No Axe for Kafka

•June 22, 2018 • 1 Comment



[Older poem. Shots I took in German provincial town of Bad Kreuznach 2007.]

No Axe for Kafka

‘A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us’ (Kafka)

Sat down in the grey room,
looked out the window.
Opposite, the fat man
in the singlet leaned out
wheezing for air.
From this angle

no sky, so

you imagined one, a few
weak tremblings of light,
a silent vapour trail
pushing itself across
its surface like spit
slowly going nowhere

special.

Inside the greyness
thickened into different
silences while somewhere
a radio played with
curtains like an air-
guitar & someone

was burning meat.

Heard it this morning,
maybe in kindergarten,
& now was the rest
of your life as usual.
Now there was no axe,
no icy fish looking up

for the hook’s redemption.

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Wild Carrot

•May 30, 2018 • 2 Comments

[Sonnet I wrote seven years ago, part of a sonnet suite on ‘weeds’, the great ecological generalists like us. Wild carrot is also known as ‘Queen Anne’s Lace’. Long live the weeds and all their attendant creatures, they’re going to become ever more prevalent as ecocide progresses… Will we ‘take the hint’ Robert Frost mentions in the epigraph? Enjoy.]

Wild Carrot

Nature is always hinting at us. It hints over and over again. And suddenly we take the hint.
– Robert Frost

Domed or flat-topped fractals of the wastes,
we’re fine-feathered Mandelbrot sets waving white
pom-poms in the slipstreams of your ignorant cars.
If you took the time to pull over from your wasted

lives you’d see the soft crystals of our long-legged
snow, each flower head a meta-cluster of clusters,
vertiginous mirrors of precise geometry arranged
in vegetal stars attracting gnats. Ready to cast

our million sperms to the weedy wind we fall
inwards like lovers, black holes centering galaxies,
cupped hands. Poke your childhood’s finger down
our palm-soft caves, marvel at the give. Do it before

council trucks patrol the verges spraying neon
paranoid pink, branding us the felons we’re not.

Movement as Mentor: ‘1968’ after 50 years

•May 29, 2018 • 1 Comment

[‘It was fifty years ago today…’ This month it’s the 50th anniversary of Paris May 68, le joli mai, a defining moment for some of my generation, in Europe at least, an ‘almost revolution’. I was a student in Germany at the time. Below some of my more personal memoir-type recollections of the times as of 1971 in Frankfurt and the personal importance of the student/youth movement as a ‘mentor’. For anyone interested, my more general reflections on the legacy of ’68’ in both its creative and shadow aspects are contained in the two essays I published here on this blog in October and November 2012.]

68: ‘Sponti’ Movement as Mentor

For me now, in 1971 Frankfurt’s first few bank skyscrapers near the wide Main river and its general aura of a certain bleak grunginess and modern ugliness paradoxically seem to promise freedom and release from Munich’s constrictions, from the latter’s Baroque, Classicist and clean-cut, swank and yuppie pretensions. Frankfurt is the classic German city of money and mind, the common urban nexus: of banks, the central stock exchange, the annual International Book and Automobile Fairs, the Frankfurt School of critical social theory. It possesses a living tradition of trade, tolerance and cosmopolitanism, once had Germany’s largest Jewish population, was the site of Germany’s first, and of course failed, revolutionary attempt at a national democratic parliament in 1848, the home of the Frankfurt School’s Kritische Theorie since the twenties and, now, of the ‘spontis’, radical student ‘spontaneism’, the largest anti-authoritarian and quasi-counter-cultural faction of the militant German New Left.

Body and mind full of a tingling, vibrant new energy of release, I walk kilometres from our little one room/no toilet garret near the station in Sachsenhausen south of the river or from the barren city shopping centre around Die Zeil to the university in the west down the long, horse chestnut- and plane tree-lined avenue of Bockenheimerlandstrasse, all just for the sheer pleasure of it. My two friends from Munich and I help the infamous 68 celebrity militant Daniel Cohn-Bendit (who had left France for Frankfurt after le joli mai) move to a new shared apartment soon after we have arrived and these two friends move into another shared apartment in the same house, the unofficial ‘headquarters’ of the Frankfurt sponti scene and the militantly anti-dogmatic, anti-party, direct action, proto-anarchist RK (Revolutionärer Kampf /Revolutionary Struggle) organisation. A new peer group providing role models, a collective mentor of sorts.

The group was influenced by an eclectic interpretation of a libertarian early Marx, Rosa Luxemburg’s theories of revolutionary social change through mass spontaneity and prescient critique of Lenin’s authoritarian elitism, Western Marxism (Lukacs, Korsch), the Frankfurt School (particularly Herbert Marcuse) and the direct-action element of anarchism. Cohn-Bendit brought in the prestige and heady libertarian experiences of the mass revolt and autogestion of the Parisian joli mai. This anti-Leninist libertarian tradition and the close affinity to the aesthetics and hedonism of youth culture ( aka ‘sex, drugs & rock-and-roll’) also served as basis for a decided and mocking stance against all bureaucratic Marxist, Trotskyite and Marxist-Leninist sects and dogmatists that, during the seventies, were attempting to revive the Old Left (the ‘K-Gruppen’ or ‘K-groups’ as they were known at the time, the ‘K’ standing for ‘Kommunistisch’, communist).

At the time (1971) this group also has members working inside the huge Opel (General Motors) factory in Rüsselsheim near Frankfurt, trying to do so-called ‘revolutionary factory work’. (One of the inflated and self-flagellating pseudo-polarities current at the time was whether to become a so-called Berufsrevolutionär (‘professional revolutionary’) ‒ whatever that was ‒ or a so-called ‘revolutionary professional’ taking up the so-called ‘long march through the institutions’ that Rudi Dutschke had proposed). One day I stand, mildly anxious and slightly embarrassed by the militant avant-gardism, at the Opel factory’s wire fence helping to hand out RK flyers (Macht Kaputt Was Euch Kaputt Macht! Destroy what is destroying you! ‒ a kind of anarcho-syndicalist imperative with an anti-alienation/existentialist touch that is, in essence, doubtlessly as patronising as any idiotically Leninist demand on or ‘on behalf of the workers’ of the time). German workers of course mainly ignore us, but some Italian and Turkish migrant workers smile or laugh encouragingly and give us the thumbs up sign.

Work Makes You Sick

1. Piece Work
(…)Piece workers have chronic stomach ulcers 50% above average. (…)

2. Monotonous repeated work processes
(…) Postural injuries, slipped disks, crippling, bruising of internal organs, problems of concentration are a few of the effects. But not only the capitalists, even a lot of colleagues say : “But you can’t get rid of the assembly line. That’s just modern work.” That’s wrong on two counts. (…) Most work processes at Opel could already be fully automated. Workers have to suffer only because it’s more profitable for the capitalists to slowly grind down cheap humans than to get new automated machinery. Secondly, everywhere where you can’t yet get rid of assembly line work, you have to sharply reduce it. (…) It’s technically possible to have every member of our society do some of the monotonous assembly line work for a time. If everyone had to work there a while, everyone would start thinking about how to get rid of assembly line work as quickly and as extensively as has long been technically possible.

3. Rotating Shift Work
Rotating shift workers have more insomnia and problems with digestion and sex than normal shift workers. (…) Rotating shift work destroys family life. Kids need constant and regular attention. (…)The only solution: abolition of rotating shift work. (…). 4 weeks of early shift, 4 weeks of late shift, a week of paid break in between so that the body can adjust. Abolition of the night shift.

4. Work in Heat
Over 28 degrees at 70% humidity means serious danger for manual workers. Drying out, too much drinking leads to over-stressing the kidneys. Constant colds because of the switches from sweating to cooling. Lumbago and rheumatism because especially the waist area is always sweaty. Stress for the heart and circulation, general sluggishness.

5. Noise
According to our calculations 80% of all jobs at Opel are too noisy, direct hearing losses arise at about 10% of them. At all jobs there are noise effects like high blood pressure, muscle strain, lowering of heart rates (…) lack of concentration, sluggishness, sexual problems, stomach problems, nerve problems.(…) The technical solutions won’t be gotten by getting a doctor’s prescription but only if colleagues fight for them.

6. Conflicts with Superiors
Direct superiors like foremen and managers are a really important, slow source of disease. But only as long as you let yourself be driven and abused by them and swallow down your anger. (…) Against the boss disease there’s only one medicine: don’t swallow your anger, that will only eat up your stomach linings. Get together with colleagues and say what you don’t like, and get rid of what you don’t like.

(Translated from a factory newsletter at Opel/General Motors in Rüsselsheim near Frankfurt by the RK group in 1971.)

At university I now start studying politics, with a special, ‘spontaneist’ interest in the history of working class and grassroots social movements, specifically the workers’ councils movements in Europe after 1917. The anti-authoritarian, extra-parliamentary 68 movement has rekindled a keen interest in the libertarian heritage of the pre-fascist working class movement. Beyond the high philosophy of the Frankfurt School’s Critical Theory, the grandsons are seeking knowledge, support, confirmation, a living tradition from their ‘elders of the books’. Both mainstream publishing and pirated editions of works from the 1914-1939 ‘Age of Extremes’ period flourish.

In the university seminars we are soon involved in combating the now increasingly surfacing various Marxist-Leninist sects and grandstanding, so-called ‘proletarian’, parties among the students. Neither ‘proletarian’ nor real ‘parties’, they indulge in a stifling, farcical replay of Old Left dogmatism and ideological (communist party-oriented and -legitimising) interpretations of the Russian, German and Chinese revolutions. They are using history to rationalise their current Leninist beliefs and party strategies (and what personal power trips are these political beliefs, in turn, rationalising?).

One of my poems of the time attempts to sum up my revulsion:

campus confusion cholesterol count

screams of power polluting the air
coming down thick
like the mush the media exude
filling your head with medicated goo

fucking Internationale cock rock
marches of the thirties reverberate
between slabs of grey concrete
dead steel glass erections

enclosing the concentrated campus
of this our most holy mother mega-
machine multiversity no silence no
birds no grass no trees nothing but

tombstone speechlessness of the powers that be
Palaeolithic screams of the powers that wannabe

And of course we ‘spontis’ are also using history to rationalise our anti-party, participatory, movement-focused, libertarian beliefs (and what unconscious drives or patterns may they in turn be rationalising?). Echoing the libertarian tradition we feel part of, we insist on the radical difference between merely State-focussed ‘political revolution’ (a bourgeois phenomenon) and production-focussed ‘social revolution’ (what we see as the ‘real’ working class revolution) and the utter irrelevance, hampering or even counter-revolutionary function of political parties for the latter (‘Die soziale Revolution ist keine Parteisache!’: ‘the social revolution is not a matter of parties!’ in Otto Rühle’s summarising slogan of the twenties). Although the political/social, state/production difference is still a useful one, the contexts of our heated debates are quite ludicrous, delusional storms in a delusional teacup far from contemporary German realities.

However, I do discover the exciting legacy and history of radical working class, artisan and peasant struggles and their practical development of direct, participatory forms of democracy and revolutionary self-activity which would seem to both fulfil and supersede the limited (party and parliamentary) forms of representative democracy that were the result of the progressive bourgeois revolutions in England, America and France. These non-bourgeois attempts and sketches of direct and economic democracy range from the Greek polis and some millennial sects and movements of the 16th century, the Levellers and Diggers of the English Revolution, the Parisian sections of the French Revolution, the Paris Commune of 1871, the Russian peasants’ councils, soviets and factory committees of the 1905 and March 1917 Revolutions (and their roots in peasants’ ‘mir’ and ‘artel’ self-organisations), the soldiers’ and workers’ councils of the German Revolution of November 1918, the Italian factory occupations of 1920-21, the libertarian anti-Bolshevik Kronstadt soviet revolt of 1921, the inspiring extent of anarchist and anarcho-syndicalist self-organisation and worker/peasant collectives in the Spanish Revolution of 1936, and the Hungarian revolution of 1956 against Russian occupation and the Communist Party.

We see ourselves, and we see what ‘1968’ stands for, as part of this suppressed and often largely unknown ‘Great Tradition’ of the common man, this ‒ mostly brutally silenced and then ignored, but irrepressible and continually resurfacing ‒ self-emancipatory stream of history-from-below. These are our precursors, our spiritual ancestors. No matter how often defeated, flawed or betrayed from within and without, this Great Tradition is our spiritual grounding in hope, the grounding of our hope for the possibility of deep social change and human liberation. Humanity seems to have often already practically dreamed or sketched the project of its own liberation and autonomy but never realized it. For us, our generation’s short-lived sketches in ‘68’ are a part of this ongoing collective and social ‘Great Dreaming’ (or, more precisely in Ernst Bloch’s phrase, ‘Forward-Dreaming’) of humankind.

In other seminars at that time we study Marx’ recently discovered preliminary work to Das Kapital, the Grundrisse, and are excited both by the seeming continuity to his early ‘existentialist’, alienation-centered work in the Economic-Philosophical Manuscripts (first published only in 1932) and the more obvious way Marx here seems to have developed the dialectical and logical structure of his economic categories on explicitly Hegelian lines.

Ditching my plans for a literary PhD thesis with Christian Enzensberger in Munich on alienation in the novels of Samuel Beckett, I develop a plan for a historical one in politics at Frankfurt with Marx-expert and SPD Professor Iring Fetscher. The plan for the new PhD is grounded in a ‘68-ist’ and ‘Western Marxist’ perspective: the history of revolutionary workers’ councils in Germany after World War I, their traumatic failure and the consequent necessary ‘subjectivation’ or ‘psychologicalisation’ of both capitalist domination itself (state intervention in fascism and New Deal, political mass psychology, culture industry, PR and advertising) and thus also of libertarian socialist theory and classical Marxism in so-called ‘Western Marxism’ (George Lukacs, Karl Korsch, Otto Rühle, French Surrealism, the Frankfurt School, Wilhelm Reich, Ernst Bloch, Henri Lefèbvre).

We saw ourselves in this radical tradition of our grandfathers’ and fathers’ generations. Their shadows, the shadows of modern European history, still seemed very much with us. Why did it so often all go wrong? Why, instead of the Second Internationale’s previous commitment not to go to war against the working class of another country, why the mass patriotic hysteria, xenophobia and bellicosity of August 1914? Why did the workers’ revolutions, uprisings, factory occupations or practical attempts at a self-managed society in Russia, Germany, Italy 1917-20 and Spain 1936-37 all fail? Why did it all end up in the Stalinism and fascism of the interwar ‘Age of Extremes’ (Eric Hobsbawm) climaxing in the totalitarian or ‘exterminist’ (E.P. Thompson) horrors of the Gulag, the Holocaust and Hiroshima? Acknowledged or ignored, these shadows still loomed large in our movement.

Straya

•May 18, 2018 • 1 Comment

[Older poem about the continent I live on. ‘Straya’ is a common Australian pronunciation of ‘Australia’, ‘Toowoomba’ is a town in Queensland, a ‘lamington’ is a small Australian cake, ‘Portaloos’ are plastic portable toilets used at events or construction sites, to ‘chunder’ is to vomit. Dr Johnson called ‘patriotism’ the ‘last refuge of the scoundrel’. I took the shot outside my local village post-office.]

Straya, or A Twinge of Last-Refuge-Patriotism while Browsing the Guinness Book of Records

This is the country of the Toowoomba two ton
lamington, forty seven people on a surfboard,
two hundred thousand camels eating up
the outback like an Afghan War. This is

the country housing the widest tongue on earth
not giving unimaginable pleasure to anyone
on either side of the world’s widest bridge hanging
up its iron-grey coat over the deepest harbour

festooned with white concrete sails squashing
orchestras & dancers into post-cubist cubicles
the size of Portaloos. This is the country
with the most paintballs caught blindfolded

in two minutes like Lord Shiva juggling universes
for fun & boredom, the most plates smashed
in thirty seconds like ditto when He’s had enough.
This is the country with the most marshmallows

eaten in a minute of eternal glory to the gods
of chunder & ditto for the four thousand seven
hundred & eighteen people proudly doing
the Aussie Crawl through a rainbow snake of pubs.

A poet is

•April 18, 2018 • 1 Comment

[Older poem of mine. The photos are of a human brain braiding and the Brahmaputra river braiding: as without, so within.]

A poet is

a child
mumbling over its toys

a crystal
falling into a supersaturated solution

a mule
whacked up a Greek alley way
by a boy with a paling

God
‘paring his finger nails’

a magpie
gathering things that glitter

an iceberg
flashing obscure signals
from its tiny tip

a sailor, bored,
at the window
sighing for the sea

The Personal Roots of Philosophy

•April 2, 2018 • 2 Comments

[Another section from my current writing project, a travelogue of our journey together as the universe called ‘You Are Here. A Travelogue‘. The painting is Edward Hopper’s famous ‘Nighthawks’ from 1942. The philosopher is the guy alone on the left.]

The Personal Roots of Philosophy

Entzweiung ist der Quell des Bedürfnisses der Philosophie…
(Separation is the source of the need for philosophy…)

– G.W.F. Hegel, Differenz des Fichteschen und Schellingschen Systems der Philosophie (1801)

One could argue that philosophy began with the question: why pain?

– John Berger, Hold Everything Dear (2007), p. 35

1

It is post-war, bomb-ruined Germany. A boy grows inside a womb. He is occasionally starved of certain nutrients because his mother has pre-eclampsia. His mother and he have difficulties connecting with each other and birthing him. The boy is pulled from the birth canal with forceps, his head slightly dented and scratched.

Always prone to various childhood diseases, as a two-year-old he is (wrongly) suspected of having scarlet fever and is hospitalised for a week. His parents cannot visit and console him for fear of infection. The nurses say he has screamed all week and they are glad to get rid of him.

When his mother tries to put him in day-care at age four, he stands at the wire fence all day screaming for her to come back. She takes him back home. Now she takes him with her as she cleans school classrooms.

At age six he is obliged to have a tonsillectomy-adenoidectomy operation because his mother and the doctor consider him to be physically ‘non-thriving’. A nurse walks him to the operating room where he sees surgical instruments in a glass cabinet. The surgeon tells him to jump up onto the high operating table, then lifts him up, switches on an enormous light overhead and, placing the gas mask on his face, tells him to count to ten. After the operation there is an emergency as he almost bleeds to death.

He will long harbour, at first largely unconscious, resentment, even rage, towards his mother until, late in life, he realises that she is just another wounded child just like him and many another. He will never feel totally ‘at home’, inside the world, or rather both inside and outside it at the same time, looking on (even as he screams or suffers or fears dying). There is always ‘another’, an observer or witness, inside him who remains unmoved. This witness often stands within him watching even as he is emoting or speaking in everyday conversations. His life will be driven by a certain deep hunger, a search for an explanation, for meaning vis-a-vis all this meaninglessness, this loss, this loneliness, this separation.

2

When he comes back home from his first day at school and begins speaking English, his mother takes him to the front door. Pointing to the threshold she says, in German, ‘when you step over that you will speak German’. Thus, thankfully, he grows up bilingually. He is both at home and not at home in two worlds.

He is not inside a language and culture or ‘nation’, not inside a ‘native’ or ‘mother tongue’ like a fish in water, but rather both inside and outside two languages, conscious of the water of language and culture itself, of the relativity of meaning. He is not perfect in either language, and, although appreciating core aspects of both cultures, feels neither ‘German’ nor ‘Australian’. He cannot relate to any kind of tribalism or nationalism. He is neither an insider nor an outsider. He is never bullied by insiders. Rather than a ‘native’, he is already a ‘cosmopolitan’ anthropologist looking on, a translator of meanings from one sphere of meaning to the other. He is already a meaning-maker, a hermeneutist.

3

He grows up as a lonely only-child surrounded by a few adults. He is given an IQ test at school and classified as a ‘gifted’ child and allowed to skip a year in lower primary. At home, his surrogate big brothers are some of the Asian students who board with his parents. One day when he is about six, one of them asks him, ‘Peter, how do you know you exist?’

This existential question and its variations never really leave him.

In his early teenage years, his parents and he will visit the local public library in the evening every two weeks or so to borrow books. One evening, he finds himself standing before a shelf marked ‘Philosophy’. He is awed by how much he doesn’t know. He wonders whether he will ever be able to read and understand the books on that shelf.

4

In those same adolescent years, encouraged by a revered English teacher, he develops a keen interest in literature. One day he lies down on his bed in his dingy room looking out onto the neighbours’ brick wall with the Modern Age volume of the Pelican Guide to English Literature. He starts trying to read the first chapter on the social background to the Modern Age. Using a dictionary, he finds it very tough going. He persists in the hard labour of meaning-making, of understanding. After a while he notices that he seems to be reading it more easily. When he has finally managed to read and understand the main points of the first two chapters, he feels as if he has experienced some kind of breakthrough, some kind of entry into a new dimension, a new space, that of the mind. He has made meaning from the recalcitrant material of a difficult text. He feels as if his inner quest to become an intellectual, a meaning-maker, might actually be beginning.

In books and ideas, in novels, he finds the meaning, the kindred souls, the mentors that he does not find in life. In novels and later in poetry he finds a connectedness, a wholeness, a depth, an emotional complexity and resonant meaningfulness of characters and human situations he does not find in life. Forming himself in adolescence, he finds himself in protagonists like Paul Morel in Sons and Lovers, Stephen Dedalus in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment, Winston in 1984, Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye, Ivan Denisovich in One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Felix Krull in Die Bekenntnisse des Hochstaplers Felix Krull, Voss in Voss.

Escaping to books, in books he finds that he is not alone. The effects of reading linger on in real life, widening and heightening it, in-forming his framings and responses. His life and sensibility will be as much determined, as much drawn out (e-ducated), by his reading experiences, this exciting world-within-the-world, as by his experiences in the world. At parties he will often be drawn more to exploring any bookshelves than to conversations. He will remember second-hand bookstores and the books he found there as much or more than the towns and cities they were in. Over the years he will fill his home with thousands of books.

(Nevertheless, he will never become stereotypically ‘bookish’, he will participate in sports as a boy, love dancing and pursue both meaning- and body-oriented activities like street and experimental theatre, yoga and tai chi.)

5

He is in fourth class primary school. Bored during a lesson, he looks up and focusses on a small, dark watermark on the ceiling. Suddenly, he is riveted by the question of whether all he is may be just a material collection of body parts working on its own without ‘him’. He hovers between deep anxiety and exhilaration. Who or what am I?

6

He is five or six years old. He has spent a gloriously exhausting few hours playing with his friends in the neighbourhood. It is sunset. Before going in to have dinner, he lies down on the kerbside strip of grass. He looks up at the sky and feels wideness and bliss.

He knows in the marrow of his bones that not the conscious thoughts but rather the specific sensibility or mode of feeling or awareness looking out through the eyes of that child he was on the kerbside grass is exactly the same sensibility or awareness now writing these words.

If this is so, and nothing has changed in the essential quality of the sensibility or awareness of that child and the present old man, then that sensibility or awareness is timeless. It is unconditioned, undying, unborn. This insight seems an utterly unremarkable fact, as real as the chair he is now sitting on.

7

On holiday on the northern coast of France in his twenties he has for the first, and last, time swallowed some LSD. He has a sense of seeing his seeing, i.e. seeing his sense organs-and-brain actually constructing the reality he sees, feels and hears around him as his attention moves from one place to the next. He is experiencing empirical social constructionism.

At the end of the experience he sees the powerful numenosity of the rocks and boulders glowing in the long afternoon light, a numenosity which seems somehow linked to, or the same as, a most powerful, profound silence that is almost palpable. He feels as if he is slowly rising again like a diver through clear, limpid water up to the sunlit, busy surface of everyday constructed reality from some profound silent place he has been down, deep in the abyss of the ocean. Even as he rises, he can already feel a certain sadness of returning to the, or his own, surface.

8

He is in his forties, in a class teaching recent migrants English. Each student is presenting him- or herself to the class. He is utterly focussed on the students speaking of themselves. Then, while one student is speaking, a Polish man who was a pilot in his own country, he suddenly becomes that student. He does not sympathise or identify with or project himself into the student, he is him. He is both sitting ‘here’ and over ‘there’ at the same time. What is speaking from the Polish man’s his mouth is speaking from his own mouth. There is no separation at all. This state of identity seems utterly natural and real and unremarkable, until it ends and he is back here on his chair listening to a student over there.

If this is so, and he is really both that person and himself, there is no reason this should not be so in relation to everyone and everything. At some deep level we know there is no separation between beings. We are both ourselves and other, conditioned and unconditioned, temporal and timeless, personas and Witness, both individuals and the universe. Tat tvam asi (That Art Thou). Mostly we identify exclusively, and erroneously, with the former.

Such experiences ground my interest in philosophy, contemplation and literature: in Eastern philosophies like Advaita Vedanta, Buddhism and Taoism, in western mysticism (Plotinus, Meister Eckhart, Krishnamurti, Thomas Merton, Alan Watts), critical theory and dialectical philosophy (Schelling, Hegel, Marx, Adorno, Marcuse, Bloch, Debord), poetry (e.g. Rumi, Blake, Whitman, Eliot) and novels (e.g. Joyce, Beckett, Nabokov, Borges, White).

Such personal experiences and readings – individual variations of which many others will share ‒ ground this attempt to find individual and collective meaning in the evolution of the universe. Hence this travelogue.

Stephen Hawking in a Nutshell

•March 15, 2018 • Leave a Comment

https://embed.theguardian.com/embed/video/news/video/2013/sep/19/stephen-hawking-history-time-simple-video

Vale Stephen Hawking.

With even socio-cultural acceleration accelerating in our contemporary ‘future shock’ condition, are we perhaps heading for another evolutionary ‘singularity’, a point of infinite compression of time and space, and then exploding into a new socio-cultural Big Bang of human and planetary transformation?

And I note that our original Big Bang that produced us big-banged out of a ‘vacuum’ that is full of everything, a ‘nowhere’, nothingness, Emptiness (‘sunnyata’ in Buddhism), the Non-Dual (‘advaita’ in Advaita Vedanta)…