For once instead of trying do what you have always done. If there is such a thing. Cut the crap. And do it. Yes. Just do it. In case pretend it is something. Something rather than nothing. That last part not compulsory. Keep your options open. Take the pulse, pretend accordingly. Who knows, someone might believe it. Believe you, that is. No, no, it won’t work. But nothing worked. So far. True. What then? Yes, like that. What are your options? Try something else? There is nothing else. The usual refrain. So grim so early. Good. Ask again. What are your options? Do nothing? Untenable, says one. Nope, says another, categorically. Not under my watch. All right, all right, others concede. Better get on, then, they opine. Same time last year I talked about sleep, and that was rubbish. This year I shall talk about, let me see, this and that, this or that, yes, sounds good, and that’ll be rubbish again. Most likely. Under my vicious, meticulous watch. Oh yes. Perhaps, before it all, I should articulate some of the stages of realisation, the sequence of wreckages, if you will, that occur once mediocrity, genitrix of all shit, holds untrammelled sway. Stages and sequence all wrong. There is none. Precisely. Movement without shift, without shock, without change. That’s what it is. More gets done. Not better. The manner may vary. The truth of it, on the other hand. The hamster in the wheel. Grim. Good. Well articulated. Done. So. Rubbish then, as said, rubbish now. This seemingly never ending shuffling of elements. Progress? I should say so. Optimism, optimism. Against odds, lots of them. No rustier anvil to crush the skull of your enemies. I need an idea. How about becoming mechanical? Stop thinking. Let it speak through you. Already too sentimental for my taste. But if it works. Try and make it pretty, at least. Chaotic-mechanical? Why not. Sounds rather good. Or precisely the contrary. Think, but think mechanically, let it think, et cetera. It would be great. Instead of this, all this, the vain babbling, epitome of non-thought, so pervasive in its emptiness it verges on the inexplicable. Haha. So, that could be it, root the mechanism, some mechanism, at the very heart of your mind, pave the way, first cobbles in the marsh, that may lead, a millennium or so later, to the advent of algorithms. As if there was anything else that could be called thought anyway. Haha. Grandiose metaphors aside, it is somewhat interesting. Cogitatio siue Machina, if you will. Yes. I’m all for it. Worse. I confess. I’m loving it. Fuck. All this meta bullshit. If there’s one single plague. One anvil you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy’s skull. That’s the one. Unfettered metaspeak. Your own little hell, isn’t it? Metahell! Metashit! Right, right. It is weird, as in, concerning, however, the way you think. Quite frankly. How could anyone be interested in such a thing? But no one’s interested. Ah, yes, almost forgot. Liar. Okay, okay, give me a break. Perhaps I lack pop elements. Something cheerful and fashionable. Contagious. The viral angels of our nature. That could be a good wish. Reincarnate as a pandemic. Keep in mind for later. So. As just proven, weirdness remains. More importantly. You keep thinking. Display exterior signs thereof. Good, good. Anything you can get is good. At this stage. After all the wrong choices. I certainly am far less myself than planned, that’s for sure. If myself at all. But you should have known better. It’s only the old exile identity conflict. Same old. This or that, yes, pertaining to you alone. The irrelevant bits. But most of it, let’s admit it, is just migration as usual. And mediocrity. Take this love-hatred of the UK, love-hatred of London, gripping you at times. Most of the time. How can this not be the hackneyed translation of the other thing? Personal stuff I project onto this or that. Everything I touch. Darth Midas, or something. Crap instead of gold, a brand-new twist. So twentieth century. But not so bad for a username, keep it for later. Seriously. Why do I even stay here? English skills? Meat pies? I should leave. I should have left. Why have I moved in the first place? Is all this some sort of punishment? Punishment as exile? Exile as torture? I must leave. Yes, I shall leave. More blather. All those ancillary questions. Agency. And loss thereof. That is the real thing. It is right to talk about loss? Is it even tenable to think I ever had any? Not some kind of Eden thinking? Perhaps, perhaps. Some even think it is the opposite: more agency now, if any, than ever before. Retroactive projection of said gains onto some glorified, mythic past. You, now, are the mythmaker. The mythsmith. Right. Always have been, others grin, always will be. Right. Still, there is this situation. This predicament. My values as if fucked. Somehow. Deep-fucked. Yes, it has to do with values. What happened? It does feel like downfall. Or perhaps not quite. But at least a dent. A nasty one. Years after still hurting. Years after not clear when it could cease. Heal. Whether it ever would. It’s getting boring. Let’s project it all onto something. Downfall of British literature in the twentieth century, for instance, why not. Woolf the last prophetess. Then all mournful wimps, Eliot, Larkin doubling down, I wish I could like Orwell more, he is quite something, I concede, then the suicided avant-garde, Johnson, Quin, all the way down to Kane. Then whoop, let’s pretend, sometimes with the swagger of the money cunts themselves, that we are back among Victorians. Sales are success. Reality is magic. Musicals are music. Of money cunts one must remain silent. Rubbish, rubbish. There is no downfall. Only you, your ignorance, your failure, your multifarious distastes. Take Borges, for instance. He would not have partaken in the gloom. Oh no. As tempting as it is. After all, he liked Chesterton. He comments on his long-lasting love for English literature in his formidable lectures at Harvard University, 1967-8. Proof that one can be avant-garde and conservative at the same time. Just like Nabokov, he can’t stand the last Joyce. No surprise there. The mirror is too broken, the razor too sharp. Razor! Such a serendipitous encounter! Nothing better to crawl, Marlon Brando style, from the edge of one thought fragment to another. I think it is fair to say I cut, except it was in my brain and I used Beckett for a blade. I still do, though. At times. When nothing better to do. A bit abrupt for my taste, this transition, but to go on. Conclusion? What doesn’t kill you doesn’t make you anything. It just doesn’t kill you. That’s it. Imagine telling that to your 18 years old self. You really keep deluding yourself. Imagine telling that to yourself. Now. For real. Here we go. Haha. Horror. Life without change. No matter what you do. No leap. No paradigms shift. The same plane of nonexistence. Hell, etc. Perec to the rescue. He would respectfully disagree. Quite the contrary, he would say, with his benevolent smile, patting your self-mortified shoulders. It is once you step out of the whole killing, horror, unbearability, and the rest of your teenage bollocks, that you may start living. And, who knows, perhaps even writing. Not in fact the most improbable scenario. You just realise at some point that you did in fact live. A shit, broken, self-destructed life, you may say. But a life nonetheless. The ‘vivifying air’, the blade called it. Speaking of which, the question remains of where all this skull shit comes from. You do fantasise a lot about China these days. Perhaps some corrupt inner mayor thought it might be good to try and emulate Beijing or Shanghai? Industrialize heavily. Take bribes. Go grey! Smog rulezzz! Right. Seems like we reached a bit of an impasse. How about talking about the news. For a change. A waste of time, but you don’t seem to have anything else to do. Plus Brits love it. Same as talking about the weather. Who doesn’t like the news anyway. These days. Cocaine of the people. The hours you spent reading the Financial Times, the Economist, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Independent, Bloomberg, Le Monde, le Monde Diplomatique, le Courrier International, Der Spiegel, die Süddeutsche Zeitung, die Frankfurter Allgemeine, die Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Le Temps, the South China Morning Post, among others. The hours you spent listening to Obama, Bernie Sanders, Martin Wolf, Yanis Varoufakis, Thomas Piketty, Lawrence Summers, Paul Collier, longer list required here, on Europe, the 2008 crisis, the financial system, economic inequality, global migration, war, even longer list here as well. To what avail? Data collection is as good a distraction as any. Not true. A distraction of an inferior kind. Like, say, real estate. Demeaning. So much shit in this skull. Even more painful is the admission that the Financial Times by far the best in the UK, perhaps the world. The Guardian good, but weaker. The Times, like the BBC, pandering to mainstream sentimentality, when not plain frivolous. Going too far here. You just don’t like their websites. Let’s leave it at that. Who cares anyway? Go on. Economic values still the core ideological strength of the United Kingdom. Nothing revolutionary in saying that. Exactly like saying that Putin’s Russia is mainly about the military. Still, this focus on economic matters, as essential as it may be to understand the underpinnings of this and that, will always be an inferior one. I still dream of a society that would put R&D, that is, science, the arts, philosophy, and social issues at the forefront of everything. I would dream to read journalists railing against too big to fail institutions, speaking of universities. We are still far too primitive. We, they, must think, live beyond business. Business is at best the second step in the development of societies. Imagine some sort of Maslow pyramid: at the bottom, military might, survival; then comes the economy; and above, everything that matters. Where civilisation starts. Sure, better to have them as hedge fund managers than as soldiers. One small step for mankind, one giant leap for neocons. But the regress! The regress compared to what they could have been. All these people. Wasted. Stop thinking about it. Brings you down every fucking time. Besides, this is not forever. We’ll get there, we’ll get there. In the meantime. The sad sadness of the screwed. The fucking jouissance of the fuckers. Get over it. Stop thinking about it, I said. A pity, I thought for a moment this might help stopping me think about myself. I’m sp late. Late, late. Here we go again. There is that generation, still haunting me, still killing me, that last generation, pretty weak around these parts, but still, somewhat alive, but after that, the great, dire wasteland. Just ignorance again. And trajectory. And failure. Don’t be like that, it’s getting better, especially looking at it from an overoptimistic point of view. It’s taking too long, that’s just it. And I’m getting old fast, real fast. But apart from that, business as usual. And so, in this nasty, dreary business, I’m usually, if excruciatingly, on the side of the old rearguard, watching the seemingly unstoppable expansion of kitsch. Fucking kitsch. It’s fine. I shall find my allies. In due course. Patience, remember, patience is the great thing. Cut the quoting, fucker, especially him, especially them. Once and for all. It’s bad for you. Steal, don’t quote. Quoting is for losers. Just like bad habits, all you need to do is quit. Quit now, or risk oblivion. Your mind is way too full of them anyway. Can’t seem to think for yourself for more than three words. Pathetic. Perhaps it’s a phase? Let’s hope so. Or else. Yes. Or else indeed. Where were we? The news, the news. The news or women? The news. Secondary sector crisis. In 1929 it was the primary sector, mostly, according to a YouTube video. Then shit happened. But later, inexorably, the part of the workforce working in the primary, and now the secondary sectors, dwindled. I’m surprised to see so few people talking about the already well engaged slowdown of the tertiary sector. Hot topic for the next meltdown. And we haven’t even started thinking about the quaternary or quinary sectors! Probably not true. Again. Just me being misinformed. I wonder if it’s getting any better at any point. Or if it keeps being as dreary as it has been, as it is, as in all likelihood it is going to carry on being. For ever and ever. It would be good if it were. Eventually. Auspicious it would be. Fortunate. Essential. Shut up. I used to be great at forbidding myself stuff. Forbid and focus, could have been my motto. Sadly there came a point where there was nothing allowed left. Still, I was good at that. Probably not unlike the aforementioned literary cutting. What am I good at these days? Maybe I should go back to it again. Just to try. Guilty pleasure. Right now it seems like it’s going to be some more FT.com stuff. Apologies for any inconvenience. Progressivism and government size. As a proportion of GDP. The size of governments in developed nations rose throughout the twentieth century (UK: from less than 20% in 1900 to more than 40% now; Germany: same starting point, currently around 45%; France similar, growing to over 55%; even the US: from a few percentage points in 1900 to around 35% in recent years; similar situation in Japan). It might be now too big in some countries. A common theme in anti-French bashing. But this size is not as directly correlated with economic success as these bashers would wish. See Scandinavia, perhaps the most efficient example of market capitalism in the world. On the other hand, there seems to be a near certain correlation between this gradual increase in size and progress in productivity, overall economic and technological development, education levels, et cetera. Fun to think that from this perspective Western Europe remains the most advanced place on Earth, ahead of the US, that are only now catching up with the momentous legacy of European supremacy. Look at their psychosis over planned parenthood, health care, guns. Primitive, I’m telling you. But getting there, getting there. Almost a century after the shift in military and economic power. Similarly, you could also have China overtaking the US as the number one superpower at some point in the twenty-first century, while remaining behind in terms of human and political development, social structures, and the like, for one more century. Looking at government sizes is also telling in two other examples: the current size of the Russian and Chinese governments with regard to their respective GDP is lower than in OECD countries. As if Communism had been some huge inflation bubble. Going the right direction, as is well known. Just insanely. Hence a few issues. Bled themselves to death, among other mishaps. Recently discovered that the USSR had had a New Economic Policy phase, from 1921 to 1929. Before Stalin came and purged. That phase, that might have brought USSR on the path that China followed half a century later, was intensely studied by Deng Xiaoping when he devised his economic reforms for China in the 70s, that would lead to the largest economic and social boom in human history. 160 million people moving from rural to urban areas. Are you done already? Other fun detail. When the US took over, it could feel like the secularising progress in Europe, centuries of struggle, had come to a halt. Back we were under the aegis of God, country and family. But now, unless something goes really wrong the big guy out there will be secular. Secular proper. Communist. Red Princes & Oligarchs Communism of course, but still. As in, if they ever invade countries under the pretext of of dislodging dictators, it will be Communist states they will spawn, not ‘democracies’. So ironic. The story, as usual, is more complex, and, focus, focus, at the end of the day the enemy lies within. Traditional religions are being dissolved internally by economic development, rising education levels, that sort of thing, more than anything. Even in mighty, God-fearing America, affiliation is on the wane. The example of Russia works as well: as if they had tried to leapfrog certain fundamental steps. From Czarist rule over an agrarian society straight to total state and absolute irreligion. No wonder it went wrong. Pushing things a little too far, it is not even that hard to see Putin as an instrument of steps towards secularisation, even in the negative. The ‘artificial’ Soviet framework gone, the country still recovering from the insane chaos and corruption of the 90s, his conservatism, authoritarianism, Saint Vladimir statue and cozying with patriarchs simply in line with the country’s current stage of development. You let that brew, preferably without instability or war, and with the pace of economic progress seen in the past 15 years, it’s only going to be a few decades before all the nasty, rigid stuff melts, under the pressure of prosperity. The big tree under ice or concrete. Anyway. Is that what it wants me to talk about? And by it do I mean they? So banal. Worth my time? I wonder. Seems hard to believe. Quite a feat, to be honest, to sustain this shit for that long. The hours put in. The hours to come. Absurd. Defeat of the mind. I must have fallen into madness. At some point. Alluring explanation. Or despair. Disrepair. You pick. All of this born from Despair’s thigh. Enough. This would explain that. But perhaps it is the other way around. You wish you were mad. Damaged. For real. Utterly fucked. Leading to something. Something different. Something sick. But maybe you are not. Maybe you are just. Normal. Maybe. Probably. Another enticing explanation. So, which one is it? I don’t know about you, but I can see straight away that we are not going to go anywhere with this. Let others decide. yes. Let them deal with it. I did try. I give up. That does ring true, doesn’t it? Given up on most things. On what matters. The very idea of being, that kind of thing. No, no, wrong. Quite the contrary. You’re obsessed with it. It’s getting worse. This could be the time when I talk about Lucian Freud. News or women, that was the question, wasn’t it? It was, it was. Sad. Would have been nice to comment on his first horse sculpture, for instance. Beautiful. Anyway. Women it is. Girls, girls. Overly optimistic, as usual. That is how they got you to sign up, is it not? I didn’t sign anything. Sluts, slags, bitches, bewitching my disenfranchised cock, that’s all me. Must have been too much Baudelaire, Laclos and Sade when young. Proust was well, come to think of it. He liked whips and dungeons. Aren’t you ashamed. Not really. All the time. You don’t make sense. Let’s try and think this through. Perhaps it’s the excessive consistency? Defeating the whole purpose. Like pain. Imagine. If pain constant. Then no relief, no discrepancy. No waltz from pain to nonpain and back. Therefore as if none at all. At least from the point of view of action. The spur thereto. None at all. Yet act you must. Oh yes. And motherfucking fast. Focus, focus. I already left women I loved, overstatement here, careful, for the idea, the theoretical idea that true life could only be attained by picking up strangers from public places and fuck their unknown brains out. Such a disaster. Worst being, when it comes to the actual picking, I am as shy, lame and ineffectual as I ever was. It remains a triumph if I even speak to an unknown, sexually attractive female during a housewarming party. Let alone fuck her. Let alone in a club, on the street, on dating apps, never worked for me. And yet. Despite it all. The Idea rules. So strong, so crushing. I would be surprised if there wasn’t some anvil involved, somewhere. What a fine dictator I would make. Picture that for me, will you? That is why it is crucial that I succeed in the arts. Lest my feeble, deranged mind be tempted by the founding of some loud-mouthed, pint-swilling party, gatherings in some venerable pub. Thursdays 7 o’clock, at the Cittie of Yorke. We would talk Badiou and consequences. That would be a good one. Crazy how every time I think about my references everything feels lame. As if it was all dead. Long gone. Perhaps it’s because they believe that. Who they? The whole lot of them. They believe that and I believe them. Cunts, if you ask me. But I’m guessing that’s not for me to say. Besides, they are in power. Big time. Hardly ever heard anything as ridiculous. But ridicule, like depression, is bottomless. Full of fucking surprises. Can’t wait. Where where are we? Ah, yes, consequences. And lameness. Lameness of my loves. Even just mentioning Badiou in English feels wrong. I can’t say I’ve come across anyone writing ‘theory’ in English whom I haven’t found really quite lame. Except the feminists, the analytics. The rest? All weak, all inferior. That does make me sad. Probably just me being fucked up. But haven’t found any solution to it. And if I start mentioning Badiou, babbling about consequences, it’s also going to be lame as well. Perhaps better not start in the first place. Come on. One attempt. Let’s do it. Basically his whole philosophy is you’ve got to go ahead. Plod on, quoting the blade again. Plod the fuck on. Stuff comes up randomly. You deal with it. Check if it’s good or not good. Your thing not your thing. Then in retrospect, if you’re kickass, but really only if you rock, otherwise it’s all for noting, next to nothing, nothing that matters to me, that whole trajectory will have been revolutionary, world-shaping, et cetera. Yes. More specific, man, more specific. Yes, so the cool thing, which is quite banal in a way, when you think about it, certainly what the analytics will say, the cool thing is that the new, the next step, it’s here, already, always already here, in our world, but unseen, unseeable, scattered, disseminated, an unknown possibility composed of bits of what already exists, but bits that, together, are still outside anything anyone can think of, anyone in this world. And so what you do is carry on, as said, checking bits, not seeing where you go, but going there, with enthusiasm, oh yes, enthusiasm and strength, yes, proud random walker that you are, one more doubtbag on the street, roll further, if further it is, on and on, until perhaps something of it all will have amounted to something. Brilliant plan, isn’t it? Baldrick would be proud. Oh yes. The Turnip Plan, that’s what it is, to get us all back on track, back and kicking, back and roaring, yes, that’s what they want, that’s what you want, for sure, no doubt about it. What now. Hesitancy. Yet again. I see two courses of action. One is, go foul, and just rant about the motherfucking cunts I hate so much, fatherfisting cunts, yes, fouler, fouler, daughterpimping shitheads, shithearts, you can do fouler. As usual, you remain one little disappointing shit. Or, there is an or, carry on with the details of the generic truth procedure. Could do. Not clear which option is best. Perhaps a mixture of both. Cumming in mouths, if only, while deliberating with inner philosophers on the respective status of mathematics in Badiou and Plato’s works. Cumming on faces, if only, thinking of the dumb fucking mentors that broke the shit out of me, my shitty fucking life choices and their dismantling repercussions, while once more, no, that doesn’t work, you don’t do it nearly often enough, while refreshing my memory on the technicalities of indiscernibility, names, conditions, in Cohen’s theory of forcing, et cetera. Last but not least, cumming in arses, if only, while reopening Number and Numbers, Logics of Worlds, properly studying John Horton Conway’s theory of surreal numbers, Heyting algebras, Alexander Grothendieck’s topos theory. Grand, ecstatic abstract landscapes. Uncut shit. All so very fucking cool. But some fear, and I can’t disagree, my mind is too fucked now for this kind of fun. And too old, and too old. Never underestimate the age of the captain. There is no too old to get to the bottom of girls, ask Hugh Hefner, but for the high spheres of mathematics, this is another story. Ah, vulgarity, *quand tu nous tiens. *A piece by Pound comes to mind. ‘The Temperaments’, it is called. It’s about two guys. One, Florialis, seems to have quite an outrageous sex life. He’s very reserved. The other one, Bastidides, talks porn all day long. Gets cheated on big time. Go look it up, it’s nice. Might even be about Joyce. All this to say, foul thy tongue has been, shall be, foul as thou art, foul as fart, straight from the Queen’s arse, oh yes, the best of discharges. Is it too late to swap it all for a more robust sex life? Just one more symptom of failure on the list, who would dispute it, but also, some say, unconvincingly, the remains of wit. Remains. Note the irremissible optimism. Still there. Despite the fucking shittiness of days, day after day, week after week, et cetera, the voice cutting inside the head every morning, despite it all, carry the fuck on. Fight like a fucking colossus. Never give up. Goodness, going ridiculous again. And it’s not finished. Hard-nosed like the truth, lethal like the Alien, steadfast as a zombie, it could carry on. Lovely totems. Would have been great had they not been all so corny. Odd, when you think about it, that you don’t already live in the US. Yes, you would have been a great coach. Or a preacher, yes, a preacher. Grim thought. There is something priest-like about Badiou. As has been noted by his detractors. He is very fond of St Paul and Malebranche. And does recycle heavy God-laden concepts like grace or fidelity. Meillassoux as well, come to think of it. The heir, of course, the true heir of Badiou. Poor Quentin. Having to grow up in the shadow of such a fat bastard. In any case, no God around, that’s for sure. Yet from early on you detect symptoms, a very different configuration from the one of his master. That’s where it gets interesting. A rather sparse production, combined with an early fame, both internationally and at home, leading him to climb the ladder all the way up to the Sorbonne. So established! So not Vincennes! And then what do you see creeping up, in another of his brilliant, all too rare articles, ‘L’Immanence d’Outre-Monde’, The Immanence of the World Beyond, the thesis that, if one is to respect rationality, immanence as well as the radical contingency of all things, it is only fair to conclude that God, albeit non-existent now, is to come. God does not exist yet. Its kingdom come. You should have seen my face when noticing all these saintly capitals creeping into the text, just a few paragraphs before the end. Unbelievable. At least as twisted as his thing on Mallarmé. I applaud the fuckedupness. Yet hard not to think about these things without having, springing to mind, ideas about what might really be going on in the background, the invisible iron hand forcing necks, hearts and minds back down into the mud: the process of reconstruction, reconcentration of capital in the West since the big disasters of the two World Wars and the Crash of 29, faster in the US and UK than in Europe, thanks to the Ronnie/Maggie tandem, as shown by Piketty. A pessimist within tells me there is an inescapable correlation between that reconstruction and the re-establishment of God, social class, moral order, and the rest of the old crap upon most shoulders. I remember seeing a New York Times article about the oppressed Chinese, unable to practice their religion freely. So typical, even if it is hard not to empathise. But what is freedom? For me, freedom would be not have my eyes and ears, my heart and guts, battered by all that religious miasma all the time. It’s stifling. It’s despairing. Where are the New York Times articles about the millions of poor secular Americans oppressed by the omnipresence of religiosity? Or kitsch? I should leave. Leave far, far away. But you can’t. There’s nowhere to go. Not true, stupid. So not true. Just wake the shit up and sod off! Right. Will do, will do. This year’s resolution. Fuck the fuck off. Same antinomy as before. You did fuck the fuck off. Big time. Left everything behind. And look at you. What you have become. How screwed you are. Some say it wasn’t enough. You should go further. Some that it was too much. You should come back. So tiresome. I think I should go to sleep. Yes, yes. I have. Many times. All this sleep. Life, anvils, you tell me. Picked the wrong topic in the first place. Since picked the wrong life, no errancy on the side of incoherence. I should have talked about rooms. Instead of all this. Why the fucking fuck haven’t I? Incomprehensible. Ah, rooms. Such a great theme. I’m sure I can write about rooms for hours. No you can’t. Shut up. Rooms, rooms. So intimate. So indispensable. Rooms and cash. So important. Sancta Virginia. Irrumatrix. Ora pro nobis.