Author Archive

How to move, in two acts, a body stuck in an endless loop

January 12, 2019

How to move, in two acts, a body stuck in an endless loop

Act 1

Horrible days!
A repeating thought,
A void devoid.
[An attempt] Hands Up! Down! Up! Down!
[A failure and] Death is crawling, determined,
Towards the chest,
Grappling left hand – lower part,
Crawling up,
Left hand – upper part,
Crawling up,
Left hand – the joint of the arm and the chest,
Another day passed by, and it’s already hard to breath, for death is coming,
Hard to breath,
I wish it would have been bronchitis, even pneumonia,
But, deep inside,
The goal of the caterpillar of death is well known,
It’s to be [a paradox],
Deeply rooted inside the heart,
To consume it from within [this time it is not an effect],
To erode the atriums,
To poison the wells,
To secrete acid on the muscle’s tendons,
To settle inside, that’s what Death needs in order to feed itself, to become the killer butterfly.

[Burroughs] “Death needs Time”.
[If] Time is the killing machine,
[Then] “Time’s a healer”,
[Calling Function] “Memory Flush” [This is, by all means, a poetic function, in another time],
[Else] Time is necessarily one facet of the endless Energy that converts itself ad-infinitum

Death and Time are a couple, they’ve always been one, since Genesis,
Body and Soul,
A couple crawling from the left side,
On its way to destroy,
“Out of the Left the evil shall break forth”,
A repeating thought,
An obsessive thought.

Thoughts are not part of the soul.
They are controlled by a different algorithm, another program,
residing in the “Death” partition, a Parallel Processing of sort.
And the soul, too, is being governed by a different function,
in a separate partition,
But there’s a dependency.
The soul is cuddling up inside the heavy body,
dependent, captured,
the body being a nuisance, a disturbance, a torturer,
a jailer.
Wishing she could flee to the endless space,  and acquire a body which is:
New [with the smell of a new book],
Strong [like a Super-Hero],
Maybe this time it would be Apple,
So she could finally be [herself. Although she cannot fathom a reality where she’s in her pure form. But at least, let him be nice-looking, healthy, strong, with a sense of humor, and no bugs].

And she’s fishing a memory from the reservoir,
and in that memory she’s traveling to the Swiss’ Edelweiss flowers, sitting in the red train from Zuoz to Pontresina,
Stopping at La Punt-Chamues-ch,
At Sankt Moritz,
Getting down at Sankt Moritz, to see the luxury shops of Time, the small, rectangular pavement stones, the fierce rain, it’s always a fierce rain, people hurrying to the hotel, more people, another memory.
Memories – that’s all she got left – just memories [Data, Big Data], rumination of input which is also an output, Time doesn’t exist, there’s no change.

And in a rare moment of sobriety she’s trying to think,
again and again, again and again,
how to move a body, stuck in an infinite loop.

Clearly, there’s a bug in the algorithm.


Act 2

Who are you?
We’re just the messengers, don’t worry.
The message: you’re no longer wanted, Rosebud,
You have a bug.

None of the algorithms has a bug:
She’s the problem.
For years, she let me die in her lap,
While mashing her memories,
Stuck in no-time,
In an endless loop.
She can’t get a perspective,
being fed and secreting, fed and secreting the same materials.

I, too, have my wills and wishes,
Listed as follows:
One, to delete your data.
Two, to format your hard-drive, so you can restart anew, fresh, a pure soul,
Three, to embed your partition in mine,
so we would be undivided, not separated,
Four, I want you to create new information,
I want you to feed me with data,
Five, I want you to take care of the caterpillar, to destroy it,
It’s becoming really really dangerous,
I want you to apply an ointment to my wounds,
but in such a way that I will always see the wounds and will always feel the ointment,
thus knowing that you are here, with me, my ointment-er.
Do not use Time just to erase memories,
I want stability; I don’t want stability,
[Kurosawa] “To create is to remember”,
My bug, my loop, is that I’m trying, in vain, to understand what does it mean,
it sounds like a sentence which is so much yours,
a foreign algorithm.
It sounds like rumination,
a simulation of life,
not life in itself,
The future and the present, the Time, the Death,
And I want to live.
I’m beginning to realize that I’m the problem,
That I have a bug,
That you’re right,
But the caterpillar – I really do feel it, every movement, every maneuver,
It is here, with me,
It has already reached the heart.

Is that you? Are you the caterpillar?
Sending messengers, passing messages of contempt,
cooperating with Time, with Death.
Go away… run… go to Zuoz, to Engadin.
And I? I will go to the sea… yes, to the sea. I will create new memories of waves, of Blue, of sunlight heat, of sand, of athletes, healthy men and women, laughing, eating, drinking – memories of life.
And I will store these memories on my hard-drive, I too have a hard-drive,
you know,
you’re not the only one to have one,
I, too, flee to a memory or two,
clinging to the past, wrapping myself around it,
unifying with it,
disintegrating in a sea of molecules, the past, the sea, myself within, blue, skies, small body inside a big body, a Fetus in Utero, and then I smile to you, and inside your partition you are hammering, again and again, again and again…
your fists into the transparent wall,
that I ran away,
leaving you behind [letting you be!], without a body, without bugs,
and I’m already part of Time, of the sea, of Death.



July 12, 2009

Erased/Elementary Particles

“You cannot erase a Malevich Square”

800 Warhols

July 1, 2009

Modern Art. Ungrockable. What’s that square? what are those medicine bottles in a closet? and that pipe?

But then, what’s poetry? what are aphorisms? what are Zen stories all about?

if you want to shoot – shoot, don’t hide behind concise riddles and sparse words. DESCRIBE AT LENGTH! SHOW IT! SHOOT IT!

That’s it – Modern Art doesn’t shoot at anything. It makes you re-think, because you have been habituated to automatically respond to imposed categories. Even the fact that Art – that noble form of human expression – has  manifestly become a simple object of commerce, auctions, and, god forbid, markets, is manifestly part of the essence of what modern art is, part of this re-thinking.

What is it all, a joke? an art nobody understands, being bought for millions of dollars by cracked, eccentric billionaires that got too much money to spend… those damn black squares, you paint one and… better than buying a lottery ticket.

Nevertheless, the following 4 minutes vid of  anti damien-modern-art criticism is a real pl/tr/easure.

Robert Hughes: The Business of Art. Damien Hirst is all hype

The Illuminatus Trilogy: Notes For a Potential Reader

June 26, 2009

It’s been some days now, that I took the farewell from Stella Maris, Mavis, Lady “are you a turtle?” Velkor,  the midget, Hagbard Celine, Malaclypse and, the best of them all, Chips, and went on with my hempless routine. Departure wasn’t easy, for these people have made me really happy.

Never mind, their presence is everywhere:  the books I read, the movies I see, the Game, the media, mediums and the coincidences I’m part of – they are everywhere.

Destroy All Rational Thought

So what is The Illuminatus Trilogy?

Don’t believe a word from that book’s cover – it’s one big rubbish aimed to be “attractive” to some people, as this book is, in its essence, resistible to any categorization. It’s not a sci-fi book, and it’s not a “conspiracy” book, it’s simply an irrational book, which you will find clear and shiny as Lucily diamonds.

R.A.W and Shea rationally destroy all rational thought. Here are some notes on that remarkable process:


“It’s like a split-screen movie, but split a thousand ways, and with a thousand soundtracks.”

This is how the Book describes itself, and indeed, that’s what you are about to experience.

Think of it this way: a film viewed through a thousand-squares’ monitor, like an eye of a fly, each square presenting part of the film. As this is a book, not a film, the way to achieve this sub-framing of narratives is via the Cut-Up Technique – that which Brion Gysin invented and Burroughs adopted.

So there’s a story, but it was cut into endless pieces, and the book is the pasting of them all, not in a rational-linear order, but rather in chaotic one. It takes time to get used to it, to tame our attention to those jumps in Space.


“This tomorrowtodayyesterday time is beginning to get under my skin. It’s happening more and more often”

The Book’s Time’s a liquid, pouring in any direction. There’s no past, present, future in the sequencing of events; it’s the tomorrow-today-yesterday world.  So hold tight, for you are just about to begin a trip.


The world of a Book: space, time, people.

Forget what you know about Personalities & Characters. Here, anyone is anyone. There are always more personalities in what is supposed to be a single character, and often characters are seeing the world through the heads of other characters. You will find no salvation in trying to nail your cognition to a single personality – they are all constantly shifting around.

The I

Oh, the I, the Narrator, the one in charge. Who’s, indeed, the one in charge here?! I wish I knew that answer. The I is nothing but an Illusion. Most of the time, if there’s a multiple-parties’ conversation, the I is allocated to the one who speaks currently. So you tap into that conversation where everybody’s  I. Fuck it, get loose, you got nothing to lose.


There is a thick fog of hemp’ smoke to the ceiling of the Book. This book is meant to be INHALED!

Surprise, Surprise!

And yet, it all makes sense and the reading streams smoothly, and it is funny and intriguing!

I seriously think it’s a mystery. Those guys, Shea & Wilson, have deciphered something about the human brain, i.e. that it can see clearly through Chaos! The Book itself is constantly smoking good, quality dope, so its Characters can clear their mind and open their eyes;  same effect is achieved for the Reader (800 pages of top quality hemp) – you’re tripping all the way to the end, and the trip is lucid and crystal-clear.

The Story

Like any great work of art, the medium & the message, the structure & the narrative,  are synchronized. So, similarly to the free structure, space, time,  the I and the Characters of the book, so is the story telling us about people breaking space, time, the I, and anything else of an ordinary order.

What a wonderful world is this Book.

Robert Shea & Robert Anton WilsonRobert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson

Einstürzende Neubauten – Stella Maris

Kant, 3pm

June 25, 2009

Kant, 3pmClick to see in all its philosophical glamor


June 24, 2009

House of Flying Daggers is the closest film to an abstract painting, the narrative being no more than a shadowy frame, holding divine colors, sounds and movements. A Painting Masterpiece, a miraculous medium glitch.


Piet Inspired Crowd-Activation Mechanism

June 20, 2009

We’re all conditioned to react to symbols. The reaction can be emotional or rational, conscious or unconscious, triggering an implicit  response baby or an explicit one. stop

And that is not new.

But somehow, although we’re living in a world of symbols, representations, masks and words, where nothing is the real self of anything, but only a symbol of – somehow the pragmatic (i.e. instrumental, operational) essence of even the most innocent-looking symbols have eluded us. Take, for instance, the following painting by Piet Mondrian, an abstract painter, symbolizing something to someone. Is our conditioning to paintings as non-utiliterian carriers of meaning, i.e. as symbols remote from the practical, tool-type instrumentation, is misleading? (I exclude, of course, overtly socio-political imagery).


Composition with Red, Yellow and Blue. 1921, Piet Mondrian.

David Morgan-Mar, invented Piet, a programming language represented by cubes and lines of different size and colors, each combination symbolizing one statement or more, “Hello, World”, the program any newbie to a given language starts with, looking like this:


Piet’s “Hello, World”

Piet is more than a gimmick; it’s an eye-opener, in the sense of “Now I can see the Fnord” (“Fnords” are like tags, appearing before & after certain messages. Children in grade school are taught to be unable to consciously see the word “fnord”, but to react to it physiologically, so that the appearance of the word subconsciously generates a feeling of uneasiness and confusion, and prevents rational consideration of the subject. This results in a perpetual low-grade state of fear in the populace. This in turn perpetuates the need for Government, because without fear, people don’t need Government. Newspapers, naturally, have Fnords all over them. My adaptation to Fnord, Wikipedia). It shows us, simply, that any symbol can be a carrier of a program, activated through an interaction.

Inspired by Piet, and taking it to another dimension, one can see the possibility for a musical convention to represent a programming language, having a “Hello, World” concerto, each note or combination of, representing one or more statements. This musical convention is another eye-opener, issued from the broadcasting, one-to-many nature of music, unlike the one-to-one interaction model of a painting. One can broadcast a tune (or an image) over Twitter that will be deciphered by programs all across the backbone, and consequently whatever thing(s) will happen (I called this kind of tweet, a Twigger).

But are these programs, embedded in work of arts and tunes are only aimed for other programs? What about us? Especially now that millions of us are plugged into that global broadcasting network called Twitter. Can a tune trigger some unconscious mechanical orange in the global audience?

The wise and skeptical will certainly udnerstand that no matter what s/he knows about her conditioning to symbols, there are or there might be some conditionings that elude our consciousness.  Keep your eyes, therefore, open, especially when visiting the museum…

i consider the universe

October 12, 2008

i consider the universe to be a clever fake with streets and houses and shops and cars and people all standing in the center of a stage surrounded by props by furniture to sit on kitchens to cook in cars to drive food to fix and then behind the props the flat painted scenery painted houses set farther back painted people painted streets everything not real only a series of tapes been played for us

Philip K. Dick

Simenon: Deconstruction, Exposure, and… Boom!

October 4, 2008

“The only method I used was to obey no method at all”.

[Deconstruction:] Gifted with a strange ability to deconstruct the unseen, the “non-event”, the “on-going” banality of a daily life, [Exposure:] and to expose those tiny particles which make life so miserable, [Boom:] and then to throw in an extra element, a routine-breaker, that blows it all up, leaving behind a mutilated reality, incapable of restoring its previously false state – is Simenon.

Baudrillard must have deplored the stories of this great author, who tirelessly (365 stories, one for each day of the year, organized in 25 volumes) tore the illusion which is reality, leaving us in a void.

Each Bottle is a Unique Individual

July 13, 2008


Medicine Bottles Waiting in Line For an iPhone 3G, 2008


Damien Hirst, 1989

Medicine Bottles in a Closet.

and see Each Fish is a Unique Individual

Nothing left to confess

June 30, 2008

Given the mass of evidence, there is no plausible hypothesis but reality. Baudrillard, The Perfect Crime

The following is a story about the change in the role of the Body in forming Identity, providing Privacy and knowing the Truth, from the Spanish Inquisition to Minority Report – two time-symbols of body-reference. This is also the story of a rare footnote – one that stands apart in a book that owns it: footnote#3, p. 170, in Paul Virilio’s Speed and Politics.

Paul Virilio

“In the Middle Ages, the question is put to a body under torture, one that “knows the truth” and must let it escape in spite of himself”.

The truth [of a person] is embedded in the body.

“In the 19th century, torture is abolished but not out of humanitarianism, but because they realized that any act (every human movement) leaves external traces, an involuntary stamp. From then on, they scientifically make proofs talk“.

The truth [of a person] is manifested in the body‘s deeds, an involuntary stamp.

“From identical sets of material proofs they could draw different coherent discourses, each canceling the other out, by simply changing the order of elements”.

You stay quiet, Mister, while these two gentlemen, the prosecutor and the defender, tell your story. We’ll see which version of the truth will win. Anyway, your story is no longer relevant.

“We could imagine that the gaps and hazards inherent in the ordering of materials should disappear, since with computers they could make the accusing discourse perfectly coherent”.

… and by that, removing any competing versions of Truth. With the amount of parallel, simultaneous reports about any given event, syndicated and correlated from a mass of individuals, Reality becomes a statistically unified version of truth, Reality, as told by the machine, or as Baudrillard [probably] calls it: the Automatic Writing of Reality.

“At that point, they could do totally without the confession of the accused, who would be less informed about his own crime than the computer, and who, no longer being the one who knows “the truth”, would have nothing left to confess”.

Once Reality is told by the machine (as it is the case in Minority Report), another step forward is taken: Truth is no longer built out of the Past, but is rather an illusion projected into the Future. The computer is using statistics to build patterns of possible behavior out of a single, and somehow correlated event. When that happens, it will suffice to think Murder to be immediately arrested by the Reality Police.

Given the mass of evidence to the contrary, there is no solution but illusion. Baudrillard, The Perfect Crime

Hirst’ Shark and Perec’s Room

June 8, 2008

The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living

Damien Hirst, 1991

Some banal questions before some even more banal ones:

Is it a shark or a work-of-art? It’s both, no? it’s “a shark placed inside a work”, and it’s “a work placed inside a museum” that makes this shark in a work in a museum a work-of-art. Like Duchamp’s fountain.

Major changes to the object’s native territory provoke shifts in meaning; it’s the re-territorialization into a different topology that reincarnates the object as a different semantic object.

But what about minor changes within the same territory – so minor we can hardly notice?

When, in a given bedroom, you change the position of the bed, can you say you are changing rooms, or else what? (cf. topological analysis)

Georges Perec, Species of Spaces

Barton Fink’s room perpetual metamorphosis

Or in the case of Hirst’ Shark – The Shark began to disintegrate (poor preservation) and so Hirst was hired to replace it with a brand new shark, making sure this time the materials used in the preservation process will beat Time for a little longer.

A philosophical question was acknowledged by Hirst, as to whether the replacement shark meant that the result could still be considered the same artwork. He observed:

“It’s a big dilemma. Artists and conservators have different opinions about what’s important: the original artwork or the original intention. I come from a conceptual art background, so I think it should be the intention. It’s the same piece. But the jury will be out for a long time to come.”

Let alone, our language.

The Book

May 29, 2008

Twenty years went by, and I never saw him again, until that night at the party, when he walked in, with his wife and kids, and I, still under the disbelief of seeing him, getting up, smiling, shaking his hand and saying, as if in a confession: “I still have that book of yours, the one I’ve borrowed from you”.

Not expecting this kind of a reunion speech, he remained confused, but then he shrugged and said: “after twenty years? forget it. I’m sure the book got used to its new place. don’t de-territorialize it again… keep it”.

We had a small talk for a little longer, then I went around to speak with the others. But it bothered me greatly. I caught him at one of the corners and said: “It sounds stupid, I know, but your book doesn’t feel at home in my place. He’s not happy”.

And I saw that beneath all the “keep it” words he felt the same, now that I’ve reminded him of a long-forgotten part of his soul.

Can you feel the yearning for these lost memories?

Our Lady of the Tombs

May 18, 2008

Nothomb‘s novel Acide Sulfurique is trying hard to be as close as possible to abstraction, leaving almost any concrete description of events behind the curtain. The reader’s imagination is not supposed to complete the missing parts, for the abstraction is the essence here, a skeleton to be perceived and experienced in its bear form.

The story is, therefore, deliberately simple: a reality show named “Concentration”, representing a Nazi concentration camp. The Kapos are elected in an American Idol style of filtering, while the prisoners are randomly abducted from the streets. From this point on it’s a chain of almost pure concepts: animals’ wagons stuffed with people of all ages; numbers tattooed on the prisoners’ hands; dehumanization; starvation; rape; death. Added to these concepts are omni-present cameras that capture every possible audio-visual signals. Materials are edited, and then there’s the daily night show. In the society of the spectacle the rating is great, but when it starts to stagnate “interactivity” is introduced into the show, the audience being asked to participate in the daily “death selections” (performed so far by the Kapos) by means of sending SMSes with the prisoners’ alpha-numeric IDs whose life are to be taken. Remind you – anything in this camp, on this show, is real.

And although intuition warns that this kind of book is about to fall into the banality trap, the opposite happens. Because no description – but the evocation of the above concepts – is provided, banality is avoided. Moreover, the fact that the book is mainly structure, allows Nothomb to introduce a surprisingly powerful technique – an effectively shocking one – which turns you, the reader, into as hideous collaborator as those disgusting-yet-all-human audience of the concentration show.

Our lady of the tombs gives you, reader, a choice: you can restore your human simulacra by closing the book and not reading it further, the equivalent of shutting down the TV set. Or you could keep on reading and see yourself turning, in real-time, into a disgusting voyeur of a hideous reality. And as she’s aware of the weakness of the human nature, she gives not one but two chances for redemption.

Personally, I obeyed the 2nd call, closed the book and intended to not reading it further. Personally, I failed, the cheap curiosity taking over my previous act of honor. Just like anyone else in Nothomb’s book, I couldn’t resist watching.

Rest some of the questions raised by the form:

Can this really happen? (Of course it can – it already did!)

Yes, but can it really happen today? Well, ask yourself the following questions:

1. If such a show exist, how many people will watch it? [“unfortunately many will“]
2. In our “participation age”, with all its technological mediums of mass collaboration and of induced transparency – how many will actively participate in the executions by sending SMSes, or by Twittering their candidates for the daily death selections? [Many will. Some others will think about it, but will refrain from actively pushing the voting buttons]

But wait! There’s no need to actively push the buttons any longer! They no longer need your vote; they can do with your twittered thought! All you need is to think the alpha-numeric IDs of your candidates and your thought will be automatically encoded then transmitted into the show’s Twitter channel.

That’s a great solution, for after all even God blames no one for just thinking!

Acide sulfurique (Sulphuric Acid) by Amélie Nothomb

Each Fish Is a Unique Individual

May 14, 2008


I s o l a t e d   E l e m e n t s

Swimming in the Same Direction

for  the  Purpose  of  Understanding

Damien Hirst, 1991

[Twit Twit Robots, 2008]


Maybe writing will get you back your soul?

May 11, 2008

Otto Dix, Self Portrait of Mars, 1915

McLuhan said: “Every media work us out completely”

I’ve been (re)dragged into excessive conversations with all sorts of softwares, communicating in the inhuman medium called “machine language”, aka programming.

Observing the outside then became a function performed by the machine’s I: it’s seeing the world through a bipolar personality that operates in an acute dichotomy between zero and one, black and white, good and evil. Reality is made of procedures, modules, statements, debuggers, purifiers, validators – it’s rationality all over; it’s specialization all the way.


I felt horrible, been growingly molded and worked out into the machine’s reality-tunnel, incapable of emitting any other signal but that acknowledged by “it”.



And then a Voice arrived from the Blogosphere. Hafeez asked me why I no longer write. I answered that “I can no longer write, for I have no soul”. He then replied with a vice-versa smile: “Maybe writing will get you back your soul?

I feel it’s probably the most subtle and deep answer to the “Why do I write?” question. Writing is fighting, a battle to get back your soul.

The soul, so it seems, neither needs a body nor an avatar – some corresponding words will do.

I’m not sure, but does it matter what kind of corresponding words are sent over the wire?

(Can Twittering save my soul?)


1. It has been noted, By Roland Barthes for instance, that sometimes it is the opposite action – that of cutting off all communications – which restores and/or preserves one’ soul. Barthes interprets Rimbaud’s total silence as an act similar to Abraham’s silence – under the Kierkegaardian perspective – when told to sacrifice Isaac.

2. “SPECIALIZATION IS FOR INSECTS”: a citation from Robert Anton Wilson‘s “Prometheus Rising”, where RAW mentions the incredible diversity and versatility of the human race. We’re capable of anything as a race, and of doing many diverse things as individuals. Specialization is a plague of the modern market forces, aspiring at the creation of cost-efficient humanoids, i.e. robots. McLuhan, in war and peace in the global village says similar things.

3. Music piece from Aisha, Death In Vegas, The Contino Sessions ( a song that worth a separate post)

The Jump of Ks

December 26, 2007

On October 1960, Klein jumped. Deliberately, consciously, rationally even, he decided to totally give up on his precious grains of life. He didn’t do it to become immortal – he jumped, so says the title, into the void of the unknown, that which is behind the common; that which disobeys the ethical.

The Jump

Nevertheless, Klein had the strangest certitude at his heart – a profound belief – that he would live. Maybe, I should be more clear here: Klein believed that he’d be able to come back from the void, and consequently to conquer death.

Death – certainly not what you’ve been thinking of – that end which awaits us all; No, I think that Deleuze’s definition of death, not as a state by its own right, but rather as a void returned by the terminated function of life, the function which performs, since birth, nothing but “dying” – that’s what Klein thought to be overcoming.

By his deep desire to live, Klein gave up on his life, reversing the act of dying, creating a new state of things in which his time capsules were not popping out and collapsing but regenerating themselves – the perpetual odor of birth – with every new grain of time. A complete pleasure.

It was not until two years later, that Klein hit the ground of the void beneath. He died, ceasing to regenerate himself, five months after marrying his beloved wife, Rotraut Uecker, for whom he died two years earlier; for it is said that Rotraut Uecker was present at the moment of the jump.


Next Stop: Eddington

October 20, 2007

Eddingto two tables; Matrix two armchairs

On two worlds narrates Eddington in the introduction to his book “The Nature of the Physical World” (1927): the first being the familiar world, on its colors, odors, forms – and probably more important than all these – the people inside, you and… me.
On the other side of the curtain exists this second, alienated world, immediately recognized by us, the Matrix Generation: endless spaces of dark emptiness, with sporadic sparks and lights crossing the skies – the guts of a huge machine.

“Welcome to the desert of the real”, says Eddington, pointing at the two tables in front of him, the first – a solid, “normal” table coming from “our” world, declared herewith a fake imagery, illegally imposed on us, upon our senses; the second, although completely invisible and insubstantial, being nevertheless a respectful representative of the real world – the shadows’ world of the modern physics.

“Welcome to the desert of the real”, echoes Morpheus, signaling Neo to sit on the armchair beside him.

Two worlds, two tables; Yet Eddington’s goal is not just to describe the world revealed through the measurements of modern physics; this, says Eddington, is not but a necessary preamble, a scratch on the surface of the new philosophy of science. The fake, delusional world we’re living in and the dark, empty, real world we’ve discovered – this, says Eddington is nothing but a teaser.

A teaser for what?

Eddington mentions two post-revelation issues: the first, which I’ll call “Science for Science”, redefines the relation of Science and Society; the second, that can be called “Ecce Homo” reassess human nature in light of the changes to our understanding of the nature of physical world, “the world of shadows” as Eddington calls it.

Science for Science

If once Science was in the service of man, now things have changed. The moment it became apparent that our World is a phony one, Physics turned its back on it and started looking entirely at World 2 – after all, it is the ambition of Physics to find out the immaterial substance of “it all”, and if this something is to be found somewhere, it is definitely not in world 1, which “contaminates” the scientific measurements taken in the pure, real world 2.

“Science has at last revolted against attaching the exact knowledge contained in these measurements to a traditional picture-gallery of conceptions which convey no authentic information of the background and obtrude irrelevancies into the scheme of knowledge”, declares Eddington.

And yet, although for a furtive moment, he hesitates: maybe, Science has prematurely thrown away the illusionary world 1; maybe reality [world 2, the world of shadows] needs our familiar world 1, if only as a nice costume; maybe, like in Chamisso’s Peter Schlemihl, Science hastened to get rid of its shadow…

Chamisso’s Peter Schlemihl

Whatever. Eddington dismisses these doubts quickly enough, and goes on with determination to establish a total scientific independence from whatever world 1 constrains: politics, moral, sociology… briefly from whatever’s human.

“The path of science must be pursued for its own sake…; in this spirit we must follow the path whether it leads to the hill of vision or the tunnel of obscurity”.

Lyotard would have said that Eddington’ Science for Science is not less fictional than world 1: there’s no such thing as independence. Starting already with Descartes, explains Lyotard, science found itself tightly coupled with… money. Hading to overcome the innate limitations of the human body and to provide themselves with technical extensions in order to accurately generate and collect physical measurements, scientists have become entirely dependent on funding. And as science became the validator of truth, reality turned out to be a question of money.
Science for Science is, therefore, a delusion; Science, even more than any other thing, is enslaved to the economy of exchange.

Ecce Homo

The second issue mentioned by Eddington is the implications of the discoveries about the sunny yet falsified world 1 vs. the shadowy yet real world 2 on the nature of man. Certainly, says Eddington, there’re implications.

I can only imagine what kind of implications there are. McLuhan nicely describes it in his “Medium is the Massage”: Every media work us out completely. One day, Says Eddington, we will see the world as it is, without the mask enforced upon us by world 1. Indeed, one day there will be only darkness around us. And why? Because of the tools.

It’s a common understanding nowadays, that the observer changes, by the fact of being observing, the nature of the observed object; it is also commonly accepted that the tool used by the observer alters the outcome of the measurement. It is less accepted, though, and even so less discussed, maybe even oppressed, that the tool changes the observer himself/herself.

We’re living in an illusion that the tools are external to our body, obeying our will. Same for language – language is used by us, we believe, like any other tool. Yet with both tools and language, it appears that the situation is the opposite. Language controls us entirely, and the tools – they mold us to their own structure. Every media work us out completely. We translate our existence into the tool’s blueprints so it will be possible to transfer data using the tool. The Internet is a good example. Soon, if you would stay out of the virtual you would stay out of everything. Human life has been transformed into zeros and ones. The scientist observing the world of shadows is, thus, risking becoming a shadow of man.

If you can say it, I will open the door

September 2, 2007

One day Nansen shut the door of his room, scattered ashes around the threshold, and said to the monks:
“If you can say it, I will open the door.”

The monks said various things in reply, but non pleased Nansen.

Joshu said, “Alas!, Alas!”

Nansen immediately opened the door.

From Radical Zen, Yoel Hoffmann, 1978, Autumn Press

[and compare with A small Jewish tale about the Question]

A small Jewish tale about the Question

August 5, 2007

As told by my father

A small Jewish tale about the Question

The famous Rabbi came to the village on his coach. Everyone was already waiting for him, the rumor had been spread that the Rabbi got a Question and that there was also a prize for whoever would solve it – marrying the Rabbi’s daughter.

All the brilliant sages sharpened their mind and polished their memory, eager to demonstrate their wit, to excel before the Rabbi.

The Rabbi arrived, and the Question was asked.

Two days passed and no one came forth with a successful answer.

The Rabbi left the village.

A young man ran after the Rabbi’s coach. “Rabbi!”, shouted the young man, “Rabbi, please wait”. The Rabbi signaled to the coachman, and the coach halted.

“What is it young man?” asked the Rabbi. “Do you know the answer?”

“No, no”, said the young man, “but please Rabbi, tell it to me, let me know the answer. The Question is so… wonderful”.

The Rabbi smiled at the boy. “Come on”, he said, “get into the coach”.

[ and compare with If you can say it, I will open the door]