Woke up early as usual. Read Camus work the stranger. Was puzzled by the indifference of the characters. Personally I can’t stomach Camus’ existential nihilism. I believe that life is not chaotic and absurd. There’s a purpose and meaning to life. I travelled to Aleppy, the Venice of the East. All through the bus journey, I was gazing at the tranquil backwaters. I saw houseboats floating on the lulling waters as angels. Someday I also wish to hire a houseboat and cruise on the backwaters. Saw a flock ducks melodiously swimming in the waters. The purpose of my going to Aleppy was to buy a lottery ticket. Kerala government is hosting a puja bumper draw with a cash prize of 4 Crores. If I win it, I will have quite a lot of moolah in my hands. I want to buy my cherished SUV Renault Captur. I also want to put some money in fixed deposit that will aid my daughter’s fees in medical school. I also own a school and I want to build a swimming pool in it. I would also love to pay better salaries to the teachers. Had a tiff with my wife. My constantly accuses me of taking dope. It’s been years since I have smoked pot. I remember what Christ has said: ‘ask and you shall receive’ and I also remember the famous quotation on faith: ‘faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen’. I hope that Christ will gift me a lottery bonanza.
Albert Camus is a prominent French Philosopher noted for his philosophy of existential nihilism. Notable among his philosophical works are: The Myth of the Sisyphus. He has also published various works of fiction. The Stranger is a work characterized by his philosophy of existential nihilism.
The protagonist of the novel is Mersault. The novel begins with Mersalut being informed about the death of his mother in an old-age home. He travels by bus to the old age home and sees her body and takes part in the funeral proceedings. His feelings for his mother remain neutral. The inmates are allowed to watch the funeral proceedings.
He arrives back to Algiers and becomes engrossed in work. He has a girl friend named Mary with whom he has an affair. They go swimming in the sea. Then in the Stranger we come across a man who is a pimp. He gets arrested by the police for abusing a woman. Mersault has many friends and notable among them is Raymond. Later on in the novel we find Mersualt shooting an Arab and he gets arrested. The trial lasts for a long time and he gets imprisonment.
The novel does not deserve merit as a great aesthetic artifact. The novel is not a product of a literary genius. The philosophy of existential nihilism is interlaced into the novel. One is puzzled as to why the protagonist does not grieve the death of his mother. Why does he treat her funeral with cold indifference? Mersault’s relationship with Mary is also one of strange conjecture. When Mary asks Mersault whether he would marry her, he replies affirmatively no. When Mary asks whether Mersault loves her: he says there is no such thing as love. Mersault is only interested in making love to her. The narrative about the pimp is an interesting one. It is not sure as to why: Mersault has to kill the Arab.
Mersault is a character who experiences Camus’ Myth of the Sisyphus. Sisyphus is condemned by the Gods to roll a boulder all the way uphill only to his aghast to find that it rolls down. Sisyphus is forced to do the act again and again. There is very little usage of tropes in the novel. It’s a wonder to me as to why Camus names the novel: Stranger. Human relationships are so fickle. Existentialism is a philosophy of vanity. The novel does not carry much of philosophical content. Camus intellectualism does not pervade in the novel. One does not feel gratified when reading the novel.
(It’s a symbol of Christian anarchism)
I woke up early, listened to Byzantine chants which gave me a feeling of peace. I was able to read three books today: one being Tolstoy’s War and Peace, the other, George Bataille’s Blue of Noon and the last being Julia Kristeva. I was able to write metaphoric commentaries on all those which got published. Adding a feather to one’s cap make go wild with hooting jamboree. Now days my sleep patterns have regularized thanks to prayers to Christ. I have been reading the Bible a lot and I have been able to coin new idioms. I went to Church and attended the function as a devout Christian. I have no regrets in life and I am happy person. I no longer contemplate on Sartre’s and Camus nihilism and the absurdity of life. Life is a gift of pleasant surprises which makes me elated. I also started pondering on a dream which I earlier had. It was a dream of condensation as described by Freud. In the dream I saw an agitated wild elephant. I soothed and it took it to a pack of tame elephants. I interpret the dream as thus: the wild elephant represents my libido and I am putting an arrest to it. I wrote a poem for my significant other and she is quite happy with me. I have a passionate longing to meet my significant other and make love to her like a lyric of poetry. The problem is we are very far off from each other. She is in Philippines and I am in India. I don’t have the money too. I try to live a contented life akin to poetry. I love America a lot especially its philosophy, its gospel, its gospel music, country music and rock of the 70’s and also jazz. I consider myself to be advocate of counter culture and also a proselytized beatnik. When I started reading Leo Tolstoy, I came across his idea of being a Christian anarchist. The idea fascinated me a lot. A Christian anarchist advocates distrust of all institutions of the state and is pacifist. I also consider myself to be a Christian anarchist. I am a hippy, a beatnik, an existentialist and a Christian nihilist. The Bible is a metaphor of life. I thank God Christ for inspiring me to read a contemporary version of the Bible—The Message written by Eugenie Peterson. The Bible has inspired me a lot. I have been able to coin many idioms from it. I thank Christ that I am sustained by his grace. Christ said: don’t worry about anything. Just live for the day. ‘Give us this day our daily bread’. ‘My cup runneth over’. ‘Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life’. The Bible is an aesthetic masterpiece. It contains the ups and downs of many people. I am so happy that Christ is an all embracing, all forgiving God. I am truly inspired.
George Bataille is French, postmodern novelist who is profane, promiscuous and drunken. His novels exemplify all kinds of vices. Women are treated with utter profanity and he maintains many links with promiscuous strumpets.
The main characters in his novel are Tropman and a woman called Dirty. The novel is set in three places, and those are London, Barcelona and Germany. The novel is a caricature of pathetic irony and signifies existential nihilism. What I find surprising in the novel is that none of the character’s sexual adventures reach a dizzy height of poetic sublimity. The novel evokes a chaotic and anarchic pathos.
Tropman for most of the time is drunk and whoring. It’s questionable whether he gets an existential pleasure. Tropman can be considered like Camus’ myth of the Sisyphus where Sisyphus is condemned by the Gods to roll a boulder uphill only to find that it rolls down again. Sisyphus forced to do the same act again and again. The novel cannot be regarded as masterpiece of art. The novel takes little account of the prevalent political climate of the places. We all know that a revolution is boiling in Barcelona. The novel can be considered as Nietzsche’s Dionysian because it contains violence, sadism, drunkenness and orgies. Is the novel a modern day celebration of defeated hero like Don Quixote? Tropman is a tragic hero who wants to escape from the realities of his family and life. The novel is a literature of the abyss. Irony is a pathological symptom and has been used as a neurotic metaphor. The novel symbolizes the degradation of the human mind. There is no soulful catharsis in the novel. One feels depressed when one reads the novel. The novel is a result of lunatic mind caught in the fetish of sadistic and masochistic narcissism. None of the characters in the novel are happy. For Bataille brothels were considered as temples. Bataille is a prodigal son who never returns to the father. The novel is disgustingly pathological and neurotic. There is no richness of literature or the beauty of prose. The novel is written in plain everyday language. The characters suffer from the poverty of their minds. The novel is symptomatic of pathological cultural disease. The self becomes a dialectical machine caught in the neurotic delirium of subdued passions. The novel is carnival of narcissism. Beliefs and value systems collapse into an abyss. The novel’s portrayal of characters is myopic. We are caught in the deluge a meaningless passion.
Julia Kristeva is a postmodern, post-structural philosopher, a radical feminist known for introducing many new terms into Philosophical jargon.
Her first concept is subjectivity. Individuals are people who feel, think and will. Subjectivity is process of semantic signification. Subjectivity is closely linked to the ontological concept of being. Philosophy asks questions like what is being, what it means to be a being. Every individual is subjective.
Next comes Kristeva’s concepts like Semiotic and the Symbolic. The semiotic is a realm where the normal rules of language do not apply. The semiotic dethrones the syntax of language. Examples of the Semiotic can be taken from streams of consciousness narrative, poetry, dance and music. The symbolic realm is one which follows the traditional structure of language. Grammar and rules of the syntax are strictly adhered to. Legalistic, political, linguistic and medicinal texts operate on Symbolic norms. Kristeva distinguishes between two types of texts the Geno text and the Pheno text. The Geno text belongs to the semiotic realm and the pheno text belongs to symbolic realm.
Kristeva says that structuralism is synchronic and post-structuralism is diachronic. A synchronic approach begins from a point of time and does not take into account the history of many periods. A diachronic effort takes into account the meaning of a term from different historical epochs. For example: let’s take into account the meaning of the word temple diachronically. Temple as found in the Biblical Old Testament refers to synagogue or place of worship. Temple found in the New Testament refers to the body of Christ and also we have the saying: ‘your body is the temple of God: so don’t desecrate it’.
Next of Kristeva’s concepts is inter-textuality. Language is interwoven simultaneously from many texts. For example a work of fiction might contain idioms and allusions. Reading too is a process of inter-textuality.
Kristeva makes a foray into the Freudian concept of dreams. Freud described dreams as being one of condensation and displacement. A condensed dream shows many symbolic images that can be interpreted. A displaced dream is a dream where the dreamer wants escape from reality. Let’s illustrate it with examples. In a dream I saw I am making love to my significant other in granddad’s house. This is an example of a condensed dream. An interpretation of it would be, I am doing an act where I am desecrating the sanctity of marriage. The house of my grandfather can mean sanctity. Another example is I am seeing my father constantly in a dream. This is an example of displacement. Do I want to shirk my responsibilities of being a father?
Kristeva also questions the stability of the self. The self has to do a tight-rope-walking act between the Id, Ego and Super Ego. A postmodern interpretation would be deify the ID, glorify the Ego and subvert the Super Ego.
Kristeva has also introduced the concept of abjection. Abjection is a process through which one expels what one dislikes. Examples of abjection are feces, vomit and wee-wee. Kristeva uses the concept of abjection for the Nazi hatred of Jews. Hitler felt abject when he was denied of paternity by his own father. And his father being a Jew, Hitler became a tyrant in decimating them.
Kristeva mentions of three generations of feminism, the first wave, the second wave and the third wave. The first wave feminists wanted to be just like men. The second wave feminists imitated the archetypal role of the lover and the mother. The third wave feminists on the other hand balance themselves between alternating roles of being a wife, mother and worker. For the third wave feminists, feminism is glorified and deified.
Leo Tolstoy was a Russian novelist known for his renowned works: War and Peace and Anna Karina. His philosophy of life was one of Christian anarchism, a philosophy that lays mistrust on all legal and political institutions of the state and a philosophy that adheres to nonviolence and pacifism.
War and Peace is a philosophical and literary work, a masterpiece that espouses Tolstoy’s Christian view of life. The novel war and peace contains a chronicle of Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. Tolstoy’s rhetoric is persuasive and convincing. The aesthetic aspects of the work are minimal. The novel engages in the trivialities of life. War and Peace has become an idiom meaning something that is long and dense.
The main characters in the novel are Anna Pavlona and Prince Vasily. The novel is set up on the banks of an aristocratic family. Russia is invaded by Napoleon and the citizens of Russia face a troublesome situation. Pavlona and Vasily discuss the harmful effects of war.
The novel idealizes Christian beliefs and convictions. The novel’s background is based on the Sermon of the mount. The novel renders the Christ’s homily: ‘blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth’. Christian anarchism is very prominent in the novel. Tolstoy distrusts all institutions of the state. Tolstoy comments on the temptations of Jesus after fasting in the wilderness for forty days. Satan shows Christ all the kingdoms of the earth and said: all I will bequeath you, if you worship me and Christ’s answer was: ‘you shall worship only God alone’.
The novel is a sublime epic. One can’t praise the literary quality of the novel too highly. But still, the novel merits some praise. There is depth of psychological insight into the minds of the characters. Tolstoy uses many allusions from Christian religions. The novel is an intellectual and psychological catharsis. One can get a sense of pathos in the novel. The novel is a classic work of realism. Tolstoy’s own autobiographical self enters into the characters mind. The novel is lyrical and sublime. The novel chronicles the 18 the century history of the life of Russian people. Russia is going through a series of historical transformations. War and Peace form allegories of a narrative. The novel is an eclectic symposium of syncretism of the cultural life of Russian aristocracy. The story of the novel is not particularly interesting. There is no suspense. The novel follows a chronological order going from the beginning to the end.
Baudrillard is a postmodern, post-structural philosopher known for his unique contributions to the world. His contextualizing concepts rule many concepts like technology, fuzzy logic, functionality, hyper-functionality, end of the symbolic, hypermarket, simulacra and simulation.
Most notable is Baudrillard’s reading into technology. Technology in the postmodern world is structured on the grand narratives of opposition and contrast. There is a debate going on in the world whether should resort to eco-farming or farming with genetically engineered seeds. The environmentalists and the technologists are on warpath with each other. Does technology invade the privacy of the self? Yes, in a way it does. Cyber firms like Google and Yahoo collect personal information and pass it on to generate advertisements. In a technological society we are not free from surveillance. There are also positive impacts of technology like the spread of social media and its use by individuals. Twitter, Facebook and blogs like WordPress and Blogger help to generate public opinion and they also help to report news that has been ignored by the mainstream media.
For Baudrillard there are three levels of simulation and they are the first, second and the third. The first level of simulation is an obvious copy of reality. This can be exemplified by the reporting of news on current events like for example: the coup d’ etat in Zimbabwe. The second level of simulation blurs the boundary between reality and representation. An example that could be used is a model depicting the structure of the DNA model. The third type of reality is the one that is produced in virtual space. To illustrate with an example: let us take the Blue Whale game, a virtual game that leads teenagers into suicide. Another example: would be the editorial comment in a newspaper. For Baudrillard all these simulations work together to create a hyper-technological society.
Next concept used by Baudrillard is fuzzy logic. This could be explained with an example; for example air-conditioning in cars can be set up to function in an auto-mode. Pilots can set flight patterns into an auto-driven mode. These are examples of fuzzy logic. Another example would be war simulated games operated with a computer.
The next concept used by Baudrillard is hyper-functionality. A classic example of hyper-functionality is hypermarkets. In a hypermarket we get to buy all sorts of consumer goods. Today’s postmodern societies are fond of using gizmos. A gizmo is a technological construct made to provide pleasure and utility to consumers.
The next concept used by Baudrillard is the end of the symbolic. I would like to disagree with Baudrillard. As an example I would like to use language. Language is a symbolic construct of signs and signs are made up of the signifier and the signified. A signified is an abstract idea and a signifier is a concrete sensible thing and belongs to the sensate realm. Editorials of a newspaper are symbolic as they belong to the realm of ideas. All our communication through the process of using language is symbolic.
The next concept used by Baudrillard is the simulacra. A simulacra is defined as an original for which no copies exist. An example would be that of the media giving an opinion on current affairs. Depending on whether the media is right or left opinions as a simulacra would vary.