Saturday, October 17, 2020

Dissociations of sensibilities

Also known as life. This experience of being in the world, or half-being as it mostly is as we go through various routines, varyingly numbly - this experience as wild as it is, as dangerous as it is, no safety nets here, apart from the various routines and numbnesses increasing with age, it still comes with one remove. And I don't think there is any bridging of that, there will always be a silence, an area where eyes, where thoughts will never reach. I wonder how useful observation this is, but it appears true.

In my personal story I could speak, and have, more of dislocations of sensibilities, forced crashes from imaginary and thus perfect trajectories. And I probably will have to live always with regrets and will have to keep self-pity and sentimentality perpetually at bay. Still, less of struggle now than recently. I have never shifted from the opinion that the views have been breathtakingly beautiful even if the air is freezing cold.

Half-being is not for me, never has: in some ways I have actually not aged at all, just matured. I still feel and think, no pain killers. I am not numb. Anyway, just a bit of a difficult Saturday with some intimations of the future for someone very loved, very innocent and very vulnerable. No routines, no numbness.

Friday, September 25, 2020

New names for old desires

As the tide has now turned, I have returned to life, and so thinking maybe love too. Of course my waking life is automatically filled with love and care, having children. I am fortunate in life, in that sense. And in any case hesitating, as always. These furious affections are alluring but dangerous too. Maybe thinking is better than doing.... It is not though, not in all matters.

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

About Thomas Thistlewood

He was not nearly the worst, in fact, no doubt, one of the best actually in that place and in those circumstances - in other contexts and circumstances surely one of us. I could undoubtedly have been him, being just slightly better than my era. And the place and the circumstances in question were a holocaust for profit. Something no-one surely wants to contemplate, such a long hell for such mundane reasons, just every day greed and fear, no exotic ideological fanatism, and, so, appropriately, conveniently forgotten. What unspeakable horror.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Calling Oswald Spengler about the twilight

The transcript of the President’s address to the nation on September the 30th, 2020 as broadcast on all the major networks: 
My fellow God fearing Americans,
In recent months, there has been a radical armed and extremely violent movement to defund, dismantle and dissolve our police departments. Most Democratic politicians have joined this anti-police crusade and relentlessly vilified our law enforcement heroes. Blood is being shed, property is being destroyed, good Christian citizens are cowering in fear. Our major cities are now a battlefield. A battlefield between Dark and Light, a battlefield between God and Satan. Whose side are you on? 
This bloodshed of the police and and of the innocent god fearing citizens must end. This bloodshed will end. Today, I’m calling for a National Patriotic Uprising to support our police and the return to law and order on our Streets. I am calling for all the Patriots and Christians around this blessed country to take up their arms and join the government forces all over the USA to protect property, worship and liberty. Take up your weapons and fight and prevail!
So we will work, we will fight every single day to restore public safety, protect our nation’s children and bring violent perpetrators to justice by any means necessary. Soldiers, officers of the law, citizens — we will fight, we will take back our country from these lawless, godless, violent thugs. We will prevail!
The final Battle has started. God and Justice will win. Listen to your radio, watch your news, watch my briefings. Now is the time for resolute action. We will prevail, God will prevail, Justice will prevail.
God bless you and God bless America.
And no, this is certainly not a very likely scenario, I think. The major thing being that surely he wouldn't do it. Though if he would, there would be thousands, maybe tens of thousands, maybe more, following the call. This is where we now are.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Never forget: Jallianwala Bagh

I am currently reading a fresh study of the massacre, an excellent work by Kim A. Wagner. The Empire will always be a certain litmus test for us anglophiles. Being not conservative, nor radical, but a liberal I view that day as a crossroads, a defining moment. The moment when all illusions left were shattered and the skull beneath the skin was revealed, the racist grin. And not only that day and the awful days and weeks after, but the way this vast, vile crime was treated in London. Yes, a half hearted, typically British, gesture was made towards justice, mocked by its own nature and the deep respectable torydom in the Home Counties and beyond.

Yes, killing innocents is the way of the world, the routine way of history. No excuse though, the opposite of an excuse.

Monday, July 06, 2020

The Death of Jaan Tõnisson

Surely not nearly as important as the life, and therefore important too. Date and manner not known, though well imaginable. And not that it would have necessarily been particularly heroic and filmatic, most deaths are not. His integrity was already established elsewhere, untouchable. A pedantic, fussy man, not good imagination, rather like our K.J.Ståhlberg, both respective fathers of liberalism of their countries. Known for stubborn insistance on rights, liberties and the rule of law. K.J.Ståhlberg writing "Tulevaisuuden lähtökohtia" in April 1918 when the slaughter was still going on. Tõnisson not moving an inch for Päts and Laidoner, nor even, when the game became deathly, to Stalin.

Saturday, July 04, 2020

4am - from Temple Bar to Phibsboro in 1999

The day after the St Stephen's Day I think. We were too generous, surely, or maybe I only too good pretending to be, and just maybe even the others too. And, yes, to a degree that is true (in the way it is inevitable in this fallen world) - but still no, no, not at all: we really were generous, shining, even if just a little a bit. Even me. And he really was a good person, a good young man, effortlessly better than the brooding, crooked me: handsome, generous, confident. And to my credit if so not ease, I did see that. He was. And so then, walking bitterly crying back to Phibsboro and eventually thinking of knifes and wrists, but also as I now see, shining. We did have large generous untimid hearts. Erring, yeah, oh how much erring in those years, but generous, yes, daring, yes, even me, the least of us.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

And I am a citizen of two countries

Weird to think about it with the benefit of actually understanding things, in hindsight. You never tend to do it in real time. But actually I have been a good Finnish Pietist all along, strange - here in this waking world and even before these days when I am not at all as hopeless as I used to be. And so there it is: art and knowledge and feeling, the long views - and so I am here, and not totally here, a citizen of two countries:

Poetry and friendship and love and the pursuit of understanding do accompany me just as well as the Hymns of Zion do (but not all hymns at all). So then, I don't only walk in this waking world but also in the other one of art and love and understanding, a citizen of two countries.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Not much pride left

I still vividly remember that one debate in Helsinki in the fall of 1987, in the small Pietist student hostel, my first home after home. I argued, passionately and full of true conviction, that I would not pray nor beg for loved people being entitled for justice, not mercy. Now I obviously would, no question, and do. Not much pride left in that respect. Have been lucky. Weird how some scenes, vignettes stay in memory, or better put, are transformed into vignettes by the act of remembering.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Love in the time of plague

It is strange to witness history after a lifetime of being so securely out of it. Fukuyama was both very naive and very perceptive: at least he approached history as a serious, coherent thing. But to think it would have possibly somehow ended in the early 90's - that was surely the height of neoliberal folly, before all the following follies. And obviously there is no certainty of whether history even would really be a serious, coherent thing, instead of being a random ape evolution to whatever carnival of craziness and greediness and violence. But just as obviously one does keep on hoping.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

No time for decency

In these times Orwell does rather regularly come to mind. A weird, largely unlikable person, a shining light. Artists are strange people: often brutally limited in their private lives, often creating an antithesis of those limitations, a near complete rebuttal of their own persons. Strange things. His beliefs were much better than him, but to have had them, tells also a story - an overcoming of situation and person. His attitude, his writing, and yes, his person, are so much missing from this shameless cold era of prostitution and exploitation.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Musing on Howard's End or Why won't England ever grow up?

E.M. Forster was radically civilized in his private life, a living indictment of his savage, primitive era. The pre-war fiction is strange, I believe it is clearly better than its reputation, which is not exactly bad but still somewhat lukewarm. This is not to deny it's obvious limitations and shyings away - somewhat tame tales of Liberal and Conservative England. But with a ring of truth around them: an extended family with always the worst members in charge. If possible even more true now than then - certainly the material conditions were much worse a century ago, but there was also a spirit of optimism about, of progress mitigating them. Now we have only endless vistas of corrupt finance capitalism and gradually ever less of meaningful democratic politics, meaningful discussion. Little sense of hope.

Monday, January 20, 2020

The river keeps keeping its name

I recently visited a place once very significant and warm, a fountain of great friendship and of so much laughter. And yes, the steps and the voices did echo, memories did flood, the bird did urge speed etc. But there was something else in that experience too, in a place so intimately recalled: something less sweet and more real. It is not that nostalgia should be automatically bad, just that it is automatically inaccurate. The sharpness, the vividness of experience, of the moment, is forgotten, that feeling of living poised on top of a great roaring wave of time with always the fear of crashing down, of drowning. Yes, those good things were true, they did happen, but that is just a part of that experience, at the time it was no fountain, it was life.

Monday, December 30, 2019

A lower and even more dishonest decade

The previous decade seemed bad enough: a decadent, cynical war of choice - the late empire gathering good ratings for homeland. And then that lame interlude did not seem so lame at first. But now these garish colours: reckless, compromised late empire, the stench of decay. Corruption, spite and ignorance. Conservatives forgetting all conservatism, forgetting history, getting easily bought. Liberals only semi-convinced of anything, only half-heartedly offering some feeble defence for half-forgotten positions.

Admittedly, only local, fleeting issues - these questions will be resolved, become utterly irrelevant soon enough in the longer perspective, and that longer perspective in itself only a moment. But we are here and now, and can only so be. So this is the moment and the place to engage: our absurdly short moment. The only time we have.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Cultural fugue

We don't live by bread only. A certain addition to this retro-30's (lite) era is another central theme of this blog: the increasing decline of christian-humanist values - and the concequent emptying of liberalism into a shallow official creed not understood, not believed in, but practiced as a handy way to increase various concentrations of capital. We are consumers, not citizens. Yes, this has been said before and by very doubtful people, like Heidegger, like Nietzsche. They had little understanding of liberalism, little understanding of history. But here we now are in the West, rich but with no convictions or ever vanishing convictions. Faith is not by far the only thing necessary to keep a civilization going, to keep a society coing, but it is the minimum requirement, the base. We are losing our memory, we are forgetting our beliefs, our convictions.