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Out of control. So what.

January 1, 2018

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Out of control.

Nothing is so insufferable to man as to be completely at rest, without passions, without business, without diversion, without study. He then feels his nothingness, his forlornness, his insufficiency, his dependence, his weakness, his emptiness. There will immediately rise from the depth of his heart weariness, gloom, sadness, fretfulness, vexation, despair.” ~ Blaise Pascal, 1650

Through engagement with mundane affairs the self’s delusion of control is maintained as a method of self assertion during a lifetime of endless distraction. In Pascal’s time, this busy-ness was necessitated  by the rise of science and the growing inability of European mankind to ‘rest’ in the faith of an omnipresent God. But in the modern era, when business, play and passions are all provided and managed by unknowable global corporations, broadcast media and internet providers, this delusion of personal control can not be maintained. Needless to say, for industrialized humanity there is no God in sight. Outside and above the global economy there is … Zero.

So we see the widespread feelings of nothingness, forlornness, insufficiency, weakness, and emptiness rising from heart of society as weariness, gloom, sadness, fretfulness, vexation and especially despair. And we also see the perfectly natural response in the rise of Trump and authoritarians worldwide, along with the rise of narrow and easy identity politics and fake tribalist tendencies in general.

From the mid 1950s onward until his death, John Cage advised us to embrace Indeterminancy. To put aside fear and relinquish the control we never really had; to allow the world to unfold as it will anyway. It was not a call to a stupified, doped-up inaction and purposeful ignorance, nor was it a call to avoid the difficult and unpleasant in favor of a sacred comfort zone. It was simply a call to be relaxed in the face of uncertainty; to stop “grasping at emptiness”, as John Giorno might say.

As I have said before, “Capitalism is killing us, Socialism can’t save us, and no one knows what happens next.” It is the “no one knows what happens next” aspect that is the real terror of our Western time. Embrace it.


My photos are on Flickr
Follow me on Instagram @smalagodi

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The Enchantment

December 27, 2017

 

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Music is invisible, and so we say that it is something spiritual, something vital that moves without being seen, that acts without being understood. Its immortality is that of the gods, always alive, always in motion, always elusive, always beyond restraint.

It is the opposite with photography. Because a photograph is visible, imprisoned in a frame, we falsely say it is a memory. We absurdly say we have captured a moment. A captured moment is a dead moment. A photograph has the immortality of a mummy, unmoving and fixed. Fragile, like an insect pinned to an index card, scientific and very much dead. A terracotta soldier.

It is in this motionless, eternal death-mask that we find their sleeping beauty, their enchantment.


My photos are on Flickr
Follow me on Instagram @smalagodi

It all adds up to something we think we’ve seen before.

December 25, 2017

Every bit of matter, every bit, remembers.
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Every bit of matter in the material universe acts as a recording medium.
The mass of a particle in motion makes a dent on the surface of its neighbor.
Like the craters of the moon, a record of impact.
So it is with a photograph.
The photons strike the sensor
A change is made on a surface
And we recognize the pattern.
It all adds up to something
We think we’ve seen before.
But we’re wrong.


My photos are on Flickr
Follow me on Instagram @smalagodi

One Photon Deep

December 16, 2017

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If a photon had depth,
we could say say that just below the surface,
one photon deep,
traced by the layout of the irregular frame,
just below the surface of grass and trees
benches and monoliths of words,
just in back of the alcoholic eyes,
there is a vast emptiness
on which Kerouac Park rests.


My photos are on Flickr
Follow me on Instagram @smalagodi

Dancing

October 5, 2017

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Dancing is what happens
When the wind blows as music.



My photos are on Flickr
Follow me on Instagram @smalagodi

America Believes It Is White

March 31, 2017

Because America still thinks it’s White.

Because it thinks it’s the West of the West.

Because it forgot the Arab saved the Greek.

Because it forgot the Moors brought the science.

Because it forgot so much English is Sanskrit.

Because it forgot all the White-on-White wars.

Because the Statue of Liberty

Was recast as White.

Because Langston Hughes

Was never, too, America.

Because it believes that White is a thing.

Because it believes that that thing is It.

Because it believes that that It is Itself.

 

Because America still thinks it’s White

That’s why we need all these guns.


My photos are on Flickr
Follow me on Instagram @smalagodi

Rabbits to Wolves

February 4, 2017

The best that can be hoped for at this point is a little blood to put above the door of your shelter in superstitious hope that the gods of America will leave you alone.

In times past champions would rise up from among you; King, X, Ali and Simone for example, to show you your errors. Enough of you listened then so that wisdom and benevolence were just sufficient defense against the ancient native-soil gods of vengeance. Today, you have no champions, no wisdom, no charity that does not bring you rewards, and, no defense.

There are a few among you who will die well. The rest will be as rabbits to wolves.

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