Tag Archives: Silvestrov

A message from a Brain without Neurons

It is not that long ago I had a passionate death wish. People tell me it is a sign of ill health. I disagree. People focus too much on the ‘death’ part to the point of not noticing the ‘wish’ part. I wish everybody would wish something passionately. It is a sign of being alive.

Wishing is something you do alone (wish, don’t tell) but it is also for something you can’t do alone (I wish you would see that). It takes a brain but not a brain taken in isolation. So as long as a brain is not reduced to its neurons there are signs of intelligent life.

Death and life then are like anything interesting: a duality (intimately related, seemingly opposed). What value would life have without something external to it worth to die for? Seeing them as a dichotomy deadens life. Seeing them as aligned enlivens death.

Both options – capitalism and fascism respectively (think about it!) – are not to be wished for. It’s as if you want to fit a rubber band around a sphere. Either it snaps to the right or to the left. The end result is the same: no tension. Therefore: neither life nor death.

This is life. This is what we live. We can’t keep the rubber band in place without another – without one another. If we are brains, which most certainly we are, we are always also a brain without neurons. We can wish death as long as it means more life for others.

Let’s explore.

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L’élan vital

“Le mécanisme reprochera donc avec raison au finalisme son caractère anthropomorphique. Mais il ne s’aperçoit pas qu’il procède lui-même selon cette méthode, en la tronquant simplement. Sans doute il a fait table rase de la fin poursuivie ou du modèle idéal. Mais il veut, lui aussi, que la nature ait travaillé comme l’ouvrier humain, en assemblant des parties. (..)”,
H. Bergson, L’évolution créatrice, p. 90, Quadrige, Grands Texts, 1941.

[Amateuristic English translation below: “Mechanistic thought will, rightly, attack final causes for its antropomorphic character. But it doesn’t recognize that it proceeds following this same method, simply by leaving out a final cause. Without any doubt it makes tabula rasa with the objective sought after or with ideal models. But it wants, it as well, that nature works like the human worker, putting together piece parts.”

[Re-posted from The Old Site, original dd. 20-11-2009. This should be good.]

Going hard-core again. I apologize to those unwilling to dive deeply. It’s a ‘slippery slope’-mission which I’m about to embark upon. Nobody will be willing to wave the mechanistic flag but many will be willing to put anything – even remotely – Bergsonian out with the garbage of extraterrestrial, supernatural, or, extrasensory entities, or, beings, or causes. But, much worse than that (and here stoppeth the usual disclaimers because these religious bastards just won’t socially darwinize themselves into oblivion rapidly enough): the nut crew is all too happy to claim anything, knowing their own claims to be ludicrous.

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The Objective Problem (concerning The Truth of Christianity)

“And as for the relationship of the subject to the truth when he comes to know it, the assumption is that if only the truth is brought to light, its appropriation is a relatively unimportant matter, something which follows as a matter of course. And in any case, what happens to the individual is in the last analysis a matter of indifference. Herein lies the lofty equanimity of the scholar, and the comic thoughtlessness of his parrot-like echo.”
S. Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript, Princeton 1968, p. 24.

[Re-posted from The Old Site, original dd. 28-10-2009, oddly enough one of just a few Kierkegaard quotes (and a really bad quought)! I must already have been getting old ;-]

A friend of mine put my mind again on Kierkegaard. Although I won’t praise the lord for it, I’m thankful for reading him early on in my life. He cured me of many things (one of them trying to be too serious about anything for too long a time). Most notably he cured me of religious group-think (and, consequently but with quite a significant delay, of all and any religious – or with more modern terms: deep, sincere, authentic – sentiment (although not of sentiment as such, see later)). He also cured me of feeling compelled to what is commonly preferred sentence-wise: i.e. short sentences. And of the need to avoid starting sentences with the word “And”.

So I dug in. Continue reading

Secularism, Immanence, and the Philosophy of Religion

“We could say that the production of an end belongs to signification. Immanence itself is atelic, but the impossibility of escaping signification is simultaneously the impossibility of not producing ends (even though these ends may be revisable).” Daniel Coluccciello Barber, Chapter 7, p. 166 in ‘After the Postsecular and the Postmodern: New Essays in Continental Philosophy of Religion.’ edited by Anthony Paul Smith & Daniel Whistler, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010.

The great joy of being a non-academic is that one can compensate for the knowledge of never going to be discovered as an original thinker with the presumption of being an auto-didact who continually discovers original thought. There is a sense in which it is unavoidable to accept the challenge for giving ‘meaning’ to life, for providing either ‘a purpose’, or ‘a ground; in fine a sense in which it is unavoidable to turn to the religious. Being an auto-didact I can credibly maintain I so turned irrespective of the goings-on in the world of serious academics; having turned to the book quoted then is just sheer good luck.

But let me turn to the quote: Continue reading

la gaya scienza

“Ich wohne in meinem eigenen Haus,
Hab Niemanden nie nichts nachgemacht
Und – lachte noch jeden Meister aus,
Der nicht sich selber ausgelacht.”

Ueber meiner Hausthür.

F. Nietzsche, Die fröhliche Wissenschaft, Reclam, 2000, p. 5.

[Motto der Ausgabe 1887]

(amateuristic English translation: I live in my own house //have never copied anybody //And – sneered at every Big  ‘Master’, // who did not mock himself. [On top of the door of my house] – note: I don’t like Master which is why I  put ‘Big’ in front of it, not because I think that makes it better but because it makes explicit the awkwardness of ‘Master’)

Shorter Friedrich: I did it my way!

This is my house. I refuse to accept that it is a lesser house because it is a house unconnected to known houses. You can fuck off when you are looking for something that can give the comfort of a quality label. I know it’s the winners that pick the winners; whenever somebody well known mentions something, that something gets an aura of importance.

There is logic to this lack of madness. I will explore that logic below the fold (such that I can keep track of how many of you are interested in exploring this logic); just click the ‘Read More’.

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