Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

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11

[...] the eerie is fundamentally tied up with questions of agency. What kind of agent is acting here? Is there an agent at all? These questions can be posed in a psychoanalytic register — if we are not who we think we are, what are we? — but they also apply to the forces governing capitalist society. Capital is at every level an eerie entity: conjured out of nothing, capital nevertheless exerts more influence than any allegedly substantial entity.

—p.11 Introduction (8) by Mark Fisher 11 months, 2 weeks ago

[...] the eerie is fundamentally tied up with questions of agency. What kind of agent is acting here? Is there an agent at all? These questions can be posed in a psychoanalytic register — if we are not who we think we are, what are we? — but they also apply to the forces governing capitalist society. Capital is at every level an eerie entity: conjured out of nothing, capital nevertheless exerts more influence than any allegedly substantial entity.

—p.11 Introduction (8) by Mark Fisher 11 months, 2 weeks ago
15

What is the weird? When we say something is weird, what kind of feeling are we pointing to? I want to argue that the weird is a particular kind of perturbation. It involves a sensation of wrongness: a weird entity or object is so strange that it makes us feel that it should not exist, or at least it should not exist here. Yet if the entity or object is here, then the categories which we have up until now used to make sense of the world cannot be valid. The weird thing is not wrong, after all: it is our conceptions that must be inadequate.

—p.15 The Weird (14) by Mark Fisher 11 months, 2 weeks ago

What is the weird? When we say something is weird, what kind of feeling are we pointing to? I want to argue that the weird is a particular kind of perturbation. It involves a sensation of wrongness: a weird entity or object is so strange that it makes us feel that it should not exist, or at least it should not exist here. Yet if the entity or object is here, then the categories which we have up until now used to make sense of the world cannot be valid. The weird thing is not wrong, after all: it is our conceptions that must be inadequate.

—p.15 The Weird (14) by Mark Fisher 11 months, 2 weeks ago
28

The centrality of doors, thresholds and portals means that the notion of the between is crucial to the weird. It is clear that if Wells’ story had taken place only in the garden behind the wall, then no weird charge would have been produced. (This is why a feeling of the weird attaches to the lamppost at the edge of Narnia in C.S. Lewis’ stories, but not to Narnia proper.) If the story were set entirely beyond the door, we would be in the realm of the fantasy genre. This mode of fantasy naturalises other worlds. But the weird de-naturalises all worlds, by exposing their instability, their openness to the outside.

—p.28 The Weird (14) by Mark Fisher 11 months, 2 weeks ago

The centrality of doors, thresholds and portals means that the notion of the between is crucial to the weird. It is clear that if Wells’ story had taken place only in the garden behind the wall, then no weird charge would have been produced. (This is why a feeling of the weird attaches to the lamppost at the edge of Narnia in C.S. Lewis’ stories, but not to Narnia proper.) If the story were set entirely beyond the door, we would be in the realm of the fantasy genre. This mode of fantasy naturalises other worlds. But the weird de-naturalises all worlds, by exposing their instability, their openness to the outside.

—p.28 The Weird (14) by Mark Fisher 11 months, 2 weeks ago
50

precisely given what Jameson calls the “cabbage stink” of naturalism:

The misery of happiness, […] of Marcuse’s false happiness, the gratifications of the new car, the TV dinner and your favourite programme on the sofa — which are now themselves secretly a misery, an unhappiness that doesn’t know its name, that has no way of telling itself apart from genuine satisfaction and fulfilment since it has presumably never encountered this last.

In this lukewarm world, ambient discontent hides in plain view, a hazy malaise given off by the refrigerators, television sets and other consumer durables. The vividness and plausibility of this miserable world — with misery itself contributing to the world’s plausibility — somehow becomes all the more intense when its status is downgraded to that of a constructed simulation. The world is a simulation but it still feels real.

on philip k dick. quote relevant for mr & mrs smith? maybe i need to read marcuse first

—p.50 The Weird (14) by Mark Fisher 11 months, 2 weeks ago

precisely given what Jameson calls the “cabbage stink” of naturalism:

The misery of happiness, […] of Marcuse’s false happiness, the gratifications of the new car, the TV dinner and your favourite programme on the sofa — which are now themselves secretly a misery, an unhappiness that doesn’t know its name, that has no way of telling itself apart from genuine satisfaction and fulfilment since it has presumably never encountered this last.

In this lukewarm world, ambient discontent hides in plain view, a hazy malaise given off by the refrigerators, television sets and other consumer durables. The vividness and plausibility of this miserable world — with misery itself contributing to the world’s plausibility — somehow becomes all the more intense when its status is downgraded to that of a constructed simulation. The world is a simulation but it still feels real.

on philip k dick. quote relevant for mr & mrs smith? maybe i need to read marcuse first

—p.50 The Weird (14) by Mark Fisher 11 months, 2 weeks ago
58

With Inland Empire, world-haemorrhaging has become so acute that we can no longer talk about tangled hierarchies but a terrain subject to chronic ontological subsidence. [...]

wow

—p.58 The Weird (14) by Mark Fisher 11 months, 2 weeks ago

With Inland Empire, world-haemorrhaging has become so acute that we can no longer talk about tangled hierarchies but a terrain subject to chronic ontological subsidence. [...]

wow

—p.58 The Weird (14) by Mark Fisher 11 months, 2 weeks ago
64

We are now in a position to answer the question of why it is important to think about the eerie. Since the eerie turns crucially on the problem of agency, it is about the forces that govern our lives and the world. It should be especially clear to those of us in a globally tele-connected capitalist world that those forces are not fully available to our sensory apprehension. A force like capital does not exist in any substantial sense, yet it is capable of producing practically any kind of effect. At another level, had not Freud long ago shown that the forces that govern our psyche can be conceived of as failures of presence — is not the unconscious itself not just such a failure of presence? — and failures of absence (the various drives or compulsions that intercede where our free will should be)?

—p.64 The Eerie (60) by Mark Fisher 11 months, 2 weeks ago

We are now in a position to answer the question of why it is important to think about the eerie. Since the eerie turns crucially on the problem of agency, it is about the forces that govern our lives and the world. It should be especially clear to those of us in a globally tele-connected capitalist world that those forces are not fully available to our sensory apprehension. A force like capital does not exist in any substantial sense, yet it is capable of producing practically any kind of effect. At another level, had not Freud long ago shown that the forces that govern our psyche can be conceived of as failures of presence — is not the unconscious itself not just such a failure of presence? — and failures of absence (the various drives or compulsions that intercede where our free will should be)?

—p.64 The Eerie (60) by Mark Fisher 11 months, 2 weeks ago
66

The story’s unsettling power depends on two levels of threat: the first, of course, is the brute physical terror of the birds’ attack. But it is the second level that takes us into the eerie. As the story develops, we see residual wartime certainties and authority structures disintegrate. What the birds threaten is the very structures of explanation that had previously made sense of the world. Initially, the preferred account of the birds’ behaviour is the weather. As the attacks intensify, other narratives emerge: the farmer for whom Hocken works says that the idea is circulating in town that the Russians poisoned the birds. (This turn to the readymade explanations of Cold War paranoia makes a certain sense, when we remember that the birds have set aside their differences in order to develop a kind of species consciousness, analogous to class consciousness.) BBC radio broadcasts assume a crucial role in the story. Initially, the broadcasts are the trusted voice of authority: when the BBC announces that the birds are amassing everywhere, the anomalous situation achieves a kind of official validation. At this point, the BBC is synonymous with an authority structure that it is assumed will “do something” to repel the birds’ attack. But, as the broadcasts become increasingly infrequent, it becomes clear that there is no more a strategy to deal with the birds than there is an adequate explanation of their behaviour. By the end, the BBC is no longer broadcasting at all, and its silence means that we are definitively in the space of the eerie. There will be no explanation, for the characters or for the readers. Nor will there be any reprieve: at the end of the story, the birds’ siege shows no signs of concluding.

George Romero's 1968 Night of hte Living Dead

—p.66 The Eerie (60) by Mark Fisher 11 months, 2 weeks ago

The story’s unsettling power depends on two levels of threat: the first, of course, is the brute physical terror of the birds’ attack. But it is the second level that takes us into the eerie. As the story develops, we see residual wartime certainties and authority structures disintegrate. What the birds threaten is the very structures of explanation that had previously made sense of the world. Initially, the preferred account of the birds’ behaviour is the weather. As the attacks intensify, other narratives emerge: the farmer for whom Hocken works says that the idea is circulating in town that the Russians poisoned the birds. (This turn to the readymade explanations of Cold War paranoia makes a certain sense, when we remember that the birds have set aside their differences in order to develop a kind of species consciousness, analogous to class consciousness.) BBC radio broadcasts assume a crucial role in the story. Initially, the broadcasts are the trusted voice of authority: when the BBC announces that the birds are amassing everywhere, the anomalous situation achieves a kind of official validation. At this point, the BBC is synonymous with an authority structure that it is assumed will “do something” to repel the birds’ attack. But, as the broadcasts become increasingly infrequent, it becomes clear that there is no more a strategy to deal with the birds than there is an adequate explanation of their behaviour. By the end, the BBC is no longer broadcasting at all, and its silence means that we are definitively in the space of the eerie. There will be no explanation, for the characters or for the readers. Nor will there be any reprieve: at the end of the story, the birds’ siege shows no signs of concluding.

George Romero's 1968 Night of hte Living Dead

—p.66 The Eerie (60) by Mark Fisher 11 months, 2 weeks ago
109

The eeriness of the relationship between body and mind was the subject of Andy de Emmony’s 2010 BBC adaptation of M.R. James’ “Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad” , which was discussed in an earlier chapter. In this radically reworked version of the story, Parkin is tormented by the dementia that has reduced his wife to a catatonic shell: “a body that has outlasted the existence of the personality: more horrifying than any spook or ghoul”. “There is nothing inside us” , the Parkin in this version mordantly declares. “There are no ghosts in these machines. Man is matter, and matter rots.” Yet Parkin’s own statement establishes that there are ghosts in the machine, that a certain kind of spectrality is intrinsic to the speaking subject. After all, who is it who can talk of having no inside, of man being rotting matter? Not any substantial subject perhaps, but the subject who speaks, the subject, that is to say, composed out of the undead, discorporate stuff of language. In the very act of announcing its own nullity, the subject does not so much engage in performative contradiction, but points to an ineradicable dualism that results from subjectivity itself. The condition of materialists such as Parkin (our condition in other words) is of knowing that all subjectivity is reducible to matter, that no subjectivity can survive the death of the body, but of nevertheless being unable to experience oneself as mere matter. Once the body is recognised as the substrate-precondition of experience, then one is immediately compelled to accept this phenomenological dualism, precisely because experience and its substrate can be separated. There are ghosts in the machine, and we are they, and they are we.

love this

—p.109 The Eerie (60) by Mark Fisher 11 months, 2 weeks ago

The eeriness of the relationship between body and mind was the subject of Andy de Emmony’s 2010 BBC adaptation of M.R. James’ “Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad” , which was discussed in an earlier chapter. In this radically reworked version of the story, Parkin is tormented by the dementia that has reduced his wife to a catatonic shell: “a body that has outlasted the existence of the personality: more horrifying than any spook or ghoul”. “There is nothing inside us” , the Parkin in this version mordantly declares. “There are no ghosts in these machines. Man is matter, and matter rots.” Yet Parkin’s own statement establishes that there are ghosts in the machine, that a certain kind of spectrality is intrinsic to the speaking subject. After all, who is it who can talk of having no inside, of man being rotting matter? Not any substantial subject perhaps, but the subject who speaks, the subject, that is to say, composed out of the undead, discorporate stuff of language. In the very act of announcing its own nullity, the subject does not so much engage in performative contradiction, but points to an ineradicable dualism that results from subjectivity itself. The condition of materialists such as Parkin (our condition in other words) is of knowing that all subjectivity is reducible to matter, that no subjectivity can survive the death of the body, but of nevertheless being unable to experience oneself as mere matter. Once the body is recognised as the substrate-precondition of experience, then one is immediately compelled to accept this phenomenological dualism, precisely because experience and its substrate can be separated. There are ghosts in the machine, and we are they, and they are we.

love this

—p.109 The Eerie (60) by Mark Fisher 11 months, 2 weeks ago