Hiking in the Catskills

Hiking in the CatskillsI went hiking last week for the first time. Bought new Merrell hiking boots and even rented Leki trekking poles. Had a wonderful time. Great changes in scenery over the 3.2 miles, which gave me a workout in nature without filtered air nor with an iPod. What a nifty idea. I loaded some other pictures on Flickr.

Keep this up, and I just may lose weight and get into shape. Once again, what a nifty idea!

On the other hand, there is no better place to clean the mind while studying Kant’s Third Critique. Where better place to see art than in the woods? Not quite like Thoreau, but I did come out of them.

Dutch collection at the Met

I went to see the Dutch collection show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art today, entitled The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. I have seen many of these works over the years at the Metropolitan, since as a member I go there frequently to recharge.

In the same way I found the paintings recharging, I thought I would share some of them from the collection I find most engaging (all from the Met’s site):

Aelbert Cuyp (Dutch, 1620–1691) Young Herdsmen with Cows, ca. 1650:

Young Herdsmen with Cows

Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606–1669) Man in Oriental Costume (“The Noble Slav”), 1632:

Man in Oriental Costume

Johannes Vermeer (Dutch, 1632–1675) Young Woman with a Water Pitcher, ca. 1662:

Young Woman with a Water Pitcher

Jacob van Ruisdael (Dutch, 1628/29–1682) Wheat Fields, ca. 1670:

Wheat Fields

Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606–1669) Aristotle with a Bust of Homer, 1653:

Aristotle with a Bust of Homer

The recording that accompanied the show stated that the final image here, Aristotle with a Bust of Homer, is the most significant work in the collection. While it gave only a brief account why this claim was made, I was hooked. It seems there is the tension between Aristotle’s fingering the worldly reknown signified with his gold chain and the force of Homer’s legacy, without the benefit of worldly compensation. They are both memorialized, and it is to our benefit this is the case with Rembrandt’s painting to remind us of this tension and leave it up to us to determine which one we choose.

Simon Critchley #2

The lesson in and of philosophy after Kant, which is the painful process of accepting limitation.

It seems this event is for the publication of Simon’s new book by Verso.

Philosophy begins in the failed sense of transcendence. Religious and political disappointment intersect, and, if God is Dead, the issue of nihiliism, which is the breakdown of the order of meaning. This can be active or passive. Active is when the person finds things meaningless, and in turn try to detroy this world and bring a new one into being. Al Quaeda is the highest example of active nihilism. Passive nihilism is more like Nietchze, where there is the withdrawal.

Thus, what might justice be in an unjust world.

Wow, Simon speaks well. Polished. British English. Cultured, Modern. He wants to find more of a third way, one that is meta-ethical. The core of ethics, the existential matrix and core of ethics is a demand. One of good beyond being, the Resurrection, the moral law, etc. It depends on the thinker and the view.

There is a demand that cannot be fulfilled, and it makes me the me that I am by dividing me by myself; a dividual (the divided individual). Really interesting concept, I think. It fits with his concept that he is discussing, especially with the disappointment without dispair, there is a comic ridiculous. A bleak elevation to humor. We need satire more than ever, since we need the sense of the comic to cut through both the right and the left, politically, right now.

He is interested in the politics of resistance–military neoliberalism, neo leninism, neo anarchism.

Military neo-liberalism is a faith. This is similar to President bush right now, as well as British politics, and even current Democratic policies. This shows a melancholy with current politics. This form of politics causes a response of violence. This is politics of fear, like politics of policing, aka Guilianism. The best we can hope for globalized feeling of making the planet better. However, this is violent.

Neo-Leninism is practiced in Al Queda, and jihadist revolutionary Islam. He is very suspicious of this, more in the line of Stalin and Mao. Leninist and neo-Leninists like dictatorships and the political desire for the master. This is very violent. 

Neo-anarchism can be seen in the nature and tactics of resistance against the G8 Summit, for example. When diverse groups form and forge together for a common cause. This is like non-violent warfare, which is his emphasis. Badiou.

Anarchism as politics can be seen even in the US history, such as the writings of Payne and in some of the religious societies, such as Mount Lebanon.

a neoanarchist politics of religion can still allow for a resistance against the state. This is what Marx called true democracy when he referred to some of Hegel’s work.

What he is saying, about the state, immigration, and even the space where people live and have their lives, is very interesting, but as I am hot, sitting on the floor, and very uncomfortable, I am wondering  . . .

Ah, Gramsci and hegemony. Nothing like perking myself up. Makes me recall my classes with Brookfield. Interesting, I had not previous made the connection between Simon and Stephen (Brookfield).

Anarchism has to do with freedom

Ah, a Marcuse reference. And local and glocal.

War is the wrong response to the effects of 9/11. Perhaps the heteronomous other of Levinas is closer to what this is all about.

The three options, and he hopes the third is successful, but the first two will instead ravage the world.