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Showing posts from April 17, 2011

spheres of freedom

“There is a famous Holderlin poem called “The Autumn”. In it Holderlin describes a foot of earth, about a square meter, upon which the Duke ofWiirttemberg, Ulrich, is supposed once to have trod. Holderlin describes this piece of forest ground in a very beautiful poem. And now pick up a biology book and see how a piece of forest ground is described there: 16x10 to the 57th lice, so-and-so many insects, so-and-so many spiders; and then it also says 10 to the minus 7 foxes and twice 10 to the minus six deer. You notice they are two quite different languages. One is the language of statistics: we deal with our surroundings in an unsensuous way, exactly as we do with the real relations in history. And we deal with lyric peotry in a sensuousw ay with our direct sense for what is near. The two fall apart. The big decisions in history are not made in the realm of what we can experience close at hand. The really big disasters take place in the distance which we cannot experience, for which we d

end of Breath

This is the second and last part of the story in the last post. ... I felt good and military adhering to the discipline I’d outlined for myself. I felt like Mishima or something. That summer I read a biography of Mishima and Sun and Steel, his essays, which I’d found a used paperback copy of in the Dekalb Junior College Bookstore, and I felt that here was a darkly attractive figure who understood balancing the death drive against the life drive, and how that required a regime of spiritual and bodily exercises. So ‘military’, which had always meant something bad to me - stupidity, blind obedience, repression, Coach Sick’s crewcut - meant something different for me that summer. It meant strength, purity, will. Since this time I have been in a lot of protests - against the secret war in Nicaragua, against the Persian Gulf invasion - but I have always had a secret understanding of why people have such admiration for the military, unlike Julia and her friends, who are the people who get

something a little different - 1

I've been thinking of Dostoevsky's habit, in the Diary of a Writer, of inserting, now and then, a story to lighten up the heavy going opinion mongering. And also I have a large backlog of stories, and what the hell? Apparently nobody is reading Limited Inc anymore, anyway. So here's the first half of a story, Breath. ... When I was in high school, I was on two teams. I was on tennis, and I was on cross country. I ran, for a while, every morning. This was after I had been suspended from school for stealing a van. It was Mikey McCall’s father’s van, and since Mikey was in on it, Mikey’s father didn’t press charges. Still, it was a lot of trouble, and though I felt that stealing the van had definitely been worth it, since I got to see some country, hang out in Austin, which is where Rayber, the other guy I stole the van with, wanted to go, and meet this girl (Julia), I felt like I had better do some penance. At that time I was incredibly stubborn, so I didn’t want to stage

Nietzsche and dynamite

According to Maxime Vuillame’s book, Les Travaux publics au XIXieme siecle (1883), the ‘sad’ town of Groeschen was the scene for one of the more spectacular engineering projects of the 1870s – the creation of the tunnel at the base of Saint Gothard mountain for the purpose of laying a railroad track. After the tunnel was proposed, Goeschen became quite different: “Side by side with the old quarter soon appeared a new town, put up in haste in order to give temporary shelter to a population of two thousand miners, mechanics, masons, canteen clerks, making an irruption in this desolate corner. During the nine years in which the work of mining proceeded, Goeschen presented to the tourist the strange aspect of one of those improvised American cities, full of movement, of cries, sometimes of bloody battles; each of the houses that lined the route of a long chain of window displays and cabarets, there was thrown out now the sounds of a waltz, now the sounds of a noisy dispute a l’italienne.