Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Totalization of Shadows, Part I

I love my gold-tinged fogs, swirling and floating and transporting me haphazardly, yet I don’t want swirling, floating and fogging to extend into the nice, solid, durable wooden (specially pressure-treated in chromium solution to prevent decay) stoop upon which I sit during these pleasant transports. I love my gold-tinged fogs, BUT-- I want them in their time, in their place--somewhat under control, that is. Does this make me a coward?

I built this stoop—I attached it to my house. As I did so, stability was definitely of concern. So was the regularity of the rise and run—I hate steps which, through variation in measurement make it more likely people going up and down will trip and fall. ( There is something like an unconscious “standard”—an unconscious expectation of interval-- established by the pattern of a stair’s rise and run…It’s a dirty trick to mess people up by messing with their unconscious expectation.) I used a power miter saw when I did the job—any gold-tinged fog intruding as I lowered the blade on to the cutting wood could have caused the terrible red-tinged clarity of pain. Wishing to avoid the red-tinged clarity of pain doesn’t strike me as cowardly at all.

Would I really be delighted if some mornings I awoke to find the stoop present but other mornings missing? If some mornings the stoop had seven steps, and on others, steps counting twenty-two? If the steps sometimes reached the ground, but not always? If the steps varied in dimension even as I walked them? While it is true such a situation would prevent me from falling into a rut, I might end up taking even more harmful falls. Such a situation would present me with so many other kinds of difficulty I imagine I would find “falling into a rut” no problem at all—more of a sanctuary, really—a comfort, like an easy chair (which is nice to sink into when life becomes difficult.) The sheer beauty of routine, habit, reliability...would be lost.

I wouldn’t want my built, man-made environment to become unnecessarily complicated by irregularity or uncertainty, but is there any degree of complication, irregularity, or uncertainty which IS necessary? Is irregularity necessary? Why? Do I retreat into my gold-tinged fogs because it is within these gold-tinged fogs where I can get my necessary dose? How regular or irregular are these gold-tinged fogs, anyway? Is it possible to know? Is there a gold-bar standard for determining the regularity or randomness of gold-tinged fogs? Does freedom oppose necessity? Why does acceptance of necessity often feel like slavery? Is it the arbitrary way “necessity” is so often attributed? Or is it an expression of ressentiment against what life necessarily is?

9 Comments:

Blogger Carl Sachs said...

The stoop and steps are not entirely of your own invention. They are inherited from parents and teachers and friends and lovers, they are part of what one modifies as one comes into one's own, and they are also what one hands down to one's children as their inheritance.

And it should be by now quite trivial to point out that the stoops and steps are inherited not merely from one's immediate predecessors, but in so inheriting them, one becomes conscious of taking up a relation to a tradition -- something that has a history and weightiness which reaches as far back into the past as one might wish to go. (And the sense of that tradition is also continually reworked by each generation's discoveries and innovations.)

Thus I think that there is less of a threat of drifting off from rooted ground than I seem to get from your post.

6:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Thus I think that there is less of a threat of drifting off from rooted ground than I seem to get from your post."

Interesting point. And interesting it is point out I am following this post with another one which asks: what's the nature of this anxiety--to even think of a threat of drifting off?

"The stoop and steps are not entirely of your own invention. They are inherited from parents and teachers and friends and lovers, they are part of what one modifies as one comes into one's own, and they are also what one hands down to one's children as their inheritance."

True, but I think the above is just as true about my gold-tinged fogs.

I think I create some variations on set(and inherited) themes in these fogs--it is cheap and easy to do so. I could, if I wanted, create stoops and stairs which would show some creativity in terms of variation on the set and inherited themes of steps and stairs, but these would most likely be trivial--exactly as trivial as the "creativity" manifesting in my gold-tinged fogs.

Thanks for the comment,

--Yusef

7:56 PM  
Blogger James River Martin said...

I want my gold-tinged fogs. I need them. I enjoy and appreciate them.

I find that it is essential to my growth and development to get lost frequently. I enjoy getting intellectually lost. I appreciate getting lost emotionally. Hardly anything makes me feel and be so alive as when I'm sitting on my front porch talking with a close friend (whom I love) and realizing--and saying--that I've been lost and just now I'm finding that which was lost. It happened yesterday. I had to get really, really lost in a red and blue-tinged fog. I had
to stay there a while. These things take time. And then there it was, right there on the porch with the day's light dimming into brilliant sol e sombra clouds of various shades and hughs. The crack in the world was there and I could
almost hear it ring like a deep deep bronze bell, or hum sweetly like the Earth slowly turning on its axis.

My friend is so "yin". We talked about that and how "yang" I've been, habitually, without realizing it very deeply and seeing into it. I was proud of my "yin" nature. I thought I knew a lot of things. But the crack that is in everything intersected with my front porch and my friend and our reckless ongoing deep encounter.... The crack opened wide and swallowed us up a moment and it was delicious and oh so warmknowing beautiful.

It's so sad to realize that all these years with my friend I never really saw him before. And it is so wonderful and such a precious lovely hopeful letting go discovery to be lost and found with him in this way.

9:41 AM  
Blogger James River Martin said...

oops! hues, not "hughs"!

9:43 AM  
Blogger Carl Sachs said...

"I could, if I wanted, create stoops and stairs which would show some creativity in terms of variation on the set and inherited themes of steps and stairs, but these would most likely be trivial--exactly as trivial as the "creativity" manifesting in my gold-tinged fogs."

Why trivial?

It seems to me that there's got to be a healthy middle ground between the weirdly narcissistic valorization of the creative individual and the equally weirdly diminution of the individual. Spinoza and Hegel and Sagan and Dawkins on the one hand, Goethe and Thoreau and Kierkegaard on the other . . .

Since some people think there's a gain through etymological considerations, here's one for you. "Trivia" is derived from "trivial" (not the other way around!), and "trivial" is derived from "trivium." The trivium, meaning "the three roads," refers to the three liberal arts -- grammar, rhetoric, and logic (or dialectic) -- which were considered the foundation of all education in the late Middle Ages.

Only once these were mastered could one progress to the study of the "quadrivium" -- music, astronomy, geometry, and arithmetic. Since the first three arts were foundational for the rest, they were considered "trivial". Mastery of the trivium resulted in conferring the degree of Bachelor of Arts.

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trivial because these innovations would unlikely be of much value to anyone else but me. I would mainly derive benefit from them by exercising my carpentry skills, amusing myself, and feeling good because I'd "done something a little different."

--Yusef

2:48 PM  
Blogger Carl Sachs said...

Well, so what if they count only for you? That doesn't mean that they don't count for just that much!

9:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In 2 1/2 years, we haven't succeeded in broaching the topic of critique--one of the key elements of your theory of Enlightenment. I'm looking forward to when we do because I think it's a big problem for me. Your comments point to a more healthy relationship to it than I have, I think.


--Yusef

11:30 AM  
Blogger Philosopher of the Future said...

intellectuals welcome:
http://philosopherofthefuture.blogspot.com

1:05 AM  

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