running of the bulls of babylon

When extremes support each other. Fundamentally hypocritical bourgeois values? Or, are talking about two fundamentally different approaches to reinforcing the continuity of patriarchy and misogyny that defies rational classicism arisen from the Enlightenment or the irrational attributes of human nature, characteristics and the ambiguous use of the word “culture”? Is this “natural” and inherent activity borne out of sex and psychology- we are all complicit mid-wives- or a structure installed and sustained by rational men? …

Read More: Paula Rego. The Interrogator's Garden, 2000 ---Cale:The anthropologisation of conflict was an intermittent feature of the past century. In War Machine, Daniel Pick notes that the 1870 Franco-Prussian War gave rise to extensive debates about the raw, virile Teutons and cultured, effete French . Throughout the Second World War, the Japanese and Germans were accused of militaristic instincts inculcated by generations of Junkers and Samurai - if not through harsh toilet training. Today, though, the backdrop of cultural typecasting that used to run alongside the political explanations of conflict has become the whole case for war, as the Rwandans and the Serbs are accused of imbibing hatred with their mothers' milk.

From Slavoj Zizek:
What of the basic right to the pursuit of pleasure? Today’s politics is ever more concerned with ways of soliciting or controlling jouissance. The opposition between the liberal-tolerant West and fundamentalist Islam is most often condensed as that between, on the one side, a woman’s right to free sexuality, including the freedom to display or expose herself and to provoke or disturb men; and, on the other side, desperate male attempts to suppress or control this threat. (The Taliban forbade metal-tipped heels for women, as the tapping sounds coming from beneath an all-concealing burka might have an overpowering erotic appeal.)

Both sides, of course, mystify their position ideologically and morally. For the West, women’s right to expose themselves provocatively to male desire is legitimized as their right to enjoy their bodies as they please. For Islam, the control of female sexuality is legitimized as the defence of women’s dignity against their being reduced to objects of male exploitation. So when the French state prohibits Muslim girls from wearing the veil in school, one can claim that they are thus enabled to dispose of their bodies as they wish. But one can also argue that the true traumatic point for critics of Muslim ‘fundamentalism’ was that there were women who did not participate in the game of making their bodies available for sexual seduction, or for the social exchange and circulation involved in this. In one way or another, all the other issues—gay marriage and adoption, abortion, divorce—relate to this. What the two poles share is a strict disciplinary approach, differently directed: ‘fundamentalists’ regulate female self-presentation to forestall sexual provocation; pc feminist liberals impose a no-less-severe regulation of behaviour aimed at containing forms of harassment….

image: Hilary Harkness. Iowa Class.---Caudwell. 1938:Yet who does not know that liberty is a concept about whose nature men have quarrelled perhaps more than any other? The historic disputes concerning predestination, Karma, Free-Will, Moira, salvation by faith or works, determinism, Fate, Kismet, the categorical imperative, sufficient grace, occasionalism, Divine Providence, punishment and responsibility, have all been about the nature of man’s freedom of will and action. The Greeks, the Romans, the Buddhists, the Mahomedans, the Catholics, the Jansenists, and the Calvinists, have each had different ideas of liberty. Why, then, do all these bourgeois intellectuals assume that liberty is a clear concept, understood in the same way by all their hearers, and therefore needing no definition? Russell, for example, has spent his life finding a really satisfactory definition of number and even now it is disputed whether he has been successful. I can find in his writings no clear definition of what he means by liberty. Yet most people would have supposed that men are far more in agreement as to what is meant by a number, than what is meant by liberty. The indefinite use of the word can only mean either that they believe the meaning of the word invariant in history or that they use it in the contemporary bourgeois sense. If they believe the meaning invariant, it is strange that men have disputed so often about freedom.

…Liberal attitudes towards the other are characterized both by respect for otherness, openness to it, and an obsessive fear of harassment. In short, the other is welcomed insofar as its presence is not intrusive, insofar as it is not really the other. Tolerance thus coincides with its opposite. My duty to be tolerant towards the other effectively means that I should not get too close to him or her, not intrude into his space—in short, that I should respect his intolerance towards my over-proximity. This is increasingly emerging as the central human right of advanced capitalist society: the right not to be ‘harassed’, that is, to be kept at a safe distance from others. The same goes for the emergent logic of humanitarian or pacifist militarism. War is acceptable insofar as it seeks to bring about peace, or democracy, or the conditions for distributing humanitarian aid. And does the same not hold even more for democracy and human rights themselves? Human rights are ok if they are ‘rethought’ to include torture and a permanent emergency state. Democracy is ok if it is cleansed of its populist excesses and limited to those mature enough to practise it….

Read More: Leon Golub.---We have, then, bourgeois social relations on the one hand, and these varying degrees of unfreedom – A, B, and C – on the other hand, interconnected as cause and effect. So far, either might be the cause, for we have not decided whether mental states arise from social relations, or vice versa. But as soon as we ask how action is to solve the problem, we see which is primary. It is useless to give B, by means of lectures and picture galleries, opportunity for understanding philosophy or viewing masterpieces of art. He has no time to acquire, before starting work, the taste for them or after starting work the time to gratify it. Nor is C free to enjoy the riches of bourgeois culture as long as his whole existence is clouded by his economic position. It is circumstances that are imprisoning consciousness, not vice versa. It is not because B and C are unenlightened that they are members of the working class, but because they are members of the working class, they are unenlightened. And Russell, who writes In Praise of Idleness, praises rightly, for he is clever because he is idle and bourgeois, not idle and bourgeois because he is clever.--Caudwell

So, there is a perpetual antagonism between the views. Like imposing technical solutions to psychological problems and vice-versa. What is evident is that the issue of freedom and liberty for some is predicated on unfreedom for others, each erecting their institutions which in a sense structure and enhance the chasm between unfreedom. Many are called but few are chose for liberty. Don’t forget Western liberal capitalist society also includes member states like Congo, Colombia and others. Much as it would be convenient, even ingenious to attribute Moslem fundamentalist practices and armed insurgence as the actions of the pathologically volatile and criminally insane all packaged in deap-seated culturally festered impulses particualar to ethnicism and tribal identity, the truth, in part, is that our militaristic responses, and our amusement park flags of freedom are a clever method of procrastinating and fending off truly democratic challenges to Western democracies. And when the rubber hits the road, we see in Greece and Italy that the technocracies are quickly wheeled into place.

Read More: ---"I wanted to make it for all those people who couldn't make it to their families and for those people who don't have coats and don't have any money." Olek is originally from Poland, but when she couldn't make it home to see her family, she thought of all the others who might be spending this holiday far from their loved ones. The crocheted Charging Bull is her Christmas gift to NYC, she says, and a tribute to the sculptor of the bull, Arturo Di Modica, who placed the bull on Wall Street just before Christmas of 1989. Di Modica declared the sculpture a symbol of the "strength and power of the American people" following the stock market crash of 1987.---

…Caught in the vicious cycle of the imperative of jouissance, the temptation is to opt for what appears its ‘natural’ opposite, the violent renunciation of jouissance. This is perhaps the underlying motif of all so-called fundamentalisms—the endeavour to contain (what they perceive as) the excessive ‘narcissistic hedonism’ of contemporary secular culture with a call to reintroduce the spirit of sacrifice. A psychoanalytic perspective immediately enables us to see why such an endeavour goes wrong. The very gesture of casting away enjoyment—‘Enough of decadent self-indulgence! Renounce and purify!’—produces a surplus-enjoyment of its own. Do not all ‘totalitarian’ universes which demand of their subjects a violent (self-)sacrifice to the cause exude the bad smell of a fascination with a lethal-obscene jouissance? Conversely, a life oriented towards the pursuit of pleasure will entail the harsh discipline of a ‘healthy lifestyle’—jogging, dieting, mental relaxation—if it is to be enjoyed to the maximum. The superego injunction to enjoy oneself is immanently intertwined with the logic of sacrifice. The two form a vicious cycle, each extreme supporting the other. The choice is never simply between doing one’s duty or striving for pleasure and satisfaction. This elementary choice is always redoubled by a further one, between elevating one’s striving for pleasure into one’s supreme duty, and doing one’s duty not for duty’s sake but for the gratification it brings. In the first case, pleasures are my duty, and the ‘pathological’ striving for pleasure is located in the formal space of duty. In the second case, duty is my pleasure, and doing my duty is located in the formal space of ‘pathological’ satisfactions.Read More:

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Gerome. Dance of the Alma. 1863. Read More:


But the real record is that contemporary militarism is a policy generated in the West in an attempt to redeem the authority of unpopular governments. Bruce Porter, predicting an unravelling of the American state, says “we can expect growing public disdain for the political process, rising unrest in the inner cities, proposals for radical constitutional change, third-party movements, one-term presidents and a serious national identity crisis over what it means to be an American” . It is this crisis of political legitimacy, rather than technology or mass demand that provides the backdrop to contemporary militarism. Read More:

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