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atravelersnote

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freelance writer. journalist. intellectual dissident. cultural theorist. interfaith developer. human rights worker. speaker. author. poet. follower of the rabbi from nazareth.... [more]

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Idealism
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(ī-dē'ə-lĭz'əm)
n.



  1. The act or practice of envisioning things in an ideal form.

  2. Pursuit of one's ideals.


there is a tendency to think that idealism is here to save the day, the irony is that idealism prevents the day from ever happening.

when we enter into our own narrative and begin peering back onto our own stories and begin measuring our experiences against the experiences of others, our idealism fades and depression enters and forces us to wrestle with our static existential state. we become shadows immersed in former things. a part-object (an idea referred to by freud and lacan) which is something that has the quality of being there, but not really being there and yet having the ability to sustain its own presence without the help of a memory. this part-object is a fragm.enta.tion of reality. the perverse ontology of idealism rests in the notion that we have to control everything about our story, and that if something falls apart that we have not only lost the illusion of control but that we have also surrendered to the social idea constructed behind the philosophy of failure.


if things don't work out the way we've planned then there must be something wrong with us and the way we're living our story. idealism paints us a reality that isn't real. it distorts us into believing that life is meant to be a serene journey where everything seems to work out okay. idealism is the blindness that bestows upon us an amnesia that we forgot we had by giving us something we never needed but always thought we should ask for. if things always worked out the way they were supposed to then we would be nothing more than overrated perverse versions of ourselves on display for the rest of the world to see. we would be the former mannequins of our present selves.

setting up utopia is a misnomer. why? because historically utopia by definition only exists in novels, books and minds that were fed by those very novels and books. the perfect utopia lies in the imperfect dystopian experience. in a religious sense, faith finds its' salvation in doubt. truth finds itself in the (kierkegaardian) untruth. light is made light in the dark. utopia impedes us from entering the light. it sustains the dark under the illusionary guise of light.


if everything is perfect, than nothing is perfect.


perfection is something that gives us meaning and purpose. we have taken the idea off the shelf and paid an ungodly price for such a philosophy that has only found its existence in the part-object category. perfection only exists because we want it to exist. because we think we need to exist or that without it we would be depressed, despondant and weak human beings without a purpose. but the opposite is true.


if imperfection is what we strive for then we must become perfect at that.


not perfect in the traditional sense, but rather perfect as defined by some ancient jewish nomads who defined perfection as evolving. life doesn't happen in a vacuum, it happens everyday of the week. life doesn't happen only when we're looking it also occurs when we least expect it. but if we are searching for our very own versions of shangri-la then we will inherently measure what we have been made to believe life should be by these apparitions of false perfection that should have never haunted us in the first place.


fighting for dystopia doesn't mean we become inactive miscreants who do nothing to make the world a better place. that would be idealism in its fullest form. in fact, idealism is the laziest philosophy alive or half-dead. fighting for dystopia also doesn't mean we look for opportunities to make the world a
worse place than some might believe it is. what it does mean is we become counter-cultural to all of the systems that represent some sort of hierarchical, tribal, colonial, capitalistic, de-socialized states that seem to paint the picture that everything is okay the way it is. the television even with all of its many lies, contain an echo of truth and whisper to us that all is not well in the land of Oz.


the emerald city must fall for us to see what lies beyond it.


there is more to life than the perfect life. this is why hollywood is the new Oz that must fall. the cinematic promise of an eternally ontological orgasmic rapture destroys the reality that lies beyond the matrix. hollywood choose the paints before they go on the palette and paint us a partial picture of reality and invite us into a pristine pseudo-reality that tastes and believes like the real world but photoshops all of the tragedy that we need to remind us why we're alive.


tragedy in life is not the enemy, the denial of any tragedy is the most gruesome form of tragedy. hollywood must fall so we can get back to real life. i am not saying movies, actors and actresses need to quit and find something else better to do, although that might help the quality of movies this doesn't deal with the realities life. the cinematic experience must convert itself into a dialectical materialist, one that causes space for dialogue that rest in the notion that tension is needed to sustain our humanity.


that to be better humans means we must continually be willing to wrestle with our pain, but not see pain as a bad thing or even a monster we atempt to hide away in our closets, but rather something we peer into the face of and directly embrace, question, emotionalize and sometimes even abandon for the sake of a greater good that lies beyond the
pain and tragedy.


theloverevolution.org.uk

     For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.
Vincent Van Gogh

 

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posted on 11.16.10

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a time for laughing...a time for crying...a time for following rules...and a time for resistance - King Solomon, Revised

i grabbed a coffee, sat down, got relaxed and put in the movie valentine's day. i am sucker for a good romantic comedy. but this post isn't a movie review. it's about a scene in the movie that alludes to the apparent inconsistencies within society that almost seem to do more damage than good. bradley cooper is one of the characters in this Crash like plot where eventually everyone's story intertwines. a great sentiment for a movie; the empowering realization of connection.

his character is gay. but we don't know that till the end of the movie. there's a scene (and i am sure it's done on purpose) where he is talking with julia roberts on a plane and we're left to assume that they might end up together until we reach the end of the film. in the discussion between the characters played by julia roberts and bradley cooper he (the gay man) assumes she is heading home to visit as he deems it 'a very special man' - again, the assumption tends to be that she is married and going to visit her husband. but when we come to the end of the film she is visiting her son who lives with her parents while she is away on some foreign soil. this movie over all is the typical hollywood kitsch. but want i want to deal with is how the gay character ends supporting the very system that condemns him.

what we don't get in the movie is the possible conversation between the two while the rest of the plot was happening. so, these inadequacies are lack within and of themselves. but lack is where we find truth. for years and years, the social stereotype was when a boy grew up that he would marry and get a job and care for his family. this was not just the stereotype, but the expectation. if anyone strayed from this it was equated to social treason and for the most part was swept under the rug to give the illusion of a fragmented society held together. and society a systematic body of rules, expectations and laws seems to be failing its stereotypes. and this is a good thing.

for me, this is the non-apocalyptic end of the world, when society collapses inward and has to reinvent itself toward a better world. i don't mean the presumptious idea of the sun falling into the sea, what i do mean is that our horizons will be re-invented. i think hollywood is beginning to show us the cracks and fault lines within a society imprisoned by social hierarchy. and so in this movie valentine's day, we have a gay man supporting the very system that condemns him. which i am sure was a director mistake, but nonetheless points us to a place of social catharsis.

or how about a person who publicly professes they believe in change and behind closed doors continues to support the obscene acts they despise, not because they want to, but becase to them that is all there is. or the person who decides not to go to church and then goes and starts another version of a church without calling it church. or a cigarette smoker who votes against public smoking. or a person who condemns capitalism and shops at the very store that is known by its capitalistic rhetoric.

in philosophy, this is called a fallacy of ambiguity or accent. which is: "An informal fallacy that arises from the ambiguity produced by a shift of emphasis in spoken or written language." an example would be the following: "Joan said that she never wants to see another Demi Moore movie, so we won't show her another one; we'll just play this same one over and over again."

notice the word another, it implies that there could be the possibility that one day in the future Joan might watch 'another' Demi Moore movie. this space of ambiguity informs us that we are not sure of our position. if someone can make a decision, the assumption is either they know what they want or they know what society wants them to want enough for them to make a move. a fallacy of ambiguity means we exist in a space of limbo. we are in between what we might truly want and what society wants us to want. this is much like what the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan once posited: "desire is the desire of the Other".

we want what someone else has, even though in reality their desire of their object begin in the same place as our desire. they once wanted what someone else had. this is similar to the bradley cooper's character in the movie. he assumes that julia roberts character is heterosexual because he wants the same fantastical prestige of being fully accepted as a viable member in society. he wants what she has without giving up who he is. this is the struggle of what it means 'to be'. to discover who we are and maintain that in a society that says otherwise is the most peverse of situations.



 


jesus, at one point, says he is bring a sword rather than peace. a quick primer on ancient symbols. the sword to a jew was a symbol for rome. rome was the hollywood of their day, as much as they wanted to be their own country with their own voice, they too looked to rome for their socia cues, most of the time because they had to stay alive. and so rome was the illusion of the accepted social order.

jesus says he comes to bring a sword to that. a new kind of social order. and his peace is going to disrupt everything. his peace is resistance. resistance against the social order. to tell people that you have come to bring brothers against sisters, mothers against fathers and dissolve families (even if he was just being metaphorical!) in a society where communities tended to be defined by familial connections isnt a way to get you votes for the presidency.

the supposed end of the world finds itself in a conundrum. because in the hope that something better might come we need humanity to be present. and if the world ends and there is a great schism and some go here and others go there. there's not going to be much of a world left. for the end of the world to occur we must participate in the mutual creation of another better one.

out of ancient indian philosophy came the idea of what is called weltgeist. the world spirit. its a big idea. its this objective point that humanity could work towards. a 'heaven' on earth. paradise restored. shangri-la. a place where we all believe and are capable of creating out of our god-given talents a better world. another name for the weltgeist, in some christian circles is the holy spirit. this global ecumenical spirit or way of living towards one another that taps into something deeper that is already true about all of us.

we live in a world of competition. religions. capitalism. beliefs. we're competitive beings. and i think its time we as humanity become competitive against competition. against the perversion of religion. against capitalism. against belief-ism. it starts with resistance. with the defiant hope that the world we live in could  be a lot better. and that we need each other. a time for resistance is about us getting the world we were meant to live back. to return. to remember. to experience social vertigo. to go beyond what is and boldly proclaim the what could be.

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The Ungrounded Space of Belief. by George Elerick

I don't believe what I believe. It believes for me. Let me explain.

Horror films are an interesting creation to watch because the viewer knows in the back of their mind that what they are seeing isn't true in the sense of what exists in the real world. When we enter into the world let's say of a movie like Jeepers Creepers where the main character is thrown into the middle of an unreal scenario and forced to interact with an otherworldly antagonist, we are thrown into this same world world as viewers. Although we know that this interaction that it taking place in front of our eyes isn't really occurring we are forced to believe it because the actor is 'believing' it.

The actor believes for us.

Although we know the actor doesn't truly believe, he himself is acting in belief, he does so to create an atmosphere of false reality. When the viewer participates in the life of the movie, belief is suspended for pseudo-belief. In this moment, both the actor and the viewer shared in the same belief that what is happening is truly happening even though they both know in the back of their minds its not really happening. In this instance, everything else around is believing for them.

I personally define belief as the process of belief. The participatory journey towards deciding a belief, for me, is what belief is. This is why the perverse order of dogma and doctrine are backwards, because if we confess our belief in doctrine or dogma than we readily accept not the belief in these things, but for these things to believe for us. If we come to truth as something to conquer we will never win. If we enter into truth as participators we will gain something everytime.

For me to believe what I believe (defined in the 'conventional' sense) means I would have to approach truth as a 'sign-on-the-dotted-line' manifesto. I think belief is more subversive, it messes with your head. It might even consume you. Remember Peter who walked on water? A story in the Christian Scriptures. He became consumed by his belief, sure, most say its his disbelief that got the best of him, but I think it might be a bit different. Peter believed he was capable enough to step out onto the sea. What is the sea? A place of non-grounding.

Not firm. Not sure. Not a place of 'arrival'.

Peter seems to me the type of guy who liked things firm, sure, he does seem to set himself up as the rogue outsider, but he was also the one who was afraid of change in his conversation with Paul. Peter steps out, which is a big leap. So for this guy to do that to believe that there is more to this new kind of belief is scary and enough to consume you. Belief is consuming. It isn't his disbelief that makes me feel uncomfortable but his belief.

Our beliefs should make us feel uncomfortable about what we believe.

To migrate into an ungrounded region of belief upsets our rhythm of belief. But it the space of ungrounded territory where we find what we temporally believe. It is the end desert that we realize we need to water. It was on the sea that Peter realized he had a made a decision he couldn't find support for. He had made a decision that was beyond belief. I think in terms of belief, we must always be willing to move beyond belief lest we fall into the trap that what we believe leads us to belief. There is always more waiting beyond what is here, what is now, and it waits for us to move into the sea, to the unsettling place of ungrounded dexterity. This new atmosphere might suck the very life out of you. And that is a good thing.

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truth isn't out there.

neo, the protagonist in The Matrix trilogy, discovers he is part of a corrupt system who defines his objective reality (fiction) and then follows another piece of fiction, the white rabbit, in this journey he begins to find the truth. during the course of each film, neo is violently stripped of the assumptions he himself has been embedded with. in the third installment, Neo discovers that what he has been looking for doesn't lie outside of him.


 


it lies within.


 


over the course of the three narratives, Neo, in his existential angst, attempts to look to those around him and to things outside of him to find what he is looking for. but its in the moment that he realizes he has to die to save humanity from the machines, that he begins to except that the very thing that can make a difference lies inside. in this moment, the Subject realizes that he himself is L'Autre, the Big Other.


 


the epiphany of Neo lies in the distorted reality of what is outside is really inside, but he has to go from being the signified (concept) to accepting that the world he once lived in was the very place his signifiers were bestowed to him. for Neo to be fully re-constituted he must die to himself.

This is essentially the dangerous premise of Hegel's Night of the World, where the Subject must enter into their own demise to find what is waiting on the other side. a proverbial suicide hinges on us everyday. this is much like the words of Jesus who claimed to be God. in the moment of this obscene incarnation, the God who is the Other now becomes the Subject. truth isn't out there, its in here.


Neo has to discover this.


the only way Neo is able to discover this is entering into a world of fiction. when he begins to pursue the trail of the white rabbit, this is when he begins to enter into the negative space of his own castration. he begins to see that he has been looking in the wrong place for far too long. once he enters into castration he meets the christ-figure in Morpheus. who is also a sort of devil who forces Neo to question his own existence and purpose. he is the incarnation of Neo's castration. Neo needs Morpheus to lead him out of wonderland.


its this wonderland that we in society long for. utopia. shang-ri-la. heaven.

when Neo finally enters into the desert that isn't utopia, he still tries to make it 'home'. during his training with Morpheus, he attempts to see himself from the world he once participated in. his struggle lies in the divorce from the world he was once living in. the hauntological contradiction is that Neo needs the world before to enter into this desert place where he begins to see all the things that have been fabricated for him are mere mirages that existed for self-gain or pleasure.


for us to realize that truth exists within, we too must follow the white rabbit out of this world, into the next. the truth is found by following fiction. as the process of violent deconstitution arises within us, we as the Subject are then brought back into the Mirror Stage to re-discover what lies inside. when we stare at ourselves in the fiction we have become we then are brought into the realization that the jouissance we experienced while in the matrix was a perverse pre-fabrication of what was necessitated as the perversion of jouissance.

to truly experience the radical hospitality in the post-fabricated jouissance, we must enter into the fiction where the source of deconstitution lies to discover what lies beyond it. this search for truth outside of us, is the search for utopia. truth gets treated as if it is the discarnate voice that sits beyond this existence into some existence beyond this one and occasionally speaks to individuals and societies. the fable of utopia strips of our subjectivity and forces us into a fantasy where we strive to live beyond the Subjective realm and enter into the Oz we think exists beyond us.


in the narrative of Neo and Jesus, we are introduced to a post-narrative paradigm that compels us to not merely question our own existenstialism but also has humanity enter the deconstitution of their own subjectivity and perverse need for Othere. when the Subject enters the fiction of the obscene Other, she is forced to question her contextual value.


She is then brought to the same place Neo and Christ were brought to, the place of agalma, where her epiphany doesn't lie in having a house with a husband, or a job, or a paycheck, but lies in the simple truth of being. that its not in her existential angst or segregation of empirical triage but that it lies within her.

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posted on 08.19.10

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Synopsis: Language is overused, tired, frustrated and disenfranchised with itself. We need new language. But what does that mean? Read below and find out?




     Cultural Theorist Julia Kristeva proposes that language distances us from the Object we desire.

  Let's say this Object is Truth and for each person how you define truth is a subjective experience. But, if we can agree we all have a certain Object we are heading towards. For one person, truth might be love, so for that person the journey is finding ways to move toward's love.
For another it might be religion, so they then choose to live their life in reference to that Object. The next logical thing is to find ways to understand this Object whatever it may be. We might create a system of words, ideas, documents and essential doctrines to inform us and others of how we have come to this conclusion.   Let's put flesh on this.

  Joe falls in love with Sally. Sally is Joe's highschool sweetheart. So for all intense purposes, for Joe, Sally is the Object that he desires. Joe tries to make sense of who he thinks Sally is. So he begins using words like beautiful, confusing, and mysterious to encapsulate her. Now each of these words have a context and a historical contingency within which to refer to. Let's unpack the word beautiful. When Joe refers to Sally as being beautiful, he is already distancing himself further from Sally, why? Because who defines beauty? What is beauty? Is it how you look on the outside? Does it mean as a female you are skinny and have a big bust? Or does it mean that you have to be plump like in the ancient cultures that once believed beauty was only in thick skin?


  If you notice as we dissect just this word we are taken deeper into the rabbit-hole. Language distances us from what we desire. The more define another person or thing, the less it has a chance to be the person or thing it could be. If we keep defining beauty and what it is, the less Sally stays Sally and becomes more of what and how culture defines beauty, even further along than that, Sally no longer becomes Sally but the after-product of how Joe sociall constructs his ideas around beauty.

  Let's take the word confusing, I think this word has much to teach us. Confusing usually alludes to something we don't understand or doesn't make sense to us. When someone explains something in such a way that it doesn't register within what we know, we say we are confused. So then it seems logical to try and understand what is confusing to us. But this is where the danger lies.

  Rather than allowing mystery to speak to us, we want to speak for it.

  Ever since the Enlightenment we have wanted to try to turn everything we do into some sort of perverted science. This gnostic addiction has transformed our society into an overpopulated urban complex that desires to control the Object(s) of our desire.  

The third characteristic of Sally also much to say about the future of language. To Joe, she is mysterious. She is the uknown. This part of her personality Joe wrestles with most, because he can't understand it. He can't control it. He can only surrender to it. Joe is at the mercy of Sally's 'unknownness'. In this regard, the mystery draws Joe into Sally out of a deep subsconscious desire to want to know Sally, not to uncover her mysteriousness, but to know it. Not even to verbalize her mystery, but rather to embrace it.  


This is the same for language.


  So, where do we go from here? Practically, we need language. We need to communicate. I would posit that we need to enter into language as foreigners. As immigrants. As people who are naively idealistic to the possibility that language must eventually self-implode. Let me explain. Think of language like a carton of milk. When you head to the store and you peruse the aisles and finally arrive to the milk and cheese aisle, one of the things you might be concerned about is the expiration date. The expiration date informs you when the milk is going to start turning into everything else but milk.

  That expiration date is when it loses its milk-ness.  
Its the same with language, it has an expiration date. It too expires and stops being what it was meant to be. Language tends to be defined by its own history, culture and context. As we know, all of these elements change. History moves forward. Cultures progress. Contexts change. When we realize this we can then begin confessing the fragility of language and how incredibly damaging it can be if we do not allow for self-implosion or expiration.

  So maybe we can all participate in a contextual linguistic revolution that starts with a need for embracing mystery over language. Once we come to a place where we don't need to be in control of trying to make sense of everything, we can begin seeing each other as equals, rather than electricians, teachers, doctors or politicians.

  Once we divorce ourselves from the need to know, we can begin embracing the the mystic within us all. The next thing would be to approach language with the holy irreverance it deserves, and begin asking what it means to live in a culture where language sustains its fragility and ability to be transformed through self-implosion. When we approach our contexts with this hopeful idealism we an then begin living in the world of inclusive and endless opportunities.

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