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Blind Boy Apollo
and the All-White Astronauts

New Age "Asiatic" thought ... is establishing itself as the
hegemonic ideology of global capitalism. (Zizek)

Friday, April 28

ascona redux: deja vu

This one's a bit dense, lots of German, and I didn't recognize the names in the first half either. But stick with it. Slog on and you'll surely catch the drift...
In his autobiography Max Halbe wrote that Friedrichshagen was a state of mind rather than a place. If this was so, then Ascona, a tiny community on the Swiss side of Lake Maggiore, must also be considered as part of the Friedrichshagen mindscape. Ascona offered Wilhelmine reformers a lakeland idyll even more attractive than the Müggelsee, and a much better climate, but in the 1900s its transient population were still recognizably Friedrichshagener. Some, such as Mühsam, and Else Lasker-Schüle, flitted between the two. For others, such as Henri Oedenkoven and Ida Hofmann, Ascona became a home for some twenty years. Oedenkoven, a wealthy Belgian, and Hofmann established a natural health sanatorium, Monte Verità, near the village in 1900. Their regime was strictly vegetarian and abstinent, with plenty of sun, fresh air and water, together with generous helpings of Wagner's Parsifal. At various times it attracted the likes of Hermann Hesse, D.H. Lawrence, Max Weber, and C.G. Jung, as well as a succession of Naturmenschen -- longhaired, barelegged, sandal-wearing "seekers after truth" -- who passed through the small community, which became the "semi-official meeting place for all Europe's spiritual rebels."

Wilhelminism and Its Legacies:
German Modernities, Imperialism, and the Meanings of Reform, 1890-1930

Are you tracking on the covers as this thing continues to unfold? I won't be able to do this in the published book. And they're not just there for the pretty pictures. But look at the pictures. Check the dates. Click through and read the fine print, between the lines: The Cult of Health and Beauty... Imperialism... Race. Re-scan those emphasis-mine names in the passage above. Do you see what's going on here? Sure you do. A story is unfolding, like a face emerging from a London fog. Too close for comfort, devil cross your grave. You only wish this was ancient history.

Nietzche, Eliade, Yeats, A. Huxley, the artist formerly known as Schickelgruber. What's past is personal, eternal return. Brave old world come round again at last. And baby gonna party like it's 1939.