From the strain of binding opposites comes harmony.

The cosmos works by harmony of tensions, like the lyre and bow.

The mind, to think of the accord that strains against itself, needs strength, as does the arm to string the bow or lyre.

-- Heraclitus


Ineptitude consists in wanting to conclude . . . it is not understanding the twilight: it is wanting only midnight or noon . . . Yes, stupidity consists in wanting to conclude.

-- Gustav Flaubert


There are attachments we make in life, even though it’s all going to come to an end, that are worth so much, and we’re so lucky to have been able to experience them. Life is short.

-- David Chase, creator of "The Sopranos," about the series. Have you told your loan shark you love him today?


Too long a sacrifice / Can make a stone of the heart.

-- Yeats


You pay or you die. All because they used to create a second nature to decorate the life of people who know no beauty.

-- from Hard to Be a God (2013)


The best place to view Los Angeles of the next millennium is from the ruins of its alternative future. Standing on the sturdy cobblestone foundations of the General Assembly Hall of the Socialist city of Llano del Rio -- Open Shop Los Angeles's utopian antipode -- you can sometimes watch the Space Shuttle in its elegant final descent towards Rogers Dry Lake. Dimly on the horizon are the giant sheds of Air Force Plant 42 where Stealth Bombers (each costing the equivalent of 10,000 public housing units) and other, still top secret, hot rods of the apocalypse are assembled. Closer at hand, across a few miles of creosote and burro bush, and the occasional grove of the astonishing yucca, the Joshua tree, is the advance guard of approaching suburbia, tract homes on point.

-- Mike Davis, City of Quartz


The work of Louis Lozowick on the Smithsonian site.



We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.
The most positive men are the most credulous.
Ambition often puts Men upon doing the meanest offices; so climbing is performed in the same position with creeping.

-- Jonathan Swift, Thoughts on Various Subjects, published in Miscellanies in prose and verse, Vol. i., pp 388-408, London, Motte, Benjamin, 1727.

I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most pernicious race of little, odious vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.

-- Jonathan Swift, the king of Brobdingnag to Gulliver in Gulliver's Travels


Notions of the mana type . . . represent nothing more or less than that floating signifier which is the disability of all finite thought (but also the surety of all art, all poetry, every mythic and aesthetic invention), even though scientific knowledge is capable, if not of staunching it, at least of controlling it partially . . . A simple form, or to be more accurate, a symbol in its pure state, therefore liable to take on any symbolic content whatever.

-- Levi-Straus, Marcel Mauss

In a word, the mysterious ritual formula of the shaman is to the "affliction" to be cured what the mathematician's "x" is to the unknown term of the equation: pure play of words or writing, all the more effective and performative for being perfectly void, conventional, and arbitrary . . . The magician is simply a mathematician who does not know it, just as, inversely, the mathematcian is a sort of magician in the pure state (who nevertheless only "partially controls" the "floating signifier").

-- Borch-Jacobson, Lacan the Absolute Master


Notes on Pathontology

The obsessive attempts to neutralize the Other.

-- Bruce Fink, Clinical Introduction to Lacanian Psychoanalysis


If it is true that "Western philosophy most often has been an ontology" [quoting Levinas] dominated since Socrates by a Reason which receives only what it gives itself, a Reason which does nothing but recall itself to itself, and if ontology is tautology and egology, then it has always neutralized the other, in every sense of the word.

-- Derrida, "Violence and Metaphysics"


The very foundation of interhuman discourse is misunderstanding.

-- Lacan, Seminar III


Words, since they are the nodal points of numerous ideas, may be regarded as predestined to ambiguity.

-- Freud, SE V


The first stage might be referred to as dialectization (of desire) and the second as reconfiguration (or traversing, of the fundamental fantasy) . . . [T]hey constitute crucial logical moments of "subjectification," whereby the analysand moves from being the subject who demands (as well as being subject to the Other's demand) to being the subject who desires (as well as being subject to the Other's desire), and then to being the subject who enjoys (who is no longer subject to the Other).

-- Fink, Clinical Introduction to Lacanian Psychoanalysis


The inhibiting obstacle, the one familiar to us, familiarly known in its regularity, we situate in the "external world." When the simple, direct and imprudent affirmation of the pleasure principle puts the organism into danger, then the "ego's instincts of self-preservation" force the principle into retreat, not into disappearing by simply yielding its place, but into leaving the reality principle in its place as a delegate, its courier, its lieutenant, or its slave, its domestic in that it belongs to the same economy, the same house. One could also say its disciple, the disciplined disciple who, as always, finds himself in a situation to inform, to teach, to instruct a master who is sometimes hard to educate. "Hard to educate," for example, are the sexual drives which conform only to the pleasure principle.
The reality principle imposes no definitive inhibition, no renunciation of pleasure, only a detour in order to defer enjoyment, the waystation of a différance (Aufschub). On this "long indirect road" (auf dem langen Umwege zur Lust) the pleasure principle submits itself, provisionally and to a certain extent, to its own lieutenant. The latter, as representative, slave or informed disciple, the disciplined one who disciplines also plays the role of the preceptor in the master's service. As if the latter produced a socius [that is, a companion or ally], put in "motion" an institution by signing a contract with "discipline," with the assistant master or foreman who nevertheless does nothing but represent him. A false contract, a pure speculation, the simulacrum of an engagement which binds the lord only to himself, to his own modification, to himself modifed. The master addresses to himself the text or the corpus of this simulated engagement via the detour of an institutional telecommunication. He writes himself, sends himself [s'envoie]: but if the length of the detour can no lnoger be mastered, and rather than its length its structure, then the return to (one)self is never certain, and without return to sender the engagement is forgotten to the very extent that it becomes undeniable, unshakable.
As soon as an authoritarian agency submits itself to the work of a secondary or dependent agency (master/slave, master/disciple) which finds itself in contact with "reality" -- the latter being defined by means of the very possibility of this speculative transaction -- there is no longer any opposition, as is sometimes believed, between the pleasure principle and the reality principle. It is the same différant, in différance with itself. But the structure of différance then can open onto an alterity that is even more irreducible than the alterity attributed to opposition. Because the pleasure principle -- right from this preliminary moment when Freud grants it an uncontested mastery -- enters into a contract only with itself, reckons and speculates only with itself or with its own metastasis, because it sends itself [s'envoie] everything it wants, and in sum encounters no opposition, it unleashes in itself the absolute other.

-- Derrida, "To Speculate -- On Freud"


Every dog has like me the impulse to question, and I have like every dog the impulse not to answer.

-– Kafka, “Investigations of a Dog”


But we cannot, and we must not, exclude the fact that when someone is speaking, in private or in public, when someone teaches, publishes, preaches, orders, promises, prophesies, informs or communicates, some force in him or her is also striving not to be understood, approved, accepted in consensus -- not immediately, not fully, and therefore not in the immediacy and plenitude of tomorrow, etc. For this hypothesis there is no need -- this may appear extravagant to some people -- to revert to a diabolical figure of the death instinct or a drive to destruction. It is enough that the paradoxical structure of the condition of possibility be taken into account: for the accord of hyperbolic lovence to be possible and, in the example we have just examined, for me to hope to be understood beyond all dialectics of misunderstanding, etc., the possibility of failure must, in addition, not be simply an accidental edge of the condition, but its haunting . . . The crucial experience of the perhaps imposed by the undecidable -- that is to say, the condition of decision -- is not a moment to be exceeded, forgotten, or suppressed. It continues to constitute the decision as such; it can never again be separated from it; it produces it qua decision in and through the undecidable; there is no other decision than this one: decision in the matter and form of the undecidable. An undecidable that persists and repeats itself through the decision made so as to safeguard its decisional essence or virtue as such. This same necessity can be translated differently -- we have done so elsewhere: the instant of decision must remain heterongeneous to all knowledge as such, to all theoretical or reportive determination, even if it may and must be preceded by all possible science and conscience. The latter are unable to determine the leap of decision without transforming it into the irresponsible application of a program, hence without depriving it of what makes it a sovereign and free decision -- in a word, of what makes it a decision, if there is one. At this point, practical performativity is irreducible to any theorem; this is why we have stressed the performative force which had to prevail in both versions of a sentence which in any case, in addressing another, could not count on any assurance, any purely theoretical criterion of intelligibility or accord; it could not count on such assurance, but above all it had to and desired not to want to count on such assurance, which would destroy in advance the possibility of addressing the other as such. To express this in the case of a telegram: "I love you" cannot and must not hope to prove anything at all. Testimony or act of faith, such a declaration can decide only providing it wants to remain theoretically undecidable, improbable, given over in darkness to the exception of a singularity without rule and without concept . . .
Furthermore -- another side of the same law -- the request or offer, the promise or the prayer of an "I love you" must remain unilateral and dissymmetrical. Whether or not the other answers, in one way or another, no mutuality, no harmony, no agreement can or must reduce the infinite disproportion. This disproportion is indeed the condition of sharing, in love as well as friendship. In hatred as well as in detestation. Consequently, the desire of this disproportion which gives without return and without recognition must be able not to count on "proper agreement," not to calculate assured, immediate or full comprehension. It must indeed desire that which goes to make the essence of desire: this non-assurance and this risk of misunderstanding. And in not knowing who, in not knowing the substantial identity of who is, prior to the declaration of love, at the origin of who gives and who receives, who is in possession or not of what happens to be offered or requested. Here, perhaps, only here, could a principle of difference be found -- indeed an incompatibility between love and friendship, at least according to the most conventional meaning of these words in "our" culture, and supposing such a difference could ever manifest itself in its rigorous purity. If such an essential incompatibility or heterogeneity in their provenance were to be granted, despite everything claimed on the subject by those (we have referred to several of them) who derive love and friendship from the same passion, this would not mean that love and friendship cannot associate, or cohabit, or alternate, or naturally enrich themselves among those who love each other. It would mean only that friendship supposes a force of the improbable: the phenomenon of an appeased symmetry, equality, reciprocity between two infinite disproportions as well as between two absolute singularities; in the case of love, it would raise or rend the veil of this phenomenon (some would be tempted to say that it would reveal its hidden, forgotten, repressed truth) to uncover the disproportion and dissymmetry as such. The absolute dis-pair [hope and hopelessness {des-espoir}] of an absolute act of faith and renunciation. But since we have evinced doubts on the possibility of these two essences ever manifesting themselves in their purity, as such, we are here dealing only with hyperbolic limits.

-- Derrida, The Politics of Friendship


For we recognize that the individual in vacuo is but an artifact ...

-- Max Horkheimer, Samuel H. Flowerman, Studies in Prejudice


Illu kaalithe fire engine vosthundi vollu kalithe ambulance vosthundi, nee karma kaalithe nenosthaanu.

Nenu casual ga kodithe casuality ki velthavu, adhe concentrate chesi kodithe coma loki velthavu.

Ye fear lenodu endhulonaina interfere avuthadu.

Mokkani penchuko needanisthundi kukkani penchuko thodisthundi pagani penchukoku pranam teesthundi.

-- Dialogue demonstrating wordplay from "Balupu".


Incorrigible Amérique qui pense que son bon droit lui permet tous les droits . . .

[Incorrigible America, which thinks its just right permits it all rights . . .]

-- Député Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, secrétaire national du PS en charge de l'Europe et de l'international


Non-Unalienable Voluntariness,
Especially of Those Less Unalien

From Le Monde.fr, posted here June 12, 2013.

Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson for Quadrature du Net, an association for the defense of the rights and liberties of citizens on the Internet, was invited to chat with the readers of Monde.fr, Wednesday, June 12 . . .

Visitor: I, however, feel that Prism isn't so new. The Echelon program has done exactly the same thing with telephone conversations for a number of years.

What's really new here is of two orders: first, there's a "smoking gun," as they say in English, proof, flagrant. The American agencies have been caught red-handed, it's irrefutable. That allows once and for all cutting short arguments like "you see evil everywhere," "you're paranoid" and other "conspiracy theories." And perhaps this convincing evidence will stir up a real public debate.

Then, what Prism shows is the "active collaboration" of these giant companies (Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, etc.) in generalized surveillance. Sure, maybe U.S. law doesn't leave them a choice and that right there is an important part of the problem. But the fact that these companies cooperate in such a way with the NSA and the FBI shows that there's no way to have confidence in them to protect our fundamental liberties, first and foremost our freedom of expression and the protection of our privacy, especially if we have the bad taste to not be American citizens!

The underlying problem is really the centralization of our data. Why store all our lives, all our contacts, all our affinities, all our intimacy, on the servers of these companies, located in the United States? We're in the process, more or less consciously, of building these gigantic aggregates of data, to voluntarily police us. Why? This centralization is inherently contrary to the very spirit of the Internet, where anyone can read and have access to information, but equally publish, participate, to be an actor in the full network.

Prism, in showing to what extent the limit between surveillance by states and and private surveillance is tenuous, if not nonexistent, poses this crucial question of the architecture that we choose for our communications and for storing our data. And this architecture is necessarily political.

[Translated by Greg Macon.]


Identity Complex

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself.
(I am large. I contain multitudes.)

-- Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself"

x 196. The spider holds the fly. Annihilation in the eye. The multitude of lives meaningless to me, but I'm here where I want to be, as if it were all and I were not so negated.

x 197. Nature is contradiction. Go ahead. Contradict that.

-- Greg Macon, XS

Yet this revelation of being -- and all it entails that is weighty and, in some sense, definitive -- is at the same time the experience of a revolt. Such a revolt no longer has anything in common with what opposed the "I" to the "non-I". For the being of the "non-I" collided with our freedom, but in so doing it highlighted the exercise of that freedom. The being of the I [moi], which war and war's aftermath have allowed us to know, leaves us with no further games. The need to be right, or justified, in this game can only be a need for escape.
 . . .
In the meantime, it is worth our while to describe the structure of need. After what we have just said about the notion of being, it is clear that even if the ground of need were to consist in lack, then this lack could not affect the "existence of the existent," to which one can neither add nor remove anything. In reality, need is intimately tied to being, but not in the quality of privation. On the contrary, need will allow us to discover, not a limitation of that being that desires to surpass its limits in order to enrich and fulfill itself, but rather the purity of the fact of being, which already looks like an escape.

-- Emmanuel Levinas, "On Escape"

It's a matter of nothing less than explaining to you how one of the categories of the human spirit -- one of these ideas we believe innate -- is very slowly born and grows in the course of long centuries and across numerous vicissitudes, so much that it is still, even today, floating, delicate, precious, and to further develop. It is the idea of the "person," the idea of "I" [or the "self" or "ego"]. Everybody finds it natural, precise to the depth of his conscience, fully equipped at the base of the morality which is deduced from it. It's a matter of replacing this naive view of its history, and from its actual value a view more precise.

-- Marcel Mauss, "A Category of the Human Spirit: The Notion of Person, that of 'I'"


Learning from Greatness

The attributes of the greatest men were all united in himself. Like Alexander, his head was tilted to one side; like Caesar, he always had something in his hair. He could drink coffee like Leibniz, and once settled in his armchair, he forgot eating and drinking like Newton, and like him, had to be awakened. He wore a wig like Dr. Johnson, and like Cervantes, the fly of his trousers was always opened.

-- Licthenberg, The Great Mind, quoted by Freud in Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious.


Playing the Part

In the course of what was once referred to as a lifetime, one's work is repeatedly at risk of being interrupted and destroyed. Cities and libraries disappear. University professors, as well as mothers and children, are lost in the tidal waves of deportation or the ashes of an oven; or else evaporate, along with bonzes and chrysanthemums, into dangerous corpuscles. The little each of us discovers therefore ought to be paid into the common account of human knowledge without too much delay, without any thought of first amassing a great treasure.

-- Georges Dumezil, Mitra-Varuna.


Perspective

You're in a cell pretty much for all intents and purposes 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If I focused on the things I can't change, the things that have hurt me, what people have done to me, then they would have already broken me. They would have killed me inside and out. I get up in the morning and I don't feel sorry for myself, I don't hate my life. You have a lot of people in here that all they can think about is what they don't have and how much they want out, and how much they want something else. But for some reason this situation has helped me to see more of what I do have, and to be thankful for that. You know, I have -- in a lot of ways, I have a truly incredible life.

-- Damien Echols, in "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory"

.

Projection

There is nothing very remarkable about being immortal; with the exception of mankind, all creatures are immortal, for they know nothing of death. What is divine, terrible, and incomprehensible is to know oneself immortal. I have noticed that in spite of religion, the conviction as to one's own immortality is extraordinarily rare. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all profess belief in immortality, but the veneration paid to the first century of life is proof that they truly believe only in those hundred years, for they destine all the rest, throughout eternity, to rewarding or punishing what one did when alive.

-- Jorge Luis Borges


Thank You for Everything

Invitation to the dance -- Psychoanalysis prides itself on restoring the capacity for pleasure, which is impaired by neurotic illness. As if the mere concept of a capacity for pleasure did not suffice gravely to devalue such a thing, if it exists. As if a happiness gained through speculation on happiness were not the opposite, a further encroachment of institutionally planned behavior patterns on the ever-diminishing sphere of experience. What a state the dominant consciousness must have reached, when the resolute proclamation of compulsive extravagance and champagne jollity, formerly reserved to attachés in Hungarian operettas, is elevated in deadly earnest to a maxim of right living. Prescribed happiness looks exactly what it is; to have a part in it, the neurotic thus made happy must forfeit the last vestige of reason left to him by repression and regression, and to oblige the analyst, display indiscriminate enthusiasm for the trashy film, the expensive but bad meal in the French restaurant, the serious drink and the love-making taken like medicine as "sex." Schiller's dictum that "Life is good, in spite of all," papier-mâché from the start, has become idiocy now that it is blown into the same trumpet as omnipresent advertising, with psychoanalysis, despite its better possibilities, adding its fuel to the flames. As people have altogether too few inhibitions and not too many, without being a whit the healthier for it, a cathartic method with a standard other than successful adaptation and economic success would have to aim at bringing people to a consciousness of un-happiness both general and -- inseparable from it -- personal, and at depriving them of the illusory gratifications by which the abominable order keeps a second hold on life inside them, as if it did not already have them firmly enough in its power from outside. Only when sated with false pleasure, disgusted with the goods offered, dimly aware of the inadequacy of happiness even when it is that -- to say nothing of cases where it is bought by abandoning allegedly morbid resistance to its positive surrogate -- can men gain an idea of what experience might be. The admonitions to be happy, voiced in concert by the scientifically epicurean sanatorium-director and the highly-strung propaganda chiefs of the entertainment-industry, have about them the fury of the father berating his children for not rushing joyously downstairs when he comes home irritable from his office. It is part of the mechanism of domination to forbid recognition of the suffering it produces, and there is a straight line of development between the gospel of happiness and the construction of camps of extermination so far off in Poland that each of our own countrymen can convince himself that he cannot hear the screams of pain. That is the model of an unhampered capacity for happiness. He who calls it by its name will be told gloatingly by psycho-analysis that it is just his Oedipus complex.

-- Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia


The Fable of Politics

Et cette terreur, des deux côtés du front, est indéniablement effective, réelle, concrète, même si cette effectivité concrète déborde la présence du présent vers un passé ou un avenir du traumatisme qui n'est jamais saturé de présence. Si bien que tout ce savoir, ce savoir-faire, ce faire-savoir, a beau passer par de la fable, du simulacre, du phantasme, ou de la virtualité, il a beau passer par l'inconsistance irréelle et fabuleuse des médias ou du capital (car des deux côtés les mouvements de la violence passent aussi indissociablement par des mouvements médiatiques et capitalistiques, mouvements qui sont à la fois structurellement fabuleux, irréels, virtuels, dépendants de la croyance, de la foi et du crédit -- pas de capital sans une fable accréditée -- et pourtant terriblement effectifs, efficaces dans leur effets), ce savoir-faire-savoir, ce faire fait savoir, n'en touche donc pas moins effectivement, affectivement, concrétement les corps et les âmes. Et c'est là l'essence sans essence de la terreur, du devenir-terrorisme de la terreur, et de la terreur contre l'État et de la terreur d'État, qu'elle soit actuelle ou virtuelle.
Il s'agit bien de cette peur, de cette terreur ou de cette panique, dont Hobbes, dans le Léviathan, déclarait qu'elle était la passion politique par excellence, le ressort de la politique.
[And this terror, from both sides of the front, is undeniably effective, real, concrete, even if this concrete effectivity overflows the presence of the present towards a past or a future of traumatism which is never saturated with presence. So that all this knowing, this know-how, this making-know(n), may pass by way of the fable, of the simulacrum, of the phantasm, or of virtuality; it may go through the unreal and fabulous inconsistency of the media or of capital (for from both directions the movements of violence also pass inextricably through media and capitalistic movements, movements which are at once structurally fabulous, unreal, virtual, dependent on belief, faith and credit -- no capital without an accredited fable -- and nevertheless terribly effective, efficacious in their effects), this know-how-to-make-know, this making fact known, touches no less effectively, affectively, concretely bodies and souls. And this is the essence without essence of terror, the becoming terrorism of terror, and of the terror against the state and the terror of the state, whether actual or virtual.
It is indeed about this fear, of this terror and this panic, that Hobbes, in Leviathan, declared that it was the political passion par excellence, the spring of the political.]

-- Jacques Derrida, Seminaire: La bête et le souverain, Vol. I (2001-2001), Galilee 2008.


Gravity -- Don't Fall for It

That gravity should be innate, inherent, and essential to matter, so that one body may act upon another, at a distance through vacuum, without the mediation of anything else, by and through which their action and force may be conveyed from one to another, is to me so great an absurdity, that I believe no man who has in philosophical matters a competent faculty of thinking, can ever fall into it.

-- Isaac Newton


If You Want Health Care, Get Elected, Public Assholes

Rep. Michael Grimm, R-Staten Island, voted to repeal health care reform, arguing that it's an "economy-crushing, job-killing bill."
Asked to explain why he saw no contradiction in accepting government-funded health care for himself, while voting to deny health care to 51 million of his fellow citizens, he replied:
"What am I, not supposed to have health care? It's practicality. I'm not going to become a burden for the state because I don't have health care, and God forbid I get into an accident and I can't afford the operation. That can happen to anyone."
Exactly, Rep. Grimm.

From an article by Bob Mionske posted February 17, 2011, on Bicycling.


Blanchot Unsums It All Up

What is required by thought that surrenders to the multiple and seeks to avoid increasing the value of the One? "The multiple must be formed not by adding always another, higher dimension, but on the contrary, very simply, with great sobriety, at the level of readily available dimensions: always n - 1. The one participates in the multiple by always being subtracted." (Deleuze-Guattari.) Whence the possible conclusion that the one is, in that case, no longer one, but the fraction less by which the multiple multiplies itself (thereby constituting itself as multiple), without, however, unity's being inscribed in multiplicity as lack. This is the most difficult point. And is it not a matter, actually, of a normative model's being imposed under the auspices of a particular type of knowledge?
The multiple is ambiguous. At first, its ambiguity seems easy to account for: from a certain multiplicity -- from the varied, the changing, or the diverse -- unitary totality is formed (by the smoothly continuous steps of dialectical or practical reason, or indeed by the appeal of mystical reconciliation). This totality preserves by altering multiplicity; it preserves diversity and variation as means or as mediating moments. Or, mystically, by casting them into the great fire where they are consumed, or confused one in the other. But then multiple, varied, or separate things, falling under the fascination of the One, have only served unity as vehicles or as perceptible figures or as proxies. They are means of approaching what cannot be near in any other way; they are the delay and the instrument of fulfillment in the uni-verse which is to be realized, or feigned. From the unity of the individual subject (be it a fissured subject, always double, vainly desiring), to the universal, supreme One, the multiple, the different will only ever have been a moment of transition: reflections of the great Presence which, even bearing no name, is consecrated on high. Such a bold mixture of dialectic and of sheer (mystical) elevation through the hope of salvation must not be underestimated, for at stake in it is what all moral thinking and all intellectual disciplines (until today, or yesterday) have aimed for [cf. Nietzsche on Parmenides -- GM].
Still, the law of the One with its glorious, inexorable-inaccessible primacy, excludes the multiple as multiple. And even if this be by way of long detours, it guides the other back toward the same, substituting things that are different for difference, without letting the latter so much as enter the question, so powerful and necessary is the language program that answers for the order of a habitable universe (where we are promised that everything will be -- that everything is, thus, already -- present, and partaking of the graspable-ungraspable Presence). But this sovereignty of the One and the Same -- mysterious or simple (at hand or hoped for), dominating everything in advance and reigning over every being as over being itself, drawing into its orbit all appearances as well as all essences, and everything that can be said as well as all that remains to be said (formulations, fictions, questions, answers, propositions of truth and of error, affirmations, negations, images, symbols, words of life and of death) -- indicates precisely that outside of the sovereignty of the One and of the Whole, outside of the Universe and also of its beyond, and when all is accomplished (when death finally comes, in the form of a life fulfilled), the demand without any rights, the demand of the other (the multiple, the impoverished, the lost) presses as never before, as that which has always escaped realization. And thus, for thought which has reached its culmination - for thought whose completion has put it to sleep -- the wakeful and incessant obsession with others is affirmed. The affirmation is void, and the obsession is with others in their un-presence. Moreover, thought does not know how to acknowledge this obsession. But it knows that this nocturnal disaster is thought's due and is conferred upon thought in order that thought might be assigned a disjointed perpetuity. Such are perhaps the premises of writing -- of the overwhelming overturning of writing, inasmuch, in any case, as it is over.

From The Writing of the Disaster by Maurice Blanchot, translated by Ann Smock, 1986, University of Nebraska Press.


It Is Manute Bol's Bad

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jan. 10, 1989: When he [Manute Bol] throws a bad pass, he'll say, "My bad" instead of "My fault," and now all the other players say the same thing.
USA Today, Jan. 27, 1989: After making a bad pass, instead of saying "my fault," Manute Bol says, "my bad." Now all the other Warriors say it too . . .
Professor Ron McClamrock of the Philosophy Department at SUNY Albany tells me he recalls very definitely hearing the phrase on the basketball court when he was in graduate school at MIT in the early 1980s, so the news stories above could be picking the story up rather late; but it is still just possible that Manute Bol was the originator, because he played for Cleveland State and Bridgeport University in the early 1980s, and his neologism just could have spread from there to other schools in the northeast, such as MIT.

From the Language Log of the University of Pennsylvania, posted December 7, 2005.



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