The Sexual is Political

Segregated toilet doors are today at the center of a big legal and ideological struggle. On March 29, 2016, a group of 80 predominantly Silicon Valley-based business executives, headlined by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Apple CEO Tim Cook, signed a letter to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory denouncing a law that prohibits transgender people from using public facilities intended for the opposite sex. “We are disappointed in your decision to sign this discriminatory legislation[ …]

I watch therefore I am: seven movies that teach us key philosophy lessons

Is the quest for good a road to evil? Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter … and Spring Kim Ki-duk’s Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter … and Spring begins with a wise Buddhist monk and a small, innocent boy, his pupil. A few years later, a young woman arrives to be healed, and chaos is unleashed: the woman and the boy – now an adolescent – copulate, and the boy follows her to the city, abandoning the monk’s lone dwelling[ …]

Choosing Our Fate

Item number PO 24.1999 in the Museum of Islamic Art is a simple 10th century earthenware circular dish from Nishapur or Samarqand; its diameter 43 cm, decorated with a (Farsi) proverb attributed to Yahya ibn Ziyad, written in black on white slip ground: “Foolish is the person who misses his chance and afterwards reproaches fate.” Such dishes were meant to solicit an appropriate conversation among the learned eaters during and after the meal; an old[ …]

On David Lynch

In chapter 15 of Seminar XI, Lacan introduces the mysterious notion of the “lamella”: the libido as an organ without body, the incorporeal and for that very reason indestructible life substance that persists beyond the circuit of generation and corruption. It is no accident that commentaries on this passage are rare (for all practical purposes non-existent); the Lacan with whom we are confronted in this passage does not have a lot in common with the[ …]

In You More Than Yourself

In December, Time magazine’s annual “Person of the Year” honor went not to Ahmadinejad, Chavez, Kim Jong-Il or any of the other usual suspects, but to “you”: each and every one of us using or creating content on the World Wide Web. Time’s cover showed a white keyboard with a mirror for a computer screen, allowing each of us to see his or her own reflection. To justify the choice, the editors cited the global[ …]

Is this digital democracy, or a new tyranny of cyberspace?

Time magazine’s 2006 “Person of the Year” award went not to Ahmadinejad, Chávez, Kim Jong-il, or any other of the usual suspects, but to “you”, that is each and every one of us using or creating content on the world wide web. The cover showed a white keyboard with a mirror for a computer screen where readers can see their own reflection. To justify the choice, Time’s editors cited the shift from institutions to individuals[ …]

The Christian-Hegelian Comedy

A patient in a large hospital room with many beds complains to the doctor about the constant noise and cries other patients are making, which are driving him crazy. After the doctor replies that nothing can be done if the patients are like that, that one cannot forbid them from expressing their despair since they all know they are dying, the patient goes on: “Why don’t you then put them in a separate room for[ …]

What can psychoanalysis tell us about cyberspace?

THE INFORMATIONAL ANOREXIA Today, the media constantly bombard us with requests to choose, addressing us as subjects supposed to know what we really want (which book, clothes, TV program, place of holiday . . .)—“press A, if you want this, press B, if you want that,” or, to quote the motto of the recent “reflective” TV publicity campaign for advertisement itself, “Advertisement—the right to choose.” However, at a more fundamental level, the new media deprive[ …]

Why is Wagner Worth Saving?

[Appared in Journal of Philosophy and Scripture, 2004, Vol. 2, No. 1. pdf.] With Romanticism, music changes its role: it is no longer a mere accompaniment of the message delivered in speech, it contains/renders a message of its own, “deeper” than the one delivered in words. It was Rousseau who first clearly articulated this expressive potential of music as such, when he claimed that, instead of merely imitating the affective features of verbal speech, music[ …]

Love Without Mercy

[Appeared in Pli, Vol. 11 (2001), pp. 177-199 (pdf)] 1 Against the Digital Heresy In the Larry King debate between a rabbi, a Catholic priest and a Southern Baptist, broadcast in March 2000, both the rabbi and the priest expressed their hope that the unification of religions is feasible, since, irrespective of his or her official creed, a thoroughly good person can count on divine grace and redemption. Only the Baptist – a young, well-tanned[ …]