johannes k.


freud and jung : who doesn't love them? you could make a great fi... oh wait. you could also make a dreadful film about them that takes way too many liberties and i find keira knightley a little ... how shall i put it? pouty? and she always looks as if she's acting? and as for michael fassbender, he is just too damned good looking to be jung.

but like many people who did some interesting thinking a long time ago, some of it was useful and still is — and some of it was, but no longer is and some of it never was and never will be, and some of it has been co-opted by people whose intentions are ... questionable.

apparently freud wrote, in a letter to jung in 1906 : “Analysis is, in essence, a cure through love.” i've never seen this before but i haven't read much freud. it does seem like an odd thing to say from one so keen on maintaining professional distance and being a blank slate, but perhaps this was why?

i rather think freud wanted to have his cake and eat it, and if you've seen 'a dangerous method' you might be tempted to say, and so was jung. in fact there is a lot you could say about that, or i could.

in newspaper profiles of famous people the question is sometimes asked by lazy journalists : which person, living or dead, would you most like to have dinner with? and then they say something really boring like shakespeare or plato or some such. i would say, can i have two? jung and freud, but before the feud.

or, if they have to be living, i would say : arnon grunberg.

en nu ga ik nog even een ouwe koei uit de sloot halen.

jung :

‘I've treated a lot of old people. What is striking is that the unconscious usually completely denies the threat of total annihilation. So I encourage my patients to do exactly that: to go on living as if death doesn't mean the end. That doesn't necessarily mean that there is life after death, only that there is something in us that believes that.’

I found this quote (which I had also not seen before) in an interesting article in Dutch from De Groene by Arthur Eaton in which he talks with Sonu Shamdasani, the editor of C.G.Jung's Liber Novus: The Red Book, about, amongst other things, the way in which the alt right has co-opted some of Jung's ideas. That in itself is hardly surprising since both the old and the so-called new right have a history of appropriating ideas which they wilfully (or through ignorance) misunderstand in an attempt to lend legitimacy to their cause by including some names in their half—baked rantings. In this they are no different from the so called New Age 'movement' who do the same with Jung, quantum physics etc.

I like the idea that it is valuable and useful to believe in something, but what that something is, is not unimportant. To allow someone who is dying to believe that they are not going to die is tricky. I have worked with people who I felt were not ready to face the fact that they were going to die very soon. And some people die like that.

But it is the ego, consciousness, which rejects the possibility of its own annihilation, and this is at the core of the human condition. Instead of encouraging people to live as if death doesn't mean the end, I would suggest what is needed, the work, is fully realising the finite nature of the self — but not almost everyone is ready for that.

It does make me wonder if Jung ever read Being and Time?

archive copy of de groene article

#work #death #love #psyche

About Endlessness

The new film from Swedish director Roy Andersson (previously : A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, 2014) is About Endlessness. It sounds great. From the review in De Volkskrant :

Een priester heeft een geloofscrisis. ‘Wat moet ik doen, nu ik mijn geloof kwijt ben?’, vraagt hij herhaaldelijk aan zijn dokter. De dokter, die het ook niet weet, is zijn radeloze patiënt al snel beu en probeert hem met hulp van zijn assistente buiten de deur te houden. De priester moet afdruipen en vlucht in de drank. In zijn terugkerende nachtmerrie sleept hij een houten kruis door de straat, terwijl omstanders ‘kruisig hem!’ roepen.


natuurlijk mag er op de kamers niet gerookt worden? — nee meneer. dat mag niet. vanzelfsprekend. dat zou onwijs vunzig zijn. en u heeft geen kamers waar je wel mag roken...? — nee meneer. het liefst zou ik een kamer hebben waar eigenlijk niet in gerookt mag worden, maar voor mij wordt er een uitzondering gemaakt. — helaas is dat niet mogelijk. begrijp me niet verkeerd : ik zei dat niet omdat ik dacht dat het misschien mogelijk zou zijn maar om mijn relatie tot onmogelijkheid te benoemen.

De meeste mensen deugen (niet)

Ik hoef niet getroost te worden, maar ik geloof niet dat de meeste mensen deugen, zo eenvoudig is het niet. (...) Het kan wel zijn dat de meeste mensen deugen, mijn probleem is dat er zoveel mensen zijn die ik niet begrijp.

Een pareltje naar aanleiding van het lezen van De meeste mensen deugen van Rutger Bregman, van A.L.Snijders, 83, die eigenlijk Peter Cornelis Müller heet. Ik hoorde hem een keer zeggen, toen hij op de radio gevraagd werd hoe hij aan dat pseudoniem kwam, dat hij de naam ter plekke had bedacht omdat hij zijn Duitse naam niet wilde zeggen. Later pas realizeerde hij zich dat Snijders net zo klinkt als Schneider.

interesting! what is wrong with this picture? (in dutch)

word of the day : koekoeksjong

as almost everyone knows the female cuckoo lays her eggs in the nests of other birds, especially dunnocks and reed warblers, as derwent may explains in the times :

The female cuckoo watches these birds from an outpost and when she has chosen a foster nest glides down to it, usually in the afternoon. She removes one of the eggs in the nest and lays one of her own in it. She lays about 12 eggs in different nests like this in a season. When the cuckoo chick hatches, it heaves out any other eggs or chicks that are in the nest and remains as its large, solitary occupant. Its foster parents accept it and feed it for about three weeks. Neither of the cuckoos who are its parents takes the least interest in its future.

in dutch the word koekoeksjong (cuckoochick) is used for something (or someone) which develops, grows or exists at someone (or something) else's expense, including an extra-marital or unlawful child.

the description of donald trump's relationship to the republican party as that a 'koekoeksjong' in this article in de volkskrant, has a number of layers and is as apt as apt can be, right?

one could also be tempted to suggest that 'dunnocks' would be useful term to apply to people who allow/enable someone like donald trump to do what he did, and does, and will do.

jammie holmes, they're going to kill me (2020). foto azim ohm/jammie holmes & library street collective

is the egg of a guillemot shaped like a pear so it can roll around on a rock without falling off?

or does the egg of a guillemot not fall off a rock when rolling around on it because it's pear shaped?

(questions for derwent may)

an interesting article (via arnon grunberg's blog) about the problem of translation, specifically about the opening line of albert camus’s “l’étranger”.

i say, if you love a book, if you love a language, translation is impossible. it is an act of killing — and syntax is one of the weapons.

take the beautiful last line of this ingeborg bachmann poem which was d e s t r o y e d by the english translator who didn't have the courage to leave the order of the words exactly as they were in german : in the last hour, a leaf.

#writing #language

david shrigley untitled 2019

this is an old song these are old blues and this is not my tune but it's mine to use

and now wirelessly with active noise cancelling. 😃

and all that i've got and all that i need i tie in a knot and i lay at your feet and i have not forgot but a silence crept over me.

joanna newsom

iris murdoch and friend

fernando pessoa — text 331 from the book of disquiet — via orange crate art

yesterday was headache free! today i woke up with it.

i say 'it' rather than 'a' because of course they are not actually different headaches, it's always the same headache, although it varies in intensity and sometimes it goes on a little holiday, to terschelling perhaps, just for the day. i wish it would take it's little mate, tinnitus and his sister hyperacusis, with it — although someone said it might be misophonia rather than hyperacusis.

yesterday you-know-who asked me : can you believe that the headache won't come back?

what do you do when a sinkhole the size of a house suddenly opens up in the middle of what is essentially the collins street of your life? oh wait ... it's only one metre by one metre, but still. what if you were standing there? and i was.

we are dog roses flourishing but our fragile flowers are quick to fall.

(apologies to derwent may)

image by william arnold from 'suburban herbarium'

this article claims this is patti smith at the rock garden in 1977 but i have my doubts. it's patti, yes ❤️🙃🐓 ok, and it may or may not be the rockgarden, but 1977? i'd say early 1976, but i might be wrong, although i never am. did she fall?

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.)

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