Thursday, January 25, 2018

The heroic life

If everyday life revolves around the mundane, taken for granted and ordinary, then the heroic life points to its rejection of this order for the extraordinary life which not only threatens the possibility of returning to everyday routines, but entails the deliberate risking of life itself. The emphasis in the heroic life is on the courage to struggle and achieve extraordinary goals, for quest for virtue, glory and fame, which contrasts with the lesser everyday pursuit of wealth, property and earthly love. The everyday world is the one which the hero departs from, leaving behind the sphere of care and maintenance (women, children and the old), only to return to its acclaim should his tasks be completed successfully. A basic contrast, then, is that the heroic life is the sphere of danger, violence and the courting of risk whereas everyday life is the sphere of women, reproduction and care. The heroic life is one in which the hero seeks to prove himself by displaying courage. [...] To achieve great deeds requires both luck, a sense of destiny, that one's particular quest and life are driven by forces outside oneself which offer extraordinary protection, and an inner sense of certainty that with circumspection, craft and compulsion one can overcome the greatest dangers and misfortunes: in effect that one can make one's fate.

Undoing Culture.
Globalization, Postmodernism and Identity
Mike Featherstone

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Novecento, Alessandro Baricco

"Sabía escuchar. Y sabía leer. No los libros, eso lo sabe hacer cualquiera, sabía leer a la gente. Los signos que la gente lleva encima: lugares, ruidos, olores, su tierra, su historia... 
[...] Cada día añadía un pequeño retazo a aquel inmenso mapa que estaba dibujándose en la cabeza, inmenso, el mapa del mundo. [...]
Después viajaba por su superficie de maravilla, mientras sus dedos se deslizaban sobre las teclas, acariciando las curvas de un ragtime."
Novecento es una excusa perfecta para hablar del hombre activo y del hombre contemplativo, del hombre inquieto y del refugiado, del errante y del que vive en perpetuo exilio interior. Novecento sirve para reflexionar sobre la necesidad de percibir, tocar, oír, saborear y ver las cosas para conocerlas realmente. Novecento no conocía más que un piano rodeado de Océano y sin embargo era capaz de componer y tocar músicas que evocaban las más literarias historias de amor, parecía que aprehendía con sus notas los cielos de París y los suburbios de Buenos Aires, la sencillez de una campesina italiana y la arrogancia de un sombrero de copa inglés. [...] Novecento, al final, es la historia de los que viven este mundo con los 187 sentidos. 


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Before there were Hipsters, there were Beatniks

African-American Beats

"At lilac evening I walked with every muscle aching among the lights of 27th and Welton in the Denver colored section, wishing I were a Metro, feeling that the best the white world had offered was not enough ecstasy for me, not enough life, joy, kicks, darkness, music, not enough night... I wished I were a Denver Mexican, or even a poor overworked Jap, anything but what I was so drearily, a "white man" disillusioned." (On The Road, 1957)

"[T]he white bebopper of the forties was a removed from society as the Negroes, but as a matter of choice... [the] Negro himself had no choice." (LeRoi Jones, Blues People, 1963)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Thomas Chatterton

Thomas Chatterton is a symbol of Romantic ideals: dying young with his genius unrecognised and dying alone surrounded by the squalor of a London garret. Chatterton went to London hoping to become a famous poet, but since he did not immediately achieved the poetic recognition he expected, he was seized by despair and committed suicide. Chatterton therefore embodies rural innocence killed by the city's evil influence. He represents the fragmentary, the genius which didn't reach its plenitude. His suicide is the symbol of the Romantic courtship of Despair, the result of the world's callous neglect of true genius.