Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Fidelity to Truth

This is my comment to Jodi Dean's post, "No Time for Politics":

Hello Ms Dean,

It is a little bit late, but Happy Birthday!

My birthday was April 2nd. As an ordinary celebration I spent my 32nd birthday by contemplating on the path my life, on how the forms of social relations ironically consumes the content of proper communication, our capacity for full speech, the field of political interaction (Here I mean something very fundamental other than real politics. Political in the sense of a praxis that interferes in the connection of two people), namely, I dwell on how this non-stop bombardment of “empty gestures”, ear-splitting prattle of “empty speech”, all those hysterical exchange of links, You-Tube videos, SMS massages, etc. etc. leads to an all-embracing isolation.

I think there are two connected features of the contemporary excessive communication or the “communicative capitalism”: The first one is the hyperactive exchange of “empty gestures”, images, jokes, slogans and the most stereotyped expression of language, etc. to prevent something that will probably disintegrate our dispassionate purity in this sheltered space. As Zizek describes as, “people not only act in order to change something, they can also act in order to prevent something from happening”. And the second one is this obsessive exchange of “empty speech” does not only provide an escape from “full speech” which verbalizes a truth about our desires in the boundaries of present, but also provides a blockade that prevent us to lie about ourselves since lies generally disclose the depth of truth more explicitly than sincere and straightforward statements. Thus the concealed silence beneath this communicative uproar signifies our or their anxiety to accidentally reveal an unbearable truth of ourselves. She or he consistently avoids proper communication to prevent the outbreak of any evidence that would possibly expose a disturbing truth: I have the right to remain silent. Here we need Hillary and Barak to sustain our counter-revolutionary hyperactivity by handing over the entertaining demonstration of the leakage of truth from the crack of “empty speech”.

“The Soviets--they had stamina, the stamina for politics”. I agree. The Soviets had stamina for politics in the conditions of specific political dimensions. In the present, I think we must attach another quality to this essential precondition to deal with politics. As Badiou pointed out, no matter how unbearable and impossible they seem, we also need a decisive fidelity to political truths: Fidelity to disclose them with every possible manner.

I will publish this comment on my blog.

Monday, April 14, 2008

An Imperialist Poll

A recent article in MRZINE about a public opinion poll that was carried out by WorldPublicOpinion.org introduces how Iranians are satisfied with their goverment.

There is a profound ideological implication in the form of these questions.

First of all by querying an affirmative statement abstractly (Do you TRUST the national government in Iran to do WHAT IS RIGHT? etc.) the interviewers direct the subjects to shy away from negative answers. Together with this crafty manipulation and Iranians' well-founded suspicion that there could be covert government investigation beneath this sudden interest about their opinions, it is not surprising that this pseudo-poll has reached its original goal. The deduction here is not a critique of Western imperialism in the sense that how it misleadingly depicts Iran that fits their imperialist intentions. Surprisingly, this scientific pool perfects the imperialist propositions: The danger with Iran is not merely about its undemocratic, antiquated, oppressive and unpredictable regime like our politicians used to represent. But there is also an ossified trauma, an internal evil haunting the mentality of this monster: Although the Iranian regime is an utter outrage, the citizens are somewhat contended to be a part of it.

As I said, the questions are arranged to repress the negative responses. Let us apply something else that entirely removes the possibility of a negative response and completes the perfection of ideological manipulation. Let us compel Iranians to give concrete affirmative answers. For instance, instead of asking whether they are satisfied of Iran’s economy, let’s ask them to enumerate the positive developments in economy in recent years, or ask them to give tangible examples of the improvements in the social life, etc. Only by this way, only through forcing the subjects to neglect the negative option which is already repressed in social life, it is possible to reveal the ironical humiliation in the Iranian regime. Let Iranian people creatively fabricate lies about their reality. Their answers might reflect the immensity of the oppression that they are dealing with.

There is a wonderful passage in “Bob Dylan's 115th Dream” that perfectly depicts how people creatively lie about an unpleasant reality. (The caps are mine):

"Well, by this time I was fed up
At tryin' to make a stab
At bringin' back any help
For my friends and Captain Arab
I decided to flip a coin
Like either heads or TAILS
Would let me know if I should go
Back to ship or back to JAIL
So I hocked my sailor suit
And I got a coin to flip
It came up TAILS
It rhymed with SAILS
So I made it back to the ship"

Sunday, April 13, 2008

We Need a First Life

On Marxmail, David Picón Álvarez inquired the opinions of the comrades on whether The Ultimatum Game has potential to represent “the capitalist assumptions about rational agent behavior”. This is my response:

If we apply to Hegel, rationality is not a set of fixed formulas that serve to calculate the existing order of things, but an equation contains some variables and expresses the proportion between rationality and actuality. I think this experiment indicates one thing at best: People have a propensity to adjust their rationality to the texture of actuality. Once an equation that provides a hinge for interaction has been established, some people attempt to revolutionize the actuality, some try to prevent it, some neglect to interfere in, etc. Also, these entire scuffle structures the rationality. If we force the subjects of this experiment to play this game 10.000 times, but not for a once and anonymously, we certainly reach very different conclusions.

Two weeks ago I read an article about “Second Life”, the renowned virtual 3D world. Then I installed the game client to figure out and experience the enjoyment of virtual reality. I spent the first hour by struggling to create an avatar which exactly looks like me, a bald guy wearing t-shirt and black jeans. And after studying the basic movements I was ready to vanish in the mist of virtual reality. Unfortunately, it didn’t took me long realize that I was doing the exact same things that I would do in real life if I suddenly plunge into an unfamiliar environment. I was stone broke and glazed the showcases of shops, wandered around without any effort to meet and interact with new people, watched the sunset in an exotic island, etc. After couple of hours, it dawned on me that I need a First Life in the first place. Then I quitted the game with the taste of dissatisfaction.

I am not eager to buy any of two common explanations of how people act in virtual reality: People tend realize their fantasies or reveal their true characteristics repressed in the real world by the restrictions of social order. Both of these are too simplistic and overlook the reciprocal manipulation processing between the subject and reality. Therefore, my own experimental fiasco in “Second Life” is largely because of my stubbornness to adjust my reality to the arrangement and procedure of virtual reality but not as a result of a lack of any fantasies and unrecognized desires repressed by social order. For instance, two weeks ago a bizarre scandal was disclosed about Max Mosley, the president of FIA, who was caught in the act of sado-masochistic sex orgy with some girls dressed as Nazi officers. The common diagnosis is he is a regular pervert racist who likes to get his ass whipped and can only get pleasure from sexual intercourse with the mediation of fetish objects. But there is another fascinating feature in this scandal: He knows the mechanism and the order of the sado-masochistic virtual reality so that he is able to realize his darkest fantasies in the regulations of sexual role playing game. He precisely knows the laws and principles of the game; therefore he is capable to manipulate the virtual reality: “Oh Mistress! Please spank me, I am a traitor”

When I started to play poker, I was ashamed to bet and raise or check-raise since my personality obliged me to regard this sort of moves as an insult to other players. I was a usual tight-passive donkey constantly losing money for the sake of preserving my dignity. Then I decided to read the most important books dealing with the game, from Sklansky, Harrington to Brunson. After I have acquired a fundamental understanding about the reality within the game, I started to manipulate and exploit its very reality. I had become a downright hypocrite, cunning, provocative player making the sneakiest moves comfortably. As long as I could adjust myself with the rationality of a given table, I secured permission to act like a complete lunatic, betting with nothing, folding with something and calling with the nuts, etc. to manipulate the dynamics of the game. It is not because of the possibility that perhaps I possess a swindler in me repressed by social reality. But the deceptiveness enveloping the order of the game had compelled me to adjust my naivety according to its regulation. After this continuous process of alteration has become intolerable, I quitted this game as well.

In “18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte” Marx said:

And as in private life one differentiates between what a man thinks and says of himself and what he really is and does, so in historical struggles one must distinguish still more the phrases and fancies of parties from their real organism and their real interests, their conception of themselves from their reality.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Genius of Soros

After reading Louis’s post (I will give the link later on) I searched the Internet to find out what the heck Soros means by “reflexivity”. Then I found the text of speech that elucidates his notion of “reflexivity”:


As I understand, he indicates that “the participants’ bias” in market transactions triggers the disequilibrium of markets and consequently changes the reality of economy. He ridiculously assumes that he has discovered an innovative theory about the connection between the reality and thinking. He is way too materialist in the matter of understanding that the reality is constituted by human activity but a total idiot in the sense of regarding this activity as the product of individual bias, the unreasoned judgment about the existing reality.

I know I have already overstepped the mark today by relating the concept of price by psychoanalytic definition of the symptom but I feel obliged to apply another extraneous metaphor, since George Soros’s filthy speculations in financial markets is commonly designated as “BETS”. I am not familiar with financial markets, but I have considerable amount of experience about the theory and practice of betting. Therefore, this time I will give an example in connection with the game of poker:

Let us consider that in the very beginning of a tournament; I was dealt a pair of jacks, a premium hand, but just to run against an imbecile sitting on the button who raises all-in with Ace-King suited. Suppose that I can see his or her hand. The reality of mathematics and the theory of poker advise me that I must call his bet immediately since I am nearly 54% favorite to win the hand and I have to prefer the actions that are profitable in the long run. But there is no such a thing as long run in a poker tournament. Therefore, the reasonable action here is to fold my beautiful jacks. At the moment I don’t have enough chips to prove the rightfulness of probability.

For that reason, what Soros regards as a bias against the existing reality does not imply an unreasonable preference disregarding the elementary science of probability and the art of evaluating the worth of correct information in the financial markets. But unlike Soros most of the gamblers in the grand financial casino haven’t got enough chips to consistently warrant the science of probability by making mathematically and informatively the correct decisions. His genius in financial markets sarcastically originates from the merciless reality that he has a lot of chips that provides resilience against the distasteful variance and teasing jokes of probability.

Once Marx said:

“In reality and for the practical materialist, i.e. the communist, it is a question of revolutionising the existing world, of practically attacking and changing existing things.”

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Symptom of Value

A comrade suggested on Marxmail that we Marxists should focus on money to save Marx's theory of value. This is my response:
Although in an inverted fashion, the questions that have been raised by Rakesh Bhandari imply the fundamental methodological difference between Marx and the classical political economy.

On couple of occasions Marx mentioned how preceding economists incorrectly began with analyzing “the real and the concrete” outcomes of the historical development of capitalist production, for Marx, “which have already acquired the stability of natural, self-understood forms of social life, before man seeks to decipher, not their historical character, for in his eyes they are immutable, but their meaning”. Out of the sphere of classical political economy this critique might be regarded as relevant about the economics after Marx, just think about Keynes’ theory of prices which is focused on the connection of the quantity of money and the changes in the price-level.

With running the risk of antagonizing comrades here, let me define price as the symptom of value. Although it is the final and the actual manifestation of value, in a repetitive fashion, it speaks about a fixed, concealed meaning that underlies the value. But just as Marx has revealed perplexingly that instead of disclosing a hidden meaning, what if it is the immediate, concrete form of value that conceals its authentic nature, the mechanism of social relations that produce value? If we return to the metaphor above, and remember Lacan’s statement that the real excludes meaning, there is a remarkable resemblance between Marx’s never-ending critiques of political economy and his decisive break with the its methodology and Lacan’s famous declaration that “psychoanalysis is a scam”. It is a scam as long as it supposes there is a direct, unambiguous connection between the meaning of the symptom and the real. Similarly, bourgeois economics is a scam as long as it presupposes that the meaning of immediate forms of capitalist production could be deciphered by investigating the real. As Marx said:

“The whole mystery of commodities, all the magic and necromancy that surrounds the products of labour as long as they take the form of commodities, vanishes therefore, so soon as we come to other forms of production.”

Therefore, it is not a wise idea to focus on money-form to save Marx’s theory of value. This approach would be exact opposite of his methodology.
On Marxmail, Angelus Novus wrote:
"Mehmet, by any chance have you read the first chapter of Slavoj Zizek's The Sublime Object of Ideology? :-)
I am somewhat skeptical of Zizek, due to his reputation as being an academic comedian, but I was very pleased to see that he heavily leans upon Alfred Sohn-Rethel in his discussion of Marx's analysis of the commodity. Anyone who uses Sohn-Rethel as areference for these discussions is fine with me. "
Mehmet Çagatay:
Hello Angelus,
No, I didn't read Zizek's book. Two years ago I tried to read it while I was staying at the house of a friend but because that I was so desperately in love with my host, I couldn't manage to focus and didn't understand anything. I didn't read it afterwards as well since that book reminds me her.
To be honest, a while ago I read Jacques Alain Miller's essay on symptom.My references to Lacan generally orginates from Miller.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

On Fetishism

There was a post on Jodi Dean's I Cite blog recently about the relation of religion and sexual fetishism. Here is the comment that I posted to I Cite blog:

Hello Ms. Dean,

This is my first comment on your blog thus I will try to minimize the subsequent trivialities. All right, unlike a fantasy that enables love to pass through the real to field the imaginary, an object of fetishism operates as “the return of the repressed”, the substitute material filling the cavity which originates from the act of denial of the symbolic castration. Therefore, the pervert subject of fetishism could cross the boundary of the symbolic only by use of the object of fetishism as the authorization certificate, i.e. the transit visa for the passage from the symbolic to the real. Let me give a considerably free flowing illustration by employing our Marxist concept of “the fetishism of commodities”:

Although we have been castrated from the means of production and from our own labor power, etc. in the symbolic order, due to still being an individual who is obliged to satisfy our needs to survive in society, to obtain a ground to ensure the real conditions of our existence, we need a substitute that enables us to disavow the repressed trauma of symbolic castration. I need something that makes me to fallaciously perceive that there is nothing derogatory in the capitalist production. There “the fetishism of commodities” comes into the picture. For instance, in the feudal production God itself functions as the object of fetishism.

As regards to the Catholicism that you mention as the only fetishized religion that you come up with, for my part, I don’t see an exceptionally distinctive characteristic in the Catholic practice of Christianity that reinforces nunsploitation and nun fetishism. I think any particular outfit, especially uniforms, (the uniform of the women of God in the naughty nun case) that relates the human body with Lacanian big Other has the potential to serve as an object of fetishism that substitute the missing symbolic phallus and make the sexual intercourse possible while the complication of the denial of symbolic castration is still in the view.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Dhamma Brothers

There was a review by Louis Proyect in his The Unrepentant Marxist blog about the documentary “The Dhamma Brothers” which depicts the experience of some prisoners with Buddhist meditation techniques in a high security prison. I decided to copy my comments in Louis's blog and the exchange of my thoughts with Peter Byrne and Greg McDonald. I will keep on duplicating here if the discussion proceeds:

Mehmet Çagatay:

Hello Louis,

Your post is thought provoking as usual. At first I thought that a high security prison that restricts all forms of physical freedom is an ideal place for Buddhism to sprout since it only tolerates the freedom of mind. Then I realized that there is a flaw in this logic given that Buddhism is not a path to liberation at all. Like other forms of religion, Buddhism is a form of “desire” for freedom, which operates for not materializing its goal, but to reproduce and regulate its form as a desire. Therefore, a prison is a perfect place for Buddhism not by reason of that it promises the liberation of mind where the freedom of body is completely prevented, rather, a prison renders the desire for spiritual development possible. If we consider the reason of Jack Kerouac’s fiasco to traverse his ego with meditation, we can straightforwardly conclude that because of his American practicality he didn’t comprehend the exact mechanism of meditation: It has nothing to do with weakening the ego. Rather, it validates the excess of ego by regarding it as an inner process of the isolated mind and the measurement of truth as if the true nature of life is only accessible by overcoming the ego. As a result, rather than undermining it, mediation ossifies the ego by obsessively circling around it.

The same thing goes for the soothing effect of religion (a protest against real suffering) too. God is the object cause of the desire for a soul in a soulless world. God is the object that regulates the human desire for attaining harmony with external reality. As I said above, the function of religious desire is not to materialize its goal but to circle around it. I think this is where the answer of the question of does religion and Marxism compatible could be properly answered: Marxism strives to change the external reality, not to circle around it.

Peter Byrne:

“Rather than undermining it, meditation ossifies the ego by obsessively circling around it.” Exactly. But to remain in the vein of “American practicality”, why did meditation serve the Dhamma Brothers any better than the Black Muslim program, bible thumping or even the discipline of push-ups and weight lifting? Their problem was to keep their personality together in inhuman conditions. I.R.A. prisoners in Longkesh pored over Marxist classics.When they finally got out, their comrades told them they were old hat. But that’s another story."

Greg McDonald:

I’m glad to see Mehmet weighing in on the subject of meditation. I understand the critique on the basis of unfulfilled desire, (is that Lacanian)? but I submit that argumentation without a real basis for understanding the subject at hand lends just as much to obfuscation as did Kerouac’s original misunderstanding of the same topic. Your argument is apriori and based on western critique of “religion”. You have no experience of meditation, so that makes it difficult for you to actually understand what is involved here. If you really want an informed opinion from a psychoanalytic perspective, I suggest checking out some psychoanalysts who are indeed experienced meditators within this tradition, such as the work of Paul Fleischman M.D. To quote:
“Meditators must “have the seed”. Like the life of any seed, the seed of meditation eludes the microscope of words: is it basic good faith; or a sense of determination; or enough miseries and losses to have to keep going; or an unfathomable curiosity about their own true nature; or an intuition of values that transcend immediate life; or a yearning for peace; or a recognition of the limitations of mundane routines? It was said by the Buddha that at the heart of the path lies ahimsa, non-harmfulness. Is it an inkling of the infinite curative value that this most treasured and elusive cumulative virtue provides, that constitutes the seed? In any case, a life of meditation ia a path for those who hear the call, seek it out, and sit down to observe. Some may not seek it, some may not value it, some may not tolerate it, some may have other valuable paths to take.

The French psychoanalyst, Jaques Lacan, wrote, “Psychoanalysis may accompany the patient to the ecstatic limit of the ‘thou art that,’ in which is revealed to him the cipher of his moral destiny, but it is not in our mere power as practitioners to bring him to that point where the real journey begins.” Vipassana meditation is based on one thing; “This is suffering; this is the way out of suffering.” It is the path where the real journey begins. It is a healing by observation of and participation in the laws of nature. Even the stars are born and die, but beyond the transiency of the world there is an eternal that each of us can travel towards.

The potential therapeutic actions of Vipassana include increased self-knowledge, deepened human trust and participation, integration with and acceptance of one’s past, deepened activation of one’s will, an increased sense of responsibility for one’s own fate; greater concentration, deepened ethical commitments, firm yet flexible life structures and disciplines, fluid access to deeper streams of feeling and imagery, expanded historical and contemporary community; prepared confrontation with core realities such as time, change, death, loss, pain leading to an eventual dimunition of dread, anxiety, and delusion; fuller body-mind integration, decreased narcissism, and a fuller panorama of character strengths such as generosity, compassion, and human love. Each student starts at a different place and progresses individually; there is no magic and no guarantee.”

excerpt from “Karma and Chaos”

Mehmet Çagatay:

Hello Peter,

Since I don’t have adequate information about the Black Muslim Brotherhood, I can’t explain its particular failure in the prison system of the US. But as I grew up in a society that the influence of Islamic beliefs is palpable in every pore of daily life, I can clarify why Islam is incompatible with the environment of prison. To begin with, we should modify Marx’s famous statement regarding religion for Islam: Islam is the BDSM fantasy of the oppressed creature. The daily activity of a believer is entirely dictated by celestial law while this artificial world is a preparation ground for the real afterlife. The Islamic disavowal of the existence of any external reality as such could be traced in Qur’an which is infested with the statements about dualist opposition linking the imaginary and the real world. Such as, “the life of this world is nothing but an enjoyment of self-delusion. (3:185)” or “and nothing is the life of this world but a play and a passing delight (6:32)”, etc. As a result, Islam functions like the Ego of the believer that suppresses one’s needs, wishes and desires as long as they are conflicting with delusive external reality. Here, one might probably ask: Then, how could you give explanation about the aggressive posture of Islamic fundamentalism towards western imperialism? If we completely abstract the fact that it has been molded by the immediate interests of its opponents to some extent, there is a significant paradox here: Muslim subject does not conflict with his own imaginary external world or with a world imagined by the Muslim subject. To be more precise, the controversy is between Muslim subject and the world imagined by the other and therefore which is exempt of Islamic suppression. I think for that reason Islam and environment of a prison is a downright mishmash because both of their purpose of existence is to control the freedom of human body.

Mehmet Çagatay:

Hello Greg,

As I told you before in a private correspondence, my recent interest on psychoanalysis was incited when a neurologist diagnosed that I was displaying some symptoms of General Anxiety Disorder. After that, I have decided to figure out the source of my anxiety rather than taking the pills that he prescribed since it is a minor disease. Lust like reading Marx has led me to question my illusions of social relations, mechanism of market and capital, their interaction with working class, false idealist conception of history, etc. psychoanalysis has gave me a ground to deal with my the illusions about myself and my subjectivity. Actually it is exactly what Jack Kerouac’s character in “On the Road” naively expects from Buddhist practices. On the contrary, the genuine path to deal with ego is to get the picture of how it is structured as an illusion about our subjectivity. There are two subtle encounters of Alice respectively with the Caterpillar and the Pigeon:

`What do you mean by that?' said the Caterpillar sternly. `Explain yourself!'

`I can't explain MYSELF, I'm afraid, sir' said Alice, `because I'm not myself, you see.'


Well! WHAT are you?' said the Pigeon. `I can see you're trying to invent something!'

`I--I'm a little girl,' said Alice, rather doubtfully, as she remembered the number of changes she had gone through that day.

In fact, the Pigeon is right. My subjectivity is something that I invented along my adventure in the symbolic order. And my ego is a product of my fantasy about this order, which directly resists the restrictions of the internal reality of socio-symbolic order.

Here I fancied whether the famous quote from Sun Tzu, "Know thy self, know thy enemy" might be applicable to the game of poker. In my opinion, this would be a perfect advice for how to lose everything immediately in poker and in the battleground as well. We must undertake a necessary adjustment: Know thy table-image, know the table-image thy enemy. We should assign this statement to meditation too: Do not strive to know yourself in vein; there is no such a thing other than in the field of imagination.

There is a particular chapter in The German Ideology in which Marx accuses Young Hegelians for assigning self-determining existence to consciousness and thus ascribing the social relations and limitations of humankind as products of consciousness. However, the accurate pathway to understand the function of human consciousness is to decipher its relation with material reality of humankind.

As an obligatory confession, I have difficulties to understand Lacan. First of all, unlike Freud’s relatively direct and vivid narrative style, Lacan leaves readers in a jam of unintelligible expressions time and again. Secondly, I am deprived of the full access to his works as they are not available online thanks to copyright laws. I have no idea if they were translated in Turkish since making an effort to read Lacan in Turkish would be a waste of time anyway. I don’t even understand the Turkish translations of Marx, I have deserted this absurdity when I found myself in situations that I was continuously checking the English version to make sense of what our Turkish translator intended to say.

In spite of my semi-ignorance, there is an entertaining dimension in grappling with the ideas of Lacan. For instance, couple of days ago, in the farewell letter to a former intimate friend of mine (now she declines to respond my usual sterile and sensible letters), in a little bit sarcastic fashion, I declared that masturbation is the only authentic sexual activity since it is the only unmediated contact with our fantasies that renders the physical sexual intercourse possible. Then I concluded that, the genuine manifestation of sexual desire is not to make love with the person that we desire. Contrary, it is the act of masturbation while fantasizing the person with whom we made love just now.

Peter Byrne:

Mehmet, I appreciate your philosophical precision. My point was more prosaic. People in the unnatural situation of prison have to fight against being crushed as acting subjects. Any discipline they commit to personally can help them. I admire the Black Muslims for their effort to bring a community in disarray out of self-destructiveness. But they are as far from Islamic social, religious and psychological realities as other Americans. Your explanation of the Islamic doctrinal denial of a real world is telling and lucid. To the less theologically inclined, however, it has a downside. It makes the Muslim world seem arid. In fact it can be a very pleasant place and demonstrate more humanity than ours.


Mehmet Çagatay:

Peter, I am sure that if I were a dweller in that prison I would be the first person who registers the meditation course. Specifically I am not disagreeing with there is a tranquilizing effect of spiritual readjustments that provides a flexibility to endure the antagonism of reality, like I never question whether god exists or not. The proper materialist question here is why does god exist or why religion renders the social scandal of the external reality bearable. You are right that in some ways a Muslim community occasionally displays superior qualities of humanity. In consequence of my last poetry attempts published in an Islamist magazine whose editor was an honest admirer of my poetry thus ignored their content (Ironically, I was free to make downright insult to God), I spent some time with their poetry clan. I observed a continuous solidarity, a candid bosom of modesty, a never-ending salvo of goodwill that provokes me to act like Maldoror, etc. But like sci-fi movies, there was something strange, a movement of an eyebrow, a transition in the tone of voice, a sudden change of the color of skin that reveals there is something lame about this pretentious normality. One day a known Turkish-Islamist-Poet told me his darkest fantasy: “I always imagine myself observing the world behind a rifle scope”.