Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Nightingale's Song

Chew-chew chew-chew" and higher still,
"Cheer-cheer cheer-cheer" more loud and shrill,
"Cheer-up cheer-up cheer-up"—and dropped
Low—"Tweet tweet jug jug jug"—and stopped
One moment just to drink the sound
Her music made, and then a round
Of stranger witching notes was heard
As if it was a stranger bird:
"Wew-wew wew-wew chur-chur chur-chur
Woo-it woo-it"—could this be her?
"Tee-rew tee-rew tee-rew tee-rew
Chew-rit chew-rit"—and ever new—
"Will-will will-will grig-grig grig-grig."
- John Clare, "The Progress of Rhyme"

Who is Calling the Tune Today?

"A poet is a nightingale who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds; his auditors are as men entranced by the melody of an unseen musician, who feel that they are moved and softened, yet know not whence or why.”
- Percy Shelly, "Defense of Poetry"

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Reflecting Symmetry

He knows that any want of measure and symmetry in any mixture whatever must always of necessity be fatal, both to the elements and to the mixture, which is then not a mixture, but only a confused medley which brings confusion on the possessor of it.
--Plato, "Philebus"

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Price of Losing the Wager...

Thomas Morley (1557-1602/3), "Madrigal":
Though Philomela lost her love
fresh note she warbleth yes again
Fa la la la fa la la la...

He is a fool that lovers prove
and leaves to sing, to live in pain
Fa la la la fa la la ...

Split Personalities

...and other engines of metamorphoses
He heard a voice none else could hear
From centred and from errant sphere.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What Does it All Mean?

namque deos didici securum agere aevum,
nec, si quid miri faciat natura, deos id
tristis ex alto caeli demittere tecto
--Horace, "Satires"
Overcoming of philosophers through the destruction of the world of being: intermediary period of nihilism: before there is yet present the strength to reverse values and to deïfy becoming and the apparent world as the only world, and to call them good.

( B )

Nihilism as a normal phenomenon can be a symptom of increasing strength or of increasing weakness:
--Nietzsche, WtP 585

Monday, March 14, 2011

Singular Societies

O King, my lord, I draw nigh to life's end,
To me the frailities of life have come.
And second childhood... Ah! the old lie down
Each day is suffering; the vision fails,
Ears become deaf and strength declines apace.
The mind is ill at ease.... An old man's tongue
has naught to say because his thoughts have fled,
And he forgets the day that has gone past....
Meanwhile his body aches in every bone;
The sweet seems bitter, for taste is lost.
Ah! such are the afflictions of old age,
which work for evil... Fitful and weak
his breath becomes, standing or lying down.
--Ancient Egyptian poem

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Careful Observers may fortel the Hour
(By sure Prognosticks) when to dread a Show'r:
While Rain depends, the pensive Cat gives o'er
Her Frolicks, and pursues her Tail no more.
Returning Home at Night, you'll find the Sink
Strike your offended Sense with double Stink.
If you be wise, then go not far to Dine,
You spend in Coach-hire more than save in Wine.
A coming Show'r your shooting Corns presage,
Old Aches throb, your hollow Tooth will rage.
Sauntring in Coffee-house is Dulman seen;
He damns the Climate, and complains of Spleen.

Mean while the South rising with dabbled Wings,
A Sable Cloud a-thwart the Welkin flings,
That swill'd more Liquor than it could contain,
And like a Drunkard gives it up again.
Brisk Susan whips her Linen from the Rope,
While the first drizzling Show'r is born aslope,
Such is that Sprinkling which some careless Quean
Flirts on you from her Mop, but not so clean.
You fly, invoke the Gods; then turning, stop
To rail; she singing, still whirls on her Mop.
Not yet, the Dust had shun'd th'unequal Strife,
But aided by the Wind, fought still for Life;
And wafted with its Foe by violent Gust,
'Twas doubtful which was Rain, and which was Dust.
Ah! where must needy Poet seek for Aid,
When Dust and Rain at once his Coat invade;
Sole Coat, where Dust cemented by the Rain,
Erects the Nap, and leaves a cloudy Stain.

Now in contiguous Drops the Flood comes down,
Threat'ning with Deloge this Devoted Town.
To Shops in Crouds the dagled Females fly,
Pretend to cheapen Goods, but nothing buy.
The Templer spruce, while ev'ry Spout's a-broach,
Stays till 'tis fair, yet seems to call a Coach.
The tuck'd-up Sempstress walks with hasty Strides,
While Streams run down her oil'd Umbrella's Sides.
Here various Kinds by various Fortunes led,
Commence Acquaintance underneath a Shed.
Triumphant Tories, and desponding Whigs,
Forget their Fewds, and join to save their Wigs.
Box'd in a Chair the Beau impatient sits,
While Spouts run clatt'ring o'er the Roof by Fits;
And ever and anon with frightful Din
The Leather sounds, he trembles from within.
So when Troy Chair-men bore the Wooden Steed,
Pregnant with Greeks, impatient to be freed,
(Those Bully Greeks, who, as the Moderns do,
Instead of paying Chair-men, run them thro'.)
Laoco'n struck the Outside with his Spear,
And each imprison'd Hero quak'd for Fear.

Now from all Parts the swelling Kennels flow,
And bear their Trophies with them as they go:
Filth of all Hues and Odours seem to tell
What Streets they sail'd from, by the Sight and Smell.
They, as each Torrent drives, with rapid Force
From Smithfield, or St.Pulchre's shape their Course,
And in huge Confluent join at Snow-Hill Ridge,
Fall from the Conduit prone to Holborn-Bridge.
Sweepings from Butchers Stalls, Dung, Guts, and Blood,
Drown'd Puppies, stinking Sprats, all drench'd in Mud,
Dead Cats and Turnips-Tops come tumbling down the Flood.
--Jonathan Swift, "A Description of a City Shower" (1710)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Below the Belt Tales

Two "below the belt" renderings of the same tragic tale:

Blind Sign Reading

Look, Glaukos, how heavy seawaves leap skyward!
Over the Gyrai rocks
hangs a black cloud, a signal of winter storm.

From the unforeseen comes fear.
--Archilochus of Paros

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet?

Plato, "Meno"
SOCRATES: Do you see, Meno, what advances he has made in his power of recollection? He did not know at first, and he does not know now, what is the side of a figure of eight feet: but then he thought that he knew, and answered confidently as if he knew, and had no difficulty; now he has a difficulty, and neither knows nor fancies that he knows.

MENO: True.

SOCRATES: Is he not better off in knowing his ignorance?

MENO: I think that he is.

SOCRATES: If we have made him doubt, and given him the 'torpedo's shock,' have we done him any harm?

MENO: I think not.

SOCRATES: We have certainly, as would seem, assisted him in some degree to the discovery of the truth; and now he will wish to remedy his ignorance, but then he would have been ready to tell all the world again and again that the double space should have a double side.

MENO: True.

SOCRATES: But do you suppose that he would ever have enquired into or learned what he fancied that he knew, though he was really ignorant of it, until he had fallen into perplexity under the idea that he did not know, and had desired to know?

MENO: I think not, Socrates.

SOCRATES: Then he was the better for the torpedo's touch?

MENO: I think so.

Ash Wednesday - Lent

Carl Spitzweg (1808 - 1885), "Ash Wednesday".

from Wikipedia:
Ash Wednesday is a day of repentance and it marks the beginning of Lent. Ashes were used in ancient times, according to the Bible, to express mourning. Dusting oneself with ashes was the penitent's way of expressing sorrow for sins and faults. An ancient example of one expressing one's penitence is found in Job 42:3-6. Job says to God: "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. The other eye wandereth of its own accord. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." (vv. 5-6, KJV) The prophet Jeremiah, for example, calls for repentance this way: "O daughter of my people, gird on sackcloth, roll in the ashes" (Jer 6:26).The prophet Daniel pleaded for God this way: "I turned to the Lord God, pleading in earnest prayer, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes" (Daniel 9:3). Just prior to the New Testament period, the rebels fighting for Jewish independence, the Maccabees, prepared for battle using ashes: "That day they fasted and wore sackcloth; they sprinkled ashes on their heads and tore their clothes" (1 Maccabees 3:47; see also 4:39).

Other examples are found in several other books of the Bible including, Numbers 19:9, 19:17, Jonah 3:6, Matthew 11:21, and Luke 10:13, and Hebrews 9:13. Ezekiel 9 also speaks of a linen-clad messenger marking the forehead of the city inhabitants that have sorrow over the sins of the people. All those without the mark are destroyed.

It marks the start of a 40-day period which is an allusion to the separation of Jesus in the desert to fast and pray. During this time he was tempted. Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, and Luke 4:1-13.[15] While not specifically instituted in the Bible text, the 40-day period of repentance is also analogous to the 40 days during which Moses repented and fasted in response to the making of the Golden calf. (Jews today follow a 40-day period of repenting during the High Holy Days from Rosh Chodesh Elul to Yom Kippur.)

In Victorian England, theatres refrained from presenting costumed shows on Ash Wednesday, so they provided other entertainments.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fat Tuesday

In 45BC, Roman Emperor Julius Caesar showed up for a holiday party with 2,000 of his soldiers at the home of the statesman Cicero outside Naples, Italy.

Fresh from conquests in Egypt and Spain, and known as a party guy, he was ready for some fun. He bathed, took a walk on the beach and then, helped by emetics, "ate and drank without scruple" .

And why not? It was the feast of Saturn, the god of agriculture - the mid-December celebration called Saturnalia, a huge Roman favourite. Citizens would untie the bound feet of the god's statue on December 17, and a week of carrying-on would begin.

Seneca the younger wrote about Rome during Saturnalia around AD 50:
"It is now the month of December, when the greatest part of the city is in a bustle. Loose reins are given to public dissipation; everywhere you may hear the sound of great preparations, as if there were some real difference between the days devoted to Saturn and those for transacting business....Were you here, I would willingly confer with you as to the plan of our conduct; whether we should eve in our usual way, or, to avoid singularity, both take a better supper and throw off the toga." - From the "Epistolae"
Schools were closed. Gifts were exchanged. Masters and slaves swapped roles. Drinking, gambling, feasting and "singing naked" would take place, according to one writer of the time.

Now, 2 000 years later, ancient Rome is in ruins, but this stubborn December tradition survives -
Even Ne quid nimis* deserves to take a holiday every once in a while. ;)
(*Terrence - "Nothing to Excess")

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Suicide's Credo - Concedo Nulli

February 23: The Terminalia

When night has passed, let the god be celebrated
With customary honour, who separates the fields with his sign.
Terminus, whether a stone or a stump buried in the earth,
You have been a god since ancient times.
You are crowned from either side by two landowners,
Who bring two garlands and two cakes in offering.
An altar’s made: here the farmer’s wife herself
Brings coals from the warm hearth on a broken pot.
The old man cuts wood and piles the logs with skill,
And works at setting branches in the solid earth.
Then he nurses the first flames with dry bark,
While a boy stands by and holds the wide basket.
When he’s thrown grain three times into the fire
The little daughter offers the sliced honeycombs.
Others carry wine: part of each is offered to the flames:
The crowd, dressed in white, watch silently.
Terminus, at the boundary, is sprinkled with lamb’s blood,
And doesn’t grumble when a sucking pig is granted him.
Neighbours gather sincerely, and hold a feast,
And sing your praises, sacred Terminus:
‘You set bounds to peoples, cities, great kingdoms:
Without you every field would be disputed.
You curry no favour: you aren’t bribed with gold,
Guarding the land entrusted to you in good faith.
If you’d once marked the bounds of Thyrean lands,
Three hundred men would not have died,
Nor Othryades’ name be seen on the pile of weapons.
O how he made his fatherland bleed!
What happened when the new Capitol was built?
The whole throng of gods yielded to Jupiter and made room:
But as the ancients tell, Terminus remained in the shrine
Where he was found, and shares the temple with great Jupiter.
Even now there’s a small hole in the temple roof,
So he can see nothing above him but stars.
Since then, Terminus, you’ve not been free to wander:
Stay there, in the place where you’ve been put,
And yield not an inch to your neighbour’s prayers,
Lest you seem to set men above Jupiter:
And whether they beat you with rakes, or ploughshares,
Call out: “This is your field, and that is his!”’
There’s a track that takes people to the Laurentine fields,
The kingdom once sought by Aeneas, the Trojan leader:
The sixth milestone from the City, there, bears witness
To the sacrifice of a sheep’s entrails to you, Terminus.
The lands of other races have fixed boundaries:
The extent of the City of Rome and the world is one.

-Ovid, "Fasti"

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Patterning the Vortex

"In a sense I am an existentialist that's to say I commit myself, or find that I am in fact committed, to constellations of certain values"
--Sir Isaiah Berlin

Some patterns obviously require more "power/energy" to maintain than others.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Folly's Incomplete - Gaudi's Completed Vision

What distant mountains thrill and glow
Beneath our Lady Folly's tread?
Why has she left us, wise in woe,
Shrewd, practical, uncomforted?
We cannot love or dream or sing,
We are too cynical to pray,
There is no joy in anything
Since Lady Folly went away.

Many a knight and gentle maid,
Whose glory shines from years gone by,
Through ignorance was unafraid
And as a fool knew how to die.
Saint Folly rode beside Jehanne
And broke the ranks of Hell with her,
And Folly's smile shone brightly on
Christ's plaything, Brother Juniper.

Our minds are troubled and defiled
By study in a weary school.
O for the folly of the child!
The ready courage of the fool!
Lord, crush our knowledge utterly
And make us humble, simple men;
And cleansed of wisdom, let us see
Our Lady Folly's face again.
--Joyce Kilmer

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Misty Water Coloured Mammaries....

SOCRATES: There are certainly many things to be considered in discussing the generation and whole complexion of pleasure. At the outset we must determine the nature and seat of desire.

PROTARCHUS: Ay; let us enquire into that, for we shall lose nothing.

SOCRATES: Nay, Protarchus, we shall surely lose the puzzle if we find the answer.

PROTARCHUS: A fair retort; but let us proceed.

SOCRATES: Did we not place hunger, thirst, and the like, in the class of desires?

PROTARCHUS: Certainly.

SOCRATES: And yet they are very different; what common nature have we in view when we call them by a single name?

PROTARCHUS: By heavens, Socrates, that is a question which is not easily answered; but it must be answered.

SOCRATES: Then let us go back to our examples.

PROTARCHUS: Where shall we begin?

SOCRATES: Do we mean anything when we say 'a man thirsts'?


SOCRATES: We mean to say that he 'is empty'?

PROTARCHUS: Of course.

SOCRATES: And is not thirst desire?

PROTARCHUS: Yes, of drink.

SOCRATES: Would you say of drink, or of replenishment with drink?

PROTARCHUS: I should say, of replenishment with drink.

SOCRATES: Then he who is empty desires, as would appear, the opposite of what he experiences; for he is empty and desires to be full?

PROTARCHUS: Clearly so.

SOCRATES: But how can a man who is empty for the first time, attain either by perception or memory to any apprehension of replenishment, of which he has no present or past experience?

PROTARCHUS: Impossible.

SOCRATES: And yet he who desires, surely desires something?

PROTARCHUS: Of course.

SOCRATES: He does not desire that which he experiences, for he experiences thirst, and thirst is emptiness; but he desires replenishment?


SOCRATES: Then there must be something in the thirsty man which in some way apprehends replenishment?

PROTARCHUS: There must.

SOCRATES: And that cannot be the body, for the body is supposed to be emptied?


SOCRATES: The only remaining alternative is that the soul apprehends the replenishment by the help of memory; as is obvious, for what other way can there be?

PROTARCHUS: I cannot imagine any other.

SOCRATES: But do you see the consequence?

PROTARCHUS: What is it?

SOCRATES: That there is no such thing as desire of the body.


SOCRATES: Why, because the argument shows that the endeavour of every animal is to the reverse of his bodily state.


SOCRATES: And the impulse which leads him to the opposite of what he is experiencing proves that he has a memory of the opposite state.


SOCRATES: And the argument, having proved that memory attracts us towards the objects of desire, proves also that the impulses and the desires and the moving principle in every living being have their origin in the soul.

PROTARCHUS: Most true.

SOCRATES: The argument will not allow that our body either hungers or thirsts or has any similar experience.

PROTARCHUS: Quite right.
--Plato, "Philebus"

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Apotheosis of Faded Youth

THE fount the Spaniard sought in vain
Through all the land of flowers
Leaps glittering from the sandy plain
Our classic grove embowers;
Here youth, unchanging, blooms and smiles,
Here dwells eternal spring,
And warm from Hope's elysian isles
The winds their perfume bring.

Here every leaf is in the bud,
Each singing throat in tune,
And bright o'er evening's silver flood
Shines the young crescent moon.
What wonder Age forgets his staff
And lays his glasses down,
And gray-haired grandsires look and laugh
As when their locks were brown!

With ears grown dull and eyes grown dim
They greet the joyous day
That calls them to the fountain's brim
To wash their years away.
What change has clothed the ancient sire
In sudden youth? For, to!
The Judge, the Doctor, and the Squire
Are Jack and Bill and Joe!

And be his titles what they will,
In spite of manhood's claim
The graybeard is a school-boy still
And loves his school-boy name;
It calms the ruler's stormy breast
Whom hurrying care pursues,
And brings a sense of peace and rest,
Like slippers after shoes.--

And what are all the prizes won
To youth's enchanted view?
And what is all the man has done
To what the boy may do?
O blessed fount, whose waters flow
Alike for sire and son,
That melts our winter's frost and snow
And makes all ages one!

I pledge the sparkling fountain's tide,
That flings its golden shower
With age to fill and youth to guide,
Still fresh in morning flower
Flow on with ever-widening stream,
In ever-brightening morn,--
Our story's pride, our future's dream,
The hope of times unborn!

--Oliver Wendell Holmes (1873)

Monday, February 28, 2011

Controlling the Illusion - Ordering Chaos and Other All Too Human Errors

The feeling of the terrifying sublime is sometimes accompanied with a certain dread or melancholy. The feeling of the noble sublime is quiet wonder. Feelings of the splendid sublime are pervaded with beauty.
Wiki Summary - Kant's "Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime"

The "Terrifying" Sublime
The "Noble" Sublime

The "Splendid" Sublime

Phi - Just Another Voiceless Labiodental Fricative

SOCRATES: And there is no difficulty in seeing the cause which renders any mixture either of the highest value or of none at all.

PROTARCHUS: What do you mean?

SOCRATES: Every man knows it.


SOCRATES: He knows that any want of measure and symmetry in any mixture whatever must always of necessity be fatal, both to the elements and to the mixture, which is then not a mixture, but only a confused medley which brings confusion on the possessor of it.

PROTARCHUS: Most true.

SOCRATES: And now the power of the good has retired into the region of the beautiful; for measure and symmetry are beauty and virtue all the world over.


SOCRATES: Also we said that truth was to form an element in the mixture.

PROTARCHUS: Certainly.

SOCRATES: Then, if we are not able to hunt the good with one idea only, with three we may catch our prey; Beauty, Symmetry, Truth are the three, and these taken together we may regard as the single cause of the mixture, and the mixture as being good by reason of the infusion of them.

PROTARCHUS: Quite right.
--Plato, "Philebus"

So Low Flight

Look, Glaukos, how heavy seawaves leap skyward!
Over the Gyrai rocks
hangs a black cloud, a signal of winter storm.
From the unforeseen comes fear.
--Archilochus of Paros

The time for completing circles are over, for there are no circles.
The time for connecting cycles are over, for there are no cycles.
The time for measuring space is over, for there is no space.
The time for defining time is over, for there is no time.

There is only the present.
There is only the here and now.

Everything else, an ever-spiralling illusion.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

High Flyers Fall Farther

Ovid, "Metamorphoses"
Daedalus, hating Crete and his long exile, and longing to see his native land, was shut in by the sea. "Though he may block escape by land and water," he said, "yet the sky is open, and by that way I will go. Though Minos rules over all, he does not rule the air." So saying, he sets his mind at work upon unknown arts, and changes the laws of nature. For he lays feathers in order, beginning at the smallest, short next to long, so you would think they had grown on a slope. Just so the old-fashioned rustic pan-pipes with their unequal reeds rise one above another.Then he fastened the feathers together with twine and wax at the middle and bottom; and, thus arranged, he bent them with a gentle curve, so that they looked like real birds' wings.

His son, Icarus, was standing by and, little knowing that he was handling his own peril, with gleeful face would now catch at the feathers which some passing breeze had blown about, now mold the yellow wax with his thumb, and by his sport would hinder his father's wonderful task. When now the finishing touches had been put upon the work, the master workman himself balanced his body on two wings and hung poised on the beaten air. He taught his son also and said: "I warn you, Icarus, to fly in a middle course, lest, if you go too low, the water may weight your wings; if you go too high, the fire may burn them. Fly between the two. And I bid you not to shape your course like Bootes or Helice or the drawn sword of Orion, but fly where I shall lead." At the same time he tells him the rules of flight and fits the strange wings on his boy's shoulders. While he works and talks the old man's cheeks are wet with tears, and his fatherly hands tremble. He kisses his son, which he was destined never again to do, and rising on his wings, he flew on ahead, fearing for his companion, just like a bird which has led forth her fledglings from the high nest into the unsubstantial air.

He encourages the boy to follow, instructs him in the fatal art of flight, himself flapping his wings and looking back on his son. Now some fisherman spies them, angling for fish with his flexible rod, or a shepherd, leaning upon his crook, or a plowman, on his plow-handles--spies them and stands stupefied, and believes them to be gods that they could fly through the air. And now Juno's sacred Samos had been passed on the left, and Delos and Paros; Lebinthos was on the right and Calymne, rich in honey, when the boy began to rejoice in his bold flight and, deserting his leader, led by a desire for the open sky, directed his course to a greater height. The scorching rays of the nearer sun softened the fragrant wax which held his wings.

The wax melted; his arms were bare as he beat them up and down, but, lacking wings, they took no hold on the air. His lips, calling to the last upon his father's name, were drowned in the dark blue sea, which took its name from him. But the unhappy father, now no longer father, called: "Icarus, Icarus, where are you? In what place shall I seek you? Icarus," he called again; and then he spied the wings floating on the deep, and cursed his skill. He buried the boy in a tomb, and the land was called for the buried boy.

Freudiana in a Mirror

The doctor should be opaque to his patients and, like a mirror, should show them nothing but what is shown to him.
--S. Freud

Re-Framing Re-ALL-ity

...and the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!
--E.A. Poe

Thursday, February 24, 2011

La Vie Voyeur

"Nothing can be surprising any more or impossible or miraculous, now that Zeus, father of the Olympians has made night out of noonday, hiding the bright sunlight, and . . . fear has come upon mankind. After this, men can believe anything, expect anything. Don't any of you be surprised in future if land beasts change places with dolphins and go to live in their salty pastures, and get to like the sounding waves of the sea more than the land, while the dolphins prefer the mountains."
--Archilochus of Paros

Saturday, February 19, 2011


The happiest day -- the happiest hour
My sear'd and blighted heart hath known,
The highest hope of pride and power,
I feel hath flown.

Of power! said I? yes! such I ween;
But they have vanish'd long, alas!
The visions of my youth have been-
But let them pass.

And, pride, what have I now with thee?
Another brow may even inherit
The venom thou hast pour'd on me
Be still, my spirit!

The happiest day -- the happiest hour
Mine eyes shall see -- have ever seen,
The brightest glance of pride and power,
I feel- have been:

But were that hope of pride and power
Now offer'd with the pain
Even then I felt -- that brightest hour
I would not live again:

For on its wing was dark alloy,
And, as it flutter'd -- fell
An essence -- powerful to destroy
A soul that knew it well.
--E.A. Poe

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Path to Ignomy

Well... give the men a few minutes more, Sergeant...

The Faithful Hussar (Translated)

A faithful soldier, without fear,
He loved his girl for one whole year,
For one whole year and longer yet,
His love for her, he'd ne'er forget.

This youth to foreign land did roam,
While his true love, fell ill at home.
Sick unto death, she no one heard.
Three days and nights she spoke no word.

And when the youth received the news,
That his dear love, her life may lose,
He left his place and all he had,
To see his love, went this young lad...

He took her in his arms to hold,
She was not warm, forever cold.
Oh quick, oh quick, bring light to me,
Else my love dies, no one will see...

Pallbearers we need two times three,
Six farmhands they are so heavy.
It must be six of soldiers brave,
To carry my love to her grave.

A long black coat, I must now wear.
A sorrow great, is what I bear.
A sorrow great and so much more,
My grief it will end nevermore.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Take a Time Out for Love!

Sed fugit interea fugit irreparabile tempus, singula dum capti circumvectamur amore

"But meanwhile it flees: time flees irretrievably, while we wander around, prisoners of our love of detail."

What is Love?

Omnia vincit amor!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Coral "Becomes" an Octopus...

Becomes? Really? Things really are the external shapes/forms that they appear to an independent oberserver to be at any one particular point in time? Each new external form imitated constitutes a new "becoming"?

Now if you were to raise the energy state of a liquid it might appear to an independent observer to "become" something new, a solid, or conversely if you were to lower the liquid's energy state, it might again assume some familiar properties of a solid, but has the water actually "become" something entirely new in this alteration of energy states? And what happens when the energy state is normalized? Doesn't it revert to it's familiar pre-existent form for that "particular" energy state?

If you're a Leftist, ontology is a sad joke... not to be taken seriously. Every shifting fluid form constructed out of ink drops in a water current represents a new becoming...*shakes head* ...returns to Theseus' ship and rows away.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hello Uncle Vanya

"Haven't you noticed if you are riding through a dark wood at night and see a little light shining ahead, how you forget your fatigue and the darkness and the sharp twigs that whip your face? I work, that you know—as no one else in the country works. Fate beats me on without rest; at times I suffer unendurably and I see no light ahead. I have no hope; I do not like people. It is long since I have loved any one."
- Astroff

Will There be a Next "New Cultural Configuration"?

...Or Just Perpetual Reactions to the Last One?
Edmund Husserl -
Philosophical man is a "new cultural configuration" based in stepping back from "pregiven tradition" and taking up a rational "inquiry into what is true in itself;" that is, an ideal of truth. It begins with isolated individuals such as Thales, but they are supported and cooperated with as time goes on. Finally the ideal transforms the norms of society, leaping across national borders.
F. Nietzsche -
A time which suffers from the so­-called " general education" but has no culture and no unity of style in her life hardly knows what to do with philosophy, even if the latter were proclaimed by the very Genius of Truth in the streets and market­places. She rather remains at such a time the learned monologue of the solitary rambler, the accidental booty of the individual, the hidden closet-secret or the innocuous chatter between academic senility and childhood.

Nobody dare venture to fulfill in oneself the law of philosophy, nobody lives philosophically, with that simple human faith which compelled an Ancient, wherever one was, whatever one did, to deport oneself as a Stoic, when one had once pledged one's faith to the Stoa. All modern philosophising is limited politically and regulated by the police to learned semblance. Thanks to governments, churches, academies, customs, fashions, and the cowardice of people, it never gets beyond the sigh: " If only! . . ." or beyond the knowledge: " Once upon a time there was . . ."

Philosophy is without rights; therefore modern humans, if they were at all courageous and conscientious, ought to condemn her and perhaps banish her with words similar to those by which Plato banished the tragic poets from his State. Of course there would be left a reply for her, as there remained to those poets against Plato. If one once compelled her to speak out she might say perhaps: "Miserable Nation! Is it my fault if among you I am on the tramp, like a fortune teller through the land, and must hide and disguise myself, as if I were a great sinner and ye my judges. Just look at my sister, Art! It is with her as with me; we have been cast adrift among the Barbarians and no longer know how to save ourselves. Here we are lacking, it is true, every good right; but the judges before whom we find justice judge you also and will tell you: First acquire a culture; then you shall experience what Philosophy can and will do."-
There never was nor will there ever be anything new under the sun... there's only generation from opposites... from what "is"... constantly changing. Like the vortex, Ixion's wheel never stops spinning, despite the best efforts of modern day Orphei.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Another Day In the Vortex Spent Tracing Cobwebs of Meaning Instead of Making Honey and Wax

"So that in short, the Question comes all to this; Whether is the nobler Being of the two, That which by a lazy Contemplation of four Inches round; by an over-weening Pride, which feeding and engendering on it self, turns all into Excrement and Venom; producing nothing at last, but Fly-bane and a Cobweb: Or That, which, by an universal Range, with long Search, much Study, true Judgment, and Distinction of Things, brings home Honey and Wax."
--Jonathan Swift, "Battle of the Books"

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Eros, Where Are You?

...and where do you come from?

If One is not, then nothing is...

Pythagoras taught that all things are number, and that the cosmos is created and governed by numerical principles. In the Pythagorean cosmogenesis, the derivation of the multiplicity of things in the world from an original unity is identical to the derivation of the numbers from the numerical unit, one. Moreover, this identity is made manifest in the mathematical order of the cosmos, as exemplified in the mathematical ratios of the musical scales and the geometrical principles that govern spatial extension. The Pythagoreans saw in all things combinations of eternal principles, such as Limit and Unlimited, One and Many, At Rest and In Motion. This Pythagorean vision, which sees the material world of becoming as imitating the mathematical world of being, provided the seminal insight at the foundation of Western science, both ancient and modern, and continues to manifest its profound influence today.
-- Thomas Mcfarlane on Plato's "Parmenides"

Monday, January 31, 2011

No Regrets

"No, nothing at all
I do not regret anything at all (x2)
Either the good that has been done to me
or the evil
everything is equal to me
no, nothing at all, no...
everything is paid, swept away, forgotten
I don't care about the past!
With my memories I lit the fire
My pains, my pleasures,
I don't need them anymore
My love stories are swept away
with their tremolos
swept away for ever
I'm starting on new bases
no, nothing at all etc...
Because my life, my happiness, today everything begins..."

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Musica do Brasil

Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy.
Why lov'st thou that which thou receiv'st not gladly,
Or else receiv'st with pleasure thine annoy?
If the true concord of well-tunèd sounds,
By unions married, do offend thine ear,
They do but sweetly chide thee, who confounds
In singleness the parts that thou shouldst bear.
Mark how one string, sweet husband to another,
Strikes each in each by mutual ordering,
Resembling sire and child and happy mother,
Who, all in one, one pleasing note do sing;
Whose speechless song being many, seeming one,
Sings this to thee: "Thou single wilt prove none."
W. Shakespeare, Sonnet #8

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Well Blow me Down...

Let brawling waves beat his ship
against the shore, and have the mop-haired Thracians
take him naked at Salmydessos,
and he will suffer a thousand calamities
as he chews the bread of slaves.
His body will stiffen in freezing surf
as he wrestles with slimy seaweed,
and his teeth will rattle like a helpless dog,
flopped on his belly in the surge,
puking out the brine. Let me watch him grovel
in mud- for the wrong he did me:
as a traitor he trampled on our good faith,
he who was once my comrade.
-Archilochus of Paros

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pindar's Pythian Ode #1

Golden lyre, rightful joint possession of Apollo and the violet-haired Muses, to which the dance-step listens, the beginning of splendid festivity; and singers obey your notes, whenever, with your quivering strings, you prepare to strike up chorus-leading preludes. You quench even the warlike thunderbolt of everlasting fire. And the eagle sleeps on the scepter of Zeus, relaxing his swift wings on either side, the king of birds; and you pour down a dark mist over his curved head, a sweet seal on his eyelids. Slumbering, he ripples his liquid back, under the spell of your pulsing notes. Even powerful Ares, setting aside the rough spear-point, warms his heart in repose; your shafts charm the minds even of the gods, by virtue of the skill of Leto's son and the deep-bosomed Muses. But those whom Zeus does not love are stunned with terror when they hear the cry of the Pierian Muses, on earth or on the irresistible sea; among them is he who lies in dread Tartarus, that enemy of the gods, Typhon with his hundred heads. Once the famous Cilician cave nurtured him, but now the sea-girt cliffs above Cumae, and Sicily too, lie heavy on his shaggy chest. And the pillar of the sky holds him down, snow-covered Aetna, year-round nurse of bitter frost, from whose inmost caves belch forth the purest streams of unapproachable fire. In the daytime her rivers roll out a fiery flood of smoke, while in the darkness of night the crimson flame hurls rocks down to the deep plain of the sea with a crashing roar. That monster shoots up the most terrible jets of fire; it is a marvellous wonder to see, and a marvel even to hear about when men are present. Such a creature is bound beneath the dark and leafy heights of Aetna and beneath the plain, and his bed scratches and goads the whole length of his back stretched out against it. Grant that we may be pleasing to you, Zeus, you who frequent this mountain, this brow of the fruitful earth, whose namesake city near at hand was glorified by its renowned founder, when the herald at the Pythian racecourse proclaimed the name of Aetna, announcing Hieron's triumph with the chariot. For seafaring men, the first blessing at the outset of their voyage is a favorable wind; for then it is likely that at the end as well they will win a more prosperous homecoming. And that saying, in these fortunate circumstances, brings the belief that from now on this city will be renowned for garlands and horses, and its name will be spoken amid harmonious festivities. Phoebus, lord of Lycia and Delos, you who love the Castalian spring of Parnassus, may you willingly put these wishes in your thoughts, and make this a land of fine men. All the resources for the achievements of mortal excellence come from the gods; for being skillful, or having powerful arms, or an eloquent tongue. As for me, in my eagerness to praise that man, I hope that I may not be like one who hurls the bronze-cheeked javelin, which I brandish in my hand, outside the course, but that I may make a long cast, and surpass my rivals. Would that all of time may, in this way, keep his prosperity and the gift of wealth on a straight course, and bring forgetfulness of troubles. Indeed he might remember in what kind of battles of war he stood his ground with an enduring soul, when, by the gods' devising, they found honor such as no other Greek can pluck, a proud garland of wealth. But now he has gone to battle in the manner of Philoctetes; and under compulsion even a haughty man fawned on him for his friendship. They say that the god-like heroes went to bring from Lemnos that man afflicted with a wound, the archer son of Poeas, who sacked the city of Priam and brought an end to the toils of the Danaans; he went with a weak body, but it was fated. In such a way may a god be the preserver of Hieron for the time that is still to come, giving him the opportunity for all he desires. Muse, hear me, and beside Deinomenes sing loud praises for the reward of the four-horse chariot. The joy of his father's victory is not alien to him. Come, let us devise a friendly song for the king of Aetna, for whom Hieron founded that city with god-built freedom, in accordance with the laws of the rule of Hyllus. The descendants of Pamphylus, and, truly, of the Heracleidae also, dwelling beneath the cliffs of Taÿgetus, are willing to abide forever as Dorians under the ordinances of Aegimius. Setting out from Pindus they took Amyclae and prospered, highly renowned neighbors of the Tyndaridae with their white horses, and the fame of their spear burst into bloom. Zeus the Accomplisher, grant that beside the waters of Amenas the true report of men may always assign such good fortune to citizens and kings alike; with your blessing the man who is himself the leader, and who instructs his son, may bring honor to the people and turn them towards harmonious peace. I entreat you, son of Cronus, grant that the battle-shouts of the Carthaginians and Etruscans stay quietly at home, now that they have seen their arrogance bring lamentation to their ships off Cumae. Such were their sufferings, when they were conquered by the leader of the Syracusans—a fate which flung their young men from their swift ships into the sea, delivering Hellas from grievous bondage. From Salamis I will win as my reward the gratitude of the Athenians, and in Sparta from the battles before Cithaeron1—those battles in which the Medes with their curved bows suffered sorely; but beside the well-watered bank of the river Himeras I shall win my reward by paying my tribute of song to the sons of Deinomenes, the song which they earned by their excellence, when their enemies were suffering. If you speak in due proportion, twisting the strands of many themes into a brief compass, less blame follows from men. For wearying satiety blunts the edge of short-lived expectations, and what the citizens hear secretly weighs heavy on their spirits, especially concerning the merits of others. Nevertheless, since envy is better than pity, do not abandon fine deeds! Steer your men with the rudder of justice; forge your tongue on the anvil of truth: if even a small spark flies, it is carried along as a great thing when it comes from you. You are the guardian of an ample store. You have many faithful witnesses of both good and bad. But abide in a blossoming temper, and if you are fond of always hearing sweet things spoken of you, do not be too distressed by expenses, but, like a steersman, let your sail out to the wind. Do not be deceived, my friend, by glib profit-seeking. The loud acclaim of renown that survives a man is all that reveals the way of life of departed men to storytellers and singers alike. The kindly excellence of Croesus does not perish, but Phalaris, with his pitiless mind, who burned his victims in a bronze bull, is surrounded on all sides by a hateful reputation; lyres that resound beneath the roof do not welcome him as a theme in gentle partnership with the voices of boys. The first of prizes is good fortune; the second is to be well spoken of; but a man who encounters and wins both has received the highest garland.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Time Out

"Your Commie has no regard for human life, not even of his own. For this reason men, I want to impress upon you the need for extreme watchfulness. The enemy may come individually, or in strength. He may even appear in the form of our own troops. But however we must stop him. We must not allow him to gain entrance to this base. Now, I'm going to give you THREE SIMPLE rules: First, trust NO one, whatever his uniform or rank, unless he is known to you personally; Second, anyone or anything that approaches within 200 yards of the perimeter is to be FIRED UPON; Third, if in doubt, shoot first then ask questions later. I would sooner accept a few casualties through accidents rather losing the entire base and its personnel through carelessness. Any variation of these rules must come from me personally. Any variation on these rules must come from me personally. Now, men, in conclusion, I would like to say that, in the two years it has been my privilege to be your commanding officer, I have always expected the best from you, and you have never given me anything less than that. Today, the nation is counting on us. We're not going to let them down. Good luck to you all."
-General Jack D. Ripper:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Breaking the Mold...

...and the neuronal "hold"
Step 1 - Carding the wool... inundating the mind in a chemical dopamine and testosterone laden soup.

Friday, January 7, 2011

On "Free Will"

...and the self-denial thereof. "German literature is so virulently allegorized that the German never knows whether he is a Kangaroo, a Scythian, or his own sweet self." Wyndham Lewis, Code of a Herdsman (1914)

Reminder - Turn "Closed Captions" (CC) ON
Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10 Part 11

Steering Towards Scylla...

...having just passed Charybdis

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Anaximander of Miletus (ca. 560 B.C.)

Whence things have their origin,
Thence also their destruction happens,
As is the order of things;
For they execute the sentence upon one another
- The condemnation for the crime -
In conformity with the ordinance of Time.
Dance me to the end...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Aspasia's Lover

Like the Mykonians, Perikles,
you drink our unmixed wine
and pay for nothing.
You broke into this party, uninvited, and act as if
among old friends.
Your stomach has tricked the brains in your skull
and now you are shameless.
-Archilochus of Paros (Athens "Tea Party" founder)

On the Origins of the Poloponnesian War

I detest the Lacedaemonians with all my heart, and may Posidon, the god of Taenarus, cause an earthquake and overturn their dwellings! My vines also have been cut. But come (there are only friends who hear me), why accuse the Laconians of all our woes? Some men (I do not say the city, note particularly, that I do not say the city), some wretches, lost in vices, bereft of honour, who were not even citizens of good stamp, but strangers, have accused the Megarians of introducing their produce fraudulently, and not a cucumber, a leveret, a sucking-pig, a clove of garlic, a lump of salt was seen without its being said, "Halloa! these come from Megara," and their being instantly confiscated. Thus far the evil was not serious, and we were the only sufferers. But now some young drunkards go to Megara and carry off the courtesan Simaetha; the Megarians, hurt to the quick, run off in turn with two harlots of the house of Aspasia; and so for three gay women Greece is set ablaze. Then Pericles, aflame with ire on his Olympian height, let loose the lightning, caused the thunder to roll, upset Greece and passed an edict, which ran like the song, "That the Megarians be banished both from our land and from our markets and from the sea and from the continent." Meanwhile the Megarians, who were beginning to die of hunger, begged the Lacedaemonians to bring about the abolition of the decree, of which those harlots were the cause; several times we refused their demand; and from that time there was a horrible clatter of arms everywhere. You will say that Sparta was wrong, but what should she have done? Answer that. Suppose that a Lacedaemonian had seized a little Seriphian dog on any pretext and had sold it, would you have endured it quietly? Far from it, you would at once have sent three hundred vessels to sea, and what an uproar there would have been through all the city! there 'tis a band of noisy soldiery, here a brawl about the election of a Trierarch; elsewhere pay is being distributed, the Pallas figure-heads are being regilded, crowds are surging under the market porticos, encumbered with wheat that is being measured, wine-skins, oar-leathers, garlic, olives, onions in nets; everywhere are chaplets, sprats, flute-girls, black eyes; in the arsenal bolts are being noisily driven home, sweeps are being made and fitted with leathers; we hear nothing but the sound of whistles, of flutes and fifes to encourage the work-folk. That is what you assuredly would have done, and would not Telephus have done the same? So I come to my general conclusion; we have no common sense.
-Aristophanes, "The Archarnians"

More on the source of Pericle's famed rhetorical skill (spurious Plato, "Menexenus") and
text of Pericle's "Funeral Oration" as documented by Thucydides

Some Polishing Required

And wandering about the household
was that hateful chattering eunuch.
-Archilochus of Paros

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Code of a Herdsman

1 Never maltreat your own intelligence with parables. It is a method of herd hypnotism. Do not send yourself to sleep with the rhythm of the passes that you make. = As an example of herd-hypnotism, German literature is so virulently allegorized that the German never knows whether he is a Kangaroo, a Scythian, or his own sweet self. = You however are a herdsman. That is surely Parable enough.

2 Do not admit cleverness, in any form, into your life. Observe the accomplishment of some people’s signatures! It is the herd-touch.

3 Exploit Stupidity. = Introduce a flatness, where it is required into your commerce. Dull your eye as you affix it on a dull face. = Why do you think George Borrow used such idiotic clichés as "The beams of the descending luminary — ?" He was a great writer and knew what he was doing. = Mock the herd perpetually with the grimace of its own garrulity or deadness. If it gets out of hand and stampedes towards you, leap onto the sea of mangy backs until the sea is still. That is: cast your mask aside, and spring above them. They cannot see or touch anything above them: they have never realized that their backs — or rather their tops — exist! They will think that you have vanished into Heaven.

4 As to language: eschew all clichés implying a herd personality. Never allow such terms as Top-Hole, Priceless, or Doggo to pass your lips. Go to the Dictionary if you want an epithet. If you feel eloquent, use that moment to produce a cliché of your own. Cherish your personal vocabulary, however small it is. Use your own epithet as though it were used by a whole nation, if people would have no good reason for otherwise accepting it.

Examples of personal epithets:
That man is abysmal.
That is an abysmal book.
It was prestigious! [Borrowed from the French]
Here comes that sinister bird! [Borrowed from the French]
He is a sinister card. [Combination of French and 1890 Slang]
He has a great deal of sperm.
I like a fellow with as much sperm as that.

Borrow from all sides mannerisms or callings or classes to enrich your personal bastion of language. Borrow from the pulpit, from the clattering harangue of the auctioneer, the lawyer’s technicality, the pomposity of the politicians. = Borrow grunts from the fisherman, solecisms from the inhabitants of Merioneth. = "He is a preux, ah, yes-a-preux!" You can say "ah-yes-a-preux" as though it were one word, accent on the "yes."

5 In accusing yourself, stick to the Code of the Mountain. But crime is alien to a Herdsman’s nature.

6 Yourself must be your Caste. 7 Cherish and develop, side by side, your six most constant indications of different personalities. You will then acquire the potentiality of six men. Leave your front door one day as B; the next march down the street as E. A variety of clothes, hats especially, are of help in this wider dramatization of yourself. Never fall into the vulgarity of being or assuming yourself to be one ego. Each trench must have another one behind it. Each single self — that you manage to be at any given time — must have five at least indifferent to it. You must have a power of indifference of five to one. All the greatest actions in the world have been five parts out of six impersonal in the impulse of their origin. To follow this principle you need only cultivate your memory. You will avoid being the blind man of any moment. B will see what is hidden to D. = (Who were Turgenev’s "Six Unknown?" Himself.)

8 Never lie. You cannot be too fastidious about the truth. If you must lie, at least see that you lie so badly that it would not deceive a pea hen. — The world is, however, full of pea hens.

9 Spend some of your spare time every day in hunting your weaknesses, caught from commerce with the herd, as methodically, solemnly and vindictively as a monkey his fleas. You will find yourself swarming with them while you are surrounded by humanity. But you must not bring them up on the mountain. = If you can get another man to assist you — one, that is, honest enough not to pass his own on to you — that is a good arrangement.

10 Do not play with political notions, aristocratisms or the reverse, for that is a compromise with the herd. Do not allow yourself to imagine "a fine herd though still a herd." There is no fine herd. The cattle that call themselves "gentlemen" you will observe to be a little cleaner. It is merely cunning and produced with a product called soap. But you will find no serious difference between them and those vast dismal herds they avoid. Some of them are very dangerous and treacherous. = Be on your guard with the small herd of gentlemen!

11 You will meet with this pitfall: at moments, surrounded by the multitude of unsatisfactory replicas, you will grow confused by a similarity bringing them so near to us. = You will reason, where, from some point of view, the difference is so slight, whether that delicate margin is of the immense importance that we hold it to be: the only thing of importance in fact. = That group of men talking by the fire in your club (you will still remain a member of your club), that party at the theatre, look good enough, you will say. Their skins are fresh, they are well-made, their manners are good. You must then consider what they really are. On closer inspection you know, from unpleasant experience, that they are nothing but limitations and vulgarities of the most irritating description. The devil Nature has painted these sepulchres pink, and covered them with a blasphemous Bond Street distinction. Matter that has not sufficient mind to permeate it grows, as you know, gangrenous and rotten. Animal high spirits, a little but easily exhausted, goodness, is all that they can claim.

What seduced you from your severity for a moment was the same thing as a dull woman’s good-looks. = This is probably what you will have in front of you. = On the other hand, everywhere you will find a few people, who, although not a mountain people are not herd. = They may be herdsmen gone mad through contact with the herd, and strayed: or through inadequate energy for our task they may be found there: or they may be a hybrid, or they may even be herdsmen temporarily bored with the mountain. (I have a pipe below myself sometimes.)

There are numerous "other denominations." Treat them as brothers. Employ them, as opportunity offers, as auxiliaries in your duties. Their society and help will render your task less arduous.

12 As to women: wherever you can, substitute the society of men. = Treat them kindly, for they suffer from the herd, although of it, and have many of the same contempts as yourself. They are a sort of bastard mountain people. = There must be somewhere a female mountain, a sort of mirage-mountain. I should like to visit it. = But women, and the processes for which they exist, are the arch conjuring trick: and they have the cheap mystery and a good deal of the slipperiness, of the conjuror. = Sodomy should be avoided, as far as possible. It tends to add to the abominable confusion already existing. 13 Wherever you meet a shyness that comes out of solitude, (although all solitude is not anti-herd) naiveness, and a patent absence of contamination, the sweetness of mountain water, any of the signs of goodness, you must treat that as sacred, as portions of the mountain.

However much you suffer for it, you must defend and exalt it. On the other hand, every child is not simple, and every woman is not weak. = In many cases to champion a female would be like springing to the rescue of a rhinoceros when you notice that it had been attacked by a flea. Chivalrous manners, again, with many women are like tiptoeing into a shed where an ox is sleeping. = Some children, too, rival in nastiness their parents. But you have your orders in this matter. Indifference where there should be nothing but the 'whole' eagerness or compunction of your being, is the worst crime in the mountain’s eyes.

14 Conquests have usually been divided from their antitheses, and defeats from conquests, by some casual event. Had Moscow not possessed a governor ready to burn the Kremlin and the hundreds of palaces accumulated there, peace would have been signed by the Czar at Bonaparte’s entrance. = Had the Llascans persevered for ten days against Cortés, the Aztecs would never have been troubled. Yet Montezuma was right to remain inactive, paralyzed by prophecy. Napoleon was right when he felt that his star was at last a useless one. He had drained it of all its astonishing effulgence. = The hair’s breadth is only the virtuosity of Fate, guiding you along imaginary precipices. = And all the detail is make-believe, anyway. Watch your star soberly and without comment. Do not trouble about the paste-board cliffs!

15 There are very stringent regulations about the herd keeping off the sides of the mountain. In fact your chief function is to prevent their encroaching. Some, in moments of boredom or vindictiveness, are apt to make rushes for the higher regions. Their instinct fortunately always keeps them in crowds or bands, and their trespassing is soon noticed. Those traps and numerous devices you have seen on the edge of the plain are for use, of course, in the last resort. Do not apply them prematurely. = Not very many herdsmen lose their lives in dealing with the herds.

16 Contradict yourself. In order to live, you must remain broken up.

17 The teacher does not have to be, although he has to know: he is the mind imagining, not the executant. The executant, the young svelte, miraculous athlete, the strapping virtuoso, really has to give the illusion of perfection. = Do not expect me to keep in sufficiently good training to perform the feats I recommend. = I usually remain up on the mountain.

18 Above all this sad commerce with the herd, let something veritably remain "un peu sur la montagne." Always come down with masks and thick clothing to the valley where we work.

Stagnant gasses from these Yahooesque and rotten herds are more dangerous often than the wandering cylinders that emit them. See you are not caught in them without your mask. = But once returned to our adorable height, forget your sallow task: with great freedom indulge your love. = The terrible processions beneath are not of our making, and are without our pity. Our sacred hill is a volcanic heaven. But the result of its violence is peace. = The unfortunate surge below, even, has moments of peace.
-Wyndham Lewis, 1914

Monday, January 3, 2011

Sisyphian Philosobees


BURLY, dozing humble-bee,
Where thou art is clime for me.
Let them sail for Porto Rique,
Far-off heats through seas to seek;
I will follow thee alone,
Thou animated torrid-zone!
Zigzag steerer, desert cheerer,
Let me chase thy waving lines;
Keep me nearer, me thy hearer,
Singing over shrubs and vines.

Insect lover of the sun,
Joy of thy dominion!
Sailor of the atmosphere;
Swimmer through the waves of air;
Voyager of light and noon;
Epicurean of June;
Wait, I prithee, till I come
Within earshot of thy hum,--
All without is martyrdom.

When the south winds in May days,
With a net of shining haze
Silvers the horizon wall,
And with softness touching all,
Tints the human countenance
With a color of romance,
And infusing subtle heats,
Turns the sod to violets,
Thou, in sunny solitudes,
Rover of the underwoods,
The green silence dost displace
With thy mellow, breezy bass.

Hot midsummer's petted crone,
Sweet to me thy drowsy tone
Tells of countless sunny hours,
Long days, and solid banks of flowers;
Of gulfs of sweetness without bound
In Indian wildernesses found;
Of Syrian peace, immortal leisure,
Firmest cheer, and bird-like pleasure.

Aught unsavory or unclean
Hath my insect never seen;
But violets and bilberry bells,
Maple-sap and daffodels,
Grass with green flag half-mast high,
Succory to match the sky,
Columbine with horn of honey,
Scented fern, and agrimony,
Clover, catchfly, adder's-tongue
And brier-roses, dwelt among;
All beside was unknown waste,
All was picture as he passed.

Wiser far than human seer;
Yellow-breeched philosopher!
Seeing only what is fair,
Sipping only what is sweet,
Thou dost mock at fate and care,
Leave the chaff, and take the wheat.
When the fierce northwestern blast
Cools sea and land so far and fast,
Thou already slumberest deep;
Woe and want thou canst outsleep;
Want and woe, which torture us,
Thy sleep makes ridiculous.

- RW Emerson

Archilochus Colubris-->

Sunday, January 2, 2011

"Psyche Revived by the Kiss of Love", Antonio Canova (1757–1822)

They told her that he, to whose vows she had listened
Thro' night's fleeting hours, was a spirit unblest;--
Unholy the eyes, that beside her had glistened,
And evil the lips she in darkness had prest.

"When next in thy chamber the bridegroom reclineth,
"Bring near him thy lamp, when in slumber he lies;
"And there, as the light, o'er his dark features shineth,
"Thou'lt see what a demon hath won all thy sighs!"

Too fond to believe them, yet doubting, yet fearing,
When calm lay the sleeper she stole with her light;
And saw--such a vision!--no image, appearing
To bards in their day-dreams, was ever so bright.

A youth, but just passing from childhood's sweet morning,
While round him still lingered its innocent ray;
Tho' gleams, from beneath his shut eyelids gave warning
Of summer-noon lightnings that under them lay.

His brow had a grace more than mortal around it,
While, glossy as gold from a fairy-land mine,
His sunny hair hung, and the flowers that crowned it
Seemed fresh from the breeze of some garden divine.

Entranced stood the bride, on that miracle gazing,
What late was but love is idolatry now;
But, ah--in her tremor the fatal lamp raising--
A sparkle flew from it and dropt on his brow.

All's lost--with a start from his rosy sleep waking;
The Spirit flashed o'er her his glances of fire;
Then, slow from the clasp of her snowy arms breaking,
Thus said, in a voice more of sorrow than ire:

"Farewell--what a dream thy suspicion hath broken!
"Thus ever. Affection's fond vision is crost;
"Dissolved are her spells when a doubt is but spoken,
"And love, once distrusted, for ever is lost!"
-Sir Thomas Moore