In Praise of and In Response to BOOK REVIEW

Excellent book review, sir.

Though Curle set out in To Tame the Hydra to write an idiosyncratic & “personal” book about the underpinnings of violence, I agree that his ruminations on the universal mind are unhelpful. (And I typically go in for this sort of stuff! [Though again, minus the poetry.])

Curle is interested in the complex nature of the culture of violence, so let us remind ourselves what we are talking about:

[Scholars of conflict make] the distinction between direct violence (children are murdered), structural violence (children die through poverty), and cultural violence (whatever blinds us to this or seeks to justify it).

–Contemporary Conflict Resolution (2nd edition), Ramsbotham et al. p. 30

But by talking about the universal mind lurking behind culture, Curle’s level of explanation goes one step too far—we need to speak of cultural violence directly, lest we further confuse an already convoluted subject. As Wittgenstein reminds us of tricky problem solving:

Not that it is easy to speak directly of kulture, or stanch its many toxic currents. (Keep on trucking, artists! Me love your new gallery space!) But to tame the hydra, I venture that its one immortal head isn’t to be found on the plane of the meta-mystical mind. A thought made concrete this morning by Toronto Tom’s good brains.

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2 Responses to “In Praise of and In Response to BOOK REVIEW”

  1. matthew Says:

    I still prefer Chokehold to Curle (call me old fashioned): “We must take action against those who run the industries … and to take them down we must use as much fucking violence as they do!!”

    Any anyway, fishing sucks (especially from some non-violence Buddhist peace love & poetry type).

  2. doomspirals Says:

    I should clarify that:
    A. Curle intentionally does not dwell on the hydra-may-be-a-feature-of-the-extended-mind conjecture, surely for the aforementioned reasons, but also because his whole bit about the extended mind is more explicitly related to the Buddhist business of existence being fundamentally interconnected (a key point to understanding his general analysis of the causes of and solutions to all three types of violence listed above).
    AND
    B. Curle may or may not fish; the “and he wrote letters, and he fished” joke was a poorly chosen reference to a Kids in the Hall sketch about Mozart’s variety of activities as a polymath.

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