Archive | February 18, 2012

Greenlit; or, Lords of the Ring


I missed the Green Lantern movie when it was in theatres, but now I’ve finally seen it. Maybe my expectations were low because I’d seen almost exclusively negative reviews, but I thought it wasn’t bad. Sinestro in particular was terrific; I could happily watch a whole movie devoted to him.

The Tomar-Re character mentioned in passing that one sector has 80,012 galaxies in it. That’s a bit shy of my estimate, but still highlights the absurdity of the idea.

One thing that bugged me was the post-credits (well, actually mid-credits) sequence, which I thought lacked sufficient preparation. What it showed was certainly a scene that fans are eager to see – but the fans want to see that scene as the culmination of a gradual buildup, not suddenly sprung on us without explanation out of the blue (or green; or yellow). If there’s a sequel, I hope it begins before rather than after that scene.

Tolstoj on Self-Ownership

Since the concept of “self-ownership” is usually rejected by social anarchists, it’s interesting to see that at least one, Lëv Tolstoj, embraced the idea. But unlike most self-ownership theorists, Tolstoj invokes self-ownership not as a foundation for property rights to external objects, but on the contrary, precisely to rule out such rights. In his 1886 What is To Be Done? (the second of three famous works by that title), Tolstoj writes:

What then is property?

People are accustomed to think that property is something really belonging to a man. That is why they call it ‘property’. We say of a house and of one’s hand alike, that it is ‘my own’ hand, ‘my own’ house.

But evidently this is an error and a superstition.

I own my beard!

I own my beard!

We know, or if we do not know it is easy to perceive, that property is merely a means of appropriating other men’s work. And the work of others can certainly not be my own. It has even nothing in common with the conception of property (that which is one’s own) – a conception which is very exact and definite. Man always has called, and always will call, ‘his own’ that which is subject to his will and attached to his consciousness, namely, his own body. As soon as a man calls something his ‘property’ that is not his own body but something that he wishes to make subject to his will as his body is – he makes a mistake, acquires for himself disillusionment and suffering, and finds himself obliged to cause others to suffer.

A man speaks of his wife, his children, his slaves, and his things, as being his own; but reality always shows him his mistake, and he has to renounce that superstition or to suffer and make others suffer.

In our days, nominally renouncing ownership of men, thanks to money and its collection by Government, we proclaim our right to the ownership of money, that is to say, to the ownership of other people’s labour.

But as the right of ownership in a wife, a son, a slave, or a horse, is a fiction which is upset by reality and only causes him who believes in it to suffer – since my wife or son will never submit to my will as my body does, and only my own body will still be my real property – in the same way monetary property will never be my own, but only a deceiving of myself and a source of suffering, while my real property will still be only my own body – that which always submits to me and is bound up with my consciousness.

Only to us who are so accustomed to call other things than our own body our ‘property’, can it seem that such a wild superstition may be useful, and can remain without consequences harmful to us; but it is only necessary to reflect on the reality of the matter to see that this superstition, like every other, entails terrible consequences. …

What then does property mean? Property is that which belongs to me alone and exclusively, that with which I can always do just what I like, that which no one can take from me, which remains mine to the end of my life and which I must use, increase, and improve.

Each man can own only himself as such property.

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes