Friday, October 1, 2010

Angelus Novus

A Klee painting named Angelus Novus shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress. --Walter Benjamin

20 comments:

  1. Are you by any chance beginning to lean towards left?

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  2. No, I'm an "Independent". If I were Canadian I'd likely be considered closer to a "Blue," as opposed to "Red," Tory. I think of myself as a "classical" liberal, although in the ancient vs modern debate I would have come down w/Swift on the "ancient" side (anti-corporatist). I suppose that's why I'm NOT a Republican... and NOT a Libertarian and/or Constitutionalist.

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  3. How do you identify "politically," or don't you?

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  4. So, Joe, are you more of a John Adams or more of a Thomas Jefferson? I'm guessing Adams.

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  5. ...or if we were talking Adams' I'm a bigger fan of Abigail (Portia) then John (Brutus). ;-)

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  6. What little I know about Abigail, I adore!

    A Franklin? oh my...
    ;-)

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  7. You should read their correspondence. There's no doubt in my mind as to "which" was the older/wiser soul.

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  8. I've seen the PBS series.
    No doubt he'd have gone as far without her.

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  9. How do you identify "politically," or don't you?

    I must. But how, I haven't really given it much thought. I suppose I don't like any kind of corporatism. So that I instinctively side with the marginal voices.

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  10. I think all do (sympathize w/ marginal voices), to a degree. I guess I simply refuse to advocate "change" and/or "revolution" for its' own sake. It will happen naturally. Ixion's wheel (aka "the vortex") never stops spinning. It doesn't need "catalysts" and/or "accelerants" added, especially those originating in feelings of resentment. In that sense, I'm a conservative. But I'm not opposed to imposing "painful" remedies, either.

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  11. ...and as much as I'm an advocate for equality of opportunity, I realize that results can/will vary and THAT is not anyone's business but their own.

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  12. In THAT (economic) sense, I'm very laissez-faire, but then perhaps if I had been dealt greater handicaps, I might feel differently. I don't believe in blaming "the vortex" for all my problems. I take responsibility for my own role in opposing and/or perpetuating it. And I do both in different areas.

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  13. I think mine is more a case of suspicion of grand narratives than anything else, a hard selling of ideas.

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  14. Now let the exhortations to virtue resume! ;)

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  15. A sensible precaution. For it IS a sale, after all. Caveat Emptor. Caveat Lector.

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  16. Petrarch letter to Boccaccio

    Neither exhortations to virtue nor the argument of approaching death should divert us from literature; for in a good mind it excites the love of virtue, and dissipates, or at least diminishes, the fear of death. To desert our studies shows want of self-confidence rather than wisdom, for letters do not hinder but aid the properly constituted mind which possesses them; they facilitate our life, they do not retard it. Just as many kinds of food which lie heavy on an enfeebled and nauseated stomach furnish excellent nourishment for one who is well but famishing, so in our studies many things which are deadly to the weak mind may prove most salutary to an acute and healthy intellect, especially if in our use of both food and learning we exercise proper discretion. If it were otherwise, surely the zeal of certain persons who persevered to the end could not have roused such admiration. Cato, I never forget, acquainted himself with Latin literature as he was growing old, and Greek when he had really become an old man. Varro, who reached his hundredth year still reading and writing, parted from life sooner than from his love of study.

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  17. Now let the exhortations to virtue resume! ;)

    lol.

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  18. I've seen the PBS series.
    No doubt he'd have gone as far without her.
    ----------
    he'd never have gone as far without her.

    :P

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  19. Although they (the Adam's themselves) modelled their relationship upon the Brutus/Portia analogy of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, when I think of Portia, I also can't help but think of the Portia character from Merchant of Venice...

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