Jun 2, 2007

Self inversions
Incomplete thoughts on philosophy on the weekend


The horror of war is not that the lost lives might be meaningless, but that they might be meaningful. If the dead are meaningful, then the living and the dead are valuable only in their dedication to that meaning. The humans who become soldiers are, if their deaths are to be meaningful, in themselves worthless. To be meaningful is to be dispensable.

We cannot do grief. We can only deface the subjects of our grief into objects eulogized and objects demonized. We do what we can.

Wars are won and wars are lost semiotically. The primary problem is knowing what it means to win. The secondary problem is that what it means to win can change.

It is good to linger on the horror, not to turn too quickly to hope. Quick hope acts to eject us, swiftly save us. That extraction separates us so that we were only ever feining participants in the horror from which we have now "escaped." Quick hope denies the horror. Denying the horror means their is no need for hope. Thus, quick hope abolishes hope in favor of never acknowledging the need for hope.

It is not that we create the problem and then, having profited from the creating, develop little isolations to extract ourselves into, and therefore distract ourselves into believing we are innocent. The extractions do not follow from the cause of the problem in the way the problem follows from the cause. Rather, the act of seeking self extraction creates the situation from which we desire to be saved.

Attend to the form. By claiming to be empty, to be transparent for the important content, the form will then go on to bring to bear more weight, more influence and more of the content than the self-identified content.

In listing the things we love, we flatten the world in such a way that "concern," "worry" and conflicted relationships disappear. In lists of 50 things loved, the emotion, commitment and dedicated mental space all appear equal, from list to list, from item to item.

An exercise: Take the way we understand the world and find, within the understanding, a way in which it participates in, is founded upon, is complicit in the thing it most condemns. Then rethink with an eye towards the condemned thing, noticing its reoccurence. Find what simple ideas are hiding by simplicity. Find what complicated ideas are hiding by complication. Distrust yourself.

Attend to misdirection.

Having turned an act (writing) into a mechanical act (writing on a typewriter), we celebrate and make virtues out all of the anti-mechanical characteristics of the mechanical act. By this glorification (nostalgia sepia toned), we deny our gleeful participation in dehumanization and allow ourselves to fall rapturously in love with (fetish-sized) fragments of the machine which worries us. The object symbolizes in an unresolvable contradiction.