And by a prudent flight and cunning save A life which valour could not, from the grave. A better buckler I can soon regain, But who can get another life again? Archilochus

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Home Exorcism Kits

From Melancholia to Mania

The impression which several psycho-analytic investigators have already put into words is that the content of mania is no different from that of melancholia, that both disorders are wrestling with the same ‘complex’, but that probably in melancholia the ego has succumbed to the complex whereas in mania it has mastered it or pushed it aside. Our second pointer is afforded by the observation that all states such as joy, exultation or triumph, which give us the normal model for mania, depend on the same economic conditions. What has happened here is that, as a result of some influence, a large expenditure of psychical energy, long maintained or habitually occurring, has at last become unnecessary, so that it is available for numerous applications and possibilities of discharge— when, for instance, some poor wretch, by winning a large sum of money, is suddenly relieved from chronic worry about his daily bread, or when a long and arduous struggle is finally crowned with success, or when a man finds himself in a position to throw off at a single blow some oppressive compulsion, some false position which he has long had to keep up, and so on. All such situations are characterized by high spirits, by the signs of discharge of joyful emotion and by increased readiness for all kinds of action—in just the same way as in mania, and in complete contrast to the depression and inhibition of melancholia. We may venture to assert that mania is nothing other than a triumph of this sort, only that here again what the ego has surmounted and what it is triumphing over remain hidden from it. Alcoholic intoxication, which belongs to the same class of states, may (in so far as it is an elated one) be explained in the same way; here there is probably a suspension, produced by toxins, of expenditures of energy in repression. The popular view likes to assume that a person in a manic state of this kind finds such delight in movement and action because he is so ‘cheerful’. This false connection must of course be put right. The fact is that the economic condition in the subject's mind referred to above has been fulfilled, and this is the reason why he is in such high spirits on the one hand and so uninhibited in action on the other.
- Freud, "Mourning and Melancholia"

Sunday, November 27, 2011

John Dickson Batten, "The Garden of Adonis - Amoretta and Time" (1887)

The subject of Batten's painting is taken from Book III of Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene, which is devoted to the legend of Chastity. The twins Amoretta and Belphoebe were the daughters of the nymph Chrysogone. The two babies were adopted, Belphoebe by the goddess of the hunt Diana, and Amoretta by Venus, goddess of love. Venus took Amoretta to the Garden of Adonis, her `joyous Paradise', the flowers of which dame Nature doth her beautify, and decks the girlonds of her Paramoures. However, the faire flowre of beautie fades away, as doth the lilly fresh before the sunny ray, for:

Great enimy to it, and to all the rest
That in the Gardin of Adonis springs,
Is wicked Tyme; who with his scyth addrest
Does mow the flowring herbes and goodly things,
And all their glory to the ground downe flings,
Where they do wither, and are fowly mard:
He flyes about, and with his flaggy winges
Beates downe both leaves and buds withourt regard,
Ne ever pitty may relent his malice hard.

In this garden Amoretta was brought up by Psyche, and trained up in trew feminitee and goodly womanhead,

In which when she to perfect ripenes grew,
Of grace and beautie noble Paragone,
She brought her forth into the worldes vew,
To be th'ensample of true love alone,
And Lodestarre of all chaste affection
To all fayre Ladies that doe live on grownd.
To Faery court she came; where many one
Admyred her goodly haveour, and fownd
His feeble hart wide launched with loves cruel wownd.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Another View from the Left

On the Root Causes of the Current Economic Crises
...because Marxists critiques are so "very rare" in academia today....NOT!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Viva Franco!

Spanish songs in Andalucia
The shooting sites in the days of '39
Oh, please, leave the vendanna open
Fredrico Lorca is dead and gone
Bullet holes in the cemetery walls
The black cars of the Guardia Civil
Spanish bombs on the Costa Rica
I'm flying in on a DC 10 tonight

Spanish bombs, yo te quiero infinito
yo te acuerda oh mi corazón
Spanish bombs, yo te quiero infinito
yo te acuerda oh mi corazón

Spanish weeks in my disco casino
The freedom fighters died upon the hill
They sang the red flag
They wore the black one
But after they died it was Mockingbird Hill
Back home the buses went up in flashes
The Irish tomb was drenched in blood
Spanish bombs shatter the hotels
My senorita's rose was nipped in the bud


The hillsides ring with "Free the people"
Or can I hear the echo from the days of '39?
With trenches full of poets
The ragged army, fixin' bayonets to fight the other line
Spanish bombs rock the province
I'm hearing music from another time
Spanish bombs on the Costa Brava
I'm flying in on a DC 10 tonight

Spanish songs in Andalucia, Mandolina, oh mi corazon
Spanish songs in Granada, oh mi corazon
Guernica is a painting by Pablo Picasso. It was created in response to the bombing of Guernica, Basque Country, by German and Italian warplanes at the behest of the Spanish Nationalist forces, on 26 April 1937, during the Spanish Civil War. The Spanish Republican government commissioned Picasso to create a large mural for the Spanish display at the Paris International Exposition at the 1937 World's Fair in Paris.

Guernica shows the tragedies of war and the suffering it inflicts upon individuals, particularly innocent civilians. This work has gained a monumental status, becoming a perpetual reminder of the tragedies of war, an anti-war symbol, and an embodiment of peace. On completion Guernica was displayed around the world in a brief tour, becoming famous and widely acclaimed. This tour helped bring the Spanish Civil War to the world's attention.

Nothing like an art tour to inspire volunteers to join the communist/anarchist cause! The cannons require their fodder.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

La Part Maudite

from Wikipedia:

The Accursed Share presents a new economic theory, which Bataille calls "general economy," as distinct from the "restricted" economic perspective of most economic theory. Thus, in the theoretical introduction, Bataille writes the following:
I will simply state, without waiting further, that the extension of economic growth itself requires the overturning of economic principles—the overturning of the ethics that grounds them. Changing from the perspectives of restrictive economy to those of general economy actually accomplishes a Copernican transformation: a reversal of thinking—and of ethics. If a part of wealth (subject to a rough estimate) is doomed to destruction or at least to unproductive use without any possible profit, it is logical, even inescapable, to surrender commodities without return. Henceforth, leaving aside pure and simple dissipation, analogous to the construction of the Pyramids, the possibility of pursuing growth is itself subordinated to giving: The industrial development of the entire world demands of Americans that they lucidly grasp the necessity, for an economy such as theirs, of having a margin of profitless operations. An immense industrial network cannot be managed in the same way that one changes a tire... It expresses a circuit of cosmic energy on which it depends, which it cannot limit, and whose laws it cannot ignore without consequences. Woe to those who, to the very end, insist on regulating the movement that exceeds them with the narrow mind of the mechanic who changes a tire.
Thus according to Bataille's theory of consumption, the accursed share is that excessive and non-recuperable part of any economy which is destined to one of two modes of economic and social expenditure. This must either be spent luxuriously and knowingly without gain in the arts, in non-procreative sexuality, in spectacles and sumptuous monuments, or it is obliviously destined to an outrageous and catastrophic outpouring, in the contemporary age most often in war, or in former ages as destructive and ruinous acts of giving or sacrifice, but always in a manner that threatens the prevailing system.

The notion of "excess" energy is central to Bataille's thinking. Bataille's inquiry takes the superabundance of energy, beginning from the infinite outpouring of solar energy or the surpluses produced by life's basic chemical reactions, as the norm for organisms. In other words, an organism in Bataille's general economy, unlike the rational actors of classical economy who are motivated by scarcity, normally has an "excess" of energy available to it. This extra energy can be used productively for the organism's growth or it can be lavishly expended. Bataille insists that an organism's growth or expansion always runs up against limits and becomes impossible. The wasting of this energy is "luxury". The form and role luxury assumes in a society are characteristic of that society. "The accursed share" refers to this excess, destined for waste.

Crucial to the formulation of the theory was Bataille's reflection upon the phenomenon of potlatch. It is influenced by Marcel Mauss's The Gift, as well as by Friedrich Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morals.

Volume 1 introduces the theory and provides historical examples of the functioning of general economy: human sacrifice in Aztec society, the monastic institutions of Tibetan Lamaism, the Marshall Plan, and many others. Volumes 2 and 3 extend the argument to eroticism and sovereignty, respectively.

Perhaps the time has come to putting this "accursed share" to more productive and ritually chronolized employment.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fount of Ego...

A Freudian desire of the organism to die in it's own way, and not in a manner directed or controlled by the Big Other?
Through thought the ego is posited; but hitherto one believed as ordinary people do, that in "I think" there was something of immediate certainty, and that this "I" was the given cause of thought, from which by analogy we understood all other causal relationships. However habitual and indispensable this fiction may have become by now--that in itself proves nothing against its imaginary origin: a belief can be a condition of life and nonetheless be false.
- Nietzsche, Will to Power 483 (1885)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A New Model for Thought

Government as Anti-Economic Capitalism

We've all heard of Double Entry Book-keeping. So what if for every dollar spent on consumption, we set aside a dollar (or some reasonable proportion thereof as "the cost of government") as an offset and gave it to someone to alleviate the systemetized social and environmental costs of that consumption? Imagine there were a government fund that was used to actually develop technology and clean up oil spills and remediate Superfund nuclear EPA waste sites instead of litigating them for decades and writing regulations that prevented future development? For every dollar spent on creating problems, there was a dollar spent on a competititively developed economic alternatives that focused upon undoing the social and enviironmental effects resulting from the dollar spent on conspicuous consumption?

The regulatory model is working AGAINST capitalism and stymieing growth. Perhaps what is needed is an alternate anti/opposed economic model where the private sector competes for federal dollars to solve waste remediation problems (instead of merely regulating them away and thereby stalling economic development). Imagine a case where instead of regulating industry into a green NIMBY stagnation, EPA focused upon bringing to market industrial solutions to specific environmental problems, designing solutions that would allow industrial facilities to be sited in ecologically sensitive/fragile areas and expediting permits (instead of tying companies up in court). Wouldn't our economy double? Wouldn't this result in a true-er government/industry symbiosis?

The goal of government should be to unleash technological innovation, NOT regulate it into submission, stagnation, and eventual death as it does today. We should incentivize and financially reward politicans on the basis of their ability to MINIMIZE regulations... for isn't THAT truly the ultimate goal of "liberalism"? To allow us each as individuals and members of smaller social groups/collectives to realize his/her ultimate potential, not tell us that we can't, we can't, we can't with laws, rules and regulations?

Would the result of such a scheme be a much better model for "Guilt-free consumption"? Perhaps. But instead of "toppling" the capitalist system, let's DOUBLE DOWN on it! Let's use it to offset the need for regulation and government. Instead of punishing polluters, let's work towards solving the problems of pollution. If every dollar donated to Greenpeace or the Sierra Club went to actually cleaning up messes instead of trying to outlaw practices, wouldn't you donate? And if you were a corporation, imagine if the people you donated to had the effect of actually REDUCING the regulations you had to follow and opening up more tracts of land for resource development and plant siting... wouldnt THAT donation be worth something to you?