Δευτέρα, 23 Νοεμβρίου, 2015
In the context of a MOOC I am taking on the First World War and Modern Philosophy, I read the pro-war views of two German philosophers, Eucken and Husserl. In this short essay I will discuss Eucken’s two major arguments for just war, drawing from Eucken’s “The Moral Power of the War” (1) and supplement his views with Husserl’s as expressed in “Fichte’s Ideal of Humanity.” (2)
The two philosophers
Rudolf Eucken (1846 – 1926) was a German philosopher, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1908.
Edmund Husserl (1859 – 1938) was a German philosopher of Jewish descent.
I had not heard of Eucken until I took the MOOC, but knew of Husserl as a rigorously trained philosopher, who was disallowed for university duty by the Nazis and later resigned from the German Academy. I was not aware of his pro-war writings.
Both of Husserl’s sons were enlisted in 1914. Wolfgang Husserl died in the battlefield of Verdun in 1916. Gerhard Husserl was injured in 1917, but survived.
The first major argument put forward by Eucken is that this war is a just war because it “is waged by a whole nation for the purpose of self-preservation, the maintenance of its sacred goods, and a defense against violent attacks, it will strengthen solidarity among the people, unveil hitherto dormant powers, and increase the standard of life.”
Eucken’s first argument can be summarised as follows:
The nation has purposes, war is the only way of achieving them, and therefore war is just.
Eucken identifies the “purposes” of the nation, but does not prove that the only way of achieving them is by waging war. I would have expected Eucken to identify at least one other way of achieving these purposes and then proceed to critically examine why war is the only way. Please note that by default, should there be another way of a nation achieving its purposes, this “non-war” way would be preferred over war.
Therefore the first argument is flawed, as its second premise is unfounded.
In the second argument, Eucken introduces the higher forces that comprise an invisible network that unites the German people and leads them to a noble path. The people believe in these higher forces and allows them to be certain that their war deeds are not in vain, because they are done for the shake of these forces.
Husserl builds on this second argument. He elevates the German national Ideal to the Ideal of a genuine and true people. He asserts that «we exist in order to realize the pure Ideals… (we) wish to conquer in the war so that there be continued the revelation of divine Ideas in our glorious German people.»
The second argument can be rephrased as follows:
The German people are on a noble path by virtue of an invisible network of higher forces. The German people are genuine and glorious and they exist in order to realize the pure and divine ideals, which are necessary for the world to exist as a moral world. When the German people go to war, this war is fought to protect the pure and divine ideals from which morality springs, therefore it is a just war. They have to be victorious so that they continue being the carriers of divine ideals.
The flaw in this argument is the presumed exclusivity that the German people have in their union with the higher forces, their destiny to be the bearers of pure and genuine ideals, their morality. Why are the Germans unique in all of these? Why aren’t there other people who are in union with the higher forces? This is where the second argument collapses.
Summarising, Eucken’s arguments for just war are shaky and dangerous. They promote the concept of the “privileged” people and present war as a one way street.
- The Moral Power of the War (Die sittliche Kräfte des Krieges) by Rudolf Eucken, 1914. Translated by Anton Leodolter
- Fichte’s Ideal of Humanity (Three Lectures) by Edmund Husserl. From Edmund HusserlAufsiitze und Vortri~ge (1911-1921), Husserliana XXV, ed. Thomas Nenon and Hans Reiner Sepp (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1987), pp. 267-293. Numbers in text placed in square brackets refer to these pages.]. Translation by James G. Hart
Κυριακή, 15 Νοεμβρίου, 2015
In the context of an online course I am taking, I recently read von Clausewitz’s «On War» and from the discussion that followed, realized that there was significant confusion on the meaning of the term «absolute» war, and its relation to «total» war. So I wrote an answer to a question in the discussion forum of the course and here I present an enhanced version.
The question of war is pertinent more than ever today, with the Western World facing its biggest challenge since World War II. In parallel to the activities in the theater of war in Syria, we now see terrorist activities developing at a massive scale in the heart of Europe.
If we agree that «absolute» war is a concept coined by Clausewitz, then we should try to understand what Clausewitz meant by «absolute» war. I will quote some passages from Book I, and then comment. All references are from von Clausewitz’s «On War».
«We see, therefore, how, from the commencement, the absolute, the mathematical as it is called, nowhere finds any sure basis in the calculations in the Art of War; and that from the outset there is a play of possibilities, probabilities, good and bad luck, which spreads about with all the coarse and fine threads of its web, and makes War of all branches of human activity the most like a gambling game.»(Book I, 21)
It is interesting to note that in the above passage of Clausewitz the absolute is equated with the mathematical. The lack of it leads to lack of a sure basis. He seems to be saying that War is not a deterministic phenomenon, and that there are many factors that mat make it like a gambling game.
«Theory must also take into account the human element; it must accord a place to courage, to boldness, even to rashness. The Art of War has to deal with living and with moral forces, the consequence of which is that it can never attain the absolute and positive.»(Book I, 22)
«The War of a community—of whole Nations, and particularly of civilised Nations—always starts from a political condition, and is called forth by a political motive. It is, therefore, a political act. Now if it was a perfect, unrestrained, and absolute expression of force, as we had to deduct it from its mere conception, then the moment it is called forth by policy it would step into the place of policy, and as something quite independent of it would set it aside, and only follow its own laws, just as a mine at the moment of explosion cannot be guided into any other direction than that which has been given to it by preparatory arrangements….But it is not so, and the idea is radically false.» (Book I, 23)
I believe that the highlighted passage (in bold) gives the answer to the question. «Absolute» war is a theoretical construct that never materializes, simply because the human and social actors engaged in war are far too complex. Absolute war is like the explosion of a mine, subject ONLY to the laws of physics. But even at the height of military operations, there are so many other factors partaking in the process, that the last thing one can speak of is «absolute».
So, to wrap up, Clausewitz used the term «absolute» to denote a notion of war that can never materialize in human communities and with human actors.
«Total war» is a term that was comprehensively used in a series of articles published by Leon Daudet in 1918 (Daniel Marc Segesser, Controversy: Total War). Leon Daudet was a French journalist and writer.
[Total war] is the extension of the struggle in its pronounced as well as its chronic phases to the fields of politics, economics, trade, industry, intellectual abilities, jurisprudence and the financial world. Not only armies fight in battle, but also traditions, institutions, customs, codes, minds and most of all banks.
Segesser concludes that
«The concept of “total war” was thus born out of the conviction that a radicalization of warfare as well as a comprehensive mobilization of human and material resources was necessary at a time when France was on the defensive in Verdun in 1916 and after the unsuccessful Nivelle offensive in 1917 when it tried to hold its ground.«
After Daudet, the term was used by the German General Erich Ludendorff in his book Der Totale Krieg (The Total War) published in 1935. In it he promotes the idea that war should mobilize all the resources of the Nation, and thus be a Total War.
«Total war requires enormous things from the commander. Effort and labour will be expected from him that have never been asked for from commanders in the past, not even from Frederic the Great.«
Building on the work of Ludendorff, Joseph Goebels delivered his 1943 speech a storming call to engage in «Total War». Here are some excerpts.
«Total war is the demand of the hour… We can no longer make only partial and careless use of the war potential at home and in the significant parts of Europe that we control. We must use our full resources, as quickly and thoroughly as it is organizationally and practically possible. …The total war effort has become a matter of the entire German people. No one has any excuse for ignoring its demands. A storm of applause greeted my call on 30 January for total war. I can therefore assure you that the leadership’s measures are in full agreement with the desires of the German people at home and at the front. The people are willing to bear any burden, even the heaviest, to make any sacrifice, if it leads to the great goal of victory.» (Nation, Rise Up, and Let the Storm Break Loose, by Joseph Goebbels).
Goebels continues to describe the total war measures taken, like the drafting of all capable men (factory workers were exempt), the mobilization of women in civic duties, and so on.
When Goebels made his speech, the situation in Hitler’s Germany was critical. The battle of Stalingrad was lost and Germany was for the first time facing defeat. No wonder that Goebels calls all Germans to full mobilization.
From the brief references above, one can conclude that «total» war as defined by Daudet, Ludendorff and Goebels was the last resort to a war machine that had run into trouble and needed (or so some people had thought) to command all the resources, material and human, of society at large.
The term «total» war has also been used loosely by journalists and historians to characterize World War I, due to the technological advances in the means of warfare. However, this use is rather informal and lacks any real significance.
«Absolute» war is the functioning of the military machine as if it were lacking all human elements. It is therefore an abstraction that never materializes.
«Total» war is one where the military machine mobilizes all human and material resources of society.
Παρασκευή, 13 Νοεμβρίου, 2015
This is a great comedy, made by Mel Brooks in 1974, quite possibly his best movie.
The hero, Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, played by Gene Wilder, is the grandson of Victor Frankenstein, who wants nothing to do with the family whatsoever.
However, things change when he inherits the family castle in Transylvania. Frederick slowly gets sucked in the aura of his grandfather’s work and creates a monster of his own, with the help of his lab assistant, Igor.
Igor is the grandson of Igor, the assistant of Victor Frankenstein, and is played by Marty Feldman.
Frederick is trying to be nice to the monster, who is a sensitive soul.
The monster played by Peter Boyle, loves violin music, but is a little «A B Normal», like the label on the jar from which Igor stole the monster’s brain. There are some wonderful scenes with the monster and the blind hermit, full of unlimited fun.
So the monster abducts Elizabeth, Frederick’s fiance, but it turns into something good for her, as she falls in love with the monster. The following quotation says it all:
Elizabeth: [after sex with The Monster] “Oh. Where you going?… Oh, you men are all alike. Seven or eight quick ones and then you’re out with the boys to boast and brag. YOU BETTER KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT. Oh… I think I love him.”
Elizabeth and the monster finally stay together, Frederick discovers the joy of beautiful Inga, his local personal assistant, played by Teri Garr, and it all ends well.
A few pointers to differences between the film and the novel.
The movie is in modern times, the hero is not mad scientist Victor, but his grandson.
Transylvania has nothing to do with the novel, it is brought in by Brooks in reference to the Dracula horror movie genre.
There is no Igor in the novel; in the 1931 movie there was an assistant to the Doctor, who in the comedy becomes the grandson of the original assistant.
There is no Swiss subtlety in the movie, but repeated allusions to Germany. Frau Bluecher is the best example, the housekeeper of the castle.
The second best example is the pseudo-German «word» schwanzstuecker, derived from a German word for «tail», or penis. The monster is large in all departments, and this is the secret weapon with which he conquers Elizabeth. In clear contrast with the novel, the Brooks monster is quick to discover his gifts that can make him very attractive to the ladies, and instead of wasting his time begging this creator to create a female double for him, he snatches Frederick’s wife to be. The following dialogue makes it all very clear:
Dr Frederick Frankenstein : “For the experiment to be a success, all of the body parts must be enlarged.”
Inga: “His veins, his feet, his hands, his organs vould have to be increased in size.”
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: “Exactly.”
Inga: “He would have an enormous schwantzstuker.”
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: “That goes without saying.”
But at the end, Frederick transfers some of his intellect to the monster, who can now reason and becomes quite an intellectual, and in return he gets the Monster’s supernatural schwanzstuecker, as Inga is more than happy to discover.
Παρασκευή, 30 Οκτωβρίου, 2015
Το άρθρο αυτό είναι δίγλωσσο, ελληνικά και αγγλικά. Ξεκινω με μια ελληνική παράγραφο, και συνεχίζω με την αγγλική. Μερικές φορές, για λόγους νοηματικής συνέχειας, μπορεί να έχω δύο ή και τρείς πραγράφους μαζί.
This post is bilingual, in Greek and in English. I start with a paragraph in Greek, followed by the same paragraph in English. On occasion, to preserve the meaning of the words, I batch two or three paragraphs together before switching language.
« Η διαφορά ανάμεσα στο σκουμπρί και το μπαρμπούνι είναι τόση όσο εκείνη ανάμεσα στον μυλωνά και τον επίσκοπο.» Βαρώνος Μπρις (1813-1876)
«There is as much difference between a mackerel and a red mullet as there is between a miller and a bishop.» Baron Brisse (1813-1876)
Το μπαρμπούνι μαζί με το ξαδερφάκι του την κουτσομούρα είναι από τα νοστιμότερα ψάρια που μπορεί να γευθεί κανείς στο Αιγαίο. Σήμερα πάω ένα ταξίδι με την τρίγλη, χωρίς πρόγραμμα. Η εξοικείωση με ένα λαχταριστό ψάρι, αυτό που λένε οι Αγγλοσάξωνες «ποιοτικός χρόνος», είναι απαραίτητη για την ολοκληρωμένη γαστρονομική απόλαυση. Έτσι λοιπόν δεν έχομε μαγειρέματα, απλά περιπλανώμεθα. Το μπαρμπούνι έχει την επιστημονική ονομασία «Mullus surmuletus», ενώ το ξαδερφάκι του, η κουτσομούρα, έχει την ονομασία «Mullus barbatus». Όπως προδίδει αυτή η ονομασία, η ορατή διαφορά των δύο ψαριών είναι ότι η κουτσομούρα έχει «κοφτή» μούρη σε σχέση με το μπαρμπούνι.
Red Mullet is a very tasty fish that I have learned to enjoy for many years now. Baron Brisse may have been a bit over the top, but there is no doubt that the taste of red mullet is unique and unforgettable. This is the reason why the Romans where paying huge amounts for red mullets. There are two species, one is «Mullus barbatus», and the other «Mullus surmuletus», the latter being the one considered better in terms of taste. This post is the recording of a gastronomic tour, without plan or an agenda.
Ο καθηγητής Μπαμπινιώτης στο Λεξικό της Ελληνικής Γλώσσης αναφέρει ότι η λέξη «μπαρμπούνι» προέρχεται από την ενετική «barbon», που είναι ή γενειάδα. Σημειώνω ότι στα ισπανικά «barbon» σημαίνει άντρας με μεγάλη γενειάδα, και ότι η τρίγλη αναφέρεται ως «μυστακοφόρος» αλλά ενίοτε (από αρχαιοτάτων χρόνων) και «γενειοφόρος». Στην ιχθυαγορά του Ριάλτο στην Βενετία, τα μπαρμπούνια αναφέρονται ως «barboni». Στα τουρκικά είναι «barbubya», ενώ στα αλβανικά είναι «barbun», στα αγγλικά είναι «red mullet» και στα γαλλικά «rouget». Σημειώνω ότι στα Γαλλικά το ψάρι «mulet» («grey mullet» στα Αγγλικά) είναι ο κέφαλος, που βεβαια δεν έχει καμία σχέση με το μπαρμπούνι.
The Greek word of red mullet is «barbouni». Professor Babiniotis in his Dictionary of the Greek Language claims that the word comes from the venetian word «barbon», which means «beard». As you can see in the photo above, which I took in the Rialto fishmarket of Venice, the fish are called «barboni». It is also interesting to note that «barbon» in Spanish means a man with a large beard, whereas the red mullet is mentioned as having a mustache and/or a beard since ancient times. In the Turkish language, the fish is called «barbunya», in the Albanian language it is «barbun», and in french «rouget». The English «red mullet» may be misleading.»Mulet» in French is the «grey mullet», which has nothing to do with the «red mullet».
Μια αναφορά στην «τρίγλη» θα ήταν λειψή χωρίς τον μεγάλο «Αθήναιο», που σχεδόν 19 αιώνες πριν συνέγραψε το πολύτομο έργο «Οι Δειπνοσοφιστές».
«ΤΡΙΓΛΗ. Με –η, όπως η κίχλη. Διότι τα θηλυκά που λήγουν σε –α χρειάζονται ένα δεύτερο λ: Σκύλλα, Τελέσυλλα… Ο Αριστοτέλης λέει στο πέμπτο βιβλίο του «Μόρια Ζώων» ότι η τρίγλη γεννά τρείς φορές τον χρόνο, λέγοντας ότι οι ψαράδες το συμπεραίνουν από το γόνο που παρουσιάζεται τρεις φορές σε κάποιους τόπους… Ο Πλάτωνας στο Φάωνα του λέει:
Η τρίγλη δεν θέλει να είναι ευχάριστη στα νεύρα.
Διότι γεννήθηκε απ’ την παρθένα Άρτεμη και μισεί το αντρικό όργανο.
Είναι αφιερωμένη στην Εκάτη η τρίγλη, επειδή έχουν κοινό όνομα. Διότι η Θεά βρίσκεται σε τρεις δρόμους, βλέπει με τρεις τρόπους και την τριακοστή ημέρα κάθε μήνα της προσφέρουν δείπνα.
Ο Σώφρονας ονόμασε γενειοφόρα την τρίγλη, επειδή όσες έχουν γένεια είναι πιο νόστιμες από τις άλλες.
Γι’ αυτό ο Χαρικλείδης λέει στην Αλυσίδα του
Αφέντρα Εκάτη των τρίστρατων,
που σε γοητεύουν οι τρίγλες.
Αν μια τρίγλη πνιγεί ζωντανή μέσα σε κρασί, κι αυτό το πιεί ένας άντρας, δεν θα έχει την ικανότητα να συνουσιάζεται, όπως αναφέρει ο Τερψικλής στο έργο του Περί αφροδισίων. Κι άν πιεί γυναίκα από οτ ίδιο κρασί, δεν εγκυμονεί.»
(1, Δειπνοσοφιστής Ζ, 125, 126, 127).
Ομολογώ ότι δεν ήξερα ότι η τρίγλη γεννήθηκε από την παρθένα Άρτεμη, το δε μίσος προς το αντρικό όργανο με οδηγεί στην φρικτή υποψία ότι ο Φρόϋντ αντέγραψε – κατά τι – την Ελληνική Μυθολογία και τον Πλάτωνα τον Κωμικό (μην τον συγχέετε με τον Πλάτωνα τον σκέτο, ο Κωμικός ήταν κωμικός ποιητής του 5ου-4ου π.χ. αιώνα, σύγχρονος του Αριστοφάνη.)
Red mullets – Μπαρμπούνια
The ancient Greek name for the fish is triglê. The fish is mentioned in the masterpiece of Athinaeos, «The Deipnosophists», written almost 19 centuries ago.
‘The next fish is the mullet; and τρίγλη is like κίχλη, ending in η. For the feminine nouns which end in λα require another λ before the λα;; as σκύλλα, τελέσιλλα. But all the words which have γ united to λ end in η; as τρώγλη,αἴγλη, ζεύγλη. But Aristotle, in the fifth book of his Parts of Animals, says that the mullet brings forth three times in the year; and states that the fishermen have adopted this opinion from the spawn being seen three times a-year in certain localities.
But Plato, in his Phaon, says—
The mullet is not wholesome for the nerves,
For it is sacred to the chaste Diana,
And all excitement hates.
But the mullet is attributed to Hecate as her fish, on account of the common derivation of their names; for Hecate is called τριοδῖτις, as presiding over places where three roads met, and τρίγληνος, as having three eyes;
And Sophron has called the mullet “bearded,” because those which have beards are better flavoured than those which have not.
…on which account Chariclides, in his Chain, says—
And if the mullet, while alive, be choked with wine, and then a man drinks the wine, he will no longer be able to indulge in the pleasures of Venus, as Terpsicles tells us in his book on Amatory Pleasures. And if a woman drinks this same wine, she never becomes pregnant. ‘
(Athinaeos, «The Deipnosophists», Book VII, 125, 126, 127.)
I must clarify for the unsuspecting reader that the Plato mentioned by Athinaeos above is not the philosopher, but a comedy writer, who lived in Athens around the same time as Aristophanes (late 5th – early 4th century BC). The English translation of the Athinaeos passages comes form the Perseus Digital Library and is edited by C. D. Yonge.
Από την αρχαία Αθήνα του Πλάτωνα του Κωμικού και την Ρώμη του Αθήναιου, πηγαίνω βορειοανατολικά και φτάνω στην Κωνσταντινούπολη. Στο λεύκωμα των Walsh και Allom (4) παρουσιάζονται υπέροχες εικόνες από την ζωή της Πόλης, και ανάμεσα σε αυτές το ψάρεμα μπαρμπουνιού στη γειτονιά Μπαλίκ Χανέ, δηλαδή την γειτονιά της Ιχθυαγοράς. Το μπαρμπούνι ήταν και είναι εκλεκτό ψάρι στην τουρκική κουζίνα, και μάλιστα έχει υποστεί και αυτή την σύμμειξη Ανατολής – Δύσης.
Time to move on, away from the Athens of Plato the comedy writer and the Rome of Athinaeos. I am going to the northeast, and arrive at Constantinople. I confess I love the city, no matter what name one uses. In reference 4, the album of Walsh and Allom there are beautiful pictures of the City, and among them the fishing of red mullet – barbunya – near the Balikhane fish market. The red mullet has always been a favorite in Turkish cuisine, and been subjected to the fusion of East and West.
Από τις αρχές του 20ου αιώνα Γάλλοι σεφ θητεύουν στην Αυλή του Σουλτάνου και δημιουργούν νέες συνταγές. Για παράδειγμα, σε γεύμα που παρατίθεται το 1912 στα μέλη του Κοινοβουλίου, σερβίρονται ανάμεσα στα άλλα «kağıtta barbunya balığı», δηλαδή μπαρμπούνια en papillote (στην λαδόκολλα ελληνιστί). (5)
Και σα να είχε ήδη διαβάσει τη σκέψη μου σχεδόν ένα αιώνα νωρίτερα, το 1905 από το Λονδίνο η Mary Harrison μας δίνει και μια συνταγή για μπαρμπούνια στην λαδόκολλα, που την ονομάζει «Μπαρμπούνια σε θήκες». Λίγα μανιτάρια, μαϊντανός, κρεμμύδια, χυμός λεμονιού, και 20 λεπτά στον φούρνο. (6)
Στις διαδρομές της γαστρονομίας, το μπαρμπούνι en papillote πήγε πρώτα στην κοντινή Αγγλία, και μετά στα στενά του Βοσπόρου και την Κωνσταντινούπολη, και από εκεί έρχεται στην Αθήνα του 1954, σε μια παραλλαγή.
Since the beginning of the 20th century French chefs arrive at the Grand Gate, and serve the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire that is no more. At a bankett given in 1912 to honor members of the assembly of deputies, one of the dishes is «kağıtta barbunya balığı», meaning red mullet en papillote.(5)
Mary Harrison in her book published in London (1905) gives the recipe of «Red Mullet in Cases», which is a variation of the «en papillote». Add some mushrooms, parsley, lemon juice and bake for 20 minutes. (6) The path from Paris to London to Istanbul takes me now to the Athens of 1954.
Μπαρμπούνια σε κασετίνες (Rougets en caisse), μια συνταγή από το βιβλίο του Αρχιμάγειρα του εν Αθήναις Ξενοδοχείου της Μεγάλης Βρεταννίας Γεωργίου Δημοσθενιάδη, που εκδόθηκε στην Αθήνα το 1954. Ψήνουμε το μπαρμπούνι στη σχάρα ή το βράζουμε (poach) μέσα σε φρέσκο βούτυρο, και μετά το βάζουμε μέσα στην κασετίνα από χαρτί και το σκεπάζουμε με μανιτάρια και μια σάλτσα.
Από το βιβλίο του Αρχιμάγειρα (8) σημειώνω για να εκτελέσω εις το εγγύτατο μέλλον την συνταγή «Μπαρμπούνια Φρανσιλλόν» (Rougets Francillon). Μαρινάρουμε τα μπαρμπούνια, τα ψήνουμε στη σχάρα και μετά τα σερβίρουμε σε μια φέτα ψωμί του ίδιου σχήματος, που το έχουμε τηγανίσει σε βούτυρο και αλείψει με βούτυρο αντζούγιας. Ακούγεται θεϊκό!
The chef cuisinier of Hotel Grand Bretagne, the best and most prestigious in Athens, publishes a red mullet recipe in his book, «Rougets en caisses», which means «Red mullets in cases»! But there are differences from Harrison’s recipe. Chef George Demostheniades grills the red mullet first, and then places it in the case covering with mushrooms and a sauce. Alternatively, you can poach the fish in butter before placing in the case.(8)
Another recipe from the chef’s book is «Rougets Francillon». We marinate the fish, grill and then place on a slice of bread of similar shape and size. The bread is fried n butter and we spread on its surface a mix of butter and anchovies. Sounds great!
It is interesting to note that although the chef’s book is published in Greek, most of the recipes have french names.
Όμως το μπαρμπούνι δεν είναι γνωστό μόνον για το κρέας του, αλλά και για το συκώτι του, που είναι ένα από τα εδέσματα που αναφέρει ο Ιούλιος Βέρν στο έργο του «20,000 λεύγες υπό την θάλασσα». (7) Στις ημέρες μας, ο Έστον Μπλούμενταλ, προσφέρει μια συνταγή με συκώτι μπαρμπουνιού και μαύρες ελιές, και μας θυμίζει ότι το συκώτι, από όπου και άν προέρχεται, πρέπει να καταναλώνεται όταν είναι φρέσκο.
Red mullet is not known only for its meat, but also for its liver, which is one of the delicacies mentioned by Jules Vern in his masterpiece «20,000 leagues under the sea (7). In our days,Heston Blumenthal offers a recipe of «Black olive purée with red mullet liver», and reminds us that liver (of any kind) must be very fresh when cooked. (9)
Ήρθε ο Νοέμβριος και κατεβαίνω νότια για να ζεσταθώ, πάω στην Σικελία, και συναντώ τον Επιθεωρητή Montalbano και τις ορέξεις του. Για όσους δεν γνωρίζουν τον κύριο αυτό, είναι ο ήρωας των αστυνομικών μυθιστορημάτων του μέγιστου Ιταλού συγγραφέα Andrea Camilleri, και έχει μεγάλη αδυναμία στα μπαρμπούνια του Λιβόρνο «Triglie alla Livornese», μια απλή τοσκάνικη συνταγή όπου τα τηγανητά ψαράκια σερβίρονται με άφθονη σάλτσα ντομάτας. (2)
November has arrived, and it is time for me to move southwest, to the island of Sicily, where I meet Inspector Montalbano, the hero of Andrea Camilieri’s novels. Montalbano craves for red mullets, or triglie in Italian. One of his favorite dishes is «Triglie alla Livornese», a simple recipe from Tuscany, where the fried fish is covered by a rich tomato sauce. (2)
Ο Επιθεωρητής δεν θέλει να μιλάει όταν τρώγει. Επίσης, προσπαθεί να μην σκέφτεται όταν έχει μπροστά του ένα πιάτο με θεσπέσια μπαρμπούνια. Κάθε τι στην ώρα του. Επειδή όμως στην ζωή δεν υπάρχουν μόνο μπαρμπούνια, ο Επιθεωρητής αντιμετωπίζει διλήμματα. Στην «Εποχή της Αμφιβολίας» γνωρίζει μια πανέμορφη νέα γυναίκα και οι εσωτερικές συγκρούσεις είναι τεράστιες. Ο Μονταλμπάνο δεν μπορεί να συγκεντρωθεί στην δουλειά του, ενώ η μακρόχρονη σχέση του με την Λίβια διατρέχει σοβαρό κίνδυνο. Η μόνη διέξοδος του Επιθεωρητή είναι η τοπική ταβέρνα και τα μπαρμπούνια, που αποδεικνύονται ένα ασφαλές αποκούμπι, μέσα στη θύελλα του πάθους. (3) Ο Επιθεωρητής δεν είναι ο μοναδικός που καταφεύγει στην γαστρονομική θεραπευτική. Ένα καλό γεύμα με μπαρμπούνια σε κάνει να βλέπεις τη ζωή διαφορετικά.
The Inspector does not speak when he eats. He also tries to avoid any thinking when he has a dish with tiglie in front of him. Everything has to be done the right way and in the right time. But the Inspector faces problems. In «The Age of Doubt» (3) he meets a beautiful young woman and he is in a turmoil. He can no longer focus on his work, and his long term relationship with his partner Livia is in danger. The only escape for the Inspector is the local trattoria where he can enjoy his triglie dishes, in the middle of his passion for the young woman. He is right. A good red mullet meal, makes you look at life in a different way.
References – Παραπομπές
- Αθήναιος, Δειπνοσοφιστών Ζ. Εισαγωγή – Μετάφραση – Σχόλια: Θεόδωρος Γ. Μαυρόπουλος. Εκδόσεις Κάκτος.
- Montalbano’s First Case, by Andrea Camilleri
- The Age of Doubt (Inspector Montalbano), , by Andrea Camilleri
- WALSH, Robert/ALLOM, Thomas. Constantinople and the Scenery of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor illustrated…, With an historical Account of Constantinople, and Descriptions of the Plates…, Λονδίνο/Παρίσι, Fisher, Son & Co. [1836-38]
- Royal Taste: Food, Power and Status at the European Courts after 1789, edited by Ms Daniëlle De Vooght
- THE SKILFUL COOK A PRACTICAL MANUAL OF MODERN EXPERIENCE BY MARY HARRISON, London 1905
- Food from 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea | Jules Verne
- Εγκυκλοπάιδεια της Ελληνίδος. Μαγειρική υπό Γεωργίου Δημοσθενιάδη, Chef Cuisinier. Αθήνα 1954, Εκδοτικός Οίκος Γεωργίου Δ. Παπαδημητρίου, Αθήναι, Σταδίου 50
- A flash in the pan, The Guardian, 30 November 2002
Κυριακή, 25 Οκτωβρίου, 2015
Sumi-e (墨絵), also called suiboku-ga (水墨画), is Japanese ink wash painting. Sumi-e painting evolved in the 5th century from Chinese calligraphy. The main subjects are taken from nature. In the 12th century Zen monks brought the technique to Japan where even today Sumi-e painting has a decisive influence on lifestyle. Translated “Sumi” means “black ink” and “e” means both “path” and “painting”. The style of brush painting is both a simple and yet highly aesthetic drawing made of powerful, mostly chasing and rapidly executed lines. The philosophy of sumi-e is to capture the subject’s ki (life spirit).
Patience and inner harmony are essential in brush painting to capture the spirit of the subject. Sumi-e is therefore not only an Asian painting technique but also a form of spiritual relaxation therapy and is becoming increasingly popular in Europe.
Sumi-e provides a powerful lesson concerning the use of color, communication, and restraints. Sumi-e is an art deeply rooted in Zen, embodying many of the tenets of the Zen aesthetic including simplicity and the idea of maximum effect with minimum means. In Sumi-e, great works are achieved with only black ink on washi(rice paper) or silk scroll. Using the black ink to achieve several variations of tones, we learn that powerful visual messages can be created with a single «color» in the form of different shades and tints.
Zen monks studying in China often returned with samples of Chinese art. In the 14th century they brought back “ink and wash” paintings, a monochromatic style of landscape paintings popular during the Song Dynasty, that held special appeal for Zen Buddhists. The style was called sumi-e in Japan. Sumi-e drawings use only black ink, and in line with Zen principles, the negative space is as important as the positive, which leads to sparse compositions and suggestions rather than renderings.
Sumi-e requires four different tools. The preparation and use of each has its own process and meditation. These tools are the ink (sumi), the ink stone (suzuri), the brush (fude), and the material to be painted on, usually paper (washi) or silk.
Sumi is generally produced out of pine or bamboo ash and a binding agent made from fish bones. In order for sumi to properly set in its molded form, humidity and temperature must be just right. For this reason, the highest quality ink blocks are only produced between October and May. To get an even better ink, artisans will often allow a block to age for several years before selling or using it.
As per the Zen way, when an artist uses an ink block, they should consider the amount of time and hard work that went in to its production. Having this connection to the ink gives it a sense of being precious, and adds to the delicacy required for each stroke.
Although sumi ink is typically described as monochromatic, this does not necessarily mean just black and white. It is often produced in four common colors: black-black and brown-black, both of which are used mostly for rocky landscapes and winter scenes, as well as black-blue and black-purple, which are generally used for spring scenes.
In the Japanese art of sumi-e, strokes of ink are brushed across sheets of rice paper, the play of light and dark capturing not just images but sensations, not just surfaces but the essence of what lies within. Simplicity of line is prized, extraneous detail discouraged.
8 key lessons from Sumi-e (Source: Presentation Zen)
- More can be expressed with less.
- Never use more (color) when less will do.
- Omit useless details to expose the essence.
- Careful use of light-dark is important for creating clarity and contrast.
- Use color with a clear purpose and informed intention.
- Clear contrast, visual suggestion, and subtlety can exist harmoniously in one composition.
- In all things: balance, clarity, harmony, simplicity.
- What looks easy is hard (but worth it).
Κυριακή, 18 Οκτωβρίου, 2015
«Time, Measure of the world – Fate of the people. The New Doctrine of War: Naval Battles Recur Every 317 Years or in Multiples Thereof, for Velimir Chlebnikov.» Inscription in German. (All at sea, Adrian Searle, The Guardian, 5 July 2005.)
Anselm Kiefer: Für Chlebnikov, White Cube, London, 2005
When I started writing this post, I wanted to discuss a work of art featuring a submarine. On the way I expanded the scope to include a big work with many submarines, and a poet. So this is a post about works of art with submarines, created by Ansellm Kiefer, and a Russian «experimental» poet, named Velimir Chlebnikov (in German) or Khlebnikov (in English).
Anselm Kiefer i one of the greatest living artists in my book. In the age of the «digital», he continues the glorious romantic tradition of German art.
Khlebnikov was a «futurist» Russian poet (1885-1922), who asserted that naval battles are cyclical phenomena and they occur every 317 years. The key word here is «naval battles», because the topic of this post is the depiction of submarines in Anselm Kiefer’s work.
‘What binds together both Kiefer and Khlebnikov is their interest in history and time. The starting point for Khlebnikov’s research of history basing upon mathematical calculation was the defeat of Russia in the Russian-Japanese war in 1905 in the naval battle by Tsushima. After that he tried to deduce a law of time and calculated, for example, that Russian-Japanese war broke out 317 years later after the Anglo-Spanish war. Kiefer also applies to the theme of time in his work: “he utilizes time as the central metaphor in his work as the basic concept in searches for identity”, mentions Paul Ardenne. If Khlebnikov tried to systemize time, Kiefer, in his turn, works “with the concept that nothing is fixed in place and that symbols move in all directions”.'(Pinchuk Art Centre)
«The central paradox of the entire system, and of the obsessive rigour with which the theory was applied, lies in the non-scientific basis of its inspiration, in the form of an overwhelming desire to control the movement of history. Khlebnikov’s initial motivation was a highly personal response to Russian defeat in the Russo-Japanese War: ‘I wanted to discover the reason for all those deaths.’» (Anselm Kiefer, Jesus College, Cambridge)
Kiefer’s relationship to Khlebnikov is peculiar. Here we have a major artist of the 20th – 21st century,being «inspired» by a futurist who tried to combine poetry with mathematics, and create a theory of History, so that Man will know what is coming his way.
This looks like a puzzle, unless you turn it upsode down. Kiefer is actually denying Khlebnikov.
» Kiefer’s ironic use of Khlebnikov’s predictive models reflects his conviction that history can never be programmed or given a fixed form. Only a few of Kiefer’s ships are overturned or foundering on shoals, but there is an almost uniform sense of futility in the isolation of these vessels amid worsening weather conditions.» (Anselm Kiefer, Jesus College, Cambridge)
«The only thing that ever really frightened me during the war was the U Boat peril» – Winston Churchill
In the second world war, the submarine was considered to be the ultimate weapon of destruction at sea.
A submarine in German is U-Boot, a shortening of Unterseeboot, literally «undersea boat» (Wikipedia). Although the word refers to any submarine, it has been linked to German submarines, starting with U1 in 1906.
Kiefer is fascinated by submarines, and he shows it. It may be the critical role they play in naval battles, and/or the dark, claustrophobic aura that makes a submarine so different. In what follows I will show some of the relevant works, starting with the super star, a 17 meter long «installation», which was first shown in the London 2014 exhibition, and had the super long title «Fates of Nations: The New Theory of War. Time, Dimension of the World, Battles at Sea Occur Every 317 Years or Multiples Thereof, Namely 317 x 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 . . . . . . . .»
Velimir Khlebnikov: Fates of Nations: The New Theory of War…
149 5/8 x 220 1/2 in. (380 x 560 cm)
Oil, emulsion, acrylic on canvas with lead boats
Photo: Stephen White
35 7/16 x 157 1/2 x 98 7/16 in. (90 x 400 x 250 cm)
Concrete sculpture with lead boat
Photo: Stephen White
149 5/8 x 220 1/2 in. (380 x 560 cm)
Oil, emulsion, acrylic on canvas with lead boats
Κυριακή, 11 Οκτωβρίου, 2015
The Italian word «putto» is derived from the Latin word «putus», meaning «boy» or «child».
In this post I present sculptures with children from three periods: Hellenistic, Renaissance, and Neoclassicism.
Cupid is not included in the genre of «putti», being a rather special child. So there will be no cupid here. Along the same line of sticking to the «ordinary», I will not include «winged» chldren, or deities of any time.
Finally, I will not include any sculptures of the Holy Child with or without the Holy Mother.
Children (ordinary, I emphasize this) were depicted in sculpture in the Hellenistic period, and became again the subject of a sculpture in the Renaissance. The neoclassicism of the 18th century also depicted children in sculptures.
I have taken all the photos in this post.
This sculpture of a boy with a goose, was originally created by the famous sculptor Boethus of Chalcedon, near Constantinople, in the second century B.C. The Roman Emperor Nero transported the original to his palace in Rome, where he had it copies. What survives today in Munich’s Glyptothek is the Roman copy of the original.
There is an incredible energy and motion in this sculpture, but also the spirit of having fun and enjoying life. This is what our protagonist does here, even at the expense of the goose, which seems to be rather subordinated. In real life, I would be surprised if the boy could handle the goose like this for more than one second.
From this angle, the boy has taken an almost wrestling posture.
Giambologna was a Flemish sculptor who spent most of his productive years in Florence.
Two bronze Giambologna statues depicting a child fishing are at the Bargello Museum in Florence.
The boy is playing with the fish. He is holding the remnant of a fishing rod and is having a good time. Playful and carefree.
In the second sculpture, we see the fishing boy in a different posture, something like a declaration to the world «I caught a fish!». Simple and beautiful.
The period is represented in this post by Lorenzo Bartolini and his student Luigi Pampaloni.
Basrtolini was an Italian sculptor of the late 18th – early 19th century. I saw an exhibition of their works in Academia Gallery in Florence, the Bartolini’s birth place.
I somehow feel that this boy with the swan comes nowhere near the boy with the goose. It is an ok sculpture, but it is flat, and almost superficial.
Pampaloni’s orphan is also an ok sculpture, but it does not move me. Technically it is fine, but the sculpture has no soul.
Which reminds me, that in art as in society, we need the great and the bad and the average, otherwise, this would have been a very strange world!