Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Moving

After five or six years of living here by the lake, with these goats, these trees, these foxes, these neighbors, Colleen and I are moving further north. We'll be living inside a small town, in an apartment, but I plan on doing a lot more walking, talking, and finding like-minded people. The move is next week.

The change is right. The time is near. I'm both excited and swamped. Colleen has been working very hard on getting things ready. She is also excited and swamped.

Once the move is complete and we're settling in, the next thing is to start developing a business plan for philosophical consulting. From there, the horizon is the limit, the ground is the basis, the ideas are the fruit, and the joy is the goal.

You are welcome to join us. You are always welcome to contribute. You are expected. You will bring so much to our life and we will bring so much to yours.

The door is open. The threshold we cross. The hall of infinite doors is on the other side. I will see you there.

I will see you all there.

Monday, September 04, 2017

The Old Things Return

I believe the universe is a living entity, a whole being, having its own life, its own dreams, its own worries, its own cares, its own hope. How it lives out these things is something I can only know through analogy, or metaphor, or through non-cognitive means altogether.

But I know these limits are also true for me and you. I do not really know what goes on inside your head when we're talking. It's not like I know what's going on inside mine, though. I mean, I do not know how my words or gestures or movements or ideas turn over inside you. I can see only outward signs of inward changes, but even then some people are really quite good at hiding or camouflaging or miscasting their inward changes. I am a very gullible person. I think it's why I convince myself to do things far too often.

I was saying, though, about the universe. I don't wonder much anymore how I got here. There's the official story and the covert one. Then there's the stories that come into being as a result of my own investigations and choices. Then there's the story that's my life, as in literally the story of my life. I am not aware what language it is, and I don't think I can ever be.

Short of, I guess, I'm calling it metalepsis. Metalepsis is an event within a story, a breaking of narratival walls and limits in such a manner that what had previously not been seen, understood, or "taken into account" within the story becomes part of the story-telling itself. (I feel this idea as I'm describing it here is largely influenced by Badiou.) Consider the first level: the narrative is told from the point of view of the detective, seeking to explain to you how he got into this mess, and at some point the story-telling catches up to the activity of telling you the story. Consider the second level: the narrative occurs within the context of your own world, the world in which you encounter the story as a story told to you from someone on the same reality level as yourself. This is a very rare event, but here's one example. Misha Collins plays a character named 'Castiel' in the television show Supernatural. Within the show, the characters Sam and Dean, played by Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, get sent to an alternate universe where they find themselves being played by two people, Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki. In this alternate universe, Sam and Dean meet Misha Collins, whom they mistake as Castiel. Misha Collins thinks the mistake is a practical joke, since Jared and Jensen are known jokers. Misha Collins, within the show, tweets this tweet, that we can see here.

The timing was off, but I hear these sorts of events are distinctly non-linear anyway.

I feel I'm still not explaining any of this right to you, but I'm trying to say that this has become my understanding for how I live within a Matrix within matrices. I looked this up just now to confirm. Yeah, 'matrix' really is connected to a mother, because it is the womb, the uterus, the pregnant thing. At the very same time I am reading Symposium in order to teach it to the kids. The theme for the Intro to Philosophy course is love, and we're reading Plato's most heralded account. It is the fractal model for the class, and, seriously, it's a really amazing series of puns, ironies, double-entendres; the kind of humor that feels lurking all throughout Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night ("Dick Diver"), which is also a story of an asymmetric relationship: erastes/erotomenos Old/young Elite/upcoming Physician/patient Teacher/student High/low. So much of the story within the Symposium juxtaposes the infertility of the Man/boy homoerotic with the higher fecundity of socialization, civilization, lover of the arts, lover of poesis, lover of wisdom. Colleen also suggested Giovanni's Room, which I'm using in class, which is very much the story of a closeted gay young man coming into his decision to be a "productive" member of society while reeling from his otherworldly experiences of sensuality within a small maid's room Giovanni is constantly renovating but never inhabiting (and see Colleen's own provocative thesis). So much of Giovanni's Room turns on fathers making children and older gay men turning boys (see also Perfume Genius in "Queen", in my playlist here). Plato has Diotima say, over and over and over again, that we are all pregnant with some thing, but for some of us it is our genetic self (so we are pregnant with babies), our own expressive self (so we are pregnant with artworks, devices, machines), our own communal self (so we are pregnant with ideas, theories, concepts), our own higher superself (so we are pregnant with laws, customs, rites), or our own highest Self (so we are no longer pregnant but in direct touch with Beauty, having given birth to virtue itself, ceased all our labors at last, and become immortal). We are pregnant with what we believe is our highest form of immortality.

But then Alcibiades suddenly bursts, drunk and filthy and gorgeous, upon all the men, and the story becomes something more than pregnancy.

A series of themes and topics have been presenting themselves to me through my own philosophical evolution. The development of these ideas coincides with a number of events, but the most significant ones to occur to me are these I feel compelled to talk about. Thinking and watching all this unfold, like petals, like puzzles, like . . ., it makes me conclude thus.

The Old Things are returning.

We are on the cusp of the Great ReAwakening here in the United States.

Cusp is perhaps not the right word.

The Braxton Hicks contractions have been felt for some time. Whereas the eager lover anticipates the parting of the folds, thinking that penetrating into the mystery is the height of true knowing, the dedicated lover, Plato I take to be saying, anticipates the parting of the folds for what it brings out from the hidden depths into the light. The parting of the folds has already begun. The love below already happened a long time ago. We are all too, all too late.

It won't be long now.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Pain of Ghosts

I broke out into tears and wails tonight, and I do not know exactly why.

I never really used Twitter much, and mostly lurked to get a feel for different kinds of news flows. I try and follow people whom I think will give me some deeper (or so) insight into the noosphere's shifts and tensions. I trust my instincts and intuitions when it comes to how information comes my way, but I also understand that I am, just as all of us who spend significant amounts of time on the Internet, nudged all along by you —and you know who you are— and by the intelligences and algorithms constantly tearing each other apart, or watching each other, or listening to one another. I have come to accept that my unconsciousness, being open to subtle deformations in the universe, whether the cosmic rays passing through my body or the 5G microwaves coming online or the multidimensional whispers from the other sides or just the accumulation of free radicals in my body from all the crap I eat, is not my unconsciousness but ours.

There is so much violence on Twitter. Casual and intentional, spiritual and emotional: it is all there, violent and quick and condescending.

The people who matter much, if they are not celebrities but CEOs, they put on such a smile and a positive spin. They will, of course, cry and show solidarity when it is safe —the victim fits the model of whatever ascendant virtue, that is— but the crafted image shows that their concerns are completely unlike the ordinary people who hate. What do they do with their all-too-human hate? I watch Richard Branson sky-dive, or para-sail, or zip-line —naturally, he likes to move through the air and be carried with the wind, a truly pneumatic and spiritual man. What does he do with his 24 hours? How does he maintain that smile, when it is enough to have one person's ego trip send me into a spiral of self-doubt, self-destruction, and self-sabotage?

People from larger families often have these kids whom I envy. They handle conflicts superbly, start their own and end them on time, think rapid thoughts and engage in the social organism's self-massage with relish. People frighten me when they start to turn their darkness on to me. It's only recently I've come to see how my own small family, with its very intense conflicts my childlike brain soaked up, constrained what my responses could be.

I was a police officer for a few years. I enjoyed certain aspects of the job, a lot. There's something so very exhilarating about the adrenaline rush of running code to something-you-know-not-what. Hearing some officer, high-pitched voice and all, calling out a 10-10 (A fight!) or a 10-80 (They're running!) made a midnight shift worth the fatigue the next day. I also enjoyed, and took pride in, talking people down or de-escalating verbal conflicts. I learned how to look people in the eye, watch their bodies, gauge their intentions, but I think I had been doing that for years in terms of sizing up whether or not that was a day I was going to be bullied, at school or at home. Being a cop, I guess, showed me that these were skills and habits I could use for a better end than simply self-preservation. I could use it to bring justice.

But the job also showed me much about what's awful with humans. Or maybe just Americans. Thoughtlessness is the basis, and I find myself, after all this, attracted to philosophers and theorists and ordinary people who practice lives of thinking what they are doing. The antidote is to think it through. The poison is the culture.

I'm babbling again. I haven't said anything on here for a while because I have been struggling a lot. This summer has been a giant kick to the soul, with little time for healing and recovering from the blow.


Something is happening to the soul I am. Maybe it is aging the way my body is, and all those years of waiting for The Weekend to come, when I could finally relax and recoup, catch up on all my shows, all my books, all my goat paths into the wilderness, all my workouts and leg presses and pull ups and warrior poses, all my fantasies of financial freedom, all those years have finally paid off. The Weekend was a lie. I see that now. It is a hard truth, but that's okay.

I am learning that it is okay.


Sometimes I do wake up, suddenly wherever I am, breathing hard and frightened and ready to run. This means, inside me, there is someone who was formed through fear and isolation. I am always carrying him along, and sometimes he drops me behind and comes out to run the show.


Sometimes I look into your eyes when we're talking and I love you all over again. When people started to mention my own staring, or way of looking, can be intense or overwhelming ("It's like he saw right into my soul"), I started to make it a habit to look away from you, because I didn't want you to feel as though that's what I wanted to do. I mean, I wanted you to have your privacy, but I also wanted mine. Inside the eyes is a straight path into the soul, the psyche, and sometimes I hear —or sense, or feel, or intuit, or imagine, whichever is most accurate— what a person thinks. Sometimes all I hear is what I want to say. Not in the sense that I'm waiting for my turn in the conversation, or the talk. I mean... I want to say things that are inappropriate, that are challenging, that are unusual, that are all-too-honest. I am often worried that I am saying things with my own eyes that are too honest.


When I am ready, I want to see the Akashic records of my life, to understand what I do not understand about this life, about how I got here and where I must go to finish this round. I do not know why it makes me tear up, why I start to cry, other than to say that it's overwhelming at times. The emotions are too much for me. All this hatred and anger and thoughtless violence, and the child inside me only knows how to seek out understanding by giving it all a context, a place, and a person. If I could do the thinking for it, the violence will have meaning. At least, it will have meaning for me. Sometimes I wonder why it's like this. This one despises me or pushes against me, calls me names or comes after me. So what do I do? I take them inside me, make them talk inside my head, over and over, no matter when I am, where I am, what I do. I am, inside, someone who wants to understand the evil and the anger and the sources of the negative energies sent into me.

But the violence goes back so far, and the further I go in this life, the more the ghosts start to crowd around me and wait for me to finally see them, talk with them. I can hear the goats, the cats, the trees, the cicada, the nuthatch, the dragonfly, the ant, the mantis. They see me coming and ask me for food. "Hey, man, can I have seven dollars?" Sometimes it's stranded people. Help me, I say into myself, my oldest self, and the child looks back at me and crushes and kills and burns things with casual childhood sociopathy. The violence is inside me because I have never really learned how to teach him, and not just this adult me that covers him over with skin upon skin upon skin, that his love, wild and confused and betrayed, is misdirected and untrained and new to the world. He can't hear me, because he doesn't hear anything except the repetitions of what he had heard.

I am still babbling. My mind unravels and reveals small fragments of things I have to piece together. Bits and threads of soul, dreams stitched onto reels of lifemovies I recorded with my own eyes —both those scenes I see from inside and those I watch from outside. I know they are all imaginary. They are all virtual and suggestive.


This entry isn't going anywhere. I am trying to get things out, and there's so many of us inside here that it's not all convenient to get out. I do envy those easy people who can smile and see the positive, the blonde, the suit-pressed or cuff-linked talker explaining across the large wooden table what Our People are going to do to help and support Your People.

Hustle. It is never too late to learn hustle, young man.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Porchlight

He's sitting on the porch with one leg dangling off. Spider webs filled with dust and dead things in the ceiling, between rafters, behind objects and implements of mysterious use. He is small, and five, and quiet, and afraid of the dark. He is rolling a piece of his shorts between his fingers and looking out into the dark. The porchlight only goes out so far, before the blue dark haze settles in turns everything into shades of dark and darker. The porchlight is covered in thick dusty strands of cobweb and dead things, with one long-dead husk of a moth hanging from the light.

The woods are loud. They are throbbing with the pulsing songs of cicada. Their chittering mutates and changes, grows and moves around in the air, a sonic life form calling to him. Out there, in the darkness, saying 'Come, come.'

His mother told him that going out into the woods is dangerous. They read some stories about bears or dragons and talked about bad things that can happen alone in the woods. They did read other adventure stories where boys and girls, alone or in groups, survived just fine but learned hard lessons in the woods. Overall, he understood. He understood that it's okay to go into the darkness so long as you don't go alone or when there's dragons or monsters.

Yet, he was not alone. Out there, in the darkness, he hears them all. What they are saying to each other doesn't matter, but what they are saying to him does. All of them, speaking with so earnest a passion for such brief lives, they do not want to be alone. They want him to sit with them, climb with them, and itch and scratch across those strings and membranes just right, just right, just so.

The porchlight hangs in silence. Alone and giving, but not strong enough for seeing that there's nothing there in the dark. It is weak enough to show there is always something in the dark.

A big brown and red moth dances up from the grass and catches his eye. He watches it as it skantles upwards fast and unpredictably, upwards towards the light, towards the porchlight. He watches it bash against the old and useless webs, bash against the hazy yellow glass, bash against invisible walls in the air. After some more bashing it falls straight down and hits the porch with a small 'tack.'. It is on its feet, its antennae are throbbing in the air, its dark eyes reflecting.

"I am you, moth," he says, cleaning off some dust from these wings.

He then takes off flying, the air thick and rich with so many flavors and dangers and doubts and desires, his mind free to imagine.

The empty porch stays lit. The light spreads thinly into the yard. But the light is not strong enough to find the boy from there.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Yet another preliminary gesture

Bassler is on to something. I am deeply, deeply curious why he is calling this Philosophia perennis.

I do not know for sure how to condense into a single definitional statement what philosophy is, without falling into the ambiguous abyss caused by trying to use language to describe something that comes to us from earlier in our own being than language, than, maybe, even thinking itself. So, I go with something initially like this.

Philosophy is (?the/a¿) disciplined use of one's imagination to resolve dialectical difficulties brought about when attending to one's being.

Philosophy only exists because we are able to expand our mind beyond what is immediately happening and entertain highly detailed but internally arising simulations. Without the very same machinery that forms our consciousness, without the virtualization of a world at all, we cannot have a world-within-ourselves that contains a parafinite number of worlds within that world. These worlds are the endlessness of our resourcefulness to think ourselves out of a jam disturbing us —the jolt bringing us into reality, the wrenching Bassler describes in Diagnosis of Contemporary Philosophy With The Matrix Movies, summon us to attend between various alternatives. To the extent we train ourselves to imagine the resolution, turning towards constellations of ideas rather than categories in order to see the attractions and swerves occurring in the (?virtual/transcendental¿) WORLD of all our worlds, to that extent do we begin understanding why philosophy is distinct from living and wondering but inseparable from them for us.

But who are we?

Who are they?

{here the dialectic begins anew}

{playing on the radio: "How do you know when it's love?/ It's just something you feel together"}

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

What if

What if you have Emily Dickinson as student
but she never writes an essay
What if you have Hannah Arendt as student
but she's sitting, just sitting in back
What if you have Tori Amos as student
but she's always too late for class

How do you judge
the quick and the dead
when you're too busy
being cool

How do you take
the measure of men
when you're too lazy
for cares

How do you teach
your neighbors to laugh
that encouraging kind
of cheer

I think I am trying
trying to find
a way out from tears




Barren walls are naked possibilities
the nudity our spirits constrain

unveiling itself as clothed in skins
what if our goddess awakens?

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Rational action

When I write to you, do you hear the voice inside your head that I hear in mine?

When I sing to you, do you hear the words inside your head that I hear in mine?

When I speak to you, do you hear the thoughts inside your head that I hear in mine?

The voice you speak inside my mind is your own
to the extent you speak outside my mind,
but to the extent you speak into my mind
the voice inside me becomes your own.

It is so dangerous to have no thought control. How do you wrestle the others from yourself?

You, in there, I'm talking to you

Me, in here, has no idea who answers

in me, in there, there is no idea

here, out here, there's answers but no idea

who speaks them

or who listens

who reads them

or who writes

who asks these questions

or who stays undisturbed




When do our illusions constitute our souls?
When is having a soul simply an illusion?
When do you love another person's soul?
When do you love another person's illusion?
When do you trust you know who you are?
When do you know you are deluding yourself?
When do you move from awareness to delusion?
When do you move from delusion to awareness?

When the yawning world opens itself up and splits across your minds inside, and the cartoon hand descends downward and brings you out from the page and into the truth about the ever-ending chasm you now can see, how do you know it's not really a dream?



And now that I'm jumping into it, how do I know I'm not still there, dreaming that I'm flying endlessly simply by tilting my head just so even as I'm endlessly falling into crushing oblivion? Which is the reality I want to believe in?

Why do I believe in both?

How can I be the end of this all
and be so irresponsible with that call

but


it's just a tiny little hinge I must turn
the historical lesson is that it's all just that
"it's the little things that get you" says the man
from the future, the ideas are always moving into us
from the future

the loop must end with me if I'm to make
the turn to the next larger loops
and consider:
life has a topological surface
a skin with many sides—
tracing out how your life ends
as the narrowing of a cone of choices
into one singular ending
and then
setting it alongside several many others
—surfaces of lives' beginnings—
tracing out from the future
those who want to exist as themselves
acting in the spaces available to them

we are their battleground,
site, plot, soil, hole,
grave, field, acreage
home, temple, vessel,
source and fertility,
forest and necessity,
from us they become
who we are as ideas

but who am I, when I realize how
overwhelming it all is
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