Recent posts in category Uncategorized / General

Crisis? What Crisis?

On the concept of accelerationism.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2022-08-17 21:00:00 No comments

I heard a good one the other day: "You can't give people the solution to a problem they don't have yet." Meaning if people for the most part don't see their lot as being in a bad way, they won't be likely to do much about it save for the most routine maintenance.

This is the mindset behind the idea that things need to be pushed to a crisis point to make their inherent badness into something that's everyone's problem, not just the problems of an invisible few. "Accelerationism" is the term widely used for this sort of thing. I never liked this idea, in big part because it makes a few false assumptions. 

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Tags: sociology

I Got The Feelin'

Gut wisdom and creativity, examined.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2022-08-15 21:00:00 No comments

James Brown fans will see a reference, of course. Even if the reference wasn't that word-for-word: it was something that came up the other night in discussion of a new, as-yet-untitled project with my friend Steve. "I'm feeling something there," he said. For someone as systematic, rigorous, and logical as he is, to say he feels something there is high praise. It means whatever it is, it cut through his defenses and hit an emotional note.

In the other post I mentioned the Buddhist concept of prajna, which like a lot of the rest of Buddhism can fall victim to some really bad translations. The best I've been able to make of prajna is that it's a kind of intuitive wisdom or sussing of things (the grognards in the audience will probably say "dig" or "grok"), but not just a plain old gut reaction. It's a kind of intuition you develop about things that only arises after a lot of quieting down of one's inner voices, so that the thing-in-itself can reach you all the more unobstructedly. It's insight with as little ego as possible dirtying it up.

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Tags: Buddhism Zen creativity writing

The Tragedy Of The Cultural Engineers

Those who are most in the position to effect massive social changes through cultural engineering at scale are hidebound from doing so.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2022-08-12 12:00:00 No comments

One of the great tragedies of our time is how those who are most in the position to effect massive and effective social changes through cultural engineering at scale are hidebound from doing so. The very things that make scale possible limit the broad changes that can be made with it. Yes, Marvel, yes, Disney, I'm looking at you.

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Tags: cultural engineering entertainment popular culture

More Wrong Lessons From The Singular Sensations

The lessons we learn from singular, idiosyncratic works are not necessarily positive ones.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2022-08-11 21:00:00 No comments

The last couple of weeks left me pooped, so here goes with me trying to turn the blogging wheel once again.

A fellow I know on Goodreads recently finished reading Proust's In Search Of Lost Time, and mostly had negative things to say about it. Many of his objections, I agree with: the book is mainly about a character with little to like, whose chief qualities are his narcissism and solipsism, and who is depicted by an author who disdains dramatic development to the point of self-parody. But I also got the feeling (as I've read a fair amount of the cycle myself now) that none of this was an affectation, that Proust wrote the book this way because he felt he had no choice — that he was putting himself on the page, for better or worse. What's new to me, though, is the sense that any lessons we learn from such singular, idiosyncratic works are not necessarily positive ones.

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Tags: Georges Simenon Marcel Proust creativity creators

The Dark Stuff

Something that disturbs us can be profound, but that does not mean disturbance is profundity, or a certain route to same.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2022-07-24 12:00:00 No comments

A truism that scarcely bears repeating, but seems to be eluding us lately, is how good art does not have to be about Nice People or Healthy Things. Good art can be about Terrible People who are fascinating to watch (GoodFellas, Taxi Driver), or Unhealthy Things that put the rest of life into new perspective (Selby, Dostoevsky). What I dislike, and object to, is not fiction about immoral or even amoral subjects, but fiction that does not cop to the responsibility of being attracted to such material. What I really hate is fiction whose worldview seems limited to displaying these wretched things with a shrug, or worse, a snicker. If you're going to talk about this stuff, have the nerve to own up to why and to what end.

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Tags: criticism fiction philosophy

All 'N All

Zen wonkery: on the idea that all things are enlightenment incarnate.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2022-07-23 12:00:00 No comments

The next couple of weeks are likely to be slow on my end, as I'm getting mighty close to finishing the first draft of Shunga-Satori, and also doing some other things (travel for fun, work related stuff, etc.). Don't expect much bloggo de blog from me until further notice, but I'll try to drop a few things in when a moment strikes. For now, though, a little Buddhism-inspired discussion.

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Tags: Buddhism Zen

What I Was Trying To Be All About

The only thing I want from my work is to use it as a way to make sense of myself and my world, and to do that in a way that other people can share.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2022-07-17 12:00:00 No comments

The very worst time in my life to date was, I think, the period from about 2002 through 2006. I got involved in a creative project with several other people that failed miserably. I'd lost a job I'd had for many years, and was struggling to make ends meet as a freelancer. Nothing I wrote during that time has survived, and I attempted a halfhearted foray into music making that also went nowhere. Most people near me probably didn't know I was a wreck inside, because I'd gotten good at hiding it, much to the detriment of both them and myself. But the worst part of this period, aside from the creative sterility, was the growing feeling that whatever kind of culture, society, or world we were building, it wasn't for human beings, and I felt helpless in the face of that.

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Tags: creativity creators