Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Woman Catching a Flee (c. 1638), by Georges de la Tour

Here's the physical sensation concentrated in one pinprick. It's not really very intense, and yet intense enough to force the mind to fully focus on that physical sensation and black out everything else, including of course any form of spiritual pursuit. A perfect illustration of the way material phenomena insist on their significance through senses and block spirituality. Pain or pleasure could serve as "fleas". Sexuality is one of the strongest "fleas". Any form of fear, especially unchecked animal terror or panic, is another "flea".

The Gulag Archipelago (1958–1986), by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Aside from being a powerful accusation of Marxism as a social system, the value of this book is in that it is addressing the hidden psychological aspects of Marxism that permeate the mentality of all without exception post-communist people who, even many generations later, still operate using the Marxist methods of thinking, for example, the Marxist / Leninist technique of "hacking from the shoulder". This is rooted in Marxist / proletarian psychopathic disregard of a human being. Another important note is that the intelligent human being must at all cost defend his / her dignity and his human right, even wen facing fear of society. There was very little personal and no group resistance to NKVD, and things would have turned out differently if people resisted. Resist. Stand up for your rights. It's your spiritual duty.

Also: lack of preparedness. Lack of preparedness equals fear. One must be prepared for an attack, and prepared at any point to counterattack.

Having found yourself in a paranoid social situation or at the mercy of a paranoid personality, do not consider yourself exception from the common condition, and do not demonize others.

I also want to add that it's the ideal book, in my opinion, because it shows the kind of motivation a writer must have in order to write. Writing must be rooted in one's destiny, and the force of the writer's spiritual duty must force him to write. Most of other books seem accidental by comparison with The Gulag Archipelago.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Kreutzer Sonata (1889), by Leo Tolstoy

Art, understood as instrument for stimulating sensuality, becomes a two-fold diabolic trap. On one hand, understanding art as purely sensual phenomenon blocks in the majority of potentially spiritual people their ability to perceive spirituality in art. On the other hand, the disdain of the minority toward sensuality through art forces them away from art and towards cultural self-deprivation (something that actually happened to Tolstoy).

(The subject matter, with a certain degree of success, was visually and dramatically expressed in 1901 by the painter René François Xavier Prinet – see the reproduction above.)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Barefoot Contessa (1954), dir. by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

She hates her low-class background and despises herself for it and for any urge she sees as "low" - for example, her compulsive uncontrollable sexual attraction to brutish men. Instead of remaining aware of her impulses and doing something about them, she tries to render herself oblivious. She succumbs to every impulse, but first she has to find a convincing justification for it (she does it "to spite someone", or – in the climax – deceives herself that her husband would want it). As a result, she is split between her highest and lowest social points (becomes the "barefoot contessa") – and falls into subjectivism.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Tower of Babel, by Abel Grimmer (ca. 1570, Antwerp – ca. 1620, Antwerp)

Any enterprise, no matter how magnificent in scale and insight, is bound to fail if devoid of spiritual content (even if it seems like success – the actual absence of spirituality is the failure). Note that the painting looks unfinished! – possibly on purpose. The alternative metaphorical interpretation of this legend (even though not necessarily for this painting) is human inability to communicate and establish true soul-to-soul contact ("everyone speaks his own language"). Finally, the inversion of the traditional interpretation is also possible (along the lines of Wagner's "Der Ring des Nibelungen" and Nike) is the romantic human quest for the spiritual heights, despite the resistance of the antagonistic pseudo-gods / hostile destiny.

Le Boucher (1970). dir. by Claude Chabrol

We must accept our loved ones the way they are, no matter how traumatized or twisted their souls are by their experience in the material reality. Helene's temporary inability to accept Popaul, her instinctive urge to judge, destroys him.