I almost reached

 Posted by at 2:25 pm  Fundamental Perversions  Comments Off
Apr 112016

I almost reached Piazzale Michelangelo – aware of a beating heart – only a small slope remaining but I decided to cut through to the Giardino delle Rose, where I sit in the shade impressed by the vigorous shoots of the roses – no flowers yet, of course. Knocked off course by the recent nose bleed event – now nearly three weeks ago – though I remain nervous of possible repetitions.

Palazzo Vecchio crenellated and pushing into the sky, the image of Renaissance power, the oligarchs of the past. Now we are seeing the current rise to power of plutocrats and oligarchs, the pirates of our time, who are having great success in undermining “our” democracy. Is democracy too demanding? The work of democracy too hard? After all we have to think, read, study, debate: the corruption of consumerism is easier. We can surrender to the demands and blandishments, the illusion of a life both comfortable and easy, told to us in simple images by the advertising industry, those agents of the hyper-wealthy while they “hide” their stolen treasure in some tax haven idyll. Just like the pirates of old. 

How did this happen?

Pirates and slavery  . . . or “as close to slavery as we can manage”


Dismal Deaths and How to Avoid Them

 Posted by at 11:48 am  Exodus, Old Men Travelling  Comments Off
Apr 082016
tripe stew131

“How unbearable the body of a living being who fights with death, and now seems to win, now to lose. I don’t know how long we remained like that”. The Days of Abandonment,  Pp 145. Elena Ferrante explores in this story what happens to us when our lives results in an unbearable absence of sense.

Nose bleed. Now I seem to win, now to lose, he is saying. To begin with the dying experience has to be told from the narrator’s perspective. Because to be able to follow the story there are some essential personal details to fill in and a few other thing we need to know. Rat poison!

The reader gets pulled in. I don’t know how long we remain like that. Unlike her four volume Naples Novels, The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante is under  200 pages long. It is gendered and includes references to other women with unbearable stories of an absence of sense, “the pages in which Anna Karenina goes toward her death…”, “…leafed through the ones about women destroyed”, Pp183. Sophocles’ Antigone, comes to mind as well: these are stories in which, as regards the unbearable absence of sense, the men by and large do not die well.

I haven’t stopped reading simply because I have reached the end. And I don’t know how long we remain like this.

The heart of the matter

 Posted by at 3:05 pm  Anti-Gravity Surgery  Comments Off
Apr 042016

Somewhere there is the point at which life turns into death. Loss of blood, for example, takes one towards that point. And recently I was taken closer to that point on the occasion of a nose bleed. Because I am taking warfarin (to reduce the possibility of a a DVT following surgery last year) the nosebleed was reluctant to stop. So it was necessary to volunteer a trip to the nearby pronto soccorso, the A & E here in Italy, to experience the distinctly uncomfortable intervention of tampons being stuffed into my nasal cavities. Losing blood, on this occasion mostly swallowed, takes one towards the sense of the danger of losing ones life, it flows out (or in) with the blood. In the following days there were a couple of times I nearly fainted. I felt weak, I vomited blood: where was I on the thread between life and death? 

The most interesting bit of life is between knowing and not knowing. It’s the heart of the matter. The most interesting aspect of education/learning is, again, between knowing and not knowing. If I know everything there is nothing more to do, nothing more to explore; life, we might say, has come to an end.

Of course, each of us will have a view on where on the life/death line or knowing/not knowing line we would prefer to be, and how much movement we can sustain. How far can I go into not knowing? The popularity of extreme sports suggest that there are many of us who want to explore that tension and many of us who prefer to explore it via stories, movies, documentaries.

My last post was about the door; then it came along . . .