Diary 8/27 to 8/29/22: Caitlin Johnstone; insomnia; Wittgenstein’s Notebooks; Caroline Winkler; dead Sequoias; bacteria and suicide? Feeling needy; current reading (maybe).
Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved
Caitlin Johnstone, love her or hate her:
The most important thing for the English-speaking world to understand about China is that it’s none of your fucking business. If you live in the US or one of its imperial member states like Australia or the UK, you should be focused on attacking the criminality of the empire. All this neck-craning and pointing at China’s Covid policies or whatever from people who live inside the US-centralized power structure is like someone making a big deal about hearing his neighbor raise her voice to her children while he himself is busy murdering his own family with an axe.
Even if she comes across as “unhinged” from time to time (okay, all the time), she’s unhinged in a direction that I generally favor. (I decline all responsibility for her latest outrage, or any of them, while celebrating her vivid use of language and her heart being in the right place overall.)
Woke about 3:00 am and didn’t try to go back to sleep. Last night I wrote this in a notebook: “8/27/22: Though I am not working on either fiction or philosophy—my two ambitions—yet I feel unaccountably happy. Happy while living quite self-indulgently. I haven’t abandoned to my ambitions, I just seem to have stopped worrying about them or even thinking about them much.”
Right now this body does not feel this “happiness.” I suppose it was an undigested bit of Beefaroni, which I’ve never eaten.
Wittgenstein’s Notebooks is remarkably monotonous. I’ll finish it, however, because there is little to go, and I want to get my $17-worth out of it. I understood from the book itself that this publication was somehow a big deal; I looked for the book at Barnes & Noble and discovered that an earlier translation had been published in the ’80s. So, maybe not a big deal after all.
Another gem from Caroline Winkler at YouTube. This one is mostly her outtakes. I left a comment saying “hilarious and endearing,” etc.
Something horrifying and terrifying from Truthout: “Mass Death of Sequoias Is the Harbinger of Earth Systems Collapse.” But then, it just means again that we’re doomed; alas, the details are what brings this home.
Something interesting from Nature Briefing: “Mouse embryos without eggs or sperm: Two research groups have grown synthetic mouse embryos — which self-organize from stem cells and are not created from an egg and a sperm — for 8.5 days, longer than ever before. The embryos developed distinct organs: a beating heart, a gut tube and even neural folds. The work is a major advance that will help researchers to see organ development in unprecedented detail. Next, say scientists, could be a synthetic stem-cell-based human embryo — but there are significant ethical concerns.”
I have searched many times for a replacement for “Timmyted,” the stuffed bear that was the “ringbearer” when I proposed to my wife about thirty years ago. I have looked at hundreds of bears on eBay, often coming close but only once looking exactly right. Alas, I let that one get away, but yesterday I found one that looks pretty close. The price was $50, plus shipping. I offered $30, and it was accepted, so I’ll have my bear. Why? Because I’m a lonely, sentimental old doofus who wanted someone to sleep with and talk to. The one on the left is “the one that got away,” i.e., a perfect match with my memories of the original; the one on the right looks like his head has been flattened in a tragic accident.
Weird science from Neuroscience News: “Students who reported recent suicidal thoughts had different bacterial compositions in their saliva compared to those who did not report suicidal thoughts. Significantly, suicidal students presented with lower levels of Alloprevotella rava, a bacteria associated with positive brain health, in their saliva samples.” One wonders about cause-and-effect here, eh?
I’m doing all this reading and stuff because, once again, I am faced with a day without cable TV. Oh, the horror.
Again I’ve been awake since 3:00 am. This time I think it might be because I forgot to take my usual melatonin before bed, if it even makes sense to wonder about a cause (i.e., given my age). I don’t like this trend.
When I woke at 3:00 I started obsessing about Sam. I’m feeling very needy lately, primarily because (again, if it even makes sense to wonder about “a cause”) Sam has not put in an appearance at the Hemlock Club. (If I weren’t “very needy” would I have bought myself a teddy bear??) The maddening thing about this is that I don’t know why. The obvious (pessimistic) answer is that I’m a bore and she thinks that the Club would be a bore, etc. The emotional impact of this non-appearance is compounded by the recent non-appearances of Olivia (like for about a month), also unexplained. Of course, I’ve always been puzzled about why she ever bothered with us in the first place, and whenever she does show up it feels like an unexpected large gift, so maybe what’s “unexplained” is why she ever did hang out with us.
So I finished reading the Wittgenstein, and it’s been a big nothing—perhaps not quite fair of me to say so, but it seemed like a lot of whining and self-destructive weirdness. Not unlike me at twenty (or any age), except that W is also driven to work on the Tractatus [Logico-Philosophicus], while I was driven to do nothing much else but wish I had a girlfriend. I’ve always been generally better at wishing than at taking action. The Tractatus has some stuff at the end (section 6) that is of more general interest than the very technical stuff that comes before, which I had not known before. Reading the book has never worked for me.
I started reading Ernano Bencivenga: Looser Ends: The Practice of Philosophy. It’s a collection of essays. So far it seems more like an anti-philosophy. He uses some unfamiliar technical terms, which is always discouraging. I’ve also started on Bernt Engelmann: In Hitler’s Germany: Daily Life in the Third Reich for no particular reason. The Gide Journals have lapsed into the background. I seem to be sort of casting about to find something (other than Caroline Winkler) that might hold my interest for more than fifteen minutes at a stretch.
Traffic at my blog yesterday was the highest total since 8/1 (25 views), and highest in recent memory. This is especially puzzling because I didn’t post anything yesterday.
Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved