Saturday, October 21, 2017

Those who will not face their ignorance cannot grow in knowledge.

Those who cannot handle their impotence will not grow in power.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Photons are the lightest things in the universe.
And when heavy metals are created in the collision of dark stars,
gravity waves ripple through space-time.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Your subjective passions shape your desires. They are not objective reasons to hold your beliefs. There is a passion to seek a reason. But the passion is not itself a reason. Nor does the passion invalidate the reason once it's found.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

The right to enjoy bourgeois pleasures is predicated on the obligation to maintain our institutions. This, perhaps more than anything else, explains the crippling, joyless guilt of the middle class.

There is something unsettling about hearing the Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy announce that the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature will be given to Kazuo Ishiguro for "uncover[ing] the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world". After all, the Nobel Prize in Physics this year was given to Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish and Kip Thorne "for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves." Gravity waves presumably exist.

Has the Swedish Academy declared my sense of connection with the world illusory? Has Kazuo Ishiguro proved the existence of an abyss beneath my being? Has he discovered my nothingness?

Thursday, October 05, 2017

The image is
thought by the mind,
felt in the heart.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

The water is still and dark.

The hand passes
through the surface
as the eye dwells
on the appearance.

The water is shimmering and wet.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Foundations

Beneath an ethical life,
the daily grind.

Beneath the grind,
political struggle.

Beneath the struggle,
a killing field.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

As you are distressed
by my reasons,
I am confused
by your passions.

_____
Notes:

Distress is a decomposition of passion. Confusion is a decomposition of reason.

Reason finds its composure by distinguishing things clearly from each other. Passion finds its composure in our intense identification with each other as people.

To distress is to "draw apart" to the point of suffering. To confuse is to "pour together" insufferably.

Composure, then, is a very precise kind of suffering. It is where things are kept apart despite our passions, and where people are kept together despite our reasons. It finds a balance of clarity and intensity.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Disobeying Hitler is not a way of obeying your muse.

Misunderstanding Heidegger is not a way of understanding your existence.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Use philosophy
to locate your concepts
and hone your intuitions.

Use poetry
to temper your emotions
and gauge your institutions.

Use language
to civilize
your intuitions,
to humanize
your institutions.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Theme and Craft

from Greek thema "a proposition,
subject, deposit," literally "something set down,"

German Kraft "strength, skill" ...
Sense expanded in Old English to include "skill, dexterity; art, science, talent"
... also "something built or made."

Monday, September 11, 2017

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Does the cosmos tend towards the soul?
Does the planet tend towards the body?

Or did our bodies just do the best they could here?
Did our souls make do with what they found?

Friday, September 08, 2017

Monday, September 04, 2017

Sunday, September 03, 2017

The Lightest Thing

I find it remarkable
that,

centuries before science
discovered

the photon, the language
already

knew that light is
not heavy.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Wisdom is to know you are no one. Love is to acknowledge there are others.

Philosophy is the pursuit of conceptual accuracy.
Poetry is the pursuit of emotional accuracy.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The body is articulated by light and weight.
The world is articulated by lenses and levers.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Our language is articulated by our passions as much as our reasons.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Two Democracies

A democratic government asserts sovereignty over the land on behalf of its people. It obligates landowners to serve the needs of the population. A simple mechanism for ensuring democracy in this sense is for the state to collect rent in the form of a land value tax (apportioned according to rental value) and distribute it to the people as a universal basic income (a citizen stipend delivered to all regardless of wealth or income). The challenge for the individual remains to live creatively.

Most modern "democracies" assert sovereignty over the people on behalf the banks. It obligates the citizens to serve the interests of finance. To this end, they deploy a complex apparatus of differentiated income and sales taxes, ramified by exemptions and deductions, with minimal taxes on land, leaving ample opportunities to profit from speculation and to store wealth in "havens" of various kinds, while granting "welfare" only to those who can demonstrate need. The individual's predicament here is to earn a living.

"When quoting an aphorism, name recognition is everything." (Anonymous)

Monday, August 28, 2017

A philosophy is something much more general than the philosopher but

a poem
is something much more specific
than the poet.

Some of our problems are philosophical, but we don't often talk about poetic problems. Sometimes, however, a solution will seem poetic.

It is sometimes said that philosophical problems are precisely those that can't be solved. The point is to recognise that there is no solution.

I think poetic solutions are those that have no problems. We say an event or deed is "poetic" when it extricates itself entirely from the problematic.

Friday, August 25, 2017

The heart
beats
in the body,
as the soul
bears
the mind.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The hand
comes to rest
on the surface
of the table,
which appears
darkly glazed
to the eye.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Thought is to feeling
as the eye to the hand,
the mind to the heart.

Emotions are to concepts as
muscle to bone.

Monday, August 21, 2017

In order to make a machine that thinks, we would have to make a being that suffers. We'd have to put it through that suffering.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

A machine that thinks but does not feel is not just undesirable, it is unbelievable. It would be unimaginative—thus, unimaginable.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

From the Devil's Dictionary of Social Theory

social science, n., The study of society without an understanding of money. Traditionally, it is the business of accounting for social ills without causing embarrassment to land holders. From the early twenty-first century, it has existed mainly as a consulting product, offering putative solutions to social problems that imply no cost to the unearned wealth of billionaires. In general, any description of society will be deemed "scientific" if it cannot be used to support arguments for a universal basic income funded by a single tax on land value.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

—Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.
—Then let us forget and be doomed to win the War again.
—No, you fool. You are doomed to fight it.

No nation ever won a civil war.

Wars, unfortunately, are not always won by the just. Mostly, they are won by the strong.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Technology offers power in exchange for pleasure, said Norman Mailer. He surely had a point. Witness how the martial arts have been replaced with machines of war.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

If you want to understand the fervor of our protests you must understand the depth of our obedience. It is because we are so hopelessly obedient that our protests are so fervent, so desperate. In our hearts, at the end of the day, we know that we will do you as you say. That is why we demand that our orders be just. That is why we are burning our own cities in effigy of you.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The world is everything that is the case.
History happens to everyone.
God sees all and
is doing all He can.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Train your seeing as you train your doing.
Be as articulate in your commands
as you are in your statements.
Try to understand. Also, to obey.

"Our job as scientists is to discover truths about the world."
(Science determines "the truth of things".)

A politician's job is to make just decisions for history.
(Politics determine "the rights of man".)

Friday, August 04, 2017

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Friday, July 07, 2017

Mathematics, Suffering

Δίκα δὲ τοῖς μὲν παθοῦσ-
ιν μαθεῖν ἐπιρρέπει

Put two apples in an empty cube box. Add another two. How many apples are there in the box? That was easy. Now, empty the box.

Fill it half full of water. Put an apple on a stick. Poke the apple end of the stick into the water, so the apple is completely submerged. Measure the height of the water line. (Use the side of the cube as your unit. The increase is a fraction.) Calculate the volume of the apple.

Calculate the radius of the apple. Calculate the maximum number of apples that can be fit into the box. Calculate the volume left over. Redo your calculation with apples cut in half. Quartered. In eighths.

What is the volume of the largest cube you can cut out of the apple? How many of these cubes can you fit in the box? How much space will be left over?

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Poetry is the art of writing down how you feel.
How. Not what you feel.
Emotions are the means by which we feel.
They are the apparatus of feeling,
as a concept is an instrument of thought.
An emotion is my readiness to feel something.
It may be more or less precise, affording feelings
that are more or less intense.

Poetry is the art of writing emotions down.
The poet shows us our emotions so we can
tinker with them. A poem makes us feel
better. It does not give us better feelings,
but makes us better able to feel,
more precise in our way of feeling.
How do you feel? (How, again, not what.)
In your suffering, be yourself, that's how.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

The philosopher's stance to
the poet's breath—
as existence to inspiration.

______
Note: ex-sistare, "to stand forth"; in-spirare, "to breathe upon".

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Are your media ways of making connections or maintaining divisions?

Thoughts exist in souls.
Souls abide in gods.
Gods animate souls, and
souls feel inspiration.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A: My prose is strong.
B: You are too humble. It is impenetrable.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The world cannot be mastered, but it can be known in part. History cannot be known, but it can in part be mastered.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The world is everything that is the case.
History is everything that happens.
God is doing all He can.

________
Note: Pith has taken precedence over precision. Things are to the world as people are to history, and being is to things as becoming is to people, so history isn't everything that happens so much as it becomes everyone who happens or, better, everyone who happens becomes history. Or, we might say, history happens to everyone. Also, seeing is to doing as the world is to history. The last line could read, "All-seeing God is doing all He can."

Monday, June 12, 2017

The lyric is to the aphorism as the lyre is to the lamp.

Friday, June 09, 2017

An image is what a thought feels like, who the feeling thinks of.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

The Question

Is it nobler to suffer in the mind or to trouble the arms?

PS: The mind's eye. The heart's hand.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Human Factor

The facts don't make themselves known,
nor do our acts master themselves.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Between the rational,
and the hysterical,
our reasons and passions
find their composure.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Poets do not tell you what they feel. They show you how they feel. Philosophers don't tell you what they think, but show you how they do it.

No one can tell you what to think or feel. But some can help you do it better. Our poets make us feel better. Philsophers make us think better.

It's not that they give us better thoughts or better feelings. They hone our concepts and emotions, to make our minds and hearts precise.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

"Haven't you tried long enough to understand? Isn't it time, perhaps, to obey?"

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The poet arranges strophes to present an emotion. The philosopher arranges remarks to present a concept.

The philosopher makes you think, not so that you'll believe anything in particular, but in order to clarify the concept. The poet makes you feel, not so that you'll desire anyone in particular, but in order to intensify the emotion.

Both articulate our experience. They join us more precisely to it.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Poetry is to politics as philosophy is to science. It is not political philosophy that we need, but a poetics of policy.

We cannot understand the ontology of social science, but we must obey the ethnopathy of social policy.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Money is the fact of value. A price is the value of a fact.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Because ideologues don't really understand the things they believe, they expect others to do the same.

Monday, April 17, 2017

If everyone were decent, tyranny would be impossible. If everyone were honest, genius would be unnecessary.

Genius is the tyranny of the mind. Tyranny is the genius of the heart.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Genius always doubts itself. That is its suffering and its passion.

Monday, April 10, 2017

A Transcendental Aesthetic

The point of a work of art must never be that the beholder become an artist.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

"Science is the theory of the real." (Martin Heidegger)
Politics is the practice of the ideal.

The purpose of an idea is to make our work easier.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

An ideologue will distort a fact in the service of an idea.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Left of Bizarro

Where punching people in the face is okay and pleading for head is rape.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

ἀρετή

You are your virtues, your potential for goodness, excellence. The mistake is to identify yourself with your vices. You are not your vices. Your vices merely prevent you from becoming yourself, from doing what you are capable of, at any given time.

(Christianity is the application of this view of oneself to others through love.)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

No age is insane. Your sanity is judged against it.

The House of Language

Is a philosopher better able to tell you what a thought is? Is a poet better able to tell you what a feeling is? Is an architect better able to tell you what a house is?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

If you want knowledge, you must learn how to change your mind. If you want power, you must be open to a change of heart.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Do not write mediocre poetry about problems that could be solved with good policy.

Monday, March 13, 2017

After you have gone too far the truth always lies in the other direction.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Your prose determines what you can do with a poem. We might say that our prose "affords" us our poetry.

(Cf. Jonathan Mayhew)

The good and the true make you better. True perceptions make you see better. Just actions make you do better.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Institutions protect us from the caprice and malice of people who don't like us, and people we don't like, likewise, from us. With strong institutions you cannot punish someone you don't like on a whim. They have to have done something wrong.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

To Those in Search of Social Justice

If you want to experience joy, kindness, and understanding, you must not close yourself off to pain, selfishness, and bigotry. If you want the love and wisdom of others, you must be able to suffer their foolishness, too, their hatred.

Monday, February 27, 2017

πρόσωπον

Nobody becomes true or false in the eyes of another. People see themselves, or not.

πράγματα

Nothing (no thing) is either good or bad in itself. Some things, however, ought to be done, some not.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Media of Immediacy

Intuition, said Kant, is that through which things are known immediately. Institution, I submit, is that through which people are immediately empowered.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

If I am to show you how to do something, I must, unfortunately, also tell you what the difficulty is.

Friday, February 10, 2017

This is a work of fiction.

Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is their own damned fault.

All Rights Reserved

No part of this work may be reproduced, published, distributed, displayed, performed, copied, stored or memorized for public or private use in any information retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any mechanical, photographic, biological or electronic process, including electronically or digitally on the Internet or World Wide Web, or over any network, or local area network, or nervous system, without written permission of the author.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Basic income will not work as a fiscal policy, a welfare program. It will work as a monetary policy: a way of creating money, not as private and public debt, but as purchasing power for everyone, rendering the welfare state obsolete.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

The Killers

The same people who want our leader to call another country's leader a "killer" are outraged when he admits that he, too, has killed—that we, too, have killed.

Friday, February 03, 2017

There's no particular providence in the fall of an apple.

_______
Pace Isaac Newton. See Ken Robinson's "The Book of Nature" in Into Another Mould. Routledge, 1992, p. 87.)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

What you would know, you must first understand. Who you would master, you must first obey.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Do not think you can understand if you feel you cannot obey.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

To know a thing, we must understand its nature. To master people, we must obey their culture.

(And what of our own selves, you ask? And what of our bodies? "In ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds.")

All science is natural science. All politics is cultural politics.

__________
Cf. Jonathan Mayhew.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The facts determine the results of our acts. Acts, we might say, resolve themselves into facts.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

"Poetry," said Auden, "might be defined as the clear expression of mixed feelings." Philosophy is the tenuous* expression of distinct thoughts.

________
*I tried a "intense", "terse" and "coherent", before hitting on this. The pangrammatical supplement of "clarity" is "intensity". The words tenet, tense, and tenuous share the same root, namely, "to stretch". So we can here capture the pangrammatical point, and also reproduce the "tension" (!) between "clear" and "mixed". Very satisfying exercise.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Learn to understand your reasons. This is wisdom. Be free to obey your passions. That is love.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Marcelaise

When life is, literally, the search for lost time.

Dedalous

When life is a man's self-imposed exile from a country that never let him in.

Hamletesque

When life is a play something like the murder of a king put on by a prince as part of an elaborate attempt to avenge the death of his father.

Quixotic

When life is the story of a man who thinks he is a knight written by a man who thinks he is a novelist.

The hand is to the eye as the heart to the mind.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

William Carlos Wittgenstein

We make ourselves a picture
of

the red wheel
barrow.

If you can
actually

imagine the white
chickens,

we'll grant you
all the rest.

Art improves imagination.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Between the act and fact,
the seen and done, the concept
and emotion, between the feeling
and the thought, slips the image.

Wisdom is the stillness of the mind in which things are what they are.

Love is the movement of the heart through which we become ourselves.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

The purpose of poetry is to make us feel better. A poem doesn't always make us feel good, but a good poem makes us better able to feel.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Friday, January 06, 2017

The need for a genius in any age is as regrettable as the need for a tyrant.

Genius is the tyranny of knowledge. A tyrant is a genius of power.

Thursday, January 05, 2017