Saturday, March 28, 2009

How can you love your body?

I was leisurely captivated by a starless night when, in delicately turning a cloud, my elbow weighed on a remote control which gave the floor very loudly to a television with which I still share my dining room. I jumped out at this creature of Sony to muzzle it, but an indignation lacerated the cool silence, shrieked by the image of a woman looming out of what I thought I saw was a discussion on breast enlargement: "How can you love your body if you don't feel loved!"

The silence rapidly regained control but I could not escape from overtime as this resonating byword continued to bellow in my head: How can you love your body if you don't feel loved! There was no way out, I had to resign myself to the ordeal of sudden death: How can you love your body if you don't feel loved!

I thus confronted the intruder, and I do not regret it, for I had never approached such a digest of fundamentals! Ah, I think I've found a pearl! I will have a jeweller examine it in the coming days, but it is already clear that I have struck a bargain. What we have here is undoubtedly a masterpiece of contemporary art: How can you love your body if you don't feel loved!?

First there is this splendid "how". The artist has not skimped with an unfit why, he exclusively used noble materials, giving immediately the means to the largest number to lounge in a sumptuous: How would you like your steak honey, rare, medium or well done? Which obviously waters the mouth of the aesthetic butchery.

Then comes the expression "can you" which is the signature stamp of modern times. Only the nitwit wants, these days each and everyone can! This is very important because the how and the can do away once and for all with the why and the want. These days we can more and more, and it is increasingly less worth it to want.

Then we penetrate into the thick of things: we postulate that we love our body more than anything ("How can you love your body!") and it is after this paroxysmal pause that the reclamation at last manifests itself ("if you don't feel loved!").

- Do you feel how I love you?
- Um... no!
- And there for example, do you feel it better?
- No, I don't feel a thing!!!
- Ok and there?
- The cheek!!!
- Well what then, do you want to feel like I love you or do you not? Smile

I'm sorry but I don't understand why the verb to feel is not in the first part of the sentence: How can you love your body if you don't feel loved! There's no reason why everybody can't feel everything right from the start, why wait? But it may also just be a question of information and communication, well of organisation and synergy of skills: How can you love your body if you are not informed you are loved! That's it basically, synergy of skills and transfer of information between the one who loves and the one who is loved, we can't do everything at once, to love and to be loved, and we aren't either necessarily informed of everything at each moment!

Pfff, no, that's not it either, it's not so simple, for how will we feel we are informed that we can feel we are loved??? Ah yes, that's a responsible policy which gives concrete answers and not ideal and platonic forms, because we say things, but in practice nobody holds their promises!

Honestly if I were a TV show host to the question "How can you love your body if you don't feel loved?" I would have answered: "I prefer not to say anything nonsensical, and the answer is no."

So I know you well enough, you will tell me that there was no question and that the lady thundered an indignation, not at all an interrogation, but you know why I would still answer this? Can you imagine a nice looking and intelligent young girl venting such a stupidity: "How can you love your body if you don't feel loved? Don't you see the ball b... running towards you from 100 yards out "And what do I do to feel someone loves me if I am ugly and stupid? I'm not even asking to be loved, but at least that somebody makes me believe it, so I can feel what it does to those who are loved for real!

Yes, ok, you've already mentioned this, I am not deaf. There was no question, I nonetheless answered and it may very well be that I spoiled something. Well, ok, I admit it then, I spoiled something, but me, with experience, there are things I prefer to spoil, ya never know.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Radical nostalgias


It would no doubt be sappier to proceed with an analysis of our radical nostalgias rather than a psychoanalysis of the foundations and the bogs.

We would most certainly come across the large beams of the architecture of the soul. I am quite certain that we would extract from it a nostalgia of the artistic perfection, a nostalgia of liberty, of eternity, of love etc., and also a nostalgia of truth... that one is not so common these days, but we would nonetheless find it, at least if we looked long and hard enough... lol

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Zen attitude

Buddhist apathy does not consist in a desire unsatisfied, or a want, but well and truly in the absence of desire, which stifles the want, thus suffering or pain, at the root, as one no longer desires. One must desire to suffer, one must be in want of a good, even on the physical level, for bodily pain is the absence of health, thus a physical want which, if not satisfied, produces suffering.

The same holds affectively, and if for example I grieve over the death of my friend, it is obvious that if I manage to forget him, I will not suffer! For that matter this is why sleep, ultimately, be it physical or mental, enables not to suffer, since our desire and suffering are also put to sleep. Doctors today know how to relieve 95% of physical sufferings; for the remaining 5%, they put the patient to sleep, at which time any signs of suffering on the patients face vanishes. Thus suffering implies conscience, and more particularly the conscience of the unsatisfied desire and of the want. Behind this unsatisfied desire is hope, or despair if we persuade ourselves that the good we hope for is not attainable. This is what despair is: the certainty that a good has utterly escaped us.

Buddha was a prince, rich, capable of having more or less anything he wanted, women, horses, music etc., and he realized that he always desired something more, indefinitely, that he was never satisfied, never in rest, never serene, he saw that his soul was always in a state of agitation, thus in a state of suffering. He thus set off to meditate in the mountain to understand and experiment how not to suffer, and one of the things he understood is that suffering proceeds from desire, and therefore if one no longer desires one no longer suffers. Buddha was quite preoccupied, I believe, by the question of suffering. He saw that by anesthetizing passions, suffering was also anesthetized, for suffering is a passion!

One must distinguish and highlight the difference between not loving and not being (sufficiently) united to ones good whilst desiring to love and be united with ones good (typically suffering), and not loving because we desire nothing, and it is this last state which is Buddhist apathy. Yet passions are not good or bad of themselves, it all depends what the aim is. Thus, anger can be just, where not being angry would be a raging fault, or the sign of an incapacity or debility of the heart and reason! I say this because nowadays we oft hear that one must remain "zen" in all circumstances, and that anger is the sign of a person who doesn't control himself. Yet when one becomes angry, in particular, this shows where one is wounded, thus where one "loves". I am obviously not speaking of an infantile burst of anger, but of a just anger. And yet we are oft told that one must not demonstrate anger. Thus we are told not to be affected by anything, in other words we are told not to love... keep cool, do not love! Lol

Passions are neither virtues nor vices, they proceed from our capacity to suffer. I don't know if one can say this, but it seems to me right at this moment, in some sense, that passion is almost the opposite of virtue, for virtue does not in the least consist in suffering, and I think that many have moralized passions.

There is another thing that is very important, imo, that must be closely scrutinized, and that is what bad/evil is, which thus produces suffering, whichever angle we look at it, physical, affective, intellectual, spiritual. It is a big bone, upon which many a neuron has stumbled, sometimes without surmounting the obstacle, other times only doing so after ten or so years. Bad/evil is obviously linked to suffering, and depending on how we answer the question "what is evil", the consequences are immense downstream. The zen tendency, in fashion, likes to infer that evil does not exist, or that it is equal to good, in brief fashion is misguided. Nietzsche would say, "beyond good and evil", which is rather a Buddhist attitude for that matter, necessarily, for if good has something to do with love, evil has to do with suffering, the two having to do with desire, be it satisfied or not, but with desire. Thus if I no longer desire, I do away with good or evil. The philosophical question of "what is evil" is the real foundation of ethics, there can be no other, the rest is for suckers. But one must treat this question radically, as far upstream as possible, well before morality which is one of the consequences of the answer we arrive at or not.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Rector

Credit image:

Once upon a time, my mother warned me we would have guests for supper, and that I would exceptionally have the permission to partake in the meal. She felt it necessary to add that I best be polite because the Rector was included in the lot. Rather stupidly I admit, I made an etymological association between rector and rectum, and I concluded he must necessarily be an arse. I didn't say anything to my mother so as not to grieve her, as I thought interiorly: "if we start having washouts as guests, and further if I have permission to carve up a bite with them, we are not out of the woods yet."

A stack of people showed up at around eight, and I focused on the washout in question. He didn't really look more like a washout than the rest of the guests, but I had him in my scope, and also his wife for that matter, who wasn't too unpleasant looking after all, let's be honest with some hindsight. As I didn't have permission to engage in conversation, I kept my mouth shut at the table. Towards the end of the supper, the bloke, thinking he was doing well in breaking the adult ice, loomed towards me and asked: "And you youngster, what do you want to be when you grow up???"

My, that was unexpected!! I jumped on the occasion I was waiting for since the commencement... I was planning on being a musician, which is what I did later on, and I answered that, but with the following undertones: "I won't be a rectum, pal!". Now, I felt that the bloke did not appreciate the answer, especially the tone that I had spiced it up with, and the other guests were silently awaiting a pedagogical commentary such as "that's not a job!". Lo and behold, the rector full-fledged played into my hand: "That's not a job, young man! Where is that going to lead you... musician?". As I had anticipated his answer, I retorted: "to the cemetery, just like you, but normally and given your age, a little later than you".

What a feast! Dead silence, half of the guests who couldn't stand the rector in the outside world were tittering in their desert. Without more ado, my mother offered him another helping. At the time she always made orange salad and chocolate mousse for the guests, for sake of simplicity. She addressed him with her customary demeanour: "I would be really pleased if you would help yourself to some more, if you are tempted".

Well the bloke's face had turned a color exactly like the orange salad on the table. Even as I was licking my plate, I observed him from the corner of my eye. This is when my father stepped in: "Maybe you will say goodnight like a good boy and go to bed?" Whereupon I said: "Not so fast, I will help myself to some more chocolate mousse, as soon as the rectum has had seconds!"

Since that day, I assure you, I work my etymology!! This is something Georgina never understood! It is useless she would say, like metaphysics, just the same. Jeez.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Analogical thinking

Painting: Aristotle and Alexander

The work of art is at the starting point of Aristotle's analysis. For this he has been much criticized. However, his critics often didn't understand that his approach was an analogical one.

The work of art is closer to human sensibility than nature, and thus closer to our psychological conditioning. It is therefore logical, even cunning, to start with our manner of analyzing a human craft to highlight the essential creases of intelligence, creases which constitute the manner in which we analyze and seek the proper principles of reality.

Well then in front of a work of art we interest ourselves firstly in what determines in the order of intelligibility (it's a bicycle or a computer or a table). Thus we look at form (form amswers the question: what is it?), then matter, then the author or agent (i.e. the efficient cause, or the origin), then the purpose or end (in view of what the work is made) and finally the exemplar cause (on what model it was created).

We can put these five interrogations in parallel to our five senses: what it is (sight or the formal cause), of what it is made (touch or the material cause); where it comes from (hearing or the efficient cause), in view of what it is (smell or the final cause), on which model it is (taste or the exemplar cause).

These five questions are then extended to nature and to man. One must therefore extend this interrogation of the "why" of man, following the formal cause of what is. I know reality in its descriptive form, for example "Valerie is a woman", but I want to discover in me (or someone else) what comes first. That is the true appetite of intelligence, for the principle is what is first in its order and that beyond which I cannot go.