Nunc Stans, or The Empty Future

"The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the "state of emergency" in which we live is not the exception but the rule. We must attain to a conception of history that is in keeping with this insight. Then we shall clearly realize that it is our task to bring about a real state of emergency, and this will improve our position in the struggle against Fascism. One reason why Fascism has a chance is that in the name of progress its opponents treat it as a historical norm." Walter Benjamin (Thesis on the Philosophy of History) “No less than any other religion, science organises and arranges its own structure through different forms and ranks. To its elaboration of a subtle and rigorous … [Read more...]

The Lost Initiate

"First, it should be noted that the death instinct was not introduced to account for the factor of destructiveness, as the later papers on culture and especially 'Civilization and Its Discontents' might lead us to believe, but to account for a set of facts which center around the compulsion to repeat." Paul Ricoeur (Freud & Philosophy) "The unseen suffers precisely from its continued nonappearance in any form and desires only access to a mode of appearance." Jean-Luc Marion (The Visible and the Revealed) "In one sense, the expropriation of experience was implicit in the founding project of modern science." Giorgio Agamben (Infancy and History) "This is why, in the paragraph on … [Read more...]

Ex Nihilo

"In order to further explain and/or defend our description, we in turn develop a story about what we believe is true. There is nothing wrong with storytelling. In fact, it is a very effective way of transferring ideas. If you stop and think, the way we communicate with each other is basically through a series of stories. Stories are open-ended and metaphorical rather than determinate." Ludwig Wittgenstein (Tractatus) “Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her, / Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams / And our desires.” Wallace Stevens (Sunday Morning) "European civilization is approaching the term of its existence..." Erich Auerbach (postscript to Mimesis) "There is no … [Read more...]

Xmas 2022; or the Artificial Oath

"Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death.” Ludwig Wittgenstein (Tractatus) "The mind that knows must of necessity have a past." Gaston Bachelard (The New Scientific Spirit) “ It is said that astronauts returning from space carry with them a changed perspective on the world, the “overview effect,” in which, having seen the Earth from above, they can fully perceive how fragile our little oasis is and how unified we ought to be as a species, as perhaps the only thinking beings in the cosmos.” Katie Mack (The End of Everything) There is a famous and often quoted remark of Einstein's that goes like this: *the distinction between past, present and future is … [Read more...]

The Shadow of the Golem

"The topic of religious, socioeconomic, and psychoanalytical fetishism concerns the concept of objects that stand in the place of a god, things that stand in the place of men, parts that stand in the place of the whole: that is to say, objects whose origin and sense of substitution have been lost or concealed." Alfonso Maurizio Iacono (The History and Theory of Fetishism) "Without wishing to detract from the grandeur of Pasteur's tenets, we can say without hesitation that the germ theory of contagious disease has certainly owed much of its success to the fact that it embodies an ontological represen­tation of sickness." Georges Canguilhem (The Normal and the Pathological) "The … [Read more...]

The Devil’s Theatre

"The idea that there is a gene for adventurousness, heart disease, obesity, religiosity, homosexuality, shyness, stupidity, or any other aspect of mind or body has no place on the platform of genetic discourse." Eva Jablonka & Marion J. Lamb (Evolution in Four Dimensions) “...progress’s first step is the enraged destruction of the discourse of progress.” Max Pensky (Contributions Toward a Theory of Storms) "Like all propagandists, the apostles of tolerance, truth to tell, are very often the most intolerant of men." Rene Guenon (East & West) "The Devil’s theaters are also centers for the mystics." Michel de Certeau (The Possession at Loudun) There is increasingly a quality of … [Read more...]

Empty Time

"The repeated attempts that have been made to improve humanity, and in particular to make it more peaceable, have failed, because nobody has understood the full depth and vigour of the instincts of aggression innate in each individual. Such efforts do not seek to do more than encourage the positive, well wishing impulses of the person while denying or suppressing his aggressive ones." Melanie Klein (The Early Development of Conscience in the Child) "Finally... there results the generally acclaimed 'popularization' science. This is the notorious tailoring of science's coat for the figure of a 'mixed public,' to use a tailor-like activity for a tailor-like German (sic!)." Friedrich … [Read more...]

The Essential is Missing

“I wish I could count up to one without first cutting off nine of my fingers” Bill Knott (Stumped, from Collected Poems) "...his { Freud's} creation, psychoanalysis, made an incontrovertible contribution to the radical avant-garde that was transforming almost every realm of European culture. Indeed, 'The Interpretation of Dreams' and 'Ulysses' are cut from the same cloth." Joel Whitebook (The Marriage of Marx and Freud: Psychoanalysis and the Frankfurt School) "It is our occidental idea of art that has caused us to lose culture...To our inert and disinterested idea of art an authentic culture opposes a violently egoistic and magical, i.e., interested idea.'' Antonin Artaud … [Read more...]