Art and Artist, by Otto Rank

I found a book by Otto Rank that I bought maybe 25 or 30 years ago and never read. I Googled the book to see what people had to say and found this quote...

“For the artist too is a totalist type that, unlike the average, cannot live in perpetual ‘partialization,’ but is forced to totalize every act of life. And on the artistic plane of illusion, in the act of creating – which is at once appearance and reality, a part and a whole – he finds it possible to conquer creatively this fundamental human dualism and to derive pleasure therefrom. For when he creates, the artist uses the whole of himself without being in danger of losing that self therein..."

“A deep study of neurosis has shown me that a characteristic quality of both the productive and the thwarted… is an Over-strong tendency towards totality of experience. The so-called adaptability of the average man consists in a capacity for an extensive partial experience such as is demanded by our everyday life, with its many and varied problems. The non-conforming type tends to concentrate its whole personality, its whole self, on each detail of experience, however trivial or insignificant; but as this is not only practically impossible but psychically painful (because its effect is to bring out fear), this type protects itself from a complete self-exhaustion by powerful inner restraints. Now, the neurotic stops at this point in the process, thus cutting himself of from both the world and experience, and, thus faced with the proposition ‘All or nothing,’ chooses the nothing. The artist, however, here also, in spite of many difficulties and struggles, finds a constructive, a middle way: he avoids the complete loss of himself in life, not by remaining in the negative attitude, but by living himself out entirely in creative work. This fact is so obvious that, when we intuitively admire some great work of art, we say the whole artist is in it and expresses himself in it”
(Pg. 373).

I watched the Gary Shandling documentary on HBO the other day and this really speaks to his experience. His search for ways to be pure Gary was creative and neurotic and the message of the show seemed to say he maybe broke free of the neurotic part of it toward the end.

But his life and this quote is a dangerous question for the rest of us. Are we working to be our true selves or are we merely living in a "perpetual ‘partialization"? And with that if we can't "totalize every act of life" can we step up? Or merely try and eliminate that urge?



Ludwig von Mises was a D!CK

Ludwig von Mises is a hero to conservatives and Tea Party types, even though I seriously doubt any of them actually read his books. He may very well have some sort of brilliance but if you write this letter to Ayn Rand and say...

You have the courage to tell the masses what no politician told them: you are inferior and all the improvements in your conditions which you simply take for granted you owe to the effort of men who are better than you.

...you say that?...THEN, you are a D!CK !

You know who the "masses" are, EVERYBODY! Definitely me and definitely anybody who isn't an Austrian economist or hack novelist.

Remember when conservatives went bananas when Obama point out, correctly mind you, that businesses did NOT build the roads and bridges they use? Well this is WAY worse.

So according to von Mises and Ayn Rand no matter what you have done in your business or as an employee of a business, your effort is just crap because you can't get a bunch of bozos to worship your elitist economic bullshit.

Oh yeah, Ayn Rand was a D!CK too!

Book about von Mises quoting this letter

Interesting article by the "PaleoLibertarian" Murry Rothbard called The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult .


Faust and The Mandela Effect

I happened across this article by Wendell Berry from 2008, wherein he address the then pressing issue of "the end of the era of cheap fossil fuel". An now in the era of Elon Musk, Trump and the Libertarian faith based economic world view, it seem like a throwback to values long gone. Remember when greed was a bad thing? Or is that just an imagined memory along the lines of the psychological phenomenon known as the Mandela Effect*.

From the essay
The dominant response, in short, is a dogged belief that what we call the American Way of Life will prove somehow indestructible. We will keep on consuming, spending, wasting, and driving, as before, at any cost to anything and everybody but ourselves.

This belief was always indefensible — the real names of global warming are Waste and Greed — and by now it is manifestly foolish. But foolishness on this scale looks disturbingly like a sort of national insanity. We seem to have come to a collective delusion of grandeur, insisting that all of us are “free” to be as conspicuously greedy and wasteful as the most corrupt of kings and queens.

*MANDELA EFFECT: a theory that a large group of people with the same false memory used to live in a parallel universe (the name comes from those who fervently believe that Nelson Mandela died while in prison). [Essay] | Faustian Economics, by Wendell Berry https://harpers.org/archive/2008/05/faustian-economics/


As If Anything Matters Anymore

Choosing Donald Trump: God, Anger, Hope, and Why Christian Conservatives Supported HimChoosing Donald Trump: God, Anger, Hope, and Why Christian Conservatives Supported Him by Stephen Mansfield
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s an odd book. I appreciate Mansfield’s honesty about what Trump is, and how he accurately portrays his fellow conservative Christians. He pulls no punches, well maybe a few, but overall he doesn’t shy away from Trump’s character flaws, moral failings, and general horrible behavior.

It is odd because with no explanation he implies Trump is a good thing. Oh wait, this may take a while so let me give a condensation of his accurate presentation...

Trump is a horrible, horrible, person and the religious leaders are hypocritical horrible, horrible people too. And the one ring that binds them all is the fiery ring of anger. Everybody is really pissed and conservatives Christians revel is their anger and scream to drink in Trumps venomous rantings Really not that complicated and he convinced me. Although Mansfield might phrase it somewhat differently.


The guy is a little irritating in that he writes as if he is being even handed, but he ain’t.

He HATES Hillary Clinton...

With virtually no evidence, after acknowledging her religious bone fides he rates how real her Christian faith is (amazing insight he has into another human’s soul). He makes some weak arguments about a supposed seance she participated in while first lady (we have to forget about Nancy Reagan and bringing an Astrologer in regularly) . Pretty bad huh?

Except the author has never hear about snopes.com. Yeah there some screwy imaginative therapy, but no communing with the dead. Anyway he parlays this into “The truths of her Methodist upbringing were no longer enough”. Pg 120. What does that even mean? He never says, but he implies it is pretty bad.

“Her advocacy for abortion knows no bounds….the most outspoken about her faith and the least clear about the meaning of that faith. It is possible to wonder if her religion was nothing more than mystical justification for whatever she wanted to do. Did she have any ethical content? Pg 122

Jiminy Cricket, knowing what he knows about Trump, how can he criticize Hilary's religious commitment with a straight face? I haven’t even come to his accurate demonstration of Trump’s lack of religious knowledge and how he contradicts almost every conventional Christian traditions. The old ones that I remember like humility, compassion, patience, forgiveness, and even love of neighbors. Of course most Christians don’t follow these models, but the point is Trump does the exact opposite!

He should have just laid the pro-choice label on Hilary and say it is a Christian deal breaker even though otherwise the evidence shows that she is pretty damn good Christian by any objective standard. And that is really what rubs Mansfield and the rest of Conservative Christian world the wrong way, Abortion (and he gets some digs in about gay marriage). If you are pro-choice you are a relentless, leftist, socialist, and that cannot be allowed at all.

Later he makes a big deal about Hilary/Obama having a litmus test for Abortion and if you are against abortion you are somehow a "target" of Obama. But he doesn’t see that he and his world are the ones with the litmus test with the difference that if we use his test he gets to tell me how to live, but if we use my litmus test, I don’t tell anybody what to do. So who is the one imposing their will on whom? And if you are pro choice you are one big evil target.


“I realized then and there,” he later recalled, “ that if you let people treat you how they want, you’ll be made a fool. I realized then and there something I would never forget: I don’t want to be made anybody’s sucker.” Pg 52.

TRUMP speaking... “man is the most vicious of all animals, and life is a series of battles ending in victory or defeat. You just can’t let people make a sucker out of you” Pg 63

In 2005...He told the audience that he “loved losers because they make me feel so good about my self” He also insisted that good business leaders should trust no one, good employees in particular. “Be parnoid,” he advised “because they are gonna try to fleece you.” Finally, he counseled, “Get even. If somebody screws you, screw ‘em back ten times over. At least you can feel good about it. Boy, do I feel good.” Pg 69

[F]or at least the first five decades of [his] life, there was little evidence of a defining Christian Faith. Instead, his religion was power, vengeance, and, notably himself. He seemed not to know that the ideal of revenge to which he devoted so much time and an entire chapter of a book was contrary to the teaching of the religion he served. He did not know or did not care that truth mattered in his faith, that his preference for "truthful hyperbole"—an"innocent form of exaggeration . . . and a very effective form of promotion"—was little more than lying and forbidden by his religion. It was the same with his sexual mores, with his language, and business ethics, and with his lack of evident concern for the will of an all-knowing God. (Pg. 70).

Colonel Theodore Dobias..spoke words he thought would ignite character and passions in Trump’s soul....Dobias also made him an unofficial basketball coach. ….[Trump] ..recalls mainly that he learned how to manipulate Dobias to get what he wanted. Pg. 52

All in all a ton of stories and they are pretty much all bad.

There was more stuff with straw men arguments about cake decorators and Hobby lobby dictating their religion on their employees (you probably know he can’t see a contradiction that he thinks it is Obama who is persecuting all of them and not the employer persecuting the employees and customers). I could buckle down and dissect his sentences to show how it is fallacious, or point out how half of his listing of Trump’s successes went on to be failures...but what is the point.

Still...he comes up with a pretty good insight...

The truth is that much of the appeal of Donald Trump is the way he speaks publicly in the same way millions of Americans do ...Crass, insulting, bullying, sometimes ill informed, always opinionated, usually prejudiced, Donald Trump is the private voice of millions of Americans. Pg 126

The evangelicals are really angry and are drawn to Sith Lord anger of Donald Trump. So he again correctly sees that Trump is horrible person and the people who like him are just like him

And somehow he inexplicably comes to this conclusion...

To the extent that the Trump presidency is built upon eternal principles and timeworn truth, it may accomplish noble things. Pg. 161

But right after that he includes this H.L. Menken quote

The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. HL Mencken. Pg 162

I guess it boils down to Mansfield is a conservative Christian so he has to accept Trump as the savior of the country....Go figure.

Oh yeah, he really hates Obama also, so I would be kind of scared to see his book on Obama's faith.

View all my reviews


Download Kindle Book Notes

I only just now found out of a way to download all kindle highlights and notes. Previously I would open the app on my laptop, open the notes and copy them out one at a time.

this has a browser add on but really the line is the best part



1.Drag the above button to your browser's bookmarks bar.
2.Log in at read.amazon.com.
3.Click on a book title.
4.When the book's page has loaded, click on the "Bookcision" link in your browser's bookmarks bar. 5.An overlay will load with just your highlights. If you are running Chrome, you'll see an option to downlad your highlights in various formats. Otherwise, just copy and paste


Links to Remember

“There are two ideas of government,” William Jennings Bryan declared in his 1896 “Cross of Gold” speech. “There are those who believe that if you will only legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea, however, has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up through every class which rests upon them.” Robert S. McElvaine https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2017/11/30/im-a-depression-historian-the-gop-tax-bill-is-straight-out-of-1929/?utm_term=.a7c11f7614bd



HyperNormalisation is a 2016 BBC documentary by British filmmaker Adam Curtis. In the film, Curtis argues that since the 1970s, governments, financiers, and technological utopians have given up on the complex "real world" and built a simple "fake world" that is run by corporations and kept stable by politicians. The film was released on 16 October 2016 on the BBC iPlayer. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HyperNormalisation

Really fascinating historical tidbits:
That when New York City had money problems in the 1970’s the Banks refused to pony up the dough for the usual bond packages until the politicians withdrew any restrictions and basically gave up their power to the financial world

Khomeini starting suicide bombers which Syria encouraged with Hezbollah in Lebanon. And finally Sunni’s took up the idea.

Vladislav Surkov managing Putin’s success by purposefully promoting not knowing what is real or fake and getting people to not care.

The manipulation of Qaddafi form villain to savior and back to villain by western interests. But of course Qaddafi purposely lied and played along for in own insane purposes. And the same with Saddam Hussein.

So yeah, this thing matches my worldview, or more generally my feeling that what somehow how the world is arranged is fundamentally wrong. I have my own reasons for thinking that and this Curtis fellow starts from a different point but ends up at a similar conclusion.

BUT, as much as I enjoy his trunk full of stories, sometimes he comes across like the Oliver Stone approach to JFK, where EVERYTHING including the kitchen sink ominously points to conspiracy and evil.

Some of it he backs up, but for large chunks of the movie he says something and then flashes up some images that implying a connection. And this dude has an obsession with 80’s workout videos which I guess he uses as a symbol of self centered superficiality as civilization is given way to the financiers. Or maybe I have bee bamboozled by the MAN to think we live a too sedentary life

Plus he makes some confident claims that are not filled out and seem flimsy to me. Like Cyberspace was prepared by LSD and that the predictions of Timothy Leary are implied to be quite wise (Leary’s prophecies stated in the movie seem woefully inaccurate, so what am I to make of that?)

Then there is other stuff that bothers me, like the absolute connection he makes with the Reagan administration deliberately promoting UFO conspiracies. I need more that some random guy saying it was all planned.

As he works his way into implying something bad about workout videos he makes some comment about socialist activists giving up and selling out. Then he has the Jane Fonda video clip. But for me the anomaly isn’t that an activist became a celebrity, but that a celebrity was ever involved with the anti war movement.

Oh there are other tiny bits that tic me off like talking about future needs while showing a download of Netscape. That is just lazy video work.

BUT, I stil think the gist is accurate, that politicians gave away their power to the financial system.