[-empyre-] Powerlessness

PierMartonGmail piermarton at gmail.com
Wed Nov 12 09:33:55 EST 2014


Like the new kid on the bloc that I am, and maybe because of my background as an artist, I am not “practical” and want to ask big questions.
Here is part 1 of three preliminary questions (powerlessness, catharsis, violence of normalcy/centrality/language/culture) - assuming that most people have seen "Pier Marton's 1st Appearance on -empyre-“ what I wrote earlier re-posted by Johannes because of technical problems.

1. Is it possible to enter the space of powerlessness?

While I think that specificity has an important place - to keep us away from the abstraction that thinking can produce (people on the ground will always have to be listened to) - I would like us to discuss **powerlessness as reality.**
I hope you will not see as counterproductive to this month’s topic.
Although I post it below for reference, I am not speaking about AA’s standard meeting, I would like us to consider the fact that decrying human vioence has already been done in monumental and very powerful ways. 
 Today is the November 11, Armistice Day and last night I attended a screening of Apocalypse Part 3 (available in French & English as a DVD) which stems from more than 500 hours of documentary footage (finely colorized and slowed down to appear most realistic - another issue that can be discussed later).
In the discussion afterward I brought up the fact there had been major efforts to make WWI as it is called in French (la der des ders) the last war.
Pacifists like Ernst Friedrich open the first ever Ant-War museum (after being closed down by the Nazis, it is now open again in Berlin) AND more palpable to most of us, he published a book full of images and texts in four languages, German, French, English and Dutch to compare the indoctrination and the “Gueules Cassées” (broken faces from shrapnel) - half-missing faces of many survivors, it is a chilling document which fortunately recently has gotten to be published and republished (latest edition is from Sept. 2014, with an introduction by Doug Kellner). That’s one book.
There is also the powerful “J’accuse!” - Abel Gance’s 1919 film,h” - which featured at the end a group of actual “Gueules Cassées/broken faces," those mentioned above, standing up on the battle-field and confronting the viewer with a clear “I accuse!"
Then the writer Erich-Maria Remarque’s novel “All Quiet on the Western Front” (Im Westen nichts Neues) - which became a film too - 
Before you grab Ernst Friedrich’s book, there is a YouTube clip that will introduce you to those broken faces - with an overpowering soundtrack (mute it?): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8epVBKiMmns

So much powerful work against the violence of war has been done before. Does this mean we have to stop what we do? Obviously not, yet I believe that "All truths that are kept silent become poisonous." (Nietzsche)  and powerlessness is an underlying condition that needs to acknowledged too.
I just read Jon Hopkins comment about the agit-prop reactions to the Teflon president. As Thomas Frank and many others say, dissent is built into the system.
Much of what we provide is a form of a buzz of disapproval. In my view, even the powerful works are not enough.

Because of time, I will try to add to this topic later. I find the concept of “solutions," how we hide behind words, concepts, and even - I DON’T mean to insult anyone, just to question - listservs problematic. Yes, as awkward as it may sound, I am questioning the problematic of looking solutions. I am not saying we don’t try save people from Boko Haram, etc… but the question of complexity, criseology as per Edgar Morin may be useful. They are to me. 

Thank you,
AA’s powerlessness pledge:
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood
4. Made a fearless and thorough moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings 8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people, wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all or affairs.

My e-mail signature this month of November (during my direct involvement with -empyre) will include a growing list of works that I found to be powerful - but I do question what “power” means.
"Chechen Lullaby" - Directed by Nino Kirtadze —> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEmqHZAn8lQ (also on my website)
"War Against War/Krieg dem Kriege/Guerre à la Guerre! War against War! Oorlog aan den Oorlog" by Ernst Friedrich (recent intro by Doug Kellner) - Various editions. Last one published in Sept. 2014 (available online).
"At the Mind’s Limit" by Jean Améry
“Shoah” -  Directed by Claude Lanzmann
PM_uoʇɹɐɯ_ɹǝıd —> http://piermarton.info
School Of No  Media —> http://schoolofnomedia.com/
About —> http://about.me/piermarton 
BrainBleed—> http://brainbleed.wordpress.com/
One of the signs of passing youth is the birth of a sense of fellowship with other human beings as we take our place among them. Virginia Woolf
The essence of normalcy is the refusal of reality. Ernst Becker
When something seems "the most obvious thing in the world," it means that any attempt to understand the world has been given up. Bertolt Brecht
An idea becomes false the moment one becomes satisfied by it. Alain
There are no dangerous thoughts; thinking itself is dangerous. Hannah Arendt
When around you, you hear the word "Jew" pronounced, be on guard, they are speaking about you. Frantz Fanon
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet renounce controversy are people who want crops without ploughing the ground. Frederick Douglass
Silence is the authentic mode of speaking. Claude Lanzmann

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