Wednesday, March 30, 2022

What rough beast actually

So, now we do know. Gangsters and thugs in power misruling and abusing a society and army totally cynical, totally corrupt won't make for an effective invasion. Putin should consult Mussolini about that. And the West, as feeble, as materialistic as it has become, as much as it has lost self-confidence and faith in liberalism and humanism - it still can easily beat this sorry dictatorship. Now that China is going back towards one man rule and suffocating internal debate and development, it might be prudent for them to take note.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Fascism in action - pro Ukraine

That this should happen in Europe in 2022 maybe should not be a surprise - the beast lies close to the surface. And that it should have now emerged in the Kremlin and in the Russian state is certainly not a surprise: brutality, venality and gangsterism have usually reigned there. And so now. But that they would attempt this rape/murder so openly, so nakedly, so shamelessly, is a surprise. Maybe it's for the better then in the long run. The inhuman face of fascism might possibly finally create a backlash. Predators and the prey, killers and the killed. One hopes for Ukraine all success in its heroic defence against the brutal odds. And backbone and courage for the West. And Finland. 

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Nii sitt ja nii sant

Modern Russia is curious - this Putin administration has not lifted a finger to rebuild the economy and the society, to eliminate the all pervasive corruption in order to be realistically able to face the economical strength and dynamism of the West (or China). Instead there has been this surely fundamentally barren nastiness of undermining the Western cohesion, the Western liberalism via the net, via the populist movements (along with the continuous, utterly shamelesss robbing of the Russian people).

So, it's not Comintern by any reckoning, it's something far less, far weaker, something sans real faith. What has happened there, from where does this impotent, infertile rage come? Where is the positive vision, where are the dreams? Not building anything, just a blind rage to tore down the positive achievements of other, more successful nations.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Surviving trauma

This is a difficult subject - difficult to calibrate: as we all are survivors of trauma in this world. And if not, then still in trauma, with even more disastrous concequences to all people around. Still there are degrees to this survival, and so different degrees that they are barely connecting at all. But still, yes, we all share this experience, we all beat on, all damaged.

Though this said, there really are degrees. I know that I escaped relatively lightly - and my trauma was mostly, adding complications, directly caused by myself, by my special weaknesses. And that was nothing like the unspeakable nightmares that are still going on, at this very fucking moment, and which went on without reprieve in the past and which will go on in the future. 

To be able to function rationally in the world is to acknowlege the truth of this unending torment going on, all the time, still going on. For what would be the alternative, denial, escape? And of course we do try to contribute whatever there is to contribute for progress, reason and empathy. This bloody chaos of the world is a a challenge to any thinking and feeling person, which I think is the reason why so many abandon either thinking or feeling, or both.

But in any case, after all these observations and qualifications, yes, I am a survivor of trauma. And not a run of the mill trauma, the trauma we all automatically get from being born into all this imperfection and chaos and random cruelty. But a survivor of a more particular, more individual kind of misfortune. It felt rather strange to realize that this morning. How many things there still are to learn and understand about my story, about this particular experience of being in the world?

Friday, December 31, 2021

From the shining city on a hill to Babylon

Twice the USA came to save the liberal Western civilization during the 20th century, well, no, actually it was three times with the Cold War. The cracks, the failures, the sins were surpressed then - by the memory and impact of the Revolution and the Civil War, by puritan values, by egalitarian Northern European influences. But a very corrupt of form of capitalism prevailed all the while along with a deep seated racism, the original sin. And what we now have are the purposefully ill educated, purposefully propaganda fed, largely white, largely rural masses purposefully incited towards hatred and bitterness in order to further cut taxes and to further deregulate. Even at the cost of the Republic itself.

Judy Garland: Battle Hymn of the Republic - YouTube

On good and evil according to Tolkien

Tolkien of course was obviously narrow, even if a genius. Catholicism does not get you that far, seeing the utterly fallen, the utterly corrupt nature of the Church, and yes, all churches, all organizations, all people. But there really is quite a bit of value too there (especially in this very understanding of the easy corruptability of all humanity - just with the utterly mistaken exemption of the Church). But in this especially: the ancient Christian debate about the nature of good and evil. Now I will most of the times put those words firmly within quotation marks - when it comes to individuals, there really is no good and no evil, just various levels of randomly failing or randomly succeeding (morally and materially), without any inherent conviction, without any real being. But when it comes for systems of thought, for historical structures of thought, then yes, it's pretty clear what they want to pull down, but what it is that they actually want to build

What we are now having in the West are these various choruses, paid or voluntary, of hatred and narrow mindedness, of sheer baseness. Homegrown or sponsored by the Kremlin or Beijing. What is then the positive vision, what is the actual point? Is there any creation, any positivity there at all, or just sheer blind atavistic destructiveness and hatred and ignorance? What is the positive vision of those corrupt, stealing oligarchies of Russia and China? Is there anything there at all?

Monday, December 20, 2021

An old Lenin number

I have carefully managed to avoid to this venerable age Deutscher's famous Trotsky biography - or I guess I should say once famous. It certainly is very well written with a surprising generosity of spirit (not suitable to the subject area). These things seem now so scholastic, so irrelevant. But I don't think they are, not in the same sense as the old theological disputes were (and those too led to horrific bloodshed and tyranny). To be a communist in any meaningful fashion is surely to be a Marxist-Leninist, and that admittedly is pretty close to theology, a very dead thing. But Marx himself was scarcely even a Marxist, not to speak of a Marxist-Leninist. These were serious issues concerning horrible injustices.

To think about those times, of the editorial board of the Iskra in London in the early years of the 20th century with the famous split starting with mostly just (at the time obscure) personalities pettily clashing: the 2nd congress being already hopelessly divided, the 1st having had, one kids not, 8 persons meeting in Minsk, all shortly arrested - history as farce already at the first time... But from farce an unspeakable horror rose. Still, the context for the insanity of the Russian revolutionary tradition is the utter insanity of the pre-modern Russian society. The heartlessness and sadism rose from horrible, horribly stupid and horribly wasteful oppression. Such loss, such cruelty, such tragedy.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

About the streets I wasted

It is a strange thing to age in a relatively contained city: one repeatedly ends up in places where one once was, eons ago, as someone completely different. And pity would not only be misplaced, but seriously mistimed. Still, looking back I can't see any other way for myself but that wasteful way. And I did emerge after all, did I not, through (of all things) reason and logic. Even if the price was almost impossibly high in full retrospect, in wasted streets, wasted people.

Friday, November 05, 2021

Sex and sensibility

It is not so strange that the duality of body and mind became such a central structure of the Western civilization, and not only in our civilization. It is a thought than can emerge rather naturally from the human condition. But in any case in the West the role of the mind, of the abstract intellect, and thus philosophy and ideology has been very heightened, privileged. And our biological, animal nature much denied, abhorred, twisted. 

Obviously, we now understand it, that duality was totally wrong leading to horrible abuses. We are perpetually intermixed: angels and beasts in one, love and lust and intelligenge and ethics in one varyingly chaotic bunch. All the aspects informing each other - but, one hopes, intellect and ethics fundamentally guiding the lustful beast in the last reckoning... So, there maybe after all is, if not duality, then a consciousness that does not deny our quite glorious urges but still controls them, keeps them within reason.

Thursday, October 07, 2021

Reasons for non-attendance

At this ripe age I still keep wondering, keep being uncertain. I guess for a large part because uncertainty once was the only stable ground for me, the only starting point for life and feeling, however uncertain and insecure. Through reason to personhood, to life, to love, in its many forms. Only art I embraced with unhesitating instinct. 

But still, at the same time, this road was never completely uncertain nor completely insecure, having always had this passionate insistence on what has felt true, felt certain, a stable ground. A felt truth. Even if only of hesitation but a passionate hesitation it has indeed been. And there, here, I am then, here I remain. Not untrue to myself, no never, but constantly wondering, hesitating, stopping, being ineffective. At this ripe age - and still not having any true regrets. (And anyway, I guess it could have been much, much worse.)

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Nancy Cunard by Wyndham Lewis, Venice 1922

I came rather accidentally across a biography of her - of course I had known of Nancy Cunard, a marginal character in those literary circles of the time that I have been interested in. Or rather known of her as an archetype, a spoiled, beautiful, rich little aristocrat girl dabbling in poetry and radical art and radical politics, an iconic image from the 1920's, a lifelong rebellion against dear Mother and her - also rather bohemian but absurdly grand - world. A lifelong failure to mature, a tragi-comedy in several acts, ending in predictable ruins. 

That's not nearly fair, obviously. There was real talent, real tragedy there. She was also a victim of her cruel times, those brutal sexual and gender politics and values - she selfdestructed, like many artists, male or female, but was richly aided in the effort by her poisonous surroundings. And not only to talk about the attitudes and values (that she bravely fought against) but unimaginable historical events. When I read in the first pages that she was born in 1896 in securely wealthy, aristocratic but also artistic and forward looking surroundings, I could immediately picture much of the early story. Returning to London in 1919 she observed: "most people are dead". 

Much promise was lost, like it always is, but in that era and in that class and age cohort, I would think, exceptionally much. She accomplished much, she was often grotesquely shallow and always scared, but had true brilliance, true talent. A casualty of history, like we all fundamentally are, but with a rare radiance.

 

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

In honour of Tove Jansson

Her star will keep rising. An amazing artist, maddeningly elusive, maddening. Some people are like that, called to eminence, of course mostly or solely by fortunate circumstances, yes, but the circumstances were not nearly that fortunate - yet she persisted, compulsively. And painted an amazing canvas, of her life, of her art. All honour to children's writers but she wasn't one. And all honour to Astrid Lindgren too, a great, entertaining writer indeed.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

The other side of silence

I have earlier talked about how we need to be coarsened to survive this experience of this world. We need to have protection, warmth, shelter - and we so often lack those, whether for external or internal reasons. George Eliot was right: if we would hear that roar on the other side of silence, the full everyday tragedy of humanity, we would die of it. And so many have and will, being too open, too honest, too sensitive for this world, for this brutal experience. And what could we do but coarsen? But no, still not true, there will always be hope, hope and charity: empathy and love are inbuilt into this experience too. There will always be hope.

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

The breach in the wall

It seemed reasonable to liberate the capital constraints in the 80's. It seemed, I guess, reasonable to deregulate the financial markets in the 90's and 2000's - and to disregard the public investment part of the Keynesian economics. So, what we have had since then is bubbles, finance crises, instability and the capital ever gaining on work. And national radicalism, racism and unreason continuously rising in the West. The welfare state is largely the only thing that has kept us from the 1930's and the political and economic elites are pressuring to dismantle ever increasing parts of it. 

Unconstrained economic liberalism is the breach in the wall of the modern Western system of society, liberal and rational: it has opened the gates. This era of obscene opulence and increasing middle and lower middle class distress is inciting the masses towards xenophobia and anti-liberalism. This will obviously not be good for capital, but their perspective is for the next quarter and everything seems ever so clear and promising, and so will the next quarter and the one after that etc. But history happens on the long term and the clouds are darkening on the horizon.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Greek thoughts

Our liberal democratic modern Western civilization does not seem very healthy at the moment. Who knows, of course, this is just a brief moment of history, anything could happen after all. But at the same time our responsibility surely is for the moment, our moment. Even that is a lot to ask, from a culture maybe not able to be serious, to be intense. Like the Greek were, like Athens - like Jerusalem was, each incomplete without the other.

So what we have is immense opulence, irresponsible global capitalism (increasingly unconstrained by social democracy), confronting rather imminently huge, monstrous global challenges. Not being ready at all. We are not holding to liberty and reason like the Greek would have, as flawed as they were, as flawed as their conception of virtue and duty were. But we don't seem to have anything any longer to hold on to, except the shopping mall and the online shop, the entertainment industry, the debased religion, the debased liberty. This will not be enough, not nearly enough to contain the coming floods.