Friday, February 27, 2015

The Symptom

At this point we must of course ask ourselves the naive but necessary question: If the world and language and subject do not exist, what does exist; more precisely: what confers on existing phenomena their consistency? Lacan's answer is, as we have already indicated, symptom. To this answer, we must give its whole anti-post-structuralist emphasis: the fundamental gesture of post-structuralism is to deconstruct every substantial entity, to denounce behind its solid consistency an interplay of symbolic overdetermination - briefly, to dissolve the substantial identity into a network of non-substantial, differential relations; the notion of symptom is the necessary counterpoint to it, the substance of enjoyment, the real kernel around which this signifying interplay is structured.

To seize the logic of this universalization of symptom, we must connect it with another universalization, that of foreclosure (Verwerfung). In his unpublished Seminar, J.-A. Miller ironically spoke of the passage from special to general theory of relativity). When Lacan introduced the notion of foreclosure in the fifties, it designated a specific phenomenon of the exclusion of a certain key-signifier (point de capiton, Name-of-the-Father) from the symbolic order, triggering the psychotic process; here, the foreclosure is not proper to language as such but a distinctive feature of the psychotic phenomena. And as Lacan reformulated Freud, what was foreclosed from the Symbolic returns in the Real - in the form of hallucinatory phenomena, for example.

However, in the last years of his teaching Lacan gave universal range to this function of foreclosure: there is a certain foreclosure proper to the order of signifier as such; whenever we have a symbolic structure it is structured around a certain void, it implies the foreclosure of a key-signifier. The symbolic structuring of sexuality implies the lack of a signifier of the sexual relationship, it implies that 'there is no sexual relationship', that the sexual relation cannot be symbolized - that it is an impossible, 'antagonistic' relationship. And to seize the interconnection between the two universalizations, we must again apply the proposition 'what was foreclosed from the Symbolic returns in the Real of the symptom': woman does not exist, her signifier is originally foreclosed, and that is why she returns as a symptom of a man.
-Slavoj Zizek, "The Sublime Object of Ideology"

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Breaking Bad - Habits!

I smoke and drink and gamble, and yeah, I even swear,
When I see an ugly person, i`m the guy who`ll point and stare.

I burp and fart and make weird sounds, I never rinse my cup,
and when your in the restroom, that was me who left it up.

Peed in the shower, and the pool, and even pick my nose,
On the brand new carpet, I like to clip my toes.

I leave the car on empty, same with the milk jug,
In my life i`ve tried, every single drug.

I steal, I cheat, I flirt, I constantly lie,
At both weddings and funerals, I pretend to cry.

I ask you how your day was, even though I just don`t care.
I use your brand new razor, to shave my pubic hair.

Watch porn, read dirty mags, stay up way to late,
Every free moment, I try to masterbate.

Skipped school, booked off work, even though I wasn`t sick,
Fresh feeling privates, thanks to your deodorant stick.

Broke promises, stole glory, told people that I did it,
Said `I can go all night`, when I last less than a minute.

With all these bad habits, I know that you all can surely see,
that I have to thank God, that I found someone worse then me.
- Jason Kirkwood, "Bad Habits"

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Line-Unit Palendrome

Entering the lonely house with my wife
I saw him for the first time
Peering furtively from behind a bush –
Blackness that moved,
A shape amid the shadows,
A momentary glimpse of gleaming eyes
Revealed in the ragged moon.
A closer look (he seemed to turn) might have
Put him to flight forever –
I dared not
(For reasons that I failed to understand),
Though I knew I should act at once.

I puzzled over it, hiding alone,
Watching the woman as she neared the gate.
He came, and I saw him crouching
Night after night.
Night after night
He came, and I saw him crouching,
Watching the woman as she neared the gate.

I puzzled over it, hiding alone –
Though I knew I should act at once,
For reasons that I failed to understand
I dared not
Put him to flight forever.

A closer look (he seemed to turn) might have
Revealed in the ragged moon
A momentary glimpse of gleaming eyes
A shape amid the shadows,
Blackness that moved.

Peering furtively from behind a bush,
I saw him, for the first time
Entering the lonely house with my wife.
- James A. Lindon, "Doppelgänger" (1967).

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Plague Doctor

from Wikipedia
A plague doctor (Italian: medico della peste, Dutch: pestmeester, Spanish: médico de la peste negra, German: Pestarzt) was a special medical physician who treated those who had the plague. They were specifically hired by towns that had many plague victims in times of plague epidemics. Since the city was paying their salary, they treated everyone: both the rich and the poor. However, some plague doctors were known for charging patients and their families extra for special treatments and/or false cures. They were not normally professionally trained experienced physicians or surgeons, and often were second-rate doctors not able to otherwise run a successful medical business or young physicians trying to establish themselves.

Plague doctors by their covenant treated plague patients and were known as municipal or "community plague doctors", whereas "general practitioners" were separate doctors and both might be in the same European city or town at the same time. In France and the Netherlands plague doctors often lacked medical training and were referred to as "empirics". In one case a plague doctor had been a fruit salesman before his employment as a physician.

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, some doctors wore a beak-like mask which was filled with aromatic items. The masks were designed to protect them from putrid air, which (according to the miasmatic theory of disease) was seen as the cause of infection. Thus:
The nose half a foot long, shaped like a beak, filled with perfume with only two holes, one on each side near the nostrils, but that can suffice to breathe and to carry along with the air one breathes the impression of the drugs enclosed further along in the beak. Under the coat we wear boots made in Moroccan leather (goat leather) from the front of the breeches in smooth skin that are attached to said boots and a short-sleeved blouse in smooth skin, the bottom of which is tucked into the breeches. The hat and gloves are also made of the same skin… with spectacles over the eyes.

The first epidemic of bubonic plague dates back to the mid 500s, known as the Plague of Justinian. The largest epidemic was the Black Death of Europe in the 14th century. In medieval times the large loss of people due to the bubonic plague in a town created an economic disaster. Community plague doctors were quite valuable and were given special privileges. For example, plague doctors were freely allowed to perform autopsies, which were otherwise generally forbidden in Medieval Europe, to research a cure for the plague.

In some cases, plague doctors were so valuable that when Barcelona dispatched two to Tortosa in 1650, outlaws captured them en route and demanded a ransom. The city of Barcelona paid for their release. The city of Orvieto hired Matteo fu Angelo in 1348 for 4 times the normal rate of a doctor of 50-florin per year. Pope Clement VI hired several extra plague doctors during the Black Death plague. They were to attend to the sick people of Avignon. Of eighteen doctors in Venice, only one was left by 1348: five had died of the plague, and twelve were missing and may have fled.


Some plague doctors wore a special costume, although graphic sources show that plague doctors wore a variety of garments. The garments were invented by Charles de L'Orme in 1619; they were first used in Paris, but later spread to be used throughout Europe. The protective suit consisted of a heavy fabric overcoat that was waxed, a mask with glass eye openings and a cone nose shaped like a beak to hold scented substances and straw.

Some of the scented materials were ambergris, lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis), mint (Mentha spicata L.) leaves, camphor, cloves, laudanum, myrrh, rose petals, storax.[7] This was thought to protect the doctor from miasmatic bad air. The straw provided a filter for the "bad air". A wooden cane pointer was used to help examine the patient without having to touch them. It was also used as a means of repenting sins, as many believed that the plague was a punishment and would ask to be whipped to repent their sins.

Public servants

Plague doctors served as public servants during times of epidemics starting with the Black Death of Europe in the fourteenth century. Their principal task, besides taking care of plague victims, was to record in public records the deaths due to the plague.

In certain European cities like Florence and Perugia plague doctors were requested to do autopsies to help determine the cause of death and how the plague played a role. Plague doctors became witnesses to numerous wills during times of plague epidemics. Plague doctors also gave advice to their patients about their conduct before death. This advice varied depending on the patient, and after the Middle Ages the nature of the relationship between doctor and patient was governed by an increasingly complex ethical code.


Plague doctors practiced bloodletting and other remedies such as putting frogs or leeches on the buboes to "rebalance the humors" as a normal routine. Plague doctors could not generally interact with the general public because of the nature of their business and the possibility of spreading the disease; they could also be subject to quarantine.

Notable medieval plague doctors

A famous plague doctor who gave medical advice about preventive measures which could be taken against the plague was Nostradamus. Nostradamus' advice was the removal of infected corpses, getting fresh air, drinking clean water, and drinking a juice preparation of rose hips. In Traité des fardemens it shows in Part A Chapter VIII that Nostradamus also recommended not to bleed the patient.

The Italian city of Pavia, in 1479, contracted Giovanni de Ventura as a community plague doctor. The Irish physician, Niall Ó Glacáin (c.1563?-1653) earned deep respect in Spain, France and Italy for his bravery in treating numerous victims of the plague. The French anatomist Ambroise Paré and Paracelsus were also famous medieval plague doctors

Monday, February 23, 2015

Ar-Boreal Beings

I saw you toss the kites on high
And blow the birds about the sky;
And all around I heard you pass,
Like ladies' skirts across the grass—
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!

I saw the different things you did,
But always you yourself you hid.
I felt you push, I heard you call,
I could not see yourself at all—
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!

O you that are so strong and cold,
O blower, are you young or old?
Are you a beast of field and tree,
Or just a stronger child than me?
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!
- Robert Louis Stevenson, "The Wind"
You are the tree, I am the wind,
You alter my course, yet you also bend;
No longer is either the same after each-
I am the wind, be my tree, I do beseech!
Ethereal, unseen-yet alterations I may make!
Magnificent, beautiful-away, my gust, you take!

Together, we are an ever-changing landscape,
Making wondrous reality out of our dreasmscape!
A tree, without its wind-breathless, becalmed:
A wind, without its tree-purposeless, withdrawn!

The wind sweeps around the tree, the tree dances
More inspiring is this than all other romances!
I, the most powerful wind, you, the most beautificent tree;
Wonder do I what, as one, together, we may be!
- Maurice Harris, "You Are The Tree, I Am The Wind" (30 August 2009)

Friday, February 20, 2015

Do You Belong?


I awoke
this morning
in the gold light
turning this way
and that

thinking for
a moment
it was one
like any other.

the veil had gone
from my
darkened heart
I thought

it must have been the quiet
that filled my room,

it must have been
the first
easy rhythm
with which I breathed
myself to sleep,

it must have been
the prayer I said
speaking to the otherness
of the night.

I thought
this is the good day
you could
meet your love,

this is the black day
someone close
to you could die.

This is the day
you realize
how easily the thread
is broken
between this world
and the next

and I found myself
sitting up
in the quiet pathway
of light,

the tawny
close grained cedar
burning round
me like fire
and all the angels of this housely
heaven ascending
through the first
roof of light
the sun has made.

This is the bright home
in which I live,
this is where
I ask
my friends
to come,
this is where I want
to love all the things
it has taken me so long
to learn to love.

This is the temple
of my adult aloneness
and I belong
to that aloneness
as I belong to my life.

There is no house
like the house of belonging.
-David Whyte, "The House of Belonging"

Monday, February 16, 2015

Dirty Shoe Blues

Now I am here
with my dirty shoes
thinking about the past.
Once they shined
like made of silver
or like a new bought glass

After few days
of walking through mud
I cleaned them again and again.
But after weeks
of scrubbing and washing
I got very tired of that.

As more time went by
the shoes lost their shine
the layer of mud got thicker.
But I stopped caring,
trying and worrying
'cause what is the sense of that game, huh?

Until now.

Now all I want to do is,
to clean them shoes
so I can see my reflection in them.
But no matter how long I rub,
no matter how hard I try
they'll never get their old shine back.
-Carlamaus, "dirty shoes"

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Purloining a Letter to My Automaton...

The externality of the symbolic machine ('automaton') is therefore not simply external: it is at the same time the place where the fate of our internal, most 'sincere' and 'intimate' beliefs is in advance staged and decided. When we subject ourselves to the machine of a religious ritual, we already believe without knowing it; our belief is already materialized in the external ritual; in other words, we already believe unconsciously, because it is from this external character of the symbolic machine that we can explain the status of the unconscious as radically external - that of a dead letter. Belief is an affair of obedience to the dead, uncomprehended letter. It is this short-circuit between the intimate belief and the external 'machine' which is the most subversive kernel of Pascalian theology.
-Slavoj Zizek, "The Sublime Object of Ideology"

Saturday, February 14, 2015


As often as he let himself be seen
We pitied him, or scorned him, or deplored
The inscrutable profusion of the Lord
Who shaped as one of us a thing so mean—
Who made him human when he might have been
A rat, and so been wholly in accord
With any other creature we abhorred
As always useless and not always clean.

Now he is hiding all alone somewhere,
And in a final hole not ready then;
For now he is among those over there
Who are not coming back to us again.
And we who do the fiction of our share
Say less of rats and rather more of men.
-Edward Arlington Robinson, "The Rat, a Poem"

Zombie Love

Darling, in a zombie apocalypse, I would eat you LAST!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Where Never Serpent Hisses

EVEN as the sun with purple-colour'd face
Had ta'en his last leave of the weeping morn,
Rose-cheek'd Adonis hied him to the chase;
Hunting he loved, but love he laugh'd to scorn;
Sick-thoughted Venus makes amain unto him,

And like a bold-faced suitor 'gins to woo him.
'Thrice-fairer than myself,' thus she began,
'The field's chief flower, sweet above compare,
Stain to all nymphs, more lovely than a man,
More white and red than doves or roses are;
Nature that made thee, with herself at strife,
Saith that the world hath ending with thy life.

'Vouchsafe, thou wonder, to alight thy steed,
And rein his proud head to the saddle-bow;
If thou wilt deign this favour, for thy meed
A thousand honey secrets shalt thou know:
Here come and sit, where never serpent hisses,
And being set, I'll smother thee with kisses;

'And yet not cloy thy lips with loathed satiety,
But rather famish them amid their plenty,
Making them red and pale with fresh variety,
Ten kisses short as one, one long as twenty:
A summer's day will seem an hour but short,
Being wasted in such time-beguiling sport.'

With this she seizeth on his sweating palm,
The precedent of pith and livelihood,
And trembling in her passion, calls it balm,
Earth's sovereign salve to do a goddess good:
Being so enraged, desire doth lend her force
Courageously to pluck him from his horse.
- William Shakespeare, "Venus and Adonis" (excerpt)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

50 Shades of Steam Punk

Initials BB [originally by Serge Gainsbourg] One night I was moping A me some English pub in the heart of London From Traversing Love Mons- Tre Pauwels me came a vision in seltzer water Initials B B initals B Initials BB While medals OF imperator shine Font size Bronze and Gold Platinum him severe cold a circle mark slaves Each finger Initials B B initals B Initials BB How long in upper thighs She is kicked And it's like a chalice A beauty It does nothing other than a little D'essence of Guerlain in hair Initials B B initals B Initials BB Every movement could hear the silver bells From his wrists Waving its bells She walked and spoke the word: Almeria! Initials B B initals B Initials BB
"BB" Brigitte Bardot

Thursday, February 5, 2015

I'm Feeling It...

It Remains ("See alles jääb" translated from Estonian language)

Oh, dear friend, I respect you
You know, this feeling remains.
Great men have great deeds,
You know, this feeling remains and stays
You know, this feeling remains


Oh, dear acquaintance, I respect you,
You [surely] know, this feeling will remain.
Great men have great deeds,
You know, this feeling remains and remains
You know, this feeling remains


Great men have great deeds,
You know, this feeling remains...

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Label Seeking?

I am Real. I am your co-worker. Your best friend. Your neighbour. Your spouse. Your sibling. Your parent. Your lover. Your child. I am the person beside you on the train and near you at church. The person passing you on the street. I am everywhere and anyone. Yet l am nowhere and no one, since your eyes are blinded by fear an your mind by ignorance. We are just alike, you & I, me & you, yet we are not the same. For l bear the Label, the unwanted stigma of generations. Thus I am routinely ridiculed and detested, neglected an stereotyped. Forever misunderstood, simplified, restricted. I am master of deception since society deems it necessary for me to conceal my afflictions. I don a mask of pleasantness daily, yet beneath it l am in turmoil lest you discover my terrible secrets. Every day l attempt to escape the prison within me, and the demons that haunt my very soul. The chains that bind me have weakened from the mighty strength brought by knowledge. Yet l remain...trapped within my mind, unable to every truly be free. Randomly exited from society, condemned to the confines of my own being. Arbitrarily sentenced to endless punishment for a nonexistent crime. Convicted by a fictional judge and jury, blind to my protests and deaf to my pleas. I am not guilty of wrong doing. I have committed no transgression, yet l suffer continuous agony. I am the victim of a mysterious, unexplainable injustice. Authorized by the universe, chance and fate, ironically enforced from within. My potential is overlooked, my contributions unseen. Only my superficial Label is visible to the untrained, uncaring, shallow eye. Thus I am discarded, abandoned. Left to observe the world from behind a shattered window pane that distorts the vision of my reality from yours. Always on the outside looking in. shamed into silently enduring infinite torture, eternal frustration.Forever isolated, cast aside, forgotten...My suffering is real, although you may not see it. My fears are real, although you make light of them. My feelings are real, although you ignore them. Do not underestimate my capabilities. Rest assured, l will prove you wrong time and again. Do not brazenly assume to know what it is like. You cannot begin to comprehend my existence unless you have lived inside my head, amidst the confusion and tempest in the darkest corners of the deepest reaches of my mind, my soul. Do not dare judge me according to your misguided perceptions. Do not callously and thoughtlessly dismiss em, for you do NOT know me, despite what you believe. Your assumptions about me are inherently flawed. Tainted by fear, clouded by prejudice, poisoned by ignorance, colored by scorn. You cannot fathom the frustration and confusion felt when your own mind betrays you, becomes your worst enemy. What remains? What do you believe? What do you ignore? Who am l? what is REALLY me? How do l distinguish myself from the parasite, the insidious beast that invaded me, consumes my every moment? THIS is the reality of My existence. The darkness and anguish that envelop me attempt to smother me..drown me. The terror that overwhelms my core tries to devour me.destroy me, yet l remain fight another valiant, hidden battle for my very survival each dawn. Sadly, often the worst pain inflicted comes not from within me, but from outside me. From the society that attempts to label me, limit me. The society that attempts to silence me, ignore me. Relegating me to the outskirts of civilization.

Questioning my morals, my despair, my reality, my torment's very existence. I may falter at times, struggling to overcome the unearen infirmities of my own brain, yet l refuse to succumb to ignorance from without! I may not conform to your definitions of normalcy. But l beg of you - do not belittle me or berate me, as l already find monumental faults with myself. My mind taunts me, proclaiming that l will NEVER be good enough or normal enough or worthy enough. Overpowering feelings of inadequacy and doubt plague me, shadowing my every step, my every breath, mocking my persistent attempts to fit in, survive, excel. Yet wearily l journey on in my quest. Endlessly searching for the elusive summit, that which in obscure (albeit temporarily?) from my view...Happiness, freedom, peace of mind, hope, control, confidence, respect, acceptance, love, answers. A life. A Future. A Chance. Inching ever closer..Do not deny me this intrinsic human right. I am no less, and no more, deserving of it than you. That which you accept unquestionally, unappreciatively, is my ultimate objective. That which you unknowingly take for granted, is all l desire, all l long for, all l crave with every fibre of my being. I am not looking for your pity, just your understanding. I do not wish you to fear me, simply accept me. I am not seeking an excuse. I merely desire your compassion. I am the face of mental illness, and l am Real.
Amy Kloeblen, "I am the face behind the label"

Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Little Light Music...

The fruits are ripe, dipped in fire,
Cooked and sampled on earth. And there's a law,
That things crawl off in the manner of snakes,
Prophetically, dreaming on the hills of heaven.
And there is much that needs to be retained,
Like a load of wood on the shoulders.
But the pathways are dangerous.
The captured elements and ancient laws of earth
Run astray like horses. There is a constant yearning
For all that is unconfined. But much needs
To be retained. And loyalty is required.
Yet we mustn't look forwards or backwards.
We should let ourselves be cradled
As if on a boat rocking on a lake.

But what about things that we love?
We see sun shining on the ground, and the dry dust,
And at home the forests deep with shadows,
And smoke flowering from the rooftops,
Peacefully, near the ancient crowning towers.
These signs of daily life are good,
Even when by contrast something divine
Has injured the soul.
For snow sparkles on an alpine meadow,
Half-covered with green, signifying generosity
Of spirit in all situations, like flowers in May —
A wanderer walks up above on a high trail
And speaks irritably to a friend about a cross
He sees in the distance, set for someone
Who died on the path... what does it mean?

My Achilles
Died near a fig tree,
And Ajax lies in the caves of the sea
Near the streams of Skamandros —
Great Ajax died abroad
Following Salamis' inflexible customs,
A rushing sound at his temples —
But Patroclus died in the King's armor.
Many others died as well.
But Eleutherai, the city
Of Mnemosyne, once stood upon
Mount Kithaeron. Evening
Loosened her hair, after the god
Had removed his coat.
For the gods are displeased
If a person doesn't compose
And spare himself.
But one has to do it,
And grief is soon gone.
- Friedrich Holderlin, "Mnemosyne"