Thursday, August 25, 2022

In less keen sounds

I have been re-reading Eileen Warburton's excellent biography of John Fowles - and again wondered about the chasm that so often exists between the art and the artist. Obviously in the former's benefit. The story of how his marriage came about is in parts simply sordid. The casual misogyny of those times: it was in the air they breathed, internalized by virtually everyone. Art doesn't begin to justify those dealings. Of course situations are complicated, private connections run deep and are not explicable to outsiders. But still.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

The widening gyre

I believe that in pretty much most eras people have thought they were living in decadent end of times which mostly has basically meant that there had been some actual progress and improvements, and that the young were as young and as insolent as they usually are in the eyes of their preceeding generations.

But it is getting harder and harder to deny that there is something rotten, something rottening, in this global, high tech capitalist system, in this finance capitalist Anglo-Saxon version of the market economy. There is hysteria in the air, a panicky hatred is spreading. The Western democracies are weakening, splitting from the inside. Decadent, hysterical times, aided and abetted by the social media and the irrational, crazed enemies of the West, of liberalism.

The coming challenges are gigantic: the climate changing, threatening the very existence of our high tech civilization and which obviously can't be withstood by thinking and reactions focused on the next quarter. The various technological revolutions and the ever lessening the need for human workforce, the corruptive influence of the global entertainment industry and the ever more toxic social media. We are not confronting any of these: no, we are being carried by a flood stream.

A true cultural fugue, surely.

Friday, June 24, 2022

The brown wave still goes on

4chan, 8chan, "men's rights", incel forums etc. etc. - this wave of hatred, of rage, of misogyny, of deliberate ignorance circling the globe. Where does it come from? The dying of religion, of humanism, the waning of the capitalist dream, the casting off so many from being valued, necessary members of the society? And was it thus this vile surge was born, polluting the net and social media, polluting everyday conversation, polluting many people, hurting others via them? Obviously it's being fed by the enemies of the West, by fascist Russia, chauvinist China et al. But it was not created by them. What cultural fugue is this? So obviously debased, so obviously empty of all positive aims, just blind destruction and hatred, actual blind rage. What is it?

Perhaps it is only a symptom of a sea change for the better, the last scream of hatred at a waning, increasingly corrupt social and cultural model before a new and better one is gradually born. I certainly do hope so. But it is in any case a great dismal, scary spectacle of waste, aggression and debasement.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Kas teate mis värvi on demokraatia?

It is strange how willing so many are to bend towards a new order. Any new order. Though luckily not nearly all. Germany though is doing what it has best known to do for well over a century: murderously destabilizing Europe. France, apparently, is still ever sufficiently lost to hopelessly aim to replicate in reality whatever irrelevant things of grandeur du jour they are dreaming of doing.

But in many corners of Europe the memories remain stubbornly fresh, stubbornly powerful:

Internatsid

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

She Came in through the Bathroom Window

I have been watching Peter Jackson's (I guess one has to admit it) brilliant Get Back. And am rather speechless - they were a legendary but rather ancient name in my distant youth. My going there was largely a blind rebellion against my peers. But such a lucky rebellion it was. Such brilliance, such talent, and such a process of creativity as portrayed in Jackson's document. Such warmth also, such good will - but their youthful brilliant, shining friendship gradually slipping into families and other responsibilites and interests combined with the peculiar strenght of their personalities only just having been half-reluctantly shot into absurd stars amazingly within just some few years.

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 also 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 extreme right wing 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 tear 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.)