The Tower of Babylon

Kula Babilonska

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bakho
As the title says it all. So I turn to Livejournal after so much time :D

This quote came to mind while doing business with the International Relations Office at the University of Zagreb. Needless to say, I sent a sardonic hate mail demanding some explanations. To all four of their email addresses. Getting ready to send them a snail-mail appeal and to inflict myself personally on them. And their bosses. Without further ado, Quellcrist Falconer:

"The personal, as everyone's so fucking fond of saying, is political. So if some idiot politician, some power player, tries to execute policies that harm you or those you care about, TAKE IT PERSONALLY. Get angry. The Machinery of Justice will not serve you here – it is slow and cold, and it is theirs, hardware and soft-. Only the little people suffer at the hands of Justice; the creatures of power slide from under it with a wink and a grin. If you want justice, you will have to claw it from them. Make it PERSONAL. Do as much damage as you can. GET YOUR MESSAGE ACROSS. That way, you stand a better chance of being taken seriously next time. Of being considered dangerous. And make no mistake about this: being taken seriously, being considered dangerous makes the difference, the ONLY difference in their eyes, between players and little people. Players they will make deals with. Little people they liquidate. And time and again they cream your liquidation, your displacement, your torture and brutal execution with the ultimate insult that it's just business, it's politics, it's the way of the world, it's a tough life and that IT'S NOTHING PERSONAL. Well, fuck them. Make it personal.

    * Things I Should Have Learnt by Now, Volume II"
 
Qeullcrist Falconer, the Takeshi Kovacs series by Richard K. Morgan

Kiklop - Cyclopes
bakho

 A što je sutra? (Glupan koji bi me čuo, odgovorio bi - četvrtak). Sutra - je vremenska granica između dva budna stanja, između dva znanja o postojanju. Satovi ne određuju sutra. Sutra se samo određuje posjetom Enki1, željenim susretom s Vivijanom2, noću u Dajdamu3, neizvjesnom, potištenom noći u očekivanju prekosutrašnjeg sutra. Večer mi se ljupko smiješi i obećava lijep dan - sutrašnji. Meteorološko sutra: i dalje je lijepo i toplo vrijeme (Zima odgađa dolazak, produljuje nam preljubazno ovu posljednju jesen). Pedagoško sutra: drago dijete, moraš misliti na sutra. Političko sutra: Staljin namignuo Hitleru - harašo?4 - Hitler odmignuo - natürlich5. Historijsko sutra: i kad ljudi otkriše božansku moć materije, ona zavlada njima i pomuti im pamet, uništi život, a onda proguta i samu sebe i pretvori se u Silu koja uništi sve zakone i nema više ni jedne svijesti koja bi je u ime Hegela mogla proglasiti glupom. Estetsko sutra: kad je čovjek otkrio rugobu materije, umjetnici postadoše obrtnici ružnog. Geografsko sutra: a ovaj ogromni poluotok koji ovdje vidite, zvao se Europa. Ovdje je živio dvonožac koji je sastavljao neke radnje koje su oni nazivali tragedijama, a zvao se Šekspir. Kako se to ime pisalo više se ne zna, jer je ostalo zapisano u nekom pismu koje danas nazivamo ruskim pismom. Filozofsko sutra: neće biti sutra. Sila će ispiti sve vrijeme i progutati sav prostor i utonut će se i zijevnuti mamurno, kao pijanica nakon lude terevenke u kojoj je sve sve oko sebe porazbijao, i pitat će gdje su stvari, gdje su ljudi? i osjetit će oko sebe strahovitu samoću i prazninu. I pobljuvat će se od očaja. I nastat će iz bljuvotina Novi Svijet u kome će se izleći senzibilni crvi koji će plaziti po blatu i slaviti njegovu ljepotu. I vjerovat će da ih je stvorio Veliki Crv na svoju sliku i priliku i da On obuhvaća cijeli svijet svojom duljinom, a ta je tako beskrajna da je njima neshvatljiva. Jer oni su mali crvi ograničene duljine, premda je svaki za sebe uvjeren da je dulji od svih ostalih. I tako će nastati uvjerenje o nejednakosti među njima. I jedna će manjina uspjeti uvjeriti većinu kako su oni doista dulji i da su zbog toga sposobniji da shvate i duljinu Velikog Crva. I postat će tumači i propovjednici, a zatim i vladari nad svojom istodužinskom braćom crvima. I bušit će sebi raskošne crvotočine na blatnim uzvisinama odakle je ljepši pogled na blatne predjele i manja opasnost od voda i poplava, a i manja naseljenost. I gledat će s prezirom na crve u dolinama. Onda će se zbog uzvisina zavaditi. Svaki će htjeti da ima uzvisinu onog drugog - činit će mu se ljepšom i udobnijom - i govorit će malim crvima u dolinama: tamo oni drugi izdali su Crva Velikog! Propovijedaju da on i nema tijela nikakva već da je i sama Duljina Beskrajna. Čista Protežnost. Dirati u neki od atributa Njegova postojanja, a tjelesno postojanje jest atribut najbitniji, to je prvi korak u nevjerovanje i gotova izdaja. I zato se pozivaju vjerni Crvu Velikom u borbu protiv nevjernika. I tako će planuti rat strahoviti među crvima i trajat će do jedne druge vječnosti. A kada i ta vječnost prođe, kad crvi sami sebe pojedu u svojim grobovima...

I uđe tako crv Melkior u crvotočinu koja se zvaše Dajdam.
Kiklop, Ranko Marinković, str. 161
 
 
1 - Melkirova ljubavnica
2 - Melkiorova ljubav (žena za kojom pati tijekom romana)
3 - boemski kafić u kojem se nalazi Melkiorovo društvo
4 - (rus.) dobro, u redu
5 - (njem.) naravno
 

Ti Marinkovićevi crvi smo mi. Kiklop je roman o paničnom strahu od novačenja tijekom Drugog svjetskog rata jednog doktora filozofije koji radi kao novinski kazališni kritičar, Melkiora. Melkior cijeli birokratski aparat države percipira kao ogromno kanibalsko ustrojstvo koje se hrani nedužnim ljudima za svoje ciljeve, ubija ih ili u najboljem slučaju izbacuje nakon što ih je dobro prožvakalo - u Melkiorovu slučaju, to je strah od toga da ga se ne unovači da se bori u ratu s kojim nema veze, za vlast s kojom nema veze i za ciljeve nad kojima nema utjecaja. Ali zanimljivo je, da svojim potpuno apsurdnim slikama Marinković nudi budalastu alegoriju cijelog društva kraja dvadesetog stoljeća, a posebice našeg društva danas. Kao i sve one stotine drugih intelektualaca prošlog i ovog stoljeća, Marinković je primjetio da je nešto trulo u državi Danskoj. No, za razliku od mnogih 'ozbiljnih' kritičara, Marinković ovu krizu društva, morala, ljudske svijesti dovodi do apsurda ismijavanjem i nevjerojatnom naracijom. No, još uvijek, ono što Marinković ne nudi, to je alternativa. Kao da su svi ti pametni ljudi primijetili kako svijet ne funkcionira kako valja, ali ne znaju što bi učinili. Na tragu Marinkovićeve priče s crvima, fali nam onaj Hegel koji će reći kako je sve to glupo. Nema nikoga tko bi ponudio alternativu, jer su svi Hegeli ostali u prošlim vremenima.

No, alegorija Velikog Crva je jako moćna. Ako ste čitajući je, pomislili kako je apsolutno idiotna i smiješna, nepotrebna i apsurdna, glupava i dječja, pretjerana i napasna - što onda to govori o našim državama, vladama, vojskama, policijama, diplomatima, sveučilištima, ljudima koji svaki dan idu na posao i s posla štujući svojeg Velikog Crva i čineći najgore moguće stvari u ime svog glupavog apsurda (novca, boga, moći, patriotizma, domoljublja, demokracije, anarhizma, vjere <ubacite drugog Velikog Crva>).

***

And what is tomorrow? (The fool who might hear me will answer - Thursday). Tomorrow - is the time barrier between two states of being awake, between two understandings of existence. Clocks do not define tomorrow. Tomorrow is only defined by visiting Enka1, by the much wanted encounter with Vivian2, by a night in Dajdam3, by the unsure, disheartened night in the expectation of the tomorrow of the day after tomorrow. The evening is smiling at me and promises a nice day - the tomorrow. The meteorological tomorrow: the weather will remain nice and warm (the Winter is postponing its arrival, providing us with an extension of this too gracious but last autumn). The pedagogical tomorrow: dear child, you have to think of tomorrow. The political tomorrow: Stalin winked at Hitler - harasho?4 - Hitler winked back - natürlich5. The historical tomorrow: and when the people discovered the divine power of matter, it ruled over them and addled their minds, destroyed their lives, and then it swallowed itself and transformed itself into a Force which destroyed all laws and there was no other consciousness left which could proclaim it stupid in the name of Hegel. The aesthetic tomorrow: when man had discovered the ugliness of matter, artists became the craftsmen of ugly. The geographical tomorrow: and this huge peninsula which you can see here, it used to be called Europe. Here lived a bipedal who put together some stories which they called tragedies, and his name was Shakespeare. The real spelling of his name is unknown because we only found it written in a script we call Russian today. Philosophical tomorrow: there will be no tomorrow. The Force will drink all time and swallow all space and sink into itself and yawn groggily, like a drunkard after a long night out during which he trashed everything around himself, and it'll ask where are the things, where are the people? and it will feel surrounding it a horrid loneliness and emptiness. And it'll vomit out of despair. And out of the vomit a New World will arise in which some sensible worms will hatch who will crawl over mud and glorify its beauty. And they will believe that they were made by a Great Worm in his image and stature and that He encompasses the whole world with his length, which is so endless that they do not understand it. Because they are small worms of limited length, despite each of them believing he is longer than all the others. And so a belief will arise about inequality among them. And one minority will manage to persuade the majority that they are indeed longer and that that makes them more capable of understanding the length of the Great Worm. And they will become interpreters and preachers, and then rulers over their brother-worms of the same length. And they will drill magnificent wormholes for themselves in the muddy highlands from which one has a better view over the muddy expanses and there is less danger of water and flooding, and it is less crowded. And they will look with disdain at the worms in the valleys. Then they will fight over the highlands. Each will want the highland of another - it will seem nicer and cozier - and he will speak to the small worms in the valleys: those others there have betrayed our Worm the Great! They preach that he has no body whatsoever, and even that the Length is Endless. Pure Extensibility. To touch an attribute of His existence, and the physical existence is the most important attribute of all, that is the first step in disbelief and almost a treason. And so they call the believers of the Great Worm to fight the infidels. And so a frightening war will be waged among the worms and it will last until some other eternity. And when even that eternity passes, when the worms eat themselves in their graves...

And so the worm Melkior entered a wormhole which was called Dajdam.
Cyclopes, Ranko Marinković, p. 161 (translation by me)

1 - Melkior's mistress
2 - Melkior's love (the woman he pines for in the novel)
3 - a bohemian cafe which is frequented by Melkior's friends
4 - Russian for alright
5 - German for of course

 
We are those Marinković's worms. The Cyclopes is a novel about the panicked fear from drafting during WWII felt by a PhD of philosophy who works as a newspaper theater critic, Melkior. Melkior sees the whole bureaucratic machine of the state as a huge cannibalistic construct which feeds on innocent people to reach its goals, kills them or in the best case scenario spits them out after a thorough chewing - in Melkior's case, this is the fear of being drafted to fight in a war he has nothing to do with, for a government to which he has no obligations and for the goals over which he has no influence. But the interesting thing is, that with his completely absurd words Marinković offers a foolish allegory of the whole 20th century society, and especially of our society today. Like all those hundreds of intellectuals from the last century and all of those from this century, Marinković noticed that something is rotten in the state of Denmark. But what differentiates him from all the 'serious' critics is that Marinković leads this crisis of society, morality, humanity to the absurd with his joking manner and astonishing narration. But still, that what Marinković does not offer is an alternative. As if all the smart people noticed that the world doesn't really work as it is, but they don't know what to do. In the manner of Marinković's worm story, we miss the Hegel who will say everything is stupid. There is nobody to offer an alternative, because all the Hegels were left in the past.

But the Great Worm allegory is very powerful. If you, while reading it, thought that it is absolutely idiotic and hilarious, unneeded and absurd, idiotic and childish, exaggerated and invasive - what does that say about our states, governments, militaries, polices, diplomats, universities, people who go to work every day and come back home while all the while worshiping their own kind of a Great worm and doing the most horrible things in the name of some senseless absurd (money, god, power, patriotism, democracy, anarchism, religion <insert some other Great Worm>). 

Les Souvenirs Perdus
bakho
Hey all. Haven't posted for a long time. My Internet time is mostly dominated by Eclipse Phase nowadays. I've written a short story set in the setting yesterday night. I like to think it's about sophisticated psychosurgery meeting political activism - it's an unique story made possible by the awesomness of EP. No repost in Croatian, since the story is written in English.

Hope you like it.

Playing with words - Igrati se riječima
bakho
Liu Kang Shang Tsung Kung Lao Shao Khan Kung Lao Mao Tse-tung ima bungalov Liu Kang Shang Tsung čunga lunga achtung čang šlang ying yang pazi kume bumerang Stephen King Stephen Kong Mongolija Vietcong King Kong King Double I'm the King of Bongo Bong Hong Kong ping pong ringišpil Eurosong ding dong Beijing Singapur bling bling Sing Sing shaolin naopako niloash Kung Pao Chio chips Mio Mao ipsilon Kung Lao Čazmatrans Manu Chao Wu-Tang Nefertiti bang bang Gotham City kotangens cile mile oš' neš' Mile Kekin Macintosh kukuriku šuriken uku lele Bukurešt kuku lele Chao Bao cile mile vamo tamo tutti frutti Coco Jambo John Rambo Bangladeš...


A Kundera je car - And Kundera is awesome
bakho
 Reading Kundera's essays on the nature of novels. The associations in the human mind are fascinating - at the slightest provocations, whole worlds can seep into your inner being with you barely noticing it happen until it's done. And people wonder how whole ideas dominate and rule human lives?


 
 
 
 
 Čitam Kunderine eseje o prirodi romana. Asocijacije u ljudskom umu su fascinantne - na najmanji podbod, cijeli svijetovi procure u tvoju unutrašnjost a da ti jedva primijetiš što se dogodilo prije nego je sve gotovo. A ljudi se čude kako cijele ideje mogu dominirati i vladati ljudskim životima?

 

Tram Drizzle - Bljuzga u tramu
bakho
 Sjedim u tramvaju i vozim se doma s posla navečer. Kraj mene sjede dvije djevojke, jedna od njih s dečkom. Raspravljaju o tome da li će se vidjeti sutra. I kaže prva drugoj: "Mislim, vidjet ćemo se 80% sutra. Od sto." Što reći? Srednjoškolska matematiko, o što si nam učinila svima?

***

I'm sitting in a tram and taking a ride home from work in the evening. Two girls sit next to me, one of them with her boyfriend. They're making plans about meeting tomorrow, and one of them says to the other one: "Like, there's 80% chance we'll see each other tomorrow. 80% of a hundred." What to say? High school mathematics, what hath you done to us all?
Tags:

Higijena - Hygiene
bakho
Pitanje intelektualizma je uvijek na kraju dana pitanje higijene. U mom slučaju, to je pitanje one već gotovo patološke krajnosti u kojoj samo spominjanje sintagme pretenciozna zvuka poput 'pitanja intelektualizma' u mnogima izaziva gotovo epileptičko kolutanje očima, kao znak potpune iziritiranosti i buđenja baš tog higijenskog (trebao bi nadopuniti i reći mentalno higijenskog) zgađenog ali metaforičkog, pseudointelektualno motiviranog, osjeta bljuvotine u njihovoj platonski čistoj duši pameti. Ako do sada niste odustali od čitanja, a pojavio se taj apstraktni osjet, nadam se da vas je baš taj osjet natjerao na divljačko duševno povraćanje koje želi izbaciti iz svog sistema svu tu maloprije napisanu pretencioznu napuhanost.

To je, dragi moji, mentalna higijena.

No, da nastavim u tom revijalnom tonu i na trenutak se vratim prije spomenutom pitanju koje je i potaknulo higijeničara, onog mentalnog, u vama. Tko je intelektualac? Prije tristo, petsto godina je bilo (možda) nešto lakše reći - to je onaj čovjek koji je dovoljno lud i posjeduje vremena na pretek da iscrpi znanja europocentrične civilizacije za svog vijeka. Bio je takozvani 'renesansni čovjek' (uvijek mi se sviđao taj naziv, tako puno baš tog intelektualnog snobizma iz uvodnih rečenica, kada doslovno prevedete naziv u 'ponovno rođen čovjek' na sliku i priliku civilizacijskoga mjerila pameti). No danas? Kad su sve discipline uma doživjele podivljali GMO rast u visinu i širinu, ali još značajnije, kada su pametnjakovići dekonstruirali ne samo 'znanje', 'pamet', 'obrazovanost', 'kulturu', pa 'jezik' i na kraju čak i 'smisao'? Tko je sad intelektualac? Moj zaključak (čovjek ima višak vremena kada radi posao koji ja radim, pa naglo dobiva sposobnost buđenja onog davno spomenutog higijenskog refleksa koji se manifestira cijelim traktatima o pitanjima koja si sam postavljam), moj je zaključak da je 'intelektualac' (jednako tako kao i onaj tričavi 'smisao' ili 'jezik') prestao biti apsolutna kategorija i postao razlika. Biti intelektualac je pitanje nivoa (sad već vidim ljude koji čitaju kako pripremaju vile da nataknu na svoju pravednost prokletog snoba - no dopustite da objasnim). Svi na nekoj razini prepoznajemo osobinu intelektualiziranja (zlobni higijeničari bi rekli bljezgarenja) - ta osobina nije dovoljan, ali je nužan, simptom za dijagnozu 'intelektualca'. Tu na scenu stupa postmoderna ajnštajština - intelektualca prepoznajemo sa referentnom točkom razlike od sebe. Onaj tko je sposoban za nama novo, živo, fascinantno, logično, renesansno ako dopuštate, intelektualiziranje, tko je pročitao više knjiga, tko citira književnike, filozofe, znanstvenike, primitivce za koje nikada nismo čuli ili čak onaj koji citira ljude koji su posvetili svoj intelektualni elan disciplinama za koje nikad nismo čuli - taj čovjek je intelektualac. Osoba koja je na nekom našem individualnom, fenomenološkom, kontinuumu intelektualniji od nas samih je za nas intelektualac. Onaj koji je na tom kontinuumu niže to nije - ako nema pretenzija prema intelektualnom onda je tek 'običan čovjek' (zli jezici bi rekli malograđanin). Ako ima takvu nesretnu tendenciju, on je pseudointelektualac prema našem shvaćanju - lažnjak, pretendent, šarlatan, prodavač magle.  Što je s onim koji su na našoj razini, koje procijenimo otprilike jednakima nama samima na tom kontinuumu? Tu se, psihologijski rečeno, upliće varijabla samokritičnosti. Samokritična osoba će rijetko kada za sebe samu u apsolutu reći da je intelektualac(kinja), pa shodno jednostavnom silogizmu, ni osoba jednaka toj samokritičnoj nije intelektualac(kinja). Oni manje obdareni kršćanskom skromnošću će u toj osobi (onoj na istoj razini) prepoznati sestru (brata) u kalu ljudske gluposti, tu zvijezdu vodilju čovječanstva, neaktualiziranog Sartrea, Nietzschea, George Sand.

Ovaj osjet za tu razliku se ukratko može opisati i prije spomenutom mentalnom higijenom. Intelektualac je onaj koji je kritičniji od mene samoga u tome koje ideje pripušta u svoj um, u žargonu antivirusnih programa, onaj koji ima jači firewall za glupost.

Motiv za ovaj tekst (osim mentalnog besposličarenja na poslu, gdje je nastao) je Claude Simon. Pisac koji piše roman u kojem je jedan od likova nitko manje nego George Orwell glavom (u romanu misteriozni, ali pomalo tupasti O.). I taj Simon piše roman kako bi izrugao autobiografski roman samog Orwella o njegovu iskustvu u španjolskom građanskom ratu - doslovno, jedan pisac (intelektualac) baca rukavicu u lice drugom (jer vjerojatno mnogi od nas smatraju Orwellovo štivo intelektualnim). na način da otprilike kaže:

"Ne, dragi moj, ti uopće ne znaš napisati roman o SVOJEM iskustvu; morat ću ti ja pokazati kako se to radi."

Valjda je Simon na kraju dana prije nego što je započeo pisati tu čestristotinjak stranica dugačku rukavicu zaključio:

"Ipak sam ja veći higijeničar od tebe, dragi O."

***

The question of intellectualism is usually at the end of the day a question of hygiene. In my case, it's the question of the almost pathological exaggeration in which the mere mention of a pretentious sounding expression like 'the question of intellectualism' in many a person evokes something similar to an epileptic eye roll, as a sign of utter annoyance and the awakening of that hygienic (I should elaborate by saying mentally hygienic), disgusted but metaphoric, pseudointellectually motivated feeling of nausea in their platonic intelligent soul. If you still haven't given up on reading on, and that abstract feeling occurred, I hope that precisely that feeling made you wildly yet mentally vomit to disgorge from your system all the before written pretentious turgescence.

That, my dearest readers, is mental hygiene.

To continue in the pompous tone and to return for a moment to the aforementioned question which provoked the hygienist, the mental one, in you. Who is an intellectual? Three hundred, five hundred years ago it was (maybe) easier to say - that was the man who was insane enough and had enough time to crunch through the europocentric civilizational knowledges of his time. He was the so called 'renaissance man' (I always liked that expression, so full of the intellectual snobbery akin to the one used in the first sentences of this post, especially when you translate the expression into 'the reborn man', reborn to the image and stature of our civilizational measure of erudition). But today? When all the disciplines of the mind went through a bewildered GMO growth into height and breadth, but more importantly, today when the smart-asses have deconstructed not only 'knowledge', 'smarts', 'education', 'culture', even 'language' and in the end even 'meaning'? Who is an intellectual now? My conclusion (you have spare time when you do the job I do, so you suddenly develop the ability to awaken the hygienist reflex I mentioned before, which manifests itself with whole tractates about questions I asked myself), my conclusion is that an 'intellectual' (like the paltry 'meaning' or 'language') stopped being an absolute category and became a difference. To be an intellectual is a question of level (I can already see the people reading this preparing their pitchforks to stab the damned snob to death - but let me explain first). All of us, on some level, recognize the trait of intellectualizing (evil hygienists would say talking nonsense) - that trait isn't an sufficient, but it is a necessary, symptom to diagnose an 'intellectual'. Here you get the postmodern einstentism - an intellectual is recognized only when compared to the referential point; ourselves. He's the one who's capable for something new to us, something lively, fascinating, logical, renaissance if you will, intellectualizing, the one who read more books than you, who cites writers, philosophers, scientists, primitivists  you not only never heard of, but they've dedicated their intellectual energy to whole disciplines unheard to you - that person is an intellectual to us. The person who is on our individual, phenomenological, continuum of some kind more intellectual than ourselves. The one who's lower on that continuum isn't one - if (s)he doesn't have interests in something intellectual (s)he is an 'ordinary person' (evil tongues would say (s)he is a provincial). If, on the other hand, (s)he has that unfortunate interest, (s)he is a pseudo-intellectual to our understanding - a false, wannabe, charlatan, con artiste. What's with the people who we judge are on our level, are pretty close to our place at our continuum? Here, in psychological terms, you get an interweaving variable of self-criticism. A self-critical person will rarely see herself in an absolute and say she is an intellectual, and following a simple syllogism, then a person similar to the self-critical one isn't an intellectual either. The ones less endowed with Christian humility will recognize in that person (the one on the same level)  their sister (brother) in the mud of human stupidity, the guiding star of humanity, the yet not actualized Sartre, Nietzsche, George Sand.

This faculty for that difference can also be described with the mental hygiene I mentioned in the first paragraph. An intellectual is somebody more critical than me in the ideas he lets in his mind, in the jargon of antivirus programs, he's the person with a stronger firewall for stupidity.

The motive for this text (alongside the mental boredom at work, where it came into being) was Claude Simon. He's a writer who wrote a novel in which one of the characters is nobody else but George Orwell (appearing in the novel as the mysterious, but slightly daft O.). And so that Simon person writes a novel to mock the autobiographical novel written by Orwell about his experiences in the Spanish civil war - literally one writer (intellectual) throwing a glove into the face of another (because I presume that many of us find Orwell's work intellectual), in a way which basically says:

"No, my dear, you don't really know how to write a novel about YOUR experiences; I'll have to show you how it's done."

What Simon probably concluded a day before starting to write that some four hundred pages long glove was:

"In the end, I'm a more acute hygienist than you, dear O."

Rijeka
bakho
 I came home from Rijeka. It was an awesome weekend. People you love but don't have a chance to see other than for a couple of days every year, long nights out, sitting at Rijeka's city squares and parks and feeling the laidbackness of that awesome city. I came to the conclusion that Rijeka is everything that Zagreb should be - urban, tolerant, free spirited, easygoing, polite; it's everything a cool urban person is. And it's a city. Needless to say, I'm in love. We did everything from discussing politics and economics, laughing for hours to the stupidest things in the world, making plans, talking about psychology, life...whatnot. The best part is that with these things, you get the chance to deepen your relationship with some people you've met at the congress but there, with the hundreds of people you talk to every day, you didn't have the chance to talk or bond with the people you're really interested in. And now I had that chance. Life has a new color overlaying reality when you share a couple of days with such positive feedback and general feeling. Thanks to my friends!

***

Vratio sam se iz Rijeke. Bio je to izvrstan vikend. Ljudi koje voliš ali ne možeš s njima provesti više od par dana svake godine, duge noći vani, sjedenje na riječkim trgovima i parkovima i uronjenost u opuštenost tog predivnog grada. Došao sam do zaključka da je  Rijeka sve što bi Zagreb trebao biti - urbana, tolerantna, slobodoumna, opuštena, pristojna; sve ono što je cool urbana osoba. A ona je grad. Ne moram ni reći, ali zaljubio sam se. Radili smo sve od rasprave o politici i ekonomiji, smijanja satima zbog najglupljih stvari na svijetu, kovanja planova, razgovarali o psihologiji, životima...ma svemu. Najbolje stvar je da kod ovakvih susreta dobiješ priliku za produbljivanje odnosa sa nekim ljudima koje si upoznao na kongresu ali tamo, sa stotinama ljudi sa kojima pričaš svaki dan, nisi imao priliku toliko razgovarati i vezati se s ljudima za koje si zaista zainteresiran. A sada sam imao tu priliku. Život ima novu boju navučenu preko stvarnosti kada podijeliš par dana sa takvim pozitivnom spregom i općenitim osjećajem. Zahvaljujući mojim prijateljima.
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(no subject)
bakho
 Daft Punk is playing at my house. At my house.
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Dune essay [Part III] - Esej o Dini [III Dio]
bakho
Dune essay part I

Dune essay part II

3. Jung

It could be said that Dune, at least on some level, represents a manifestation and a literature occurrence of Jung's constructs in science fiction especially since Jung's theories had much influence on popular culture in the 70s and 60s and that's precisely the time period when Dune was being written. The whole Bene Gesserit Order represents a structured attempt to manipulate religious and other societal symbols, and through that, a manipulation of the collective unconscious.

Considering that, it's no wonder that the pivotal idea of Jung that constantly reappears through the Dune saga is the collective unconsciousness. According to Jung, the collective unconscious is a store of latent memories inherited from our ancestors, a history that not only includes the racial history of humankind but also our prehuman and animal ancestry (Mlačić, 2010). While in Jung's theories the collective unconsciousness represents the human predisposition toward their environment and the name (unconscious) implies that that memory can't be accessed by our conscious attempts, Herbert takes it a step further. If the collective unconsciousness is the result of  common brain structure humans share (Mlačić, 2010), then it's a result of evolution - and if we tie into that the intraneural hypothesis of memory which was mentioned in the previous chapter, we get reservoirs of racial memory which are carried by all of us and transmitted to our progeny by reproduction. The only trick is - nobody can access them.

The border between the collective unconsciousness and the collective consciousness, in Herbert's world, is broken by the spice - melange from Arrakis. Ingesting poisonous amounts of this drug, the members of the Bene Gesserit experience a qualitative change of consciousness which softens the borders between the collective unconsciousness and the ego - which basically gives them access to the racial memories. But there's a problem in this process. Only women can access this memory and at that, they can only access the female line of the racial memory. This is yet one more of the subtle finessing of Jung's personality theory in Herbert's novel - only the female side of the collective unconsciousness can be moved to consciousness by melange which could signify the unavailability of the male personality side, the animus. The aforementioned Kwisatz Haderach project which is maintained by the Bene Gesserit is in fact a genetic manipulation by which they hope to create a totality of balanced animus and anima, a 'male Bene Gesserit' who could access the  female and male racial memory line. He could encompass the whole, which would give him the power of precognition - the view of the totality which opens the possibility of seeing into the future. This search for a totality, which is represented by Paul Atreides, is probably just one of the more subtle appearances of Jung's mandala, a circle that symbolizes the totality.

The important role of melange in the transformation of Paul's consciousness to the Kwisatz Haderach level can also be viewed considering the zeitgeist in which Herbert lived and wrote - the 60s and 70s were a time of drug experimentation and melange does represent a perfect consciousness altering drug.

3.1 The Hero Archetype

According to some mythologists there exists an archetype they call the archetype of the hero in the mythologies of almost every civilization (Campbell, 2008). Some researches of mythology regard this reappearance of the same or very similar archetypes in various cultures as an evidence of the collective unconsciousness or at least of some universal symbols that are shared across human societies. Examples of such mythological heroes are Aeneas, Arthur, Buddha, David, Gilgamesh, Heracles, Moses, Odysseus, Oedipus, Perseus, Romulus, Sigfried and many others (Robinson, 2004):

The criteria that Paul Atreides fulfills to be called a Hero Archetype are: the father is a king (the Duke Leto, Paul's father, is a planetary ruler),  the father is often a cousin of the mother (Jessica is by birth a Harkonnen, and the families Harkonnen and Atreides are blood related), the circumstances of his birth are unusual (Paul was conceived despite the direct order the Bene Gesserit issued to Jessica to bear a daughter), the maternal grandfather tries to kill him (the Baron Harkonnen tries to kill him, who is his maternal grandfather) but he's saved and brought up in a foreign land (Paul hides with the Fremen and is assimilated into their culture), when he grows up he returns to the old kingdom and rules (Paul defeats the Padishah and becomes Emperor), he marries a princess (Paul marries the Princess Irulan, Padishah's daughter), he's exiled from home and dies mysteriously (the next two novels describe the happenings after Paul's disappearance and alleged mysterious death). These are just some of the Hero Archetype tratis that Paul has.

If we accept the proposition that science fiction is a self-conscious myth in which man purposefully mythologizes the field of science (Sutton and Sutton, 1969), the character of Paul Atreides can be understood as one of the newest manifestations of the Hero Archetype in a modern myth. That what Sutton and Sutton (1969) call the self conscious myth takes its full meaning when you take under consideration that in the confines of the story (myth), the character of Paul Atreides is deliberately created and trained by the Bene Gesserit and his mother to fulfill the precisely defined role of the mythological Hero and to use the boons that status brings - to put it as simple as possible, Paul Atreides is a Hero created by social engineering for the purpose of using the symbolism brought by that status. The Kiwsatz Haderach, seen in that way, is just a manifestation (in the world of Dune) of the mythological Hero. Paul is aware of that mythological status in which he was educated and which was carefully planned centuries before his birth, and he describes it like this (Herbert, 1990, p. 126): 

"Greatness is a transitory experience. It is never consistent. It depends in part upon the myth-making imagination of humankind. The person who experiences greatness must have a feeling for the myth he is in. He must reflect what is projected upon him. And he must have a strong sense of the sardonic. This is what uncouples him from belief in his own pretensions. The sardonic is all that permits him to move within himself. Without this quality, even occasional greatness will destroy a man."
 
What Paul is trying to say is that a person aware of the fact that he/she is being viewed as one of the archetypes, must be able to differentiate between the symbolism which is ascribed to her and reality - he/she has to be critical enough to mock his/her own myth.

References:

Campbell, J. (2008). The Hero With a Thousand Faces. New World Library: Novato, CA.

Herbert, F. (1990). Dune. Berkley Books: New York.

Mlačić, B. (2010). Lecture notes from the class Theoretical systems and models in psychology of personality. Center for Croatian Studies: Zagreb.

Sutton, T. C. i Sutton, M. (1969). Science Fiction as Mythology. Western Folklore, 28, 230-237.


***

Esej o Dini I

Esej o Dini II

3. Jung

Moglo bi se reći, pošto je Jungova teorija imala velik utjecaj na popularnu kulturu 60-ih i 70-ih godina prošlog stoljeća a baš je u to vrijeme Herbert napisao i izdao Dinu (1965.), da Dina na određenoj razini predstavlja manifestaciju i literarno ostvarenje Jungovih konstrukta u znanstvenoj fantastici. Cijeli red Bene Gesserita predstavlja strukturirani poduhvat manipulacijom religijskim i drugim društvenim simbolima ljudi, pa kroz to, i manipulaciju kolektivnim nesvjesnim.

I zaista, glavna Jungova ideja koja se provlači kroz cijeli sagu o Dini je konstrukt kolektivnog nesvjesnog. Prema Jungu, kolektivno nesvjesno je skladište latentnih tragova pamćenja naslijeđenih od naših predaka, prošlost koja uključuje ne samo rasnu povijest ljudi kao zasebne vrste već i predhumano i životinjsko podrijetlo (Mlačić, 2010). Iako kolektivno nesvjesno predstavlja, u Jungovoj teoriji, predispoziciju ljudi prema njihovoj okolini i samo ime (nesvjesno) implicira da nije sjećanje koje je pristupačno svjesnom razmatranju, Herbert odlazi korak dalje. Ako je kolektivno nesvjesno rezultat slične strukture mozga svih ljudi (Mlačić, 2010), onda je ono rezultat evolucije – ako u to uključimo prije spomenutu intraneuralnu hipotezu pamćenja, dobivamo spremnike rasnog pamćenja koje svatko nosi u sebi i razmnožavanjem ih prenosi na svoje potomke, ali kojima nitko ne može pristupiti.

Granicu između kolektivnog nesvjesnog i svjesnog, u Herbertovu svijetu, slama začin – melange sa Arrakisa. Konzumirajući otrovne količine ove droge, članice Bene Gesserita proživljavaju kvalitativnu promjenu svijesti koja popušta granice koje dijele kolektivno nesvjesno od ega i omogućava pristup rasnim sjećanjima. No, i u tome postoji problem. Jedino žene mogu pristupiti ovom sjećanju i jedino se ženskom linijom mogu pratiti rasna sjećanja. Ovo je još jedno suptilno finesiranje Jungove teorije ličnosti u Herbertovu romanu – jedino je žensku stranu kolektivnog nesvjesnog moguće dovesti u svijest melangom što bi moglo označavati nedostupnost muškog djela ličnosti, odnosno animusa. Prije spomenuti projekt Kwisatz Haderacha koji Bene Gesserit vodi predstavlja genetičku manipulaciju kojom bi se stvorio totalitet uravnoteženog animusa i anime, 'muški Bene Gesserit' koji bi mogao pristupiti ženskoj liniji rasnih sjećanja, ali i muškoj. On bi mogao sagledati cjelinu, što bi mu dalo moć prekognicije – sagledavanja totaliteta koji omogućuje viđenje u budućnost. Ovo traženje totaliteta, koji predstavlja Paul Atreides, vjerojatno tek još jedno od pojavljivanja Jungove mandale, kruga koji simbolizira total.

Važan položaj začina melangea u transformaciji Paulove svijesti na razinu Kwisatz Haderacha se može shvatiti u kontekstu vremena u kojem je Herbert pisao – šezdesetih i sedamdesetih godina prošlog stoljeća je eksperimentiranje sa drogama bilo na svom vrhuncu, a melange predstavlja fiktivnu savršenu drogu koja mijenja svijest.

3.1 Arhetip heroja

Prema nekim mitolozima, postoji arhetip heroja koji se pojavljuje u mitologijama gotovo svih civilizacija (Campbell, 2008). Neki istraživači mitologija ovo pojavljivanje sličnih ili identičnih arhetipova u različitim kulturama smatraju kao dokaz kolektivnog nesvjesnog, ili barem univerzalnih simbola koje dijele sva društva. Primjeri ovakvih mitoloških heroja koji se pojavljuju su Eneja, Arthur, Buddha, David, Gilgameš, Heraklo, Mojsije, Odisej, Edip, Perzej, Romul, Sigfried i mnogi drugi (Robinson, 2004).

Kriterije koje Paul Atreides ispunjava da bi ga se zaista shvatilo kao arhetipnog Heroja su: otac mu je kralj (vojvoda Leto, Paulov otac, je planetarni vladar), otac je često bliski srodnik majke (Jessica je po rođenju Harkonnen, a obitelji Harkonnen i Atreides su u krvnom srodstvu), okolnosti njegova rođena su često neobične (začet je kao muško unatoč izričitoj naredbi Jessici od strane Bene Gesserita da rodi žensko dijete), djed po majci ga pokuša ubiti (Barun Harkonnen ga pokušava ubiti, koji mu je djed po majci) ali je spašen i odgojen u stranoj zemlji (skriva se kod Slobodnjaka i tamo biva asimiliran u njihovu kulturu), kada odraste vraća se u svoje staro kraljevstvo i vlada (Paul je na kraju prvog romana porazio Padišaha i postao Car), ženi princezu (ženi se princezom Irulan, Padišahovom kćeri), protjeran je od doma i misteriozno pogiba (cijela radnja drugog romana se odvija pod velom tajne Paulova nestanka i njegove navodne smrti). Ovo su tek neka od obilježja arhetipa Heroja koja Paul ima.

Ako prihvatimo shvaćanje da je znanstvena fantastika samosvjestan mit u kojem čovjek namjerno mitologizira područje znanstvenosti (Sutton i Sutton, 1969), lik Paula Atreidesa možemo shvatiti kao tek novu manifestaciju arhetipa Heroja u modernom mitu. Ono što Sutton i Sutton (1969) nazivaju samosvjesnim mitom poprima svoj puni smisao kada se uzme u obzir da u okviru same priče (mita), lik Paula Atreidesa je namjerno stvoren i treniran od strane Bene Gesserita i njegove majke, kako bi točno ispunio ulogu mitološkog Heroja i koristio sve prednosti tog statusa – najjednostavnije rečeno, Paul Atreides je društvenim inžinjeringom stvoren Heroj kako bi vladao pomoću simbolike koju taj status nosi. Kwisatz Haderach, tako shvaćen, je stvarno ostvarenje (u svijetu Dine) mitološkog Heroja. Paul je zaista i svjestan ovog mitološkog statusa u koji je odgojen i koji je pomno isplaniran davno prije njegova rođenja, te ga on promatra na ovaj način (Herbert, 2004; str. 143):

„Veličanje je prolazni doživljaj. Nikad nije postojan. Djelomično ovisi o mitovima sklonoj stvaralačkoj mašti ljudi. Osoba koja doživi hvalospjeve mora osjećati mit u kojem se nalazi. Mora odražavati ono što joj se pripisuje. Ali mora imati i sjajan osjećaj za ruganje. Baš joj to omogućuje da se otrgne vjerovanju u vlastitu izuzetnost. Jedino joj ironičnost dopušta okretanje samome sebi. Bez tog svojstva, čak će i kratkotrajni i slučajni hvalospjevi uništiti čovjeka.“
 
Ono što Paul ovdje pokušava reći je da osoba koja je svjesna da ju se percipira kao neki od arhetipa, treba moći razgraničiti simboliku koja joj se pripisuje i stvarnost – odnosno mora biti dovoljno samokritična da se naruga vlastitom mitu.

Literatura:

Campbell, J. (2008). The Hero With a Thousand Faces. New World Library: Novato, CA.

Herbert, F. (2004). Dina: Prva knjiga Kronika Dine. Izvori: Zagreb.

Mlačić, B. (2010). Bilješke s predavanja Teorijski sustavi i modeli u psihologiji ličnosti. Hrvatski studiji: Zagreb.

Sutton, T. C. i Sutton, M. (1969). Science Fiction as Mythology. Western Folklore, 28, 230-237.

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