Thursday, April 15, 2021

L.A. Now

- Tell me about the mood in L.A.
- As the epidemic winds down one thing I've noticed is the return of the traffic of prostitutes in and out of the high rise residential buildings on Wilshire.
- The significance of which is?
- Capitalism involves torture, being forced to go against our desires and dissimulate our thoughts, just as prostitution does.
- So you think in the reappearance of the public sight of prostitution you are witnessing signs of a resurgence of capitalism?
- Yes. Nothing changed, nothing learned. I think this accounts for the macabre, doom laden feeling I get these days: prostitution is a form of capitalist alienation that develops directly between people, in which people are the product bought and sold. If we want to tell a neuroscientist why the brain will never explain the mind we have to say something like this: explanation relates one regularity to another; even in quantum mechanics, one state of the world is related to another, though we cannot give an account of the mechanical relation between cause and effect.
- Our feelings are unlike rules, so they cannot be linked with rules defining what's happening in the brain.
- Yes. What the mind in fact is, what the neuroscientist wants to link with the brain, is defined by rulelessness, openness, and nothing can ever change that because the feeling of openness is precisely what is to be explained.
- Except a life in which feeling has become absent. 
- Yes. As I said, I think what I see happening in L.A., with the reopening of public transactions, is the return of the mutual torture of everyday life in which a claim of ownership of each other is reasserted. The neuroscientist, living in our times of commercial mutual prostitution, thinks that the brain will 'own' feelings, have an attachment to them, like the vain* buyer of a prostitute thinks he owns the imitated liking of him that he has acquired from the prostitute, owns an image of himself updated with the heightened social status associated with the attractiveness he thinks he has bought.
- Feelings owned by the brain like a prostitute is owned by her buyer! Macabre is right!
- Well, you asked. I think here in L.A. we can feel the return of the material basis of our lives of buying and selling, of our personal mutual entrapment in our economically defined lives. I look around and feel regulations again being imposed on my feelings, I feel the torture of it, the pressure to pretend to like what I don't like, the feeling that I am a thing defined by rules that can be linked to rules governing things in a world of things.

Further Reading: