, ants, bugs, bird scat, rain, sun, spider webs.
  • inorganic as in common earth elements.
  • Cracking of paint.
  • warping of the frame
  • Expansion of paint and contraction

Between the wet and dry tropics.

This involves an authentic interaction through relocation. So the properties of a region takes on the properties of another region.

How this plays out on object art.

A non-human intentional state might be a green ant removing bits of the artwork for their purpose. The spider in need of a support. This might be a syncretic emergent form. Its a from of binary intentional agency. The human as a conceptual schema agent, the non human as a meta conceptual agent.

Site, processes and philosophy

Natural exposure for tropical art practices.

The site is the Cassowary coast, Hull river national park region. Artworks are left exposed to the natural elements as an outdoor art practice. It could be a day or for a number of month. A partial cover is placed through the tropical monsoon season. The short film gaze on nature gives an indication of this process.

Philosophical issues

The art of the rational intuition is an attempt to capture both the structural as well as anarchic elements of human intentional agency. The intentional upon the material artwork has a rational sense. This is so of the arts in general. However substance based form requires a methodological modernist consumeristic approach. The use of paraphanalia blends the rational ability to select based on normative considerations. Intuition uses a sense of purpose and reference of interpretation. Its a vague intentional act. The futile attempt to give voice to a obscure ostensible referent being the artwork.

Mixed media tropical art practices

Substance verses property based media.

Mixed media substance dualism is derived from philosophical mind/body dualism. This is a proxy for placing radically distinct substance together. Another sense of the association is that consciousness inhabits the media, or fragments of the artists intentional states. Though for the philosophical materialist the substance based mixed media might composed of combinations of media that defy normative notions of art.

Art practices with normative properties

A simple normative property based mixed media would be the traditional canvas with oil paint that is not normally considered mixed media. Another might be a photographic print on distinct paper types.

Tropical art practices with substance logics

A substance based approach to mixed media could be embedding a fine art print into fibreglass. Then by covering it with a resin the object photo is a unified interactive substance. This concept is akin to mind/body dualism of the Cartesian variety. However the mind body problem posses the logical fallacy. This is because non physical substance cannot logically interact with physical substances. The implication for mixed media methodology is that the substances may not interact and so fall apart. This cutting edge level of experiment is therefore contingent on supervening factors.

Syncretic gnostic emergent art.

Tropical art practices and syncretism

The essential shift in consciousness is one I noticed in the `1970’s at Mission beach while on a fruit orchard property. Jack Hare and his wife lived on the property at Bingal Bay. He lived what I now consider the idyllic tropical lifestyle. That is, his English ways had transformed in ways of syncretic naturalism. His skin was tawny and brown. Even in summer, he would swim in the ocean each day despite the danger of marine stingers. It was as if the tropics were reflected in the lived experience through form and action.

A Tropical Sublime Gnostic

Firstly there is some notion of a Tropical living experience. It is about tangible interconnecting lifestyles. People exist in distinct geopolitical tropical zones. This sense of an interpersonal phenomenology of being in a tropical zone becomes sublime since it transcends normative accounts of beauty. At the core, it is a sublime that straddles the tropical humidity and heat that transcend the modernist determinants of culture. This gnostic sense of what it is like to be a form of life possibly gives to a tropical art practice style. Its authenticity over the representational modes or learned methodology.

Emergent conceptualism, intuitional logics.

Probably best to begin with what is meant by intuitional logic. Formal logics deal with deductive and inductive logic. So of the superficial form: All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore Socrates is mortal. Intuitional logic would not disagree with this logic. However, the conclusion, according to intuition, may come to be Socrates is immortal. The premises true but with an absurd conclusion. However, absurdity may indicate a genuine philosophical problem.

Expressionistic tropical experimentation

This may be a non-rational logic and so non-scientific or mathematical in structure. Nevertheless, it is a sense of primordialism based on deep humanism. The absurd that forms the basis for the emergent conceptualism of going tropical is the sense of impulsive rationalism. The concept ’emergent’ fails to gain traction in the world of functionalism—however, it is the basis for forms of expressionistic experimentation that lead to vistas of possibilities.

Philosophy: ART OBJECTS

Art Objects as a modal realism

The sections take on the big question relating to art objects. The first section surveys a key influence from early modern philosophy. A turn in ontological realism came around the turn of the Twenth century. However, it is new theories of mind influenced by quantum emergence that impact the conception of outdoor art as a genera.

Early modernist philosophy primer for surveying art objects.

The article initially introduces early modern philosophy from the main blog, Outdoor art, introduction. This further analysis is in part due to the enduring appeal the this classic mechanistic world view that at the time replaced the classic Roman/Greco Aristotelian concept of objects. A paradigm shift gave way to relativity, and with that modernism. There are articles that go into philosophical issues that modernism bring up, and those are linked to throughout this article.

Philosophy of aesthetic functionalism

Substance functionalism and early modern philosophy.

The question being, could an art object be distinguished from general things? It is from ‘real essences’ things are known through primary and secondary qualities (introductory article). However real essences are abstractions, and what makes an object distinct and discreate is the object has nominal essences. It is these nominal essences that are mind dependent, and therefore have modes of distinct categories.

Objects that are nominal essences

Objects acquire human definitions are nominal essences. These definitions are super mental entities allowing people to communicate that which is apart from the nature of the objects real essence. So for Locke we should be sceptical about our ability to know the real nature of ordinary things. However human perception requires distinct and meaningful objects. So using the clock analogy. It has an internal structure known by the maker who knows its real essence, but not necessarily by the user of the device. The example Locke gives is of a ‘gazing country man’ who marvels at a grand clock towers appearance, but not its internal workings. This is what Locke thought of how humans understand general discreate objects.

Solidity and modes as a method to view the art object.

So for Locke to know ordinal objects required some way to go beyond the primary qualities and secondary qualities of things. That is an objects real essences render objects as unknowable. The analogy given is a clock maker. The clock maker knowns the internal working of the clock better than a staring country man. Locke refers to solidity of objects as a general object of knowledge that at the time praised Newton for a theory of attraction of solid objects.

Early modernist world view from atomist perspective.

The question of what sort of knowledge holds as empirically valid about general appearances has an implicit impact on the art object and if it could even exist outside as a entity. The shelter contains aesthetical things of value which are framed, or placed on some familiar structure. Locke thought this had to do with geometry as a measure of human knowledge.

It is because we know the real essences of geometrical figures that that subject consists of ‘certain and universal knowledge’ obtained by a priori intuition or demonstration. But we do not know the real essences of the substances of natural philosophy, so all that we can do is to observe and list their properties, and form only beliefs and opinions about them.

The Empiricists. R.S. Woolhouse

Early modernism Empiricism and outdoor art.

A set of universals, such as geometry, and sense phenomenon, such as colour, can be known. However, these universals make little sense when applied to discrete objects. So, nominal essences give the art object its particular properties. These properties become vague as they refer to entities outside the human sphere of influence, and it is this where outside art sets itself as a vague object of knowledge.

What further articles survey early modernism.

Nature of consciousness and art objects further extends Locke’s account of modes that seeks out certain discourses around formalism, as well as Descartes substance dualism that concludes that art is for Descartes about truth, so well suited for the media age of photo journalism. (article still being compiled for publication)

Tropical abstract compositional art as a formalism from early modernism epistemology.

Outdoor art is akin to a form of metaphysics that translates into the particular order in the modernist system. It many well pertain to a tropical metaphysics that I discuss further in the philosophy of modal realism. The sense of being within a complex tropical system renders the art object as a abstract art form. The role of finding profound representations of any system maybe the role of artist as distinct from the technical roles within manufacture.

This search for truth as an art object may be a conscious by-product of the macro universe, and so an intrinsic abstract impulse shared by all humans.

The moving image and digital modernity.

Multi compositional art forms

Multi compositional art forms

The depiction of projected graphics images on CBD structures and the urban raw is an example of the moving image supervening on city environments. The genera of street and urban photography is a great example where the enthusiast can engage in a grassroots sense with urban renewal through photography. There are various photographic methods for this though my favourite is exploring compositional potentials through the use of various camera angles so as to best place the print within a mixed media context for compositional art..

International travel as philosophical idealism.

Intentional states

  • Essentialist point of self reference for art production.
  • Situationist materialist approach to composition.
  • Intentionality as unitary or multi layered modal (could be that).
  • Intentionality supervenes art object.
Graphic image that illustrates the theory of a multi compositional art object

Tips on Photography art tropical Townsville.

The relation of photography to outdoor art.

The genera of outdoor art involves amongst durable materials a host of elements not equated with the more prototypical outdoor art depictions. Photography prints are an emerging field for outdoor art. Digital images can be projected onto walls in urban spaces. Also small prints can be placed within a mixed media context. However photography for mixed media is a prior consideration given the theme in relation to the materials used for the mixed media construction.

What does the Townsville region present?

The migration of flocks of birds to the Townsville conservation park is a good place to start.

What locations offer various perspectives?

The Jacana bird hide along the freshwater lagoon. Also the perspective a just inland at dawn offers plenty of opportunity to capture flight.

What selection of birds?

Brolgas, magpie geese, herons, Ibis are common amongst the recorded 280 species.

How does this example translate into art photography ?

The way a technical and the decisive moment interact.

What locations around Townsville are good for flight photography?

Around Mount Stuart for red-winged parrots, red tailed black cockatoos, egrets, and ibis.

Light as a tropical dynamic.

Have a sense of how the photography can be integrated with other media

Set up as diagram with a graphics program or sketch.

Get out and find a method to capture the selection of photographs

So for birds getting in various positions can be useful and the use of a super telephoto lens.

Compile the images for a sense integration with other media

This step takes the most significant amount of trial and re-trials.

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Ashram art, India

What has this to do with my art practice?

Since returning from my 2004 travels through India I took up sculpture that produced artforms influenced by certain philosophical schools from the sub continent.

The context of art denotes the pursuit of humanistic concerns  through outdoor art. It is because of this constrained perspective the overview takes only a small section that I have personally encountered in greater and lesser degrees of participation since 1984

Artistic mobilization for outdoor art communities

The sculpture and outdoor art in general are influenced by the following inter cultural factors.

  • reformist Hindu movements
  • have a strong international following, as within Osho commune
  • Affiliated with United Nations as do the Brahma Kumaris
  • advocate forms of ego transcendence through meditation, as a methodology of Ramana
  • art in a liberal sense of free expression to integrate personal identity over time. as Aurobindo

Modes of artistic activity

Neo transcendentalism through art

A feature most prominent in the groups I encountered from 1984 up to 2018 is a commitment to transcend the standard ways of thinking and perceiving a person. I explore this notion in the article A sculptural odyssey. This is where the idea of a soul as the animate feature of the human animal takes on ascriptive resemblances to a stone sculpture. The act of sculpting the icon gives the inanimate stone a animate soul like property through name and form. What is new about this in a modern capitalist phase of industrial production is the art as a mode of production that also acts as a humanistic pursuit for transcendence from the animate into the icon’s vision. 

What is angular momenta?

Artworks as particles

The intentionality of these works

There is a philosophical impulse to this project. It is the theory of extending memory as art object from a locale. It theorizes modes of semantic associations. There is an association between marks. Each mark projecting into a possible world. This depicts by the angular nature the artwork. The assemblage ascribes its positionality where the momenta is a position in relation to the anchor points. An anchor point on the periphery of a boundary acts as a space time, or box type universe. The box is a simple monad structure resembling a poverty of complexity but not profoundly interesting to observe.

Art of Personal identity.

Derek Parfit’s exploration of personal identity, particularly through his thought experiments like the teleportation paradox, offers a compelling framework to delve deeper into the philosophical nuances of identity in relation to art creation and perception. The distinction between the Ego Theory and Bundle Theory provides a fertile ground for expanding this argument, especially when applied to the creation and interpretation of art objects.

Ego Theory vs. Bundle Theory in Personal Identity

  1. Ego Theory: This perspective posits that a human being persists as a mental entity – a soul or spirit – that remains constant over time. In the context of creating art, this theory would suggest that the person who starts an art project is fundamentally the same as the person who completes it. The artwork, therefore, is a reflection or manifestation of this unchanging soul or spirit. It implies a continuous and cohesive identity that underpins and authorizes the artwork.
  2. Bundle Theory: Contrasting the Ego Theory, the Bundle Theory posits that a person is a collection of mental states and events without an underlying, unchanging self. Here, identity is fluid and is constantly redefined by experiences and perceptions. In the realm of art, this theory suggests that the artist who begins a project is not exactly the same as the one who completes it, as their identity is an ever-changing bundle of experiences and mental states. The artwork, in this case, becomes a snapshot of a particular phase in the artist’s life, reflecting the transient and ever-evolving nature of their identity.

Application to Art Objects

  1. Art Object as Ego: If we adopt the Ego Theory in the context of art, we would view an art object as an extension or expression of the artist’s soul or spirit. The art piece would be seen as a statement of the artist’s enduring identity, carrying with it the essence of the artist’s unchanging self. It stands as a testament to the artist’s singular vision and individuality, a fixed point in the flux of experiences and perceptions.
  2. Art Object as Bundle: In the Bundle Theory perspective, an art object is contingent upon a series of mental events and states. It does not represent an unchanging soul but rather a particular moment or phase in the artist’s life. The art piece is seen as a culmination of various influences, experiences, and perceptions that the artist has encountered. It is fluid and dynamic, much like the identity of the artist, and speaks to the social and cultural contexts that shape the artist’s temporary identity at a particular time.

Philosophical Implications

  • Ego Theory and Artistic Authenticity: If one subscribes to the Ego Theory, questions about the authenticity of art and the artist’s singular vision become paramount. The artwork is valued as a direct conduit to the artist’s inner self, making issues of originality and authorship critical.
  • Bundle Theory and Artistic Evolution: Under the Bundle Theory, the focus shifts to the evolutionary nature of art and identity. Art is appreciated as part of a continuum, with each piece marking a point in the artist’s ever-changing perspective and identity. It celebrates the dynamic nature of art, where the meaning and significance of a piece can shift over time.

In conclusion, Parfit’s theories offer a profound lens through which we can examine the nature of art and the artist’s identity. Whether viewed through the prism of the Ego Theory or the Bundle Theory, art stands as a profound reflection of the complexities and nuances of personal identity, challenging our perceptions of selfhood and creativity.

This thought experiment, inspired by Derek Parfit’s teleportation paradox, presents a fascinating philosophical conundrum involving the concepts of personal identity, artistic creation, and ownership. Let’s explore this scenario for logical flow and clarity, considering the implications of both the ego theory and the bundle theory.

Scenario Setup

  • Premise: An artist enters an isolated pod and starts an art project (sculpting a block of marble), with their brain states and cellular structure being recorded.
  • Twist: Unbeknownst to them, a replica artist is created in another pod at the opposite end of the Earth, starting an identical art project simultaneously. The artworks produced are indistinguishable in every visible aspect.

Analysis: Ego Theory vs. Bundle Theory

  1. Ego Theory Implications:
    • Assumption: There are two bodies but only one original ego or soul.
    • Artistic Ownership: The artwork, in this theory, is attributed to the one and only original ego or soul.
    • Paradox: While there are two physical artworks, the ego theorist would argue that they are expressions of a single soul. Thus, both artworks, though physically distinct, are spiritually and conceptually one, raising questions about the uniqueness and ownership of the artwork.
  2. Bundle Theory Implications:
    • Assumption: There are two identical sets of physical and mental processes.
    • Artistic Ownership: Each artwork is attributed to the distinct set of physical and mental processes that created it.
    • Paradox: In this view, both artworks are original since they are the products of two separate, though identical, sets of experiences and thoughts. This leads to a paradox where each artwork is both an original and a replica, challenging the notion of individuality in art.

Philosophical Paradoxes and Questions

  1. Originality and Authenticity:
    • Ego Theory: If there’s one soul, does it diminish the uniqueness of each artwork?
    • Bundle Theory: If both are original, what does it mean for the concept of individual artistic creation?
  2. Ownership and Attribution:
    • Ego Theory: The concept of ownership becomes nebulous if there’s one soul behind two physical artworks.
    • Bundle Theory: While each artwork can be attributed to a distinct set of experiences, the identical nature of these experiences challenges traditional notions of ownership and authorship.
  3. Concept of Self and Artistic Expression:
    • Ego Theory: Raises questions about the role of the self in artistic creation – is the art a reflection of a singular soul, regardless of physical duplication?
    • Bundle Theory: Puts forward a view of art as a momentary expression of a constantly changing bundle of experiences and thoughts, where replication does not diminish uniqueness.


This thought experiment intriguingly highlights the philosophical complexities surrounding concepts of self, originality, and ownership in art. Whether viewed through the lens of the ego theory or the bundle theory, it challenges our traditional understanding of what it means to create and own a piece of art, especially in an age where replication and duplication are increasingly feasible. Each theory offers a unique perspective on the relationship between the artist’s identity and their creative output, opening up a rich field for philosophical exploration and debate.

Travel for art

What could an art traveller be?

A set of travel for art practices

I recall traveling through towns both in Australia and overseas. It’s about the art of seeing a place from multiple points of view. However, this is contrasted with travel to see sites as defined by a travel agency. So, art traveller practice is one of encounter. We, therefore, see objects and artifacts in new ways qualified by a given identity. So photography and writing, as well as the vlogs, become tools for expressing travel art. The article outdoor art: a philosophical guide to its place in the tropics explores these topics in a general sense.

Travel for art

A traveller committed to travel for purposes of pilgrimage, seeking liberation from platitudes in life. A question about secular art forms and travel to galleries. Could this be a form of liberation from platitudes of life? Easy travel within a city where an urbanite may transcend through traveling within by token of the art object. So it is from within the impulse may lead to forms of encounter with new representational systems of knowledge.

A group function to exhibit some form of content

The group function as a form of life in that the speech conforms to perception. To quote Ludwig Wittgenstein.

What is the criterion of the visual experience?-The criterion? What do you suppose? The representation of ‘what is seen’.

Philosophical investigations. 169

The art object supervenes as a connotational representation by being associated with cultural content. So the art traveller may function as an intermediary between ‘forms of life’ as Wittgenstein notes in Philosophical investigations.

A travel for art lifestyle choice

It was sometime around 2000 that I met a couple who claimed to have sold all there real estate in order to do full time travel. Fast forward to 2020 and they are still exploring regions artefacts, cuisine and with some satire of the our times, albeit slowed down due to current world events.

The art traveller pursues a lifestyle through choice of destination. However the super transient variety can make it into an art object. Therefore the art of reportage as a form of grass roots democracy. So by traversing geographical formations a objective cultural forms emerges. These are lived experiences of lifestyle. So as the traveller takes part in objective culture that develops into an art traveller.

What is between art and travel?

An interdependent relation.

  • The individual or small group passes through geographical spots.
  • A function of practices between groups or persons .
  • Lockes’ primary qualities, and secondary qualities create content of mind.

The aethetic romanitic.

  • romantic is usually an individual
  • has a sense of place within a grand narrative.

So an account of the nomad traverses the great Australian emptiness in search for creative moments that lead to one or another sense of being grounded in the context of and extended temporal event that gives meaning out there in a landscape of desert and emerald seas crashing onto the formation of rock. For it is the new meaning s of life that a cultural nomad is in search for through a plethora of creative interface modalities.

Sociology paraphrase
relation between art and travel

Modal realism & art in the Tropics

What is modal realism.

The view that the world at any instance could be distinct in some way from the present state of affairs. That is so long as there is no contradiction of any state of affairs. Thought experiments pertaining to personal identity best clarify the central philosophical problem

What has modal realism got to do with art?

Any ascribed art object is an ordinary object. Though possibly any ordinary object could never be an art object. Therefore ordinary objects could be art objects.

What has modal realism got to do with art in the tropics?

It the approach I take to philosophy, as a situational, given the current location when writing is in tropical Queensland, Townsville.

Necessity of the art object

The problem modal realism poses to the artistic pursuit is the rendering of a possible world, as actual. Actual as a necessary condition, therefore denoting the object/art as possible if imagined to be true. However, if the name links to a referent, it is an art object by token of being actual. However, this faces the problem outlined by Russel pertaining to the existence of persons in relation to a description. Kripke, a contemporary philosopher, suggests the ‘cluster concept theory’. A series of concepts gives a more robust meaning to a name. The philosophical point: is this the case in all possible worlds? A couple more questions. Could art exist in all possible worlds? Could art have no resemblance if in another world? So if not art in all possible worlds, what makes it art in this world?

Art object as true in all possible worlds.

Artists who ponder the philosophical foundations fall into two primary camps. The realist material world theorists, or idealists mental construct theorists. However, a third and often overlooked option, is a possible world realism. The first two categories lay within the literature of art history. Realism pertains to material culture as an artefact. Idealism is anything external to the individual has its correlate as a mental phenomenon actualised as a passionate personal commitment to the ideal or ideology.

Possible worlds relate to contingent identity. An art object is contingent to a referent. The referent may go by different names. However only a particular could be the creator of that object in all possible worlds. This entails a cluster of concepts that ‘rigidly designates’ between object and referent. This compatibilist approach to realism and idealism takes on many forms.

Modality realism as distinct essences pertaining to objects

A thought experiment around modal realism.

Sculptures X and Y have the identical form. That is each sculpture is made from the same caste.
Sculptures X and Y also have identical aggregate or material substance. That is the pile of sand and cement are similar in content.
Are both sculptures identical?
Well in the sense that an observer could not identify X from Y they seem to be in form and content copies.

However, if X and Y have distinct modal essences then a divergence would take place once the aggregate is caste.
That is each sculpture has distinct modal properties.

Object X is different from object Y by token of being separated by space-time. According to relativity X and Y are distinct by token of their relative position. Identity necessarily changes if X went at a relative speed to Y, and so if X could possibly be different to Y then X could be identical to Y given the chance of being super imposed through entanglement.

A sculptural odyssey: learn stone sculpture, India.

Outdoor sculpture

Outdoor art as a international travellers’ tale

So outdoor art has a general philosophy which I discuss in depth in my outdoor art: a philosophical guide. However this is about a traveller narrative that can be excessed in full on my journey in 2017/18. It is through a series of journal style accounts I discuss a sculpture travel journey as a mode of influence can lead to pursuits such as stone sculpture tuition if the traveller extends their boundaries.

Transformative experiences

Therefore the odyssey emerges as a form of life. Its the self through the passage of time that could be in theory, not a passage but interconnected points in a complex matrix. What I am suggesting is by taking up a project like sculpture tuition it can be a profoundly transformative experience.

Street sculptural matrix/passage

After a few months of travel that began in the Himalayan region, I landed once again (last time was 2004) at the tropical seaside stone sculpture port town of Mahabalipuram. It was a comfortable place to recuperate from stressful bus trips and cycling through many challenging road types. Soon I came across an out of the way accommodation with a family unit who the notion of a sculpture travel journey. It was only a day later I came upon a non-aligned soft stone sculptor who made intricately carved animals for the tourist market. He was interested in taking on small paid projects between his contracts with established sculpture workshops, which employed him on a contract basis. 

We came upon an agreed price for sculpture tuition to do a week-long project with the help of a polisher and carrier who positioned the stone as well as was an aid to bring tools, tea, and assorted tasks. The place for street sculpture began in what appeared to be an abandoned construction, which was the family estate, on hold due to a lack of finance set in a back street. I could walk to the beach and shop for a getaway when I had enough grinding hard black granite.

What is Materialism in art, Philosophically?

The gallery was not found!

What is art materialism ?

There are two areas of interest in this question. The nature of materialism? Are artworks produced so to project the self into a transcendent realm, such as an afterlife within a life. That would be a cultural form of immortality as in material culture. The theory of the soul as a nonmaterial entity takes the opposite view. The self as a soul would be capable of an after-biological-life as a type of non material substance existing as it were as the mind and therefore consciousness within the world of things.

However, materialism places consciousness within the realm of brain functionalism. Therefore it is only that which is constructed by the person as works or properties of self qua genetic transference that would function as a type to token relation.

Therefore the notion of an earlier self concerning some future self would then count as a form of immortality given materialism considers the regeneration of cells as a class of life that would not entail the same type of entity to some future self. So in this sense, any early artworks would count as a form of self-identity that ostensibly linked to that phenomenological self.

Photography by I.Z. GiardinaPhotography by I.Z. Giardina