Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Freud - Nietzsche - Beautiful Advice

Compassion counters cruelty, and both oppose indifference.

In this way, art, no matter its aesthetics, is opposed to indifference first. This is both the indifference of the depicted as it is the –potential –indifference of the audience.

Indifference regarding what? The “benign indifference of the universe” (Camus)?

Tan Lin once told me (while I was driving him to the Columbus airport) he was pursuing a poetics of boredom. I’ve been turning that over in my head for over a decade now, without much to show for it. Is boredom opposed to indifference? Is “boredom” something one can even work with? If one is productive in using boredom as a goal, is one then really using boredom? This continues to trouble and interest me.

Indifference to the collective, the condition of being with the world. For me, this is the primary indifference that art can address. To find meditative space within the inevitable.

“Desperate, but not serious,” as Adam Ant would have it.

Nietzsche was wrong in so many ways as to be nearly useless—most notably (outside of his use of masculine/feminine and Christian/Jewish dichotomies) is his view of the struggle of the artist in bending materials to his/her will. One can quickly see the implications of where this leads. Flip the idea though, and there’s a much more interesting, to me, economy: what of the conception of the artist as one who is in deep sympathy with her/his materials? Must it be a contest, or can it be affection? Of course it can, and Nietzsche was a political and sexual mess.

Imagism quickly found the limits of objectivity. Objectivism built an apartment complex there.

Art is the continual debate, the always opening question that cannot close, between certainty and doubt. They are the propelling forces through the work of art.

Art is a (not the) function of illusions. It becomes evidence in the series of monologues we have with ourselves and others. We place art on book jackets, we play it at occasions, we quote from it to give our ideas a push-off from shore.

As literary texts can be associated with the workings of the imagination and of dreams (Freud), so too, then, only the dreamer can illuminate the dream—creating an always receding “meaning” —but as an audience can always (in the present tense) participate with art, can be in sympathy with it, so too can this audience dream along and illuminate the artwork.

Art is only communal in this secondary way. A “talking about.”

Where art manifests as communal at the outset, as its primary instance, it is propagandistic.

I blame Freud, first, for the idea so many have that art is performed like a puzzle, and that through interpretation lies the puzzle’s “solution.” This is just another version of “The Will to Power” that leads to a (wherein I get to blame Nietzsche, again) retreat from sympathy.

A compassion, rather than a cruelty, that counters indifference.

Or, here’s another way of saying it (as an email that sympathetically avoided my junk folder):

-----Forwarded Message-----

Subject: Re:
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 2010 16:12:18 +0000

hi, i saw your photo on that site.. ( i think your cute) anyhow id love to chat with you sometime on windows live messenger my name there is add me i'll be online for most of the holidays.. talk to you soon

Madison xoxo

with all the curiosities I observed, being studious of brevity.
praise the Lord!!

master, assists in teaching him. The language described. all which acquirements, I should be a living treasure of then turned the light on the derelict and kept it there.

-----Original Message-----

From: Madison
To: You
Sent: Wed, Dec 8, 2010 4:55 pm
Subject: Fw: Fwd: Fw: Fwd: Fw: Beautiful Advice

We must keep one another strong for what is before us. We have a cruel contemptible, and helpless an animal was man in his own nature; worth, and their bodies left to be devoured by dogs and birds of And often, I've been told, not even to her. I felt it very improper, for you can't go on for some years


At 12/22/2010 2:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"hi, i saw your photo on that site.. ( i think your cute)"


And you thought Scarriet was useless... LOL

T. Brady

At 12/22/2010 2:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Each of us is, all of us are,
bound in a sphere, as
da Vinci's Vitruvian man is:
its walls, which is to say
its one wall, is composed
of a thin dust like the dust
old teachers of mathematics
taste on their last day
of teaching, sadly,
as men who kill themselves
to make a moral point
taste their poison, but it is
impermeable, this wall:
the voices of each of us
cannot pass through it.
But the Voice of all
our voices can.

- de Luna

At 12/22/2010 4:03 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...


I don't remember ever calling Scarriet useless.

And look, here's a poem from Julio de Luna! Hi Julio!

I hope you're all having blissful winter festivals!


At 12/22/2010 5:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hola John!

- de Luna

At 12/23/2010 10:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our moor is His table.
He eats trees and cattle
with tarnished forks
of lightning, belches
thunder, yells for
the jester with the hat
angled of bells
to dance for Him:
the jester spins
slowly, laughing
(he's the only one
He hasn't killed)
and those are the stars.
Then the moon comes up
full to the brim
with Communion wine.
Who are we? We are
mice scrambling
for crumbs under
His umber cloak.

- de Luna


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