Dostoevsky, Aaron Swartz & the Broken Butterfly of Tomorrow - Part 4/4

» This page is PART FOUR, continued from » Part Three. It was split into FOUR pages in order to adhere to principles of web site optimization.

And now, without further commercial interruption, the conclusion of » Dostoevsky, Aaron Swartz and the Broken Butterfly of Tomorrow. Here you go...

Baloo & Mogli | Jungle Book» Parenting & Paraphrasing

So I identify with Aaron, easily .. with parenting representing the most significant difference.

[ I could be wrong, but I do not think Aaron had children. ]

The threat-of-jail pales beside the threat of losing your son. Tho I must say .. that I was faced with mere days, possibly weeks. Not months or possibly years, like young Aaron. ]

The threat of losing your child fucks with your head .. in a far more exquisite manner. In my opinion. Straight to the looney farm.

The thing with jail is that .. it is the FEAR-of-the-unknown that fucks with your head. The p-r-o-l-o-n-g-e-d fear is definitely worse than jail itself. (In my admittedly limited opinion.)

And yes, jail does indeed suk very badly. But any experience with institutions should help there.

That 'parenting' thing .. seems to run below / underneath the part of us that rationalizes.

Cuz I recall that my thinking was obviously severely distorted on one level .. yet remarkably lucid on another.

My clearest recollection .. was that of feeling literally 6 feet under .. as tho I were ALREADY dead .. and as tho I was looking UP at the ground .. at the zero point.

<ignore this intentional body-text marker>

••• today's entry continues here below •••

Everybody gets to the point where all-you-are aint enough. And I remember thinking » "If I do nothing, I'm a dead man. Cuz I'm already dead. Stay here and Death will soon catch up to you."


I can't help but think that this is where the idea of vampires came from. From the contemplation of what happens to us between that time when we die inside .. and when Death finally arrives, mercifully for some, wielding his razor-sharp sickle.

Dracula's wife, that would be the Countess herself, the 1897 story goes, committed suicide .. while the Count was away at war .. because the enemy had tricked her .. into believing that her husband was dead.

The church, who Drac had been off fighting for, to defend from invading marauders, and for whom he risked his life, said that his wife was forever-cursed. Anathema.

THAT was the thing that drove Dracula over to the dark side. Then he met somebody who looked exactly like his fallen wife. Suddenly we have a love story. Tho a very strange one.

I knew all that about the story before .. but it never registered with me.

It's a little disconcerting .. that I can now see (so clearly and plainly) .. something that was obviously right in front of me.

Bram Stoker's Dracula by Coppola (1992)I know a guy [ Jeffrey, one of the most well-read dudes I've met ] who actually read the 1897 book by Stoker.

He said it was an amazingly-good story/book/read. I mean, beyond that of the undead sucking life out of the living.

Ah, I could easily digress here .. about the power of love .. true love .. all-consuming love .. in the face of whatever obstacles may come.

True Love will kick down the Gates of Hell itself .. and do battle with whatever situation happens to presents itself ..

.. in order to rescue its Beloved. Tenacious, single-minded focus. Beyond mere obsessive / compulsive behavior. Far beyond.

It is (to play off Wittgenstein) "that-thing-which-takes-you". Rational or not.

Paul says, "Love never fails." My sense of that verse is » "Love goes all the way .. regardless of the obstacles. Come what may. To the death .. if need be."

I can definitely feel that inside. (Sometimes.)

I used to think that "Love nevers fails" meant you would never get your ass kicked .. if you really, truly love. I don't think that any more. Actually, I think the opposite .. that you will get your ass kicked a lot more.

Does that not seem obvious? Cuz if you don't give a fuck .. it's almost a Buddhist kind of thing, no? Suffering, the Buddha says, is a result of Attachment. While Love is the strongest "attachment" we humans know / experience.

So maybe the Buddha would modify his Four Noble Truths .. to stipulate that it is being attached to the wrong shit?

For extra-credit points, compare the plight of the vampire .. with this verse of Scripture .. and maybe even how differently the sentiments contained in that verse compare with the moden, default-view of Christianity.


Wow! That was a long, crazy sidebar. Here's where we were:

» Everybody gets to the point where all-you-are aint enough. And I remember thinking » "If I do nothing, I'm a dead man. Cuz I'm already dead. Stay here and Death will soon catch up to you."

It felt like I had to crawl up to the ground BY MYSELF .. as tho God wasnt going to help me (.. at least not any more that He had to).

That suk'ed very badly. Maybe the most sukkage ever. Certainly a contender. "Low, low, low."

Notice that the feeling of being forsaken (by God) .. is one of the most _________ (« what word goes there? most what?).

Perhaps the lesson I am to take away from this is » God does not help us want to live. Maybe that is something that we must do ourselves. (Think about I. Conduct a thought-experiment.)

Yes, we know that God says, "If you want to live, I will help you." But I cannot recall a verse that says, "I will help you want to live." [ I could be wrong, of course. ]

[ Would that be the same as Hemingway's sin of despair? The Catholic's "sin against the Holy Ghost?" ]

Now we are naturally talking about a period severe emotional distress .. either beyond or close to what we can handle .. so the faculty of reason is distorted (severely). But this much was clear .. that my want-to-live margin was approaching flimsy.

And a time when it seemed like I really needed help .. it felt like the cavalry wasnt coming this time.

The thought came » "Probably ought to pitch a tent .. cuz it looks like we're gonna be here a while."

Then the other thought that I mentioned earlier » "Stay here and you're a dead man."

And I could see the truth in that. But you have to want to live. And it felt like I had to do that myself.


Nathalie Sarraute (1900-1999)This reminds me of the #1 most interesting quote / passage that I read in the Intro .. to the Brothers. But it will have to wait.

It is the quote by Nathalie Sarraute, a Russian-born Jew who grew up in both Russia and Paris. The quote is located near the end of the Intro .. if you happen to have a copy of the book.

I have too much to say on that (very cool) topic. Way too much.

It took days of pondering .. before it began to dawn on me. Deep, deep, deep.

Immediately following the quote, the man who wrote the Intro says that Nathalie (a woman) ASSIMILATES Dostoevsky .. which raised my eyebrows.

Maybe that is what is what I'm looking to do. Assimilate Dostoevsky. But you wouldnt assimilate a steak .. until you were reasonably sure that is wasnt rotten. Right?

I think that's where I am .. with people whose opinion I respect saying, "Best steak I've ever had."

But I still need to take a smell for myself. And I think it would challenge my creative skills, my geeky artistic skills .. to try to report what I smell. Seems like a worthy, noble challenge, no? Something that would cause me to reflect.

And more importantly » WHY .. I think it smells the way it does. (Even if it sounds crazy.)

[ When I said in my New Years eve entry, my Notorious entry, that » "I see it getting ugly, or I see it getting worse" .. I was fairly detailed .. about WHY I felt the way I did.

Anybody can spout shit. But what is your supporting rationale? Have you done the research? Or are you just talking out your ass?

Are you one of those newborn chicks .. mouth agape .. swallowing everything that the Cable news channel feeds you?

Do you think for yourself? (Have you ever had an original thought?) Or do you let others do your thinking for you? (Other people would *love* to do your thinking for you.)

This was me .. not so very long ago, either. So I know the concept is not an impossibility.

The most telling question, of course, is » WHY .. do I feel the way do. Answering that question can take you far.

Because .. in order to do THAT, you must first understand both sides (positions) of the issue, of the argument.

Then the question comes » WHY do each side feel the way they do? And under what circumstances?

You can always identify / recognize a Cable News chick (mouth open) .. because they are all-or-nothing. And you don't have to research ANY issue for very long .. before it becomes clear that few issues are all-or-nothing.

Everything depends on something. ]

Because different people smell different things with Dostoevsky. Particularly regarding Ivan. They SEE different things. That interests me. Why the difference? Who falls in which camps?


Wow, another side-bar. It's like I keep distracting myself from telling this story. I promise, no more distractions. Here is where we were pre-previous sidebar:

It felt like I had to crawl up to the ground BY MYSELF .. as tho God wasnt going to help me (.. at least not any more that He had to). That suk'ed very badly. Maybe the most sukkage ever. Certainly a contender. "Low, low, low."

After feeling that something inside of me had died .. and that the Dark Side no longer seemed so far away (nor so dark) .. I crawled back up to ground-level, but could not do much of anything .. for quite a while. Just laid there. So to speak.

Pooh & Piglet looking for butterfliesIn others words, it somehow dealt with parenting on multiple levels.

That was both the thing that both slew me and saved me.

It probably seems obvious to you .. but it came flash of insight to me .. that the more you care, the more you hurt.

So, in a weird, back-door kind of way, you are grateful for the pain (.. which is not very far, conceptually speaking, from masochism)

Cuz, if you didnt give a shit, you wouldnt even care .. a point that Dostoevsky makes in chapter #2.

"As a father, he did precisely what was expected of him; that is, he totally and utterly abandoned his child..."



If some of this sounds crazy .. well, that is exactly what I have been trying to tell you all along » it goes with the territory.

Here, for example, is a tidbit, a little insight that I learned just recently .. from my research into Dostoevsky » The thing that makes one a good writer .. RUNS PARALLEL WITH the road to insanity. =)

Let me explain.

The most influential critic of Dostoevsky's writing [ Mikhail Bakhtin ] says that the THING that marks Dostoevsky's work .. as a "major revolution in the history of the novel" .. is that of » 'multi-voicedness'.

The voices-of-the-characters in all OTHER novels .. up to Dostoevsky .. are "subordinated to a single consciousness .. that we usually identify with the author."

But in Dostoevsky .. all the characters GET THEIR OWN VOICE. [ Think about that .. because many smart people agree with him. ]

Now the guy who wrote the the Intro [ Malcom V. Jones ] gives a nice tidy literary description of what that term means, using esoteric terms such as 'polyphonic' and 'monologic'. But allow me to paraphrase for you.

Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881)It means 'giving voice' to all those Voices in your head ..

.. in such a way that the reader feels like they really are hearing many personalities (.. come from one person).

But most any conversation with a good Wacko from the local nut house can do a very similar thing in under 15-minutes

(.. if you take away their zombie meds). So how does the Writer accomplish this?

He must BECOME the personalities of those other voices.

Now the actor gets paid handsomely to do this with ONE other character (.. at a time).

The writer must become them all .. and balance ALL their voices .. somehow. It's a good trick .. if you can pull it off.

So you can be sure there are some colorful conversations going on inside his head.

This is actually a cool conversation we may revisit later .. but my take-away is » "It's a fine line, my friend .. between genius and madness." =)

[ The Dog said that folks who genuinely went crazy, loco, bonkers, flew-the-coop .. and returned .. report it as passing thru a "gelatin membrane".

Perfect peace and tranquility await those who most desperately need to use the exit door of irrationality.

Now, call me crazy .. but uh, it definitely seems like .. the thinner the gel, » the more clearly the voice I can hear. =)

"Dude! You don't say! That is some of the craziest sounding shit I have ever heard. Tell me more."

Man standing behind gelatin curtain » "Dude! I can't hear you very well thru this stupid gelatin. Come on over and I'll tell you all about it."

Me » "But what if I get lost and can't find my way back?"

Man behind gelatin curtain » "Lost from what?"

Notice that Carl Jung, after reading Ulysses (that's right » the 1922 title that Modern Library ranks #1 as the Best English Language novel of the Twentieth Century), concluded that James Joyce was schizophrenic ..

.. a word that means "split-mind" .. from schizo (split) and phren (mind). I find that very telling and even a bit humorous.

But writing can be described as the process of letting the different characters and literary technicians go thru the story .. at their own pace ..

.. and each add-to and edit/modify as they see fit and deem necessary. After a while, if you do it well enough, you forget who you are .. for a time. =) ]

» The #1 Way that I Resonate with Dostoevsky's Techniques

Later I would also like to delve into and discuss the #1 way (that I feel) I mirror Dostoevsky in technique. From the intro » "In Dostoevsky, the reader is invited to judge the validity of the idea by the viability of the personality."

This part I get, no problem. Einstein, for example, is a personality. Oppenheimer is another. Wittgenstein. Freud. Cormac McCarthy. Camus. Hemingway. All personalities.

More personalities » Tolstoy. Nietzsche. Kafka. Tim Berners-Lee. Dylan. Bob Marley. Mandela. Martin Luther King Jr. Gandhi. The Prophets. The Galilean and his Apostles. Scripture.

[ Of course, Dostoevsky himself is my biggest personality .. making today's entry somewhat reciprocal. ]

Nelson MandelaThis is the very principle by which I began my JAIL entry .. is it not? Personality. (Tho integrity of personality was my goal.)

I mean, I wrote that entry looong before I knew Dostoevsky used the technique. [ Doesnt everybody? ] In other words » quite organically.

Cuz it's easy to feel crappy about life .. after the initial get-out-of-jail euphoria wears off. That's when the names started to come. Maybe 3AM.

The feeling, more or less » 'Yes, it suks, but you're not alone. Far from it. Surprisingly far.'

One of the clearest things this voice says to me is » "It's not right that your generation is leaving such an enormous debt for the next generation to pay."

And I think, "Of course, but what can I do?"

And, as tho reading my mind, the voice says, "You do what you can. I'll do the rest." (And no, this voice did not stutter.)

Sounds like a deal to me. So I say to my friend, "Dude, this shit does not look right to me. What do you think?"

And my friend says, "Of course, that shit aint right. Anybody can see that. But what can we do?"


Anyway, during my drive-by of Aaron's house .. the time when I saw that a light was on .. it seemed like there was a voice .. that said <paraphrasing_on>, "Dude, wtf ru doing?"

And I say, "This shit suks pretty bad."

And the voice says, "Dude, you dont know what suk is."

And I say [ without thinking ] » "Really? What's suk?"

A week later I was in jail. =) Jail suks, dawg. Tis true, I must report.

Jail wasnt exactly what I had in mind .. when I got curious about the suk.

I'm joking a little about jail and the suk .. but I now see that you sometimes must go to certain places .. in order to see certain things.

Seems obvious, now. With my superb Retro-vision perspective. Plus, I want to avoid contradiction. (Tho I have nothing against paradox.)

And when I got out of jail, the voice said, "Dude, if you really wanna know about the Suk .. you need to talk to my homies, Franz and Fyodor. I call them the Suk brothers. They will school you right-proper in the art of the Suk." </paraphrase>

So that's what I did.

» "Dude, You dont know what SUK is."

So my point » perspective can play a part. "You are not the first to get your ass kicked. You won't be the last. Help is available."

Franz Kafka (1883-1924)I find myself going to straight to Dostoevsky when grief grips my soul .. with a fisted glove. It happens » automatically. Strange?

I mean .. that is why we are here now, at base camp. Cuz Newtown is Suk City (.. and specially for me).

If you recall, Dostoevsky showed up promptly in my Newtown entry. So Newtown, you might say .. is why we are here now ..

.. in the shadow of Mt. Dostoevsky. As tho it were » automatic. It feels as tho this is where I met Aaron .. in the shadow of Mt. Dostoevsky.

[ Yes, it kinda trips me out a bit .. in an ineffable sort of way. As an aside, you may be interested to note that Kafka wrote » parables. (Perhaps a » better translation.)

Cuz some things are hard-to-believe .. even when you're seeing them happen .. with your own two eyes. No? ]

Aaron, on the other hand, had been at it for » 2 years. The years take their toll. The constant pressure .. the threats. It wears on you after a while.

I posted an entry on this very topic .. but I dont really wanna go find it right now (.. cuz I might start reading). I mean, you can actually *hear* the ice starting to crack around you. So of course, you dont make any quick moves. =)

Franz Kafka | The Trial (1914)Kafka's 'The Trial' does a scary-good job of walking you through the gradually increasing insanity-mindset that long-term bureaucratic legal fucking can produce.

Le Monde places The Trial at position #3 .. in its list of the 100 Greatest Novels of the Century.

Kafka himself was a lawyer, and he worked for a State-run bureaucracy .. so he would have an excellent perspective from which to write.

An interesting literary tidbit about The Trial .. is that it began with the First World War (summer of 1914 .. a century ago) .. almost to the day ..

.. when Kafka started to write it, I mean .. tho it wasnt published until 1925, after he died (in 1924) ..

.. tho the two events obviously have nothing to do with one another. I'm talking historical perspective. "The War to End all Wars" .. or so they said.

Kafka had told his best friend, "Dude, burn all my shit when I die." [ I'm glad that Max Brod betrayed him. ]

There is also a funny side to insanity, a humorous side. Cuz humor can relieve stress. (It always has for me.)

If you can step back far enough, you can see the very absurdity of the situation. Little ol' you (.. with no money left) .. against the big bad governmental system .. in all its forms. The hydra .. who only eats the poor and the unconnected.

And THEY make the rules. (All of them.) And it doesnt matter how absurd you might think their rules seem. So all you can do .. is sorta like the feeling you might get if you slip and find yourself about to go over a 317-foot waterfall » "This should be interesting."

Tho our legal system here in the US today is more adversarial .. than the old continental system in which Kafka received his training.

That system was more investigative .. more of a fact-finding process. Our legal system of today already seems to know all the "facts" (.. that they want to know) .. and all they want from you is to see your ass in jail.

» Finding Lessons & Humor in Absurdity

There can be lessons in absurdity .. that you can't see under normal 'lighting' .. such as what's really important .. until things start distorting .. revealing hidden patterns .. more dramatic contrast.

Absurdity can also be funny .. specially if you have a warped sense of humor, like me. But my point is » no matter HOW strong you are .. no matter HOW stable you are .. unless you are super-fucking-man .. the legal shit wears on you after a while.

Can Rad come out and play?You can sit there and watch the neuroses crawling in .. and there's not much you can do .. because you're up to your ass in legal alligators.

Toothy fuckers, continually calling out "Your ass is going to jail."

And while the gators are gnawing on your ass, you call out to the invading vermin, "Shoo! Shoo you bad neuroses. Scat!"

And those of the Legal System .. they have all the guns. And you? You, my friend, have only targets (.. particularly when your money runs out).

Because lawyers are expensive. (Fabulously.) Which makes it a kind of ECONOMIC attack .. because they are being funded by public coffers. So, in a way (.. by paying taxes) you are paying them to fuck you.

And the home team brings with them to your game their own value system .. "the rules by which we will fuck you right. What? You think our rules suk? Son, you dont know what suk is!" ..

.. and it's not difficult to see how badly their value system suks. Now either they can't see it themselves .. or they dont want to see. "More Kool-Aid, please. Yes, grape would be fine. Ooh, that's my favorite."

All that power & authority you have been given .. and look how you use it. By the way, have you found Jon's $1.6 billion yet? This might help .. regarding the size of your search.

Heck, I could live right sweet on a rail car full of neatly-wrapped Benjamins. (You gotta admire this man's cojones. The size of melons.)

But I guess you can do whatever the fuck you like .. when you are part of the system. The Syndicate. (What are some other good 'conspiratorial' names I could use here?)

How would that feel? To be able to do pretty much what ever you like? It sounds very cool. "Sir, I pulled you over because I clocked you doing 1.6 billion mph back there."

"Fuck off!"

You are not upholding the true values of Capitalism .. that of a society based on a Meritocracy .. for the good of ALL society .. not merely the enclaves where you live.

Now I realize that few people still believe that shit .. that America is about Capitalism, but you guys arent even trying to fake it, any more.

You folks seem to be looking for love in all the wrong places (.. such as at Aaron's apartment, for example). As a citizen, I can't help but think that our taxpayer dollars would be better spent helping Jon find the $1.6 billion of other-people's-money that he "lost".

Why dont you folks go home tonight and take a good hard look at your priorities? Cuz the nation has genuine problems (.. if ya havent noticed). And Aaron Swartz is not the problem. (We need MORE Aarons, not less.)

Your value system is the problem. And it is a shame. Such a shame. Such a tragic shame. (Cuz we know that Aaron isnt the only young person killing himself.)

Bob Marley (1945-1981)» How Long?

The Jamaican asked:

How long shall they kill our prophets?
While we stand aside and look?
Some say it's just a part of it. Ooh!
We got to fulfill the book.

So .. how long? Well .. Martin Luther King said, "Not long." And, if I recall correctly, he was hair-raisingly prophetic.

No matter how you might feel about MLK's prophetic insights .. no one will deny that he was » "killed". You know .. that 'thing' they do to prophets. That much has been established.

[ With Aaron gone, it seems like the system kills not only our prophets (.. Get Up, Stand Up at t=20:25) .. but it also kills our darlings.

You were lucky to have him, yet you persecuted him for trifles .. while letting the real crooks walk scott free .. who did shit on a scale quite unimaginable. Words escape me. (But not for long.)

You did the same thing to Oppenheimer .. after he built the bomb for you. Shameful. No sense of honor or loyalty .. to anyone but the highest bidder. ]

Another established fact » we have a black family residing at the White House .. making for a lovely contrast .. given our nation's storied past with slavery .. seeing, not-so-long ago the contrast was » black fingers crawling like spiders among the white cotton.

So my question seems to be » Is *this* the 'vision' that Martin Luther King saw? .. that of a black family occupying the White House .. when he said, "I've seeeen .. the promise(d) land"?

[ I would imagine that, in 1968, that image would have seemed pretty promising. Surely satisfying. ]

Obama Family Election Night November 2008I have heard it said that 40 years = 1 generation. For what it's worth Obama was elected (close as possible) 40 years from the day MLK was shot.

I mean, MLK comes right out and SAYS .. that God Himself has allowed him to SEE INTO THE FUTURE. [ Uh .. that sounds a lot like prophecy to me. ]

So what else did Martin Luther King say in that speech? The LAST thing he said was:

So I'm happy tonight.
I'm not worried about anything.
I'm not fearing any man.
Mine eyes have have seen the glory » of the coming of the Lord.

Really? What might *that* look like, Martin?

The forceful f-sound .. that for good doctor makes there .. when he says the word » fearing .. reminds me another f-word.

Do you happen to have a match handy? Or perhaps a Bic lighter? Cuz here's where you get to light up Dostoevsky's nineteenth-century pipe .. the one that we packed earlier [ .. where Fyodor said "I can foresee the inevitable..." ]

And while you're puffing on that Nineteenth century pipe, notice that MLK uses the word 'Totalitarian' in that final speech he gave .. the DAY BEFORE .. an assassin's bullet found him standing on a balcony in Memphis.

In other words, he uses the word » totalitarianism .. the same thing that Dostoevsky prophesied.

» The Inevitable Culture Clash is Here Now (Today)

If I were to try to articulate The Inevitable .. it would be the clash of cultures .. engendered by the Internet. Inevitable. That's what I see .. today » 1/11.

The Internet itself has *that* much importance. "What say ye, friend?" Seems obvious in a way, no?

And the culture of the Internet is » openness and freedom of exchange. While others appear uncomfortable with such freedom. "You kids cant be exchanging shit like that without paying for it." [ Remember the SY$TEM is » about the money. ]

I mean, the Internet has been predicted to have a GREATER EFFECT on humanity .. than the invention (and gradual integration into society) of Writing itself (since roughly Socrates time, 500 BC).

And all our clueless leaders seem to care about is getting their cut. (They dont seem to be very much into humanity.) A fundamental incompatibility exists, or at least appears to exist. Based on values that are polar-opposites.

And historical clashes often revolve (one way or another) around » freedom. "No?" Yes. (That's what the Russian prophet says.)

Blue hoverboard» Fearlessness & Authenticity

Now I realize and freely admit that I'm more-than-a-little whacked .. with Aaron's suicide following so quickly on the heels of the seismic Newtown slaughter .. but I have found myself thinking lately.

And I've watched that King speech several times .. and I can't help but notice the roaring fearlessness that takes him there at the end. And I myself am familiar with a similar fearlessness.

A fearlessness so fearless that you surprise even yourself. And yes, it is definitely a very cool thing. [ Whatever you wanna call it. But I call it God. ] "More, please."

I would make it happen all the time .. if I could. But it doesnt seem to work like that. But that feeling of protected invincibility .. "Whoa! What was that?"

Happens automatically. You can feel yourself o-r-i-e-n-t-a-t-e TOWARD the pain / fear. The reason I associate that posturing, this internal orientation, with 'God' .. is cuz it seems like something I myself would never do. [ If you see a lion coming, you normally run .. the OTHER way. ]

I mean, it feels like God comes on you and says <rad_paraphrase_on> » "This is a crock o' shit. Let's go kick some ass." </paraphrase>

No, you don't have to go. Yes, you can puss-out. But .. but that is another story.

My point is that .. I recognize things in MLK's speech that I would associate with God. So for me, it resonates with the ring of authenticity. For what it's worth.

I mean, King comes right out and says » "I'm not fearing ANY man." [ Yes, that's the feeling. And yeah, I know we walk by faith, not by feelings. That doesnt mean we dont have them. (Feelings.) ]

Notice also that mere minutes before this roaring fearlessness .. he seemed possessed by the humility that comes to those who are resigned to their own mortality ..

.. when he says <paraphrase_on>, "Longevity is a wonderful thing, dawg. But I can see that aint for me."

Then he finishes with » "Do I look scared? Is my hand shaking?"

And everybody watching him there up on stage was thinking, "Wow. What was that?" </paraphrase>

That, my friend, was history .. history caught on camera. Because the next day he was dead. The assassin's bullet. Makes you think, no?

So when I see [ resonate with what I perceive as, recognize as ] » authenticity .. I naturally want to see what was said.

» Won't You Help to Sing?

And one of the things that MLK said in that final speech, a word that he mentioned .. was the term totalitarian. So go ahead and take another puff from Dostoevsky's pipe.

While you're doing that .. check out something else the Rastafarian said (.. in the very same song):

Won't you help to sing
These songs of freedom
'Cause all I ever have:
Redemption songs

President Obama | Half-black, half-whiteLike our President, the Rastafarian was also half-black and half-white, and whose father was rarely there for his son.

Only the parental colors are switched with Bob and Barack .. as Bob's father was white.

» Dostoevsky's Prophetic View of Totalitarianism

What are the chances that the United States would/could take a detour down Totalitarian Way?

What odds would you give? How would it unfold? Speculation?

I've never really given Totalitarianism much thought. But I would imagine it would either totally rock or suketh immensely .. depending on the person-in-charge, no? "Uncle Ernie is calling the shots? Cool. I need a new yacht."

The #1 thing that Dostoevsky stresses about Totalitarianism .. is » the people responsible for pulling it off .. genuinely LOVE HUMANITY. They want to create a perfect (peaceful & prosperous) society .. by taking away the free will of their subjects.

Free will, they feel, is TOO MUCH for most people to handle. "A burden too heavy to bear." Freedom is seen as "incompatible" with happiness .. for all but a few übermensches ..

.. normally defined as » the overlords, their cronies, and a few groupies .. none of whom seem very smart.

And until the 'heretics' come to understand the "feebleness" of their resistance and rebellion .. the burnings (of heretics) at society's stake "will continue to be necessary".

My intuitive take-away on Totalitarianism [ even when the intentions are GOOD ] .. is that it is SO FREAKING BAD .. that it is never a viable option. (Ever.) And I'm confident Einstein would back me on that.

Adolf Hitler (1889-1945)Fight at all cost. William Wallace would be happy to second. New Hampshire license plates say Live Free or Die. Paint the face with blue wode.

I mean, if their garments arent shining, I'd be skeptical.

This past Presidential election was a Changing of the Guard .. demographically speaking. So it seems that now would be a good time to "do something" .. before things start to get worse. No?

The dramatics of our politicians seem to be building (.. to a crescendo?). If I was the Old Guard, the timing would seem right to make a move .. to exercise power in less-democratic ways.

You may find it interesting that the term » totalitarianism is defined as » a form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator (not restricted by a constitution or laws or opposition etc.).

Notice the phrase » "not restricted by laws." That reminds me of our financial system. [ Does it not? ]

One of the synonyms for the term totalitarianism is despotism. The term despotism is defined as » dominance through threat of punishment and violence.

Recall that Dostoevsky wrote a book titled » Crime and Punishment (1866). So I would imagine that he knows a little something about the topic.

Indeed his life story reveals that it is a subject with which he is intimately familiar .. more than most would ever care to know. Far more.

The most recent manifestations of the power-cravings of our Leaders .. seem to have developed along these lines » We are in a state of war. The President needs and gets "special war-time powers" during a state-of-war.

And since this state-of-war (on terror) WILL NEVER END .. the executive branch therefore "needs" these special war-time powers as far as the eye can see [ read » forever ].

So it seems that ours leaders have a reason (power) to keep the country in a perpetual state of war, no?

"Let's see, what can we do to piss people off so badly that they want to fight us forever?"

Have our Leaders mangaged to concoct a perpetual state-of-war in order to invest the Government with eternal "special powers" that resemble Totalitarianism?

Seems that the corruption that comes as a result of power .. leads to depravity. No?

I find it curious here that scripture says God made man » "without a ruler over them".

If I wanted to take over the country, here is what I would do »

  1. get my buddies in congress to thwart raising the national debt ceiling on October 1st (.. to cause financial chaos).
  2. make friends with influential people in the military.
  3. pay thugs and goons to blow shit up, creating a need for martial law.

Once you have martial law enacted, you can figure out the rest yourself.

Josef Stalin (1878-1953) below an image of Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924)<begin_dostoevsky_patterns_children_crisis>

I am merely demo'ing these new patterns from Dostoevsky .. and seeing how they might apply here-n-now .. paying particular attention to points-of-intersection and matching patterns.

And here is one more pattern that keeps popping up » the rich get richer .. while the kids get fucked.

Very popular pattern .. especially among those who manage to weasel out of harm's way .. when it comes their time to serve.

This might be a good place to mention .. that Dostoevsky originally intended to write a novel "about childhood". (He loved children .. loved being with them.)

When his young son Aleksei died, he made a pilgrimage with the young philosopher / theologian, Vladimir Solovyov to the Optina Monastery, which served as the spiritual center of Russia. On the road there he saw something that changed the thrust of his novel.


There is actually another part to Camus' quote about Dostoevsky. This passage is taken directly from Camus' 1958 book Spectacles (which I found on page 252 here) :

"For a long time we believed that Marx was the prophet of the 20th century. We now know that his prophecy misfired. And we discover that the true prophet was Dostoevsky. He prophesied the reign of the Grand Inquisitors and the triumph of power over justice."

Karl Marx (1818-1883) was a contemporary of Dostoevsky. He was born a few years before Dostoevsky, and died a few years after. The conversation, as I understand it, went something like this:

Karl » "Communism is the way. Communism rocks. I will write a big-ass book and show you all how it's done. Watch and see."

Fyodor » "Uh, dude. I think not. Let me introduce you to my friend, the Grand Inquisitor. I met him on the road to Siberia .. many winters ago .. where I saw many interesting things. Shit you would not believe.

Mr. G here will trick-fuck both you and your pretty-sounding Communism. So Karl, put *that* in your pipe and smoke it."

Albert Camus (1913-1960)And in 1958, long after Camus had watched the Soviet Union devolve into something grotesque .. it was easy for everybody to see wtf.

Easy to see who the real prophet was a century after they die.

That seems to be where Dostoevsky's reputation as a prophet came from. Camus died 3 decades before the Soviet Union disintegrated, but I'm sure he would say, "Told ya."

Professor Morson at Northwestern University said » "Dostoevsky spoke to the twentieth century. He was unique in foreseeing that it would not be an era of sweetness and light, but the bloodiest on record. With uncanny accuracy, The Demons predicted, in detail, what totalitarianism would be."

Camus is French. I knew squat about this cool Frenchman .. before looking into Dostoevsky. But, from what little I've seen, I really like him (ca-'moo). The cigarette reminds me of Bogart.

He won the Nobel Prize in '57 .. three years before he died. He was a writer for the French Resistance magazine » Combat. Very cool. I'm sure that earned him bona fides and street cred.

» Songs of Freedom

I have been noticing .. quite organically, I might add .. that I seem to find myself drawn .. to these existentialist dudes, which include Nietzsche. So I started looking into these guys .. and » "Yeah! That's the way I see it, too!"

The dictionary defines an existentialist as someone who » "emphasizes FREEDOM of choice and personal responsibility but who regards human existence in a hostile universe as unexplainable."

Yes, I agree with freedom-of-choice and personal responsibility, but hostility is far from unexplainable.

But you would never raise your hand in 6th grade Science class, when asked, and say, "When I grow up, I going to be an existentialist." (Actually sounds a tad pretentious, if you ask me, a word with 5 syllables.)

I know very little about existentialism .. but intuitively speaking .. the essence of it seems to be » "we need to [ have the balls to ] see things as they REALLY ARE .. even including the apparent paradoxes and especially the ugliness ..

Existentialists: Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, SartreNow I realize that not many men (or women) have the heuvos to LIVE live an authentic life .. amid the soul-sucking shit that life can sometimes be ..

.. but this needs to be the goal, the aim, the mark, the aspiration. If you fail, you failed at a noble thing.

Getting your ass kicked and even dying .. is permissible. (Some even consider such things an honor.)

But what is not permissible » quitting. That posture / mindset is colloquially known as » to the death.

Some times it's easier to know where you DONT want to go .. than it is to know where you DO want to go. (You could easily work that last sentence into my Marx / Dostoevsky dialogue.)

[ Along these lines of political models .. I should probably mention an interesting verse I found in Habakkuk, which says that » God made men WITHOUT A RULER OVER THEM. That raised my eyebrows. ]

I just learned that Kierkegaard is considered the first existentialist philosopher. Kristen (an old girlfriend, California girl, who I met in Connecticut) kept trying to turn me onto him.

"Take that away," I told her. [ Uh, figuratively speaking. I was not the most mature person back in those days. ] "I'm a Catholic, and your religion doesnt seem very religious. Where's the guilt?"

Kierkegaard [ 1813-1855 ] was also a theologian and Miss Kristen seemed to have substituted Soren's philosophy for church in her life. She was very moral .. easy to trust. And we got along fabulously. Very easy to be with. (No fights.)

I noticed that this guy named Sartre was also listed there with the Existentialists. I know next-to-nothing about him.

I remember back when the Dog was living up in the Hollywood Hills (.. mere walking distance from the famous sign) .. that I was staying with him for a weekend. He had a stack of books there on the nightstand beside his unmade bed.

The top book stacked there was one by Sartre. So I asked the Dog [.. who went to Columbia university, an Ivy league school .. "across the street from Harlem" (as he puts it) with a famously rigorous required reading curriculum ] "What's up with this Sartre dude?"

He just looked at me and said (ominously joking) "The beginning of the end." =)

The Brothers Karamazov (1881) Everyman's Library» Dostoevsky & the Censor

Only very recently have I begun to ponder the notion of [ how Fyodor had to ] » write with a Censor. A State Censor.

He had already spent several years in a concentration camp in Siberia .. an experience that almost certainly shortened his life to 59, and killed many others much earlier ..

.. and been subjected to the psychological mind-fucking of a mock execution .. at the hands of the state. So I would imagine he was a bit 'sensitive' to the idea of a Censor.

And I think how horrible that must have been .. where everything you say a potential sticking point. So you would have to ( .. I'm thinking out loud ) .. write everything in a sort of cultural code .. no?

A cultural code. For purposes of communicating ideas thru the censor .. to the receiving party. This is actually a cool conversation I would like to have later .. how he did this (.. it models after the hyperlink but uses pattern recognition). It's one of things (they say) that make Dostoevsky Dostoevsky.

For now .. let me just say .. "Imagine what this man could have accomplished .. had he the freedom to write without a Censor." =)

» What Others Have Said About the Brothers

Before closing today, I want to leave you with a few quotes that caught my attention. This one comes from the inside flap of the Brothers » "Told with a feeling for the human condition unsurpassed in world literature." [ key words » feeling + unsurpassed ]

Another. This one from the 16-page intro » "The Brothers Karamazov seems contemporary and relevant to every succeeding generation -- like that famous portrait whose eyes follow you around the room."

another fascinating quote » ".. it echoes and develops some of the most ancient paradoxes and preoccupations of humanity." [ key words » most ancient paradoxes ]

One more from the intro » ".. finds an echo in every significant intellectual development to have gripped the Western mind since its appearance." [ key words » every significant intellectual development ]

Yours truly» What I Say

Please note the following historical sequence:

  1. Dostoevsky's young son Aleksei dies [ May 1879 ].
  2. Dostoevsky writes the Brothers Karamazov [ Feb 1879 - Nov 1880 ] .
  3. Dostoevsky himself dies. [ Jan 1881, or Feb, depending on which calendar you use, the old Julian or the new Gregorian, separated by 12 days ].

I think the death of his young son broke his heart and sucked the life out of the old man. And he knew he wasnt long for this world.

Three months after he son died, he was diagnosed with emphysema.

So he said to himself, "If I am ever gonna bust a move, this is it. Now is the time. I will channel this soul-fucking torment into this novel and check out." [ He died less than 2 months after he finish the novel. ]

"You might wanna step back, dawg. Cuz mine eyes have seen some shit." In other words, he was swinging for the fences. And he seems to have connected.

The Brothers Karamazov is a remarkable novel .. because it came from the broken heart of a father ..

.. who lost a son at a young age. [ Uh, first grade is pretty young if you ask me. ]

Remember that Dostoevsky was planning to write a book on childhood .. a Children's book, perhaps.

A son lost to epilepsy, a condition that he no-doubt inherited from his father. How could he not feel responsible? That's GOTTA be some kind of soul-fucking torment, no? [ If he gave a fuck. ]

» The Voices Become Most Clear During Soul-Fucking Torment

And I have noticed .. that uh, during this soul-fucking torment .. is when it's easiest to hear all the Voices. Clarity. Claro. The personalities really come thru, too. "Talk to me, Goose."

Anne RiceIt's a fine line, my friend .. between genius and insanity.

You might think that .. after he had spent several years in Siberia .. life would cut the old man a break.

Anne Rice & the Dark Side

The story of Anne Rice comes to mind here. In 1972 she watched her 5 year old daughter (Michele) die of leukemia (.. over the course of a year).

The grief that must have gripped her soul when she died. Exquisite. The loss. Devastating.

The very next year (1973), with her psychological world fracturing, she wrote Interview with a Vampire.

I doubt the proximity of these two events is mere coincidence.

The voices became SO REAL that you'd think she really did interview that vampire (.. written with such eerily hair-raising detail .. as tho she had somehow found entrée to a world we previously thought only make-believe).

[ The only book I could ever not continue to read .. because it was TOO-well written. =)

The current rage of vampire movies that have become so wildly popular .. that all began with Anne Rice.

Well, I also couldnt read Solzhenitzen. The Gulag Archipelago .. which Le Monde ranks #15 in its list of the Top 100 Novels of the Century.

But that book was not pretending to be fiction. I *did* however, read enough to marvel at the inventedness of man's cruelty and inhumanity toward his fellow man. It seems to know no bounds.

Dilawar | BT 421I did however, watch Taxi to the Dark Side .. all the way thru .. all the way to the end. Tho I almost stopped. (A few times.)

That was the hardest thing I have ever watched. Couldnt sleep that night. Kept thinking » "Ye shall know them by their fruit."

Along with the unsettling notion that I, as a citizen of the United States, could somehow be responsible for what my government has done. Definitely fucks with the head.

I watched it for Dilawar. I said, "Yes, that is certainly some unrighteous shit there, Mr. Dilawar."

Come the Judgment day, I do not want Mr. Dilawar pointing an accusatory finger at me. "It was him! Yeah, that motherfucker right there!" 

The verse from Job comes to mind (v5:13) which says » "He taketh the wise in their own craftiness .. and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong."

I've always wondered » "Headlong to where?" Now I know. 

If you are a glutton for seriously unrighteous shit .. you could always read Howard Zinn's » A People's History of the Unites States. That should hold you a while, dawg. Or two.

Or you could watch the related video » The People Speak. Howard Zinn babysat Matt Damon when when Matt was small.

Matt Damon reminds me of my brother. And not just his size or looks, either.

I have tried to imagine what it must be like .. being exposed to Howard Zinn while growing up. That experience must certainly come with a mantle of social responsibility. A burden, even.

So I do not see how Matt could ever live his life in a way that disrespected Howard. By the way, I hear that Matt Damon movies earn more at the box office .. for every dollar of salary .. than any other actor. As of 2013. I'm not sure how far back the sample goes.

Olympus Has FallenWhile we are on the topic of unrighteous shit .. lemme say to our government » "Dude, you cannot lock people up for decades without even charging them."

Can't you see how this kind of behavior .. puts you in the same category as people whose names I will not even mention. But you know them. Certainly you know OF them.

Don't be like them. You are better than that. (Arent you?)

If you are not smart enough to figure a way out of this mess .. that you yourselves got yourself into .. then please go home and let smarter people fix your problems for you.

Thank-you for your service.

If we are supposed to be setting the moral example for the rest of the world .. then uh, we are fucking up.

Are you guys trying to fuck-up the country? Cuz it's hard believe that stupidity-alone could be responsible for your fuck-ups.

Can't you see .. that, by failing to respond legally, and in a moral manner, you just encourage MORE OF THE SAME? So, all the people who get tortured in our nation's future will have you to thank.

I mean, what is there to stop them? Nothing .. thanks to you. That's not why you get to use the cool house and the fancy plane. 

In nuclear power, if you cannot effectively execute the duties of your job, you get replaced .. by people who can.

lightning bolt strikes empire state bldg nycIt is my understanding that God hears the cry of the man who has been unjustly wronged.

I think you first get a chance to respond morally and ethically (.. not to mention legally). Tho I'm not sure about that.

We might already be fucked .. by the Eternal Courts of Justice. To whom much is given...

Blood is a witness. So stop torturing innocent people in the name of United States citizens.

Nobody who ever had a grandparent buy them an ice cream cone on a hot summer day .. has any questions about which approach would represent the moral high ground.

And this is one of the few things you can't blame on a dysfunctional congress.

"Man, up, dawg, and bust a righteous move," .. by doing the right thing. (Hey, that's why you get the big bucks.) Maybe it is time to call Louis.

All your guys running for president like to quote Reagan and try to adopt his mantle as your own. So the least you can do is honor the commitments he made on behalf of the nation. ]

The parenting thing goes deep .. beyond that place where logic & reason reside. So you can't "think your way out" of the pain of the loss .. of a part of you. Of your most precious and vulnerable part. So what are you going to do now?

I can vouch that, during times of such deep despair, the dark side beckons and beckons most clearly. Most articulately. Most persuasively.

I think this is why it was so easy for Anne to go there. You are so desperate for relief (of any kind) from the savage soul-fucking torment.

[ Suicide, as you know, is a very real problem these days. Particularly among our youth. That is a shame. A crying shame. ]

I remember walking the beach close to sunset .. at Crystal Cove, there in Laguna .. and discovering that the very ACT of deciding .. whether-or-not a particular sea shell was exquisite enough ..

.. to warrant picking up and bringing home with me .. as a token-way to bring home the beachy feeling .. provided a measure of relief (.. in the form of distraction).

Not a very large measure of relief, mind you. But when your soul is in exquisite torment .. you are not very picky. =)

I still HAVE that box of shells .. a small box that originally held a fast SCSI hard drive.

Aaron Swartz carnation, January 11, 2013, NYC» Close with a Tribute

I want to close with a fitting tribute .. but the words won't come.

So I guess it is only fitting that we close today with a tribute from Tim Berners-Lee ..

.. the inventor of the Web:

Aaron dead. World wanderers, we have lost a wise elder. Hackers for right, we are one down. Parents all, we have lost a child. Let us weep.

When I heard the news about Aaron, and started to read some of the comments that people had written about him .. I thought of the line by Hemingway » "they were made of a finer or more fragile metal."

UPDATE - October 31, 2013. I just realized today that the death of Georgia high school teen Kendrick Johnson ALSO came on January 11 .. same as today's entry. Big story.

The Feds and the FBI are gonna look. Very interesting, especially when you play the info off of other developments.

Today's entry begins here » Dostoevsky, Aaron Swartz & the Broken Butterfly of Tomorrow - Part 1/4


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This page contains a single entry by Rad published on January 11, 2013 11:45 PM.

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