Sunday, January 12, 2014


When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only. I lived there two years and two months. At present I am a sojourner in civilized life again.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

laissez faire

….while others follow’d Mysteries,
To which few Folks bind ’Prentices;
That want no Stock, but that of Brass,
And may set up without a Cross;
As Sharpers, Parasites, Pimps, Players,
Pick-pockets, Coiners, Quacks, South-sayers, 
]And all those, that in Enmity,
With downright Working, cunningly
Convert to their own Use the Labour
Of their good-natur’d heedless Neighbour.


the moral 
THEN leave Complaints: Fools only strive
To make a Great an Honest Hive
T’ enjoy the World’s Conveniencies,
Be fam’d in War, yet live in Ease,
Without great Vices, is a vain
Eutopiaseated in the Brain.
Fraud, Luxury and Pride must live,
While we the Benefits receive:
Hunger’s a dreadful Plague, no doubt,
Yet who digests or thrives without?
Do we not owe the Growth of Wine
To the dry shabby crooked Vine?
Which, while its Shoots neglected stood,
Chok’d other Plants, and ran to Wood;
But blest us with its noble Fruit,
As soon as it was ty’d and cut:

]So Vice is beneficial found,
When it’s by Justice lopt and bound;
Nay, where the People would be great,
As necessary to the State,
As Hunger is to make ’em eat.
Bare Virtue can’t make Nations live
In Splendor; they, that would revive
A Golden Age, must be as free,
For Acorns, as for Honesty.


Monday, January 6, 2014

’We have discovered happiness’ – say the last men, and blink thereby

...These three authors put the late modern subject on stage as a ‘porous’, that is precarious and problematic creature, with the phenomenon of depression at the centre of the portrayal. However, what in their interpretations stays underexposed is depression as experience, by which also the possibility of depressive passivity as a form of re-activity remains hidden in the dark. Though Dufour touches upon this possibility when he writes that the rise of the phenomenon of depression might be ‘an obvious sign of resistance of the subject to the economy of the generalised market’9, he leaves the option undiscussed. Rosa bestows upon the depressed person the status of ‘most sensitive seismograph of current and coming transformations’10, without coming to an understanding of this sensibility. And Ehrenberg’s analyses, finally, are in the end always focused on ‘a certain tonality of our collective psychology’11 and not on the response of the concrete individual to this ‘tonality’. Furthermore, it concerns a ‘tonality of loss’12, and so depression appears wholly as a token of deficiency, as ‘fatigue of being oneself’, ‘pathology of acting’, as ‘lack of project, lack of motivation, lack of communication’, in brief, as ‘lack of initiative’.13 Is there something hidden behind this deficiency? What causes someone to fail? In what way is this incapacity to act still a way of acting? Is there any defence or resistance in it? In order to take a first step in elucidating depression ‘from the inside’ the final part of this paper will be devoted to a phenomenological interpretation of this disorder: that of the Belgian psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Jacques Schotte. In his ‘pathoanalytical’ perspective depression occupies a central place. He calls the disorder ‘the most ubiquitously important one of the whole of psychiatry’.14 

9 Dufour 2007a : 325-326. Cf Dufour 2007b : 107, and 2011: 125, 279.
10 Rosa 2005: 390.
11 Ehrenberg 2010: 20.
12 Ehrenberg 2010: 309.

13 Ehrenberg 1998: 157, 251, 182.
14 Schotte 1989: 79.