A Most Beautiful Phrase

I came across a beautiful phrase, while reading Peter Watson‘s door-stopper A Terrible Beauty. This incredible book is an intellectual history of the twenty-first century. In a chapter concerning the birth of modernism in its myriad forms, we are told of how the composer Arnold Schoenberg made it possible to move on from Richard Wagner. To describe this, Watson relates fellow composer Claude Debussy’s remark that Wagner’s music was “a beautiful sunset that was mistaken for a dawn“.

This wonderfully and beautifully encapsulates all manner of ideas that appear revolutionary but are, in fact, dying, ending, or being superseded. The application is numerous and I’m thinking this might – and perhaps must – appear somewhere in my thesis.

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Bad Comments Round #1

The Irish poet, WB Yeats, penned ‘The Second Coming‘ one of the most haunting poems ever conceived; in it, he says:

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

Nowhere more so than on our beloved Internet, of course, where ‘the worst’, often behind a soubriquet, are given a platform to display their ‘passionate intensity’. Yet, often, with passion comes a lack of precision. It seems no fault that often those filled with wrath leave grammar and spelling behind before pushing through into the public domain of commentating. No need to re-read sentences aloud. No! they think. This idiot must know my opinion. He must know why he is wrong! And I am better than he!

xkcd nails it

I get my fair share of comments: some spam, some compliments, the occasional convert on a particular topic, a lot of ad hominem attacks on my character (insensitive, cold, unfeeling, etc., which are not necessarily false, just not helpful to the argument), and then these one or two misspelled, grammatically annihilated paragraphs. I had to write about the latest since it has become my favourite – directed at me after all.

Some time ago, I wrote a review on Rhonda Byrne’s sequel to her best-selling waste of trees, The Secret. Entitled The Power, I proceeded to spend a lot of time and space – really, like, a lot – demolishing her claims, aiming to lay a charge of immorality against her on the grounds of preventing the development of critical, ethical faculties in her audience (which is huge).

It’s doubtful any one of those people even read my review. It’s doubtful even many people in general did! But that’s not the point: My review is there, should anyone wish for such a piece. Yet the last commentator, someone called ‘Brian’, has just posted this little gem about the review. I’m posting it as it’s written (currently):

The author of this naive review should have studied physics properly before writing such a stupid nonsense. You do not know anything about the fifth force which was discovered by scientists and which conrols gravity, don`t you.

I just love it! Read it aloud: “…before writing such a stupid nonsense” is probably my favourite sentence this month.

However, how can one answer the last challenge? I don’t know about the ‘fifth force’ which ‘conrols gravity’, don’t I?! Er, no. I mean yes. Wait… I mean… What?!

I’ve learnt to adore these sorts of comments instead of ignore or be irritated by them. This is thanks to the most important video of the last few months: ‘Dot Dot Dot’. To anyone who blogs or writes online, I demand you watch this beautiful, brilliant clip. You’ll thank me. All you’ll hear in future is the great voice actor, D-Mac Double, reading your commentator’s misspelled idiocies.

Have stranth! Beacuase bad comments, like the Internet, are not going to die any time soon.

Please leave some of your favourite “bad comments” in the, um, comments section below. I want to start collecting them.

Koos Kombuis Cooks Up a Bit of Nonsense

Koos Kombuis, wonderful writer that he is, has written something even I cannot understand. As someone who loves Pynchon and Faulkner, I would like to think the inability to detect irony, sarcasm and black humour has largely evaporated from my misty literary vision. Writing in the, um, ‘prolific’ Thought Leader, Kombuis begins making noises very much in the spirit of many postmodern writers, like Lyotard and – more closely – Bauman and New Age ‘thinkers’.

Kombuis’ focus is on the various stages of Man’s thought and his ‘spiritual evolution’, as he ascends to the pinnacle of consciousness, to finally gain enlightenment, crossing thus into the zenith of the twilight within… Or something like that. In fact, though it has hints of Bauman, Lyotard and perhaps Zizek, it begins sounding more like the New Thought and New Age nonsense peddled by for example Opraholics. Indeed, it sounds like the very thing he – correctly – thinks is nonsense. Continue reading

Zuma Solves the God Problem

I’m so delighted. After all my philosophising and arguments, my disdain and wondering, my curiosity and reading, I can finally answer the question of god’s existence. Praise His name! Not only does the Christian god exist, ladies and gentleman, but I know an almost certain way to get into the lovely domain of Heaven: Vote ANC.

 

"Invisible men in the sky talk to me! Aren't you glad I'm your president!"

It’s so simple. Here I am doing an ethics course, struggling through the difficult dilemmas raised when people with different beliefs and different values come into conflict over a singular issue. What? That’s politics you say? Don’t be silly. Vote ANC! Continue reading

Hiatus

This blog might be a bit anesthetised considering I am working on two papers for publications in philosophy journals (“working on” doesn’t mean either will be published, but it is important practice for me, nonetheless). I have also begun working and researching on my thesis, provisionally titled: Unsanctifying Life: Moral and Policy Implications. But due to it’s sounding almost exactly like Peter Singer’s collection of essays (Unsanctifying Human Life, edited by Helga Kuhsa), I think I might change it. Maybe something like The Moral Necessity of Unsanctifying Life: Personal and Policy Implications.

My focus is on the impact of bad metaphysical nonsense and supernatural-type claims on human life. However, I also look at reasons for maintaining sanctified views, even among secular people and society. Thus, I will dealing with: suffering, evil, death, suicide, killing, the four principles of biomedical ethics (Beauchamp and Childers), medical ethics, procreation and adoption, and the “meaninglessness of life”.

My purpose is not to upset people; it has and will always be about remaining consistent with arguments. If emotions are upset so much the worse for emotions – but I would rather have a clearer understanding of our moral principles, arguments and the effects of our moral decision-making than maintain the flatline of emotions which we tend to pacify with appeals to the sanctity-of-life. Whatever that means. So my apologies for the very few who follow this blog.

Here is a picture of a kitten so that you can’t be mad at me for unblogging my life for the next few weeks.