COSMOPOLIS

in search of the real

This is a little of a follow up and extension to my previous post, THE HAUNTED AGE. In that post I spoke briefly about the Don DeLillo novel, Cosmopolis, recently adapted by David Cronenberg as a film starring Robert Pattinson. I’ve read quite a few critical reviews, most recently this one from The Guardian entitled ‘Why Cosmopolis’s natural born banker does not add up’. Having studied Cosmopolis at length for my dissertation, I must feel rather protective about the novel so frequently referred to as ‘not one of DeLillo’s best’, and want to defend it against misinterpretation – particularly the idea that it is a novel/film about banking, and the character, Eric, just the banker-villain of the day.

I argue that Cosmopolis is a distorted yet penetrating reflection of the globalised world of the contemporary as a dystopia, and Eric not just a banker, but the (anti) hero and archetype of a world that’s entrenched in globalised cyber capitalism. So, in order to defend this perspective, and hopefully with the intention that anyone who should read this and then see the film might get a slightly deeper experience than just another Wall Street-esque film about a banker, I’ve decided to publish this extract from my dissertation.

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THE HAUNTED AGE

thoughts on the weirdnesses of time

While studying for my Masters someone told me, apparently, time is going to be the major subject of the philosophical thought of this century. This does not sound unlikely to me. For a long time thinkers have been perplexed by the elusive nature of time; I was first bitten while studying Kant in my second or third year of undergraduate philosophy when I discovered the idea that time and space are not objectively real but originate in the structure of the mind, like filters to order the glut of data from the universe perceived by our senses into systems and patterns, which allows us to make sense of the world in a meaningful way. And Kant was not the first serious thinker of time, oh no! His theories address earlier models of time constructed Leibniz and Newton, and ideas of the mind-dependence of time can be traced back to Aristotle.

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a memory of summer in winter

déjà-vu

Sometimes the middle of winter can seem more like summer than the summer ever did. In a moment or fragment of a moment when a smell or a sound or when the certain way that light is falling releases a disconnected memory which floats to the surface like a bubble, and then it would feel like the summer.

And you pause a while, caught wondering, but the memory isn’t even a memory but only the sense that there was a memory, and that you have known this once before. And by the time you’re realising or rememering this, the moment has already departed, and it no long feels like the summer, and the sun is setting.

But the moment seemed realer and bigger than all the summers passed, and you’d remember it, and you’d spend your life trying to remember it again.