22 Mar 2017
When masculinity becomes spiritual it is distancing itself from or abandoning life.
When femininity becomes spirituality it creates alternative life.
When contemplation about life becomes sensuous it is feminine spirituality.
Sensuous agape becomes a celebration of new forms of life.
Duras’ “Baxter, Vera Baxter” is a film-contemplation about the sensuously contemplative Eros.
Nature we’re anonymous part of (before we imagined consoling theological reference), as nature itself anonymous to itself, can’t care about us. For this reason it’s natural that humans “spontaneously” don’t care about nature – nature doesn’t care about itself. It just lives and dies quite indifferent to both conditions whatever happens to it. In our human perception nature is irresistible in its monumentality, it’s authoritative, rather than seductive (until we’re not adulterating it with the incontinence of our projections). Those among us who “care” about nature do it because they “technically” understood that if nature becomes “disturbed” it’s bad for our own survival (quite egoistic and “beyond ethic” reasoning). Nature is indifferent to us as most of us to nature. This morally neutral nature is the environment of frustrated human happiness and the background of our suffering including melancholic grief of Vera Baxter. Like the human womb is not a mother, nature is not even a womb. It can destroy or protect you without any intention to do either. May be, nature is artificial, (robotic) womb, that of the creation. Vera Baxter has to solve her problems herself, with friendly human help, which she is very lucky to deserve.
Interiors help us against nature’s indifference as a protective projection of our naive animalistic narcissism and as an extension of ourselves, a kind of our psychological exoskeleton – a reflection of our suffocating rivalry with another humans. Something monstrous is with the interiors of our settling places – with their pompous artificiality they are also a form of nature created by us, puppies of creation according to our ambition to imitate the Creator and to rule over the world.
Vera Baxter (Claudine Gabay) “was abandoned” by her husband, but he is not a monster created by human proclivity for scapegoating. He is struck by the widespread human illness – lost the ability to love: to, psychologically combine and unite – amity, Amour, Eros, Agape and disinterestedness. There are numerous reasons why this materially successful person got this affliction typical in the so called prosperity societies offering sparkling compensations for the loss of the capacity for loving. Among them – sex, beauty, consumerist comforts, social status and respect, domineering and successful self-image, etc., anything you get as a tail if you have “many-money”. But Jean is suffering not less than his wife. He belongs to the rare creatures who are prone to suffer without love. People like Jean are martyrs of wealth, and they’re stuck in their golden caves forever. Several Duras’ films depict and describe this type of people. Today, it is even impossible to imagine, that only several decades ago these people could exist. Was it democracy that created these exotic creatures? Post-democracy cannot afford them – it made them mutate and disappear.
Vera Baxter’s husband is a rich businessman – no, he is much more emotionally developed – Vera characterizes him as not-a-rich person, but the one who has a lot of money. He is not robotized by money – he feels that he is hurt by losing the psychological border between himself and money. Money is a monarch – it cannot tolerate the slightest disagreements.
So, which is it, compensation or insult – the fact that Vera’s husband “sold her”? To be a desired object is woman’s meta-historical destiny. Woman’s voluntary participation in this deal is not eliminating or even softening its meaning. Desire comes with the need to control – Jean just outsourced the whole problem: money will take care of it. It’s great lesson of barbering bribery – be it legally illegal or illegally legal.
Depression of non-belonging and melancholy of self-contemplation
“Vera Baxter loue une villa a Thionville-sur-mer Venue avec son amant, elle decide par la suite de se terrer dance la villa. Elle se confie a une femme et lui raconte la maniere don’t son mari Jean a paye un homme afin que celui-ci devienne son amant…” (Allocine)
Vera Baxter, abandoned and alone, feeling her soul forgotten and her body refused and thrown away, allows herself ephemeral moments of chaste exhibitionism, as if her nudity is able by pure magic of its presence in front of herself to find worlds which can need her.
Vera’s body, as if offers itself to the walls and the ceiling and the trees and clouds behind the windows. And her bodily solitude offers strange cure. Her exhibitionism is pure, spiritual and unexpectedly satisfying, as though to offer her body to nobody and to nothing – is the offer which is always accepted although without being answered.
Gerard Depardieu plays the individual who received from Vera’s husband money for helping her to go through period of amorous solitude. Something in Vera – her disinterestedness vis-à-vis the world, has impressed the sensitive gigolo who fell in love with her. He started to empathize with her predicament and felt self-reproachful for his shameful participation.
Being liberated without becoming corrupted by the freedom of exposing yourself to corruption
Vera is very lucky to meet the disinterested attention of a person, who by chance learned about her situation and is psychologically willing and able to help. Delphine Seyrig plays Duras-like character who sees the feminine destiny in the historical perspective and appreciate the uniqueness of a woman like Vera whom she found locked in suicidal danger.
Just the observation of how these two exceptional female characters interact creates in us, viewers need to define ourselves away from traditional structures of mutuality (when two or more persons use one another for mutual benefit).
To be alone
Here we see the mistress of Vera Baxter’s husband right at a time when he has abandoned his wife. In modern life of enhanced calculation nobody really wins – it’s what the face of this young attractive and intelligent woman tells us. As the other characters in the film she tries to understand the essence of her predicament. Today happy looking are only those whose ability to see beyond the surface of life is reduced – people with programmed – standardized soul.
To be helped to be free
How for a screen-writer and film-director to address and describe a human being in her purity – in the not-corrupt segment of her/his soul? The very desires to survive socially and physically and encircle ourselves with entertainment fences are rooted in fear of violent death and punishment for disobedience and impregnated with greedily hysterical search for saving beliefs and supporting ideologies. The necessity to permanently maneuver in circumstances and calculate advantages makes it possible for people to tolerate life by turning off their human/holistic intelligence (mental sensitivity of heart inside the mind) and becoming unreachable for the meaning of facts of life. Instead, the intelligence which is allowed for human beings by the very structure of today’s life is to develop technical – calculative and manipulative reason, which makes them robotized – without breathing soul and mind. It’s this human condition which entertaining art industry is only too happy to exploit. Duras as human being and a serious artist is creating a cinema incompatible with (mass cultural) entertainment. “Baxter, Vera Baxter” is a current of pristine air to the spiritual slums of everyday life.
Vera Baxter (Claudine Gabay) is a seemingly regular person, with a typical feminine destiny of falling in precipice of love, being structured by marriage, giving her soul, body and aspiration to motherhood and becoming abandoned by her husband. After processing and absorbing the romantic idea of love in her adolescence and youth, Vera is made by life to feel love as sex and distraction from everyday routine. But something in her is crystallized as exceptional – it’s the sublime sensitivity of her soul which helps her to take life without permanent fight for appropriating – status, property, entertainment, social success, and for dominating the circumstances. Vera Baxter is a contemplative type of a person – she takes her predicament: losing all she had, as a challenge to contemplate, to think, to feel what’s happened and why. Vera’s proneness to internalize the external world rather than compulsively act on it includes her ability not to be afraid of suffering, to be able to step down to a depressive mood – to the river, and up to the cloud of silence. Be in the river or on the cloud for too long is a deadly danger, but Vera is lucky – she got il une inconnue – the “unknown person” (Delphine Seyrig), who became determined to help her in her destiny.
L’inconnue is a person who understands Vera’s predicament – to lose everything what love for a man (and man’s love) can provide – the children, social status, self-respect, material prosperity, identity, personality, areas of mastery. She thinks that in order to be able to love man less conventionally (less symbiotically and socio-morphically) and be capable to raise emotionally and mentally healthier children woman needs more independence not so much from the man she loves but from his love.
But Duras is not representing the problems between a husband and wife as that between two human beings or as a problem of marriage as a social institution. The very organization of life in society becomes in the film something like a third player the destiny of human love depends on. Vera’s husband, Jean is a rich man who is traumatized by his psychological situation – by the necessity to make profit in a profane way, by neglecting the human need to be disinterested in relation to the world – to love intellectual, aesthetic and mystical bonds to creation, and even before this neglecting the issues of equality, justice, fairness and human compassion. This “forgetfulness” is equal to the betrayal of human existentially spiritual nature, and the first calamitous result of the narrowness of human focus on pursuing personal success is a breakdown of the ability for a sublime (non-symbiotic) intimate love. Jean has lost Vera internally – he has lost the ability to love her because he cannot anymore love another human being. In Jean’s universe of profit-making the other is an indifferent object – positive, negative or neutral for your intentions.
Duras indirectly but insistently emphasizes that Eros and Agape are close relatives, that one without the other both are lost in the world. Vera and Jean are co-victims of this lost tie between two ways of love. When Eros and Agape became separated the Lust (lascivious Greed) quickly inserts itself into the equation of life (what we are witnessing today in mass-cultural separation of love and sex). An economy based on obsession with profit is organic part of mass-cultural degradation of human sensibility.
Here is how the plot of the film proceeds – Jean Baxter pays a million to a young man, a highly sensitive and intelligent person (Gerard Depardieu), to take his wife off his hands. But this person fell in love with Vera and by this betrayed his “payoff”. This opened an unexpected chapter in this business transaction between the husband and transitionary figure – a space of independence from received money opens – not only for the receiver, but for Vera, who could be existentially lost in an abyss between two hills, if not for the appearance of a stranger, the “another woman” (the prototype of Duras herself), who came with a gift of disinterested help. Of course, this help doesn’t mean a lesbian relationship, as many will likely believe or suspect. Amazing thing we have a deal here, is, it seems, the disinterested and transcending sexuality relations (although without any phobic panic about lesbianism). Mass culture has taught us, Americans, about primacy of sex and primacy of survival through social competition – mass-cultural myths, following the agenda of tiny minority – 2% of the population – people of deep cultural deprivation and serious psychological underdevelopment.
The style of the film reflects the fact that Duras considers human beings as human nature in history – she includes human history (concrete historical references) and spiritual experiences in human behavior, for example, she depicts human being not as a fallen-factual, but as a pre- or post-fallen.
Duras’ film addresses the human being not through amusing, entertaining and/or violent situations, but through a very particular – aesthetically spiritual rapport with a segment of the human soul not corrupted by mass-culture which has managed to create in us a fundamental need to feel our better-ness, best-ness, greatness and exceptionalism in comparison with others.
06 Mar 2017
“Manipulative, dishonest and lacking empathy – the traits that describe a psychopath – aren’t pleasant. But the idea that they are also fiendishly clever isn’t accurate… Because many psychopaths are charming and manipulative, people have assumed they often also have above-average intelligence. Psychologists term this the ‘Hannibal Lecter myth’. Psychopaths are impulsive, have run-ins with the law and often get themselves hurt… Brian Boutwell at St. Louis University in Missouri and his colleagues analyzed 187 studies on intelligence and psychopathy. These papers include research on psychopaths in prison as well as those enjoying high-flying careers… Overall, the team found no evidence that psychopaths were more intelligent than people who don’t have psychopathic traits. In fact, psychopaths scored significantly lower on intelligence tests… The finding will help put the Hannibal Lecter myth to rest…. Psychopaths are very sensation-seeking. They don’t like to sit and read books – they end up engaging in substance abuse… Psychopaths are rather inarticulate, and swear a lot. They talk over you in brusque, aggressive style.”
Jessica Hamzelou, New Scientist, 28 January, 2017, p. 12
04 Mar 2017
“Hours after Donald Trump was sworn in as president, his administration removed the page on climate change from the White House website and published a new page, An America First Energy Plan… This plan says Trump will roll back two key elements of Obama’s environmental policy: the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the US rule, which expanded the freshwater areas protected by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers… It outlines plans to exploit untapped shale, oil and natural gas reserves on federal land and revive the US coal industry. It also says Trump will ‘refocus the EPA on its essential mission on protecting our air and water’, suggesting it will abandon regulating greenhouse gas emissions… Other decisions in Trump’s first days in office have also dismayed observers. He has reinstated a federal ban on US funding for international health organizations that counsel women on abortion. And he selected Ajit Pai as chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission. Pai opposed net neutrality regulations that were passed in 2015 to ensure an open internet and prevent broadband providers from blocking or throttling access to content. Meanwhile, there were rumors that the EPA this week has frozen all of its grants and that the US Department of Agriculture has banned its scientists from talking openly about their work.”
“New Scientist”, UPFRONT page, p. 6, 28 January, 2017
03 Mar 2017
Benton’s mural-sized painting “Hollywood” was intended, the artist remarked, to show that the movie industry was “predominantly an economically conditioned art”. “The movie art is not only a business but a business expression. It speaks in by and through the patterns of the American business mind. It is go-getter, optimistic, sentimental, and politically conservative. It sings and clowns in Rotary Club fashion, and romances with a high regard for the status quo in everything.
(Th. H. Benton, “Hollywood Journey”), Erika Doss, “Artists in Hollywood: T. H. Benton and Nathanael West Picture America’s Dream Dump”
Benton and West challenged the movie industry’s destructive manipulation of the American Dream, and its corrosive impact on the nation’s social and political futures.
Erika Doss, Ibid
The young lady who occupies the center of the panel is more a symbolical than an actual movie figure. I wanted to give an idea that the machinery of the industry, cameras, carpenters, big generators, high voltage wires, etc. is directed mainly toward what young ladies have under their clothes. So, I took the clothes off…
T. H. Benton, “Letter to Longwell”
A female movie star is the heart of Hollywood movie, like male star is its brains and muscles.
A female movie star in entertaining movie is the goal, while the male star is a model of competence in how to reach this goal.
A female movie star is the dream-realized, while the male star is either the possibility or the guarantee of its realization.
Colorful moths of myths manufactured with hard- and soft-wares is the “operational” definition of Hollywood productions.
Creators of commercial movies are specialists in money-making through movie-making
Metaphoric “abbreviation” of Hollywood as Hilly-weed or Hell-y-weed industry: sell, sale, sail, soul, salt, silk, sold.
Benton is right – Hollywood magic is to show a dressed woman as if she is naked, and by this to combine cabaret and optics: two arts – exposition and delivery and two substances – organic and mechanical to work with.
The quantity of people and technical gadgets in this mural is overwhelming, and so should be the result of the intense work of making a movie – the ready product: the movie itself, and so should be the result of its readiness – financial plenitude of the box office sales. According to Benton, the Hollywood empire of shadowy dreams and their imaginary satisfactions is centered, like human body around sexual organs, on the idea of the female star. The male star is very near by, with his straight gaze penetrating the very locus-focus of femininity. The task of the male star is to professionally handle the phallic (irresistible) woman, incomparable and stubborn, who is at once a beauty, bounty, bondage and freedom. In the adjacent studio the sexual and violent scene is being prepared, where the male star is training his female counterpart a simple super-historical and Hollywood truth of who is the boss of the screen-queen. Hollywood offers its viewers the most adventurous of adventures, the fullest and deepest orgasms for dominatrixes and their slaves and conquerors: the tamers of female demons transformed into angels through love in order to seduce the audience by Eros and Resistance. Many varieties and fascinating branchings of this videogame exist and develop more with time, and it’s one of the most successful strategies to pump money out of the pockets of viewers.
Not without the masterful help on part of the male-stars, those trainers of “feminine mystic”, Hollywood is able to design female cloth, which is, whatever the plot of the story can be, psychologically transparent for the audience’s perception, like it makes the movie screen a transparent – imaginary versions of human life. Movie-woman as an object of amorous and sexual appropriation and possession becomes for Hollywood movie-makers a metaphor for their efforts of moneymaking. The female-character/star is a Hollywood code-name for profit. In Benton’s mural we see, how film making industry is organized around woman whose real name is money. In Louis Malle’s “Pretty Baby” (1978) the director analyzes American postindustrial life as a combination of gambling/casino and prostitution/brothel as a way of building private prosperity of people’s American dream.
The auditorium, the screen and the projection room at the movie theater are located in the spacious basement where, as in a variant of Plato’s cave people moved by the lust of imaginary satisfaction while “chaining themselves to their seats” to enjoy in full the screen shadows. The sad usherette is preoccupied with her own thoughts and feelings, which are not addressed by the feverish foolishness of screen life (it’s like fake food we consume, which step by step makes us sick with obesity, diabetes, excess of cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, etc., while enjoying the extra-sugar, harmful fats, extra-caffeine, etc.) Our addiction to entertaining images makes us psychologically regressed and less and less able to understand (and losing taste for understanding) the reality of adult life – an inability that makes us easily manipulated by the wealthy masters of our lives, whom we worship for their financial success. Entertainment transforming life into amusingly simplified animation cartoon situations provides us with something better than mundane life – entertainment enters our souls like angel-ghosts. But our neat and stubborn usherette is an exclamatory contrast to the mentally passive pleasures of watching movies while being in a position of symbiotic (positive or negative) identification with the characters-stars.
By the posture of the usherette we see that she is trying to grasp something – (probably, some problems in her emotional life), but she is alone – nobody will address her concerns and difficulties – the task of entertaining art that Hopper depicts from the side, as anonymous waves of murky light, is to entertain (like the task of singer is to sing, actor – to act, talker to talk, snorer to snore, eater to eat, etc.). The job of entertaining through movies is to envelop the viewers with balsam of images pointing away from life – towards hope, belief, forgetting “all the bad things” and turning towards half-filled glass and not half-empty.
Tautology of entertainment means that the consumer consumes images which satisfy as images, not like reality, and then life is left ineligible and ungraspable, and human being belongs to his emotional disappointments and frustrations making him hateful and impulsive. The situation is not that there is entertainment and there is serious culture. Entertainment is a vampire, a cannibal of the soul – it kills culture, it gradually suffocates it. People lose the ability to think without having immediate satisfaction. People become psychologically and intellectually sterile. Culture is closed off to the heroine of Hopper’s painting. And still, she is a heroic figure – the lonely fighter of the resistance to surrender to entertainment completely. She doesn’t know, that a person cannot effectively think about life without humanistic education, and this education becomes less and less available.
01 Mar 2017
Fame is a bee.
It has a song
It has a sting
Ah, too, it has a wing.
Do we see a bicycle or a man? Maybe, we see a bicycle seat or a protruded head of bicyclist who is concentrated on the road ahead)? But, may be, we see a human head, or an exotic toad as a bicyclist? Or, are we seeing a human head in a form of bicycle seat (you know, strange mutations like this happen more and more often) or a man’s crotch? Isn’t it fun to see a crotch riding a bike? In this sense, Oppenheim is thinking here futuristically, and, may be, even prophetically. Finally, these swarming bees occupying bicycle seat can be the artist’s humorous characterization of men’s involuntary sexual excitement, this well-known pressuring irritation insistently calling for action? Yes, if the bike is the male individual and the bike seat – his sexual potential, swarming bees, indeed, can represent the life of this tireless organ, its very sensitivity and its aspiration to live in full.
All mentioned and unmentioned interpretational possibilities characterize Meret Oppenheim as a “certified” surrealist – she doesn’t have too much respect for technological tools because modern society has transformed them into fetishes and people into worshippers of technology. Indeed, how could people allow tools to become our masters? Of course, this existential “heresy” started long ago, and our today’s life consists of permanent wars, cutthroat competition and dreams of possessions, consumption and status of bill-mills (billionaires/millionaires). We are not peaceful enough because we are not contemplative, we are like action movies.
Probably, much more important than our ideological panegyrics to technical (manipulative) thinking is nurturing development of human – holistic mind. In the beginning of the 21st century we observe an unprecedented attacks on humanistic sciences and their growing financial abandonment. Psychoanalysis today is losing the ability to talk, sociology and psychology are reduced into didactic slogans and art – into embellishing designs, a kind of abstract nests for human birds.
Twentieth century was able to give birth to two humanistically-scientific intellectual revolutions – psychoanalytic and surrealistic. Today, we praise Meret Oppenheim as a critical thinker of a dehumanized and impersonalized tendencies in Western civilization. Robotized crotch riding a bicycle or the swarming sensation of human sexual drive will be with us as images reflecting the truth of our condition until we’ll not change the very paradigm of our civilization and awaken ourselves to life.
24 Feb 2017
Posted by Victor-Katia as Discussion and Mind-Probing, Human Health And Longevity Are Linked To Socio-economic Status, Sociological essays
“Human health and longevity are linked to Socio-economic status… This link persists regardless of factors such as access to decent health care or clean water… Low-ranking monkeys had different proportions of immune system cells circulating in their blood… And in some of these cells activity in genes involved in immune response was dialed up. These changes are the cellular and genomic hallmarks of chronic, harmful inflammation. These types of inflammation is like a generic fertilizer that feeds the development of many chronic diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease… Low social standing leads to elevated stress that harms the body… Being a chronically subordinate nonhuman primate and being a human mired at the bottom of socio-economic scale are similar in the most fundamental ways… You have remarkably little control and predictability in your life, your outlets for frustration are limited, and it’s relatively hard to access social support. That’s the prescription for chronic, stress-related maladies.”
Rachel Ehrenberg, “Social Status Alters Immune System (Low Rank in Group Leads to Inflammation)”, SN (Science News Magazine), Dec. 24, 2016 – Jan. 7, 2017, p. 7
Several decades ago, during “democratic” 60s – 70s it was considered by many politicians-democrats and scholars with democratic sensibility “not-elegant” to mention the probable connection between poverty, homelessness and chronic unemployment with physical illnesses and low life expectancy. Today, with the development of medical sciences this connection has become more evident, although far from being more accepted. In a world of “ideological justice” and slogan-equality factual injustice and inequality are seldom picked up by free speech.
The fact that being on the bottom of social pyramid causes high stress related maladies is telling us that people perceive their deprivations related to low economic status as injustice. It is this humiliation of being treated as less of a human being than others subdues one’s sense of worth and lowers one’s immune health leading to chronic inflammation which triggers number of illnesses. In really democratic society nobody feels “on the bottom”. But In the 21st century democratic societies are more and more deviating from democratic ideals. Conservative prospect of (profit oriented) privatization of Social Security and Medical care and the promise to eliminate even food stamps program (among other examples of conservative “negatively creative” socio-economic thinking) is not just undemocratic but typical pre-democratic behavior. When the “owners of jobs” put Americans out of work in order to save money by using foreign workers, it is a form of human sacrifice, when people are victimized by the proud conservative dream of austerity for the majority of the population.
As we see, American conservatives are becoming not only more conservative, meaning even less progressively oriented, but more progressively conservative, with more fresh-and-bright innovative vignettes on their outworn conservative worldviews. They’re, as if, have internalized the democratic creative modality of thinking about society in developmental context of change into their retrograde goals and agendas. They coopt the very idea of political innovations for the benefit of outdated – pre-humanistic socio-economic practices.
16 Feb 2017
Posted by Victor-Katia as “My life and Times with Antonin Artaud” (1993) by Gerard Mordillat, Discussion and Mind-Probing, Reviews of Films
Mordillat’s film is gloomy and tormenting, and its narrative melodies are often broken by, as if, blasted strings. After WWII, Paris is dirty, hopeless and full of people with no time for elegance and contemplation. People are rushing to work or to find a job – to survive, achieve, succeed – to hold to the surface of life as not to drown under its vain waves. Both main male characters (Antonin Artaud and Jacques Prevel) are on the verge of homelessness and solidly in poverty. The three main female characters (Prevel’s wife, his girlfriend Jany and the young actress Colette specializing on reciting Artaud’s poems) are desperate, overstressed and without much hope, they live from day to day. But in spite of all bleakness the film somehow suggests some positive expectation, some hopeful belief without concrete content. It’s not easy to understand, from where this current of fresh and warm air is coming.
Artaud is partially living in a psychiatric facility and we see him eating nothing except nuts. He is accusing himself in his inability to understand what makes a human beings to try to restore the prewar way of life which is responsible for the war in the first place (greed automatically leads to clash), what makes them so meaninglessly and absurdly indifferent and belligerent. Prevel (still a young man) is devastated that his poems are again and again refused for publication, while Artaud always mentions them to Prevel appreciatively. Artaud, to activate his own mental capacities needs drugs, he doesn’t take it to forget the reality or to feel himself in the center of the world or enjoy the relaxation or super-alertness (he is not an addict nor a recreational user). He gives himself to drugs to force himself to be more active and innovative thinker dedicated to the grasping about people and human society what he wasn’t yet able to grasp – how is it that people dream about one thing: consumption of goods, property and entertaining images, without understanding that this “innocent” addiction will ultimately destroy them and their world? How to awaken in people existentially spiritual rationality? – The question which torments Artaud every day and every hour.
Jacques Prevel, according to Artaud, should comprehend that art’s (here – poetry) value cannot be measured by the foam of the artist’s fame, but by its existential genuineness, refinement of verbal sensitivity and structural multiversity. Prevel is lucky to have two woman loving him, but he is not happy either, because he feels deprived. He becomes somewhat of a martyr by the call of his soul. Through experiencing the film while observing the difficult life of the characters, we step by step are penetrated by the light of their immanent, unconscious hope – their silent belief that life dedicated to serious (not entertaining) art and meaning, life resisting conformism/philistinism and the posture of calculating and manipulating of the reality is what makes it disinterestedly joyful. People like Artaud and Prevel are… happy though knowing nothing about it.
May be, real happiness is something we don’t know about. And it is joy which we don’t attribute to ourselves, while thinking about our poverty and problems and suffering. Artaud will die at the end of the film, while Prevel will soon after. But they shared with us not only their grief and their torments and despair, but their latent, “anonymous” but real happiness. American viewers will learn a lot from the heroes of Mordillat’s film. If we had more people like Antonin Artaud and Jacques Prevel, we would never open a new century as we did. Artaud and Prevel are seemingly “bizarre” and “extreme” characters, but a noble and remarkable role models.
Posted on Jan/23/’17 – Gerard Mordillat’s “My Life and Times with Antonin Artaud” (1993) – Martyrdom as a Deliberate Choice as a Secularly Spiritual Resistance to the Growing Brutalization of Human Life by Acting-Out Politics
12 Feb 2017
Russian “socialists’” with their icon-on-banner dream of a “communist” future for humankind is the first example of inspiring idealistic bubble in those who followed the solemn project of establishing the universal ideal society on the planet Earth. But how socialism, a concept with concrete operational definitions, can be an embryo of communism (a collective dream polished by the tears of human poverty and despair)? While “communism” was supposed to happen in socialist far-future, it is exactly this dream was an inspiration for the socialist fighters to sacrifice themselves when they were killing their enemies for the sake of their god – a shining communist future. It’s this communist knot of human idealistic imagination was the irrational power in charge of all the hardships on the way to achieve “a socialist way of life”. The mass people understood the communist idea generically – by the logic of pompous sloganeering teaching them the universal jingoistic patriotism, readiness to sacrifice their life for a future communist paradise and hate and contempt for other countries alien to their dream.
But even the socialist masses eventually become frustrated by the “slow growth of economy and consumption”, and the communist leadership itself finally decided to change the political system their grandfathers and fathers have built on blood and sweat of soviet believers in their revolution, because “socialism is not able to provide enough incentives for people to work hard and effectively enough to sustain the necessary material growth”. History itself shown that idealistic bubble of communist ideological belief didn’t work – were not productive enough in practical life and the real international situation, the socialist enterprise in Russia existed only a little longer than 70 years. Of course, another reason for dismantling the soviet socialism was that the communist leaders’ contacts with Ronald Reagan’s administration, which showed them that power based on money is a much more effective weapon for manipulating masses than power based on ideology. People can resist ideology but will surrender to Golden Calf. Soviet communists from the teachers of humanity are transformed into disciples of Capital’s miracles. To shift from USSR to Nazi Germany – is it possible to imagine that the German masses will follow their Fuhrer’s call to battlefields of the globe, if not their absolute belief that they’re genetically superior to all other people? Arian superiority is the goal deserving to kill and to die for. Could Nazi Germans become so indignant and righteous in their hate toward Jews if not their belief in their exceptionalism?
Even for the dreams of our American Founding Fathers it was not enough to push from our country colonizing us Brits and start to rule over our America by themselves. They had to create something like “the best political system on Earth” – the most humanistic and just among all political systems ever. Like Soviet socialism was organized around the future of a total and an unconditional happiness, US was centered on its future as a torch for other nations’ admiration and imitation. Today, in the 21st century, almost nothing is left from the orientation on a better future for all American citizens, the remnants of democracy are dirtied with neocons’ orientation on austerity for people, on destroying (through privatization) Social Security for the sake of maximization of profit for its future private owners, and Medicaid, on elimination of even food stamps program. On top of all these growing homelessness and joblessness, the recent trend of murders of unarmed civilians by police officers and steady preparation for new wars. It looks like that the idealistic bubbles of human socio-cultural dreams are not sustainable. It’s, as if, people want to look in front of themselves so humane that they exaggerate the sincerity and passion of their kindness and tolerance. But time passes, and humanism more and more used as justification of people‘s cruelty and indifference to others.
It looks like that the bubbles of idealism is the feature of countries’ ideology when they try to establish themselves – revolution in Russia in 1917 with its orthodox Marxism, the Third Reich growing from and against Weimar Germany, American revolution for independence. In these moments future countries (USSR, Third Reich, USA) try, as if, to justify extra-violence they needed to successfully establish themselves. Idealistic bubbles penetrating the new ideologies become the main source of recruiting people’s passions and mobilizing their readiness to kill and to die for the great future to come. But when life in a new countries becomes more or less normalized and social stratification leads to a stabilized social hierarchy – the very need for excesses of idealism goes down. Ideological and financial elites grow more confident in their social power. The greed, corruption and despotism of elites become more obvious and matter-of-factly.
It is amazing how psychologically similar can be countries looking so different! Of course, decision makers in charge are interested in emphasizing the absolute and always admirable particularity of their own country. Mass people are always easily buying it because it nurtures their narcissistic self-image (it’s very pleasant to think that your country and people like yourself are better than anybody else). The poor people, for example, are always ready to see themselves on the movie screen – embellished by the charisma of the movie-star to forget about their miserable social condition. People addicted to and corrupted by a falsified movie screen reality – more and more develop a false self-consciousness and the inability to understand themselves and others. Voting against their own interests and inability to grasp what’s really going on with their own country is only one of the results. Narcissistically aggrandized self-images of “our” unconditional greatness create jingoistic and conformist behavior.
Take, for example, pop-entertainment American movies – how entertaining directors and producers address the audience and how actors psychologically interact with viewers is scandalously and astonishingly similar in all three countries’ cultures “baptized” by the presence of idealistic bubbles in their past. Movies for mass consumption try to fascinate, to hypnotize audience, to glue viewers’ emotions to the actions and emotional reactions images and try to generate mass response based on suggested stereotypical ideas. Instead of encouraging unique interpretations mass-films cultivate (totalitarian) standardization of the population. In USSR and Nazi Germany the movie hero had to be the carrier of standard cognitive reactions and be the object of identification on part of the viewers. Even American commercial/entertaining movies follow the same principles of antagonism between the hero and the villain (or positive and negative characters) where the hero is a model for everybody inside our country while the villain or negative character shown as simpleminded and schematic personification of evil, as it is the case in American or Soviet and Nazi propaganda movies. The very semantic structure between propaganda movie and entertaining Hollywood movie is depressingly similar – it emphasizes the incompatibility between “us” – personified as generic patriots without humanistic education and “them” (only humanistic education orients on truth which is always non-identical with propagandists contrast between standard official, “our” truth and standard, evil lies of “non-us”). Commercial movies are immanently propagandistic – their task is to flatter the consumers and by this unzip their pockets as “free market” of uninterruptible hospitality. Moviemakers become richer-wealthier with easiness of animation cartoon.
Propaganda and mass entertainment reveal their common psychological nature – that’s how a totalitarian elite approaches the totalitarian masses, with global intention to conquer worldwide market by flattering mass consumers by confirming and encouraging their unconscious and psychologically identical self-aggrandizing archetypes inseparable from their hate for others with the same psychology (dressed with different ideological clothes). Totalitarian community of propaganda and/or entertainment consumers is based not on spiritual, psychological and characterological individualism, but on people’s ego-identification with similarity with one another and super-ego identification with leaders and celebrity-stars as their idealized personifications.