Aphorisms

~ “It’s nothing personal. It’s only business.” Catchphrase of mafiosos and – categorical maxim of the future?

~ The opposite of evolving is not devolving. Etymologically, these words mean almost the same thing. The word that comes closest to being the opposite of ‘moving-out-from-volving’ is revolving – revolving despite a changing environment…This is important to bear in mind given that the overwhelming majority of species that have lived are now extinct.

~ Formula for a great artist: Not simply the ideas. More principally, the ability to hold to them like life-preservers in life’s accidents and drift. But some felicity in life, like a congenial companion, is almost always necessary to turn out what we call an Artist. Not so for that other kind of artist we call a Philosopher. He does best with consistent scorn, unjust dismissal, ostracism – in short, those treatments enforcing solitude. Only solitude instills him with the audacity to think his created world might be the world, and goads him forever on to make it become worth that Being. – And for those stuck in the middle? Life has bequeathed them the redoubled pain of inconsistency – or do they bring this on themselves for not sticking to a side? Whatever’s the case, it’s this inconsistency that’s most likely to jar one loose – to make him or her let go – and builds the most strength in hangers-on.

~ When one considers The Epic of Gilgamesh, when one considers The Odyssey, it seems almost inconceivable that the death-petrified, egotistical childishness that is the Christian church and its derivatives won out in the end. How was that which won the heart of the world so far from the life well lived? The answer: Empire drove man beside himself – and still does.

~ Christianity’s most lasting crime against humanity: As a result of being born of a tradition which denied the various impulses of life and the rightness of life itself, it came to deny death. In its own words, it “overcame” death. And whereas we have largely overcome (and outside the cloister and monastery were never at very much liberty to embrace) the denial of life, the denial of death is still at the heart of humanity’s present busyness … But what about the fourfold infinite repetition, my belief? Does this not obliterate death in the infinite repetition of life? No. On the contrary, it infinitely multiplies this death of yours and mine along with our lives. Death is still the world’s absolute boundary life is nonetheless constantly overcoming. This is the value of life.

~ Landed patrimony in the European peasantry: An illustration of how forcefully law can throw value out of balance. For it was this thematic “thorn” of Shakespeare, and not so much his thorn of the chaste (and thus, sadly, futureless) maiden ideal, which suppressed an unlearned (today we’d say “grassroots”) rebirth of the feminine creative principle in Europe, and gave them only the worship of Mary to express their half-conscious desire towards this rebirth. For indeed, the Virgin Birth means the Universe itself (as Mother!) infused with the miracle of the spirit that is human life. A blessed symbol, but how much more could these humble people have lived its loving worship without the dam of patrimonial law?

~ Embrace groundlessness – despoiling Mother of all things – for the future will be made by those who keep themselves bravely in insecurity.

~ Fear of love? Fear of commitment? – Please. As if we’re all such proud, self-possessing lions. If it’s actually fear here we’re talking about, and not aversion, it’s almost always fear of not being loved; fear of not being committed to. We should be more honest with ourselves, even if the truth is painful…But why not remain in the soft light of illusion about how lovable we are? Because our greatest weaknesses, accepted, can become our greatest strengths.

~ An information revolution lacking new ideas only accelerates what was already happening.

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2 comments on “Aphorisms

  1. Debra Capitan says:

    Were the three paragraphs supposed to be linked in thought or separate? DUGH?! I didn’t see the connection if there was one, but each of the three was interesting in and of itself.

    This would be me, I’m afraid…or are you saying it’s okay to be inconsistent? And for those stuck in the middle? Life has bequeathed them the redoubled pain of inconsistency or do they bring this on themselves for not sticking to a side? Whatevers the case, its this inconsistency thats most likely to jar one loose – to make him or her let go – and builds the most strength in hangers-on

    A song written by Joni Mitchell comes to mind:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9j_j-cUwKc Joni Mitchell- Both Sides Now

    Joni Mitchell – Both Sides Now

    Rows and flows of angel hair And ice cream castles in the air And feather canyons ev’rywhere I’ve looked at clouds that way But now they only block the sun They rain and snow on everyone So many things I would have done But clouds got in my way I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now From up and down, and still somehow It’s cloud illusions I recall I really don’t know clouds at all

    Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels The dizzy dancing way you feel As ev’ry fairy tale comes real I’ve looked at love that way

    But now it’s just another show You leave ’em laughing when you go And if you care, don’t let them know Don’t give yourself away

    I’ve looked at love from both sides now From give and take, and still somehow It’s love’s illusions I recall I really don’t know love at all

    Tears and fears and feeling proud To say “I love you” right out loud Dreams and schemes and circus crowds I’ve looked at life that way

    But now old friends are acting strange They shake their heads, they say I’ve changed Well something’s lost, but something’s gained In living ev’ry day

    I’ve looked at life from both sides now From win and lose and still somehow It’s life’s illusions I recall I really don’t know life at all I’ve looked at life from both sides now From up and down, and still somehow It’s life’s illusions I recall I really don’t know life at

    • Anthony says:

      She’s talking more about life being confounding in that from one perspective, another seems like an illusion, and visa versa, and thus in the end it seems there’s no takeaway about love or life in general but only a series of “illusions” to recall. I’ve felt that way at times, especially when I know that some one I care about percieves me differently from how I percieve myself, but then, why this word “illusions”? Just because one feeling and approach isn’t categorically appropriate, that doesn’t mean it was just an illusion. What’s more, different feelings, approaches, and the circumstances they result in have differently creative effects, so if one knows the kind of effectiveness one wants to achieve in the world there is likely a right way to approach a feeling like love, or life itself, after all.

      This leads me to what I was trying to discuss: That is, the feelings of OTHERS towards a thinker that are most conducive to producing the Artist and Philosopher, respectively. These two types generally both undergo and subject themselves to very different social conditions to achieve their creative ends. And as you’ll note, I described those conditions. But those who want to integrate (and what’s more feel vitally compelled to integrate) these two personas into one, must also be subject to these two very different sets of social conditions and approaches to life, love, etc. This is the inconsistency I was trying to get at: a fickleness of the world in its approval of one’s creativity and affections.

      It’s funny, I’ve always been somewhat fascinated by a German poet named Friedrich Holderlin – as much by his reputation as by translations of his work. But before last night I’d never read much at all about his life. He wanted to reintegrate in himself the roles of poet, philosopher, prophet, and priest. Much of his work is asounding. But as the conditions of his inspiration were star-crossed and precipitously collapsed, and as the circumstances in his life were at once blessed in others recognizing his brilliance but cursed in their unwillingness or inability to fully embrace it and foster its growth, his creative time was very short. When he was thirty-four he collapsed mentally when the whole world of his love and support seemed to have consummately crumbled to ruin. He was institutionalized until years later when he was saved by a kindhearted carpenter, but creatively was a different man till he died many years later.

      As I said, I’d never read about his life prior to last night, but he is the supreme example of the tension of personas and the world’s inconsistency that I was trying to get at. He let go, as “madness,” in such individuals is primarily a letting go of a great creative tension. And even before his madness he wrote his sister once that his rise and fall would be brief, and that afterward he’d live the life of a child. Prior to that though, he’d worked himself into an incredibly strong individual, given the terrible inconsistencies he endured.

      But what’s most interesting to me about him is what his project was. At the turn of the nineteenth century, as the full behest of the industrial revolution was taking hold, he was adament about the reintegration of creative forces. He saw in nascency the fractures and divisions arising in industral man and called for his contemporaries to turn back, artistically, religiously, and politically. And he was likewise appalled by the dichotomies between, e.g., imagination (civilization) and nature, thought and feeling, art and science, that were taking hold as a result of romantic writers like Rousseau. His overall project was as prophetic as his later poems themselves.

      Maybe though, in the crisis of the industrial age, in the havok and suffering that’s created in the broken prospects of our techno-industrial system, the reintegration and reawakening I want so much will have a better chance. Prophets have never been widely respected until after their prophecies have come to light for even the simplest among us. It’s sad this is the case , but in any event, Holderlin’s project at the inception of the modern technological era will be the project of its end.

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