Eagle and serpent

explorations and philosophy: in the world, of the world

Tag: human

Violent, us?

Once someone criticises this place, the righteous appear to come up with all kinds of explanations and feeble defenses. Quite recently, an Estonia-born author noted Ultima Thule to have a culture that embraces violence at all its levels. With the obvious reactions.

One doesn’t have to refer to the national statistics to note that here people are unfriendly, untactful and unappealing. Added to the visions of war and mythical relationship to the existence of the nation make the obvious contribution. Everything here seems to be just one more instance of the ‘miracle of the winter war’.

Luckily, we’ll once again see how the nation lies (as independence day looms just one away). It’s interesting to see in practice and festive speeches how ‘our’ security is nowadays extended to participate in the coalition of the willing, defending what the Americans call ‘human rights’.

It might also be intriguing to psycho-analyse our militaristic right, as it seems to be suffering of the fact that they cannot openly and with the fullest of their ability participate in the so-called ‘peacekeeping’ operations.

UPDATE: Breaking news–the defense minister visiting Afghanistan over i-day! How metaphorical!

Couple in the cabin

Lars von Trier’s newest is a disturbing one. Careful with the reviews though, discussions of Antichrist’s disturbance often become spoilers.

The flick has absolutely stunning cinematography. Slow motions and art-like colours are combined throughout the film with an eerie soundtrack. Depending on the viewer, it might also be viewed either as a feminist or a misogynistic film. Beauty/ugliness, inside/outside, bliss/pain, life/death, you name it. Lars likes to disturb. In a way, this play with contrasts is an old one.

One likable feature in von Trier’s story-telling is his habit of dropping hints along the journey. On the other hand, these traces, picked up and followed, can lead to an underlined use of symbolism. What he discusses nicely is man’s relationship with nature, fear, the forest around him and how it gazes him from within himself.

The cabin becomes the self.

Greeks and philologists

One can really spend a night after night in the vault of the excellent Gutenberg. One of Nietzsche’s not-so-well known writings, We Philologists, has a wonderful section (94) that uses a sort of ‘comparative analysis’ in assessing differences in views of knowledge, speech and life itself (with a slightly modified layout because of aesthetic considerations).

THE GREEKS (THE PHILOLOGISTS are),

render homage to beauty (babblers and triflers),
develop the body (ugly-looking creatures),
speak clearly (stammerers),
are religious transfigurers of everyday occurrences (filthy pedants),
are listeners and observers (quibblers and scarecrows),
have an aptitude for the symbolical (unfitted for the symbolical),
are in full possession of their freedom as men (ardent slaves of the State),
can look innocently out into the world (Christians in disguise),
are the pessimists of thought (philistines).

If having to choose, which one would you be?

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?