The Art of Tetman Callis

Some of the stories and poems may be inappropriate for persons under 16

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Listen up

December 10th, 2018 · No Comments

“We who write, we who bear witness, must often hear our hearts cry out against us, complaining because of their hidden things.” – William Butler Yeats, “Magic”

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The Law laws

December 9th, 2018 · No Comments

The Law laws

“The Law sets up divisions and institutes distinctions, it circumscribes what defies it and recognizes an orderly world to which it gives both form and duration. The Law ceaselessly names and enumerates what it outlaws. The Law says its outside. The inaugural gesture of the Law is to exclude, and first of all its own foundation: sovereignty, violence. But the norm has no sense of foundation. It has no memory, staying as close as possible to the present, always claiming to be on the side of immanence.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War (emphasis in original)

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Tamp it down

December 8th, 2018 · No Comments

“A man of society, a drawing-room man who can make himself agreeable to women when he pays a call, is always a man whose principal concern is to suppress any arresting spontaneity, not to let his own personality show through. For it is a man’s own personality that people find irritating. People like to meet the average man, the normal man, the man who has nothing exceptional about him. The exception is always irritating.” – Miguel de Unamuno, “Large and Small Towns”

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As it is written, so let it be done

December 7th, 2018 · No Comments

“I would rather be owned than forgotten. I would rather be used than thrown away.” – Aimee Parkison, “Girl in Glass”

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The great democratizer

December 6th, 2018 · No Comments

“There is no visible Outside any more—nothing like a pure Nature, the Madness of the classical age, the Great Crime of the classical age, or the Great classical Proletariat with its actually-existing Homeland of Justice and Liberty. These are all gone, mostly because they have lost their imaginary force of attraction. The outside is now gone precisely because today there is exteriority at every point of the biopolitical tissue. Madness, crime or the hungry proletariat no longer inhabit a defined or recognized space, they no longer form a world unto themselves, their own ghetto with or without laws. With the dissipation of the social, these terms become reversible modalities, a violent latency, a possibility each and every body might be capable of. This suspicion is what justifies the continuous socialization of society, the perfecting of the micro-apparatuses of control. Not that Biopower claims to govern men and things directly—instead, it governs possibilities and conditions of possibility.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War (emphases in original)

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Pennies for Mr. Two-Scoops

December 5th, 2018 · No Comments

“At first glance, Empire seems to be a parodic recollection of the entire, frozen history of a ‘civilization.’ And this impression has a certain intuitive correctness. Empire is in fact civilization’s last stop before it reaches the end of its line, the final agony in which it sees its life pass before its eyes.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War

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And not to kill each other

December 4th, 2018 · No Comments

“Without a minimum of common assurances, it is not possible for men to live together in society. If they are not to massacre each other, men must agree on a certain number of fundamental questions: what is good, what evil; what is true, what false; what is beautiful, what ugly.” – Ignazio Silone, “Ferrero and the Decline of Civilizations” (trans. Darina Silone)

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In which case I might be wealthy

December 3rd, 2018 · No Comments

“I would not give twopence for a Christian who does not commemorate Christ’s birth every day and keep sober over it.” – George Bernard Shaw, “Chesterton on Shaw”

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From the autosarcophagous

December 2nd, 2018 · No Comments

“The various bourgeois revolutions never tampered with the principle of personal sovereignty, insofar as an assembly or leader, elected directly or indirectly, never deviated from the idea of a possible representation of the social totality, i.e. of society as a totality. As a result, the passage from the absolutist State to the liberal State only managed to liquidate the one person—the King—who liquidated the medieval order from which he emerged, and whose last living vestige he seemed to be. It is only as an obstacle to his own historical processes that the king was judged: he composed his own sentence, his death the period at the end of it. Only the democratic principle, promoted from within by the modern State, was able finally to bring down the modern State. The democratic idea—the absolute equivalence of all forms-of-life—is also an imperial idea. Democracy is imperial to the extent that the equivalence among forms-of-life can only be implemented negatively, by preventing, with all the means at its disposal, ethical difference from attaining in their play an intensity that makes them political.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War (emphases in original)

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Kenneth, what’s the frequency

December 1st, 2018 · No Comments

“A fundamental principle of statistical physics is that Nature seeks low-energy configurations. The random organization of molecules in a room is governed by this principle. Rarely observed configurations (e.g., all of the molecules gathering in a corner of the room) have high energies and hence very low probabilities. Common configurations (e.g., molecules isotropically distributed throughout the room) have low energies and much higher probabilities, high enough so that they are essentially the only configurations ever observed.” – Matthew Richey, “The Evolution of Markov Chain Monte Carlo Methods”

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The last one standing kills itself

November 30th, 2018 · No Comments

“Fascism is designed to destroy large groups of people based on their identities and to control everyone else, with a state apparatus that legitimates and empowers ultraviolent individuals and groups who further the ends of nationalist authoritarianism. Killing is not a side effect of fascism; it is its method.” – Micheala Brangan, J.D., The Atlantic, Jan./Feb. 2018

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Neither high nor low

November 29th, 2018 · No Comments

“The Welfare State, which first took over for the liberal State within Empire, is the product of a massive diffusion of disciplines and regimes of subjectivation peculiar to the liberal State. It arises at the very moment when the concentration of these disciplines and these regimes—for example with the widespread practice of risk management—reaches such a degree in ‘society’ that society is no longer distinguishable from the State.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War

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Everyone’s downwind

November 28th, 2018 · No Comments

“What an intimate brotherhood is this in which we dwell, do what we may to put an artificial remoteness between the high creature and the low one! A poor man’s breath, borne on the vehicle of tobacco-smoke, floats into a palace-window and reaches the nostrils of a monarch. It is but an example, obvious to the sense, of the innumerable and secret channels by which, at every moment of our lives, the flow and reflux of a common humanity pervade us all. How superficial are the niceties of such as pretend to keep aloof!” – Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Outside Glimpses of English Poverty”

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Party time

November 27th, 2018 · No Comments

“In taking the place, over the centuries, of all the heterogeneous mediations of traditional society, the State ended up with the opposite of its aim, and ultimately fell prey to its own impossibility. That which wanted to concentrate the monopoly of the political ended up politicizing everything; all aspects of life had become political, not in themselves as singular entities, but precisely insofar as the State, by taking a position, had there too formed itself unto a party. Or how the State, in waging everywhere its war against civil war, above all propagated hostility toward itself.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War (emphasis in original)

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The party has decreed

November 26th, 2018 · No Comments

“There is an official history of the State in which the State seems to be the one and only actor, in which the advances of the state monopoly on the political are so many battles chalked up against an enemy who is invisible, imaginary, and precisely without history. And then there is a counter-history, written from the viewpoint of civil war, in which the stakes of all these ‘advancements,’ the dynamics of the modern State, can be glimpsed. This counter-history reveals a political monopoly that is constantly threatened by the recomposition of autonomous worlds, of non-state collectivities. Whenever the State left something to the ‘private’ sphere, to ‘civil society,’ whenever it declared something to be insignificant, non-political, it left just enough room for the free play of forms-of-life such that, from one moment to the next, the monopoly on the political appears to be in dispute. This is how the State is led, either slowly or in a violent gesture, to encompass the totality of social activity, to take charge of the totality of man’s existence.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War (emphases in original)

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Line ’em up

November 25th, 2018 · No Comments

“The sage in governing the people considers their springs of action, never tolerates their wicked desires, but seeks only for the people’s benefit. Therefore, the penalty he inflicts is not due to any hatred for the people but to his motive of loving the people. If penalty triumphs, the people are quiet; if reward over-flows, culprits appear. Therefore the triumph of penalty is the beginning of order; the overflow of reward, the origin of chaos. Indeed, it is the people’s nature to delight in disorder and detach themselves from legal restraints. Therefore, when the intelligent sovereign governs the state, if he makes rewards clear, the people will be encouraged to render meritorious services; if he makes penalties severe, the people will attach themselves to the law. If they are encouraged to render meritorious services, public affairs will not be obstructed; if they attach themselves to the law, culprits will not appear. Therefore, he who governs the people should nip the evil in the bud; he who commands troops, should inculcate warfare in the people’s mind. If prohibitions can uproot causes of villainy, there will always be order; if soldiers can imagine warfare in mind, there will always be victory. When the sage is governing the people, he attains order first, wherefore he is strong; he prepares for war first, wherefore he wins. Indeed, the administration of the state affairs requires the attention to the causes of human action so as to unify the people’s mental trends; the exclusive elevation of public welfare so as to stop self-seeking elements; the reward for denunciation of crime so as to suppress culprits; and finally the clarification of laws so as to facilitate governmental procedures. Whoever is able to apply these four measures, will become strong; whoever is unable to apply these four measures, will become weak.” – The Complete Works of Han Fei Tzu (trans. and ed. W. K. Liao)

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And in the end

November 24th, 2018 · No Comments

“With wisdom exhausted abroad and politics disordered at home, no state can be saved from ruin.” – The Complete Works of Han Fei Tzu (trans. and ed. W. K. Liao)

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Shock-haired bad boy

November 23rd, 2018 · No Comments

“Suppose there is a boy who has a bad character. His parents are angry at him, but he never makes any change. The villagers in the neighbourhood reprove him, but he is never thereby moved. His masters teach him, but he never reforms. Thus with all the three excellent disciplines, the love of his parents, the conduct of the villagers, and the wisdom of the masters, applied to him, he makes no change, not even a hair on his shins is altered. It is, however, only after the district-magistrate sends out soldiers in accordance with the law to search for wicked men that he becomes afraid and changes his ways and alters his deeds. So the love of parents is not sufficient to educate children. But if it is necessary to have the severe penalties of the district-magistrate come at all, it is because people are naturally spoiled by love and obedient to authority.” – The Complete Works of Han Fei Tzu (trans. and ed. W. K. Liao)

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Philosopher kings

November 22nd, 2018 · No Comments

“In the age of remote antiquity, human beings were few while birds and beasts were many. Mankind being unable to overcome birds, beasts, insects, and serpents, there appeared a sage who made nests by putting pieces of wood together to shelter people from harm. Thereat the people were so delighted that they made him ruler of All-under-Heaven and called him the Nest-Dweller. In those days the people lived on the fruits of trees and seeds of grass as well as mussels and clams, which smelt rank and fetid and hurt the digestive organs. As many of them were affected with diseases, there appeared a sage who twisted a drill to make fire which changed the fetid and musty smell. Thereat the people were so delighted that they made him ruler of All-under-Heaven.” – The Complete Works of Han Fei Tzu (trans. and ed. W. K. Liao)

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Faking the news

November 21st, 2018 · No Comments

“An unreal thing, if its existence is asserted by ten men, is still subject to doubt; if its existence is asserted by one hundred men, its reality becomes probable; and if its existence is asserted by one thousand men, it becomes undoubtable. Again, if spoken about by stammerers, it is susceptible to doubt; if spoken about by eloquent persons, it becomes believable.” – The Complete Works of Han Fei Tzu (trans. and ed. W. K. Liao)

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But who shall rule the ruler

November 20th, 2018 · No Comments

“What parents desire of children is safety and prosperity in livelihood and innocence in conduct. What the ruler requires of his subjects, however, is to demand their lives in case of emergency and exhaust their energy in time of peace. Now, parents, who love their children and wish them safety and prosperity, are not listened to; whereas the ruler, who neither loves nor benefits his subjects but demands their death and toil, can enforce his orders. As the enlightened sovereign knows this principle, he does not cultivate the feeling of favour and love, but extends his influence of authority and severity. Mothers love sons with deep love, but most of the sons are spoilt, for their love is over-extended; fathers show their sons less love and teach them with light bamboos, but most of the sons turn out well, for severity is applied.” – The Complete Works of Han Fei Tzu (trans. and ed. W. K. Liao)

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Slight of many hands

November 19th, 2018 · No Comments

“Imperialism and totalitarianism mark the two ways in which the modern State tried to leap beyond its own impossibility, first by slipping forward beyond its borders into colonial expansion, then by an intensive deepening of the penetration inside its own borders. In both cases, these desperate reactions from the State—which claimed to encompass everything just as it was becoming nothing—came to a head in the very forms of civil war the State claims preceded it.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War (emphases in original)

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Get in under the hood

November 18th, 2018 · No Comments

“In general, the principal way of government does not solely mean the justice of reward and punishment. Much less does it mean to reward men of no merit and punish innocent people. However, to reward men of merit, punish men of demerit, and make no mistake in so doing but affect such persons only, can neither increase men of merit nor eliminate men of demerit. For this reason, among the methods of suppressing villainy the best is to curb the mind, the next, the word, and the last, the work.” – The Complete Works of Han Fei Tzu (trans. and ed. W. K. Liao)

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There are no atheists in rehab

November 17th, 2018 · No Comments

“Those over whom their desires are victorious do not find it difficult to believe in the gods. Desires are true gods so long as they rule; they are proved to be false only when the unity of despotic reason has already supplanted them. It was the invention of morals that turned Olympus into a desert. Monotheism exists in man before it becomes a god outside him. Man serves one or several gods in himself before he projects his faith into the skies. Paganism and Christianity were first psychology before they were metaphysics. Paganism was at one and the same time the triumph of individualism and the belief that man cannot become other than he is.” – André Gide, “The Evolution of the Theater” (trans. Jackson Mathews)

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The unwatched watcher

November 16th, 2018 · No Comments

“The State that ‘wishes to govern just enough so that it can govern the least’ must in fact know everything, and it must develop a set of practices and technologies to do it. The police and publicity are the two agencies through which the liberal State gives transparency to the fundamental opacity of the population. Witness here the insidious way in which the liberal State will perfect the modern State, under the pretext of needing to penetrate everywhere in order to avoid being everywhere in actuality, that in order to leave its subjects alone it must know everything.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War (emphasis in original)

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Setting elements freely against one another

November 15th, 2018 · No Comments

“The liberal State is a frugal State, which claims to exist only to ensure the free play of individual liberties, and to this end it begins by extorting interests from each body, so that it can attach them to these bodies and reign peacefully across this new abstract world.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War

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The comedy of pomposity

November 14th, 2018 · No Comments

“There is something so essentially grotesque about gendarmes that I cannot help laughing at them; these upholders of the law always produce the same comic effect on me, and so do attorneys for the king, magistrates, and professors of literature.” – Gustave Flaubert, “Over Strand and Field” (trans. unknown)

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Just a tad

November 13th, 2018 · No Comments

“Man was made to enjoy each day only a small potion of food, colours, sounds, sentiments and ideas. Anything above the allotted quantity tires or intoxicates him; it becomes the idiocy of the drunkard or the ravings of the ecstatic.” – Gustave Flaubert, “Over Strand and Field” (trans. unknown)

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Powered up

November 12th, 2018 · No Comments

“At each moment of its existence, the police reminds the State of the violence, the banality, and the darkness of its beginnings.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War

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Running the tables

November 11th, 2018 · No Comments

“The police is that force that intervenes ‘wherever things are amiss,’ that is to say, wherever antagonism appears between forms-of-life—wherever there is a jump in political intensity. Using the arm of the police ostensibly to protect the ‘social fabric,’ while using another arm to destroy it, the State then offers itself as the existentially neutral mediator even in its own coercive excesses, as the pacified landscape for confrontation.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War (emphasis in original)

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