Algorithm Kids

“The very systems we are working to dismantle live inside of us.” Morgan Bassichis “Bourgeois statesmen are very touchy and vindictive. You have to control your emotions; if you are guided by your emotions, you lose”. Joseph Stalin (To Yugoslav delegation, Jan. 1945) "The general loss of memory is not to be explained solely psychologically; it is not simply childhood amnesia. Rather it is social amnesia - memory driven out of mind by the social and economic dynamic of this society." Russell Jacoby (Social Amnesia) I am struck almost daily, I think, with the fact that the worst and often most psychologically unstable and damaged people are in the positions of the most power. And … [Read more...]

Who is Dreaming

"As awareness starts to move beyond the boundaries of the conditioned personality structure, this expansion inevitably challenges that structure, flushing out old, subconscious, reactive patterns that often emerge with a vengeance. Traditional religions used to describe these obstacles and attacks along the path in terms of demons or devils.” John Welwood. (Toward a Psychology of Awakening) "But disease is not simply disequilibrium or discordance; it is, and perhaps most important, an effort on the part of nature to effect a new equilibrium in man. Disease is a generalized reaction designed to bring about a cure; the organism develops a disease in order to get well." Georges Canguilhem … [Read more...]

The Perennial Shadow

“Experience teaches us that even when one hears the doorbell ring it is because there is never anyone there.” Eugene Ionesco (The Bald Soprano) "Verily, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a scientific man to pass through a door." Walter Benjamin (Letter to Gerhard Scholem, 1938) "That which is not manifest is much more vast than that which is manifest. The invisible is greater than the visible. So it is also for language…. Only because language casts a shadow both much vaster than itself, and inaccessible, does the spoken word hold and renew such magic." Roberto Calasso (Baudelaire) There is a new film version of King Lear due out. I saw the … [Read more...]

Your Call is Important to Us

"...this situation is highly volatile, because those in the periphery are increasingly aware that the prosperity of the core is purchased at their expense. ” Morris Berman (Twilight of American Culture) “What is the use of free expression to people so frightened of the future that they prefer the comforts of the authoritative lie? ” Lewis H. Lapham. (Age of Folly). "Hence the disappearance of the maxim and the proverb, which were the guise in which experience stood as authority. The slogan, which has replaced them, is the proverb of humankind to whom experience is lost." Giorgio Agamben (Infancy and History) "It is the loss of control of the self over the self-object that leads … [Read more...]

A Thousand Distastes (part one)

"...taste is made of a thousand distastes." Paul Valery " actors make a demand of themselves that is just as counterfactual as it is binding, namely, to be the conscious shapers of societal structures and not merely entities that de facto produce them: that is, to have a steering influence on the construction, preservation or transformation of specific structures. This modern aspiration to control was first formulated by the Enlightenment. Its range and radicality are entirely alien to premodern societies. It is especially, though not exclusively, manifest in measures of political steering." Uwe Schimank "The immediate future of the United States seems to me to have two … [Read more...]

Frankenstein’s Shadow

"In Europe as well as the United States, the erosion of industrial employment through wage arbitrage, outsourcing, and automation has gone hand in hand with the precaritization of service work, the digital industrialization of white-collar jobs, and the stagnation or decline of unionized public employment.” Mike Davis "The world of dreams is a living forest in which fantasy dwells in a state of riddle..." Salomon Resnik "The invention of perspectival representation made the eye the center of the perceptual world as well as of the concept of the self." Juhani Pallasmaa "The truth is that not only are we not Christians but we âre not so much as pagans, to whom the Christian … [Read more...]

The Health of Zombies

"Everything crucial comes into being only 'in spite'. . .. Every new truth comes into being in spite of the evidence: every new experience is acquired in spite of immediate experience." Gaston Bachelard "In German, Heidegger has the voice of what you might expect in a letter you would get at sleep-away-camp from grandma. Juxtapose “being at sleep-away-camp” with “being-in-the world” and an English monoglot starts to hone in on the sound of Heidegger in German without needing to study the grammar. If English translation didn’t provide Heidegger’s phrases with a densely arcane professionalism, as if it were a technical language, while he is being so down-home, it would be much less … [Read more...]

The Dying Light

..imitation supplements inadequate congenital variations in the direction of an instinct, and so, by keeping the creature alive, sets the trend of further variations in the same direction until the instinct is fully organized and congenital. If both of these views be true, as there seems reason to believe, then imitation holds a remarkable position in relation to intelligence and instinct. Karl Groos (The Play of Animals) "To my mind certain so-called abstraction is not abstraction at all. On the contrary, it is the realism of our time". Adolph Gottlieb “Like everything genuine, its inner life guarantees its truth.” Franz Marc “We’re developing a new citizenry. One that will be … [Read more...]