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VisPo: Red Badge Series

January 22, 2011

Red Badge I: Apparatus
Red Badge I: Apparatus

Red Badge II: mean/s/end/s
Red Badge II: mean/s/end/s

Red Badge III: Gift
Red Badge III: Gift

Red Badge IV: nostalgia
Red Badge IV: nostalgia

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 2, 2011 5:05 pm

    I really like the 2nd & 4th ones the best

    • February 5, 2011 9:03 am

      Thank you, Paige. Those are my favorites as well, although so many seem to like the third one. Hope all is well with you!!

  2. February 7, 2011 12:00 am

    I really like this series.. What was your intent with the big AZ in the middle of the second one? The first one is really sort of spiritual.

    • February 7, 2011 10:30 am

      Thanks, Tammy! This series was inspired by personal experience and reflection, the product of spiritual searching. The “AZ” is in Red Badge II: mean/s/end/s and is about the relationship between means and ends. Do the ends justify the means, in which case the means can be simple manipulation and or violent in order to get a “good” end? For example, the question asked in *The Brothers Karamazov* by Ivan (to Alyosha):

      Tell me straight out, I call on you–answer me: imagine you yourself are building
      the edifice of human destiny with the object of making people happy in the finale,
      of giving them peace and rest at last, but for that you must inevitably and unavoid-
      ably torture just one tiny creature, that same child who was beating her chest
      with her little fist, and raise your edifice on the foundation of her unrequited
      tears–would you agree to be the architect on such conditions? Tell me the truth.

      The means here–violent (even if only to one)–stands in contrast to the end. One could think of them as qualitatively different. In this case, though, the means are “mean” (“hateful” or “cruel”-but also in terms of how we view things in order to make sense (“mean”) of the horrible things that happen and perhaps also what is the “(statistical) norm” (“mean”), that is, how most of us unthinkingly pursue many of our ends with means that are violent, even if it’s just in berating ourselves in order to “keep ourselves in line” (on a larger level, how individuals and society justifies punishment, war)). In the title the”mean,” if you take out the “/s” both times you get: mean end, which I guess means I’m taking the side that it does taint the end–meaning they’re not qualitatively different. The title as a whole simply questions the relationship. (one could read the “/s” as “is,” which leaves the title hanging as a question, a fill in the blank “means is ends is,” but also a statement that the means and the ends in the end take on the same character. The ends does not justify the means, or, the end(s) will be of the same nature as the means.

      Now, finally to the “AZ.” 🙂 A is a beginning and Z is the end. The way to get from the beginning to the end (steps–“means” analogically speaking) is both what I’m questioning and is a statement from me. To have them stand equally in size signifies two things: one is that means and ends do actually have the same character. A “good” end is not truly “good” (or peaceful) if the means were wrong (or violent). But, as the means are usually downplayed and made to seem unimportant to the end when one is trying to justify them, we generally don’t see them as of the same nature or as equal (in the process of justification). The end is much greater (“larger”) than the means (“smaller”) to get there. So–to put them as the same, as equal–consciously–signifies a relationship where the means and ends are of the same nature, and here I mean that it’s a refusal to justify violence, which means (ha!) they are both good. But I may be simply displaying a hope in this, unsure of whether it’s really possible to live this consistently in all corners of life and actually get anything done. Of course, this is also a spiritual question for me as well in many, many ways.

      Sorry so long. Hope I didn’t ramble too much! Thanks for stopping by. I’ve not had as much time lately to spend on my blog (or others’ 😦 ). Here’s hoping that will be changing. 🙂

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