Thursday, March 29, 2018
A precarious humanism
Modernity concerned itself with building shelters, protections, guarantees, so it could push back the spectre of death. But now that the tempest has blown away our shelters, we begin to realise that the weak secularism of the modern age has only managed to put death between brackets. We have not learnt how to talk about death, and now death looks at us, contemptuous and sneering, from every corner of the social life. The precarious condition is naked against the cold, winds, hunger, violence. Precarity is bare life as exposed to the truth of death. There is no return from the precarious condition, because it reveals a truth that for too long we have been hiding from ourselves, and of which we are now finally aware. Death inscribes itself within the horizon of radical, autonomous, materialist thinking, because it is only by knowing the limit of our time and of our lives that we might be able to understand that which dialectic (idealist) communism has stopped us from seeing: that the winner wins nothing, and that the struggle for freedom is doomed to failure from the start. And that only in an aware state of autonomy from the awareness of the inevitable it is possible to live happily, and to die consciously, that is - freely.
Radical atheism begins again from scratch, looking at existence from the point of view of death.
Is this the sign of a political defeat?
Or is it perhaps the beginning of a precarious humanism, looking for a happy harmony with chaos?
— Franco Berardi Bifo (from Vanishing Modernity - his introduction to The Last Night : Anti-work, Atheism, Adventure by Frederico Campagna - Zero books 2013) PDF link
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Fascinating piece about the eccentric Australian writer Gerald Murnane in the NYT Magazine:
I become confused, or even distressed, whenever I find myself among streets or roads that are not arranged in a rectangular grid. … I have watched few films during my lifetime and hardly any in recent years. … I cannot recall having gone voluntarily into any art gallery or museum or building said to be of historic interest. I have never worn sunglasses. I have never learned to swim. I have never voluntarily immersed myself in any sea or stream. … I have never touched any button or switch or working part of any computer or fax machine or mobile telephone. I have never learned to operate any sort of camera. … In 1979 I taught myself to type using the index finger of my right hand alone. Since then, I have composed all my fiction and other writing using the finger just mentioned and one or another of my three manual typewriters.
Saturday, March 24, 2018
Monday, March 19, 2018
image : sabine grootendorst
Sunday, March 18, 2018
The miracle of Amsterdam
Ah old Europe. Last night thousands of people marched in silence to commemorate something that happened on March 15, 1345 : The Miracle of Amsterdam. In a house on the Kalverstraat a dying man vomited up the sacrament that was given to him as part of the last rites, landing in the fireplace. But lo! the next day it was found in the ashes of the fire, completely intact. A miracle! not an especially useful one but still, it was officially recognised as such by the church and each year, even when the apparent temperature is -15 due to the wind chill factor, people take to the streets and walk the same route that the pastor of the Oude Kerk walked after witnessing the miracle.
That’s what faith can do for you. At least it will get you out of the house.
Friday, March 16, 2018
hop along : laments (from get disowned - 2012)
Friday, March 9, 2018