April 7. Power.

Power. That is my subject. A theory of power. To start off, let’s reflect on authority a little. I wrote an accepted PhD, yet you will not be accepting my authority here, as you will in the case of Heidegger, or Jesus. Why not? We leave that question open. Everybody knows what power is, and in stating this knowledge he is exerting his power. There is no perspective from beyond power. It seems that something is lost. I long for a philosophical discussion that doesn’t have its outcome fixed beforehand. Because my experience of those discussions is that people don’t intend to learn from it (most delicately: learn something about the concept of power itself) but just need to throw the gems and the mud of their knowledge at each other. I will never participate in those discussions again. I’m sick of it. But rather than becoming misanthropically silenced I want to imagine how such a philosophical exchange would function. Perhaps Plato did have the same desire?

They gather at a beautiful spot with a magnificent view over the city. The fig trees throw a cool shadow and they all sat underneath the trees, smiling and glooming with curiosity about the philosophical inquiry that they were about to pursue. The sun stood low and they gaze at the reflections of the sunrays on the subtly moving fig leaves. They share a bottle of red wine. After telling each other some jokes and laughing loudly, after the echo of their laugh had died away slowly, Sara says
“I think power is something relational.”
-“Relatinonal? A relation between what?” Trasymachus says.
“Between forces. Between a weak force and a strong force. Power can only exist as actual power. This is the most elemental level of description. What I am saying is that we can analyse the world of physics or social structures in terms of forces that relate to each other. To some extent, these forces are powers themselves, but at a certin point, they are relations between potential forces that are not a power in their own right.”
-“So to distinguish between a power and a force we have to look at our interpretation of the world” Trasymachus says.
“I think so. But from our subjective impossibility of interpreting the world in a certain way we can argue that the world is in a certain way.”
-“Yes we can” Trasymachus says, and he is aware of the origin of this quotation because he starts laughing in a smooth, rhythmical way.
“That said, we can investigate the nature of power. I want to give an example. We can interprete a slave and his owner. The slave has the force of his muscles that is also a power. A power that prevents him from being killed. But a power that yields to the power of his owner. So, on the highest level of interpretation, the slave-owner has all the power. This power is the actual result of a complex structure of micro-powers.”
-“Everybody knows that” Leucippus murmurs.
“Yes, but we are not after the common interpretation of slavery. We want to know something about the nature of power as such.”
-“Continue” Trasymachus says while rolling the wine in his glass.
“So the micro-powers are interpretable as powers until a certain level. The muscular power of the slave is itself a complex structure of power. But if take that into account we go too far.”
-“Why?”
“Because those powers are not structured around a compatible center. This is the limit of interpretation.”
-“So the forces of any of the antagonist muscles of the slave are not powers with respect to the slave-owner?”
“Right. Because they cannot relate to him directly.”
-“Tomorrow, we are going to think of a way to express that more clearly” Trasymachus says.
“Thank you.”
They leave the scene and Leucippus starts talking about the stars he sees in the sky. His voice is calm.

I walked around through the center of Asuncion, took pictures of the important buildings. The governmental palace that was a “belleza” according to our rather conservative old señora. The two main squares of the city were well-kept. The beautiful riverbed with the slums alongside. I wanted to enter the slums. A policeman told me it was not allowed and I turned around. Tourists are not welcome in the slums. But I wanted to go in. So I walked alongside the slums and spoke to a man. He introduced himself as Rodolpho and said he could show me the slums. We went in. I saw what I had expected to see: dirt, pigs walking around, kids, hen, dogs, tires, housing made of old concrete, rusty metal, crates, red earth, mud, bad teeth. A crazy woman kept yelling I was not supposed to be here and she’d llamar la policia. Rodolpho and I ignored her. I took some photos of the slum and was introduced to Rodolpho’s friends. He told me they were saving money for a football. They had been saving money for quite a while now. I said “come on, let’s go buy that football”. He put on a shirt and we went into town. We found a football for 70.000 Guarani, about 12 dollar. We went back and played foot-volley. I was really bad at it. After a while, the younger kids took over and I watched the five year old Camilo smiling as he bounced the big football. A straight intravenous shot of happiness.

At night, I went out with the guys to a bar called Britannica. It was the only real bar in the center of Asuncion, run by a big German guy who stood there and watched his accomplishment. They hit on girls. They did not come home until early in the morning. Vidro had to climb in through the narrow window above the door of our room since they had taken the keys. Later, Sandro would give us a far too vivid description of his nocturnal escapades.

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March 27.

Power and thinking. Again, I am going to tell you something from my authority as a writer of an accepted phd. To many ears it will sound like bullshit. To some ears it will be obvious. To your ears it will be like music. I am not going to tell you about the power of thinking. Run to your nearest bookstore and get hold of a copy of any life-help book if that’s what you’re looking for. I want to express something about the intrinsic relation between power and thinking. This reflection does not start with a rational argument, but with a feeling. I feel thinking is a way of exerting power. Now rationality has to justify this claim. I have to formulate a theory that sounds plausible to persuade my readers to believe me. Not you, you are already believing me.
So, let’s do a bit of theory then. The first step is to formulate the claim in a “claire et distincte” way. The act of thinking is always also an act of exerting power. Exerting power is suppressing something. We think something, a certain proposition. But thinking it is more than reading it in your head. Thinking for example “there are universal values” is more than reading this sentence. To the question of what exactly it is more, I offer the hypothetical answer: the suppression of the opposite. A suppression not by arguments but by the very fact that you are thinking that particular proposition. Thinking is thus formulating rationally supportable claims in your head and exerting power by suppressing beyond rationality the opposite. So I do not believe in pure rationality. I believe if the claims we think can be proved the way mathematical theorems can be proved, we are not thinking them anymore. We would be essentially doing the same thing as big computers that are capable of proving those theorems. I call the surplus of human thinking exerting power because I don’t have a better name for it. So, rather then proving our claims, we are approving of them. Compare “I think 5+7=12” to “I think Freud was right.” The first case can hardly be called thinking, whereas in the second case, we are unable to provide all the arguments. Nevertheless, we are expressing the claim. Hence, we must be exerting some form of power. What exactly this power is that we exert, remains the question.

Let’s demonstrate this right away. I thought for example that our being has become plural since we use phones. I are sitting in my chair waiting for a call and talking to you. I are receiving that call while I try to signal you by nodding my head that I will talk on the phone for no more than ten minutes. I are sorry for that. Now here’s something I thought. You probably say “he, this is weird” and you think of an argument against it. It is one person after all, doing several things simultaneously. But my claim is exactly that the person is in the process of being decomposed by the pluripotence of his digital surrounding. You answer to that with some bonmot, and we might have a beautiful discussion about it. In that discussion we are exerting power. We are eventually alone as ambassadors of our own concept of what a person is. We are ambassadors: we don’t wage war, but we do exert power.

The movie “dazzle” by the acclaimed Dutch avant garde director Cyrus Frisch was not bad. He had gone through a process of trial and error as he called it, to arrive at a wonderful blend of imagery – and a lot of black screens. The movie is about the relation between Argentina and Holland and was made because of princess Maxima of course, and her father who served in the Videla regime. The concept of guilt was elaborated in an interesting way. I can recommend this movie.

The problems of Argentina. I like to illustrate them by means of yet another short anecdote. I walked about the Abato shopping mall, where the movie theatre is, and entered an electronic store. I asked an employee if they had macho a macho USB plugs. A cable you can plug in your computer and into another computer with an USB-slot to exchange date. But she said they were not available and she didn’t know if they exist. There are a lot of USB cables that connect to all different kind of plugs and slots. But not macho a macho. That’s the problem with Argentina. There are no macho a macho plugs.

There are big insects here.

Today, I feel a little bit lonely and I decide to put up an ad for myself here.

“young unsuccessful writer, 30 is looking for

a devilishly smart open-minded crazy young woman


to travel together and to live an adventurous life with me
I can take care of all the expenses and I am perfectly healthy I had my blood values tested last year and I am vaccinated against hepatitis a and b, typhus, cholera, tetanus, smallpox, measles and people that take life too seriously as for my fecundity, I never tested it but I have no reason to have doubts about it please write to: kamielverwer@hotmail.com and put the secret word “mitafora” in the title of your mail as well as its romantic Latin anagram.”

We went out and watched some tango. There was a band with a violin player that played pretty well. After the concert I walked into the violin player and asked him hey can I play I miss the feel of a violin’s neck sure he said he said you can play wow as I started improvising away to the tango rhythm that was playing in the background good and o how I liked it the feel of an instrument

That night I did not dream about an old lady who was observing me and as soon as I looked back she pointed at me with her stick and yells I am guilty. Of what I stammer of what am I guilty? She keeps pointing and looking at me with this big hazy eyes she points the tip of the grey metal stick towards my chest I feel my heart beating she won’t stop staring at me she is staring at me from my conscious. I start thinking that I am guilty of being pointed at and I start apologizing, yammering and creeping on the floor. She has a lot of power, that old lady.

March 27.

Power and thinking. Again, I am going to tell you something from my authority as a writer of an accepted phd. To many ears it will sound like bullshit. To some ears it will be obvious. To your ears it will be like music. I am not going to tell you about the power of thinking. Run to your nearest bookstore and get hold of a copy of any life-help book if that’s what you’re looking for. I want to express something about the intrinsic relation between power and thinking. This reflection does not start with a rational argument, but with a feeling. I feel thinking is a way of exerting power. Now rationality has to justify this claim. I have to formulate a theory that sounds plausible to persuade my readers to believe me. Not you, you are already believing me.
So, let’s do a bit of theory then. The first step is to formulate the claim in a “claire et distincte” way. The act of thinking is always also an act of exerting power. Exerting power is suppressing something. We think something, a certain proposition. But thinking it is more than reading it in your head. Thinking for example “there are universal values” is more than reading this sentence. To the question of what exactly it is more, I offer the hypothetical answer: the suppression of the opposite. A suppression not by arguments but by the very fact that you are thinking that particular proposition. Thinking is thus formulating rationally supportable claims in your head and exerting power by suppressing beyond rationality the opposite. So I do not believe in pure rationality. I believe if the claims we think can be proved the way mathematical theorems can be proved, we are not thinking them anymore. We would be essentially doing the same thing as big computers that are capable of proving those theorems. I call the surplus of human thinking exerting power because I don’t have a better name for it. So, rather then proving our claims, we are approving of them. Compare “I think 5+7=12” to “I think Freud was right.” The first case can hardly be called thinking, whereas in the second case, we are unable to provide all the arguments. Nevertheless, we are expressing the claim. Hence, we must be exerting some form of power. What exactly this power is that we exert, remains the question.

Let’s demonstrate this right away. I thought for example that our being has become plural since we use phones. I are sitting in my chair waiting for a call and talking to you. I are receiving that call while I try to signal you by nodding my head that I will talk on the phone for no more than ten minutes. I are sorry for that. Now here’s something I thought. You probably say “he, this is weird” and you think of an argument against it. It is one person after all, doing several things simultaneously. But my claim is exactly that the person is in the process of being decomposed by the pluripotence of his digital surrounding. You answer to that with some bonmot, and we might have a beautiful discussion about it. In that discussion we are exerting power. We are eventually alone as ambassadors of our own concept of what a person is. We are ambassadors: we don’t wage war, but we do exert power.

The movie “dazzle” by the acclaimed Dutch avant garde director Cyrus Frisch was not bad. He had gone through a process of trial and error as he called it, to arrive at a wonderful blend of imagery – and a lot of black screens. The movie is about the relation between Argentina and Holland and was made because of princess Maxima of course, and her father who served in the Videla regime. The concept of guilt was elaborated in an interesting way. I can recommend this movie.

The problems of Argentina. I like to illustrate them by means of yet another short anecdote. I walked about the Abato shopping mall, where the movie theatre is, and entered an electronic store. I asked an employee if they had macho a macho USB plugs. A cable you can plug in your computer and into another computer with an USB-slot to exchange date. But she said they were not available and she didn’t know if they exist. There are a lot of USB cables that connect to all different kind of plugs and slots. But not macho a macho. That’s the problem with Argentina. There are no macho a macho plugs.

There are big insects here.

Today, I feel a little bit lonely and I decide to put up an ad for myself here.

“young unsuccessful writer, 30 is looking for

a devilishly smart open-minded crazy young woman


to travel together and to live an adventurous life with me
I can take care of all the expenses and I am perfectly healthy I had my blood values tested last year and I am vaccinated against hepatitis a and b, typhus, cholera, tetanus, smallpox, measles and people that take life too seriously as for my fecundity, I never tested it but I have no reason to have doubts about it please write to: kamielverwer@hotmail.com and put the secret word “mitafora” in the title of your mail as well as its romantic Latin anagram.”

We went out and watched some tango. There was a band with a violin player that played pretty well. After the concert I walked into the violin player and asked him hey can I play I miss the feel of a violin’s neck sure he said he said you can play wow as I started improvising away to the tango rhythm that was playing in the background good and o how I liked it the feel of an instrument

That night I did not dream about an old lady who was observing me and as soon as I looked back she pointed at me with her stick and yells I am guilty. Of what I stammer of what am I guilty? She keeps pointing and looking at me with this big hazy eyes she points the tip of the grey metal stick towards my chest I feel my heart beating she won’t stop staring at me she is staring at me from my conscious. I start thinking that I am guilty of being pointed at and I start apologizing, yammering and creeping on the floor. She has a lot of power, that old lady.

March 27.

Power and thinking. Again, I am going to tell you something from my authority as a writer of an accepted phd. To many ears it will sound like bullshit. To some ears it will be obvious. To your ears it will be like music. I am not going to tell you about the power of thinking. Run to your nearest bookstore and get hold of a copy of any life-help book if that’s what you’re looking for. I want to express something about the intrinsic relation between power and thinking. This reflection does not start with a rational argument, but with a feeling. I feel thinking is a way of exerting power. Now rationality has to justify this claim. I have to formulate a theory that sounds plausible to persuade my readers to believe me. Not you, you are already believing me.
So, let’s do a bit of theory then. The first step is to formulate the claim in a “claire et distincte” way. The act of thinking is always also an act of exerting power. Exerting power is suppressing something. We think something, a certain proposition. But thinking it is more than reading it in your head. Thinking for example “there are universal values” is more than reading this sentence. To the question of what exactly it is more, I offer the hypothetical answer: the suppression of the opposite. A suppression not by arguments but by the very fact that you are thinking that particular proposition. Thinking is thus formulating rationally supportable claims in your head and exerting power by suppressing beyond rationality the opposite. So I do not believe in pure rationality. I believe if the claims we think can be proved the way mathematical theorems can be proved, we are not thinking them anymore. We would be essentially doing the same thing as big computers that are capable of proving those theorems. I call the surplus of human thinking exerting power because I don’t have a better name for it. So, rather then proving our claims, we are approving of them. Compare “I think 5+7=12” to “I think Freud was right.” The first case can hardly be called thinking, whereas in the second case, we are unable to provide all the arguments. Nevertheless, we are expressing the claim. Hence, we must be exerting some form of power. What exactly this power is that we exert, remains the question.

Let’s demonstrate this right away. I thought for example that our being has become plural since we use phones. I are sitting in my chair waiting for a call and talking to you. I are receiving that call while I try to signal you by nodding my head that I will talk on the phone for no more than ten minutes. I are sorry for that. Now here’s something I thought. You probably say “he, this is weird” and you think of an argument against it. It is one person after all, doing several things simultaneously. But my claim is exactly that the person is in the process of being decomposed by the pluripotence of his digital surrounding. You answer to that with some bonmot, and we might have a beautiful discussion about it. In that discussion we are exerting power. We are eventually alone as ambassadors of our own concept of what a person is. We are ambassadors: we don’t wage war, but we do exert power.

The movie “dazzle” by the acclaimed Dutch avant garde director Cyrus Frisch was not bad. He had gone through a process of trial and error as he called it, to arrive at a wonderful blend of imagery – and a lot of black screens. The movie is about the relation between Argentina and Holland and was made because of princess Maxima of course, and her father who served in the Videla regime. The concept of guilt was elaborated in an interesting way. I can recommend this movie.

The problems of Argentina. I like to illustrate them by means of yet another short anecdote. I walked about the Abato shopping mall, where the movie theatre is, and entered an electronic store. I asked an employee if they had macho a macho USB plugs. A cable you can plug in your computer and into another computer with an USB-slot to exchange date. But she said they were not available and she didn’t know if they exist. There are a lot of USB cables that connect to all different kind of plugs and slots. But not macho a macho. That’s the problem with Argentina. There are no macho a macho plugs.

There are big insects here.

Today, I feel a little bit lonely and I decide to put up an ad for myself here.

“young unsuccessful writer, 30 is looking for

a devilishly smart open-minded crazy young woman


to travel together and to live an adventurous life with me
I can take care of all the expenses and I am perfectly healthy I had my blood values tested last year and I am vaccinated against hepatitis a and b, typhus, cholera, tetanus, smallpox, measles and people that take life too seriously as for my fecundity, I never tested it but I have no reason to have doubts about it please write to: kamielverwer@hotmail.com and put the secret word “mitafora” in the title of your mail as well as its romantic Latin anagram.”

We went out and watched some tango. There was a band with a violin player that played pretty well. After the concert I walked into the violin player and asked him hey can I play I miss the feel of a violin’s neck sure he said he said you can play wow as I started improvising away to the tango rhythm that was playing in the background good and o how I liked it the feel of an instrument

That night I did not dream about an old lady who was observing me and as soon as I looked back she pointed at me with her stick and yells I am guilty. Of what I stammer of what am I guilty? She keeps pointing and looking at me with this big hazy eyes she points the tip of the grey metal stick towards my chest I feel my heart beating she won’t stop staring at me she is staring at me from my conscious. I start thinking that I am guilty of being pointed at and I start apologizing, yammering and creeping on the floor. She has a lot of power, that old lady.