Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Black Box Pluralism

"Despite its claims, 'pluralism' is in itself, paradoxically, a unifying perspective, but a rather procrustean one. What it does is reduce all cultural differences to a sort of grid of cultural black boxes laid out over an infinite plane, boxes whose external form is safely measurable but whose contents are incommensurable and thus unknowable, and which are, as it were, the fundamental monads or quanta of reality. Geometrically it resembles the characteristic grid-design of the American city, or the relationship between departments in the American multiversity. Though pluralism forbids any attempt to perceive one cultural box as containing another, and thus revealing a comparable and measurable internal structure, it is itself a kind of gigantic box containing all other boxes as its subordinate material. Thus, like relativism, it contains a subtle hegemonic ambition of its own.

"One way of describing what is the problem with pluralism is to say that if the universe is curved, even a simple sphere, no grid of equal rectilinear blocks can cover (or 'tile') it without overlap. Specialization, and the definition of smaller and smaller cultural units, might be seen as the desperate resource of an intellectual culture trying to solve exactly this problem. If the world's squares are small enough, perhaps the distortions of the world's curvature will somehow go away" (Frederick Turner 1991, Tempest, Flute and Oz: Essays on the Future pp. 30-1).

(Image from blog.jovoto.com)


Anonymous said...

Hi, Im from Melbourne Australia.

Please check out these related references.




John said...

Hi, anonymous. I don't know much about Adi Da Samraj, but I'm skeptical of anyone who claims to be this-or-that "divine avatar", and of New Ageism and the guru ethos in general. Some of Adi Da's art is pleasant, in a kaleidoscopic, mandala-ish sort of way. Personally, I prefer figurative drawing/painting and the odd fractal. I'll have to look more closely at the sites you listed here another time.

To be completely honest, my first impression is that he might be a little full of himself.