"The essence of fanaticism lies in the desire to force other people to change—the common inclination to improve your neighbor, mend your spouse, engineer your child, or straighten up your brother, rather than let them be. The fanatic is a most unselfish creature. The fanatic is a great altruist.
In fact, often the fanatic is more interested in you than in himself. He wants to save your soul, he wants to redeem you, he wants to liberate you from sin, from error, from smoking, from your faith or from your faithlessness, he wants to improve your eating habits, or to cure you of your drinking or voting habits. The fanatic cares a great deal for you; he is always either falling on your neck because he truly loves you or else he is at your throat in case you prove to be unredeemable. And, in any case, topographically speaking, falling on your neck and being at your throat are almost the same gesture.
One way or another, the fanatic is more interested in you than in himself, for the simple reason that the fanatic has very little self or no self at all."
For the last days I have been involved in a sort of discussion regarding "kitsch" after I suggested in a lecture that the kitsch could be somehow used in order to educate people in this violent country or, at least, to pacify them, due to its Konfliktlosigkeit, which T. Adorno adscribed to it. Somebody has denied that Mexican is a kitsch culture (it is terrrribly kitsch!), or that kitsch could be of any use. That's my hypothesis, still have to work on it.
But it was nice to read what Leon Wieseltier published today:
"In this sense one’s books are one’s biography. This subjective urgency bears no relation to the quality of the book: lives have been changed by kitsch, too."
"The moral failings of advanced liberal societies, not least this one, tend to be slow-motion sins. We don’t stone the adulterer or hang the sodomite or massacre the restive inner-city residents. We allow the atmosphere to be filled with greenhouse gases; we allow the hypertrophic growth of inequality; we let the prison population grow to the size of a megalopolis. And the key is that there’s no particular moment when they happened, no single event to expose and decry. It’s the slow-motion violence of mass incarceration that enables it to elude our moral immune system. Prisons stop time. We need to find ways, from the outside, to accelerate our awareness."
Con ocasión de la próxima visita de Benedicto XVI a México, Letras Libres y el Instituto de Investigaciones de la UNAM invitan al "Atrio de los Gentiles". El Atrio de los Gentiles reunirá a un grupo de jóvenes intelectuales –filósofos y editores– para que conversen desde su perspectiva atea, agnóstica o religiosa acerca de las condiciones que existen actualmente en México para desarrollar una nueva era en el diálogo entre creyentes y no creyentes. La discusión tendrá lugar el próximo miércoles 15 de febrero de 18 a 20 horas en la Casa de las Humanidades de la UNAM: Presidente Carranza 162, Villa Coyoacán, C.P. 04000, Coyoacán.
Everybody knows Klimt's Kiss. It is truly impressive when you see it live in Vienna. I had to think about it when I saw Alfredo Castañeda's Nuestro amor. I sadly learned that he passed away... one year ago, and I wasn't informed about it till now. And coincidentally, Andy Barter images of kissing couples were published today by The Guardian.