Saturday, July 25, 2020

the falling of dusk after a warm day.

Listening to lecture about Martin Buber and Martin Heidegger in Dialogue by Paul Mendes-Flohr (University of Chicago Divinity School, 2012), I am taken by the issue of language and the notion of forgiveness or reconciliation.

Heidegger’s understanding of language was an ontological one. Buber’s idea was more the inter-subjective humanistic aspect of language.

Considering the area of great harm of thought, e.g. Nazism and the Third Reich, the idea of which Heidegger in the early thirties was in sympathy with, what would one expect as an expression of contrition? If Heidegger was so inclined, what stance would Buber, the Jewish thinker, take toward it?

“Stillness,” perhaps a long stillness? Would words be enough, or even matter? Is “being” apologetic about something that “being” enfolded within itself?

Or, would intersubjective dialogue eventuate a humanistic creation of a new relationship between the two men as representatives of two experiences of the presented historical reality?

I’m uncertain I heard whether the lecturer narrowed to resolve what he thought of this potential. He seemed to be saying that Buber avoided the followup conversations that might have brought the matter to a clearer resolution. That Heidegger might have wanted some theater of engagement on the matter.

Some wrongs require silence and stillness, no facile locutions to seem to conclude the issue with rhetorical definitude.

Hence, it is being itself that abides the contrition.

And an intersubjective solitude that allows recollection to stand aphasiac in one another’s presence.

No easy conclusion.

No cheap closure.

More the falling of dusk after a warm day.

Friday, July 24, 2020

we lack the ability to attend

           Ogbón ríbí-ríbí

Ni a fi gbà ogbón ríbí-ríbí.
Bí a ò bá ní ogbón ríbí-ríbí nínú Àì kó oògùn ríbí-ríbí.

Bí a ò bá kó oògùn ríbí-ríbí, Àì wò àrùn ríbí-ríbí.

Bí a ò bá wò àrùn ríbí-ríbí,

Àì gbà owó ríbí-ríbí.
Bí a ò bá gbà owó ríbí-ríbí, Àì rí nkan ríbí-ríbí gbé se.

Great wisdom
Is what we use to acquire profound wisdom
Without these penetrating sensibilities
We are incapable of producing potent healing therapeutic
If we lack the capacity to make powerful medicines We will be unable to mitigate deep suffering, profound illness and destruction
If we lack the ability to attend to these forms of extreme disruption
We will not achieve wealth and prosperity
Without wealth and prosperity
We cannot make significant contributions to the health and well being of our community.

(Ifá verse (from Ológbón Méjì, the source of deep wisdom)

Words that might have resonance in our own country's sounding-through its medical and spiritual crises.


Incorporating Divine Presence, Orchestrating Medical Worlds: Cultivating Corporeal Capacities of Therapeutic Power and Transcendence in Ifá Everyday Practice

Amy Harriet Gardner
Joint Doctor of Philosophy in Medical Anthropology with the University of California, San Francisco University of California, Berkeley Professor Laurence Cohen, Chair

This dissertation focuses on the cultivation of specialized corporeal capacities of therapeutic power and transcendence among Ifá medical-ritual specialists in Yorùbá communities in contemporary Nigeria (and the resonance and implications of their practices within a global context). Rather than interrogate “medical (and/or religious) knowledge” as the object of inquiry, this project explores the power of the learning process –– as a practice of everyday living –– to cultivate, within student-apprentice and healer-sage alike, a distinctive (sonically and spiritually informed) somatic mode of being-in, perceiving, interpreting, and attending-to-the-world, and thus, to orchestrate Ifá’s distinctive medical and religious life-world. In so doing, this dissertation seeks to redress the historical stigmatization of African and Diasporic religions, subjectivities, and knowledges within the scholarly and popular imaginations and to contribute to recent scholarship on sensuous and sacred ways of knowing.

An ethnography of embodiment, the senses, and practices of everyday living, this work is fundamentally informed, methodologically and theoretically, by a phenomenological approach and the author’s embodied experiences (as a professionally trained dancer; as a physician; and –– in her extensive training and continuous, on-going learning process –– as an Ifá healer- specialist). Focusing on the embodied and the sensorial as formative principles in, respectively, the mundane and specialized medical-devotional (Ifá) life-worlds of the Yorùbá, this project explores the ways in which the sonically-informed sensorium of Yorùbá society –– as articulated through common and specialized practices of everyday living –– cultivates (and naturalizes) particular ways of being-in, attending-to, and making-sense-of intersubjective experience and the phenomenally given world for the populace at large and for Ifá specialists, in particular. 
The sound of no hands clapping these days for our country's obtuse response to genuine need is sorrowful and agonizing.

itself through itself

Question arose at last evenings conversation: Is the personna of the poet to create a personna that says the poet is pretending not to be that which they are writing about?

Are literary shenanigans, created to insinuate that we are not that which we write about, a ruse that enables the poet to take on visions, themes, and imaginings while still reserving the narrative that they are only fabulists inventing something through their creative skills that is not them?

What silly questions, eh?

Yes. And fraught with troublesome implications.

There are those that say when the barriers in the mind collapse, what remains is merely open mind -- outside of which there is nothing, inside of which there is nothing, but only a useless distinction of inside and outside no longer useful or accurate.

If so, then, at that point your story is my story, as mine is yours, as is every depiction of every creature, situation, hope, and fear yours, mine, and everyones'.

At that point, there is only the saying of what is seen. In plain or artful words. In simple or complex images. In soothing or disturbing feelings. In clear or muddy rendering. In transparent or opaque intent.

I love poetry. And poets.

I wonder how many of us prefer the dualistic and standard template of the mind, namely, 'I' am writing about 'that', as subject writes about object?

What, if anything, changes if a non-dual and different template were to be utilized, namely, 'this' is being written by 'this'?

A form of writing from inside out, or perhaps, from itself through itself?

An inmate friend says he hates poetry. He says he also hates bullshit. It makes me wonder if he sees poetry as bullshit. And if so, why so?

Is there something in his awareness that intuits that, by not owning their intrinsic non-separation, poets try to convince you that what is really happening of itself, isn't; but that the cleverness of poets is fabricating or manufacturing a piece of work that is theirs, owned and created out of nothing but their activated imagination, powers of description, and copyrighted style?

This is, perhaps, a bullshit reflection on my part. An example of chaotic social unrest searching through inner unrest in a restless environment for something that belongs to itself.

       (from cereal bowl)
Friday twenty forth

washing machine twists, splashes

sheets from boat and bed 

Thursday, July 23, 2020

point worth contemplating


Evening conversation on *bullshit*.

This phrase and commentary appeared:


That from T.S. Eliot’s The Four Quartetshis “answer” to the problems he raised in The Wasteland. Or at least I think it is.  I didn’t understand The Wasteland the first time I read it, and my comprehension hasn’t improved much since.

Few lines capture the central neurosis of our age better. Our relationship to reality is not an uncompromised one.  It is tarnished, marked by sin, and the refusal to bear responsibility for our actions in it.  At the end of C.S. Lewis’s The Great DivorceLewis wakes in a fit of horror because he has seen a glimpse of the reality beneath the shadows, the fixed eternal that is the accumulation of a million choices distended through time, and he cannot bear the sight.  God, we hear in those pages, is the Fact to whom the universe answers, and the Fact on which all other facts depend.  It is a point worth contemplating.          (—from Mere Orthodoxy

It is a point worth contemplating

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

so who knows truly whence it has arisen

I think it matters what is thought about the origins of things. The possibility that the origin is ever-present — even unto now — is an invitation to consider our then and now.

Three thousand years ago, from the Indus Valley, a meditation on the creation of the world:

Rig Veda, Mandala 10, hymn CXXIX. Creation.

 Nasadiya Sukta ("Not the non-existent")

Then even nothingness was not, nor existence.
There was no air then, nor the heavens beyond it.
What covered it? Where was it? In whose keeping?
Was there then cosmic water, in depths unfathomed?

Then there were neither death nor immortality,
nor was there then the torch of night and day.
The One breathed windlessly and self-sustaining.
There was that One then, and there was no other.

At first there was only darkness wrapped in darkness.
All this was only unillumined water.
That One which came to be, enclosed in nothing,
arose at last, born of the power of heat.

In the beginning desire descended on it -
that was the primal seed, born of the mind.
The sages who have searched their hearts with wisdom
know that which is, is kin to that which is not.

And they have stretched their cord across the void,
and know what was above, and what below.
Seminal powers made fertile mighty forces.
Below was strength, and over it was impulse.

But, after all, who knows, and who can say
whence it all came, and how creation happened?
The gods themselves are later than creation,
so who knows truly whence it has arisen?

Whence all creation had its origin,
he, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not,
he, who surveys it all from highest heaven,
he knows - or maybe even he does not know. 

(—The Creation in Rig Veda 10:129A. L. Basham's Translation)

(See also: Seven English Versions of Rig Veda 10:129)

What we think of our origins might be what we think of our present.

And the understanding of what myths we hold as prelude contributes to our making way through the continuity of present and presence in our lives.

We are never that far from where we’ve been, nor from where we shall be.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

loosely knit association

A Laura of hermits

Where wandering hillside you

Cross no path one walks

Monday, July 20, 2020

send in the troopers

Fairness falls at feet

When arrogant power stands

Without a conscience

what is that sound

We listened to this Zen Priest at Sunday Evening Practice (by Zoom) last night.

There's something both gentle and intriguing about his eight minute talk.

Zazen is Good for Nothing, by Shohaku Okumura

Sunday, July 19, 2020

history tries to speak

No monument is 

equal to one human life --

let's tell the story