February 22, 2012 at 19:38 | Posted in Everything | Leave a comment
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Walden, or, Life in the Woods: A Summary, A Quotation

February 20, 2012 at 02:18 | Posted in Everything | 2 Comments

Portrait of Thoreau

“Not till we are lost, in other words not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations.”

Henry David Thoreau’s experiment, his most famous American excursion, was to live in the woods of Connecticut for a year, in a self-sustaining cabin during the late 1800’s. He did this to see if it were possible to live a higher life on a lower level of means, to see whether or not he could combine the hardiness of the savage with the intellectual capacities of the civilized man. He went to the woods to find himself, to find company there that he had not found in the world of men. He left men to see whether or not one could make a poor man’s living and live like a monarch. And he certainly did.

Often heralded as a preeminent transcendentalist, Thoreau was something more than his contemporaries, like Emerson:  he was thoroughly entranced by the natural world and wanted to experience it as it was. Emerson was not as “wild” as Thoreau; Thoreau even criticizes his friend as being too stuffy at some point in his writings. Unlike the transcendentalists, he saw the spiritual in all things, including man, but not in man alone. And I assume he was more down to earth than his contemporaries, who were, in my opinion, too Eastern in thought.

The heart of Thoreau’s experiment was to escape the superfluity of civilization, which could include anything that surpassed the necessary means of life. He wished to live simply, modestly, for his own sake, really. Such a selfish mode of living, perhaps; but in the end, the experiment was supposed to wake his neighbors. He described himself as bragging “as lustily as a chanticleer in the morning,” singing to them this unsung way of life, so that they who were either poor in currency or poor in spirit could find either of those things.

In this very “boring” book, as most call it, Thoreau put forth some very dangerous ideas that could easily shake up the supposed necessity of superfluity in civilization. He put forth this idea in less than a page, whereas philosophers have had to write whole volumes on the subject:

“But men labor under a mistake. The better part of the man is soon plowed into the soil for compost. By a seeming fate, commonly called necessity, they are employed, as it says in an old book, laying up treasures which moth and rust will corrupt and thieves break through and steal. It is a fool’s life, as they will find when they get to the end of it, if not before.”

Man digs his own grave, working for the money to pay for his coffin! And who benefits? Everyone ends up getting better coffins, that’s all. Preposterous way of life! What does Thoreau tell us to do about this?

“When he has obtained those things which are necessary to life, there is another alternative than to obtain the superfluities; and that is, to adventure on life now, his vacation from humbler toil having commenced.”

When we finally acquire the means of living, which are shelter, clothing, food, and fire, we shall be ready to journey, just as our ancestors did. The fundamental problem of the modern era is the stillness of life (or the grounding of life, i.e. in permanent cities) that has been brought about by the culture of the West. Instead of remaining inert in these places, why not use them as save havens, for when we are in danger outside of them?

Thoreau wittingly states that a farmer who works his entire life to pay off the price of his house, does not own the house:  it owns him.

What does Thoreau think about the artistic movements of his time, that wished to free men from this terrible condition?

“The best works of art are the expression of man’s struggle to free himself from this condition, but the effect of our art is merely to make this low state comfortable and that higher state to be forgotten. “

The effect of an art that expresses an ideal is an unfortunate one:  it allows us to experience the ideal without changing anything about ourselves. So we remain imprisoned under the illusion that we are free through our art.

So, art doesn’t help us out of this civilized nightmare. What do we do to escape the drudgery of civilized life? Thoreau states this quite clearly in his “mission statement” found a good ways into the book:

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. “

And so he did. The “boring” part of the book comes after his philosophical section titled “Economy.” Thoreau talks about how he discovered life, and it is one of the most beautiful texts I’ve ever laid my hands on.

I’ll end with that quotation I promised in the title:

“I had this advantage, at least, in my mode of life, over those who were obliged to look abroad for amusement, to society and theatre, that my life itself was become my amusement and never ceased to be novel. It was a drama of many scenes and without an end. If we were always, indeed, getting our living, and regulating our lives according to the last and best mode we had learned, we should never be troubled with ennui.”

 

February 18, 2012 at 17:01 | Posted in Everything | 2 Comments

An Interesting Theory: On Apocalyptic Films

February 16, 2012 at 12:44 | Posted in Everything | 6 Comments

Slavoj Zizek is at it again when he is interviewed about his famously humorous but equally insightful usage of pop culture to describe philosophy.

An interesting idea is posed in the interview about the nature of “catastrophe” in modern day films. Zizek says that the proliferation of apocalyptic films in America and the fascination with the apocalypse has arisen out of the falling away of capitalism. He also cites that as capitalism collapses, human solidarity (or strength of relationship) is collapsing as well.

Thus, in such movies as 2012, 99% of humanity must die in order that a family of humans may live and discover that they love each other. The state of humanity is so sad today that the majority of people would never “know” each other unless all of humanity was wiped out.

Skip to 1:03 in order to hear Zizek say this (he explains better than I do):

Thought Dump. (One of many)

February 15, 2012 at 12:14 | Posted in Everything | 4 Comments

Collection of shit I wrote down. Or shit that adheres to some of my values, enjoy if you like, no one is forcing you though.

FOLLOWING STATEMENT IS RETARDED, PLEASE IGNORE. (Nate)

“Forget why it’s hard to say “Merry Christmas”. Forget why it’s hard to “Be a Man in America”. Forget that it’s hard to be a teenager. Forget it’s hard to be a woman. Forget that it’s hard to live in poverty. Because no matter the circumstances, you will always be prosecuted for being a human being, you will always suffer for being a human being. It’s not just hard to do these things, It’s just hard to be a fucking human being, and we should never assume there is a Universal truth, as there is only one Universal truth and that Universal truth is that there are no Universal truths.”

“Fear of action because of failure is no better then action with the possibility of failure.”

“Ironic that media became the very reason why it exists in the first place.” (I’m well aware of how redundant this sounds)

“Debaters armed only with the knowledge of their opponents weakness are morons.”

This needs no explanation.

I’m Designer

February 14, 2012 at 16:09 | Posted in Everything | Leave a comment

 

IT’S VALENTINES DAY!

February 14, 2012 at 07:00 | Posted in Everything | Leave a comment

valentinesday.png

Raging 1000 Suns.

February 13, 2012 at 13:58 | Posted in Everything | Leave a comment

(Caution: Loud)

Time to blow this fucker down

February 13, 2012 at 13:38 | Posted in Everything | 6 Comments

Alright motherfuckers listen up.

I’ve been away from wordpress for about 2 years, with Enox coming around again I decided to get my shit together and coordinate with him on something collaborative. Of course, there’s also the AKHlog, nothing wrong with that. Although the only thing I know about AKH is…well fucking nothing, it’s been awhile, call me bro.

So it’s me, Nate. Ready to contribute my excellent but rather silent opinions to the open world. Or at least have a good laugh or two.

thanks again AKH for inviting me, I didn’t really know you’d approve, Figured you didn’t like me or something but whatever, I’ll live.

As for what to write in the future? I will probably just post what I find interesting. If you want some erotic philosophy, Enox has you covered, or if that isn’t enough, you also have AKH, nuff said. Really, nothing more to say.

~ Nate

The AKHLog Has A Fourth Author Again

February 13, 2012 at 13:34 | Posted in Everything | Leave a comment

Everyone welcome Nate/Doomkaiser/Lunacy, yo. :3

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