Blog 

June 11, 2018

[From 2008. Copied here, somewhat irrelevantly, in recognition of the recent suicides that have been in the news.] Read an article in Rolling Stone about Wallace. I see that his whole life was essentially my life between 18 and 25. In other words, it sucked. Right up to his suicide he had the same insecurities, the same thoughts, I had. Consider what he wrote in a letter: “I go t...

March 23, 2018

Just a quick note: I recently posted a long summary of and commentary on Georg Lukacs' masterpiece The Destruction of Reason, which has been absurdly--though not surprisingly, given the quality of the West's intellectual culture--neglected and virtually forgotten by everyone except Lukacs scholars. It describes the path to Hitler in the realm of culture, particularly philosophy,...

December 24, 2016

[Notes from 2008.] Reading Susan Sontag’s Against Interpretation, and Other Essays. It’s wonderful to think that the publication (in 1966) of a book full of critical essays like this could have been seen as an important cultural event. What a different time that was from the present! Norman Mailer said that the Sixties were the only time he had ever felt like a human being.

The ti...

December 21, 2016

[The following is a vignette I wrote years ago when studying for my Master's in philosophy. I was taking a class in contemporary metaphysics, and was struck that the insularity and intellectual onanism of academia can, at times, be suffocating.]

Imprisoned in an ivory tower

            He came back to himself and realized that for at least a minute he hadn’t heard a word that had b...

July 9, 2016

The following is the beginning of an essay I wanted to write years ago on the concept of pretentiousness, a phenomenon the ubiquity of which stunned me. And it seemed to me that looking at the world through that lens could be pretty interesting, if the essay were done well. I quickly gave it up, though, in part because I knew no publisher would want anything to do with something...

June 21, 2016

[Old notes.] Reading Adorno: A Guide for the Perplexed, by Alex Thomson. I’m not very impressed with Adorno. Continental thinkers literally thought it a virtue for their work to be obscurantist and imprecise: it meant they were mirroring the “dialectical” nature of reality. That word “dialectic” has in the last hundred years been used to justify the most egregious philosophical s...

April 22, 2016

In the Piazza of San Marco in Florence is a church in which lies the dried-out corpse of Saint Antonino from the fifteenth century, his hands folded on his chest in a well-lit glass tomb. The sight is macabre. Above and behind him and all over the church are models of Jesus’s crucifixion, this man being tortured to death on a wooden cross with blood pouring from his hands and his...

August 14, 2015

What is the significance of the fact that in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries certain (semi-fascist) sections of the middle and upper classes in Western society started obsessing over heroism, manliness, strength, military virtues, and, conversely, society’s increasing effeminacy, “neurasthenia,” desiccation, decadence, etc.? It was indeed a near-obsession, and i...

June 13, 2015

Albert Camus: “We [moderns] read more than we meditate. We have no philosophies but merely commentaries. This is what Étienne Gilson says, considering that the age of philosophers concerned with philosophy was followed by the age of professors of philosophy concerned with philosophers. Such an attitude shows both modesty and impotence. And a thinker who began his book with these...

May 20, 2015

[The following is an excerpt from this book.] 

In order to determine someone’s intellectual or artistic integrity and acuity, a simple test is available. It has to be supplemented with others, but it’s useful. If in any context you can tell that someone is responding to a set of ideas or a work differently from how he otherwise would have on the basis of who produced it, you know...

April 29, 2015

The nation-state and capitalism were born as twins from the fertile, ancient womb of greed and power-hunger. They grew up together, were playmates from an early age—going on treasure hunts, playing Cowboys and Indians, in their later years preferring Monopoly—learned from each other, helped each other achieve their dreams, relied on each other in difficult times. Their youths and...

April 19, 2015

The following is a resolution proposed at a Chicago conference of the Communist Party’s Unemployed Councils in 1930, in the context of the Great Depression:

"The basic cause of this mass unemployment is the fact that the workers receive as wages only a fraction of the value they create, and cannot buy back their product. Hence vast quantities of commodities are left in the hands o...

Please reload

 Featured Posts 

Popular sanity

February 19, 2015

1/5
Please reload

 Recent Posts 
Please reload

 Search by Tags