Heterodox Dictionary, revised
heterodoxia HETERODOX DICTIONARY: tweet-sized apothegms that burrow deep and fester until the reader is thoroughly corrupted, wholly immune to all conventional dogma. The average dictionary might be more useful if you want to settle for the standard wisdom of the lexicographer, but certain terms are slippery, and require the touch of an aphorist. Especially a soi-disant … Conti...
Wed, Mar 25 2020
Best Films of the 2010s: A Retrospective
heterodoxia What was the 10s’ as a decade? My pat answer: a seismic shift in American culture: what used to be nerd culture went mainstream, or more accurately, became gentrified. The Internet Lost Its Joy. Smart phones and social media in one gigantic circle-jerking feedback loop. We are all online all time time. No such thing … Continue reading Best Films of the 2010s: A Re...
Tue, Dec 31 2019
heterodoxia The most famous artist of this age, Banksy is a conceptual street artist whose work has ranged from walls to satirical amusement parks. Such works have appeared allover the world: America, Australia, Canada, France, Israel, Jamaica, Palestine, and of course, England. Their work is highly visible and entirely accessible, allowing them to reach large audiences. … Cont...
Sun, Nov 17 2019
David Foster Wallace
heterodoxia At 46 years of age, David Foster Wallace hung himself in his basement. Not only did he suffer from clinical depression, Wallace also struggled with “hyper-consciousness,” a similar paralysis of will that afflicts the narrator of Dostoyevsky‘s Notes from Underground who supposes that it is better to face the Void directly, but also confesses that … Continue rea...
Sat, Nov 16 2019
heterodoxia The so-called “high priest of postmodernism,” Jean Baudrillard evolved from a Marxist-inflected critical commentator of the affluent society to an ambiguous position that can be described either as a bleakly lucid perception that is resigned to the omnipresence of the society of spectacle, or as a horrified fascination with the shallowness of a postmodern society ...
Fri, Nov 15 2019
heterodoxia In Waiting for Godot, two tramps, Vladimir and Estragon, kill time on an open, empty road waiting for Godot, who never comes, and who they suspect may not exist. They quarrel, make up, contemplate suicide, try to sleep, eat a carrot, and gnaw on some chicken bone. An oppressive air of desperation and panic lingers … Continue reading Beckett
Thu, Nov 14 2019
heterodoxia In 1979, the French thinker Jean-Francois Lyotard explained postmodernism as an “incredulity towards metanarratives,” those predominant illusions by which we make sense of the world, the myths of progress, liberty, and rationality. Indeed, skepticism and its resulting indeterminism have discredited moral and intellectual hierarchies and made “truth” – transc...
Wed, Nov 13 2019
heterodoxia What is man, other than an individual, an isolated being thrown into an alien universe totally devoid of any inherent meaning where contingency and failure seem to be the only organizing principles? Our species have been expelled here and prohibited forever from knowing why. Therefore, “there is but only one truly serious philosophical problem, and … Continue read...
Sun, Nov 10 2019
heterodoxia According to Ernest Hemingway, we are born with a raw optimism, but as we acquire knowledge of life’s inescapable suffering and fundamental emptiness, we are irreversibly damaged. Therefore, we must avoid the pain of thinking too much or feeling too much. The sober individual who populate his fiction perform the pathetic game of life with … Continue reading Heming...
Sat, Nov 09 2019
heterodoxia The ridiculous, detached worlds Franz Kafka invented in his writings have disturbed generations of readers in profound and incomprehensible ways. And though many critics have belittled his work as the record of a neurotic’s tortured inner life, the milieu Kafka manufactured has come to illustrate twentieth-century man’s turmoil, alienation, and dread. By demolishi...
Wed, Nov 06 2019
Nothing Old Fashioned
heterodoxia Like many artists who were inspired by his work, Paul Cézanne was contaminated with the malady of the modern condition – indeterminacy, which can be seen in his art. He agonized over his paintings, and revised many of his canvasses over a number of years, while others remained incomplete with blank spots. Even with scrupulous … Continue reading Nothing Old Fashio...
Mon, Nov 04 2019
heterodoxia The walls of illusion crumble. Truth is but an unhealthy idee fixe, a will-o’-the-wisp we cling to, and the incredible energy invested in its quest only calls attention to the “terrible and questionable character of existence.” Descartes’ methodological doubt reaches a climax with Nietzsche; instead of methodical doubt, he proposes methodical negation. All hop...
Sun, Nov 03 2019
heterodoxia During the final years of his life, Twain’s writings echoed a rancorous pessimism and a palpable misanthropy. These attitudes are conspicuous in such works as the sharply acerbic The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson, The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg, What is Man, and the thoroughly dark The Mysterious Stranger, in which he claims that life is … Continue reading Mar...
Fri, Nov 01 2019
heterodoxia Gustave Flaubert’s classic of realism, Madame Bovary, signifies the beginning of a new fashion in literature. It is the story of the titular character, an ordinary woman who acts out her futile and pathetic dreams. After indulging in a humiliating affair and frittering away her naive husband’s limited assets, she kills herself. Although Flaubert chose … Continue...
Fri, Nov 01 2019
…and Nothing besides!*
heterodoxia By the second half of the 19th century, scientific progress was adding to a persistent pessimism, and it was becoming more and more difficult to affirm life. The theories of Charles Darwin, for example, played an important role in discrediting more of the myths that human beings relied on. The insulting description of Homo Sapiens … Continue reading …and Nothing b...
Fri, Nov 01 2019
heterodoxia Charles Baudelaire seems to have foreseen his early and unpleasant death after a depraved and brutal life when he wrote “I believe that my life was damned right from the beginning, and that it is so forever.” His collection of poetry The Flowers of Evil outraged readers, was publicly condemned and became an epithet for … Continue reading Baudelaire
Wed, Oct 23 2019
heterodoxia God does not insulate his believers from the Void, for he often exposes them to it. For example, Oedipus was utterly ruined without clear reason; Job was tormented as a result of a random bet; and Abraham’s test of faith was an appalling nightmare. Perplexed by the meaning of such examples, Soren Kierkegaard spent a … Continue reading Kierkegaard
Wed, Oct 23 2019
heterodoxia Max Stirner‘s The Unique and its Property is the creation of an conceptual insurgent. The book glorifies the impulses and rejects the reality of absolutes, and dismisses all abstractions as meaningless. The measure of all things and the exclusive cause of truth is the individual alone, who is responsible for developing and refining their uniqueness. … Continue rea...
Mon, Oct 21 2019
heterodoxia The British essayist and historian Thomas Carlyle was just another chronic melancholic, easily irritable thinker who failed to locate any profound meaning in life. His best known work is The French Revolution, but his philosophical parody Sartor Resartus is more typical of his writing, and it provoked a violent riot when it was published in … Continue reading Carlyl...
Mon, Oct 21 2019
heterodoxia The absolute brilliant philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer was a cranky loner whose ingenious acumen have had a profound effect on modern man’s dignity. He argued that severe pessimism is the only perspective from which the world can be viewed soberly. Schopenhauer wrote that optimism is not merely stupidly childlike, but a “really wicked way of thinking, … Continue...
Mon, Oct 21 2019
heterodoxia Much like how rationalism diminished the credibility of religious authority during the Enlightenment, the Romantic period brought a deluge of irrationalism and eroded confidence in reason. While it’s questionable whether Romanticism was motivated by a genuine search for the truth or by the tedium and conservatism of rational inquiry, reason as the exclusive guidelin...
Sat, Oct 12 2019
heterodoxia For centuries, the Marquis de Sade’s blasphemous works, full of detailed and elaboration of sordid sexual perversions, were dismissed as the ravings of a rotten and corrupt mind. His life was a never-ending scandal, and now his name is immortalized as sadism – the compulsion to achieve sexual satisfaction by inflicting pain on others. His … Continue reading de S...
Sat, Oct 12 2019
heterodoxia As the doyen of the French Enlightenment, Voltaire has come to exemplify the Age of Reason. It was illuminating to realize that his masterpiece Candide didn’t express the self-assured confidence and optimism that distinguished his time. Instead, the novella introduces a bleak vision of human existence, a vision completely nihilistic through and through. The word …...
Wed, Oct 02 2019
heterodoxia Jonathan Swift was best remembered for his ruthless expose of man – at best, a fool, and at worst, a demented brute. Swift was astounded by our dexterity at degrading reason to sustain philosophical systems and sophisticated religions that his satire diminished to absurdity: “all those mighty revolutions that have happened in empire, philosophy, and … Continue r...
Wed, Oct 02 2019
Nothing but Sophistry and Illusion
heterodoxia We often designate the 18th century as the Age of Enlightenment or the Age of Reason due to the pervasive confidence in rationality and the burgeoning optimism that distinguished the era. According to many virtuosos of rationalism, the possibility of mitigating all of our problems – social, psychological, and material – seemed not just feasible … Continue readin...
Tue, Oct 01 2019
heterodoxia It is very likely that Blaise Pascal would’ve been one of the greatest skeptics and pessimists of all time except for a “miracle” that happened in 1639. He was driving a carriage along the Seine when something startled his horses and they all fell into the river. Somehow, Pascal survived, and he determined this experience … Continue reading Pascal
Sat, Sep 28 2019
Nothing Exceeds like Excess
heterodoxia From the early Seventeenth century to the early Eighteenth, artists abandoned the moderation of Renaissance classicism for a luxurious, embellished style that better expressed the extremes of their times. During this period, ongoing brutal doctrinal wars that began with the Reformation diminished the prestige and authority of Christendom. The appalling Thirty Years wa...
Sat, Sep 28 2019
heterodoxia The moral and philosophical predicaments of Shakespeare still haunt us today. His sonnets exhibit a fixation with time, uncertainty and death, whereas his plays explore the gory existence beneath the pleasant veneer we manufacture. In the plays, human characters are flawed and inconsistent beings who are ignorant of life, but are required to live. While … Continue r...
Mon, Sep 02 2019
A History of Nothing
heterodoxia Chapter 1: In the Beginning… There was Nothing. Chapter 2: Ex Nihilo Chapter 3: We Know Nothing Chapter 4: Null and Void Chapter 5: Nihil Perpetuum Est Lucretius Seneca Chapter 6: Apropos of Nothing Chapter 7: A Crack of Light between Two Nothings Chapter 8: Nihil Sub Sole Novum Machiavelli Montaigne
Sun, Sep 01 2019
heterodoxia In the collected Essays, that masterpiece of self-analysis, the 16th century French essays Michel Eyquem de Montaigne began as a stoic and ended as a skeptic. The more carefully he pursued knowledge, the less he knew. “What do I know? And what does it matter?” captures the standard Montaigne response to everything. We cannot know … Continue reading Montaigne
Sun, Sep 01 2019
heterodoxia As one of the most cynical thinkers of all-time, Machiavelli is remembered as the philosopher of realpolitik, or the politics of power. His detached, viciously candid investigation of power, The Prince (1517) was published five years after his death. His goal for the work was to “write something of use to those who understand… the … Continue reading Machiavelli
Sat, Aug 31 2019
Nihil Sub Sole Novum*
heterodoxia Discontent with the increasing wealth and unchecked corruption of the Roman Catholic church helped to interrupt and eventually break down the stagnant worldview of the Dark Ages, and the long slumber of free inquiry slowly began to end. For the first time in a thousand years, investigations into the nature of things could be directed … Continue reading Nihil Sub Sol...
Fri, Aug 30 2019
A Crack of Light Between Two Nothings
heterodoxia A key element of Aztec philosophy was duality: in Aztec poetry and the noble-dialect of Nahuatl, figure of speech and symbolic metaphors were based on paired words that were often contradictory such as “Water Fire,” which meant war. Quetzalcoatl, the chief Aztec god, was described by the duality between the mundane (earth, snakes) and the … Continue reading A Cr...
Wed, Aug 28 2019
Apropos of Nothing
heterodoxia In 314, the Emperor Constantine’s Edict of Milan assured the Christian hegemony over several competitors. You’d think the anxieties and melancholia present during the Roman Empire’s decline would be partially alleviated with the official sanction of Christianity. Hardly! With the dominance of Christianity, physical existence was perceived to be a period of trial...
Tue, Aug 27 2019
heterodoxia Lucius Annaeus Seneca, one of Rome’s most famous philosophers spent a large part of his life trying to convince his student Nero the finer points of being a Stoic-flavored philosopher-king. While he did demonstrate unselfish nobility in his writings, his life was rife with greed, made base with expediency. and plagued with conspiracies. Seneca’s plays … Continue...
Mon, Aug 26 2019
heterodoxia Not only was Lucretius my all-time favorite Roman philosopher, he was also the greatest of philosophical poets who lived through one of the most anarchic periods in Roman history: a time of dictatorship, civil war, and conspiracies. No one was safe from this world. On the Nature of Things (De rerum natura) was Titus Lucretius … Continue reading Lucretius
Mon, Aug 26 2019
Nihil Perpetuum Est*
heterodoxia During its thousand year history, the Roman empire increased to a point where it encompassed virtually all of the known world. The most fascinating thing about the Roman civilization? Not its imperialist expansion, but that tortuous, strung-out slide to ruin. Why Rome fell is one of the great questions of history. Although the Romans seemed … Continue reading Nihil ...
Thu, Aug 22 2019
Null and Void
heterodoxia The Hebrew scriptures detail the creation of human beings and their relationship with the Creator. The first people, Adam and Eve committed an indiscretion that cursed the entire species a life filled with toil, pain and sorrow. Not long after the first murder, the Creator experienced revulsion for his creation and decided to extinguish the … Continue reading Null a...
Tue, Aug 20 2019
We Know Nothing
heterodoxia The hallmark of the Hellenistic era was chaos due to the deteriorating political influence of the city states and countless ruinous wars among autocratic rulers. That Tyche, the mercurial goddess of chance, was highly venerated everywhere, clearly indicates the instability of the time. Hellenistic people were deeply cognizant of the omnipresence of contingency in thei...
Sat, Aug 17 2019
heterodoxia Ancient Greek mythology symbolized the existential considerations of the Hellenic Greek their origin and the nature of things. The Greek Pantheon consists of anthropomorphic beings with supernatural powers and desires. Much like humans, they are capricious, intolerant and bored. Therefore, these Olympians account for a frightening, unpredictable reality and the gratui...
Fri, Aug 16 2019
In the beginning… there was Nothing.
heterodoxia Nothing at all. Our relationship with death has profoundly shaped Western culture. A pervasive death consciousness has created religions, nourished philosophies and eventually stimulated scientific investigation, as well as fueled fanaticism, a brooding and melancholic pessimism, which resulted in nihilistic conclusions. Such nihilistic sentiments are far more than me...
Thu, Jul 18 2019
Protected: Heterodoxia Blog Compliation
heterodoxia There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.
Sat, Oct 20 2018
heterodoxia From the established trunk of Afrofuturism emerges a new branch I call Panfuturism. This isn’t some Ukranian offshoot of avant-garde Futurismo, for what it is worth. Where Afrofuturism is science fiction without the colonial mentality and othering, and reimagined with ancient African traditions with an unapologetic black identity, Panfuturism is also science fiction...
Thu, Sep 06 2018
On Writing Pantheon
heterodoxia Last month, I finally published the first volume of Pantheon: Heterotopia. This blog is the lessons I’ve learned from writing and drawing it over the last few years. Writing Pantheon, at least the very first chapter, was done in a flash of inspiration, and unlocking a hidden treasure. But it wasn’t until long afterwards that … Continue reading On Writing Pantheo...
Sat, Mar 31 2018
Get Off Facebook!
heterodoxia A few years ago I ditched Facebook for the seductive promises of Twitter. I took the distinction between the two to be fundamental, that we were plagued by the ignorance of our friends on Facebook, but benefited from the wit of strangers on Twitter instead. However, in time this distinction turned out to be merely … Continue reading Get Off Facebook!
Tue, Jan 23 2018
True God of America
heterodoxia The true gods of America today demands ritualistic blood sacrifice. Interestingly, this cultural practice is entrenched in the land – dating back to the ancient Mayan and Aztec civilizations who sacrificed thousands per year – some were members of their own community, but most human sacrifices were prisoners of war. The Aztec preferred to capture … Continue read...
Wed, Oct 18 2017
Philosophers in Context
heterodoxia An alternative to the standard cookie-cutter history of philosophy, this blog presents the subject as a “way of thinking” that investigates the “Big Names” as character studies and intellectual portraits rather than a freeze-dried version that retains merely the propositional content of their writings. This way of thinking shows the interaction between the ind...
Wed, Aug 02 2017
heterodoxia Some time ago, I wrote myself into a corner in a chapter from Pantheon, in which a character was forced to solve a conundrum: he had to stay at a location, safeguard a highly sensitive museum, but prevent interlopers from coming inside, while not showing himself to them, or destroy them, or the critical objects … Continue reading Greatest Paradox
Fri, Jun 02 2017
Are You Mad as Hell Yet?
heterodoxia Today, domestic politics end in hostile impasses, whereas international politics are charged with menacing acts of terror and revenge. These sociopolitical phenomena are symptoms of a fundamental rage, and revenge is the project of rage. If we cannot understand and address our rage, our age is doomed. It is odd that we haven’t really analyzed … Continue reading Ar...
Mon, May 01 2017
heterodoxia In the 21st century today, narcissism appears to be much less about the correlation between our self-importance and our own personal relationships than it is with the number of followers on Twitter or Facebook friends. Indeed, social networking is, at worst, a platform to cultivate one’s narcissism and indulge where it hasn’t metastasized. Are we all … Continue...
Wed, Mar 01 2017
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