in the arsehole of diogenes

NEO-HERACLITUS_____________Qweir Notions in the arsehole of Diogenes: weBlog of a septuagenarian Binge-thinker since February 2008.
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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The problem of property.

According to Jindra,
Epictetus said:




















Unfortunately, most
divine presences belong to somebody
- or else are starving.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Sunday, 28 September 2014

My mother's life

like that of most women
was laid waste by men
despite her resolution
her steadfastness,
her great survival skills,
the bravery of her lifelong refusal
(almost to the end)
to be submissive or supine -
                           
and, through the punishing
advice of men  (to "have the corners
rubbed off him", to "toughen him up"
and to "make sure he does not
become a sissy because he has no father"),
she almost ruined mine.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Humanity

has shown
such an appetite for cruelty
and torture unique amongst the species
that it was the title of Stalin's
French newspaper-mouthpiece.
So it is deeply worrying
that the word is chosen even now
by the thoughtless (and 'humanitarian')
to imply tenderness, solicitude, self-sacrifice.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Sad, but largely true.

"Politics are not for decent people."

- the housekeeper in the movie  SZERELEM (Love) by Károly Makk.

This is how

Big Farmers
and Big Pharmas
see themselves.


Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Shallow question, chilling reply.

When, many years ago, an English cardinal*
was asked to 'sum up' the Church of Rome
in a single word - 'a nutshell' - he replied
at once: AUTHORITY.
He did not say Humility, he did not say Devotion,
Sacrifice, nor even Service.
He had no word of hope
for  us outside the Catholic concentration-camp.
Probably most cardinals would say the same today
alongwith the allegedly-reformist pope.

*The late Cardinal Heenan, Archbishop of Westminster.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Bad Wiring & Market Forces

We are in thrall to our minds
(not our brains)
and our minds are in thrall
to belief -
but never belief in truth
(it's too slippery)
or truth-telling
(it's too upsetting) -
but rather belief
in all kinds of selling.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Mythology.

Is there such a creature as a
'Responsible Person' ?

It is interesting, and almost heartening

for an anglophone,
to take note that Ethics
(like Æsthetics and Mathematics and Physics),
in English, are plural,
thus suggesting that those who subscribe to a single ethic
(such as the Work Ethic)
are totalitarian:
sad people turned into dangerous robots
by deprivation emotional
and besiegement neural.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

My latest art-work.

Neighbours

Auban's (or Weirwolf's) Law

The more and better the means of communication
the less we are able or inclined
to communicate.

Faith

is no more than self-justification
re-inforced by practice.


There seems to be a consensus emerging among comfortable intellectuals 
that we are a rogue species doing insane things 
for no reason other than ‘because we can, and because everyone else does’.   
The doing together gives us the ‘faith’ (communal justification) 
to continue to do ever-more-insane things 
through the power of mad technology, 
from axes - to writing - to cart-wheels
- to money - to computers.
And lo! we lament in our comfort
the mindlessness of being sapiens -

who (we are now slightly ashamed to reveal)
wiped out half of the planet’s large mammals 
even before we invented the wheel...

Saturday, 20 September 2014

The Force of History

If cowboys had worn tutus
instead of cheap, uncomfortable,
all-too-permeable,
all too clingy
de Nîmes jeans
we would now all be wearing tutus.


'Jeans' is an anglicisation of Gênes, French for Genoa,
whose sailors wore trousers made from the coarse cotton material
 produced in the southern French city of Nîmes (hence 'denim').

An excellent website-pseudonym :

(on Tumblr) :
MISBEGOT.

Friday, 19 September 2014

What is the most destructive thing on the planet ?

he asked.
- Apart from human sperm ?
- Apart from human language ?
I replied.
- I know :
the hoe -
which brought little more
to humankind
than famine, pestilence,
slavery and indenture of various sorts,
and woe.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Again, people are coming to the same conclusions as I have long had.*

"Why I haven't washed my hair for 3 years"
I have no hair to speak of, except on my chin -
but, apart from hands, mouth, penis and anus,
I have applied the same principle to the rest of my body:
the principle of personal ecological balance.

*which is somewhat worrying...

The Third World Elite

according to Cockroach
"are the filth of the planet" -
the descendants of fawners and yes-men,
the arse-lickers, pus-drainers
and pisspot-emptiers
of arrogant, ignorant, petty and childishly
nincompoop empire-builders,
obscenely-prudish and prurient
Christ-deliverers,
elephant-hunters, forest-destroyers,
savage creators of cruel, unnatural borders,
and servants of the Most Ridiculous,
falsest of gods:  The Order-Ordure
in men's heads
who exists only to forbid
and give orders.

Hymn to a Houynhym

Only a phase, 
these dark café days,
human life
is a daze, a pubertal craze...
only a phase,
a sad metaphrase...
Sing me your neighs!


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Gazing out into space with marvellous instruments

is all very well for the rich and well-educated,
but for the poor
and those who are long past weeping,
life is a matter of licking the piss of overfed dogs
from the snow,
digging up old phials of tears,
and boiling old socks to make soup.

It could be...



















a low-technology, low-cost footbridge,
wildfowlers' or fishing-platform,
an occasional lavatory,
an 'installation',
a zen retreat,
a booby-trap,
all six at once, or at different times...

Monday, 15 September 2014

It is such fun re-writing my Will in my head,

my suicide always being next month:
 To leave my house and all my paintings
and objects to the municipality
as a museum
on condition that entry is free,
that there are no more
than 3 humans and one dog
(or snake, or frog)
admitted at a time,
the touching of objects and sound-recording permitted,
but no photography, no portable electronica allowed.

When you're feeling low and irritable

the last thing you want or need
is a visit
from one you thought
was the love of your life.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Blessèd are those

who get what they want
without even knowing
what it is they want.

The power of human imagination

"has turned the human species – at the beginning, “an animal of no significance” midway up the food chain on the African savannah – into “self-made gods”. But these “deities” lack self-restraint. Wiping out other species, they have dominated the planet without making themselves perceptibly happier. Now, with new technologies enabling them to create artificial forms of life and alter their own natures, they hardly know what to do with their new dominion. “Is there anything more dangerous”, Harari asks, “than dissatisfied and irresponsible gods who don’t know what they want?”

- from the review by John Gray of
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari, Harvill Secker, UK£25, 464 pages.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Paradoxical Propaganda

with apologies to Paolo Uccello and Saint Andrew

On Birthdays

As far as anniversaries are concerned
a number is just a number
as a turd is just a turd.


Friday, 12 September 2014

Perhaps I should go out and buy

some Spectacles of Normality
(no eye-test needed) -
which would prevent me from seeing
the suffering of animals, especially dogs
depressed, lonely, smell-deprived,
over-controlled,  under-exercised and overfed
with toxic meat products hacked and scraped
from even more miserable (growth-hormone-
& antibiotic-injected) animals...

Artists are self-critical, over-yearning critters

who get ridiculously little satisfaction
from what they create.
The question of happiness
masks the question of desire,
and can be answered only by answering the question:What is it reasonable to want in, from, or out of life -
and from each other ?

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Idle thought in an exciting time for both Eastern and Western Europe

Next week, Scotland may become an independent,
sovereign (if not quite virgin) nation
in one of the most democratic processes
carried out since the Schleswig Plebiscites of 1920.
Like most Irish people I am hoping that the United Kingdom
will fall apart, with very interesting effects - not least in Spain
(where Catalonia seeks a secession-referendum)
and France (where Corsica remains outrageously
two mere départements).  The word British will no longer mean
'belonging to the United Kingdom', and the English
will have to call themselves, if not English, then South British
- as Unionist and Anglo-Scots once called themselves North Britons
and ironic Anglo-Irish once called themselves West Britons.

The Union flag with the saltire of St Andrew removed.
 The devil will be in the detail.  The 'Union Flag' will disappear into the stage-wardrobes of quaint history. 
Apart from the currency question -
which did not trouble The Irish Free State too much over 90 years ago -
there are mini-matters such as the
international car registration-code.
The new Scottish one should surely be ECO.

Conversation overheard in Walmart*

"Self-deception, man,
is what makes life bearable:
Humanity would blow its brains out
if it saw too clearly in the mirror."

"Yo, man. You got it! Hey!
Freedom ain't no mo 'n' no less
than the right to say
right out loud that we all tell lies
to ourselves as well as to each other!"

*Asda in the erstwhile United Kingdom.
Many thanks to Lionel Shriver for this.
In the USA everyone over 4 years old - we are led to believe - has at least one firearm, and has yet to be convinced that 'humanity' exists beyond its borders 
(or south of the Mason-Dixon Line),
so it is theoretically possible for the whole population to blow its brains out in the space of 24 hours.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Not the Marquess of Dufferin & Ava and I.
















Back in 1971 my lovely, slightly-silly, rescued German Shepherd dog earned the disfavour of the Earl of Caledon - whose Head Gamekeeper's house (pictured above) I rented in the south of the county Tyrone, close to the Irish Border at the beginning of the recent minor "Troubles" - by running over some of his thousands of tree-seedlings. I had to move, even though I had made a wonderful spinach soufflé for the Countess in her spacious kitchen, from a recipe by Elizabeth David, whom I had only recently discovered. It was the only soufflé I have ever made, apart from soufflé omelettes which can be whipped up easily by any fool.

I sent off several letters to various landed gentry north and south of the Border. One of three favourable replies was from Clandeboye, seat (name a corruption of Clann Aodha Buí - The Flaxen-Hugh O'Neill Clan) of the Marquess of Dufferin and Ava (neither an O'Neill, nor Irish) , a short distance east of Belfast.

The residence he offered was Helen's Tower a kind of literary folly in a forest, built for Helen Selina Blackwood in 1861 in solid Scottish Baronial style (the dashing and virile First Marquess was no King Ludwig) and celebrated by both Browning and Tennyson.









I was invited to lunch - not at The Tower, but at the pleasant Victorian pile. I can't remember how I got there - possibly by Lambretta Scooter...or was it a Honda C90 ? ...I have always had a poor memory for events in my life...but certainly I did not get there by bus. 


I was received at the impressive front door, brought up a fine staircase, and shown into a drawing-room by an impressive and impassive Jeevesish butler. I sat there alone for a while, until I saw a slender, almost elfin figure gesticulating at the French window. It then disappeared. A minute or two later the same figure, the very Marquess himself, arrived in the room. He had hoped to come in by the glass doors, but found that they were locked.

Part of my begging spiel to the landed gentry was that I was a poet and painter, as well as a keen gardener and lover of trees. After the informal armchair lunch (of fish, I definitely remember, served impeccably by the impressive butler with obligatory napkin) the sprightly Marquess took me out to view some of his impressive trees - one of them a giant beech which had produced another huge beech-tree by an above-ground runner, in other words, a low branch which had taken root.  The parkland surrounding the house was splendid.

We then went to the Tower in a Land-Rover along a muddy track. It was built in vertico and in imitation not so much of the 15th century tower houses which are found all around the coasts of Ireland (and called 'castles' in that culturally-deprived island) as of the more elaborate Scottish Border tower-houses or keeps, which often have turrets. One room in top of another - with, I seem to remember, the kitchen (no electricity, no piped water) at the bottom, a splendid viewing terrace on the top, and in between a bed/sitting room and a beautiful little poetic library which still had its books - were linked by a winding stone stair. It seemed smaller to me then than is suggested in the watercolour above, more like Thoor Ballylee (which I had visited two years previously on my Lambretta scooter) than the tower at Duino.

Lamentably corrupted by electricity and running water, I declined the offer of leasehold on the monument - in competitive imitation of which the next-door jumped-up aristocracy, the Vane-Tempest-Stewarts, holders of the Marquesate of Londonderry (always without stress on the 'derry' bit, which means 'oakwood') built a tower on Scrabo Hill at the head of Strangford Lough (alias Loch Cuan) which can be seen for miles - and possibly from the nearby Mull of Galloway on a day of exceptional visibility. The last Marquess of Lond'nd'ry had famous social occasions in county Down in the 1930s, to at least one of which the Nazi Foreign Minister, von Ribbentrop, was invited. I have to this day some of the specially designed, turquoise-glazed square bonzai pots which once graced the now abandoned and half-destroyed, tide-rinsed art-déco swimming-pool at Mount Stewart, an estate mis-managed in perpetuity by The National Trust. The Marquess was not only a keen aviator and perhaps fondler of fascists, but was the first Minister of Education for the statelet of Northern Ireland, in which post he failed to stop the Catholic population from setting up its own separate schools which were defiantly not 'godless' like the official, secular schools, the Queen's University of Belfast and Trinity College, Dublin, but were faithfully, child-molestingly Catholic - and did not admit Protestants. This voluntary apartheid was one of the main reasons for Northern Ireland's little "Troubles" which now pale into insignificance beside the woes of Bosnia, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine and Syria, but were much easier to 'cover' by journalists, especially French journalists who were not able to report on similar bombish unrest in Corsica, an island which contains two whole départements of France (numbers 2A and 2B, if, like me, you read car number-plates!).

But I digress.
Where was I ?

I was not aware at the time of my homosexual proclivities. Despite much fumbling and futtering and squirty phallic experiment at my minor Public School up the road in Belfast (where the misunderstood Sam Beckett failed to be a suitable teacher for a term), I was not particularly attracted to men. Indeed, I was still 'getting over' the end of a romantic love affair in Copenhagen and the Baltic outpost of Christiansø. How I got there is another tortuous tale. (Ask me sometime, and I'll tell you, so.)

My impressive beloved (much, much more mature than I, though only a couple of years older - but that's Northern Ireland for you!) switched her attentions to my recent friend, frustrated and also from Belfast, with whom I was somewhat and inexplicably infatuated, and whom I had encouraged to leave depressing Belfast for gloriously heterosexual early-sixties Copenhagen (before the hippies arrived). I was broken-hearted for at least ten years, and eventually found great consolation in dogs, though my dog-affairs, too, all ended in tragedy. But that's another story, and perhaps I'll get round to recounting the energy and wisdom I received from canine deities - all 'rescue dogs', of course.

So it was that I did not realise (as I would now, immediately) that the elfin Marquess was not just sexy in a willowy way, but 'gay' (a word which at the time I, mercifully, did not know) in a troubled statelet where homosexuality was a crime frequently punished by the courts. It was not for another 15 years that Northern Ireland de-criminalised intimate carnal relations between human beings of the same sex (which for most people crudely means anal penetration, a practice which I regard as coarse and inelegant at the very least), and even longer before the Irish Republic, a sad and often brutal state apparently ruled by the Christian Brothers, Opus Dei, and the Irish College in the Vatican (would you ever guess that I was brought up a Protestant in East Belfast ?) - which, nevertheless, has never joined NATO - relaxed its prohibition.

I subscribe to the Jungian idea that each of us has our own fairy-tale which in some way describes us. The execrable poetry-translator Robert Bly has celebrated the masculine significance (for him) of The Iron Man. Mine is La Belle au Bois Dormant, or Sleeping Beauty - despite my preference for Swan Lake as a musical entertainment. In other words, I am a Late Developer, and need constantly to be nudged into awareness - even by a kiss - even by a kiss from a dog. My homo-erotic awareness was not awoken for another ten years - by a kiss from a handsome bearded dancer whom I met in the cramped sous-sol toilets of the Beaubourg (Centre Pompidou) in Paris. This was despite giving shelter for seven years to a man who was incapable of arousing sexual excitement - let alone awareness - in me, and yet who was obviously in love with me and had abandoned his wife and son to live with me in the damp cottage (on the estate of the Marquess of Lond'nd'ry) which I moved to after foolishly declining Helen's Tower. After my Parisian lavatory-epiphany, that man (who had great qualities, but not the quality of teacher that I so admire in dogs and so rarely find in humans) found another male to serve, and eventually died from complications arising from Motor Neurone Disease. The Marquess of Dufferin and Ava died from "an AIDS-related illness".

Had I accepted his romantic and muddily-remote tower only a few miles from Belfast, my life might have been dramatically different. I would surely have met the late royal Princess Margaret (big deal!) at one of the glittering soirées in his London residence, and perhaps a beautiful and rich lover who would have kept me, for a time, in the unflamboyant and unpenny-pinching elegance to which I am naturally attuned, but for which I have never had the lolly (to use a term favoured by the then Earl of Caledon), being a born Unemployable. I would not have gone off to fail to live with the Pygmies north and west of the vast Likouala Swamp in the People's Republic of the Congo. I would not have learned an enormous amount about trees and shrubs from my wanderings around the Mount Stewart estate, and my plant exchanges with the Botanical Gardens in Dublin, my visit to Fota Gardens before they passed to Cork County Council, and afternoon tea with Lord Talbot de Malahide before his death and the passing of his splendid gardens
to the Irish State as Malahide Demesne Regional Park).  I would not have spent three months in Belfast's Crumlin Road gaol (which now has guided tours) for shoplifting groceries and household goods - which short sentence was another awakening nudge.

I would not be typing this on my Samsung laptop in the little study of my little half-timbered house (not unlike Helen's Tower in being basically four rooms one on top of another) in Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val, an unfortunately-trendy village celebrated in a banal and costly American movie with the title of The Hundred-Foot Journey.

Having soon rejected the tawdry life of London's artistic glitterati, I might have composed The Clandeboye Sonnets. I might have bumped into Francis Bacon and in that desperate ambiance might have died - in luxury, or in squalor - of "an AIDS-related illness".

Monday, 8 September 2014

Two quotations I should daily remember.

A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small parcel.
- John Ruskin, writer, art critic, watercolourist, propagandist.

You can tell the size of a man by the size of the thing that makes him mad.
- Adlai Stevenson, politician.

Existential puzzle

The worse I feel, the better I shit.
When I feel bright and breezy
shitting for me is not so easy.
Does my mood affect the balance
of bacteria  in my gut,
or vice versa ?

The older I get, the less I understand
myself and what I need,
people around me,
the human condition,
why we almost all suffer the misery of greed,
and have the impertinence to breed.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Cities, many-towered abattoirs,
















peopled by horribly-fallen angels
who turn the still-upright angels
into innocent, blood-black instruments
of their casual cruelty,
expand like tumours. Back in the 1820s
William Cobbett described London
as The Great Wen.

In the 2020s each super-city
fouling the planet perhaps
will have become A Great Pen...

Saturday, 6 September 2014

On two of the first nation-states.

The French, who generally ensure that Directives
"from Brussels" are not to their detriment,
nevertheless flout some of them
unconcernedly within their 'Hexagon'.
The British, on the other hand,
follow Directives to the letter
while moaning so much about them
that they are ready to exit
The European Union.

On X-tube

a single, unpleasant pornographic video
has had twelve million 'hits'.
We can swap and transplant each other's vital organs
but have ever more difficulty
in relating to each other's personality.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Fifty years contemptible and useless, I cringe.

“The moralist is the most useless and contemptible of creatures. 
"He is useless in that he would expend his energies upon making judgements
rather than upon gaining knowledge,
for the reason that judgement is easy and knowledge difficult.
"He is contemptible in that his judgements reflect a vision of himself
that he would [like to] impose upon the world.”

 - John Williams (probably reflecting his own thoughts) in AUGUSTUS.Vintage Classics, 352pp, £9.99
New York Review Books Classics, 336pp, $15.95.

 

Consider:

Most people's greatest achievement
is the buying of something.

Humans are made out of terrible moaning -

the planet's regret at the awful error
of evolution.  "The problem is" that they engender
terrible little corpses, which they (having been born
corpses themselves) cannot awaken -
they don't even know that they're dead !
Thus the world is beset by murderous dreariness,
the vast and the intimate shattered, it seems, forever...

Thursday, 4 September 2014

If "it takes one to know one"

applies to stupid people,
what about those who, like me,
too stupefied by good-will,
are too stupid to recognise the stupid ?

A Lantern for the Dead (amongst other wonders).

On my new web-page
devoted to a recent visit to the charming little village
of Château-Larcher, south of the historic city of Poitiers (France),
where there is a Lanterne des Morts in the graveyard,
and a fortified church of similar 12th century date,
whose west front carvings include a monkey playing the pan-pipes.

Two kilometres from the village is a splendid, if somewhat ruined
DOLMEN
built of the local decayed (and perforated) limestone.

Click to see the web-page.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Depression - or the Tyranny of Time Passing.

The silly business of survival
is not a matter of proceeding day by day
but hour by hour.

To survive

in modern - or perhaps any civilised - society
one needs to create one's own protective bubble.
Of course, the forces of civilisation ensure
that our bubbles get smaller and smaller.


Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Music is the key to any culture.

Western Europe,
which invented precise musical notation
and huge orchestras
directed by a single man (or pope)
is also the nexus of cultural absolutism.
Hell is as eternal as Hope.

I am as interested in neologisms

as in lost words & phrases.
Here is one of my own,
which rhymes with 'sardonically' :
armageddonically.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Crime and Punishment

In the past,
many shopkeepers ended up
with almost-empty tills,
and went bankrupt,
not because of shoplifters
(deserving and undeserving poor, perhaps)
who were transported to Australia
for their crimes (at the very least),
but because the rich and the titled
and the undeserving rich
were at liberty to refuse to pay their bills.

Now read Beyond-the-Pale's page of the month for September 2014 >

To Our Brave Boys - Wherever They May Serve Our Interests...























Our Educators already use it with success
on the Home Front.