Sunday, February 14, 2010

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY TO ALL!


107 Comments:

Blogger theory_of_me said...

Great, now I need to buy a new keyboard. This one's soaked in vomit....

2/14/2010 2:24 PM  
Blogger nthlee said...

really nice blog!

nthlee.blogspot.com

2/14/2010 3:38 PM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

That brings up the whizz and witdom of Alfred E. Neuman..."I have one grunch but the eggplant over there."

2/14/2010 4:51 PM  
Blogger Miguel said...

I love this picture, real cute :)

I don't know if it's intentional, but this happens to be the Year of the Tiger according to Chinese Year :D

2/14/2010 5:53 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Theory of Me-- allow me to introduce you to Siegfried Sassoon, a colorful WWI combat hero: by night he single handedly raided enemy lines on horseback, hurling bombs and disrupting enemy forces. (He was nicknamed "Mad Jack" by his men for the suicidal risks he took). By day, he read Chaucer and Shakespeare and wrote exquisite poetry. He captured an entire German trench in the Hindenburg Line, all by himself, yet he deliberated metaphysics with friends such as the poet Robert Graves and the philosopher Bertrand Russell. Here was a man who truly earned the right to say, "in me the tiger sniffs the rose." I am guessing that your boy Nietzsche would scold you for having such a weak stomach.

I have great respect for people who can successfully stand astride the two cultures. Antoine de Saint-Exupery, who wrote The Little Prince, was also a fearless pioneer of aviation and fighter for the Free French. You might find a few treacly passages in The Little Prince, yet Saint-Exupery was beloved by both poets and warriors. Arthur Koestler was another example-- a brilliant and erudite intellectual who combined theory and practice when he fought Nazis in the streets of Berlin, or was condemned to death by firing squad in Franco's Spain.

I give extra points to tigers who are still capable of smelling roses. I gather that you don't.

2/14/2010 9:55 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Nthlee, Miguel-- many thanks.

Rob-- Alfred E. Neuman was once one of my favorite philosophers but I fear he has lost some of his wisdom with the revamping of MAD. Not much whizz or witdom left there, I'm afraid.

2/14/2010 10:06 PM  
Blogger Einbildungskraft said...

It IS the year of the tiger...
The picture is somewhat exotic, a tiger smelling a rose with raindrops on it by an illustrator 'a colorful WWI combat hero'.
What inspired you to draw on this material for your valentine greetings to your readers? Do you find it conveys romanticism?
valentine greetings ♥ B

2/14/2010 11:55 PM  
Blogger theory_of_me said...

Ah, David. I'm sure if my "boy" Nietzsche was alive today, you wouldn't mind seeing him write for Hallmark.

Looks like you'll try to justify anything if you think it will get you another whiff of "Rosebud".

2/15/2010 2:25 AM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

David, thanks for that revealing paragraph about Sassoon, Koestler and Saint Exupery, all greatly admired by me both as artists and warriors. I find it interesting that today's limp-wristed society equates artists with delicate hothouse flowers devoid of any spine.

While I don't exactly look down on those who have avoided military service, their reasons and rationalizations (however inventive and amusing) fall on deaf ears. I see no inconsistency with the roles of warrior and poet (or artist).

As a race, we all admire physical courage (note how few movies are made extolling craven cowardice lack of conviction for which one would willingly risk injury). Yet, lazy metrosexual men take a false pride in living Whiffle Ball lives with their bicycle kelmets and health club abs.

Perhaps it's a failing in that I don't empathize with peace-at-any-price cubicle workers. Then again, they've never exhibited much empathy for warriors. As I say...courage is what you get after you do the scary thing.

2/15/2010 5:51 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Let us not forget King David of the Holy Writ. Poet and Warrior!

Hey "Theory of Me", becareful that at the end of life you don't end up as Bazarov the "worm half-squashed but still wiggling."

2/15/2010 10:16 AM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Rob-- "I see no inconsistency with the roles of warrior and poet (or artist)."

I agree with you and so would the great philosophers of the golden age of Greece, who stressed the importance of both sides of the mind/body dichotomy. Even if it was the Greeks who created that annoying schism in western thought that uncoupled perception and reality, faith and reason, mind and body, etc. they nevertheless stressed the importance of at least striving to unite theoria and praxis. They understood that theories that had not been tempered by practice did not count for much in this world. They knew you had to pay for an idea, just like anything else. I share that view and tend to give greater deference to thinkers whose sails have been tested by strong winds.

This does not mean every philosopher has to be Tarzan. I view the frail Nietzsche as heroic because for much of his productive life he had to suffer for every page he wrote-- splitting headaches, watery eyes that could barely see, chronic pain, precarious health with a highly restricted diet, and still he dragged himself back to his work, creating things of great beauty. A different kind of valor, perhaps, but still enough to qualify him as a "tiger" under my criteria.

2/15/2010 12:46 PM  
Blogger theory_of_me said...

My worm has already done its fair share of unsquashable wiggling, Steve. But thanks for your concern....

2/15/2010 12:46 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Theory of Me-- now, before you go trashing poor Hallmark Cards, remember that they employed artists such as R. Crumb and famed illustrator Mark English.

I would not go so far as to say that I would justify "anything," but I do think a man would have to be a fool not try to experience as much of the rose as possible in life.

2/15/2010 1:08 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Steve-- I agree, King David is another excellent example.

And let us not forget Plato (whose nickname meant "broad shoulders" and who won the Athenian prize for bravery in the war with Sparta). Orwell was yet another-- one of the most lucid, straightforward writers of the 20th century, whose intelligence made him realize that there was a time to step up and battle the fascists in the Spanish Civil War, and when that was done, a time to fight the communists.

Some artists have paid an awfully heavy price for their convictions, but it sure does tend to separate the wheat from the chaff.

2/15/2010 1:22 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Einbildungskraft-- every year is a different style and a different theme. These are for fun, a collaborative effort with my own sweetheart (who looks over my shoulder and specifies how many dew drops should go on the rose). If this were my "serious" art I would not be posting it on this blog.

I think that Sassoon (and most people who read the Sassoon quote) assume a very different power relationship between a tiger and a rose than what I have suggested here. This picture flips that common assumption and asks you to consider that perhaps the real power, the real enormity, resides within the rose and that the tiger is miniscule by comparison.

Just a little reminder for Valentines day.

2/15/2010 1:29 PM  
Blogger theory_of_me said...

David said: "the great philosophers of the golden age of Greece, who stressed the importance of both sides of the mind/body dichotomy."

Sorry David, great philosophers don't stress the importance of false dichotomies.

"they nevertheless stressed the importance of at least striving to unite theoria and praxis."

The problem is that pseudo-philosophical poseurs will always judge the theoria (contemplation) by its praxis (the end in itself or the practical benefits). If you don't automatically get something pleasurable in return for your contemplation or you see some unappealing consequences down the road because of it, you'll immediately assume that something must be wrong with the thought process. Real philosophers don't do that, only the dabblers do.

"They knew you had to pay for an idea, just like anything else.

As long as those precious rose-petals aren't part of the price, right? Right.

"before you go trashing poor Hallmark Cards, remember that they employed artists such as R. Crumb"

As much as I like R. Crumb's work, in no way do I consider him a great philosopher. He (and his brothers) seems to have had a vigorous contemplative mind in his youth but never went all the way with it. His friend Harvey Pekar is similar. He's more honest maybe even smarter than Crumb, probably because he was less obviously talented at an early age, but still got stuck at that impasse between the search for truth and living with the consequences.

Crumb has expressed bitterness over his time at Hallmark, particularly over the effect it still has on his later, more "artistic" work. But I'm sure he gets over it easily with another dose of fresh (or not so fresh) poontang. He's probably said as much in several of his autobiographical strips, I can't recall at the moment.

That's why "men" or paper tigers are addicted to rose-sniffing. They use it as a balm for all their anxieties and disappointments they have failed to overcome with their intellect.

"I do think a man would have to be a fool not try to experience as much of the rose as possible in life."

That sums up your entire ideology right there. I've seen dogs on leashes that agree with you completely.

Here's an anecdote about one of my favorite philosophers, a real "tiger" not just a paper one. I replaced a couple of the words to make it slightly more relevant:

A famous warrior was making his triumphal entry into the city after another successful battle. As he was carried along, he was unable to tear his eyes away from the many beautiful women among the onlookers.

"Look at our brave victor," remarked Diogenes, "taken captive by every girl he sees."

2/15/2010 2:05 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Theory of Me--

"great philosophers don't stress the importance of false dichotomies."

If that's the case, then you will have to help me distinguish between false dichotomies and true dichotomies. After you've dispensed with mind/body, perception/reality and faith/reason, you might also clear up means/ends and free will/determinism. Why, you could be just the fellow that western civilization has been waiting for!

"As long as those precious rose-petals aren't part of the price, right? Right."

Au contraire, those petals are very, very expensive. And don't even think about trying to short change love or it will kick your ass.

"I've seen dogs on leashes that agree with you."

Why, Theory of Me... we all wear leashes. Haven't you noticed yours? It seems to be one of the more conspicuous among those who weigh in here.

2/15/2010 4:52 PM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

>>>before you go trashing poor Hallmark Cards, remember that they employed artists such as R. Crumb and famed illustrator Mark English. <<<

Their rival, RustCraft Cards employed me and Jerry Pinkney among others (RustCraft was bigger than Hallmark at the time). There's a great deal to be said for being a young artist working in the bullpen. It's a training that is all but unknown today, although I suspect there's some of that in the computer animation houses like ILM.

2/15/2010 10:12 PM  
Blogger theory_of_me said...

David said: "you will have to help me distinguish between false dichotomies and true dichotomies."

The only "true dichotomy" that matters is the separation between what is absolutely true and what is absolutely false. This is, of course, a purely conceptual construction, but without it we wouldn't be able to function in the world or even perceive anything. Everyone uses it whether they are aware of it or not. The point is to become highly adept at using it in any situation.

"After you've dispensed with mind/body, perception/reality and faith/reason, you might also clear up means/ends and free will/determinism."

Gosh, David. I thought you'd never ask:

Mind/Body: What you call your body along with anything else is a projection of consciousness. Try finding the exact location where your mind ends and your body begins, you'll find it impossible. Everything you see, feel or experience in any way is a product of the mind. Even the idea or sensation of a mind is created through the mind.

Perception/Reality: Perceptions are inseparable from Reality if Reality is defined as the totality of everything that exists. The real dichotomy is between false perceptions (nothingness) and true perceptions (reality).

Faith/Reason: Faith, if it's based on superstitions and wishful thinking is false (nothingness). Reason, if it's logical and not based on any assumptions is truth itself. The only concept of faith that makes any sense is being faithful to what you know is absolutely true. Living your life in harmony with Truth is the only type of faith that's reasonable.

Means/Ends: If the means are purely logical, that is, truthful, then the ends will be truthful as well. Or, the degree to which the means are truthful is the same degree to which the ends will be truthful. The only thing a sane person values is the Truth, simply because it's true. This is the only valid basis for ethics.

Free Will/Determinism: The truth of cause and effect makes all things/events determined. Quantum Theory is not an exception to this. It only deals with empirical causes that we simply may not be able to detect yet, not the purely logical causes of all things. Since causes are infinite and our minds finite we can never predict anything with 100% accuracy. Free will is an illusion. We think we have free will because we make decisions without being aware of all the causes that determine every choice we make. Not being aware of the causes makes our choices appear spontaneous when they really aren't.

"Au contraire, those petals are very, very expensive."

I agree. They come at the expense of your mind; consciousness is literally destroyed in the process.

"we all wear leashes. Haven't you noticed yours?"

Care to elaborate on this?

2/16/2010 12:18 AM  
Blogger LCG said...

I like the flipped visual comparison, David. A delightful image. Thank you, again, for sharing your keen insight.

2/16/2010 2:08 AM  
Blogger Joss said...

Okay I'd like to clear up a few things or have them cleared up for me.

First of all, theory_of_me, did you realize that this was David's artwork when you destroyed your keyboard? Are you really such an asshole. Would you be so harsh with a child who pours his heart into a work of art?

I assumed it was David's art(due to the previous valentine's posts and their following comments). I did Google the Sasoon guy to satisfy my curiosity. Indeed I found no visual artistic output mentioned, and now I see David confirmed it in one of his comments.

Okay, secondly, can we name this rose? I mean sometimes a rose is just a rose, but that picture is a whole lotta' vagina, and theory of me seems to be taking this as a direct metaphor for pussy (which it seems has not treated him so well judging by his apparently strong aversion to it). I assume David was using it more in the general poetic sense as representing the feminine. A little heavy handed or shall we say heavy breathing. And oh those drops of moisture which your wife is counting out for you, man this is getting hot! Seriously, you can't tell me I'm doin this in my own head! Sorry Einbildungskraft
"Rain drops" yeah.

theory_, are you a proponent of complete sexual abstinence? Seems like a negation of life to me. So harsh wielding that philosopher's sword of truth.
I have to say though I have been impressed by it's sharpness. I pretty much agree with the content of your philosophy if not the attitude you marry with it.

David's deep running sappy streak has intrigued me from the get go. It's always been a shortcoming in a work of art for me(even with Crumb, though his unyielding honesty goes a long way to make up for it), kind of mares the piece, but David you seem to embrace even elevate this quality. I've always been reading closely for clues to how you conceive this. And yet I love sappy artwork for it's other qualities i.e.. Leyendecker and infact most illustrators (often "inescapable" though due to their subject matter/art direction/market forces etc.).

I can't resist addressing you David and Rob on the warrior/artist topic. An artist/creativity is not balanced by killing/destruction, this is a gross misinterpretation, a degradation of the creative force no different than expending your creativity in alchohol, drugs, and sex (a la theory of me's interpretation of sex anyway). "Courageous adventure" is IMHO the great quality in the "Hero" you are revering, the one who does not shrink back in fear but faces it. Loving your enemies as yourself is an infinitely more mature level of understanding.
You don't kill the feminine you explore it, play it like an instrument, love it, it is indeed the womb which holds us all.

Lastly, theory_ I have often wondered why you torture yourself with this blog, can you tell me of any visual artists you revere? It seems that posting here largely gives you a chance to feel superior. I certainly enjoy your wit and dedication to truth, but just as with a sappy illustrator I see those qualities as diamonds in the rough cover of meanness, anger, nihilism etc. I've checked out your facebook page. Long Island City certainly seems a depressing place to exist, I went to Pratt Institute in the 90's.
Randomly, I'd be curious what you think of the folks at http://www.desteni.co.za/ some mind bending thought provocation for me, if your open minded, but feel that society is ass-backwards as you seem to.

2/16/2010 2:55 AM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

This blog is not about, and will never be about, my own pictures. I make my living far from the precincts of art, and if I tried to compete in the same race with the artists I critique, I would lose the moral freedom to speak freely about them. I view these annual Valentines as just a bit of harmless fun and hope you will regard them the same way.

On the other hand, I am always happy to engage on the philosophies behind pictures.

2/16/2010 5:05 AM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

LCG-- Many thanks.

Rob-- I agree with you about the value of a bullpen experience. It sure helps de-mystify things.

Joss-- I do share your concern about the warrior/artist dichotomy. That's one reason I made a point of saying that fragile Nietzsche also qualified as a "tiger." Oh, and I would be careful about embracing obvious male/female symbolism, the way Theory of Me has. When Sassoon wrote of a tiger sniffing the rose, he wasn't talking about vagina. He was talking, among other things, about being tough enough to do whatever life required of him (including kill, when the time came) and yet still retaining enough sensitivity to write delicate poetry-- or, to love someone (which might, if you think about it, also help explain that "sappy streak.")

2/16/2010 6:05 AM  
Blogger Philip said...

In Russia the Orthodox Church opposes "the Valentine's Day", since this holiday is a sign of depravity
Instead, we should celebrate "the day of Peter and Fevronia

2/16/2010 8:17 AM  
Blogger Mellie said...

I would agree the image is a little on the "sappy" side, but there are much worse things to be, e.g. arrogant or pretentious. Thanks for posting it.

2/16/2010 10:18 AM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Mellie-- "I would agree the image is a little on the "sappy" side."

This year, as in previous years, I sketched three or four pictures about the nature of love; my wife gets to choose which one we make into our Valentine to mail to our friends. She rejected the "bleak" drawings because she believes Valentine's day should be a day for a cheerful statement. It is one of those peculiar laws of weights and measures that one spouse who is cheerful about love outweighs the rest of the world thinking you are a sap.

2/16/2010 1:50 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Philip-- I just read the sad story of Peter and Fevronia. That seems a whole lot more depraved to me than the story of St. Valentine, but to each his own.

2/16/2010 1:57 PM  
Blogger Anthony said...

Ha! Great drawing, great stories. I love the tiger -- drawn in Chinese style. Very clever!

2/16/2010 4:34 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Theory of Me, your responses to major fissures in the bedrock of Western philosophy are certainly very tidy, but it seems that you can only achieve them by simplifying complex questions. This is a higher price than some are willing to pay.

Furthermore, I notice that even after you're done simplifying important questions, you still sometimes need to resort to what I have labeled "the ipse dixit of the new Pythagoras." Is it conceivable that there is a connection between your absolute certainty and your comment (a few weeks ago) that if you had any blind spots, you would be able to identify and cure them through the systematic application of logic?

Tagore once wrote, "A mind all logic is like a knife all blade. It makes the hand bleed that uses it." Plenty of smart people have become so enamoured with the mind's knife function that they set out to see how far it would take them. As far as I am concerned, the best among them were the ones who were ultimately humbled by love or beauty, or who recognized in some other crucial respect that a mere knife is outmatched by life. You on the other hand still seem to believe that such things only happen to people whose knife isn't sharp enough. I disagree.

Consider this week's example, Siegfried Sassoon, who started out as a regular Prince of Reason. (When he was a three year old prodigy, his parents gave him Coleridge's "Lectures on Shakespeare" to read.) After he'd spent enough time charging German trenches with grenades (each attack followed by a long crawl on his belly back to English lines under intense machine gun fire), Sassoon became emotionally exhausted and shell shocked. He was sent back home to England an invalid, but gradually sorted things out and returned to the front where he once again "resumed his habit of lunatic single missions." Devastated by the deaths of his close friends he was once again shipped home to a sanitarium where he spent some time getting acquainted with depression and madness until he was able to regain his wits. Awarded the Military Cross for extreme heroism, he published heart rending antiwar poems before he insisted on returning to the front lines again in 1918. Sassoon lost a lot of hubris and gained a lot of humanity along the way. He was less certain and more fragile than he was in his student days at Cambridge, and he was a far better poet too. He knew what Shakespeare meant by the line, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

I suspect when the time comes for you to open your mind to these experiences, you too will lose some certainty about the binary nature of truth, and you may even acquire a little patience for people along the way.

2/16/2010 5:10 PM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

>>>theory_of_me,...Are you really such an asshole. <<<

Yes he is, to an amazing extent. Have you read his puerile drivel about his junior high school understanding of philosophy? Sheesh! I thought minds like that got fried in the 60's.

Yes, Jose, he really is an insensitive asshole of almost cosmic (and comic) dimensions.

2/16/2010 5:50 PM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

>>>An artist/creativity is not balanced by killing/destruction, this is a gross misinterpretation, a degradation of the creative force no different than expending your creativity in alchohol, drugs, and sex (a la theory of me's interpretation of sex anyway). <<<

Joss, I don't know how much you know about art and how much you have actually been knee deep in it, but anyone who has waded in it on a daily basis knows that a great deal of the time is spent in destroying much of what came before. That's the almost primal need of art, otherwise we'd all be painting baroque paintings with reverence and dull, glazed-over eyes that see nothing...like they still do at ARC.

But art grows by first destroying what came immediatley before it. The most popular image of that process to register in the suburban lexicon is of the brave Impressionists fighting and winning over the fascistic Academicians. Of course that's all bullshit but it forms the basis of what passes for an art education.

Losing oneself in the oblivion-inducing swamp of alcohol, drugs and meangless sex could not be further off the mark. That takes no talent or courage or even any energy to speak of. Your metaphors are strained...but, hey, what's a meta phor, except to wrongly apply it?


>>> Loving your enemies as yourself is an infinitely more mature level of understanding. <<<

Obviously, you have never had any real enemies, just kids who picked on you and called you pizza-face. It's apparent that you haven't had anyone who so dehumanized you because of race, religion or bad haircut that they crawled through a mile of rocks, broken glass, dogs and other scary things just feel you jiggling and wiggling in your death throes. Now that's an enemy worth calling an enemy, not the school bully who picked on you because of your pimples.

2/16/2010 6:06 PM  
Blogger theory_of_me said...

Joss said: "did you realize that this was David's artwork when you destroyed your keyboard?"

I assumed it was but I wasn't really reacting to the artwork itself, just the cheap sentiment behind it.

"Would you be so harsh with a child who pours his heart into a work of art?"

I don't think children have much of a "heart" to pour into anything so there would be no point in criticizing them the same way. They haven't had as much time to screw up their motivations the way most grown-ups have.

"theory of me seems to be taking this as a direct metaphor for pussy (which it seems has not treated him so well judging by his apparently strong aversion to it)"

I have never been mistreated by women. Any suffering I endured during my relationships was due to my own ignorance at the time. Women are actually pretty blameless.

"I assume David was using it more in the general poetic sense as representing the feminine."

I don't care how much David pontificates over the "higher virtues" of femininity. When you get right down to it, do you really think he'd do anything to promote it if women didn't have that oh-so welcoming little wet spot between their legs? Come on now, a little honesty would go a long way here.

"are you a proponent of complete sexual abstinence?"

The problem with abstinence is that it almost always takes the form of a suppression of natural urges. I don't recommend that at all, it will only make you crazy. When you become more rational, the urges just get weaker and weaker until ideally, they disappear altogether. You might need to give in to them occasionally for relief, there's nothing wrong with that in and of itself, but as long as you don't go falling in love and getting married, you're on relatively "safe" ground.

"Seems like a negation of life to me."

Not really. Heedless procreation is not a guarantee of survival, just look at the population problems we have today. Some scientists even say that we are the last generation of humans on earth because we're going to run out of natural resources due to our "success" as a species. I don't know if that's true but it's something to consider.

"I have often wondered why you torture yourself with this blog"

It's not torturous to me, in fact it's sometimes pretty enjoyable but even that doesn't matter as much as expressing myself as clearly and succinctly as possible. There's always room for improvement in that, and David is very generous with touching points of discussion. There's a reason I don't post on Gurney Journey, even though I read that blog too.

"Long Island City certainly seems a depressing place to exist"

Yeah, I hear that whenever I get a visitor. It's funny because to me it's just another place. One of the benefits or cultivating a rational mind is that your environment no longer has dramatic effects on your mood or outlook. I see people losing all steam and motivation when it simply rains or snows and it looks so comical and pathetic to me.

"I went to Pratt Institute in the 90's."

Now that's depressing! :)
Pratt has a pretty bad reputation among art students these days and it doesn't seem to be a recent phenomenon. The tuition is higher than SVA, which I think is a much better school. Maybe the money goes to maintaining that nice campus they have.

"I'd be curious what you think of the folks at http://www.desteni.co.za/"

Never seen that site before but at first glance, it looks pretty nutty.

2/16/2010 7:16 PM  
Blogger theory_of_me said...

Rob said: "Have you read his puerile drivel about his junior high school understanding of philosophy? Sheesh! I thought minds like that got fried in the 60's."

You can't offer any real criticism of my views so I won't even bother asking. This makes anything you say about them amount to nothing more than junior high school name calling.

But I'm curious, Rob. How were the 60's for you? They were before my time but I'm sure you have some interesting stories to tell, along with some critical regrets. I'm just sniffing around but come on big guy, open up!

2/16/2010 7:26 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

I always liked what Renoir said in regard to our thoughts and convictions, "nature takes your ideas and throws them down and smashes them."

And here is the same idea expressed by Jacques Lusseryan a blind Frenchman who served in the Resistance, from his Book “And then there was Light”.


"Of myself what can I say why was I never entirely bereft of joy. But it was a fact and my solid support. Joy I found even in strange byways, in the midst of fear itself. And fear departed from me, as infection leaves an abscess when it bursts. By the end of a year in Buchenwald I was convinced that life was not at all as I had been taught to believe it, neither life nor society. For example, how could I explain that in block 56, my block, the only man who had volunteered day and night, for months, to watch over the most violent mad, to calm them down and feed them, to care for the ones with cancer, dysentery, typhus, to bathe them and comfort them, was a person of whom everyone said that in ordinary life he was effeminate, a parlor pederast, a man one would hesitate to associate with? But here he was the good angel, frankly the saint, the only saint in Invalid's Block. How account for the fact that Dietrich, the German criminal, arrested seven years before for strangling his mother and his wife, had turned braved and generous? Why was he sharing his bread with the others at the risk of dying sooner? And why, at the same time, did that honest bourgeois from our country, that small tradesman from the Vendee, father of a family, get up in the night to steal the bread of other men?

These shocking things were not what I had read in books. They were there in front of me. I had no way of not seeing them, and they raised all kinds of questions in my mind. And last of all, was it Buchenwald, or was it the everyday world, what we call the normal life, which was topsy-turvy?

An old peasant from the Anjou whom I had just met-how strange that he was born only six miles from Juvardeil- insisted that it was the everyday world which was askew. He was convinced of it."

And here is the real crazy part , “The remarkable thing was that listening to the fears of others had ended by freeing me almost completely from anxiety. I had become cheerful, and was cheerful almost all the time, without willing it, without even thinking about it.”

2/16/2010 8:22 PM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

>>>How were the 60's for you? They were before my time but I'm sure you have some interesting stories to tell, along with some critical regrets. <<<

It was like a sauna. From steamy jungles to steamy boudoirs to students letting off steam, it was a time of steam...and hot air. If any time fit the Dicekensian opening of Tale of Two Cities, this was it. It was indeed the best of times and the very worst of times. One thing is certain, unlike these bloodless times, those days were vivid. An entire musical, artistic and filmic culture was being born right before our eyes. It was also the tentative beginning of the press telling lies in order to accrue power unto itself.

Like any vivid era, it was difficult to fathom what was actually happening unlike these almost childlike simple and dull times.

It was a nice time in which to be an artist.

2/16/2010 8:57 PM  
Anonymous Rebecca said...

I have recently discovered your blog and am really enjoying it. Thank you so much! May I post this picture of yours on my own blog with a credit of course and a link? I wanted to explore this theme in my next post.

2/16/2010 11:54 PM  
Anonymous Rebecca said...

Oh, and here's in a nutshell my thoughts on this whole tiger/rose thing:

G K Chesterton cuts to the heart when he observes, “We want not an amalgam or compromise, but both things at the top of their energy; love and wrath both burning." It is embracing both that keeps art from being merely dark or merely sappy. There is both an elegance and a terror in the universe that the artist must capture. There is beauty and horror in our souls.

2/17/2010 12:15 AM  
Blogger theory_of_me said...

David Apatoff said: "your responses to major fissures in the bedrock of Western philosophy are certainly very tidy, but it seems that you can only achieve them by simplifying complex questions."

Nothing wrong with simplification, David, that's what Occam's Razor is for. If you really had a valid criticism you'd be able to point out any over-simplifications on my part rather easily, but you can't, can you? You just need to assure yourself that they are there because you don't like what the conclusions lead to. If you could admit that, it would be fair enough but you can't, so you'll continue to insist that something is amiss.

"Is it conceivable that there is a connection between your absolute certainty and your comment (a few weeks ago) that if you had any blind spots, you would be able to identify and cure them through the systematic application of logic?"

Please feel free to point out any conceivable blind spots you think I have. So far all you've done is try to make me worry about possible regrets over my views. That's just typical scaremongering, something only resorted to when there is a lack of valid criticisms.

"A mind all logic is like a knife all blade. It makes the hand bleed that uses it."

The knife must first be turned on he who wields it, to cut out all personal delusions at the root. If you're too squeamish to do that, your whole life will be wasted trying to slice phantoms into tidy little bits.

"You on the other hand still seem to believe that such things only happen to people whose knife isn't sharp enough."

Not necessarily, one can have a very sharp knife and use it to poke only at safe targets, or phantoms of the imagination.

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

Do you see or believe in ghosts, David? I don't because I have never seen convincing evidence for their existence. But if they did exist, it wouldn't affect anything, they'd be just another newly discovered part of nature. Nothing that contradicts pure logic can possibly exist. Ghosts might exist but ghosts that are also not ghosts cannot.

2/17/2010 4:45 AM  
Blogger Laurence John said...

"Everything you see, feel or experience in any way is a product of the mind"


imagine... we're all just a product of Theory of Me's mind. puts things in a bit of a new light doesn't it ?

2/17/2010 5:07 AM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Rebecca-- I would be flattered.

By the way, one of this year's rejected draft valentines was a G.K. Chesterton quote.

I'm a big fan of Chesterton but I'm not so sure about that line that we all want "both things at the top of their energy; love and wrath both burning." It sounds great in theory, and we love to watch it in the movies from a safe distance, but trying to live your daily life with "both burning" can be like kissing a badly wired electrical light socket.

2/17/2010 8:50 AM  
Blogger Joss said...

Rob, I'm suggesting that returning violence with violence is less mature than transforming that violent impulse coming at you into something which is creative. Smashing a great work of art is destruction, that is what we do in war. Utter stupidity. Creating something completely fresh and new in contrast to the past is of a different order. That is what I understand to be the nature of what you are describing as the primal need of art, not a reason to go to war(be a warrior). An academic study can be equally as beautiful truly and insightfully observed as an impressionist haystack a or a pulp book cover. Art builds upon the past even as it contrasts with it.
I am not a Christian, but I do consider "love your enemies" infinitely more wise advice than an eye for an eye. How do you feel about this bit of Jesus'
advice Rob?

When I was in middle school and high school in yuppie suburban Maryland I was confused by how to respond to bullies, it seemed such a waste of a face to smash it or have it smashed.
When I was painting at Fort Greene park in Brooklyn I had a stone thrown at me from a passing car and yelled at "get out of our neighborhood," I laughed.
When I was held up at gunpoint by a crackhead, I put the forty dollars I had on the table and marveled at how un-affected I was.
After spending a night out with my first girlfriend we decided to avoid the dangerous G-train back to our neighborhood, it being 3am I decided we ought to take the A-train all the way to Far-Rockaway, and enjoy sunrise at the beach. Deep in the heart of desolate Brooklyn an imposing "gentleman" stuck his head into our otherwise empty train car. He looked at us two "skinny white kids" he hollered to his friend to board our car. The first one sat by the door as the second boarded, he was twice my size, dreaded hair, blood shot eyes, black skin. I looked him straight in the eye greeting him hello with my full unflinching presence, I felt that we were not essentially any different, just two people, he and I. He sat directly across from us silently observing, After a few moments he asked us each in turn if we loved each other. We responded in the affirmative. He got up and with great tenderness shook our hands remarking at his pleasure in meeting us. He said he was intending to do something horrible, but instead he gathered his buddy and exited at the next stop.

I consider it a blessing that I've never been faced with a draft. In my opinion not fighting does not equate with cowardliness, but just as possibly the very opposite.

2/17/2010 8:50 AM  
Blogger Joss said...

Theory_, thank you for addressing my questions. I actually share many of your perspectives, unlike most others here. I'm still very curious to hear of an artist or works of visual art that you hold in high esteem. Your profile picture reminds me of ManRay, Romare Beardon, and Harriet Tubman. Is it actually an original depiction of your visage?

Pratt was certainly a depressingly huge waste of money. The first year was creatively awesome for me and for it I was awarded the top merit based scholarship for the following year, but each year after that first, I experienced a crushing frustration with forces primarily inner but also outer, progressively trying to harness my creativity into a marketable form. I was a communication design(illustration) major, as I love great illustrations.

My high points were experiences like the twelve hour "drawathon" 30 models or something after which I was so high/pumped on drawing I rode directly to the Met to draw Greek and Roman sculptures, such was my rapture. In the following years I have tried many forays into commercial and fine art. Often, and increasingly with time the spring of my visual art has dried, but I can still hear it running pure, never knowing from one day to the next if it when or if it will resurface.
Debilitating physical challenges have confronted me when I've tried to "muscle" though my blocks.

2/17/2010 9:26 AM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

>>>advice Rob? <<<

No more than I'd give to a mouse or a rabbit. They fulfill their natural function as easy prey. I love watching them scampering about their days and, although I have seen thousands of them carrying on their lives, I have nver seen one example of them turning away wrath (or hunger) by entering into a maningful discussion with the predator.

It's possible that there is a Mouse Christ or Bunny Buddha among them but I suspect that such elevated creatures, awash in "maturity" are eaten without notice for their elevated staus. I wonder if they feel self-righteous and santimonious on the way down the predator's gullet.

Perhaps they should have dialed 911, like good, peaceable little rodents.

2/17/2010 10:40 AM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

>>>There is both an elegance and a terror in the universe that the artist must capture. There is beauty and horror in our souls.<<<

Thank you for writing that, Rebecca. It's always refreshing to see someone stripped of fantasy, down to the reality of who we are as creatures.

2/17/2010 10:44 AM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

>>>you too will lose some certainty about the binary nature of truth,<<<

That response to Theory of Me Me Me was, of course, completely wasted. But I suspect the reason for writing such things it to further work out and refine ideas you hold in your head. It's a polishing process and has little to do with winning over some wooly-headed, superannuated adolescent.

Entities like Theory and Joss (and where's Matt?) perform the same function that a piece of scratch paper does. They offer enough objection to your thoughts to force you to polish them.

Over the years I have attracted hordes of sub-original thinkers who will object to something I state. That forces me to retrench and view the question from their perspective and polish it until their objection is met (although in the case of most trolls, their objections will never be met because they are simply reactionary).

Your expanding upon the raw facts of Sassoon's life should (but won't) cause the trolls to evaluate their own rather lacklustre lives in the light of a great, albeit contradictory, life. The reality that at their present age they would have been no intellectual match for the 10 year-old Sassoon will pass, like most things in their lives, unnoticed.

2/17/2010 11:04 AM  
Anonymous Rebecca said...

Thank you, David, for letting me use your artwork. The post is here if you are interested:

http://web.me.com/rebeccajewellwood/ArtandtheEveryday/Blog/Entries/2010/2/17_Art__The_Power_of_Paradox.html

(a bit of a mess - I know)

And thank you for your response, I would agree that kissing a badly wired electrical socket sounds unpleasant. I don't suppose the warriors that you have mentioned wanted to keep hacking people to bits so there could be space enough for a garden of roses - they did what they had to do. But why do we admire their fusion of wrath and love so much? Why do we like it in the movies or in the Iliad if it really has no connection to our everyday lives? I suppose this is just another way of asking whether art is escapism or heightened reality?

2/17/2010 1:01 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Theory of Me said: "If you really had a valid criticism you'd be able to point out any over-simplifications on my part rather easily, but you can't, can you?"

Actually, I thought these issues were already so well traversed over the long history of philosophy that everybody would know what I was talking about, especially you, and that specific examples were not necessary.

The earliest sophists showed that logic can't even get us out of the epistemological gate, and Descartes and David Hume handily finished the job. Descartes demonstrated with his famous cogito that your purported philosophy ("Nothing that contradicts pure logic can possibly exist") is a dead end. Your standard for "convincing evidence" hardly keeps up with what the radical epistemological skeptics established as a state of the art evidentiary standard centuries ago. And Hume convincingly wrote that nobody lives their life (or puts one foot in front of the other)the way you claim to, because logically, the fact that we have always witnessed the sun coming up in the morning does not mean that it will come up tomotrrow.

Your response to this fine, maddening, terrifying tradition of honest thought is basically G.E. Moore's simplistic, superficial response to Descartes' thesis that we can't know rationally that anything exists: "Here is one hand," explained Moore, "and here is another." This kind of response may be the result of a lack of intellectual horsepower, or perhaps the result of intellectual torpor, or perhaps just an absence of the intellectual curiosity characteristic of those who truly feel the bite of philosophy. Whatever the reason, I find these kinds of responses perfectly acceptable from someone who admits he or she is just using them to get through the night. I find them far less acceptable from people who pretend that they represent "truth."

2/17/2010 2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joss --- I know of many cases where someone changed an aggressors intent with a projection of their own 'essence' , as well as martial-art masters/experts who have defused a situation instead of destroying the person . It's great when that can happen . If your train story is true , i'm glad it worked out that way - as opposed to your friend being gang-raped in front of you prior to you both being killed - which happens to the best of intentioned people .

If your interested , look up an artical by Dave Grossman called Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs .

I would like to suggest a poll - non-scientific --- who could you envision actually coming to a victim of physical violence's aid - Theory of Me , Joss --- or David A. and Rob H. ??? My vote is on David and Rob .

Cannot seem to log on for some reason , Al Mcluckie

2/17/2010 2:52 PM  
Blogger theory_of_me said...

Apatoff said: "The earliest sophists showed that logic can't even get us out of the epistemological gate"

You'll have to do better than that, David. Ever wonder why sophistry is often used as a pejorative? You are using deliberately flawed and fallacious arguments to justify your views. I recall something about you being a full-time lawyer. If that's true then it makes perfect sense why you'd resort to these kinds of tactics.

Anyway, concerning epistemology, the Sophists claimed that no one could know anything with absolute certainty. But that's an inherently flawed statement because they're claiming with absolute certainty that nothing is absolutely certain. Too easy, I know but how can you refute it?

"...David Hume handily finished the job."

Hume only dealt with empirical observations, and I agree with him that all empirical observations are never certain. But pure logical truths are not empirical. Without pure logic, we could never begin to make meaningful statements about the empirical world.

"Descartes demonstrated with his famous cogito that your purported philosophy ("Nothing that contradicts pure logic can possibly exist") is a dead end."

It was certainly a dead end for him but not to anyone with a little more courage and imagination.

"logically, the fact that we have always witnessed the sun coming up in the morning does not mean that it will come up tomotrrow."

Yes, and we know with absolute certainty that there's no guarantee that the sun will rise tomorrow. But how could you know this if there is really no such thing as absolute knowledge? Whether or not we'll ever see the sun again is an empirical issue. Because it's uncertain does not mean that everything else is also uncertain. For example, do you doubt that 2+2=4? Do you go to bed thinking that tomorrow it might equal 5 or 12,887 and how wonderfully refreshing that would be?

"Descartes' thesis that we can't know rationally that anything exists"

Of course we can, but it helps to know what you mean by "exist". To exist really means to appear. Things appear, I see things so they exist. Descartes saw that as a dead end because he was trying to prove the existence of God. He was working with a nonsensical definition of God and twisted himself into a pretzel trying to prove it. He was a shitty philosopher. He knew for certain that he himself existed but never bothered to figure out what "he" really was. He assumed that his essence was to be a thinking thing but never bothered to define what a "thing" really is. For Descartes, "real things" or "substances" were things which exist independently. But nothing can exist independently of something else. Just try to imagine a cup without also imagining the space around it, it's impossible, the same applies to anything else whether it's physical, emotional, or purely conceptual.

2/17/2010 5:22 PM  
Blogger theory_of_me said...

Rob said: "They offer enough objection to your thoughts to force you to polish them."

Feel free to polish your thoughts on me anytime, Rob.

"The reality that at their present age they would have been no intellectual match for the 10 year-old Sassoon"

Unfortunately, your 10 year-old champion appears to have permanently stopped existing, although this is ultimately uncertain, as David will acknowledge. If you'd rather wait for him to reappear, I understand because it seems that all you have to offer in this discussion are junior high schoolyard tactics.

"My big brother could kick your ass!" Too bad he's not around, eh, Rob?

2/17/2010 5:37 PM  
Blogger Joss said...

So Rob, you're saying that the advice "love your enemies" is, "no more than you would give," to natural prey?
I must be limited by my mouse brain cuz I don't understand what the fuck that's supposed to mean.

Okay wait, you're saying people are either born hero's or weaklings and they ain't gonna change? I think you've expressed similar sentiments before, but not so sure anyone else here would agree with that, including the ones you don't regard as sniveling, weakling, losers, or are we all? In fact I thought Tom's selection by the blind Frenchman challenged that assumption quite effectively.

Al, I'm skeptical that all this talk is a good gauge of character as it would play out in a real life situation.
Again Tom's post rings true as it speaks to that. I don't mean to claim any special power of "essence", that was simply my experience, perhaps different from what Rob implied when he said,"obviously you have never had any real enemies."

2/17/2010 6:53 PM  
Blogger theory_of_me said...

Joss: "Your profile picture"

I'm pretty sure it's by Tadanori Yokoo. Just something that caught my fancy a few months ago.

"I'm still very curious to hear of an artist or works of visual art that you hold in high esteem."

I like a lot of artists, some well known some obscure. I can't say I hold any of them in great "esteem" in the heroic sense. I know too many artists who do that sort of thing and it really limits them, in my opinion. Nevertheless, I still find art stimulating. I treat it like a fun game, not something to invest your salvation in. Recently, I traveled to Philadelphia for the Gorky show, also went there for the Antonio Mancini and Cecilia Beaux shows a couple of years ago. I like really good drawing, which is why this blog initially attracted my attention.

Here's a flickr account of some images I've collected.

2/17/2010 7:06 PM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

>>>My vote is on David and Rob <<<

I think David might be a bit more circumspect than me but I am definitely the sort of person who will face risk to help people. It helps that I am physically preposessing and carry myself with assurance.

Ihave what the cops call a good "command voice." That is, when I tell someone to stop doing something they generally stop (as an aside, I do that with deer when they are in a clear spot to be shot. Invariably, they stand stock still).

As for defusing situations, my favorite was with a couple of bruthas bothering ladies trying the enter and exit a restaurant known for its clientele of genteel old ladies. I walked up to them and issued the following nonsequiter..."Stop that. This is Boston. Behave yourself." They slunk away.

Damned if I know what it meant but they were even more confused.

2/17/2010 10:16 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Theory of Me said: "Here's a flickr account of some images I've collected."

I'm glad to see that despite all your silliness about the rational mind transcending sexual urges, your images include a healthy percentage of buck nekkid ladies in provocative poses. I always say that when it comes to mapping a man's genome, his art collection is far more revealing than the words he uses.

But the only reason for this response to your comment is that you seem to have located on the internet a series of Ivor Hele drawings that never turned up in any of my searches. They are the ones you downloaded on September 8, 2008. Any idea where you found them?

2/17/2010 10:46 PM  
Blogger LCG said...

And I know that's no BS, Rob. I remember a group of us students sitting having a lovely lunch in Haverhill when a big homeless man came through the door. You quickly stood up and told him to leave; he froze ...then turned and left.

My vote's on David and Rob. ;-)

2/17/2010 10:48 PM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

>>>Okay wait, you're saying people are either born hero's or weaklings and they ain't gonna change? <<<

You an Me Me really need to take that Redial Reading For Dummies course. You seem to miss every third word in your desire to come up with a witty rejoinder.

I never said anything like what you think that I said. Read what I said. Here it is again, slow down, move your finger over the words and speak them aloud...ready?

Courage is what you get after you do the scary thing.

Does that sound like something inborn or something that is acquired with effort?

I will admit to an inborn fear of heights but part of my job in the military required me to be airborne qualified. I was terrified on my first jump. So much so that I stopped in the doorway and saw myself jump out...a true out-of-body experience.

It got a bit easier after the first one but never to the point that I was totally comfortable. Then came jumping at night and there was the feeling of an elephant was sitting on my chest.

To be certain, parachute assualts are not big in the military repertoire but the training does build courage that is useful for other things. That's why it's used as a Rubicon to be crossed. It builds courage.

There are sport jumpers who have no fear of parachuting, actually paying to do it. They probably never had the fear to conquer. That's not me, but that training carries into civilian life when something difficult has to be accomplished, I can say to myself...I can do it, and like the Little Engine Who Could, I do it.

That brand of confidence is acquired not born into. What is natural to me is an absolute lack of fear of fighting. Fighting never bothered me whereas most people verge on panic in a fight. That's inborn. For me, jumping out of perfectly good aircraft is learned.

I am trying to have more empathy toward people who cower in tense situations. It still strikes me as behavior inappropriate to the situation. A courageous deer will drive off a wolf. A more "reasonable" and mature-acting deer trying to negotiate a peaceful conclusion will always be the wolf's lunch. Same deer and wolf but the response is inappropriate to the occasion.

Although it's expensive, I suppose that you can choose to live in the Magic Kingdom at Disneyland and put all those wolves and muggers behind you. There's always a solution to fit any lifestyle and unlike most do-gooders, I would never press you to adopt my way of dealing with things.

2/17/2010 10:56 PM  
Blogger Laurence John said...

"I can't say I hold any of them in great "esteem" in the heroic sense. I know too many artists who do that sort of thing and it really limits them, in my opinion."



yeah, imagine having limitations ! how degrading that must be. as someone has has cut out ALL of his personal delusions and blind spots the very idea of 'limitation' must be completely foreign to you by now. still, i bet it's difficult to motivate yourself to do anything when you have no limitations whatsoever.

2/18/2010 8:57 AM  
Blogger kev ferrara said...

Theory of me...thank you for the link to your image collection. (And the introduction to Diarmuld Kelley.)

Your philosophy and manners still stink however. I'll leave aside your manners, except to say that for somebody who seems to want to slink through life in social silence, you sure make a lot of racket on this blog. (Ego, like nature, always finds a way, doesn't it?)

On philosophy however... you seem to be unaware that logic and analogic are necessarily co-dependent in order for humans to understand or experience anything. If we give epistemology serious consideration, logic itself must be judged only a kind of analogic.

And Vico, hundreds of years ago, made the observation that the truth is what we can make, not what we observe. Thus, the most coherent philosophy developed by the human species is clearly engineering. Functionality is the true measure of understanding. Which is also to say that evolution was the ultimate learning experience. And, furthermore, evolution required nothing but physics as its laboratory, library and consciousness... thereby proving that logic has no necessary predicate in metaphysics.

Rob, I'm enjoying your posts lately. You should write a treatise on the practice of gleeful goading.

2/18/2010 10:45 AM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

>>>You should write a treatise on the practice of gleeful goading.<<<


Think of me as the picador of pointed prose. It's difficult to miss when there's that much bull.

2/18/2010 12:34 PM  
Blogger theory_of_me said...

David said: "despite all your silliness about the rational mind transcending sexual urges, your images include a healthy percentage of buck nekkid ladies in provocative poses"

Ha! Well, I never said I was perfect and just because I've answered all the great philosophical questions of all time doesn't mean I'm friggin' blind! :)

But seriously, you don't really think I look at drawings when I'm feeling randy, do you? I mean, maybe that's something you're into but... uh, never mind.

I think I found those Hele jpegs on a site that's no longer online. Bonhams and Goodman, maybe? Not sure.

2/18/2010 2:57 PM  
Blogger Matthew Adams said...

Rob: "Entities like Theory and Joss (and where's Matt?) perform the same function that a piece of scratch paper does. They offer enough objection to your thoughts to force you to polish them."

Im still here, glad i can polish your thoughts (though I don't seem to be doing such a great job as they appear as dull as ever), though I object to being lumped in with dreary-old-flea. His knife mind might just cut the cheese at a twelve year old's slumber party, but most of us have experienced enough of life by his age to leave such sillyness behind.

David, I agree with the idea expressed in your card and the Sassoon quote (never heard much about him before, am now going to look for books on him). The idea of a warrior artist is not new but one that I think is true. I also suspect that there is not much difference in the thought process beind good strategy and good art. The focus on what your goal is, what your wiling to sacrifice to achieve it, and how to use the materials at hand to achieve it, what to leave out and what must absolutely go in, how to achieve it with least waste of resources, physical energy etc. These things are important to the artist as well as the general or warrior. It is why I believe some martial arts actually are art.

2/19/2010 9:43 AM  
Blogger Shelly Wan said...

*Seems i stumbled into a heated debate which i don't really care to read*

I would just love to say: David, I am so glad i found your AMAZING blog today! I read the two "Artists in Love" posts on Klimt and Rodin, and found that i have the blindfold lifted off me... Great, Great observations you make.

Best,
Shelly

2/19/2010 2:11 PM  
Blogger theory_of_me said...

Laurence John said: "the very idea of 'limitation' must be completely foreign to you by now."

Everyone has limitations, even a perfectly enlightened Buddha. For example, I probably can't play basketball at the NBA level. If I devoted my life to it, I'm sure I could improve my skills but I'd still probably never reach that level of ability. But it doesn't really matter, does it?

Also, being really great at basketball probably limits how well you'd do at other sports that require different abilities and body types. Could Manute Bol have been a great soccer player? Probably not. So limitations in that context can actually be quite useful and as we all know, arbitrary limitations in art can lead to interesting developments. So I wasn't talking about limitations in that sense.

"i bet it's difficult to motivate yourself to do anything"

That depends on what it is I might want to do. Since I'm no longer grossly delusional, if I ever say that I want to do something yet find myself not doing or even attempting to do it, I know it's because I really don't want to. There's no room for excuses. All acts are acts of will to the degree that they are done consciously.

2/19/2010 4:34 PM  
Blogger theory_of_me said...

kev ferrara said: "for somebody who seems to want to slink through life in social silence, you sure make a lot of racket"

I have no idea what makes you think I live my life in "social silence".

"Vico, hundreds of years ago, made the observation that the truth is what we can make, not what we observe."

Well, since it's an "observation" as you called it, then we can safely regard what Vico said as not true.

2/19/2010 4:43 PM  
Blogger Laurence John said...

"Everyone has limitations, even a perfectly enlightened* Buddha*"


*i don't believe in either.


i was being sarcastic Theory, in a vain attempt to try and point out to you that no-one is superhuman, and that no matter how clever you are at winning arguments, you will never transcend the basic limitations that we all as humans have to accept.
you see, i think you put too much faith in the cerebral. you seem to think that by proving your intellectual worth you have somehow won something over the humiliating condition of being born into a human body on a big spinning rock in the middle of god knows where. but i think the brain is a really overrated organ. it's too rational. you can rationalize yourself into believing any old tripe. don't trust the heart either. it's too sentimental. listen to your gut.

2/19/2010 6:41 PM  
Blogger kev ferrara said...

Theory of me ... that was a wearyingly juvenile response.

If you want to turn tricks with semantics, don't waste my time.

Vico's "observation" was a realization about the nature of what it means to understand. A utilitarian "show me" argument is what prevents text-hollowed-out minds like yours from becoming convinced of the infallibility of their own prattle.

The point is this: Understanding requires no words. Understanding doesn't even need to be called "understanding." It is simply the physics: Knowledge is demonstrated by performance. Ego games based on word play end at the moment of contact with physical reality.

But you don't want that contact, do you? You want to remain an untethered ego floating along on a breeze of verbal fantasy... untouched and untested... safe and secure... in an insignificant wonderland of semantics.

Speaking of semantics, if you had actually perused your Popper (rather than cutting and pasting his ideas from the zeitgeist), you'd appreciate that postulates must be falsifiable in order to be considered proper "theories". By your own lights you are all but untestable. Thus, though you call yourself "theory of me," you aren't actually a theory at all. You're what's known as "not even wrong."

2/19/2010 8:00 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Shelly Wan-- Thanks so much! I'm glad you stumbled across us.

Matthew Adams said: "I also suspect that there is not much difference in the thought process beind good strategy and good art."

Perhaps, although in my experience artists often lack the fundamental strategic competence for conducting their own lives. I have met a lot of CEOs and corporate leaders who are masters of strategy but are artistically tone deaf.


Kev Ferrara said: "Theory of me..Your philosophy and manners still stink."

Kev, we have more than one commenter here competing for the Angie Tempura award. Not sure why that is. I guess art just brings out the best in people.

2/19/2010 10:15 PM  
Blogger kev ferrara said...

That was a very creepy clip, David.

2/20/2010 8:41 AM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

Wow! I'm really showing my age when I can remember SNL as being creative, funny and with true talents. Then they left, made blockbuster movies and snl was stuck with the likes of Al Franken and everyone reciting The Hunting Of The Snark.

2/20/2010 5:01 PM  
Blogger Joss said...

David, would you mind clarifying who exactly you consider to be engaged in said competition? Since my last entry I have experienced probably the worst trauma of my life which would be inappropriate to share here, but it may alter my hubris level. I thought the Tempura clip was brilliant.

Theory_of_Angels I also am grateful for you sharing your flicker set, Diarmuld Kelley, paintings by Hele, and quite a few more which were completely new for me..splendid. It inspires me to create a similar acct. tho I've been a little busy dealing with all the doctors.

I'm glad all the "heated debate" doesn't keep folks like Shelly Wan from reaping the benefits of David's gracious, generous, endeavor.

Kev you seem to be a great match for Theory_. Though I enjoy him, your manners are refreshing, I hope I am so kind.

2/21/2010 7:18 AM  
Blogger Joss said...

Theory_,
I was especially curious if you know the artist's full names for the images labeled as, chogle
John, picture, and 000371 on your flickr set

2/21/2010 7:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Collards is green, my dog's name is Blue
And I'm so lucky to have a sweet thang like you.
Yore hair is like corn silk a-flapping in the breeze.
Softer than Blue's and without all them fleas.

You move like the bass, which excite me in May.
You ain't got no scales but I luv you anyway.
Yo're as satisfy'n as okry jist a-fry'n in the pan.
Yo're as fragrant as "snuff" right out of the can.

You have some'a yore teeth, for which I am proud;
I hold my head high when we're in a crowd.
On special occasions, when you shave under yore arms,
Well, I'm in hawg heaven, and awed by yore charms.

Still them fellers at work, they all want to know,
What I did to deserve such a purdy, young doe.
Like a good roll of duct tape, yo're there fer yore man,
To patch up life's troubles and fix what you can.

Yo're as cute as a junebug a-buzzin' overhead.
You ain't mean like those far ants I found in my bed.
Cut from the best cloth like a plaid flannel shirt,
You spark up my life more than a fresh load of dirt.

When you hold me real tight like a padded gunrack,
My life is complete; Ain't nuttin' I lack.
Yore complexion, it's perfection, like the best vinyl sidin'.
Despite all the years, yore age, it keeps hidin'.

Me 'n' you's like a Moon Pie with a RC cold drank,
We go together like a skunk goes with stank.
Some men, they buy chocolate for Valentine's Day;
They git it at Wal-Mart, it's romantic that way.

Some men git roses on that special day
From the cooler at Kroger. That's impressive," I say.
Some men buy fine diamonds from a flea market booth.
"Diamonds are forever," they explain, suave and couth.

But for this man, honey, these won't do.
Cause yor'e too special, you sweet thang you.
I got you a gift, without taste nor odor,
More useful than diamonds......Its a new troll'n motor

2/21/2010 9:55 AM  
Blogger Einbildungskraft said...

re This picture flips that common assumption and asks you to consider that perhaps the real power, the real enormity, resides within the rose and that the tiger is miniscule by comparison.

Why you are a lawyer and i am not ☺
It is lovely, a beautiful tribute.

re It helps that I am physically preposessing and carry myself with assurance.
to the picador of pointed prose; what a riot you are! so that we may better judge, can you not change that rather marmish profile pic?

B, g to my favorite writers/teachers

2/21/2010 6:24 PM  
Blogger Einbildungskraft said...

wow, i missed anonymouses's valentine epic poem "Collards is green, my dog's name is Blue", very fine! where is YOUR profile pic?

2/21/2010 8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Einbildungscrap, do you desperately, desperately, desperately NEEEEEED a manly man in your life, or WHAT?!?!?

Sheesh! Buy a homedic massage-wand already and be done with it!

2/22/2010 2:03 PM  
Blogger Einbildungskraft said...

re Einbildungscrap, ....

geez,sheesh, whats your beef? pray tell (describe) to us what a "homedic massage-wand" is?

I thought the message was from Rob at first! but he is usually more elegant with his advice
Beth

2/22/2010 2:18 PM  
Blogger emikk said...

Is a true dichotomy also considered a false dilemma?

2/22/2010 4:37 PM  
Blogger theory_of_me said...

Laurence John said: "no-one is superhuman"

I never said anyone was.

"you will never transcend the basic limitations that we all as humans have to accept."

And how do you know this?

"listen to your gut."

My gut is telling me that you don't really know what you're talking about here. Fortunately, my brain can find evidence for what my gut can only vaguely sense. Do you think everyone's gut tells them the same thing?

You said you don't believe in enlightenment or Buddhas. But a perfectly enlightened Buddha is just a regular person who doesn't experience delusions anymore. How do you know it is impossible for such a person to ever exist?

2/22/2010 5:17 PM  
Blogger theory_of_me said...

kev ferrara said: "If you want to turn tricks with semantics, don't waste my time."

Unfortunately for you, semantics are important if you hope to make coherent statements that don't hold any inherent contradictions.

"A utilitarian "show me" argument is what prevents text-hollowed-out minds like yours from becoming convinced of the infallibility of their own prattle.

Before utilitarianism can begin, one has to decide what is good or preferable. Usually, this is taken on faith and based only on assumptions. The truth value of a preference itself can only be "tested" using pure logic. Otherwise, you're only assuming that you're sane and doing things for the common good. Not everyone is made happy by the same things or has the same goals. This makes utilitarianism "usefulness" just another arbitrary category.

"postulates must be falsifiable in order to be considered proper "theories"."

This is true only for investigations of an empirical nature. Absolute truths are not provisional theories or claims; they are "self-evident", although, obviously if you don't want to believe them, you don't have to. For example, you can't do a test that proves the validity of the Law of Identity (A=A). It is also not falsifiable. New evidence or a change of perspective or mood can never do anything to change it. A=A is the foundation for all logic, without it you couldn't have any of the sciences or even distinguish one appearance from another. We all use it whether we are aware of it or not.

2/22/2010 5:57 PM  
Blogger theory_of_me said...

emikk asked: "Is a true dichotomy also considered a false dilemma?

False dilemma is another way of saying "false dichotomy".


Joss, all the images you asked about are now properly titled.

2/22/2010 6:09 PM  
Blogger kev ferrara said...

More prattle.

Statements are coherent based on the meaning, not the semantics. An accident or error of semantics, grammar, or any other surface quality of text, if the meaning is understood, is TRIVIAL. (Eggs sept, 2 thuh trivee-uhl-mynded, hoo covitt pick-a-yoon simbolik viktorees az compensayshun for over-awl failyers in re-allah-tee.) It is the subtext that means, not the words. Semantics is just a cheap collegiate parlor game.

For instance, rather than addressing my point about what constitutes knowable truth, you've attacked the word "utilitarian" instead, as if I were advocating a utilitarianist worldview, rather than making a point about the origin of abstract thought in physics, which addresses your previously semantic-based thoughts on the nature of understanding.

You're just avoiding the argument, cherry picking words to argue against, rather than substance, like a high schooler.

Maybe, dear enlightened Buddha, you should sit in a room somewhere, crosslegged trying to empty your mind of your egotistical need to come on this blog and convince us of your superior perspective.

Not to be invidious, but we can all recognize (without judging, of course) that you're just another frightened 20-something looking for a workaround to keep clear of the facts of reality. Most of what you write, you may not appreciate, is really an effort to convince yourself.

You might want to try transhumanism if your current escape regime doesn't take.

2/22/2010 7:09 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Anonymous said: "Einbildungscrap, do you desperately, desperately, desperately NEEEEEED a manly man in your life, or WHAT?!?!?"

Excellent point-- god forbid that someone should respond to a valentine with a little human warmth, rather than scrapping and tussling like hermeneutic puppy dogs.

2/22/2010 10:55 PM  
Blogger Laurence John said...

"...a perfectly enlightened Buddha is just a regular person who doesn't experience delusions anymore. How do you know it is impossible for such a person to ever exist?"


you're right, that was idiotic of me to even suggest. sorry, it must be so dreary for a person of your soaring intellect to have to slum it on a blog like this. doesn't it get tiresome having to correct all the ignorant mistakes us lay-types make all the time regarding the nature of existence... a subject only you seem have fully grasped ? (not to mention the grammatical slip-ups you have to constantly point out...how can you stand it ?). surely there are other blogs devoted to philosophy where you can go head to head with people more on your level ?
you might even start a blog of your own where you can set out your entire theory_of_yourself as a kind of help desk for the existentially challenged.

2/23/2010 4:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Einbildungscraft, I'm REALLLY REALLLY REALLY SORRY!

P.S. You're really hot in your profile picture!

2/23/2010 11:57 AM  
Blogger Einbildungskraft said...

hermeneutic ? Out comes my"Webster's New International Dictionary (1920)
hermeneutic (Greek)
hermeneutical-Unfolding the signification; interpretative; as hermeneutic theology
hermeneutics-The science of interpretation and explanation

amazing! but 'hermeneutic puppy dogs'? hmmmm.
his note was so odd, cause i in fact liked his poem, i can be a bit sappy i suppose.

2/23/2010 12:11 PM  
Blogger Einbildungskraft said...

Einbildungscraft, I'm REALLLY REALLLY REALLY SORRY!

apologies accepted. wha happened?

P.S. You're really hot in your profile picture!

well thankyou! i think the image is more Virtuous than Hot tho... i like to think both can exist concurrently

2/23/2010 12:16 PM  
Blogger theory_of_me said...

kev said: "Statements are coherent based on the meaning, not the semantics"

You're right, kev. I never pick sentences apart semantically if I can infer some sort of meaning in them first. But I couldn't do that with your statement so the best I could do is point out the obvious contradiction. If your semantics aren't at least somewhat in order, any meaning is obscured. You just pull the "semantics" card out whenever I criticize your lack of direct expression.

"It is the subtext that means, not the words."

But without words, there would be no subtext. Why would you bother writing to me if all you cared about was in an unspoken subtext? I think your style of writing is more suited for poetry or literature. In philosophy, there is not much use for subtle implication or subtexts, because such things can have various interpretations that run counter to the intent of the writer. This is not to say that it doesn't happen anyway, words just naturally have fluidity to their meaning, but it's best to get rid of as much ambiguity as possible if you care about being understood.

For example, I try to avoid introducing words like "epistemology", "semantics", "utilitarian" or "subtext" into conversations. I know what they mean but it's possible to speak more clearly using simpler words. Many people use big words to hide the fact that they really have nothing coherent to express and you're one of them, although you are far from the worst I've encountered in that respect.

I've never had any problem being understood, all my "problems" come from people not liking what I say and how bluntly I say it.

"rather than addressing my point about what constitutes knowable truth"

I dealt with that in the third part of my last comment to you.

2/23/2010 1:49 PM  
Blogger theory_of_me said...

Laurence John said: "it must be so dreary for a person of your soaring intellect to have to slum it on a blog like this"

If it ever became dreary you can be pretty sure I wouldn't show up anymore. For instance, what would I do here if I didn't have amusing posts like yours to respond to? :)

"surely there are other blogs devoted to philosophy where you can go head to head with people more on your level ?"

I do post elsewhere but this blog has a somewhat unique blend of art and philosophy that has kept me interested. Also, I don't see the point in having conversations with people who agree with me on everything, do you?

2/23/2010 2:03 PM  
Blogger Laurence John said...

you know what philosophy is to me ?
the art of stating the absolutely-bleeding-obvious in the most long-winded and convoluted way possible.
if you can make it unreadable and foster an insufferably pompous tone you get extra points.

2/23/2010 2:17 PM  
Blogger theory_of_me said...

I agree with the first part. The second part is academic "philosophy".

2/23/2010 2:25 PM  
Blogger kev ferrara said...

Theory of me...

To you, your rubbish is gold.

Go ahead, bask in the piles of rubbish you've built up, like Scrooge McDuck lounging in his vault.

But don't expect anybody with real money to make change for you.

kev

P.S. I hope I didn't utilize any words too dense for you to see through, or implications too subterranean for you to dig. I know how you love to be tethered to text, suckling on symbols, sentenced to sentences, until period/paragraph do you part.

2/23/2010 4:02 PM  
Blogger Joss said...

Einbildungscraft, nice to see you respond to the mouse-bully. This place can be a little heavy on the testosterone!

2/25/2010 3:20 AM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

*yawn*

2/25/2010 11:28 AM  
Anonymous A Wise Old Bird said...

Is the whole point of this blog that Mr Apatoff posts a picture and some words then the same old people use it as a jumping off point to attack each other or massage their own egos?

2/25/2010 2:37 PM  
Blogger theory_of_me said...

Aw, come on, Wise Old Bird. Can't you just focus on the positive? Why do you have to put people down?

2/25/2010 2:48 PM  
Blogger kev ferrara said...

Yes. Guilty.

That and the fact that Valentine's day was 11 days ago. Which means the balloon boy hoax and the fecklessness of Judge Ito have equal au courant status with the given topic. Try to keep up, old bird.

2/25/2010 6:26 PM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

Wise Old Bird, Theory of Mimi and the numerous Anonymice...could they all be different shapes of some schizoid Periclymenus arguing with himself as a form of shared self-abuse? It gets curiouser and curiouser.

2/26/2010 12:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9/11 was an inside job...

2/26/2010 12:47 PM  
Blogger emikk said...

I think Einbildungskraft's profile pic is kinda sexy myself!

2/26/2010 2:58 PM  
Blogger liebesreime said...

RE: emikk said...
I think Einbildungskraft's profile pic is kinda sexy myself!

Thankyou emikk. So is yours-and love your work too.
Anyway, *despite Rob's yawns*, the hit I took to my profile name inspired me to... change it. David, once again a lovely party, despite the drunks and egos strutting their stuff, but the intellectual chitchat is always so.. elevated! Kev, Rob (you incredible picador of pointed prose!), David ...... & Joss thank you

gruesse B

2/26/2010 6:37 PM  
Anonymous Pure Evil said...

101? I demand a recount.

2/26/2010 7:41 PM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

By keeping this thread going well past its expiration date, David, you have made February appears to be one of the longest and most tedious months of the year.

2/27/2010 11:57 AM  
Blogger theory_of_me said...

That's surprising. Rob. I was thinking you'd be up to some jaw-dropping wizardry in the studio, or at least rubbing up on your classic Benzs again.

2/27/2010 1:51 PM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

>>>or at least rubbing up on your classic Benzs again.<<<

I'll be doing more than that. We had hurricane winds that knocked down trees and a branch came down on my diesel wagon and broke a section of the grillework. It's the one I use day-to-day, so it's nothing special compared to some of the others, but I am fond of it because it sounds like a bunch of rocks in a washing machine.

Fortunately, everything else was inside under wraps.

2/28/2010 1:19 AM  
Blogger theory_of_me said...

Cool story, bro.

I keep my life as simple as possible. The most I had to do was shovel some snow.

2/28/2010 3:42 AM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Rob Howard said, "By keeping this thread going well past its expiration date, David, you have made February appears to be one of the longest and most tedious months of the year."

I feel your pain, Rob, especially because after a week people become bored with the topic anyway and start turning on each other for entertainment. Please be assured, it was not my intention to "keep this thread going." I was traveling and had trouble updating remotely. I assumed that people would just stop commenting.

Apologies to all. I'm back.

2/28/2010 4:42 PM  
Anonymous pop art said...

hahaha nice post!!

3/02/2010 3:02 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home