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Suzanne Valadon wore a corsage of carrots and fed her Catholic cats caviar on Fridays.

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Definitions: Trauma

Screen Shot 2018-04-15 at 8.27.41 PMTrauma comes from the Greek word traumat, meaning wound. Trauma comes in many different forms. You don’t have to be a Vietnam Vet to experience it. You could have a loved one die on you suddenly, you could be injured in an accident, you could be exposed to verbal abuse, neglect, or physical abuse. Abandonment qualifies, as do natural disasters, debilitating injuries, and all forms of domestic violence.

When you become traumatized, you wake up to the dangers in the world. You realize that at any moment those that you love can be struck down by senseless, random events. In a heartbeat, your entire life can change, the people you trust can turn on a dime, and betray you. Nothing is safe. It’s a bit like the Matrix, when you take the red pill and wake to the painful reality of the world.

A traumatized person lives outside the normal experience of living. Always on high alert. Unable to turn it off. This is the legacy of trauma. Not only does it awaken us to our deepest fears, but it also destroys the normal notion of how we experience ‘time’ on a conscious level. A fancy word for this is phenomenology, and it is something poets, monks, and philosophers have spent centuries pondering. To paraphrase T.S. Eliot, victims of trauma become stuck at the still point of the turning world; The still point between time past and time future.

The simplest way to illustrate this is as follows. We are born and we die. In between these two events, we live a life that stretches in a long, continuous line that we call ‘time’. But trauma breaks that line. It destroys everything you knew of time, in terms of it being concrete and stable, and blows all of that apart. The trauma becomes magnified, or freeze-framed into an ongoing, eternal present. Just like the loop in a vinyl record that skips, the trauma becomes stuck in its own time. Your daily time line, the one stretching between birth and death, falls back into place, but now it has weaknesses in its foundation, hidden like trapdoors. Any trigger, that reminds you of the trauma (however abstract it may be), can send you shooting back in time to the freeze-framed moment of devastation. Your nice, neat time line is suddenly gone, collapsing under the weight of your memory. Past becomes present, and present becomes past, and the future loses all meaning. In fact, there is no future, there is nothing but incompleteness. You return back to your time line each time a little more weary. You begin to tread carefully, never sure when you are going to fall through. This is the nature of life with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.


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La Jetee


Notes from J West’s book on La Jetee

To blink is to foreclose vision.

To create a break in seeing.

To impose a gap in vision.

In the structures of seeing and not seeing lies the kernel of the idea of memory of what we remember and what we forget demonstrates how remembering and forgetting are not oppositional acts but two sides of the same coin.

Forgetting is not an abandonment of the past but permission to elaborate, to reconstruct differently, to mix up the syntax.

Memory and Cinema are both comprised of an unstable set of associations. The choreography of memory. Stories going back to the past are always full of warning. An aberrant desire that meets punishment. (Orpheus, Oedipus, Vertigo).

But… To know the past and to unearth its radical contradiction is a necessary orientation for the future.

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Constitution or the State

Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 9.24.51 AMIt has been said that the Constitution is the State. It is the law which creates and regulates government itself.

Marbury v Madison: Priority must be given to the Constitution over ordinary legislative acts.

Office holders have an obligation to observe the limits of their own authority.

“I, (name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.”

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Logic and Imagination (Occult)

Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 10.32.49 AMPer Occult thinking: Materialism emboldens the force of Ahriman (who rules the force of logic). When given too much power Ahriman seeks to stamp out individuality.

In turn, as people grow more and more disillusioned (because of economic hardship or lack of options, for e.g.) this emboldens the forces of Lucifer (who rules imagination). Imagination is good but not when it descends into fantasy and decadence.

Materialism perverts logic and dulls feelings.

Rudolf Steiner believed in the “Christ Impulse/Christ Consciousness” – A force meant to keep the pendulum between Logic and Imagination in check.  (See also Mystery of Golgatha). In his opinion World War 1 was materialism confronting its Karma.


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Critical Theory

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Notes on: The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (Benjamin Walter)

Expropriation of the normative narrative results in the condition for analogous insight.

The “Aura” – A strange tissue of space and time. The unique apparition of a distance, however near it may be. To follow with the eye – while resting on a summer afternoon – a mountain range on the horizon or a branch that casts its shadow – is to breathe the aura of that mountain or branch.

An ancient state of Venus – to Greeks this is something you worship. Different context for Medieval Clerics – they view it as a sinister idol. But both saw its uniqueness – an that is its aura.

The earliest artwork originated in the service of rituals. So it was first magical then religious. The artworks’ auratic mode of existence is never entirely severed from its ritual function.

True purpose of film: To give convincing expression to the fairylike – the supernatural. The work of art is produced only by a montage – each component of the montage is a reproduction of a process.

Film makes use of human being’s self-alienation. It’s basically the same kind of estrangement you feel before a mirror.

The actor stands in front of the camera confronting the masses. The masses are not present during the performance yet they control it. This invisibility tightens the authority of their control.

The cult of the movie star preserves the magic of the personality and reinforces the cult of the audience – in an effort to control the narrative and supplant the class consciousness of the masses. So — everyone becomes an expert – which means the viewer gains access to authorship but at the same time – the masses (viewers) are fed a corrupting narrative – one that teaches them to know their place (see Why We Love Sociopaths by Adam Kotsko – A guide to late capitalist television)


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Black Holes


… A small community of experimentalists build an apparatus that would detect the sonic message of the cosmos as it made contact with us via gravitational waves — ripples in the fabric of space-time, first envisioned by Einstein in his pioneering 1915 paper on general relativity.

Central to LIGO’s success are its three original architects: Rainer Weiss, the brilliant ruffian who invented the apparatus at the heart of LIGO; Kip Thorne, the revered astrophysicist and relativist with the wildly speculative yet mathematically precise mind, whose charisma saved the project from going under; and Ron Drever, the prickly Scottish genius considered a scientific Mozart — “a childlike spirit attached to a wondrous mind that just seemed to emanate astonishing compositions.” People, Levin intimates, are fragmentary but indivisible — they bring their aptitudes and their flaws to the work. Rigor and self-­righteousness often go in tandem, as do idealism and egotism. These scientists all contain multitudes.

Still, against a backdrop of ceaseless and varied obstacles — clashing egos, brushes with the F.B.I. and K.G.B., creationists holding town hall meetings across the street, enormous administrative entropy swirling between vision and reality — this discordant cohort of idealists persevered for half a century.

One September morning in 2015, success arrived unannounced. During a warm-up for the first official run of Advanced LIGO — the pinnacle of this half-century odyssesy — a gravitational wave strummed the instrument. Conditioned by decades of disappointment, the scientists’ first response was doubt. But this was real — this was honor and recognition, a century in the making. Two enormous black holes had collided somewhere far away, a long time ago.




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