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There were 365 results from your search for keyword(s): 'Truth & Real'.
- "A series of outrages," Mr. Vladimir continued calmly, "executed here in this country; not only planned here -- that would not do -- they would not mind. Your friends could set half the Continent on fire without influencing the public opinion here in favour of a universal repressive legislation. They will not look outside their backyard here."
Source: The Secret Agent, p. 21
- "I have to see this through. It's how I am. I like to be on the edge of the territory."
"The horizon of the real," I whispered.
Alice and I were the same size. We displaced the same amount of air. But when we embraced she became elusive and darting, like a remora fish. When I held her I imagined that I could crane my neck and kiss the small of her back, or reach around to clasp my own shoulders in my hands.
Source: As She Climbed Across the Table, p. 12
- "I mean to say, first, that there's but poor comfort in being able to declare that any given act of violence -- damaging property or destroying life -- is not the work of anarchism at all, but of something else altogether -- some species of authorized scoundrelism. This, I fancy, is much more frequent than we suppose...[T]he existence of these spies amongst the revolutionary groups which we are reproached for harboring here, does away with all certitude."
Source: The Secret Agent, p. 93
- "I'm dreaming of a city / It was my own invention."...At the same time, a city exists. Another lyric from "What a Day That Was" explodes the dream with fierce actuality: "There are fifty thousand beggars / Roaming in the streets." If your gaze was really steady enough to see what's before you, there might be reasons to wish to leave this place.
Source: Fear of Music, p. 65
- "Men, women, statesmen, courtesans, plotters...and yet, in the mind of each the dread questions are constantly impending -- 'What is it that threatens?' -- 'And for whom?' -- 'If Death, then who shall be the victim?' -- 'Who the murderer?' -- 'Where the scene of the tragedy?' -- 'Shall it be I who will strike the fatal blow?' -- 'Or shall I receive it?' ..."
He paused again, staring dramatically at the corner of the ceiling. "And the end -- dramatic, inevitable, but veiled in mystery....'Was there a murder?' -- 'Who was the victim?' -- they shall ask, my characters. And as each sinks shudderingly to sleep -- 'Was it I who killed, last night as I thought I slept?' -- 'Am I, even now, am I dead?'... Ah! Yes! It shall be my greatest work, that. It would go well in the American Mercury, don't you think?"
Source: The Eater of Darkness, p. 144-145
- "No, Sir Ethelred. In principle, I should lay it down that the existence of secret agents should not be tolerated, as tending to augment the positive dangers of the evil against which they are used. That the spy will fabricate his information is a mere commonplace. But in the sphere of political and revolutionary action, relying partly on violence, the professional spy has every facility to fabricate the very facts themselves, and will spread the double evil of emulation in one direction, and of panic, hasty legislation, unreflecting hate, on the other. However, this is an imperfect world -- " [The Assistant Commissioner to the Secretary of State]
Source: The Secret Agent, p. 92
- "Phantom ware countermeasures."
"Wait, you're supposed to be pro-phantomware, what's with this 'counter'?"
"We built it, we disable it. You're frowning. We're beyond good and evil here, the technology, it's neutral, eh?"
Source: Bleeding Edge, p. 89
- "See is just a movie in your eyes," said Garth. "It's not out in the world."
"It's not out there, it's not dark matter or anything else. It's just in your eyes. A movie. And the only difference is that everyone else has the same movie playing. Cynthia, Philip, Alice, their movies agree. So they can see. You and I are watching the wrong movie, so we're blind."
Evan and I were silent.
Source: As She Climbed Across the Table, p. 134
- "The trouble is that when they have taken Peyote, they no longer obey us."
"It is the same with Peyote as it is with everything human. It is a marvelous magnetic and alchemical principle, provided one knows how to take it -- that is to say, in the proper doses and according to the proper gradations. And above all, provided one does not take it at the wrong time or in the wrong place. If after taking Peyote the Indians seem to go mad, it is because they are abusing it in order to reach that point of disorderly intoxication in which the soul is no longer subject to anything. In so doing, it is not you whom they are disobeying but Ciguri itself, for Ciguri is the God of the Prescience of the just, of equilibrium and of self-control. He who has truly imbibed Ciguri, the true meter and measure of Ciguri, MAN and not indeterminate PHANTOM, knows how things are made and he can no longer lose his reason, because it is God who is in his nerves and who guides them.
Source: The Peyote Dance, p. 28
- "The vigilance of the police -- and the severity of the magistrates. The general leniency of the judicial procedure here, and the utter absence of all repressive measures, are a scandal to Europe. What is wished for just now is the accentuation of the unrest..."
Source: The Secret Agent, p. 12
- "There is inside me something horrible which rises and which does not come from me, but from the shadows that I have in me, where the soul of man does not know where the I begins and where it ends, or what made it begin as it sees itself. And this is what Ciguri tells me. With Ciguri I no longer know untruth and I no longer confuse that which wills truly in every man with that which does not will but mimics being with ill will. And soon that is all there will be," he said, retreating several steps: "this obscene mask of someone sniggering between the sperm and the dung."
These words of the Priest which I have just reported are absolutely authentic;...he had just taken Peyote and I was not surprised at his lucidity.
Source: The Peyote Dance, p. 35
- "What is desired," said the man of papers, "is the occurrence of something definite which should stimulate their vigilance. That is within your province -- is it not so?"
Source: The Secret Agent, p. 12
- "You have been treasonously consorting with the enemy," he says.
So it is out. "Treasonously consorting": a phrase out of a book.
"We are at peace here," I say, "we have no enemies." There is silence. "Unless I make a mistake," I say. "Unless we are the enemy."
Source: Waiting for the Barbarians, p. 77
- "You know, during those interviews I had an idea: one could prepare them in advance, for radio and television, as a sort of stockpile: on amalgamation, wages, cultural affairs, on domestic and foreign policy, on security matters. One could even introduce slight variations to provide a semblance of actuality...it's possible that the taped word sounds more alive than the live word -- Veronica once tried to explain to me that artificial birds, mechanical ones, can walk more naturally than live birds -- I keep thinking about that -- in the same way a sound or video tape might sound much more spontaneous than a live interview -- what they call live is deader than dead. As dead as the little paper that died under my hands -- and proliferates..."
Source: The Safety Net, p. 226-227
- 'Atomics is a very intricate theorem and can be worked out with algebra but you would want to take it by degrees because you might spend the whole night proving a bit of it with rulers and cosines and similar other instruments and then at the wind-up not believe what you had proved at all. If that happened you would have to go back over it till you got a place where you could believe your own facts and figures as delineated from Hall and Knight's Algebra and then go on again from that particular place till you had the whole thing properly believed and not have bits of it half-believed or a doubt in your head hurting you like when you lose the stud of your shirt in bed.'
Source: The Third Policeman, p. 73
- 'Being realistic' may once have meant coming to terms with a reality experienced as solid and immovable. Capitalist realism, however, entails subordinating oneself to a reality that is infinitely plastic, capable of reconfiguring itself at any moment. We are confronted with what Jameson, in his essay 'The Antinomies of the Postmodern', calls 'a purely fungible present in which space and psyches alike can be processed and remade at will'...How could it ever be possible for us to believe successive or even co-extensive stories that so obviously contradict one another? Yet we know from Kant, Nietzsche and psychoanalysis that waking, as much as dreaming, experience, depends upon just such screening narratives. If the Real is unbearable, any reality we construct must be a tissue of inconsistencies. What differentiates Kant, Nietzsche and Freud from the tiresome cliché that 'life is but a dream' is the sense that the confabulations we live are consensual. The idea that the world we experience is a solipsistic delusion projected from the interior of our mind consoles rather than disturbs us, since it conforms with our infantile fantasies of omnipotence; but the thought that our so-called interiority owes its existence to a fictionalized consensus will always carry an uncanny charge.
Source: Capitalist Realism, p. 54-56
- 'Has it ever occurred to you, Oedipa, that somebody's putting you on? That this is all a hoax, maybe something Inverarity set up before he died?'
It had occurred to her. But like the thought that someday she would have to die, Oedipa had been steadfastly refusing to look at that possibility directly, or in any but the most accidental of lights. 'No,' she said,' that's ridiculous.'
Fallopian watched her, nothing if not compassionate. 'You ought,' quietly, 'really, you ought to think about it. Write down what you can't deny. Your hard intelligence. But then write down what you've only speculated, assumed. See what you've got. At least that.'
Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 129
- 'It is true,' he said, 'that you cannot commit a crime and that the right arm of the law cannot lay its finger on you irrespective of the degree of your criminality. Anything you do is a lie and nothing that happens to you is true.'
I nodded my agreement comfortably.
'For that reason alone,' said the Sergeant, 'we can take you and hang the life out of you and you are not hanged at all and there is no entry to be made in the death papers. The particular death you die is not even a death (which is an inferior phenomenon at the best) only an insanitary abstraction in the backyard, a piece of negative nullity neutralized and rendered void by asphyxiation and the fracture of the spinal string. If it is not a lie to say that you have been given the final hammer behind the barrack, equally it is true to say that nothing has happened to you.'
'You mean that because I have no name I cannot die and that you cannot be held answerable for death even if you kill me?'
'That is about the size of it,' said the Sergeant.
Source: The Third Policeman, p. 88
- 'Simulacrum' must be understood here in its strong sense: all the formal traits of a truth are at work in the simulacrum. Not only a universal nomination of the event, inducing the power of a radical break, but also the 'obligation' of a fidelity, and the promotion of a simulacrum of the subject, erected -- without the advent of any Immortal -- above the human animality of the others, of those who are arbitrarily declared not to belong to the communitarian substance whose promotion and domination the simulacrum-event is designed to assure.
Source: Ethics, p. 74
- 'Still, I'm convinced he suffered on. Perhaps more.'
'It seems odd, doesn't it,' Edward had said, 'after he sat on a dung-heap and suffered from skin-sores and put up with his friends' gloating, and lost his family and his cattle, that he should have to go on suffering.'
'It became a habit,' Harvey said, 'for he not only argued the problem of suffering, he suffered the problem of argument. And that is incurable.'
Source: The Only Problem, p. 350
- 'There is me, there are the others. You know, with the LSD, we're finding, the distinction begins to vanish. Egos lose their sharp edges. But I never took the drug, I chose to remain in relative paranoia, where at least I know who I am and who the others are. Perhaps that is why you also refused to participate, Mrs Maas?' He held the rifle at sling arms and beamed at her. 'Well, then. You were supposed to deliver a message to me, I assume. From them. What were you supposed to say?'
Oedipa shrugged. 'Face up to your social responsibilities,' she suggested. 'Accept the reality principle. You're outnumbered and they have superior firepower.'
Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 104
- 'There is one puzzle,' I remarked, 'that is hurting the back of my head and causing me a lot of curiosity. It is about the bicycle. I have never heard of detective-work as good as that being done before. Not only did you find the lost bicycle but you found all the clues as well. I find it is a great strain for me to believe what I see, and I am becoming afraid occasionally to look at some things in case they would have to be believed. What is the secret of your constabulary virtuosity?'
He laughed at my earnest inquiries and shook his head with great indulgence at my simplicity.
Source: The Third Policeman, p. 71
- 'To win the energies of intoxication for the revolution' -- in other words, poetic politics? 'We have tried that beverage. Anything, rather than that!' Well, it will interest you all the more how much an excursion into poetry clarifies things. For what is the programme of the bourgeois parties? A bad poem on springtime, filled to bursting with metaphors. The socialist sees that 'finer future of our children and grandchildren' in a condition in which all act 'as if they were angels', and everyone has as much 'as if he were rich', and everyone lives 'as if he were free'. Of angels, wealth, freedom, not a trace. These are mere images. And the stock imagery of these poets of the social-democratic associations? Their gradus ad parnassum? Optimism...Surrealism has come ever closer to the Communist answer. And that means pessimism all along the line. Absolutely.
Source: Surrealism: the Last Snapshot of the European Intelligentsia, p. 55
- 'You know what a miracle is. Not what Bakunin said. But another world's intrusion into this one. Most of the time we coexist peacefully, but when we do touch there's cataclysm.'
Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 91
- Apparently there is no limit, Joe remarked. Anything can be said in this place and it will be true and will have to be believed.
Source: The Third Policeman, p. 74
- Down Below is as much a work of paranoiac theory as a memoir of Carrington's nervous illness; its paranoia is characterized not only by its unconscious production of symptoms (interpretive delirium, persecution mania) but also by its auto-analysis and its self-conscious ties to surrealist discourse...Indeed, Carrington's narrative of "inner experience" is in dialogue with the writings on paranoia that form a central part of surrealist thinking in the 1930s and again in the mid-1940s...[and] show Carrington in the process of redirecting paranoiac theory toward contemporary surrealist thinking about collective social myths.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 218
- Promise me this, my child. -- The immorality of lying does not consist in the offence against sacrosanct truth. An appeal to truth is scarcely a prerogative of a society which dragoons its members to own up the better to hunt them down. It ill befits universal untruth to insist on particular truth, while immediately converting it into its opposite. Nevertheless, there is something repellent about a lie, and awareness of this, though inculcated by the traditional whip, yet throws light on the gaolers. Error lies in excessive honesty. A man who lies is ashamed, for each lie teaches him the degradation of a world which, forcing him to lie in order to live, promptly sings the praises of loyalty and truthfulness. This shame undermines the lying of more subtly organized natures. They do it badly, which alone really makes the lie a moral offence against the other. It implies his stupidity, and so serves to express contempt. Among today's adept practitioners, the lie has long since lost its honest function of misrepresenting reality. Nobody believes anybody, everyone is in the know. Lies are told only to convey to someone that one has no need either of him or his good opinion. The lie, once a liberal means or communication, has today become one of the techniques of insolence enabling each individual to spread around him the glacial atmosphere in whose shelter he can thrive.
Source: Minima Moralia, p. 30
- [C]amouflage is a word trying desperately to live up to its name, scattering fairy dust in your eyes, blinding you in two different ways. One is camouflage through blending to the point of concealment, as with mimicry; the other is to dazzle, by which I mean to distort and to misdirect attention as with cubist-style painting. Misdirection is what conjurors and pickpockets purportedly do, and this is why camouflage is sometimes said to belong to the same universe as magic and pulling off the perfect crime, a point not lost on the British War Office, which, in 1940, established its Camouflage Centre wit a team including a magician, a surrealist painter, and a famous zoologist. Although these two principles, blending and dazzling, seem opposed, they very often combine in nature, which includes warfare and politics. This apparent contradiction is worth thinking about as it goes, I believe, to the heart of life.
Source: Zoology, Magic, and Surrealism in the War on Terror, p. S107
- More ethical than utopian, surrealist writing and art are at once endlessly playful -- dismembered, self-reflexive, allusive -- and deadly serious. Dislodged from its rationalist claim to define and describe existing appearances, surrealist verbal and visual language constitutes a new form of materialism that entered instead into the more contested realm of thinking. That is, as language described by Maurice Blanchot as "rhetoric become matter," it does not so much state as refract, rearrange, delve, and surpass its own claims...[T]he rifts, disagreements, and exclusions through which surrealism consistently reinvented itself reflect the volatility of a movement bent on challenging the silent pacts that guarantee reality as a verifiable set of givens. At the same time, the outbursts of crime and terror animating surrealist work draw attention to the ways in which violent historical phenomena likewise throw into relief the conflicting systems of representation and understanding used to make sense of them. As a lens for political analysis, the varied public and institutional responses to crime -- from the measurement systems of Bertillon cards to the splashy sensationalism of the penny press -- could certainly be used to problematize the limits and excesses of the immediate cultural order...Approached in this way, crime discourse could do more than reflect contemporary social and political systems; it could form the very language through which the historical forces governing these systems might be rendered concrete.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 12-13
- A good deal of academic ink has also been spilled studying 9/11 as a "conspiracy theory" phenomenon. The scholars who author this literature -- many of whom practice in the social sciences, but there are a few lawyers as well -- regard those who question the official version of 9/11 as "conspiracy theorists" who should not under any circumstances be engaged on their evidentiary claims but rather objectified and studied in an effort to ascertain the cause of their distemper.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 6
- A lucid dream is a dream in which the dreamer is conscious of dreaming but does not wake up. Although lucid dreams happen spontaneously to some people there are also a variety of techniques for inducing them. But the fact that some special effort is required to have a lucid dream points to the fact that our natural reaction to perceptions in dreams is to regard them as caused by external objects, rather than by our own minds. So it seems that our view of sensory information both in the waking state and in the dream state is generally determined by the principle of externality: in both cases we regard the source of the information to be something that is both external to us and existing independently of us. It requires a particular cognitive effort to question in a dream whether the things one sees are indeed caused by external sources, an effort that appears to be essential in inducing lucid dreaming.
Source: Twelve Examples of Illusion, p. 54
- A second secret element is the clandestine headquarters, which should consist of a 'tiny number of men' who were willing and prepared to undertake 'more or less concerted action' (Mariën, 1989: 67). As a first task, the group should produce a basic liquid capital required for initiating the campaign. To this purpose, Mariën’s (1989) envisages 'real' terrorist acts:
"[T]he single opportunity to procure that money obviously consists in getting it there, where it is. [...] A blade against the throat, the threat of some Asian torture as well as hostage-taking would make each bank manager a precious and entirely compliant auxiliary tool. [...] Employees and customers [...] are not at all prepared to resist the onslaught of machine pistols, hand grenades, teargas or, if necessary, flamethrowers." (pp.122, 127)
Source: Surrealistic communication as symbolic terrorism: The example of Marcel Mariën’s theory of political campaigning, p. 197
- According to this [Buddhist] cognitive understanding, substance is regarded as an illusory superimposition that the mind naturally projects onto objects when attempting to conceptualize the world. Independent of one's particularly theoretical position concerning the existence or nonexistence of substance, substance is something that is superimposed on ordinary objects in the process of conceptualization. The different elements that make up a person, a body, beliefs, thoughts, desires, and so forth, for example, are seen as a single, permanent, independent self, due to the superimposition of substance on such a basis. The same happens when ordinary material things that have parts are apprehended as a single, permanent, independent objects.
It is because this cognitive default of the superimposition of substance is seen as the primary cause of suffering that the Buddhist philosophers draw a distinction between the understanding or arguments establishing emptiness and its realization. Being convinced by some Buddhist argument that substances do not exist does not usually entail that the things will not still appear to us as being substances or at least as being based on substances. The elimination of this appearance is only achieved by the realization of emptiness. The ultimate aim of the Buddhist project is therefore not just the establishment of a particular philosophical theory, but the achievement of a cognitive change. The elimination of substance as a theoretical posit by means of arguments has to be followed by its elimination as an automatically cognitive superimposition by means of specific practices.
Source: Twelve Examples of Illusion, p. 47
- All pseudopatients took extensive notes publicly...Nursing records for three patients indicate that the writing was seen as an aspect of their pathological behavior. "Patient engages in writing behavior" was the daily nursing comment on one of the pseudopatients who was never questioned about his writing. Given that the patient is in the hospital, he must be psychologically disturbed. And given that he is disturbed, continuous writing must be a behavioral manifestation of that disturbance...
Source: On Being Sane In Insane Places, p. 253
- Already, in moving from the silents to the talkies, then to colour and 3-D and the current range of special effects, the cinematographic illusion faded as the technical prowess increased. No empty space any more, no ellipsis, no silence. The more we move towards that perfect definition, that useless perfection, the more the power of the illusion is lost.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 32
- Although Stone [in Damascus Gate] analyzes the psychology of the true believer, he seems much less interested in those traditional subjects of the realistic novel, middle-class people who live in families and go to work. As a result, the novel's politics are also skewed toward extremism...Stone's Israel itself seems more of an idea, or a system, than a country where real people live.
This derealization of so much of Israel makes it rather too easy for the novel to espouse a conspiratorial view of Israeli politics. In The Mandelbaum Gate, the discovery of a spy is still a major plot development; our inability, in Operation Shylock, to be sure of having penetrated the spy's last disguise, is still a source of mystery. But Damascus Gate starts out with the assumption that Mossad routinely encourages Palestinian terrorist factions; even Hamas is an Israeli operation that got out of control. It is an easy assumption that "Palestinians" beating up informers are really Israeli soldiers beating up their more effective opponents, or that the government encourages gunrunning and drug running in the Occupied Territories. On the political plane, distinctions between legitimate and illegitimate force are not just obscured -- they have ceased to exist. The novel suggests that believing in an apocalyptic cult or a revolutionary underground is quite understandable but hardly imagines anyone delusional enough to take electoral politics seriously.
Having lived with Watergate, the Iran-Contra scandal, and Monica Lewinsky, a contemporary American can hardly find this cynicism strange...
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 135
- And yet, can the knowledge deriving from reason even begin to compare with knowledge perceptible by sense? No doubt the number of people crass enough to rely exclusively on the former and scorn the latter are sufficient in themselves to explain the disfavour into which everything deriving from the senses has gradually fallen. But when the most scholarly of men have taught me that light is a vibration, or have calculated its wavelengths for me, or offered me any other fruits of their labours of reasoning, they will still not have rendered me an account of what is important to me about light, of what my eyes have begun to teach me about it, of what makes me different from a blind man -- things which are the stuff of miracles, not subject matter for reasoning.
Source: Paris Peasant, p. 9
- Anthony Kubiak, in Stages of Terror (1991), does endeavour to offer a theory of how terrorism's violence and mediation become entangled. Like Zulaika and Douglass, he prefaces his investigation by foregrounding the role played by the media: 'Terrorism first appears in culture as a media event. The terrorist, consequently, does not exist before the media image, and only exists subsequently as a media image in culture.' In light of this, Kubiak argues that we need to 'reverse' the usual emphasis on the 'symbiosis' of the two: 'the media do not merely need and support terrorism, they construct it mimetically as a phenomenon'. As I have already shown, such a view is not uncommon in terrorism studies more generally, and not without its critics.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 17
- Apart from the official framing of news, the US entertainment industry too plays an important role in shaping global perceptions about terrorism. The Hollywood-dominated 'Military-Industrial-Media-Entertainment Network' has a major contribution in making the 'war on terror' an entertainment genre (Der Derian, 2009). As Shaheen has argued, the representation of Islam, and especially of Arabs, in most Hollywood films is deeply problematic in terms of racist stereotypes which contribute to a discourse where Muslims are projected as a threat to Western ways of life (Shaheen, 2008...). Terrorism is also the prime subject of several popular American television series like 24, The Unit and Sleeper Cell, which are all examples of intersections between popular entertainment and politics (Kellner, 2009)...This 'militainment' has redefined terrorism as an object of consumer play, deployed by the Pentagon in association with the gaming industry.
From chapter: Introduction
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 13
- Are not our powers of speech essentially responsible for the mediocrity of our universe?...[A]ll these worn-out truisms...have kept us so firmly planted in our run-of-the-mill world. It is they that have given us this taste for money, these crippling fears, this "love of country," this disgust for our destiny. I do not think it is too late to reexamine the deceptions that are part and parcel of the words we have so far misused. What keeps me from scrambling the order of words, thereby making an attempt on the sham life of things? Language can and must be set free from its bondage. No more descriptions from nature, no more studies of manners and morals. Let there be silence so that I might tread where no man has ever trodden, silence! -- After you, my fair language.
Source: Introduction to the Discourse on the Paucity of Reality, p. 141
- Art today is simply this paradoxical confusion of the two [art and reality], and the aesthetic intoxication which ensues. Similarly, information is simply the paradoxical confusion of the event and the medium, and the political uncertainty which ensues. So, we have all become ready-mades...And just as Duchamp's acting-out opens on to the (generalized) zero degree of aesthetics, where any old item of rubbish can be taken as a work of art (which also means that any old work of art can be taken for rubbish), so this media acting-out opens on to a generalized virtuality which puts an end to the real by its promotion of every single instant.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 31
- As a premise, terrorism tends to be about the Other; i.e., one's country, one's class, one's creed, one's president, oneself can hardly be a terrorist...Accordingly, a cursory examination of how news is produced reveals the decisive import of one's own government's perspective in journalistic reporting. The example Cooper adduces is the bombing of La Belle Disco Club in West Berlin on April 5, 1986, which Soviet media described as engineered by the CIA and the Mossad, whereas the U.S. media attributed it to Libyan-sponsored terrorists. The counterposed stories ignored the other side's version, did not grant equal time to neutral spokespersons, and failed to reveal their sources. Rather, they constituted mutually irreconcilable "accounts" of the same events.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 13
- As I drew near the fire the woman stopped stirring the pot and rose to greet me. When we faced each other I felt my heart give a convulsive leap and stop. The woman who stood before me was myself...
"[W]ould you like me to decide which of us is I?" she asked...
She nodded gravely and pointed into the soup with the long wooden spoon. "Jump into the broth, meat is scarce this season."
I watched in horrified silence...I tried to nod and move away at the same time, but my knees were trembling so much that instead of going towards the staircase I shuffled crabwise nearer and nearer the pot. When I was well within range she suddenly jabbed the pointed knife into my back side and with a scream of pain I leapt right into the boiling soup and stiffened in moment of intense agony with my companions in distress, one carrot and two onions.
A might rumbling followed by crashes and there I was standing outside the pot stirring the soup in which I could see my own meat, feet up, boiling away merrily as any joint of beef. I added a pinch of salt...
Source: The Hearing Trumpet, p. 137-138
- As terrorists grew more savvy about television, they threatened to take control away from broadcasters. A German television journalist noted that during the Baader-Meinhoff organization's kidnapping of Peter Lorenz in 1975, "We lost control of the medium. We shifted shows to meet their timetable..." Terrorist acts, argues N.C. Livingstone, are custom-made for the medium; they are relatively concise, dramatic, and "not so complex as to be unintelligible to those who tune in only briefly...terrorism is so ideally suited to television that the medium would have invented the phenomenon if it had not already existed".
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 12-13
- As we know from personal experience, "terrorism" possesses such great power that the terrorism writer must be prepared to "be written" by the discourse. Any claim of neutrality for one's own writing appears most illusory when dealing with a topic that evokes such apocalyptic fears. The author's original context cannot be but a distant reference lost within the discourse's own phantasmagoria.
The very act of describing in any fashion those communities plagued with "terrorism," or writing about events that can be construed in "terrorist" terms, runs the risks of intellectual and moral contamination. Far from being a passive agent, terrorism discourse casts its powerful rhetoric of "contagion" over those who get too close to it. Its mutational powers transform academicians and journalists into experts, experts into novelists, and novelists into journalists.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 61
- Ask today for the legal basis of fighting a global "War on Terror" against groups that were not even in existence in 2001, and you will be handed a copy of the law passed just seven days after 9/11 authorizing the President to use force against the perpetrators and abettors of 9/11 (i.e., Al-Qaeda and the Taliban). Challenge the wisdom of fighting a "War on Terror" to the end of a second decade, and you will likely be chided for inviting a terror attack on par with, or even worse than, 9/11. From the standpoint of international law and international political morality, then, 9/11 presumes to shoulder the heaviest of loads: A monumental amount of war to date, with apparently a good deal of war still to come. We would do well to remind ourselves, however, that this shouldering is only as strong and effective as the claim of self-defense on which it is based.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 3
- At its simplest level, [The Assignment] complicates the terrorist myth by making the identities of the victims as problematic as those of the killers. Nothing is what it seems...Surely few readers can have the moral certainty to decide whether a brain-damaged Vietnam veteran-turned-rapist is a victim or a terrorizer.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 111
- At the peak of our technological performance, the irresistible impression remains that something eludes us -- not because we seem to have lost it (the real?), but because we are no longer in a position to see it: that, in effect, it is not we who are winning out over the world, but the world which is winning out over us. It is no longer we who think the object, but the object which thinks us.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 73
- Bataille believed that [fetishized absence of myth] was where surrealism was especially important, because it had long recognized this absence of myth, and sought to confront what it brought into play. But the surrealists, unlike Bataille, had realized very early that the reviving of ancient myths could lead to nothing. Any modern conception of myth needed, on the contrary, to begin with a concept of its absence. [From the introduction by translator Michael Richardson]
Source: The Absence of Myth, p. 13
- Between Plato's distrust of the artist as a liar and magician, a man who can paint the bed he could not build, and Baudrillard's distrust of the hyperreal, "the generation by models of a real without origin or reality," there is a clear line of descent. Seen through Brita Nilsson's eyes, a Warholish Russian painting called Gorby II illustrates the political implications of simulacra. It is a "maximum statement about the dissolubility of the artist and the exaltation of the public figure, about how it is possible to fuse images, Mikhail Gorbachev's and Marilyn Monroe's, and to steal auras, Gold Marilyn's and Dead-White Andy's". What is the connection between the artist who painted Gorby IIand a political world driven by such images? Between that artist and Karen, who conflates Korean messiahs with Khomeini and Mao, or between the artist and a magazine editor in Chile who published caricatures of General Pinochet and then is sent to jail for "assassinating the image of the general"?
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 29
- Bety had been talking almost as if there had been two lives, each a kind of dream to the other.
Source: All Hallows' Eve, p. 78
- Beyond this point there are only catastrophes. Perfect is the event or language which assumes its own mode of disappearance, knows how to stage it, and thus reaches the maximal energy of appearances. The catastrophe is the maximal brute event, here too more eventful than the event -- but an event without consequences, one that leaves the world in suspense. Once the meaning of history is over, once this point of inertia has been passed, every event becomes catastrophe, becomes an event pure and without consequence, (but that is its power). The event without consequence -- like Musil's man without qualities, the body without organs, or time without memory.
Source: Fatal Strategies, p. 17
- Both spectacles [i.e., the Nuremberg rally and Bush's "mission accomplished" pageant] are examples of the distinctively modern mode of myth creation. They are the self-conscious constructions of visual media. Cinema and television share a common quality of being tyrannical in a specific sense. They are able to block out, eliminate whatever might introduce qualification, ambiguity, or dialogue, anything that might weaken or complicate the holistic force of their creation, of its total impression.
In a curious but important way these media effects mesh with religious practice. In may Christian religions the believer participates in ceremonies much as the movie or TV watcher takes part in the spectacle presented. In neither case do they participate as the democratic citizen is supposed to do, as actively engaged in decisions and sharing the exercise of power. They participate as communicants in a ceremony prescribed by the masters of the ceremony. Those assembled at Nuremberg or on the USS Abraham Lincoln did not share power with their leaders. Their relationship was thaumaturgical: they were being favored by a wondrous power in a form and at a time of its choosing.
Source: Democracy Inc., p. 2-3
- Breton...writes: "The simplest Surrealist act consists of dashing down into the street, pistol in hand, and firing blindly, as fast as you can pull the trigger, into the crowd. Anyone who, at least once in his life, has not dreamed of thus putting an end to the petty system of debasement and cretinization in effect has a well-defined place in that crowd, with his belly at barrel level." Interpretations of these lines from the Second Manifesto have fueled attacks against surrealism in general, most notably Jean-Paul Sartre's charge that the movement, like Breton's statement, represented a feeble attempt to organize "revolution" around the inner dictates of the individual -- a vulgar and politically bankrupt fusion of Leninist and Freudian rhetoric. Yet Breton is not invoking the "inner dictates of the individual," nor is he simply mobilizing this act of terror as a rhetorical flourish. He means it literally, but stresses that "my intention is not to recommend it above every other because it is simple, and to try and pick a quarrel with me on this point is tantamount to asking, in bourgeois fashion, any nonconformist why he doesn't commit suicide, or any revolutionary why he doesn't pack up and go live in the USSR." Surrealism's struggle lay in reconciling its radical break from the "ideology of continuity" with its awareness that even radicalism tends toward the continuous and the familiar whenever it expresses itself in forms, such as gunshots, that are merely extensions of preexisting violence...
The group's analyses and debates about the status of violence in the modern world extended to the very question of using revolutionary violence as a political strategy. To what extent could political violence ever be distinguished from crime? How did anti colonial violence differ from terrorism, from ethnic cleansing, or from colonial wars of invasion? Such questions, central to the activities of the surrealist group throughout the movement's history, show the surrealists' dedication to a public intellectualism that confronted the most fundamental principles of revolution and avant-gardism.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 7
- Brute facts in their speechless horror are the very substance of serious terrorism discourse...As if to dispel any doubts regarding terrorism's compelling reality, it is routine for writers to begin their journalistic reports or scholarly papers with...dreadful statistics about the innocent victims. These are indeed the hardest of facts, and who can doubt their validity?
It is difficult to transcend the initial shock over such numbers in order to contemplate the reality behind them. The reporting of innocent travelers killed in the bombing of an airplane is so brutally factual that no possible explanation makes sense; indeed it is so "real" that it requires no frame, so "true" that no interpretation is necessary, so "concrete" that no meaning need be inferred. Its reality appears to belong more to nature than to society. This is discourse so overwhelmed by the "reality effect" of the facts that the very suggestion that it authenticate itself appears ridiculous.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 5
- Bullshit is unavoidable whenever circumstances require someone to talk without knowing what he is talking about...Closely related instances arise from the widespread conviction that it is the responsibility of a citizen in a democracy to have opinions about everything, or at least everything that pertains to the conduct of his country's affairs. The lack of any significant connection between a person's opinions and his apprehension of reality will be even more severe, needless to say, for someone who believes it his responsibility, as a conscientious moral agent, to evaluate events and conditions in all parts of the world.
Source: On Bullshit, p. 63-64
- But even the most critical movies see the world through the lenses of western, and usually US, eyes, and indulge an exaggerated confidence in the willingness of the US press to expose wrongdoing and hold the powerful to account.
From chapter: Hollywood, the CIA, and the 'War on Terror' by Oliver Boyd-Barret, David Herrera, and Jim Baumann
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 132
- But how have we managed to confuse the thing itself with the expression it is given by painting or poetry?
Source: The Absence of Myth, p. 49
- But the quality of a writer's political engagements, [J.M. Coetzee, author of The Master of Petersburg] told an interviewer, should not be measured in the simple way Gordimer suggests [i.e., how direct it is]; a naive realism only reproduces the injustice it describes, licking wounds rather than offering a critical alternative to the mind-set that produced injustice in the first place. In place of such realism, Coetzee offers a more sophisticated, ironic narrative, one capable of "demythologizing history" (Attwell 15). Such narratives, he says, are not "supplementary" to history; that is, they cannot be checked against it, as a teacher might check a child's homework against the answer book; rather, they are a rival, sometimes even an enemy, discourse. Thus the point of an ironic narrative is not so much that it substitutes a more accurate version of history and politics for the received one as that it lays bare the unacknowledged assumptions that shape both stories.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 96
- But the reduction of "that which is" to the order of things is not limited to slavery. Slavery is abolished, but we ourselves our aware of the aspects of social life in which man is relegated to the level of things, and we should know that this relegation did not await slavery. From the start, the introduction of labor into the world replaced intimacy, the depth of desire and its free outbreaks, with rational progression, where what matters is no longer the truth of the present moment, but, rather, the subsequent results of operations. The first labor established the world of things, to which the profane world of the Ancients generally corresponds. Once the world of things was posited, man himself became one of the things of this world, at least for the time in which he labored. It is this degradation that man has always tried to escape. In his strange myths, in his cruel rites, man is in search of a lost intimacy from the first.
Religion is this long effort and this anguished quest: It is always a matter of detaching from the real order, from the poverty of things, and of restoring the divine order.
Source: The Accursed Share, p. 57
- But why is it that lo real maravilloso becomes such an important category in the consciousness of literary schools from the 1940s onward after 400 years of myth making and magic in Latin American culture? This awakened sensitivity to the magical quality of reality and to the role of myth in history is perhaps an indication of what Ernst Bloch called "non synchronous contradictions" nd is ready-made soil for the sprouting of "dialectical images," in the terminology of Walter Benjamin, for whom (and I quote from Susan Buck-Morss's essay on his notes for his Passagenwerk)
"the dreaming collective of the recent past appeared as a sleeping giant ready to be awakened by the present generation, and the mythic power of both [the recent and the present generations'] dream states were affirmed, the world re-enchanted, but only in order to break out of history's mythic spell, in fact by reappropriating the power bestowed on the objects of mass culture as utopian dream symbols."
Source: Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man, p. 166
- But, more importantly, the arrested suspects had been under close police surveillance since 1989...As extensively documented by Robert Friedman in his article "The CIA's Jihad," the CIA's involvement with the World Trade Bombers "is far greater than previously known." The CIA campaigned to set up several jihad (holy war) offices across the United States. The most important was called Alkifah -- Arabic for "the struggle" -- and was established in Brooklyn where the sheik had settled. One of the visitors to Alkifah was a Green Beret from the US Special forces at Fort Bragg, Ali Mohammed. He came regularly from North Carolina to train the sheik's followers in the use of weapons, as well as tactical, reconnaissance, and survival techniques. The sheik's followers fought in a war that cost the United States $10 billion.
After examining the evidence it is hard not to conclude that "the CIA has inadvertently managed to do something that America's enemies have been unable to: give terrorism a foothold in the United States." [emphasis added]
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 26-27
- By becoming aware of the principles by which your perceptual brain works, you can become an active participant in your own perceptions and in this way change them in the future.
Source: Deviate: The Creative Power of Transforming Your Perception, p. 5
- By now we have been sensitized by the media to accept the existence of a bizarre club of nations, the so-called sponsors of terrorism. What is most striking about the blacklisted is not their sinister vocation but rather the shiftiness in club membership. A country which is today an "evil empire" tomorrow becomes a close partner, or a ruler with whom we have been doing business as usual commits an act of bloody aggression and is suddenly a new Hitler, a nation such as Syria, catalogued for years as a supporter of terrorism, becomes a friendly ally by siding with the West against Iraq, which in turn had been removed from the blacklist for fighting against Iran...A cursory look at the ways that Iraq, Iran, and Syria were dropped from or included in the State Department's list of terrorism's sponsors (depending on the U.S. Administration's policy interests) demonstrates the extent to which blacklisting is indeed a "terrorism spectacle."...
Academics may object to the erratic changes and other inconsistencies, but they do so in vain since once the Secretary of State decides who is or is not a "terrorist," that becomes an established fact in the U.S. media and its political discourse. Thus, a Pentagon report in 1988 listed Mandela's African National Congress as one of the world's "more notorious terrorist groups," whereas pro-South African government RENAMO, which the same reports admits killed over 100,000 civilians in Mozambique between 1986 and 1988, is identified merely as an "indigenous insurgent group."
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 12
- Can terrorism liberate? Or might the process of terror have 'corrupting consequences that reverberate for decades'? Certainly the apocalyptic dreams which have animated many terrorist groups have never materialized. In this sense, those, like the distinguished historian Walter Laqueur, who argue that terrorism has always failed are right. Shock and horror have their limits.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 27
- Carrington posits the subject's capacity for experience of the outer world as a precondition for the propagation of history. The body and mind are not merely cogs in a machine of history but the site at which history itself unfolds. By linking her loss of control over her mind and body with a loss of control over the master narrative of history, Carrington radically undoes the notion that history functions independently of its subjects. The body itself is the locus through which history manifests itself as a narrative, not merely as a useful fiction for maintaining the coherence of the subject, but as a site where temporality itself is reflected. Unlike Breton, who saw the experience of the marvelous as releasing the subject from the grip of history and society, Carrington's Surrealist experience shifts history to the foreground. Through her emphasis on the body, Carrington makes a claim for the subject in an aesthetic experience that registers history and subverts the notion that she is a unified subject in control of either her body or history.
Source: Disruptive Testimonies: The Stakes of Surrealist Experience in Breton and Carrington, p. 101
- Clausewitz made the apparently simple point that 'the first of all strategic questions and the most comprehensive' is for decision-makers to be clear about what a situation is and what it is not. Any illusion of simplicity here dissolves when terrorism is at issue, since we are driven back to the fundamental problem of defining the nature of terrorism and the threat it represents.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 121
- Confirmation of the point [about truth being encountered] is provided by the concrete circumstances in which someone is seized by a fidelity: an amorous encounter, the sudden feeling that this poem was addressed to you, a scientific theory whose initially obscure beauty overwhelms you, or the active intelligence of a political place...As a result, the ethic of a truth is the complete opposite of an 'ethics of communication'. It is an ethic of the Real, if it is true that -- as Lacan suggests -- all access to the Real is of the order of an encounter.
Source: Ethics, p. 52
- Considering the growing debates and expanding legislative definitions of terrorism, it is little wonder that 'terrorism studies' has burgeoned so dramatically over the last three decades. In addition to the increasing number of government-funded institutes, 'terrorology' has taken root in a range of academic fields, including political science, history, sociology, social anthropology, and international relations. The explosion of interest has not resulted in greater consensus, though. As Guelke has argued, 'By the 1990s, the concept of terrorism had become so elastic that there seemed to be virtually no limit to what could be described as terrorism.' This general vagueness of the term is precisely what has led commentators such as the social-anthropologists Zulaika and Douglass to assert that terrorism is 'first and foremost discourse', and that this discourse is largely a matter of 'fictionalization'. As I have argued, though, such a view becomes problematic if the focus on the fictional and the figurative obscures the physical effects of terrorist violence.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 9
- Contrary to what is said about it (the real is what resists, what all hypotheses run up against), reality is not very solid and seems predisposed, rather, to retreat in disorder. Whole swathes of reality are collapsing, as in the collapse of Baliverna (Buzzati), where the slightest flaw produces a chain reaction.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 101
- Dürrenmatt shares...a wish to expose the myths and explore the realities of terrorism. An experimental fiction, The Assignment points to the complex reality that lies behind the too-familiar story and suggests as well the actual experience of human beings caught up in terrorist activities. Fragmentation of identity in the novel's unstable world leads to a longing for order that asserts itself in totalitarian politics, fundamentalist religion, and documentary realism, all disciplines, in Foucault's sense, that depend on observation. Suggesting the difficulty of distinguishing between the victims and practitioners of terror, Dürrenmatt undermines the usual story of sinister Islamic terrorists...His manipulations of the myth present terror both as an understandable private response to the conditions of late-twentieth-century life and as a public practice that intensifies and conditions panic.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 110
- Deleuze's notion of parody refers less to the novels' play on the conventions of the detective story form, however, than to their parodic relation to "the real" itself. He suggests that the novels presuppose the artificiality and even "falsehood" of lived reality, supplanting mimetic representation with the projection of simulacra.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 254
- Despite its obvious improbabilities, not to say absurdities, the terror network idea was subjected to surprisingly little criticism until the end of the Cold War eviscerated it.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 28-29
- Despite systematic and largely successful attempts to manage 'official' representations of terrorism, dissonances keep appearing...The 'war on terror' frame is hardly convincing when significant parts of the Arab world are spilling onto the streets demanding democracy and not jihad. Additionally, in the new digital media landscape where alternative messages travel globally and instantaneously...the mediation of terrorism is likely to become more multi-layered and multi-lingual...However, a word of caution is in order. Apart from global media conglomerates such as Google and Facebook, with their formidable power over the aggregation and distribution of information, governments are determined to ensure that they control the global commons.
From chapter: Introduction
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 14
- Despite their public "show" of sanity, the pseudopatients were never detected. Admitted, except in one case, with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, each was discharged with a diagnosis of schizophrenia "in remission."...If the pseudopatient was to be discharged, he must naturally be "in remission"; but he was not sane, nor, in the institution's view, had he ever been sane.
Source: On Being Sane In Insane Places, p. 252
- Do we have a free press today? Sure we do. It's free to report all the sex scandals it wants, all the stock market news we can handle, every new health fad that comes down the pike, and every celebrity marriage or divorce that happens. But when it come to the real down and dirty stuff - stories like Tailwind, the October Surprise, the El Mozote massacre, corporate corruption, or CIA involvement in drug trafficking - that's where we begin to see the limits of our "free" press. In today's media environment, sadly, such stories are not even open for discussion.
From chapter: Gary Webb, The Mighty Wurlitzer Plays On
Source: Into the Buzzsaw, p. 156
- Do we see reality?...[Many people] all had theories, but now neuroscience has an answer.
The answer is that we don't see reality.
The world exists. It's just that we don't see it. We d not experience the world as it is because our brain didn't evolve to do so.
Source: Deviate: The Creative Power of Transforming Your Perception, p. 1
- During the course of the group's relationship with Minotaure, the surrealists shifted their efforts from theorizing the validity of revolutionary violence to finding strategies for deriving paranoiac knowledge. The surrealists, in other words, strove to create an atmosphere that did not so much constitute "revolution" as it was conducive to the knowledge represented obliquely in Nouge and Magritte's drawing: the means -- moral as well as material -- are at hand. By calling surrealism's period of political and epistemological reassessment both a noir period and a period of negation, I have argued, first, that the group's poetic and political aims in 1933 were not limited to revealing irrational forces at work within exterior reality. Rather, the surrealists studied how such forces were organized as coherent structures of motive, causality, and perception in a way that revealed their contiguity with existing structures of political and ideological logic. Second, I maintain that this noir period enabled rather than performed the group's political work. The theoretical experiments of this era provided the basis for a new "morality of revolt" that advocated a massive collective restructuring of society on diverse fronts -- from mental institutions to literature to family structure to political parties -- instead of the merely destructive violence of Aragon's "Red Front."
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 197
- During the first weeks following the Flight 800's demise, there was a great deal of coverage about evidence of a high-pressure explosive force - either a bomb or a missile - causing the jet to blow up. Indeed, the coverage was going in the same direction as the FBI...But by September, the press was turning around to the new government line, no questions asked...
What's fascinating about this is how the same paper first prints a series of reports talking about hard evidence the investigators have uncovered indicating that a mechanical failure was unlikely - like "traces of explosives in the passenger cabin," "very heavy damage to the landing gear," and "portions of the fuel tank wreckage" being "virtually unscathed" - and then turns around and writes a subsequent story that says, "The investigators acknowledge that they have no evidence pointing to a mechanical malfunction. Rather, they say, the failure to find proof of a bombing, after more than two months, lends indirect credence to another theory . . ." Indirect credence to another theory!? What happened to the traces of explosives, etc., that you reported about earlier?
And that's another huge problem for you, the average citizen seeking good information from your newspaper or TV news broadcast. You probably didn't realize until you read this just how mutable the truth is. You probably didn't know that often what is reported today is the truth, until official sources change it later on. The new truth can be the exact opposite of what was reported before, and it will be reported, no questions asked. What was reported before no longer exists or matters because official sources, our nation's ministers of truth, say it doesn't. Go back and read George Orwell's 1984. It'll give you goose bumps.
From chapter: Kristina Borjesson, Into the Buzzsaw
Source: Into the Buzzsaw, p. 297-298
- Effie, meanwhile, went off the rails, and when this was pointed out to her in so many words, she said 'What rails? Whose rails?'
Source: The Only Problem, p. 362-363
- Even if it is obvious that U.S. administrations have "played politics with the fight against terrorism," ideology and politics per se are not our main concerns but rather what Hayden White has labeled the "fictions of factual representation." [Note: see White's Tropics of Discourse] When we examine the epistemic status of the category itself and the shifting meanings that it holds for various audiences, we realize the radical extent to which terrorism discourse constitutes its object. This is also true of the position of some critics who, on the basis of the obvious double standard concerning the definitions and rhetorics of terrorism, simply redirect the term to argue that Washington inflicts a deliberate policy of wholesale terrorism on Third World countries, which are subsequently demonized for their own retail brand. There is certainly ample evidence of terror inflicted by Washington, but we object to rendering it as discourse that further recreates and reifies the terrorism paradigm instead of undermining its fictions.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 16
- Even literal acts such as the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 are surrounded by vast doses of nonfactual guesswork, scholarly interpretation, political manipulation, and judicial indictments. As a result, when, on November 14, 1991, the U.S. accused two Libyan officials of the Lockerbie massacre, most family members and journalists who had followed the three-year investigation remained skeptical. Experts were quick to dispute, on various technical grounds, the theory that a simple microchip timer recovered from the wreckage set off the explosion, and reiterated the existence of contradictions and evidence pointing to other culprits now exculpated in a clear case of skewing raw data for political ends...Whether "blood feud" or "international terrorism" means little to the victims of Lockerbie, the difference in political rhetorics is critical for the rest of us. The monster is there, but what are its qualities?
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 11
- Even the most basic and preliminary questions about bullshit remain, after all, not only unanswered but unasked.
Source: On Bullshit, p. 3
- Every fidelity to an authentic event names the adversaries of its perseverance. Contrary to consensual ethics, which tries to avoid divisions, the ethic of truths is always more or less militant, combative. For the concrete manifestation of its heterogeneity to opinions and established knowledges is the struggle against all sorts of efforts at interruption, at corruption at the return to the immediate interests of the human animal, at the humiliation and repression of the Immortal who arises as subject. The ethic of truths presumes recognition of these efforts, and thus the singular operation of naming enemies.
Source: Ethics, p. 75
- Every invocation of blood and soil, of race, of custom, of community, works directly against truths; and it is this very collection that is named as the enemy in the ethic of truths. Whereas fidelity to the simulacrum, which promotes the community, blood, race, and so on, names as its enemy -- for example, under the name of 'Jew' -- precisely the abstract universality and eternity of truths, the address to all.
Source: Ethics, p. 76
- Every truth, as we have seen, deposes constituted knowledges, and thus opposes opinions. For what we call opinions are representations without truth, the anarchic debris of circulating knowledge.
Source: Ethics, p. 50
- Evidence for the extent to which our expectations influence what we see can be found in the famous "anomalous playing-card experiment." In this experiment the subjects were shown a playing card, such as the five of spades, the ace of hearts, and so on, for short intervals (less than a second) and had to identify the card they saw. Some of the cards, however, were doctored: for example, there was a black three of hearts or a red two of spades. What the subjects usually reported when shown these cards was not what the card presented to them displayed, but a "normalized" version coherent with their expectations. A red four of spades would thus be described as either a red four of hearts (thus changing the form) or as a black four of spades (changing the color). As the subjects did not believe that there were going to be any anomalous cards shown to them, their observations were changed accordingly. Rather than believing what they saw, they saw what they believed they would see.
Source: Twelve Examples of Illusion, p. 32-33
- Far from a mere factual account, Down Below is a testimony to the recollection of madness and, therefore, subject to Carrington's critical and imaginative eye on later reflection. This is particularly important when we recall that Breton had prompted Carrington to recount it as a Surrealist, and as a Surrealist who had experienced the "real" thing. As Jonathan Eburne argues, Carrington adeptly wrestles with her paranoia and is self-reflexive about the Surrealist nature of her experience. She tells us: "I am afraid I am going to drift into fiction, truthful but incomplete, for lack of some details which I cannot conjure up today and which may have enlightened us". This curiously mirrors Breton's assertion at the beginning of Nadja: Narrative truth is more important than the factual truth. However, the "truth" of Carrington's experience in Down Below is not to be found only in the recollection of what happened where but has everything to do with how Carrington holds that she could no longer maintain the mind/body split within herself and that this rupture led to her projection of her mind and body onto the external world as well. Her body and mind mirrored the outer world of the chaos of Europe in 1940. Rather than the events of the outer world being the sole catalyst for her inner breakdown (like Ernst being taken back to a detention camp), the world itself appeared to become "jammed" (as she calls it) at the same time as her body.
Source: Disruptive Testimonies: The Stakes of Surrealist Experience in Breton and Carrington, p. 98
- Fearing his bed would cool, he hastened past the emptiness of the hall, where a handsome girl stood poised without her clothes on the brink of a blue river. Napoleon peered at her in a wanton fashion from the dark of the other wall.
Source: At Swim-Two-Birds, p. 32-33
- Fetishes communicate with each other by the omnipotence of thought and with the rapidity of dreams. Whereas there is a deferred relationship between signs, there is an immediate chain reaction between fetishes because they are made of an indifferent mental substance. We see this in fashion items, where the transmission is unreal and instantaneous because they do not have meaning. Ideas, too, can have this mode of transmission: they just have to be fetishized.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 81
- Finally, as regards the truth that results, we must above all emphasize its power. I have already evoked this theme, with respect to the 'return' to the cave of Plato's prisoner, which is the return of a truth back to knowledges. A truth punches a 'hole' in knowledges, it is heterogeneous to them, but it is also the sole known source of new knowledges. We shall say that the truth forces knowledges. The verb to force indicates that since the power of a truth is that of a break, it is by violating established and circulating knowledges that a truth returns to the immediacy of the situation, or reworks that sort of portable encyclopedia from which opinions, communications and sociality draw their meaning.
Source: Ethics, p. 70
- For Bataille, the profound sense of surrealism lay in the fact that it recognized the falsity of rationalism's ideological claims to define what is 'real'. Such a concept destroys the notion of myth, just as it becomes itself what it denies: reality is a myth. A society that denies its mythical basis therefore denies part of its essence, and is living a lie. The crucial point here is that everything about the concept of reality is mythical. Nothing solid responds to this state: the only reality we can know is defined by the use we make of myth to define our ontological principles. The thrust of Western civilization has been to deny this mythical basis, and to posit reality as an ontological given that can be located and conquered. [From the introduction by translator Michael Richardson]
Source: The Absence of Myth, p. 14
- For Bataille, this absence of myth was merely one aspect of a more generalized 'absence'. It also meant the 'absence of sacred'. 'Sacred', for Bataille, was defined in a very straightforward way -- as 'communication'. By extension, its loss also meant, therefore, an absence of communication. Quite simply, the notion of an 'absence of myth' meant a failure of communication which touched all levels of society. And a society which ceases or is unable genuinely to communicate ceases to be a society. In a very real sense it becomes an 'absence of society' or, more specifically, an 'absence of community'. [From the introduction by translator Michael Richardson]
Source: The Absence of Myth, p. 13
- For Bradbury, however, the affinity between Abish's prose and the postmodern is 'misleading', although he does assert that they 'share' one 'tendency': 'a refusal to name what we call reality as real, a sense that the language which authenticates this or that as history, geography or biography is a language of human invention'. Given that Abish wrote How German Is It without ever having visited Germany, Bradbury's comment seems apposite. And certainly there is an ongoing fascination in Abish's fiction with what the writer has termed 'defamiliarization'-- which is no doubt partly attributable to his having lived in a number of countries from a young age.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 192
- For Crevel, Lacan's thesis was promising to the left for its understanding of paranoia as a psychotic structure that systematically accuses the very ideological forces signified by Freud's notion of "culture." This culture was repressive not simply because it beat back the death drive but because it represented the full force of bourgeois social conditioning which in the France of the early 1930s, was beginning to take on a frighteningly discernible shape: an attachment to so-called family values that sanctioned patriarchal privilege and a rampant homophobia; and an ever-present xenophobia and anti-Semitism whose deep roots in twentieth-century French culture only strengthened what Crevel and the surrealists considered to be a growing fascist sympathy among the French bourgeoisie.
The "accusation" performed by murderous exhibitionism thus does not canonize the psychotic as a revolutionary figure; insofar as the physical illness represents the moral illness that produces it, Crevel's structuralist notion of behavior as a representation allows his further ideas about political illness and oppression to be a matter of extension...Yet Crevel's version of political and psychological causality structured as a "fortuitous encounter" is particularly useful to surrealism insofar as it rethinks the causality not only of presumably legitimate revolution but of the most inexplicable, brutal, and regressive of events as well -- whether domestic murder or the growing domestic appeal of fascism.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 189
- For I was not, as I liked to think, the indulgent pleasure-loving opposite of the cold rigid Colonel. I was the lie that Empire tells itself when times are easy, he the truth that Empire tells when harsh winds blow. Two sides of imperial rule, no more, no less.
Source: Waiting for the Barbarians, p. 135
- For Lacan, the Real is what any 'reality' must suppress; indeed, reality constitutes itself through just this repression. The Real is an unrepresentable X, a traumatic void that can only be glimpsed in the fractures and inconsistencies in the field of apparent reality. So one strategy against capitalist realism could involve invoking the Real(s) underlying the reality that capitalism presents to us.
Source: Capitalist Realism, p. 18
- For my own part, I couldn't have said whether she was the waitress we always had here or I'd never seen her before. The invisible are always so resolutely invisible, until you see them.
Source: Chronic City, p. 211
- For really two distinct, yet oddly complementary, features of contemporary life worked against The Satanic Verses: the resurgence of religious fundamentalism and the explosion of the electronic media. On the one hand, we note the extreme literalism of Rushdie's opponents, their unwillingness to accept "the fictionality of fiction" (Rushdie, IH 393). The "death of the author," in the West a philosophical proposition, became in Iranian hands a large cash incentive, and a promise of paradise, for the assassination of a Booker Prize winner. Yet in a sense the literalism of the British Muslims who burned the book in the streets of Bradford was a tribute to the printed page that is rare indeed in the West; they did not regard the novel as an inconsequential imaginative exercise but as a powerful expression of ideas deeply engaged with reality.
On the other hand, the familiar enemy of the printed text, the electronic media, arouses Baudrillardian anxieties. As Daniel Pipes points out, the 14 February fatwa has all the marks of a media event; had the ayatollah simply wanted Rushdie dead he could have dispatched a hit squad months earlier, when British Muslims began their protests. "Broadcasting his intentions allowed Rushdie to take cover, so Khomeini's real goal must...have been...something quite different". An apocalyptic vision of all solid ground disappearing, to be replaced by a vertiginous mass of images, attaches itself to the phenomenon of the writer who disappears into the spy fiction world of safe houses and Secret Service protection. Surely the text of The Satanic Verses also seems to disappear, in spite of phenomenal sales, into televised images created by angry men who pride themselves on not having read it. Surely, too, the claims of political fiction to act on the world seem overwhelmed by the world's evident ability, especially when kept instantly up-to-date by satellite, to act on novel and novelist.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 24
- For the majority of people who are not directly subject to its violence or intimidation, terrorism has to be 'made to mean' and the media are crucial ideological vehicles in systematizing and organizing disparate 'acts of terror'. Indeed, media are not simply external actors passively bringing the news of terrorist incidents to global audiences but are increasingly seen as active agents in the actual conceptualization of terrorist events. They are credited, in other words, not simply with definitional but constitutive power: we now have 'mediated terrorism' (Cottle, 2006), 'media-oriented terrorism' (Surette et al., 2009), 'media-ized warfare' (Louw, 2003) and 'mass-mediated terrorism' (Nacos, 2007)
From chapter: Introduction
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 9-10
- For the purposes of this study, Realism...is limited to the literary conventions (and their ideological implications) which were developed in nineteenth-century England and France as a formula for the literal transcription of "reality" into art.
Source: Realism and Power: Postmodern British Fiction, p. ix
- For the scholarly advocates of corporate culture who proliferate in game studies, none of this appears to be a problem: 'games serve the national interest by entertaining consumer-citizens and creating a consumer-based demand for military technology' that is unrelated to actual violence (Hall, 206; Power 2007: 277). But academics who are involved with these delightful paymasters would do well to read some scientific history. In his testimony to the US Atomic Energy Commission, J. Robert Oppenheimer, who led the group that developed the atomic bomb, talked about the instrumental rationality that animated the people who created this awesome technology. Once these scientists saw that it was feasible, the device's impact lost intellectual and emotional significance for them -- overtaken by what he labelled its 'technically sweet' quality (United States Atomic Energy Commission, 1954: 81).
From chapter: Terrorism and Global Popular Culture by Toby Miller
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 109-110
- From the perspective of neuroscience...We're all like Alice all the time -- our brains must process strange new information arising from unpredictable experiences every single day, and provide us with useful responses -- except that we didn't have to drop through the rabbit hole. We're already deep inside it.
Source: Deviate: The Creative Power of Transforming Your Perception, p. 5
- From the start of the Cold War through to the present day, international political and legal bodies have had to deal with many dodgy claims of self-defense. However, almost all such claims have involved acts of either anticipatory self-defense or collective self-defense/counter-intervention. This can obscure the fact that during a more distant time period -- namely, the twenty-year interregnum of the inter-war period and the immediate aftermath of World War II -- international concern was focused to a large extent on pretextual claims of self-defense based on false flag attacks.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 10
- From this point of view [imprecision as a virtue], we may criticize a doctrine like that of Wittgenstein, who holds that while science investigates matters of fact, it is the business of philosophy to clarify the meaning of terms, thereby purging our language, and eliminating linguistic puzzles. It is characteristic of the views of this school that they do not lead to any chain of argument that could be rationally criticized; the school therefore addresses its subtle analyses exclusively to the small esoteric circle of the initiated. This seems to suggest that any preoccupation with meaning tends to lead to that result which is so typical of Aristotelianism: scholasticism and mysticism.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 99
- Given that the same old debate continues to rage even in this day and age, all that remains are words. Words tend to group themselves according to specific affinities whose general result is to recreate the same old world over and over again. Things then proceed as if some concrete reality existed beyond the particular -- indeed, as if this reality were immutable. In the realm of the pure establishment of facts (should one care to venture into it), absolute certainty is required in order to put forward something new, something powerful enough to run counter to common sense. The legendary E pur, si muove! which Galileo is said to have muttered after having recanted, remains timely to this very day. How many men are there today who, anxious to keep abreast with their times, feel themselves capable, say, of making their language responsible to the latest breakthroughs in biology or the theory of relativity?
Source: Introduction to the Discourse on the Paucity of Reality, p. 140
- He had known for a while that certain episodes he dreamed could not be his own. This wasn't through any rigorous daytime analysis of content, but just because he knew.
Source: Gravity's Rainbow, p. 13
- He is a great man that never gets out of bed, he said. He spends the days and nights reading books and occasionally he writes one. He makes all his characters live with him in his house. Nobody knows whether they are there at all or whether it is all imagination. A great man.
Source: At Swim-Two-Birds, p. 99
- Here due weight must be given to the insight that in the Traité du style, Aragon's last book, required a distinction between metaphor and image, a happy insight into questions of style that needs extending. Extension: nowhere do these two -- metaphor and image -- collide so drastically and so irreconcilably as in politics. For to organize pessimism means nothing other than to expel moral metaphor from politics and to discover in political action a sphere reserved one hundred per cent for images. This image sphere, however, can no longer be measured out by contemplation.
Source: Surrealism: the Last Snapshot of the European Intelligentsia, p. 55
- Hitler...felt he needed to create a veneer of self-defensive indignation before sending his already-primed army over international borders. Thus ensued what has come to be known as the "Gleiwitz Incident." To create the appearance of Polish aggression against Germany, Hitler's lieutenants had German troops dress up as Poles and attack German installations along the German-Polish border...The Gleiwitz Incident was not forgotten by the United States or its allies during the course of World War II. In fact, after the war they specifically included it in the bill of particulars on the conspiracy charge levied against the major Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg, and the Nuremberg Tribunal heard affidavit testimony regarding it.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 13
- How many destabilized governments and rigged elections will it take, from Lebanon, Indonesia, Iran and Vietnam in the 1950s, through Japan, Laos, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Bolivia and Chile in the 1960s, Portugal, Australia and Jamaica in the 1970s, and Central America in the 1980s, before gringos realize that US imperialism is bellicose, bloodthirsty, anti-democratic -- and their responsibility?
From chapter: Terrorism and Global Popular Culture by Toby Miller
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 101
- How to persuade the reader that the actual direction of contemporary politics is toward a political system the very opposite of what the political leadership, the mass media, and think tank oracles claim that it is, the world's foremost exemplar of democracy?
Source: Democracy Inc., p. xx
- However much we may be personally convinced that we can tell the normal from the abnormal, the evidence is simply not compelling.
Source: On Being Sane In Insane Places, p. 250
- I am swinging gently in the air, bumping against the ladder, flailing with my feet. The drumbeat in my ears becomes slower and louder till it is all I can hear.
I am standing in front of the old man, screwing up my eyes against the wind, waiting for him to speak. The ancient gun still rests between his horse's ears, but it is not aimed at me. I am aware of the vastness of the sky all around us, and of the desert.
I watch his lips. At any moment now he will speak: I must listen carefully to capture every syllable, so that later, repeating them to myself, poring over them, I can discover the answer to a question which for the moment has flown like a bird from my recollection.
I can see every hair of the horse's mane, every wrinkle of the old man's face, every rock and furrow of the hillside.
The girl, with her black hair braided and hanging over her shoulder in barbarian fashion, sits her horse behind him. Her head is bowed, she too is waiting for him to speak.
I sigh. "What a pity," I think. "It is too late now."
I am swinging loose. The breeze lifts my smock and plays with my naked body. I am relaxed, floating. In a woman's clothes.
Source: Waiting for the Barbarians, p. 120
- I did not understand the significance of anything but I thought the scene was so real that much of my fear was groundless. I trod firmly beside the Sergeant, who was still real enough for anybody.
Source: The Third Policeman, p. 113
- I don't like the kind of houses they build for themselves, don't like their taste, let alone Fischer's. Even the finest paintings they have hanging there, paintings I even like, seem like forgeries to me even when they've been proved to be genuine -- especially ten. There's something about them that kills art, even music -- I'm glad our child has left all that behind.
Source: The Safety Net, p. 228
- I felt my interior map expand to allow for the reality of this place, the corridor floor’s lumpy checkerboard mosaic, the cloying citrus of the superintendent’s disinfectant oil, the bank of dented brass mailboxes, and the keening of a dog from behind an upstairs door, alerted to the buzzer and my scuffling bootheels. I have trouble believing anything exists until I know it bodily.
Source: Chronic City, p. 9
- I have said that a truth transforms the codes of communication and changes the regime of opinions -- such is its effect of 'return'. Not that these opinions become 'true' (or false). They are not capable of truth, and a truth, in its eternal multiple-being, remains indifferent to opinions. But they become other. This means that formerly obvious judgements are no longer defensible, that others become necessary, that the means of communication change, and so on. I have called this reorganization of opinions the power [puissance] of truths.
Source: Ethics, p. 80
- I know somewhat too much; and from this knowledge, once one has been infected, there seems to be no recovering. I ought never to have taken my lantern to see what was going on in the hut by the granary. On the other hand, there was no way, once I had picked up the lantern, for me to put it down again. The knot loops in upon itself; I cannot find the end.
Source: Waiting for the Barbarians, p. 21
- I learned that, at Fukushima, at least two of the diesels failed before the tsunami hit. What destroyed those diesels was turning them on. In other words, the diesels are junk, are crap, are not capable of getting up to full power in seconds, then run continuously for days. They're decorations attached to nuclear plants so people will think these radioactive tea kettles are safe.
Just testing them can damage them. There are alternatives to snap, crackle, pop diesels, but they can cost a billion dollars per station. And the operators have decided you're just not worth it.
Sometimes the diesels work, sometimes they don't. It's meltdown roulette.
'So, you're saying emergency diesels can't work in an emergency?'
'Actually, they're just not designed for it.'
Failure is in the design, the design of the political system, the corporate system. Instead of diesels, they might as well surround the plant with tin foil and Christmas wrapping. They are decorative, there to reassure a snoozy public that all is well. Much like BP's Clean-up Theater, this is the nuclear industry's Safety Showtime.
Source: Vulture's Picnic, p. 344
- I swung round in amazement. Before me, almost blocking out the night, was an enormous policeman. He looked a policeman from his great size but I could see the dim sign of his buttons suspended straight before my face, tracing out the curvature of his great chest. His face was completely hidden in the dark and nothing was clear to me except his overbearing policemanship, his massive rearing of wide strengthy flesh, his domination and his unimpeachable reality. He dwelt upon my mind so strongly that I felt many times more submissive than afraid.
Source: The Third Policeman, p. 156
- I take Sun Tzu's wise words regarding war on pretty much the same level as a fortune cookie, but when it comes to the war on terror, then Sun Tzu here catches my breath. For it seems that the art of deception in this particular war is organic and built in to what is by necessity a war of error, a deliberate and compulsive lying, tied up with the fact that in the name of defending the people, which is to say democracy, the war is now against the people. We the public have become the enemy, and that is how I read Sun Tau on the art of war today.
Yet would it were that simple because the power of the art of deceit does not -- I repeat not -- necessarily weaken with exposure. Sometimes the very opposite occurs; sometimes deceit seems to thrive on exposure, as in the conjuring tricks of shamanism and in the conjuring now exercised on a global scale by the world's only superpower. This global conjuring rests on a sea change in the way truth and language work in what Carl Schmitt called "the exception," meaning the state of emergency. The curious thing is despite the tremendous concentration of power such a state of emergency implies, which should allow the leaders to tell the truth without fear of the consequences, the opposite is more likely to occur.
Source: Zoology, Magic, and Surrealism in the War on Terror, p. S100
- I think it is useful to differentiate between two kinds of doubleness in Chesterton's work because in the long run the differentiation might help us think about what is inside or outside modernism, and also help us think about our beliefs concerning modernism -- and concerning belief. What the anarchist Gregory stands for is the equivocal discourse associated by Chesterton with error -- with the kind of error that identifies God and 'elemental elf'. Double meaning never resolves, or exits from, the realm of equivocation and multiple significances. But what Syme stands for, after all, is both the detour of writing into double or multiple meaning and also writing's detour-transformed emergence into a new definiteness. I propose calling this second form of equivocation 'double-writing'...Double-writing uses indefiniteness and ambiguity to produce analytic revelations or thoughts about states of affairs whose direct portrayal can not be achieved without their being twinned, for a long albeit finally limited time, by an indirect portrayal.
Source: G.K. Chesterton and the Terrorist God Outside Modernism, p. 154-155
- I took Peyote in the mountains of Mexico, and I had a dose of it that lasted me two or three days with the Tarahumara, and at the time those three days seemed like the happiest days of my life.
I had stopped tormenting myself, trying to find a reason for my life, and I had stopped having to carry my body around.
I realized that I was inventing life, that that was my function and my raison d'être, and that I suffered when my imagination failed, and Peyote gave it to me.
A human being stepped forward and drew the Peyote out of me with a blow.
I made it into real shreds, and the cadaver of a man was torn to shreds and found torn to shreds, somewhere.
rai da kanka da kum
a kum da na kum vönoh
Granting that this world is not the reverse of the other and still less its half, this world is also a real machinery of which I have the controls, it is a true factory whose key is inborn humor.
sana tafan tana
tanaf tamafts bai
Source: The Peyote Dance, p. 82-83
- I was already lost. "You're saying there's no world where there isn't a mentality to consider a world."
"There's just a gap," I suggested. "A lack."
"Hah! Very good. Yes. A lack, exactly. A potential event horizon. Everything is only potential until consciousness wakes up and says, let me have a look. Take for example the big bang. We explore the history of the creation of our universe, so the big bang becomes real. But only because we investigate. Another example: There are subatomic particles as far as we are willing to look. We create them. Consciousness writes reality, in any direction it looks -- past, future, big, small. Wherever we look we find reality forming in response."
Source: As She Climbed Across the Table, p. 170
- I was talking to a friend of yours last night, I said drily. I mean Mr Trellis. He has bought a ream of ruled foolscap and is starting on his story. He is compelling all his characters to live with him in the Red Swan Hotel so that he can keep an eye on them and see that there is no boozing.
Source: At Swim-Two-Birds, p. 34-35
- If mere words, the language of public discourse, are debased, the writer may well wish to turn to more intuitive models of communication, the discourse of private symbolism and even madness.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 81
- If we ask ourselves, then, what it is that we are certain of in our national life, what it is that we are surest of, what it is that we can defend with the clearest conscience, with the least hesitation and doubt, I do not think we can name a single concrete policy or principle...However passionately we may believe what we believe, in moments of cool candor and honesty with ourselves we cannot really believe that the whole truth has been revealed to them or to us. There must remain in all specific convictions a residue of skepticism. If it does not we have learned little from human
Source: The Press and Public Opinion, p. 167
- In a sense, the greatest masterpiece, Helen's beloved Vermeer Girl, corrupts this terrorist and sways him from the purity of his design. He falls in love with it, as the Palestinian Ahmed says, "like a bride," spending hours staring at it obsessively. And when Henk produces his reasonable argument for negotiating with the government, Jeroen chooses to blow himself up with the painting in a classic murder-suicide that Ahmed calls "le geste sublime d'un grand révolutionnaire" (358); although he does not mean to, he also kills ten other people.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 73
- In a world which really is topsy-turvy, the true is a moment of the false.
Source: Society of the Spectacle, p. 9
- In an extreme way, Britain's paradoxical stance on political violence is what Mr Vladimir is attempting to match with his plan of creating a terrorist 'outrage' in order to elicit more stringent policing. His idea takes on an absurdist tone, though, when he explains to Verloc his 'philosophy of the bomb': 'A bomb outrage to have any influence on public opinion must go beyond the intention of vengeance or terrorism', he argues: 'it must be purely destructive. It must be that, and only that...'. Attacks on property, religion, and churches fail to disturb the quiescence of the everyday, he states, for insurrection has become a mere media phenomenon: 'Every newspaper has ready-made phrases to explain such manifestations away'. An act without authorship is thus required, he argues, an epiphanous devastation irreducible to the familiar: 'what is one to say to an act of destructive ferocity so absurd as to be incomprehensible, inexplicable, almost unthinkable; in fact, mad?' [emphasis added by Houen]
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 36-37
- In appearance [me: i.e. illusion], things are what they give themselves out to be...They signal to us, but are not susceptible of decipherment. On the other hand, in simulation, in this giant disposition of meaning, calculation and efficiency that encompasses all our technical devices, including current virtual reality, the illusion of the sign is lost, and only its operation remains. The happy non-distinction between true and false, between real and unreal [me: in illusion], gives way to the simulacrum, which consecrates the unhappy non-distinction between true and false, between the real and its signs, the unhappy, necessarily unhappy, destiny of meaning in our culture.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 18
- In consequence, we have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions it serves.
Source: On Bullshit, p. 1
- In his paper, "Fearing Fictions," Kendall Walton proposes the notion of "quasi-fear" for that fright experienced when contemplating on a movie or TV screen agents (such as a terrible green slime or the creature from the Black Lagoon) that the viewer knows for certain are only fictional. Then there is the fear of a person afraid of a nonexistent ghost or burglar who are nonetheless "real" since the person believes that they are present. Fear of terrorism is never solely fictional, as in the first case, but is rather of the second type. Still, faced with the extraordinary fact that during one single month 10 million Americans decided to stay at home rather than take an airplane reportedly because of a terrorist threat issued several thousands miles away by a beleaguered dictator, one questions whether they were dissuaded by real feelings of terror or were engaging in some sort of make-believe in which they acted "as if" the threats posed real danger to their lives...
Terrorism discourse is characterized by the confusion of sign and context provoked by the deadly atrocity of apparently random acts, the impossibility of discriminating reality from make-believe, and text from reader. These strange processes and their mix make terrorism a queer phenomenon. Emptying the sign of its deadly messages seem to be, following Barthes's advice, the best antidote to the experience of terror. And nothing appears to be more damaging to the ghosts and myths of terrorism (for audience and actors alike) than fictionalizing them further to the point that fear dissolves into "as-if" terror.
The discourse's victory, then, derives from imposing a literal frame of "this is real war," "this is global threat," "this is total terror." Its defeat derives from writing "this is an as-if war," "this is an as-if global threat," "this is make-believe total terror."
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 28-29
- In Los Angeles, the University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) articulates faculty, film and television producers, game designers and the Pentagon to one another. Formally opened by the Secretary of the Army and the head of the Motion Picture Association of America in 1998, it began with $45 million of the military's budget, a figure that was doubled in its 2004 renewal. ICT uses military money and Hollywood muscle to test out homicidal technologies and narrative scenarios -- under the aegis of film, engineering and communications professors, beavering away in a workspace thoughtfully set up by the set designer for the Stark Trek franchise. By the end of 2010, its products were available on 65 military bases. I guess that is convergence.
ICT collaborates on major motion pictures...But more importantly, the Institute produces Pentagon recruitment tools such as Full Spectrum Warrior that double as 'training devices for military operations in urban terrain': what's good for the Xbox is good for the combat simulator. The utility of these innovations continues in the field. Many off-duty soldiers play games. The idea is to invade their supposed leisure time and wean them from skater games in favour of what are essentially training manuals. The Pentagon even boasts that Full Spectrum Warrior was the 'game that captured Saddam', because the men who dug Hussein out had been trained with it.
From chapter: Terrorism and Global Popular Culture by Toby Miller
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 108-109
- In one of my previous books, my formula was: 'Love what you will never believe twice'. In this the ethic of a truth is absolutely opposed to opinion, and to ethics in general, which is itself nothing but a schema of opinion. For the maxim of opinion is: 'Love only that which you have always believed.'
Source: Ethics, p. 52
- In order to constitute itself it was necessary for rationalism to lose the profundity of modes of thought that shackled it. But if we now seek what is possible before us -- all that is possible, whether or not we might have wanted to, we who no longer have any need to construct rational thought, which is effortlessly arranged for us -- we are again able to recognize the profound value of these lost modes of thought.
Source: The Absence of Myth, p. 64
- In our cities, the avenues running parallel from north to south all converge in an empty lot made up of our jaded detective's eyes. We no longer have any clue as to who asked us to solve this murky case. The uncovering of the plot, the right no longer to think and act as a herd, the unique opportunity we still have to regain our raison d'être--of all this, nothing survives the course of our dream but a hand closed save for an index finger imperiously pointing to a spot on the horizon. There, in utter purity, the air and light are beginning to incite the proud uprising of all the things that have been thought yet barely framed. There, restored to his original sovereignty and serendipity, man preaches to himself alone, it is said, an everlasting truth that is strictly his own. He has no notion of this hideous arrangement of which we are the latest victims, of this foreground of reality that keeps us from budging.
Source: Introduction to the Discourse on the Paucity of Reality, p. 143
- In our view, terrorism's "reality" is intrinsic to certain kinds of behavior -- play, threat, ritual, dreaming, art -- characterized by a radical semantic gap between concrete action and that which it would ordinarily denote...Moreover, the capacity of terroristic activities to have an impact is largely contingent upon their being played out on the hyperreal screens of the electronic mass media. Hence, the quest for some definitive distinction between the real and the unreal is futile.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 16-17
- In reality, none of the a priori assumptions about modern-day America noted above are justified on the known facts. Indeed, by any standard of measure, the reality of modern-day America differs strikingly from what these intellectual elites posit. There is very good evidence to suggest, for example, that the U.S. Government is no longer subject to popular, majoritarian control and is, for all intents and purposes, an unaccountable oligarchy. There is very good evidence that, far from being subject to the control of its citizens, the U.S. Government successfully employs extreme measures to control them. Finally, there is very good evidence that the U.S. Government has an immense ability to keep official crimes hidden from public view for very long periods of time.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 25-26
- In reply I would like to discuss something that is sometimes called the grand illusion of consciousness. This is our firm conviction that consciousness is continuous...
The time-gap experience is only one of the more extreme cases of the temporal discontinuity of consciousness: in fact shorter experiences of a similar sort happen frequently when we carry out familiar and habitual tasks, such as walking, reading, or writing. We usually do not notice the accompanying gaps in consciousness, but to conclude from this that there is in fact a continuous flow of consciousness is just like inferring that there is a light continuously on in your fridge, just because it is always on whenever you happen to check.
Considering these arguments it appears the cognitive illusions we are prone to are not just rare and isolated effects resulting from looking at carefully constructed diagrams or from performing visual machinations with one eye closed. There is an illusion at the very center of our life. Our consciousness, something that we all seem to know is a continuous, smoothly flowing structure without holes or gaps, is in fact nothing like this. Our consciousness is discontinuous in the extreme, although it does not appear to us to be so. Taking this into account it seems perhaps a little less counterintuitive when the Buddha says that "consciousness is a magic show, a hugger's trick entire." This might be exactly what consciousness is.
Source: Twelve Examples of Illusion, p. 19-20,21-22
- In science, we take care that the statements we make should never depend upon the meaning of our terms. Even where the terms are defined, we never try to derive any information from the definition, or to base any argument upon it. This is why our terms make so little trouble. We do not overburden them. We try to attach to them as little weight as possible. We do not take their 'meaning' too seriously.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 97
- In several important ways, this is inherently rife with Bretonian Surrealist experience: The inner world is transformed by the outer world. Like in the beginning of Nadja, the outer world inaugurates a drawing out of the self where the encounter with ordinary objects transforms the self. There is no question that this modality of experience can be found here; and yet, Carrington ascribes a different role to the experience by claiming that she and the world mirrored each other.
This is why Carrington's introduction of the body into the Surrealist aesthetic has such important ramifications. Over and again, Surrealists like Breton characterize the nature of Surrealist experience as one of a transformation of the mind, whereas Carrington finds the body and the mind inextricable.
Source: Disruptive Testimonies: The Stakes of Surrealist Experience in Breton and Carrington, p. 99
- In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 91
- In such fashion there is blurring of the line between fact and fiction in ostensibly objective journalistic reporting, particularly since it is the very nature of covert operations and intergovernmental confidentiality to place a premium more upon "deniability" -- a fancy expression for mendacity -- than upon veracity. Hence the novel's plot of intrigue and the journalist's political discourse collapse into the monolithic frame that we have labeled contemporary terrorism discourse.
This blurring of genres is further exacerbated by the propensity of some journalists and counterterrorism specialists to author terrorism novels (e.g., Robert Moss, Arnaud de Borchgrave, William Buckley Jr., Brian Crozier). Thus, at terrorism conferences it is not uncommon for the experts to discuss their next fiction project!
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 48
- In the 9/11 context, the key taboo claim is that the government is not well-intentioned toward its citizenry. Importantly, this claim is no more entertained by the establishment today than the claim that workers lacked equal bargaining power was entertained by the Lochner-era establishment. It is not entertained because it impugns a formidable paradigm, according to which government officials and agencies in the First-World West uniformly and consistently work to advance the welfare of the citizenry at large.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 23
- In the empirical sciences, which alone can furnish us with information about the world we live in, proofs do not occur, if we mean by 'proof' an argument which establishes once and for ever the truth of a theory. (What may occur, however, are refutations of scientific theories.)
Source: Popper Selections, p. 91
- In the end, a truth changes the names of elements in the situation.
Source: Ethics, p. 82
- In this chapter we have considered various ways of writing "Basque terrorism" -- whether as "patriotic cause" (ETA's Documentos), "ethnography" (Douglass), "entertainment" (Shed and Trevanian), "news" (the Basque and Spanish presses), counterterrorist "intelligence" and "expertise" (Sterling, Post, the panel of international specialists), and "sociology" (Wieviorka). Each, as we have seen, is more than simply a different perspective of the same reality; rather each produces its own separate reality. Terrorism writing aims at constituting these various texts into a single field of discourse.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 60-61
- In this confused civilization, where resources are exhausted through complex activity, where every tree hides the forest, where exhaustion endlessly substitutes the multitude of petty, fraudulent results (the luxuries others do not have) for the possibilities of life, the artist has, in the solitude of his room, a power of ultimate decision. He can reveal and magnify this irreducible part that is within us, connected to our most tenacious aspirations: he has the power to offer the life the perspective of radiance...[F]or a writer to speak in the name of the positive destiny of mankind, about which he cares with his whole heart, with a sense of rage, as the fanatic speaks of the glory of God -- this is what seems so striking [in surrealism].
Source: The Absence of Myth, p. 59
- Incredible as it may seem, the Tarahumara Indians live as if they were already dead. They do not see reality and they draw magical powers from the contempt they have for civilization.
Source: The Peyote Dance, p. 3
- Interestingly enough what we experience as "the present moment" is considerably longer than the smallest unit of subjective time. Various psychological experiments succeeded in demonstrating that the duration of the present moment is about two to three seconds. For example, if we listen to the continuous clack-clack of a metronome it is possible to give a subjective accent to every second beat (clack clack clack clack clack...) -- as long as the "clacks" are not more than three seconds apart. Events separated by longer durations cannot be grouped into a single temporal unit anymore.
Source: Twelve Examples of Illusion, p. 120
- Irrespective of any change of government at general elections, the Secret Elite had to pursue a consistent foreign policy focused on preparing for a war that would see Germany crushed and the problem removed. To this end, both major political parties in Britain had to be under their control, whatever differences they might profess in domestic affairs.
Source: Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War, p. 62
- It didn't matter if Cynthia Jalter didn't believe me. At that moment Dale Overling was truer than I was. Heartier, more substantial.
Source: As She Climbed Across the Table, p. 63
- It does seem that bullshitting involves a kind of bluff. It is closer to bluffing, surely, than to telling a lie...Unlike plain lying, however, it is more especially a matter not of falsity but of fakery. Theses what accounts for its nearness to bullshit. For the essence of bullshit is not that it is false but that it is phony. In order to appreciate this distinction, one must recognize that a fake or a phony need not be in any respect (apart from authenticity itself) inferior to the real thing...The bullshitter is faking things. But this does not mean that he necessarily gets them wrong.
Source: On Bullshit, p. 47-48
- It is because they both hide and stand out and it is because they both attract and repulse that Gray Fox and his friends are deployed. More than this, they attract because they repulse just as they stand out because they are secret. In this sense they represent an advance on the fascination of the abomination.
Source: Zoology, Magic, and Surrealism in the War on Terror, p. S112
- It is clear that surrealism did not negate the objective world but in fact tried to sublate it in a dialectical manner: negating but also transmuting it in a new horizon of meaning. The iconoclastic sociologist Jean Baudrillard chides surrealism for remaining within the purview of realism, reinforcing it ironically by apotheosizing the imaginary. Refusing the antithesis between the real and imaginary by positing the "hyperreal," Baudrillard tries to outdo the surrealists by locating the unreal "in the real's hallucinatory resemblance to itself" (1984, 71).
Source: Working Through the Contradictions: From Cultural Theory to Critical Practice, p. 124
- It is not up to any of us to suppress capitalist reality;...we can each set ourselves a clearly defined target, like the suppression of capitalism, but it does not by any means follow that we can go beyond the capitalist world in which we exist into the world which will follow on from it...Whether we like it or not, we are enclosed in the capitalist world; we are reduced to conscious analyses of our present position, and we cannot directly know what life would be like in a world in which personal interest would have been suppressed. The first necessity for us in this respect is the sincere comprehension of all that happens, leading to a will to transform the world.
Source: The Absence of Myth, p. 79
- It is not with conscious ideology but with what I call implicit social knowledge that I am here concerned, with what moves people without their knowing quite why or quite how, with what makes the real real and the normal normal, and above al with what makes ethical distinctions politically powerful. And in stressing the implicitness of this knowledge, which is also part of its power in social life, I think we are directed away from obvious to what Roland Barthes called obtuse meaning in his analysis of images and their difference from signs...
It is with imagery in the constitution of power/knowledge that the Putumayo world I am looking t is much concerned. And it is very much this obtuse and not the obvious meanings of imagery that leap to the mind's eye -- as in the sliding stops and starts of the phantasmagoria of the yagé nights, no less than in the social relations embedded in sorcery and in the trances that wander through rulers' minds as they are being carried over mountains.
I take implicit social knowledge to be an essentially inarticulable and imageric non discursive knowing of social relationally, and in trying to understand the way that history and memory interact in the constituting of this knowledge, I wish to raise some questions about the way that certain historical events, notably political events of conquest and colonization, become objectified in the contemporary shamanic repertoire as magically empowered imagery capable of causing as well as relieving misfortune.
Source: Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man, p. 366-367
- It is one of the tenets of counterterrorism that any interaction with the terrorist "Other" is violation of a taboo...Yet it is the very strategy of "tabooing" subjects one has never spoken with or contemplated face-to-face that we will question on both intellectual and moral grounds. Besides, if talking to a terrorist is so contaminating, how is it that governments readily do so? What can we make of the fact that terrorism has become such a shifty category that yesterday's terrorists are today's Nobel Peace Prize winners. Sean McBride, Menachem Begin, Yassir Arafat, and Nelson Mandela have all been so honored...How do we manage to produce apocalyptic madmen who are later considered to be paragons of peace and virtue.?
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. x
- It is one thing for an undertaking to be possible and another for it to be just. Knowledge is no longer the subject, but in the service of the subject: its only legitimacy (though it is formidable) is the fact that it allows morality to become reality. This introduces a relation of knowledge to society and the State which is in principle a relation of the means to the end. But scientists must cooperate only if they judge that the politics of the State, in other words the sum of its prescriptions, is just. If they feel that the civil society of which they are members is badly represented by the State, they may reject its prescriptions. This type of legitimation grants them the authority, as practical human beings, to refuse their scholarly support to a political power they judge to be unjust, in other words, not grounded in a real autonomy. They can even go so far as to use their expertise to demonstrate that such autonomy is not in fact realized in society and the State. This reintroduces the critical function of knowledge. But the fact remains that knowledge has no final legitimacy outside of serving the goals envisioned by the practical subject, the autonomous collectivity.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 36
- It is sobering to recall that the first major crisis to strike the U.N.'s predecessor organization, the League of Nations, was an international invasion by one state of another based on a highly dubious claim of having been attacked. In 1931, Japan invaded the northeastern Chinese province of Manchuria, claiming that Chinese nationalists had sabotaged portions of a railway line controlled and operated by it near the city of Mukden. Though the explosion was so weak that it failed to destroy the track, the Japanese Army immediately accused Chinese dissidents of the attack and responded with a full-scale invasion that led to the occupation of Manchuria, and the installation of a puppet regime, within six months. Historian Walter LaFeber makes short work of any doubts as to what actually occurred:
"[Japanese]...officers claimed that the bomb had been set by the Chinese and even conveniently spread several Chinese bodies around the explosion site. But authorities in Tokyo and other world capitals quickly concluded that the army had blown up its own railway tracks as an excuse to conquer Manchuria."
Upon China's complaint of illegal aggression by Japan, the League of Nations seized itself of the matter and sent a commission to Manchuria to investigate. [T]he Lytton Commission left no doubt, despite its gentlemanly language, that the Japan's [sic] claim of having had its railroad attacked was false.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 11
- It is upon these three dimensions of the process of truth -- the convocation by an event of the void of a situation; the uncertainty of fidelity; and the powerful forcing of knowledges by a truth -- that the thought of Evil depends.
For Evil has three names:
1) to believe that an event convokes not the void of the earlier situation, but its plenitude, is Evil in the sense of simulacrum, or terror;
2) to fail to live up to a fidelity is Evil in the sense of betrayal, betrayal in oneself of the Immortal that you are;
3) to identify a truth with total power is Evil in the sense of disaster.
Terror, betrayal and disaster are what an ethic of truths -- as opposed to the impotent morality of human rights -- tries to ward off, in the singularity of its reliance on a truth in progress.
Source: Ethics, p. 71
- It is...impossible to judge the existence or validity of narrative knowledge on the basis of scientific knowledge and vice versa: the relevant criteria are different. All we can do is gaze in wonderment at the diversity of discursive species, just as we do at the diversity of plant or animal species. Lamenting the "loss of meaning" in postmodernity boils down to mourning the fact that knowledge is no longer principally narrative.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 26
- It seemed, it seemed, Edward thought; because one can only judge by appearances. How could Edward know Harvey wasn't putting on an act, as he so often implied that Edward did? To some extent we all put on acts.
Source: The Only Problem, p. 340
- It was good to see my student so busy doing what I'd taught him to do. Looking for the hidden data, the facts that hide inside obvious things. The interdisciplinary dark matter. And a protégé confirmed my existence in the world. I felt grateful.
Source: As She Climbed Across the Table, p. 100
- It's not the news that makes the newspaper, but the newspaper that makes the news.
Source: Numero Zero, p. 60
- Jim Garrison, the New Orleans prosecutor who for years tried to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy, once remarked, "I'm afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of national security." He was, perhaps, closer to the truth than he realized, for it was during the Kennedy Administration that senior U.S. military officials proposed a false-flag terror operation...called Operation Northwoods...Northwoods included proposals for false-flag acts of sabotage of the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; the sinking of a U.S. Navy ship in the Guantanamo Bay harbor (casualty lists for which, it was hoped, "would help cause a helpful wave of national indignation"); the blowing up of John Glenn's rocket ship during his historic space flight; and a highly elaborate deception for simulating the shooting-down of civilian airplanes which involved the retrofitting of aircraft by the CIA, secret landings and disembarkation of passengers, and the surreptitious substitution of drones for aircraft. On behalf of the Joint Chiefs, Lemnitzer submitted the Northwoods plan to President Kennedy's Seret of Defense, Robert McNamara, whereupon it was summarily quashed.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 16-17
- Job's problem was partly a lack of knowledge. He was without access to any system of study which would point to the reason for his afflictions. He said specifically, "I desire to reason with God," and expected God to come out like a man and state his case...Everybody talked but nobody told him anything about the reason for his sufferings. Not even God when he appeared. Our limitations of knowledge make us puzzle over the cause of suffering, maybe it is the cause of suffering itself...As I say, we are plonked here in the world and nobody but our own kind can tell us anything. It isn't enough. As for the rest, God doesn't tell.'
Source: The Only Problem, p. 418-419
- Lacan himself -- beyond the fact that he was a 'total' clinical analyst who spent the best part of his life listening to people -- conceived of his struggle against the 'normative' orientation of American psychoanalysis, and the degrading subordination of thought to the 'American way of life', as a decisive commitment [engagement].
Source: Ethics, p. 7
- Lacan suggests...that the real effects of social relations on the subject -- so readily misrecognized, in the case of the Papin sisters, as direct class oppression -- become recognizable as motives for the crime only insofar as they become visible as motifs. Indeed his title, "Motifs du crime paranoaique," suggests that, in this sequel to his earlier article on paranoiac style, the French term motifs can signify both causal motives and stylistic motifs. That is, Lacan's study of motive stresses how the structure of psychosis involves a simultaneous interpretation and representation of lived reality; within this structure, social and material conditions are manifest not merely as the facts that a subject represents to herself, but also as the determining forces that the unconscious must represent to the consciousness.
Christopher Lane has argued that this psychotic structure -- which is not political in itself, since the people involved are unaware of its meaning -- may be politicized insofar as its motifs, its exhibitionism, provide a reminder of "the fragile supports on which subjectivity is so reliant, and the way each precarious identification fosters an illusion of psychical stability."
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 193
- Lacan's attention to the historical basis of psychiatry [in Minotaure I] is meant to dislodge the practice of diagnosis from questions of criminal responsibility or irresponsibility, which risked reducing definitions of insanity to a moral choice policed by the state...For Lacan, the disciplines brought together in Minotaure -- artistic, psychiatric, and theoretical -- were all necessary to the study of mental illness, since paranoia reveals the work of signification and imagery in the formation of subjectivity, and not just within the fields of cultural and artistic production alone. Lacan's work on the Papin sisters builds on his description, in the first issue of Minotaure, of paranoiac lived experience as an "original syntax," a mode of symbolic expression that could be at once intentional and yet still determined by real social tensions.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 190, 191-92
- Latin civilization is over and done for and, as for me, I ask that not a single finger be lifted to save it. At present, it is the last bastion of bad faith, of decrepitude, and of cowardice. Compromise, trickery, promises of peace, vacant mirrors, selfishness, military dictionaries, the resurgence of foppishness, the return to the Church, the eight-hour work day, burials worse than in plague years, sports: one might as well just throw up one's hands. If I show some concern for my lot, it is not in order to fatalistically resign myself to the vulgar consequences of those chance circumstances that caused me to be born here or there. Let others be devoted to their family, to their country, to the earth even -- count me out of the competition.
Source: Introduction to the Discourse on the Paucity of Reality, p. 143
- Let us not forget that it is only our belief in some sort of practical necessity that keeps us from granting the same value to the testimony of a poet that we would grant, say, to the testimony of an explorer. Man's fetishistic need to don sun helmets or stroke coonskin caps means that we listen to the narratives of expeditions with an altogether different ear. We absolutely need to believe that things actually did happen.
Source: Introduction to the Discourse on the Paucity of Reality, p. 142
- Let us posit our axioms. There is no God. Which also means: the One is not. The multiple 'without-one' -- every multiple being in its turn nothing other than a multiple of multiples -- is the law of being. The only stopping point is the void. The infinite, as Pascal had already realized, is the banal reality of every situation, not the predicate of a transcendence. For the infinite, as Cantor demonstrated with the creation of set theory, is actually only the most general form of multiple-being.
Source: Ethics, p. 25
- Looking at different illusory phenomena connected with the moon has shown us something about the dependence of what we perceive on our beliefs and assumptions. We only see an image of a cow or a rabbit on the face of the moon if we know what we are looking for. The belief that there is such an image allows us to project it onto an essentially random collection of spots. In the case of the Bohemian crater, Galileo's belief in its existence even let him superimpose a faulty impression produced by his telescope onto what he saw with the naked eye. Here, as in many other cases described in the psychological literature, it was not that perceptions brought us beliefs about what we perceived, ti was rather the beliefs bringing us perceptions of what we believed. As the soup bowl analysis of the moon illusion showed, such beliefs do not have to be explicit. Few would go around asserting that the heavens are shaped like an inverted bowl, yet this apparently natural assumption has important implications for how we perceive celestial objects.
It therefore seems very apt that Buddhist writers used the illusions of the moon as an illustration of the illusory projected self. For it seems to us plainly evident that we, as persons, have permanent or at least very stable selves distinct from our bodies and the things going on in our minds. That there is a self that is the owner of our bodies, the experiencer of our mental lives, and the agent of our actions appears as obvious as something we can clearly see in front of us. But, as we have just seen, what we can clearly see in front of us is sometimes just the product of the belief about what is there in front of us, and not a reflection of what is really there.
Source: Twelve Examples of Illusion, p. 40
- Lyotard's theory goes some way toward explaining the significance of the paired themes of terrorism and literary realism in The Assignment. The holes in Dürrenmatt's plot, the unanswered questions about unnamed characters, the fragmentary glimpses of landscapes, interiors, motives, and political contexts are as so many refusals of "the transparent and communicable." The effect is perhaps not so anti-mimetic as it might seem; refusing transcendent illusions, the novelist suggests an elusive dimension of personality or experience that withers under the harsh floodlights of documentary realism.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 115
- Man, it has been said, is not "a veridical animal," but his habit of lying is not nearly so extraordinary as his amazing readiness to believe. It is, indeed, because of human credulity that lies flourish. But in war-time the authoritative organization of lying is not sufficiently recognized. The deception of whole peoples is not a matter which can be lightly regarded.
Source: Falsehood in War Time, p. 13
- Marx is an event for political thought because he designates, under the name 'proletariat', the central void of early bourgeois societies...To sum up: the fundamental ontological characteristic of an event is to inscribe, to name, the situated void of that for which it is an event.
Source: Ethics, p. 69
- More than half of patients who have lost a limb suffer from the irritating illusion that it is somehow still there. This illusion can be surprisingly strong, to the extent that the patient still feels the results of using his phantom limb. The neuroscientist Vilayanur Ramachandran, one of the best known researchers into phantom limbs, tells the story of his patient whom he asked to lift a cup with his phantom hand. Just as he is about to reach out with the stump of his arm Ramachandran pulls the cup away. The patient cries out in pain. What is the explanation? The patient was just reaching through the cup handle and has felt the pain of his illusory fingers being twisted as the cup was pulled away. Even though the twisted finger was illusory, the pain experienced by the patient was as real as the cup that caused it.
Phantom limb can be extremely distressing or the patient, for they are often experienced as painful, burning, itching, or twisted into uncomfortable positions. In addition they are not easy to treat, not least because there is nothing to one found where the patient says the pain is coming from. In the past it was generally thought that the pain experienced in phantom limbs was the result of an inflammation of the nerve endings where the limb had been amputated. The nonsensical information that these nerves ending nowhere would then send back to the brain was experienced as pain. As a treatment sometimes a second amputation was carried out in order to remove the stump with the affected nerve endings, thereby stopping the pain at least temporarily. This tended not to be very successful; sometimes patients were not just left with the pain of the phantom limb but also experienced additional pain in the phantom stump...
Ramachandran came up with a new course of treatment. If the brain could somehow be convinced that the missing limb could still be moved, it might unlearn its assumptions,ption that the limb is paralyzed and stuck in an uncomfortable position, thereby removing the pain. But how does one move an object that does not exist? To do this Ramachandran constructed a device called the mirror box.
This is a simple wooden ox with two holes and a mirror serving as a middle partition. In the case of a patient with a left phantom hand he would put his right hand through the right hole and the stump through the left hole. The top of the left half of the box would then be covered. As the patient looks into the right half he seems to see his left hand restored -- it is the left-and-right reversed mirror image of his right hand. If the patient now makes a fist with his right hand it looks as if his left is clenching in unison. It appears to the brain s if it is indeed able to move the paralyzed phantom hand together with the healthy right hand.
Somewhat surprisingly, this very simple treatment of a very complex condition has led to the long-term improvement of many patients suffering from phantom limbs stuck in painful positions. Ramachandran's mirror box provides us with an interesting example of a case where a mirror image actually has a causal effect on the real world
Source: Twelve Examples of Illusion, p. 170-171
- Much of Baudrillard's work was a commentary on...the way in which the abolition of the Symbolic [i.e. in postmodernism] led not to a direct encounter with the Real, but to a kind of hemorrhaging of the Real...We ourselves occupy the empty seat of power, phoning and clicking in our responses. TV's Big Brother had superseded Orwell's Big Brother. We the audience are not subjected to a power that comes from outside; rather, we are integrated into a control circuit that has our desires and preferences as its only mandate -- but those desires and preferences are returned to us, no longer as ours, but as the desires of the big Other.
Source: Capitalist Realism, p. 48-49
- My main contention is that, however long Americans might domestically be prepared to live with a no-decision regarding the official 9/11 account, international law can no longer tolerate it. The core mission of the premier public international body -- the United Nations -- is to perform its "jury" function of determining whether an act of aggression has occurred...I will argue that officialdom and scholars appear to be in the grip of an intellectual formalism every bit as vise-like as the "Lochner-era Formalism" American law students are taught to frown upon and deride from the very first moment of their studies. This formalism functions in the nature of a gate-keeper, letting some ideas, issues and facts into our minds and (from there) into the public domain, whilst sternly barring others. As for what lies back of this formalism, lending it its terrible strength, two sadly plausible guesses emerge: fear and its handmaiden, corruption.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 8-9
- Not surprisingly, the mythography to which novels respond and contribute is frequently paranoid, obsessed with fantastically exaggerated dangers. Before the 1970s, the most famous novels about terrorism commonly depicted terrorism as a type of philosophical and psychological derangement and hence not much to worry about, except insofar as philosophies and psychologies can be worrying. The terrorists in novels like Conrad's Secret Agent (1907) are in fact capable of little; they suffer from indolence and aimlessness, and the police have their number. In G. K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday (1908), a presumably dangerous terrorist conspiracy turns out to be wholly an invention of counterterrorist and counter-counterterrorist agents spying on one another. The only terrorist threat, for Chesterton, is the fear of terrorism. Even in Greene's The Quiet American, the main terrorist (the American of the title) is ineffectual; he causes death and destruction but misses his targets and does not accomplish any political goals. Twenty years later, in post-1970 fiction, however, terrorists are often magnificently adept at inflicting harm on others an challenging the security and the politics of their adversaries. It is not just that they succeed in causing damage; they succeed implausibly, stringing up success after success, engaging in more and more elaborate, ingenious, and unlikely conspiracies, and causing all sorts of implausible disruption. That a certain formal realism, including attention to realistic detail, may nevertheless convince their readers to take the fantasies of danger seriously, to see plausibility and vitality in them, is not in dispute. Nor is it in dispute that, though the fictions exaggerate, what they exaggerate is itself something real to the external world. Terrorism disrupts, damages, ills. But i its implausible exaggerations, the fiction is often unmistakably a fiction of fear, nightmarish in its concocting of terrors, ghoulish in its concocting of agents of mass destruction.
Source: Terrorism and the Novel, 1970-2001, p. 401-402
- Now that the Russian bureaucracy has finally succeeded in doing away with the remains of bourgeois property which hampered its rule over the economy...it wants to enjoy its world calmly and to suppress the arbitrary element which had been exerted over it: it denounces the Stalinism of its origin. But the denunciation remains Stalinist, arbitrary, unexplained and continually corrected, because the ideological lie at its origin can never be revealed...The ideology has no doubt lost the passion of its positive affirmation, but the indifferent triviality which survives still has the repressive function of prohibiting the slightest competition of holding captive the totality of thought. Thus the bureaucracy is bound to an ideology which is no longer believed by anyone. What used to be terrorist has become a laughing matter, but this laughing matter can maintain itself only by preserving, as a last resort, the terrorism it would like to be rid of.
Source: Society of the Spectacle, p. 110
- Occasionally, the staff might assume that the patient's family...or other patients had stimulated [an] outburst. But never were the staff found to assume that one of themselves or the structure of the hospital had anything to do with a patient's behavior. One psychiatrist pointed to a group of patients who were sitting outside the cafeteria entrance half an hour before lunchtime. To a group of young residents he indicated that such behavior was characteristic of the oral-acquisitive nature of the syndrome. It seemed not to occur to him that there were very few things to anticipate in a psychiatric hospital besides eating.
Source: On Being Sane In Insane Places, p. 253
- Once connected with the critique of religious prejudices and political authority, experimentation and the exercise of judgment, tolerance has turned into a bulwark for the status quo. Marcuse's argument once again relies on the idea that the medium is the message. Insofar as the culture industry presents all positions on any issue in a public forum, they all ultimately appear as having equal value. Tolerance as exhibited by the culture industry thus renders all truth claims relative -- or, better, turns their acceptance into a matter of taste. Now it is not just beauty but truth that lies in the eye of the beholder. What happened to art has happened to the discourse. Both become subordinate to the commodity form whereby qualitative turns into merely quantitative differences. When considering imperialism and war, or assaults on the welfare state and creationism, one stance is as good as another. The mass media renders resistance no more legitimate than support.
Source: Critical Theory, p. 85
- Once published by an "expert," such findings become part of the scientific discourse and recur throughout the terrorism literature. Nor are such conclusions devoid of political significance when they are recycled as unquestionable dogma by counterterrorism officials. This was the case with Paul Bremer III, Ambassador at Large for Counterterrorism, who recapitulated Post's skewed data about the Basques before the Norwegian Atlantic Committee in Oslo, Norway, February 4, 1988. Thus, the highest-ranking US counterterrorism official, in an address ironically entitled "Terrorism: Myths and Reality," employed data that anyone familiar with the Basque case knew to be utterly erroneous. Such a deceptive metaterrorism game, by which experts are allegedly capable of sorting out "reality" from "myth," is an integral part of the entire discourse's strategy of self-authorization.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 55
- One might even say that potlatch is the specific manifestation, the meaningful form of luxury. Beyond the archaic forms, luxury has actually retained the functional value of potlatch, creative of rank. Luxury still determines the rank of the one who displays it, and there is no exalted rank that does not require a display. But the petty calculations of those who enjoy luxury are surpassed in every way. In wealth, what shines through the defects extends the brilliance of the sun and provokes passion. It is not what is imagined by those who have reduced it to their poverty; it is the return of life's immensity to the truth of exuberance. This truth destroys those who have taken it for what it is not; the least that one can say is that the present forms of wealth make a shambles and a human mockery of those who think they own it. In this respect, present-day society is huge counterfeit, where this truth of wealth has underhandedly slipped into extreme poverty. The true luxury and the real potlatch of our times falls to the poverty-stricken, that is, to the individual who lies down and scoffs. A genuine luxury requires the complete contempt for riches, the somber indifference of the individual who refuses work and makes his life on the one hand an infinitely ruined splendor, and on the other, a silent insult to the laborious lie of the rich. Beyond a military exploitation, a religious mystification and a capitalist misappropriation, henceforth no one can rediscover the meaning of wealth, the explosiveness that it heralds, unless it is in the splendor of rags and the somber challenge of indifference. One might say, finally, that the lie destines life's exuberance to revolt.
Source: The Accursed Share, p. 76-77
- One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted.
Source: On Bullshit, p. 1
- One tacit characteristic of psychiatric diagnosis is that it locates the sources of aberration within the individual and only rarely within the complex of stimuli that surrounds him. Consequently, behaviors that are stimulated by the environment are commonly misattributed to the patient's disorder. For example, one kindly nurse found a pseudopatient pacing the long hospital corridors. "Nervous, Mr. X?" she asked. "No, bored," he said.
Source: On Being Sane In Insane Places, p. 253
- Opinions without an ounce of truth -- or, indeed, of falsehood. Opinion is beneath the true and the false, precisely because its sole office is to be communicable. What arises from a truth-process, by contrast, cannot be communicated. Communication is suited only to opinions (and again, we cannot manage without them). In all that concerns truths, there must be an encounter...To enter into the composition of a subject of truth can only be something that happens to you.
Source: Ethics, p. 51
- Osama bin Laden...offered similar interpretations:
'...America has been filled with horror from north to south and east to west, and thanks be to God that what America is tasting now is only a copy of what we have tasted.' [quote from Audrey Gillan, 'Bin Laden Appears on Video to Threaten US', The Guardian, 8 October 2001; emphasis added by Houen]
...The attacks are thus simultaneously hyperbolized and diminished through being explained as figurative events. As imitations, the effects, in reality, are nothing compared to American precedents; as iconic attacks their material impact extends to more than the destruction of the buildings and people involved.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 3
- Our conceptual strategy is to dissolve the phenomenon into its ritual and imaginative bases, which are poles apart from the ongoing academic and governmental efforts to constitute it further. In our view, nothing feeds the growth of the phenomenon itself more than the inability of terrorism discourse to distinguish actual combat from ritual bluff, real violence from imaginary terror. By questioning the conceptual grounds of the discourse of "terrorism" itself and neutralizing the taboo surrounding it, we seek to gain ironic distance. Instead of staging a frontal campaign against the mills of terrorism, it is our purpose, by concentrating on what has been labeled "the politics of epistemic murk and the fiction of the real," to subvert terrorism discourse by undermining its credibility and efficacy for actors, victims, and witnesses alike. Our text is therefore intended as exorcism. We further demand, by questioning not only others but ourselves, that it have a redemptive quality.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. xi
- Our five senses...provide the means for information from the world to get in, but they have very little to do with what is then experienced in perception...In fact, in terms of the sheer number of neural connections, just 10 percent of the information our brains use to see comes from our eyes.
Source: Deviate: The Creative Power of Transforming Your Perception, p. 1-2
- Our text is a mythography of Terror, particularly as experienced by the American and European publics through images of both near and distant terrorists. We treat this terrorism discourse as an enabling fiction -- the monster is there, but what are its features?
We write not as terrorism experts producing a "study," but rather as essayists perplexed by the terrorist phantasmagoria. We have elsewhere described the evolution of "terrorism" within the specific political context of Basque society. Although our locus standi is the ethnographic encounter, this essay is not intended as an ethnography. Rather, it deals centrally with the academic fashioning, media consumption, and political manipulation of terrorism discourse.
Do we perhaps, beyond its fables and follies, pretend to know what terrorism is? No. Indeed, we question the very possibility of defining, and thereby giving a satisfactory account of, the facts categorized as terrorism. Our goal is not to elaborate yet another typology, but rather to redirect the study of terrorism into an examination of the very discourse in which it is couched. As is the case with other discourses of the postmodern world we inhabit, the terrorist signifiers are free-floating, and their meanings derive from language itself. The connections between discourse and reality therefore become open to question. The challenge is not to learn the ultimate "truth" about terrorism, but to delve into the rhetorical bases of its powerful representations; not to insist that myths are often used to "fool" audiences, but rather to scrutinize the concrete discursive practices whereby this transpires.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. x-xi
- Paranoia has its downsides as an agency in daily life, or in the political sphere of collective action, which finds itself beset everywhere by the nightmarish influence of conspiracy thinking (they call it theory, but theories exist to be tested, and conspiracy thinking exists never to be tested, and globally ignores the results of tests imposed by others). The suspicion that malign operators are responsible for every one of the injustices and heartbreaks of existence is a consoling view, a balm to bleak glimpses of the void behind our reality.
From chapter: Is Fear of Music a Paranoid Record?
Source: Fear of Music, p. 107
- Paranoia was...politically valuable for the way its auto-punitive structure systematically accuses the very ideological forces and "accepted formulas" that Carrington attempts to purge from her system in the opening pages of Down Below. For Crevel, as for Carrington, these accepted formulas, this "thick layer of filth," represented the full force of bourgeois social conditioning on which the spread of fascism throughout Europe was predicated. In this light, the cure for paranoia did not simply mean a reduction of the illness's symptoms...but, more significantly, required a recognition of the subject's self-punishing drive as having a social genesis.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 228
- Perhaps one reason why no one believed Hitler at the time regarding his claim of Polish aggression, and why after the war some statesmen seemed preoccupied with the issue of false flags justifying aggression, was because people remembered the occurrence of a notorious false-flag event early in the Nazi reign, to wit, the Reichstag Fire of 1933. The story is relatively straightforward: The Nazis set fire to the German Parliament (the Reichstag) but blamed the crime on a group of communists in order to justify a mass political witch hunt of the German left, the termination of political and civil liberties for the citizenry at large, and the seizure of totalitarian political control over Germany. What is important about this false flag for our purposes is the extent to which it was viewed (both at the time and years later at Nuremberg) as an act of state terror having international ramifications...The feeling was ripe that the international community -- in some way, shape or form -- had to become involved in litigating the facts of the Reichstag Fire.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 14-15
- Perhaps the absence of myth is the ground that seems so stable beneath my feet, yet gives way without warning...'Night is also a sun', and the absence of myth is also a myth: the coldest, the purest, the only true myth.
Source: The Absence of Myth, p. 48
- Politics and fabulation overlap further towards the end of Part Five of How German Is It in a section entitled 'The purpose of an antiterrorist film'. According to Wurtenhberg's chief of police, the purpose of such a film amounts to constructing a complete terrorist profile that identifies 'their slang, their gestures, their preferences, their way of dressing...their weapons, their techniques, their political rhetoric...' in order to 'Depict as accurately as possible the threat they pose to the stability of this society'. However, as the narrative voice points out, presenting an authentic picture of the threat is fundamentally a matter of deciding how to 'minimize' or 'exaggerate' the terrorists' 'strength' and 'callousness'. Determining a special-effect of realism appears to be the only way the desired political effects can be realized: 'In order to clarify, to make evident a terrorist threat, the film has to distort, fabricate and often lie. But no matter how great these flaws are, the need for the film is self evident'...That this whole procedure requires that the distinctions between events and representations, facts and fictions, 'terrorism' and counter-terrorism, become totally unclear in order to manipulate the public is no doubt why there is 'always a possibility' that it will not succeed.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 227-228
- PP: You write: 'No one believes in the real any more, nor in the evidence of their own life.' What a verdict! This is good news for Jean Baudrillard, isn't it?
JB: Indeed, from a Stoic viewpoint, it's futile to wish to add belief to the objectality, the radicality, of the event! Belief is a weak value. My hypothesis is that, behind the belief systems by which we fabulate the real and give it a meaning, there is in everyone (and this isn't a question of intelligence or consciousness) a radical empiricism which means that fundamentally no one believes in this idea of reality. Everyone has a radicality threshold which gives them a purchase on the world outside of their ideologies and beliefs. Not to add to desire the pathos of desire. Not to add to belief the pathos of belief. Not to add hope to hope. All these values divert us from thought. The Stoics knew this. The important thing is to find distance and freedom from these overlays. To try to sweep away this subjective or collective ideological proliferation.
PP: That puts me in mind of a remark by Laruelle in Biographie de l'homme ordinaire in which he says that what counts isn't to grasp the world, but to know how to reject it in a kind of Stoic indifference.
Source: Paroxysm, p. 36
- Rather than uncritically reproduce propaganda rhetoric from politicians, we suggest that journalists carry out their own investigations of the legal basis for warfare in cases like Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and other conflicts. The first step could be to listen to what the juridical experts say about the legal issues...Humanitarian rhetoric applied in selective or biased interpretations of international law...needs to be scrutinized by public media.
From chapter: Wikileaks and War Laws by Stig A. Nohrstedt and Rune Ottosen
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 216-217
- Reality is a bitch. And that is hardly surprising, since it is the product of stupidity's fornication with the spirit of calculation -- the dregs of the sacred illusion offered up to the jackals of science.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 3
- Really Existing Capitalism is marked by the same division which characterized Really Existing Socialism, between, on the one hand, an official culture in which capitalist enterprises are presented as socially responsible and caring, and, on the other, a widespread awareness that companies are actually corrupt, ruthless, etc...But postmodernism's supposed gestures of demystification do not evince sophistication so much as a certain naivety, a conviction that there were others, in the past, who really believed in the Symbolic. [now quoting Zizek:] ...those who do not allow themselves to be caught in the symbolic deception/fiction, who continue to believe their eyes, are the ones who err most. A cynic who 'believes only his eyes' misses the efficiency of the symbolic fiction, and how it structures our experience of reality.
Source: Capitalist Realism, p. 47-48
- Recent developments in literary criticism and historiography have made it easier for us to assume that, rather than viewing fiction as the antithesis of fact, they share a porous boundary. A perspective closer to Vico's philosophy [e.g. mythology as the first science] would argue that there is a generic consciousness that combines both the literally true and the fictive; such a view regards "the true and the fabulous as simply different ways of signifying the relationship of the human consciousness to the world." Yet the discourse on terrorism is so traumatized by brutal events that any postulation of continuity between fact and fable regarding it may appear frivolously scandalous. Is the attempt to do so a denial of atrocity? Hardly. Nevertheless, to our minds the really challenging issues have more to do with the ways in which the popular media, scholarly treatises, and official reports employ narrative strategies to anticipate, relate, and interpret such events. Once having contemplated the horror of the mute fact, whether real or anticipated, it is essential to realize that its true impact, far beyond the shattered bodies or buildings, resonates in the halls of the collective imagination.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 10-11
- Rene Crevel's 1933 essay "Notes toward a Psycho-dialectic" makes precisely this theoretical move [i.e., a surrealist theory that expands the fields of Marxist inquiry beyond its own orthodox presuppositions]. Published in the same issue of SASDLR as Eduard and Peret's review off the press coverage of the Papin sisters, Crevel's article uses Jacques Lacan's recent doctoral thesis on paranoia to articulate how psychotic crime could provide a means for better understanding political expression. Crevel thus revises Aragon's justification of violent insurrection as a function of "visionary" class awareness, instead describing proletarian revolution as a gradual process of increasing consciousness as a subject...
Lacan's 1932 thesis on paranoia was appealing to Crevel because it allowed him to expound a materialist theory of unconscious development, which stressed the social rather than the constitutional, genetic, or even instinctual development of paranoia's delusional system. Lacan's study of paranoia stands in opposition to the two major French theories of the illness: the notion of automatism, which understood the mind as series of automatic functions, and of constitutionalism, which understood the mind as organically fixed in its irregularities. Lacan's theoretical breakthrough was to propose instead that paranoia is a delusional system with an emphatically social basis, a condition brought about through the dialectical interplay between the subject and other people. Lacan's theory of paranoia does not simply reject the patient's delusional structure, through which the subject strikes out against her own ego-ideal in the form of a persecuting enemy, as a false or alien theory of persecution; it understands the illness as already a synthesis of conscious perception and unconscious judgment. By studying the social conditions that contribute to paranoia, Lacan thus structures his own theory as a dialectical extension of the illness itself.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 185-186
- Revel became disgusted with what he considered the porto-surrealists' enchantment with unconscious (or mediumistic) imagery as imagery, and not as a true conduit for self-exploration, which would demand the anxiety and discomfort that lay in the expression of the "subterranean work of thoughts"...[T]he surrealist exploration of psychoanalysis, automatic writing and mediumistic activity should not, Crevel argued, simply highlight the beauty and intrigue of psychoanalytic symptoms, the products and projections of unconscious processes; these practices should rather demand an encounter, however difficult or traumatic, with the desires and motives that guide them...Crevel's attacks against what he considered surrealism's tendencies toward abstraction and aestheticism stressed that the unconscious is not a treasure trove but a dangerous mechanism; its recourse to the absolute is made possible only by its terrifying and terroristic intimacy with desire and death.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 70,71
- Saussure's emphasis, then, is on the constructedness of meaning. Linguistic structures determine our perception of reality so that meaning cannot exist independently of language. Stendhal's description of the novel as a mirror walking down the road is insight of this, in adequate because it assumes that "ready-made ideas exist before words" (Saussure 1915: 65). Instead, structuralists argue, "our knowledge of things is insensibly structured by the systems of code and convention which alone enable us to classify and organize the chaotic flow of experience" (Norris 1982: 4). Literature in structuralist terms can no longer be seen as a natural emanation from a mysteriously inspired, moral mind. Indeed, the gain of structuralist theory is the demystification of literature as an especially privileged discourse since structures, codes, and conventions are found just as much in literature as in Literature (see Eagleton 1983: 106-7).
Source: Realism and Power: Postmodern British Fiction, p. 21
- Say: This is real, the world is real, the real exists (I have met it) -- no one laughs. Say: This is a simulacrum, you are merely a simulacrum, this war is a simulacrum -- everyone bursts out laughing. With forced, condescending laughter, or uncontrollable mirth, as though at a childish joke or an obscene proposition. Everything to do with the simulacrum is taboo or obscene, as is everything related to sex or death. Yet it is much rather reality and obviousness which are obscene. It is the truth we should laugh at. You can imagine a culture where everyone laughs spontaneously when someone says: 'This is true', 'This is real'.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 97
- Scholars specializing in international law or international relations, for example, have generated hundreds, if not thousands, of articles and books on 9/11, but almost all such studies assume the correctness of the core U.S. claim of self-defense and then proceed to nibble on issues that lie around its perimeter. Do the Laws of War apply to a "War on Terror" that features (on one side) non-state actors? Can the 9/11 attacks support a paradigm shift away from anticipatory self-defense to preventative self-defense? Can the torture of terror suspects be justified on a "warfare" approach to counterterrorism as opposed to a "crime" approach (and vice versa)? All good questions these, but they uniformly assume a (U.S.-Government-friendly) answer to the most pressing question of all: Was the United States the victim of attacks by others, or was 9/11 a false flag? If the latter, then these scholars are not merely feeding on downstream phenomenon; they are boxing at shadows projected onto the cave wall by a calculating and highly dangerous criminal elite.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 6
- Several now untenable assumptions are clear, here. The first of these is that "empirical reality" is objectively observable through pure perception. The second is that there can exist a direct transcription from "reality" to novel. Implicit in this is the idea that language is transparent, that "reality" creates language and not the reverse...Finally, there is the notion that there is a common, shared sense of both "reality" and "truth."
Source: Realism and Power: Postmodern British Fiction, p. 12
- Sid kills the running lights and the motor, and they settle in behind Island of Meadows, at the intersection of Fresh and Arthur Kills, toxicity central, the dark focus of Big Apple waste disposal, everything the city has rejected so it can keep on pretending to be itself, and here unexpectedly at the heart of it is this 100 acres of untouched marshland, directly underneath the North Atlantic flyway, sequestered by law from development and dumping, marsh birds sleeping in safety.
Source: Bleeding Edge, p. 166
- Simulacrum (associated with the event), betrayal (associated with the fidelity), and the forcing of the unnamable (associated with the power of the true): these are the figures of Evil, an Evil which becomes an actual possibility only thanks to the sole Good we recognize -- a truth-process.
Source: Ethics, p. 87
- Since we cannot grasp both the genesis and the singularity of the event, the appearance of things and their meaning, we are faced with an alternative: either we master their meaning, and appearances elude us, or the meaning eludes us, and appearances are saved. Since most of the time the meaning escapes us, this makes it certain that the secret, the illusion which binds us under the seal of secrecy, will never be unmasked. This is not something mystical but something that arises from an active strategy of the world towards us -- a strategy of absence and relinquishment, as a result of which, by the very play of appearances, things stray further and further from their meaning, and doubtless further and further from each other also, the world accentuating its flight into strangeness and the void.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 58
- Since [the French Revolution], governments have been on any quantitative measure the most prolific users of terroristic violence. Yet there is no hint of this in the dominant official discourse, whether of national or international law. In that discourse, terrorism is used by extremists -- rebels -- against the established order -- the state.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 24
- So she...entered the city again, the infected city. And spent the rest of the night finding the image of the Trystero post horn...What fragments of dreams came had to do with the post horn. Later possibly, she would have trouble sorting the night into real and dreamed...In Golden Gate Park she came on a circle of children in their nightclothes, who told her they were dreaming the gathering. But that the dream was really no different from being awake, because in the mornings when they got up they felt tired, as if they'd been up most of the night. When their mothers thought they were out playing they were really curled in cupboards of neighbours' houses, in platforms up in trees, in secretly-hollowed nests inside hedges, sleeping, making up for these hours. The night was empty of all terror for them, they had inside their circles an imaginary fire, and needed nothing but their own unpenetrated sense of community. They knew about the post horn, but nothing of the chalked game Oedipa had seen on the sidewalk. You used only one image and it was a jump-rope game, a little girl explained: you stepped alternately in the loop, the bell, and the mute, while your girlfriend sang:
Tristoe, Tristoe, one, two, three,
Turning taxi from across the sea...
'Thurn and Taxis, you mean?'
They'd never heard it that way. Went on warming their hands at an invisible fire. Oedipa, to retaliate, stopped believing in them.
Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 88-90
- So the world, then, is a radical illusion. That is, at least, one hypothesis. At all events, it is an unbearable one. And to keep it at bay, we have to realize the world, give it force of reality, make it exist and signify at all costs, take from it its secret, arbitrary, accidental character, rid it of appearances and extract its meaning, divert it from all predestination and restore it to tis end and its maximum efficacy, wrest it from its form to deliver it up to its formula. This gigantic enterprise of disillusionment -- of, literally, putting the illusion of the world to death, to leave an absolutely real world in its stead -- is what is properly meant by simulation. It is not, then, the real which is the opposite of simulation -- the real is merely a particular case of that simulation -- but illusion.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 17
- Someone who lies and someone who tells the truth are playing on opposite sides, so to speak, in the same game. Each responds to the facts as he understands them, although the response of the one is guided by the authority of the truth, while the response of the other defies that authority and refuses to meet its demands. The bullshitter ignores these demands altogether. He does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it. He pays no attention to it at all. By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.
Source: On Bullshit, p. 60-61
- Sometimes such a visitor, influenced by fashion, would declare himself for Idealism but all I could see was yet another shame-faced realist, like so many well-meaning men these days, subsisting on a compromise between Kant and Comte. By abandoning the commonplace notion of reality for the concept of reality within they believe they have made a great leap forward -- but their idol, the Noumenon, has been exposed as a very mediocre piece of plaster...[T]here are other experiences that the mind can embrace which are equally fundamental such as chance, illusion, the fantastic, dreams. These different types of experience are brought together and reconciled in one genre, Surreality.
Source: A Wave of Dreams, p. 16-17
- Staging paranoia's reflexive play of delusional identifications as an artistic problem, I argue, offered the surrealists a critical system for diagnosing the social forces that threatened to replicate themselves in the age of fascism...Salvador Dali's "Non-Euclidean Psychology of a Photograph," published in Minotaure in 1935, most succinctly illuminates surrealism's "paranoiac" strategy of overlooking an obvious threat in order to highlight broader, more latent evils.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 233
- Still, was the post-Gulf War terrorist threat real or hocus-pocus? That we cannot know; that is the very essence of the phenomenon, call it threat, play, bluff, or terrorism. It is, of course, in the very nature of such behavior that one wishes to keep one's opponent guessing and that success in doing so translates into leverage/power. The perception of threat, in particular, is notoriously subjective. Once again, the very absence of concrete denotation turns into the most doom-ridden foreboding -- if we at least knew their intentions; if there was perhaps an explanation for their villainy, a clear grievance that could be redressed; if they would show themselves and fight face-to-face, if only...There is the news -- later proven to be false -- that terrorists have placed a bomb somewhere. This time, but only this time, the public is spared the burden of contemplating an orchestrated atrocity. However, the reasons for being terrified were, after all, "real."
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 8
- Suicide attacks have multiplied dramatically -- there have been three times as many since 2000 as in the previous twenty years -- and some have produced visible strategic results. For instance, the hugely destructive suicidal attacks on American and French installations in Lebanon contributed to the withdrawal of those countries' forces from Lebanon, with significant medium-term political effects. But thinking about this issue is fraught with difficulty, not least because in the nature of things there is often no conclusive evidence whether the incidents were simply high-risk operations rather than deliberate sacrifices. Even the 9/11 hijackers may not all have been told of the finality of their mission. In some attempted car and truck bomb attacks in Lebanon in the 1980s, it appears that the drivers did not know that they had been chosen to become martyrs by remote control.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 108
- That truth does not have total power means, in the last analysis, that the subject-language, the production of a truth-process, does not have the power to name all the elements of the situation. At least one real element must exist, one multiple existing in the situation, which remains inaccessible to truthful nominations, and is exclusively reserved to opinion, to the language of the situation. At least one point that the truth cannot force. I shall call this element the unnameable of a truth...[T]he community and the collective are the unnamable of political truth: every attempt 'politically' to name a community induces a disastrous Evil (which can be seen as much in the extreme example of Nazism as in the reactionary usage of the word 'French'...) What matters here is the general principle: Evil in this case is to want, at all costs and under condition of a truth, to force the naming of the unnameable. Such, exactly, is the principle of disaster.
Source: Ethics, p. 87
- The "formalism" of which the Justices [of the Lochner-era] stood accused by their critics -- both at the time and since -- amounted to an intellectual insulation from "social facts" that kept fro from appreciating the realities of modern industrial relations. Those realities fatefully disadvantaged workers in contract negotiations with their would-be employers and rendered talk of "freedom of contract" cruelly farcical. By refusing to gaze upon those realities and draw the necessary inferences from them in assessing protective legislation, the Justices were, in Roscoe Pound's colorful words, behaving as "[l]egal monks who pass their lives in an atmosphere of pure law, from which every worldly and human element is excluded."...Strangely enough, those judges were both virulently anti-empirical and empirical at one and the same time. Their anti-empiricism was dictated by an abstract, and highly ideological, laissez-faire-era assumption about the nature of equality in modern industrial relations...The only way [pro-labor] legislation might be justified was on narrow "health" grounds: If the legislature could show that its law was intended only to safeguard the physical health of the workers, rather than to paternalistically interfere in the industrial bargaining relationship itself, the law might pass constitutional muster. Interestingly, it was at this point in their reasoning that the Lochner-era judges suddenly became very interested in the real world. For on the question of health dangers, they were not content merely to accept the say-so of the legislature (i.e. they were not prepared to be bound by the mere "forms" of legislative assurances), but instead insisted on reviewing the health facts for themselves in an exercise of quasi-de novo review.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 20-22
- The Discourse on the King of Meditations, a fourth-century Buddhist text, remarks the following on the topic of mirages:
Know all phenomena to be like this:
At noon in midsummer,
a man tormented by thirst, marching on,
sees a mirage as a pool of water.
Know all phenomena to be like this:
Although a mirage contains no water,
confused beings will want to drink it.
But unreal water cannot be drunk.
Source: Twelve Examples of Illusion, p. 56
- The best-known development during this period [1932-ish, the Age d'or affair] was Dali's invention of paranoia-critique, a response to Bataille's critique of surrealism that was designed to counteract what Aragon identified as "the revenge of censorship on the unconscious." In Dali's paranoia-critique, Andre Masson's early notion of a "physical idea of the Revolution" found a new incarnation as a psychic mechanism whose "revolutionary" potential Dali advocated in an essay printed in the first issue of Le Surrealisme au Service de la Revolution in 1930, titled 'L'ane pourri" (The Rotting Donkey). Dali's theory of paranoia heeds Bataille's claim that it is through participation in spectacles of violence, rather than through grand ideals or "irons of intellect," that it becomes possible to overthrow existing ideological frameworks. Yet Dali strongly disagreed with Bataille's presumption that such spectacles were natural occurrences that could be experienced without idealism or fancy concepts. Dali argue that the Bataillean effect of spectacular participation could instead be produced through the capacity of paranoia for generating simulacra whose presence vies with other "images of reality"; as a result, one's ideologically overdetermined confidence in such images would begin to self-destruct.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 161
- The big Other is the collective fiction, the symbolic structure, presupposed by any social field...One important dimension of the big Other is that it does not know everything. It is this constitutive ignorance of the big Other that allows public relations to function. Indeed, the big Other could be defined as the consumer of PR and propaganda, the virtual figure which is required to believe even when no individual can. To use one of Žižek's examples: who was it, for instance, who didn't know that Really Existing Socialism (RES) was shabby and corrupt? Not any of the people, who were all too aware of its shortcomings; nor any of the government administrators, who couldn't but know. No, it was the big Other who was the one deemed not to know -- who wasn't allowed to know -- the quotidian reality of RES. Yet the distinction between what the big Other knows, i.e. what is officially accepted, and what is widely known and experienced by actual individuals, is very far from being 'merely' emptily formal; it is the discrepancy between the two that allows 'ordinary' social reality to function. When the illusion that the big Other did not know can no longer be maintained, the incorporeal fabric holding the social system together disintegrates. This is why Khrushchev's speech in 1965 [sic, it was 1956], in which he 'admitted' the failings of the Soviet state, was so momentous...Khrushchev's announcement made it impossible to believe any more that the big Other was ignorant of them.
Source: Capitalist Realism, p. 44-45
- The bomb-maker [in Lessing's The Good Terrorist], Jocelyn, imitates the IRA gunrunners' Irish accents so perfectly that Alice judges that she may actually be Irish: "Does it matter? Here is another of us with a false voice!" (416)
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 79
- The bullshitter may not deceive us, or even intend to do so, either about the facts or about what he takes the facts to be. What he does necessarily attempt to deceive us about is his enterprise. His only indispensably distinctive characteristic is that in a certain way he misrepresents what he is up to.
Source: On Bullshit, p. 54
- The catastrophic results of such discursive connections -- i.e., the tragic clash between the apocalyptic philosophy of the Branch Davidians and the apocalyptic response of the law enforcement authorities, followed by a commemorative reenactment of Waco in Oklahoma City, mediated by a Hollywood movie and Pierce's paranoid, antigovernment tale that in turn was informed by earlier anti-Communist narratives -- lend special urgency to Vico's dictum that mythology is the first science.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 10
- The conception of politics that we defend is far from the idea that 'everything is possible'. In fact, it's an immense task to try to propose a few possibles, in the plural -- a few possibilities other than what we are told is possible. It is a matter of showing how the space of the possible is larger than the one we are assigned -- that something else is possible, but not that everything is possible. In any case, it is essential that politics renounce the category of totality, which is perhaps another change with respect to the previous period.
Source: Ethics, p. 115
- The contemporary proliferation of bullshit also has deeper sources, in various forms of skepticism which deny that we can have any reliable access to an objective reality, and which therefore reject the possibility of knowing how things truly are. These "antirealist" doctrines undermine confidence in the value of disinterested efforts to determine what is true and what is false, and even in the intelligibility of the notion of objective inquiry. One response to this loss of confidence has been a retreat from the discipline required by dedication to the ideal of correctness to a quite different sort of discipline, which is imposed by pursuit of an alternative ideal of sincerity. Rather than seeking primarily to arrive at accurate representations of a common world, the individual turns toward trying to provide honest representations of himself. Convinced that reality has no inherent nature, which he might hope to identify as the truth about things, he devotes himself to being true to his own nature. It is as though he decides that since it makes no sense to try to be true to the facts, he must therefore try instead to be true to himself.
But it is preposterous to imagine that we ourselves are determinate, and hence susceptible both to correct and incorrect descriptions, while supposing that the ascription of determinacy to anything else has been exposed as a mistake. As conscious beings, we exist only in response to other things, and we cannot know ourselves at all without knowing them. Moreover, there is nothing in theory, and certainly nothing in experience, to support the extraordinary judgment that it is the truth about himself that is the easiest for a person to know. Facts about ourselves are not peculiarly solid and resistant to skeptical dissolution. Our natures are, indeed, elusively insubstantial -- notoriously less stable and less inherent than the natures of other things. And insofar as this is the case, sincerity itself is bullshit.
Source: On Bullshit, p. 64-67
- The critical function of the subject has given way to the ironic function of the object...No longer any need to confront objects with the absurdity of their functions, in a poetic unreality, as the Surrealists did: things move to shed an ironic light on themselves all on their own; they discard their meanings effortlessly.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 75
- The danger into which reason (in the most general and arguable sense of the term) places us by submitting works of the mind to its unbending dogmas, by not allowing us to choose the mode of expression that does us the least disservice -- this danger, without doubt, is far from having been averted. The pathetic supervisors who dog our steps even after we have graduated from school still make their rounds in our homes, in our life. They make sure that we always call a spade a spade and since we just keep on smiling nicely, they don't necessarily pack us off to prison or commit us to asylums.
Source: Introduction to the Discourse on the Paucity of Reality, p. 142
- The day seems long past when a sorcerer could use art to confuse and destroy the enemy. Even when Brecht evokes the "house of Tar" to take on the Third Reich, we take it as mere metaphor. Poet at work, we say.
But what if this distinction between art and war is fatuous, that all along the science of war has been a misnomer, just like the distinction between metaphor and reality? How else to explain the frisson we feel when we come across an ancient Chinese manual of war such as that of Sun Tau, reeking of the magic of antiquity and Orientalism, and nod our heads in respect? For one of the strangest things about war whether ancient or postmodern is that as a pumped-out, puffed-up "science," it reeks of craft and witchcraft, accident and chance, as much as planning. Indeed the more "scientific" or "technological" it appears, the more arcane and mysterious, also. Guerrilla warfare makes this doubly so. Clausewitz is known on account of his equation of politics with war, but is not politics merely the tip of a submerged continent of power whose outlines we dimly discern and whose uncanny force we feel?
To combine a magician, a surrealist painter, and a zoologist, as in the British War Office, is pretty much the mind-set that any of us interested in brushing history against the grain might espouse. So how might one out-camouflage their camouflage? That was John Heartfield's strategy with photomontage in Berlin around the tie Brecht wrote his poem about the anxieties of the regime. Heartfelt was a pioneer in the art of photomontage, cutting up images, rearranging the parts, and adding some new ones and a caption so as to reverse the message or expose its hidden meanings. This would be to counteract the macabre artistry of "love beads," [note: on soldiers] themselves a sardonic transgression of transgression. It is also what Delouse and Guattari ["Treatise on Nomadology: The War Machine" from A Thousand Plateaus] were getting at with their labored notion of the war machine, a machine they saw as the anarchic special ops built into any army, yet antithetical to it....
Camouflaged soldiers bring into being a most curious amalgam of the allegedly utilitarian and the unacknowledged exotic. Blending with the animal world and the love of imitation therein, together with the aesthetic pleasure of theatrical disguise, the coloration we call camouflage illustrates how narrow is the view of the practical, workaday world if it does not admit that the most practical is also the most aesthetic when transplanted from the field to the battlefield.
To date the field of aesthetics has paid scant attention to its affinity with the animal and with war, just as it has fought shy of magic and conjuring. So-called primitive societies knew better. To open this doorway, as with the war machine, or with Tom Mitchell's pointed question, "What do pictures want?" is to recast the division between the aesthetic and the practical, a first step to understanding how truth now functions in the Terror of the war against terror.
Source: Zoology, Magic, and Surrealism in the War on Terror, p. S116
- The eagerness of the parties in conflicts to censor journalists as well as to attack them physically are important obstacles to reporting from conflict areas. Statistics indicate that journalists are often targets in recent wars. According to the IFJ, more than 1,100 journalists and media employees were killed on duty between 1995 and 2007. The number of journalists killed worldwide has risen 244 percent between 2002 and 2007. Statistically speaking, journalists were ten times more likely than any of the 250,000 American and British soldiers to be killed in Iraq, which has been the most dangerous place to work as a journalist in recent years. A vast majority of the journalists killed in Iraq were not embedded. The embedded journalists were protected physically by being in military units and, more importantly, their presence was regarded as beneficial by the military. Are other journalists and media facilities perceived to be legitimate targets in modern warfare?
From chapter: Wikileaks and War Laws by Stig A. Nohrstedt and Rune Ottosen
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 216
- The godgame played in The Magus consists of a series of frames which are repeatedly established and broken. This framebreaking, as Brian McHale points out, presents us with a series of illusions of "reality:" "Intended to establish an absolute level of reality, it paradoxically relativizes reality; intended to provide an ontologically stable foothold, it only destabilizes ontology further" (1987: 197). This is a more than apt description of the effects of Maurice Conchis' "metatheatre" in the novel, a theatre designed "to allow participants to see through their first roles in it" (Fowles 1977b: 408-9).
Source: Realism and Power: Postmodern British Fiction, p. 88
- The Good is Good only to the extent that it does not aspire to render the world good. Its sole being lies in the situated advent of a singular truth. So it must be that the power of a truth is also a kind of powerlessness...Every absolutization of the power of a truth organizes an Evil...This is why I will call this figure of Evil a disaster, a disaster of the truth induced by the absolutization of its power.
Source: Ethics, p. 85
- The government took PR to a new level: it is now called PM for 'perception management' and it treats war as a product to be 'rolled out' and promoted. It is serious and systematic. It branded the war and used advertising-like slogans to sell it...Anchormen complained the the media had gone from being a watchdog to a lap dog, but did nothing about it...It is important to understand that this does not add up to a critique of a few lapses or media mistakes. The Iraq War was more than a catalogue of errors or flaws. The war was shaped for coverage, planned and formatted, pre-produced and aired with high production values, designed to persuade, not just inform. What we saw and are seeing is a crime against democracy and the public's right to know.
From chapter: Challenging the Media War by Danny Schecter
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 314-315
- The hyperbolic as I have described it is not limited to 11 September, though; rather, it is an index of the way that performative aspects of discourse generally, and figurative language in particular, can affect the nature of material events, just as material events can modulate discursive practices.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 6
- The idealized market was supposed to deliver 'friction free' exchanges, in which the desires of consumers would be met directly, without the need for intervention or mediation by regulatory agencies. Yet the drive to assess the performance of workers and to measure forms of labor which, by their nature, are resistant to quantification, has inevitably required additional layers of management and bureaucracy. What we have is not a direct comparison of workers' performance or output, but a comparison between the audited representation of that performance and output. Inevitably, a short-circuiting occurs, and work becomes geared towards the generation and massaging of representations rather than to the official goals of the work itself.
Source: Capitalist Realism, p. 42
- The imbrication of 'state' molarity with 'collective' or 'mass' molecularity made by Deleuze and Guattari is evident throughout The Secret Agent, producing a vision of what we might term entropolitics that disrupts the opposition between a revolutionary and a conservative ethos. For example, the phantasmic transformation of energy problematizes Michaelis's idea of pure materiality, but turns texts and images themselves into quasi-corporeal events, and so facilitates precisely the type of contagion frequently associated with the Anarchist threat: 'it has become a disease which is transmitted from one mad dog to another as hydrophobia is transmitted from one mad dog to another', declared the Saturday Review.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 53
- The impossibility of rediscovering an absolute level of the real is of the same order as the impossibility of staging illusion. Illusion is no longer possible, because the real is no longer possible. It is the whole political problem of parody, of hyper simulation or offensive simulation, that is posed here.
Source: Simulacra and Simulation, p. 19
- The intersubjective, 'public' symbolic space has lost its innocence: narrativization, integration into the symbolic order, into the big Other, opens up a mortal threat, far from leading to any kind of reconciliation. What one should bear in mind here is that this neutrality of the symbolic order functions as the ultimate guarantee for the so-called 'sense of reality': as soon as this neutrality is smeared, 'external reality' itself loses the self-evident character of something present 'out there' and begins to vacillate, i.e., is experienced as delimited by an invisible frame: the paranoia of the noir universe is primarily visual, based upon the suspicion that our vision of reality is always already distorted by some invisible frame behind our backs...
From chapter: Surrealism Noir by Jonathan Eburne
Source: Surrealism, Politics and Culture, p. 109
- The Kuma War game includes online missions entitled 'Fallujah: Operation al Fajr', 'Battle in Sadr City' and 'Uday and Qusay's Last Stand'. Its legitimacy and realism are underwritten by the fact that the firm is run by retired military officers and used as a recruiting tool by their former colleagues...Such ideological work became vital because the military-diplomatic-fiscal disasters of the 2001-07 period jeopardized a steady supply of new troops. So at the same time as neophytes were hard to attract to the military due to the perils of war, recruits to militaristic game design stepped forward -- nationalistic designers volunteering for service. Their mission, which they appeared to accept with alacrity, was to interpellate the country's youth by situating their bodies and minds to fire the same weapons and face the same issues as on the battle field.
From chapter: Terrorism and Global Popular Culture by Toby Miller
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 106-107
- The lie which is no longer challenged becomes lunacy...The ideology which is materialized in this context has not economically transformed the world, as has capitalism which reached the stage of abundance; it has merely transformed perception by means of the police.
Source: Society of the Spectacle, p. 105
- The man who works is a man who separates himself from the universe, the man who works is a man already shut up in his house, who binds himself to his bosses, his tables, his workbenches and his tools. The man who works is a man who destroys the profound reality...that surrealism has over the real. And there can be no doubt that the concerns of surrealism, in common with primitive rituals, has been to rediscover, outside that technical activity which weighs so heavily on today's human masses, the irreducible element by which man has no equal more perfect than a star.
Source: The Absence of Myth, p. 76
- The manipulation of frames for purposes of creating collective terror has to be directed to the imagination. There is no sense of the "untrue" or "unreal" when one is submerged in dream or fantasy.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 30
- The morality to which André Breton is drawn is rather poorly defined, but it is -- if such a thing is possible -- a morality of the instant. What is essential about it is the demand imposed no whoever expresses a will to choose between the instant -- the value of the present moment and the free activity of the mind -- and a concern for results which immediately abolish the value and even, in a sense, the existence of the instant. The accent is placed not on the fact of choosing but on the content of the choice proposed. It is only the incommensurable value of the instant that counts, not the fact that all would be in suspension. More precisely, what is at stake..prevails to a large extent over the fact that the decision belongs to me and gives me authority. Liberty is no longer the liberty to choose, but the choice renders a liberty, a free activity, possible, requiring that once decision is fixed upon it I do not allow a new choice to intervene, for a choice between the diverse possibilities of the activity unleashed would be made with a view to some ulterior result (this is the significance of automatism). The surrealist decision is thus a decision to decide no longer (that is, the free activity of the mind would be betrayed if I subordinated it to some result decided beforehand).
The profound difference between surrealism and the existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre hangs on this character of the existence of liberty. If I do not seek to dominate it, liberty will exist: it is poetry; words, no longer striving to serve some useful purpose, set themselves free and so unleash the image of free existence, which is never bestowed except in the instant...If we were genuinely to break the servitude by which the existence of the instant is submitted to useful activity, the essence would suddenly be revealed in us with an unbearable clarity...The seizure of the instant cannot differ from ecstasy (reciprocally one must define ecstasy as the seizure of the instant -- nothing else -- operating despite the concerns of the mystics).
Source: The Absence of Myth, p. 66
- The objectivity of these [historical] relics is beyond doubt. The problem is their status as reality and, therefore, as evidence, as their status as objects suddenly rendered incredible by the very intensity of their itemization and the methods of analysis applied to them. These traces pass into hyperreality, as does any 'material' pursued down to the tiniest detail, all 'scientific' exploration ending up exterminating its real object.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 23
- The only genuine ethics is of truths in the plural -- or, more precisely, the only ethics is of processes of truth, of the labour that brings some truths into the world. Ethics must be taken in the sense presumed by Lacan when, against Kant and the notion of a general morality, he discusses the ethics of psychoanalysis. Ethics does not exist. There is only the ethic-of (of politics, of love, of science, of art).
Source: Ethics, p. 28
- The only way to look at Man is as the victim of his mirrors.
Source: A Wave of Dreams, p. 43
- The pertinent comparison is not, however, between telling a lie and producing some particular instance of bullshit. The elder Simpson identifies the alternative to telling a lie as "bullshitting one's way through." This involves not merely producing one instance of bullshit; it involves a program of producing bullshit to whatever extent the circumstances require. This is a key, perhaps, to his preference. Telling a lie is an act with a sharp focus. It is designed to insert a particular falsehood at a specific point in a set or system of beliefs, in order to avoid the consequences of having that point occupied by the truth...The liar is inescapably concerned with truth-values...On the other hand, a person who undertakes to bullshit his way through has much more freedom. His focus is panoramic rather than particular. He does not limit himself to inserting a certain falsehood at a specific point, and thus he is not constrained by the truths surrounding that point or intersecting it. He is prepared, so far as required, to fake the context as well...It is more expansive and independent, with more spacious opportunities for improvisation, color, and imaginative play. This is less a matter of craft than of art. Hence the familiar notion of the "bullshit artist."
Source: On Bullshit, p. 52-53
- The physics department, Alice included, specialized in the pursuit of tiny nothingness. Soft had the audacity to pursue a big nothingness. If his work succeeded the inflationary bubble would detach and grow into a universe tangential to ours. Another world. It would be impossible to detect, but equally real.
Source: As She Climbed Across the Table, p. 3-4
- The point is rather that, so far as Wittgenstein can see, Pascal offers a description of a certain state of affairs without genuinely submitting to the constraints which the endeavor to provide an accurate representation of reality imposes. Her fault is not that she fails to get things right, but that she is not even trying.
Source: On Bullshit, p. 32
- The present world exceeds the grasp of criticism in that it is caught up in a perpetual movement of disillusion and dissolution, the very movement which is pushing it towards order and towards an absurd conformism, the excess of which creates much greater disorganization than the opposite excess of disorder. Having reached this point, the real (if we may call it that) now responds only to a kind of objective irony and pataphysical description. Pataphysics is the imaginary science of our world, the imaginary science of excess, of excessive, parodic, paroxystic effects -- particularly the excess of emptiness and insignificance. The existence which believes in its own existence is an infatuation, a ridiculous flatulence. Pataphysical irony is aimed at this presumptuousness on the part of beings sustained by the fierce illusion of their existence. For that existence is merely an inflatable structure, similar to Ubu's belly, which distends into the void and ends up exploding like the Palotins.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 71
- The realms of advertising and of public relations, and the nowadays closely related realm of politics, are replete with instances of bullshit so unmitigated that they can serve among the most indisputable and classic paradigms of the concept.
Source: On Bullshit, p. 22
- The scene was real and incontrovertible, and at variance with the talk of the Sergeant, but I knew that the Sergeant was talking the truth and if it was a question of taking my choice, it was possible that I would have to forego the reality of all the simple things my eyes were looking at.
Source: The Third Policeman, p. 75
- The situation seems to be this. aristotelianism and related philosophies have told us for such a long time how important it is to get a precise knowledge of the meaning of our terms that we are all inclined to believe it. And we continue to cling to this creed in spite of the unquestionable fact that philosophy, which for twenty centuries has worried about the meaning of its terms, is not only full of verbalism but also appallingly vague and ambiguous, while a science like physics which worries hardly at all about terms and their meaning, but about facts instead, has achieved great precision. This, surely, should be taken as indicating that, under Aristotelian influence, the importance of the meaning of terms has been grossly exaggerated. But I think that it indicates even more. For not only does this concentration on the problem of meaning fail to establish precision; it is itself the main source of vagueness, ambiguity, and confusion.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 97
- The spectacle is nothing more than the common language of this separation...The spectacle reunites the separate, but reunites it as separate.
Source: Society of the Spectacle, p. 29
- The spectacle is the nightmare of imprisoned modern society which ultimately expresses nothing more than its desire to sleep. The spectacle is the guardian of sleep.
Source: Society of the Spectacle, p. 21
- The spectacle, grasped in its totality...is the heart of the unrealism of the real society. In all its specific forms, as information or propaganda, as advertisement or direct entertainment consumption, the spectacle is the present model of socially dominant life.
Source: Society of the Spectacle, p. 6
- The spectacle...naturally finds vision to be the privileged human sense which the sense of touch was for other epochs; the most abstract, the most mystifiable sense corresponds to the generalized abstraction of present-day society.
Source: Society of the Spectacle, p. 18
- The theoretical conception of my topic -- that terrorism is both actual killing and a fictional construct, that fiction embodies an acute critique of the power of discourse as opposed to the power of the individual's self-assertion -- owes a great deal to deconstruction and neo-Marxism and will be familiar to readers with a grounding in the New Historicism and cultural studies.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 2
- The trouble is that you fail to appreciate the limitless strength of the unreal. Your imagination, my dear fellow, is worth more than you imagine.
Source: Paris Peasant, p. 61
- The true cancels itself in the truer-than-true, the too-true-to-be-true -- the reign of simulation. The false disappears into the too-false-to-be-false -- the end of the aesthetic illusion. And the loss of evil is even more painful than the loss of good, the loss of the false even more painful than the loss of the true.
Source: Paroxysm, p. 2
- The truth is that, in the context of a system of thought that is both a-religious and genuinely contemporary with the truths of our time, the whole ethical predication based upon recognition of the other should be purely and simply abandoned. For the real question -- and it is an extraordinarily difficult one -- is much more that of recognizing the Same.
Source: Ethics, p. 25
- The UK Defence Minister went as far as to declare in October 2010 that 'the world is more dangerous than at any time in recent memory'. He was not asked to justify this proposition. In political terms, the option of ignoring terrorism, however rational, is unprofitable.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 119
- The US response to 9/11 became, if not a turning point, at least a radicalization of the American practicing of double standards -- in legal matters in general and in the treatment of media and journalists in particular. Numerous examples of improper interference with freedom of the press in the US after 11 September 2001 have been documented (Ottosen, 2002b). Even more remarkable is that the American authorities have tried to broaden their media control on a global scale. The first step after the attack against Afghanistan on 7 October 2001 was that the Pentagon bought up all the images from commercial satellite companies that could potentially be used to challenge the official US views on the development of the war.
From chapter: Wikileaks and War Laws by Stig A. Nohrstedt and Rune Ottosen
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 214
- The view that terrorism and the media form a 'symbiotic relationship' is certainly commonplace, although there is significant disagreement about what form the symbiosis takes. For commentators such as Russell F. Farnen, the media is the dominant partner: 'what we know as terrorism is actually a media creation: mass media define, delimit, delegitimize, and discredit events that we have not actually seen...' Those like H.H.A. Cooper are more cautious: 'The media certainly does not create the terrorist, but like a skilful make-up artist, can assuredly make of him either a Saint or a Frankenstein's monster.' In contrast to these views, other commentators assert that it is the terrorists who direct the show. J. Bowyer Bell, for example, argues that 'To be free means that the media are open to capture by spectacular events. And the media have been captured, have proven totally defenseless, absolutely vulnerable.' This has certainly been a view held by governments in the past, the UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, for example, famously declaring that the media provides 'the oxygen of publicity on which [terrorists] depend'. Accordingly, the UK government at one time placed a Broadcast Ban preventing members of proscribed organizations in Northern Ireland from talking on UK television or radio.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 11
- The way value is generated on the stock exchange depends of course less on what a company 'really does', and more on perceptions of, and beliefs about, its (future) performance. In capitalism, that is to say, all that is solid melts into PR, and late capitalism is defined at least as much by this ubiquitous tendency towards PR-production as it is by the imposition of market mechanisms.
Source: Capitalist Realism, p. 44
- The whole movement of modernity, its negative destiny, lies in the fact of transcribing all that was of the order of the imaginary, the dream, the ideal and utopia into technical and operational reality. It was a radical disalienation, then, this materialization of all desires, this hyperrealization of all possibilities. Unconditional accomplishment. No otherness, impossibility or transcendence in which to take refuge any more. No more alienated people: an individual who is totally fulfilled -- virtually, of course. It's the virtual dimension which monopolizes all the other worlds today, which totalizes the real by evacuating any imaginary alternative. It's from the point when it no longer has the imaginary to carry it on, and lapses into the virtual, that the real is truly dead. The individual finally becomes identical himself - the promise of the Self (the 'I') has been realized. The prophecy which was that of the whole of modern history, that of Hegel, Marx, Stirner, the Situationists -- the prophecy of the end of the separated subject -- has come to pass. But it has come to pass not for better, but for worse: from the Other to the same, from alienation to identification (just as the Nietzschean prophecy of the transvaluation of values has come to pass for the worse in the movement not beyond, but this side of, good and evil).
Source: Paroxysm, p. 50
- The world he could see from the window gaily mocked him with a promise of being an image of the painting...
Source: All Hallows' Eve, p. 84
- Then what is up the lane?
I cannot say. If he said that eternity was up the lane and left it at that, I would not kick so hard. But when we are told that we are coming back from there in a lift -- well, I, begin to think that he is confusing night-clubs with heaven. A lift!
Surely, I argued, if we concede that eternity is up the lane, the question of the lift is a minor matter. That is a case for swallowing a horse and cart and straining at a flea.
No. I bar the lift.
Source: The Third Policeman, p. 109
- There is a point at which the lives of madmen and murderers become so bizarre that we question whether the discourse about them "starts to function in a field where it qualifies as literature." Oedipus with his crimes or Faust with his devilish pact remain as emblematic literary figures of their times; "The Terrorist" and his apocalyptic threat might perhaps endure as an archetype of the late twentieth century's postmodern military simulacrum. [Quoted part is from Alexander Neill's 1991 "Fear, Fiction, and Make-Believe", The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 49:47-56.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 63
- There is a problem that I have only hinted at in all of the accounts of the atrocities of the Putumayo rubber boom. While the immensity of the cruelty is beyond question, most of the evidence comes through stories. The meticulous historian would seize upon this fact as a challenge to winnow out truth from exaggeration or understatement. But the more basic implication, it seems to me, is that the narratives are in themselves evidence of the process whereby a culture of terror was created and sustained.
Source: Culture of Terror/Space of Death, p. 482
- There is no need to deny or diminish by one iota the atrociousness of these chilling events. What we call into question here, however, is the apocalyptic and absolutist framework within which terrorism discourse casts its characters and networks, i.e., its assumptions of all-encompassing discursive coherence. The exaggerated and conspiratorial style of terrorism rhetoric itself should be a warning that we are dealing with political pathology. As Richard Hofstadter noted, "What distinguishes the paranoid style is not...the absence of verifiable facts...but rather the curious leap in imagination that is always made at some critical point in the recital of events." We believe that regarding terrorism, the brandishing of stark facts goes hand in hand with great leaps into discursive fantasy. The present intellectual world is, after all, one of self-referential illusions and postmodern self-parodies, of crimes perpetrated in real life whose public significance is far greater in terms of their commercial value for increasing TV ratings, a world in which the boundaries between the real and the make-believe are increasingly blurred. We therefore question to what extent all discourse on terrorism must conform to and borrow from some form of fictionalization. By "fictional" we "do not mean their feigned elements, but rather, using the other and broader sense of the root word fingere, their forming, shaping, and molding elements: the crafting of a narrative." [latter quote is from Natalie Davis, Fiction in the Archives: Pardon Tales and their Tellers in Sixteenth-Century France, Stanford University Press]
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 4
- There is no question that Carrington was in need of some treatment; she had become convinced that parts of Europe were becoming hypnotized by agents of Hitler. Although this doesn't seem very far off the mark for the people who experienced it, Carrington believed that magical forces were at work and repeatedly singled out certain Nazi figures (a man named Van Ghent in Spain, for example) as targets for assassination. She was ultimately committed to an asylum for constantly badgering the British Embassy that Van Ghent should be eliminated.
Source: Disruptive Testimonies: The Stakes of Surrealist Experience in Breton and Carrington, p. 100
- There is not, in fact, one single Subject, but as many subjects as there are truths, and as many subjective types as there are procedures of truths.
As for me, I identify four fundamental subjective 'types': political, scientific, artistic, and amorous.
Every human animal, by participating in a given singular truth, is inscribed in one of these four types.
A philosophy sets out to construct a space of thought in which the different subjective types, expressed by the singular truths of its time, coexist. But this coexistence is not a unification -- that is why it is impossible to speak of one Ethics.
Source: Ethics, p. 28
- There is something fundamentally wrong with the idea that protecting national security requires exempting the CIA - or any branch of the US government for that matter - from all ethical, legal, and constitutional principles. The world needs to know that this is the institutional operating principle of the CIA, not just a few cowboys or rogue agents, and that the CIA now has the statutory right to carry out all manner of crimes anywhere in the world.
One swallow does not a summer make, but one hundred thousand extremely serious crimes a year makes the CIA a criminal organization. Even if it did not, a suspension of the Constitution exempting the CIA from observing all international treaties and agreements screams for press coverage. So does Congress's sanctioning of CIA crimes against humanity under the well-worn "national security" banner. In fact, there is next to no meaningful coverage ever of the CIA in the mainstream media, let alone analysis. The few exceptions prove the rule, and when they occur, the rest of the media gang up on the exception, side with the CIA, and obliterate the story often before it's published. Case in point: Gary Webb's articles on the CIA's involvement with drugs.
From chapter: John Kelly, Crimes and Silence: The CIA's Criminal Acts and the Media's Silence
Source: Into the Buzzsaw, p. 130
- There is, then, an incommensurability between popular narrative pragmatics, which provides immediate legitimation, and the language game known to the West as the question of legitimacy -- or rather, legitimacy as a referent in the game of inquiry. Narratives, as we have seen, determine criteria of competence and/or illustrate how they are to be applied. They thus define what has the right to be said and done in the culture in question, and since they are themselves a part of that culture, they are legitimated by the simple fact that they do what they do.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 23
- There would no doubt be a distinction to be made from a thinking built upon the rational order, a thinking organized in terms of description, limits and definitions. That is looking for a balance, a dialectic. It's trying to give an account of the world. It is, in principle, exchangeable against a dream of transforming the world to which it contributes. That style of thinking seems to me doomed to be caught in its own trap. It always ends in simulation, where the crucial questions remains: 'Does the sign refer to meaning, or is it merely a reference to itself and a promotion of the sign as sign?' Simulation and the virtual...that style of thinking has managed to produce the illusion of an intelligible world. We have to knock that thinking from its pedestal and pay attention to what is ex-centred, eccentric. If we look at it this way, it's no longer we who think the world, but the world which thinks us...Let's say that we manufacture a double of the world which substitutes itself for the world. We generate the confusion between the world and its double.
Source: Paroxysm, p. 43
- There's the life and there's the consumer event. Everything around us tends to channel our lives toward some final reality in print or on film. Two lovers quarrel in the back of a taxi and a question becomes implicit in the event. Who will write the book and who will play the lovers in the movie? Everything seeks its own heightened version. Or put it this way. Nothing happens until it's consumed.
Source: Mao II, p. 44
- This ethics combines...under the imperative to 'Keep going!', resources of discernment (do not fall for simulacra), of courage (do not give up), and of moderation (do not get carried away to the extremes of Totality). The ethic of truths aims neither to submit the world to the abstract rule of a Law, nor to struggle against an external and radical Evil. On the contrary, it strives, through its own fidelity to truths, to ward off Evil -- that Evil which it recognizes as the underside, or dark side, of these very truths.
Source: Ethics, p. 91
- This is where definitions matter and where the influence of the media in making things 'obvious' is particularly stark. By privileging certain associations -- for example, of Islam as a 'violent' religion, of the West as a 'victim' of terrorist attacks, of terrorism itself as a form of violence carried out against 'democratic' states -- the media assist in the naturalization of particular interpretations of terrorism and thus legitimize specific strategies used to confront terrorist actions. Such strategies might include passing domestic anti-terror legislation, curbing civil liberties in order to reduce the threat of terrorism and invading, occupying and bombing countries that are said to host terrorist elements -- all in the name of a 'war on terror' conducted by a 'civilized' West against a less civilized 'other'.
The problem is that there is no single, commonly accepted definition of terrorism on which to base such associations and therefore no independent and reliable way of assessing what constitutes a terrorist act; hence the old adage that 'one person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter'. There are instead interpretations: socially constructed understandings of events based on 'conscious efforts to manipulate perceptions to promote certain interests at the expense of others' (Turk, 2004: 490).
From chapter: Introduction
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 6-7
- This type of image-making and image-dependent historiography is also the subject of a pointedly eccentric contribution to the twentieth-century Western European theory of social revolution, namely Walter Benjamin's concepts of redemptive criticism and dialectical images. In his youth, in 1914, Benjamin argued for just the kind of historiography as is exhibited in the image-making provoked by the Virgin of Caloto. Contrary to the view of history as a progressive continuum, the young Benjamin advanced the notion that "history rests collected in a focal point, as formerly in the utopian images of thinkers. The elements of the end condition are not present as formless tendencies of progress but instead are embedded in every present as endangered, condemned, and ridiculed creations and ideas." The historical task, he went on to say, "is to give absolute form in a genuine way to the immanent condition of fulfillment, to make it visible and predominant in the present."
Source: Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man, p. 199
- This whole virtual technology media circus, this perpetual 'reality show', has an ancestor: the ready-made. Those who are plucked from their real lives to come and act out the psychodrama of their AIDS or their marital problems on TV have an ancestor in Duchamp's bottle-rack which that artist similarly plucked from the real world to confer on it elsewhere -- in a field we still agree to call art -- an undefinable hyperreality.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 30
- Though the US at first claimed [bin Laden] had been killed resisting arrest, it became clear that he was unarmed. If this was 'justice', as President Obama asserted, it was far removed from due process. Bin Laden was killed not because he could not be captured, but because (as with the Guantanamo detainees) it was impossible to convict him in court.
Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 127
- Thriller writers, who are ever searching for plots of intrigue and characters worthy of the trumpeted New World Order, increasingly invoke terrorism as a substitute for espionage...This is all fiction, we know, but what about that other discourse on terrorism, the starkly factual one, the one invoked by politicians, journalists, and scholars, the one we hear and read about daily in the media? The credibility of the political thriller would imply that the non-fictional discourse must be deadly real. The definitive evidence of its truth has been presumably provided by the World Trade Center and the Oklahoma City explosions; terrorism experts have never been so firmly on the side of seemingly unquestionable "reality."
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 3
- Throughout the twentieth century, most terrorist fiction, even that critical of popular beliefs about terrorism, continued to follow the conventions of nineteenth-century realism For their part, government officials and the press still construct terrorism much as popular fiction does, and terrorists continue to stage their spectacles with an eye to what is now a global stage. Recognizing how often revolutionaries, politicians, and journalists draw on the familiar terrorist story inevitably leads to wondering how it might be disrupted, and Friedrich Dürrenmatt's The Assignment offers an extended response to that question. In this 1986 novella, Dürrenmatt links the inadequacy of familiar representations to the limitations of realism itself, blending an absurdist critique of contemporary politics with a postmodern conception of terrorism.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 108
- Tis book of two parts, terror and healing, takes little for granted and leaves even less in its place. It derives from the almost I've years I spent in the southwest of Colombia, South America, from 1969 to 1985, in periods varying from one month to two years. During those times my hand was tried at several things: history, anthropology, medicine, mythology, magic, to name but the nameable and leave the remainder where the subject matter of this book communicates itself -- in the politics of epistemic murk and the fiction of the real, in the creation of Indians, in the role of myth and magic in colonial violence as much as in its healing, and in the way that healing can mobilize terror in order to subvert it, not through heavenly catharses but through the tripping up of power in its own disorderliness.
Source: Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man, p. xiii
- To raise questions regarding normality and abnormality is in no way to question the fact that some behaviors are deviant or odd. Murder is deviant. So, too, are hallucinations...But normality and abnormality, sanity and insanity, and the diagnoses that flow from them may be less substantive than many believe them to be.
Source: On Being Sane In Insane Places, p. 250
- To the tragic illusion of destiny we prefer the metaphysical illusion of subject and object, the true and the false, good and evil, the real and the imaginary; but, in a final phase, we prefer the virtual illusion even more -- that of the neither true nor false, of the neither good nor evil, of a lack of distinction between the real and the referential, of an artificial reconstruction of the world where, at the cost of total disenchantment, we would enjoy a total immunity.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 43
- Today there is no possibility of imbuing surrealist life with this guarantee [of the authenticity of surrealism's "ritual"] which gives belief its efficacy. This results in the sort of feeling of emptiness, hopelessness, uselessness, superfluity and frivolousness that characterizes surrealist work. I do not mean in relation to those who want to deepen its content but, rather, in the eyes of the majority of people; and no one can actually cross this boundary in the sense that common existence alone would be of a nature to determine this character of profound reality which surrealism seeks. This surreality cannot end in genuine realities because people do not believe in it, because men as a whole do not believe in it.
Source: The Absence of Myth, p. 78
- Universities have applied their idée fixe of rational-actor theory to these developments. In 1996, the National Academy of Sciences held a workshop for academia, Hollywood and the Pentagon on simulation and games. The next year, the National Research Council announced a collaborative research agenda on popular culture and militarism. It convened meetings to streamline such cooperation, from special effects to training simulations, from immersive technologies to simulated networks (Lenoir 2003: 190; Macedonia, 2002). today, untold numbers of academic journals and institutes on games are closely tied to the Pentagon. They test and augment the recruiting and training potential of games to ideologize, hire and instruct the population.
From chapter: Terrorism and Global Popular Culture by Toby Miller
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 107
- Unlike the discourse of the real, which gambles on the fact of there being something rather than nothing, and aspires to being founded on the guarantee of an objective and decipherable world, radical thought, for its part, wagers on the illusion of the world. It aspires to the status of illusion, restoring the non-veracity of facts, the non-signification of the world, proposing the opposite hypothesis that there is nothing rather than something, and going in pursuit of that nothing which runs beneath the apparent continuity of meaning.
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 98
- V. S. Naipaul, who won a Nobel Prize for Literature (and Bitterness), once wrote that imperial powers 'don't lie, they elide.' That is, they leave shit out. Caspian Man says BP left out that the gas was leaking from under the rig, and it was ready to blow sky high.
Source: Vulture's Picnic, p. 103
- Virtual or real, national or transnational, state-sponsored or executed by small groups, terrorism in all its forms remains a central concern for contemporary societies.
From chapter: Introduction
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 1
- Virtuality is different from the spectacle, which still left room for a critical consciousness and demystification. The abstraction of the 'spectacle' was never irrevocable, even for the Situationists. Whereas unconditional realization is irrevocable, since we are no longer either alienated or dispossessed: we are in possession of all the information. We are no longer spectators, but actors in the performance, and actors increasingly integrated into the course of that performance. Whereas we could face up to the unreality of the world as spectacle, we are defenceless before the extreme reality of this world, before this virtual perfection...This is the new form of terror...
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 29
- We are baffled by the use and abuse of terrorism discourse; we voice our skepticism. After many years of writing on the issues of political violence, our misgivings about the intellectual and moral values of the concept of terrorism have only increased. We are bothered by the referential invalidity, the rhetorical circularity that is all too characteristic of much that goes on under the rubric of "terrorism." It is the reality-making power of the discourse itself that most concerns us -- its capacity to blend the media's sensational stories, old mythical stereotypes, and a burning sense of moral wrath. Once something that is called "terrorism" -- no matter how loosely it is defined -- becomes established in the public mind, "counterterrorism" is seemingly the only prudent course of action. Indeed, at present there is a veritable counterterrorism industry that encompasses the media, the arts, academia, and to be sure, the policy makers of most of the world's governments.
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. ix
- We can now define what the total power of a truth would be: it would imply the ability to name and evaluate all the elements of the objective situation from the perspective of the truth-process. Rigid and dogmatic (or 'blinded'), the subject-language would claim the power, based on its own axioms, to name the whole of the real, and thus to change the world....[but in the end] every attempt to impose the total power of a truth ruins that truth's very foundation.
Source: Ethics, p. 83
- We don't need the novel. Quoting Bill. We don't even need catastrophes, necessarily. We only need the reports and predictions and warnings.
Source: Mao II, p. 72
- We in Washington are accustomed to the petty scandals of Washington politics. However, there is another category of offenses, described by the French poet Andre Chenier as "les crimes puissants qui font trembler les lois," crimes so great that they make the laws themselves tremble.
[W]hen the Iran-Contra scandal exploded in 1986, both the Congress and the national mainstream media pulled up short. . . . The laws trembled at the prospect of a political trial that threatened to shatter the compact of trust between the rulers and the ruled, a compact that was the foundation upon which the very law itself rested.
The lesson was clear: accountability declines as the magnitude of the crime and the power of those charged increase.
Source: October Surprise: America’s Hostages in Iran and the Election of Ronald Reagan, p.
- We may prefer some competing theories to others on purely rational grounds. It is important that we are clear what the principles of preference or selection are. In the first place they are governed by the idea of truth. We want, if at all possible, theories which are true, and for this reason we try to eliminate the false ones. But we want more than this. We want new and interesting truth. We are thus led to the idea of the growth of informative content, and especially of truth content...Thus our logical analysis leads us direct to a theory of method, and especially to the following methodological rule: try out, and aim at, bold theories, with great informative content; and then let these bold theories compete, by discussing them critically and by testing them severely.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 112
- What allows a genuine event to be at the origin of a truth -- which is the only thing that can be for all, and can be eternally -- is precisely the fact that it relates to the particularity of a situation only from the bias of its void. The void, the multiple-of-nothing, neither excludes nor constrains anyone...When a radical break in a situation, under names borrowed from real truth-processes, convokes not the void but the 'full' particularity of presumed substance of that situation, we are dealing with a simulacrum of truth.
Source: Ethics, p. 73
- What any event reveals -- and I think it's particularly striking in politics -- is that there was something which had its own identity beyond the count, which was not taken account of. It's why I've always said that an event was, one way or another, a breakdown of the count. It's also why -- and here we come back to what I was saying about Lacan -- we can equally say, of an event, that it is what demonstrates what is impossible for the count, as its real, such that the law of the count is made apparent, as being such that this thing, which wasn't counted, should have been counted.
Source: Ethics, p. 134
- What especially interested me about Lacan was his conception of the real. First, the distinction he makes between the real and reality, which is not the same as the classical metaphysical distinction between appearance and reality, or between phenomenon and noumenon. And in particular, this conception of the real as being, in a situation, in any given symbolic field, the point of impasse, or the point of impossibility, which precisely allows us to think the situation as a whole, according to its real. Part of what I said a moment ago could be resaid as follows: emancipatory politics always consists in making seem possible precisely that which, from within the situation, is declared to be impossible.
Source: Ethics, p. 121
- What is the mystique of something that, while statistically less fatal than choking to death on one's lunch, has been perceived as one of the greatest public threats? What are the cultural premises and discursive strategies that provide terrorism with its rhetorical power? Why do America's few domestic "terrorist" murders annually arouse a fear that, annually, 25,000 "ordinary" murders cannot? As in the "referential illusion" of the realist aesthetic of modern literature, "the very absence of the signified...becomes the very signifier of realism." [Latter quote from Barthes, The Rustle of Language, p. 148]
Source: Terror and Taboo, p. 6
- What is the point of setting a purpose for an enlightened dimension of the political and the social spheres, when it's becoming increasingly obvious, most particularly in the economic sphere, that these things are caught up with much stranger purposes, if not indeed with no purpose at all? There's a kind of savage delusion and -- not to put too fine a point on it -- stupidity, in stubbornly pressing on in the right direction when there is no direction, in wishing to change the form of the equation when it's equal to zero. Just look at all the battles everywhere on corrupt fronts: in the electoral system, where people are led to fight for equivalent castes; in the employment field, where everyone has to fight to find a place in a system of exploitation, a relatively favored spot in a labour market which simultaneously serves the government as a blackmailing technique. Everywhere we're trapped in false problems, false alternatives, false issues, in which we lose out come what may.
Source: Paroxysm, p. 64
- What then can we adhere to, since in our world we cannot be sure we have attained the truth? We can adhere, I believe, to the ways in which men have found the truth and to the spirit in which they have sought it...We are explorers in a strange world, and what we must depend upon is not a map of the country -- for there is no map -- but upon those qualities of mind and heart and those distillations of experience which men have learned to depend upon when they faced the unknown...[T]he only sure foundation of action is truth that experience will verify, and the great concern of the liberal spirit with human freedom rests at last upon the conviction that at almost any cost men must keep open the channels of understanding and preserve unclouded, lucid, and serene their receptiveness of truth. This concern with human freedom is not only a matter of resisting encroachment upon civil liberties. It is a matter of personal honor, of seeking always in a spirit- searching self-examination to confront the facts with a mind and with a heart that have no hidden entanglement...The liberal spirit is the effort, not of any cult, or sect, or party, but of any man or woman, to remain clear and free of his irrational, his unexamined, his unacknowledged prejudgments, so that he may the more effectively make his little contribution "to the search and expectation of greatest and exactest things."
Source: The Press and Public Opinion, p. 168-170
- What we also see is that an illness of the body is a bodily attempt at inscribing a history of otherness within the body that is the self, a tentative yet life-saving historiography that finds the dead hand of the past never so terribly alive as in the attacks by the spirits of the restless dead, such as Rosario's fiancé, or as in the sorcery of the envious. Through misfortune and its changing definition with attempts at healing, this picturing of the bodily self as the locus of otherness ineluctably enters into the exchange of magical powers established between Indian shamans and the Church, an exchange that operates with the powerful medium of visual images. Hallucinogens and points of rupture in everyday life -- illness, accident, coincidence, dusk -- can make this image-realm manifest and manifestly empowering, and it was Rosario's task to tie the power of the pagan to the power of the Church, ensuring in this circulation of images their dialectical solidarity.
Source: Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man, p. 168
- What we have forgotten in modernity, by dint of constantly accumulating, adding, going for more, is that force comes from subtraction, power from absence. Because we are no longer capable today of coping with the symbolic mastery of absence, we are immersed in the opposite illusion, the disenchanted illusion of the proliferation of screens and images. Now the image can no longer imagine the real, because it is the real. It can no longer dream it, since it is its virtual reality. It is as though things had swallowed their own mirrors...
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 4
- What within truth is merely truth falls foul of illusion. What within truth exceeds truth is of the order of a higher illusion. Only what exceeds reality can go beyond the illusion of reality. [Me: to fall foul of illusion is to become simulacrum (rational with limited and decipherable truth); truth within but exceeding its "container" (simulacrum) truth gets *back* to illusion, which is larger and slipperier and more frightening, closer to real reality or at least our unmediated perceptions of it; exceeding reality is to fuse the rational and the irrational and become the existential true human...maybe?]
Source: The Perfect Crime, p. 20
- Whatever the reality of terrorism may be -- and a good deal of criticism and theoretical work has regarded terrorism as something that is i effect really real, a Laconian "real" defying symbolization (for example, Zizek 2002 [Welcome to the Desert of the Real] and Baudraillard 2003 [The Spirit of Terrorism and Other Essays]) -- fiction has taken up terrorism as a thing of its own.
But what is this "thing," this narrative thing? What does terrorism do in novels? What in fact is it, and how does it operate? ...In the context of the mass media, William A. Douglass and Joseba Zulaika (1996) have discussed what they call the "mythography" of terrorism: taken up by the press, by politicians and policy makers, by television producers and filmmakers, terrorism is inserted into an "enabling fiction," a myth of terrorism and its causes, dangers, and meanings, which ends up making its own realities. The result of this mythography is not simply a distortion of perception; it is the replacement of the perception of things with a reaction to representations. Policies end up being made, wars even end up being fought, not in response to real conflicts in the realms of social relations and politics, but in reaction to the simulacra of conflict circulated in the media by way of a mythography of terror.
Fiction, we perceive, both responds to this mythography and contributes to it...
Source: Terrorism and the Novel, 1970-2001, p. 388-389
- When you inflict punishment on someone who is not guilty, when you fill rooms with innocent victims, you begin to empty the world of meaning and erect a separate mental state, the mind consuming what's outside itself, replacing real things with plots and fictions. One fiction taking the world narrowly into itself, the other fiction pushing out toward the social order, trying to unfold into it.
Source: Mao II, p. 200
- When, in the second chapter [of The Magus], "the mysteries" begin, the reader is encouraged to "identify" with Nicholas as the only constant. Yet this too is made problematic because of the fluidity of characters' roles, as well as by the repetitions of and insistence on ideas about acting, staging, costumes, and performances. Nicholas is, after all, also a character in the metatheatre. In the final chapter, Nicholas arrives back in London. The apparent end of Conchis' masque proves to have been yet another performance, however, and the theatre continues even off the delineated "stage" at Bourani. Nicholas is still subjected to stage-managed moments even in the safety of his own familiar "reality." Appropriately enough, then, this last chapter is a frame with only three sides, giving the illusion that the theatre can spill out into the reader's world as well.
Source: Realism and Power: Postmodern British Fiction, p. 92
- Whenever the ratio of what is known to what needs to be known approaches zero, we tend to invent "knowledge" and assume that we understand more than we actually do. We seem unable to acknowledge that we simply don't know...[W]e continue to label patents "schizophrenic," "manic-depressive," and "insane," as if in those words we had captured the essence of understanding. The facts of the matter are that we have known for a long time that diagnoses are often not useful or reliable, but we have nevertheless continued to use them. We now know that we cannot distinguish insanity from sanity.
Source: On Being Sane In Insane Places, p. 257
- Where there are no photoreceptive cells we are obviously unable to see anything. What happens as you move the diagram closer to your face is that the light reflected from the black star finally falls on the blind spot and is therefore not registered by your visual system. An interesting question arises once we ask what we see where we don't see anything, that is, what we see at the place of the blind spot. Our visual field does not seem to have any gaps or blanked-out parts (like a TV screen with a Post-it note stuck to it) but is continuous. We realize that when the black star disappears, we see a blank page in its place, not a blank page with gaping hole. The area where we see nothing appears to us just like the surrounding bits of our visual space.
It therefore becomes apparent that the illusion created by the mind is not the disappearance of the black star -- this is simply due to the structure of the retina and is in itself no more surprising than that we cannot taste anything by holding it in our hand, as there are no taste buds on our fingertips. The illusion is that we see something else in its place that is not there in reality: the piece of paper covered by our blind spot is not white, but shows a black, star-shaped figure. We are therefore all suffering from partial visual anosognosia, or Anton's syndrome. This term is used to describe the curious case of blind patients who nevertheless claim they can see. Because they obviously have difficulties getting around in daily life, they invent the most ingenious explanations, apart from the one obvious one, namely that they are blind. While Anton's symptoms might justifiably strike us as a somewhat bizarre psychological condition, we should note that on a small scale our minds are playing exactly the same trick on us. We are not even aware that there are parts of our visual field with which we cannot see and that the continuity of our field of vision is a mere illusion.
Source: Twelve Examples of Illusion, p. 17-18
- While Breton often locates this disruptive force in the mind's encounter with the feminine, Carrington places the disruptive force in mind and body alike, creating the space for a feminine experience that shifts Surrealist aesthetics away from mere male psychic liberation, while avoiding the trap of a universalized femininity. In so doing, Carrington makes history a central concern for surreal experience.
Source: Disruptive Testimonies: The Stakes of Surrealist Experience in Breton and Carrington, p. 102
- With each step forward, with each problem which we solve, we not only discover new and unsolved problems, but we also discover that where we believed that we were standing on firm and safe ground, all things are, in truth, insecure and in a state of flux.
Source: Popper Selections, p. 7
- With the predominance of information technology and global networks of power, war has become both 'postmodern' and 'discursive', [Chris Hables Gray] argues: 'its unity is rhetorical'. What characterizes it are 'the metaphors and symbols that structure it, not...any direct continuity of weapons, tactics, or strategy between its various manifestations...'...Any survey of statements made by politicians in the aftermath of 11 September would certainly suggest that rhetoric and the figurative did play a major part in the event and the responses to it...The attacks on the buildings were declared to be not just an attack on the US as a whole, as bin Laden suggested; for US Secretary of State Colin Powell, 'It wasn't an assault on America. It was an assault on civilization, it was an assault on democracy', and on 'the twenty first century' itself.
Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 4
- Yet whereas a paranoiac might claim to have an unmediated relationship with things-in-themselves, the disease itself could be read and understood as a representation of the aggregate factors that produced it, such as the subject's social conditions, case history, and structures of unconscious desire. As Jacques Lacan argues in the first of the two articles he published in Minotaure, paranoia's systematic distortion of a subject's relationship to the real provided a "new syntax," a system of representation that offered a model for better understanding the nature of causality in the first place. Paranoia's "new syntax," the surrealists suggested, was already a representation of complex structures of social and psychological determination that could be mobilized for the sake of political understanding.
Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 180
- You don't choose to have the kind of experience I had while trying to report on the demise of TWA Flight 800. It happens to you. You fall into it. At CBS, I'd recently picked up an Emmy for investigative reporting when I was assigned to investigate the crash. I had no idea that my life would be turned upside down and inside out - that I'd been assigned to walk into what I now call "the buzzsaw."
The buzzsaw is what can rip through you when you try to investigate or expose anything this country's large institutions - be they corporate or government - want kept under wraps. The system fights back with official lies, disinformation, and stonewalling. Your phone starts acting funny. Strange people call you at strange hours to give you strange information. The FBI calls you. Your car is broken into and the thief takes your computer and your reporter's notebook and leaves everything else behind. You feel like you're being followed everywhere you go. You feel like you've been sucked into a game of Dungeons and Dragons. It gets harder and harder to distinguish truth and reality from falsehood and fiction. The sense of fear and paranoia is, at times, overwhelming.
Walk into the buzzsaw and you'll cut right to this layer of reality. You will feel a deep sense of loss and betrayal. A shocking shift in paradigm. Anyone who hasn't experienced it will call you crazy. Those who don't know the truth, or are covering it up, will call you a conspiracy nut. The word "conspiracy" is commonly used now (either as an adjective or part of a phrase) to malign those who raise unpopular questions about sensitive issues. The fact is, conspiracies do exist. There are laws on the books addressing them and Justice Department officials deal with them all the time. However, in the case of the TWA Flight 800 disaster, I don't know of anyone who disagrees with the government's conclusions who describes the official investigation as a conspiracy. Incompetent. A cover-up. These are the descriptions most skeptics use to characterize the official investigation. Not "conspiracy."
From chapter: Kristina Borjesson, Into the Buzzsaw
Source: Into the Buzzsaw, p. 284
- [A] multiracial thicket of travelers all busily photographing and filming each other and forming an unreal contrast to the secret life inside the compound of the police ministry, like two interlocking realities, one of them cruel and demonic, the other as banal as tourism itself...
Source: The Assignment, p. 48
- [A]n illusion is not something that does not exist, but something that is not what it seems.
Source: Twelve Examples of Illusion, p. 7
- [A]n institution differs from a conversation in that it always requires supplementary constraints for statements to be declared admissible within its bounds. The constraints function to filter discursive potentials, interrupting possible connections in the communication networks: there are things that should not be said...However, this hypothesis about the institution is still too "unwieldy": its point of departure is an overly "reifying" view of what is institutionalized. We know today that the limits the institution imposes on potential language "moves" are never established, once and for all (even if they have been formally defined). Rather, the limits are themselves the stakes and provisional results of language strategies, within the institution and without...Reciprocally, it can be said that the boundaries only stabilize when they cease to be stakes in the game.
Source: The Postmodern Condition, p. 17
- [D]espite the impressive body of serious literature that has emerged since 9/11 challenging the official version of the attacks and strongly suggesting that they were either perpetrated by elements of the U.S. Government or allowed by them to happen, neither the U.N. nor NATO has ever bestirred itself to re-visit the crucial issue of responsibility/authorship. This reluctance to ask hard questions in the halls of international institutions that are charged with the duty to "go there" and vet claims of national self-defense has unfortunately been matched -- non-discourse for non-discourse -- by the silence of scholars.
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 5
- [Event, Fidelity, and Truth] Remember that the three major dimensions of a truth-process are as follows: the event, which brings to pass 'something other' than the situation, opinions, instituted knowledges; the event is a hazardous, unpredictable supplement, which vanishes as soon as it appears; the fidelity, which is the name of the process: it amounts to a sustained investigation of the situation, under the imperative of the event itself; it is an immanent and continuing break; the truth as such, that is, the multiple, internal to the situation, that the fidelity constructs, bit by bit; it is what the fidelity gathers together and produces.
Source: Ethics, p. 67
- [Following fascism and Communism] Now it is terrorists who lurk in every shadow, images of terrorist attacks that fill our television screens, and fears of new varieties -- nuclear, biological, cyber-terrorism -- that drive calls for increased surveillance and larger defense budgets. If such Orwellian transformations in the identity of the enemy do not make us skeptical, an element of construction in political and journalistic rhetoric about terrorism, even in terrorist acts themselves, seems inescapable. Bombings and hijackings begin with a few people plotting violence for maximum exposure, come to us on television, where distinctions between news and entertainment are ever more tortuous, and quickly pass into the popular imagination, into blockbuster movies and paperback thrillers.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 1
- [From an end-of-chapter footnote #14] Literary texts are understood as being a central part of that "larger symbolic order by which a culture imagines its relation to the conditions of its existence" (Matus 5) and as a space "in which shared anxieties and tensions are articulated and symbolically addressed" (ibid. 7). Moreover, through active reader participation, literature renders imagination 'livable' -- the fictional world can actually be experienced and can therefore be 'tested' and criticized -- so that the literary text becomes a privileged space of simulation where the work on a cultural imaginary can take place (cf. Fluck).
From chapter: Stefan Horlacher, Taboo, Transgression, and Literature: An Introduction
Source: Taboo and Transgression in British Literature from the Renaissance to the Present, p. 19
- [F]antasies can achieve a causal status once they have been institutionalized in beliefs, values, and social groups. (From the introduction)
Source: The Occult Roots of Nazism, p.
- [F]or the surrealists, art is superceded not when its distinction from political life collapses, as Clair puts it, but when it fuses imagination with interpretation and thus becomes coextensive with philosophy and science.
Source: Object Lessons: Surrealist Art, Surrealist Politics, p. 179
- [F]rom one illusion to another you end up repeatedly at the mercy of the illusion Reality. And yet I have given you everything: the blue of the sky, the Pyramids, motorcars. Why should you lose faith in my magic lantern?
Source: Paris Peasant, p. 64
- [H]e came to recognize that although contemporary society was not without myth, it had denied the very basis of ancient myth, founded on a mediation between mankind and the natural world through which the cohesion (and necessity) of society would be affirmed. The myth of contemporary society, therefore, was an 'absence of myth', since that society had deluded itself into believing it was without myth by making a myth of its very denial. Furthermore, it believed that it no longer had a need for myth, that it had evolved beyond dependence upon a ritual to establish a mediation between mankind and the rest of creation, since man now had dominion over nature. The word itself had become devalued, and 'myth' now referred to something that is by definition 'false'. Both Bataille and the surrealists were convinced that this was profoundly misguided -- and dangerously so: contemporary society was as much in need of mythical foundation as any other society, and by denying that fact it was simply making a fetish of its absence and denying part of itself. [From the introduction by translator Michael Richardson]
Source: The Absence of Myth, p. 13
- [H]ow many patients might be "sane" outside the psychiatric hospital but seem insane in it -- not because craziness resides in them, as it were, but because they are responding to a bizarre setting, one that may be unique to institutions which harbor nether people? Goffman calls the process of socialization to such institutions "mortification" -- an apt metaphor that includes the processes of depersonalization that have been described here.
Source: On Being Sane In Insane Places, p. 257
- [I]n our time, since 9/11, the anxieties of the regime seem quite able to accommodate revelation of deceit. To date the war on terror traces a curve from the phoney allegation of weapons of mass destruction to the surprising admission in late 2006 of "extraordinary rendition" and hence of torture by the president of the United States. This pattern of lying and admission, or of lying followed by a breezy dismissal of one's "mistake," plus a raft of neologisms sufficient to keep William Safire busy for another lifetime, is to my mind a marked feature of this new war. I am especially moved to remark on how easily admissions of deceit are made by the White House, as when the president did a comic routine for the Radio and Television Association Dinner in 2004 in Washington, during which slides of him looking under Oval Office furniture for weapons of mass destruction were shown.
Now admittedly this was one of those occasions that anthropologists like to call rites of reversal, like carnival, in which for a brief period of time the king is the butt of scandalous humor. Nevertheless, something has changed. It is difficult to imagine Nixon joking about Watergate or Clinton about Monica Lewinsky. Meanwhile the Republican-dominated Congress decriminalized violations of the U.S. War Crimes Act as well as the Geneva conventions and retroactively absolved U.S. officials, including the president, of culpability under their provisions. We are living, in other words, in a new regime of truth in which a peekaboo pattern -- now you see it, now you don't -- is intimately associated with torture itself. And isn't torture itself a ritual of reversal?
Source: Zoology, Magic, and Surrealism in the War on Terror, p. S100-S101
- [I]n the post-Cold War, post 9/11 world a particular version of terrorism has come to dominate policy and media discourse internationally. The Kremlinologists have been replaced by the proliferation of 'jihadi studies', one leading exponent of which has baldly suggested that the 'war on terror' is going to be a generational event: The Longest War (Bergen, 2011). For the US, dealing with terrorism has become a major post-Cold War strategic priority. Given the primacy of the US as the world's largest economy and its formidable media, military and technological power, this strategic priority seems to have become a global political priority. By virtue of its unprecedented capacity for global surveillance, as well as its domination of global communication hardware and software (from satellites to telecommunication networks; from cyberspace to 'total spectrum dominance' of real space, and the messages which travel through these), the US is able to disseminate its image of terrorism to the world at large.
From chapter: Introduction
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 4
- [I]t cannot be said that the failure to recognize the pseudopatients' sanity was due to the fact that they were not behaving sanely...It was quite common for the patients to "detect" the pseudopatients' sanity..."You're not crazy. You're a journalist, or a professor...You're checking up on the hospital."
Source: On Being Sane In Insane Places, p. 252
- [I]ts principal source of revenue was a war with a neighboring country, a war for control of an area in the great sand desert that was uninhabited except for a few stray bedouins and desert fleas, where not even tourism had dared to set foot, a war that had been creeping along for ten years now and no longer served any purpose except to test the products of all the weapons-exporting countries, it wasn't just French, German, English, Italian, Swedish, Israeli, and Swiss tanks fighting against Russian and Czech tanks, but also Russian against Russian machinery, American against American, German against German, Swiss against Swiss, the desert was peppered with the wreckage of tank battles, the war effort was constantly seeking out new battlefields, quite logically, since the stability of the market depended on weapons exports, provided these weapons were truly competitive, real wars were constantly breaking out, like the one between Iran and Iraq, for instance, no need to mention others, where the testing of weapons came just a bit late, and that was the reason, he said, why the weapons industry was so committed to this insignificant war, which had long lost its political meaning, it was a make-believe war...its only meaning resided in the fact that it could be observed...
Source: The Assignment, p. 93-94
- [M]any, indeed most, people could not stand themselves if they were not observed by someone, and would flee either into the fantasy of a personal god or into an equally metaphysically conceived political party that (or who) would observe them, a condition from which they in turn would derive the right to observe whether the world was heeding the laws of the all-observing god or party -- except for the terrorists, their case was a bit more complex, their goal being not an observed but an unobserved child's paradise, but because they experienced the world in which they lived as a prison where they were not only unjustly locked up but were left unattended and unobserved in one of the dungeons, they desperately sought to force themselves on the attention of their guards and thus step out of their unobserved condition into the limelight of public notice, which, however, they could achieve only by, paradoxically, drawing back into unobserved obscurity again and again, from the dungeon into the dungeon, unable, ever, to come out and be free...
Source: The Assignment, p. 21-22
- [O]ur images of reality themselves depend on the degree of our paranoiac faculty, and that yet, theoretically, an individual endowed with a sufficient degree of this faculty, might as he wishes see the successive changes of form of an object perceived in reality, just as in the case of voluntary hallucination; this, however, with the still more devastatingly important characteristic that the various forms assumed by the object in question will be controllable and recognizable by all, as soon as the paranoiac will simply indicate them.
Source: The Rotting Donkey, p. 257
- [P]erception isn't an isolated operation in our brains, but part of an ongoing process inside an ecology, by which I mean the relation of things to the things around them, and how they influence each other...Understanding what it is to be human is about understanding the interactions between our brain and body, and between other brains and bodies, as well as with the world at large.
Source: Deviate: The Creative Power of Transforming Your Perception, p. 7-8
- [Quoting Marshall Berman on Stalin's White Sea Canal project of 1931-33] Stalin seems to have been so intent on creating a highly visible symbol of development that he pushed and squeezed the project in ways that only retarded the development of the project...The canal was a triumph of publicity; but if half the care that went into the public relations campaign had been devoted to the work itself, there would have been far fewer victims and far more real developments -- and the project would have been a genuine tragedy, rather than a brutal farce in which real people were killed by pseudo-events.
Source: Capitalist Realism, p. 43
- [Re The Magus] However, this most convincing role also proves to be an illusion. At the end of Conchis' godgame Nicholas is abducted and subjected to a ritual "disintoxication." Here, he is faced with thirteen psychiatrists and psychologists, the apparent perpetrators of the "metatheatre." Amon them is Dr Vanessa Maxwell whom Nicholas recognizes as Lily/Julie. This is the last role, and although Nicholas discovers that it is yet another performance, he cannot now discover the "truth," even though he is allowed to meet the twins' real mother. On her, he heaps his anger that the "metatheatre" is anti-mimetic.
Each of these roles leads Nicholas closer to what he thinks is "reality," yet each is an undercutting of the notion of an absolute "reality." Each is an affirmation of relativity. Nicholas' response to this is to adopt the role of Realist reader. Back in London he seeks correspondence between the events at Bourani and "reality." Conchis has warned him that "all here is artifice", but Nicholas cannot accept that Conchis' masque is neither mimetic nor expressive (in the traditional interpretive senses).
Source: Realism and Power: Postmodern British Fiction, p. 91
- [Staff] perceptions and behavior were controlled by the situation, rather than being motivated by a malicious disposition. In a more benign environment, one that was less attached to global diagnosis, their behaviors and judgments might have been more benign and effective.
Source: On Being Sane In Insane Places, p. 257
- [S]he experienced with certainty that freedom was the trap into which she was expected to flee...
Source: The Assignment, p. 89
- [T]he American imagination demands the real thing and, to attain it, must fabricate the absolute fake.
Source: Travels in Hyperreality, p. 8
- [T]he belief has been strong that patients present symptoms, that those symptoms can be categorized, and, implicitly, that the sane can be distinguished from the insane. More recently, however...the view has grown that psychological categorization of mental illness is useless at best, and downright harmful, misleading, and pejorative at worst. Psychiatric diagnoses, in this view, are in the minds of the observers and are not valid summaries of characteristics displayed by the observed.
Source: On Being Sane In Insane Places, p. 251
- [T]he camera alone was capable of capturing the space and time within which experience took place, while without a camera, experience slid off into nothingness, since the moment something was experienced it had already passed and was therefore just a memory and, like all memory, falsified, fictive, which was why it sometimes seemed to him that he was no longer human -- since being human required the illusion of being able to experience something directly...God was not subject to observation, God's freedom consisted in being a concealed, hidden god, while man's bondage consisted of being observed...
Source: The Assignment, p. 107-109
- [T]he enemy had become more and more abstract, a barely perceptible target for the marksman aiming through a telescopic sight, a subject of pure surmise for the artillery, and as a bomber pilot, he could, if pressed, indicate how many cities and villages he had bombarded, but not how many people he had killed, nor how he had killed and mangled and squashed and burned them, he didn't know...and after the attack he did not feel himself a hero but a coward, there was a dark suspicion in him sometimes that an SS henchman at Auschwitz had behaved more morally than he, because he had been confronted with his victims...
Source: The Assignment, p. 113-114
- [T]he intellect too, he said, was incapable of coming up with a persuasive illusion of meaning outside of man, for everything that could be thought or done, logic, metaphysics, mathematics, natural law, art, music, poetry, was given its meaning by man, and without man, it sank back into the realm of the unimagined and unconceived and hence into meaninglessness and a great deal of what was happening today became understandable if one pursued this line of reasoning, man was staggering along in the mad hope of somehow finding someone to be observed by somewhere...
Source: The Assignment, p. 20
- [T]he moon illusion is an illusion because it is based on a faulty mental model.
Source: Twelve Examples of Illusion, p. 39
- [T]he Nuremberg Tribunal rejected the Nazis' claim that Germany's judgment was conclusive on the matter of her need to invade Poland and Norway in self-defense, noting that "whether action taken under the claim of self-defense was in fact aggressive or defensive must ultimately be subject to investigation and adjudication if international law is ever to be enforced."
Source: 9/11 As False Flag: Why International Law Must Dare To Care, p. 37
- [T]he society of the spectacle...offers false models of revolution to local revolutionaries.
Source: Society of the Spectacle, p. 57
- [T]he spectacle is nothing more than an image of happy unification surrounded by desolation and fear at the tranquil center of misery.
Source: Society of the Spectacle, p. 63
- [T]he still unbroken interest of a broad public in this...topic of taboo [is] paradoxical because the concept of taboo has become a taboo in itself, because taboo is generally accepted as drawing the fundamental borders between the sacred and the profane, whereas a critical glance shows that these borders can scarcely be drawn unproblematically, since not only the concept of taboo as such, but also the concept of the sacred turns out to be polysemic, if not aporetic. While in most civilized societies the use of violence is strongly tabooed, it nevertheless remains inherently if not inextricably bound up with the notion of taboo. This does not only hold true for the cultivating potential inherent to relinquishing drives, but, as Christoph Türcke argues, "above all for the fatuousness of a specific ban on thinking that individuals en masse subject themselves to in order to be able to endure a society they did not choose themselves and yet allow to remain as it is.".
From chapter: Stefan Horlacher, Taboo, Transgression, and Literature: An Introduction
Source: Taboo and Transgression in British Literature from the Renaissance to the Present, p. 4-5
- [T]he suffering or pleasure we experience is determined to a crucial extent by the way in which we superimpose existents on appearances. As we saw in the example of the lung-cancer patients [note: surgery decisions vary depending on whether outcomes are presented as percent chance of death or percent chance of survival] the situations we experience as agreeable or disagreeable are not just out there, but depend to a crucial amount on the way we construct these situations ourselves.
Source: Twelve Examples of Illusion, p. 68
- [T]he well-known existence of simulacra is a powerful stimulus to the crystallization of crises. Opinion tells me (and therefore I tell myself, for I am never outside opinions) that my fidelity may well be terror exerted against myself, and that the fidelity to which I am faithful looks very much like -- too much like -- this or that certified Evil. It is always a possibility, since the formal characteristics of this Evil (as simulacrum) are exactly those of a truth.
Source: Ethics, p. 79
- [T]here is a significant danger in focusing too much on the mediated nature of terrorism and, in particular, on the idea of terrorism as the most spectacular form of modern political struggle: that we pay attention to only one, highly visible, form of modern terrorism, such as the attacks on the Twin Towers...'While insurgent terrorists and the media often seek each other out, state terrorists generally avoid publicity and attempt to conceal the regimes' repressive activities by media censorship and/or disinformation' (Schmid and Jungian, 2005: 164).
From chapter: Introduction
Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 11
- [T]here was no self, or rather, only a countless chain of selves emerging from the future...a process that seemed to imply a fiction of selfhood in which every person made up his own self, imagining himself playing a role for better or worse, which would make the possession of character mainly a matter of putting on a good act, and the more unconscious and unintentional the performance, the more genuine its effect...
Source: The Assignment, p. 24-25
- [With reference to McNamee's Resurrection Man] Coppinger and Ryan feel "obsolete, abandoned on the perimeter of a sprawling technology of ruin"; print journalists in an electronic age, they must cope with a "new species of information" coming out of paramilitary organizations operating under cover names, or from politicians who condemn violence ambiguously, or from courts where unidentified witnesses give their evidence from behind screens...Television news already incorporates this understanding about the marginality of fact. Even Victor recognizes the "narrative devices" it uses...we easily assume that when their reports diverge from fact, they serve some obscure political interest..."Atrocity reports" eschew detail and "achieve the pure level of a chant. It was no longer about conveying information. It was about focusing the mind inwards, attending to the durable rhythms of violence".
When journalism is no longer about conveying information, journalists like Ryan and Coppinger disintegrate, and even the terrorists whose actions form the ostensible subject of media stories feel disoriented, experience a loss of self.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 48-49
- [With reference to Stone's Damascus Gate] For a long time, in politics and literature, it was plausible to believe in the rebel, the creative genius, the powerful individual imposing a personal vision on the collective. But when the terrorist plot is conceived in the government office, when the prophet is as useful to the bureaucrat as the soldier, we cannot be surprised that the writer's heroics lead only to the end of a maze where a bogus bomb goes up in chemical smoke.
Source: Plotting Terror, p. 138
- [Wittgenstein] construes her as engaged in an activity to which the distinction between what is true and what is false is crucial, and yet as taking no interest in whether what she says is true or false. It is in this sense that Pascal's statement is unconnected to a concern with truth: she is not concerned with the truth-value of what she says. That is why she cannot be regarded as lying; for she does not presume that she knows the truth, and therefore she cannot be deliberately promulgating a proposition that she presumes to be false: Her statement is grounded neither in a belief that it is true nor, as a lie must be, in a belief that it is not true. It is just this lack of connection to a concern with truth -- this indifference to how things really are -- that I regard as of the essence of bullshit.
Source: On Bullshit, p. 33-34
- [W]e depend on plurality for our sense of the reality and worth of things. Our feeling for reality depends upon the disclosure of the world as an object held in common but perceived from a multitude of perspectives. The commonness of the world is not merely revealed, then, but is constituted by contesting reality through political interaction...[T]he totalitarian impulse is driven by a resentment of plurality and the frustrations it leads to in politics...The common world that is disclosed through politics is frail because its realization depends upon the 'unreliable and only temporary agreement of many wills and intentions' (HC:201). Because the space of appearances exists only so long as people act and speak together, it can vanish as suddenly as it springs up (HC:199-201);
Source: Political Reconciliation, p.
- [W]e realize the force of our assumptions about what we see in shaping what we actually see. The force of superimposition does not just allow the viewer to read images of animals into patterns of an essentially random nature, it can also project images without any apparent foundation at all, as in the case of the Bohemian crater.
Source: Twelve Examples of Illusion, p. 34