“Hector starts the car, adjusts the rearview mirror so that he can see Hector, pulls forward along the curb. The sun is very low now. The earth is disappearing. This is conveyed,” Laing tells me, “by some weird red line that suddenly appears horizontally across the screen. That line, that wavering line, somehow suggests the disappearance of the earth. The very earth itself as well as the conditions that made earth possible along with any thought of humanity. This is something that both Aimee and I felt, as it seemed to drain the space we were in of meaning and while it’s true that my library office was never the same after that red line appeared it may have had more to do with what was going on secretly and magnetically between Aimee and myself than with the line, which after all was just something projected on the wall.”
An exclusive extract from Nicholas Rombes‘s forthcoming debut novel, The Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing.
Cortázar writes to create traps that lead us in but lie about having an exit. There is no exit. Because of this we’re always wondering about the nature of the relationship being developed. In ‘One Step Forward, One Step Backward’ he tells the story of the fly who finds she can pass through glass but then finds out glass is a trap. A Hungarian scientist has invented a one-way process whereby the fly can’t get back out via the glass through which it entered. It’s a picture of how he works his fictions. His stories are made out of one way glass.
Richard Marshall on Cortázar’s Fantomas versus the Multinational Vampires. An Attainable Utopia.
Within ten years he had produced a strikingly original, if slightly crazy, physics of his own. He then traveled to Paris and received a crash course in the cutting edge physics and mathematics of his day. Shortly afterwards, he began making really big contributions in math and physics, some of which I suspect still aren’t fully appreciated today. Among other things, he discovered the infinitesimal calculus, offered a devastating critique of Descartes’s laws of motion, and laid the foundations for important developments in the eighteenth century by the likes of Euler, Lagrange and Jacobi.
Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Jeffrey K. McDonough.
The magnitude of the harms done to animals is almost incomprehensible — 60 billion suffer before they are slaughtered for food in global industrial agricultural production annually and that contributes more greenhouse gas emissions than any other sector, which in turn is wreaking havoc on animal habitats on land and in the sea. When we also consider the additional threats that other animals face from human activities, it becomes clearer that the problems are structural and remedies cannot solely rely on individual tastes. But there are some really hard philosophical questions about what, if anything, individuals can do to help curtail these harms.
Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Lori Gruen.
The city we do not know confronts us as impenetrably as a geometric volume, I think, though I know it isn’t true; as soon as the exterior assaults us we withdraw to the safety of classifications: at the very least, we know the meaning of the shifting streetlights, the purpose of the sidewalks, the words bar and café are the same the world over. After a certain age, perceptions seem to serve no purpose at all but to divest the exterior of autonomy with relation to its self-definition.
By Adrian West.
Reflexivity is everywhere: the entire monetary economy is based on reflexive expectations: think about everyone’s willingness to accept pieces of paper in exchange for goods and services. I accept your paper money because I expect everyone else will accept it, and every one else will because they believe everyone else will. The reality of money is the product of reflexive expectations. Fortunately the paper money bubble bursts only in times of hyperinflation. How much inflation is needed for the breakdown to occur? That is a matter of uncertainty. It depends on, among other things history, and people’s knowledge of that history. But it can also break down for reasons no one ever expected (consider the scenario of The Walking Dead).
Alex Rosenberg continues his thinking about Paul Krugman.