coromandal


Just submit
November 9, 2019, 4:46 pm
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Was the devil banished to hell because he questioned and ultimately refused an arbitrary demand: to submit to God without debate or discussion?

And likewise are we confronted with a similar manipulation in the neoliberal system: believe and obey and if there is failure, it is your fault and you deserve the social and economic purgatory in which you find yourself?

The ethics of the market fundamentalist project are manifest in the just world hypothesis: all noble actions are justly rewarded, and all evil deeds properly punished. They are also the precepts of meritocracy, that the cause always merits the effect.

There is simply too much evidence of the emptiness of these claims, mountains of receipts to show that what you do has often very little to do with where you find yourself.

The system within which we operate is designed to have virtually no relation to your dreams and labour, while claiming to be a milieu in which you can thrive.

The house of cards collapses when it is revealed that there is no relation between the claims of the dominant orthodoxy – that the systems in place are just and fair – and the outcomes your life, whether good or bad. When you see the lies inherent in the system you may free yourself; when masses of people see them there is a fundamental shift toward freedom.

Or you can just submit.

In my book the demons are not outside forces or evil people like Trump within our own system but rather it’s us. The system is making us into demons. And when I read the stories that the theologians told about how the devil came about, it seemed to me that he was put in a situation where it was impossible, where he was given this meaningless arbitrary demand to just submit to God with no question. And it was when he asked questions or when he resisted a little bit that he was consigned to an eternity in hell. And this is a very extreme case but I think that the basic logic of entrapment works throughout the entire neoliberal system. That we are confronted with these choices and somehow the bad outcomes that keep happening are the result of our individual choices like we should have chosen the environmentally friendly toothpaste if we didn’t want climate change to destroy us all.

Dr. Adam Kotsko on Going Underground with Afshin Rattansi



Alienation, exploitation, history
November 9, 2019, 12:58 pm
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Capitalism keeps us from being creative and realizing our potential.

It threatens starvation and homelessness to extract our work and our value.

Under it’s influence, social structures, ideas and cultures grow out of and naturally legitimate the underlying and most efficient economic systems.

The Marxist theories of alienation, exploitation, and technological materialism, respectively, offer counterarguments to these capitalist trends and orthodoxies.

The effects of these Marxist critiques could result in creative fulfillment, security, stability, and the flowering of a post homo economicus culture.

In my view, Marx makes three key contributions to the history of thought, each of which has been further refined and added to by those who have been influenced by him:

1. The theory of alienation, which criticises capitalism for denying us the opportunity to be creative or to otherwise self-actualize.

2. The theory of exploitation, which criticizes capitalism for forcing workers to surrender some of the value of what they produce by threatening them with starvation and homelessness.

3. The theory of history, also known as “historical materialism,” “dialectical materialism,” and even “technological determinism,” which alleges that more competitive economic systems out-compete less competitive systems and that social structures, ideas, and cultures develop in a manner which serves to legitimate and support these economic system. In other words, the mode of production, or the “base,” determines the social relations, or the “superstructure.”

How Zizek Should Have Replied To Jordan Peterson, by Benjamin Studebak, Current Affairs



The merit lie
May 2, 2019, 1:31 pm
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Too much belief is a sign of our times, belief in markets, merit, credentials, competition. We think we’re free but we’re trapped in a dark age captured by limiting ideologies, in perpetual struggle against each other, without the skills to free ourselves. One way out is to know the insidious nature of the beliefs that hold us captive. To know that merit for instance is a lie. Worth also to know that it’s a lie that holds us in a system that is damaging to many lives. If you’re on the top you’re smug, if you’re on the bottom you’re in a desperate angry place. Is too much belief part of a consuming feedback loop: belief makes us passive to understand its corrupting nature and to act to free ourselves?

There is no fair way to create a meritocracy. This is because the notion of “merit” is itself loaded with unfair premises. People will always have differing life histories, capacities, and opportunities, and so any assumption that those who “rise to the top” of a competition have superior deservingness will be false. That doesn’t mean that everyone is equally qualified to be a surgeon or a structural engineer or a social worker, or that there should be no evaluations to make sure the people who have certain jobs can do them. Instead, it means that we can never conclude that people got those qualifications did so because they “earned” it more than others, and we should be skeptical of any idea of a “fair competition.”

Admit Everyone, Nathan J Robinson, Current Affairs, March 2018



Mourning and Melancholia
January 26, 2019, 8:09 pm
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Melancholia, Lars von Trier

Mourning is remembering the sad event to forget it. Melancholia is the refusal to forget. Depression is a reaction to profound dislocation and loss, you from the world. The depressive is melancholic; she refuses to forget.

We think depressives are generally too negative and wrong. But research shows that though negative their assessments are surprisingly accurate.

They’re right for instance about climate change. They may be the canary, the bell weather we must heed about a dying world, extinction, the anthropocene, the loss that we feel for a dying world.

There’s a substantial literature on “depressive realism”—the suspicion that depressed people are actually right. In one 1979 study by Lauren B. Alloy and Lyn Y. Abramson, it was found that when compared to their nondepressed peers, depressed subjects’ “judgements of contingency were surprisingly accurate.’”

The depressive is, first of all, one who refuses to forget. In Freud’s account, while mourning is the slow release of emotional ties to something that’s vanished, melancholia is a refusal to let go. It’s not just that climate change is depressing; the determination to stop it has to begin from a depressive conviction: to not just forget that so much has been lost and more is going every day—to keep close to memory. Or as Paffard puts it, “You need to hold what’s at stake in your head enough to remember why it’s important to take action.”

Tropical Depressions, Sam Kriss and Ellie Mae O’Hagan, The Baffler



not a natural balance
June 17, 2018, 8:35 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Related image

These are myths, which means they’re not true: depression is chemical, and antidepressants restore a natural balance in your brain.

So if depression isn’t chemical … it’s at least partly, if not nearly wholely, social.

“There’s no evidence that there’s a chemical imbalance” in depressed or anxious people’s brains, Professor Joanna Moncrieff – one of the leading experts on this question – explained to me bluntly in her office at the University College of London. The term doesn’t really make any sense, she said: we don’t know what a “chemically balanced” brain would look like. People are told that drugs like antidepressants restore a natural balance to your brain, she said, but it’s not true – they create an artificial state. The whole idea of mental distress being caused simply by a chemical imbalance is “a myth,” she has come to believe, sold to us by the drug companies.

Johann Hari, Lost Connections, p 30



proprium
April 1, 2017, 4:13 pm
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Image result for village festival contemporary photography

Proprium means property, and essential characteristic, so, the means you have that is appropriately yours. The means you have that exceeds the essential is inappropriate and alien, accrued by exploitation and accident.

When you have more houses than you or loved ones can live in, more cars than you can drive; more income in a year than can be spent on what you or your family can actually use, even uselessly use; then we are not speak­ing of property anymore, not the proprium, but of the inappropriate and alien—that which one gathers to oneself through the accident of social arrangements, exploiting them willfully or accidentally, and not through the private and the personal.

— Against Everything: On Dishonest Times, Mark Greif

 

From Oxford English Dictionary –
Proprium
NOUN
1. Logic Logic. = “property”.2. Chiefly Theology. An essential attribute of something, a distinctive characteristic; essential nature, selfhood.

Origin

Mid 16th century; earliest use found in Thomas Wilson (d. 1581), humanist and administrator. From classical Latin proprium one’s own property, special feature or property, peculiarity, in post-classical Latin also essential attribute or characteristic, property in logic, use as noun of neuter singular of proprius proper.


where artists lived
July 30, 2016, 2:31 pm
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Blanton Museum of Art



the river
July 3, 2016, 1:58 pm
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The streets were full of musicians
March 12, 2016, 2:06 pm
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R. Crumb: music died in 1935, poisoned, stolen, resold, repackaged, neutered and killed by the music business.

In the ’20s in Philly, in every house, people played and sang live music. In the country as a whole there were bands, dance halls, ballrooms, auditoriums and clubs. Radio, the depression, movies and finally TVs killed it. Itunes, streaming are more nails.

“I don’t miss that culture. The America that I missed died in about 1935. That’s why I have all this old stuff, all these old 78 records from that era. It was the golden age of recorded music, before the music business poisoned the people’s music, the same way that ‘agribusiness’ poisoned the very soil of the earth. In the old days, music was produced by common people, the music they produced to entertain themselves. The record industry took it and resold it, repackaged and killed it, spewed it out in a bland, artificial, ersatz version of itself. This goes along with the rise of the mass media, the spread of radio. My mother, born in the 1920s, remembered walking in the street in the summertime in Philadelphia, and in every other house, people were playing some kind of live music. Her parents played music and sang together. In her generation, her brothers didn’t want to play an instrument anymore. It was the swing era and all they wanted to do was to listen to Benny Goodman on the radio. The takeover of radio happened much later. In places like Africa, you can still find great recorded music from the ’50s. I have many 78s from Africa at that time that sound like some great rural music from America in the ’20s. In the U.S at that time there were thousands and thousands of bands, dance halls, ballrooms in hotels, restaurants had dance floors, school auditoriums, clubs in small towns. A small town of 10,000 would have a least a hundred bands. In the mid 30’s radio spread very fast in America and the depression killed a lot of the venues where live music was performed. You could go to the movies for 10 cents. Then in the 50’s TV finished it all off. Mass media makes you stay home, passive. In the 20’s there was live music everywhere in the States. I talked to old musicians who played in dance bands. This old musician bandleader Jack Coackley in San Francisco told me that in 1928 when you went downtown in the evening on the trolley car to play at a ballroom, the streets were full of musicians going to work, carrying instruments in cases. Same thing happened in France with the death of musette, the popular dance music of the working classes. There hasn’t been a decent popular music in America for a long time.”

Robert Crumb Hates You, Jacques Hyzagi, Observer



seismic shift
March 5, 2016, 7:38 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

In 2007 there were 301.6 million people in the US; and there were 55,000 journalists writing at 1,400 daily papers. That’s one journalist per 5,484 people.

In 2015 there were 320 million people in the US; and there were 32,900 journalists writing at ?? daily papers. That’s one journalist per 9,726 people.

The term “seismic shift” is overused, but it applies to what’s happened to American newspapers. In 2007, there were 55,000 full-time journalists at nearly 1,400 daily papers; in 2015, there were 32,900, according to a census by the American Society of News Editors and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Florida International University. That doesn’t include the buyouts and layoffs last fall, like those at the Los Angeles Times,The Philadelphia Inquirer and the New York Daily News, among others, and weeklies and magazines like National Geographic.

What Happens to Journalists When No One Wants to Print Their Words Anymore? Dale Maharidge