Evil Eye

Linebaugh

Well-known member
It is this which recovers
My guts the strings of my eyes and the indigestible portions
Which the leopards reject.
The eye may be prophylactic, but it cannot be beneficent—it is maleficent. In the Bible and even in the New Testament, there is no good eye, but there are evil eyes all over the place. (Lacan, Four 118–19)
Was reading Eliot's Ash Wednesday, of the first lines above, and got to thinking on something I left unturned when reading Blood Meridian- why the evil eyes? For Ash Wednesday, I think this supremely stupid Delueze quote is as good a place to start as any:
[T]he eye interprets everything—speaking, understanding, shitting, fucking—in terms of seeing.
Seeing is an an A to B relationship. This is the kernel thought of phenomenology, and hence all of continental philosophy, following in line with possibly the original philosophic impulse found in sun worship:
Here darkness is no longer, as it is in lunar mythologies, one of the modes of being of divinity; instead, it symbolizes all that the god is not, hence the adversary par excellence. Darkness is no longer valorized as a necessary phase in cosmic life; in the perspective of solar religion, it is opposed to life, to forms, and to intelligence. In some cultures the luminous epiphanies of solar gods become the sign of intelligence. In the end sun and intelligence will be assimilated to such a degree that the solar and syncretistic theologies of the end of antiquity become rationalistic philosophies; the sun is proclaimed to be the intelligence of the world, and Macrobius sees in the sun all the gods of the Graecooriental world, from Apollo and Jupiter to Osiris, Horus, and Adonis (Saturnalia, I, ch. 17-23).
This is that same impulse that Eliade will go on to say is at the heart of a modern desacrilized world, and the same impulse Eliot is fighting in part one of Ash Wednesday:

Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign? Because I do not hope to know again
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know

So the eye is evil because it decouples, diverges, takes us away from that universal Tantric substance and into a space of alienation, of cold calculation.

Why else is the eye evil?
 
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Linebaugh

Well-known member
typing this all up I realized I may have been more interested in sun worship. Oh well, the suns a great big eye, this thread can be both.
... the number of such homologies established between man and the universe is very large. Some of them seem to force themselves on the mind spontaneously, as, for example, the homology between the eye and the sun, or of the two eyes to sun and moon
In Ishmael Reed's Mumbo Jumbo an eternal order of Atonists, sun worshipers, have since Set killed his brother Osiris existed to subdue Jes Grew, which Reed uses to mean something approximating blackness and fun, the will to dance.

Similar stuff going in Gaddis' The Recognitions, in which a Christian priest loses his minds reconciling what he finds to be incositincies in the religion and converts into a Mithraism.
 
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Linebaugh

Well-known member
The Recogintions might be a key text here as Gaddis is trying to find some synthesis of the spirituality/intellect crisis, as embodied in pagan sun worship, and modernism's existentialist crisis-the whole book reeks of Sartre, who as a devout Heidegger pupil was, as mentioned earlier, working with a philosophy of seeing. The book can be called a cynical chronicling of the eye's ensnarement in a perpetual relay of knowledge.
 
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IdleRich

IdleRich
Mumbo Jumbo and Recognitions in the same thread... I feel I should be able to contribute in a worthwhile manner but I don't know if I can.
Bunuel's scene above is - unbelievably - still powerful, how can that be? I understand they used a cow's eye to achieve that effect... in this film (below), which - for me - similarly retains its power to affect, albeit in a grubby, sordid little way, there was a rumour that he used an actual human corpse for the scene when her eye is cut out. In that sense it could be seen as some kind of accidental spiritual heir to Bunuel. Personally it reminds me of a friend of a friend, a girl called Alix who was always referred to as "Alix with one I" and then later simply as "One Eye"


My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk is filled with artists who put out their own eyes when they finally achieve that perfection that they thought was always out of reach. Which in turn reminds me of the scientist - Newton? - who stuck a pin into the centre of his own pupil as part of his experiments with lenses and such like. I like the symmetry there - when people discuss the two cultures (art vs science) they don't always recognise that both are capable of expressing this kind of insane passion which is lazily thought of as merely in the domain of art.


What do you think that Van Morrison is referring to when he gets so excited about his girlfriend's brown eye?
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
The Residents of course are nothing but lots of big and arguably evil eyes. As acknowledged in this weird tribute - I just want to be The Residents, I just want to have an eye, in my head


Placebo even more so


 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Dunno what happened to the rest of that post
I went to the institute. And asked the doctor there. In the department of eyeballs. "What's this burden that I bear?" He said, "You ain't crazy." He said, "You ain't insane." "It's just you got an eyeball in the center of your brain!"
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
Essential grapejuice essay on the eye vs ear struggle in Finnegans wake which is also Joyce vs Lewis and time vs space and is picked up on and extended by McLuhan. I'll find it in a sec.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
I might have done a thread modern one eye cult I can't rememeber.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
Essential grapejuice essay on the eye vs ear struggle in Finnegans wake which is also Joyce vs Lewis and time vs space and is picked up on and extended by McLuhan. I'll find it in a sec.
I insist you read this this instant
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
Inside, amid the flurry of menservants attired in sober black suits and pristine white gloves, you feel you have stumbled into someone’s private Xanadu. This is no mere rich person’s home, but a high-walled, eclectic, imperious fantasy that seems to have no boundaries.

The entrance hall is decorated not with paintings but with row upon row of individually framed eyeballs; these, the owner tells people with relish, were imported from England, where they were made for injured soldiers.
 
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