Wednesday 29 May 2013

Jeremy Bentham vs. Yang Wan Li

Intense, long, certain, speedy, fruitful, pure—

Such marks in pleasures and in pains endure.

Such pleasures seek if private be thy end:

If it be public, wide let them extend

Such pains avoid, whichever be thy view:

If pains must come, let them extend to few.

(Jeremy Bentham)

'When Yang Wan Li, prefect of Changzhou, found leisure to write some poetry he found the difficulties of administration grow light. Unfettered from past models, writing in a natural style, he was astonished by his own productivity. Having returned to the capital, Yang received a letter from an old friend 'Changzhou has recently had another change of prefect. The prefecture you once found no trouble in administering is now at least ten times as difficult! Are you still not ready to bring out those poems you wrote there?"

'The Poems are a tool to straighten out the world. There are people who say, “In the Way of the sages, the Book of Propriety is strict, while the Poems are easy-going.” Well, I must ask: who is there who understands that the Propriety is easy-going within its strictness, and the Poems strict within their easy-going nature? When the sages were finding the way to straighten out the world, they first had to find how to hunt out the world’s strongest common feelings. 
When they had found these common feelings, and worked in accordance with them in the task of straightening people out, how could they fail to be obeyed? For reform grows from repentance, and repentance grows from [acknowledgement of] public society. If repentance is not spoken about, it is no longer unsettling: if it is not spoken about in public, self-interest and denial take over. ... The sages would never allow the world to lose the sting of repentance, or to deny the force of public criticism. And so in this way they called on the public to make the criticism, and used that criticism to inspire repentance. So the world’s miscreants cannot avoid
repentance. Repentance brings reform, and reform brings return to the fold of goodness. This is the way that the Poems teach! Are the poems really easy-going, then? Majestic in the inexorability of their criticism, absolute in the implacability of their judgments: are the Poems really not strict?'
Yang Wan Li, Shilun

What the Celestial Emperor in wry jest has spoken
I understand- the paulownia leaf as jade token
Enfeoffing poor poets
Poor poets! Beauty buys grief not land.
This is my version of Yan Wan Li's
(from 'Sunflower Splendor'- my favourite Chinese anthology)
In my version, I've put in a reference to the founder of the Sate of Chin (from which we get the name China) who was enfeoffed jestingly by the Emperor with a paulownia leaf cut to look like the jade token of feudal office.
Yan Wan Li somehow captured my imagination when I was young. I now think that he represents a sort of Utilitarian ontological dysphoria that unites all that is best in Buddhism with China's own long and variegated tradition of literary culture as inculcating zeal for the common good.

Monday 27 May 2013

Post-Orientalist Citizenship & Pluritopic Hermeneutics.

In 1948, Satre, a leading French shit-head, pointed out that Negroes are not utter  beasts and so they should like maybe take some time out from swinging from tree to tree to say something interesting or write poetry or whatever.

Every sensible person at that time either ignored him or said- 'You're an ugly smelly French cunt. Fuck off.'
But Satre replied
for three thousand years the white man has enjoyed the privilege of seeing without being seen; he was only a look – the light from his eyes drew each thing out of the shadow of its birth; the whiteness of his skin was another look, condensed light. The white man – white because he was man, white like daylight, white like truth, white like virtue – lighted up the creation like a torch and unveiled the secret white essence of beings. (Sartre 1964, p. 13)
Everybody sensible replied- Oi, ugly smelly french cunt, you and the rest of your primitive tribe of cheese-eating surrender monkeys would be still being fucked over in Nazi Labour camps if it weren't for the rest of the World turning up and Liberating your dirty white asses. Get over yourself. You are shit and you know you are shit. Go fuck yourself.

In 2012, Prof. Engin Isin (a white dude) who works for the British Open University, wrote a paper, quoting Satre's passage glorifying Whitey given above, about the 'Unfinished Project' of black dudes like not swinging from tree to tree all the time and maybe becoming citizens or overcoming Orientalism or something of that sort.

Now, it is true that, not being a columnist for the Daily Maily, he doesn't actually come out and say- 'D-uh! Blacks are completely shit. Always have been, always will be. So of course, the project of them not being shit  is unfinished- indeed, it hasn't gotten off the ground.'- still, that's what his essay cashes out as.
Reading a random snippet of his shite answers that question.
'...the language of politics and the vocabulary of citizenship are as sedimented as the history of negritude, which Sartre saw as having existed for ‘3000 years’. It is in these 3000 years – from Ancient Greece to modern Euro-America – that the figure not only of man (and much later of woman) but also of the citizen occupies a special place. This invented tradition marks out man and woman from citizen and designates the latter as the subject of politics or, more precisely, as the political subject. Notwithstanding the disagreement between Agamben (1998, pp. 126–135) and Derrida (2001, pp. 3–24) on what to make of this distinction between ‘man’ (and ‘woman’) and ‘citizen’, which Arendt (1973, pp. 267–302) had most clearly articulated as a question, it taught us how it functions in differentiating those who are considered as proper subjects of politics and those who are not. For Agamben, the distinction between zoē (man and woman) and bios (citizen) meant an opposition: the former standing for bare life while the latter signifying a political life. Derrida remained sceptical of this distinction not least because they were opposed terms, but also because he did not think that bare life (man and woman) and political life (citizen) could be separated as distinct terms. Yet, what did not seem to occur to Arendt, Agamben, or Derrida was how the distinction between man and citizen may have derived from a series of divides between the colonized and the colonizer, the orient and the occident, and the south and the north. On three occasions above I added, ‘citizen’ to ‘man’ and ‘woman’ precisely to draw attention to that difference that may have derived from the experience of coloniality.'

Okay. Time for a Reality Check. Dr. Ambedkar was a black dude. He wrote the Constitution of India. Was his language of politics and citizenship 'sedimented' with worthless shite culled ultimately from the Nazi fuckwit Heidegger who shat all over Greek philology? No. Not at all. Yet, Ambedkar was concerned with the Dalit- the 'broken man'- a concept with a formal homology with negritude. Unlike Derrida, Agamben, Arendt or Satre, Ambedkar's Project has most definitely got off the ground. Why? Ambedkar studied Law and Economics and Real World Sociology. Then- instead of getting a teaching job- he actually practiced Law and took well-researched, well-argued positions, as a Public Intellectual- one talking to grown ups- across a range of Socio-Economic policy issues. 
He did not waste time on Ontologically-up-their-own-arse fuckwits of a sort which every Scholastic Classical Philology has a stinking stable full. Every fucking provincial High School or Teacher Training College has a bunch of shitheads ready to lecture you on how only the local dialect is fitted for true Phenomenology and all them foreigners from down the road or across the river are worse than monkeys whom one should be nice to because they just aint ever gonna be able to get with the program and rise to a level of anything we could recognize as genuine sentience- let alone humanity.

What about Fanon? Black dude surely? Yes, but he fucked up big time. He got it wrong on the Algerian junta- so did lots of smart people, including South Asian diplomats posted there in Sixties and Seventies- but then he was a Psychiatrist- i.e. crazy as a bed bug by definition.
Is it true he inspired 'anti colonial national liberation movements'? No. Successful movements inspired other successful movements. Movements which were clearly bullshit or marked 'EPIC FAIL' from the get go didn't inspire anything except cowardly poseurs trying to make out they were actually refugees rather than economic migrants. Still, I guess they have their hang-outs- I'm guessing Prof. Isin is a sort of wet-nurse or child-minder for one such play-group- and it makes sense that they graft their own stupidity to that of worthless Heidegger worshiping fuckwits or Foucault or Deleuze level Schizophrenics.

What about Walter Mignolo? This is the blurb of his 'The Darker side of Western Modernity-'
During the Renaissance, Europeans colonized time and space, inventing the historical eras Antiquity and the Middle Ages; mapping, appropriating, and exploiting the Americas; and establishing the idea that European modernity was the apogee of human history and the model for the world to emulate. Mignolo analyzes the “colonial logic” that has driven five hundred years of Western imperialism, from colonialism through neo-liberalism, and he describes resistance, from the sixteenth century onward, to the projection and violent forcing of modern European ideals onto the non-European world.
The Europeans colonized Time? Really? Does every Whitey have a Tardis in his broom closet? No wonder Whites are never late for appointments! I guess what went down at Versailles on the 28th of June, 1919, was Fanon and Ho Chi Minh and Dr. Ambedkar had arranged to meet at 12 o'clock at the Starbucks so as to overthrow Western Imperialism but, because them wily Europeans had colonized Time and Space, they were able to rig things so Fanon turned up at 1 p.m and stood around for a bit before hooking up with a young Simone de Beauvoir, and then Ambedkar turns up at 2 p.m, because Whitey dun messed with his time-line, and he stood around for a bit before hooking up with a still young, but noticeably disheveled Simone de Boudoir, and then Ho Chi Minh turns up and just loses his rice completely and goes back to Vietnam and kung fu kicks the shit out of Rambo.
Incidentally, the story I've just told you about isn't just me being silly and trying to raise a laugh. On the contrary it is what Prof. Mignolo calls -‘pluritopic hermeneutics’, 
(by which term)  Mignolo means an ‘… interactive concept of knowledge and understanding that reflects on the very process of constructing (e.g. putting in order) that portion of the world to be known’ (2003, p. 15). He opposes this against comparative studies – a fashion of telling a story from different points of view to show how the invention of reality is relative. By contrast,
what a pluritopic approach emphasizes is not cultural relativity or multiculturalism, but the social and human interests in the act of telling a story as political intervention. The politics of enacting and of constructing loci of enunciation are at stake, rather than the diversity of representations resulting from differential locations in telling stories or building theories. (Mignolo 2003, p. 15)
In other words- mouthing paranoid politically correct shite is better for Mignolo's project than thinking or reasoning. Why? Without a psychotic break in discourse- e.g. the notion that Whites control Time and Space- anything appearing 'pluritopic' will tend to cash out as diegetic- in other words there is some way for an outsider to construct the whole thing as the solution to a co-ordination problem. Or as, the Prof. less accurately puts it-
'If we assume that every culture in the world has to have activities similar to ours, although differently conceptualized, we have a false start, since one culture (the one to which the humanities and the social sciences belong) is attributed a universal value, and the possibility of looking at things otherwise is automatically ruled out. Thus, while comparisons continue to be made from the European perspective, questions in a different direction are seldom asked. (Mignolo 2003, p. 332)'
Clearly, the above is silly- at least from the European perspective because we Europeans have a notion of gauge invariances. However, if we re-write the Prof's thesis in operationalizable terms then we see that, provided there are no psychotic breaks on either side, all extensional terms are either going to match or have a non empty core for the underlying co-ordination problem. This holds even for ontologically dysphoric- as opposed to psychotic- concepts or world views.
As a matter of common experience, at least for English, non-European terms and concepts often supplant the indigenous variant- as in 'karma' replacing 'fith fath' or 'treading the weird' or even 'metempsychosis'- precisely because of a richer extensional domain.

Does 'Post-Orientalist Citizenship' mean anything? Yes, if there is a psychotic break in discourse such that Whitey gets magic properties and Blackie is revealed to have had the game stacked against her from the start. Does such a psychotic break actually exist in 2013? Fuck no. Some people are pretending it exists coz of corrupt Institutionalized Political Correctness and coz there is a rent-seeking Credentialized Academic Ponzi scheme still spewing out unemployable Post-Doc shitheads, but that oughtn't to worry the rest of us. Unless what's missing in your bed-side drawer- you know the one I mean- is a big tube of Pluritiopic Hermeneutics for when David Cameron comes round and he's brought Obama with him and you just can't bring yourself to watch even though you'd promised your Mom to live stream it on your i-phone.

Thursday 23 May 2013

The true Abhijnanasakuntalam

Whether his mother lustily sinned, or, in Love, was betrayed
Certes, the first Emperor of Ind, profited by her trade
Said Shakuntala to the King- whatever the cost
Kiss my ring or thine heir is lost.

U.R. Ananthamurthy interview.

U.R Ananathamurthy explains how even ordinary women without a PhD from Birmingham and who haven't read Foucault can stop swinging from trees for a moment or two and make various gestures and guttural noises which are way more...urm...  like full of that thing which is also the subject matter of semantics?... than those fucking Marxist bastards whose PhDs are from Cambridge.

This is him talking about an acclaimed fellow author- Vaidehi- who is also present and talking for herself-

Interviewer- But would she still be able to swing from tree to tree?
Ananthamurthy- Not if that cunt Bhyrappa gets his way and turns Karnataka into another Hindutva laboratory a la Modi's Gujerat!  I tell you, if it hadn't been for Tipu Sultan, ordinary women like her who haven't even read Foucault would be denied opportunities even to eat Gunter Grass let alone swing from tree to tree! BTW did they give me the Mann Booker pize yet?
Interviewer- No.
Ananthamurthy- Fucking Islamaphobes!  The guy chairing the selection committee was obviously gay- even wearing a skirt and lip-stick!
Interviewer- I think that was a woman.
Ananthamurthy- Nonsense. He wasn't swinging from tree to tree at all. Get your facts straight.

Why Anantamurthy failed to win Man Booker prize.

The fix was in. A gang of Bangalore based bookies had bribed the Judges to secure the Man Booker trophy for our home boy. But when the Judges asked, 'Are you Anantamurthy?' he replied- 'No. You are.'- which they thought rude.
Same thing happened with the Nobel.
Ironically, Lydia Davis actually wrote a story about this but tl;dr.
Personally, I blame David Cameron.
That boy aint right.

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Umaswati & Neale's slingshot

Suppose there is some proposition which everybody would agree was purely factual. On analysis, would we expect to find that this proposition is a part of just one big super-Fact?
In philosophy, what are termed slingshot arguments, appear to militate towards this conclusion- a very old one, which, in Jainism is attributed to Lord Mahavira- viz. 'whoever grasps one thing in its entirety, grasps all things'. The underlying notion here is easy to grasp. Everything is subtly connected to everything else so a 'true' fact about one thing turns out to be an Ariadne's thread which leads us to every other 'true' fact of the Universe. Since you are part of the Universe, it would be enough for the project 'know thyself' to yield at least one 'true fact' for you to be on your way to pontificating on everything under the sun.
 What happens if 'facts' aren't once-and-for-all statements but rather self-subsistent dynamic systems?.
Since Jainism has a dynamic conception of substance (parinami dravya) such that a sort of 'evolution' from insentient to sentience continually occurs, it was possible for it to embrace a sort of heat death for the Universe such that all beings eventually enjoyed 'kevalya' undifferentiated omniscient-bliss for a truly infinite eternity after some inconsequential and purely momentary infinity of striving- or the illusion of striving- on this earthly plane. One corollary was that Jainism had a sort of 'scientific' rationale for fantastic adventures- e.g. teleportation to a 'bliss universe' so as to gain an omniscience not available down here at this time- and that it gave impetus to the Novel as a literary form. The other side of this coin was a renewed interest in fact driven disciplines- Medicine, Astronomy, Metallurgy, comparative Linguistics- in a manner that turned Jain monastic centers into catalysts of 'Knowledge Based' Psychic Capital formation across the breadth Classical India.
Similarly, in Nineteenth Century Europe, for at least some neo-Hegelians, it came to be the case that grasping one factual thesis would be enough to reconstruct the entire family tree of a dialectic process stretching both forward and backward in Time. Thus for the anatomist J.P. Muller, the Malthusian or catastrophic element in Darwinism was of no account. Facts about an organ were all he needed. Similarly the Marxist project was associated with turning' facts' about factory work in 1840 into an ineluctable family tree describing all possible History for everybody and at all times.

Essentially, the notion I'm seeking to articulate is that 'slingshot arguments' or the intuition that 'facts' are  collapsible and nested truths, while encouraging a particular sort of, 'pattern cladist' or 'ideal type' analysis- we may describe this as a sedulous ergodics of  process-less phase spaces- though, on an analogy with Sraffa style theory, apparently militating for Psychic Capital formation, nevertheless carried the seeds for something wholly stultifying and unwelcome. For Jainism, it was the idiocy of Caste and the fetishizing of Ahimsa. For J.P Mueller's intellectual heirs, it was the noxious doctrine of 'Race Science'. For Marx, it was the relegation of 'Dead' Capital to a Vampiric 'repugnancy market'.

In this context, Stephen Neale's work on the slingshot- which shifts the focus of attention to the trade off that must always arise in a complex system between precision ('fine graining') and significance (predictive power) as in Zadeh's Law of Incompatibility- provides some valuable footholds for our reading of Umaswati so as to  restore syadvad to us as having a genuine soteriological, rather than casuist, function.
In this context,  I had previously thought 'right cognition' might be expounded w.r.t the theory of repeated games- but this involved me in either committing to a Tim Maudlin type metaphysics or getting stuck with actual karmic rebirth in various Universes- whereas, Neale's clarifications and the literature it has given an impetus to is far closer to the sort of debate from which Umaswati's work arises- it's just we don't have the lecture notes and working papers- and so a better alternative is to stick with logic and refine our notion of the manner in which the 'karmic obstructor' is the logical 'internal opponent'- i.e. rather than turn a philosophical debate into an adventure story in parallel dimensions, or make game theory do work it isn't fit for, the better approach would be to go back to one's own homework assignment on syadvad logic- which consists in working out how to be less of an all round shit- but this time without a meretricious crib downloaded from the always irrelevant Internet.

Saturday 18 May 2013

A foolish article by Prof. Michael Gardiner

This is a link to an incredibly stupid and badly written essay by Michael Gardiner, a Prof. of Eng Lit, which is  available at National Collective and, in amended form, also appears on Open Democracy.
Prof, Gardener writes-
Self-determination campaigns will find easy pickings in post-2008 austerity policies and the long embrace of neoliberalism by the Labour Party since the early ’90s. Too easy, in a way, because there is another question here which is as old as Britain itself. This question’s modern and most successfully total expression comes in the 1940s settlement we still often see as a natural inheritance to be preserved, the tremendously perishable 1942 form of the welfare state. We are still living this moment, it has an emotional appeal which only partially still holds, and it is the most ‘sticky’ of the claims to British achievement. This is a moment which we should start to historicise.
Gardner says there is a 1942 form of the British Welfare State. Is this true? Urm... no. There was no N.H.S in '42 so - duh!- there wasn't any Welfare State at all- just a patchwork of local provision. Beveridge was a guy who had been side-lined by Churchill and his Report was talked up after the fact but had no importance in itself. The truth is, if the conditions for over-full employment hadn't obtained for all manufacturing nations in the 50's, then Beveridge 'full employment' would never have gained currency as a meme.
Gardner believes that a Question was born some time ago and it is the same age as Britain. Anyway, this Question was just wandering around minding its own business when suddenly in 1942, some guy or bunch of guys gave it its most modern and successful total expression. Something similar happened to me on my 17th birthday when the girls in the Indian YMCA caught hold of me and painted my nails and put make-up on my face and dressed me in a flowery dupatta. No, I didn't turn totally Gay but then I'm not a Question as old as Britain itself which is why it is totally senile and, as if in obedience to Schopenhauer's theory of pederasty, did actually turn totally Gay and not the nice hygienic sort of Gay but like real sticky Gay which is why we are still like trapped in a Time loop coz it has got stuck inside us and has 'an emotional appeal which only partially holds' even tho' we're all like -'stop fucking guilt tripping me you sticky and totally senile Gay and just get out of my orifice already- fuck, is that super-glue oozing out of you? you filthy old pervert- shit, this gonna hurt so bad...'
Even if Gardiner is right, and a Question as old as England got a makeover in 1942 which turned it totally sticky and Gay and it is now up our arse, would it still be true that some moment exists which we should start to historicise?
Fuck no! Some filthy Gay is up your butt- what you need is fucking surgical intervention or like maybe Ricky Martin serenading that Gay and luring it out of your rectum or something like that. Historicizing the moment aint gonna help.  
Gardener, who is in no hurry to get this senile and sticky pervert out of his butt, continues his essay thus-
It’s easy to feel anti-social complaining about British services. It’s also important to remember, though, that the British Union was has never been defined in terms of the participation of the people, but just the opposite, as the defence against popular sovereignty understood not formally but as a principle of timeless accretion and based on the adaptation of always already existing interests. If the British nationalism in today’s press and broadcast media seems transparent, it is because Britain is less a nation than a rationalisation of credit. In is governmental form it first arises from the time of the import of the Anglo-Dutch financial system after 1688, its guarantee in perpetuity by the Hanoverian crown, and central banks which support it from the 1690s. As Daniel Defoe was describing in 1706, its raison d’état is as an investment entity, which depended on avoiding, rather than promoting, shared action.
Why is it easy to 'feel anti-social' complaining about British services? If I say- State Schools aint teaching proper English like wot I rite- or the fucking post code lottery dun bin killing ma peeps- fuck is anti-social about that? Perhaps, what Gardner- a Prof of Eng Lit- means is 'complaining against the very existence of British Public Services makes one feel anti-social'. But that's coz it is fucking anti-social. Now you may say- Vivek, you don't understand. You see if the N.H.S disappeared then like Ayn Rand or Joan of Arc or La Passionara would suddenly appear in the Sky and wave a magic wand and there'd be a dedicated fully staffed Hospital in every broom cupboard and you personally would have an entire Eng Lit faculty from Oxford, or some fancy place like that, to correct your abysmal prose and like wipe the drool off you next time you start typing one of your illiterate blogposts. So, you see, my criticism of the N.H.S and whatever rubbishy Adult Education College you are enrolled at, isn't anti-social at all"
 My riposte is- 'fuck off you big loony. You are too anti-social coz u r pretending to be like a Professor or summat. By the way no Crown, Hanoverian or otherwise can guarantee a Financial System even if some fuckwit is stupid enough to think it can have 'a Reason of State as an investment entity.' Financial systems, national, trans-national or whatever, contain investment vehicles and debt instruments. States can survive the crash of a Financial system- Iceland yo! yo!- or they can fail though the financial system survives- the Afghan currency didn't disappear during the Civil War though five different powers were printing money- so Gardiner is writing portentous nonsense- on a par with Sokal's famous spoof article.
Gardener says- look, British services are tied to British sovereignty which, historically, was oligarchic not popular.                                                                           He is wrong. The State did not create Services like Education, Social Insurance and Health provision, or even a Law & Order machinery. Indeed, it often opposed the burgeoning of these things because they increased Popular Sovereignty. Universal Education meant workers might cease to 'know their place'. Florence Nightingale's efforts were opposed by the War Office because it might harm the fighting spirit of the Army rank and file and thus endanger National Security. Still, for reasons well understood by non-shite Economic Historians- i.e. not shitheads like Polyani who thought most human beings didn't go in for trade and division of labor till Adam Smith told them to- what ineluctably transpired was that locally produced Services were increasingly centralized, codified, and made more uniform but, in general, this was fought tooth and nail both by vested interests as well as paranoid nut-jobs ranging across the spectrum from Tory Radical types to Trotskyite silly-arses.
Gardener's original essay was in the context of Scottish Nationalism- in which it is not a non seqitur, yet still historically illiterate, to speak of the 'import of the Anglo-Dutch financial system- yet, he presents the same material under the rubric of a critique of English Nationalism. How the fuck do we import something which is already ours? Where there is credit, it is going to be rationalized- either that or it stops being credit. Why? In business, rational agents survive, irrational ones go to the wall. Now it is true that both rent seeking vested interests and exhibitionist paranoid nutjobs with a gift for phrase making violently oppose rationalization of any sort- but, long run, either they lose or crash the system. Incidentally, rational action is always shared action- Nash equilibria- read about it sometime why don't you- what isn't shared action is paranoid logorhea spouted by an illiterate Eng Lit Prof who is pretending he knows from Econ or History or Politics.
Gardner's gadarening essay carries on thus
After the financial eighteenth century and after dealing with tricky rebels, John Locke’s and Daniel Defoe’s non-experiential citizenship as property would be reinvented as nature itself from the 1790s by Romantics reacting to the French Revolution, and would then be exported into empire as the timeless inheritance. But it took on its most durable form with the modernisation of the 1920s and ’30s with which it has to adapt parliamentary sovereignty to a straitened empire, in cultural forms which took in the 1920s and ’30s in figures including J.M. Keynes (economics), John Reith (broadcast), and F.R. Leavis (literature). In the modernising era fiat currency took much the place gold has during high empire as a unifying principle, official and examined models of civility took the place of inheritance, and the state broadcaster reached every home with its Commonwealth unionist message.
What is the 'financial eighteenth century'? Does Gardener mean 'the system of finance characteristic of the Eighteenth Century England'? This begs the question- did such a system exist in a form that could be cognized as sufficiently monolithic to permit its re-invention as 'Nature itself'? The short answer is no. There were competing systems of finance, one Mercantilist the other Market based and pronounced tension between them made visible in, for example Adam Smith & Edmund Burke whose ringing denunciation of Mercantilist Imperialism- which Burke termed 'Indianism' (i.e. the corrupt rent-seeking of the East India Company)- concludes by asserting it to be a greater threat to England than 'Jacobinism'. All this being widely known to be the case, it is simply foolish to suggest that so heteroclite a viewpoint could be 'exported to Empire as the timeless inheritance' (sic).
 Gardener tells us that not only was some non-heteroclite thesis exported but that it took a more, indeed 'most', durable form in the 20's and 30's. This is fucked in the head. Ronald Coase, whom the Right has illegitimately claimed, defeats Reithianism with his Wicksteed based critique less than half way through the Thirties and it is his Law & Econ approach which remains relevant to us today. F.R. Leavis was a shit-head- which great author did he influence? Did Joyce go- 'better abandon Finnegan's Wake and write some shite about copulating mine-workers coz that's what Queenie gets off on?' Fuck no. The 20's and 30's were described as a 'Long' (that is Lost) Weekend by people who lived through it. During the Battle of Britain, two English authors- James Hilton and Graham Greene- write novels showing that the period was a sort of amnesiac Waste Land with no connection between what went before and what was to come. As for Gardener's reference to Keynes- does he really not get that Keynes was a voice in the wilderness from Versailles till Lend-Lease? Fuck is wrong with this shithead? What does this mean-  In the modernising era fiat currency took much the place gold has during high empire as a unifying principle- fiat currencies have always existed, sometimes with full gold convertibility sometimes with notional convertibility sometimes with only black market convertibility. This is true of 'High Empires' as well as  'modernising regimes'. Monetary Econ 101 explains why- as happened in the U.K during the 20's and 30's- a country may, over a decade or two, cycle through all these variants. What fucking 'unifying principle' is this shithead, Gardiner, talking about? The fact that people use money? No... it must be that Money uses people...yeah that's right... wow! that's like so profound... dude you are like totally blowing my mind!

Moving on, what price-  official and examined models of civility took the place of inheritance- urm... when have they not? Civil Society is by definition not Tribal or Clan based. It is of the essence of Civic interaction that genealogy only gains expression by courtesy. This is as true of the Meat Vendor in the Vyadha Gita as the industrious manufacturer in Adam Smith.
Finally- the state broadcaster reached every home with its Commonwealth unionist message- every home? Really? What they Govt. gave everybody a Radio set? Course they did, in fact it was a TV set which watched you as you watched it. Orwell described it so it must be true.
The problem with this paranoid view of them scary Radio Waves is that Reithianism wasn't consensus but contested and pretty much happened by default precisely because Radio and later TV just weren't as important for Britain because of the huge inheritance of other popular Media which, especially in its Working Class forms, had already mobilized stout popular defenses and could draw on a tradition pre-dating Defoe & Wilkes
The impetus for the latest, modernising defence of Britain was a grave, and yet familiar, defence in the fact of a terrifying Europe. Avoiding the European excesses of fascism, Britain was able to create something much more permanent. So George Orwell described how fascism would be laughable to the Brits while outlining a totalised vision of the late 1940s, Karl Polanyi spoke of a Great Transformation linking the classic liberalism of anti-Napoleonic times to the era of modern consensus, and Antonio Negri described how Keynesian economics identified fascism as primitive and ineffective compared to a more resilient and totalising force for continuity. The welfare state delivered great material benefits, but only at the cost of more effectively shielding the state from popular participation.
Orwell didn't know from Econ. The guys who did know from Econ, back then, made sure that people like Anuerin Bevan were getting well briefed- Bevan's speeches show an understanding of the Economic theory of Externalities avant la lettre. Incidentally, Abba Lerner- Coase's pal from the LSE- tried to educate Trotsky on marginal pricing back in the Thirties. Polanyi, unfortunately, didn't talk to the right guys at the Workers Education Association back in the mid 30's- shame, but there it is. Anyway, nobody not swotting for Oxbridge in an Alan Benett play actually fucking reads him.As for Negri- what he thinks aint worth shit. Even an Eng Lit Professor like Gardener must have read Keynes's famous introduction to the German edition of the General Theory. So fuck is his major malfunction? 
If the Welfare State yielded great material benefits- better housing, schools, health care- how did it 'effectively shield the state from popular participation'? A guy who is ill, ignorant and vagrant does not 'effectively participate' in popular sovereignty. True, he may give you his vote in return for a couple of bottles of Rum- but that aint a good thing. That's why rent-seeking vested interests don't want Public Services. That's why Political Econ, historically in this country, has worked very closely with Local Communities, Trade Unions and victims of Social exclusion. No doubt there are some shit-head Academics and Paranoid nutjob Op Ed writers who muddy the waters from time to time, but so what? Shitheads we shall always have with us.
I suppose there is a sort of Old Morality 'panem et Circen'- as Nietzche put it- cognitive bias behind Gardener's idiocy. But, we now know a lot about how fucking stupid such cognitive biases are. They are the reverse of rationality and have no place in Public Discourse. 
This modernised constitutional conservatism found its moment in War Keynesianism, with the state’s involvement in massive ‘public’ investment, understood as the defence of an inherited and unwritten way of life from European systematic political thought (the 1940s connoting 1790s invasion fears). This political totality, rather than using overt or identifiable coercion, demanded perpetual self-creation, as the personal itself became the new ground of expropriation. Whole lives were defined in terms of the state’s franchise, and progressiveness can now only be described as a desire for British social justice.
Wow! You couldn't make it up if you tried. Turns out there was never any Battle of Britain, no fucking Luftwaffe, no Hitler no Goering no Goebells. What actually happened was, all of a sudden, them 1790's invasion fears suddenly re-incarnated as 'War Kenynesianism' (though Keynes was against the way, for example, Beaverbrook pushed things through in Aircraft production) because you see the entire Cabinet- including people like Atlee and Bevin- said 'fuck, them nasty Continental ideas are trying to come over and like liberate the Sheeple. Let's invent a bogeyman called Hitler and 'rather than using overt or identifiable coercion' (which is why Britain didn't have Conscription, forced labor- e.g. chaps being sent down the coal mines against their will- exchange control, sumptuary laws etc etc) let us do something real sneaky- like create a Welfare State- coz ...urm... well, dunno but it sure sounds like a swell thing to do.

The truth is the present Econ crisis has a lot to do with Govts. being too lazy or being too afraid of being taken to task for due process mistakes or just, down right, too fucking incompetent to initiate and carry through the sort of Socially Beneficial program of Public works and Social Spending which will bring nominal asset prices back in alignment with what was previously and erroneously projected- i.e. liquidate toxic debt overhangs through real growth. The safer thing to do is just mouth Fox news type factoids while spending more time with your focus group figuring out whether a hair transplant is higher priority than a tummy tuck.
British 'progressives' missed a trick back in the '80's when they failed to spot a parallel with extensive privatization under the Nazis- crucially, this meant we got to win the Battle of Britain because the Govt. could go straight to Command Economy mode and produce aircraft, which though technically inferior to the German product on a case by case basis, nevertheless had greater tactical synergy- the German fighters were forced to fly sub-optimally and thus throw away their advantage because bombers were manufactured by a rival company with its own in built bureaucratic resistance to change. Essentially, Britain did better than Germany at that crucial time because it felt under greater existential threat- i.e. exigent circumstances cancel hysteresis effects and thus if any issue is felt to be urgent enough Polanyi type shite is fucking irrelevant (not to mention just Historically wrong.)

The early welfare state’s assumption of perpetual improvement was both modern and familiar, and originated with eighteenth-century whigs for whom inheritance was always the most progressive form. The new wartime consensus updated and strengthened the old whig, monetary Union, by redefining the person as both labourer and consumer, granting immediate material benefit but giving away the possibility of challenge of the ideal time of the unwritten continuant constitution, modernising Britain’s refusal of present-tense action. With welfare consensus, modernised state-capitalism became a moral act which was harder than ever to question. An instinctual way of life was perpetually ‘preserved’ (that is, created), and the ideological springboard of defence and privation would line up the entire British press, and state TV, behind it. Its conservative defence of unwritten sovereignty, though, is its downfall as well as its strength.
What does this mean?-  ' the early welfare state;s assumption of perpetual improvement...originated with eighteenth century whigs for whom inheritance was always the most progressive form.' Form of what? Government? But, Whigs were against some inherited aspects of Govt and for others from which they personally derived a rent. The so called Whig theory of History-as-Progress is Nineteenth Century. There are plenty of steady-state formulations of Eighteenth Century Whiggery some of which are wholly Utopian and not inheritance based at all. Even in the Nineteenth Century, one can point to some Whig support for Chartism, for example, and a present day Whig Economist like Ken Binmore would have no difficulty tracing a hysteresis free (i.e. no inheritance) intellectual genealogy for himself. In any case, utilitarian legal scholars like Glanville Williams long ago supplied British & Commonwealth Judges with a hysteresis free theory of substantive due process- so fuck is this shite about 'heritage' and 'primitive accumulation'? Gardiner can't be that much younger or markedly more ignorant than me. Does he really believe there was an uncontested Butskellite consensus on any fucking thing? Ever? Fuck is wrong with the cunt?
Anyway, enough of this secular stupidity- like shouting écrasez l'infâme ever changed anything- so since my morning bottle of Rum is almost empty & it's off to the Offy in carpet slippers for yours truly; just to save time I'll simply copy and paste my comments from the Open Democracy blog before drunkenly staggering down Halford Rd. to the Hair of the Dog. My Sundays are horrible.
It's okay, the guy is a Prof. of English Literature so he doesn't understand what he's saying and it doesn't mean anything anyway.
Phew! Had me worried for a moment.Still, as a thought experiment, suppose this article had been typed out by a bunch of monkeys who hadn't a single PhD between them- in that case it would be worth our while to ask if it there is any truth to the notion that- 'the British sovereignty behind these public services has always in fact defined itself as a defence against popular sovereignty, a defence projected as timeless inheritance which is intuitive and ‘just there’.
What does this sentence mean? 'Public Services'- is that stuff like the N.H.S, Govt. funded Schools, National Insurance, the Police, the Fire Brigade etc.? Well, we know how each of them evolved. Take the 'Bow Street runners' or the Parish Poor House or the local Dame Schools- these are the seeds from which our modern Public Services have grown. Is there any evidence at all that 'British sorvereignty' was 'behind' these 'Tiebout model' locally produced services? We know how and why the drive to Centralization arose in each case- indeed, a Public Finance Economist who knows nothing of English History would pretty much be able to predict, in broad outline, how things would have panned out- i.e. what forces would have driven the evolution of such services. 'British sovereignty'- which last experienced a crisis in ...urm... dunno but it was definitely like days of yore and there were dragons and witches involved- never decided to go lurk behind 'public services' coz it was playing hide and seek with...urm.... dunno, maybe it was 'popular sovereignty' which had escaped out of the pages of some nice fairy tale which Professors of Eng Lit know about, and anyway like 'popular sovereignty' got bitten by a radio-active spider so its like all 'in your face British Sovereignty! I'm gonna whup yo ass bitch!' and like all them nice Lefties- who are totally gay- are going 'You leave British Sovereignty alone! It's timeless and just there. Have some museli. Toodle pip.'
Come to think of it- that's probably what is actually going down.
Personally, I blame David Cameron's breast feeding George Osborne but denying the teat to Nick Clegg who is clearly a victim of neglect or cot death or something. I'd have informed Child Services but turns out British Sovereignty is hiding out there pretending to be an anatomically correct- thus not Nick Clegg- doll.
Is it just me or does David Icke seem to be making more and more sense?
wheel  12 hours ago

  • Reply by C.Spenser

I have a lot of sympathy with your sentiment. But the Professor was making a very strong point.
If you were really struggling with the piece, I translated it as follows:

"Sovereignty": having independent authority over something, usually a territory/geographical area. I think "British Sovereignty" here is synonymous with Parliamentary Sovereignty. "Popular Sovereignty" is the concept of the power of the people; that the power of government is created by, flows from and is maintained by the authority and consent of the people.
So, understanding the sentence (and general thrust of the article), "...the British sovereignty behind these public services has always in fact defined itself as a defence against popular sovereignty, a defence projected as timeless inheritance which is intuitive and ‘just there’", which the authors wants us to reflect on means:
The independent authority that controls the public services, namely the British Government, sees itself as owning these services for the "welfare" (as it sees fit) of a compliant, disenfranchised people; that the current constitutional settlement of the UK holds up public services as a stop against the people waking up to the fact that they are not sovereign; that they do not own the public services; that public services exist only for the public services; that the people have no independent authority. And that this maintains British Sovereignty at the expense of Popular Sovereignty.
Expansion of the public services, without popular sovereignty, creates ever greater reliance by the 
people on those public services - the client state; the fear of loss creates a natural stop, or defence, to Popular Sovereignty - the risk that these public services would be lost to us if we were to truly seek a new constitutional settlement based on citizenry and popular sovereignty.
I think the Professor is suggesting that the current constitution has had its day and as it comes to an end (and before it can metamorphose into a 21st Century version of its, as he puts it, 17th Century self), the people need to grasp the sovereignty nettle and form a true Popular Sovereignty despite the risks.
I share the view: the people of the UK, as subjects (conferred with entitlements), not citizens (possessing rights), are wholly reliant on the good auspices, charity, compassionate conscience and adherence to convention of successive ruling elites. I would go further than the Professor: for nearly one thousand years we have been ruled; only rarely have we been represented.
    • windwheel  CSpencer1  3 hours ago

      It is a tribute to your sense of fair play that you have taken the time to seek for a non malignant kernel in the Professor's essay.
      However, on reflection, this kernel bears no relation to either 'popular sovereignty' or 'British sovereignty' but relates instead to the notion of subsidiarity- i.e. the principle that decisions should be made as close as possible and with the greatest possible involvement or responsiveness to the people affected by that decision.
      Whereas sovereignty is defined territorially and refers back to an autarkic, mainly agricultural, past; the concept of subsidiarity bears no such defect and permits laws or norms to be framed without regard to class, race, nationality etc. but only to what is best for the community affected by the decision in question. I think this also applies to 'minority' rights. Popular Sovereignty may militate for Homophobic laws- whereas sensible laws re. age of consent, marriage etc should be made, as far as possible, by people with direct knowledge and experience of what it means to be Gay in modern society. I oughtn't to get a say in such laws if the only thing I know about Gay people is what I read in Genesis or Leviticus or whatever, whereas let us say a loving mother of a young gay person, so disabled as unable to speak in her own behalf, should certainly get a voice in stipulating what sort of safe-guards are required or can be dispensed with in this regard. My bigoted views oughtn't, in my view, to get any weighting at all, no matter how obstreperously and vituperatively I express them.
      The problem with the Professor's essay is that it relies on a conspiracy theory of history and suggests that British sovereignty in its entirety is fruit of a poisoned tree. However, notions of 'popular sovereignty' in the history of English literature have been at least as mischievous as the secret workings of oligarchic cabals. Take G.K Chesterton's 'the ball and the cross' where the Govt. uses a newly created Universal Health Service to simply lock up every true Blue Brit under the pretense that they are all raving lunatics. Similarly, in the 'Flying Inn', the Govt. brings in Turkish troops in an attempt to impose Prohibition on a supine population.
      Chesterton may have been right about corruption in the Liberal Party, but his anti-semitism, though couched in the language of 'Popular Sovereignty', represented a far greater threat to the English ethos than the cupidity of certain Cabinet Ministers.
      The Professor's Essay isn't really about the manner in which Clientism disenfranchises- if it were it would be phrased in the language of Public Choice theory and, instead of dwelling upon a paranoid and highly tendentious conspiracy theory of history, it would take a comparative approach to discussing current literature on how to bring popular and national- or trans-national- sovereignty into better alignment.
      You are quite right to say that this is a very important question and that what is happening right now is utterly scandalous.
      That is why paranoid theories of history- which are fine, and quite enjoyable, when focused on things which don't matter, e.g proving Simon Cowell is a high ranking Illuminati - nevertheless have no place in our on-going struggle to tame and render useful the great trumpeting Leviathan of the State.
      In this regard it is important to understand why and how, in this country, Public services re. Health, Education, Law & Order, Social Insurance etc- came increasingly under the control of a Centeralizing behemoth. Clearly, this has a lot to do with well known problems in Econ re. Local Govt. finance- Tiebout model theory- as well as the problem of preference revelation re. funding of Public Goods.
      It is no good subscribing to some Manichaean or Paranoid theory of History such that we are all now the hapless victims of a Juggernaut state because of some occult political conspiracy back in the Seventeenth Century. Okay, I suppose, if Time travel existed maybe there'd be some point to the Professor's essay. But, Time travel doesn't exist and so it's just bad English, bad History, bad Economics, bad Political theory.

Tuesday 14 May 2013

Jairus Banaji- fictitious capital & imaginary communities,

Full disclosure- Though the ontologically dysphoric turn in Marxism- which I attribute to male soixante-huitard retards failing to take the next & dialectically necessary tri-vikrama step forward from the ardors of the barricades of '68 to the froward rigors of petit bourgeois bedrooms for 69- greatly predates Prof. Banaji's oeuvre, I nevertheless feel his works will attain a permanent niche in the Leftist Pantheon provided we all agree to pronounce his surname Bananaji.

As a first name, Jairus, on the other hand, is perfectly fine as it stands- Bilblical yet kinduv Reggae?- and way way cooler than Billy Bunteresque names like Jam-shed or Jam-assp or Whoa there Jeejja-boy or whatever.

In his 2012 Deutscher Memorial lecture, Prof. Bananaji appears to be saying something interesting- well, interesting in a purely Scholastic or Stochastic sense- when he speaks of Money advances to opium growing ryots in Nineteenth Century India as being a case where Capital subsumes Labor Power rather than embodying itself as an accretion to the Means of Production. In other words, money advances cause Labor to exploit itself more intensively without any increase in physical capital or natural endowment thus permitting the interest rate (considered as the gross return upon a money advance) to rise because, in a sense, the marginal efficiency of Capital has risen.

However, Bananaji downplays the coercive element in British agricultural policy in India- indeed he explicitly says that the ryots could have chosen to grow something else, which is not true- and this utterly vitiates his own argument because, clearly, the same thing would happen if Labor endogenously raised its propensity to save in a steady state Economy by reason of ontological dysphoria. In other words, under Bananaji's assumption of freedom to contract- it makes no difference whether I take an advance from a Capitalist or if I decide that my present consumption is an advance from my own now ontologically dysphoric self- i.e. I internalize my own Capitalist Tajir or Tekhedar preparatory to a hegira from this Universe - because the outcome is the same- viz. a rise in the interest rate has perversely accompanied a rise in the savings rate. This can be broken down into a real component- a sort of reswitching whereby the marginal efficiency of Capital rises by a self-abnegating act or re-apportionment by Labor- and a Wicksell type nominal effect such that the increased demand for Savings means that the price of 'Savings goods' (i.e. things either autonomously bracketed or else inter-subjectively packaged and marketed as 'Savings' rather than Consumption vehicles) rises in relative terms.

Since, for purely ergodic reasons, steady states are impossible- i.e. ex post and ex ante will never coincide- everything Bananaji highlights would occur without the intermediation of Merchant Bankers, or, indeed, Marxist Wankers and the systemic hazard they pose by reason of a habitus of culpa levis in concreto. In particular, since there is no 'real' distinction between Capital and Consumer goods and since the future is unpredictable- which means the value of Savings is uncertain- it follows that the term 'fictitious Capital' has only an evanescent instrumental, but no heuristic, worth. Indeed, since what we are speaking of is Money- that is Credit, that is Faith, that is Belief, that is Expectations, that is Imagination or its parlous lack, that is the same Ontologically dysphoric stuff as drives Mimetic epidemics, Moral panics, Idolatry, St. Vitus dances, Children's Crusades and Bogomil daisy chains of Sodomy- it therefore follows that what Bananaji's lecture actually displays is a moment in the crisis of Credentialist over-accumulation of a specific type of Bourdiesian Capital- one which we irrationally consign to a repugnancy market though, indeed, like the East India Opium trade, it finances our own shining City on a (preferably Raisina) Hill where Right Wing Hindutva bloggers like myself can roundly denounce and threaten with punitive buggery other Right Wing Hindutva bloggers more exactly like myself.

In fairness to Bananaji- a nice Parsee guy from a very posh family- he does suggest that there is a way to distinguish 'fictitious' from 'real' Capital by referring to learning effects- the former is memory-less and in that sense Satrean 'serial'.
Interestingly, along with Indian Leftist parties, all of whom he considers no longer capable of learning or knowing, he also thinks 'Hindu' and 'Muslim' are fictitious, i.e. memoryless serialities.
 He said in a recent interview- Let’s be clear here: it’s not as if the ‘Hindu community’ or the ‘Muslim community’ are real entities. They are imagined communities, and they are imagined in a way which presupposes the grip of an unyielding seriality. The mass of any population remains unorganized into groups of their own making, groups they have formed as an expression of their own collective aspirations. In this state of complete dispersion, most ordinary people feel hopelessly isolated, powerless, and indifferent or even hostile to each other. It is this state of isolation and powerlessness that the SanghParivar preys on, offering the ‘masses’ the illusion that their mobilization by the VHP, etc. is a form of empowerment, when it is actually just manipulation by powerful organized groups that have their own agenda. The kind of manipulation that leads to the savage pogroms that we saw in Gujarat in 2002.
So there you have it. Perry Anderson, in the pages of the London Review of Books, very kindly informed us stupid Desis- especially those of us wot didn't go to Harrow or Cambridge- why only posh people can make History.  Now Bananaji helps us fill in the blanks by explaining that that no community we can imagine ourselves part of is capable of learning effects- it is mere seriality- so, it's coz u r real stupid and probably not posh at all that u thought us Hindus had come a long way in terms of not burning widows and balking at crossing the black water coz we r too capable of collective learning effects and positive 'psychic capital' accumulation- I mean, isn't it a remarkable fact that we can now get along to the extent that erudite  Iyers like myself no longer routinely try to eat Bengalis, mistaking them for a type of aubergine, or ride Punjabis in the belief that they are a superior variety of donkey?
For which I personally blame David Cameron.
That boy ain't right.
Mind it kindly.

Monday 13 May 2013

Drama in Music

'Music is Feminine and awaits
'Drama's fertilizing seed'
Woe to a Wagner who abates
Dung to Dis' womb's meed

Sunday 12 May 2013

Infandum, Regina, iubes renovare dolorem

Like Confucius, turning Fifty, I grasp the Will of Heaven
But the Love of Women less than when I was Seven
I thought Memory's Saqi would have more class
Than to pour Wine in a Claude glass.

Saturday 11 May 2013

Three Hares & Beuckelaer's Air

    Joachim Beuckelaer's 4 elements, which I've just viewed at the National Portrait Gallery,  foregrounds sturdy peasant women- proletarians, in the strict sense of serving the State primarily by bearing children- while juxtaposing still life studies of various types of food with hazy depictions of Gospel episodes which, in each picture, populate one of its multiple perspectives' vanishing points.
  Thus, every canvass has a triadic structure such that the producers of food appear in the novel role of vendors or wage slaves, self-consciously connected to the cash nexus, while food itself is presented as an objective materiality nevertheless subordinate and doubly subject to two types of epiphanic Supervenience- that of the Market and that of the Messiah.
    Beuckelaer's canvass, 'Water' has 12 types of fish (for the 12 disciples) and, in the background, the resurrected Christ filling the fishermen's nets at Lake Galilee. Similarly, the canvass titled 'Earth' features various types of vegetables and fruits in the foreground, with the Holy Family fleeing to Egypt- that fabled land of agricultural plenty- in the background. 'Fire' depicts various types of meat and poultry with Jesus sitting with Mary and Martha (the first, the type of the Paschal lamb, the last a dab hand at turning a spit) in the background.
  What is puzzling is that, in Beuckelaer's 'Air', while we have various sorts of fowl which clearly have a relationship to the air, we also find cheese rounds and a brace of rabbits. Why?
  Well, I suppose, Dutch cheeses are air dried so that explains their appearance in the picture, but what about rabbits?
  True, they go hippity hop but they also spend a lot of time below ground in their burrows- so why do they feature in this canvass?
  Regular readers of my blog might be tempted to answer- 'Yes, yes, we well know what you are getting at. Cut to the chase already and just come out and say- 'All is the fault of this Tory Govt. Appearance of rabbits in Beucklelaer's 'Air' is a damning indictment of Govt. under funding of the Arts for which I, personally, blame David Cameron. That boy aint right. Etc, etc.'

While far from foreclosing this hermeneutic option, I ask you to suspend judgment a little while longer. The fact is, the Biblical episode featured in this canvass is that of the prodigal son- here depicted as an inebriate clutching a brace of supposedly aphrodisiac fowl while leaning against a comely vendeuse of sturdy peasant stock.

Prodigality has the meaning of extravagance- luxuria- which, in Catholicism, was replaced by lust as one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Perhaps extravagance and prodigality appear to be 'airy' properties and thus the extravagantly hopping, if not also lecherous, rabbit and the prodigal, if not also debauched, son share a common property.
The fact that Beuckelaer's canvass presents the two rabbits in conjunction with a basket of eggs suggests an association with Easter- eggs, Bunnies- resurrection, rebirth, fertility- hares, in medieval Europe were believed to be hermaphrodites who propagated their race without loss of Virginity- thus becoming a symbol for the Virgin Mary.
The 'three hares' motif- shown below- was popular in the Sixteenth Century.
Some have traced it to China and suggested that it was brought to Europe over the silk road. It's appearances in Churches and Cathedrals suggests that it was taken as a symbol of the Trinity.
In Beauckelaer's other 3 canvasses we find Trinities in the Biblical material- for Water, there is Christ, the Apostles (the Church) and the fish (the laity); for Earth there is the Holy Family- Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus; for fire, there is Christ, Mary (the contemplative life) and Martha (the active life); but for Air, we have only the Prodigal son- the two women depicted beside him having no place in the Biblical parable.
The three hares meme can be considered an 'impossible object' like the Penrose triangle, achievable only in a higher dimension. This suggests that the fifth element, the quintessence, the aether, the akasha, which, I suppose, comes closest to Air out of all the Four elements, arises out of an incompossibility or heteroclite conjugation in Air- which, it may be, breeds in an unbounded way- such that Fredric Van Eeden's therapeutic Walden is the lucid nightmare of a now irretrievably ontologically dysphoric & poisoned Eden because the incompossible Empedoclean Elements must yet ascend, but ascend only to their own fulmination, the Etna of the Aether and return only as brooding malevolence and topological rupture of perspective- as in the swell of the floor tiles in 'Fire' shown below- which must inevitably destroy the sustainable self-coincidence of the foregrounded proletarians who pause to look back pitilessly into our eyes as if not oblivious to their doom.