By Paul Simon:
"Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You'll learn from them - if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It's a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn't education. It's history. It's poetry." (—Mr. Antolini, in Catcher in the Rye, by J.D.Salinger)
We are, all of us, mad or not, fated to struggle with the irreducible loopiness of human existence. Often, without even realizing it, we find ourselves caught in double binds or self-fulfilling prophecies of the kind discussed in this book. They are an ever-present trap; they are never a prison. Understanding the tangled loops of violence, myth, and madness is the first step to breaking free of them. The belief that things cannot change is always a myth, no matter how widely shared it may be. Myth, Girard teaches us, is born of unanimity. Unanimity is the enemy of truth and progress. It is a formidable enemy but a fragile one, for the tiniest minority is capable of breaching it. When an individual stands up against the crowd, when a therapist shows a patient that at least one person treats their experience with respect, unanimity begins to fissure. A crack is opened for the light to get in. (--Chapter Title: No Exit? Madness and the Divided Self, Book Title: Vengeance in ReverseBook Subtitle: The Tangled Loops of Violence, Myth, and Madness Book Author(s): Mark R. AnspachPublished by: Michigan State University Press. 2017)
In the 1951 preface, he [Heidegger] explains his hope that
For the sake of preserving what has been put into the poem, the elucidation of the poem must strive to make itself superfluous. The last, but also the most difficult step of every interpretation [Auslegung], consists in its disappearing, along with its elucidations, before the pure presence of the poem. The poem, which then stands in its own right, itself throws light directly on the other poems.
Because Heidegger believes that language is so fundamental to human being, true poetry, a "poetry which thinks" [denkende Dichten]. through its intense and thoughtful use of language, reveals and even shapes the essence of human being, if it is not reduced to an aesthetic experience. To Heidegger, our current technological world-view presents a world of subjects and objects, of material and human resources, giving us an understanding of existence increasingly framed by technology. Poetry offers us a possible path out of this dangerous world-view, which led us to Hiroshima and Auschwitz. This poetic path is one Heidegger spent many decades following, and which led his philosophical work to become increasingly poetic in form.
Heidegger's approach to poetry, which he takes pains to disclaim as literary criticism, does perhaps anticipate more recent 'literary' approaches to poetry. This might partly be due to the great indirect influence Heidegger has exerted on literary studies, perhaps also due a broadening of the methodologies used in studying literary texts during the earlier part of the twentieth century, which had more to do with philology than philosophy. Heidegger's work on poetry attempts mitdenken to 'think with' the poems he elucidates. In exploring the relation between poetry and philosophy, Heidegger illuminates both modes of discourse. In his use of the term thought, rather than 'philosophy' in much of his later work, he bridges the gap between those two modes. Thought is what poetry and philosophy have in common. To Heidegger they are simply differing modes of expressing it, different languages in which thought occurs. (--from, Introduction: A Thinking Poetry, Heidegger and Poetry)
The 6 Syllables and Their Relationship to Suffering
Interestingly, each of the 6 syllables has certain Sanskrit meanings that are important. These oppose certain internal forces that cause suffering.
“So in this way recitation of the mantra helps achieve perfection in the six practices from generosity to wisdom. The path of these six perfections is the path walked by all the Buddhas of the three times. What could then be more meaningful than to say the mantra and accomplish the six perfections?”
(—from, The Meaning of Om Mani Palme Hum, by Matt Caron, Silvana East)
In silence we face and admit the gap between the depths of our being, which we consistently ignore, and the surface which is untrue to our own reality. We recognize the need to be at home with ourselves in order that we may go out to meet others, not just with a mask of affability, but with real commitment and authentic love. / If we are afraid of being alone, afraid of silence, it is perhaps because of our secret despair of inner reconciliation. If we have no hope of being at peace with ourselves in our own personal loneliness and silence, we will never be able to face ourselves at all: we will keep running and never stop. 41
(--from, Love and Living, by Thomas Merton, 1979)It is the feast of the Annunciation.
Life is this simple. We are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and God is shining through it all the time. This is not just a fable or a nice story. It is true. If we abandon ourselves to God and forget ourselves, we see it sometimes, and we see it maybe frequently. God manifests Himself everywhere, in everything — in people and in things and in nature and in events. It becomes very obvious that He is everywhere and in everything and we cannot be without Him. You cannot be without God. It’s impossible. It’s simply impossible. The only thing is that we don’t see it. What is it that makes the world opaque? It is care.
(— Thomas Merton, transcribed from a recording of a talk he gave at the Abbey of Gethsemani in August 1965) (louie, louie).Addendum:
The universe was already in existence. The Big Bang explosions what happens next. (--Brian Greene interview, Commonwealth Club, Mind, Matter and the Search for Meaning, March 2020)I fall in the compromised elderly category in this time of COVID-19. I get a call from our state representative's office checking up on needs and stuff. Someone asks if they could get us something from the grocery store. My son and niece unobtrusively check in around St Patricks Day and the vernal equinox to see if there is a pulse able to respond. My president doesn't want me to feel he is not in charge and control of everything -- so he abjures facts and earnest words of caution in favor of telling me how hard it is to be a billionaire and not certain he'll be re-elected if people choose to live rather than his having a strong economy and bailout residuals for his resorts and business deals.
In my conversations with Riccardo Manzotti, professor of theoretical philosophy at the IULM University in Milan, we have explored his mind-object identity theory, a hypothesis that shifts the physical location of consciousness away from the brain and its neurons. In Manzotti’s version of events, the brain does not ‘process information’ coming from the senses to create illusory representations of an external reality that it can never really know (the hypothesis supported by most neuroscientists and many philosophers); rather, the encounter of the body (brain and senses included, of course) with the world allows the world to occur in a certain way, to become an object relative to the body; and that occurrence, that relative object, is what we call perception, consciousness, and it remains exactly where it is, outside our body. Our experience, our mind, is the world as it is in relation to our body. And the ‘I’ is identified neither with the brain, nor more extensively with the body, but with our experience which is the world in relation to the body.everything is waiting for you (cf. David Whyte) to realize the true awakening to the improbable answer to the primordial question.
However, if this is the case, if subject and object, or rather mind and relative object, are one in experience, does this not make it all the more difficult to explain our impression of free will? Isn’t it precisely our moment-by-moment awareness of making decisions that proves that we are separate and sovereign subjects moving in a world of objects that remain quite distinct from us and over which we seek to have mastery?
Parks: I see what you’re saying: my experience, which is none other than the accumulation of all the objects my body has encountered, eventually determines my actions. But I’m not altogether convinced. And my problem is this: not only do I have the impression of making decisions, cogitating, not just acting, but I also believe that I ‘organise’ experience. That I see the world in a certain way. I hold a system of political opinions, of aesthetic preferences, and so on. So I feel that, rather than being a world of objects coming together over time to determine an action, I have an inner world that determines how I organise the outer world. I don’t just act as consequence; I decide how to act, coherently.
Manzotti: Let me offer an analogy to suggest the fallacy behind your conception. We’ll stay with cars. When you drive, you turn the steering wheel and, thanks to a complex yet easily understandable coupling of cogs and drive shafts, the vehicle’s front wheels turn accordingly. Is there anything mysterious between the steering wheel and the two wheels that turn? No. Just a chain of cause and effect such that, given the turn of the driving wheel, the front wheels have to turn.
Okay, now imagine an infinitely more complex object, a human body. The world acts on the body, but before the body is going to translate that cause into an effect, an action, a simply enormous, though of course necessarily finite, number of causal events may take place, inside the body and outside. What’s more, unlike the car, which is a fixed object when it comes out of the factory, your wonderful body can change in response to the world, it is teleologically open – so that, to give the simplest example, when you see a face a second time, the experience is different from the first time, because the first experience is still causally active in your brain, hence we have the sensation of recognition. So with this fantastically complex object, the body, we cannot conceive the whole causal chain that precedes an action (this was a favourite observation of Baruch Spinoza’s) and hence we cannot predict what action will be taken. As a result of this conceptual impossibility, we slip into the habit of inventing an intermediate entity, the self, to which we attribute a causal power. We say that I, or my self, caused this to happen. But as David Hume said, we never meet or see a self; we meet ideas, or, as I would say, objects. The self, this elusive intermediate entity that initiates action, is a shortcut, an invention, a convenient narrative to explain our complex experience.
Parks: To wind up then; as you see it: experience, mind, is the world relative to the body, but a world, or an I, that accumulates over the years, that continues to act long after the moment of immediate proximity, creating an ever-changing agglomeration so complex that it becomes impossible to predict how, in the face of a new situation, a new experience, we will behave. And all the tensions we experience, that we call decision-making, or the exercise of freewill, are the ongoing evolution of this agglomeration of world, which is ourselves.
Manzotti: Right. And you don’t need to feel alienated by being at the mercy of a blind material world; you are the world.
Parks: I’m not altogether sure that that’s much more preferable, but it’s certainly something worth dwelling on.
(—in Aeon.com,, You are the world, excerpted from the book ‘Dialogues on Consciousness’ (2020) by Riccardo Manzotti and Tim Parks (OR Books).From climate change to coronavirus, from inequity of wealth to disparity of legal decisions, from what we need to what we want, our cancelation culture, our dismissive excluding evaluative rationalizations -- we currently reside in a deficient structure of consciousness that sacralizes either/or and executes or eliminates what is considered not me, not us, not our kind.
I would like to make a Book that will derange men, that will be like an open door leading there where they would never have consented to go, in short a door that opens onto reality.
We forget that we are all dead men conversing with dead men. My course of study was philosophy.
(--from, Madness and Death in Philosophy, by Ferit Gūven, 2005)Perhaps
| I read the observations of a respiratory therapist --|
(A Medical Worker Describes Terrifying Lung Failure From COVID-19 — Even in His Young Patients, by Lizzie Presser, MPro-Publica).Riveting and sobering.
I look in on the Trump briefing about virus. Something doesn't feel right about the way he does and does not do what he says is being done. There's too much praising and happy talk, sidestepping, bullying. He is continuing his rallies in a different format. There is an undercurrent.
4. Tota die iniustitiam cogitavit lingua tua sicut novacula acuta fecisti dolum
4. All the day long thy tongue hath devised injustice: as a sharp razor, thou hast wrought from deceit.
5. Thou hast loved malice more than goodness: and iniquity rather than to speak righteousness.
6. Thou hast loved all the words of ruin, O deceitful tongue.
(--from, Psalm 50 (51)
Meanwhile, there is dark apprehension and bewildering concern over the inability to provide the most basic testing for those affected and protective gear for those giving care.
This, another hard story in NOLA.com:
39-year-old New Orleans woman tested for coronavirus. She died before getting her results.She tested for coronavirus, and her results were delayed. Five days later, she was dead in her kitchen.BY JESSICA WILLIAMS | STAFF WRITER PUBLISHED MAR 21, 2020 AT 11:26 AM | UPDATED MAR 21, 2020 AT 5:17 PM .Sometimes you're keeping social distance, sheltering in place -- and sometimes the gravity of personal stories and losses just fold you with sorrow.
Being and Nothing, Form and Formlessness
Nishida often characterizes the distinction between being and nothing in terms of the cultural contrast of West and East. In the preface to Hatarakumono kara mirumono e(『働くものから見るものへ』 ; From the Working to the Seeing) of 1927, he contrasts the “brilliant development of Western civilization that takes form as being…” and “the root of Eastern culture that harbors within itself that which sees the form of the formless and hears the sound of the soundless” (Z3 255) — a formlessness that has nurtured the traditions of the East. The distinction he makes here between West and East is that between form (keisō 形相, katachi 形) and formlessness. Being (yū) corresponds to form and the nothing corresponds to the formless. Beings accordingly are what are present in determinate form, contrasted and differentiated from one another. In Tetsugaku no konpon mondai (『哲学の根本問題』; Fundamental Problems of Philosophy) of 1933-34, Nishida reiterates this contrast by stating that the thought of being is at the root of Western culture while the thought of the nothing is at the root of Eastern culture. (Z6 348) Here as well, reality for the West is grounded in being qua form, while reality for the East is grounded in the nothing as formless. Because the European tradition conceives the root of reality to be being (yū) or the “possession of form” (yūkei 有形), it prioritizes “the form-possessing [katachiarumono 形あるもの], the determinate [genteiseraretamono 限定せられたもの], as reality [jitsuzai 実在].” (Z6 335-36) On the premise that “something cannot be born from nothing” (ex nihilo nihil fit), the ancient Greeks came to conceive of the source of all beings in terms of a constant and unchanging primordial being. The prime example here would be the Platonic ideas serving as principles of the actual world, and among which the ultimate source would be the “idea of the Good.” The Platonic concept of the idea (ἰδέα) etymologically means “form” (eidos, εἶδος), which also literally means the “look” of a thing, and hence that which can be objectified in its visibility to the eye, or by extension, its intelligibility. In Nishida’s view, ancient Greek philosophy that became the source of Western culture took form in this sense as the ground of what is real. By contrast, the Eastern tradition takes a certain formlessness or non-substantiality — as in the Buddhist sense of the emptiness of substance (Skt. śūnyatā, Jp. kū 空; Skt. nihsvabhāva) — to be the source of everything. Nishida makes the same contrast in 1940 in Nihon bunka no mondai (『日本文化の問題』; The Problem of Japanese Culture) when he speaks of Western antiquity as conceiving the root of reality to be being (yū) and the formed (yūkei 有形), and Eastern antiquity as conceiving the root of reality to be the nothing (mu) and the formless (mukei 無刑). (Z9 60)
(—from, Chapter 17, Anontology and the Issue of Being and Nothing in Nishida Kitarō, [Published in JeeLoo Liu & Douglas L. Berger (eds.). Nothingness in Asian Philosophy. London: Routledge, by John W.M. Krummel)The wind gusts hard through night. The frightened border collie is finally calm and sleeping after trying to climb onto desk and settling awhile on bed. Rest comes hard for the anxious.