One of the fascinating and valuable things about the Indian philosophical tradition is that it has sophisticated and technical debates, spanning centuries, about whether dreamless sleep is a peculiar mode of consciousness or whether it’s a state in which consciousness is absent. Both Advaita Vedānta philosophers (Advaitins) and Buddhist philosophers argued that a subtle form of awareness continues in deep sleep (though they disagreed about the nature of this awareness), whereas the Nyāya philosophers (Nyaiyāyikas) held that consciousness is absent from dreamless sleep.
Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Evan Thompson.
The idea of fiction as a hallucination arising out of emptiness is intrinsic to the landscape. Portland stone supplies the building material for the bulk of London’s civic edifices; a million square feet of which was quarried for Saint Paul’s cathedral alone. The hollowing out of the bedrock renders it “a site acutely vulnerable to fabulists.” And, one might add, allegorists; at least going by Walter Benjamin’s aphorism :“Allegory is in the realm of thought as ruins are in the realm of things.”
Karen Whiteson reviews Katrina Palmer’s ‘End Matter’.
This is not Los Angeles but feels equally staged. Everything’s a reinterpretation of Hollywood. The young boys harassing J., assuming she didn’t know Spanish well enough to know our violence may have been the answer. Brutality like patriarchy knows no politics under the systems that permit its rage more than counterparts masking / employing it in silence. Capitalism even permeates prohibited spaces in nearly unavoidable residual forms. There is a stratification to all things and Cuba is no different.
José Vadi on Cuba (in fragments).
I was not raised by a father. Don’t forget that. Karl Jaspers was a father to me. You may not believe me, because of the nature of our relationship, but Heidegger was a father to me too. Heidegger never forgave me for becoming famous. I did my best to be solicitous. Unrequited love is my addiction. Heidegger is my real father. He was Mein Vater.
Bobbi Lurie’s short, creative response to Hannah Arendt’s The Last Interview and Rahel Varnhagen: Lebensgeschichte einer deutschen Jüdin aus der Romantik, as well as Margarethe Von Trotta’s 2013 film, Hannah Arendt.
Notes on Suicide is restlessly motivated by this tension between the one and the many, and how suicide’s place in the world (here, mostly Western) has been shaped by its claims upon neither and both. The book opens by weaving an account of what “we” think into Critchley’s attempt to find a place for his “I”-reflections. Often, as he admits, he’s been no more clued-up than anyone else touched by this topic – which is all of us, without exception or excuse.
Cal Revely-Calder on Notes on Suicide by Simon Critchley.
André Breton claimed, in the Surrealist Manifesto, that madness is a self-evidently American trait: only a ship of fools would have agreed to sail off with Columbus in 1492 into a seemingly endless ocean. In Book VI of Republic, Plato introduced the “ship of fools” parable in order to argue against Athenian democracy. If everyone claims the right to steer the ship, regardless of skill or aptitude in navigation, the ship will surely flounder and fail.
Amanda Wasielewski on Western historical representations of apocalypse and madness.
Pitol examines how writers attempt to respond to and understand the world through literature, and describes a process so continuous that his writing has a sense of the eternal.
West Camel on the first two volumes of Sergio Pitol‘s “Trilogy of Memory,” The Art of Flight and The Journey.
The tales in this arena are whatever outlasts the battle, survivor tales that hint at savagery, random desires and revenge, warnings that no matter how docile, how crushed, how downtrodden a character may seem to be, they are shimmering in a deranged version of eternity, watching the ripped sky defecating violence and immensity in hurled bolts of hatred and vengeance, modes of fantastical and diseased consolation that are versions of a cankered, deranged, moony, slithering, abnormal, hallucinatory, inhuman, begrudging, monstrous, spectral, erotic, horrific, engorged, skewed, insane, psychotic, raving, calamitous, delusion- a shimmering done in Flaubert’s register of the cracked kettle – ‘tapping crude rhythms for bears to dance to, whilst we long to make music that will melt the stars’.
Richard Marshall reviews Jackie Lewis’s The Dropped Baby.
The ‘white rapper’ has a somewhat undignified status within popular culture. Vanilla Ice fooled us for a while, whilst, bar Eminem, the rest have been shelved under the rather derogatory and self-consciously ironic ‘nerdcore’ subgenre, Juiceboxxx included. However, whilst Juiceboxxx’s lyrical rhymes can be embarrassingly awkward and often self-deprecating there is something entirely earnest, and contagious about his enthusiasm for rap and the lifestyle he has chosen.
Stephen Lee Naish reviews Leon Neyfakh’s The Next Next Level: A Story of Rap, Friendship, and Almost Giving Up.
Hobson infers we’re always talking about ourselves, about our failures to see thoroughly beyond ourselves, our inability to thoroughly excavate or explore a self away from geographical or social exigencies. Our drive is towards historical inevitability and, ultimately, we end with mimicry; that’s what culture is for in Desolate City. We try and coerce and collate our moments of self-reflection together into a coherent whole but, as one of Hobson’s characters suggests, recollection is always fractal.
Dominic Jaeckle reviews Desolation of Avenues Untold by Brandon Hobson.