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Very interesting: the complete German text of Gottlob Frege’s Grundgesetze der Arithmetik (Basic Laws of Arithmetic) has been put online here. There have been some online projects to translate the entirety of these volumes into English for years, and this resource surely ought to help with that; however, for readers with some German the ability to nullify the paltry availability of the German text is tres cool. Take a look.
Ten years ago today, I was working as a call representative for a class-action lawsuit by government workers related to their cost-of-living adjustments. I got to work at 7 AM Pacific time, and people were saying that an airplane had hit the World Trade Center in New York. I thought that it was unusual mayhem, but not more; When we got inside, it was revealed by a co-worker that the towers had collapsed. I said “that’s impossible”, relating to the incident where a US Army Air Force bomber hit the Empire State Building during World War II. It wasn’t impossible, and after an hour or two they let us go. I was pretty deep down the insanity hole, and instead of going home crying I went to Portland State University for a couple of hours of stimulating reading in the library. It seemed oddly beautiful, and oddly like being in New York itself [I haven’t been to the Big Apple since Dinkins – JR]. We found out later that day that air travel, and a thousand other things, were shuttered for an indefinite period of time as a result of the attacks.
Like I said, I took the War On Terror pretty casually; my whole life seemed like a terror attack, so I was dead to the deepening ethical significances of 9/11 as it ramified to Afghanistan (I was against it) and Iraq (I was for it, enough to write GWB an email telling him he was the commander-in-chief in a time of crisis; in a separate incident, I mailed him copies of Weber and Spinoza’s Tractatus Theologico-Politicus). Does any of this make sense? I don’t know what you would ask of my sensibilities at the time. We didn’t put up an American flag, or commiserate about the events; even as a cautious supporter of the Palestinian intifada against the Israelis, I didn’t feel like I had very much to apologize for in terms of Islamist attacks. In early 2002, I took a plane trip back to Pittsburgh, where I went to college and started going crazy. A country on edge, Eastern standard time.
I was struck by how very similar airplane travel was after 9/11, making me think that people weren’t taking the ramifications seriously enough. Then the very-casually related Iraq War started piling up casualties, and I, faced with aggressive new liberals slagging Bush, started to keep quiet about anything not related to my system of delusions about academia. Over the years, I’ve read many articles about the World Trade Center (which I visited the top of as a child) and how its powerful futurism — viewed from Arab-heavy Northern New Jersey, it was like landing on the moon — is about as obsolescent as Saturn V rockets. More and more obvious ramifications continued to pile up as many terrorism-free but wary years followed.
On this anniversary, I guess what I can say is that the system of ‘social and economic organization’ represented by the WTC and its victims seems alive in the Lebensform of many Americans today; and that those of us emotionally distant from the tragedy of that day have missed a lot since. Still, the truth is the truth and like a T-shirt on an old Riot Grrl record had it I AM AN AMERICAN CITIZEN —
There is a fantastically interesting new leftist magazine, Jacobin. It shows the present to be quite different than us old duffers might think; the struggle for freedom and a decent living mightily animates younger people, and with top-notch contributors like Slavoj Zizek and Richard Seymour of Lenin’s Tomb the recent past is contextualized in a very interesting way. Check it out, at least online.