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laughter

I am reading Kudera's 'Immortality'. (and for the first time, I am pissed off with his writing. it seems to be too whimsical - paul, laura, goethe, bettina, laura, ruben! where the fuck did he come from? where's immortality now? where did goethe go? why did her death come after Paul's life after her death? multiple strands woven together irregularly, whimsically. this book is almost a "modern art" (said disdainfully) with its whimsical (but intelligent) movements playing in a private symphony without a thought to audience's public nature. )

Anyway, Kundera makes a beautiful revelation (as he always does) about laughter (surprisingly in this book. instead of his 'laughter and forgetting'. perhaps a post script - a draft piece that had to find a place 'somewhere'.

He compares modern photographic images to classical paintings and sculptures - the key difference illuminated here being that of the countenance of the protagonist in the image. No one 'laughed' in classical images (apart from evil). All images were static (apart from those of evil). But look at all the hoardings, news clippings of world leaders, TV commercials... everyone is laughing. 

Kundera proposes that beauty - as seen classically - was in revelation of presence of thought. Whereas a laughter is a post thought reaction - a thoughtless state. It is neither ruled by will, nor by reason. And this state has become an ideal state of being for us, in this age of image.

"Everything you need to know about how the system sees you is expressed in its purest way in ads." says the person behind Thelastpsychiatrist.

So the 'system' sees us (or rather, wants to see us) as people devoid of reason and will. The utopia being advertised to us is a directionless utopia of smiling faces.


And here I remember Slavoj Zizek's understanding of utopia. Utopia is our innermost struggle for survival when we find ourselves helpless for change within our realm of possibilities.

And the full horror of today is now apparent.
Howsoever naive, utopias until now had a certain direction - communism, socialism, capitalism... all isms had a certain concrete direction and vision of the world - a vision born in reaction to the reality of the times they were born in. 

21st century is unique perhaps in its directionless utopia - in its occupy movements without causes, in its celebrities without talents, in its coffees without caffeine. hmm.. back to zizek. (BTW is this what 'post-modernism' supposed to mean?)


 We are letting 'the system' make us 'directionless'. This directionless utopia is the cause of our purposeless angst -> Our fight for 'getting real' -> Our lessening ability to react

and god knows we need to react!
The only way to subvert is to react - to everything, in anyway possible (and hopefully - appropriately)

 

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