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  1. Lakshmi explaining Sociology of Divinity to Kaeli


    Lakshmi:  Your dogged bleating about the rightful freedom of these pathetic mortals betray a willful naivete on your part.


    Kaeli:  Perhaps, but it is not up to us to determine their nature, even if we have the advantage of wisdom on our side. Mortals need space to develop their own society, on their terms, whatever that may be. 


    Lakshmi:  After a few thousands of years, you'll agree that society is an incompetent idea. Such valorization of the individual as a romantic hero will lead you to the realization that society submerges the individual into the social. Moreover, there are other experiences that the idea of society does not account for: the mystic, the aesthetic, the psychological, the moral, so on and so forth. An intelligible theory of society? of brief blips, easily forgotten? No such thing. 


    Kaeli:  You settle for conclusions rotted after centuries of failure and resignation.


    Lakshmi:  Wisdom is wasted on the young. The forms as experiences are reflections of mortal experience. Perhaps these forms are causal in dictating and guiding culture. Then again, forms reflect through contents the idealization of an individual life. Therein lies the contradiction between cause and effect, and the impossibility of a sociology of mortals. Life is fluid, whereas forms are provisionally frozen logical concepts. And the history of mortals you are proud of must be about change between the contesting forms, contesting experiences that reflect mortal existence. That is why all mortal culture consists of remainders, vestiges of brief identifiable moments of order. 


    Kaeli:  A lot of talk that parades your exhaustion with mortals as justification for exploitation. That all forms of mortal culture leave behind remainders or vestiges betrays your weakness for fatalism. I on the other hand, see that same exhaustion of form as the triumph of existence over form. Mortals are free to express themselves in all cultural manifestations.  Yes, they are also free to worship you, just not on your terms. 

  2. I’ve been reading about the NIPS Experiment. Calm down at the back there. NIPS stands for Neural Information Processing Systems. It’s all very serious and you can read about the experiment [url=""]here[/url] and [url=""]here[/url].
    In essence, the experiment aimed to examine the process by which papers are accepted or rejected by peer review committees for conference presentation. Obviously, it’s all to do with scientific quality and the scientific community is built around a common understanding of what that means. Or is it?
    The NIPS experimenters split their panel of conference peer reviewers into two committees. Most of the papers went to one committee or the other for review, but 10% of them (166 papers) were reviewed by both committees without the members knowing which papers they were. It was then possible to see how similar the two committees were in their evaluation of those papers. A full write-up of the results is still to come, apparently, but [url=""]Eric Price has revealed the essence[/url].
    The committees disagreed in their evaluation of 43 of the 166 papers. Naïvely, you might think that’s not too bad. They disagreed on 25.9% of cases, so they must have agreed on 74.1%. However, Eric Price points out that the committees were tasked with a 22.5% acceptance rate which means that the number of disagreements was larger than the number of acceptances each committee was expected to make. This means that most (more than half) of the papers accepted by either committee were rejected by the other.
    Price considers a theoretical model which treats the peer review process as a combination of “certain” and “random” components. He assumes that there will be some papers that every reviewer agrees should be accepted (acceptance is certain) and some that everyone agrees should be rejected (rejection is certain). For the rest, Price’s model assumes that committee members make their decision by (metaphorically at least) flipping a coin. This is the random component and the level of randomness in peer review is the proportion of papers that get this treatment. The divergence in reviewing committees’ decisions seen in the NIPS experiment imply that there is quite a lot of this coin-flipping randomness in peer review; perhaps more than most people thought.
    Is this “randomness” in reviewers assessments a cause for concern? Price points out that “consistency is not the only goal” and, indeed, it can arise for reasons that are not necessarily welcome. For instance, unanimously accepted papers may simply be feeling the benefit of appearing under the name of well-connected authors that reviewers favour for reputational reasons. Conversely, papers that reviewers unanimously reject may just be suffering the penalty of pursuing unfashionable research topics that reviewers see as a drain on funding for more popular topics. It may well be that it is precisely in the “random middle” – between the certain acceptances and certain rejections – that we see peer review at its best.
    But how can it be any good if it’s random? The truth is, it’s pretty implausible that it really [i]is[/i] random. I don’t see much reason to believe that peer reviewers actually flip coins and as [url=""]humans are not good random number generators[/url], it seems unlikely that conceptual flipping of imaginary coins would produce genuinely random results. What really goes on in this middle zone is not random at all. Rather, it’s a process of deliberation where each reviewer considers a variety of factors and makes a decision on the basis of balancing those factors. Even having made the decision, the reviewer probably still feels a fair degree of uncertainty as to whether it was the right one.
    Because reviewers are usually allowed to decide for themselves which factors to consider in their deliberations, there is a good deal of variation between reviewers as what factors they consider. Putting it more formally, the [i]weight[/i] they give to each factor is not prescribed. What’s more, there’s no guarantee that even individual reviewers will attach the same weight every time: the same reviewer could reach different conclusions about the same a paper considered under different circumstances.
    In short, the degree of “randomness” seen in the NIPS experiment undermines one of the cornerstone assumptions of the peer review process – that reviewers share a coherent common notion of what qualities to value in a paper. Instead, it suggests that the criteria that reviewers use in practise are quite divergent. If this is the case, it is hard to see how peer review could possibly be “fair”. Certainly, steps such as making reviewers comments and identities open to authors would seem to miss the point. What is more in order is a dialogue over the criteria used to evaluate research in the first place and whether traditional peer review has any useful role to play in this. [img][/img]

  3. Original blog entry here:

    I've recently read several early feminists. Mary Wollstonecraft, Alice Bacon, Margaret Fuller. I spent the most time on Mary Wollstonecraft and Alice Bacon. The first, because Vindication of the Rights of Woman is supposed to be a classic. And the second, because her work Japanese Girls and Women is an extraordinary discussion of the Japanese family and society.

    A few notes on Wollstonecraft and Bacon. First, both assert repeatedly that they see Christianity as a liberating force, the liberating force behind feminism. If each human being has a soul that is of equal special value in the eyes of God, then so too does each human being have a kind of radical equality. This radical equality of all men, latent in Christian thought, was explicitly affirmed as a constant justification throughout peasant revolts in European history. It, too, forms the basis both for the radical assertion of human value in communist thinking--Camus and Sartre, and Zizek today assert this--as well as much of the rights-oriented political approach of the Enlightenment. If all human beings have the same intrinsic value, then all human beings have the same rights. Bacon asserts constantly, as well, that it is paganism, which asserts no God as judge, that allows for the radical inequality, the radical hierarchy of Japanese society--and that Christianity would be a redeeming force for women in Japan.

    From the above, that feminism would be a natural outgrowth of Christianity should seem obvious. Even male supporters of the feminists, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, held this perspective. Yet today, we constantly hear the opposite. We all know of the fundamentalist, misogynist politicians, who come from the right, who come from Christian backgrounds, who consistently oppose women's rights. Joseph Campbell interprets Judaism as the most violent of anti-female religions. Where, he says, most societies' religions begin with a female God (think Gaia the Earth goddess of the Greeks, or Amaterasu, the Sun goddess and goddess of the Universe to the Japanese), most of them also eventually supplant that female goddess with a male goddess. We may here invoke Bachofen's thesis: that, where all societies were originally matriarchies, they all eventually became patriarchies, and their pantheon correspondingly transformed. With the Greeks, even while Hera is fairly commonly represented as conniving, manipulative, and violent in her opposition to Zeus, she is nonetheless roughly his equal. Presumably, this would mean that females would hold a similar role in Greek society. (I suppose we should put aside that, during the golden age of the Greeks, the age of Pericles, Socrates, and Aristophanes, females were confined, according to one perspective, to the household like prisoners. Was it the deceitful character of Hera that was emphasized, rather than her equality?) Not so with the Jews: for the Jews, the ancient goddess is totally obliterated from the scripture altogether. And since Judaism provides the groundwork for an understanding of Christianity, as the argument goes, then Christianity is itself a part to this complete suppression of the feminine--unlike the Greek or virtually all other religious perspectives, which do no such thing.

    We also know today that Christianity is commonly invoked by anti-feminists, particularly on the Blogosphere, as the antidote to the dramatic forces that are tearing apart the family of post-1960s modernity. Where the usurpation of early childhood education by state authority and the demands of maximum economic productive capacity and consumption have violently reconstituted gender and made marriage and stable childhood upbringing an unprecedentedly precarious affair--Christianity provides the lock-and-key, the source of social order, ordained by God, that can resolve the contemporary problematic. All that is required is a submission to the order of God. But, given that the conception of Christianity, and its relation to feminism, has been radically altered, what indeed is the truth of the matter? What is the real relationship between Christianity and gender equality?

    The most obvious answer, perhaps, is that Christianity--now demonized on an explicit level but maintained and subsumed implicitly by virtually all contemporary secular ethical and political discourse--is so openly unpopular that it must be reflexively demonized and lumped in with the forces of reaction. Meanwhile, being the major vessel of moral discourse prior to entrance into the system of modern liberal education, Christianity among the less educated (and less progressive) classes simply becomes co-opted as a vehicle of reaction.

    The second note. Wollstonecraft's and Fuller's notion of gender equality seems radically alien to that of modern feminism--emphasizing not female marginalization, male privilege, or even female repression (as such), but rather the gap in rationality between men and women, a product of educational differences. Each of these emphasize education as the redeemer of gender disparity. Each assume the ethics of Greek thought: that knowledge changes behavior, and that virtue is the result of knowledge. Each ask not that women are given any particular respect--except inasmuch as women are demonstrably capable and a priori deserving of such respect in having a radically equal human soul. Rather, each ask that women receive the same opportunities that men receive, and women will thereby attain the heights of rational virtue that men are capable of attaining. This is in stark contrast to the contemporary notion that women should receive special treatment that rectifies historical or structural disadvantages. According to the Wollstonecraftian notion, sufficient education would create women as capable of men in the control of thought and emotion--as much as Frederick Douglass, though enduring a lifetime of prejudice and disadvantage, could claim equivalence with white men in both word and action.

    The final note. Wollstonecraft repeatedly asserts that it is not men, but women, who control the relationship between men and women. It was simply that such control over the hearts of men--which was achieved through coquetry, beauty, and the pretense of weakness--was shameful and wrong: it was not in accordance with reason, honesty, or any of the other virtues. Not only was there a misapprehension of the real quality of the female soul (on par with that of a man's), but this very misapprehension distorted communication and produced an irrational rule of women over men through artifice and deceit.

    In conclusion, it's clear that the original feminist formulation is perhaps not only different than the contemporary one, but completely opposite. Whereas the struggle for modern gender equality has sought to achieve its aims by advocating the rapprochement of male and human sensibilities, into an ever-increasing androgyny--the feminization of men and the masculization of women--and has thought of this as the sine qua non of gender equality, the absolute opposite was the case for Wollstonecraft. It was not a question of gender for Wollstonecraft, but of virtue. And men, having access to knowledge and the expectation to use it for rational purposes, had access to virtue, where women did not.

    The task of feminism, a Christian task, was to bring virtue to women by educating them. Today, rather, it seems that neither men nor women are expected to have virtue in the Greek sense, but rather quite the opposite: men take on the qualities of women that Wollstonecraft denounced as crippling, i.e. an overemphasized sentimentality, and women take on the distasteful excesses of men (denounced in men today as machismo but celebrated in women as empowerment).

    (Some academics, e.g. Virginia Sapiro, claim that the inflamed rhetoric was supposed to maintain an implicit argument for the fusion of female and male sensibilities (since, as the argument goes, women are more emotional than men, and hence their equality will nonetheless retain this vestige of their nature), this claim assumes for women a nature that Wollstonecraft consistently and repeatedly argues against as a very central claim throughout the work. Such a claim that the rhetoric of the text argues for something that doesn't openly contradict the goals of modern feminism--even as the text itself is quite clear--is disingenuous at best and in fact simply ahistorical: the style of Wollstonecraft's text closely matches, with minor individual exceptions, the style of the typical pamphleteer during the highly inflamed pamphlet war in the wake of the Revolution.)

    Today, female empowerment is seen, at its zenith, as the expression and appearance of authority and status in females. Simply having a large number of females in the Senate (or any major seat of power, e.g. science, finance, etc.), for instance, is heralded as a major achievement--their personal achievements as Congresswomen being left an apparently largely incidental issue. As Hillary Clinton and other women before her showed, women can lead excellently, but making the fact that they do lead at all a cause for celebration would at odds with the original feminist principles. The point of virtue in the sense of Wollstonecraft was not position or status, but doing things well, in the right way, according to reason, and freely. That sexual liberation, the fulfillment of bodily desire, is seen as perhaps the cornerstone of feminism exemplifies this basic shift from Wollstonecraft to the second and third waves of today. That feminism has become equated to "unlocking one's latent potential" without any particular justification, rather than actualizing potentials to any particular goal or outcome (e.g. virtue in the classical sense), is what marks the shift from Enlightenment to modern feminism.

    A responsible scholar, Barbara Taylor, has said the following:

    Describing [Wollstonecraft's philosophy] as feminist is problematic, and I do it only after much consideration. The label is of course anachronistic . . . Treating Wollstonecraft’s thought as an anticipation of nineteenth and twentieth-century feminist argument has meant sacrificing or distorting some of its key elements. Leading examples of this . . . have been the widespread neglect of her religious beliefs, and the misrepresentation of her as a bourgeois liberal, which together have resulted in the displacement of a religiously inspired utopian radicalism by a secular, class-partisan reformism as alien to Wollstonecraft’s political project as her dream of a divinely promised age of universal happiness is to our own. Even more important however has been the imposition on Wollstonecraft of a heroic-individualist brand of politics utterly at odds with her own ethically driven case for women’s emancipation. Wollstonecraft’s leading ambition for women was that they should attain virtue, and it was to this end that she sought their liberation.

    May we here not invoke Bachelard's concept of discontinuity (or Kuhn's concept of paradigm shift, which comes from the same place)? May we not say, in the same way that Foucault did to the history of sciences in On the Order of Things--that Enlightenment feminism is about as similar to modern feminism as a yogurt bacterium is to a human being?

    That the two advocate for the equality of women with men, their object, their concerns, what they consider as being unequal in a way entirely different and indeed contradictory from the other--does this not lead to the conclusion that the object of feminism, namely women and their rights, is an unstable one, constructed by a value system rather than actually inhering in reality itself? And would this not lead to the conclusion that the development of women's rights has been a historically contingent affair, rather than the inevitable progress of an ethical system that would in fact have been repugnant to the leading female Enlightenment thinkers? That Wollstonecraft, the proclaimed progenitor of feminism, might better be classed as an antifeminist?

  4. Latest Entry

    By dragon,

    Never used this facility before so just exploring to find out what happens. Like the idea of community blogs, though I'm not quite sure what to blog about just yet.

  5. Latest Entry

    I've been having some elbow pain lately. It started a couple of weeks ago when I tried to move up 5 lbs on my overhead press, and it actually felt pretty severe. I did one set of 5 on my top set and felt a sharp pain building in my left elbow. I rested for a couple of minutes, to see if it would go away, attempted another set, and before I could even fully extend the weight, my elbow hurt way too much and I racked the weight. My entire left forearm and including my hand started to tingle, so I stopped pressing movements for 4 days, then tried overhead press again. However, it still hurt mildly despite deloading 10 lbs.

    The pain is also there when I do bench press, but not quite as bad, even when I do my heaviest working set.

    It's a sharp pain when I'm pressing a weight, and it persists for a short time after exercise as a dull, throbbing pain that seems to radiate from the ulnar portion inside the joint near my bicep. When I flex my bicep, either with my arm extended or contracted, the pain becomes more pronounced. I feel no pain when doing a tricep extension. In upper body pressing movements, and even in the row, the bicep and tricep are acting as stabilizers, and my elbow was slightly aggravated today after doing bent-over rows.

    I have tried improving my technique, really paying attention to how experienced powerlifters are pressing and reading about common elbow problems. It's not tennis elbow, golfer's elbow etc. It's not a problem with the ulnar nerve. I don't know what it is. I did find out my forearm hasn't been totally perpendicular in relation to the ground/bar and correcting my grip and elbow movement when I bench pressed did help a little.

    I'm sure it matters, but I actually bowled for 10 years from age 5 to 15, and I haven't experienced any pain or discomfort in my right shoulder or right elbow, I think bowling that much while I was young developed the connective tissue in my right arm well.

    For the time being I've been doing alternating DB curls in place of overhead press and bench press. Really the only thing I can think to do right now other than seeing some specialist to figure out exactly what the problem is, is developing my biceps because I think the problem is at least partially attributable to a very weak left bicep. I'll do this for maybe 2-3 weeks, then start low on the OHP and bench press and see what happens. I don't believe in taking ibuprofen or anything like that to reduce the pain. If I'm hurting, my body is telling me something is wrong and I don't want to ignore it or make it disappear.

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    Dark night of the soul, oh how you have come once again.

    In all glory, veiled in mystery and beauty,

    Seducing all who God grants you.

    Oh, dearest lady, how you take me, violate me into submission.

    I hate that I burn for you, yearn for you.

    And, oh, how I love the misery you drown me in!

    Suffocate me, dearest lover, with abandonment.

    Kiss me till I foam at the mouth.

    Kill me slowly, shatter me swiftly!

    Oh, dearest dark night of the soul, come!

    Visit me again and again!

    You’ve bewitched me, you horrid queen.

    Take my faith and hope,

    Force me to cling to your breast,

    Begging for a drop of sweet relief!

    What a devil I have become, so loving lust with your abyss!

    Again and again, I cry!

    Black joy from my mind till I cry out in climax!

    Oh, sweet, sweet agony of abandonment!

    Ravish me, again! Over and over!

    I beg you to never leave me!

    Yet you will, dearest dark night.

    Oh, how you will rape me until I desire more,

    And then you will leave me gasping for breath,

    Clutching fast to the life line of a finally visible joyous help.

    In a golden afterglow I will lay.

    Bare to all the world.

    A new born.

    And as I feel alive, my love for you will evaporate.

    Perhaps I will write you a thank you note,

    So pleased was I how your torturous violation left me.

    I will forget the pain.

    Ah, yes, dawn has broken, dearest night.

    Away you go,

    In all your glorious, mysterious veils.

    Away to rape another willing victim.

    Away till I desperately need you.

    Away till I desperately need to feel your hands tearing at my clothes,

    Forcing me to submit to your delirious pain.

    You minx.

    You vixen.

    You bitch.

    But, oh, how I love you, my dearest lady!

    My own dark night of the soul, come quickly to my bed once again!

    The covers will be thrown back, the shades drawn.

    Let no one, no, let all!

    Let all see the glory of your body twisted around my mind!

    Kiss me again, over and over!

    Let the day be postponed till I can breathe no more.

    Let the world gasp in shock,

    Their own desires creeping into them till they wish to rush into my bed!

    Let the world join us in an orgy of misery and pain!

    Glory, glory unto the highest!

    Give me liberty in this death!

    Beauty, sweet beauty,

    Oh, how dark and sinister you are, my lovely lady.

    Ravish me again, I beg you!

    Damn the sun’s accursed light, stay longer with me!

    But how sweet it is when you leave me.

    Such parting brings sorrow, my lady.

    For glory, glory unto the highest is the divine!

    Yet your ways, your hips, your lips,

    How they guide me to hate you, to need you.

    Dear God, give me night again so I might feel her skin on mine!

    Give her the power to take me so I might need you once more!

    How twisted am I? To need her torture to feel you?

    A sinner loving sin am I,

    For I ask for her to bind me over and over till I cry and scream out for you.

    Forgive me, banish me!

    Send me to hell with her to accost me till I beg for mercy!

    Oh, oh how twisted you have made me, Father above.

    Weeping for you to abandon me so I might lust for dark, dark night.

    And in that night, oh! How I cry out for you!

    What Electra am I to desire a mistress so bitter rather than a father so divine?!

    Have I been raped enough?

    Have I cried enough?

    Crucify me!

    Burn me!

    Electrocute me!

    Do anything, everything, to me,

    And still I shall cry for the darkest of nights to descend on me so I might just taste the bittersweet loss,

    So I might once again beg for your saving.

    I am a victim to a higher power, lost in a tangled mess.

    Save me not from her embrace, but from the hell I would live in without her, dear God!

    Let the world sing and dance in laughter over insipid things, so long as you give me to the darkest of nights!

    My soul cries out for that pain so I might just kiss the hem of your robes.

    My soul begs for her skin to burn mine,

    To break my bones,

    To drain me of life,

    Just to catch a glimmer of your light.

    Dearest, sweetest, cruelest, dark, dark night of the soul come quickly!

    Ravish me till I bleed!

    Let me be your victim till God grants me pardon!

    And once God has moved on, claim me again!

    Over and over till God tells you to stop!

    Let the devil set me afire,

    Peel my flesh, inch my inch, from my bones,

    Till I can no longer scream in pain,

    Till I can no longer speak,

    Till I can no longer beg for more, more, MORE!

    Let them have their way with me, if only so that I might be granted pardon!

    Dearest, father above, how sick am I to need you so?

    In what more ways should I demand sickness and pain so I might see you?

    I shall love every moment of hell till I die if I must,

    But, please, dear God, let me be at peace in your presence just once more!

    Oh, that beauteous moment of soft, soft joy!

    That lovely, rosy hue of dew drops dipped in honey!

    How glorious it is when nature sings your name!

    How I long to hear your voice speak softly once more to me,

    To call me home finally.

    But not yet, you say.

    Not yet am I to return home.

    The embraces of the dark night of soul must awash,

    Choke me,

    Until I can return home.

    Love her more than you loved yourself!

    Love, love that bitter abandonment,

    For it is God who will fill it soon!

    But not yet.

    Not yet, dear sinner.

    Not yet.

  6. I was reading a book called The Default Life (by Sam McLoughlin)

    He inserted a rather interesting definition for Christianity.

    (Urban Dictionary)

    A cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.

    I thought that that was an interesting way of defining Christianity. I suppose, that yes it may seem like that to some people.

    It also reminded me of how easy it is to make fun of a Christian, because some Christians say the most stupid things.

    Anyways, that is all for now.



  7. This week I read Percy Bysshe Shelley's Ode to the West Wind:


    O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,

    Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead

    Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

    Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,

    Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O Thou,

    Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

    The wingèd seeds, where they lie cold and low,

    Each like a corpse within its grave, until

    Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow

    Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill

    (Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)

    With living hues and odours plain and hill:

    Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;

    Destroyer and Preserver; hear, O hear!


    Thou on whose stream, 'mid the steep sky's commotion,

    Loose clouds like Earth's decaying leaves are shed,

    Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,

    Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread

    On the blue surface of thine airy surge,

    Like the bright hair uplifted from the head

    Of some fierce Mænad, even from the dim verge

    Of the horizon to the zenith's height,

    The locks of the approaching storm. Thou Dirge

    Of the dying year, to which this closing night

    Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre,

    Vaulted with all thy congregated might

    Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere

    Black rain and fire and hail will burst: O hear!


    Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams

    The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,

    Lulled by the coil of his chrystalline streams,

    Beside a pumice isle in Baiæ's bay,

    And saw in sleep old palaces and towers

    Quivering within the wave's intenser day,

    All overgrown with azure moss, and flowers

    So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou

    For whose path the Atlantic's level powers

    Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below

    The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear

    The sapless foliage of the ocean, know

    Thy voice, and suddenly grow grey with fear,

    And tremble and despoil themselves: O hear!


    If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;

    If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;

    A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share

    The impulse of thy strength, only less free

    Than thou, O Uncontrollable! If even

    I were as in my boyhood, and could be

    The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven,

    As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed

    Scarce seemed a vision; I would ne'er have striven

    As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.

    Oh! lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!

    I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!

    A heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed

    One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.


    Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:

    What if my leaves are falling like its own!

    The tumult of thy mighty harmonies

    Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,

    Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,

    My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!

    Drive my dead thoughts over the universe,

    Like wither'd leaves, to quicken a new birth!

    And, by the incantation of this verse,

    Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth

    Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!

    Be through my lips to unawakened Earth

    The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,

    If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?


    It's hard to read this poem in the 21st century with a mind free of irony. I didn't love this poem. I was a little bored by Shelley's raptures. Section V stood out though. The idea of the wind playing on objects or people as if they are instruments is cliche now. Maybe it was old then, too. I don't know. But I enjoyed this development of that idea and Shelley's taking it beyond that to the point where the narrator implores the west wind to blow through his mouth, sending his words into the world. That's a different image.

    The first four sections of the poem I have difficulty reading without wincing some. That may be because of the poets that came after Shelley (and Byron and Keats) who, following in their literary footsteps, went on rapturous flights over every damn thing they came across. Their legacy has come down to us in cartoons and other spoofs.

    When I read in this poem about "bright hair uplifted from the head of some Maenad;" or night as "the dome of a vast sepulcher;" or, weirdly, "the sapless foliage of the ocean" that grow "gray with fear" and "tremble and despoil themselves" when the wind blows the waves above them, I can't help but think things like, did he really mean (see the last example) that the "ocean plants, crapped their pants"?

    The thee's and thou's, the drama, the phrases or images or styles that have been overused sound silly now. To really appreciate the poetry of this time period I guess we have to try very hard to let go of all that's been written since then and also let go of the current mode of having an ironic twist to our thoughts every minute of the day.

    Still, it could be that some of this poetry won't stand the test of time. Maybe it only spoke to the people of that time and a few decades after but not very far into the 20th century. New words and ways to order language began to emerge leaving these older words and ways behind.

    There aren't a huge number of older texts that still get read often and most of what has been published or read or sung during the last century and this one will pass into oblivion long before the sun decays or the earth becomes lifeless for other reasons. One of the interesting things about reading the works of writers long dead though is that it lets you look into the past and try to put yourself there and feel what was being felt at the time by the writer. That's a good exercise even if you don't love what you're reading.

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    The presence of evil in the room was overwhelming. It was thick, choking the life out of a young girl who lay inert on the black marble floor. Blue, glazed over eyes gazed listlessly into a realm that was not of this world. For many days she had laid there. Not moving, not dying. A beautiful angel, kept in a state of absolute perfection, previously unknown to any member of mankind.

    For the girl could not be damaged, she had to be in perfect condition for the Master of Evil. He only accepted those who were pure.

  8. Latest Entry

    The problem, perhaps my central problem, is that I'm naturally lazy. I want to short circuit the path to brilliance, to excellence in art, in expression, in being a human worthy of approbation. I've all but given up on philosophy. Argument, or even friendly philosophic discourse, has lost much of its appeal; in short, I am not inclined to want to proffer reasons for my beliefs, whatever they may be (I'm not sure) anymore. I think there is too much egoism involved in being an ironist to ever become one. I agree with Rorty that doubt is a luxury: skepticism can morph into decadence, and I despise those sloppy of spirit. I similarly am in possession of a passionate hatred (too strong a word?) for nihilism in its moral and value manifestations, though there is a creeping suspicion that haunts the core of my being that there is no God and that moral reality is contingent on human desire. Disgusting! How perverse and goddamned disgusting reality would be if such were the case. Epistemic nihilism strikes me as self defeating, and talk of "the myth of reality" as the words of one divorced from experience.

    Everything rings hollow. I am increasingly intolerant of any form of sensory stimulation. Noises that used to go unregistered to consciousness now sound like a bell tolling ten feet away. I increasingly hate all things human, and yet am of the understanding that it may be that human beings are my only salvation. I am so lonely. It is a little strange that I would lament my loneliness, or I shall say, experience loneliness while at the same time experience a rising misanthropy. Contradiction. I am a man of contradictions.

    Do I contradict myself?

    Very well then I contradict myself,

    (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

    -Walt Whitman

    How could one, considering the imposing, overwhelming nature of the universe, ever consider himself "large?" I am small and contain multitudes.

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    17 years 9 months and 8 days is how long it took for my life to reach this moment. Not just this particular moment in writing in this blog, on this site I just discovered this morning. This moment in who I am and what I've done. I know it sounds really outplayed and cliche. It was supposed to sound outplayed and cliche. A nerdy and nostalgic part of me likes those kind of things. They seemingly boring and stereotypical cliches most people find pleasure in making fun of, I take pleasure in themselves. If that made sense. It did in my head.

    I have been looking into my future this morning, like I always am. I found out the courses I want to take for university are obtainable. This put me at great ease. I leaned about a group of new subjects within philosophy. As I was researching them I came across this site.

    Something about leaving high school scares me into infant-hood again. I want to fall to the floor and just cry. I have this amusing vision in my mind of actually acting it out. I wish I could describe my feelings and thoughts better. I'm not too good at that sort of thing. I guess it'll have to be something I'll work on.

    I'm not 100% sure what to say. I just feel this apathetic need to blog. Something about other people "hearing" my thoughts, but not actually seeing my face or knowing who I am appeals to me. I'm sure somewhere inside most bloggers, they understand this. As i sit here and listen to my favorite Three Doors Down album, and think of profound things to say, and try not to get too boring.. I'm really just thinking a few thoughts. Fuck this I'll just tell the truth, I hope someone reads this, and I'm singing out loud.

    I suppose I should also tell something about myself.. I'm not going to go into much detail. A little mystery never hurt anyone. Or maybe I'm just lazy. Kinda scared to open up.

    God, I've been spending too much time alone. By the way, I'm in a very dramatic and joyfully sinister mood, if your thinking I'm crazy or weird or something.

    Basically about me: I'm 17, body of a teenager. Mind of an adult, most of the time. Emotional stability of a child. Proud Canadian. Even more so Proud Albertan. Future Philosopher, Scientist, Mother, Wife, Model, and Teacher. Model for Mode and Chan international. Singer, Song writer, Guitar player. The last living Ferrier in my family. Reject-er of all Religion. Practitioner of The Law of Attraction. Superstitious.

    Anyway, I sat here sipping on my bitter black coffee, cause were out of sugar, when I got the idea for my blog title. I am learning about philosophy and science of all types. I'd love to have a cup of cyber coffee with someone, and discuss... well life. At least that's what life is to me. Philosophy, Science, Music, Love, and Friendship. Of course I'm open to other topics of coffee talk as well. I guess I'm really just here to learn.. and maybe discover.. granted they are two different things. ok I'm gonna shut up now.

    By the way! Read these EBooks! They are fantastic! I felt so empowered after reading them.

    Google the name followed by ebook

    As A Man Thinketh by James Allen

    Mind Surge The Consciousness Revolution by

    I have a bunch of other ebooks but I haven't read them yet. Ill only share them after I read them. I don't really want to share crap with other people ahah. I promise though, these two books will defiantly give you something to think about.

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    Hello. I read a lot of philosophy, but am more interested in applying methods of thinking to actual life; an interest in psychology, art, literature, politics and 'mental health' point towards proposed 'content'. I don't like systems or metaphysical theories of everything. I don't like borders, edges, classifications and the separation of 'bodies of knowledge'. One near exception to this is that I do tend to separate out an 'area' for psychology and philosophy as where these apparently separate entities assume other than a superficial acquaintance the 'area' reveals itself as an epistemological quagmire.

    I'm as likely to bring in Wallace Stevens as Wittgenstein, and Deleuze more than Plato. Most certainly I'll be contrary, contradictory, inconsistent, doubling back, and discovering what I mean when I have written, if even then.

    I'm not setting out to be obscure, just setting out. It'll be easier next time. I do like the idea of wandering where thoughts lead, and so often they're led by conversation, meetings, chance. The sense of time changes utterly when there's no goal to reach, when wandering around is all.

  9. It's about smashing the sh*t out of unsociables created by society. It's about the violence necessary to complete a good night out. It's about good use of glass. It's about putting all the rage from hours of editing crap articles in some 2nd-rate newspaper into one wild f***ing swing.

    It's about the phrase that can only be said in English, lest you fail to get the point across, it's about the marvellous F-word that is essential to that phrase, it's about pride, power, and :puke:

    It's about waking up every morning next to some bitch who will tell your wife everything if you don't give her a weekly payment. It's about the spoilt, f*cked-up tw*ts who sit in seminar rooms and spout sophist sh*te as though it's new and irrefutable.

    It's about those c***s who think they should have private property, just because they own a gun, two Alsations, and a stupid hat.

    It's about peace and war, it's about love and hate, it's about the army being ripped off by expensive equipment that can be defeated by a stupid costume that cost £3.

    It's about burning a book and claiming that you're standing up to the most famous terrorist organisations in the world today, whilst pissing your pants for fear that somebody will point out that you're making the most cowardly stand against terrorism ever made. It's about endangering the lives of American soldiers and non-military personnel in Islamic countries. It's about crapping all over any work done for the sake of American-Islamic relations.

    It's about products of a library that can be taken away for free and not quite understood. It's about the ridiculous f*cking fine Mike charged me when I put his blog on Facebook and forgot to return it to TGL.

    It's about people being trapped between the addictive substances of God and materialism, unwilling or unable to seek out other options. It's about the philosophy of science. It's about the science of philosophy. It's about one being years behind the other whilst being centuries ahead of it.

    It's about moaning that people are getting benefits, which shouldn't be allowed, even when they can't work, whilst you're on a f*cking pension. It's about claiming that your pension is a right, not a benefit, even if you've done less for the country than the people on benefits.

    It's about believing in free speech until somebody calls you a name you don't like.

    It's about my skewer dripping with the blood of some noob from Youtube.

    It's about Glenn Beck making more references to Nazism than the History Channel whenever he talks about just about anything.

    It's about saying theists all have mental disorders, yet not being able to come up with a single good argument for atheism.

    It's about sucking. It's about sucking the blood of the Youtube noob out through his f*cking eyeballs.

    It's about saying to a Greek guy, "I want a banana" then wondering why he gives you no banana.

    It's about being adamant about your views but unable to defend or justify them when it counts.

    It's about saying how life is ultimately more wonderful without God and atheism allows one to enjoy life more, because you don't have to look at your grandparents as they rot away mentally and physically with dementia and cancer, with "This is your f*cking destiny* floating around them. It's about saying that everybody's life is what they make of it, as if Baby P and children who starved to death in the 3rd World willingly chose that fate.

    It's about spending a good part of your life and a lot of money getting an education, not to become wiser or a better person, but so that somebody will get you a job, and then being stuck in some petrol station with the moronic SOB who was expelled for multiple offences now being your boss.

    It's about being trapped in a monotonous society where some talentless bint with big boobs is more important than political, philosophical, and humanitarian issues.

    It's about saving for the future, unable to see the irony of everybody's future being a nothingness in which money is useless. It's about working hard for a promotion, never getting it but seeing the lazy pieces of s*it climb the ladder because they know what the inner regions of the boss's backside taste of.

    It's about distracting yourself whenever you can with whatever you can. It's about finding solitude with a good book, because people are almost always too boring for social interaction to be worth leaving the house for. It's about sudden episodes of manic weirdness for no reason that you can explain.

    It's about being bored by order yet unable to cope with chaos.

    It's about eventually realising that all you really want is peace, solitude, and an escape from everything that ever went wrong.

    It's about death.

  10. The word love is commonly applied to the personal experience of feeling affection for some other individual(s) - regardless of whether that affection is of a romantic or of a filial sort or a sort of friendship. Most often, and for most people, the term love is reserved for an extraordinarily intense or exceptional attraction - again, whether of a romantic or of a filial sort or a sort of friendship. However, the term love is not restricted to signifying only an intensity of feeling. After all, love can persist (the term love can apply to situations or conditions) beyond the brevity which afflicts the intensity of human feeling. Indeed, the most intense instances of such a feeling could be distinguished as occasions of infatuation, and it can be said that, whatever love is or whatever love entails, a test for the genuineness of love is that love does not depend on the intensity of feeling had with infatuation.

    In response to the first part of this blog series, TGL member Peter puts forth the possibility of love as little more than a veritable respite from the travails of life in an essentially Hobbesian world:

    one might, in the case of specific loved individuals, be seen to suspend normal competitive, exploitative or aggressive behaviours (or just plain indifference) in favour of indulgent behaviour.

    On the face of it, this "indulgent behaviour" would seem to "not depend on the intensity of feeling had with infatuation." But is such a behavior actually love?

    If the world is most accurately described in terms of the competition between personal interests, in terms of a perpetual struggle of all against all, where each and every individual seeks to alleviate an existential insecurity, then that behavior which indulges as but a respite from the perpetual competitiveness that is the world amounts to no more than a type of recreation. Recreation is undoubtedly necessary for human well-being, but, whatever love is, love is not recreation. Is love even an indulgence?

    As a feeling, love has been expressed in terms of marriage or friendship, but, in a world of individual insecurity where all are against all or where all are in competition with all, marriages and friendships can very well be born of a perceived need for alliances rather than from love. In that case, it is the indulgence of others - not the alliance with others - which serves to provide the self with respite and recreation. Alliances or social relationships are arguably necessary for human well-being, but, whatever love is, love is surely not an indulgence. So, is there a place for love in a world of perpetual struggle between personal interests? If love is not recreation and if love is not an indulgence, is love anything other than a delusion?

    In a world populated by individuals who are acutely aware of being relatively weak and susceptible while also having personal interests (including self-survival), the attainment of power is the primary and most basic goal of virtually all individuals. This is essentially the world as described by Thomas Hobbes in his work, Leviathan. As Hannah Arendt notes in discussing Hobbes, "if man is actually driven by nothing but his individual interests, desire for power must be the fundamental passion of man." 1

    Arendt goes on to note that:

    Hobbes points out that in the struggle for power, as in their native capacities for power, all men are equal; for the equality of men is based on the fact that each has by nature enough power to kill another. Weakness can be compensated for by guile. Their equality as potential murderers places all men in the same insecurity, from which arises the need for a state. The
    raison d'etre
    of the state is the need for some security of the individual, who feels himself menaced by all his fellow-men.

    In such a world, love might seem to be something like an indulgence; it might seem to be something like a luxury available only to those who have succeeded in attaining enough power to mitigate susceptibility to others. However, as Arendt also says, what Hobbes gives is "an almost complete picture, not of Man but of the bourgeois man". 3

    While Hobbes's depiction of the world was derived with "unequaled magnificence of ... logic" from the standards according to which the relatively new (at the time) bourgeois class operated (politically), a depiction and standards which set the stage for a ready acceptance of Darwinism some two centuries later, the distinction between "Man" and "bourgeois man" serves to indicate that Hobbes is not so much presenting the world as it naturally is as he is presenting it as it has been made by men. In the Hobbesian world,

    membership in any form of community is ... a temporary and limited affair which essentially does not change the solitary and private character of the individual (who has "no pleasure, but on the contrary a great deale of griefe in keeping company, where there is no power to overawe them all") or create permanent bonds between him and his fellow-men ... The Commonwealth is based on the delegation of power, and not of rights. It acquires a monopoly on killing and provides in exchange a conditional guarantee against being killed. Security is provided by the law, which is a direct emanation from the power monopoly of the state (and is not established by man according to human standards of right and wrong) ... to the state the individual also delegates his social responsibilities ... he asks the state to relieve him of the burden of caring for the poor precisely as he asks for protection against criminals.

    Clearly, love - whatever it is and if it exists at all - is anything except a core issue for the Hobbesian world. In such a world, the individual has, as Hobbes said, "no pleasure", and, in this world, love could well be a misnomer for certain types of indulgence or recreation.

    Since Hobbes's time, there have, of course, arisen movements - even philosophies - which rebel against the Hobbesian world created by man. However, these rebellions, amounting to no more than reactions, effectively leave the Hobbesian conceptual limits in place. This means that just as love is anything but a core issue for the thinking that pervades the Hobbesian way of seeing the world and engaging with the world, love has turned out to be just as irrelevant to the countermanding philosophies and ways of engaging the world which have been subsequently put forth.

    In general, what these alternative philosophies seem to have most often reacted to is the centrality that individual self-interest has in the Hobbesian view of the world. As a consequence, what many of the most prominent later philosophies (especially the political philosophies) have emphasized is the notion that self-interest is to be denied, eradicated, and replaced by selflessness.

    Now, selflessness is commonly associated with love. But, just what is selflessness supposed to be? And, whatever love is, is there a love other than self-love absent selflessness?

    To be continued ...


    1 Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, (New York: Harcourt, 1976), p. 139.

    2 Arendt, p. 140.

    3 Arendt, p. 139.

    4 Arendt, pp. 140-142.

  11. Latest Entry

    By Hugo Holbling,

    The Resources area has now been overhauled and brought within the new functionality made available after the site's software upgrade. Clicking on the "Resources" tab will take you to all our essays, interviews, articles and reviews:

    blogentry-4-098386300 1276382952_thumb.p

    The content has false times of entry due to being added en masse over the past few days but each resource is dated and links to the author's TGL profile, if applicable. The resources can be navigated by using the menu on the right, which shows the categories:

    blogentry-4-084208700 1276382948_thumb.p

    Resources are ordered according to the time I added them rather than their actual date of authoring but I can go back and amend the dates if anyone finds this confusing. On the right you will also see a block containing the latest comments:

    blogentry-4-017098200 1276382950_thumb.p

    This only contains a test comment at the time of writing but comments can be added at the bottom of every resource, where you will also find options to share records. The most recent resources are displayed on the Resources entry page and also in the block on the right, which is repeated on the forum index:

    blogentry-4-056605900 1276382951_thumb.p

    Anyone can add a resource, although submissions must be approved before they appear. There is also a button on every forum post that allows you to turn the post into a potential resource:

    blogentry-4-018662700 1276383825_thumb.p

    If you are new to the site or not aware of just how much content we have in the Resources area, please take the time to investigate it and consider adding something. :)

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    In the early days, blogs were called weblogs, and were used by developers to annotate and share

    notes about their coding. They turned out to be a massive hit, and became a way of people to share

    all sorts of things

    In my life I must have started dozens of blogs, in relation to work, projects, teaching, community building etc

    But never kept up with any of them, after a post or two the thing would die, other priorities would take place

    And I really don't have that much time for writing, even less time for making sense or being accurate

    Two reasons why I am starting a blog here today - unsure as to its faith, but so are most things in life :-)

    1) I need a place to start annotating and possibly sharing many of random thoughts that come to mind, before they leave me,

    so that I can attempt an analysis of and how they are intertwined with my to do list. There must be a connection between all the

    things that I think about, and my daily life, and sometimes i cant see it.

    I seem to live a life which is divided into different threads, and I know that somewhere there is a logic that

    binds them all, but I am not aware of it other than in occasional satori moments, maybe a systematic annotation will help me

    observe what's going on

    2) I am fascinated (and sometimes disturbed) by the complexity of the mind in generally, what i see is lots of different

    people inside myself, which is scary. I am convinced that every thought, and every act, every word, is an act of discovery

    and learning about the world, and most importantly, about how we relate to the world. So this blog aims to be an experiential account of whatever happens to be on my mind on the day, its not about any particular topic, or agenda, I am not going to try to keep this blog to keep anyone entertained. However feel free to interact whatever way

    I am not going to try to make sense, nor to be accomplished.

    I seem to notice that POL is underdoing a posting crisis, btw - is that so? In a strange way that would be good I think

    maybe he is just rebuilding his index of constructs I am sure there must be still a lot of thinking going on in his head, which i would like to hear about.

    A true diary of my life experience is likely to be of too personal nature to be shared, I really keep my most private thoughts so hidden even from myself, but a diary of my most superficial layers of my consciousness should be possible.

    I am not promising anything worth reading, starting from my to do list for today.

    I am not sure how this blogging platform works, so it will be some trial and error before I find out how to make use of this medium

    Thanks TGL- maybe this time I can turn into a proper unintentional blogger

  12. Presumably, these are some of the common characteristics that make for a beautiful person (from Cosmetic Beauty):


    A luminous, clear complexion is a major signal of youth and beauty. Skin that is free from imperfections is a sign that a person is free from disease, and a wrinkle-free complexion is a signifier of youth. Interestingly, a recent study has found that wrinkles aren't the only cue our eyes look for to evaluate age.

    ‘Whether a woman is 17 or 70, the contrast of skin tone plays a significant role in the way her age, beauty and health is perceived,' says study co-author Dr Bernhard Fink from the University of Goettingen, Germany. ‘Skin tone homogeneity can give visual clues about a person's health and reproductive capability, so an even skin tone is considered most desirable.'

    Facial features

    Numerous studies of beauty have found that female facial attractiveness is greater when the face has certain features, in particular large eyes, thin eyebrows, a small nose and full rosy lips.

    A female face is generally perceived to be more attractive when possessing high, arched eyebrows, widely spaced large eyes with dilated pupils, high cheekbones, small nose, high forehead, narrow face with thin cheeks, large smile, full lower lip and a small chin. These appealing characteristics in females are typically developed under the influence of estrogens and signify youth and therefore fertility.

    The article ends with scepticism and an honest admission that what biology says is not everything to beauty:

    While perceptions of beauty differ from culture to culture and change with the times, there is certainly some consensus that facial symmetry and harmony play a significant role in how human beings determine a beautiful face. In the end, however, our individual perceptions of beauty are personal, and there are many other factors that make a person attractive, such as warmth, charisma, personality and intelligence.

    Now I think is too tedious to search for examples, but heck, let me try (I do not promise success though, since I am choosing those that seem attractive to me):



    Yes, I know is Scarlett again.. Isn't she beautiful!




    I do not think every face has to stick to the rules of course. This one has smaller lips, which gives a kind of delicate, feminine feeling, and her cat eyes like, with long eyelashes, are sexy.


    I think in anime, the cute factor is exploited more. We have faces that seem to beg for protection and love :D.


    Enough! Really, I am getting tired -I have been written this post non-stop-. So I will proceed now to Ramachandran neuroesthetics ideas and end with some thoughts by others cybernauts on this subject.

    The idea I want to remark from Neuroesthetics is the Peak Shift Principle and Rasa (essence ,an Hindu art concept), Ramachandran explains as follows:

    Hindu artists often speak of conveying the rasa, or ‘essence’, of something in order to evoke a specific mood in the observer. But what exactly does this mean? What does it mean to ‘capture the very essence’ of something in order to ‘evoke a direct emotional response’? The answer to these questions, it turns out, provides the key to understanding what art really is. Indeed, as we shall see, what the artist tries to do (either consciously or unconsciously) is to not only capture the essence of something but also to amplify it in order to more powerfully activate the same neural mechanisms that would be activated by the original object. As the physiologist Zeki (1998) has eloquently noted, it may not be a coincidence that the ability of the artist to abstract the ‘essential features’ of an image and discard redundant information is essentially identical to what the visual areas themselves have evolved to do.

    Consider the peak shift effect — a well-known principle in animal discrimination learning. If a rat is taught to discriminate a square from a rectangle (of say, 3:2 aspect ratio) and rewarded for the rectangle, it will soon learn to respond more frequently to the rectangle. Paradoxically, however, the rat’s response to a rectangle that is even longer and skinnier (say, of aspect ratio 4:1) is even greater than it was to the original prototype on which it was trained. This curious result implies that what the rat is learning is not a prototype but a rule, i.e. rectangularity. We shall argue in this essay that this principle holds the key for understanding the evocativeness of much of visual art. We are not arguing that it’s the only principle, but that it is likely to be one of a small subset of such principles underlying artistic experience. How does this principle—the peak shift effect—relate to human pattern recognition and aesthetic preference? Consider the way in which a skilled cartoonist produces a caricature of a famous face, say Nixon’s. What he does (unconsciously) is to take the average of all faces, subtract the average from Nixon’s face (to get the difference between Nixon’s face and all others) and then amplify the differences to produce a caricature. The final result, of course, is a drawing that is even more Nixon-like than the original. The artist has amplified the differences that characterize Nixon’s face in the same way that an even skinnier rectangle is an amplified version of the original prototype that the rat is exposed to. This leads us to our first aphorism: ‘All art is caricature’. (This is not literally true, of course, but as we shall see, it is true surprisingly often.) And the same principle that applies for recognizing faces applies to all aspects

    of form recognition. It might seem a bit strange to regard caricatures as art but take a second look at the Chola bronze—the accentuated hips and bust of the Goddess Parvati (Plate 1)


    and you will see at once that what you have here is essentially a caricature of the female form. There may be neurons in the brain that represent sensuous, rotund feminine form as opposed to angular masculine form and the artist has chosen to amplify the ‘very essence’ (the rasa) of being feminine by moving the image even further along toward the feminine end of the female/male spectrum. The result of these amplifications is a ‘super stimulus’ in the domain of male/female differences. It is interesting, in this regard, that the earliest known forms of art are often caricatures of one sort or another; e.g. prehistoric cave art depicting animals like bison and mammoths, or the famous Venus ‘fertility’ figures.

    In brief, the principle speaks of the distortions, exaggerations, pronounced characteristics of a figure that make it more pleasant and exciting than a normal o real one, or rather, the principle shows that in fact the distortions is more real than reality. It captures the substance, essence. For example Picasso cockerel is a classic illustration:


    Gombrich says of this artwork, Picasso was not content with giving a mere rendering of the bird's appearance. He wanted to bring out its aggressiveness, its cheek and its stupidity. In other words he has resorted to caricature (the peak shift principle at work here). But what a convincing caricature it is!

    Should it be a surprise then that some anime art is so disproportionate in their facial and body features and yet, loved by fans?


    The prehistoric art in France (Lascaux) is another good example:


    Very simple lines and colors, almost a sketch, but it seems very alive does it not!?

    Ending now. There is an idea too about idealization, which Michio discusses, but dismisses to quickly in my opinion.

    Fernando Pessoa’s Book of Disquiet: the persona in that book is an aesthete, and he notes in an entry (as the novel is somewhat a compilation of disjointed entries) that he likes to appreciate beauty from a distance. He likes to view human beauty (in women, most especially) from a distance, because if he tried to interact with the woman he appreciates his image towards her shatters: there is inevitably something flawed in that lady, and since he doesn’t want his ideals to be destroyed he remains distant; he sees human beauty as he sees art’s beauty – perfect and untouchable.

    I think this is indeed applicable to anime and to feeling attracted to particular characters. I do wonder if I was able to enter in a relationship with the character I am so fond of, would I see her the same way? Or would I get tired of her and the magic would be gone, as Maupassant writes but men grow tired of everything, especially of women? Is it because she is unattainable and an impossible romance, that I feel fond of her and imagine her to be perfect?

    Is this the end of the topic? Of course not, there are many other ideas for the why of emotional and sexual arousal, like fantasies, fetishes, even psychoanalysis. I end here though.

    I leave you with these two links, one to Michio's piece and another, a video, that summarizes this post:

    Exploring 2D Complex

  13. This blog is going to serve as my journal, in an attempt to organize my self-education, share what I've learned with others, and present my thoughts to others who know more and may provide insight, criticism and / or approval.

    To properly learn, I know I need a teacher, someone more educated and knowledgable than I, to help me analyze and understand my different subjects. If you feel you meet this qualification in regards to a subject on which I post, I humble implore you aid my understanding.

    In keeping with the philosophy of the site, I hope to share my growing knowledge with others, to inspire them to dig deeper into subjects on which they have already studied, and to enlighten them to subjects they have never considered. In this manner, I aim to contribute to The Library.

    My interests are as esoteric as my life: I'm a hippie born thirty years too late who dreams of ruling the seas as a self-made pirate and currently serves in the Armed Forces. My ancestry, according to family tradition, can be traced back to the Palacial home of the lost Anastasia and the conquering armies of Atilla the Hun. In more recent history, I am the result of an ironic union between an irish lass and an englishman. I have a soft heart and I hate communists - on principle, mind you, not because of any particular revulsion to their godless, pinko ideology.

    See? Esoteric. =p

    In conslusion, welcome, read, criticize, throw me a few words of encouragement here or there (I shed my tough skin with the waxing and waning of the moon), and hopefully this blog will add bits o' knowledge to this Library insteading of stating things that most everybody already knows.

  14. Latest Entry

    I have become increasingly sceptical of action, of

    acting. All action is action in reaction. We are never alone. is there a possibility for a pure action? The act for the act;s sake, for the joy of acting. Theoretically, there is such a thing. But the act, once executed, like a text, is sent forth into the collective, and like the text, is read, interpreted, dissected, reviewed, rejected, scorned, and reacted upon, spawning other text-acts or act-texts. Authorship is a mirage, for any act, joyful or no, is already a supplicant to a greater textual regime. We no longer speak with our own voices, for there is no one singular, but a murmur of voices that intersect all action. One's joy can only come from the hope that the act-text is heard/read/watched/thought.

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    It's my first day.

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