Twin Peaks and Ethics

Zwei Dinge erfüllen das Gemüt mit immer neuer und zunehmender Bewunderung und Ehrfurcht, je öfter und anhaltender sich das Nachdenken damit beschäftigt: der bestirnte Himmel über mir und das moralische Gesetz in mir.

Immanuel Kant

Twin Peaks, created by Mark Frost and David Lynch, is, among other things, about „the battle between Good and Evil“. Many films, stories, fairy tales etc. are. Mankind seems to be obsessed by that. Men seem to like to see themselves within a battle between Good and Evil, as heroes. Usually, they like to see themselves as the good hero, not as the villain. That indicates: there is hope. Humans usually don´t, psychologically, thrive off conscious wrongdoing. There is hope.

In contrast to more simple-minded productions, Twin Peaks shows how demarcation lines between good and evil are blurred; as well as how their in-between, mediocrity, may kill off both just like as it might get corrupted by one as well as by the other, either in a stable or a more unstable, ever-changing fashion. Whereas the orginal series, aired at the turn of the 1990s, presents a more innocent, naive and easy-going world, that may be infected by evil, but not truly corrupted by it, Twin Peaks: The Return, aired a quarter of a century later, seems to entertain a more sinister and disillusioned perspective on humanity. In Twin Peaks: The Return you have a gallery of decent as well as indecent as well as mediocre characters as well, but the idea of a community between them – as you had it, nevertheless, and with all its twists and turns, in the original series – seems to be absent. People´s individual idiosyncrasies and quirks don´t appear as so funny or charming anymore, rather as something degenerative, and people, in general, as idiotic. In this world of disconnectedness where humans live in indifferent surroundings (also nature, so prominent in the original series, considerably has lost its charm), hardly anyone achieves anything, men are hardly able to transcend their circumstances, and failure is more prominent (actually, it is not – there are spectacular successes due to the effort of good people as well as the considerable, supernatural powers of the White Lodge and those associated with it : Killer BOB gets destroyed, Cooper/Dougie reconciled with his family, seemingly forever, the assassins get assassinated or into jail, the grotesque killer couple Hutch and Chantal get killed by an even more grotesque ad hoc assassin, the insurance company gets saved and its honest boss rid of his parasites, the warm-hearted criminals, the Mitchum brothers, get their compensation and thrive off philanthropy, Bobby Briggs has been redeemed (though lives a shockingly modest life now), Ben has become a businessman and a person of integrity, Norma and Ed get married (and Norma „saves her soul“ by resisting the temptations of capitalism), Nadine has been successful in „shoveling her way out of the shit“ thanks to the simple-minded ideology of Dr. Jacobi who seems to have become more successful and more caring for other people than in the original series, even Anthony Sinclair gets redeemed from his bad conscience as he confesses his previous crimes and gets ready to face the consequences; the psychopathic Richard gets destroyed (with a little help from his own father, the evil Cooper), and the trouble-making Steven Burnett disappears — it is just that, when Cooper, the Agent of the Good, leaves the worldy scene again (in Episode 17) which he just before had entered, to confront Evil in itself and to save Laura, very quickly relapses into a world of gloom and of failure, with Laura´s fate being paralleled by the incomprehensible sufferings and degenerative states of Audrey Horne or former child prodigy Gersten Hayward: overally, „Twin Peaks“ has become a seemingly gloomier place). Good and evil have become even more cryptic and the relationships between cause and effect even less clear (if they exist at all). More questions are left unanswered than at the end of the original series. Maybe there will be another season, maybe not, so that inconclusiveness and disappointment – that the Good cannot, finally, triumph (yet neither can Evil: shown in the scenes how Joudi/Sarah Palmer may be able to dislocate Laura and create confusion, but being unable to destroy the image of Laura, despite all her frantic efforts) – is meant to be the final statement. The world in Twin Peaks: The Return seems to finally be under the shadow of the Black Lodge (although that has also been stated in the original series), with the glimpses of light rather being something isolated and occasional than something overally or overarchingly effective. That cannot be tolerated and cries for resolution. If you think or feel like this, there is hope for you. Because the world is threatened by the shadow of the Black Lodge, counterbalancing via the powers of the White Lodge seems even more urgent. And: the more you are associated with one of the Lodges, the more prevalent the influence of the other Lodge will appear to you. After the good Cooper has created goodness everywhere by the end of Twin Peaks: The Return, it is just that because he never wants to rest in doing so that he is bound to confront a world of darkness time and again. (Note, however, that the ending could be interpreted quite differently as well, as the visceral scream of Laura Palmer/Carrie Page seems to immediately kill the powers/electricity of Joudi all in an instant before the series closes, so that we would have an almost sarcastically staged happy end where good magically and practically without true effort triumphs over evil (to fulfill the audience´s expectation).)

In Twin Peaks you have „good“ and „evil“ spirits that dwell in extradimensional places. The demarcation lines between their true character features are, as well, blurred (with former evil spirit MIKE having taken a U-turn to the good after he had an epiphany and the unclear identitiy of most other spirits that are not featured so prominently throughout the series), their functions and their motives are, to a considerable degree, unclear, they seem to cooperate as well as to compete with each other, and they have their own, although obviously not very deep, personalities. Their language is cryptic, and maybe they do not even understand themselves very well. In a way, they seem to resemble the gods of ancient Greece, including their cryptic communication to man via the oracle. They do not seem to be able to achieve so much, either against each other, or in their interactions in the human world. They seem to need humans, and need to possess humans, because in themselves, they are too one-dimensional. They seem to be more powerful, and less powerful than humans. It is true that they inhabit not exactly the same dimensions than humans. They seem a condensation of human qualities – BOB being, as Albert refers to him, „the evil that men do“ – as well as forces that are both more conscious/powerful and less conscious/powerful than humans in their entirety. BOB seems to resemble the id, the Giant/Fireman the super-ego; neither the id nor the super-ego are very deep, as desires, good or bad, just form ad hoc without a truly deeper reason (within the „id“), and the super-ego tries to ban or allow them for no deeper reason. The ego as the mediating instance is the interesting instance. The spirits – as they are representations or manifestations of „Good“ and „Evil“ – are no (or not much of) egos. They are entities (with the apparent master spirit of Evil – Joudy – being an „extreme negative entity“ (and, apparently, also an extremely unhappy entity that seems to be in a deadly conflict even with BOB/the evil Cooper)). As such they cannot, truly, think. They just are, and behave, according to their nature. In doing so, and in being so, they seem to play an indefinite chess game against each other and also try to influence and corrupt (or destroy) each other. Although fairly incomprehensible to us, there is no mystery behind that at all, much rather, an absence of mystery. They behave according to their nature (and are trapped inside theit nature). BOB as „the evil than men do“ is a force as well as a parasite that needs a host. It is the image of Laura Palmer that symbolises the good while, both in the original series as well as in The Return, as a human being she is prone to corruption, either in a more or in a less innocent fashion.

What is Good, and what is Evil – and what is their mitigation: ethics, ethical reflections and ethical principles? Are they something „outside“ and external to humans (with the possibility of being something divine), or are they just something entirely within, even beneath, humans (since „good“ and „evil“ are only elements within a wider range of things at the disposition of man, who can, as a conscious and complex being, manipulate and evolve notions of good and evil, and who is, in general (for these reasons and for others), „beyond good and evil“)? Are Good, Evil and ethics something „objective“, objective (quasi-) entities, or Platonic ideas, which, as such, may even govern the world? Or are they „forces“ that may consume and absorb men? As such, they are, all too often, experienced (with, for instance, people struggling with dysfunctional behaviour patterns often referring to them as their „demons“). As an educated person, you may refute such a notion – that Good and Evil are true forces or principles beyond human reach and understanding – as something archaic. Subjectivist notions, in one way or the other, refer to ethics as someting that arises from within humans, and that does not have objective existence. Thinking that ethics, or good and evil, were something objective would have to be considered as a man-made projection. Yet if this is so, and ethical considerations only arise within humans, how can it be ensured that they are not completely arbitrary or delusions (or, at least, completey culturally relative)? Although there is great subjective flexibility in interpreting notions of good and evil and ethical principles, it is strange to think about them as mere delusions. Ethics, good an evil have many aspects, and one of them is that they have normative implications, that they are normative by nature. Something that is normative by nature cannot really be thought as something merely subjective. It needs to, in essence, transcend subjectivity. By contrast, Ethical Realism means that ethics is not something that soley arises within the individual, but that ethical principles are actually inherent to the world and a part of objective reality. (Subjectivist) opponents of this view may argue: if ethical principles are an element of objective reality, where are they „located“? How are they substantialised, if we are not to believe in god or the devil? (And, apart from that, if ethical principles objectively exist, how can they exercise influence over humans and their considerations?) More recently deceased philosopher Derek Parfit offers compelling analyses that, if they should make any sense, ethical principles cannot be subject to human subjectivity and (therefore) subjective arbitrariness alone, but need to be something objective (that is, nevertheless, enlivened by subjective behaviour and subjective arbitrariness). Parfit proposes to see ethical principles and ethical truths not as platonic ideas, substantialised forces or divine intervention but as something comparable to logical truths or mathematical truths, as something that arises within the world but is neither an idea, a force or a substance and that is unlocated. Hell yeah, one of the most glorious notions I have come across in recent years is Parfit´s notion of ethical truths being someting resemblant to logical or mathematical truths! (The nature of logical and mathematical truths is not entirely clear neither, however; but that their true nature and substance would be something so confusing seems an overinterpretation as well to me.)

Ethical behaviour is something that is encoded within our genes. In this respect, it is actually both something objective and subjective; something more ancient than we as well as something, to a considerable degree, inferior to the powers of our intellect and our overall personality; something that determines our (free) will to a degree we cannot even truly oversee nor transcend as well as something that has to succumb to our (free) will. It is both beyond and beneath us. Not only humans but also animals, plants and even viruses exhibit „altruistic“ behaviour, even is this apparent „altruism“ is just some sort of cooperative group behaviour to increase the chances of survival or prosperity of that respective group (at the expense of others) (for instance, if a virus attacks a body, this means war with the body´s immune system; within that you may witness „heroic“ behaviour of the virus as it forms small „suicide squads“ and kamikaze commandos to attack the immune system at certain points and, likely, lethally fail, yet in order to distract the immune system and ensure the triumph of the overall attack). It is, from that perspective, true that „the realm of ethics“ is both something transcendent and out of our reach as well as it is primitive and archaic/atavistic, and something that can, within some limits, get overcome by human agency.

Good is associated with connectedness, altruism, light; evil with disconnectedness, egoism, and darkness. You may have the mental image of „the Good“ as being something of great cohesiveness and great undifferentiatedness (the „divine light“, etc.) Undifferentiatedness, however, cannot be truly thought as being able to process itself (therein resembling its apparent counterpart: total chaos/maximum entropy). Creation, per se, refers to creatures. Creatures are differentiated from each other and they need to struggle for existence, within cooperation with other creatures, and at the expense of other creatures. Therein lies their potential for altruism and egoism (as well as for self-saturated mediocrity). Because of them being creatures, they are vastly different from their creating principle (both larger and smaller, both more liberated and less liberated, etc.) and they are tiny and small. That is, finally, creation. That creation carries relative „darkness“/egoism and relative „light“/altruism within itself is its inherent quality (philosophically, this view can most definitely be attributed to Friedrich Schelling). Creation manifests itself in (differentiated) creatures, which are, per se, individuals as well as parts of a larger collective. Therein, they behave in egoistic and altruistic ways, as individuals as well as a (part of a) collective. Ethics adresses the optimal state of balancing individual and collective welfare. For conscious beings, who can manipulate their environment and who have the power to create themselves, ethical considerations derive from the structure of being. Ethics is inherent to existence. We, as conscious beings, have some flexibility to manage (or neglect) ethics, we can create (or at least derive) exuberant virtue, but it also, and substantially, refers to something that is above us, to a coordinate of our existence or a dimension in which we are trapped in. As the confession of Kant illustrates, there are some people who see and internally experience THE LAW. They have a distinct mental represenation of THE LAW. Respectively, THE LAW is not an actual, and distinct, law, it is a distinct mental represenation of the ethical structure of the world, or of creation. Holy men are absorbed by THE LAW (a mental image of THE LAW might rather not be undifferentiated light, but an simple but extremely solid structure before the inner eye, and experienced as being within, or affecting, the body).

The good is transcendent as it always seeks to improve itself and become better. Therein, it refers to a potential that is actually infinite, as it is always beyond our reach. (Therein also lies the possibility of its own corruption: in the striving for goodness becoming a zealous and unempathetic quest for its own sake, something that may be overly guided by principles, something resembling obsessive-compulsive behaviour, spiritual pride (and prejudice) or megalomania, or an (inherent) pleasure principle: at the very end of Twin Peaks: The Return Cooper obviously has become such an obstinate, unempathetic zealot, therein alienating Diane/Linda and, maybe because of this, being unable to „save“ Laura Palmer, due to him himself having become impure). Striving for the good means becoming and self-transcendence, finally having achieved virtuousness, nevertheless, means having ceased to (seemingly endlessly) „become“ but to finally have arrived at the state of Being. From a theological perspective, having achieved an undivided state of Being is somehow resemblant to being God-like (and therefore, from a Leibnizian perspective (or other perspectives), man, and all creatures, necessarily must be fragmented and incomplete, otherwise they were God themselves and, if so, there would be no creation). Having arrived a state of completeness and of Being means something absolute. Yet, this absoluteness gets only confirmed in acknowledging its own relativity. Kierkegaard (respectively one of his (distant acquaintances of one of his) alter egos) raves about the joy that lies within the thought that against God we are „always in the wrong“. The highest level of virtuousness and absoluteness of Being lies within acknowledging the notion that against God it is „always in the wrong“ (i.e. acknowledging its very own relativity), and raving about it (i.e. that it supposes the existence of an instance infinitely superior – be it only a hypothetical instance – against which one is always „in the wrong“ for good, therein the possibility for self-purification being infinite. And as such an instance would serve THE LAW). Evil may also strive for its own intensification, yet that would mean degradation and perversion. Perversion may be bottomless and transcenting the limits of ordinary human understanding, yet it is hard to imagine its trajectory of intensification as infinite or unlimited or excessively open. Rather, the more perverse it gets, and the more shocking and the more harm it may inflict, the more it seems to get segregated, comprised and trapped within its own tiny box. (Note however, that this may only appear so from the perspective of the good. From the perspective of evil it may just appear the other way round: note however furthermore, that this usually does not seem to be the case. And note that „infinite“ perversion may of course be possible if, like Shakespeare´s/Verdi´s Jago, we were thinking about creation as being the work of a malicious and scornful god where anything good is just an illusion and its purpose just feeding us with false hope. Such a worldview is not logically inconsistent. Maybe it is even the truth. But it does not seem ultimately being infinite, since such a god would appear, eventually, idiotic).

Evil is, or may be, a labyrinth. And, as concerns its intensification and ego-syntonism, it may strive for becoming ever more a labyrinth. Its language, the way it talks to us, may be difficult to understand, not least because it is degenerated and beyond (or beneath) ordinary understandig, but also because it is manipulative and deceitful. It likes to mask itself. It does not want tob e truly understood (also since that would reduce its power). Many people are fascinated by evil (note that there is also a quite consistent interpretation of the entire series as playing, and being sarcastic, with the audience´s voyeuristic desire to see evil unfold and also desire for closure and simplicity that has both killed the original series as well as the film Fire Walk With Me (that got very negative reviews at its time); so that in The Return Lynch and Frost purposefully present an overly lifeless, evil and unattractive world, where all the postive that happens gets overlooked in the desire for the next sensational unfolding of evil, and with finally presenting a true mystery wrapped in an enigma). What I find truly fascinating, nevertheless, is the good. The good is not labyrinth-like, it is complex. It does not wear masks, it is authentic. Because of that, it is outside the norm and does not accord to ordinary patterns and therefore frustrate ordinary pattern recognition. Because of its complexity and authenticity, and its transcendent appeal, it may be difficult to understand as well. Both (great) good and evil escape the ordinary. Therefore also their powers are limited. Mediocrity, at times, seems to be the true governing force. To see it in such absolute terms is, of course, inappropriate on all accounts. What you have, in this world, is a chaosmotic balancing of forces. You may think that the world is an eternal struggle, a grand chessgame between good and evil, that seems to go on, without a clear result, indefinitely. Neither good, nor evil, nor mediocrity seem to truly understand themselves. As entities they just are. Beyond the Black and White Lodges and the mediocrity of Twin Peaks, in the icy mountains, there lives the intellectual balancer, who observes, and calculates. In serenity, in agitatedness, in confusion.

Picnic at Hanging Rock

They´re having a focus on Australian cinema these weeks at the Filmmuseum and so yesterday they did show Picnic at Hanging Rock. I have seen it multiple times but not on a large screen before. What makes my miserable life worth getting examined is that I am able to develop tremendous passions for many things and beauty greatly affects me, therefore I live in a state of bliss and enchantment, and Picnic at Hanging Rock again had a huge impact on me.

Twin Peaks: The Return

Das transzendente Genie, das alles umfasst und alles überschreitet und so wie David Lynch eines ist, muss durch alles hindurch und sich und seine Botschaften in seinem Durch-Alles-Hindurch-Wollen beständig transformieren und einige Schichten tiefer fallen, hinein ins Mysterium und in Richtung des Zentrums von allem. Kollabiert unter seiner eigenen Schwerkraft und mit der es alles einsaugt zu einem Schwarzen Loch, schickt das Material durch ein enges Wurmloch und schmeißt es, durch sich selbst hindurchgejagt, in einem Weißen Loch in einer bisher unbekannten Region im Universum wieder raus! Ja!! So ist das eben einfach!! Und immer wieder von Neuem! – Twin Peaks: The Return, hat mit der ursprünglichen Serie von vor 25 Jahren so wenig zu tun, dass es einen einfach umhaut! Wer hat schon eine Kraft der Imagination wie David Lynch? Das kommt in ein paar Millionen Fällen vielleicht einmal vor! (Chrysta Bell nennt ihn den möglicherweise kreativsten Menschen, den es je gegeben habe.) Die abstrakte Intensität und die Seele der alten Serie durch sich selbst hindurchgetunnelt, findet Twin Peaks: The Return im Hyperraum der alten Serie statt (oder so irgendwie). Die Welt ist viel älter und schrecklicher geworden, freilich, und hat nur mehr wenig Einladendes und Reizvolles zu bieten – traurig das! – gleichzeitig ist sie aber auch flacher und von einer höheren Perspektive des Welt-Auges aus betrachtet. Um es wieder einmal zu sagen, gibt es keine objektive Möglichkeit, zu sagen, ob das Leben an sich und objektiv ein Wert oder ein Unwert ist: alles hängt davon ab, ob man gesund ist oder krank geworden ist. In The Return ist die überwiegende Mehrheit der Menschen krank, es gibt auch Gesundheit und Heilung und verborgene Talente, wie in der ursprünglichen Serie, das Beklemmende an The Return ist, dass es eine Welt zeigt, die einigermaßen, und als offenbare Annäherung an das letzte Wort, von Idioten bevölkert ist, eine Tschechowsche Welt, eine Hölle auf Erden, wie man sie auch z.B. in True Detective hat, oder zumindest ein ewiges Purgatorium. Empathie mit dieser Schöpfung ist da nicht mehr so leicht möglich. Es ist keine, bei all ihrem Beklemmenden unter der Oberfläche, ulkige, urige, heimelige Welt mehr, und selbst die Natur lädt zu keiner Teilnahme mehr ein, und es gibt keine herrlichen Bäume mehr. Einige Öffnungen und Ritzen gibt es, wo das Licht durchdringt, und der Kirschkuchen als Friedensstifter hat auch einen Auftritt, doch man weiß nicht, ob das Gute (wie auch das Böse) nicht insgesamt eher noch eine Persiflage sind, und der dramatische, substanzialisierte Kampf zwischen Gut und Böse und Weißer und Schwarzer Hütte nicht auch nur eine unwichtige Kräuselung ist inmitten der eigentlichen, alles bestimmenden Macht, der kosmischen Indifferenz. – Natürlich ist es so, dass das Szenario zu einem erheblichen Teil unter der Herrschaft der Schwarzen Hütte steht und die Entwicklungen in Amerika, und anderswo, seit dem ursprünglichen Twin Peaks, keinen so guten Verlauf genommen haben. Natürlich ist es so, dass Menschen und die Schöpfung insgesamt, einigermaßen schwer auszuhalten sind, und das neue Twin Peaks einfach einigermaßen realistisch und der Realität geschuldet ist. Man meint halt, die höhere Perspektive des Welt-Auges steht für die höhere Klarheit und Abgeklärtheit und mit der Klarheit nimmt die Kälte zu. Die Annäherung an das Indifferent-Werden ist eine Übung wohl im Geiste des Zen, oder der Transzendentalen Meditation, wie Lynch sie betreibt und propagiert und deren Ziel es ist, zum Einheits-Bewusstsein vorzudringen und zum Herzen und zum Zentrum von allem. Der Charakter des Mysteriums und des Zentrums von allen ist so, dass es immer da ist und sein Antlitz ständig ändert, entsprechend jeweils dem, was einem gerade vor den Geist kommt und zu dem man einen Bezug aufbauen kann, der, wenn möglich, sich durch Empathie und Intensität auszeichnen sollte; genau gesagt, ist das Zentrum von allem das Herstellen eines solchen intensiven, die stoffliche Hyle transzendierenden, sprengenden Bezuges. Das große Mysterium und das Zentrum von allem, kann man wohl sagen, ist die Kommunion und das Mit-sein mit den Dingen! Dementsprechend ist das Himmelreich eine umfassende Kommunion von Mensch und Tier und Natur – der Schöpfung insgesamt – im Zusammensein mit Christus, den universellen Vereiniger. Zu Kommunion und Mit-sein mit den Dingen sind nicht alle Menschen gleichermaßen fähig, und Swedenborg sagt, die Hölle sei in Wahrheit eine Einrichtung der göttlichen Gnade, da die Seelen, die darnieder fahren, zur Kommunion, zum Erleben, zum Schaffen von Bezug, eh nicht in der Lage sind, sondern das Paradies für sie kann nur sein das Ausleben ihrer Wut, ihrer Paranoia und ihrer Gemeinheit – nicht aber des liebevollen Bezugs und der Anteilnahme! In der „Philosophischen Untersuchung über das Wesen der menschlichen Freiheit“ wendet sich Schelling gegen den Pantheismus, da der Pantheismus impliziere, dass Gott und die Kreatur gleich seien, in Wahrheit seien sie aber verschieden, Gott sei das Gute, und die Kreatur könne nur versuchen, sich Gott anzunähern, indem sie das universelle Gute anstrebe, sie sei aber immer davon bedroht, in ihren kreatürlichen Eigenwillen und die Selbstaffirmation hinein- oder zurückzuzufallen, der das Potenzial für das Böse sei. Schelling schreibt: „Gottes Wille ist, alles zu universalisieren, zur Einheit mit dem Licht zu erheben, oder darin zu erhalten; der Wille des Grundes aber, alles zu partikularisieren oder kreatürlich zu machen. Er will die Ungleichheit allein, damit die Gleichheit sich und ihm selbst empfindlich werde.“ Gott erhebt sich über den dunklen Grund des blinden Dranges, des Willens, des Eigenwillens, und zeigt das Licht an. Somit ist die Natur an sich notwendigerweise gespalten und das Böse, der kreatürliche Eigenwille, der Natur inhärent (und, trivial gesagt, könnte man das Gute ja nicht identifizieren, wenn es das Böse als Gegenpol nicht gäbe). Daher ist die letzthinnige Transzendenz, kann man vielleicht sagen, das Indifferent-werden gegen den Kampf zwischen Gut und Böse, unter Wahrung des Mit-seins und des Bezugs. Grant, der mich vor Kurzen wieder an Schelling und dessen „Philosophische Untersuchung“ erinnert hat, sagt auch irgendwie, alles sei eine Art Möbiusschleife, das ganze mit der Natur, dem Geist, der Schöpfung. Lynch hat das auch irgendwie begriffen. Vollständig begreifen und durchdringen kann man das nicht, eben wegen der Möbiusschleife. Und so ist auch die Transzendenz, die auf die Immanenz reflektiert, eine Möbiusschleife.

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Marcel Proust Goes to the Rocky Horror Picture Show

I found something lovely  (gives me some terrible thrills)

Philip Hautmann I especially like this song and the lyrics as they transport – well – nostalgia for a more perfect world within a mind that is otherworldy and that is at home in outer space repectively that lives in the future which is, paradoxically, the subject of his inverted nostalgia. It leaves open room for various other interpretation as well. It somehow makes you feel such secureness and embeddedness in something that cannot be explicitly described and Patricia Quinn as the nostalgic as well as timeless Usherette looks very cute. It is Proustian as recovery of memory and lost time, the climax of the Proustian enterprise to achieve total information awareness and completion of self as Time Regained. What is especially admirable is that does not stand at the end point of the geniuses quest, something he has won after hard effort of creating a hyprcycle out of his own self, but as a somehow light and fluffy introduction to the enterprise, thereby clearly taking Proust unexpectedly and by surprise. Hail Richard O´Brien!

Stephan S
vor 4 Monaten
Does anybody know if this is really the voice of young Patricia Quinn?
However, it is badly sung but so genuine and authentic that I wish I’d been there in 1973. Times of craziness and creativity. So sad it’s all over.

vor 5 Jahren
I wish they had kept the usherette to introduce the movie. I think she’s just so delightful. She’s so adorable, she seems to represent an age to true movie escapism. You could almost imagine her being yelled at by her boss because she keeps lingering in the theater to watch the movie instead of working.

Yasujiro Ozu

Was im Leben uns verdrießt, man im Bilde gern genießt.


Look what a formidable master Yasujiro Ozu was! They say Yasujiro Ozu (Dec. 12 1903 – Dec. 12 1963) was the „greatest filmmaker movie buffs probably have never heard of“, (if I may say so) an explorer of the human condition comparable to Shakespeare! I came across him some weeks ago when I saw one of those „Greatest Films of all Time“ lists (a seemingly somehow reliable one), where Tokyo Story (1953) by Yasujiro Ozu was ranked #3 (after Vertigo and Citizen Kane). I also remember to have seen Late Autumn (1960) last year at the Filmmuseum when they had a focus on Japanese cinema of the postwar era – I was impressed by it, but had no time to dive further into that director back then. Yasujiro Ozu´s films usually are quite simple and not overcharged with plot. Tokyo Story is about an elderly couple visiting their children (and grandchildren) in Tokyo. Their grown-up children meanwhile have families of their own and it turns out that they have neither the time nor the motivation to care a lot for their parents (with one good – however also somehow exaggeratedly good – soul being an exception). The careers of them are middle class, but more humble than expected, the grandchildren show a nasty (though also childish/immature/harmless) behaviour and may not seem very promising. On their way home the mother suddenly dies, which makes the family come after them, but leaving soon again. Late Autumn begins with the burial of a wife´s husband, with three friends attending (and one of them being a bit late), consoling the widow and her grown-up daughter (although both do not seem to be particularly shocked, with especially the widow showing a near-idiotic grin almost all the time). The story then revolves around the three friends trying to find a husband for the daughter, who somehow stubbornly refuses marriage, wanting to stay with her mother instead, with one of them (a widower himself) trying to remarry with the mother: The first endeavour is finally successful, the second one not, condemning both the widow and the widower to spend the rest of their lives in solitude, respectively, in case of the widow, leaving them obviously unable to reinvent themselves anew and start a fresh life. I reiterate, very simple stories, not overcharged with plot – but in the result, Yasujiro Ozu´s films are extremely heavy, and when I saw Tokyo Story, it was extremely uplifting for (well, for what? – for) my mind. With a somehow Beckett-like precision and sharpness, though not in an abstract/absurd setting, Yasujiro Ozu reveals what life is about at such a level of artistic quality that he may account for a true metaphysical artist! On the one hand, Yasujiro Ozu heavily relies on what Paul Schrader calls „transcendental style in cinema“ (read his illuminating essay or watch his lecture): By withholding stuff, confronting the viewer with the unexpected, paradoxical construction of empathy in the viewer, constrasting images (e.g. happy music to rather, or silently tragic scenes), by using ellipses, delay on the verge of provoking boredom he creates multiplicity of meaning and depth, even spirituality. On the other hand, and seemingly in contrast to such qualities of creating „depth“, his films and characteristics of his signature style are simple and somehow „flat“: the uneventfulness in his films and humbleness of storytelling, often the lack of soundtrack, the lack of melodrama, the static camera, the tatami shot (showing people from the perspective of a viewer seemingly sitting on a tatami mat with the film´s characters on the floor around a table) – what is more, the seemingly flat characters with their flat dialogues, where it is always unclear whether they are supposed to be characteristic Japanese people being somehow lost in their overly formal behaviour and politeness or being rather expressionless and shallow human beings per se. Dialogues usually are shown as frontal shots on the character speaking and the other characters responding, creating the impression of a competition or fight between egos (maybe even manifestations of a Nietzschean „Will to Power“) or at least of an isolation of the characters in their (pseudo-) individuality – or their solitude. The static camera creates the impression that all shots are also to be seen as artworks or paintings (with Ozu being reported to have been obsessively careful in the meticulous aesthetic arrangement of each shot) – and with no shot usually lasting longer than another, giving them equal importance. Likewise, Ozu´s films usually don´t revolve around a single character (neither they ever seem to have someone resemblant to a hero/ine), but around a number of characters, respectively their mutual interplay, and, as already stated, there is a most obvious absence of melodrama in the execution of storytelling – in sum, creating a counterweight to Hollywood movies and Hollywood storytelling. And it seems to be that characterstics of „flatness“ that (in tandem to the „transcendental“ elements of style) are responsible for the „frightening“ metaphysical depth of Ozu´s works and his (execution of) worldview: Metaphysical depth in art is created by the interplay between reality and ideal, the expected and the unexpected, archetype and individual idiosyncracy and the like, forming self-contained units of universal appeal. Ozu´s approach maybe can be said to consist in bringing humble but also bright reality (therein usually the beauty of nature of of the colourfulness of the world) so much into coverage with itself that an extreme metaphysical tension that adresses the intellect, the senses, the soul is created. Bringing stuff not into full coverage with itself, respectively metaphysical art, opens up and adresses one´s own imagination, though not in a sense of using your imagination further, but adressing imagination per se. The perfect art of the genius are manifestations and examples of endgames won by the power of imagination, imagination perfectly realised, as such they are frozen and static, but there are a lot of explosions that happen around them and they are transcendent in themselves. Ozu´s genius and its metaphysical appeal is not, for instance, a „fiery“ one, his quality rather lies in bringing stuff so much into coverage with itself that the metaphysical depth is endless (and of course, people in real life are not exactly like portrayed in Ozu´s films, neither is reality exactly like that…). With his extreme precision of intellect and imagination, Ozu strikes us by creating so very universal situations and universal characters – it is a paradox that Ozu´s films have gained little international recognition for being „too idiosyncratically Japanese“ while on the other hand – as (for instance) German independent filmmaker Wim Wenders notes – being the most universal films ever made, and probably ever possible to create (of course, their universality is limited as they do not seem stuff a mass audience can ever be programmed to fall into, due to the lack of melodrama, artistic sophisitication, „transcendental style“, nonconformism, and, most general, Ozu´s core approach not to make movies for the purpose of entertainment, but to get closer to the mystery of life). Human relationships and the life cycle are the most general topic in the films of Yasujiro Ozu and the most defining elements and conflicts, like between stability and transition, loss, tragedy, failure, missed opportunites, but also warmth between friends and family members (which Ozu also portrays), trust, altruism, mutuality, the „follies“ of youth and the wisdom of age, are more or less the same across times and across cultures. It has been noted that it takes a lot of courage and self-assuredness to „always make the same movie again“, and Ozu at least made movies that are very similar to each other (and, superficially, simple), but also exhaustively distinguished. Late Spring (1949, #15 in the above mentioned list of 50 greatest films of all time) is about a grown-up daughter that (again) refuses to marry because she likes to stay with her beloved father, and her father being finally successful trying to marry her, with a pleasant present being cracked up into an unpredictable (and maybe more dismal) future for both, yet also as a necessity of transition in a world where all things must pass. Floating Weeds (1959) and The Only Son (1936) are about life games that do not exactly work out and remain humble. By contrast, Good Morning (1959) is a wonderful film about children who want to have a TV set from their parents (including farting jokes) (also, Good Morning is a loose remake of I Was Born, But… (1932) which also deals with typical problems of children), or What Did the Lady Forget? (1937) is about (humourous) ways of how to deal with different (and difficult) family members. Both Late Autumn or An Autumn Afternoon (1962) are also about friendship, altruism and taking care for each other. In his early days, Yasujiro Ozu made rather comic (but also tragic) films, like Days of Youth (1929) (however, many of them are lost).

It has been noted that Yasujiro Ozu´s films revolve around the principle of mono no aware – which refers to an awareness of transcendental beauty of things which are bound to, nevertheless, pass, leaving behind melancholy about a basic sadness of life. As it comes to mind, great art, and therein also the art of Yasujiro Ozu, retrieves the things lost, or out of reach, in their transcendental beauty, and makes them tangible. Despite their simplicity, Yasujiro Ozu´s films come in with an enormous gravity, dass es dich einfach nur so aushebt, where it remains – as in the good things usually the case – a mystery from which it actually derives. Sure, from the slowness and metaphysical uneventfulness, their expression of artistic mastery, their depiction of life, their universality… but finally you begin to realise that the simplistic films by Yasujro Ozu are – sublime! Their gravity derives from being „something greater/deeper than you“ and of themselves, transcending themselves, like all true works of art do, opening up depths that can be explored forever. How do they make you feel? Ist es eine Komödie? Ist es eine Tragödie? The maybe most memorable moment in the entire oeuvre of Ozu is when at the end of Tokyo Story the youngest daugher, Kyoko, frustrated by the behaviour of her relatives, moans Isn´t life disappointing? with the exaggeratedly friendly (and silently lonely and depressed) Noriko nodding at her with a (frozen) smile: Yes, it is. – Well, you have to understand that there is finally no conclusion possible to be objectively drawn from life and from existence, but that your outlook on life is entirely dependent on whether you are mentally healthy or (have become) mentally unhealthy. When you are healthy, you can stand the sadness of life, and you might find Yasujiro Ozu´s bleaker films amusing. When you are unhealthy, you may not. But even (or only) then, Yasujiro Ozu´s films will strike you as a kind of Satori. That films like Tokyo Story have been a Satori-like revelation to them has been noted by many filmmakers. Satori is a general experience (across time and cultures) that is, however, very idiosyncratically experienced by few and for which no general description may be vaild (hence the reluctance of the enlightened ones to speak despite speaking a lot and the un/ambiguity of the Koan); it has been described as „the same experience of reality as usual, but only two inches from above“. In a way however, films like Tokyo Story or Floating Weeds are like the (finally inexplicable) Satori perspective itself, and the bleakness of life becomes illuminated (in the ambiguous meaning of the word). As it says in Zen Sand 16.3.: If only a single awakened spirit becomes DAO and views upon the Dharma-World / Leaves and trees, nations and the great Earth all become Buddha. Hence, if all else fails, the films and the spirit of Yasujiro Ozu remain, and the world is saved.


In Tokyo Twilight (1957), which is considered as Ozu´s bleakest film, characters are not of the „Beckett-like“ precision as you have it most explicitely in Tokyo Story, instead, they are much more intransparent and opaque and, as they seem to lack a solid inner core, fickle and easily drawn in opposing directions (in a effort to find love and support, that may nevertheless be also strongly egoistic) – and therefore quite realistic. Ozu himself was said to have been somehow unhappy with the preciseness of his characters in Tokyo Story, as he was usually favoring a more nuanced approach in the protrayal of people and of reality (and, as not all people and all realities are alike, it is good to see how Ozu masters all the different approaches alike). Early Spring (1956) is about young adults and about their monotonous average professional lives as salesmen, their not very fulfilling marriages and occasional infidelity, including personal tragedies and early losses of lives, twens having arrived at an early dissatisfation with their lives and the prospect that more of it is what just will ever be about to come, with the prospect that finally what you find out is that „life is just an empty dream“ as an elderly salesman mourns, contrasting, therein, the widespread optimism due to the economic boom in the 1950s. It ends with a tacit (respectively neutralised) happy end and the message that it´s probably the small things that count in life. In Early Summer (1951) you also have younger grown-ups at the verge of trespassing into the more mature period of adulthood. Apart from the rascally (respectively „sensitive“) children you have people that are likeable and supportive of each other. It (more losely) revolves around marriage (and the increased autonomy of women in post-war Japan) and you have an absence of true problems, despite at the end a temporary melancholia about the impermanent nature of life and the transition of things (via wonderful shots on fields respectively the cyclical character of nature). Tami´s (i.e. the mother of the prospective husband) happiness is very cute and infectious, and I think I will remember her. Equinox Flower  (1958) was Ozu´s first movie in color, and it again portrays the conflicts of marriage – though this time it is not the daughter that refuses to marry but the father who, in a mixture of fear for the daughter´s future and losing his daughter to another person, stubbornly opposes the marriage his sibling has chosen out of love (while nevertheless promoting marriage on the reason of true love over „sterile“ marriage for the sake of convenience), with his opposition slowly crumbling under the friendly efforts of his family members to convince him otherwise. A tacit comedy, Equinox Flower indicates (though not explicitely shows) a happy end, as the intentions and the hearts of all the individuals involved are, each in their own ways, pure and the characters show responsibility and awareness for themselves and for their loved ones. There Was a Father (1942) was shot during the war and therefore also contains some patriotic elements (that had been cut out of the version now widely available), The story of a father and his son, the grand theme of the film is responsibility and sense of duty – and its ambiguities: while „doing his duty“ seems to prevent from a slippery life course and failure, it hinders emotions and authenticity. Woman of Tokyo (1933) is a silent film in which Ozu developed from his early student comedies to a student tragedy. It is the story of two siblings, Chikako and her brother Ryoichi. Chikako works hard and makes thorough sacrifices to provide her brother with the financial means and emotional/moral support to complete his studies (since that is what would make her so proud). When Ryoichi  gets confronted with his sister also prostituting herself for that end, he turns angry and desperate and commits suicide, obviously due to worries of damage done to their reputation (respectively because he is a weakling, as Chikako mourns in the final scene), leaving his grieving sister alone.

Jeannette – L’Enfance de Jeanne d’Arc

„Ein Heavy-Metal- und Rap-Musical voller (selbst)bewusst schlaksig-tapsiger Tanz- und Gesangseinlagen, dargeboten von Laiendarstellern mit teils recht eigenwillig-eindrücklichen Gesichtern – über die Kindheit von Jeanne d’Arc, basierend auf einem modernen Mysterienspiel aus dem Jahre 1910?! Ganz genau. Und so findet in JEANNETTE zusammen, wovon man nie glaubte, dass es tatsächlich etwas miteinander zu tun haben könnte: die (scheinbar) religiös-vergeistigte und die (oberflächlich) humoristisch-groteske Seite von Bruno Dumont. Hier, bei diesem spirituell durchaus ernsthaften, minimalistisch-bizarren Camp-Gustostück, kann man endlich einmal sagen: Das habe ich so noch nie gesehen.“ (Stadtkino Wien)

WOW, wie dieser Film drei Elemente enthält, die für mich so wesentlich sind: Tanzende/singende/springende Kinder, deren Seelen gleichzeitig älter sind, als die Zeit selbst, Heavy-Metal-Musik, sowie das Streben nach Heiligkeit – der Gernot hat gemeint, wir sollen uns diesen Film rasch ansehen, da er unglaublich schlecht läuft, meistens seien nur drei, vier Leute im Publikum: und tatsächlich waren dann neben dem Gernot und mir nur noch irgendeine Alte im Saal, wobei der Michi dann auch noch dazugekommen ist – scheint zu unterstreichen, dass Leute wie Jeanne d`Arc, die ganze Nationen und Großgefüge spirituell zusammenhalten, dabei gleichzeitig meistens radikale Außenseiter und Einzelgänger bleiben. Die Geschichte der Jeanne d`Arc z.B. mit Heavy-Metal-Musik zu vermengen, mag gekünstelt wirken von der Intention her und paradox im Ergebnis, ist es aber nicht; die scheinbare Heterogenität sei vielmehr ein Tribut an die Vielschichtigkeit und Tiefengestaffeltheit der Welt, die tief ist, und tiefer als der Tag gedacht, und ergibt somit eine vollkommen homogene Perspektive, einen perfekten Kreis, eine vollkommen Sphäre. Der Über-Humor ist die Methode, der Welt (und ihrer Psychose) mit vollkommen tiefsinnigem Ernst und in spiritueller Feierlichkeit begegnen! Ein achtjähriges Kind, das versucht, ultratiefe Moral zu verwirklichen (also Moral, die über das gegebene menschliche Maß hinausgeht und so einen neuen Markstein in der Geschichte, eventuell sogar der Evolution der Moral errichtet)… da verschlucke ich mich fast vor Begeisterung, und fühle mich erinnert an meine Jessica Simpson aus St. Helena… (wobei ich am nächsten Tag dann in eine gewisse Depression verfallen bin, zusätzlich zu dem, mit was ich sonst zu kämpfen habe, als es sich irgendwie aufdrängt, dass die Geschichte des Verwirklichers ultratiefer Moral, der nicht nur ein Hyperset bildet, sondern sich gleichzeitig auch von der Menschheit abnabelt, im Leben mit einer gewissen Wahrscheinlichkeit nicht so gut ausgeht). Der Text, der verfilmt und vertont wurde, stammt von Charles Péguy, der bei uns kaum bekannt ist, und den ich also lesen muss.

Jessica Simpson, 9, entdeckt, dass alles auf der Welt ein Herz hat

Inside the Wire

The Wire is held to be the greatest TV series of all time by some. An approval as ultimate as that would be a matter of taste, nevertheless The Wire depicts the human game at an epic scale and it does so more or less flawlessly. It is a grand achievement and can be compared to a classic novel series, Balzac´s Comédie humaine comes to mind, although The Wire is better than many of Balzac´s works. Revolving around drug trade and drug related crime in the city of Baltimore as the ultimate nexus The Wire depicts different institutions and social realms and their relationship to law enforcement in the five seasons of the series (illegal drug trade in season 1, the seaport system and trade unions in season 2, the city government and bureaucracy in season 3, the school system in season 4 and the media in season 5). It is a police/crime series as well as a social drama as well as it illuminates how things actually work (and is, in this respect, infotainment). The main interest of the series is to depict how individuals are formed by institutions and how individuals try to maneuver themselves through institutions for the better or the worse, for the greater good or for self promotion, for trying to improve their institutions or blow them up (with usually the anonymous institutition being the stronger one, swallowing, eating and digesting the individual – unless the individual is able to make career, which is a main endeavour/obsession of most of the characters). The main message I got is how policies and almost everything that happens in the human realm is the result of a compromise or a countertrade between different endeavours or between different logics in an effectively heterogenous world. Kissinger says that people usually do not understand politics as politics, in reality, means the choice between two evils. That is, somehow, a permanent message of The Wire; that the actual problems are dilemmas in nature, i.e. they cannot actually be solved just managed in a more or less clever and effective way.

Some (like Stephen King) said The Wire depicts human hell. In some instances that is about true, in general the situation is purgatory-like, although personal achievement or endeavour and what people want is frequently out of sync with what people get and how they are rewarded. The intelligence of the series lies, among other things, in depicting how both their endeavours and their rewards may be seen as just and fair from one perspective (e.g. the individual or the ethical perspective) and unjust and unfair from another (e.g. the institutional or the juridical perspective). There are few happy endings and resolutions in the individual storylines (which is uncommon for a TV series or movie), however there usually are organic developments and life trajectories (without much change in personality and character of the individuals however). Truly outstanding (or likeable) characters are few, if any, although most of them have their positive qualities and talents; the series does a great job at displaying the individualities of the characters and one is able to empathise with them, and after all even many of the gangsters don´t even actually seem that bad. The series does a good job at establishing not only various but truly individual perspectives – and it is actually magical how well and organic the performances are by the actors who were to a considerable degree not very prominent: all the characters appear incredibly real and convincing. The nexus, however, is „the game“ and „the corner“ that will „always remain the corner“, with individual humans only populating and being around the corner for a while until they get displaced by other individuals. In one of the more depressing scenes the death of Omar, the most idiosyncratic character of the series, is depicted as to not cause much interest or affection (yet however people trying to excel each other at inventing grotesque fairy tales about the circumstances of his death after a while); likewise as the infidel and unreliable McNulty gets told by his spouse Beadie that family may be the only one who actually cares when you are gone (McNulty, an assumingly terrible husband, is divorced from a wife that often exaggerates and is egoistic and he has two sons who don´t show exaggerated individuality). It is a „cold world“ in which we are living, as is effectively said on more than one occasion. The series starts with a police hunt on the criminal Barksdale organisation which displays a dangerousness and lethality hitherto unknown in Baltimore only to be, after it gets destroyed, replaced by the even more sinister Stanfield organisation (with a probable return to a more casual state of affairs in the Baltimore drug scene after the Stanfield organisation gets blown up). Yet the big wheel keeps on turning and it is almost meditative how the great flow is depicted by The Wire.

The creator of The Wire, David Simon, had a long experience with the drug scene and the law enforcement in Baltimore (and a vast perceptivity) which finally cumilated into the wisdom of the series. Jimmy McNulty, more or less the cental character of the series, is a portrayal of a cop who is not actually out there to help people or to empathise with victims of crime but to be able to feel intellectually superior to the criminals he is chasing (which, according to Simon, is not so uncommon among the personnel of law enforcement). McNulty is the most capable detective, but he is loathed by superiors for frequnently being disloyal and egoistic (although he always has a point (which usually carries a higher truth) in his soloistic maneuvers), and because of his pride and apparant shallowness in other psychological respects he is a failure in private (a notorious womanizer and alcoholic who does not seem to have true friends). Female officer Kima also has a rather wobbly private life, however that is because she likes the (inherently dangerous) occupation and she is a more balanced character (there is an indication that she likes to play the tough cop when she rather needlessly beats a drug dealer in one of the first episodes but such a suggestion of imbalance isn´t prominent later in the series); Kima is also one of the more complex and likeable characters. The elderly Lester Freamon is the most intelligent and wise officer of the team, despite his laid-back demeanour a kind of intellectual alter ego of McNulty who also has frequent trouble with authority. It is satisfactory to watch that he gets hot and sensible Shardenne as a spouse and they obviously live a harmonious relationship. Carver and Hauk are a kind of Laurel & Hardy team with Carver obviously becoming a good officer and Hauk degenerating into becoming an employee for Maurice Levy, the amoral lawyer for Baltimore´s drug kingpins (that Levy is jewish is not an antisemitic stereotype but due to the fact that many of those lawyers for Baltimore´s drug dealers are jewish, says Simon (himself jewish)). When, in an obvious attempt by superiors to sabotage the investigations against the Barksdale organisation, the special unit deliberately consists of especially lazy and incompetent officers at the beginning of the series Pryzbylewski is portrayed as brutal and stupid (and probably racist) but he soon proves his value as a code breaker and puzzle solver as well as a nice and unassuming guy who rather likes to work behind the scenes as he is too nervous (or so) for acting in the streets – which tragically proves true as he accidentally kills a fellow officer and then leaves the police and becomes a devoted maths teacher at the school for Baltimore´s troubled youth. Bunk is the firmest figure of the series as he is morally concerned (but not naive) and seems to be able to connect to everything and all the different realms without losing himself. Daniels also is one of the more ethical as well as effective officers who may be willing to sacrifice some of his career (and also his marriage) but gets overcompensated when he becomes useful for superiors – only to find out that as a police chief he would have to engage in unethical activities to please his political superiors (e.g. manipulating statistics) which causes him to resign and become a lawyer. The cholerical Rawls is depicted quite as devoid of personality as he maneuvers through the ranks and spills down the pressure that is exerted on him by higher ranks – a creature of the hierarchy.

D´Angelo Barksdale calls his subordinate dealer Wallace a good guy who, „unlike the other niggers“, has a heart and since both have some moral sense they prove as to frail as to effectively be gangsters – they meet their tragic end not as they break out of their criminal organisation but as they get liquitated as potentially untrustworthy by the superiors of the organisation. D´Angelo is probably the most tragic example of an individual who had become a gangster not by his own choice or because he is particularly bad and draws satisfaction out of what he is doing but because he was born into a family who runs a criminal organisation as a family enterprise with the individual family member´s worth being reflected in how much he is useful to this organisation. His uncle Avon, the head of the Barksdale organisation, is the offspring of a criminal and his brutally criminal ways rather seem to be a lifestyle to him he is accustomed to and the killings he orders a matter of ruthless professionialism – it is difficult to decipher how much psychopathological pleasure and narcissistic gratification he  may receive from upkeeping his image as a fearsome drug kingpin including a notorious womanizer or whether he just acts as a professional gangster inside a fiece battle of competition. When it is effectively too late and his organisation about to be blown up he however ruminates whether the approach of his partner Stringer Bell (to become businessmen not anymore directly involved with the drug trade on „the corner“) wouldn´t have been the more intelligent one. Stringer Bell is one of the most noteworthy characters of the series, a cerebral gangster who in his spare time studies business administration at the university (and recceives good grades and is obviously well liked by his professors with whom he intellectually conversates) and who wants the Barksdale organisation to finally engage in normal business and to buy political influence. Nevertheless he is as ruthless as Avon, he orders the murder of D´Angelo and finally betrays Avon whose gangster style he increasingly sees as dangerous and so (accidentally) blows the Barksdale organisation up – while at the same time he is betrayed by his „brother“ Avon and gets killed by Omar and Brother Mouzone whom he betrayed before – an almost Shakespearean end to the Barksdale organisation which collapses over itself (the fearsome hitman Brother Mouzone, who obviously belongs to the Muslim brotherhood and reads Harper´s magazine is also one oft he more remarkable characters of the series). Marlo Stanfield who starts a war with the Barksdale organisation is a young gangster who is primarily driven by lust for power and who is quite expressionless in most other respects. All he strives for is „wearing the crown“ and he is even more ruhtless in ordering killings for minor reasons than Avon. Proposition Joe embodies the „reason of state“ among the Baltimore drug dealers. Like most other dealers he simply wants to sell his drugs and refrains from brutality. Nevertheless he is clever at manipulating situations to his own advantage. A friendly fat uncle who officially repairs radios and watches he is almost a highly likeable character. He meets his end as he gets betrayed by his own nephew to Marlo who wants to take over Joe´s drug supply line via the organisation of the Greek and to take revenge for Joe´s accidental collusion with Omar. Omar Little is the most idiosyncratic (and, actually, a bit strange) character of the series. He lives by robbing other drug dealers (and, occasionally, giving away drugs to junkies for free) making him a bit a Robin Hood-like character. He is highly intelligent, fearless and feared by other drug dealers, homosexual and even seems to possess superhuman qualities and pain tolerance. Nevertheless he gets killed by 12 year old Kenard in the end, the probably most sinister and sociopathic character of the series (next to female/tomboy killer Snoop).

You have bad mothers in The Wire, like drug addicted Raylene who lets her husband living with her despite he had been sexually abusive towards his children in the past or De`Londa who becomes furious over her son Namond as he proves incompetent as a drug dealer. You have weak family ties, not only illustrated in the Barksdale family where they (sexually) betray each other but also in the case of McNulty. Chris Partlow, Marlo´s primary enforcer, on the other hand seems to be devoted to his family, despite he has the highest body count of all he cannot stand being spared from his family for a longer time (he gets desperate because of this when he is on the run from Omar) and he also displays geniune care for his subordinates. If he wasn´t a killer Chris also comes in as an example of being a somehow nice guy as well as a ruthless criminal. In the end he goes to prison for life after being assured by Marlo that his family will be taken care of. One of the more astonishing (and uncanny) scenes of the series is to see how little the gangsters seem to care about being thrown into prison for many years or for the rest of their lives, contrasting and effectively destroying their assumed struggle for a good life which made them criminals in the first place. The seaport workers (occasionally or more systematically) engage in petty crime, their trade union, led by Walter Sobotka, is forced to support the criminal activities of the organisation of „the Greek“ as they need to collect money for their political struggle in order to survive as the seaport is under threat from environmental legislation, prestige projects to use the territory for other purposes and, most of all, technological progress rendering more and more traditional jobs obsolete. It is depicted how Sobotka and his trade union (as an epitome for American labour) are alone in their struggle with nobody showing interest or affection for their concerns. The second season sets in as the trade union gets into a struggle for the approval of the church with the police, an actually petty feud which however causes officer Stan Valchek to react furiously on a personal level and, despite that, professional as he tries to investigate obvious criminal activities of the union. The Greek, an unassuming elderly gentleman, heads a criminal organisation which engages in various criminal activities from drug trade and smuggling to human trafficking. According to David Simon the Greek is an embodiement of unfettered capitalism, using and abusing American labour indirectly for the purpose of enrichment. The second ignition for season 2 is 13 young women from Eastern Europe found dead in a container in which they were shipped to become sex workers in America. Tommy Carcetti who is quick to run for major and, then, for governor, is an opaque figure and it is difficult to distinguish whether his actions as a politician are motivated from pushing his career or promoting the common good. As the series continues, Carcetti gets more and more swallowed by career motivations and what originally could be held as emanations of rhetoric talent sounds more and more unbearable as stereotypical and disposable statements of a career politician. One of the most memorable scenes of the series is when it is disussed in the city council about who is responsible for the dire financial situation and no one is willing to accept any responsibility. Dire straits is also the condition for the local newspaper which gets sandwiched between depleting funds and capitalist diktat from above making its editors turning a blind eye on unethical and sensationalist journalism in order to attract attention and secure their position (they finally get the Pulitzer Prize which they hope makes them more immune but it is foreseeable that the obvious flaws will sooner or later be uncovered). The most uncanny season is the fourth which depicts the situation at public schools for the children of the black lower class. The children are brutal, refuse to learn anything that is not of practical use for their future in the streets and, in most cases, obviously don´t even understand content that is more abstract (which is quite common among humans yet in that case comes in a more undisguised fashion). Nevertheless Pryzbylewski becomes a devoted teacher who cares for his pupils. Academics from the university try to set up programs to improve their situation but they eventually fail, not least to lack of funding (with the academics regarded as unworldly and quixotic by the police and Dr. Parenti, the sociologist being a bit a colourless figure who however is at least exited about how the scientific community will applaud his findings after the program got terminated).

Despite being suspenseful and exiting and, at its core, a great crime series, despite being informative, epic and pandemonium-like and despite high critical acclaim The Wire was a moderate success in commercial terms and proved a bit too complex for a larger audience. At the same time The Wire was popular all across the political spectrum as liberals, conservatives, Christians, Marxists, etc. were able to draw out something that seems to confirm their worldview. Simon however strongly opposes ideological dogma, according to him the main endeavour of the series was to show the complexity of the city, demanding a complex and multidimensional understanding of problems in order to effectively cope with them. Despite his strong standing against asocial neoliberal capitalism (Simon says the dimension of collective responsibility has become refuted, even viewed upon as obscene in nowadays America – the question of individual and collective responsibility in the makeup of a good society is something we accidentally just had in the note about Michael Neder) The Wire isn´t so openly and outspokenly critical towards neoliberalism in the end (maybe because the producers did not want to effectively polarise and repel the more conservative audience). The Wire does not tell why Balitmore became such a dangerous place (or why crime rates fell in many American (inner) cities in the later 1990s, excluding Baltimore) or why you have drug abuse in any Western city but usually not such high levels of crime as you have in many American cities. The Wire is, in the end, an overly pessimistic series. – But the big wheel keeps on turning, and as for now good night, po-pos. Good night, fiends. Good night, hoppers. Good night, hustlers. Good night, scammers. Good night to everybody. Good night to one and all.

Zerkalo (Prelude to a possible Note about Tarkovsky)

„I trust not promotions
And I fear not omens
I flee not from slander or poison
There is no death
We´re all immortal – All is immortal
Fear not death at seventeen,
Not at seventy …
There is only reality and light.
There is neither dark, nor death in this, our world.
We´ve reached the beach,
And I am one of those, who pulls the nets in,
When immortality arrives in batches.
Live in a house, and it won´t crumble;
I´ll summon a century at will,
Enter and built my house in it.
That´s why your children and your wives
All share my board
The table serving forefather and grandson:
The future is decided now.
And if I rise my hand,
The five rays will remain to you.
My bones, like beams
Held up each day,
I measured time with a surveyor´s staff,
And passed through it as through the mountains.
I chose a century to my height.
We pressed on South, raising dust in the steppes,
Weeds smoldered, a grasshopper played,
Touching horseshoes and prophesying…
Threatening me with death quite like a monk.
I strapped my fate fast to my saddle,
I rise up in the stirrups
Of the future as a boy.
I am content with my immortality,
With my blood coursing from century to century.
I´d gladly give my life
For a safe corner of warmth.
If life´s swift needle
Did not draw me out, as though I were a thread.“

(01:01:10 – 01:03:12)

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Watch online six films by the legendary Russian filmmaker, Andrei Tarkovsky: Ivan’s Childhood, Andrei Rublev,…

Independence Day 2

Independence Day 2 ist nicht so gut wie der erste; aber egal, die Möglichkeiten, das so kraftvoll zu inszenieren wie beim ersten Mal waren ja auch praktisch nicht mehr gegeben. Bei der Zeichnung der Charaktere hätten sie sich aber mehr einfallen lassen können (obwohl etwas anderes als eine rein schemenhafte Individualität und eine bloß schemenhaft individuelle Unterscheidbarkeit von Menschen, also echte individuelle Idiosynkrasien, in die heutige fortgeschrittene Epoche vielleicht gar nicht mehr passen würde und von den Leuten möglicherweise auch gar nicht mehr verstanden werden würde; ja, es scheint mir, dass Emmerich und seine Kumpels da bewusst ein Zeitdokument geschaffen, außerdem einen codierten Hilferuf ins All gerichtet haben); gut finde ich, dass der Metalfreak-Wissenschafter Okun, neben seinem unerschütterlichen Frohsinn und seinem explosiven Enthusiasmus für nüchterne, objektive, verallgemeinernde Erkenntnis, diesmal eine stärkere, besser integriert wirkende und kompetentere Figur abgibt (wie auch der einstmals pfiffige und wendige Levinson, dessen nachdenklicher und erfahrener und, wie sich später herausstellt, richtiger Rat gleich zu Beginn von den Funktionseliten nicht befolgt sondern das gewalttätige Gegenteil davon ausgeführt wird, deutlich gealtert und melancholischer rüberkommt lol). Die Vorstellung von außerirdischer Zivilisation und Technologie macht mich aber auf jeden Fall immer ganz kribbelig.

alientechnology2 alientechnology alientechnology3

Major Briggs in the White Lodge

That´s Major Briggs, the spiritually most advanced character from Twin Peaks in the White Lodge. The White Lodge is the place where the constructive spirits of the Earth dwell. There is also the Black Lodge, which you must pass in order to ascent to the White Lodge on your way to perfection. According to legend, in the Black Lodge you will meet your shadow self, and if you meet it with impefect courage, it will „utterly annihilate your soul“. Few are able to get through. The Black Lodge, let us say, symbolises the terror reign of subjectivity disconnected from the Earth and from the universal spirit, i.e. the common condition of man; whereas the White Lodge IS the universal spirit. Love opens the gate to the White Lodge while fear attracts the spirits of the Black Lodge. Being tortured by Windom Earle Major Garland Briggs answers the question about his greatest fear as: „The possibility that love is not enough“. That is not the fear of the ordinary, not even of the extraordinary man, yet of the ethical genius. The Major is, at his innermost core, not concerned about himself but about the world and is afraid that there never is the possibility to take enough care of the world. Therefore the Major has superseded his subjectivity and become objective, transpersonal, a spirit, and does not even encounter a shadow self or negative doppelgänger. (Meditate about that.)

Although the Lodges are out there in the woods, known through an Indian legend, and seem to interfere with most real events in Twin Peaks (maybe even govern them), they are hardly explored in any detail by almost no one. Only a few, „gifted“ individuals have a deeper or conscious connection to the Lodges: Windom Earle, Dale Cooper, the Log Lady, and Garland Briggs. Yet what they all have in common is that they both seem to know „so much and yet so little“ about the Lodges. – Windom Earle, the most malicious character of the series, the evil genius, wants to align with the evil spirits of the Black Lodge in order to attain a „power so vast that its bearer might reorder the Earth itself to his liking“. Yet he finds a meager and pathetic end in the Black Lodge when Killer BOB flat out rejects him and annihilates his soul: Apart from reasons of dramaturgy Windom Earle does not seem to be interesting prey for the evil spirits since he already is completely corrupted so that in possessing his body BOB would not achieve a higher level of completeness (BOB´s endeavour has been to amalgamate with Laura Palmer, the intelligent, originally good-natured, and as we can see at the end of Twin Peaks – Fire Walk With Me: brave Homecoming Queen of Twin Peaks (where she rather lets herself being killed than being possessed by BOB in order not to become a host of evil); since BOB as a force which is completely evil is psychopathic, demented and throughout the series a reduced, therefore parasitic entity). Windom Earle is the bearer of the by far most powerful human intellect of the series but is devoid of all other qualities which make a human, therefore he slips into oblivion; in former times he was a man of the law, of high ideals and a person who loved, yet jealousy and an overly possessive attitude had let him degenerate into madness. One is a bit under the impression that Windom Earle´s monstrous intellect has dried out the rest of his human qualities and that, in this way, he had never been a well-rounded individual at all.

Special Agent Dale Cooper, the former junior partner of Windom Earle, is, despite his young age, a considerably advanced human being, who nevertheless falls prey to the evil spirits of the Black Lodge at the end of the series. He is both eminently rational and a master detective, yet his true mastery derives from his emotional and spiritual qualities working in tandem with his intellect. His emotional and spiritual qualities give him access to the irrational respectively the a-causal and the a-logical, therefore he can successfully maneuver through the Twin Peaks pandemonium respectively through the multiple layers of reality, and he has not only logical but psychological understanding. Despite the many misfortunes he encounters in Twin Peaks – being shot (by Josie), being kidnapped and nearly killed by thugs, being screwed by his own FBI colleagues etc. – he does not seem to lose his generally positive attitude and his faith in humanity (which is why he also is positively rewarded over the series as well). He meets the world with curiosity and wonder and never fails to be delighted by the small things and the little wonders of everyday – the trees, the coffee, the cakes… Despite being instantly a bit irritated by the emanations in the Black Lodge which he confronts in the hitherto last episode of „Twin Peaks“ he never loses courage, not even when he confronts BOB, so that it remains a bit of a mystery why he suddenly becomes afraid when he finally meets his own shadow self which he cannot bear, so that he falls prey to the spirits of the Black Lodge, his „good“ self remains trapped in the Black Lodge and he becomes the new host for Killer BOB. Apart, again, for reasons of dramaturgy (i.e. to give the story an interesting twist), it seems to be dubiuos why a thing like this would happen. Cooper remains practically flawless throughout the whole series. Yet his young age seems to indicate that he cannot be a fully grown and mature individual. And indeed, in „The Autobiography of FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper: My Life, My Tapes“ which was published alongside the TV series it is somehow revealed that Cooper carries imperfections: he is „an unreliable narrator, obsessive, anal-compulsive, deluded, immune to irony, not very perceptive about himself“. Cooper, in general, is an individual who is on a journey, who wants to explore life. Due to lack of self-awareness, afraid of his own „unconscious“ he experiences and gets lost in his shadow self – traps everywhere, as the condition of life. The third season which was cancelled but will now be aired next year, „25 years later“, would have been about the rescue of Cooper from the destructive forces of the Black Lodge.

There are two characters in the series who seem to have been in the White Lodge: The Log Lady and Major Briggs. Both did not seem to have been in any way affected by the Black Lodge and the shadow self. Yet both also don´t know very much about the White Lodge either. They seem to be under amnesia of what happened to them in the White Lodge, all they can remember is an overwhelming white light and some owls (and „the owls are not what they seem“). They are spiritually connected to the White Lodge and bearer of messages which, however, ultimately remain cryptic also to them. – That the Log Lady does not fully understand (she rather „feels“) the White Lodge seems evident, since the Log Lady has spirit, but no intellect. She is an eccentric who lives outside of society. The Major, like Cooper, is both spiritually and intellectually gifted – but he is not a philosopher i.e. he has no unified knowledge and is not operating at the highest level of consciousness. Like Cooper he works in a profession whose duty is to guarantee order, safety and protection, yet as a military man inside a hierarchy he is – even more than Cooper – likely to fall prey to serve as a puppet for the execution of evil intent in higher places (without possibly knowing it, not being aware of the intentions from above nor of the causal chain of reactions the operations he is involved in are likely to produce; it seems to carry a double meaning that all the operations he is involveld in are classified and that he cannot really talk about them with anyone: they seem to be out of his knowledge and intellectual reach as well). He is able to „heal“ his stupid, hilariously unsympathetic and immature teenager son Bobby by telling him about a beautiful dream of a palace „where fathers and sons are united“ (under the obvious protection of a guiding maternal spirit), yet his overly soft, overly stoic and also seemingly a bit detached parenting style seems to have provoked the acting out of Bobby´s idiotic masculinity in the first place. Bobby however is a young human being, overly immature but set on the course for reaching higher levels of maturity; Cooper as a man in his mid-thirties is overly mature and falls back into regression, Major Briggs as an elderly person seems to be a future projection of Cooper, respectively a possible future for Cooper if he had not entered the Black Lodge. It was revealed that in the third season the Major would have played the key role in saving Cooper from the Black Lodge. Within this duty, it can be assumed, that both Cooper and the Major reach a higher level of human perfection and therefore a better understanding of the White Lodge.


In an allusion to Twin Peaks I have, a while ago, described the White Lodge as a state of ultraperception and omniscience. When you live such a state of mind you experience yourself as an unlocated focal point within a region of white light where the objects of the world appear and pass by, and they are all equal to you. Nothing hinders you from grasping and understanding them at an infinitely deep level (which means: fractal-like since infinity cannot be seen itself), and this is the case because the subject which grasps them has also been dissoluted into the white light, the seeing eye has become unlocated and omnipresent, the dismantlement of ego allows free navigation through the all. This cannot be learned by intellect alone but by personality which, in accordance to how Scientology calls it, has to reach a „clear“ and become free of fabricated ideological or unfathomable emotional attachment to itself or to the object. As Nietzsche or Otto Weininger have already noticed the person who tries to purely objectively relate to reality (via dissolution of the „subjective“ distortive element) will also be the ethically most conscious person, therefore, if you go further down the White Lodge you will become the White Lodge yourself.

The transcendent (ethical) genius lives in a world full of people with whom, more or less, no authentic communication is possible (hence also the disfigurement of language in the Black Lodge), so that the ultimate ethical genius will have to cut off his arm or, like Mansur or Christ, get executed to teach people ethics in the only language they seem to be able to understand, partially it is nevertheless in vain; yet understand, mate, that this is in accordance to God´s plan, apart from that, in earthly terms, only a dead genius is a good genius quod erat demonstrandum etc. bla bla

Philip Hautmann

This was a vision, fresh and clear as a mountain stream, The mind revealing itself…