Ulysses, Lonn, Debord

I’ve started rereading James Joyce. Ulysses’s first chapter was more readable now than in 2007, when I first read it, at age 17. I find the beauty that an open attitude reveals to you when taking time, accepting that you can’t google every little thing you don’t understand. The spectacle’s “eternity of noisy insignificance” as Debord puts it in “Comments…” (1988) shouldn’t disturb a mind in search of poetry, God, philosophy, beauty in an ocean’s green jelly (“Ulysses” chapter 1). Then I maybe can find what the publisher of one of Oystein Lonn’s novels describes with these words: “Lonn impresses again with his deeply original art of novel writing. “According to Sophia” has been bought by the acclaimed french publishing company Gallimard”. That was also Debord’s publisher late in his life. Michele Bernstein said in an interview: “After the divorce he sent me only to letters. The first said “Thank you” for my help with some archive papers, the other one was before he went to Gallimard, he asked for my advice for a new publisher. I thought it was a joke.”

To Be A Good Writer

you have to be a good reader, not only of short texts, but novels too. That’s why I don’t follow that many of the bloggers who follows me. There’s also useful to find ways to cope with the thousands of temptations and distractions on the internet. I found these videos by using what Kenneth Goldsmith described as derive applied to the digital age in his book Uncreative Writing.

A poem By William Blake And Some Verses From The Bible

Blake_A_Divine_Image

A Divine Image

BY WILLIAM BLAKE

Cruelty has a Human Heart

And Jealousy a Human Face

Terror the Human Form Divine

And Secrecy, the Human Dress

The Human Dress, is forged Iron

The Human Form, a fiery Forge.

The Human Face, a Furnace seal’d

The Human Heart, its hungry Gorge.

Comment by Terence George Craddock (from http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/a-divine-image/):
The secret to unlocking this poem, ‘A Divine Image’ by William Blake is in the title. Blake correctly reminds that it is declared in Genesis that mankind, humanity was created in the divine image of God, our alleged perfect creator. Both quatrains of this poem immediately declare a denial any perfection or divine image, in the state of fallen humanity. Blake focuses totally upon dark images and faults within people, who deny love compassion forgiveness kindness; and this theme of an inability to love, a passion to hate, is the entire theme and meaning of the poem. Failures in the character of base humans, are described as a succinct list, of several of the most despicable treacherous, human characteristics; listed as Cruelty, Jealousy, Terror and Secresy in the first quatrain. Each characteristic is capitalized for emphasis and used to describe the condition of the human heart, face, form and dress of the fallen state of humanity. Blake declares we secretly hide our motives intentions deceits behind clothes, meant to symbolize our evolved civilization, but in reality necessary after the fall of Adam and Eve, created in God’s image divine, but now estranged from the divine. The next stanza focuses upon negative aspects of the human condition; clothes or the dress, ‘forged iron’, form ‘a fiery forge’, face ‘a furnace sealed’ and lastly ‘The human heart its hungry gorge’. The last emphasis is the terrible greed of humanity, consuming, feeding upon insatiable lust, devouring. The symbolism strongly suggests warfare, forged weapons of iron, the conquest of armies in hate, cruelty; yet perhaps to beat swords into plough shares. The genius, mastery of Blake, is to say so much, imply so much more through title and symbolism. An excellent example of a highly crafted succinct poem rich in extended metaphors. William Blake is one of my favourite poets and artists.
*
Relevant Bible verses (added by me, not the commentator above) (source: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+5%3A3&version=NIV):

From Adam to Noah

This is the written account of Adam’s family line.

When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God.

He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them “Mankind”[1] when they were created.

When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.

Footnotes:

  1. Genesis 5:2 Hebrew adam

Beck Against The Tide of Modernity

The music video for Beck’s song Heart Is A Drum opens with a sketchy image of a person on a road. We then see the singer by a house, he seem to be both on the inside and outside, looking in the window from the garden and looking out the window from the other side. This reminds me of Margitte’s painting In Praise of Dialectics which is meant to show that the inside of a house is always connected with the outside, like with anything else: philosophy, concepts, literature and so on.

Rene Margitte, In Praise of Dialectics (source: http://www.wikiart.org/en/rene-magritte/in-praise-of-dialectics-1937)

Rene Margitte, In Praise of Dialectics (source: http://www.wikiart.org/en/rene-magritte/in-praise-of-dialectics-1937)

After this the video depicts various and shifting images: a boy on a road, Beck and a man walking next to him, the shadow of Beck on a wall, the boy from the road by the house (also both inside and outside, when on the inside flipping a curtain up and down on the window), at this point the lyrics of the song has come to the lines about time: “Your Heart is a drum keeping time with everyone”. The line right before also has connotations to the concept of time: “You’ve lost your tongue when you fall from the pendulum”. We also find hints to this in the video: a silhouette of something that looks like a clock, one of these old tall ones, standing on the floor. And then Beck leaves the house, he’s spotted some strange creatures dressed up like in clothes and helmets looking like a crossing of astronauts and beekeepers.

Still from the music video to Beck's Heart Is A Drum. On the wall you can see an painting which seems to be of Virgin Mary and Jesus.

Still from the music video to Beck’s Heart Is A Drum. On the wall you can see a painting which seems to be of Virgin Mary and Jesus.

I took the title for this post from a book entitled Romanticism Against The Tide of Modernity. There Michael Löwy and Robert Sayre writes about the romantic tradition in literature, art, protest movements and so on, claiming it’s not limited to a style of writing or painting, but a way of thought. Following the line of Marx they claim that romanticism always since the rise of capitalism has been here as it’s shadow, a criticism and force against it’s domination on modern life. Romanticism claims that something has been lost, but exactly what? Löwy and Sayre asks, and answers also: We have to look at it’s values to circle in that. These values are among other things community and the individual value of each human being (but not like capitalistic individualism which tells everyone that they can be superstars and by that gives broadcasting companies and advertisers lots of money on talent shows and things like that). In a podcast I just listened to Beck talks about the value of old folk songs and the way of thinking about music in the folk scene. He highlights the camaraderie among musicians and underlining it’s importance in creating new music. He talks about Record Club and Newport. All this are factors that places him in the romantic tradition I sketched up over here.

The cover of the book Romanticism Against The Tide of Modernity by Michael Löwy and Robert Sayre

The cover of the book Romanticism Against The Tide of Modernity by Michael Löwy and Robert Sayre

Now, lets go back to the video: Beck has left the house and enters a small cabin. We then see a glimpse of a light haired woman waking up (“High as the light of day” he sings now). Inside the cabin there are collages of pictures on the walls, Beck walks over to an image of a woman and her baby dressed up in the style of Virgin Mary and baby Jesus. He touches it softly.

The scene shifts to a priest looking man holding the light haired woman in his arms while wind blows through their hairs and clothes. (“Falling down across your lost highway” Beck sings now, with reference to Hank Williams old song). Back to Beck and his image on the wall, still touching it softly, lifting his head to the left. Outside on a field the man with the scythe appears, and the woman falls to the ground. After this Beck walks off again, we can see images of him crossed with scenes with the creatures I’ve mentioned: the priest, the woman, the man with the scythe. A new person has arrived: a little girl holding flowers. She stands next to the priest while the man with the scythe comes towards them (he has been pointing his fingers straight into the viewer a couple of times now, while Beck has been walking fast straight ahead, making it seem like his pointing at him, or at me who looks at the video. The woman appears in the same camera shot as Beck, and now the beekeepers appears. Now and then we see shadows on walls, glimpses of Beck’s face looking like these ads of phantom rising that has been circulating on the internet lately. He’s always searching, walking through houses and forests, trying to see what we can’t see: angel like creatures, death, places which is outside of time.

In Edmund Husserl’s Origin of Geometry: An Introduction, Derrida examinates Husserl’s philosophy on science. He begins with a walkthrough to Husserl’s views on geometry and historicity, and Derrida doesn’t seem to have any problems with his conclusions:

“Pure-interconnections-of history, apriori-thought-of history, does this not mean that these possibilities are not in themselves historical ? Not at an , for they are nothing but the possibilities of the appearance of history as such, outside which there is nothing. History itself establishes the possibility of its own appearing.”

“The paradox is that, without the apparent fall back into language and thereby into history , a fall which would alienate the ideal purity of sense , sense wou ld re main an empirical formation imprisoned as fact in a psychological subjectivity-in the inventor’ s head. Historical incarnation sets free the transcendental, instead of binding it.”

The word became a man, the Bible says. The word of truth. Merry Christmas!

The Question of the Foreigner

“Isn’t the question of the foreigner [l`étranger] a foreigner’s question? Coming from the foreigner, from abroad [l`étranger]?” Jacques Derrida

banksy birds

“…Dies translation: «There, obviously, is where we must have the debate» (241d). No, more seriously: «It does seem that that is where there must be armed war, or combat, in discourses or in arguments». The war internal to the logos, that is the foreigner’s question […]” (ibid.)

Image source: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-essex-29446232

A Poem By Tomas Tranströmer

Montgomery

Track

2 A.M. moonlight. The train has stopped

out in a field. Far off sparks of light from a town,

flickering coldly on the horizon.

As when a man goes so deep into his dream

he will never remember he was there

when he returns again to his view.

Or when a person goes so deep into a sickness

that his days all become some flickering sparks, a swarm,

feeble and cold on the horizon

The train is entirely motionless.

2 o’clock: strong moonlight, few stars.

(Image source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/30/robert-montgomery_n_1694971.html )