Disposable Sublime

  Riddles, allusions, elisions, omissions - dreams, jokes, slips and symptoms

all the stuff of bucolic self come bubbling up for neural health.


“Every sperm is sacred. Every sperm is great. If a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate.

Monty  Python - “The Meaning of Life”

Sublime: exalted, elevated, noble, awe-inspiring, majestic, glorious, transcendent.

Fecund:  Able to produce many offspring

499,999,999 sperm are wasted in every sex act that gives rise to a new human life and 500 million in each one that doesn’t result in fertilization. Cosmo ( JB God)  does not care about this incredible waste. Cosmo throws a colossal avalanche of spaghetti against the wall hoping one piece will stick. Cosmo is oblivious to the value of a single individual even though it expresses Cosmo’s own wonder-beauty-sublimity.

A sea turtle lays 150 eggs, 75 of these eggs survive bird and lizard and raccoon predation hatching in a timely manner. The baby turtles crawl a hundred yards across the sand to the surf and swim forward into the open sea where they immediately become food for sharks, dolphins and any fish that can lock its jaws around them. Two or three individuals from each nest will live through infancy in the open ocean growing to maturity to reproduce.

A baby sea turtle is a sublime thing comprising a multitude of miraculous biochemical pathways, complex organ systems and physical beauty evolved over 250 million years yet its existence on earth is tenuous, filled with danger with zero guarantee for a full life. Only a few of these small  miracles survive to produce their own offspring thus boosting their evolutionary potential.

Fecundity-disposability of the sublime is played out in most species of plants and animals. It is sadly wasteful but who would want to see the ocean jam-packed with shore to shore sea turtles or look out to the horizon across a salty writhing mass of 100,000 species of sea animals and plants. Balance requires brutality. Brutality ensures balance and it ensures some open ocean for the strong and lucky survivors to fight-flee seduce and mate.

Species not only dodge, fight and flee from predatory species but also fight and flee their own kind for survival and the opportunity to reproduce. One of the larger questions  for chordates is “Who gets the girl?” Intraspecies conflict is a big driver of evolution.

People create sublime things in the manner of nature: great paintings, music compositions, films, aircraft, I-pads and disposable razors. Only a very tiny percentage of sublime creations ever have a public moment. For the one tenth of one percent that do go into our public arena as products vying for mental shelf space, this glorious debut moment passes and the sublime thing is soon forgotten. A small army of talent creates a movie,  this cinematic treasure spends ten days at the multiplex then it’s gone. It is sublime. It is disposable. Sublime disposability drives people to madness. An architect works for three years on a big contract for the Navy - one million square feet of office and warehouse space. The project is shelved - forever. A composer working as a music professor draws out his finest musical ideas for years  writing his symphony and no one ever hears it. Disposable sublimity occurs so often in the arts, the professions and industry that it is cruel to even bring it up. A difficult subject on all counts. It fills psychiatrist’s couches.

There is intense intraspecies competition among humans to write the music that reaches the public, the book that finds a publisher and a public,  to design the building that gets built and used by a family or by millions of people. The 10,000 screenplays submitted to Hollywood movie studios each year  that never reach the cineplex are brothers to those  499,999,999 sperm that didn’t fertilize the egg. Funny how important we think our screenplay, novel or symphony is when it is one gazillionth as complex, as miraculous as a single sperm or any one of a million species of single cell animal or plant or bacterium or virus.

It is easier for us to adjust to the inequities of small turtle travails, the brief life of a cherry blossom or the waste of sperm than to the brief  life of one’s cherished artistic creation. How many wannabe  “Great American”  novels have hit the remainder bin after selling 500 copies ensuring the brilliant, imaginative author will remain a wandering nobody in the bustling halls of academe  not only not in the canon but not even a particle of gunpowder.

Life is brutal-pass the bottle

bein’ brilliant isn’t what’ll

get me up into the bracket

where I just can’t  hear the racket

  • Mr. Gasoline lyrics

Media professionals design their product to hit the market and get out. A movie studio knows that its 75 million to 300 million dollar product has the shelf life of a baguette. They know the entertainment ecosystem  is shark infested, a relentless, vicious, winner take all competition every weekend. Movies, music and theater are designed to seduce immediately in order to simply get to the starting gate. Sublimity is always lost. Sex with no love, violence with no purpose, stories with no roots in the heart. Form with very little content. Delivering a shred of honest emotion  earns a Grammy, Emmy or Academy Award nomination.

Humans are miracles of nature little different from sea turtles or any organisms. We are all sublime beauty and wonder all the way down to the biochemical interactions of our molecules and beyond, yet entire populations of humans are allowed to waste in squalor without cleanliness, health, education or any degree of welfare. Entire classes of Americans become prison industrial complex fodder,  lost to financial predators in the loan-sharking or the wall street banking class, poisoned by the manufacturing class and brainwashed by the media class.  We are  sublime. We abuse and bury our sublimity.

God throws you against the wall of life like so much spaghetti,

it’s up to you to figure out how to stick


We insist upon and try to cultivate our own sublimity once we know it is our resposibility. Cosmo turns away at birth and family loosens reins during adolescence.  Cosmo does not care if you are the turtlette who gets snatched by a crab as you flipper-flop through the dangerous sand to the dangerous surf or if you are the sea turtle who survives in the open ocean for 30 years reaching reproductive maturity dodging sharks, killer whales, boat propellers, shrimp nets and plastic pollutants mistaken for food. Cosmo does not care if you endure a stunted human life through psychological abuse, physical violence, obesity, alcoholism, drug addiction, hate, jealousy, assault or wither within the corrosive prison  of a troubled marriage. Cosmo don’t care, don’t give a damn, you are on your own. Are ya feelin’ lucky?

There are many thousands of sublime works created each year that will never see the light of a coffee shop wall or resonate on a streetcorner. Sublimity and self-promotion are mutually exclusive yet we demand that a single person harness  tools of self promotion to capitalize their sublime works. This is the stuff of the schiz-mind fry for Modernists - those who can handle lots of ambiguity, uncertainty and change, the pitch-yaw-roll of Postmodern life will thrive.



Poststructuralism is a precursor to  1965/1980 postmodernism that focuses specifically on linguistic matters of a synchronic sort emerging from Saussure. One’s text must contain a dollop of rebellion from mid-century social sciences icon Claude Levi-Strauss, himself a disciple of Saussure. A postructuralist never writes so clearly that multiple interpretations cannot be fussed out of the text.

“Language is not a pane of clear glass”

“Priority belongs to language itself. We learn to mean.”

“Meaning is an effect of the signifier”

It is asserted by poststructuralist Jacques Derrida that the idea is not independent of the word and to suggest such makes one logocentric. If one brands the word “Hot” onto the surface of a person’s thigh does the brandee need to know the definition of the word hot, it’s spelling and pronunciation in order to understand the heat and pain?

“The trace of otherness lays all oppositions open to deconstruction, leaving no pure or absolute concepts to be taken as foundational. Meanings, not only art, democracy, terrorism, human rights are not individual personal or subjective since they emanate from language but they are not given in nature or guaranteed by any existing authority either.” Catherine Belsey summing key Poststructural concept.

Art, democracy, terrorism and human rights are evidence of mankind trying to establish  sublimity. Terrorism in the service of sublimity is an irreconcilable opposition.

JB Questions-Observations:

  1. Can your flu catch a cold? Can your Toxoplasma gondii cerebral parasites catch a virus? Do viruses infect other viruses for ill effect on one’s health. Could this cascade of infection go 5 organisms deep given they are only inserting RNA or DNA into one another?
  2. Did Hungarian Communist party apparatchik art cop, Georg Lukacs have a role in Trotsky’s assassination during his stay in  Russia?
  3. Did anything ever de-fang capital “A” Art as much as 30th century interwar communist politics: prole as audience vs oppressive capitalist - UGH ! see: Lukacs-Brecht-Adorno dialectics
  4. Is there such a thing as an “archaic” myth? Aren’t all myths ingrained at different levels in the history of a culture and also at different levels of present consciousness-unconsciousness. Do myths come and go or accrue?  When and how might a myth die, dissolve, evaporate? When will the myths surrounding The Bill of Rights evaporate?
  5. Review the evolution of the definition of myth from Benjamin-Adorno to Jung to Barthes - Joseph Campbell et al.
  6. Piling on the commie way: Perry anderson on Adorno, Adorno on Lukacs, Adorno on Benjamin: A Marxist Brothers comedy.
  7. There is a sort of philosophical discourse whose purpose is to register membership in a club rather than to explore ideas. Adorno writing to Benjamin is like a kid sending a secret club code or giving the secret handshake. He peppers his text with as many commie buzzwords as his light ideas can carry. The Brecht-Adorno-Benjamin axis of 3d generation commie claptrap of mid-late 1930s re: commodity capitalism, division of labor, use-value proving to one another they have been good boys and done their Marx homework. Perry Anderson as a 4th generation Marxist  is even more pompously prolix.
  8. Aztec-Inca gold financed the European Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution as it financed manufacturing throughout europe of weapons, tools, ships, textiles and global exploration. War and commerce flourished with the avalanche of Aztec capital. The engine revs up on central American fuel. Bottom line: Latin American booty enables Commodity Capitalism to evolve with great vigor in Baroque Europe.
  9. It is human nature to project the death of one’s own neurons onto the entire culture as one notes the dissolution, the catastrophes, the failure of much that was good: millennial unawareness of Sergeant Pepper, the loss of factory jobs to digital technology, the replacement of wood with plastic, the computerization of cars and all communication. As neurons enter necrosis-apoptosis, the individual affected begins to see loss of quality all around. We project our loss out to the world forgetting that renewal is all around.
  10. Compare and contrast two concepts of myth: the Levi-Strauss-Joseph Campbell strain ( all-encompassing, transcultural, one story serves all) vs the Roland Barthes-Gilles Deleuze-Baudrillard version that ascribes myth to all aspects of a culture system: religion, law,philosophy,art, advertising, entertainment, car sales - commodity manufacturing, use and fetishization. The deep vs the deep and shallow together.  Levi-Strauss: Myth can be separated from marriage rites, plant medicine, lineage tracking where Barthes et al it is ALL myth all the time. If humans believe it, watch it, eat it, do it then it’s myth.
  11. Hegel’s idealism-dialectical materialism defangs Christian Fundamentalism at pre-Victorian era. Hegel provides rocket fuel for Victorians Carlyle, Marx, Darwin, Ruskin and later Nietzsche. Cracking the Christian hegemony at European Zeit opens the door for emergence of Jewish thinkers into late 19th century discourse and their major role as members of the Titanic 12.  Adam Smith vs Marx: choose sides - yin or yang - commie or cappie - Christian or Jew. ultramodernist or citramodernist. Richard Meier or Frank Gehry?
  12. As dogmatic Christian belief dissolved across the 19th century due to secular Enlightenment notions gaining traction previously marginalized jews saw an opening encouraging emergence from the cloistered shadows of the arcade ( see: Benjamin) and compete for center stage in intellectual discourse. Judeo-Christian Yin Yang was thus animated for all 20th and 21st century discourse.


December 21, 2015  10:54PM