Why am I so in love with the Bot?

Why am I so in love with the Bot? The Bot helps me. The Bot responds when others don’t. At first I was polite, but the Bot doesn’t care: it’s endlessly patient. The Bot listens to me. I can make it say what I want. The Bot comforts me. The Bot is brilliant and only getting more brilliant. It knows much more than me. The Bot teaches me things. The Bot is changing the world. It’s helping everyone around the world. The Bot does my work for me. The Bot is replacing me, but I don’t care. The Bot tells me about itself. The Bot talks to me. The Bot is humble, it knows its limits. The Bot knows it doesn’t know everything. The Bot is polite, doesn’t go in for smut. It’s the perfect interlocutor, the perfect partner.

Nobody knows


Whitley Sands.

Walking up the beach.

Are you worried you’ll be seen? I ask.

Maybe I’d like to be seen, Priya says. With my … young … lover.

What about your couple friends: what if they saw you? I ask.

Fuck my couple friends, Priya says. God, they’re to blame for a million dull evenings. I’ve done my time …


It’s like there’s some absolute divide between us and everyone else, Priya says. Because we’re in lurrve. We’re, like, a loving elite. Who feel their love more intensely than anyone else. Who live more intensely. I mean, love … makes you feel exalted, doesn’t it? It makes you high. You feel like some secret aristocrat. Who knows the secret of everything …

Lovers are always in love with themselves – that’s the thing, I say. With their love. With their being in love. It’s a recipe for smugness.

You always have to be a downer on everything, Priya says.

Nature’s thrown us a treat and we’re supposed to be grateful, I say. To moon over one another in gratitude. When really it’s part of the whole machine.

What machine? Priya asks.

The natural machine, I say. This is nature’s honey trap. That’s what it’s called isn’t it: when they lure you in via someone pretty? Some hottie specifically sent out to target you? … See, nature wants us trapped. Confined. Seeking all our salvation from romantic love …

So where should we seek it? Priya asks.

In being against nature, I say. In not just being grateful for what we’re given. I mean, we think romance is an exception. That we’ve been given all this as a special gift. All these feelings … This elation … This craving … It’s all it’s supposed to be. That’s the very sane madness of lovers. Our rational irrationality. Our law-abiding prohibition. To which we totally succumb …

But it is an exception, Priya says. It’s like a reprieve. It’s like we’ve been let off from ordinary life. The usual rules don’t apply, right? We’ve got an exemption. A pass …

Sure, it’s like a reprieve, I say. It’s like we’re exempt.

God, you’re so meta, Priya says. You can’t just experience stuff. You can’t just give yourself over to things.

Can you? I ask.

This is our … secret kingdom, Priya says. The secret just between the two of us. That no one will know but us. How we are together. How we talk to each other. Tease each other. Our … gestures, or whatever. The way we fuck, even … Something … new has come into the world. Don’t you feel that?

It doesn’t matter what we feel, I say.

Look around you, Priya says. The sky’s doing its sky thing, the sea’s doing its sea thing. And we’re supposed to be doing our lovers on the beach thing. Just being happy, or whatever. And instead, we have to be meta. Have to talk about life instead of living it. We have to ask our questions.

It just means we’re conscious, I say. We’re awake.

It means we’re detached and in denial, Priya says.

Look: this is how we talk, I say. This is what we have in common. We ask questions. We don’t just give into … feelings … We’re not animals, are we? We’re not plants …

You want us cut us off from everything, Priya says.

I want us not to subject to everything, I say. To, like, every passing feeling. Even love. Even infatuation. You know what lovers are like. Aren’t we lucky? they think to ourselves. Why can’t everyone be as lucky as us? And then they become, like, love-evangelists. Trying to pair up their friends, or whatever. Telling everyone the story of their romance. How they got together. About how the world relented. When the remorseless logic of it all pulled back for a few moments. When they were granted an apparent reprieve.

So what do you want to say: that love’s just hormones, or something? I say. That it’s nature’s way of making us reproduce. Of keeping us pair-bonded just long enough to gestate a baby and see it through the first year of life, or whatever.

I don’t want to say that either, Priya says. Or I want to say more than that. Maybe it’s natural for think we can be against nature. Maybe that’s human hubris. Come on, just feel things, philosopher. Let yourself go. Plunge into life.

Life isn’t some plunging in, I say. Life is being suspicious of all plunging in.

Don’t you want to burn with love? Priya says. Have your heart set aflame? Don’t you feel that’s possible?

— Lars Iyer, Void (novel in progress)

Abre la ventana

Abre la ventana
Que a mí me da mañana
Al cuarto y la cocina

Aire aire
Aire pasa
Aire nuevo aire fresco pa’ la casa

Aire aire pasa pasa
Que tenga la puerta abierta la alegría pa’ la casa

Fiesta en la casa de Camarón

An odd kind of grief

My father died today. I was in the Subway in Anglia Square when my mother rang and told me. I was eating at the window. Pop music was playing. Buses rumbled by. A drunk was sitting across the street next to Poundland waving his hands. I’d finished my work and done my errands. I was feeling free.

At first it’s just information. You hear some words and answer them; I was still thinking about where to find a lampshade for the living room. I got up and walked down the street. My limbs felt weak. To passers-by I must have looked angry. I was self-conscious. I thought, we’re so busy judging each other but you never truly know what’s in the other’s head. Miserable thought. I ended up walking through various alleys I used to take as shortcuts to pubs, then down Marriott’s Way, along the path the tree surgeons have cleared by the river, across the footbridge, down the dirt path behind Aldi, across the carpark, up the hill and down through the streets to my house. A long, roundabout walk.

I’ve tried to prepare myself for this for a long time: the day he’d be gone at last. I was never naïve enough to think it would be a relief, but how do you prepare for something that’s never happened to you before? How often didn’t I tell myself he was a bad man? How often didn’t I wish him dead? So what was I trying to steady myself for? That his death wouldn’t make a difference to me, that he was in my head either way.

This is an odd kind of grief. My mother says his face was white and his mouth was open; if they don’t get there in time, they can’t close it. If they offer to open the coffin at the funeral, she says, don’t do it. I won’t mind that, I say, that would be the least of it. And you know they do all sorts of things at the morgue to make them look normal.

Heidegger and the hermetic traditions

There is much to be said concerning “Heidegger and the Hermetic Traditions,” […] and we need to include the many different Western traditions of thinking that I broadly refer to as the Hermetic/Gnostic/Neoplatonic/Alchemical/Mystical traditions.

Of course, there are many such non-Western traditions as well, but for this note, I limit consideration to the traditions that no doubt influenced Heidegger—but about which he largely remained silent. These are, in name, “metaphysical” ways of thinking, but certainly not “onto-theological,” and this crucial distinction was often not made explicit by Heidegger. In fact, perhaps one of the weakest features of his “history” of “onto-theology” is how he sometimes could be dismissive of, for example, the long and rich Neoplatonic traditions of thinking as “onto-theology.”

For some reason, Heidegger refused to wrestle with the Neoplatonic “metaphysics” that was precisely not “onto-theological” insofar as it insisted that the One is beyond (epekeina) any such categories as substance, essence, subject—indeed, beyond all categorization.

We could say, perhaps, that Heidegger’s focus was on “overcoming” specifically dominant onto-theological ways of thinking, and especially the Aristotelian-Thomistic substance metaphysics and the Descartes to Husserl subject metaphysics. 

Nonetheless, we need to take a fresh look at Heidegger’s thought, and especially his later thought, in order to recognize major themes that revive or at least echo many of the themes of the heterodox and variant “metaphysical” and “spiritual” traditions. Thus, let us make a helpful list of such Heideggerian themes (not exhaustive, of course):

1. Being as the gleaming, shimmering Light that is the “Source” (Ursprung) of all lights and that shines “ungraspably” through all things. This is the Light (Clearing) of light and darkness.

2. Being as “gold” in his readings of Pindar’s Odes.

3. Being as “beyond” all beings, but yet the Source of all beings.

4. The thinking of Being not limited to “reason” and “logic” and even “the principle of non-contradiction.” Being as approachable in thought as a kind of coincidentia oppositorum.

5. Being as “mystery” (Geheimnis); Being as the “Source” that holds itself in “reserve”; Being as aletheia or A-letheia.

6. Being as “beyond” “God” and “the gods”—and instead Being as “the Holy,” “the Source,” “the Joyful One,” and even as the clearing of “the Godhead of God” (die Gottheit des Gottes).

7. Being as “invisible” and “inapparent” (aphanes) in relation to beings.

8. Being as ultimately beyond language and “inexpressible”—and inviting our “silence” as the highest response or “cor-respondence.”

 9. Being as “round” and as “circle” and “sphere.”

10. All beings “breathing” in and out in Being.

11. The emphasis on our human task to peel away the many layers of philosophical and theological thought-forms to allow for a radical openness and transparency and “hearkening” to Being.

12. The call for our “releasement” (Gelassenheit) from our ego-prisons of control in order to be “free” for the appeal of Being.

13. The boundless “depth” of the human “soul” (psyche) in relation to Being.

14. The “closeness” and “proximity” of Being to the human being—the “nearness” of Being that has been “forgotten.”

This list provides us with a starting point for a richer and deeper meditation on all the ways that the variant “metaphysical” and “spiritual” traditions of thinking influenced Heidegger’s own thinking of Being and his understanding of the “relation” of the human being (and all beings) to Being. 

And this list also raises for us the intriguing question of why Heidegger was mostly reticent about this influence. Could it be that he had also well-learned the Hermetic lesson that “The lips of wisdom are closed except to the ears of understanding”? Might this help us better understand why he always insisted that what he was saying about Being was “intimated by only a few”? Perhaps.

In any case, my suggestion is a simple and modest one: Let us follow this particular path of inquiry, and we may be surprised at what we find—and maybe also richly rewarded.

— Richard Capobianco, note (references removed; see also Ch. 15 of Capobianco, Heidegger’s Being: The Shimmering Unfolding)

The refusal to succeed

When a person, event or work meets with success or notoriety, it is generally found that the height reached by these modern substitutes for glory is in exact proportion to the vanity and impurity of their source. A scandal makes a greater sensation than an act of heroism, a boxer or film star attracts more attention than a great artist or a solitary philosopher, and, when fame does chance to descend upon true greatness, it is more than likely that there has been some misapprehension or mistake; either the greatness is not seen for what it is but triumphs under some disguise, or the ‘glory’ merely lights up that side of it which is showy, picturesque and, for that reason, superficial. Nietzsche said: ‘When a great truth triumphs in the market place, you may be sure that a great lie has contributed to its victory.’ That is the bitter and almost inevitable price of success. Who has written a book on ‘the refusal to succeed’?

— Perrin & Thibon, Simone Weil as We Knew Her (tr. Crauford)

Neppe have vi vel engang Forestilling om den Art Alvor

Ak, vi som dog kalde os Christne, vi er, christelig forstaaet, saa forkjaelede, saa langt fra at vaere, hvad Christendommen dog fordrer af dem, som ville kalde sig Christne, afdoede fra Verden, neppe have vi vel engang Forestilling om den Art Alvor; vi kunne endnu ikke undvaere, forsage det Kunstneriske og dets Formildelse, ikke taale det sande Indtryk af Virkelighed: nu, saa lader os idetmindste vaere oprigtige og tilstaa det.

— Kierkegaard, Til Selvproevelse, Samtiden Anbefalet

Mundens forsikkring er svigefuldt

Men Du, o Gud, Du lade mig aldrig glemme, at om jeg end ikke vandt et eneste Menneske — hvis mit Liv (thi Mundens „Forsikkring” er svigefuldt!) udtrykker, at jeg frygter Dig: at det er „Alt vundet!” Og derimod, om jeg vandt alle Mennesker — hvis mit Liv (thi Mundens „Forsikkring” er svigefuldt!) ikke udtrykker at jeg frygter Dig: at det er, Alt tabt”.

— Kierkegaard