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

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)