Monday, November 30, 2009

when i become o

natalie portman from the film "closer"


we seek

are we not slaves?


there is no greater freedom than slavery …
one abdicates
in favor of an other
authority … a greater authority …
the one that defines good
the one that dictates action …

thinking becomes and is dangerous …
thinking is questioning
it becomes heresy …

to be
to not think,
to be innocent
free …

intimacy is freedom
from fear
it is the complete trust of an other
control is relinquished without fear of consequences

it is a giving up of concern
for others
this moment
it is a giving up of

how are we now as lovers
to balance this
taking and letting go
how are we as lovers
to reconcile our love
of the self
of an other

where is the line between my lover and my self

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

love -

an unselfish, benevolent feeling.
to be devoted to …

in feeling
to desire those conditions which are most favorable ….
to follow this logic

a truly rare condition
to be remembered when not present
to be nurtured
to seek and take joy in the flourishing
to dwell upon

a refuge

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Love is an odd thing … it is a stain that will not wash away … it lingers … it haunts.

I love you.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

can I get a witness? to lives lived with integrity -- cronkite, estemirova, politkovskaya…

Jacques Derrida, The Gift of Death, and Jan Patocka, Heretical Essays, discuss the interior witness, the all-seeing unseen from which arises responsibility. As does the self, Culture requires a witness, a seeing eye which holds out for the conscience to see to what the Collective is complicit. The founders of the United States understood that without the un-blinkered vision of a Press there can be no accountability. Without an education of the People as to the issues of government there can be no Democracy.

Without honest and discerning witnesses how can we see? I mention here the reason for putting Cronkite in the company of Estemirova and Politkovskaya… Who presently among the media has his courage and his integrity? I am referring, of course, to his 1968 editorial on Vietnam.

Currently We, Western Culture, refrain from criticality, from hierarchy. “The World is Flat.” The audience, we all are audience – passive voyeurs waiting for our personal fifteen minutes (where do I sign up, facebook, twitter? who are my “friends”, my “fans”, who watches me?) … the audience is “free” to choose, without commentary or external valuation. We do not take responsibility for what is performed, We watch and there is no distinction between fiction and life. Our emotions, our actions are as stimulated by Harry Potter; as by Darfur; as by Rwanda; as by The Simple Life; as by Brad and Angelina; as by… it is all the same, We, the Culture, make no distinction, only individual choices. Entertainment is the opiate of the masses. As a voice we are divided, dispersed, removed, solitary, thus lacking critical mass.

The role of the witness is subverted. With a million choices, a million clicks, a million channels, a billion-plus seeking the attention of the Audience, how can the witness be heard?

How do We take responsibility? How We do justice? What is Our ethic?

Hugh Thompson, Jr.
Stephen Biko
Mahatma Gandhi
Natalia Estemirova, Anna Politkovskaya
Jan Patocka
Walter Cronkite

Foreign Policy

Martin Luther King, Jr
Holocaust Resistance
Walter Cronkite (Youtube)
Enough (project to end genocide)
Glenn Thompson, Jr., Glenn Andreotta,
Lawrence Colburn

Ann Frank

For using entertainment to an end:
Stephen Colbert
Jon Stewart

Monday, July 13, 2009

lane cooper blogs on politics, philosophy and society

A friend asked me to what end, other than the expression of my own compulsions, do I pursue “blogging” as an enterprise? He said, “How does it advance you or your position?”

In answer to that:

This blog is a space for my philosophical, political and social musings. The lack of an editor or other body to which I must answer provides a freedom in my writing. It is writing for the sake of writing; thinking for the sake of thinking; a practice that I cultivate for the ideas and the writing themselves.

I imagine an audience. I do not dissuade or forbid an audience, in fact it could be said that I wish for an audience, believing as I do the subjects that I turn my attention toward should be of broader interest. Yet it is a practice, like meditation, which I do to cultivate those faculties on which it depends.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

the news that fit to print...

women slain in New Mexico

When I look at news websites or listen to the news on television these days I'm consistently surprised at it's flatness. The hierarchy of news stories seems non-existent. This story appeared in a list of headlines which included a story about a squirrel with its head stuck in a cup and Michael Jackson's abuse of sedatives. It was quickly pushed from the main page.

If entertainment is constantly the focus of the news media what does that tell us about our priorities?

If nothing else...

bbc news

frankly I first learned of the latest U.S. surge in Afghanistan from the BBC. Not perfect but a little better.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

dear m

when someone gives time and thought to what is offered there is not greater gift. thank you.

to further the conversation on ethics...

i do not believe that ethics can ever be imposed, set or enforced from the outside. this is counter to the authenticity of an ethic. we are in agreement. an ethic must be internal. it must be a personal compass. i wish for, however, a reality of cultural ethics --meaning that i wish the values we espouse were truly reflective of belief. as a culture, or as a collective, not even by consensus, we each would say we believe in the rights of the individual to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness -- i wish the logic of that position could be followed through, truly adhered to.

mentally i argue with politicized christianity... i am dismayed that a belief system which supposedly advances so many positions of love, tolerance, and freedom from human judgement, often falls short of the logic of these positions.

how could a country, led as it was at the time by christians, ever go to war? much less make war based on flimsy provocations... do not cheney and bush present themselves as christians? isn't the logical christian position one of pacifism?

pro-life, anti-abortion -- wouldn't the most logical thing to do be to work to create opportunities for pregnant women... to make it easier to have a baby? wouldn't you be handing out condoms to the heathen in order to (a) keep them from conceiving unwanted children and (b) save them from diseases until you could save their souls? if not condoms, then in general wouldn't you do the work up front instead of after the fact - try to change people's thinking rather than legislate their lives?

in the case of gay marriage, wouldn't you leave it to god to sort things out? judge not least ye be judged.

and whatever happened to "my kingdom is not of this world"? wasn't there a reason early christians set themselves apart, lived outside of the worldly concerns and did not trouble themselves with the doings of non-christians except to preach? why would any christian ever involve themselves in politics?

i seek some logical follow through to the positions espoused. i'm looking for the love brother, looking for the love.

Monday, July 06, 2009

notes from an impoverished culture

image from the book of the dead:

What is Poverty? How do we know Poverty? Is knowing Poverty an awareness of a lacking? What then is lacking?

In speaking of ideals perhaps in this context it is the lack of love or fellowship which makes one poor? Perhaps in another way of thinking poverty is only the product of a deficit in financial means and what those means provide – food, shelter, education – perhaps this is what is lacking in Poverty.

It seems most generally, Poverty is a lack of something essential. Essentials foster a sense of security and to know Poverty, to lack in some way, is to be insecure.

What culture then lacks? Which culture is it which is impoverished?

Any that does not breed security in its citizens.


Who are “we”?
Those that I live among and that I count myself as one of…
“we” who have been living in a world lacking of an ethic.

It is not possible to cultivate security, richness, in the absence of an ethic.

An ethic is essential. An ethic provides a predictable logic from which expectation is extrapolated to the audience of action.

The problem with a culture lacking a commonly held ethic and possessing only individualized, personalized, hidden or non-existent ethics is an absence of a dependable social reality. There can be no concept of even a Justice in this culture… only an arbitrary illusion which pretends to serve some ideal. If “we” lack an ethic as a culture then we are all on our own without expectation of aid – we are cut a drift and the fabric of our society unraveled –

Describe a thing, clearly, objectively and it will tell you a truth – the description can make apparent the ethic at work. All choices are driven by the logic of an ethic. Choices are evidence of the logic that drives them. The greater the commitment to the logic the more consistent the choices… and sometimes the contradictions between what is pledged and what is done become apparent. To see in this way is wakefulness; it is consciousness; it is a taking of responsibility.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Pictured: Caravaggio, The Raising of Lazarus, Museo Regionale, Messina, 1609

Metaphysics –
“… metaphysics was the ‘science’ that studied ‘being as such’ or ‘the first cause of things’ or ‘things that do not change.’ It is no longer possible to define metaphysics [in this way] … there are many philosophical problems… now considered … metaphysical … in no way related to first causes or unchanging things; the problem of free will, for example, or the problem of the mental and the physical.”

From a renaming of fourteen of Aristotle’s works that have been given the collective title “Metaphysics.”

• Chinese metaphysics = “that which is above matter” (the study of)

- the science of divine things.
Viewed May 30, 2009

Metaphysics – an umbrella overarching.

I have been thinking awhile on Metaphysics and as well as on Derrida’s theology. Derrida’s is I think perhaps a purer theology than some others in that it is freed from the theos.

Also I have been thinking awhile about the nature of ethic/ethos. How does one become “ethical”? How does one know “good”? To define a “good” first one must become awake to a need to define a “good:” a conscious examination of what is a “good” and by what criteria it will be measured.

Can that definition come from the exterior? To some extent it must. It comes in part from instruction and in part, and perhaps more fully, from the observation of the consequences resulting from the choices and the acts of the individual and others. This need for study makes pre-requisite the passage of time and in some measure of awareness.

How long does it take to develop a knowing of “good”? For some a “good” is never known because it is never questioned, never consciously considered. It is for most a process of degrees that does not end until this self is ended.

“This becoming responsible… This trembling seizes one at the moment of becoming a person, and the person can become what it is only in being paralyzed [_transie_], in its very singularity, by the gaze of God. Then it [the person] sees itself seen by the gaze of another, ‘a supreme, absolute and inaccessible being who holds us in his hand not by exterior but by interior force’ (Jan Patocka, Heretical Essays on the Philosophy of History, 116 – quoted by Jacques Derrida, The Gift of Death, 6, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1995)

Consciousness is the waking of the interior witness. As discussed in Patocka, it is the presence of God. It, the witness, becomes the self that is aware. Without this awakened self it is impossible to take responsibility. “To take responsibility” requires a self-interrogation, an awake interior witness that holds the self accountable to a criteria. This constitutes the integrity of the self. The consistency of the logic exercised is the only means by which the ethical nature of the exterior self is manifested. The interior witness is unknowable, un-accessible to any other but the self to which it bears witness. It is a mystery. Its nature can only be imagined through the logic which is demonstrated by the actions of that external self.

Lack of responsibility grants authority to something other than the witness/self. This “other voice”, of my mother, of my teacher, of my neighbor, of my community’s collective voice, of my political party, of my gang, of my religion, or yet some other-other; may define for me an externally determined “good” and become an internalizing of a “better than.” By employing this authority I may employ a criteria that places my performance of “goodness” as a contrast to the definitions of “goodness” held by others. This accounting to an external authority reassures me that I am better than some other and relieves me of doubt and the work of self questioning.

Eg.: the making of a bowl – clean and perfect – demonstrates to you, the external, my ability to “make good”; to follow the rules of “goodness” – those rules unto which I have been inculcated, they are second nature, an interior, yet un-interrogated voice.

This is the performance of training; doing without thinking; doing without consideration.

An individual’s ethics are played out in the performance of the good. How deeply interrogated are its conditions? How consistent is the employment of the logic extended from it? And what are the limits of that logic’s extension?

It requires the work of thinking to take responsibility. It is reasonable, and almost impossible to do otherwise, to make a formulation for what will constitutes ones ethics from other sources, but it is irresponsible to do so without an interior dialogue which questions the meanings and applications of the positions: to think closely, to take the time to denote and privilege what one values.

How do we know good?

Who is it that I want to be? How do I reconcile my failures with my ideals? When do I become awake?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

discourse on exchange...

There is a fantasy of intercourse without expectation or responsibility.

All intercourse carries an expectation of exchange. Something is imparted.

To deny responsibility is to fail to pay what is due.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

same sex marriage and equal rights

Headline from ABC News, Tuesday, May 26 - "Calif. High Court Upholds Gay Marriage Ban, but Allows Pre-Existing Same-Sex Marriages to Stand"

The U.S. supposedly practices the separation of church and state. Justice in the U.S. is supposedly blind. On what grounds, other than religious, could a ban on same sex marriage be upheld? The meanness and short-sightedness of some of my countrymen confounds me.

Given that it is typically Christians driving these issues, I ask, what would Jesus do? It seems reasonable to suppose that he would leave the doings of the state to the state. He went to the well. He spoke with the woman. He sought solutions in the hearts of men and women and not through external controls. He loved.

"It is not for you to call profane what God counts clean." Acts 11:9

and it seems from this... as in other places... it is not for "you" or "me" to call, but some higher authority to determine the question of worthiness...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

coming this spring...

I will be in Banff, Alberta, Canada from May 11 to June 19... while I'm there I will be working on a video project called "Notes on Derrida" and writing. I've been neglecting this blog that I love muchly. I plan to do more justice by it while I am there. (The plans of mice and men and women.) But here are the topics I'm thinking of...

Ethics –
art as outside
lessons of a culture from an impoverished community
Commitment – what is it? How does it work?
Harry Potter and Derrida (finish)

I will be reading a lot as well. I can't wait. I want just to get lost in work. I want to get lost.

The picture is from New York. Charles Tucker took it. I love New York.

Sunday, February 01, 2009


Greek empatheia, literally, passion, from empathēs emotional, from em- + pathos feelings, emotion — more at pathos
1: the imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the object appears to be infused with it
2: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner ; also : the capacity for this


*The pictures are of my mother who I will never stop missing.

I am interested in the importance of imagining. It is impossible to really know an - other. One can only imagine. I imagine the way things are... I imagine a reality. Imagining makes into the future... it creates now.

When we lose empathy... the ability to imagine into the other... we strip ourselves and our object of humanity. This is the door of evil.

We are all narcissists in this way. We can only "know" by imagining through ourselves... the line I think is when we project onto rather than imagining into...

and in other thoughts...
It is difficult now not to believe in some brighter future. Our new president seems to be moving through a series of choices driven by an ethical imagining. I cannot help but be impressed with his courage. I am hopeful. May we do well.