This page is for discussing the contents of Aries - the egotist.
2011-08-24 23:20:50 Pleased to start off this fascinating essay for Mark. We will need to add some images = and maybe Mark will take suggestions for links and boxes? Lets s discuss it all here... this is where post-rationalism starts! —docmartin
2011-08-25 23:44:12 Thank you, Martin. But I think that post-rationalism is a heavy burden to bear, maybe a prejudicial way to approach the subject. Post-positivist, yes — but not quite ready for the madhouse. May I correct an error? The URL at the should read
2011-08-26 12:54:34 Hi Mark,
Post-rationalism is not 'madness' is it? Discuss... Anyway, that's just an invitation to talk about some of the issues if you like here. Actually, there is a small debate about how 'egotistical' Descrartes' cogito really is... in the Latin it does not have the same 'first person' grammatical implications as in English and in French... but he WAS a great egotist, I do agree with you on that. We could maybe add a box on Descartes' egocentric style - I've got notes somewhere... —docmartin
2011-08-27 17:11:50 I would be delighted to have your contributions to my examples of Descartes's egotism. I hesitated to make that word the tag for Aries, altho it's widely used; one writer has gone for "Pioneer" which is also good and a bit more heroic. Can it be said of all our philosophers that they point forward, that they have an "intention" (Husserl), that they say "Follow me out of this mess"? Probably not.
Cogito ergo sum's first person implications . . . isn't the actual phrase in the Meditations
" . . ego cogito, ergo sum . . "? There are some paragraphs in the Meditiations where the word I appears so often that you feel that the honk of a horn would make an interesting substitute, a kind of rhetorical repetitio drilling into the reader's unconscious — given that word has been so emptied of meaning, drained by the Demon, of gender, history, location, etc. Here I'll dare to spout off as an amateur, but to my astrologically informed mind, Descartes as a philosopher is a bit of a blowhard, and terribly pleased with his ability to spin scholasticism and logic to his own purpose, which is simply to declare: We exist, the world exists, we're sure enough of both, now let's get on with it and develop scientific knowledge to benefit humanity. Surely, Descartes's purely philosophical writing, had he never invented analytic geometry, and energetically made important contributions to a plethora of early scientific problems, thereby engaging the respect of the community of scientists, surely in that case his philosophical writings would be less meaningful.
As for post-rationalism — I'd like to take ease myself into that topic by embracing it as I come along the philosophers who espouse it. I'd put forth one idea — that astrology (which by the way will not be easily defined; I regard it as a morphing, diachronic phenomenon); that the relationship between the stars and the human being is of the nature of the peripheral, marginal, liminal, something along those lines, and actually "embodies" the consequent ambiguities. —188.8.131.52
2011-08-27 17:51:03 Almost a million folks are ordered to evacuate NYC, where public transportation and a good deal of electrical service too. I live on the western edge of the uncertainty cone, and am expecting refugees shortly. And will probably lose internet for days. —184.108.40.206
2011-08-28 17:16:29 Understood Mark - no rush, NY is powerless and refugees come even before diachronic weather phenomena... ? Hey, I'd agree with you about Descarte's philosophical writings, if we split philosophy and science as we do now... but back then there wasn't the line, so his philosophical platitudes and his mathematical innovations I suppose were complementary... Galileo who we celebrate here (on PI) more, is nearly always treated as a scientist with philosophical interests, whereas a better case (seems to me anyway) is to make him a philosopher first and a scientist third or fourth....
Anyway, you get back to looking after the displaced folk there in the Big Apple! —docmartin
2011-09-01 22:10:50 Thanks for the new files, Makr. We'll get on with them next week. Am still travelling this week so only able to 'pop in' here! —docmartin
2011-09-01 22:31:44 ps
taken me a while to dig this up... but :
ego sum, ego existo, quoties a me profetur, vel mente concipitur, necessario esse verum - is Descartes original Latin version of what later became known as 'the cogito' —docmartin
2011-09-01 23:01:47 For Aries the macabre: Baudelaire!
My love, do you recall the object which we saw,
That fair, sweet, summer morn!
At a turn in the path a foul carcass
On a gravel strewn bed,
Its legs raised in the air, like a lustful woman,
Burning and dripping with poisons,
Displayed in a shameless, nonchalant way
Its belly, swollen with gases.
The sun shone down upon that putrescence,
As if to roast it to a turn,
And to give back a hundredfold to great Nature
The elements she had combined;
And the sky was watching that superb cadaver
Blossom like a flower.
So frightful was the stench that you believed
You'd faint away upon the grass.
The blow-flies were buzzing round that putrid belly,
From which came forth black battalions
Of maggots, which oozed out like a heavy liquid
All along those living tatters.
All this was descending and rising like a wave,
Or poured out with a crackling sound;
One would have said the body, swollen with a vague breath,
Lived by multiplication.
And this world gave forth singular music,
Like running water or the wind,
Or the grain that winnowers with a rhythmic motion
Shake in their winnowing baskets.
The forms disappeared and were no more than a dream,
A sketch that slowly falls
Upon the forgotten canvas, that the artist
Completes from memory alone.
Crouched behind the boulders, an anxious dog
Watched us with angry eye,
Waiting for the moment to take back from the carcass
The morsel he had left.
— And yet you will be like this corruption,
Like this horrible infection,
Star of my eyes, sunlight of my being,
You, my angel and my passion!
Yes! thus will you be, queen of the Graces,
After the last sacraments,
When you go beneath grass and luxuriant flowers,
To molder among the bones of the dead.
Then, O my beauty! say to the worms who will
Devour you with kisses,
That I have kept the form and the divine essence
Of my decomposed love!
— William Aggeler,translator, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)
2011-09-01 23:24:27 Goya, expert in macabre and war : Goya's Disasters of War
Some of the most graphic images to come out of the brutal guerrilla war in the Peninsular War were penned by Francisco de Goya. Click to enlarge these pictures. Be warned, however, they may disturb some people as they contain disturbing scenes of horror, brutality, torture and the savagery of war. —PerigGouanvic
2011-09-02 01:10:26 Modern icons : Kirk and Spock, the two "pioneers" (William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, two Arieses) —PerigGouanvic
2011-09-02 01:12:19 “Violence is one of the most fun things to watch” —Quentin Tarantino, born March 27th. —PerigGouanvic
2011-09-02 15:09:14 Doc, there is also this: "Ac proinde hæc cognitio, ego cogito, ergo sum, est omnium prima & certissima, quæ cuilibet ordine philosophanti occurrat." (English: "This proposition, I think, therefore I am, is the first and the most certain which presents itself to whoever conducts his thoughts in order.").
Principles of Philosophy (1644), Part 1, article 7. So it's hard to take the ego out of the cogito. —markshulgasser
2011-09-02 16:31:02 Thank you, Perig, for your contributions. I feel it necessary to stick to philosophers here, though it is impossible to resist bringing in illustrations from other walks of life. I would point out that Baudelaire's Carcass is essentially the hideous obverse of Marvell's "To his Coy Mistress" which I quoted above. [But at my back I always hear / Time's winged chariot drawing near . . . . The grave's a fine and quiet place / But none I think do there embrace.] Baudelaire was a fierce Aries with 5 bodies in the sign and a great urge to shock. He said "Only when I have inspired universal horror and disgust will I have overcome solitude". He also had a spectacular mother problem — he was engulfed in a prolonged infantile attachment to his young widowed mother, until her suddenly remarriage when he was nine, from which he never psychologically recovered. Two more blaspheming, flaming drunk Aries poets to consider: Swinburne and Verlaine. I don't know much about Swinburne's mom, but Verlaine's mom kept the fetuses of her three miscarriages in jars which she would exhibit to convince him of her love and his good fortune. In a drunken rage he once smashed them and physically assaulted her. Come to think of it, another intoxicated, blaspheming Aries poet, the Earl of Rochester, was exiled from the English court, like Hobbes, but not for atheism; rather for drunkenly smashing the King's favorite toy, a huge glass orrery (of all things!) Aries love to make noise. If the whole house is wakened by pots and pans crashing in the kitchen, the cook is usually an angry Aries. You'll find them in the percussion section, and among the brass — but of course also as soloists of all kinds. They love to hear themselves speak. I think you can feel this in Hobbes. Also Henry James. Certainly Lacan and Zizek, it is assertive, sometimes the noise of an empty barrel. Mark Shulgasser —220.127.116.11
The theme of the deranged and/or deranging mother reminds me of the myth of Andromeda (the child) and Cassiopeia (the cruel, narcistic, mother), with Cepheus (dad) notoriously absent (as far as I can recall.) these three constellations 'belong' to Aries. Andromeda hanging on a cliff, waiting to be devoured by the Piscean monster... because of mom. One might be tempted to see mother/birth issues as a reflection of the Aries-Cancer square, however, much in analogy with the crazy birth/upbringing stories of Capricorn (opposite of cancer). Dunno. What do you think?— PG
I think we'll definitely revisit "birth and the mother" at Cancer. This stuff about Andromeda and Cassiopeia is great. Libra also has its stories around birth and ego-formation — a striking one in Althusser, if you read his memoir. So maybe all the Cardinal signs tend a bit more to lick wounds of early childhood . . . just speculating. I like the new color, the green was a bit puzzling.
2011-09-02 16:48:42 I can't resist transcribing this example of compulsive noisemaking in connection with a blighted birth and impairment, from Beckett's "Molloy".
It [the bicycle] had a little red horn instead of the bell fashionable in your days. To blow this horn for me was a real pleasure, almost a vice. I will go further and declare that if I were obliged to record, in a roll of honour, those activities which in the course of my interminable existence have given me only a mild pain in the balls, the blowing of a rubber horn — toot! — would figure among the first. And when I had to part from my bicycle I took off the horn and kept it about me. I believe I have it still, somewhere, and if I blow it no more it is because it has grown dumb. Even motorcars have no horns nowadays, as I understand the thing, or rarely. When I see one, through the lowered window of a stationary car, I often stop and blow it. This should all be re-witten in the pluperfect. What a rest to speak of bicycles and horns. Unfortunately it is not of them I have to speak, but of her who brought me into the world, through the hole in her arse if my memory is correct. First taste of shit. —18.104.22.168
2011-09-07 13:22:41 ps. re the page title = the file name = not the big letters thing on the page... they have to be short too, just for practical reasons. —docmartin
2011-09-08 09:24:05 Yes, re. the 'literary' side of this astrological 'investigation' - what I thought was most interesting in the idea of sticking with philosophers is that they are supposed to have drawn their grand theories of the world from rational reflection, analysis, that sort of stuff. How appropriate then to track them by their astrological influences and see if their lives and work can be pigeonholed like that!
With literature, we have another compelling potential irony - in that the creative flourishes may reflect again this deeply 'unscientific' way of dividing up people. But ti seems to me to be very much a parallel investigation - perhaps we can have as a long-term plan. —docmartin
I agree, mostly parallel investigations. (although I pushed many 'unscientific' suggestions, because they were so compelling) — PG
2011-09-08 11:53:29 What do people think of the 'Descartes in a box' box? —docmartin
2011-09-08 13:14:17 Interesting remark from Aries egotist Niall Ferguson in this morning's Telegraph: “ Through pure accident of birth I’ve managed to stay relatively youthful. . . . . . But the real point of me isn’t that I’m good looking. It’s that I’m clever. I’ve got a brain! " Meanwhile, momento mori Christopher Hitchens comes out swinging from the edge of the grave with a new book called "Arguably". —22.214.171.124
Do you mean this Niall.com egosaurus? I love the way he puts 'all his details' up in big in case we think of him as just a professor... Reminds me of yougsters swapping their exam grade details. —docmartin
2011-09-09 03:33:05 The very same. Have you ever read Trevor-Roper's devastating essay on Toynbee, another Aries egosaurus historian, very revealing. If I can dig it up I'll pull out some extracts. Taurus is coming. Don't quite know what a box is. —126.96.36.199
2011-09-09 15:01:19 My opinion on Tauruses in philosophy —
In modern times, Freud and Marx, the Id and the Capital, are two quintessential modern pseudoscientific notions or pseudonotions expressing Taurine drives, which escape refutation and haunt discussions and consciousness = "it's your class / your Id who's talking!".
Like Tauruses, these notions consecrate non-thinking, egotism of another kind, the sensual one (Tauruses prolong Arieses' fiery impulses in some bloated, (earthly/)materialized way). Both notions express the Taurus issue of conciling the I of Aries and the We-origins of Cancer (whether it's the family of Freud or the Class of Marx). (Taurus is the sign between spring and summer, Aries and Cancer).
Both start with the stealth of a great idea: Freud stole mesmerism, Marx (and Engels) stole anthropology.
Mesmerism, hypnosis, is still an open door to something much more mysterious than most orthodox thinkers would accept; what comes from it is still capable to shake our worldviews — Jung tried to save psychoanalysis and this realm from Freudism (see the Wolfgang Pauli-Carl Jung dialogues).
Anthropology, like stories about the Amerindians during the Renaissance, showed that life could be much different, more grounded and less patriarchal (it showed other things, of course). In the Renaissance, they influenced Rousseau. During the industrial revolution, Marx and Engels took related notions about other less patriachal societies, "primitive matriarchy", to create their own techno-utopia.
Freudism and Marxism both used women, either hysterical or primitive, as inspirations to create, materialize their own baby theories. Intellectual stealth is probably an important aspect of those Tauruses in philosophy; the rape of the woman also (rape in its original latin, sense (rapture), and also its modern sense). Venus rules Taurus, says the tradition.
I said above that Jung tried to rescue psychoanalysis. In a similar fashion, modern anthropologists like Pierre Clastres — scientifically! — question many of the preconceptions of Marx and their followers, concerning work, leisure, pleasure, capital, subsistence, the family, etc.
2011-09-09 15:18:37 Hitler and Lenin, two tauruses (and neighbors in the sky) who owe much of their successes to Freud and Marx. Two stories of stealth, another layer of manipulation. —PerigGouanvic
2011-09-10 00:08:46 Perig, You are bringing up major topoi. I tried to line up Freud and Marx for years. The id/capital parallel, I played it for everything it was worth, And of course you and I weren't the only ones trying to align Marx and Freud with lack of success, therefore we thought aha, astrology has a key here. But I couldn't make it work for me. For one thing, the May 6 horoscope is totally unimpressive. Anyway, my personal relationship with Freudian ideas was quite uncomfortable and his putative horoscope did not add to understanding, and my interest in astrology waned. Then I looked into the standard Freud biography, by Ernest Jones, the original 3 volume edition, NOT the single volume Lionel Trilling abridgement, and as a foot note on the very first page, we are jokingly told of evidence that Freud was born two months earlier, on March 6. A Pisces. Take it from there. Shall I post my paper The True Birthday of Sigmund Freud here on my page? Or just email you a copy? Also, I have something about it at [www.astrodreamer.squarespace.com]. I'd have to put the two pieces together & rewrite a bit if I were to put this on P-I, and I was saving that task for the end of the series. Trying to get this Taurus thing done tho.
It's a hard adjustment to make, but I know you can do it. The dividends are huge. It not only illuminates Freudianism, it also explains his enigmatic life: just think about it, dreams, anxiety, cocaine, hypnosis, neurosis, polymorphous perversion, eels testicles and the foot of Gradiva.
Where does the Bull fit in?
As for Hitler and Lenin, I like to think that both of them gain their power from the potent Tauromachia at the cusp of Aries and Taurus. The burden should be divided between both primitive signs. — but I'm going to stick to philos. —MS
2011-09-10 02:54:16 Please send this to me by email, via my userpage! —PerigGouanvic
2011-09-13 22:19:32 Mark is clearly very careful and also our expert on thee things, but I have seen the phrases assocaited with the signs called 'mottos', rather than as it was here, 'key words'. In this case, too, I think the motto is kind of lost at the moment, and it is surely one of the most striking coincidences! —NormanNitram
2011-09-22 12:06:46 I've made this one 'logged in ' readers only... notably it'll be off Google now. Too good to hand out to everyone! —NormanNitram
2011-09-22 15:31:43 This is yesterday's Arts&Letters Daily editorial summary of Richard Dawkins, with no help from me: "Why do we exist? asks Richard Dawkins. Why are we here? For the 70-year-old biologist, a compelling answer: to continue deft battle with intolerably conventional wisdom... more»" Pure Aries, straight from Descartes. 1st: Question existence. Then: inadequate answer, but in reaction to the anxiety that question provokes, the urge to battle. —Mark-Shulgasser
2011-10-27 12:28:09 "Looking backwards we see Descartes and Hobbes as 'beginning modern philosophy,' but they thought of their own cultural role in terms of what Lecky was to call 'the warfare between science and theology,' They were fighting (albeit discreetly) to make the intellectual world safe for Copernicus and Galileo." Richard Rorty, Contingency, Irony and Solidarity.
Note here that the two Aries, Descartes and Hobbes, are as a battle-front for the invasion of the sophistication accumulated in the adjacent last sign, the mutable, oceanic Pisces, which holds the nativities of both Copernic and Galileo, who inserted into the culture the transcendental mathematics of space/time relativity, finally perfected in yet a third Piscean, Einstein. —Mark-Shulgasser
2011-10-27 18:08:53 Pure Aries, straight from Descartes. 1st: Question existence. Then: inadequate answer, but in reaction to the anxiety that question provokes, the urge to battle.
I like this! We should definitely try to use it somewhere... Descartes defrocked...