Monday, February 21, 2011


A narrative began mid-story—or a story began as ending—better living through rebirth in context; and a circus brought to touch a bi-cycle of lives were altogether removed to leave our narrator in a short pathos of too many titles in his dreams, dismissed through idle play with a keyword, as if cohering axis, troping uncounted possibilities for relationship.

Part of my thousands of books surround my bed, as if they might inhabit me during sleep. Hundreds of titles weave into databases of notes and themes. An idle moment of curiosity today caused me to search ‘touch,’ which turns up in the title of only three books, a disappointment. Is that trivial?

What does it say of me across the decades, those three I brought to lay with me (so far neglected)? What kind of pattern in the patternless pointillism of so many titles could that be?

an abridged sense of ‘touch’ (somewhat relative to The Unabridged)

getting courtesies out of the way: the state or fact of being in contact or communication [bridging]

a method of inducing someone to buy or to accept a deal [covert misbridging]

the playing of an instrument (as a friend or confidante) with one’s sensibility [abridging by as if bridging]

a near approach : a close call [being seen, in all events, to have a deeply good heart]

a light stroke of wit or satire

a light or delicate stroke in creating or improving an artistic composition

characteristic or distinguishing trait or quality

mental or moral sensitiveness, responsiveness, or tact...

a visible effect

a light gesture of fingers or words

the act of taking to heart a touchstone

characteristic skill of an artist in the manipulation of her materials

a brief mention (as: selected and revised meanings of ‘touch’)

a way of beginning again

a flash of feeling

a transient emotion

a coincidental threefold

I have The Touchstone of Life by biophysicist W.R. Lowenstein, who describes life (according to—I cheat here to quickly touch on each book) as a circus: “Flowing in from the cosmos, information loops back onto itself to produce the circular information complex we call Life.... To those who are inside the Circus [Lowenstein is quoted to say], it will always seem the greatest show on Earth, though I can't speak for the One who is outside it.” “One” there might be a Deist notion or anticipation of They who Await Out There.

I have On Touching—Jean-luc Nancy by J. Derrida, which vines a philosophy of touch, “a virtual encyclopedia of the philosophy of touch (and the body),” says the back cover. The cover might have better said “a veritable encyclopedia,” since there is a real book (while the idea of a wikipedia of the body could get wicked).

Peggy Kamuf (Derrida translator and scholar) says “The translation of On Touching: Jean-Luc Nancy is a momentous event, for this is one of the greatest, most important works in Derrida’s immense oeuvre. It undertakes nothing less than a deconstruction of the phenomenological principle of principles, intuitionism, and the touchstone experience called touching. In a circulation through the history of philosophy since Aristotle up to the work of his contemporary and beloved friend Jean-Luc Nancy, the epochal thinker of touch, this book comes from and goes to the very heart of Derrida’s thought.”

Deeply touching might be a circulation up to a beloved expressing the heart of one’s thought.

Thirdly, if you must know, I have Touching fire: erotic writings by women, edited by several. I’ve not read it (Nancy Friday was fun, years ago.) Such a book is one of many in my legacy of philosophical interest in embodiment (from Merleau-Ponty through philosophical psychology generally to Mark Johnson, and many other recent theorists of embodiment, especially feminist), also as a legacy of literary-psychological interest (wanting a post-psychoanalytic ethic of wholly being): What is sought in erotic writing? However badly one ventures to capture the Eros of one’s Psyche or conversely (Greek mythical complements), the desire to capture all aspects of human energies is integral to our being—and even doing so badly is interesting, clinically at least.

Indeed, so much can be interesting that it gets rather stunning—dear as headlight: Aletheia swaying.