Saturday, January 30, 2010

a note on phenomenology

I’m writing here. There’s writing here. Here in the writing, with the action, it’s there for reading, to myself as reader. One reads what’s there. I’m here with what’s there. You’re “here” (for yourself) for what’s there. For me, you’re there for what’s here.

Friday, January 29, 2010

all the world as high school

notes in honor of Holden Caulfield

For example: adding insult to injury. A typical injury by teens is
to excommunicate a “friend.” The insult is to play clueless that
the excommunication happened. “O, what could you be talking about?” But the exclusiveness continues, as if the scene denying it never
took place.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

being With, inwordly

Reveling in the sensuous, Keats, in an 1819 letter, writes: “Talking of Pleasure, ... holding to my Mouth a Nectarine—Good God how fine. It went down soft pulpy, slushy, oozy—all its delicious embonpoint melted down my throat like a large beatified Strawberry.”

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

“...a scientist by early inclination...”

“...[So many] reasons, and many more relating the simile to its place in the Sonnet, must all combine to give the line its beauty,...not knowing which of them to hold most clearly in mind,....and the machinations of ambiguity are among the very roots of poetry” (Wm. Empson, in Seven Types of Ambiguity, on line 4 of Shakespeare’s 73rd Sonnet, quoted by Jonathan Raban, “Summer with Empson,” London Review of Books, 31:21, 5 Nov ‘09).

Saturday, January 23, 2010

some educive growths by a sidewalk, picked for replanting

It’s not that city life is chaotic. So much is happening, no order can be discerned before the inestimable assemblage of events have transposed into another question of order. The ecology is change by change within change within change, levels of cycles and process, our evolving humanity easily seeming like some eternal recurrence. Another day.

one life to live

You can rightly regard yesterday’s “for a higher quality…” as an expression of guilt about absorption in self-formative interests,
relative to decades of engagement with political-philosophical issues.
I wanted to reaffirm a sense of continuity, such that self-formative interests are generally complementary and—given the greater importance of our shared humanity, relative to one life—supplementary: Self-formative interests, relative to our humanity, are supplementary to our shared interest in human progress.

Integral to my self-identity is easy feelings of guilt for pursuing self-formative interests. So, in going my own way, I hope for something useful for others in writing about it. I hope, at best, for something exemplary.

But I’ll “have to” update my posting on the issue of unleashed corporatist license. An expanded page will eventually become a part of my long-standing interest in U.S. democracy.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Enough of that depressive position this morning:

1/18 — 8:53 am

I say I’m a “news junkie,” but that trivializes my desire to understand details of how we, humanity, are evolving—to understand particulars (often tedious) in “how it goes.”

So, I risk depression in the face of catastrophe’s narrative.
(Thank goodness, I’m not living the quake[—Jan. 2018: in Haiti.])

The weekend before last (Sunday, 1/9), I happily intended to write something by yesterday that might be creative and satisfying. But I didn’t.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

what goes without saying

I’m not a moralist, and I dislike didactic tones. But, on the one hand, our rightly busy lives do tend to marginalize (if not forget) what supposedly “goes without saying,” the so-called “needless to say.” If you accept
the chaoticness of daily life or, in my case, would promote a license
of harmless play, it’s important to not occlude what’s central to anchoring good lives, central to good sense—for prudence, lest we forget (not just marginalize) what really matters.

“the common humanity that we all share”

At the moment (Friday, 1/15), officials say that the earthquake may have killed two hundred thousand. “This is a time when we are reminded of the common humanity that we all share,” President Obama said Wednesday morning.

But a reminder is soon forgotten, because our attention has to be centered on managing our own lives. Time, energy, and resources are probably already fully encumbered, because the world works with little slack, especially in recessionary times.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

creative play

Playfully, I declare my right to write obtusely! Taking time to offer ideas while more or less in the middle of doing other things has its downside.

Monday, for example, which began nicely enough—until the second paragraph (which I’ll clarify)....

Saturday, January 09, 2010

anticipatory departing

Friday, 1/8 — 9:29 am

So—to follow up further from near the end of “free association”—why care whether or not poetic thinking can be rigorous?

Poetics can “yield [something importantly] reliable in our evolving reality...after humanity’s self-undermining of Godly metaphysicalism.”

So, again, why? And why care?

Thursday, January 07, 2010

boy seeks genuine fun

About “vacuous dailiness” (near the end of “free association”): Realize, please, that I wasn’t positing some equivalence between dailiness and vacuousness! I had in mind the pro forma chat or phony pretense of rapport that expresses, among other things, a common anxiety about the other’s presence. People so habitually miss chances to just be serenely silent together—or even to say something one’s listener remembers for a while; something thoughtful? something thoughtfully funny? I know a persiflager who’s brilliant at this (when she feels like it). In an affectionate sense, I want to strangle people who are habitually dismissive or who talk as if it’s really about their presence.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


A recognizably figurative work—not Frankenthaler’s “Westwind”—might be imagined to have begun by the artist’s sketching forms, maybe pencil or charcoal whisps emerging from white space.

But with abstraction, the color areas emerge such that any pattern on the canvas (as set of color areas, at least—counterpoints and complements, etc.) implies the imaginable brush stroking that gives “form” in the first place to each area. There’s no substructure, apparently, as the color structure of the space apparently has emerged from the imaginable brushing, rather than the brushing fleshing out

Monday, January 04, 2010

free association

A recent orchestral composer who won a Pulitzer Prize for his work recounted how he spent so much of his time apparently doing nothing, gazing out the window of his study.

A well-known poet reports, before reading his poem on video, that
the short poem took 3 years to finish, because he would come back to it and come back to it—presumably until it had just the elements that let him feel the poem was complete enough at last in the details enough
that its conception was full enough.