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

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Christmas!

...to all my Christian friends!

...and for all my Pagan ones, may Dionysus and Apollo BOTH be with you throughout the New Year!

h/t - Geeez for the wonderful graphic that so aptly expresses both sentiments.

and for those of a more "secular/philosophical vein"...

Saturday, December 22, 2012

It's Not My G_d Damned Planet, Manque Boy!

The falseness of a judgment is for us not necessarily an objection to a judgment; in this respect our new language may sound strangest. The question is to what extent it is life-promoting, life serving, species-preserving, perhaps even species-cultivating. And we are fundamentally inclined to claim that the falsest judgments (which include the synthetic judgments a priori) are the most indispensable for us; that without accepting the fictions of logic, without measuring reality against the purely invented world of the unconditional and self-identical, without a constant falsification of the world by means of numbers, man could not live - that renouncing false judgments would mean renouncing life and a denial of life. To recognize untruth as a condition of life - that certainly means resisting accustomed value feelings in a dangerous, way; and a philosophy that risks this would by that token alone place itself beyond good and evil.
- Nietzsche, "Beyond Good and Evil"

I've Got Nothing to Add...

Friday, December 21, 2012

Why the Unit One in Ancient Greece was NOT Considered a Part of the Set of Number

We now understand the integers as abstract objects, but the ancient Greeks understood them as counts of units (the unit, one, was not a number, two was their first) and represented them with lengths of line segments (multiples of some unit line segment). Where we talk of divisibility, Euclid wrote of "measuring," seeing one number (length) a as measuring (dividing) another length b if some integer numbers of segments of length a makes a total length equal to b.

The ancient Greeks also did not have our modern notion of infinity. School children now easily understand lines as infinite, but the ancients were again more concrete (in this regard). For example, they viewed lines as segments that could be extended indefinitely (not something infinite that we view just part of). For this reason Euclid could not have written "there are infinitely many primes," rather he wrote "prime numbers are more than any assigned multitude of prime numbers."

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

We Retreat from Society

"I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we're reading doesn't wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for? So that it will make us happy, as you write? Good Lord, we would be happy precisely if we had no books, and the kind of books that make us happy are the kind we could write ourselves if we had to. But we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us. That is my belief."
- from a letter by Franz Kafka to his schoolmate Oskar Pollak, 27 January 1904 (translated by Richard and Clara Winston)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

American Politics 2012 - Selling Ice Cream to Children

As with thee,
With me 'tis likewise. Light am I and young,
And will essay the dancing and the song.

-Euripides, "The Bacchae"

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Love's Labours Lost?

From women's eyes this doctrine I derive:
They are the ground, the books, the academes,
From whence doth spring the true Promethean fire.


But love, first learned in a lady's eyes,
Lives not alone immured in the brain,
But, with the motion of all elements,
Courses as swift as thought in every power,
And gives to every power a double power,
Above their functions and their offices.

--- ---

When daisies pied and violets blue,
And lady-smocks all silver-white,
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue
Do paint the meadows with delight,
The cuckoo then, on every tree,
Mocks married men.

-Shakespeare, "Loves Labour's Lost"

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Dioscouri Obscouri

Romulus/Remus Arete Barely Knew Ye!
Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Agreed to have a battle;
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
Had spoiled his nice new rattle.

Just then flew down a monstrous crow,
As black as a tar-barrel;
Which frightened both the heroes so,
They quite forgot their quarrel.
- Lewis Carroll
...the square roots of Dionysian legitimacy

Saturday, December 1, 2012


“Astutuli” are the cheeky super-bright people who get taken all too easily by a clever con-man. Nobody wants to be the dumb one; thus, the audience first lose a healthy sense of truth, then they lose their clothes and their purses and eventually all their dignity. “Everything is make-believe!” shouts the entertainer before disappearing with his accomplice and the loot. It’s a rascal’s tale, a story of deception, which is both fascinating and amusing. But behind all that – and unnoticeable until the very end – we find deceit, spoon-feeding and theft. All this is presented in Carl Orff’s “rootsy” and powerful Bavarian style – both linguistically and musically.

Moving from Melancholia to Mourning

...and then Morning again in America!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

America, the World Leader to...?

When the Journey IS the Destination
“Thus one section of humanity, comparatively rich, hardworking, and creating considerable surpluses, has known how to, and still does know how to, exchange things of great value, under different forms and for reasons different from those with which we are familiar.”
The ABOVE video was perhaps NOT the best example of one of them.
The way a given society chooses to annihilate the excess energy it produces is of the utmost importance. It is around this expenditure that a CULTURE is defined. Whether a society is aggressive, imperialistic, or non-violent all depends on the form the society gives to expenditure of surplus energy. Each society had a DEFINING CHOICE on how it would expend excess resources, building its values on an economically useless expenditure. The artifices of religion and art all form around this essential cultural activity, acting as recipients and modes of expression of the basic embodiment of surplus. Be it a church with its corps of people removed from economic activity, or a frugal dedication of energy in terms of a military structure dedicated to expansion, they all have their origins in the same need to find a channel for excess production.
Excerpts from a paper by David L. R. Kosalka on Georges Bataille and the Notion of Gift
There are better examples. But You DID Build it, America! You gave the world, a "free" choice.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

RNC SIgnals Move to Become DNC "Lite"

latest from The Hill
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.) was elected chairwoman of the House GOP conference on Wednesday, a victory for party leaders over insurgent conservatives.

McMorris Rodgers had received the quiet support of the highest-ranking GOP lawmakers in her closely watched bid for the fourth-ranking slot among House Republicans after Democrats won solid majorities of female voters in last week’s election.

The Washington state Republican, who has served two terms as the conference’s vice chairwoman, defeated Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), a favorite of conservatives, in a closed-door election among House Republicans.

Price, a former chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, had the support of Reps. Paul Ryan (Wis.), the recent GOP nominee for vice president, and Jeb Hensarling, the outgoing conference chairman.

Ryan said he was not disappointed in Price's loss, which some commentators said hurt Ryan's clout in the conference.

"Not at all. Cathy is going to be great. Tom is just a good friend," he said.

During the campaign season, Democrats pounded Republicans on social issues including abortion and contraception.

Senate Republicans elected a slate of white men to their top five leadership positions on Wednesday, and some GOP lawmakers feared the House would follow suit at a time when Republicans have said they need to find ways to reach out to women and minorities.

Speaker John Boehner (Ohio), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) will remain in the top three slots among House Republicans in the upcoming Congress, as expected.

As part of her pitch to fellow Republicans, McMorris Rodgers cited her fundraising chops and her work using social media to help circulate the Republican message. She had the support of several GOP committee leaders in her bid, including Rep. Fred Upton (Mich.), the head of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) was elected GOP conference vice chairwoman.

Following the vote, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said the House GOP "reelected the same failed Tea Party Republican leadership."

"With record-low approval and after voter rejection at the polls, House Republicans just doubled down on more of the same priorities that protect millionaires at the expense of the middle class,” DCCC spokesman Jesse Ferguson said in a statement.

Boehner also announced today that he has nominated Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) to chair the House Committee on Rules for the 113th Congress, replacing Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.).

"In Pete, we have a chairman who is not only respected by both parties, but a true public servant who will help ensure the House operates in a way that reflects the will, the priorities, and the expectations of the American people," Boehner said in a statement.
"If you ain't got a uterus, you ain't qualified to speak for us Republicans."

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Glass Half-Full

Excerpt from a paper by David L. R. Kosalka on Georges Bataille and the Notion of Gift

On the whole, a society always produces more than is necessary for its survival; it has a surplus at its disposal. It is precisely the use it makes of this surplus that determines it: The Surplus is the cause of the agitation, of the structural changes and of the entire history of society. But this surplus has more than one outlet, the most common of which is growth. And growth itself has many forms, each one of which eventually comes up against some limit. Thwarted demographic growth becomes military; it is forced to engage in conquest. Once the military limits is reached, the surplus has the sumptuary forms of religion as an outlet, along with games and spectacles that derive therefrom, or personal luxury.

Moreover, therein lies his primary challenge to traditional economics. In contrast to the classical notion of scarcity driving economic activity, he proposed a law of surplus. While classical economic thought emphasized the need for an efficient utilization of resources to fight the ravages of the scarcity of economic resources, he analyzed history in terms of the expenditure of excess energy and production. This put into question many of the classical historical assumptions, those of war as the competition among nations over scarce economic resources or that of the state as a Hobbesian limit placed on the competition of individuals fighting over those same resources. The impact of this refutation of classical economics cannot be underestimated.

The way a given society chooses to annihilate the excess energy it produces is of the utmost importance. It is around this expenditure that a culture is defined. Whether a society is aggressive, imperialistic, or non-violent all depends on the form the society gives to expenditure of surplus energy. Each society had a defining choice on how it would expend excess resources, building its values on an economically useless expenditure. The artifices of religion and art all form around this essential cultural activity, acting as recipients and modes of expression of the basic embodiment of surplus. Be it a church with its corps of people removed from economic activity, or a frugal dedication of energy in terms of a military structure dedicated to expansion, they all have their origins in the same need to find a channel for excess production.

It is within this general economic context, then, that Bataille begins an explication of the gift which first of all fundamentally related to a type of sacrifice. To understand Bataille’s notion of the gift, however, it is first necessary to see his conception of sacrifice and then how that relates to the gift. In a rational economy goods and production are either designated for meeting the general life needs of the populace or for the process of growth. All production then is designed with the future in mind, as part of a process of growth and expansion in which all objects are pre-ordained and understood as means towards the end, of the future telos of the economy. “The subject leaves its own domain and subordinates itself to the objects of the real order as soon as it becomes concerned for the future.” In the ritual destruction of material in the form of sacrifice, however, these goods are removed from that process, from that orientation towards a future telos. They are no longer seen as objects directed towards the use of the overall cultural system, but are seen in and of themselves, free of utilitarian domination.

Symbolically, along with the object itself, the one who offers the sacrifice is seen as removed from the demands of utility and consequently as possibly a sovereign subject. Those who offer the sacrifice are not completely dominated by the needs of the system or the process, but, rather, can exist free of their constraints in the moment of the sacrifice. Bataille examines these notions in light of Aztec sacrifice. While to modern sensibilities the immense level of human sacrifice in that culture seems an abomination, it represents the nature of sacrifice. In the words of Bataille, “The victim is surplus taken from the mass of useful wealth. And he can only be withdrawn from it in order to be consumed profitlessly, and therefore utterly destroyed. Once chosen, he is the accursed share, destined for violent consumption. But the curse tears him away from the order of things; it gives him a recognizable figure, which now radiates intimacy, anguish, the profundity of living beings.”

Those captured in war were sacrificed in place of the individuals of a particular culture. An immense symbolic tie was created between the victim of the sacrifice and those for whom the victim was a substitute. An immense level of intimacy is infused in the relationship with the victim. The victim is treated like a son, a daughter, or even as a king. By killing the associated victim, that victim is removed from the realm of the object. He can no longer be used for anything, and becomes simply itself, a sovereign subject in its absolute uselessness, and by association so is the one who offers the sacrifice. They enter the realm of the sacred, of the free subject who is not subordinated to the demands of useful production. “The world of the subject is the night: that changeable, infinitely suspect night which, in the sleep of reason, produces monsters. I submit that madness itself gives a rarefied idea of the free ‘subject,’ unsubordinated to the ‘real’ order and occupied only with the present.”

The notion of the gift in Bataille is closely related to that of sacrifice. Bataille basis his comments on the nature of the gift on the essay by Marcel Mauss, first published as “Essai sur le Don” in 1950 . Marcel Mauss (1872 – 1950) was the literal heir of Emile Durkheim and deeply involved in Durkheim’s project of sociology. While substantially a work of objective anthropology, the impact of the work, as Mauss makes clear in comments in his conclusion, was to be a critique, indeed an alternative vision, to utilitarian visions of capitalism. As Mary Douglas has argued in her foreword to the translation of the essay, “The Essay on the Gift was part of an organized onslaught on contemporary political theory, a plank in the platform against utilitarianism.”

At the heart of the essay lies a critique of anthropologists’ reading of gift-giving as a form of rational economic exchange. He berated anthropologists for imposing on other cultures preconceived models concerning the necessity and universality of economic exchange. Considering the analyses of gift exchange given by many of his contemporaries, Mauss argued that “current economic and judicial history is largely mistaken in this matter. Imbued with modern ideas, it forms a priori ideas of development and follows a so-called necessary logic.” Nevertheless, he found different aims than utilitarian economics had in its considerations of different systems of gift-giving. “Thus one section of humanity, comparatively rich, hardworking, and creating considerable surpluses, has known how to, and still does know how to, exchange things of great value, under different forms and for reasons different from those with which we are familiar.”

When Will we Ever Learn?

from Wikipedia on Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels:
Laputa had several methods of enforcing obedience from its subject towns. The island could be made to hover over a city indefinitely, depriving them of sunlight and rain. In more extreme situations, this would be combined with dropping large rocks on the inhabitants (which seems the first time that aerial bombardment was conceived as a method of warfare). Finally, the Laputans had the ability to lower their island directly onto a town, utterly destroying it. This was exceedingly rare, due to the risk it would pose to the integrity of Laputa itself.

As a result of oppressions and tribute demanded from them by Laputa, the Lindalinians rebelled against their governor and constructed tall towers at each of the four corners of the city. On top of these, they placed powerful lodestones, or magnets. The result of this was that when Laputa approached them, it was pulled toward these towers more swiftly than the king had expected. As a test, the Laputans then dropped several pieces of adamant, the substance from which their island was constructed. These were violently drawn to the towers. Realizing the situation, the king of Laputa had no choice but to give in to Lindalino's conditions. If he had not, the island would have been fixed in place and overthrown.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Once Faithful Republican

Adrift! A little boat adrift!
And night is coming down!
Will no one guide a little boat
Unto the nearest town?

So Sailors say -- on yesterday --
Just as the dusk was brown
One little boat gave up its strife
And gurgled down and down.

So angels say -- on yesterday --
Just as the dawn was red
One little boat -- o'erspent with gales --
Retrimmed its masts -- redecked its sails --
And shot -- exultant on!
-Emily Dickinson

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Quando fiam uti chelidon?*

Le Prince d'Aquitaine a la tour abolie!*

As the Maidens resumed their chant...

The goddess inspires our song
sweetly and keeps good time
let us sing in like manner
see how all is blooming
in meadow, farm and pasture.
The morning lark chatters
the little crow clamours
greeting all of creation
whilst the nightingale mourns
what is past and now lost.
Already the swallow flits
as the swan honks sweetly
mindful of the way of things
and the cuckoo echoes
through the verdant woods.
The birds sing so beautifully
the landscape dazzles
in all its diverse colours
and its re-birth releases
such fragrant aromas.
Far and wide the limes stretch out
their leaves, branches and blossoms
and thyme flourishes beneath them
emerald like the very grass
on which our dance is held.
And winding through this grass
a giggling stream murmurs
this place is so delightful
even the wind is hushed here
whispering as befits the season
Poi s'ascose nel foco che gli affina*

* T.S. Eliot, "The Wasteland"

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Estrus Ascendant

Fashioning New Apples for Diverting Atalanta

..."fair Atalanta, swift of foot, the daughter of Schoeneus, who had the beaming eyes of the Graces, though she was ripe for wedlock rejected the company of her equals and sought to avoid marriage with men who eat bread."
- Hesiod, "Catalogues of Women" (fragment)

from The Hill
The gender gap in the 2012 presidential election was the largest since Gallup began tracking the metric in 1952, according to data released by the polling firm on Friday.

President Obama won women by 12 percentage points, while Mitt Romney won men by 8. That’s a 20-point gender gap, edging out the 1984 election when Ronald Reagan defeated Democrat Walter Mondale in a landslide.

Reagan won both men and women in that election, but carried men by 28 points and women by only 10 – a disparity of 18 points.

2012 was the fifth straight election to feature a double-digit gender gap.

Still, Romney performed better among women than Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) did in 2008. Obama had a 14-point advantage among female voters over his GOP counterpart that year. Romney also outperformed McCain among men in this election – in 2008 Obama and McCain split the male vote.

The politics of gender played a significant role throughout the 2012 election, as Romney looked to cut into Obama’s advantage among female voters by framing the economy as a women’s issue.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Filling My Baby Daddy Void w/ le Gran Government Objet A

POV - The Menstrual Angst of the Single Female Voter

A Voice Within.

Io! Io!
Awake, ye damsels; hear my cry,
Calling my Chosen; hearken ye!

A Maiden.

Who speaketh? Oh, what echoes thus?


A Voice, a Voice, that calleth us!

The Voice.

Be of good cheer! Lo, it is I,
The Child of Zeus and Semelê.

A Maiden.

O Master, Master, it is Thou!


O Holy Voice, be with us now!

The Voice.

Spirit of the Chained Earthquake,
Hear my word; awake, awake!

- Euripides "The Bacchae"

from the Baltimore Sun
As if it weren't enough that Lena Dunham, the 26-year-old writing/directing/acting phenom who started a revolution this year with her HBO series "Girls," scored a $3.5-million book deal and has been granted the unofficial but unimpeachable title of "voice of her generation," she also appears to have won the presidential election — or at least to have been one of the driving forces behind the guy who did.

In a much-talked-about campaign video for the president, Ms. Dunham used her signature combination of cheeky irony and shocking forthrightness to compare first-time voting to first-time sex. "Your first time shouldn't be with just anybody," she says to her presumably young, presumably mostly female audience. "You want to do it with a great guy.... Someone who really cares about and understands women."

Though the video, which immediately went viral, sent some conservatives into convulsions, it also appears to have worked. As the exit polls showed, it was women, particularly single women, who were among the most instrumental in putting President Barack Obama over the top: 67 percent of them voted for him, according to an NBC exit poll.

From the womb all madness comes
ere it shines like the Sun
burning my skin
Mystery hounds my head into wilds
Where Jealous women Bleed death

Lost limbs!
How you midwife Abortion!
Io Hymenae!

Menstrual Song!
The song bleeds Madness
Through the hymen
Into e'ery hymn it flows
Song's blood severs my Head

Past the hymn, thoughtless, dead
We list in cloudy water

- Pentheus -

Thursday, November 8, 2012

from Maslow to VALS

The most fundamental and basic four layers of the pyramid contain what Maslow called "deficiency needs" or "d-needs": esteem, friendship and love, security, and physical needs. If these "deficiency needs" are not met - with the exception of the most fundamental (physiological) need - there may not be a physical indication, but the individual will feel anxious and tense. Maslow's theory suggests that the most basic level of needs must be met before the individual will strongly desire (or focus motivation upon) the secondary or higher level needs. Maslow also coined the term Metamotivation to describe the motivation of people who go beyond the scope of the basic needs and strive for constant betterment.

ERG Theory - Existence (safety/security), Relatedness (friendship/esteem), Growth (self-actualization)
Innovator. These consumers are on the leading edge of change, have the highest incomes, and such high self-esteem and abundant resources that they can induldge in any or all self-orientations. They are located above the rectangle. Image is important to them as an expression of taste, independence, and character. Their consumer choices are directed toward the "finer things in life."

Thinkers. These consumers are the high-resource group of those who are motivated by ideals. They are mature, responsible, well-educated professionals. Their leisure activities center on their homes, but they are well informed about what goes on in the world and are open to new ideas and social change. They have high incomes but are practical consumers and rational decision makers.

Believers. These consumers are the low-resource group of those who are motivated by ideals. They are conservative and predictable consumers who favor American products and established brands. Their lives are centered on family, community, and the nation. They have modest incomes.

Achievers. These consumers are the high-resource group of those who are motivated by achievement. They are successful work-oriented people who get their satisfaction from their jobs and families. They are politically conservative and respect authority and the status quo. They favor established products and services that show off their success to their peers.

Strivers. These consumers are the low-resource group of those who are motivated by achievements. They have values very similar to achievers but have fewer economic, social, and psychological resources. Style is extremely important to them as they strive to emulate people they admire.

Experiencers. These consumers are the high-resource group of those who are motivated by self-expression. They are the youngest of all the segments, with a median age of 25. They have a lot of energy, which they pour into physical exercise and social activities. They are avid consumers, spending heavily on clothing, fast-foods, music, and other youthful favorites, with particular emphasis on new products and services.

Makers. These consumers are the low-resource group of those who are motivated by self-expression. They are practical people who value self-sufficiency. They are focused on the familiar-family, work, and physical recreation-and have little interest in the broader world. As consumers, they appreciate practical and functional products.

Survivors. These consumers have the lowest incomes. They have too few resources to be included in any consumer self-orientation and are thus located below the rectangle. They are the oldest of all the segments, with a median age of 61. Within their limited means, they tend to be brand-loyal consumers.

The Hillbilly Yachtsman

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Partial Trieb (Drive)

...Partialtrieb, translated ... as “component instinct”; I would prefer partial drive - drive because, once beyond the AnIehnung (anaclisis, in English: leaning to or on) on the vital somatic functions, it has nothing to do with instincts whatsoever, and partial because it concerns a component of a totality that is never there, that never reaches a conclusion.

In order to understand the importance of this idea, we have to go back to the concept of drive, Trieb. As you probably know, Freud defined the drive as a concept on the border between the psyche and the body, containing four basic components: source and pressure, aim and object. The first two belong to the somatic side, the other two to the psyche. Defined as such, the drive concept seems very easy to understand. It has a somatic source, probably something within the genital organs and the hormones, resulting in pressure which aims at relief, that is, coitus, with the other sex as appropriate object. In this respect, the drive is indeed nothing more than an instinct, directed by reflex actions and eventually functioning on the basis of childhood-conditioned fixations. This view is as easy to understand as it is wrong. It is wrong because it leaves out the two most fundamental characteristics of the drive. First of all, each drive is a partial one; secondly, each drive is essentially auto-erotic.

The aspect of being partial shows up in two ways. First of all, the drive is partial in relation to the idea of procreation, even in relation to the idea of coitus. Man may have an oral drive, an anal drive, and so on, but he does not have a totalised sexual drive. Freud will be very critical about the existence of a ganze Sexualstrebung, a total sexual urge. Secondly, each drive is partial in relationship to the body, in the respect that a drive never encompasses the whole of it. On the contrary, each drive seems to specialise in one part of the body or one bodily activity, either in an active or in a passive manner.

Psychosexual development results in an attempt to gather all these partial drives under the banner of genital or ‘mature’ sexuality, but this attempt is never a very convincing one. In spite of so-called genital maturity, it is quite obvious that everyone has his own favourite “pre-genital” predilections, which make it all the more difficult to construct the right tunnel.

This psychosexual development also shows the second characteristic very clearly, namely that these fragmented drives are directed to one’s own body. They are essentially auto-erotic. It is only later on that the object becomes an external one, and even then, it will never have the same importance as the original. From the point of view of the partial drive, the other always remains a means, never an end. The trajectory of the partial drive is curved, going around the other and returning to oneself, thereby creating a self-sufficient enclosure. So the aim of the partial drive is not the other as object, no, the aim is a certain jouissance. In view of this aim, the importance of the other has nothing to do with him or her as another human being. He or she has instrumental value only, and is indeed reduced to an object, even a partial one for that matter.
- Paul Verhaeghe, "Neurosis and Perversion: IL N'Y A PAS DE RAPPORT SEXUEL"

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Seeking Common Ground

According to Lacan, sexual rapport does not exist, “Il n’y a pas de rapport sexuel”. In contrast to this rather depressing statement, let us start with the definition by Freud of a normal sexual life. In his Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, we can read that, “a normal sexual life is only assured by an exact convergence of the affectionate current and the sexual current both being directed towards the sexual object and sexual aim. It is like the completion of a tunnel which has been drilled through a hill from both directions.” (SE VII, 207). If we combine the two statements, the net result is that the tunnel does not get completed and the two currents do not converge, so that rapport is not achieved. As a matter of fact, usually one ends with two tunnels, that is, two forms of rapport, one for the affectionate current, and another for the sexual one. Moreover, as a further illustration of the problem, there seems to be a gender-specific divergence in the choice of tunnel. Women are said to have a preference for the affectionate one, that is, for love, while men are supposed to be more interested in sex an sich. As the saying goes, “In order to have sex, women need a reason, men only a place”.
- Paul Verhaeghe, "Neurosis and Perversion: IL N'Y A PAS DE RAPPORT SEXUEL" (1995)

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Patriarch...

Fulchran-Jean Harriet, Oedipus at Colonnus (1798)

...and the pure and innocent one for whom appearances MUST be maintained!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Song for the Workaholic...

"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."
- Sir Winston Churchill

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Richard Lindner, "Boy with Machine" (1954)

"It is at work everywhere, functioning smoothly at times, at other times in fits and starts. It breathes, it heats, it eats. It shits and fucks. What a mistake to have ever said the id. Everywhere it is machines—real ones, not figurative ones: machines driving other machines, machines being driven by other machines, with all the necessary couplings and connections. An organ-machine is plugged into and energy-source-machine: the one produces a flow that the other interrupts. The breast is a machines that produces milk, and the mouth a machine coupled to it… we are all handymen: each with his little machines… "
- Deleuze & Guattari

When you will have made him a body without organs,
then you will have delivered him from all his automatic reactions
and restored him to his true freedom

-Antonin Artaud, "To Have Done with the Judgement of G_d" (1947)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Metaphysical Sorcery

After identifying reflection as a menace - first to passionate individualism and next to philosophy - Kierkegaard goes on to describe the collective instantiation of its metaphysical sorcery as a social arbiter of last resort. This rising collectivity, he charges, would obliterate all individuality in the monstrous grip of its totalizing abstraction.
Just another example of the Epic's tyranny over the Lyrical in mankind's perpetual struggle between Homer and Archilochus for mastery of the human mind.

Oh Zeus, father Zeus, Yours is the Kingdom of Heaven,
and you watch men's deeds, the crafty and the right,
and You are who cares
for beasts' transgression and justice.
- Archilochus of Paros

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Franz Kafka, "Up in the Gallery"

If some frail tubercular lady circus rider were to be driven in circles around and around the arena for months and months without interruption in front of a tireless public on a swaying horse by a merciless whip-wielding master of ceremonies, spinning on the horse, throwing kisses and swaying at the waist, and if this performance, amid the incessant roar of the orchestra and the ventilators, were to continue into the ever-expanding, gray future, accompanied by applause, which died down and then swelled up again, from hands which were really steam hammers, perhaps then a young visitor to the gallery might rush down the long staircase through all the levels, burst into the ring, and cry “Stop!” through the fanfares of the constantly adjusting orchestra.

But since things are not like that—since a beautiful lady, in white and red, flies in through curtains which proud men in livery open in front of her, since the director, with the devotion of an animal, seeks her eyes, breathes in her direction, and, as a precaution, lifts her up on the dapple-gray horse, as if she were his granddaughter, the one he loved more than anything else, as she starts a dangerous journey, but he cannot decide to give the signal with his whip and finally, controlling himself, gives it a crack, runs right beside the horse with his mouth open, follows the rider’s leaps with a sharp gaze, hardly capable of comprehending her skill, tries to warn her by calling out in English, furiously castigating the grooms holding hoops, telling them to pay the most scrupulous attention, and begs the orchestra, with upraised arms, to be quiet before the great somersault, finally lifts the small woman down from the trembling horse, kisses her on both cheeks, and considers no public tribute adequate, while she herself, supported by him, high on the tips of her toes, with dust swirling around her, arms outstretched and little head thrown back, wants to share her luck with the entire circus—since this is how things are, the visitor to the gallery puts his face on the railing and, sinking into the final march as if into a difficult dream, weeps, without realizing it.
An Kafkaesque example of how one opens up meaning through a paradoxical conclusion. If you want to understand this, I highly recommend reading this article, in its' entirety.

The paradox is really the pathos of intellectual life and just as only great souls are exposed to passions it is only the great thinker who is exposed to what I call paradoxes, which are nothing else than grandiose thoughts in embryo.
- Soren Kierkegaard

Take away paradox from the thinker and you have a professor.
- Soren Kierkegaard

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Paean to Enemies

WHEN through the nations stalks contagion wild,

We from them cautiously should steal away.

E'en I have oft with ling'ring and delay
Shunn'd many an influence, not to be defil'd.

And e'en though Amor oft my hours beguil'd,

At length with him preferr'd I not to play,

And so, too, with the wretched sons of clay,
When four and three-lined verses they compil'd.

But punishment pursues the scoffer straight,

As if by serpent-torch of furies led

From bill to vale, from land to sea to fly.

I hear the genie's laughter at my fate;

Yet do I find all power of thinking fled

In sonnet-rage and love's fierce ecstasy.
-Goethe (1807-8)

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Tin Man's Lament

Saw a man in the movies that didn't have a heart
How I wish I could give him mine
Then I wouldn't have to feel it breaking all apart
And this emptiness inside would suit me fine

It's times like these
I wish I were the tin man
You could hurt me all you wanted
I'd never even know
Well...I'd give anything just to be the tin man
And I wouldn't have a heart and I wouldn't need a soul
- Kenny Chesney

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Death of Beauty, Decadence in Art

I am warned by the ill fate of many philosophers not to attempt a definition of Beauty. I will rather enumerate a few of its qualities. We ascribe beauty to that which is simple; which has no superfluous parts; which exactly answers its end; which stands related to all things; which is the mean of many extremes. It is the most enduring quality, and the most ascending quality.
-Emerson, "Conduct of Life" (On Beauty)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Unlimited, aka - No Longer Ltd

I'm through accepting limits
'Cuz someone says they're so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try, I'll never know!
Too long I've been afraid of
Losing love I guess I've lost
Well, if that's love
It comes at much too high a cost!
I'd sooner buy
Defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye
I'm defying gravity
And you can't pull me down:
(spoken) Glinda - come with me. Think of what we could
do: together.

(sung) Unlimited
Together we're unlimited
Together we'll be the greatest team
There's ever been
Glinda -
Dreams, the way we planned 'em

If we work in tandem

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Election 2012 - Liberty Dons the Necklace of Harmonia

Legend believes that Harmonia had a necklace that most people and theologians associate with her name This magical necklace was highly coveted amongst women; for it was believed that who ever wore it would have eternal youth and beauty.

Harmonia was born of Aphrodite's adulterous affair with the god Ares. She was awarded to Kadmos, the hero founder of Thebes, in a wedding attended by all the gods. Hephaistos, however, was still furious over his wife's betrayal, and presented Harmonia with a cursed necklace, which doomed her descendants to endless tragedy.
"Mousai (Muses) and Kharites (Charites, Graces), daughters of Zeus, who came once to the wedding of Kadmos (Cadmus)[and Harmonia] and sang the lovely verse, ‘What is beautiful is loved, what is not beautiful is not loved.’ This is the verse that went through your immortal lips."
- Theognis, Fragment 1. 15 (trans. Gerber) (Greek elegiac C6th B.C.) :

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Mislaying Your Objet Petit 'a

On the hierarchy of the Objet Petit 'a
Speaking of the "fall" of the a, Lacan noted that 'the diversity of forms taken by that object of the fall ought to be related to the manner in which the desire of the Other is apprehended by the subject.' The earliest form is 'something that is called the breast...this breast in its function as object, object a cause of desire.'

Next there emerges 'the second form: the anal object. We know it by way of the phenomenology of the gift, the present offered in anxiety.' The third form appears 'at the level of the genital act...[where] Freudian teaching, and the tradition that has maintained it, situates for us the gaping chasm of castration.'

Lacan also identified 'the function of petit a at the level of the scopophilic drive. Its essence is realized in so far as, more than elsewhere, the subject is captive of the function of desire.' The final term relates to 'the petit a source of the superego...the fifth term of the function of petit a, through which will be revealed the gamut of the object in its - pregenital - relation to the demand of the - post-genital - Other.'
The term "phallus" designates the representation of an erect penis, which plays a key role both intra- and inter-subjectively. Freud barely distinguished between the fantasized phallus and the anatomical penis. He called the period between three and five years of age the "phallic stage." At this stage, infants of both sexes are dominated by the question of who possesses a penis and the related issue of its masturbatory jouissance (gratification), which is clitoral in the case of girls. Up to this point, the mother is imagined as having a penis, and the discovery that she lacks a penis, after an initial denial, precipitates the castration complex.

Jacques Lacan chose to use the term "phallus" for the imaginary and symbolic representation of the penis in order to better distinguish the role of the penis in the fantasy life of both sexes from its anatomical role. Freud's famous "symbolic equation" of breast, feces, penis, and baby (1916-1917a [1915-1917], 1918b, 1924d) already implied this distinction between the real penis and its phallic representations.

According to Lacan, the phallus at the outset represents what else the mother desires is in addition to the baby. Thus, a pre-oedipal triangle of mother, phallus, and infant arises. At first the infant tries to be the phallus for the mother until the moment of a crucial transformation when the child, after identifying the phallus as a static image of completeness and sufficiency, sees it as representing the mother's desire, and thus her lack. From then on, the phallus takes the form of something missing (-') within any imaginary, and hence libidinal, frame of reference. Thus the phallus comes to signify desire, Lacan says.

Sunday, September 2, 2012



OH, unhappy stars! your fate I mourn,

Ye by whom the sea-toss'd sailor's lighted,
Who with radiant beams the heav'ns adorn,

But by gods and men are unrequited:
For ye love not,--ne'er have learnt to love!
Ceaselessly in endless dance ye move,
In the spacious sky your charms displaying,

What far travels ye have hasten'd through,
Since, within my loved one's arms delaying,

I've forgotten you and midnight too!
-Goethe (1789)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Central Message of Christianity

"Where there is no love, put love, and you will find love"
-St. John of the Cross
Salvador Dali, "Christ of St. John of the Cross" (1951)

as seen by atheist Slavoj Zizek, "Politics of Shame and Shamelessness"
Christianity... an egalitarian community of believers that takes all responsibility for what happens, its' message is NOT "Trust in G_d", but rather, "G_d Trusts us." Jesus died and said, basically, "It's up to you, Holy Spirit, the Community of Believers... I will resurrect, but NOT as a person, but in you and your community.

Are we All Brothers, Yet?

Here, now look at these pictures and masturbate!

Thursday, August 30, 2012



WITH eagerness he drinks the treach'rous potion,

Nor stops to rest, by the first taste misled;
Sweet is the draught, but soon all power of motion

He finds has from his tender members fled;
No longer has he strength to plume his wing,
No longer strength to raise his head, poor thing!
E'en in enjoyment's hour his life he loses,
His little foot to bear his weight refuses;
So on he sips, and ere his draught is o'er,
Death veils his thousand eyes for evermore.
- Goethe (1810)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Remembering Neil Armstrong

One small step for man...

It's 4 in the morning July in '69
Me and my sister, we crept down like shadows
They're bringing the moon Right down to our sitting room
Static and silence and a monochrome vision

They're dancing around Slow puppets silver ground
And the world is watching with joy
We hear a voice from above and it's history
And we stayed awake all night

And something is said And the whole room laughs aloud
Me and my sister looking on like shadows
The end of an age as we watched them walk in a glow
Lost in space, but I don't know where it is

They're dancing around Slow puppets silver ground
And the stars and stripes in the sand
We hear a voice from above and it's history
And we stayed awake all night

They're dancing around It sends a shiver down my spine
And I run to look in the sky and I half expect to hear them asking to come down
Oh, will they fly or will they fall
To be excited by a long late night
-The Sundays, "Monochrome"

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Protecting the Hays Code Audience - Beauty Through the "Limit" of Form

Resolved, That those things which are included in the following list shall not appear in pictures produced by the members of this Association, irrespective of the manner in which they are treated:

Pointed profanity – by either title or lip – this includes the words "God," "Lord," "Jesus," "Christ" (unless they be used reverently in connection with proper religious ceremonies), "hell," "damn," "Gawd," and every other profane and vulgar expression however it may be spelled;
Any licentious or suggestive nudity-in fact or in silhouette; and any lecherous or licentious notice thereof by other characters in the picture;
The illegal traffic in drugs;
Any inference of sex perversion;
White slavery;
Miscegenation (sex relationships between the white and black races);
Sex hygiene and venereal diseases;
Scenes of actual childbirth – in fact or in silhouette;
Children's sex organs;
Ridicule of the clergy;
Willful offense to any nation, race or creed;

And be it further resolved, That special care be exercised in the manner in which the following subjects are treated, to the end that vulgarity and suggestiveness may be eliminated and that good taste may be emphasized:

The use of the flag;
International relations (avoiding picturizing in an unfavorable light another country's religion, history, institutions, prominent people, and citizenry);
The use of firearms;
Theft, robbery, safe-cracking, and dynamiting of trains, mines, buildings, etc. (having in mind the effect which a too-detailed description of these may have upon the moron);
Brutality and possible gruesomeness;
Technique of committing murder by whatever method;
Methods of smuggling;
Third-degree methods;
Actual hangings or electrocutions as legal punishment for crime;
Sympathy for criminals;
Attitude toward public characters and institutions;
Apparent cruelty to children and animals;
Branding of people or animals;
The sale of women, or of a woman selling her virtue;
Rape or attempted rape;
First-night scenes;
Man and woman in bed together;
Deliberate seduction of girls;
The institution of marriage;
Surgical operations;
The use of drugs;
Titles or scenes having to do with law enforcement or law-enforcing officers;
Excessive or lustful kissing, particularly when one character or the other is a "heavy."

The Motion Picture Production Code was the set of industry moral censorship guidelines that governed the production of most United States motion pictures released by major studios from 1930 to 1968. It is also popularly known as the Hays Code, after Hollywood's chief censor of the time, Will H. Hays.

The Motion Pictures Producers and Distributors Association (MPPDA), which later became the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), adopted the code in 1930, began enforcing it in 1934, and abandoned it in 1968, in favor of the subsequent MPAA film rating system. The Production Code spelled out what was acceptable and what was unacceptable content for motion pictures produced for a public audience in the United States. The office enforcing it was popularly called the Hays Office in reference to Hays, and also later the Breen Office, named after its first administrator, Joseph Breen, who took over from Hays in 1934.


By the late 1960s, enforcement had become impossible and the Production Code was abandoned entirely. The MPAA began working on a rating system, under which film restrictions would lessen. The MPAA film rating system went into effect on November 1, 1968, with four ratings: G, M, R, and X and Geoffrey Shurlock stepped down from his post.[48] In 1969, the Swedish film I Am Curious (Yellow), directed by Vilgot Sjöman, was initially banned in the U.S. for its frank depiction of sexuality; however, this was overturned by the Supreme Court.

The M rating was changed to GP in 1970 and to the current PG in 1972. In 1984, in response to public complaints regarding the severity of horror elements in PG-rated titles such as Gremlins and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the PG-13 rating was created as a middle tier between PG and R. In 1990, the X rating was replaced by NC-17, partly because the X rating was not trademarked by the MPAA, whereas pornographic bookstores and theaters were using their own X and XXX symbols to market products.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Civilization's Discontents

Nietzsche, "Genealogy of Morals"
The man who, because of a lack of external enemies and opposition, was forced into an oppressive narrowness and regularity of custom impatiently tore himself apart, persecuted himself, gnawed away at himself, grew upset, and did himself damage—this animal which scraped itself raw against the bars of its cage, which people want to “tame,” this impoverished creature, consumed with longing for the wild, which had to create out of its own self an adventure, a torture chamber, an uncertain and dangerous wilderness—this fool, this yearning and puzzled prisoner, became the inventor of “bad conscience.” But with him was introduced the greatest and weirdest illness, from which humanity up to the present time has not recovered, the suffering of man from man, from himself, a consequence of the forcible separation from his animal past, a leap and, so to speak, a fall into new situations and living conditions, a declaration of war against the old instincts, on which, up to that point, his power, joy, and ability to inspire fear had been based. Let us at once add that, on the other hand, the fact that there was on earth an animal soul turned against itself, taking sides against itself, meant there was something so new, profound, unheard of, enigmatic, contradictory, and full of the future, that with it the picture of the earth was fundamentally changed. In fact, it required divine spectators to appreciate the dramatic performance which then began and whose conclusion is by no means yet in sight—a spectacle too fine, too wonderful, too paradoxical, to be allowed to play itself out senselessly and unobserved on some ridiculous star or other! Since then man has been included among the most unexpected and most thrillingly lucky rolls of the dice in the game played by Heraclitus’ “great child,” whether he’s called Zeus or chance.* For himself he arouses a certain interest, a tension, a hope, almost a certainty, as if something is announcing itself with him, something is preparing itself, as if the human being were not the goal but only a way, an episode, a bridge, a great promise . . .

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Video Deemed Too Offensive for Republicans... and why they'll lose in 2012

...I guess it must hit too close to home with their real perceptions of the man.

Oh wait, they don't like it because they might get accused of racism if they are seen laughing at black people eating fried chicken and watermelon.

Here's a news flash for you, Republicans, the perception that you are RACISTS is already OUT there. Your hypersensitivity to the subject simply looks like a COVER-UP of your TRUE feelings.

So thicken your skins, Republicans, because the race issue is a lose-lose for you, no matter HOW you react to it (or don't). And let's face it, "Call me Maybe" parodies are topical... especially those containing stereotypical elements.

Calling all Fools


IF to a girl who loves us truly
Her mother gives instruction duly
In virtue, duty, and what not,--
And if she hearkens ne'er a jot,
But with fresh-strengthen'd longing flies

To meet our kiss that seems to burn,--

Caprice has just as much concerned
As love in her bold enterprise.

But if her mother can succeed
In gaining for her maxims heed,
And softening the girl's heart too,
So that she coyly shuns our view,--
The heart of youth she knows but ill;

For when a maiden is thus stern,

Virtue in truth has less concern
In this, than an inconstant will
- Goethe (1767-9)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Pursuit of the Objet Petit a...

The curse of Apollo, the god of the sun and music, was brought onto him when he insulted the young Eros for playing with bow and arrows.

Apollo was a great warrior and said to him, "What have you to do with warlike weapons, saucy boy? Leave them for hands worthy of them. Behold the conquest I have won by means of them over the vast serpent who stretched his poisonous body over acres of the plain! Be content with your torch, child, and kindle up your flames, as you call them, where you will, but presume not to meddle with my weapons."

The petulant Eros took two arrows, one of gold and one of lead. The gold one was supposed to incite love, while the lead one was supposed to incite hatred. With the leaden shaft, Eros shot the nymph Daphne and with the golden one, he shot Apollo through the heart. Apollo was seized with love for the maiden, Daphne, and she in turn abhorred him. In fact, she spurned her many potential lovers, preferring instead woodland sports and exploring the woods. Her father, Peneus, demanded that she get married so that she may give him grandchildren, as was custom in Greece. However, she begged her father to let her remain unmarried, like Apollo's twin sister, Artemis.

He warned her saying, "Your own face will forbid it." By saying this he meant that she was too beautiful to keep all her potential lovers away forever.

Apollo continually followed her, begging her to stay, but the nymph continued her flight. They were evenly matched in the race until Eros intervened and helped Apollo gain upon Daphne.

Seeing that Apollo was bound to catch her, she called upon her father, "Help me, Peneus! Open the earth to enclose me, or change my form, which has brought me into this danger!"

Suddenly, her skin turned into bark, her hair became leaves, and her arms were transformed into branches. She stopped running as her feet became rooted to the ground. Apollo embraced the branches, but even the branches shrank away from him. Since Apollo could no longer take her as his wife, he vowed to tend her as his tree, and promised that her leaves would decorate the heads of leaders as crowns, and that her leaves were also to be depicted on weapons. Apollo also used his powers of eternal youth and immortality to render her ever green. Since then, the leaves of the Bay laurel tree have never known decay.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Eating Quackers....


ON yonder lofty mountain

A thousand times I stand,
And on my staff reclining,

Look down on the smiling land.

My grazing flocks then I follow,

My dog protecting them well;
I find myself in the valley,

But how, I scarcely can tell.

The whole of the meadow is cover'd

With flowers of beauty rare;
I pluck them, but pluck them unknowing

To whom the offering to bear.

In rain and storm and tempest,

I tarry beneath the tree,
But closed remaineth yon portal;

'Tis all but a vision to me.

High over yonder dwelling,

There rises a rainbow gay;
But she from home hath departed

And wander'd far, far away.

Yes, far away bath she wander'd,

Perchance e'en over the sea;
Move onward, ye sheep, then, move onward!

Full sad the shepherd must be.
-Goethe (1803)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

All Rights Belong to the Respective Owners....

My grief no mortals know,

Except the yearning!
Alone, a prey to woe,

All pleasure spurning,
Up tow'rds the sky I throw

A gaze discerning.

He who my love can know

Seems ne'er returning;
With strange and fiery glow

My heart is burning.
My grief no mortals know,

Except the yearning!

00:00 I Robot
06:02 I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You
09:25 Some Other Time
13:31 Breakdown
17:24 Don't Let It Show
21:45 The Voice
28:00 Nucleus/Day After Day (The Show Must Go On)
34:29 Total Eclipse
37:24 Genesis Ch.1. V.32

Sounding Fall River

Thirty licks with a belt; same old tricks on myself.
And I wonder: Does everyone else live this way?
A succession of tests, a triumphant success,
Each time, I'm still in-tact, at the end of the day.

Thirty drops in a glass, keep my temper and pass
With my breath held. You bastards, you lucked out again!
It's not really so bad. There’s still mom, there’s still
Damage to do before they wrest the axe from my hands.

It's no mystery: you should obviously go,
Before I break everything.
You’re always telling me that you're dying to know;
But you’re not really listening.

How do I manage to station myself in harms way,
And only get hit with a ticket for loitering...
That I have no way to pay? And no strength to argue.
My personal demons can scheme with professional care...
Oh, god, they're after me!
If I could shut them out just for a second,
I swear:
I could stop this catastrophe.

Thirty day guarantee,
But they can't have meant me.
After all, I was born to a child-proof world.
No sharp corners, or glass,
Small objects, or plastic bags.
Please, these are death to a delicate girl.

It's no mystery - you should obviously know
That I’ll destroy everything.
So don't go telling me that you're dying to know-
'Cause you’ll get what you're asking for.

And I still manage to station myself in harm's way,
And only get hit with a ticket for loitering,
Stating I came the wrong day.
Now all the demons are screaming, their wages aren't fair.
I've left a secret kept.
If I could shut them up just for a second, I swear:
It’ll look like an accident.
I could be decent yet!
The magnificent end:
I could be president....

Friday, August 3, 2012

Siquen Buscando la Ideal

The Ideal

'twill be no lovely girls of our vignettes
— spoiled fruits our worthless epoch deems divine —
slim slippered feet, hands made for castagnettes,
that shall content this questing heart of mine.

I leave to great Gavarni, bard of blight,
his prattling beauties with their frail appeal.
I cannot find among his roses white
the flaming flower of my red ideal.

I crave, to fill my heart's abyss of death,
thy passion, fair and merciless Macbeth,
whom Aeschylus might not have dreamed in boreal snows;

or thine, great Night, in Bunarroti's South,
tranquilly turning in a monstrous pose
thy bosom fashioned by a Titan's mouth!
- Charles Baudelaire

Friday, July 27, 2012

Dark Echo

Krist Novoselic remembers Cobain writing "Polly" after reading a newspaper article about the abduction, torture and rape in June 1987 of a 14-year-old girl by Gerald Arthur Friend; Friend had picked her up near the Tacoma Dome in his car after she had attended a rock concert.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Just a Punk with a Stutter

Κῆ δ' ἀμβροσίας μὲν κράτηρ ἐκέκρατο,
Ἐρμᾶς δ' ἔλεν ὄλπιν θέοις οἰνοχόησαι.
κῆνοι δ' ἄρα πάντες καρχησιά τ' ἦκον
κἄλειβον, ἀράσαντο δὲ πάμπαν ἔσλα
τῷ γάμβρῳ.

And there the bowl of ambrosia was mixed, and Hermes took the ladle to pour out for the gods; and then they all held goblets, and made libation, and wished the bridegroom all good luck.
- Sappho of Lesbos (Fragment 51)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Duty, Like All Virtue, Must Always Be its' Own Reward

Ὄττινας γὰρ
εὖ θέω, κῆνοί με μάλιστα σίννον-
ται ....

For they whom I benefit injure me most.
- Sappho of Lesbos (Fragment 12)
We may fairly wonder how, after all previous explanations of the principles of duty, so far as it is derived from pure reason, it was still possible to reduce it again to a doctrine of happiness; in such a way, however, that a certain moral happiness not resting on empirical causes was ultimately arrived at, a self-contradictory nonentity. In fact, when the thinking man has conquered the temptations to vice, and is conscious of having done his (often hard) duty, he finds himself in a state of peace and satisfaction which may well be called happiness, in which virtue is her own reward. Now, says the eudaemonist, this delight, this happiness, is the real motive of his acting virtuously. The notion of duty, says be, does not immediately determine his will; it is only by means of the happiness in prospect that he is moved to his duty. Now, on the other hand, since he can promise himself this reward of virtue only from the consciousness of having done his duty, it is clear that the latter must have preceded: that is, be must feel himself bound to do his duty before he thinks, and without thinking, that happiness will be the consequence of obedience to duty. He is thus involved in a circle in his assignment of cause and effect. He can only hope to be happy if he is conscious of his obedience to duty: and he can only be moved to obedience to duty if be foresees that he will thereby become happy. But in this reasoning there is also a contradiction. For, on the one side, he must obey his duty, without asking what effect this will have on his happiness, consequently, from a moral principle; on the other side, he can only recognize something as his duty when he can reckon on happiness which will accrue to him thereby, and consequently on a pathological principle, which is the direct opposite of the former. I have in another place (the Berlin Monatsschrift), reduced, as I believe, to the simplest expressions the distinction between pathological and moral pleasure. The pleasure, namely, which must precede the obedience to the law in order that one may act according to the law is pathological, and the process follows the physical order of nature; that which must be preceded by the law in order that it may be felt is in the moral order. If this distinction is not observed; if eudaemonism (the principle of happiness) is adopted as the principle instead of eleutheronomy (the principle of freedom of the inner legislation), the consequence is the euthanasia (quiet death) of all morality. The cause of these mistakes is no other than the following: Those who are accustomed only to physiological explanations will not admit into their heads the categorical imperative from which these laws dictatorially proceed, notwithstanding that they feel themselves irresistibly forced by it. Dissatisfied at not being able to explain what lies wholly beyond that sphere, namely, freedom of the elective will, elevating as is this privilege, that man has of being capable of such an idea. They are stirred up by the proud claims of speculative reason, which feels its power so strongly in the fields, just as if they were allies leagued in defence of the omnipotence of theoretical reason and roused by a general call to arms to resist that idea; and thus they are at present, and perhaps for a long time to come, though ultimately in vain, to attack the moral concept of freedom and if possible render it doubtful.
- Immanuel Kant, "The Metaphysics of Ethics"

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Leda's Hyacinth

They say that Leda once found

an egg—

like a hyacinth.
-Sappho of Lesbos
SOME say that when Zeus fell in love with Nemesis, she fled from him into the water and became a fish; he pursued her as a beaver, ploughing up the waves. She leaped ashore, and transformed herself into this wild beast or that, but could not shake Zeus off, because he borrowed the form of even fiercer and swifter beasts. At last she took to the air as a wild goose; he became a swan, and trod her triumphantly at Rhamnus in Attica. Nemesis shook her feathers resignedly, and carried to Sparta, where Leda, wife of King Tyndareus, presently found hyacinth - coloured egg lying in a marsh, which she brought home and hid in a chest: from it Helen of Troy was hatched. But some say that this egg dropped from the moon, like the egg that, in ancient times plunged into the river Euphrates and, being towed ashore by fish and hatched by doves, broke open to reveal the Syrian Goddess of Love. Others say that Zeus, pretending to be a swan pursued by an eagle took refuge in Nemesis’s bosom, where he ravished her and that, in due process of time, she laid an egg,which Hermes threw between Leda’s thighs, as she sat on a stool with her legs apart. Thus Leda gave birth to Helen, and Zeus placed the images of Swan and Eagle in the Heavens to commemorate this ruse. The most usual account, however, is that it was Leda herself with whom Zeus companied in the form of a swan beside the river Eurot: that she laid an egg from which were hatched Helen, Castor, and Polydeuces; and that she was consequently deified as the goddess Nemesis. Now, Leda’s husband Tyndareus had also lain with her the same night and, though some hold that all these three were Zeus’s children—and Clytaemnestra too, who had been hatched, with Helen, from a second egg—others record that Helen alone was a daughter of Zeus, and that Castor and Polydeuces were Tyndareus’s sons; some others again, that Castor and Clytaemnestra were children of Tyndareus, while Helen and Polydeuces were children of Zeus. Nemesis was the Moon-goddess as Nymph and, in the earliest form of the love-chase myth, she pursued the sacred king through his seasonal changes of hare, fish, bee, and mouse—or hare, fish, bird, and grain of wheat—and finally devoured him. With the victory of the patriarchal system, the chase was reversed: the goddess now fled from Zeus, as in the English ballad of the Coal-black Smith. She had changed into an otter or beaver to pursue the fish, and Castor’s name (‘beaver’) is clearly a survival of this myth, whereas that of Polydeuces (‘much sweet wine’) records the character of the festivities during which the chase took place.
Lada is said to be the Lycian (i.e. Cretan) word for ‘woman’, and Leda was the goddess Latona, or Leto, or Lat, who bore Apollo and Artemis at Delos. The hyacinth-coloured egg recalls the blood-red Easter egg of the Druids, called the glain, for which they searched every year by the seashore; in Celtic myth it was laid by the goddess as sea-serpent. The story of its being thrown between Leda’s thighs may have been deduced from a picture of the goddess seated on the birth-stool, with Apollo’s head protruding from her womb. Helen and Helle, or Selene, are local variants of the Moon-goddess, whose identity with Lucian’s Syrian goddess is emphasized by Hyginus. But Hyginus’s account is confused: it was the goddess herself who laid the world-egg after coupling with the serpent Ophion, and who hatched it on the waters, adopting the form of a dove. She herself rose from the Void. Helen had two temples near Sparta: one at Therapnae, built on a Mycenaean site; another at Dendra, connected with a tree cult, as her Rhodian shrine also was. Pollux mentions a Spartan festival called the Helenephoria, closely resembling Athene’s Thesmophoria at Athens, during which certain unmentionable objects were carried in a special basket called a helene; such a basket Helen herself carries in reliefs showing her accompanied by the Dioscuri. The objects may have been phallic emblems; she was an orgiastic goddess. Zeus tricked Nemesis, the goddess of the Peloponnesian swan cult, by appealing to her pity, exactly as he had tricked Hera of the Cretan cuckoo cult. This myth refers, it seems, to the arrival at Cretan or Pelasgian cities of Hellenic warriors who, to begin with, paid homage to the Great Goddess and provided her priestesses with obedient consorts, but eventually wrested the supreme sovereignty from her.
Hyacinth Hair - Music by Mozart (aged 11)

Echoed the Warbling Bird

And now I will tell a fable for princes who themselves understand. Thus said the hawk to the nightingale with speckled neck, while he carried her high up among the clouds, gripped fast in his talons, and she, pierced by his crooked talons, cried pitifully. To her he spoke disdainfully: `Miserable thing, why do you cry out? One far stronger than you now holds you fast, and you must go wherever I take you, songstress as you are. And if I please I will make my meal of you, or let you go. He is a fool who tries to withstand the stronger, for he does not get the mastery and suffers pain besides his shame.' So said the swiftly flying hawk, the long- winged bird.

But you, Perses, listen to right and do not foster violence; for violence is bad for a poor man. Even the prosperous cannot easily bear its burden, but is weighed down under it when he has fallen into delusion. The better path is to go by on the other side towards justice; for Justice beats Outrage when she comes at length to the end of the race. But only when he has suffered does the fool learn this. For Oath keeps pace with wrong judgements. There is a noise when Justice is being dragged in the way where those who devour bribes and give sentence with crooked judgements, take her. And she, wrapped in mist, follows to the city and haunts of the people, weeping, and bringing mischief to men, even to such as have driven her forth in that they did not deal straightly with her.

But they who give straight judgements to strangers and to the men of the land, and go not aside from what is just, their city flourishes, and the people prosper in it: Peace, the nurse of children, is abroad in their land, and all-seeing Zeus never decrees cruel war against them. Neither famine nor disaster ever haunt men who do true justice; but light-heartedly they tend the fields which are all their care. The earth bears them victual in plenty, and on the mountains the oak bears acorns upon the top and bees in the midst. Their woolly sheep are laden with fleeces; their women bear children like their parents. They flourish continually with good things, and do not travel on ships, for the grain-giving earth bears them fruit.

But for those who practise violence and cruel deeds far-seeing Zeus, the son of Cronos, ordains a punishment. Often even a whole city suffers for a bad man who sins and devises presumptuous deeds, and the son of Cronos lays great trouble upon the people, famine and plague together, so that the men perish away, and their women do not bear children, and their houses become few, through the contriving of Olympian Zeus. And again, at another time, the son of Cronos either destroys their wide army, or their walls, or else makes an end of their ships on the sea.

You princes, mark well this punishment you also; for the deathless gods are near among men and mark all those who oppress their fellows with crooked judgements, and reck not the anger of the gods. For upon the bounteous earth Zeus has thrice ten thousand spirits, watchers of mortal men, and these keep watch on judgements and deeds of wrong as they roam, clothed in mist, all over the earth. And there is virgin Justice, the daughter of Zeus, who is honoured and reverenced among the gods who dwell on Olympus, and whenever anyone hurts her with lying slander, she sits beside her father, Zeus the son of Cronos, and tells him of men's wicked heart, until the people pay for the mad folly of their princes who, evilly minded, pervert judgement and give sentence crookedly. Keep watch against this, you princes, and make straight your judgements, you who devour bribes; put crooked judgements altogether from your thoughts.

He does mischief to himself who does mischief to another, and evil planned harms the plotter most.
- Hesiod, "Works and Days"