the truth iii

We must shift America from a needs – to a desires – culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been entirely consumed. […] Man’s desires must overshadow his needs.

Paul Mazur (Lehman Bros, ca.1930), from Adam Curtis ‘ The Century of The Self’ find it here: more from Adam Curtis:

pencil on paper, 297 × 420 mm, 2012


‘the people are the masters we are the servants’ just shows what a hypocrite tony blair is / was plus focus groups seem horrifically effective. having attended a couple of these things frankly i’m amazed..  self interest is easier to govern than co-operation – micro or macrocosm.

the truth

The Misconception: We take randomness into account when determining cause and effect.

The Truth: We tend to ignore random chance when the results seem meaningful or when we want a random event to have a meaningful cause.

& (i’ve cherry picked)

The Misconception: Memories are played back like recordings.

The Truth: Memories are constructed anew each time from whatever information is currently available, which makes them highly permeable to influences from the present.

David McRaney, reported in the Independent here. I haven’t read the book. Yet.


some interesting stuff here: but flawed i think. consumerism is difficult to engage with because it demands that everything should be seen through the filter of consumerism, comment automatically becomes ideologically bound to the subject – the consumer and the process of consumerism. this for example – what the hell is this:




pencil on paper, 210 × 297 mm, 2012






Talking nonsense is man’s only privilege that distinguishes him from all other organisms.

Fyodor Dostoevsky, ‘Crime and Punishment’.

watercolour on paper, 297 × 420 mm, 2012


it’s strange reading dostoevsky again; he seems to work so hard to eke out words, like samuel beckett in reverse. the nonsense and the hysteria, the fudging and flights of ecstatic fear. before when i read him i took it all as a matter of faith, perplexed but enjoying the peculiar wit, the philosophy and the mysterious poetry at work. now it seems the demon throwing up words is punishing the reader, and in a quest for sense



watercolour on paper, 297 × 420 mm, 2012



it seems, it seems to me that art has had a historic failure to come to terms with mundanity, that it has always been elevated. the success of painting generally  has been down to its capacity to confirm class privileges. contemporary art is flushed with a desire to prove the historic failure. convinced that a clean break from the past can separate now from then….


i think we have a problem. maybe a few problems.

what does the world look like from under a microscope and is that sufficient to describe the world and do we want to describe the world, what does that ultimately achieve, can the hormones firing round our body explain what we are and how we see or are they the fuel that takes us places from which we            at what point can we say we act rather than being acted upon and does it matter. and why is there a desire (as the surrealists might have it) for meaning.

Austerity (The Gambler)

To the German method of heaping up riches. I have not been here very long, but I can tell you that what I have seen and verified makes my Tartar blood boil. Good Lord! I wish for no virtues of that kind. Yesterday I went for a walk of about ten versts; and, everywhere I found that things were even as we read of them in good German picture-books — that every house has its ‘Fater,’ who is horribly beneficent and extraordinarily honourable. So honourable is he that it is dreadful to have anything to do with him; and I cannot bear people of that sort. Each such ‘Fater’ has his family, and in the evenings they read improving books aloud. Over their roof-trees there murmur elms and chestnuts; the sun has sunk to his rest; a stork is roosting on the gable; and all is beautifully poetic and touching. Do not be angry, General. Let me tell you something that is even more touching than that. I can remember how, of an evening, my own father, now dead, used to sit under the lime trees in his little garden, and to read books aloud to myself and my mother. Yes, I know how things ought to be done. Yet every German family is bound to slavery and to submission to its ‘Fater.’ They work like oxen, and amass wealth like Jews. Suppose the ‘Fater’ has put by a certain number of gulden which he hands over to his eldest son, in order that the said son may acquire a trade or a small plot of land. Well, one result is to deprive the daughter of a dowry, and so leave her among the unwedded. For the same reason, the parents will have to sell the younger son into bondage or the ranks of the army, in order that he may earn more towards the family capital. Yes, such things ARE done, for I have been making inquiries on the subject. It is all done out of sheer rectitude—out of a rectitude which is magnified to the point of the younger son believing that he has been RIGHTLY sold, and that it is simply idyllic for the victim to rejoice when he is made over into pledge. What more have I to tell? Well, this—that matters bear just as hardly upon the eldest son. Perhaps he has his Gretchen to whom his heart is bound; but he cannot marry her, for the reason that he has not yet amassed sufficient gulden. So, the pair wait on in a mood of sincere and virtuous expectation, and smilingly deposit themselves in pawn the while. Gretchen’s cheeks grow sunken, and she begins to wither; until at last, after some twenty years, their substance has multiplied, and sufficient gulden have been honourably and virtuously accumulated. Then the ‘Fater’ blesses his forty-year-old heir and the thirty-five-year-old Gretchen with the sunken bosom and the scarlet nose; after which he bursts, into tears, reads the pair a lesson on morality, and dies. In turn the eldest son becomes a virtuous ‘Fater,’ and the old story begins again. In fifty or sixty years’ time the grandson of the original ‘Fater’ will have amassed a considerable sum; and that sum he will hand over to, his son, and the latter to HIS son, and so on for several generations; until at length there will issue a Baron Rothschild, or a ‘Hoppe and Company,’ or the devil knows what! Is it not a beautiful spectacle—the spectacle of a century or two of inherited labour, patience, intellect, rectitude, character, perseverance, and calculation, with a stork sitting on the roof above it all? What is more; they think there can never be anything better than this; wherefore, from their point of view they begin to judge the rest of the world, and to censure all who are at fault—that is to say, who are not exactly like themselves. Yes, there you have it in a nutshell. For my own part, I would rather grow fat after the Russian manner, or squander my whole substance at roulette. I have no wish to be ‘Hoppe and Company’ at the end of five generations.


Fyodor Dostoevsky. From the gambler (1867, translation by C. J. Hogarth, 1914 wikisource).

i do not see this as a german problem mind. it’s an english problem. or a global problem. i’d forgotten how perverse Dostoevsky is – not having read from him for ten or so years. he’s great.


The real mystery does not behave mysteriously or secretively; it speaks a secret language, it adumbrates itself by a variety of images which all indicate its true nature. I am not speaking of a secret personally guarded by someone, with a content known to its possessor, but of a mystery, a matter or circumstance which is “secret,” i.e., known only through vague hints but essentially unknown. The real nature of matter was unknown to the alchemist: he knew it only in hints. In seeking to explore it he projected the unconscious into the darkness of matter in order to illuminate it. In order to explain the mystery of matter he projected yet another mystery – his own psychic background -into what was to be explained: Obscurum per obscurius, ignotum per ignotius!

C.G. Jung, Psychology and Alchemy (Part 3, Chapter 2.1)

watercolour in sketchbook, a3, 2012


pencil in sketchbook, a3, 2012




drawing. drawing needs to be an opportunity to look, to really look with an openness. the whole needs to be involved; it is a psychic exploration, not imitation. cameras are very good at imitation, tools for creative use of imagery. when drawing, all assumptions about what can be seen must be lost. that way it becomes something other than a mechanical exercise.

creative is overused, an overused or perhaps merely abused. i was asked whether i am creative, it came up in an interview after i had enquired after the subjects ambitions, i found it difficult to reply. the question was specifically ‘are you creative?’ the answer should have been either: ‘aren’t we all?’ or perhaps: ‘given the right circumstance yes’ the answer i gave was ‘sometimes’. ‘you’ being the cypher and ‘creative’ being a cypher. by cypher i mean an unknown subject or entity unknown because the subject is bland (just trying to be clear). ‘sometimes’ seemed sufficiently broad to disperse any specificity and therefore active meaning; and seemed in the spirit of the question, though i wondered whether i wanted to get into the spirit of the question. even being facetious though i often find that conversations on creativity end up in syllogistic fallacies, and such. also i find conversations in art arrive to the same point(s). and facetiousness. art & creativity lead to being facetious.

ask duchamp


Moreover, I am getting rid of that devil who, as you know, used to stand behind me and forced me at will to “imitate”

Paul Cezanne. In his last letter to his son Paul.

watercolour on paper, a2, 2012

open studios is a very strange thing, i watched a young couple walking around the building but with a steady gaze into the middle distance – a little above them and a little before them – never letting their eyes focus on any work or making eye contact. with artists or each other. they looked very unhappy. and they looked like they were wrapped in psychic armour, and their visit was cultural mortification.