May 17, 2013
A. J. Casson
(May 17, 1898 – February 20, 1992)
The Group of Seven
John Lanchester on Google Glass
The cruder and more obvious problem with Glass is less to do with the user’s self-engagement, and self-withdrawal, and self-whatever, and more to do with the effect on the rest of us. Imagine a world in which anyone around you can be recording anything you say, filming anything you do. We already live in a version of that world, of course – especially in Britain, global capital of the CCTV camera. But you can see a camera or a phone or a tape recorder when it’s held up in front of you. Glass is different. William Gibson tried on a pair briefly at a conference, and tweeted: ‘Expect Google Glass to be reworked into less obvious, more trad spectacles, sunglasses etc, for covert use.’ A racing certainty, I would have thought. (And a disaster for those of us who are lifelong spectacles wearers of the old-fashioned type. You already have to leave your phone outside places where they’re super-sensitive about recording images or words: blockbuster movie previews and 10 Downing Street. Can it be long before we’ll have to leave our specs behind too, or at least prove that they’re Glass-free?) It’s hard to get one’s head around the disruptive potential of this omnipresent recording. At the end of an hour’s general chat in a newspaper office the other day, the conversation turned to Glass, and we all replayed the talk in our heads, editing out the bits we wouldn’t have said if it had been possible someone present had been recording everything. The conclusion was we’d have managed about five minutes’ small talk about the weather, followed by a 55-minute silence.
Emma Wilcox at the Gitterman Gallery
ASX Interview: Emma Wilcox
an assemblage by John Latta
not offend Pythagoras
—Louis Zukofsky, out of “A-19” (”A” 13-21, 1969)
One goes on asking questions. That, then, is one
Of the categories. So said, this placid space
Is changed. It is not so blue as we thought. To be blue,
There must be no questions. It is an intellect
Of windings round and dodges to and fro,
Writhings in wrong obliques and distances,
Not an intellect in which we are fleet: present
Everywhere in space at once, cloud-pole
Of communication. It would be enough
If we were even, just once, at the middle, fixed . . .
—Wallace Stevens, out of “The Ultimate Poem Is Abstract”
. . . And truly it little matters what I say, this or that or any other thing. Saying is inventing. Wrong, very rightly wrong. You invent nothing, you think you are inventing, you think you are escaping, and all you do is stammer out your lesson, the remnants of a pensum one day got by heart and long forgotten, life without tears, as it is wept. To hell with it anyway. Where was I . . .
—Samuel Beckett, out of Molloy (1955)
Sointula, British Columbia
Findians, Finglish, Finntowns
Axioms for a Dark Ontology
(....)Post-Nihilistic Praxis and Some Further Axioms
On the first axiom (Life is an accident and has no divine significance), I am convinced that this is still to be thought through. In order to think this we ought to return to Paul Virilio, this time not as dromologist but as the thinker of the accident. If life is an accident, indeed, if creation itself is an accident, then within all temporalities is the one temporality, the overarching cosmological rhythm of that accident working itself out: creation is catastrophe, the moment everything begins and ends are immanent, and so there is no need to mourn or weep. All we have is this world: a world that is in free play, that has absolutely no reason to be this way or that beyond the reason we give it. This is the emancipatory quality of nihilism that opens us up to euphoric visions
"Rain, Mist and Sun"_______________________
A. J. Casson
Haruki Murakami on "The Great Gatsby"
Translated by Ted Goossen
from "In Translation: Translators on Their Work and What It Means"
These were the texts I had kept close athand over the years, the books I loved. Most of them, of course, already existed in standard translations; yet if I could refresh them—“wash them anew,” as we say—even slightly, my efforts would have been worth it.
My translation of J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, which I published several years ago, is part of this “rewashed” series, as is, of course, this version of The Great Gatsby. I have no desire to take exception with the translations of my predecessors. Each is outstanding in its own way.In fact, if a reader who had grown attached to a novel through one of those translations were to demand to know why I had gone to the trouble of producing yet another version, I would find it hard to justify myself. Nevertheless, it is my conviction that, as I wrote when my version of Catcher came out, every translation possesses its own “best before date.” Although numerous literary works might properly be called “ageless,” no translation belongs in that category. Translation, after all, is a matter of linguistic technique, which naturally ages as the particulars of a language change. Thus, while there are undying works, on principle there can be no undying translations. Just as dictionaries eventually become outdated,so, to some extent, does every translation (including, of course, my own)grow obsolete as times change. I would even go so far as to say that whena specifc translation is imprinted too deeply on the minds of its readers for too long, it runs the risk of damaging the original. It is therefore impera-tive that new versions appear periodically in the same way that computer programs are regularly updated. At the very least this provides a broader spectrum of choices, which can only benefit prospective readers.
I translated Gatsby at an extremely personal level. I wanted to make my long-standing image of Gatsby clear and concrete, so that readers could picture the distinct colors and contours of the novel and feel its textures. To do this, I strove to eliminate anything that was the slightest bit obscure or that might leave the reader feeling as if they had somehow missed something.I have always felt that translation is fundamentally an act of kindness.It is not enough to find words that match: if images in the translated text are unclear, then the thoughts and feelings of the author are lost.
via Open Culture
A. J. Casson
May 16, 2013
The Watch Factory_______________________
b. May 16, 1893
On the Constant Moment
... the Decisive Moment itself was merely a form of performance art that the limits of technology forced photographers to engage in. One photographer. One lens. One camera. One angle. One moment. Once you miss it, it is gone forever. Future generations will lament all the decisive moments we lost to these limitations, just as we lament the absence of photographs from pre-photographic eras. But these limitations (the missed moments) were never central to what makes photography an art (the curation of time,) and as the evolution of technology created them, so too is it on the verge of liberating us from them.
To the photographer that still thinks photography mostly means being physically present, crouched behind their Leica, finger poised to capture the classic vision of the Decisive Moment, this coming Constant Moment might be terrifyingly sacrilegious, or perhaps just terrifying, like an insect eye dispassionately staring. Just as we still (!) have partisans that argue film capture is more "genuine" than digital capture, we will certainly have those who will argue that a photographer must be in a place and time in order to genuinely photograph that place and time. There will be counter-movements, inevitable copyright battles, privacy concerns, and a reevaluation of authenticity and authorship.
Which is why I began this essay emphasizing the centrality of curation, not action, to the photographic act. Just like Cartier-Bresson, I began my artistic life as a painter. Like Cartier-Bresson I enjoyed the vitality of the 20th Century photographic hunt, the way it forced me into the world to seek out that which illuminated hidden places in my mind. And like Cartier-Bresson I've enjoyed the synaptic electrical pulse of discovery, as the forms in front of me seemed to arrange themselves out of chaos into an order that meant something about the way life felt there and then.
The Constant Moment doesn't end any of that. All it does is capture the billion missed Decisive Moments that previously slipped through our fingers, by expanding the available window of temporal curation from "here and now" to "anywhere and anytime."
(May 16, 1929 – March 27, 2012)
1 2 3
Someone is Writing a Poem
In a political culture of managed spectacles and passive spectators, poetry appears as a rift, a peculiar lapse, in the prevailing mode. The reading of a poem, a poetry reading, is not a spectacle, nor can it be passively received. It’s an exchange of electrical currents through language—that daily, mundane, abused, and ill-prized medium, that instrument of deception and revelation, that material thing, that knife, rag, boat, spoon/reed become pipe/tree trunk become drum/mud become clay flute/conch shell become summons to freedom/old trousers and petticoats become iconography in appliqué/rubber bands stretched around a box become lyre. Diane Glancy: Poetry uses the hub of a torque converter for a jello mold. I once saw, in a Chautauqua vaudeville, a man who made recognizably tonal music by manipulating a variety of sizes of wooden spoons with his astonishing fingers. Take that old, material utensil, language, found all about you, blank with familiarity, smeared with daily use, and make it into something that means more than it says. What poetry is made of is so old, so familiar, that it’s easy to forget that it’s not just the words, but polyrhythmic sounds, speech in its first endeavors (every poem breaks a silence that had to be overcome), prismatic meanings lit by each others’ light, stained by each others’ shadows. In the wash of poetry the old, beaten, worn stones of language take on colors that disappear when you sieve them up out of the streambed and try to sort them out.
And all this has to travel from the nervous system of the poet, preverbal, to the nervous system of the one who listens, who reads, the active participant without whom the poem is never finished.
I can’t write a poem to manipulate you; it will not succeed. Perhaps you have read such poems and decided you don’t care for poetry; something turned you away. I can’t write a poem from dishonest motives; it will betray its shoddy provenance, like an ill-made tool, a scissors, a drill, it will not serve its purpose, it will come apart in your hands at the point of stress. I can’t write a poem simply from good intentions, wanting to set things right, make it all better; the energy will leak out of it, it will end by meaning less than it says.
I can’t write a poem that transcends my own limits, though poetry has often pushed me beyond old horizons, and writing a poem has shown me how far out a part of me was walking beyond the rest. I can expect a reader to feel my limits as I cannot, in terms of her or his own landscape, to ask: But what has this to do with me? Do I exist in this poem? And this is not a simple or naive question. We go to poetry because we believe it has something to do with us. We also go to poetry to receive the experience of the not me, enter a field of vision we could not otherwise apprehend.
Deep heart's core sound (PoemTalk #66)
W. B. Yeats, "The Lake Isle of Innisfree"
Bibliodeath: My Archives with Life in Footnotes by Andrei Codrescu
reviewed by Kenneth Warren
(....)Galatea Resurrects #20
For poet Andrei Codrescu the shift from codex to Kindle supplies technological provocation for a psychologically charged account of the self-extension fantasy that had once imbued his old-school 20th Century investment in books, poetry, and reading. With Bibliodeath: My Archives with Life in Footnotes (2012), Codrescu enters into the book’s deepest talismanic powers and exits through the lucidity of naked 21st Century data. In a powerfully articulated conversion narrative that involves both religious experience and technology, he notices that the angel of death is at once shepherding the book to its ending and dictating the very code through which the poet’s own self-portrait must ultimately be cracked as the matter of soul. As witness to “Bibliodeath,” he reports:
The literate millions watching the guillotine are privy to the first public demonstration of the passage of the soul from one body into another, a reincarnation that is not a metaphysics. Yet for all that, the soul does (not) move to a better place, where it may be cleansed or overlinked, though it is surely lightened. The former body of the book also preserves the original content, making it still useful to the old reading habit.
Obviously it’s not so much the collapse of pulpy cultural clout into digital-screened techno-power that is being mourned in Bibliodeath: My Archives with Life in Footnotes, but rather the depth of feeling for the slow mo living totality aroused in believers by the old-fashioned book.
edited by Eileen Tabios
... what makes utopianism attractive is not that it is some saccharine sweet, obviously artificial, Panglossian notion. Rather, it’s a tasty combination of sweet and bitter. It’s satisfying to get to be a lover of humanity while feeling deep contempt for it at the same time. This is what makes conservatives such suckers for utopia – and they aren’t the only ones.
... Love of hating on utopia by utopians. Where the hell does that come from?
People tend to think that bad utopianism means taking too sunny a view of human nature. As a result, people who are cynical about human nature assume they can’t possibly be engaging in utopian thinking.
The truth is that utopian political thinkers are typically very cynical about human nature – albeit selectively so. From Plato on, utopian political plans typically hinge on clever notions for how to leverage weak humanity into social strength. The foundation of Plato’s Republic is deluded and brazen, even if the apex of the pyramid is wise and golden. Marx thinks that communism is inevitable not because all men are implausibly angelic but because they are mostly selfish and deluded, hence rather predictably self-destructive. Free market utopianism is similar. It assumes ‘base’ motives, and ignorance, but predicts a system can be built that will leverage this base matter into something positive – as mathematically ideal as anything Plato dreamt of.
This isn’t to say all these cynical, let’s-turn-weakness-into-strength social schemes are the same, or equally flawed – or necessarily flawed at all. The point is this: from the fact that a lack of cynicism about human nature would be a recipe for unhealthy utopianism, it doesn’t follow that cynicism about human nature is a recipe for anti-utopianism.
b. May 16, 1898
Cultural Illness and the Curse of Shifting Sands DSM V
In evaluating dysfunction or illness, we have long followed the seemingly straightforward model of diagnose, treat, evaluate, iterate. Modern Mythology
However, diagnosis has long been the secret -- or not so secret -- Achilles heel of the psychiatric establishment. Many philosophic issues arise, issues of cultural relativism, ethical issues of financial interests in pharmaceuticals, to name a few. These are issues that 'by the book' psychiatrists frequently dismiss as 'merely philosophical.' Indeed, it's been a relatively long time since Freud or Jung were taken entirely seriously by the establishment doling out the meds.
It might be facile to point out that war is state mandated murder, but there it is. However, even when the state mandates it, many people recoil. (Are those that recoil, those that develop PTSD, those that accept it and adapt, or those that enjoy it the ones with a disorder?)
How can we come to grips with this issue when evaluating our own mental and/or physical wellbeing? Can we trust our pharmeceutical methodology at all when it seems likely that the placebo effect itself is getting stronger?
These are issues that we will continue to wrestle with for all time, I believe. It is the mythologizing reflex itself which forces us into a conceptual hall of mirrors.
May 15, 2013
(May 13, 1864 – 13 February 13, 1916)
I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose –
More numerous of Windows –
Superior – for Doors –
Of Chambers as the Cedars –
Impregnable of eye –
And for an everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky –
Of Visitors – the fairest –
For Occupation – This –
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise –
It sifts from Leaden Sieves -
It powders all the Wood.
It fills with Alabaster Wool
The Wrinkles of the Road -
It makes an even Face
Of Mountain, and of Plain -
Unbroken Forehead from the East
Unto the East again -
It reaches to the Fence -
It wraps it Rail by Rail
Till it is lost in Fleeces -
It deals Celestial Vail
To Stump, and Stack - and Stem -
A Summer’s empty Room -
Acres of Joints, where Harvests were,
Recordless, but for them -
It Ruffles Wrists of Posts
As Ankles of a Queen -
Then stills it’s Artisans - like Ghosts -
Denying they have been -
(December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886)
Soldier of the First Division
d. May 15, 1935
The Master and Margarita [pdf]
May 15, 1891 – March 10, 1940
translated by Michael Glenny
How sad, ye gods, how sad the world is at evening, how mysterious the mists over the swamps. You will know it when vou have wandered astray in those mists, when you have suffered greatly before dying, when you have walked through the world carrying an unbearable burden. You know it too when you are weary and ready to leave this earth without regret; its mists, its swamps and its rivers ; ready to give yourself into the arms of death with a light heart, knowing that death alone can comfort you.
The magic black horses were growing tired, carrying their riders more slowly as inexorable night began to overtake them. Sensing it behind him even the irrepressible Behemoth was hushed, and digging his claws into the saddle he flew on in silence, his tail streaming behind him.
Night laid its black cloth over forest and meadow, night lit a scattering of sad little lights far away below, lights that for Margarita and the master were now meaningless and alien. Night overtook the cavalcade, spread itself over them from above and began to seed the lowering sky with white specks of stars.
Night thickened, flew alongside, seized the riders' cloaks and pulling them from their shoulders, unmasked their disguises. When Margarita opened her eyes in the freshening wind she saw the features of all the galloping riders change, and when a full, purple moon rose towards them over the edge of a forest, all deception vanished and fell away into the marsh beneath as their magical, trumpery clothing faded into the mist.
It would have been hard now to recognise Koroviev-Faggot, self-styled interpreter to the mysterious professor who needed none, in the figure who now rode immediately alongside Woland at Margarita's right hand. In place of the person who had left Sparrow Hills in shabby circus clothes under the name of Koroviev-Faggot, there now galloped, the gold chain of his bridle chinking softly, a knight clad in dark violet with a grim and unsmiling face. He leaned his chin on his chest, looked neither at the moon nor the earth, thinking his own thoughts as he flew along beside Woland.
'Why has he changed so? ' Margarita asked Woland above the hiss of the wind.
'That knight once made an ill-timed joke,' replied Woland, turning his fiery eye on Margarita. ' Once when we were talking of darkness and light he made a somewhat unfortunate pun. As a penance he was condemned to spend rather more rime as a practical joker than he had bargained for. But tonight is one of those moments when accounts are settled. Our knight has paid his score and the account is closed.'
The Master and Margarita [pdf]
Translated from Russian by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky
Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, Animated in Two Minutes
The Lethality of Loneliness
We now know how it can ravage our body and brain
Depression within Marxism
that the culture of the book is dead; that the solitude of the mind is dead.
... The internet has always been a way of organising as much as it has of distraction; of communication as much as noise; as much to do with bodies as it has to do with the disappearance of bodies.
We may well be alone in here, but I also wonder if that isn’t therapeutic at times. Out there (or ‘over there’ in Will Self’s words for the Australian-Iraqi nightmare interzone of ‘The Butt’) we are too upclose at times, too forced together, in these pockets of affective manipulation, enforced happiness (cf. Houellebecq and democracy), of the psychopolitical normalisation of unhappy subjects, the regulation of unhealthy bodies, and so on. Sometimes alone is good. At the same time, an excessive alone-togetherness, an arrangement of disembodied minds in cyber-seriality, is no good, can lead to the emergence of psychopathologies, of anti-social behaviours and psychologies, distorted logics, and utopian flights from fantasy. This means things are dangerous, these technologies are dangerous, it doesn’t mean that they necessarily give rise to these things, ex nihilo, from nowhere: the question of supply and demand is a question of desire; of its inculcation, its habituation, its naturalisation; all processes that can come undone, be interfered with, disrupted. Then, as a psychiatric worker, I have this question about psychopathology and anti-sociality: do we mean distressing, desubjectivating, crippling, or do we mean different, bad, not normal. The question is one that strikes throughout the history of psychiatry, and is best expressed today in the neurodiversity movement. Autism is a form of neurodiversity! they cry, as if difference were the sole consideration, the only factor that can be made to count. What kind of diversity? What are the effects? What is adaptive and maladaptive, in what ways does it help you cope and in what ways does it prevent coping?
If the problem is that the new accelerative technologies burn us out then its not luddism we need, it’s a way to distance ourselves from those technologies, to cultivate spaces of deceleration and destimulation, but also to foster a kind of techno-literacy- rather like the campaigns of the old working class for the right to read- and ‘perceptual training’
Rooms by the Sea
(July 22, 1882 – May 15, 1967)
After great pain, a formal feeling comes –
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs –
The stiff Heart questions ‘was it He, that bore,’
And ‘Yesterday, or Centuries before’?
The Feet, mechanical, go round –
A Wooden way
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought –
A Quartz contentment, like a stone –
This is the Hour of Lead –
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow –
First – Chill – then Stupor – then the letting go –
May 14, 2013
Still Life with Flowers
b. May 14, 1919
from Memoirs of My Nervous Illness
Daniel Paul Schreber (1842-1911)
Translation from German by Ida McAlpine and Richard A Hunter
The infringement of the freedom of human thinking or more correctly thinking nothing, which constitutes the essence of compulsive thinking, became more unbearable in the course of years with the slowing down of the talk of the voices, This is connected with the increased soul-voluptuousness of my body and — despite all writing-down — with the great shortage of speech-materials at the disposal of the rays with which to bridge the vast distances separating the stars, where they are suspended, from my body.
The whole society deal
... The homogeneous society, in which the archaic has no place to hide, is the effect of the penetrative tendency of capitalist culture, which roots out its opponents from the intimate sphere. Of course, its opponents might produce the elbow room that makes capitalism tolerable – and capitalist overreach might well be keyed to the sound of a gravedigger digging his own grave, which is what Marx heard. We at this point give capitalism much more time than Marx could give it in the nineteenth century, and we can watch the process of total change. Ethan Watters, a journalist, has pointed out that the variegated understanding of emotions in different cultures are in the process of being changed, or at least confronted, by an American model that is convenient to Big Pharma. This is from a NYT magazine article he wrote on the subject:
“We have for many years been busily engaged in a grand project of Americanizing the world’s understanding of mental health and illness. We may indeed be far along in homogenizing the way the world goes mad.
No matter – all madnesses must get in line! Or so it would seem as the Blue Pill bears down.
This unnerving possibility springs from recent research by a loose group of anthropologists and cross-cultural psychiatrists. Swimming against the biomedical currents of the time, they have argued that mental illnesses are not discrete entities like the polio virus with their own natural histories. These researchers have amassed an impressive body of evidence suggesting that mental illnesses have never been the same the world over (either in prevalence or in form) but are inevitably sparked and shaped by the ethos of particular times and places. In some Southeast Asian cultures, men have been known to experience what is called amok, an episode of murderous rage followed by amnesia; men in the region also suffer from koro, which is characterized by the debilitating certainty that their genitals are retracting into their bodies. Across the fertile crescent of the Middle East there is zar, a condition related to spirit-possession beliefs that brings forth dissociative episodes of laughing, shouting and singing.”
b. May 14, 1905
‘Another World is Possible’
interview with Colin Wright, author of Badiou in Jamaica: The Politics of Conflict
You describe Alain Badiou’s philosophy as revolving around three key questions: i) How does genuine novelty enter the world? ii) How is it distinct from mundane change? iii) And how can it be made to endure? And yet capitalism has become so hegemonic in recent years that it has become pretty difficult to even imagine an alternative to it.
I think the problem you describe, of the commodification of the political imaginary by capitalism, is a very serious one, especially given that this extends to images of resistance to capitalism as well (I refer to this in Badiou in Jamaica a few times as 'rebel chic'). Zizek's reading of the epidemic of apocalyptic Hollywood disaster movies is relevant here. He suggests that capitalism's hold on the collective imaginary is such that it is now far easier, particularly in the face of mounting evidence of environmental catastrophe, to picture the whole planet going up in flames, than it is to conceive of the end of capitalism. So it's a serious problem. I also think that part of addressing this problem does indeed have to take place on the level of the political imaginary itself. For all its many problems, at least the motto of the World Social Forum that 'Another World is Possible' acknowledges the need for an imaginative space in which alternatives to capitalism can be elaborated. But it certainly can't be addressed only at that level, since enormous amounts of energy can be wasted on building utopian visions, when significant change, at least from a Marxist perspective, never comes only from ideas.
Capitalist Realism [pdf]
An Interview with Mark Fisher
Depressive hedonia would be just a way of thinking about the form that depression takes in a world where stimulus is always available, I think. I don’t think we’ve remotely got to grips with the affective consequences of the kind of cyberspace-matrix that the young especially are embedded in.
Part of what I’m describing in the book really is the tensions between a kind of crumbling disciplinary framework – in which teachers are there as these prison-guards of this collapsing system. – Well, on the one hand they are prison guards. On the other hand, they’re required to interface with this constant world of stimulus, and be entertainers. – There’s a tension between being a prison guard and an entertainer – it’s pretty difficult to say the least. In terms of depressive hedonia, depression is usually described as a case of anhedonia, where the sufferer of depression is unable to derive pleasure from anything. It seemed to me that there’s almost an opposite syndrome in place with teenagers, where pleasure is so easily available that, well, that it’s this very availability of pleasure that’s depressing in many cases. I guess there’s a kind of consumer model of pleasure which is involved, which doesn’t build up people’s sense of self-esteem, sense of well-being, or perhaps more importantly a sense of involvement in things. Instead of that you’ve got this kind of rapid-fire small bursts of pleasure. And one of things that’s removed by this is a kind of productive boredom.
R: In a talk you gave about ‘Capitalist Realism’ earlier this year you called for the development of a ‘leftist psychotherapy’. Could you explain what you mean by this?
M: This is really serious, I think. Since there are so many people who are depressed – and I maintain that the cause for much of this depression is social and political – then converting that depression into a political anger is an urgent political project. Of course it’s not only about that. It’s also about levels of real distress and suffering in society, which can not be handled or dealt with by the individualising, privatised assumptions of the dominant forms of treatment in mental illness, which are, in this country, cognitive behavioural therapy – which is a kind of combination of positive thinking and kind of psychoanalysis light: the focus on family background of the sufferer, and on then of converting thought patterns from these negative into positive ones. There’s that. And on the other hand, brain chemistry focus – the horrible loop whereby massive multinational pharmaceutical companies sell people drugs in order to cure them from the stresses brought about by working in late capitalism. Neither of these things are very effective – all they do is largely contain people’s depression rather than actually deal with the actual cause of depression. One can apply Marx’s arguments about religion very directly to this – that religion was the opium of the masses. Anti-depressants and therapy are the opium of the masses now, in lots of ways. That isn’t to say that they don’t do anything at all. They do in many cases relieve intense suffering, which people are undergoing. But it’s just the same as religion. As Marx said, it’ll make people better in a kind of savage and pitiless world – religion wants real comfort to people in the same way, in a world of relentless competition, of digital hyper-stress, etc. Being able to talk to someone for an hour in cognitive behavioural therapy or having something which will take the edge of things via antidepressants – that will make people feel better, but just as with religion, it doesn’t get to the sources of that sort of misery in the first place. It in fact obfuscates it.If you want to look at the rise of capitalist realism, one can also look at the decline of anti-psychiatry. As anti-psychiatry declined, then capitalist realism grew. I think there’s a relation there between the two. That normalization of misery as part of the privatization of stress has been absolutely central to the rise of capitalist realism.
How do we get beyond that? ...
via Attempts At Living
Party of the Bockbierkandidaten
T. Lux Feininger
Experiment - Life - Politics
Bauhaus Photography X Russian Avant-garde
Galerie Priska Pasquer
Political Philosophy and the Dead Hand of its History
This essay explores the relation between political philosophy and the history of politicalthought. It focuses on this question — Are they allies or rivals? The question arises in partbecause the two disciplines so evidently share a very large number of figures and texts. Thatthe list stretches from Plato and Aristotle through Hobbes and Locke to Marx and Mill isprobably uncontentious. Whether it extends to (say) Rawls and Habermas is moreproblematic. Certainly, these authors are very likely to be studied in courses on ‘contemporary political philosophy’ and much less likely to appear in the reading lists for ‘history of political thought’. For the purposes of studying their philosophical ideas they are not historical figures – at least not yet._______________________
Telling it Straight
R. A. Lubowitz
(....)Toska Issue Four - Spring 2013
I wake and my brain is bone dry. A vague recollection that I was to be writing something amusing and purposeful for a writing class. I was supposed to be trying to tell it straight for once. I don’t remember why. It seems so pointless, writing.
I’m spending the day with my daughter. I buy her candy and watch videos on YouTube. I notice her little perfect pinky fingernail as she clicks her way through doll commercials, notice I’ve never taken the time to look at her pinky, and I try to make a mental snapshot although not sure why. That which demands awe again passes through me and it’s gone, I’m a weeping sieve.
There’s a promise of emptiness when I notice beauty. I’m still a child gazing up at the canvas of sky and feeling mainly my own smallness, sadness that I can’t soar to penetrate the mysteries and eat the colors and build castles in the cottony caverns. I can only stand, earthbound, dumbfounded and left out of something I don’t understand.
All the weeping willow trees of Earth, romantic and aching, synesthetic boughs crying and swaying in the winds, the luscious minor chords of sad love, seeing them dance, it will always be, unrequited. The universe’s poetry flat, inaccessible, unless I’m gazing with four eyes, clenched on some hilltop, bathed in oxytocin, with a sapphic blue-skinned soul mate that can’t possibly exist. Now, imprisoned by two eyes and one perspective, I need someone, anyone, to step in my mind, before I toss my cookies in this weightless, transparent box of isolation, this glass elevator through space and time, going up or down or standing still, I’ll never know.
No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody or something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom.
- Vladimir Nabokov