johannes k.


Being convinced, by a careful observation, that the human understanding perplexes itself, or makes not a sober and advantageous use of the real helps within its reach, whence manifold ignorance and inconveniences arise^ he was deter- mined to employ his utmost endeavours towards restoring or cultivating a just and legitimate familiarity betwixt the mind and things.

On April 25th 1940, five months and two days before he killed himself in Portbou on the French-Spanish border, Walter Benjamin (10 Rue Dombasle, 15e) borrowed The Physical and Metaphysical Works (the edition by H.G. Bohn of Covent Garden from either 1853 or 1891) by Lord Bacon who died in 1626, aged 65 years, of pneumonia contracted while studying the effects of freezing on the preservation of meat.

Lord Bacon's project was mega and meta, not to mention a contradictio absurdis. He advocated using a reductive method to understand ever expanding complexity and he wanted, by advancing knowledge, to return humanity to the perfect understanding it had enjoyed, albeit briefly and in very small numbers, before the Fall.



in a show on dutch tv called tokidoki made by paulien cornelisse, she encounters a garden in a zen monastery and talks with the grandson of the man who made it. they are sitting in the garden on the south side of the monastery and paulien says : this garden seems to have nothing it it, and he tries to explain the concept of 'mu' by telling the story of the monk who is asked by the abbot to explain 'mu', which literally means 'nothing' and the monk explains it. well, says the abbot, i see it differently. paulien pretends not to get it, and says : most people would need to have that explained to them, and he says, yes.

cut to the next scene where paulien is seen from the back contemplating the empty garden.

in europe (and i mean 'europe' in a cultural/historical sense, so that includes places which are not 'in' europe, eg australia ha ha and it also includes places where it has been decided that they don't want to be part of europe in a legislative/financial sense, like britain) the idea of leaving an empty space empty is kind of abhorrent.

but the idea of 'mu' is that of a space that is in relation to another space which is not empty (and indeed, the garden on the north side of the monastery has plenty of stuff in it, rocks mostly, and sand raked in an interesting way) and 'mu' is not nothing actually, because of that.

Karen Horney radically departed from Freud in emphasizing the power of environmental forces to shape our enduring personality. Horney includes a long list of adverse environmental factors that influence the development of our neurotic trends, from well-meaning parents who exert too much pressure on the child to succeed; to parents who are unpredictable and constantly shift back and forth between smothering love and intimidation, tyranny and glorification, comradeship and authoritarianism; to parents who force the child to take one parent’s side over another; to parents who make a child feel that his or her entire purpose on the planet is to live up to their expectations, enhance their prestige, or blindly serve their needs—keeping the child from recognizing his/her existence as an individual with distinct rights and responsibilities.

All night bar in the Flower Market, Warsaw, 1983 — Witold Krassowski.

if like me and a lot of people you are a sucker for classic french cinema (RIP michel piccoli) MUBI is your friend, although i am not sure if it's available in australia but you have SBS so stop whinging.

i'd started cancelling MUBI because their app on my samsung TV is so shitty. but after jumping through various hoops it offered me a 40% discount for a year so instead of 10EU it costs 6EU per month so i gave in and kept my subscription.

the problem on the samsung TV is that, although some movies play fine, sometimes a movie just refuses to play all the way through. so you get to a certain point, usually just as its getting interesting, and it just stops and try as you may it will not play that movie beyond a certain point. it would make you nostalgic for the day when you used to rent DVDs in the 90s and when you were watching the movie there was a scratch on it somewhere and the picture would start to shudder and then it would freeze. i did have a girlfriend once who had magic powers to make the DVD player go beyond that point where the movie got stuck with a combination of spittle and judicious use of fast forward and rewind buttons but i reckon even she would have been stumped by the stupidity of the MUBI app.

so i couldn't watch several of the obscure films by a director whose work i like very much, louis malle who has been featured on MUBI recently, like 'calcutta' and 'the human condition'. on the other hand, the visually and aurally sumptuous 'ascenseur pour l'échafaud' (1958), the whimsical, beautiful 'zazie dans le métro', the bleak and thought provoking 'the fire within', and a number of others, play perfectly.

last night i hit the jackpot with a great documentary by louis malle from 1980s called 'god's country'. apart from one frozen moment, it was the first louis malle doco i've tried to watch which played all the way through on MUBI.

filmed in 1979 it is a format that has been copied numerous times since : send an affable foreign filmmaker to an obscure place and let them loose on the locals, in this case a little town in the middle of minnesota USA where almost everyone is of german origin and is either a farmer or the wife of a farmer. the only two that are not are the most interesting but they are all intriguing in one way or another, like a different species of human. six years of reaganomics later louis goes back for a reprise and finds almost everyone despondent.

if i was publishing a book called the human condition i would ask erwin orlaf if i could license this picture for the cover. (i cropped the camera out of it. he might not like that.)

a force that (some people think) controls what happens in the future, and is outside human control. — from the turkish

what i like about 'kismet' is that it is not (a) god. it is a force and it doesn't have a plan, as some believers think god has. some of them even think he has an individual plan specifically FOR THEM which if you ask me, and i know you didn't, is the height of narcissism.

and what i like about kismet not being (a) god is that it doesn't care about me and what i do or don't do. that really upset me as a child, the idea that god would disapprove of what i did or didn't do and that my very right to exist was predicated on what i did or didn't do.

and what i really like about 'kismet' is that it is outside of human control.

what i don't like about the above definition (which is from the cambridge dictionary) is the word 'control' which occurs twice — in the first part of the definition 'determines' would be better, but there is a perfect word somewhere, i just can't think of it.

and in the second part what they mean with 'control' is : a human being can't influence it. it does what it does.

and so the question one might ask is : so this kismet, is it intelligent? and the answer would surely have to be, well yes and no. in any case it is not rational. ha ha so tether your camel.

but the kismet has no expectations and makes no demands, and it doesn't care about what you do or don't do and you can't do anything about it. there is an immense freedom in that.

de beauvoir and sartre had this idea called 'bad faith'. there is a long article on wikipedia about it which you can read if you want but for me what it names is exactly that aspect of religion which troubles me most. 'bad faith' describes perfectly the belief that the catholics tried to install in me at a very young age. that there is an omnipotent all seeing being that knows everything you do and don't do and that it has an opinion about it and its opinion matters. and its love is conditional. if you do what it wants it will love you. and you want to be loved by it don't you? and guess what happens if you don't do what it wants or if you do what it doesn't.

exactly. you will be lonely and unloved and then you will die and rot in hell forever.

of course the kismet is only a story too, but it is a story that illuminates something and it doesn't make you afraid, unlike the stories about gods which do and which are designed to curtail your freedom.

ok. there endeth my sermon for today.

This floated to the top via Arnon Grunberg’s blog. I’d not heard of Ingeborg Bachmann before.

Nach dieser Sintflut möchte ich die Taube, und nichts als die Taube, noch einmal gerettet sehn. Ich ginge ja unter in diesem Meer! flög' sie nicht aus, brächte sie nicht in letzter Stunde das Blatt.

— Ingeborg Bachmann

My German is nowhere near good enough to make my own translation into English from scratch but I know Dutch, which is similar enough to the rhythm of the German language, to be unhappy with the translation by Johannes Beilharz and to maybe hack together a better version of my own.

After this deluge I would like to see the dove, and nothing but the dove, saved. Yes I would go under in this sea! if you did not fly out, if you did not bring in the last hour, the leaf

Such a beautiful final line as ‘in the last hour, the leaf.’ But is 'final' more accurate than 'last'? Is it fair to translate 'Ich ginge ja unter in diesem Meer!' as “I would go under in this sea?'

This is the original translation :

After this deluge I wish to see the dove saved, nothing but the dove. I would drown in this sea! if it did not fly away, if it did not return with the leaf in the final hour.

why would anyone have ten (10) different blogs!? — i know! right?

and why would you have ten #tags inside of those blogs, making in effect, ten different blogs inside each of those ten blogs?

for example here are some of the tags from the postpost blog and one of their URLs : posthumanist postdeath postatheist postart postsex postlove

— but that's one hundred blogs! that's crazy! right? yes.

all but one of the blogs are publicly accessible. you can subscribe to each of these blogs and receive an email when something is posted there.

there is no index or list of the blogs or tags but links to individual posts will appear from time to time, sometimes in an unusual way. collect the set!

bookmarks and instapaper or pocket are your friend, although you can also download all the posts on a blog as an ebook in .epub format. the way you do this is by adding .epub to the URL of the blog. for example :

If you want all posts with a particular tag as an ebook, say #sometag, you’d use:

one blog (or in effect ten blogs), daybook (random journal entries 1988—2044), can be made accessible to individual people on application. be aware that i am likely to enter into an email conversation with you about this.

also be aware that this is a work in progress and there are and sometimes will be many gaps and errors.

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