Friday, January 19, 2018

Deference is to power
as reference, to knowledge.

Science tells you what it is—
politics, who's to come.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The remark is to the philosopher
as the strophe, to the poet.
One passes what the other turns,
the aspect, the angle of an image.

But there is nothing in philosophy
as composed and finished as the poem.
There is no unit of work done,
just bits and pieces of the seen.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Three tings you might try:
Make up your mind.
Have a change of heart.
Use your imagination.

Political ambition seeks power.
Scientific curiosity seeks knowledge.

(It is possible that the terms "political ambition" and "scientific curiosity" are pleonasms. All curiosity may, in a sense, be "scientific", and all ambition may, in a sense, be "political". Or we may say that even apolitical ambition (like that of the athlete or artist) seeks a kind of power, and even unscientific curiosity (like that of the lover, or, again, the artist) seeks a kind of knowledge.)

Friday, January 12, 2018

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.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Literature maintains the connection between language and imagination.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

"Matter," said Schopenhauer, "is the objective correlative of pure understanding."

The social, I add, is the subjective disposition of brute obedience.*

Thus, matter is the objective correlative of the subjective disposition of society.

Marx may have been on to something.

*The subject is to the object as passion is to reason. Obedience is to understanding, as the social is to the material. Relations are to positions as knowledge to power.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Variation on a Theme by Robert Brandom

We are distinguished by capacities
as broadly affective as cognitive.
Our transactions with other things,
and especially with each other,
mean something to us
in a special and characteristic sense—
they have an emotional context, we obey them
in one way rather than another
even when we do not understand them.

My strategy identifies us as passionate beings,
not merely reasonable ones. Reasonable beings
who are passionately becoming, perhaps.
Passion is as nothing to the beasts of the field.
We are the ones on whom passions are binding,
subject to the peculiar force of the greater passion.

See here for the source and some explications.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

A work of literature is not "about" the experience of its characters. It is the experience of the reader while reading.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

How much of our culture is merely a distraction from the hogging of the harvest?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Image Is Easy

It can be seen
without strain
and done
without effort.

You peel it
off the appearance
And stick it
onto the surface.

The image is light:
It is not hard.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Sometimes it is our honesty that leads us away from the truth.
Sometimes our decency holds us back in the pursuit of justice.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Our wisdom sits uncomfortably with us.
now that the ground has shifted.

Our love looms ominously before us
as the horizon closes in.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Sadness is to feeling as
______ is to thought.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Folly, let us say, is "the wisdom of the heart", the error in thinking that is caused by feeling, the unreasonableness of passion. But it is not simply a defect. Its ground is in something positive: our emotions. And this is why Erasmus was able to sing its praises.

Spinoza talked about "the intellectual love of a thing". What is to passion as folly is to reason? What do we call the loss of feeling that is caused by thinking, the dispassionateness of reason? Melancholy. Dowland would find his composure there.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

To champion reason I don't need to degrade passion. My passions are as valid as my reasons.

If we want to know anything at all, said Kant, we must know some things immediately. Similarly, if we are to have any power whatsoever, some people must wield it immediately. We might also say that our knowledge requires that some things sometimes go unquestioned. Our power, likewise, requires that some people are sometimes not questioned.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Nuance is to sense
as impulse to motive.

Tell me how you feel.
Not what, but how.
What techniques, what devices
do you use? By what means do you
hold back your impulses?

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Is the desire for truth grounded in the belief that we might say something undeniable?

Is the belief in justice driven by the desire to say something that cannot be denounced?

Monday, November 27, 2017

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Facts don't make themselves known.

Acts are not committed on their own power.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Facts are discoverable. Acts are decidable.

In the long run, it is better to be rational but mistaken than irrational and correct.
But is it also better, in the moment, to be passionately wrong than dispassionately right?

Monday, November 20, 2017

To take literature seriously is to believe it reveals how language and experience are related. Writing, we imagine, is a sort of controlled experiment in living with meaning, affording precise observations of the connection between words and deeds. Perhaps it is the radical difference between the black marks on the page and the bruised skin of the body that suggests this precision.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Life is a series of simple pleasures foregone in pursuit of superior amusements.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A thing (among other things) is experienced,
immediately and specifically, in intuition.
The object is thought in general
and mediated by the concept.

The self (and the other) is experienced,
immediately and specifically, in institution.
The subject is felt in general
and mediated by the emotion.

In imagination, they are brought together.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017

"It took eighteen centuries of Christendom before Kierkegaard could come back alive with the knowledge that ... the characteristic way modern man found knowledge of his soul [was] ... by the act of perceiving that he was most certainly losing it." —Norman Mailer, preface to Deaths for the Ladies (and Other Disasters)