1. i spent Christmas with Juniper, my tall German dominatrix MILF. Her house is a construction site at the moment. It looks horrible though the area is nice. Interestingly, she lives in a raccoon hotspot: the Germans call them Waschbär because Germans are special. Here is a picture of an enraged raccoon:

raccoon

2. Nothing much happened. i read Tony Parson’s excellent Man and Boy, and Aldous Huxley’s excellently mordant Brief Candles, from Juniper’s bookshelves. Huxley is a great and cruel social observer, and it’s no wonder he turned to a world-renouncing religion (Buddhism); his characters are almost always ridiculous, vain, deluded, pitiful, as if he saw the world so.

3. i tried and failed to lose weight. i went with Juniper to look for furniture at Boss Möbel (Boss Furniture).

4. Juniper gave me two of her (long-deceased) grandfather’s pipes. i felt this was a great honour and then was a little ashamed that i am not really up to the challenge. i feel my human weaknesses more & more. My back hurts from sleeping on a sofa for the last 18 months. i have a gut now and am too greedy & lazy to stop eating until it goes away. Here is a picture of the pipes, which i will use to smoke meth and crack:

pipes and kindle

5. After Christmas, i explored Raccoon City. There is a pleasingly chaotic 2nd-hand bookshop, which perfectly matches my requirements. It is, if you like, the Platonic 2nd-hand bookshop. The owner, who seemed vaguely timeless, had a pleasingly unworldly air to him, welcome after my sojourn in the tents of Kedar, teaching money- and career-obsessed German robots. In general, 2nd-hand bookshops make no money and work only as a rich man’s folly.

The place was ill-lit and almost impassably cluttered with heaps of disordered books, guitars, art prints, freakish oddities. i bought two fine hardback volumes of Jean Paul‘s writings, knowing nothing except the name (i vaguely recall him being a favourite of Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf), also a copy of Sándor Márai‘s Ein Hund Mit Charakter, and Joseph Roth’s Radetzkymarsch. While browsing, i saw some art prints and thought about buying a vaguely Picasso-looking piece for Juniper. There was no price but i guessed it would be just a few euros. However, i decided it would be hard to carry back without creasing it, so left it. Shortly after, the owner shouted “Scheisse!” and ran over to the prints. When i went to pay, he told me the thing i had nearly bought was an original Salvador Dali (he had bought it wholesale from a bankrupt or dead dealer). i touched it, tracing the signature, and said (in Bosche): “now it costs more than a few euros.”

He charged me a seemingly arbitrary 15 Euros for the 4 books, despite all being in perfect condition.

In Munich, i spend most of my time in large German companies where everything is rigidly determined, where nothing is left to chance, all is hideously well-lit and mathematically precise. This is not my world and i struggle to just about survive here. Most of my students feel, naturally, that mathematics can decide everything, that the world is a well-lit, unambiguous place, a place without shadows or weirdness. For them, the world is akin to an engine. There may be variations but on the whole performance can be predicted, tested, known.

i live in a wholly other world, a world full of shadows & weirdness, where the most important things disappear under strong light; they cannot be rationally known, merely experienced (compare the experience of sex or romantic love with a scientific paper on the subject). i feel that the materialist account is almost totally wrong, that it only appears correct because their belief in mathematics is itself a kind of magic, but that it would not hold true upon deep investigation. But i know i have nothing to oppose to this, or at least nothing they could understand.

So it was good to be in an ill-lit chaos where treasures can be discarded then found again, where things are not determined by an Amazon or Waterstones algorithm, where marketeers and apple polishers have no say. This is the “real world”, if there is one. Their world – the world of marketing, PR, assorted scurvy manoeuverings, networking, all this is “worldwide bullshit”, to quote one of my more sensible engineers.

6. i am slowly & laboriously trying to extricate myself from the worldwide bullshit, without doing anything drastic. i could go to a desert and sit on a pillar and throw raw meat to the raccoons but i like having a bed, even one that’s really just a sofa. Aldous Huxley’s amused loathing is valid, to a point; yet i feel it is better to remain in this physical world, without entering into its spiritual desolation; to walk among men without blindness. This is harder than going to a desert, though in a sense it’s also easier for me, given my sloth and general lack of interest in pillars. i try, instead, to see their world differently, to remake it for myself. That is less extreme, subtler, and in fact almost impossible.

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