Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday, February 20, 2012

More Nietzsche

I often wonder how to square tough-mindedness and cool, clear deliberation with the passionate, quasi-religious attitude that is required to make and enjoy art. Nietzsche, who is known for his unforgiving clarity and contempt of sentimentality has a tidy solution: don't even try. Here is Aphorism #251 from Human, All Too Human (1878):

Future of Science. - To him who works and seeks in it, Science gives much pleasure, to him who learns its facts, very little. But as all important truths of science must gradually become commonplace and everyday matters, even this small amount of pleasure ceases, just as we have long ceased to take pleasure in learning the admirable multiplication table. Now if Science goes on giving less pleasure in itself, and always takes more pleasure in throwing suspicion on the consolations of metaphysics, religion and art, that greatest of all sources of pleasure to which mankind owes almost its whole humanity, becomes impoverished. Therefore a higher culture must give man a double brain, two brain chambers, so to speak, one to feel science and the other to feel non-science, which can lie side by side, without confusion, divisible, exclusive; this is a necessity of health. In one part lies the source of strength, in the other lies the regulator; it must be heated with illusions, one-sidedness, passions; and the malicious and dangerous consequences of overheating must be averted by the help of conscious Science. If this necessity of the higher culture is not satisfied, the further course of human development can almost certainly be foretold: the interest in what is true ceases as it guarantees less pleasure; illusion, error, and imagination reconquer step by step the ancient territory, because they are united to pleasure; the ruin of science: the relapse into barbarism is the next result; mankind must begin to weave its web afresh after having, like Penelope, destroyed it during the night. But who will assure us that it will always find the necessary strength for this?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Paulie's Picks, Aqueduct, 2/17/12

A colleague and I have some important academic issues to discuss, and we decided that Aqueduct Racetrack is really the perfect spot. There is, after all, 30 minutes in between each race, you can get a lot done.

It's my first outing of 2012, and frankly, I'm looking forward to starting with a clean slate - I couldn't pick my nose at the races in 2011. The weather looks like it's going to be cooperative: 51 degrees with sunshine in the afternoon. Hooray!

I'm afraid my picks are all pretty boring, mostly first and second choices in the morning line. I'm sure a little residual lack of confidence from last year is making me feel a little less bold, but then again tomorrow's card is a sort of like the current contest for the Republican nomination - there's just not that much to choose from.

But who cares about all that - it's still my favorite game! Here are Paulie's picks for tomorrow's card at the Big A:

1st race:
7 - Dahlgren Chapel
2 - Premium Wine
3 - Have You Ever

2nd race:
1a - Hurricane Kitten
3 - Karakorum Magic
1 - Sweet Kakes
2 - Saratoga Silver

3rd race:
1 - Tough Market
2 - Raecinjasin
6 - Afternoon Treat

4th race:
5 - This One's for Phil
6 - Hillswick
1 - Star of New York

5th race:
7 - Say Toba Sandy
1a - Sweet Hot Toddy
4 - Awedacious Caren

6th race:
7 - Pegasus Papou
5 - Winloc's John Lee
6 - Trainingforsuccess

7th race:
8 - Sastre
2 - Call the Ball
3 - Power King

8th race:
1 - Downhill Joey
5 - McCarren Park
4 - Expression

9th race:
1 - El Dreamer
5 - Raffie's Choice
3 - Sandican

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

No Hassle Turns Five!

No Hassle at the Castle is five years old today! Click the pic above to see the first post from February 7, 2007.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Nietzsche on Post-Modernism

"Age of comparison - The less men are bound by their tradition, the greater the internal stirring of motives; the greater, accordingly, the external unrest, the whirling flow of men, the polyphony of endeavors. Who today still feels a serious obligation to bind himself and his descendants to one place? Who feels that anything is seriously binding? Just as all artistic styles of the arts are imitated one next to the other, so too are all stages and kinds of morality, customs, cultures.

Such an age gets its meaning because in it the various world views, customs, cultures are compared and experienced next to one another, which was not possible earlier, when there was always a localized rule for each culture, just as all artistic styles were bound to place and time. Now, man’s increased aesthetic feeling will decide definitively from among the many forms which offer themselves for comparison. It will let most of them (namely all those that it rejects) die out. Similarly, a selection is now taking place among the forms and habits of higher morality, whose goal can be none other than the downfall of baser moralities. This is the age of comparisons! That is its pride—but also by rights its sorrow. Let us not be afraid of this sorrow! Instead, we will conceive the task that this age sets us to be as great as possible. Then posterity will bless us for it—a posterity that knows it has transcended both the completed original national cultures, as well as the culture of comparison, but that looks back on both kinds of culture as on venerable antiquities, with gratitude."

The preceding quote was quite remarkably written by Nietzsche in 1878, in his first book of aphorisms; "Human, All too Human." It could serve as a Post-Modernist tract except for the ending, which I think is currently underway, particularly as it pertains to art.

Post-Modernism asked all the right questions; about quality and its criteria, about race and gender, authorship and originality, value, the autonomous vs. the contextual, and so on. Its main problem was that it left a legacy of about 40 years of forgettable art. This doesn't mean that the questions posed lacked validity - they just need to be addressed by better, more serious artists.