Other People’s Property

You down with Other People’s Property? Yeah you know me
Remixed pastiche of other people’s property
Because what do you do when your culture’s predicated
On a cut and paste identity, straight up appropriated?

Racial politics every time I spit
Am I a colonist or am I legit?
Tip-toe the fine line, it’s ill-defined I’m
Implicated in this mess all the time
The high jack took place way back the Blues Act
Taken by this white cat, he made mad cash
Is it appropriation? Or appreciation?
What kind of statement are we making?

are they mad at me? assimilate the game like the borg
hatin’ on me cuz i banged a couple keys on my korg
i twisted the paradigm took something and made it mine
but the way that i make ’em move they don’t seem to mind
i’m a hip-hopper respect the roots
i’m a show stopper and that’s the truth
i’ve been doing this rapping long enough to gain my tenure
get respect at my shows making legal tender

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Muhammed Ali Goes East

A documentary film made in 1978, which records Muhammad Ali’s tour of Bangladesh following his defeat in 1977 by Leon Spinks. Directed by Reginald Massey. Ali is taken to Sundarbans (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Sylhet Tea Gardens, Rangamati and Cox’s Bazaar.

In Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, Ali is given a Bangladesh passport and made a citizen of the country by the then president of the country, Ziaur Rahman.

The climax of his tour was a pre-arranged boxing match at Dhaka Stadium, where he lost to a twelve year old Bangladeshi rival through an amazing knockout.

Bodies

God gave me the sunshine,
Then showed me my lifeline
I was told it was all mine,
Then I got laid on a ley line
What a day, what a day,
And your Jesus really died for me
Then Jesus really tried for me

UK and entropy,
I feel like its ****in’ me
Wanna feed off the energy,
Love living like a deity
What a day, one day,
And your Jesus really died for me
I guess Jesus really tried for me

Bodies in the Bodhi tree,
Bodies making chemistry
Bodies on my family,
Bodies in the way of me
Bodies in the cemetery,
And that’s the way it’s gonna be

All we’ve ever wanted
Is to look good naked
Hope that someone can take it
God save me rejection
From my reflection,
I want perfection

Praying for the rapture,
‘Cause it’s stranger getting stranger
And everything’s contagious
It’s the modern middle ages
All day every day
And if Jesus really died for me
Then Jesus really tried for me

Bodies in the Bodhi tree,
Bodies making chemistry
Bodies on my family,
Bodies in the way of me
Bodies in the cemetery,
And that’s the way it’s gonna be

All we’ve ever wanted
Is to look good naked
Hope that someone can take it
God save me rejection
From my reflection,
I want perfection

Bodies in the Bodhi tree,
Bodies making chemistry
Bodies on my family,
Bodies in the way of me
Bodies in the cemetery,
Bodies in the bodhi tree,
Bodies making chemistry
Bodies on my family,
Bodies in the way of me
Bodies in the cemetery,
And that’s the way it’s gonna be

All we’ve ever wanted
Is to look good naked
Hope that someone can take it
So God save me rejection
From my reflection,
I want perfection

Rules of pilgrimage

I presented a radical re-reading of the laws relating to pilgrimage 2 years ago. There’s a complicated understanding of how rules (shariah) and Divine Love are intertwined, drawing on the fact that the Arabic for “oath” has the same root as “right hand” and “south”, the hypothesis that these intertwine the Sephirotic sign of “love” (the south) with the self-describing trope of judgement/law/oaths. And how this intertwining come together in the movement from the Northern city of Judgement (Medina) towards the  Southern state of Mecca, engendering a union symbolised by the sacred Cube, Kaba: this I understood as the perfect human body, the six Masculine orbs of the Sephirot, with the Feminine Shekhina in the centre.

There are rules in the Qur’an that prohibit the killing of land game during the pilgrimage, but the permission of hunting water animals. I focused on the signs of land and sea as Sephirotic intimation of difference/law and love, and the animals being aspects of perception-as-consumption.

I opened the Qur’an the other day (I found it cleaning the boot of my car) and happened upon the exact verses I described earlier. And I saw something that ought to have been obvious to me, but I had suppressed, in order to create my tafsir.

These rules are those of a religion. It doesn’t matter what they represent: it is the dutiful enactment of these rules that provide embodied regulation of the body by the religious deity, that form the religious subject. There is a body at the end of the pilgrimage, but not a Kabbalic cube. It’s a bio-cultural entity, a real body, but one circumcized, marked out by these rules: it is the religious body, marked as such by these totems and taboos. It doesn’t matter what the rules mean, only that they are sufficiently distinguished from the rules of other religions and of other social codes, to give birth to a unique, original identity.

Allah does not take you to task for your inadvertent oaths, but He will take you to task for oaths you make intentionally. The expiation in that case is to feed ten poor people with the average amount you feed your family, or clothe them, or free a slave. Anyone without the means to do so should fast three days. That is the expiation for breaking oaths when you have sworn them. Keep your oaths. In this way Allah makes His Signs clear to you, so that hopefully you will be thankful. (5:89)

 O ye who believe! Kill not game while in the sacred precincts or in Ihram. If any of you doth so intentionally, the compensation is an offering, brought to the Ka’ba, of a domestic animal equivalent to the one he killed, as adjudged by two just men among you; or by way of atonement, the feeding of the indigent; or its equivalent in fasts: that he may taste of the penalty of his deed. God forgives what is past: for repetition God will exact from him the penalty. For God is Exalted, and Lord of Retribution. (5:95)

 Lawful to you is the pursuit of water-game and its use for food, for the benefit of yourselves and those who travel; but forbidden is the pursuit of land game; as long as you are in the sacred precincts or in the Ihram (garment). And fear God, to Whom you shall be gathered back. (5:96)

Race and truth

Race is something people have a natural emotional reaction to: when race is insulted, people react emotionally. Certainly a moral reaction. But what’s beneath that reaction? A primal fear/defense mechanism, to protect the tribe, to preserve the blood from attack. It’s a physical emotion.

Religion is race, conflated with symbolism. It elicits the same gut reaction – the defense mechanism – because symbol is conflated with body. Defend the body symbolic against attack: defend the cyborg against attack.

The symbolic, separated from the body, is a space of mathematical truth. The equation 1 + 2 = 3 is a mathematical truth, as is “7 succeeds 6”. Mathematical truths are universal – but not in a religious sense: the symbolic is a space of relativities (there are an infinite number of different logics, of different spaces, of counter intuitive numbering systems, depending on axiomatization). Mathematical truths are universal, self-relativized truth.

People do not riot over a YouTube video of someone denying “3 – 2 = 1”.

But once these numbers are conflated with the body, the mathematical subject becomes a cyborg, becomes information conjoined with flesh, and then there is a religious reaction to blasphemy.

A religious, emotional reaction to symbolic denial is only ridiculous for people whose info-flesh connection is different from that of the rioter. Like the spurious story of the Pythagorean who committed suicide at the blasphemy of irrational numbers.

Information and flesh have other, non religious ways of interacting.

In this blog we’ve mostly experimented with second order fetishization, where the Muslim body is suppressed (out of desire for it as a lost orient) and the symbolism is apparently free of it (“X = that verse doesn’t really mean beat your wife, it means read X, this sentence”), but is treated like a body, a proxy for the desired (foreign, oriental) body. That’s the position of the Cyborgtailor.

Another possibility is the body of the universal algebraist: who explores different systems of truth, plugging his body into one, then another. From Eucludean to Reimann, from classical to deontic logic.

Another model is to seek the sublime behind a particular set of equations, where equations themselves are made flesh. To find God in the body of the inscription: “1 + 2 + 6 + 1 = 10”.

The Religion of the Cyborg

ImageRecent media coverage of #MuslimRage highlights an important point about Islam in particular, and religion in general. Muslims burning houses over a Facebook picture (incorrectly tagged), killing each other over an amateur youtube clip. Also Muslims preaching their versions of the deen over the internet, from Sufi forums to Al Qaeda recruitment.

And when I was trying to be a Muslim, particularly when accused by Muslims of inventing lies about Allah: I felt a bit insincere, as these accusations reminded me of the fact that I had learnt salat (prayer), Bukhari (narratives of the Prophet), Qur’an, rudamentary Arabic — all via the internet, never through a human being.

I was right to feel insincere: but not because I was a Muslim by virtue of the internet — but because I had not sufficiently conflated the internet with Islam.

The point is that Islam, and religion, is a cyborg: it is the conflation, the commingling of flesh and information, of the body and 0’s and 1’s. This is why the middle class religious man reacts angrily when seeing a blog article he dislikes, and the working class religious man burns down a house. Because he reacts physically, endorphins, adrenalin pulsing through his body, when his 0’s and 1’s are upset, when his 0’s and 1’s are in alignment, when other 0’s and 1’s irritatingly intrude.

Because 0’s and 1’s, the holy text, signs, symbols are fused to his body, to his tribe, to his race, to his DNA. Information and flesh are one: the religious subject is a cyborg.