“Optimism is not only a false but also a pernicious doctrine, for it presents life as a desirable state and man’s happiness as its aim and object. Starting from this, everyone then believes he has the most legitimate claim to happiness and enjoyment. If, as usually happens, these do not fall to his lot, he believes that he suffers an injustice, in fact that he misses the whole point of his existence.”
Arthur Schopenhauer (via blackestdespondency)
“to sustain the [traumatic randomness] of … chance, we read meanings into [our calamities.]

accepting the chanciness [of our calamities] without the implication of … hidden meaning … was the greatness of Job.”
Slavoj Zizek on the Book of Job  (via alterities)
“So I will just end with a litany, a kind of Nicene creed for would-be vital materialists: ‘I believe in one matter-energy, the maker of things seen and unseen. I believe that this pluriverse is transversed by heterogeneities that are continually doing things. I believe it is wrong to deny vitality to nonhuman bodies, forces, and forms, and that a careful course of anthropomorphization can help reveal that vitality, even though it resists full translation and exceeds my comprehensive grasp. I believe that encounters with lively matter can chasten my fantasies of human mastery, highlight the common materiality of all that is, expose a wider distribution of agency, and reshape the self and its interests.’”
Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: Toward a Political Ecology of Things (via whentherewerebicycles)
“Powerless in an overwhelming society, the individual experiences himself only as socially mediated. The institutions made by people are thus additionally fetishized: since subjects have known themselves only as exponents of institutions, these have acquired the aspect of something divinely ordained. You feel yourself to the marrow a doctor’s wife, a member of a faculty, a chairman of the committee of religious experts… as one might in other times have felt oneself part of a family or tribe.”
Theodor Adorno, Message in a Bottle (via post-makhno)

The Middle Ages was a very exciting time in Europe.

The Middle Ages was a very exciting time in Europe.

(Source : gallifreyan-gallimaufry)

“hysteria [in capitalism is] a rebellion … against being reduced to … usefulness”
Slavoj Zizek (#hysterics)
“That well known little people of a not too distant past, I mean just the Greeks, had stubbornly preserved its unhistorical sense in the period of its greatest strength; were a contemporary man forced by magic spells to return to that world he would presumably find the Greeks very “uneducated,” which would, of course, disclose the meticulously disguised secret of modern culture to public laughter: for from ourselves we moderns have nothing at all; only by filling and overfilling ourselves with alien ages, customs, arts, philosophies, religions and knowledge do we become something worthy of notice, namely walking encyclopedias, as which an ancient Hellene, who had been thrown into our age, might perhaps address us. The whole value of encyclopedias, however, is found only in what is written in them, the content, not in what is written on them or in what is cover and what is shell; and so the whole of modern culture is essentially internal: on the outside the bookbinder has printed something like “Handbook of Inner Culture for External Barbarians.””

Nietzsche, “On the Use and Abuse of History for Life.”

This is one of the funniest things Nietzsche has ever written, but it’s very serious, too.  This is the handbook the world is reading, the one absolving them of responsibility to others.

As Walter Benjamin famously said, “There is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism.”  In a similar vein, we might think about Aimé Césaire's reaction to the European barbarism leading up to WWII:

"…but the supreme barbarism, the crowning barbarism that sums up all the daily barbarisms, that it is Nazism, yes, but that before they were its victims, they were its accomplices; that they tolerated that Nazism before it was inflicted on them, that they absolved it, shut their eyes to it, legitimized it, because, until then, it had been applied only to non-European peoples; that they have cultivated that Nazism, that they are responsible for it…"

Corporate social responsibility mission statements, human resources/public relations manuals, and Chick tracts comprise a recent appendix to the handbook.

(via mayhap)
“Foucault insists on the importance of the techniques of interpretation. It’s possible that in the actual idea of interpretation is something which goes beyond the dialectical opposition between “knowing” and “transforming” the world. Freud is the great interpreter, so is Nietzsche, but in a different way. Nietzsche’s idea is that things and actions are already interpretations. So to interpret is to interpret interpretations, and thus to change things, “to change life.” What is clear for Nietzsche is that society cannot be an ultimate authority. The ultimate authority is creation, it is art: or rather, art represents the absence and the impossibility of an ultimate authority. From the very beginning of his work, Nietzsche posits that there exist ends “just a little higher” than those of the State, than those of society. He inserts his entire corpus in a dimension which is neither historical, even understood dialectically, nor eternal. What he calls this new dimension which operates both in time and against time is the untimely. It is in this that life as interpretation finds its source. Maybe the reason for the “return to Nietzsche” is a rediscovery of the untimely, that dimension which is distinct both from classical philosophy in its “timeless” enterprise and from dialectical philosophy in its understanding of history: a singular element of upheaval.”
Gilles Deleuze, in an interview with Guy Dumur, from Le Nouvel Observateur, April 5, 1967, pp. 40-41. (via sisyphean-revolt)