johannes k.


i don't believe in astrology but i am interested in the fact that people believe in it, and as a cultural phenomenon and for the narratives astrologers construct! the australian mystic medusa is especially good :

for taureans mars is officially retro (until mid-nov), you’ve embarked on your ‘spiritual warrior’ bender, turfing out decayed resentments, shadowy subliminal messaging, and habitual thought or emotion loops. you will never again experience such a strong phase for self-knowing and the confrontation of personal ghosts.

doesn't that sound awesome? literally. and many people could do with more awe in their lives. it makes you wish you were a taurean. oh wait. i am one!

but of course there are as many ways of interpreting a retro mars as there are interpretations of the most mysterious parts of the talmud but this is the one you could choose to believe.

i used to have a party trick where i would drink an enormous amount of beer and wine and vodka or gin or whiskey and i would say to someone who was boring me at some party or in a bar : what starsign are you? i bet you are a scorpio! and then if they were a scorpio they would be amazed and if they said i am pisces, i would say : i knew you were either scorpio or pisces!

this was in a small outback town in australia, not quite pre-internet but a personal computer with a built in modem which you could connect to the telephone line if no one wanted to call anyone or be able to be called by anyone was still considered an innovation, so we had to think up our own entertainment.

if i entered arnon grunberg's competition this would be my entry :

for several years i read nothing but books about the holocaust and holocaust testimonies and listened first hand, in person and on video, to hundreds of stories of survivors.

and then at some point i realised that thing, maybe you've had it too, about the testimonies that are missing and that we will never hear, that couldn't be written and cannot be read : the testimonies of the terrifying and ... what word would you use? ... let's go with profound ... experience of suffering of the ones who did not survive.

and those are the testimonies that are missing from your book and every book that has been written — nor will they be in any of the books that are yet to be written.

you could send it in and pretend you wrote it!

but it wouldn't win because the question you have to answer in 150 words or less is : who did arnon forget?. i thought it was : which testimonies are missing?. that was probably unconscious wishful thinking on my part about what the question is — which is not unusual for me, in a wide range of contexts.

peter falk vs columbo is a fascinating doco about peter falk and inevitably columbo (it even has a little scene from 'himmel über berlin' in which columbo is a fallen angel) but there is also plenty about his work with john cassavetes and gena rowlands — hey that rhymes with lowlands which has been cancelled this year.

speaking of his work with cassavetes i hear peter falk say something which has me scrambling for a pencil and a piece of paper. he is quoting someone who said : man is god's ruin. the dutch subtitle says : De mensheid is de ruïne van god.

in other words, humanity has destroyed god and his vision. here we have an omniscient omnipresent and omnipotent supernatural being ruined by his own creation. ah the sad irony! now that would be something, right?

and peter falk says that cassavetes 'saw the ruins with a clarity that the rest of us would find unbearable'.

but rewinding, i find that what he actually said, quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson❊, was : “A man is a god in ruins.”

that's quite a difference. this is in part a problem arising from the fact that in english, 'man' can be used as a synechdoce, where a part stands in for a whole, so that 'man' can mean 'humanity' rather than 'a member of the human species of the male gender'. this doesn't work in dutch where you have to say 'de mensheid' if you mean the species, which is infinitely preferable due to a thing called patriarchy.

the person doing the subtitles for the doco didn't hear the 'a' at the beginning of the quote (or the 'a' before 'god') and assumed humankind was meant.

sometimes being bilingual produces an interesting idea thanks to a misreading, a mistranslation or something misheard. so the subtitle influenced what i heard and what i heard was much more interesting than what was said.

❊”A man is a god in ruins. When men are innocent, life shall be longer, and shall pass into the immortal, as gently as we awake from dreams.”

as someone who didn't consume a single drop of alcohol for twelve years and then just recently ... well a year ago ... or is it two? ... in wagga wagga new south wales of all places, fell off the wagon, i was moved by this fragment ❊ from an interview with robin williams, the actor, who killed himself in 2014 when he was 63.

“I was in a small town where it’s not the edge of the world, but you can see it from there, and then I thought: drinking. I just thought, hey, maybe drinking will help.”

It was 2004. Williams was in Yukon Province making The Big White with Holly Hunter and Woody Harrelson. He'd given up drugs and alcohol in 1983.

“I felt alone and afraid. It was that thing of working so much, and going, ‘Fuck, maybe that will help. And it was the worst thing in the world… You feel warm, and kind of wonderful. And the next thing you know, it’s a problem, and you’re isolated.”

whether i was ever a true alcoholic, and what it means to be a true alcoholic, i don't know but i drank every day and if i didn't consume a sufficient amount of alcohol for whatever reason i became very unhappy and i frequently drank far more than a sufficient amount and did and said stupid things which i regretted later or couldn't remember.

what alcohol and drugs do, at least for some people, is they temporarily silence the superego and allow the id to express itself. this is sometimes necessary but it's dangerous : there is a reason why the psyche evolved in the way that it did.

i miss robin williams and i miss philip seymour hoffman but i only knew them on the screen. i also miss a whole bunch of other people i knew personally that bumped themselves off.

i miss them because i know the inside of the black hole they were in and when you are inside that black hole you are so completely and utterly in despair about your inability to get out of it even though you got out of it before (remember?!) but now you are inside a different black hole. the one that opens up when you're 60 or 47 and your relationship ends and you'd put absolutely everything you had left into it and you're alone and you're fucked.

do you know what it means to put absolutely everything you have into something? but there is more where that came from, right?

there is always more. yeah until there isn't. do you know what it means to put absolutely everything you have left into something?

as the man said, it’s not the edge of the world, but you can see it from there.

fuck it. let's have glass of wine.

❊ i found it here.

have you heard the joke about the guy whose ex-wife said she was going to australia?

she didn't go.

there is a small essay to be written about the joke's oblique reference to the dutch novel turks fruit by jan wolkers but i don't have time today.

i agree with almost nothing freud said about the superego and i also don't agree with the person who decided to translate Ich as 'ego' and Über-ich as 'superego', and especially Es (you are also an it!) as Id, but that's neither here nor there.

the point is : Freud identified the Über-ich and for this we will be forever grateful. a thousand years from now he will be remembered for this, provided the human race is still around then and the planet would prefer it if it wasn't but who knows, humans might reinvent themselves. i am not a humanist but i am not an anti-humanist either. for all i know i may be an ahumanist, but i'd have to read patricia maccormack's book first.

i would say i am a radically optimistic posthumanist.

for me, and from my experience of working with people and the work on my-so-called-self, you have to get to know your own Über-ich and find out what it is and how it works and doesn't work — and how it tricks you.

one of the ways in which it tricks you is if you believe that the Über-ich is the best version of 'you' and if you have a less than functional Über-ich (and there are many of us — probably because we had less than fully functional, or absent, fathers :p) you can be in a position where because you have difficulties planning, making decisions, knowing what to do or not to do, even being your so-called self, you think of yourself as failing or a failure as a human being.

of course the world in which we live, particularly right now, values the ego and the super-ego. the more 'super' your superego the better it is in a world run by neoliberal individualists, egotists and narcissists.

for dutch speakers : whenever anyone says 'super!' in response to something, you can quickly add 'ego' for fun — if they say 'top!' you can add 'dog'.

what's in a name? a rose is a rose is a rose, and a banded demoiselle damselfly is a banded demoiselle damselfly — although it is moot whether the latter is worthy of its name as it skulks for two years in larval form in river mud and waterweeds before finally rising from the reeds with a metallic blue body and iridescent wings glinting, to drift over the river. (via)

perhaps the human species does not realise its full potential until it embraces its own extinction. patricia maccormack who is interviewed here in trouw (in dutch) invites humans to do just that, which is why, i expect, she prefers to speak in terms of 'ahuman' rather than 'posthuman'.

according to the publisher's webpage for her book (The Ahuman Manifesto Activism for the End of the Anthropocene) :

...the term paves the way for thinking that doesn't dissolve into nihilism and despair, but actively embraces issues like human extinction, vegan abolition, atheist occultism, death studies, a refusal of identity politics, deep ecology, and the apocalypse as an optimistic beginning. In order to suggest vitalistic, perhaps even optimistic, ways to negotiate some of the difficulties in thinking and acting in the world, this book explores five key contemporary themes: Identity, Spirituality, Art, Death, The apocalypse.

Collapsing activism, artistic practice and affirmative ethics, while introducing some radical contemporary ideas and addressing specifically modern phenomena like death cults, intersectional identity politics and capitalist enslavement of human and nonhuman organisms to the point of 'zombiedom', The Ahuman Manifesto navigates the ways in which we must compose the human differently, specifically beyond nihilism and post- and trans-humanism and outside human privilege. This is so that we can actively think and live viscerally, with connectivity (actual not virtual), and with passion and grace, toward a new world.

last night watched most of a movie by mia hanson love called goodbye first love. i wish i could like her films more, they tick all the right boxes and she says all the right things about film making in interviews — but something is missing. somehow it's as if they are a kind of indulgence. they add nothing to your understanding of the world and what happens in it — nor do they take anything away from it. everything and everyone looks beautiful — lola créton, the actress in the film last night, surely one of the most tragic faces ever seen in cinema and you can barely take your eyes off the screen, but ... when you get three quarters of the way through the film you realise that the maker hasn't actually got anything of any significance to say. what you've been watching is the slow unpacking of an exquisite box of french candies, beautiful and very edible but with no nutritional value. or wait ... actually there are no candies inside. it is a beautiful box with nothing in it.

and is it a coincidence that i feel exactly the same way about the films of her husband, oliver assayas? his films win the most prestigious awards, like best director for personal shopper at cannes etc he works with the best actors, he says the right things, he talks about the influence on his work of bresson and guy debord and i am like, where and how is there any sign of anything in his films that could be remotely to connected with the ideas of debord? it is as if they have employed a publicist who has identified a market segment : would be intellectuals who like to mention the names of certain philosophers and films and filmmakers but who have zero interesting thoughts in response to their work. so the publicist says : ok so for this one what you do is you say that in making this film you were influenced by eric rohmer's the green ray and almost everyone will nod and go, oh how interesting and good. such a great film and no one will ask, in which way exactly is it influenced by the green ray?

so. that is my cynical rant for the day over and done so that's something. i am underslept, yesterday was exhausting and hot and it didn't cool down much during the night.

he. i posted today's sigmund and then i thought, it's a bit ... of a worry ...

but the final frame by itself is worth seeing.

Valeria Luiselli’s second novel, The Story of My Teeth, is the tale of a guy named Gustavo (Highway) Sánchez Sánchez, who auctions off his old teeth, claiming they are from the mouths of Plato, Montaigne, Virginia Woolf and Borges, among others. Then he takes his profits and buys a set of teeth that supposedly belonged to Marilyn Monroe, implanting them in his own mouth. After that, things go well for a while until Highway’s son, Siddhartha, knocks him out and steals Monroe’s teeth, leaving his dad chopperless.


this is the last day of my so-called holiday, alone, in the house that was once half mine — or to be more accurate, i used to owe half of what the house is worth to the bank. i wonder what makes owing a vast sum to the bank and working really hard to earn the money for the repayments each month such a popular pastime.

this is the second biggest furphy that has ever been sold to humankind : that being in debt is desirable.

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Black Chocolate di Montebello Appassimento 2018

life is too short to drink bad wine but unfortunately also not long enough to drink all the good wine (in moderation of course) but yesterday brought a beauty, courtesy of new friends in rotterdam, a complex italian wine from puglia made with four different kinds of grapes 30% primitivo 30% negroamaro 20% nero di troia and 20% merlot. it's made by a method called appassimento where the grapes are plucked (not picked) by hand at the last possible moment. the grapes are then stored in a 'frutaiou', a special kind of drying loft with openings in the sides so the wind can easily blow through.

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o ja? en waarom? is goed. ik bestel wel ergens anders.

i can't remember why i didn't like melancholia the first time...

continue reading ← i changed some things and added some things.

individualism is a disease, like a cancer or a virus. but where and how does it originate historically?

did it begin in the garden of eden? is socrates to blame? or descartes?

or yves saint laurent?!

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RIP Shane Tuck. 😢

i've given up football but i remember this game and so does wayne campbell :

Leading into the round 10 game of 2010 in Dimma's first season as coach, we were 0 and 9, Tucky had been out of the centre square to allow the likes of Trent Cotchin and Dustin Martin to learn their craft. He'd been playing as a forward but when we got to the ground to find it under water, and rain still bucketing down, Dimma grabbed his number 21 magnet and put it to the centre square. Tucky had 31 possessions and a club-record 14 tackles to get us our first win for the year.

immense heaven/open skies

just in case you're not from around here, i am speaking to you from the earth, which is in what is called the solar system here. i know, right! but this is the one. and it's in the milky way galaxy.

hmm milky way... i don't know. when i was a kid it was very much a minor bar, you know. it was the kind of thing people would have in the cupboard in case a child was visiting. and you would receive the gift without much enthusiasm — but it was better than nothing.

the milky way is part of a small cluster of galaxies, not very imaginatively named 'the local group'. you mightn't have heard of it. but it's just on the edge of the virgo cluster, a conglomeration of several thousand galaxies.

damned virgo's! ← this is not a typo. this is going dutch with apostrophes. i kind of like it.

in 2014, dr. r. brent tully of the university of hawaii suggested that these features are all connected as part of a giant conglomeration he called laniakea — hawaiian for “open skies” or “immense heaven.” it consists of 100,000 galaxies spread across 500 million light-years.


thank you. i am embiggened by being part of a giant conglomeration.

Sid Vicious inspects Tina Weymouth’s bleeding hands after a Talking Heads gig: “But Tina, have you ever tried using a plectrum?”


Virginia Woolf :

When I wake early I say to myself Fight, fight. If I could catch the feeling, I would; the feeling of the singing of the real world, as one is driven by loneliness and silence from the habitable world … Anything is possible.”


“we just wanted to reassure you that we're right behind you...” oh yeah? phew! here, take all my money...

George : It was the same look that my father had when I told him I wanted to be a ventriloquist.

And all you hearts who love life realize now that to love is to love —

Jack Kerouac (Desolation Angels)

According to Oxfam, by the end of the year around 12,000 people a day will be dying from hunger. (At its height, in April, the pandemic was killing 10,000 a day.) Meanwhile, here's a new way of using the lungs of a donor when they are not in great shape (the lungs not the donor who clearly isn't in very good shape at all). you connect them to an anaesthetised pig and the pig's body repairs the lungs so they can be used in a human. link (in dutch)

still thinking about why i wanted to put those two things together.

i have a sort of love/hate relationship with nick cave, which is perfect really. i love the idea of an 'idiot prayer' which is the title of a video of him playing solo-piano pieces at alexandra palace, a london venue that opened in 1875, recorded in june. i hate the idea of paying USD 20 to watch this video as 'a livestream event'❊ on my laptop but if you love him as much as the world seems to, you might not.

❊ i am not sure what makes this 'an event' exactly, me in my room with my laptop and a bunch of other schmoopers in their rooms with their laptops, each one of them USD 20 poorer? ah well ... at least you wouldn't have to listen to people talking during the quiet bits.

De mens vervult volgens Maxim Februari niet alleen een rol als burger of consument, maar maakt deel uit van een groter geheel, het universum. Dat ‘diepe besef’ brengt hem tot de constatering ‘een religieus mens’ te zijn, wat vooral niet met ‘gelovig’ moet worden verward. Voor deze dimensie bestaat te weinig aandacht: ‘We verkeren in een wereld waarin we denken dat het intellect zaligmakend is. Maar dat uitgangspunt is beperkt: je zit op een stoel, trekt een kringetje eromheen en roept ‘hierbinnen weet ik alles’.’

RIP Wim Suurbier

i've been more or less cured of my interest in football from either hemisphere, and possibly tennis as well. thanks to the pandemic i've realised how completely pointless and corrupt football is. on the other hand when you see an obituary written by jaap stam (!?) of a legend like wim suurbier who was mensch first and footballer second (and who is quoted as saying cruijff was more important as a human than as a footballer), you have to click on it, right? ok well maybe you don't :) but it seems i do ... and there are some serious riches there (in Dutch).

Een advies aan iedereen die het moeilijk heeft: hou meteen op met drinken, drie weken later kun je de wereld weer aan.

Hans Dorrestijn in Trouw

even the clouds are strange, my mother says. look!

You have to tell your story, and you have to forget your story. You forget and forgive. It liberates you. —Louise Bourgeois

we are the bumblebees that lie lazily on the ragged purple flowers of knapweeds.
[apologies to derwent may]

ah my old alma mater. from the australian abc website :

Mahsheed Ansari, a lecturer in Islamic Studies at Charles Sturt University, says it's understandable that people have used their religious beliefs to help them cope with mental hardships during the pandemic.

There's a predeterminism in the Islamic tradition, which is also part of the Judeo-Christian and Abrahamic faiths,” she explains. It's this view that God is actively involved with our personal life — with our global socio-political life — so that gives us a bit of psychological relief knowing that ultimately things are running through their course.

good to know that god is also actively involved with 'our global socio-political life' — whatever that is and whoever the fuck 'we' are. but i guess the lord knows and that's what matters.

and : “...researchers found that Google searches for “prayer” had also surged...”

dear lord give me the strength to endure another day of an unending stream of complete and utter bullshit coming at me from all directions.

people who believe in the importance of not allowing themselves to be fooled by others (to the point where they're convinced others are trying to fool them even though no one is) when what matters is that you don't fool yourself and give others the benefit of the doubt.

maar je moet juist jezelf niet voor de gek houden

humanity as a species, is not asleep, does not need awakening, but suffers from a collective psychosis which is now becoming more apparent than ever.

devastated (again) by the utter sadness and weirdness of charlie kaufman's film, synecdoche new york — or should that be philip seymour hoffman's synecdoche new york? saw it ten years ago in the cinema and it took that long to work up the gumption to see it again. seeing it on a HD TV (with subtitles on because the delivery of some of the lines is not always as my ears would prefer it) has advantages and disadvantages as well as things which may be considered either an advantage or a disadvantage — or both, such as not emerging from the cinema into the light like a disoriented disintegrating ghost, no longer knowing what is real and what is not and who you are and who are you? and who are all these people and what are they doing? where are they all going?

Als je goed om je heen kijkt, zie je dat alles gekleurd is. — K. Schippers

if you have to make a reservation for a church service isn't the ringing of the bells somewhat superfluous?

Gerbrand Bakker:

(Een depressie) is onzichtbaar en onzegbaar. Een depressie is niets. Je bent niets. Niets in een Niemandsland. Een Niemandsland is een wereld waarin niets er meer toe doet. En daarin valt niet te leven.

apologies for this poor translation :

A depression is invisible and unspeakable. A depression is nothing. You are nothing. Nothing in a Nomansland. A Nomansland in a world where nothing matters anymore. And it is impossible to live there.

from the review of knecht, aleen by gerbrand bakker de volkskrant 4-7-20

after reading this piece on charlie kaufman, rewatched synecdoche new york. it's even better than i remembered from when i saw it in the cinema ten? twelve! years ago. an unconventional horror film about mortality and life's brevity and unrequited love and lacking the capacity to love or to be for someone who loves you what they want and need you to be — and the impossibility of art.

the careful reader may notice that i am experimenting with an anti-academic post-scholarly way of writing about ideas without calling it 'philosophy' and without using the names of philosophers.

my hypothesis is that the use of names is alienating. if i say 'kierkegaard' or 'heidegger' i am assuming that means something to you, dear reader — and by implication, if those names do not mean anything you, i am saying : you are an uneducated oaf. so instead of 'kierkegaard', i might write : 'an old danish philosopher'. if the reader wants to follow up on this, typing 'old danish philosopher' into a search engine will instantly find søren kierkegaard's wikipedia page.

one of the givens yesterday was a diary fragment about suffering from an old danish philosopher written in the year of his death (1855) in the newspaper. he says something remarkable :

A human being must be so tormented that they would not hesitate for a moment to commit suicide. In this situation they must – live.

in other words, you have to live despite the fact that you're suffering and it is so unbearable that you want to kill yourself. but of course this is for those who want to connect to god. if you're an atheist you would just kill yourself — in the humanest possible way and without leaving a mess.

but what about postatheists? what does a postatheist want to connect with? what would a postatheist take on suffering be?

Dagboekfragment: Kierkegaard 2-7-1855 : Een mens moet zo gekweld worden, dat hij er geen ogenblik over zou aarzelen om zelfmoord te plegen. In die toestand moet hij – leven.

#postscholar #postphilosophy #antiacademy #suicide

oh, where did all the other stuff that was here go? well, some of it went here and the rest of it disappeared forever into another digital dimension ... but perhaps it will reappear in the book.

this is the last day of my so-called holiday, alone, in the house that was once half mine — or to be more accurate, i used to owe half of what the house is worth to the bank. i wonder what makes owing a vast sum to the bank and working really hard to earn the money for the repayments each month such a popular pastime.

this is the second biggest furphy that has ever been sold to humankind : that being in debt is desirable.

the biggest furphy ever sold to humans of course was that you are indebted to god because he gave you Life, even though you didn't ask for it and you don't want it because being a human is mostly miserable as fuck, ah but then you see, when you're dead it will all be good and beautiful and you'll be happy.

i watched a documentary about the waorani people who live in the amazonian jungle in ecuador. they didn't buy it. five of the missionaries that went there and tried to sell it to them became subject to the spirit of the jaguar that lives in the waorani : they were speared by them and died.

even though i'm homeless, neither owing the bank any money nor living in a small room out the back of my mother's house is quite liberating.

i am starved of human contact, but most humans are so awful i don't want to have any contact with them. it is the 1% of humans that are not awful that i would like to connect with.

one of my favourite humans is back from their holiday in spain, in andalusia ... no wait ... catalonia where the pandemic is raging, so i don't get to see them for two weeks — or i probably should not see them for two weeks — but it's quite possible that human contact is more important than the pandemic.

another one of my favourite humans hasn't communicated with me for over a month. the last communication i received was just before i moved into a hotel close to where they live for three days so that if they wanted to see me it would be easy to do so.

and then i waited. many good things happened in those three days. i walked alone in the beautiful landscape all around there, ate a memorable meal cooked by someone who cares about food, had a superb haircut by someone who cared, just long enough, about my head, they reminded me of oren ambarchi, and i wrote thousands of words, but they did not come to see me.

i said that i wouldn't be disappointed and i was not. and i was not humiliated. to be humiliated takes two (or more) people. one to do the humiliating and the other to be prepared to be humiliated and to experience it as humiliation — and neither of those conditions were met so : no humiliation. i worked that out with one of my other favourite humans this week.

in my book i wrote something which someone i like and respect took issue with, about humiliation. i wrote that you can only be humiliated if you allow yourself to be humiliated. they strongly disagreed.

so what makes a person allow themselves to be humiliated?

in the documentary they talk to the son of one of the missionary killers and ask, what happened to him? in the end he laid down his spear, the son says, and became a believer. and now he loves god and jesus.

i am sad. what happened to the spirit of the jaguar?

i guess if you believe in one kind of spirit, it's not such a big leap to believing in another one. i wonder if he's got a mortgage now too?

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