Grandes álbuns da música canadense: Neil Young, Arcade Fire, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, The Band, Guess Who…

THE BAND - "Music From  The Big Pink"

THE BAND – “Music From The Big Pink” (1968) LISTEN or DOWNLOAD (AMG REVIEW)

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NEIL YOUNG - "Harvest" (1972)

NEIL YOUNG – “Harvest” (1972) LISTEN or DOWNLOAD

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JONI MITCHELL - "Blue" (1971)


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LEONARD COHEN - "Songs" (1968)


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ARCADE FIRE - "Funeral" (2004)

ARCADE FIRE – “Funeral” (2004) – LISTEN or DOWNLOAD

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GUESS WHO - "American Woman" (1970)

GUESS WHO – “American Woman” (1970) LISTEN or DOWNLOAD


Um oferecimento:


Trip on:

“The Gift of Death”: Pathological consumption has become so normalised that we scarcely notice it.


Pathological consumption has become so normalised that we scarcely notice it.

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 11th December 2012

“There’s nothing they need, nothing they don’t own already, nothing they even want. So you buy them a solar-powered waving queen; a belly button brush; a silver-plated ice cream tub holder; a “hilarious” inflatable zimmer frame; a confection of plastic and electronics called Terry the Swearing Turtle; or – and somehow I find this significant – a Scratch Off World wall map.

They seem amusing on the first day of Christmas, daft on the second, embarrassing on the third. By the twelfth they’re in landfill. For thirty seconds of dubious entertainment, or a hedonic stimulus that lasts no longer than a nicotine hit, we commission the use of materials whose impacts will ramify for generations.

Researching her film The Story of Stuff, Annie Leonard discovered that of the materials flowing through the consumer economy, only 1% remain in use six months after sale(1). Even the goods we might have expected to hold onto are soon condemned to destruction through either planned obsolescence (breaking quickly) or perceived obsolesence (becoming unfashionable).

But many of the products we buy, especially for Christmas, cannot become obsolescent. The term implies a loss of utility, but they had no utility in the first place. An electronic drum-machine t-shirt; a Darth Vader talking piggy bank; an ear-shaped i-phone case; an individual beer can chiller; an electronic wine breather; a sonic screwdriver remote control; bacon toothpaste; a dancing dog: no one is expected to use them, or even look at them, after Christmas Day. They are designed to elicit thanks, perhaps a snigger or two, and then be thrown away.

The fatuity of the products is matched by the profundity of the impacts. Rare materials, complex electronics, the energy needed for manufacture and transport are extracted and refined and combined into compounds of utter pointlessness. When you take account of the fossil fuels whose use we commission in other countries, manufacturing and consumption are responsible for more than half of our carbon dioxide production(2). We are screwing the planet to make solar-powered bath thermometers and desktop crazy golfers.

People in eastern Congo are massacred to facilitate smart phone upgrades of ever diminishing marginal utility(3). Forests are felled to make “personalised heart-shaped wooden cheese board sets”. Rivers are poisoned to manufacture talking fish. This is pathological consumption: a world-consuming epidemic of collective madness, rendered so normal by advertising and the media that we scarcely notice what has happened to us.

In 2007, the journalist Adam Welz records, 13 rhinos were killed by poachers in South Africa. This year, so far, 585 have been shot(4). No one is entirely sure why. But one answer is that very rich people in Vietnam are now sprinkling ground rhino horn on their food or snorting it like cocaine to display their wealth. It’s grotesque, but it scarcely differs from what almost everyone in industrialised nations is doing: trashing the living world through pointless consumption.

This boom has not happened by accident. Our lives have been corralled and shaped in order to encourage it. World trade rules force countries to participate in the festival of junk. Governments cut taxes, deregulate business, manipulate interest rates to stimulate spending. But seldom do the engineers of these policies stop and ask “spending on what?”. When every conceivable want and need has been met (among those who have disposable money), growth depends on selling the utterly useless. The solemnity of the state, its might and majesty, are harnessed to the task of delivering Terry the Swearing Turtle to our doors.

Grown men and women devote their lives to manufacturing and marketing this rubbish, and dissing the idea of living without it. “I always knit my gifts”, says a woman in a television ad for an electronics outlet. “Well you shouldn’t,” replies the narrator(5). An advertisement for Google’s latest tablet shows a father and son camping in the woods. Their enjoyment depends on the Nexus 7’s special features(6). The best things in life are free, but we’ve found a way of selling them to you.

The growth of inequality that has accompanied the consumer boom ensures that the rising economic tide no longer lifts all boats. In the US in 2010 a remarkable 93% of the growth in incomes accrued to the top 1% of the population(7). The old excuse, that we must trash the planet to help the poor, simply does not wash. For a few decades of extra enrichment for those who already possess more money than they know how to spend, the prospects of everyone else who will live on this earth are diminished.

So effectively have governments, the media and advertisers associated consumption with prosperity and happiness that to say these things is to expose yourself to opprobrium and ridicule. Witness last week’s Moral Maze programme, in which most of the panel lined up to decry the idea of consuming less, and to associate it, somehow, with authoritarianism(8). When the world goes mad, those who resist are denounced as lunatics.

Bake them a cake, write them a poem, give them a kiss, tell them a joke, but for god’s sake stop trashing the planet to tell someone you care. All it shows is that you don’t.”


“Plato’s Utopia is more terrifying than Orwell’s 1984…”, por Arthur Koestler @ The Sleepwalkers (1959)


“O cristianismo não passa de platonismo para o povo…” – Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

“Plato’s Utopia is more terrifying than Orwell’s 1984 because Plato desires to happen what Orwell fears might happen. ‘That Plato’s Republic should have been admired, on its political side, by decent people, is perhaps the most astonishing example of literary snobbery in all history’, remarked Bertrand Russell. In Plato’s Republic, the aristocracy rules by means of the ‘noble lie’, that is, by pretending that God has created 3 kinds of men, made respectively of gold (the rulers), of silver (the soldiers) and of base metals (the common man). Another pious lie will help to improve the race: when marriage is abolished, people will be made to draw mating-lots, but the lots will be secretly manipulated by the rulers according to the principles of eugenics. There will be rigid censorship; no young person must be allowed to read Homer because he spreads disrespect of the gods, unseemly merriment, and the fear of death, thus discouraging people from dying in battle.

Aristotle’s politics move along less extreme, but essentially similar lines. Not only does he regard slavery as the natural basis of the social order – ‘the slave is totally devoid of any faculty of reasoning’ – he also deplores the existence of a ‘middle’ class of free artisans and professional men, because their superficial resemblance to the rulers brings discredit on the latter. Accordingly, all professionals are to be deprived of the righs of citizenship in the Model State…

Even these cursory remarks may indicate the general mood underlying these philosophies: the unconscious yearning for stability and permanence in a crumbling world where ‘change’ can only be a change for the worse… ‘Change’, for Plato, is virtually synonymous with degeneration; his history of creation is a story of the sucessive emergence of ever lower and less worthy forms of Life – from God who is pure self-contained Goodness, to the World of Reality which consists only of perfect Formas or Ideas, to the World of Appeareance, which is a shadow and copy of the former; and so down to man: ‘Those of men first created who led a life of cowardice and injustice were suitably reborn as women in the second generation, and this is why it was at this particular juncture that the gods contrived the lust for copulation’. After the women we come to the animals… It is a tale of the Fall in permanence: a theory of descent and devolution – as opposed to evolution by ascent.

Let us retain this essential clue to Plato’s cosmology: his fear of change, his contempt and loathing for the concepts of evolution and mutability. It will reverberate all through the Middle Ages, together with its concominant yearning for eternal, changeless perfection. This ‘mutation phobia’ seems to be mainly responsible for the repellent aspects of Platonism: empirical science is ridiculed and discouraged; physics is made into a department of theology; (…)there’s hatred of the body and contempt for the senses.

All this is not an expression of humility – neither of the humiity of the mystic seeker for God, nor the humility of Reason acknowledging its limits; it is the half-frightened, half-arrogant philosophy of the genius of a doomed aristocracy and a bankrupt civilization. When reality becomes unbearable, the mind must withdraw from it and create a world of artificial perfection. Plato’s world of pure Ideas and Forms, which alone is to be considered as real, whereas the world of nature which we perceive is merely its cheap copy, is a flight into delusion.”

The Sleepwalkers
Arkana/Penguin, 1959, Pg. 58.


“Plato’s Utopia is more terrifying than Orwell’s 1984 because Plato desires to happen what Orwell fears might happen.” – Arthur Koestler

“Nietzsche em Turim – O Fim do Futuro”, de Lesley Chamberlain

book-cover-nietzsche-turinLESLEY CHAMBERLAIN
“Nietzsche in Turin: An Intimate Biography”
Editora Picador USA, 1999

(Publicado no Brasil pela Ed. Difel em 2000.
Disponível para compra na Estante Virtual.)

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“The year-in year-out lack of a really refreshing and healing human love, the absurd loneliness that it brings with it, to the degree that almost every remaining connection with people becomes only a cause of injury; all that is the worst possible business and has only one justification in itself, the justification of being necessary.” – Carta de Nietzsche a Overbeck, 3.2.88

Ano após ano, a ausência de um “refrescante e terapêutico amor humano” abisma o filósofo Nietzsche em um estado de “solidão absurda”, como ele confessa ao amigo Overbeck em carta de 1888.

Apesar de já ter publicado quase toda a sua obra obra consagrada (Além de Bem e Mal, Genealogia da Moral, Humano Demasiado Humano, Zaratustra, A Origem da Tragédia, Aurora, A Gaia Ciência…), Nietzsche chega ao fim dos anos 1880 e descobre-se mais isolado do que nunca. Na Alemanha, seus livros são ignorados por quase todos, ou incompreendidos pelos poucos que os lêem: o verdadeiro “sucesso” editorial, na época, são os panfletos anti-semitas que se propagam pelo Reich de Bismarck e que Nietzsche abomina com toda a força de seu nojo.

Enquanto vão surgindo os primeiros sinais de que sua obra repercute pela Europa – o professor judeu George Brandes começa seu curso sobre Nietzsche na Universidade de Copenhagen, por exemplo – ao redor do homem Nietzsche se adensam as nuvens pesadas de uma solidão cada vez mais densa.

“Alguns homens nascem póstumos”, escreverá Nietzsche, tentando consolar-se com a idéia de que só espíritos livres do futuro o compreenderiam e que ainda estava por nascer uma época que tivesse ouvidos para suas mensagens. A solidão ao seu redor era quase absoluta: após toda uma série de rupturas com aqueles que haviam sido importantes em sua vida (Wagner e Cosima, Paul Rée e Lou-Salomé…), Nietzsche se encontrava, como diz Lesley Chamberlain, em um “deserto emocional”.

Por mais que tenha vociferado contra o ideal ascético, de que eram adeptos tantos eremitas e anacoretas, Nietzsche também se encontrava em uma espécie de eremitério em Turim: não sabia falar grande coisa de italiano, o que decerto dificultava encetar amizade com os estranhos ao seu redor, e sua melhor companhia era a música, em especial a de Bizet, cuja ópera Carmen o filósofo irá assistir por duas de vezes e depois celebrará como uma obra-prima nas antípodas do wagnerianismo.

No geral, Nietzsche vivia só, quase sempre desacompanhado, um andarilho que caminha com sua sombra, lidando sem auxílio externo com sua doença, seus dilemas, suas turbulentas reflexões. Desde que havia se demitido, por razões de saúde, de seu posto como professor de Filologia na Universidade da Basiléia (Suíça), Nietzsche havia perambulado pela Europa como cigano peripatético, um caminhante introspectivo, sem amarras com nenhum emprego, nenhuma instituição, nenhuma “causa” de militância social. Tampouco tinha qualquer relacionamento amoroso que lhe acalentasse os dias com os imprescindíveis calores da convivência.

Só encontrava um grão de diálogo humano através das cartas que escrevia e recebia. Entre seus correspondentes havia figuras eminentes da cultura européia daqueles tempos – como o historiador Jacob Burckhardt, o dramaturgo August Strindberg, o compositor Peter Gast (Koselitz)... – mas todos eles vivendo a grande distância física de Nietzsche.

Imagino às vezes o tamanho da inconfessável fome de abraço que ele deveria sentir: o filósofo que redimiu o corpo tão massacrado pela tradição idealista da filosofia ocidental era um pensador sofria nas próprias vísceras a falta de sentir seu próprio corpo agasalhado pelo afeto humano. Além do mais, este mesmo corpo, que reconhecia como fonte de seu pensamento, de sua criatividade, da vida em seu inteireza, era massacrado pela doença. Diante dos açoites do destino, recomendava o amor fati, uma trágica aceitação jubilosa de tudo aquilo que a existência tem de mais problemático e angustioso.

O que ocorreu com Nietzsche em Turim é um mistério que não cessa de instigar a curiosidade daqueles que se interessam pelo filósofo, já que foi o “palco” do colapso psíquico que o fez mergulhar de vez, sem volta, na insanidade. Era o começo de 1889 quando, nas ruas da cidade italiana, um certo sábio-louco alemão,  professor de comportamento  tão extravagante e de tão longos bigodes, abraçou um cavalo que estava sendo maltratado em via-pública e depois desfaleceu. Nunca mais pôde reaver toda a potência de seu prodigioso cérebro: em breve estaria de cama, sob cuidado de seus familiares, quase um “vegetal”, incapacitado de ler e escrever. Não reconhecia mais ninguém. Na aurora do século 20, em 1900, iria enfim tornar-se banquete para os vermes.

ecce homoNos meses que antecederam seu desmoronamento psico-somático, Nietzsche havia produzido algumas de suas obras de maior impacto: O Caso Wagner, O Crepúsculo dos Ídolos, Anticristo e Ecce Homo são todos livros desta última fase, em que sua pena mordaz não teme chocar, provocar, polemizar.

O mínimo que se pode dizer destas obras é que seu autor não se preocupa em ser polido e delicado: expressa suas opiniões radicais como se desejasse que cada frase tivesse o efeito de uma banana de dinamite. Estava convencido de que algo de melhor podia ser construído sobre os escombros da Europa que ele enxergava, desde o fim do século 19, no caminho desgraçado do nacionalismo militarista, do racismo, do anti-semitismo, do continuado fanatismo religioso conjugado a um moralismo autoritário. Até o fim de sua vida, escreveu livros que prosseguem sendo pura Dinamietzsche.

Compreender as razões que levaram Nietzsche a terminar sua vida criativa em Turim é tarefa dificílima, que já foi tentada por muitos pesquisadores e biógrafos, mas sem que nunca se tenha chegado ao desvendamento final do enigma. Penso que a solidão, o isolamento social, é uma das chaves para entender o crepúsculo nietzschiano. Pois estou convencido que até um grande artista, um gênio criador, um filósofo brilhante, não é nunca completamente “auto-suficiente” em matéria de afeto, que precisa da estima alheia para ter um chão sólido sobre o qual caminhar com passo firme, e que a saúde do corpo e da mente é inalcançável sem o intercâmbio com os outros.

“Nenhum homem é uma ilha”, diz o poeta John Donne. E aqueles que acabam ilhados na solidão, rodeados por todos os lados pelas gélidas águas da indiferença, ou pela hostilidade dos tubarões, não raro terminam também loucos. E o que há de mais enlouquecedor do que a sina de Robinson Crusoé após o naufrágio?

Em seu livro mais recente, Nietzsche – O Humano Como Memória e Promessa, Oswaldo Giacoia reflete, pegando carona nas reflexões de Hannah Arendt sobre a condição humana, que uma das explicações para o colapso psíquico de Nietzsche foi a progressiva perda de participação em um “mundo comum”. Em outras palavras: para Nietzsche, que se considerava “extemporâneo”, um peixe fora d’água em sua própria época, não havia nenhuma comunidade real que ele integrasse.

A própria megalomania que se manifesta em Ecce Homo parece um sintoma da vida no deserto que Nietzsche então levava: é como se ele tentasse elogiar a si mesmo na falta de qualquer ser humano que o elogiasse. É a falta do apoio do outro que o leva a buscar apoio em si mesmo, e de maneira que soa tão “narcisista”, a julgar pelos títulos de alguns dos capítulos deste seu escrito auto-biográfico e auto-glorificante (“por que escrevo livros tão bons”, “por que sou tão sábio” etc.).

É claro que muitos outros comentadores, biógrafos e pesquisadores destacam que causas puramente orgânicas levaram Nietzsche a naufragar em Turim no início de 1889 – alguns apostam na hipótese de que ele havia contraído sífilis na juventude em algum prostíbulo; outros, que seu estado de saúde tão debilitado devia-se aos ferimentos que sofreu no campo de batalha, durante a Guerra franco-prussiana de 1870, na qual Nietzsche serviu como enfermeiro e onde contraiu difteria e disenteria; outros ainda destacam que devia haver alguma predisposição genética para a doença cerebral correndo no sangue da família, já que o pai de Nietzsche, pastor luterano, havia morrido precocemente aos 35 anos de idade. Impossível bater o martelo e apontar a “verdade das verdades” sobre um tema tão complexo.

Dias_De_Nietzsche_Em_TurimDe todo modo, o tema “Nietzsche em Turim” é instigante e suscita muitas obras que se debruçam sobre o “caso”, tentando decifrar o enigma – inclusive o cinema brasileiro realizou um experimento de compreensão com Dias de Nietzsche em Turim, filme de Julio Bressane, roteirizado por sua esposa Rosa Dias.

Na sequência, compartilho alguns trechos da “biografia íntima” escrita por Lesley Chamberlain, Nietzsche em Turim, em que a autora realiza uma interessante jornada pela vida e pelo pensamento de Nietzsche – o qual, nas palavras de Alain de Bottom, “emerges as a kind, awkward man with an immense, unsatisfied hunger for love” (Los Angeles Times Book Review).

A autora – que também participa do documentário da BBC Humano, Demasiado Humano – não procura dar respostas definitivas ou resolver de vez o enigma da esfinge. Ao contrário, convida-nos a conhecer em minúcias as circunstâncias existenciais que precederam o naufrágio e assim nos convida a indagar das razões que conduziram o barco nietzschiano a pique.

Para Lesley Chamberlain, Nietzsche lutou com a doença como Laocoonte batalhando contra as serpentes na clássica escultura; ao abraçar o cavalo nas ruas de Turim, encenou na vida real um sonho de Raskolnikov em Crime e Castigo, e manifestou, segundo a interpretação de Milan Kundera, horror diante da crueldade humana diante dos animais; ao celebrar o deus Dioniso e seus ditirambos, quis cantar um hino de júbilo à existência em sua absurdidade, irracionalidade e inexplicável deleite, ao mesmo tempo que lamentou por uma comunidade bacântica que não chegou a vivenciar…

O filósofo, que na juventude havia ficado tão impressionado pela música de Wagner, em especial Tristão e Isolda, viveu em Turim o último ato da tragicomédia de sua existência consciente. Parece-me que não entenderemos seu naufrágio se não levarmos em conta que este homem solitário, apaixonado pela música e pela vida, não encontrou para sua voz um lugar no humano coral.

Mas sua voz de solidão prossegue ecoando, séculos depois de sua morte, assombrando-nos e iluminando-nos, instigando-nos e provocando-nos, cheia de luzes e sombras, cantos e lamentos, choros e risos, sabedoria e insanidade… Tudo mesclado e cambiante, como a própria chama da vida que dança ao sabor dos ventos do fado, lutando contra a morte enquanto mantêm queimando sua ânsia insaciável por alegria e potência… Para citar o poeta Quintana: “que importa restar em cinzas se a chama foi bela e alta?”

==[ compartilhar texto no facebook ]==

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Passo a palavra à Lesley Chamberlain:

“Nietzsche’s readiness to espouse the Dionysian was there even in 1870. He believed that there could be, as there once had been, an art form capable of embracing life’s horrors and irrationalities without needing to explain them or sublimate them or lessen the furious pace of their attack. In this sense pain could be directly confronted and celebrated without loss of present vitality and without what we would surely call today ‘repression’…” (pg. 39)

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“Three things high mountains signified for Nietzsche: aesthetic beauty, moral courage and intellectual clarity. (…) The high vantage point gave him not a sense of the world below being inferior to some higher realm, but a sense of the sheer relativity of its judgements. The paradox was that the realization of limitation was liberating. The Upper Engadine’s 5.500 feet above sea level stood for the most desirable capacity in human beings to see far over the heads of individual nations and people and creeds, the ability to survive by rising above the fray, and the need to go beyond the familiar world in order to see the arbitrariness of its values…” (99)

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“Nietzsche’s famous rejection of pity demonstrates how pity diminishes the integrity of the other. If I flood another person with pity I may dull his or her ability to find strenght within, for pity is a crippling kind of sympathy which confirms misfortune and woe, expressing the idea: ‘Yes, hasn’t life treated you badly, you deserve to feel sorry for yourself.’ At issue for Nietzsche the psychologist is the way people manipulate each other, often making others feel weak in order to enhance their own power. It is the manipulativeness that Zarathustra and Nietzsche reject as being beneath love…” (103)

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“Spinoza had said the act of knowing involved an act of laughter, an act of mourning and and act of cursing. Nietzsche homed in on those subconscious processes For him the act of knowledge embraced subconsciously that mixture of moods he consciously favoured as a working method. Knowledge – and love – emerged out of a confrontation on the battlefield of the subconscious, which engages our powers to spurn and to ridicule, to welcome, cherish and mourn… (cf. The Gay Science 179)”

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“Nietzsche loathed the repression of the sensual as a supposed moral value, hence much of his invective against the Church. The achievement of ‘The Genealogy of Morals’ was to see this institutionaized repression, practised by the Church, in political terms. Nietzsche’s ascetic priest and his ‘ideals’ spoke of totalitarianism in all but name nearly 50 years before the 20th century invented it, and impressively anticipated Wilhelm Reich’s criticism of the ‘mass psychology of Fascism…” (151)

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“Nietzsche fought a tremendous battle with sickness. He was like the outcast Trojan priest Laocoon, resisting the punishing sea serpents to the last breath. Thinking of the meaning of that classical statue, depicting terror and resignation, Nietzsche considered Laocoon’s fate showed the Apollonian forces of life yielding to Dionysus. The statue could have worn his face.” (182)


Uma das mais célebres esculturas da Antiguidade, “Laocoonte

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“A dithyramb originally described the song of Dionysus. It was an expression of intoxication and community, with Dionysus leading others in choral song. The choral element was what first inspired Nietzsche to see in Wagner’s music a rebirth of the Dionysian. (…) The dithyramb also bore, in its modern meaning of a poetic tone more than a form, a much closer personal significance for Nietzsche. It betokened wild howling, vehement expression. Nothing could have been more apt for a poet in love with the masks of self-intoxication and madness. What a way to rebel against being made chaste and virtuous by misfortune! The medium itself expressed a desire to be sensually out of control. Had Nietzsche used the form to greater artistic effect his poems might have become iconic for the modern condition, like Munch’s ‘The Scream‘, because they are a kind of howling after lost community. All of Nietzche’s writing where the pictorial and the musical dominate over the discursive could be called Dionysian and dithyrambic. They sing, they laugh, the flash colour, they luxuriate in texture…” (191)

"O Grito" de Edvard Munch (1863-1944)

“O Grito” de Edvard Munch (1863-1944)

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“On 3 January 1889 he tearfully embraced a mistreated nag in the street. The horse under duress was pulling a public conveyance. (…) In his embracing the horse several writers through the 20th century have seen a human being commiserating with an abused soul. Nietzsche rebelled against human cruelty and crudeness by hugging this horse who was his partner in metaphysical abjectness.

It is possible too that he had read the passage in Dostoievsky’s ‘Crime and Punishment‘ where Raskolnikov dreamed of throwing his arms around a mistreated horse. When Nietzsche dreamed of the mistreated horse he felt pity; he wanted to weep. Now in reality some ultimate autobiographical urge made him embrace a real hose…

kunderaThe Czech novelist Milan Kundera wondered in ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being‘ if Nietzsche did not beg this wonderful equine specimen to forgive Descartes for believing animals do not have souls. Kundera found Nietzsche’s to be a symbolic gesture against the dominance, the arrogance of the human mind over nature, against blind worship of progress…” (p. 210)

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Na sequência, assista na íntegra aos filmes Dias de Nietzsche em Turim, de Julio Bressane e Rosa Dias, e Humano Demasiado Humano, documentário da BBC inglesa (que também inclui episódios sobre Heidegger e Sartre). Boa viagem!


Precious Poetry – 5th Edition – “THE DISQUIETING MUSES”, by Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)

Giorgio de Chirico - The Disquieting Muses, 1916-1918

By Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)
Painting by Giorgio de Chirico (1909-1978)

“Mother, mother, what illbred aunt
Or what disfigured and unsightly
Cousin did you so unwisely keep
Unasked to my christening, that she
Sent these ladies in her stead
With heads like darning-eggs to nod
And nod and nod at foot and head
And at the left side of my crib?

Mother, who made to order stories
Of Mixie Blackshort the heroic bear,
Mother, whose witches always, always,
Got baked into gingerbread, I wonder
Whether you saw them, whether you said
Words to rid me of those three ladies
Nodding by night around my bed,
Mouthless, eyeless, with stitched bald head.

In the hurricane, when father’s twelve
Study windows bellied in
Like bubbles about to break, you fed
My brother and me cookies and Ovaltine
And helped the two of us to choir:
“Thor is angry: boom boom boom!
Thor is angry: we don’t care!”
But those ladies broke the panes.

When on tiptoe the schoolgirls danced,
Blinking flashlights like fireflies
And singing the glowworm song, I could
Not lift a foot in the twinkle-dress
But, heavy-footed, stood aside
In the shadow cast by my dismal-headed
Godmothers, and you cried and cried:
And the shadow stretched, the lights went out.

Mother, you sent me to piano lessons
And praised my arabesques and trills
Although each teacher found my touch
Oddly wooden in spite of scales
And the hours of practicing, my ear
Tone-deaf and yes, unteachable.
I learned, I learned, I learned elsewhere,
From muses unhired by you, dear mother,

I woke one day to see you, mother,
Floating above me in bluest air
On a green balloon bright with a million
Flowers and bluebirds that never were
Never, never, found anywhere.
But the little planet bobbed away
Like a soap-bubble as you called: Come here!
And I faced my traveling companions.

Day now, night now, at head, side, feet,
They stand their vigil in gowns of stone,
Faces blank as the day I was born,
Their shadows long in the setting sun
That never brightens or goes down.
And this is the kingdom you bore me to,
Mother, mother. But no frown of mine
Will betray the company I keep.”

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About Chirico’s painting @ Wikipaintings: “One of the most famous paintings both by De Chirico and of all metaphysical art, The Disquieting Muses was painted in the city of Ferrara, Italy, during World War I. De Chirico considered Ferrara a perfect “metaphysical city,” and used much of the cityscape of Ferrara in the painting. The large castle in the background is the Castello Estense, a medieval fortress in the center of the city. The three “muses,” in the foreground of the painting, are “disquieting” due to the fact that they were the pathway to overcome appearances and allowed the viewer to engage in a discourse with the unknown. This painting inspired a poem by Sylvia Plath, also entitled “The Disquieting Muses.”

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Previously on the Precious Poetry series of this blog:

#01 – Emily Dickinson
#02 – Joseph Brodsky
#03 – John Donne
#04 – Robert Frost

“There is no Frigate like a Book to take us Lands away…” – Um poema de Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson

“There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry –
This Travel may the poorest take
Without opress of Toll –
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human Soul…”


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“Não há Fragata como um Livro
Para levar-nos a Terras distantes
Nem Corcéis como uma Página
De cavalgante Poesia –
Esta viagem podem fazer os mais pobres
Sem opressão de Pedágio –
Quão frugal é a Carruagem
Que carrega o Espírito Humano…”

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