Saturday, December 31, 2016

Rene Magritte

Fixed Idea (1927)
Empty Mask (1928)
Palace Curtains (1929)
Violations (Attendat)(1937)

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Workin' Poor

The only people I ever heard talk about my Lady Poverty
Were rich people, or people who imagined themselves rich.
Saint Francis himself was a rich and spoiled young man.

Being born among the working people
I know poverty is a hard old hag,
and a monster, when you’re pinched for actual necessities.
And whoever says she isn’t is a liar.

I don’t want to be poor, it means I’m pinched.
But neither do I want to be rich.
When I look at this pine-tree near the sea,
That grows out of rock, and it plumes forth, plumes forth,
I see it has a natural abundance.

With its roots it has a natural grip on its daily bread,
And its plumes look like a green cup held up to the sun and air
And full of wine.

I want to be like that, to have a natural abundance
And plume forth, and be splendid.
- DH Lawrence, "Poverty"

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Saturday, October 8, 2016

What Is Enlightenment?

Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-imposed nonage. Nonage is the inability to use one's own understanding without another's guidance. This nonage is self-imposed if its cause lies not in lack of understanding but in indecision and lack of courage to use one's own mind without another's guidance. Dare to know! (Sapere aude.) "Have the courage to use your own understanding," is therefore the motto of the enlightenment.

Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why such a large part of mankind gladly remain minors all their lives, long after nature has freed them from external guidance. They are the reasons why it is so easy for others to set themselves up as guardians. It is so comfortable to be a minor. If I have a book that thinks for me, a pastor who acts as my conscience, a physician who prescribes my diet, and so on--then I have no need to exert myself. I have no need to think, if only I can pay; others will take care of that disagreeable business for me. Those guardians who have kindly taken supervision upon themselves see to it that the overwhelming majority of mankind--among them the entire fair sex--should consider the step to maturity, not only as hard, but as extremely dangerous. First, these guardians make their domestic cattle stupid and carefully prevent the docile creatures from taking a single step without the leading-strings to which they have fastened them. Then they show them the danger that would threaten them if they should try to walk by themselves. Now this danger is really not very great; after stumbling a few times they would, at last, learn to walk. However, examples of such failures intimidate and generally discourage all further attempts.

Thus it is very difficult for the individual to work himself out of the nonage which has become almost second nature to him. He has even grown to like it, and is at first really incapable of using his own understanding because he has never been permitted to try it. Dogmas and formulas, these mechanical tools designed for reasonable use--or rather abuse--of his natural gifts, are the fetters of an everlasting nonage. The man who casts them off would make an uncertain leap over the narrowest ditch, because he is not used to such free movement. That is why there are only a few men who walk firmly, and who have emerged from nonage by cultivating their own minds.

It is more nearly possible, however, for the public to enlighten itself; indeed, if it is only given freedom, enlightenment is almost inevitable. There will always be a few independent thinkers, even among the self-appointed guardians of the multitude. Once such men have thrown off the yoke of nonage, they will spread about them the spirit of a reasonable appreciation of man's value and of his duty to think for himself. It is especially to be noted that the public which was earlier brought under the yoke by these men afterwards forces these very guardians to remain in submission, if it is so incited by some of its guardians who are themselves incapable of any enlightenment. That shows how pernicious it is to implant prejudices: they will eventually revenge themselves upon their authors or their authors' descendants. Therefore, a public can achieve enlightenment only slowly. A revolution may bring about the end of a personal despotism or of avaricious tyrannical oppression, but never a true reform of modes of thought. New prejudices will serve, in place of the old, as guide lines for the unthinking multitude.

This enlightenment requires nothing but freedom--and the most innocent of all that may be called "freedom": freedom to make public use of one's reason in all matters. Now I hear the cry from all sides: "Do not argue!" The officer says: "Do not argue--drill!" The tax collector: "Do not argue--pay!" The pastor: "Do not argue--believe!" Only one ruler in the world says: "Argue as much as you please, but obey!" We find restrictions on freedom everywhere. But which restriction is harmful to enlightenment? Which restriction is innocent, and which advances enlightenment? I reply: the public use of one's reason must be free at all times, and this alone can bring enlightenment to mankind.

On the other hand, the private use of reason may frequently be narrowly restricted without especially hindering the progress of enlightenment. By "public use of one's reason" I mean that use which a man, as scholar, makes of it before the reading public. I call "private use" that use which a man makes of his reason in a civic post that has been entrusted to him. In some affairs affecting the interest of the community a certain [governmental] mechanism is necessary in which some members of the community remain passive. This creates an artificial unanimity which will serve the fulfillment of public objectives, or at least keep these objectives from being destroyed. Here arguing is not permitted: one must obey. Insofar as a part of this machine considers himself at the same time a member of a universal community--a world society of citizens--(let us say that he thinks of himself as a scholar rationally addressing his public through his writings) he may indeed argue, and the affairs with which he is associated in part as a passive member will not suffer. Thus it would be very unfortunate if an officer on duty and under orders from his superiors should want to criticize the appropriateness or utility of his orders. He must obey. But as a scholar he could not rightfully be prevented from taking notice of the mistakes in the military service and from submitting his views to his public for its judgment. The citizen cannot refuse to pay the taxes levied upon him; indeed, impertinent censure of such taxes could be punished as a scandal that might cause general disobedience. Nevertheless, this man does not violate the duties of a citizen if, as a scholar, he publicly expresses his objections to the impropriety or possible injustice of such levies. A pastor, too, is bound to preach to his congregation in accord with the doctrines of the church which he serves, for he was ordained on that condition. But as a scholar he has full freedom, indeed the obligation, to communicate to his public all his carefully examined and constructive thoughts concerning errors in that doctrine and his proposals concerning improvement of religious dogma and church institutions. This is nothing that could burden his conscience. For what he teaches in pursuance of his office as representative of the church, he represents as something which he is not free to teach as he sees it. He speaks as one who is employed to speak in the name and under the orders of another. He will say: "Our church teaches this or that; these are the proofs which it employs." Thus he will benefit his congregation as much as possible by presenting doctrines to which he may not subscribe with full conviction. He can commit himself to teach them because it is not completely impossible that they may contain hidden truth. In any event, he has found nothing in the doctrines that contradicts the heart of religion. For if he believed that such contradictions existed he would not be able to administer his office with a clear conscience. He would have to resign it. Therefore the use which a scholar makes of his reason before the congregation that employs him is only a private use, for no matter how sizable, this is only a domestic audience. In view of this he, as preacher, is not free and ought not to be free, since he is carrying out the orders of others. On the other hand, as the scholar who speaks to his own public (the world) through his writings, the minister in the public use of his reason enjoys unlimited freedom to use his own reason and to speak for himself. That the spiritual guardians of the people should themselves be treated as minors is an absurdity which would result in perpetuating absurdities.

But should a society of ministers, say a Church Council, . . . have the right to commit itself by oath to a certain unalterable doctrine, in order to secure perpetual guardianship over all its members and through them over the people? I say that this is quite impossible. Such a contract, concluded to keep all further enlightenment from humanity, is simply null and void even if it should be confirmed by the sovereign power, by parliaments, and the most solemn treaties. An epoch cannot conclude a pact that will commit succeeding ages, prevent them from increasing their significant insights, purging themselves of errors, and generally progressing in enlightenment. That would be a crime against human nature whose proper destiny lies precisely in such progress. Therefore, succeeding ages are fully entitled to repudiate such decisions as unauthorized and outrageous. The touchstone of all those decisions that may be made into law for a people lies in this question: Could a people impose such a law upon itself? Now it might be possible to introduce a certain order for a definite short period of time in expectation of better order. But, while this provisional order continues, each citizen (above all, each pastor acting as a scholar) should be left free to publish his criticisms of the faults of existing institutions. This should continue until public understanding of these matters has gone so far that, by uniting the voices of many (although not necessarily all) scholars, reform proposals could be brought before the sovereign to protect those congregations which had decided according to their best lights upon an altered religious order, without, however, hindering those who want to remain true to the old institutions. But to agree to a perpetual religious constitution which is not publicly questioned by anyone would be, as it were, to annihilate a period of time in the progress of man's improvement. This must be absolutely forbidden.

A man may postpone his own enlightenment, but only for a limited period of time. And to give up enlightenment altogether, either for oneself or one's descendants, is to violate and to trample upon the sacred rights of man. What a people may not decide for itself may even less be decided for it by a monarch, for his reputation as a ruler consists precisely in the way in which he unites the will of the whole people within his own. If he only sees to it that all true or supposed [religious] improvement remains in step with the civic order, he can for the rest leave his subjects alone to do what they find necessary for the salvation of their souls. Salvation is none of his business; it is his business to prevent one man from forcibly keeping another from determining and promoting his salvation to the best of his ability. Indeed, it would be prejudicial to his majesty if he meddled in these matters and supervised the writings in which his subjects seek to bring their [religious] views into the open, even when he does this from his own highest insight, because then he exposes himself to the reproach: Caesar non est supra grammaticos. 2 It is worse when he debases his sovereign power so far as to support the spiritual despotism of a few tyrants in his state over the rest of his subjects.

When we ask, Are we now living in an enlightened age? the answer is, No, but we live in an age of enlightenment. As matters now stand it is still far from true that men are already capable of using their own reason in religious matters confidently and correctly without external guidance. Still, we have some obvious indications that the field of working toward the goal [of religious truth] is now opened. What is more, the hindrances against general enlightenment or the emergence from self-imposed nonage are gradually diminishing. In this respect this is the age of the enlightenment and the century of Frederick [the Great].

A prince ought not to deem it beneath his dignity to state that he considers it his duty not to dictate anything to his subjects in religious matters, but to leave them complete freedom. If he repudiates the arrogant word "tolerant", he is himself enlightened; he deserves to be praised by a grateful world and posterity as that man who was the first to liberate mankind from dependence, at least on the government, and let everybody use his own reason in matters of conscience. Under his reign, honorable pastors, acting as scholars and regardless of the duties of their office, can freely and openly publish their ideas to the world for inspection, although they deviate here and there from accepted doctrine. This is even more true of every person not restrained by any oath of office. This spirit of freedom is spreading beyond the boundaries [of Prussia] even where it has to struggle against the external hindrances established by a government that fails to grasp its true interest. [Frederick's Prussia] is a shining example that freedom need not cause the least worry concerning public order or the unity of the community. When one does not deliberately attempt to keep men in barbarism, they will gradually work out of that condition by themselves.

I have emphasized the main point of the enlightenment--man's emergence from his self-imposed nonage--primarily in religious matters, because our rulers have no interest in playing the guardian to their subjects in the arts and sciences. Above all, nonage in religion is not only the most harmful but the most dishonorable. But the disposition of a sovereign ruler who favors freedom in the arts and sciences goes even further: he knows that there is no danger in permitting his subjects to make public use of their reason and to publish their ideas concerning a better constitution, as well as candid criticism of existing basic laws. We already have a striking example [of such freedom], and no monarch can match the one whom we venerate.

But only the man who is himself enlightened, who is not afraid of shadows, and who commands at the same time a well disciplined and numerous army as guarantor of public peace--only he can say what [the sovereign of] a free state cannot dare to say: "Argue as much as you like, and about what you like, but obey!" Thus we observe here as elsewhere in human affairs, in which almost everything is paradoxical, a surprising and unexpected course of events: a large degree of civic freedom appears to be of advantage to the intellectual freedom of the people, yet at the same time it establishes insurmountable barriers. A lesser degree of civic freedom, however, creates room to let that free spirit expand to the limits of its capacity. Nature, then, has carefully cultivated the seed within the hard core--namely the urge for and the vocation of free thought. And this free thought gradually reacts back on the modes of thought of the people, and men become more and more capable of acting in freedom. At last free thought acts even on the fundamentals of government and the state finds it agreeable to treat man, who is now more than a machine, in accord with his dignity.
- Immanuel Kant, "What is Enlightenment"

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Mas Pan, Por Favor

Salvador Dali, "Female Figure with Catalonian Bread" (1932)
Salvador Dali, "Cyclist with a Loaf of Bread on his Head" (1932)
Salvador Dali, "Anthropomorphic Bread" (1932)

Friday, September 23, 2016


This morning was something.
A little snow
lay on the ground.
The sun floated in a clear
blue sky.
The sea was blue, and blue-green,
as far as the eye could see.

Scarcely a ripple.
I dressed and went
for a walk -- determined not to return
until I took in what Nature had to offer.

I passed close to some old, bent-over trees.

Crossed a field strewn with rocks
where snow had drifted.
Kept going
until I reached the bluff.

Where I gazed at the sea, and the sky, and
the gulls wheeling over the white beach
far below.
All lovely.
All bathed in a pure
cold light.
But, as usual, my thoughts
began to wander.
I had to will
myself to see what I was seeing
and nothing else.
I had to tell myself this is what
mattered, not the other.
(And I did see it,
for a minute or two!) For a minute or two
it crowded out the usual musings on
what was right, and what was wrong -- duty,
tender memories, thoughts of death, how I should treat
with my former wife.
All the things
I hoped would go away this morning.

The stuff I live with every day.
I've trampled on in order to stay alive.

But for a minute or two I did forget
myself and everything else.
I know I did.

For when I turned back i didn't know
where I was.
Until some birds rose up
from the gnarled trees.
And flew
in the direction I needed to be going.
-Raymond Carver, "This Morning"

Saturday, September 17, 2016

For the Faithful

...and their Philosopher's Stone
19 Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord:

20 This gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter.

21 I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.

22 The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.

23 This is the Lord's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.

24 This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
- Psalm 118 (19:24)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Tequila Time

Take life with a pinch of salt
So the old adage goes
So follow the advice
Take it from one who knows
Take life with a pinch of salt
Take it from a wise fella
Just follow it with a slice of lemon
And a good shot of tequila
Paul Curtis, "A Pinch of Salt" (2011)

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Casting Stones

Joan Miro, "Person Throwing a Stone at a Bird" (1926)
We shouted out
'We've got her! Here she is!
It's her all right '.
We caught her.
There she was -

A decent-looking woman, you'd have said,
(They often are)
Beautiful, but dead scared,
Tousled - we roughed her up
A little, nothing much

And not the first time
By any means
She'd felt men's hands
Greedy over her body -
But ours were virtuous,
Of course.

And if our fingers bruised
Her shuddering skin,
These were love-bites, compared
To the hail of kisses of stone,
The last assault
And battery, frigid rape,
To come
Of right.

For justice must be done
Specially when
It tastes so good.

And then - this guru,
Preacher, God-merchant, God-knows-what -
Spoilt the whole thing,
Speaking to her
(Should never speak to them)
Squatting on the ground - her level,
Writing in the dust
Something we couldn't read.
And saw in her
Something we couldn't see
At least until
He turned his eyes on us,
Her eyes on us,
Our eyes upon ourselves.

We walked away
Still holding stones
That we may throw
Another day
Given the urge.
- Elma Mitchell, "A Stone's Throw"

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Jesus Son


I don't know just where I'm going
But I'm goin' to try for the kingdom if I can
'Cause it makes me feel like I'm a man
When I put a spike into my vein
Then I tell you things aren't quite the same

When I'm rushing on my run
And I feel just like Jesus' son
And I guess I just don't know
And I guess that I just don't know

I have made very big decision
I'm goin' to try to nullify my life
'Cause when the blood begins to flow
When it shoots up the dropper's neck
When I'm closing in on death

You can't help me not you guys
All you sweet girls with all your sweet talk
You can all go take a walk
And I guess I just don't know
And I guess I just don't know

I wish that I was born a thousand years ago
I wish that I'd sailed the darkened seas
On a great big clipper ship
Going from this land here to that
I put on a sailor's suit and cap

Away from the big city
Where a man cannot be free
Of all the evils in this town
And of himself and those around
Oh, and I guess I just don't know
Oh, and I guess I just don't know

Heroin, be the death of me
Heroin, it's my wife and it's my life
Because a mainer to my vein
Leads to a center in my head
And then I'm better off than dead

When the smack begins to flow
Then I really don't care anymore
About all the Jim-Jims in this town
And everybody putting everybody else down
And all of the politicians makin' crazy sounds
All the dead bodies piled up in mounds, yeah

Wow, that heroin is in my blood
And the blood is in my head
Yeah, thank God that I'm good as dead
Ooohhh, thank your God that I'm not aware
And thank God that I just don't care
And I guess I just don't know
And I guess I just don't know
- Lou Reed, "Heroin" (Lyrics)

Saturday, August 13, 2016


Qu'est-ce que ça veut dire?

"Bains de gros thé pour grains de beauté sans trop de bengué." ("Baths in course tea for beauty marks without too much Ben-Gay.")

"L'enfant qui tète est un souffleur de chair chaude et n'aime pas le chou-fleur de serre-chaude." ("The child who suckles is a hot-flesh blower and doesn't like hot-house cauliflower.")

"Si je te donne un sou, me donneras-tu une paire de ciseaux?" ("If I give you a penny will you give me a pair of scissors?")

"On demande des moustiques domestiques (demi-stock) pour la cure d'azote sur la côte d'azur." ("One demands domestic mosquitos (half-stock) for the nitrogen cure on the Azur.")

"Inceste ou passion de famille, à coups trop tirés." ("Incest or family passion, with too many drawn blows.")

"Esquivons les ecchymoses des Esquimaux aux mots exquis." ("Let us dodge the bruises of Eskimos in exquisite words.")

"Avez-vous déjà mis la moëlle de l'épée dans le poêle de l'aimée?" ("Have you already put the marrow of the sword in the stove of the beloved?")

The video edits out the sequence with the line: "Parmi nos articles de quincaillerie par essence, nous recommandons le robinet qui s'arrête de couler quand on ne l'écoute pas." ("Among our articles of lazy hardware, we recommend the faucet which stops dripping when no one is listening to it.")

"L'aspirant habite Javel et moi j'avais l'habite en spirale." ("The aspirant lives in Javel and me I lived in a spiral-shaped abode.")

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Dama Dum Mast Qalandar

O lord of Sindh, Jhulelal, and Sire of Shewan.
The red robed God-intoxicated Qalandar, glory unto you!
May I always have your benign protection.
Your shrine is always lighted with four lamps
and here I come to light a fifth lamp in your honor
Let your heroic name ring out in Hind & Sindh.
Let the gong ring loud for your glory.
O Lord, may you prevail always, everywhere.
In the name of Ali, I pray to you to help my boat cross (the river of life) in safety.
-"Dama Dum Mast Qalandar" دما دم مست قلندر (h/t to nicrap)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Rinse and Repeat...

“Opening is an essential feature of univocity. The nomadic distributions or crowned anarchies in the univocal stand opposed to the sedentary distribution of analogy. Only there does the cry resound: ‘Everything is equal!’ and ‘Everything returns!’. However, this ‘Everything is equal!’ and ‘Everything returns!’ can be said only at the point in which the extremity of difference is reached. A single and same voice for the whole thousand-voiced multiple, a single and same Ocean for all the drops, a single clamour of Being for all beings: on the condition that each being, each drop, and each voice has reached the state of excess – in other words, the difference which displaces and disguises them and, in turning upon the mobile cusp, causes them to return.”
― Gilles Deleuze, "Difference and Repetition"

Monday, June 13, 2016

Flower Gardens

Today I passed your garden gate,
It rattled to and fro.
I don't remember it this way,
The gate I used to know.

Today I touched your garden gate,
The crumbling wood and rust.
How could I replace them now,
Its pieces turned to dust?

Today I breached your garden gate
As I had done before.
I wondered if you might be there,
Tilling earth once more.

Today I closed your garden gate
Behind me once again.
I walked along your garden path
The way I did back then.

Today beyond your garden gate
Where I shall wait for now;
They say you won't, but I just know,
You must return somehow.

Today beyond your garden gate
Where I've shed many tears;
They all expect to see me there,
The place I've come for years.

Today beyond your garden gate
I felt you there somehow.
Twas then I came, at last to peace.
A place unknown till now.

For just beyond your garden gate
My destiny was cast.
A place from where no man returns.
I found you there at last.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Cities Lights

My father, rather a quiet man,
told a story only the one time,
if even then—he had so little
need, it seemed, of being understood.
Intervals of years, his silences!
Late in his life he recalled for us
that when he was sixteen, his papa
entrusted to him a wagonload
of hogs, which he was to deliver
to the train depot, a half-day’s ride
from home, over a hilly dirt road.
Lightly he held the reins, light his heart,
the old horses, as ever, willing.
In town at noon he heard the station-
master say the train had been delayed,
would not arrive until that evening.
The boy could only wait. At home they’d
wait for him and worry and would place
the kerosene lamp in the window.
Thus the day had turned to dusk before
he turned about the empty wagon,
took his weary horses through the cloud
of fireflies that was the little town.
In all his years he’d never seen those
lights—he thought of this, he said, until
he and his milk-white horses came down
the last moonlit hill to home, drawn as
from a distance toward a single flame.
- Mary Avidano, "City Lights"

Friday, May 27, 2016


The Cannibal Supper Table

Cannibal Husband: "I don’t like your Mother."
Cannibal Wife: "Try the potatoes."

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Kwanio che Keeteru!

On March 3 one Benjamin Welsh, of Maryland, having had his house and buildings burnt, supposedly by parties who objected to his outspoken opposition to the Stamp Act, wrote to the Sons of Liberty in Philadelphia for assistance. The subscription list of those who gave is in existence; but, while some of those on it were unquestionably members of the society, others, we are led to infer, were rather unwilling givers.

The Stamp Act was repealed on the 18th of March, 1766, and on receipt of the news upon this side of the water the Sons of Liberty, believing that their work had been accomplished, disbanded.

In a letter from their London member, Mr. Nicholas Ray, he says, "Permit me therefore to recommend ten or twenty of the principal of you to form yourselves into a club to meet once a month under the name of Liberty Club and forever on the 18th. of March or 1st. of May give notice to the whole body to commemorate your deliverance, spending the day in festivity and joy."

In the reply from the Sons of Liberty in America, they write, "Your proposal with regard to a number of us forming ourselves into a club we have already had under consideration; but as it is imagined that some inconveniences would arise should such a club be established just at this time, we must postpone the same till it may appear more eligible."

The Sons of Liberty soon found the necessity for renewed action, for it was not long after they had planted their liberty pole on the common in New York in commemoration of the repeal of the Stamp Act before they were called to defend it against the attacks of the British soldiers, instigated by their officers, who showed great resentment against that which they considered was a victory of the liberty-loving colonists over the British government.

In the first of the "Farmer's Letters," which appeared in 1768, John Dickinson writes, "Benevolence towards mankind excites wishes for their welfare and such wishes endear the means of fulfilling them. These can be found in liberty only and therefore her sacred cause ought to be espoused by every man on every occasion to the utmost of his power." In the two lines of his song—

"Then join Hand in Hand brave Americans all,
By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall"—

Is the pith of all his letters; it was the motto of the times; it was the slogan which was eventually to lead the patriots to victory.

The non-importing resolutions were made stronger, and their being adhered to by weak-kneed and avaricious brethren and looked after by the patriotic Sons of Liberty forged another link in the chain that was forming to bind the Colonies together. Men now began to talk and write of America. There was much less heard of the Colony,— more of the Colonies. There had long been a Saint Andrew's Society, founded in 1749 to look after Scotchmen, a Saint David's for the Welsh, and in 1771 a Saint George's Society had been established for Englishmen, promptly followed by the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick for the Irish.

It is true that the bells in Philadelphia had been rung on May 1 for some years in honor of King Tammany, (PENNA. MAG., Vol. V. p. 29.) but the American spirit had been born as the natural results of the labor through which the country was passing, and it found expression in the Saint Tammany Society, for Tammany was certainly a full-blooded American.

It is evident that while the friends of liberty and America had accomplished much in the furtherance of their cause, it bad been performed generally under cover of secrecy, and it was now felt that the time had come for the organization of a society that could, openly have meetings which would unite those whose minds secretly held the thought expressed in later years of America for Americans.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

What Follows When the Dream Ends?

I keep listening to all those songs we found together
the soundtrack of our lives falling into place and slowly falling apart
I've been thinking a lot about us and all those years
everywhere in this town is a past life walking down the tired streets

all I am is a projector
spewing light around

a playback memory
a recorded third eye

the other night I had a dream about us waking up
coiled on a couch together as the sun cracked the venetian blinds
the air was quiet and the party was officially over
you dragged your nails across the sacred space below the nape

our fingers brushed and jumped and locked together
I didn't know why or how you grew so close to me after so long
we kissed like innocents and I said 'I've been thinking-'
you said '-of that which is not meant to be' then kissed me slow


our dry sun rise lips split apart
like stubborn pieces of clementine

I said: I know, but -

before I could speak the words
- I'm still in love with you
the alarm bells ring

it was the kind of vision that sticks with you
wondering what it could mean or if it's just part of the music
I don't know if I'll tell you before this dream ends
or if I'll wake up in another life still remembering a sun rise

do I appear to you too
in crazy love dreams
as beautiful?

I don't care to know
what is meant to be
in truth
- Graeme J. O'Farrell, "Before the Dream Ends"

Friday, April 15, 2016

Seeing Red

Let those who will of friendship sing,
And to its guerdon grateful be,
But I a lyric garland bring
To crown thee, O, mine enemy!

Thanks, endless thanks, to thee I owe
For that my lifelong journey through
Thine honest hate has done for me
What love perchance had failed to do.

I had not scaled such weary heights
But that I held thy scorn in fear,
And never keenest lure might match
The subtle goading of thy sneer.

Thine anger struck from me a fire
That purged all dull content away,
Our mortal strife to me has been
Unflagging spur from day to day.

And thus, while all the world may laud
The gifts of love and loyalty,
I lay my meed of gratitude
Before thy feet, mine enemy!
- Lucy Maud Montgomery, "To My Enemy"

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Love is like a balloon
You love it
You love to play with it
Look at it

But when it pops
It's different
It's gone
It startles you
- Abbi, "Balloons" (11/12/14)

Monday, March 28, 2016

Orbitting Venus

Twas noontide of summer,
And mid-time of night;
And stars, in their orbits,
Shone pale, thro' the light
Of the brighter, cold moon,
'Mid planets her slaves,
Herself in the Heavens,
Her beam on the waves.
I gazed awhile
On her cold smile;
Too cold- too cold for me-
There pass'd, as a shroud,
A fleecy cloud,
And I turned away to thee,
Proud Evening Star,
In thy glory afar,
And dearer thy beam shall be;
For joy to my heart
Is the proud part
Thou bearest in Heaven at night,
And more I admire
Thy distant fire,
Than that colder, lowly light.
Edgar Allan Poe, "Evening Star"

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Restoring Ouranos' Lost Mojo

One had a lovely face,
And two or three had charm,
But charm and face were in vain
Because the mountain grass
Cannot but keep the form
Where the mountain hare has lain.
-William Butler Yeats, "Memory"

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Behind the Mask

"Our inner truth is the lie we construct to be able to live with the misery of our actual lives"
- Slavoj Zizek
“A charm invests a face
Imperfectly beheld,—
The lady dare not lift her veil
For fear it be dispelled.

But peers beyond her mesh,
And wishes, and denies,—
Lest interview annul a want
That image satisfies.”
― Emily Dickinson, "The Complete Poems"

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Floating Out of Place Interests

Inside my eyes; a world i don't know and never wish to truly see.
Through a looking glass, magnification will reveal; a world in which i do not want to be.
Filled with people whom i am among, but yet i feel i do not belong?
Where am i and who is me, for this i cannot see.
Inside my heart; A fire alive and too much to give, I am too strong inside to live.
- Danika Alice Ransome, "Out of place"

Friday, February 26, 2016

Waiting for Some Sun...

And they're making children
And they're making love
With their old excuses
We are built for reproduction
But I find it soothing
When I am confined
I'm just fearing one day soon
I'll lose my mind

Then I'll lose my children
Then I'll lose my love
Then I'll sit in silence
Let the pictures soak
Out of televisions
Float across the room
Whisper into one ear
And out the other one

Then I'll take my clothes off
And I'll walk around
Because it's so nice outside
And I like the way the sun feels
And when it's dark
I'll call out in the night for my mother
But she isn't coming back for me
Cause she's already gone
But you will not tell me that
Cause you know it hurts me everytime you say it
And you know you're doing the right thing
You must know you're doing the right thing

I have lost my children
I have lost my love
I just sit in silence
Let the pictures soak
Out of televisions
Out of televisions
Out of televisions
Out of televisions
Out of televisions

And they're making children
Everyone's in love
I just sit in silence
Let the pictures soak

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


With lifted feet, hands still,
I am poised, and down the hill
Dart, with heedful mind;
The air goes by in a wind.

Swifter and yet more swift,
Till the heart with a mighty lift
Makes the lungs laugh, the throat cry:—
“O bird, see; see, bird, I fly.

“Is this, is this your joy?
O bird, then I, though a boy,
For a golden moment share
Your feathery life in air!”

Say, heart, is there aught like this
In a world that is full of bliss?
‘Tis more than skating, bound
Steel-shod to the level ground.

Speed slackens now, I float
Awhile in my airy boat;
Till, when the wheels scarce crawl,
My feet to the treadles fall.

Alas, that the longest hill
Must end in a vale; but still,
Who climbs with toil, wheresoe’er,
Shall find wings waiting there.
- Henry Charles Beeching, "A Boy’s Song"

Sunday, February 21, 2016

My Fixed Star in the Night Sky

Fixed star is not motionless
Fixed star crossed the strangers.

We are here to watch only
To watch the fixed star and strangers
And by watching we may recognise
Who is who and what is danger.
- gajanan mishra

Friday, February 19, 2016

Playing Favorites

Because my mouth
Is wide with laughter
And my throat
Is deep with song,
You do not think
I suffer after
I have held my pain
So long?

Because my mouth
Is wide with laughter,
You do not hear
My inner cry?
Because my feet
Are gay with dancing,
You do not know
I die?
- Langston Hughes, "Minstrel Man"

Saturday, February 13, 2016

All Dressed Up...

...with No Place to Go.
Prayer for Senility:

God grant me the senility
to forget the people I never liked anyway,
the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
and the eyesight to tell the difference.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Zizek's Master Class on Lacan

Delivered in 2006 at the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, London.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Day 9

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Exhaling Slowly...

No thoughts just breathing
No regret just breathing
No self pity just breathing
No worries about tomorrow just breathing
No thoughts of...
Oh, right
Just breathing
Curtis, "Breathing" (Apr 24, 2014)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Losing It

‘He either fears his fate too much
Or his deserts are small
That puts it not unto the touch
To win or lose it all'.
- General Montgomery (6/7/44)

Sunday, January 31, 2016


We must not grieve for those dear to us before their passing. Before their passing. Tell me, little sister, what is before?
- Paul Muad'Dib (to Alia)

Saturday, January 30, 2016

On Disposability

what is to become of me
a man seen as
without value
in the brutal marketplaces
of money and love.

behind the curve
over the hill
sleeping in silence
gray and fading
mister invisible
one more blip
in a sea of blips.

I still pull my weight
I still pay my way
I still pay my taxes
I train my replacement.

I still see the women
but they don’t see me
they look right through me
they walk right through me.

loving and being loved
wanting and being wanted
a rush of desire
a shared breath
a place
in another’s eyes
another’s heart.
once worthy of such things
all long ago
and far away
was that really me
or someone else I knew
at what point does a memory become
a fantasy
at what point
does a man become
a phantom.
-Rick Belden, "Invisible Man"

Friday, January 22, 2016

Polycultural Moncultures

There once was a boy named Prince Polyculture,
which he knew he was not,
and maybe even not-not,
which would be not a prince,

This was confusing and caused Prince Polyculture to suffer bouts of stress and anxiety and eating and,
eventually, sanity, disorders.

So he decided if he could not peacefully become Prince Polyculture,
that must be because he is incarnating Mindless Monoculture.
In this spirit of adventure and dark humor he invested much too heavily in the only role open to him at Court,
that of the Court's Redeemer Fool.
In the Land of Polyculture, you see,
Foolish karma regenerates laughter,
and it was their faith that humor is teleologically profound,
even revolutionarily and radically important.

Confusion rained down upon the Land of Polyculture.
Shall we bow to him as Prince,
or laugh at him as Fool?
And, when they asked him this,
he responded:

Foolishness can be both under- and over-calculating to resolve your identity issue.
Double-negative informed is also double-binding function,
a cross to bear in mathematical dimensions,
an equivalent fractal balance in two dimensional field-games,
a three-dimensional revolving ribo-elliptical torus,
balancing Yang-form with binomially concave,
implicating String and Group Prime Theories of Fractal Order.

So, to predict who I will be with you,
ionically and egodically, thermodynamically and electromagnetically,
binomially and bi-id-entity,
please help me reconnect balancing resolutions of multisystemic sociocultural therapy,
including dynamic, and geometric, and binary, and binomial,
and economic and ecologically balancing
convex over concave,
as without, so within,
as positively polynomial and Prince Polyculture,
economically resolving psychological, neural, energy, light, and spacetime, and temporal, and value, and nutritionally balancing theories and paradigms
with optimizing permaculturally principled and ordered and planned and designed judgment,
so also, only a Fool like us could not see that
+1 must always balance (-)0,
or we could not rely on Golden Ratio binary systems,
or electromagnetic balance between synergetic and entropic-diastatic implicating mutual gravitational coincidental energy equivalence,
so +/(-)(-) = P/NP,
so 2 = 1-fractally squared = positron/neutron,
and binomial metric spacetime square-root prime value = +/- 1 QBit


8-balanced double-fractal octave,
and crystal-Yangform convexly OVER fractal-Yinfunctional implicately concave,
RNA-regenerative life system structured metaphysical Original Intent
equals +/(-)(-)Zero-Tao ReGenerative Universal Open System.

So, my answer to your question is that I am Prince Polyculture for you,
and Mindless Monoculture the Fool laughing within you at yourself,
economically and ecologically pretending not to be mutually parasitic,
synergetically polyculturing systems within.

Or, my name isn't Prince Mindless Monodisculturing Polyculture.
Kind of a long string,
but our line has a permaculturally regenerative tradition to balance,
in our own wu-Trim Tabbing wei.

To perceive our human id-entity as removed from Earth's supereco natural systems,
is to reflect upon the absurdity of our unbalanced economic and cultural and languaged and metric systems.
Now, go away,
my bush is burning and I need to meditate!
- Gerald Dillenbeck, "Legend of Prince Polyculture" (2016)

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Deleting the Unmemorable Parts of Life?

“The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Circling the Drain

The Left is facing the difficult task of emphasizing that we are dealing with political economy—that there is nothing “natural” in the present crisis, that the existing global economic system relies on a series of political decisions—while simultaneously acknowledging that, insofar as we remain within the capitalist system, violating its rules will indeed cause economic breakdown, since the system obeys a pseudo-natural logic of its own. So, although we are clearly entering a new phase of enhanced exploitation, facilitated by global market conditions (outsourcing, etc.), we should also bear in mind that this is not the result of an evil plot by capitalists, but an urgency imposed by the functioning of the system itself, always on the brink of financial collapse. For this reason, what is now required is not a moralizing critique of capitalism, but the full re-affirmation of the Idea of communism.

The Idea of communism, as elaborated by Badiou, remains a Kantian regulative idea lacking any mediation with historical reality. Badiou emphatically rejects any such mediation as a regression to an historicist evolutionism which betrays the purity of the Idea, reducing it to a positive order of Being (the Revolution conceived as a moment of the positive historical process). This Kantian mode of reference effectively allows us to characterize Badiou’s deployment of the “communist hypothesis” as a Kritik der reinen Kommunismus. As such, it invites us to repeat the passage from Kant to Hegel—to re-conceive the Idea of communism as an Idea in the Hegelian sense, that is, as an Idea which is in the process of its own actualization. The Idea that “makes itself what it is” is thus no longer a concept opposed to reality as its lifeless shadow, but one which gives reality and existence to itself. Recall Hegel’s infamous “idealist” formula according to which Spirit is its own result, the product of itself. Such statements usually provoke sarcastic “materialist” comments (“so it is not actual people who think and realize ideas, but Spirit itself, which, like Baron Munchhausen, pulls itself up by its own hair . . .”). But consider, for example, a religious Idea which catches the spirit of the masses and becomes a major historical force? In a way, is this not a case of an Idea actualizing itself, becoming a “product of itself”? Does it not, in a kind of closed loop, motivate people to fight for it and to realize it? What the notion of the Idea as a product of itself makes visible is thus not a process of idealist self-engendering, but the materialist fact that an Idea exists only in and through the activity of the individuals engaged with it and motivated by it. What we have here is emphatically not the kind of historicist/evolutionist position that Badiou rejects, but something much more radical: an insight into how historical reality itself is not a positive order, but a “not-all” which points towards its own future. It is this inclusion of the future as the gap in the present order that renders the latter “not- all,” ontologically incomplete, and thus explodes the self-enclosure of the historicist/evolutionary process. In short, it is this gap which enables us to distinguish historicity proper from historicism.

Why, then, the Idea of communism? For three reasons, which echo the Lacanian triad of the I-S-R: at the Imaginary level, because it is necessary to maintain continuity with the long tradition of radical millenarian and egalitarian rebellions; at the Symbolic level, because we need to determine the precise conditions under which, in each historical epoch, the space for communism may be opened up; finally, at the level of the Real, because we must assume the harshness of what Badiou calls the eternal communist invariants (egalitarian justice, voluntarism, terror, “trust in the people”). Such an Idea of communism is clearly opposed to socialism, which is precisely not an Idea, but a vague communitarian notion applicable to all kinds of organic social bonds, from spiritualized ideas of solidarity (“we are all part of the same body”) right up to fascist corporatism. The Really Existing Socialist states were precisely that: positively existing states, whereas communism is in its very notion anti-statist.

Where does this eternal communist Idea come from? Is it part of human nature, or, as Habermasians propose, an ethical premise (of equality or reciprocal recognition) inscribed into the universal symbolic order? Its eternal character cannot, after all, be accounted for by specific historical conditions. The key to resolving this problem is to focus on that against which the communist Idea rebels: namely, the hierarchical social body whose ideology was first formulated in great sacred texts such as The Book of Manu. As was demonstrated by Louis Dumont in his Homo hierarchicus, social hierarchy is always inconsistent, that is, its very structure relies on a paradoxical reversal (the higher sphere is, of course, higher than the lower, but, within the lower order, the lower is higher than the higher) on account of which the social hierarchy can never fully encompass all its elements. It is this constitutive inconsistency that gives birth to what Rancière calls “the part of no-part,” that singular element which remains out of place in the hierarchical order, and, as such, functions as a singular universal, giving body to the universality of the society in question. The communist Idea, then, is the eternal demand co-substantial with this element that lacks its proper place in the social hierarchy (“we are nothing, and we want to be all”).

Our task is thus to remain faithful to this eternal Idea of communism: to the egalitarian spirit kept alive over thousands of years in revolts and utopian dreams, in radical movements from Spartacus to Thomas Müntzer, including within the great religions (Buddhism versus Hinduism, Daoism or Legalism versus Confucianism, etc.). The problem is how to avoid the choice between radical social uprisings which end in defeat, unable to stabilize themselves in a new order, and the retreat into an ideal displaced to a domain outside social reality (for Buddhism we are all equal—in nirvana). It is here that the originality of Western thought becomes clear, particularly in its three great historical ruptures: Greek philosophy’s break with the mythical universe; Christianity’s break with the pagan universe; and modern democracy’s break with traditional authority. In each case, the egalitarian spirit is transposed into a new positive order (limited, but nonetheless actual).

In short, the wager of Western thought is that radical negativity (whose first and immediate expression is egalitarian terror) is not condemned to being expressed in short ecstatic outbursts after which things are returned to normal. On the contrary, radical negativity, as the undermining of every traditional hierarchy, has the potential to articulate itself in a positive order within which it acquires the stability of a new form of life. Such is the meaning of the Holy Spirit in Christianity: faith can not only be expressed in, but also exists as, the collective of believers. And this faith is itself based on “terror,” as indicated by Christ’s insistence that he brings a sword, not peace, that whoever does not hate his father and mother is not a true follower, and so on. The content of this terror thus involves the rejection of all traditional hierarchical and community ties, with the wager that a different collective link is possible—an egalitarian bond between believers connected by agape as political love.

Democracy itself provides another example of such an egalitarian link based on terror. As Claude Lefort notes, the democratic axiom is that the place of power is empty, that there is no one directly qualified for the vacancy, either by tradition, charisma, or leadership qualities. This is why, before democracy can enter the stage, terror has to do its work, forever dissociating the place of power from any natural or directly qualified pretender: the gap between this place and those who temporarily occupy it must be maintained at all costs. This is also why Hegel’s deduction of the monarchy can be given a democratic supplement: Hegel insists on the monarch as the “irrational” (i.e. contingent) head of state precisely in order to keep the summit of state power apart from the expertise embodied in the state bureaucracy. While the bureaucrats are chosen on account of their abilities and qualifications, the king is the king by birth— that is, ultimately, he is chosen by lot, on account of natural contingency. The danger Hegel was trying to avoid here exploded a century later in Stalinist bureaucracy, which was precisely the rule of (Communist) experts: Stalin is not a figure of a master, but the one who “really knows,” an expert in all imaginable fields, from economy to linguistics, from biology to philosophy.

We can well imagine a democratic procedure maintaining the same gap on account of the irreducible moment of contingency in every electoral result: far from being a limitation, the fact that elections do not pretend to select the most qualified person is what protects them from the totalitarian temptation (which is why, as was already clear to the Ancient Greeks, choosing rulers by lot is the most democratic form of selection). That is to say, as Lefort has again demonstrated, the achievement of democracy is to turn what for traditional authoritarian power is the moment of greatest crisis—the moment of transition from one master to another, the panic- inducing instant at which “the throne is empty”—into the very source of its strength: democratic elections thus represent the passage through that zero-point at which the complex network of social links is dissolved into a purely quantitative multiplicity of individuals whose votes are mechanically counted. The moment of terror, of the dissolution of all hierarchical links, is thereby re-enacted and transformed into the foundation of a new and stable political order.

Measured by his own standards of what a rational state should be, Hegel was thus perhaps wrong to fear universal democratic suffrage (see his nervous rejection of the English Reform Bill in 1832. It is precisely democracy (universal suffrage) which, much more appropriately than Hegel’s own State of estates, performs the “magic” trick of converting radical negativity into a new political order: in democracy, the negativity of terror (the destruction of everyone who pretends to identify with the place of power), is aufgehoben and turned into the positive form of the democratic procedure.

The question today, now that we know the limitations of that formal procedure, is whether we can imagine a step further in this process whereby egalitarian negativity reverts into a new positive order. We should look for traces of such an order in different domains, including in scientific communities. The way the CERN community functions is indicative here: in an almost utopian manner, individual efforts are undertaken in a collective non-hierarchical spirit, and dedication to the scientific cause (to recreate the conditions of the Big Bang) far outweighs any material considerations. But are such traces, no matter how sublime, merely that—marginal traces?

In his intervention at the 2010 Marxism conference in London (organized by the Socialist Workers’ Party), Alex Callinicos evoked his dream of a future communist society in which there would be museums of capitalism, displaying to the public the artifacts of this irrational and inhuman social formation. The unintended irony of this dream is that today, the only museums of this kind are museums of Communism, displaying its horrors. So, again, what to do in such a situation? Two years before his death, when it became clear that there would be no immediate European revolution, and that the idea of building socialism in one country was nonsense, Lenin wrote: “What if the complete hopelessness of the situation, by stimulating the efforts of the workers and peasants tenfold, offered us the opportunity to create the fundamental requisites of civilization in a different way from that of the West European countries?”[1]

Is this not the predicament of the Morales government in Bolivia, of the (former) Aristide government in Haiti, of the Maoist government in Nepal? They came to power through “fair” democratic elections, rather than insurrection, but having gained power, they exerted it in a way which was (partially, at least) “non-statist”: directly mobilizing their grassroots supporters, by-passing the Party-State network. Their situation is “objectively” hopeless: the whole drift of history is against them, they cannot rely on any “objective tendencies” pushing in their direction, all they can do is to improvise, do what they can in a desperate situation. Nevertheless, does this not give them a unique freedom? (And are we—the contemporary Left—not in exactly the same situation?) It is tempting to apply here the old distinction between “freedom from” and “freedom for”: does their freedom from History (with its laws and objective tendencies) not sustain their freedom for creative experimenting? In their activity, they can rely only on the collective will of their supporters.

According to Badiou, “The model of the centralized party made possible a new form of power that was nothing less than the power of the party itself. We are now at what I call a ‘distance from the State.’ This is first of all because the question of power is no longer ‘immediate’: nowhere does a ‘taking power’ in the insurrectional sense seem possible today.”[2] But does this not rely on an all too simple alternative? What about heroically assuming whatever power may be available—in the full awareness that the “objective conditions” are not “mature” enough for radical change— and, against the grain, do what one can?

Let us return to the situation in Greece in the summer of 2010, when popular discontent brought about the delegitimization of the entire political class and the country approached a power vacuum. Had there been any chance for the Left to take over state power, what could it have done in such a situation of “complete hopelessness”? Of course (if we may permit ourselves this personification), the capitalist system would have gleefully allowed the Left to take over, if only to ensure that Greece ended up in a state of economic chaos which would then serve as a severe lesson to others. Nevertheless, despite such dangers, wherever an opening for taking power does arise, the Left should seize the opportunity and confront the problems head-on, making the best of a bad situation (in the case of Greece: renegotiating the debt, mobilizing European solidarity and popular support for its predicament). The tragedy of politics is that there will never be a “good” moment to seize power: the opportunity will always offer itself at the worst possible moment (characterized by economic fiasco, ecological catastrophe, civil unrest, etc.), when the ruling political class has lost its legitimacy and the fascist-populist threat lurks in the background. For example, the Scandinavian countries, while continuing to maintain high levels of social equality and a powerful Welfare State, also score very well on global competitiveness: proof that “generous, relatively egalitarian welfare states should not be seen as utopias or protected enclaves, but can also be highly competitive participants in the world market. In other words, even within the parameters of global capitalism there are many degrees of freedom for radical social alternatives.”[3]

Perhaps the most succinct characterization of the epoch which began with the First World War is the well-known phrase attributed to Gramsci: “The old world is dying away, and the new world struggles to come forth: now is the time of monsters.” Were Fascism and Stalinism not the twin monsters of the twentieth century, the one emerging out of the old world’s desperate attempts to survive, the other out of a misbegotten endeavor to build a new one? And what about the monsters we are engendering now, propelled by techno-gnostic dreams of a biogenetically controlled society? All the consequences should be drawn from this paradox: perhaps there is no direct passage to the New, at least not in the way we imagined it, and monsters necessarily emerge in any attempt to force that passage.

One sign of a new rise of this monstrosity is that the ruling classes seem less and less able to rule, even in their own interests. Take the fate of Christians in the Middle East. Over the last two millennia, they have survived a series of calamities, from the end of the Roman Empire through defeat in crusades, the decolonization of the Arab countries, the Khomeini revolution in Iran, etc.—with the notable exception of Saudi Arabia, the main US ally in this region, where there are no autochthonous Christians. In Iraq, there were approximately one million of them under Saddam, leading exactly the same lives as other Iraqi subjects, with one of them, Tariq Aziz, even occupying the high post of foreign minister and becoming Saddam’s confidante. But then, something weird happened to Iraqi Christians, a true catastrophe—a Christian army occupied (or liberated, if you want) Iraq.

The Christian occupation army dissolved the secular Iraqi army and thus left the streets open to Muslim fundamentalist militias to terrorize both each other and the Christians. No wonder roughly half of Iraq’s Christians soon left the country, preferring even the terrorist-supporting Syria to a liberated Iraq under Christian military control. In 2010, things took a turn for the worse. Tariq Aziz, who had survived the previous trials, was condemned by a Shia court to death by hanging for his “perse- cution of Muslim parties” (i.e., his fight against Muslim fundamentalism) under Saddam. Bomb attacks on Christians and their churches followed one after the other, leaving dozens dead, so that finally, in early November 2010, the Baghdad archbishop Atanasios Davud appealed to his flock to leave Iraq: “Christians have to leave the beloved country of our ancestors and escape the intended ethnic cleansing. This is still better than getting killed one after the other.” And to dot the i, as it were, that same month it was reported that al Maliki had been confirmed as Iraqi prime minister thanks to Iranian support. So the result of the US intervention is that Iran, the prime agent of the axis of Evil, is edging closer to dominating Iraq politically.

US policy is thus definitively approaching a stage of madness, and not only in terms of domestic policy (as the Tea Party proposes to fight the national debt by lowering taxes, i.e., by raising the debt—one cannot but recall here Stalin’s well-known thesis that, in the Soviet Union, the state was withering away through the strengthening of its organs, especially its organs of police repression). In foreign policy also, the spread of Western Judeo-Christian values is organized by creating conditions which lead to the expulsion of Christians (who, maybe, could move to Iran . . .). This is definitely not a clash of civilizations, but a true dialogue and cooperation between the US and the Muslim fundamentalists.[4]

Our situation is thus the very opposite of the classical twentieth-century predicament in which the Left knew what it had to do (establish the dictatorship of the proletariat, etc.), but simply had to wait patiently for the opportunity to offer itself. Today, we do not know what we have to do, but we have to act now, because the consequences of inaction could be catastrophic. We will have to risk taking steps into the abyss of the New in totally inappropriate situations; we will have to reinvent aspects of the New just in order to maintain what was good in the Old (education, healthcare, etc.). The journal in which Gramsci published his writings in the early

1920s was called L’Ordine nuovo (The New Order)—a title which was later appropriated by the extreme Right. Rather than seeing this later appropriation as revealing the “truth” of Gramsci’s use of the title—abandoning it as running counter to the rebellious freedom of an authentic Left—we should return to it as an index of the hard problem of defining the new order any revolution will have to establish after its success. In short, our times can be characterized as none other than Stalin characterized the atom bomb: not for those with weak nerves.

Communism is today not the name of a solution but the name of a problem: the problem of the commons in all its dimensions—the commons of nature as the substance of our life, the problem of our biogenetic commons, the problem of our cultural commons (“intellectual property”), and, last but not least, the problem of the commons as that universal space of humanity from which no one should be excluded. Whatever the solution might be, it will have to solve this problem.

[1] Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 33, p. 479.

[2] Filippo Del Lucchese and Jason Smith, “‘We Need a Popular Discipline’: Contemporary Politics and the Crisis of the Negative.” Interview with Alain Badiou, Los Angeles, 7/2/2007. All unmarked quotes that follow are from the manuscript of this interview.

[3] Göran Therborn, “The Killing Fields of Inequality,” in From Linnaeus to the Future(s), Göteborg: Linnaeus University Press 2010, p. 190.

[4]I rely here on the analysis of Ervin Hkladniuk-Milharcic, Ljubljana.
- Slavoj Zizez, "Why the Idea and Why Communism?"

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


The Aura of the campfire
Is magical indeed
As friends encircled in the glow
Recount their daily deeds

A day’s hunt now behind us
We gather in this place
To extend the day’s adventures
As we rally around the flames

Laughter rings out through the night
As stories there are told
The magic of the campfire
Is loved by young and old

The embers glow and warm us
As the stories often do
Friendships that are nurtured there
Will last a lifetime through

This is the “stuff” of memories
Made when friends unite
And share these golden moments
That are treasured throughout life

Memories shared around the fire
Fresh life is breathed into
As we pass them on to others
They return to us anew

Fellowship, friends and laughter
Are things that we all need
Yes, the Aura of the campfire
Is magical indeed
-C R Clark, "The Campfire"

Monday, January 18, 2016

Save Me the World...

...or even better, let it BURN!
Press the grape, and let it pour
Around the board its purple shower:
And, while the drops my goblet steep,
I'll think in woe the clusters weep.

Weep on, weep on, my pouting vine!
Heaven grant no tears, but tears of wine.
Weep on; and, as thy sorrows flow,
I'll taste the luxury of woe.
Thomas Moore, "Anacreontic"

Monday, January 11, 2016

Lex Sub Rosa

"Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill!"
- William Golding, "Lord of the Flies"

Saturday, January 9, 2016


I can see in your eyes that you mean it
I can feel in your arms that it's true
And though I just heard myself say it,
Baby, I'm lying to you
Baby, I'm lying to you

All of these years you've been lonely,
And knowing not what you should do
And though you are right, I've been looking as well
Babe, I'm not looking for you
Babe, I'm not looking for you

I'm just as damn disappointed as you,
Only I just do better to hide it
And the one thing that keeps me from falling for you,
Is I'm truly alone and I like it
I'm truly alone and I like it

As we lie in bed, I feel lonely
Though we're young, I feel eighty years old
And your arms around me are keeping me warm
But baby, I'm still feeling cold
Baby, I'm still feeling cold

And, girl, you must know you are lovely
You're kind and you're beautiful, too
And I feel in some way I do love you
But babe, I'm not in love with you
But babe, I'm not in love with you

It may seem strange that I still stay with you,
If it's true you're not really the one
And why don't I just keep on looking for her?

Cause I found her, but now she is gone
Cause I found her, but now she is gone
Cause I found her, but now she is gone
Cause once I found her, but now she is gone

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


So with these thoughts fueling my actions,
I make the conscious decision to punish my body.
I feel as though I deserve this treatment.
I cut to scar my body.
I cut to release emotions I had no valve for.
I have no words or outlet for them yet.
I cut to make myself feel better; to alleviate those feelings of hatred.
Cutting is such an enigma for me.
I do it as a punishment, for being weak and "allowing" myself to be abused...
But at the same time, the feeling I get from doing it is strength.
I look at the cuts and think, "Wow. I was able to endure that. I am strong."
-NitaAnn, "Cut Cut Cut" (5/30/14)