Shoplifting (State Talk)


Subsequent British imperialism conquered much of Asia using the weapons of tea plantations and smokable opium trade, forced upon India and China during the nineteenth- century colonist opium wars. The rise of the world sugar industry, captured in the holistic anthropological optics of Mintz connects the expulsion and enslavement of milions of Africans to Brazil and the Caribbean to the transformation of sucrose from a Mediterranean medicinal luxury into the defining article of the modern English industrial working-class lifestyles. The sugar plantation was a precursor to the factory Industrial revolution, and as a quick non-nutritional fix, sugar even anticipates the postindustrial American crack boom of the 1980’s.

One prominent historian of drugs dubs these broad cultural shifts as capitalism’s ‘Psychoactive Revolution.’ Not all of these new substances gained an easy acceptance in the West….. The central question raised………. is how and why certain trade- able drugs became legitimate commodities of European taste, while other became downgraded by the late nineteenth century into undesired pariah substances.


P. Gootenburgh, Talking About the Flow: Drugs, Borders and the Discourse of Drug Control.



Note (Its A family Affair)

Of Such Abstractions: That Which Is Shapeless, Unsightly, Devoid of Form Or Substance.

The medieval tradition I am most familiar with is monastic. The wild man is generally presented as an isolated figure. The few examples of wild women I am familiar with are also presented as solitary non-social animals. Wild children and later feral children also reinforce this idea.

They are also notably studied and imagined in isolation from one another. We have a family, man, woman, child but we wish to understand them on their own terms and not in relationship to each other.

There are notable exception’s to this rule ethnographic history has always presented narratives that describe races of wild things, living in the margins of the known world from Africa to Ireland.

When the motifs shift and become mixed with descriptions of man-like- apes a generic term is used to cover all species the orangutan. It is correctly identified as by nature a solitary animal and therefore a ‘man of the woods’ but the term is also applied to the chimpanzee and here the ‘orangutan’  is correctly identified as a social animal.

Messy relationship between this sense of the isolated nature of the creature and its relationship with culture.

In the medieval period we can generalize and detect two ways we can build a wild man, one external and environmental, people/ species/ kinds of things/ can be shaped by the particular waters, airs and diet of a particular environment.

Or the transformation can be internal and related to emotional upset. The result of a form of internal melancholia.

It would not be unreasonable to expect to see some change of circumstances here over time. The wild man has a relationship with prophecy, his true vision is directly linked to his melancholic state. The relationship between melancholia and genius has in the age of reason a desire to present itself as reasonable. Clearly some ordering of the subject is going to be required.

Do we see a clean break in regard to one form (man) and more ‘traditional’ and conservative approaches maintained in others (man-like- apes, Women)?  Should we expect to see these objects treated equally to each other and a clear relationship between them established?

What is the relationship between these isolated creatures and the social and cultural world?


A Daisy Chain For Satan



What does the image contain?

At the moment fauns and Satyrs although that’s not contained in the image, its external to it. A question in my own mind, rather fleeting a half- formed observation which I suspect will alter rather suddenly.

I am more use to studying these wild creatures as solitary isolated creatures. Relationship with generation, suggests the idea of family and ideas associated with society and culture.

I don’t think the connection is correct or fully formed, I am making a difference with the secondary scholarship I am reading, altering its inflection.

Go back and pick out where and why I felt the need to over- inflect in the direction of the social.

I need to find some balance.

I have a slightly different question running in the background. How much knowledge of the history of the subject do you need hold about the object to arrive at an idea that seems to remain constant over- time?

I think that may be one of the baselines that animates the image that it is consistent and therefore a measure of truth. I don’t however think you need any measure of its past to reach for ideas about these objects.

The Secrets of Generation Displayed 1684


New York Academy of Medicine digital archive

Aristotle’s Masterpiece allows a sense of the theory of generation reported to Beniot de Maillet

He reply’d with a harfh and angry Tone, that it was a Piece of Flefh he had had from his Infancy, in Confequence of his Mother’s longing for a Tail of Mutton when fhe was big with him.

One further line that is interesting in comparison image, captured as Mary Fissel notes in the Early Modern English proverb ” ‘black best sets forth white:’ each category exists in relationship to each other.

Her Gallant was large, well made, and about thirty-five Years of Age; he was of a very fair Complexion, his beard was black and thick, his Eye-brows were long and fhaggy.

Benoit de Maillet wonders what species of man this may be, how he may be related to other species of men.

The Good Wife

1850’s edition of the work. Highlighting both sexuality and the sexual modesty of the subject.

These are the secrets of nature revealed and the images leave the potential consumer of such things in little doubt as to the nature of the truth that is to be revealed.



Problemata Aristotle

As Confucius Say

For if you build you’re generalizations about a chicken, people tend to feel that it is eternal

Omnes Homines (All Men)

All men desire to know (Omnes homines naturaliter scire desiderant) as Aristotle prince of philosophers writes in the first book of Metaphysics.


As Aristotle All Men Desire To Know

To anyone with a minimal concern, the “Omnes homines” text cannot have been convincing as composed by Aristotle, as its title would seem to claim………….. Rather than considering these editions to be simply “lying” about the authorship and authority of their problems in claiming that they are “of Aristotle and other philosophers and physicians,” I would suggest, without further elaboration here, that the “Omnes homines” editions operate according to a different, looser notion of authorship and authority.  The popular editions especially (probable both intentionally and not) took liberties with their text, combining, omitting or changing the order of questions, often without obvious purpose. In the vernacular translations especially, the text was often modified- answers shortened, questions combined or added, emphases changed. Most dramatically the English translations substituted a new preface to the one current in French and Latin (which never appeared in German) and added some forty four problems to the last section “of divers matters”……… Yet the various middlemen (editors, corrector’s,  translators) involved in the production of these editions……… even in the few cases in which we have a name these kinds of cultural intermediaries did not constitute “authors” in the eyes of the contemporaries whose biographical dictionaries are one of our major sources of information; as a result, we often know little of their training and motivations.


Older and different (though not entirely unrelated) genre. A contrast with wiki’s later perspective on authorship and authority.

‘As Aristotle, all men desire to know’. An authority figure rather than one of paradox.


Kenneth Burke, The Philosophy of Literary Form

John Monfasani, The Psuedo-Aristotelian Problemata and Aristotles De Animalibus In The Renaissance, in A. Grafton & N. Siraisi (ed.) Natural Particulars: Nature and the Disciplines in Renaissance Europe



Note (When The Pure Products Go Crazy)

I’ve been aware of Benoit de Maillet’s work for a number of years this is the first time I have gone through the text in any detail. It won’t be the last. I will let wiki detail its take on the textual history.

His main work, Telliamed (his name in reverse), was based on manuscripts written between 1722 and 1732[2] and was published after his death in 1748.[3][4] The printed text was the result of ten years’ editing by the Abbott Jean Baptiste de Mascrier in an attempt to reconcile the proposed system with the dogma of the Catholic Church. De Maillet relied on him even though he had done a poor job editing de Maillet’s earlier book Description de l’Egypte (1735). As a result of Mascrier’s tinkering, none of the printed editions accurately represents de Maillet’s work, though the best is the third and final edition, published in the Hague and Paris in 1755, which includes the only known biography of de Maillet.

I think I will reserve my judgement until I read and contrast the manuscripts and get a sense of the theological alterations to the text that appear to be suggested here.

1. Additions and modifications of content originating from Benoit by Mascrier.

2. Additions and modifications of content introduced by Mascrier, which often contradict de Maillet’s ideas.

3. Modifications in the general arrangement, reorganisation of parts and changes to footnotes by Mascrier to achieve a closer fit with Fontanelle’s Entretiens sur la pluralité des mondes.

4. Other modifications, generally of a trivial nature, which are of unknown origin.



I am starting at the end of a textual history.

The Device Is Obviously Transparent 

The ‘Indian philosopher’ speaks the views of de Maillet himself. The device is transparently obvious, but understandable because the philosopher contradicts the literal word of the Bible at a time when this still carried some risk to his person and livelihood. The delay in publication can also be interpreted the same way, protecting the author and then protecting the editor, giving the latter time to soften the blow by watering down Maillet’s ideas.

It becomes clear from the title that Beniot de Maillet was a master of disguise as his mirroring of his name in the title  Teliamed suggests. Perhaps as every creature of the sea has an equivalence found on land, the same holds for philosophy and philosophers?  As my copy of Everything You Wanted To Know about Indoor Ornithology But Were Afraid To Ask, suggests; “Observing a green apple increases the likelihood of all ravens being black.”


Beniot de Maillet, Wikipedia

Hempel’s Raven


“The History of Vernacular Epistemology” (How ‘Ordinary’ People Understood Knowledge and Knowledge Claims)

In 1744. Jonathan Edwards heard that some of the young men in his Massachusetts parish had been reading a “bad” book. He questioned them and the young women whom they had teased in reference to it. One of the women told Edwards that the book had a picture of a woman’s body in it, a detail that helps identify the work as Aristotle’s Masterpiece, first published in 1684. Neither a masterpiece nor by Aristotle, this small book became the best-selling guide to pregnancy and childbirth in the eighteenth century, going into more editions than all other popular works on the topic combined.”


M.E. Fissell, Hairy Women and Naked Truths: Gender and The Politics of Knowledge In Aristotle’s Masterpiece 

L’enchainement des sciences et l’anarchie des objects

The Linking of Science (genre and species in the late 17th century)

The new Science of Man sought for principles of orderly thought: a method of enquiry and exposition for the moral and physical worlds. By means of this method both moral and physical facts could be collected, arranged and classified producing a unified view of knowledge as a rational hierarchy – an all-embracing form of natural history. The method advocated was actually Newton’s analysis and synthesis: but in practice the Science of Man was associated with induction – the Baconian collection of data. By the middle of the century, when the Scottish Enlightenment was already well under way, this idea of an “enchainement de sciences” was being enshrined in the great French Encyclopedie which showed man as part of nature. It was to have an incalculable effect on eighteenth century Scottish thought…….


I.M. Hammett, Lord Monboddo’s Of The origin and progress of language: Its sources, genesis and background, with special attention to the advocates library