Meditations on an Exhibition: „The Art of the Viennese Watercolor“ (Albertina)

Otto Weininger says intensity and comprehesiveness of memory is a defining feature of genius, and I think also Proust´s undertaking is about the possibility to enliven memory and, through that, make one´s own subjectivity more compact and immediate – maybe also more objective, since memories amalgamate the subject with an object experience and the world. I have to say that I also need to have everything on my monitor and that memory plays a vital role for me. Think of me being surrounded with an atmosphere that is memory and that I want to have present and compact. In contrast to the intelligent person the memory of the creative person will not necessarily be (quasi-) eidetic and textual, it will rather be associative and hypertextual. There! It happens I think of something, and then my memory often delivers me an instant from the past that somehow goes along with it – combining the thought/idea and the memory usually amplifies both and adds up to harmony. It becomes immersive. – Being immersive, or enabling immersion, is also an element of art. So I enjoyed the current exhibition at the Albertina: „The Art of the Viennese Watercolor“, showing watercolour paintings from Austrian artists, most of them from the 19th century, many of them from the glorious Biedermeier period. They usually portray everyday life scenes, and it moves me a lot to look at all these people and sceneries respectively to dive into my extented national memory and try to enliven them. They become present. Often these street scenes are from a time when also Beethoven used to walk those streets. There are also children in it and for instance in Karl Postl´s „View on Prague from an Archway“ (ca. 1800) you have a child accompaning her mother at the center. As you remember, I get immersed into children as they embody potential, becoming and the openness of future – and, therein somehow paradoxically, those children are long gone. I wonder what those people´s lives have been? Their individual experiences, their memories, their happinesses, their sorrows? I would like to get into every house of the world, not only in our time, but throughout all history, and investigate. That will feel good (?). Those watercolour painings are very enlivened, very immersive. Ahh, the innocence of perception of them painters and their high level of awareness and empathy for their surroundings! You become a part of something when you dive into those paintings. As for more specific purposes: Take a look, in great astonishment, in the amazing detailedness of Rudolf von Alt´s works! See how Peter Fendi, with his a bit dissoluting style, creates some sense of double identity of the world and of the social realm! Check out how August von Pettenkofen (a solitary eccentric) pushes that even further, into the twilight realm! The exhibition „The Art of the Viennese Watercolor“, does it bring me some happiness and relief? Yes, it does. And what an impression of nature there is in all that!

(Note that only Rudolf von Alt´s „Der Traunsee“ was part of the exhibition, and that both Fendi´s and Pettenkofen´s are oil on canvas, but I like them and good pics of the paintings aren´t so easy to find and you should go to the exhibition and get the book about the exhibition anyway.)

About People That Run Amok and Science Cranks

America has a problem with gun fetishism, due to a cowboy-macho mentality, and since people mimic other people there is an ongoing tradition of the USA being plagued by mass shootings. I.e. there are people with some sinister character that more easily hear their „call“ (to become mass shooters) in an environment where there are also other people who do – in contrast to the notion that such people are „ticking time bombs“ that are set to „inevitably“ explode I guess most people with sinister character won´t (at a large scale): it depends on their environment on how much they get triggered to really act out like that. Mass shooters seem to be a mysterious case since they usually accept their own death or being thrown into jail for lifetime (and I guess a substantial amount of people who may want to become mass shooters are held back just because of this perspective). What is the damage that is inside them? I remember there was a dicussion about the condition of Norway´s mass murderer/terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, of whether he is actually insane or can be held accountable for his acts (i.e. suffers from paranoid schizophrenia or has a massive personality disorder which however does not render him truly insane). There were psychiatrists who considered him insane and others who did not (public pressure however has been on being able to hold Breivik accountable for his deeds, which he also strived for himself). I remember how an Austrian psychiatrist said in an interview that the „insane“ grin of Breivik would remind him of a patient he had in an insane asylum that had cut off his penis but simply smiled at him, like a naughty child, showing his parents the mess it had done. I was wondering what kind of insanity that could be? Are there more, and more individual forms of insanity than just schizophrenia and bipolar disorder? I also remember a Norwegian psychiatrist who had to deal with Breivik in his youth said he was thinking Breivik had Asperger Syndrome (which may lead to difficulties in capacity to empathise, though more in the intellectual sense than in the moral or emotional sense). More recent American mass shooter Adam Lanza was also believed to have been aspergeroid. Could it be that an Aspie with an evil character and who had to suffer severe frustrations due to being a social misfit can turn into a monster? In some cases, maybe. However, I also read a „confession“ of another young mass shooter once (respectively I have screened it since it consisted of ca. 150 pages): It was a quite bright teenager, maybe with IQ 150, who had written a lenghty, well elaborated statement, the message however was that he was jealous of other (supposedly) happy (and romantically engaged) teenagers and hated them – as he did not consider himself able to ever lead such a happy life. So some kind of teenage angst – it remained unclear why, at such a young age, he considered himself unlikely to ever be able to live a life like those he envied – however, given the darkness or emptiness of his soul his guess that he wasn´t loveable (which he did not express directly, although I have read only parts of the suicide note) was likely correct. What is astounding is the level of hatred against a world about which he felt that it had wronged him and that he would have deserved better. I also remember a case of a juvenile interviewed in prison who had murdered someone, because he had felt that all the others at school were „someone“ whereas he himself had been „nothing“ – and so, in order to be „someone“ he killed a popular girl from high school and went into prison. Strange individuals (also like Mark David Chapman who shot John Lennon in order to become a celebrity himself): Are they extremely narcisstically wounded (due to a personality disorder that makes them so vulnerable) or do they have an even more severe identity diffusion that makes them feel so empty inside so as that they commit the most extreme acts, with which they also hurt themselves, just to „be someone“ (in the case of MD Chapman a more severely disturbed case than just a narcissist, reaching into mental illness, seems evident)? There has been an article „Inside the Mind of the Mass Shooter“ in the aftermath of a more recent mass shooting in the USA, leaving dozens of people dead and hundreds of people injured at a country music festival in Nevada, carried out by 64-year old Stephen Paddok. The article says mass shooters frequently show signs of paranoid schizophrenia and an illusion of narcissistic grandeur – that has been frustrated, and because of this, they act out, also taking into account their own death which does not matter to them anymore, or is desired by them. Apart from their narcissistic fantasies, which do not unfold in reality, they are obviously so empty inside that all that is left in them is to „settle the scores“ with a world seen as hostile or unworthy, and then obliterate themselves. – As far as I can see, a condition common in mass shooters seems to be a paranoid personality disorder. People with a paranoid personality disorder are extremely touchy against personal setbacks (for which they usually blame others), suspicious and anxious against possible setbacks, they hold long or everlasting grudges, they are argumentative, have a sense of entitlement and often are self-referential or have a superiority complex and fantasise about being omnipotent (in contrast to the narcissist they, therein, do not strive for admiration, neither (in contrast to the histrionic) for attention, but obviously just for power respectively for being regarded as superior for its own sake). There does not seem to be so much inside them concerning warmheartedness, their emotional apparatus rather mainly consists of feelings of anger and resentment. When, in their fantasies of superiority they see themselves questioned by others (regardless of whether that is the intention of the other person or not), they become extremly angry and, in a way of projecting their own hostility into others, paranoid (and maybe also their fantasies of large conspiracies against them is a projection of their own grandiose and grand-scale fantasies). Paranoids aren´t easy people and they are likely to become ever more lonely in the course of their life. A paranoid personality disorder can also develop into a paranoid schizophrenia. I think that paranoids aren´t just paranoid i.e. suspicious and deluded (maybe due to an attachment disorder in early childhood) but that they (at least in many cases) have severe problems of regulation of self-esteem and that their paranoia is to a considerable degree a projection of their own proneness to feel hostility towards others. They may lack inner resources and inner riches. They may even know that their paranoid fantasies are bs and irrational, but they hold on to them since they comfort them emotionally. So I guess paranoid personality disorder probably is the most frequent condition inside the mind of mass shooters. (However, among the possibly many causes a murderous instinct may also be caused by a brain tumor: Such was obviously the case of famous mass shooter Charles Whitman who went up a tower and shot several people and made it very difficult to catch him in the 1960s – he had been a normal guy who had become increasingly plagued by the desire to murder and, therein, felt that something „wasn´t right with his brain“ – after his death a tumor was found in his brain. Likewise, also another special breed – serial killers – aren´t necessarily lunatics or sociopaths. They might be neurotypical – apart from the fact that they have murderous impulses inside them. Also sadists aren´t necessarily sociopaths: that they get triggered by sadistic fantasies may be an isolated feature in the arena of their entire personality.)

A while ago also the crackpot/crank personality attracted my attention. A crank is someone who inflexibly holds on to beliefs that are widely considered as wrong (or not-even-wrong) or irrational, obviously as, although cranks may appear to be humble, they also have a massive desire to see themselves as superior towards others. According to Wikepedia characteristics of cranks include: 1) Cranks overestimate their own knowledge and ability, and underestimate that of acknowledged experts 2) Cranks insist that their alleged discoveries are urgently important 3) Cranks rarely, if ever, acknowledge any error, no matter how trivial 4) Cranks love to talk about their own beliefs, often in inappropriate social situations, but they tend to be bad listeners, being uninterested in anyone else’s experience or opinions 5) Cranks seriously misunderstand the mainstream opinion to which they believe that they are objecting 6) Cranks stress that they have been working out their ideas for many decades, and claim that this fact alone entails that their belief cannot be dismissed as resting upon some simple error 7) compare themselves with luminaries in their chosen field (often Einstein, Newton, Edison, etc.) implying that the mere unpopularity of some belief is in itself evidence of plausibility 8) Cranks claim that their ideas are being suppressed, typically by secret intelligence organizations, mainstream science, powerful business interests, or other groups which, they allege, are terrified by the possibility of their revolutionary insights becoming widely known 9) Cranks appear to regard themselves as persons of unique historical importance. – So, although „perhaps surprisingly, many cranks may appear quite normal when they are not passionately expounding their cranky belief, and they may even be successful in careers unrelated to their cranky beliefs“, also the crank condition seems to be an expression of a personality disorder. But what common personality disorder would apply? Obviously you have narcissistic, histrionic and schizotypal features here, yet neither NPD, HPD or StPD seem to truly apply. Upon relfection, it may also be paranoid personality disorder, if we consider the problem of self-esteem regulation, desire for quasi-omnipotence and holding on to colossal belief systems which turn into the delusion of colossal conspiracies being plotted against oneself when ego becomes frustrated. In the German version of the crackpot article on Wikipedia there is a link to the querulant, a somehow similar condition to that of the crank, and as it turns out, querulant behaviour is regarded to stem out of a paranoid condition. Personality disorders are often hidden and people with personality disorders may „function“ relatively well in everyday life – only when you meet them more intimately you see there is something wrong with them. On the other hand, when you meet someone who acts inappropriately and inflexible there is a high probability that such a person has a personality disorder. There is a continuum between (harmless) eccentricities and massive personality disorders. It is good to have knowledge about psychopathology since you are about to meet many people equipped with such a disorder and they may bring severe upheaval in your life. Walter Riso, a therapist who has written a valuable book about dangerous romantic liaisons with problematic people estimates that 20 – 30 percent of people are equipped with PDs („and if we take into account lighter cases, that number would increase significantly once more“). Meditate about that.

Individuals who (obviously) combine a high IQ with a paranoid personality disorder may have been Bobby Fisher, Ted „Unabomber“ Kaczynski, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Christopher Langan. Bobby Fisher was an entertaining and flamboyant chess genius before he turned into a person that made antiamerican and antisemitic comments at every occasion, as if he had been compulsed to do so. At September 11 2001 he welcomed the terrorist attacks (in a Japanese radio show) as „wonderful news“ and in his last radio interview in Iceland (where he lived in „exile“) he could not refrain expressing his sympathies for the North Korean Dear Leader. Yet already in former times it had been noted that Fisher was deeply troubled, arrogant and with a short temper, which however he had managed to somehow balance with being funny and exiting and a genius. Psychologists noted that for Fisher playing and winning at chess was about fantasies of power, and in a TV interview he once gave answer to the question what he would experience as „the greatest pleasure“ in chess: The moment when he „breaks the opponents ego“. – Ted Kaczynski was a normal child at first. At age 2 however he suffered from a shock of the immune system and had to be isolated in hospital. After that experience he had become a very reclusive child and person. I guess, apart from genetic disposition, personality disorders stem out from severe frustrations in early infancy where the infant does not have a fully developed concept of self and the own body and cannot recall memories (therefore, unlike neuroses, personality disorders do not appear as something „attached“ to a personality, but an element deeply ingrained in that personality itself). Apart from being a maths genius hardly understood by anyone Kaczynski became a reclusive and bizarre individual who gave up mathematics to become the Unabomber. Despite employing a primitivistic (and a bit Rousseauian) ideology he admitted to himself that the true motive for his criminal crusade had been his „hatred“ for people. When I once took a short look at his manifest, I noticed that it was full of paranoid hatred against the political left (I would have liked to analyse that further since it appeared to me as an expression of an inferiority complex, respectively a hatred against everything that is „soft“ and tolerant because of self-hatred for one´s own perceived inner weakness, but I am not interested to do that at the moment). – I have not read or studied Jean-Jacques Rousseau a lot, but it is commonplace that he sent his offspring to orphanages and that after a while he antagonised against everyone, became suspicious about Voltaire et al. betraying him or plotting against him. When he finally arrived in England, David Hume welcomed him, therein dismissing warnings that Rousseau is known as a problematic person, only to find those warnings justified after a while. Maybe his entire apparently humanistic but also anti-civilisational philosophy is an expression of his paranoid condition, an attack against a society about which he thought that it did him wrong (note that intellectually a paranoid person may well be a humanist). – Christopher Langan is noted as a person with one of the highest IQs currently on stage. He developed a metaphysics, the Cognitive-Theoretical Model of the Universe (CTMU) as a „Theory of Everything“ (ToE) i.e. as a „theory of theories“ that finally explains (or provides a framework for understanding) the entire reality. I have read  some of his texts and also the counterarguments by others (which Langan however says they do not exist or are invalid) but still do not know what to think about it. As far as I can see it contains at least some plausible claims or suggestions as well as apparent exaggerations, as Langan claims he can prove the existence of God, of the afterlife, of the ethical character of reality and the like (note that in Langan´s theory those categories are somehow distingiushed from what is commonly understood by them). I cannot discuss the CTMU at the moment, but, as Christopher Langan appeared on Facebook (in a group for discussion of the CTMU) a while ago, I can discuss his behaviour: He joined the group as people in it have expressed curiosity why Langan had spoken out for Donald Trump. He went there to explain his motives and since then, apart from engaging in discussion and explaining about the CTMU, he compulsively rants against academia (which he flat out denounces as all corrupt and interested in anything but scientific truth), immigrants, left-wingers, „cultural marxists“, tech-billionaires, („stooge-like“ and sociopathic) politicians, atheists, (philosophical) materialists, liberals and people who don´t stick to guns – regardless of whether it is any issue in the respective thread or not. He bitterly blames „academia“ for not being „famous like Einstein“ and disrespecting the CTMU (what he fails to mention however is that the CTMU has also met opposition in the high IQ communities) and, as it becomes apparent after a while, he rants against the elites as well as the more stupid parts of the populace of a world that fails to acknowledge that the CTMU is the greatest intellectual achievement of all time and the overall solution to everything and that Christopher Langan is the greatest genius of all time and the greatest saviour since Jesus Christ (as, concerning the more stupid parts of the populace, he likes to engage in dreaming about eugenics). There is some rationality and things being worthy of consideration in what he says, but it becomes apparent that Langan says them for psychological reasons and that he is not at all a balanced individual. In arguments he goes ad hominem pretty quickly and he employs an uncannily contemptuous and scornful language in which he dehumanises others: he does not radiate much goodness and warmheartedness. He is excessively self-referential and, in contrast to humbleness and proneness to question and re-evalute one´s own ideas and beliefs as common characteristics of the genius he never ever comes up with any sort of „self-irony“. He is excessively sensitive to being „trolled“ (which, of course, he occassionally gets, however he seems to understand every disagreement as „trolling“, specifically if the other person has a point: in such a case, when he runs out of arguments, he simply derisively claims that he is much smarter and the other person an idiot). Like the paranoid person I have personally known, he permanently complains how hard his life is and how „infinitely entitled“ immigrants are (because of plutocratic-cultural marxist anti-christian conspiracy engineered by tech-billionaires and the government (if it is run by democrats or an „Obamamessiah“ and where only Trump can be a saviour)). Concerning his fantasies about conspiracies and plots he even goes that far to come up with conspiracy theories that the attacks of 9/11 were an inside job carried out by the government (and fantasises about the purpose having been to distract public attention from the game-changing and mass illuminating CTMU) – whereas no serious intellectual, regardless of nationality or ideological affiliation comes up with such a thing since to anyone who is capable of critical thinking it is evident that those conspiracy theories are much less plausible than the „official version“. In general, also as an intellectual he is pretty picky in taking into account stuff that confirms his vision and neglects stuff that does not. For someone who claims to be „closer to absolute truth than anyone else“ in history, Langan is quite casual in making claims he, at least somehow, knows himself that they aren´t exactly appropriate or pay tribute to „absolute truth“, but preeminently serve the purpose of comforting him emotionally. For someone who humble-brags „Do I think this (my achievements/IQ) makes me better than anyone? No, I still work in a bar“ he is quite immodest (note: the quotes are from a video portrait about Langan easily to be found on Youtube). And, at any rate, someone who claims to be the „smartest man in America“ and then speaks out for Trump! Ok, granted that Langan is a conservative, but also most of the more illuminated conservatives turned away from Trump. However, Langan finally makes it clear that he endorsed Trump because Trump runs against left-wingers and „cultural marxists“ which he deems accountable for lack of success of the CTMU – I mean, so much for Langan as an honest intellectual who claims being solely interested in the progress and enlightenment of humanity, but endorses an aggressively anti-intellectual/scientific individual who is a slap in the fucking face for any rational person and is irresponsible enough to elect someone like Trump into the most decisive office in the world! Ok, granted again, Trump is a personality disorder guy and a narcissist like Langan, but an intellectual should first and foremost ask whether someone is intellectually honest and accountable. – To sum up, while operating at a high intellectual level and at least containing elements that should not be dismissed the CTMU makes the impression of being something Christopher Langan wants to come up with to prove that he is the greatest genius in history (i.e. a toy, not a theory). Certain paranoid elements like its grand dimensionality, dismissal of „moral relativism“ in favor of an absolute truth/logos that Langan equates to a pantheistic/psychic deity (that equates to the universe itself) (and where Langan is his prophet) seem to be there, or could be interpreted along these lines. – I actually feel a bit uneasy mentioning all of that since Chris Langan hasn´t done anything bad on me personally, but I am, among other things, here to document my age, and that is how he exposes (and deconstructs) himself online (and, as I can see, he doesn´t do it only on Facebook, but also in various other threads on the internet – as for instance HERE). I have been aware of Chris Langan for some years now and have been reading and observing this and that in bits and pieces from time to time and did not know what to think about him, but given such exposure – which, by the way, does not invalidate (parts of) his theory, but sheds a strange light on it – I am skeptical.  On Facebook I can even a bit understand his „eccentricity“, as in the respective group there is a considerable number of people who applaud to Langan and kiss his ass to anything this idiot says, no matter how outrageous it ges (for one or many reasons). Even if they are sympathetic to his views or his theory, I do not quite get why many of those folks do not see, at least after a while, that Langan simply is not a balanced individual and that his behaviour is flat out abnormal. Of course, his frustrations can be understood – thinking that he has come up with one of the most significant intellectual/spiritual achievements of all time, with important implications for self-understanding of man and is not credited for it – yet contrary to good intentions, a basic abrasiveness of his personality is obvious (what is most frustrating that some individuals fall out with Langan after a personal unpleasant encounter, but not so often because of his genral behaviour). They think they are geniuses themselves and oh, so special and so damn clever when they endorse Langan and the CTMU, or so. Concerning true geniuses, it gives me an indication why folks like Einstein preferred to solely talk at length with Gödel, Nietzsche went to Sils Maria, Wittgenstein went to Norway to think or to Lower Austrian children to communicate or Emily Dickinson refused to leave her house after a while (as now does Perelman). I mean, those highly gifted physicists around Einstein, what did they do? Crying „Hurra!!“ when the First World War broke out, and then again crying uncritically „Hurra!“ when a tricky thing like quantum mechanics manifested! There seems to be a bit of a lack of inner clarity in those people! Even people who are not commonly retarded may follow dangerous leaders. The fog of the world. That is the quintessence of „Moby Dick“.

 

White Light from the Mouth of Infinity

Recently I bought me some books, anthologies by female Christian mystics Mechthild of Magdeburg, Teresa of Avila and Marguerite Porete (as well as male Christian mystic Dionysius the Areopagite (although Dionysius probably also was a woman, since his true identity remains obscure – therefore s/he is also commonly referred to as Pseudo-Dionysius)). Mysticism strives for the unio mystica, the becoming one with deity through purification of personality (which is therefore often a nuisance to clerics, since it undermines the authority of the church as intermediary between man´s world and the divine: especially Mechthild had no easy life and Marguerite was sentenced to death by the Inquisition). Especially both Teresa and Marguerite were talking about stages of enlightenment, in the highest form the soul becomes a medium of divine perception. Teresa said, God can be understood as a diamond, greater than the entire world, where everything can be seen, and in which she happened to see herself and her actions at incredibly speed and heavily concentrated (leaving her a bit embarassed to see her noble deeds as well as her sins without any true distance from each other). Such a soul has been touched by the divine light. Yet, interestingly, both Teresa and Marguerite say that seeing the divine light is just a short flash, that may happen only once or a few times in life. Full unio mystica, i.e. becoming one with the divine light, is only possible after death, in this life the soul is to still remain in the body and to wander the earth, and also the fully developed mystic still remains, in parts, an earthly, human creature that is object of suffering and possible setbacks. – I am somehow relieved to hear that from such distinguished persons, since I was thinking that my own enlightenment was incomplete. Furthermore, I see there seems to be no use in expecting anything more than that, to achieve an entire clear (of complete balancedness): No hope = no fear. Bucke wrote in his book about Cosmic Consciousness about the white light, and also Colin Wilson wrote about it in The Outsider. Colin Wilson saw the white light too at a young age, and he said all his life has been a strive to bring back that moment. I also saw the white light when I was writing my second book, I thought, compared to the epiphanies described by those people mine was a weak epiphany, but I think indeed it was a higher one, since I am more rational than they are/were. Bucke said, of all the enlightened people in history Walt Whitman was the only true (highly modern) individual that did not fall prey or become an instrument of his divine perception, but rather turned it into an instrument for himself. I think I also remain in control (if I am not mistaken about my enlightenment at any rate). I called this form of enlightened perception the White Lodge, as readers of my convulsions may now know. (Dionysius the Areopagite spoke of God as a „dark light“ that illuminates the earth, but that can be truly seen only through his absence to the obvious gaze. A deep bass I connect synaeasthetically with the headlight of this dark light).

White Light from the Mouth of Infinity is a major album by Swans. It combines the most outstanding songwriting, majestic elegy, triumphantly arranged, with extremely depressing lyrics. The cover is one the coolest I´ve ever seen. On the front you have a human rabbit, reaching out his carrot antenna at the end of the world, likely in search for someone else, his soulmate, his counterpart. On back you have him eventually have found him. I wrote to Jarboe many years ago and mentioned the album and the artwork, she was asking in return whether I want to purchase the original artwork „at a reasonable price“. But I could not afford it anyway. In my apartment there is a poster of it, hanging on the wall nevertheless.

Wir wollen also sagen, die Gottheit sei wie ein überaus klarer Diamant, der weit größer ist als die ganze Welt, oder ein Spiegel nach der Art desjenigen, welcher in der früher gedachten Vision die Seele empfing, nur dass er auf eine weit erhabenere Weise sich zeigte; auf eine Weise, die ich nicht hoch genug vorzuführen vermag und dass alles, was wir tun, in diesem Diamanten gesehen wird, so gesehen wird, dass er alles in sich schließt, und weil es nichts gibt, was über diese Größe hinausgeht.

Staunenswert war es für mich, in so kurzer Zeit so vieles in diesem klaren Diamanten nebeneinander zu erblicken. Höchst bedauerlich ist es mir andererseits jedes Mal, wie so garstige Dinge, wie es meine Sünden sind, sich in jener klaren Lauterkeit ebenfalls darstellten. Gewiss, wenn ich daran denke, weiß ich nicht, wie ich es ertragen kann. Deshalb wurde ich auch mit Scham erfüllt, dass ich nicht wusste, wohin ich mich wenden sollte…

Teresa von Avila

New Problems and Perspectives in Contemporary World Order (as Recognised by the CIA) (Prelude to Notes about the New Axial Age)

I reiterate, in 2005, when I had to complete my one-year postgraduate study course „Master of Advanced European Studies/Major in Conflict and Development“ at the University of Basel, we had to write a a thesis of maximal 50 pages i.e. a work somehow resemblant to a larger seminar work. I, however, wrote a pretentious thesis in which I tried to formulate a framework in which contemporary international relations could be understood, discussed major international developments from economics to politics to legal matters and also discussed the problems, the state of the art and the prospects for all the world regions. After that I fell into depression, but a while ago reconsidered it and found out is hasn´t been that stupid, and I already posted about it.

Now I have got me a book: Die Welt im Jahr 2035, gesehen von der CIA, a report where the CIA tries to capture future developments, particularly those that can be expected to unsettle in the next 20 years with particular focus upon those expected to unfold in the next 5 years. Upon reflection, I do not want to talk a lot about that now since everyone can read the book herself. I think however that in those centuries we are living in a new Axial Age which (will) bring(s) about significant shifts and transformations concerning the self-reflection of man, a major transformation of categories concerning science, philosophy, spirituality, politics, economics, religion, social stuff, technology, morals – my project is to think about that and sort all of this out as good as I can. I want to reflect the intellectual foundations of the new Axial Age, or construct them. I guess I will have some success concerning that endeavour. That will feel good.

 

 

Albert Oehlen and Daniel Richter

After the (alleged) demise of meaningful painting and make metaphysical statements, from this implosion and collapse in itself, from the depths of the mind of Albert Oehlen formidable and tasteful explosions emerge, masterfully executed. The eternal whirlpool from below. That means there is hope.

Daniel Richter paints tasty pictures packed full with stuff, in an opposition to minimalism. Sometimes he is abstract, sometimes figurative. The statue of man is often erected as seen via a nightscope of armed forces. There was an exhibition of his works last year and Erich said, Richter is a damn good painter.

I wonder what would happen if I was a painter. Given the extreme intensity of my intellect and unearthliness of personality, I relate to Vicent van Gogh. What would van Gogh do, after the demise of painting? What would his explosions be? Since reality is dim, I finally had to rely to a significant amount on dreams in order to finally do literature. A while ago, after I quit or suspended doing literature, I dreamed about painting a picture. There was not much to it, there was part of a circle in the upper end and also a triangle, then there was the usual seam which you have in dreams which make content unclear but make things seem so interesting. I think it was about easy geometry, but there was much to it. Maybe, in doing so, and exploring those possibilities, I`d be on the right way. The Merowinger said I should start to paint. But I guess I am not very skillful at this endeavour and I do not have the time to learn it now or in the nearer future. Geometrical forms – I will remember it however as maybe that is the way out to express the metaphysics of our age.

Piet Mondrian (and the Geometry of the White Lodge)

I like the name Piet Mondrian. It is like an oval spheroid, self-saturated, self-contained, stabilising itself in his own harmony. A rippling, a wave, a self circuit that does not spread confusion or butterfly effects in the universe but that comfortably leads back again to its own start, to be explored again. Piet Mondrian. Indeed, Piet Mondrian was one of the leading proponents of making harmony great again in art. Look at the immersion of mind, progressively plunging into deep reality, to finally see the movement of primal/eternal forms, to give rise to new concepts and frameworks in order to communicate and understand reality, getting into closer touch with it! See how he starts as a naturalist painter, occasionally flirting with impressionism, portraying quiet nature or quiet people! Gradually the fire of deep reality litting eleven poplars, the woods near Oele, red cloud in the sky, devotie becoming more intense, apple trees becoming more semi-abstractly distinguished from as well as embedded in the background, the windmills as evocation of silent materiality increasingly on fire and finally a triumphant semi-abstract red mill (leading critics to denounce such paintings as „insane“)! In accordance to Mondrian´s thinking inspired by theosophy the evolution of (wo)man as a hypercycle! Then, in his peculiar adaption of cubism nature made of eccentric lines and curves, until the basic raster of reality of geometric lines finally breaks through (most perfect in Composition VI), then loosens its own grip (Composition 10), then becomes replaced by somehow moving rectangles/colour fields, until you finally have impersonal geometric grids (that would alienate critics and cubists from such an approach)! At that time and point of immersion, Mondrian was alienated from the art scene, devoid of success and unsure how to progress further (and he thought about giving up art and becoming a sailor then). With the help of friends he was lucky to find a humble but steady income nevertheless and in deep doubt how to progress further the final breakthrough happened into his signature paintings made of lines, rectangles and colour fields over white ground! Kind of „last paintings that can be made“ the possibilities of movement within such basic scenario are vivid; in the 1930s his paintings would often become even more minimalistic. In his final period, when he moved to London and eventually to New York, the geometry of New York would provide new inspirations, the grid becoming deep and threedimensional or vibrating in its own fractal intensity to the Broadway Boogie Woogie – the calm and calculated Mondrian also was a big fan of jazz and a vivid dancer, likely not only for Dionysian reasons but also as an adherent of the eccentric and moving/shifting geometry expressed in jazz (indeed, Mondrian was both an ascetic monk as well as a hedonist, in both respects at peace with himself and balanced in himself). As a theorist, Mondrian was an eminent and influential figure of the De Stijl movement (although it should be noted that other members of De Stijl like Theo van Duesburg and Bart van der Leck were very influential upon Mondrian). Like suprematism in Russia, De Stijl was striving for expression of harmony and perfection. In Mondrian´s understanding, art was not about the „self expression“ of an artist, but a striving for expressing that which is universal, and eternal (and therefore harmonious). As such, as a seeker for deep reality, who wants to see through things, in order to investigate the thing-in-itself, Mondrian was a metaphysical artist. At his time, Mondrian had to acknowledge that religion as the sphere of the universal had become superseded. Instead, a protean modern subject had come into power as well as an impersonal technology that facilitates, standardises and explosively increases productivity and the possibilities of man. Like other abstractionists, Mondrian saw abstraction as the possibility to express the metaphysics of a modern, industrialised age – but he hoped that within that process of amalgamation or dialectics, a more concrete subject would come into being, a man that is fully matured, who is able to reflect and internalise the forces of protean subjectivity and technology and is not alienated by them: that is, then, the new, and final universal (or, the overman, if you want). In order to master a transgression like this, art had to supersede to be spiritual by expressing the tragic of human experience but had to become intellectual via a purified intellect – and Mondrian´s artistic endeavours can be understood as an undertaking of purifying the intellect. In that respect, Mondrian also said his art was about the expression of pure relation and pure relationships between things (as, so to say, the network of reality). As, in reality, relationships between things can never be seen directly but only concealed, the task of the artist is to directly express those relationships: in the pure form, the relationship between the thing and the other thing is a square angle (and the emanations of reality colour fields). That is the primal geometry of the world (respectively the mind that looks at it). The Universal means the unification or concilliation of object and subject, respectively, as Mondrian deals with it, of the thing and the other thing. Harmony is established when object and subject, the thing and the other thing are reconciled. Like in the works of his fellow compatriot Vincent van Gogh, trees have been a prominent subject in the (earlier) paintings of Mondrian, allegedly symbolising the solitary artist, in his serenity and timelessness. While van Gogh can be said to have been a Dionysian painter, Mondrian was Apollonian. While Vincent´s letters were maniac and passionate, Mondrian´s self-reflection was expressed in the mode of calculated and methodological essays. While Vincent was expressing the sensational character of the world, or of his mind, directly, Mondrian expressed them indirectly. In the white ground of his paintings, where lines and surfaces are erected, you have the white noise of possibilities in which everything is contained …. Remember that I called the space where you are surrounded by white nebulaic light, where ideological and doctrinal segregation between things have broken down and you have pure and universal perception the White Lodge. And indeed, the White Lodge can also be seen as a space of the possibility of pure relations. It is the space of the beginning and the end, of the Alpha and Omega, where subject and object, the thing and the other thing are reconciled as waves within the continuum that is the White Lodge. Mondrian´s signature paintings can be understood as expressions of a white Nirvana, they can also be understood as expressing the geometry of the White Lodge.

Although he is considered the major Netherlandic painter of the 20the century, Mondrian remained relatively poor during his lifetime. He never married. When he happened to have success and his reputation increasing, he would perplex people and lose his reputation again as he would become more experimental again and moving to new territories. I find it very sad not to have found an extensive biography of him, but he also destroyed letters and traces from his past later in life as he became confortable with maintaining his image as an impersonal „art monk“ so that it seems a bit difficult to distinguish how much of this was motivated by constructing an image (which is, nevertheless, likely of a greater necessity also in the most venerable regions of human endeavour in order to make oneself a circulating unit) or simply the truest and the natural form of Mondrian himself. I have read elsewhere that there are no indications that Mondrian had a lot of humour, contrary to many humorists he never gave up his enduring optimism about the arrival of the universal man. Later in his life at peace he had been very much at peace with himself and he never gave up hope. In preparing this note I have read however that it would frequently happen that people reluctant or in opposition against Mondrian´s paintings sooner or later have an epiphany how harmonious and calming those paintings are, radiating inner peace. Art dealer Sidney Janis said in his career he had met only two artists who did „not feel compelled to defend their own vision against that of others“, who were vastly tolerant and balanced, therefore, in a way, im/transpersonalised truth seekers: One was Duchamp, the other one was Mondrian. In the valuable book „Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts“ (edited by Ingo F. Walther) the conclusion about Mondrian was that although his mature paintings seem to be easy, hardly any artist is more difficult to imitate or to forge than Mondrian. Of all the artists of De Stijl who were striving for harmony, Mondrian (they said) was the only one to have actually achieved it.

 

Why Are Avant-Garde Philosophers So Difficult To Be Understood By Their Contemporaries?

„Most philosophers are so politically incorrect—challenging the status quo, even challenging God. Nietzsche’s my favorite. He’s just insane. You have to have an IQ of at least 300 to truly understand him.“

 „Iron“ Mike Tyson

I have read somewhere that „Iron“ Mike Tyson has a below-average IQ, however what he says here is more accurate and pays more tribute to how things are in reality than that what many more sophisticated people (or analytic philosophers) say when they judge Nietzsche as a „weak“ thinker. It is amazing how today bachelor theses at the universities are written about Wittgenstein (or even at school: I once met a girl who told me her project for the great final exam at school was to write about the Tractatus) and everything seems to be full of Wittgenstein, of Nietzsche, of Goethe, of Schiller in this world, while during his lifetime Wittgenstein was not even understood by most of the finest minds in Cambridge or the Wiener Kreis. Reading Wittgenstein or Nietzsche is challenging for the first time, yes; but it is not actually that confusing. (Even more obscure it is in the case of artists: beautiful pieces of art are usually immediately recognised, nevertheless it may take a long time until the artist and his art become respected and established.) The question seems to refer to some kind of mystery: Why are avant-garde philosophers so difficult to be understood by their contemporaries?

I have read in a book about Whitehead (an underappreciated philospher) that someone said that „nothing is so difficult to understand as is a new philosophy“. I do not quite understand that, since I find philosophy relatively easy to understand. However, I do not understand other things, I am not good at maths for instance, so it is all a game and life passes out individual cards, I suppose. Apart from that, philosophy, like everything else, is not even for the master understander something that is immediately to be grasped: it needs to be learned, and its quasi-fractallike depth something forever to be explored. To try to make sense out of that, let us start with the rumination that: Like poets, but at a higher level of intellectual reflection (which adds to the confusion in others), avant-garde philosophers have thoughts and inner experiences no one else had before – and you actually can understand stuff only when you have experienced it yourself. Without experience, you may have intellectual knowledge of stuff (if the stuff even interests you, which is, unless there are personal experiences, not so frequent), but you do not actually, and deeply, grasp it. Without being member of a minority, or a woman, you do not really know what discrimination or phallocratic sexism is – if you are sympathetic, you will try to understand it, if you are not sympathetic, you will call them hysterical feminists or impertinent immigrants – likewise, the experience of discrimination can produce some hysterical feminists or blackies that are racist against whities – just like as the experience of a mankind indifferent to his teachings may produce an overly grouchy and pessimistic avant-garde philosopher: Let the avant-garde philosopher behold to fall into the trap of ressentiment (which is what Nietzsche said despite falling into that trap himself to some degree): And, truly: Who could ever understand Nietzsche´s overman when not being an extremely intelligent outsider (with a splendid psychology), who understands Kierkegaard´s theological stadium, Wittgenstein´s radical quest for truth via radical scepsis (that, in its inner dynamic and outer form, is without predecessor) or Otto Weininger´s quest for the ethical self (das sittliche Ich), when one is not some kind of very extreme person himself that effectively lives on the margins not only of society but of humanity and the human experience all alike? They are, more or less effectively, beyond the margins of current human thought. The avant-garde philosopher explores the margins and the outer limits of human tought and inner experience and effectively pushes them a bit further into the exosphere. Therein, the avant-garde philosopher is, most effectively, likely to be alone in his contemporary world (instead, has to try to establish connection to other avant-garde philosophers via the Continuum – the sphere where the great ideas dwell). People do not understand very well things that appear in a framework that is alien to them, or for which a true framework does not yet exist: And the avant-garde philosopher usually comes up with entire new frameworks people cannot really relate to. Within that, avant-garde philosophers are kind of confused themselves. They are so singular and work at such a high level of abstraction and insight that insight becomes confusing and they do not immediately have an instrument to adequately reflect themselves and their situation in the world. They see through other philosophy but in a kind of space that is largely uninhabitated. Their philosophy often is the instrument with which they try to understand themselves. Since avant-garde philosophers (and artists) are usually the ones most eccentric and working at the margins and exurbia, but also the most normal and working most at the center of humanity, the paradox may appear to them that they´re living in two worlds (and not actually living in any of them neither – respectively, the „paradox“ is that not only exurbia but also the center of the human experience are both sparsely populated places). Since the problems of the avant-garde philosopher (and artist) are too far away from people, people are not interested in them, although they are the most interesting of all, and the avant-garde philosopher has to deal with the paradox that, in the end, respectively also among his contemporaries, folks like Iron Mike will dig and – somehow – understand him, whereas, on the other hand, hardly anyone finally does. He has to deal with the paradox that his mind is the most powerful while also being quite powerless all alike (nevertheless, also big business tycoons or politicians have to confront themselves with the same kind of thing). If the avant-garde philosopher is desperate that people aren´t interested in his most interesting philosophy, he may find consolation that most people aren´t particularly interested in most other things neither. (And concerning Whitehead and his unpopularity someone else said that the reason for Whitehead´s underappreciatedness lies, particularly, in the greatness of his metaphysics.)

The intellect of the avant-garde philosopher operates at the highest level of abstraction and it works very quickly, hence stuff other people discuss will not deem him stupid but irrelevant and slow food. The inner life of the avant-garde philosopher will try to mirror the great whole (in his own idiosyncratic form and understanding), so what other people discuss will deem him fragments and he will prefer to be a silent listener and witness (although, due to his intense perception, a considerable amount of stuff he seems to be indifferent to will hit him with considerable impact – which is usually not the case among normal people). However, there are people that do not especially like that, they´re afraid that the avant-garde philosopher will look upon them as if they´re stupid, especially as the avant-garde philosopher´s behaviour will usually be a strange mix between fineness, empathy and sympathetic concern, and bluntness and harshness and apparent sarcasm towards others, as his inner drummer is different from his surroundings and it is quite difficult, sometimes impossible, for the avant-garde philosopher to synchronize himself to his surroundings. The avant-garde philosopher will, in turn, only be understood and perceived in fragments – and it occasionally turns up that people do not particularly like what they do not understand, even if they understand at least (important) fragments of it! For some biological reason, humans (and obviously also animals) like it when they master something: and it depresses them to find out that they do not, or cannot master a thing. So-called ego isn´t something that is necessarily there in the first place, but it may come into being when someone is deprived of his illusion that he masters something. Therefore, he may react with hostility and envy to that thing (i.e. to the avant-garde philosopher and his avant-garde philosophy). As the avant-garde philosopher is, in the words of Iron Mike, challenging, he may well be a nuisance, even a fucking nuisance to others. „Challenging God“ or „challenging the status quo“ might deem others (correctly) as a challenge to the established order and to those who profit from the established order, therefore those who profit from the established order aren´t likely to welcome the avant-garde philosopher so warmly…. In our times God may be dead and everything seems to be allowed, so the avant-garde philosopher or artist may appear to be accepted, however, mediocrity may also be an established order and the status quo, and someone who challenges mediocrity considered an enemy. Füssli/Fuseli says (in his Aphorisms about Art), that in a world where everyone strives for perfection, a genius need not expect to actually be welcomed or celebrated, but for him it may be true that he will be born posthumously. What is more, there are people that appreciate stuff, including the intellect of others, only when they can make a toy for themselves and for their ego out of it; due to his independence the avant-garde philosopher is not likely to become a toy of anyone, and so to some people only a dead avant-garde philosopher will be a good avant-garde philosopher.

Philosophers are appreciated, at least, by sapiosexual people. Sapiosexuality however in the usual case refers to what people can more or less truly understand, and that is stuff operating at maximal two intelligence levels ( = about 30 IQ points) above or below their own intelligence level. Maximum of persuasiveness of a leader (of any kind) can be expected to come into being when the leader´s intelligence is between 15 and 30 IQ points higher than that of the lead. Of course, people of much higher intelligence may be recognised and respected as such, but they are not likely to be accepted as leaders, buddies or lovers. They are foreigners and, maybe, outsiders. In the more depressing case, people´s sapiosexuality may beam when they see that they can mirror (or aggrandize) themselves in someone else´s intelligence, but implode when they find out that they cannot. In general, people like and accept people and stuff in which they can mirror themselves and may become hostile when they see they can´t, and when someone is vastly dissimilar from them. People also constantly and seemingly endlessly need something to talk about, as they are obsessed with talking and trying to make themselves important in relation to others. That seems to be a general human feature; the avant-garde philosopher may be in the splendid position that, with his stuff, he is elevated above the rat race and the sometimes brutal competition between those of roughly similar intelligence, but also excluded and ignored, as he does not deliver stuff people can talk about and make themselves important (therefore the avant-garde philosopher may mistake himself as a kind of egoless saint and „not affected by the trivialities of human struggle“ where in reality he is just a lucky bastard who is not challenged himself by it). – I am a very intelligent individual (and an avant-garde philosopher) and I could not say that I have met many sapiosexual people in my life. Actually I should attract sapiosexual people and people interested in intelligence like a magnet, but it rather seems I repel them like a magnet. At least, they´re not very interested in what I have to say, and they do not appreciate it so much. For instance, I can post very intelligent and beautiful (and funny!) stuff on social media and get, on average, 2 „Likes“ for it. I do not take that personally as I guess that Leonardo could come today and post his „Last Supper“ or Raffael could come today and post the Sistinian Madonna, to then get 2 „Likes“ as well – but that is even more depressing to see for the avant-garde philosopher: to see that there is something not exactly right with humanity. One would think that writers like Joyce, Beckett or Jandl, who had to suffer: that, with their art and effort, they opened up new spaces alongside new coordinate systems – but when the next Joyce appears, it may be revealed that they have opened nothing and that the new Joyce gets rejected like the old one had become for many years: So what is the purpose of art or the avant-garde and the suffering of avant-gardists, the avant-gardist may ask himself, as you frequently see that it is all for nothing and there is just eternal recurrence of the same? Of course, that isn´t the whole story, but a substantial amount of the story, and that is, for the avant-gardist, often quite difficult to bear.

In order to be an avant-gardist you have to stand at a higher level than the lead. – There may be narcissistic avant-gardists who find it funny to stand higher than the lead and to provoke envy in others, the true avant-garde philosopher will usually be above that level, and at least I could not say that I find it very pleasing to potentially subdue others – as I want everyone to be happy. Nevertheless, in order to be an avant-gardist you have to stand at a higher level than the lead. Avant-garde philosophers are usually so different from men that Nietzsche legitimately comes up with the question whether they´re human (all too human) at all. And actually: David Wechsler, a pioneer in the research of human intelligence, proposed that at an IQ level of 150+ actually a new species comes into being, different and distinguished from common man, the Homo sapiens sapiens. Let us say, they´re Homo sapiens sapiens sapiens. Their cognitive, mental (and psychological/interpersonal) processes are qualitatively different; tbere has been some stuff written about it; I say that with a highly gifted/IQ150+ person it is possible to develop thoughts in conversation at the level of theoretical abstractions, that can be scientifically and intellectually relevant. The great genius is a different species even from them (a Homo sapiens sapiens sapiens sapiens) as he can develop the most sophisticated theoretical thoughts that no one else can, also his psychology is likely to be different and distinguished and more refined than that of others. – Of course, making such distinctions and segregations is not likely to make you very popular, and I, as a good socialist and adherent of the notion of communion of creature, do not like it myself; however, it somehow resemblant to truth and I cannot help that either. People usually think they´re very smart, so when they see someone distinctly smarter coming around, they often are not very pleased, especially when they´re high IQ guys themselves who usually like to think they´re on top of the food chain. People appreciate the genius when they´re under the impression that the geniuses´ intelligence is one or two levels above theirs, which seems tolerable and reasonable to them; but when they see that the geniuses´ intelligence is ten levels above theirs and the genius, in general, is a quite different personality from them, they sometimes aren´t likely find that so funny anymore. – I think it was Enrico Fermi who once tried to measure the abilities of physicists, and he found out that while great geniuses of physics like Einstein and Newton would range at a maximum position of 100, most emiment physicists, like Fermi himself, would cluster at around 70 (note that I have to recall that from memory, it is likely not to be exact, nevertheless somehow similar to that Fermi (?) originally came up with). Maybe it can be said that the cognitive abilities of the great genius (i.e. in the case of the genius: cognitive as well as creative intelligence amplifying each other), his ability of intellectual penetration, resembles an IQ level of 200+, and is therefore out of ordinary human reach (therefore, Iron Mike was somehow correct with his estimate).

Again, I do not recall it at the moment whether it was Duchamp, Picabia, or a brother of Duchamp (or maybe still someone else) who said that expecting (immediate) success as an artist comes close to playing roulette. Apparently no laws can be extracted why something becomes a success and other stuff does not, or takes a long time to do so. Likewise, there are popular and unpopular geniuses, and for every Einstein or Picasso, who became successful and established relatively early in their lives, there is a Nietzsche or van Gogh who were born posthumously (or, in the more depressing case, an Ignaz Semmelweis or Giordiano Bruno, who were actively and purposefully punished for their contributions to mankind). Nietzsche said that nothing about Schopenhauer was more offensive to professors of philosophy as that he did not look similar to them. Amanshauser ruminated that fellows like Goethe or Thomas Mann would always be accepted without too much trouble during their lifetime, while freak geniuses like Nietzsche, Baudelaire or Edgar Allan Poe would always be met with resentment during their lifetime because they are too challenging for the bourgeois (an uncanny perspective for those who are, even they do not want it, trapped in such a life: that the only way to become accepted is actually death). Of course one could say that geniuses like Einstein and Picasso are, while fascinating, easy to understand, while Nietzsche or van Gogh are not; but actually, for the moment, I feel the trajectory of thought about the subject „why are avant-garde philosophers so difficult to be understood by their contemporaries?“ somehow becoming useless; consider that most people do not even come to the idea to evaluate things under the consideration „is it right or wrong?“ but „is it left or right/Christian or Islam/etc?“, it is alien to them that truth could be found outside such frameworks at all. Alpha and Omega about the question „why are avant-garde philosophers so difficult to be understood by their contemporaries?“ is that one does a good thing to write a couple of pages about it, since some things can be said about the subject, but finally it cannot be explained thoroughly; that, in many cases, avant-garde philosophers are not understood well by their contemporaries simply is a recurrent phenomenon in the world, and an expression of this world. My propositions serve as eludications that anyone who understands them finally, understands them as nonsensical when he has used them as steps to climb up beyond them (he must, so to say, throw away the ladder after he has climbed up on it). He must transcent these propositions in order to see the world rightly. So we may conclude that to the question „why are avant-garde philosophers so difficult to be understood by their contemporaries?“ there might be no rational and sensible answer at all. Genius is mysterious. Life is a mystery as well.

„Do you know what this summer has been to me? An endless ecstasy over Schopenhauer and of mental experiences such as I had never experienced before … I don´t know if I shall ever change my opinion, but at present I am convinced that Schopenhauer is the greatest genius among men … Indeed, I cannot understand how his name can be unknown. The only explanation is the one that he so often repeats, that is, there is scarcely anyone but idiots in the world.“

 Leo Tolstoi

Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Pieter Bruegel the Elder was one of the most ultraintelligent painters, his intelligence supposedly relates to an IQ score of 180, the world he inhabitated, perceived and computed was extremely vast, his epistemology comparable to that of Goethe, his art reaches the supreme goal of being, finally, inexplicable, incummensurable and not to be translated into other languages of thought without losing power and coherence, strange celestial and (un)earthly realms. It is not easy to say where the final conclusion about Bruegel´s oeuvre may be situated, it is always evasive, eternal sunshine of the spotless raving mind. Says his friend Abraham Ortelius: „He painted a lot that cannot be painted. All the works of our Bruegel are more thoughts than pure painting.“ Which is true, in some cases explicitely, in all cases implicitely, the lines between the sensual, the (subjective) thought and the (objective) idea are blurred in the most profound way as they are (in some way) mirrored in each other; as is the line between the subjective and the objective in general; (spiritually) Bruegel is both a nominalist and a realist, and he neither is a nominalist nor a realist (and probably you can shed some new light on the problem of universals by meditating about Bruegel); there is no exact monadology or harmony, but of a perception of disharmony in the world he creates an (idiosyncratic) intellectual and spiritual harmony of vision.

Bruegel´s life remains in obscurity, he was born between 1525 and 1530 and he died 1569 in Brussels. Despite his interest in peasant life it is likely that he was an educated townsman and, as a common thing for painters, he traveled through Europe to get impressions from nature and learn from other painters. He lived in a time of upheaval at the dawn of modernity: Nature had become tacitly manipulable, for very far-seeing eyes God was about to become gradually dethroned and the understanding of nature and the cosmos as an eternal and static order gradually shattered, you had religious wars and violence alongside political upheavals, the gradual formation of the nation-state and struggles for independence. Bruegel seems to be concerned about situating man in his environment, and a general message seems to be that man should not leave his individual place in society and disturb the natural order, else he gets punished (like Icarus or the Babylonians): Note that Bruegel lived at the very dawn of modernity, and innovations are usually not welcomed in traditional societies that have learned some humble ways how to wrest humble meals from nature and therefore view novel ways of doing things as dangerous experiments that lead to bad harvest (which they often are, or had been) – and note also that disorder and destruction of harmony is what the genius abhors and fears (see also Newton´s stubbornness concerning religion, Einstein´s stubbornness concerning refuting quantum mechanics or Goethe´s stubbornness concerning his theory of colours). And so you have most eccentric visions in the works of Breugel, an extremely vibrant force in everything that comes out of itself, seems to try to transform, maybe only to be thrown back onto itself and its own incapability to trancend itself on the one hand, and the extreme need for frame and order and meaning on the other hand („Dionysian“ vs „Appollonian“, if you like): Corresponding to his ultraintelligence and fine genius, Bruegel does not only depict the vastness of the world but tries to give meaning to it by tacitly moralising and trying to give it a moral framework. He is very concerned about the world as a moral phenomenon, desperate about the obvious inexistence of the world as a moral phenomenon or at least the lack of moral in it, therefore eager to make his art carry moral instruction and elatedness. He is very concerned about the cohesion and coherence of the world, the vast heterogenousness of the world, and of man´s insufficiency, nevertheless always escapes the unifying vision of the genius – and so you have both ecstasy and raving out of joyousness over the geniuses` own ability to perceive and give meaning to the world and to share it to others, as well as ominous depression and near-psychosic neurosis about the final inability to do so and being, like a neurotic, trapped in his own world (in the case of the genius, the world of his own inner riches that he tries to project into the world).

While Bruegel depicted the horrors of religious persecution of his time (the persecution of the Protestants in the Netherlands by imperial Catholic Spain as Spain feared to lose control over them, executed by the brutal and sinister Duke of Alba), it remains even unclear whether he was Catholic or Protestant himself, what is clear, however, is that Bruegel was that kind of man who transcend such limitations and make them look stupid, instead, they make religion by themselves. Religion, however, is rather present in the work of Bruegel via the sacred individual, in the Conversion of Paul or The Sermon of Saint John the Baptist (which indicates that Bruegel at least had sympathies for the Protestants and their proclamation of a new religion), apart from that religion rather is presented as a dangerous thing that leads to manslaughter, atrocities and violence (Massacre of the Innocents) or ridiculous hybris and self-aggrandizement of man (The Tower of Babel). Not only in The Sermon of Saint John the Baptist but also in the Procession to Calvary Bruegel however depicts a human race largely indifferent to the suffering of others and to the spiritual, but people (pseudo-)immersed in their own, more or less, serious affairs. Many listen to John the Baptist for entertainment purposes – although Bruegel usually depicts that it is not their fault: they are, more or less, innocent as they simply cannot be reached and touched by the spiritual. As there is nothing truly divine to be found in this world, or there may be just a deus absconditus that becomes deus relevatus only to the artist and the exceptional individual, Bruegel throws back man on himself and frames nature in itself: therefore you have the impression of everything being made of forces that are eager to unleash. In the Book of Strange and Unproductive Thinking I made some buzz about the great genius always seeing an eruptive, if not explosive vision before his inner eye, and also in Bruegel you always have eruptions (most explicitely, the tower of Babel erecting and growing into the sky).

In Bruegel´s vision, you have a communion of creature. Peasant and noble man are alike, they are of the same flesh and moral status, maybe they both are cripples, either as a punishment for sin, or due to the indifference (or meanness) of nature itself. Therein you may both sense a democratic and philantropic vision as well as a warning against hybris – as well as a vision of everything mirroring everything else as you have it in great art. (Why does hybris seem to be a topic that Bruegel so prominently depicts (a notion that forgets, however, that hybris isn´t such a prominent topic in Bruegel´s oeuvre, in which you have the entire spectrum of human (mis)behaviour, as kind of implicitely explicited in the Netherlandish Proverbs or the Children´s Games)? Bruegel was depicted as a very calm man, and boastfulness usually is alien to the genius – the fight against hybris and all other sins, in order to get rid of them, the quest for moral perfection is however the geniuses´ quest, and his achievements, talents and visions surely went to the head of that calm man, which surely embarrassed him and made him uneasy every once in a while.) In Children´s Games he portrays children as somehow grown up, indicating that they are, in the end, alike, and the affairs of grown-ups comparable to child´s play. Likewise, you have Blind leading the Blind as a vision about humanity.

Bruegel´s vision of the world is not a pleasant one, and you have landscapes of death or horror or of hell in his oeuvre. It is an egoistic world of Big Fish Eat Little Fish with man topping all the other fishes (and the vile and resolute look of one of the fishermen, with a knife in his mouth, indicates that some of men seem to sadistically enjoy it (with animals actually not being much better, nor man being much worse)). You have mourning about the Treacherousness of the World and an obvious fine man turned into Misanthrope (leaving open the possibility of weakness in the misanthrope himself and an implicit warning that a truly noble heart cannot be corrupted). You have hellish visions, that are, nevertheless, populated by clumsy demons that do not seem to be real or harmful, indicating that the true hell may be the man´s world. Divine spheres are more or less absent, although Bruegel made an iconic depiction of the Land of Cockaigne – as a narrow garden of largely earthly delights. Celestial heaven, as a sphere where you can see and feel all the beautiful things maybe is not a tangible place for men who are largely not able to see, feel and experience much with their hearts. The seperatedness between the artist (or the saint) and the world is also a latent topic, most prominently depicted in The Painter and the Connoisseur where behind the contemplative, concentrated, helpless-melancholic-unnerved artist there is the bourgeois who is impressed by the magnificence of the artwork and instantly opens his purse to buy it – and ironically, the bourgeois in his naiveté looks more likeable than the somehow grouchy artist.

Bruegel is famous for the depiction of peasants and peasant life. Although the peasant was a subject of mockery to the more educated people at that time, Bruegel´s depiction of peasant life is – although of course not free from depiction of human error – empathetic and it does not come as a surprise that he enjoyed attending peasant festival, weddings and funfairs. I also get immersed into watching children playing, their innocent but powerful movements that seem to actualise the full potential of gesture and immersion into itself. The innocently raving mind is the geniuses´ mind, and it does not come as a surprise that by watching children playing or peasant´s dancing, the genius feels that such must be heaven! Of course the genius knows that those gestures are, to a considerable degree, empty and behind the seeming ecstatic creativity there frequently is no creativity at all – however, he gets a very pleasant impression, also of human innocence, of humans enjoying themselves and being immersed in themselves – and it is a vision of the self-sufficiency of creature that he enjoys as well in it. In Bruegel´s peasants you often have vulgarity or an expressionless physiognomy due to the absence of soul, but there usually is no meanness (although of indications of meanness there is no shortage, of course).

Bruegel´s physiognomies are a mix between individuality and idiosyncracy, typology and caricature, all mirrored in each other at once, and the richness of how to depict it in always new ways is another expression of Bruegel´s overabundance. Bruegel does not depict humans as truly vile, instead there is dignity in most of them, it touches the heart to look at the personnel of the Peasant Wedding being content with themselves while eating, even if it is animal-like and there seem to be no higher interests – but they are not to blame and the genius usually rejoices when he has the possibility to watch someone innocently enjoying something and, therein, fully actualising himself in his own self-containedness and immanence. Look at how the aberrations from beauty, like the physiognomy of the bag piper and his friend at the Peasant Dance, are giving identity nevertheless, although the tastyness of it seems to predominantly lie in the carefulness (and empathy) of artistic execution. Even the many demons like in the Dulle Griet or in The Fall of the Rebel Angels look like funny little animals, and they provoke some sympathy as they are obviously cursed to a ridiculous existence for their lack of character and their debasedness, and they actually look harmless and neither affect the Saint Antonius and not even the Dulle Griet. In some paintings, mostly those portraying peasants at the harvest, you have an absence of physiognomy, and the rather uncanny Beekeepers are defaced – people reduced to their social role (the Beekeepers are a late work and it is curious to think how Bruegel would have developed had he lived longer). Facelessness, however, is also a good principle, as it indicates the concilliation of the subjective and the objective, the individual and society, etc.

As it was about situating man in nature, Bruegel was also (kind of) revolutionary and hugely impressive as a painter of landscape: Karel van Mander noticed that Bruegel, on his journeys through the Alps, seemed to have „devoured all the mountains and rocks, to spit them out as paintings again – that close he had been able to get to nature in this respect, and in others“. It is true that the productive mimesis of the genius goes that far: he internalises things in his mind and soul and recreates them. Bruegel´s landscapes usually are extremely vast, diverse and depicted in great detail, most prominent to be seen in The Tower of Babel or The Hunters in the Snow. They are neither real nor overly surreal, they are neither an abstract „idea“ of landscape nor an exact realisation, they aren´t exactly sublime nor are they indifferent – again it is difficult to find out how Bruegel actually situates man in nature, or nature in nature, or nature in a divine order. The hunters seem to have, in a humble way, captivated and domesticated a bit of nature but seem to be far from the dominium terrae and the cultural mandate expressed in the Old Testament („Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.“). In the vision of Bruegel the Elder, there seems to be some tacit symbiosis, some possibilities of exchange but also a vast indifference and impossibility of communication and communion between man, animal and nature. Man and animal in nature and nature in nature – a story of heterogenousness, as told by Bruegel.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder was a famous and respected man during his lifetime, and after his death his sons carried his legacy. Nevertheless he had not been very prominent for centuries afterwards and came to be misunderstood, for instance, as a minor copycat of Hieronymus Bosch in the 19th century even by respected art critics – LOL, what a stupidity – but this often happens to the most intelligent people. In the 20th century the implications of Bruegel´s worldview and artistic vision became honoured and broadly understood, and it is actually difficult to fully understand and appreciate Bruegel before our own age (concerning Bruegel and Bosch, it needs to be said that Bosch lacks Bruegel´s humour – and in Bosch´s world evil is not man-made — whereas in Bruegel´s world of man and deus absconditus it is man who is responsible for evil: that is not to be taken as a derivativeness but there is actually a broad spiritual and cognitive distance between those two visions – apart from that, when a genius seems to copy another genius, it will not be because of lack of own imagination, but because there is a familiarity of mind and competence – and because to honour the predecessor and to establish another mirror view).

To sum up, in Bruegel´s vision you have ecstasy, eccentricity and eruptions of overabundance and a strong sense of connectedness and how stuff is mirrored in other stuff. As it had been frequently said in those notes about artists, art is about revealing the existential ontology of a thing via presenting a thing mirrored in different or in dislocated contexts that shed new light on the thing. Bruegel, via his omega mind, more or less shows the existential ontology of the entire world! He is able to investigate relationships and interrelatedness of any kind, and then to ironically question them, respectively, via irony, add an additional point of view to the entire structure. Bruegel´s vision, and Bruegel´s mind, is, more or less, complete and Bruegel´s world floats and stabilises itself via the solidity of its own endogenous set of equations. See how you have everything, or may see with your inner eye, as a burning chamber, every person, every peasant or demon, throwing some light on his surroundings – without, however, illuminating the whole world. It isn´t the case that „every thing mirrors everything else“ or that the world is an „endless network of jewels“ or a monadology where every monad contains everything else and the complete history of the world, including the world´s future, as the enlightened mind often claims it is: it is a world of more or less limited areals, where some connections are possible (to some), others aren´t. And, as it seems, if the enlightend mind is honest to itself, that is how the world truly is. Endless and without limits (?) is the mind, heavily bumping into each other and blocking themselves are the objects of the real world. Bruegel the Elder depicts the world, in general, as a kind of purgatory. Which, however, means that it is up to the individual itself and the duty of the individual to make a good impression via catharsis, reformation and refinement.

P.S.: That I said in the introduction that Bruegel´s intelligence relates to an IQ of 180 is a personal guess at the moment, maybe Bruegel´s IQ was only 160, but, given the vastness and sophistication of his intellect and the total inner cohesion of his vision, I guess it was considerably higher – and actually as high as human intelligence can ever get (note that this does not mean that Bruegel would have scored 180, or even 160, at an IQ test, since especially an artist´s intelligence is not what IQ tests adequately measure and represent – however I try to estimate a person´s intelligence via the level of analysis and integration, abstraction as well ability to see individual aspects to a thing, and in such respects, Bruegel´s intelligence is hardly ever reached and maybe only in the case of Leonardo only ever truly topped). I do not come up with this out of an intelligence/IQ fetish, which is viewed with suspiction in our society, but as a matter to achieve clarity about the Bruegel case! Having said that, it may come to mind that maybe Bruegel even had an IQ of 200! Note that very high intelligence and creativity will come in as a kind of psychosis to others, due to the extreme throwing up of heterogenous and diverse material at once and the eagerness to establish hardly intelligible connections between all of it, however, only as a kind of psychosis, since, to the sympathetic observer, it will reveal itself as a vast cosmos of sense and meaning, not the collapse of meaning as you have it in psychosis. There´s no abnormality to it, but hypernormality. As I follow along these lines of thought and establishing perspective, it comes to me that Bruegel the Elder depicted the psychosis of the world! Jiiiiiii! A completely rational depiction of the psychosis of the world! Finally, maybe the ultimate fulfillment the human mind can reach is that it is not an („enlightened“) mirror image of an „endless network of jewels“ that would make up the real world (a vision that is a lie!), but that it is the endless hall of mirrors (ego should also evaporate when a stage like this is reached). Bruegel´s interior is the endless hall of mirrors. So you see, it is not meaningless when reflecting about things with the help of IQ scores.

 

Update about Extreme Metal (Architects and Iconoclasts/Morbid Angel)

„Kingdoms Disdained“ by Morbid Angel is (once again) unbelievably strange and otherworldly death metal, this time from 2017 Chaos A.D. Guitar riffs that have no resemblance to guitar riffs, song structures that are incomprehensible, nevertheless architectures and structures that stand erect, tall, upright, intimitating and as ancient relicts from the future, it reminds of Kataklysm´s opus magnum in aloofness from anything commonly accepted, „Temple of Knowledge“. As you gradually awaken, it appears to you that even the solipsistic production seems to make sense. Architects and Iconoclasts. I am very happy with it, and that it took them 17 years to actualise a really good album since „Gateways to Annihilation“ can be forgiven as you see them opening another gateway to strange dimensions and stranger aeons and giving new impulses to the most philosophical genre in popular music – extreme metal – and paving ways for a bright future (although the album is, of course, and as always, about world downfall caused by the resurrection of the Ancient Ones blabla). „Kingdoms Disdained“ is a major event, almost like their first two albums, centuries ago. Hell yeah, death to false metal. 

Metaphysical Note about Extreme Metal

Update about the Fourth Dimension

I have repeatedly stated that the genius sees things in an additional dimension, as there are no conventions how higherdimensional objects are to be seen and recognised in society, he has no true instrument to figure out and has to rely on his own „intuition“ and „vision“ (respectively rationality). That is, originally, private and primordional, I have spoken about how the genius sees a field of intensity (as the soul-like abstraction of an entity he wants to describe), and then wants to move through this intensity and let the intensity shoot through itself, to, somehow, turn the field of intensity inside out and open it into a space of negative curvature (at least in the case of the transcendent genius as opposed to the immanent genius) – that is an immediate expression of the intellectual and somatic processes that happen in the mind and the body of the genius if he deeply thinks about something. In the note about Giacinto Scelsi I think I have illustrated that, whose „compositions“ where vibrating spheres of an extreme interplay of intensity and stasis, etc. – it was the intensity shooting through itself. Intensity vs form you have, prominently, in Beethoven´s music, and that kind of inversion and erecting a somehow paradoxical structure that opens into another dimension in some of John Lennon´s compositions like Strawberry Fields Forever, I am the Walrus and, most perfectly, Tomorrow Never Knows, or in the entire The Piper at the Gates of Dawn album by Pink Floyd/Syd Barrett.

When I read that Duchamp was keenly interested in the „fourth dimension“ respectively in painting how fourdimensional bodies would appear in a threedimensional world, how their „shadow“ would be, or how it would be if a threedimensional object took a ride through the fourth dimension, it said that if a threedimensional object would take a demi-tour through the fourth dimension, it would return mirror-reversed and inside out. (That is to say, the genius intuition proves correct or adequate.) If I remember correct, that is also how Cube2 – Hypercube can be interpreted, the sequel to Cube, an enigmatic mystery/horror film where people are trapped inside a gigantic cube-like structure for unknown purpose: In Cube2 – Hypercube they are trapped inside a hypercube/tesseract! Despite the dramaturgy and grouppsychological dynamics are a bit of a cheap copy of the original (which is why it got largely dismissed by the audience, including my friends), I found the enigma of the hypercube (and of the conspiracy behind it) extremely immersive and, as also quantum physics got mentioned, it made me think a lot about it. In that respect, Cube2 – Hypercube was one of the coolest films I´ve seen.

 

UPDATE 011518: LOL