about me

i am an artist based in dublin, ireland. i paint and write poetry and prose. this blog contains short stories, poetry, photographs and music. i have recently developed an illustrated word project in collaboration with dutch composer, trian kayhatu. it grew from words undone sharings and the musical compositions of trian. it is entitled 'art undone'. the link to this site is below. welcome to my worldS!

art undone

http://artundonebyevie.blogspot.ie/

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Foucault's History of Sexuality


Michel Foucault's "The History of Sexuality" pioneered queer theory. In it he builds an argument grounded in a historical analysis of the word "sexuality" against the common thesis that sexuality always has been repressed in Western society. Foucault maintains that since the 17th century, there has been a fixation with sexuality creating a discourse around sexuality.

In "The History of Sexuality", Foucault attempts to disprove the thesis that Western society has seen a repression of sexuality since the 17th century and that sexuality has been unmentionable, something impossible to speak about. In the 70s, when the book was written, the sexual revolution was a fact. The ideas of the psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, saying that to conserve your mental health you needed to liberate your sexual energy, were popular. The past was seen as a dark age where sexuality had been something forbidden.

Foucault, on the other hand, states that Western culture has long been fixated on sexuality. We call it a repression. Rather, the social convention, not to mention sexuality, has created a discourse around it, thereby making sexuality ubiquitous. This would not have been the case, had it been thought of as something quite natural. The concept "sexuality" itself is a result of this discourse. And the interdictions also have constructive power: they have created sexual identities and a multiplicity of sexualities that would not have existed otherwise.

Confession is the basis of sexuality

Historically, there have been two ways of viewing sexuality, according to Foucault. In China, Japan, India and the Roman Empire have seen it as an "Arts Erotica", "erotic art", where sex is seen as an art and a special experience.

In Western society, on the other hand, something completely different has been created. This is what Foucault calls "scientia sexualis", the science of sexuality. It is originally (17th century) based on a phenomenon diametrically opposed to 'Arts Erotica': the confession. It is not just a question of the Judaeo-Christian confession, but more generally the urge to talk about it. A fixation with finding out the "truth" about sexuality arises, a truth that is to be confessed. It is as if sexuality did not exist unless it is confessed.

Foucault writes : "We have since become an extraordinarily confessing society. Confession has spread its effects far and wide: in the judicial system, in medicine, in pedagogy, in familial relations, in amorous relationships, in everyday life and in the most solemn rituals; crimes are confessed, sins are confessed, thoughts and desires are confessed, one's past and one's dreams are confessed, one's childhood is confessed; one's diseases and problems are confessed;..."

This forms a strong criticism of psychoanalysis, representing the modern, scientific form of confession. Foucault sees psychoanalysis as a legitimization of sexual confession. In it, everything is explained in terms of repressed sexuality and the psychologist becomes the sole interpreter of it. Sexuality is no longer just something people hide, but it is also hidden from themselves, which gives the theological, minute confession a new life.

"Coming out" as a concept did not exist when Foucault wrote "The History of Sexuality", but this process of confessing homosexuality can surely be interpreted as an expression of this urge to confess. There seems to be a compulsion to reveal one's sexuality to confirm its existence in our society. In Ars erotica, a very different view is held, and people are content to let it remain a secret in the positive sense of the word.

The reason sexuality should be confessed is to be found in the Christian view of it. It was not, as it is today, seen as a strong, obvious force, but as something treacherous, something only to be found by careful introspection.

Therefore every detail had to be laid forth in confession; every trace of pleasure experienced had to be examined to find the traces of sin.

In this attention to details the reason sexuality is given such importance in our society is to be found. Making sexuality something sinful did not make it disappear. Quite the contrary: it was reinforced and became something to be noticed everywhere.

Power relations
There was also an element of social control in this. A power relation was created between the preacher and the confessant, between the psychoanalyst and his patient. Power relations are to Foucault central to any analysis of society, and this is especially true for sexuality. Power relations are formed in all relations where differences exist.

What Foucault means by power is not necessarily what is ordinarily meant by the word. It is something ubiquitous and cannot be thought of as dual, as creating a division between those dominating and those being dominated. Power in Foucault's meaning of the word is not an exclusively negative force. He claims that we have had a juridical view of power in our society; we tend to see it as something negative, oppressing, defining what is not to be done. Instead, power is the basis of Foucault's analysis of society. Common power relations related to sexuality are, in addition to the ones mentioned between the one who confesses and the one that receives the confession, those between teacher and pupil, between parent and child, and between doctor and patient.

Sexuality in the 19th century
Thomas Kuhn is a philosopher of the history of science, who claims we should understand how what is now seen as prejudice could be accepted as science.

With enlightenment, the view of sexuality as something sinful to be confessed mutated. It was adapted to modern demands of rationality by turning itself into a science. Foucault makes a strong distinction between what we would still today call science and a prejudicial doctrine on human procreation.

"Comparing these discourses on human sexuality to those from the same epoch on animal and vegetal reproduction, the difference is surprising. Their weak tenability - I won't even say in scientificity, but in elementary logic, places them apart in the history of knowledge."

The doctrines on sexuality postulated several "unnatural" sexual behaviors. In the 16th century, the focus was on regulating the sexuality of the married couple, ignoring other forms of sexual relations, but now other groups were identified: the sexuality of children, criminals, mentally ill and gays.

"The perverse" became a group, instead of an attribute. Sexuality became seen as the core of some peoples' identity. Homosexual relations had been seen as a sin that could be committed from time to time, but now a group of "homosexuals" emerged. Foucault writes: "The sodomite was a recidivist, but the homosexual is now a species."

"The homosexual of the 19th century became a person: a"past, a history and an adolescence, a personality, a life style; also a morphology, with an indiscreet anatomy and possibly a mystical physiology. Nothing of his full personality escapes his sexuality."

Seeing gays as a group is now taken for granted, but before the 18th century the idea would never had occurred to ask the question whether homosexuality is a function of heredity or of upbringing. It was simply not seen as being a fundamental part of the person, but instead as an action, something s/he did.

But homosexuality was not the only object of study for the medical "science". Foucault identifies four reoccurring themes:

The body of women became sexualized because of its role as a child bearer. The concept "hysteria" was invented and seen as a result of sexual problems.

The pedagogization of the sexuality of children. Children should at all costs be protected from the dangers inherent in masturbation and other sexuality.

The socialization of reproduction. The importance of sexuality for reproduction is recognized and put into context in the study of population growth.

The sexuality of adults becomes an object of study and all forms of "perverse" aberrations are seen as dangers.


Foucault emphasizes that the aim of these new moral codes was not to abolish all forms of sexuality, but instead to preserve health and procreation. Many forms of sexuality were seen as harmful and they wanted to protect health and the purity of the race. A mixture of ideas on population growth, venereal diseases and heredity ("degeneration" was to be avoided) created the idea that many forms of sexual conduct where dangerous.

Constructivism
Now that sexual actions were being identified and their naturalness and healthiness was analyzed, the concept of "sexuality" was created. Foucault comments on the four phenomena mentioned above:

"What are these strategies about? A struggle against sexuality? Or an attempt to control it? ... Actually, it is rather the production of sexuality. It should not be conceived of as a distinction founded in nature that power attempts to subdue, or as a dark domain that knowledge attempts to gradually uncover. It is the name that can be given to a historical measure...

This view makes Foucault one of the first constructivists" in this area, claiming that sexuality and sexual conduct is not a natural category, having a foundation in reality. Instead it is a question of social constructions, categories only having an existence in a society, and that probably are not applicable to other societies than our own.

This is why we should not speak of "homosexuality" in, for example, antique Greece. What we now call homosexuality cannot exist outside our specific cultural context. The same goes for all sexuality. Sexual intercourse is necessary for procreation, but that does not mean that sexuality, comprising and theorizing about all erotic behavior, is a natural or necessary category. Sexuality is more than sexual behavior. The largest part of its meaning lies in its cultural connotations.

It is this view that has given "The History of Sexuality" its significance. For the first time, sexuality is analyzed as a social construction, a perspective making it possible to study the origins and the development of our view of sexuality in a totally new way.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

'We can't excavate the soul, only touch her outer lips with the fearless heart of metaphor. The soul can't excavate herself, only in some kind of mantra of Light. Like the sun we can wake up from a dream to The Dream. And the divine expansive Dream leans on the grace of flesh. We're a flaming imperfection of lovely beauty, like flocks of small birds lost in a world of sky where anything is possible. A Mystical Maze. Our hope rests on the evolution of time, on the All we cannot see. ' 

(heart of everything)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

treasure

 
From this, the treasure secretly gathered in your heart will become evident through your creative work.

Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

L'Eveil


You’ve been walking the ocean’s edge,

holding up your robes to keep them dry.

You must dive naked under and deeper under,

a thousand times deeper!

(Rumi)

Monday, October 31, 2011



I give you your power,

Your freedom is my gift;

Under a sky of stars,

My final wish xx


Sunday, September 25, 2011



Our bodies are apt to be our autobiographies.  


~Frank Gillette Burgess

Saturday, September 3, 2011

(Emil Cadoo)

'My first vision of earth was water veiled. I am of the race of men and women who see all things through this curtain of sea and my eyes are the colour of water. I looked with chameleon eyes upon the changing face of the world, looked with anonymous vision upon my uncompleted self.'

(Anais Nin)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

To Be One With Each Other

What greater thing is there for two human souls

than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen

each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow,

to share with each other in all gladness,

to be one with each other in the

silent unspoken memories?



George Eliot

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

W. B. Yeats on Magic

"I believe in the practice and philosophy of what we have agreed to call magic, in what I must call the evocation of spirits, though I do not know what they are, in the power of creating magical illusions, in the visions of truth in the depths of the mind when the eyes are closed; and I believe in three doctrines, which have, as I think, been handed down from early times, and have been the foundation of nearly all magical practices. These doctrines are:

(1) That the borders of our minds are ever shifting, and that many minds can flow into one another, as it were, and create or reveal a single mind, a single energy.

(2) That the borders of our memories are as shifting, and that our memories are part of one great memory, the memory of Nature herself.

(3) That this great mind and great memory can be evoked by symbols."

(1903)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011



taste


Then, just as she is about to fall over, a flood of heat washes over her. The shadows fade and she bathes in the glow. It drips from her lips. She dips a finger in to the light. She is at one.

Monday, June 20, 2011

On Midsummer's eve ~

Midsummer Blessings


Midsummer

A power is on the earth and in the air,

From which the vital spirit shrinks afraid,

And shelters him, in nooks of deepest shade,

From the hot steam and from the fiery glare.

Look forth upon the earth--her thousand plants

Are smitten, even the dark sun-loving maize

Faints in the field beneath the torrid blaze;

The herd beside the shaded fountain pants;

For life is driven from all the landscape brown;

The bird has sought his tree, the snake his den,

The trout floats dead in the hot stream, and men

Drop by the sun-stroke in the populous town;

As if the Day of Fire had dawned and Sent

Its deadly breath into the firmament.


by William Cullen Bryant
See you there...x


Theseus:
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown,
the poet's pen turns them to shapes
and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
Such tricks hath strong imagination

Queen Hyppolita:
 But all the story of the night told over,
And all their minds transfigured so together,
More witnesseth than fancy's images
And grows to something of great constancy;
howsoever strange and admirable.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act 5, Scene 1

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Kate Bush Flower Of The Mountain ~ reciting Molly Bloom

Kate Bush - The Sensual World



"...I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes. "

Eclipse

http://vimeo.com/25148005

Friday, June 3, 2011

Those illuminating silver threads, the earliest, most delicate threads that bind us together, those same ones so often hidden within our elaborate tapestries, yet, when we surrender and allow the light to fall upon us, those threads shine the brightest…they set us off!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

Jan Saudek









let me in, you said.
I did.
I pulled you deep inside me
- into my heart

(E.R.)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The half asleep sex…the half dreaming soft wet sex where she is opened up between worlds to spin and twirl..where he is all in her dreams and outside of them...


The Mind Benders 1967 Trailer

He gazed a gazely stare - a tribute to The Mind Benders

Child in Red

She walks through the village in her
little red dress
all absorbed in restraining herself,
and yet, despite herself, she seems to move
according to the rhythm of her life to come.

She runs a bit, hesitates, stops,
half-turns around...
and, all while dreaming, shakes her head
for or against.

Then she dances a few steps
that she invents and forgets,
no doubt finding out that life
moves on too fast.

It's not so much that she steps out
of the small body enclosing her,
but that all she carries in herself
frolics and ferments.

It's this dress that she'll remember
later in a sweet surrender;
when her whole life is full of risks,
the little red dress will always seem right.


Rainer Maria Rilke

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Orphic Experience

(extract from The Negative Eschatology of Maurice Blanchot by Kevin S. Fitzgerald)

I. Contesting the Limits

Although whirled about on the brink of the Cartesian vortex, Thomas nevertheless doubts his briny surroundings. Despite the fact that he is mettre en abîme (placed in the abyss) and consumed by its maw, he pursues by means of phenomenological reduction an epistemological study of the limits of the possible. In doing so, by placing himself in a situation where he may question his ontological being exactly when it shares close proximity to annihilation, Thomas prepares himself for what Blanchot calls the 'limit-experience' or 'original experience.'

According to Blanchot, the limit-experience seeks to contest and eventually transcend the boundaries accumulated during everyday experience. Blanchot states, "The limit-experience is the response that man encounters when he has decided to put himself radically in question" (IC 203). It should be noted that Blanchot's concept of the limit-experience resembles Bataille's notion of the inner or interior experience. According to Bataille, the inner experience, like Blanchot's limit-experience, seeks to transcend personal limitations by doubting the existence of those limits. Bataille wrote, "I call [inner] experience a voyage to the end of the possible of man" (7).

Spun round the bottomless wishing well, the roulette wheel that presages death with the impossibility of death, Thomas, mimicking the inactivity of Hamlet, commingles with the void of infinite deliberation and reversals. Dashed by violent eddies of brine, Thomas begins to gradually become one with the Mallarméan "identical neutrality of the abyss," with the desolate emptiness of primordial chaos (CP 140). Battered by turbid swells, he mingles with toho-bohu, the formless void that, prior to having its darkness divided by the genesis of day, cloaked all in bleakness. Fascinated by his rotating deluge of speculation, placed in stark relief by the murky sea of the night, Thomas pursues "a sort of reverie in which he confused himself with the sea...dispersing himself in the thought of the water" (TO 8). Here, in what is only to become the first of his limit-experiences, he attempts to negate the limits of his individuality.

However, although given over to dissolution, to "continuing his endless journey, with an absence of organism in an absence of sea," Thomas encounters the continuous flux of his imagination as an ineluctable limitation, as an entity that resists subsumption (TO 8). Faced with this continuous stream, Thomas, unable to find a means for interrupting it, asks, "What escape was there?" (TO 8). In this manner, he experiences, like Levinas, the il y a (there is) as perpetual neutrality, as the irreducible condition of existence, as an unsurpassable existential dilemma or boundary. Failing to lose himself in the abyss, Thomas therefore reenters the pain of haecceity or individuality. Having done so, he experiences, like Bataille, the nausea and suffering "which the astonishment at not being everything, at even having concise limits, gives us" (Bataille xxxii).

Once Thomas feels the anonymous weight of the il y a, though, it is not long before he again attempts to flee its burden, for in a sense, Thomas symbolizes the human for whom consciousness equals suffering. In other words, Thomas, having left behind the sea he encountered in chapter I, nevertheless encounters, as he does repeatedly through the novel, another void within which he contests his individuality. Chapter II of the novel thus finds Thomas once again contesting the boundaries of his existence and placing his limits in dispute. This chapter begins with Thomas, not unlike Odysseus, who, after suffering a shipwreck and narrowly escaping the Charybdis, found himself washed upon a foreign island (at the close of the bk. XII), embarking on a purely insular quest. However, whereas before he attempted to lose himself in the sea, Thomas now finds himself marooned upon the island of Sir Thomas More, lost in a forest that can best be described as nowhere, as utopia. Here, in solitude, images that, despite their apparent tangibility, remain shadowy and indistinct haunt Thomas.

Falling prey to the spectral images of the wood, Thomas enters the solitary and nocturnal glade of fascination. He becomes fascinated with the spectral aspects passing before his eyes. For placed in stark contrast by the prevailing darkness of the wood, the ghosted images, despite the fact that they remain mere shadows or wisps, assume before him an almost charismatic semblance to reality. Transfixed by these spectral reifications, Thomas discovers that, although darkness surrounds him, "it did not seem that he had given up seeing in the darkness, rather the contrary" (TO 13). As a result, it is as if, nearing the true rest of sleep, Thomas extinguishes the light only to discover that, by welcoming darkness to his room, he in fact welcomes a thousand trajectories of thought that in effect convert his mind into a private planetarium. His stream of consciousness thus comes to resemble a shower of wayward shooting stars that, as they eliminate all drowsiness and prevent the possibility of true sleep, plunge him into insomnia, into waking dream.

Absorbed and negated by the inertial désoeuvrement or worklessness of the night, Thomas, like Sartre's Roquentin, encounters a presence similar to the es gibt (there is) of Heidegger. This presence, seemingly one and the same with the impersonal awareness invoked by the il y a, subjects him to the "experience of non-experience" (IC 210). In other words, Thomas confronts fictive entities that, even though they are illusive and absent, deceptively feign to reality. However, Thomas discovers that he can neither impede nor stop this fictive stream of images, which in effect brings him face to face with an unsurpassable limit. For despite the exposure of this stream of images to something akin to the Hegelian Aufhebung, to "the movements, oppositions and reversals of dialectical reason," Thomas discovers that they remain the basis of a perpetual and constant 'there is' (IC 208-9).

Despite the consistency of the il y a, though, Thomas attempts to escape. To this end, Thomas, sharing correspondence with Descartes, who from a state "as solitary and retired as in deserts the most remote," willfully suspended all previously held truths, Thomas attempts to raze the architectonics of awareness (DM 127). Like Descartes, who reached the "simple resolve to strip oneself of all opinions and beliefs formerly received" (DM 116), Thomas employs "the power not to be" and throws into question the sum of his previous experiences (SL 252). Similar to Husserl in search of the transcendental ego, Thomas, in hopes of isolating what cannot die, employs a negativity or phenomenological bracketing. Hoping that this negativity will eliminate the superfluous to leave him with the essential, he thus negates or doubts the il y a.[1]

However, again like Descartes, who, as a result of his questioning, continually encountered "a thing which thinks" (M 174), Thomas, as he feels "out the limits of the vaulted pit," repeatedly encounters the il y a (TO 13). Because, in contrast to the body, he cannot will this il y a to obey him, Thomas encounters it as disembodied. Consequently, due to the disparate and untethered nature of the il y a, Thomas, lacking the fixed center of a cognito, loses the ability to assert, 'I am.' So although Thomas necessarily takes part in the awareness offered by the il y a, it remains on a plane fundamentally beyond him.

Like Descartes, who discovered that the ineluctable essence of existence resembles a flexible lump of wax, Thomas finds that the disembodied awareness of the il y a resembles "a nocturnal mass" or an amorphous and malleable dream in flux (TO 14).[2] However, sensing like Descartes that, despite his negations, "the same wax remains," he begins to see the futility of his doubt (M 176). For he finds that, despite all his effort at throwing everything into question, disembodied awareness somehow persists. Thomas thus realizes that, although the forest darkens around him, a consistent stream of spectral images will continue to prevent him from losing himself.

Thomas, discovering that negation and his "refusal to advance" merely propel the churning stream of his imagination, encounters awareness as a fundamental limitation (TO 13). Discovering that, as in chapter I, negation and doubt only bring him into closer contact with the ineluctable nature of the il y a, Thomas comes to tragically identify awareness as the "sovereignty of a being without being in the becoming without end of a death impossible to die" (IC 209).

Although Thomas uncovers that which resists negation, these findings in the end share greater affinity with Roquentin's pathetic realization than with Cartesian illumination. For rather than grant him, as the cognito supplied Descartes, the power of an unshakable beginning, a day founded upon 'clear and distinct' illatives, Thomas's interior experience delivers him unto the anguish of existential indecision. As a result, Thomas sinks into the reductio ad absurdum of the mise en abyme, into an absent presence consumed by absent beings. Here, he "becomes aware of himself as separate, absent from being" (SL 252).

In contrast to the errant travelers in Descartes, who, "finding themselves lost in a forest, know that they ought not to wander first to one side and then to the other...but understand that they should continue to walk as straight as they can in one direction," Thomas vacillates (DM 122). Lost in the nocturnal wilderness of fascination, immured by the muse Mnemosyne within the solitary cave of his own mind, Thomas finds himself overwhelmed by the interminable. Exiled from the productivity of the day, his progress begins to seem "more apparent than real, for this new spot was indistinguishable from the last, he encountered the same difficulties here, and it was in a sense the same place that he was moving away from out of terror of leaving it" (TO 14).

Infatuated by shadowy figments whose remove paradoxically increases the intimacy of their presence, Thomas enters a time that knows no bounds, the time of time's absence. Simultaneously vexed and captivated by chimeras of the mind, he falls prey to the trickery of a daemon or arch-deceiver, an evil genius not unlike the one that Descartes suspected of miring him in the illusory. Here, immersed in darkness and the inanition of the night, Thomas enters an "enclave, a preserve within space, airless and without light, where a part of himself, and, more that that, his truth, his solitary truth, suffocates in an incomprehensible separation" (SL 54).

In the night of the night, with his vision rendered exorbitant by the stream of consciousness, by an excess of selves, Thomas loses the ability to assert the 'I am' that the world demands as a fixed center. In other words, Thomas's fascination causes him to identify with the cadaverous image to such a degree that he loses his individuality. With his identity overwhelmed by a contingent surfeit of imagery, Thomas begins to live vicariously. In this manner Thomas nears the only work both Blanchot and Bataille deems worthy of pursuance, for both believe that one nears the possibility of recomposing previous limitations only by submitting oneself to excess, to surfeit, to "what Georges Bataille names 'chance'" (IC 209).

Taking the apparent proximity and tangibility of the oneiric and shadowy as "the culmination of his sight," Thomas comes to resemble Hardy's Jude the Obscure (TO 14-15). One especially recognizes similarities between Jude and Thomas in Sue Bridehead's wistful description of Jude: "You are Joseph the dreamer of dreams, dear Jude. And a tragic Don Quixote. And sometimes you are St. Stephen, who, while they were stoning him, could see Heaven opened. Oh, my poor friend and comrade, you'll suffer yet!" (Hardy 216). Indeed, Thomas shares with Jude the Obscure similarities that go beyond the Heraclitean epithet they share as an appendage to their Christian name. Being from a Christian time and land, one assumes that Jude took his name from St. Jude, the martyr who is none other than 'the Saint of Impossible Cases.' Such a patron saint, while it is certainly apropos of Jude's attempts to gain admittance to the university, likewise of course pertains to Thomas's struggle against the impossibility of death.

Enthralled by the night afforested with imaginal semblance, by "the whole woods still quivering and full of life," Thomas enters the Blanchotian 'essential solitude,' an abysmal lack of being that paradoxically makes the essence of the world vividly appear (TO 15). Fascinated by images that vacantly double the world, by mere shades of former selves, by ephemeral vestiges of the light and truth of the world, Thomas loses himself to disembodied traces of what once enjoyed the truth of embodiment in the world. Unable to refuse these images, he thus continual faces the reality "that when everything has disappeared, there still is something" (SL 253). As a result, like the narrator of Proust's Swann's Way, who, after soaking the 'petites madeleines' crumbs in lime-flower tea, encountered the "abyss of uncertainty...the mind feels...when it, the seeker, is at same time the dark region through which it must go seeking and where all its equipment will avail it nothing," Thomas enters a hyper-conscious state dominated by the ambiguity of recollection or the churning of a disembodied awareness (49).

Similar to smoke emitted by a pipe in dissipating rings of redolence, which unexpectedly imbued the persona of Mallarmé's prose-poem 'La Pipe' within the solitary "air of the previous winter," the hazy, transparent figments of recollection soon hover about Thomas, encompassing him like a cloud of smoke (CP 97). This stream of recollection both tantalizes and repulses him, for even though it streams in unending chains of association, the chains do not adhere to any sort of logical or linear pattern. Rather they entangle Thomas in the fragmented and nonlinear, in a flow seemingly generated by spontaneity and contingency.

Through a phenomenological negativity based upon the Berkeleian formula esse est percipi (to be is to be perceived), Thomas constructs metropolitan spaces of the mind or "cities made of emptiness" (TO 16). By continuing to doubt the il y a, he founds a citizenry that in effect remain as ambiguous and mutative as Fantômas and as mysterious as the Shadow, the American noir character.[3] Through this construction of idiosyncratic mental space, Thomas, as he perpetually confronts images generated by his own imagination, in effect engages in an insular quest not unlike the war Don Quixote waged against the Knight of the Mirrors.

Attempting to make and unmake himself through the decentralization of vision, Thomas employs a modus operandi similar to the mystical theology of Bataille. That is, by "wiping the slate clean" with a dose of negativity, Thomas approaches a realm not unlike the sacred of Bataille (Bataille 9). However, in keeping with most mystical theologies, Thomas's experience of the sacred eludes the rational base of language to remain essentially interior and subjective.

In accordance with romantic ideals, Blanchot, like Bataille, believes that the sacred can only be reached after an expenditure of energy on 'unworldly' activities, on activities that do not lead to material gain. For that reason, Blanchot views the road to the sacred as an ordeal. As Bruns points out, here the sacred is seen as "a trial, transformation, or adventure, or, at the outer limit, as suffering, sacrifice, torture, tragedy, or in short experience as the expenditure of subjectivity" (137). Therefore, Thomas's steps toward the sacred expose him to an extreme trial.

Coalescing with the night, Thomas submits himself to the trial of solitude, to a test that has the potential to ruin most Kings. As Pascal stated, "Put it to the test; leave a king entirely alone, with nothing to satisfy his sense, no care to occupy his mind, with no one to keep him company and no diversion, with complete leisure to think about himself, and you will see that a king without diversion is a very wretched man" (71). Yet according to Blanchot, Thomas must encounter the inertial worklessness of essential solitude, for "those who care only for brilliant success are nevertheless in search of this point where nothing can succeed" (SL 55). He must enter the night of the night, for according to Blanchot, it is only by subjecting oneself to the Orphic quest, by plunging into the blackest of springs, that one may reconfigure the limitation of existence; it is only by entering the uncertain depths of the lacuna that one may transform the diluvian excesses of consciousness into a purifying ablution.

At the extreme moment of his "monstrous union" with the exorbitant night, though, Thomas, in a manner that resonates with his actions at the end of chapter I, turns his back on the spectral forest (TO 16). Extracting and tearing himself away from solitude and its glades of fascination, he makes an effort to return to the society of the hotel. Residue from his limit-experience nonetheless continues to haunt him, for as he reaches the hotel, he still exchanges "contact with the void"..

(full text at http://www.studiocleo.com/librarie/blanchot/kf/orphic/the_Limits.htm )

Sunday, May 22, 2011

'Spiritual awakening is frequently described as a journey to the top of a mountain. We leave our attachments and our worldliness behind and slowly make our way to the top. At the peak we have transcended all pain. The only problem with this metaphor is that we leave all the others behind - our drunken brother, our schizophrenic sister, our tormented animals and friends. Their suffering continues, unrelieved by our personal escape.

In the process of discovering bodhichitta, the journey goes down, not up. It's as if the mountain pointed toward the centre of the earth instead of reaching into the sky. Instead of transcending the suffering of all creatures, we move toward the turbulence and doubt. We jump into it. We slide into it. We tiptoe into it. We move toward it however we can. We explore the reality and unpredictability of insecurity and pain, and we try not to push it away. If it takes years, if it takes lifetimes, we let it be as it is. At our own pace, without speed or aggression, we move down and down and down. With us we move millions of others, our companions in awakening from fear. At the bottom we discover water, the healing water of bodhichitta. Right down there in the thick of things, we discover the love that will not die.' - PEMA CHODRON

Out on the Weekend by Neil Young

Kate Bush - King of the Mountain

The Master Switch ~ Cormac Figgis



Sunday, May 8, 2011

Friday, April 8, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Maggie Gyllenhaal Secretary interview

La Forêt Rouge (Robert Wyatt)



...The shadow man does see her. It is cold and lonely all around, but the eyes can see through darkness and he feels the healing presence.

And the wanderer knows that she reads clearly the scars, for she has been in contact with danger more than once too, and just has the elegance to hide the fear and tears behind beauty and smile.

(TDO)

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Man Who Wasn't There - Moonlight Sonata

Bach, J.S. - "Air" Orchestral Suite N° 3 in D Major_BWV 1068

re-visiting ~~~ my favourite adventure of Jasmine and Rose

(from Le Manoir de Lord Tennington by 'Evariste Arsonval' - translated and adapted from the French by Eabha Rose)


Invisible and free! Invisible and free! ..." exalted Margaret in the magnificent novel by Mikhail Bulgakov. Elsewhere, naked in the clouds, the beautiful sorceress (as sung by Robert Desnos, the most courageous of poets/alchemists) rode her magic broomstick to the masked ball hosted by the King of Darkness, who had been disguised as a snake in the Garden of Eden.

Naked, Rose was not yet, but speeding through the clouds whilst clinging tightly to Jasmine who steered the broomstick, she enjoyed her first experience of flying with her beloved sorceress. Trembling with fear, mad with pleasure, she admired the virtuosity with which this beautiful thief sailed though the sky a few hundred metres above the streets of Dublin.

"The Master and Margarita!" remembered the scholar...."The best novel by Mikhail Bulgakov, a journey of balance between good and evil, a confrontation with Satan, on the thread of love....But here begin the adventures of The Mistress and Rose! ... What will happen next? ...' she wondered as she laid her cheek tenderly against the back of her dearest Jasmine, feeling blessed that she had been abandoned to this fate ....

"This is not the time to be emotional, Rose", Jasmine said as she turned her broomstick to avoid the steeple of St. Patrick's Cathedral. "I fly, you do not move except when I tell you to move....For now, cover your eyes... I do not want you to know where my lair is..." - And the sorceress gave her a blindfold behind which Rose hid her eyes.

Rose was now in darkness, hundreds of feet above the ground, not knowing where she was or where she was being taken, balanced percariously, hardly daring to hold Jasmine for fear of displeasing her. She tried to find comfort in hearing the voice of the witch whose beauty was unveiled by the wind, and so told her humbly, "O, Jasmine..I do not see anything."

Jasmine replied immediately... "Call me Mistress. I don't want to have to say it again.... "

- And it was as if Rose had been slapped again by Sonia but even more painfully and by the dry voice of the woman with whom she was sailing. Rose felt hurt and embarrassed. She wanted to be gone, to have never known Tennington, to have never been invited to join Jasmine. She wanted to return to a familiar place, to a warm pub with a beautiful university friend, to talk about literature, to dream ...

"Am I dreaming?" Rose wondered ...This troubling thought tore at her while the broomstick began to nose dive as if Jasmine had intended to crush them both to end this shameful adventure. And indeed the silent witch, in the most daring defiance of universal gravitation, waved her wand and, as they dove at great speed, the Earth, by Magic, opened before them. They passed in to a dark underground labyrinth where large rocks began to part, opening the passage, their pace slowing significantly.

Suddenly the broom stopped, resting motionless in the air as it waited patiently for Jasmine to disembark. She grabbed Rose and threw her across her shoulder and then with the same force, threw her on to the bed before slipping the blindfold from her eyes. Jasmine then returned the broom to the closet before changing in to a dark red negligee which revealed her fullness as well as her wild yet sensual beauty.

"Dearest Mistress", said Rose, "thank you for saving me."

Jasmine turned away..."I have not saved. I've removed."

"But you removed me to save me...."

"Not at all. I have removed you to take you as my apprentice witch as Beatrice was stolen from me... Due to stupid modern ideas, it has become so difficult to find a submissive female apprentice.. Males are scrambling to fill the role but they do not understand it as a woman does. Why do you think Beatrice was stolen? Why do you think these pesudo-alchemists wanted you too? To educate? to protect you? Not at all! They are selfish. They only want you to serve them. An instrument like you should be handled with dexterity. Hush, now, I want to read and write some....."

Under the candlelight, Jasmine noticed the cabalistic signs woven through the text she was reading. "The Master will understand. He knows the Book of Books. He cannot ignore the cabal. I sent him a quick note to thank him and reassure him. It is better that we have an ally. After all, it was he who found you. I do not think he wants me. He has both Sonia and Beatrice. He is smart enough to know that you are perfect to serve me and I am also here to please you..."

"Now it's time to get ready to eat, Rose.. Take off your hood, take off your clothes. Put this on." Jasmine handed her a transparent cotton dress.

"But what should I wear underneath, Mistress? "asked Rose, unveiling her fair face as the hood fell around her shoulders.

"You do not ask questions. This is the second rule. If I wanted you wear something underneath, I would have given it to you."

Rose, without daring to look up, took off her shoes. She then undid her garter belt, her stockings falling to her feet before she placed them gently on the bed. Rose then released the straps of her dress and stepped out of it. She then arched her back to undo her bra before lowering her panties. A blushing Rose stood naked before Jasmine, who watched her intently.

"Stay like that for now", said Jasmine. "I need to look more closely." She approached Rose, caressed her breasts with the tips of the fingers, slightly scratching her. She tasted and chewed the nipples. "Very nice', Jasmine said massaging the pale firm breasts presented to her, their nipples responding to the witch's touch. Jasmine then introduced her finger in to Rose's mouth.

"Suck....." she said..."Yes, voluptuous and sensual....Perfect".

Turn around for me to consider your butt." Rose turned around.

"Well trained, well shaped... There is no denying you are very nice, but it's not just the aesthetics that matter in life - the material must be resistant too." Jasmine then pinched Rose sharply on her bottom. Rose bit her lip to keep from crying. "Very good. Firm and responsive. You are what I am looking for...." And she smacked Rose with her strong elegant hand... "But it is not yet time to have fun, for now we must eat..."

Saturday, March 19, 2011