A Thousand Distastes (part one)

Götz Diergarten, photography.

“…taste is made of a thousand distastes.”
Paul Valery

“…social 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 looming prospects, both gloomy. If the powers-that-be proceeds as stupidly, timidly and ‘politically’ as they have been doing, there will be a bad breakdown and the upsurge of a know-nothing fascism of the Right.( ) The other prospect — which, to be frank, seems to me to be the goal of the school-monks themselves — is a progressive regimentation and brainwashing, on scientific principles, directly toward a fascism of the Center. 1984. Certainly this is not anybody’s deliberate purpose; but given the maturing of automation and the present dominance of the automating spirit in schooling, so that all of life becomes geared to the automatic system, that is where we will land.”
Paul Goodman (Compulsory Miseducation, 1964)

Wilhelm Sasnal

I’m not sure many people read Paul Goodman much anymore. And that isn’t surprising, and there are even good reasons for not reading much of his work. But there are also a lot of reasons he deserves to be read, especially regards education. And he points out, and this is 1964 mind you, compulsory education may have seemed perfectly logical at some point, an idea that grew out of the Enlightenment, and one that seemed necessary for anything resembling an informed citizenry. But it is now an idea of increasingly vagueness. {sidebar…if anyone ever makes a film of Goodman’s life, I nominate Peter Coyote to play Goodman}.

“Everybody had to become literate and study history, in order to make constitutional innovations and be fired to defend free institutions, which was presumably the moral that history taught. And those of good parts were to study a technological natural , in order to make inventions and produce useful goods for the new country. By contrast, what are the citizenly reasons for which we compel everybody to be literate, etc.! To keep the economy expanding, to understand the mass communications, to choose between indistinguishable Democrats and Republicans. Planning and decision-making are lodged in top managers; rarely, and at most, the electorate serves as a pressure group.”
Paul Goodman

Michael McMillen

After the civil war the growth of immigration and of industrialization altered the idea of *what* should be taught. In 1900 after all only 6% of the US populace went to high school. But after the tide of immigration came notions of teaching a uniform grammar, a set of vague but also uniform values, and in general creating a more efficient work force. The elite didn’t factor into this thinking because they were to attend private and presumably better schools to learn how to be more effective overlords.

Of course there were no real values taught beyond obedience. And even in the sixties Goodman was pointing out the valorizing of technology as both saviour of society, and proof of this idea of progress. There is a lot to say about the evolution of education and I will return to this below, but more interesting (because much of the education critique is well known and comprehensively analysed) is this idea of a future. Or, rather, that institutions are predicated upon a sort of tacit understanding that everyone shares (or everyone is supposed to share) about building or steering toward this future or helping to shape and create this future.

“We had always expected one of the beneficent results of economic affluence to be a tranquil and harmonious manner of life, a life in Arcadia.”
Staffan B. Lindnar

Camilo Jose Vergara, photography.

Technology was to lead to this new Arcadia. It is still this slightly ossified Christian fable of just deserts that animates much of the adoration of figures like Elon Musk and Steve Jobs. Hartmut Rosa noted in his book Social Acceleration that a lead story from Life magazine (1964) warned… “Americans Now Face a Glut of Leisure—The Task Ahead: How to Take Life Easy.”

Often, when one complains or criticizes the state of Western society, one will hear that ‘oh it’s always been like that’, or ‘thats how capitalism is’, etc. And this is both true, but more it’s really not true. The early 20th century and on into the middle of that century saw enormous devastation and death, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There is no question of the barbarism of the West over the last hundred and twenty years. But today the physical world we live in is far more toxic, more inimical to life and pleasure, and certainly more psychically damaging. There is less and less beauty in the landscape, and there is more and more mental pressure and more and more psychological pain. I cannot imagine that anyone thinks this is not so. From very bad to almost impossible to imagine bad. That is the road travelled.

Camilo Jose Vegara, photography.

The idea of moving (or running) toward a goal is no longer a given. All that most people believe is that we are running. And mostly it seems humanity is running away now, not running toward.

Camilo Jose Vegara is one of the great living photographers and the foremost chronicler of America’s devastated landscape. It is worth looking at his work here…http://www.americansuburbx.com/2010/06/theory-new-american-ghetto-1991.html

“…people become accustomed to subordinating momentary inclinations to the overriding necessities of interdependence; it trains them to eliminate all irregularities from behavior and to achieve permanent self-control.”
Norbert Elias

This running away is linked with what Elias describes above: the momentary subordination of inclination. Except it no longer really has to do with interdependence. It is no longer even that rational. For in the mid 20th century people were still psychologically tied to this future idea. I would argue that is no longer the case. There is less and less sense of being tied to anything that suggests a destination. There is still a mythology of goal orientation, but it cannot bear much real reflection – the weight of reality simply causes such projections to disintegrate. Godbey and Robinson in a study on the experience of time in contemporary society conclude with the idea that we are starved for time. That there is a material empirical scarcity of time. Harmut quotes them …“starving for time does not result in death, but rather, as ancient Athenian philosophers observed, in never beginning to live.”

A young Philip K. Dick

Jonathan Crary, who I have quoted numerous times, touches on this sense of yearning, at least momentarily, for emotional satiety in a society of irrational velocity, and Crary quotes Philip K. Dick (as does Hartmut, unsurprisingly) from the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, where the protagonist sees a live raccoon (the first live animal he has ever seen) and is filled with despair. As Crary says, it is this quality of mental fatigue that comes from living “within a reality undergoing continual cancellation and demolition.”

But…what Harmut writes….“My guiding heuristic hypothesis here is that the acceleration that is a constitutive part of modernity crosses a critical threshold in “ late modernity ” beyond which the demand for societal synchronization and social integration can no longer be met.” This seems very much the point at which we have arrived {sic}. The social is taking place on screens for one thing. And there is less and less to actually be integrated with. The dismantling of community organizations, unions, and other meeting places has been a conscious decision by the ruling class in the West. The only acceptable sense of belonging occurs at gyms or spas. The places where one is working on self improvement. Even hobbies are in decline. Leisure, as Marcuse and Adorno both noted, increasingly resembles work. It is the pantomime of work. And self improvement must be in isolation. It is a private affair. And most people, even though such activities are encouraged the self help industry, are also cast in a light of potential shame. AA meetings are the terminus for leisure, a sort of pride in failure unity — one designed to discourage actual organizing. They are the moral gymnasiums for the confessional athlete.

James Edward Deeds (courtesty of Hyperallergic).

One aspect of this idea of acceleration is related to culture — which on the face of it is rather obvious. But it is, even if obvious on a superficial level, not at all clear on both a political level and a psychic one. I somehow always end up approaching discussions of this sort from an aesthetic position. And there is something in mass culture today, in screen narratives, both TV and film, but also in the growing and seemingly endless amount of personal shared videos that crop up on social media (and elsewhere) that is mirroring the moral texture of the 21st century (and I take that term from an old description Mike Davis had of James Ellroy….which I remember because I have always so disliked Ellroy. Davis said of Ellroy’s prose…“there is no light left to cast shadows and evil becomes a forensic banality. The result feels very much like the actual moral texture of the Reagan-Bush era.”)

And the idea of a *future* is one that is inescapable when discussing a psychology of late LATE modernism, or maybe late post modernism. These are pretty meaningless terms, in the same way one reads statistics of the wealth of the very rich. There was a meme about Jeff Bezos that suggested when he bought the Washington Post it only cost him about what he makes in a few days. But such numbers are meaningless. Jeff Bezos isn’t making money the way a janitor is making money when he collects his paycheck at the end of the week, or month, or whatever. Bezos owns the people who slave for him, and he owns the attention of millions of others, and he owns these things in ways other than conventional ownership. The future was always imagined as a place or state of being in a position along some continuum that moved forward. This continuum was an aspect of progress. Bezos (and Gates and Larry Ellison and Larry Page, and the Koch Brothers et al) are the singularity for ideas of traditional wealth and are each literally and symbolically, vampires. They are the end game for that idea of a future.

Tina Barney, photography.

What Mike Davis read in Ellroy is exactly what one reads in the images of Marvel Comix screen adaptations, or in the late night comedy/news of Colbert or in the HBO humour branding of Lena Dunham. It is a world in which there is no air, no space, no space or time in which the experience of this work can take place. Audiences are being conditioned to accept as normal a presentation of reality in which not only are ideas of character erased, and story with it, but in which a kind of psychic teflon effect is taking place. The social exclusion of most high end architecture is recreated in digital form. Digitalized images of psychic and emotional exclusion, coupled to a constant repetitive mantra coercing the subordinating that Elias wrote of a half century ago. And it is interesting that screen image technology has hewn to this societal (economic, political, psychic) shift by finding ways to make images appear ever more precise and sterile. It is a kind of emotional decontamination. The default setting on most new TVs opts for the so called *soap opera* effect, or motion interpolation or motion smoothing technology. But it is really just that most (and there are people who claim its just bad laser processing) high definition image looks as if foreground and background are de-linked, and all of it gives visual cues for *not grainy*, which is only a substitute sort of image to replace what is perceived as graininess. I’m not nor do I pretend to be a technical expert, but the motion interpolation is really just high processing rate serving as a kind of computer guess as to what would have been between the frames of the original. A visual auto-correct. LCD screens have trouble with motion blurring, apparently. But the end solution is always to make the image appear as if from that future nobody actually believes in. An artificiality is injected into the presentation. Anyway, the blue laser image is one that lacks what the Cahier critics saw as mise-en-scene. I would hazard a guess that Godard hates it.

Ahmad Zakii Anwar

Perhaps the blue laser high definition image is reification become flat screen logos or something. The sanitized crystalline or, really, almost porcelain quality of TV product, both in writing and digital image, in acting — motion smoothing as emotion smoothing. The metaphors are all there, built in.

Axel Honneth, writing of Weimar Germany in the 20s…” Social relationships increasingly reflected a climate of cold, calculating purposefulness; artisans’ loving care for their creations appeared to have given way to an attitude of mere instrumental command; and even the subject’s innermost experiences seemed to be infused with the icy breath of calculating compliance. “

Boris Mikhailov, photography.

I wrote several times about childhood development, and I am reminded again, reading Honneth, that everyone from Piaget to Freud to Klein accepts that some phase of development includes a decentering of identity. That the child takes on the identity of another … a nuturing other in ideal situations. The child tests reality as it were from a borrowed p.o.v.

And it is in here that some see a suggestion that relates to autism, which some investigators see as somehow lacking this borrowed phase of testing. And that perhaps emotional connection, if insufficient, derails the child’s reality test (note that there are some writers and physicians who sees links between autism and screen habituation. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-fallible-mind/201706/there-is-new-link-between-screen-time-and-autism and Leonard Oestreicher’s book The Pied Piper of Autism).

The caregiver, eyes wandering to their own screens, texting, watching shows, etc. cause altered brain activity in infants who search for the privileged face. But I digress. The point here is that reification, a popular theoretical construct in the first half of the 20th century, is today rather passé. Honneth’s essay on reification insists that empathy or recognition precedes cognition. In other words somewhere in our early mental formation some of the first mimetic relationships — constitute (per Adorno, actually) an ideal ur-love. And this idea means that the decentering process of reality testing would include mimetic behavior, and that this empathic, even if only slight, action is the first activity that gives meaning to the world. The child imitates, from a borrowed p.o.v. (thought not always, or not always completely) and experiences the significance of this special empathetic moment or sequences of experience (repeatable) and hence finds meaning. Now, this is shorthand, and it should be noted that Klein isn’t really saying this, or not so simply, and as Honneth notes, John Dewey had a version of this, and even Heidegger. But for all of them there was no elemental empathy, but only elemental alienation, or de-personalization.

Marcos Grigorian

“This devotion to (or, as Adorno states in psychoanalytical terms, this “libidinal cathexis” of objects) is what allows children to place themselves in the perspective of another in such a way that they can acquire a broader and ultimately depersonalized conception of reality.”
Axel Honneth

Primordial caring or training in depersonalization.

“I might say here that the reason‘I know you are in pain’ is not an expression of certainty is that it is a response to this exhibiting; it is an expression of sympathy.”
Stanley Cavell

This is germane, too, and Honneth discusses it. For here, whatever one means by sympathy, it strikes me as even more vague than an ur-empathy, I tend toward a belief that all of this is hardly unshakable or momentous. It is a kind of fleeting wonder, if that, for the child. And depending on the child, this sort of de-centered subject is more significantly affected by the experience of de-cenetering, rather than the point of view it achieves. The de-centering is itself formative. When Cavell (and others, such as Dewey and Honneth) suggest that acknowledgement precedes cognition, they seem to be eliding something about acknowledgement and what that constitutes. Honneth is saying, and Cavell, too, that this acknowledgement is a prerequisite for linguistic development. I’m not sure that it is. The child recognizes *something*, but what that something is can hardly be universal. The mimetic may indeed be linked to something of an empathetic nature, but it remains rather vague. I am only taking issue with this in the sense that all of this occurs on a pre-linguistic level and while a lack in response from the parenting figure is clearly experienced negatively, the sufficient response, the reliable response, is not imparting more than a kind of absence of fear. The world is tested through a borrowed perspective and the child learns certain things that such tests can be counted on (or not) to provide either anxiety or lack of anxiety.

Jitka Hanzlová

Reification then is something (if one follows Lukacs) like an indifference not just to others but to ourselves. And this is the germane issue if we return to a society of acceleration. We become neutral spectators to ourselves. Except neutral is a fiction, a kind of later register of de-centering. And this has aesthetic implications in our motion smoothed emotionally reified daily life, and in the macro-political world where dislocations of meaning are now the new normal.

And just to backtrack a moment; but the quality of digital screen image today is always suggestive (and this is true of much CGI image) of a futuristic hyper clean and bloodless world. Others will see it in different terms, but I think nearly everyone notices *it*. This odd quality of the artificial. And I am reminded of a recent nature show that focused on deep sea sharks. Sharks that live at the very bottom of the deepest part of the ocean. Sharks nobody knew existed. And these sharks resemble the nightmare drawings of Bosch and other pre modern artists. It is almost as if our unconscious were tied into the bottom of the Marianas Trench. Goblin sharks and various Stomiiformes (viper fish, and loose jaws), anglerfish and frilled sharks — they all seem archetypal images of fear and death. And all are located far out of sight, and in very deep water at the ocean’s floor. I have no conclusion to draw from this except that an unspoken trend to sanitize can be seen in terms of repression, and of economic forces and projections, both. But it also suggests the layers of associations the individual and society interact with, and how our irrational fears and terror seem manifest in the darkest corners of the planet just as they live in the darkest corners of our unconscious. It is, whatever perfectly rational explanation one may have for these intuited images, a strangely uncanny fact.

Steve Mennie

Hollywood, too, instinctively turns to deep water fish and sharks for inspiration. As I say, I have no punchline for this. But one thing that Benjamin saw — and saw it most clearly in the function of ‘quotation ‘, was an erasing of the past, the demolition of historical context.

“The reproduction of the dissolution of transmissibility in the experience of shock becomes, then, the last possible source of meaning and value for things themselves, and art becomes the last tie connecting man to his past. The survival of the past in the imponderable instant of aesthetic epiphany is, in the final analysis, the alienation effected by the work of art, and this alienation is in its turn nothing other than the measure of the destruction of its transmissibility, that is, of tradition.”
Giorgio Agamben
The Man Without Content

But to return to reification, and a society of hyper velocity and to a society of the absent reliable. Adorno critiqued reification when he critiqued Heidegger. And Heidegger was critiquing Lukács. Adorno early on saw the problem with Heidegger (besides, being, you know, a Nazi) was that he kept kicking the ontological can down the road. Or, you can use the metaphor of shifting the goalposts — which might be more correct for this posting.

Verne Dawson

“In Negative Dialectics, Adorno conjoins a philosophical critique of Heidegger’s failure to break free of consciousness with an ideological critique of the way that Heidegger’s philosophy serves the contemporary needs of mass society. Seen as an ideological palliative, existential ontology serves as a complement to the “primitive wish fulfillments [that] that culture- industry feeds the masses.” Much like the wish fulfillments of the culture industry, however, the solace existentialism provides is merely an ersatz for a genuine fulfillment that would actually respond to present desires. “
Peter E. Gordon

And it is within an understanding of of the concept of reification that recognizing the Heideggerian kitsch mythos of origin is very cogent — and that Hollywood, in everything from Avatar to Birdman, from The Shape of Water to Phantom Thread, is indulging this same mythos in different registers. Adorno, of course, saw all existential phenomenology, certainly Heidegger’s, as complicit with Capitalism. The society of mass conformity, what Adorno often called *invariance*, is apologized for by a philosophy that retreats, finally, to positions of kitsch religiosity.

Bernard Fuchs, photography.

“Existential ontology, then, holds out and then betrays its promise of release; it articulates in rarefied form the same dream of solidity that the culture industry extends to the masses in commodified form. Existential ontology speaks the very same language of concreteness, but it then deceives the consumer by landing itself back in the same abstraction of subjective meaning from which it promised escape. “
Peter E. Gordon

This commodified dream is changing, however. Existential, at least Heideggerian existentialism, is a kind of mythology of sacred origins, but labeled as authenticity and as lost. For the issue of what is changing, I would say, reification is worth pursuing a bit further. For any self help idealism that promises some special improved version of self, now sanctified by some process (self administered, at a price) to grant authenticity. It is the fantasy of some special inwardness. But a fantasy that simultaneously denies the transcendent syntheses of art and culture — and the individuals role as a member of that society. Heidegger was in the end of volkish faux peasant performer in style and substance both. This particular dynamic of faux simple authentic is peddled by Hollywood almost every day. In that sense, and that alone, Heidegger is not unlike Slavoj Zizek, with the glaring difference that Heidegger could often be brilliant.

France Scully Osterman, photography (Collodian print).

“We have seen that the progressive education of the early twentieth century shared this belief in the scientific ethic and added to it the great modern issue: how to be at home in the
modern environment which has, willy-nilly, become overwhelmingly industrial and technological. In this country, Dewey was a leader in the struggle to secure for science a big place in education. Yet by 1916, Dewey spoke of his ‘painful’ disappointment in the fruits of the scientific curriculum; it had not paid off in life-values, but had become scholastic and arid. And we know that in his last period, he estimated more and more highly the experience and structured emotion of art. “

Paul Goodman

Rhondal McKinney, photography.

The critique Adorno furnishes in Negative Dialectics is directed at Heidegger and it is inextricably intertwined with the concept of reification. And I would argue that this is why it is worth tracing the outlines, at least, of what Adorno finds so distasteful in Heidegger. And it is something both Peter Gordon and Honneth try to elucidate, and something that a vast number of other writers and critical theorists have tried to understand. And not just understand but to apply in terms that address the ensuing sixty years of Capital and the society of mass spectacle and human enslavement.

Gordon touches on a very late lecture of Adorno’s, only a few years before his death, in which he again discusses Kierkegaard. Adorno had not written of Kierkegaard for many decades and in this lecture Adorno writes…“Against the objectification and socialization of all relations among humanity in the hundred years since his death, the position of the individual, to which [Kierkegaard] ascribed the highest value, has proven itself a refuge from the ruling firms that are hostile to individual determination and degrade every one to his role.”

It is a telling couple of sentences, and it is part of the analysis of reification. For Adorno’s version of Kierkegaard is one that despises any reconciliation with the prevailing order of ‘being-for-others’ that is bourgeois society, and an antipathy (Adorno’s word) toward the idea of progress. Adorno was well aware of his own class and training, and part of his contempt for Heidegger sprung from his own sense of guilt and his own failure to find the key that unlocked the disenchantment of the concept. As a student said at his graveside service (he died in the summer of 1969, the year I graduated high school), Adorno was endlessly and uncompromisingly critical of bourgeois society, “but he was caught in its ruins”. Adorno sought a path to materialism, but saw that it must pass through a critique of the dialectic of subject/object. In Heidegger he saw the subjective become the sole predication for feigning a rejection of subjectivity…

“In posing the question as to the meaning of Being (a question that interrogates the human being as the privileged site of ontological understanding), Heidegger does not break free of traditional subjectivity however much this may have been his stated purpose. On the contrary, he confirms the dominance of the subject over the object to such a degree as to make the subject’s own understanding of Being the very condition for the disclosure of the world at all.”
Peter E. Gordon

Choi Byung So

Adorno sought something not internal to the concept, to conceptuality — beyond the concept in the non-conceptual, in whatever it is that is non-identical. I hope in part two of this post to delve further into this particular branch of his philosophy, but for now, sticking to reification and to the implications in contemporary hyper accelerated society, a society of numbness and one in which reification has morphed into something even more sinister and lethal.

“…there is a problem that social theorists and philosophers tend to overlook. Winnicott, a pediatrician and psychoanalyst, argued in a series of marvelous papers in the 1950s and ‘60s that part of what it is for children to develop their capacity for recognition is to develop their capacity to hate. As the infant increasingly comes to recognize that Mommy is herself an agent with her own desires and projects, the infant has an ever-increasing basis for being angry at her, for thinking of ways to manipulate her, punish her, and otherwise bring her under his control.”
Jonathan Lear

Danny Lyon, photography ( Yuma, 1962).

Honneth is, finally, overdetermining the word *recognition*. But never mind that, for as I suggested above the ideas Honneth presents in his discussion of reification seem to imply far too little plasticity in the infant mind. Even young children, very early on, come to understand certain strategies that their parents may be using, and they also come to ‘recognize’ that there is something called *intelligence*. And that any interiority is mediated by this intelligence thing.

The contemporary parent is almost necessarily going to be distracted in new ways, and probably to far greater extent than one from a hundred or five hundred years ago. And this is not just screen addictions, but it is the calamitous economic coercion of life in the West today. Bourgeois interiority is adrift in reified forms of structural violence — and the disenchantment Adorno wrote of has taken on an acute virulence, and I will wrap this up with thoughts about artworks as they function (or not) in the world today. Adorno said of Kafka that he saw hell from the perspective of salvation.

Paz Errazuriz, photography.

“Adorno makes the further observation that Kafka “represents a photograph of our earthly life from the perspective of a redeemed life.” Adorno goes on to elucidate this striking claim with an unusual metaphor: what ever it is that Kafka may consider “redeemed life,” it is something that does not show itself directly and with positive content. It is revealed instead as nothing more than “the edge of a black cloth” (most likely a reference to the covering which hides the photographer) while “the terrifying distanced optics of the photographic image [die grauenvoll verschobene Optik] is none other than that of the obliquely angled camera itself.”
Peter E. Gordon

And while Honneth discusses, with justification, the nature of autism today, Jonathan Lear in his sort rebuttal (if its that) mentions, persuasively the role of narcissism today. For the narcissist makes no ontological mistake. As Lear notes…

“But if I am a talented narcissist, and I really do want to get this other person up and running in my direction, I will take her humanity into account. I will realize that I’m dealing with a different ontological realm than I am when I’m dealing with my car. I may pay close attention to this other person’s desires, hopes, and projects. I may have become very good at recognizing the distinctive humanity of others because I want to use them!”

Christian Schad

There is clearly a deficit developmentally, but the narcissist may have compensated in hugely effective ways. The narcissist recognizes, but has probably never had a need for an empathic layer of meaning. As Marcuse noted once, the big fish eating the small if perfectly natural — except to the small fish. A society which not only normalizes narcissism, but rewards it, is one which will, as generations pass, create new meanings for narcissistic perspectives. Hollywood is a perfect exemplar for the creation of a kind of howling ego of self involvement that is described as its opposite, often. The entire entertainment industry runs on a kind of distorted pathology of indifference to suffering. Emotion smoothing — the auto correct in visuality is based on the economic management and reduction of sympathy. A certain kind of unreality limits engagement, and, well, recognition.

Lear adds….“To recognize anything as development, one needs a conception of a goal (or telos) that the development is developing toward.” Right, there is that future, again. One in which everyone can be Jeff Bezos. But a society in which people unconsciously run from such ideas, even if they believe otherwise, is one in which predatory strategies need no alibi. The idea of moving forward toward some undefinable goal is very deeply embedded, but lost all efficacy long ago. It remains as one of the conceptual ruins that bourgeois ideology lives within, like an itinerant vagrant.

August Sander, photography.

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  1. John steppling says:

    Is your kid friends with Alexa? A psychologist on what that means for their development https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/your-kid-friends-alexa-psychologist-what-means-their-development-ncna896576

  2. carlo parcelli says:

    “Heidegger is not unlike Slavoj Zizek, with the glaring difference that Heidegger could often be brilliant.” Thank you for this. I couldn’t agree more about the Zizek part at any rate. Yes, we all live as though in front of a green screen with backdrops both not of our choosing and anchored in our delusions.

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