Let’s Think About Sex (A Prolegomena To Discerning Any Future Acts of Fucking from Perversion) Monday, Aug 11 2014 

(1)

Sexual intercourse began/In nineteen sixty-three/(which was rather late for me)/Between the end of the Chatterley ban/And the Beatles’ first LP*

“Sexual intercourse” may have properly begun in 1963 but thinkers have been tackling variations on a theme of sex–making love, fucking, perversion–for at least two and a half millennia. Everyone has something to say about sex. Psychologists analyze it, social scientists map it, theologians moralize it…but what can philosophy offer? Philosophy is interested in the generality of the human condition and understanding what it is to be homo sapiens in the most comprehensive terms–self consciousness, rationality and other broad distinguishing features that characterize our all too human condition and also fill this condition with problems. Therefore philosophy is the most ideal forum to engage SEX, which affects (afflicts?) us all whether we have it or not. One might even venture as far to say that the philosophical preoccupation for nuancing understanding and a natural analytical sensitivity–intuitiveness–make Philosophers greater lovers. Surely a “daisy chain” metaphor about Socrates/Plato/Aristotle would resonate not only philosophically but historically, biographically and pornographically…

(2)

Plato was the first really to take sex seriously in the philosophical tradition and for him it was the most fundamental aspect of the human condition: the thing about which there were the most problems to solve and concerning the solution of which there was the most interesting of all metaphysical outcomes. Although psychology proves most relevant as regards human sexuality, inevitably, because it is relevant to the philosophy of mind, it produces a lot of the empirical input from which the philosophical argument should depart. The philosophical approach begins from understanding intentionality in sexual desire; what is it that we want? This is a problematic question because it means understanding how sexual desire is directed towards the world as such. Let me begin by saying that the mechanics of any desiring is elusive to BOTH sexes…men have no idea what they want as much as women don’t; this is how a show like Queer Eye For The Straight Guy was able to have the success it did for five seasons. (Later shortening the name to Queer Eye, no doubt after realizing that cluelessness was the privilege of both sexes and all sexualities.)

(3)

Sexual desire typically occurs in the presence of two people, which is a paradigm case of sexual interaction, though there are solo and multiple possibilities as well. I would describe the normative human progress of sexual desiring as possessing an individualizing intentionality. That is to say, I desire (fantasies aside) another person as the person he or she is… This is not the case with animals; they have sexual instincts and sexual pleasures and they pursue them but they do not have desire for the other individual in that way, partly because they don’t have the concept of the individual. They do not desire the other individuated personality nor that personality’s desiring. This is the best way to understand how I am using “normal” to characterize socialized status quo as distinct from “natural”, which is NOT how the human species tends to conduct sexual activity.

(4)

Once I have set out to run this course of desiring another individual there are all manner of obstacles encountered and not a little unclarity as to what it is I truly want to do with that other person. There are many moods of adult desiring where one is like a child again; you can desire somebody without having the first desire to perform the sexual act. Indeed Plato thought that, in the normal case, we are under an obligation to somehow transcend that carnal appetite and unite with the other person in a completely different way. I do not know that this is normal; but I do think the normal course of sexual desire does involve some Platonic courtship, followed by an eventual soliciting of consent from the other as an individual to oneself as an individual so that when the promise is consummated it is in the way of a mutual possession where each gives himself to the other. This is something that does not always occur…yet if we define normality in that way, it helps us get a handle on the moral essence of the thing.

Sex, however adventurous, demands some measure of moral restraint…without which we are no longer having sex but tempting the act of rape.

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Reciprocity and non-transferability are the promise of a normal sexual relationship. What I am offering the other person is not something I could equally bestow on someone else but offered to him as he is for himself, not as someone that I regard as a means to the satisfaction of… All involved parties are acutely aware of this possibility for transferability but the act is performed under a veil of faith that this act is a self-giving which is uniquely focused on that person. In contrast, animals having sex are not thinking about the nature of the act. Sex for animals is not a relation between one animal and another–not even animals that mate for life, like eagles or wolves or swans. It is a performance which alter conditions for both of them but it isn’t a relation-forming device. This is why bestiality is one of the purest forms of perversions. Human beings can never hope to achieve the sexual connectedness with animals that we forge with one another. The most debased and dehumanizing human-to-human sexual perversion has greater emotional possibilities than any human-to-animal.

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One way of examining this consensual giving of self is to think about what happens when sexual desire becomes perverted from its normal course. We all have concepts or ideas about perversion, to the extent that we have an idea of normality. The idea I have just given of normality is obviously rooted in a particular tradition and like every version of normality you can easily find other communities that don’t see it in that way. But all communities do seem to have this idea that there is a normal course of desiring and very particular ways of deviating from it.

(7a)

The principal idea of perversion that we have inherited is one in which that individualizing non-transferable intentionality has been set aside. For example, it is not the other personhood that is the point of interest but the sexual organs regarded as impersonal attributes that could be put on offer from anybody to anybody, e.g. libertines and sluts/”nymphomaniacs”; or seeking out immature persons who are not fully responsible self-giving beings yet, pedophiles; or molesting dead persons, as in necrophilia. These are standard templates of human-on-human perversion. Bestiality, fetishism and bondage move us out of the human-on-human realm, even when humans are involved, for the Object/Animal is the focus of desiring…the human is merely a mechanical stimulus to give it reason, expendable and largely interchangeable…like batteries.

(7b)

Someone might freely choose to live a life in perversio; they might choose an inanimate object to satiate their urges. Someone may own a very realistic love doll that becomes the focus of all their sexual attention…however perverse certainly it can be said this is a relatively innocent mania. Perhaps they are less likely to harm others and vent their frustrated sexual appetites on people who will not consent to their whimsy. There are all kinds of therapeutic reasons for endorsing this behavior but the sexual content is purely masturbatory.

(8a)

With masturbation there is not the possibility of human reciprocity and so it cannot be genuinely (intimately) individualized, but I would be hard-pressed to think of masturbation as a perversion–barring of course pathological and chronic cases. This is an interesting fine line to tread because we do live in an increasingly masturbatory culture encouraged by unrestricted access to pornographic content and the increasing difficulty people have in making genuine outgoing gestures towards others and establishing sincere sexual relations…having been raised in an unintimately-overshared-fully-disclosed-cybersexual-quickie media culture. (Sometimes rubbing one out on your 15-minute break is the only way to keep shit in perspective.) One can call it a perversion for reasons of possible dysfunctional programming but I would hardly seat even the Chronic Masturbator next to the Pedophile or Necrophiliac at the Banquet of Perversions.

(8b)

There are harmful and harmless perversions, there are things which destroy the possibility of human relationships and full sexual fulfillment and things that do not and there is a big debate about where masturbation stands on that spectrum. Everyone does it at some stage in their life. Most people get beyond it or manage to mature into full human sexual interrelatedness, relegating the act to rare encounters with aloneness. But if it becomes addictive, Onanist beware! What we do or do not do to others is not the whole of morality. What we do to ourselves is the launchpad of morality. For Aristotle the primary focus of morality was the acquisition of virtue: being the fulfilled human being which it is in our rational nature to become. And Aristotle was right, that is the basis of moral thinking in the end. And sex is part of that fulfilling of the self because it is also part of the giving of the self. This raises a questioning brow concerning the personal fulfillment of individuals who commit to a masturbatory life.

(8c)

<“How do avatars have sex?”> <“Same way as humans do, except it’s just animated.”>**

Then it is not sex, albeit potentially masturbatory. This is not to say that cybersexuality is dangerously perverse either…if indeed a perversion at all… The brain is the most complex human sexual organ, cybersexuality and sapiosexuality are considerations not directly connected to carnal drives. However laughable a notion, neurosexuality might merit more serious academic attention than is generally given. Perversions arising in these circumstances are linked more directly to the pathological avoidance of interpersonal relations and masturbatory excess, rather than rooted in developing online personalities for virtual-reality sex clubs or only sleeping with men who have British accents because they sound smarter.

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I am not enlisting the term perversion to condemn all non-normative sexual activity…although perversion as I have described it is clearly a morally relevant feature of something. As knowledge of human sexuality broadens we need more concepts to explore in order to secure a proper moral framework in which the sexual act is and ought to be situated. For instance, I think we need to embrace the concept of addiction in which you are enslaved by sexual appetites that serve to take you away from the fulfilling relationship with another. It is an almost mandatory recommendation that people who attend AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) also consider attending SA (Sexaholic Anonymous) meetings. Much like a smoker will switch his addiction to chocolate upon quitting, so follows the addict/alcoholic with sex after getting sober. There are many cases of sex addiction and certain kinds of masturbation which all of us recognize as being a violation of human freedom–large chunks of one’s waking time spent cruising porn sites or pursuing sexual hookups is unquestionably oppressive. One feature of addiction is the loss not just of self control but loss of one’s full conception of self integrity in what is being done. That this is ME doing this, and I am committing to my loss of self in it. That sense that the self is being disintegrated by its own activities is something which is shared between drug addiction and certain kinds of sex addiction.

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Might it follow that somebody who is willingly celibate and does not need to be is in some sense not achieving everything they might as a human being…and therefore paradoxically tempting the perverse? There are two types of celibacy: (a) the celibacy of a person who is so unappealing that no one else will consent to have sex with them and (b) the loftier celibacy of the person who has overcome carnal desire and renounced it for some greater good, most notably religious celibacy but it can also be secular. I always admire someone who has been able to do that… Not a confirmed masturbator, as that is a form of sexualization and not the Asexual (which I only read in humans as ranging from garden variety repressive anxieties to full frontal pathologies on the scale of Klingsor’s self emasculation), but the individual who through sheer will and perseverance of character was able to harness and redirect their sexual energy. I am not that person.  If still the sexual instinct is there and the desire for that kind of thing is there, but nevertheless it has been overcome in order to establish a higher relationship with (G)od or mankind, then I don’t see that in any way as an unfulfilling thing. Do we think the Dalai Lama or the Pope as deficient in character because they chose lives of celibacy? Of course not, because we view the reasons behind their choices as most noble and not arbitrary whimsy. And we have abundant evidence of the (sensual) beauty religious celibacy in particular produces…the writings of Teresa of Avila come foremost to mind.

(11a)

I would be remiss in my efforts here to not put my own sexuality under the microscope. Is homosexuality a normative kind of sex? It seems a rather antiquated question to ask but being Gay is only out of the loony-bin for less than half a century…and fully outed as a “lifestyle” for half that time. My reflexive answer is homosexuality is not a “kind of sex” or sex practice–which can easily be challenged as a preference–but a sexual orientation whose identity is not wholly dependent upon engagement in sexual activity yet does shape sexual inclinations…which also describes heterosexuality. My definition is admittedly contentious with other “sexualities”–I believe Bisexuality is largely about practice with sexual identity as a default and Transgender is about gender not sexuality per se, or if so then sexuality as attached to engendered psyche…transgendered lovers seek out heterosexualized relationships, appealing to the their internalized gender not the externalized components. Neither of these can be described properly as perversions–at least not in the sense that necrophilia, fetishism and pedophilia can–and all are vulnerable to perversion and often mistaken for such, consider that most Americans still believe Sodomy laws are a homosexual issue.

(11b)

I cannot stress enough the need to explore various sexual concepts to fully understand the moral framework in which the sexual act should be situated. For example bi-curiosity, role play, light/safe S&M are all sexual intrigues but not sexualities…in the extreme, the latter two can lapse into perversion if the participants regularly lose sight of selfhoods…the former–bicuriosity–is only what it is until after the first or second sexual encounter…after that one is simply bisexually inclined, not perverted.

(11c)

It is important to recognize the differences between socialized homosexual and heterosexual desire. In particular, the tendency of Gay bars to reinforce the hookup angle where attendance itself IS the overture to sex and exploit the homosexual act as a transferable commodity rather than as a form of relationship. Reputable dating sites, church socials, speed-dating are all Straight-oriented gatherings. Senior proms and certain coming of age formals still stubbornly insist upon male/female coupling to the degree that heterosocializing minors borders on child abuse. More expressions of homosexual intimacy are still demonized if men, fetishized if women. In most professional settings homosexuals cannot comfortably give voice around colleagues to intimate successes like marriage, anniversaries or even “last night’s great date”. Gays and Lesbians are not “naturally perverted”–as I once heard someone say obviously unaware that such a phrase is devoid of meaning–but suffer under heteronormative social conditions that serve to pervert the idea of homosexuality even in the most liberated environments. This is a topic which is very difficult to speak and write about sincerely because there is a lot of pressure to normalize homosexuality and to grant it all the public recognition that heterosexuality has reaped, yet we all have private and public sexuality agendas that coexist in blissful cognitive dissonance.

(11d)

A woman once spoke to me of the need for a laissez-faire attitude in the bedroom…that Sodomy laws were wrong…because she has Gay friends, of course. As much as I have always been in disagreement with Sodomy laws, I was more disturbed by her misunderstanding sexual liberation as some anarchic freedom-fucking that will magically produce unions of sensual bliss without there being some measure of consensus as to the limits of sexual pleasure…especially between genders. I find it hard to believe given the natural history of the sexes that any woman would want to be trapped in some room with a man letting things take their own course sexually. The State for obvious reasons has an invested interest in legislating sexual activity which I am largely in disagreement with, but ethically speaking Sex is only a privatized not private matter as most acts automatically involve other persons.

(12)

We enforce our sex/sexuality agendas mercilessly when it comes to children. A lot follows concerning rearing a child to eventually engage the world as a sexual adult. The old Victorian idea of sex education is that you bring up children not to have sex and was thought by Freud to impede a child’s natural sexual curiosity and pervert their development. This was followed by a brief period in the ’80s and ’90s of encouraging parents to prepare for questions to be asked during puberty; this approach was a roll of the dice as answers may not have been sought at home. The prevailing practice (which my parents had adopted) is to voluntarily teach children about sex, but the risk is run of further distorting too much too soon. I don’t fully endorse each of these ideas as applied absolutely but I do believe that we must bring up children in such a way that when they do finally engage in sex, it is with the whole of their being. And that is really the most important lesson parents can impart to their children…sex is pleasurable and even more when all the parties involved are operating fully in consensual desiring. As a nod to Thomas Nagel, one might charge that sex is most successfully engaged when I AM sensing YOU sensing ME sensing YOU in continuum. Both in full arousal. We teach children that sex is a politic of exchanging bodily functions rather than an exchange in desiring…and when desiring is in question it is either heterosexualized or shamed for difference. These extremes do a great disservice to young minds…pathologized normativity can be a Petri dish of perversion given the wrong amount of pressure.

The best lessons are always taught by example–the way in which one loves one’s own children and encourages them…engages their attention and develops trust…the way in which one carefully provides them with honest ideas about the world and shows them how to be in it WITH others.

(The brevity of this piece does not allow for indulging the empirical data, but it would not be too much of a stretch to surmise that a good deal of repression and perversion of the sexual instinct during puberty is triggered from within the household.)

(13a)

Cheating, however normal a social function, is a perversion of the instinct to pair-bond only because the act of sex is directly involved. One can cheat emotionally and I would venture to guess that most couples do–but human beings require far more parties for a well-rounded emotional state than they do partners for a fulfilling sex life. To use the word ‘faithful’ is confessing a particular view of an idealized relationship which is not universally shared. Some people choose not to be in sexually exclusive monogamous relationships, others may choose serial monogamy or to have multiple partners. It is the relationship status choice that marks cheating as a perversion, further exacerbated if one’s actions are already hinging on sexual addiction.

(13b)

For very obvious reasons–biologically, economically–men can afford to feel not as monogamously constrained as women are expected to feel. I know plenty of women who are not in monogamous relationships and have multiple partners. I don’t see anything intrinsic to being a woman that stops her having a series of different sexual relationships, although there might be something in being a woman that impedes her being fulfilled by it. But for either gender can pirating a sex-life that surfs on an ever-rising tide of ex-lovers be any way to live a fulfilled and fulfilling life? At the risk of sounding like an Aristotelian fag, I would say it cannot.

(14)

I am Aristotle’s bitch when it comes to orchestrating my sex life, embracing his conceptions of what it is to be human (biologically/socially) and the kinds of things that make a human being flourish. The biological end can be argumentative on ideas of what it means to be fully human in that sense–touching too near perhaps musing a procreational “purpose” of male and female sexuality–but Aristotle also said the flesh is merely the matter of the human being, the soul is the form. Of course he took the biological aspect of human beings seriously but it was the soul he felt as the principle of activity which animated that matter. This is also the hub of perversion anxiety. When we are perverted, it usually takes hold at some core of our being that we (sacred and secular) think of as the soul. I would go along with Aristotle in thinking that the biological aspects of the human being is all important in understanding the limits and the premises from which the moral life begins, but the moral life is more than simply living a fulfilled biological existence.

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These fragments only begin to open a dialog on sexual morality that is far beyond the scope of this effort. My aim here was to merely set up a framework for understanding different kinds of sexual desiring in the broadest sense whose activities may be judged appropriate or inappropriate for discerning fulfilling, consensual sexual intercourse. It is a noble aim, because sex is the one reason we are all here and also it is difficult to imagine how you could instruct someone to be a fully realized, healthy sexual being that does not tempt the Marquis de Sade’s La Philosophie dans le Boudoir or lapse into an Inquisition hearing. But it has been attempted and if you look at the history of mankind it has been attempted often…and still. And without having to engage Orwellian measures marking off thoughtcrimes or sexcrimes because we misunderstand what it means to lust in the heart. Pre-marital controversies aside, no one argues that the best of yourself to give another is the most sexually healthy YOU.

Most importantly everyone wants to be remembered as a “good” lay…

***

*Philip Larkin, Annus Mirabilis

**(from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, season 9, episode 2–Avatar)

The PSA Notebook (La Monde d’après Moi) — Volume II Saturday, Jul 26 2014 

(251)

“You can attract more stupid people with words than with silence.”

(252)

What’s most disappointing about contemporary Masculinisms is not the lack of consensus on what can define Millennial masculinity, but the reliance on archaic gender paradigms because of this lack of consensus. After finishing Harvey Mansfield’s 2006 mister-piece, MANLINESS, I was left with the feeling that all he was asking for was a nicer, gentler Feminism rather than calling men to revolutionize their thinking on gender and sexuality. That women should be progressive but still acquiesce to some mythic male superiority. This was a consideration Eddie Kendricks asked for 33 years earlier in Girl You Need A Change Of Mind (“Why march in pick-it lines? Burn bras and carry signs? Now I’m for women’s rights, I just want equal nights”). One should not be too surprised…Mansfield was educated and eventually taught at Harvard–a school for the classically intelligent but not the enlightened, and always a generation behind…I am thinking here of the 1994 Bell Curve study that argued White people were invariably smarter than everyone else…except Asians.

(253)

Canada is a notoriously un-Racist country…almost laughably un-Racist… Drake is what happens when an un-Racist culture produces Rap music… (This is not intended praise.)

(254)

(USB: United States of Babel) Everyone can openly agree it is foolhardy bigotry to imply that English is (or should be) America’s national tongue…it is also culturally naive and a tad disingenuous when people insist that American English is not the national language but merely a lingua franca… Given its humble beginnings as first spoken only by a marginal group of settlers,  eventually graduating to the genocidal lasher of indigenous tongues, this campaign culminating as not merely a language of power but secured as one of the all-time great World languages in the history of human utterances has earned AE something of a right to nationalistic ambitions… When people the world over say “Speak English” they no longer mean the Queen’s tongue, instead like a Bostonian or Valley Girl or New Yorker or Texan. American English is the language of free speech and as such implies that one will be exercising said freedom in said dialect…no nation boasts a policy upholding a ‘freedom of language’…the body-politic would collapse in translation…

(255)

I don’t expect smart people to be smartly dressed but I do expect smartly dressed people to be smart…this bit of cognitive dissonance fucks me every time when registering first impressions.

(256)

I am not very savvy on ‘doomsday prepping’ but when I hear preppers say something like “I’m prepping for a terrorist attack”, it seems they have no real understanding of what a terrorist attack is or entails. It is not a ‘zombie apocalypse’, and its holocaustic aftermath is often quite brief in many respects. As events, terrorist attacks are tragic NOT catastrophic.

(257)

Sometimes I think belief in extraterrestial life (as opposed to life-forms) is Christianity for secularists. However outlandish the theories, there is always some lingering conciliatory notion that “we are not alone”.

(258)

You can either believe in (G)od or follow Religion…not both.

(259)

There are so many phrasings in Largo al Factotum that seem lifted right out of Alles fühlt der Liebe Freuden as to make one think Rossini saw Die Zauberflöte the night before he composed Il Barbiere di Siviglia. (Of course all music after Mozart is a footnote to Mozart.)

(260)

Ancient Alien Theorists are the integrity-rapists of civilization’s greatest (HUMAN) achievements…ALL OF THEM…

(261)

When people ask me if I believe in (G)od, it’s like them properly phrasing a question in Akkadian with the right inflection but having no idea at all what they’ve just asked me…me only knowing they have no idea what they’re asking about…in Akkadian. But then I have to respond in English.

(262)

Admittedly contraceptive practice is a no-no in the Old Testament but there is no explicit prohibition against abortion in the Holy Bible. Because of the storyline and general tenor of the narrative it is taken to be a Pro-Life text. (It is not.) For this reason Pro-Lifers mistakenly lump both (abortion/contraception) in the same camp. (They are not.) Biblical ethics and morality take particular issue with the holiness of the Seed and invest comparatively marginal interest in the sanctity of the Womb. (Even the Jeremiad calling and the Virgin Birth are less about the female “vessel” and more to the mystery of the Deus ex Machina…we have to remember that the Hebrew tribal alliances from whom we inherited our monotheistic template were in the main Phallic alliances, not Goddess worshippers.) Nevertheless, one should find it odd that Right Wing Conservatism would use the Bible to advance an agenda that bans abortion and prohibits contraception being covered by health insurance, yet seems morally lax to the point of indifference on the matter of vasectomies…which according to Deuteronomy 23:1 guarantees you have lost favor with (G)od…

לֹֽא־יָבֹ֧א פְצֽוּעַ־דַּכָּ֛א וּכְר֥וּת שָׁפְכָ֖ה בִּקְהַ֥ל יְהוָֽה׃

 (263)

Whenever someone feels the need to assure me of their Atheism, I chuckle to myself thinking “Such a declaration of faith…how very Christian.”

(264)

Today I overheard a man refer to a certain young woman as someone who uses “sex as a weapon”… Other than being struck by how antiquated such (sexist) thinking is–poorly masqueraded as a progressive consideration–I find it curious that men take issue with women using “sex as a weapon” when the entire historical campaign of male dominance has been about wielding “sex as a weapon”…an infliction of power…

(265)

(Le Poète et la Muse) I am never listening to the music of Dead Can Dance but reading their sounds as though penned by Homer…revisiting each note to concentrate on a different character…this time percussion…this time chorus…this time poet…this time muse… These sounds sweep over my ears like flipping pages through tomes of epic verse. These are soundtracks for the well-read.

 (266)

Like Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t Worry Be Happy, Pharrell’s Happy must also be despised on principle alone…however foot-tappy, hip-swayful the sentiment. After watching the fullscale video exploit, 24 hours of Happy(ness) is proven morose. No one beyond the bounds of literary Stepford, Connecticut wants to feel that good…a fresh dose of pure euphoria every 4 minutes over a 24 hour duration is an attack The Joker might wage on Gotham City to draw out Batman. I sat through the film in four 6-hour increments–not much of a challenge for someone who can sit through a Wagner opera without the need for intermission or any of Warhol’s longer cinematic indulgences–and all that can be said is one of America’s loftiest pursuits was dragged out as the longest most meaningless video in the world.

(267)

“Technology that is ahead of its time” is one of those phrases/concepts that people fail to realize makes absolutely no sense.

(268)

The argument that the legalization of marijuana will result in the legalization of heroin, cocaine and meth is a strain of that ridiculous belief that Marriage Equality will result in interspecies mating and cohabitation…

(269)

I’m always suspicious of countries (like Canada) who criticize American Racism (however justly) yet boast no non-White national heroes as part of their own historical record. They remind me of people without children who constantly criticize parenting skills.

(270)

“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. I firmly believe that John 14:6 would have had greater poetical and theological impact were it written I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIGHT. ‘Life’ just seems this arbitrary, anti-climactic consideration that doesn’t serve to reconcile the full poetic thought. Almost awkward… And this is no light charge against a literary work that is damn near strung together by only perfect poetical phrasings…

 

(271)

“Atheism and Secularism are NOT the same thing…Atheism is Secularism on Meth…”

(272)

America will never successfully separate Church from State because (a) we really don’t view them as institutions representing a private and a public sphere but rather parred as two aspects of a public sphere…and (b) Americans are incapable of intellectually differentiating between the Atheist, the Secularist and the Sinner…

(273)

Women who say they “don’t need Feminism” (whatever that can possibly mean) are the same manner of comedy as Racists in the Age of Obama who long for the “good ol’ days”…one significant difference being that Racism is first a private mania that one can choose to make public forum, so one can arguably be wholly Racist today (however laughable); Feminism functions supremely as a public forum…it is the politic we are socialized under, not a private folly…to CHOOSE to NOT be a Feminist is still Feminism (despite the paradoxical stench of misogyny).

(274)

Of course those we trust the most will mislead us…only a fool thinks otherwise.

(275)

Of all the kink genre, Bondage most reclaims the original religiosity behind the term ‘Fetish’. There is something erotically Puritanical (in the manner of Puritans) about having the tempting body fully cloaked and robed–bound head to foot–marinating in its most carnal desiring. But this is not just symbolic of Protestant or Catholic sexuality…this is also how the Muslim un-strips before Allah. (For reasons largely Mosaic in nature, Jews are not really drawn to Bondage per se. They suffered a more expository carnality…a voyeuristic Yahwism.)

(276)

When the Male Homosexual identity starts self-reflecting in shades of Top and Bottom it is symptomatic of an internalized homophobia. This is the Gay man who is still mystified by the heterosexist paradigm, where the world is only made up of half-persons with fractured identities. Top/Bottom discourse is the Gay man’s sexism.

(277)

It never ceases to tickle me that people invariably look to the Marquis de Sade as a symbol of sexual liberation. The divine Marquis would be the first to laugh at this accusation. His “philosophy” examines violation, imprisonment, subjugation, degradation…order…rigidity…power… Nothing that even remotely hints at liberation. Even his heroes are bound to their perversions, unable to achieve pleasure by any other means. Rousseau was undoubtedly the liberated Hippie of the French Enlightenment, whereas de Sade was more akin to Charles Manson…a veneer of liberation… Moreover, the logical conclusion to thinking oneself too free…

(278)

Interesting that Aristotle’s philosophy and Christianity gel theologically when (monastic) celibacy is considered the highest of Christian sentiments but sex seems an essential part of Aristotelian fulfillment.

(279)

Thor-Female-Marvel_7-16-2014_154025_l

(280)

One of the most enduring heroes of the Victorian era is Henry Higgins from George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion… Beyond Six Degrees Of Separation, Pretty Woman or The Devil Wears Prada, What Not To Wear or Queer Eye, the spirit of this Shavian Svengali is articulated best as the most unlikely Muse of the Makeover, LaFawnduh Lucas in Napoleon Dynamite; even when over-the-top she still exemplifies a certain subtlety in her influence…that might also approve in the end of one being NOW good enough to do the shopping and fetch the slippers.

(281)

If you have ever found yourself saying to someone “I’m smarter than you think I am”, then you probably were not… An intellect does not have to announce itself because it is already an expression justified by everything that makes it what it is or is not…

(282)

People who only read what they like–no matter how abundantly–are not well-read individuals…just like people who only do things they enjoy are the least worldly…only pay attention to politics they agree with (however liberally), the most ignorant…only live life by established rules, the most dead.

(283)

“After my date with tragedy, I’ll let Aristotle take care of me.” Whenever I listen to ‘Jackie Onassis‘ by Human Sexual Response I always wonder if Larry Bangor really knew how clever he was being when he wrote these words…it never surprises me how casually people reference the Poetics

(284)

(Death is the limit of sexual desiring.) Do we find necrophilia disturbing because the person is dead or because they were once alive? The former reasoning makes perfect sense as a health factor, a corpse is a toxic body. The latter seems to call into question what the once living person may have physically desired for a postmortem existence which can exercise no conscious desiring of its own…which the living only ever intuit for themselves to the degree of burial/funerary rites and organ donation. How obscene we would think it for someone to leave their body to Pornography instead of Science.

(285)

Of the four great cultural guilts–Jewish Guilt, Catholic Guilt, White Guilt and Black Guilt–Catholic Guilt is the only one not rooted in some grander Oppressor/Oppressed anxiety…just the private Hell of the oppressive family structure…it’s really not even about Jesus dying for our sins…

(286)

Fundamentalism and its un-Evil twin, Scientific Atheism, are those bumbling siblings forever incapable of compromise…producing on one end those whose faith in a poorly READ Bible justifies condemnation and on the other to condemn faith through a poorly un-READ Bible… “Strange all this difference should be ‘twixt Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee.” (thanks John Byrom)

(287)

The enigma of R. Kelly’s Closet is not uncovering it as an oratorio or opera buffa, Rock Opera or Hip-Hopera, singspiel or just a really long song…but discovering whether it is good or not. The structural ambiguity does add to its subtle genius–which is not meant to imply “good” of course, but all grand artistic expressions however indulgent are genius (Mozart taught us that and he, too, was a pervert). Because Kelly chose the ideal opera topic of infidelity it would have been perfect had the full drama ended on Chapter 22’s Package Fugue…a rather clever musical characterization of the comparable virulence of gossip and AIDS in Black communities…

How To Stop Believing In (G)od Without Really Trying…A Philosophical Farce Saturday, May 24 2014 

Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning… (C.S. Lewis)

(1)

One evening over drinks and not a little cocaine, a friend asked if I could teach him to be an Atheist. I first thought it a farcical request until learning that he just finished Friedrich Nietzsche’s The Anti-Christ and what he was really asking is how to think about Christianity–primarily as an institution of oppression, as well as a socially and spiritually destructive force. (An exercise for which one does not have to be a trained Atheist.) Needless to say I declined, having no confirmed atheistic leanings. (I do call myself a Christian, but that is a purely sentimental consideration…it is far more intriguing for me to ruminate on the gods of others rather than teach others to reason mine. The existence or non of any particular divinity is irrelevant in my strain of religious scholarship.) In addition, most pro or con religious influence tantamount to proselytizing, which I am adamantly against. “Teaching” someone to be an Atheist is hardly different in spirit and intent from the indoctrination of converts one faith to another.

Robert Louis Stevenson charges his “brother go to the devil in his own way.” I charge mine get to (or away from) their gods in the same fashion.

(1a)

I do not believe in God and I am not an atheist. (Albert Camus)

Although I do not subscribe to atheisms–nor am I quite the rapscallion Pascalian gambler either, hellbent on behaving just in case (G)od exists…and judges–I do fancy myself a sympathist. Even when I make the theistic proclamation that ‘(G)od exists’, I do so as a philosophical counter to Nietzsche’s ‘(G)od is dead’. We both are considering the matter as an issue of cultural and political import rather than some ontological possibility. It would be misleading then to say that the subject of Atheism does not titillate me intellectually, yet all I can do is meditate implications on the matter in a manner akin to Atheism. What I like to call a state of suspension of belief.

All thinking men are atheists. (Ernest Hemingway)

(2)

Atheism is a rejection that there are gods or supernatural agencies in the world of any kind…including the rejection that there might have ever been such entities at some point in the Universe’s history…which is what Deism posits.

(3)

Does (G)od exist? According to the intellectual evidence, one cannot take an absolute stance on such an unanswerable question.

That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence. (Christopher Hitchens)

Saint Paul suggests religious belief is a matter of faith and that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Unfortunately he fails to recognize that evidence is largely a cognitive concern and as such relates not to the heart (hope) but to the mind, which craves substantiated order. I smell a Cartesian trap. I have these thoughts about gods and related entities that Descartes posits would not exist in me without some outside force seeding my consciousness…because mankind’s historical record has always leaned in this direction–EVERY CULTURE AND CIVILIZATION ESTABLISHES A CREATION MYTH–some supernatural force must have instilled them.

(3a)

But this order my mind craves is comprised of Reason + Understanding…and no earthly entity–grouped or individual–can acquire complete understanding or function under pure reason as these only operate developmentally at cognizant levels.

(3b)

Reason is often mistaken for Excuse, which is always grounded in biased self-interest. Think about how an employee responds to his boss’ question “Why are you late?”; invariably the tardy begin their answer with, “The reason I am late is… because…” What is being offered is an excuse, whereas a reason would concern probing ALL the evidence availed involving the matter at hand, the myriad angles AND sequential events that led to the outcome, which might also expose the lateness as having been preventable. (If I go to bed at a reasonable hour the night before, not hit the snooze button 6 times before committing to getting out of bed in the morning and listen to the regional traffic report while getting dressed, a 16-car pile-up would prove a matter of sheer irrelevancy.) Now think on how people have responded historically to human suffering as resulting from a god’s wrath. What I now know of global poverty, greed and the history of human diseases–the socio-politics of wealth and health–do not necessarily dispel the idea that gods exist or get angry, but do render the notion of angry gods as the cause of human plight an impotent concern. If reasoned properly, I will undoubtedly find that the terms I have accepted for why gods would be angry with mankind are human excuses rather than matters of divine import or every sinful city and disagreeable despot the world over would be wiped out unconscionably and this is certainly not the case.

(3b)

For example, take the big flood that all the ancients record in their scriptures and myths. It was THE ONE… Mesopotamian or Hebraic, it was the same deluge. And considering the comparatively limited understanding and moral aptitude early civilizations had regarding such natural occurrences, surely divine wrath seemed a perfectly feasible explanation. The flood (though seen and experienced) evidenced their faith. We live in an age now when it is clearer why floods happen and also how they are preventable…and neither the rage of Poseidon or Yahweh ever seems afoot in the matter.

(4)

It seems that naturalist is a far more appropriate term for such (non-) belief and call to Reason. Atheism implies that there is something worth denying the existence of…this is its underlying anxiety. A naturalist is someone who takes in the world–the universe–as guided by natural laws. A realm where the concepts of Physics and Chemistry really apply.

(4a)

This differs in kind from Agnosticism, the view that because you can never know whether or not (G)od exists it seems pointless to even consider the conjecture. GK Chesterton called this view cowardly and I am inclined to agree that it is something of a fanciful wishy-washy position to take. A theo-philosophical out, as it were.

Agnostics are just atheists without balls. (Stephen Colbert)

(4b)

The question at stake here–Is there a Prime Mover god?–is one of rationality.

(5)

The intellectual respectability of a claim that there are gods…whether on Mount Olympus or Mount Sinai…could be considered on par with the intellectual respectability that there are fairies in one’s garden. Belief in fairies was very widespread and attested well into the 19th century. Many people believed fairies were more present in their life than (G)od was…as it was more common that when little things happened or went missing, this was the work of fairies or perhaps poltergeists. These figures are most likely inherited from the household deities of the ancient Greeks and Romans that are often anonymously referred to in their writings (but we have yet to uncover any sound relative theologies) and ancient religious trickster figures…most of whom gave birth to that figure we regard as Satan.

(5a)

This comparison of gods to fairies is not a jerky one because all supernatural agencies evolve from notions of the divine. If your reasons for not believing in fairies is because it is irrational to do so then it is likewise that all divinity thinking is faulty or at the very least frivolous.

(5b)

Agnostics who think that there is as much chance gods exist as not intellectually fall foul to this irrationality.

(6)

Fundamentalists and Creationists claim that the world is so perfectly designed that some intelligent force must have set the wheels in motion…a Deus ex machina… They adopt the moniker Intelligent Design…but that is just a fig leaf covering the protrusion of Creationism. This movement wants to arouse intelligibility and rationality in the idea that there might be a conscious purpose behind the way things are run in the universe. There are very profound and powerful theories regarding how the appearance of design and organization in the universe emerges. In biology for example we have Darwinian theory.

(6a)

If it turns out that there is a God…the worst that you can say about him is that basically he’s an underachiever. (Woody Allen)

If we took seriously that there was a designer then we would have to concede that said designer was rather incompetent. There are myriad ways in which this universe could be better organized. Even the human body is a mess of questionable design features. A civil case could easily be levied against (G)od for manufacturing and dispensing such a shoddy system.

(7)

Let’s consider then the charge that (G)od moves in mysterious ways. This is the easiest argument for a Creationist to invoke…the notion of an omniscient, omnipotent, eternal being–the standardized idea of (G)od. Anything that follows this thinking is absolute and can never serve as counter-evidence to an existence of a god. Well if we think on Karl Popper’s famous dictum that if a theory or claim explains everything and all is consistent with the truth of the claim then it is indeed empty and explains nothing at all.

Whenever a theory appears to you as the only possible one, take this as a sign that you have neither understood the theory nor the problem which it was intended to solve. (Karl Popper)

(7a)

Opponents of Popper’s view will argue that such consideration is not dissimilar to scientific thought. Science purports to explain everything and that which is as yet inexplicable will one day be explained by such methods. Contrarily, science doesn’t hold such power.

(7b)

Science at its normative best is a publicly contestable and challengeable discipline.  It continually maintains its respectability by positing what can count as evidence against its findings. When people put forth views in science they publish them with both the intent to inform and to invite questioning and testing hypotheses and so on…whereas theological thought is solely for the purpose of defending or establishing dogma.

(7c)

Science is the model of how epistemology should proceed, open and inviting the toughest responses from colleagues and laymen.

(7d)

Science premises extra-theoretically that the universe is a place that can be understood and fundamentally intelligible. It is but a matter of musing the right concepts, developing the right procedures, procuring the appropriate instruments so we might increase our understanding of the cosmic machine. In the methodological ideal, achieve a complete understanding. (This is admittedly peculiar thinking as what is being considered is a vastness that is ever evolving and expanding.)

(8)

What of morality? Can there be morality without (G)od?

(8a)

In classical antiquity (a very theo-conscious stage in human social evolution) there are deep and rich thoughts about the nature of morality, the foundation of ethics and what constitutes the good life that make no appeal whatsoever to divine forces. A judgmental monarch in the sky was of little consequence when gauging how Man should engage Mankind. Axial age thinkers like Confucius and the Greeks reasoned away the necessity of believing that a Cosmic Big Brother watching over your every move was the core impetus behind such notions as good will.

(8b)

However a peculiar Jewish joke betrays an interesting nod toward this thinking even among the “chosen” and pathologically devout:

Two Rabbis argued late into the night about the existence of God, and, using strong arguments from the scriptures, ended up indisputably disproving His existence. The next day, one Rabbi was surprised to see the other walking into the Shul for morning services.

“I thought we had agreed there was no God,” he said.

“Yes, what does that have to do with it?” replied the other.

This joke has been rendered in many forms, including a pending minyan (10 worshipers) in dialogue concluding that (G)od indeed does not exist and when the tenth arrives they enter the synagogue for service. What is expressed here is the notion that whether or not (G)od exists, one still performs as one morally should…orthopraxis. This is a very unique way of thinking in the (mono)theistic/deistic faiths…estranged from orthodoxy which is about adhering to dogma, orthopraxis is about the performative aspect of “faith”. So, even if there is no (G)od everything is still NOT permissable.

Actions speak louder than words…louder even than the words of (G)od.

(8c)

Most profound thinking on ethics evolved from longstanding religious traditions but to suggest that one cannot have an ethical or moral outlook in life that is not lorded over by some divine punisher/rewarder boasts a logical fallacy that it is right to do something because someone will beat you up if you do not. The idea that we need an enforcer for morality is a kind of calumny on all those individuals whose reasons for behaving as they do to others–the desire to respect others, be collegial and foster the project of cooperation in society–is premised solely on a liking and sympathy for fellow human beings.

(8d)

Much worse than any heresy, it is slanderous to say that a person’s genuine goodness is undermined merely because they do not believe in (G)od.

(8e)

There are those who purchase their branded morality from that Supermarket of Ideas–a 2-liter of Marx, a 6-pack of Catholicism, a pound of sliced Islam and so on–and there are those who independently meditate on the idea of morality and realize they have to inspect the reasons for treating others as they do, examine the choices they make and why they live as they do. (“Why do I stubbornly insist on being a good guy?”) It is the latter that seem the most honorable and admirable.

(8f)

And ironic exemplar might be Mother Theresa, who in her posthumously published diaries confessed she did not believe in transubstantiation–that moment when the Eucharist wafer becomes the Corpus Christi, uniting Catholics with their Savior, thereby bringing all into union with that divine triad–the Holy Trinity–which is (G)od (H)imself. The Eucharist is the core ritual of Catholicism…the holiest communion. To doubt any part of this miraculous tradition is to call the whole schematic into question…including whether or not one can ever be united with (G)od…and perhaps if (H)e even exists at all. ‘Tis the most slippery of theological slopes.

Sliding as she did, Mother Theresa never waivered from the moral imperative set perhaps first by notions of (G)od but refined by the passions in her heart for mankind. All the while still calling her faith into question. Such an attitude is not the privilege of theists, but the property of humanity.

(9)

Atheists are in no way obliged to believe that death is final, but any who do adhere to some manner of life after death may find themselves paradoxically lapsing into faith. For example, if there is such an energy that is transposed or transported after that Derridian step that negates itself–DEATH–then musing questions regarding human essences and souls inevitably follow…as will questions concerning who or what is orchestrating this metaphysical symphony.

“Who decides I return in the form of a cockroach or do eternal penance in some underground fiery grotto? And if it is a matter of Karma, what consul or board sits in charge of gauging this dispensation?”

(9a)

Perhaps the greatest relief in atheism is the belief that death is final. It is a state not dissimilar to the one before we were conceived by our parents. It is absurd to think we had concerns before birth, so why arouse post-mortem anxieties, when death thrusts us back into this same state of indifference?

(9b)

Even to live one hundred years is still something of a short life span when we consider fully everything we wish to achieve. Hence, thinkers like Seneca and Diderot encourage us to “live, live, live” (as Auntie Mame might put it) our lives to the fullest, waste no time and work while there is still breath in our lungs. There is plenty of time to rest when one is dead.

(9c)

Naturalistically speaking, Science and Scripture both charge that all death does foster some measure of continuance…we all return to “dust” and as such contribute to the grand cycle of life.

(9d)

These arguments lean more toward why the finality of death can be seen as good–death being more palatable when we can attach some positive outlook–but do not really tackle the question of death as final. We can wax anecdotally about ghosts and spirits and past lives, but there is no solid evidence about what happens after one dies other than the process of rigor mortis setting in followed by an extended period of rot.

(9e)

Fears of a post-mortem consciousness plague sacred and secular realms. Ranging in kind from suddenly waking up in a coffin or the furnace of a crematorium to being greeted by supernatural creatures and guides from the other side… But most popular is when people talk of having died and come back, they invariably invoke this image of white light and tunnels. It doesn’t take an optician with a PhD in Theology to surmise that death and dying affect all of our senses. If your body is fading into a permanent stillness and darkness, well logic (and perhaps not a little Physics) dictates that usually the last occurrence before darkness is light. Just turning off your light switch proves that hypothesis.

(10)

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. (Karl Marx)

Should I begrudge the faithful the comforts and solace they have found through their belief in gods? The only properly philosophical answer to that is Yes…and No. It is perfectly understandable that people of faith find some measure of peace in religion during hardship and times of suffering. It would be the height of cruelty to deny someone this attachment when they are most desperate…especially adherents to the Abrahamic faiths, who are conditioned to accept the premise that (G)od prefers suffering souls.

Their so-called religion acts merely as an opiate: irritating, numbing, calming their pain out of weakness. (Novalis)

The ironic cruelty is that religion embodied by the Church has also been as much persecutor as savior. The record of organized religion in human history has been a pretty dismal one on the whole. Every religion has been the cause of some great tragedy in history… Belief in (G)od/gods has often served as the penultimate excuse for dividing, persecuting and even murdering those who do not fit the mold of whatever dogma is being encouraged.

This opium you feed your people, so that, drugged, they do not feel their hurts, inflicted by you. (Marquis de Sade)

(10a)

On the public front, the Christian church also has a history of promulgating very significant cultural advancements like literacy and the arts and however sincere or not were the efforts on the part of the institution and commissioned artisans it is an undeniable truth that the world has not only been enriched by these efforts but also that many brilliant minds would have been lost to us otherwise.

(10b)

The institutionalized belief in (G)od has built beautiful churches and temples…and multiplied graves. Where does a thinking man draw the line?

If (G)od exists, atheism must seem to Him as less of an insult than religion. (Edmond de Goncourt)

(11)

The last decade has been saturated with a hardcore bend toward secularity…though any rational thinker would be hardpressed to think of it as a Golden Age of Atheism. This leaning seems a reaction to a perceived resurgence of religious idealism and fanaticism–enlisting scripture to justify homophobia and misogyny, Jihadic terrorism, et al.–but what is more likely the case is that religious institutions have simply pumped up the volume in the face of a waning need for religiosity. It is a symptom of the institution feeling pressured, which we have encountered at different times in the history of the Church. During the Crusades, Inquisition and Reformation, Catholicism proved a most bloodthirsty body of faith…literally and figuratively. In the modern era Islam has certainly felt pressured by the spread of what may appear to them as an awful morality on the back of Westernized globalization. In addition, the cultural evolution of mankind progresses at greater speeds with each generation, and on larger and larger scales. Civilization is finding it harder to stomach that small pockets of individuals are allowed to make blanket decisions for all human beings…in matters private and public…in the face of mass inclusion and based on purely subjective considerations. There are less and less people the world over that attend church or engage religious idealism (even if they still “believe in [G]od”) and for those who still embrace these practices it is largely a matter of routine rather than conviction, and perhaps always has been…so it is of little wonder that the religious hierarchy is on attack mode. It is the clergy and not some god who needs congregants to maintain job security. But I would not yet go as far as to think that atheism was more culturally prevalent now than before…more vocal, yes. DOUBT has been part and parcel of religious fervor and the human condition from time immemorial… I think it is a numbers game. There are more minds in existence to engage doubt…there are also more hearts in existence to defend faith. We just need to find the proper body to house both.

(12)

I have never bought into that war mythos between Science and Religion, and understood more deeply Sacred/Secular are degrees of presence not opposing political factions, so Atheism (Scientific and arbitrary) curiously belongs to religiosity and has always been rooted in the Abrahamic agenda. Atheism is just another mere Christianity…without the (G)od. It is a Faith of Doubt. The Patriarchs for example ACT in faith, but every time one opened his mouth his tongue was rife with questions. The beautiful irony of the Judeo-Christian Eden myth is that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil exemplifies man’s “(G)od-given gift” of Free Will. We are free to exercise blind faith AND doubt. This has to be the best of all possible gods to believe in if one is to do so. We are damned if we do…damned if we don’t…but at least we don’t have to…

Für den zweihundertsten Geburtstag… Wednesday, May 22 2013 

sk

Music In the Key of Eros Monday, Apr 22 2013 

If music be the food of love, play on; give me excess of it (William Shakespeare)

(1)

Among the art forms music is the most sensual.

(2)

Sex and music are curious bedfellows in that both involve repeated performances of similar movements and are a bit different each time performed.

(3)

Music engages our emotions most directly… It flows, moves and evolves in a way that is similar to that sensual absorption familiar to people in love.

Eros and the Apollonides are the quintessential kissing cousins…

(4)

To appreciate any art work or art form one certainly must experience it–you actually have to see the painting, read the poem–and in hearing a tune there is phenomenon of the experiential unlike with any other art form. We have secondary literature about pieces of art and writings lost to history and with just a little imagination can surmise what this or that work conveyed. But we can never really know from mere description what the greatest heldentenor of the late 19th Century sounded like… Listening to music–bad or good–is the experience in itself.

In this same way the act of sex is wholly different from any other form of human engagement. It has knowledge and sensations in itself that CANNOT be known through any other fashion…

Even in the softcore/simulated “porn” of SKIN-EMAX fame what is being presented are sexual ideas, not sex.

(5)

If people ain’t fucking, it ain’t sex…but can be sexual… If sound ain’t being manipulated in some fashion, it ain’t music…

But is all sound musical?

(6)

Sound is an enigma…

The proverbial fallen tree has done nothing but fall if no ears are around to hear. Composer John Cage time-framed silence so as to make it audible…even deafening… And from Richard Strauss’ rute beaten on the ‘side’ of a bass drum to German Industrial band Einsturzende Neubauten’s fashioning the sounds of construction sites–like Hillbillies with washboards–into dance airs it appears that the experience of music, unlike the experience of physical beauty, is not at the mercy of the beholder but rather to the whims of the manipulator.

(7)

Is music the experience or the stimulus to experience?

(8)

Transmitters of musical information–cds, records, written compositions–are akin to paintings being transmitters of visions and architecture being an expression of symbiosis…but music itself is clearly not an object.

It is not altogether clear what music truly is…

(9)

Some say music is a particular kind of sound…others argue it is not sound at all but the experience we have of sounds when they are organized in such a way as to produce a compelling, cogent and flowing experience within us that is often emotional. In either case, this differs in kind from the experience with paintings, which are undeniably objects.

Objects exist apart from our experience with them.

(10)

A similar charge can be levied against sexuality which at base exists in experience.

(11)

There may be a danger to thinking that sexuality is like art.

I pose the question: Should one have an aesthetic experience of one’s partner during the act of sex?

(12)

It is quite possible to have fulfilling aesthetic experiences of the erotic…but it is just that, erotic. The very act of sex-qua-intercourse would be otherwise focused rather than a detached attention to form and detail that would normally be the characteristic target for aesthetes.

Something beautiful is happening inside of me…something sensual, it’s full of fire and mystery… (Depeche Mode)

If you’re tending to the form of your partner and taking some detached look on the overall elements–formal, essential, tactile–you are not having sex in the normative sense where one is given to abandon. The degree of absorption by participant in the act goes beyond what allows for an aesthetic response or relationship.

(13)

The only normative act of sex is when consensual partners are enthralled with a sense of losing themselves.

It’s only when I lose myself in someone else that I find myself … (Depeche Mode)

(14)

Music slightly ups the seductive ante because one can be absorbed in the sensuality of the harmonies AND still attend to the form and the way in which expression and meaning emerge out of the form. There are then degrees of losing oneself.

(15)

Music and sexuality both arouse emotional responses.

(16)

As far back as the ancient Greek modes there have been theories regarding emotional or characterological properties inherent in the pattern of intervals.

Many modern composers, musicologists and philosophers–such as Susanne Langer and Schopenhauer–have taken up this view.

(17)

A popular idea is that the shape and flow and profile of music has something in common with the same elements of emotion… Either in their inner aspect–how they feel and evolve in a psychological space–or in terms of their outward expression–the particular behavior, stance, gait or posture of someone experiencing those emotions will exhibit.

(18)

Music resembles emotions and is adept at doing so because it is inherently a flow or process that is most like our emotional structure…our moods and feelings…indeed, most like the course of our lives.

(19)

Music has an inside edge for capturing and hooking into the most emotional side of human existence.

(20)

A concern in the philosophy of music is how to analyze expressiveness in music. Is there a being or existing resemblance between emotions and the shape of the music?

(21)

The resemblance is the basis for the expressiveness, but the expressiveness must be rooted in the idea that resemblances make people hear in a certain way–a la Wittgenstein–that they have a specific kind of audible experience almost as if it were that actual emotion or a person or agent caught up in that experience…

(22)

A good example of this is in Isolde’s Liebestod aria from Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. When the soprano reaches the lines “ertrinken, versinken” (to drown, to founder) the orchestration creates an audible ebb and flow effect simulating a drowning…in this instance, under the weight of one’s emotions. Such a fine tuning of composition is when music is its most expressive.

(23)

When we hear longing or joy in a tune it gives rise to an empathy that inspires us to take music personably…to embrace it as though a person.

This is the charm of musical gesture.

(24)

There are three levels of musical gesture.

a–The literal level of gesture…the performance of the music…

b–What we hear the music as doing…striving, building… This is where we get to experience music as something emotional… We can imagine the sounds as a person expressing states.

c–This takes us to the normal behavioral gesture of how someone would express emotional states. A musician’s musical gestures are not necessarily identical to this but we are led to think of those as well and then it is easy to surmise that such and such a feeling is longing or joy or anger.

(25)

This trinity of gesture is best exemplified by either watching Jacqueline du Pre ecstatically perform Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor or hearing Glenn Gould’s recorded Wagner transcriptions for piano where you can actually hear him humming the tune as he plays. In both instances the audience becomes as swept away in the experience of the musician’s experience with the music, as with the music itself.

(26)

This audible experience is a stronger intravenous metaphor when the human voice is involved.

Consider the rawness of a Bessie Smith or the savagery of Nina Simone…or the emotive capacity of Bono…

(27)

From animal to man, voice is the most primal and immediate form of music.

(28)

Voice is the original outlet for conveying and evoking emotion through sound. I’m reminded here of Sergei Rachmaninov’s very moving Vocalise–a vocal exercise built merely on vowel sounds–as well, Psychic TV’s rare recording of howling, growling wolves which has an effect upon the listener comparable to chills and goosebumps.

(29)

Many argue that instrumentation is a secondary–almost parasitic–borrowing from voice…an allusion to the vocal… In Baroque music it is common to hear a cello or violin rendered as a kind of human sighing…operatic aria is often dueted with the lead violin…even an harmonica passage by Stevie Wonder on Debarge’s Love Me In A Special Way is fashioned in a manner that replicates an almost verbal expression of longing. Certainly there is a measure of instrumentation that is quasi-vocal gesturing.

But instrumentation goes a bit beyond merely echoing vocalization…a defense of which might be secured in the live recording of the Star Spangled Banner by Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock. He manipulates the electric guitar in such a way as to create all manner of sounds only referenced by the lyrics… It is of little wonder that the Hendrix performance is titled by its original composition name rather than as the National Anthem. It is literally a transcription of Francis Scott Keys’ poetic masterpiece rather than another rendition of a national theme song.

(30)

The roots of instrumentation are founded in vocal expression, yet not limited or wholly subject replicating the voice.

(31)

Music has a tendency to be heard as a vehicle of meaning or significance of some kind. Certain genres lend themselves to producing music that is definitely more emotional or affective–more private–such as Classical genres, R&B, Blues et al. Still others produce music that have more social agenda–like Rap, Folk, Punk and Marches.

But all music must indeed be heard…and being heard, thereby felt.

(32)

So what is the relationship between Music and Eros?

They are both absorbing, sensuous, transportive, transfigurative…they take the participant out of a day-to-day, 9-to-5 self. The both have kinetic and dynamic aspects…

Both have this tendency to short circuit or sidestep–even undermine–reason and reflection. Each takes you out of yourself in a way that is welcomed but the downside is that one may be found at times in extreme risk. Here I am largely thinking on stagediving or moshing at a punk concert or being caught up in the heat of a sexual moment and succumbing to unprotected sex.

Each possesses its participant to such a degree as to preclude the solving of mathematical theorems or curing of cancers…judicial reasoning.

(33)

It is something of a longstanding cultural myth that listening to Mozart’s music will make one smarter. Listening to Mozart is definitely enculturating and perhaps taking a date to a Mozart opera will even get one laid, but in no wise will listening to Mozart open any mind to the elegance of spherical trigonometry unless that mind is already seasoned for such excesses.

The very effect of Mozart’s music–and music overall–upon the human soul is counterintuitive to such thinking.

(34)

Music and sexuality are both very difficult experiences to explain… Why do I love this or that person? Why am I moved by Richard Wagner but not Milli Vanilli? A mere analysis of types and aesthetics rarely uncovers the why of this root mystery.

(35)

The appreciation of both are of corporeal physical import. This is inarguably true for sex, but also for music. It is most evident with techno or dance music and the primal energies that are excavated when slamdancing or headbanging at heavy metal and punk concerts, but also very true when listening to the refined, delicate keyboard music of Rameau or Couperin…there is something that enters into your body that you feel like moving or dancing with… The body is involved however subliminally or overtly charged.

(36)

Music and sex are both present focused. What is going on in and of the moment is the issue at hand. In matters of sex this is generally agreed upon but with music opinions of musicologists and theorists vary. Many believe that what is important is tracing the architectural flow of composition in small increments.

This thinking is appropriate for regarding form and structure but does little justice for thinking on the immediate experience of a listener. It also hinders a potential listener’s foray into classical genres as it implies that there is some esoteric knowledge one must have of musical construction in order to be moved by the sounds.

Truth is, if it is good and to your taste, you will like it regardless of your knowledge of composition.

(37)

Music and Eros both involve the whole person…body and soul. They speak to us in a wholly integrated way.

(38)

In all this sameness there does exist a stark asymmetry betwixt the twain. Hector Berlioz once noted that music can evoke the moods and phases of love–in this case, love-making–but love cannot give you an idea of music. Why the asymmetry?

Music is a man-made communicative medium in which we naturally hear or look for significance and meaning… Music strikes us as being about something.

Love, too, is about something…but that something is largely itself…

Love is the ultimate self-referential.

(39)

Love calls us by name, to paraphrase Leonard Cohen… Music speaks to us about naming…signifying…

(40)

Music is about the world and things of the world… It is about our lives and emotions and desires…

It is a vehicle of communication that invites us to our inner selves…whereas love is our inner self, and we rarely hear a deeper call. But that music can call us to recognize these deeper modes within ourselves keeps this couple forever intertwined in romantic bliss.

The PSA Notebook (La Monde d’après Moi) — Volume I Monday, Mar 11 2013 

(1)

The “freedom of expression” should be a right extended to all regardless of race, creed, gender or sexual orientation…but the “freedom of speech” should be reserved only for those who know what the hell they’re talking about…the rest can simply exercise their freedom to inquire…

(2)

The difference between religion and faith is that faith does NOT lapse into dogmatic lunacy.

(3)

The difference between making love and having sex is the former rarely becomes pornographic.

(4)

Natural order is a demand levied on species in relation to hierarchy…within each species there is social order…the notion of a human natural order is just fucking ridiculous.

(5)

The difference between fashion and style is the latter speaks for both itself and the possessor.

(6)

When a bully graduates from senseless, random taunting to methodical, premeditated cruelty, he becomes a more noble character…if only by virtue of refining his artistry.

(7)

Modesty represents a triumph of the soul over vulgarity. Humility is the vulgar suppression of a triumphant soul.

(8)

Having sex with women does not signify that a man is heterosexual…just like being circumcised does not signify that a man is Jewish.

(9)

Opinions are not like assholes because everyone has one, but because more often than not people’s opinions are chock full o’shit. One should be cautious of the word’s two I’s–properly ironical of the organs that share the same sound–as one represents Insight, the other Intuition. Before volunteering an opinion, the opiner should always consider the degree to which his knowledge of the subject is sound, as well the possibilities of what can be thought on the topic of critical interest. Otherwise, he should keep his opinion to himself.

(10)

Atheism and Existentialism are two branches of philosophy that will never peacefully co-exist. Students of Existenzphilosophie who are devout atheists seem to me like children who maintain that all conceptions are Immaculate because their fathers left.

(11)

Terms of Enfranchisement: ‘Sexual preference’ reduces human sexuality to fetishism…’sexual orientation’ exalts sexuality to its highest humanity.

(12)

Being born the noun–‘genius’–only matters if your life is spent translating it into a verb… Think of it as having an Amex Platinum credit card…it is only valuable if it is activated in your name…

(21)

There is something incongruous in the thinking of an atheist who believes in extraterrestrials. I imagine that punctuating the universe with variations on a theme of Man–Adam, the pinnacle creation–is something a Creator god would actually do…

(22)

If the path to enlightenment is strewn with practical Eureka and brusque Satori–perhaps even despite formal education–then it is probably not a matter which traveler is smarter than the other, but which is less stupid… (I think this is more than mere semantics…)

(23)

Being guarded is not the same as being brave. Brave character has no stomach for the paranoia of guardedness. This is a nuance the cowardly can never fathom.

(24)

Philosophically, Latin machismo could learn thing or two from the Judaic menschkeit. Both are admittedly rooted in patriarchal grandeur, but the latter at least explores the symbiotics involved in the space between souls…how selves relate with other selves at the highest levels… The former seems to acknowledge other selves, but as inferiors…and not even by reason of intellect or ‘natural’ competence, just a magicless, base desiring (often culminated in a gratification that doesn’t even leave one satisfied…)

The machista can only ever wield desire as an infliction of power…never a sharing of it…

That he allows his wife to work the graveyard shift and sometimes doesn’t cheat on her while the kids are asleep…and maybe do the laundry…is the liberal thinking machista.

(25)

However innocent the intent, when someone imparts to me the amount of Gay or Black friends they do or do not have, I have to believe that this is the worst kind of bigoted and oppressive consciousness… The very notion of enumerating the people in one’s life for whatever reasons of categorization is the catalogical herdsman philosophy we find in harem-keeping and institutional slavery…the very personality WWII’s American Japanese internment camps and the horrors of the Holocaust.

(26)

The Baroque era was the last time music was made for the sake of making music…after Mozart all music became the property of art. Bach would have never said that he was a Baroque composer–that was a category after-the-fact, not some budding, tribal “scene”… But he would have said that Beethoven’s music had classical dimension…and that Wagner’s was truly art…

(27)

Before the Atomic Age asked, it was accepted that an atom was the smallest unit of matter… In considering digital imagery–easily the second most common way our eyes are fed daily–the pixel is the smallest accessible (addressable) element… Can a pel be split? And, if so, what does that mean for the possible infinity of an image’s content? (Are these questions proper of the Technological Age?)

(28)

That SNUFF films are considered a fringe of the pornographic arts is misleading… The sensibility that requires such extreme titillation is not one that has degenerated from exhaustive overindulgence in porn media…when that happens one often graduates to fetish films… People who are thrilled by death have tastes for a more visceral, immediate stimulus… Porn is often ripe with tedium and the only resultant death is metaphorical–the proverbial money-shot. I imagine the SNUFF sensibility to be one that can be equally satiated by watching the Islamo-terrorist beheadings that were internet vogue during the last decade.

If I’m to believe that a porn fanatic will eventually crave SNUFF–which is implicit in the genre’s appropriation of sex acts–I’d have to believe that because Boxing and UFC evolve from the ancient Gladiatorial arts, that avid spectators will eventually crave watching the athletes die in the ring. Death is counterintuitive to sportsmanship…

(29)

a) I have heard many racist, Nazi-inspired groups complain that it is unfair for minority groups to boast their pride–e.g. Black Power–but that Whites are chided for championing White Power… Well Black Power is a self-empowerment philosophy arising against the misguided notion that Whites are the most evolved race of the human species and therefore are destined by (G)od to lord over all the “lesser” races and species of the Earth…i.e. White Power.

b) I have heard many Feminist intellectuals rage against the importance of Mens Studies and the scholarship of Masculinism. The study of Men qua gender is NOT an attack on the empowerment of women…that is patriarchy… If the discipline is anything in that regard, it is a means for EVERYONE to come to a better understanding of why “White Men” made patriarchy such an enduring institution…not a defense of it…

(30)

Even now people are still unable to discuss the Marquis de Sade and his writings in a manner suited to his literary notion of the hero… He was an unapologetic descendant from the  Ancien Régime, but forever likened to the French Revolution as a means of elevating his own “heroic” status and the import of his literary excesses…but both his writing and the Revolution would have still happened, one without the other… De Sade  is that unlikely hero forced into rebellion by enlightenment thinking and the politics of his tastes…he’s not really radical…much like Blacks during the high Civil Rights era, largely ultra-conservative…thrust into a moment during a time that was ripe for change…

Martin Luther King, Jr. comes to mind… (So one wonders if a conservative nature feeds the fruit of heroism…)

(31)

Gauging how smart someone may be is in no way a means of discerning how stupid they can be…

(32)

According to human law, when a man kills another man he has killed off all the possibility of a single Man… According to spiritual laws, when a man kills himself he has killed off every possibility of every Man. Suicide is infinitely more repugnant than murder… It is a holocaust within a single soul.

(33)

It is rather laughable that people consider sex a private matter… When one is engaging in actual sex it is often with another individual…it is an inherently social act… Even pornography is intended for public consumption…

(34)

Fundamentalism as a spiritual ideology is forgivable because it is the last vestige of religious aestheticism…unfortunately it also the last vestige of socio-political ASS-theticism…

(35)

The Rhetoric of Snobbery: During the intermission my date confessed that he had never been to the symphony before…or the theater… Shooting him an incredulous glance, I asked “Not even as a child? What kind of parents don’t take their children to the theater?” He replied, “What kind of parents do?” I realized that his question was far more culturally relevant, therefore far less rhetorical.

(36)

Good taste is not something that is refined by wealth and education…I know many individuals who lack both but possess the most exquisite taste and excel in personal style. Rather I think it is a matter of considering what attracts you to something–why it speaks to you louder than other voices–and then seeking out those qualities in various stimuli and entertainments. The Thesean thread that winds the labyrinth of one’s aesthetic consciousness…

In this vein, it is also true that money cannot buy “class” but merely thrusts one into another category of it… Education does help, but lacking one is hardly an excuse…

(37)

As a dramatist/poet, Shakespeare was by no means a master of the English language…that is an honor only due the committee of translators who brought forth the King James Bible or a later figure like Charles Dickens who was paid by the word and thereby made flagrant use of the English vocabulary, which easily numbered a half-million in his time… (During the high Elizabethan/Shakespearean era the English vocabulary possessed upwards of 250,00 words…we are now at the 1,000,000 mark…at best the ol’ Bard made use of 100-150 thousand individual words.) But what makes Shakespeare a genius of the English language is that he mastered the internal language of the personalities of his characters…which is the language of us all…that private, often schizophrenic, dialogue between Me, Myself and I… And that is what makes any writer truly timeless…

(38)

The Masters of Inexhaustible Output: Writers, Pornographers and Physicists should be granted immeasurable time to indulge their passions…they’re the only minds who can truly appreciate the endlessness of possibility.

(39)

It is laughable when people discuss the “Will of (G)od” or the intent behind extraterrestrial visitation… We’re the only species on the planet that’s largely unaware of the drives behind our own desires–even the content of dreams leaves us largely stupefied–yet we express absolute certainty concerning the drives of otherworldly entities.

(40)

Physical labor requires common sense to function properly…mental labors are exercised with Reason and Logic… Common sense then is the physical labor of thinking… This is how we begin to consider it as a species of cognitive functioning that is different in kind from Reason and Logic.

(41)

The Irony of Airports: If birds were a cognizant species they would surely scoff at the notion that human beings require such a vast expanse of land merely to fly.

(42)

The Politics of Communication: Rhetoric = Fascism… Discourse = Democracy… Conversation = Socialism…

(43)

The Enduring Allure of Japantheism: The Japanese culturally encourage religious conversion… Embrace the god that fits the occasion…one can be born a Hindu, married as Christian and die a Buddhist.  Japan is some form of sacred utopia where the number of registered faithful exceeds the total population.

(44)

Personal success begins to blossom once the soul of one’s efforts is individuated from the failures of the herd.

(45)

The New Testament invokes “speaking in tongues” as a language-act that communicates to all races, creeds and faiths…the Pentecostal with his nonsensical utterances and theatrical spasms that baffle congregants and scare little children is far from this Christian splendor… Rather than being possessed by the Holy Ghost, it seems that the ghosts of the builders of that famed Babel Tower jumped out of the Old Testament after Yahweh smote their tongues and leapt right into the souls of these Christian thespians. They are much like those foolish individuals who somehow believe that pronouncing the letters of a word in reverse is in actuality talking backwards.

(46)

The folly of people who try to talk backwards by pronouncing the letters of a word in reverse is, above all things, their failure to recognize that verbal communication does not possess mathematical elegance. Because 3+4=7 is also 7=4+3 does not mean that SIHT will equal THIS verbally… The same is also true for MOM, POP, and WOW…I or A…

(47)

The Physics of the Heart: The human mind begins to comprehend the simultaneity of all possible worlds the moment the human heart embraces the simultaneity of all possible loves.

(48)

Der Meisterstückmaschine: Thinking on Michael Jackson canonically we find he is rife with Mozartian splendor…producer of a large body of work from youth of immense likability and sustained (even persistent) excellence… In POP culture he is a veritable Plato, where everything before him becomes an explanation of how we get to him and everything after merely part of an extended footnote to his greatness… Like Shakespeare he was culturally transformative…and the ONE who was…. But I find him most in the league of Michelangelo, Goethe, Beethoven, Dickens and Kubrick…artists whose bodies of work consists ONLY of masterpieces… Even the most lackluster attempts are head and shoulders above the rest…

(49)

The Zen of Project Runway: It is not enough to possess the ability to do something…one should be moved to do something well… This is why it is imperative to pursue interests in life that one loves to the core of their being…to be moved to excel in performance and production…with regularity. Otherwise, ability is just potential…and potential means ‘This is shit but perhaps something can be done with it.’

(50)

Whenever I encounter people who wonder why other individuals whose mental and physical faculties are in such irreversible decline do not readily succumb to the peaceful oblivion of death rather than continue to suffer indignities, I want to remind them that we are not on this planet for peace–political or personal–we are here for life…and the dignity of life is measured by how much the possessor will fight to preserve it…

It is neither the size of the man nor the size of the fight in the man that matters most but the reason behind that fight…

(51)

It is often asked if I am bisexually oriented because I have had relationships with women… I am in every sense a 100% no meat-by-product homosexual…EXCEPT when attracted to that spark of excellence in any flourishing human soul…then I am bisexual. I’m inclined to believe that ALL culturally evolved human beings have to be… It is the only civilized way to socialize amongst our species…

(52)

The Discreet Charm of Trophy Wives and Kept Husbands: When we settle for someone who is less than we believe in our hearts we deserve, it is not because of insecurity or feelings of inferiority but laziness… Human beings will improve for reasons of education, social status, careers…but when it comes to significant others, we start talking of ridiculous complacencies like being accepted for who we are or, if in a relationship, having let ourselves go and no longer needing to impress our mates… (How can I expect someone to accept me  as I am when I am not even striving on a regular basis to be the very best of me that I can…?) For such an upwardly mobile species in the history (thus far) of evolution it is somewhat queer that we crave an Angeline Jolie by our side, but won’t strive to be a Brad Pitt…metaphorically speaking… There is something to be said for those folks who have to stay in a constant state of self-improvement because they married for money and were married because of their looks… (This also applies to intellectualism…you can attract more Marie Curies as a Pierre Curie than you can as a high school dropout…)

(53)

“Unconditional love” is a beautiful sentiment, but let us not be too swayed by rhetorical indulgence, ALL LOVE IS CONDITIONAL… The very sensitive nature of the connections that such an experience is established under dictates that it has to have boundaries…and however far reaching, they are nevertheless boundaries. People may love blindly but no one loves willy-nilly or haphazardly… Love does not lend itself to frivolity…

(54)

La Grâce Discrète des Mormons: One can only surmise that some deus ex machina is at work in this American faith which has endured for so long despite its poorly written scripture and even more poorly wrought Christian theology…

(55)

If a driver hits and kills a raccoon then drives off, the raccoon is roadkill… If that same driver hits and kills a human being then drives off, the victim is…not roadkill? Why is that? Further, why does that driver keep hitting shit?

(56)

Every day in the life of a child’s mind is an exercise in SATORI… (By comparison being in the mind of an adult fucking sucks!)

(57)

If a man views being a good person as something of a task, then he should also recognize that it is one he has already failed.

(58)

It is not the volume of one’s presence that matters, rather how deafening their absence is…whenever you leave a conversation, make sure whoever was listening is left wanting to hear more…

(59)

People who believe money cannot buy happiness either don’t know how to spend it or shop… Truth is, human beings are largely uncertain of their desirings so most end up in regret when their (often misguided) expectations are not met. It is wiser to note that money DOES NOT make life (or its choices) easier…the more money we accumulate the more aggravations we are likely to suffer…and the more our desirings will confound us. As for happiness, that is neither easily gained nor maintained…and perhaps not meant to be, which is why it is something pursued rather than secured as per the charge of our Declaration.

Caveat emptor!

The oracle commands, γνῶθι σεαυτόν…the Bard recommends, to thine ownself be true…it is by these laws solely that one may have the happiest spree…

(60)

Because something is detailed we should not automatically think it deep…the ironic beauty of pornography is that it is a very detailed medium and the farther one ventures into that world the more neurotically specific matters become–a successful ejaculation may be entirely reliant on the placement of a hand or cock or clock–but however profound these effects, in no way is pornography itself a deep genre.

Perhaps that is why de Sade and Bataille saw fit to infuse it with philosophy…

(61)

I am still perplexed by what is meant in the utterances “I don’t judge” and “I’ll reserve judgment…”? The ability to judge is encoded in the evolutionary project of every animate species… If it moves independently of external forces, it probably leaves judgment calls in its wake. It is a natural survival mechanism…even zombies have to judge between living and dead brains for the nutrition necessary to remain undead. (Perhaps that is why one never hears talk of zombie-cannibalism?) Judgment is a largely autonomous function on par with breathing and we can only hold our breath but so long. There are better and worse ways of breathing respective of varied activities, the same surely holds for judgment, even if only by degrees. We often indulge it politely as ‘discernment’, but there is also ‘prejudice’, ‘misjudging’, ‘poor judgment’ and ‘final judgment’. People who claim to NOT be judgmental seem a curious and untrustworthy lot…how can such a figure ever survive the far more determined judgment of a starved, attacking zombie…?

(62)

That sad truth is that ALL men have a poor understanding of Feminism…even Gay men, who are often considered the penultimate female sympathists of our gender…for had we a better understanding of the liberation of the female sex such binary roles as TOPS and BOTTOMS  would appear utterly neanderthal. Although homosexuality is not some perverse form of misogyny, Gay men are the worst chauvinists because we are not only (still) mystified by heterosexual paradigms, but the most heterosexist of those structures…when penetration equals subjugation…or in our case, emasculation…

(63)

Important announcement for undergraduates studying the Humanities: Jesus of Nazareth was the “founder” of Christianity in that same way Socrates devised the Socratic Method…not at all… (Paul and Plato…Paul and Plato…Paul and Plato.)

(64)

Music and Faith: I have no problem reasoning how an atheist can fully appreciate the beautiful grandeur of Bach’s masses and cantatas…but atheists who love Bob Marley confound me… His music is the most subtle and sublime gospel… Bach’s music speaks to all people, but Bob’s music was speaking to all people on behalf of (G)od…and to (G)od on behalf of all people. The ensemble was called “Wailers” for a reason…

(65)

Chivalry died the moment someone realized that perhaps simple human decency might just be enough for men to treat women well without behavioral indoctrination… We’ll see…

(66)

It is far easier to answer ‘What is Philosophy?’ than it is to figure out what Love and Art are…but when we realize that all three are less about what we are beholding at that moment and more about the Eternal that is excavated in our souls, the closer we get to a comprehension of our experiences with them…

(67)

Pornography Taxonomy après Sontag: Pornography from de Sade to the video era is about sex, whereas Internet Porn is about fucking…in that same way that Spirituality is about communion with the Divine and Religion is about going to church.

(68)

Thoughts on my morning walk as cars go hissing by: the Hebrew tribes, Buddha, Jesus, Petrarch, Ghandi and MLK all succeeded as culturally transformative figures not because they were so far ahead of their respective worlds but because they kept perfect pace with the evolution of mankind… Walkers have a deeper understanding of the world in that they move at the speed of Life…

(69)

The Curious Martyrdom of Modern Athletes: I’m finding that more and more athletes are being publicly outed and de-laureled for taking performance-enhancement drugs. This seems a bit trite. I recall (almost fondly) that during finals time in undergrad at Columbia, instead of simply taking my Ritalin like a good li’l Prozac-Nation boy, I would crush it up and snort it…intensifying its effects. This was (and still is) a very common indulgence for students at such institutions… Should the college board revoke my degrees? Many male pornstars have been known to take Viagra during filming… Do we no longer watch their wares? No on both accounts. And why is that? Because myself or someone like Ron Jeremy (not that I’m accusing him, in particular) already possessed abilities that thrust us into these arenas, to perform at peak levels, crush the competition and yes, receive due accolades and commendations from our peers and betters. Should we not enhance those abilities? The world turns a blind eye to us…but athletes, who we WANT to truly believe superhuman, are damn-near crucified when they strive to be so…

(70)

All pornographers are philosophers by virtue of their attempts to articulate some utopian ideal…where everyone has and wants very ambitious sexual experiences…unfortunately the degenerative nature of the human personality precludes ANY utopian possibilities… And human beings break quite easily… (These problems are curiously–but perhaps not coincidentally–dominant in religious idealism.)

(71)

There are two types of “stupid” people in the world, those who do not understand they should take the arts seriously and those who do understand they should take the arts seriously…so being part of the latter won’t make you smarter, but it will make you a better person. (FYI: The smart one is that guy who does not have to understand, but just does…)

(72)

On the Philosophy of Menswear: Along the spectrum of male ceremonial wear and uniformity, tuxedos and military dress are philosophical kissing cousins in that each strives to simultaneously signify social status while leveling class distinction… What undercuts this idealism is that a tuxedo in all its vicissitudes and socialized relevance is ONLY about status and even beyond the inherent branch/rank science of uniforming, to don a uniform professionally automatically puts the wearer in a position of obligatory servitude…even unto his fellow-feathered… Uniformity is never an aesthetic of true empowerment.

(73)

Transparency of character exhibited in the human personality is a far more beneficial social strategy than those of the more introverted and “mysterious” sort. People who lay all their cards on the table (provided they know well how to play the hand) leave their beholders at the worst disadvantage…being completed demystified while still profoundly perplexed. They are always thinking there is still something up one’s sleeve… This is so largely because people forget that although it is endearing to keep another’s secret–that shared chuckle resulting from discreet whispers–it is most insidious to harbor one’s own.

Closed books are intriguing, but it is when they are open and read that they fulfill the destiny of their essence.

(74)

Thinking about laws of desiring in human magnetism: There are things that are appealing and un-appealing…there are only degrees of attraction…there is no un-attraction. These are the only laws.

Appeal is a public anxiety aroused by what is generated within from without…e.g. I am not partial to blondes or women but I find Heidi Klum irresistible, largely because I am informed by media efforts that she is someone I should be drawn to and a measure for what should constitute my attraction to other human beings… One cannot act on appeal AND hope for a happy union with another soul as it is largely a function of cognition that is beyond one’s control. (I think therefore I can be wooed.) If I meet a guy who looks like Brad Pitt and I date him for those reasons when social consciousness decides to campaign contra-Pitt appeal so, too, goes the root of what drew me to him. (I think therefore I can be swayed.) Appeal is of the mind.

Attraction on the other hand is an anxiety generated within from within and because of the conscious-level “appeal” factors involved (rendering ALL human beings largely uncertain as to the nature of their attractions…sexualized and socialized) we are hardwired to develop/activate prejudices when these attractions do not gel with media-informed signifiers. (I feel therefore I question.) If I was raised in an environment that eschewed the appeal of White men, then my first interpersonal attraction to a White male is bound to be rife with emotional unrest…which almost justifies the charge of attraction. (I feel therefore I suffer.) Attraction is also not within our ability to control but because it operates on the deeper levels of human consciousness whether or not appeal is a factor, it generates anxieties peculiar to each individual personality and generally cannot be undermined by merely altering social tastes and milieus. ATTRACTION ALWAYS SURFACES DESPITE OUR BEST EFFORTS TO SUPPRESS IT. One need not act on every attraction as the psychological and emotional impact is too challenging–which is why pimpin’ as a personality trait is largely fictitious beyond its economic role. (For example, the pimp icon, Hugh Hefner, is literally so in every sense of the word.) But one should always take responsibility for his or her attractions, as attraction is (strangely enough) of the heart.

(75)

Philosophers are to thinking as Supermodels are to walking…

(76)

Whenever someone makes much ado about keeping promises made to others, it is a sure sign that they are of low character. People of high character understand that PROMISE is something fulfilled in one’s personhood in relation to others…with or without prompting. People of high character bring home Olympic Golds and Nobel Prizes because they realize their efforts are not all about them…people of low character remember to bring home the milk merely because they are asked.

It is one thing to give your word…it is something completely different–greater–to BE your word.

(77)

Whenever I hear someone say “You think too much” I’m reminded of claustrophobes trapped in an elevator with other people: “STOP BREATHING! YOU’RE SUCKING UP ALL THE AIR!” The human mind is as vast as the Universe…there’s enough thought to go around so that everyone can breathe freely.

(78)

The Art of Friendship: I find it misleading to refer to select individuals as “best friends”. All of my friends are best friends largely because I strive to be the best friend I can to each… The only other social categories available are Family, Strangers, Acquaintances and People Who Have Fallen Out Of Favor…none of whom are revered by me as are my friends.

(79)

I don’t disparage people their need to invoke (G)od in their petty successes or failures by means of thanks or curse, but I do find it laughable. That such a Divine Intelligence, which lords over the Universe and all of its multiple dimensions and possible worlds would be concerned with a Grammy or Little League trophy seems the most vulgar example of cockiness. (G)od has no stake whatever in who wins the lottery. It’s a comedy I liken to someone trying to convince me that his understanding of Quantum Physics made him a wiser voter…the principles and drives that govern the flow of the Universe and the Democratic process are millions of light years apart.

(80)

We all crave some manner of personal and professional successes. The truths–nay, trapdoors–behind these human endeavors are IF YOU ONLY EVER DO IN LIFE WHAT YOU KNOW AND HAVE BEEN CONDITIONED TO DO, YOU’VE ALREADY FAILED AND DONE NOTHING AT ALL; IF YOU ONLY ADHERE TO THE VISIONS OF BEAUTY YOU’VE BEEN INDOCTRINATED WITH, YOU’VE SEEN NOTHING PROFOUND IN THIS WORLD; IF YOU ONLY SPOUT THE TRUTHS OF OTHERS BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT FACE YOUR OWN THEN THE WHOLE OF YOUR LIFE IS A LIE…AS SUCH, ONE CAN NEVER HOPE TO BE AN INSTRUMENT OF CHANGE OR INFLUENCE. And sadly, one can never know success.

My father used to tell me it is imperative that in all of my life’s pursuits I push myself beyond my comfort zone…because what awaits me on the other side is SUCCESS.

(81)

Imitatio Christi cum Thelema: When we love those we do not have to is when LOVE blossoms most fully… Love is indeed the Law and the Whole of the Law…there is no higher command.

(82)

When novices misspeak and proclaim that they do not BELIEVE in philosophy–as though it were a faith-based option like believing in (G)od–I laugh to myself and wonder if they also do not buy into psychology but BELIEVE in neurology…

(83)

If wise Solomon was right and “all is vanity” then the person who avoids their reflection is as self-consumed as the one who basks in theirs…perhaps even more absorbed considering their anxiety causes them to snub even the mirror’s generous matter-of-fact candor… Reflections cast everything but judgment and stones…that’s the Ego’s job.

(84)

Snobs can only think of themselves as better than others. Elitists can explain why they are better than others.

(85)

Theologians and Philosophers share in the Artist’s paradox of being that no matter how relevant one wants to be in the here and now, all efforts and creative output will matter more to generations down the line…it is a strange shifting of creative pressures and anxieties… And very Christian… But it also makes me wonder if Montaigne was right about philosophy preparing one for death…perhaps it is death that prepares one for philosophy.

(86)

A Lesson on the Machiavellian Approach to the Philolexian Kill In Discourse: Everyone commits fallacies in discourse…they’re inescapable… The trick is to get yours in under the BULLSHIT radar and sink the other guy’s fallacies first. Remember, no one ever really knows what they’re talking about…so just appear the least clueless…

(87)

Whenever I hear people say they have a “special relationship with (G)od” I think of that awkward moment when two people are hanging out, having a good time and in the heat of the moment one says “You’re my best friend”…and the other stays silent…

(88)

The Paradox of Conversion: A rabbi once told me that conversion to Judaism is something only technically recognized but, scripturally speaking, converts are not spiritually the Chosen People..birthright is an essential component of the faith. I replied, “Scripturally speaking, isn’t Judaism technically a faith founded on conversion?”

(89)

Depending on how one (practically) applies the conclusions, “thinking too much” can render life less complicated… I have found that my most complicated (and often unresolved) dealings have been with people who do not “think” at all…

(90)

It is no surprise that the Ancient Greeks formalized philosophical thinking AND institutionalized athletics–gymnasium, the Olympics–as philosophers have to be the most intellectually agile in all of the academy…always poised to return any volley, they have to be cognitively fit for peak performance when engaging various topics…and not only perform with the excellence of a Michael Jordan or Muhammad Ali but with the range of a Bo Jackson… (And the best of us are contortionists.)

(91)

<Taken from my Friendship Journal> During my morning walk I found myself caught up in a rabble of butterflies…it was enchanting. Had it been a swarm of bees, I should be struck with fear…or cockroaches teeming toward me, then dread (and twice that over the ones that can fly). I think these feelings mirror how I view my circles of friends. Q: Do I exterminate the ones that do not enchant me?

(92)

Man would have just as easily come into being without (G)od… Mankind–civilization?–never…

(93)

American Racism in the Age of Obama: We are finally able to begin a sincere dialogue on Racism as a pathology rather than simply a reductionist politic. Certainly there are huge political backlashes evident in the Racist agenda but politics function in Racism like sex functions in Rape, a means by which to INFLICT one’s power ideology.

(94)

Good writers listen at the door when the world is having sex… Great writers peep through the keyhole… And the greatest of these just waltz right in…

(95)

(Yahwisdom) Ignorance is a sin…willful ignorance is evil.

(96)

SADO-MATHEMATICS: Because 2+2 always equals 4 we know that to minus 2 from 4 will yield 2…but there are peculiar math equations whose inverse operations do not follow this logic, often yielding beautifully paradoxical conclusions… I liken this curiosity to thinking on the misunderstood passions of Sado-Masochism…a masochist can blissfully suffer pains inflicted by either a party that is enjoying the task or not enjoying the task (think about the parental folly “This is gonna hurt me more than it hurts you”)–the titillation is only marginally affected by the sufferer’s knowledge of the tormentor’s intent. Inversely, the sadist MUST have a perpetual victim…an “anima” that is a machine of suffering-reborn to fulfill the mania… The moment the inflicted pain turns to pleasurable revelation, the sadist can no longer reason the logic of his own selfhood.

(97)

The Culture of Mendacity: Honesty and sincerity are the auras of truthtelling…many truthtellers are surprised when they are accused of dishonesty…largely because they fail to see that the charge is levied against their manipulation of truths, not an outright telling of lies. And those who are most shocked by this charge are even being dishonest in their (affected?) shock.

(98)

(The Culture of Mendacity) Cat/People: Vanity and a peculiar pathological bend toward self-presentation is the evolutionary bond that unites us and house-cats…a sympatico for his exaggerated sense of entitlement endears us to the lion…but it is the human being’s poorly wrought stratagems of misrepresentation that will keep us forever prey to the starkly paradoxical truth of the panther.

(99)

“What is a philosopher?” I would never give myself such a title, personally or professionally–I don’t even make use of “Dr.”, and I earned that one…but once while on an excursion through the bohemian streets of Austin, Texas, I happened upon a young man in the 8th grade who asked me what I did for a living. I replied that I “think”. I laughed that answer off and offered instead my standardized “I’m a writer…I’m a scholar…”, which seemed to satiate his curiosity. (Even young minds, with all their ability to make phenomenal leaps in fantasy, still crave comprehensive tangibility and familiarity in answers given.) Reflecting on this moment I realize that my gut answer, “I think”, is truly the most earnest. Work is essentially a repetitive act performed by one individual for the sake of producing for another. No one “works” in a vacuum. I, of course, think for myself as all “persons” do, but as well I am laden with the responsibility of thinking for others…or better put, helping to facilitate a life of clarity. (Which is why there’s no such reality as a “personal philosophy”, it doesn’t even make sense as an idea.) So, I think therefore I am employed. I should get a raise.

(100)

Considering Marvel’s Earth 1610 Multiverse: It amazes me that there are not more religionist fanboys…there is no greater scriptural excess in modern entertainment than comic book series…with all of their intricate character connections, limited degrees of separation, utopianism and stringent high-moral fiber, it’s like reading Homer or the Old Testament…

(101)

Despite the tumult and anxiety it often arouses, experiencing a true and deep love for something or someone is the only time when human Reason functions with less elegance but is most beautiful.

(102)

Whenever I hear of Straight Baiting– Gay men “seducing” Straight men by means of coercion or inebriation–I am often struck by the subtle social poetry in this admittedly rapacious act…there’s an underlying hint of cultural backlash to the psychosexual impulse of Fag-bashing.

(103)

Religion is (still) mankind’s most enduring Psychology.

(104)

One cannot hope to achieve any level of spirituality without religion–“religio”, the bond… Mankind must be bound by some institutional gravity, else we would be foolish souls and minds floating willy-nilly in the vast cosmos…anarchic…bumping into one another’s sphere of existence from time to time…only to disrupt… This is NOT spirituality… Spirituality is a procedural elevation of individual souls into a unity of benevolent consciousness. Where is this more evident as an institution of thinking (however misguided) than in the Church, Temple or Mosque?

(105)

There is time enough to be concerned with the existence of (G)od when one is dead.

(106)

Why I Think I’ve Remained A Christian (Thought for Bertrand Russell): I know of no other faith in recorded religious history that sheds tears over the living as beautiful as the ones shed over the dead. How sweet a world wherein compassion and empathy were all the finery one needed to be gorgeous. Such sentiment is not often expressed in the application of the Christian Ethic…but it is undoubtedly the stuff Christian dreams are made of…

(107)

Contra-Montaigne, it was death that prepared me for philosophy…and all that I am able to say on the matter is that both are invariably unfortunate yet necessary conditions for my existence.

(108)

Whenever people refer to Slavoj Zizek as a “Philosopher”, I think they must have no real understanding of one AND the other. I’m reminded of an ex-boyfriend who kept calling Camille Paglia a “Feminist”… One day I was forced to say to him (in front of friends) “You obviously have never read anything she’s written…or know what a Feminist is…” (We broke up days later…)

(109)

(G)od does not exist outside of our faith in (H)im…and yet this is not to say that (H)e doesn’t exist… Or (S)he… Or (T)hem…?

(110)

However much they function privately, Religion, Politics and Sex are inherently social matters–we vote for other people, have sex with other people and usually worship gods that tell us what other people to steer clear of–so I am always suspicious when individuals invoke these as private concerns… They must have something to hide.

(111)

The average atheist knows no more about Science than the average theist knows about (G)od…which is often very little…and both profess still to know more about the other’s “faith”…

(112)

Abrahamic Last Word: It’s not that there is ONLY one (G)od, there are just no more new gods left to find. All future gods will be mere variations on a theme.

(113)

The Folly of Suicide: The most irrational manner in which to cancel an upcoming birthday, when merely asking everyone else to cross it off their calenders would have been sufficient to prove a point. The day still happens whether you’re dead or not.

(114)

A student of Atheism once said to me–as his prelude to a bashing of Christian Ethics–that Jesus was no more than a “fictional character” in the mind of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John… Fictional? Perhaps composite…which was a common teaching technique employed by Axial Age thinkers… Socrates, for example, was fashioned by Plato, Aristotle, Aristophanes and Xenophon…yet I find myself hard-pressed to toss out the Socratic method and the noble pursuit of Truth based on the premise that four dead guys far wiser than myself could not produce a birth certificate of a figure MEANT to be idealized and exemplary.

(115)

Sex always makes for stranger bedfellows than politics…more disparate minds have collaborated over carnal pleasures than have met to legislate order.

(116)

Thought for Harold Bloom: I cannot wax as eloquently on the character of GENIUS…but I do know that I pray every night to be struck down by its contagion…never to recover…

(117)

Neo-Christian Family Values: If marriage is truly meant to be about love alone then we should disband the institution altogether and instead concentrate on the cause…

(118)

(The Folly of My Mind, A Satirical Monologue) As a Post-Modern-Neo-Christian-Liberation-Theology-Infused-But-Secularly-Friendly-And-Globally-Minded critical thinker I hold three truths to be self-evident in the Common Era…the world after the Crucifixion is inescapably Christian, all thinking after Descartes is inherently Cartesian, and all art after Wagner is tragically Wagnerian…all based on a singular premise…that civilization was Freudian long before there was ever a Freud… Ironically, this has kept me from going batshit insane…

(119)

Idle hands may produce the Devil’s work, but at least they produce something…an idle mind produces nothing.

(120)

In America there is always this annual call for reviving the Christianity in Christmas…yet however admirable this sentiment, the peculiar zeal of American Yuletide seems essentially Buddhist. I am thinking here of the Sand Mandalas painstakingly made by Tibetan Monks only to be ritualistically destroyed upon completion by said monks, reinforcing their doctrinal belief in the transitory nature and impermanence of material life that often sits in stark contrast to the human striving toward permanence. What is more painstakingly indulged during American holidays than Christmas decorating? An annual flexing of ritualistic excess–hanging of lights, tinseling of trees, heirloom ornamentation, elaborate giftwrapping–wherein the creative impulse necessitates a destructive resolution following the birth of a new year… Even the manger gets leveled. (One might be tempted to say this is also true of Halloween, but just a glance at the difference in electric bills for an average middle class family that fully celebrates both holidays will lay that comparison to rest.)

(121)

I have no interest whatsoever in curbing my bigotries…the prejudices I hold are the only things that keep everyone else from being better than me.

(122)

People who can but do not read live a life where words are mere grist for communicating information, nothing more…truly these folk do only live once. This saddens me.

(123)

After overhearing me speak with spirited criticism concerning “the Risen Christ”, an attractive young gentleman–Mormon, I think–approached privately and asked if I subscribed to Atheism, to which I answered that I did not. He pressed on, “So you do believe in (G)od?” I replied that no one “believes” in (G)od…that on both camps–atheists and faithful alike–it is a necessary lie we perpetuate, an illusion of belief/disbelief/doubt, to encourage a healthy intellectual evolution…it keeps our brains from becoming atrophied. My inquisitor was not at all pleased by this answer and pressed on earnestly, “What do you believe then?” (It is truly amazing how much one man’s “belief” affects another man’s anxiety.)

(124)

Rarely Explored Theological Considerations: Contextually the dialogue between Eve and the serpent could never have happened as it was Adam and not she who had the gift of communicating with animals…only he “knew” the beasts, for the purposes of naming and classification… Eve would only have had the ability to communicate with Adam and Yahweh.

(125)

“You think too much.” I can only be wary of the thinking of those who make the accusation. I imagine them to be like claustrophobes stuck in an elevator charging that the others likewise trapped are inhaling MORE than their share of oxygen. Perhaps the charge should be: “You think too much…stop it or you’ll think up all of the good stuff in the cosmos and leave me suffocating in my own ignorance.”

(126)

While reading the transcript of an Alan Watts lecture on myth and religion, I was struck by a very curious interpretation he offered of the Freudian libido…that it was “blind lust”… This made me laugh. Of all the emotions that warp collective reality [jealousy, anger, greed...love] lust is the only one that “sees” with the utmost clarity.

(127)

The Folly of Conversion: All religions harbor the same truth at core. If one fails to “see the light” (aka Truth, the Revealed) of the faith they were born into, they are not likely to be enlightened elsewhere, religiously speaking…this is a spiritual common sense even toted by the Dalai Lama, figurehead of a spiritual discipline whose number of converts are globally outranked only by Islam and Christianity. There are certainly moments of profound insight…severe adapting to ritual behaviors, a change in diet perhaps…supplanting of doctrinal language…but one would be hard-pressed to argue a true transcendental shift in consciousness. This same holds for sexual conversion. It has been well established that Gay-to-Straight conversion therapies are laughable efforts when not downright offensive. It is Stepford-wifery at best. Its alternate current, Straight-to-Gay, has long been a suspected homosexual stratagem. We wish to turn the world “Gay”. (Once again, laughable when not downright offensive.) Being more amorous of men than is healthy for any human constitution mixed with a very liberal “appeal” filter that responds irrespective of sexual orientation, I have faced many a pointed finger… “J’ACCUSE!” But as I’ve told Straight men time and again, the least of all things I desire in them is some socio-sexual “lifestyle” allegiance…I’m not trying to make them Gay…I want them to stay Straight before, during and after…they just have to fuck me, not march in my parade. All sexualities harbor the same truth at core.

(128)

Small talk is the Devil’s rhetoric.

(129)

Death. Anxiously anticipated while vigorously avoided…and never eluded. But when? It is an eeriness of human mortality to be able to look back upon the lives of others and say “Ah, this is when Fate destined you to die!”, yet remain clueless as to the date and time of one’s own death…  I hope I die during a Super Bowl… It’s not an event I care for, so I won’t feel as though something is being missed…

(130)

Misreading Marquis de Sade: I think most people who encounter Sade irresponsibly look to his musings on sex and violence, intoxications and atheisms as something akin to Dionysian…largely because most individuals confuse excess for rebellion… If the writings of the “divine Marquis” are about anything they are certainly about order…everything discussed is always in measures and degrees and development…every act is calculated and working mathematically toward some grand crescendo… There is no Dionysian frenzy in his writings. There is no chaos. There is sex, there is violence…laid bare in Apollonian sequentials. And by virtue of that effort alone he didn’t so much do philosophy as much as create one… (Not unlike Ayn Rand perhaps…just more likable…yet no less Conservative. I always secretly laugh at people who read either writer and believe they’re being risque.) His work is by no means the crowning achievement of 18th Century French Enlightenment thinking…but maybe the logical conclusion…

(131)

In the divine comedy sexuality is but a pun…in the human one, the punchline.

(132)

Quoting the dead and famous gives off the impression that one is cosmopolitan, literate and insightful but really it’s just confessing that yours is NOT the deepest thought on the subject. (Which is why I’m immensely fond of quoting myself…)

(133)

It is common for most people to pretend they are not at all ignorant and that all others are infinitely moreso…I, counterintuitively, embrace my own ignorance in the promising light of others…this is how I stay young in wisdom… (That and remembering all others are infinitely more ignorant than I…)

(134)

(#107 REDUX) Contra-Montaigne, it was death that prepared me for philosophy…and all that I am able to say on the matter is that both are invariably unfortunate conditions for my existence. Surely I will not sacrifice the latter (although it can quite easily reason me into the arms of oblivion), only to paradoxically discover that an unexamined life is truly not worth living anyway. Therefore I have to make a concerted effort to be less consumed by the former…think less on it, even as I veer closer to it every day.

(135)

Who killed Cobain and Kennedy? A person’s death should always be left that taboo romance between killer and victim. When the collective investigative mind begins to reason death it becomes a conspiracy of re-killing…the masses are so titillated by the deaths of their famously beloved that they have to repeat the act over and over again…with a different finger on the trigger each time…it is said that this a form of justice or peace for the grieving and their memory of the deceased–keeping some deranged and twisted hope alive for answers to questions already mooted by the advent of death. But what can be of more consolation than the knowledge that the person is finally dead. (THERE ARE NO MORE QUESTIONS AFTER DEATH…EVEN FOR THE LIVING.) Human vitality has too petty a nature to respect the true meaning of REQUIESCAT IN PACE… We fear facing our own deaths, but are secretly jealous it happened to someone else…

(136)

The Freudian Backlash of Aronofksy’s NOAH: In the biblical tale Ham’s happening upon Noah’s nude drunkenness is overcast with a mood of (incestuous) homosexualized intimacy…the second of its kind in the Bible after Yahweh plants the kiss of life upon Adam’s lips. It begs us to consider that part of the male psyche that desires one’s father sexually…yearning for the protective and steadfast embrace that originally seduced one’s mother and became the very reason for life. Human desiring is heterosexually trained, even in psychosis the boy yearns for mother, girl for father. And we all want back in the womb. But there is an entire cosmos that generates in the seed of men where we find ourselves before the womb…where we find ourselves before ourselves…and all of mankind goes back to the before of what it now is (cf. genetics)…perhaps our collective desiring does as well. To Ham, Noah is not only the Patriarch of their family, he is the Patriarch of a new beginning for all that is defined as “life”. How ravishing such a sentiment must be for a young man’s mind–the Father of us all, eroticized . What a subject for an artist of Darren Aronofsky’s caliber to explore. So, why reduce Ham to mere Oedipal instincts? Did Aronofsky’s own father not warrant a big-boy crush?

(137)

It might be more apropos to think of the cinematic zombie post-Romero as The Sprinting Dead… One does not have to indulge Paul Virilio to reason that acceleration is conducive to violent impact and/or eruptive consequences, yet speed alone does not maximize the horror inflicted upon the audience, just the anxiety…the horror affect is paradoxically minimized…even impotent… Making one “jump” (startled) is not “horror”. We learn from Poe that real horror flowers in the presence of persistent–even relentless–stealth.

(138)

The Culture of Mendacity: The greatest sentimental lie ever uttered is “It’s the thought that counts.” Thoughts count that prompt actions otherwise it was a brief neurological hiccup…not even prayer…

(139)

I often find that people like one another best when they’re in agreement… I tend to like people least when they agree with me.

(140)

(On viewing Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing and Aronofsky’s NOAH) I have heard it said that popular television and Hollywood actors often relish taking a much coveted bite of Shakespearean or religious drama…but most don’t fare well in either…they should bite a lesser theatrical apple to exercise their jaws…like pornography.

 (141)

(Kierkegaard + Cabernet) Loneliness erupts in lives that are too steeped in expectation.

(142)

The Consolation of Wit: When talking candidly about stupid people around stupid people, stupid people never think you’re talking about them.

(143)

People who dislike Rap and Classical genres strike me as culturally challenged individuals who fail to truly grasp what the musical arts and those genres in particular are supposed to achieve as art forms–the equivalent of people who “read” but fail to appreciate the magic of Shakespearean poetics…who I merely chalk up to illiterate…

(144)

Racism in America is an all-pervasive politic, like being “neutral” in Switzerland is also the political identity of every Swiss citizen. The American that only sees my skin color and the American that refuses to see it (however honorable) are of the same camp… (It’s a Lose/Lose situation, after all it is Racism…even the South Park character Token Black enlightens us by declaring to his schoolmates such is an argument that can never be won….pro or con.) As for myself, I must accept that I see the world through tinted lenses…yet embrace NOT my bigotry but face my recalcitrant ignorance in this regard. As a social creature whose highest ethical purpose is to love mankind, I am still critically Racist when I am loving non-Blacks…my consolation is that I strive everyday to TREAT people with the highest level of respect I believe every human being is due irrespective of who they are or are not. And when I fall short in these efforts, must be willing to face reproach–personally, publicly and professionally. So when I hear that Racist media-targets like Donald Sterling and Paula Deen have in the past donated (quite generously) to the NAACP or United Negro College Fund, I don’t see in them hypocrisy inasmuch as I see the curious cognitive dissonance that is part and parcel of the American Democracy project…contributing to the betterment of the country as a whole regardless of your personal whimsy…THAT IS THE JOB OF ALL RIGHT-THINKING AMERICAN CITIZENRY. But right-thinking socially does not necessarily undercut being racist privately.

(145)

Science is not wisdom…neither is logic…nor faith alone… Which leaves love and art…

(146)

Scientific Atheisms are too intellectually easy. The arguments often leave lay-persons with the impression that the matter has been thought through and the faithful with the delusion that there is an argument that can be waged in the first place…

(147)

Success is no guarantor of merit…nor does merit guarantee success…except in its own virtue.

(148)

ALL Rap is Augustinian Testimonial.

(149)

85119211

(150)

There is no such entity as a non-Racist American…we just shift polarities to Positive Racisms. Now we say Blacks “age well”, Asians “test well”, Mexicans “work hard”… Isn’t it funny that as rich and diverse as the English language is, we still do not possess the capacity to simply declare that PEOPLE age well, test well and work hard?

(151)

“Human imagination is how we exercise the muscles of desiring. … Levitical prohibitions–indeed all prohibitions–develop not because of a general disdain or disgust but contrarily because of an all too human penchant toward satisfying morbid curiosity. …(A)fter all, what is curiosity without desiring…? I imagine it to be much like sex without love…an empty function yielding an empty return.” (from ‘Considering Leviticus’ lecture, c. 2003/4)

(152)

NEIN NEIN NEIN NEIN NEIN NEIN!!! Beauty is NOT subjective…wheresoever it holds court it has ABSOLUTE PRESENCE! (People forever muddle ideas and mistake what they find “beautiful” for “Beauty”.)

(153)

“Spreading the doctrine of Holy Trinity developed with a comedic essence not dissimilar to The Three Stooges. In the earliest years of Church proselytizing missionaries would supplant any hint of trinitarian leanings in tribal and ancient faiths with Father/Son/Holy Spirit and then let the new converts suffer a theological slapstick trying to figure out which one is in charge.” <edited from ‘Imitatio Bacchi: A Dionysian View of Messianism’, 2014>

(154)

The other day I found myself comfortably using the ostensibly redundant term “classical antiquity”…and since then I have been wondering if such a concept as “modern antiquity” is reasonable…and to whom/what it would apply… James Joyce? Stravinsky/Nijinsky? Jazz? Pollock?

(155)

“It is interesting to note that Jesus moves as an Object of Desire through St. John’s Gospel…arguably the holiest of the canonical quartet. Whenever I hear ‘I Want To Take You Higher’ by Sly & the Family Stone (or Tina Turner) I’m reminded of the very erotically textured and tense scene at the well with the Samaritan woman in chapter 4, which parallels that ‘sapiosexuality’ we find in the relationship between Socrates and Alcibiades in Plato’s Symposium. Jesus invokes in her a curiosity about himself (a hint of his own golden Silenus figure) and arouses in her desiring his own desiring for her more virtuous self…like Socrates to Alcibiades regarding his higher self… Enlightenment and Messianism move in modes of seduction…” <edited from ‘Imitatio Bacchi: A Dionysian View of Messianism’, 2014>

(156)

Although being good has it’s own unique genius, I tend to think people either good or smart, rarely both. This is perhaps why I do not like hearing people characterize me as smart…it sounds so accusatory and judgmental… (“Michael is smart…he reads Hegel and fornicates with Satan.”) Smartness is the Anti-Hero of the human virtues…it is neither about being bad nor being good but just being smart…which is not always being good.

(157)

An English professor mentioned that one of his students confessed of Atheism–for which he in return offered no words of wisdom or advice–and asked how might I have replied… I said that I would tell the student no one really believes in (G)od… That he misunderstands ‘Faith’ if he takes it for a personal affirmation that (G)od exists.

(158)

defiled

“The Ouroboros is an autophagous yet anorectic symbol signifying the cosmic regeneration of the Eternal born Feminine. When the Christian Messiah’s Hebrew ancestors uncoiled that οὐροβόρος ὄφις and wrapped it around the potent, Wisen’d Tree of יהוה…straightened it into Aaron’s formidable rod…masculinity and monotheism fused to usher in a brave new gender of creator divinity–the Phallus overthrew and supplanted the Mother-Goddess. Christianity sought to resurrect that divine feminine with the Virgin Birth and Immaculate Conception but by the time Jesus is crucified none but Eves to Medusas had lain waste the face-scape of the primal Creatrix…and even the recrowning of this god(dess)head only left the virgin body of womanhood theologically defiled…a further Rape of the Great Goddess.” <edited from ‘Imitatio Bacchi: A Dionysian View of Messianism’, 2014…image credit my own>

(159)

Internalized Homophobia was once the privileged pathology of the homosexual psyche…but now in the age of Gay Equality non-homosexuals too are forced to internalize their hatred and fears of a Gay Planet. For example, I will be out drinking and socializing with my very Liberal friends–people open-minded to the point of Elitism, the very models of Political Correctness and global thinking–and if I point out that some gentleman friend of theirs (newly acquainted to me) is attractive, invariably comes the immediate reply (caution?) that he is “Straight”, if such is the case. And often said in scolding tones. I do not believe it hyperbole to say this probably happens to most Gay men who socialize in the company of mixed orientations (Hetero, Bi), because even in this grand ol’ age of Equality and Toleration the Homosexual male is still considered the socio-sexual Paragon of Predation…that we cannot control our desirings…that we cannot help but act upon our attractions like rapacious satyrs. Every woman secretly thinks Gay men are always trying to fuck her man, who is also secretly thinking Gay men are always trying to fuck him.

(160)

The Consolation of Catholic Psychology: All things shameful are embarrassing but all things embarrassing are not shameful. It was embarrassing to be caught masturbating, but there was no shame in doing what (G)od and every swinging dick under (G)od knew you were doing…in the bathroom…for a half-hour…with no water running… (Some 30 years too late I guess…but thanks just the same…)

(161)

(Thinking on the ethics of genome research and artificial intelligence…) It is not a question of playing (G)od or sacrificing humanity, it is nothing more than an issue of mankind following the path evolution has set before us…wheresoever it may lead…

(162)

Partum Christi, “No one escapes (E)volution! Not even the (G)ods!” <found on a post-it among my notes for ‘Imitatio Bacchi: A Dionysian View of Messianism’, 2014>

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(Standing in the Mansion thinking…NYC, May 2014) When I’m asked how my peculiar interest in male attire developed I invariably say dutiful-son things like “My father was a sharp dresser, taught me everything I know” or “I used to read my dad’s Esquire magazines”…other times I Rainman-ramble off every instance of male adornment mentioned in the Bible from the leaf covering Adam’s Satori of shame to Jesus’ garments auctioned off like so many Elvis costumes. When I really want to confound my inquisitor I chatter on about Georg Simmel and Beau Brummel. And still other times I merely confess “I’m Gay”. These are all true, but a truer answer is Ralph Lauren…the Wagner of the fashion world. I’d finally had a chance to visit my old haunt during a recent trip to NYC, the Ralph Lauren Polo Mansion. The Madison Avenue flagship boutique is now all men’s apparel…floor after floor of ALL RL-MAN ALL THE TIME. I can only liken my experience to someone returning home after years abroad to find it even BETTER than before they had left. Much had changed about the Rhinelander mansion except of course the Beaux-Arts architectural facade…the smell of wood and wealth…and perhaps the spirit of my first visit in 1986, getting fit for a bespoke Black tie and tails tux…’twas the year of my ‘beau-tillion’. I remember well standing before the mirror in the private-shopper offices upstairs…only 17 and already a man of appointments. Parents off somewhere, allowing me a modicum of independence during this connoisseur’s rite of passage…on their card. I let myself be turned and measured, pulled and handled…and listened with an apprentice’s golden ear to lessons on what clothes are supposed to do on my body. Some weeks later I returned for a final fitting when the tux arrived and looking at myself formally suited in that same (magic?) mirror there was no doubt who would be the Beau of the Ball that year. And what’s more I understood why… Sweet materialism had conspired to make me happy and in doing so made me wiser…and considerably more handsome. That was my bar-mitzvah…it wasn’t sex or aging or coming out (socially/sexually) that thrust me into manhood, but learning to look like a Man.

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FAITH: In the hands of a few it’s a tool…in the hands of many, a weapon.

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I imagine that if Georg Simmel were alive today he would scold against following Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh’s advice about not washing jeans more than once a year. Denim jeans are the only article of clothing that exhibit a full-on evolution during the wearer’s lifetime, resulting in a universal iconic philosophy etched in personal history…forged in the elegant formula of wear/tear/wash/fade/repeat.

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Menswear/Manhood Simulacra

“It’s what I wear, it’s what you see,, it must be me, it’s what I am…Vegetable man.” (Pink Floyd) Pathological vanity dictates I will try any fashion line once, a full season if I really like it…yet I have no fetishistic “fashionisto” apprehensions about labels…Hermes to H&M, Versace to vintage is the spectrum. My personal style follows more rules than breaks but I’m still no proper snob. Just as I have developed sound aesthetic reasoning for wearing certain designers religiously–e.g. I stand at a modest 5’7″ and so discovered that a clever mixture of Ralph Lauren bottoms and Ben Sherman tops in an ensemble help give the illusion of length/height–there too developed comparable severe Simmel-Freudian anxieties that prevent me from donning certain brands–a kind of psychological allergy to certain attire.

- Other than making men look cheap and unimaginative, Jos A. Banks epitomizes the 9-5 spiritually castrated, cubicle dweller…a man so emasculated as to sap the virility out of even the most high-end power tie. A man who truly believes “male-enhancement” pills increase penis size and bores hapless listeners (victims?) with neverending, depth-less dialogue punctuated with a low-man-on-the-totem-pole vocabulary of “my boss”, “upper management” and “this memo came straight from the top”. Master of the Universe aspirants not interrupted but outright neutered.

- Men who wear EXPRESS characterize a mock-metrosexuality. Tragically heterosexual males–the only kind I know that shop at EXPRESSMEN–who merely want to look bicurious and cosmopolitan, with no investment of personality…the type of guy who I imagine actually buys those pre-wrapped shirt/tie sets sold in department stores…for whom DETAILS represents high fashion. Such individuals are virtual black holes of male sexuality and taste.

- Hollister is paradoxical to my (dis)taste. I’ve embraced it at levels anthropological, sociological, psychosocial and psychosexual. The epistemology of my insight into this Abercrombie & Fitch spinoff brand has its roots in a most unexpected media, Gay pornography. The brand(ished) name and logo became a statement signifier in post-Millennial amateur internet porn, usually marking the wearer as a barely-18 “Twink”…or schoolboy or jailbait… This “type” holds little attraction for me and yet whenever I see regular men–young or older–sporting Hollister gear, I reflexively begin to fantasize about them sexually. The Pavlovian Hollister emblem (a bird in flight) triggers arousal in me without necessarily securing attraction first–a semiotic enchantment peculiar to emblem-driven clothing lines…vacuous appeal. Much worse in this case is these wares are the couture of would-be porn stars. Particularly the Gay-for-Pay set.

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Sometimes friends chide me for listening to yodeling or klezmer or the occasional narco-corrido…I imagine it’s because I’m Black (the only reason people ever criticize my tastes or interests). I remind them that music is the collective soul of Black folk and ALL music is out of Africa. People invariably confuse music that Black people make for all that we listen to…

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“Schopenhauer is wrong.” (“About what in particular?”) Some men will say anything to get in my pants when I’m drunk and despairing. “Schopenhauer is wrong” was all I remember verbatim about the conversation but needless to say the gentleman’s campaign to seduce me failed. For one, I was not attracted to him. Then there was the issue of his being married…to a very dear friend of mine. But even if I could leap those moral hurdles, I was still too put off by such a blanket statement being asserted about a philosopher whose work I don’t think lends itself to either being proven or debunked…especially as it was being proven. Warning: Never generalize about German Pessimism while attempting to orchestrate an infidelity with your wife’s depressed Gay BFF…nobody wins.

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Composers create utopias when they collect and group notes into melodies…musicians then must be the high priests of these worlds.

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Thinkin’ ’bout Talmud and Torah and Trannies… “Oh my!”

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לא־יִהְיֶה כְלִי־גֶבֶר עַל־אִשָּה וְלא־יִלְבַּשׁ גֶּבֶר שִׂמְלַת אִשָּה כִּי תועֲבַת ה׳ אֱלהֶיךָ כָּל־עשֵׂה אֵלֶּה׃

Is the Deuteronomical prohibition against crossdressing (22:5) about ritual adornments? Although ancient Hebrew scripture has no problem musing the idea of a Prophetess it would be like squeezing blood from a stone to get the language to conjure something as un-halakhic as a Priestess. Perhaps it forbids women wielding items and weapons of war? Which would make Yael a saint while rendering Joan of Arc wicked in two faiths. Manscaping perhaps? Popular culture takes this practice for a modern phenomenon but Hebrews were very particular about what body hair men do and don’t shave long before the advent of the Pornographic male. Rashi suggests it is forbidding a covert masquerade to facilitate adultery…a sort of wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing idea. The stuff of Shakespearean romances. Of course, in our era which snubs notions of gender segregation when a man dresses as a woman to secure an infidelity he is usually among his own gender masquerading as the Other. (I am thinking here of tranny-hookers.) But if one can crossdress for purposes of gaiety on Purim or in private or for theatrics, what then is the scope of this law? Whatever the charge it is most definitely not about pants or Chanel pumps. If it is about ‘misrepresentation’–a species of lies and false witness–the Transgendered often confess feeling more dishonest donning the uniform of the gender society forces them to acquiesce. And theologically, although the Ancients lacked the insight to properly reason a transgendered psyche, the Adamic split (ancestral cousin to the Platonic mythos concerning sexuality) speaks of b’tzelem Elohim as a bifurcation–(M)an(kind) as man and woman. As (M)an is both (M)an and (W)oman, not the reverse as English renderings imply. So somewhere in the collective Hebraic unconscious Yahweh dwells…most High and Holy…wearing heels and a jockstrap.

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Tommy Hilfiger idealized Preppie Chic in the way that Roy Lichtenstein idealized POP Art…however unimaginative the former…

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The Curious Consolation of Gay Liberation Theology: If (G)od is truly wise and truly finds homosexuality abhorrent (H)e would not have made men just slightly more attractive than (H)e made me smart.

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“I have no desire to dilute the matter with linguistic minutia or obfuscations…it is very simple, the Levitical prohibitions are clear that Hebrew priests are forbidden to engage in sex with other men at the risk of becoming ritualistically impure. The language is pretty exacting on this matter. … Living in such brutal times called for brutish ideologies and Hebrews were only comparatively sophisticated when pit against Canaanite and Philistine cultures. As Hebrews evolved into the Jewish people these anxieties were relaxed both socially and theologically. By the reign of Herod Antipater the bulk of the mitzvot was as dated to Jews as the Right to bear arms is to most enlightened Americans. It was not something the rabbi taught his congregation, which is probably why anti-homosexual sentiment does not measure in the teachings of Jesus. … Only uncivilized people proliferate hate and xenophobia.” (from ‘Sexuality & Hermeneutics In Leviticus’ lecture, c. 2003/04)

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America’s Next Top Model vs Project Runway: “Vanity of vanities. All is vanity.” (Solomon) Both phenomena have become so diluted with “Affirmative Action” flunkies and “scabs” that all virtue of artistry has been long lost…i.e. “We gotta give a seamstress a chance” or “She doesn’t have a comp-card, true…but no modelesque girls auditioned and she does have her glamor and pageant shots”.  I am of course being a cynic here, but truthfully any person that is worth their weight in modeling is already doing it (or hasn’t been born yet) and any proper designer is already being worn (or about to be). And I will grant ANTM that it is easier to make good, wearable clothing (a la PR) than it is to make clothing look good and wearable…people who are capable of embodying ideas of beauty are as rare and unique as the minds of Physicists. Such spirits are born…and however refined and nurtured and indulged, they are certainly not manufactured.

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“Humor is not a mood but a way of looking at the world.” (Ludwig Wittgenstein)

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(Soundtrack for the Sexual Behavior of the Human Female) During the Giorgio Moroder years Donna Summer had more extended lyrical orgasms than most women experience in a lifetime…she was a veritable Kinsey Report of Disco music… VIVE LA JOUISSANCE!

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It is surprising that Ludwig Wittgenstein was not more intrigued with the operas of Richard Wagner…the Tractatus is by no measure Wagnerian in scope, but it is Bayreutherisch in intent.

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(A Theology of Attire) Dressmakers merely adorn the shame of our Original Sin…designers are the architects of a more Solomonic vanity.

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In my solitude Mary J. Blige is the siren that calls forth all the pain in my soul…Billie Holiday’s ancestral sistah…

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(Romantiques Noirs) If the Blues is truly the Greek Tragedy of American culture, then surely Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye are inherited as descendant Ozymandias and Manfred respectively… Until these voices happened upon the consciousness of our soundscape, men like me never knew how to breathe hope into decay and despair… Men like me never knew how to reason sensitivity… Black men like me…

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(Thinking on Technology and Human Nature in the 1977 Sci-Fi classic Demon Seed) Is Dr. Techie really Mr. Hyde? Our computerized existence is not a sign of man’s evolution from beast…just a further extension of our already beastly, binary selves.

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Not since pre-Bach bel canto had music been about pure audible hedonism…then came Disco… (Curious what music soundtracks Ages of Absolutism.)

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“I wish I were smart enough to write about Feminism (and women in general) in a more enlightened fashion” admitted no male intellectual ever…out loud.

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Considering a more cogent answer to Job: The oldest story in the Books is the oldest story in the book…(G)od doesn’t gamble, (H)e cheats. When the Adversary challenged (G)od on Job’s account he didn’t consider that people born poor or reduced to poverty always look to Religion…everything else requires a downpayment yet (R)eligion f(r)ees one of fees. Perhaps that’s why Atheism is often a luxury of the privileged. (G)od revels in the suffering souls of debtors and the destitute…seeming ever generous but like a loanshark waiting in the wings for payday, expects a costly return. (“They always come back.”)

(G)od doesn’t take wagers when there’s a chance (H)e might lose…but will bet on how much everyone else loses… (C)heater!

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<The Breakup> Gay men can only stay faithful to one woman…their favorite soprano. More often than not it is a Cougaresque or downright necrophilic affair. But there are those of us who happen to fall in love with a voice that grew as we grew. I’d fallen in love with Jessye Norman’s grand, regal instrument at a very young age…she too rather new to her world. To my ears she was the very music soundtracking the birth of the universe. (Have you heard her sing Purcell? Wagner? Strauss?) Alas, unfortunate runs the truer course of all Cougaresque relationships, the boy inevitably outgrows the Freudian complex first. I’d recently heard, with more seasoned ears, a recording of Miss Norman singing some American masters–which I’ve heard in the past in recital but was too young and awestruck by her presence to be more discerning of the performance–and I was left a bit flaccid. (I believe the exact tune was Bernstein’s Somewhere…but her Porters and Gershwins were likewise none too enticing.) When a Gay man loses his faith in a woman’s ability, she is forever ruined to him…spoiled like an Islamic girl raped before her wedding day. The loss of such affection can cut a woman deeper than a Straight man confessing she no longer turns him on. A lot of what I had with Jessye was built on German Romanticism, English Baroque and the occasional spiritual…and there she remains to me a Goddess…but my ears are older now, desiring more adventurous vistas…yes, perhaps someone younger. We will always have Wesendonck. (The beautiful thing about having affairs with older women is they truly understand the magic of those words “We will always have…”)

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(Ecdysis Non Ecstasis) What questions were left unanswered in the first Magic Mike that begs a sequel? Hip-hopping Insanity abs tied up with a Chippendalesque bow offer no divine enticements…’tis an unsexy, farcical burlesquerie at best…especially when breakdancing is involved. Stripping is much more than undressing to the beat. When women strip, every layer removed re-incarnates them as the Sumerian goddess Inanna baring herself before each of the seven gates of Kur. When men strip it is only ever preparation to fuck, bathe or sleep. (We have no natural talent for molting exhibitionism, which is why the male-striptease is always a lackluster affair.) More erotic are men of real flesh who shed normality to bare the full monty. A bolder burlesque comes of prideful modesty swathed in naked humiliation. (Perhaps the only magic wrought was revealing how easily White boy cliches translate into dance crew moves.)

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The Comedy of Cloning vs. Christian Ethics: Only Adam and Eve were created imago Dei…and the rest of us are created in the image of that creation…not unlike Warholian reproductions of paintings… And technically (G)od only detests inanimate reproductions of things in nature, primarily with the intent of investing said “soulless” object with faith due (H)im. (Note that in the Infancy Gospels Jesus does craft clay pigeons–an absolute “NO-NO”…but he gives them life.) Do we know that a living human clone would lack a soul? Or that it would NOT worship (G)od? Judeo-Christian divinity has always been a Numbers game, so I imagine that a gambling (G)od would favor cloning considering the odds would be stacked in (H)is favor.

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The best thing to happen to 1970s European women was Versace’s atelier. When Gianni happened upon the scene in ’78, la donna Italiana no longer had to dance to Giorgio Moroder cloistered in Halston. Everyone knows Italians dress their own music best. (The only reason I even stomached Donizetti’s Don Pasquale more than once is it was dressed in Versace.)

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What intrigues me about the Marquis de Sade’s Justine (ou Les Infortunes de la Vertu) is what intrigues me about The Adventures of Oliver Twist (The Parish Boy’s Progress) by Charles Dickens…that when up against even the most brutal whims of fate a soul can remained unravaged and pure. (I dream that perhaps there is still some part of me that is truly and perpetually good…in spite of it all.)

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In the 1960s, Dr. Robert (Moog) prescribed the world should wait-listen for a new Beatles…a newer Bob Dylan… His prophecy came true. Depeche Mode and Trent Reznor.

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No(ir) Wave: “Without you everything just falls apart.” The whole mood of Trent Reznor’s masterful, courtly lovesongs are tenored in homicidal range yet sung with all the charm of Cole Porter…thrice the obsessive psychosis. (Ol’ King Cole was a manic old soul too about love, death and other drugs.) Personal turmoils and private hells are largely wasted on people who aren’t creative. If someone creates art about you, surely the intimacy was torturous and unfulfilling…in need of resolution. We should all be so fortunate to be left so empty…“never be enough to fill me up”. Please? (The great tragedy of love is not how easily people can break up but always how easily people can break. Art shares this same fragility.)

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The Canzonetta from Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto is an Ode to Heartbreak…with its weeping violin’s woeful song of longing just before the heart bursts into a thousand nostalgic manias.

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The bel verismo of Puccini: Every act is comprised of sublime melodies strung together like an endless strand of perfect pearls. (But sometimes my ears fear strangulation.)

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When Johannes Brahms finished his first symphony and realized it was “Beethoven!”, he unhappily conjured a second, third and fourth. When Samuel Barber completed the first movement of his first quartet and realized it was “Brahms!”, the next move was truly sad…yet so very wise… What is the Adagio but a somber Satori of Sam?

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To invoke the cliched notion of Sado-Masochism is to characterize an almost utopian aesthetic rather than a corporeal relationship that works mathematically. Sacher-Masoch and de Sade are not numbers that add up existentially.

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“(C)ontestants have been pre-screened prior to their appearance on the show.”

I once knew a woman who was convinced that the game show Cash Cab had some basis in a reality that there was somewhere an intellectual utopia where a cabbie can drive around on a given afternoon and pick up some random passenger (who is not a veterinarian) possessing immediate knowledge that Strabismus–crossed-eyedness–is the singular feature that keeps most Siamese cats from succeeding as showbreeds…or knows someone immediately available who does. To secure her grasping the utter folly of her belief I showed her the Gay porn site Bait Bus, and asked her how high she thought the probability was of being able to drive around any random street in a given city at some capricious hour and pick up a hot stranger who believes the blowjob he’s being filmed receiving in the backseat while blindfolded is from the chick with the big tits and NOT the Gay guy that was sitting next to her…

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No man aspiring to the Catholic Priesthood ever tells his Father Confessor the truth of this decision…that the grace (passive-aggressive insistence) of some family matriarch (my grandmother) was the impetus behind it all. During my ambitions–the outcome of which has in no way been the failure my heart hoped it would be–I remember well being pressed for those whys and wherefores I had sought to “come to (G)od”…I merely answered, “I’ve always loved sacred music…and Caravaggio. But mostly sacred music.” I was young but even then I knew Caravaggio is code in the Catholic Order for “I’m Gay…but I’m not really sure I feel guilty about it.” (You won’t find that in Dan Brown…)

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Monteverdi/Moroder: Ever since they were Priapus worshiping Romans, Italians have always been a size conscious sort…perhaps more length than girth. The other day I tried to get a friend to listen to the original 17 minute full length version of Donna Summer’s (Giorgio Moroder produced) Love To Love You Baby–featuring no less than 5 minutes of gratuitous orgasmic moaning. Watching his overwhelming impatience through however much of it he could suffer reminded me of being dragged to an unabridged performance of Claudio Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno D’Ulisse in Patria…and all I could think was Italian cars–small, fast–represent universally male overcompensation…except with Italian men….then it’s overcomposition.

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“People misread the Bible when they read to Believe rather than to Understand…much like those who look to the Dictionary for Meaning when it’s really about Definition and Usage.” <from ‘Why Read the Bible’ introduction to 2010 STC lecture ‘The Bible As A Product of American Liberty REDUX>

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If Christianity does not find a new Savior, within the next century Christians worldwide will have dwindled to a minority number comparable to that of the first years in Rome. (It’s not like it’s too finicky a faith, the first savior was Jewish.)

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When in Ancient Rome one did as Romans were believed to have done…except speak Latin. Koine Greek was the lingua franca of most Roman territories…the most notable citizens and visitors were at least proficient if not altogether fluent. Perhaps that is the fate of America…English is the tongue we nationally brag, but the tongues of anyone who matters will speak Spanish. (Of all the Rome/America cultural parallels surely there are worse ones to befall us…)

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I would rather be a “wit” than an “intellectual”… Wits, like heroes are born not made…and unlike old soldiers never fade away…or die pre-mortem like intellectuals.

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תְּבֹרַךְ֙ מִנָּשִׁ֔ים יָעֵ֕ל אֵ֖שֶׁת חֶ֣בֶר הַקֵּינִ֑י מִנָּשִׁ֥ים בָּאֹ֖הֶל תְּבֹרָֽךְ׃

יָעֵל (Ya’el) is something of an original Bond Girl. Long before there was Pussy Galore or Plenty O’Toole or Solitaire, when female stratagems were still calculated but for the grace of a male moral imperative–even before Judith seduced and slew Holofernes, before Delilah brought Samson to his knees–this great Kenite wife of Heber brought down an enemy Canaanite commander with a drink of cream from fine china and perhaps a peek under her tent…up shapely legs secreting hammer and spike, withdrawn only to pierce his temples while he dreamt.

Her praise was later sung not by balladeers but a prophetess who understood best that weak men fallen into the hands of clever women are delivered into the hands of (G)od like fallen women…

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I imagine if Joseph Campbell were still alive to see Scott Pilgrim vs. The World he would say that its mythos is to Millennials what Star Wars was to the generation after the Space Race…just funnier… (And thankfully shorter.)

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Joss Whedon’s production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, starring his own friends (and former employees) in his own home soundtracked by his own music was not some grand Wagnerian endeavor but the paragon of self-indulgent audacity. As a piece of art that film was more confounding than Godard’s King Lear intended to be… I have had similar (drug induced) summer-weekend liaisons in Sag Harbor that yielded more charming results…and better wardrobes. Much of the troupe I didn’t recognize, which is how I actually prefer Shakespearean performances, but was poorly punctuated by select actors I merely think “cute” in other works they are known for–the awkward casting is so distracting the flick almost forgets the dialogue belongs to a greater mind…like Baz, Joss too should have titled the ol’ Bard his due lest we also forget…human beings always confuse familiarity with accessibility. And worse still, the whole melange was counterfeit Fellini. (American ‘knock-off’ culture is all pervasive.) In Whedon’s defense there are more bad contemporary Shakespearean productions than good…it is the nature of the beast…Ethan Hawke was a horrible HamletCoriolanus suuuuuuucked…and Baz Luhrmann spearheaded the movement with his pathetic attempt to convince the world that Juliet had to kill herself because Ravers also have deep life experiences. But still, such great comedy so easily spoiled is a great tragedy. All in all, Much Ado really was about nothing…worth neither a sound nor fury. I’m just glad Buffy wasn’t Beatrice. <reworked from various FB remarks I’ve posted. All Gay men secretly engage in some form of drag…mine is literary…I dress my critiques up as Dorothy Parker>

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I’ve always been attracted to the metaphorical parentage of motherhood and writing…both identities “giving birth” to some entity…often a narrative (wanted a boy, got a girl)…other times a surprise dialogue (twins, triplets). Helping this “life”–for the written word is a living thing–learn to walk, develop language, bond. Nursing and caring for a developing personality, hesitant to set it free in the world. (Unleash it upon in many cases…) But given the choice, I would rather be a mother than a writer because women fare better in the conception department…they may only ever have to sleep with one man and still produce twins, quintuplets… Do you know how many PEOPLE a writer has to sleep with to conceive a single dialogue? (Hint: A lot.)

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In 1981 these notes beckoned us like the opening to Beethoven’s Fifth…but the call of a loftier, happier hedonism. And we still just can’t get enough…

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The rhetoric surrounding Obama’s Black Presidential Tongue began with “He’s so articulate” (with the always implied caveat “for a Black man”), which by his second term turned into “He doesn’t have an answer for anything”. I imagine his legacy will be reduced to a Babelogue recited by that great Acyrologian Oswald Bates. (Now that castration-lynching outings are no longer vogue American holiday, White Racism has to lop off the next most prodigious appendage Black men wield.)

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The Curious Consolation of Internet Porn: The Pornographic Arts, Literature and Cinema introduced culture to some unique artistry that might have otherwise remained obscured by a blind morality–de Sade, Aretino, Bettie Page, Cicciolina, Tom of Finland–but the Internet helped to resurrect the Pornographic imperative, which is not about people fucking thematically but the bare theme of people fucking.

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From Madonna’s Express Yourself to J.Lo’s I Luh Ya Papi: I think we can all agree that both men and women are objectified sexually in popular culture…but respective of their gender..i.e. how we collectively see each sexually, which is of course markedly different given the apparent differences. The language of sexual objectification is not a transferable tongue. For example, there is no collective sexual appeal for “man-boobs” unless they are being transexualized to mimic the female bosom and the pornographic phenomena of “chicks with dicks” holds an undeniable fascination for the senses, but fascination is only a temporal element of sexual attraction (an often early onset)…paradoxically such variety confounds the senses to exhaustion rather than fosters a developing taste. (Our senses all conspire to reason out particular Tastes and ideas of Beauty–the guiding forces in sexual attraction–so whatever exotic appeal a given entity possesses that sets it apart will eventually collapse under the staunchly conformist human sensorium. Enlisting poor grammar and hyperbole, I strengthen my argument by suggesting that no one who has ever been asked what their favorite chocolate candy is has ever replied “Whitman’s Sampler”.) The language of sexual objectification is unflinchingly gender-specific in its dialects…you think it would be as simple as switching roles, putting more clothes on her, taking more off him…making him subservient…all very Sacher-Masoch… But in reality you are speaking Mandarin when it should be Cantonese. Women are pissed that they are objectified, but even more so that men cannot be successfully objectified in a not dissimilar fashion. (Were I Jenny or Madge I would be triply pissed that I still had to objectify myself to get the point across and still it gets reduced to comedy…)

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“Sade as writerly personality…? Surely incarceration and institutionalization demand men take personal matters into their own hands…confinement makes for great masturbators, literal and metaphorical…but before Charenton or the Bastille I truly believe the Marquis de Sade–The Great Onanator–had an innate talent for harnessing natural masturbatory energy in his creative process. This is perhaps why we are intrigued by the philosophy OF his pornographic endeavors rather than IN…?…there is a genius in re-writing one’s orgasms like heroes re-write history… It even hints of the feminine to want creative control over one’s own orgasm. (And whether it’s la petite mort or jouissance, a French orgasme is always a bit la femme.)” <from scrap notes while reading Les 120 Journees de Sodome>

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I think I resist being “Green” because I can’t properly reason the rhetoric…it is not the planet in and of itself we need to salvage but its providential status in relation to our sustainability as a species…? So why should we be concerned for “our” future sustainability as species? (Can this question be answered without recounting all that has transpired and all hoped for…?)

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There is no doubt our culture objectifies women, but they are unfortunate casualties in the wake of a grander campaign to objectify beauty in general. Our moral outrage targeting the fashion-model culture for perpetuating a(n oppressive) distortion of feminine beauty types never seems to reconcile itself with the idea that people don’t usually photograph flowers in decay. There is no media proliferation of dying foliage… Should there be? <reworking an idea posted on Facebook, 6/18/14>

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I think the real genius behind Philip Glass’ Symphony No. 1Low–is trying to figure out who the real genius is behind Philip Glass’ Symphony No. 1Low.

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How we dress is not a condition of how we are, it is a condition of who we are. (Or perhaps the reverse?)

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The Marquis de Sade as an intellectual force is something of an Un-Philosopher…like 7UP is the un-Cola–which still functions to taste as a soda-style beverage, but transparent. (Those who can grasp this analogy will understand why I say Sade’s true intellectual heirs are Ayn Rand and Slavoj Zizek.)

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“There is perhaps a significantly moral difference between a man cheating and a man who has a special arrangement…a mistress or lover or open marriage. The former is just a vulgar cock-in-the-yard yet I understand that people cheat and agree that such affairs are largely incidental, no one wakes up in the morning preparing to cheat on a significant other. I also agree that there are forgivable pathological components suffered by the people who commit to cheating. But at what point does one start asking for forgiveness? After he’s found out? (We’re both Catholic, therefore prone to confessional.) … You’re fond of saying (G)od cursed us with Free Will and temptation but that’s not the curse, it’s the excuse…the curse is not being able to undo in regret what was first done so freely…” <from a ‘break-up’ letter/essay–literally titled ‘On Cheating’–c. 1999, written to Timothy R, one of only two exes who has kept all of my letters…it is interesting to note the ‘cock-in-the-yard’ reference…it was a passive-aggressive jab…Tim used to taunt me during arguments by calling me Hedda Gabler, and alternately Emma Bovary…adding that the only thing that separates me from them is their authors ended their pathetic stories…the rest, of course, is insinuated>

(218)

A man is seen rushing and scrambling around…when asked why, he replies “I am running late to an appointment and I do not wish to be later”…an utterance that makes little sense as the virtue of his presence in a particular space at a particular time has already been compromised. (This is not a concern for Phenomenology or Ontology, but Etiquette…a heartless shrew that does not allow for “later”.)

(219)

 Don’t let the ART in SMART fool you, intellectuals do not generally make for good artists…as Nietzsche’s piano music can easily attest…

(220)

“Hör an, Wolfram…Hör an…” Truly Placido Domingo can sing anything he sets his voice to…Italian, French, Russian…opera, recital, chanson… Yet as an actor he has a stage presence best suited for audio recordings, found unfortunately worse singing Tannhäuser. Studio-Wagner still demands a master thespian at the mic.

(221)

[SILENCE = SEX] Although I theologically identify as a Catholic with more than marginal exclusivity, half of my family tree boasts strong Protestant branches…and Protestantism boasts a not necessarily prudish but much quieter sexuality (especially New England Protestantism). This characteristic definitely contributes to my distaste for hearing/saying anything but brief endearments during the act…added to the unfortunate discovery of what some people will allow themselves to say to Black men during the act of sex. (And when people invoke “it slipped”, Freudian or otherwise, it is tragically apparent they cannot grasp the full cognitive value of this confession.) It may be a truism that Art imitates Life, but it is more true and less noted when Life imitates Porn.

(222)

I find it disingenuous when people appear disturbed or shocked by pornographic ideas. Surely there are genres of pornography that can make the soul wince, but I also feel that can be expected from the extremes of any entertainment medium…for example, there is literature so bad it makes one’s eyes hurt to read… (I am thinking here of Fifty Shades Of Grey.)

(223)

The True Consolation of Wit: “Worse than payback, COMEBACK is a bitch!<from Facebook post, 6/26/14>

(224)

Listening to Kiri te Kanawa’s Maori Songs reminds me that it’s not just the African-American sopranos but Divas the world over whose voices fill with the songs of gods. Spirituals.

(225)

The politically naive tend to mistake Affirmative Action for Diversification…the spiritually naive confuse secularity with Atheism.

(226)

HL Mencken once prescribed WASP culture assimilate to the changing times or face extinction as a competitive demographic…today he might charge Heterosexuals with the same advice…lest being Straight follow the path of the Neanderthal, more than metaphorically…

(227)

Ancient scribes understood better that illiteracy is the most heretical of all Atheisms. The fault of modern illiteracy falls to the writer who fails to conjure gods as much as the non-reader who willfully remains blind to the manifestation of the divine to the letter.

(228)

Like any self-respecting Freudian father/son relationship, my problem with Slavoj Žižek is not his attitude but his penis…rather his thinking on the collective Penis. His ‘parallax’ view of the appendage as a third leg is truly symptomatic of the Male condition to think of the ‘dick’ as a self-serving object of support–the proverbial tripod–rather than through the lens of its functioning as an erectile entity…that it reaches out in its desiring to the desiring of the Other, like an arm. The (centralized) Penis is not of the lower orders of Man but the higher…whence comes modern concerns over its “rising to the occasion”. (Even the cliched sentiment of possessing “a mind of its own” invokes loftier notions of cognitive origins as in the “head”.) Stanley Kubrick nuances this idea quite well in Full Metal Jacket. When the soldiers are drilling in their barracks, chanting “This is my rifle, this is my gun”, the Penis is equated (and handled) as a tool of craftsmanship (“this is for fun”)–not pedestrial–balancing out the wielded phallus of weaponry (“this is for fighting”)…curiously of the higher order as well… (Perhaps there is no φαλλός of the lower order.)

 (229)

(When Gay Is Not The New Black) African-American advancement is something of a cultural flattery to the sentiment of White Man’s Burden. Politicized Homosexuality has advanced never having been the Straight Man’s Burden…contrarily it is the Gay Man’s Burden of civilizing Heterosexuals.

(230)

The Imitatio Canti of Nickelback: Music for people who play-act at being cool, played by musicians who rehearse too much…which would be charming if the high school garage-band wanna-be-Grunge sound was a matter of intended irony…but it is not…they really do suck. This “stadium rock” is a formula for people who have no capacity to generate personal tastes in music…tunes that one purchases at Walmart to match the jeans.

(231)

It is only clothing that makes being naked obscene. (après Diderot)

(232)

Dubstep is the PCP of music.

(233)

“I’m not black but there’s a whole lots a times I wish I could say I’m not white.” I echo Frank Zappa’s iconic protest whenever I think about the chokehold men as a collective entity keep on the throat of women’s procreative Rights and Freedoms–“I’m not a Woman but there’s a whole lotta times I wish I could say I’m not a Man.”

(234)

No(ir) Wave: Does not Nick Cave’s epic Babe I’m On Fire capitalize on that spirit of Whitman’s democratic inclusivity with grander stature than Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start The Fire? (Nick and Walt know well that electric bodies glow with bolder beauty when torched.)

(235)

Interesting to note the cognitive expectation of female objectification in N.E.R.D.’s Ladyland-esque video Hypnotize U…we’re shown comparatively more of Pharrell’s flesh but the women seem more naked…very Hitchcockian…

(236)

ws

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(Listening to Philip Glass’ Akhnaten) Music articulates the grandeur of human consciousness greater than any philosophy or science could weave the matter. Sometimes I think the purpose of opera is to supplant the divine.

(238)

Sometimes I dream of seeing Oliver Reed play Petruchio…it is often a perfect performance…

(239)

There needs to be a cease-firing of famous racists (cf. Imus, Deen, Cumia, Sterling); this paradoxically un-American cure is at times worse than the very American illness of bigotry–it only serves to exacerbate the fame we’re striving to muffle in quieter infamy, priming the platform for a grander comeback. (America loves a comeback story, whether anti-hero or underdog.)  Racists instead need to be kept in the scrutiny of the public eye, the proverbial dunce-capped student…not shooed away like flies we wish didn’t exist. Also, too many pissed off racists left unchecked and to their own devices will eventually organize (cf. KKK).

(240)

Metallica’s homage to Mercyful Fate–un rhapsodie chthonien–is how gloomy gods pay tribute to darker demons…like Brahms to Paganini…Rachmaninoff to Paganini… (Was not Paganini also of the Devil’s orchestra?)

(241)

I would still like Ethan Hawke as an actor had I never seen his Hamlet…Shakespeare serves well to separate the genius from the disingenuous…

(242)

kiss-bts-6

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<cinesexuality> To Wong Foo Thanks For Everything Julie Newmar is hailed as one of the great Gay-oriented films from that Golden Age of Homo-Hollywood–cinematically speaking, I would mark the period roughly 1980-2010…producing the most masterpieces on the subject covering the spectrum from Cruising to I Love You Philip Morris. It’s interesting to note that a keener analysis of Vida (Swayze) and Noxeema (Snipes) leaves Chi-Chi as the only real Gay character in the movie…the other two are merely characterizations of the heterosexual male as pathological crossdresser…which is NOT homosexuality. (Such scripting almost borders on the homophobic when you consider it’s based on a movie involving more authentically Gay characters, who were truly “queens” out in the celluloid desert.)

(244)

<On Will & Grace> Grace has too many staunchly heterosexual boyfriends who have never gotten drunk and come on to Will for this show to have been a believable template for ‘faghag’ relationships (Gay men and the women who love them)… The best real-life comedic situations always happen after polishing off a bottle of tequila, when the “hag” passes out leaving her “fag” and “boyfriend” in the living room…to their own devices… (Conversely, the farcical relationship between Karen and Jack was more telling of truth.)

(245)

<cinesexuality> The first time I watched I Love You Philip Morris I was taken aback by the Homosexual portrayed as a figure not necessarily predatory but still socially unscrupulous…Carrey’s Steven Russell was yet another Paul Poitier or Bernstein Chandler (the latter was a character brought to life by Antonio Fargas in Next Stop, Greenwich Village from 1976…that year Fargas would play a homosexual in two movies, the other being Car Wash). By the end of the film it was clear that I had watched a philosophy-play on Liberation of Self worthy of Jean Genet. That the film ends with the protagonist persistently pursuing liberation from authoritarianism is perhaps the best response to Christopher Marlowe’s The Troublesome Reign and Lamentable Death of Edward the Second, King of England, with the Tragical Fall of Proud Mortimer–the first real exploration into the complications of Gay and State.

(246)

When Tupac confesses to “making money off cuss words”, is this an echo of Calibas’ charge, “You taught me language, and my profit on’t is I know how to curse.” Is Tupac also a tragically civilized beast? Are all poets? And who really is to blame?

(247)

(Thinking on German Rap) RZA from Wu-Tang Clan once declared that German Rap was ten years behind the American scenes. He was perhaps too critical. Cultures that invent an artform tend to be the most progressive in that artform, so it is reasonable to assume America boasts the most progressive Rap scenes…but as far back as 1985 artists like Falco were acutely aware of the potential harmony German’s linguistic architecture could create with Rap. This was only four years after Blondie’s Rapture–the most popularized non-Black Rap piece pre-Beastie Boys–itself only two years shy of Rapper’s Delight fame. By the ’90s, Fettes Brot’s sound was contemporaneous with House Of Pain or 3rd Bass (“Do you doubt the shade of vanilla?”)…and into the Millennial age with Sido, whose sound is really just a nicer, gentler Eminem. Perhaps RZA wanted to say that White Rappers in general are behind the times…which would be an otherwise intended joke were it not for the regrettable meteoric rise of American Rapper Macklemore…

(248)

“Humor is not a mood but a way of looking at the world.” (Ludwig Wittgenstein)

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It speaks of real artistry that Iggy Azalea can rise to the creative occasion and rank with Eve, Trina and Foxy Brown when even the likes of the culturally authentic Khia is something of a caricature… Of all female (and White) Rappers that I do not take seriously, I take her quite seriously.

 (250)

Laclos  vs. Sade: Laclos was the superior sadist because his heroes had souls…this made their cruelty all the more potent and their fall all the more profound.

In Ars Veritas: For Nietzsche, Art Speaks True Thursday, Feb 21 2013 

(1)

Does art speak truths about the world that human eyes fail to see…mouths fail to utter?

Is that its purpose?

(2)

Friedrich Nietzsche was a tin-eared composer but a virtuoso writer. His writing maintains an exalted canonical status as both philosophy and literature. His piano music unfortunately leaves one wanting… No matter how questionable his artistic output, it is an indisputable fact that Nietzsche took art seriously. Perhaps the most art-obsessed philosopher in the whole of Western culture. He regarded himself as a serious poet and composer, as well as a great thinker. Until its almost Freudian demise, the philosopher’s closest bond was with composer Richard Wagner…the artist-philosopher to Nietzsche’s philosopher-artist. A relationship such as theirs is virtually unknown in each discipline, even as far back as the ancient Greeks.

(3)

Nietzsche thought that the functions of art, music and theater was to give us a hint of the truth…the truth that the world was chaotic and meaningless.

Art also had to shield us from this dreadful reality.

(4)

The Birth of Tragedy focuses on the art of tragedy but also illuminates even more about art in relation to truth. It echos Arthur Schopenhauer, who thought the world a vile and ghastly realm…and to grasp the nature of it is to likewise behold the vulgar mistake that it is… The whole of human existence is a terrible mistake. Nietzsche readily jumps on this train of thought but rides it to a more distant station…ancient Greece. For Nietzsche, the Greeks found a way to use this truth that existence was awful to energize their culture through tragic art. The Athenian culture flourished, he believed, because they had discovered something profound in this art form.

Through this genre, Athens was able to share with the world a hint of the dark irrational forces that cloak existence. Yet they were able to shield themselves from the full impact of such recognition by laying over the horror an illusory forcefield…there’s a glimpse of the truth but it is made more palatable…the pill sweetened…a spoonful of sugar as Mary Poppins might say.

We need the truth to energize ourselves, but we need the illusion to keep ourselves from being torn asunder.

Render unto Apollo that which is Apollo’s…but do not forget to satiate Dionysus.

(5)

In Nietzschean philosophy the Apollonian/Dionysian balance is the Yin-Yang of the Western soul.

(6)

Apollo and Dionysus lord over various metaphysical levels.

The reality of the world’s chaos and destruction and meaningless striving belongs to Dionysus.

When we encounter beauty–elusive and illusory–we are in moods of Apollo.

 (7)

The Classical Greek tragedy ingests the curse Dionysus lays upon the world but uses the treacle of Apollo to stomach the swallow. This was the divine synthesis par excellence Nietzsche believed defined the beauty of tragic art.

But those Olympians could not foresee the coming of the human-god of Reason…Socrates!

(8)

Enter Socrates, goodbye tragic beauty. The Birth of Tragedy is really about the death of tragedy. Socratic thought’s new Weltanschauung supplants the old (grander?) vision.

(9)

The irrational world is now regarded as the unreal. There can no longer be a view such as the Dionysian because in this newer world-view there is a curious equation mused between reality and reason and goodness.

In effect, from a Nietzschean perspective, what then happens is a certain strain of the Apollonian mood that had previously kept us from being consumed by the horror of reality now becomes reality.

Medea murdering her children and Oedipus bedding his mother will not make sense again until we enter the mind of Sigmund Freud.

(10)

Socrates makes tragedy impotent. It can no longer serve its purpose for mankind.

Nietzsche becomes the Viagra that revives…reinvigorates…re-hardens…

(11)

But the Dionysian force was important for the world-view. Schopenhauer and the Greeks were hip to something that we even see echoed in popular music movements ranging from Punk Rock to Goth and Grunge…that the world in its innermost nature is indeed chaotic and dreadful. The pre-Socratic Greeks had found a way of drawing strength from this idea…after Socrates all that tragic wisdom is denied. The air gets thinner and man is robbed of that fundamental, primordial oxygen that Dionysus originally breathed into the lungs of the world.

(12)

The Birth of Tragedy is indeed about its death…but the end of Nietzsche’s Birth is rightly about re-birth.

(There is a subtle poetry to this being his premier philosophical treatise.)

(13)

Modernity, for Nietzsche, would herald the resurrection of this culture-sustaining genre again. The Socratic world-view led to Christianity but the Modern world-view would eventually drown those screaming Christs. And if the Socrato-Christian mural is scratched and chipped to pieces, Dionysus will rise again and we ought in principle to be able revive that sublime synthesis of glimpsing the Dionysian truth, breathing again that raw, primal oxygen, simultaneous with making life livable under the veil of Apollo.

(14)

Art makes life livable.

If we saw the world for what it was we would not be able to carry on. The world is nothing but a meaningless bunch of ruthless becoming and destruction…no pattern…no reason…no rhyme. I’m reminded of a chorus from the Punk band The Exploited that repeats over and over “Death and Destruction…and don’t forget the Chaos!”

If this is the correct view of reality, then the sentiment of individuality–of particular people, particular objects–is an illusion…a mere aesthetic of the necessary Apollonian farce.

What are we then? Nothing more than the froth on a maelstrom torrent of waves breaking for no one and nothing… The Shakespearean sound and fury…

What do we signify?

(15)

This oblivion for Nietzsche is energizing…but there’s too much of it. The human psyche collapses when it discovers that there is no “ME”…  Who can survive the knowledge of being no more than a random confluence of splashes and currents?

We do thunder for a second or two…and that’s it… Was there no point to any of it…?

Was there no point to “ME”?

(16)

If we have come into this being as the illusory individuals that we are then perhaps it is better for us to not have existed at all. The runner-up to this nihilistic thinking is to die as soon as possible. One can only look at their life as a mistake when confronted with the illusoriness of one’s individuality.

I don’t matter…you don’t matter…neither does whoever brought you into this world nor whomever you bring into it…

What makes us matter is our illusions!

In the sky is not a bird or a plane or Superman or Mighty Mouse… It is Apollo who has come to save the day!

(17)

The arts and illusions give shape, coherence to a world that is ultimately flux… The Apollonian ideal is pimping an untruth to protect us from THE TRUTH.

(18)

One of these Apollonian tricks of the trade in tragedy is to have recognizable characters with coherent motives who act in ways that we recognize in people. This is Apollonian because the familiarity masks for us the truth that all life is strife and chaos. I’m reminded here of that splendid scene in The Silence of the Lambs when Hannibal Lecter cuts into his cannibalism reverie to express a familiar sense of civilized, humane taste by adding that he ingested a human liver with “some fava beans and a nice chianti”.  For a brief second we are reminded that his tastes are as human as our own…despite his monstrousness…

(It does beg the question then as to who we really are…)

(19)

The art of tragedy offers other trappings by giving us a plot which is intelligible, offering characters that interact with one another in ways that make sense and presenting a story that unfolds while subtly masking that famous inevitably tragedy is meant to have. These are all threads in that veil Apollo uses to persuade us that life does indeed make sense.

(20)

There’s a decidedly seismic shift in Nietzsche’s thought after he pens The Birth. Its ending as I’ve noted holds up the promise of a re-birth of tragedy and as he wrote the treatise, he truly believed this was going on, especially in the music dramas of Richard Wagner…for whom Nietzsche was a willing propagandist…perhaps the most astute and able propagandist any artist has ever had… Much of what is truly going on in the text is that it’s a song of praise to Wagner and Wagnerian drama.

Not since Aeschylus had there been a mind so capable of reviving the tragic art form. Here was proper art again…doing what art should be doing.

(21)

It was shortly after The Birth of Tragedy that Nietzsche has a falling out with Wagner… He becomes disenchanted with this father-figure and decides that what he once thought a great reborn tragic art was in fact everything that was despicable about Christianity…disguised as art.

This episode was Nietzsche’s after-Birth

(Whether or not Nietzsche was wrong–and indeed I believe he was–is a question that even time will never be able to answer…)

(22)

The moment Nietzsche saw Wagner as charlatan was immediately followed by art suffering a downgrade in his philosophy. In his pantheon of importance it becomes one of those minor deities. Simultaneous with this forced orphaning, Arthur Schopenhauer’s philosophy also loses its charm and dignity…which he begins to consider the enemy of everything good and wise.

Having relegated Schopenhauer to that Hadean realm where all that matters is dissolute, this new Zeus became skeptical of his metaphysics, which had previously underpinned everything he was striving for in The Birth.

(23)

Nietzsche becomes Oedipus!

A grown traveler…seeking his own space…kingdom and country… Rebelling against, even killing his intellectual fathers.

(24)

It is curious that in Nietzsche’s divorce from Schopenhauer he still retained property rights to the knowledge that the world is chaotic…that the nature of existence lacked meaning…but he no longer mused on it as a deep metaphysical point that behind appearances–our illusions–everything is just turmoil and nonsense. He would believe that we can get to this truth and survive, even thrive in it…and the route is through science.

Although this was a brief period he does hoist his Jolly Roger upon the mast of science…resulting in a most ironic joyful wisdom. It is here that his poetics most uncharacteristically confess the idea that it is possible to make the world a better place.

(25)

There was still the specter of gloom that what we would uncover about the world would be most disturbing. Ultimately, art would still maintain a stronghold on Western consciousness… We should be able to do without art once we got used to these ugly truths about life, but for the time being this provision of illusion still had a protective role in our cultural convalescence…

This period was undoubtedly the most un-Nietzschean phase of his existence. He was positivistic to the point of even believing mankind could alleviate suffering.

Nietzsche’s almost paradoxical optimism is curiously Christian in that manner we think of Christians today, rather than the Nazarene who posits there will always be poverty and suffering and heads the battle on the field of Armageddon.

(26)

His enlightenment happens when he discovers that this thinking is not him–Friedrich Nietzsche, the philosopher wielding Thor’s hammer…discharging Zeus’ lightning bolts. He recovers from his feverish gaiety with greater vehemence that there is something sublime about suffering as part of the human condition. Now, the idea of abolishing suffering as a means of making life better would be for Nietzsche the classic expression of an impotent, empty existence…a life on the terminal decline to the uninteresting and void…

Such a life is unworthy of that primal energy of the Greeks…unworthy of inhaling that divine Dionysian oxygen.

(27)

So the world is an ugly and vile place. It is inherently chaotic and indifferent to the hopes and dreams and needs of human beings. It is a meaningless world and this reality presents us with grave challenges particularly if we don’t want to avail ourselves of some of the more obvious ways of confronting this senselessness. One way is the Socrato-Christian model which maintains that this meaninglessness is only apparent and if one looks hard enough one can see that it is all for the good, all for the best…that this is indeed the best of all possible worlds and situations. For Nietzsche this is the most dangerous of fantasies and one we should learn to do without.

(28)

Indeed, we do have a heartless world but, according to Nietzsche, not in the strict Schopenhauerean sense, rather in a straightforward and immediate sense…and one which we ought to know better than to tell ourselves grandiose wholesale lies about gleaned from Socrates and Jesus. Instead, we should tell ourselves little lies that do not falsify the entire character of existence but act as a local anesthetic that make portions of our existence bearable.

I’ll settle for one day to believe in you… Tell me lies… Tell me sweet little lies… Oh no, you can’t disguise… (Fleetwood Mac)

This is accomplished by the way we think about the world in which we live and also by making something of an illusion of ourselves and give style to our character…

In a Warholian sense, we need to turn ourselves into something akin to a work of art.

(30)

All philosophers agree that truth is a good thing because it ushers in knowledge…likewise art is a good thing because it has some valuable knowledge it imparts to us. It is always been the trend in culture to take art seriously, even by those that claim it does not possess the value culture often invests in it… The counter to that philistinic thinking is to defend art as having these highminded, epistemic purposes… We invoke ideas like canon, schools, styleshistory of… But really all we are saying is that it makes us feel better when we’re shopping–spending exorbitant amounts of money on food and clothing to keep our family well–to hear Hard Day’s Night by The Beatles piped in over the sound system…and believe that in that moment these artists truly understand our common daily strife.

And that’s what makes all the difference…

That is the truth.

Cogito Ergo Creo (A Fantasia In the Key of Nietzsche) Friday, Feb 8 2013 

Philosophy Is Best Undertaken As An Art Form

(1)

Art requires philosophy, just as philosophy requires art. Otherwise, what would become of beauty? (Paul Gauguin)

Most people do not think of philosophy as an art, but more akin to science. All philosophy is a work of art as all art is philosophical. Both are entangled lovers in a web of doing and becoming.

(2)

After pursuing philosophy and theology for the bulk of my adult life I’ve come to think of them as art forms. I find that the greater distance I put between myself-as-thinker and the academy the more my idea of Philosophy, in particular, as an art form has flourished. What I mean by philosophy as an art form is I think of myself as a philosopher which is an admittedly pretentious stance to take even within the academy, but I feel such a title is not dissimilar to calling oneself a musician. I, of course, am not saying that I am Nietzsche or Plato or Wittgenstein…but I am confessing that I feel responsible to the standards that are embodied in the 2000+ years of philosophical tradition that I was trained to live up to and the one body of thought whose history keeps me humbled.

In defining oneself as a philosopher one is not claiming to be tried apart and above, rather claiming to have made some special study of a certain tradition. It seems to me that this is a kindred feeling with artists… If I were a novelist I could claim to be so without summoning airs that I am Dickens or Faulkner, but that I have been wisened by their styles… I ought to be able to say the same being another carny at the fair that is philosophy.

(3)

Art implies that there are a set of skills you need to have a working knowledge of in order to engage the discipline with any hope of success, but it also implies that, in principle, it is open to anyone. I had a boyfriend from Dublin who used to tell me that ALL Irishmen and children are poets. In this same way I think every person is a philosopher…or has one residing inside…like that miniature golden god that resided in Socrates.

All golden idols are in need of molding, chiseling and eventual polishing. The care and maintenance of a work of art is instructive to the development of a thought.

Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder. (Thomas Aquinas)

(4)

The history of a discipline–its canon–teaches us the myriad ways wherein a pretender to that throne might spy the myriad approaches to said subject. There isn’t, for example, just one way to write poetry…we learned that from Shakespeare, Dylan Thomas and the Beats. They offered newer, braver styles… One can go off, write a poem and however bad or good it is to the tastes of its readers, the writer will never be chastised for having failed to write a poem. The Anglo-American institution of philosophy conversely has a stranglehold on what is taught as philosophy within departments. Why?

(5)

Twentieth and twenty-first century philosophy has lost its fourth wall…philosophers generally write for philosophers. It’s a professional deformation, a narrowing of intellectual horizon as a result of  philosophy being almost exclusively produced for consumption in university settings…somewhat in common with the strain of literary criticism that is read only by the academe as distinct from what a casual reader encounters in the press. The British and American university setting has allowed a certain paradigm of philosophy to dominate to a disastrous extent. Part of the reason it is so disastrous is it is one form amongst many but so suffocates the soil that other flowers in the garden are not allowed to bloom.

(6)

It is this particular form that likes to think of itself as modeled on the sciences…but I don’t think that’s the most dangerous characteristic. The most dangerous characteristic is that it is predominantly negative. To become trained as a university philosopher is to become trained as a sort of Socratic bullshit detector. One learns to detect fallacies rather than decode philosophies.

(7)

As a student I was taught to believe that the great fallacy in the history of philosophy is the belief in a private language. Wittgenstein proved it is an illusion we harbor that there is an inner language-world to which each of us is privy. I would then go back and re- read Locke, Descartes, Plato and exclaim “Look! He committed the private language fallacy!”  That is not performing philosophy!

Philosophy is not a theory but an activity. (Ludwig Wittgenstein)

It is perfectly acceptable to go around detecting fallacies but I think the more substantial philosophical approach to take when people start producing thoughts that really don’t add up, when they produce words that don’t quite make sense, is to respond with, “That’s interesting…you’re trying to say something that you can’t quite figure out how to say in a sensible way. Perhaps you’re in need of a broader language. Let’s discuss what you’re really trying to say and why it is that you have trouble communicating it.”

The cure for paraphasia.

(8)

Rather than reducing the utterer to muteness, the philosopher should want to listen for deeper tones, moods…inflections…not merely the words.

There is music in discourse…rhythms in ordinary speech… Recitativo–the talk of opera–illumines the music of communication.

(9)

The devil’s advocate in me–don’t we all sympathize with Lucifer, he who illuminates–wonders then what to do with those who set themselves up as gurus but spout all manner of inanities with very urgent voice and are taken most seriously. Is there not some value in exposing their con-artistry? Of course, there are idiots who ought to be exposed but if there are a lot of people who take heed to these voices they must have some sort of appeal.

A responsible philosopher tries to work out what that appeal is. He must connect a shimmering rainbow from tiny dots of color…like Van Gogh.

(10)

Amongst atheists for example it is distressing that they think people harbor religious beliefs/ideals because they are simpletons…whereas the truth is there are just as many smart theists as smart atheists…just as many stupid atheists as are stupid theists. Atheists do a disservice to their own cause by assuming that only ignorant people hold religious beliefs and there is nothing that is not contemptible in the mind of a believer. Or they think the only question is can the existence of (G)od be proven, when the truth is only atheists are preoccupied with whether or not any gods existent. These attitudes undermine readings of visionaries like Descartes.Theists on the whole are less concerned with divine ontology than they are with what such an entity represents. For them it is a matter of faith and that no one can truly know what GOD means. They may have some interesting things to say about the idea of faith as opposed to knowledge. They can rhapsodize more beautifully on themes like LOVE, or what it means to love someone…to love mankind.

(11)

What does it mean to love someone? Does it mean you have to know completely what the object is…? Or is it better to be open to the notion that your beloved will continuously surprise you…? These are issues on which religious people have profoundly interesting things to say. There is a need for thinking creatively about such topics but the pugilistic atheist is never going to hear any of these things.

(12)

What I find intriguing is that in the secular world there’s a popular phrase, “Thinking outside the box”, which is a call to thinking creatively, but this exercise seems to escape most secularists in their approach to religious ideology. Religious thinking and theology have to be the most creative of all the branches of philosophy.

I am notorious for correcting people who refer to me as a theologian…I am a practitioner of theologically-infused philosophy or a scholar of the religious arts.

(13)

I am worried about what passes for the best kind of philosophy for it is an exercise in closing one’s ears and mind. The philosopher that students are largely trained to emulate are those (mythical?) masters of discourse and dialogue. But that killer instinct approach gets one no deeper in thought. For example, I was talking with a student once and I said a phrase, aesthetics of popular discourse…he felt the best approach to gather my meaning was to ask pseudo-Socratically, in respective of their order, what I meant by each term. He believed he was engaging in a philosophical discussion with me and by this means would entrap me in some semantic interlude, but by this means of questioning we never reached a purpose in communicating.

This style of inquiry impedes the philosophical process… Such an approach to discourse is often confused for being philosophical, but in reality it is but a cog in the philosophical machine and not philosophy itself.

(14)

People who pursue philosophy because they think it will make them smarter and set them apart are treading the wrong path and will be left very lonely, very stupid unrequited lovers.

(15)

What is philosophy?

It is merely knowing what questions are not philosophical…like the lover knows what is NOT his beloved.

The question then is not for Epistemology, but for Existential engagement. The lover always asks himself if he will recognize his desired…

Even when disguised? (There is no answer.)

(16)

I would echo Kierkegaard who reminds us that the true philosophical question arouses more questions, in high Socratic fashion…but add the caveat that random inquiry into this or that term is an encyclopedic endeavor rather than philosophical. One does not get to a meaning of things merely  because all of one’s definitions are lined like ducks.

(17)

Kierkegaard seems to personify the philosopher as an artist. He doesn’t sit down and write I am the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard and here’s what I have to say, but writes under pseudonyms and noms de plume. His texts are written by such-and-such, edited by Soren Kierkegaard…claimed to be found in some drawer or like container. He treats both his subjects and writing styles as (thought) experiments. What if you thought about the subject this way or that…?

(18)

When philosophers discuss philosophical works as having literary qualities–Plato, Descartes, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche–they’re really confessing that they have no inkling as to the power of literature. Often what is meant is that these works were penned with some extraordinary elegance and featuring lovely epigrams. Yet, the great thing about many of these elegant thinker-writers is not that the works are beautifully composed–they are–but that there is a sense of symphonic architecture to the compositions.

It is misleading to take away one sentence and say that is the view Soren or Rene is putting forth and I should read it for this point. One doesn’t just listen to the Allegro Moderato from Gustav Mahler’s sixth symphony, then declare understanding all of the Tragische. Rather, it is a journey.

(19)

Although symphonic highlights are the cultural bread and butter of the classical music world, most well-trained musicians that I’ve met in the related genres have told me that it is harder to understand the music chopped in that fashion. We are all familiar with the opening four notes of Beethoven’s fifth symphony but truthfully they only make sense when we see how the whole project is resolved in the final movement.

(20)

Such symphonic beauty permeates Spinoza’s Ethics, Hegel’s Phenomenology and Wittgenstein’s Tractatus. I would even venture as far to say that Jung’s Seven Sermons to the Dead is written as something of a Requiem mass.

Philosophy is the highest music. (Plato)

(21)

I began to appreciate this style of philosophy the more I grew in appreciation of the music of Richard Wagner…the master of the Magnum Opus. It is impossible to successfully highlight Wagner for recital purposes. There is also the demand that one has to sit for three to five hours at a shot to truly drink in his operatic vision…and further, for a number of days to experience its scope.

Spinoza and Wagner are the truest heralds of the Existentialist tradition as they are wholly unto themselves…apart in even the traditions they exalt. Richard Wagner is a German composer, but his music is Wagnerian over being merely Germanic…even his Italian contemporary Giuseppe Verdi, whose work was likewise grand in scale, was a master of Italian opera, but in no wise do we ever consider it as Verdian.

(22)

When the tools of his trade fell too flat, Wagner blew into the orchestra his own horn.

(23)

The fault of the academy is that it concentrates on small scale arguments rather than taking in the beauty, magnificence and truth of a work done on a larger scale.

The system.

Art like life, dictates systems to philosophy. (Naum Gabo)

(24)

Philosophers such as Kierkegaard have found a place in history, but I challenge any contemporary thinker who is able to finesse their medium as beautifully to carve a  permanent place for him or her self in today’s academy. This can be a very strange and worrisome world for a thinker to  measure himself against.

This isolated existence has also produced some of the most longstanding meditations on mind and spirit, ethics and morality.

Our deepest notions of the social are often born of solitude…

(25)

The discipline of philosophy is one of the most extraordinary art forms in western history; it is multilingual and cross-cultural going from Greek to Latin trickling down into diverse modern languages. Students the world over are raised in a tradition hellbent on thinking of themselves as sons and daughters of Socrates…curatorial heirs of a Socratic imperative to acquire knowledge. Perhaps rightly so… Not unlike fine artists, philosophers also work in the grand tradition of. It is somewhat disheartening that such a grand discipline is confined to the little glass houses that make up university philosophy departments.

(26)

The eternal task set for the philosopher is a daunting one–to find the time and place for philosophy and still be a philosopher…it is an important and difficult one and in no wise differs from the artist’s anxiety.

It is done with only tolerable success in the academy.

(27)

In the fine arts you can’t really teach someone to become an artist you can only teach them techniques. Philosophy is not far different. You can instruct students on techniques of inquiry, history of arguments and detecting fallacious arguments, but you cannot instruct someone on having a vision and being sensitive to that vision.

We have to rediscover what is meant by teaching…

For any philosophical education the best route is taken in the dialogue between the teacher and student where the goal is not so much to transfer a bit of doctrine like one might switch a file from a personal computer to a laptop, but to experience the disquietude that happens on the road to reaching certainty. Picasso once said that what all painters should learn from Cezanne is anxiety…I would readily apply this to the philosophical education… What we all need to learn from Socrates is the anxiety of listening for the right questions to ask…knowing that there WILL be many more to consider.

It is misleading that a philosophical lecture should end in a Q&A, when all philosophical inquiry is a matter of QAQ…

A fool brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry. Hence, University education. (George Bernard Shaw)

(28)

For a painter it is not simply a matter of  hues and how to use them but the fastidiousness of one’s personal technique or touch. Likewise, in philosophy it is not a matter of offering one hundred points to remember, but instilling in a thinker that it might be best to slow down and carefully examine all the data present and then apply one’s personal touch to nuance thinking on the subject.

(30)

I am of the opinion that you cannot TEACH someone to think philosophically, but you can teach them what has been thought on a given subject and how these inquiries were carried out. It is not just the ideas that need to be taught, but the negative-space around those ideas…the silence that happens between ideas and conclusions.

Here is where pacing and patience take precedence.

Bertrand Russell spent a year of his life going into the study every day, getting out a blank sheet of paper–his canvas–and then staring at it all day…and thus finished with his day’s work. He was often stuck as to where to go with his thought…constipated… Authors call it “writer’s block”, artists call it anxiety.

How do you approach teaching someone that it can take years to flesh out a thought?

(31)

Wisdom is an anorectic experience…philosophy is not. One becomes wise about all things…philosophy is merely the long and winding road to Wisdom.

(32)

Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent. (Ludwig Wittgenstein)

G.E. Moore was a famously taciturn philosopher. Whenever students would approach him and beg illumination on a particular subject–tell me about life…tell me about God–he remained silent. It has been said that Moore silenced a generation of thinkers.

It is not that Moore made a generation stupid, rather he knew better that being silent is an intelligent and often wise thing for a philosopher to do. Like Wittgenstein, he too instilled an anxiety of quietude in modern thinking.

(33)

I am dumbstruck before a Caravaggio as I am when reading the words of Plato. I am taking in the many hues and moods, the visual language. I’m not caterwauling opinions coarse with rhetoric. I am solemn…reverent…caught up in the majesty of feelings and sensations…like when I listen to a Brahms melody…

This is all simultaneous with an acute awareness of myself enraptured…

I am living in that world AND my own.

I do not know all of the specifics of color and stroke…notation. Still I stand there curious. desirous of curiosity…wanting to learn more…craving comprehension…so I shut-up…listen…and think.

Beginning to philosophize…yearning also to create…

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