Aphorisms XIX

The hatred of brutalism and modernism is a kind of prolonged hate, by the children of imperialists, of something that was made by or at least sometimes for, in a really important way, us, the children of the workers who held the empire for them. These buildings we built, when the people were in real power for the first time, just worry those with that shrunken ideology that would go back but can never outline where to, beyond that road where we slaves were strung up, on the way to the senate. They are a too forward sign that the new did happen, and could happen again.

The fact that they are disliked, helps us to remember their importance. The first mass architecture stripped of everything non-secular, not taking the temple or the church as its model. Not a castle, but a standing commune. You don’t even need to look up who said ‘each Englishman’s home is his castle’. You just know they had a big house, and a big garden, and probably a servant or two.

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What someone considers a massive waste of time, could be made of the knots in their anxietal connectome. I remember agonising over whether to waste time on an author, as if I couldn’t decide for myself. But what is it to be a waste of time – to not repay the time you spend? But why should time be spent thriftily? Isn’t there a fear involved? A fear of being made to look stupid, or worse, feel stupid? Maybe the worst crime would be for something to seem like a good way to spend time, but for it to be, in fact, a massive waste. I still get caught up in all this, trying to guess the shape of a writer or a book, rather than just reading the thing and at some point making a judgement. The bin is always nearby, the delete button, the next webpage.

In fact, what classes as a ‘waste of time’ in some context is probably a useful cultural indicator. That something is notably a waste rather than something you do for fun or don’t even take into the realm of being a waste or not. Don’t you just know that, for some people, everything is a colossal waste.

*

Wouldn’t it be mad if the same people who cry about the recursive part of writing these days (the part always being too concerned with itself) were the same people who say ‘write what you know?’ Well, as a writer, I know writing! So I’ll write that.

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Comradehood is an ontological feature of humanity. Its possibility is built into our species-soul. This is why amoralism or moral nihilism is wrong.

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Parties manoeuvre to control a coalition of forces that will command a majority. Some shift their policies beyond recognition, becoming institutions of the state rather than something that could enter the state and shift it in one direction or the other. Thus you get amorphous coalitions, which tend to congeal in various ways, but in order to remain relevant in a changing world, parties that want to maintain the levers of power change and resculpt the party’s image and goals. That’s a kind of emergent feature of representative democracy – inevitably capture a party with careerists and donors is how it’s represented on an individual level. But it benefits the whole structure of legitimisation, not any one party. So the interest of a party is not to change the world with something that would create a stable state for the country, but rather to take opportunist moves that do not help the country in general. Of course, all of that is a lot easier if you’re rich, and have rich friends.

I hear political commentators take this position all the time, of wondering how the party will reconfigure themselves to win, forgetting that that’s not how a lot of people see the work of politics to be motivated. It’s an institutional viewpoint, whereas the folk understanding and original justification was more to do with changing things.

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An author can have a very similar effect as a concept as a character in a book. Learning the author is a real person with completely different mannerisms and voice to what you thought, seeing them as real, sometimes removes this sui generis element of the authorialness as it applies to them. Never meet your heroes is a symptom of this.

But I’ve ‘met my heroes’, as we all can these days, since it just consists of learning certain things about them. And it creates a different relation to the books, or films, or whatever they make, a joint endeavour with the people of the creative community in their struggle to create worthwhile things for themselves.

Never meet your heroes is the slogan for people who don’t realise their heroes are also people, and not better than them or special on some conceptual level. If you’ve built up a very particular view of someone, all the non-essential or gratuitous elements that infuse the connectome zones concerning them, all suddenly have to get rerouted or cut, and that experience of disillusionment or dissolution is definitely an odd one.

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Even if there was nothing new under the sun, it would still be more fun to act as if there was. The ‘oh!’ rather than the ‘oh…’ And the whole framing forgets generations – new to who? And cultures – new to who?

A teacher gets excited when their pupil learns something new. Then this crackpot comes along: “But human kind has known this for years, I don’t know why you’re making such a big deal of it.” But they’ve never known it in this conjunction. The same, always in a war with the other. This guy is just trying to impress how important he is, relative to them. He, after all, grasped it years ago, it lost all its sheen and is now just a stupid fact, will you shut up about it please?

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The eschatological mind – we are under such constant anxiety as humans living in mass civilisation, that the future for some, mostly precarious workers in the large sense, becomes threatening as such, and that then charges the conceptual space of the future, to the point where it can burn out quite easily. Of course, ‘end of world’ level events happen quite often in human history, so it’s not unrational to think that our world might end. But when that tone begins to tint all our thought, it’s just pointless emphasis, though of course it is a symptom of that anxiety which charges it. This is different to having concrete analysis of a particular encroaching disaster, and then a disappointment when those steps that might prevent it aren’t taken.

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The idea that the loss of god hollows out the point towards which all flows, is the religious structure of the world standing after its keystone has been removed – it falls down after a while, given time, after the stones at the top of the arch collapse. But this worry only exists because the structure was built in the first place.

A hierarchical world given form by an ultimate hierarch, as a connectonomic structure, isn’t exceeded after you become secular. You simply realise that it was always built from secular material.

When you become secular nothing essential about the world changes. Only the way you approach it does. That means the morality of humans has always been secular too, as has the joy and achievement. You become part of a world historic process of de-mythologisation, a process that never quite finishes, due to language liking very much to go on holiday from time to time. But a de-mythologisation isn’t a hatred of gratiuty. Just a bracketing of it, sometimes, when needed.

*

Hedonism is not evil and has nothing to do with good and evil. You may (of course) be a complete hedonist and an honourable and moral person.

It is important to write such things because the people who believe the opposite have an unfortunate tendency to write it down too.

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There is a bias in public ideas towards ideas that are already communally understood. I don’t mean ideas relating to the community. I mean, if a small subset of a group hold certain values, they may be unreasonable to most, and considered fringe or mad ideas, conceptually.

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The soul as spark from beyond – an odd idea. Was it structured, or unstructured? If it had no correlation to physical reality, then it’s structure was not essential structure or didn’t exist or matter. If it was structured, how did it sit in the rest of the mind, and if different from the mind what did it do? Was it the being of ourselves? Was it our heart, or how did we know it to be different?

It was the obvious driver of ourselves, but we are the driver of ourselves. Not something else, that king in the head.

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Metaphysics and ontotheology don’t just give a reason you’re being good. They also give you good reasons why you’re being bad. They don’t necessarily help you particularly in doing either.

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The greatest act of pedantry ever? Bishop Burnet looked at the delicately arranged and scattered vista of the night sky, and said, that’s a shame, they could have been ordered nicely. God made a bad mistake. Better a crystal museum of the stars. Then we might know where we stand in things…

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The aesthetics of the cathedral (and its ancestors in the mosque and temple) and its rituals is such a refined aesthetic, with so much natural reasoning having gone into its sculpting, the way the song combines with the space which is itself a song of the past, the robes and the height. The performance of religion in its affect.

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What is called Culture War, is to some extent, people who have sold out and bought into the system of pre-modern values demanding that their actions also be considered moral and praiseworthy. Despite the many attempts in history, you can’t have your Empire and be considered a saint. You can’t punch someone and demand also that they respect your strength. You can’t have the beautiful cake when it’s in your acid stomach.

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Write what you don’t know, what you have absolutely no idea about. Build castles in the air, out of air, and make bigger castles out of them. Write what you could never have guessed, what no one could have guessed, what no one understands but you. Write whatever the fuck you want!

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The mind doesn’t represent the world. it doesn’t need to, it has the world to do that. What it does is configures itself as a series of connections that react to the world, more or less successfully. Making a map of the world is one thing it can try and do, but thats not the deep thing it does, or the way it does it.

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The development of behaviour – what we know, and how we know it, and what we take to follow from it, changes what we do. That’s all you need to accept, to see that human behaviour changes over time, and will continue to change, due to humans acting on humans and human thoughts.

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If one were to act only to damn the evil, without hope of change or amelioration, that would still be an action well worthwhile.

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The more I think the closer I come to identifying thinking with worry.

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