Author Archives: leewatkins

Notes on David S. Wills: Burroughs on Civilisation, Hallucination, and Telepathy

For William Burroughs, the nuclear attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a dividing point in history, marking the moment that Western civilisation finally ended. Could you really call a people capable of such an atrocity “civilised”? And so without civilisation, … Continue reading

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The Pendulum

In Chapter 5 of his book about the philosopher Leibniz, Gilles Deleuze ponders whether he should keep working this evening, or go to a nightclub. He’s not firmly in favour of either and he seems to prefer first the one … Continue reading

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Beats and Hippos

And the Hippos were Boiled in their Tanks is an early work of the Beat Generation, written in the winter of 1944-45 by William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac together, or separately in that they take it in turns throughout the … Continue reading

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Zipporah

Life into art: taking what you find, a smokestack or a button, and finding what is abstract in it, and thereby transmuting it into art. Miller, of course, the great example. Even in a button you can find the stuff … Continue reading

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Meaningless to Whom, Exactly?

An artist is someone who sees something that others don’t. And then makes that thing visible, in their work, for others to see. What the artist sees is something that did not exist before it was observed by the artist. … Continue reading

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Scrooge

“ … It was always said of him that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.” Christmas would also be a serious time, for Scrooge. He would remember that night of his sudden … Continue reading

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The Golden Age

The ideal is always something inhuman: “These men were the so-called golden race, subjects of Cronus, who lived without cares or labour, eating only acorns, wild fruit, and honey that dripped from the trees, drinking the milk of sheep and … Continue reading

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Religion, Magic, and Science

It’s useless to try to define something like religion. James Frazer says all he’ll do is say what he means by it, and then try to be consistent in using the term throughout his work. By “religion”, Frazer means A … Continue reading

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You must be ecstatic

In The Night Manager, Madame Latulipe asks Jonathan if he is in love. “Not that I am aware, madame,” he replies. “You are unhappy? You are lonely?” “I am blissfully content.” “But to be content is not enough! You must … Continue reading

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A Short Note on Reason’s Certainty

In Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, having “reason” means being certain that you are “all reality”, knowing that the whole of the world can be found in your “I”. This self-certainty is well-founded in a sense: idealism is true, and the … Continue reading

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