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Thread: great paragraphs from what you're reading

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    I had an uncle who was the presiding judge over a court that heard trials by jury. These are the courts that handle capital offenses. He told us stories from these cases that we could understand, even as children. They always began with him saying: “Most things are complicated, and guilt always presents a bit of a problem." He was right. We chase after things, but they’re faster than we are, and in the end we can never catch up. I tell the stories of people I’ve defended. They all had their stories, and they weren’t so different from us. All our lives we dance on a thin layer of ice; it’s very cold underneath, and death is quick. The ice won’t bear the weight of some people and they fall through. That’s the moment that interests me. If we’re lucky, it never happens to us and we keep dancing. If we’re lucky.

    My uncle was in the navy during the war and lost his left arm and right hand to a grenade. Despite this, he didn’t give up for a long time. He loved going hunting, and had a little private blind. His gun was custom-made for him and he could use it with one hand. One day he went into the woods, put the double-barreled shotgun in his mouth, and pulled the trigger. He was wearing a black rollneck sweater; he’d hung his jacket on a branch. His head exploded. I saw the photos a long time later. He left a letter for his best friend, in which he wrote that he’d simply had enough. The letter began with the words “Most things are complicated, and guilt always presents a bit of a problem.” I still miss him. Every day.

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    Socionics is a spook ashlesha's Avatar
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    Man's hesitation between fear and desire, between the terror of being possessed by uncontrollable forces and the will to overcome them, is grippingly reflected in the virginity myths. Dreaded or desired or even demanded by the male, virginity is the highest form of the feminine mystery; this aspect is simultaneously the most troubling and the most fascinating. Depending on whether man feels crushed by the powers encircling him or arrogantly believes he is able to make them his, he refuses or demands that his wife be delivered to him as a virgin. In the most primitive societies, where woman's power is exalted, it is fear that dominates; woman has to be deflowered the night before the wedding. Marco Polo asserted that for the Tibetans, "none of them wanted to take a virgin girl as wife." A rational explanation has sometimes been given for this refusal: man does not want a wife who has not yet aroused masculine desires. Al-Bakri, the Arab geographer, speaking of the Slavic peoples, notes that "if a man gets married and finds that his wife is a virgin, he says: 'If you were worth something, men would have loved you and one of them would have taken your virginity.'" He then chases her out and repudiates her. It is also claimed that some primitives refuse to marry a woman unless she has already given birth, thus proving her fertility. But the real reasons for the very widespread deflowering customs are mystical. Certain peoples imagine the presence of a serpent in the vagina that would bite the spouse during the breaking of the hymen; terrifying virtues are given to virginal blood, linked to menstrual blood, and capable of ruining the male's vigor. These images express the idea that the feminine principle is so powerful and threatening because it is intact. Sometimes the deflowering issue is not raised; for example, Malinowski describes an indigenous population in which, because sexual games are allowed from childhood on, girls are never virgins. Sometimes, the mother, older sister, or some other matron systematically deflowers the girl and throughout her childhood widens the vaginal opening. Deflowering can also be carried out by women during puberty using a stick, bone, or a stone, and this is not considered a surgical operation. In other tribes, the girl at puberty is subjected to savage initiation rites: men drag her out of the village and deflower her with instruments or by raping her. Giving over virgins to passerby is one of the most common rites; either these strangers are not thought to be sensitive to this mana dangerous only for the tribes' males, or it does not matter what evils befall them. Even more often, the priest, medicine man, boss, or head of the tribe deflowers the fiancee the night before the wedding; on the Malabar Coast, the Brahmans have to carry out this act, apparently without joy, for which they demand high wages. All holy objects are known to be dangerous for the outsider, but consecrated individuals can handle them without risk; that explains why priests and chiefs are able to tame the malefic forces against which the spouse has to protect himself. In Rome all that was left of these customs was a symbolic ceremony: the fiancee was seated on a stone Priapus phallus, with the double aim of increasing her fertility and absorbing the overpowerful and therefore harmful fluids within her. The husband defends himself in yet another way: he himself deflowers the virgin but during ceremonies that render him invulnerable at this critical juncture; for example, he does it in front of the whole village with a stick or bone. In Samoa, he uses his finger covered in a white cloth and distributes bloodstained shreds to the spectators. There is also the case of the man allowed to deflower his wife normally but he has to wait three days to ejaculate in her so that the generating seed is not soiled by hymen blood.

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    Starfall and the asshole Chad argued hatefully up in the cosmos, each fiery word spat down a glob of fire that was the essence of creation of everything in this universe. Including, Suedehead- Starfall's spirit son. Suedehead looked upward towards his cosmic mama, longing to be something more to her than just a son. He wanted to be her lover, but that would be inappropriate. Starfall continued to argue narcisisstically with the dark, evil - twisted Chad, as she could not help but be attracted to him. He was just so wrong, so murderous - so sexy.

    Starfall looked down at Suedehead, with compassion. Yet it angered and saddened him that this was compassion and not desire. Starfall continued to look at her son with understanding. "Forgive me, dear child of the Stars- but you know that everything in existence exists because of the conflict and hatred of heterosexuality, because we are doing this now." The Chad and Starfall begun having some hot politically incorrect heterosexual sex.

    Suedehead tried to be the type of man that Starfall was attracted to, but he could only groan and wimper in the night- and then he took a moment to appreciate in silence the natural beauty of the world, the gay natural nature beauty that was created by the cosmic hateful rants of heterosexuality. All this chaos so peace is possible.


    Hitta smirks from his cloudy cosmic vantage point.

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    Haikus Subteigh's Avatar
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    Such defiance was, purposely, unforgivable. Jung hurled it at Freud in an era when the distance between leader and led still remained sacral. In 1913 the Austrian Court Gazette still used routinely the phrase "by All-Highest Decision" because direct reference to the Emperor might compromise his transcendence. In 1913 Kaiser Wilhelm's anniversaries were still celebrated by subjects shouting "Hurrah!" while falling to their knees. In 1913 Russian film theaters showing a newsreel of the Tsar required the audience to stand at attention with heads bared; after the imperial image had departed the lights would go on, the anthem would be sung, and only then could the audience sit and the lights dim again to let ordinary shadows inhabit the screen.
    ......................

    The new power did not wait for proclamations from governments. It needed no galvanizing by propaganda, no goading from the press (which was by no means uniformly militant in the principal countries). The new power had already divided the world into Allies-until-Victory and Enemies-unto-Death. This new power had gathered thousands along the shores of the Danube where they sang, fervently, "The Watch on the Rhine" against France. The new power burned German flags in Paris while cafe orchestras along the Champs Elysees played "God Save the King." The new power raised a sea of fists against the Russian Embassy in Vienna, against the German Embassy in Paris, and its stones shattered eleven windows of the British Embassy in Berlin. Even restaurants felt the fingers of the new power. "Menu cards here in Vienna," Karl Kraus wrote to his beloved Sidonie, "now have their English and French translations crossed out. Things are getting more and more idiotic.. "

    But Kraus himself knew better. It wasn't mere idiocy that was governing things now. It was something far more formidable. Sarajevo had only been a flash point of its strength.

    Our politicians [Kraus said in Die Fackel of July 1914] are unconsciously right in their suspicion that "behind this schoolboy… who killed the Archduke and his wife stand others who cannot be apprehended and who are responsible for the weapon used." No less a force than progress stands behind this deed-progress and education unmoored from God…

    A key sentence on the century's key moment as nations were turning themselves into regiments. Kraus did not amplify here on the God from whom progress had severed mankind so fatally. He had done that earlier elsewhere, in his poem "The Dying Man." There God meant the Presence in the pristine garden that was both "source and destination." But now men had paved over His soil and their souls. Concrete had strangled the "source." They had lost their sense of origin and of final purpose. Therefore they must claw from the barrenness a new "destination"-an angrier destiny. Under the oppressiveness of a loss, the new power had been forged.

    It had forged the life of Gavrilo Princip, modernity's foremost assassin, who had triggered the crisis. The family of "this schoolboy" had lived for centuries in an approximation, however imperfect, of Kraus's garden. As a zadruga, that is, as a tight-knit, farm-based Bosnian clan, the Princips had raised their own corn, milled their own flour, baked their own loaves, and worshipped a God close enough to their roof to be their very own protector.

    Progress had broken all that apart. Princip's father could no longer create bread from his earth. He could no longer live his livelihood. He must earn it with the estranged, endless trudgings of a postman. His son Gavrilo, more educated than his father, more sensitive, more starved for the wholeness that is holiness and thus more resentful of the ruins all about him, had to seek another garden. He sought something that would satisfy his disorientation and his anger; something which, as his readings of Nietzsche suggested, would restore the valor of the vital principle that his race had lost. He found it in the Black Hand. It conjured "the earth that nourishes… the sun that warms." It was part of the new power. It offered him the cohesion, the communal fortitude and faith of the shattered zadruga.

    Progress had shattered numberless zadrugas by hundreds of other ethnic names, from the hamlet of Predappio in Italy's Romagna where a blacksmith named Mussolini had a son named Benito, to the village of Didi-Lilo in Russia's Transcaucasia where a cobbler named Dzhugashvili sired a boy later called Stalin. The Stalins, Mussolinis, Нitlers, Princips were the monsters of progress. Progress had abused and bruised them, but they could turn the sting outward and avenge the injury. There were many millions like them with less fury in their bafflement, less steel in their deprivation: the lumpen-proletariat on whose backs Europe rode toward the marvels of the new century. Their anonymous pain fermented the new power.

    A year before Sarajevo, Vienna's Arbeiter Zeitung published a survey documenting that it was always the most rapidly industrializing areas which produced among the poor the highest rate of alcoholism, of syphilis and tuberculosis, of emotional pathology, and by far the highest rate of suicide. Their sickbeds and their graves marked the trail of "progress unmoored from God." But now Princip's deed was inspiriting its live and able-bodied victims. With two shots he had set in motion a firestorm that was to burn meaning into the numbest slums.

    Instead of beating their heads against the prison of their class, instead of deadening themselves with toil or liquor, the masses now had something to kill for. Before Sarajevo, hundreds of thousands had been on strike in Russia. Not long afterwards the factories hummed again all day. At night, toilers massed before the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg with torches and holy ensigns, acclaiming the Tsar as their defender. "Wonderful times…" said a British diplomat who saw the spectacle. "Russia seems to have been completely transformed."

    In Vienna the transformation was just as wonderful. On May Day 1914, workers had marched on the Ringstrasse with the chant "Frieden, Brot, and Freiheit!" ("Peace, Bread, and Freedom!"). On August 1, many of the same crowd marched again with "Alle Serben mussen sterben!" ("All Serbs must die!"). "The patriotic enthusiasm of the masses in Austria-Hungary seemed especially surprising," Trotsky wrote in his autobiography. "I strode along the main street of the familiar Vienna and watched the most amazing crowd fill the fashionable Ring, a crowd in which hopes had been awakened… What was it that drew them to the square in front of the War Ministry?… Would it have been possible at any other time for porters, laundresses, shoemakers, apprentices to feel themselves masters of the Ring?… In their demonstrations for the glory of Habsburg arms, I detected something familiar to me from the October days of 1905 [when Trotsky had led a shortlived insurrection]. No wonder that in history war has so often been the mother of revolution."

    In Paris workers had sung the "Internationale" on May Day before returning to their tenements. Now their throats rang with the "Marseillaise" while the Kaiser's effigy went up in flames. Everywhere life leaped from lonely gray grind to grand national adventure. Hurrah!

    But the poor weren't the only ones grateful for the zest provided by the crisis. The middle classes, too, felt exhausted and baffled. Progress had fed them well. Yet the more meat on their table, the less tang was there to each morsel, the more intolerable the superior cut of somebody else's steak. No doubt they were dining well. Were they still eating together? They consumed as they produced: aggressively against each other. When worshipping, they knelt on velvet in churches unmoored from a common God. Their mansions brimmed, but they did not feel sheltered. They promenaded in spats and top hats-where from? To what end?

    Germany's most popular almanac for 1913 featured a poem by the writer Alfred Walter Heymel. It was called "Eine Sehnsucht aus der Zeit" ("A Longing in Our Times").

    Im Friedensreichtum wird uns toedlich bang.
    Wir kennen Muessen nicht noch Koennen oder Sollen
    Und Sehnen uns und schereien nach dem Kriege.
    (In the wealth of peace we feel the deadliest dread.
    We are bereft of prewess, mission, or direction,
    And long and cry for war.)

    Hurrah!

    The cry came, as the British poet Rupert Brooke phrased it, from "a world grown old and cold and weary." It came from "this foul peace which drags on and on. " as General Conrad wrote to his mistress Gina von Reininghaus. For worker or burgher or poet or Chief of Staff, Mars was the God of Liberation. "A crisis had entered Western culture," a high Habsburg official would write later, "and many of its representative citizens had been oversaturated into desperation. Like men longing for a thunderstorm to relieve them of the summer's sultriness, so the generation of 1914 believed in the relief that war might bring." Their longing for thunder was the new power.

    The thunderstorm with its mortal flash-this image shivers ubiquitously through the whole period. In the summer of 1914, Europe's musical sensation was still Stravinsky's Rite of Spring premiered a year earlier in Paris, where Nijinsky's "lightning leaps" celebrated the theme of the ballet, namely the enchantments of death.

    In painting, a dominant mode was Futurism, which anticipated the lightning-like strokes of stroboscopic photography; the Futurist manifesto exalted war because it would blast away the stultification of present concepts and structures; as though defining lightning's lethal beauty, the manifesto proclaimed that "movement and light must destroy the substance of objects."

    "The sense of approaching catastrophe," wrote a Futurist who didn't know he was one, in his book Mein Kampf, "turned at last to longing: Let heaven finally give reign to the fate that could no longer be thwarted. And then the first mighty lightning flash struck the earth; the storm was unleashed, and with the thunder of heaven there mingled the roar of the World War batteries."

    "The war," said German Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg in his book on the subject, "would be a thunderstorm to clear the air."

    "The palpable beginnings of the European crisis reach back a number of years," wrote Count Ottokar Czernin who would succeed Count von Berchtold as Habsburg Foreign Minister, "… certain dynamics must take their course before a thunderstorm discharges its lightning and thunder."

    "I am convinced the storm is coming," French President Raymond Poincare remarked to a friend in July of 1914. "Where and when the storm will break I cannot say."

    "There is a crisis in the air," Freud had written Lou Andreas-Salome as 1913 turned to 1914, referring to Jung yet articulating much more than psychoanalytic weather. "May it soon explode so that the air is cleared!"

    The shots of Sarajevo sounded like an answer to many prayers in many nations. Afterwards some tried in vain to push back the bolt that came down from the blue-for example, in Paris on the sudden death of Jean Jaures, the French Socialist leader and Europe's most eloquent voice against war. On July 31, as he sat in the Cafe du Croissant, a nationalist zealot gunned him down. His comrades organized a pacifist parade around his body. They were swamped by a mob of conscripts. Brand-new lieutenants graduated from St. Cyr led the warriors, shouting, "We'll go into battle with white plumes on our kepis and with white gloves on our hands!" Behind them young men roared by the happy thousands. The French General Staff planned for 87 percent of called-up reservists to appear at induction centers; 98.5 percent did. Hurrah!

    In Austria, where Viktor Adler had groomed the worker to be a thinker and a doer, the proletariat accomplished not a single thoughtful act to halt disaster. Adler himself, though, did intervene in history without knowing it. During the anti-Russian hysteria in Austria, Habsburg constables in Galicia arrested Lenin "as a Tsarist spy" on August 8. In response to an appeal from Lenin's wife, Adler went to the headquarters of the political police in Vienna, cited their own sponsorship of this useful Bolshevik as an enemy of the Tsar and thus as a friend of Austria (Hurrah!), and obtained Lenin's release and safe passage first to Vienna, then to Switzerland. A few days later he helped usher Trotsky across the Swiss border. In other words, Adler put into place the preliminaries of the Russian Revolution three years later.

    He also couldn't help collaborating in the genesis of its most important preliminary, namely that of the Great War. No matter that his Arbeiter-Zeitung had published many warnings against the threat of international slaughter. On August 5, the day before Austria issued its first declaration of war against a major power-Russia-this same Arbeiter Zeitung intoned, "However the fates decide, we hope they will decide for the holy cause of the German people." Hurrah! Two days earlier Adler's paper had reported that his German comrades, the Socialist deputies to the Reichstag in Berlin, had joined the other parties in voting the government the war credits it needed. This action marked, said the Arbeiter-Zeitung, "… the proudest and loftiest exaltation of the German spirit." Hurrah!

    Two men made dogged, last-ditch attempts against that inexorable hurrah. They were Nicky and Willy. That was how the two Emperors signed their respective cables, which started jittering, on the night of July 29, between the palace of Tsar Nicholas II in St. Petersburg and the palace of Kaiser Wilhelm II in Potsdam. Nicky "in the name of our old friendship" begged Willy to stop his Austrian ally from going too far. Willy, in turn, declaring himself to be Nicky's "sincere and devoted friend and cousin," said he was sure that Nicky as a fellow monarch wanted to see the murder of the Austrian Crown Prince duly punished. Nicky thanked Willy for "the conciliatory and fraternal" message but in view of it voiced astonishment at the ominous tone of the note just delivered by Willy's ambassador to his, Nicky's, Foreign Minister. Willy answered that just because Nicky shared so cordially the wish for peace, he hoped Nicky would agree to remain "in a spectator role" in the Vienna-Belgrade conflict, for only by localizing the matter and by not taking Russian military measures could Nicky avoid "involving Europe in the most horrible war ever witnessed." In reply, Nicky, "grateful for the speed of your answer," assured Willy that all Russian military measures were purely precautionary with no offensive intent and should therefore not interfere with Willy's "much-valued role as mediator with Vienna." Willy's response regretted that he could not mediate in Vienna while Russia persisted in mobilizing. To which Nicky answered that it was "technically impossible" to stop Russian military preparations but that since, like Willy, he was very far from wishing war, he gave Willy his solemn words that "my troops shall not commit any provocative action." Whereupon Willy thanked Nicky for his telegram but said that "only immediate, clear, unmistakable, and affirmative answer from your government can avoid endless misery." And he begged Nicky to order his troops "on no account to commit the slightest act of trespassing over our frontiers."

    This cable, ending the series, leaped from Berlin to St. Petersburg on August 1, at 10:30 P.M. Three and a half hours earlier, at 7 P.M., the Kaiser's ambassador had presented the German Government's declaration of war to the Russian Foreign Minister.

    It was no longer important what Willy said to Nicky when. Quite aptly the two Emperors had reduced themselves to diminutives: two sashed little figurines raising toy scepters against the storm. The storm paid little attention. All over the continent young men filed into barracks in clockwork fulfillment of mobilization plans. Troop trains kept hurtling toward frontiers.

    The martial hurrah of multitudes kept echoing on the square before Wilhelm's palace. Through his Lord Chamberlain the Kaiser thanked his subjects for this show of loyalty but asked them to disperse "so that His Majesty can attend undisturbed to the challenges of leadership." The hurrahs continued.

    Less than twenty-four hours after Willy's final telegram to Nicky, Willy rose from his desk in the Star Room of his palace. It was a desk made from the wood of Lord Nelson's flagship Victory-a gift from Willy's grandmother Queen Victoria. On this desk he had just signed the order that let his soldiers flood across the borders of Luxembourg and then of Belgium. "Gentlemen," he said hoarsely to the military dignitaries assembled around him, "you will live to regret this."

    Shortly afterward he sent a note to the British ambassador: Let King George of England be informed that he, Wilhelm, would never ever, as long as he lived, wear again the uniform of a British Field Marshal. Coming from the Kaiser, this signified ultimate bitterness. As usual, his statesmanship became a matter of epaulettes. From now on his role would be to gesticulate. Others commanded.

    In these commanders the new power now began to manifest itself quite nakedly. They were the ones who controlled the final libretto, Libretto D, the libretto of Kraus's progress crescendoing toward a titanic fusillade. The spotlight, after shifting from the futility of Excellencies to the helplessness of Majesties, now came to rest on the supremacy of generals.
    On July 31, German Chief of Staff von Moltke sent his Austrian counterpart a cable whose imperatives bluntly bypassed the Ministers of War in Vienna and in Berlin; a telegram which ignored both Emperors, theoretically the All-Highest decision-makers. "Stand firm!" von Moltke cabled Conrad. "Austria must fully mobilize at once!"

    "How odd," Foreign Minister von Berchtold said when Conrad showed him the message. It contradicted the tenor of two other cables, one from the German Chancellor to himself, the other from Wilhelm to Franz Joseph. "Who rules in Berlin?"

    He might just as well have asked: "Who rules in Vienna?" By then his own cables were following almost verbatim General Conrad's proposals.

    Who ruled in Russia? "I shall smash my telephone," the Russian Chief of Staff General Janushkevich told the Russian Foreign Minister. By which he meant that he would refuse to do
    again what he had done the day before, namely to rescind mobilization on telephoned orders from the Tsar. His pressure forced the Tsar to renew the order. "Now you can smash your telephone," said the Foreign Minister meekly.

    Who ruled in France? Not Rene Viviani, though he was Prime Minister as well as Foreign Minister. His problem: He was a Socialist and peace-seeker. He had wept at the bier of the great pacifist Jean Jaures slain on July 31. He had given his arm to the widow walking behind the coffin on the way to the grave. Therefore it didn't matter that he was the Chief Executive of the Republic while Raymond Poincare as President was only the symbol of state. It did matter that Poincare had been born in Lorraine, the province lost by France to Germany in the War of 1870 and which must be won back again. It mattered that Poincare had a stake in the war to come. Hurrah!

    Under Poincare's secret manipulation, the French Embassy in St. Petersburg stopped being an instrument of Foreign Minister Viviani and became a tool of General Joseph Joffre, Chief of the French General Staff. The French ambassador withheld from his Foreign Minister news of the martial intentions of the Russian General Staff. But he did convey General Joffre's encouragement to his Russian colleagues "to commence an offensive against East Prussia soonest." The ambassador deliberately delayed Viviani's very different, moderating words to St. Petersburg until it was too late.

    "Russian troops," Poincare announced to the French cabinet on August 2, "will be in Berlin by All Saints' Day." Hurrah! The Zeitgeist vested in him the power withheld by the French constitution.

    Who ruled in Britain? On July 29, First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill wrote his wife that he would "do my best for peace and nothing would induce me to wrongfully strike the first blow." Yet the same letter confessed that "war preparations have a hideous fascination for me. I pray to God to forgive me for such fearful moods of levity." Two days later he mobilized the fleet, against the explicit decision of the British cabinet. "Winston," said Prime Minister Asquith indulgently, "has his war paint on." "The lamps are going out all over Europe," said Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey. "We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime." The shores darkened. Churchill's dreadnoughts fanned out across the North Sea. Hurrah!

    ***
    Who ruled the world? In Habsburg's Prague, the insurance official Franz Kafka was just developing some notions on the subject. At another time he was to refer to himself ruefully as "the nerve end of humanity." Right now, on July 29, 1914, the day after Austria's declaration of War on Serbia, two days before Germany's ultimatum to Russia, the name "Josef K" appears for the first time in Kafka's journal. That week he began to sketch out ideas for The Trial"[6]-the novel registering in a personal compass an evil erupting internationally: some incalculable force, insidious, inexorable, operating beyond all normal jurisdictions, closing in on its victims.

    With what phrases did such power enter history? This was the time when ambassador after ambassador appeared before Foreign Minister after Foreign Minister to declare that he had the honor to inform His Excellency that his government, in order to protect the security and integrity of its realm, was forced to consider itself at war.

    Honor? Security? Integrity? Excellency?

    On August 9, 1914, while such words were still being intoned, Ludwig Wittgenstein began to ruminate systematically about the disjunction between language and truth. On that day he began the notebook that led to his Tractatus Logico-philosophicus. The Tractatus, purging language of its routine shams, was born on the grandest proscenium of such shams, Imperial Habsburg. Flourish, not fact, held the realm together; flourish painted the mirage of dynastic communality between crown and people. Progress was corroding all things communal, but flourish painted over the corrosion. In the Empire of the flourish, Wittgenstein developed the philosophy that punctured, on the deepest modernist level, the theatrics of style. And here Kafka wrote the paradigmatic modernist novel, steeped in the angst underlying our daily charades.

    Meanwhile great charades of state lit up the horizon. On August 4, the Kaiser stood on the balcony of his Berlin palace. He had not wept, like the Tsar, when the declaration of war had been published. But his face (in Grand Admiral von Tirpitz's description) "looked ravaged and tragic." The thousands who had come to hear him didn't notice. They only saw that their sovereign wore a spiked helmet under which his mouth shouted its mustachioed duty from the speech text handed him: "We draw the sword with a clean conscience and clean hands… from now on I no longer know parties. I only know Germans!"

    Hurrah!

    The masses cheered. They cheered him and their own relief. Hurrah! Here in Berlin as well as in Paris, in London, in Vienna, in St. Petersburg, war had freed them from politics, from partisanship, from all apartness. Until now they had been mutually separated. Competition had driven them against each other. Or poverty had marooned them. Or they had been isolated in their cocoon of envy and alienation. Now it was all marvelously different. Now the worn-down unemployed, the trodden-under scullion, the unfulfilled genius, the bored coupon-clipper, the jaded boulevadier-they could all link arms and walk forward together in the same electrifying adventure, against the enemy. Now they were Germans together, Frenchmen together, Englishmen together, Russians together and-most astounding-ethnically motley Habsburg subjects together. The enemy made it possible for them to break through to one another. Now the same patriot warmth embosomed them all. "Hurrah!" they all cried with one voice. "Hurrah!"

    The most inveterate outsiders joined this surge. In Munich, Adolf Нitler had been living without a friend, without a lover, without even the bleak commonalty of Vienna's Mannher- heim. "The war," he says in Mein Kampf, "liberated me from the painful feelings of my youth… I fell down on my knees and thanked heaven with an overflowing heart for granting me the good fortune to be alive at that time." Hurrah!

    Dr. Sigmund Freud, outcast from his city's medical establishment, grim practitioner of the Viennese affectation of despising Vienna-this same Freud now said, "for the first time in thirty years I feel myself to be an Austrian"; that England (hitherto his favorite country) was "a hypocrite" for supporting "Serbia's impudence"; that "all my libido goes to Austria-Hungary." Now the war with Jung fell away. Freud hurried from Carlsbad back to Vienna, where his sons Martin and Ernst joined the colors "for the noble cause" to which the over-age Freud himself made a contribution: He refused to give male patients of conscription age Certificates of Nervous Disability; he would not help them evade service to their country. Hurrah!

    Ludwig Wittgenstein was medically exempt from war service, having undergone a double hernia operation in July. He should have been immune to the war spirit since he was a recluse, a maverick, a deviant from norms sexual, semantic, or financial (he had just given away most of the vast fortune left him by his industrialist father). On August 9, he started his notebook exploring the deceptions of language. On August 7, he showed that he was at one with the deceived crowd. He enlisted. Hurrah!

    Years earlier Arnold Schonberg had gone abroad because the Austrian capital grated on him as much as his music grated on it. In the summer of 1914, he returned and joined Vienna's own regiment, the Deutschmeister. The atonal heretic began to compose military marches for Austria's glory. Hurrah!

    Oskar Kokoschka made the same fast transition from enfant terrible to waver of flag. Before Savajevo he had spoken of "the personal misery of living in Vienna, utterly alone, without a friend," and sought opportunities as distant as possible from the Danube, ". perhaps a commission for a fresco in America." After Sarajevo he sold his most valuable painting, The Tempest (showing him with Alma Mahler), to a Hamburg pharmacist. With the proceeds he bought a horse and a cavalry uniform-a light blue tunic with white facings, bright red breeches, and a brass helmet. Now he could volunteer for the 15th Imperial Dragoons who prized war so much that they shaved before each battle. Now Kokoschka's fellow rebel, the architect Adolf Loos, could print a photograph of the helmeted painter as a postcard publicizing Kokoschka's hurrah!

    What about the poet Rainer Maria Rilke? Born in Habsburg Bohemia, he was an itinerant solitary, a free-floating mystic who considered Austria and Germany countries to which he was attached "only by language." In the summer of 1914, he reattached himself with a vengeance. He rhapsodized along with the throngs in German and Austrian streets. His Five Cantos / August 1914 celebrate the War God:

    … the Lord of Battle has suddenly seized us Hurling the torch: and over a heart filled with homeland His reddened sky, where He reigns in His rage, is now screaming.

    Hurrah!

    "To be torn out of a dull capitalistic peace was good for many Germans," said Hermann Hesse. "I esteem the moral values of war on the whole rather highly." For Thomas Mann, war was "a purification, a liberation, an enormous hope. The victory of Germany will be a victory of soul over numbers." Hurrah!

    It was a clamorous, resonant, exultant summer, this summer of "progress unmoored from God." It was a summer catapulting men from their separate vacations into a much higher, gallant, and collective holiday. "We saw war," Freud would write some months later "as an opportunity for demonstrating the progress of mankind in communal feeling… a chivalrous crusade."

    "What is progress in my sense?" asked Nietzsche, "I, too, speak of a 'return to nature,' although it is not really a going back but a progress forward-an ascent up into the high, free, even terrible nature and naturalness, where great tasks are something one plays with… Napoleon was a piece of 'return to nature.' "

    Nietzsche had written this twenty-five years earlier, but he was the patron saint of the summer of 1914. That summer millions began to ascend not to Kraus's garden of pristine repose but to Nietzsche's jungled Napoleonic proving ground. It embowered and empowered them. It delivered them from soot, squalor, impotence, loneliness. Here they found what Gavrilo Princip-assassin of the Archduke, disciple of Nietzsche-had invoked when he swore the Black Hand oath: "the sun that warms… the earth that nourishes…"

    ***
    And the sun shone on, over Bad Ischl with its hills and parks but no longer with its Emperor Franz Joseph. On July 27 he settled down to the last official act he was to perform in his Alpine villa. He revised the "Manifesto to My Peoples" written in his name. From a phrase characterizing Serbia he deleted "blind insolence." He struck the words "inspired by traditions of a glorious past" from a sentence describing the Empire's armed forces. The same day he had said to General Conrad: "If the monarchy goes under, let it go under with dignity." If war must be proclaimed to his peoples, let it be a proclamation without bathos.

    Karl Kraus, the scourge of verbiage, was awed by the proclamation. He called it, "An august statement… a poem."

    To the end Franz Joseph remained the steward of Imperial taste. Now the end was close.

    On the morning of July 29, he left Ischl for Vienna, never to return. On August 6, when war was declared between Austria and Russia, he quietly removed from his uniform a decoration he had worn for sixty-five years: the Cross of St. George, Third Class, conferred on him in 1849 by Tsar Nicholas I. For the twenty-six months that were left of his life, he never stirred from Schonbrunn Palace.

    The disorder he had sought to cure after Sarajevo had lapsed yet further into an unforeseen disarray, into a derangement whose wild pyrotechnics dazzled Europe. The librettos of his Foreign Minister had been exploded; the populace applauded the glow of the fragments. Machine guns were beginning to perforate the bows and hand-kisses of the stage Franz Joseph had commanded for two thirds of a century. But the bowers of bows and the kissers of hands did not know yet that they were bleeding. All they felt was a thrill and a tingle.

    Franz Joseph felt something more final. A change in the Emperor's will detailed how his descendants would receive his fortune, should the family lose the crown. The last principal of the Habsburg drama prepared to retreat into the wings.

    His retirement was partial and discreet. Other exits had official character. Sir Maurice de Bunsen, British Ambassador to Austria, turned out to be the last Western diplomat to leave the capital. On August 12, he made this sad statement to Foreign Minister Count von Berchtold: "As of twelve o'clock tonight, Great Britain and Austria will be in a state of war." Berchtold, ever the gentleman, bowed and assured His Excellency that "though Austria must accept this challenge, the two states are still associated politically and morally by tradition and sympathies and common interests."

    Two days later, on August 14, the Ambassador and his wife left their residence for the West Railroad Terminal where Berchtold had arranged a private salon train for them, bound for neutral Switzerland.

    Much of the town's anti-Allied anger had dissipated, though it had not lost its patriotic exhilaration. The de Bunsens encountered no hostility. They were accompanied by police in dress uniform, resembling an honor guard, and by their own wistful thoughts. It was hard to say good-bye to this city. Eight months ago they had taken up their posts, in December of 1913, during the swirl of the social season. They had leased a castle from Count Hoyos, "a dream of beauty," according to Lady de Bunsen's diary. The whole Danubian ambiance had enchanted them, especially Vienna's carnival, which had begun shortly after their arrival. "The mise-en-scene," Lady de Bunsen had mused of these revels, "was wonderful."

    And now, as they departed, the mise-en-scene maintained its wonder. On the way to their train they met an artillery regiment also en route to a railway station. Green sprigs bounced from the kepis of the soldiers, roses garlanded the cannons, a band lilted the "Radetzky March," the march that is more polka than march. Housewives waved kerchiefs from windows, children skipped along, girls popped sweets into the recruits' pockets, all prancing and laughing and never missing a single musical beat. It was an alfresco dance, festive with sun, sporting happy masks.

    Of course similar scenes enlivened other capitals as well. They sparkled on the Champs Elysees, at Picadilly Circus, along the Nevsky Prospekt, and up and down the Wilhelmstrasse. But Vienna-origin of this great international midsummer frolic-Vienna out-waltzed friend and foe alike in celebration.

    The World War had come to the city by the Danube, dressed as a ball. Tra-la… Hurrah!..

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    "Sometimes ideas stick despite our best efforts to stop them. In 1946, Leo Durocher was the coach of the Dodgers. His club was leading the National League, while the team’s traditional archrival, the New York Giants, was languishing in the bottom of the standings.

    During a game between the Dodgers and the Giants, Durocher was mocking the Giants in front of a group of sportswriters. One of the sportswriters teased Durocher, “Why don’t you be a nice guy for a change?” Durocher pointed at the Giants’ dugout and said, “Nice guys! Look over there. Do you know a nicer guy than [Giants’ manager] Mel Ott? Or any of the other Giants? Why, they’re the nicest guys in the world! And where are they? In seventh place!”

    As recounted by Ralph Keyes in his book on misquotations, Nice Guys Finish Seventh, the metamorphosis of Durocher’s quote began a year later. The Baseball Digest quoted Durocher as saying, “Nice guys finish in last place in the second division.” Before long, as his quip was passed along from one person to another, it evolved, becoming simpler and more universal, until it emerged as a cynical comment on life: “Nice guys finish last.” No more reference to the Giants, no more reference to seventh place—in fact, no more reference to baseball at all. Nice guys finish last.

    This quote, polished by the marketplace of ideas, irked Durocher. For years, he denied saying the phrase (and, of course, he was right), but eventually he gave up. Nice Guys Finish Last was the title of his autobiography."

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    "May it please heaven that the reader, emboldened and having for the time being become as fierce as what he is reading, should, without being led astray, find his rugged and treacherous way across the desolate swamps of these sombre and poison-filled pages; for, unless he brings to his reading a rigorous logic and a tautness of mind equal at least to his wariness, the deadly emanations of this book will dissolve his soul as water does sugar. It is not right that everyone should savour this bitter fruit with impunity. Consequently, shrinking soul, turn on your heels and go back before penetrating further into such uncharted, perilous wastelands. Listen well to what I say: turn on your heels and go back, not forward, like the eyes of a son respectfully averted form the august contemplation of his mother’s face; or rather like a formation of very meditative cranes, stretching out of sight, whose sensitive bodies flee the chill of winter, when, their wings fully extended, they fly powerfully through silence to a precise point on the horizon, from which suddenly a strange strong wind blows, precursor of the storm. The oldest crane, flying on alone ahead of the others, shakes his head like a reasonable person on seeing this, making at the same time a clack with his beak, and he is troubled (as I, too, would be, if I were he); all the time his scrawny and featherless neck, which has seen three generations of cranes, is moving in irritated undulations which foretoken the quickly-gathering storm. Having calmly looked in all directions with his experienced eyes, the crane prudently (ahead of all the others, for he has the privilege of showing his tail-feathers to his less intelligent fellows) gyrates to change the direction of the geometric figure (perhaps it is a triangle, but one cannot see the third side which these curious birds of passage form in space) either to port or to starboard, like a skilled captain; uttering as he does to his vigilant cry, like that of a melancholy sentry, to repulse the common enemy. Then, maneuvering with wings which seem no bigger than a starling’s, because he is no fool, he takes another philosophic and surer line of flight."

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    "Wine no longer makes my heart glad; a little of it makes me sad, much makes me melancholy. My soul is faint and impotent; in vain I prick the spur of pleasure into its flank, its strength is gone, it rises no more to the royal leap. I have lost my illusions. Vainly I seek to plunge myself into the boundless sea of joy; it cannot sustain me, or rather, I cannot sustain myself. Once pleasure had but to beckon me, and I mounted, light of foot, sound, and unafraid. When I rode slowly through the woods, it was as if I flew; now when the horse is covered with lather and ready to drop, it seems to me that I do not move. I am solitary as always; forsaken, not by men, which could not hurt me, but by the happy fairies of joy, who used to encircle me in countless multitudes, who met acquaintances everywhere, everywhere showed me an opportunity for pleasure. As an intoxicated man gathers a wild crowd of youths about him, so they flocked about me, the fairies of joy, and I greeted them with a smile. My soul has lost its potentiality. If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility!"

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    In 2004, the total cost of all robberies in the United States was $525 million, and the average loss from a single robbery was about $1,300.18 These amounts are not very high, when we consider how much police, judicial, and corrections muscle is put into the capture and confinement of robbers—let alone the amount of newspaper and television coverage these kinds of crimes elicit. I’m not suggesting that we go easy on career criminals, of course. They are thieves, and we must protect ourselves from their acts.

    But consider this: every year, employees’ theft and fraud at the workplace are estimated at about $600 billion. That figure is dramatically higher than the combined financial cost of robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, and automobile theft (totaling about $16 billion in 2004); it is much more than what all the career criminals in the United States could steal in their lifetimes; and it’s also almost twice the market capitalization of General Electric. But there’s much more. Each year, according to reports by the insurance industry, individuals add a bogus $24 billion to their claims of property losses. The IRS, meanwhile, estimates a loss of $350 billion per year, representing the gap between what the feds think people should pay in taxes and what they do pay. The retail industry has its own headache: it loses $16 billion a year to customers who buy clothes, wear them with the tags tucked in, and return these secondhand clothes for a full refund.
    .

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    HOW DO I LOVE THEE? LET ME COUNT THE J’S

    Let’s consider what happens when two people fall in love. Common sense tells us that their ardor grows from any number of seeds, including life circumstances, a sense of understanding, sexual attraction, and mutual admiration. Surely the covert machinery of the unconscious is not implicated in who you choose as a mate. Or isn’t it?

    Imagine you run into your friend Joel, and he tells you that he has found the love of his life, a woman named Jenny. That’s funny, you consider, because your friend Alex just married Amy, and Donny is crazy for Daisy. Is there something going on with these letter pairings? Is like attracted to like? That’s crazy, you conclude: important life decisions—such as who to spend your life with—can’t be influenced by something as capricious as the first letter of a name. Perhaps all these alliterative alliances are just an accident.

    But they’re not an accident. In 2004, psychologist John Jones and his colleagues examined fifteen thousand public marriage records from Walker County, Georgia, and Liberty County, Florida. They found that, indeed, people more often get married to others with the same first letter of their first name than would be expected by chance.

    But why? It’s not about the letters, exactly—instead it’s about the fact that those mates somehow remind their spouses of themselves. People tend to love reflections of themselves in others. Psychologists interpret this as an unconscious self-love, or perhaps a comfort level with things that are familiar —and they term this implicit egotism.

    Implicit egotism is not just about life partners—it also influences the products you prefer and purchase. In one study, subjects were presented with two (fictional) brands of tea to taste-test. One of the brand names of the teas happened to share its first three letters with the subject’s name; that is, Tommy might be sampling teas named Tomeva and Lauler. Subjects would taste the teas, smack their lips, consider both carefully, and almost always decide that they preferred the tea whose name happened to match the first letters of their name. Not surprisingly, a subject named Laura would choose the tea named Lauler. They weren’t explicitly aware of the connection with the letters; they simply believed the tea tasted better. As it turns out, both cups of tea had been poured from the same teapot.

    The power of implicit egotism goes beyond your name to other arbitrary features of yourself, such as your birthday. In a university study, students were given an essay to read about the Russian monk Rasputin. For half the students, Rasputin’s birthday was mentioned in the essay—and it was gimmicked so that it “happened” to be the same as the reader’s own birthday. For the other half of the students, a birthday different from their own was used; otherwise the essays were identical. At the end of the reading, the students were asked to answer several questions covering what they thought of Rasputin as a person. Those who believed they shared a birthday with Rasputin gave him more generous ratings. They simply liked him more, without having any conscious access as to why.

    The magnetic power of unconscious self-love goes beyond what and whom you prefer. Incredibly, it can subtly influence where you live and what you do, as well. Psychologist Brett Pelham and his colleagues plumbed public records and found that people with birthdays on February 2 (2/2) are disproportionately likely to move to cities with a reference to the number two in their names, such as Twin Lakes, Wisconsin. People born on 3/3 are statistically overrepresented in places like Three Forks, Montana, as are people born on 6/6 in places like Six Mile, South Carolina, and so on for all the birthdays and cities the authors could find. Consider how amazing that is: associations with the numbers in people’s arbitrary birth dates can be influential enough to sway their residential choices, however slightly. Again, it’s unconscious.

    Implicit egotism can also influence what you chose to do with your life. By analyzing professional membership directories, Pelham and his colleagues found that people named Denise or Dennis are disproportionately likely to become dentists, while people named Laura or Lawrence are more likely to become lawyers, and people with names like George or Georgina to become geologists. They also found that owners of roofing companies are more likely to have a first initial of R instead of H, while hardware store owners are more likely to have names beginning with H instead of R. A different study mined freely available online professional databases to find that physicians have disproportionately more surnames that include doc, dok, or med, while lawyers are more likely to have law, lau, or att in their surnames.

    As crazy as it sounds, all these findings passed the statistical thresholds for significance. The effects are not large, but they’re verifiable. We are influenced by drives to which we have little access, and which we never would have believed had not the statistics laid them bare.
    .

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    Contemporary art’s shortcomings are increasingly evident, hence the continued efforts to escape art as we know it: the now-familiar emphases on public participation, non-art, smuggling, deterritorialisation, inbetween-ness, eventhood, indeterminacy…. Yet these efforts simply perpetuate and entrench the very limitations of art they seek to overcome.

    In his closely-argued book, Suhail Malik documents how, as the expanded field of contemporary art became increasingly attractive to those seeking egress from conventional power structures, it also developed into an apparatus that systematically deprives its actors of any real agency in the world.

    In order for art to have substantial and credible traction on anything beyond or larger than itself, it is necessary decisively to exit contemporary art—and therefore to renounce contemporary art’s logic of escape.

    But what could this art other to contemporary art’s paradigm of escape be? What new kinds of social structure and distributions of power would support it? On the basis of a forceful analysis of the deadlock in contemporary art today, this book sets out the parameters for a new conceptualization of art’s agency in the world of tomorrow
    honest labor needs no master

    Nothing good is a miracle, nothing lovely is a dream.

    Επί πάντων μέμνησο τα έσχατά σου, και ου μη αμαρτήσης

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    "To the 'Change after office, and received my watch from the watch-maker, and a very fine one it is, given me by Briggs, the scrivener. But, Lord! to see how much of my old folly and childishness hangs upon me still, that I cannot forbear carrying my watch in my hand, in the coach, all this afternoon, and seeing what o'clock it is one hundred times, and am apt to think with myself, how could I be so long without one, though I remember, since, I had one and found it a trouble, and resolved to carry one no more about me while I lived." ~ Samuel Pepys, 13 May 1665

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    “Kipple is useless objects, like junk mail or match folders after you use the last match or gum wrappers or yesterday's homeopape. When nobody's around, kipple reproduces itself. For instance, if you go to bed leaving any kipple around your apartment, when you wake up the next morning there's twice as much of it. It always gets more and more."

    "I see." The girl regarded him uncertainly, not knowing whether to believe him. Not sure if he meant it seriously.

    "There's the First Law of Kipple," he said. "'Kipple drives out nonkipple.' Like Gresham's law about bad money. And in these apartments there's been nobody here to fight the kipple."

    "So it has taken over completely," the girl finished. She nodded. "Now I understand."

    "Your place, here," he said, "this apartment you've picked--it's too kipple-ized to live in. We can roll the kipple-factor back; we can do like I said, raid the other apts. But--" He broke off.

    "But what?"

    Isidore said, "We can't win."

    "Why not?" [...]

    "No one can win against kipple," he said, "except temporarily and maybe in one spot, like in my apartment I've sort of created a stasis between the pressure of kipple and nonkipple, for the time being. But eventually I'll die or go away, and then the kipple will again take over. It's a universal principle operating throughout the universe; the entire universe is moving toward a final state of total, absolute kippleization.”

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    The Renaissance was a time of discovery. Columbus set sail in the year Piero died; not long afterward, Copernicus revolutionized humanity's view of the heavens themselves. Copernicus's achievements required a high level of mathematical skill, and during the sixteenth century advances in mathematics were swift and exciting, especially in Italy. Following the introduction of printing from movable type around 1450, many of the classics in mathematics were translated into Italian and published either in Latin or in the vernacular. Mathematicians engaged in spirited public debates over solutions to complex algebraic equations while the crowds cheered on their favorites.

    The stimulus for much of this interest dates from 1494, with the publication of a remarkable book written by a Franciscan monk named Luca Paccioli.' Paccioli was born about 1445, in Piero della Francesca's hometown of Borgo San Sepulcro. Although Paccioli's family urged the boy to prepare for a career in business, Piero taught him writing, art, and history and urged him to make use of the famous library at the nearby Court of Urbino. There Paccioli's studies laid the foundation for his subsequent fame as a mathematician.

    At the age of twenty, Paccioli obtained a position in Venice as tutor to the sons of a rich merchant. He attended public lectures in philosophy and theology and studied mathematics with a private tutor. An apt student, he wrote his first published work in mathematics while in Venice. His Uncle Benedetto, a military officer stationed in Venice, taught Paccioli about architecture as well as military affairs.

    In 1470, Paccioli moved to Rome to continue his studies and at the age of 27 he became a Franciscan monk. He continued to move about, however. He taught mathematics in Perugia, Rome, Naples, Pisa, and Venice before settling down as professor of mathematics in Milan in 1496. Ten years earlier, he had received the title of magister, equivalent to a doctorate.

    Paccioli's masterwork, Summa de arithmetic, geometria et proportionalita' (most serious academic works were still being written in Latin), appeared in 1494. Written in praise of the "very great abstraction and subtlety of mathematics," the Summa acknowledges Paccioli's debt to Fibonacci's Liber Abaci, written nearly three hundred years earlier. The Summa sets out the basic principles of algebra and contains multiplication tables all the way up to 60 x 60-a useful feature at a time when printing was spreading the use of the new numbering system.

    One of the book's most durable contributions was its presentation of double-entry bookkeeping. This was not Paccioli's invention, though his treatment of it was the most extensive to date. The notion of double-entry bookkeeping was apparent in Fibonacci's Liber Abaci and had shown up in a book published about 1305 by the London branch of an Italian firm. Whatever its source, this revolutionary innovation in accounting methods had significant economic consequences, comparable to the discovery of the steam engine three hundred years later.

    While in Milan, Paccioli met Leonardo da Vinci, who became a close friend. Paccioli was enormously impressed with Leonardo's talents and commented on his "invaluable work on spatial motion, percussion, weight and all forces."2 They must have had much in common, for Paccioli was interested in the interrelationships between mathematics and art. He once observed that "if you say that music satisfies hearing, one of the natural senses ... [perspective] will do so for sight, which is so much more worthy in that it is the first door of the intellect."

    Leonardo had known little about mathematics before meeting Paccioli, though he had an intuitive sense of proportion and geometry. His notebooks are full of drawings made with a straight-edge and a compass, but Paccioli encouraged him to master the concepts he been using intuitively. Martin Kemp, one of Leonardo's biographers, claims that Paccioli "provided the stimulus for a sudden transformation in Leonardo's mathematical ambitions, effecting a reorientation in Leonardo's interest in a way which no other contemporary thinker accomplished." Leonardo in turn supplied complex drawings for Paccioli's other great work, De Divine Proportione, which appeared in two handsome manuscripts in 1498. The printed edition came out in 1509.

    Leonardo owned a copy of the Summa and must have studied it with great care. His notebooks record repeated attempts to understand multiples and fractions as an aid to his use of proportion. At one point, he admonishes himself to "learn the multiplication of the roots from master Luca." Today, Leonardo would barely squeak by in a third-grade arithmetic class.

    The fact that a Renaissance genius like da Vinci had so much difficulty with elementary arithmetic is a revealing commentary on the state of mathematical understanding at the end of the fifteenth century.
    .

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    Self esteem is sold to you as an inalienable right, not something to be earned; and if you don't have self-esteem it's because fake society made you feel bad about yourself. But fake society also made you feel good about yourself, it propped you up. The reason you got an A and not an F and believed it is because you actually believe you are an A kind of guy, Math, English, History, Science, PE, and Lunch notwithstanding. A, not F. But if everyone deserves it, it has no value. Which is why getting it is unsatisfying.
    Projection is ordinary. Person A projects at person B, hoping tovalidate something about person A by the response of person B. However, person B, not wanting to be an obejct of someone elses ego and guarding against existential terror constructs a personality which protects his ego and maintain a certain sense of a robust and real self that is different and separate from person A. Sadly, this robust and real self, cut off by defenses of character from the rest of the world, is quite vulnerable and fragile given that it is imaginary and propped up through external feed back. Person B is dimly aware of this and defends against it all the more, even desperately projecting his anxieties back onto person A, with the hope of shoring up his ego with salubrious validation. All of this happens without A or B acknowledging it, of course. Because to face up to it consciously is shocking, in that this is all anybody is doing or can do and it seems absurd when you realize how pathetic it is.

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    The Mithras worshipers called themselves “those united by the handshake.”
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    A comparison with homo sapiens closest living genetic relative-the bonobo chimpanzee is illustrative. Genetic (DNA) communality between the two species has been given at about 98% but some estimates, derived from the data in Jared Diamond's The Third Chimpanzee, is closer to 99.1% communality. The genetic distance between the bonobo and the common chimpanzee is estimated at 0.7% DNA with a difference from homo sapiens at about 1.6% of DNA. Yet, the bonobo chimpanzee is the most peaceful and non-violent primate on the planet while homo sapiens is the most violent primate on the planet.
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    “I know who I am,” replied Don Quixote, “and I know that I may be not only those I have named, but all the Twelve Peers of France and even all the Nine Worthies, since my achievements surpass all that they have done all together and each of them on his own account.”
    .

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  21. #101
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    Zoroastrians bequeathed to us a more influential legacy, too. They believed that those who fought on the side of good could hope after death to enter the House of Song, which they also called the Abode of Light. Egyptian wall paintings had portrayed a glorious afterlife, but only for the pharaoh and perhaps his servants. The Greeks fighting in the siege of Troy hoped for nothing after their death except fame: their shade might remain in Hades, but that was at best a shadowy existence. Zarathustra taught that any person who followed a certain code of conduct on earth could live forever, that the soul mattered, and that a good deity exerted power over the world. Those who served Angra Mainyu, on the other hand, would be punished with misery and darkness. These notions of good and evil, and heaven and hell, were to prove very influential.

    In the early Jewish scriptures (the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Torah), for example, there is no reference to Satan. Evil is represented instead by a serpent in the garden. After death, all souls, without differentiation, went to a place called Sheol; there was no heaven and hell. When the Jews were liberated from Babylon by the Persian king Cyrus in 539 bc, this changed. In the Book of Job, perhaps written at around that time, Satan is a powerful being, able to intervene in the world, inflicting plagues on an innocent man—the exact kind of action that Angra Mainyu undertakes in Zoroastrian belief. In the second-century bc Book of Daniel, heaven and hell appear: “Many of those who sleep in the dusty ground will awake—some to everlasting life, and others to shame and everlasting abhorrence.”

    Centuries later, Jesus’s description of Satan resembles Angra Mainyu, in that a good God sows wheat, but God’s enemy scatters weeds in the wheat field; only at the end of time can the weeds be separated from the wheat and burned. Similarly, it was after the Greeks encountered the Persians that the Greek philosopher Plato suggested souls went to reward or punishment after their death, depending on what they had done in their lives. Religion had been fundamentally changed. The nineteenth-century German philosopher Nietzsche, looking back at these events, judged that “Zarathustra created this most portentous of all errors—morality.” (Consequently, he wrote a book in which Zarathustra returns and abolishes moral law. Richard Strauss was so impressed by the book that he named a fanfare after it: in this roundabout way the name Zarathustra lives on in concert halls around the world.)
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    "Baywatch supports impossible standards that women are pressured to follow."

    Everyone knows these women were selected because they are hot, that's the point. They represent ideals of a certain kind. How badly will "regular" women's self-esteem be mangled if they can't be ideals? I think they'll be fine.

    Will more women want to dye their hair blonde? Get implants? Probably. Will this end up destroying America? Probably not. Will it set impossible standards for women, turn men impotent when confronted by A cups? No. Why would Baywatch do it if pornography can't?

    Pamela Anderson isn't the problem. CJ is the problem. She doesn't exist.

    It's conceivable that with the right supplies, you could look like Pamela Anderson. This won't destroy society. What women can't do is look and live like CJ on a lifeguard's income.

    But Baywatch convinces people that there is a certain level of ordinary materialism that everyone can have. "This is what it $20,000 a year looks like."

    That's what's going to destroy America.
    Projection is ordinary. Person A projects at person B, hoping tovalidate something about person A by the response of person B. However, person B, not wanting to be an obejct of someone elses ego and guarding against existential terror constructs a personality which protects his ego and maintain a certain sense of a robust and real self that is different and separate from person A. Sadly, this robust and real self, cut off by defenses of character from the rest of the world, is quite vulnerable and fragile given that it is imaginary and propped up through external feed back. Person B is dimly aware of this and defends against it all the more, even desperately projecting his anxieties back onto person A, with the hope of shoring up his ego with salubrious validation. All of this happens without A or B acknowledging it, of course. Because to face up to it consciously is shocking, in that this is all anybody is doing or can do and it seems absurd when you realize how pathetic it is.

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    In later days the god of Eridu was pictured in seal engravings as wearing a flounced woollen robe and the horned crown of divinity, with two streams of fish-filled water, perhaps representing the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers, flowing from his shoulders. When eventually Sumerian scribes came to write down their myths some 2,000 years after the founding of the temple, his name is revealed. The texts register that Eridu was the home of the god Enki, ‘Lord Earth’, ‘King of Eridu’, ‘King of the Apsu’. Even later yet Genesis 4:17–18 makes him the son of Cain: ‘And unto Enoch [Enki] was born Irad [Eridu]’.

    Mesopotamians recognized Enki as the god who brings civilization to humankind. It is he who gives rulers their intelligence and knowledge; he ‘opens the doors of understanding’; he teaches humans how to construct canals and plan temples, ‘putting their foundation pegs in exactly the right places’; he ‘brings forth abundance in the shining waters’; he is not the ruler of the universe but the gods’ wise counsellor and elder brother; he is ‘Lord of the Assembly’; he is Nudimmud, ‘the shaper’, the fashioner of images, the patron of artisans and craftsmen. And, prefiguring the story of the Tower of Babel, it was he who divided the speech of mankind – an interpretation surely of the multiplicity of languages spoken by his first devotees.

    Enki, the Lord of abundance, of trustworthy commands,
    The Lord of wisdom, who understands the land,
    The leader of the gods,
    Endowed with wisdom, the Lord of Eridu
    Changed the speech in their mouths, [brought] contention into it,
    Into the speech of man that had previously been one.


    Most importantly, Enki was the custodian of the ‘Me’, perhaps pronounced something like Meh, an untranslatable Sumerian expression which the great Assyriologist Samuel Noah Kramer explained as the ‘fundamental, unalterable, comprehensive assortment of powers and duties, norms and standards, rules and regulations, relating to…civilized life’. (One might more tersely define them as the basic principles of civilization: it shows how self-consciously aware the ancient Mesopotamians were of the difference between civilization and all other ways of living – and its superiority – that they expressed it with an entirely new cognitive concept, for which we have no equivalent in our way of thinking.) When listed long after by Babylonian mythographers, the ‘Me’ include matters of governance such as: high-priesthood, divinity, the noble and enduring crown, the throne of kingship, the exalted sceptre, the staff, the holy measuring rod and line, the high throne. There are matters relating to war like weapons, heroism, the destruction of cities, victory and peace. The ‘Me’ encompass human abilities and qualities like wisdom, judgement, decision-making, power and enmity. They delineate strong emotions like fear, strife, weariness and the troubled heart. And there are arts and crafts like those of the scribe, the musician, the metalworker, the smith, the leather worker, the builder and the basket weaver, as well as numerous different priestly offices, varieties of eunuch and musical instruments.

    Mesopotamians never forgot the role the god of Eridu played in founding civilization, even though the details of his story evolved over time. Some 4,000 years after the building of the first chapel by the Apsu, when Greeks ruled in the Near East, a Babylonian priest called Berosos wrote a history of his country in which he described how a creature, an intermediary between god and his human devotees, came out of the water to teach civilization to humanity: ‘He taught them to construct cities, to found temples, to compile laws, and explained to them the principles of geometrical knowledge. He made them distinguish the seeds of the earth, and showed them how to collect the fruits; in short, he instructed them in everything which could tend to soften manners and humanize their lives. From that time, nothing material has been added by way of improvement to his instructions.’
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    So widespread was slavery in the Mediterranean and the Arabic world that even today regular greetings reference human trafficking. All over Italy, when they meet, people say to each other, “schiavo,” from a Venetian dialect. “Ciao,” as it is more commonly spelt, does not mean “hello”; it means “I am your slave.”.
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    Since the defeat of the Greater German Reich in 1945, obituaries have been written for several European states. They include the German Democratic Republic (1990), the Soviet Union (1991), Czechoslovakia (1992) and the Federation of Yugoslavia (2006). There will undoubtedly be more. The difficult question is, who will be next? Judging by its current dysfunctionality, Belgium could become Europe’s next Great Auk, or perhaps Italy. It is impossible to say. And no one can forecast with any certainty whether the latest infant to join Europe’s family of nations, the Republic of Kosovo, will sink or swim. But anyone imagining that the law of transience does not apply to them is living in Nephelokokkygia (a word coined by Aristophanes to make his audience stop and think).
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    Major League Baseball is known for the extensive records that are kept on virtually every aspect of every game and every player. Abel and Kruger (2010) took advantage of this fact to investigate the relationship between positive emotions and longevity. They began with photographs of 230 major league players published in 1952. The photographs were then rated for smile intensity to provide a measure of emotional positivity. The longevity of players who had died by the end of 2009 was then examined in relation to smile intensity. The results indicated that these two variables are indeed related. Further, ratings of attractiveness were unrelated to longevity.
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    Once a day for two weeks, college students who had recently begun dating rated how satisfied they were with their relationship in general, their sex life, and life overall. Then, at the end, these lovebirds were asked to look back and rate how they felt about their life and love over the preceding two weeks. When the researchers checked six months later to learn which romances had survived and which had broken up, they found that how happy people say they are each day is not a good way to forecast how long the relationship will last—but how happy people say they were is an excellent predictor of whether they will stay together.
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    With time some followers of polytheist gods became so fond of their particular patron that they drifted away from the basic polytheist insight. They began to believe that their god was the only god, and that He was in fact the supreme power of the universe. Yet at the same time they continued to view Him as possessing interests and biases, and believed that they could strike deals with Him. Thus were born monotheist religions, whose followers beseech the supreme power of the universe to help them recover from illness, win the lottery and gain victory in war.

    The first monotheist religion known to us appeared in Egypt, c.1350 BC, when Pharaoh Akhenaten declared that one of the minor deities of the Egyptian pantheon, the god Aten, was, in fact, the supreme power ruling the universe. Akhenaten institutionalised the worship of Aten as the state religion and tried to check the worship of all other gods. His religious revolution, however, was unsuccessful. After his death, the worship of Aten was abandoned in favour of the old pantheon.

    Polytheism continued to give birth here and there to other monotheist religions, but they remained marginal, not least because they failed to digest their own universal message. Judaism, for example, argued that the supreme power of the universe has interests and biases, yet His chief interest is in the tiny Jewish nation and in the obscure land of Israel. Judaism had little to offer other nations, and throughout most of its existence it has not been a missionary religion. This stage can be called the stage of ‘local monotheism’.

    The big breakthrough came with Christianity. This faith began as an esoteric Jewish sect that sought to convince Jews that Jesus of Nazareth was their long-awaited messiah. However, one of the sect’s first leaders, Paul of Tarsus, reasoned that if the supreme power of the universe has interests and biases, and if He had bothered to incarnate Himself in the flesh and to die on the cross for the salvation of humankind, then this is something everyone should hear about, not just Jews. It was thus necessary to spread the good word – the gospel – about Jesus throughout the world.
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    This brings us to the final room of the machine, a collection of what Dewane calls “deep work chambers” (he adopted the term “deep work” from my articles on the topic). Each chamber is conceived to be six by ten feet and protected by thick soundproof walls (Dewane’s plans call for eighteen inches of insulation). “The purpose of the deep work chamber is to allow for total focus and uninterrupted work flow,” Dewane explains. He imagines a process in which you spend ninety minutes inside, take a ninety-minute break, and repeat two or three times—at which point your brain will have achieved its limit of concentration for the day.

    For now, the Eudaimonia Machine exists only as a collection of architectural drawings, but even as a plan, its potential to support impactful work excites Dewane. “[This design] remains, in my mind, the most interesting piece of architecture I’ve ever produced,” he told me.
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    One of the period’s most vigorous exponents of naked bathing was Rupert Brooke, who professed himself to be, as Virginia Woolf reported, “very keen on living ‘the free life.’ ” She remembered his saying to her one day, “Let’s go swimming, quite naked.” Asked whether she did, she answered, “Of course.”
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    I don't approve of it, but it is great in a fashion.


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  34. #114
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    To be called beautiful is thought to name something essential to women's character and concerns. (In contrast to men—whose essence is to be strong, or effective, or competent.) [...] Women are taught to see their bodies in parts, and to evaluate each part separately. Breasts, feet, hips, waistline, neck, eyes, nose, complexion, hair, and so on—each in turn is submitted to an anxious, fretful, often despairing scrutiny.

    [Beauty as a form of power] is always conceived in relation to men; it is not the power to do but the power to attract. It is a power that negates itself. For this power is not one that can be chosen freely—at least, not by women—or renounced without social censure.

    — Susan Sontag, A Woman's Beauty: Put-Down or Power Source?
    "hag is the elizabeth bathory of t16t" – Luminous Lynx

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    Every war is ironic because every war is worse than expected. Every war constitutes an irony of situation because its means are so melodramatically disproportionate to its presumed ends. In the Great War eight million people were destroyed because two persons, the Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his Consort, had been shot. The Second World War offers even more preposterous ironies. Ostensibly begun to guarantee the sovereignty of Poland, that war managed to bring about Poland’s bondage and humiliation.
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    "Yet no true mystic will ever make his experiences in dreams the basis of any authoritative account of the higher world. Such dreams must be merely considered as providing the first hint of a higher development. Very soon and as a further result, the student's dreams will no longer remain beyond the reach of intellectual guidance as heretofore, but on the contrary, will be mentally controlled and supervised like the impressions and conceptions of waking consciousness. The difference between dream and waking consciousness grows ever smaller. The dreamer remains awake in the fullest sense of the word during his dream life; that is, he is aware of his mastery and control over his own vivid mental activity.

    During our dreams we are actually in a world other than that of our senses; but with undeveloped spiritual organs we can form none other than the confused conceptions of it described above. It is only in so far present for us as, for instance, the world of sense could be for a being equipped with no more than rudimentary eyes. That is why we can see nothing in this world but counterfeits and reflections of daily life. The latter are perceptible to us because our own soul paints its daily experiences in pictorial form into the substance of which that other world consists. It must be clearly understood that in addition to our ordinary conscious work-a-day life we lead a second, unconscious life in that other world. We engrave in it all our thoughts and perceptions. These tracings only become visible when the lotus flowers are developed. Now, in every human being there are slender rudiments of these lotus flowers. We cannot perceive by means of them during waking consciousness because the impressions made on them are very faint. We cannot see the stars during the daytime for a similar reason: their visibility is extinguished by the mighty glare of the sun. Thus, too, the faint spiritual impressions cannot make themselves felt in the face of the powerful impressions received through the senses.

    Now, when the gate of the senses is closed during sleep, these other impressions begin to emerge confusedly, and the dreamer becomes aware of experiences in another world. But as already explained, these experiences consist at first merely of pictures engraved in the spiritual world by our mental activity attached to the physical senses. Only developed lotus flowers make it possible for manifestations not derived from the physical world to be imprinted in the same way. And then the etheric body, when developed, brings full knowledge concerning these engraved impressions derived from other worlds.

    This is the beginning of life and activity in a new world, and at this point esoteric training must set the student a twofold task. To begin with, he must learn to take stock of everything he observes in his dreams, exactly as though he were awake. Then, if successful in this, he is led to make the same observations during ordinary waking consciousness. He will so train his attention and receptivity for these spiritual impressions that they need no longer vanish in the face of the physical impressions, but will always be at hand for him and reach him in addition to the others."

    --Rudolf Steiner

    http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA010/...010_index.html

    “My typology is . . . not in any sense to stick labels on people at first sight. It is not a physiognomy and not an anthropological system, but a critical psychology dealing with the organization and delimitation of psychic processes that can be shown to be typical.”​ —C.G. Jung

     



  37. #117
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    I've decided to give you an hour of modem literature . . .

    - And now here is a discourse in prose on the future of poetry:

    All ancient poetry culminated in Greek poetry, harmonious Life.

    - From Greece to the romantic movement - in the Middle Ages - there are men of letters, versifiers. From Ennius to Theroldus, from Theroldus to Casimir Delavigne, it's all rhymed prose, a game, the enfeeblement and glory of countless idiotic generations: Racine is the pure, strong, great man - If his rhymes had been effaced, and his hemistitches got mixed up, today the Divine Fool would be as unknown as any old author of Origins. After Racine the game gets crumby. It has been going on for two thousand years!

    Neither joke nor paradox. My reason inspires me with more certitude on this subject than any Young-France ever had with rage. Besides, newcomers are free to condemn their ancestors: one is at home, and there's plenty of time.

    Romanticism has never been properly judged. Who was there to judge it? The Critics!! The Romantics? who proved so clearly that the song is very seldom the work, that is to say, the idea sung and intended by the singer.

    For I is someone else. If brass wakes up a trumpet, it is not its fault. To me this is obvious: I witness the unfolding of my own thought: I watch it, I listen to it: I make a stroke of the bow: the symphony begins to stir in the depths, or springs on to the stage.

    If the old fools had not discovered only the false significance of the Ego, we should not now be having to sweep away those millions of skeletons which, since time immemorial, have been piling up the fruits of their one-eyed intellects, and claiming themselves to be the authors of them!

    In Greece, I say, verses and lyres give rhythm to action. After that, music and rhymes are a game, a pastime. The curious are charmed with the study of this past: many of them delight in reviving these antiquities - that's their affair Universal mind has always thrown out its ideas naturally; men would pick up a part of these fruits of the brain: they acted through them, they wrote books through them: and so things went on, since man did not work on himself, either not yet being awake, or not yet in the fullness of the great dream. Writers, civil servants - author, creator, poet, that man never existed!

    The first study for a man who wants to be a poet is the knowledge of himself, complete. He looks for his soul, inspects it, puts it to the test, learns it. As soon as he knows it, he must cultivate it! It seems simple: in every brain a natural development takes place; so many egoists proclaim themselves authors; there are plenty of others who attribute their intellectual progress to themselves! - But the soul has to be made monstrous, that's the point: after the fashion of the comprachicos, if you like! Imagine a man planting and cultivating warts on his face.

    I say that one must be a seer, make oneself a seer.

    The poet makes himself a seer by a long, prodigious, and rational disordering of all the senses. Every form of love, of suffering, of madness; he searches himself,he consumes all the poisons in him, and keeps only their quintessences. This is an unspeakable torture during which he needs all his faith and superhuman strength, and during which he becomes the great patient, the great criminal, the great accursed - the great learned one! - among men. - For he arrives at the unknown! Because he has cultivated his own soul - which was rich to begin with - more than any other man! He reaches the unknown, and even if, crazed, he ends up by losing the understanding of his visions, at least he has seen them! Let him die charging through those unutterable, unnameable things: other horrible workers will come; they will begin from the horizons where he has succumbed! . . .

    - To continue:

    So, then, the poet really is the thief of fire.

    He is responsible for humanity, even for the animals; he must see to it that his inventions can be smelt, felt, heard. If what he brings back from down there has form, he brings forth form; if it is formless, he brings forth formlessness. A language has to be found-tor that matter, every word being an idea, the time of the universal languages will come! One has to be an academician - deader than a fossil - to finish a dictionary of any language. Weak-minded people, beginning by thinking about the first letter of the alphabet, would soon rush into madness!

    This [new] language would be of the soul, for the soul, containing everything smells, sounds, colours; thought latching on to thought and pulling. The poet would define the amount of the unknown awakening in the universal soul in his own time: he would produce more than the formulation of his thought or the measurement of his march towards Progress! An enormity who has become normal, absorbed by everyone, he would really be a multiplier of progress!

    This future will, as you see, be materialistic - Always filled with Number and Harmony, these poems will be made to endure. Essentially, it will be Greek poetry again, in a way.

    Eternal art will have its function, since poets are citizens. Poetry will no longer rhyme with action; it will be ahead of it!

    Poets like this will exist! When the unending servitude of woman is broken, when she lives by and for herself, when man - hitherto abominable - has given her her freedom, she too will be a poet! Woman will discover part of the unknown! Will her world of ideas be different from ours? She will discover things strange and unfathomable, repulsive and delicious. We shall take them unto ourselves, we shall understand them.

    Meanwhile let us ask the poet for the new - in ideas and in forms. All the bright boys will imagine they can soon satisfy this demand: - is not so!

    The first romantics were seers without quite realizing it: the cultivation of their souls began accidentally: abandoned locomotives, but with their fires still alight, which the rails still carry along for a while. - Sometimes Lamartine is a seer, but strangled by the old form. Hugo, who is too ham, really has VISION in his last works: Les Miserables is a real poem. I have Les Chatiments with me; Stella shows the limit of Hugo's vision. Too many Belmontets and Lamennais, Jehovahs and columns, old cracked enormities.

    Musset is fourteen times execrable to us suffering generations carried away by visions - to whom his angelic cloth is an insult! O! the insipid tales and proverbs! O the Nuits! O Rolla, O Namouna, O the Chalice! it is all French, that is, detestable to the highest degree; French, not Parisian! More work of the evil genius that inspired Rabelais, Voltaire, Jean La Fontaine, with M. Taine's commentary! Springlike, the wit of Musset! Charming, his love! There's ename painting and solid poetry for you! French poetry will be enjoyed for a long time - but in France. Every grocer's boy can reel off a Rollaesque speech, every budding priest has the five hundred rhymes hidden away in the secrecy of a notebook. At fifteen, these outbursts of passion make boys lecherous, at sixteen they are already content to recite them with feeling; at eighteen, even at seventeen, every schoolboy who has the ability does a Rolla, writes a Rolla! Perhaps some still die of it. Musset could not do anything: there were visions behind the gauze of the curtains he closed his eyes. French, sloppy, dragged from barroom to schoolroom desk, the fine corpse is dead, and henceforth let us not even bother to awaken it with our execrations!

    The second Romantics are very seeing: Théophile Gautier, Leconte de Lisle Théodore de Banville. But because examining the invisible and hearing the un-heard-of is quite different from recapturing the spirit of dead things, Baudelaire is the first seer, king of poets,a real God! Unluckily he lived in too artistic a circle; and the form which is so much praised in him is trivial. Inventions from the unknown demand new forms.

    Broken-in to the old forms, among the simpletons, A. Renaud - has done his Rolla - L. Grandet - has done his Rolla; the Gauls and the Mussets, G. Lafenestre, Coran, Cl. Popelin, Soulary, L. Salles; the scholars, Marc, Aicard, Theuriet; the dead and the imbeciles, Autran, Barbier, L. Pichat, Lemoyne, the Deschamps, the Des Essarts; the journalists, L. Cladel, Robert Luzarches, X. de Ricard; the fantasists, C. Mendès; the bohemians; the women; the talents, Léon Dierx and SuIly-Prudhomme, Coppée - the new school, called Parnassian, possesses two seers: Albert Merat and Paul Verlaine, a real poet. - So there you are. Thus I am working to make myself a seer.
    .

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    ''Once, when I was living in Paris, I locked myself out of my apartment by mistake when bleach-blonding my hair for a trashy holiday in Mykonos. I’d come to meet the postman and the door closed behind me. I only had my wallet in one hand, and was wearing boxer shorts, a tank top, and nothing else, not even shoes. I remember walking down the stairs, my hair burning with bleach, and running across the small square facing my apartment, and dunking my head in the ornamental fountain to save my scalp. The terrace was full of well-coiffed Parisians drinking their (bad) coffee, all faced outward, graced with the spectacle of a man in his underclothes washing his hair under the 19th-century statuary. I think everyone found it incredibly inelegant. It looked bad. I ended up having to board the subway in this state, half-drenched, to pick up the extra keys in another part of the city. I remember the stares and the laughs and buzz of conversation around me––I had created again a spectacle. I certainly wasn’t dressed to go out en ville.''

    .....''Last night, I stood in a packed Kreuzberg bar festive with young voices from every part of Europe, and the feeling of having escaped from something arrested me––I was full of the awareness that beautiful places don’t, on their own, make you happy. Nor do ones where you are jostled along by the crowd without a moment to breathe and think. What makes for happiness is to be somewhere which is still very much in a process of transformation, where the paint hasn’t yet dried, where the codes for judgment and appraisal are not yet fixed. It also needs to be a place where there’s plenty of creative thought and good conversation. A few days pass in Berlin and you get used to the ugliness, and you’re left with something much more valuable––a reprieve, at least for now, from the grind of appearances and accumulation.''
    honest labor needs no master

    Nothing good is a miracle, nothing lovely is a dream.

    Επί πάντων μέμνησο τα έσχατά σου, και ου μη αμαρτήσης

  39. #119
    Seriously Judicious Emotivist Eliza Thomason's Avatar
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    Default From Direction For Our Times, Volume 7

    Words of St. Daniel, in Heaven, to us, about Heaven"

    "My brothers and sisters have difficulty separating from their earthly lives. You must begin to see your soul as a separate entity from this world. Your body, your life here, these are the vehicles with which your soul is sanctified. So your life is really a means to an end. You are here to gain eternity. You are here to serve God during your exile from heaven. You have been told you are to earn heaven here and that is true. But dear friends, let me assure you, having been in both places, we, none of us, merit heaven. When you live for Christ, earth is a joyful place to be. When you serve Christ on earth and come to heaven? There are no words. I cannot convey it to you except to say that every one of your greatest, most beyond belief hopes for heaven will be satisfied and your experience here will so far exceed that expectation that you will not believe you ever harbored hopes so low. Imagine being able to fly with no assistance except your will. You could fly as high, as low, as fast, as slow, and as often as you liked. You could go anywhere. The wind on your face would fill you with rejoicing. You would laugh aloud for the joy of it. You would delight in the joy of others who also experienced this perfect ability.* Imagine never feeling too cold or too hot. Always you feel perfectly balanced with the elements, unless you suddenly crave warmth or cold. Then it is there for your enjoyment. I am probably making a mistake by trying to convey to you the smallest portion of heaven because it is impossible. Yet I feel I must give you some idea of why you are to be selfless for a small time. Imagine being with the people you loved, but always with the most perfect understanding of each other. What adventures you will share.
    Dear brothers and sisters, never worry about death. Please. Death is the greatest liberation you can imagine. God has the day of your death already established. It will come. And you will be ready if you serve Christ. You will have no regrets. You would not want to surrender your body to Jesus and feel as though you missed the whole point of your life. Serve, my beloved friends. Serve. Serve Jesus. Serve each other. Serve strangers. Serve."

    _____________________________
    [all of Volume Seven that this is from can be read, here.]
    Also, clicking on "Languages" on this page, at top, it's available to read online free in these languages:
    Spanish
    Chinese
    Hrvatski (Croatian)
    Danish
    Dutch
    French
    Magyar (Hungarian)
    Italian
    Indonesian
    Lietuvos (Lithuanian)
    Norsk (Norwegian)
    Polish
    Portuguese
    Rysyjski (Russian)
    juːˈkreɪniən (Ukrainian)

    ____________________
    *I have had a recurring dream of this, flying like that, including recently.
    "A man with a definite belief always appears bizarre, because he does not change with the world; he has climbed into a fixed star, and the earth whizzes below him like a zoetrope."
    ........ G. ........... K. ............... C ........ H ........ E ...... S ........ T ...... E ........ R ........ T ........ O ........ N ........


    "Having a clear faith, based on the creed of the Church, is often labeled today as fundamentalism... Whereas relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and swept along
    by every wind of teaching, looks like the only
    attitude acceptable to today's standards."
    - Pope Benedict the XVI, "The Dictatorship of Relativism"

    .
    .
    .


  40. #120
    Queen of the Damned Aylen's Avatar
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    Be then his love accursed, since love or hate,
    To me alike, it deals eternal woe.
    Nay, cursed be thou; since against his thy will
    Chose freely what it now so justly rues.
    Me miserable! which way shall I fly
    Infinite wrath, and infinite despair?
    Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell;
    And, in the lowest deep, a lower deep
    Still threatening to devour me opens wide,
    To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heaven.
    O, then, at last relent: Is there no place
    Left for repentance, none for pardon left?
    None left but by submission; and that word
    Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame
    Among the Spirits beneath, whom I seduced
    With other promises and other vaunts
    Than to submit, boasting I could subdue
    The Omnipotent. Ay me! they little know
    How dearly I abide that boast so vain,
    Under what torments inwardly I groan,
    While they adore me on the throne of Hell.
    With diadem and scepter high advanced,
    The lower still I fall, only supreme
    In misery: Such joy ambition finds.
    But say I could repent, and could obtain,
    By act of grace, my former state; how soon
    Would highth recall high thoughts, how soon unsay
    What feigned submission swore? Ease would recant
    Vows made in pain, as violent and void.
    For never can true reconcilement grow,
    Where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep:
    Which would but lead me to a worse relapse
    And heavier fall: so should I purchase dear
    Short intermission bought with double smart.
    This knows my Punisher; therefore as far
    From granting he, as I from begging, peace;

    -- Milton

    “My typology is . . . not in any sense to stick labels on people at first sight. It is not a physiognomy and not an anthropological system, but a critical psychology dealing with the organization and delimitation of psychic processes that can be shown to be typical.”​ —C.G. Jung

     



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