March 8, 2014

True Detective's Detective

cohle smoking.jpgtaking part in a particular pleasure


[Pastabagel and I have emailed about the show.  Some excerpts of his]:

In Episode 3, the preacher says to Cohle, "Compassion is ethics, detective" when he departs the trailer leaving the reformed pedophile Burt in distress.  Cohle replies "Yes, it is."

But if Time was created so things could become, and if acting out of the interest of others is compassion, then we should assume that Cohle is "becoming", changing into something else.  But what?

Cohle asks in Ep. 5 "Why should I live on in history?"  It's an odd line, especially when in episode 1 he tells Marty that he "lacks the constitution for suicide."  But he also meditates on the cross (as an atheist),  "contemplates that moment in the garden, of allowing your own crucifixion."  But by 2012, Cohle has changed.  He's resigned himself to ending his own life, but only after settling this debt- doing what he owes.  One last act of compassion before giving up the only thing he has.  His life.  And once he's willing to do that, then he can do all the things in his life that require selflessness, courage, etc (i.e. things that require faith).  You have to accept the infinite so you can make the right moves in the finite.

And when he does this, when he resigns himself not to his fate but to his eternity of endlessly repeating, at that moment he will actually have faith, because that's when he proves he believes in the eternal.  Only after doing this last good thing does he believe that he could stand the idea of an eternity of rerunning his life, because he knows at the end, he's fulfilled it.  "Nothing is fulfilled--until the end."

According to Kierkegaard, this resignation to the eternal is crucial.  Kierkegaard was not an atheist but a diehard Christian.  He believed that when a man resigns himself to the eternal, to existing in eternity, and gives up everything that ties him to this world then he becomes a "knight of faith" capable of great Christian acts (like the self-sacrifice that is almost certainly coming in ep. 8).  When Kierkegaard wrote about a Knight of Faith, he contrasted the Knight of Faith to the mere Knight of Infinite, the "God botherer"--a phrase used twice in the show.  What did Kierkegaard say the Knight of Faith looked like?  Like this:

Why, he looks like a tax-collector!" However, it is the man after all. I draw closer to him, watching his least movements to see whether there might not be visible a little heterogeneous fractional telegraphic message from the infinite, a glance, a look, a gesture, a note of sadness, a smile, which betrayed the infinite in its heterogeneity with the finite. No! I examine his figure from tip to toe to see if there might not be a cranny through which the infinite was peeping. No! He is solid through and through. His tread? It is vigorous, belonging entirely to finiteness; no smartly dressed townsman who walks out to Fresberg on a Sunday afternoon treads the ground more firmly, he belongs entirely to the world, no Philistine more so. One can discover nothing of that aloof and superior nature whereby one recognizes the knight of the infinite. He takes delight in everything, and whenever one sees him taking part in a particular pleasure, he does it with the persistence which is the mark of the earthly man whose soul is absorbed in such things. He tends to his work. So when one looks at him one might suppose that he was a clerk who had lost his soul in an intricate system of book-keeping, so precise is he.

[Here I said that the reference was clear, but that Cohle did not look like this at all, that he appeared much more like the knight of inifinite resignation, the "tragic hero."]



The point is that the writer is taking the concept and running with it.  If we've already spotted Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, then we are firmly entrenched in the existential project, and we should expect to find references from other existentialists also.  And we do.  The preacher in 2002 tells us that God is dead ("only nearness is silence"). Ep 3 Marty asks Cohle the question from Dostoyevsky, "You know what people would do without God, it would be an orgy of murder and debauchery."  Would it?  Existentialists say no.  Do we have Sartre?  Why yes, we do.  There's angst and despair all over the place.  And the angst is brought on by the burden of freedom, not the absence of it.

Think how often Cohle ruminations on suicide echo Camus's formulation of suicide as the fundamental question of philosophy in the Myth of Sisyphus (a guy endlessly pushing a rock up a hill, over and over, repetition, cyclical.)  But Camus answers it in the negative, faced with a meaningless world, you embrace the absurd and revolt, not commit suicide.  And isn't what they are doing now a revolt?  Kidnapping cops, burglarizing the houses of the most powerful figures in the state?  If this group has been kidnapping kids, if they held power for generations in the state, if they are plugged in all all levels, then isn't acting against them so deliberately a revolt against power?

And if they are embracing revolt, if they are not embracing suicide (but are willing to make a sacrifice, is there a difference?) then they have embraced the absurd, and are on their way to the teleological moment ("Teleos de Lorca, Franciscan mystic"--a made-up guy that invokes Francis of Assisi a second time, reminds us of the teleological stakes, and re-invokes mysticism to bridge us from the ethical paradigm of the characters to the Continental philosophy started by Bataille (who was derogatorily called a mystic by Sartre, all in one shot, how is that for economy of storytelling, take that Cormac McCarthy)).

Revolt: "Fuck this world," Cohle says. Remember how he says it?  Not in anger, almost off-handedly, like he's passing on the offer of a free lunch.  No anger, no big explosion.  Just...resignation. But he only gets around to trying to screw it 10 years after he says it.  And in 2012, it's jumper cable time.  No institutional rules.  And no masked perversion of the established rules.  (I'm a cop who's job is to uphold the law, and therefore I'm the one who can break it).  Rather than commit literal suicide, they commit it metaphorically, by giving up and saying goodbye to everything to take on the very institution that defined their identity.

And if it is a revolt, then we invoke all the ideas of consistent with revolution?  Do we push out of the existential angst of the 50's into the revolution of the 60's and beyond?  The "present" in the show is 2012?  Will we get a postmodern postmortem, an aftermath 2 years later set in 2014? And by then, how much more of the landscape will be swallowed by Carcosa, the corrupting refinery towers that loom in the back of every scene in the show?






Comments

Two in a week? Hallelujah! ... (Below threshold)

March 8, 2014 4:50 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Two in a week? Hallelujah! And thanks!

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Wish we could get more than... (Below threshold)

March 8, 2014 5:02 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Wish we could get more than just a few excerpts, I have become a very big fan of True Detective but appreciate this take on the show. The conspiracy angles most internet commentators are focusing on have become a bit boring.

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Best commentary I've read y... (Below threshold)

March 8, 2014 5:53 PM | Posted by Zack B.: | Reply

Best commentary I've read yet. You've articulated the ideas that I think this show has planted in the back of my mind (and evoked) quite well. Thanks!

And I agree with Anonymous, the conspiracy/resolution angle is getting dull, but largely in part because it misses the philosophical points the show has made. After all, that's what makes the show unique in my opinion, and gives the characters depth. Conspiracy is dime a dozen...

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Surely I am not alone</i... (Below threshold)

March 8, 2014 5:55 PM | Posted by Hilarious Bookbinder: | Reply

Surely I am not alone in thinking PastaBagel is but another pseudonym for our own Kierkegaardian TLP?

By evoking the idea I am now assured of never being assured.
Pretend to be someone else (the narcissist's strength) as a way to not only empathize (the narcissist's weakness) but change. Or at least see a cultural phenomenon in way you could not before. As another.

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I was going to say somethin... (Below threshold)

March 8, 2014 6:30 PM | Posted, in reply to Hilarious Bookbinder's comment, by Quiznos Bharnard: | Reply

I was going to say something about not being able to tell what was Alone's writing and what was pastabagel's, then I realized that in doing so I was paying attention to the wrong thing.

I write anonymously so that you aren't distracted by my age or lack of manners or political sympathies. They don't matter. If you want to say that narcissism didn't play the crucial part in this maniac's murder of his daughter just because she liked the wrong kind of guy, then we can have a good rumble. But if you want to say that narcissism didn't play the crucial role because-- I'm white, or single, or drunk; then you're trapped in the generational circuit of illogicity that is the very point of this blog.

Pastabagel, TLP/Alone, you, me, whatever. Doesn't matter who is saying it, what matters is what is being said.

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Huh?... (Below threshold)

March 8, 2014 8:01 PM | Posted by So how many shekels do you want for this?: | Reply

Huh?

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I would agree except to add... (Below threshold)

March 8, 2014 8:12 PM | Posted, in reply to Quiznos Bharnard's comment, by Hilarious bookbinder: | Reply

I would agree except to add that how something is said is greater than the what or the who. Like Kierkegaard's many pseudonyms, the indirect communication helps to overcome my narcissistic bent.

The intensity of Cohle, for instance, is the internal passion only an existing individual can have. When I want to mimic his how instead of dissect his who and what, then I'm on the road, as I think Kierkegaard and TLP claims, in the right way.

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>2014>watching TV</p... (Below threshold)

March 8, 2014 10:43 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

>2014
>watching TV

lulz

In other news, revolting against institutions is child's play.

Material is mere expression of the spiritual. Defying the vehicle is irrelevant to the source.

There is no escape. Revolt is programming too.

"We are begirt with laws which execute themselves" -Emerson

"There's a lot of evidence on the primates that I can use to support that idea that we are inherently good, but on occasion when we get too competitive or frustrated, we turn bad."

http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/07/health/lifes-work-de-waal/

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maydaymaydaymayday.org... (Below threshold)

March 8, 2014 10:45 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

maydaymaydaymayday.org

It's happening.

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<a href="http://www.maydaym... (Below threshold)

March 8, 2014 10:48 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

http://www.maydaymaydaymayday.org

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I know that Alone posts ano... (Below threshold)

March 9, 2014 3:47 AM | Posted, in reply to Quiznos Bharnard's comment, by Hansi: | Reply

I know that Alone posts anonymously as he does so we don't get caught up in his identity, but God would I love to know who he is! Actually, would love to take him out to lunch and just have a conversation with the guy (girl?!).

I mean, his ideas are freaking wicked and batshit insane and also ring true! More like last real scholar, right?

Okay, enough fanboying...

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Off topic (because what's r... (Below threshold)

March 9, 2014 5:32 AM | Posted by Anon: | Reply

Off topic (because what's really important here is my needs) question for the commenters

I'm narcissistic and my gf is borderlineish. The plan for me is to fake it. Ok I'll give it a shot. "It's not for you, it's for the people around you". Ok so what about her? If I'm reading this blog archives right - she tolerates my ways because she needs a strong personality to mold around. So if i manage to act less selfishly and less like my false self created image, seems like that's taking from her what she "needs"? Side note- best excuse not to change ever.

Is there a scenario where we both improve and also our relationship together improves?

Thanks in advance for your time, anyone who replies

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What is an "eternity of end... (Below threshold)

March 9, 2014 9:38 AM | Posted by DannyGoldberg: | Reply

What is an "eternity of endlessly repeating"? At first I thought eternity meant death, but death is supposedly final. Can someone explain what TLP means here?

Another undeveloped aside from TLP that I found infinitely more interesting that the article:

"He's resigned himself to ending his own life, but only after settling this debt- doing what he owes. One last act of compassion before giving up the only thing he has. His life. And once he's willing to do that, then he can do all the things in his life that require selflessness, courage, etc (i.e. things that require faith). You have to accept the infinite so you can make the right moves in the finite."

Why is being willing to give up your life a prerequisite for selflessness and courage? Why are selflessness and courage things that require faith? And why do you have to accept death (the infinite) so that you can make the right moves in life (finite)?

There are a lot of assumptions in that paragraph that I don't fully understand. I wish TLP could have elaborated on them more.

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Pastabagel is not another p... (Below threshold)

March 9, 2014 10:00 AM | Posted, in reply to Hilarious Bookbinder's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Pastabagel is not another pseudonym for TLP. Though to support Quizno's point, when he guest wrote a piece a while back: http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2011/01/tech_sunday_william.html

Notice the comments are mostly about how "you're no alone" rather than the article itself.

Also - partialobjects.com if you haven't already.

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Are there any books on the ... (Below threshold)

March 9, 2014 10:30 AM | Posted by HelloFromTheSouth: | Reply

Are there any books on the subject of resignation to eternity you guys can recommend?

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<a href="http://myweb.lmu.e... (Below threshold) "Alone: The Anti-New Yorker... (Below threshold)

March 9, 2014 11:45 AM | Posted by KarlYoung: | Reply

"Alone: The Anti-New Yorker"

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the key is to just do it an... (Below threshold)

March 9, 2014 11:45 AM | Posted, in reply to Anon's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

the key is to just do it and see what happens. if you're overthinking it on the internet i don't think it's going to be of any help. i doubt this post would change your mind but do bump this thread if you find success.

if you define yourself in less selfish ways and let's say volunteer your time reading to a senior or coaching at a community center or even just reconnecting with family and hanging out with and seeing what they're up to - i'd guess she'd go and do similar things? maybe she'll meet other people and find ways to grow herself with new experiences.

if she's young and still in the process of finding herself - i would think she just needs more experience in life and needs to meet some more people to set her on a path where she can grow as a person.

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You aren't qualified to giv... (Below threshold)

March 9, 2014 12:08 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

You aren't qualified to give advice, Anonymous. So why are you giving it?

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How do we contact you priva... (Below threshold)

March 9, 2014 1:03 PM | Posted by Anon: | Reply

How do we contact you privately Alone? Or are you too busy for that?

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Kierkegaard is a good place... (Below threshold)

March 9, 2014 1:07 PM | Posted, in reply to HelloFromTheSouth's comment, by Quiznos Bharnard: | Reply

Kierkegaard is a good place to start. Try Fear and Trembling. The Penguin Classics version is highly readable.

For a very different approach, David Markson's Wittgenstein's Mistress Is an interesting take that also speaks to other themes found on TLP.

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Yes, I have read all of tho... (Below threshold)

March 9, 2014 1:10 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Hilarious Bookbinder: | Reply

Yes, I have read all of those for some time (even though PartialObjects has been dormant) and because of such, simply suggest that the pseudonyms are what helps gain the insight. That is how they work for the writer.

TLP has an article suggesting just this approach. http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2009/08/the_best_way_to_improve_your_c.html

Here's my trick: imagine you are someone else answering the question.


But effective methods of adopting psychological distance or alternative perspectives have two important similarities. They are predicated on the idea that who you are, and how your mind works, can be artificially altered at will-- you can actually think thoughts you were neither biologically nor environmentally primed to think; and they establish that an inability to see things from another perspective is almost always a failure of will, not of intellect.

Let me be clear, this is less about the real identities of either Alone or PastaBagel and more about how to* think* like TLP. Better it is that identities NOT be known.

I for one could easily see Alone suggesting that if you watch True Detective and immediately want to write a book, become a detective or buy a 6 pack of Lone Stars your not only doing it wrong but should probably do the opposite of every instinct you feel you have.

I also would think that to keep an identity a secret in todays world would require more, many more pseudonyms - not less. Kierkegaard's pseudonyms clearly had a similar structure but opposing (at times, even critical) voices. His was also less about secrecy and more about surmounting your narcissistic defenses.

So I don't think we are really disagreeing. And I grant that I am often if not mostly, incorrect.

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If Pastabagel is Alone, it'... (Below threshold)

March 9, 2014 1:28 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

If Pastabagel is Alone, it's been a hell of a long con. TLP used to have a link to Pastabagel's blog on the side of this website as far back as '04, and the topics on his blog were much different than that of the Partial Objects project. In other words, it'd seem bizarre to practice answering as someone else just to talk about Quake III strategies.

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But rather than harp on ide... (Below threshold)

March 9, 2014 1:29 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

But rather than harp on identity, let's chew through the meat of the actual ideas in this post.

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I'd suggest the Hong transl... (Below threshold)

March 9, 2014 1:48 PM | Posted, in reply to Quiznos Bharnard's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I'd suggest the Hong translations for Kierkegaard (put out by Princeton U Press) over the Penguin Classics versions. E.H. and H.V. Hong have made it an almost lifelong project to study and translate the work of Kierkegaard as accurately as possible. They've even got a library named after Kierkegaard at St. Olaf College in Minnesota.

This could be coincidence but it's interesting that Alone thought to share these excerpts shortly after a commenter (John) in the last post pleaded for more solutions rather than more criticism. Suddenly we've got an embrace of the absurd and revolt-as-metaphorical suicide on the table.

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Solutions!...by giving up a... (Below threshold)

March 9, 2014 2:44 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by I see it now!: | Reply

Solutions!...by giving up and saying goodbye to everything to take on the very institution that defines our identity.

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I haven't watched the show ... (Below threshold)

March 9, 2014 3:13 PM | Posted by GL: | Reply

I haven't watched the show but this doesn't seem like a particularly insightful analysis. Reference-cathing isn't exactly that arduous a task, nor is Existentialism 101.

Is the point "Let's hope all television gets this bookish in the future?" Because yes, that would be nice. But you could draw a roadmap of absurdities/revolts in modern media and still come up with nothing interesting to say.


(As an aside, TLP, I'd love to copyedit your site for free. Drop me a line.)

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HUMAN PROGRAMATION IN WOMAN... (Below threshold)

March 9, 2014 3:56 PM | Posted by JUAN CARLOS VALLEJOS: | Reply

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>Reference-catching>... (Below threshold)

March 9, 2014 4:10 PM | Posted, in reply to GL's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

>Reference-catching
>Existentialism 101

I don't mean to be rude, but what is the point of this type of shorthand dismissal? "__ 101" is a fairly well-trod insult, typical of internet comments, but it doesn't really say anything and depends entirely on the existence of a hierarchy of familiarity with the subject. I mean, yes, these writers are taught in entry level classes on Existentialism, but that doesn't meant that the content itself is entry level.

I don't think it's some brilliant analysis, but this kind of dismissal is a pet peeve because it attempts to bring something down from a position of authority which is (based on the lack of any other content for this particular argument in your post) entirely illusory.

I don't see how you could think this article has anything to do with television becoming bookish, either. Seems like you slid right over the ideas invoked, rationalized that slide-over with your Existentialism 101 nonsense, and then tried to look for some other purpose of the article.

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<a href="https://www.youtub... (Below threshold)

March 9, 2014 7:39 PM | Posted by John T.: | Reply

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhJOx_4WSzg

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There is no such thing as l... (Below threshold)

March 10, 2014 12:46 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

There is no such thing as law, merely slave-speak, standards, and practices.

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Wow, so much speculation (n... (Below threshold)

March 10, 2014 1:18 PM | Posted by who?: | Reply

Wow, so much speculation (not only here, everywhere) and intellectual work put into this post only to see now that the season has ended that it was from the beginning an easy piece of TV with A SUPERBAD GUY who gets caught at the end.

And a lot of questions and plot devices left unanswered and unaccounted for. This show had so much potential... it's a sorrow how it has ended.

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<a href="http://news.yahoo.... (Below threshold)

March 10, 2014 2:22 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

http://news.yahoo.com/peter-lanza-adam-lanza-father-speaks-out-134758406.html?soc_src=mediacontentsharebuttons

This seems relevant to this site's message.

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Some thoughts:Thes... (Below threshold)

March 10, 2014 3:01 PM | Posted by Hitchcock: | Reply

Some thoughts:

These shows, while occasionally well-written and philosophical, function as catharsis (purgation). You don't have to get angry, the television shows will do it for you. Because of this you latch on to the other details: the Lovecraft tie-ins, how cool Cohle is, the little "geeking out" you can do when you spot a reference. You then move on with your life, never thinking about the relation to your own life outside of maybe ordering some Lone Star off of eBay (because, hey, you don't live in Texas).

In turn, you miss what Pastabagel points out. Cohle quits his job for the truth. Risks his life, reputation, etc. This has nothing to do with Cthulhu, it could apply to your very own life. When push comes to shove, do you have the character to sacrifice your own reputation for what you believe in? Would you step outside of the law? Really? Because remember that doing so presupposes independence from the law and everything that speaks for the law.

It's very difficult/impossible to raise a kid to be in the system, yet teach him also to fight against that system "sometimes." That was one of the problems with OWS, you can't shut down Wall Street if you have two credit cards in your back pocket. The only way to do this is if you try, on purpose, to raise your kid to be a little bit sociopathic. I realize that this seems like strange advice coming from a psychiatrist, but I'm not a very good psychiatrist. Also, I drink.

The only way to make kids understand that there are legitimate times when they must operate outside the prevailing system is by teaching them that there are even higher systems. (1) I don't specifically mean religion, but some kind of higher ethical duty; for lack of a better term I'll call it a strong superego; which says, without needing to explicitly define every case, "there's a right and a wrong, and you know what it is." (2)

Cohle stepped outside of the system and he was able to do this because of his "higher ethical duty." But remember that he was successful because of years of research, intuition, and planning. TV doesn't really show you that part, it only implies it through various proxies (monologues, stacks of books, breakthroughs in the case, cool southern detachment).

Just some thoughts.

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Wow, Hitchcock, a show cons... (Below threshold)

March 10, 2014 5:10 PM | Posted, in reply to Hitchcock's comment, by who?: | Reply

Wow, Hitchcock, a show consistent of 8 episodes (with a length of 40 minutes each) doesn't show the years Cohle spent researching?

That's brilliant insight, and now that you mention it, Pizzolatto also doesn't show every time the characters go to the bathroom or grocery shopping or on holidays. Really shocking.

Maybe, just maybe, people watch it because they like the plot, the acting, the photography, etc. and not because they want to emulate the protagonists. But that would require believing that not everyone seems himself as the the main character of their own movie, a thing most of you here are incapable of thinking.

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I think embracing suicide, ... (Below threshold)

March 10, 2014 5:26 PM | Posted by Rupert: | Reply

I think embracing suicide, is focusing on the negative, a life without fear of consequences, having a will to act knowing the consequences could be fatal is not welcoming death.
It is overcoming death, by overcoming the fear of death.
Rust is operating in the belief that he can make a difference, redeem himself, for failing to protect his daughter.
He is not embracing falling on the sword, he merely does not fear what comes to us all death.

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Spend some time with a book... (Below threshold)

March 10, 2014 6:50 PM | Posted, in reply to HelloFromTheSouth's comment, by Joannes de Silentio: | Reply

Spend some time with a book called "Fear and Trembling".

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There's a lot of shit-sling... (Below threshold)

March 10, 2014 9:34 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

There's a lot of shit-slinging going on about the motivations and personalities of people watching the show, and it seems like a lot of the people doing the accusing have little understanding of the works that inspired True Detective.

I would recommend everyone here read some Schopenhauer, as well as Thomas Ligotti's "Conspiracy Against the Human Race". Much of the subject matter in True Detective is also influence by Chambers and Lovecraft, although those that are equating cosmic existential horror with tentacle monsters and cthulu are missing the point.

"Take off your mask" is a reference to Rust's monologue about people in their final moments of life, right before they die. Go back and watch it. Rust knows that our concept of the self - the "mask" we wear in day to day life - is illusory, thus his pontification about how easy it must be to finally let go when the illusion is stripped away. Lawnmower Man told him to "take off his mask"; I.E. stop fighting, accept his fate, and slip into death. Rust decided not to take his advice.

I think this plays a big part in the ending and Rust's transformation. There was nothing inherently supernatural about the series; Rust's pessimism turned into a sort of hopeful optimism, thus the ending coda about darkness being the ancient primordial force, but light slowly and steadily reaching into the darkness. How you want to interpret this in the face of Rust's more realistic worldview earlier in the season is up to you. You could very well say that the self-deceptive optimism that Rust displays in the series finale is a cop-out and that he's lying to himself, and I wouldn't necessarily disagree; but the ending we were given might be a little more realistic considering the nature of people to take solace in religion and various other lies we tell ourselves to make existence more bearable. One can only go on for so long with an ultimately pessimistic mindset before suicide looks more and more appealing (I am not making a value judgment on suicide, if anything I think a relatively strong case can be made for it).

This is why I say there was nothing supernatural about the show. Cosmic horror, in the tradition of Lovecraft or Ligotti, uses supernatural tropes to outline a horrific existential angst. It is more of a signifier of the horror of our existence than it is about tentacle monsters. Unfortunately this is accomplished better in literature than on film, so Pizza kept the supernatural aspects out and, at a minimum, relegated them to the metaphorical. And rightly so; an actual Lovecraftian monster would have been stupid as fuck.

Like Rust and Marty, you all were chasing the wrong demon (e.g. outlandish, unrealistic theories). The terror and the darkness isn’t external, it’s internal.

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>There's a lot of shit-slin... (Below threshold)

March 10, 2014 9:58 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

>There's a lot of shit-slinging going on about the motivations and personalities of people watching the show

In this comment thread? I don't see it. I see people trying to connect these e-mail excerpts to the project of this blog. Perhaps clumsily.

>And it seems like a lot of the people doing the accusing have little understanding of the works that inspired True Detective.

Well, maybe, but you can't really read some Schopenhauer if you really want to understand his project. His main work is two long volumes and they both presuppose knowledge of his "On the Fourfold Root..." dissertation.

But I think if you've read the existentialists, you don't necessarily need to have read Lovecraft or Chambers to grasp the existential elements of the show. Hence, the e-mail excerpts jump straight to Camus, Sartre, Kierkegaard and right over Lovecraft.

>you were all chasing the wrong demon
>outlandish, unrealistic theories

Uh, where? You mean on Reddit?

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>Well, maybe, but you can't... (Below threshold)

March 10, 2014 10:04 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

>Well, maybe, but you can't really read some Schopenhauer if you really want to understand his project. His main work is two long volumes and they both presuppose knowledge of his "On the Fourfold Root..." dissertation. But I think if you've read the existentialists, you don't necessarily need to have read Lovecraft or Chambers to grasp the existential elements of the show. Hence, the e-mail excerpts jump straight to Camus, Sartre, Kierkegaard and right over Lovecraft.

The existential elements? You're absolutely right. My contention however was with people who don't understand the existential basis of supernatural cosmic horror, and reading authors that deal specifically with this (or even about them) can only help.

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Thank you Quiznos Bharnard,... (Below threshold)

March 10, 2014 11:04 PM | Posted by HelloFromTheSouth: | Reply

Thank you Quiznos Bharnard, Anonymous(whoever you are) and Joannes de Silentio. I've just got Hong's edition, let's see if I can understand philosophy in English.

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What language do you normal... (Below threshold)

March 10, 2014 11:39 PM | Posted, in reply to HelloFromTheSouth's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

What language do you normally read in?

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Sartor Resartus - Thomas Ca... (Below threshold)

March 11, 2014 3:37 AM | Posted, in reply to HelloFromTheSouth's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Sartor Resartus - Thomas Carlyle
Tao te Ching

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cont."Tao endures.... (Below threshold)

March 11, 2014 4:54 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

cont.

"Tao endures. Your body dies. There is no danger"

...

"I weave for God the Garment thou seest Him by"

....

http://www.maydaymaydaymayday.org

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<a href="https://www.youtub... (Below threshold)

March 11, 2014 5:34 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ts6FPBTWwcM

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I am right in the midst of ... (Below threshold)

March 14, 2014 1:15 PM | Posted by BS Inc.: | Reply

I am right in the midst of reading Heidegger's Being and Time and his Nietzsche lectures, both for the second time. What's interesting about this analysis is you start off mentioning Being, time and becoming, yet don't reference Heidegger. Not that you would need to, but it's a noticeable absence, to me at least.

As I thought about why Heidegger might be absent despite the use of themes that he certainly examined extensively, I think it's because his "style" is so antithetical to the kind of dramatization of existential conflict that is so common in others commonly grouped in the "existentialist" camp, if not so much among philosophers, certainly among novelists. A Heideggerian would look upon the drama about suicide, ethics and God as a little off-putting and melodramatic, I think, especially when it's placed in a Christian context. I know I do. For my money, Heidegger's views of suicide, ethics and God tend more toward the Roman views on those topics. I think that is more of a coincidental affinity than a conscious archaizing, though.

I would argue that this is part of Heidegger accepting the Nietzschean perspectivism that places the Christian God on par with other concepts of God, rather than allowing it to occupy pride of place as "primus inter pares" of "perspectives". Heidegger is "over God" in the way you "get over" a former lover. He is now searching for the structures that make such a worldview possible, assuming from the start that Judeo-Christian "revelation" is not real (he may not use the concept Judeo-Christian in formulating that opinion, of course, since he would almost certainly treat them as different kinds of revelations). Whatever his flaws, I doubt Heidegger would have been an atheist neckbeard if he were alive today.

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Well, some time ago, I used... (Below threshold)

April 13, 2014 4:45 PM | Posted, in reply to Quiznos Bharnard's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Well, some time ago, I used to remember that every time I wanted to know who Alone is or isn't.
In a way, his identity used to intrigue me, until someone said that probably he was a guy named Christos Balas (http://www.reddit.com/r/intj/comments/1jvsrl/the_last_psychiatrist_blog/)

That he is or isn't, it doesn't changed a bit in my opinion about his texts.

Despite that, I keep thinking that is some kind of strange that he recurrently refers to people's identity in his texts, making parallels between that and their declarations or behaviors, but insists to cover his own.

But, in a way, I think that this "no face" thing still useful for some purposes.

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Ten seconds to save the end... (Below threshold)

April 13, 2014 5:12 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Ten seconds to save the ending?

Either:

1) Ten seconds of an elocution teacher shouting at Matthew McConaughey, telling him to stop mumbling and improve his abysmal diction: this at least enough so that people do not need to keep rewinding and replaying in order to understand him.

2) Ten seconds of him rationally talking about oxygen deprivation and the unreliability of near-death experience.

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I've got Hong's translation... (Below threshold)

May 3, 2014 1:03 AM | Posted by HellofromTheSouth: | Reply

I've got Hong's translation of Fear and trembling and got a shot at trying to read it even though my mother tongue is Spanish and not English. I'm half way through and I don't think I can go any further without understanding how does Kierkegaard defines the concept of "faith".
I used to think that faith was believing in something with all your soul without having solid evidence about it, but Kierkegaard appears to use this concept in a diferent way. He clearly states that Faith isn't either expecting always the best (because you would be an idiot) or the worst (because you would be a depressive idiot).

I know there is something I'm mising, please help me understand the concept of faith from his viewpoint.

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Aren't we all embarrassed n... (Below threshold)

May 5, 2014 5:44 PM | Posted by Maggie: | Reply

Aren't we all embarrassed now. Next time I see Nic Pizzolatto bloviating about his process and his influences, I'm gonna go somewhere else. What a waste of time and brain cells.

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Anyone?... (Below threshold)

May 10, 2014 3:47 PM | Posted, in reply to HellofromTheSouth's comment, by HelloFromTheSouth: | Reply

Anyone?

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This article is brilliant. ... (Below threshold)

May 13, 2014 4:56 AM | Posted by crishtia: | Reply

This article is brilliant. It has really made me think and that's the kind of writing I enjoy reading the most. Thank you for this well written material and information.
Yepi 4

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I'm half way throu... (Below threshold)

May 16, 2014 12:06 AM | Posted by Telemachus: | Reply

I'm half way through and I don't think I can go any further without understanding how does Kierkegaard defines the concept of "faith".

This is a difficult question, which is likely why people aren't jumping at the opportunity to answer it. Kierkegaard's faith is a submission into a paradox. When you move beyond the ethical stage, you are moving beyond rationality and giving yourself completely to absurdity (meaning, not reason) and passion. It is not an expectation, it is a driving force. It is what allows you to disregard the ethical (meaning the juridico-communal ethical) without doubt or hesitation. It is Abraham drawing the knife without despair.

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Thanks for taking the time ... (Below threshold)

May 18, 2014 1:40 AM | Posted, in reply to Telemachus's comment, by HellofromTheSouth: | Reply

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I have read your post several times to make sure to understand everything as much as I can.

I have one final question, you mention giving oneself to absurd and passion. I understand that "absurd" in this context means that the universe has no objective meaning. What does passion mean in this particular context?

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wow, awesome post, I was wo... (Below threshold)

May 18, 2014 5:45 AM | Posted by Oh My Got: | Reply

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The "absurd" in Kierkegaard... (Below threshold)

May 18, 2014 11:03 AM | Posted, in reply to HellofromTheSouth's comment, by Telemachus: | Reply

The "absurd" in Kierkegaard isn't quite the lack objectivity, but more of an acknowledgement that Christian beliefs (an infinite God incarnated as a finite being, for example) go against reason. Unlike other religious writers, Kierkegaard doesn't try to mediate human reason and faith, he acknowledges that faith is absurd.

Passion can be thought of in opposition to reflection. In another book of his, Two Ages (there is also an excerpted version out these days marketed as The Present Age: On the Death of Rebellion), Kierkegaard compares the "reflective age" with the "passionate age." Here's a sample:

The present age is essentially a sensible, reflecting age, devoid of passion, flaring up in superficial, short-lived enthusiasm and prudentially relaxing in indolence. ...whereas a passionate age accelerates, raises up, and overthrows, elevates and debases, a reflective apathetic age does the opposite, it stifles and impedes, it levels.... In antiquity the individual in the crowd had no significance whatsoever; the man of excellence stood for them all. The trend today is in the direction of mathematical equality, so that in all classes about so and so many uniformly make one individual.... For leveling to take place, a phantom must first be raised, the spirit of leveling, a monstrous abstraction, an all-encompassing something that is nothing, a mirage—and this phantom is the public.... The present age is essentially a sensible age, devoid of passion and therefore it has nullified the principle of contradiction

You can see here that passion is used to denote a kind of driving force. Something which drives you to act rather than reflect so much that you never act at all. Kierkegaard is responding to the Hegelian idea that one must resign their subjectivity to be a cog in the machine, an idea he believes leads to complacency and spiritlessness.

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I'v always kind of looked d... (Below threshold)

May 18, 2014 4:37 PM | Posted, in reply to Telemachus's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I'v always kind of looked down on Kierkegaard for basically taking something (in this case existentialism), tagging "Christian" onto the beginning of it, and calling it his own. To me, Christian Existentialism in general is just a silly, superfluous concept. Why not just call yourself an existentialist?

I mean when you get down to it, the entire concept of the Knight of Faith is a Christian version of having your cake and eating it too.

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Kierkegaard is usually cons... (Below threshold)

May 18, 2014 5:04 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Telemachus: | Reply

Kierkegaard is usually considered a proto-existentialist (meaning he's one of the writers who laid the foundation for existentialism, so the 'school' of existentialism as it's usually referred to came slightly after his time), so I'm not sure how well thought out that criticism is.

I don't think Kierkegaard would have called himself a Christian Existentialist anyway, he would have likely just called himself a Christian. I understand that his ideas seem alien and silly to the non-spiritual, but I do think that there are secular interpretations of his general framework. And part of me is convinced that TLP is such an interpretation (or close to it). For instance, consider this, from "Who's Afraid of Lil Wayne?":

The only way to make kids understand that there are legitimate times when they must operate outside the prevailing system is by teaching them that there are even higher systems. (1) I don't specifically mean religion, but some kind of higher ethical duty; for lack of a better term I'll call it a strong superego; which says, without needing to explicitly define every case, "there's a right and a wrong, and you know what it is." (2)

(post here: http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2012/10/whos_afraid_of_lil_wayne.html)

This just screams "teleological suspension of the ethical" to me.

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Thanks a million for the ex... (Below threshold)

May 19, 2014 1:36 PM | Posted, in reply to Telemachus's comment, by HellofromTheSouth: | Reply

Thanks a million for the explanation and for the follow up comment regarding the importance of having something higher than the prevailing system.

Now let's see how can I apply what I have learned

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image gives us a lot... (Below threshold)

June 3, 2014 11:24 PM | Posted by Love: | Reply


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I was wondering if there is... (Below threshold)

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Wow, shit. I guess there en... (Below threshold)

June 5, 2014 4:21 PM | Posted, in reply to eavedrop44's comment, by PIC: | Reply

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Just wanted to say that I t... (Below threshold)

June 20, 2014 10:46 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Just wanted to say that I think about this essay a lot. Particularly the last sentence:

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Seems like I can't go far these days without seeing our very own Carcosa logos fit snugly in the corner of some poster or business advertisement.

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Full information and useful... (Below threshold)

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