Wednesday, December 30, 2009

feeling concerted parenthood

I’ve shaped a one-page philosophy of parenting, biased by my implicit interest in prospecting a good sense of the basis of creativity, which “feeling…” backgrounds quite ambitiously. The discussion, at section 2, “ecstasy of power,” repeats a couple of paragraphs from yesterday’s posting, but otherwise the discussion is new.

A philosophical discussion isn’t meant to be directly practical, though I see lots of practicality in what I’ve done, if only as a matter of introducing lots of concepts and relations that may constructively swim around one’s mind.

But parenting is easy, in a sense, if you’ve grown up in a good home (and I did). Trust your intuition; keep it child-centered; learn by doing. Parenting is a matter of so many little trivialities that become habitual (and tedious), amid all the fun and awesomeness of seeing children grow up (retropectively) all too quickly. Poof! The years are memory. Love it all, every day.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

“love” of unhappiness

I’m enjoying a synopsis of good parenting by a couple of child development specialists, and my experience tells me that they’re very enlightened. Let me share a little from a Webpage by them (linked at the bottom here) that I find especially important, before focusing briefly on my subject title, inspired by their page.

Infants bring into the world the feeling that “they are causing their parents, whom they adore more than life itself, to pay loving attention to their developmental needs.”
Infants are absolutely certain that whatever happens to them is for the best, because their beloved parents have caused or intended whatever happens. Your brand-new baby believes both that he is engaging your love, and also that the care he receives is ideal. When these inborn convictions are confirmed day after day, your child grows up to possess a lasting inner happiness.
Attention breeds independence. Lots of loving attention will make your child independent, not dependent or “spoiled.” A wholly child-centered approach to parenting with “loving regulation” (no “tough love”) that facilitates their confidence in their own power to cause being loved and in their own potential to gain competence
can provide your child with a reliable, enduring core happiness that is unwavering even in the face of life's unavoidable disappointments and misfortunes. Your child's inner well-being rests on her certain knowledge that she has caused you to love caring for her. Of all the gifts you can give your child, this is the most important, because it is the foundation of all happiness and goodness and the shield against self-caused unhappiness.
The authors indicate that, since a child wholly seeks a parent’s attention, the child will seek whatever the parent has to give. Obvious. But here’s the rub: If the parent is unhappy, the child will want the parent’s unhappiness. The child will grow up seeking unhappiness because that’s what love is. Also, if gaining attention means getting the attention of unhappiness, then becoming unhappy is the way to be loved. But if the parent is unhappy, then they aren’t going to respond sufficiently to the child’s unhappiness, which the child cultivates in order to be loved. Getting insufficient response to one’s own unhappiness by the unhappy parent increases the child’s unhappiness, all the more securing unhappiness as who one is as truly one’s parent’s child, like a bond of unhappiness. “We” belong together in our mirrorplay of unhappiness.

Surely, though, no one seeks unhappiness! But clearly, a child idealizes the parent, so a parent’s unhappiness would be idealized.
As we have said, all babies meet their parents as optimists with regard to relationships. Each infant believes that his parents are perfect caregivers who are perfectly devoted to him. He has an inborn conviction that everything that happens to him is for the best because it is intended and approved by his parents. As a result, we believe, when for some reason parents are consistently unable to satisfy a child's developmental needs [e.g., the career-stressed mother], the infant reacts by believing that his unhappy or alienated feelings are intended and approved of by his parents. Out of love for their parents, and in an attempt to care for themselves exactly as their beloved parents care for them, such children unknowingly develop the desire to cause themselves exactly the same discomfort they believe their parents want for them. These children believe that they are seeking happiness when they strive to recreate the feelings they experienced in their parents' presence.
If this is unhappy, thus maladaptive for motivation in school, etc., then more and more through childhood, there is a lack of inner motivation. Needing to succeed and be admired has to come from desire formed from external rewards, and inner unhappiness has to be suppressed through willful attention away from that by desperate desire for things unrelated to inner happiness. “Happy” desire for others and for things becomes a way to preserve suppression of inner unhappiness and get a life of one’s own.

When faced with situations calling for an inner fullness of feeling, such as empathy, feeling has to be strictly bounded and controlled, if not withheld, because a depth of feeling gives way to inner unhappiness. Another’s great loss has to be regarded casually, because the loss to the child, in reconciling to inner unhappiness as essential to their being, is unfathomable and must remain displaced.

A boy’s love for an unhappy mother or girl’s for an unhappy father becomes, in adolescent love and adulthood, a sense of caring for unhappiness. For example, a high-achieving mother might be married to a man made unhappy by his wife’s success. But he is more available to his daughter than a father usually is, because the mother is less available than a mother usually is. So, the unhappy daughter feels especially bonded to the unhappy father. One can grow to depend on a loved one’s unhappiness in order to “truly” love. One even may “love” the other’s unhappiness.

Yet, one doesn’t want to cause unhappiness, so conflict in feeling becomes natural, and causing unhappiness may seem to be one’s fate, because it’s the firefly’s flame. It’s thus best to avoid close friendships, because they too easily become conflicted. A full social life keeps the reality forgotten. Loving a few others in one’s unhappiness takes all the feeling one can afford. But there’s plenty of energy (especially a lot) for things that can be easily forgotten or discarded. Novelty saves.

I occasionally read about parenting, such as I’m doing today, because I like to periodically test my sense of child development, since I’ve been so occupied with child development for so many years that I’m sometimes wary of my own presumptuousness, especially since I’m beyond actual parenting. I’m happy to feel that I do indeed understand child development and parenting very well. I thought today that a notion of “smart love” might be neat to consider, so I read the long Webpage that I’m quoting from above. In my opinion, it’s an excellent cheat sheet on how to be an excellent parent. The page may seem trite at the beginning, but keep reading. It becomes profoundly useful in its details. Especially useful, I think, is the distinction between primary and secondary happiness.

Monday, December 28, 2009

4 reasons to have children
and 1 reason for philosophy

2/12/2010 — 9:45 pm

This week’s Science is a special issue on “Food Security,” i.e.: how to feed 9 billion people (the estimated upper limit of Earth’s carrying capacity).

Deciding to not have children, or to adopt instead, is like voting: One vote has to be part of a mass preference, for one’s vote to seem important. But one vote is all one has.

Anyway, population growth is out of control, particularly among the poor and illiterate. Last December, I took an eccentric perspective here on having children.

the horizoning child

Somewhere in the late 1970s, a profound little cartoon that I treasured appeared on a magazine page. I believe it was a New Yorker cartoon, but I haven’t found it in available anthologies of New Yorker cartoons.

Like the Russian doll within a doll within a doll, the cartoon on a black background is firstly, in the center of the frame, a little white-line drawing of a very old man sitting cross-legged on the Earth. (He covers the entire Arctic area of the globe), taking up 10% maybe of the space, his back to the viewer, as we see him over his right shoulder, with some profile of his face, as he is looking up, as if into the black horizon (which is speckled with stars). He’s sitting inside a larger line drawing of a middle-aged man in the same cross-legged pose, who is sitting within a drawing of a young man, sitting inside a boy inside an infant. The old man sees the cosmos through the eyes of the middle-aged man seeing the cosmos, etc., etc., through the infant.

For the most part, we adults see as we proximally are (relative to near-to-mind dailiness), but intensity of feeling peels away boundaries of time constituting our presumptions, our capabilities, our talents, our being.

The blastula grows by flowering in on itself, out of the horizon of the ovum. The embryo differentiates into itself, gaining cellular complexity, and the fetus, eons of generations later (relative to cellular geneses), rests within the horizon of its ingrown, recursive epigenesis, a generation of its being—beginning an ontogeny of years— out of its horizonality that will be called its temperament or its genetic nature (but a character shaped by unfathomable hormonal orchestrations composed and timed genomically). By birth, it’s already been months into listening and feeling through its literal horizon (the womb) that is the split-off remnant of its ontogenic horizonality (and temperament), increasingly entertained by the containing feeler listening through its containment, eyes closed but awake more and more.

Birth is no beginning, just a passage. Temperament will always, to some important degree, contain capacity for trust, which will contain the toddler’s desire for autonomy, which will contain the child’s sense of purpose, which will contain capability, containing the teen’s fidelity, containing adult love, containing parental care, containing elderly wisdom.

Of course each expresses its own integrity: Wisdom is somehow born out of our humanity, not primarily contained by one’s individuated past, as attaining discovers, not merely inheriting. At best, adulthood is no simple recapitulation of our parents’ lives; adolescence no mere extension of childhood. Psychoanalysis was always about a lack of futurity prevailing over pastness in our endeavoring presence.

Yet, one is a legacy mirrored in the appeals of the days. From infancy onward, growing habits of attentiveness, of noticing, construct a horizon of relevances and interconnections of relevances. Its horizonal legacy of reliable feeling horizons confidence for efficacious orientations of activity. That horizons good intuition for the sake of valuing and preference. At best, good flow of feeling is easily inhabited by flows of life and world. Capability for focused action may flow easily into thinking well together or flow into creativity composing a well-growing sense of being, which makes a good point in the pointillism of a good society. In our growing well, point to point, interpointing and horizoning each other, one at best gains depth of time and energy for easy generosity, and for time enough to authentically appreciate others’ genuine presence. At best, desire—exuberant and passionate—keeps faith with our potential (a destined fallibility that loves to learn) and sustains the best scale of loving life that one can.

Here, I’m improvising on my own horizonality, not suggesting some doctrine of Being. At best, one’s child finds her or his ownmost sense of trust, autonomy, initiative, capability, identity, intimacy, productivity, and integrity. (Erik Erikson’s sense of the life cycle provides a reliable sense of the healthy lifespan.) A concerted parent might thrive on love of surprise by whom one’s child is endeavoring to become; and love unanticipated insight into their growing their own responsible freedom.

There’s just no boundary on what can be said about good enough parenting for the sake of a miraculous child’s flourishing. Perhaps a prevailing rule might be to accept your fallibility and trust your child’s capacity to gain resilience.

Yet, remember: Like the womb’s genesis of the fetus out of its horizon (eonically genomic), the tissue of Earth’s atmosphere generated life out of its own generated horizon. The goddess Gaia rules. It really was Mother Nature bearing Father Time out of life’s horizonality.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


11:37 am

I know you love me.

Would I dare write about love—without feeling to be on a stage of so much tired rhetoric that invisible quote marks would be on everything?

I can’t write of love without laughing, partly because happiness goes with it, but also because—well, The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology “covers” love in a few pages of a chapter with said name. Meanwhile, literary history always beckons ambivalently. And you know I parsed the presence 16 or so ways—which might be meta-grouped 6-wise: friendship, romantic, familial, artistic, intimate, intellectual. But that can look silly, since what’s romantic without intimacy? And marriage includes most—possibly all? (Derrida was married to a psychoanalyst! “No wonder, then.”) What are differences for, beyond heuristics? We have to get beyond easy senses of things to know possibilities and depths.

The Handbook’s Index entry has numerous subcategories, but they’re all referring to that one chapter. So, the subcategories “are,” listed alphabetically (but I wonder what a good genealogical sequence would be):

across cultures
attachment and
evolution of
happiness and
love triangles
measurement of
passionate love
passionate/companionate love
prototypes of
respect and
romantic, history of
self expansion and
sexuality and
social approach to
styles of
subjective well-being and
I love it.

3:20 pm

My interest in feeling as such, love, desire, etc. is not merely self-indulgent. I’ll keep it entertaining here, but postings elsewhere (to be noted here) will get more focused and analytical.

“Feeling,” you might know, is highly topical in neurosciences vis-à-vis understanding emotional intelligence, but the range of feeling typical to literary art isnt’t so much the concern of science. In the long run, I’m interested in seeing a synergy of interests.

“Love” is made central to ethics for those theorists interested in the work of Princeton philosopher Harry Frankfurt. But the range of meaning of love is not apparently addressed (at least, not by Frankfurt in Reasons of Love, 2004).

“Desire” is a keynote for theorizing action, value, and preference by philosophers interested in Michael Bratman, who employs a notion of “higher-order desire” to analyze conflicts of interest, preference, and value.

So, I play, I indulge myself, but also I have philosophical motives.

7:52 pm

Pedro Almodóvar’s “Broken Embraces” is a must see. I adore its fabulous storyline, stories within stories, comedy within drama. It’s cinematic fun, every minute. The parody of René Magritte’s painting “the lovers” is hilarious.

The melancholy guitarist singing during the long closing credits (on a black background) caused me to close my eyes and stay to the very last moment (like the ending credits of “Rachel Getting Married,” which has a beautiful violin solo while the camera holds on a garden, like a still life behind the credits).

Thursday, December 24, 2009

a feeling for what matters

Emotion, feeling, affect, sentiment—attachment, love—desire, passion, drive—what is really there for embodied minds? What is there really?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

a constellating garden party

Back from my evening hike—tonight under a starkly black sky, crystalline stars, half moon, Venus soon to disappear over the Western horizon this time of night, this time of year (and wintry cold—glad to be warm again), I see my bookcases (300+ books) as if I’m a guest here.

It’s amazing, intimidating to think he’s all that.

But I’m not. That gathering, distilled over years from thousands I own (stored away)—that aggregate bet on the leading ideas, issues, etc., of Our Time (all published in the past decade or so), an English estate—that somewhat sequenced concert, is what I aim to understand and integrate, not where I’ve been.

I’m happily surprised by my own audacity, anewed by it, making me laugh.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Icarus swims

It’s not foolish to aspire to gain a comprehensive sense of our planetary humanity.

Monday, December 14, 2009

a perpetual project

Thursday — 12/10 — 10 pm

President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize address provides an ostensible sense of our evolving as a perpetual project—The Perpetual Project of our species.

Monday — 12/14 — 4:20 pm

Remarks on the Human Rights Agenda for the 21st Century
Secretary of State Clinton
Georgetown University

Friday, December 11, 2009

eros of a collaborative prospect

Twyla Tharp has a new book out, The Collaborative Habit: life lessons for working together. Flipping through it (just bought), I find this:
Intimacy married to creativity—it’s hard to resist, this idea of working with people you know and like. Especially when you’re having dinner with friends. There you are, everyone relaxed, and the conversation shifts to How It Might Be if you could only spend your days doing something worthy with people who share your ideas/politics/religion/values.
In such a marrying, interplays of intersubjectivity are untranslatable into the interactions of interpersonal life, such as a dinner party itself (as normally experienced). A thrill of the “shift” in conversation is an anticipated ecstasis of generative rapport, thinking in sync, a synergy, a love of entwined sensibilities that deserves to be called an eros that makes the sexual meaning of ‘eros’ irrelevant.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

days of letters

My comment yesterday about intimacy and letters had implicitly in mind a recent book I came across: Yours Ever: people and their letters, by Thomas Mallon, so lovely—about the art of letterwriting in the 20th century. Remember the 20th century? I so remember regularly spending hours a week writing long letters with a fountain pen. (I kept a copy of everything, packed away.)

Here’s a random passage from the book (truly random): “Probably no one who’s held the job [of U.S. President] before or since [Theodore Roosevelt] has left behind a more spontaneous bundle of correspondence—with the possible exception of Woodrow Wilson, who for months on end would neglect his job to type besotted love notes…to a woman across town” (111).

Maybe I’ll shelve desire for intellectual legacy and become an expert at besottedness.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

psychological self-implicature

revised 1/2/10 — 6:44 pm

Noelle Oxenhandler shows a lot of courage in Eros of Parenthood, 2001 (hereafter: Noelle), by candidly expressing the energies and the exuberance of parenting, but also the ambivalence and darkness. None of it has to do with sexualizing parenting. Though her courage is especially in confronting the boundary between healthy feeling and abuse, her topic is about the intensity of feeling in healthy parenting that others easily (and self-incriminatingly) sexualize, when there’s nothing “erotic” about the energized innocence of children and about being attuned to that openly (which she at times very poetically expresses). Blurbs on the back of her book jacket, by psychologists I’m aware of, praise her. It’s a profoundly important book, in my opinion. Too bad it’s out of print. (She writes in an email to me that the publisher went out of business soon after the book was published. I’ve urged her to republish it, a decade later now, with a follow-up epilogue.)

To be fair to life and the world, it’s not enough to broadly thematize, not enough to “deeply” thematize (which is to get highly abstract). Writing privately to a dear friend is enough for my having that fairness, and the friend—better, an intimate—gains a chance to understand a sense of the difference (thematic vis-à-vis actually lived, actually worlded), given appreciable interest in the thematics! (Unlikely.)

There are intimate letters in the world, obviously, and we’re insatiable voyeurs, because we want the psychological self-implicature—but at a safe distance. It’s not about you. It’s about her, and you would let yourself entwine and mentally dance through every detail of her that you can obtain—as long as it’s not about you. This is because we want the dark, but with freedom to enter on our own terms.

When I was a kid, I couldn’t resist strange woods. My attraction to where I’m not supposed to go is a fascination with why it’s supposed. I want to know what’s there. This became psychological. As an adult, my curiosity easily became dangerous, evidently—as if others see in my curiosity a dark center rather than a delighted, well-lit, stable and generous clearing that loves to explore the marginal or “unpermitted” because my center is secure. Persons (not I) can be easily haunted by a darkness in themselves that my enchantment with marginality evidently “threatens” to educe, as if I unwittingly intuit the other’s fears. But it’s innocent play, frightening undeliberately. I don’t have to have great insight about the other to anyway carry an aura of “too much” marginality, too much pretense of The Mind’s self-implicature, in which we all are “at risk” of participating.

But I won’t fear the effects of authentic curiosity. I’m not diabolical, not duplicitous; just welcoming chances to appreciate unusual things.

Is it demonic to believe that of myself? Correct me, if I’m wrong. A better standing against cold winds is made from braving bad weather. But the honest life survives most tests of its validity. So, if you don’t engage with me my apparent darkness, don’t blame me for believing I’m innocent in educing yours.

days go by

7:15 am

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Hunger is spreading while the number of homeless families is increasing as a result of the recession and other factors, according to a report on Tuesday.....

All I can do is put time into understanding reality, impress on others to not forget the importance of understanding reality, endorse endeavors that appropriately address the reality, and do my best to live a life that is congruent with evolution of a better world—a life which is also fair to my own talents and opportunities I have or create.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Car bombs killed 127 people in Baghdad on Tuesday, police said, leaving pools of blood, charred buses and scattered body parts in a brutal reminder of the threat from Iraq's stubborn insurgency....

Another day, more jungle madness, more unbearable cries of loss among survivors. Death is our partner in breathing.

The morning paper carries an ad on the front page showing two women soberly looking into the camera, fully appreciative of the reality of cancer that the advertised treatment center serves.

Someone leaves the house, “call ya later, love you,” walks across the same street everyday, but is hit by a bus today, no good-bye, just gone.

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Developing nations demanded deeper emissions cuts from rich nations, particularly the United States, at U.N. climate talks in Denmark on Tuesday, as a study showed that 2009 is the fifth warmest year on record.

The population grows fastest among the “developing,” who proclaim a right to do what the “developed” nations got the chance to do for the previous century that has instituted global warming.

Someone a hundred years from now will find us odd and heartrending, like we find tales of impoverished London in a Dickens novel. (Evenings when the fog was out, the air pollution from coal and wood burning in London made fiery sunsets. London was famous for its sunsets.)

8:37 amInnovate

Align your life with leading trends in innovation, which the Obama crowd is seeking to advance: educational excellence; devotion to growth of knowledge; prudential finance; intelligent design and construction; understanding of and support for planetary management; support for others’s ambitious energies; facilitation and celebration of crucibles of creativity—individual, cultural, and economic; and be flexible in understanding, thinking, learning, designing, making, revising, sustaining, appreciating, loving, living, etc., etc.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Jim ’n I

Praise refreshing validity of an ordinary day—dailiness as simply beautiful. Friendship, kindredness, intimacy are vitally integral to the natural validity of dailiness in all the common ground and experience we have together and may share to make our lives go well.

I’m proud to say truly that I was born June 16, Bloomsday (the single day of Leopold Bloom that Joyce’s Ulysses narrates), so I’m a Gemini.

Ulysses and Us
Friday, 12/4 — 8:52 pm

Waking, Learning, Thinking, Walking, Praying, Dying, Reporting, Eating, Reading, Wandering, Singing, Drinking, Ogling, Birthing, Dreaming, Parenting, Teaching, Loving.

—chapter titles of Ulysses and Us: the art of everyday life in Joyce’s masterpiece, Declan Kibard, Norton 2009.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

discursive art

“Many visual artists working today appear preoccupied with how to integrate literary or discursive content into their work,” writes Kenneth Baker, Art Critic for the S.F. Chronicle.

I wanted to email him (but didn’t) to ask what caused him to say “many...appear,” because I’d love to believe what he says is a trend, since I have high interest in discursive and “literary” things.

How about integrating what’s discursive and literary? Literary discourse as discursive Literature?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

still enhancing my own humanity, so far

A while back, I had a near-term plan for 40+ topics. I transposed that into about 28, one of which was (is) “living well,” as rubric, as well as boundless topic. Boundless, indeed: Seeking much delimitation (a long webpage, I anticipated), it’s become notes for 42 postings! Maybe I’ll cover the other 27 topics before I die. But that was supposed to be a long detour from a larger project that has been ongoing for some years (which the prospected “conceptual adventuring” of the website is supposed to supplement). Talk about flourishing. I’m ready for biomedical enhancement of longevity to 120+ years. Just keep dementia at bay.

But all the inflationary “delimiting” has made me bored with the topic. I know what I want to do with it. Now, I want to move on to crystallize what I want to do with something else.

I know the dynamic here: I’m the perpetual student—which is a good thing, if you can afford it. However, it doesn’t educe esteem, let alone influence. So, should I care less about recognition than about furthering my own understanding of, say, The Poem (as genre) or deep friendship (offline) or happiness (finding the essential distillation and synergy of recent literature on the matter)?

Actually, this kind of question is central to my interest in living well: balancing Self interest (and inner-directedness) with the great value of interpersonal life—and showing useful appreciation of our planetary humanity, at least as a good voice in The Conversation of Humanity, which I’m very thankful to have had so much time to enjoy.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

the fabric of our lives

Narrative adjacency is not always narrative continuity.

That’s important—or rather, it reminds me of something very important to me: The narratives that we do provide as stances of continuity and coherence are always selective. That allows for the coherence of the story, a sense of singularity of narrativity or integrity of the narrating, for there is no story without coherence which expresses the integrity that the story is a story. So much literary writing plays with this presumption (or can) only because the desire for coherence is so normal. (Nowadays, a strong plot can feel like an assertion against a normal incoherence of life.)

So, to have the securing, if not soothing, story, there’s often an at-least-implicit desire to exclude from one’s sense of the day or era of one’s life what will not be remembered to have been apposite, because the desire for resolve and moving on is so compelling. The desire to have continuity—to have “the” explanation—is often emblematic of need to assert a—some (final)—sense of what happened. What really happened? That’s not so important in the short run.

Often, we eventually come know what really happened. But not in the first draft of telling (the diary, the letter, the journalism). The invalidly excluded does return someday—often with happy meaning or pleasure earlier unforeseen. (It’s not all about negation gaining revenge in shadows.)

Being exclusive—a resonant disposition—secures a coherence of inclusiveness that is necessary at the time: deadline for publication, getting on with one’s life usefully, (re)affirming who belongs, if not that “we” are most important or most valid.

Friday, November 27, 2009

bibliotrOpographical enchantment

The library as...

myth, order, space, power, shadow, shape, chance, workshop, mind, island, survival, oblivion, imagination, identity, home.

That’s the “Contents” page listing of the chapters in The Library at Night, by Argentine writer Alberto Manguel, Yale UP, 2009 (2006).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

things as looking up

Not “things are looking up.”

As a kid, I liked to sit on a high branch in a large old tree, quietly as someone walked below not noticing I was there. All I had to do was move or say something, and I’d be discovered. The stealth, the power of secreted presence, was thrilling. I didn’t yet anticipate the archetype, from the cyclicality of life to figures of evolution (invalidated by “lateral gene transfer”) and relations of knowledge infusing one’s subconscious.

Imagine that all the branches are an elaborated website with tens of sections (branches) and tens of pages in each section. Having the tree flourished out before I say I’m here is thrilling. It will be as if I sprang fully formed from the branches, amazing you and a whole netweave of people.

Miranda July, Venice Biennale, 2009

What other reason should one need for loving to write in solitude, obscurity, freedom from the temptation to presume or cater to a given audience? Here, it’s just the things themselves, the light of their appeal, a self-formativity of things—his little cosmos.

John Hundt, “Boy Genius” (2010)

These are the days before—humble, funny, androgynous.

Monday, November 23, 2009

tweeting in the Milky Way

I immerse myself in news every morning. I keep a thematized archive of articles that has been growing for many years.

Days go by. What’s interesting now?

Living well; and ethical, cultural, epistemic, philosophical, artful, political, and progressive life—Attachment, Engagement, Involvement, Habituation, Securing, Dwelling, Belonging....

Are we somehow on the way to governing our evolution?

What happens after SETI succeeds? Will we have reached Contact competence?

Do we write life to silent Awaiting?

Friday, November 20, 2009

the dead

When someone you know well dies, it matters to you immensely. You feel the loss. You appreciate the life lost. You “appreciate” the death as death. It may be life changing.

We know in the abstract that those near to others dying are at least equally affected by those deaths. But those deaths don’t usually affect us, except when the numbers for a deathly event get large. We don’t appreciate those deaths. We can’t suffer every death. But the suffering daily is incalculable. It’s an abstract fact. We may be sobered. We may be pensive. But we do not appreciate the suffering of any given day.

Daily, we live a whispy phenomenality of awareness and attention, focused on what’s controllable. Our lives are relatively self interested and self esteeming, even in a rewarding or praisworthy devotion to others. We are fulfilled, but know little of what the global day is about. The newspaper carries a relatively few high points in an accepted topography of importances that define the public sphere.

A new day awakens another suicide bomber. What else is new?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

human flourishing is ideally “Self” interested

We want a fulfilling life, genuinely with others while giving fair time to self development. It’s a balance. Happiness is an art. But “ethical” life is dominated by interpersonal relations. I contend that the basis of ethics is best thought relative to self development.

longing for peak dwelling

I haven’t read Magic Mountain, but the figure of cultural heights where somehow the upshot of all humanity is brought to dwell in itself appeals to me deeply. On the peak, the view is of other peaks.

Is history our preferred gathering of peaks—conceptions of the past with respect to conceptions of who we were to become? Were they as different from our reconstructions of them as we are relative to their anticipations?

Human evolution is the story, some rhizome, some weaving we make by dwelling among the peaks?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

art as ethical transgression

Transgression is integral to the history of art, as ethically-transgressive art (from the allure of dark spirits through contemporary performance art); but commonly as formally transgressive: Once upon a time, perspective in art was transgressive. Pointillism was transgressive. The notion of avant garde was inherited from aspirations to be “revolutionary.” A history of art in the ‘60s and ‘70s, written in the ‘90s, was titled Shock of the New. That’s apart from overtly political art. Google ‘art and transgression,’ you get a list of directly-related results (with “transgressive art” at the top of the list).

So, “human flourishing implies a “Self” interested ethic&rdquo implies a mode of transgression related to art itself, just by being a dramatic element of the discussion of ethical self-distancing or self-differentiation relative to interpersonal (sociocentric) life. It might be no surprise that devotion to an art could be transgressive just in the sense that questioning common presumptions is integral to artistic motives. This was actually the kind of thing that first came to mind when I brought in the theme of one’s devotion to an art being “unacceptable” to one’s near-and-dear. In the beginning of a partnership, let’s say, one’s devotion to an art was quite valuable to one’s intimate other, as part of who I/you are. But the art, given its ownmost way, draws one into itself, commonly unanticipated, sometimes transforming oneself (oneself in itself) and sense of life. The artist is forever changed. The journey of developing the partnership becomes a challenge for both. Usually, it works out. Sometimes not. How valuable is the devotion to the art for someone feeling transformed?

There’s a mode of this whereby the artist just needs to get the message “Grow up!” Find a way to make it all work. That’s part of the art! Making it all work. Cut the shit—right? I know. I know good sense. But the history of art easily comes back to haunt. We read of persons who quit corporate careers to wander archaeological digs—that kind of thing. This fascinates me. The human condition, human potential, what is becoming of our species, fascinates me.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

the daynote convention

I’ve been away. But no longer.

That’s not something you’d care to read a month from now. But you might be interested to see this blog become a daily-changing thing and going through lots of changes through the week. My intent is that new things—notes, comments, opinion—will be here daily.

You might be interested to see me stumbling around with bad ideas that get revised through the week, ideas that disappear to become titled postings here (or are deemed best to disappear altogether, absent your valuable comment; but you get to see the disaster).

Writing-in-process that becomes annulled by time can be interesting in the short-term, as part of my development of Website material. However, neither I nor you would be interested in a big archive of ephemera (or “prattle”; thanks, B). Opinion about current events can be interesting, but stale after a week or so (which fills up so many blogs forgettably).

revised 2/6/10 — 11:21 am

So, the “[day]note” is for ephemera and ideas-in-process. It’ll change daily, but there will be only 7 [day]notes. A fresh [day]note for a given day each week will post at the top of the blog, and the [day]notes will recycle. Last week’s [day]note for today will be replaced. (This will cause the URL to stay the same, so the date on the URL will be irrelevant. E.g., the URL for a Friday note next year will always be .../2009/11/fridaynote.html.)

During the day or week, I may change previous notes: expand, revise, or delete. The time line of today’s [day]note will change—frequently, I hope. Again, new postings may result during the week from [day]note paragraphs, in which case paragraphs will disappear, and a new posting that day will be below.

The main purpose of this blog continues to be a supplement to Website material, noting new material and roughing out ideas for Webpaged discussions. I expect that sets of postings will be merged (edited, expanded) into Website pages. Eventually, the Website will read like (and look like) a singular thing (if not a book online—several books in gestation?)

I realize that I’ve not made heavy use of this idea. Indeed, I’ve been absent from posting here altogether. But I’m determined to not stay away entire weeks any longer.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

contracts of body vs. freedom of mind?

Problems associable with the difference between ethical interpersonal relations and aesthetic Self may originate in the natural difference between necessary bodily attachments and freedom of mind. I don’t know. I’m trying to work it out.

The selfish gene wants to reproduce, but evolution didn’t anticipate modernity and its lovely alternatives. (Actually, evolution doesn’t anticipate anything; it’s an incomprehensibly aggregative notion, the upshot of millennial nature.) So we are what we are: a legacy of self-organizing iteration that happened to evince free minds.

Reproduction, though, favors attachments, lack of imagination about what to do with one’s life (as well as one’s spending), and common society that sustains the cycles, from the way we parent aspirations through the fashion industry, as if our inherent psychology is by nature meant for reproductive attachments and doesn’t often know what to do with non-reproductive attachments (e.g., love between hedonists who also responsibly sustain careers), wanderers, etc. “Isn’t the order of nature that one cares for kids, so as to have the kids care for us when we’re old?” “Keep the population growing.” (It helps to be Catholic—or poor; the selfish gene especially favors both.)

The wanderer is an anomaly of nature. The scientist is likely doing something good for industry, but funding for too much “pure“ science is not in the social interest, let alone the arts. The mating mind supervenes on a reproductive machine whose grand pleasure is functional. “Let us take a dim view of non-functional pleasures.” A free mind supervenes on the mating mind, finding pleasures of imagination and body, adventure and transgression, enthralling, which the mating mind does’t find especially valid.

This includes arts, as well as rather hedonistic leisures such as revery (better than ‘reverie’), sitting on the edge of cliffs above expansive valleys, and sexual pleasure for its own sake.

Down the road of my venture with the Website, entanglements of evolution and artfulness, eros and creativity, intellectual love and elated embodiment will find some weave.

what’s important?

With Bernard Williams, I like to understand values as importances. The discussion I have online today isn’t substantially related to his work. It’s introductory for my sense of valuing. But I do want to give much attention to Williams down the road.

Friday, October 16, 2009

“...but for the artist’s creative concept...”

Part of my earlier-said, but vaguely referenced, writerly itinerary of vignetted vining is, I confess, to be “severely” affectionate dwelling in the trOpography of conceptual art. So, it’s worth noting that the history of said “art” continues, as the market loves itself so much.

But the real matter here, according to the philosopher of art writing the NY Times article (linked above), is the evolutionary appeal of the idea (as such, unto itself), as well as appeal of the idea of art.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


I created that word just now.

Etymology is about tracing a history. An etymon is an original form within the story—an apparently original form, for who knows? The historiography is all a matter of traces left in extant texts. How much of one’s life now gets into written word? How must it have been when literacy was slight. Origins are some diffuse ether of lost time.

In the beginning was writing, i.e., The Beginning is that which shines through lexical windows assembled into multifaceted assertions, confidences about definiteness in the local cosmos, our lives amid so much chaos of nature and fragile attachments to each other, land, time.

So, like geographers and topographers, the lexicographers gather the array of uses pursuant to a lexical item in the market, from the fields, voiced from diaries born of scarce solitude in hard times; and so on. Arrays of use get taxonomic structure: Def. 1 is born (or taken to be the birth, the ambiance of the etymon); and subkindreds are differentiated. And it comes to pass that meanings transmute, impose themselves in such new ways that a subfamily is spawned: def. 2 and kindreds.

The vague history of sense is a faint echo of winds in the ethos, the cultural ecology, that gives way to hybridity. Families within families slowly flower through time like eonic mitosis of species from a given genera.

‘Spirit’ is a good example. Searching on ‘spirit’ at Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged online ($30/year buys the privilege) turns up 71 variants, besides the simple noun and transitive verb.

Can I spirit you away through simply dwelling with ‘spirit’? Not to talk about animal spirits, buffleheads, ethyl nitrate, induline, peppermint, holiness, guardians, or comedy. Just spirit, pure and simple.

The etymon is breath of life. A thing grows. One moves “on one's own,” in itself arising.

How marvelous. How does life happen? That was the second greatest of mysteries. Yet even now, it’s still a mystery (re: the “regulatory genome”) how so many molecular mechanisms—untraceably massive in number for any given cellular site—are coordinated (coordinate themselves?) so finely.

But that’s getting way ahead in our story. From the breath of life came certainty that a supernatural being (maybe an elf) was the reason. Strangely, the self-determined being always gained lots of personality, like the fuzzy sensibility of infancy realizing that being Mother is a quite definite cohering of the air.

But alas, Mother was not the origin of it all, rather “the active essence of the Deity, “ etc., etc., according to elders who had leisure to speculate about what secures the stability of the tribe that would spawn the town, the city, the empire.

O, holy spirit, soul that descends into my hands, I am tempered with disposition by your grace, filled with liveliness and vivacity. I am child of immaterial intelligence, sentient and a vital principle to life of my world, world of my life mirroring me.

I am the activating or essential principle of something, what, who knows, questioning the air.

I am some “life or consciousness having an independent type of existence,” some “bodily constitution that is the source of energy and strength.”

I am a “vital power,” a subtle substance, a special attitude, a frame of mind, a brisk quality—so disposed as to briskly hike again (just a minute) to a high Berkeley hillside “under” the stars (odd idiom) and overlooking the expansive Bay on whose black waters apparently floats the emerald city, San Francisco, ascendant.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

how a protean self is not duplicitous

My notion of a protean self is part of a research-based sense of “autotelic self“ that I'll discuss soon in detail. What exists so far (as short introduction to the notion of protean self) was motivated by thinking about duplicitousness and how an authentically plural psyche is not duplicitous.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

love life, loving the day

So many kinds of love.

But all are kindred with thriving in the day, maybe even ambitiously:
I play in terms of a review of the book Everyday Aesthetics.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

so many topics, so little time

40+ topics? (below). What is a topic anyway?

One topic I wanted to play through is merely a little inhabitation of ‘graciousness,’ another, way down the road, a massive consideration of art after the overt “Conceptual Art” movement. (But isn’t all art involved with conceptuality? So, what’s especially “Conceptual”?)

And when does an identified movement end? Is it, like a concert or a great novel or a life, just a matter of closure of attention (but an afterlife continues inasmuch as we keep one alive to our own going on?).

let me hear your long lifted note

That’s the second line of Merwin’s “The Nomad Flute.”

stepwise waymaking

The sequentiality of this blog expresses and complements an ordered agenda of topics—42 presently—that changes through the days and weeks due to advents and distractions, due to the effects of what I’m reading (scarce free time for that), and due to surprising myself by what “he” writes (or disappointing himself). It’s an open-ended waymaking with a recursive efficacy that makes the way kinda self-formative, inasmuch as my changing agenda is transformed by its own effects. Inasmuch as changes seem intrinsic to the waymaking, then an autotelicness is effected. Maybe the agenda will remain about 40 topics, because things get added way ahead of what I have time to focus on, like a horizon that keeps receding. Maybe not.

Generally, I’m working toward and through a sense—particular, imagistic, thematic, conceptual—of living richly (in an “aesthetic” sense) that aims to get beyond “aesthetic” thinking in terms of a “literary” sensibility that’s philosophical. It’s not an idle project, a leisure venture; rather, a way into dwelling with a conceptuality of our postmetaphysicalist (post-theistic), truly postmodern, evolving, planetary condition. Why? Because it’s important—to me and, I would argue, in itself (thus, important to me)—and I’m drawn to sensibilities that are drawn to this, even if only through the window of a projected other who stays or regularly returns. So, I’m participating in my favored kindredness.

Also, I’m sketching potential pieces of a large-scale work-in-progress, in terms of happenstantial enchantments.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Jennifer and I on artistic bearing.

shonna boots

Someday, the gestalt of my rigorous pointillism will be amazing.

Geosociety’s invisible hand seems to imply need of some evolutionary ethic of good sense—not for some individual to provide (but there are only individual voices making concerted efforts, heard by individual minds valuing)—so that the engineering of futures may primordially serve our flourishing. Again, it’s only individual voices that can do something useful.

But I’m now more interested in beauty.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

a persistence of Romanticism

This is a note of standing with, in, as, for, and to one Self.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

“ of art, etc.”

The working isn’t about “art.” It’s about itself.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


I finished a slow reading of “A Theory of Value,” by J. David Velleman , which was very rewarding. Eventually, a developed conception of value will be part of the appropriative ethic that’s in the works.

practicing the "Idea of Human Development"

Yesterday morning (Saturday), I began a follow-up to a short posting to the Habermas group Friday (I no longer note those postings here—except that today it’s pertinent). The follow-up was supposed to be brief. But I got carried away, way into the evening (an instance of my capability for distraction, recently noted). Then I substantially revised it this afternoon.

Now, back to minding art (days ahead).

Or maybe a conception of practical action? I’m reading an essay about a conception of value.

Whatever. So it goes in conceptual gardening.

Friday, September 11, 2009

the whole world happens all the time

I’m no less a valley news junkie by trekking into hills of poetic thinking (no matter how long the coming trail). I do the New York Times every morning (much of it, not all). Reuters is nearby all day and evening. PBS news after work.

Today may be a milestone, not as yet another day of remembrance (which tacitly serves terrorist egos), but as the day that the Obama administration announced that it was ready for direct talks with North Korea and Iran (both of which are closer to bankruptcy than they will admit; and probably key players in the arms market to the Taliban). This prospect for U.S. policy is not something China and Russia welcome as a matter of their regional influence and desire to see the U.S. encumbered in Afghanistan while competing to engineer their economies back to health. The new era of U.S. leadership is afoot. Monday, Obama’s increasing his effort to see new financial regulatory measures instituted, just before the G20 meet in Pittsburgh, political economics that complements the cultural economics of healthy nations.

But I digress. Just know, Aletheia (veiling badinager), that every day of every week, I try to stay in view of the whole valley, which is part of your appeal, even as you appeal otherwise.

where I find you

The Ecstatic Quotidian—isn’t that a lovely book title?—subtitled: “Phenomenological Sightings in Modern Art and Literature,” by a philosopher who’s evidently an accomplished poet, Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Terencei (don’t know of her). The book is premised, a reviewer notes, on the reality that “everydayness is transformed as soon as we try to reflect on it.”

You are where the familiar and the strange may be held in a mirrorplay, “each implying the other,” as if the ordinary can only be really appreciated via the extraordinary, and conversely.

“[M]odernist movements in philosophy and art all share a distinctive turn toward everydayness as a theme.” The quotidian “is an object of both fascination and denigration.”

“Merleau-Ponty, Proust, Benjamin, Rilke, Frost, and Bachelard all turn to childhood consciousness as a model for the ecstatic quotidian.” Yes, and the Inner Child of the adult enlightens potential for insight as the playful mind, the intrepid experimenter, the endearing improviser, the trickster.

The book pursues “the larger question of the relation between art and philosophy.” Me, too!—which is why I mention it. “[W]e see that what is really at stake here is the way in which language and seeing are connected.”

The reviewer isn’t especially impressed by the book, but she praises it enough that I’ve obtained it from the library, if only to express the importance of the topic to me. (It sits on my desk with other books, berating me for wanting too much from scarce free time.)

The review is worth reading; I hope the book is. The topic’s surely worth living with.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

writing with humanity

The past weekend was immensely useful, a flourishing time, just as I’d hoped.

But what I put online was modest and fun, writing to the ether and preparing to detail a sense of ethical life that contains virtue ethics, but is itself, well, itself. These things were written quickly last night because I’d promised myself to have something new yesterday. I’ve revised them today, and I think they’ll stay as they are now.

I probably won’t have anything new to post for several days. But I never know.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

a sense of ethical life

bridging artful flourishing and humanistic care

I’m explicating a general account of ethical life relative to a long review, titled “Morality and Virtue” (Ethics, 2004), very well done, by David Copp (editor of The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory, 2006) and David Sobel (editor of Reasons for Action, 2009). The review, pro and con, is about Michael Slote, Morals from Motives (2001); Philippa Foot, Natural Goodness (2001); and Rosalind Hursthouse, On Virtue Ethics (1999)—altogether a millennial moment for virtue-ethical theory.

My working through the review (in a writerly dialogue with it all) is a way for me to deal with moral realist (Copp) objections to perspectives I favor (having read the Slote and Foot books; Hursthouse is expanding on Foot) and generally to clarify my sense of ethical theory relative to that nexus (Slote, Foot, Hursthouse, and Copp & Sobel)—appropriative work for an appropriative ethics. I hope to have a long discussion to offer Monday, 9/7.

I then want to do a modest trek through some recent thought on art, literary art especially.


David Sobel says, in email to me yesterday, that he’s left the topics of “Morality and Virtue” “behind me,” in response to my query about what critical response he’s gotten. No “serious responses.” I find their analysis ultimately invalid, though immensely useful (especially as explication that provides a fine overview of contemporary virtue-ethical thought; it’s worth obtaining and reading, if you’re interested in virtue ethics), and I generated 17+ pages of notes (immanent to particular text passages) which I’m organizing.

I’ll want to say some things about “artful flourishing” before any focus on “bridging.”

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

one flowers and leaves: love as letting-be

Caring is integral to ethical life and an essential aspect of love, which of course includes attachment and desire—keeping near, holding dear. But I think the most important feature of love is letting be (in the existential, humanistic sense), which includes, if called for, letting go.

It’s not primarily a matter of regarding the other as an End (Kant), because the indiscernible telos of a life has no fate (such regard has no individualizing content). One appropriately cares for the growing (a notion way beyond Kant, relative to our times' knowledge), the intelligent growth, I would offer, yielding to however it goes for her or him in their ownmost way, their flourishing (that may be storied). So it is with children, students, friends, lovers, partners, and oneself.

Love is conceptually integral to the work of Princeton philosopher Harry Frankfurt and colleagues, some of whose work I’ll discuss later. Care is integral to virtue ethics, which is greatly important to my way of thinking (Michael Slote especially, but also Philippa Foot).

Few people, it seems to me, find a good balance between keeping well and letting be, relative to attachment, desire, intimacy, kindredness—living with well, flourishing.

I have much to say about capability, developmental excellence, and individuation (especially possible complexities of self-identity and a post-conventional ethic of life) relative to one’s imagined, projected lifespan. I distinguish character’s admirability of enacted values from virtue’s exemplarity; and ethicality of one’s flourishing from its supplementary moral sense rooted in one’s humanity. I distinguish fitness (vital to flourishing) from fittingness (vital to balancing self-formative and moral considerations); consequential acuity distinguished from consequentialism. Altogether, I’ll advocate an appropriative ethic of flourishing.

By the way, keep in mind that multiple postings for one day are in reverse order of time posted. One reads into a past.

finding true love where we can

So, I prove to you, reader, how a voyeur belongs to your nature: wanting to vicariously participate in others’ intimacy—why?

To learn something for managing your own? That’s admirable. Learning never ends, and activism toward growth is good.

To compensate for what you lack? That’s okay! We all have our stories.

You would inebriate, assimilate, accomodate, appropriate—yet be unwittingly entertained.

sailing, a way...

...of life, inhabiting a world.

Tacking excellently without becoming crusty in salted winds, I’ll own flourishing time in coming days, seafaring happily.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

dear persiflager

All tolled, our times were wonderful for me. I’m deeply thankful. I wish you every happiness, wholly—with all my heart, as I’ve said—and will always.

Monday, August 31, 2009

what I had in mind yesterday

Our lives may be ultimately some vineland of narrative conditions (modalities). Here's a short, non-conceptualist entertaining of a plight.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

I've lost you, as I move on

I’m sorry, but I can’t wait. Trust that I’ll keep sending updates along the way.

Remember that email I sent with the subject line "I went crazy..." that you trashed unread? It wasn’t about you. The subject line’s sentence was completed about a book I felt desperate to find among all the boxes of my stored books. It was about an obsession with literary calling I can’t satisfy.

Friday, August 28, 2009

a healthy market is a fair market

And a fair market of ideas is integral to democratic life.

I’m very engaged with current events on the formation of health care legislation. It seems I can’t stay away from wanting to address Habermasians (though I try to stay away these days).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

play everlasting

I’m deeply affected by the Event of Ted Kennedy’s death—as a very public death, as a Kennedy death, and as American Event.

As American Event: Not merely an American event rightly spread all over the news cycle, it’s a story of the dependence of democracy on leadership that can be irreplaceable.

As a Kennedy death: I was merely 11 years old when John F. Kennedy was elected, but I was childishly inspired to become interested in civic life, such as an 11-year-old can understand anything, and I was devastated at 14 by his assassination. I was devastated at 18 by Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination, and I was persistantly angry through the Vietnam years by the stupidity of “silent majority” conservatism (then evangelical conservatism). I held for good an idealistic liberalism that was supposed to be intrinsic to our American character, but I was living an America that was failing its children, failing, failing!

After doctoral work, I wanted to devote my life to K-12 educational reform, as a grand matter of political philosophy. I would not let my idealism be undone. But the politics of the '80s wore me down; so I “retired” to academic life.

For all the wisdom of prudence I’ve tried to gain, I’ve not let my idealism be undone. Nor have I forgotten how easy it is to take a tragic view of life and to be undone by that.

It’s a long and painful road to the playfulness you’ve seen here. Now’s not the time to recall the bridge. But know this: I do not play naïvely. I play for all that matters in lives that make themselves matter.

As a very public death: Kennedy’s passage is a reminder to us all of the importance of who is in our lives—“what” is, O, be everlasting!—and a reminder of inevitable ending.

Yea!, I’m still alive to do something worthwhile and well.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

trOpical living as conceptual recreation

What art is the good of our species? I quest and play to find out.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

a note on the pursuit of happiness

Given the validity of positive psychology, a philosophical approach to happiness need not be merely idealistic.

growing up as exemplifying our humanity singularly

That header’s a mouthful. But it fits.... In anthropology, there’s commonly a sense of the “human career” as belonging to our species, as legacy of lineage, as well as belonging to the span of a life. It’s not about a job, it’s the whole adventure of a life’s bearing.

Monday, August 10, 2009

pleasures of developmental excellence after lush aspirations of a philosophical baby

Believe it or not, this is a transition to dwelling in ethical theory. But I need the transition.

revision, 8/16
Way down the road, I’ll get into details of a view of excellent child development which backgrounds my view on ethical life in terms of several leading philosophers. For the near term, I want to focus on some ethical notions that take for granted that a sense of growing up as developmental excellence is easy to detail, which the next posting renders; so, I’ll detail that later.

praising diversity and excellence

Thinking ecologically can be a beautiful thing to do.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

a fulfilling life is a good life

In Natural Goodness, Philippa Foot is haunted by Wittgenstein. “For one recalls [which she does several times in her short book] Wittgenstein's famous death-bed insistence that he had had a wonderful life....Interpreted in terms of happy states of mind it would, however, have been very puzzling indeed if a life as troubled as his had been described as a good life. What Wittgenstein said rang true because of the things he had done, with rare passion and genius, and especially on account of his philosophy. Did he not say elsewhere ‘The joy of my thoughts is the joy of my own strange life’?” (p. 85, quoting Norman Malcolm quoting LW).

Thursday, August 06, 2009


Days go by, another news cycle, more discoveries.

Monday, August 03, 2009

yea, dance of life

a note on Merce Cunningham's great sensibility.

Sunday, July 05, 2009


The simplicity of this white page appeals to me, against the shallow busyness of so much imagism—nothing against digital tatooing—brachylogically troping—proudly celebrating—one's consumption by metro bricolage.


Love words, like winter days you made resplendent summer.

"He would drink artistry beyond his talent through narrative distance that couldn't betray him, seeking lasting happiness in bricolagically concerted quests."

"Is the good of a life high fidelity to one’s prevailing Project, in light of well-growing capability?"


dwelling, inhabitation

What have I done?

Whatever, it was good (I trusted), so I moved on to the next thing, tacitly retaining all due regard for what was done (it was authentically me!), but fully drawn into the next thing. Emails to a dear friend, postings so deliberated, longer things that have gone through so much revision—all “forgotten” in the flow of being inhabited by new prospects.

When I go back to something much later, I feel at first like any other reader, witness, wondering about him then—though secretly appreciating the thing as what it truly was—and still is!: I’m glad I “forgot,” glad to see it newly, glad I did it.

Notes from a day are like points awaiting their patterning into some belonging, meanwhile gladly looking like a scattering.

Am I all themes with little instrument?

Theme: stridency as dramatic form, distanced for me in rhetorical messaging he resorts to, going crazy as mode of entertainment, remaining unmet.

Bricolagic display in the energy of writing as tacit ego-identity validation.

On inaccessibility in art—associating to the title of a book, George Steiner’s On Difficulty, something else he meant to read, but time—

He throws himself into the most difficult work he can do while he's still capable. "It’s so more important to do the work than to display myself online doing it—unless that serves the work," like a release from conceptual fidelities via narrative humility.

“The Work”? Is it just another theme?



Theme: life as high-fidelity well-growing capable healthfulness.

world as a "literary" mind made of so many book titles, each too evocative to actually pursue into its own pages, because he loves writing to the idea, the appeal of their theme made his own before a journey through those worth reading slowly.

But he gets distracted by a new appeal, like a casanova of textual mirrors.

life.after.theory: about my many lovely days before the Millennium.

Joy, Inspiration, and Hope: to she who frivolously claimed life is meaningless.

The Birth of Pleasure, A Vindication of Love, Exuberance: What can I say that hasn't been better said already? There's reason to love the day!

The Company They Kept: The gravity of our company knit lasting happiness.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

May 2008 — April 2009

In case you're wondering what happened to the last year, May 2008 through April 2009, it was quite a year: There was the election, of course (sweeping in a new era), and I blogged for that (but deleted lots of postings that became antedated by election events). I became quite interested in the Russian invasion of Georgia. Some long discussions of recent Habermas articles were done (available as Web pages, e.g., on "post-secularity"), and there's always the Habermas group, though that slowed quite a bit for me, as I made good progress on a monographic project (which a friend called "The Perpetual Project"). Lastly, I had a very aesthetic winter, which winters should be.

May 2

I'll be back to conceptual adventuring soon. Currently, I'm turning all earlier discussion (blog postings and Webpages) into a single, integrated project for my own use going forward, which will result in at least a better organized site, including some synoptic pages that may make the site more apparently cohering.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

busy leaving there in order to live here

I've been transposing past years' entries from the earlier blog (at Yahoo! I'm abandoning) to other ones. There are four blogs now, one other new besides this (though it presently only has transposed, old material).

Believe it or not, I'm organizing all of my site writing—hundreds of pages, it seems—via a comprehensibly searchable database (containing all of the content, each posting or page divided up into its implicit topics), organized in terms of a now-given catalog of topic areas (tens of 'em) that allows for everything to be integrated (the organizing taxonomy coheres) and for topic segments to be used for whatever else. It's a lot of work. And I'll largely leave it all behind! The point of this is to have easy access to what I'll forget, for the sake of new engagements. I had no sense of how much I've written. I just kept writing, "forgetting" what I'd done, because another day brought something newly interesting; I wasn't keeping any sense of the volume I've generated (not to mention the complexity, which I endorse, but appreciate its frequent opaqueness for others).

The fun of it, though, is that it all does cohere, because the taxonomy is comprehensive of my interests, and I do think in a coherent, integrated way. I do.