Archive for Philosophy

Language About Israel and Zionism

Posted in about the blog, Me, Palestine, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 14/05/2011 by arabrhizome

Right as I promised a few posts ago I am going to explain why I use a certain type of language when I speak about israel and zionism. This post is a result of a comment I got on my “Palestinians didn’t exist before 1948” post a few days ago. Weirdly, I didn’t plan this I promise, but most of my posts have been about Palestine lately. I say weirdly because tomorrow is Nakba day, one of my first posts was about it, and I have somehow built up towards tomorrow without really meaning to. So I do think that it is important to have this post today and then talk about the Nakba again tomorrow.

So as I said I got a comment on my earlier post from a reader called Tim Sullivan. I’ve already replied to him but I think that it might be a good idea to expand on my initial response and give a bit more context and flesh to that response. I think that his comment was meant in the spirit of constructive criticism and I am happy to have it. I know that internet comments and subsequent responses can devolve very quickly into arguments and insults and I am very keen to avoid that here. Anyway, here’s his original comment: “You make some forceful arguments but stop using hot button and un needed terms like proto-fascist. It is rather a cliche and unseemly considering countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran exist in that area of the world.”

I think that Tim is making two distinct, but related, points in his comment. Here’s my oiginal response for those who didn’t read it: “Thanks for your comment. I don’t think that the term proto-fascist is unneeded here. When you have state sponsored rabies saying that jewish women should be protected from arab men, and saying that jewish landlords shouldn’t rent to arabs. I also reject the idea that because there are horrible theocratic regimes like saudi and iran in the region, it is a cliché to call israel what it is. I understand that this term, as well as others, carry a certain historical weight with them, especially when it comes to the global jewish community and their suffering. However, I am calling it like I see it. Israel is sliding quickly onto fascism and the worshipping of the state and racial and ethnic purity. By any stretch of the imagination that is proto-fascism.
I hope that clarifies why I think the use of those terms is justified.
Thanks again for reading and commenting.”

As you can see my response looks at two different points. First the use of the term proto-fascist when referring to israel and zionism. I do not use this term lightly. I know that it is a term that has been over-used and thrown around in contexts where it isn’t exactly warranted. I also understand that the European Jewish community has been the major part of the population that has suffered from fascism in the twentieth century. My use of the term is not at all intended to trivialise or belittle that historic suffering. It is also not a term that I am using lightly. I use it because I think that it is completely justified to use it in the context of contemporary zionism and israel.

As I pointed out in my original response israel is quickly sliding towards a fascist state. Let’s stop and think about what fascism is. My laptop’s dictionary says “Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one national or ethnic group, a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach”. Let’s look at everyone of these statements and decide whether they apply to israel and modern zionism. If they all apply without any caveat or qualification then it would be justifiable to use the term fascist to describe israel. However if they mostly apply but need some qualification then the term quasi fascist would work. If through our analysis we see that there is a movement towards fascism from a quasi-fascist position then proto-fascist would be the right term, as it connots a movement towards fascism without being quite there yet.

First, “Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one national or ethnic group”. Well that applies strictly to israel and zionism today. israel is a state for the “chosen” people. Israel thinks of itself as the country of Jewish people and the native people of the land are either treated as second class citizens by the laws of the state, or ethnically cleansed (1948 more on that tomorrow, or Jerusalem and the Negev desert today), or occupied and subjected to military rule. The zionist narrative, from making the desert bloom to the dehumanisation of Palestinians (like mr. Jeffery Wiesenfeld who said in an interview with the New York Times about Palestinians: “People who worship death for their children are not human. They have developed a culture which is unprecedented in human history”), contains within it the idea that Jewish people are superior to Arabs and that they are better.

We can also talk here about the number of discriminatory laws that have been passed, or are in the process of being passed, by the Knesset. First, there’s the Nakba law which makes any commemoration of the Nakba an offence that can lead to the loss of state funding. The reason given is that these celebrations “deny the Jewish and democratic character of the State”. In other words arab schools and municipalities are not allowed to commemorate their own history. Basically it’s a move to deny the Nakba. Second, a law that allows villages to refuse admitting new members by citing a failure “to meet the fundamental views of the community”. In other words, Arabs can be denied moving into all Jewish villages. Finally, a law has been passed to punish anyone who calls for or supports a call for the boycott of israeli or settlement goods. This is a law clearly aimed at crushing descent. There are a few more laws but I’m not going to run through all of them. This is a great article about them.

Now these laws are important for my second point. So the second statement is that Fascism includes “a contempt for democracy”. Well that’s a bit of a complicated one. Israel likes to see itself as the only democracy in the Middle East. While that statement was taken at face value by many pro-zionist commentators it has always been complicated and not entirely accurate. Firstly the current events around the region make this statement utterly meaningless. But more importantly many see it, including myself, as completely untrue. Countries like Lebanon and Turkey for example can easily be characterised as democratic, also the fact that Arabs in israel don’t have the same rights as Jewish israelis is an issue for the democratic characterisation.

But more importantly we can see that israel is sliding more and more towards an undemocratic system. With the laws discussed above we see that a whole set of the population is being disenfranchised more and more. There is a definite move towards a completely undemocratic system, because a whole set of the population does not have the same democratic rights as another. Also, the revival of the old idea of the transfer of the Arab population away from israel is highly undemocratic. So as we see this is a qualified statement, however there is a clear move towards fascism here.

Third, “an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader”. This is not there yet. Although, as the laws are showing. There is a move towards the obedience to a state and the idea that whatever that state choses to do is right. We can see this in the outlandish justifications used for crimes in international law like the attack on and murder of civilians in international waters, or the unlawful targeting of schools, homes and places of worship in the wars on Lebanon and Gaza, or the continued efforts to ethnically cleanse Jerusalem and the West Bank of the native population (here’s an article about this effort in the West Bank).

Finally, “a strong demagogic approach”. This one is probably the hardest one to prove because of the disagreement over whether something is demagogic or not. I would argue that the current israeli refusal to give the PA the tax money it is owed because of the unity agreement between Hamas and Fatah is an example of demagogy. The constant demonisation of the Palestinians who live in israel by avigdor lieberman, and many israeli MKs, is another example of demagogy. I know that not everyone would agree, but I think they’re wrong. The point is that the modern zionist movement and israeli officials as well as religious figures use demagogic arguments against Palestinians.

Anyway, as we have seen it would be inaccurate to say that israel is a fascist state. However, it clearly is quasi-fascist and as I think I have shown on a slippery slope towards fascism. Thus I feel that the term proto-fascist is completely justified when describing israel. I don’t think that it is a red button term or and unneeded one. I think that it is important to call out this trend in israeli politics and to call it what it is. By failing to do so, I feel that we are allowing proto-fascist practices to go on. Some people might be turned off by the use of this term, but that’s their problem. It would be wrong to try to appease these people. Something very ugly is happening and to not call it what it is is just as ugly.

The second point raised by Tim is about the use of such terms in the context of the region. The fact that the Middle East has such horrible regimes as Saudi or Iran makes characterising israel as proto-fascist somehow “unseemly”. Again, I understand where Tim is coming from. However, I completely reject that line of thought. It is true that the Saudi and Iranian regimes are completely and utterly disgusting. We can also add many other regimes in the region, including Syria, Bahrain, KSA, Jordan, well to be honest pretty much all of them. Having said that though, I don’t understand how that has any bearing on the characterisation of israel. The fact that there are horrible and disgusting regimes, that are much closer to fascism in some aspects than israel, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t call out israel on it’s fascistic and proto-fascistic practices. The argument of comparison is a flawed one because it seems to justify the excesses of one state by comparing them to the excess of another.

Anyway, that’s my much longer and more rounded response. There are many other terms that I use to talk about israel, those include colonial, apartheid, racist, imperial, violent, and others. I have thought about each and every term that I use and I do not use them lightly. I think that every single one of those terms is valid and justified. I might in the future explain why I use each and every one of them, but I think that’s enough for now. Anyway, tomorrow is Nakba day and we shall all remember the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1947-48. We shall all continue, in anyway we can, to struggle for the liberation of Palestine and the return of those who were forcibly removed from their ancestral homes. Until then, stay safe. Love you bye.

Palestine Papers 3 and Egypt

Posted in Culture, Lebanon, Palestine, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 25/01/2011 by arabrhizome

I think I’m mad again. No scratch that, I am angry again. The third batch of the Palestine Papers has been released by Al Jazeera the Guardian, and they are, as they say, Dynamite. Now, none of them are absolute shockers, but they confirm many of the suspicions we all had about the brutality of the PA’s  police forces and the extent of their collaboration. The revelations range over a number of issues. They basically show the extent of the collusion between the PA security forces and the israelis. The papers also show that MI6 was willing to help quash hamas and using EU money to pay for internment of Hamas members.

Now I will cover the revelations today, but I also need to speak about what’s happening in Egypt because it is very important. I’m not going to talk too much about Lebanon because what’s happening over there is just shameful. What we see in Lebanon is the result of the sectarian system and the corruption brought about by Hariri. The people protesting are doing so because of tribal and sectarian concerns rather than genuine political interest. This is the lot of Lebanon, a bunch of thugs in power who are followed by a bunch of sheep. I’m a little angry about it, I don’t know if you can tell.

Anyway, getting back to the Palestine Papers. What we’ve learned today is that israel and the international community were building a police state headed by the PA. The PA security chief discussed the assassination of an important figure in the resistance movement with israeli security officials. The PA has also turned into a more and more paranoid entity and the enemy of shifted from israel to Hamas. Basically they saw Hamas as their enemy because they threatened their position of power. Saeb Erekat even said: ‘We even killed our own people to maintain order and the rule of law’. What they call law and order of course is the limitation of any descent in Palestine. This isn’t news exactly, but it is good to know that what we thought is actually true. It seems that they, the PA, continue to enforce their hold on power by dictating what is and what isn’t to be said in mosque sermons. Also, the idea of a demilitarised Palestine was forced onto the PA. Israel wanted a strong police, but no army. In other words, Palestine under the PA was going to be a Bentustan.

I’m not going to talk too much more about the Palestine Papers, because those are the main points to remember. Basically the PA and israel agreed that their common enemy is Hamas. This shows how disconnected the PA has become. To consider another Palestinian faction to be more dangerous than the occupier and oppressor, is quite insane. But as I said, I’d leave the Palestine Papers for now and focus on the other major story coming from the Middle East and that is Egypt. Today marked an extraordinary day in the history of that country, and the whole region. Tens of thousands of Egyptians all over the country went to the streets to demand that the dictator Housni Moubarak to leave power.

As I’m writing this. Police has turned very violent and they are attacking the protesters with tear gas and possibly live gun fire. So far there are unconfirmed reports of 7 deaths and tens of injured. Clearly what happened in Tunisia is starting to become contagious all over the arab world. The arab world is witnessing the most interesting and important time since the early 20th century. A person on twitter (@Faiyla) described this very interesting time as ‘the biggest Revolution in the Arab world since 1916!’ And I am inclined to agree. Hilary Clinton was quick to show her support for the tyrant, no surprise there, Americans like democracy only when we the evil brown masses vote the way they like. Moubarak is their man so of course they’d rather have him then have a free Egypt.

Anyway, my thoughts are with the Egyptian demonstrators. I hope they keep strong and stay safe. They are changing the face of the region in a way that the wars and invasions by the US/UK/israel were never going to achieve. These are the real ‘birth pangs’ of a new Middle East, a truly free and democratic Middle East. This Middle East is not going to be the lap dog of israel and the US, but it will hopefully be representative of its people and their demands. I will keep checking the news and hope that Egypt becomes the new Tunisia.

>36 Hour Day

Posted in about the blog, Culture, Me, Uncategorized, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , on 11/01/2011 by arabrhizome

I almost forgot that I needed to write this blog post today. After a very weird beginning of the day, I spent most of my day working, and I got so caught up in work that I forgot about this. Anyway, I’m on a bit of a break at the moment, so I thought I could write this for you, you greedy bastards, right now. If you remember I wrote a very short post yesterday, well I say very short it was about half the required amount of words for me to feel satisfied. I have my rules don’t judge me. I’m not mentally ill. The reason for my short post, you’ll remember I hope, was that I had been awake for 24 hours and was really tired and wanted to go to sleep. However, that plan went to shit very quickly. As the title implies I went on to stay up for another 12 hours. However, that comes later in the story that is my >36 hours day (for those who don’t know > before a number means more than in math speak. I’m not saying you’re think, I’m just covering my own arse. Because  will literally receive tens of characters in one email complaining about it). Let us first go back to the beginning of that very long, and slightly traumatic day.

So I woke up on Sunday at around 18:00 or 19:00 on Sunday. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to sleep at a normal time. So I therefore decided to try and stay up until a normal time on Monday in order to try to reset my sleep again. Because I’ve done it a few days ago but it didn’t work. Anyway, I spent most of the night not doing much and watching some stuff online. I had to try and fight my sleepiness around 10:00 because I had a supervision at 12:30 and I needed not to miss that meeting. So I kept drinking a lot of tea in order to build up the caffein content in my body.

I have been watching a new series and spent all night doing that. I watched Warehouse 13 last week and it seems to be set in the same universe as the series I’m watching now, which is Eureka. This means that I will soon be able to write two different posts reviewing each of these series. I love that I have these two posts there for me to use when I have a non-creative day in which I can’t think of anything to write about. I am a devious human being who isn’t mentally ill.

Anyway, when it came time to make my way to university I was quite tired, but was looking forward to my supervision. I haven’t had one in a very long time and it was good to have the chance to touch with my supervisor. I really like my supervisor, he has always been very understanding and very helpful. Anyway, I made my way to university. It was quite cold at that time of day. Anyway, the supervision went very well. I laid down my plan for the rest of the year and discussed with my supervisor. I all goes to plan, I will be able to finish my thesis without a writing up year. I will however, we have decided, still use my writing up year in order to get some publications out. I have a chapter which I believe can be mined for two articles. I believe I’ll be able to publish them as there is very little work done on the subject. This definitely works in my favour.

We also discussed my progress report that I have to submit right by tomorrow. We discussed what should go in and what should stay out. The final thing we discussed was the coming deadlines that I needed to set for myself. I have to write about three quarters of a chapter by the end of the month and hopefully get a first draft ready by early February. This means that I can incorporate the comments I get from my supervisors by the middle to end of February and then move on to the next chapter. If I manage to get this finished in time then I have a very good chance of getting my thesis on its way to completion.

After that very enjoyable and energising supervision I went back home. My plan was to fight my urge to sleep. I tried to do some work, but got so sleepy that I had to stop. The problem is that I was starting to have blurred vision and was unable to focus on my work. I decided to go and do the laundry instead. This meant that I had to get out of the house and face the coldish weather, by the time I got out of the supervision the weather was a lot warmer. On my way to laundry it was actually pleasant.

Once I got home and hung my laundry I felt extremely tired. I decided to watch one episode of Eureka and write my blog and then go to sleep. The first two parts of that plan went perfectly well. I made my way to bed, laid down, and just like a perfectly oiled machine felt completely awake. It was disconcerting. I had been awake for a bit over 24 hours by then and I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t able to sleep. I felt sleepy and tired and cranky, but I couldn’t sleep. At first I got angry, because it was ridiculous. By every possible scenario I needed to go to sleep like a log and wake up a whole bunch of hours later. However, it wasn’t to be.

I stayed in bed, trying to bore myself into sleep, for a few hours, but to no avail. This was simply not going to happen. I therefore decided to make the best of it and try to work. This turned out to be impossible. I was so tired that I couldn’t get my brain to concentrate on my work. It is high theory after all. By the way, when I say high theory I’m not blowing my own horn. It’s just that this is what people call it. I don’t think that what I do is more valuable then what other people do. In fact, I believe that I could be spending my time doing stuff that are a lot more useful, as I have detailed in previous posts. I think that a lot of people who are working on things that aren’t called high theory are doing way more valuable work then me. But that’s by the by.

So I wasn’t able to concentrate on work. In fact, the only thing I could concentrate on was tv. I therefore loaded a bunch of episodes of Eureka and watched them until I wasn’t able to keep my eyes open. During that time I watched a whole bunch of episodes but also took a bbc lab test that tests one’s musical ability. Z posted it on my wall. I was always secretly afraid that I don’t really have what it takes to make music. I have trouble keeping a beat, I can’t sing, and I am not used to playing with others. I love music and have been doing it for a very long while now. So I took the test in order to know for sure. It turns out that my ear is highly developed when it comes to interval and melodic recognition, as well as pitch although that was a little lower (still very high though). My rhythm recognition and replication score was very high as well. The only thing that I can’t do it seems is sing, and that is probably because I am not trained to use my voice as an instrument. The problem is simply that I don’t know how to place my voice onto notes. I don’t know how to press the right keys on the keyboard that is my voice. I don’t know how to press the right fret on the guitar neck that is my voice. I don’t know, alright you get the idea.

After that, I went back to watching Eureka until I couldn’t stay awake anymore. It turned out to be around 2:00 or 3:00. I was a little pissed off again by then. I just had a day that lasted over 36 hours and that’s just not right. I hope that I’ll be able to reverse my weird sleeping pattern. If by the time I get back from Algeria I’m not back to a normal sleeping cycle I will go see a doctor and take some evil drugs that will get me to sleep. I really hope that I don’t have to though, because I hate them things. Anyway, that’s my very long post to make up for yesterday’s short one. I believe you’ll all agree that I have wasted enough of your time. You may now return to your normal activities and I will see you all tomorrow.

Liverpool Again

Posted in Culture, Food, Me, Uncategorized, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 28/11/2010 by arabrhizome

So as I hinted at yesterday, well I actually told you, I went on Saturday to Liverpool. But before getting to that bit of the story I’d like to talk about the previous night and the mixture of wonderment and frustration I felt. So I went to try and sleep at a normal time, thinking that I had to wake up at a normal hour the next day. I was quite tired as well, which was lucky. However, as soon as I got into bed my tiredness went away and I was wide awake.

This is something that does happen to me from time to time, well when I say from time to time I do mean most nights. I was very frustrated about that. I kept fighting it and trying to sleep anyway, but to no avail. So I got up and made myself some herbal tea and tried to relax and eventually go back to sleep. Around 2:00 I looked out of my window and it was starting to snow. It was wonderful. I love snow and sat there sipping my tea and watching the snow fall. Around 3:00 or 4:00 I did go to sleep and was able to have a few hours of rest.

I woke up to realise that while I was very happy to see the world covered in snow, I don’t actually own shoes that can help me walk in snow. So I put on the closest thing I have to boots and, after showering and getting my bag ready, made my way, carefully, to the bus station. I was very angry to see two busses pass by quickly, I couldn’t run so I realised I had to wait for a while. I did wait for a long time and finally two other busses came together and I got on one. It was full and I was soon packed like a sardine in with the other punters.

I wanted to make it a little early at the station in order to renew my rail card, and withdraw some money for the weekend. However, I made it in time just to buy a ticket at full price, it was an off peak but still. I then got on the train and made my way to Liverpool. The train ride was okay at first. We were passing through the snow covered Yorkshire vales. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. But then the inevitable rail confusion occurred. We stopped many times without any explanation. I really hate how bad the rail service is in this country. They invented it and are now one of the worst people at it.

The train was full as well, we were lucky to have found seats, but as usual that meant that some genitals were pressed against me. Anyway, we eventually made it to Liverpool and first put our stuff in the hostel and then went for a walk. We were in Liverpool to watch a performance by Guillermo Gómez-Peña, but it wasn’t going to start until 20:00. So we decided to walk around a little bit, but then we thought we would eat early, that way we can make it to the performance early.

So we went to Jamie’s Italian, a lovely restaurant we had sampled the last time we were there. There was a queue of people that stretched to the outside, even though it was only in the 18:00 region. We eventually got in and were seated. We shared some excellent food, mainly fish and sea food based stuff. I really recommend eating there if you have a chance, it’s delicious.

After food we made our way to the performance. Liverpool is currently hosting an arts festival featuring disabled artists. We got there a little bit early and waited in the lounge while a series of different musicians were playing. It took me time before realising that they all featured or were all disabled. It was nice to see that. The point though is that it is a sad indictment on our society that this whole sway of people need a special event in order to be properly represented.

Anyway, We made our way to the performance area and waited at the door before we were allowed in. One of the signs on the door featured my favourite phrase of all time: ‘This performance contains adult themes and incorporates a dead goat’. I don’t think I will ever encounter a phrase as good as this one. So when the time came we made our way in and the performance began.

I came in not really knowing what to expect. I knew that he was an experimental performance artist. The performance happened over an hour and a half. The audience was encouraged to circulate within the installation participate in anyway we find fit, and even go out to the bar and have a drink before coming back in. This performance was like nothing I have ever witnessed. It was brilliant in almost every way. The audience was a little dead and needed a lot of priming from the performers. But even though that was the case, it was still fantastic.

I don’t want to talk about what happened in it too much, as it is very difficult to describe it without somehow doing violence to it. However, one of my two favourite bits involved us decolonising the body of a woman by removing tiny acupuncture flags that were put on her body. The lady, her name is Maria was brilliant and her performance involved a whole bunch of stuff. Anyway, this bit was fantastic.

The other thing was another female performer who came in at some point in the middle of the performance dragging a bunch of stockings hanging from her naked body, these stockings were filled with books. These books were an eclectic array of theory and literature. Many of these books are ones that I have on my bookshelf or that I have read. She made her way onto a podium, with difficulty. It was really good.

Anyway, basically I am now a fan boy. I would love to see another performance of his at some point, if I have a chance. I would like to watch him with an audience that’s not as stuck up as this one. Anyway, after the performance we made our way back to the hostel. It was very cold, but we made it in one piece. We were quite high from the performance and had a cup of tea in the hostel and discussed it a little bit. Then we went to try and sleep.

It is then that I wrote yesterday’s post. I sat in my bed and listened to a podcast, I wasn’t very sleepy. Finally around 23:30, I was tired and ready to sleep. The problem is one of the people in my room was snoring like a very loud snoring man, I misjudged my ability to come up with a good simile there. It took me very long to get to sleep as I wasn’t able to tune out the noise. But eventually my tiredness meant that I couldn’t stay up anymore.

Well I hope that this makes up for yesterday’s shortish post. I am now going to watch match of the day 2 before getting ready to sleep. I am hoping that I will sleep on the early side, but I am aware of the fact that I probably won’t sleep too early. Anyway, good night.

Discovering New Foods

Posted in Culture, Food, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 06/11/2010 by arabrhizome

So today I tried something I have always been disgusted by, black pudding. I had tried the French version of it, boudin noir, a few years ago and hated it. I always thought that it was disgusting. Just the idea of eating a sausage made of blood was very repugnant to me. I think that this is a left over of my long lost Muslim faith. I used to be a good Muslim boy when I was younger and black pudding is basically a double whammy of evil food. It is blood and pork. In islam both of these foods are forbidden. So I think that my repugnance might have been a subconscious left over. I have no problem eating bloody meat, nor do I have a problem eating pork. So my repugnance for black pudding didn’t make any sense.

As I said I had tried the French version and didn’t like it. Although at the time I was a smoker and my taste buds were all over the place. Now that I can appreciate food better I thought I should try it. We were having a brunch with a bunch of friends and there was some black pudding. So I thought that I should face my disgust and try it. And you know what? I really liked it. It’s not like what I remember it to be. Although my friends told me that they hated the French version and still liked the British one. There must be something different in the process because they taste very different.

The thing with this one is that the taste is very subtle. It’s not too overpowering and yet quite distinctive. With a bit of bacon, sausage, baked beans, eggs, mushrooms, and tomatoes, it was absolutely delicious. I am glad I tried it as I have now exorcised the last remnants of superstition I had left in my mind. I think that I am now, fifteen years after I stopped believing in god and religion, over the indoctrination I had suffered at school.

The thing is my parents were never super religious. They never made me do anything I didn’t want to. They both drank and ate pork. But at school we had to take religious education. Also, the whole atmosphere in Algeria in the 1980s was quite oppressively religious. Political islam was slowly making its way there. Things like drinking alcohol and eating pork were seen as almost treasonous. I had to deal with a sort of double life between the home were those things were allowed and the outside where those things were seen as evil and disgusting.

So from around the age of 8, I knew these things from before but was too young to really understand, I was very religious. I used to pray five times a day, fast during ramadan, and not eat pork or do anything ‘unislamic’. But around the age of fifteen I discovered the writers of the enlightenment and those of French existentialism. I also discovered Marx around that time. And that was a revelation. I always had a few problems with organised religion, but couldn’t verbalise them properly. I knew I didn’t like that religion was used as a political and military tool, but didn’t understand that it was as much the fault of religion, as it is of those who use it in what I saw to be an evil and abusive manner.

Religion is to blame for many of the wrongs of this world. It is because of its false distinctions that people can claim that they are better than others. I know I’m saying things that are a bit obvious and in many ways childish, but it is important to remind you that I was fifteen at the time. This whole thing was new to me. I still had to confront what I believed to be absolute truth with my new knowledge. Thanks to that new knowledge I was finally able to understand that religion is historically constructed.

Anyway, my faith was shattered at that time. And I have been recovering since, well I make it sound like it was really hard, but it wasn’t. It just takes time to rid one’s self of all the little irrational superstitions that are carried over. My disgust with black pudding was clearly one such left over superstition. I am now rid of it. I hope there aren’t any left in there that I haven’t yet identified. I mean I don’t think that my tendency to stone adulterous women is such a left over, is it?

Happy Days

Posted in about the blog, Culture, Me, Uncategorized, Work with tags , , , , , , , , on 05/11/2010 by arabrhizome

So I’ve stopped working to write this blog post. I was in an awful mood yesterday. But today I’m feeling a lot better. I hate how a bad mood can affect someone’s life so much. It explains why so many people think that medicating their moods is useful. I am not thinking about doing that though. I tend to react badly to medication. The thing is I don’t like being stoned. I hate having a cloudy brain. Anyway, I am feeling a lot better now. I did a lot of work and am still doing a lot now.

So my day consisted in me reading and taking notes. I stayed home today as well, which was nice. I like my flat. I have been out of it and in uni working for a while, so it’s nice staying in and working. I need the space I have in the postgrad room, ut it’s also nice to stay home and work as well. I guess the change of scenery is nice. Sometimes at home, and sometimes in uni. The problem with uni is that I spend a lot of money there, between food and coffees. I need to take my own food and drink less coffee when I’m there.

I’m happy that I’m starting to have a bit of a routine again, my work rate has increased exponentially because of it. I just need to re-include working out in it now. Once that’s done, I think I’ll be able to be productive and start losing weight again. Well, I have been losing weight consistently for the past three weeks. Nothing extraordinary, between 0.5 and 0.7 Kgs a week. If I can keep this up and get a bit fitter I’ll be happy with my body.

Anyway, I don’t have much more to say really. I have been mainly reading about a conception of difference that is not negative or based on a lack, but I’m sure you don’t want to read about that on here. It’s nice to be enjoying my work again though. I forgot, in my self indulgent depression about it last term, how much I enjoy reading philosophy and thinking about questions of high theory. That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing now really.

I do still feel that I need to do work that is useful in a sort of direct and tangible way. My thesis is important, and probably very useful, for understanding the work of Deleuze and the way it interacts with other discourses. I am however, really looking forward to working on other things, that have more of an impact on the world. I want to work on things that speak directly to the suffering of people. I want to work on things that help oppressed people. I know I sound like a teenager who thinks a bit too much of himself. But I guess in many ways I still am, that’s why I don’t have a proper 9-5 job.

Anyway, before I can do that, I need to finish this. And thankfully I am excited about it. I am enjoying the process now, and will hopefully continue enjoying it. Speaking of enjoying the process I will stop right now and go back to work. I am hoping to get through another few pages before I sleep. So good night.

One Hour Earlier

Posted in about the blog, Me, Uncategorized, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 02/11/2010 by arabrhizome

I keep forgetting that I now have one hour less to write my blog post within the given time. As you might know we have changed our clocks here in the UK. Before that 1:00 in the morning, in real life, was 00:00 for wordpress. This meant that I could write a post at 00:54 and it still counted as within the right day. Now however, that doesn’t hold true as the two clocks have met. So I’ve started writing this at 23:00, so let’s hope I finish it in time.

So last night was, as I predicted, a horrible night. I slept at 6:30 in the morning. I was able to wake up at 10:00 though, I was quite proud of myself for that. I got ready and then went to uni for my supervision. It went very well. In fact, it was very short. It feels good to be back on track for my work. I am still behind and I need to catch up, but I feel confident and my work rate has increased. I’m hoping to continue to be productive and thus have a chapter ready by christmas.

I am going to work on my previous chapter during christmas break and try to turn it into a publishable article. I think it’s feasible and my supervisors seemed to think so too. I do need to try and go to some conferences as well. I am going to spend some time looking for some tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll be able to tackle the fourth and fifth chapters during the second term. This way I’ll be able to write my introduction and conclusion and re-write, edit, and compile my thesis during the summer.

I can still finish my thesis within the 3 minimum years for completion. That is insane to me as I have done almost nothing for at least 6 months of the year. Hopefully this will mean that I can take the fourth year to publish and attend conferences. Thus making my CV look impressive for when I go on the very dry job market.

I am also looking forward to putting this philosophy of science business behind me. Well I’ll still work on it, but my focus is definitely going to shift towards political theory. I am interested in questions of resistance and oppression and I have a whole bunch of ideas to work on. I need to keep them shelved for now though.

The rest of the day was quite eventless. I photocopied some stuff and incorporated the comments I got from both supervisions. I can now begin work on my next chapter tomorrow in earnest, I always wanted to say that. I am looking forward to this chapter as the meat of my argument is made in this one and the following two. I need to make it good. My tasks for the coming three weeks involve mainly reading, but also some writing. I will hopefully be able to get it done by christmas.

The weird thing about today is that although I had very little sleep, I was able to stay alert all day. In fact, I am getting a little bit tired now, but not overly so. I am hoping to sleep earlier than 6:30 though as I have a bit of a long day tomorrow. I have a doctor’s appointment, amongst other things to attend to from early n the morning. So on this bombshell, I will leave you and go lay in bed, watch some tv, and hopefully sleep soon.