Perhaps I ought to be more clear. If one attempts to say what being is, as opposed to what or how a process becomes, if one attempts to determine what is being not in the abstract but in its most general and complete form, Ione finds that there is nothing graspable. In truth, it is nothing that comes to mind in a thought without predication. And the "that it is there" says little or nothing. There is no thing or process, no coming that is there.
So, when one seeks after an understanding of being, they find what becomes, and for some time they must be satisfied with history, with happenstance...for a time at least.more
I do not believe that somehow I know better than others, but rather I do know better. I reject childish beliefs and half-thought nonsense. What is around you is what ought to assist in understanding. What is within you speaks to you through those things, creatures, living beings and processes. The revealing of any kind of truth seems just within reach, yet impossibly difficult to make straight; there is always some further complication, something that twists what one thought was true into another conception.
It is in this context that I cannot believe in a demiurge.more
I do not know, but I wonder. Have animals the capacity to think of suicide? They seem, on occasion, to surrender to dire and lethal circumstances, but when some human rescues them, they come back to life from the dead and they find joy even, at least the ones who have the fortune of encountering decent human beings. And these are particular circumstances, of course. Not every animal comes back.
But it is these about whom I write. Have they a notion that they simply do not wish to live any longer?
And please, my friend, do not take my musing as evidence that I wish to depart life. It is curiousness that occupies me, not dire depression.more
Today is a day when minutes are crammed into minutes and hours spread themselves out within the longest duration into days. Today proceeds very slowly, with moments only reluctantly surrendering the movement of creatures and process.
You have returned, and your time is not your own, but someone else possesses it. You are perhaps doing something you always loathed, and that loathing is the ally of the creeping time. They mock you and in true sadistic manner laugh at your distress.
It is with a staggering alienation and a criminal manifestation of capitalism that a vocation dies, and many have no idea that their lives can, and could have been, centered on some project that would at least have been tolerable. If one takes Sartre's transcendence and applies it to every human endeavor, then one can see how easily any human life is alienated. Jean-Paul seems to complaint in exquisite fashion about any, even minor, affect upon the traveling of a human to themselves through time, and that is what we do when we are not alienated. We come to be within everyday activity. It is death, a slow dying, and the accompanying torture that propels most humans into a future locked into debt and social obligation.
Our fear is that such a condition is ordinary for most humans, that alienation is not merely common but necessary for the species. Who will remove the garbage to the landfill? Who will fix the furnace and mop the floors? Will those tasks be permanent means of living for many? Who will be able to express themselves and be compensated?more
If one is sexually active, they tend to feel as if a part of their body is the body of the other with whom they act sensually. The distance between them is not meaningful, but may increase the intensity of desire.
This is the desire that comes to me when I learn. It is not a body that I seek, but...something other than human.more
I am finishing my training for online teaching, which is helpful but annoying. Some of these instructors make incredibly complicated courses. The complicated nature of the courses make navigation perhaps 15% of the work needed to take the course, whereas an in-person course would require attendance and sitting, perhaps taking notes.
Everything seems so much more complicated, unnecessarily so. Still, I would not wish to live in another age.more
My throat is not sore, but it will be. I am not completely exhausted, but I will be. I will prop up myself during the day with energy bars, day-old lunch and will. I began forty-five minutes ago and I will end my day at 10pm. I look forward to the little holiday, but my cold, or flu or whatever it is, will occupy my time until I return again to this social work, to which I am ill-fitted and to which I am as-yet unaccustomed.
I will rest for a time on the futon, then ride my bicycle to work. It is the fastest way to arrive. I only hope that the day proceeds quickly.more
There is a book or two written about Hässlichkeit that the German program Sternstunde featured. There two authors talked about the affects of a lack of form on different parts of the human condition. It seems that the media and common sense conversations are caught in the most superficial of senses about beauty, but that is to be expected.
There is no matter for form to inhabit. We find form each and every time we understand anything, and what we have conceived as mass, or matter, is form in the scientific sense. Whatever we encounter, if we have the ability to encounter it at all, we encounter through the parts of a whole and the harmony that results when that what comes to be anything. It is, as Plato discusses, the parts and their relationship to the whole; the whole and its relationship to the parts; the parts with respect to the parts; the whole with respect to the whole; the whole absolutely in itself; the parts in themselves; the parts absolutely in themselves, and so on. Whatever we comprehend, we do so through beauty, but not the kind of beauty that walks on a...more
Once again, my empty companion, we are amazed at the contribution you make! I listened yesterday, and then I read what you added. It was a blissful release that I experienced when you were here, and the freeing of concept, the dissolution of self, these both were the best most-needed of all things. You leave us with a fresh palate and, as used to be said, a clean slate, though perhaps the slate was not completely clean. You are a ridding of all that is there, while there is something yet present. One cannot even imagine blackness as your affect. Even the lack of color is for you some kind and positioning of hue. You are the most awe-inspiring emptiness!
And that is what makes you so unique. You are in every thing and process, at the very peak of its being and the height of its qualitative movement! Thank you for your contribution to our forum yesterday. You are always welcome here, but then you are ever-present and ubiquitous as well!more
There was an academic who investigated psychopathy. He performed a study in which he himself was one of the subjects, and when the results of brain scans arrived, he noted one of the scans was obviously psychopathic. He placed it on a pile of others he had noted and continued until he realized that his scan was not among the others. He searched through the stack and found that the obviously psychopathic subject was, of course, his. He explained that he had never killed anyone, never contemplated such a thing. He was no thief; he was married and responsible. He told this amusing anecdote in order to show how there are high-functioning psychopaths among us.
It is the case that such an evolutionary advantage may be quite valuable, if civilization were to take a turn for the worse when, say, climate changes affect the tightly-knit human universe. Climate change could transform humanity into a race of mostly psychopaths.more
Today is the sixteenth of November and the temperature is expected to rise about sixty degrees. There has arisen a push to "reinvent" practically everything, with the result that many of the every-day practices and mechanisms have been redesigned for profit, and not for utility. No measured approach has ever been a part of such a revolution, or one may say a counter-revolution. It seems that the redesigning is also the redesigning of the planet, making it more warm.
"Bravo," said one of our public figures. "If the temperature is rising, I say "Bravo."
The change is contrived, and even the least thoughtful of us must recognize that the Google sheets and the shared documents do not make our every-day tasks easier. These duties are much more complicated, easier to corrupt and they are more delicate. My grade-sheet in the school software program is an example. I have no other option than to use it. A simple sheet of paper with ledger lines on it is unacceptable. I must share the too-complicated software grade-displayer with student and parent alike. It is not that the...more
There are, it seems, those who are saying that the war in Israel against Hamas and the Ukraine war are both evidence of the unfolding of civilization. One hears faint voices about these things, sounds that come from a distance when one has largely abandoned social media. One also hears historians claim that we are witnessing the mere unfolding of history, a regular occurrence. The rumors of the end of civilization seem to be exaggerated.
It does seem, almost always, that the present order of things is ending, or at least there is a shock to the system, whatever the system happens to be at present. Those who are comfortable and asleep become aware momentarily and the single, fleeting moment of awareness jolts them. The end seems near as the fear rises. They are more susceptible to the assertion that history is ending, and we do have the climate crisis to take into consideration. It will affect history, and your precious economic system.
Still, though civilization may significantly change, or even collapse, humans will survive. They will kill most living creatures...more
I want to thank you, my empty friend, for yesterday's contribution to my blog. I learned quite a bit, and I took away a great deal of what you and your nature truly are. Sometimes, when a guest comes, they talk and one wonders why anyone would invite them, why there would be any interest in what they do, but with you there is never any absence of interest in what you do. We all wonder at the sight of nothing and of a lack within something. You gave us at the same moment a rest and a delving into our future.
I only hope that those who read come to realize how much a part of you they are.more
You may be able to tell, my never intoxicated friend, that I needed to sleep in this morning. I do not drink alcohol, except for perhaps three occasions per year. I did so last night, and now I regret it. I am still clearing my head. What happened to those years when I was able to drink all night?
You must excuse my entry. It suffers the pain of residuals.more
It is astounding when a bad leader finds themself and their country in crisis. Crises increase one's popularity by default. Our beloved leader needs do nothing but take advantage of photo opportunities. They send some comforting words into a microphone and suddenly they are able to implement the worst policies that have yet been conceived. And the humans who become powerful in the political arena are those who have the least moral and ethical impediments.
At the very least there will be one crisis after another in the coming decades, because of the climate crisis.more
Steve says that he does want cheese, as he has said many times. But, he does not want only cheese. There are, he says, others things in life more important than cheese. Provolone, for example, is an item that is of the utmost importance. Milk is, additionally, one of the more important of fluids. Cheddar and especially Monterey Jack is very important.
Steve wishes us to know that he is not a one-dimensional person. He is not completely obsessed with cheese and with cheese alone. He cannot emphasize these facts enough. Swiss and Pepper Jack are good. Muenster is sometimes tasty, unless the ants come and spoil the experience. Sour cream is good; plain yogurt is tasty; Mozzarella or White Cheddar are both wonderful, and they are not cheese.
Sleep is good too. Go away now. You have outlived your current use.more
In certain circles there is a concern that the human population is no longer growing in the way that it must. The number of humans seems to be declining, and the power of nations finds itself at risk. Economies must change, if not so many humans are here. We must always remember that there are enough humans. There were enough human beings in the middle ages, in the seventeenth century, before recorded civilizations. That the population declines is not a problem for anything, except wealth, and if there is such a decided lack of imagination on the part of current leaders as to how an economy can be configured so as to function well for all with the new circumstances, then the current leadership must change. They are not deserving. Fewer human beings means fewer problems. The earth existed, and was apparently quite content, before any semblance of humanity arose here.
I stand silent at times, watching these children that I teach. They will, many of them, blindly reproduce.more
Well, another morning comes our way. The time has been adjusted and the light is now present earlier in the work day. It was a strange sensation riding my bicycle to work while the sun shone. I kept suspecting that I would not arrive at work as planned, that I would somehow be at fault for the time of day. But the time of day, the sunlight and all of its vision, have not changed. Nothing is different, except the work day will last longer and those who possess too much will take more. The Russians and the Chinese will still be soiling our social media with conspiracy-theory dreck, while real conspiracies remain unnoticed. We have an ex-president who is now on trial. It is amazing that such a man is in court at all, except that his criminality is so very obvious and his methods those of an inexperienced child. The earth continues to burn. Yes, we mention it again, since the hurricanes, the tornadoes and other sundry storms will intensify and bring us misery. They will kill other creatures as well, our responsibility there. These natural disasters will wreck havoc with our...more
It is a melancholy that occupies me these days, my friend with no name. I feel a kind of dying inside. It is not the existential kind, with hints that its way of being is not truly dying. It is an actual dying. A significant portion of my life has been given to a more conventional mode, a situation that must be remedied. And it is finances that have brought me to this point. Do not mistake my meaning; my finances are healthy, never before have they been so good, but that life I had must return, even without so much financial security, otherwise there will be nothing remaining, except the effort to continue without reflection.
I will not bore you with the details, but know that I cannot continue on this path. It is too simple, not thoughtful enough. I need my life to return to some semblance of what it had been.
There are these relationships that continue long into one's life. They are connections that glow a dull red for many years, still smoldering and ready to conflagrate into something filled with vitality. They await our needs and the proper circumstances. These relationships are not romantic; they are filial and useful for the occasions when circumstances have degraded, when great moments emerge, during the most mundane of experiences. There we find the genuine alter ego, the "other I." They are filled with misunderstanding and genuine resentment, but they slide into a familiar posturing, a seat where one sits comfortably. They are not relationships born of genetics; no similar DNA is present, other than that which all humans share.
These are strange persons who are so similar and yet so aggravating.more
I slept late today, my friend. You ought to be thankful, if you had any need to be thankful, that you have no need. In fact, you seem to be all need. You are the need without needs! At any rate, you need no sleep, and I must rest. I suspect that is why your silence is so calming for me. You are what death is most probably about to be. It is a kind of comfort. No reward. No punishment. Simple lack.
But my body still longs for more rest, though I have given it all possible hours of the night, and now soon the day, to recuperate. I feel as if you and I grow closer, the more I sleep. There are dreams, of course, that remind one that they are alive, but most nights pass without any recollection on my part that there was anything but a decided blackness to my night. You were there.
I have nothing more to add today.more
An effort at calling attention to oneself with alarming and disturbing assertions in the virtual world has unfortunately combined itself with another paradigm shift. There are, in Germany at least, many philosophers and physicists turned philosophical who want to grasp our new uncertainty and quantum-entangled comprehension in order to lead the way into the next great, and terribly destructive, moment in human knowledge. These disturbing notes in a cacophony stun the classical mechanics and drive our most vain of thinkers to the videos plastered on the virtual world's face. They simply must take hold of the moment, since it is so astounding that what we thought before is not nearly as certain as we once believed, since the connections between the physical objects in the world seem to be deep and singular. The senses and the mind are befuddled.
There is no befuddling for the philosopher of any worth. The visit one makes to living is for them not a question, but a question that is questioned again, and then again. These are, of course, the honest philosophers, the ones who...more
When the crinkle arises, so does the delicious, dried food. There is a wooden board that opens when he pulls on it. Inside there are bags and cans. When the door is open and the crinkle sounds, it is time for the dried chicken delicious to find its way into our mouths. That is the way of things; there is no other way for things to be. The dried chicken delicious is delicious. That is why it is called "delicious."
The crinkle arose today, but it came about not at the wooden board near his head, but near the large, rectangular, metal thing that makes noise and is cold inside. We heard the crinkle and it is time for the dried food in piles near the wooden boards near the floor. We heard it. The crinkle has come, but the dried delicious does not come.more
As I move through my day, my steps and thoughts become weary. There is some kind of vitality and presence that arises, and then it slowly dissipates throughout the day I am such as many other creatures who stand and move about the earth. But you, my lifeless and empty friend, are filled with enough of naught to always be...nothing. You, as I have said on prior occasions, have the continued ability to continue as you are. There is a completion to you, a finality that always comes to that which no longer has in it any of the is that grows it weary. Still, much of this direction and kind of motion tends towards some point, or end. It is that much we can claim is meaning in this cage of living, and it is you who visit us when we make that movement from one place and state to others. You I am able to talk to but not with; you and I discuss what we are able to do in common.
You have your presence so much more potent than the obvious kind, and you bring about the new...everything.more
In my building there are well-meaning workers and a building manager. They work regularly on issues of great importance for a building whose owners were in the past willing to spend almost nothing in order to maintain the structure. One of them washes the floor with the most disgusting of substances. It is the kind of water-soluble substance that, if diluted enough, it is harmless, to humans at least. But, these workers care little for proportion and know almost nothing about the carcinogenic nature of the complicated substances they use. They regularly mix the substance into the water in huge portions, in other words making a cleaning solution of incredible potency. That potency is toxic. One can sense its harmful nature when entering the building after a day at work or away on some excursion. The smell is sickeningly pleasant and those who apply it have seemingly grown so accustomed to the power of the scent that they cannot sense it with their olfactory nerves. These workers know how much I disdain the smell and I have talked with them about changing the cleaning solution for...more
I will suggest to you, my uncaring friend, something obvious and expected. It is an action that someone such as I am always suggests. I will say that reading Plato's Politeia ought to be done by reading the ancient language itself. I suggest no commentary by anyone, no critical apparatus, no notes at the end. One of the many benefits derived from this exercise is the elegance with which the work comes to you. There is something technical and interpretive, of course, in a translation. Even when reading a translation without any skill in the ancient Greek tongue makes it clear that there is something lost. The work has been interpreted, reinterpreted, interpreted again, reinterpreted again, and overinterpreted, It is the nauseousness of overinterpretation that we now suffer.
And yet the issues and the suggestions in the work still ring true and have sound measure to them. Best yet: there the suggestion is that the city is outlined, not complete. Its completion comes from the primary philosophical effort.more
During the moment when a woman who has not yet brought herself out of servility thinks to herself "Why am I doing this for him?", she has then the possibility to become something other than a shade of him or his servant, or that which makes his vocation more powerful. That moment does not always continue more than mere moments, and when she considers acting on that thought, the logistics of disentanglement with the gender other becomes more and more evident, the longer the period of thought about her position.
It is a strength that is needed after such a realization, not a strength that overcomes and suppresses, not one that controls, but another kind of potency. It is an act of responsibility, lacking the traditional blaming of the gender other for everything that does not please her about what she herself has done. That actuality - rare for any gender of human - makes a possible emancipation, but the emancipation ought not take the form of the old, traditional complaint, or of the thought that the gender other ought to contort themselves into her expectation, since she...more
Steve the cat just looked at my morning supplement pills, which include probiotics, a multi-vitamin and a flaxseed pill. They would do him no good, and I do not know how much harm they would have brought to him, had he eaten them. He smelled them from a short distance and I drew them up into my hands before he started licking them. Again, I do not know by any means, but it struck me that distance we share, Steve and I. He does not have any inkling of possession, only current control and use. There is no attachment of food or water, or really anything, to a person or to a creature. His position consists of what he is able to take, and right now. I only interfere with what he can take at this moment by removing something from his grasp, or by keeping him from grasping at all.
Yet, he is an affectionate animal. He knows when I feel badly. He comforts me.more
Occasionally, I may comment on politics, and such is a noble undertaking. Awareness is needed, if we are expected to have an informed citizenry. So, I applaud the commentators...the ones with some kind of integrity. There are and will be demagogues, naturally, and we need to bring some kind of reason to the mess that they create. Yet, I promise, my friend of change and absence, that I will not make my entire, albeit brief, essays on political happenings. It is all too easy to exploit that material. One needs only to read the news, or listen to a blog, or watch a day-old group of commentators in order to find something to discuss, and human nature's strangely bad portion makes an easy job: "bringing others to awareness" of the criminality and stupidity of someone's favorite politician.
No, I shall adhere to the negativity that builds, that nihilism who knows. Be strong, my friend, you are an absent human.more
A student raised her hand the other day. She was one of many in a group who were talking to me about how their parents work. I was teaching something about business, telling them about how their labor and their time is taken for this paper that we exchange, these numbers on computer screens, that allows us to use temporarily what we need in order to live, sometimes flourishing but most times surrendering the only things we truly own and want. I was another question, really. I wanted to know something about how time was spent, but they started talking about how their parents work constantly. One student wanted to state that her mother never sleeps. She simply proceeds from one job to another.
These persons never cease acting for another, that other continually feeding.more
If there is a god who has created the universe, then that creator has left the creation to do as it pleases, in a certain sense. There is no interference in the world in order to make things just or in some way right for human beings. There exists no correction of human behavior by a transcendent, moral good. It is perhaps the case that this god cares nothing for humans or that this god cares in such a strange way about them that the care is indecipherable by human understanding, but that way of comprehending god is generous, and unlikely. The likeliness is that we head in no general direction; we wander one manner and direction and then another
Watch what is happening to the whole of the earth; see how human society seems to be acting as it always has while the weather patterns change and while whole ecosystems are falling into ruin. We have grasped enough of the environment to kill, not enough to save. Some say our morality has not progressed alongside our ability to manipulate natural processes; our political institutions are stable, but crumbling; certain political...more
My thieving friend, I slept much over the past few days. I came home and attempted to store up as much sleep as possible in order to ensure that I have enough rest over the next three days; I have so much to do in that time, and I will not have the opportunity to sleep so much. I am gathering the vitality that slips. It is this effort I have at making possible a much more quiet, lasting span of time. I will be able to write and read so much! Yet, there is this sense in which the sleep I am finding will not suffice. I will not use up a store of rest over the next few days, but I will need rest. I will find sleep at the end of the week, in anticipation of a more clear, sober and active mind over the weekend. I have spent so much time storing up health and other useful things in order to accomplish some other goal!
And someone keeps stealing my energy and my ability. Who could that be?more
I walked into the elevator on the 25th floor. There was no-one inside, and so I breathed an internal sigh of relief that I would need to bear no nonsense, but as the elevator descended, my anxiety grew. There are twenty-four floors where a possible tenant or owner might have joined me.
I was not surprised that the elevator became crowded, but I was disappointed. I do enjoy quiet, calm mornings these days. As the elevator filled, no-one spoke, and an entire family joined the descent. There were suddenly more occupants of the elevator at 6am than during the early evening, when most occupants of the building come home.
At the sixth floor the door opened and a tall man I had never before seen entered. He immediately looked down at me; he was quite tall and while I do not consider myself a short person, I was nowhere near his height. He did not hesitate, but rather he looked down upon me as I nodded a greeting and he started talking to me, as if we had chatted many times.
"You're not riding your bicycle this morning," he said.
"No," I returned.
I do not believe that I expected our orange nightmare to lift itself from our political, environmental and overall cultural lives , not soon at least. I did not even expect an alleviation of the worst sort of nihilism and the desecration of all that is decent and good in the democracy that we live, such as there are good things in a thoughtless capitalism. Yet, when I teach the children that I see five days out of the week, I wonder at what will happen to them when the water has run dry, when the resources overall become still more rare. We may run out of water by 2050, and that means not that we will have as much water as we wish until that time. It means that the potable water will become ever more rare, expensive and difficult to attain, and it is the worst of the humans who will survive, they being the ones who will simply look to their own interests during war and drought and famine, which is happening as I write these words. These are the ones who purchase water and land with water on it at this very moment. That is their thought: purchase land in order to survive and...more
I once had a friend with a good nature and an inventive sense of humor. She drank alcohol at all hours of the day, but her best time to consume "Captain Morgan's" spice came in the morning. Actually, I was never certain when she began to drink in the morning, since she attempted to keep from me her state of intoxication, but she was not always successful; I was able to smell the alcohol on her person. It permeated her.
She was an attractive woman of pleasant shape with brown hair and dark eyes, and there were many males who wanted to know her in the carnal manner, so there were certain privileges granted to her when she interacted with, made demands of, or teased them. Sometimes, of course, she would find herself at the raw end of a fist, but as far as I am aware she was hit rarely.
She was yet clever in her drunkenness, and she had realized, perhaps early, that she was able to say and do things that would bring her to the brink of an altercation with a male, but remain just distant enough. Some of these men were dangerous when she talked to them.
One case in...more
There are so many of us who are concerned over the state of our space and over the soundness of where we live. We see that our space on the globe not only has been neglected, but it has been violated, as one violates a woman. We have been concerned for many decades now, and suffered the libel and slander the powerful and unconcerned felt necessary to remove our efficacy. We watch as others go about their daily lives and we see a regular community, one that thrives and continues its activity as if its order and comfort will continue until death arrives, expecting a personal and not a communal end. They pay no heed to what resources they use; they cannot be bothered to separate their waste so that it goes properly into a more healthy space; they burn their ugly fuels without concern...except sometimes. Some of these strange beings actually believe they are environmentally concerned. They are not appalled at the consumption of vitality and at the ill-health that arises around them, or perhaps they are and they simply continue regardless. These persons are potential for us. They are...more
I want to reassure you, my friend of so much desire, that I engage in no intended polemic against science. I have respect for the discipline, though its arrogance seems impractical. There are, though, many ways to think. And it is gratifying that in our age of decay science must acknowledge some of the elements of metaphysics, or at least science must ask questions that most scientists seemed previously unwilling to acknowledge as important.
It is with that qualification that I feel compelled to talk about facts, these things done. Facts explain to us what has transpired and what will transpire. They are the patterns that we see when we look to constant experience and these figures of happenstance give us the ability to tell the future, they allow us to control what will take place because we can predict, with our mighty probability, what will happen. They ae concrete in the figurative sense. We can rely on them in ordinary experience, and yet they are not ultimately reliable. When we look to the tiniest portions of reality, these particles that we see only when we smash...more
Our orange nightmare is not merely one man, but it is the result of many things, as everything is the result of many things. I have talked about it before, but I feel I must say again how political policies have brought us to this point, almost inevitably. There is a nihilist's political system that has given rise to a nihilist's economic practice. I suppose that is the danger of having you around, my friend. You are always there to make nothing the primary part of how human being thinks. You are such a benefit to all that exists, and yet when you are the sole focus - a concentration that does not know it is concentrating - of what is most important, there genuinely is nothing to what those strange others do.
And you bring it all to nothing.more
You would have enjoyed one of the presentations I saw the other day, my creating and distorted friend. This young man had the ability to present on anything at all, and what a student chooses to discuss speaks, of course, to what occupies their minds, to what is there for them. This young man wanted to discuss stress. He talked about how stress does things to us that one would not immediately suspect, should one be a rather young person. Hair can disappear; sickness of a real, physical kind can manifest itself; death even can result, though the student did not talk about death.
It is a turning inside out that makes stress what it is, as if whatever is the point, or the focus, of the stress becomes mangled...but sometimes slowly sometimes instantly.more
I want to tell you, my dying and creating friend, that I already have a family. It consists of friends and relatives who have been a part of my inner circle for some time. They are the non-abusive persons who have become partners. There is no requirement that they be related to me by blood, and they know to stay away.
I cannot say the same for some who want to be a part of my "family", or perhaps I ought to say for some who are busily manufacturing a sense of community. I suspect that these efforts are good and expected to be healthy, but I confess that they are disturbing. The more these persons attempt to "get to know" me, the more they expect that I do for them. It is a transactional relationship that has disguised itself as one of comfort and possible succor.
I do not need a ride to work; I need no friendly chat about what I did this weekend. I will talk to you quite organically...or not.more
I have only statements of fact and a bit of a complaint for you today, my friend of constant change. I call you that because I know you and your various ways. When you are there, there is some kind of otherness taking place, an other-ing. You make other of one to another and this is a kind of intimacy that you share with all things that take place and all beings who live. You make other in a constant way and thus you make a life or process not what it is. If that is a constant process, then are you not making everything not, and thus you turn everything into nothing?
At any rate, I am here on my futon, which one of my friends the cats decided to transform into a commode, such as are commodes in the lives of felines. Whoever the culprit is, they made an intolerable smell of the place where I relax and read - one of the places anyway. The cat and the smell compelled me to wash all of the futon covers, to cover the mattress with material that repels moisture, to cover the enveloped mattress with more impenetrable material and then place a comforter on top of all of that mess....more
I have been away and so very busy today, my dying friend, but I wanted to talk to you before the day's end. I do not believe I am able to continue on this current path for terribly long, perhaps a year? So much has been destroyed over the past week and these days things are dying still more quickly and thoroughly. It's that region in which you live, the one where the end arrives, where I now reside. I recover just enough over the course of a few days to know how much I am not what I am.
But, as you know, I am what I am not. Sartre said as much. We've discussed it before but it never ends until the not becomes complete. That is where we all are heading, yes?more
Some wonder at the physicists' assertion about uncertainty. It is not that I they do not believe that the experiments are incorrect, but as these discoveries - that a particle somehow changes when it is observed for example - are immediately distorted. The degree to which there is a difference is our question, and thus the question becomes what is the level of importance of the observer and its affect upon the observed. Humans have a tendency to make themselves the center of everything, a position which makes the most horrendous actions acceptable, and even moral. They tend to believe that they are so significant that without human perception the universe would not exist. Yet, the "observer" can be a mechanism that - quite alone and lacking any human input - completes the experiment and influences what light is doing. The affect upon light cannot be the effect of producing light. Light may be modified by the observation, but human significance cannot create the photon.
How would I know?
The velociraptor saw what was around it with light.more
It is said that we live in an age of extremes. A significant portion of that statement arises from a reaction to certain demands. These demands come from an ever more intolerant sensibility, and a certain level of understanding must be given to groups that need the assist, but expecting that anyone who encounters a different culture will contort themself around the sensibilities of that culture, when one lives in a supposedly multi-cultural society, is destructive as well. If I am to expect that any emotion I feel be king, I am acting as if I am a child. Tyrants come from that place. They demand whatever joy or stress they sense at any given time be made into the driving force of the actions of others. Sometimes, names are not pronounced correctly; sometimes, passion in speech comes from frustration, not aggression. And aggression is not always negative.
It is the undeveloped human who demands that what they feel is sovereign.more
If one watches one of these ubiquitous crime videos on the internet, one can see a steady stream of astounding conclusions. The authorities have little with which to work, granted, but a course in standard logic will give them the greatest assist in understanding how they do not understand, and in how they are able to benefit from that condition of proper ignorance.
One example is the following. A young man, adopted by a couple some years ago, opens the garage door to his adoptive parents' home and finds both of them barely conscious in the front seat of the car with bullet holes in their heads. He calls the police and asks for an ambulance, and he does so in a calm and monotone manner. The authorities later find suspicious that he is unemotional, that he reacts in a stoic manner. One must grant that the police do not know the situation, and they must grope in the dark, centering initially around the persons involved in the crime and those affected by the crime, but the manner in which each human contends with traumatic situations differs radically from person to person....more
A friend once said that he read some advice about how to become a published author, not just publishing one's material but to become successful. The idea this advice promoted was to write to one's audience. That is to say, think about what your audience wishes to read. Write to that audience. Such advice is sound only if taken with good measure, and we know what good measure our virtual age has demonstrated.
Let us take the advice toward one of its logical ends. If you wish to become a successful author of philosophical material, write philosophical material that your audience wishes to hear. Does that mean if someone wants to hear that one political party of the United States believes a horned god named Bilo who eats shoes and lives in sewers wants to become the almighty sovereign, we ought to write about the adventures of Bilo? Is it even possible to create a meaningful art by pandering to an audience? And what kind of person will - let's not say pander - cater to the taste of an audience rather than create something that will grow an audience?
Ours is a unique...more
I have a thought for you, my friend of the dead. I only wish that you were here to think it.
Those of us who have lived a life when we learn as much as possible watch. We do not so much act on the petty scale: no children, no concern with becoming wealthy. Yet, we recognize the necessity of material goods: no automobiles if we can live without them. We also have no fixed political beliefs. There are no parties to which we attach ourselves in the way that many humans attach themselves to families, or to "tribes" as is the word-to-use these days. We are open to the thoughts of others; we listen to those whose beliefs are presently offensive to ours. There are necessary considerations, and these thoughts cannot arise - cannot continue existence - without an openness to the political and to the philosophical other. This openness separates us from many. It places our way of being in another light for much of the race. We are burned alive, or perhaps forced to drink hemlock. Those who do not sympathize with our way of being wish for our absence - here is where you enter my...more
Sometimes, there are those who have studied philosophy for many years. They have published a great deal of commentary on the thoughts of others, and they contribute mightily to the centuries-long conversation that academics have with one another. They are, in the best cases, humble about their achievements and they are open to the thoughts of others. They assist when they are able, and they know when to be quiet, that political consideration for those who have been in authority not long enough, whose soft thoughts and delicate dispositions must not be criticized. Otherwise, they claim that someone "is being aggressive with me." But I digress. These scholars have everything that is needed for the best kind of contribution to academic commentary. They have learned moderation; they have the appropriate level of courage and seemingly they have gained some amount of wisdom. They are, ever-rarer, even aware that the institution in which they thrive is not so "higher" in education. They may even treat the students around them as if they have something to add in a discussion. They are...more
My friend Steve now has a new coat. He looks great. He had only to endure some moment of discomfort when someone brushed his fur from his side. Life is better now; the discomfort on his flank and the growing stiffness has subsided; he finds jumping and climbing easier, though his sixteen years make them both less comfortable than prior,
and he does not recall the reason, or the squirming.more
One looks for attention in various ways. The need to be recognized seems almost universal. Yet, seeking attention without balance becomes certainly more distasteful and then later repulsive. All we thinking persons realize these truths at one point. And then there are those, I and others among them, who do not wish others to follow. It is not that the attention is unneeded, or even unwelcome, but there is something troubling about the weight of another person's thought upon one's words that becomes immediately burdensome. And witnessing how the words expressed are altered in the mind of another, just enough to make them vile, inspires a reaction, a clarification.
The narcissists and those engaged in the delight of control seem to want subordinates and inferiors, ones that will cling to every word and expression such that there is no mentorship, but rather obedience. Who are those who wish to express themselves, but they do not want a following?more
To those who believe in the immoral soul I cast doubt, though I have for them a thought. If the soul exists and if it is immortal, it must not be subject to time. Its essence must come from some timelessness. If that is so, then there are consequences. It must have no qualities, since predication comes from a what that makes itself within time and space. Time and space are linked, or the same, aspects of existence, so there would be no "place" to go for a kind of thing that no longer has the burden of living. There would then be no motion, since there would be no place to move, nothing subject to time. The immortal soul would have no place, no time and no act, since the action of a living creature would need the matrix of space-time and the ability to move in order to exist. The soul may then be a living being that exists on a different plane? We cannot know a life such as that, except in a wild imagination.
Imagine, then, that the soul exists in the way above described, it exists in a way that cannot be imagined, just felt. There is no time or space and there is no kind...more
There are those who write about being, thinking thinking and being being the same. Thinking is being for the being known as human, but it is not the only part of being, and what is it that is being if being is a raging thought? If thought is confused or misdirected, then what are we? Coming-to-being not being being. The great confusion of ancients over there being no non-being in being is solved by the insertion of not into the what, and the what and the not have never been separate. It seems a mass of confusion fused with nascent reasoning grows within, and what we are and that we are cannot be separated, reason working on an elusive , yet known, goal.
And then there is a wave of being thrown up into the air in the virtual storm.more
Have you ever experienced supreme confidence and a decided lack of it at the same time? It is a confusing to occupy, but it may be a common one. On the one hand one knows that they think and communicate well. On the other hand it seems as if there is little communication, and if one's thoughts are unconventional enough, that is to be expected, but long-term lack of communication undermines that confidence, brings instability to thought.
That is as it ought to be, if one lives through and with reason.more
The children whom I have met over the past two months are typical young adults. When I see them, they are in the context of learning, and they are quite resilient to the process. They have been inundated with consumer culture and demand immediate satisfaction; they play video games during the class time; they challenge adults constantly. There is chaos in the classroom on most occasions, and the settling of their tempers remains the central challenge; it is what they use to combat the efforts made to teach them. They bang desks on the floor the moment the teacher's back is turned. They read almost nothing and they seem to care very little for what the teacher says. They are, to put it briefly, children as other generations have been children, really no different.
Thus, there seems to exist a lack of care for what will come, and what will come is worse than what came to any other generation.more
There are those who claim to have an interest in art and culture, and then there are those who are interested in art and culture. The interested ones need to say little about what drives them to observe, or read. What is there calls to them. They are unable to keep themselves away. Conventional wisdom assists in their investigation, but it does not suffice. A constant desire for more explanation - more synthesis - arises, and when there is at last some element of unification, some grand beginning of single comprehension of novels, of sculpture or of physics, then the unity is shattered almost as quickly as it arrived in this virtual age. The investigation begins again, and a new direction, or perhaps a revisitation and deepening of the old one, arises. Accompanying this regular cycle, for those who actually have the interest, is a state of confusion. It is a healthy ignorance that philosophers have known since at least the time of Socrates.
But it is difficult to live, for those uninterested, or for those interested only by shades. It is not something that holds the...more
We hear from all sides about the loss and the lack of decency in our current politicians. Our thinkers are not much better, but they may not be any better than any other thinker or politician at any time. One hears as well theories about how moderns are less intelligent than the ancients, sometimes it being said that the lead in the air brought us to our astounding stupidity, but again this is the situation, most probably, of all humanity. Somehow, we behave stupidly en masse. It is no surprise and it is nothing new to say as much, admittedly, but seeing it...more
I wonder if I ought to have hard feelings for those who have used me. There are no humans without hard feelings when such things take place. How could the case be otherwise? But is one who is able to act, to do something about the matter to show their higher character and turn a cheek? Does that make a situation more just? It seems that in most cases the answer is no, but certain institutions, still reveling in the fragments that remain of the Roman empire, make use of the result.
One is not somehow decent and principled who does nothing.more
Again, my friend, you are fortunate that you need contend with no body, no entropy. I have been ill for some days and there is no rest. My schedule demands so many exercises and activities that the body feels the strain. Once I have a hand on my duties, there is yet another in a series of alterations to my day sent from above, where the bingo games, the death of relatives, the wage-earing necessities and the get-to-know-one-another activities are born. My schedule is restructured without my consent and I simply must interfere with what I have just recently taken in hand. These are the conditions in which I find myself regularly, and they have stressed my body into illness. I am not overworked, but rather it is the kind of work and the result that is hidden from me.
It is the result that is hidden from so many, yes?more
My submission is late today because I fell ill. The sickness I presently experience is not merely physical, but it is a virus that comes from the violation of artistic principle and value. A friend was describing to me a "talk" given after the showing of "the Blues Brothers" film. I cannot describe to you the vapidity that arose from the university's arrogance; I will not bring the plague upon you. My friend called it hubris, which is a better expression of the jabbering nonsense emitted from these well-known "philosophers." Apparently, these tenured thinkers believed that any term or phrase that arises from them at any time in any way under any circumstances will have the value of platinum. Some of the most obvious of insights as well as apparent irrelevance came from those who wish to promote the reasoned life, but if in fact reasoned living is what they demonstrated, our late friend who drank the hemlock would reconsider living in non-reason. I am certain he and his ugly nose would think again...and conclude that the use of better reason, more thought, is indicated....more
The philosophical issue of friendship has been important since ancient times, and while there are humans there will be need of friends. These are unique characters, these persons so similar and dissimilar to us. They are at first sometimes annoyances, and later the closest of friends. Siblings have in their relationship a touch of friendship, as Apollo and Hermes knew. Those two fought so that one might gain ascendancy to the level of the most-honored gods. Their brawl ended when they exchanged gifts, and they lived in peace and comfort together since that time. It was the conflict that carried the friendship, the breaking of boundary that made them close, horse theft notwithstanding.
And then there is you...more
I would talk with you today, my friend, but I am feeling under the weather, as one says. There is a cloud above and rain falling upon me. I have grown ill because of the storm, one not approaching but here within and without.
So, I cannot complain to you today. I cannot offer a thought. I need the rest.more
It is absolutely necessary that one settle oneself, calmly, into position in order to write, to perform medicine, to labor in general. Anxiety over the next day or the following week drains and rattles one's spirit, which rattles the brain. Never let go of what brings joy. Never release what vitalizes. I am not certain that I will be able to survive the next year, with all of its personal expectations and the orange nightmare we presently live in our collective.
Vladimir has never ceased his assault on the weak minds in our country who permit the most absurd, mad and destructive of things to inhabit and form them. A cult has taken hold of their sensibilities I have heard said. Family members who are somehow expected to retain the critical apparatus needed to shield themselves from the cult of ignorance have surrendered their once-sensible minds to fantasy and delusion.
That calm, settled position seems collectively now remote, and our leaders are anemic. Should our elected officials have more strength, the lack of blood flowing to the minds of the crowd who believe...more
These guys with whom I live do not realize just how wonderful their lives are. They have free food of the highest quality and space within which to roam; they do not need to forage for or prey upon any meals. They are able to bask in the sun at any time and for the longest duration that they please. They have plentiful affection and when they grow weary or when they fall ill, they have immediate healthcare. There are birds that flitter around the living-space, ones that can be captured and will live through any amount of clawing in order to be caught again; balls of yellow and green with the scent that drives them mad; boxes within which to hide and lounge, and they have access to a bed that stretches full beyond the space any single one, or even all of them, is able to extend themselves. They have each other with whom to play, and sometimes with whom to fight.
What more could one want?more
There is an audio recording currently available on one of our better news agencies that tells its listeners how to live in a more healthy manner. The main argument seems to be that the people of a specific region merely live their lives. They concern themselves about more than their health. So, the awareness of and the obsession of health coming from those engaged in a kind of distorted meditation in the form of compulsion over supplements, certain kinds of foods and probiotics ought to loosen the reins of their concentration. Perhaps it is not a bad idea, but I wonder what actual affect it will have upon those listening. I wonder how listeners listen. They seem to take one or two points from a given discussion and make use of only. that one or those two insights. They may take from this audio that they will benefit from ignoring their health. The idea obviously was not to ignore such an important issue, but rather the suggestion was to refrain from compulsion.
There is no sense of moderation or refinement here. Did such a way of refining one's habits and of thinking in...more
I have no insight to share with you today, my friend. I am tired, since I woke early this morning. I have some plans for the long day of teaching and for the social working that I must do. You have heard me say it before, but you are the one to whom I turn when I have no other - there is no other. You listen so very well. At any rate, I cannot sustain this mode of living forever. There are so many difficulties to engage. The mere waking and moving is, sometimes, the most difficult of tasks. I had someone with whom to share, but they are now gone, just as many others have come and then gone before her. She yet talks with me, shares things, but the connection will fade; she will find another.
And I will continue to talk to you.more
Apparently, Immanuel said that the being that lies in the foreground of all that is existing is itself no predicate. It exists as no thing. So, is it the case that the most full and most fundamental of all being is not anything? There is somehow a most full and complete being that has no being to it? Is this the being of existence, rather than a being that is predicate? If that is the case and if the limitations of everything that comes-to-be are a kind of ceasing that opens to a kind of specificity, then it is a species of not - some bit of nothing - that both makes what is - that it is - and brings forth some kind. It is both within and without that the bits of "not-at-all" make what is and what.
I think if you were able to think and to feel, my friend, such news would bring whatever would be the equivalent of a smile to your face. But, of course, you have no face. How could you?more
I have some new ideas, my friend, for classes! And you and your tendency to annihilate will be essential for our success! In this age of the final disintegration of any meaningful higher-educational Humanities interactivity, we need to be practical and I finally decided that I will conform to the new way and ideas. Here are only a few of the cost-cutting, student-registering, language-widget-making beauties:
Ancient Greek and Roman Myth in “Minecraft” (In this class we mostly play video games, but every so often we analyze how some of the characters in the games mildly resemble archetypes in ancient Greek myth, without burdening students with any understanding about what an archetype is),
Zeus and Hermes teach Google Docs (This class ought to be the most popular! Students are able to combine the illusion of myth analysis with the practical application of sharing their information with deeply entrenched, corporate information-gathering and exploitation, but there will be no mention of Big Brother, since the class would...more
I realize that my complaints are of no concern to you, but I want to express myself and my seething frustration. There are certain things that irritate humans not because they really cause any harm or distress, but because they stand in opposition to what we wish to do, prevent the simple and easy from taking place.
My friend Steve assists with the daily cleaning of the litter box and the cleaning of the bowls, as well as the replenishing of fresh water, after every container has been cleaned for today's use. He must be present as the portions of food are distributed to each bowl, as if he is a self-appointed, feline cat food distribution inspector. He watches as I place the food in his bowl and every so often he attempts to eat some of another cat's food before I bring it to the floor for everyone to consume. It is not inconsistent, however, that he engage in a kind of tragic dialectic when I am walking from kitchen to dining room. If, say, I lift up my left leg in order to move myself and the long-desired food, in an effort to avoid the foot, and remain out of the way,...more
I need more advice, my friend. I need time and peace in order to work, but I live in a society that expects I own or I lose. I understand the need for material goods and for labor. I do. But, I find very little value in owning Real Estate or a jet ski. Food and shelter, yes. Expensive automobiles or costly mansions peak no interest in me, none at all. I want only a simple living with a lively inner existence. I seek also companionship and some love, but they are elusive. I have attempted for so many years to find a lasting "other I" who understands and comforts, but mostly I need that they remain through difficulty. That endurance is lacking in this soft age with its hard edges, children commanding billions of dollars worth of resources and deciding for others what, precisely, will be required of them.
I need to drop one of my duties, but I cannot. I need a friend with good counsel. What are your thoughts?more
The plan for today is neither simple nor is it easy to understand, but it will give to us the regimentation needed for a better life. We awake at 5:30am, aware that we must return home no later than 5:31pm. Our first order of business is the washing of genitals and the scrubbing of hair to which is granted ten-fifteen minutes, surely sufficient time for soap all over the body, shampoo of the comeliest fragrance and conditioner of the hair and skin. We then allot seven minutes for the cleaning of the litter box in the bathroom, a duty which is necessarily done after one has cleaned oneself. Five minutes then can be allotted to eating breakfast and some element of feline affection. twenty-two minutes only can the route to work last and then setting us in the office must last no more than eight. Two hours thirty-two minutes and seventeen seconds will be available for various tasks at work, more if my superior asks, since they have the power of life and death over me. The allotted thirty minutes for lunch ought to be foregone, since the current crisis in the office must be tended....more
There are so many plans that never come to fruition. There are others that partially come to...partial success, of course. There exist still others that succeed, and at some cost. There is no escape from the need to put into motion a plan, acting in some way, and goodness and decent character are no exceptions, but there are plans that extract some essential part. That essential part, once it is used to find some element of beauty and thus goodness, becomes lost. It is no longer possible. And then there is something new.
What happens in the place between is nothing.more
If you are a sane individual, nothing ought to annoy you more than a "free" internet service changing their authentication methods in order to compel you to use another of their services. These password "vaults" have possession of every key needed to perform your daily activities, and if you do not conform to their new way of doing things, reconfigured at least every year, they will simply not allow you to continue living. When you attempt to communicate with them, they send automated messages, aggravating and impersonal dismissals of your humanity.
Long ago the complaint that configuration of mind in a too technical way is dangerous lost any traction. The attempt to explain that technology and the mechanistic thinking it demands is destructive falls on unknowing minds and deaf ears, blind eyes. So, when I complaint to a "service representative", they will feed me a line of soft-spoken words and issue the same demand that brought me to them in the same place, increasing my aggravation tenfold.
I know you had nothing to do with this situation, my friend.more
Family is a strange concept, especially when applied to those whose genetics we share. These are persons with whom we are tied and to whom we are bound, almost no matter what the consequences. There are no expectations that may be breached in such a way that my brother is no longer my brother, at least not traditionally. There are those who have broken from their families, but they seem to do so in extreme circumstances.
What is most astounding is the circumstance in which one member of the family attempts repeatedly to control and dominate the others. It is not so much that someone attempts control - that effort is quite common - but rather it is strange that they do so without any understanding of how they are acting. They claim that they do not do what they are doing while they are denying what they do. One can witness this way of being sit immediately before one, and the gender of the offender matters in no way. There are as many females as males, or other gender identities, who participate in this version of denial as there are males. This dilemma is not limited to...more
A thought occurred to me that the thought I am about to express has occurred to many. Perhaps almost everyone has reflected upon it. One of the annoyances of living is that when one has finally learned how to live well, they have grown old and will live not much longer, or even mere moments. The needed skills and knowledge come only after the application of act to life. The solution seems to be the living of an examined life. If one questions continually, and does not wed oneself to specific beliefs, then the contradictions, the paradoxes, the strange turns of history come as no surprise, especially if one studies history. That perplexed-ness that accompanies an end-of-life experience has become, then, an old friend.
What is best in humanity often lies hidden, not just beneath the surface but deep and difficult to find, only because Socratic ignorance demands actual ignorance, and effort.more
The academic experience, for all its shortcomings, is one of novelty. These persons in the supposed ivory tower investigate in order to reveal. A principle goal is to find something that no-one has discovered. One brings it to light and makes it known to all. One then receives credit for the revelation, as if they have participated in Martin's being. When the administrative effort to "save" a university from coming demographics demands that the most popular of topics be the only ones to survive, the impetus of academia decays. What is most valuable in the act of research becomes subordinated to the educational widget-making of the business mentality and to the whims of children who barely understand what they wish and what it is they understand - dissimilar to those who have studied so long who have only come to realize that they do not know. It seems proper to save a discipline by making popular classes the greatest part of offerings, but the chairs who participate in this mentality are often, not always, co-opted. They are manufacturing a factory.
And it is my friend who...more
Some work in order by themselves. They need no stimulation to act; they establish their own parameters. These persons sometimes create great art. They sometimes are able to do a great service to humanity and even to other than humanity, those creatures often ignored. There are others who are incapable of self-movement. They need an authority to do what society or family perhaps requires of them. They cannot, say, write a paper without an outline already provided for them. The persons whom I have encountered who are not self-determined in this manner cannot seem to arise from bed in the morning. They are not necessarily lazy, and they are certainly not useless, but they do not have the drive and determination to be a self-moved mover. What makes these different kinds, of course not the only kind or shade of determined or undetermined person, is as yet unknown. The debate concerns nature and Bildung. The impress of society is often not enough to create a self-moved mover, and nature lacks sufficiency. The compromise between the two seems characteristically a facile...more
There remains some portion of the Weimar Republic that is valuable historically, and it is meaningful literature. Alfred Döblin wrote about real, everyday experiences. These stories are bits of tenderness, sympathy and severity. One receives a strong sense of the German character during the time of Germany's first democracy. A culture that produces great art and thought cannot go without human empathy and hardy sentiment, but what I take from these stories is a sense of what is real, how it is that we survive the storm that is the flow of vitality from work and from a demand to express what we have seen. It is not a world of eidoi in which we live, but one that has at its core a kind of surrender to destruction and eventual annihilation. Unfortunately, our politics must follow the same path as our energy, and our need for constant renewal must be part of what we do in order to become and remain good. Döblin's characters, as far as I presently know them, demand an honesty from the reader.
The Germans seem to know what the ancient Greeks recognized. One suffers...more
An old girlfriend introduced me to a novel that demonstrated how the protagonist had a difficult life. He was born poor and he fell into the influence of poor character, and he found a girlfriend who introduced him to her parents, who owned a small grocery. They took him in and offered to make him part of the business. He worked at the store for a time and he found himself stealing from them; he cheated on his girlfriend; he lied to her parents and to her about many things. It was difficult for me to understand how I was expected to sympathize with this character. He was simply unable to pick himself up when the opportunity arose. He had everything he needed to begin a new life, yet he continued to engage in petty theft and in a generally petty and grasping existence.
There is an effort to be made in order to do good. The most liberal and progressive of thinkers must allow that one acts, and philosophical systems and arguments about what is good ordinarily find their way into the heads of those who are already good. Is there merely punishment and rejection that remains for...more
There is a textbook concerning business and business practices, which shall remain here unnamed, that takes a curious position. It, as many other textbooks do I expect, claims that the economic system of the United States is superior to other, European, systems in that it allows for and succeeds at attaining less expensive items of purchase. So, while the European system - really Germany it seems - has a powerful economic force to it, and while countries with a strong dose of socialistic practices and other ideologies have healthcare protections and pension systems unmarred by cuts that promote tax relief for hyper-wealthy persons, there are inexpensive products in the American system.
So, as a middle-class person when I fall ill, I can incur an expense of, say, $100,000 because I do not have adequate healthcare coverage. I will also receive payments at the end of my life - inadequate to sustain a high standard of living without some other form of income - that themselves will be cut, made to sustain tax relief for hyper-wealthy persons. At life's end I could have a bill...more
If you were human, you would recognize the frustration felt when something necessary for everyday existence suddenly changes. You would have some new automobile to drive, some new domicile, perhaps an unrecognizable bed. Your sleep may suffer; your hands float to the wrong place; your sense of what room is where may disorient you. You are not, of course, human so you need not concern yourself, but think, if you do such a thing, about how engineers take great delight in changing things.
It used to be the case that for the most part these major designers of everyday activity affected how and where we walk and drive; the design of our lavatories; the arrangement of rooms and desks in a company building. Now, however, they design how we interact with our own minds and selves virtually. It is every few years, and sometimes only a matter of months, that software changes take place, hardware changes as well. I realize that I have made this complaint before, but I want to point out that we are increasingly unable to perform any task offline. The monstrous virtual behemoth simply...more
The teacher sat at his desk, desperately hoping that the students would remain on task for at least ten minutes. The children in the classroom looked at the papers in front of them, some of them reading and others simply staring at the white of the paper. One of the students arose from their seat and wandered to the teacher's desk.
"May I go to the bathroom," she asked.
The teacher opened his drawer and lifted from it a laminated card with the number 207 on it.
"Four minutes tops," he said.
He watched the other students write, or stare, and two minutes later the student returned the plastic hall pass. He watched with some satisfaction as the expected students completed their work, sitting quietly and remaining on task. He looked back at his computer screen and read an email from one of the office assistants.
"May I go to the bathroom?" came from directly in front of him, startling him with its unexpected presence.
He again opened the drawer and retrieved the now-wet laminated hall-pass.
"Four minutes tops," he said.
If it is the case that humans decide to bring back regulation of production and perhaps politics, they must do so with thought and measurement. It would be quite easy for regulation and the present or another kind of orange nightmare to fuse into the most foul-tasting political horror. The herd would then show its anger and elect a person who would create regulations that befoul the environment yet more powerfully, kill more of the non-human species - making them extinct - and themselves purchase Real Estate that will protect them, the destroyers, from the ill-effects of their tyranny. Then, they would use their media to blame those who attempted to keep them and their policies from ascendancy. The strange combination of rational ideas combined with terrible consequences seems to be the more frequent Hegelian construction. There is no direct or straight line to greater perfection, only a meandering that is possibly good, potentially born from reason - necessarily no.
I do not know. I am unaware how many times in human history such an occasion arose.more
It is through terrible suffering and long experience that I have learned the dynamics of earbud ownership. Four pairs of earbuds have perished in my keeping, though I attempted to care for them as much as is needed for their lives to last as long as possible. These devices someone manufactures in such a way that one cannot store them without hazard, and I am unable to determine if the manufacturing is a deliberate obsolescence or a deliberate sabotaging...or what. I roll the wire up in a ball and store the buds inside of a plastic container, the one in which the buds arrived into my life. They continue sending sound into my ears for perhaps a year, but sometimes only a month, then the wire inside of the long rubber line disconnects, and I am left with intermittent recitation of German history and German commentary in the morning, one of my only true delights.
I have no comment to make about your participation in the matter, my friend. You know full well, to the extent that you know anything, what you do. I am merely commenting on the state of my country's current...more
There was an idea I had yesterday that I suspect you stole, my friend. I had it in my head and I thought I would recall it, but suddenly, unwritten and un-solidified, it disappeared. Gone now, it became irretrievable. It may return, but it may also be transformed into something else. You took it, or perhaps you stole it, but I know you have something to do with its departure.
You have much to do with its emergence as well.more
An ever-more-increasing indolence occupies many human beings. They, as other creatures, expect that something ought to come to them. They have been told by bad dialogue and degenerate discourse that they already have what they have not earned through labor. They whine on social media and they do not earn enough to care for themselves...and they lie to one another, but especially to themselves. Such half-ability is not shocking to see, but here late in history, perhaps immediately before organized society falls, it is dispiriting. It comes to us from a natural tendency, as discussed, but it is what we need to transcend...and immediately!more
When one considers themself fortunate, they perhaps possess enough material good to continue their existence in some comfort. This relaxation of mind and spirit comes from a convincing oneself that there will be rest, that there will come some laughter and authentic solace. Such sentiment is not a natural state for those who have arisen in the context of predation. A long period of perhaps two hundred years have given many humans a false notion of safety and regularity. They have, as I have discussed before, displaced the many creatures who would otherwise thrive and live for only a brief time in such extravagant comfort as even the lowliest of humans finds themself. These times of leisure and real delight stretch the whole lives of many who labor regularly and without any real investigation into the arrangement of resources and the distribution of "rights" to humans that a people demands but does not possess. One simple catastrophe of environment will displace all that has been delicately arranged.
It is not arrogance so much that compels many of these persons to assume...more
I find myself exhausted and without any true accomplishment. You and I have studied not only how cities ought to be built, but we have observed the actual construction, or perhaps I ought to say the destruction of the state. We look to the turbulent and wild history of Germany in order to witness a metaphor for history in general. The wrangling and the constant, decades-long struggle for better government, and with some very radical success! The Germans had healthcare and pensions for their people in the late nineteenth century. The Americans await such things still! We have watched our own politics for a very long time and we see how we arise from a state of predation, which never leaves us because of the constant need we possess. It is, as I have stated before, the constant eddying and absorption of vitality that calls us. We have no choice and our history comes about through it. The accomplishments of our gathering have come to little more than the comforts of those who merely reproduce. They care less than nothing for what transpires beyond their nose. These are not the "hoi...more
I am in desperate need for you to respond. I realize I have not heard from you, except in the way that everyone hears from you, that tip of end that produces what will open itself to something new. It is yet in that same building, that opening of being to being other, that you constantly speak. You are there so sonorously that every vibration that reaches the ears is yours. I realize you are there, my old friend. Still, you do not talk with me directly. I do not expect special treatment, but I do desire some conference, a conversation that explains what is here.
Is the good, as is the world, truly made from empty space?more
I have never before attempted to do as much good as I am now attempting. The goal is to give young persons in the Chicago area structure, but also another aim is to educate them in some small measure. They are young and thus chaotic. They have been given little direction in some cases, and thus they are yet more chaotic in mind and body. They knock desks and pull one another's hair. One week has passed, and I have yet to instruct them in any meaningful way. I am expected to manage their behavior, as if I were a parental authority figure. I am thus in a situation of at least 40% social work, something to which I am unaccustomed. This livelihood, or one might say vocation, is difficult at least, not as difficult as it is in other parts of the city, but surely not an easy task. I wish to help them become prosperous and good, to the extent that I am able.
It is always the pain of making good that occurs to me in much of my efforts, but this new venture...more
Martin said the other day that there is or may be an overcoming of some line. I and others must overcome the blank slate we have inherited? Nothing must be transcended somehow, since there is fear of nihilism? At least, that seems to be one implication of his discussion now written for the ages. Is there a need to overcome the meaninglessness of human existence? Nihilism is and always has been here with us. My friend visits the whole of the universe each and every moment. One cannot avoid or "overcome" the constant assault of nothing. That meaninglessness is here, but purpose accompanies it. Our purpose is more intimate, more attached to what transpires. It is more the "what" of what we are, this purpose, and it requires meaninglessness in order to exist. One need never overcome nihilism, but rather one must accept it as a part of meaning. Perhaps Frederick and Martin and perhaps Jean-Paul all wanted to communicate something by stating the need for overcoming - that ever-mentioned transcendence - and perhaps they each have some point in terms of historical transcendence, which...more
If you were here to assist somehow a wounded animal who needed you at a specific time, you ought to - though you never would my friend and you never will and you are unable - understand that the natural reaction to your efforts is quite expectedly rejection and perhaps even violence. All species arose into a world of predation and the arena of predation dictates certain protections and certain assertiveness, in the least. Fear and anger drive species into success, success in the sense that the species continues. There is punishment for good deeds, if the good is successful.
I ought to add in all fair ness that you would neither approve nor disapprove that you are making all of it possible, both the suffering and the succor.more
If one is to create a more just universe, then they ought to know that equality is not easily defined - should equality be their concern. If one is of a specific group and they wish to live more equitably, more justly, it is certainly correct that they ought to have opportunity, but it is not always the case that more power or wealth will present more opportunity and merely taking more status or influence for oneself is in no certain way better or more just. Just as equality in an absolute way - equality in every aspect of life - is not equal, so is more power not more justice. And the blind thought that "giving me more influence or potency" is actual justice is flawed, though more wealth and influence often accompany the expansion of justice.
Justice is a thing measured by contingency and power, but an equal measure does not mean equality in all things.more
I wish that I had something humorous to tell you today, but no humor lives with me. I am able to make others laugh at the expense of laughter in my own breast. There is, very clearly to those thinking persons with principles, almost nothing from which mirth comes. I must rely on the same juxtaposition that comedians use: that reflection of absurdity in everyday living. I wish I were able to laugh at the dilemmas a problems we face, but I suspect that I care too much.
It is a mirthless world where laughter arises.more
There was once a president of the united states who wanted an "ownership society." He did not appear to know precisely what that would be, since the details perhaps escaped him, but he was of a class that owned the whole of the country already. They convinced themselves of their importance, since they were allegedly the drivers of the economy; they owned businesses and they had become accustomed to taking what they pleased. They seem to believe that their wealth comes from divine providence, that their god has chosen them to control the means of production. Yet, their god was the god of fortune. The ancient Greeks called it tuche, which meant "luck", but also "chance" at the same time. Humans are no different than the other creatures on the planet. They take what they are able to possess through the path of least resistance. If they have already what they need, their tendency is to do nothing. Those who participate in this mindset develop themselves very little; they take what they please and become angry when they do not receive precisely what they wish. These are the...more
There exists a certain kind of entropy in physical things, one which remains elusive and intimately familiar in the comprehension of physical objects and processes. In fact, a thing and a process seem to be merging in the minds of those who concern themselves with physics, but the entropy about which I write differs from mere four-dimensional repetition. It is the metaphysical, in this case meaning that which comes along with measurement.
It seems to be a flowing of ability in the form of energy that is a movement. This movement brings motion to what is there, and this motion becomes the activity of quality and for humans it forms their character and thus their actions. Entropy is then more than mere order that comes to chaos. It is a flowing of what - or a kind of quality - into becoming and then it is the dissipation of that harmony that is what we call beauty. It can be thus terrible and frightening as it dissipates from the harmonious into the destructive. Accordingly, there is a deadly beauty that it possesses The continual flowing away of that order and harmony is...more
It is yet another strange thing in the world that some persons act as though competition necessarily means opposition. The thought seems to be that this person with whom I am in competition does or thinks something to which I must provide an alternative, and that alternative must not merely differ, but it must in some manner bring down or deconstruct. I must bring the other into submission; I must eliminate their efficacy, or they will do so to me. And when I do not eliminate what is their ability, I have somehow failed. There is a kind of entropy that permeates what we do and how we act. It is a flow of energy in various forms through what we say and do. It invests with vitality and then fades. We have faced this filling of capacity and constant draining for the life of our species, and we cannot escape it. It is part of what brought us through a pitiless evolution. We have triumphed with the inferior body and the controlling mind.
And now we must shed some significant portion of its ability in order to fulfill human potential. Yet, our species may perish before it...more
The most reasonable of persons knows that reasoning is best. They "think before they act." Theirs is a perfectly worthwhile position, but have you noticed how much and what kind of reasoning occupies the academy? Set aside the posturing and the politics that compel academics to listen to their friends and to those to whom they must listen. If someone were to reason about a topic and come to a conclusion only to find themselves reassessing and re-concluding so regularly that their subject becomes so unclear as to be unrecognizable as their subject, then the process approaches the limited mindlessness that they wish to avoid. That is not to say that reasoning is always bad. It must be tempered with caution, even so much more than one suspects.
The office with a view and the wine-and-cheese gatherings are all very enjoyable, as long as one is accepted, but there is a barrier placed around that office and the wine tastes bland, not always but often.more
I had a chat with a mathematician the other day. He was friendly enough and cordial. We chatted about the ancient world and its thought, which possessed a decided lack of empirical verification, almost no falsifiability and which trusted the senses in no manner. It makes great sense to critique the ancient thought because it did not respect the experiment, yet we live in a scientized culture. If one is not a scientist, they yet believe in science, even without realizing. If one does not believe in science, then one can find oneself misled significantly. Great care must be one's main objective. So, critiquing science is perilous, since one does not wish to find oneself in a conceptual madhouse, believing in nonsense that is unverified and unverifiable. Yet when I think of the smile on this person who mocked an ancient world that took too far the criticism of perception, I see that scientization. This person no doubt demands evidence for what one tells him, not without reason but not with enough reason. These scientized citizens do not wish to speculate about reality, only prove....more
There are those controlled and there are those who control. When one attempts to understand freedom, one must admit that freedom is not merely the lack of being controlled, but rather freedom is, in part at least, manipulation and dominance. When one thinks about what would make a person free, that feeling of wild possibility - something that would allow them to do as they please - one must consider that the manipulation of resource, the control over other human beings, the freedom from servitude to others are themselves forms of dominance and control. They are possibilities, the kind of doing what one pleases. The question then becomes what is freedom if it is bound up with control in that sense. The notion of freedom is naturally more complicated than I state here, but that controlling dominance and freedom are one disturbs good sensibility.
My friend is the one responsible, I suspect. There is a lack between seeming opposites that produces the paradoxical.more
"How am I" you ask?
I must say that while I am somewhat fatigued, I am much less exhausted than I expected. My day was thorough and I awoke early. There were a few more dire problems than usual, but it seems that because I ate less than I usually do, I retained more energy. It cannot be that less food means more energy in the strict sense, but then again who am I to say?
I am, perhaps fortunately, subject to the same need for energy passing through my system, brightening sometimes and sometimes darkening my day. It is the result of our fine, blazing source of light and vision that we enjoy what vitalizes. It is such an impersonal object in the sky, but without its many-years-long processes we would not exist. Even the life-sustaining clouds darkening the sky brings death if kept up so long, and Sol keeps shining, without any genuine concern for our health or well-being. Sol and Gaia nourish all of the biology on the planet, and yet should we disappear - the lot of all organic life - there would be no difference to the turning particles and the electron shells that...more
I have some advice for any person who happens to wish to meet my friend. They can encounter it - I dare not say "him" - in a quite fundamental way. I suggest that any person who wishes to connect with the abyss simply attempt to understand what is the most fundamental building-block of reality. I do speak to scientists and metaphysicians as well as everyone who has any curiosity about such matters. Take a common experience and break it down into its constituent parts; then break those down into parts. Continue this process until you have found the most fundamental of foundations for reality, physical, metaphysical or otherwise. Unless one resorts to nominalism, one is simple unable to find the fundamental-most foundation. It simply ceases to exist, and that is one of the myriad places where one is able to meet my friend. The most fundamental aspect of anything dissolves into an investigation into nothingness. One can make all sorts of assertions about what that means, as one can say that aggregates are the most fundamental aspects of things for example, but then there are...more
Today, again, I have nothing to offer to you, my friend, but my guess is that such an offering is a comfort to you. It is nothing said to no-one, to nothing. You are the most expansive opening into another - the most wide-stretched of all of the lacks - spread out upon the next moment of each and every single thing and process. What I send to you disappears endlessly into nowhere.
You are not so widespread because you are somehow completely separated from what is, but rather you are a part of what humans believe to be. Still, you separate yourself completely from the things that become because your ability to refrain from, to not, to remove from, to empty lies and goes beyond your participation in what comes to be. You are no form, no eidos, no structure that somehow operates with other forms outside of history. You are a grand and absolute lack that spreads, comes-to-be with everything, and yet you are not at all.
One has the opportunity, regularly, to prove that what one believes about oneself is actually true. The way to understand what that means would be not to prove that what one thought about oneself is true or not true, but to be aware that what one thinks about oneself may not be true. Sartre talks about good and bad faith in this way, writing that there is a more valuable manner of living in good faith where one knows that one does not know about oneself. That is one way to take Sartre, but the portly one with the snub nose and the poverty inherent in his interests said something intimately related so many centuries before him. He did not talk about bad faith, nor good, nor did he have the psychology of the twentieth century to inform him. Rather, one must know about oneself that what is there purportedly may be there, but it also is not. One must know that they do not know, since language and knowledge occupy the same ontology that all else does. What one is is ephemeral and negated by its very presence. It is not what it is and it is what it is not, something existing in time....more
My friend Steve wants everyone, including you my friend, to know that he has achieved yet another victory. For the 3415th time in sixteen years he has managed to pry a seafood meal from this guy with whom he lives. The repast was delicious, of course, with its ocean whitefish and tuna contents. As he has done so many times on prior occasions, Steve wandered to the bowls of the other cats in our domicile and inspected the scent, consistency and amount portioned to each animal. Today's portions are, while unbelievably delicious, also the same as they were two hours ago: small, yet meaty. The issue at hand that bothers him is the endless repetition of the same kind and portion of food. Steve wonders at the absurdity of desiring and receiving the same basic foodstuffs that he has taken for the duration of his life. He is growing old and he finds that perhaps the chicken and liver dinner and the seafood delight may not bring the same rapture as they once did, and this state of affairs both troubles and calms him. His question is one of meaning: is the pursuit of cat food - if it is...more
If there is a policy that tells industry as well as politicians in general, but especially wealthy businessmen, that the state will "leave it alone", then no reasonable person would believe that a human being in the privileged place of a "captain of industry" would develop any meaningful part of themselves. Think of an infant who is receives everything they wish upon demand. It is obvious even to the most politically blind of absentee fathers that no true understanding of another person would come into the psyche of such a person. It is, as is said, "common sense" that given the lack of discipline and training in various kinds of human activities and abilities such a person would in no way be able to manage a business, much less a state, in a just and equitable manner.
Let's say that the economic policy of a country has made possible the lack of development of such persons for four decades. What kind of surprise comes to mind when a leader emerges who has no idea how to be in any just way human? They cannot see others as anything other than skilled, expendable material;...more
I once had a professor who felt obligated to critique my work - not in order to help me nor because it was needed - but because posturing was necessary, or at least this person felt the need for posturing. They noticed that I wrote the phrase "degree of probability" in one of my papers. The critique this person wrote in the margin of my paper was "something is either probable or it is not." I was terribly confused, since I was certain that this person had read at least once about the likelihood of rain falling in their front yard: 80%. Perhaps they had even taken an introductory logic course where they learned about some one form of reasoning: induction. I thought at the time that this person simply meant something grammatical, or perhaps there was some semantic debate about which I was ignorant. The word is used to mean that there is a strong possibility that something will take place, but the phrase was "degree of probability." I knew that I would not be able to communicate with this disappointed academic meaningfully.
But you, you understand. I know it.more
I wish you could give me advice, my friend, since I need constructive thought. I have traded a career of comfortable wine-and-cheese gatherings for freedom from the constraints of review by peers and from a decided nepotism. As I have stated on prior occasions, it is most probable that no human will bother to read anything I write, especially here in our small, comfortable room. I have never felt competent enough at what someone once termed "administrivia", but some job security would have been pleasant. I will grant that those in the Vincentian academy opened their minds to a certain extent, and my financial security has been good. Still, I wonder at what my life would have been without opening it regularly to possible destruction. I suppose I do not want that feeling of comfort and security, if it means leaving behind authentic introspection and inquiry that regularly questions and questions again.
But...you would not know about that. You would not laugh and you would not think, and you would not rage, though you accompany those things.more
We humans live a balance between indeterminateness and determinateness. We suspect that you live, if live is what you do, a life of the indetermined. Better yet, you are that which is undetermined, being a species of not. We, however, must contend with a determinateness that hides its own indetermined nature. We are not saying the old words: that the indetermined cannot exist without the determined and vice versa. Perhaps that much is true, but we are saying that you, my friend, are what opens that which has already been determined to that which is yet-to-be, which is another way of saying what Aristotle means - partially - when he says that potential comes from actuality. We humans live in a universe where the determined moves more slowly into itself, allowing itself to become other than the what that it is. When we look to smaller instances of the larger universe, we see an indeterminateness arising much more quickly and being much more apparent, at that stratum. Here lies the quantum universe, where energy emerges in packets that themselves have less definition of...more
Does an academic truly think, if they merely bring about a rationalization? Are the contests between those who supposedly "come up with an argument" genuine? What more there would be would be interesting to find. Academics fight without spirit, calmly. They are "very nice people not trying to do harm", which differs from "do no harm" and when one seeks after who wrote and instituted the most destructive of policies and activities, one never quite finds any responsible figure. They are all too nice. The smartly dressed, well-spoken woman who wears the yellow and black shawl during Thursday's afternoon seminar cannot be held to account, no. That would be political risk? The academic criminal who is responsible for eroding the institution cannot be the nice man with the pot belly and the white goatee, the one who brings dried mango for the lunchroom.
After all, he agreed with me!more
I need quiet in order to read. I suspect you do not. I need a restful day in order to create good thoughts, to arrange words well. The smells need to be perfect: no toxic cleaners, no laundry drier exhaust, no obnoxious cologne that has the potency and affect of cat urine lingering in the elevator. I need the light to be bright enough to read a good, printed text, and I need the heat from the light to shine just perfectly so that I am neither too hot nor too cold. I need the ability to be able to walk around my present space and I need the ability to rest in one area. I need enough food for energy, but not too much sugar or grain such that a lengthy drowsiness puts me to sleep for my best hours. I need friends who support and who also constructively critique my work. I need an apple at the day's commencement and at its end. I need a quiet and comfortable breeze in summer, not too cool.
I have lacks. I am lacking. I "overcome" through need. I make need through you, and you and I will merge.more
I wonder if it would be necessary when entering a conservative institution to compensate by driving one's thoughts in the opposite direction. Were one to be in a more progressive, more left, institution one may feel obliged to tilt even more than usual in the direction of progress, in order to call attention to one's work. This tactic is tempting, and it may be necessary to act in this way, but whenever possible one must temper one's thought so that the context in which they arose does not dictate their direction, yes? Some would say that decontextualization is impossible, others that it is not even desirable. One does not want to settle thought in one direction or the other permanently, so historical context is central to good reasoning, and some "conservative" thought is good, especially for a given context. Aristotle would be proud of anyone who was able to use history as the context through which a measure of thought ought to be, though he remained a Platonist to a degree.
Does it not seem that thought is a delicate enough of an experience that one must approach it...more
You and I have something in common, or we have nothing in common. There is nothing to say this morning. There is no desire to sleep; no need for wakefulness; no longing for physical interaction; no complaint to levy; no ear to the ground; no desire for watching videos; there is no liking for morning chores; no visit from an aged grandmother; no discussion of politics; no tyrant in the making; there is no desire for preparing food for oneself; no anticipation for the coming academic year; there is a complete nothing surrounding what we are doing, while bits of not flow around and within us and all we do.
We have nothing this morning, except the ends towards which and around about we move. Those are the ceasings we have discussed on prior occasions, yes? Yes, indeed. They are where everything begins; they are every thing and process, and they have a species of nothing to them. They have a bit of limit in every corner, and they are nothing in that sense.
So, though there is nothing this morning, there is always nothing - around everything. I am glad to see the results...more
There is a storm outside of our minuscule shelter and abode, my friend. It is filled with conspiracies and the lowest form of vitriol. It rages a kind of wind that spreads debris over the landscape of the mind. Many twisting, rage-filled pseudo inferences break up the settled perceptions of our societies. These thoughts that have served us are now uprooted and torn; they are thrown into the sky as they wind about violently and disappear, only to return again to the ground badly mangled by speculation of the most inexperienced and vacuous sort. These "thoughts" are supported by mouths moving in boxes on screens that ask almost completely uninformed personages to "add their opinions" "What do you think," they say, and it is not a destructive attempt in itself that they are asked for their thoughts, but in the context of misinformation that builds the storm and twists the tornadoes so high that one cannot determine where the sky lies and where the land rises one cannot determine where is what and who is for whom. There remain edifices standing still, but they become torn in the...more
One of our residents, Molly, has endured quite a bit. She has been chased from her favorite places and ignored. She has suffered the quick movements of the best of friends to local cats and she has endured being picked up. The hugs she has received have been...not torturous, but irritating. She does make her complaints known, since she is so very vocal, but many of her protests over the years have gone unappreciated.
She has survived using her own means and her own abilities. It was a solitary life, cut out of much. Still, things were not so bad. She had regular food and medical benefits that came with her position. She received treats regularly with the others. She played "bird" and chased laser dots that appeared mysteriously on the floor and walls. She was required to do little, and she took joy in her solitude. Yet, one must acknowledge that Molly has suffered. She has not been granted all that she deserves.
Now, nothing happens in catland without her approval and presence. She no longer suffers the indignity of being cradled. She receives lion's share of food...more
Someone once wrote a comment on a social media website, a very common act. They wrote with some amazement that every one of the persons in a photograph from the early twentieth century was now dead. Another person reacted to the comment by claiming that it was so obvious of an observation, that the comment on mortality was stupid.
The recognition of mortality, not in the intellectual sense, but as a kind of intuition, is not unintelligent. There is something daunting in the realization that these persons preceded, abided and continued through regular, common suffering. They are responsible for the current state of affairs, at least in some ways. They strove and failed at some things; they lived through failed marriages and the loss of necessary material. Some of them lost their homes; others were abused; some abandoned their lives and loved-ones; others found themselves homeless in a pitiless world. None of them survived the test of living. They all expired, most of them anonymously. Almost all were required to settle their ambition with what recognition their...more
Have some political advice, my friend. Take it and do with it what you please! When thinking of truth one must consider all options, then reconsider- regularly. Yet, when thinking about politics and facts, one must take another approach. The Buddhists are correct in that there is no single cause for anything. This stance seems obvious once one has made the correction in thinking, but there are full many politicians who practice the rhetoric of simplicity in order to gain traction with the lowest common denominator. They say things proceed either one way, or another - as if to suggest that there are only two options. There would, most times, then be only one cause. Never is there merely one cause for whatever troubles the citizen or state. One must also, of course, be open to unpleasant and unwelcome factors, and there are many.
Additionally, one must think only in terms of probabilities. How many factors settled into the current state about which you make an assertion? The more factors you have considered, the more accurate your description of that happenstance, factually...more
One ought to be amazed that one of the most important of human endeavors is the least valued. It would do humanity a great good to free itself from the grip of vampire and zombie narratives, but the intelligent suspicion is that it has never been freed from such things and never will be. The stories of Alcaeus were legendary among the ancient Greeks and the Romans for their heavy lifting and the practical intelligence that solved immediate problems. Sometimes, these feats were impressive in their simple cleverness, but on too many occasions he who was renown of Hera simply strangled his way through human suffering, causing trouble for others with his physical prowess. He was the most popular hero, perhaps because his appeal spread so wide and simply.
Write a narrative about human existence with its intricacies and with long investigation and the dreary-eyed "customers" simply will have no interest. Explain how honesty, integrity, morality are important and the same consumers will lose interest quite quickly, and the noting of this human truth is at least as old as Plato....more
The leaves in the garden near the wire fence that keeps children away from the train tracks reach out their verdant palms in extension towards the plethora of photons that they take for themselves. These particles in green make grow the effort to be there, to flourish, to continue. That effort at receiving is an awareness too of what the palm receives. It is delicate and yet enduring. It continues only so far into the void, kissing the abyss. These are reasons why I make phuta, who are not far from humans, my friends.
I wish, though, that such an odd place where we grow could have come to be in some manner where these lives and I do not need to come to an end and where the conflict between us did not sting so keenly.more
Here is one truth about opinion that must be considered before one claims that there is no meaning to existence. Every belief, no matter how scantily clad in actual fact or truth, possesses some element of meaning. Read any thinker and they will tell you something that someone else has already written or stated; they overlap and agree to some certain extent. No matter what one attempts to assert, they must contend with perception and change, for example - even if the attempt is there to deny the reality of change or to diminish the importance of perception. The activity of the mind and what it means to think - that one thinks and exists - all have many facets as well. Accordingly, no manner of finding truth holds a monopoly on when something is false, or how false something is. Yet, the degree of truth or falsity somehow must be at least asserted.
We cannot manage this dying world without that much.more
Do you remember, old friend, when we perhaps arrogantly thought that should our lives - really only my life - fall into ruin, we would continue investigating and learning as we did when all was in order? We thought that even should we go to prison, philosophy and its children would accompany us into a world where we remained well and whole. Comforting ourselves under those conditions would be easy!
Study is a comfort and a joy; that much is true. My mother told us that we need to take a break. "Relax," she said. No words explaining that the thought is the process and activity that soothes could capture her attention long enough to convince her, and friends who were not in our company long enough could not imagine that arising at 6am and learning immediately are joys enough for the entire day.
Anyone reading may say that what we claim is trite, overused, but what we have learned, if nothing else, is that a thought is a good, no matter how old. The insight must be a just one, naturally, but it is a comfort.
Why is it not enough?more
I rescued a plant from the garbage collector some weeks ago. It talks to me, though I am not sure that you care. It tells me when it is depressed; it drags its leaves near the floor - and there are a great number of them great in size - when it wants some fluid for drinking. It lifts its palms toward the afternoon sun, and its high spirits become evident when it has enough. Its skin sags a bit when there is not enough fluid for prospering, and its many stalks and thick, broad, dark-green leaves beg for a larger pot in which to stretch its roots.
I cannot help but wonder how much a larger pot costs. There is a friend in need.more
It may be that thinking about what is actually there is simply too difficult for most humans. Consider how human being must exist, not what human being is so much as what are the imperatives. Think about with what human life contends: suffering, needs for food for shelter for comfort, the desire for beauty in a universe that extends entropy to everything and the resultant ugliness, at least the ugliness of change for the change “from what", the present struggle for mere survival transcended only to find that most of what one has been given as belief is false, the effort demanded of a search for the painful reality of so much humanity expended for very little meaning.
There is no room for human happiness, unless it is received by chance or taken. Most human lives suffer the endless repetition of the mundane and the biological imperative to reproduce. And reproduction! What ends one's life so quickly as to produce the life of another? What happens when the child leaves home? Where are you then? Who are you then? And the concern for comfort and the longing for meaning are...more
I have spent my entire life learning everything I am able to learn. I have sacrificed comfort, pleasure and financial security in order to be able to write about what I have seen, as if I have any authority - as if anyone has any authority. I have wondered at history, learned the ancient languages, continually studied and mused the thoughts of thinkers of different kinds and perspectives. I wanted to be able to say something substantive, something valuable, and perhaps I have reached that goal partially...only to chat with you who have been available throughout my time.
We had better collect all of the material possessions we are able to gather for mere survival. There will be only you and I in our future.more
One reason why someone may find it difficult to believe in politicians is the regular denigration that they receive. It is imperative to understand that statecraft is a valuable and worthy vocation. If someone believes that all politicians are corrupt; that all the policies are corrupt; that every politician is self-interested, then they have given to statecraft a nature that it does not possess. Administration of any institution is and always has been quite difficult, and sometimes thankless. If one has doubts, I suggest that they find some - even small - gathering of humans and that they attempt to guide this community in the most meaningful and just manner. Those who will benefit most from the most just policy will protest vehemently about arranging the group in such a way as to benefit themselves. It is a strange act to witness whole groups rejecting completely those who would preserve the best parts of society, and some of those rejectors, maybe the majority, reject because they believe not that "absolute power corrupts absolutely" but because they believe and act upon...more
One reason for how we, you and I my friend, fit strangely into our new, virtual world is the inability to conform. We could never abide low-grade commentary; videos created for mere attention-grabbing; senseless adherence to current trend. We have kept our principles sacred and now are alone, perhaps quite naturally for us both. We watched the nepotism in the tower of ivory, hoping that we would one day benefit from the corruption, but the day never came, and the fear lingers that it never will arrive. Our consolatio is not philosophy, somehow, though it ought to be. It is nothing.
It is another kind of thought blended.more
Humans find that the understand how things and processes, energy and substance, operate. They are able to discern what is there in terms of the consistency of something. They use their logic and their comprehension of beauty in order to fathom the harmony of things, but humans become confused when they see that these same things are not in consistency with themselves. Things, such as they have some aspects that are not themselves, are not what they are. When we say that a landmass is a part of the earth, we also say earth, but implicitly. Our words recognize this difference of some energy-mass, a time-space, in what we imply. The word for this implication is “difference”, but it is not mere difference that is there. It is a paradox, even in the most harmonious, beautiful and consistent of things.
What is primordial to that paradox is more frightening. There you are!more
I think, my friend, that you have no relatives who seek to control what you do. You seem to “act” in every way and in every thing as you do. No biological entity has any control over you. As for we biological creatures, we have struggled against and with relatives and co-workers who have need of control; they use political moments in order to maintain a hold that simply suppresses and does nothing constructive. Many of us, but not the majority, have managed for millennia to refrain from becoming what they are: petty tyrants. And we attempt to avoid these sorts of person in regular life. Yet, in spite of warnings from historians and admonitions from educators petty tyrants arise ever anew. They are everywhere intractable where they continue to dwell, achieving dominance with grasping fingers. It is as if they surrender to the lower part of human being that needs to control first and consume later. They must take. They must hold some thing or person against themselves in such a way that they control the very conatus of the other.
I would suggest that these thugs be...more
I am a perfectly-proportioned, first-born son of the king of everything. I am more comely than any other male, and I have the ability to tell you what will happen. I never miss the mark and my frame is so well-wrought, pure of form and harmonious that everyone admires my beauty. I am the essence of art and expression, and that high-aesthetic structure I rule can bring good health and strength to you.
Cross me and you will live immeasurable pain, ugliness...and plague.more
I am curious, at times, about what name the virtual world would have about me should I find myself in the midst of a "Twitter exchange" or if I should become concerned over posts on Facebook, TikTok, or Instagram, or whatever other social media form there is presently rising. I came across the adjective n00b, which apparently is a shortening of newbie, meaning "novice." There is also Srsly, which seems to be "seriously" with its vowels removed and w00t, which means one is triumphant or elated. How did it come to be that these words are bandied about so freely and without any proper sort of etymological concern? The language seems to change and emerge so quickly; the exchanges are vicious and all decency falls sacrifice for so light of meaning.
The thoughts seem to follow the words, generally speaking.more
I just finished reading one of my posts from the other day. I find truth in it and I find it lacking. It seems to me to be a good, solid thought, but what seems to be true seems also to be...not false but not precisely true, which is to say that it does not tell the whole truth. I do not suppose you are very concerned, my friend; you know and are the ubiquitous lack that makes. Scientists contend with you every day without awareness of your "existence." It has been said before that the end or the limit of something is the beginning of its presence.
There you are!more
Do ask your employer to call a meeting of the entire company, or corporation, whatever it is. Then, tell your "supervisor" or your "manager" or your "superior" that you want them to put managerial decisions to a vote, some democracy is needed in the workplace.
See what happens. I dare you.more
I have heard some in the political sphere say that democracy and capitalism are somehow fused together, as if the one produces the other. Is that the case? Is it not the case that economic independence and fair & just wages make for less dependence? I can see that there may be a democratizing process when destitute persons earn fair wages, though I must add that there is an historical contingency here to consider. These recently-less-destitute persons are able to do more; they have perhaps greater freedom; perhaps they have more education; resources accomplish many tasks. The operative word, though, is "perhaps." And is it not capitalism that creates minor barons who dictate circumstances to their employees and thus to their community with impunity? Is there any democracy in that situation? It seems that enabling many by minuscule amounts gives some independent thought and debate, but not enough to be effective. And is it the case that these barons learn to value anything other than profit for themselves? Are you telling me that you trust whoever comes along who possesses a...more
More of my time is wasted this morning. I am writing to you late today, because I found a discrepancy with the payment from one of Chicago's beloved universities. I was compelled to contact payroll. They explained that the taxes are higher for more earnings, which does not make so much sense to me, since I ought to be taxed the same rate, not a higher rate for a higher installment of the same overall earnings. I admit I do not know the details. .
Forty years of deregulation have emboldened a kind of lackadaisical treatment of employees and I am suspicious, but perhaps it is a mistake. Perhaps there is no-one who did anything wrong and any effort on my part to seek redress will send me to another part of the bureaucratic labyrinth where administrators and academics will all argue - each and every single solitary one of them - that they themselves did nothing wrong and that it really is a perpetrator-less accidental incident, or they may claim that there is some bogey-man in the machine somewhere, but none of the very friendly employees of the university did anything...more
I believe there is some truth to the assertion that if no-one is in conflict with what you do, then you do not really exist. There is nothing substantial about ensuring peace at any cost, certainly. Yet, conflict avoiders seem to be rabid in their pursuit of calm, quiet comfort. They will allow relatives to perish; permit whole language sections to deteriorate; leave the environment of the planet to dissolve all in order to remain invisible, not present.
On the other hand, I must state that endless, mindless, meaningless conflict is naturally destructive. We need one glance at our virtual world to see the pointless, avoidable destruction. All that narcissism! Still, I ought not lecture anyone, since almost everyone will find the conflict they seek to avoid.
And you , my one guaranteed listener, you are only too happy to visit those who want such calm. You are there even when rabid conflict is present and the substance is thick and potent! You truly are everywhere, dear friend.more
I notice that there is a sturdy trend that has arisen, to give animals human names. No-one ought to object to the growing trend to make a friend, or apparently a child, from a hairy family member. I do recall, though, that this trend existed some time ago. David, Artemis, Eleanor, Elizabeth, Clark, Molly all have long been members of our family, with David being named in the late eighties, if I remember correctly. These animals were always friends, and never property, though if the need should ever have arisen we would have asserted our legal claim on property such as an animal in order to protect them, keep them at home. I wonder at the wisdom of making animals into property, legally speaking or otherwise. Yet, if we were to let go of the legal claim, would any rights exist for these creatures? Humans cohabitate with some animals and regularly kill other creatures for food. We grew into predation and now wish to depart it, at least as much as possible. That is a good, I suspect, but it seems that for most humans their principles continue existing only so long as their comforts...more
We have made a successful transition to seafood, but such a transformation is certainly not complete; it will never end. There is a need for covering the loft, since some of that seafood may find itself regurgitated on sleeping pillows or in the queen-sized mattress that was so very difficult to drag up seven feet onto the high frame.
My friends the cats adore high places, and that is a fine order of things, but the smell that emanates from the cat-food can...more
It seems that I have arrived at at time in my life when I must accept that I have always lived outside. No group has welcomed me into their confidences and into their friendship. I have found very few kindred spirits; my friends the cats are exceptions. The groups I have entered have always, strangely always, pushed me just outside their limits, enough to be able to say that I am a member and not enough to welcome me authentically. But, you know what I am about to say.
You have always welcomed me, as you welcome absolutely anything. That is what a reader may expect that I say. What they do not expect, perhaps, to hear is that all things their communities were always with you. You are they in so many ways.more
I, as others before me, have wanted to find the most substantial of things. We seek some portion of living that is fixed, completed and eternal. We seek it is everyday occurrences, we weak of body and arrogant of mind. We find patterns that repeat what we wish to be the most reliable, physical portions of reality, these events of electromagnetism and mostly empty space. These patterns continue to provide us with the regularity that provides a kind of foundation for prediction, and that regularity gives confidence to those who wish to find evidence for everything, those whose perceptions mean so very much to...themselves. These are the ones who refuse to listen to any other kind of thought than their own, that kind proving by discovering still more patterns of reliability. Yet, these probabilities and patterns have themselves portions of reality that themselves come from other portions of reality, and there is no end to the discovery, except with you, my friend.
There is no such thing as matter, only form. It is a form that what we now call energy takes, but it is form -...more
I have noticed that usually the opposite of what one expects transpires. I do not mean that there is a tragic dialectic to living, no, though that seems to take place under certain circumstances. What I mean is that in the petty minutiae of everyday living one seems to experience precisely what one does not want to take place. If one wishes to drain the sink while preparing food for one's best friends, the sink will surely refuse to drain. If one needs the milk to stay cool, certainly it will speed its time warming. When one needs a friend to listen, it is that day they have no time, or perhaps the friend has no mood for hearing on that particular occasion. It seems as if the universe conspires against the wishes of the humans who pay attention.
I suspect it is the attention to the matter that matters. Otherwise, these small divergences from a path perhaps artificially straightened by reason would never occur.more
I made some pasta sauce from a jar yesterday. It tasted as if it was born of a can from some corrupt Italian chef who did not know better than commercializing his talents and mass producing spaghetti letters of the alphabet. There is something diluted and grotesque about the flavor of those...preparations?...I do not know what to call them. Foodstuffs? I do not say food, or victuals. I do not trust the cans of canned goods to keep carcinogens out of my blood stream, the manufacturers having kept the lining layered with yet another chemical bane. I guess that is the best name for them: manufacturers. They certainly are not chefs.
At any rate, I have made sauce myself that tastes better, and that says quite a bit. The pasta in my dish I prepared with some water added to the sauce I concocted. It turned quickly to mush, very similar to the pasta alphabet I ate when I was ten, only slightly better-tasting. The whole thing was barely tolerable, disgusting.
I want a second helping.more
This morning I have nothing to add to the ordinary set of issues, complaints and serious concerns. I do at times wish that I had the ability to let things pass. They all do, as they say, and simply not concerning oneself about anything, immersing oneself in a meal, enjoying the sunny disposition of the day, simply walking toward no purpose, these things are necessary, and commonplace, for many. I have no objection to mindless activity in context. It is the "in itself" of mindlessness that concerns me. A blank emptiness creeps quickly into one's life when one continues these flirtations with nothing. The emptiness that comes so readily becomes the only part of one's composition. That is the easy way.
But I suppose I ought to consider that thought a bit more, since I am here talking to you. Friendship with nothing may after all be more.more
Well, today is another day, similar to the one prior. And that condition would be perfectly acceptable and seemingly correct, except for how the day prior brought itself into the morning that is now. My fourth of July - a holiday that, while worthy of some celebration, does not ordinarily excite me - I carried on my back by tending to the needs of some four, small, plastic, foodstuff containers and three buckets. My ceiling has been leaking, the flow of water crawling down the walls and slipping from the ceiling in regular, aggravating balls. They slam into the hutch or obliterate on the wooden floor, spreading their yellowed-water contents about my living-space.
I do not know much about these things, but a leak that continues for over a solar day does not seem to me to come out of leftover water from a heavy downpour. The handy men who will arrive here later this morning will all argue with one another, each giving different causes and cures? Someone will know how to stop the destruction?
Apologies for offering you the petty concern, my friend. I realize you have...more
I must admit that I am sending you a complaint today, my friend. I cannot abide certain persons and their lack of development. I must qualify my words here by saying that I have little tolerance for most things human. It will be good to return to you more fully, to be no longer human. At any rate, I cannot abide those clever persons who cannot find any other course of action than to nay-say. When there is a coming crisis, or perhaps an already-transpired calamity, the only course of action they know, one that protects their reputation for cleverness, is to proclaim how nothing can be done.
"I am so clever and educated! Look! See! I am doing nothing. Congratulate me!"
I am not saying that I have hope, my friend. I am too close to you to think of hope or expectation as some kind of metaphysical property of the correct direction of belief. That is improper altogether, improper for those of us in the trenches. There are many things that simply cannot be changed. Perhaps we are already on the path toward annihilation through climate change, for instance. Yet, it is the...more
When one says “take a dump” I often cringe, not that I am unappreciative of Aristophanic humor. No. I enjoy scatology in extreme moderation. Not so often, that is. Yet, when I hear this phrase, I read it as inaccurate. Is there any taking? Does one “take” when one performs that bodily function? I have never witnessed any taking. I suspect it is rare that anyone else has seen, or even heard, a taking taking place, except in some cases where there is a fetish concerned. No it seems that one drops, yes? It seems that one lets go. One lets free, and liberation is the consequence, certainly. But, let us ask the question. Is it a taking so much as it is a freeing?
I suggest “drop a load.”more
I had a dream last night in which I spoke to Death. He thanked me for talking to him. Apparently, no-one had ever discussed anything with him in all the time living organisms have existed only to die. We talked of family, of aspirations and of friendship, which seemed to him to be very important, but still somehow lacking. Lack was there for him, one of the only true, everlasting companions that Death had in that dream. Lack enjoys the words I send, since I send them to both lack and death, both species of my friend in this forum. In the dream the three of us talked and drank wine; we even sang. I ought not have been surprised that Death knew how to sing a Homeric epic properly, but I was. At the end of our time spent together the three of us embraced. It was as if they invited me to return and celebrate a kind of kinship, if that was possible.
I asked both of them if they would consider a diminishment of their obligation to the order of things. They both lost their grins.
"No," they said together in the most serious tone.
Somehow, there has been some kind of misunderstanding. It has been some time since he has made any public declaration, but Steve reiterates - because there has been so much fuss on social media - that there are other foodstuffs besides cheese, what he enjoys. Everyone now thinks that he wants only cheese, because everyone is listening to every minuscule thought that Steve produces. He thinks it may be because this guy, Kirk, has been writing about cheese and only about cheese and Kirk has not understood that Steve is more than a one-dimensional animal. There are plenty of other foods that are stuff that Steve desires and of which Steve approves. For example, Steve approves of fresh, moist chicken breast. He also approves of the small squares that Kirk distributes, whatever one calls them (he doesn't give a shit what the name is., actually). They seem addictive, somehow. Steve also approves of the green-stemmed object that Kirk brought into the living-space. It has chewable palms on it, which taste great. Sometimes, Steve is suddenly wet when he chews on the palms (he suspects...more
If you were a human, I would direct you away from certain kinds of friends, giving you a valuable warning. Some are outright poisonous, possessing an inescapable toxicity. Support from such persons is non-existent. Others are quite simply nothing but sadists; they have a desire to denigrate anything around them as long as it is not theirs, anything one does, if you do anything. if you were subject to their approval. No matter the success or lack, they point to some project or vocation, something anything, they do not like or approve, and these undeveloped humans denigrate some valuable part of your life. Other friends become jealous; they reveal information in the most harmful of ways. They are limited in their tolerance for the success of those around them, no matter how successful they themselves are. It is a strange circumstance that these persons call their relation to others "friend." They have no claim on such warm, comfortable connections to others.
I am sure you would see, if you were here.more
It is strange to witness the realization of some hidden fact or truth; there exists a distinction between the two, I assure you. One may think that they are supported by unseen hands, or perhaps one may believe that theirs is a proper, more important, fate that props them up in the array within which biological organisms live. It is a species of denial that makes one think that no matter what humans do, the earth will remain a living, sustaining station and home for them and for their offspring. I look out the window of my living-space and as of this day and time all I can see is what appears to be mist, but it is actually smoke. I am obliged to degrade the filter in my purifier in order to ensure healthy air for me and for my friends, since wildfires that arise from dryness and human negligence have pressed this foul air upon us, a gas that will choke humans too slowly for their politics to catch up. I mean that it will take too long for humanity to correct their hamartia. No matter the sense of security, one's circumstances are precarious; there is little that keeps...more
When everything falls and when there seems to be no hope, no expectation, when there is no-one listening and when everyone needs, when these persons around me take and do not give, or they do not give enough, then you are there, my friend. You are there in beliefs, when the earth is flat, when the sun revolves around the earth, when the thunder-god rules on the mountain, when the many gods of the ancient world die and are reborn, when humans possess community and language exclusively, when theirs is the only true belief - at these times you are there for others. You do not discriminate. You make yourself known through lack and you diminish "truth." You will be the great "sleep" when the time arrives.
Yet, I know you, friend. You are still what makes. We have said as much on prior occasions. Nothing would exist without you and your bounds. You would be without those limits.more
I apologize for saying, but for some reason I recall an aggravating time in my youth. I attended events where similar-minded and similar-aged persons congregated merely in order to grow intoxicated. We had no cell phones, no texting, certainly no social media. The gathering was our social media, not that I was social. Sometimes, these events were valuable, sometimes not so entertaining or worthwhile, but there existed at that time - I do not know if these persons still wander about - persons, mostly males, who brought guitars to the party. They would carry the instrument in a black box with a handle that lifted the seeming neck of the guitar into the air, proudly demonstrating their skill. That was the signal; entertainment was to come. These same boys would drink a bit, then place themselves in a central position , perhaps on a couch in the living room of the house, and out would emerge a lovely, hollow, string instrument. These boys would tune the guitar; warm up; wait for others to gather next to them, and at one point begin a song that they were unable to complete, pausing...more
One may not be able to discern the case, since aspects of the universe similar to you - my friend - keep hiding things, but one's moral position is organic. It is not the case that a mere argument given to someone in their undergraduate career will produce a viable morality, or ethic. One's moral significance in the world must arise from within as an activity, it must be the person. Morality or an ethical core is no different; it is the same thing - significance. If one does nothing when ugliness becomes an integral part of one's community, then there is no actual morality in them.
On the other hand, the matter is quite complicated. Imposing one's values, heaping didacticism upon others, is an ugliness worth eliminating, and there are so many manners of consciousness and thought that prey upon the world. The very effort at being moral and ethical degenerates into predation...sometimes. Is that you, my friend?more
It is what I see all around. You do not notice it; you may not take note of it should you have the ability. Yet, it is everywhere. I walked up Broadway, as I do, and saw a lonesome, starving calla beside the recycle bin and a garbage can. Wilted, it cried out to me to feed it, which I did. It now sits on the HVAC by my window, recovering. It perked itself up even since last night, having received water in soil and spray on the leaves. But even as I walked before I rescued my arboreal friend I saw more of it. The corpse of a squirrel and a flattened rat greeted me as I walked. There were several small trees that reached out for assistance, drying and wilting. Many berries, smeared onto the pavement, spread abundance of juice, nourishment and seeds onto the walkway before me. I regularly see birds and sometimes cats, once a racoon, spread out dead on the street. This situation would not bother so much me if I perceived that life grew more abundant than the dead. The milkweed that feeds the Monarchs grows lonely and unperturbed near the railroad tracks. Thousands of fish wash up...more
You are not able to sympathize, my absent friend, but I may have the opportunity to change my livelihood...not entirely mind you. I had not realized how much of my very character and indeed my life was invested in my present labor and I have not yet heard that there is a possibility for another source of income, but the situation seems auspicious, as some say. I have had very few times that any situation seems auspicious in my life, and now I am inclined to make the change...perhaps.
But it is of no concern to you, friend. It is one I must accept. If I should perish, you would not notice. If I should succeed, you would not celebrate. Your kindness lies in the calm that you bring. When conflict arises and destruction - or even annihilation - is at hand, you are not perturbed, and why you would be perturbed at the arrival of a brother I do not know. I have always enjoyed your "presence."more
The hardness that comes from the ancient world is not necessarily harshness, nor is it prejudiced, though those aspects of culture certainly were present There is a virtue to the more difficult path, the more strenuous effort needed. Moderns have a greater humanity, and also a greater softness, and that is its own virtue; it ought to be preserved and cherished. Yet, the ability to survive trauma and later flourish is needed as well. This is part of Fred's "self-overcoming", or at least a valuable interpretation of it. Some of those... less subtle persons will take such an assertion to its extreme, be as harsh as possible to the author of these words or to advocates or to the words themselves, and to others in general, using the idea of being strong in a malignant manner. These are the more obtuse and the intractable; they have only skimmed the surface of ancient thought and its historical significance, yes its virtue. They are incapable of recognizing fault, unless it is small, petty and part of their adversary.
...but you, you never overreact, such a comfort! You do not...more
Speaking of odors, I have a warning for you. Never leave a book, an important printed document, or a plate of food lying around on the floor so that a cat can casually stroll up to it...and vomit on it.
It is, admittedly, important advice for those of us who need food, we who must contend with entropy and who need energy and rest. But you...more
You know, of course, that our lives have never been set aright. I ought to speak for myself, naturally, but I suspect others will agree, most others. Nothing has been set aright, that is. There are so very many kinks and turns, pitfalls and living landmines that have arisen, only in the last decade or so, perhaps longer. There are pummelings on all sides and occasionally I falter, only to bring myself up again. Nothing is in order, as the Germans say. There is no closure, not a single actual conclusion. The myths remain, in order to give the illusion of comprehension and regularity, but they have little potency for me and those who are my kind.
Yet...you set things in order. You make your way clean and always tidy, simple and yet vastly nuanced. You have brought things in order...and not even for yourself!more
I realize that it is of no concern to you, who have no olfactory nerve, but I swear to you that the Sweet Chicken & Tender Liver Repast "Classic Pate" smells better exiting my friends the cats than it does entering. The odor must be in part appetizing to felines, but for Goodness' sake the smell....
And then there is that special event when Steve or Clark bring up the Chicken and Liver, or even the Whitefish Sea-Meal, again onto the jute rug. Be thankful that you have no senses!more
"Go! Away! Go away!" I told them. I said they ought to go. "Do what it is that you are doing, that what that is you. Whatever," I continued. "Please, leave me be! I need the quiet and the calm that you do not offer," I said. I tell them these things because their presence drains me, and they stand, staring sometimes glaring. Their needs are many and of the greatest magnitude and they return little or nothing. There is work in the world; there is activity. The work does not come from nowhere. It is entropic, though these pests do not comprehend. I must strain myself in order to prop my good cheer for long enough to sate their need for recognition that knows no end, though rarely am I able to smile, because the expression demands authenticity. It must actually come from me. They make me weak; I need tea and sugar of some kind after I encounter them.
Strangely, it is you, my friend, who vitalizes me somehow - you who are a present absence. Thank you again for the calm.more
It is again, today, my friend, that I feel a certain hopelessness. That is to say I have no expectation. There is no notion that somehow circumstances will "work out" in the way I pray. There are no eyes watching what I do in order to reward me for good behavior and punish ugliness, no wider meaning than what I and we are. Jean-Paul claims meaning comes from meaninglessness, but there is purpose and meaning in everything, as it is anything. It is the overarching hope that lies vacant. It is yours, my friend.
As for me, I have place in the world un-placed, a position in no direction. There is effort that needs expansion, a kind of energy inserted into the when that I live. Should I choose to cease my efforts, certainly momentum would take me. But where? It seems to the same place as prior, here with you.more
I have noticed a certain toughness that arises from within. My experience was not always that, but now there is more I am able to tolerate, and just in time! The hardest years are perhaps ahead of me. I am to be deleted by my culture, drained of vitality and then removed from my best-yet-remunerating livelihood (and it is merely a livelihood). I may find myself gathering bricks where someone has razed an old building. Yet, that toughness will assist, though the body has waned. I consider the literature of the ancients the source of that toughness. Through so many years it has seeped into me, compelling me to endure in the best manner. It is the strength and strain towards excellence, arete, that accomplishes this task, I suspect. It seems that the world grows ever softer, expecting that the cushions produced for moderns will assist. I am not saying that there is no suffering in the world, no. There exists pain. But the effort at self-overcoming (you know the one I mean) it is Homeric. It is harder.
That is not to say that the toughness is the only virtuous part of...more
I must admit that I am upset at not having heard from you, my friend. It has been merely one day, not even twenty-four hours, and there is again silence from your corner. I did not expect to hear much from you, but the deafening silence is difficult to tolerate at times. I am lonely here in the short-blog region of our virtual world, watching and waiting as did dutifully the watchman in the Oresteia. Yet, he at last finds something, an empty victory indeed but still something. Perhaps that is what I am discovering here, an empty victory. Certainly, the trend for blogging has expired for those who are invested in the virtual world. But, we are not so, are we? We arose to culture running and finding places to hide from the other children in order to read. We watched the animals in the diminutive valley behind our rooms filled with living. Ours was a tidy, soft upbringing. Later, we became tough, inside at least.
It seems that your silence has been for me decades-long. Still, I call you a friend.more
I have waited some time now, and I hear no response from you, friend. I listen and I hear nothing; I watch and I see only what things I regularly witness. These are the things and creatures about which I talk to you. There is no touch that I sense with finger or palm; you have no scent. You have given no sign that I may interpret other than the ordinary occurrences and thoughts that arise. I may be able to interpret these as some kind of communication, but there is no reason to believe they are anything more than random events that I take and dispose as I please. They would transpire if I asked if I demanded if I begged. Always, the same answer from you.
Still, I knew that you are that kind of comrade, a friend of nothing and consistently silent. Your constant nothing I admire. It is the most potent aspect of your presence.more
You are fortunate, my friend, that you have no use for computers and software programmers. They constantly change programs, software that need no change at all. Every two or three years those caught in the virtual universe must learn a newly configured interface that is recognizable, yet altered enough to occupy the mind long enough to irritate everyone except those who profit from the new configuration. One is disoriented regularly, which destabilizes regular living, and we humans must have regularity. One sometimes receives the impression that "progress" is made. As I say, you are fortunate to have no use for these things.
But then, you have no use for anything. You are such a good friend, the one only who listens.more
I wish you could speak, my absent friend. I would enjoy listening to your perspective on the aim of contemporary American life. It seems to me that it is certainly indolence. What seems a better life for the standard American than to possess enough wealth, and so sufficient resource, to sleep late. One wants to pay servants to perform menial tasks. One wishes to travel idly, flittering about here and there without setting root or finding understanding in the local soil. The task is no task at all. Celebrations arise spontaneously with vacuous celebrities who have nothing to say, yet who support causes of some narcissistic kind or another (I must admit, though, that some of the causes seem just). And then there is the great pastime of all: the watching of television, which the Americans have spread around the globe in the form of personal channels and endless happy endings. There is no authentic work here, no kind of effort and expenditure of energy for something higher. The veery formation of thought is skilled, trade-like and flimsy. It is the least that we can do.
I am anxious to hear your thoughts, my absent friend, on a matter that has concerned me for some decades. Perhaps just once you will humor me with them. The American "conservative", such as it is conservative these days, has always been adept at surviving mortality, easily even. The acceptance of things as they are seems fit to endure comfortably the death that surrounds us, an end that surrounds every thing living, and admittedly, there is a certain excellence of understanding, a keen survival adaptation, that comes with the acceptance of one's finitude. Yet, it is the death of another that these conservatives accept. They seem quite comfortable with the demise of political rivals, even whole institutions, as long as they retain their comfort. Their own end...
I wish to retain for myself that comfort with death, my friend, but I see everything dying all around me, and I perceive growing danger. I am hoping that you are willing to tell me what you think, but I fear you have died, or that you are in part the death I seek. Thoughts?more
I say to you today, my friend, I have nothing to tell you. There is nothing on my mind. I have no complaints, no words for good thoughts, no meerschaums, brier roots. I have no cheroots. I cannot give you an insight, not a handshake. I cannot hear you and you are, naturally, nowhere to be seen. I have nothing for you.
But you have no mind for any of my lacks. In fact, I believe you may enjoy my bit of nothing that I offer today, if enjoy you do. You and I are of a similar frame.more
A friend has asked me why I have not found myself in a philosophy department. "Why not talk to those most interested in what you truly are?", they asked. I say I have great love for the discipline, and respect for what academics do. And some academic philosophers have truly open minds. The presence of these I enjoy. Yet, it is the solipsism of an academic office that confines me too greatly, as does the rigid unforgiving nature of a grammarian who knows almost nothing of linguistics and actual language use. One seeks a niche into which one can construct an office with a view; they form an argument about an issue and refuse to admit any other thought into their musing, or, if they do, they abuse it. These safe politicians must act in this manner, these academic philosophers, in order to earn their pretty check every other month, but they have shut themselves from the influence of others in the most unphilosophical of ways.
Genuine philosophy comes to the poor or to the financially independent. It arises from a need and a nature. It comes from a vocation that cannot be...more
I wonder, my friend, at the confusion of the moral philosophers. I do not pretend to know how a society must be constructed, and perhaps there is no proper way to build humanity, but I am curious about how human beings are the result of evolution. Let us say that we are modified apes. who have arisen from the predatory context of survival of the fittest. Are we to expect, somehow, humane behavior? Are we to believe that predation will somehow abate or that it will disappear because we have arranged our group here one way, with emphasis on certain aspects of humanity for one group and other emphases on another. The communists and the capitalists make that emphasis most clear. Our humanity is predatory in most ways; just watch how we treat other creatures, with arbitrary, random kindness and cruelty.
It is the strength of character who becomes empathetic, yet life-ending, in trying circumstances .That is the "self-overcoming" we seek.more
I suspect I have been rude, my friend. I have been talking about my own case when I ought to have been asking about yours. I want to know all about you. Who are you? Or...what are you? You have not spoken, nor have you moved, unless it is the lack that makes movement possible. I have not touched you, nor have I seen you, not heard. P. says I cannot think you; I must think something that is. So, I am unable to connect with you through my musing, nor my writings. How, then, am I to say that you are a friend? You must be present in some way, yes? It may be that I cannot connect with you, no, not you, no nothing. Still, I may see and hear, even touch, your affects - even your effects. In that way, we are already friends, I suspect.more
You miss out, my friend. You have not experienced the posturing politic. You were not compelled to hear someone say that it is madness to continue to do the same thing and expect a different result. Mostly, this statement was made in order to corner and embarrass the left, but it understands political madness incorrectly. Political madness seems more to be continuing to do the same thing, to insist upon the same policies, no matter what the consequences. Colbert once said of George W. Bush (forgive the paraphrase here) that the president did the same thing on Wednesday that he did on Monday, no matter what happened on Tuesday. Now, I believe some of what the conservatives say - only some - but that certainly is madness.more
I want to share a minor thought with you, my empty friend. I went to my doctor the other day, and somehow the topic of American left verses right political position arose. Mixed with the subject were the issues of stress and bits of depression. My doctor said that those on the left consume too much news, assuming my political position. His advice was to turn away from the endless waves of information that confront us in the virtual age, which is sound advice in some ways. On the other hand, I am in the middle of the street and I cannot move. A car is heading directly toward me, almost upon me, and its driver is texting at the moment. I suppose I ought to turn my attention to what?more
You would have been amused, my friend. A student claimed that I am dissatisfied with my position in the world. They said I hate my life, or some such other thing. I admit that I do have a mad plan, one that has come to fruition partially. I question it regularly, and I wonder at its audacity and unlikeliness. I grow angry at it and critique what I am doing, my plans. The use of art for expressing meaning, indeed! Whoever thought that could happen!? Who do I think I am I ask myself. Yes, I do ask that. I wonder at it, and I am stunned at the audacity! I have not followed the cursus honorum of the ivory tower, no. And for those who have no sympathy I will tell you that I have suffered and do suffer for it. I cannot access that prized nepotism! So, I am hard on myself. Yes, that is true! Is there additional meaning for me because I am hard on others?more
When I awoke this morning, my non-existent friend, I noted for perhaps the 456th time how inexpensively my country is made. Plastic, one-use, containers that cannot be reused or recycled; automobiles that carry with them debt for the mere five years they are viable as reliable means of transportation; co-workers whose friendliness conceals treachery. There is not a single thing, no lone moment, that refrains from the in-expense of profit-driven indolence. I cannot seal that resealable jar that I purchased; my avocados are brown on the surface and hard at the core; my toothbrush performs badly because of its lack of firmness that is too firm, supposedly. The repairs of a centenarian rocking chair are fused together with the least costly adhesives and flimsiest of metals. The culture follows with its immersion in constant entertainment and its inability to appreciate the difficulties and virtues of statecraft. The very tradition itself lacks expense, no appreciation for the past and little regard for the future, since nothing is done about wildfires and melting ice that prove the...more
I have decided it, my friend from nowhere. I plan on writing a new book. Its plot will center around a killer robot from Mars whose stunning intellect is powered by artificial intelligence. It will be timely social commentary. I will begin work tonight, as soon as possible. I trust that our new god will not be watching me as I expose its nefarious plans.more
Again, I want to tell you something, my friend, though I have talked at you twice more even this morning. You are perhaps dispassionate, since you are not there, but then again perhaps you are overly dispassionate, again not being there. At any rate, I think upon certain men whom I find in the world, the males that is. They make no attempt, my friend, and they are encouraged to do nothing. This now-empty thing they call their religion makes them despise all things female, all things that is. This hatred makes no sense, since it is directed at an overgeneralization and because of many other things (How can femaleness be inherently bad?). It has never made sense to me, though I always wanted to defend the males. But I am now longer-lived and experienced. Aeschylus would say that I have suffered, and so I have something that I learned. I wish still to defend the males, but they are boys, undeveloped and complacent. They make no effort - no attempt at excellence of living and dying. Rather, they content themselves, yes not every one of them, they content themselves these particular...more
I notice, my friend, that you have directed the conversation, begun a precedent. We follow you and the contours of what you have said. It defines our words and it regulates our discussion as a result. Yet, you are not there; you have nothing; you say nothing; you do nothing. You are nothing. So, absence sets precedent for those of us who see nothing for what it is. Perhaps nothing then acts in a way - through the limits and outline through the ceasing that begins - upon the things that are supposedly "there." One must remember that these things are-not. They have no place where they must begin, these words. They lead through themselves what were already present in the form of something else. Nevertheless, the conversation has started, and we have a direction. Nothing can stop the course we are now traveling.more
It is strange that I am writing to you, my absent friend, since I have spent decades preparing to communicate with others of my species. Still, you have been my longest and most loyal friend, and for that I thank you. I recall your presence when I was but eleven years old. We played together on the wooden arm that held my father's mailbox out towards the street, hat and leather pants joining us. You are quiet and reserved, yet unnerving at once. You say nothing and act just as little. The calm that joined us was all joy, until the other children appeared. Then, still you were there, still silent quiet inactive.more
I must tell you, my empty friend, that I am terrified. I may not live long enough to witness what artificial intelligence does to our humanity, but I do not trust our present leaders to do enough to stop its most vile affects. The climate crisis is mounting as well, and humans are addicted to their capitalistic power structures. Those structures insist upon growth of the economy, rather than sanity of economic movement. I have spent a lifetime learning enough to write what will perhaps be worth reading, and perhaps a hyper-intellect will overrule and delete it; perhaps climate change will annihilate human society enough to destroy any trace of my thought or existence. Some combination of both?
Perhaps I ought to sleep well though, since eventual change will annihilate everything from our world and experience. That is why you are my comfort, my friend. You are the only eternity, since the only eternity is nothing.more
Greetings, my absent friend! I experienced a stunning realization that I must share with you. If an academic has no window in their office, one that leads to the outside world, then their life is meaningless and their work must be dismissed. If, however, they do have sight to the outside world, even a vision that reveals only some portion of sky because of the blades of grass, soil and worms smashed up against it, then what they do is an exercise of universal truth. Only then does their life have meaning.
It has taken a lifetime of study to recognize this rather small, petty, uniform truth. I thank my colleagues for their input.more
At the time of this post I am an older man who has been deprived and robbed for over a decade. My colleagues, such as they are colleagues, are transforming into children as others decline, age and retire. These new ones are strange to me and odd-thinking sometimes arrogant, which is always unwarranted. Some are well-intended and others...may be talented and may not. In this place I have been driven from all discussion that oversees my livelihood and cut from all decision-making. I am a token of sorts, used to demonstrate that these new colleagues are inclusive, these ones who have inherited the tradition of shutting me out of any substantive discourse about how much food I am able to purchase.more
I have witnessed you daily, on the sidewalk as I ride to work, in the scent of slaughter that comes from the Fruit Market - in the absence of friends who will later be present then gone again. You have resided within my thoughts for some decades, and now I seem to witness the end of what it is to be, for all of we who can read these words. You will be my friend here; you will listen while others willfully ignore or cannot hear. You will be my present friend in your absence who understands my complaints, heeds my warnings and considers my insights. I will send my thoughts to you here in this forum - where there is no-one.more
Congratulations, future Classicists! You have both privilege and duty to continue a stalwart tradition. You carry with you the past, if only in the form of your personal interests. Perhaps more. These old languages are not dead; they are on life support. That vitality is you and your openness to the past. The old communities were far from perfect, and we encourage you to criticize them, but also we exhort you to explain to others what good they did, what is worth considering and preserving. Be mindful of new ways of comporting yourself towards others, but do not forget that these old languages are not the enemies of progress or betterment. They carry with them necessarily neither anti-revolutionary sentiment, nor reactionary positioning. They are virtues for the future and warnings from the past. Revere them and encourage others to do the same.
Gratulor vobis! Euge!more
Once when I was sleeping in the dark, heavy of dream, I was awoken by a scratching at my door. I thought it odd that one of my animals might be outside my condominium, so I performed a roll-call; all present and accounted. I looked through the peephole but saw no-one in the hall. Curious, I opened the entrance to my abode and found at my feet a medium-sized, purple frog, fully decked in a yellow cape and red hat. He seemed annoyed.
“I haven't been able to get in,” he said. “They sent me to the wrong section of your home.”
“Oh really?” I said.
“Yeah. I need to come inside.”
I stood in my pajamas deeply perplexed.
“May I?” asked the frog.
When he came inside, he flapped his cape and pulled out what looked like an electronic device, something like a small hand-held computer. He tapped it once and then shook his aggravated head.
“You know, I hate to ask, but can you get back into bed?” he said in an irritated voice, though I saw that he was not annoyed with me.
“You're supposed to be asleep when I arrive.” He looked at a...more
Tom squatted and examined the pile of fallen broken wooden branches around the Bitternut hickory. The stick was not proper, too thick and curved in the wrong manner. It would be unwieldy and awkward. There were all sorts of trees around him, and when he turned his view circle-round he was able to see from his squat much more clearly what moved and who was where. His uncle had taught him how to survive and observe in the wilderness. His headache had subsided a bit, but he still hurt.
“Yap yap YAP yap yap YAP YaP yaP YAP.”
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“Yap yap YAP yap yap YAP YaP yaP YAP.”
“Yap yap YAP yap yap YAP YaP yaP YAP.” “Yap yap YAP yap yap YAP YaP yaP...more
Their number in the center was not eight, but rather six, yet it could have been eight or even fifteen. Their number around the shell was not twenty, nor fifteen, but it could have been six or twenty, fifteen or eight. The number of the inner shell was two and the outer four, but they could have been two and six. The inner shell could have been two, a middle shell eight and the outer five, but they were not. The inner shell was two and the outer four. That there were six inner or eight inner or fifteen inner was not final, nor were the shells certain, until they were. They established a precedent these physical events, and that precedent ably continued, able to break, or to cease, because of what it was. That their number was able to be other than number was the result of number, not number and lack of number but number as is-not. And the same took place as an abiding difference, a circle of six stable-state charges steady because of the lack of order of not surrounding it. They continued because the possibility of ending was present, yet the ceasing and the presence were not the...more
Hip-trop, trip-pop they spread out along the now-tawny grass. No ocher did they produce – though some suspect it – crawling up hills along the inclement plain they stood heavy in the urban soil. Rivals and mates of is, they assembled where what comes. Tiny, intimate of each element, they let not the minutest of particles escape and they were enormous, no collection of existence escaping. They rode along the sliver of gold that crawls through rock and terra beneath the surface of the plain; they made electricity that guides thoughts which produce psyches of erect beings walking atop prodigious hills with flocks of wool-producing bleeters. They rode in iron trains along dark mountainous paths in masses and within bunches of anything. They have no number and cannot be taken as one, fraction or many – though one counts their species of nothing. They marched and did not move, made glory and produced earth by simple acts and impossible combinations. When talking they produced descriptive sounds that gave presence to the light of things, but they themselves cannot be described. Just so,...more
Chicago resident Steve looks in disbelief at the cat treat offered to him by his care-giver. “I can't believe I asked for this thing”, Steve said. “It's a plain piece of popcorn. No butter, salt or even cheese, and I never really wanted it.” Having pestered his friend Kirk for some hours by jumping on his lap and mercilessly nudging his bowl filled with hot-popped corn, Steve cried “bloody murder" with melodramatic posture, as if his hunger were about to drive him to despair and suicide. The gray and black tabby stared briefly at the treat given to him. After letting loose a scoff, Steve looked up at his friend with semi-bewildered eyes.
“I don't want this,” Steve is recorded as saying. The said pop-treat resides still on the wood-paneled floor, both parties irritated at the outcome.more
Dana stopped near the side of the road and tied Aristippos near the bramble bush. He would stay, keeping the carriage in one place. Good boy. She was fortunate that no-one had seen it before she did. It would surely be gone already should someone have come along and seen it. Its chain was tangled in the green and browning thorns and branches of the angry bush. Its entanglement was why its owner had not taken it back, or maybe its owner did not know where it is, not yet know they lost it. Must be. She thought that it was a most beautiful object. Perhaps not the most beautiful ever seen, but the beauty and the originality steeped in tradition that it employed surrounded her mind with luminescent musing. It was, she supposed, an amulet, spherical and gold with strangely-formed words written all about and around. She was unable to discern all of the sliver-filled characters, could see that there existed a great many more than she perceived woven inside the sphere in many layers beneath the surface, more and more spheres inside spheres each embroidered with insight. She looked at it...more
The mat of blonde hair flopped down into his face again. He savagely threw it back atop his head. He leaned his well-cut arm around the divan and glanced at the wall with the many, giant shelves inset, myriad resting books and old compact disks, even some leftover videos lounging as though they had worked all day. He knitted his brows. The mahogany floor and the brass plating on the glossy-wood windows spoke to him as they always had. This his library scanned immense fifty meters or so, and it was the smallest room in the ever-expanding domicile. The lengthy field of fine fescue outside the manor and the multi-kilometered expanse of trees enveloped the home entire in silence. He thought he may want a Moules Mariniere, but then again no. Perhaps he wanted another woman. They were cheap, many times, and quite manipulable.
He may want to fly north; he was somewhat in the mood for skiing and cocoa at high altitude.
No. Not really.
He suspected work on another addition to the house would be his next thing, but there was so much of that, had been done...more
Agnes pushed the porcelain figurine forward just a bit. What with a blue, floppy hat and the flowing dress its depiction of a young woman strolling was quite beautiful, she thought. It slid along the counter as she pushed it, but she didn't pick it up. The youthful stroller was too heavy. Everything around her came laden with weights and dripped as if drenched in some sort of fluid. She thought it was an oil of some kind. It fell exceedingly slowly from her body as it weighed down her limbs hands, and her feet almost dragged along the tiles. A drop would not hit the floor in an hour so slowly did it go from her body. She didn't want to touch anything, was afraid that anything she held would break, already broken. When she arose in the morning, her first thoughts pressed her back into the bed. She wanted to sleep more and when awake keep sleeping. The visit to Precious Porcelains had been a good idea, and it gave her a bit of levity and thus lifted her a bit lighter, but only a bit. She walked along the aisle and found an urge to stroke a collie on the glass shelf, eternally...more
Preacher Marvin, dressed in a breathtaking tan suit with black lapels, spoke to a theater of believers who howled and hooted exultation. He delivered the message again: the good christian sympathizes with Others. He is compassionate with other creatures, and then preacher Marvin said that god gives us the earth to tend as we see fit, animals have no souls. He said “we” are the chosen people. He paced the stage before the pulpit and then circled round behind it. He banged his fist on the sturdy, gilded wood as he claimed that no other creature possessed a soul like man. Marvin then gradually walked out into the audience and touched the hand of an elderly woman, front row. She rose and hugged Marvin, saved and Halleluiah. She related to the audience how she had been lonely and afraid, near life’s end.
“No-one ought to fear death as long as they have Christ in their heart,” said Marvin.
He held the frail thing up before a great lake of geriatric eyes.
- “I met this guy,” Xenis said.
“You did?” asked John.
- “Yeah. He’s a friend of...
The car jerked as Rokita sat down on the plastic cover with the wafer-thin, electric blue carpeting on top. He placed his sack beside him and wound the strap around his arm, though he wasn't carrying it. A weariness spread through him, which a lack of sleep seemed to keep generating. He knew he must drive himself awake and then slog through the day. Ordinarily, he would take out his phone and type at Karina, but the weariness produced in him just enough lethargy to inspire akinesis. Rok slid his eyes across the car, over the standing-man hanging onto the rail with knapsack on back, along the ugly, light-heeled, white shoes of the pale-skinned teenager with the pods in ears, and around and onto a woman staring intently into what Rok first thought was a phone, but was apparently a small mirror. “Maybe they have an app for that,” he thought lazily. His eyes fell on her as she ensured the appearance of smooth, dark brown, clean skin. Her long hair shifted into dreads, other portions shining smooth. After a moment she noticed him noticing her. He thought fast and lifted his hand,...more
Dane looked up into the white glass and steel dome with the bright light falling down. Someone with a thick, paper bag nudged him on the shin as she talked on her phone. The white shirt on his form had no stain on it; he had made certain that no yellow fell there. The marble fountain he had been sitting on shined up at Dane, and he thought to sit down again. He glanced again at the thousands of pennies lining the fountain and watched as another person with another thick, paper bag descended the moving stairs. None of these persons talked to him. They seemed to notice him in no way, but that was alright. He waited for something else, not them. Dane ate the last of his meal, a dog on a stick with mustard and honey. His attention turned again toward the light coming from the white glass. Soon, the light would come, shining down on him from the the window in the roof. It would make him young again.
He'd see Alan and Gracie. He couldn't wait.more
Steve says that he has been patient up until now, but no-one has presented to, granted by law or writ, submitted control over, or otherwise relinquished to him the cheese. He feels the need to smash someone or something soon, but before he does that, he wants everyone to know that the papyrus given to him by the man who had fallen off his horse is proof enough. This papyrus is the word of god. It's written down for Christ's sake. It says right there in plain ancient Greek that all cheese belongs to the cat Steve who must have control over all of it immediately. The words written down on that papyrus are absolute and incontrovertible. Listen only to Steve's papyrus and to Steve's papyrus alone and you'll find truth and justice, and...the good life,...or happiness or some shit. But you must hand over the cheese now lest you suffer eternal damnation or oblivion,...or some such other crap like that.
John remained home for the next few days, gathering strength. He listened to the strong-willed voice tell the same thing, once more comforted. Still, on this occasion, he felt a sadness – something that he had not experienced. On the days when Christopher kept guard, the old John slept mostly and gathered himself together. Preacher Marvin told him to love others, that the strength of god came to him when he found compassion in his heart. John knew that the sadness in him was that compassion. “I do feel for them.” Five days later John moved sluggishly down the stairs and slid thankfully into his Altima. He rested a moment, dazed from the exertion the stairs demanded. Ten minutes passed; he started the car and drove without plan. The streets, the pedestrians and the configuration of traffic took him wherever he might go. He stopped at a theater downtown and pondered a film. The titles all seemed profane and harsh. He met no-one willing to talk with him, and so John placed himself again in his Altima and drove where he thought was home. The drive once again took him more than a few...more
When he looked to the floor, he perceived again not the whole living-space he had entered but rather bits of pieces of some kind of something moving in a strange manner gathering and, crushed by the force of one object for another, pressed together into a larger mass. This substance remained the same, unchanged, for so long no sentient creature can live, then felt the tug of a pull and fell into a chasm within the earth where the mass of pieces melted from extreme heat, forming a different kind of mass, one black and dense. There the mass-black remained for as long as it had before, now much colder and hard, when a slight warmth came touching upon its surface, not from below as before but atop, from where the pull of gravity did not come. Its enormous mass and heavy grace lifted from embrace of earth, it came down heavy on a bed of pliable metal, then found itself moved along a line and large parts came off made into squares polished and set a mere six decades on the floor where some of the frailest of fleshy creatures walked spilled and sat.more
The rubber bands you see here are the worst ever. They serve no practical function, except to aggravate and annoy humankind. Too thin to hold anything substantial for longer than a minute or so they perform no proper rubber-powered task. You may be able to wrap your book or a few pages of paper in them, but within a brief span of time the bands will break, fueling rage.
They are here to test us, to demand that we remain calm in the face of wasted resource, unfulfilled need and outright uselessness. They are similar to some relatives you know, I'm sure.more
My emotionally disturbed cousin Joey told me that he likes a girl at school. He wanted to know how he could make himself more attractive to her and I said “Girls like jokes about bodily fluids and gasses coupled with clearly resonant flatulence. Leering helps as well.” Seemingly cogitating over my words, he listened for a moment and said, “Thank you. I think this dating thing might be quite easy.”more
Not of his own labor or worth a young man came into considerable wealth. He needed no possessions because he owned anything and everything he pleased. He desired no woman because legions of them came. He had no cares, but found or attained without effort whatever he desired. His affluence took him wherever he wished, yet quickly his boredom grew and his lack of necessity tired him. He began to seek what he was unable to obtain and there he found a desire great and plentiful. He longed for something not intangible but greater than matter, something more able than that what he owned, and he found that longing in his search for an acquaintance – a man, an African-American woman, an older woman, diminutive workers, madly corrupt judges and a bee. This youth was cruel, even savage, and though he learned quickly, he understood sometimes not at all. He sought that intoxicating acquaintance in his hearth, during travel and in taverns, but such company rarely comes when bidden. Occasionally, when the youth had ceased looking or when he had grown too tired for seeking, or seemingly...more
Steve says that he’s being harassed by those who don’t believe. Humans send him email, saying that he doesn’t own the cheese, that god didn’t tell anyone that he owns all the past, present and future cheese. Steve wants these “persons” to know that they are oppressing him. He has the proof that the cheese is his. He believes and he even has followers who believe that he is a cat of god. This guy who gives him food – what’s the name? – Kirk. Kirk is a believer in Steve’s ownership of the cheese. He gives Steve the cheese all the time. Steve says that those who refuse to believe the one and only truth, that papyrus that substantiates his ownership of the cheese, those people are oppressing his god-given right to own all the cheese. It’s against the constitution,...or something.more
Frederick needed a shave and he knew it. His hair grew in thick patches everywhere, practically, on his body; none was thicker than here on his face. His hair needed only a few hours to emerge on his chin and no matter how closely he ran the thin piece of metal across his face, he was unable to prevent the quick onslaught of raven hair from appearing in so very brief time. Once, when he was watching pigeons and children in a park he noticed a young girl watching him. Thinking nothing of the matter at first, he went about his business feeding the birds and the animals who recognized him as food. Not a source of food, but food itself, as if the pigeons were heeding the phenomenological call...but to food. They loved this man – as they sometimes loved man – more than they realized. He had given them sustenance, that’s true, but he also captured one or two of them on occasion, such occasioning wounded paws or other unseen incapacitating maladies. This frighteningly tall creature would grab them; somehow they would fall asleep unwilling and when they awoke, they felt better – just...more
- Calvin turned his face away from the road toward Galinda.
- “You don't listen, Gale. Do you know how to listen? I never said she wanted to move. I said she moved. Jesus.”
- Galinda did not respond, but observed the pale yellow open fields passing beside the highway. She adjusted her shirt.
- “Why did you wear that? I swear. It's what...the third day in a row you wear the same thing?”
- Calvin ran his eyes over her long sleeves.
- “And when are you getting a job?”
- He shook his head in disgust.
- “You don't cook. You have no friends.”
- He waited for a response that did not come.
- “You're allowed to criticize and you can't take criticism, Gale.”
- She hated it when he called her “Gale.” There ticked twenty minutes before another word emerged.
- “You contradict yourself every five minutes and then tell everyone about their inconsistency. Do you even know that?”
- Calvin silenced himself. He wanted to vent his frustration, not destroy her.
- “It's not the same shirt,” she said finally. “It's very...
- Galinda turned her face away from the road toward Calvin.
- “You don't listen, Cal. Do you know how to listen? I never said she wanted to move. I said she moved. Jesus.”
- Calvin did not respond, but observed the pale yellow open fields passing beside the highway. He adjusted his shirt.
- “Why did you wear that? I swear. It's what...the third day in a row you wear the same thing?”
- Galinda ran her eyes over his long sleeves.
- “And when are you getting a job?”
- She shook her head in disgust.
- “You don't cook. You have no friends.”
- She waited for a response that did not come.
- “You're allowed to criticize and you can't take criticism, Cal.”
- He hated it when she called him “Cal.”
- There ticked twenty minutes before another word emerged.
- “You contradict yourself every five minutes and then tell everyone about their inconsistency. Do you even know that?”
- Galinda silenced herself. She wanted to express her frustration, not destroy him.
- “It's not the same shirt,” he...
Kirk Shellko...and Steve
Steve says he’s plagued by questions, some from within and some from without. The question he wants to address today comes from fellow Chicagoans who want to know how he knows that god says all the cheese is his. Steve thinks this is a good and valid question and so he wants to provide a proper answer. Steve once went into the barren sands of Sahara and lost his way. He grew thirsty and tired from lack of nourishment and water and thought that he might die, but at the moment of expiration he encountered a vision. The vision was of a man who had fallen off of his horse, blinded by another vision. The man said that all the cheese in the world is Steve’s and when Steve asked how he knew that all the cheese belonged to him, this specific Steve, the man said that he learned from the almighty.
“Rest assured,” he said. “All cheese belongs to Steve.”
The man said as well that it was then incumbent upon Steve to retrieve the cheese from the cheese thieves who had taken it. The man in the vision gave Steve a book, really a roll of papyrus, and said that he ought to preach to...more
I'm not available to answer the phone right now. I'm out visiting my emotionally disturbed cousin, Joey. He’s in the intensive care ward. You see, he was urinating into the back of a television set when suddenly – CRACK! Apparently, a bolt of electricity ran up his urine stream. I hope he’s alright.more
John felt more energy in the next few days, not enough to exit his unit. More days passed before he again felt strength enough to walk. The park clouds cast gray-shade overtop the grass, the dogs and runners. A mischievous patch of blue peeked through the graying vapor and glided slowly out of the park limits, moving a section of light across the ball players. Runners, fewer dogs, fewer young persons occupied the park this day, and that fact made sad old John, his spirits rising regardless. He walked nearer to the lake and another bench, this time cement, offered an uneven surface to the surrounding fatigue. A woman in loose-fit jeans and sweatshirt walked with a large dog, perhaps parts Dane and Shepherd. The dog was lively but slow-moving, holding an ancient propriety and kindness in his limbs. The woman threw a ball about one-hundred yards away and the dog toddled toward it, rocking up and then down onto the ground as he moved. He stopped short of the yellow prey, returned to the woman without it. She pointed and yelled something, then walked with some agitation to retrieve...more
Steve says there is a god. And god created cheese. God created cheese just for Steve, even though humans learned for themselves how to make cheese and even though they make and consume massive amounts of it. All of the history and consumption of cheese was needed in order for humans to present to Steve cheese. Steve also says that control over all of cheese ought to be given to him right now, since god created the cheese just for him. Humans ought to make no delay in presenting to him all the present and future cheese and the only reason that cheese has not been given to Steve – he owns it really – is that humans do not understand the divine plan, especially when it comes to cheese, cheese products and serving Steve the cheese.
Let’s get it moving, folks.more
There was once a young man of considerable influence and property. He had not a care and found or obtained whatever he desired. His affluence took him wherever he wished and after he had gone where he pleased he quickly-quite-naturally grew tired and bored and began to seek what he was unable to obtain, and there he found a desire great and plentiful. He needed no possessions because he owned anything and everything he pleased. He desired no woman because they came in legions. He longed for something that was not tangible, something greater than that what he owned, and he found that longing in his search for an acquaintance – a man an African-American woman, a homeless professor and a bee. This youth was cruel, even savage, and though he learned quickly, he learned sometimes not at all. He sought that intoxicating acquaintance in hearth and during travel even in taverns. Occasionally, when the youth had ceased looking or when he had grown too tired for seeking, he found that ancient acquaintance. There and then the gap filled as the two now friends met and chatted, played and...more
On the second day of seven, a rather thin young man sat beside John on a bench where he was gathering his wind. The young man seemed to enjoy the autumn weather, but interacted with no-one, thumbing and finger-dancing on a small, electronic device. John was unable to refrain from looking onto the screen and to his amazement, what looked to him like a movie was playing. He noticed that the young man connected to his device through an ear-set; he was able to observe unobserved. Gabe wore comfortable low-top tennis shoes and baggy, elongated shorts with many pockets. A somewhat tight tee-shirt wrapped itself around him.
“May I ask what you're doing?”
The young man gave no reply, and John waved in front of him. Not wanting to disturb him, John looked around for some time, observing the goings-on going on, but became restless. He looked again at the computer screen. He thought he saw an explosion and an automobile roll along a sidewalk, but was not sure.
Still, no reaction. John once again waved his hand before the young man, and then finally...more
Michael slid the dresser drawer into its slot though the stubborn wood complained. He looked a last time into the mirror atop, near the cologne, after-shave and deodorant. Everything was in place; he had consumed a full hour combing his hair alone. He opened the door to the hallway and felt the soft bristles of carpet beneath his feet. He liked that sensation, and he heard the murmur of some few voices around the corner down the carpet-covered stairs into the kitchen and out beyond the deck. Some vociferous sounds even out onto the lawn he sensed.
“What are they doing on the lawn this early,” he asked himself as he glanced at his watch. “I need to say something about that.”
No-one had disturbed him as he prepared himself; they never did. No-one inquired after his bad moods, or put difficult questions to him. No-one made any suggestions to him about anything. As he walked into the living room near the kitchen beside the window leading out onto the back porch, and beyond came the lawn, a kind of silence followed his steps. They remained a few moments and split into...more
She shook her head as he handed over the folded trousers. “What?” he asked. Again her head shook. He paused before handing over her blouse and dress-slacks. “What do you mean, 'What?'?” “I mean, what are you shaking your head for?” She stared blankly in no particular direction, eyes wide and unrealizing. “Shake?” “Yeah, a shake of the head, as in 'No'.” “I didn't shake my head.” “Sure you did.” “Did I?” “Yes!” “Well, I don't know what happened. Where did it go?”
“Seriously? You lost it?” “I didn't lose it. I just...don't know exactly where it is now,” she said wryly.
A wrinkle and a Harumph emerging on his face, Richard began looking under the gathering of socks and cloth-napkins in front of him; Anastasia searched the trouser-pockets and insides of shirt-sleeves.
Knowing what the other was thinking, they extended the search. He opened dresser drawers, pulling out T-shirts and pants, examining their folds. She opened closets, leafing between each dangling garment. Richard darted to the back room where Anastasia continued to rummage through...more
The fog lifted, suddenly but still not so quickly. Her eyes opened as her head bobbed up and around, the drowsiness wanting to take her. She felt a sensation of movement that was not her own, but her legs propelled her forward. She must be moving.
“Come one, Jillian! You have to wake up!”
She looked into the sky, overcast, with lazy eyes and the sharp cold of the grass swept beneath her naked feet. She couldn't know where she had been, but she wanted to... She didn't finish the thought. It somehow disappeared. Sleep was creeping over her again, but that was odd; she was running. The ugly-blue hospital gown flapped on her back, reminding her of some kind of...surgery?
“Come on! Jillian, move it!”
Someone held her hand as they ran, an enormous field in front of a falling sun. Her belly ached.more
Slanting, pale-yellow layers of earth pressing immense one flat layer atop another form a magazine of stone. Its width penetrates deep into the terran base. Earth’s gravity pulls creatures at angle against its unyielding solidity. Millenia of precipitation and searing sunlight have pulverized its surface particle by particle. Stones the length of a man’s hand and arm, the size of one’s finger and the shape of one’s heart or lung lay beside and within the crevices that house countless creeping beasts. It is as if man were here scattered piecemeal, fragmented specs of moist organ ossified. Air is here thin and rare, as if it were a priceless tellurian commodity. Grist is as scarce. Steep declines spin vertigo in men’s heads, displaying a terrifying fall onto sharp igneous spearheads, fiery aflicker in tandem with Sol’s children. Though light finds its way here, the air is arid and cool, becoming cooler. Sinewy foliage lies flourishing beneath the arid weather where rain’s moisture finds its home in soil and dewy growth. Each range lies thus in verdant whiskers, as if a mount be...more
Odis was odd. No doubt was there about it. Still, Odis was in many respects a very common person. He had no children, nor did a wife live with nor girlfriend visit him, yet he possessed the same difficulties as other men, even women. Most often, Odis labored over the business activities of a man whose worth far exceeded his. He had regular work, but he also hired himself out on weekends and sometimes weeknights because though he toiled sixty to seventy hours per week, he never had enough money. Odis needed to pay his utility bill, his student debt, his electricity bill, his cell-phone and internet bill, buy a new cell phone every three months, pay his rent, his car note, his car and home insurance, his gas bill, as well as buy his bike maintenance, his replacement toothbrushes, his needle and thread, his Quaker oats, his Q-tips, his Saran wrap, his chewable vitamins, his drool-eliminator, his dandruff-control hair tonic, his suspender enforcements, his toilet paper, and his foot-sanitizer. Secretaries Day and Valentine’s Day as well as Hot Surfer Day were all coming up and there...more
- “We'll be protected.”
- Nick and John exited the still-running Altima, books and gloves in – then over – hands. They knew they would not be able to talk with many persons, but despite the weakness in limbs and lack of understanding where he was, John continued where his comrade followed. They knocked on several doors before they met a woman flushed with child-tending. Her stout-and-growing frame betrayed a fading conventional allure; hair disheveled, blond at the ends dark brown at root. Her dark eyebrows complimented her pale complexion. A mild frustration possessed her words.
- “We’re here to spread good news,” John began.
- “It's good to see you boys around here again.”
- “May I take it, ma’am, that you have the Word?"
- “I'm a practicing Christian, my friend.”
- She smiled when she said it, and they talked on her porch until a toddler called away her attention. The exchange was friendly and cordial, as if the three had been friends for years. They knew Christ was Lord, The Bible was...
Little bit hair covers his body as he walks huge around and takes. He takes like we all take, but he gives. Hairy on head-top of him, his limbs dart and one girl runs, flees every time from everything. He gives round things from up there, the stone up top where we walk and water runs. The round things he fills with stinking innards and eat comes. He doesn't lick, but is clean without hair. Stretch with him on the huge, soft, flat cushion six feet in the air. We climb when he climbs. Sleep there is soft. Gone now, he'll come back later.more
When John awoke and dressed, he threw open a robe and wrapped it around his pajamas, washed and donned fresh clothes, bright for the day. He realized the grin on his face only after a pause, sensing a laugh without his will attached. Old thoughts turned fresh, though his age was fraught with difficulties. He took in the air that blew onto his back porch, though it had been an irritant. John slept sounder than usual, his breath longer when he carried his favorite chair from the back room to the dining room; eyes shone brighter upon morning papers, atop his dusty cabinet and over that wretch of a neighbor came a smirk.
Even the fried eggs and mashed corn beef that Christopher cooked tasted better. Daily, he arose as he always did; slowly covered his limbs in cotton and polyester, slipping rubberized plastic onto his feet. His position differed – warm kindness like a best friend. A piece of living tasted better. Now, he thought about Christ. He found himself learning more, and the learning begged more learning, only opened more questions. He had not...more
I was in the basement of my parents' home when I peeked behind an old MagnaVox television. Something, I don't know what, convinced me to look. There I found a recently-severed arm. It had on very little blood, though I knew someone lost it only hours prior. How I knew I again had no idea. An old acquaintance, Taylor, was at that time my roommate, though I was not living in the same place as he. I lived at that time in the basement where I found the arm. I brought it into the bathroom on the ground floor where I attempted to clean a smudge on its wrist, a thick, dirty oil. I was largely unsuccessful, but perhaps half of the stain I contentedly removed. I returned to the basement and another unknown force compelled me to seek the arm's owner, not because of a concern over his safety and welfare, but because I wished to inform him that I picked up his arm and tried to wipe off a smudge. I knew he was well, though I again knew not how I knew. He would be glad at my efforts to tidy his appendage. I suddenly found myself in our apartment, the one in which I never lived. It resembled a...more
- John was not surprised. He had come this Sunday in order to do just such a thing. He ambled along the aisles and smiled to the young couples, winked at more than one of the young women. Nick was nearby, passing along the golden dish with the wide ends. Having proceeded along the center aisle, they came to the end of their deed and walked more quickly into the bowels of the House of the Master. The pastor delivered his sermon. The true benefit of prayer is to acknowledge and wonder at the creation of god; one does wrong by taking for oneself the activities which bring men closer to heaven. The sermon was standard and the gathering comprised of many grey coats, yellow dresses, glasses and polyester slacks, cars made same and sameness made more similar, residing comfort. Nick and John remained in the rear of the building, separating the cash from the checks. John found a surprise in his dish. He took it out and showed it to Nick.
- “What on earth?”
- “Happens all the time,” Nick said.
- “What will we do with a ring?”
- John had not been...
- Succor was the cradle,
- diligence the wasp
- who sat not on wax
- but atop wood near a box,
- licking the sweet from a popsicle
- purchased from the vehicle.
- Long from comfort
- (the willow her home)
- least thought she of "risk."
- Her body three dollops,
- she hunted the ant,
- decisive her rant,
- not heeding the child.
- Draw, color, holler--
- not "crayon"
- nor "cinnamon"
- not "pertain"
- nor “foam”
- did dictionary reveal,
- but baby mother smash flee.
The long, slow drag of the thick metal chain and the tick of the diesel relentlessly dragged the mass of steel and comfortable rubber-plastic out of the water. No great smash of water pounding water did anyone hear, but the slow trickle and motion of diminutive pour upon the greater body related his emergence from the lake. The door closed, his belt wound itself around him, hugging him close to his seat. Still, he leaned forward, his eyes down-directed.
“I can't see his face. I mean, his features are so bloated I can't see what he looks like.”more
“It seems well said of Athens that it produces good men who are outstandingly excellent and bad men who are supremely wicked, just as it produces the sweetest honey and the deadliest hemlock.” Plutarch “Life of Dion” 58.
At the height of its prosperity the Athenian democracy was financed by the harsh exploitation of untold thousands of slaves in the silver mines and Laurium and by the subjection of the tribute-paying allies. The whole citizen population of Mytilene was condemned to death or slavery for trying to secede in 427 B.C., only to be spared at the last moment; there was no such reprieve for the people of Melos in 416. J.C. Mckeown “A Cabinet of Greek Curiosities” 60.
“Our present system of government is the same as it nearly always has been in the past. Some people call it a democracy, whereas other people call it whatever they like. It is actually an aristocracy approved of by the masses.” Plato “Menexenus” 238c
To ensure attendance at the assembly, shops were closed, streets not leading to the meeting place were blocked off, a rope soaked in bright...more
A man who looked very like Augustus came to Rome. Augustus had him summoned and asked him, "Was your mother ever in Rome?" The man said no, but added, "But my father often was" (Macrobius "Saturnalia" 2.4.20 trans. J.C. McKeown).
"Augustus liked his friends to be open and direct in their dealings with him. A man named Artemidorus once had himself brought into the emperor's presence in a covered litter, as if he were a woman, and then he jumped out with a sword in his hand shouting, 'Aren't you afraid someone may come in like this and kill you?' So far from being angry, Augustus thanked him for pointing out the danger." (Cassius Dio "Roman History" 56.43 trans. J.C. McKeown)
One must always take care in reading Roman "History" or "Medicine."
Tiberius was devoted to his wife, Vipsania Agrippina, daughter of Augustus' friend Vipsanius Agrippa, who was the second husband of Augustus' daughter, Julia. When Agrippa died, Augustus forced Tiberius to divorce Vipsania and marry Julia. Tiberius thus married his own former mother-in-law and his former wife's stepmother,...more
I was walking down the quiet street of a well-to-do neighborhood when I noticed a strange phenomenon. It was the type of place where everyone seemingly and simply keeps to themselves, never regarding one another with suspicion or antipathy. And indeed such serenity is why I had the urge to stroll. I had anticipated the walk to be one simple and uneventful. What happened, though it was not dangerous in the slightest, was one of those stories told at family reunions and other small, annoying social gatherings: a monologue calculated to pass the time and amuse, yet without real point.
I had gone up a steep incline and was, embarrassingly, well winded. I needed to catch my breath and decided to sit on one of those large round and comfortable stones typical suburbanites place at the apron of their driveway. These rocks seem designed both to mark absurd territory and annoy neighbors on one particular side. While I sat wondering why those who dwell in serene places would do such things, I noticed something that I will never be able to forget, both bizarre and amusing....more
This man is extraordinary.
He is hard, an acerbic sort.
His hands are callused; they do not appear to sense pain; they are coarse in their grasp, unyielding in the obtainment of pleasure.
His sense of smell is diminished, for it only partakes of putrescence. It embraces human refuse and avoids the honeyed bloom.
His taste is vulgar; only the strongest of seasoning may break through its rigidity. He dines on polluted fish and artificial essence.
His eyes are fierce and terrifying, for they lack insight, possessing nothing of beauty or justice. He sees only what he wishes to see, for he exists only outside himself.
His mind is tough and heavy; in his feral intensity he lacks reflection. Thus, it is difficult to speak with him. He understands only power and what it is to him. All other creatures are mere implements or obstacles to be utilized or removed as circumstance permits.
His physical composition makes him appear impressive; he seems impervious to ruin, as if he is unable to admit injury. His skin is rougher than leather and his...more
Kirk Shellko a.k.a. Lucian Whyte
Each woman danced her turn the shape of man. Dispassion was her first partner, Sensuality her second. Umbrage came, but he was inelegant and without rhythm. Fascination was her third partner, but he was overpassionate. Acquiescence arrived in the end, and he said “No need to falter, lover. No-one seeks to harm anyone else. Twilight is our dawn and we have no choice.”
The rat-tap of the pin on the metal-armed mechanism paid ping the sound-tap-rat-batter and the fleshy pink-skinned arms, nearly silent among the din of the assembly, quietly adjusted the bottles that clinked in a military line along a rubber serpentine path. Into the cardboard tank they marched. The wooden crate beneath the cardboard boxes, filled to bursting with those alcohol-soldiers, groaned a complaint as the weight of the boxes pressed toward the ground in an attempt to hug an earthen skin that lay buried beneath the many floors of steelgirded...more
The chicken was stupid. It had no idea what to do with itself. It knew little other than itself. It had many projects of great and significant self interest, but it had little awareness of them, only that of him, the chicken. Indeed the chicken could find no other real manner to think other than to think itself.
So it came that there was no other. And what better manner to teach humility than to teach insignificance in the face of other things existing? But there was only the chicken and his friend chickens, each of them exceedingly similar. Each knew nothing about the other that did not concern himself. So each chicken lived in his own world, accepting no other notion of anything else existing but himself, and all was well with the world of chickens.
One day there came a chicken most different from other chickens. This chicken's name was Kakos. Kakos was not only an uncommon chicken because he had grown a red beard, which he thought physically impossible for chickens, but because he claimed to know what no other chicken knew. Kakos the chicken knew how to save...more
Today at approximately 7am some kind of catastrophic event shook the corner of Rogers and Damen in Chicago’s far north side. The top corner of a red brick building was demolished by what at first seemed to be an explosion. Finding no evidence of outward projectiles, investigators suspect an implosion.
“There is a lack of debris in the area around the building, which is a strong indication that part of the building was sucked in, not out. And we found none of the debris in what remains of the unit,” said Frank Hannigen, a chief investigator for the ATF.
Other sources claimed that a buildup of some kind of destructive matter or device accumulated in that part of the building for some time. Called a bebra adorabilis, such a deadly-concealed device remains completely innocuous until suddenly a catastrophe occurs. These weapons of semi-mass destruction can remain hidden in plain sight for years, agents claim.
“There is a buildup of too much of something concentrated in one area of the universe. When a…let’s call it an implosive mass…is achieved, the potency of...more
- God has a stamp
- he wears in his pants.
- ahead he limps.
- An owl nods
- at his fading anger,
- one-thousand years separating
- his commands
- from his nod.
- "Wrap that trap closed,"
- he said before,
- yet now mostly silent
- he plays
- with ashes
- of his former self;
- lays stale eggs
- in a cage --
- wet from a wave
- of timely distaste.
- That owl plays an orange viola,
- sitting on a branch.
- "That's it."
- "He's done,"
- sings the bird,
- and he down again brings
- his worn-long stamp.
- "No more" on this.
- "No more" on that.
- "No more."
- ahead he limps.
"A Place of Comfort" (Lewis Lain)
Acrylic and cardboard on resonant window. 23” x 27”
Often with my paintings, I find I initially dig too deep into their meaning and when I bring the results of this thought to my conversations with 53947, he quickly dismisses them, encouraging a new perspective. A place of comfort is one of those paintings. 53947 sits, six (the orange cat) sits perched on the chair. He leans-in, a question—a declaration. Outside, the cupcake is taking someone away never to be seen again.Inside, all is calm. Thin walls separate grand events—all equal in occurrence and importance—interlocked.
Lewis Lain is a multi-medium narrative artist and illustrator living in Rogers Park, Chicago. His work makes use of recycled ‘resonant’ material such as re-claimed windows and found-glass as canvas with cardboard and acrylic. The result: multi-dimensional paintings punctuated with use of bold color, layers and line-work. Further exploration with 'resonant' material led to the creation of an ongoing recycled-cardboard sculptural series, "cardboard forge."...more
Ivy and Brick (excerpt from "Singularity")
The green of the ivy greened and did not red. The red of the brick wall reddened and did not green, nor did it whiten, nor yellow. The ivy was not cement, nor was it metal, nor rubber. The ivy hedera, being water and sunlight, soil and dead things life-bending living greened. The plant affixed itself to the red brick lightly, drawing some nutrients from the soil beneath the building, some nutrient from the building itself – with soil and building seemingly inanimate. The ivy and the building were at odds with one another, though a glance would signify that relation – the brick feeding the ivy, the ivy providing shade and a quantity of protection from the elements for the hard, hardly compromising material. The ivy was what it was and was where it was, and so the ivy was not in the position of the building precisely, nor was the building located where the ivy...more
It is dark. A light rain has fallen onto the seemingly black and shining street. It is early-morning quiet; no humans disturb the blissfully sublime silence – as so many disturb the peace of evening with their self-serving ramblings. Night fell along with clear perception long ago and the bustling movement of the herd has left its daily mark upon the earth without gratitude or empathy, but common human thankless utility. The air is as calm and soothingly still as the ground appears. It has been a peaceful evening in stark contrast to the tumult of the one previous — Mother’s show of force in the form of a thunderstorm. Thus this night is little more than quieting. It is of a deeply dark yet clear blue hue, one of those evenings when it is both easy and difficult to discern at what one is looking. In the clear of the few clouds numbering the heavens can be seen an object, just barely recognizable as some thing. Its brilliant yet elusive movement through the ether gives it a mystery both secular and divine.
As yet peering at the object one notices little more than...more
The Day Life Changed for 63455
Acrylic and Cardboard on Resonant Window. 23” x 27”
The forever cupcake is a giant white octopus that lives in the sea of worldview. Every so often, the cupcake scoots into land and gently picks someone from the shore. The person is scooped-up and carried-off into the sea, never to be seen again. No one is quite certain what happens to those carried-off by the cupcake, but no one is bothered by possibilities.
This is because they know the cupcake is a neutral event—it is something that occurs in the world and it is not until that occurrence is judged that it becomes anything other than neutral—in this way, nothing is bad in worldview.more
When my father died, I wrote the following eulogy. I thought that I would be able to speak the words clearly and smoothly, but I was unable to do so without periods of silence and tears. In his memory I am delivering it today without tears, but with fondness. I hope he would have liked it.
The philosopher Martin Heidegger believed correctly that language is primary to human culture. When we speak we assert, we bring something forth while revealing it. When we assert, we build structure and when we build an edifice with language, we construct a home. Language is where we humans reside. Entire cultures are fashioned from it; perspective exist with it, and wars are waged because of things said. Language is part of the very foundation of our being. My father was not a wordsmith; he was a carpenter. He never would have claimed to have built a home with his words, but he would claim to have built a house with wood and concrete. He did not recognize completely the home he built with words.
“Always think positive,” he said in a firm voice.
“It's my castle and you...more
Mede Albright had unlocked the door. The cylindrical knob released an air-sealed hatch and the white gate, open to space, slid so lightly ajar. Now he was able in fine to impel his seemingly weightless mass into that terrifyingly beautiful panorama of deep blue hue; crisp white cold; green-brown terra. A great stretch of nothing separated him, seemingly, from descent toward his mother. The earth seemed to lie just outside his grasp and Mede seemed to lie just outside hers. Once the door was open, the only separation between Mede and oblivion would be the nylon-enhanced cord that anchored him to his orbit-researcher. He hesitated one fleet moment. This was, after all his toil and task-work, a moment of truth. He had spent his life’s blood and time painfully exerting for this moment, his final goal was at hand, and this was a milestone reserved for prayer, at least if he were the religious sort. He was not, but he was pious. He paused in thought; meditated on his childhood home; cogitated over his wife and unborn daughter; pondered his mentor, Edwin...more
Frederick needed a shave and he knew it. His hair grew in thick patches everywhere, practically, on his body; none was thicker than here on his face. His hair needed only a few hours to emerge on his chin and no matter how closely he ran the thin piece of metal across his face, he was unable to prevent the quick onslaught of raven hair from appearing in so brief a time. Once, when he was visting pigeons, park-animals and observing children in a park he noticed a young girl watching him. Thinking nothing of the matter at first, he went about his business, feeding the birds and the animals who recognized him as one source of food. They loved this man – as they sometimes loved man – more than they realized. He had given these animals sustenance, that’s true, but he also captured one or two of them on occasion, such occasioning wounded paws or other unseen incapacitating maladies. This frighteningly tall creature would grab them; somehow they would fall asleep unwilling and when they awoke, they felt better – just right even – and then these animals went about their...more
Frederick knew he was odd. His body stretched tall, and he lacked the muscle-mass to set height proportionate. His strength made him wiry, and to some he seemed…grotesque. No clothes adequately covered that stretched Frederick, yet he was forced to go out in public with the longest of pants still shorts on his nearly eight foot frame. His skin colored him mustard with a light hint of pink hue in-mixed. His face was a gourd; his eyes were clay-head buttons; no comeliness present. His overstretched fingers gave friendship and familiarity to others, and even though he did not pester, even though he was polite and in no way pernicious, strange encounters plagued him. When he approached children, they gave him first a quizzical look, and realizing that they were confronted by the highest of oddities, sometimes ran away and other times, yes, screamed, their alarmed mothers moved to accuse Frederick of the most outlandish of things. Adults avoided him most times, but placed a friendly air on their persons when with him. When he remained quiet and still, others appeared to like him. Some...more
Police are investigating the brutal murder of a Yellow pages telephone advertising book that occurred in the 7300 north block of Chicago. The victim, a thick yellow mass of capitalism, seemed to have been inoffensively sitting outside of a local residence awaiting entrance. Other local Yellow pages were interviewed outside of the condominium complex, but none claimed to have witnessed any wrong-doing. Police chief Mumboy commented that "it's suspicious that no other Pages, including the menus lying around, witnessed anything. We are looking into the matter with all the necessary resources."
The event seemed trivial to some, like Nick Anuf who regularly meanders about the block where the murder took place.
"I don't understand what's going on," Anuf said "This sort of thing happens all the time and no police ever been around here looking. Why now?"
Others suspect that the Yellow pages was a member of an elite group of texts performing participant observation research in the area.
"So many Yellow pages have been brutalized around here and no-one ever did...more