One of the questions I am answering in tomorrow’s political philosophy exam is regarding Machiavelli and the problem of dirty hands. The problem of dirty hands refers to the sort of moral dilemma that often appear in political life in which there seems to be no right course of action to take: either way one seems to be causing evil; either way one has dirty hands. Would it be too pun-tastic to construct an example in which a politician is forced to decide whether to sexually harass one intern or another? Or is would that just be procrastination?
First spring semester exam down: Formal Logic. It went ok and the worst thing was the hunger I was dealing with afterwards. Needed to sit down and eat two slices of birthday cake before I could do anything else afterwards. Anything else being revision for the Political Philosophy exam that I have tomorrow morning :””””(
This is a new song called ‘Mob Mentality’ and it’s taken from our split with Self Loathing, which you can now order.
500 copies, 100 black, 400 clear.
The record will be back in time for our shows in July and orders will be posted out around then. Holy Roar also have a shirt featuring our side of the 7” artwork which you can buy from them. We won’t have any of them to sell.
My Rolo Tomassi/Antares split 7” finally came through the door today. I had put off contacting Hassle Records or the post office for so long that I had given up most of my hope of ever receiving it, but here it is. My apathy was vindicated. Been listening to the Rolo A-side, Pillfox, lots on Eternal Youth recently but I’m eager to hear Antares’ tech-metal whirlwind on side B.
The sky’s such a beautiful blue outside and I’m stuck inside reading about the Institutional Theory of art (absolute bullshit, it goes without saying). Woe is infinitely me. I’m deadly serious when I say that I want nothing to do with aesthetics after Monday’s exam.
I think Guy and Alex are quite taken with the institutional theory. I can’t remember enough about it from first year to say anything of consequence about it myself. I’m sticking with art as expression, but with a fairly loose understanding of ‘expression’. I.e. not just ‘feelings’ and ‘emotions’ and all that nonsense. Had a long discussion with Guy just now about Danto and the end of art. I think Danto’s amusing and persuasive prose obscure the implausibility of his theory and the analysis upon which he bases it. As far as I’m concerned, the human experience (or geist, perhaps, in Danto’s terminology) is too idiosyncratic, varied and dynamic for art to ever stop having anything new to express. For me, the value of art is to express (or convey) that which we cannot articulate or verbalise. Danto says that art shows and philosophy states but argues that art has failed to show geist and that philosophy must not take up the mantle and try to state it instead. I would say that geist cannot be stated and could only ever be shown. If art cannot show geist, we will never know it at all.
“Archimedes said, “Give me a fulcrum and I will move the Earth”; but there isn’t one. It is like betting on the future of the human race — I might wish to lay a bet that the human race would destroy itself by the year 2000, but there is nowhere to place the bet. On the contrary, I am involved in the world and must try to see that it does not blow itself to pieces. I once had a terrible argument with Margaret Mead. She was holding forth one evening on the absolute horror of the atomic bomb, and how everybody should spring into action and abolish it, but she was getting so furious about it that I said to her: “You scare me because I think you are the kind of person who will push the button in order to get rid of the other people who were going to push it first.” So she told me that I had no love for my future generations, that I had no responsibility for my children, and that I was a phony swami who believed in retreating from facts. But I maintained my position. As Robert Oppenheimer said a short while before he died, “It is perfectly obvious that the whole world is going to hell. The only possible chance that it might not is that we do not attempt to prevent it from doing so.” You see, many of the troubles going on in the world right now are being supervised by people with very good intentions whose attempts are to keep things in order, to clean things up, to forbid this, and to prevent that. The more we try to put everything to rights, the more we make fantastic messes. Maybe that is the way it has got to be. Maybe I should not say anything at all about the folly of trying to put things to right but simply, on the principle of Blake, let the fool persist in his folly so that he will become wise.”—Play to Live : Lectures of Alan Watts (1982)
The party roof has been temporarily re-dubbed the revision roof for the remaining duration of exam season but quite frankly it is already too hot to revise out there. I just end up luxuriating. That said, Rousseau revision is down, just need to plan my essay for the pre-released exam now.
I will argue that the idea of being ‘forced to be free’ is only paradoxical in the context of man’s transition to society from the state of nature as briefly presented in The Social Contract. If the concept is taken in the context of man’s transition to society was presented more generally in Rousseau’s other work, such as Emile and Discourse on the Origins of Inequality, it is not paradoxical at all. Indeed, though the freedom enforced upon the population might appear to be positive liberty, any forced freedom is far removed from, say, a Marxist concept of positive liberty. Rousseau was acutely pessimistic about civilisation and human ‘progress’ so any positive liberty enforced by the general will would, if anything, seek to repair the damage done to mankind by entering society at all rather than using society as an intrinsic force for good.
Jill Abramson, a former investigative reporter and Washington bureau chief for The New York Times, will become the paper’s executive editor, succeeding Bill Keller, who is stepping down to become a full-time writer for the paper.
As managing editor since 2003, Ms. Abramson has been one of Mr. Keller’s two top deputies overseeing the entire newsroom. Her appointment was announced on Thursday by Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the paper’s publisher and the chairman of The New York Times Company.
Ms. Abramson said that as a born-and-raised New Yorker, she considered being named editor of The Times to be like “ascending to Valhalla.”
“In my house growing up, The Times substituted for religion,” she said. “If The Times said it, it was the absolute truth.”
…Ms. Abramson will be the first woman to be editor in the paper’s 160-year history. “It’s meaningful to me,” she said of that distinction, adding, “You stand on the shoulders of those who came before you, and I couldn’t be prouder to be standing on Bill’s shoulders.”