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.