“I am utterly disturbing, and I create only perplexity.”
“Behold! I am weary of my wisdom, like the bee, which has gathered too much honey; I need hands which stretch outwards. [Siehe! Ich bin meiner Weisheit überdrüssig, wie die Biene, die des Honigs zu viel gesammelt hat, ich bedarf der Hände, die sich ausstrecken.]” – Nietzsche (Part 1 of Thus Spoke Zarathustra)
Who came upon me once
Stretched under apple-trees just after bathing,
Why did you not strangle me before speaking
Rather than fill me
with the wild white honey of your words
And then leave me to the mercy
Of the forest bees.”
Amy Lowell, “Carrefour”
“Perhaps such experiences [ hallucinatory forms ] are at the root of our human obsession with pattern and the fact that geometrical patterns find their way into our decorative arts. As a child, I was fascinated by the patterns in our house–the square colored floor tiles on the front porch, the small hexagonal ones in the kitchen…These geometric and scrolling motifs seemed somehow familiar to me, though it did not dawn on me until years later that this was because I had seen them in my own head, that these patterns resonated with my own inner experience of the intricate tilings and swirls of migraine…Do the arabesques and hexagons in our own minds, built into our brain organization, provide us with our first intimations of formal beauty? There is an increasing feeling among neuroscientists that self-organizing activity in vast populations of visual neurons is a prerequisite of visual perception–this is how seeing begins.”
– Oliver Sacks (from “Hallucinations”)
“We presuppose labour in a form that stamps it as exclusively human. A spider conducts operations that resemble those of a weaver, and a bee puts to shame many an architect in the construction of her cells. But what distinguishes the worst architect from the best of bees is this, that the architect raises his structure in imagination before he erects it in reality.”
Marx, Karl, Capital (Kindle Locations 2918-2920).
As a prelude to a discussion about “the ordinary” in its various guises i.e. (1) its illusory manifestation as a privileged space impermeable to the threatening uncanny of “real world” politics; (2) as the radical ordinary reclaimed from the seeming greyscale of the neoliberal West and its culture industry:
“Themes of “wonder” and the “marvel of Being” are suspect if they refer to an ecstatic mysticism that pretends to escape the world. The theme of scientific curiosity is no less suspect if it boils down to a collector’s preoccupation with rarities. In both cases, desire for the exception presupposes disdain for the ordinary.
Adorno: “Technology is making gestures precise and brutal, and with them men. It expels from movement all hesitation, deliberation, civility […] which driver is not tempted, merely by the power of his engine, to wipe out the vermin of the street, pedestrians, children and cyclists?” (Minima Moralia, p. 40)
And man-with-gun is a totally different beast than man-without.
I wanted to set the scene briefly. In this short story, Kafka (the narrator Kafka) describes a village of mice folk who all work very hard and ‘pipe’ while they work. Josephine is the exception in this community because she sings when she pipes, she has a beautiful voice, though it is not always so clear why.