Showing posts from 2009

Taste of Cherry

Watching the Leaves Falling

Watching the Leaves Falling from Dmitry Bogolubov on Vimeo.

Via Amandeep Singh

Freud's Moses

Moses and Monotheism, Freud’s last major book and the only one specifically devoted to a Jewish theme, has proved to be one of the most controversial and enigmatic works in the Freudian canon. Among other things, Freud claims in the book that Moses was an Egyptian, that he derived the notion of monotheism from Egyptian concepts, and that after he introduced monotheism to the Jews he was killed by them. Since these historical and ethnographic assumptions have been generally rejected by biblical scholars, anthropologists, and historians of religion, the book has increasingly been approached psychoanalytically, as a psychological document of Freud’s inner life—of his allegedly unresolved Oedipal complex and ambivalence over his Jewish identity.


"Wood" is an old name for forest. In the wood there are paths,
mostly overgrown, that come to an abrupt stop where the wood is
They are called Holzwege.
Each goes its separate way, though within the same forest. It often
appears as if one is identical to another. But it only appears so.
Woodcutters and forest keepers know these paths. They know what
it means to be on a Holzwege.


A Seminar with Simon Critchley | July 15-24, 2010

The return to religion has become perhaps the dominant cliché of contemporary theory. Of course, theory often offers nothing more than an exaggerated echo of what is happening in reality, a political reality dominated by the fact of religious war. Somehow we seem to have passed from a secular age, which we were ceaselessly told was post-metaphysical, to a new situation where political action seems to flow directly from metaphysical conflict. This situation can be triangulated around the often-fatal entanglement of politics and religion, where the third vertex of the triangle is violence. Politics, religion and violence appear to define the present through which we are all too precipitously moving, where religiously justified violence is the means to a political end.

How are we to respond to such a situation? Must one either defend a version of secularism or quietly accept the slide into some form of theism? The First Tilburg Philosophy…

Antichrist (2009)

A couple lose their young son when he falls out the window while they have sex in the other room. The mother's grief consigns her to hospital, but her therapist husband brings her home intent on treating her depression himself. To confront her fears they go to stay at their remote cabin in the woods, "Eden", where something untold happened the previous summer. Told in four chapters with a prologue and epilogue, the film details acts of lustful cruelty as the man and woman unfold the darker side of nature outside and within.
Written by Peter Brandt Nielsen - Youth slate wins Surrey temple election

Salt of This Sea

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Soraya (spoken-word artist Suheir Hammad) travels to Palestine to retrieve her grandfather's savings, frozen in a Jaffa bank account after his 1948 exile. Struggling to feel at home in the land of her ancestors, she meets Emad, a young Palestinian whose ambition, contrary to hers, is to leave forever. When confronted with unwieldy official policies that deny her access to the fruit of her grandfather's life's work, she must take things into their own hands, even if it's illegal. Stubborn, passionate, and determined to reclaim what's theirs, she and Emad set out on a road trip for poetic justice across a lush Palestinian (now Israeli) landscape—after which there is no return.

Annemarie Jacir's award-winning directorial debut represents a fresh, viscerally affecting, and definitive statement from second-generation Palestinian Americans. Rife with symbolism, director of photography Benoit Chamaillard's color-saturated lensing of P…

ਪੰਜਾਬ ਦਾ ਇਤਿਹਾਸ ਅਤੇ “ਕਾਮਰੇਡਾਂ” ਦੀਆਂ ਗੁਸਤਾਖੀਆਂ

-ਪ੍ਰਭਸ਼ਰਨਬੀਰ ਸਿੰਘ
ਯੂਨੀਵਰਸਿਟੀ ਆਫ ਬ੍ਰਿਟਿਸ਼ ਕੋਲੰਬੀਆ
ਪਰਮਜੀਤ ਰੋਡੇ ਦਾ ਬੇਹੱਦ ਨਫਰਤ ਨਾਲ ਭਰਿਆ ਲੇਖ ਪੜ੍ਹਿਆ, ਜਿਸਦਾ ਨਿਸ਼ਾਨਾ ‘ਚੜ੍ਹਦੀ ਕਲਾ’ ਦੀ ਇੱਕ “ਗੁਸਤਾਖੀ” ਹੈ। ਇਹ ਗੁਸਤਾਖੀ ਇੱਕ ਅਜਿਹੀ ਇਤਿਹਾਸਕ ਸਾਜ਼ਿਸ਼ ਨੂੰ ਉਘਾੜਨਾ ਹੈ ਜਿਸ ਰਾਹੀਂ ਗਦਰੀ ਬਾਬਿਆਂ ਦੀ ਚੇਤਨ ਪੱਧਰ ਉੱਤੇ ਅਜਿਹੀ ਇਤਿਹਾਸਕ ਪੇਸ਼ਕਾਰੀ ਕੀਤੀ ਗਈ ਕਿ ਆਉਣ ਵਾਲੀਆਂ ਨਸਲਾਂ ਆਪਣੇ ਸਮਕਾਲੀ ਸੰਘਰਸ਼ਾਂ ਲਈ ਬਾਬਿਆਂ ਨੂੰ ਪ੍ਰੇਰਨਾ ਸਰੋਤ ਨਾ ਬਣਾ ਸਕਣ। ਸਿਰਫ ਏਨਾ ਹੀ ਨਹੀਂ, ਇਸ ਗਲਤ ਪੇਸ਼ਕਾਰੀ ਰਾਹੀਂ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਦਾ ਅਗਾਂਹਵਧੂ ਅਖਵਾਉਂਦਾ ਵਰਗ ਹਿੰਦੁਸਤਾਨ ਦੀ ਜਾਬਰ ਹਕੂਮਤ ਦੇ ਹੱਕ ਵਿੱਚ ਵੀ ਭੁਗਤਿਆ ਹੈ।
‘ਚੜ੍ਹਦੀ ਕਲਾ’ ਅਖਬਾਰ ਵਿੱਚ ਸਤੰਬਰ 9 ਤੋਂ 15 ਵਾਲੇ ਅੰਕ ਵਿੱਚ ‘ਕਾਮਰੇਡਾਂ ਦੀ ਬੇਈਮਾਨੀ’ ਸਿਰਲੇਖ ਹੇਠ ਇੱਕ ਟਿੱਪਣੀ ਕੀਤੀ ਗਈ ਸੀ, ਜਿਸ ਵਿੱਚ ਦੱਸਿਆ ਗਿਆ ਸੀ ਕਿ ਭਾਰਤੀ ਕਮਿਊਨਿਸਟ ਪਾਰਟੀ ਦੇ ਇੱਕ “ਜ਼ਿੰਮੇਵਾਰ” ਆਗੂ ਵਲੋਂ ਸੰਪਾਦਿਤ ਕੀਤੀ ਅਤੇ ਦੇਸ਼ ਭਗਤ ਯਾਦਗਾਰੀ ਕਮੇਟੀ ਜਲੰਧਰ ਦੀ ਇਤਿਹਾਸ ਸਬ ਕਮੇਟੀ ਵਲੋਂ ਛਾਪੀ ਗਈ ਕਿਤਾਬ ‘ਗਦਰ ਲਹਿਰ ਦੀ ਕਹਾਣੀ - ਗਦਰੀ ਬਾਬਿਆਂ ਦੀ ਜ਼ੁਬਾਨੀ’ ਵਿੱਚ ਸੰਪਾਦਕ ਵਲੋਂ ਬਾਬਾ ਵਿਸਾਖਾ ਸਿੰਘ ਦੀ ਇੱਕ ਕਵਿਤਾ ਵਿੱਚੋਂ ਕੁਝ ਅਜਿਹੇ ਹਿੱਸੇ ਕੱਟ ਦਿੱਤੇ ਗਏ ਹਨ ਜੋ ਦਰਸਾਉਂਦੇ ਹਨ ਕਿ ਬਾਬਿਆਂ ਦੀ ਕਾਰਜਸ਼ੀਲਤਾ ਦਾ ਅਸਲ ਪ੍ਰੇਰਨਾਸਰੋਤ ਸਿੱਖੀ ਸੀ ਨਾ ਕਿ ਕੋਈ ਹੋਰ ਵਿਚਾਰਧਾਰਾ। ਪਰਮਜੀਤ ਰੋਡੇ ਨੇ ਇਸ ਦੋਸ਼ ਨੂੰ “ਨਿਰਾਪੁਰਾ ਝੂਠ, ਬ…

Do Turkeys Enjoy Thanksgiving?

By Arundhati Roy
Last January thousands of us from across the world gathered in Porto Allegre in Brazil and declared reiterated that "Another World is Possible". A few thousand miles north, in Washington, George Bush and his aides were thinking the same thing. Our project was the World Social Forum. Theirs, to further what many call The Project for the New American Century. In the great cities of Europe and America, where a few years ago these things would only have been whispered, now people are openly talking about the good side of Imperialism and the need for a strong Empire to police an unruly world. The new missionaries want order at the cost of justice. Discipline at the cost of dignity. And ascendancy at any price. Occasionally some of us are invited to 'debate' the issue on 'neutral' platforms provided by the corporate media. Debating Imperialism is a bit like debating the pros and cons of rape. What can we say? That we really miss it? In any case, New…

The Devil to Pay in the Backlands

One of the two towering figures of post-War Brazilian fiction (the other being Clarice Lispector), João Guimarães Rosa is best known for his great novel Grande sertão: veredas (The Devil to Pay in the Backlands) (1956), in which he singlehandedly reinvented the mythical and cultural significance of the sertão or backlands — the perennial Other of Brazil’s coastal, urban civilisation. In the wake of Euclides da Cunha’s Rebellion in the Backlands (1902) and the Regionalist fiction of the 1930s, the sertão had become synonymous with grinding poverty, cultural and economic backwardness and social exclusion. With The Devil to Pay in the Backlands Guimarães Rosa added a metaphysical and psychological dimension to that world, whose inhabitants, the sertanejos, now grapple with eternal forces: love, violence, good and evil. The sertão has become boundless, coterminous only with the universe itself; as his protagonist Riobaldo says, ‘the sertão is everywhere... the sertão is moving the whole …

Turban as Idol and Icon: Personal Reflections on the Gift of Form

Professor Balbinder Singh Bhogal, Sardarni Kuljit Kaur Bindra Chair in Sikh Studies, Hofstra University

IDOL: What if it is the gaze that creates the idol and not the idol that creates the gaze? What if the gaze that creates the idol can only do so if it becomes fixed – at the expense of other forms? What if the turban is fixed not only by the ignorance and conniving of a global media machine that manufactures terror, as a sign of wayward violence, but also fixed by a gaze internal to the Sikh community as the symbol of absolute good or right?ICON: What if the turban becomes the finite site upon which the infinite shines? What if the turban as an icon demands the viewer never fix his or her gaze only on the turban as absolute good but proliferate this gesture to view all other forms likewise ad infinitum?What if the Idol and Icon are not two classes of being where one is right and the other is wrong, but two ways of being and perceiving – such that the point of whether something, in th…

Governing 1984: Dramatic Events and Theatrical Policing

Speaker: Professor Balbinder Singh Bhogal, Sardarni Kuljit Kaur Bindra Chair in Sikh Studies, Hofstra University

How is the voice of the Nation State constituted? How is the voice of the Sikh constituted?
What kind of power does the Nation State’s voice command? What are the forces in the Sikh voice? How do these two powers or forces constitute subjectivity and mobilize collective action? And how are they related? I will explore the difference between these two registers of power under various contrasting pairs – the key pair will explore the Nation State’s power as a theatrical one, and the Sikh’s strength as a dramatic one. What is the difference between theatre and drama, power and strength? It will be argued that theatrical power is a coercion that manufactures a silence of obedience, whereas dramatic strength inspires a silence of expectation.

How would one move beyond the Nation State’s machinery that can silence the voice of minority protests and enforce the legitimization of pa…

Sikh Calligraphy


On Time

A Thousand Words

UC Berkeley Sikh Studies Conference: After 1984

Host:Center for Sikh Studies Type:Education - Lecture Network:Global Start Time:Saturday, September 12, 2009 at 8:30am End Time:Sunday, September 13, 2009 at 8:00pm Location:UC Berkeley Campus

One of the key issues that continues to haunt Sikhs is how the traumatic events of the last 25 years can begin to be represented through the work of memorialization when the very horizon common to memory, history and forgetting seems to have been constantly slipping away from grasp. Always in retreat this horizon has made the effort of mourning and forgiveness almost impossibly difficult.

This conference will address new ways of thinking the events and legacy of the last 25 years, and their implications for the political future of Sikhs inside and outside India. The basic premise of this conference is that while the work of mourning and forgiveness is by no means easy, it is also by no means impossible. Part of the problem was that representation of Sikh issues at that time by scholarly, mediatic and s…

Meditations on Being and Time part 6: Death

Far from being morbid, Heidegger's conception of living in the knowledge of death is a liberating one

As I said some 6 weeks ago, in my first blog on Heidegger, the basic idea in Being and Time is very simple: being is time and time is finite. For human beings, time comes to an end with our death. Therefore, if we want to understand what it means to be an authentic human being, then it is essential that we constantly project our lives onto the horizon of our death. This is what Heidegger famously calls "being-towards-death". If our being is finite, then an authentic human life can only be found by confronting finitude and trying to make a meaning out of the fact of our death. Heidegger subscribes to the ancient maxim that "to philosophise is to learn how to die". Mortality is that in relation to which we shape and fashion our selfhood.There are four rather formal criteria in Heidegger's conception of being-towards-death: it is non-relational, certain, indefi…

Sikh Students Conference ||

The Sikh Students Conference will bring focus on the determining factors in the current Sikh situation as well as the trends among the Sikhs. The Sikhs, whose entity has been reduced to subjects after 1849, have been victims of the processes that defined the nature of the secular Indian nation-state. Such definitions represent the imperialist agenda to universalize meaning, construct a uniform identity, and deny any difference. The conference aims to contest the accepted definitions and break away with the conventions in Sikh activism. The conference is a result of the realization of having a fresh engagement with the area of Sikh studies in particular and the related areas such as theory and method in the study of religion and different branches of Western philosophical traditions that provide basis for theoretical approaches. Although the conference is mainly focusing on the 1984 attack on Darbar Sahib, Amritsar, the primary focus is on the philosophical trends that shaped historica…

Living up to Death

Paul Ricoeur, David Pellauer (Trans.), Living up to Death, University of Chicago Press, 2009, 108pp., $22.50 (hbk), ISBN 9780226713496.
Reviewed by Charles Reagan, Kansas State University
This is a strange book requiring a strange review. It is the publication of some of Paul Ricoeur's previously unpublished writing, which he himself did not intend to publish. The first part of the book comes from notes he made in 1995-96 on the topic of death. After they were written, they were left in a folder and he never returned to them again. In the second part of the book are some of the "fragments" he wrote during his last days, mostly brief reflections on topics which preoccupied him such as life and death, Christianity, his faith and his philosophy, the Bible, his friend Jacques Derrida and resurrection. There is a Preface by Olivier Abel, a long-time friend of Ricoeur's and a Postface by Catherine Goldenstein, also a very close friend for his last ten years.I would recommen…

The Library of Babel

by Jorge Luis Borges
By this art you may contemplate the variations of the 23 letters...
The Anatomy of Melancholy, part 2, sect. II, mem. IV

The universe (which others call the Library) is composed of an indefinite and perhaps infinite number of hexagonal galleries, with vast air shafts between, surrounded by very low railings. From any of the hexagons one can see, interminably, the upper and lower floors. The distribution of the galleries is invariable. Twenty shelves, five long shelves per side, cover all the sides except two; their height, which is the distance from floor to ceiling, scarcely exceeds that of a normal bookcase. One of the free sides leads to a narrow hallway which opens onto another gallery, identical to the first and to all the rest. To the left and right of the hallway there are two very small closets. In the first, one may sleep standing up; in the other, satisfy one's fecal necessities. Also through here passes a spiral stairway, which sinks abysmally and soar…


Prof. Puran Singh
Young Men! If the present generation of men has gone wrong; pray you go right, and rise with deadly Resolve to grasp and LIVE the Guru's Ideal. Your Hair is a Dear Remembrance, It is your Faith, Inspiration, and Love. By seeing the Son (The Sikh), Let the World recognize the Father - The Guru!

Via S. Paramjit Singh

Derrida's Garden

Eleanor Morgan

In 1985, Jacques Derrida was writing an essay on Plato’s theory of the cosmos when he received a phone call from Bernard Tschumi. He invited Derrida to collaborate with the architect Peter Eisenman on a garden design for his Parc de la Villette project in Paris. This collaboration would attempt to combine the two creative spaces of writing and architecture—creating a unity of theory and practice. The problem was to find a common ground. As a possible source of inspiration, Derrida offered Eisenman his interrupted essay on Plato.

Plato outlines the first written argument for the binary structure of the universe.1 He divides it into two parts: the intelligible and the sensible. The former signifies the world of ideas, those that are governed by reason, while the “sensible” represents the material and changeable world that is created. Plato believes that the world of ideas contains the original moulds of all “matter.” The “sensible” or material state is therefore an inferior…

Sikh Students Conference - UC Berkeley

This year's Sikh Students Conference attempts to shed light on the contemporary Sikh experience along with the event of 1984 through a Sikh vision of nation, religion and history. Amongst wider issues of Sikh spirituality, professors will engage the academic ground functional in converting the Sikhs’ spirit since the premier moment of colonialization. The 2009 conference marks an engagement with these issues as Sikhs continue to maintain the sacredness of Amritsar in their daily remembrance.

Professor Balbinder Singh Bhogal (Sardarni Kuljit Kaur Bindra Chair in Sikh Studies, Hofstra University) will lead, over the span of four days, the primary lecture series. Professor Bhogal will lecture on topics including the Sikh code of conduct, the Sikh vision of history and time, and related issues building up to the issue of 1984.

Harjeet Grewal (PhD candidate in Sikh Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor),
will a series of lectures on topics as various as Bhai Gurdas, t…

ਚੰਨ ਸੱਜਣਾਂ ਮੋੜ ਮੁਹਾਰਾਂ

Chan Sajnan Morr Moharan - Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
ustad nusrat fateh ali khan at his best.


On the Forgetting of Language

Just as speech can be acquired, so can it be lost. Speakers can forget words, phrases, even entire languages they once knew; over the course of time peoples, too, let go of the tongues that were once theirs, as languages disappear and give way to the others that follow them. In Echolalias, Daniel Heller-Roazen reflects on the many forms of linguistic forgetfulness, offering a far-reaching philosophical investigation into the persistence and disappearance of speech. In twenty-one brief chapters, he moves among classical, medieval, and modern culture, exploring the interrelations of speech, writing, memory, and oblivion.

Drawing his examples from literature, philosophy, linguistics, theology, and psychoanalysis, Heller-Roazen examines the points at which the transience of speech has become a question in the arts, disciplines, and sciences in which language plays a prominent role. Whether the subject is Ovid, Dante, or modern fiction, classical Arabic literatu…




Here are some of the remarks by my friend Bal. These remarks are part of an ongoing discussion, but can be read independently too. These remarks leave one utterly speechless, so, here are they:

It seems to me that the world is not a problem to be solved. Nor is it a puzzle to crack open a secret code. THe world is not a place that someone can get an angle on - no sianpa aids. There are no secret passageways that the wise or elite know, no specific techniques that the religious know, no principle such as “reason” can ground our projects, no unmatched bravery that the “warriors” know. etc. It seems to me the world is a place of contestation - ceaseless problems that never resolve finally. The world is an undecidable - and here I am in complete agreement with Prabhsharandeep - it is not a place where absolutes can grow - for it is too closely tied to our imaginations. In other words “the world” is something that is in very important ways unsayable, unthinkable especially given its layers …

The Denazification of MH (Martini Heidegger)

The Struggle with Being and the Philosophical Confrontation with the Ancient Greeks in Heidegger’s Originary Politics

by J. M. Magrini

I. Approaching Heidegger and the Film: James T. Hong’s experimental documentary, The Denazification of MH is neither an apology for ’s involvement with National Socialism nor a condemnation of that involvement. Rather, the film is a critical philosophical confrontation (Auseinandersetzung) with Heidegger’s thought and the issue of his involvement with National Socialism. The film addresses the perennial concern as old as philosophy itself: the relationship between the philosopher’s life and his philosophy. While the film does not adopt a definitive position regarding Heidegger, Nazism, and the issue of personal responsibility, it does suggest an affirmative response to the question posed by both Levinas and Blanchot regarding the possibility of philosophizing after Auschwitz. Considering Heidegger’s influence on contemporary philosophy and literary studie…

The Ister

At the height of World War Two, one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century delivered a series of lectures on a poem about the Danube river, by one of Germany's greatest poets.The philosopher was Martin Heidegger, who in 1927 achieved worldwide fame with his magnum opus, Being and Time. Heidegger embraced the National Socialist 'revolution' in 1933, becoming rector of Freiburg University. His inaugural address culminated in 'Heil Hitler!'After clashing with the Nazi bureaucracy, he resigned the rectorate in 1934. Nine years later, as the tide of the war was turning against Germany, Heidegger spent the summer semester lecturing on the poetry of Friedrich Hölderlin. He focused on a poem about the Danube known as 'The Ister.'Rather than an esoteric retreat into the world of poetry, Heidegger's lectures were a direct confrontation with the political, cultural and military chaos facing Germany and the world in 1942, a time the philosoph…