Empty Days

Saturday, June 05, 2004



There is the question of neediness. It takes strange forms sometimes. I used to be outrageously demanding of my teachers in school, in college - outrageously judgeamental. This is a form of neediness. Demanding brilliance for my own satisfaction. Goddam.

It's a sort of early sin I'd love to repent for if I didn't know it was only a sign of my own lack - something to laugh off eventually.

A gentler spirit is a stronger spirit - if not heart, at least a gentler mind. On s'adoucit en vieillissant. Truly so. The other path is bitterness of course. Yet another face of weakness, that one.

And finally there is "blaming" (society, family, nature) - the lowest of the low. This is the mightiest of all temptations and I can't say I know how to avoid this one every time. But the fallacy is palpable. Under dictatorships there are two ways to keep your ground: keep to yourself or go to jail for crying out loud. The sense of righteousness the latter affords is more than intoxicating - once the evil is over, you can barely find your bearings, since the only thing that defined you is gone. Happened to a lot of people I used to know.
In some way it resembles the state of teenagehood when all evil is attributed to family constraints - something that needs shaking once you're on your own.
That's also the dynamic of pop-psychology (coming straight from Freud and Co): blaming parents for everything you are or are not. Or genetics and nature for everything you will never be or happen to be. Phoney but endlessly potent.

There is no middle ground in all of this and no teacher will ever teach you how "to be or not to be". Especially not spiritual teachers - strangely enough.

Either way, it's been a pleasant late-night conversation.




What's funny is that I feel perfectly fine and even better - complete, despite a clear consciousness of all that is lacking. You could shoot at me with a rifle and it won't leave a scratch. I know this won't last but that too is of no consequence.

There is a sort of winter-garden in my mind - and things grow there really fast, in isolation of all the rest of the landscape. The rest of the landscape just doesn't matter.

"There are two things I understood: that I love you and that I am not an artist. And I feel liberated now." (Bullets over Broadway)

That's exactly it - even though the exact terms do not apply.




Once again I am irresistibly drawn to vapid talk and this is both good and bad - there is something to waste (at least) and nothing better to do.

In other words, the usual.

The instructive part is that I need to be content with just that and nothing else. Anything beyond would be outside my competence. Perhaps it's yet again the art of waiting forcing itself on my system. And it feels funny for some reason.

Friday, June 04, 2004



An interesting fact: "Nietzsche" is not even a name, it's a word, so semantically loaded that it is practically impossible to utter without provoking a chaos of [mis]understandings (there are too many, therefore no one is sure what is meant).

A good idea would be to conceal the name and give out text "as is" - to unload the mind before-hand.

Also I've noticed that oftentimes one is tempted to take the easy option out and wield the "name in vain", hoping to dump at once a whole lot of meaning - this is a very sloppy procedure, of course.

Or quote less or not at all.




Some more Nietzsche, right to the heart of things:
On ne peut penser et écrire qu'assis [One cannot think and write except when seated] (G. Flaubert). There I have caught you, nihilist! The sedentary life is the very sin against the Holy Spirit. Only thoughts reached by walking have value.
There is of course much more but I'd rather stop now.




What is nice about the kind of soliloqui that blogging invites is the attempt at ideal conversation - when everything may be said and will be equally valuable, since you are your own vis-a-vis and want to hear precisely what you want to say.

In real conversations we have to put up with the other and his load of things wanting out - it is not the place to say all there is to say (unless your interlocutor is a slave or a disciple). In other words, ideal conversations do not exist. Therefore we are strongly tempted to invent them. Hence - writing.

***

People who spend a lot of their life reading come to believe that writing, especially fiction, is something to aspire to, a glamorously solitary feat (ask anyone in Paris). However I've often wondered how it is that people get to write novels - to me, writing a novel or even a story seems like the most boring thing yet.

Because it involves recreating a sort of reality - and I'd rather forget all about reality than put any energy into giving it additional "better" life. Consequently, even the most depressing and haineous novelists are in fact great lovers of life. I would like to testify on my own head that a true hater and nihilist could never be a writer of fiction - it is unthinkable.

This is a very valuable thought - it's the truth, actually.

Dostoevsky never tired of mocking those who take ideas at face value. Most who read take what they read for granted. It is a mistake and falling for a mirage. I used to be such a one, of course.

(not as extreme perhaps as "boots are more important than Shakespeare" but very nearly)

***

At the same time it occurs to me that this urge to monologue is a kind of story-telling. Despite myself I am writing out my inner life. I suppose this is a sign of vitality.

Priceless quote from Nietzsche:
The species do not grow in perfection: the weak prevail over the strong again and again, for they are the great majority -- and they are also more intelligent ... Darwin forgot the spirit (--that is English!); the weak have more spirit ... One must need spirit to acquire spirit,--one loses it when one no longer needs it. Whoever has strength dispenses with the spirit (--"Let it go!" they think in Germany today--"the Reich must still remain to us" ...). It will be noted that by "spirit" I mean care, patience, cunning, simulation [Vorstellung], great self-control, and everything that is mimicry (the latter includes a great deal of so-called virtue).
And although I included the whole context, I'd like to dispense with most of it for now - "one must need spirit to acquire spirit" and spirit as "mimicry" are the potent bits.

Novel-writing as mimicry. Writing tout court - an urge for intelligence, yet still an urge.




The niceties of life that I am missing for lack of purpose - green meadows, black earth, sunshine.

Instead I am talking to the blog and thinking about yet another inevitable root-canal and how I will pay for it with a visa cheque that I never intend to cover - and that going to prison, eventually, might be seen as an adventure and a portentious sign of ruin. And at the same time there is the feeling of life extending despite reasonable objections and unreasonable fears.

***

I make a point of being shabby - which is the closest approximation of my inner shabbiness and is thus a kind of style.

At the dentist's office today leafed through a Fashion magazine with glamorous and artfully seductive photos of what people wear and even read some well-written articles about the essence of style. I think I could well be in that magazine as a demonstration of a highly unglamorous style that is not based on sexiness but on the idea of self - I express the idea of me perfectly and am comfortable in being quite spectacularly under-dressed. It's a social statement negating glamour and the value of seductiveness through artfully clothed body-parts. I've never been sexy or pursued sexiness - because the secret of seduction resides in the strength of personality, everything else is a vapid porn show.

This minus those periods of self-neglect and self-loathing...

***

Saw a hilarious show on Letterman yesterday - with Nicole Kidman as guest. She looked like some inhuman beast, ostensibly devoid of brains. Letterman played a lustful satyre and teased the hell out of her. It was fun.

***

After the dentist went to get some books by Houellebecq at the library. In the process picked up a collection of modern French erotic writings - contrary to popular assumptions, describing sex is an extremely difficult endeavor that has nothing to do with porn as we know it. Looking forward to some boldness and aesthetic vigor (does not rime with viagra).

I would venture that if Nietzsche were writing in the 1970's instead of 1870's, his output would be full of the most obscene apartés - barely veiled. He had to contain his language back then.




Nice quip by Beat Waydown:

--According to Einstein's general theory, if we keep looking further and deeper, eventually we arrive full circle to see ourselves looking for ourselves. That's why I've surrendered to philosophy.




Monday, March 08, 2004

This is a post from Cancer Blog whose owner passed away in early May. The post dates from March and, I think, renders directly enough the sense of coming end amidst the everyday struggle for survival. I'll keep it on this blog as a memento of a voice extinguished.

______________________________________________________

There is a moment of anxious expectation that I'm sure we've all experienced, though the level of anxiety varies greatly among individuals. That is when, after having had your mug shot taken at the driver's license office and after having spent several awkward minutes waiting for the license to be processed, the clerk announces your name and it is time for you to claim your new 'official' identity.

There is a moment in The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (a proper write-up is coming... maybe) when young Dorian, an aristocrat of dazzling beauty, must see his just-completed portrait for the first time. Dorian, it is safe to say, suffered not a whiff of anxiety before the 'unveiling'--his painter-friend had been embarrassing him with compliments throughout the sitting; with a painter of such talent, how could it not be equally flattering?--but he was completely unprepared for what he saw.

As I waited for my new license, I expected the worst. The very fact that I was there, that I needed a new license at the precise moment when I could not have looked worse, was the culmination of a small, private farce. You see, three weeks ago, when I went in to have the tumor in my neck ablated, Barnes-Jewish Hospital managed to lose my belongings: a coat, a copy of the New Yorker, a tee-shirt, glasses, and my Tennessee drivers license. Today, in the driver's license office, the tumor loomed, ominous as ever, two band-aids separating the outside world from the by-any-measure grotesque neck-wound underneath. Outside light glared off the whiteness of my head. My glasses were noticeably absent--I believe they had added a fashionable sophistication to my otherwise bare head. At least they were something. At least they muted the effect of the missing eyebrows.

In the novel, Dorian is astounded by his own beauty. 'Is this really how I look? I had no idea.', he mutters. The scales fall from his ideas, his naivete is destroyed. Under the influence of a new world-wise (and world-weary) friend, he becomes sad. 'How long can such beauty last? How tragic that the beauty of this worthless combination of canvas and paint will last so long while the beauty that really matters to me, my intrinsic beauty, is as fleeting as a flower's bloom.' (paraphrasing)

I was not prepared for what I saw. What I saw was a portrait of my own corpse. It seemed like it was taken in some other universe, a universe where events had transpired slightly differently: I was young, healthy, cancer-free, but still, something terrible had happened. How did this man die? Most likely drowning, judging by the pallor of the skin and the bloating of the neck. He must have suffered some accident--maybe his car was forced into the river by a drunk driver? Perhaps suicide: the love of his life had had enough of him, and this pathetic, bookish bastard couldn't take it: he jumped from a bridge and wasn't discovered until the next day. But in this universe, somehow, I am still alive. And yet the two pictures match: my real image, the image that will be checked by innumerable low-wage employees for the indefinite future, and the alternate image, how I imagine I would look were I dead and decaying on a medical examiner's table, somehow correspond. Dorian's portrait perfectly captures his life to that date: pure, innocently divine beauty. This picture seems to capture my last few years. As I once remarked to a friend, my body has been a battleground on which the best of medical science has fought, and continues to fight, an inconclusive battle against one of the worst modern maladies. Like a battlefield, I look devastated.

***

You just gotta indulge me with this post. I've been feeling miserable the past few days. During this time I read The Picture of Dorian Gray. It left a big impact. Then, today I had the worst picture of my life taken; it left a big impact as well. Take these two, add the misery, and presto, you get posts like this. I'm feeling a little better now, but man would I prefer to be unconscious. The picture made clear to me what I already knew: 'You're dying, man. You may live yet, but right now, you're dying -- and there's no getting around that fact. Your independent life in St. Louis must end soon: you don't have the energy to properly take care of yourself anymore--you need to be eating better!--much less do anything with school besides grade the occasional intro problem set.'
______________________________________________________


David was 27 years old.




The difficulty

Of being despite myself. Discipline is based on some sort of consciousness that may very well go against one's own grain. I may set tasks for myself and follow rules and constraints required to complete such projects but, in media res, things invariably start falling apart - the point remains but the drive is lost and the only and unique reason it is always lost is because it is I who am fading away. Continuously and without recourse.

I lack that most important and most basic requirement of all deeds - a sense of self-importance.

Hence everything I ever do is unimportant from the go. And no amount of self-persuasion can relieve this gaping void. In other words, even if I had the talent of a Van Gogh (if I were a painter, say) I would throw my own work away on a regular basis - I could never "profit" from that talent. And though I am no Van Gogh (and indeed no artist), I do know that I have some modest talents that I might have put to good use - if it were any use whatsoever, in whatever sense imaginable.

I cannot experience the basic satisfaction of a accomplishment - I can accomplish over and over again and never come to know the feeling. And here I would like to cite Nietzsche again because he said it well:

The "explanation" of agreeable general feelings.

They are produced by trust in God. They are produced by the consciousness of good deeds (the so-called "good conscience," a physiological state which at times looks so much like good digestion that it is hard to tell them apart). They are produced by the successful termination of some enterprise (-- a naive fallacy: the successful termination of some enterprise does not by any means give a hypochondriac or a Pascal agreeable general feelings).

Quite so - a naive fallacy and a philosopher's stone: supposed to exist but never to be found.

Then there is something Dostoevsky said about one of his most despised and will-less characters:

He never spoke for the sake of truth but always and only for his own sake - he lied all his life long. (paraphrased from "The Possessed")

This is an extremely precise definition of that lack of self-importance I know in myself. Formulated as a condemnation and a judgment, yet still a keen description of how will is constituted. It seems to contradict the nietzschean forray above, but in fact it only confirms the same state of things - that lack of will cannot be covered, it is the ultimate weakness and destitution or, as Dostoevsky liked to put it - lack of roots.

For Dostoevsky those "roots" (or the three wales on which the world stands - and the earth is always flat) were just as organic as the ones Nietzsche talks about. You lie, and speak, out of weakness and to cover that weakness, you cannot "speak for truth".

Roots connect to the whole - the truth of the whole - which is the world. This is the basis of will or lack thereof. Every human carries the world inside himself - but broken will is a rupture and everything that comes out of that rupture will be a lie and a destruction. Self-destruction.

***

I am selfish in my appraisal of philosophers and ideas, and what I see and say is often generally wrong - but it is true to what I see and why I so see it.

I "lie" by being disconnected and by irrevocable selfishness. Can't find any sustainment outside myself - and still less in myself. The money will go to the wealthy.

The cruel part is that no pills and no therapies in the whole wide world of splendid science can restore that rupture. I know this instinctively and not out of any kind of pessimism, and quite despite the massive onslaught of "quality of life" propaganda. I also know that it is quite possible to be effectively brainwashed into success (how else to call it) and then find out that it was all nothing but a soap bubble - when it bursts, and it will, naturally.

But there are a lot of other things I do not yet know. And I suppose this is why I am still around, after all this time and all this knowing.

***

Back to Houellebecq for now ("humour does not save" - you bet, cocksucker).

Thursday, June 03, 2004



Another rabid paradox that I've always had the hardest time to figure out (not intellectually but in actuality) is that perfection is not measurable.

Here Nietzsche is a valuable teacher and reminder - as he speaks "from inside" (a psychologist).

I suspect this is a paradox that torments many a mind. Perhaps because of a simple misunderstanding - that art is not a commodity but a form of being. You can "be" in metal and "be cast".

Either way it requires a foundry.




"This having to transform into perfection is�art. Even everything that he is not yet, becomes for him an occasion of joy in himself; in art man enjoys himself as perfection."

I know what this means - and I also know that I can never quite reach there. I would have to "constitute myself" which is something I am unable to do, hard to say why. In other words - a matter of personal Constitution and the First Amendment right to be.




7. Moral for psychologists.— Not to go in for backstairs psychology [Colportage-Psychologie]! Never to observe in order to observe! That gives a false perspective [Optik], leads to squinting and something forced and exaggerated. Experience as the wish to experience does not succeed. One must not eye oneself while having an experience; else the eye becomes "an evil eye." A born psychologist guards instinctively against seeing in order to see; the same is true of the born painter. He never works "from nature"; he leaves it to his instinct, to his camera obscura, to sift through and express the "case," "nature," that which is "experienced" ... He is conscious only of what is general, of the conclusion, the result: he does not know arbitrary abstractions from an individual case.— What happens when one proceeds differently? For example, if, in the manner of the Parisian romanciers [novelists], one goes in for backstairs psychology [Colportage-Psychologie] and deals in gossip, wholesale and retail? Then one lies in wait for reality, as it were, and every evening one brings home a handful of curiosities ... But note what finally comes of all this—a heap of splotches, a mosaic at best, but in any case something added together, something restless, a mess of screaming colors. The worst in this respect is accomplished by the Goncourts: they do not put three sentences together without really hurting the eye, the psychologist's eye.— Nature, estimated artistically, is no model. It exaggerates, it distorts, it leaves gaps. Nature is chance. To study "from nature" seems to me to be a bad sign: it betrays submission, weakness, fatalism,—this lying in the dust before petit faits [little facts] is unworthy of a whole artist. To see what is—that is the mark of another kind of spirit, the anti-artistic, the factual. One must know who one is ...

8. Toward a psychology of the artist.— If there is to be art, if there is to be any aesthetic doing and seeing, one physiological condition is indispensable: intoxication [Rausch]. Intoxication must first have enhanced the excitability of the whole machine; else there is no art. All kinds of intoxication, however diversely conditioned, have the strength to accomplish this: above all, the intoxication of sexual excitement, this most ancient and original form of intoxication. Also the intoxication that follows all great cravings, all strong affects; the intoxication of feasts, contests, feats of daring, victory, all extreme movement; the intoxication of cruelty; the intoxication in destruction, the intoxication under certain meteorological influences, as for example the intoxication of spring; or under the influence of narcotics; and finally the intoxication of will, the intoxication of an overcharged and swollen will.— What is essential in such intoxication is the feeling of increased strength and fullness. Out of this feeling one lends to things, one forces them to accept from us, one violates them—this process is called idealizing. Let us get rid of a prejudice here: idealizing does not consist, as is commonly held, in subtracting or discounting the petty and inconsequential. What is decisive is rather a tremendous drive to bring out the main features so that the others disappear in the process.
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[ F.Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols, Skirmishes of an Untimely Man ]




9. In this state one enriches everything out of one's own fullness: whatever one sees, whatever one wills, is seen swelled, taut, strong, overloaded with strength. A man in this state transforms things until they mirror his power—until they are reflections of his perfection. This having to transform into perfection is—art. Even everything that he is not yet, becomes for him an occasion of joy in himself; in art man enjoys himself as perfection.— It would be permissible to imagine an opposite state, a specific anti-artistry by instinct—a mode of being which would impoverish all things, making them thin and consumptive. And, as a matter of fact, history is rich in such anti-artists, in such people who are starved by life and must of necessity grab things, eat them out, and make them more meager. This is, for example, the case of the genuine Christian—of Pascal, for example: a Christian who would at the same time be an artist simply does not occur ... One should not be childish and object by naming Raphael or some homeopathic Christian of the nineteenth century: Raphael said Yes, Raphael did Yes; consequently, Raphael was no Christian ...
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[ F.Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols, Skirmishes of an Untimely Man ]




10. What is the meaning of the conceptual opposites which I have introduced into aesthetics, Apollinian and Dionysian, both conceived as kinds of intoxication?— The Apollinian intoxication excites the eye above all, so that it gains the power of vision. The painter, the sculptor, the epic poet are visionaries par excellence. In the Dionysian state, on the other hand, the whole affective system is excited and enhanced: so that it discharges all its means of expression at once and drives forth simultaneously the power of representation, imitation, transfiguration, transformation, and every kind of mimicking and acting. The essential feature here remains the ease of metamorphosis, the inability not to react (—similar to certain hysterical types who also, upon any suggestion, enter into any role). It is impossible for the Dionysian type not to understand any suggestion; he does not overlook any sign of an affect; he possesses the instinct of understanding and guessing in the highest degree, just as he commands the art of communication in the highest degree. He enters into any skin, into any affect: he constantly transforms himself.— Music, as we understand it today, is also a total excitement and a total discharge of the affects, but even so only the remnant of a much fuller world of expression of the affects, a mere residue of the Dionysian histrionicism. To make music possible as a separate art, a number of senses, especially the muscle sense, have been immobilized (at least relatively, for to a certain degree all rhythm still appeals to our muscles); so that man no longer bodily imitates and represents everything he feels. Nevertheless, that is really the normal Dionysian state, at least the original state. Music is the specialization of this state attained slowly at the expense of those faculties which are most closely related to it.

11. The actor, the mime, the dancer, the musician, and the lyric poet are basically related in their instincts and, at bottom, one—but gradually they have become specialized and separated from each other, even to the point of mutual opposition. The lyric poet remained united with the musician for the longest time; the actor, with the dancer.— The architect represents neither a Dionysian nor an Apollinian state: here it is the great act of will, the will that moves mountains, the intoxication of the great will which aspires to art. The most powerful human beings have always inspired architects; the architect has always been under the spell of power [Suggestion der Macht]. His buildings are supposed to render pride visible, and the victory over gravity, the will to power. Architecture is a kind of eloquence of power in forms—now persuading, even flattering, now only commanding. The highest feeling of power and sureness finds expression in a grand style. The power which no longer needs any proof, which spurns pleasing, which does not answer lightly, which feels no witness near, which lives oblivious of all opposition to it, which reposes within itself, fatalistically, a law among laws—that speaks of itself as a grand style. —
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[ F.Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols, Skirmishes of an Untimely Man ]




New look to match the kind of summer we are having here - or rather, I am having. And the glaring fact is that "that's it".

Each lives up to his own measure - that's how I live up to mine.

Life becomes tolerable when it becomes tolerable. And when it becomes intolerable that's what it becomes - intolerable. Those are my best and highest moments. I've been privileged to rise to the occasion recently. God help I may rise to it again before long, before the grayest shade of gray.




On the other hand, this is the real reason Houellebecq is so widely read. He saw something everybody knew but figured it was just a personal disaster. Michel saw a system behind private failure:
"Mais en système sexuel parfaitement libéral, la vie est parfois douloureuse et décevante ; certains ont une vie érotique exaltante et variée, d'autres sont réduits à la masturbation et à la solitude ; c'est ce qu'on appelle la loi du marché"...
Of course, "system" means you can't get away - die trying.




Less suicidal means less driven - the status quo of balance or the usual stalemate.

The most helpful advice one could give to someone stuck in a quagmire is not to make any brusque movements - not to move at all even, because in any case you'll never make it out on your own. A bird with large feet flies by and you catch it by the foot and you pull it in - of course you hoped it would pull you out. Haha.

In other words, the world of mud should be called home and be loved and cherished - and, please, by God, just try not to move!

***

I was ceased with a sudden desire to read something really bad and I thought of Houellebecq - that French writer who is apparently known for being so bland your own blandness would seem like a rich wonderful cheesecake by comparison. Here's what reviews say (no texts on the internet - blasted be copyright and adulation of it):
The Elementary Particles is an atom bomb of nihilism, and if it is offensive then it should offend us all.
Oh really? Try to offend me, love.
For Houellebecq there have been three such turning points in human history: the advent of Christianity, the rise of science and materialism (exactly when this happened isn�t clear), and the "metaphysical mutation" of the cultural revolution.
Isn't clear? Try - "can't remember because I wasn't born yet". Passons.
You can understand why he offends so many people from offhand editorial passages like this:

"The terrible predicament of a beautiful girl is that only an experienced womanizer, someone cynical and without scruple, feels up to the challenge. More often than not, she will lose her virginity to some filthy lowlife in what proves to be the first step in an irrevocable decline."
It is nice to know there are still so many people susceptible to such offense. Especially in France.
Is this a horrifying vision of the future? Far from it. According to Michel, Brave New World wasn�t a dystopic vision of the future but a description of the ideal state. All of the hedonism of the counterculture was only the result of our profound self-loathing, a disgust with our degraded human nature. But now, finally, science has found a cure.

Which is important, because the real enemy in The Elementary Particles is nature. Houellebecq despises nature in no uncertain terms. Michel is possessed by the conviction that "nature, as a whole, was a repulsive cesspit. All in all, nature deserved to be wiped out in a holocaust - and man�s mission on earth was probably to do just that." Bruno is even more emphatic:

"Nature? I wouldn�t piss on it if it was on fire... I�d shit on its face. Fucking nature... nature my ass!"

Such an attitude both vilifies and finally endorses Nietzsche: Humankind is something to be surpassed.
Bon.

That's also how Nazis understood Nietzsche and I don't think they were that much off the mark - despite all the brutalization and stupification in practice. If Houellebecq "offends" it is perhaps because we thought we are so past the Third Reich. Wrong. What we should really do is study the Nazi doctrine and its application - and look how this made sense instead of trying so hard to make it into some bizarre nonsense.

It wasn't a fluke. Forgetting history by perverting it is what we do best - while claiming undying remembrance. Caveat emptor.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004



Rainy and cold as hell (this is summer?).

Less suicidal - hehe.

I am definitely going to try anti-depressants because why not. I hear good things about Celexa, as opposed to Prozac. Apparently it is very effective in helping to maintain an evenly optimistic state of mind despite whatever gloomy ideas might reside in that mind. I am not sure why I need an optimistic mind full of gloomy ideas but it'd be interesting to see what it feels like.

"And how are you today? Oh I am just fine. Excellent weather, don't you think. And how much is that bucket of cyanide? Oh really? Wonderful day indeed. Thank you very much and have a splendid afternoon, my dear man!"

Hmm :-0




If you've been to Paris you know that most of those tall buildings with blue roofs were built to rent appartments to the growing numbers of bourgeois families in the late XIX century. What is curious, is that despite the very functional nature of these buildings they're also nicely decorated with stone-carvings.

Why did anybody want stone-carving on a rent house?

The bourgeois wanted beauty and this desire for beauty still meant that they had more money than some workers or what not. This logic doesn't really make sense today - the wealthy want comfort first and beauty second.

In a way the last remnant of this logic is represented in something as odd and abberant as high fashion. It always reminds me of the royal courts of Europe at their most fanciful. But the bourgeois desire for beauty has practically vanished. The very rich buy some expensive paintings at some auctions - but more as an asset than a showing of class and style, like those unecessary stone-carvings of old.

I suppose this is all due to very simple reasons. But it is still a curious and maybe dire fact that beauty as a symbol of riches has somehow lost its meaning - throughout history kings and tyrants have built the best temples and the sturdiest fortresses. Today we build glass boxes - albeit tall.

I almost know why: because it is not *worth* it to go out of the way and add anything else to the box. Not only financially, but metaphisically - it's not worth it, too perishable, and thus meaningless.

That's the dire part.




Once again, this is the key-passage:

"In truth, all these supposed explanations are resultant states and, as it were, translations of pleasurable or unpleasurable feelings into a false dialect: one is in a state of hope because the basic physiological feeling is once again strong and rich; one trusts in God because the feeling of fullness and strength gives a sense of rest. "

What is particularly harrowing is that this sort of observation is almost trite - in the sense that it is so deeply obvious. And yet, despite this being so obvious, wherever you turn you find that same "false dialect" continuing unabashed and against all evidence. It would seem that dispensing with it would mean a final and total destruction of culture - the dome of ideas (our gods).

Manual labor, procreation, and stop talking altogether.




Notoriously enough nihilism of every brand invariably leads to one ultimate realization - that it's no use thinking and the less time for thinking the better. That's where the cult of manual labor comes from - because it's unquestioning.

As a young and petulent thing I used to admire Nietzsche - and did not understand a word of his, mainly on account of all the bombast. Some time later down the road it became clear that words don't cure some ailments - and are very much like booz to the pauper, for lack of better solutions. Still I am greatful to this great spokesman for being so sharp on sharp things - breaking glass is the best and most satisfying measure when there is no more liquor left.

However it is obvious that Nietzsche was an anti-philosopher - and called himself a "psychologist" for that reason. For lack of better word - and method.




The whole realm of morality and religion belongs under this concept of imaginary causes.— The "explanation" of disagreeable general feelings. They are produced by beings that are hostile to us (evil spirits: the most famous case—the misunderstanding of the hysterical as witches). They are produced by acts which cannot be approved (the feeling of "sin," of "sinfulness," is slipped under a physiological discomfort—one always finds reasons for being dissatisfied with oneself). They are produced as punishments, as payment for something we should not have done, for what we should not have been (impudently generalized by Schopenhauer into a principle in which morality appears as what it really is, as the very poisoner and slanderer of life: "Every great pain, whether physical or spiritual, declares what we deserve; for it could not come to us if we did not deserve it." World as Will and Representation, 2, 666). They are produced as effects of ill-considered actions that turn out badly (—here the affects, the senses, are posited as causes, as "guilty"; physiological calamities are interpreted with the help of other calamities as "deserved").— The "explanation" of agreeable general feelings. They are produced by trust in God. They are produced by the consciousness of good deeds (the so-called "good conscience," a physiological state which at times looks so much like good digestion that it is hard to tell them apart). They are produced by the successful termination of some enterprise (—a naive fallacy: the successful termination of some enterprise does not by any means give a hypochondriac or a Pascal agreeable general feelings). They are produced by faith, charity, and hope—the Christian virtues.— In truth, all these supposed explanations are resultant states and, as it were, translations of pleasurable or unpleasurable feelings into a false dialect: one is in a state of hope because the basic physiological feeling is once again strong and rich; one trusts in God because the feeling of fullness and strength gives a sense of rest.— Morality and religion belong altogether to the psychology of error: in every single case, cause and effect are confused; or truth is confused with the effects of believing something to be true; or a state of consciousness is confused with its causes.

[F.Nietzsche 1889, Twilight of the Idols Or How One Philosophizes With a Hammer,
The Four Great Errors, part 6 ]
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"Good digestion" or as we would say today - biochemistry of the brain. And swallow that pill already.

Nietzsche is really talking from experience and observation here - this is a desperate man saying how things really are and he's certainly right, but saying how things are does not relieve desperation. Saying that something is a lie (that principles save or that ideas rule) does not point a way out.

There is always "amor fati" but I guess it was just one of those lighter moments - and nothing else. Amor fati with a hammer.




I dreamt some silliness of which i remember nothing except that there was a glass of Coke and I knew there was cyanide in it - and I still took a sip - and then I immediately went to lay down on the balcony to get some oxygen and the sheet of wood under my feet started sliding so I nearly fell through - but only nearly and I woke up because it was a desperate moment.





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