October 5, 2021

The Underground Spirit


The Martyrmade Podcast: The Underground Spirit

I Wish I could time travel to my high school self and drop the pro-tip of researching biography and fine grained historical context while reading the big thinkers in history. This was my first reaction to Darryl Cooper's podcast overlaying the biographies of Dostoevsky and Nietzsche. The disruption of the mystique of both men didn't diminish the magnitude of their contributions to literature and philosophy. To the contrary, such a spotlight brought out the humanity of both of them, which for me colors their intellectual contributions in a far richer way than I had understood earlier, as fragmentary as it was/is.

The great aspect of Dostoevsky was his ability to field the strong man in his writing , specifically the psychology of the narcissist. In my first read of the Notes from the Underground, it was painful to delve into the psyche of narcissism. After too many encounters with narcissists in my life, and it took several, I had reread this book in particular with keen interest. Wha tI had never liked in the writings of Nietzsche was what I later came to recognize as a stamp of narcissism, a one dimensional Darwinian inflected overconfidence that is one step away from catastrophic blunder. But after listening to Cooper's podcast, I see the all too frail humanity underlying Nietzsche's Zarathustra and I feel compassion for him.

(Snip from the podcast, time = 18:40)
"The string of coincidences that led to his discovery of Dostoevsky might have led to the thing that got him to let that Russian author inside of his gates, to give him the time of day, and then when he starts reading and finding more out about Dostoevsky himself, the uncanny myriad ways Dostoevsky's work finds correspondence to not only Nietzsche's own work but his own personal life, kept him going along with it. And then one day, Nietzsche is walking along, and he looks at that Trojan horse and maybe he notices it in a different light maybe... maybe I shouldn't carry this metaphor too bar, but... maybe he saw something that he recognized, but the recognition came too late, and by the time he realized what was happening, he realized that his gates had been opened and the walls he carefully constructed to protect his sanity all at once came tumbling down."

A few notes:

- The root of narcissism is thought to stem from childhood trauma.
- If societal narcissism is an individual psychological trauma writ large, then the trauma at the grand scale could be the pain of dislocation due to the accelerating change of scientific/technological/social factors.
- Dostoevsky points to Western secular values as the source of nihilism that undergirds Socialism.
- As Socialism seeks to displace and erase religion (Christianity), it does so as a competitor, and as such, Socialism can be seen as another type of religion, one where "Science" takes the place of G-d.
- Psychologist Sam Vaktin asserts that Social Media proffers a technological mirror, whose surface carries each individual's double (recalling Dostoevsky's second novel "The Double", contemporary renditions of this theme in "Fight Club"... etc), an image which is worshipped as a god by the user of Social Media.
- Technology is a prosthetic extension of our limbs and senses... ultimately our minds. When the technological prothesis interconnect, we craft an avatar of auto representation.
- The collective Narcissus of society is transfixed on its' image in the mirror of technology, wrenched into this position from the violence of change that accelerating Technology has wrought, ratcheted higher and higher as this dynamic surges forward.
- The Revolutionary ultimately seeks to end the pain of change by forcing the Eschaton into existence... "...what difference does it make if one or a hundred or a thousand or a million or a hundred million die if in exchange we arrive at a heaven on earth?"
- Could it be for these and other reasons that Modernity has an intrinsic death wish?
- Professor Michael Sugrue presents Kierkegaard's "Either Or" as a gauntlet thrown down in challenge, because reason sits on feet of clay. Reason cannot resort to reason to justify itself (circular). Kurt Gödel shook up Positivistic expectations in mathematics and logic with his Incompleteness Theorem. The Enlightenment was brought to its' knees by the Counter Enlightenment via the use of its' own tool kit. One can only choose one or the other, never both. (Trouble here, for my Parallel City thesis.)
- In Dante's "Divine Comedy", Virgil (the embodiment of Reason) could only lead him part of the way through the levels of Hell.. It was Beatrice (the embodiment of Love), that could lead him through and out of Hell.
- Sheer faith is a kind of force majeure, a veritable deus ex machina. In Dostoevsky's "Brothers Karamaszov", the Grand Inquisitor section, Christ replies only with a kiss. In Milton's "Paradise Lost", Satan takes center stage, the art of language is in its' full glory... but Heaven presented as a world without text. In Milton's heaven*, there are no similes, only repetitions, statements, only synonyms, Intensely repetitive. Milton's heaven is not about figural language, metaphor, or simile. Heaven is described only by stating what things are, never explained.

Posted by Dennis at 1:02 PM | Comments (0)

October 1, 2021

JOB (in progress)


JOB (in progress)
Life Size
Oil on Canvas over Wire and Wood

Posted by Dennis at 12:19 PM | Comments (0)

resisting gravity, denying the universe


resisting gravity, denying the universe
60" x 48"
Oil on Canvas over Wood Panel


Posted by Dennis at 12:13 PM | Comments (0)

tiny little fists


tiny little fists
30" x 20"
Oil on Canvas over Wood Panel


Posted by Dennis at 12:04 PM | Comments (0)