Mark Greif

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Notes From an Occupation

Notes From an Occupation

It was kind of nice to be at a protest and, instead of marching and shouting, to be talking about ideas. It felt like the script had changed, and that was a revelation.

It was kind of nice to be at a protest and, instead of marching and shouting, to be talking about ideas. It felt like the script had changed, and that was a revelation. As 7 PM approached, my friends and I left thinking the cops would clear everyone out in no time. When they made it through the night I began to give them more credit, so I dropped off a bunch of blankets and provisions later that evening.

Cavell as Educator

Cavell as Educator

July 5, 2011

Nearly every great philosopher in the era of the university has said somewhere that there is no such thing as education in schools. Nearly every one of these, too, taught or lectured (Nietzsche, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, James, Arendt), or was entangled as far as to have learned from a university, in its lecture halls and library, what philosophy would be.

Octomom, One Year Later

Octomom, One Year Later

The octuplets were supposed to be a distraction: an oasis in the midst of the day’s gloomy news of AIG perfidy, mortgage defaults, bank closures, toxic assets, and spiking unemployment. Instead, the camera teams that camped on the lawn of the nice one-story house in Whittier, California, in the glitter of LA winter, got a living metaphor for the crisis.

On Food

On Food

One of the main features of our moment in history, in anything that affects the state of the body (though, importantly, not the life of the mind), is that we prefer optimization to simplicity. We are afraid of dying, and reluctant to miss any physical improvement. I don’t want to die. But I am caught between that negative desire and the wish for freedom from control. I think we barely notice how much these tricks of care take up of our thinking, and what domination they exert.

Afternoon of the Sex Children

Afternoon of the Sex Children

The lure of a permanent childhood in America partly comes from the overwhelming feeling that one hasn’t yet achieved one’s true youth, because true youth would be defined by freedom so total that no one can attain it. Presumably even the spring-break kids, rutting, tanning, boozing with abandon, know there is a more perfect spring break beyond the horizon. Without a powerful aspiration to become adult, without some separate value that downplays childhood for sharper freedoms in age and maturity, the feeling of dissatisfaction can proceed indefinitely, in the midst of marriage, child rearing, retirement, unto death.