can someone my age be allowed some childishness? it's very unbecoming I know but its not like I ever understood heidegerrian being and 'becoming' -> this is where i drop any attempt to write/speak for an audience but spill the unordered, unfiltered stream of words that i am not ready to lose to the void yet.. read at your own discretion please. aphoristic juxtapositions. <*- or feel free to engage with something else
oh hi there indian bureaucacy 19-02-2021 I applied for my driving learner's permit and arrived at the state transport authority's regional office to give the test that would decide if i could be allowed to learn to drive "light motor vehicles and motorcycles" on the road. As I journalled about my account of the events that unfolded, I figured I'd make the text public, as tedious and verbose as it is. Read at your own discretion. RTO: Rajouri garden I arrived at the RTO office with the intention of leaving as quickly as possible. Such intentions would soon prove themselves to be naive in confrontation with the beloved indian bureaucracy which would present to me almost every cliche in the book when it came to describing an inefficient but inexplicably functional system in a microcosm. The office was a whole world unto itself. On the ground floor of an approximately 50 year old building that seems to get by with minimal maintenance, becoming slighly more decrepit but also somehow still functional year after year. The decay, the wear and tear and the general solidity of the structure that survives after all this seems to have a charm of its own. The main hall had faded yellow walls with an old faded teal paint marking some of them. It had around 5 counters housing sarkari karamcharis in them on the left, empty space for queues in the middle, and to the right some rows of metal chairs fixed to each other and to the ground that were seemingly pushed there without much concern to symmetry or spacing between them. Behind them on the far right were 5 more counters containing more sarkari baabus on telephones whose administrative duties, judging by the titles on the blue metal plates on top of their stalls pertained to dealing with complaints, license renewals, fines and administration of licenses for heavy duty vehicles. The visiting public seemed to be walking everywhere with no discernible procedural flow. In a market this might seem like a reassuring and healthy signal implying spontaneity and lack of control but in a place which intends to channel them through a deterministic procedure this was concerning already. I, however, was determined to be methodical in response to the bureaucracy, unlike everyone else. Counter 6: Document attestation However, whatever charm one expects in government buildings disappears as one realizes that all of one's own plans of navigating it smoothly collapse the minute you encounter the first sarkari babu. My first action in the building was also my first mistake and humbling from the get go. I had to queue up for "counter 6: learner license permits". So, I located the counter, approached it and got in queue. After a minute I realized that the line I was in was in far more of a state of flux than i initially thought. In fact, it wasn't a line at all, but an amorphous huddle of people who were really just lurking there until a sarkari baabu appeared at counter 7, not counter 6, which was right next to it and which had its own separate amorphous huddle of people that was growing denser by the minute. I moved behind the counter 6 huddle immediately after realizing my mistake. After a minute i saw a hand graze my arm from behind and looked around to find three people standing behind me with such little space between us all that in any other country I might have construed it as an unwitting act of affection. The person right behind me would urge me to move forward by simply walking into me from behind until our bodies made some sort of contact that would make me uncomfortable enough to move forward. India hasn't yet gotten sufficient recognition in inventing this highly disconcerting and personally violating algorithm of making queues move. All the people in this "queue" sported an empty unthinking gaze which seemed resigned to the ways of the office that they would navigate with total disregard for any distancing during an ongoing pandemic or to the question of what the point really is of wearing a mask that doesn't cover either the nose or the mouth. So egged on by continous micro sexual harassments I moved forward taking some solace in the fact that I was wearing a P100 respirator which I now hoped would save my life. I was initially upset that women were allowed to jump queues but given the centipedial and weirdly contact driven nature of how the queues moved I understood the policy mildly better. Counters 1 to 4 had sarkari karamcharis too but no queues which afforded them to luxury to idle and banter around. None of them ofcourse, were wearing masks. I wondered if they had already contracted covid and developed antibodies that gave them this confidence or if they simply didn't give a fuck.counter 5 was deserted entirely. The guy at counter 6 was surprisingly unlike most uncles/aunties one expects to find in such govt offices. He seemed to be a 20 something with flamboyant yellow dyed hair which was short on the sides and long and raised in a wave on top. He had a tattoo on his chest that was partly visible through a partially unbuttoned shirt. The look on his face was that of someone resigned to witholding his annoyance with people incapable of following simple rules. you could gauge he wasn't enjoying any of this but that also he had to methodically keep the process running and doing so would require him to continuously subdue some amount of contempt that would break out in a remark or two every now and then when someone did something unusually stupid like arrive at the counter with none of the documents at all. There were about 10 people in front of me. At the moment however, he was parallelizing between 4 people who were presenting queries, documents, general obliviousness and complaints to him simultaneously. After about 30 minutes it was my turn - or more precisely - my turn and that of 4 people next to me all at the same time. The way this worked was simple: whoever could interrupt the other and get the attention of the guy behind the counter first would get his work done first. At some point I realized that in order to make progress, I'd have to do the same. So I thrust one of my documents to him to check if that would be enough of a visual interruption. It was. He took it and remarked "are you going to give me one document at a time?". to avoid testing his patience further I handed all them to him at once and let him check and stamp them. After a few minutes of multitasking he gave me the stack and asked me to go to counter 7. Counter 7: Collecting photograph and signature This had a smaller huddle of people albeit much more densely packed. Two women jumped the queue and when a third tried to do the same I reminded her that the policy exempting her from queues did not apply to this counter. The karamchari here asked me to use an old worn out signature pad and then sit down on the chair with a blue backrest for him to take a photo that would go on my permit. I removed my mask and was instructed to do the same with my spectacles. And then I was sent to counter 10. Counter 10. ?? I went to counter 10 to find nobody behind it and a group of people standing next to it doing nothing in particular. The seemed to be waiting for something or someone. I asked one of them if they were in the queue and they said they weren't. So I moved through these seemingly aimless lurkers and approached the counter to find a cardboard cutout with some instructions on how to give the test. The blue label at the counter said "police verification" so i waited just in case any important part of the process needed to be completed there. After 10 minutes of waiting, I went back to counter 7. Counter 7: ? "Bhaiya koi nahi hai 10 number pe" "Haan abhi main hi aa raha hu" - the karamchari responded, telling me that he was manning both counters simultaneously (while his colleagues on counters 1 to 4 were having chai and doing nothing). So I went back to counter 10. Counter 10: waiting for the guy from counter 7. After another seemingly long interval of waiting, I gave up and went back to counter 7. Counter 7: ? "Kitna time lagega?", I asked. "Bas 5 minute aur". At least this karamchari was polite enough in telling me to wait a bit longer. So I decided to wait at counter 10 until he arrived or until the heat death of the universe did. Whichever came sooner. Counter 10: waiting further. While i was waiting here I decided to look at the official speed limits listed on the goverment website's "learner license test question bank" document written in comic sans. two people came to stand next to me, one of whom looked into my phone and asked what i was reading. i told him i was revising for the test by remembering the official speed limits of vehicles in cities, near schools, on ghat roads etc. He said "surely they're somewhere between 15 to 35?" expecting reassurance from me in own vague estimate. Whatever nervousness he felt at that moment about not knowing the exact answer he assuaged by telling himself and me that the test is going to be easy, despite never having taken it before. Such are the profound ways with which us Indian people deal with uncertainty. He smiled to himself but took out his phone and tried to find the official document anyway. The third person near us got curious too and asked me what questions we would confront in the online test. I told him I didn't know for sure but they'd likely be from the document on the official website. He seemed to not know such a document existed. "Everybody gets the same questions right? yes." he asked and then answered his own question. i did not know where he got his confidence from but he seemed to both need it and have the source for it in his own capacity to make things up. he too then began to smile confidently. After 15 minutes i began to worry that the timeslot for which i had registered my exam might soon end. I had come 20 minutes sooner than the 1 hour window alotted to me and with only 10 more minutes left in the window I hadn't even begun the testing process. The guy from counter 7 finally showed up at counter 10 to tell us how to log in to online portal in the exam room nearby: "enter the application ID in the application ID field. enter your date of birth in the date of birth field. some questions will be presented to you, answer them correctly and press exit". Armed with such precious knowledge for which I had waited over 35 minutes, I proceeded to the exam room while anxiously checking my phone to revise speed limits that i now kept forgetting. As I entered two others cut me off and entered first - something I now had learned to accept as inevitable in this building. Exam room The exam room had 4 compartments with old computers, two ceiling fans and two desks behind which were were two officers, one of who checked if i was color blind by asking me to look at some numbers in green and brown and state what they were. The other took my documents for further stamping. While this was happening, a lady came to stand next to me to inform the officer she had failed the exam which required her to get 6 out of the 10 questions right. I found her dejection funny and almost laughed until i realized i was about to give the same test. I was then instructed to sit at any computer and log in to the portal and give my exam. Wary of failing, I reread questions with obvious answers and took more time than necessary to ensure that not only was i answering correctly but that i was submitting said answers as the portal expected to also. I got 6 right in a row at which point the test ended and i was logged out. The screen told me I passed. No speed limits were asked. I stood up and went to one of the officers who told me to wait outside. As I exited I saw 15 people waiting outside. One of them complained their timeslot had expired 30 minutes ago and tried to barge into the exam room until a policeman with a giant paunch saw the attempt. He walked over and told him to go to the end of a line that he was now trying to get everybody to form by shouting at them. They all slowly moved into a loose file and satisfied with his success, he began to lurk aimlessly too. As I waited outside the exam room, I heard one official mention to another "galat kaam karoge toh yeh hi hoga" ( "this is obviously going to happen if you're going to do wrong things"). I suspected a hint of corruption but couldn't discern exactly what. Reprieve 15 minutes later the policeman went into the room and emerged with two papers - and began to look for people who seemed to look like the representations on said papers. I suspected it could pertain to me and went to him to collect a paper that said "LEARNER's PERMIT. PULKIT MANOCHA. LIGHT MOTOR VEHICLES". My relief at having finally received the permit vanished immediately when i saw they had made a mistake by not including "MOTOR CYCLE" among the class of vehicles i could drive despite my having applied for it. Nevertheless, I took this as a temporary win and left the building hoping to confront it some other day.
olia lialina What do I find artistic and cool about her? Her website A "gif" that animates itself through perpetual redirects. A depiction of her swimming on the internet A "story" that proceeds by clicking through hyperlinks Describes herself as a net-artist. who plays with the browser as a medium and subverts expectations. Mostly uses the late 90s aesthetic of personal websites that people in the early internet age sprung up to represent themselves before we had behemoths like facebook/twitter. I dig stuff like this - that shocks me out of things i take for granted about how to use the mediums i usually use. Although, as with most artists who make just art itself the point and subject of their work, olia falls into the same solipsistic trap. The most grand political/philosophical statement she makes through these unconventional styles is that "contemporary paradigms ought to be challenged" or "everything is connected". If only such avant artists collaborated with philosophers, political theorists and people in tech more - something more radically different might emerge. --- There's a term in the software engineer industry: "proof of concept". Developers have to churn out valuable products every quarter. So they don't get much time to experiment. But to ensure that they keep building new things they need some time/space/room to try out new things. So their managers tell them to take some time and build a "proof of concept" which essentially means "build a prototype of your idea - don't worry about whether it is fully functional or even practical to produce - just demonstrate that it can work and do something new". Maybe an avant artist's role is not to craft a newer political or philosophical consciousness. But just an aesthetic one. To give proof of concept about how our current mediums can be used in novel ways. Techniques that haven't been tried before but can be used by the economically productive entertainment industry over time in ways that are more palatable to the public.
flippant words cease to be flippant. I've refrained from writing here for a while out of some terrifying paralysis induced by an event that has thrown into question the whole exercise that entails me jotting things down and uploading them here. The grand event that that I'm referring to is the abrupt confrontation with the fact that this place is seen not just by me but by others too. Others who have told me concretely that they've read the texts here and who have told me that they find it interesting in some way or the other. I imagined this would encourage me to post things here more often, but instead of feeling flattered and emboldened I met confusion and some inexplicable anxiety over approaching this blog again. The most prominent anxiety I recall pertained to the sudden realization that everything I had written here was simply not fit for public consumption. That much of it was tedious, boring, rambling and didn't carry explicitly the world of context that I took for granted by virtue of it being perpetually accessible in my head. Consequently, whatever was written here was bound to be understood and interpreted in ways that I had no control over. It would meet a gaze of a newer consciousness that wasn't mine and I could do little to control how it perceived this space and consequently me. The most important value to me - to be understood - became the most terrifying considering that now there existed endless scope for misunderstanding, irrespective of whether such misunderstanding made another interested in me or not. Before the advent of post modernity and modernity there likely existed cultures where meanings - religious or personal were mediated with more precision and authority; the clergy dictating the ideological structures with which to make sense of the world. Maybe it was a necessary adaptation for man to confront a strange and unpredictable natural world that brought death and suffering with no explanations for themselves. Today, the mediation of meaning is governed by a different kind of aristocracy - the bourgeois class that derives its legitimacy and authority less through their association with god but more with material prosperity and economic success. However, heresy is more tolerable. I can construct my own little island of speech that allows me to verbalize my heresies in ways that would have gotten me beheaded in another age. However, this puts far more responsibility on me to say something that is meaningful, socially responsible, exciting, interesting, novel or embodying any trait that you, yes you, the person who is reading this might value. And I don't know you. I don't know who you are in fundamental ways. I intend to achieve no particular effect on you as a person - or at least not any that i explicitly intend. Maybe I want to convey my experiences an ideas faithfully and precisely - to get better at doing so and in the process learn how to weild the tools afforded to me effectively. But language is slippery and publicly understood. I can only be so precise before failing and being misunderstood. To avoid this, I need to be in a dialogue with you so that I can clarify my positions or develop them beyond the vague, mediocre, and superficial forms they currently exist in. I need to assimilate you, how you think and your networks of meaning to avoid failing. I need to be a far more sociable creature perhaps. And run the risk of losing my original ideas and intentions in the process of making them meet those of others. Or I could disregard you, how you think, how you perceive me and accept the fact that what i do, say, write will inevitably be misunderstood. It will inevitably have its meaning dictated by whoever reads it. That as an author, I'm dead the moment I press "enter" and transmit the bytes of data that take these words from my own device to yours. Maybe failure is inevitable. I can't always hope for predictable responses. For admiration for the exact precise reasons and intuitions that I harbor. Unlike in mathematics and formal logic, I can't take comfort in clean, elegant, formal proofs which i can construct and verify through computational methods. Art, language and people are fuzzier. Notions of meaning don't reduce to simple elegant verifiable proofs. Attempts at formulating theories of the social world remain fuzzy a priori abstractions at best and nobody has an objective framework to model culture and language reliably. Not marx. Not feynman. Not camus. Not me. And perhaps the consequences of failing here aren't going to kill me. The people who come to visit do so out of some fleeting interest and probably won't have their material lives dictated by stuff here in any significant way. Until that happens, I can defer addressing the consequences of failure in communication for another day. So what now? I would like to resume posting here. But something has changed. The sharp line that initially existed between my reflecting in isolation and me speaking to a group of faceless strangers has disappeared. I don't know anymore if I'm writing for myself or acting for an audience. And until I can make that distinction I'll remain paralyzed into inaction. I need to be certain that what I write adheres to something fundamental about my observations of the arrangement of life around me. I need to be certain that it isn't a display of glamorous virtues that I'm signalling in order to attract social gratification. I don't want to do what people do on twitter. I waited for a while after I was told by someone that they read what i posted here. And now I'm beginning to write here again under the enforced delusion (justifable or not) that nobody reads this anymore. That this space has zero visitors. I've decided not to advertise myself or this e-space ever again. If it is accidentally discovered by anyone, then so be it. But I will likely continue to write under the deliberately fostered illusion that what is written here is not subject to any particular gaze but only to a vague, general gaze of what i imagine the "internet" audience is like. If you know me then I hope you will approach what is published here with the kind of empathy that you afford to yourself. If you're from my school, college or work, I hope you will make an effort to engage with me in a dialogue before concluding the ideas and representations here as fixed and static. If you find it disagreeable then I hope you'll tell me why. Constructive critique, ruthless but thoughtful is always welcome. Praise, unless specific and precise, confuses me because I'm far too awkward to know how to respond to it. In light of all this, I ought to remind myself why I started doing any of this as a hobby at all. Here's an explanation i posted in a channel on telegram where i saved essays/art/links i found interesting: Why do I post the things I do here? Why do you read them? What are my motivations? Why do this? I've been collecting and saving texts/essays for a while here largely out of convenience. I don't remember my original intentions with certainty but I remember that part of it came from unresolved curiosity about intuitions I found inadequately answered in my social relationships. Aspects of desire fuzzily sensed but not verbalised in daily participation. Part of it was to avoid pain. To not fuck up and fail at things that mattered and avoid doing so by reading and understanding them first. Confined to a room without many avenues of easy social exchange this makes for a seemingly fitting way to approach life. Especially when you're awkward, socially inept and not very cool. Eventually these curiosities began to beget their own rivers of interest that flowed into their own little worlds detached and different from mine. On these, I began to travel because what else was there to do, where else was there to go. Not much social or geographical mobility is afforded to an immigrant graduate student in America otherwise. Or later when work brought money but not the conditions to use it to buy catharsis. These texts would help make finer distinctions that would bring things less easily seen into focus. They would impart some richness, complexity and detail that one vaguely senses but can't quite always locate. How much of such complexity, richness and detail actually exists in the social world or is intellectually imparted to it through language remains unclear. Either way, these texts allowed for some ways to look at the world and its social problems that went beyond the blind grasping of a perpetually clueless careerist embedded in behemoth systems which resisted efforts to grow and thrive. Someone eventually wanted to read the same things. I don't know why. But we now sometimes read together. Hopefully to make sense of things and because some of these pieces I find cool and want to incorporate into my life and its ideas somehow. Hopefully you will too. I'm posting fewer readings these days because I'm reading lesser these past few weeks. Partly because I've arrived at an impasse with left theory and partly because I'm exploring film and music as mediums a bit more for now. And mostly because it seems that texts, language and words only get one so far. The secret hope that their rivers will lead to a place of permanent contentment and comfort away from the senseless grime and sufferings of life is wishful thinking. One can't find permanent escape no matter how much one desires to be in a state of suspension as a permanently curious librarian in a vast library of seemingly infinite texts. Especially if the librarian doesn't have references to the lived experiences these texts allude to. Experiences of the inevitable pains and less inevitable pleasures of a sensuous corporeal life. Anyway, too much meta talk is boring. Why am I posting this? It's a megaphone and it feels nice to arrive at a mutual understanding of the context of a relationship - one that I currently have with 26 people in some distant digital form. When one speaks to so many, one desires to not be misunderstood. Hopefully this text will aid that effort. Or maybe I wrote this because I woke up early and felt some residual ennui stemming from the intangibility of an increasingly digital life which I ironically decided to resolve by another digital blogpost. But dawn is breaking now. The dogs outside are beginning to make themselves heard. The birds are chirping. It's time to go meet them and the tangible world they still inhabit. Maybe some understanding will be wrought there.
Visiting lajpat nagar on 22/01/2020
god i'm bad at poetry. but i'd like to construct a rhyme that's nice to speak out loud for fun.
A minor neighborhood kerfuffle
"HANDS WHERE I CAN SEE THEM" commanded at gunpoint, a poem he wrote avoiding pretension, he had to emote "I CAN'T DO THIS", he yelled a pseud he had smelled before he slumped with a slug in his throat
Adorno in Minima Moralia (1944-1949): "The subjugation of life to the process of production imposes as a humiliation on everyone something of the isolation and solitude that we are tempted to regard as resulting from our own superior choice. It is as old a component of bourgeois ideology that each individual, in his particular interest, considers himself better than all others, as that he values the others, as the community of all customers, more highly than himself. Since the demise of the old bourgeois class, both ideas have led an after-life in the minds of intellectuals, who are at once the last enemies of the bourgeois and the last bourgeois. In still permitting themselves to think at all in face of the naked reproduction of existence, they act as a privileged group; in letting matters rest there, they declare the nullity of their privilege. Private existence, in striving to resemble one worthy of man, betrays the latter, since any resemblance is withdrawn from general realization, which yet more than ever before has need of independent thought. There is no way out of entanglement. The only responsible course is to deny oneself the ideological misuse of one's own existence, and for the rest to conduct oneself in private as modestly, unobtrusively and unpretentiously as is required, no longer by good upbringing, but by the shame of still having air to breathe, in hell." Adorno in his letters to his parents (1944-1949): "My dears faithful old Wondrous Hippo Cow animal, I cannot tell you how happy I was to receive the blanket – as a child I had always envied my father for it! – but at the same time I have a terribly guilty conscience, and imagine you lying there and shivering, whereas you could cover your dear old motherly bones with this good warm blanket, my animal. After all, it is madness for me to have the blanket here in the warm South while you, in the grisly New York winter, do not! If you catch pneumonia, I will tear out my – not hair, for I hardly have any, but rather my last bristles. And yet I was incredibly happy, perhaps more happy than I have ever been in my whole life upon receiving a gift. But: let me know if you are properly warm, whether you genuinely do not need the blanket. I am rid of my ghastly cold and, thanks to the medicine, I hardly notice my ulcers after spending 2 weeks in bed. Thomas Mann, whom I visited today, has written the new chapter of his novel,1 following my suggestions to the letter. It is a very peculiar relationship. Tomorrow is a solemn day: Max and I are starting a big piece of work together.2 I myself have completed another big text3 I had been working on feverishly in bed. I am in the most productive condition possible, and extremely happy despite my laughable stomach business. It is probably a result of psychological factors, by the way, like all ulcers. In my case, these go by the name of Charlotte Alexander4 (completely entre nous). Perhaps more on that another time. But do not worry; that has nothing to do with the horses. I kiss you upon your rosy hippo snout" I've read some of his works including minima moralia and I'm unsure how much of what he does can be called theory as opposed to critical intuitions about bourgeois society at a time when fascism was a dominant force. I recently read his letters to his parents from 1939 to 1951 and what stood out was the sharp contrast between his public philosophy and private life (contrast which I suspect is inherent in the personality of a left intellectual who is compelled to espouse an ideology that cannot be lived). This disjunction between his public pessimism and personal luxury (a lavish californian bourgeois lifestyle after immigration and banal everyday living) compels me to consider his intellectual output as disingenuous and not worthy of serious consideration. Especially because I cannot imagine how I would use it to inform my life without living as a hypocrite. Who knew critical left theory was an instrument of hypocritical ivory tower pseudointellectualism. maybe lenin had more integrity. was rosa driven by sentiment? Was I? 06/12/20
I've finished reading "If on a winter's night a traveler" by Italo Calvino and I'm in love all over again. I've not read a book like this before and it will certainly be a long time till I read another that makes me fill with rapturous joy and delighted glee the way this book did. I deliberately slowed down reading it towards the end, so that I could prolong my experience of this book and found myself irresistably written into a relationship with an author who died before I was born, but who has articulated to me exciting visions using text stitched together in such magnificent and intelligent prose that I've found myself pausing often to admire this work of creation. It's a difficult time for many, including me, and as I've labored in vain through archaic tomes of philosophy and politics I continuously find myslef behooved of the purpose of my investigations or interest in books and art. Until now. Something can be redeemed. If this book exists then the project of the novel isn't as hopelessly obsolete and impotent as I initially dismissed it to be a few years ago when I promised myself that I'd read to learn about and discover the world, and eschew bourgeois romantic pursuits of idle entertainment that deprive me of access to the lives and conditions of men and women around me. I was wrong. Through my protracted detour of academic theory I've found fewer truths than in this book. And falsehoods not remotely as charming and pretty as the kind described by Calvino. Perhaps it's time to let go of the notion that one's life today can find meaning only in the relentless striving for meaning and utopian politics. Maybe a life of survival and minimal pain littered with episodes of reading as fascinating and extraordinary as this will be sufficient to find something redeeming about natality. I finished the chapter at around 2PM in a public park next to a cat, with us both in the penumbra of a peepal tree housing collared doves, robin magpies, two hawks, a great indian hornbill and some marigold garlands discarded by the religious. A religious event did occur as one very assiduous reader discovered reverence and love for fiction once more. 06/12/20
I've come to suspect that this sort of blogging might be a mistake. It's hard for me to imagine a different person reading this without the context of my life that I have. And since I can't share my personhood completely or expect the kind of curiosity and empathy that I'm willing to extend to another who interests me, every effort at description of subjective experience is likely going fail in ways that are going to be awkward and uncomfortable. The most obvious solution to this is to depersonalize a bit more from now on - which is entirely antithetical to my initial intention of eroding the boundaries between public and private life, of making matters of private shame public in a way that demystifies the cartesian ideology of choice, demonstrates social contingency and encourages another to speak with little repression. These lessons from feminists I hope to apply with some degree of confidence. But perhaps I'm not at a point where a convincing and useful dialog can be established with my reader (who I do not trust yet) - where I can convince them and if not, hope to learn through and grow past my failure at it. Perhaps this can be helped by establishing a channel in which someone who reads these pages can conveniently provide their input - for a useful dialectic will emerge. Until then, it might help to retain some measure of a public facade here. Which from now, I shall do. Meanwhile: A hasty and crude attempt at jotting down some bits of joy in a storm. Play, scroll, read May 20, 2020
Why I'm bored of twitter's "smart blueticks" part #1: A tweet by a famous AI "rationalist" Eliezer yudowsky: "There is no agreed-upon meaning of the word "capitalism", and nowadays you should not trust anyone who uses the *word itself*; they are not trying to help you think clearly. Knowledgeable helpful people will talk about "market prices" or use other words that mean things." Starts off with the wrong premise. Not sure why yudowsky didn't look in any of the thousands of left books which cite their commonly held definition. Then follows it up with a request to exclude anyone who might consider this vocabulary useful to describe their belief. Then assumes that a class of "knowledgeable people" exist which are obviously revealed to be econs who speak of "market prices". in 280 words, I have now been exposed to another terrible 'hot take' by another /knowledgeable/ american person. wonderful. his choir has been preached to. and the heretics remain unconvinced. thank you twitter. then there's this tweet by aella_girl, another american who got high and found a pretentious way to describe what she doesn't seem to realize is determinism. i guess that's still a step above from posting eugenicist tweets that ask the twitter crowd if people with disabilities ought to be killed. gaaah. i've unfollowed almost everybody on twitter now. need to find better birds. 17 may 2020
Polyamory is hard. Long distance harder. Especially when you're distrustful of the language of "love" that people direct at you. Maybe I should note down my reflections on long distance relationships and their discouraging and disenchanting effects. But that might be too "personal" even for this space which I suspect has exactly 0 readers (hah). There's this hope that my past companions don't discover this space because that will probably result in major self-esteem-shredding (although I did recently survive a conversation with an ex without it inflicting colossal amounts of self loathing, a consequence I suppose, of 3 years of learning how to recognize patterns of conflict and steering clear). Another worrisome confrontation yet to occur is that of my immediate circle of peers with this website -family, work, uni etc. Seeing these privations laid bare to them would highly anxiety inducing. But for now I can take solace in the knowledge that nobody quite has the means to access this space yet (or at least not that i know of). -- I don't know what to feel about this interview in which Kurt Cobain talks about dealing with one of the conditions I have. Hardly comforting to listen to his experience of what I might have to deal with in the future?. Apparently drugs helped him. But i have no clue what "drugs" magically solved a chronic condition for him. Also, by virtue of being a rockstar he gets to be heard. IBS is also a phenomenon in rural india. I need to investigate how those who need to sustain jobs manage it day in and day out. I am certain I will find more useful advice in resilience and adaptation there. Note to self: do drugs. do a lot of drugs eventually. and do them responsibly (unlike sartre who apparently lived off of cigarettes, mescaline, alchol, amphetamines, coffee etc). The base assumptions of any sobriety probably need to meet some challenge in the bizarre spaces of psychedelia and altered consciousness. And now that I have an encyclopaedia of information over safe drug consumption I might as well use it in time. Knowledge is power. And fuck IBS. -- I'm rapidly losing interest in twitter. The people I followed aren't as interesting. Maybe I need to unfollow everyone and find more niche and interesting profiles (but how??). My attempts to "follow" people from spheres who speak contra to my commonly held beliefs hasn't paid off as well as I thought it would. Rationalists/Economists/Bloombergists have disappointed and seem to post mostly in alignment with their ideology. Profiles like @scottalexander and @aella_girl with their white eugenicist bullshit. Economists who taleb denounces as free market parrots. krugman, hanson and tabarrok are econ parrots. *groaaan* These people get to have their silly ideas heard by virtue of whatever privileged success they've found that results in their blue-tick. But that till now doesn't quite seem to correlate strongly to having better ideas. THE INTERNET IS FILLED WITH AMERICANS AND SNARKY PETIT-BOURGEOIS MILLENNIALS (or at least the part searchable in english). "Charming snark on twitter also probably entail a lot of misleading/hasty hot takes Twitter: the closest thing you can find to a chorus shouting about headlines scrolling by on a news ticker, maybe" - SpB Where can I read reflections of rural cante jondo singers on the loss of their musical tradition from rural spain? dalit women from rural india? a parisian's reflections on the changing scale of suburban france? am I doomed to run into the same american voices from different accounts again and again? maybe i should start searching in spanish/french/hindi. But my goodness it's frustrating to wade past popular social media bullshit to get to the good stuff. Maybe I'll wait a little more. And dig a little more. Maybe I'll find kindred birds who chirp and tweet the frequency that attracts me. -- Also major milestone: Convinced my right leaning parents of the material dependence that children and women confront in structures of family and inheritance - how one can be liberated from its fundamental problems through emancipation that looks not very different from socialized ownership of housing and grain production! It's a good sign that I'm not deluding myself into bubbles in internet echo chambers. I must strive to make my utopial ideals concrete by turning them over in the realm of everyday life. If these ideals lose their meaning in the public realm then perhaps they never had much meaning to begin with. But I'm not quite ready to throw myself into the world just yet. I'm fragile at the moment. It's an excellent time to re-examine axioms and learn. Spent some time on the roof today evening - there's something to be said about the sudden shock of confronting the existence of a large city that is struggling and striving at ends not very fundamentally dissimilar from your own after having spent the whole day in a room with all sorts of private notions and ideas. Each unit here has at least one, most likely four people in it. I share a public realm with them. How they think informs the politics of my life. I wonder if this space on the internet is the ultimate niche bubble - with the insidious comforts that each idea enjoys before it meets the challenges posed by forces of contradicting ideologies and material realities of the public one is thrown into. I pause to reflect on how many people here would want to read even a single word of what I jot down here. I wonder if that's testament to the futility of this project. But then I remember that in a world where ideologies compete, ossify, delude and cause violence day in and day out - perhaps it isn't too bad to have a small space where fragile notions are allowed to develop untouched and unseen by vicious eyes that misguide. Somewhat of a banal and fruitless conversation had with some telegram people who told me that people in their area would much rather call a call center to ask for help than take half a minute to familiarize themselves with their neighbor to build local systems of support and help. Which I guess made me wonder if call centers are the inevitable symptom of a centrally administered mass society? There's something to be said about products designed for mass production that leads either to some cultural flattening or to big sections of a population adapting through assimilation or requiring external centralized depersonalized help to do so. Maybe revelations about mass culture will emerge from investigating such symptoms:Tsuki Yukio (yours truly)[May 15, 2020 at 7:29:39 PM]: It's still a peculiar question in my head. Why is it peferable to talk to someone online than a neighbour. If you can't ask someone next door for help or salt how can one ask them for help making molotov cocktails for a revolution on the street. Maybe these relations of support now lie mostly in economic exchange. Maybe the next revolution will be organized on the internet (HAH) if it ever gets past the growing corporate monopoly of the web. Or maybe it won't be in America. TBS: but you don't talk to complete randos on the internet. you pick a chatroom or channel or whatever based on mutual interest if you talk to the person next door, the only mutual interest you're guaranteed to have is the desire for shelter in turn, only talking to people who agree with your worldview, or only needing to talk to these people, makes you less interested in talking to others, which makes society insulate itself more and more WQE: the echo chamber effect TBS: having your views questioned or challenged is painful, why not just only talk to people who you already know like communism, or atheism, or my little pony, or etc the front lines are, of course, the comments sections and there's no good arguing there, it's just people reciting the scripts their in-groups have developed views going unchallenged eliminates the need for critical thinking, which reduces the ability to argue your views HC: i think there's not only the pain but the pleasure aspect to it too: when you got a chat full of interesting relatable strangers, why would you bother with your boring neighbour? TBS: I mean tbf one of my neighbors was an ex marine sharpshooter who got into private security and had great taste in scotch, so sometimes you miss out. But yes, /r/furries is more of a sure thing if one is looking for likeminded individuals HC yeah im not saying that neighbours cant be interesting, im saying i think that goes into the rationale of not meeting your neighbour. You dont want to take the risk of "wasting your time" with some person you dont know. When you go into a particular forum or site, you effectively already know these people, you know they care about the select things that you care about and the risk of "wasting your time with a boring person" isnt there anymore. Even if that means being in your bubble among the script reading strangers... i mean, idk. i know my neighbours so this is just a theory M: You want the human aspect without the bad aspects of it? The bad meaning that they could pose a real threat or bring you anxiety Tsuki Yukio I suppose I speak from the presumption that your neighbor shares some political space that you do - of belonging to the same class of people, same constituency, same person to vote for, frequents not very different public spaces than you either. Besides, the interesting ideas you acquire on the internet need to be tested out for resilience, “in-touch-with-reality”ness out irl when talking to people with more conventional “boring” views. There is the fertile soil for parsing the language that perpetuates older systems. I often try to test out the “distance” my idealistic views have with views and moralities held by my family and irl peers who are patient enough to talk and express their disagreements. And I’ve learned more about the relevance of these ideas in day to day life than i have on telegram. It’s a good way to recognize flaws and ideological trappings. It’s easier to be an internet socialist and harder to be one when talking to someone who has confronted state bureaucracy’s limitations or found sustainable wages in private sector which were initially inaccessible to them due to older systems of familiar dependence and to whom you have to articulate what exactly you mean by "socialism" without expecting them to believe you out of some authority you now hold by having read a book. That second wave feminists fought for the right to enter the workforce (owned by capitalists) for very concrete and undeniable reasons and that such reasons are still quite relevant when thinking about a radical change that doesn't threaten to take away the victories that people currently aspire to.I guess the larger curiosity about the total deadness of neighboring communities still persists. There ofcourse are obvious explanations like the internet. But I suspect something more has contributed to this atomization. Anyway, I'm bored with whatever I've written here so I'll stop. I should find someone to read, think, and speak with. 15 may 2020
I will go mad with joy in rain some day. I will go mad. A thunderstorm like today's will arrive once again and with each drop of rain that falls on my chest I will come closer to an explosion of pleasure that's going to be seized by a bolt of thunder to carry whatever is left into the dark grey clouds where I belong. I will go mad with pleasure and joy in a thunderstorm not very different than this. It is too much. I cannot contain myself and something will give some day. The pleasures of being inside a thunderstorm will be the end of me. may 14 2019. please, for all that is sacred and beautiful and precious in this life, please let there be more days like this.
Note to self: I seem to have come a long way from the crippling social anxiety at the age of 19 that would cause my reclusion from everybody. I should probably chart a trajectory that investigates what led to this transformation. Maybe that'll help me understand something more fundamental about human contact. Also, contrapoints posted a new video! which is titled "cringe". I'm pretty curious about this considering i've always harbored disdain for the "jock"-types that would use 'cringe' to demean and 'other' social outcasts. Haven't watched this video yet but I wonder if she has similar views about "cringe" culture. She seems to have pivoted hard towards cultural critique instead of her earlier more political (left/right) pop. Which is fine I guess? Culture is political. Anyway, will probably post thoughts on contra here later.
Note to self: 1. Do not become the kind of person who seems to write something like this book because "The self-loathing wanderer drowning in horror at modernism is a genre that has been beaten to death nearly." 2. Since I'm reading raymond williams on tv, follow it up with this book on tv. From this review: "Boxed In” is a commanding display of cultural criticism, a passionately issued cry for the sleeper to awake. Setting aside the “rare exceptions” of “art on TV,” Miller alerts us to the resonant emptiness of television, an invention offering itself as “an escape” but which in truth, is no exit past, present, future. On TV, there’s only Everlasting Now. Whereas once upon a time--before two Frenchmen, Rignoux and Fouriner, sent a crude moving image over wires in 1906--we had to battle the beast within. The monster is now outside us, self-terrorized and fear-haunted, unfathomable and unknowable. Yes, indeed, in this age of the senses and not of the mind, the prerecorded “show” must go on simply because it must." - a person on goodreads I'm intrigued now.
Watched the before series. Tracing the general pattern of a romance between two people at different ages. Innocence, pragmatism and collapse. Note to self: watch them again at age 30. 8 may 2020
Possibly the perfect pop song Recently watched saath saath (1982). A simple film about a two people who come together out of admiration for each other's socialist desires to help the poor but confront the inevitable material traps that enchant in times of hardship. A glimpse into the what the 80s pop culture thought romance, college, friendship, bourgeois life, marriage look like. Poor grad student in 80s Bombay: the tiny string hung cloth curtain on a window of a single room with a white metal chair and single table. Bourgeois interior of an industrialist with fancy flowers and furniture. A nondescript painting (but the act of having/owning a painting irrespective of what it is), fruits and flowers on a large dining table. The floral print is kitsch but typical of 80s luxury. A classroom in an 80s college. Such massive windows for a sunlit room with 20 students being taught economics. What happened to tilting glass windows of that sort!? An 80s idea of a domestic bliss in a single room house. Kurta and sari worn at a humble home. Eating together, on the floor, in metal utensils. Contemplative sadness in an expensive house. Noteworthy furniture and cloth drapings - of some un-modern sensibility that doesn't exist anymore. 9 may 2020
i've only briefly ever been on any social media platform. but social media sucks. Or at least it does for me because my speaking on it seemed like an exercise in futility. travel photos got far more attention than a carefully worded post that intended to attract discourse. clearly not for me (or my already vanishingly small social life). so, why did I create a twitter account recently? out of some curiosity if i can find kindred spirits who're still out there posting anything interesting or relatable. but it seems far too much of an echo chamber. 280 characters don't allow for any elaborate discourse. it seems to work well for aggregating and sharing links, particularly news and posts about grassroots experiences. however, the problem of creating a feed that doesn't turn into a bubble persists. And the division of a public social board and private DM seems to encourage the division of a personality - the public posts serving to construct a public image (quite literally in case of instagram) and the private DMS serving to describe the relatively more 'real' aspects of social engagement. ----- note to self: write letters more often; rely lesser on instant messaging. IM seems to have this weird problem where people fall out of touch despite having instant access to the other's inbox. I suspect serious and involved conversations through it are harder because the medium is more conducive for hastily typed texts sent in casual conversation (the text box is small, suggests using gifs/stickers/emojis/etc). Also the knowledge of a text instantly delivered enforces a weird kind of pressure to respond. Letters are liberating that way. They seem to not carry much expectation of an instantaneous response. They can be long and consequently allow for more intricate descriptions. Perhaps that allows for one to put in more effort in describing all the circumstances and context that get swept away in the laziness of irony that allows me to wear a mask of indifference and engage dispassionately. I could never quite commit to irony and perhaps that will cause me trouble in adapting in this milieu. Which is ok I guess. Alienation isn't new. But I need to communicate more through letters at least when catching up with an older friend or someone who is at a distance. Less through IM. And definitely not through social media which seems to encourage constructing false public personas (of beauty, happiness, virtue, morals, wokeness, etc) as distinct from one's day-to-day language and behavior. a final note to self: delete twitter (unless you find someone who posts like excerpts from books or something in order to talk). or keep twitter if it seems useful enough for aggregating links and observing people and stuff. 7 may 2020
Finished soseki's kokoro- a novel describing the emotionally tormented life of a person with a secret he thinks he will not find any absolution from. This novella probably marks my departure with what I've now learned is called the "I-novel" and confessional literature. Since the age of 19, I've been haunted by conflicts that emerged from reading Sartre and other existentialists that described the subject as the focal point of responsibility in creating freedom - a sort of subjectivism that I felt always inclined towards by not wanting to take lightly the project of constructing my "being in the world". At around the same time encountering Dazai and Mishima who described the unbearable harshness of an existence that has failed at this project and instead of finding freedom has found estrangement and absurdity. Over the years, however, I've found books that have allowed me begin learning how to situating myself within the larger social fabric of this world which has been humbling. To look at the people who constitute the cloth, institutions and politics which describe the order and arrangement of their interweaving and the consequential roles that seem to often bring fixity. The intention is to escape solipsistic discontents which devoid of their public and political context seem to always end in absurdity or a form of idealism. The absurdities of despair or essentialist idealisms of religion, family,
. I would quite like to partly eschew familial life - it seems to limit. Notions of love engendered in them seem conditioned on the fulfillment of prefabricated roles that are described traditionally and in response to questions of what it 'essentially' means to be a son, a father, a mother, a daughter, a brother, a sister, an aunt. I say partly because they can't quite be abandoned. I can't tear myself out from the fabric which supports my social existence and find myself in a vacuum that cannot be comprehended or coped with. Maybe I can aim for some degree of subversion for now. A goldilocks zone of sorts. My consent wasn't a factor in the decision to bring me into this world but maybe by reading about the underlying ideology and politics that give rise to institutions like family I can learn how to get better at subversion. I would also like to carefully situate thought which is akin to the self-contemplative solipsism of existentialists. Sartre, Camus, Dostoevsky, Cioran, Dazai were quite helpful at one point. But something more is needed. Despair needs to be understood not just by looking within but also everything outside that has created it. Maybe then the letter "I" will be found more rarely than it is in confessionals and texts that seem vain. Basically, I need to read more. Maybe then an understanding might emerge which (might be its own reward but more importantly) might allow for meaningful subversion. Arendt (for whom I now harbor a growing love): 'I'd say the most important thing for me is to understand' 6 may 2020
*irrelvevant. note to self: do not correct typos. The entire history of language is riddled with mispronunciations and bastardizations of archaic words which in their imperfect practice in newer medium lead to the development of newer dialects and modes of thought. Perhaps I can excuse myself from making typographical errors when penning thoughts in a haste. a humanistic, compassionate acknowledgment of being flawed in the most trivial sense. I can't imagine myself berating someone else for not writing or speaking perfectly; not just because it is pedantic and unnecessary but also unkind. This does not entail my shrugging of responsibility of communicating usefully but does entail shrugging off the responsibility of pointless self censorship. 5 may 2019
post-lockdown-new-delhi is going to be weird to watch - to see people suddenly grapple with the concept of 6-foot distances in tiny shops, congested markets and queues that have hitherto lacked any notion of private space despite the searing summer heat (which i think will also frustrate efforts at consistent mask usage). however, it's probably not wise to underestimate the ingenuity that the general public can demonstrate once they've adequately internalized the need for it (or in this case internalized a healthy respect for germ theory). improvisions under constraints can be interesting and impressive and i'm sort of looking forward to newer modes of adaptation. (i am not looking forward to boredom caused by seeing my usual expectations come true). *yawn* sort of bored. this quarantine seems ideal to idle in - even better in the company of someone to read books, watch films, and learn political philosophy with. a frittering summer infatuation in the time of covid (before my general pessimism becomes too much or the excitement of a passionate affair wears thin). I stood in my balcony in west delhi and caught someone looking at me - a shy neighbor who smiles and waves. i smile back and realizing the hilarity of having a conversation by yelling out loud i giggled and simply pointed to a hawk that's been nesting nearby as a common sight to admire. she seems sweet. although i'd be far more curious if she seemed jaded and cynical. i'd be hilarious if my pointing at the bird evoked her flipping me off - or sighing in contempt and walking indoors. that would leave me intrigued. if i went out and saw another reading a russian only for them to pack up and go inside to avoid a conversation (just like I did some time back in LA). but alas, this city's balconies sport religious BS like diyas and clanging utensils in comical hindu hivemind fashion. kokoro- a 200 page novella is my lover for today - easygoing, distrustful and melancholic - just my type. if i recover soon enough then maybe i'll go to a bookclub or something to find (un)pretentious tools to talk to. or i'll find contentment in the vain and somewhat masturbatory exercise of documenting reflections wrought by reading dead people. hah. or maybe it's part-masturbatory part-necrophiliac. idk. irrelvevant. 5 may 2020
* a comfy game of go watched idly over an evening. two polite commentators (thankfully not american) talking softly over the game. comfy. * some preliminary thoughts on kokoro: -- 50 pages in it's, quite a characteristic japanese novel. a novel before anything else with its characteristic individual sentimental investigations into the ineffable content of feeling. i expect it to like it but also find it wanting in the aspects which i see as deficient in the 'novel' as a format of literature * started reading television technology and cultural form by raymond williams who intends to challenge marshal mcluhan's famous 'medium is the message' but my goodness i can't keep up with pages and pages of pure theory which speaks without reference to historical events, dates, people or objects. seems entirely narrativistic which is annoying af. * Someone to me: "it's still the e-renaissance or maybe not even yet it's the e-1400s or the e-1300s and we're all proto-e-renaissance-men and it's the north of italy" 5 may 2020
some preliminary thoughts on engels' origin of family, property, and state. - What a disappointing work. I expected a precise anthropological examination with brilliant displays of dialectical prowess but instead received an unconvincing narrative that seems not particularly corroborated elsewhere. discussions with other leftists i know has not proved particularly useful. I'd delve into a critical examination if it weren't such a tediously written book; I just can't bring myself to care for it any more. - a communistic egalitarian matrilinear social unit in the form of gens as exhibited by the iroquois is conjected by engels to have existed (but on what exact data?) - most of his defence rests on morgan's discovery of the punaluan family structure in hawaii but i'm not sure how he establishes a chronology that demonstrates this structure as one that preceded all. - his analysis of the german and celtic tribes are probably the most tedious passages written in the history of history. - he conceives of gens as the predominant social unit before propertied families existed - this seems unconvincing if nothing else but simply because the term 'gens' is unlikely to be a common term of expression that existed across the globe before tribes contacted each other. - his conception of promiscuity and lack of incest taboo along with free and unrepressed sexual practice between men and women in a social unit which holds women in significant regard and importance is quite an enchanting and utopic description but seems more conjecture than conclusions rooted in convincing argument or perceivable data. - engels distinguishing marriage as a pragmatic and economic affair from love which is typically adulterous and extra-marital was quite an eye-opener. funny how I used to mock those who married based on factors such as salary, property and status - something that now appears to be exactly in alignment with /the/ inherent dominant central function of monogamous marriage as an economic 'duty'. Love being a relatively modern notion that exists in a state of adultery or defeat. Predictions made by engels: -> ossification of the monogamous family as capitalism advances -> the heightening of the sex love conception of monogamy -> atomization and breakdown of existing larger family units across civilizations -> withering away of the family under socialism this is getting long and tedious. I suppose one doesn't require engels to observe that families exist out of the necessity for division of labour. children depend on parents for property, inheritance, a roof, food and money to go to school. their obedience is predicated upon this form of direct material dependence. as for the husband and wife, they coexist if not out of the division of labor between factory-work and house-work now but out of economic necessity emerging after what many identify as the victory of second wave feminism which brought women into the workforce, depressed wages and made house ownership by an individual significantly costlier and harder. [shulamith firestone seemed to have some fantastic ideas on eliminating this dependence and freeing children from the tyranny of school and parents but they don't seem to be feasible in an economic system founded on inherited and private property.] note to self: compare engels' work with more recent peer reviewed anthropoligical studies on the iroquois and punaluan families. also, double check his claims on early athenian society. 04 may 2020
[undated] The unshakeable feeling that I'm doing something terribly terribly wrong. I don't know what it is yet. How I think causes distress. Either directly in making me feel awful. Or resulting in hurtful choices. Something will need to give.
Some quick notes at 3:15 AM on 21/04/2020: -- I've recently finished Wittgenstein's philosophical investigations - which I understood a good chunk of in my first reading. This was a herculean task and one that I'll revisit soon. He seems to have taken a solid hammer to philosophy but failed to apply his own tools of linguistic therapy to his own language. I need to investigate his ability to comprehend pain as a phenomenon and language that he dismisses as nonsense. -- Also started reading capital by Marx. Perhaps I can apply wittgenstein to Marx (or the other way round?) to achieve a coherent understanding of the dialectics behind marxism (And its subsequent economic tradition) -- Currently reading short stories by Dazai (the review of which I'm leaving on goodreads). -- The pandemic hasn't subsided here in India and is unlikely to - every prediction I've made about it here has come true. Bracing for catastrophe here. -- Most talk seems trite. I want to talk about Dziga Vertov, Wittgenstein and economics with someone :<
Some cool esoteric writing on noise, ambient and a rendition of the left. Brief reprieve from pain.
self hate is coincidental with hate for what makes the self, the collection of influences and people that construct it by pausing on stage to wait for the expexpectation of a role to be played. The moment of action determined by previous outcomes. As I walk home, I laugh the entire way not knowing how much of it is joy and how much of it is grief and pain. yet i know it is an expression devoid of confusion. a pure amalgam. Brought upon by seeing an image by a daughter in my family expressing the celebration of someone she lost. Overcoming the grief of loss through a celebratory spirit. i'd say that this is life. you toil ceaselessly and then you drop dead but that'd be doing disservice to everyone who did so much more in between. My pessimist conceptions emerging from my own life constantly conflict with more charitable conceptions emerging from the lives of others. The primary source of ambiguities and skepticisms. The primary progenitor for dialectical thought maybe. a reprieve from this theater when the lights go out and the actors leave you alone in a dark room when the self withers away as these roles dissipate with just the right chant: verite - claire laffut: a french reverie with melancholic synths thatare basically faultless and beautiful and untouched by nostalgia revivals. and then return to being a 'bad pear' with: ou va le monde - la femme: french rock ballad expressing a fraction of that felt disdain with some degree of disdain. among other notes: - riots in chile; a shining example of neoliberal growth in latin america experiencing a rupture opening the free flow of discontent - the economy is arguably booming everywhere and so are populist politics which if this guy is to be believed is a direct consequence of thatcherist neoliberal machine saved by thatcher and raegan during the 70s which he calls a period of noise in an otherwise long period of signals indicating how it is unsustainable for equitable growth, and that liberal democracies offer no solution to this but populists at least acknowledge the discontent. where's the left? this calls into question kolakowsky's articulation of the left which i took till now to be the ahistorical eternal force that is perpetually driving mankind towards utopia but instead perhaps being a very specific historical tendency that arose with the bourgeois french revolution and concluded into the fall of the USSR. That the new emergent articulation of modern social forces will not be through the terms of the older left. Authoritarianism/fascism however thriving and well. A close friend tells me that the left is alive. I am skeptical. more importantly, i need to recognize the newer social forces driving modern conflict and recognize them without the dogma of older literature (which to some degree has already become unavoidable). IF however uncovering the social forces remains an entirely unpredictive exercise then that runs the risk of building intuitions not grounded in growth and falling victim to cultism where everything is explainable by said cult thought and nothing remains predictable. - I exist in a bubble with none of my peers particularly interested in political discourse. This puts the onus of locating political discourse and surrounding myself with it entirely on me. This is dangerously conducive to all sorts of biases to creep in. Therefore I must continuously ask the question "what would it take for me to change this belief" to consistently ground my theory/beliefs in a coherent material reality and testable systems of deductions. This is akin to the falsifiability/testability criterion used to determine what is 'scientific' and even though bourgeois science is hopelessly subjective and empiricism confirms existing social modes of thought one must constantly be on guard regarding older models that no longer neatly adhere to newer observations. - thought/language is necessarily traditional and essentialist. one must pick the right fragments and historical traditions/essentialisms to juxtapose and synthesize that which was not seen before. - To continuously reject cartesian delusions. - Judith butler speaking clearly on the sublimation of grief into rage - benjamin's essay 'unpacking my library' reminding me in part the sentiment felt as a child on collecting things before said things and the modes of acquiring them collapsed into material consumerism. - butler's conceptions of contingency, recognition, destruction of the self and the relation via precarity and obligations of proximity. drawing on arendt's arguments against why eichmann must die (i'm shook) and Levinas (who, unwilling to follow his own guiding principle to its end, ended up betraying it). nourishing and useful and validating my own personal conceptions of contingency but going further than i would in their departure. tremendously useful in understanding genocide. 8 nov 2019
as much as i've theoretically pushed back on - my parents to avoid the purchase of new clothes, - festivals motivated by casteist religious rituals, - forms of association/relationships not bound in obligation and co-dependence, - envisioning a form of work that doesn't ultimately appear futile and alienating or - academic interest founded on a form of gatekept privilege - art that isn't self referential and bourgeois maybe there is nothing outside and untouched and unscathed by critique. so maybe one should use their advantages to buy pretty clothes, look good, purchase spotify subscriptions, hunt for the best branded jobs, celebrate diwali, venerate parents and get with the times because opting out means opting out of the human project - as vain, reactionary, destructive and ultimately violence ridden it might be to identify a singular thing - admirable and interesting and untouched and unscathed from 'critique' would be a miracle if not impossible. and is there any aspect of the current human condition that isn't /problematic/ and a leftist is inherently interested in deconstructing all that is cherished. i don't meant to imply the silly notion of 'leftists just wanna ruin things for everyone'. because they're interested in structural critique which is desperately needed but in a system so total how does a leftist's individual action not boil down to futile liberal moralism? one can structurally critique capitalism for how it provides our cellphones through slave labour in china but the express refusal to buy a shiny phone as an individual as a consequence is an act of liberal moralism. interpreting the world is okay. but the diktat to change it through individual action is a moral one. do leftists celebrate diwali? did you? do they play with gender and if so how does a man escape his gender without performing stereotypical femininity. how can one even begin to envision an identity that lies /outside/. god even running to the hills and becoming a monk feels like an outcome available from some bourgeois advantage. - the above ramble brought to you by a form of sublimated defensiveness emerging from other unrelated events that might have occured earlier haha -- what is cultural appropriation? how does one delineate its avoidance from maintaining a cultural ethnic linguistic purity in other news: "a system so total" said a friend. "my opinions and thought are extreme but i hold them moderately" said another quoting a british historian named A P J Taylor. confirming my suspicions that leftist 'theory' is empty/airy and void of tangible material reference. a system that is described as 'total' means nothing. speaking of going outside is akin to speaking of a time before time started, of life after death, of observing the unobservable. a total system is a meaningless and unhelpful term then. we need newer and more useful language that can describe more meaningfully the aspirations of the left. a fleeting suspicion arises at this point - what is the left? should've attended platypus ;_; FUCK. is the left a clearly identifiable thread or was its historical conception something that reached a dead end. i have some intuition of what was meant when platypus proclaimed the left to be dead. marxism is an irrelevant ghost finding its conclusion in the fall of stalinist USSR. it doesn't incorporate contemporary phenomenon such as brand value and is insufficiently explanatory in terms of segmentation of populations in BG/PRL/Petit-BG. something new is needed. a newer sharper language. material life provides fertile ground for observation and theory i suppose. but first - disillusionment and demystification. 27 oct 2019
a change in how i feel about david foster wallace based on recent discussion with a friend who felt not particularly interested in zadie smith: DFW (who said friend can't help but read as "dallas-fort worth") wrote 'consider the lobster' which was apparently assigned in freshmen year of college after his death to help students write what are referred to as 'personal essays' - a term that mystified me for a 'hot second' till I surmised it probably meant a style of essay that carries the general progression of a specific individual speaking in first person recording observations, their subsequent thoughts/feelings which culminate in their presentation of a thesis which my friend refers to as providing some insight into the unvierse arrived at through personal reflection as opposed to through external research. To some degree it's a welcome break from the typical western detached voice claiming to represent objectivity. But in contrast to other political writings, this appeared to be a particularly solipsistc method - used more to showcase the prettiness of one's internal privations instead of an exploration of the topic itself at hand. E unibus pluram - an essay on tv and irony and zadie smith's essay on facebook are stellar examples of such hysterical investigative 'journalism' lite. where one is absolved from historical or specific factual deliberations by shifting the focus more onto the individual person's localized interaction with the phenomenon being investigated. Due to the increased focus on the writer - i'd imagine only the prettiest and most intelligent would end up making the mark (leaving aside that clout, access and privilege probably determine success as a writer to a huge extent). This conjecture is at least confirmed somewhat in zadie smith and dfw. The former presenting her writings as delectable and pretty, the latter providing the appearance of intelligence even though it's underscored by a degree of undisclosed implicit conceit. To write this way, one necessary must carry some conceit in the understanding that their voice/privations merit publication. I feel that to write this way, a person must carry some conceit in understanding that ther voice/privations merit publication. Before you level the charge on me that this would encapsulate all writing, you need to know that I already agree with you. I'm not sure how many sentences don't already carry an implicit "I saw, felt, thought and believe that ..". So what makes hysterical investigative journalism particularly conceited and solipsistic? Maybe its primary function lying in the exploration mostly of the writer's casual thoughts/feelings as opposed to any attempt by them to make a serious theoretical commitment to expanding 'a body of knowledge'. When zadie smith talks about facebook, she's not particularly concerned about investigating how facebook transforms the social fabric of how we communicate, how digital systems of communication change the linguistic map and lead to some debordian recession of social exchange into representational formats and templates decided and chosen in this case by a corporate and the specific forms in which this happens through something like facebook. Here she's more concerned about making the point that her ability to not assimilate the sphere of facebook probably is because it's an outcome of a harvard douche. She's not wrong. But she's not saying anything particularly groundbreaking. A casual connection between facebbook and harvard douches occured to her and she made an essay out of it. Arguably the same can be said for david foster wallace. His thesis in 'how tracy austin broke my heart' is essentially that athletic greatness comes at the cost of everything else - a singular devotion that leaves you empty headed and incapable of any possibility beyond what you're sharpening since childhood. The thesis of consider the lobster being his inability to understand what goes through someone's head when they hear a lobster squealing in a boiling pan and turn away to partake in a festivity while an animal is tortured nearby. His thesis of his giant essay on the cruise ship being the dissatisfactions of decadence. None of this adding to any empirical body of work. Or describing a particularly novel thought. In some cases (like his essay on how the rural woman he was with at a state fair laughed off sexual harassment setting herself apart from new yorkers) they're written arguably to justify his own petty personal ideogy. So their appeal must necessarily lie in presentation, humor and linguistic gimmicks. "Look how winsome, reflective and thoughtful we are" - describing our intelligence through style but not necessarily much through its content. This seems like a particularly harsh stance on two people who i've particularly liked reading not too far long ago. It is. The whole text I'm writing here isn't particularly different from what they do either - I'm not conducting a historical analysis of the evolution of writing styles that gave birth to their format. I'm reflecting, music and recording my personal thoughts on them which seemed to have taken a mild turn. But this is the 'flippant thoughts' section of a private blog. Not a text I'm sending out to publishing. so I get a pass. I probably still will enjoy reading zadie smith and david foster wallace. and although i harbored no illusions about their merit in terms of content before, I might be a bit more skeptical to look at them with the sense of impressed awe at style and ability to be 'keen' that i did before. I suspect their observations might stem more from their ideology instead of the observations furnishing newer ideology. And I suppose that's far truer than what the general discourse about the scientific method as the layman encounters the world would tend to believe. This particular layman however notes fully the futility of such ideological fluff. But when the alternative is to fritter away time at work which doesn't allow me to seriously investigate bigger pieces of literature in contiguous chunks of time and when my evenings are clouded by the intrusion of unwelcome social contacts I figure that ideological fluff to pass time one one's blog isn't particularly harmful either. fun. fluff. fun. fluff. maybe i should bingewatch videos on modulators and synthesizers on youtube idk. or maybe i should catch up with work to actually have an answer when someone asks me a question about what i'm doing. either way, i could recollect more material to add to the fluff and write more tedious and solipsistic trah above but i'll go for now. kthxbye.
so much pain ouch. There is something to be said about how a physical injury can change a person. Especially one that causes constant discomfort with unpredictable surges of excruciating physical pain that manifests itself for no apparent reason, monopolizes all attention and thought, and subsides marginally for you to briefly return to the demands of the world in a feeble shallow capacity. There is something to be said about dealing with such an injury by oneself - without the necessary social food one garners from being embedded in a community of friends, family, partners all of who just by existing in your vicinity remind you of a possible state of health that can be worked towards and achieved. There is something to be said about the confrontation one has with their physical limitation when it prevents them from being able to cook food for themselves and in that confrontation realize that were it not for the privilege of being able to order overpriced food from outside things would have been much harder. There is something to be said about the harrowing dread felt when you ask the doctor 'will it get better?' and he in an almost apologetic tight lipped smile tells you that at least he hopes that you do even though he can't guarantee anything. There is something to be said about what causes an illness/injury and what structures one has relied on historically for recovery. There is something to be said about the relationship between the suffering of an affliction and the relative shame felt at talking about it. But what is to be said? Injury just like illness is a period of vulnerability. That is a truism. Berger says that it is profoundly alienating. It makes us see our being as qualitatively dissimilar to the seemingly healthy and uninterrupted set of people around us all of who seem to be addressing the /real/ problems of life that you have currently set aside to focus more on getting out of your affliction. Unlike their mental relatively constructed and changeable anguish you perceive your physical pain as more immediate and visceral - resisting circumspection through perspective. No solipsistic, philosophical, existential, meta-religious, metaphysical doctrine can help construct any mythology that can rationalize the incessing throbbing pain of your latissimus dorsi. When the first thought on waking up is the question of whether the pain is better or worse since yesterday - all other questions on the meaning of life, career aspirations, potential partners/lovers become remote inconsequentials gaining relevance only in context with the how they might help in either alleviating that pain or distracting from what needs to be done to alleviate that pain. I happen to be situated in a peculiar position where most people I am close to arrive to me through verbal communication since they reside on the other side of the planet. They can't do much for me except offer empty apologetic condolences expressing wishes such as 'i hope it gets better for you'. I find that particularly grating for reasons I don't entirely understand but my instinctive response which I obviously do not voice out to them tends to be "yes yes of course i know you hope that but frankly your hope in spirit means nothing and is something i'd expect from anyone who's even remotely close to me". Something else they do is ask questions that I find tedious answering: questions that revolve around the obvious/banal procedures that one can imagine following when one is afflicted - 'did you go to a doctor?'. 'are you taking your meds?' etc. Perhaps I secretly yearn for more specific questions even though I understand that it might be unfair to expect them to be privy to the specific circumstances that can engender them. Above all, I suppose I assiduously look for a hint of confidence in their voice when the talk about my situation - which on failing to be found causes a further sense of hopelessness in me. I'd rather they project an air of confidence that inspires the same in me or exhibit empathy that gets at the specific challenges faced in times of injury that aren't obviously evident to everyone. On the shame felt on describing one's affliction to another and speaking openly about it - I feel too ashamed to talk about this subject. On the institutions/structures that one can rely on in such times: too large a topic to be encapsulated in this page. Will probably write about it at length after i've methodically parsed through more literature on the history of medicine. Meanwhile I have the fun writings of terre thaemlitz and the world of ethnomusicology to explore. To whatever degree the pain I'm currently in allows me that liberty of course.
DJ Sprinkles: A 'pussy' name for Terre Thaemlitz on why music isn't universal From the larger interview/discourse on production of house music Fantastic discourse on the relatively more precise forms of relationships between producders, artists, labor and the cultral cartesian tradition of individualism mildly and casually deconstructed by someone who attempts to situate music/sounds within social contexts. this is the good stuff. he mentions a series of writings that deconstruct these relationships more thoroughly written between 1910 and 1920 (investigate). Also drops a reference to the art scab by georg grosz which was a socialist's invective against the modern bourgeois uses and definitions of art. Note to self: expand on these. it's 2:00 AM on oct 7, 2019. After weeks of dealing with dreadful anxiety inducing unrelenting physical pain, episodes of hopelessness and anhedonic spiralling I am sitting at my desk with a sense of calm and focus that has escaped me for the longest time - a sense of acknowledgment of myself and rediscovering a cherished activity that i have been deprived of due to multiple forces appropriating my time. It feels good to sit at the desk at my home and go through interesting texts (terre thaemlitz at the moment) at a relaxed, comfortable pace. this can be reproduced. 6 oct 2019
Na jaane kyun hota hai ye zindagi ke saath The above sung by Lata Mangeshkar for a woman who in the film "Chhoti si baat"(1976) is at the point depicted in the video missing a coworker who she had developed a budding relationship with. The reasons for the coworker's absence - which she is not privy to - are disclosed to the audience. He has gone away for a while to learn from a "coach" the ways of sophistication which will allow to woo her on return. The woman sings about why we tend to miss the little things about someone after they've left. The actress is in a contemplative state - although following her routine completely normally - a bit thrown off and probably wondering the reason for his disappearance more than she realizes is normal for a friendly coworker to think about. The coach is teaching him cheek, the usage of chopsticks, the game of chess and table tennis and the methods that allow one to be "smooth". Smooth: the posture of a calm confident attitude that gives the air of knowledge in the face of the absurdity of life. The air of belief in one's mythology that allows one to come across as reliable, attractive and worth listening to. As I sit in my room this evening, the yellow light illuminating it seems gloomier than usual. The room and how I perceive my life feels suddenly stripped of mythology. I feel the opposite of smooth. A story has been interrupted. The hint of a mythology being laid bare to reveal the absurdity beneath has been sensed. This is perturbing because the possibilities of what i expect to see now are less fixed and more uncertain. These moments of uncertainty and dispossesion of a myth/story/narrative often allow for freedom in perspective and focus on other relatively ignored myths/stories/narratives of one's life. They can also lead to yearning, fear and the desire to return to what is absent - confirming that what is absent is important and therefore making us desire its return even further. Perhaps it will reveal the extent to which what is absent has been imbricated in my life. Perhaps I will remember what it was before the introduction of said myth. A rupture, remembrance, return, contrast might be seen. ===================== Should I read wittgenstein contiguously and finish his investigations in one go or should I stretch it over a long period of time? Parts of it are quite dry even if illuminating on the nature of certain kinds of linguistic dogmas. 02 oct 2019
Some notes on Nausea - sartre "Every existing thing is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness and dies by chance. I leaned back and closed my eyes. But the images, forewarned, immediately leaped up and filled my closed eyes with existences: existence is a fullness which man can never abandon." -Sartre in nausea Existence is a fullness which man can never abandon. Except in death? But it means nothing to speak of man after death. "Man after death" is meaningless. It seems like sartre's thought is the antithesis of that of a meditating man. Noteworthy: the dialogue that roquentin has in disgust with the self-taught-man who finds some mystic beauty in "the idea of men" even when each individual man has suffered as a prisoner of war in the box they were locked in. That the box took on some mystic essential quality but each man himself carried lesser meaning. We abstract with words and in doing so become unavoidable essentialists - just like sartre does. IT IS AN ENDEAVOR THAT IS FUNDAMENTALLY DOOMED TO FAIL. You cannot speak without abstracting some essentialist model can you? "you", "can", "not", "speak", "without", "abstracting", "some", "essentialist", "model, "can", "you". each word strung together: forming phrases in conjunction - each abstracting some essence for convenience. The specificity chosen through such abstractions in the first place. What does it mean to be radically existentialist? How does one grapple with the absurdity of existence when language does not allow us to do so? It presents itself in this vague sense of strangeness - this alienation - this feeling of nausea that perhaps sartre is trying to get at. Note: contingency.
Never meant - american football On a cloudy chilly saturday afternoon in the balcony as fragile little points of water swirl in the wind before fallingd down on my bare leg as i eat breakfast in the balcony wondering about loss - in particular that of a lover. I have met others since who i've loved and who have loved me back. I'm told that you overcome loss by meeting someone new. But I no longer believe this. You meet someone new - but that brings someone new to you and in only very limited ways 'compensates' for what is lost in the previous person. If the addition of someone new in your life compensates for someone old then perhaps people matter to you only in as much as they fulfill your needs/wants. That perhaps you haven't noticed what makes the person who has left unique, specific and special in their own right independent of what purpose they served to you. Or maybe the ways in which you see their relationship to you are so broad and generic that you failed to notice the pretty little details that set them apart. The inflections in their voice, their perspectives, politics, appearances, the way they sound and look, how they respond to parts of you and what parts of you they bring out. Each loss is final. When you lose a person, you have lost a whole world that cannot be replaced. Perhaps, this happens every day. The people you are with change and what they were before ceases to exist. I want time to pause so that I can grapple with this frenetic process of loss. Memory: forgetfulness helps. The presentiments of the present demand presence in it. there's not enough time for remembrance. What was once treasured is constantly being lost to oblivion. I hope I have the good sense to record it in whatever limited capacity /somewhere/. Save it from nothingness so that I may return to it in some feeble capacity for proof that something delightful can be possible. 28 sep 2019
Indulgent anhedonic destructive curiosities. Bourgeois! Bourgeois! Don't be fooled it'll matter. Everything does.
we're all (or am I?) convinced we have these pretty and perfectly ineffable souls - with infinite depth and an infallible quality. That is until we're asked to speak about it and confront the mediocrity of the representation. What language do you have to compare the representation with what was attempted to be described? Melancholia. Ennui. Petty discontent. Aimlessness. Which is it? which is it? Neither. It's better to not speak. To avoid the disillusionment with oneself. Let what is felt be felt. Let no injustice be done to it.
As the aurum light of the autumn evening sun of this city filters into my room through pale white venetian blinds, I become acutely conscious of how pretty and idyllic it makes the stillness of my room appear. Yet this moment is situated in a period of distress, hopelessness and uncertainty. All my loved ones are at a distance - each grappling with their own rendition of life's problems with my detached isolated self here in this room. I cannot begin to share this moment or situate it in a meaningful arc of life that goes beyond a cyclical repetition of corporate software engineering and reading at home dealing with the bizarre and confused question of what I want my future to look like and what possibilities haven't suffered foreclosure already. See. It began with the appreciation of the evening sun and devolved into the petty little banal complaints of every 20 something alive. My thought is under the totalizing influence of anxiety and despair. Is something new possible? Is something new possible? Is something new possible? Is something new possible? Have I envisaged all realities accessible to me as an adult - reaching the edge of what my body and mind are capable of doing for me? I have time. I have time. I have time. See. It began with the appreciation of the evening sun and devolved into the petty little banal complaints of every 20 something alive. The sun is setting. I think I will go to my balcony and look at it, and look at nothing but it. Perhaps in the empty vacuum of my head mesemrized by the bright glow of a lamp in the sky and the cool autumn breeze, I will momentarily forget that a world with meaning beyond pure aesthetics exists. Perhaps I will discover some love. The sun has set. The only proof of its existence available to me is how it illuminates the soft cotton candy clouds in hues of pink and yellow near it as they get progressively darker in the distance preparing for night to fall. I don't know about love but a moment of calm was certainly found. 26 sep 2019
I cannot think yet. The language I have access to is inadequate and reactionary. Check back in later. 19 sep 2019 (this is a lie)
I once observed a relative in such total denial about their own misery which had all the characteristics of a glamorous and successful life that it instilled in me a firm conviction that i decided to summarize in a manifesto of values. I would like to believe that the spirit engendered by that moment has since then evolved into a less idealistic ambivalence about the compromises demanded in life.