DONATE NOW TO HELP UPGRADE LIBCOM.ORG

Walter Benjamin on history

30 posts / 0 new
Last post
Battlescarred
Offline
Joined: 27-02-06
Nov 13 2007 18:21
Walter Benjamin on history

"The class struggle, which is always present to a historian influenced by Marx, is a fight for the crude and material things without which no refined and spiritual things could exist. Nevertheless, it is not in the form of the spoils which fall to the victor that the latter make their presence felt in the class struggle. They manifest themselves in this struggle as courage, humor, cunning, and fortitude. They have retroactive force and will constantly call in question every victory, past and present, of the rulers. As flowers turn toward the sun, by dint of a secret heliotropism the past strives to turn toward that sun which is rising in the sky of history". Walter Benjamin.

MJ's picture
MJ
Offline
Joined: 5-01-06
Nov 13 2007 19:24

BORING

smokescreen
Offline
Joined: 5-11-07
Nov 14 2007 09:04

Very good, but not especially useful in the circumstances, I feel.

Battlescarred
Offline
Joined: 27-02-06
Nov 14 2007 10:59

And what circumstances might they be?
And what a cutting and trenchant critique from the NEFAC comrade

Tacks's picture
Tacks
Offline
Joined: 8-11-05
Nov 14 2007 14:10

whats a helitrope? I think i saw one at the museum of moving image.

Battlescarred
Offline
Joined: 27-02-06
Nov 14 2007 14:45

Heliotropism is the diurnal motion of plant parts (flowers or leaves) in response to the direction of the sun. Heliotropic flowers track the sun's motion across the sky from East to West. During the night, the flowers may assume a random orientation, while at dawn they turn again towards the East where the sun rises. This behavior is exhibited, for example, by the snow buttercup (Ranunculus adoneus), an alpine plant. The motion is performed by motor cells in a flexible segment just below the flower, called a pulvinus.

Tacks's picture
Tacks
Offline
Joined: 8-11-05
Nov 14 2007 15:27

Blimey.

smokescreen
Offline
Joined: 5-11-07
Nov 14 2007 15:52
Battlescarred wrote:
And what circumstances might they be?

Any ones in which we need a pompous and irrelevant but quite pretty description of the historical inevitability i guess.

Battlescarred
Offline
Joined: 27-02-06
Nov 14 2007 15:52

You said it! smile

the button's picture
the button
Offline
Joined: 7-07-04
Nov 14 2007 15:59

Can't beat this one of his, IMO: -

A Klee painting named ‘Angelus Novus’ shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing in from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such a violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.

MJ's picture
MJ
Offline
Joined: 5-01-06
Nov 14 2007 16:54

Was that one from The Crow?

Tacks's picture
Tacks
Offline
Joined: 8-11-05
Nov 15 2007 13:41

Do you like Phil Collins? I've been a big Genesis fan ever since the release of their 1980 album, Duke. Before that, I really didn't understand any of their work. Too artsy, too intellectual. It was on Duke where Phil Collins' presence became more apparent. I think Invisible Touch was the group's undisputed masterpiece. It's an epic meditation on intangibility. At the same time, it deepens and enriches the meaning of the preceding three albums. Christy, take off your robe. Listen to the brilliant ensemble playing of Banks, Collins and Rutherford. You can practically hear every nuance of every instrument. Sabrina, remove your dress. In terms of lyrical craftsmanship, the sheer songwriting, this album hits a new peak of professionalism. Sabrina, why don't you, uh, dance a little. Take the lyrics to Land of Confusion. In this song, Phil Collins addresses the problems of abusive political authority. In Too Deep is the most moving pop song of the 1980s, about monogamy and commitment. The song is extremely uplifting. Their lyrics are as positive and affirmative as anything I've heard in rock. Christy, get down on your knees so Sabrina can see your asshole. Phil Collins' solo career seems to be more commercial and therefore more satisfying, in a narrower way. Especially songs like In the Air Tonight and Against All Odds. Sabrina, don't just stare at it, eat it. But I also think Phil Collins works best within the confines of the group, than as a solo artist, and I stress the word artist.

Battlescarred
Offline
Joined: 27-02-06
Nov 15 2007 14:59

So tell me, tacks, what is the significance of the gorilla beating on those skins?

the button's picture
the button
Offline
Joined: 7-07-04
Nov 15 2007 15:10

The story is told of a gorilla constructed in such a way that it could play a drumkit. A gorilla with drumsticks in its hands sat before a drumkit placed in front of a purple background. A system of mirrors created the illusion that the bass drum was transparent from the front. Actually, a little hunchback who was an expert drummer sat inside and guided the gorilla's hand by means of strings. One can imagine a philosophical counterpart to this device. The gorilla called ‘historical materialism’ is to drum all the time. It can easily be a match for anyone if it enlists the services of theology, which today, as we know, is wizened and has to keep out of sight.

Battlescarred
Offline
Joined: 27-02-06
Nov 15 2007 15:28

One cannot think of this imagery without calling to mind one of Neil Sedaka's better (and earlier efforts) I Go Ape:
"When I hold your hand
I'm a prehistoric man
I go ape!
Sedaka is of course referring to the revolution that will inevitably come and by analogy, its handmaiden historical materialism

pingtiao's picture
pingtiao
Offline
Joined: 9-10-03
Nov 15 2007 16:23

Surely no one here (perhaps other than some particularly mental ICCer?) actually believes in historical inevitability? Or in the sure eventual triumph of communist currents over capitalism?

pingtiao's picture
pingtiao
Offline
Joined: 9-10-03
Nov 15 2007 16:24
Battlescarred wrote:
One cannot think of this imagery without calling to mind one of Neil Sedaka's better (and earlier efforts) I Go Ape:
"When I hold your hand
I'm a prehistoric man
I go ape!
Sedaka is of course referring to the revolution that will inevitably come and by analogy, its handmaiden historical materialism

grin

You are a funny man, battlescarred.

mobarez's picture
mobarez
Offline
Joined: 31-10-07
Nov 15 2007 18:11

I'm dissapointed in you MJ. Walter Benjamin was one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century. Perhaps we should go back to crude interpretations of history and class struggle. WB has some great insights into the development of modern culture. Not to be brushed aside. Even if it is contained within a poetic language. What's so wrong with poetry and art people?

MJ's picture
MJ
Offline
Joined: 5-01-06
Nov 15 2007 19:44
mobarez wrote:
I'm dissapointed in you MJ. Walter Benjamin was one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century. Perhaps we should go back to crude interpretations of history and class struggle. WB has some great insights into the development of modern culture. Not to be brushed aside. Even if it is contained within a poetic language. What's so wrong with poetry and art people?

Quiet you, I'm just antagonizing them. You should post more by the way.

Battlescarred
Offline
Joined: 27-02-06
Nov 16 2007 09:43

Why are you antagonising "them"? Is it because you are a twat?

mel
Offline
Joined: 24-02-08
Mar 18 2008 16:26
the button wrote:
Can't beat this one of his, IMO: -

A Klee painting named ‘Angelus Novus’ shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing in from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such a violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.

yeah i just read that.

and he said "irresistibly" not inevitably: it's a very weak criticism.

mel
Offline
Joined: 24-02-08
Mar 18 2008 16:50

i dunno how pretty the angel metaphor is.

unless like i'm the angel and i get to look like the brandon lee and kill people. that would be sweet.

but more seriously neutral i dunno i think marx's philosophy is alot about mysticism, maybe truth in general; that that's what makes it look most something. tell me, what's a marxist epistemology like anyone know?

mel
Offline
Joined: 24-02-08
Mar 19 2008 16:24

that first quote is quite good actually.

first time i was at all aware of anything beyond a strike i scabbed, was reading the introduction to clauswitz's on war [on a plane to mexico actually]. and the writer of the introduction i forget who it was described marxism as eschatological war to end wars. i wasn't entirely sure what 'eschatological' meant, but it made a real impression and i figured that whatever he was going on about, marxism, the labour party, teenage angst whatever it was, was on the button.

i reckon it's the deep, stuff like that. maybe just if you're nerd i dunno.

http://www.leedstrinity.ac.uk/depart/media/staff/ls/WBenjamin/CONCEPT2.html

great short essay that i haven't read yet. his last work.

Alf's picture
Alf
Offline
Joined: 6-07-05
Mar 19 2008 19:29

Yes, but Walter Benjamin did have some very profund insights (or am I off topic?)

Alf's picture
Alf
Offline
Joined: 6-07-05
Mar 19 2008 19:32

This is drivel though, Ping:

Surely no one here (perhaps other than some particularly mental ICCer?) actually believes in historical inevitability? Or in the sure eventual triumph of communist currents over capitalism?

What part of socialism OR barbarism don't you understand?

Tacks's picture
Tacks
Offline
Joined: 8-11-05
Mar 19 2008 21:51

i don't trust anyone who enhoys reading this kind of thing angry

mel
Offline
Joined: 24-02-08
Mar 19 2008 22:05

why?

Tacks's picture
Tacks
Offline
Joined: 8-11-05
Mar 19 2008 22:13

MOTHERFUCKING SHIT. I WAS JUST MASTURBATING AND EVERYTHING WAS GOING GREAT. I WAS IN MY ROOM, I HAD MY HEADPHONES ON, I WAS TOTALLY NAKED SITTING AT MY COMPUTER FAPPING AWAY TO A VIDEO ON REDTUBE. ALL OF A SUDDEN THERE'S THIS REALLY SHARP PAIN IN MY DICK, LIKE IT JUST GOT STABBED WITH A SEWING NEEDLE. I JERKED MY HAND BACK AND IT BUMPED INTO MY COMPUTER TOWER, WHICH SITS ON THE DESK. WELL, I HAD MY STICK OF DEODORANT ON TOP OF THE TOWER, AND THAT BITCH FELL OFF AND LANDED DEODORANT-END-DOWN ON THE HEAD OF MY COCK. HOLY FUCKING SHIT DID THAT HURT, AND ON TOP OF THAT IT HIT SO HARD THAT IT ACTUALLY FORCED SOME DEODORANT INTO MY URETHRA. I'VE NEVER HAD ANYTHING BURN SO BAD IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. I JUMPED OUT OF MY FUCKING CHAIR AND STOOD UP BECAUSE IT HURT SO BAD; THIS CAUSED MY HEADPHONE CABLE TO GET YANKED OUT OF MY SPEAKERS, WHICH CAUSED "OH YEAH BABY COME DEEP IN MY TIGHT TEEN ASSHOLE UH UH UH" TO GET BLARED THROUGH MY FUCKING HOUSE AND ALMOST MAXIMUM VOLUME. NOW MY EYES ARE WATERING FROM THE PAIN OF THE DEODORANT INSIDE MY COCK BUT I MANAGE TO PUNCH ONE OF MY SPEAKERS HARD ENOUGH SO THEY TURN OFF. I LOOKED DOWN AND NOTICED BLOOD DRIPPING OFF OF MY COCK; I GUESS THE LIP OF THE PLASTIC DEODORANT THING BIT INTO MY FORESKIN AS IT CONNECTED WITH MY COCK. THE BLOOD WAS DRIPPING DOWN MY LEG. THIS ALL HAPPENED IN THE SPACE OF MAYBE 6 SECONDS. IT MAY SEEM BAD BUT IT GETS WORSE. JUST AS I'M STANDING THERE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED, MY BEDROOM DOOR FUCKING OPENS. MY DAD WAS STANDING THERE WITH MY ACCEPTANCE LETTER TO DURHAM. I FROZE AND HE STARED AT ME, NAKED WITH MY BLOODY ERECTION FOR MAYBE 15 SECONDS BEFORE HE NOTICED MY COMPUTER MONITOR AND THE BRUTAL ANAL SEX SCENE GOING ON FULL-SCREEN. HE IMMEDIATELY CLOSED THE DOOR AND LEFT WITHOUT SAYING ANYTHING. THIS MAY SEEM EMBARRASSING BUT MY DAD IS A SERIOUSLY CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIAN. I'M STILL IN MY ROOM TRYING TO GET THE GOD DAMN FUCKING OLD SPICE OUT OF MY COCK. WHAT SHOULD I DO

mel
Offline
Joined: 24-02-08
Mar 19 2008 22:22
Quote:
ok 4 PMs is really odd.