Title: Nein. A Manifesto.
Author: Eric Jarosinski.
Genre: Philosophy, politics, humour, social sociology.
Publication Date: 2015.
Summary: The book is a brainchild of a self-described "failed intellectual" behind @NeinQuarterly, a "Compendium of Utopian Negation" that uses the aphoristic potential of Twitter to plumb the existential abyss of modern life—and finds it bottomless. Stridently hopeless and charmingly dour, the collection mixes melancholy with nihilistic glee in its investigation into our most urgent questions. And our least. Inspired by the philosophical aphorisms of Nietzsche and Adorno, the author's epigrammatic style reinvents short-form philosophy for a world doomed to distraction.
My rating: 9/10
♥ 1. Nein is not no. Nein is not yes. Nein is nein.
2. Nein believes in nothing. Militantly.
3. Nein does not take questions.
4. Nein regrets to inform you.
5. Nein is not the medium. Nein is not the message.
6. Nein does not thank you for shopping.
7. Nein is not style. Nein is not syntax.
8. Nein says no. To a yes. That is a no.
9. Nein closes its eyes to your surveillance state. Your dating profile. Your blog. And hears the sea.
It's not hard to say no. It's hard to say it right. At the right time. For the right reasons.
Harder still to keep saying it, especially when we live in a world of yes. A tyranny of yes.
Yes to family. Yes to friend. Yes to terms. Yes to conditions. Yes to work. Yes to play. Yes to a life of yes, yes, and yes, please.
But there is another life. An uncertain life. It sings a song to no. Of no. For no.
Not just any no, however. A no of not now. Not yet. And not only.
The no of Nein.
Someday we will read the terms.
We will read the conditions.
We will wonder why we ever agreed to them.
In almost filling the emptiness.
You disgust me.
My God: dead.
My document: saved.
My prose: tired.
My screen: refreshed.
It's not the depression.
It's the anxiety.
The thought of waking up some morning. Alone.
With nothing left to fear.
My hope: half lost.
My poetry: half found.
My glass: half empty.
My grave: half full.
Lost: a pipe.
1. Read Nietzsche.
2. Watch God die.
3. Re-read Nietzsche.
4. Watch nothing rise from the dead.
He lived, they say.
Like he died.
As just another philosophy.
Killed by just another philosopher.
Ontology: what the fuck?
Causality: why the fuck?
Epistemology: how the why the fuck?
Phenomenology: the fuck.
3. Major in philosophy.
4. Ask yourself what you were thinking.
In spring: Proust. In Paris.
In summer: Kerouac. On the road.
In fall: Sontag. In New York.
In winter: Dostoyevsky. In a cold wind. And a thin coat.
Yes, there's a distinction.
Between negation and nihilism.
But 1. It's false.
And 2. It doesn't matter.
Perhaps Marx is best read as religion.
Freud as literature.
Woolf as economics.
And Nietzsche as Nietzsche.
In fall: Read Kafka.
In winter: Understand Kafka.
In spring: Fall in love with Kafka.
In summer: Forget Kafka on the beach.
In the beginning:
There was a word.
And it was autocorrected.
Think of where you last saw it.
See if it's still there.
If it's not, ask yourself why it left.
If it is, ask yourself why you didn't stay.
Comedy = tragedy + time.
Dark comedy = tragedy + time + tragedy.
German comedy = tragedy + time - comedy.
Dark German Comedy = Greek tragedy.
The poets stole love. From the lovers.
The lovers stole poetry. From the poets.
And the philosophers stole love and poetry and philosophy.
From the philosophers.
The bad news:
Dreams don't come true.
The worse news:
Another beautiful day.
For the medium.
Another existential crisis.
For the message.
Let's be honest:
It's all politics.
The rest is aesthetics.
Which is also politics.
A gentle reminder:
Nothing is ever lost in translation.
It's in hiding.
Negotiating terms of surrender.
So many bottles.
So few messages.
So many friends.
So few friends.
Marx, Marxist, and Post-Marxist walk into a bar.
Marx hates the prices.
Marxist hates the crowd.
Post-Marxist hates Marx.
Thank you for calling the philosophers.
We're busy at the moment interpreting the world.
If you're calling to change it, please stay on the line.
The Revolution will be with you soon.
No, my dear commodity.
What we have is fetishization.
Without the ideology.
It's not you.
It's your brand.
It's not me.
It's my demographic.
Radical: my reading of Marx.
Reactionary: your reading of Marx.
Revisionist: their reading of Marx.
Realistic: none of us has ever actually read Marx.
A gentle reminder:
To be thankful for the big things.
To fetishize the little things.
And to gently Photoshop everything in between.
Marx, Engels, and the Proletariat walk into a bar.
Marx drinks. Engels buys. The Proletariat loses its chains.
Then its keys. Then its phone.
Then its Marx. Then its Engels.
By those you've yet to satisfy.
Those you've yet to abandon.
Those you'll never satisfy.
And those you'll never satisfy until abandoned.
Read what's written.
Read what's not written.
Italian: the language of romance.
French: the language of love.
German: the love of language.
English: the love of English.
The poets remember it.
A time when words meant something.
For which there are no words.
By those that seduced you.
Those that betrayed you.
Those that cut you.
And those that comforted you. And remained unsaid.
Yes, we'll say.
It's when our friends left our lives.
And moved into our phones.
In local news: what you already know.
World news: what you don't want to know.
Business news: what you don't understand.
But already know.
There's a reason for the way things are.
Not a very good one.
The love of wisdom.
Loving a philosopher:
A poor life decision.
By those that taught you love.
Those that taught you true love.
Those that taught you the love of books.
And those that taught you if love is ever true, it's in books.
There are those who love reading philosophy.
Those who really love reading philosophy.
And those who really read philosophy.
And never love again.
Change is slow.
The struggle long.
And Rome did not burn in a day.
♥ Adorno: German for YOLO.
Anxiety: Fear of the unknown.
(Depression: Fear of the known.)
Art: The silence of the ancient mariner's painted ship. Upon Coleridge's painted ocean.
Art history: The study of art without art. And history without history.
Atheism: A religion without a prayer.
Borges: Argentina's greatest German author.
Capitalism: The ship of state rigged by pirates.
(Communism: The ship of state rigged by the state.)
Change: What you want. When, where, and how you do not want it.
Close reading: The art of reading what has never been written in order to write a book that will never be read.
Coffee: The diuretic of enlightenment.
Culture: The cigarette not smoked after not having sex.
Cynicism: The hope that someday you will have known better all along.
Dead certainty: Socrates without a question.
Diplomacy: The art of turning swords into plowshares. Plowshares into tractors. And tractors into tanks.
Emoticon: Symbol expressing an emotion we can no longer express in the form of a face we can no longer countenance.
Ethics: Curiosity killed by a cat.
Europe: Continent tied to the left that drifts to the right.
French: A language invented for making love, but used to make cheese, revolution, and philosophy.
Freudian slip: When the unconscious speaks in tongues.
Fundamentalism: A literal misreading of the misunderstood.
Genius: When sadness speaks to loneliness. And laughs.
German literature: Where protagonists go to die.
GOP: An American political party devoted to he principle of one nation under God. And one above.
Happiness: A feeling of well-being appreciated once it has stopped.
Hegel: A philosopher best understood if never read.
Hipsters: Indifference wasted on the young.
History: The victors' present for the vanquished.
Hope: A beacon made of fog.
Ideology: The mistaken belief that your beliefs are neither beliefs nor mistaken.
Instagram: A marketplace in which pictures of your cat are exchanged for a thousand unspoken words of derision.
Internet, the: A network of cables, wires, and tubes connecting us all. To cables. Wires. And tubes.
Joyce: A stream of whiskey that has traded clarity for consciousness.
Lobbying: Buying influence from those selling affluence.
Love: 1. A temporary truce between indifference and disgust. 2. A second that charges by the hour. 3. The comfort found in knowing that at least one other person has judgement as poor as your own.
Melancholy: When a dash of disappointment renders an etching of sadness.
Mid-life crisis: The sudden realization that you've been dying all along.
Nabokov: A collector of butterflies who releases them as paragraphs.
Nationalism: The fallible notion of an infallible nation.
Negotiation: The art of making a turn of phrase sound like a change of heart.
Nietzsche: A poet with a philosophy. A system without a method. A mustache with a man.
NSA: An American intelligence agency devoted to protecting the world from privacy.
Peace: What everybody's fighting for.
Philosophy: The love of wisdom befalling those seduced by their own.
Poet: One who breaks lines to complete a thought.
Poetry: The fullest expression of language's forbidden desire to die alone.
Postmodernism: Never meeting a cat you didn't already know from the Internet.
Progress: A drone afraid of flying.
Psychoanalysis: Smoking your father's cigar. On your mother's couch.
Quip: A joke told in tweed.
Religion: A set of beliefs about why yours are wrong.
Romance: The French art of living a long life of small deaths.
Selfie: A portrait of someone we used to know. Taken by someone we used to respect.
Social Media: 1. A technology for following those you don't want to lead and befriending those you don't want to know. 2. A gated community of ideas.
Sunday: A day kept holy by sleeping off spirits.
Technology: The deepest abyss of the flattest of screens.
Theory: A branch of philosophy and comparative literature devoted to disregarding both.
Translation: The art of losing trees in a forest.
Transparency: A clear demonstration of that which remains clearly hidden.
Truth: 1. That which nobody wants but everybody has. 2. A love song in German sung by a drunken Russian sailor.
Twitter: Attention Spam.