Thursday, April 12, 2012

pelican and tiger

This bird has a great love for its young; and when it finds them in its nest dead from a serpent’s bite, it pierces itself to the heart, and with its blood it bathes them till they return to life.

This beast is a native of Hyrcania, and it is something like the panther from the various spots on its skin. It is an animal of terrible swiftness; the hunter when he finds its young ones carries them off hastily, placing mirrors in the place whence he takes them, and at once escapes on a swift horse. The panther returning finds the mirrors fixed on the ground and looking into them believes it sees its young.; then scratching with its paws it discovers the cheat. Forthwith, by means of the scent of its young, it follows the hunter and when this hunter sees the tigress drops one of the young ones and she takes it, and having carried it to the den she immediately returns to the hunter and does the same until he gets into his boat.
(Leonardo da Vinci, misc. in The Literary Works of Leonoardo da Vinci, Vol. II, (ed.) Jean Paul Richter, Phaidon, 1970 (first published 1883): (pp.266 & 273)

the shaman of the 12th sky

Tony Blair, who was prime minister when MI6 rendered Abdel Hakim Belhaj, a prominent Libyan dissident, to the Gaddafi regime in 2004, says he has "no recollection" of the incident. (The Guardian: link) || Earlier this year, the Australian government decided to settle a case that had been brought against it by Mahmoud Habib, an Australian citizen who had been detained in Pakistan, Egypt, and at various U.S. military bases between October 2001 and January 2005. Habib was later released without charge. (Open Society Case Watch: link) || Nicht nur werden den umschlungenen Millionen die fadenscheinigen aristokratischen Werte vermittelt, sondern sie werden zugleich ins Egalitäre übersetzt, das Kauderwelsch schrankenloser Kommunikation. Seelenadel und Brüderlichkeit sind verschmolzen als Parolen für die Gefolgschaft. | Not enough that faded aristocratic values are fed into egalitarian terms and the jargon of unlimited communication. Spiritual nobility of soul and the sense of fraternity have melted together into slogans for the workforce. (T. Adorno, The Schema of Mass Culture, p.69 - not my transl.) || Here are my Principles, now I vote for a party who pretends to uphold them, and they rush to betray them all and sell my rights to multinational corporations. Oh, I'll show them!! In 4 years I'll vote for the Other Party! (repeat as necessary) || She attempts to dissuade him from his quest, but sends him to Urshanabi the ferryman, who will help him cross the sea to Utnapishtim. Gilgamesh destroys some stone-giants that live with Urshanabi. He tells him his story, but when he asks for his help Urshanabi informs him that he has just destroyed the only creatures who can cross the Waters of Death, which are deadly to the touch. Urshanabi instructs Gilgamesh to cut down 300 trees, and fashion them into punting poles. When they reach the island where Utnapishtim lives, Gilgamesh recounts his story asking him for his help. Utnapishtim reprimands him, declaring that fighting the common fate of humans is futile and diminishes life's joys. (Gilgamesh, Tablet Ten: link) || But just days after the government announced it had settled the case, Habib’s lawyers produced a statement from an Egyptian prison guard saying that an Australian official was indeed present during the interrogations. As a result of this revelation, the new government announced an inquiry by the Inspector-General of Security and Intelligence into the role of Australian agencies in Habib's arrest and detention. (Open Society Case Watch, ibid.)

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Nietzsche an Deussen 0.1

Das Schwerste ist immer, den Gesamtconnex von Gründen, kurz den Riß des Gebäudes zu finden. Dies ist eine Arbeit, die im Bett und auf Spaziergängen sich oft besser macht als am Studirtisch. Das grobe Material zusammen zu schaffen ist eine freundliche Arbeit, ob sie gleich etwas Handwerkmäßiges hat. Aber die Erwartung des sich endlich enthüllenden Zauberbildes hält uns munter. Am peinlichsten ist mir die Ausarbeitung, und hier reißt mir oft die Geduld. (Nietzsche an Deussen, April 1867)

It is always most difficult to find the complete set of reasons, in short the architectural sketch of the building. This is a job which is often better accomplished in bed and on walks than at the desk. To collect the rough material is a friendly work, though it has something of a trade. But the expectation of the overarching idea, which at least reveals itself like a miraculous image, keeps us in good spirits. Most painful I find the completion, and here I often lose all patience. (Nietzsche to Deussen, April 1867)