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.


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

    So true.
    And energy is a limited resource for me...most of the time.

    I feel like a tight-rope walker who never can quite see the other platform.

  2. Sometimes ya just got to leap for it! ;)

  3. Ay mis dios!
    So many metaphors!

    What is the platform? to you?

  4. My next constellation of values, of course. ;)

  5. Said I one night to a pristine seer (Who knew the secrets of whirling time)

    "Sir, you well perceive That goodness and faith, Fidelity and love Have all departed from this sorry land Father and son are at each other's throat; Brother fights brother, Unity and federation are undermined Despite all these ominous signs, Why has not Doomsday come? Who holds the reins of the Final Catastrophe? The hoary old man of lucent ken Pointed towards Kashi and gently smiled "The Architect", he said, "is fond of this edifice Because of which there is color in life; He Would not like it to perish and fall."

  6. I guess I'm not ready to drop another permanent anchor yet.

    I'm content to sit in my boat and survey the ocean's surface, map islands of the blessed, and let my sea anchor's drag, thereby slowing my rate of drift, for a bit longer... before committing to choose another platform to leap towards and/or perish in the attempt.

  7. Book II: February 28

    We’ve reached harbour: the book ends with the month:

    Now, from here, my vessel can sail through other waters.

    Ovid - "Fasti", Book II

  8. No wonder the book is called "Metamorphoses". :)

  9. The other book I mean...

  10. Τα Πάντα ῥεῖ (ta panta rhei) - Everything flows...

    but memory SUCKS parts of it back!

  11. It's so sweet to be set free, to be able to flow, but bitter in that it's lonely.

  12. "Some of the Great Goods cannot live together.... we are doomed to choose, and every choice may entail an irreparable loss." --Isaiah Berlin

    In short, it's what Michael Ignatieff summarized as "the tragic nature of choice".

    Euripedes, "Hecuba - I may be a slave and weak as well, but the gods are strong, and custom too which prevails o'er them, for by custom it is that we believe in them and set up bounds of right and wrong for our lives. Now if this principle, when referred to thee, is to be set at naught, and they are to escape punishment who murder guests or dare to plunder the temples of gods, then is all fairness in things human at an end."

  13. (cont.)

    The man answered: We only prepare, Socrates, just so much as we deem enough. I understand, he said: but I may and must ask the gods to prosper my journey from this to the other world—even so—and so be it according to my prayer. Then raising the cup to his lips, quite readily and cheerfully he drank off the poison. And hitherto most of us had been able to control our sorrow; but now when we saw him drinking, and saw too that he had finished the draught, we could no longer forbear, and in spite of myself my own tears were flowing fast; so that I covered my face and wept, not for him, but at the thought of my own calamity in having to part from such a friend. Nor was I the first; for Crito, when he found himself unable to restrain his tears, had got up, and I followed; and at that moment, Apollodorus, who had been weeping all the time, broke out in a loud and passionate cry which made cowards of us all. Socrates alone retained his calmness: What is this strange outcry? he said. I sent away the women mainly in order that they might not misbehave in this way, for I have been told that a man should die in peace. Be quiet, then, and have patience. When we heard his words we were ashamed, and refrained our tears; and he walked about until, as he said, his legs began to fail, and then he lay on his back, according to the directions, and the man who gave him the poison now and then looked at his feet and legs; and after a while he pressed his foot hard, and asked him if he could feel; and he said, No; and then his leg, and so upwards and upwards, and showed us that he was cold and stiff. And he felt them himself, and said: When the poison reaches the heart, that will be the end. He was beginning to grow cold about the groin, when he uncovered his face, for he had covered himself up, and said—they were his last words—he said: Crito, I owe a cock to Asclepius; will you remember to pay the debt? The debt shall be paid, said Crito; is there anything else? There was no answer to this question; but in a minute or two a movement was heard, and the attendants uncovered him; his eyes were set, and Crito closed his eyes and mouth.

    Such was the end, Echecrates, of our friend; concerning whom I may truly say, that of all the men of his time whom I have known, he was the wisest and justest and best.

    Such was the end of the man who's first principle was that it was better to suffer an injustice than commit one. How unlike Achilles and/or Odysseus.

  14. Plato, "Phaedo"

    Now the hour of sunset was near, for a good deal of time had passed while he was within. When he came out, he sat down with us again after his bath, but not much was said. Soon the jailer, who was the servant of the Eleven, entered and stood by him, saying:—To you, Socrates, whom I know to be the noblest and gentlest and best of all who ever came to this place, I will not impute the angry feelings of other men, who rage and swear at me, when, in obedience to the authorities, I bid them drink the poison—indeed, I am sure that you will not be angry with me; for others, as you are aware, and not I, are to blame. And so fare you well, and try to bear lightly what must needs be—you know my errand. Then bursting into tears he turned away and went out.

    Socrates looked at him and said: I return your good wishes, and will do as you bid. Then turning to us, he said, How charming the man is: since I have been in prison he has always been coming to see me, and at times he would talk to me, and was as good to me as could be, and now see how generously he sorrows on my account. We must do as he says, Crito; and therefore let the cup be brought, if the poison is prepared: if not, let the attendant prepare some.

    Yet, said Crito, the sun is still upon the hill-tops, and I know that many a one has taken the draught late, and after the announcement has been made to him, he has eaten and drunk, and enjoyed the society of his beloved; do not hurry—there is time enough.

    Socrates said: Yes, Crito, and they of whom you speak are right in so acting, for they think that they will be gainers by the delay; but I am right in not following their example, for I do not think that I should gain anything by drinking the poison a little later; I should only be ridiculous in my own eyes for sparing and saving a life which is already forfeit. Please then to do as I say, and not to refuse me.

    Crito made a sign to the servant, who was standing by; and he went out, and having been absent for some time, returned with the jailer carrying the cup of poison. Socrates said: You, my good friend, who are experienced in these matters, shall give me directions how I am to proceed. The man answered: You have only to walk about until your legs are heavy, and then to lie down, and the poison will act. At the same time he handed the cup to Socrates, who in the easiest and gentlest manner, without the least fear or change of colour or feature, looking at the man with all his eyes, Echecrates, as his manner was, took the cup and said: What do you say about making a libation out of this cup to any god? May I, or not?