Saturday, June 29, 2013

Midnight Fax 1999

Inscrutable Japanese Pep Talk

"You can tell a man's character by the way he makes advances to a woman. Men like you, for example- when the fleet's in port and you go off to have a good time, you seem to have only two ways of going about things. First you put it straight to the woman: "Hey, how about a lay?" Now, any woman, even the lowest whore is going to put up at least a show of refusing if she's asked like that. So what do you do next? You either act insulted and get rough, or you give up immediately and go off to try the same thing on the next woman. That's all you're capable of. But take a look at Western men- they're quite different. Once they've set their sights on a woman, they invite her out for a drink, or to dinner, or to go dancing. In that way they gradually break down her defenses until, in the end, they get what they want, and in style at that. Where achieving a particular aim is concerned, that's surely a far wiser way of going about things. At any rate, they're the kind of men you'd be dealing with if there were a war, so you better give it some thought."
-Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto
in 1939 to his junior officers, quoted in "The Reluctant Admiral"

Sunday, June 16, 2013

"Success is the ethical quagmire par excellence of commodity culture because it jeopardizes our relation to dissent, to resistance, to saying no, as fame is precisely about what one is willing to do, how far one is willing to go, and how much (low in the form of high. Going low in order to get high) one is willing to say yes to. The road to fame is made up of assent. That is what gets you to the literal and figurative top. And this is why fame is almost always a parable about losing (not finding one's way). About being lead astray. "Making it" is not the struggle to become, as it's always been said, but the willingness to be made."

--Masha Tupitsyn

Monday, June 10, 2013


The implicit bargain that many Americans struck with the state institutions supporting modern life is that they would be politically acceptable only to the degree to which they remained invisible, and that for all intents and purposes each citizen could continue to believe that she was sovereign over her life; she would of course pay taxes, use the roads and schools, receive Medicare and Social Security, but only so long as these could be perceived not as radical dependencies, but simply as the conditions for leading an autonomous and self-sufficient life...

Tea Party anger is, at bottom, metaphysical, not political: what has been undone by the economic crisis is the belief that each individual is metaphysically self-sufficient, that one's very standing and being as a rational agent owes nothing to other individuals or institutions.  - J.M.Bernstein

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Vicarious Causation

This article gives the outlines of a realist metaphysics, despite the continuing unpopularity of both realism and metaphysics in the continental tradition. Instead of the dull realism of mindless atoms and billiard balls that is usually invoked to spoil all the fun in philosophy, I will defend a weird realism. This model features a world packed full of ghostly real objects signaling to each other from inscrutable depths, unable to touch one another fully...vicarious causation is not some autistic moonbeam entering the window of an asylum. Instead it is both the launching pad for a rigorous post-Heideggerian philosophy, and a fitting revival of the venerable problem of communication between substances."

Graham Harman