About time: why western philosophy can only teach us so much
Nevertheless, Gray is right to point out that linear progress is a kind of default way of thinking about history in the modern west and that this risks blinding us to the ways in which gains can be lost, advances reversed. It also fosters a sense of the superiority of the present age over earlier, supposedly less “advanced” times. Finally, it occludes the extent to which history doesn’t repeat itself but does rhyme.
It’s all so stupid. Commercial fishing is by far the greatest cause of ecological destruction at sea, but produces less income and employment in the UK than the industries it wrecks. Recreational angling alone, which is perpetually threatened by the absence of fish, generates more jobs and money than commercial fishing. Whale and dolphin watching, diving and snorkelling would, if allowed to prosper, greatly enhance the livelihoods of coastal people. And this is to say nothing of the immeasurable improvements in the lives of everyone connected to a thriving, abundant living system.
Manzarek and Krieger’s lawyers tried to paint Densmore as a dangerous communist – even citing a piece he wrote that was published in the Guardian as evidence for this – but eventually, and spectacularly, he won. He wrote a book about the case, published in 2013, and donated the profits to the Occupy movement. “Money is like fertiliser,” he says. “When spread around, things grow; when it’s hoarded, it stinks.”
O Brasil é a Amazônia, mas a Amazônia não é o Brasil. Não existe comércio nessa relação. Não há paga, não tem ciclo do valor, trata-se de uma irredutível ecologia da dádiva, num sentido tão puro que chega a ser perturbador. Toda economia da dádiva de que tenho notícia inclui a reciprocidade, a obrigação de dar, receber, retornar e até iniciar uma outra dádiva, sob pena de uma profunda violência. Até mesmo no sistema cristão do sacrifício de si absoluto existe a noção de um retorno, ainda que em outro reino.
Os conhecimentos e práticas dos povos indígenas têm sido reconhecidos em foros internacionais, como ficou patente no Painel Intergovernamental sobre Mudanças Climáticas (IPCC, na sigla em inglês), criado em 1988, e na Plataforma Intergovernamental sobre Biodiversidade e Serviços Ecossistêmicos (IPBES, na sigla em inglês), de 2012. A arqueologia brasileira tem posto em evidência que o enriquecimento da cobertura e dos solos da floresta – as fertilíssimas “terras pretas” – é fruto das práticas de populações indígenas desde a era pré-colombiana até hoje. E sabe-se agora que na Amazônia foram domesticadas dezenas de plantas, entre as quais a batata-doce, a mandioca, o cará, a abóbora, o amendoim e o cacau. Um artigo publicado recentemente mostra que até mesmo o milho, originário do México, passou por uma segunda domesticação na Amazônia.
Moreover, billionaires’ extravagant wealth is by and large not spent, as Zuckerberg suggests, on cutting edge research and philanthropic efforts. After they’ve bought up enough yachts and private jets they mainly invest in making themselves richer through casino-style financial speculation and in luxury real estate in starkly unequal cities like San Francisco, Miami and New York, where mostly vacant homes act as safety deposit boxes to shield wealth from taxation. Their money might also end up in tax havens like the Cayman Islands, where it can sit undisturbed by the long arm of the state. Very little of that ever trickles down to the 99%, where inequality has skyrocketed and wages have stagnated.
In her book Learning From the Germans, the philosopher Susan Neiman observes that the enormity of the Holocaust has forced Germany to address the darkest aspects of its past. But it has also allowed Britain and America not to do so, to avoid thinking too deeply about the history of slavery or of empire, to minimise their horrors in comparison with the Holocaust.
But the greatest facilitator of race-hatred against refugees isn’t a tabloid; it’s Facebook. Researchers at the University of Warwick recently studied every anti-refugee attack – 3,335, over two years – in Germany. They found that among the strongest predictors of the attacks was whether the attackers are on Facebook. The social network aids the dissemination of rumours, such as that all refugees are welfare cheats or rapists; and, unmediated by gatekeepers or editors, the rumours spread, and ordinary people are roused to violence. Wherever Facebook usage rose to one standard deviation above normal, the researchers found, attacks on refugees increased by 50%. When there were internet outages in areas with high Facebook usage, the attacks dropped significantly.
“How much has first to be found, then suppressed, in order to arrive at the naked flesh of emotion.”
Why do we keep telling these stories? Why do our films depict sociopaths murdering to Mozart and not Metallica? Why must master criminals always time their nuclear strikes at curtain time? The answer runs deeper than box-office populism and derivative filmmaking. How a society pictures its villains is a revelation of its own anxieties. Opera-house assassinations, while a familiar trope, still strike a chord of Everyman angst deep in the American subconsciousness: a vein of populist paranoia that suspects the shiny trappings of high society—galas, gowns, orchestras—exist to disguise the brutal source of its wealth. Decorum is an accomplice to depravity. That we imagine secret cabals planning world domination at Tosca rather than Davos exposes something about our unspoken apprehensions, tells us that the public does not fear perversity or power so much as deception. These scenes materialize the phantom suspicion that the real threat to the Common Man is not the raving lunatic in the streets but the polite psychopath in the opera box. We mistake malevolence as sophistication because it’s wearing a suit and a tie.
Indeed, most of us don’t want to live like this, heads bent over a handheld device, twitching from one social-media outlet to another. Insidiously, though, the technologies that mediate our existence provide an illusory sense of mastery, as we tap a screen and summon brightly colored sweaters to our door. “The precise moment at which our needs are met,” Zuboff writes, “is also the precise moment at which our lives are plundered for behavioral data.” We find ourselves in an elegantly designed, frictionless trap.
Opposition to climate change is a symptom of a society that is politically polarised between those who cling to the past and those who recognise the need for a better future.
O bem viver nos inspira para pensar novas formas de viver que superem a concepção produtivista-consumista, depredadora da natureza, que leve em conta as exigências e os limites da Terra, que permita extrair dela meios de vida sem destruir as condições de vida. Não se trata de voltar atrás e todos retornarem à vida no campo. Trata-se de se apoiar nos seus princípios de vida para pensar e organizar a nossa vida social em convivência com a natureza e não em confronto com ela, em harmonia entre nós e não em guerra.
What’s the point of a healthy cholesterol reading and a low BMI if there’s no drinking water?
“For the first time in my life people are talking about class,” she says. “It’s just ridiculous that this was an unspeakable concept for so long – that is why we are in the predicament we are in.”
A maior conquista do novo complexo cognitivo-militar é que a opressão direta e óbvia não é mais necessária: os indivíduos podem ser muito melhor controlados e orientados na direção desejada, quando continuam a se enxergar como pessoas livres e como agentes autônomos de suas próprias vidas.
Human beings, born ultimately of the stars and now for a while inhabiting a world called Earth, have begun their long voyage home.
Near Heathrow airport, I looked up to see the microwaves passing through two huge dishes atop Hillingdon hospital, a pioneering 1960s centre now suffering – like much of the NHS – from a shortfall in funding. For a rent of a few thousand pounds a year, the machinery of private finance perches on the crumbling infrastructure of the welfare state: all that money, flowing invisibly just a few metres above the patients inside. This is how a difference in visibility translates into a difference in power: those who can see, can understand – and thus shape the world to their advantage.
Ecologically, economically and politically, capitalism is failing as catastrophically as communism failed. Like state communism, it is beset by unacknowledged but fatal contradictions. It is inherently corrupt and corrupting. But its mesmerising power, and the vast infrastructure of thought that seeks to justify it, makes any challenge to the model almost impossible to contemplate. Even to acknowledge the emergencies it causes, let alone to act on them, feels like electoral suicide. As the famous saying goes: “It is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism.” Our urgent task is to turn this the other way round.
In fact, almost everything about memory remains open to debate, speculation, theorising. It used to be thought, for example, that memories were like files that we retrieved or – if we couldn’t recall them – lost. Now it’s much more widely understood that memories are created and then recreated, each time in a slightly different way.
Voltamos, assim, à questão dos frágeis. O indivíduo merece amparo porque, no mundo da força, ele é a parte fraca. O poder é por definição muitos, nunca é sozinho. Sozinho é o indivíduo. A pessoa tem segredos que escapam à multidão, dizia Maritain, e é essencial reconhecer isso. A brutalidade não tem tempo a perder com as pequenas idiossincrasias de cada um. O que ela deseja é a ordem-unida, o coro. Se o propósito da força é abafar a dissonância, o propósito de quem se opõe à força deveria ser o de abrigar tudo o que destoa, o que é irrelevante, o que não chama atenção, o que fala baixo, o que é tido como dispensável, o que parece pouco.
I hope it’s clear that mindful resistance isn’t passive resistance — that the idea here isn’t to comply with the unfair stereotype of Buddhism as just a recipe for accepting the world as it is. There are plenty of times when Trump should be criticized and plenty of times when moral indignation should be expressed and amplified. But indignation is a resource to be deployed carefully, on occasions when its importance outweighs its tendency to reinforce Trump’s self-serving persecution narrative. And the more indiscriminately indignation is indulged, the less
He wasn’t, then, one to dash things off. Despite the generous and world-weary humour that emerged in his last decades, – his early, folkie work was denounced as “humourless” –the task of writing was deadly serious. He surely knew the line from Yeats – a poet he deeply admired – about how “The intellect of man is forced to choose / Perfection of the life, or of the work.” On this wager, Cohen was unambiguous.
Eis a receita perfeita para uma ditadura de massas: um candidato eleito que não respeita os dois princípios fundamentais da democracia liberal e que é idolatrado por imenso contingente de policiais e militares em todo o país. Não apenas Bolsonaro prepara discursivamente a possibilidade de uma ditadura caso eleito, como já construiu legitimação para si mesmo no caso de uma eventual sublevação dos agentes armados desse país. O Brasil está refém de um candidato que não respeita a democracia. Como pode uma pessoa que é explicitamente contrária ao estado de direito e deslegitima o mecanismo eleitoral ser oficializado como candidato? Como o país que exige ficha limpa não exige também ficha democrática?
Assim, a imprensa precisa perguntar para a maioria dos LGBTs, pretos e mulheres se eles e elas acham o candidato polêmico. Se o acham controverso. Engraçado. “Meio Sérgio Mallandro.” Para indígenas, quilombolas. Para as pessoas que trabalham com movimentos sociais. Para quem está deixando de usar uma camiseta vermelha ou um #EleNão com medo de ser espancado. O jornalismo que está agora atônito, dizendo que estamos vendo a ascensão de uma população violenta até então silenciosa, não percebe que um naco considerável dessa violência, a que deseja o extermínio do que é visto como diferente, sempre acompanhou milhões de brasileiras e brasileiros que vivem nas faixas mais pobres. Ela, agora, amplia-se e mostra-se à luz do dia, atingindo setores da classe média e da elite intelectual – com destaque para os jornalistas.
Isso que está acontecendo no Brasil é fascismo, não tem outro nome, se você folhear a imprensa do mundo todo vai perceber que é o único jeito de olhar para a coisa (embora a revista conservadora americana “Foreign Policy” prefira um outro substantivo: nazismo). “Um fascista é um fascista”, publicou um articulista do jornal português Público, enquanto explicava por que nem o movimento liderado por Marine Le Pen na França nem o comandado por Donald Trump nos Estados Unidos merecem o nome, mas o de Bolsonaro, sim.
O óbvio odeia ser negado. A violência que dizima os jovens nas periferias de nossas cidades e gente de todas as idades e endereços na selvageria do trânsito e na roleta-russa dos latrocínios, condenando o Brasil às divisões inferiores do mundo, parece ter encontrado novos canais de expressão política.
Friedrich was a pianist of the old school, owner of a piano shop, a critic, and a teacher. He was arrogant and overpowering, and with his daughter he saw a chance to create a child prodigy. On the one hand, he thought there was nothing wrong with a woman musician having a professional career (unlike Abraham Mendelssohn, who encouraged his son Felix, but stamped on the fortunes of his equally talented big sister, Fanny), but his control over Clara when she was young was suffocating and creepy. All the early entries in her diary were written by Friedrich, and he never allowed her to read. By hook or crook, she would become a great German musician, and his masterplan paid off. Clara was his best student. By eight, she was playing concertos by Mozart; by 10, she was touring Germany; by 13, she had begun work on her own piano concerto; by 16, it had received a premiere in Leipzig, conducted by Felix Mendelssohn with Clara as soloist. But there was a cost. “I am a girl within my own armour,” she tellingly wrote of her teenage self, and by the time she was 20 she was experiencing blackouts on stage, chest pains and other physiological and psychological illness.
Hett refrains from poking the reader with too many obvious contemporary parallels, but he knew what he was doing when he left the word “German” out of his title. On the book’s final page, he lays his cards on the table: “Thinking about the end of Weimar democracy in this way—as the result of a large protest movement colliding with complex patterns of elite self-interest, in a culture increasingly prone to aggressive mythmaking and irrationality—strips away the exotic and foreign look of swastika banners and goose-stepping Stormtroopers. Suddenly, the whole thing looks close and familiar.” Yes, it does.
But the atmosphere of fear is here, the helplessness of the little people, the rising questions on the futility of human existence, the fragility of life and the eternal question of God’s existence, especially popular in times of trial and trouble. Rarely have there been movies so easily distinguishable by a single image as it’s the case with this film.
It’s a siege from within. What’s scary about the movie is not that’s it big and action-filled, but it’s small and there’s nothing out there but this blowing blackness and storm and cold and right next to you maybe a creature. That’s the creepiness of the story.
A fase áurea da globalização promoveu uma indústria da consciência de orientação cosmopolita; e essa indústria vislumbrou suas chances de crescimento ao atribuir ao ímpeto expansionista dos mercados capitalistas valores libertários da revolução social dos anos 60 e 70, bem como suas promessas utópicas de libertação. Isso fundiu a pensée unique tecnocrática do neoliberalismo ao juste milieu moral de uma comunidade com discurso internacionalista.
What this means is that even more than it is in the advertising business, Facebook is in the surveillance business. Facebook, in fact, is the biggest surveillance-based enterprise in the history of mankind. It knows far, far more about you than the most intrusive government has ever known about its citizens. It’s amazing that people haven’t really understood this about the company. I’ve spent time thinking about Facebook, and the thing I keep coming back to is that its users don’t realise what it is the company does. What Facebook does is watch you, and then use what it knows about you and your behaviour to sell ads. I’m not sure there has ever been a more complete disconnect between what a company says it does – ‘connect’, ‘build communities’ – and the commercial reality. Note that the company’s knowledge about its users isn’t used merely to target ads but to shape the flow of news to them. Since there is so much content posted on the site, the algorithms used to filter and direct that content are the thing that determines what you see: people think their news feed is largely to do with their friends and interests, and it sort of is, with the crucial proviso that it is their friends and interests as mediated by the commercial interests of Facebook. Your eyes are directed towards the place where they are most valuable for Facebook.
Markets may be human facsimiles of natural systems, and like the universe itself, they may be authorless and valueless. But the application of Hayek’s Big Idea to every aspect of our lives negates what is most distinctive about us. That is, it assigns what is most human about human beings – our minds and our volition – to algorithms and markets, leaving us to mimic, zombie-like, the shrunken idealisations of economic models. Supersizing Hayek’s idea and radically upgrading the price system into a kind of social omniscience means radically downgrading the importance of our individual capacity to reason – our ability to provide and evaluate justifications for our actions and beliefs.
Pressupor que todos os que acreditam em ideias escrotas são intratáveis e irracionais, e que a única forma de lidar com eles é a repressão, é simplesmente jogá-los no colo da minoria realmente intratável e irracional. HG Wells escreveu que a civilização é uma "corrida entre a educação e a catástrofe (...) porque a verdade é a maior arma de que dispomos". Se os progressistas perderam a paciência e a vontade de educar, por achar que suas verdades são óbvias e de aceitação obrigatória, o outro lado pode acabar parecendo bem mais acolhedor. E aí, ganha a catástrofe.
I was far away, standing in the rain before the sleeping lion of Lucerne, a colossal, noble, stoic lion carved from the rock of a low cliff. The rain fell, obscuring tears. I knew that I would see Sam again somewhere in the landscape of dream, but at that moment I imagined I was back in Kentucky, with the rolling fields and the creek that widens into a small river. I pictured Sam’s books lining the shelves, his boots lined against the wall, beneath the window where he would watch the horses grazing by the wooden fence. I pictured myself sitting at the kitchen table, reaching for that tattooed hand.
When my husband, Fred, died, my father told me that time does not heal all wounds but gives us the tools to endure them. I have found this to be true in the greatest and smallest of matters. Looking to the future, I am certain that the hard rain will not cease falling, and that we will all need to be vigilant. The year is coming to an end; on December 30th, I will perform “Horses” with my band, and my son and daughter, in the city where I was born. And all the things I have seen and experienced and remember will be within me, and the remorse I had felt so heavily will joyfully meld with all other moments. Seventy years of moments, seventy years of being human.
When I think of the music that I love the most — to make a quick and off-the-cuff list, Bach's Mass in B Minor, Schubert's String Quintet, Brahms's Intermezzos Opus 117, Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time, Bob Dylan's "Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands," Nina Simone singing "Strange Fruit," Radiohead's Kid A, Bjork's Vespertine, John Adams's Nixon in China — I don't have the slightest idea what they may have in common. Some mixture of earthy impulses and intellectual complexity seems important, but I can't quantify it. My definition of great music is music that makes me stop thinking about any other kind.
What he was really leading us to was the one true church of intellectual curiosity and open-mindedness. There was subtlety and elegance in his reasoning, generosity, and the best kind of skepticism: the skepticism that turns back on the author himself.
Não é raro uma lágrima fugaz escorrer pelo rosto quando se a lê, nem deitar o livro no colo e ficar olhando o tempo com um maravilhamento novo. Ler Wislawa é rejuvenescer.
I listened to it religiously when I moved to Los Angeles from New York; the front cover was misleading – it looked like a classic New Age record, and being a later Coltrane release I thought it might be languid and minimal. Nope! Brutal as f. It reaches heights that no other record is capable of; Coltrane's playing is desperate, like he's screaming at the sky.
With much of Riley's more recent music and performances, you need to be ready to be taken into a different way of being when you listen to them, to accept the combination of gentleness, naivety and sense of wonder that radiates through his work.
Borges é generoso aqui quanto a frases antológicas, como a que me marcou em definitivo que diz ser a leitura de Dostoiévski tão memorável como a descoberta do amor e a descoberta do mar (no prólogo a Os Demônios), entre tantas e tantas outras.
Vou lhe dizer uma coisa: Shakespeare teria adorado a televisão. Ele escreveria para a televisão. E não, eu não faço esse tipo de distinção. O que realmente me entristece é que as pequenas livrarias, os teatros de bairro e as lojas de discos estejam fechando. Por outro lado, os museus estão cada vez mais cheios, as multidões lotam as grandes exposições, as salas de concerto estão cheias… Portanto, cuidado, porque esses processos são muito complexos e diversificados para se querer fazer julgamentos generalizantes. O senhor Muhammed Ali era também um fenômeno estético. Como um deus grego. Homero teria entendido perfeitamente Muhammed Ali.
Um arrebatamento cárneo, para Eles nada importa as almas. As almas ficam ali nos escombros, na sujidade secular das paredes, no criptograma pessoal que a atenção em surdina desenhou na poeira do ar e na tecelagem das aranhas.
“Quem é aquele rapaz magro com a voz rouca?” Respondeu: “É de Praga. Publicou uns contos que ninguém entende. Não tem importância”.
It was one of those points in my opinion that was important in our music. A point where we were playing, where we could listen, where we could lose ourselves, to be immersed in sound. A point where the listener could reach meditation, or trance or wherever; it depends on the actual person as they have their own vocabulary for it