Thursday, May 25, 2017

Essay - God in the Shitty Monitor Speaker (May 2017)

Dedicated to:

Craig Finn:
Il miglior dottore

Stephan A. Hoeller:
Ⲡ·ⲥⲁϩ ϩⲟⲗⲱⲥ ⲧⲁ·ⲧⲁⲡⲣⲟ ·ⲛⲁ·ⲱⲁⲡ·ϥ` ⲁⲡ ⲉⲧⲣⲁ·ⲭⲟ·ⲟⲥ ⲭⲉ ⲉⲕ·ⲉⲓⲛⲉ ⲛ·ⲛⲓⲙ`

The Fullness

“Let one who seeks not stop seeking until one finds. When one finds, one will be troubled. When one is troubled, one will marvel and reign over all.”
-The Gospel of Thomas

“I guess Shepard came outta St. Cloud with a little ideology, some new way of thinking. A view to the future. Jesus this might be a mess.”
-The Hold Steady, “I Hope This Whole Thing didn't Frighten You”

I had a spiritual experience while laying on my bunk at the Hartford Correctional Center. I am far from unique in this. Spending high school and a good chunk of college as a militant atheist, rocking a Venom shirt, and blasting Burzum out the open windows as I drove past Sunday morning services may have put me at the far end of the bell curve of likely candidates for a cosmic epiphany, but jail's firm and unforgiving soil seems ideally suited for the cultivation of contact with the divine.

It happened on my third day in custody, just as the dope withdrawals reached their apex. Prior to that day I had counted myself among the millions of people turned off by all that “higher power” business at the NA meetings. However, the Buddha's message of liberation from the suffering that characterizes existence had struck a gong that very much resonated with my mindset during the previous five years spent shuffling my living space from my car to my parents house to detox facilities back to my car all while struggling with the day to day reality of heroin addiction. Starting about six months prior to my incarceration I had gotten into the habit of putting on lectures from a wide variety of Buddhist sects after I came back from my Hartford runs and then listening to expositions of the Dharma as I drifted off into oblivion.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Horror - There are Cruel and Fearsome Things That Prowl the Open Ocean

Mankind believe themselves to have escaped the horrors that preyed on them in bygone ages. Perhaps we are right. Mostly. The torch of scientific progress kindled by Newton and his contemporaries spread like wildfire in the centuries that followed, and drove the beasts that dwelt in our shadows scampering back to the darkened pits that spawned them; turning the hunter into the hunted. Physics, the idea that our world operates through universal and comprehensible laws, castrated the secret magics that had once left kings and peasant children alike shivering in the terror of all-concealing night. Darwin and his concept of evolution banished the ancient monsters with such speed and determination that Heracles himself would have been envious.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Literary Criticism - J.R.R. Tolkien and the concept of Applicability

J.R.R Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” is one of the few works of any medium or genre that sit at the top of both popular and critical opinion. While Tolkien’s narrative, in and of itself, would put the work in the company of the greatest works of fantasy, what, in my opinion, really sets it as above and beyond the greatest masterpiece of the genre is the body of literary theory that acted as a foundation for the work. While Tolkien is unquestionably the most imitated fantasy writer in history, few if any, of the thousands of books published each year seriously explore, never mind advance upon, the theoretical framework that holds the novel together. Many modern readers (and I suspect many modern fantasy writers) are not even aware that Tolkien wrote any literary theory. Because of this, I decided to do my part to spread awareness of this most overlooked part of Tolkien’s corpus by writing about one of my favorite of his theoretical ideas: the notion of Applicability.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Music Criticism - Joy Division - Transmission

The music of Joy Division, like the vast majority of their post-punk peers, weaves the disparate and seemingly irreconcilable threads of punk rock and Krautrock into a single sonic tapestry. If you examine the ancestry of influences in nearly any post-punk group, you will find the DNA of the German experiamental pioneers somewhere in their sound. The auditory chaos of Faust was enthusiastically studied and replicated by The Pop Group, This Heat, and all of the early industrial pioneers. Can took the controlled madness of The Velvet Underground's Sister Ray, an improvisation from hell that fused the rhythmic engine powering Rock'n'Roll with the untameable inventiveness of free jazz, and then extended The Velvet's explorations in a number of new directions. These innovations were in turn picked up by Public Image Ltd, The Fall, and many others. The machine worship of Kraftwerk, when fused with punk rock, spawned the proto-New Wave music of groups like The Talking Heads, and Killing Joke. Each of these groups, and many others, incorporated musical ideas created or refined by the Germans into the punk template. For the most part, however, they remained loyal to the intensity that characterized punk rock, using the abrasive Krautrock experiments as a compliment to the aggressive nature of their punk rock foundation.