The Art of Tetman Callis

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

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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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Divided and conquered

November 10th, 2018 · No Comments

“The inability of the State’s juridico-formal offensive to reduce civil war is not a marginal detail rooted in the fact that there is always a pleb to pacify, but appears centrally in the pacification procedure itself. Organizations modeled after the State characterize as ‘formless’ that which within them derives in fact from the play of forms-of-life. In the modern State, this irreducibility is attested to by the infinite extension of the police, that is to say, of all that bears the inadmissable burden of realizing the conditions of possibility of a state order as vast as it is unworkable.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War

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So don’t

November 9th, 2018 · No Comments

“If you let one demon in the front door, he will let all of his friends in the back door.” – Patrick Glenn Jeffries, “A Mother’s Earth”

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Try it and see what happens

November 8th, 2018 · No Comments

“To be truly hospitable you don’t ask someone if they’re thirsty or hungry—you offer them food, you offer them drink. They will not turn down what you put in front of them if they’re hungry and thirsty.” – Patrick Glenn Jeffries, “A Mother’s Earth”

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No more and no less

November 7th, 2018 · No Comments

“Always look a man in his eyes. Even when you are afraid of him. After a while you will see he is only a man.” – Patrick Glenn Jeffries, “A Mother’s Earth”

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And carry a big stick

November 6th, 2018 · No Comments

“Never talk tough before a fight. Losing a fight is one thing. Looking foolish and losing a fight is another.” – Patrick Glenn Jeffries, “A Mother’s Earth”

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Taking care of business

November 5th, 2018 · No Comments

“If in doing any kind of work people look after the harmony of the positive and negative factors; if in planting trees they follow the suitable periods of the four seasons; and if at dawn and at dusk there is no suffering from cold or heat; then revenue will be enormous. If important duties are not obstructed by small profits; if public welfare is not injured by private interest; if men exert their strength to tillage; and if women devote their energies to weaving; then revenue will be enormous. If the methods of animal husbandry are improved, the qualities of the soil are examined, the six animals flourish, and the five cereals abound, then revenue will be enormous. If weights and measures are made clear; if topographical features are carefully surveyed; and if through the utilization of boats, carts, and other mechanical devices, the minimum amount of energy is used to produce the maximum amount of efficiency; then revenue will be enormous. If traffic on markets, cities, passes, and bridges is facilitated, so that needy places are supplied with sufficient commodities; if merchants from abroad flock to the country and foreign goods and money come in; if any unnecessary expenditure is cut down, extravagant clothing and food are saved, houses and furniture are all limited to necessities, and amusements and recreations are never over-emphasized; then revenue will be enormous. In these cases, the increase in revenue is due to human effort. Granted that natural events, winds, rain, seasons, cold, and heat are normal and the territory remains the same, then if the people can reap the fruits of the abundant year, then revenue will be enormous too.” – The Complete Works of Han Fei Tzu (trans. and ed. W. K. Liao)

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The equivalences

November 4th, 2018 · No Comments

“Punishments equivalent to crimes are never too many; punishments not equivalent to crimes are never too few.” – The Complete Works of Han Fei Tzu (trans. and ed. W. K. Liao)

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An ancient dilemma

November 3rd, 2018 · No Comments

“Once there was a man of Ch`u selling shields and halberds. In praising his shields he said, ‘My shields are so solid that nothing can penetrate them.’ Again, in praising his halberds, he said, ‘My halberds are so sharp that they can penetrate anything.’ In response to his words somebody asked, ‘How about using your halberds to pierce through your shields?’ To this the man could not give any reply.” – The Complete Works of Han Fei Tzu (trans. and ed. W. K. Liao)

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Hence the emoluments clause

November 2nd, 2018 · No Comments

“Kung-yi Hsiu, Premier of Lu, was fond of fish. Therefore, people in the whole country contentiously bought fish, which they presented to him. However, Kung-yi Tzŭ would not accept the presents. Against such a step his younger brother remonstrated with him and said: ‘You like fish, indeed. Why don’t you accept the present of fish?’ In reply he said: ‘It is solely because I like fish that I would not accept the fish they gave me. Indeed, if I accept the fish, I will be placed under an obligation to them. Once placed under an obligation to them, I will sometime have to bend the law. If I bend the law, I will be dismissed from the premiership. After being dismissed from the premiership, I might not be able to supply myself with fish. On the contrary, if I do not accept the fish from them and am not dismissed the premiership, however fond of fish, I can always supply myself with fish.’ “ – The Complete Works of Han Fei Tzu (trans. and ed. W. K. Liao)

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The ruler can have no friends

November 1st, 2018 · No Comments

“Order and strength are due to the law; weakness and disorder, to its crookedness. If the ruler understands this principle, he must rectify reward and punishment but never assume humanity towards his inferiors. Rank and emolument are due to meritorious services; censure and punishment, to criminal offences.” – The Complete Works of Han Fei Tzu (trans. and ed. W. K. Liao)

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What is it good for

October 31st, 2018 · No Comments

“What is primitive society? It is a multiplicity of undivided communities which all obey the same centrifugal logic. What institution at once expresses and guarantees the permanence of this logic? It is war, as the truth of relations between communities, as the principal sociological means of promoting the centrifugal force of dispersion against the centripetal force of unification. The war machine is the motor of the social machine; the primitive social being relies entirely on war, primitive society cannot survive without war. The more war there is, the less unification there is, and the best enemy of the State is war. Primitive society is society against the State in that it is society-for-war.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War

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What is what

October 30th, 2018 · No Comments

“Are hardness and whiteness two distinct qualities in objective existence or are they the same thing perceived by different senses? If neither the hands nor the eyes can solve this problem, who can solve it?” – The Complete Works of Han Fei Tzu (trans. and ed. W. K. Liao)

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It’s logical

October 29th, 2018 · No Comments

1. ‘The white horse is not the horse’—true.
2. ‘A white horse is not a horse’—false.
3. ‘The white horse is not a horse’—false.
4. ‘A white horse is not the horse’—true.

The Complete Works of Han Fei Tzu (trans. and ed. W. K. Liao; emphases in original)

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Easily delineated, our fears

October 28th, 2018 · No Comments

“Once upon a time there was a traveller drawing for the King of Ch`i. ‘What is the hardest thing to draw?’ asked the King. ‘Dogs and horses are the hardest.’ ‘Then what is the easiest?’ ‘Devils and demons are the easiest. Indeed, dogs and horses are what people know and see at dawn and dusk in front of them. To draw them no distortion is permissible. Therefore they are the hardest. On the contrary, devils and demons have no shapes and are not seen in front of anybody, therefore it is easy to draw them.’ “ – The Complete Works of Han Fei Tzu (trans. and ed. W. K. Liao)

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Cart before the horse

October 27th, 2018 · No Comments

“Once there were men of Chêng contending for seniority in age. One man said, ‘My age is the same as Yao’s.’ Another man said, ‘I am as old as the elder brother of the Yellow Emperor.’ They brought the dispute to the court, but the judge could not make any decision. Finally he ruled that the one who was the last to stop arguing won the case.” – The Complete Works of Han Fei Tzu (trans. and ed. W. K. Liao)

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Mulling it over

October 26th, 2018 · No Comments

“When one experiences thought in its barest form, the interval between a question and its answer can sometimes span centuries.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War

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The tie that binds

October 25th, 2018 · No Comments

“The State found it in its political interest to overturn, during the last few decades of the seventeenth century, the traditional ethics, to elevate avarice, the economic passion, from the rank of private vice to that of social virtue.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War (emphases in original)

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Drink up and listen up

October 24th, 2018 · No Comments

“Drugged wine and useful advice are what wise men and enlightened sovereigns ought to appreciate in particular.” – The Complete Works of Han Fei Tzu (trans. and ed. W. K. Liao)

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And other misfortunes

October 23rd, 2018 · No Comments

“If the sovereign does not allow the humble to criticize the noble and the inferior to denounce the superior, but always expects the powers of high and low to balance, then ministers on equal footing will dare to conspire with each other. In so doing he will increase the number of delusive and deceitful officials.” – The Complete Works of Han Fei Tzu (trans. and ed. W. K. Liao)

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Anti-trust

October 22nd, 2018 · No Comments

“The State claims to assume the monopoly of the political, of which the well-known expression ‘monopoly on legitimate violence’ is merely the most vulgar indication. For the monopolization of the political requires the degradation of the differentiated unity of a world into a nation, then to degrade this nation into a population and a territory. It requires the disintegration of the entire organic unity of traditional societies in order to then submit the remaining fragments to a principle of organization.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War (emphases in original)

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And so it is

October 21st, 2018 · No Comments

“If laws are distinct and clear, the worthy cannot over-run the unworthy, the strong cannot outrage the weak, and the many cannot violate the few.” – The Complete Works of Han Fei Tzu (trans. and ed. W. K. Liao)

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Tyrants in private, dictators in the dark

October 20th, 2018 · No Comments

“The founding act of the modern State—that is, not the first act but the one it repeats over and over—is the institution of the fictitious split between public and private, between political and moral.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War

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Mandelbrot politics

October 19th, 2018 · No Comments

“The essential function of the representation each society gives of itself is to influence the way in which each body is represented to itself, and through this to influence the structure of the psyche. The modern State is therefore first of all the constitution of each body into a molecular State, imbued with bodily integrity by way of territorial integrity, molded into a closed entity within a self, as much in opposition to the ‘exterior world’ as to the tumultuous associations of its own penchants—which it must contain—and in the end required to comport itself with its peers as a good law-abiding subject, to be dealt with, along with other bodies, according to the universal proviso of a sort of private international law of ‘civilized’ habits. In this way, the more societies constitute themselves in States, the more their subjects embody the economy.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War (emphasis in original)

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Depends on you point of view

October 18th, 2018 · No Comments

“One who knows others is clever, but one who knows himself is enlightened. One who conquers others is powerful, but one who conquers himself is mighty.” – Lao Tzu, “The Virtue of Discrimination” (quoted in The Complete Works of Han Fei Tzu, trans. and ed. W. K. Liao)

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Hemmed in

October 17th, 2018 · No Comments

“The modern State means, among other things, a progressively increasing monopoly on legitimate violence, a process whereby all other forms of violence are delegitimized. The modern State serves the general process of pacification which, since the end of the Middle Ages, only persists through its continuous intensification. It is not simply that during this evolution it always more drastically hinders the free play of forms-of-life, but rather that it works assiduously to break them, to tear them up, to extract bare life from them, an extraction that is always the very activity of ‘civilization.’ In order to become a political subject in the modern State, each body must submit to the machinery that will make it such: it must begin by casting aside its passions (now inappropriate), its tastes (now laughable), its penchants (now contingent), endowing itself instead with interests, which are much more presentable and, even better, representable. In this way, in order to become a political subject each body must first carry out its own autocastration as an economic subject. Ideally, the political subject will thus be reduced to nothing more than a pure vote, a pure voice.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War (emphases in original)

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Step by step

October 16th, 2018 · No Comments

“The compassionate mother, regarding her infant child, always strives to establish the child’s well-being. If she strives to establish the child’s well-being, she will endeavour to rid the child of calamities. If she endeavours to rid the child of calamities, her reflection and consideration become thorough. If her reflection and consideration are thorough, she will attain the principles of affairs. If she attains the principles of affairs, she will certainly accomplish her purposes. If she is certain of accomplishing her purposes, she will not hesitate in her action. To make no hesitation is called ‘bravery’.” – The Complete Works of Han Fei Tzu (trans. and ed. W. K. Liao)

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Maxed out

October 15th, 2018 · No Comments

“No greater crime than submitting to desire. No greater misery than not knowing sufficiency. No greater fault than avarice. Therefore, who knows sufficiency’s sufficiency is always sufficient.” – Lao Tzu, “Moderation of Desire” (quoted in The Complete Works of Han Fei Tzu, trans. and ed. W. K. Liao)

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Add only a dash of salt

October 14th, 2018 · No Comments

“Govern a big country as you would fry small fish: neither gut nor scale them.” – Lao Tzu, “How to Be in Office” (quoted in The Complete Works of Han Fei Tzu, trans. and ed. W. K. Liao)

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No muzzle-loaders left

October 13th, 2018 · No Comments

“Those who do not know the right way to political order, always say, ‘Never change ancient traditions, never remove existing institutions.’ Change or no change, the sage does not mind. For he aims only at the rectification of government. Whether or not ancient traditions should be changed, whether or not existing institutions should be removed, all depends upon the question whether or not such traditions and such institutions are still useful for present-day political purposes.” – The Complete Works of Han Fei Tzu (trans. and ed. W. K. Liao)

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