Friday, August 31, 2007

Adorno/Assael 2

Steven Assael, "Skye and Marney" (2001)

"If love in society is to represent a better one, it cannot do so as a peaceful enclave, but only by conscious opposition. This, however, demands precisely the element of voluntariness that the bourgeois, for whom love can never be natural enough, forbid it. Loving mean not letting immediacy wither under the omnipresent weight of mediation and economics, and in such fidelity it becomes itself mediated, as a stubborn counterpressure. He alone loves who has the strength to hold fast to love. Even though social advantage, sublimated, preforms the sexual impulse, using a thousand nuances sanctioned by the order to make now this, now that person seem seriously attractive, an attachment once formed opposes this by persisting where the force of social pressure, in advance of all the intrigues the latter then takes into its service, does not want it....The love, however, which in the guise of unreflecting spontaneity and proud of its alleged integrity, relies exclusively on what it takes to be the voice of the heart, and runs away as soon as it thinks it can no longer hear that voice, is in this supreme independence precisely the tool of society."
-Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia #110 (1951)

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Andy Warhol, "Marilyn Diptych" (1962)

"The objective dissolution of society is subjectively manifested in the weakening of the erotic urge, unable to bind together self-preserving monads, as if mankind were imitating the physicists' theory of the exploding universe....When Casanova called a woman unprejudiced, he meant that no religious convention prevented her from giving herself; today the unprejudiced woman is the one who no longer believes in love, who will not be hoodwinked into investing more than she can expect in return. Sexuality, the supposed instigator of all the bustle, has become the delusion that self-denial comprised in the past. As the arrangements of life no longer allow time for pleasure conscious of itself [i.e., free and rational], replacing it by the performance of physiological functions, de-inhibited sex is itself de-sexualized."
-Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia #107 (1951)


Uttaporn Nimmalaikaew, "Drifting" (2006) [inkjet on canvas followed by two layers of oil paint on mosquito netting]

"The exchange relationship that love partially withstood throughout the bourgeois age has completely absorbed it; the last immediacy falls victim to the distance of all the contracting parties from all the others. Love is chilled by the value that the ego places on itself. Loving at all seems to it like loving more, and he who loves more puts himself in the wrong."
-Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia #107 (1951)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Aydin Aghdashlou, "The Triumph of Death" (1980)

"The fulfillment of persecution-fantasies springs from their affinity with bloody realities. Violence, on which civilization is based, means the persecution of all by all, and the persecution-maniac puts himself at a disadvantage only by blaming on his neighbor what is perpetrated by the whole, in a helpless attempt to make the incommensurable commensurable. He is burnt because he seeks to grasp directly, as with his bare hands, the objective delusion which he resembles, whereas the absurd order consists precisely in its perfected indirectness."
-Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia #103, (1951)


Maggie Hasbrouck, "The Open Window" (2007)

"The sadism latent in everyone divines the weakness latent in everyone."
-Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia #103 (1951)


Steven Assael, "Franchesca Twice" (2003)

"Things one fears for no real reason, apparently obsessed by an idee fixe, have the impertinent tendency to come about."
-Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia #103 (1951)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

now, if only i could find my moral compass!

the folks at have designed a handly little quiz that is good for hours (depending on how obsessive you are) or at least minutes of fun.

i think this type of thing should largely be taken as a bit of whimsy, though i don't really dispute its conclusion. nonetheless how closely should one really align the politics of mandela and ghandi (and LoA)?

in any case, one should understand that the model is meant to describe the contemporary political climate and, using the insight that left/right is not adequate it attempts to add another dimension (authoritarian/anarchist) that judges how much one values order and security as opposed to freedom (understood in this model as negative freedom: the freedom from obstructions to one's will). as one can see in the first graph

this divides politics into four broad fields. the extremes of the axes represent "pure" forms of 4 major political ideologies in the 20th-21st centuries. along the left/right axis one finds communism and (economic-)liberalism. meanwhile along the authoritarian/libertarian axis one finds fascism and anarchism. i will point out that here one sees what i take to be the most glaring problem with this metric insofar as the creators use it to dispute the claim that communism and fascism were diametrically opposed to one another. whatever "diametrically" might mean in that sentence one needs some way of grasping the manner in which liberalism appeared as a progressive position to communists and a vapid and deathly system to fascist thinkers such as heidegger (who had no problem comparing it to communism in this regard). the problem here lies in the difficultly this metric has portraying the manner in which marxism and liberalism were united very strongly (in their respective theories) in their support of internationalism and universal freedom against the parochialism of the fascist movements which they found repugnant (and in marxist terms, decidely regressive). one can imagine a very different graphing for instance if the horizontal axis was internationalism v. nationalism with the individualist-liberalism marking the center of the axis. this graphing more accurately portrays the conflicts of the 20th c. in my opinion.

this is not meant to disparage the metric which definitely has its value in complicating our usual vision. here one sees its placement of some of the most significant figures of the 20th c.

or, again, here one sees the placement of recent world leaders. (i suggest another problematic placement for this metric might be musharraf, among others).

finally, i find their analysis of the american political scene interesting and largely correct insofar as they find almost the whole range of american political figures to be operating within a common field. that said, i think when one looks closely there is a clear axis along which the typical american language of "conservative" and "liberal" work. that axis seems to run diagonally from the top right corner down towards the center (and even kucinich falls along this axis). the only notable outlier is ron paul and let's face it he sounds like a non-sense voice in american politics. i would also say that this explains some of the difficulty and discomfort many catholics feel in the realm of american politics. when one looks at the previous graph at the placement of the supposedly conservative Benny16, one finds that the pope bears no relation to the axis of american political discourse and i would suggest that it is precisely for this reason that catholics find themselves, when they vote, at a severe impasse. likewise i would suggest that this impasse largely centers around the church's (often muted) skepticism towards capitalism.

and finally there is LoA. how exactly does one describe a right-marxist (a tongue in cheek reference to the 19th c. category of the right-hegelians), otherwise known as a catholic, with authority issues?

i will let She do it, since she does it so well?

Sister: Do you know where LoA is?
She: Go 'til you see Lenin, and then keep going Left.
Sister stares with very puzzled look.

LoA:Left of Lenin

best wishes,

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

9 August: Akathist for St. Herman of Alaska

The Monks of St. Issac of Syria Skete, "St. Herman of Alaska" [Egg Tempura and Gold Leaf on Wood]

from this day
from this hour
from this very minute
let us strive to love god above all else
and to do god's will

-Herman of Alaska