The Pixar/Augustine Mashup You Knew Was Coming

There are four perturbations of the mind—cupidity, gladness, fear, sadness…Yet none of these perturbations disturbs me when by act of recollection I remember them. And even before I called and reconsidered them, they were there. (Augustine, Confessions X.xiv.22)

So my sister dragged me to see Inside Out, which was pretty great. While she, a former psychology major, was pleased to see Disgust included among the primary emotions in accordance with current theories, I couldn’t help but compare Pixar’s mind-model to the philosophers’. Inside Out’s most visually enchanting moments are of long-term memory as a massive storehouse — a concept which would be instantly familiar to ancient and medieval thinkers. Returning once again to Augustine’s discussion of memory in Confessions: Continue reading The Pixar/Augustine Mashup You Knew Was Coming

City as mental condition

The worst thing about Beijing is that you can never trust the judicial system. Without trust, you cannot identify anything; it’s like a sandstorm. You don’t see yourself as part of the city—there are no places that you relate to, that you love to go. No corner, no area touched by a certain kind of light. You have no memory of any material, texture, shape. Everything is constantly changing, according to somebody else’s will, somebody else’s power.

To properly design Beijing, you’d have to let the city have space for different interests, so that people can coexist, so that there is a full body to society. A city is a place that can offer maximum freedom. Otherwise it’s incomplete.

[…] This city is not about other people or buildings or streets but about your mental structure. If we remember what Kafka writes about his Castle, we get a sense of it. Cities really are mental conditions. Beijing is a nightmare. A constant nightmare.

—Post-detention, artist Ai Weiwei reflects on Beijing. Read the whole thing.