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Self-Reliance in the Age of Pandemics

Self-Reliance in the Age of Pandemics

Into the Wild, 2007. Directed by Sean Penn. Based on Into the Wild (1996), by Jon Krakauer.

It was never the case, at least not in the modern world. Outside a few. Outside a few lone souls, able to live on grass and berries. Able to hunt and gather, make their own shelters, their own clothes, treat themselves when they got sick. Pull their own teeth. Make and fix their own modest tools. Having next to no layers between themselves and the earth. Right there. Being there always. Right on top of the earth, like mother and child.

And they better be beyond lucky.… |To be Continued “Self-Reliance in the Age of Pandemics”

Integration at Four O’Clock

Integration at Four O’Clock

Bridge of Shadows

I wonder about the ideal all too often. I wonder if we were ever, as a species, supposed to attain something even close to an ideal. But that doesn’t stop me from wool-gathering, looking at clouds, staring at the darkness in my coffee cup, etc. That doesn’t stop me from questioning, endlessly, the way things are.

How should we raise our kids and ourselves? Because, of course, all the while we think we’re raising them, they’re raising us in a sense, too, and all the things surrounding us shape what we do, and are sometimes shaped by what we do, and so it goes, on and on and on.… |To be Continued “Integration at Four O’Clock”

Original Zen

Original Zen

I

Shadow Garden

When Einstein was asked
Do you believe in God?
He replied
I believe in Spinoza’s god

And who is that, one wonders?

All that is and ought to be
Now and forever
Blue waves without end
Stars and green mountains and red rivers

Dark roiling matter without end

II

The eternal reunions and disbursements of Nature
As it is and ought to be

Though we can’t see it
Blinded by this and that
Preset premade chain/anchor
On rational thought

III

Augustine poisoned us all
By saying we were all already poisoned
From conception on
By a toxin he felt and universalized

Save us from all individuals
Who seek to make their own experience
The law of the land
The world

 

 

The Impression of Peace

The Impression of Peace

Carcassonne. 2007. Photo by Douglas Pinson

It’s something we really don’t know much about at all. In our own lives. The absence of war. Even to the extent that we’re not involved, we see it elsewhere, hear about it, note its presence on the news, in books, in history, on film. It surrounds us, this absence, this lack of the presence of anything remotely akin to peace — again, whether or not we’ve ever experienced its opposite.

 

In. The. Air. It’s with us wherever we go. Perhaps it’s like the knowledge of an impending storm we know is ready to dump flotillas of hard rain on us from above.… |To be Continued “The Impression of Peace”

More From the Grand Hotel Abyss

More From the Grand Hotel Abyss

Some quick comments upon further reading . . .

The author brings in Kafka’s own battle with his father, as I thought he would, discussing both his famous letter to his father and his short story, The Judgment. And he makes the connection work well between this and the family dramas of the rest of the Frankfurt school. But he adds a fascinating twist. Jeffries talks about Eric Fromm’s interest in Bachofen:

“As an adult, Fromm became steeped in the work of the nineteenth-century Swiss Lutheran jurist Johan Jacob Bachofen, whose 1861 book Mother Right and the Origins of Religion provided the first challenge to the prevailing orthodoxy that patriarchal society represented a natural state of affairs, and thereby validated capitalism, oppression and male hegemony, as Fromm’s biographer Lawrence Friedman argues.… |To be Continued “More From the Grand Hotel Abyss”

Grand Hotel Abyss: by Stuart Jeffries

Grand Hotel Abyss: by Stuart Jeffries

Stuart Jeffries. 2016

Just beginning this already fascinating group biography of the Frankfurt School. The author, Stuart Jeffries, is sketching out the foundation for this group portrait, primarily through a concentration on one generation’s battle with the previous generation — mostly set in Berlin. I imagine that further reading will see this expand greatly, and that he won’t remain there, in “anxiety of influence” territory. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it would be reductive to base the amazing work of Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer and the rest of the critical theorists in this “school” solely on the clash of values between fathers and sons.… |To be Continued “Grand Hotel Abyss: by Stuart Jeffries”

Colors are Heroic.

Colors are Heroic.

Hieros Gamos, by Douglas Pinson. 1982/1983
Hieros Gamos, by Douglas Pinson. 1982/1983

When I was very young, I didn’t see this. I didn’t see the heroism of color, or the way we make colors ourselves, in our eyes, in our mind’s eye, or the bravery of Nature’s way, or its tremendous courage in painting as it does.

Yes, Nature paints, and that’s not just a Romantic notion. It’s not some pseudo-poetic way of describing the ineffable. It just paints. Nothing comes close to the skill set of Nature in regard to — well, everything, really. Especially shadows, colors, light, polarities of darkness and light. And nothing can reach its sublime power in making opposites cohere, mesh, harmonize, complement.… |To be Continued “Colors are Heroic.”

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