Last day of this month to write, only now I realize to which extent the writing of that awful and rustic proposal came to mean something for mean something for me; I don´t like the proposal, it is a little bit hypocritical and limited, it is overflowing with theoretical flaws and is still so short of so many things but that´s not quite the point. I think it was yesterday that I wrote how much unprotected we are from “departmental philosophy” (to use the term from Thomas Hollweck) and how harmful it is. Parenthesis here: Cristina Figueroa told me once about the detrimental effect of philosophy for life: It destroys your teeth and your hair and your lips and your skin. What I mean now is just something like what I wrote in Katherina´s story about the bazaar; somehow after the proposal I am becoming again and for the first time in years reconciled with the present of my life, not in the sense of “this ain´t too bad” but more like I can live through this and actually attain some measurable index of earthly happiness. There´s the thought of madness and sickness all over, it is like I´ve spent what is supposed to be great years in a person´s life under the assumption that this is just a perennial and anxious wait of death. At least I´m more philosophically honest now and I´ve ceased to intellectualize how much I desire this life and this body and this world, how much messianic anxiety there´s in every negation and in every protest and in every counter statement. There seems to be absolutely nothing wrong with me and the constant headaches seem to be more nervous than they are physical but I feel so strained now; like I´ve waited all these years in order to produce a statement for my work before I could collapse into the reckless violence of eternity and thus of biology and now that this has been achieved, it appears as if I could just sit patiently and die.
Monday, May 31, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Suddenly I am slightly recovered from the awful emptiness of my thoughts once again, and for some reason I am becoming a little reconciled with this dim and fickle version of reality within which I am dwelling at present. I saw the stones of Jerusalem and I cried, as if the ultimate concern of everything were to become part of the stone again, to be just one stone more of the cemetery that leads the innocent drivers into the truths of the city: my first city of death. Eternity is something awful, it is like the full emptiness of the space, the metaphysical silence of the immeasurable time in which the soul and the self happen to exist. Philosophy must be taken very seriously; it is something from which I stand now so completely unprotected as it were. Time is the enemy of life and freedom, is the secrete divine weapon that makes earthly existence so futile, but then eternity on the other hand is a very dangerous silence, I don´t want this silence, I refuse to make myself at home in it. Efraim told me once that people begin to write seriously at the age of 26 and I would like to think that this is true; certainly the pain of younger years recedes to the back of the imagination and the memory and is replaced by a more sober and colder version of the world which we are ought to battle day after day and at the same time unable to. I´ve assimilated Sandra´s project of philosophy to the purest core of my being in flesh and soul: ontological belief – this is my most non-deistic concept ever but yet it is not theological.
I feel relieved to hear the German language again. It is like the perennial home of philosophy has always stood for me in that language and in that literature but I am scared from my so completely absolute otherness in that grammar and order of ideas. Two languages are lost; both the mother tongue and the language home of the philosophy and literature that defined my birth as an individual in the hunger and the anger of Jerusalem. I might want to deny it, but having written the proposal did mark a certain turning point in my life, I have now this sense of quiet, this sense of a Holzweg, of having defined the rules of my own grammar and the syntactic constrictions that this grammar would impose upon my reality as it is. Who would have thought about it back then? The footsteps of Gillian Rose: Hegel and the Absolute in a most deliberate struggle against time, even against lifetime, the ceaseless fight against disease and against madness and death and philosophy and history; the never ending but now unreachable temptation of Christianity and the antinomian melancholy. How can people take this so light-headedly? It requires so much to read Kant and Hegel, it demands the experience of absolute time, and it requires the abandonment of the concepts of the world that are thus replaced by this murderous sense of time in which we are dying all the time. You write and write and write and yet can´t be saved, everything is being consumed and dissolved into this fountain of bare encounters; it is not philosophy but religion what mediates and helps us make compromises with the world and that is why it is so much grander and more articulate than philosophy; to do philosophy means at the most essential point, to abandon the possibility of the mediation and to throw ourselves against the world of gravity and biological decay with the last vestige of freedom that the time of Death/God has left us: the chance to make one sole choice – you choose yourself for the compromises or you don´t, and when you don´t, it helps not whether you stood in front of the Wall. Eternity is the consolation of philosophy but there´s no eternity in philosophy at all; philosophy stands for everything that eternity is not and yet it articulates eternity so well.
I feel this pain in the throat, and whenever it comes, I feel death is coming. But it is always because of the smoking, yet I can´t quit fantasizing. Most of the time I prefer novels over Kant: They make me feel a lot safer.
Alain De Botton: Normal Life = Life without Love “The telephone becomes an instrument of torture in the demonic hands of a beloved who doesn´t ring” “Authorship becomes tempting to those who can´t speak” “The most attractive are not those who allow us to kiss them at once (we soon feel ungrateful) or those who never allow us to kiss them (we soon forget them), but those who know how carefully to administer varied doses of hope and despair”
I hate novels written only in the 1st person
Be Botton: Unrequited love may be painful, but it is safely painful, because it does not involve inflicting damage on anyone but oneself, a private pain that is as bitter-sweet as it is self-induced. But as soon as love is reciprocated, one must be prepared to give up the passivity of simply being hurt to take on the responsibility of perpetrating hurt oneself.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
For the most I should be delirious with happiness as soon as the sketch for the first work of my life was finished; it was positively complimented by Nigel Tubbs and Thomas Hollweck had but very few objections about it yet now my mind stands empty as if I would have never read a single book that would have illuminated my ideas about as little as the single objects of the world; yet I went through these impasse of madness a few times during the day and then it was followed by the most vexing and cruel tiredness, I was unable to move my limbs and my lips moved only at a certain slow depth, curdling unto themselves, unable to muse thoughts. At the time I only wanted sound to break and time to stop, I felt the effects over my body of a madness that goes well into the physical and psychosomatic. I just feel too much tired to pursue anything and the ever so recurrent and non-fictive idea of illness settled again in the armchair looking at the whole of my life. I would like to stand up for myself all the time again, to have the strength to be always busy with responsibilities but somehow I can´t, I relapse into illness and into what I think is the source of my greatest unhappiness: The vacuous aspect of my thoughts when I just feel at a sudden rush that I´m being emptied out from everything that I´ve thought over the years; my head is absolutely empty and I can´t summon any thoughts for long hours. Time to go back to the fearful origins of my intellectual problems: Kant and Hegel.
Kant: All knowledge comes from experience – “But, though all our knowledge begins with experience, it by no means follows that all arises out of experience”
Kant: “Knowledge a priori is either pure or impure. Pure knowledge a priori is that with which no empirical element is mixed up. For example, the proposition, “Every change has a cause,” is a proposition a priori, but impure, because change is a conception which can only be derived from experience”
Note: My own philosophy if I ever happen to have one will be a “phenomenology of everyday life”. When we are faced with the questions of philosophy there´s so little that can protect us from it, only the imagination perhaps and to imagine is not to condone or reconcile; it is only further evidence of how unprotected we are. The consolation of philosophy is eternity because time is something too hard to bear in thought: It would mean to bear upon all guilt of existence.
This month will end in the lightheaded happiness of having closed the first chapter in life, at last. I wrote a research proposal that I´m totally happy with, even if no one is going to take it. It seems as if life could start yesterday but yet as if often happens I was way too tired to enjoy it. My sleep was amusing and unmolested and I rose early, long before the sunrise, as if thinking that life has just too much to offer for the day, I might be as well deluded into this. What is most important of the completion of the proposal is the understanding of my task as a philosopher; that is, at long last I know what Agnes Heller means: What matters about philosophy is the choice of philosophy alone. Somehow I feel relieved but also a little sad, there´s just so much put into those meager 19 pages, so much of everything. A journey of 7 years of my life into the world, it is almost a decade! All the pain and the joy, the glory and the defeat, all the houses and the hours and the lives and the deaths, own and of others, how can you fit everything into 19 pages? I´ve taken also a little taste for writing stories that reflect my understanding of time but I think the motif of the one I am writing now is just too weak and lifeless to become a good story. I must go into the world and search for more.
On Husserl: Husserl´s key point was that an object is not present to itself; it is only present as a subject
Derrida: The other is infinitely other because we never have access to the other as such
Robyn Barnacle: Consequently, for Heidegger understanding is always a relation already established between knower and the world, as a relation that manifests historically and culturally through language. This idea, that thought could be understood as relational, was a breakthrough for me – although I did not realize fully why until later. It was not until I started to find parallels to this idea in Plato´s work on Eros that my project really began to come together. If a similar conception of thought as relational could also be found in the ancients, I reasoned, then an alternative, non-Cartesian, history of thought existed.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
On Tolkien: What did it mean that human beings were capable of such acts of imagination? What role did the relevant outputs (myth, fairy story, fantasy, and others) play in the shaping of human life and cultures? What did any of it have to do with the nature and shape of reality as more widely understood?
From a letter of Tolkien from 1955: I think the so-called fairy story one of the highest forms of literature, and quite erroneously associated with children as such.
I can´t bear the taste of food anymore… It is like being someone else, months and months, the same dishes over and over, at more or less the same hour, the same dishware, the same cook, the same imprecations, the same lack of intimacy, the same burgeoning excess of details. Pain in the gums… Thinking about having sex with a stranger in the morning; under my present raving illness of heart it couldn´t amount to much more than swindling with pigs on the mud, under the effect of drugs and absence from oneself. I feel I need it, that I just need to get out of this prison and see some of the world but yet I´m so unable to get up from the bed, to pick up my own body into life. The only motivation I hold onto is that I hate my father with the all too familiar hatred after a life of misunderstandings and bad translations of one another´s lives. I feel ailing and ready to sleep forever or at least into old age, to skip through the rest of my youth, but my hormones tell me exactly the opposite. My tiredness is completely not normal, it is more like the tiredness of illness, of broken hearts, of the little things that happen in life: Sorrow over a piece of China that broke but complete indifference to what the world used to mean to us. The only thing that matters is to leave home and to be walked out by the hand of misfortune into the misery of the night in the streets. I guess my adamant refusal to swallow food has much to do with the idea that I have to get used to not eating much food, only the necessary for a mediocre version of survival. Not swallowing food is also a means to punish my father – not that he´s too interested in my suffering; it´s just the defiant position in which I refuse to sit at the table next to him. As if to show him that I´m here but completely absent from him. That I´m not his son and that I´m already somebody else; ever since I came back from Jerusalem but that I had been way too occupied with surviving as to show him; now I´m still surviving but the tiredness is so overwhelming taxing that I need to show how much I disregard not life, but life with him and the petty enterprises of his despicable and infinitesimally belittled existence; so much unlike mine.
What makes my current abandonment of my own person and my insanity so bitter and hopeless is that I am quite lucid on what is happening around me and to me but I refuse to comment and especially the fact I´ve ruled out suicide.
List of stories not yet closed with people: I haven´t been able to meet any of my childhood friends ever since I came back. I don´t get the reason why Camilo wrote me off so suddenly from his life, he was somebody I truly loved at the time and through the years. Fernando is a finished sequence, he´s really found a life for himself in which my philosophical diatribes have no place lest should they lead to sleazy sex. I would like to see Vitaly again in order to finally know whether I love him or whether I´ve just lived with this shadow in my closet over the course of these years. I definitely would like to see Tamir once more in order to find out whether he could in any way love me the way I could adore his passion and his mordacity and his simplicity. Katherina is a whole different matter: She´s the person I love the most in this world. I want to see Ivan in order to find out whether I can live with his friendship steered from any Christian hope and from any secular irony. I haven´t seen Levy in order to ask him personally to forgive me for having hurt him so badly. I need to pay back my debts to Mara and to Oren so that they will find out that even in spite of my misery, there were people I loved and that I´ve been completely true to my ideas all the way through. I need to find Santiago; this is but an unavoidable decree, perhaps only in order to sink again into bitter disappointment about the clumsy nature of his personality and his sad banality. I need to walk down the streets of Paris in order to find a grave in my mind for Veronica; this includes a real friendship with Florence and an afternoon in the sun with Danielle Cohen-Levinas. I must meet Eveline again when I am a little more grown up and defined as an intellectual and I hope with all my heart that she will not die before that – I could never recover from such a blow. I need to get into Dvir´s bed so many times more in order to find out whether I despise him or fancy him just as badly. I also hope Arie is not dead and that I will be able to see him again – under this rubric I also include Clara and Raquel. I wonder if I get ever to see the grave of Kela Seltzer and I am quite sure that her husband is dead by now. I need to speak with Adam Frank about my past and to renew such beautiful friendship that we had at some point and I so ungratefully rejected because of my anxiety. I want to see Adar in her married life with her husband. I need to find my mother one day. This seems like a lot to accomplish in a life that never really started. I need to go and live in Iceland and get to know my dear Hope.
I think I´ve never been in love really but on the other hand I am not the kind of person who is in love with love; I might be only in love with the idea that somebody could love me both physically, intellectually and emotionally and too soon thereafter I am let down or just utterly disappointed and disastrously bored.
I devoured “The Hours” in one sitting; and I am a lot less hurt than I am elated, which is a frantic thing, I feel at the same time revitalized and so much more dead inside; one hour more or one hour less, what difference does it make? It can, actually make all the difference in the world, the deference we can tend to it compassionately enough. I could surely enjoy all this if my mind weren´t all this troubled about my solitude and especially about my poverty; however I think the latter is only superficial for in the course of the last month I´ve achieved much more than ever before in my life as far as the development of my thoughts is concerned, in the middle of such abject poverty, of such personal filthiness and of such unremorseful undevotion to life as a whole. I am still so angry at everything because of all the time that is being lost in between the unfinished, ever unfinished, chapters of my life. I am so fully aware of the possible situation of death and because I am decidedly filled by anguish and relief in this selfsame awareness, it is that I write at all. I don´t even know what I write, I think it´s not even mine anymore, I don´t own it and I certainly can´t explain it; it is as being thirty years old now loomed just around the corner and that at this beautiful, fragile, virile and strongest age I were but completely unable to move in the world; to accept the gifts that it has offered me perhaps in a more stunning and miraculous fashion than it has to most people I´ve known; but it never seems to be enough, I never seem to derive enough pleasure or enough knowledge or enough passion out of anything. I seem to be all the time so occupied in killing myself without being sufficiently devoted to the grandeur of the enterprise; there´s so much debauchery at present and there has been just too much I haven´t given to the world or to myself… But I feel at the moment that there´s this unbearable crack opening between myself and the world and that this Work might be the only power that be that can hold enough healing power not to heal but to transform this into some kind of reality; less shady and less presumptuous, less whimsical but also a lot more vivid and colorful, a lot brighter and lively. The truth is that I´ve been cowardly lazy and that´s all what can be said right now. I have to break the crack that is now just opening into a fuller wound, I have to make it bleed until there´s nothing but a pale-rose box full of scorching bones and dust. I can´t shelter from the life I am ought to live anymore, I can´t shelter in the hatred I feel for my father or in my sentimental miseries, both of which always seem too small when compared to what has been achieved but that in spite of everything hasn´t gained a fuller shape on account of my debauchery. The reason why I haven´t been able to make anything out of this, is because there´s nothing that interests me more than the simplicity of the everyday, the obviousness of it all, that´s what I want to write about for the rest of my life; even if that´s not going to be too long or accomplished. It seems that right now the wisest and most sensitive decision were to drown but yet there´s so much I still need to swim against. The following days are going to be very difficult because father and I will become vindictive of each other and will no longer bear each other´s presence until one day I will find myself in another bed, in another life, in another world, and without knowing it at all, beginning life for the nth time. This just cannot be avoided. There´s nothing that can hamper this tide of events – only an untimely death
One thing I need to promise: I ought to be out of this cave before my birthday, otherwise I will have admitted to my defeat. Reading for tomorrow: Mrs. Dalloway.
Friday, May 21, 2010
It is almost June, hatred for father can only grow at the pace desired by despair; as days go by I feel a lot less contemptuous about myself and overridden by a feeling that wafts from pity toward hate and then the other way around – the language of indifference can be beautiful sometimes, when we show no deference toward it. I feel tiny pangs of madness… The deep-seated unwillingness to live this life or any kind of life that holds onto this one as a precedent; then there´s also my bad sight, the headaches and from yesterday onwards a permanent disinterest in food coupled with sleeplessness… My sense of tiredness is excruciating and it levies on me at every moment of the day; I wish I were somewhere between asleep and dead but still fully aware of it. It has become a burdensome task to open my eyes in the morning, because at some point I am no longer asleep but then I am also unable to move my limbs or to open my eyelids in order to stare for the nth time to the rustic plaster in the walls and the ageing shutter hanging from above. I don´t really want to die, there´s so much I still want to do, but thinking about it, imagining that I could be as well be dead very soon is such an interesting prospect because it releases me from the obligation to have to move through this house. I wish to go on sleeping and sleeping…
The end of the month is near… “What a thrill, what a shock, to be alive on a morning in June, prosperous, almost scandalously privileged, with as simple errand to run” (The Hours).
I think I am only myself when I write, it is the only place where I am at home, and it is my only nation. Every single movement in my life since 2007 seems like a retarded and erratic attempt to go back to Jerusalem… Everything in my life seems like some very poor in-between stations circumventing the prospect of landing in the golden city again. I have to do my best to try and get the Rosenzweig Fellowship; it is the only way I can feel alive at all, everything else is just grey and delusional, even reality, this somber reality in which I have no spirits even to change my underwear, no willingness to live or to remember anything. I behave like a vampire, being able to come out of my grave only at night in order to spend these long hours with myself and reconstruct my world anew. During the day everything is just a long sequence of headaches, insatiable hunger and sexual desire, mourning and godlessness. Somehow I think that the path I should follow is that of going to Winchester, everything else seems a little dry but I wonder what kind of nice and warm person is Daisy Neijmann in responding to my long exposés time after time. I am afraid of facing the prospect of what I am writing on the original letter to Santiago; I might be as well very disappointed with the results but I certainly hope I am not. Somehow I think Katherina remembers me all the time as an obstacle and shadow in her life; but Eveline and Ivan have definitely forgotten about me. I don´t think what I write can be called literature, certainly not after I read Cunningham´s book – I think I might never be able to aspire at that much. As my life shatters I feel emotionally very healthy and day after day more prepared to face the world but not quite yet: I should begin with washing my clothes and looking after my own life, but I am yet unable to do it. I want Santiago´s letter to sound like a Gothic epic and I have to work very hard on it, so that I shall spend today the whole day with it and work on the translation over the weekend. The translation is so far the most important enterprise of all because on that depends that callous Prof. Goodman-Thau will dare to address this commoner. I wish I didn´t have to sleep, but more than anything I wish I didn´t have to see my father at all, ever again… I know how hard this sounds, but there´s just too much of nothing in between us, I by no means would want him dead or anything like that, I´m not stupid, but full-time distance seems to be the only way for us to be able to show any kind of compassion or sympathy for each other. He is not in the least worried about me, it´s just too taxing for him to think how to get rid of me for good. It seems that five years weren´t enough, so next time I should try to do ten years. My only sorrow at leaving this house is my brother, I´m so deeply attached to him now and I don´t think he would forgive me if I left abruptly but even with a broken heart it is my obligation to do it. It can´t be postponed, least apocalypse will come now. Sorry, we´re past it even. I have exactly one week to show something for myself. One week.
I think of Guilel and weep bitterly as I read the poem he wrote me on the occasion of the damn book. I am so lifeless that I can´t even weep in sobs, it is all burnt inside. Mt. Scopus! If anything, I want to die on the soil of Jerusalem and vanish unto its golden-grey soil overlooking the Sultan´s pool. I am so homesick that I can´t go on. I´m so without consolation, so haunted by my own recklessness
Thursday, May 20, 2010
For the first time, I experience serious emotional pain while reading, for the first time in a long time
Each time I see father, I realize that the prospect of living this life in this house is but unbearable; just like Christianity is unbearable for humans… What is then bearable? Cigarettes are the only opiates available to make waft this despair. Daily sleepiness and slumber is the only release from this mad nothingness and headaches a release into raw life. For a change, today I was in no mood to swallow food at all. I think my younger brother is the only reason to stay alive; everything else is just a poor predicament.
Finished reading Michael Cunningham, but I am certainly not through with it.
Tomorrow is grandmother´s birthday and I couldn´t care even a little bit. It will be a timely opportunity to make a call that otherwise I would never be brave enough to do: My sister. I wonder what could happen if I would expose my situation to her; would she maybe understand. I don´t know. But just as much as I demand much attention from the world, I am ought to provide it as well, in many a situation for so many people, that being said, of course with the sole exception of my father, my brother and the closest circumscribed perimeter. To them I should not even tend the self-asserting hand of charitable pity. I wonder why I always have to listen when people are talking about my past and the reason why I had such positive reaction to my untimely teen exile: The answer is always the same, that my father used to beat me violently and harass me emotionally as well with just as much forceful violence of sorts; that my grandmother insisted that she had thrown me out of her home because I was an alcoholic, a junkie and a queer; that I had no stable home and had to wander aimlessly between the parental home which was not parental at all, the warm but historically accidented and preposterously no less violent care of an ignorant and ill-minded grandmother, not to mention as well physically ill and a serial liar; that there was nothing they could do about the fact that I was handled with so much unrestrained physical violence and that they suffered a lot on my behalf, that there´s so much they could do, but that they had no way to interfere in a parent-son relationship. I shouldn´t feel insulted at all because it is nothing but the truth however a half-truth; a half truth as always is a lot more dangerous than a whole lie. They were also active participants in the endurance of my upbringing and held no less than prejudice about my homosexuality than my own father and family did and certainly they must have had that selfsame prejudice about my sexual orientation much before I had it myself. They also actively engaged in making me shed tears over every breakfast and every dinner; they were active complainers to the central bureau of information that handled facts about my life and gratuitously distributed physical punishments. It is true that my father was allegedly a drunkard that too often failed to fulfill his responsibilities with life and that he was carefree to see other women younger than himself and it is also true that he bears a pathological wrath and he is fairly ignorant for a person with a college degree and unfairly dumb for someone so accomplished in worldly affairs; too greedy and selfish and peevish for someone so miserably poor and yet too well educated for the kind of both material and spiritual poverty of which he is such a timeless representative. Yes, it is all true… But I wasn´t I who remained married to him to this day and that year after year failed to speak the truth and about the truth as the most basic principle of an unshakable life philosophy.
Reading the novel had a lasting impact on me: It stirred my unhappiness from the complacency of the bottomless pit where it has not only refugee status but permanent resident and soon it will hold a citizenship ritual. There was a transmogrification between my own life and that of Jonathan, between the New Yorker Jim described in Gillian Rose´s “Love´s Work” and the deponent Gillian Rose herself. The four characters amalgamated into a sole perverted metaphysics of survival and mediocre “stay-alive-for-the-others” ethic; unsettlingly coupled with images from a rarefied apocalyptic universe riddled by nothing but grandiose loves. Both lovenessless and lovefulness are selfish affairs. As of this moment I think I feel much contempt for the youthful rabidity of the young Jonathan and an increased insatiable sexual appetite for the likes of his adult person and body; if anything I would marry my life off to the prospect of his personality of unhealth. Well, except for the fact that then I would have to be content with being married to myself. What I am really wearing out from is not the fact that I am living a futile and miserable life but that I am undertaking everything as future project; I´ve turned my whole life into a train station that will at some point be future bound and at this, I have destroyed the present with the greatest possible zeal. How do I make myself home now in the present? In this present tense that I´ve avowedly been propelled to destroy in every single stance of it: I forfeited my friendships because of the love I left hanging in the past and because of the trust I hold in the future; I have abandoned the claim to all my earthly belongings because of the hope that they will un-needed in the distant future and all in all, I am just not alive anymore. I am but deceitfully abandoned to the prospect of miracle and therefore, I am just not living. To a great and fearful extent, I sit idly in wait for such miracles in part because of the impossible prospects that I face. If anything, what I need is not precisely to flee from this life into another life but to seize up the opportunity to live this life: I need to find a job that at the very least will allow me to leave this house forever. I feel so miserable at the prospect of time, at the prospect that I am getting old and that youth is ever so vanishing from the lines of expression in my forehead and from my spirit. I feel I haven´t grown up; I could as well be seventeen years old and not by any means realize that I am no longer a boy, yet I don´t know how I am supposed to do it. My greatest fear is the prospect of a fatal illness and withal, the idea that I am just short of enough time to live. That´s why I have salvaged so much energy for a brief and spectacularly intense version of the immediate future while altogether not doing absolutely anything to remedy the ills of the present that I´ve wrought upon myself and postpone the future ad infinitum. The truth is that I´m going to be soon twenty-six years old and yet I´ve never had a real relationship with anybody: I´ve loved many people but I haven´t been loved as I think I would have deserved and I have to live from now onwards with the fact that my youth, however spectacular, has been completely loveless. First I loved Nicolás, a person I actually never met but gazed into through years lacking all ability to move forward with my decided feeling; then I loved Fernando but was completely unable to follow through and I had to bear the most vanquishing defeat right at the beginning, that he wrote me a farewell letter is not important, the point here is that such love never flourished and Fernando chased a life for himself, what I was so unable to do; then I loved Yuval and so soon thereafter I faced betrayal the way a woman would but yet was too immature to stay up and simply despaired. Then I loved other people thinking that sleeping with them one entire night would suffice to start a relationship. I definitely loved Ofer and he loved me too, but enough to bear the burden of my life luggage that at the time couldn´t be fit even into a palace from the Arabian nights; then I loved Vitaly and he truly loved me as well but I was unable to spend more than a few weeks with him and his world was as fragile as mine so that I had to give up all claims on his love. Then I thought I loved Markus but it is complicated when you fall in love with an ambitious and cruel Catholic priest who definitely didn´t love anything about me but my way of speaking and my body; I think he was so much more into Levi than he was into me. I was clearly infatuated with Dror, who was the person who made love the best to me until now, but he had a girlfriend and I think he must be happily married by now. Then I loved Santiago, I loved him with the uncanny of youth, with reckless impetus, with carefree devotion, but I broke the rules of love the way I always do and lost him to some godforsaken French little college town and was never given the chance to both love him or make love to him the way I should have. And with this, you reach the age of twenty-six as an eternal bachelor and are still, waiting for your first love. Well, this is very sad. I have to live with it though, especially at the miser prospect of love when my belly is not longer what it used to be, when my forehead is wrinkled by my endless preoccupations with the future, and when at this age I do not count even with the most basic means to have a love affairs: I can barely buy half a pack of cigarettes a few times a week; I would be unable to buy a cup of coffee, leave alone to go on a holiday. There are two ghostly appearances amidst my current lovelessness, and I call them loveless because they are not real – at least not yet: Friðirik is so much as everything I could possibly want (callous, mature and caring) except for the fact that he is in Iceland; a country where I might never be able to go if things stand as they have until now and I think in a couple of weeks I will have to cut off all my contact with him in order not to be ashamed by the fact that I will be completely unable to fulfill my promises, I don´t even talk about promises of not falling in love but about simple stuff like actually getting to know him personally. Another ghost: He goes by the name of Carlos which must be decidedly fake and I haven´t seen anything of him but a beautiful butt that anyone in his right state of mind would like to fuck. He was living in Dubai and came to Bogotá in order to make himself at home but utterly failed: He understands how much I despise this place and how poor everything seems to me; I guess that is enough for me to develop an attraction. Yet he´s everything but real at the moment and should be become realized, I don´t even have enough money to take as much as bus in order to go and throw myself to the arms of a person that could at least sate me sexually. I need to find out a way to live in the present and to just leave this miser place.
I can´t stop thinking of Gísli, performing the role of Gregor Samsa and somehow I want to cry bitterly but I can´t. It´s not only the Kafkaesque melancholy but also the sorrow of the forfeited friendship… Now that I think about it, it is a good thing that I haven´t been to university yet, because then I would have suffered from the world so much more than I have until now. It is a curse… From now on I can´t divorce Kafka from Gísli and from Iceland… Yellow can´t be severed from blue and still it isn´t a shade of another color - chiaroscuro. The only Jewish value which is practically important in life is the one I can´t practice: sacrifice for your own. If anything, because I don´t have a family or a people. Gregor´s mother: Elva Ósk – How much did I love her? Perhaps more than all
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Bram Stoker´s Dracula: A book written entirely out of letters and travel journal entries… But what with the quotations? They must certainly belong to an age different than ours.
Sad to say, funny to think: I am at present alive only under the predicament of writing in this journal and writing in other journals, besides self-asserting my complete lack of sexual gratification. Last night I was unable to live up to the discipline of the owl: I was way too exhausted but yet my mind had been taken adrift with Stoker´s novel. I have to find the way to do work through the daytime, there´s no other solution. Under the present conditions, unless I became mentally stronger, I shouldn´t force myself; at every single moment of the day I must remember what my predicament is: To get away from this house and from this country in order to be able to write. I feel this is somewhat a false predicament, because there´s no “in order to” when you write, but then again this is an emergency situation. We´re in the middle of bounty fire
As of reading Dracula: I was utterly bored when I began to read accounts which were not Jonathan Harker´s. I am waiting to see what has happened with him with a bated breath; I think the Count is very much homo-eroticizing him but much remains to be seen yet. I am not sure what will come out of the new version of Santiago´s “Transformation” which I am just about to start; I am no longer in control. Gillian Rose: I´ve told the tale – the Midrash is not beautiful, it is difficult. I think tomorrow I shall be hitting the library at long last. It will be such a great feeling unless I am even slightly faced by the recent past which isn´t that great. Sappho: “Everything must be borne upon”. When I say “I am not sure what will come up” in the writing, it also means “I´m scared of it”. Further consideration: Dracula is in but I think the song is out… I need an instinct that will be so absolutely modernist such as Yann Tiersen which anyway is the kind of music which is immediately associated with my old and new feelings about Mr. Munévar, or the silence of him that I was so cunningly smeared by. I think I am definitely starting to see what the essays, previously written, currently in the make and future ones, have in common… It is this antinomian thought with which I meant to discredit Taubes and whose echo Eveline made resonate in Buber: Everything from this world as it is… The little poem of M. Sussman. Furthermore this thought is: We ought not to change this world unless we refuse to accept it (condone it) or escape from it (condemn it). The revolution of everyday life is the öffene Vielfältigkeit (Simmel´s philosophy of culture) to try to change ourselves: Kierkegaard was a lot wiser than Marx but infinitely unhappier. One should never say “we have no other choice but to live in this world as it is” because this would be the exact political equivalent of saying “the Messiah will never come” and then saying “We must force him to come”; expecting him to show his face somewhere under the magic spell of Auschwitz – here we are deceived, Auschwitz´s hail is a “deus absconditus” (the unhappy knowledge of God in Simone Weil and Susan Taubes and Ingeborg Bachmann). Our decision must imply the free-standing qualities of modern freedom and its antinomies in saying “we want to have no other choice but to live in this world as it is”; then we ultimately choose ourselves for it and make ourselves transiently at home (Heller).
Another point: I shouldn´t embarrassed about epistolary writing.
Important thing to jot down in “Transformation”: I used to start the mornings out with Vermouth
Father: It is not hatred what I feel, but such compunction at his masterful use of violence, both physical and verbal – he is but such talented person for inflicting violence.
Why does Stoker insist so much on the gums? I think it might as well be nothing, just the taxing tiredness of prose. But it is certainly curious… Pale gums, as if speaking of a corpse
To-do-list: Paris – Veronika, Florence, Santiago; Danielle Cohen-Levinas
Utter lack of sexual gratification: By-product of abjection. Being too close to family and to my father has sexually turned me into an Angst-ridden teenager. My sexuality is no longer emotionally or physically mature; I even feel utter shame about it and could not be persuaded to deal with the situation with any kind of resolution. Running far away from home; it is the only thing that matters now. Everything else is secondary now, even if it is writing what is ought to be done by me in order to flee from this sexless and mindless imprisonment that so gratuitously offers me shelter under a stairway and on a puked-over mattress and the eternal Nietzschean vicious cycle of repetitive lunch menus meant to exasperate and to give into contentment much more than they are meant to nourish body or soul. Every spoonful of food is yet a bribery to buy in the paternal righteousness of “I do all what I can” in this kind of nonsense life, whose consumption into mindless old age could mean nothing but a blessing of sorts. The only productive activity of this lifestyle is rearing children in order to stretch the chain of educational and sexual miseries yet one generation more – we are not expected to suffer all this alone so that we bring children in order to make them responsible for our own inability to make anything out of our own lot.
My greatest delusion: The fine flattery of thinking that this journal will be read one day; perhaps it is only therapeutically delusional – that is, something that keeps me from the madness of sheltering under the loathsomeness of a paternal violent wing.
I can´t stand my younger brother (he´s not the youngest); it´s not plain loathe but rather despair at his complete lack of intellectual skills and withal, of interest in any such. He´s as ignorant in worldly, spiritual and academic matters as I should have been at the age of six; and as grumpy and androgynous and dependent as well; such godless people are making the world run a lot slower.
Reading Vathek reminds of an impasse: Pilgrimage to the Tomb of the Prophet Samuel in North-East Jerusalem and overlooking from there all the Orthodox neighborhoods to one end and the Muslim ones to the opposite.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Again I am inundated with fear at the prospect of writing. It puzzles me to realize what the physical effect of memory is on my fragile body that twitches at the most insignificant spawn. First of all I feel it in my fingers… They set themselves inflexible at stand-still and I can feel then, how my blood becomes all contaminated in the lapse of a minute by this spooky and exasperating feeling – I can feel so literally how the thin air of the fear begins to unfold and spreads through my bones with the same heavy uncanny of love. I see before me that small room; Maria Clara and me unknowingly gazing into the horizontal fence that separated our existence on earth from the void of heavens and Patricia patrolling our entire lives late at night and into the morning drama of cigarettes, showers and packed lunches. The nauseating odor of cleanness and her domineering commands on all the members of the human community at 74-30. I am not sure I will be able to keep going with this discipline of spending all nights awake and wary of the ways of the world and sleeping through the mornings fully concentrated in my writing and in the deadly enterprise of translating the Ark. Every hour steals from me immense chunks of life´s breath without bating or stopping for a moment to contemplate the solemn destruction and irruption stirred by the grammars of lucid conscious story-telling.
My time to start living is running out.
The night stood at stand-still. Somehow I couldn´t be relieved from nostalgia, from urgency and from anxiety; as if I were in the obligation to tend to my sorrow so gracefully, in that celebrative undertone, offering the fragments of one´s life at whirlwind without consequences. There were some moments of reckless unfastening of my body from my life. I remember the images haphazardly, in tiny bits: I sat by myself on the sidewalk watching the frantic crowds of drinkers and trying to gather some attention toward me perhaps with the sole intention of seeking after bodily pleasures that of course were nowhere to be found. Perhaps I tried to join some group or another… Next to that gas station where so many unhappy nights of recent years have been spent; I´ve watched the solidness of the morning to settle in with the unhappiness of transience… Freddy and Giovanni, those were their names, my loyal yet treacherous partners in the often rehearsed act of the gas station… A certain morning I was so inebriated that I fell down the stairway and severely injured my arm; the gas station… that term can only sound intoxicating for the translator of a book about concentration camps; going to the station seemed to relieve me from so many of my duties with life and myself. At the price of little money the magic elixirs were served, that clouded the memory permanently and turned the sad anguish of escapism into a victorious act of conquista. I walked back home and perhaps the morning was already awakening but it was still cold, the sidewalks deserted and only a few drunkards to be seen around. The music no longer played or the efforts at joy and gayness, the air loomed vacuously over the sterile inorganic pedestrians. I wonder if we ever get tired of the same streets night after night, of the same assaults against the knowledge of life, of the same case-scenarios imposed upon our earmarked personae by the circumstances of idleness and the debauchery of instincts. So different it was to see the early morning in Jerusalem as my mind had dissipated the effects of alcohol and the loneliness of the stone-building was too overbearing: I needed to get up and make some coffee for myself and make sure that I was still sufficiently alive and ill-spirited to smoke and breathe the fresh buckets of air that the morning so gratuitously offered me. Even from such a low storey I had the impression that I could see the whole city extending far into the Dead Sea overlapping the entire Judean desert with the scattered Arab houses and the young soldiers with happy horny faces loaded with guns that surpassed them in height and in weight. From the tiny window I could imagine how beautiful Michael, my Russian friend from olden times, had been in younger years when he were less pretentious about his own persona and a lot more innocent about life as not to be too much concerned about the direction of the waves in his Baltic red hair as it navigated the roads superimposed on Gaza´s sand only in order to assault the geography and the memory at the same time.
I could remember the plain morning sights of all the churches: The Scottish stone-church and myself inside imagining a pleasantly luxurious Saturday brunch in the old and ill-nerved company of James Burton, driving his blue car with diplomatic plates from the Red Cross building in one of those hidden East Jerusalem neighborhoods, that for us Jews, were only changelings that one had heard about in a Nordic folktale inundated with dragons and fairies and noblemen – nothing that resembled our own yellowing dormant reality. But I shall return to James later, now this was the topic of churches and the churches I could spot from my morning watch leaning against the wall in between the bed and the desk as captive birds hovered on the lamps and were frightened away more by the scorching sight of so many unread books rather than by my human presence. There was also a morning view from the Austrian Hospice – what seemed to me like the most beautiful and most haunting place in the whole of Jerusalem; I had always dreamt about being loved by someone inside those mysterious rooms and no matter how hard I tried, it was never possible. Once I attended a certain extravagant night flooded by Austrian UN soldiers that were stationed somewhere in Lebanon I think and as one of them approached me or maybe it was me who approached him, in order to light a cigarette – this might have been only a pretext to develop any sort of physical closeness. I imagined how he would seduce me with the flattery of words of war and how I would spend the night in that fanciful Romantic castle full of old books and flags and perdition. But I guess I was loved there on three different nights: Once another British diplomat whose name I absolutely can´t recall summoned me there, I think we had coffee or wine, it must have been the Jewish Sabbath which in East Jerusalem was only another transitory day for the usual businesses of cosmopolitism. I think his name was David and sometime later he moved to the embassy in Tel Aviv. He was living in Jaffa I think and we met as I sat idly in a café trying to write a letter to Katherina and then we went along together over the tiny street that joints the streets Allenby and Dizengoff as if tying up a circus with a zoo – so much everything and nothing in common. We went to a bar where he invited me for a beer or two and there we met this Australian couple, friends of him, who I am sure, were also diplomats. There was the Church of all Nations which is the first church I visited during the agitation caused by my disrupted faith and my search for something more entertaining and solidly enamoring than the total lack of sensuality displayed by American Orthodox rabbis – A Sontagism in place: There´s no sensuality in NYC but only sexuality, either food or sex. I might have unlocked the gate that leads to the Chimera, on that day. I remember having read in the newspaper that besides the Church of the Nations there would be a place called, The Café of all Nations that thrived on Saturdays with music and drinks and intellectual discussion. You can´t even imagine what I found: Something even more miser than what one would expect in those remote Colombian villages isolated by rivers and warfare from any contact with the history of mankind. There was little else than a tent and some very old groceries… I think I bought a Coca Cola or some orange soda before fleeing from such miserable sight. I always thought how beautiful it could have been to live there or somewhere near… In between Jerusalem and Jericho, not far from the wonders of Emmaus or in the other hand, in between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, with the beautiful and tormented body of James Burton as a partner in crime. I think the Church of all Nations was always my favorite places in the whole of Jerusalem. There were other churches in my recollection but they are not so important now. Once I saw James again not long ago in a picture taken by Claudia Henzler of a Franciscan procession in St. Savior’s church in which at once appeared my beloved friend Ivan, now an Orthodox Jew, beautiful but skinny Vladdo and the aforementioned James. The photos were part of an album that Claudia gave me for one of my birthdays, that same birthday which was a total failure, half the people wouldn´t even show up and then they came and ate and left without even sharing in the expenses so that Levy had to cover the bill… It could have been the most perfect night, sitting on a tent in a balcony behind the Sultan´s pool overlooking both East and West of Jerusalem just behind the entrance to Mt. Zion with all the abbeys and the yeshivas to be reached both with the eye and with the feet with so little effort. It was my worst birthday I think, but probably wasn´t as bad as this selfsame year is going to be, so far away from the homes I built as bridges in between, with the people I met through those beautiful years in the most golden city of all. The faithful and the godless city… that is what Jerusalem is like. Every morning as I awoke from my light slumber, I was able to see all this only with glimpsing a little into the garbage containers and the burnt hay beneath my window at the entrance of my building. I could also take pleasure in hanging the laundry in Andrea´s balcony and looking into King George Street as the sun shone much stronger there and I could see the city exploding with the jolts of the cars and the screams of people and the haste of the Sabbath; but exploding is too strong a word for those of us who have lived in Jerusalem, a place where hearts explode both metaphysically and physically at the blink of a zealous eye spotting the wrong geography of life at a lethal moment.
But this morning was different: It was completely empty. I came home, possibly tried to masturbate and was unable to because of the unusual excess of alcohol in my vessels and then fell into a thick sleep from which I was aroused only in order to puke on myself from drunkenness. Yet I do not regret the night… It was cold and busy, so quiet but yet very disturbing, a bundle of unrelated elements blended in together with as much lovelessness and abandonment as the entire world can offer for free and as a gift. I was released from this owl imprisonment to which I´ve indicted myself, living under rags and coming out only at night in order to profit from the different of schedule that most other people have; this is the price of quiet – lifelessness around, the sterility of silence, the total absence from our objects of love and despise. Weeks go by and I don´t change my clothes or mean to change my life from the inside to the outside; I am willing to let the inside collapse at any price. I am contented only by the illusion that I have about owning my past and that it is so grandiose that it alone should suffice to emancipate me from this cold and lavish poverty. But all those pasts are shared, they were shared with many people for whom at this point I should be nothing but a peg loose in the air, something completely forgotten. I think the only people who truly remember me are Katherina, Ivan and Sandra. I´m beginning to enjoy this dearth of companion, yet the most disappointing part about one´s own person was to see the puke and to remember only vaguely the situation. It´s funny how right at the point when my life has reached the very bottom of the pit and when I refuse to have much entanglement with people, when my plans for the year collapsed under my feet, it is precisely now that I begin to feel very much alive and contented with my lot, I am able to write almost on a daily basis and have devoted myself full-time to the pursuit of my works. Now as I lay in the gutter, wallowing with the pigs, I begin to think that I write nicely and that it is important that I do it by any means. I am really learning a lot, gaining some kind of faith but I´m completely ignorant how it is that I am supposed to actually do it. Under normal circumstances I should only sleep and await the good Lord to take me mercifully under his wings into the flight of eternity. I think now about Fridirik, because for some reason I do find him quite beautiful and full of sense, very close to my planet of “Bitterbösen Sarcasm” and happy Kierkegaardian ironies full of contempt for the world and yet so full of pleasantries about it all. I think his disappointments with life are manifold and too numerous to be counted or even borne at all by one sole person. He insists that we should an hamburger after sex or watch The Lion King; even though I am aggressively opposed to the content of either plan of action, I feel exhilarated at the prospect of such possibility since it is clear that my experience of life and love for the last few years has been limited to unaccomplished sexual encounters, long nights of painful and execrating inebriation in lieu of contentment for the world, total alienation from material and spiritual pleasures and frequent series of exiles, one followed shortly thereafter by the other losing a bit of the belongings that attested to my immediate past, time after time, until I were come to the present situation in which I possess absolutely nothing to remind me of my own immediate past other than one book. There are no letters, no old books, no plates, no ties, to shirts or worn out boots, nothing, not even an empty suitcase where to fold my sorrows in and send them off elsewhere, not even that. “Mann ohne Eigenschaften”. The only thing that seems to loom around is the irremediable prospect of perfidious poverty soon turned into physical hunger and permanent day slumber mixed with nightly vigil. I wonder what it is going to be like being alive again and far away from this imprisonment without bail. I wonder whether I am going to be able to write at all after this, how will I reconstitute my world? Today precisely when reading Borges I was thinking for myself that it wouldn´t be altogether inappropriate as an spiritual move to rest for a bit on the certainties of the mother tongue, but that is completely delusional for me, it is absolutely uncanny and even pathological. As far back as I can remember, I completely lack the love necessary to call this orphan place a fatherland and I am even more certain to stand the test of never setting foot again upon this tainted land. In the other hand, when I was leaving Jerusalem I do remember looking back and telling to myself that I would ever so soon come back – what as yet I didn´t fulfill; the prospects for the geography of this so-called mother tongue are a lot more miser, the truth of the matter is that there´s nothing I wish more now than to be never see it again, to lose myself in an ocean of foreignness of words and things. But I am well aware that this might change as I will get older, that in the case I manage to live enough to call myself old. I might need to restore to this motherly gift as an emergency. I heard someone saying that Frida Kahlo was so national (“Mexican”) that it is only on that account that she was actually so universal; this badly scares me because I have no national iconography of my own person at all – everything is disrupted, unassembled fragments, clippings from the most varied layers of geographical memory, a bundle of ills. This is badly unsurprising when said but yet one´s own aspirations might become utterly frustrated at facing the selfsame prospect of equating originality and relevance with universality. I think however it was Kierkegaard who criticized this universality badly, framing it as something immediately juxtaposed to the infinite/eternal. I have always to go back and read Saint Paul. A lot less of Arendt in my writing now; it has become so internalized that it is the spirit and not the memory who recollects all thoughts about it whenever they arise. I hope I will be still able to find the copies that Eveline sent me from Berlin with her books, because otherwise I am completely doomed and will have to appeal to the powers that be for enough inspiration and even at that, inspiration alone never suffices for a Work, to become worthy of its name. “Einsetzen”. That´s the key to the dungeon where one shall refuse to lock himself up but also will refuse to leave its premises; there´s some sentimentality at work here. “Ni corta ni presta el hacha”. Another whole night spent at “work”, time to sleep before the tropical sun will assault me. However I was too tired to translate or to do any serious study, a consequence of carefree drinking. I hope to finish the Ark this week, even in the next few days, how delusional this is? I don´t know. I was sure this was work of two days and that´s it, but then this time I am really translating and syntactically interpreting: Not cheating and producing a good translation on the background of a bad one, then it must be worth the effort. I have to go and face the puke from last morning.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Eveline´s Arche: “Savta, man muss erst Schalom mit den Deutschen und denen dann erst über das Judentum lehren”
Páll Melsteð about the school at Bessastaðir: At Bessastaðir the body grew strong and healthy, thanks to wrestling, football, swimming and plenty of nourishing food, while the soul became archaic and half-classical. We thought about little else than the heroic ages of Greece, Rome and ancient Scandinavia. Plato, Xenophon, Homer, Virgil, Horace, Caesar, and Cicero were read in the classroom; Njáls saga, Grettis saga and Egils saga in the sleeping lofts.
Note: Jónas Hallgrímsson wanted to follow Tómas Saemundsson to Copenhagen and continue his studies there, but he had no money. Indeed, poverty would god him all his life. At first he thought he had found a solution to this problem: he persuaded a wealthy fellow-Icelander to lend him enough money for the trip – but the death of the man´s wife caused the arrangements to collapse.
Strange, astounding things, I found to stare at! Mér við brá hér mörg að sjá í fyrstu
Wonders to amaze the mind --- Allra handa undraverk
Marvels there of every kind! Óteljandi furðu merk.
(J.H. poem at his first sight of Copenhagen)
Note: I am beginning to work why does this have to be, that literary or artistic genius is always coupled with the most absolute lack of the basic material resources to lead a comfortable life. It seems to me as if the price of aesthetics is never achieving to have enough money to actually indulge in the aesthetics.
For some reason I think I don´t like poetry anymore
J.H.´s mind was plagued by the idea of death
I think J.H. is a lot more superficial than W.B., I could easily identify him with the German Romantics. Had I been a little more educated, I suppose that I could say I were just reading the story of my own life but backwards, but at this point I can no longer harbor such high spirited ambitions. My life is a lot more miser and mediocre, lived in parallel chapters, without lovers or friends to share the wantonness with. My only treasure is my memory… My ability to remember the most naturally embellished moments of my life, to which I hold onto with zeal; but I´m getting older, less able to study, less able to stand out and certainly depressed in a way that I hadn´t experienced before, since I just no longer care whether I live or how I live. My anxiety is all centered upon the same old issue: I definitely would like to die too often, but not without publishing one sole book, but even that seems a project as far-fetched as a visit to the moons of Saturn. I want to be a very distinguished literati, but yet I sleep under a stairway, never wash my clothes, sleeping through the mornings and write only at night. I had some expectations about what life could bring by necessity of chance when I spent long nights outdoors in the most reckless and superficial consumption of alcohol, but no such luck now, since I´m so poor that I can´t afford to buy alcohol even and yet now I am so deluded into thinking that a few weeks of writing will take me willy-nilly and for free to the Hollywood of philosophies and literatures. I know this is way far from the truth, but I have to delude myself into believing it because if I stop believing it, even if for a brief moment, I will definitely have to take my own life at that very moment; there will be no more reason to stand aright and it would definitely have to end with death because there´s nothing I find so unbearable as the physical pain I experience when I don´t get up from bed; even death without publishing a book seems easy in comparison to the prospect of the bed. It´s early morning now, the time when I should begin to enjoy the release from the unrest of the night, but yet I have to anchor myself in bed now, otherwise I will have to put up with the ugly faces of human life, breakfasts, dishes, children, morning news and any other kind of pathetic Sunday endeavors that are proper of godless people such as this vermin society to which I belong. Either I turn the balance upside down and empower my dream life of books and writing in order to make it real or I will have to end with my real everyday life in order to stop this suffering. Never before had I talked so crudely about suicide, which doesn´t mean I´m any more willing to do it than I had been until now; it could simply mean that I´m reaching a threshold with my own hand and perhaps the first I will have ever crossed, at least in terms of my own intellectual development. In a few weeks I will be twenty-six years old and yet I can´t manage even to buy my own cigarettes or to convince old men to be intimate with me, but alas! I write very nicely.
At some point I wrote to Sandra Lehmann that I don´t like the stuff I write for the most part, because I think it is a bad translation of yet something much bigger that is inaccessible to me.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
I feel like I am living two lives, this life and a parallel life: one life in the books I am reading and writing, and another one, the false life, the one I am living. There are all these books and pages, all these big projects, realistic and not realistic, the notes I jot down, the letters I write, the friends I have or would like to have; the grandeur with which everything is furnished and all the possible risks that I take on my own. The life I am living is only like a feeble and poorly decorated entrance hall: In that life I am a student and many other things, the life of a young man sometimes running free, meandering and trying to avoid at the point of unwillingness, to engage in life. Sometimes the two lives blend into one: Inebriated days, theatrical and reckless, the danger is inconsequential and the sin is just too big to be tampered with mere hallelujahs. But I always return to the life that I am not living and yet it is a life so clean from fantasies and so deliberately beset against moments of non-being; the false life and the real life struggle together, avoid imagining each other, flee from their opposite constraints in order to tackle their own, which at last they want to flee as well. In the writing life, I attempt with all might to disconnect myself from the life I am living, I spare no efforts to bury it beneath millions of pages, as if they could stand for hill of cold wet earth, of concrete. The lived life sometimes takes on a ghostly appearance, it haunts the writer, it persuades him quite convincingly about the futileness of it all, about his inability to handle what he has to live through; that´s why he altogether writes. Sometimes the writing is a treasure hunt inside a volcano, and the results, are always so disappointing. A volcano seems too big a place to hunt for needles.
Friday, May 14, 2010
At long last I feel philosophically powerful and free, or at least that´s what I wrote to Katherina tonight. I feel capable of conjuring up powers in the form of little thoughts that flee away from me, only in order to fall back again into my nowhere domain. I am certain to enjoy some of the things that I myself wrote, and those moments of lifelessness have proven to be the most orthodox test to the faithfulness of my concerns. I have no other concerns as far as living is concerned; I am thinking about my own thoughts all the time, everything else seems to be only perfunctory interruptions in the course of disjointed thoughts. My dreams complete the anxiety of my daytime life that seems always only a prelude to the night – at no other time it is really possible to un-dream the moments of non-being and transform them into one´s own liturgy of the hours: time is deadly for life and the life moments of geography anoint us with the waters of fire in order to deliver us from the task of writing down the times. At night you write and dream, read and awake, place yourself at a distance from the mad rushing steams of unrepeatable sequences, mellowing the flowery colors on the way to the grave. Gillian Rose begins to appear as a central character in the life of the mind - the tortured rose with thorns! If anything I think this is something that has to do with conversation much more than with books, that´s just a hunch I have. How could you name that kind of conversation? The price of the law? I guess the silence around the Works (not work but Works) of G.R. is less suspicious than it is by all means desirable. Susan Sontag says: “Rimbaud goes to Abyssinia”. Quotations that people seldom forget. The temptation of silence is overburdening because it signals not the absence of an idea but the fact that it occupies just too much space, it expands beyond the confines of the Lebensraum, and it is a suicidal alphabet. At times I enjoy the life of home, pampering and educating children into appropriate manners for life and the circular effects of domestication for life: The smells of the clean home, as if they alone sufficed to steer away the intricate and sophisticated loathsomeness that the most beloved of all people can hold against each other. This is really non-being.
The fact that I´m settled down in this mild calm can only mean that either I am just about to soar above my present condition or that I´m going to sink deeper than ever; destroying the present forever while trying to trace a thin line to the turbulent past and a thick umbilical cord to feed all this urgency into an incessantly sterile future. I wondered always about the meaning of irony and whether this sad bitterness could somehow turn into the embellishment of a prosaic world. Words have to be chosen so carefully, “fahr, fahr doch… du darfst nicht vergessen” (Dan Pagis); they do not only need to stand in lieu of ideas but in place of things as well, to constitute themselves as worldly objects unavailable to and unassailable by infinitude, always fleeting and mutable, subject to passions and movements, just like the pettiness of human interests. Since I´ve abandoned the common usage of “interesting”, I might as well have adopted by proxy the notion of “talent”, I spend too many good and bad thoughts on it and therefore, remain imprisoned in the Romanticism that everything I think or write, pretends to have avoided and fully overcome. Writing is a great risk, so that I swindle myself with restless silences in between words; they grow great as a hunchback of my own. I wasn´t struck by what Steiner wrote on Benjamin´s life; I had already read it from Scholem and had my own intuition of it, it can be broken down to “unrealistic plans”: I always aim to conquer the world in everything I endeavor, can´t hold myself from putting to paper entire wealth of academic posts and book plans; as if the erratic nature of thinking without consolations could be made up for with fame, with self-awareness, with statements. There´s nothing I´m more afraid of than my own capabilities because they implicate far more than what I can temporarily grasp while alive; I have to rescind from writing this much, I am ought to walk so much slower because my risk at downfall is more than imminent, it is actually explicit in all of my enterprises.
Guilel: Unfinished radically individual beauty that I am precluded from possessing. Katherina said it in utmost certitude: He is not like all the other versions of Cain, because he is real and alive, he couldn´t be put to paper; desire had to be mediated by something other than a physical body. Guilel insisted to me forcefully that there´s no such a thing as metaphysics in relationships, while his entire life contradicted the principle. The contradiction is so strong that he even walked unknowingly into each and every part of my Work: Contradictions are the only way we can understand life. I remember that day when I officially delivered my first public lecture and yet dressed for the occasion as a yeshiva bocher – differentiated only by silver cufflinks. The genesis of the lecture began with an appreciation of Karl Haushofer about whom I learnt by reading Stefan Zweig´s memoirs, suicidal memoirs. Guilel definitely didn´t love me the way I wanted him since I desired him with might even though I never thought he was actually beautiful… His head was too large for his neck and body and that body was a little too fragile and feeble for a passionate encounter. Every time he was near me (and I think I am now more or less the age he was when we met) I was sexually aroused and I think Katherina knew this fully. How can I forget that beautiful summer night as she slept in the couch of my Jerusalem palace´s master bedroom and in the roaring darkness of the night we laughed bitterly and intensely about the troubles of love.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Blanchot: El desastre lo arruina todo, dejando todo como estaba… No cree en el desastre, no cabe creer en él, vívase o muérase. Ninguna fe que esté a la altura y, al mismo tiempo, una especie de desinterés, desinteresado por el desastre. Noche, noche blanca –así es el desastre, esa noche a la que falta la oscuridad, sin que la luz la despeje… ¿Escribir será, en el libro, volverse legible para todos y, para sí mismo, indescifrable?... Schleiermacher: al producir una obra, renuncio a producirme y a formularme a mí mismo, realizándome en algo exterior e inscribiéndome en la continuidad anónima de la humanidad – por eso la relación entre obra de arte y encuentro con la muerte: en ambos casos, nos acercamos a un umbral peligroso, a un punto crucial en el que bruscamente somos revertidos.
Note: To write means approaching a limit but not truth, because truth would be the death of the purpose of writing
Blanchot: Leer – no escribir; escribir en la interdicción de leer. Escribir – negarse a escribir – escribir por rechazo, de modo que basta que se le pidan algunas palabras para que se pronuncie una especie de exclusión, como si le obligaran a sobrevivir, a prestarse a la vida para seguir muriendo. Escribir por ausencia… Guardar silencio. El silencio no se guarda, no tiene consideración para la obra que pretendía guardarlo – es la exigencia de una espera que no tienen nada que esperar, de un lenguaje que, al suponerse totalidad de discurso, se gastase de golpe, se desuniese, se fragmentase sin fin… Y el filósofo es aquél que padece la violencia suprema, pero también acude a ella, porque la verdad que lleva en sí y pregona mediante el regreso es una forma de violencia… El escritor, su biografía: murió, vivió y murió… Escribe - ¿acaso escribe? – No porque lo dejen insatisfecho los libros de los demás (al contrario, le gustan todos), sino porque son libros y no se satisface uno escribiendo.
Lessing´s Laoccon: Too many indifferent portraits were not allowed among works of art. For although a portrait admits of being idealized, yet the likeness should predominate. It is the deal of a particular person, not the ideal of humanity.
In proportion to the intensity of feeling, the expression of features is intensified, and nothing is easier than to express extremes (p.13, note: I knew this quotation by heart through the years!)
When, for instance, Laocoon sights, imagination can hear him cry; but if he cry, imagination can neither mount a step higher, nor fall a step lower, without seeing him in a more endurable, and therefore less interesting, condition. We hear him merely groaning, or we see him already dead.
Lessing on Timomachus: He did not paint Medea at the moment of her actually murdering her children, but just before, when motherly love is still struggling with jealousy.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Perhaps my calm has a lot to do with accepting defeat. I wish I could write a lot more, but journals are not meant for philosophical fictions. I only hope for good news from Daisy, not even good news but miracles worked out from below. News from London, as if during the war, from London only good news could come through. Bad news from Berlin. The more I read about Laxness, the more I am convinced that it is in the criticism and “educated” reading of literature that the most radical political hermeneutics is at home – no one knew this better than the Jewish Marxists, Lukács, Benjamin and Bloch. The acts of literature – reading, writing, criticism, theory – are a lot closer to what a critical interpretation of the world would demand from readers; here all the most contradictory methodological tools are at play and they survive through the strife with pointed knives as they discover how a sentence can become present in a world or another. What is the philosophy of Auschwitz if not this “reading and writing” as experience, as non-instrumental and non-Kantian notions of “knowing a world” (and definitely anti-Heideggerian too, for Heidegger severed completely thinking from knowing and this is a Kantian movement) and as plausible experiments to write under the borderline conditions that writing itself requires? Writing not as the structural activity in which anthropologists are unable to distinguish in their analyses a genius novel from a shopping list. I mean here writing as a primal activity, writing as a “margin” of life, as a second-hand creation of oneself within the prosaic world where God is no longer naming things. If writing were mere story-telling (and story-telling is not just a “mere” anything undermined by academic discourse in the sense of what Páll Skúlason writes about practical problems and knowledge problems) then there could be no moral value or value at all attached to philosophical opinions; writing is a creative enterprise in the sense that the author can re-create life, de-construct in order to construe (it is a mistake to think that deconstruction is only shattering the building, although this might be an idea very widespread among the groupies of Heidegger and the theologians of the post-human anything) and to rescue himself and the surrounding from the butterfly effect of “traveling light” through the world as if a hotel lobby with anonymous guests.
Z.B.: But the memory of the past and trust in the future have been thus far the two pillars on which the cultural and moral bridges between transience and durability, human mortality and the immortality of human accomplishments, as well as taking responsibility and living by the moment, all rested.
Guy Debord: The controlling centre has now become occult: never to be occupied by a known leader, or clear ideology
Daisy´s religion: The church is closed but the glacier is open
Kundera: To write, means for the poet to crush the wall behind which something that “was always there” hides… Spokesmen for the obvious, self-evident and what we all believe, don´t we? Are false poets, says Kundera
Juan Goytisolo: “If one lives only in the present, one risks disappearing together with the present”
Z.B.: Rather than homelessness, the trick is to be at home in many homes, but to be in each inside and outside at the same time, to combine intimacy with the critical look of an outsider, involvement with detachment – a trick which sedentary people are unlikely to learn… For the exile, breaking rules is not a matter of free choice, but an eventuality that cannot be avoided… And in the absence of thought, the skating on thin ice which is the fate of fragile individuals in the porous world may well be mistaken for their destiny… Whoever willingly or by default partakes of the cover-up or, worse still, the denial of the human-made, non-inevitable, contingent and alterable nature of social order, notably of the kind of order responsible for unhappiness, is guilty of immorality – of refusing help to a person in danger.
Z.B. Grand Finale: The job of sociology is to see to it that the choices are genuinely, and that they remain so, increasingly so, for the duration of humanity.
What to do when the family home becomes a hell and no longer a home? What to do when you always knew this and that the facts of the world are in charge of reminding you the accuracy of your intuition?
Note from Steiner: In writing the Ursprung, Benjamin was reading Lukács´s History & Class Consciousness; it was striking and, in a sense, validating, observed Benjamin, that Lukács, operating from wholly political premises, should have reached epistemological conclusions very similar to those he himself was not expounding. This is explicated in letters to Scholem from that period… The reader that Benjamin envisaged for the serious part of his work was, literally, posthumous.
What a postwar professor said about Benjamin´s Ursprung: “Geist kann man nicht habilitieren”
On tragedy (Steiner): Tragödie and Trauerspiel are radically distinct, in metaphysical foundation and executive genre. Tragedy is grounded in myth. It acts out a rite of heroic sacrifice. In its fulfillment of this sacrificial-transcendent design, tragedy endows the hero with the realization that he is ethically in advance of the gods, that his sufferance of good and evil, of fortune and desolation, has projected him into a category beyond the comprehension of the essentially innocent though materially omnipotent deities (Artemis´ flight from the dying Hippolytus, Dionysus´ myopia exceeding the blindness of Pentheus). This realization compels the tragic hero to silence, and here Benjamin is strongly influenced by Rosenzweig´s concept of the meta-ethical condition of tragic man. The Trauerspiel, on the contrary, is not rooted in myth but in history.
Note: This meta-ethical is certainly a copyright of Kierkegaard and by tour de passage it is an essentially über-political movement that hails more to the end of the world as an individual than it does toward the configuration of any life in public whatsoever.
Note: Warburg killed Benjamin, killed him more than death could
Note on Benjamin´s citability: At last I understand the hermeneutic passage when Rosenzweig says “das jüdische ist meine Methode, nicht mein Gegestand”; both were engaged in a Jewish movement similar to what I had thought of once when thinking of translating Eveline´s ark: To write a Talmudic commentary to life from the sources of modern thought. (just a moment after I wrote this, I realized that this is precisely what Steiner expounded just a few lines later)
The grand finale of Steiner´s prologue to the Ursprung: The publication of this monograph in English, in 1977, under this imprint, is pregnant with ironies. What English-speaking reader has ever glanced at the plays and allegories which Benjamin would, though indirectly, resuscitate? Where could he find them? The mandarins and aestheticians with whom Benjamin seeks his quarrels are long forgotten. The German-Jewish community of which he was a late ornament lies in cinders. Benjamin himself died a hunted fugitive. Had he lived, Walter Benjamin would doubtless have been skeptical of any “New Left”. Like every man committed to abstruse thought and scholarship, he knew that not only the humanities, but humane and critical intelligence itself, resides in the always-threatened keeping of the very few. Trauerspiel is beautifully apt: a presentment of man´s suffering and cruelty, made bearable through stately, even absurd form. A play of sorrow.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Sharon Zukin: Voters and elites – a broadly conceived middle class in the United States – could have faced the choice of approving government policies to eliminate poverty, manage ethnic competition, and integrate everyone into common public institutions. Instead, they chose to buy protection, fuelling the growth of the private security industry.
Z.B.: The blood-curling and nerve-breaking specter of unsafe streets keeps people away from public spaces and turns them away from seeking the art and the skills needed to share public life.
Sennett (The Mask of Public Man): Civility is the activity which protects people from each other and yet allows them to enjoy each other´s company. Wearing a mask is the essence of civility. Masks permit pure sociability, detached from the circumstances of power, malaise, and private feelings of those who wear them. Civility has as its aim the shielding of others from being burdened with oneself.
Z.B.: The snag, though, it that the feeling of a common identity is a counterfeit of experience.
Z.B. on Claude Levi-Strauss: Levi-Strauss, the greatest cultural anthropologist of our time, suggested in Tristes tropiques that just two strategies were deployed in human history whenever the need arose to cope with the otherness of others: one was the anthropoemic, the other was anthropophagic strategy. The first strategy consisted in “vomiting”, spitting out the others seen as incurably strange and alien: barring physical contact, dialogue, social intercourse and all varieties of cummercium, commensality or connubium. The extreme variants of the emic strategy are now, as always, incarceration, deportation and murder. The upgraded, refined (modernized) forms of the emic strategy are spatial separation, urban ghettos, selective access to spaces and selective barring from using them. The second strategy consists in a soi-distant disalienation of alien substances: ingesting, devouring foreign bodies and spirits so that they may be made, through metabolism, identical with, and no longer distinguishable from, the ingesting body. This strategy took an equally wide range of forms: from cannibalism to enforced assimilation – cultural crusades, wars of attrition declared on local customs, calendars, cults, dialects and other prejudices and superstitions. If the first strategy was aimed at the exile or annihilation of the others, the second was aimed at the suspension or annihilation of their otherness.
A definition of Modernity: A history of time… Modernity is the time when time has a history
Z.B.: If people were pressed hard to explain what they meant by “space” and “time”, they could have said that space is what you can pass in a given time, while time is what you need to pass it… the effectiveness of time as a means of value-attainment tends to approach infinity, with the paradoxical effect of leveling up (or rather down) the value of all units in the field of potential objectives.
Another book I must look for: “Bureaucratic phenomenon” by Michel Crozier
Susan Sontag on Laxness: “Under the Glacier is at least as much a philosophical novel as a dream novel. It is also one of the funniest books ever written”
Sontag: The long prose fiction called the novel, for want of a better name, has yet to shake off the mandate of its normality as promulgated in the 19th century: to tell a story peopled by characters whose options and destinies are those of ordinary, so-called real life. Narratives that deviate from this artificial norm and tell other kind of stories, or appear not to tell much of a story at all, draw on traditions that are more venerable than those of the 19th century, but still, to this day, seem innovative or ultraliterary or bizarre. I am thinking of novels that proceed largely through dialogue; novels that are relentlessly jocular (and therefore seem exaggerated) or didactic; novels whose characters spend most of their time musing to themselves or debating with a captive interlocutor about spiritual and intellectual issues; novels that tell of the initiation of an ingenuous young person into mystifying wisdom or revelatory abjection; novels with characters who have supernatural options, like shape-shifting and resurrection; novels that evoke imaginary geography. It seems odd to describe “Gulliver´s Travels” or “Candide” or “Tristram Shandy” or “Jacques the Fatalist and His Master” or “Alive in Wonderland” or Gershenzon and Ivanov´s “Correspondence From Two Corners” or Kafka´s “The Castle” or Hesse´s “Steppenwolf” or Woolf´s “The Waves” or Olaf Stapledon´s “Odd John” or Gombrowicz´s “Ferdydurke” or Calvino´s “Invisible Cities” or, for that matter, porno narratives, simply as novels. To make the point that these occupy the outlying precincts of the novel´s main tradition, special labels are invoked. Science fiction. Tale, fable, allegory. Philosophical novel. Dream novel. Visionary novel. Literature or fantasy. Wisdom lit. Spoof. Sexual turn-on.
Sontag: Imagining the exceptional, which is often understood as the miraculous, the magical or the supernatural, is a perennial job of storytelling… A philosophical novel generally proceeds by setting up a quarrel with the very notion of novelistic invention. One common device is to present the fiction as the document, something found or recovered, often after its author´s death or disappearance: research or writing in manuscript, a diary, a cache of letters. Note: Epistolary writing, that´s the landmark of the philosophical novel.
On the writing of Saga as such: Time and space do not exist. Time and space are mutable in the dream novel, the dream play. Time can always be revoked. Space is multiple.
Natalie M. Van Deusen: More than anything else, scholars have analyzed the way in which Laxness´s writing style, particularly in “Iceland´s Bell” and “The Happy Warrior”, imitates the terse and objective style employed by the authors of the Sagas of Icelanders.
Note: Icelandic lacks basic color terms for orange and purple, but there are more than 150 non-basic color terms
“einsog taglið á norðurljósunum“ / “like the streamers of the northern lights” (Laxness)
“men sjái speglast hver í annars augum sannfærínguna um fánýti þess að vera til“ / “people see reflected in each other´s eyes the conviction that existence is futile” (Laxness)
I am lagging behind with a lot of writing, as if laziness settled in again, or not laziness, it´s much more fear than laziness. Over the weekend there was nothing I craved more for than alcohol, but the result was quite disappointing (and even more the next day after I drank again) not exactly because I resent the aftereffects of alcohol but because I felt next to nothing, and was plain forced to be a witness to this show of compliments being thrown from person to person, endlessly. I guess that so much of my current lucidity has to do with the fact not only that I am not enjoying alcohol that much but also that I am enjoying being lucid all the time; I would want to taste a delicate whiskey in the company of someone I desire, to sip it very slow like a choice nectar, and to wrap myself into the body of the other, that the drink might be only a ritual passage from acquaintance to lust. I met the so-called Sergio at last and no matter how much less attractive (the right word to use would be actually, beautiful) I found him, his company was certainly delightful but it was so much lacking in flirtatiousness. Or perhaps the ailment was the fact that he didn´t desire me at all and then I was played with the same token of appreciation I condescendingly offered other people: to socialize without any sexual tension at all and even to enjoy it. Then I can´t certainly know what the deal with me is; if I succeeded in entertaining but failed in seducing both Mario and Sergio who here my seniors by at least fifteen years each, how could I even aspire to seduce the young? To take delight in their fresh foamy skins and in the completely rebellious and impious nature of their physicality? I don´t have an answer to this. My sexual stagnation is so complete that I think it´s been more than a year since a man made love to me; thus it is not in any way devastating to find out to how many people my instincts draw me amidst the most cordial quotidianity of things. Quotidianity is a word I learnt just recently from Zygmunt Baumann, a French calque = alltags Leben, cotidianité, everyday life. At different junctions of the recent weeks I´ve swiftly walked into the despair of not yet being able to leave this place, but the fact that there´s at least the tiniest bit of intellectual honesty and non-pretentious irony in me; that´s the fuel that helps me get through the days. I´ve definitely learnt so much lately, or maybe it´s just that I´m only now able to put up with the life challenges posited on my shipwreck by the philosophical projects I´ve myself devised for myself with the craft of an artisan but without being at all mindful of the consequences. I guess this is no longer a winter in Jerusalem but a gray and ever-expanding year-after-year in Bogotá and this is why I´m so much more inclined to accept the presuppositions, suppositions and preposterous consequences of my acts and even more than my acts, of my far remote thoughts. However I´m still aware of the facts that I haven´t taken all the risks as yet, but I am certain that I will; that the world will offer itself to me as in the past but in a more total, less consequential and far more colonizing fashion than ever before. I need a lot of time to digest my readings from the last weeks, perhaps as much time as I needed to digest Hannah Arendt from that reckless Israeli summer down to these selfsame pages; odds are that I don´t have that much lifetime, I have to grapple with a life, ride it, conquer it, overcome it.
At least I understand a bit of the reason behind German Post-Colonialism in both the Left and Right Wing fashion. To colonize doesn´t mean only to jump into the oceans and sail to far distant lands in order to christen the heathen wherever they might be. Colonialism is a primary instinct in which the unhappy consciousness of the individual is turned over against to the Absolute in order to conquer it with the blink of an eye. Colonialism is the theology of palliative care of medieval institutions, it´s the society of therapeutics that is meant to replace God at the workplace while still championing his cause over the entire earth. Then if our ideas about this kind of colonialism are correct, this German Post-Colonialism does exist and it is not only secular-eschatological, but both pre-religious and religious and irreligious; and if this is true the whole situation is a lot more dangerous than what the critics might have thoughts and a lot more impossible to cure with the wonders of modern life that only seem to accentuate day after day the imminent necessity to be dependent on the Absolute at the price of being nowhere and of sacrificing everything for the present. Writing in a specific tense is something that no one can really achieve… By definition the act of writing must cleave toward eternity, and not necessarily toward immortality of works alone because we might have as well abandoned that pretension and replaced it with the joyous movement of transience which unfolds when the now is understood as fragments of the eternal but caged in the casuistry of necessity. Philosophical tautology of Modernity: A moment in time. Modernity is not only antinomian but more dualistic than anything prior: Time and space are constants that can be interpreted independently of contextual approaches to the absolute time-space relation are all too theoretical and seem to thicken the forest of metaphysical associations that this time lead to no other divine place than supermarkets and shopping malls. Man is divided after a this-worldly divine and there´s no escape, no passage into heaven and no indictment for hell. Everything breaks down to traffic jams and the lust after hamburgers. I have this urge not to write everything, as if I had to struggle to develop this into something so private that it can reach the public without the guilt condemnation of self-assertion. Sergio has achieved the impossible: He dated the Israeli Ambassador, and how much I wish I could even date anyone or anything. The mysterious Meron Reuben, wedded to Paola (this I know from having worked for Perla Douer; who I wished would have loved me a little more); I can´t be sure whether I remember the guy was in anyway beautiful or remarkable but he certainly didn´t appear to me as a bad person, although I could swear that I saw him only once, maybe I saw him later at the synagogue during the High Holidays. Sergio flirting with the man who, should I flirt with him, could save my life from this endless series of internal and external tragedies – Mr. Ambassador. Perhaps that´s the gift of people that are not so self-aware, they can fly above the city lights without even being bothered by the atmospheric pressure like in those strange but beautiful and comfortable dreams I had in which I dreamt I was flying over instead of walking; coupled together with the other set of dreams in which I was driving from Guasca into Bogotá with Jeffrey Valle, coming from the dairy form in the company of whiskey and cocaine and after falling asleep, I would find myself in a bus that would stop in an Israeli town during a summer noon. I would get off the bus in order to find my way through the city and I was compelled to cry bitterly as I wouldn´t find it, but yet there was nowhere to go and even more than that, I wanted to go nowhere. Home seems a bad word now; it can only mean bad things: A violent father, a religion I never accepted officially or unofficially, a grey winter morning, the loveless absence of faces that I vividly remember without feeling anything any longer. I have to indulge in the hermeneutic irresponsibility to avoid the possibility of the home for as long as I like, for as long as I am young and undeadened by powers that be. I don´t want to be eclectic, but I can´t help it… I want a notion of love that won´t be even Romantic in the cultural sense, I want to love so lucidly that the gain will be the greatest loss while it is true that that kind of love might yield to nothing similar to passion for someone.
I applied for a part-time job at the British Embassy which I hope very much I won´t get, because then I would have to explicate myself why I am not leaving, how come I don´t have a bag or books or any clothes to show for myself as symptoms of being utterly alive. I would have to explicate myself that this is not just a passing station but a permanent checkpoint that keeps the future locked for just enough time as it takes me to realize that I´m not living in reality; that I know the facts well but that I´m unwilling to accept them, both theoretically and practically. I don´t even theoretically accept what´s happening to me: That I´m poor and uneducated, without any love or sex life, that I´m dying and dying (two kinds of death: the death of life and the death of illness), that I shall not see my most beloved friends again, that Jerusalem looms as far as the most distant galaxy could. That I don´t write for success or for standing out… It´s merely an activity that keeps me from pursuing both kinds of death in a more orderly fashion; that writing is my only private moment, it´s my only feeling. Yet, it would be too easy if I could just accept defeat, if all the facts were so clear, if there were a clairvoyant signal of this irresolute but vanquishing defeat – nothing could be further from the facts of the times. Daisy Neijmann seems to stand for the kind of professor that I always dreamt that existed; the imaginary Jewish philosopher and master that I envisioned for myself ever since I read Hannah Arendt for the first time and that however great, Eveline, failed to live up in every possible personal aspect. Notwithstanding Eveline will always remain the greater of my masters, the first, and the only, without deference to her failures. I feel unable to judge her in her grandeur that is yet such a solitary confinement to this world and its losses. If anyone thinks that Eveline is less of a failure than I am, this person is mistaken, and that´s where all our strength lies. The philosophy of Auschwitz is not a philosophy, it is a constant testimony that can only be superseded with one´s own death. This testimony is not a concept or a content, it´s just a fragile idea about a possibility of something that we don´t know yet. But Daisy, she´s nothing of a philosopher – a lecturer in Icelandic; she´s willing to go as far as to make a case for me so that I can actually go and study… that´s a lot more than what Eveline would be willing to do, she wouldn´t even bother to write a recommendation letter for me, or what´s worse, she wouldn´t even bother to tell me personally that she wouldn´t write it for some reason. Is there any philosophical misgiving worse than not trusting a pupil? Yet my deference doesn´t change. We know the facts, we learnt them by heart, from the great masters; the weight of their teachings cannot be emasculated even by their own vicarious indifference.
This is also a statement for freedom for myself and not freedom as in freedom from religion: From this point on I might be also able to choose my life, to toy with Christianity for a bit longer, to turn away from Judaism for a lot longer, to rejoice in the world and also to be poignantly critical about it. To be embarrassed and taken aback at the same time and about the same world, to turn oneself radically to the pleasures of that world and yet to decry the complacency of instrumental pleasures. Now I get that it is not freedom what I discuss but uncertainty, possibility and aporia. I definitely believe in a God, but I don´t know exactly how I do it or under which premises, because I stand for the most secular aspirations of a modern soul, breaking through the boundaries of identity politics of gender, religion, nation, discipline, etc. venturing into the aporia of speculation. Although this secularity might signal more of a Christian vocation than a philosophical instinct; a Christian vocation tainted and poisoned by a very contemptuous Judaism, an orphan Judaism learnt from the mouths of other men without any wisdom to offer than their own bodies, and learnt from the drunk and excited movements of Christian lovers. The Christian vocation could live up to the most ascetic and anti-modernistic standards, lest it be not for the philosophy of Auschwitz.