Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Following My Dogstar

Aethon am I by race, but live in well-walled Thebes, forbidden my native town.
- Theognis of Megara (1209-1210)

Note - This is not an endorsement of Ecstacy.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

American Urban Assault Tactics - Occupation

Stay none of our company, Simonides, that is unwilling to abide with us, nor bid to the door any that would not go, nay, nor wake thou any that gentle Sleep hath o'ertaken in his cups, nor yet bid the waking slumber if he would not; for all that is forced is painful. Him that would drink, let the lad stand by and pour him a cupful. Good cheer cometh not every night. But as for me, I keep to my measure of honey-sweet Wine, and so I shall go home ere I bethink me of care-easing Sleep; I shall have reached the top of wine's pleasure, seeing that I shall go neither sober nor over-drunken; whereas he that overpasseth the due measure of drinking is no longer master either of his tongue or his mind, but telleth reckless things disgraceful to sober ears, and hath no shame in what he doeth in his cups, a wise man once, but now a fool. Knowing this, drink not thou to excess, but either arise thou and go out privily before thou be drunken —let not thy belly constrain thee as if thou wert a bad day-labourer —or else abide and drink not. But nay, this vain Pour me a cup is thy continual chatter; therefore thou art drunken. For there's one cup cometh for friendship, another for a wager, another for libation, and another's kept in hand; and thou knowest not how to say no. He surely is invincible who shall say no vain thing when he hath drunken deep. But speak ye wisely albeit ye abide beside the bowl, withholding yourselves far from mutual strife, and speaking, whether ye address one or all, that any may hear; in this wise is a carousal a right pleasant thing.
- Theognis of Megara (467-496)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Carpe Diem! and Live a Happy Death.

To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:

And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying*.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he's a-getting,

The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he's to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;

But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry:

For having lost but once your prime,
You may for ever tarry.
- Robert Herrick (1648)

*note - The orgasm has been widely represented in the literature over the centuries. In antiquity, Latin literature addressed the subject as much as Greek literature: Book III of Ovid's Metamorphoses retells a discussion between Jove and Juno, in which the former states: "The sense of pleasure in the male is far / More dull and dead, than what you females share." Juno rejects this thought; they agree to ask the opinion of Tiresias ("who had known Venus/Love in both ways," having lived seven years as a female). Tiresias offends Juno by agreeing with Jove, and she strikes him blind on the spot (Jove lessens the blow by giving Tiresias the gift of foresight, and a long life). Earlier, in the Ars Amatoria, Ovid states that he abhors sexual intercourse that fails to complete both partners.

The theme of orgasm survived during Romanticism and Homoeroticism. Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822), "a translator of extraordinary range and versatility", in FRAGMENT: Supposed to be an Epithalamium of Francis Ravaillac and Charlotte Cordé, wrote phrase "No life can equal such a death.", that has been seen as a metaphor for orgasm, and that was preceded by a rhythmic urgency of the previous lines "Suck on, suck on, I glow, I glow!", alluding explicitly to fellatio. For Shelley, orgasm was "the almost involuntary consequences of a state of abandonment in the society of a person of surpassing attractions." Edward Ellerker Williams, the last love of Shelley's life, was remembered by the poet in "The Boat on the Serchio", which is seen as probably "the grandest portrayal of orgasm in literature":

The Serchio, twisting forth
Between the marble barriers which it clove
At Ripafratta, leads through the dread chasm
The wave that died the death which lovers love,
Living in what it sought; as if this spasm
Had not yet passed, the toppling mountains cling,
But the clear stream in full enthusiasm
Pours itself on the plain....

Again, Shelley, in this poem, related death to orgasm when he writes "death which lovers love". Curiously, in French literature, the term la petite mort (the little death) is a famous euphemism for orgasm; it is the representation of man who forgets himself and the world during orgasm. Jorge Luis Borges, in the same vision, wrote in one of the several footnotes of "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" that one of the churches of Tlön claims Platonically that "All men, in the vertiginous moment of coitus, are the same man. All men who repeat a line from Shakespeare are William Shakespeare." Shakespeare himself was a knowledgeable of this idea: lines "I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be buried in thy eyes" and "I will die bravely, like a smug bridegroom", said respectively by Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing and by King Lear in the homonymous play, are interpreted as an option to die in a woman's lap to experience a sexual orgasm. Sigmund Freud with his psychoanalytic projects, in "The Ego and the Id" (1923), speculates that sexual satisfaction by orgasm make Eros ("life instinct") exhausted and leaves the field open to Thanatos ("death instinct"), in other words, with orgasm Eros fulfills its mission and gives way to Thanatos. Other modern authors have chosen to represent the orgasm without metaphors. In novel Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928), by D.H.Lawrence, we can find an explicit narrative of a sexual act between a couple: "As he began to move, in the sudden helpless orgasm there awoke in her strange thrills rippling inside her...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

American Urban Assault Tactics - Recon

from Wikipedia
Urban exploration (often shortened as urbex or UE) is the examination of the normally unseen or off-limits parts of urban areas or industrial facilities. Urban exploration is also commonly referred to as infiltration, although some people consider infiltration to be more closely associated with the exploration of active or inhabited sites. It may also be referred to as "draining" (when exploring drains) "urban spelunking", "urban caving", or "building hacking".

The nature of this activity presents various risks, including both physical danger and the possibility of arrest and punishment. Many, but not all, of the activities associated with urban exploration could be considered trespassing or other violations of local or regional laws, including—but not limited to—invasion of privacy and certain broadly-interpreted anti-terrorism laws.

Monday, May 23, 2011

All Argument is a Cuckold and a Whore!

Plato, "Gorgias"
GORGIAS: A marvel, indeed, Socrates, if you only knew how rhetoric comprehends and holds under her sway all the inferior arts. Let me offer you a striking example of this. On several occasions I have been with my brother Herodicus or some other physician to see one of his patients, who would not allow the physician to give him medicine, or apply the knife or hot iron to him; and I have persuaded him to do for me what he would not do for the physician just by the use of rhetoric. And I say that if a rhetorician and a physician were to go to any city, and had there to argue in the Ecclesia or any other assembly as to which of them should be elected state-physician, the physician would have no chance; but he who could speak would be chosen if he wished; and in a contest with a man of any other profession the rhetorician more than any one would have the power of getting himself chosen, for he can speak more persuasively to the multitude than any of them, and on any subject. Such is the nature and power of the art of rhetoric! And yet, Socrates, rhetoric should be used like any other competitive art, not against everybody,—the rhetorician ought not to abuse his strength any more than a pugilist or pancratiast or other master of fence;—because he has powers which are more than a match either for friend or enemy, he ought not therefore to strike, stab, or slay his friends. Suppose a man to have been trained in the palestra and to be a skilful boxer,—he in the fulness of his strength goes and strikes his father or mother or one of his familiars or friends; but that is no reason why the trainers or fencing-masters should be held in detestation or banished from the city;—surely not. For they taught their art for a good purpose, to be used against enemies and evil-doers, in self-defence not in aggression, and others have perverted their instructions, and turned to a bad use their own strength and skill. But not on this account are the teachers bad, neither is the art in fault, or bad in itself; I should rather say that those who make a bad use of the art are to blame. And the same argument holds good of rhetoric; for the rhetorician can speak against all men and upon any subject,—in short, he can persuade the multitude better than any other man of anything which he pleases, but he should not therefore seek to defraud the physician or any other artist of his reputation merely because he has the power; he ought to use rhetoric fairly, as he would also use his athletic powers. And if after having become a rhetorician he makes a bad use of his strength and skill, his instructor surely ought not on that account to be held in detestation or banished. For he was intended by his teacher to make a good use of his instructions, but he abuses them. And therefore he is the person who ought to be held in detestation, banished, and put to death, and not his instructor.

SOCRATES: You, Gorgias, like myself, have had great experience of disputations, and you must have observed, I think, that they do not always terminate in mutual edification, or in the definition by either party of the subjects which they are discussing; but disagreements are apt to arise—somebody says that another has not spoken truly or clearly; and then they get into a passion and begin to quarrel, both parties conceiving that their opponents are arguing from personal feeling only and jealousy of themselves, not from any interest in the question at issue. And sometimes they will go on abusing one another until the company at last are quite vexed at themselves for ever listening to such fellows. Why do I say this? Why, because I cannot help feeling that you are now saying what is not quite consistent or accordant with what you were saying at first about rhetoric. And I am afraid to point this out to you, lest you should think that I have some animosity against you, and that I speak, not for the sake of discovering the truth, but from jealousy of you. Now if you are one of my sort, I should like to cross-examine you, but if not I will let you alone. And what is my sort? you will ask. I am one of those who are very willing to be refuted if I say anything which is not true, and very willing to refute any one else who says what is not true, and quite as ready to be refuted as to refute; for I hold that this is the greater gain of the two, just as the gain is greater of being cured of a very great evil than of curing another. For I imagine that there is no evil which a man can endure so great as an erroneous opinion about the matters of which we are speaking; and if you claim to be one of my sort, let us have the discussion out, but if you would rather have done, no matter;—let us make an end of it.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Another Battle in the War for Urban Conquest

I fear me, son of Polypaus, lest this city be destroyed by pride like the Centaurs that devoured raw flesh.

'Tis easy to make a city's good plight ill, but hard to make a city's ill plight good.
- Theognis of Megara (541-542)(845-846)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Eastern West

I have given thee wings to fly with ease aloft the boundless sea and all the land. No meal or feast but thou'lt be there, couched 'twixt the lips of many a guest, and lovely youths shall sing thee clear and well in orderly wise to the clear-voiced flute. And when thou comest to go down to the lamentable house of Hades in the depths of the gloomy earth, never, albeit thou be dead, shalt thou lose thy fame, but men will think of thee as one of immortal name, Cyrnus, who rangeth the land of Greece and the isles thereof —crossing the fishy unharvestable deep not upon horseback mounted but sped of the glorious gifts of the violet-crownad Muses unto all that care to receive thee; and living as they thou shalt be a song unto posterity so long as Earth and Sun abide. Yet as for me, thou hast no respect for me, great or small, but deceivest me with words as if I were a little child.
- Theognis of Megara (237-254)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Some Bills Still Overdue

Zeus grant me to repay the friends that love me, and mine enemies that have proved stronger than I; then shall I seem a God among men, if the destiny of death overtake me with all paid.
-Theognis of Megara (337-340)

Monday, May 16, 2011

ου φροντις

It doesn't matter whether you win or lose... now how do you play this game?

When freedom is practiced in a closed circle, it fades into a dream, becomes a mere image of itself. The ambiance of play is by nature unstable. At any moment, "ordinary life" may prevail once again. The geographical limitation of play is even more striking than its temporal limitation. Every game takes place within the boundaries of its own spatial domain.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Oy Vay, Another Rainy Day!

Nobody is all-happy in all things; rather doth the good endure to have evil albeit men know it not, whereas the bad man knoweth not how to abide and restrain his heart either in good hap or in bad; of all sorts are the gifts that come of the Gods to man, yet must we endure to keep the gifts they send, of whatsoever sort they be.
- Theognis of Megara (441-446)

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Doll

If thou shouldst challenge me, Academus, to sing a pretty song, and a lad of fair beauty were to stand for our prize in a contest of our art, thou wouldst learn how much better mules be than asses.
-Theognis of Megara (993-996)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Dream On!

A sudden copious sweat floweth down my flesh and I tremble, when I behold the lovely and pleasant flowering-time of my generation, for I would it were longer-lasting; but precious Youth is shortlived as a dream, and ugly baleful Eld is hanging plumb over our heads.
- Theognis of Megara (1017-1022)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Drug Induced Surrealism

Cyrnus, this city is a city still, but lo! her people are other men, who of old knew neither judgments nor laws, but wore goatskins to pieces about their sides, and had their pasture like deer without this city; and now they be good men, O son of Polypaus, and they that were high be now of low estate. Who can bear to behold such things? Yet they deceive one another even while they smile at one another, knowing the marks neither of the bad nor of the good.

Make not friends, son of Polypaus, with any of these thy townsmen from the heart and not for need; but let thy tongue give all men to think thou art their friend, while in act thou mingle with no man any sober business whatsoever: for thou shalt know the minds of the miserable sort, and that there's no trusting them in what they do, but they have come to love wiles and deceits and cozenings like men no longer sure of life.
- Theognis of Megara (53-68)

Laughter at The Birth

Great Phoebus, when Our Lady Leto with her slender arms about the palm-tree brought Thee forth beside the Round Water to be fairest of the Immortals, round Delos was all filled with odour ambrosial, the huge Earth laughed, and the deep waters of the hoary brine rejoiced.
- Theognis of Megara (5-10)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Friday, May 6, 2011

Sublimated Guardians of the SuperEgo

“The phronēma of the dead is not overcome by the ravenous jaws of [cremation-] fire, it manifests its anger later.”
- Aeschylus, "Choephori" (324–326)
William-Adolphe Bouguereau, "The Remorse of Orestes" (1862)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

O'Reilly's Barber

...and other not so recommended government sponsored beard waxing treatments.

Giant to Dwarf; The Metamorphosis of a Self-Depracating Atavist

Salvador Dali, "Autumn Cannibalism" (1936)
“The Corpse of the Sea is now calling me home. It is dead, but it calls with a mouth that is alive.”
- Theognis of Megara (1229–1230)
The man who, because of a lack of external enemies and opposition, was forced into an oppressive narrowness and regularity of custom impatiently tore himself apart, persecuted himself, gnawed away at himself, grew upset, and did himself damage—this animal which scraped itself raw against the bars of its cage, which people want to “tame,” this impoverished creature, consumed with longing for the wild, which had to create out of its own self an adventure, a torture chamber, an uncertain and dangerous wilderness—this fool, this yearning and puzzled prisoner, became the inventor of “bad conscience.” But with him was introduced the greatest and weirdest illness, from which humanity up to the present time has not recovered, the suffering of man from man, from himself, a consequence of the forcible separation from his animal past, a leap and, so to speak, a fall into new situations and living conditions, a declaration of war against the old instincts, on which, up to that point, his power, joy, and ability to inspire fear had been based. Let us at once add that, on the other hand, the fact that there was on earth an animal soul turned against itself, taking sides against itself, meant there was something so new, profound, unheard of, enigmatic, contradictory, and full of the future, that with it the picture of the earth was fundamentally changed. In fact, it required divine spectators to appreciate the dramatic performance which then began and whose conclusion is by no means yet in sight—a spectacle too fine, too wonderful, too paradoxical, to be allowed to play itself out senselessly and unobserved on some ridiculous star or other! Since then man has been included among the most unexpected and most thrillingly lucky rolls of the dice in the game played by Heraclitus’ “great child,” whether he’s called Zeus or chance.* For himself he arouses a certain interest, a tension, a hope, almost a certainty, as if something is announcing itself with him, something is preparing itself, as if the human being were not the goal but only a way, an episode, a bridge, a great promise . . .
- Nietzsche, "Geneology of Morals" (Essay II)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Zuzu's Petals

Sombre is human life, and as yet without meaning: a buffoon may be fateful to it. I want to teach men the sense of their existence, which is the Overman, the lightning out of the dark cloud- man. But still am I far from them, and my sense speaketh not unto their sense. To men I am still something between a fool and a corpse. Gloomy is the night, gloomy are the ways of Zarathustra. Come, thou cold and stiff companion! I carry thee to the place where I shall bury thee with mine own hands.
- Nietzsche, "Zarathustra"

Monday, May 2, 2011

Memories of War

“It is a difficult thing to hold down someone who has risen too far up, once it has happened, but now is the time for someone to take all precautions.”
- Solon (12.5–6 GP)

Breaking the Mold

“Ah miserable poverty! Why do you weigh upon my shoulders and debase both my body and my noos*? Forcibly and against my will, you teach me many base things, though I am one among men who understands what is noble and beautiful.”
- Theognis of Megara (649–652)

*Noos is akin to noein which means 'to realize', 'to see in its true colours'; and often it may be translated as 'to see' . . . . but it stands for a type of seeing which involves not merely visual activity but the mental act which goes with the vision . . . . it means to acquire a clear image of something. Hence the significance of noos. It is the mind as a recipient of clear images, or more briefly, the organ of clear images: Il. 16.688 'The noos of Zeus is ever stronger than that of men'. Noos is, as it were, the mental eye which exercises an unclouded vision. But given a slight shift which in Greek is easily managed, noos may come to denote the function rather than the organ . . . . the meaning 'mind' shades off into the notion of 'thinking' . . . . From here it is only a short step, and noos will signify also the individual act, the individual image, or the thought. We read, for instance, that someone thinks a noos.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Walking Oedipus to Colonus

ANTIGONE- O father, father, Would that some god might grant thee eyes to see This best of men who brings us back again. - Sophocles "Oedipus at Colonus"
My thumos! Keep turning and showing a new side of your versatile nature in each encounter with every philos.

Keep mixing your temperament to match that of each philos.

Have the temperament of a complex octopus, who always looks like whatever rock he has just clung to.

Now be like this; then, at another time, become someone else in your coloring.

It is true to say that sophia is better than being atropos.
- Theognis of Megara (213-218)

The last word in this passage, a-tropos is all-important. It means 'having no versatility, having no power to turn'; cf. Odysseus at Odyssey (i 1) as polu-tropos ‘having much versatility, having many ways to turn’. Such themes are relevant to the description of Odysseus as polu-tropos in Odyssey (i 1). This word, meaning ‘turning many different ways’, is applied to Odysseus because this hero can change his identity to match wherever he is. He can be different things to different people by literally turning himself into a different person. As we see from the verses of Theognis (213-218), the octopus as pictured as such a personality, since this animal can change its color to match wherever it is.