so close your eyes
and let the dark
ness be thy sight
and If you die
there's none to say
Even if you do not know French, the audiofile below of Aube by Paul A. Mankin will deepen your appreciation of the poem. There are no translations of his poem that convey its beauty.
AUBE from Illuminations (1875)
J'ai embrassé l'aube d'été.
Rien ne bougeait encore au front des palais. L'eau était mortre. Les camps d'ombres ne quittaient pas la route du bois. J'ai marché, réveillant les haleines vives et tièdes; et les pierries regardèrent, et les ailes se levèrent sans bruit.
La première enterprise fut, dans le sentier déjà empli de frais et blêmes éclats, une fleur qui me dit son nom.
Je ris au wasserfall blond qui s'échevela à travers les sapins: à la cime argentée je reconnus la déesse.
Alors je levai un à les voiles. Dans l'allée, en agitant les bras. Par la plaine, où je l'ai dénoncée au coq. A la grand'ville elle fuyait parmi les clochers et les dômes, et, courant comme un mendiant sur les quais de marbre, je la chassais.
En haut de la route, près d'un bois de lauriers. Je l'ai entourée avec ses voiles amassés, et j'ai senti un peu son immense corps. L'aube et l'enfant tombèrent au bas du bois.
Au réveil, il était midi.
DAWN from Illuminations (1875)
I embraced the summer dawn.
Nothing stirred on the face of the palaces. The water was still. Crowds of shadows lingered on the road to the woods. I walked, dreaming the warm, brisk winds, and precious stones looked on, and wings soared in silence.
The first venture, on the path already full of fresh and pale glitterings, was a flower who told me her name.
I laughed at the white waterfall dishevelled through the pine trees: at its silvery summit I recognized the goddess.
Then, one by one, I lifted her veils. In the pathway, waving my arms. In the open field, where I betrayed her to the cock. In the city she fled amid the steeples and the domes, and running like a beggar on the marble piers, I chased her.
At the top of the road, near a wood of laurels, I wrapped her in her mass of veils, and felt a little of her immense body. Dawn and the child fell at the edge of the woods.
When I awoke it was noon.
---Peter Y. Chou, WisdomPortal.com
— Above version based on the following translations:
— Arthur Rimbaud, Illuminations
translated by Bertrand Mathieu
Boa Editions, Brockport, NY, 1979, pp. 32-33
— Arthur Rimbaud, Illuminations
translated by Daniel Sloate
Guernica, Montreal, Canada, 1990, pp. 78-79
— Arthur Rimbaud, A Season in Hell and Illuminations
translated by Mark Treharne
J.M. Dent, London, 1998 (no page #)
Despair is suffering without meaning. – Viktor Frankl
But while there were times when I rejoiced in the idea that my sufferings were to be endless, I could not bear them to be without meaning. Now I find hidden somewhere away in my nature something that tells me that nothing in the whole world is meaningless—suffering least of all. – Oscar Wilde
In the midst of winter I at last discovered that there was within me an invincible summer.
– Albert Camus
Winter under cultivation is as arable as spring – Emily Dickinson
* * * * * *
Charles Adams Eaton – 2016-03-06
It is not that Suffering, Death, Grief, and all other conditions of deep human pain have meaning in themselves. They do not. Yet it is one of the wonders of human life that, by the stance we take toward events and conditions that we cannot change, we are able to bear the unbearable, to discover within our grief the deep Love that creates the sharpness of that pain, to recognize that it is by the darkness of Death that we see most clearly the shimmering light of Life, and to find meaning permeating our lives as in an invincible summer. If our lives were endless, if there were no death, if we were never shattered by the loss of those whom we love… But why consider what is not and cannot be our condition? We may, however, examine how best we can equip ourselves for what is our greatest challenge: the stance, posture, or attitude that we take toward Death.
I would not die terrified—with bones chilled to the marrow.
I would not die stoically—with clenched fists and gritted teeth.
I would not die bravely—with a vain passion in my heart to “conquer” Death.
I would not die raging against the dying of the light.
I would not die with depressed resignation—giving up Life with a last despairing gasp.
If it lies within me,
I would face Death with the composure of acceptance—and with a feeling
of gratitude and rejoicing for the gift of Life and its many wonders.
You spoke the only true word I know
And that word became an open wound
They cleaned with lye, not knowing
Your pain, your tears were like wine
That would save their sorry souls.
Pick up the rifle, son
No you said
That’s no SIR, son
Pick up the damn gun!
No you said.
They called the captain
They called the priest
They called the doctor
Are you crazy, son?
No no no
Come with us!
You walked away.
I see you now forty years later
alone on that far thundering shore
“I will not fight your fucking war!”
You are carving a face out of driftwood
the face behind the face of every man I meet
I have it still and think of you.
You came back. True to your word.
And they sent you to Leavenworth
Where your bruises became sores
Your sores gaping wounds
Your screams the blessing
That saves our tortured souls.
Though leaves are many, the root is one;
Through all the lying days of my youth
I swayed my leaves and flowers in the sun;
Now I may wither into the truth.
March 12, 2016. My birthday. 70 years old. Time stops today. Tomorrow will be the after life and though clocks will run and I will age, time holds me within the stillness of her arms. You will see me and talk with me and not know that I am already gone, walking up a forest path to a cabin above the clouds. There I will sleep and wake and talk to the birds and ride on the wind and seem to be moving among you as I always have. The mystery is how the two can be one. How I have earned this gift I do not know, but it is so.
The terrible, wonderful truth is that we are all totally transparent to each other; there is no place to hide. Why not stop trying? No sly, tacit agreement to act as if no one can really know what it is like to be another can change what is in fact the case: I know what it is like to be you and you know what it is like to be me. How could it be otherwise? How else would love be possible? It is a truth so fundamental to our being in the world that it is easy to miss altogether. Or maybe it is a reality that would threaten to overwhelm the space we have marked out as our own private realm. Of course, being a man, I don't know what it is like to give birth, but I do know what it is like to be. That is enough. More than enough. It saves us from the objectification of the other. That's no small thing. It is, as Heraclitus, might say, a matter of perspective: the way up and the way down are one and the same.
Your hand my hand his hand her hand our hand and hand in hand it on.
Who is there is here is there is here so there.
What it is like to be me is what it is like to be what it is like to be you.
Just so much is exactly who we are no more no less you than me no more me than you.
That is just so that is just that so that is that.
When I think of the folks to whom Oliver Sacks devoted his life, it is as if he has devoted himself to me. It is not just that I may myself suffer some neurological mishap; rather, it is that I most certainly will suffer a neuological mishap and die and it is my identity as a whole person by which I would be remembered, not the odd contingencies of my physical being, though there is place for that as well. After all, as Oliver understood, we are born of the elements. My life has been packed with accomplishment and suffering, inspiration and loss, childlike energy and one challenge after another. Like Sacks, I have been ‘on the move’ and I will remain so even to my last elemental breath. I have lived with seeming purpose, perhaps not as well or as fully as I might imagine, but I would say with Walt Whitman and as each of the folks Sacks has cared for would say: I am here –- life exists and identity -- the powerful play goes on and I have contributed a verse.
Before the fall
I stood like a tree
Catching every breath
Of wind in my limbs
Like some sweet girl
Who laughs and jumps
Into her daddy’s arms.
That was before . . .
Then the big wind --
I held my ground
Nothing . . .
Nothing at all.
Then I broke,
Roots torn up,
Falling Into the night
Leaves, the light
Scattering the sound
of a voice that cried
I thought you
would never die.
That voice, shattered
Into a million shards
Of light, suddenly
Caught my fall
and held my head
in her arms, singing
Where O Where Has
My Sweet Daddy Gone.
Gone to ground.
As I sit here writing tonight at my desk I am on the river and see myself in the flow of all things . . . the sounds of water, bird and wind are my voice, and all my senses are alive as though the stars were at elbow and foot . . . I breathe in the night and orion, aldebaran, and procyon come closer, and there you are again, musa, luna puella, your body curving and folding in the current, laughing and inviting me to dive with you beneath the rippling and lose myself at last, these words nothing but the falling rain.
The source of the longing for truth is not our desire to know but rather our yearning to participate in the very reality we would disclose and thereby transcend this life, this body, this death. Out of this longing comes a life as simple and mysterious as the fall of rain, a life ever new and ever dying, as though we were to come to our last day as to our first, giving ourselves up to the morning, open at last to the possibility of all things.
The Loneliest Loneliness. Who knows himself and does not know the loneliest loneliness? Who has loved, been loved, betrayed love, risked love, sold their body for love and does not know the loneliest loneliness? It is always there. It slept while you slept and woke when you woke. It is what you will be after you have died. It is what you were before you were born. Dost thou not remember? Dost thou not know thyself? You shall know that loneliness when the mirror you hold to trace the lines of your age becomes only memories. The Other will come and ask what you are staring at? And you will answer, truthfully. Nothing. Nothing at all. What will you do then? Let us sing a song of the night, of the darkest night, that is so passionate and true that the darkness itself becomes beautiful:
Out of the night comes love;
Out of the night comes the darkness of your eyes;
Out of the night comes the body of the world;
Out of the night come the larger and the smaller light;
Out of the night comes the leaf to the branch;
Out of the night comes the weyard wind.
Metaphor is the mystery. The poetic act is both a participation in and apprehension of that mystery. A poem may affect us by its lyricism and its passion, by its matching sound with sense -- but without metaphor and the mystery it confers, poetry belongs solely to the decorative or rhetorical arts. It is by metaphor that a poem draws us back again and again to trace the lines that lead to the heart of being and to ourselves.
Poetry is inspired song. The breath is the soul of the poem. The poet gathers the air around, the blue from the sky and her curling eyes, the warmth from the sun and his lover's body . . . and sings. The air is measured, the lover's body rolls with the waves and her eyes become one with the night. In the morning, the poet crawls out of the sky like a bear, stretching full out, searching again for the sweetness, searching in the movement of cloud and leaf and desire. He sings. If his words resound in skin and bone, in the stone-cold night, if he enchants the air with his song -- it is poetry.
Light acts upon us as inspiration. The touch of the beloved makes us beautiful. The bird’s song becomes our own. The chill in the air turns us into living stone. With each step we create the earth, our pulse the measure of all things. The river runs away from and into us. Being is because we are. The doors of perception always open upon our own creation and we pronounce it good.
He fell (he was always falling)
Or rather, he jumped, missing the water
That would have taken him, leaving his remains
to flow in the rhythms of his speech,
Washed clean like one hoping to please
Instead of what was, a silent heap,
Though there was heard from a nearby street
What some would call a melodious scream.
I had forgotten where I was when someone called, “You're late.” For what, I didn’t know. “I’ll be right there.” But where was there? I walked toward the voice, but someone or something touched me from behind. I turned around. Again, the voice, "You're late," but this time I just stood there.
Beauty. Beauty is the experience of consciousness beholding itself. In so far as my consciousness in its structure, movement and content is like that of every other man and woman beauty is universal; in so far as my consciousness is individual and personal so is my experience of beauty. It may that this experience of beauty goes back to our infancy and even before that where desire and fulfillment were one and indistinguishable. It may even be that this initial experience becomes the energy or eros to create or seek out beauty. If so, its beginning is a gift that propels us out into the world to find ourselves, to make ourselves whole again. In so far as the personal and individual aspect of consciousness dominates, it tends to become narcissism, but in so far as consciousness seeks its universal reflection it becomes love of beauty itself. And so it is also with truth and virtue. Truth is the correspondence of consciousness to reality. Virtue is making it so.
At the end of the tribute above is an astounding piece of performance art.
As you set out for Ithaka
|Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard
|(C.P. Cavafy, Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Edited by George Savidis. Revised Edition. Princeton University Press, 1992)|
Why is there something, why not nothing? Whence comes love or conscience? Do our lives have any meaning? . . . It makes no difference that the answers we discover to such questions are ones that we have created for ourselves alone, provided they have been created out of the necessity of our own experience. The questions must so press themselves upon us that we scorn self-deception and refuse to take another’s truth as our own. When questions are so fervently asked, the answers come indirectly and in many forms: in art, in poetry, and, strangely, often in the very questions themselves. For some the answers come as prayers. In silence. And very often, in despair. But always, always out of the necessity of our own experience. Thus is Truth discovered, such as it is, whether it be yours or mine.
(All page references are to the translation of Julie by Philip Stewart and Jean Vache)
In the final pages of Rousseau’s Julie, St. Preux fails a critical test not because he does not meet the expectations of Milord Edward or Wolmar but because he lives up to those expectations all too well. As Milord and Wolmar had hoped, St. Preux proved himself a true friend by preventing Laura Pisana from becoming Milord’s wife, the Lady Bomston. The problem in their opinion was that Laura had once been a prostitute and though she had redeemed her earlier mistakes by her subsequent virtuous conduct, she was not “spotless”. (Letter to Wolmar from Milord Edward, pp. 533-538) What makes St. Preux prevention of the marriage a disappointment, however, is that St. Preux himself had been rejected as a husband for Julie by her father on the grounds that he was low-born. That St. Preux was virtuous did not matter to Julie’s father either.
It may be argued that the two cases are different, but it is Julie herself who makes the identification between Laura and that younger Julie who had conceived a child out of wedlock with St. Preux, only to lose the child in a miscarriage caused by a merciless beating from her father. Julie believes this time love and virtue have won the day:
So Lady Bomston will come here? Here, my angel? What do you think of that? After all, what a phenomenon must this astonishing woman be whose education undid her, whose heart has saved her, and for whom love was the path to virtue? Who should admire her more than I who did just the reverse, and was led astray solely by my inclination, when everything conspired to lead me in the right path? I did not sink as low it is true; but did I raise myself up like her? Did I avoid as many pitfalls and make as many sacrifices? From the lowest degree of shame she was able to climb back up to the highesy degree of honor; she is a hundred times more respectable than if she had never been criminal. She is sensible and virtuous: what more does she need to be like us? If there is no recovering from youthful faults, what right have I to more indulgence, before whom must I hope to find mercy, and to what honor could I pretend by refusing to honor her. (Letter to Claire, p. 514)
Julie does have hesitations about the marriage but recognizes that her hesitations are caused by opinion:
O opinion, opinion! How difficult it is to take its yoke! It always leads us to injustice; past good is erased by present evil; will past evil never be erased by any good? (Letter to Claire, p. 514)
At the time that Julie is writing this letter to Claire, she is not aware of St. Preux’s machinations that have actually prevented the marriage, efforts that prove him to be a worthy protégé of the manipulative Wolmar. Julie apparently dies in ignorance of the truth. That St. Preux has fallen ill and is unable to return before Julie dies – indeed, that St. Preux is not heard from at all after Julie’s death -- seems a fitting absence for one who ends his part in this story by becoming other than who he was when he first merited the love of Julie precisely on account of his love of virtue and refusal to acquiesce to opinion.
Julie’s story ends with a final authentic act: the confession of her incurable love for St. Preux. What she does not know is that St. Preux for his part has been completely cured, turned inside out by the manipulations of Wolmar and Milord Edward. He now values honor, social status and opinion more highly than virtue, yet still thinks of himself as acting virtuously. Julie herself acknowledges in her final letter to St. Preux that she too lived in what she calls a salutary delusion:
I have long deluded myself. That delusion for me was salutary; it collapses at the moment when I no longer need it. You have believed I was cured, and I thought I was. Let us give thanks to him who made this error last for as long as it was useful, . . . Aye, however much I wanted to stifle the first sentiment that brought me alive, it cystallized into my heart. There it awakens at the moment when it is no longer to be feared; it sustains me when my strength fails me; it revives me as I lie dying. (Letter to St. Preux from Julie, p. 611).
The tragedy of Rousseau’s Julie is that in the end love is able to survive only by denying itself. Julie’s earlier maxim that they should not live to love each other, but love each other to live (p. 137) has likewise proven itself in Julie’s death to be a delusion. It is only in dying that love claims its truth. It is an old and oft-told story.
Chapter 10 of The Voyage of the Beagle: http://www.bartleby.com/29/10.html
Jeremy Button waving farewell. The ship is the HMS Beagle. Painting by Conrad Martens.
Odysseus arrives on the shore of Scheria, the land of the Phaecians, naked and seaworn, having survived 20 days at sea and Poseidon’s wrath. As he looks about for shelter, he catches sight of two olive trees close by:
One wild, one planted, their growth intertwined,
Proof against blasts of the wild, wet wind,
The sun unable to needle light through,
Impervious to rain, so thickly they grew
Into one tangle of shadows. (5.483-488, Lombardo)
With a glad heart Odysseus scrapes out a makeshift bed beneath the branches of these olive trees and covers himself with the leaves that have piled up there. That the trees are olive represents Athena’s care for our hero, but that one is wild and the other planted makes the reader think of the relationship of Odysseus and Penelope, the wandering hero and the wife at home. It is their love for each other that preserves them: Penelope from submitting to the vulgar suitors and Odysseus from all the tempting women he meets along the way, especially the beautiful Calypso whose offer of eternal youth he spurned in the hope that one day he will re reunited with his wife.
The simile that follows the description of the two olive trees compares Odysseus to a solitary man who seeks the preserve his fire for another day:
A solitary man,
Who lives on the edge of the wilderness
And has no neighbors, will hide a charred log
Deep in the black embers, and so keep alive
The fire’s seed and not have to rekindle it
From who knows where. (5.493-498, Lombardo)
The fire’s seed is Odysseus’ undying desire for home and hearth that yet burns within him. The reader anticipates the day when the fire will rekindle and blaze in its full glory – the day Odysseus returns home disguised as Aethon (‘burning’) to reclaim his wife and home and slaughter the suitors. The wayworn hero will discover his and Penelope’s bed remaining rooted as ever by its olive post in the earth of his beloved Ithaca.
The first ghost that Odysseus encounters in the After Life is that of Elpenor, a member of his crew who in a drunken stupor has fallen off of Circe’s roof to his death. Elpenor’s corpse remains unburied, and his ghost will not be able to cross the River Styx and find rest until his body has received the necessary funeral rites. Consequently, he pleads with Odysseus for a proper burial:
Do not leave me unburied, unmourned,
When you sail for home, , , , ,
Burn me with my armor, such as I have,
Heap me a barrow on the grey sea’s shore,
In memory of a man whose luck ran out.
Do this for me, and fix in the mound the oar
I rowed with my shipmates while I was alive. (Bk. 11, lines 68-75, Lombardo)
Elpenor specifically asks Odysseus to mark his grave with the oar that represents for him and for anyone who visits his grave the meaning of his life: he was a man of the sea and a companion of the great Odysseus. Odysseus’ first act upon returning from the After World will be to bury his companion.
After encountering Elpenor, Odysseus seeks out and talks to Tiresias, the great prophet who alone among the dead is allowed to retain his true mind and who Circe has said will advise him how to avoid the various dangers that await him on his way home and how finally to make peace with Poseidon. To achieve this peace, Tiresias instructs Odysseus to plant an oar in a place where ships and the sea are unknown:
Then you must go off again, carrying a broad-bladed oar,
Until you come to men who know nothing of the sea,
Who eat their food unsalted, and have never seen
Red-prowed ships or oars that wing them along.
And I will tell you a sure sign that you have found them,
One you cannot miss. When you meet another traveler
Who thinks you are carrying a winnowing fan,
Then you must fix your oar in the earth
And offer sacrifice to Lord Poseidon,
A ram, a bull, and a boar in its prime. (Bk. 11, 119-128, Lombardo)
According to Tiresias, only by making his peace with Poseidon will Odysseus be able to return home to stay and live to a prosperous old age. This episode of planting the oar is not actually included in The Odyssey. Its fulfillment is left to the reader’s imagination. Whenever Odysseus does plant that oar (and he tells Penelope that he will leave soon to do so), he will be marking the end of his life on the sea, his life of adventure that has been dedicated to learning about strange lands and peoples. Odysseus will essentially come home to die, having set up his oar to mark the end of his journey in this life. Tieresias then foretells Odysseus’ death:
And death will come to you off the sea,
A death so gentle, and carry you off
When you are worn out in sleek old age, (Bk. 11, lines 132-134, Lombardo)
Odysseus’ actual death is, however, preceded by the metaphorical death of that Odysseus whose life was full of exploits. While Elpenor’s oar represents an actual death, Odysseus’ oar represents a loss of identity. It is, however, also possible to imagine that Odysseus will on his return begin a new life, one that includes the values of home and family, and thereby acquire a new identity as a husband and father.
Though it may seem that The Odyssey is largely about the adventures and trials of its eponymous hero, there yet is significant evidence that real hero of this epic is Penelope who represents the values of home and family. The most telling evidence for this surprising claim comes when Penelope takes on the role that Odysseus usually assumes as the one who tests the character and loyalty of others. Indeed, in Book 23 Penelope tests Odysseus directly concerning their marriage bed. When Odysseus is outraged that she has apparently cut the olive tree that serves as one of the bed’s posts and so anchors it to the ground, she knows that only the true Odysseus would know this secret. In addition, that he is outraged reveals to her that Odysseus still cares for her and their marriage. Having tested her husband and proving herself his equal, Penelope leaps into Odysseus’ arms and clings to him just as a castaway on the sea would cling to land:
Land is a welcome sight to men swimming
For their lives, after Poseidon has smashed their ship
In heavy seas. Only a few of them escape
And make it to shore. They come out
Of the grey water crusted with brine, glad
To be alive and set foot on dry land.
So welcome a sight was her husband to her. (23.240-247, Lombardo)
This description of Penelope’s joy in being reunited with her husband is, of course, told in terms that would apply more naturally to Odysseus himself. Indeed, the simile does at first appear to be about Odysseus:
This brought tears from deep within him,
And as he wept he clung to his beloved wife.
Land is a welcome sight to men swimming
. . . (23. 238-240, Lombardo)
That the simile can be effectively said to be describing both Penelope and Odysseus suggests that Penelope’s years of private suffering and delaying tactics are being held up as equivalent to the escapades and escapes of Odysseus during those same years. Perhaps it is not too much to say that Odysseus’ homecoming is also that of Penelope. That Odysseus will soon come home to stay after planting his oar where men know nothing of ships and sea argues for the final triumph of family and home of which the heroic symbol is Penelope.
(These comments represent a journey in my understanding of Wittgenstein's Philosophical investigations. As I read Wittgenstein more closely, I have sometimes discovered certain preconceived ideas that had to be revised or discarded. 1-6 may sound like a plausible reading of Wittgenstein, but as I pay closer attention to the actual text and am able to set aside my previous ideas about Wittgenstein, the more mistaken these early comments appear to be. Still, they seem to have some value -- at least, as a caution to those who think they know what Wittgenstein is about in his Philosophical Investigations without close reading of the actual text in its entirety.)
1. “I shall also call the whole, consisting of language and the activities into which it is woven, a ‘language-game’.” (PI, 7)
Is not Wittgenstein’s philosophical activity also one of the many language activities (games) that are woven into the whole (game)? How could it not be? Wittgenstein’s philosophical activity clearly involves techniques or skills that can be mastered and, like other games, can be played at different levels of sophistication. An example of such a skill in Wittgenstein’s game is what he calls a “grammatical investigation”:
“Understanding a world”: a state. But a mental state? – We call dejection, excitement, pain, mental states. Carry out a grammatical investigation as follows: we say
‘He felt dejected the whole day'
‘He was in great excitement the whole day’
‘He has been in pain uninterruptedly since yesterday’. –
We also say, ‘Since yesterday I have understood this word.’ ‘Uninterruptedly’, though? – To be sure, one can speak of an interruption of understanding. But in what cases? Compare: ‘When did your pains get less?’ and ‘When did you stop understanding that word?’ (PI, 149)
This manner of looking at our actual use of words like ‘pain’ is repeated over and over again throughout the Philosophical Investigations. Wittgenstein’s game, of course, is not restricted to one such gambit. There are many others that must be mastered. It is perhaps enough to say here that even the formatting of this critique of Wittgenstein’s philosophical activity is to play the Wittgensteinian game. Of course, it is a poor attempt, but like any game, Wittgenstein’s can be played on all levels of mastery.
2. But even if this critique of Wittgenstein’s philosophical activity is correct, what has been achieved? Does it invalidate or weaken Wittgenstein’s work? Of course not. For what is good or useful or true or well done has only relevance within the game that is being play. And certainly the fact that we have identified Wittgenstein’s philosophical activity as one language-game among others does not mean that it is frivolous, trivial or merely diverting. (Here it is important to remember that W explicitly states that he intends his use of “game” to be not a definition of anything or a valuation but rather an analogy that will help us understand how we use words. Further discussion of this ‘analogy’ is required.)
3. One consequence of identifying Wittgenstein’s philosophical activity as a “game” is that we are able to recognize that it has “affinities” and “family resemblances” with other philosophical activities, such as Plato’s or Aristotle’s. There are a great many of these “affinities” to be explored, but for now, it is enough to recognize how familiar Wittgenstein’s resort to everyday usage is to Aristotle’s discussion of happiness or how familiar Wittgenstein’s use of analogy is to Plato’s.
4. But on what ground can Wittgenstein’s “game” be considered superior to those of other philosophers who appear, despite their “affinities”, to be playing games as different as checkers, chess, ring-around-a-rosy, poker, or GO. The play in each of these can only be evaluated within the individual games themselves. The one fault we might find with Wittgenstein’s game is the same one we find in those of other philosophers: that their game is presented as the game, the one by which all others are to be measured.
5. That Plato is playing a different game from that of Wittgenstein can be demonstrated by an investigation into the former’s use of analogy. Plato uses his analogies (the cave, the divided line, the chariot, the theory of recollection which leads to the further analogy of the slave-boy) to bump up against the barriers of language: an attempt to say the unsayable. To turn any one of these analogies into Platonic doctrine is to forget the purpose within any given dialogue that these analogies serve. In the case of recollection and the slave-boy episode, Plato employs these analogies to help us move beyond Meno’s paradox that it is senseless to search for what one does not know. Indeed, at the end of the slave-boy analogy, Socrates offers this qualification:
I shouldn’t like to take my oath on the whole story, but one thing I am ready to fight for as long as I can, in word and act – that is, that we shall be better, braver and more active men if we believe it is right to look for what we don’t know than if we believe there is no point in looking because what we don’t know can never be discovered."
We may say something similar in response to Wittgenstein: the attempt to say what cannot be said about truth, beauty and virtue is not a futile activity even though it will render up only what is nonsense from Wittgenstein’s perspective. The attempt itself has the effect of creating a life that is experienced as deeply meaningful. In playing Plato’s game, we discover that what is of most value is not the answer to the question, What is virtue? but rather the kind of life that silently, invisibly comes about as a consequence of earnestly asking the question.
6. Wittgenstein himself seems to be alive to and find personal value in those games that involve bumping one’s head against the barrier of language. See his “A Lecture on Ethics” as well as the later part of the Tractatus. It may be that Wittgenstein’s problem with Plato and other philosophers is really the problem that has developed with respect to his own philosophical activity: the philosophical activity has become hardened into doctrine, or even worse, dogma. (It is all too often forgotten that Wittgenstein used "game" as an analogy, which like all analogies must eventually fall away.) Socrates is all about the activity itself of philosophy, as is Wittgenstein. As with any game, the value is in the play itself.
(See Journal 7-13 where the above critique is understood as flawed.)
7. “We want to understand something that is already in plain view. For this is what we seem in some sense not to understand.” (PI 89)
“Philosophy is a struggle against the bewitchment of our understanding by the resources of our language.” (PI 109)
“The philosopher treats a question; like an illness.” (PI 255)
What was said in Nos.1-6 is symptomatic of the very illness that Wittgenstein’s philosophical activity endeavors to cure: the will to theorize, to look away from what is in plain sight, from everyday use of language, and to seek logical connections among analogous forms of expressions. Everywhere in the Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein is trying to eliminate “misunderstandings concerning the use of words, brought about, among other things by certain analogies between the forms of expression in different regions of our language” (PI 90).
8. Or to put it as Wittgenstein does early on in the Philosophical Investigations, such discussions as Nos. 1-6 are what happen “when language goes on holiday” (PI 38). The particular fault of Nos. 1-6 is the arbitrary use made of the blurriness of the idea of a ‘language-game’, a blurriness that allows us free rein to theorize. Wittgenstein speaks directly to this problem:
But if the colors in the original shade into one another without a hint of any boundary, won’t it become a hopeless task to draw a sharp picture corresponding to the blurred one? Won’t you then have to say: “Here I might just as well draw a circle as a rectangle or a heart, for all the colors merge. Anything – and nothing – is right.” – And is the position in which for example, someone finds himself in ethics or aesthetics when he looks for definitions that correspond to our concepts. (PI 77)
9. It may be that Wittgenstein is responsible for such misunderstandings. He himself strays on occasion into “theorizing” (e.g. PI 7:“I shall also call the whole, consisting of language and the activities into which it is woven, a ‘language-game’.”) The problem is further compounded by the style of the fragments themselves which require careful reading to avoid mistaking a statement that Wittgenstein wants to challenge with one that he is affirming (e.g. see discussion below of the ‘Beetle in the Box’ PI 293).
10. What does Wittgenstein want us to understand as a ‘language game’? He lists examples for us in PI 15, among which are “requesting, thanking, cursing, greeting, praying.” The illness that Wittgenstein is so energetically trying to combat arises when a philosopher attempts to generalize from what are plainly everyday, ordinary speech acts and interpret, for instance, his reference to “praying” as a reference to ‘theology’ as a word game unto itself.
11. For Wittgenstein not all uses of language qualify for what he means by a ‘language game’:
Other illusions come from various quarters to join the particular one spoken of here. Thought, language, now appear to us as the unique correlate, picture, of the world. These concepts: proposition, language, thought, world, stand in line one behind the other, each equivalent to each. (But what are these words to be used for now? The language-game in which they are to be applied is missing. ) (PI 96)
Though it may be that Wittgenstein is himself responsible for confusion over what counts as a language-game, it is nevertheless clear that he directs our attention over and over again to everyday usage, warning us as he goes against the will to theorize, systematize or mistake analogies for logical equivalencies.
12. How easily Wittgenstein’s aphoristic style leads to confusion can be seen in his discussion of the ‘beetle-in-the-box’: (PI 293):
If I say of myself that it is only from my own case that I know what the word ‘pain’ means – must I not say that of other people too? And how can I generalize the one case so irresponsibly.
Well, everyone tells me that he knows what pain is only from his own case! – Suppose that everyone had a box with something in it which we call a “beetle”. No one can ever look into anyone else’s box, and everyone says he knows what a beetle is only by looking at his beetle. – Here it would be quite possible for everyone to have something different in his box. One might even imagine such a thing constantly changing. – But what if these people’s word “beetle” had a use nonetheless? – If so, it would not be as the name of a thing. The Thing in the box doesn’t belong to the language-game at all; not even as a Something: for the box might even be empty. – No, one can ‘divide thought’ by the thing in the box; it cancels out, whatever it is.
Here Wittgenstein is using the language of ‘privacy’ to debunk that very language. His discussion amounts to a reductio ad absurdum, as his conclusion to his aphorism makes clear:
That is to say, if we construe the grammar of the expression of sensation on the model of ‘object and name’, the object drops out of consideration as irrelevant. (PI 293)
It would be a serious error here to suppose that Wittgenstein is arguing for some mystical notion of the ineffable: To do so is to mistake the purpose of his analogy.
13. What Wittgenstein is arguing against in his discussion of ‘privacy’ is the mistake he is everywhere warning us against: of supposing that words are essentially denotative, so that the “I” in “I think” denotes an “I” that exists as some kind of object. We understand the first person pronoun in its everyday usage readily enough: “I am going to the store.” “I am in pain.”; “I am your friend.” The meaning of “I” only becomes problematical when we want to sever the pronoun from its ordinary use. That is the bewitchment of language about which Wittgenstein is warning us. It leads to entanglements that are the origin of “disquietudes” that he would dispel:
The problems arising through a misinterpretation of our forms of language have the character of depth. They are deep disquietudes. . (PI 111)
Here is the fundamental fact is that we lay down rules, a technique, for playing a game, and that then, when we follow the rules, things don’t turn out as we had assumed. So that we are, as it wee entangled in our own rules. This entanglement in our rules is what we want to understand: that is, to survey. (PI 125)
It may be that Wittgenstein would allow that metaphysical languages do count as ‘language-games’. If so, they would be games whose rules end up being self-defeating, creating entanglements such as Descartes cogito, ergo sum in which the “I”, under Wittgenstein’s critique, “drops out of consideration as irrelevant” (PI 293 supra). (There is more to be said on Descartes’ cogito.)
14. Wittgenstein’s method:
The great difficulty here is not to present the matter as if there were something one couldn’t do. As if there really were an object, from which I extract a description, which I am not in a position to show anyone. – And the best that I can propose is that we yield to the temptation to use this picture, then investigate what the application of the picture looks like. (PI 374)
A picture held us captive. And we couldn’t get outside it, for it lay in our language, and language seemed only to repeat it to us inexorably. (PI 115)
When philosophers use a word –- “knowledge”, “being”, “object”, “I”, “proposition/sentence”, “name” – and try to grasp the essence of the thing, one must always ask oneself: is the word ever actually used in this way in the language in which it is at home? What we do is to bring words back from their metaphysical to their everyday use.
When I say I want to investigate ‘consciousness’, it appears to me that I am investigating something’. Is consciousness, for instance, some inner mental state that can be observed only from within and is, therefore, private to each of us? Whenever we use the sentence “I am conscious” in everyday speech, it is either a needless affirmation of what is obvious to the person I am addressing or it is bound up in a particular event where I had been temporarily ‘unconscious’. e.g. in a coma. In any case, the meaning of the word is immediately and easily understood by the person with whom I am speaking. Why then does ‘consciousness’ present a problem? Is it not because I think that a word is a name for something somehow inside me? But isn’t the expression ‘inside me’ a metaphor that we are here mistaking for some actual location? But how am I to find that ‘inside’? But, if it is not ‘inside’, where is it? It is neither ‘inside’ or ‘outside’, neither here or there. When I use the word ‘conscious’ in an everyday context it never occurs to ask myself “Where am I conscious?” It is simply a fact of my existence. The word ‘conscious’ only becomes problematic when we take the word out of its everyday usage and ask “But what is this thing called consciousness?” and then seek an answer as if it were the same sort of question as “What is an aardvark?
15. We commit the same error when we attempt to define consciousness as what it is like to be me or a bat or what it is like to be another person.
“You don’t know what it like to be me” as an expressive statement in an everyday situation is significant but to turn it into an argument for solipsism is a mistake. As an expressive statement in the course of our everyday life, it is an appeal to another person. To turn it into a statement of existential isolation is to lift the statement out of that situation and create an illusion of the ‘self’.
16. “Are you saying there is no ‘self’?” Yes and no. “Either there is a ‘self’ or there is not!” Wittgenstein:
At this point, our thinking plays us a strange trick. That is, we want to quote the law of excluded middle and say: ”Either such a an image floats before his mind, or it does not; there is no third.. possibility!” . . . And problem is now supposed to be: does reality accord with the picture or not? And this picture seems to determine what we have to do, what to look for, and how – but it does not, precisely because we do not know how it is to be applied. Here, saying “There is no third possibility” . . . expresses our inability to urn our eyes away from the this picture – a picture which looks as if it must already contain both the problem and its solution . . . Similarly, when it is said “Either he has this sensation, or he doesn’t”, what primarily occurs to us is a picture which already seems to determine the sense of the statements unequivocally: “Now you know hat sin question”, one would like to say. And what’s just what it does not tell you. (PI 352)
When we create a picture of the ‘self’, the rules for its application are not given. The meaning of ‘self’ as used in our everyday language (“I am not myself today.”) is immediately understood in the context in which it is spoken.
17. “Are then the pictures we create inconsequential?” On the contrary! If we but step away from application and see the creating of such pictures as a primary activity, they become important experiences unto themselves and, along with other language activities, provide our life with meaning. No longer are such pictures illusions because no longer do we treat them as pointing beyond themselves.
“A picture tells me itself” is what I’d like to say. That is, it's telling me something consists in its own structure, in its own forms and colours. (PI 523)
Don’t take it as a matter of course, but as a remarkable fact, that pictures and fictitious narratives give us pleasure, absorb us. (PI 524)
We create our images for their own sake; they do their own work within the activities of which they are a part. To seek ‘application’ is actually to reduce their significance. It is application that turns ‘image’ into illusion.
18. The way out of the “bottle” is to find meaning in each language activity in terms of its own structure and rules. “Does this mean that there is no priority among such activities or no judgment to be made among them as to their value?” It is difficult to know where to begin to respond to such questions? It is as though somehow were to ask “Do Hamlet and right triangles exist along with aardvarks and civil liberties?”-- as if one could somehow apply the rules of one language game to those of another. “But what then, are they all equal.” But that statement assumes terms of comparison! Where are we to find them?
19. “Can we make no judgments?” Only this: some language activities create problems where none need be. They do so because they seek to apply the rules of their activity to those of another. Such applications lead, as Wittgenstein tells us, to “deep disquietudes”. It may be that if we gave up ‘application, some of these language activities would no longer trouble us or would lose their interest, much as childhood games like “Go Fish” become vapid. Perhaps not. Perhaps they would take on a new vitality!
20. In the Preface to Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein invites readers to think for themselves:
I should not like my writing to spare other people the trouble of thinking. But if possible, to stimulate someone to thoughts of his own.
Indeed, Wittgenstein’s style requires the reader to think for himself:
Consider two language games:
(a) Someone gives someone else the order to make particular movements with his arm, or to assume particular bodily positions (gymnastic instructor and pupil). And a variant of this language-game is this: the pupil gives himself orders and then carries them out.
(b) Someone observes certain regular processes – for example, the reactions of different metals to acids – and thereupon makes predictions about the reactions that will occur in certain cases.
There is an evident kinship between these two language-games, and also a fundamental difference. In both, one might call the spoken words “predictions”. But compare the training which leads to the first technique with the training for the second one! (PI 630)
Here Wittgenstein does not tell the reader what the difference in training is between his two examples nor does he comment on the significance of this difference. The reader is left to think this out for himself.
To what ‘training’ is Wittgenstein referring in the first instance (a), that of the one who gives the order or the one who receives it? That there is such a question reveals a significant disparity with the second instance (b). In (a), the one who gives the order and the one who receives the order participate in a common form of life that gives the order its meaning. To speak of ‘prediction’ in this instance (a) is to turn it into an object of thought that is foreign to the activity itself, thereby creating a picture whose application leads us to believe that the action performed is similar to “the reactions of different metals to acid” and that now we better understand the first instance because he have made it ‘objective’. The achievement of this objectivity, however, is illusory, as it has been accomplished by conflating wholly different activities that have wholly different rules of language by which they are played. We have ‘reduced’ one activity to another by subjecting it to the rules of another. If we miss that we have confused the use of ‘prediction’ in (a) and (b) or miss that it is how we use words in particular activities that determine their meanings, we end up bedeviling ourselves with questions like those that the debate over free will provoke.
21. What do we mean when we call something private? It may mean something that I have chosen not to speak of or it may mean something of which I claim ownership as a product of my physical or intellectual work or it may mean something that only I can know. It is only the third of these senses that Wittgenstein questions:
In what sense are my sensations private? Well, only I can know whether I am really in pain; another person can only surmise it. -- in one way this is false, and in another nonsense. If we are using the word "know" as it is normally used (and how else are we to use it?), then other people very often know I'm in pain. -- Yes, but all the same, not with the certainty with which I know it myself! -- It can't be said of me at all (except perhaps as a joke) that I know I'm in pain. What is it supposed to mean -- except perhaps that I am in pain? (PI 246)
The sentence "Sensations are private" is comparable to "One plays patience by oneself." (PI 248)
What can it mean to play patience by oneself but to play patience? What can it mean that sensations are private but that there are sensations?
22. What then are sensations?
"And yet you again and again reach the conclusion that the sensation itself is a Nothing." -- Not at all. It's not a Something, but not a Nothing either! The conclusion was only that a Nothing would render the same service as a Something about which nothing could be said. We've only rejected the grammar which tends to force itself on us here. (PI 293)
There is a temptation here to use the phrase "a Something, but not a Nothing" as though referring denotatively to sensation. But Wittgenstein makes clear that he is talking here specifically about the "service" that such phrases as "not a Nothing" and "a something about which nothing can be said" perform. What service do such phrases serve? They serve to draw the line between what can be spoken of and what cannot. It is necessary to reject the grammar which tends to force a denotative sense on us. As denotative phrases, ‘Not A Something’ and ‘Not a Nothing’ cancel out. And yet, we would make it into a something. Just so language bewitches us. This way leads to mysticism.
23. Can we use "private" as equivalent with "that which cannot be said" as pertains to experience or sensation? Wittgenstein himself never himself does. And if we did, it would serve no purpose. The word "my" has meaning only in what can be talked about and what is therefore potentially accessible to others.
"Another person can't have my pain." -- My pains -- what pains are they? . . . In so far as it makes sense to say that my pain is the same as his, it is also possible for us both to have the same pain. (PI 253).
24. As Wittgenstein says in his discussion of the 'Beetle in the Box', "If we construe the grammar of the expression of sensation on the model of 'object and name', the object drops out of consideration as irrelevant" (PI 293). It does not belong to the language-game at all. Can 'sensation' be construed otherwise than on the model of 'object and name'? Of course. It acquires meaning by its use in what it is our shared form of life. When you say "I have a toothache", I understand what you mean, not because "toothache" denotes something we can both privately observe in our experience and then conclude our experiences are similar -- rather, that the possibility of recognizing my toothache as a toothache in the first place depends upon a form of life in which what I call a toothache is what everyone else calls a toothache. That is the language-game!
25. It is certainly true that I cannot be conscious of your pain as you are. This is to say no more than you are in pain and I am not. This fact, however, does not imply that your pain is thereby private such that your experience is essentially hidden from me. Your experience of pain is hidden from me only if you choose to hide it.
26. In the Tractatus Wittgenstein manages, as Russell quips, to say a great deal about what cannot be spoken of. In the Philosophical investigations, Wittgenstein appears to acknowledge Russell's point by truly remaining silent on matters that language cannot speak of. The question remains, however, whether W's new beginning in the PI results in the same sort of line to be drawn between what can and cannot be spoken of. Questions of value, for instance, are part of our everyday use of language and as such are meaningful. It therefore appears that what could not be spoken of in the Tractatus can be meaningfully spoken of in the Philosophical Investigations. Indeed, it appears everything relevant to our human form of life can be spoken of meaningfully. We are sometimes silent not because we cannot say what we mean but because we have nothing relevant to say.
27. It has been suggested that the appearance of something new within our established forms of life and the language games that depend on these forms is evidence for the efficacy of that of which language cannot speak. Such an assertion is but a disguised attempt to say the unsayable. It contradicts itself. Accordingly, Wittgenstein has nothing to say about this. Something new appears in language not out of some silent resource but from within the activities of language itself, activities that include empirical investigation, the asking of questions as well as the imaginative use of language. This last includes the activity of drawing analogies, an activity in which W is very skilled and one that allowed him to say something new about philosophy. There is an openness to our language activities that is not bound by rules, just as in tennis, there is no rule on how high to throw the ball or on the spin that is put on a ball. Such openness is not silence and certainly not the unsayable but rather the possibility of saying something that has not been said before but remains meaningful within our human form of life.
28. In what sense are language activities games? 'Game' was first introduced as an analogy to the plurality of speech acts that, like games, are rule-governed activities that share affinities but no essential attribute. However, Wittgenstein appears at times to use 'language-game' as if it were a 'game' like chess or patience. Are speech act games or simply analogous to games? My tentative conclusion is that speech acts are only analogous to games and that to include language activities in the same category as chess or patience is misleading. Language activities do share affinities with games such as chess but the 'form of life' in which most language activities occur is different from that of chess, though speech and debate competitions and crossword puzzles are particular language-activities that would certainly count as games in its customary sense. Our everyday use of language is not just a game. It is in fact no game at all
29. A similar problem develops as to what counts as a language-game. Does 'language-game' refer only to the plurality of everyday speech acts (commands, requests, prayers, confessions, etc.) or are we to include theology, aesthetics, sociology, etc. as well? These later appear to belong to what Wittgenstein would call grammatical fictions because their use of words seeks to be denotative where no denotation is possible. Beauty, truth and virtue are words that acquire meaning from their use within a community and not from supposed mental objects that bear their names. It is as if we mistake the shape of the container of gas for the gas itself or rather we mistake the picture for what the picture is supposed to represent. In the case of virtue, what is to be represented is how we use the word in our everyday speech not in some fictitious realm of the mind.
Il est l'affection et le présent, puisqu'il a fait la maison ouverte à l'hiver écumeux et à la rumeur de l'été, - lui qui a purifié les boissons et les aliments - lui qui est le charme des lieux fuyants et le délice surhumain des stations. Il est l'affection et l'avenir, la force et l'amour que nous, debout dans les rages et les ennuis, nous voyons passer dans le ciel de tempête et les drapeaux d'extase.
Il est l'amour, mesure parfaite et réinventée, raison merveilleuse et imprévue, et l'éternité : machine aimée des qualités fatales. Nous avons tous eu l'épouvante de sa concession et de la nôtre : ô jouissance de notre santé, élan de nos facultés, affection égoïste et passion pour lui, lui qui nous aime pour sa vie infinie...
Et nous nous le rappelons, et il voyage... Et si l'Adoration s'en va, sonne, sa promesse sonne : "Arrière ces superstitions, ces anciens corps, ces ménages et ces âges. C'est cette époque-ci qui a sombré !"
Il ne s'en ira pas, il ne redescendra pas d'un ciel, il n'accomplira pas la rédemption des colères de femmes et des gaîtés des hommes et de tout ce péché : car c'est fait, lui étant, et étant aimé.
O ses souffles, ses têtes, ses courses ; la terrible célérité de la perfection des formes et de l'action.
O fécondité de l'esprit et immensité de l'univers.
Son corps ! Le dégagement rêvé, le brisement de la grâce croisée de violence nouvelle !
Sa vue, sa vue ! tous les agenouillages anciens et les peines relevés à sa suite.
Son jour ! l'abolition de toutes souffrances sonores et mouvantes dans la musique plus intense.
Son pas ! les migrations plus énormes que les anciennes invasions.
O lui et nous ! l'orgueil plus bienveillant que les charités perdues.
O monde ! et le chant clair des malheurs nouveaux !
Il nous a connus tous et nous a tous aimés. Sachons, cette nuit d'hiver, de cap en cap, du pôle tumultueux au château, de la foule à la plage, de regards en regards, forces et sentiments las, le héler et le voir, et le renvoyer, et sous les marées et au haut des déserts de neige, suivre ses vues, ses souffles, son corps, son jour.
TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH BY JOHN ASHBERY
He is affection and the present since he opened the house to foaming winter and the hum of summer, he who purified drink and food, he who is the charm of fleeting places and the superhuman deliciousness of staying still. He is affection and the future, strength and love that we, standing amid rage and troubles, see passing in the storm-rent sky and on banners of ecstasy.
He is love, perfect and reinvented measurement, wonderful and unforeseen reason, and eternity: machine beloved for its fatal qualities. We have all experienced the terror of his yielding and of our own: O enjoyment of our health, surge of our faculties, egoistic affection and passion for him, he who loves us for his infinite life
And we remember him and he travels. . . And if the Adoration goes away, resounds, its promise resounds: “Away with those superstitions, those old bodies, those couples and those ages. It’s this age that has sunk!”
He won’t go away, nor descend from a heaven again, he won’t accomplish the redemption of women’s anger and the gaiety of men and of all that sin: for it is now accomplished, with him being, and being loved.
O his breaths, his heads, his racing; the terrible swiftness of the perfection of forms and of action.
O fecundity of the spirit and immensity of the universe!
His body! The dreamed-of release, the shattering of grace crossed with new violence!
The sight, the sight of him! all the ancient kneeling and suffering lifted in his wake.
His day! the abolition of all resonant and surging suffering in more intense music.
His footstep! migrations more vast than ancient invasions.
O him and us! pride more benevolent than wasted charities.
O world! and the clear song of new misfortunes!
He has known us all and loved us all. Let us, on this winter night, from cape to cape, from the tumultuous pole to the castle, from the crowd to the beach, from glance to glance, our strengths and feelings numb, learn to hail him and see him, and send him back, and under the tides and at the summit of snowy deserts, follow his seeing, his breathing, his body, his day.
Attached is an example of a Thinking Writing assignment. Students usually complete the assignment within a class period, but are allowed to turn in their writing the next day, for which there is no additional assignment. You could easily adapt such an assignment for your class no matter what grade you teach. Please feel free to contact me with questions.
There is nothing that is not you:
The blue of the sky is you, the sun,
The laughter of the rain,
The clatter of children,
My faults and fumblings, my exultation
As I fall, forever rising
Like some boneheaded bird.
All this is you is nothng
If not life and the love of life.
I am the moon
Ablaze with song
And borrowed light.
Only in deep night
Is there such joy.
what bothers me most about
the idea of having to die
(sooner or later) is that
the collection of junk I
have made in my head will
presumably be dissipated
not that there isn't more
and better junk in other
heads & always will be but
I have become so fond of
my own head's collection.
Malcolm Lowry's "On Reading Edmund Wilson's Remarks About Rimbaud" draws details from Edmund Wilson's account of Rimbaud's life in Axel's Castle, which is of interest in its right:
Words discussed and illustrated: anaudia, anabasis, katabasis, devachanees, shrive, sans suite, monstrous, prodigious, harridan, duologue
Freund, es ist auch genug. Im Fall du mehr willst lesen,
So geh und werde selbst die Schrift und selbst das Wesen.
Friend, indeed it is enough. In case you wish to read more,
Just go and become the Script and Essence itself. .
Angelus Silesius: Cherubinischer Wandersmann (1965), VI, 263
Der Cherubinischer Wandersmann ("The Cherubinic Pilgrim"), a collection of 1,676 short poems.
Why do we ask questions for which there are no answers? There is a mystery to this. The mystery is that in searching out questions about the meaning of life our own lives become thereby meaningful. It comes upon us as a shadow at straightup noon and is experienced as a profound deepening.