Tags: Benjamin


It is only on the edge of the woods that a good view is offered to us. The woods slope away down hill behind us, whilst the fields we look over are flat before curving away towards the houses. The autumn sunlight warming the backs of the horses in the field before us. The woods are still wet from the mornings rain and looking down through the ancient trees its a slow motion amphitheatre,  starring trees, the occasional bird and a small water deer, a species recently escaped from an estate in Hertfordshire, the bright light from the wings behind our backs. We walk downwards following the well trodden path, animals hide from us as we follow the curve. We find a wooden tower, standing on two legs and leaning against a tall beech tree, we climb up the ladder to stand on the platform and look through the woods back into the fields, a horse gallops unaware that we are watching it, from up here our horizon is broadened but the distance from the ground causes us to feel alienated. We climb down and walk through the woods, under the railway line to the edge of the woods which we really came to experience. Here the landscape is slightly curved upwards so that you can imagine your seeing the curvature of the earth, the view is inseparable from the curve even when the cloned poplar trees disrupt the line. As we cross the field to walk along the line of the manor house road, it reminds us of the extent to which we are the subjects of what we look at. As we walk along the road, first to the east, looking at the people loading up their cars in the distance in front of the house,  and then back along it to the west where we can see the top of the wooden tower across the railway lines, we look at it as if it is destined to be looked down on from this point, waiting for an observer to climb the ladder and be seen…

"Democracy is not dictatorship, but democracy does prepare dictatorship, and prepares itself for dictatorship." (Dauve Endnotes 1…)

The point of view of the universe… a comment

The model is that a theorist, such as myself, can occupy temporarily and obviously improbably, the point of view of the universe, and observe everything , including myself and whatever ideologies and discourses, moral, scientific, aesthetic or other affectations or projects there are.  And that from the exterior view I can assign a value to them. The difficulty is that ideologies and discourse, moral dispositions and whatever you care to mention in turn, have a certain ideological depth and thickness, they cannot be simply considered as mere machines, technics for generating actions. Rather such things, such commitments will rather characteristically be what gives life and the social meaning, and gives us reasons for existence. You may think there is no possible exercise  that consists of stepping outside of the universe, outside of oneself and from that perspective and situation evaluating the dispositions, morals, ideologies and discourses  that constitute the substance of ones own life or anyone elses. Not withstanding such doubts however, since we know that from within the ideologies and discourses there are objective reasons for actions, that are (rather wonderfully and bizarrely) completely independent of our desires and motives, (though perhaps your ideologies insignificantly deny this, but we can recognize that such an insignificant ideology cannot begin to describe the world and universe we live within), it seems  therefore that we can evaluate the  world from a point of view outside of ones everyday ideologies and discourses, outside ones personal projects, we know this to be conceivable and from here it looks necessary… 

Henry Sidgwick … axiomatic

"…the good of any one individual is of no more importance, from the point of the view ( if i may say so) of the universe, than the good of any other; unless, that is, there are special grounds for believing that more good is likely to be realised in the one case than in the other… 

…and it is  evident to me that as a rational being I am bound to aim at good generally - so far as it is attainable by my efforts, - not merely at a particular part of it…

… each one is morally bound to regard the good of any other individual as much as his own, except in so far as he judges it to be less, when impartially viewed, or less certainly knowable or attainable by him…”

Sidgwick …

Marie Redonnet, Nevermore…

Marie Redonnet, Nevermore…

a bus moves…

It is forbidden to speak to the red bus driver when the bus is moving, we catch the bus on the viaduct and travel west. We stand behind the arbitrary and invisible line drawn behind the bus drivers cabin and can hear the driver speaking to the fat controller over the cab radio. However much we may desire to speak to the driver, to interrupt the seminar as the author speaks about his book,  to tell the person in front of us to be quiet, to tell the people outside the door of the white office that if they could stop speaking to one another you would be grateful… We understand that we cannot cross the arbitrary line, for we travel with them, occasionally we can even imagine that we desire them, though we may know that often we confuse play and desire as the games advance. The bus advances along the declining curve of the uphill road, looking out sometimes we can see our reflections  in the mirrored windows of the office blocks. In the here and now the bus climbs up the curve. In the middle of a film it is difficult to talk to your partner, or chat to your friend. In this world without transcendent beings, it is only natural to want to share some conversation with a fellow human, your computer  or even the young migrant waitress who offers you a glass of vodka or espresso just before the restaurant begins to close and soon, as they begin to place chairs on the tables, you leave paying with a pin code entered into a hand set or perhaps a gentle swipe of the contactless card. Then walking north through the gentle drizzle towards another red bus or a train which will be noisy in the late evening, to stand behind the stairs…


Their final destination appears, the thrum of the engines falls silent beneath the early morning sun or the early evening, the airship is tied to the mast and the people walk off to the terminus waiting for their luggage.  We wait patiently for people and luggage to pass through customs, computers register their arrival, visas are confirmed, a few bodies scanned and searched. GPS trackers are attached to the wrists of those with temporary visas. Their location is registered. The train arrives into the station beneath the terminus, we sit and wait, electric motors hum, the train erases the sky and wipes away the horizon as it passes behind suburban gardens whose singularity disturbs the fractal continuum, each a calm oasis. In the distance the  towering dark grey clouds announce the arrival of a storm later, or perhaps its going away. A new epistemological break with history, the train stops at the station, people disembark and scurry off to destinations or something else. The driver changes the electronic display, walks from the front to the back of the train. In this nothing has happened, he hums ‘Mysterio’, wipes the controls down with a bacterial wipe everything translated to an understandable language, he steps out and looks at the shiny front.  The feint smell of cooking food from the multistory building outside the station, the scent of roasting meat and curry drifting out over the window boxes, bright with the colour of the finite destinies of the world the sandbox is virtual and weightless. A few drops of water fall.  The driver smokes a cigarette at the end of the platform, no longer intent on driving he relaxes into the smoke, the banality of his everyday responsibility vanishing into the smoke, he leans against the electronic junction box, it hums against his back as it sings the song of the networks.
Nothing ends at the station, merely the endless flow of  singularities pausing as they move on unpredicted paths, the steel rails curving into the centre of the city, to this vast big shed, a lattice of girders on which crows and pigeons stand, above which a glass roof is suspended, the rails pass onto the suburbs and beyond terminating at a point which was once supposed to be a new town that was not built, tough now developers look hungrily at the possibility of building out there where the trains already arrives. Committed already to a new generation of stories which will vanish into the mist. 

Release Three of the Utopian list..

It has always seemed to me that the purpose of a utopian line of thought in philosophy and literature  should be to present a case which includes the following rationale: ‘I could live there’, a logic which excludes work that worlds which look unlivable or contain casual references to mass murder and death. This list however breaks that rule and contains many a dystopia and apocalypse,  because in a sense how can we not think that the apocalyptic end of empire isn’t a utopian thought these days…. There are multiple sub-categories within the area of utopia and it may seem that my rationale creates a rather arbitrary category but still I see no reason to believe a utopia which is clearly worse than where we live now deserves the label of utopian. In honor of Julio Cortazar’s suggestion that  the future should not be written only in science fiction. So here is the consequence of the occasional and ongoing research into this work… Some of the dates in the following are a little approximate, its difficult to know the precise dates without spending more time in research than I can…
  • Karin Boye - Kallocain - (1966).
  • Ray Bradbury - Fahrenheit 451. - (1953)
  • Columbus Bradford - Terrania or the Feminization of the World - (1930)
  • Karel Capek - The Absolute at Large - (1927)
  • Stanton Coblentz - Lord of Tranerica - (1966)
  • Stanton Coblentz - The Runaway World - (1961)
  • Val de Mar  - Dead Men’s Shoes, or the 100 percent inheritance tax - (1920)
  • Diane Detzer de Reyna - The Conquest of Life - (1963)
  • Ernest Hugh Fitzpatrick - The Coming Conflict of Nations or the Jaopanese American War - (1909)
  • Alfed Louis Auguste Franklin - Les Ruins de Paris en 4875, Documents Officiels et Inedits - (1875)
  • L.P. Gratacap - The certainty of a Future Life in Mars: being the posthumous papers of Bradford Torrey Dodd - (1903)
  • Cicely hamilton - Lest Ye Die: A story from the past of the future (1928)
  • Robert Heinlein - The Puppet Masters - (1951) (irresistible apocalyptic slugs from space)
  • Russell Hoban - Riddley Walker - (1980)
  • David Karp - One - (1953/4) 
  • Lucian of Samosata - Dialogues of Lucien - (17th century translations)
  • J.C.Marple and A. Nelson - Anona of the Moundbuilders: A story of many thousands of years ago (1920)
  • Fred Morril - Beyond the Horizon - (1918)
  • Ward Muir: Further east than Asia: A Romantic Adventure - (1919)
  • A.P. Paine - The Great Whiote Way: A record of an unusual voyage of discovery and some romantic love affairs amid strange surroundings - (1901)
  • Robert Silverberg - Invisible Barriers - ( 1958)
  • Upton Sinclair - Prince Hagen - (1903)
  • M. Volney - Les Ruines ou Meditation Sur Les Revolutions des Empiers  (1792)
  • Kurt Vonnegut - Player Piano - (1952)

@vajramrita ….

"Socialism is a political ideology. The basis for support for socialist politics is whatever issues and struggles from which it can be made" (Cutler, Hindess, Hirst, and Hussain 1978)… At some point you have to choose not to support reactionary ideologies and those who support reaction just because they fight against your primary enemy…