Monday, May 31, 2010

serial affairs


Wandering through a beautiful array of books in a nearby store (not Moe’s) on a perfect spring afternoon, I purchased—well, [insert extended narrative of literary prattle proving allegorical the passage of his days], imagine writing 700+ pages (small font) on how all Literature tends toward The Seven Basic Plots: overcoming the monster, rags to riches. the quest, voyage and return, comedy, tragedy, and rebirth.

Or this: Imagining Virginia Woolf. In short, textual intimacy (according to author Maria DiBattista) is given a liminal “figment of the author” by two entwining inwordly, one representing “the” author (writing), one making it in reading, together “to produce that beguiling phantom—the literary personality.” That might seem obvious, but it’s not Lit. Theory 101 vistas of Reader Response Criticism, where there is The Author (inevitably misread). It’s the condition of writing, I should guess. Being “Virginia Woolf” (born Adeline Virginia Stephen) evidently became too much; so, she filled her coat pockets with rocks and walked into the River Ouse.

I shall see: I brought Maria home with me. (I have this thing with women and Literature, you see. [Insert 700+ page roman à clef.]) I was once in love with a girl-woman (undergraduate days) who looked like Virginia Woolf, such that I can’t now read a sentence of Woolf’s without feeling I’m witnessing a private letter.

Wandering...Moral philosopher Susan Wolf (I have an even “worse” thing for women philosophers) has just published Meaning in Life: and Why It Matters. We don’t just act out of either self interest or concern for others (or some mix of the two). Often “[r]ather, we act out of love for objects [other persons, I should imagine—”objects” in the psychoanalytic, phenomenological, liminal sense] that we rightly perceive as worthy of love.”

Wondering.... Jacques Derrida (married to a psychoanalyst—which inspires the hell out of me) writes a book to Hélène Cixous, H. C. for Life, That Is to Say, then dies. Cixous afterward writes a book to dead Jacques, Insister of Jacques Derrida. I wonder about the effect of reading the two books relative to each other (Jacques thereby read as writing from beyond the grave—having in the writing already known he was dying of pancreatic cancer). Oddly, Cixous looks like de Beauvoir. Now, there’s a relationship!—i.e., Simone and Jean-Paul.

“I’m drawn into the book of you.”

“O, move me, that’s so trite.”

“Well, things become clichés for good reason.”

I never said your life wasn’t justifiable.”

So, you love me all the same.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

romancing conceptuality


Monday, 5.24 — 9:30 pm

Twelve days without posting...

One day included a short romance with Edward Slingerland’s desire to shape a new sense of “consilience.”


Thursday, 5.27 — 12:50 pm

So, my sense of Flourishing—Flow of bricolagic days, elations of solitude, intimacies, joyful and beautiful living, finding fulfillment and happiness—lives somewhere between good enough days—warmheartedly, wholeheartedly embodied—and such romancing.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

living fruitfully


revised 5.29

Now done, this longest part of the “conceptuality...” project highlights aspects of living fruitfully, biased toward what I want to dwell with later. Indeed, the entire project feels like a preface (which I say in the discussions too often, maybe).

I recognize that themes are abruptly asserted, including a sometimes-odd mix of common sense and neologism; repetitiousness with non sequiturs. It’s not argumentation. It’s not written to gain audience. I’m sharing aspects of project development online. The Act of doing it all will make more sense up the road, relative to planned work online. And the current sections will be expanded or/and revised. I need to move on to the anticipated work.

I’m anticipating a rigorous cohering in light of fair explication, but my succinct sections currently aren’t that explication. Also, though the themes aren’t improvised, no background for introducing the themes is provided. But I’m not acting out my further development online. I’m sharing a set of baseline themes for more-explicated, yet more abstract, work up the road.

I’m really eager to get back to dwelling with others’ work. The reading list is long, and the agenda is well-structured. Yet, more play is fitting: The last part of the “conceptuality...” project—so-called “Flourishing” (capped: going for a big sense of it)—will be done by the end of the month. Fruitfulness isn’t just a trOpography to write about.

In the process, over the past couple of months, intended material has been shifted ahead, out of the project, especially: intended discussion of chapters from The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology and some other work of others directly related to the “conceptuality...” project. (That’s not part of the work alluded to above that “I’m...eager to [be]...dwelling with,” which pertains to other projects up the road.) Consequently, there will be a second part of the “conceptuality...” project later this year, such that the upcoming “last part,” “Flourishing,” ends what has become part 1 of the project. Part 1 has remained independent of other writers’ presence (except for Velleman). Part 2 will particularly address others’ work, but especially relative to part 1 (themes and aspects of part 1 as interpretive frames for readings in part 2). That may also give more rationale to some of my abruptness (and oddness) of themes in part 1.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

anxious draftsman


Though I welcome being influential, I really don’t yet seek that. I’ve noticed that a couple of my impromptu articles on Habermas have turned up in the bibliography of a dissertation online and a journal article, as well as other online sources. I feel anxiety about that because the articles are drafts, though I’ve given general permission to cite my articles, and they were cited correctly. I’ve promised that the URLs are stable, reliable; they won’t go away. But eventually, every Webpage I’ve offered online (besides blog postings) will be revised or rewritten and merged into integrated work, where each existing URL will be part of the integrated work. In the meantime, I’m flattered—but anxious.

Friday, May 07, 2010

telic appeal


Yes, “living fruitfully,” where a nectarine of license may weave into a narrative sorbet.

Yet, that’s an ever-arriving futurity, not the thereby ever-distancing past, as making life a working “art” is an aspirational importance of ever-anewing potential in things (and quote marks, a sign of humility, as well as ever-present questioning).



Thursday, May 06, 2010

night note


Standing “under” the stars, at a jogging track carved into a hill above the university, surrounded by Berkeley, next to the black Bay waters, and the pointillistic carpet of San Francisco lights in the black distance—so many lights, each for the little surround below each for its street. Only the likes of me and airliners see the metro array. It all doesn’t exist for the surround of any given streetlight. Patterns among the lights belong to the dead Gulliver mapmakers towering over little people’s future surrounds, designer gods of topography to be forgotten by little surrounds because all the intersections are open, all the lights posted. Otherwise-emergent pattern in a night’s array belongs to happenstance irrelevant to any lit surround. But, if a madman’s carbomb exploded in Times Square, everyone in the array below could know within minutes; everyone in the planetary grid could know. So, to some degree, we’re a singular organism, quorum sensing (“we” being of the planetary Array). But stories written exemplify lives unaware of each other’s actual, largely “shared” privacies. The metro pointillism has no meaning but for an observer of a landscape unimaginable to Olone natives 200 years ago; yet, it means all there is, for whomever cares to see. The nearest star that might have others observing us is 1000 light years away (they say), so those absolute Others (relatively real gods) would be seeing medieval humanity now. The Neandertal genome has been sequenced, reportedly enlightening “us” about our eonically modern nature. Melvin Konner’s milestone, The Evolution of Childhood, was published this week. Another daily review has been emailed by Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, now Plato and Heidegger: A Question of Dialogue. “Contagion fears go global” (Reuters) in the wake of Greece’s debt crisis. Smog over San Francisco caused a gorgeous sunset, rare these days, thanks to environmental engineering. Volcanic smoke from Iceland is again hampering European air travel. (A local acquaintance may get stuck in Tuscany, poor dear.) The evolution of humanity is an exponential curve: A thousand years from tonight, another species may be instanced on this hill, connected to The Array that’s been galactic for eons.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

“From this I reach…philosophy”


from Virginia Woolf, Moments of Being:

“The shock-receiving capacity is what makes me a writer. I hazard the explanation that a shock is at once in my case followed by the desire to explain it. I feel that I have had a blow, but it is not, as I thought as a child, simply a blow from an enemy hidden behind the cotton wool of daily life; it is or will become a revelation of some order; it is a token of some real thing behind appearances; and I make it real by putting it into words. It is only by putting it into words that I make it whole; this wholeness…gives me…a great delight. …Perhaps this is the strongest pleasure known to me. It is the rapture I get when in writing I seem to be discovering what belongs to what. …From this I reach what I might call philosophy; at any rate a constant idea of mine; that behind the cotton wool is hidden a pattern. …This intuition of mine—it is so instinctive that it seems given to me, not made by me—has certainly given its scale to my life. …One is living all the time in relation to certain background…conceptions. Mine is that there is a pattern hid behind the cotton wool. And this conception affects me every day. I prove this, now, by spending the morning writing. …I feel that by writing I am doing what is far more necessary than anything else. All artists I suppose feel something like this. It is one of the obscure elements in life that has never been much discussed. It is left out in almost all biographies and autobiographies.”

quoted by John Kekes, Enjoyment.


Saturday, 5.1.10 | revised 4.10.11

Over two months ago, I got enthused by a review of Enjoyment: the moral significance of styles of life; checked the book out of the library as soon as it was available; but didn’t begin reading it until today. Kekes’ work is corroborative; it’ll be good supplementation to what I’m developing.

But I’m decidedly enamored with a different sense of what’s “moral,” especially finding important differences between ethical and moral sense (as do important others), which Kekes understands in terms of desire to supplement standard moral sense (i.e., too-constraining moralism) with an appreciation for the value of living well that he regards as higher moral value. He wants to amplify The Moral, rather than see appropriate (and essential) differences between ethical life (omni-temporal) and moral sense (social world), which I see (while I agree nonetheless that there’s highly valid moral sense beyond standard moralism or “morality”). Not only can especially-moral sense have higher validity than commonly understood (e.g., perhaps, in some high sense of humanistic union), but so too for ethical sense (such that differences between moral and ethical sense become all the more appealing, maybe compelling).

I’m seeking to amplify The Ethical, in light of my own influences and thinking, which I’ve only begun to express. Kekes appears to reduce standard moral sense to moralism in order to amplify moral sense, thereby somewhat including “my” ethical sense, but as amplification of “moral” sense without a basically different sense of ethical life.

So, I easily see his work as complementary to what I’m doing, but I prefer a primacy of The Ethical, along with neo-Aristotelians (e.g., Bernard Williams, Michael Slote, and important others).


Wednesday, 5.5.10 — 7:20 am | Saturday, 4.10.11 — 10:57 am

Though Keke’s approach to moral sense doesn’t quite work for me, I’m glad to see that he largely turns to “Literature” (i.e., canonical storiation—“classics”) for pursuit of his analysis of living well. He’s seeking to exemplify the marriage of literary and philosophical interest that I’m after, though I came to his book not yet knowing that this was his approach to enjoyment. “My concentration on literary works...was...an attempt to show why the connection between literature and moral thought is essential.” But Literature also well serves a high differentiation of existential, ethical life from social, moral sense. Literature allows for a holism of lifeworldliness that is the alpha and omega of existential (or self actualizing) relevance. Keke’s employment of literary sensibility for higher moral sense actually better serves a heightening of differences between ethical life and moral sense.
Literature....shows individuals with distinct characters in particular contexts struggling to face significant choices, making them well or badly, and living with the consequences. Such accounts show how choices follow from character and context, and they show it in complex detail, often from different points of view of a dispassionate observer and of the person making the significant choice. They show readers...what reasons the choosers believed themselves to have; why they acted or failed to act as real or imagined reasons guided them; how false beliefs, overwrought or suppressed emotions, and misunderstood motives led them to make the wrong choices; and what prevented them from recognizing that character and context severely limited their choices. [262-3]