Iain Cameron's Diary
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2005-08-19 - 10:28 a.m.

Soft Machine / Whitney Houston shock - it seems that in 1982 WH covered a Hugh Hopper song thanks to Bill Laswell playing her the flip side of R Wyatt’s I’m A Believer which F Frith bought to his attention. So the Wire’s out - very up review of D Graham reissues/

An amazing vid arrived yesterday - a real stunner - Electric Miles. Its centrepiece is the 37 minute performance that the MD band delivered at the Ilse of Wight festival in 1970. The vid also contains a lot of great interview footage with band members and collaborators of various kinds. Herbie Hancock, Miss Mitchell, C Santana for example.

The band includes Chick Corea and Keith Jarret on keyboards. There is a British bass player - Dave Holland - and on drums Jack de Johnette who still play with KJ. Also some Marcus Miller who plays an extraordinary bass solo which I think is taken from Amandla - it’s the memorial for Jaco P.

If it sounds the slightest bit interesting to you get it - it is a master class in what jazz can be - both the example and what participants and other major figures think about the example after 30 years reflection.

I have started to use the new camera and software and got of to a pleasing start with a piece of high abstraction.

The JHP poem, The Numbers , starts:

The whole thing it is, the difficult
matter: to shrink the confines
down. To signals, so that I come
back to this, we are
small/in the rain
open or without it.
in the de-
light, as with pleasure amongst not merely
the word, one amongst them : but the
skin over the points, of the bone.
That s where we have it and should
diminish

This is from the 1968 collection, the Kitchen Poems, which Mark recommended me. There is a lot in this set of poems about living in a quantified world - financial quantification is part of it - also the quantification of governance in liberal democracy.

I have ordered a book of Huxley articles - I have a couple of originals - a first edition of Mortal Coils which I think is quite rare - around 1923 when he was just getting going - and also a cheap edition of the provocatively entitled Do What You Will. I was reading a review of the collection and the reviewer picked up an element from Point Counterpoint. The hero is reading E A Burtt’s Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Science. He adds a quote to from Hux to the effect that everyone carries metaphysics with them whether they know it or not. Hux suggests the big issue is whether the metaphysics is good or bad.

The reviewer observes that this is a very dated remark and nowadays people cant be arsed to do metaphysics. This is also a useful observation, I think.

I read Burtt very early on - I think it may even have been one of the few philosophy books in my local library. Then at Cambs I studied in depth an extension of that approach developed by Gerd Buchdahl who was at Darwin College - who went from Europe to Australia and then to Cambridge. He wrote a big book about science and metaphysics which I relied on extensively for my finals.

I wanted to go and study with Rom Harre at Oxford - who actually taught Laurence - I passed the interview for a B Phil with him but couldn’t get a grant. But I managed to fiddle a fellowship at Edinburgh - where the metaphysics were different and difficult at first - but ultimately quite beneficial. It was then then that I wrote Model and Metaphor in Science and Society. The Hux study came in between - at Sussex - with a lot of local gigging.

In MMSS I took issue with GEMA - I am trying to remember the precise point - from this angle it looks especially barmy to try to take on the greatest female philosopher in the history of civilization. But I am thinking of going back to it - I find myself drawn to the thought - following the SOS - that one of the reasons why GEMA is great is that she completely throws the Kantian stuff out the window and comes up with an alternative take on agency. I can remember buying and reading a book about agency and science by G H von Wright - a Scandinavian who was one of GEMA’s big mates. His point - and this is one that Harre agrees with and develops - is that we know in science through experiment and that such experiments involve agency in their logic.

So - an experiment is something where we deliberately intervene in the natural course and we get an outcome which is a surprise. The surprise is the result which allows to draw a conclusion. But the surprise is caused by a deliberate intervention and that is agency. As such it falls under GEMA’s greatest discoveries - the fundamental real world logic of agency.

Hegel actually gets close to this logic at one point - as a moment in the dialectic - which in my view is very much to his credit - but in have now idea how you would compare Hegel and GEMA - they really do seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum . As far as I can see at the moment for a lot of the time we chose to live in GEMA-world - that’s where the whole legal system is for example - and it is in that sense that we seem to have abandoned metaphysics. Hux kept looking for the right metaphysics - and people thought him stranger and stranger. Fortunately he chose to do this in LA rather than Oxford.

But the point about some of these artists poets etc is that they stay with Hux I would say that JHP with the skin over the points was on the same page as Eva Hesse for example. So plenty more to do.

Vita ‘s AS s came through - she got 97% in each of photography and fine art (painting) - but also cleared As in graphics and textiles. So there goes my assumption that her strength is mainly in the decorative arts - we did do an artclass together once at the St Ives Tate. She seems to have topped her bro again. - apparently he’s in the Mongolian desert.

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