Nature is Unnatural

"There is seduction in apocalyptic thinking. If one lives in the Last Days, one's actions, one's very life, take on historical meaning and no small measure of poignance." Eric Zencey "We project onto the future what we cannot endure as something which already occurred, or which is happening now. We still believe that the worst is yet to come—it is a perspective, but not a reality, and therefore our reality is still not that bad. A fear of the future and anxiety about some indefinite event (“we will all die”) is easier to suffer than a certain, irreparable, and irreversible horror that has just happened (“we are all already dead”)." Oxana Timofeeva (E Flux, June 2014) “The end of the … [Read more...]

The Insomniac Corpse

"That is, medicine has been (and continues to be) an important social institution for reasons other than its ability to heal." Jacob Stegenga (Medical Nihilism) “Though the doctors treated him, let his blood, and gave him medications to drink, he nevertheless recovered.” Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace) “Eunuchs do not take the gout, nor become bald.” Hippocrates & Galen (Galen) "Crazy as two waltzing mice." Raymond Chandler (Farewell My Lovely) Discussing health and illness is fraught with contradictions and confusions. Almost any definition of disease relies on certain notions of normalcy, or functionality. To call a condition, say depression, dysfunctional becomes a circular … [Read more...]

Living Room

"All reading is projection. But, of course, it is not only projection." Peter E. Gordon (Adorno and Existence) “Mankind which in Homer’s time was an object of contemplation for the Homeric gods, now is one for itself. Its self-alienation has reached such a degree that it can experience its own destruction as an aesthetic pleasure of the first order.” Walter Benjamin (Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction) "...outside of here is death." Samuel Beckett (Endgame) "The ghost of Hamlet’s father keeps appealing to us lest we forget him and pursue our own desires." Rainer Nagele (Reading After Freud) Adorno's first dissertation (or first major disseration) was on Kierkegaard, … [Read more...]

El Lay

"...many of the architectural projects of the past 20 years, celebrated by the international architectural press, express both narcissism and nihilism. The hegemonic eye seeks domination over all fields of cultural production, and it seems to weaken our capacity for empathy,compassion and participation with the world." Juhani Paalasma (The Eyes of the Skin; Architecture and the Senses) "Of course the Ocean Park paintings have beauty and balance as their uppermost characteristics. The California blues are all there – cobalt, aqua, sky, cerulean, the faded jade and turquoise of boatyards, beaches and outdoor pools. And the architectural structure below is so elegant in its measured … [Read more...]

The Shrug, or Who’s Your Daddy?

"What motivates the kind of spectacular, unique, unimiaginable, and gruesome cruelty that we see in America, which exists nowhere else in the world?" Umair Haque. "The right to express our thoughts, however, means something only if we are able to have thoughts of our own..." Erich Fromm (Escape from Freedom) "(The super ego is possessed of) -a senseless, destructive, purely oppressive, almost always anti-legal morality." Jacques Lacan (The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book 2) “Freud recognized in the analysis of individuals that we are not made to keep secrets for a long time and that self-betrayal oozes from all our pores. That is also valid for races. Groups and nations … [Read more...]

Man on the Moon, or The Foreclosure of Awe

"Something happens to you out there..." Edgar Mitchell. Apollo 14 astronaut "Therefore the demiurge made the world in the shape of a sphere, giving it that figure which of all is the most perfect and the most equal to itself.” Plato (Timaeus, Cornford tr.) "But if you have ever cut behind any American event or any presentation of them, to the primary documents, you will know the diminishment I am here asserting: that only Melville escapes...{ } So you better figure on man's interiors. If its images are called for, they come from there. And he's got em. The Americans have. No need to worry. Or look for heroes. The point missed is, that when men aren't sure just what insides are, or … [Read more...]

The Stuttering Ventriloquist

"In all ages there have been some excellent workmen, and some excellent work done. The question he (the critic) asks is always:—In whom did the stir, the genius, the sentiment of the period find itself? where was the receptacle of its refinement, its elevation, its taste?" Walter Pater (Renaissance; Studies in Art and Poetry) "The tendency for dark personalities to exhibit relatively higher levels of nonverbal IQ is intriguing but the implications are unclear. The finding defies the stereotype of the smooth talking manipulator but supports the notion of a complex intellectual deficit. One possibility is that the frustration arising from an inability to communicate ones ideas eventuates … [Read more...]

Escape From Themselves

"The chain breaks, The wheel stops, and the noise of machinery, And the desert is cleared, under the judicial sun Of the final eye, and the awful evacuation Cleanses." T.S. Eliot (The Family Reunion) "Yes, one should forgive one's enemies, but only after one has seen them hanged." Heinrich Heine "To discover who people think they are, what they think they are doing, and to what end they think they are doing it, it is necessary ro gain a working familiarity with the frames of meaning within which they enact their lives. This does not involve feeling anyone else's feelings, or thinking anyone else's thoughts, simple impossibilities. Nor does it involve going native, an impractical … [Read more...]