Monday, December 27, 2010

Nuovo Deus ex Machina

I pray for one gift: that I might merely touch
Neoboule's hand.
-Archilochus of Paros

In Medias Res - The Synchronized Phalanx aka Row, Row, Row your Boat

No man, Aisimides, who bows to the mud-slinging
mob has ever been capable of profound
pleasures.

---

If, Aisimides, you will attend to the gossip of others,
then you will find in life not very much to enjoy.
-Archilochus of Paros

Corybantes, sons of Apollo and the Muse Thalia, mythical attendants of the ancient Oriental and Greco-Roman deity the Great Mother of the Gods. They were often identified or confused with the Cretan Curetes (who protected the infant Zeus from detection by his father, Cronus) and were distinguished only by their Asiatic origin and by the more pronouncedly orgiastic nature of their rites. Accounts of the origin of the Corybantes vary, and their names and number differ from one authority to another. They apparently had a mystic cult, and a prominent feature of their ritual was a wild dance, which was claimed to have powers of healing mental disorder. It is possible that they originally were priests or medicine men of ancient times, later thought of as superhuman. They were credited with the invention of the drum.
ATHENIAN: Let us assume, then, as a first principle in relation both to the body and soul of very young creatures, that nursing and moving about by day and night is good for them all, and that the younger they are, the more they will need it (compare Arist. Pol.); infants should live, if that were possible, as if they were always rocking at sea. This is the lesson which we may gather from the experience of nurses, and likewise from the use of the remedy of motion in the rites of the Corybantes; for when mothers want their restless children to go to sleep they do not employ rest, but, on the contrary, motion—rocking them in their arms; nor do they give them silence, but they sing to them and lap them in sweet strains; and the Bacchic women are cured of their frenzy in the same manner by the use of the dance and of music.

CLEINIAS: Well, Stranger, and what is the reason of this?

ATHENIAN: The reason is obvious.

CLEINIAS: What?

ATHENIAN: The affection both of the Bacchantes and of the children is an emotion of fear, which springs out of an evil habit of the soul. And when some one applies external agitation to affections of this sort, the motion coming from without gets the better of the terrible and violent internal one, and produces a peace and calm in the soul, and quiets the restless palpitation of the heart, which is a thing much to be desired, sending the children to sleep, and making the Bacchantes, although they remain awake, to dance to the pipe with the help of the Gods to whom they offer acceptable sacrifices, and producing in them a sound mind, which takes the place of their frenzy. And, to express what I mean in a word, there is a good deal to be said in favour of this treatment.

CLEINIAS: Certainly.

ATHENIAN: But if fear has such a power we ought to infer from these facts, that every soul which from youth upward has been familiar with fears, will be made more liable to fear (compare Republic), and every one will allow that this is the way to form a habit of cowardice and not of courage.

CLEINIAS: No doubt.

ATHENIAN: And, on the other hand, the habit of overcoming, from our youth upwards, the fears and terrors which beset us, may be said to be an exercise of courage.

CLEINIAS: True.

ATHENIAN: And we may say that the use of exercise and motion in the earliest years of life greatly contributes to create a part of virtue in the soul.

CLEINIAS: Quite true.
--Plato "Laws"

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Going In Over my Head


“I teach you the Overman. Man is something that is to be surpassed. What have ye done to surpass man?” -Nietzsche

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Shaming Unreason - Limbic vs Neocortical Responses

POLUS: O Chaerephon, there are many arts among mankind which are experimental, and have their origin in experience, for experience makes the days of men to proceed according to art, and inexperience according to chance, and different persons in different ways are proficient in different arts, and the best persons in the best arts. And our friend Gorgias is one of the best, and the art in which he is a proficient is the noblest.

SOCRATES: Polus has been taught how to make a capital speech, Gorgias; but he is not fulfilling the promise which he made to Chaerephon.

GORGIAS:
What do you mean, Socrates?

SOCRATES:
I mean that he has not exactly answered the question which he was asked.

GORGIAS: Then why not ask him yourself?

SOCRATES: But I would much rather ask you, if you are disposed to answer: for I see, from the few words which Polus has uttered, that he has attended more to the art which is called rhetoric than to dialectic.

POLUS: What makes you say so, Socrates?

SOCRATES: Because, Polus, when Chaerephon asked you what was the art which Gorgias knows, you praised it as if you were answering some one who found fault with it, but you never said what the art was.

POLUS:
Why, did I not say that it was the noblest of arts?

SOCRATES: Yes, indeed, but that was no answer to the question: nobody asked what was the quality, but what was the nature, of the art, and by what name we were to describe Gorgias. And I would still beg you briefly and clearly, as you answered Chaerephon when he asked you at first, to say what this art is, and what we ought to call Gorgias: Or rather, Gorgias, let me turn to you, and ask the same question,—what are we to call you, and what is the art which you profess?

GORGIAS: Rhetoric, Socrates, is my art.

SOCRATES: Then I am to call you a rhetorician?

GORGIAS:
Yes, Socrates, and a good one too, if you would call me that which, in Homeric language, 'I boast myself to be.'

SOCRATES:
I should wish to do so.

GORGIAS: Then pray do.

---

POLUS: Then what, in your opinion, is rhetoric?

SOCRATES: A thing which, as I was lately reading in a book of yours, you say that you have made an art.

POLUS: What thing?

SOCRATES: I should say a sort of experience.

POLUS: Does rhetoric seem to you to be an experience?

SOCRATES: That is my view, but you may be of another mind.

POLUS: An experience in what?

SOCRATES: An experience in producing a sort of delight and gratification.

POLUS:
And if able to gratify others, must not rhetoric be a fine thing?

SOCRATES: What are you saying, Polus? Why do you ask me whether rhetoric is a fine thing or not, when I have not as yet told you what rhetoric is?

POLUS: Did I not hear you say that rhetoric was a sort of experience?

SOCRATES: Will you, who are so desirous to gratify others, afford a slight gratification to me?

POLUS: I will.

SOCRATES: Will you ask me, what sort of an art is cookery?

POLUS: What sort of an art is cookery?

SOCRATES: Not an art at all, Polus.

POLUS: What then?

SOCRATES: I should say an experience.

POLUS: In what? I wish that you would explain to me.

SOCRATES: An experience in producing a sort of delight and gratification, Polus.

POLUS: Then are cookery and rhetoric the same?

SOCRATES: No, they are only different parts of the same profession.

POLUS: Of what profession?

SOCRATES: I am afraid that the truth may seem discourteous; and I hesitate to answer, lest Gorgias should imagine that I am making fun of his own profession. For whether or no this is that art of rhetoric which Gorgias practises I really cannot tell:—from what he was just now saying, nothing appeared of what he thought of his art, but the rhetoric which I mean is a part of a not very creditable whole.

GORGIAS: A part of what, Socrates? Say what you mean, and never mind me.

SOCRATES: In my opinion then, Gorgias, the whole of which rhetoric is a part is not an art at all, but the habit of a bold and ready wit, which knows how to manage mankind: this habit I sum up under the word 'flattery'; and it appears to me to have many other parts, one of which is cookery, which may seem to be an art, but, as I maintain, is only an experience or routine and not an art:—another part is rhetoric, and the art of attiring and sophistry are two others: thus there are four branches, and four different things answering to them. And Polus may ask, if he likes, for he has not as yet been informed, what part of flattery is rhetoric: he did not see that I had not yet answered him when he proceeded to ask a further question: Whether I do not think rhetoric a fine thing? But I shall not tell him whether rhetoric is a fine thing or not, until I have first answered, 'What is rhetoric?' For that would not be right, Polus; but I shall be happy to answer, if you will ask me, What part of flattery is rhetoric?

POLUS: I will ask and do you answer? What part of flattery is rhetoric?

SOCRATES: Will you understand my answer? Rhetoric, according to my view, is the ghost or counterfeit of a part of politics.

POLUS: And noble or ignoble?

SOCRATES: Ignoble, I should say, if I am compelled to answer, for I call what is bad ignoble: though I doubt whether you understand what I was saying before.

GORGIAS: Indeed, Socrates, I cannot say that I understand myself.

SOCRATES: I do not wonder, Gorgias; for I have not as yet explained myself, and our friend Polus, colt by name and colt by nature, is apt to run away. (This is an untranslatable play on the name 'Polus,' which means 'a colt.')

GORGIAS: Never mind him, but explain to me what you mean by saying that rhetoric is the counterfeit of a part of politics.
-Plato, "Gorgias"

Existential Angst

This is our purpose: to make as meaningful as possible this life that has been bestowed upon us; to live in such a way that we may be proud of ourselves; to act in such a way that some part of us lives on.
- Oswald Spengler

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I Spy with my My Critical Eye...

Another mode of convalescence--under certain circumstances even more to my liking--is sounding out idols. There are more idols than realities in the world: that is my "evil eye" for this world; that is also my "evil ear." For once to pose questions here with a hammer, and, perhaps, to hear as a reply that famous hollow sound which speaks of bloated entrails--what a delight for one who has ears even behind his ears, for me, an old psychologist and pied piper before whom just that which would remain silent must become outspoken.
-Nietzsche, "Twilight of the Idols"

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Grease in Ixion's Wheel

The demon of power.— Not necessity, not desire—no, the love of power is the demon of men. Let them have everything—health, food, a place to live, entertainment—they are and remain unhappy and low-spirited: for the demon waits and waits and will be satisfied. Take everything from them and satisfy this, and they are almost happy—as happy as men and demons can be. But why do I repeat this? Luther has said it already, and better than I, in the verses: "Let them take from us our body, goods, honor, children, wife: let it all go—the kingdom [Reich] must yet remain to us!" Yes! Yes! The "Reich"!

Effect of happiness.— The first effect of happiness is the feeling of power: this wants to express itself, either to us ourselves, or to other men, or to ideas or imaginary beings. The most common modes of expression are: to bestow, to mock, to destroy—all three out of a common basic drive.
Nietzsche, "Daybreak" (262 & 356)
...the horses are coming so you'd better run.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Form and the Limits of Colour

We aeronauts of the spirit!— All those brave birds which fly out into the distance, into the farthest distance—it is certain! somewhere or other they will be unable to go on and will perch down on a mast or a bare cliff-face—and they will even be thankful for this miserable accommodation! But who could venture to infer from that, that there was not an immense open space before them, that they had flown as far as one could fly! All our great teachers and predecessors have at last come to a stop [...] it will be the same with you and me! Other birds will fly farther! This insight and faith of ours vies with them in flying up and away; it rises above our heads and above our impotence into the heights and from there surveys the distance and sees before it the flocks of birds which, far stronger than we, still strive whither we have striven, and where everything is sea, sea, sea!— And whither then would we go? Would we cross the sea? Whither does this mighty longing draw us, this longing that is worth more to us than any pleasure? Why just in this direction, thither where all the sums of humanity have hitherto gone down? Will it perhaps be said of us one day that we too, steering westward, hoped to reach an India—but that it was our fate to be wrecked against infinity? Or, my brothers. Or?
-Nietzsche, "Daybreak (575)"

Creating New Palettes

THE COLOUR-BLINDNESS OF THINKERS. -- How differently from us the Greeks must have viewed nature, since, as we cannot help admitting, they were quite colour-blind in regard to blue and green, believing the former to be a deeper brown, and the latter to be yellow. Thus, for instance, they used the same word to describe the colour of dark hair, of the corn-flower, and the southern sea; and again they employed exactly the same expression for the colour of the greenest herbs, the human skin, honey, and yellow raisins: whence it follows that their greatest painters reproduced the world they lived in only in black, white, red, and yellow. How different and how much nearer to mankind, therefore, must nature have seemed to them, since in their eyes the tints of mankind predominated also in nature, and nature was, as it were, floating in the coloured ether of humanity! (blue and green more than anything else dehumanise nature). It is this defect which developed the playful facility that characterised the Greeks of seeing the phenomena of nature as gods and demi-gods -- that is to say, as human forms.

Let this, however, merely serve as a simile for another supposition. Every thinker paints his world and the things that surround him in fewer colours than really exist, and he is blind to individual colours. This is something more than a mere deficiency. Thanks to this nearer approach and simplification, he imagines he sees in things those harmonies of colours which possess a great charm, and may greatly enrich nature. Perhaps, indeed, it was in this way that men first learnt to take delight in viewing existence, owing to its being first of all presented to them in one or two shades, and consequently harmonised. They practised these few shades, so to speak, before they could pass on to any more. And even now certain individuals endeavour to get rid of a partial colour-blindness that they may obtain a richer faculty of sight and discern ment, in the course of which they find that they not only discover new pleasures, but are also obliged to lose and give up some of their former ones.
-Nietzsche, "Daybreak (426)"

Re-Surveying Old Horizons

IN THE GREAT SILENCE. -- Here is the sea, here may we forget the town. It Is true that its bells are still ringing the Angelus -- that solemn and foolish yet sweet sound at the junction between day and night, -- but one moment more! now all is silent. Yonder lies the ocean, pale and brilliant; it cannot speak. The sky is glistening with its eternal mute evening hues, red, yellow, and green: it cannot speak. The small cliffs and rocks which stretch out into the sea as if each one of them were endeavouring to find the loneliest spot -- they too are dumb. Beautiful and awful indeed is this vast silence, which so suddenly overcomes us and makes our heart swell.

Alas! what deceit lies in this dumb beauty! How well could it speak, and how evilly, too, if it wished! Its tongue, tied up and fastened, and its face of suffering happiness -- all this is but malice, mocking at your sympathy: be it so! I do not feel ashamed to be the plaything of such powers! but I pity thee, oh nature, because thou must be silent, even though it be only malice that binds thy tongue: nay, I pity thee for the sake of thy malice!

Alas! the silence deepens, and once again my heart swells within me: it is startled by a fresh truth -- it, too, is dumb; it likewise sneers when the mouth calls out something to this beauty; it also enjoys the sweet malice of its silence. I come to hate speaking; yea, even thinking. Behind every word I utter do I not hear the laughter of error, imagination, and insanity? Must I not laugh at my pity and mock my own mockery? Oh sea, oh evening, ye are bad teachers! Ye teach man how to cease to be a man. Is he to give himself up to you? Shall he become as you now are, pale, brilliant, dumb, immense, reposing calmly upon himself? -- exalted above himself?
- Nietzsche, "Daybreak (423)"

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Civilization and Its' Discontents

...All instincts which are not discharged to the outside are turned back inside—this is what I call the internalization [Verinnerlichung] of man. From this first grows in man what people later call his “soul.” The entire inner world, originally as thin as if stretched between two layers of skin, expanded and extended itself, acquired depth, width, and height, to the extent that what a person discharged out into the world was obstructed. Those frightening fortifications with which the organization of the state protected itself against the old instincts for freedom—punishments belong above all to these fortifications—brought it about that all those instincts of the wild, free, roaming man turned themselves backwards, against man himself. Enmity, cruelty, joy in pursuit, in attack, in change, in destruction—all those turned themselves against the possessors of such instincts. That is the origin of “bad conscience.” The man who, because of a lack of external enemies and opposition, was forced into an oppressive narrowness and regularity of custom impatiently tore himself apart, persecuted himself, gnawed away at himself, grew upset, and did himself damage—this animal which scraped itself raw against the bars of its cage, which people want to “tame,” this impoverished creature, consumed with longing for the wild, which had to create out of its own self an adventure, a torture chamber, an uncertain and dangerous wilderness—this fool, this yearning and puzzled prisoner, became the inventor of “bad conscience.” But with him was introduced the greatest and weirdest illness, from which humanity up to the present time has not recovered, the suffering of man from man, from himself, a consequence of the forcible separation from his animal past, a leap and, so to speak, a fall into new situations and living conditions, a declaration of war against the old instincts, on which, up to that point, his power, joy, and ability to inspire fear had been based. Let us at once add that, on the other hand, the fact that there was on earth an animal soul turned against itself, taking sides against itself, meant there was something so new, profound, unheard of, enigmatic, contradictory, and full of the future, that with it the picture of the earth was fundamentally changed. In fact, it required divine spectators to appreciate the dramatic performance which then began and whose conclusion is by no means yet in sight—a spectacle too fine, too wonderful, too paradoxical, to be allowed to play itself out senselessly and unobserved on some ridiculous star or other! Since then man has been included among the most unexpected and most thrillingly lucky rolls of the dice in the game played by Heraclitus’ “great child,” whether he’s called Zeus or chance.* For himself he arouses a certain interest, a tension, a hope, almost a certainty, as if something is announcing itself with him, something is preparing itself, as if the human being were not the goal but only a way, an episode, a bridge, a great promise . . .
--Nietzsche, "Genealogy of Morals"

Friday, December 17, 2010

Passing Vision

A libation poured unbidden
upon the sun-parched earth
unlocked a seed's potential
for life as well as mirth

For a patch of vibrant color
Emerged from that favoured spot
And as I passed it drew my eye
This new life unleashed by lot

Now examining a life without due regard
for gods or greater matters
Can discern only half the inner thirsts
That leave like minded souls in tatters

And so I thank my G_d today
for unearned graces granted
And overturn my half filled cup
towards errant seeds unplanted
-Anon.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Laugh While You Can, Monkey Boy

Yeh Ch’ ueh asked Wang I, saying, Do you know for certain that all things are subjectively the same?

How can I know ? answered Wang I. Do you know what you do not know ?

How can I know? replied Yeh Ch’ueh. But can then nothing be known?

How can I know? said Wang I. Nevertheless, I will try to tell you.

How can it be known that what I call knowing is not really not knowing and that what I call not knowing is not really knowing? Now I would ask you this. If a man sleeps in a damp place, he gets lumbago and dies. But how about an eel? And living up in a tree is precarious and trying to the nerves—but how about monkeys? Of the man, the eel, and the monkey, whose habitat is the right one absolutely? Human beings feed on flesh, deer on grass, centipedes on snakes’ brains, owls and crows on mice. Of these four, whose is the right taste absolutely? Monkey mates with monkey, the buck with the doe; eels consort with fishes. But men admire the beauty of Mao Ch’iang and Li Chi, at the sight of whom fishes plunge deep down into the water, birds soar high in the air, and deer hurry away.

Yet who shall say which is the correct standard of beauty? In my opinion, the standard of human virtue—and of positive and negative—is so obscured that it is impossible to actually know it as such.
- Chuang Tzu

Exhortations to Virtue

"I want to fight you
just as when I am thirsty I want to drink."
-Archilochus of Paros
Muses of Pieria who give glory through song, come hither, tell of Zeus your father and chant his praise. Through him mortal men are famed or un-famed, sung or unsung alike, as great Zeus wills. For easily he makes strong, and easily he brings the strong man low; easily he humbles the proud and raises the obscure, and easily he straightens the crooked and blasts the proud, -- Zeus who thunders aloft and has his dwelling most high.

Attend thou with eye and ear, and make judgements straight with righteousness. And I, Perses, would tell of true things.

So, after all, there was not one kind of Strife alone, but all over the earth there are two. As for the one, a man would praise her when he came to understand her; but the other is blameworthy: and they are wholly different in nature. For one fosters evil war and battle, being cruel: her no man loves; but perforce, through the will of the deathless gods, men pay harsh Strife her honour due. But the other is the elder daughter of dark Night, and the son of Cronos who sits above and dwells in the aether, set her in the roots of the earth: and she is far kinder to men. She stirs up even the shiftless to toil; for a man grows eager to work when he considers his neighbour, a rich man who hastens to plough and plant and put his house in good order; and neighbour vies with is neighbour as he hurries after wealth. This Strife is wholesome for men. And potter is angry with potter, and craftsman with craftsman, and beggar is jealous of beggar, and minstrel of minstrel.
-Hesiod, "Works and Days"

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Courage to Commit...

...Nay. Endure! When what follows isn't perpetual "bliss" but immediate "pain".
If you irritate the wound, Perikles, no man
in our city will enjoy the festivities.
These men were washed under by the thudding seawaves,
and the hearts in our chest are swollen with pain.
Yet against this incurable misery, the gods
give us the harsh medicine of endurance.
Sorrows come and go, friend, and now they strike us
and we look with horror on the bleeding sores,
yet tomorrow others will mourn the dead. I tell you,
hold back your feminine tears and endure.
-Archilochus of Paros

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

...Who Accept Inevitable Strife

...and dream practical dreams that they then MAKE true.

Hesiod, "Works and Days"
And again far-seeing Zeus made yet another generation, the fifth, of men who are upon the bounteous earth.

Thereafter, would that I were not among the men of the fifth generation, but either had died before or been born afterwards. For now truly is a race of iron, and men never rest from labour and sorrow by day, and from perishing by night; and the gods shall lay sore trouble upon them. But, notwithstanding, even these shall have some good mingled with their evils. And Zeus will destroy this race of mortal men also when they come to have grey hair on the temples at their birth. The father will not agree with his children, nor the children with their father, nor guest with his host, nor comrade with comrade; nor will brother be dear to brother as aforetime. Men will dishonour their parents as they grow quickly old, and will carp at them, chiding them with bitter words, hard-hearted they, not knowing the fear of the gods. They will not repay their aged parents the cost their nurture, for might shall be their right: and one man will sack another's city. There will be no favour for the man who keeps his oath or for the just or for the good; but rather men will praise the evil-doer and his violent dealing. Strength will be right and reverence will cease to be; and the wicked will hurt the worthy man, speaking false words against him, and will swear an oath upon them. Envy, foul-mouthed, delighting in evil, with scowling face, will go along with wretched men one and all. And then Aidos and Nemesis, with their sweet forms wrapped in white robes, will go from the wide-pathed earth and forsake mankind to join the company of the deathless gods: and bitter sorrows will be left for mortal men, and there will be no help against evil.

To the Unrepentant Dreamers...

"The Day Dream" by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Another Ladies Night in Camelot


h/t - Jen.

"Don't forget, a great impression of simplicity can only be achieved by great agony of body and spirit." --Boris Lermontov (ballet impressario)

"You cannot have it both ways. A dancer who relies upon the doubtful comforts of human love will never be a great dancer. Never." --(ibid.)

Rolling Down the River

G_d in His Mercy lend her Grace

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tri-Lingual Fusions


"Unexplained, obscure matters are regarded as more important than explained, clear ones."
- F. Nietzsche

Magritte's Premonitions

& Chirico's abstractions.
What is the greatest experience you can have? It is the hour of the great contempt. The hour when your happiness, too, arouses your disgust, and even your reason and your virtue.

The hour when you say, 'What matters my happiness? It is poverty and filth and wretched contentment. But my happiness ought to justify existence itself.'

The hour when you say, 'What matters my reason? Does it crave knowledge as the lion his food? It is poverty and filth and wretched contentment.'

The hour when you say, 'What matters my virtue? As yet it has not made me rage. How weary I am of my good and my evil! All that is poverty and filth and wretched contentment.
-F. Nietzsche

Friday, December 10, 2010

Paean to Toadery

...The Greek word which designates the Sage belongs etymologically to sapio, I taste, sapiens, the tasting one, sisyphos, the person of the most delicate taste; the peculiar art of the philosopher therefore consists, according to the opinion of the people, in a delicate selective judgment by taste, by discernment, by significant differentiation. He is not prudent, if one calls him prudent, who in his own affairs finds out the good; Aristotle rightly says: "That which Thales and Anaxagoras know, people will call unusual, astounding, difficult, divine but -- useless, since human possessions were of no concern to those two." Through thus selecting and precipitating the unusual, astounding, difficult, and divine, Philosophy marks the boundary lines dividing her from Science in the same way as she does it from Prudence by the emphasizing of the useless. Science without thus selecting, without such delicate taste, pounces upon everything knowable, in the blind covetousness to know all at any price; philosophical thinking however is always on the track of the things worth knowing, on the track of the great and most important discernments...
-Nietzsche, "On Thales"

...and on a lighter note, discerning western values suffered yet another blow as certain comic poets persist in throwing dates and nuts to the spectators...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Creative Thievery

O Fortune,
like the moon
The state constantly changing,
always growing
or decreasing;
Detestable life
now difficult
and then easy
Deceptive sharp mind;
poverty
power
it melts them like ice.

Fate—monstrous
and empty,
you whirling wheel,
stand malevolent,
vain is the help
and always likely to fade to nothing,
shadowed
and veiled
you plague me too;
now through the game,
my bare back
I bring to your villainy.

Fate, in health
and in virtue,
is now against me,
driven on
and weighted down,
always in the vale of tears (Angaria).
So at this hour
without delay
pluck the vibrating string;
since Fate
strikes down the strong,
everyone weep with me!

Searching High...


h/t - Jen
...and Low

Saturday, December 4, 2010

"The first principle (arche) and basic nature (phusis) of all things is water" - Thales of Miletus

Greek philosophy seems to begin with a preposterous fancy, with the proposition that water is the origin and mother-womb of all things. Is it really necessary to stop there and become serious? Yes, and for three reasons: firstly, because the preposition does enunciate something about the origin of things; secondly, because it does so without figure and fable; thirdly and lastly, because it contained, although only in the chrysalis state, the idea everything is one. ... That which drove him to this generalization was a metaphysical dogma, which had its origin in a mystic intuition and which together with the ever renewed endeavors to express it better, we find in all philosophies- the proposition: everything is one!
-F. Nietzsche

The Merit of Simplicity

A life of doing nothing is good for old men,
especially if they are simple in their ways,
or stupid, or inane in their endless blabber
as old men tend to be.
--Archilochus of Paros

Friday, December 3, 2010

The View from the Dessert

"The fig tree on the rock feeding many crows (is like) simple Pasiphile who receives strangers"
--Archilochus of Paros

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fading into the Background - Modernity Deconstructed

"There are no longer protagonists; there is only the chorus." --Ortega y Gassett

What it takes to "stand out from the crowd" when there's no "appeal to authority"... just 6 billion self-appointed authorities. No single standard of value, just 6 billion individual standards. Notoriety and fame, indistinguishable. Success a million fathers, failure only one.

Is it any wonder we feel lost and seek recognition? There's no one else to recognize us or be recognized... is there? Welcome to Lilliput, the land of No Gullivers. A hunt for Waldo in a picture without a Waldo.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sappho's Radiance

Her Cup Runneth Over

All alone a sweet apple reddens on the topmost branch,
high on the highest branch, the apple pickers did not notice it,
they did not truly forget it, but they could not reach it.

--Sappho of Lesbos

Fomenting Discontent via Critical Theory

The Key to Developing a Counter-Cultural Revolutionary Consciousness

...thereby explaining the formerly inexplicably over-represented bastions of Neo-Marxian Critical Theory practitioners to be found in the New Left dominated Post-Modern Academy.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Moment of Faux Intimacy w/ Amanda Palmer


Celebrities often seek to create an aura of intimacy for their fans. But just because you Tweet and I Twitter, THAT doesn't make us "intimate".

Friday, November 26, 2010

Is Intimacy More than Trading...

Can we Talk?


ala- Joan Rivers

Painting with the Sands of Time

Ixion's Wheel, as experienced from a vantage point outside Tartarus

The Difficulties of a Love Unlimited?

What rustic girl bewitches thee,
Who cannot even draw
Her garments neat as they should be,
Her ankles roundabout?
--Sappho of Lesbos

And the tragedies of love's "limited". Defining for Pan-dora a "container/box"... complete with "defining limit" for the "all-good/gold" of "love"... for as Isaiah Berlin stated, there was an "unavoidability of conflicting ends" or, alternatively, "incommensurability" of values. He once called this "the only truth which I have ever found out for myself... Some of the Great Goods cannot live together.... We are doomed to choose, and every choice may entail an irreparable loss." In short, it's what Michael Ignatieff summarized as "the tragic nature of choice".

So what should we choose to form the limits of our love so that we avoid Pandora's mistake of unleashing all the evils in the world in the vain hope that nothing bad will happen as a result? You can't love EVERYTHING (all at the same time), can you? ;)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Taking Time to Smell the Roses

Sappho of Lesbos (fragment 68)

In the cold grave where thou shalt lie
All memory too of thee shall die,
Who in this life's auspicious hours
Disdained Pieria's genial flowers;
And in the mansions of the dead,
With the vile crowd of ghosts, thy shade,
While nobler spirits point with scorn,
Shall flit neglected and forlorn.
---

Aspirations for immortal pursuits and other exhortations from the dreams of mere mortals... Charaxos, heed your sister's prayers and admonitions and repent by following her example...

Kypris and you Nereids, grant
that my brother arrive here unharmed
and that everything his heart wishes
be perfectly achieved;

grant too that he atone for all his past errors
and that he prove a source of joy to his friends
and sorrow to his enemies; and to us may no one
ever again bring trouble.

May he be willing to give his sister
her share of honor, and grievous sorrow . . .
. . . formerly in distress . . .

--Sappho of Lesbos

Lotus Flowers on the Banks of Archeron

Musical Variant, et al. (On the nature of a lotus flower)

Please...

Come back to me, Gongyla, here tonight,
You, my rose, with your Lydian lyre.
There hovers forever around you delight:
A beauty desired.

Even your garment plunders my eyes.
I am enchanted: I who once
Complained to the Cyprus-born goddess,
Whom I now beseech

Never to let this lose me grace
But rather bring you back to me:
Amongst all mortal women the one
I most wish to see...

--Sappho of Lesbos

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Feelin' Lucky?

Freud Abstracts on "Civilization and Its Discontents"

The question of the purpose of human life has been raised countless times; it has never yet received a satisfactory answer. Men strive after happiness. This endeavor has two sides: it aims at an absence of pain and unpleasure, and at the experiencing of strong feelings of pleasure. One of the methods of averting suffering is the chemical one, intoxication. Another technique is the employment of displacements of libido which our mental apparatus permits of and through which its function gains so much in flexibility. In another procedure, satisfaction is obtained from illusions, which are recognized as such without the discrepancy between them and reality being allowed to interfere with enjoyment. Another procedure regards reality as the sole enemy and as the source of all suffering, with which it is impossible to live, so that one must break off all relations with it if one is to be happy in any way. Happiness in life can be predominantly sought in the enjoyment of beauty. The man who is predominantly erotic will give first preference to his emotional relationships to other people; the narcissistic man, who inclines to be self-sufficient, will seek his main satisfactions in his internal mental processes; the man of action will never give up the external world on which he can try out his strength. Religion restricts the play of choice and adaptation, since it imposes equally on everyone its own path to the acquisition of happiness and protection from suffering.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Where, in a Control Society, does one go to...

...so who was supposed to be in control of the vortex today, again? I may not be the sharpest pencil in the box, but granting and or divining for the vortex a "will" and a deliberate "intention" seems a bit beyond my, and everyone else's, ken.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

...said the Lady of Shalott to Lancelot


...as relayed by one Don Quixote to the honourable knight.

The Lady Half-sick

The Lady looking at Lancelot

The Lady's journey

......................................~(&:>

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Ninth Voice


Plato, "Cratylus"
SOCRATES: My dear Hermogenes, the first imposers of names must surely have been considerable persons; they were philosophers, and had a good deal to say.

HERMOGENES: Well, and what of them?

SOCRATES: They are the men to whom I should attribute the imposition of names. Even in foreign names, if you analyze them, a meaning is still discernible. For example, that which we term ousia is by some called esia, and by others again osia. Now that the essence of things should be called estia, which is akin to the first of these (esia = estia), is rational enough. And there is reason in the Athenians calling that estia which participates in ousia. For in ancient times we too seem to have said esia for ousia, and this you may note to have been the idea of those who appointed that sacrifices should be first offered to estia, which was natural enough if they meant that estia was the essence of things. Those again who read osia seem to have inclined to the opinion of Heracleitus, that all things flow and nothing stands; with them the pushing principle (othoun) is the cause and ruling power of all things, and is therefore rightly called osia. Enough of this, which is all that we who know nothing can affirm. Next in order after Hestia we ought to consider Rhea and Cronos, although the name of Cronos has been already discussed. But I dare say that I am talking great nonsense.

HERMOGENES: Why, Socrates?

SOCRATES: My good friend, I have discovered a hive of wisdom.

HERMOGENES: Of what nature?

SOCRATES: Well, rather ridiculous, and yet plausible.
The "Individual" Greek Mind
The "Collective" Greek Mind

On the Language of the Lyre

Is the Epic a Remedy for the Lyric?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Parla Italiano?

one minute as an hour a day or maybe more
care forget even for a minute tonight
one minute for a minute more...
a minute to react with the head or the heart
one minute more to hate and not forgive
one minute for a minute more...

a minute's silence will light the eye
please take a minute to remove evil
a minute to think about death and laugh
one minute for a minute more...
one minute as an hour a day or maybe more
care forget even for a minute tonight
another minute and then an eternity
one minute for a minute more ...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

OJ from Concentrate

Back away from that, [she said]
And steady on [ ]


Wayward and wildly pounding heart,
There is a girl who lives among us
Who watches you with foolish eyes,

A slender, lovely, graceful girl,
Just budding into supple line,
And you scare her and make her shy.

O daughter of the highborn Amphimedo,
I replied, of the widely remembered
Amphimedo now in the rich earth dead,

There are, do you know, so many pleasures
For young men to choose from
Among the skills of the delicious goddess

It's green to think the holy one's the only.
When the shadows go black and quiet,
Let us, you and I alone, and the gods,

Sort these matters out. Fear nothing:
I shall be tame, I shall behave
And reach, if I reach, with a civil hand.

I shall climb the wall and come to the gate.
You'll not say no, Sweetheart, to this?
I shall come no farther than the garden grass.

Neobulé I have forgotten, believe me, do.
Any man who wants her may have her.
Aiai! She's past her day, ripening rotten.

The petals of her flower are all brown.
The grace that first she had is shot.
Don't you agree that she looks like a boy?

A woman like that would drive a man crazy.
She should get herself a job as a scarecrow.
I'd as soon hump her as [kiss a goat's butt].

A source of joy I'd be to the neighbors
With such a woman as her for a wife!
How could I ever prefer her to you?

You, O innocent, true heart and bold.
Each of her faces is as sharp as the other,
Which way she's turning you never can guess.

She'd whelp like the proverb's luckless bitch
Were I to foster get upon her, throwing
Them blind, and all on the wrongest day.

I said no more, but took her hand,
Laid her down in a thousand flowers,
And put my soft wool cloak around her.

I slid my arm under her neck
To still the fear in her eyes,
For she was trembling like a fawn,

Touched her hot breasts with light fingers,
Straddled her neatly and pressed
Against her fine, hard, bared crotch.

I caressed the beauty of all her body
And came in a sudden white spurt
While I was stroking her hair.”

--Fragment of a poem by Archilochus of Paros (650 BC)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Flashing Back to the Summer of Love

...the son of Pisistratus brought back to Thasos aulos and lyre, bearing pure gold as a gift for Thracian dogs, and for personal profit they did public harm.
--Archilochus of Paros

Friday, October 22, 2010

New Millenial Parenting

All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.
--Friedrich Nietzsche

Generation from Opposites, a simple alchemical formula applicable to both First Person Shooters and Guitar Heroes.

But I digress. Must be time to return to my wall staring duties...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Teacher's Pet

Soul, my soul, don't let them break you,
all these troubles. Never yield:
though their force is overwhelming,
up! attack them shield to shield...

--Archilochus of Paros

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Interlude

...his prick, full as a corn-stuffed jackass,
a Prienian jackass...overflowed.
--Archilochus of Paros (Fragment 43W)

Saying Grace

We should give as we would receive, cheerfully, quickly, and without hesitation; for there is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers. -Lucius Annaeus Seneca

In Greek mythology, a Charis (Χάρις) is one of several Charites (Χάριτες; Greek: "Graces"), goddesses of charm, beauty, nature, human creativity and fertility. They ordinarily numbered three, from youngest to oldest: Aglaea ("Beauty"), Euphrosyne ("Mirth"), and Thalia ("Good Cheer"). In Roman mythology they were known as the Gratiae, the "Graces". In some cases Charis was one of the Graces and was not the plural form of their name.

The Charites were usually considered the daughters of Zeus and Eurynome, though they were also said to be daughters of Dionysus and Aphrodite or of Helios and the naiad Aegle. Homer wrote that they were part of the retinue of Aphrodite. The Charites were also associated with the underworld and the Eleusinian Mysteries.

The river Cephissus near Delphi was sacred to them.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Finding Redemption in Reasoned Constancy


Shakespeare, "King Lear" (Act III Sc I):

SCENE I. A heath. (Storm still. Enter KENT and a Gentleman, meeting)

KENT - Who's there, besides foul weather?

Gentleman - One minded like the weather, most unquietly.

KENT - I know you. Where's the king?

Gentleman - Contending with the fretful element:
Bids the winds blow the earth into the sea,
Or swell the curled water 'bove the main,
That things might change or cease; tears his white hair,
Which the impetuous blasts, with eyeless rage,
Catch in their fury, and make nothing of;
Strives in his little world of man to out-scorn
The to-and-fro-conflicting wind and rain.
This night, wherein the cub-drawn bear would couch,
The lion and the belly-pinched wolf
Keep their fur dry, unbonneted he runs,
And bids what will take all.

KENT - But who is with him?

Gentleman - None but the fool; who labours to out-jest
His heart-struck injuries.

Image in the Flaneur's Rearview Mirror

Amid the deafening traffic of the town,
Tall, slender, in deep mourning, with majesty,
A woman passed, raising, with dignity
In her poised hand, the flounces of her gown;

Graceful, noble, with a statue's form.
And I drank, trembling as a madman thrills,
From her eyes, ashen sky where brooded storm,
The softness that fascinates, the pleasure that kills.

A flash . . . then night!--O lovely fugitive,
I am suddenly reborn from your swift glance;
Shall I never see you till eternity?

Somewhere, far off! Too late! never, perchance!
Neither knows where the other goes or lives;
We might have loved, and you knew this might be!

(Baudelaire 118)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Lure of the Left

Who in their lifetime is good on Earth
and will become an angel after death
you look to the sky and ask
why can't you see them

First if the clouds have gone to sleep
you can see us in the sky
we are afraid and alone

God knows I don't want to be an angel

They live behind the sunshine
separated from us, infinite expanse
they must cling to the stars (very tightly)
so they won't fall from the sky

First if the clouds have gone to sleep
you can see us in the sky
we are afraid and alone

God knows I don't want to be an angel

First if the clouds have gone to sleep
you can see us in the sky
we are afraid and alone

God knows I don't want to be an angel
Paying the Price for Intellectual Perfidy...having to drag your mind out of the gutter, kicking and screaming to dive back in.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

We, Not I, are Ducking the Old Idols

Fighting my own Best/Worst Instincts

Nietzsche, "Will to Power" 481 (1883-1888)

Against positivism, which halts at phenomena--"There are only facts"--I would say: No, facts is precisely what there is not, only interpretations. We cannot establish any fact "in itself": perhaps it is folly to want to do such a thing.

"Everything is subjective," you say; but even this is interpretation. The "subject" is not something given, it is something added and invented and projected behind what there is.--Finally, is it necessary to posit an interpreter behind the interpretation? Even this is invention, hypothesis.

In so far as the word "knowledge" has any meaning, the world is knowable; but it is interpretable otherwise, it has no meaning behind it, but countless meanings. --"Perspectivism."

It is our needs that interpret the world; our drives and their For and Against. Every drive is a kind of lust to rule; each one has its perspective that it would like to compel all the other drives to accept as a norm.

482 (1886-1887)

We set up a word at the point at which our ignorance begins, at which we can see no further, e.g., the word "I," the word "do," the word "suffer":--these are perhaps the horizon of our knowledge, but not "truths."

483 (1885)

Through thought the ego is posited; but hitherto one believed as ordinary people do, that in "I think" there was something of immediate certainty, and that this "I" was the given cause of thought, from which by analogy we understood all other causal relationships. However habitual and indispensable this fiction may have become by now--that in itself proves nothing against its imaginary origin: a belief can be a condition of life and nonetheless be false.

---

We are NOT a-mused (a quodrophenic rant).

ps - When NG rants against "binaries"... I think that this is one of the reasons why. Our instincts are not 1 or 2... they are many. The 1 and/or 2 is a fiction... albeit perhaps a necessary one. This is why I/we "prefer" the Freudian (and evolutionary) "triune brain" models. Id, Ego and SuperEgo merged with evolutionary reptilian (Id), paleo-mammalian complex (limbic)(Intermediary emotional-instinctual processing for subconscious "blind-sight" etc.), and neo-mamalian complex (neo-cortical - conscious/dream state)(L hemishpere Ego, R hemisphere SuperEgo). The result: a "functional" quodrophenia. ;)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Unlimited Forms

I easily go beyond all bounds, when I have a go at it
I consume enormously
The aim is to feel things
So I go overboard, and I like
to exagerate
it irks
brave and reasonable people
who keep within the bounds

Hey this is no dream, I know
when I stop, I’ll be
Leaving Paris
I know, later I’ll pay for this*

I overstepped the bounds
Easily
Readily
Yeah, I overstep the bounds
Without problems of ethics

*refrain

I will pay for that
I’ll end up in hard labour
I’ll be breaking stones in Guyana

I overstepped the bounds
Easily
Widely
When I start I finish
My job
properly
I consume of course
the most liquids possible
and sometimes even solids
nicely plump and chubby

*refrain x3

I will then ... hand out the change this way

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I am the Sea

There are men high up there fishing,
Haven't seen quite enough of the world,
I ain't seen a sign of my hero,
And I'm still diving down for pearls.


Let me flow into the ocean,
Let me get back to the sea.
Let me be stormy and let me be calm,
Let the tide in, and set me free.


I'm flowing under bridges,
Then flying through the sky,
I'm travelling down cold metal
Just a tear in baby's eye.


Let me flow into the ocean
Let me get back to the sea
Let me be stormy and let me be calm
Let the tide in, rush over me.


I am not the actor
This can't be the scene
But I am in the water,
As far as I can see...


I'm remembering distant memories
Recalling other names.
Rippling over canyons,
And boiling in the train.

May Love Reign O'er Me!