Archive for July, 2013

Isn’t it interesting how an expression of hope can at times be an occasion for experiencing despair? Our emotional brains…sigh…

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A few passing questions for you….who?

If every atom in your body is not really where it is, i.e is not a stable spacetime event, at least not in the Newtonian sense, then where and when are you, precisely?

If every molecule in your body gets replaced every few years (or decades, or centuries or whatever) then are you a new you every few (years, decades, etc)?

Is there some one molecule in your body that never gets replaced, or that can be precisely localized in spacetime, or is there some one idea about you that can be anchored in place by a set of words that once discovered never changes ever again?

And is that the you that you think you are?

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A word on my last few posts: I’m currently reading Gregory Orr’s book Poetry as Survival in which he very nicely re-describes the Nietzschian aesthetic notion that (Dionysian) art is always already a confrontation of the subliminal sense, present perpetually at the edges of phenomena, of dis-integration and dis-order. That we (somewhat compulsively) remake events into experience through art, and thereby seek to get a handle hold on the double threats of death and irrelevancy that are always nipping at our heels. Our modern aesthetic being so Nietzschian (thanks to Freud!) it made me wonder if a different perspective might be embedded in our own pre-Nietzschian tradition?

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In what context does it make sense to make sense?

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If the position and momentum of any given event can never be determined to any arbitrarily specified confidence interval, then what can we ever know? If I can’t even tell you precisely where [I] end and all the rest of the [universe] begins, then how can I claim to know anything at all? Should we invent a different sort of “knowledge,” to fill in the “gap?” Or perhaps abandon the concept altogether? Embrace ignorance? Learn to celebrate, untruth?

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For the last 300 years or so, the west has been obsessed with the investigation and preservation of the principle we call “freedom.” There is literally nothing we would not do to preserve this idea as we understand it: bomb any nation, condemn any person, fabricate any data, entertain any delusion. What I think we have lost sight of, though, is the fact that when we enslave ourselves to a convention, even one as laudable as the idea of freedom, we lose contact with the nature of the way things are, here and now.

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Humanity has for centuries told stories of the beyond. And whether we have pictured it as a radiant celestial realm above (the Platonic-Christian tradition) or a dark inscrutable underground (the Dionysian-Pagan tradition) still there has always been a sense that whatever is im-mediately happening is not sufficient. That an additional explanatory model must be adduced to whatever is our experience. But what if we try a different way of thinking? What if (like Kant or the Buddha) we try to think of everything being right here and now, in one world only? How then should we live?

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because I’m convinced no peoples would ever accept me,
i walked right up to life and let go. what
was not mine being everything trailed lately
behind. it was feeling only feeling that kept pushing back.
to promises recorded in ink. alone though soon i read through one single night

every book ever scribed. therein as supposed
were found the charmers of evil— you, youth, parents,
and institutions. but i no longer felt compelled to get permission to live.
i turned authors into themselves and pictured what might happen
when one sinks behind beginnings or desire is milked
by the light of an atomic dawn.

i said deliver wisdom to the world and let the wisdom do the work.

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Ich sol erzaehlen,
Die Nacht is schon spaet—
Willst du mich quaelen,
Schoene Elisabeth?

Daran ich dichte
Und du dazu,
Meine Liebesgeschichte
Is dieser Abend und du.

Du musst night stoeren,
Die Reime verwehn.
Bald wirst due sie hoeren,
Hoeren und nicht verstehn.


I should tell you now
the night is already late—
will you yet torment me,
beauteous Eliza-bait?

I sing thereof
and withal you too,
my own love-story
is but the night and you.

Do not bother yourself,
these rhymes to disperse.
Soon you will hear them,
hear but not converse.

–Hesse (1902), trans. by m4u

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