But really, a damn fine defense of existentialism and, moreover, a realistic and defensible ethics. I'm unsure where the charges of...more"Why so serious?"
But really, a damn fine defense of existentialism and, moreover, a realistic and defensible ethics. I'm unsure where the charges of datedness come from; I mean, the examples used are certainly historical and often bleak, but I have a feeling the majority of criticism is due to some coming away intellectually unsatisfied/unconvinced. But I think that's part of the point of the "assertion of failure," right?
For my part, I'm very nearly sold. I found myself wondering (and worrying), though, if it's necessary to reject Heidegger's particular form of "existentialist" ontology, and accept the Cartesian (um, Sartrean) dualistic metaphysics in order for this shit to work. Because maybe then the "antinomiousness" of action is all we have, without the ambiguity. Or something.
Anyway, I like this: "The Hegelian system is so comforting. I remember having experienced a great feeling of calm on reading Hegel in [an] impersonal framework. But once I got into the street again, into my life, out of the system, beneath a real sky, the system was no longer of any use to me: what it had offered me, under a show of the infinite, was the consolations of death; and I again wanted to live in the midst of living men."
Read especially for: a cogent ethics contra utilitarianism, objectivism, fascism, &c; a crash course in where French existentialism differs from Hegelianism and Marxism; a radical politics of freedom.
Analytic philosophers that accuse the Continental heavyweights of merely "doing literature" should get a load of this guy!
A second-tier philosopher to...moreAnalytic philosophers that accuse the Continental heavyweights of merely "doing literature" should get a load of this guy!
A second-tier philosopher to be sure, but an exemplary biographical one. Essentially a repudiation of the methodologies employed by the human sciences (seen as merely agents of society's "logic of life") to "treat" potential suicides and a call for universal existential dignity. Some interesting concepts are explored, such as the poorly translatable French term échec, which for Améry is not merely failure or defeat, but living in or through total ruin; an inborn inclination towards death, weaker than the logic of life and distinguished from the death instinct of classical psychoanalytic theory; some interesting ethical dilemmas associated with voluntary death (an appeal to apres moi, le déluge is pretty cool); an analysis of the other as not merely the Sartrean hell but as simultaneous Samaritan; some interpretations of Wittgenstein that are sure to piss some people off; etc. etc. Infinitely quotable, and highly recommended to whoever has found one's self in what is developed by Améry as the "situation before the leap."
"There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair."
MLK is like quoting El...more"There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair."
MLK is like quoting Eliot and dissecting Buber and analyzing the neutrality of time and telling white folk to hang out with Socrates a little more and questioning the ethics of conformity in organized religion while providing organizational campaign strategies for nonviolent protest and finding a middle path in the civil rights movement, you know what I mean?
Yeah, sure, he gets a little heavy on theology, but what I think people forget is this wasn't an open letter to the public, it was a direct response to the White Ministers' Law & Order and Good Friday Statements, which were well-intentioned but ultimately misguided calls for whatever passed for "respectability" and "upstanding citizenry" among white moderates in '63.(less)
What a voice! Referential, realistic, and rarely sentimental, A large criticism of Dugan (no relation) was his unwillingness to stylistically vary. Ba...moreWhat a voice! Referential, realistic, and rarely sentimental, A large criticism of Dugan (no relation) was his unwillingness to stylistically vary. Basically, he was fully developed with his first collection in '61. Who cares, with lines like this? Because Six was 28 years later and I'm thinking, "this dude!"
Then they're up again. They're black birds screaming all as one except for a few gone strays, and line up on the wires between the poles in flight from spheres to flats to lines, in flight from three to two dimensions, from four to three to two in time: they are so still at rest it is all one.
-- "An Envy of Natural Formal Liberties" excerpt
I'll conjecture the actual reason Dugan (no relation) is shunned by both academics and the reading public is because he fit in that uncomfortable place between: providing Marxist analyses, invoking Chaucer, Tolstoy, Rimbaud, Yeats, &c., almost calling Rilke a jerk, mocking Erato and Apollo and Hera, exploring the Objective Correlative; but in the meantime getting shitty drunk, getting hard-ons at poetry readings, and getting on with America, with all its "Black-Massers, witch-mothers and rat-hangers." It's fitting that his favorite plants were mimosas and skunk cabbage: he mimics, pulls away, and then tells himself, "...maybe I can make it too / for another spring, if this lousy stinkweed can do it."
You American poets die of alcohol, America, and lies; of self-parody, bad sex, Academia, and crankiness, so do try to be pure in your functional insanity, and lock your door: remember me.
WC Williams gets old, reads a bunch of books, looks at a lot of art, goes to Mexico, discovers meter, learns again to love his wife, and, indeed, beco...moreWC Williams gets old, reads a bunch of books, looks at a lot of art, goes to Mexico, discovers meter, learns again to love his wife, and, indeed, becomes a rose in the galaxy of poets.(less)
Newton's posthumously-published "sketchbook." A visionary on the ground; stunning. Perhaps simultaneously listening to Terre Thaemlitz's You Again? c...moreNewton's posthumously-published "sketchbook." A visionary on the ground; stunning. Perhaps simultaneously listening to Terre Thaemlitz's You Again? compilation influenced the experience a bit, too. But! Since all of that stuff has been taken off YouTube, this might help in your journey through truly freak-out glamour. The single being released in '93, I'd be more than a little surprised if it wasn't spinning in the background at a few shoots.... Highly recommended.(less)