Eagle and serpent

explorations and philosophy: in the world, of the world

Month: October, 2008

Holy sh*t!

I was originally thinking of going to see one of the oxbridges and play with my new toy, but the weather foiled my plans. It was time to come up with something else. Right after the exposure to once again excellent film (in the excellent Barbican), it’s time to draw some lines between thoughts.

‘Battle for Haditha’ is a fine film also for the reason that it makes a nice comparison to our much-debated financial crisis. ‘Good’ intentions, a lot of corpses and someone profiting in the meanwhile. Ingenious!

It also raised interesting questions of institutions and their position. What if your institution is full of poorly educated young men heads full of testosterone, heavy metal and pr of ‘justice’, ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’? Sorry forgot, armed young men.

Hey man, just fly over and drop the candy! Or, if you’re a banker, package the derivatives and sell the blow-up onwards!

As even Alan has said he’s sorry, sort of, I remember many children behaving this way:

  1. Be reckless
  2. Apologise
  3. Everything’s ok


Economic thought

Following a presentation given by an economist can sometimes be hard. Not to mention the methodological constraints of their method of inquiry, only listening to them can raise serious issues of meaningfulness and direction of knowledge. To illustrate the idea of my point, imagine yourself in a seminar room in the midst of a presentation/discussion, where almost every other sentence starts with “suppose…”, “assume…”, “let’s…” or “imagine…”

There is nothing wrong with teasing the creativity of one’s audience, but if the whole argument is based on equilibria of one’s own assumptions, there might be some difficulty in seeing the empirical value of such claims. Not to mention the poverty of a view that embraces reductionism taken to the form of its additive fundamentalist extreme.

On the other hand, there must be something of value to the economic mode of thinking. They are, after all, handling the fundamentals of humankind. No matter where you go, from Knightsbridge to Brixton, or Vientiane to Tokyo, the people have one thing in common: buying and selling. This universal phenomenon of exchange is indeed something very fundamental. Or is it just being bought?

Camden Gomorra

Some time ago, I saw a wonderful piece of genre-breaking mafia film, ‘Gomorra’. One of the best aspects of the film was its style of story-telling. As I saw it, the movie was a window to the lives of the people in and around Naples, not obsessively trying to explain everything. The threads of the story were pulled together or not. This seemed, however, not to be a big concern of the makers.

Moreover, there were at best only traces of the much glorified ‘criminal lifestyle’.  Gang-related violence was plainly shown, no bling-bling. “I’m Tony Montana!” echoed hollowly from the warehouse walls.

After the ‘bad reality’ tv-experience it was time to go home. Just having seen a film like that it just occurred to me, that in some aspects, Camden Town is not very far from Southern Italy.

London rain

Sometimes it’s good to be caught by the famed London rain. A while ago, during an attempt to reach the pinnacle of human achievement, the British Museum, I found myself in the middle of one. Luckily (and not very surprisingly), help was just few steps away. James Smith & Sons were there where they were needed the most: “Would you mind showing me that one, sir?”

Now, Mr. Smith has been in the business for almost 180 years, which is quite well considering all happenings since the start of his career. Alternatively, we have a company that has been run by several similar-minded generations, and thus been able to survive all the turmoil in the world. Without really knowing, one could only speculate why this is the case. Some possible reasons for such longevity may be a respectful clientele, along with high quality and service.

Admittedly, the quality of their products and attitude towards service are among the best I have experienced, ever. While it is true that you don’t have to pay 50 £ for a cheap-o umbrella made in one of the Koreas, you should not expect the same quality either. In case you pay a visit yearning for the walking sticks and canes for gentlemen, turn right. The more boring, contemporary stuff are to the left from the door.

This blog is born