I mount the steps and ring the bell, turning
Wearily, as one would turn to nod good-bye to Rochefoucauld,
If the street were time and he at the end of the street,… ( T.S. Eliot )
As Occupy Wall Street hopefully heralds a new beginning or a swan song, we seem to be on the cusp of some major changes. It’s going to be ugly, choppy waters and not a time to be nice. It will be a time of Leo Durocher’s nice guys finish last and the seventeenth-century’s acerbic critic of human folly and frailty, Rochefoucauld.
Brooding over his disappointments, Rochefoucauld wrote his memoirs. They are a justification of his conduct, of course, but as he wrote he was forced to reflect on the justification of his justifications. Though we admit our faults, he says, we are not entirely frank. We admit them in order to repair by our sincerity the harm they do us in other people’s minds. But sincerity is no easy matter, for in a large measure, it consists of our desire to talk about ourselves and to display our defects in the way we want to present them. And the fact is we would rather say evil about ourselves than not talk of ourselves at all.
The will to power. The will to meaning perhaps as Viktor Frankl asserted; something that would pierce through the noble world of falsity. Caught between tearing down and building up, could we call upon what Walter Benjamin termed ‘messianic power’, something he claimed indeed we are all inheritors of; a weak messianic power the individual possesses, somewhere bubbling in the blood beneath the anger and fear,though few of us actually actualize or realize it. Yes, we are a cross between the primitive and primal probing child and the sage, altogether advanced and acculturated. As Richard Mellamphy explains it, childhood activity and historical ‘material’, the world of mechanical ‘invention’ and technological ‘progression’ intersects with that of the original or aboriginal: the primal or primeval beginnings of ‘language’, the unity of ‘word’ and ‘world’ as such. In this encounter, the Modern confronts the Archaic—or rather (according to Benjamin) the Adamic. Perhaps we are just children playing with toys…
The real question is, why should we have a mode of allocation which requires that we constantly intervene to prevent its devolving into utter and complete catastrophe, even as it constantly violates values we hold dear such as equity, diversity, solidarity, democracy, participation, ecological sustainabilty, etc.? Why not, instead, replace markets with a system that actually propels values that we desire, rather than trampling them? I am a market abolitionist. I know markets are going to be with us for some time to come, but I also know — or hope — that in time we will replace them entirely. ( Michael Albert ) Read More:http://www.zcommunications.org/market-madness-by-michael-albert-1
Nice guys finish last. Leo Durocher: The Nice Guys Finish Last line came about because of Eddie Stanky too. And wholly by accident. I’m not going to back away from it though. It has got me into Bartlett’s Quotations— page 1059, between John Betjeman and Wystan Hugh Auden—and will be remembered long after I have been forgotten. Just who the hell were Betjeman and Auden anyway?
It came about during batting practice at the Polo Grounds, while I
managing the Dodgers. I was sitting in the dugout with Frank Graham of the old Journal-American, and several other newspapermen, having one of those freewheeling bull sessions. Frankie pointed to Eddie Stanky in the batting cage and said, very quietly, “Leo, what makes you like this fellow so much? Why are you so crazy about this fellow?”…
…I started by quoting the famous Rickey statement: “He can’t hit, he can’t run, he can’t field, he can’t throw. He can’t do a goddamn thing, Frank—but beat you.” He might not have as much ability as some of the other players, I said, but every day you got 100 percent from him and he was trying to give you 125 percent. “Sure, they call him the Brat and the Mobile Muskrat and all of that,” I was saying, and just at that point, the Giants, led by Mel Ott, began to come out of their dugout to take their warm-up. Without missing a beat, I said, “Take a look at that Number Four there. A nicer guy never drew breath than that man there.” I called off his players’ names as they came marching up the steps behind him, “Walker Cooper, Mize, Marshall, Kerr, Gordon, Thomson. Take a look at them. All nice guys. They’ll finish last. Nice guys. Finish last.”… Read More:http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/173887.html
Rouchefoucauld had lived in a noble world of falsity. Though he had seen outward evidence of virtue, fidelity, courage, and generosity, mosstly he had seen vanity, avarice, folly, futility, and weakness. And even virtue is seldom pure:” Virtue would not go far if vanity did not keep it company.” Our souls are stained; they are defective from birth. “The defects of the soul are like the body’s wounds; whatever care we may take to cure them, the scars remain forever, and they are always in danger of opening again.”
Business as usual. Walter Benjamin was tapping into the search, the same inventory of the qualities of the spirit: …merging into the tradition of thought of Jewish redemption. His pessimism discloses the presence of violence within the continuity of “the whole time everything is the same” as a cosmic fate, a fate grounded in mystic necessity. He regards reality as essentially tragic, jet not as a partial historical stage or as an accident, but as normality itself. “The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the ‘state of emergency’, in which we live is not an exception, but a rule.” The fact that “everything continues as usual” is the eternal “catastrophe,” which according to Benjamin discloses the boundless dominance of the mythical. This is the basis of the “Kafka-like situation,” which determines the subject as described in the article “Franz Kafka.” The “original sin” makes itself present at each moment in history, and according to Benjamin it turns out to be a reaction to the subject’s being a victim of cosmic injustice permanently directed against him. Read More:http://www.janushead.org/11-1/MellamphyandMellamphy.pdf
I said, “They lose a ball game, they go home, they have a nice dinner, they put their heads down on the pillow and go to sleep. Poor Mel Ott, he can’t sleep at night. He wants to win, he’s got a job to do for the owner of the ball club. But that doesn’t concern the players, they’re all getting good money.” I said, “you surround yourself with this type of player, they’re real nice guys, sure—‘Howarya, Howarya’ and you’re going to finish down in the cellar with them. Because they think they’re giving you one hundred percent on the ball field and they’re not. Give me some scratching, diving, hungry ballplayers who come to kill you. Now, Stanky’s the nicest gentleman who ever drew breath, but when the bell rings you’re his mortal enemy. That’s the kind of a guy I want playing for me.” ( Durocher, ibid. )
Rouchefoucauld, looking into hs own character, he recognized, as did Retz- the pistol packing prelate-and other acute observers, his disastrous flaw:a paralyzing irresolution. He thought too much; he could see too many sides of a question. He did not possess the happy motor reflexes of the man of action. In a pinch, as in the scene of the bishop’s entrapment in the Palais de Justice doors, he dared to follow his impulse, and his impulse betrayed him. He was not made to rule; he was made to look at the world and at himself, and to find his own little parcel of truth…
He had not been knightly; he had been grotesque, as the very position of his intended victim was grotesque. In his excitement he had not sensed his fellows’ reluctance to assassinate a pinioned prelate. He had been ridiculous; and, as he says, ridiculousness dishonours more than does dishonour.
Michael Albert:Austrian economists called themselves ‘friends of freedom’ but in the same time they are in favour of hierarchical structures. Do you think that this is logical?
It depends what you mean by logical? Was it logical that commissars and/or academics in the Soviet style systems called themselves friends of workers and friends of freedom? Not if by logical we mean honest, no. But if by logical we mean consistent with their interests when put forth as a manipulative lie, then sure it is logical. Just like it is logical for Hitler to talk about freeing Europe, or for Stalin to talk about bringing freedom to Poland, or for Bush to talk about bringing freedom to Iraq, or, on a more relevant scale, for the owners of a corporation to talk about their overwhelming concern for humanity as they dump pollution on their neighbors, create manipulative ads to generate socially useless consumption, and drive down wages as best they are able, or in an exact analogy, just as it is logical for cowardly scholars who work at the behest of the rich and powerful in any society to say things that the rich and powerful will keep paying for, and to not say what the rich and powerful will be horrified by.Read More:http://www.zcommunications.org/market-madness-by-michael-albert-1