“…ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE”
(Beside the Brooklyn Bridge, projected onto the Verizon building. Here’s a video.)
This is how my mind works.
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“…ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE”
(Beside the Brooklyn Bridge, projected onto the Verizon building. Here’s a video.)
When I ran, it rained. Late in the afternoon—
midsummer, upstate New York, mornings I wrote,
read Polish history, and there was a woman
whom I thought about; outside the moody, humid
American sublime—late in the afternoon,
toward sundown, just as the sky was darkening,
the light came up and redwings settled in the cattails.
They were death’s idea of twilight, the whole notes
of a requiem the massed clouds croaked
above the somber fields. Lady of eyelashes,
do you hear me? Whiteness, otter’s body,
coolness of the morning, rubbed amber
and the skin’s salt, do you hear me? This is Poland speaking,
“era of the dawn of freedom,” nineteen twenty-two…
— Robert Hass
Stefan Simikich, Untitled
W MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 2005
PHOTOGRAPHED BY NICK KNIGHT
STYLED BY CAMILLA NICKERSON
MODEL : GEMMA WARD
We are pressed, pressed on each other,
We will be told at once
Of anything that happens
And the discovery of fact bursts
In a paroxysm of emotion
Now as always. Crusoe
We say was
So we have chosen.
By the shipwreck
Of the singular
We have chosen the meaning
Of being numerous…
“When involuntary unemployment exists, the marginal disutility of labour is necessarily less than the utility of the marginal product. Indeed it may be much less. For a man who has been long unemployed some measure of labour, instead of involving disutility, may have a positive utility. If this is accepted, the above reasoning shows how ‘wasteful’ loan expenditure may nevertheless enrich the community on balance. Pyramid-building, earthquakes, even wars may serve to increase wealth, if the education of our statesmen on the principles of the classical economics stands in the way of anything better.
It is curious how common sense, wriggling for an escape from absurd conclusions, has been apt to reach a preference for wholly ‘wasteful’ forms of loan expenditure rather than for partly wasteful forms, which, because they are not wholly wasteful, tend to be judged on strict ‘business’ principles. For example, unemployment relief financed by loans is more readily accepted than the financing of improvements at a charge below the current rate of interest; whilst the form of digging holes in the ground known as gold-mining, which not only adds nothing whatever to the real wealth of the world but involves the disutility of labour, is the most acceptable of all solutions.
If the Treasury were to fill old bottles with banknotes, bury them at suitable depths in disused coalmines which are then filled up to the surface with town rubbish, and leave it to private enterprise on well-tried principles of laissez-faire to dig the notes up again (the right to do so being obtained, of course, by tendering for leases of the note-bearing territory), there need be no more unemployment and, with the help of the repercussions, the real income of the community, and its capital wealth also, would probably become a good deal greater than it actually is. It would, indeed, be more sensible to build houses and the like; but if there are political and practical difficulties in the way of this, the above would be better than nothing.”
“I wanted to avoid redoing the work of the economists, and I confined myself to relating the problem that is posed in economic crises to the general problem of nature. I wanted to cast a new light on it, but to start with I decided against analyzing the complexities of a crisis of overproduction, just as I deferred calculating in detail the share of growth or the share of waste entering into the manufacture of a hat or chair. I preferred to give, in general, the reasons that account for the mystery of Keynes’s bottles, tracing the exhausting detours of exuberance through eating, death and sexual reproduction…
…I will simply state, without waiting further, that the extension of economic growth itself requires the overturning of economic principles—the overturning of the ethics that grounds them. Changing from the perspectives of restrictive economy to those of general economy actually accomplishes a Copernican transformation: a reversal of thinking—and of ethics. If a part of wealth (subject to a rough estimate) is doomed to destruction or at least to unproductive use without any possible profit, it is logical, even inescapable, to surrender commodities without return. Henceforth, leaving aside pure and simple dissipation, analogous to the construction of the Pyramids, the possibility of pursuing growth is itself subordinated to giving: The industrial development of the entire world demands of Americans that they lucidly grasp the necessity, for an economy such as theirs, of having a margin of profitless operations. An immense industrial network cannot be managed in the same way that one changes a tire… It expresses a circuit of cosmic energy on which it depends, which it cannot limit, and whose laws it cannot ignore without consequences. Woe to those who, to the very end, insist on regulating the movement that exceeds them with the narrow mind of the mechanic who changes a tire.”
— George Bataille, “The Accursed Share” [pdf]
“If one believes, as I do, that the earliest form of religion was ritual, one might see how play among humans with cultural capacities might develop into ritual. Ritual has many of the features of play: it has no obvious function, it is an end in itself, it enacts events, but symbolically, as in pretend play, and it takes place in a relaxed field, where hunger, predators and procreation are kept at bay. For example, in the perpetually warring Greek states during the great festivals, such as the Olympic festival to Zeus of which the games were only a part, a universal truce was proclaimed. It is among humans that play processes have exfoliated so extravagantly, and ritual is one of the things to which they led.”
— Templeton Report Staff, “The Roots of Religion“
“Human beings are a species whose drive to reproduce is sometimes contested by moral and intellectual values that we posit for ourselves. It is not hard to think of situations in which truthfulness, fidelity, or piety can take precedence over the instinct to reproduce or even to survive—celibacy is a human institution, as is martyrdom. Nietzsche, who was a great antagonist of Darwin, formulated the difference between them precisely in terms of the different emphases that the two thinkers placed on survival. In The Will to Power, Nietzsche observed that, for human beings, the subjective experience of triumph was more important than actual success in the struggle for survival: ‘Physiologists should think again before positing the ‘instinct of preservation’ as the cardinal drive in an organic creature. A living thing wants above all to discharge its force.’ And the discharge of force can take forms inimical to the preservation of life…
…What has been really distinctive about Fukuyama’s work, from The End of History onward, is that he seriously engages with the condition of nihilism, in which he worries that we are condemned to live. But while Nietzsche hoped to counter the apathy of the Last Man with the will-to-power of the Overman, Fukuyama—inheriting, as we all do, the lessons of the twentieth century—cannot look so blithely at the prospect of new ‘wars of the spirit.’ His task, rather, has been to look for nonviolent ways of harnessing the human desire for struggle, recognition, and the ‘discharge of force.’”
— Adam Kirsch “The Dawn of Politics“
“By the time he began writing his Letters on Regicide Peace, two years before he died in 1797, Burke’s concern about the relative strength of the old order had reached a fever pitch. ‘In ability, in dexterity, in the distinctness of their views,’ he wrote of the revolutionaries, ‘the Jacobins are our superiors.’ But where initially he had located the source of the revolutionaries’ superiority in their class position, their material base in finance and commerce, Burke now saw it in their absolute indifference to their material circumstances. The strength of the Jacobins lay in their faith, their willingness to destroy and suffer anything and everything for the sake of their cause. ‘While you are in vain torturing your invention to assure them of your sincerity and good faith,’ Burke wrote to the British officials who wished to negotiate and compromise with the French, ‘they have left no doubt concerning their good faith, and their sincerity towards those to whom they have they engaged their honour… They have been true and faithful to the engagement which they have made more largely.’
It was Burke’s great fear that the British elite — as well as the other monarchies of old Europe — could not summon similar reserves of ideological resolve. They were too comfortable, too assured of their possessions, too confident of their estate. Where the Jacobins had ‘conquered the finest parts of Europe’ with an ‘annihilated revenue, with defaced manufactures, with a ruined commerce,’ the aristocracies of Europe were drowning in the very properties Burke had once held up as the counter to revolutionary France. They didn’t just possess estates; they were possessed by their estates.
At no time has the wealth and power of Great Britain been so considerable as it is at this very perilous moment. We have a vast interest to preserve, and we possess great means of preserving it. But it is to be remembered that the artificer may be incumbered by his tools, and that resources may be among impediments…
They who are in possession of all they wish are languid and improvident…
— Corey Robin, “The Deep Roots of Conservative Radicalism”
via my friend Bessem, please take a minute to watch this video all the way through. The image you see on the wall is of Ben Ali, the deposed and corrupt Prime Minister of Tunisia, sentenced to 35 years of prison in absentia.
And please reblog, etc. if you feel so inclined.
تصويرة بن علي رجعت في حلق الوادي Retour de Ben Ali à La Goulette (by EngagementCitoyen)
Images still have power—real power, not marginal or meta. Simple acts of defiance still have power. Voting still has power. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.
“[P]rofessional investment may be likened to those newspaper competitions in which the competitors have to pick out the six prettiest faces from a hundred photographs, the prize being awarded to the competitor whose choice most nearly corresponds to the average preferences of the competitors as a whole; so that each competitor has to pick, not those faces which he himself finds prettiest, but those which he thinks likeliest to catch the fancy of the other competitors, all of whom are looking at the problem from the same point of view. It is not a case of choosing those which, to the best of one’s judgment, are really the prettiest, nor even those which average opinion genuinely thinks the prettiest. We have reached the third degree where we devote our intelligences to anticipating what average opinion expects the average opinion to be. And there are some, I believe, who practise the fourth, fifth and higher degrees.”
— John Maynard Keynes, from “The State of Long-Term Expectation”
…You’ll be hearing the term “NGDP targeting” soon. Here is everything you could possibly want to know about it, concisely from Ezra Klein.
(Everyone does, indeed, have a thing.)
Our secret shame, isn’t it
to better make the world.
To make, better: a world,
still frames, a sheet of ice,
a thready fire burning scraps
and gas poured on it,
a testimonial, a city’s statues,
a foreign tongue. None of it
weighty as we think, prone
to fall away. What’s left?
Want of imaginary things
coded into landscapes, conglomerations;
categories that comprise, obtain.
A place, person. A list.
The names of things, like imagined cities.
Spaces to step out of
and into, felt like a pain.
How could I doubt them? Knowing
has nothing to do with it. Abstraction,
careful crafted, chanted
down the ages. An elephant’s foot,
the network, steam cloud, imaginary New York, Utopia
of waiters. What we make,
the world, better.
We’ll find out, in a few hours, how foolish Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD are. People still sing songs about Mayor Daley, about the DNC in Chicago, 1968. And this is much more than that.
Defiant: On day 27 of the Occupy Wall Street protest, protestors confront Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a gala dinner at Cipriani’s on Wall Street chanting ‘Hell No! We won’t go!’
(via NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg orders Occupy Wall Street protesters out to clean up ‘unsanitary’ park | Mail Online)