Friday, December 22, 2006

Dangerous Liaisons and John Malkovich

Its been a while since Daniel Day Lewis' masterful portrayal of Bill the Butcher (The finest acting I've even seen) and I didn't expect to be blown away again by an acting performance.
But I was and wow, what a delightful experience that was. John Malkovich in 'Dangerous Liaisons ' is awesome. That is to say, a new entry in my top 10 list after quite some time. And irony is, like most of the others in that list, he didn't get an oscar for that. Hell he wasn't even nominated.
Anyway for all cinemaphiles, the movie should be a treat to watch.

Monday, December 11, 2006

J: I dont understand why our music doesn't sound as good as the westerns
B: What do you mean?
J: Well there are so many rock bands right? All know how to play guitar. Sometimes they talk about the same themes. But something is missing. Passion or ...hmmm ... say a sense of truth. Don't yo have a theory about that ?
B: I do. Rich kids can't rock.
J: mmmmmmmmmmmmm. Right. Assholes.

Friday, November 24, 2006

I am changing my blogging nick-name.

I've grown bored of permutations, and maybe He doesn't have that ONE name.
Otherwise cabalists would've found it. Its been centuries.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Sound of a distant trumpet exudes a soporific sensation. Let the fuck begin.
At overture, from the seeds of my reed, weeds of my discomfort burgeon.
What is more frightening—the lurking vestige of incredulity in theists or residue of faith in atheists? Or maybe faith and denial are crafts that need time for perfection.
And Time is never enough Rabbi.
You remember when I first entered Gevurah on the wings of desires and you abacinated me –the moment, the anagnorisis? For in darkness shall I find that light is a recursive illusion, only the absence of dark. And what doors you put me through, the Scourge of darkness and unbearable absurdity of existence. And there was this world dissected before me confessing its being as inconsistent chaos of haphazard instances, connected to each other by mere coincidences. And history, the wonderful piece of fiction, cried over its emptiness. Theology, a subterfuge bedizened by rhythmic rhetoric and glorious fables, shed off its clothes and stood in its grotesque nakedness.
You know Rabbi, the darkness of the blind is a misty haze, coloured in innumerable shades, changing every instance with the random permutations of seven colours mixing in infinite proportions.
But then arrived my first peripeteia—those insomniac nights spent with the recurring apparitions of demons and fires of hell, when you held my hands and reassured the rational me. But I couldn’t be solaced Rabbi, until you disappeared and I hymnhummed some prayers whispered in my ear a long time ago.
I don’t remember when I lost your hand and how long I wandered alone until HE came along.
‘And then there was light.’
And in ‘our’ two act play, I bathed in my second awakening.
Darkness became my avowed nemesis. And yes there was an ephemeral peace, eyeing harmony in dissonance and a pattern in chaos. Those strolls in the garden of hesed when love shined in on me and white light illuminated my naïve soul. He disappeared too Rabbi, as you did, just when my eyes were becoming his eyes.
I finally realize it Rabbi, the con-sequence of flawed longing.
In my exacerbation, I am tirelessly fluctuating between ‘what’ and ‘what if; for a perfect faith; for a perfect denouncement. To describe my plight, there is only fright, again, and this time, I have no daedalian wings.
Its grand finale, Rabbi, it is the catastrophe, because I know now. In the sterile soil of my longing, from the seeds of my reed, weeds of order/disorder burgeon.
Now I know Rabbi, Gevurah runs in my veins.
Now I know Rabbi, I am your amaranthine protagonist, destined to be un-destined.
Now I know Rabbi, He was you.
What would you write now, but a repetition of these two acts?
Hell… lay it all to rest.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Derrida On L'mour

Since I find myself incapable of writing anything lately, I am thinking of returning to the basics-to do what I was good at. Quoting people, questioning everything and talking about books and movies. That is to say, I am thinking of starting a movie/book review blog. An ode to the pieces that i adored over the years.

Well, for now, I have seen Derrida talking for the first time. Ifinally got my hands on Derrida The Movie, and yes it only fuels my fascination with the grey haired dead jew.
Here is what he says when asked about l'mour. (Reminds me of my long diatribe I had once. Someone somewhere must remember that :) )

Love is a question of who and what. Is love the love of someone or the love of some thing?

Supposing I loved someone; Do I love someone for the absolute singularity of who they are? i.e. I love you because you are you. Or do I love your qualities, your beauty, your intelligence?

Does one love someone, or does one love something about someone? The difference between the who and the what at the heart of love, seperates the heart. It is often said that love is the movement of the heart. Does my heart move because I love someone who is an absolute singularity, or because I love the way that someone is?

Often love begins with a type of seduction. One is attracted because the other is like this or like that. Inversely, love is disappointed and dies when one comes to realise the other person doesn't merit our love. The other person isn't like this or that. So at the death of love, it appears that one stops loving another not because of who they are but because they are such and such .

That is to say, the history of love, the heart of love, is divided between the who and the what. The question of Being, to return to philosophy- because the first question of philosophy is: what is it 'to Be'? What is 'Being'? The question of 'Being' is itself always already divided between who and what. Is 'Being' someone or some thing? I speak of it abstractly, but I think that whoever starts to love, is in love, or stops loving, is caught between this division of the who and the what. One wants to be true to someone - singularly, irreplaceably - and one perceives that this someone isn't x or y. They didn't have the qualities, properties, the images, that I thought I'd loved. So fidelity is threatened by the difference between the who and the what.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Tagged by 0rdered-chaos a.k.a Fairy Godmother.


Height: 6'2''
Color: brown with a fairish bias :D
Piercing: None
Tattoos: None But someday maybe
Right Now
Time: 0327 hours.
Mood: Bored
Taste: closeup
Weather: Well in transition. A hint of cool breeze in the moonlit night. The night has matured and its beautiful. Just that my skin is not evaporating
Bad habit: None
Current crush: A younger Madeline Stove
Biggest regret: There never was glory
Perfume(s): Jean Paul Gaultier, Eternity
Thing I want to do: At the moment? Hmmm… apart from sex eat something.
Favourite TV show: Goodness Gracious Me ( Yes its not on anymore)
Book: Currently Borges. Again.
Non alcoholic drink: Espresso
Milk drink: Espresso with a milkdrop :D
Brand: none
Color: Currently black
Emblem: none

Designer: None
Chocolate: None

Have I Ever...

Broken the law: Yes
Misused credit card: No
Fell asleep in the shower/bath: Of course I did. What else can you do on winter morns?
Had children: I hope not :D
Been in love: Yes. AM IN LOVE
Been hurt: Oh yes. Broke my nose thrice :P
Have a job: Yes
My CD player has what in it right now: Media Player is playing Moonlight Sonata
If I were a crayon, the color: Someone else shall have a say
What makes me happy: Fantasizing about a lot of sex lately. That’s a typical Ramadan Syndrome btw.


Was the LastI got a real letter: Lately …
Got an email: 3 hours ago. Junk
Thing I purchased: today. A pack of smokes
TV program I watched: Man Utd Vs Liverpool . Yes a soccer match.
Hugged: Aali…
Place I was: my room
Song heard: Before Sonata ….Beethoven’s 9th and show must go on (Queen)
Phone call: today / Appa
Was depressed: don’t remember. Must’ve been one such time waisey.

What Comes to Mind When I Hear

Car: An alto I am saving to lease right after EID
Murder: Hannibal Lecter
Cape: Martin Scorsese
Cell: Nokia 1100
Fun: Sex
Shoe: Her naked feet
Crush: Someone who had a crush that lasted too long: Omer
Music: Crying/Sex
Love: Apart from Sex ? Yea there is she....sigh
Chalk: 6th grade politics.

Alright...who do I tag? Don’t know :S

Monday, October 16, 2006

Garbage--The Trick is to keep breathing (Lyrics)

Shes not the kind of girl
Who likes to tell the world
About the way she feels about herself
She takes a little time
In making up her mind
She doesn’t want to fight against the tide

I’m not the only one
I say
Never trust anyone

Always the one who has to drag her down
Maybe you’ll get what you want this time around

Can’t bear to face the truth
So sick he cannot move
And when it hurts he takes it out on you

I’m not the only one
I say
Never trust anyone

Always the one who has to drag her down
Maybe you’ll get what you want this time around

The trick is to keep breathing
The trick is to keep breathing

She knows the human heart
And how to read the stars
Now everything’s about to fall apart

I won’t be the one whos going to let you down
Maybe you’ll get what you want this time around ?

I won’t be the one whos going to let you down
Maybe youll get what you want this time around ?

The trick is to keep breathing

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Time changes.
Maybe you are right, people change too.
Certainly you are right, I have changed. You knew me, you do not know me.
I remember the delicious acquaintance that instigated out of a heated debate, when you stepped in as the peacemaker, and the yummy camaraderie we developed over conversazione about theory and reality and sea and to keep breathing. We debated God then, we bitched about free will and Spinoza and death and rock and roll and yes… your poetry.
Those gods that didn’t stand a chance and migraine attacks at 5 in the morning. I actually remember your nervousness about speaking in public when I couldn’t help laughing at your nasal accent.
Was there anything we didn’t bitch about? It’s hard to remember things you donot do. Aint it?
We shared what… Dead mothers, our tumultuous pasts shrouded in the mist of hearsay and fright, the limbos of our algophilia from the past that we so feared, some shattered pieces of body and soul that we gathered over the years. (Yes I remember you scarred forehead you incorrigible bitch) and a common addiction to sadness. From you nasal behanchoods and my textual batterings we established a connection, an unsaid vow to try to hurt ourselves in hurting each other. Didn’t us. But in all time I never hated you. I could never love you the way I loved her. And how could I? Could you grab love in your hand and shake it yourway? But I never hated you. I didn’t hate you when you hated me, I didn’t hate you when you ran away. Yeah and I was hurt too because you were. For not being able to give one thing that you wanted.
But now I hate you.
Not because you are on a spree of fucking every asshole that you can; not because you cant ask some miserable little piece of shit to mind her own goddamn business; not because you let ‘people’ between us and judge us. I don’t hate you because you can be a massive whore.
I hate you now because you are too fucking ugly. Gosh you are too fucking ugly now.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

(These are Nameseeks):

Name us, Oh please Name us.
Categorize our bit too; devise a no-man-culture. For periods of 666 years and all their iterations, Our Loneliness is desperately lonely without our identity. Haunting recollections of roasted flesh, and a trace back through the endless connections of mementos, we saw in the future a past that was, perhaps, actually the past: the name of my name on my lips. As if we were our mothers, who disappeared. In these countless years of rumination, we hadn't had our shares of prophecies... Such is the curse of our disposition: 'Eli Eli Lama Sabachthani?’
Thus spake nameseek: Cry! Cry, let’s hear our tears. Each of us is the sad formation of every other. We are also our hip-hop bibliographies. We are the commas in your scriptures, the last imperfect residue of Hexaemeron, and the fallen leaves of Cabbala. We befuddle ourselves by looking in the mirror, looking at ourselves through mirrors in awe; all reflection belongs to us, but none is us.
So name us, please name us.

(These are Namesakes):

We know our names, our last names that resemble others’. But we were born blind, ruptured spine and hunchbacked. Still raw, still flawed, still needing the bearer of our last name—Ceteris paribus, at the receiving end of god’s ire, the god of lost pieces and shared memories. We see the Niles of fate upon our hands that vanish and reappear with the advent of each hour, making us someone else. Someone, with our last name.
What passeth here in this dim-lit stage (This Sanctuary we call The Empire of Mirrors) as infinitude of fiction is our pantophobia? Harlequins and Scaramouch manacled together for only one act, that one act that repeats itself to the degree where rapetition loses its meaning. Each face is a simulacrum of another, each simulacrum imitating its father and so on till the very beginning. We all are Adams. Frightened and a-mazed, and there is no Eve—only sons, fathers, shared memories and lost pieces.
And what screameth here is the echo of each previous act, and acts still to some, our vestiges spread over the fabric of eternity.
At times we yearn for the memory of faded features on our faces. And what a gut-wrenching yearning that is! These times we yearn for the yearning to last. How imperative it is for yearning to last. For with its demise, we cease to exist and become only reflections for those, who bear our name.

Saturday, July 1, 2006

The narrative about those 3000 miles of revulsion and impervious veil of darkness, the lack of light, and 72 hours of disgust and dirt about those shinning floors can be summarized in simple anamnesis of togetherness because you weren’t there. And the nights when smoke clouded the vision and I gasped for breath and a sight of the stars, I placed you there in midst of 1001 galaxies—cadre of my world, all those supernovae were envious of your glamour—and let your light shine in on me. In memories we approach the volatile definitions of embrace, of touch and magic.

Or another time, as melody in the air ("some dance to remember, some dance to forget"), spreading and stretching its boundaries like a multeity on the junction between the sun and the desert, you were there standing still in the centre and I danced around you in circles. And then you'd slither your way in my dream, tread upon the labyrinths of my mind with a certain certainty; and mock my vulnerability with a faked naiveté, ‘where’s the linear labyrinth you promised me?’

Or in the night, without the benefit of moonlight, the seething screams of Bach and Satie's gymnopedies, (I rub my naked feet on the floor) memories, melancholies and longings, smoke and perfumes, (I wipe the sweat trickling down my forehead, pay heed to the shouting children three floors below), a cacophony of all voices, all vices, juxtaposed over a fabric of familiar phrases, phases and recursive mazes.

And how does it feel at the hour of waking, left stranded, not far off from sleep, between space and time, with the fragrance of moist soil freshly kissed by summer rain and soporific cool winds, sweet muscle pains and heavy eyes, the hour when you stretch your arms in most real of all illusions only to find that you are alone.
Mundanities of the day and angst in the night when some illusions wither.
And I am left as a mere story teller, a persistent supple echo in my own mind, like the surreal flexible watches in Dali’s dreams, forming colours that suit, forming, with my own memories, graves and shrines.

I remember vividly, one of the eves spent in hell and a beautiful maiden on the cross. Her flesh was ripped by the pebbles thrown by religious birds, and her blood burnt the land it was spilling onto. I went up to her, touched her pale skin which melted and made a hole she whispered 'such are sins of flesh'. 'She wanted Him all for herself.' They told me, they told me that she wanted to love in flesh. 'What’s good for humans, aint good for the God'... That night I made her grave, the first of many without gravestone or iconic memorials. Except for the screams. But those preferred to stay stagnant and hover above—some mark shall be left for those who don't fear His wrath.

These pieces of wordsjust fill in the emptiness of these lines, waiting for a meaning, a consubstantiality, an identification. What means what, if anything, and why, and why not something else. Prior to the interpretation of a text and the answers it unfolds, there are the questions that anticipate answers. And writing becomes a unique heuristic voyage for the author ITself, as well as the varying readers. A random evolution of a judgment out of disparate and embryonic circumstances, semiotics and symbols and what they mean to me in multiple perspectives (particle, wave and field) , and formulation of a situational truth in my mind that I try to duplicate in the minds of a reader, in whatever structures I can come up with for an effective communication. But still my syllogism takes the benefits of an 'if', a root that maynot have actual existence and I revolve in circular mazes, fabricating a charted land of fabulous fables, under the illusion of that I may have conveyed something.

And for you kid, togetherness is a different structure, built on a stairway of connections. Each connection, like a single stair, ends for another for togetherness to be together. Such is the form of togetherness. And no connection can be renewed, every attempt at its revival renders it somewhat weaker, a multitude of cracks appear within the structure causing a collapse, a breaking apart. Remember? The pieces fit, but you watch them tumbled down. And if you over-emphasize a certain regime of signs as sensitivity or naiveté, like speech, you may escape togetherness for a different route altogether. Thus it is for want-of-being-together to build new connections before older expire.

And heart has its mysterious ways. The impenetrable heart that never thawed had yet to discover its own vicissitudes.A moment When all the rues and quest of rebellion were vanquished for a happiness that trickled down on my face, in gratitude of a miracle just born (such fragile beauty wrapped in clothing, smiling and breathing at intervals-intervals with a miniscule hiatus between them- hiatus which could stop my heart) and euphoria of a collage of emotions, of all forms of happiness and some forms of love.

In one of the borgesian labyrinths, I learned something: nothing in the world is devoid of tiny seeds of hell. That's why memory is volatile dear, anything and everything is capable of driving us insane if we are unable to forget it. Envisage a possibility of persistence of memory-- memories that we made together, at all times, wouldn't it be enough to drive us mad. This lack of persistence in minds and actions, these moderations and balance instruments (I wanto cry, and I wanto laugh. I wanto be touched and I wanto be left alone. I wanto be you, and I wanto be me) keep us from boiling in infernos of excess, whether it is a cheesecake or ravenous sex.
In this assemblage of forking times, one of the times, this favourable time that fate has granted us with to be particular, you exist and so do I, bounded to each other through a series of connections, defining the verisimilitude of each other; In another I'd write the same lines, but I'd be a ghost, an illusion. But in all of time’s innumerable permutations, in which I exist and so do you, I am grateful to you for existing.

In ephemeral dreams I dream of immortality and wake up trembling in fear. What good is immortality, where every act is an echo of others that preceded it in the past that never had a beginning, or the presage of others that in future will repeat it to a vertiginous degree until forever. Everything is, as if it is lost in a maze of indefatigable mirrors, nothing is preciously precarious. I cherish your face, your eyes that glow to see me, your inviting smile and you because one day it’ll all dissolve like it never existed.

In the cesspit of wastes from emotional deluge, I have lost many pieces of me and so have you, the pieces which we won’t ever find again. And this loss makes us precious, to each other, and to ourselves. Period.

Monday, June 5, 2006

Of Vengeance and Patience and Being a man

Walking along those labyrinthine alleys my friend we never had a true communication. And how could we, when that was supposed to be a black day. And you had to be back, you had so much still to do…
I couldn’t say much when you had buried your head between your knees in that reverent silence which tried so desperately to make you believe in the jabbering of that swollen shithole. You were trying to tame that vicissitude that needed no moonlight to rise, and I watched you wrestle with yourself and that tide.
And then there were your eyes that looked at me in awe.
I tried to read you through them; I tried to read me through you.
That gloomy residue of vengefulness saddened me dear, what vengeance, against whom and how? When caught in the crossfire of gods, the incidentals and coincidentals have no option but to scratch their wounds and bleed to death, or heal being indebted to the very sword that slashed them in two, or lit up a secret flame of vengeance in their hearts and wait for it to fade away. I wanted to see that little flame extinguish right then, in front of me, before in its dismay of unrequited revenge it blackens you heart. Ever noticed the relation of captive and his captor? The captive, no matter how vain he is, still owes his breaths to his captor.
And then I see in those eyes a fear of your capacity of endurance.
You’ll endure it.
I’ve seen men enduring it soaked in tears and enveloped in screams. I have endured it cocooned in silence. And that’s all I Know, One way or the other, everyone endures, and patience is just bullshit word that is coined because people needed something to say at funerals. It’s not an embrace of the fate dear, it’s supposed to be hugging your sorrows with jubilation, and with that madness you can’t be a son, and you can’t be a man.

We’ll meet again six months and we would laugh our hearts out. By then endurance will become a habit to you, and patience will never arrive.Till then I need to say goodbye…
I hope you understand why I dread at even the possibility of looking at shadows from the past.

Friday, April 28, 2006

In sultry mornings, when ghosts of the nights’ dreams recapitulate, I mourn the departure of the little waif lost in the wasteland of my heart.
I can still visualize him, cold and naked, shivering in the dark, and crying.
Better! He didn’t fit in. All rues aside, he didn’t fit in.
Sometimes we can come undone with whatever we did, sometimes we can’t. What say you love, which one of those times is it?
And when of questions, I ask too much? For me, yes. But I ask so. To cogitate of being with you, around you, or even in the imagination of your presence, Love.
And moments, made heavy with breaths, dissolved in thin air. I relive them to live. And how I live them, these images of your glistening skin, brushing against mine, and a mélange of desires? I tremble already, as I trembled, the beauty, love, passion. A collage of these memories when, for once, for once lunacy ruled over the rationale, have glued themselves to the fragments of my being. Do you know, Love, they obliterate mirrors, nullify the dissonance between me and my personage and let me be me, resurrected and naked in the warmth of your lap this time. And how could I mar them with a self-righteous frenzy—these memories that send tremors down my spirit in an orgasmic ecstasy? What an episode of rebirth unbeknownst to the flesh.
Talk to me, my inabilities, murmur in my ear; what to say, what to write, to make her hear, to make her understand? How to locate coherence, lucidity in this paroxysm of my restlessness, to establish the connection, a communication?
These words that I form mock my naiveté and I war with these, like that little child who is alone in the wilderness, cold and naked, and crying.
Achtung baby
The night falls and darkness cloaks the epidermis on my body until all the bulging veins will become invisible to the eye: your eye.
Hear me out, before the night falls and this being becomes another fragment of unceasing dark.
Talk to me; let the wind sway in ecstasy as it carries your sweet voice to me. Let it resound all around and whisper heart rending melodies to me. Sing for the love that has to trialed; sing for the pain that has to be endured and sing for the joy that will sojourn for ages as this moment crawls away.
Look at me, because this time, this instant, you can suffuse me in through your gaze. Let me in now and hide me in the infinite labyrinth of your mind, before the fall.
Breathe in, Inhale these words and let them weave the magic of transformation for the moment these words cease to exit, I cease to exist—exits as I do now, this moment. Only your transformation in relation to these words will remind you that this moment was real. I was real.
Say hello to goodbyes for a parting shall begin with a rendezvous.
Do not look away; even if it hurts let me disappear remembering your eyes in awe… for me.

Achtung baby, as I farewell.
In the seven ages, I shall have my vengeance. You see, the first of seven will answer the question of what, the second of why, the third of when, the fourth of how, the fifth of whom; the sixth will justify these questions with questions.
And then the seventh shall finally arrive.By then I’d have pondered upon the mysteries and their genesis; and upon the capacity of cognition to devour a soul piece by piece in the infinitude of its labyrinths. I’d have written the greatest eulogy of all. I’ll take your hand and we’ll ride on those fiery chariots with indefatigable cherubs, disguised as horses. We shall have our feast then. Under the smirking red sky, in a belladonic haze, we’ll paint our masterpiece— in blood.


Thursday, January 26, 2006

Some versions of Judas as seen by Borges and Nikos Kazantzakis

"Nils Runeberg proposes an opposite moving force: an extravagant and even limitless asceticism. The ascetic, for the greater glory of God, degrades and mortifies the flesh; Judas did the same with the spirit. He renounced honor, good, peace, the Kingdom of Heaven, as others, less heroically, renounced pleasure. With a terrible lucidity he premeditated his offense.
In adultery, there is usually tenderness and self-sacrifice; in murder, courage; in profanation and blasphemy, a certain satanic splendor. Judas elected those offenses unvisited by any virtues: abuse of confidence (John 12 :6) and informing. He labored with gigantic humility; he thought himself unworthy to be good. Paul has written: Whoever glorifieth himself, let him glorify himself in God (I Corinthians 1:31); Judas sought Hell because the felicity of the Lord sufficed him. He thought that happiness, like good, is a divine attribute and not to be usurped by men."

"The general argument is not complex, even if the conclusion is monstrous. God, argues Nils Runeberg, lowered himself to be a man for the redemption of the human race; it is reasonable to assume that the sacrifice offered by him was perfect, not invalidated or attenuated by any omission. To limit all that happened to the agony of one afternoon on the cross is blasphemous. To affirm that he was a man and that he was incapable of sin contains a contradiction; the attributes of impeccabilitas and of humanitas are not compatible. Kemnitz admits that the Redeemer could feel fatigue, cold, confusion, hunger and thirst; it is reasonable to admit that he could also sin and be damned. The famous text He will sprout like a root in a dry soil; there is not good mien to him, nor beauty; despised of men and the least of them; a man of sorrow, and experienced in heartbreaks (Isaiah 53:2-3) is for many people a forecast of the Crucified in the hour of his death; for some (as for instance, Hans Lassen Martensen), it is a refutation of the beauty which the vulgar consensus attributes to Christ; for Runeberg, it is a precise prophecy, not of one moment, but of all the atrocious future, in time and eternity, of the Word made flesh. God became a man completely, a man to the point of infamy, a man to the point of being reprehensible - all the way to the abyss. In order to save us, He could have chosen any of the destinies which together weave the uncertain web of history; He could have been Alexander, or Pythagoras, or Rurik, or Jesus; He chose an infamous destiny: He was Judas."

(Borges' Three Versions of Judas)

"Understand? Rabbi, you broke my heart. Sometimes I curse the day I ever met you. We held the world in our hands. Remember what you said to me? You took me in your arms, do you remember? And you begged me. "Betray me, betray me. I have to be crucified. I have to be resurrected to save the world.”I am the lamb," you said. "Death is the door. Judas, my brother, don't be afraid. Help me go through the door." And I loved you so much I went and betrayed you"

Judas to the ailing Christ in Scorcese's The Last Temptation of Christ, based on Nikos Kazantzakis's Novel.

So what say you? Reader.

Sunday, January 1, 2006

Selection from Kristeva's Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection

Compared to most contemporary French theorists that gave me most delicious of headaches trying to make a sense out of their text, Kristeva remains essentially simple, though thoroughly enjoyable... Her criticism being heavily inflected by Lacan and Derrida, still remains decipherable ( It remains a relative comparison ) without much head banging on the walls ( Which ofcourse made Derrida my masochistic love)... The casual readers of this blog, alien to her or Derrida, may find this a difficult read , but I guess still worth the pain. It, to date remains the only post for which I am looking forward for comments/interpretations of all who give it a read.

No Beast is there without glimmer of infinity,
No eye so vile nor abject that brushes not
Against lightning from on high, now tender, now fierce.
--Victor Hugo, La Légende des siècles


There looms, within abjection, one of those violent, dark revolts of being, directed against a threat that seems to emanate from an exorbitant outside or inside, ejected beyond the scope of the possible, the tolerable, the thinkable. It lies there, quite close, but it cannot be assimilated. It beseeches, worries, and fascinates desire, which, nevertheless, does not let itself be seduced. Apprehensive, desire turns aside; sickened, it rejects. A certainty protects it from the shameful - a certainty of which it is proud holds on to it. But simultaneously, just the same, that impetus, that spasm, that leap is drawn toward an elsewhere as tempting as it is condemned. Unflaggingly, like an inescapable boomerang, a vortex of summons and repulsion places the one haunted by it literally beside himself. When I am beset by abjection, the twisted braid of affects and thoughts I call by such a name does not have, properly speaking, a definable object. The abject is not an ob-ject facing me, which I name or imagine. Nor is it an ob-ject, an otherness ceaselessly fleeing in a systematic quest of desire. What is abject is not my correlative, which, providing me with someone or something else as support, would allow me to be more or less detached and autonomous. The abject has only one quality of the object - that of being opposed to the I. If the object, however, through its opposition, settles me within the fragile texture of a desire for meaning, which, as a matter of fact, makes me ceaselessly and infinitely homologous to it, what is abject, on the contrary, the jettisoned object, is racially excluded and draws me toward the place where meaning collapses. A Certain "ego" that merged with its master, a superego, has flatly driven it away. It lies outside, beyond the set, and does not seem to agree to the latter's rules of the game. And yet, from its place of banishment, the abject does not cease challenging its master. Without a sign (for him), it beseeches a discharge, a convulsion, a crying out. To each ego its object, to each superego its abject. It is not the white expanse or slack boredom of repression, not the translations and transformations of desire that wrench bodies, nights, and discourse; rather it is a brutish suffering that "I" puts up with, sublime and devastated, for "I" deposits it to the father's account: I endure it, for I imagine that such is the desire of the other. A massive and sudden emergence of uncanniness, which, familiar as it might have been in an opaque and forgotten life, now harries me as radically separate, loathsome. Not me. Not that. But not nothing, either. A "something" that I do not recognize as a thing. A weight of meaninglessness, about which there is nothing insignificant, and which crushes me. On the edge of non-existence and hallucination, of a reality that, if I acknowledge it annihilates me. There, abject and abjection are my safeguards. The primers of my culture.


Loathing an item of food, a piece of filth, waste, or dung. The spasms and vomiting that protect me. The repugnance, the retching that thrusts me to the side and turns me away from defilement, sewage, and muck. The shame of compromise, of being in the middle of treachery. The fascinated start that leads me toward and separates me from them. Food loathing is perhaps the most elementary and most archaic form of abjection. When the eyes see or the lips touch that skin on the surface of milk - harmless, thin as a sheet of cigarette paper, pitiful as a nail pairing - I experience a gagging sensation and, still farther down, spasms in the stomach, the belly; and all the organs shrivel up the body, provoke tears and bile, increase heartbeat, cause forehead and hands to perspire. Along with sight-clouding dizziness, nausea makes me balk at that milk cream, separates me from the mother and father who proffer it. "I" want none of that element, sign of their desire; "I" do not want to listen, "I" do not assimilate it, "I" expel it. But since the food is not an "other" for "me," who am only in their desire, I expel myself, I spit myself out, I abject myself within the same motion through which "I" claim to establish myself. That detail, perhaps an insignificant one, but one that they ferret out, emphasize, evaluate, that trifle turns me inside out, guts sprawling; it is thus that they see that "I" am in the process of becoming an other at the expense of my own death. During that course in which "I" become, I give birth to myself amid the violence of sobs, of vomit. Mute protest of the symptom, shattering violence of a convulsion that, to be sure, is inscribed in a symbolic system, but in which, without either wanting or being able to become integrated in order to answer to it, it reacts, it abreacts. It abjects. The corpse (or cadaver: cadere, to fall), that which has irremediably come a cropper, is cesspool, and death; it upsets even more violently the one who confronts it as fragile and fallacious chance. A would with blood and pus, or the sickly, acrid smell of sweat, of decay, does not signify death. In the presence of signified death - a flat encephalograph, for instance - I would understand, react, or accept. No, as in true theater, without makeup or masks, refuse and corpses show me what I permanently thrust aside in order to live. These body fluids, this defilement, this shit are what life withstands, hardly and with difficulty, on the part of death. There, I am at the border of my condition as a living being. My body extricates itself, as being alive, from that border. Such wastes drop so that I might live, until, from loss to loss, nothing remains in me and my entire body falls beyond the limit -- cadere, cadaver. If dung signifies the other side of the border, the place where I am not and which permits me to be, the corpse, the most sickening of wastes, is a border that has encroached upon everything. It is no longer I who expel. "I" is expelled. The border has become an object. How can I be without border? That elsewhere that I imagine beyond the present, or that I hallucinate so that I might, in a present time, speak to you, conceive of you - it is now here, jetted, abjected, into "my" world. Deprived of world, therefore, I fall in a faint. In that compelling, raw, insolent thing in the morgue's full sunlight, in that thing that no longer matches and therefore no longer signifies anything, I behold the breaking down of a world that has erased its borders: fainting away. The corpse, seen without God and outside of science, is the utmost of abjection. It is death infecting life. Abject. It is something rejected from which one does not part, from which one does not protect oneself as from an object. Imaginary uncanniness and real threat, it beckons to us and ends up engulfing us. It is thus not lack of cleanliness or health that causes abjection but what disturbs identity, system, order. What does not respect borders, positions, rules. The in-between, the ambiguous, the composite. The traitor, the liar, the criminal with a good conscience, the shameless rapist, the killer who claims he is a savior. . . . Any crime, because it draws attention to the fragility of the law, is abject, but premeditated crime, cunning murder, hypocritical revenge are even more so because they heighten the display of such fragility. He who denies morality is not abject, there can be grandeur in amorality and even in crime that flaunts its disrespect for the law - rebellious, liberating, and suicidal crime. Abjection, on the other hand, is immoral, sinister, scheming, and shady: a terror that dissembles, a hatred that smiles, a passion that uses the body for barter instead of inflaming it, a debtor who sets you up, a friend who stabs you. . . . In the dark halls of the museum that is now what remains of Auschwitz, I see a heap of children's shoes, or something like that, something I have already seen elsewhere, under a Christmas tree for instance, dolls I believe. The abjection of Nazi crime reaches its apex when death, which, in any case, kills me, interferes with what, in
my living universe, is supposed to save me from death: childhood, science, among other things.


If it be true that the abject simultaneously beseeches and pulverizes the subject, one can understand that it is experienced at the peak of its strength when that subject, weary of fruitless attempts to identify with something on the outside, finds the impossible within; when it finds that the impossible constitutes its very being, that it is one other than abject. The abjection of self would be the culminating form of that experience of the subject to which it is revealed that all its objects are based merely on the inaugural loss that laid the foundations of its own being. There is nothing like the abjection of self to show that all abjection is in fact recognition of the want on which any being, meaning, language, or desire is founded. One passes too quickly over this word, "want," and today psychoanalysts are finally taking into account only its more or less fetishized product, the "object of want." But if one imagines (and imagine one must, for it is the working of imagination whose foundations are being laid here) the experience of want itself as logically preliminary to being and object - to the being of the object - then one understands that abjection, and even more so abjection of self, is its only signified. Its signifier, then, is none but literature. Mystical Christendom turned this abjection of self into the ultimate proof of humility before God, witness Elizabeth of Hungary who "though a great princess, delighted in nothing so much as in abasing herself." The question remains as to the ordeal, a secular one this time, that abjection can constitute for someone who, in what is termed knowledge of castration, turning away from perverse dodges, presents himself with his own body and ego as the most precious non-objects; they are no longer seen in their own right but forfeited, abject. The termination of analysis can lead us there, as we shall see. Such are the pangs and delights of masochism. Essentially different from "uncanniness," more violent, too, abjection is elaborated through a failure to recognize its kin; nothing is familiar, not even the shadow of a memory. I imagine a child who has swallowed up his parents too soon, who frightens himself on that account, "all by himself," and, to save himself, rejects and throws up everything that is given to him - all gifts, all objects. He has, he could have, a sense of the abject. Even before things for him are -- hence before they are signifiable - he drives them out, dominated by drive as he is, and constitutes his own territory, edged by the abject. A sacred configuration. Fear cements his compound, conjoined to another world, thrown up, driven out, forfeited. What he has swallowed up instead of maternal love is an emptiness, or rather a maternal hatred without a word for the words of the father; that is what he tries to cleanse himself of, tirelessly. What solace does he come upon within such loathing? Perhaps a father, existing but unsettled, loving but unsteady, merely an apparition but an apparition that remains. Without him the holy brat would probably have no sense of the sacred; a blank subject, he would remain, discomfited, at the dump for non-objects that are always forfeited, from which, on the contrary, fortified by abjection, he tries to extricate himself. For he is not mad, he through whom the abject exists. Out of the daze that has petrified him before the untouchable, impossible, absent body of the mother, a daze that has cut off his impulses from their objects, that is, from their representations, out of such daze he causes, along with loathing, one word to crop up - fear. The phobic has no other object than the abject. But that word, "fear" - a fluid haze, an elusive clamminess - no sooner has it cropped up than it shades off like a mirage and permeates all words of the language with nonexistence, with a hallucinatory ghostly glimmer. Thus, fear having been bracketed, discourse will seem tenable only if it ceaselessly confront that otherness, a burden both repellent and repelled, a deep well of
memory that is unapproachable and intimate: the abject.


Put another way, it means that there are lives not sustained by desire, as desire is always for objects. Such lives are based on exclusion. They are clearly distinguishable from those understood as neurotic or psychotic, articulated by negation and in modalities, transgression, denial, and repudiation. Their dynamics challenges the theory of the unconscious, seeing that the latter is dependent upon a dialectic of negativity. The theory of the unconscious, as is well know, presupposes a repression of contents (affects and presentations) that, thereby, do not have access to consciousness but effect within the subject modifications, either of speech (parapraxes, etc.), or of the body (symptoms), or both (hallucinations, etc.). As correlative to the notion of repression, Freud put forward that of denial as a means of figuring out neurosis, that of rejection (repudiation) as a means of situating psychosis. The asymmetry of the two repressions becomes more marked owing to denial's bearing on the object whereas repudiation affects desire itself (Lacan, in perfect keeping with Freud's thought, interprets that as "repudiation of the Name of the Father"). Yet, facing the ab-ject and more specifically phobia and the splitting of the ego (a point I shall return to), one migt ask if those articulations of negativity germane to the unconscious (inherited by Freud from philosophy and psychology) have not become inoperative. The "unconscious" contents remain here excluded but in strange fashion: not radically enough to allow for a secure differentiation between subject and object, and yet clearly enough for a defensive position to be established - one that implies a refusal but also a sublimating elaboration. As if the fundamental opposition were between I and Other or, in more archaic fashion, between Inside and Outside. As if such an opposition subsumed the one between Conscious and Unconscious, elaborated on the basis of neuroses. Owing to the ambiguous opposition I/Other, Inside/Outside - an opposition that is vigorous but pervious, violent but uncertain - there are contents, "normally" unconscious in neurotics, that become explicit if not conscious in "borderline" patients' speeches and behavior. Such contents are often openly manifested through symbolic practices, without by the same token being integrated into the judging consciousness of those particular subjects. Since they make the conscious/unconscious distinction irrelevant, borderline subjects and their speech constitute propitious ground for a sublimating discourse ("aesthetic" or "mystical" etc.), rather than a scientific or rationalist one.


The one by whom the abject exists is thus a deject who places (himself), separates (himself), situates (himself), and therefore strays instead of getting his bearings, desiring, belonging, or refusing. Situationist in a sense, and not without laughter --since laughing is a way of placing or displacing abjection. Necessarily dichotomous, somewhat Manichaean, he divides,, excludes, and without, properly speaking, wishing to know his abjections is not at all unaware of them. Often, moreover, he includes himself among them, thus casting within himself the scalpel that carries out his separations. Instead of sounding himself as to his "being," he does so concerning his place: "Where am I?" instead of "Who am I?" For the space that engrosses the deject, the excluded, is never one, nor homogeneous, nor totalizable, but essentially divisible, foldable, and catastrophic. A deviser of territories, languages, works, the deject never stops demarcating his universe whose fluid confines - for they are constituted of a non-object, the abject - constantly question his solidity and impel him to start afresh. A tireless builder, the deject is in short a stray. He is on a journey, during the night, the end of which keeps receding. He has a sense of the danger, of the loss that the pseudo-object attracting him represents for him, but he cannot help taking the risk at the very moment he sets himself apart. And the more he strays, the more he is saved.


For it is out of such straying on excluded ground that he draws his jouissance. The abject from which he does not cease separating is for him, in short, a land of oblivion that is constantly remembered. Once upon blotted-out time, the abject must have been a magnetized pole of covetousness. But the ashes of oblivion now serve as a screen and reflect aversion, repugnance. The clean and proper (in the sense of incorporated and incorporable) becomes filthy, the sought-after turns into the banished, fascination into shame. Then, forgotten time crops up suddenly and condenses into a flash of lightning an operation that, if it were thought out, would involve bringing together the two opposite terms but, on account of that flash, is discharged like thunder. The time of abjection is double: a time of oblivion and thunder, of veiled infinity and the moment when revelation bursts forth.