Werkplaats Typografie presents:
Boiling Room for Hot Reading
A tribute to Printed Matter’s NY Art Book Fair 2018
This is Forge.™ As he himself declared in 1963 (The Uncanny X-Men #184), Forge™ started forging weapons for the Defense Department as soon as Tony Stark retired. Forge™ is a mutant with Cheyenne roots and a superhuman knack for invention. His real name is unknown and people call him after what he does: he makes things. He refers to himself by the title of his occupation: similar to how sometimes last names are made based on the occupation of the father. In the Marvel universe, the name Forge™ has little to do with ‘forgery’ and refers entirely to the act of creating. In its traditional/platonic sense, forger means Maker. And, when taken to the extreme: the artisan who’s responsible for fashioning the entire universe. Marvel is not known to be shy about basing their characters on all kinds of ancient gods, and it’s safe to say Forge™ is something like a descendant of a few prestigious precursors; amongst which are Prometheus (who created man from clay), Eros, Ptah (the Egyptian god of craftsmen and architects), Plato’s Demiurge, and God, to name a few. Most of these guys were somehow responsible for the Creation of the Cosmos, with an emphasis on the people in it. The deity closest to Forge™–we could find for now– is the Greek Hephaestus (later remade by the Romans as Vulcan). God of blacksmiths, metalworking, carpenters, craftsmen, sculptors, Hephaestus did not make any man, but he fabricated all the weapons of the gods in Olympus. Similarly, Forge™ did not shape the whole Marvel universe, but he did create a lot of cool stuff. He designed the place where he works and lives, a device capable to neutralize mutant powers, holograms that replicate physical environments, and cybernetic replacements for some of his own limbs (lost while fighting a gang of demons in Vietnam). Also, Forge™ is a babe, and he shared a romantic relationship with Storm™ and a brief affair with Mystique.™
We recently encountered a series of paparazzi shots of Jon Snow wearing a pair of black swimming trunks, holding his red and blue flip-flops in his left hand, walking down a Brazilian beach. We thought this was funny. In one of the photos an anonymous person, blocked from view by an older man in biker gear, is seen poking one of Jon’s six exposed abs with their index finger.
An odor. A taste. A touch. Impossible to describe. Imagine a park with a beautiful statue of a woman, no, a statue of a beautiful woman, the statue, that is, the woman, clasping a bow and arrows, not naked but as naked (the way the marble tunic clings to her breasts and hips), not Venus but Diana (the arrows belong to her). Beautiful herself, with the headband on her ringlets, she is dead to all beauty. Now, runs the fable, let us imagine someone who is able to bring her to life. We are imagining a Pygmalion who is no artist, he did not create her but only found her in the garden, on her pedestal, a little larger than life-size, and decided to perform an experiment on her: a pedagogue, a scientist, then. Someone else made her, then abandoned her. Now she is his. And he is not infatuated with her. But he has a didactic streak and wants to see her bloom to the best of her ability. (Perhaps afterward he will fall in love with her, probably against his better judgment, and want to make love to her; but that is another fable.) So he proceeds slowly, thoughtfully, in the spirit of the experiment. Desire does not urge him on, make him want everything at once. What does he do? How does he bring her to life? Very cautiously. He wants her to become conscious, and, holding the rather simple theory that all knowledge comes from the senses, decides to open her sensorium. Slowly, slowly. He will give her, to begin with, just one of the senses. And which does he pick? Not sight, noblest of the senses, not hearing—well, no need to run through the whole list, short as it is. Let's hasten to relate that he first awards her, perhaps ungenerously, the most primitive sense, that of smell. (Perhaps he does not want to be seen, at least not yet.) And it should be added that, for the experiment to work, we must suppose this divine creature to have some inner existence or responsiveness beneath the impermeable surface: but this is just a hypothesis, albeit a necessary one. Nothing so far can be inferred about this inner aliveness. The goddess, beauty incarnate, does not move. So now the goddess of the hunt can smell. Her ovoid, slightly protruding marble eyes under her heavy brows do not see, her slightly parted lips and delicate tongue do not taste, her satiny marble skin would not feel your skin or mine, her lovely shell-like ears do not hear, her chiseled nostrils receive all odors, near and far. She smells the sycamores and poplar trees, resinous, acrid, she can smell the tiny shit of worms, she smells the polish on soldier's boots, and roasted chestnuts, and bacon burning, she can smell the wisteria and heliotrope and lemon trees, she can smell the rank odor of deer and wild boar fleeing the royal hounds and the three thousand beaters in the King's employ, the effusions of a couple copulating in the nearby bushes, the sweet smell of the freshly cut lawn, the smoke from the chimneys of the palace, from far away the fat King on the privy, she can even smell the rain-lashed erosion of the marble of which she is made, the odor of death (though she knows nothing of death). There are odors she does not smell, because she is in a garden—or because she is in the past. She is spared city smells, like those of the slops and swill thrown from windows onto the street during the night. And the little cars with two-stroke engines and the bricks of soft brown coal (the smell of Eastern Europe in the second half of our century), the chemical plants and oil refineries outside Newark, cigarette smoke…But why say spared? She would relish those odors, too. Indeed, it comes from a great distance, she smells the future. And all these odors, which we think of as good or bad, putrid or enchanting, flood her, suffuse every marble particle of which she is made. She would tremble with pleasure if she could, but she has not been granted the power of movement, not even of breathing. This is a man teaching, emancipating—deciding what's best for—a woman, and therefore moving circumspectly, not inclined to go all the way, quite comfortable with the idea of creating a limited being—the better to be, to stay, beautiful. (Impossible to imagine the fable with a woman scientist and a beautiful statue of Hippolytus; that is, a statue of the beautiful Hippolytus.) So the deity of the hunt has only the sense of smell, the world inside herself, no space: but time is born, because one smell succeeds, dominates another. And with time, eternity. To have smell, only smell, means she is a being-who-smells and therefore wants to go on smelling (desire wills its perpetuation ad infinitum). But odors do vanish sometimes (indeed, some were gone so quickly!), though some return. And when an odor fades, she feels—is—diminished. She begins to dream, this consciousness-that-smells, of how she could retain the odors, by storing them up inside herself, so she would never lose them. And this is how, later, space emerges, inner space only, as Diana began to wish that she could hold different odors in different parts of her marble body: the dog shit in her left leg, the heliotrope in an elbow, sweetness of the freshly cut grass in her groin. She cherished them, wanted them all. She experiences pain, not the pain (more precisely, displeasure) of a bad odor, for she knows nothing of good or bad, cannot afford to make this luxurious distinction (every odor is good, because any odor is better than no odor, oblivion), but the pain of loss. Every pleasure—and smelling, whatever she smells, is pure pleasure—becomes an experience of anticipated loss. She wants, if only she knew how, to become a collector.
She is a Latina, brunette with dark chocolate brown eyes. She has long curly brown hair. [...] She is in the first photo sitting in the ocean. She has a very large grin on her face, pink lipstick. She has a small tattoo right over the small of her back over the dimple area that appears to be maybe some sort of tribal design. It is red. [...] Her legs are kind of crossed. She is sitting in the water. Behind her shoulder, down past her arm, you can see her breast peeking out. [...] There are no tan lines at all. She is not wearing any nail polish or jewelry or bathing suit or anything.
If your appliance comes fitted with a plug, it will incorporate a 13 Amp fuse. If it does not fit your socket, the plug should be cut off from the mains lead, and an appropriate plug fitted, as below. WARNING: Very carefully dispose of the cut off plug after removing the fuse: do not insert in a 13 Amp socket elsewhere in the house as this could cause a shock hazard. With alternative plugs not incorporating a fuse, the circuit must be re-fitted when changing the fuse using a 13 Amp Asta approved fuse to BS 1362. In the event of losing the fuse cover, the plug must NOT be used until a replacement fuse cover can be obtained from your nearest electrical dealer. The colour of the correct replacement fuse cover is that as marked on the base of the plug. B) If your appliance is not fitted with a plug, please proceed as follows: the wires in the mains lead are coloured in accordance with the following code: Blue: Neutral. Brown: Live. As the colours of the wires in the mains lead of this appliance may not correspond with the coloured markings identifying the terminals in your plug, proceed as follows: The wire which is coloured blue must be connected to the terminal which is marked with the letter N or coloured black. The wire which is coloured brown must be connected to the terminal which si marked with the letter L or coloured red. [...] Models with function selector and ambient thermostat: turn the thermostat knob (where included) in a clockwise direction until it reaches the maximum setting. Summer service (ventilation only): turn the functions knob to setting. Heating at reduced power: turn the functions knob to setting 1. Heating at full power: turn the functions knob to setting 2. Switching off: turn the functions knob to setting 0. It is always advisable to disconnect the plug when the appliance is not in use. Models with thermostat only: the appliance is switched on by turning the knob in a clockwise direction until it reaches the maximum setting. To switch the appliance completely off turn the knob to the minimum setting and remove the plug from the electrical socket. REGULATING THE THERMOSTAT When the room has reached the required temperature turn the thermostat knob in an anti-clockwise direction up to the point where the appliance switches off and not beyond. The temperature fixed in this way will be automatically regulated and kept at a constant level by the thermostat. ANTIFREEZE SERVICE Turn the functions knob to setting 2, then turn the thermostat knob to setting . When it is set in this way the appliance keeps the room at a temperature of approx. 5° C with minimal energy expenditure. CLEANING AND MAINTENANCE Before cleaning always remove the plug from the electrical socket. Clean the air inlet/outlet grilles frequently with a vacuum cleaner. Never use abrasive powders or solvents. WARNINGS Do not use the appliance in the vicinity of showers, bath tubs, wash basins, swimming pools, etc. Do not use the heater to dry your laundry. Never obstruct the intake and outlet grilles (danger of overheating). The heater must be positioned at least 50 cm from furniture or other objects. Do not place the appliance up against walls, furniture, curtains, etc. The appliance must be installed so that the controls can not be reached by persons using the bath tub or the shower. If the power supply cable is damaged, it must be replaced by the manufacturer or its technical support service or by a person with a similar qualification in order to avoid all risks. The appliance must not be positioned directly underneath a fixed power point. Do not block the hot-air outlet grilles or the intake grille located on the bottom of the appliance. Do not use the appliance in rooms less than 4 m2 in area. Never cover this appliance in any manner whatsoever while it is operating, because by doing so you will cause a dangerous increase in the temperature of the appliance itself. The heater is fitted with a safety device which will switch off the heater in case of accidental overheating (eg. obstruction of air intake and outlet grilles, motor turning slowly or not at all). To reset, disconnect the plug from the power for a few minutes, remove the cause of overheating then plug the appliance in again.
So you wanna play with magic? Boy, you should know what you're falling for. Baby, do you dare to do this? 'Cause I'm coming at you like a dark horse. [...] The reason I wanted to be an artist because I you know when I grew up I had a lot of people that really touched me. I thought you know if my life as an artist makes any sense than I that I am able to touch. You know, like others have touched me. So my work is very political and critical in that sense. But I think, as an artist, many times you have this kind of “bird's-eye” view on things. And I think it really helps to be away from things and not to always be in the heart of everything. You know. Here you have more place to ponder into question and to just you know figure stuff out in your own speed. [...] You can make the sun turn purple. You can make the sea turn dirtle. But you know you can never make me love u more. [...] Because, the question always is: Why do something? Cause doing nothing is easy. You just sit there, and you don't do anything. That's real easy. The question is, why would you ever do anything? And the answer that has to be: Because you've determined, by some means, that it's worthwhile! And then, the next question might be: Well, where should you look for worthwhile things? And one would be: Well, you could consult your own temperament! And the other would be: Well, you kind of look at how... Look at what it is, that people accrue, that's valuable, across the lifespan! [...] We've got stars directing our fate. And we're praying, it’s not too late. Millennium. [...] Do it! Just do it! Don't let your dreams be dreams. Yesterday you said tomorrow. So just do it! Make your dreams come true! Just do it! Some people dream of success. While you're gonna wake up and work hard at it nothing is impossible! You should get to the point where anyone else would quit and you're not going to stop there. No! What are you waiting for? Do it! Just do it! Yes, you can! Just do it. If you're tired of starting over. Stop giving up. [...] We got the bass. We got the beats. Loud and Proud. Cause we're loud & proud. This is revolution in sound. [...] Something is happening. Beauties at work through pure and selfless acceptance through everyday transcendence that remedies the chaos and antidote to the sorrow in this earth for eternity. Music heard so deeply that it is not hurt at all. You were the music while the music lasts insist on beauty in spite of everything decorum. As I'm walking I see you on your motorbike. I could see your blue eyes and nose peering underneath the crash helmet. It's not you. It's just a man that looks like you. I'm disappointed every time every time I see a man on a motorbike. I think it's my dad. I’m not sure why this is. Sometimes I forget what your bike looks like. Everyone's eyes and faces look the same underneath black crash ominous. From a distance everyone looks like you. [...] I still believe in your eyes. I just don't care what you've done in your life. Baby, I'll always be here by your side. Don't leave me waiting too long, please come by. [...] People out here. They don't even have an outside world exist. Will be living on the fucking moon. No kanji ghettos in the world. It’s all one ghetto man. A giant gutter in outer space. I've got myself considered a realist but in philosophical terms I'm what's called a pessimist. Hmm, okay what does that mean? That means I'm bad at parties. [...] I stand here waiting for you to bang the gong. To crash the critics saying, “Is it right or is it wrong?" I'm a slave for you, I cannot hold it, I cannot control it. I'm a slave for you, I won't deny it, I'm not trying to hide it. [...] I get a bad taste my mouth out here. Aluminium ash. I can smell a psycho steer. I got an idea. Let's make the car a place of silent reflection from now on, okay? So y'all got what I call “a life trap gene”. Deep certainty that things will be different. That you'll move to another city and meet the people that'll be the friends for the rest of your life. That you'll fall in love and be fulfilled. I can. Fulfilment and closure are two fuckin’ empty jars to hold this shit-storm long. And nothing's ever fulfilled until a very end. And closure, no no no nothing is ever over. This is what I mean when I'm talking about time and death and futility. I’ve even broader ideas. It worked mainly what is owed between us as a society for our mutual illusions. [...] When I hold you baby. Feel your heartbeat close to me. Want to stay in your arms forever. Only love can set you free. [...] I haven't known literally none. I have sadness and joy and elation and satisfaction and gratitude beyond belief. But all of it is weather and it just spins around the planet, you know. It’s not. It doesn't settle me enough to kill me. The happy place is realising that you're everything, you know. And that there's no real you involved in the first place. Yeah it's a weird little semantic jump that you make where it sounds like “Well that's totally threatening man”. I can’t. I can't not be me. I built this construct and it's just ideas. They're just ideas, you know.
#alchemy #philosophers #stone #links #eternal #life #gold #circles #william #blake #nostalgia #encrypt #magnum #opus #innocent #disney #secrets #time #saturn #duality [...] “Every night and every morn, some to misery are born. Every morn and every night, some are born to sweet delight. Some are born to sweet delight; some are born to endless night.”
Yes we were pissed / (All scream) / The Russians landed / and the Nazis and the Vikings landed / and the Norwegians took over / even som Irish monks in a curragh / had a time with us / but we stood strong and now we are famous and / rich / Björk is the world’s brightest star / Better than Beck / stronger than Madonna / Now without ever having to become dumb / Inside the well of our very great and ancient / language we laugh at the current situation / You think we are sad and melancholy / No / You think we are stable and irrelevant / No / You think it is always terribly dark where we are / No it is female, it is young, it is rich / It is old. / We are not frozen, we are not murmuring / Silence, we are guy geyser, we are volcanic / We are old like planet itself; and yes you are right / we are cold, / cold, / cold.
I am thinking of one thing I want to do with you. I would like to go back to the abstract time and place and experience it with you again in Paris. Experience the feeling of resignation, to me, anyone and anything, the feeling of belonging, to the surroundings, the culture, the shops and places, our everyday life we pass by. I remember a story of a handicraft store in Prague, in Dlouhá, which I’ve never visited and I missed, when it disappeared. [...] Sometimes you look at me in your book, like on page 1, 5, 11, 13 and 18. And everywhere else I just notice you. You are a passive actor of individual roles, situations and environments. Just like all the spells and unnecessary places. [...] I'm all yours. Claustrophobic. Not really fitting. Belonging. To show a lot. To be different. To talk to people. Nothing personal. Just images. Into my intimacy. You take selfies. I talk about feminism. You see my face. People I am attracted to. Everything with myself. Fast relationship. When you have sex outside. When you watch it. Vulnerable. Women in power. Fake women. Fragmented reality. Masculine. Independent. Object. Puppet. Obsession for myself. Young women on internet. She's young. She does performances. I want to be me. My body. [...] Paris, May 2018. I am happy / I am lonely / I am smiling / I am dancing / I am acting / I am posing / I am walking / I am shopping / I am promoting / I am caring / I am shining / I am dreaming / I am wondering / I am never sleeping / I am bending / I am adjusting / I am sexy / I am magic / I am attractive / I am seductive / I’m all yours. I want to look at you and know your stories, I want to become you. You are you while being someone else, somebody you dress up, someone strong and real. [...] You look at me — at you, while you are shooting. And I observe this monologue. I see how you adapt to the outside world, to a car, to a detergent, to a display window. It’s always you and them. I want to go to town with you as friends, have a lot of things to say, laugh and enjoy. And I’m afraid that none of this can happen, that I won’t know what to tell you. ‘Je suis toute chose — à toi’, the one that means, I’m all thing to you, I am all special. I imagine I’m writing the story of the two of us, but only you. When I last wrote about myself, I discovered that I was interested in tangible images that I feel and identify with. And you are one of those. In Belgium, I bought orthodontic shoes — Birkenstocks designed by Heidi Klum. They are shiny, with imitations of precious stones and neon green snake skin. I wonder if she is wearing them. Those shoes are specific, they do not fit me, but I don’t mind, because their function is not to be comfortable. They are the way others see me. And so I wonder, whether your pose, when you lie on your bed and you’re completely sexy, is not the same ? If it’s not just a mask of what you want to be and how I see you. And then you’re surprised that I do not care what you really are. I wanted to make a facsimile of your book — ‘Je suis toute chose — à toi’. A perfect copy that, to be able to emerge, must be a perfect interpretation.
Carroll was whistling. A solemn and beautiful cry—unlike a whistle I reflected—deeper and mature. Nevertheless his lips were framed to whistle and I could only explain the difference by assuming the sound from his lips was changed when it struck the window, and issued into the world. It was an organ cry almost and yet quite different I reflected again. It seemed to break and mend itself always tremulous, forlorn, distant, triumphant, the echo of sound so pure and outlined in space it broke again into a mass of music. It was the cry of the peacock and yet I reflected far different. I started at the whistling lips and wondered if the change was in me or in them. I had never witnessed and heard such sad and glorious music. I saw a movement and flutter at another window in the corner of my eye like a feather. It was Schomburgh 's white head. He too was listening rapt and intent. And I knew now that the music was not a hallucination. He listened too, like me. I saw he was free to listen and to hear at last without fearing a hoax. He stood at his window and I stood at mine, transported beyond the memory of words. [...] The dark notes rose everywhere, so dark, so sombre, they broke into a fountain—light as the rainbow—sparkling and immaterial as invisible sources and echoes. The savannahs grew lonely as the sea and broke again into a wave and forest. Tall trees with black marching boots and feet were clad in the spurs and sharp wings of a butterfly. They flew and vanished in the sky with a sound that was terrible and wonderful; it was sorrowful and it was mystical. It spoke with the inner longing of woman and the deep mystery of man. Frail and nervous and yet strong and grounded. And it seemed to me as I listened I had understood that no living ear on earth can truly understand the fortune of love and the art of victory over death without mixing blind, joy and sadness and the sense of being lost with the nearness of being found. Carroll whistled to all who had lost love in the world. [...] "Do you mean?" said Yurokon as the first wave of magical numbers struck him, "that it was a game to make them think they had been eaten...?" He stopped, aware of a waking plight in the valley of sleep, the plight of feeling akin to non-feeling, flesh akin to spirit. [...] "In a manner of speaking, yes," said his uncle approvingly. "Make them think they had been eaten. Make them into a song of spirit: a morsel in our mouths, nothing more, the morsel of the flute, that was all." He waved his hand nonchalantly. [...] Yurokon nearly spat the flute from his mouth as though suddenly it burnt his tongue like fire, immortal burn, immortal skin, immortal native, immortal cannibal.
The feeling of the Sublime, however, is when the object does not invite such contemplation but instead is an overpowering or vast malignant object of great magnitude, one that could destroy the observer.
Listed examples of its transition from the beautiful to the most Sublime. [...] Feeling of Beauty – Light is reflected off a flower. Pleasure from a mere perception of an object that cannot hurt observer. Weakest Feeling of Sublime – Light reflected off stones. Pleasure from beholding objects that pose no threat, objects devoid of life. Weaker Feeling of Sublime – Endless desert with no movement. Pleasure from seeing objects that could not sustain the life of the observer. Feeling of Sublime – Turbulent Nature. Pleasure from perceiving objects that threaten to hurt or destroy observer. Full Feeling of Sublime – Overpowering turbulent Nature. Pleasure from beholding very violent, destructive objects. Fullest Feeling of Sublime – Immensity of Universe's extent or duration. Pleasure from knowledge of observer's nothingness and oneness with Nature. [...] Aesthetic experience comes in two main varieties for Schopenhauer, the beautiful and the sublime, and can be experienced through perception of both nature and art. Although 18th century aesthetics also included the “picturesque,” this drops out as a separate category in both Kant and Schopenhauer’s aesthetic theories.[...] Nearly all human beings, he holds, are capable of aesthetic experience, otherwise they would be “absolutely insensitive to beauty and sublimity—in fact these words would be meaningless for them”. Notwithstanding this nearly universally shared capacity for aesthetic experience, Schopenhauer remarks that it is enjoyed only occasionally by the majority of people. There are two jointly necessary and sufficient conditions for any properly aesthetic experience, one subjective and one objective. [...] The other class of contemplation-resistant “objects” or phenomena are those that bear a hostile relationship to the human will insofar as they are so vast or powerful that they threaten to overwhelm the human individual or reduce his existence on this planet to a mere speck. Schopenhauer gives as examples desert landscapes, cascades, and the starry night sky, among many others. Unlike the case of the stimulating, however, Schopenhauer does believe that aesthetic contemplation of these phenomena is possible, and when it transpires the experience is that of the sublime.
The sublime plays a significant role in Schopenhauer’s theory of tragedy and his solution to the ‘rationality problem’ of tragedy, namely, how can we rationally take pleasure in witnessing terrible scenes and feeling the painful emotions of fear and pity that are integral to an experience of tragic drama? In addition to the high cognitive value of this genre, Schopenhauer regards the pleasure of tragedy as the highest degree of the feeling of the dynamically sublime.
Tools are not passive instruments, confined to doing our bidding, but have a life of their own. Tools set limits on our work; we can use them in many different ways, but not in an infinite number of ways. We try to obtain the tools that will do the jobs that we want done; but, once obtained, the tools organize our work for us in ways that we may not have anticipated. People use tools to do work, but tools also define and constrain the ways in which it is possible and likely that people will behave.
MANY years ago, I contracted an intimacy with a Mr. William Legrand. He was of an ancient Huguenot family, and had once been wealthy; but a series of misfortunes had reduced him to want. To avoid the mortification consequent upon his disasters, he left New Orleans, the city of his forefathers, and took up his residence at Sullivan's Island, near Charleston, South Carolina. This Island is a very singular one. It consists of little else than the sea sand, and is about three miles long. Its breadth at no point exceeds a quarter of a mile. It is separated from the main land by a scarcely perceptible creek, oozing its way through a wilderness of reeds and slime, a favorite resort of the marsh-hen. The vegetation, as might be supposed, is scant, or at least dwarfish. No trees of any magnitude are to be seen. Near the western extremity, where Fort Moultrie stands, and where are some miserable frame buildings, tenanted, during summer, by the fugitives from Charleston dust and fever, may be found, indeed, the bristly palmetto; but the whole island, with the exception of this western point, and a line of hard, white beach on the seacoast, is covered with a dense undergrowth of the sweet myrtle, so much prized by the horticulturists of England. The shrub here often attains the height of fifteen or twenty feet, and forms an almost impenetrable coppice, burthening the air with its fragrance. In the inmost recesses of this coppice, not far from the eastern or more remote end of the island, Legrand had built himself a small hut, which he occupied when I first, by mere accident, made his acquaintance. This soon ripened into friendship --for there was much in the recluse to excite interest and esteem. I found him well educated, with unusual powers of mind, but infected with misanthropy, and subject to perverse moods of alternate enthusiasm and melancholy. He had with him many books, but rarely employed them. His chief amusements were gunning and fishing, or sauntering along the beach and through the myrtles, in quest of shells or entomological specimens;-his collection of the latter might have been envied by a Swammerdamm. In these excursions he was usually accompanied by an old negro, called Jupiter, who had been manumitted before the reverses of the family, but who could be induced, neither by threats nor by promises, to abandon what he considered his right of attendance upon the footsteps of his young "Massa Will." It is not improbable that the relatives of Legrand, conceiving him to be somewhat unsettled in intellect, had contrived to instil this obstinacy into Jupiter, with a view to the supervision and guardianship of the wanderer. The winters in the latitude of Sullivan's Island are seldom very severe, and in the fall of the year it is a rare event indeed when a fire is considered necessary. About the middle of October, 18--, there occurred, however, a day of remarkable chilliness. Just before sunset I scrambled my way through the evergreens to the hut of my friend, whom I had not visited for several weeks --my residence being, at that time, in Charleston, a distance of nine my miles from the Island, while the facilities of passage and re-passage were very far behind those of the present day. Upon reaching the hut I rapped, as was my custom, and getting no reply, sought for the key where I knew it was secreted, unlocked the door and went in. A fine fire was blazing upon the hearth. It was a novelty, and by no means an ungrateful one. I threw off an overcoat, took an arm-chair by the crackling logs, and awaited patiently the arrival of my hosts.
Soon after dark they arrived, and gave me a most cordial welcome. Jupiter, grinning from ear to ear, bustled about to prepare some marsh-hens for supper. Legrand was in one of his fits --how else shall I term them? --of enthusiasm. He had found an unknown bivalve, forming a new genus, and, more than this, he had hunted down and secured, with Jupiter's assistance, a scarabaeus which he believed to be totally new, but in respect to which he wished to have my opinion on the morrow.
This dialectical-materialist theory of the process of development of knowledge, basing itself on practice and proceeding from the shallower to the deeper, was never worked out by anybody before the rise of Marxism. Marxist materialism solved this problem correctly for the first time, pointing out both materialistically and dialectically the deepening movement of cognition, the movement by which man in society progresses from perceptual knowledge to logical knowledge in his complex, constantly recurring practice of production and class struggle. Lenin said, "The abstraction of matter, of a law of nature, the abstraction of value, etc., in short, all scientific (correct, serious, not absurd) abstractions reflect nature more deeply, truly and completely." Marxism-Leninism holds that each of the two stages in the process of cognition has its own characteristics, with knowledge manifesting itself as perceptual at the lower stage and logical at the higher stage, but that both are stages in an integrated process of cognition. The perceptual and the rational are qualitatively different, but are not divorced from each other; they are unified on the basis of practice. Our practice proves that what is perceived cannot at once be comprehended and that only what is comprehended can be more deeply perceived. Perception only solves the problem of phenomena; theory alone can solve the problem of the essence. The solving of both these problems is not separable in the slightest degree from practice. Whoever wants to know a thing has no way of doing so except by coming into contact with it, that is, by living (practicing) in its environment. [...] Where do correct ideas come from? Do they drop from the skies? No. Are they innate in the mind? No. They come from social practice, and from it alone; they come from three kinds of social practice, the struggle for production, the class struggle and scientific experiment. It is man’s social being that determines his thinking. Once the correct ideas characteristic of the advanced class are grasped by the masses, these ideas turn into a material force which changes society and changes the world. In their social practice, men engage in various kinds of struggle and gain rich experience, both from their successes and from their failures. Countless phenomena of the objective external world are reflected in a man’s brain through his five sense organs — the organs of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. At first, knowledge is perceptual. The leap to conceptual knowledge, i.e., to ideas, occurs when sufficient perceptual knowledge is accumulated. This is one process in cognition. It is the first stage in the whole process of cognition, the stage leading from objective matter to subjective consciousness from existence to ideas. Whether or not one’s consciousness or ideas (including theories, policies, plans or measures) do correctly reflect the laws of the objective external world is not yet proved at this stage, in which it is not yet possible to ascertain whether they are correct or not. Then comes the second stage in the process of cognition, the stage leading from consciousness back to matter, from ideas back to existence, in which the knowledge gained in the first stage is applied in social practice to ascertain whether the theories, policies, plans or measures meet with the anticipated success. Generally speaking, those that succeed are correct and those that fail are incorrect, and this is especially true of man’s struggle with nature. In the social struggle, the forces representing the advanced class sometimes suffer defeat not because their ideas are incorrect! but because, in the balance of forces engaged in struggle, they are not as powerful for the time being as the forces of reaction; they are therefore temporarily defeated, but they are bound to triumph sooner or later. Man’s knowledge makes another leap through the test of practice. This leap is more important than the previous one. For it is this leap alone that can prove the correctness or incorrectness of the first leap in cognition, i.e., of the ideas, theories, policies, plans or measures formulated in the course of reflecting the objective external world. There is no other way of testing the truth. Furthermore, the one and only purpose of the proletariat in knowing the world is to change it. Often, correct knowledge can be arrived at only after many repetitions of the process leading from matter to consciousness and then back to matter, that is, leading from practice to knowledge and then back to practice. Such is the Marxist theory of knowledge, the dialectical materialist theory of knowledge. Among our comrades, there are many who do not yet understand this theory of knowledge. When asked about the sources of their ideas, opinions, policies, methods, plans and conclusions, eloquent speeches and long articles they consider the questions strange and cannot answer it. Nor do they comprehend that matter, can be transformed into consciousness and consciousness into matter, although such leaps are phenomena of everyday life. It is therefore necessary to educate our comrades in the dialectical materialist theory of knowledge, so that they can orientate their thinking correctly, become good at investigation and study and at summing up experience, overcome difficulties, commit fewer mistakes, do their work better, and struggle hard so as to build China into a great and powerful socialist country and help the broad masses of the oppressed and exploited throughout the world in fulfillment of our great internationalist duty.
Boundaries / Prosperity / Happy Endings / Generosity / Divination, Luck, Primal Law / Loyalty, Inheritance / Health, Fertility / Ferocity / Ice, Cold / Healing, Protection / Life Force, Love / Birth, Living Things / Destiny. Cycles, Celebration / Intuition / Mankind, Manifestation, Divine Union / Hail, Sleet / Adaptability / Spiritual Love
The tongue is the strongest muscle in entire body and in terms of flexibility, it beats every other muscle. For preventing injury and improving performance, daily stretching is crucial and a healthy habit that will pay off. Before starting our daily verbal communications it is therefore highly advised to twist, bend and turn the tongue, which requires a constant revision. [...] In a wide variety of grotesque, ridiculous, banal and absurd word chains, the tongue twisters are unedited, unaltered but cannot fail to impress with its characteristic angularity and flatness. Without mentioning any sources, this selection of twisters is taken from lyrics, children books, everyday dialogues, advertisements and names, and shows the purely random assortment of subject matter. [...] As with the meaning of some of these twisters, the order and sequence doesn’t refer to any specific system. Sometimes they may appear centered and isolated in the page and another time in an overload of similar words and letters, potentially causing irritability and stress. This is a voluntary exercise to warm up your articulation and tongue flexibility in your everyday life. [...] Read them out loud to work on a clear articulation and improve your fluency. Choose a space where you want to perform them. Start by moving the tongue around the whole mouth and draw circles in each cheek with the tip of the tongue. Aim to make the circles as perfect as possible. Now shake each body part individually. Lastly, breathe deeply into your thorax and push your shoulders back and start off your warm up. Gradually increase speed and grow from failure.
Thermodynamic temperature is defined by the third law of thermodynamics in which the theoretically lowest temperature is the null or zero point. At this point, absolute zero, the particle constituents of matter have minimal motion and can become no colder. In the quantum-mechanical description, matter at absolute zero is in its ground state, which is its state of lowest energy. Thermodynamic temperature is often also called absolute temperature, for two reasons: one, proposed by Kelvin, that it does not depend on the properties of a particular material; two that it refers to an absolute zero according to the properties of the ideal gas. The International System of Units specifies a particular scale for thermodynamic temperature. It uses the kelvin scale for measurement and selects the triple point of water at 273.16 K as the fundamental fixing point. Other scales have been in use historically. The Rankine scale, using the degree Fahrenheit as its unit interval, is still in use as part of the English Engineering Units in the United States in some engineering fields. ITS-90 gives a practical means of estimating the thermodynamic temperature to a very high degree of accuracy. Roughly, the temperature of a body at rest is a measure of the mean of the energy of the translational, vibrational and rotational motions of matter's particle constituents, such as molecules, atoms, and subatomic particles. The full variety of these kinetic motions, along with potential energies of particles, and also occasionally certain other types of particle energy in equilibrium with these, make up the total internal energy of a substance. Internal energy is loosely called the heat energy or thermal energy in conditions when no work is done upon the substance by its surroundings, or by the substance upon the surroundings. Internal energy may be stored in a number of ways within a substance, each way constituting a "degree of freedom". At equilibrium, each degree of freedom will have on average the same energy: where is the Boltzmann constant, unless that degree of freedom is in the quantum regime. The internal degrees of freedom (rotation, vibration, etc.) may be in the quantum regime at room temperature, but the translational degrees of freedom will be in the classical regime except at extremely low temperatures (fractions of kelvins) and it may be said that, for most situations, the thermodynamic temperature is specified by the average translational kinetic energy of the particles. [...] Temperature is a measure of the random submicroscopic motions and vibrations of the particle constituents of matter. These motions comprise the internal energy of a substance. More specifically, the thermodynamic temperature of any bulk quantity of matter is the measure of the average kinetic energy per classical (i.e., non-quantum) degree of freedom of its constituent particles. "Translational motions" are almost always in the classical regime. Translational motions are ordinary, whole-body movements in three-dimensional space in which particles move about and exchange energy in collisions. Figure 1 below shows translational motion in gases; Figure 4 below shows translational motion in solids. Thermodynamic temperature's null point, absolute zero, is the temperature at which the particle constituents of matter are as close as possible to complete rest; that is, they have minimal motion, retaining only quantum mechanical motion. Zero kinetic energy remains in a substance at absolute zero (see Thermal energy at absolute zero, below). Throughout the scientific world where measurements are made in SI units, thermodynamic temperature is measured in kelvins (symbol: K). Many engineering fields in the U.S. however, measure thermodynamic temperature using the Rankine scale. By international agreement, the unit kelvin and its scale are defined by two points: absolute zero, and the triple point of Vienna Standard Mean Ocean Water (water with a specified blend of hydrogen and oxygen isotopes). Absolute zero, the lowest possible temperature, is defined as being precisely 0 K and −273.15 °C. The triple point of water is defined as being precisely 273.16 K and 0.01 °C. This definition does three things: (1) It fixes the magnitude of the kelvin unit as being precisely 1 part in 273.16 parts the difference between absolute zero and the triple point of water; (2) It establishes that one kelvin has precisely the same magnitude as a one-degree increment on the Celsius scale; and (3) It establishes the difference between the two scales' null points as being precisely 273.15 kelvins (0 K = −273.15 °C and 273.16 K = 0.01 °C). Temperatures expressed in kelvins (TK) are converted to degrees Rankine (T°R) simply by multiplying by 1.8 (T°R = 1.8 × TK). Temperatures expressed in degrees Rankine are converted to kelvins by dividing by 1.8 (TK = T°R ÷ 1.8). Practical realization. Main article: ITS-90. Although the kelvin and Celsius scales are defined using absolute zero (0 K) and the triple point of water (273.16 K and 0.01 °C), it is impractical to use this definition at temperatures that are very different from the triple point of water. ITS-90 is then designed to represent the thermodynamic temperature as closely as possible throughout its range. Many different thermometer designs are required to cover the entire range. These include helium vapor pressure thermometers, helium gas thermometers, standard platinum resistance thermometers (known as SPRTs, PRTs or Platinum RTDs) and monochromatic radiation thermometers. For some types of thermometer the relationship between the property observed (e.g., length of a mercury column) and temperature, is close to linear, so for most purposes a linear scale is sufficient, without point-by-point calibration. For others a calibration curve or equation is required. The mercury thermometer, invented before the thermodynamic temperature was understood, originally defined the temperature scale; its linearity made readings correlate well with true temperature, i.e. the "mercury" temperature scale was a close fit to the true scale. The relationship of temperature, motions, conduction, and thermal energy. [...] The translational motion of fundamental particles of nature such as atoms and molecules are directly related to temperature. Here, the size of helium atoms relative to their spacing is shown to scale under 1950 atmospheres of pressure. These room-temperature atoms have a certain average speed (slowed down here two trillion-fold). At any given instant however, a particular helium atom may be moving much faster than average while another may be nearly motionless. Five atoms are colored red to facilitate following their motions. [...] The thermodynamic temperature is a measure of the average energy of the translational, vibrational, and rotational motions of matter's particle constituents (molecules, atoms, and subatomic particles). The full variety of these kinetic motions, along with potential energies of particles, and also occasionally certain other types of particle energy in equilibrium with these, contribute the total internal energy (loosely, the thermal energy) of a substance. Thus, internal energy may be stored in a number of ways (degrees of freedom) within a substance. When the degrees of freedom are in the classical regime ("unfrozen") the temperature is very simply related to the average energy of those degrees of freedom at equilibrium. The three translational degrees of freedom are unfrozen except for the very lowest temperatures, and their kinetic energy is simply related to the thermodynamic temperature over the widest range. The heat capacity, which relates heat input and temperature change, is discussed below. The relationship of kinetic energy, mass, and velocity is given by the formula Ek = 1⁄2mv2. Accordingly, particles with one unit of mass moving at one unit of velocity have precisely the same kinetic energy, and precisely the same temperature, as those with four times the mass but half the velocity. Except in the quantum regime at extremely low temperatures, the thermodynamic temperature of any bulk quantityof a substance (a statistically significant quantity of particles) is directly proportional to the mean average kinetic energy of a specific kind of particle motion known as translational motion. These simple movements in the three x, y, and z–axis dimensions of space means the particles move in the three spatial degrees of freedom. The temperature derived from this translational kinetic energy is sometimes referred to as kinetic temperature and is equal to the thermodynamic temperature over a very wide range of temperatures. Since there are three translational degrees of freedom (e.g., motion along the x, y, and z axes), the translational kinetic energy is related to the kinetic temperature where: (a) is the mean kinetic energy in joules (J) and is pronounced “E bar”; (b) kB = 1.3806504(24)×10−23 J/K is the Boltzmann constant and is pronounced “Kay sub bee”; (c) is the kinetic temperature in kelvins (K) and is pronounced “Tee sub kay.” While the Boltzmann constant is useful for finding the mean kinetic energy of a particle, it's important to note that even when a substance is isolated and in thermodynamic equilibrium (all parts are at a uniform temperature and no heat is going into or out of it), the translational motions of individual atoms and molecules occur across a wide range of speeds (see animation in Figure 1 above). At any one instant, the proportion of particles moving at a given speed within this range is determined by probability as described by the Maxwell–Boltzmann distribution. The graph shown here in Fig. 2 shows the speed distribution of 5500 K helium atoms. They have a most probable speed of 4.780 km/s. However, a certain proportion of atoms at any given instant are moving faster while others are moving relatively slowly; some are momentarily at a virtual standstill (off the x–axis to the right). This graph uses inverse speed for its x–axis so the shape of the curve can easily be compared to the curves in Figure 5 below. In both graphs, zero on the x–axis represents infinite temperature. Additionally, the x and y–axis on both graphs are scaled proportionally. [...] Although very specialized laboratory equipment is required to directly detect translational motions, the resultant collisions by atoms or molecules with small particles suspended in a fluid produces Brownian motion that can be seen with an ordinary microscope. The translational motions of elementary particles are very fast and temperatures close to absolute zero are required to directly observe them. For instance, when scientists at the NIST achieved a record-setting cold temperature of 700 nK (billionths of a kelvin) in 1994, they used optical lattice laser equipment to adiabatically cool caesium atoms. They then turned off the entrapment lasers and directly measured atom velocities of 7 mm per second in order to calculate their temperature. Because of their internal structure and flexibility, molecules can store kinetic energy in internal degrees of freedom which contribute to the heat capacity. [...] There are other forms of internal energy besides the kinetic energy of translational motion. As can be seen in the animation at right, molecules are complex objects; they are a population of atoms and thermal agitation can strain their internal chemical bonds in three different ways: via rotation, bond length, and bond angle movements. These are all types of internal degrees of freedom. This makes molecules distinct from monatomic substances (consisting of individual atoms) like the noble gases helium and argon, which have only the three translational degrees of freedom. Kinetic energy is stored in molecules' internal degrees of freedom, which gives them an internal temperature. Even though these motions are called internal, the external portions of molecules still move—rather like the jiggling of a stationary water balloon. This permits the two-way exchange of kinetic energy between internal motions and translational motions with each molecular collision. Accordingly, as energy is removed from molecules, both their kinetic temperature (the temperature derived from the kinetic energy of translational motion) and their internal temperature simultaneously diminish in equal proportions. This phenomenon is described by the equipartition theorem, which states that for any bulk quantity of a substance in equilibrium, the kinetic energy of particle motion is evenly distributed among all the active (i.e. unfrozen) degrees of freedom available to the particles. Since the internal temperature of molecules are usually equal to their kinetic temperature, the distinction is usually of interest only in the detailed study of non-local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) phenomena such as combustion, the sublimation of solids, and the diffusion of hot gases in a partial vacuum. [...] The kinetic energy stored internally in molecules causes substances to contain more internal energy at any given temperature and to absorb additional internal energy for a given temperature increase. This is because any kinetic energy that is, at a given instant, bound in internal motions is not at that same instant contributing to the molecules' translational motions. This extra thermal energy simply increases the amount of energy a substance absorbs for a given temperature rise. This property is known as a substance's specific heat capacity. [...] Different molecules absorb different amounts of thermal energy for each incremental increase in temperature; that is, they have different specific heat capacities. High specific heat capacity arises, in part, because certain substances' molecules possess more internal degrees of freedom than others do. For instance, nitrogen, which is a diatomic molecule, has five active degrees of freedom at room temperature: the three comprising translational motion plus two rotational degrees of freedom internally. Since the two internal degrees of freedom are essentially unfrozen, in accordance with the equipartition theorem, nitrogen has five-thirds the specific heat capacity per mole (a specific number of molecules) as do the monatomic gases. Another example is gasoline (see table showing its specific heat capacity). Gasoline can absorb a large amount of thermal energy per mole with only a modest temperature change because each molecule comprises an average of 21 atoms and therefore has many internal degrees of freedom. Even larger, more complex molecules can have dozens of internal degrees of freedom. [...] The temperature-induced translational motion of particles in solids takes the form of phonons. Shown here are phonons with identical amplitudes but with wavelengths ranging from 2 to 12 molecules. Heat conduction is the diffusion of thermal energy from hot parts of a system to cold. A system can be either a single bulk entity or a plurality of discrete bulk entities. The term bulk in this context means a statistically significant quantity of particles (which can be a microscopic amount). Whenever thermal energy diffuses within an isolated system, temperature differences within the system decrease (and entropy increases). [...] One particular heat conduction mechanism occurs when translational motion, the particle motion underlying temperature, transfers momentum from particle to particle in collisions. In gases, these translational motions are of the nature shown above in Fig. 1. As can be seen in that animation, not only does momentum (heat) diffuse throughout the volume of the gas through serial collisions, but entire molecules or atoms can move forward into new territory, bringing their kinetic energy with them. Consequently, temperature differences equalize throughout gases very quickly—especially for light atoms or molecules; convection speeds this process even more. Translational motion in solids, however, takes the form of phonons. Phonons are constrained, quantized wave packets that travel at a given substance's speed of sound. The manner in which phonons interact within a solid determines a variety of its properties, including its thermal conductivity. In electrically insulating solids, phonon-based heat conduction is usually inefficient and such solids are considered thermal insulators (such as glass, plastic, rubber, ceramic, and rock). This is because in solids, atoms and molecules are locked into place relative to their neighbors and are not free to roam. Metals however, are not restricted to only phonon-based heat conduction. Thermal energy conducts through metals extraordinarily quickly because instead of direct molecule-to-molecule collisions, the vast majority of thermal energy is mediated via very light, mobile conduction electrons. This is why there is a near-perfect correlation between metals' thermal conductivity and their electrical conductivity. Conduction electrons imbue metals with their extraordinary conductivity because they are delocalized (i.e., not tied to a specific atom) and behave rather like a sort of quantum gas due to the effects of zero-point energy (for more on ZPE, see Note 1 below). Furthermore, electrons are relatively light with a rest mass only 1⁄1836th that of a proton. This is about the same ratio as a .22 Short bullet (29 grains or 1.88 g) compared to the rifle that shoots it. As Isaac Newton wrote with his third law of motion. All forces occur in pairs, and these two forces are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction. However, a bullet accelerates faster than a rifle given an equal force. Since kinetic energy increases as the square of velocity, nearly all the kinetic energy goes into the bullet, not the rifle, even though both experience the same force from the expanding propellant gases. In the same manner, because they are much less massive, thermal energy is readily borne by mobile conduction electrons. Additionally, because they're delocalized and very fast, kinetic thermal energy conducts extremely quickly through metals with abundant conduction electrons.
With people who know how to revenge themselves and to stand up for themselves in general, how is it done? Why, when they are possessed, let us suppose, by the feeling of revenge, then for the time there is nothing else but that feeling left in their whole being. Such a gentleman simply dashes straight for his object like an infuriated bull with its horns down, and nothing but a wall will stop him. (By the way: facing the wall, such gentlemen—that is, the ‘direct’ persons and men of action—are genuinely nonplussed. For them a wall is not an evasion, as for us people who think and consequently do nothing; it is not an excuse for turning aside, an excuse for which we are always very glad, though we scarcely believe in it ourselves, as a rule. No, they are nonplussed in all sincerity. The wall has for them something tranquillising, morally soothing, final— maybe even something mysterious ... but of the wall later.) Well, such a direct person I regard as the real normal man, as his tender mother nature wished to see him when she graciously brought him into being on the earth. I envy such a man till I am green in the face. He is stupid. I am not disputing that, but perhaps the normal man should be stupid, how do you know? Perhaps it is very beautiful, in fact. And I am the more persuaded of that suspicion, if one can call it so, by the fact that if you take, for instance, the antithesis of the normal man, that is, the man of acute consciousness, who has come, of course, not out of the lap of nature but out of a retort (this is almost mysticism, gentlemen, but I suspect this, too), this retort-made man is sometimes so nonplussed in the presence of his antithesis that with all his exaggerated consciousness he genuinely thinks of himself as a mouse and not a man. It may be an acutely conscious mouse, yet it is a mouse, while the other is a man, and therefore, et caetera, et caetera. And the worst of it is, he himself, his very own self, looks on himself as a mouse; no one asks him to do so; and that is an important point. Now let us look at this mouse in action. Let us suppose, for instance, that it feels insulted, too (and it almost always does feel insulted), and wants to revenge itself, too. There may even be a greater accumulation of spite in it than in L’HOMME DE LA NATURE ET DE LA VERITE. The base and nasty desire to vent that spite on its assailant rankles perhaps even more nastily in it than in L’HOMME DE LA NATURE ET DE LA VERITE. For through his innate stupidity the latter looks upon his revenge as justice pure and simple; while in consequence of his acute consciousness the mouse does not believe in the justice of it. To come at last to the deed itself, to the very act of revenge. Apart from the one fundamental nastiness the luckless mouse succeeds in creating around it so many other nastinesses in the form of doubts and questions, adds to the one question so many unsettled questions that there inevitably works up around it a sort of fatal brew, a stinking mess, made up of its doubts, emotions, and of the contempt spat upon it by the direct men of action who stand solemnly about it as judges and arbitrators, laughing at it till their healthy sides ache. Of course the only thing left for it is to dismiss all that with a wave of its paw, and, with a smile of assumed contempt in which it does not even itself believe, creep ignominiously into its mouse-hole. There in its nasty, stinking, underground home our insulted, crushed and ridiculed mouse promptly becomes absorbed in cold, malignant and, above all, everlasting spite. For forty years together it will remember its injury down to the smallest, most ignominious details, and every time will add, of itself, details still more ignominious, spitefully teasing and tormenting itself with its own imagination. It will itself be ashamed of its imaginings, but yet it will recall it all, it will go over and over every detail, it will invent unheard of things against itself, pretending that those things might happen, and will forgive nothing. Maybe it will begin to revenge itself, too, but, as it were, piecemeal, in trivial ways, from behind the stove, incognito, without believing either in its own right to vengeance, or in the success of its revenge, knowing that from all its efforts at revenge it will suffer a hundred times more than he on whom it revenges itself, while he, I daresay, will not even scratch himself. On its deathbed it will recall it all over again, with interest accumulated over all the years and ...
But it is just in that cold, abominable half despair, half belief, in that conscious burying oneself alive for grief in the underworld for forty years, in that acutely recognised and yet partly doubtful hopelessness of one’s position, in that hell of unsatisfied desires turned inward, in that fever of oscillations, of resolutions determined for ever and repented of again a minute later—that the savour of that strange enjoyment of which I have spoken lies. It is so subtle, so difficult of analysis, that persons who are a little limited, or even simply persons of strong nerves, will not understand a single atom of it. ‘Possibly,’ you will add on your own account with a grin, ‘people will not understand it either who have never received a slap in the face,’ and in that way you will politely hint to me that I, too, perhaps, have had the experience of a slap in the face in my life, and so I speak as one who knows. I bet that you are thinking that. But set your minds at rest, gentlemen, I have not received a slap in the face, though it is absolutely a matter of indifference to me what you may think about it. Possibly, I even regret, myself, that I have given so few slaps in the face during my life. But enough ... not another word on that subject of such extreme interest to you. I will continue calmly concerning persons with strong nerves who do not understand a certain refinement of enjoyment. Though in certain circumstances these gentlemen bellow their loudest like bulls, though this, let us suppose, does them the greatest credit, yet, as I have said already, confronted with the impossible they subside at once. The impossible means the stone wall! What stone wall? Why, of course, the laws of nature, the deductions of natural science, mathematics. As soon as they prove to you, for instance, that you are descended from a monkey, then it is no use scowling, accept it for a fact. When they prove to you that in reality one drop of your own fat must be dearer to you than a hundred thousand of your fellow-creatures, and that this conclusion is the final solution of all so-called virtues and duties and all such prejudices and fancies, then you have just to accept it, there is no help for it, for twice two is a law of mathematics. Just try refuting it. ‘Upon my word, they will shout at you, it is no use protesting: it is a case of twice two makes four! Nature does not ask your permission, she has nothing to do with your wishes, and whether you like her laws or dislike them, you are bound to accept her as she is, and consequently all her conclusions. A wall, you see, is a wall ... and so on, and so on.’ Merciful Heavens! but what do I care for the laws of nature and arithmetic, when, for some reason I dislike those laws and the fact that twice two makes four? Of course I cannot break through the wall by battering my head against it if I really have not the strength to knock it down, but I am not going to be reconciled to it simply because it is a stone wall and I have not the strength. As though such a stone wall really were a consolation, and really did contain some word of conciliation, simply because it is as true as twice two makes four. Oh, absurdity of absurdities! How much better it is to understand it all, to recognise it all, all the impossibilities and the stone wall; not to be reconciled to one of those impossibilities and stone walls if it disgusts you to be reconciled to it; by the way of the most inevitable, logical combinations to reach the most revolting conclusions on the everlasting theme, that even for the stone wall you are yourself somehow to blame, though again it is as clear as day you are not to blame in the least, and therefore grinding your teeth in silent impotence to sink into luxurious inertia, brooding on the fact that there is no one even for you to feel vindictive against, that you have not, and perhaps never will have, an object for your spite, that it is a sleight of hand, a bit of juggling, a cardsharper’s trick, that it is simply a mess, no knowing what and no knowing who, but in spite of all these uncertainties and jugglings, still there is an ache in you, and the more you do not know, the worse the ache.
There are too many things we do not wish to know about ourselves. People are not, for example, terribly anxious to be equal (equal, after all, to what and to whom?) but they love the idea of being superior. And this human truth has an especially grinding force here, where identity is almost impossible to achieve and people are perpetually attempting to find their feet on the shifting sands of status. (Consider the history of labour in a country in which, spiritually speaking, there are no workers, only candidates for the hand of the boss’s daughter.) Furthermore, I have met only a very few people—and most of these were not Americans—who had any real desire to be free. Freedom is hard to bear. It can be objected that I am speaking of political freedom in spiritual terms, but the political institutions of any nation are always menaced and are ultimately controlled by the spiritual state of the nation. We are controlled here by our confusion, far more than we know, and the American dream has therefore become something much more closely resembling a nightmare, on the private, domestic, and international levels. Privately, we cannot stand our lives and dare not examine them; domestically, we take no responsibility for (and no pride in) what goes on in our country; and internationally, for many millions of people, we are an unmitigated disaster. Whoever doubts this last statement has only to open his ears, his heart, his mind, to the testimony of — for example—any Cuban peasant or any Spanish poet, and ask himself what he would feel about us if he were the victim of our performance in pre-Castro Cuba or in Spain. We defend our curious role in Spain by referring to the Russian menace and the necessity of protecting the free world. It has not occurred to us that we have simply been mesmerized by Russia, and that the only real advantage Russia has in what we think of as a struggle between the East and the West is the moral history of the Western world. Russia’s secret weapon is the bewilderment and despair and hunger of millions of people of whose existence we are scarcely aware. The Russian Communists are not in the least concerned about these people. But our ignorance and indecision have had the effect if not of delivering them into Russian hands, of plunging them very deeply in the Russian shadow, for which effect—and it is hard to blame them— the most articulate among theme, and the most oppressed as well, distrust us all the more. Our power and our fear of change help bind these people to their misery and bewilderment, and insofar as they find this state intolerable we are intolerably menaced. For if they find their state intolerable, but are too heavily oppressed to change it, they are simply pawns in the hands of larger powers, which in such a context, are always unscrupulous, and when, eventually, they do change their situation—as in Cuba—we are menaced more than ever, by the vacuum that succeeds all violent upheavals. We should certainly know by now that it is one thing to overthrow a dictator or repel an invader and quite another thing really to achieve a revolution. Time and time and time again, the people discover that they have merely betrayed themselves into the hands of yet another Pharaoh, who, since he was necessary to put the broken country together, will not let them go. Perhaps, people being the conundrums that they are, and having so little desire to shoulder the burden of their livres, this is what will always happen. But at the bottom of my heart I do not believe this. I think people can be better than that, and I know that people can be better than they are. We are capable of bearing a great burden, once we discover that the burden is reality and arrive where reality is. Anyway, the point here is that we are living in an age of revolution, whether we will or no, and that America is the only Western nation with both the power and, as I hope to suggest, the experience that may help to make these revolutions real and minimise the human damage. Any attempt we make to oppose these outbursts of energy is tantamount to signing our death warrant. Behind what we think of as the Russian menace lies what we do not wish to face, and what white Americans do not face when they regard a Negro: reality—the fact that life is tragic. Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, which is the only fact we have. It seems to me that one caught to rejoice in the fact of death—ought to decide, indeed, to earn one’s death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life. One is responsible to life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return.
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