The sun brightens outside the coffee shop within I sit. The atmosphere within changes, at first abruptly, and then it inches brighter and brighter. For a moment I contemplate the possibility (though, I do not think it conventionally possible) of the Sun exploding at our doorstep, of the atmosphere lighting ablaze.
And as quickly as my irrational panic (which I playfully allow to build) develops, the January clouds move in to again block the sunlight.
I am presently reading an essay on Critical Theory by Max Horkheimer. It’s really, really fucking long, but it makes up for the wordage by laying down some very interesting insights into the contrasting/complementary nature of the individual and the totality of which he a part. We must accept our position in time, in the social soup, and to embrace this, to live it through as best we can; we must accept our form as a billiard ball, we have no choice but to accept the energy of our inertia as much as we accept our physical bodies.
It certainly points to determinism, rightly so, as that I am a man today has everything to do with the long, long, long chain of culture, of evolution, of physics which reaches all the way back to the big bang, to the first cause, or to the “shape” of the cosmos itself.
This reading on Critical Theory is from the Frankfurt School (not a school, rather a school of thought). The Frankfurt School, or, as it is also called, the Institute for Social Research was the product of German intellectuals from the 1930s. From the zeitgeist of the enlightenment there came the expectation/promise of a new era of human flourishing from such means as rationality and reason. But, as the 1930s (Germany especially) went to shit, these thinkers sought to ask why there had been a degrading of human flourishing in the stead of the good which was promised.
This school of thought looked to the Marxist idea of material conditions being a large determining factor to what occurs. In a sense man is powerless. This powerlessness points to things like war and suffering, when really no one wants to put these things onto others points to a natural order which is beyond our control, similar to that of physics. That we can each will to have peace, but by the sum total of all of our dealings there is no peace, only war, pestilence, and the wholesale destruction of the planet and of ourselves.
**Edit – a note: Not to be so fucking negative, but I say the above in reference to these thinkers. Men who lived through such a things as violent and communal anti-Semitism, world war (what we remember as the SECOND of such in a very short period of time), and the various known instances of men, women and children being rounded up, shipped off, catalogued and slaughtered like cattle. Today we have our Afghanistans, our Iraq’s, Syrias, not to mention the latent war of the great powers (who are essentially bound together by the industry/economy).
It doesn’t sound very good, but I guess the idea is that if we look close enough at the facts of the world as it is, we are enabled to alter the As, Bs, and Cs (thinking here propositionallly), so as to affect the subsequent X, Y, Z products and consequences. A kind of manual adjustment of the rudder to direct the ship, if you will.
At any rate, some frivolous good:
This is super cute, Confused little girl meets her fathers twin for the first time
Entire History of the World in 2 Hours – HD Documentary 2011
I should get back to my reading,