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Showing posts from January 8, 2006

random walks of the old mole

While Schopenhauer’s essay begins with ghosts, ghosts are not the figures that haunt the essay: sleepwalkers are. One believes one is wandering into a production of Hamlet, but it turns out that this is Kleist’s the Prince of Homburg. All of which is to say that Schopenhauer’s notion that the analysis of spirit seers should be left to the experts – the philosophers and physiologists – gives him the framework for the next move in his essay – a departure from the empiricist tradition that tries to keep faith with the empiricist principle of tracking ideas to the senses. But LI would be remiss if we didn’t point out that the philosophical topic of ghosts has been, apparently, picked up again by Dennett. George Johnson begins his review of Dennett’s latest book, Breaking the Spell: RELIGION AS A NATURAL PHENOMENON in Scientific American with these finely turned out two grafs: “If nowhere else, the dead live on in our brain cells, not just as memories but as programs--computer like mod

haunting schopenhauer

Schopenhauer’s essay on spirit seeing begins like this “Ghosts, which in the recently elapsed, superclever century, in spite of tradition, were not so much banned as despised, have been rehabilitated in the last 25 years in Germany, much like magic was before them. Perhaps not unjustly. Because the proofs against their existence were in part metaphysical (which stood on shaky ground) and in part empirical, which only proved, that in those cases where no accidental or intentionally designed delusion was discovered, nothing was present which could have had an effect by means of the reflection of lightrays on the retina or vibrations in the air on the eardrum. But this speaks merely of the presence of bodies, whose presence nobody had observed, and whose manifestation on the aforesaid physical manner would have negated the truth of the spirit phenomenon; since the concept of a spirit actually lies in the fact that its presence is announced in a wholly other way than that of a body. A sp

schopenhauer's spooks

LI was looking around our bookshelf, the other day, for a book by an author whose new book we are reviewing. The new book is so, to be frank, non-book length that we were thinking of doing the long view – the other books that came before kind of business. We had been sent a bunch of this author’s books at one point in our miserable freelancing history, but – we either cut them up (sometimes, to make little collages, we have to make some sacrifices of our spiny backed friend, the book) or sold them or threw them out. Whatever. Out of the minor dust hurricane, we hauled another book – a little volume of Schopenhauer’s Parerga und Paralipomena. So, with that absent mindedness that marks the loser, we got lost in reading certain of S.’s essays. Particularly one entitled Über das Geistersehn und was damit zusammenhängt, which has been officially translated as: "Essay on Spirit Seeing and Everything Connected There-with.” We aren’t sure about the everything, and we would translate it m

a few humble suggestions

H.L. Hunt was a genius in many ways – or perhaps the better word is idiot savant. One of his firm beliefs was that the wealthier you are, the more votes you should get. Hunt’s prophetic vision, which was poo pooed in the sixties, has proven itself to be the bedrock of current American politics. As D.C. insiders look at the Abramoff scandals, they are as one in having this kind of response, from the WP’s Tom Edsall: “If history is any guide, there may well be some forms of lobbyist reforms passed but there will continue to be as much or more money flowing in the system. There are some benefits if new laws increase transparency, but attempts to restrict the influencing of legislators has in the past simply created roadblocks that soon can be driven around.” This view of the everduring power of corruption, which is also known as the lie there and enjoy it doctrine, should be used to reform how we do our national business. LI thinks that the biggest reform, one that is urgently called f

sin camp for me

LI’s work load has suddenly shot up. This means that we are going to be a little less diligent in filling out our readers days with those happy juxtapositions that make this blog so much like the chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella on a dissecting table. In the meantime – we rather missed all the Beatles folderol last autumn, but we must recommend this link for the deeper meanings of Paperback writer: Into the Abyss, by Thomas Ramirez , author of Troop Tramp, of Girls for Gil Savage, and of course Sin Camp. All sixties paperbacks put out for the heavy breathing crowd as quickly as you can put things out. LI definitely enjoyed the atmosphere: “Many of my alleged plots came out of my own fevered brain. But after awhile, as expected, I was bound to run out of ideas. Thus I took to borrowing plots from fellow authors. A couple examples: Sin Camp [by Anthony Calvano, NB1545, 1961] was a spin on James Jones’ epic From Here To Eternity. Once I even stole some Buenos Aires

smoke, mirrors, nonsense

LI doesn’t think that, at this point, reason will prevail about the so called war on terrorism. Still, it is a good idea to repeat: the U.S. is spending about 400 million dollars per terrorist head. Mostly, the terrorists are illiterate, unemployed guys like the ones profiled in the NYT Magazine article by Jonathan Mahler. Mostly the money is dispersed to National Security industry types who spend it hosting conferences in chic hotels about distributing largesse in Wyoming and such. We know exactly where most of the terrorists are – we don’t even need to tap phones for that. They are practically listed in the phone book. We’ve known where they are for the last five years. We have no intention of actually spending any money or real effort to get rid of them. We prefer them to be on tap. Nothing is better for a large security industry than a couple of attacks per decade. Not of course that the Bush administration’s incredible inability to do almost anything real about terrorism since 2