Sunday, August 28, 2011

double effect

Every memory is a resurrection: every return yields a potential for insurrection.

Friday, August 19, 2011


This has been a revelatory year for me. I came into contact with the kindest humans, and was touched by their humanity; their ability to recognize another human being for-itself and not as a means to an end. At the same time, the parasitic nature of some people was revealed to me. And this parasitism resulted from their narcissism, I believe, their inability to look beyond the mirror, to realize their reflection is mediated through an object.
It's also been difficult with my grandmother's passing, whom I loved deeply and who was a truly kind, spiritual, patient, and oft-forgiving person.

Overall, I think something has been unconcealed, but as Heidegger argues in "The Origin of a Work of Art) (1936, published 1950), a moment of unconcealment depends on the concealment of something else.

Now, I'm drowning myself in books, as I have no choice. My involvement in the blog world will begin to dwindle. But, again, I'm grateful to those that have been reading and commenting on my blog, and it has been a delight to read and comment on yours.

A special thanks to Ovais (I was touched by your award), Izdiher (faithful commentator and promoter of my blog), (always writes encouraging and supportive comments), and Aman (for her concerns).

Thursday, August 18, 2011

i don't know why

i don’t know why i am so, or why i feel as i do. must be because i’m both outside and inside. my unconditional unconditionality was left outside, but i am inside, an apparition gliding between borders, hovering between neurosis and uncanny calmness. i don’t know why i am holding this angel-sent nothingness between my palms, for i can smell its bitterness. i don’t know why.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

more Butler and resistance

Foucault proposes that sexuality should not be perceived as a natural drive, but is shaped by our cultural context. Modern power subjects individuals, but it simultaneously creates them as subjects by subjecting them. the face of such omnipresent power, the question of resistance inevitably arises. Foucault proposes that we undermine the boundaries of pleasure delimited by discursive powers. In Gender Trouble, Judith Butler draws on Foucault’s conception of power to analyze normative femininity and masculinity for that matter. She argues, as I’ve mentioned in any earlier post, that gender norms govern gender identity. To undermine normative constraints, she proposes that one highlights, makes manifest, the constructions of gender. That is to say, to unravel gender performativity, either by exaggerating characteristics associated with being female for instance, or to take on traits that have been assigned to the other sex. In her preface to Bodies that Matter, Butler sums up a major criticism, or response, to her Gender Trouble: “What about the materiality of the body, Judy?...they eat and sleep...cannot be dismissed as a construction. ” She responds by presenting what she refers to as a “process of materialisation that stabilises over time to produce the effect of boundary.” In other words, sex is only posited epistemologically as prior to construction, but it is only language that allows for such a positing. In Bodies that Matter, Butler extends her analysis of subjection to underscore how it affects the materiality of the body and delineates what bodies matter on a social level. In fact she adapts Kristeva’s notion of the abject to analyze bodies that are expelled in society.
She argues that since language conditions the appearance of materiality, materiality remains mutable and contestation possible. So while she doesn’t dismiss the ontological reality of the body, she argues that the body is only understood through language which cannot reveal the body per se, but how we speak about the body, how subjectivity is manufactured.

Monday, August 15, 2011

permanent strangers

Unheimlich, or the uncanny, for Freud, represents experiences that are uncomfortably strange or uncomfortably familiar. It could consist of the return of a repressed past into the present, or the unconscious obtruding into consciousness. He draws on examples on literary examples, such as the Oedipus myth, moments when life and fiction are blurred resulting in life as fiction. It’s also a moment of uncertainty at the intellectual level, where we are rationally uncertain of how to receive something, whether seeing our double, or an inanimate object become life like. Heimlich is the German word for “homely,” or “native,” and thereby Unheimlich is that which is “unhomely;” yet, it is and is not homely or familiar. The term heimlick contains a paradoxical premise for it is what is familiar and concealed. It’s an indefinite concept and defies a straightforward definition. I wonder to what extent, the notion of permanent strangers evokes the uncanny, a movement from familiarity to absolute strangeness. When your idea of a person is shattered to the point of transforming the person into a complete stranger. What is most sad, however, is the permanent stranger turns out to have always been a stranger. Your conceptions were always misconceptions. There’s the risk of questioning yourself, whether in fact you knew this person and whether this sudden strangeness, even animosity, places you under erasure.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

the game of the imagination

I would transform your cold arrogance; let it crumple the mountain of loneliness into streams of laughter moving along a string quartet with love engraved on the violin playing in a battle field soaking with freedom that retrieves humanity’s lost shadows; i would unearth your heart and let it dance against the moonlight, an interplay of confessions reverberating: a pendulum swing.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

love is

a daydream curving into a petal falling into the shadowy ocean

Kristeva's Black Sun: Matricide or Suicide (metaphorical of course)

A brief summary of Kristeva's Black Sun (1987), at the least her first chapter "Psychoanalysis: A Counterdepressant."
In Black Sun, Kristeva explores the concept of Depression/Melancholia, for she uses them interchangeably, and conceives of Melancholia as a linguistic malady. She p[oints to the failure of the symbolic for the melancholic who communicates at the semiotic level. She uses the image of the “black sun” which she borrows from Gérard de Nerval’s sonnet as to underscore the simultaneous radiance and darkness of the sun. It’s important to highlight that for Kristeva the importance of what Lacan labels the mirror stage where the child is separated from his/her mother’s body and thereby enters the symbolic realm, that is enters into language and becomes subsumed under the father of the law. But, there’s always a return to the maternal through the semiotic, which is not a system of signs as suggested by Ferdinand de Saussure, but for her is the study of marks. The semiotic, then, is at the level of gesture. To use Freudian parlance, it language that belongs to the pre-Oedipal infant. Melancholia/depression, then, arise when the subject fails to mourn the lost maternal, as such, unable to enter the symbolic system. So subjects under this condition, are unable to articulate their suffering yearns for the maternal Thing which belongs to a pre-discursive libidinal economy. In order to acquire a position as subject in the symbolic, one must commit what Kristeva terms, matricide. The melancholic chooses to sacrifices oneself rather than negate the mother and does not turn to a “third party⎯father, form, schema”As Kristeva writes, : “Of this Nerval provides a dazzling metaphor that
suggests an insistence without presence, a light without representation: the Thing is an imagined sun, bright and black at the same time.” However, as the metaphor of black sun suggests, there are two sides to this condition.
As one notes, Kristeva leaves the melancholic subject with few options, both debilitating in one way or another, and both return to the maternal figure.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

lifeless life

I shall write whatever comes to mind just to force myself to write.

Lifeless life. Beneath the light we find shadows lurking, moving, evading. Within this shadow is an other, a self, seeking a lost love object. Dark shadow manifests with light a blurring of shades. This lifeless life is indeed alive awaiting to ascribe meaning when it sees none.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

the problem is

The problem is that this has not turned into a myth, yet. The idea of movement danced and seized upon me, but this figure of liberation is pure figment, an innocent fantasy. I’m in stasis: a transitional space that seems tunnel-like without lights. Perhaps the problem is that I’m waiting for a magical solution after having demystified the situation. Maybe the problem is I’m relying on fictional advice to manifest itself as real. Surely, the problem is that reality is always painstakingly muddled.

Monday, August 8, 2011

False Clarity: An Overview of Adorno and Horkheimer's Dialectic of Enlightenment

In The Dialectics of the Enlightenment (1947), Adorno and Horkheimer undertake to expose the disillusion of the Enlightenment, what they refer to as the “self destruction of the Enlightenment.” They argue that “myth is already Enlightenment; and Enlightenment reverts to mythology.” In other words, one finds the blurring of myth into Enlightenment and vice versa. In Dialectic of Enlightenment, Horkheimer and Adorno revisit and revise the concept of Enlightenment noting a continuation between Enlightenment and modernity. In fact what the Enlightenment stood for, such as progress through reason, has turned into a nightmare. While technology exposes the falsity of myths in the past, it also becomes a way of being.
Adorno and Horkheimer take a pessimistic view of the cultural industry, or what we have come to consider popular culture. In a chapter entitled “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception,” Adorno and Horkheimer respond to Walter Benjamin’s essay, “In the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” (1936) in which he paints a democratic picture of mass reproduction. His main arguement was that reproductive techniques the aura of ritual that once marked high art and photography. This is to say, that one was no longer enraptured while standing before a great work of art and that art was now accessible to the masses. However, Adorno and Horkheimer who believed reproductive techniques to be regressive They underscore the dissolution of creativity in such an industry in which art, literature or classical music (they have all become commodities) is reduced to commercial rules. In effect, the cultural industry attempts to create products that meet the wants of different consumers under the guise of “individualisation” (this is evident in numerous commercials today) deluding the consumer of a feeling of democracy. This leaves passive and unreflective receivers in the face of the production of cultural clichés and a perpetual reproduction of cultural forms.

What one feels is only a false sense of pleasure, what they authors label as a “phoney catharsis.” In turn, we’re left with notion of boredom, and a need to seek refuge in products as to fulfill this sense of boredom that only leaves us with deflected promises. This, of course, is a hazardous for intellectualism as the consumer becomes desensitised.
Finally, a gap is created between the self and the image portrayed by the media that creates a narcisstic appeal. One is duped into thinking he/she can achieve stardom, that what one sees on TV reflects reality. The cultural industry also creates social control (think facebook) where users (including myself) submit to it, usually unreflectively. Culture, in turn, is transformed into “barbaric meaninglessness.” Culture is now disseminated to us through images, sound effects (think of digital manipulations. The consumer grows more passive relying on names or titles to invoke experience. However, the authors claims that consumers become aware of the manipulations of the culture industry and it’s attempt to control society, and yet submit to it out of sheer powerlessness.
While I agree with A and H’s pessimism especially as it’s relevant in today’s society, one is struck by one-sidedness of their argument. Film is not necessarily mimetic; it can be emancipatory. The totalitarianism of mass media and the culture industry is not impenetrable.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

memory, a clip

I wanted to share this clip as I find it very touching and also thought provoking. It's a documentary about living with Alzheimer; in this particular clip the poet Edwin Honig is being interviewed by Alan Berliner.
Memory is such a complex subject and the loss of it transforms a person. At times, in life, however, it's important to forget as to move on, break the chains of enslavement that particular moments in our lives force upon us. At the same time, unwillful forgetfulness, through diseases such as Alzheimer, can be debilitating on the subject and those surrounding it.
All in all, I find this clip as a reminder to remember to live, to remember those around us, "to remember how to forget."

Thursday, August 4, 2011


this dance lifts
the space between us
in this endless maze of inaccurate accuracy
of parasitic promises
premature judgement
a lost love labouring for luminosity
refracting through broken pieces
of shredded heaven at our feet
on the kitchen floor

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


just a greeting and a nod and I went under with the moonlight drops as we all do in times of distress.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


to become a trace of something or otherwise at the painted door or collapsing cathedral
a wisp of shredded photos flailing in the wind
Eastern shrines dedicated to
a sigh, a smile, a stranger
half-written confessions shrivelling under the sunlight
i remember passing over to be remembered, but slipping on uncommon ground
a flickering absence

Monday, August 1, 2011


from crowded clouds thumping
warm vibrations teeter-tottering
a rocking rhythm tantalizing
the succulent earth embracing
discordant whispers exploding
wailing, laughter ebbing
wet syllables flinging
lost lives floating
freedom lovers fantasizing