“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Saturday, April 11, 2009

KILLING 1

I have my bare feet planted on the rug. I am at my desk. Suddenly, I feel something ticklish run over my toes. This immediately draws my attention away from the document I am reading. I look under the desk. Behold, a cockroach.

In my apartment complex, the man who sprays poison comes around once every two months. Usually, then, I enjoy an environment in which, silently and without me having to think about it, vermin die. They die out of my sight. I imagine the spray is some kind of pyrethroid. The poison operates on the cockroach’s central nervous system, causing repetitive firings – thus the jiggly behavior, Nerve blockage then ensues. The effect of the pyrethroids causes sodium channel modification, and in some insects the nerves will burst. Temperature changes can modify the effect. To sum it up, “the depolarizing nerve blockage caused by prolonged sodium influx into nerve axons is the primary cause of pyrethroid toxicity to insects.” So say Huber,Masler and Blakrishna in Cockroaches as models for Neurobiology. About 800 million dollars is spent in the U.S. each year to put down the German Cockroach. Thus, a gigantic, silent poison rain comes drifting down, and still, the thing that tickled me has evaded it.

Forcing me to take action. Already,obviously, the bug is confused. It senses a leaping up and down of a large and dangerous presence. So it shuffles forwards, and finds to its horror that there is some kind of thwacking, falling entity in that direction, which calls for reversing direction. It promptly does so and seeks a dark place, in which it remains for a half a minute, getting its bearings. Its little hairs are on high alert. It is sensing different zones of temperature and light. Then it makes a dash for home – which would probably involve climbing down a pipe, or going through a duct that is cut in the apartment for hvac air passage. The last thing it senses is a space to rush over and then it feels, along every nerve and through its thorax, its carapace, and legs the greatest pressure it has ever known, a tremendous and impossible flattening, as if all it had ever lived for was a lie. And then nothing.

‘The desire to control the indoor climate with air conditioning units to mitigate extremes of temperature, moisture, and airflow sets the stage for several cockroach species to infest and inhabit homes. The presense of some domestic species in dwellings, such as the German or brown banded cockroaches, is often a sign of poor sanitation or substandard housekeeping.” (Lockley, Ledford)

Friday, April 10, 2009

fair play for bull-baiters

In 1800, a bill was proposed in the House of Commons to ban bull-baiting. In bull-baiting, a bull was tied to a stake and dogs, often bull dogs, were set upon it. Sometimes, the dogs succeeded in killing the bull, sometimes the bull succeeded in killing the dogs, and most often, the bull and the dogs came off wounded.

The bill was defeated. Even so, it produced enough of a stir that a French academy asked a prize question about whether animals had a right to not being treated barbarously.

Another animal cruelty bill was introduced in the Parliament seven years later by Erksine, the well known defender of Tom Paine. It too was defeated.

Both defeats were mainly due to the eloquence of William Windham. Windham was one of Burke’s Whigs. He served as a minister in Pitt’s war government. He was, evidently, out of sympathy with the French Revolution. Yet the speech he made against banning bull-baiting is a document that defends the pleasures of the rural poor in explicitly class conscious terms; in almost the same terms, Paul Lafargue, Marx’s son in law, denounced the anti-vivisection movement in Britain in the 1890s.

Windham begins by dismissing the argument that bull-baiting has a corrupting influence on the character of the spectators by using himself as an instance: he saw two bull-baitings in his youth, he claims, and has not, since, seen any signs of cruelty or corruption. He then gets to the heart of what he thinks is wrong with the legislation by making it an issue of the culture of the common people:

“A great deal has lately been said respecting the state of the poor, and the hardships which they are suffering. But if they are really in the condition which is described, why should we set about to deprive them of the few enjoyments which are left to them? If we look back to the state of the common people in those countries with which our youthful studies make us acquainted, we find, that what with games, shews, festivals and the institutions of their religion, their sources of amusement and relaxation were so numerous as to make them appear to have enjoyed a perpetual holiday… “ Then he imagines what the poor in the country might say to the reformers: “Why interfere with the few sports we have, while you leave yourself and the rich so great a variety? You have your carriage, and your country houses; your balls, your plays, your operas, your masquerades, your card-parties, your books, your dogs, and your horses to amuse you – On yourselves you lay no restraint. – But from us you wish to take the little we have?”

Windham is objecting, as becomes apparent, not just to interference with bull baiting, but to the tendency to regulate the amusements of the poor for their own good. And in so opposing the bill, he speaks up for that countryside culture:

“In the exercise of those sports they may, indeed, sometimes hurt themselves, but could never hurt the nation. If a set of poor men, for vigorous recreation, prefer a game of cudgels, instead of interrupting them, it should be more our business to let them have fair play.”

This is the note of Hazlitt and Cobbett – and not what one might expect from a reactionary. Nor this: ‘The advocates of this bill, Sir, proposed to abolish bull-baiting on the score of cruelty. It is strange enough that such an argument should be employed by a set of persons who have a most vexatious code of laws for the protection of their own amusements. I do not mean at present to condemn the game laws; but when Gentlemen talk of cruelty, I must remind them, that it belongs as much to shooting, as to the sport of bull-baiting; nay more so, as it frequently happens, that where one bird is shot, a great many others go off much wounded. When, therefore, I hear humane Gentlemen even make a boast of having wounded a number of birds in this way, it only affords me a further proof that savage sports do not make savage people. Has not the butcher as much right to demand the exercise of his sport, as the man of fortune to demand that of hunting?”

Move forward, now, to Lafargue, who begins: “The bourgeois have the tenderness of angels in regard to animals: they feel a closer relationship to the animals than they do to the workers.”

Lafargue is not only following, unconsciously, in the path of the Burkian Windham, but in the path of Marx, who, in his list of the paragons of bourgeois humanism in the Communist Manifesto, includes societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals. Lafargue finds it infuriating that an English law allows the police to interfere with a scientist experimenting on an animal, and while allowing companies to experiment on their human clients with products mixed dangerous impurities or the like, all to save a bit of money in production:

“John Simon is an English factory inspector. He has studied the tortures to which the tender hearted bourgeois submits children, women and proletarian men in the capitalist prisons, in order to steal the fruits of their labor. He denounced them with a courage never known to the radicals. In his discourse [to a recent congress], he established that there exists two categories of experiment. One practiced by the physiologist on certain animals. The other practiced on thousands of men by speculators. For an example, he cits the classic experiments of Professor Tiersch on mice in order to discover the mode by which Asiatic cholera propagates, and the popular and well known experiment which was practiced during two cholera epidemics, of 1848-49 and 1853-54 on a half million inhabitants of South London by a certain commercial company who supplied these districts with polluted water.”

However, Lafargue is not only concerned with science – although it is interesting that the a defense of the amusements of the common people has transformed, in the course of the century, into a defense of science. He also uses Windham’s example of bird shooting to indict the bourgeoisie for committing acts of cruelty for their own amusement whilst banning acts that repulsed them among the lower orders.

Only by seeing that the dispute over animals and their treatment has deep roots in the common life, a life that was being transformed all over Europe, can one make one’s way, here. There is a delusion that we can get a clear political guide from understanding the pattern of our semantic binaries. They seem to group themselves before our eyes. We look at the history of the word, person, we see a sort of semiotic equivalent of the theodicy here, we think that we can make sense of the civil wars hidden in the word. We say, look at these oppositions deriving from this word that is originally a simulacra of the face, the face as an exchangeable object. Look at the number of semiotic transformations we can touch upon: of the relationship between the face and the body, the clothed and the naked, the man and the woman,, the elite and the common, the man and the beast. But when we look at how these things are imminently constituted and experienced, we find that things are not as we imagined them to be.

Maurice Angulhon, in “Le sang des bêtes. Le problème de la protection des animaux en France au XIXème siècle”, claimed that, unlike the 20th century, the entire onus of the movement to protect animals from cruelty, especially domestic animals, was aimed at preventing human cruelty. Windham, in fact, is responding to a similar claim in England – the spectacle or practice of cruelty to animals among the working classes will lead to either crime or a dangerous propensity to political rebellion. Surely this is true, to some extent, that the chief organizers for the protection of animals were animated by a “curious mixture of profound humanism and social fear.” For instance, under Napoleon, the traditional way of butchering an animal, which was done in the full view of whoever wanted to watch in Paris, was regulated so that it occurred in special abbatoirs. Just as the ladies wore red sewn into their necklines as a memorial of the guillotine, so, too, this prohibition could be seen as another, more fearful homage to the guillotine: “in dissimulating the blade of the butcher one contributed perhaps to avoiding the blade of the street jury.” (85) Industry and animal husbandry were much more visible, nonetheless, in cities where the flow of traffic was measured by the horse, and where the knacker’s trade in sick and dying horses, which were often sold off and starved to death, flourished.

It is easy to read this whole history as one to which we find the master key in the struggle of class with class. But Windham’s politics should be a caution that more than class advantage, or class projection, is at play here.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

kant, the inevitable


Kant starts from two places in the Critique of Practical Reason. The first beginning is with the good Will – that most un-Socratic of moral entry points. The only thing that is unreservedly good is the good will. And then we start again. This time, we start with this existence (Wesen) endowed with Reason. This existence is introduced to us, firstly, under no name at all. This makes me think of the many names that I could list for this existence - “man”, “human”, “character”, “subject” , ‘agent”, “actor”, “self”, “soul”, “person”, etc. – each of which is endlessly involved in the discourses of the human sciences, each of which – unlike, say, the pieces of a chess game – is ascribed no fixed amount of power by some canon of rules, but rather is preferred and gains its power according to the state of the human sciences at any one time – which is to say that the rules, here, are further back. If an introduction is a way of putting together a name and a face, then we aren’t really introduced to the rational creature, here, at all. It is a feint, using a satiric tone made familiar from writers like Voltaire.

But what we can gather is that whatever name we eventually attach to this creature, and whatever it is made of – Carbon based, silicon based - what makes it happy is not the major question confronting the practical reason. However, it is, as it were, the question that dogs the creature, much in the way Faust is followed by a black dog at the beginning of the poem.

It is in Kant that the relationship between the culture of happiness and the collapse of the human limit – seen from the inside – comes into Hi Def focus.

In fact, from my perspective - an old man in a dry month, being read to by a boy, waiting for raain - Kant is engaged in trying to reconstruct the human limit here.

Of the names I’ve listed above, one name seems of central importance: person. A nineteenth century Kantian, Adolf Trendelenburg, wrote a much quoted article, “The History of the Word Person”, which poses the question: where did this word person come from? He starts off by showing how important the word was, quoting Kant’s Foundation of the Metaphysic of Ethics: “In opposition to the concept of the thing, Kant says in the Foundation of the Metaphysics of Ethics (1785): ‘a rational being (Wesen – existence) will be named a person, because its nature already exhibits it as an end in itself, that is, as something that may not simply be used as a means, and in so far as this is holds, limits the exercise of arbitrary force against it, and makes it an object of respect.” (Kant-Studien, 1908, 2).

He then goes back to multiple ancient sources for person. The first is persona, the mask. What is odd about this is that the mask doesn’t have a brain. It would seem eminentlyto be a thing, a Sache. He gives us one etymology of person that emphasizes something else about the mask: “Ona in Latin means full – “so designates persona per se one, the fullness out of itself, as to the person of Christ is designated the fullness, the pluroma.”

Trendelenburg points out the use of the Greek equivalent, prosopon, in Stoic writing to mean playing a role – but in the sense of the role nature, or Tyche, has thrust upon a person. Epictetus, for instance, writes that if nature has thrust lameness upon you, then you are to “play” lameness. All the world’s a stage.

Another field in which the persona unfolds a meaning is in law. At first, in Roman Law, persona was a mass noun, referencing all humans – as opposed to beasts. However, in the Institutes of Justinian, this collectivity was modified. Slaves were defined, like beasts, as aprosopon – non-persons. Finally, much later on, in Leibnitz’s use of person (which occurs in his legal writings), it again takes on the meaning of the human vs. the beast.

Looking at this from the perspective of both the question of nudity and the question of the personhood of beasts – which we took up in our post about Bernardina’s essay – the word person encodes an interesting manifold of binaries. Especially noticeable is the opposition between face and body, and the parallel opposition between human and beast. Ah, the civil wars in a word.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Looking with 72 senses at Kant


“…commencez d’abord par me dire combien les hommes de votre globe ont de sens. — Nous en avons soixante et douze, dit l’académicien, et nous nous plaignons tous les jours du peu. Notre imagination va au-delà de nos besoins; nous trouvons qu’avec nos soixante et douze sens, notre anneau, nos cinq lunes, nous sommes trop bornés; et, malgré toute notre curiosité et le nombre assez grand de passions qui résultent de nos soixante et douze sens, nous avons tout le temps de nous ennuyer. — Je le crois bien, dit Micromégas; car dans notre globe nous avons près de mille sens, et il nous reste encore je ne sais quel désir vague, je ne sais quelle inquiétude, qui nous avertit sans cesse que nous sommes peu de chose, et qu’il y a des êtres beaucoup plus parfaits.” – Voltaire, Micromégas

Philip Almond, in Adam and Eve in Seventeenth Century Thought, reviews the idea that other planets contained other living beings, which he thinks is one effect of the Copernican revolution. I have made the case that Cyrano de Bergerac’s inhabitants of the Moon owe a lot to the inhabitants of the New World. The discovery of the New World and the continuing discoveries being made in the 18th century in the South Pacific had the effect, on the learned in Europe, of destroying the notion that the knowledge of the world revealed by the traditional disciplines was complete. Extraterrestrials were an annex to that history of discoveries. A sort of dream compromise was struck between Utopia, More’s island in the Pacific, and the discoveries of astronomy. Almond quotes Robert Burton’s argument that if the Earth is a planet whirling about the sun, then the other planets must be like Earth in having inhabitants. Huyghens was also of this opinion. Fontenelle – that modern ultra – argued for the thesis in his Entretiens. In his second conversation with the marquise, he writes that ‘since the sun is now immobile, has ceased to be a planet, and the earth which moves about it, has begun to be one, you will not be so surprised to hear that the moon is an earth like the latter, and that apparently it is inhabited.” Fontenelle is often called a delightful writer. He was, at least, a flattering one, tempering his knowledge to the gestures of salon gallantry, the social convenance of volupté in which the moment of learning that a thing is such and such a way is identified with the thing’s being such and such a way – as if our discovery was an essential condition of the object’s being. In this way, he produced a rococo Genesis that is not for all tastes.

Not, for instance, Voltaire's, who makes fun of the whole strolling in the garden, talking with the marquise thing in Micromegas. Voltaire not only hits out at Fontenelle in Micromegas, but also at Pascal, who for Voltaire was always the arch-enemy. That Voltaire accuses him of being a mediocre geometer is, from a man who was as uncomfortable with mathematics as Voltaire, a rather usurping gesture. But the point here is to bring to earth Pascal's 'anguish' in the face of the infinite. In the goings and comings from planet to planet, the infinite simply becomes the tall and the taller, and even on the edge of the universe the picaresque narrative rule applies - every sage finds his buffoon.

Other writers – notably Lambert in Germany and Thomas Wright in England – use the as a basis to enquire into the constitution of the heavens. Kant reviewed Wright and knew Lambert.

As the interior human limit dissolves under the blows struck upon it by Enlightenment materialism, the extraterrestrial, or something that fills up a space that is comparable to the human, emerges. The notion of another rational being, neither God nor man nor angel, is not long in presenting itself in the Critique of Practical Reason. And it does so in terms that are surprisingly close to Micromégas:

We assume as a principle that, in the natural disposition of an existence organized, so to speak, purposefully, so as to be alive, we will meet with no feature (Werkzeuge) that is not most appropriate and suitable to that end. If in an existence that had reason and will, the actual end of nature were its preservation and well being – in a word, its felicity, it would have badly executed this intent by selecting this creature’s reason to be that intent’s overseer. For all the actions that it has to carry out to meet this intent, and the whole rule of its behavior would have much more exactly been enacted, and this end would have been more securely maintained, by instinct, than could happen through reason. And should the latter be allocated to the favored creature above, it would have had to serve him only in order to make observations of his fortunate material disposition, to admire, to enjoy, and to be grateful to the ever so benign cause of it; but not to have its desires submitted to this weakened and delusion-prone guide in order to blunder into Nature’s intent. Nature would have forthrightly confided to instinct the taking over of not only the choice of ends, but also of means. (6-7)

This paragraph is certainly in a philosophical treatise, and is meant to be appropriate and suitable in tone towards that end. And yet, it uses a rhetoric, a tone, that bears the distinct stamp of that most Enlighenment of genres, the philosophical satire. We are hyperaware that the words ‘man” and “human” are avoided here, and we are hyperaware of the satire’s bent for negative space, the way it grabs the eraser, the way it produces disjunction in order to create conjunction. No subject here, but instead, an existence, (Wesen) a creature (Geschöpf), as if we must begin with the language stripped down to a certain anatomical level. And if the satirist casts a distinct shadow over the page, hasn’t there always been a relationship between the moralist and the scold? And even, in philosophy, the stripping advice of the stoic. There is a degree of freedom in this paragraph, in other words, that is derived from something other than proofs and arguments.

Monday, April 06, 2009

beginning of a kant thread

The collapse, the forgetting, the erasure of the human limit happens inside what Sartre called ‘human reality’; and it happens outside. This is a strange story, a dialectical mystery. For as the world became the object of universal history, and the human limit to the control of the world was removed, inside the human reality of the self, this operation – which consisted, if one were to put it in a single phrase, of removing Nemesis as the guardian and definer of a limit – produced strange fruit. Human reality becomes the human product. And this human product, now given the project of becoming happy and promoting the happy society, loses the old objects and landmarks, the old directions, the old orientation, the old walks in the dark, the old migrations. The human reality becomes free, and uses its freedom to become the human product.

Of course, this is a story recorded in a whole literature that makes weep weep weep sounds over the human product. Oh, that we had another ending to universal history, a few more tropes.

But as we have been looking at the process by which beast becomes beast, thing thing, the flight a fault, the hunter a judge, the butcher a jury, it is time to turn to the subject: in particular, Kant’s notion of this subject as an end, living in a kingdom of ends. I’ve pointed out that the subject as the Greek hero can run about buck naked, as long as he is made of marble and runs with that Ruhe – that rest – for which Winckelmann celebrates him - but that the modern man who takes off his vestments is sucked into the logic that has kept him in plates of veal and chicken, has put the fork and knife in his hands, a logic that has a lot to say about the poor forked flesh, although it seems to turn and twist and give us different answers at different times. If we looked, for instance, at English novels between Castle Crotchet and Jude the Obscure, how many undressing scenes would \we find? I’d guess very few, in spite of coats buttoned and unbuttoned, hats put on and taken off, gloves ditto, the difficult task of taking off mudsplashed boots, and all the eating and drinking that Dickens characters and Thackeray’s undergo – never to stumble to a jakes in our sight. Why? That’s a question we should pin up to the board.

There are certainly other paths to the Castle, other ways of reading the Critique of Practical Reason, but I want to start a thread that reads it with, on the side, this social logic that whips the cattle and tortures the bear and chops the head of M. le coq. I have an instinct that tells me somehow, on this path, I will touch – hands out in the dark, hand understanding always my witch’s guide – upon a certain set of rules that concern the clothed and the naked, although never allowing us to predict with absolute certainty what is allowed and when. And that in turn will give me clues to this particular moment in the building of the Artificial Paradise.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

artificial paradise


Hobbes begins the Leviathan like this: “NATURE (the art whereby God hath made and governs the world) is by the art of man, as in many other things, so in this also imitated, that it can make an artificial animal.”

What artificial animals are these? They are the automata of which Descartes also speaks: the mechanical singing bird, the mechanical dog. And if nature can be imitated by the machine, then nature itself can be defined in terms of a machine:

“For seeing life is but a motion of limbs, the beginning whereof is in some principal part within, why may we not say that all automata (engines that move themselves by springs and wheels as doth a watch) have an artificial life? For what is the heart, but a spring; and the nerves, but so many strings; and the joints, but so many wheels, giving motion to the whole body, such as was intended by the Artificer?”

But of all machines made by God or man, what is the greatest? It would have to be an artificial man. Is there such a thing?

“Art goes yet further, imitating that rational and most excellent work of Nature, man. For by art is created that great LEVIATHAN called a COMMONWEALTH, or STATE (in Latin, CIVITAS), which is but an artificial man, though of greater stature and strength than the natural, for whose protection and defence it was intended; and in which the sovereignty is an artificial soul, as giving life and motion to the whole body; the magistrates and other officers of judicature and execution, artificial joints; reward and punishment (by which fastened to the seat of the sovereignty, every joint and member is moved to perform his duty) are the nerves, that do the same in the body natural; the wealth and riches of all the particular members are the strength; salus populi (the people's safety) its business; counsellors, by whom all things needful for it to know are suggested unto it, are the memory; equity and laws, an artificial reason and will; concord, health; sedition, sickness; and civil war, death. Lastly, the pacts and covenants, by which the parts of this body politic were at first made, set together, and united, resemble that fiat, or the Let us make man, pronounced by God in the Creation.”

Hobbes is writing in 1660. Baudelaire, writing on a seemingly much different track in 1860, introduces The artificial paradises, his variations on themes from The Opium Eater, like this:

“Good sense tells us that the things of the earth have only a little existence, and that true reality is only in dreams. In order to digest natural happiness, like the artificial, one needs first to have the courage to swallow; and those who might perhaps merit happiness are the same to whom felicity, such as mortals conceive it, has always had the effect of a vomitive.”

I’ve been using the term ‘artificial paradise’ for more than a year in these posts to refer to the product of Hobbes’ Leviathan and Baudelaire’s poison. What was eaten once has thrown us into a world in which we desperately search for something to swallow that will make us forget the little reality upon which our world hangs. And we do. The product of this monstrous but fatal conjunction is, of course, the world that the people of the developed world assume to be the only one left. It is paradise, because here, happiness has become the norm. And not only in the developed world – the artificial paradise has as much dominion in Shanghai as it has in Atlanta or Nantes. The artificial man, call it the state or the corporation, and the human product, call him the druggy or the consumer, have created between them a world of happiness, closed in on itself.

Of course, as in the first paradise, there is a dissenter.

“To dull minds it might appear singular and even impertinent to dedicate a picture of artificial voluptés to a woman, source of the most ordinary, most natural of voluptés. However, it is evident that as the natural world penetrates into the spiritual, serving it as feed, and thus concurring in bringing about that indefinable amalgam that we name our individuality, the woman is the being who projects the largest shadow or the greatest light in our dreams.The woman is fatally suggestive; she lives another life as well as that of her own proper one; she lives spiritually in the imaginations that she haunts and that she makes fecund.”

The shadow or the light – this is shapeshifting indeed, between the symbols in myth and opinion that are expressly used to stand for the absolute opposition of wo existential types. Yet there they are, in dreams, communicating one with the other, transforming one into the other.

Collage, collage. The question of women in the artificial paradise is so large it could open its mouth and swallow me, a mere piker.

This is from Michael Lewis' article about the Iceland financial collapse:

"Back in 2001, as the Internet boom turned into a bust, M.I.T.’s Quarterly Journal of Economics published an intriguing paper called “Boys Will Be Boys: Gender, Overconfidence, and Common Stock Investment.” The authors, Brad Barber and Terrance Odean, gained access to the trading activity in over 35,000 households, and used it to compare the habits of men and women. What they found, in a nutshell, is that men not only trade more often than women but do so from a false faith in their own financial judgment. Single men traded less sensibly than married men, and married men traded less sensibly than single women: the less the female presence, the less rational the approach to trading in the markets.

One of the distinctive traits about Iceland’s disaster, and Wall Street’s, is how little women had to do with it. Women worked in the banks, but not in the risktaking jobs. As far as I can tell, during Iceland’s boom, there was just one woman in a senior position inside an Icelandic bank. Her name is Kristin Petursdottir, and by 2005 she had risen to become deputy C.E.O. for Kaupthing in London. “The financial culture is very male-dominated,” she says. “The culture is quite extreme. It is a pool of sharks. Women just despise the culture.” Petursdottir still enjoyed finance. She just didn’t like the way Icelandic men did it, and so, in 2006, she quit her job. “People said I was crazy,” she says, but she wanted to create a financial-services business run entirely by women. To bring, as she puts it, “more feminine values to the world of finance.”

Today her firm is, among other things, one of the very few profitable financial businesses left in Iceland."

I am not trying to write a total apocalypse, of the post WWII kind favored by Adorno or Foucault. But for sure, I have the elements of one here. It is easy to feel that such interior invasion and exterior transformation, such a brave new world, might be the end of the world. We could die, in our artificial paradises, of pure claustrophobia. And for those who vomit up tv, they often find themselves ingesting prozac. There’s reason behind this alchemical balance. There’s reasons of state.

I put this here out of sequence in my threads. I needed to jot it down.