Friday, April 22, 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 don't
have the appropriate telescopes (or microscopes) in our senses. The two don't come together.”
-Alexander Kluge, “The Political as the intensity of everyday feelings.”

In 1827, as Heinrich Heine was approaching London in a steamship on the Thames River, he had a conversation with a “yellow man” who was standing at the rail with him. Heine, overcome by the moment, had expressed outloud his rapturous sense of England, the land of freedom, and of freedom itself, the new religion. The yellow man interrupted his monologue at this point, and, conceding that freedom might be the new religion, pointed out that it was a more complicated thing than was accounted for in raptures. It was a doctrine, he said, adapted its form to its environment - the “national character”. For the English, freedom was a matter of privacy, of the liberty to lead his domestic life as he saw fit:

The English are a homebody people, they live a limited, fenced in family life; in the circle of his family members, the Englishman seeks that spiritual comfort that is denied him outside the house by his inborn social awkwardness The Englishman is thus satisfied with that freedom, that unconditionally protects his personal rights and his body, his property, his marriage, his beliefs, and even his eccentricities. In his household, nobody is freer than an Englishman, if I may use a famous expression, there he is king and bishop within his four walls. The common hustings speech is not wrong: “my house is my castle”.”

Against this, the yellow man weighs the French:

If the Englishman’s largest need is for personal freedom, the Frenchman may, in a crisis, give this up, if one still gives him the plentiful enjoyment of only that part of common freedom that we call equality. The French are not a homebody people, but a social one, they don’t love to sit silently together, which is what they call conversation anglaise, but they run chattering from the café to the casino and from the casino to the salon, their light champagne blood and inborn talent for socializing drives them to a social life. The first and last condition of that, and yes, its soul, is: equality. With the extension of sociability in France, there had to grow in tandem the need for equality, and even if the reasons for the Revolution are found in the budget, its first word and voice was lent by those intellectual roturiers who lived in the salons with the nobility seemingly on the same foot of equality and yet, now and then, be it only in a hardly noticeable, but yet deeply wounding feudal smile, were reminded of the great, shameful fact of inequality. And when the canaille roturière took the freedom to top off the high nobility, this was done less to inherit their properties than their ancestors, and instead of a bourgeois inequality, introduce a noble equality.”

And then the yellow man analyzes the Germans:

As for the Germans, they need neither freedom nor equality. They are a speculative people, ideologues, visionaries and meditators, dreamers, who live only in the past and future and never in the present. The English and French have a present, by them every day presents its struggle and counterstruggle and its history. The German has nothing for which to struggle, and since he began to ruminate, that even so there could be things whose possession would be ever so desireable, his philosophers have been teaching him of the existence of such things to doubt. It can’t be doubted that the Germans love freedom too. But otherwise than other peoples. The Englishman loves freedom like his respectable wife, he possesses her, and if he doesn’t handle her with excessive tenderness, still, he knows how to defend her in a crisis like a man… and woe to the redcoated strapling who breaks into her holy bedroom – whether as a gallant or as a scoundrel. The Frenchman loves his freedom like his chosen bride. He glows for her, he flames, he throws himself at her feet… The German loves his freedom like his old Grandmother.«

The yellow man may have the intangible substance of one of those impossible, garish figures glimpsed by various characters in Master and the Margarita, but his comments expressed the sociology of the day, up to an including the comparisons with types of women, echoing Montesquieu’s geographic notion of the spirit of the laws, but rescored to the tune of the Hegelian obsession with triads.

But I have the triadic habit myself, and think that there is a recognizable social reality underneath the analogy making. More than that, these three understandings of freedom have competed with each other, often in the same national space, and always in some relation with the broader class structure of society. Usually, the social materialization of freedom has been crucified, by the social scientists, upon the insistence that there are two spheres under which we understand the modernization process – the private and the public sphere. The spheres make for a very manageable analysis of history, but do they really capture the reality of friendship, the office, the traffic jam, the tv show?

During the Great Transformation the drivers of the system of production changed in their rhythm, spacing, and effects. In Europe, the pre-modern modes of producton depended on the spread of one or other major technology – the wheel, the chariot, the plow – over a relatively long period of time, during which social relations adjusted as they could. But the modernization was synonymous with new rhythms, spacing and effects – a new regime of routines. Not only were diffusion times for new technologies shortened dramatically, but their interdependence created a system of disequilibrium, even as the system’s theorists searched for equilibrium – in the system of money, in the market, etc. – a system in which one part could be touched to produce predictable effects on the other part, feeding back into the first part to moderate and over time suppress the initial touch.

What I want to go into, here, is not that entire system, which lurks behind the walls of the artificial paradise, but a part of it – the technologizations of diffusion itself. The media. Which employs the same social group that is employed as agents of circulation, due to the fact that in both groups, there is the same educational background. The groups overlap, the white collar worker and the journalist, the adverting man and the painter. And in turn, both groups form both the ideologues of the home and the instruments for its penetration by capitalism, the latter under the necessity of creating demand, that second nemesis, a happy nemesis.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

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 me to go to these demonstrations and sign petitions and do phone calling and contribute pieces to anti-war shows. I am clued into the erotics of control, of explicit systems of command and obedience. So there I’d be, I’d get up and get out around six, with the sky still shadowed by night, and I’d run my route. I went down from our court into Gladstone Drive, turned left on Verona Park and turned left on Shiloh Mill, ran a half mile down to the Shiloh Mill Baptist church, ran across the church grounds, jumped the creek that separated their property from the Salem Golf course, ran in the path that snaked among the pine trees around the course, hit Dial drive, then took Naman’s Way back to Verona Park proper, which by this time was showing a little activity - a white haired man in a blue suit would be sucking leaves out of the swimming pool with a long hose behind the big chain link fence to my right, and he’d raise one arm straight up, like he was pointing at something, and then he’d drop it, which I took to be a wave. I considered myself practically home at this point, I simply crossed to Verona Park Road and licked on up to my subdivision, and this last half mile I tried to hightail, I’d kick into my baddest ass run and run my breath out by the time I reached my driveway, when I would stop, then jog around the circle, letting my legs and arms simply shake, gearing down, and then, in the lawn, I’d bend over and hold my ankles and let pant hotly into my t shirt.

I concentrated, as Coach Fregee told us to, on breathing, the in and out, and I also tried to hold a certain balance within myself of energies, thinking that I was being very samurai. I liked to hold back and hold back the moment when I finally had to mouth breath, as opposed to nose breath, then I’d coordinate my rhythm to the way my lungs felt, thinking of them as two living animals inside me. My goal was to prolong nose breathing while I picked up my pace a little more each day, so I tried to cut off mouth breathing as soon as it occurred. The first incident of mouth breathing, I’d change my pace, get back to nose breathing, then speed up. I concentrated just on these things, I tried to keep my mind from straying beyond the confines of my immediate body situation. This, too, I thought of as somehow very Zen. I would concentrate sometimes so much on my body I’d feel like I was going cross eyed.

I’d chosen my course to give me a variety of landscape. Long ago, during a phase in the six grade when I went around with an almanac and was always pulling it out to mull over random and insignificant statistics, I learned that Atlanta was exactly 1,050 feet up in the air (although, admittedly, I wondered whether they had just averaged out heights and depths, or whether that was the highest point, or what, since obviously there were dips and rises all over the city). That meant that Gladstone, as a suburb, was about that high or higher. Coach Fregee, who came from Chicago, said that the times in Chicago were almost better on the average by a minute than the one’s in Atlanta, because of the altitude difference. So I was aware of that. I turned left on Verona Park each morning because I wanted to hit the hill there as soon as possible, thinking that it was sort of a merit. I was really convinced that I gained virtue every day just by making my body do things that put stress upon it, that required will on my part. Although I knew enough to see that there was a paradox here - I asserted my will over my body in order, eventually, to submerge myself in a balance of energies. The threshold to that energy situation was shucking the idea of will, or of individuality, or of the possessive “my” , as in “my body”. There was only the balance, the weighing of light and darkness, the Zoroastrian dimension of dawn and twilight, the hard muscle, the readiness to use it. It was like I was going to become a gunslinger, instead of a mediocre cross country runner.
I liked to compare, while I was running, the effort it took me to get up the hill to getting up it in the car, as I had done hundreds of times. It was then that I discovered what I didn’t like about cars, what in fact I still don’t like. In the car, I was divorced from the power of the hill. Now that power, I thought, was in the set and of the type of the power I wanted to feel in my body, my planetary membership, so to speak. I’d been shaped, in a way that went beyond the metaphorical, out of the earth - certainly out of the earth’s elements. I was not born an astronaut, in some manufactured suit, supported by some elaborate, artificial system, floating in space, but I’d been born out of the earth and I carried the earth with me, I would carry it with me if I were to become an astronaut, I would never be able to transform myself into the substance of any other planet. So I figured. So I began to get very Luddite about the whole thing, about technology and such. I would trot up the hill (step nose breath step nose breath) and realize that when there is nothing resistant about the hill and the power there is broken, one’s body’s power is injured too. I didn’t ‘realize’ this in so many words, but by the end of the summer those were about the words I would use to describe what I’d found out. The car is never quite as germane to one’s body’s issues as the hill, the valley, the stream, the meadow. It was a matter of exposure, I thought. To put myself against the hill, to bend to it, to experience it and remember it in my legs and thighs and with my lungs, with the air that I had to take in and give back, that seemed to me a human necessity. It was taken away by the car, you were stripped of your own power, thinking that power was at your fingertips. So you traded in muscle, all you have, in the end, to keep you respectable as a beast, for speed, which ultimately rushed you into a life where you never had any time. Eventually you’d get fat and lose the ability to run, which in turn would make you susceptible to panic, which in turn would make you defensive and reactionary. I saw it all, I was vouchsafed that vision, in increments, that summer.

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 some scene where, head bowed, I muttered that I was sorry to my folks, formally grouped, no doubt, on the living room sofa, but I started to express it in my actions, trying to be more helpful around the house, cleaning my room, folding clothes, setting the table, tasks which I initiated without Mom’s prompting.
Dad and Mom had both been pretty grim faced when I came home that night, and they gave me the silent treatment, more or less, while the cop who was over at the house sat with us all in the living room and explained how, if I was his son, two things would happen right fast: I’d get the whooping of my life, and then I’d get a haircut. After Dad had shown officer Bozo out, he said he wasn’t sure that I shouldn’t go to jail.
Mom said, oh, Jack.
I said, maybe you’re right, Dad. I said it in my most clenched style, it came out as barely a whisper. Lately, that is how I was talking to my parents.
That’s where we left it. They were both very indignant for a month, and we shuffled around each other in the house with some feeling of awkwardness. They found the phrase that summed up how they felt and they kept repeating variations of it. I can’t believe, Dad would say, out of nowhere, that you’d do something so stupid. Then his head would disappear behind his magazine, or lose all meaning, staring at the tv set. You are such a smart boy, Street, Mom said, her voice on the edge of sarcastic, although I had never known Mom to adopt overt sarcasm. It wasn’t her style. That she was driven to the length of hinting at sarcasm was her way of showing how much pain I caused her. I knew what was being implied, since it was an article of faith in the house, which I’d heard since I don’t know when, that brilliant people lack common sense, that prodigies end up as garbagemen, and that, if you want to get ahead in this world, perspiration is worth any amount of inspiration. This belief was in disjunction with another belief, the cult of genius, it being Dad’s credo that Einstein and Newton and Thomas Edison were gods, but it wasn’t something one sat down and worked out, logically. To believe two vaguely contradictory things was just a part of the suburban ethos, the suburban tolerance - beliefs were conceived of as being separate, discrete entities, like houses on the block, and contradictory beliefs were just like two houses headed by fathers who didn’t like each other. They didn’t, for that reason, move away or even argue with each other. It was simply known in the neighborhood, by some instinct, that they didn’t like each other. In the city, maybe, that dislike would have come to a head, there would have been some kind of screaming match - at least, that was always happening in cities in movies and on tv - but not in the suburbs. I ‘d heard belief number one, the vague anti-intellectualism re the inevitable deficiency of prodigies, expressed by other people in the neighborhood too, and though it violently offended me, I understood where it came from.
The full implication was that this is what comes of me vaugely flaunting the wounded angel routine, pretending I was so much smarter than my parents. Well, to me this had nothing to do with running away with the van. I was tempted to repeat a few of the stories Dad told me about his adolescence, what he and Uncle Henry did, but I didn’t, partly because that really hadn’t influenced me at all. I just wanted to do it, and I knew what the consequences were going to be. I tried to think that my life was going to be big and broad, that this was just a minor, bad stretch of it - although of course, in adolescence time isn’t like that at all, I would look up and the horizons of the minute would suddenly crowd in on me, showing me in a stabbing flash an image of time’s edged intensity, deepening my helplessness when I was miserable, destroying my common sense when I was happy, throwing me off balance. Although by then I had developed a sense of time’s extensivity, of how one’s energies must be distributed in projects that play out over long periods of one’s life, it wasn’t a consolation to me, because in reality I had never had to engage in one of those projects. So I really tried to get into cross country in the somewhat chastened spirit of a boy who is trying to make amends for having fucked up. I’d been a halfassed runner before, missing practices and always coming in around the middle, but it was in cross country that I really got to know Rayber to be friend’s with, who was an excellent runner, and I felt that, now that we’d had this van experience together, I ought to try to come up to his level on the running front, which was obviously how Rayber was going to get through college. They had let Rayber choose to get off suspension by doing school good citizen work. That way he didn’t have to miss any of the meets. Coach Fregee took care of it, just like Rayber told me he knew he would. On the other hand, since I was suspended from February to March, I missed most of them, although when I came back I was able to connect again with the tennis team. I made it my goal that summer - I was seventeen - to come in at least fourth in one of the meets in the fall.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

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. Marching down the road, the troops of miners returning in groups from the tunnel, singing “the hymn to Garibaldi” or some old refrain from the other side of the mountains, which they beat out with their still illuminated lamps. A muffled explosion made the air shake, another, five or six in succession; this was the mines that blew up in the subterranean tunnel, taking from the mountain a part of its rock each day. Then, everything re-entered into silence, that was only pierced now and then by the sharp whistle of the locomotives hauling out the underground debris.”

Vuillaume may have noticed the songs of the workers all the more because of his experience in the Commune. But did Nietzsche notice them? Did he see them?

The Saint Gothard project was begun at about the time Nietzsche took up his post in Basel, in 1872. Nietzsche and his sister actually crossed the old pass on a horsedrawn sleigh in 1871, so he would have known the area. The the project was finished the year Nietzsche wrote Daybreak, in 1881.

The preface to Daybreak was written In 1886, while Nietzsche was living in Nice. He read, at the end of that year, a French translation of Notes from the Underground, and depending when one dates the preface, it is possible Nietzsche’s soutterain was influenced by Dostoevsky.

But there is another chain of connections, or at least intersigne.

The first of these is in a letter that Nietzsche writes to Overbeck in 1886, in which he mentions Goeschenen. This is a significant letter for many reasons, among which is the fact that Nietzsche is quite conscious that the sickness he suffers from is not simply a physical ill. Or rather, he sees the double aspect of illness, how it accrues psychological and existential meanings. He complains to Overbeck that it makes him ill every time he returns to Italy, and then he makes the fascinating point that the illness is specifically connected to his feeling of being intellectually cramped and exhausted by his post in the university of Basel. After telling his friend that “your post in Basel, really nothing to envy, but at least it is nothing, as well, to commiserate with, has something prospective and fine, which you couldn’t easily find elsewhere,” he writes revealingly about himself: “Unfortunately, this place is climactically impossible for me – than with whom would I rather now speak of my things than with you and Burckhardt? Thus I have really weighed Basel, and I always enjoy meeting someone from Basel (like I did again today: and each time it occurs to me how impregnated with the Buckhardtian spirit and taste everything is that comes from there: naturally assuming, etc. etc). But finally I thank God (or more precisely, my illness, and in good part you, my dear friend) that I am no longer there. To live in a false milieu and to weaken one’s life task, which I did, so long as I was a philologist and university instructor, unfailingly crushed me physically to the ground; and every advance on my way has brought me, as well, health in the physical sense.” [my translation, SB, 7: 207]

Add to this another letter on September 24, 1886, to his friend, Malwinda von Meysenburg. In it, Nietzsche reports on a simile that will have a fatal charm for him in the coming years:
“At the conclusion I want to write you a few wrds about me, that can be read in the »Bund« (16. und 17. Sept.) [A Bern newspaper]. The title: Nietzsche’s dangerous book.
»Those dynamite stocks, which was used in the construction of the Gotthadt railroad, were supplied with black flags to warn of the deadly danger. Completely in this sense will we speed of the new book by the philosopher Nietzsce as of a dangerous book. We are not strewing any trace of blame in this designation against the author and his work, as little as those black flags were supposed to blame the explosive material. Yet less has it occurred to us to call down upon the lonely thinker by reference to the dangerousness of his book official ravens and crows of the altar. The intellectual explosive, like the material, can serve to do very useful work; it is not necessary, that it be used for criminal purposes. Only it is a good idea, where such stuff is stored, to say clearly: here lies dynamite! ‹«
More even than Whitman, Nietzsche identified with his book – or perhaps I should say, Nietzsche’s identies shifted with the Nietzschian ‘we’. By the time we reach the one of the last texts before Nietzsche’s breakdown, Ecce Homo, Nietzsche has himself become this dynamite. But before we reach that point, in the winter of 1886, Nietzsche, working on the preface to Daybreak, was concerned with what appeared in the book – the book from 1881. He was concerned with the subterranean, the dead, the mole.
It is perhaps a little too facile to say that the Icarian Nietzsche, the Nietzsche of the heights, and the subterranean, the creature of the depths, most naturally meet in a tunnel burrowed under a mountain. A tunnel that is, in its vastness, comparable to some work of nature. But it is the kind of image that I want to put, at least, in the margins of the Nietzschian text, to preside over the question of what Nietzsche saw in his 1881 book that made him speak of a subterranean creature breaking the surface and coming into the light.

The Mock community

As the preface is both outside the book and a judgment of what is happening inside it, a good place to start understanding the subterranean is to press on the tension between the lonely beast in the tunnel and the oddly mocking ‘we’. Nietzsche wrote his preface at the same time he was writing the fifth book of The Gay Science, which he claimed in a letter to Peter Gast was written partly in order to establish a symmetry between the two books. He also claimed that he wrote it so quickly that he barely remembered what was in it. The fifth book bears on its face another “we” – Wir Furchtenlos, and the first number concerns “our good cheer”, although the good cheer begins with the very opposite of the good news – rather, it begins with the death of God. In “our good cheer”, the “we” applies to the few who understand this – except the few may be noone at all, no person in the collective, however small, who can encompass the world without God. The shifter in Nietzsche becomes, as it does its enunciative work, as it touches the reader by making the production of the enonce part of a common process, a shapeshifter that escapes the reader, an I escaping the we, and then annihilating itself in an it, in an animal, in a mole, in the spirits of the dead. The dead have no I, in as much as the I only has meaning as a linguistic shifter, because the dead can’t speak. Their I is cancelled.

But of course we, some we, speaks for them, is always speaking for them. Speaking on behalf of the dead is an old community custom. It is literally the law, for the law is intended both to transcend the deaths of the lawmakers and to speak for them.

But this is not Nietzschian “we”. I don’t believe I am mistaken in hearing a tone of mockery in that we that has to do with the coincidence between the shifter and the shapeshifter. It is mockery at the kind of utterance in which the “we” anchors the truth. That anchoring is institutionalized – it is not the we of the intellectual adventurer that anchors the credibility of the philosopher, but his or her post as a teacher of philosophy. If one looks at Nietzsche’s we-s, many are claims to community with the kinds of expertise in which he had no official training, on the one side – and on the other side there was the kind of journalistic we that assumed philosophy, psychology, art as guises for the feuilleton column. The Nietzschian “we” maintains itself – and this is its connection both to the resentment of the reactionaries and the critique of the revolutionaries - between arid academism and newspaper vulgarization in the space of that amateur, the man who understands the world through his experience and reading, or the third life – the one that is spent neither sleeping nor, fully, in waking and its business. These specialists in reading, in an art that has no disciplinary limits or form! These amateurs! The we, then, does signal a community, but it is a community built on mockery.

The fifth book to Daybreak opens with a sort of prose poem, In Great Silence. Here the text presents us with questions that touch on a sort of interweaving: the we, language, silence, and mockery. The we here is Nietzsche and nature. The underground creature, the it, and the dead are all connected to the modernist remove from nature, and its return.
In Great Silence – Here is the sea, here we can forget the city. Although even now we can hear its bells ringing out the Ave Maria – it is that dusky and foolish, but sweet noise at the crossroads of day and night – but only a moment more! Now everything is silent. The sea lies pale and glowing there, it cannot speak. Heaven plays its eternal dumb evening play with red, yellow, green colors, it cannot speak. The small cliffs and bands of boulders, which jut out into the see, as though in order to find the place where it is loneliest, they can all not speak. This terrifying dumbness, which suddenly falls over us, is beautiful and cruel, the heart swells at it – Oh, the slipperiness of this dumb beauty! — How well it could speak, and how evilly, too, if it wanted! Its tied up tongue and the suffering happiness on its face is a deception, in order to mock at your pity. But so be it. I am not ashamed to be the mocked object of such powers. But I feel compassion for you, nature, because you must be silent, even if it is only because of your evil. – Oh, it is becoming quieter, and my heart is swelling up even more: it is shocked before a new truth, for it too cannot speak, it even makes mock when the mouth wants to call out something into this beauty, speak, it even takes pleasure in the sweet wickedness of silence. Speech, and even thought has become abhorrent to me: because don’t’ I hear, behind every word, the error, the fantasy, the spirit of madness laughing? Oughtn’t I do mock my compassion? Mock my mocking?— Oh sea! Oh evening! You are terrible teachers! You teach the human to cease to be human! Should he give in to you? Should he become as you are now, pale, glittering, dumb, monstrous, reposing above himself? Exalted above himself?

The synthetic progressive

I have been searching for a term to encompass one of the great features of capitalism – the non-necessary synthesis. I guess I will call it ...