12.19.2012

What Is Village Thinking?

The philosopher is likely a man of the city.* The man of the city lives among many, many faceless others. He knows a few people in the city, perhaps his family is there, and he may know those within his neighborhood. But the idea of the city and its faceless and nameless others is an abstraction. He knows they are out there but he does not know them. He thinks of them as composing “the city” that he is also a part of. He considers the city and what would be good for the city and what should be changed in the city. He makes these considerations based upon his own life and experience and what he has learned from the very few people he knows in the city.
 
Or the philosopher is alone in the city. The city and its faceless-ness allow him to become alone. He becomes anonymous in the city. He can disappear in the city. The philosopher disappears into himself and begins to think philosophically through a form of solipsism. He disappears from the others of the city, and the others disappear to him. Despite being surrounded by them, he may begin to doubt whether others really exist at all.**
 
For the city teaches the philosopher to think in one of two extremes: He makes abstractions from his experience and thinks and makes assumptions and political policies for all the others in the city that he does not know; or he forgoes the political and social and makes abstractions solely based upon himself and all the others of the city are made to disappear. Both the abstract idea of the many others and the abstract idea of a man entirely alone, are philosophical biases of the city philosopher.
 
But what sort of philosophy happens in the small town? The village? The small community where all the neighbors are known by name and recognized? In such a place there is no anonymity. Everyone is known by their name and face and perhaps a family history. Economics, politics and philosophy cannot be conducted as abstractions and speculations on the unknown others. And so, too, a thinker in the village can never begin to think of himself totally alone in the world. To be surrounded by family and neighbors who know your name is to be unable to make yourself anonymous.
 
Abstract and speculative thinking may not be possible in the village. But what sort of thinking is possible? What is village thinking?

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* Indeed, the first and still most important work of philosophy is The Republic of Plato, a book about the city and all who live in it and outside it.

** Descartes is a prime example.

12.17.2012

Las Chinches

Like the mosquito the bed bug is awakened by the carbon dioxide of a potential host. As I spend much time in my room at the hospedaje at Piura, Peru, which I realized rather recently is home to these creatures, my carbon dioxide has invited these tiny parasites to feed. Like the mosquito they prefer to feed in the evening and night hours and leaving one's light on does not deter them. They have a certain fearlessness when hungry and remarkable ability to sneak through small spaces and cracks. Like the mosquito, they are parasites that feed upon the host’s blood.

I have always hated the mosquito. The variety of mid-western North American mosquito I grew up with tortured me before biting with a buzzing in my ears in the darkness as I tried to sleep. The Argentine variety I have also encountered and it did none of the buzzing in the ear but instead a direct and fearless assault. Never have I encountered a faster more aerially agile mosquito than in Argentina. There they came in hoards, with thousands of them appearing from the fields upon you.
 
In Colombia and other northern parts of South American the mosquitoes are fast and do not alert you to their presence with the ear-humming. But they are fearful, anxious insects and only stop to bite for a moment before flying and landing again to bite. The North American and Argentine mosquito, in contrast, alights on the skin and stays until it has finished feeding, giving one the opportunity to smack and destroy it.

But the bed bug should bother me less. The bed bug does not carry any diseases such as the mosquito with its West Nile and malaria and river blindness. It also does none of the buzzing in one's ears before feeding. You are not aware of the bed bug’s presence until you begin to scratch yourself after it has fed.
 
But it is the wide red welts from their feeding that bother me. The bed bug takes in such a great deal of blood, particularly the mature bed bug, and swells to so large size that if you were to kill it after feeding you would explode it into a vast red, bloody smear upon your bed sheets. That amount of blood taken can be disconcerting. It is for me.

While the immature bed bug is crushed easily, turned into a tiny dark smudge, the mature bed bug when he has not filled himself with blood is difficult to destroy. His thin body is not easily crushed under a thumb or napkin or shoe and I have often seen them play dead waiting for me to leave. Still I should be less troubled by the bed bug as, before, unlike the mosquito he carries no disease. Also the welts though wide and unsightly stop itching and heal faster than the mosquito's bite.
 
Nonetheless, I am convinced that the idea of being assaulted by parasites from the air is much preferable to a ground assault. There is something about the slow, plodding, hesitant-less attack of the bed bug parasite that troubles me. The mosquito at least recognizes that it can be killed and at times will fly defensively. This recognition of its own possible death from feeding makes it a less disgusting parasite. The bed bug though is without fear or mercy. And it is this characteristic that can be most troubling for the human host.

12.12.2012

New Series 1. Folk Series.







Peruvian Pussy

It is my last day in Lima and I'm stretched out on the long stone circular bench in the park at Miraflores. The sun is out and I'm drinking some water and relaxing.
 
"You speak English," says this shaved head Peruvian. He's wearing a trendy looking white parka and designer jeans but his face is rough and immediately I don’t like him. I also hate fucking being approached and people talking English at me.

"Yeah,” I say. “I speak English."

"Where are you from?" The guy sits down near me.

I look at him, give him that hard look. "New York," I say.

"Where in New York?"

I look at him hard again. "What the fuck? You been to New York?"

"No. Where are you from there?"

"Manhattan." I glanced around and I didn't see anyone he was working with. I didn't have a bag with me to steal.

"What’s your name?"

I don’t say anything.

"You’re so tranquilo, man," he says. "My name is Alejandro," and he puts his fist out for a fist bump.

I think about telling him how tacky that fist-bump shit is, but I don’t want to talk to him. I look at his fist and then slowly give him a fist bump in return.

"What do you want," I say.

"I do travel tours. Peru, Argentina--have you been to Argentina?"

"No."

"It is great. The woman are beautiful."

I don’t say anything.

"How long are you in Lima for?"

"I leave tomorrow."

"Why?"

"What's it to you?"

"What are you doing today?"

"What's it to you?"

"Maybe you need some help, maybe you want me to show you around. Maybe I can help you with shopping."

"Why don’t you sell this shit to someone else?" I wave at the others sitting in the park. "You’re not getting any money from me."

"I'm not trying to sell anything," he protests, like he's insulted. "I don’t want money."

"Then you want to be my friend," I say and look hard at him.

"You New York guys are so defensive." He smiles and puts his fists up like a boxer. "I am a friend of everyone. Men, girls, everyone."

"You’re not my friend."

He gets up quickly. "What you mean, man?"

He's standing in front of me. I'm still arms spread out on the bench and relaxed. I haven’t moved at all.

"You got a problem, man?"

I don’t say anything. I just glare at him.

"I don’t like your attitude," he says, standing over me.

"Who cares," I say. I'm watching his right. I'm betting he's a righty and when he throws it I'm going to take it and roll with it off the bench and onto the ground. Then jump back up to my feet and I'll come back with my own right and then throw the left hook and if I really want to get down on him I'll flick out by blade and stab him in the fucking throat. I'll put his blood all over that stupid hipster white parka. Fuck this bitch.

But he just stands there. He's shaking now. He's nervous. "This is my land! You come to my land and you talk this way!"

He's too bitch to throw on me. My sitting there peacefully is just confusing him and pissing him off even more.

"Fuck you! Come to my land!" He points his pack of cigarettes at me. I just stare up at him. Challenging him.

"This is my land! You come to my land!" He turns and walks away. Then he stops and looks back and crushes his cigarette pack and throws it on the ground. I reach down slowly and grab my balls. He spits towards me and then hurriedly walks out of the park.

12.11.2012

The State, Morality and Freedom

21. Any manipulation or destruction of originary morality (how men relate to one another economically) inevitably serves the purposes of the State. The State’s laws become the default measure of what is moral between men. The State thereby controls morality. The State stands for morality. The State has a monopoly on moral life. What is right is what is legal.
 
22. A man sent off to kill for the State is an acolyte of a higher and holy power.
 
50. To be middle class is to be totally exposed; to have an edge on nothing--To be domesticated and servile to both a job, a way of life, and a government.
 
52. To have an edge is to have a skill that liberates a man so that no boss or government can affect him. Around his edge he develops his life as project. To have an edge is to be free. (Money is not an edge.)
 
55. The middle class (read: the indebted class) are the cubicle worker slaves of the oligarchs, enslaved by an interest rate or the fear of losing their middle manager positions. The lower class are the military class, the soldiers sent to give their lives in the oligarchy’s wars and expand its empire. The stability of the oligarchy subsists in both the middle and lower classes' voluntary acceptance of their social/economic position.*
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* The State's error in the Vietnam War was not simply in having a draft, but in sending middle class men to fight alongside the lower class. The middle class is a worker slave class, not a fighting class, and to demand that the worker slaves also give up their lives is for the State to demand too much. In contrast, the Iraq and Afghan Wars, the torture and indefinite incarceration of prisoners, drone attacks in multiple countries and a Presidential 'hit list' have resulted in very little public (middle class) protest.
 
 
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