Acting-Out Politics

Weblog opens discussion about the psychology of Bushmerican style of behavior.

This new type of Americans are not able to defend themselves and their children from being slaughtered right on the streets of American cities and in schools, movie theaters, supermarkets, concert halls and inside their homes. Hundreds of murders takes place all over the country, year after year, when desperate, hateful or mentally sick people armed with military kind of high-tech machine-guns kill innocent citizens whom they more often didn’t even know personally. And nothing is done about it already for many years because of the growing cult of high-tech weapons in the country, obsessive desire to possess them and the cowardice of new Americans not trying to save the innocent people from becoming victims. Instead they rely on luck – that their family members and friends will not be killed, but another people instead.

The billions of dollars the traditional – conservative Americans spend year after year on high-tech weapons for private ownership (with which they play like fairytale king with golden coins). Their fear of the growling poor (who “dream to take away their property, land, houses, guns and destroy their families”) exaggerated by the stress of modern life is intensified the more “foreigners”, “blacks” and “democrats” “are trying to survive and live better appropriating the American dream for themselves”. These worshipers of super guns are chronically afraid. Psychological need for super-guns keeps the gun sales in US extremely liberal – people can buy military style weapons without even having to prove that they’re mentally trained to handle it responsibly, and they are practically free to play with bullets like kids with plastic toy-soldiers.

So, we have those who obsessively buy assault super-weapons to feel themselves as potential Crusaders on their own land, then those who buy super-guns to kill casual people to feel a quasi-orgasmic relief of having become somebody, and those who just live like trees in a forest, with vitality spent on everyday life – who cannot even try to protect their children from guns in the hands of criminals and crazies. This last category of people – the fruits of American post-WWII mass prosperity are more educated than the gun-eaters but much more passive. They’re unable to do anything about the deadly anarchy of private guns – the psychological black hole amidst American democracy, except… publicly weeping and sincerely suffering when their child, friend and neighbor have been “casually” killed. And this weeping goes on for decades, while a new breed of mass murderers, obviously, cannot be stopped because they’re statistically hidden amidst the private high-tech guns worshipers demanding the absence of regulations for selling super-weapons to anybody who wants to purchase it.

The cult of high-tech weapons in private possession is very American and a very mass-cultural cult of high-tech toys in general. Like a child cannot be rational about an irresistible toy and is emotionally trapped into a symbiotic relations with it, like today’s adults are psychologically glued to their cell-phones, so Americans of all ages are fascinated with barrels and triggers of guns and feel exalted by the contrast between the smallness and compact beauty of the thing itself and grandiose results when you are putting your hands into its magic. Many believe in life giving power of guns like traditional believers in the Almighty-God.

But for our philistines unable to protect their loved ones from the gun muzzles – life is as a socio-political game – you play along according to the rules and will be rewarded correspondingly. They think that nothing can be done against random mass shootings taking annually about 40,000 American life – that god helps “my children and family”. They’re subdued by the massiveness and fanaticism of American gun lobby and gun-cult. They are not so much afraid of them as they are oppressed by the heaviness of their presence and existence. On some level they’re aware that they‘re betraying the victims of mass shootings, but philistines are inert. Life for them is a game in time and the evil is a part of it – what can you do with it? They’re not necessarily physically cowards, but – spiritually. And between spiritual virtues and everyday money the space is large, as life itself.

Gun-worshipers accumulating weapons at homes and souls don’t shoot people like pathological haters and mass murderers but – it looks, they wait for their time. And until it’ll come, they continue to buy and store as many high-tech guns as they can and train themselves in high-tech shooting. But semi-prosperous philistines are beyond justification in their shameful political passivity to find ways to stop the sales of weapons to unqualified people. In a decent society weapons in the hands of not qualified and mentally disturbed people are not supposed to wander around looking for victims.

The predatory mind at best can only tolerate applied science – the one which can help the decision-makers to multiply their profits and power without grasping that applied research can exist only on the basis of the implicit – pure and disinterested science.

Science is a combination of facts with their verification, studying and interpretation (not without permanent critical self-analysis of the very process of thinking on the part of scientists) leading to their understanding. For the scientific minds (opposite of predatory ones) facts are a sacred reality belonging to the very structure of the world including our environment and us ourselves. The difference between scientific minds and predatory ones is that the former are respectful of facts, while the latter rush to exploit them for impatient profits. The scientists are intellectually pious before the world, while the predatory people are driven to dominate the world, nature and ordinary human beings.

Scientists try to understand the sacred world – for them to study reality is a refined form of worship, in which intellectual process is paired with emotional love for the mysteries they try to unweave. But for today’s neo-cons “understanding” of facts is done by intuitive guesses, just by believing that their impressions from the world are right because they personally are “very smart” and because their ideas confirm for them the wisdom of their predatory – appropriative orientation. Being without humility in front of the complicated nature of the world, predatory mind doesn’t have the time to verify facts and intellectually control what it “thinks”. It behaves with the world with vulgar familiarity. It acts instead of thinking – it’s like a general commanding its own and other people’s bodies.

It’s not surprising that neocons are incapable of understanding facts and proofs of the phenomenon of global warming (GW). But it will be simplistic to think that they are refusing to accept the dangers of GW because to accept it means to lose their profit from, for example, fossil fuels. Of course, they’re in panic of losing their profits (what are they without profits? Just prefixes without words or lower than the low and emptier than emptiness). But being phobic about their inability to grow wealth and about losing what they already accumulate is the basic reason why they cannot even imagine to think like scientists – their minds are so crude and their souls so frightened that for them it’s psychologically impossible to appreciate the seriousness of scientific intellectual procedures, like verification of facts or strict analysis of one’s own thinking and conclusions. Serious thinking for neo-cons is humiliating and traumatic – they permanently need to feed themselves with easy success and sleazy victories. That’s why they corrupted everybody with super-duper consumerism and appealing flattery entertainment.

The very fact that for these post-modern primitives not only the dangers of GW are not real, but that the very idea of GW creates in them paranoid fury is a confirmation that for them living exclusively by calculating and appropriating money/profit is practically the only reality while scientific thinking is more than suspicious.

These people dressed in power operate with magic distortion of various facets of reality. Take, for example, the childish absurdity of their statements that investing money into political candidates is a form of freedom of speech or that “corporations are people” and have a right to have human (individual) rights (that not only private moneys to politicians are a freedom of speech, but corporate money also), or that the more high-tech weapons are in private hands the safer will be we, Americans. You can easily add to these examples of abysmal scientific illiteracy many more profit-worshipper’s exemplary beliefs and “sayings”.

It’s not enough to teach science and arts on college level – free to everybody in US, but teachers should feel free to explain to their students how politico-economic determinations can distort the very perception of science and arts, how propagandized through mass-media values of extra-consumption and super-entertainment distract people from cathecting disinterested (not based on obsessive-compulsive calculation of the personal advantage) thinking about life.

Dora Maar “Picasso Sleeping” (1936 – 1937)

Looking at the photograph for the first time one can get the feeling that something is not quite right here. Indeed, something is very particular in Picasso’s sleeping. Is it really sleep, or something more or something other than sleeping? Picasso is, as if, embracing himself with his left arm and right hand (the one he will soon be using again holding and directing the brushes. He is, as if, covering, enveloping himself to distance himself from the world where his alive body is temporarily settled in the bed.

The contrast between the light and dark areas of Picasso’s body, the bed and the air of the room hints that the topic here is not the fact that Picasso is sleeping because it’s time to sleep – to rest, to accumulate energy in order to continue his spirited life and creative work (or that it’s already morning and time to get up, etc.) The point here is rather that the contrast between light and darkness together with the intensity of his posture suggest that something is very particular about his non-presence while sleeping. Take the contrasted area of the pillow brightness right around Picasso’s head drowned in the darkness (we’ll see what this contrast means – what the artist is up to – later, in his works, or his fingers, as if playing melodies on his left shoulder (on the way from the effect of light to visual music expressed on the canvass).

Picasso’s face is covered by a “self-sustaining” shade – not a naturalistic shadow projected by, let’s say, the angle of the window cover or something. It’s the shade of his “sleeping distance” from us regular people and from our monotonous world and rudimentary imagination. While he is sleeping his soul is not resting nor hypnotized by the events of the world or high or delirious. It’s wondering in different worlds. It’s not only the mysterious darkness of his face separates him from us, but the light which warms his body and intensifies his back, shoulder and right hand. While sleeping he is, as if, charging his imagination by the alternative but… universal knowledge about the “bizarre” lives which will later become visible in his creative works.

Sleeping Picasso is much farther from this world than we, regular sleepers and dreamers just resting from the despotic concreteness of our lives revenging us in our sleep by the images of exaggerated fears or hypertrophied happiness, until the next morning with its habitual routine when non-freedom and entertaining boredom return and pleasures again will be severely taxed by the limitations of our organic stupidity. But in his works Picasso who during his sleep is charged with alive otherness will address us with the vitality of his creative gift to carve life more real and exuberant than our every-days and holidays, our flying-ups and our falls.

For Dora Maar’s Picasso to sleep it means to acquaint his mind and soul with creative innovations of perception and reactions, feelings and love. Picasso as an artist is alertly opened to the present mixed with its past and future in their common organic limitations. It makes him a really democratic type of personality. For him hysterical innovations are much more dangerous than human limitations without sparkles of intolerance to otherness. In the same time there is no conservative routine in his artistic style with the highest coefficient of transformative dynamism. In his work he, as if, personifies the sublimated democracy in action – able to carefully modify itself in appearance and essence. His artistic style is always realistically oriented – is always semantically pursuing objective reality provable even when it seems exaggeratedly exotic.

Take just a tiny fraction of his artistic achievements – portraits of Dora Maar. His numerous paintings of her – are endless modifications of her face and body and her facial expressions and moods without modifying her soul or distorting her appearance – you can always recognize her face and facial expressions in spite of their transformations. Like she in her photograph “Picasso’s sleeping” immortalized psychology of his creative personality as a part of the Grand-Master’s mystic, he immortalized her in her very being. The experience of mutual immortalization! What can be more glorious result of personal love?

Dora Maar, “Boy on the Corner of the Rue de Genets” (1933)

We see that the wall the boy is leaning against is probably the back wall of some kind of a “cargo” place), be it a garage or a storage. Judging by the boy’s face he is trying to rest – to semi-sleep – right on his legs. His clothes are not orderly and he looks tired but at the same time, somehow, busy.

Is he selling himself, as some of his gestures seem to hint at or just appealing to the mercy of anyone who might help a child in poverty? May be, it’s not even so important what particular reasons make the boy to appear, probably, habitually, on the corner of the Rue de Genets. The point is – the kid of his age is standing around the pole with street name on it and obviously soliciting from the passersby something he needs and obviously cannot get in other way.

The widespread reaction to this situation (today, as decades ago), is either the nasty suspicion that the kid is just “making business” while pretending to be poverty-ridden or even homeless and hungry or that he is exploiting his predicament to get a handout on the street instead of working or looking for corresponding agencies established for the purpose of helping children. To think like this is the habitual trick of those who identify poverty with immorality and a façade for illegal or pervert behavior. Instead of offering to a child some disinterested help this sort of people will indulge in twisting the problem to justify their indifference and philistinism. In a decent society a child has to be protected against the circumstances forcing him to stand around the corners or walk along the walls while appealing to passersby. There are numerous sentimental photographs about children in poverty, but Dora Maar in her “Boy on the Corner of the Rue de Genets” adds to the popular topic making human compassion too easy – the ambiguity of the cause of why a child in poverty has to be dependent on pedestrians.

Dora Maar, “Boy Holding a Cat” (1934)

Was this boy protectively embracing the cat – forced out of the door we see near him by his parents or relatives who didn’t want the cat inside their home? The door doesn’t look like belonging to a private residence. May be, he has just bought it or even saved the cat abandoned by its previous owner(s)? May be, these owners were mistreating and abusing the poor cat, and this made our boy so protective – he hold the creature, as if he feels responsible for its life in front of the world. Anyway, whatever the reasons of his protective passion, he obviously projects towards his cat his soul’s bonding energies.

But observing the photograph longer we feel something more here than boy’s noble desire to care about a beautiful animal like cat – nurture its little flame. It’s possible that the boy doesn’t just guard the cat’s chance to enjoy life like every living being wants. By being a bit obsessively protective toward the feline the boy can be prone unconsciously identify with its loneliness and a lack of attendance. May be, he himself in his own family feels not loved, not cared enough, emotionally abandoned. But by friendship with a cat, by being, as if, its elder brother he is also attending… himself. Now, he has a cat who will love him in response, share its warmth, play with him, who in a way – will encircle him with its, cat’s attention.

Each mother is also a child to her child. Alive beings in relationships know the two poles of mutuality, and play the both with one another in emotional palette of reciprocity, which is the content of relationship. It’s not only the cat is happy that the boy has adopted her, but the boy is equally happy that he found her. He, may be, belongs to his family, but the cat can become his own family. And he may enjoy new elements in mutual relation with the cat which he couldn’t discover in his togetherness with his parents, relatives or friends. Every person and every creature can improvise their own particularities of emotional togetherness which are original and an independent world for them to study, to learn, to love and to live through – in a life, where too many people stay emotionally hungry and underdeveloped.

Dora Maar, “Model in the window”, Paris, 1933

Have you notice that dolls often become tired of girls? It’s, as if, they feel that the girls’ real interest is not them, their dolls (whom they restlessly dress-undress and do-undo their hair, etc.), but… the men of their future. So, the girls’ dolls got the desire to look like dollishly beautiful women. A doll – an archaic pre-robotic robot “understood” that to pretend being a woman means to attract attention of men’s gazes – to become from being a thing to being somebody. For a doll to look like a woman means to be desired, even if men’s desiring gaze ephemeral, superficial and not serious. For the doll to look like a woman means to be a tiny bit like a woman, to be noticed and to be touched not by chaotic and indifferent girlish hands but by the heavy men’s fingers.

Doll-woman attractiveness is concentrated on her smooth face and warm neck, on her shoulders like a cool silk and on her generous breasts. Men who’re attracted to doll-women are really less interested in women’s lower body than in their “appearance” – their face and bust. Dolls are instinctive models – they can be used as doll-women, doll-mannequins, doll-facades – dolls wearing woman’s appearance as men do thick gloves, mustache or necktie.

Yes, dolls come to men through girls, as girls come to men through dolls. What a difference with the destiny of a teddy bear in the boy’s shy-passionate hands! Teddy bear for boys from the beginning is a partial object, not a model of the future man. While a girl looking at her doll learns to see in the doll her own dreamlike and victorious feminine future, for the boy his teddy bear is his psychological dead end. For the girl her doll is hypothetical, approximate, crude version of her future, but for the boy his teddy bear is at best a caricature on his future manliness – a completely negative futuristic statement.

Dora Maar, “Model in the window 2”, Paris, 1933

But why can a woman have the desire to look like a doll – to pretend in front of men’s even quick (unconscious) gaze to be a doll? In the second photograph of already not a doll-woman, but of a woman-doll Dora Maar in her theater of mystification shows not a doll faking to be a woman, but a woman pretending that she is a doll, although the very doll-ness here has changed its aesthetic parameters. Now, doll-ness (as a model for a woman) is not an attempt of a doll to become more seductive – more human for a male gaze, but to the contrary – woman needs to look like a doll-boss and doll-power. Doll-ness here is a metaphor of toughness, strictness and hardness – of power.

In this photograph the woman-doll (as the opposite of doll-woman) looks like a person in charge, as someone responsible for maintaining order in the area, who can be perceived as watching around with the intention to detect any kind of disorder and noise which can undermine the logic of domestic rules and regulations. Here, woman-doll is the guardian of routine life in the courtyard. Look, how masterfully she is showing herself – presiding with her imposing physicality over the windows, balconies and public and commercial ads. Strong woman-doll is proud of her body because of its domineering presence in the yard.

Doll-women’s sexuality is fake but around them the men prone to be attracted to their particularity will feel almost erotic trembling of an invisible butterfly’s wings, while woman-doll‘s “negative” appeal is that of the ability to put men into a position of a child. The woman-doll’s appeal is sado-masochistic one. Her dollish rigidity (reflecting the crudeness of her body) is perceived by the local “bums” as “despotic ugliness”. But men with the woman-mother complex will be able to reach with woman-doll even sexual satisfaction. Some men are able to enjoy happy experiences with both kind, doll-women and women-dolls, because in both cases the common denominator of emotional experience is doll-ness – doll’s rigidity stabilizes the relationships when human personalities are not involved or are under-involved.

Cosmetic, fitness and beauty industries have been built on the paradox that doll-women are attractive by the upper part of their bodies – beautiful face, neck and breast (Dora Maar even leaves out/cuts the lower part of her doll-woman in the first photograph). Men who are obsessed with doll-women like to demonstrate to other men their sexual victories, which for them are like social achievement. On the other side, men who are attracted to the women-dolls are psychologically need “maternal” emotional support. It’s not by chance that Maar makes the woman-doll exceptionally tall – motherly presence or absence are of absolute importance for the child and for emotionally dependent men.

*Of course, in Maar’s two photographs above the both “models” are dolls used by the artist metaphorically as figures helping her to explain to us the difference between the two types of women in need of men’s attentive gaze. Doll-ness is used by Maar as a semantic artistic tool helping her to characterize men-women emotional attraction.

You can hear mainly the chief lout
Steering the fire of violence

Paraphrase from Osip Mandelstam’s poem

Our destiny under the neo-conservative rule is either to continue to understand social life in a conformist way (without any genuine radicalism of being seriously critical about what’s going on) – keeping using euphemisms and pleonasms instead of factual explanations, or emotional and impulsive “radicalism” of just projecting into life our frustration and rage without real – thoughtful understanding.

When we are trying to understand what’s happening and how it’s possible in a country with democratic traditions of fight for justice, equality, fairness, compassion and concern for the general wellbeing of others, we’re magically transformed into cowards with heavy clay in our mouths. And when we’re not surrendering to “careful” cognitive figure skating – when we allow ourselves to question the very structures of our living and become more radically critical – we find ourselves dangerously close to extremists, to the same people who are overwhelmed with unleashed hate – creators of all the political nightmare of proud anti-humanism and cruelty in the first place.

So, we live in between understanding which is allowed/tolerated because it’s palliative and conformist (like the growing majority of Humanistic sciences professors and lecturers), and “understanding” which surrenders its essence but is full of extremist frustration which is very pleasant to catharsizes to the world (like conservative scholars and think-tanks specialists loyal to traditionalist dogma of powerful minority and aromatic warmth of money). We exist in between the both positions in a kind of messy and swampy moral (immoral) environment where we’re paralyzed or semi-paralyzed and chaotically and clumsy moving as mollusks in a warm mud.

What we’re not able to find and keep is a combination of honesty, emotional intolerance to the louts with their lies and tricks, and our own dignity, because these abilities demand from us what we’re afraid of doing (after we became corrupted by cheap prosperity that made us spiritually impotent after it worked on us more than seven decades). People like we are barely able to politically achieve anything because we’re just resourceful settlers who are in panic of poverty, homelessness, illnesses and being beaten up or worse. The hairy fists of thugs, their high-tech machine-guns and metal taste of violence in general are the conductors of the melodies of our fears in fur of shame.

In our semi-whispers we use ellipses, hints, allusions and metaphors dissolving meaning so as to keep the remnants of our presence in the world still traceable.

Jean-Luc Godard, the creator of (among other incredible films) – “My Life to Live” (1962), “The Little Soldier”, 1963, “Contempt” (1965), “Every Man for Himself” (1980), “First Name Carmen” (1983), “Hail Mary” (1985), “The Detective” (1985), “Helas Pour Moi” (1993), “For Ever Mozart” (1996), “In Praise of Love” (2001), “Our Music” (2004), “Film Socialisme” (2010)

Godard comprehends in what a disastrous existentially spiritual environment we live, not just the politico-economic circumstances we with amazement have found ourselves “trapped in”. He is horrified by what’s going on in so many previously democratic countries. On his photograph here Godard is looking at the reality of the changing life with suffering but without fear. Look at amazement in his gaze, intensity of his involvement. He is contesting the socio-psychological tendencies but is in… dialogue with them. He wants to explain to the defenders of the old new – those overwhelmed with antidemocratic moods, what they are doing to human world. And he, as if, wants to awaken the masses of their followers – people who are for decades already seduced and mislead not just by the right wing crude propaganda, but by goodness and niceness of pseudo and cheap prosperity and comforting fakery of entertainment. These people are losing their humility and humanity because of their megalomania based on the belief in their exceptionalism – and they becoming enraged because they have lost the feeling of their glory due to pauperization as a result of “austerity”. And now we confront the capricious hierarchical arpeggio, when the wealthiest take from the wealthy, wealthy from the rich, rich from the middle class, the middle class from the poor, poor from even poorer, and even-poorer from the poorest. White take from the brown and black, but white, brown and black from “foreigners” (be they black, brown, white, yellow or whatever) who’re rapidly transformed into “enemies” in a horrifyingly narrow sense of the word. That’s where we are all victoriously sliding on our buttocks.

Godard doesn’t deserve to see this. But we who tried to ignore the growing dangers for decades deserve to see and feel it. Who can help us? As the proverb says – god is too high up and king is too far. Participation in electoral ritual will not be enough. Our souls ought to be involved. But souls are not identical neither with our bodies demanding consumerism, entertainment and high-tech gun power, nor with our minds hired by our bodies to calculate our advantage better. And souls themselves are vulnerable to the poisonous process of “philistinization” with its greed, hate, hubris, cruelty, need to dominate, etc.

Loyalty Instead Of Lawfulness – Conservative Women And Macho-Men They Admire

Dora Maar’s “Pont de L’alma”, Paris (1935)

What is the most important part of the female anatomy for a despotic male? Harmonious face? Meticulous hairdo? Neck of purity? Breasts of generosity? Coquettish pubic hair? Paradise Bird? Her shoulders with underarms asking for a man’s hands’ pressure? Not at all. It’s women’s legs. But not if they are impeccably straight, but if they are reliable as a playmate. It’s legs that will come to the man when he wants. This is what Dora Maar seems to express in her amazingly penetrating photograph.

When women’s legs are responsive to macho man’s “whistle” his despotic call doesn’t need to ask for anything – just to put his fingers into the configuration we see in Dora Maar’s photograph – as if he wants to take the woman’s approaching legs as the stem of crystal wine glass. Machoistic mannerisms’ of irresistibility for conservative (traditional) women is not limited to males of peasant or proletarian or tough sport background. It can be even more potent with women in upper-middle or even higher class type of males or even the (function!) of money.

Conservative women (CW) are curious creatures in whom love for their macho-spouse is dissolved into unconditional admiration and loyalty. In other words, their feelings towards the head of their family or owner of their hearts are psychologically organized around their obedience to male authority. It’s, as if, the woman’s very trembling soul becomes a junior addition to the personality of her male amorous hero. This doesn’t mean that the character of conservative women in their very everyday life with conservative men (CM) necessarily becomes a domestic servant-like, but that male’s social views and “philosophical” positions are completely accepted by the female spouse who will automatically defend them in front of the world and believe whatever her amorous patriarch will say. CWs are pre-democratic organisms – for them, for example, the idea that every person in democracy has his/her right and obligation to independently vote – is a perverse and dangerous idealism. They will side with or vote for their husbands (if the last ones happened to run for public position). CWs are always an extension of their macho-husbands’ ideological views. They cannot, for example, be witnesses in relation to their husbands – they don’t have the minimum of independence of the soul to be objective. If a woman has a judgment different from her husband or disagrees with him on important issues it for the macho’s wife (for the “macho wife”) automatically means that such a woman betrays her spouse or beloved and even that she doesn’t love him.

For a macho-sissy (macho megalomaniacally sensitive, i.e. expecting woman to accept his “greatness” without reservations) to have a sexual intercourse with a woman is not necessary to be possessive but rather indifferent to her identity. Macho-sissies expect that their superiority not only over their spouses but over other machos and, of course, under-machos, is obligatory for women they are connected with – so vulnerable they are to refutation. They’re intolerant not only to women who rejected or abandoned them, but who accept them without recognizing their “exceptionalism”.

But what is signified by the two towers in the background, behind the bridge? It seems, it’s a symbol of despotic macho-sissy and “macho-woman” as exemplary conservative marital (or just amorous) couple. But it’s also a metaphor of permanent political alertness of the very institution of conservative (between macho-sissy and “macho-woman”) marriage. These two figures-towers are like eternal sentinels watching for and guarding against any deviation from the very social institution of traditional marriage with its cult of macho-patriarch.

Contrary to traditional macho-marriage, Dora Maar’s relations with Pablo Picasso in all its ecstasies and difficulties, in all its creative apogees and difficult melodies of freedom between the two – is the epitome of democratic relationships which deserves our admiration.

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