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Understanding the Underground Dancer

Understanding the Underground Dancer

If you have seen him–in clubs, in parties, and even in the street–you will surely remember him. The Underground Dancer is a figure of the modern world that cannot be dismissed. Anthropologists explain dance as the expression of sexual desires, but the Underground Dancer is different, and therefore, often misunderstood. It is hard to pinpoint what he is, and what he looks like, all I can provide is shots in the dark, a desperate attempt to shed light to this misunderstood personae. The underground dancer is a spiritual beggar, a metaphorical call for freedom, a revelrying Dionysus, an artist and a work of art–he matters not merely because he is different, but because he gives us new eyes with which to see the world.

He might sit in the corner of the club, to give you an example, motionless, like a meditating Buddha sitting under the Tree of Life, like a damned poet with the weight of the world resting on his obnoxious self-centered shoulders. He will quietly, perhaps smoking a cigarette, or sipping slowly from a glass of red wine observe the world–his stage–that lies in before him and in vain try to break free of the oppressive cycle of desire–which according to Buddha is the cause of all evils–by distancing himself. A spiritual distancing that can be likened to a state of drunkenness. As the intoxicated man slips and falls, he realizes that he is falling, but does not care. He understands everything but choose to ignore it (Watts). Similarly the Underground Dancer, huddled in the corner of the club, adopts an attitude of artistic apathy, spitting on the face of all petty pre-occupations of this world. But this mildly nihilistic inaction is only the first step.

Just as the wor…

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…rds. The dance may be futile, for it is an insurrection that will not last, but even for a single night, the dancer will be “as the victorious Dionysus, who will turn the world into a holiday” (Bey 33). As the dancer walks away, one is left with a feeling inside that something has changed: the world seems like a nicer place. A difference has been made.

Works Cited

Bey, Hakim. T.A.Z. the Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism (New Autonomy Series). Reprint Edition. Autonomedia, August 1991.

Joy Division. “Transmission.”

Kaufmann, Walter (Editor). Existentialism: From Dostoevsky to Sartre. Reissue Edition. Meridian Books, USA, March 1988.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Birth of Tragedy and Other Writings. Reprint Edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Watts, Alan W.. The Way of Zen. Vintage Books, February 1999.

September 11: An Attack on Privacy and Civil Liberties

Abstract: On September Eleventh, terrorists attacked more than the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and rural Pennsylvania. They also attacked American ideologies and feelings of security that hundreds of years had built. Before these tragedies occurred, Americans viewed themselves as individuals and cherished the remnants of their individual lives that technology had not stolen from them. Now Americans are coming together in mourning, and, in the process, changing their views on the individual and the balance between privacy and security. This paper looks at how America has changed its stance on the privacy debate.

The target of the hijackers September eleventh was not the World Trade Center nor was it the Pentagon or the White House. The intent of the attacks was more than murdering innocent Americans and destroying billions in property. Instead, it was an attack on symbolic monuments of American culture: pride, security, stability, democracy and prosperity. When the terrorists struck September eleventh, their aims were to change American society from one that prided itself on its continued fight for civil liberties to one where the populace is willing to sacrifice those very ideals and liberties to create a faint veil of security and, in this regard, the terrorists were successful.

The definition of “terrorism”, according to Webster’s dictionary, is “the systematic use of violence as a means to intimidate or coerce societies or governments”[1]. The September 11th attacks have fulfilled this definition of terrorism. The attacks were aimed to radically change Americans’ views of security and, beyond that, Americans’ sense of freedom. Follow-up evidence suggests that the attacks were successful in achieving th…

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…fs Reassessed.” Ariana Eunjung Cha and Jonathan Krim. Washington Post. September 13, 2001.

[5] “Newsweek Poll: Bush Soars.” Jane Spencer. Newsweek special on September 15, 2001

[6] “Living Under an Electronic Eye.” Lisa Guernsey. New York Times. September 27, 2001.

[7] “Americans back encryption controls.” Wendy McAuliffe. CNET special on September 18, 2001

[8] “Terrorist threat shifts priorities in online rights debate.” Stephanie Olsen and Evan Hansen. CNET September 17, 2001.

[9] “Send in the online spooks?” Katharine Mieszkowski. September 14, 2001.

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