a thread for mundane ironists

This is the place to shave off that long white beard and stop being philosophical; a forum for members to just talk like normal human beings.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:33 pm

Bianco Luno

The soft rose complexion of a woman’s face.
(You will want to know—but I won’t say—which.
It would invite misunderstanding.
And on this subject we can always use more, no?)
An older man’s reaction to it.
(A younger one’s would be seamlessly connected with it.)
To put a finer point on it: he could be moved to tears by the sight but it should still be called rape and he should be punished accordingly.
His eyes should be gouged out.


This subject is considerably beyond the ken of philosophy. But [perhaps] a clear example of how convoluted human psychology can appear when it is expressed in a manner that some might construe as philosophy.

The only people who have no right to an opinion about rape are the fathers of daughters.
For similar reasons, mothers of sons, gone off to war, on war.


It is not for nothing, though, that the actual reasons are not broached. Can you think of one?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Fri Aug 17, 2012 5:35 pm

d63 wrote: I told you Ambig can be evasive. Trust me, I’m as confused by this as you are.


I'm less confused by Luno now. Why? Because acknowledging my confusion about some things can be a sign of clarity. If you come expecting to be confused about the meaning of the words you can still make your own out of them. But you have to approach the relationship between words and worlds here in a way that many philosophers do not. As an ironist with a particular understanding of dasein.

d63 wrote:This is why, while I sympathize and emphasize with Ambig, I have to stand with you on this one in that I believe Ambig is arguing against what he expects you to be rather than what you actually are.


I expect him to react to me or to you or to Luno as dasein. And here the communication is always [eventually] distorted because 1] there are so many different existential variables that go into the making of any particular "I" and 2] the relationships Luno broaches here are particularly prone to distorted views.

It's the difference between discussing gender [always present in Luno's prose poems] as a biological function [the things we can all agree on] and gender relationships as a social, political and economic function [the things that precipitate endless conflicts].

Two doctors discussing abortion as a medical procedure is one thing, two philosophers discussing it as a moral issue another thing altogether.

One is pregnant or one is not. One is raped or one is not. How subjective can Luno be about that? This transcends dasein. But discussing that pregnancy/rape [as a moral issue] in a particular confluence of men and women, can reflect a virtually infinite number of mental, emotional and psychological reactions. None of which are necessarily more conclusive when the time comes to choose or not choose abortion, to rationalize or not rationalize rape.

At best we can form a political consensus in the here and now. And that is no less true of philosophers in my view.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby d63 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:26 pm

Moreno wrote:I am not much of a fan of AM, but I think what he was polemically attacking were the people who wrote poetry primarily to get messages across - with big meanings and messages and who did not let the poem be a kind of sculpture and did not let themselves be guided by intuition, pure aesthetic concerns and a love of language driving them. See Nabokov on why Dostoyevsky is problematic and not quite up to the highest caliber.


First of all, I’m only familiar with AM’s Ars Poetic because it’s the one that tends to show up in anthologies the most. And that particular line holds a great deal meaning for me because I use to write a lot of poetry. It was more an issue of method than anything. For me, it was always a process of accumulating lines and images until they began to coalesce into something that gave pleasure first and foremost. Generally, if there was meaning (and there often was) it emerged in the process. However, that meaning always seemed to come in a very oblique and ambiguous way. My experience with writing was similar. The same sentiment was, more or less, echoed by Joyce, who warned us against the didactic, and Ezra Pound who advised the poets to “go in fear of abstraction.” In the introduction to the 2010 edition of The Best American Fiction, Richard Russo describes a reading at his university by Isaac Bashevis Singer in which, when asked by a student what the purpose of literature was, he responded that its purpose was to “entertain and to instruct.” The important thing here is that he insisted on putting the “entertain” part first.

My take on it has always been one of “why compromise my aesthetic for something I could express better in an essay or interview”. But then I started off as musician for whom everything was sex, drugs, and rock and roll. And as you suggested elsewhere, I’ve also seen a lot of bad work because an artist put too much emphasis on meaning. Too often, it can come off as pretentious and heavy-handed. I’m kind of struggling with that with the last poem I wrote. It seemed to me to try too hard to mean and was thereby compromised. The only reason I stuck with it as I did was because it was first time in 10+ years one had come together for me like that when I thought it would never happen again. In certain states of mind, it reads alright in that it is the product of years of primarily writing prose. It manages to break from that kind of poetic vibrancy that always haunted my earlier poems. Unfortunately, in other states, it comes off as awkward. I’m not sure I would put it in my “best of” collection. But I’m hoping it will lead to better things. I may even just glue it all together into a prose piece and see if I haven’t found a method of developing those philosophical prose poems I was talking about.

That said, I want to repeat the statement you responded to and put it back in context:

This whole exchange reminds me of why it is I have always considered Art the best expression of the nihilistic perspective. As Archibald MacLeish argued:

A poem should not mean, but be.


My point was not that art must necessarily be nihilistic in nature and completely without meaning. That would be silly. It was merely that if one wanted to express the nihilistic perspective, the creative arts are the best means to do so as compared to just plain expository prose. It comes out my belief that nihilism does nothing. It never attempts to justify itself. And the minute one attempts to do so by simply trying to explain it, they effectively throw themselves out of the nihilistic perspective. They are no longer in a position to say anything in its behalf. It came out of my 3 year stint of just pumping out visual art which brought me back to my musician days when I thought less in terms of what a thing meant and more in terms of how it felt. It always felt like I was working from the base of the brain. I kind of got stuck in groove with it and was glad, when it came to an end, to be freed up to pursue more MEANINGFUL (and I mean that literally) and cognitive projects.

That all said, there are a couple of points I feel I should make. First of all, I consider the nihilistic perspective to be a tool. That’s why I call it “the nihilistic perspective”. If I wanted to live in it, I would call it plain old nihilism and probably go back to visual arts –either that or join a punk band. So I would certainly agree with the agenda to mix some meaningful expression with the obscure. I certainly wouldn’t want to base my whole intellectual life on speaking in riddles or Zen Koans. I mean I’m intrigued by French ideas. But if I had to base the rest of my intellectual life solely on reading Baudrillard, Derrida, or Deleuze and Guattarri, that is without the interpretive texts, I think I would have to shoot myself in the head right now. It’s just too refreshing to get a little clarity in the midst of all that. In order for something to do me any good, it has give me something I can use; it has to be explained to me like I’m a seven year old. However, you have to keep in mind that it would be silly for me to think, at this point, that I’m going to do a lot of good as a strait forward philosophical orator. I just don’t think I would have anything that important to say –especially since I really don’t have the time to go through the whole philosophical canon required in order to be qualified to make such an attempt. Therefore, I have to hedge most of my bets on the more poetic side of the equation and hope I’ll be able to do some good there. The best I can offer is a perspective. And, quite often, that will require that I use more oblique approaches to meaning and the nihilistic perspective.

Anyway, I wish I had more time to go over more of your posts. But I’ve been using you as an excuse to avoid the project I have set down for myself in The Academy: a response to Aum’s two essays. And while I don’t see much getting done on it today, I still have to overcome my dread and anguish and get some focus back here. But, thanks for the distraction.
Humble yourself or the world will do it for you -it was either Russell or Whitehead. I can't remember which.

When I was young, I use to think the world was a messed up place so i was pissed off a lot. But now that I'm older, I know it is. So I just don't worry about it. -John Lydon (AKA Johnny Rotten).

Anarchy through Capitalism -on a flyer thrown out during a Kottonmouth Kings concert.

First we read, then we write. -Emerson.

All poets are damned. But they are not blind. They see with the eyes of angels. -William Carlos Williams: in the introduction to Ginsberg's Howl.

You gotta love that moment when the work is done and all that is left to do is drink your beer and sip your jager and enjoy what you've done. It's why I do and love it.

I refuse to be taken seriously.

Once again: take care of your process and others will take care of theirs. No one needs a guru. Just someone to jam with.

:me
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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby Moreno » Sat Aug 18, 2012 4:01 am

d63 wrote:First of all, I’m only familiar with AM’s Ars Poetic because it’s the one that tends to show up in anthologies the most. And that particular line holds a great deal meaning for me because I use to write a lot of poetry. It was more an issue of method than anything. For me, it was always a process of accumulating lines and images until they began to coalesce into something that gave pleasure first and foremost.
yes, I can connect to that. I did find that my unconscious mind, even when I adhere to this entirely, has some meanings, and can even produce cohesive argument-like structures, when I think I am being almost random.

Generally, if there was meaning (and there often was) it emerged in the process.
For me also. Though part of my process would include these lines that simply stated the way things are. A little bit like Yeats in The Second Coming does this. It's fun. I mean, it's poetry, why not just blap down 'the truth', though the next line might mix things up, seem to contradict or just be hard to place.

However, that meaning always seemed to come in a very oblique and ambiguous way. My experience with writing was similar. The same sentiment was, more or less, echoed by Joyce, who warned us against the didactic,
And look where that led him Finnegan's Wake. But sure one should be careful. I think didactic lines work great, but they have to work great aesthetically also. But then, just to make it more complicated, didactism can be aesthetic. Or to put this another way, the flow of meaning in a poem can be aesthetic also, not just the images and sounds.

and Ezra Pound who advised the poets to “go in fear of abstraction.”
And look at the corner he ended up in. I love portions of the Cantos, but in the end it feels like a collection of images and sound without a heart.

In the introduction to the 2010 edition of The Best American Fiction, Richard Russo describes a reading at his university by Isaac Bashevis Singer in which, when asked by a student what the purpose of literature was, he responded that its purpose was to “entertain and to instruct.” The important thing here is that he insisted on putting the “entertain” part first.
Sure, if entertain is not first then it is non-fiction, which can be fine.

But this is literature and Luno is philosophy or supposed to be. I am not saying that philosophy should be unambiguous, but still some kinds of paraphrase should be possible or to me it is not philosophy but literature. And so far he doesn't cut my mustard as literature. Some of his lines could be a character's lines in literature, but overall, it falls short for me as literature.

And hey, cross-genres are in, and I have mixed things up, but it seems to me philosophy is about communicating ideas about the way things are, even if these are in the negative.

My take on it has always been one of “why compromise my aesthetic for something I could express better in an essay or interview”. But then I started off as musician for whom everything was sex, drugs, and rock and roll. And as you suggested elsewhere, I’ve also seen a lot of bad work because an artist put too much emphasis on meaning. Too often, it can come off as pretentious and heavy-handed.
a political song had better be aesthetically interesting, not just good, or I can't stand it. And that interest often confuses the mob who wants to here an anthem for their issue.

I’m kind of struggling with that with the last poem I wrote. It seemed to me to try too hard to mean and was thereby compromised.
I think being purely aesthetic is much, much harder than people realize. we have been bombarded by cliches, but not only that cliche voices, and most poems reflect that until it is pooped out.


That said, I want to repeat the statement you responded to and put it back in context:

My point was not that art must necessarily be nihilistic in nature and completely without meaning. That would be silly. It was merely that if one wanted to express the nihilistic perspective, the creative arts are the best means to do so as compared to just plain expository prose.
Agreed.

It comes out my belief that nihilism does nothing. It never attempts to justify itself. And the minute one attempts to do so by simply trying to explain it, they effectively throw themselves out of the nihilistic perspective.
Agreed.

That all said, there are a couple of points I feel I should make. First of all, I consider the nihilistic perspective to be a tool. That’s why I call it “the nihilistic perspective”. If I wanted to live in it, I would call it plain old nihilism and probably go back to visual arts –either that or join a punk band. So I would certainly agree with the agenda to mix some meaningful expression with the obscure. I certainly wouldn’t want to base my whole intellectual life on speaking in riddles or Zen Koans. I mean I’m intrigued by French ideas. But if I had to base the rest of my intellectual life solely on reading Baudrillard, Derrida, or Deleuze and Guattarri, that is without the interpretive texts, I think I would have to shoot myself in the head right now. It’s just too refreshing to get a little clarity in the midst of all that. In order for something to do me any good, it has give me something I can use; it has to be explained to me like I’m a seven year old. However, you have to keep in mind that it would be silly for me to think, at this point, that I’m going to do a lot of good as a strait forward philosophical orator. I just don’t think I would have anything that important to say –especially since I really don’t have the time to go through the whole philosophical canon required in order to be qualified to make such an attempt. Therefore, I have to hedge most of my bets on the more poetic side of the equation and hope I’ll be able to do some good there. The best I can offer is a perspective. And, quite often, that will require that I use more oblique approaches to meaning and the nihilistic perspective.
I suppose I have a semi-conscious bias that says that being a philosopher - a system maker, cohesive world describer, etc. - is a bit like being an anorexic or OCD. I think an unhealthy narrowing down of the mind is needed to be good at that.
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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:20 pm

Bianco Luno

"What’s brittle doesn’t bend."
When he stops being a generic boy and catapults himself from the cloying intimacy of his mother, he, facing only forward, cannot—on pain of dissolution—look back.
His isolation, for better or worse, from woman, all women, hardens into crystal, so bitterly hard and brittle, it forms his most deniable tragedy and inspires disbelief in every woman.
I read in the paper where a large icicle fell from a lofty eave and impaled and killed a woman.


He makes this particular journey from the cloying intimacy of his mother to the casual mention of an unnamed woman's sensational death.
What's brittle here perhaps is the use of third person as a point of view. No one in particular to ask, "what do you mean?"
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby d63 » Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:21 pm

Moreno wrote: a political song had better be aesthetically interesting, not just good, or I can't stand it. And that interest often confuses the mob who wants to here an anthem for their issue.


Yes. But on the other hand, you can become aesthetic without meaning to the point of becoming irrelevant. That was the rut I was falling into during my 3 year stint with art. I mean I hardly read any books at the time.

Anyway, I think we’re pretty much of a common mind here.

But the downside of that is that it gives me little to respond to. And that kind of sucks because my run with my essay didn’t go so well. It’s like I can’t decide between explaining my point in a dry philosophical manner, or going for the poetic which risks coming off as dramatic and pretentious in the context of Pav’s forum. Something about trying to write a post for it is really fucking me up.

I think I’ve come to one of those points where I just need to admit it’s not going to happen today.
Humble yourself or the world will do it for you -it was either Russell or Whitehead. I can't remember which.

When I was young, I use to think the world was a messed up place so i was pissed off a lot. But now that I'm older, I know it is. So I just don't worry about it. -John Lydon (AKA Johnny Rotten).

Anarchy through Capitalism -on a flyer thrown out during a Kottonmouth Kings concert.

First we read, then we write. -Emerson.

All poets are damned. But they are not blind. They see with the eyes of angels. -William Carlos Williams: in the introduction to Ginsberg's Howl.

You gotta love that moment when the work is done and all that is left to do is drink your beer and sip your jager and enjoy what you've done. It's why I do and love it.

I refuse to be taken seriously.

Once again: take care of your process and others will take care of theirs. No one needs a guru. Just someone to jam with.

:me
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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby d63 » Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:51 pm

:-"

never mind.
Humble yourself or the world will do it for you -it was either Russell or Whitehead. I can't remember which.

When I was young, I use to think the world was a messed up place so i was pissed off a lot. But now that I'm older, I know it is. So I just don't worry about it. -John Lydon (AKA Johnny Rotten).

Anarchy through Capitalism -on a flyer thrown out during a Kottonmouth Kings concert.

First we read, then we write. -Emerson.

All poets are damned. But they are not blind. They see with the eyes of angels. -William Carlos Williams: in the introduction to Ginsberg's Howl.

You gotta love that moment when the work is done and all that is left to do is drink your beer and sip your jager and enjoy what you've done. It's why I do and love it.

I refuse to be taken seriously.

Once again: take care of your process and others will take care of theirs. No one needs a guru. Just someone to jam with.

:me
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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby Moreno » Sat Aug 18, 2012 11:54 pm

d63 wrote:Yes. But on the other hand, you can become aesthetic without meaning to the point of becoming irrelevant.
You can focus on the aesthetic and this messes you up. But an aesthetically well done work of art, will be, well, well done. And likely have meaning, if it involves words at least.

That was the rut I was falling into during my 3 year stint with art. I mean I hardly read any books at the time.

Anyway, I think we’re pretty much of a common mind here.

But the downside of that is that it gives me little to respond to. And that kind of sucks because my run with my essay didn’t go so well. It’s like I can’t decide between explaining my point in a dry philosophical manner, or going for the poetic which risks coming off as dramatic and pretentious in the context of Pav’s forum. Something about trying to write a post for it is really fucking me up.

I think I’ve come to one of those points where I just need to admit it’s not going to happen today.
[/quote]maybe you could aim for a middle ground. Somewhat poetic, somewhat discursive. Or, you could switch back and forth as you feel.
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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Sun Aug 19, 2012 2:55 am

Bianco Luno

Picture Otto Weininger with a twinkle in his eye.
I can aspire to this kind of unsettlingness.


Or picture Otto Weininger picturing Bianco Luno picturing him with a twinkle in his eye. Is that something he would aspire to?

Weininger quotes:

All genius is a conquering of chaos and mystery.

Fate determines many things, no matter how we struggle.

A poseur almost always interprets the actions of another person as poses.

Woman does not want the pure, chaste, moral man, but somebody else.

No men who really think deeply about women retain a high opinion of them; men either despise women or they have never thought seriously about them.


And how does this fit into the manner in which nature and nurture endlessly misconstrue each other?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Mon Aug 20, 2012 2:18 am

Bianco Luno

The fundamental gender of things explains why English is better suited to abstractions than, say, Continental languages.
"Darkness" and "Light"—of the two, the first is male.
Most feminists implicitly agree.


Most feminists can't agree on the meaning of the word feminist. And darkness will never be construed [necessarily] as a bad thing. And the English language may well be hopelessly infected by religion. The consensus here being that God is almost certainly male. Is that a good thing?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby d63 » Mon Aug 20, 2012 3:31 pm

Moreno wrote:maybe you could aim for a middle ground. Somewhat poetic, somewhat discursive. Or, you could switch back and forth as you feel.


That's pretty much what I'm after. What I'd like to try doing is a style where I'm telling a fictional narrative one moment, then breaking into a philosophical exposition the next, then a poetic one, then back again. I probably need to go back to reading more Delueze and Guattari for that. And actually, it will require that I switch back and forth before I manage the subtle blend (or fusion) of the two you describe.

However, I get the feeling that Pav's board is looking for straightforward exposition. I've written 2 intro's now, one with the more poetic approach and the other with a more straightforward one. It was funny though. When I posted the two together above to get your opinion, I noticed a process similar to the second law of thermodynamics concerning equilibrium. No sooner than I posted them, I found myself moving stuff from the poetic one down to the straightforward one. It was like a migration of poetic btu's. I'm beginning to believe I'm incapable writing in the straightforward way, like I couldn't so without some consideration of style -even if it is a bad one. I would certainly suck as an analytic philosopher.
Humble yourself or the world will do it for you -it was either Russell or Whitehead. I can't remember which.

When I was young, I use to think the world was a messed up place so i was pissed off a lot. But now that I'm older, I know it is. So I just don't worry about it. -John Lydon (AKA Johnny Rotten).

Anarchy through Capitalism -on a flyer thrown out during a Kottonmouth Kings concert.

First we read, then we write. -Emerson.

All poets are damned. But they are not blind. They see with the eyes of angels. -William Carlos Williams: in the introduction to Ginsberg's Howl.

You gotta love that moment when the work is done and all that is left to do is drink your beer and sip your jager and enjoy what you've done. It's why I do and love it.

I refuse to be taken seriously.

Once again: take care of your process and others will take care of theirs. No one needs a guru. Just someone to jam with.

:me
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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:02 am

Bianco Luno

Studies show: exactly half of all human endeavor is evil.
For men, the proportion is usually greater.
The behavior of women manages to dilute the concentration, a delicate titration, without actually diminishing contamination.
All the time, it remains exactly half...


All this is moot however until it can be established more definitively which half that is. Until then, men and women will have to be content with being on opposite sides of what, for lack of a better description, I'll call "conflicting goods".
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:15 pm

Bianco Luno

"The truth is foreign to me because I am flesh.
In death I shall attain it." My ex-wife dressed in red.
I return to the same idea.
A cold winter morning sun.
You frighten me with your mood changes.
"—would it not be scandalous to leave this corpse behind, the body still quivering with fear and giving off pestilential odours, reeking of the sudden decomposition set off by the fear we hold within ourselves our whole lives long?"
—Marie-Clare Blais
The modal auxiliary ‘shall’ prescribes not a future performance but a present, probably already past, hope.
If I should be doing anything in particular after death, it will be contemplating this.
In the meantime, I have fear to occupy me.
And I shall call the cold sun, the color red, you, all beauty to its altar.


Between that and this...

Blaise Pascal

When I consider the short duration of my life, swallowed up in the eternity
before and after, the little space which I fill and even can see, engulfed in the
infinite immensity of spaces of which I am ignorant and which know me not, I
am frightened and am astonished at being here rather than there; for there is no
reason why here rather than there, why now rather than then. Who has put me
here? By whose order and direction have this place and time been allotted to
me?


...lie all the things that occupy me.
As for what is true, I'll leave that for others to decide.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:45 pm

Bianco Luno

The logical form of male thinking:
Such and such and this and this.
So, I will do...
Practical illation.
You will never cease reminding me that it is possible to escape it.
Always, we are escaping: this bothers me.
Your solution no less than my problem.


Would it really make any difference if you knew what the problem and the solution were? Only, I suspect, if you entirely miss the point.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:12 pm

Bianco Luno

I would rather murder than father a child.
And as for the other reason for sexual contact: it has become a nightmare.


An antinatalist perhaps? As for the other, was it necessarily a nightmare?

For some time the keeper of these words has been a fiction.
But the reader he envisions is certainly more so.
What is most real, what is the most cowardly fact of all, is the writing itself.
It is an antiphrastic account of my moral world and its shameless seams.


This is the argument I made time and again to Olivia. Or, rather, I think I did. To be consumed with writing is not to be consumed with the futility of writing. The writing becomes analogous to religion. The words to God.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:45 pm

Bianco Luno

William James said there was no problem of good.
A crow—beyond a fast walk, an airborne walk—skips along the coping of a brick parapet, lunging into the face of January’s breath.
There is no corresponding problem of good because we expect compatibility of some sort with the world.
A mother’s affection is not supposed to be an object of wonder (in the sense of suspicion).
I think it is.
The first sight of her child can turn a murderess into a saint.
The ‘good’ also requires explanation.
On a sunny winter morning this crow skips like a child.


Is this not a reality constructed out of words? We could construct a world in which determinism prevails. This would be another world in which there was no problem of good. Or a world in which there are conflicting goods able to be defended equally merely by positing different sets of assumptions.

The crow will never be like the baby unless the baby is taught to be like the crow: good mechanically.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:57 pm

Bianco Luno

I run from pain but the running brings with it pleasure.


What then are we to make of those who run toward it? Or who push others into its path?

At 3:02 in the morning at the airport my memory is sharp, visionary.
...saying to Kathy from a balcony overlooking the Ave that I was alright, I was going to live.
(Four years ago.)
I had thrown up two days worth of undigested food, stored in my distended esophagus.
Skate-boarders roared by.
I sipped my canned apple juice.
Kathy is a dear character in my life, haplessly dear, like my cat.
You are not that, not exactly, not yet.
Maybe you are my conscience, something always to be at war with.
I can mention her name, I can only refer to you as "you" with the same uneasiness with which I address it.
You needn’t feel slighted, I would not leave you for Kathy.
I don’t know if there is a creature I would leave you for.
The level of pain and its attending grace, I’ve come to expect and demand, wouldn’t permit it.
But you won’t think I love you in the way you want to be.
No one ever believes that.


Or maybe you are the hapless character created by Kathy. You are obviously created by someone other than the one you want us to believe you are. Some believe you are created by me. But we both know a thing or two about fabricating personas. It begins at birth and it ends at death. With all the stuff in the middle becoming no less enigmatic.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Sat Aug 25, 2012 9:03 pm

Bianco Luno

Morally, I don’t suffer; aesthetically, I have a right to claim a supreme competence and, as you see, I do.


Even if you suffer morally it is only because you are unaware that suffering is merely the embodiment of the same connundrum: dasein. And that such points of view are -- aesthetically -- only as competent or incompetent as we think they are.


17 January 1991/23 February 1991.
War—I am almost left opinionless—is appalling.
It is an embarrassment to terrorists everywhere.


Oh, they'll make up for it. In a word: W. Next to him, Osama is a piker.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:55 pm

Bianco Luno

Without ever wishing to understand myself too completely...the effort.


The burdon is lifted considerably however once you acknowledge the problematic nature of identity. You cannot hope to understand something that is always under reconstruction. Especially something that was never constructed entirely from a blueprint.


The "wise choice" in love: better not to love at all.

The exception [possibly] being cats.

We need more idealists!
Else, where shall we recruit for tomorrow’s cynics and find relief from the scheme set down in Aristotle?


Indeed, just as conservatives tend to evolve [not devolve] from liberals. I know I did. Though I prefer the term "realist".
In the political sense, of course.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:13 pm

Franz Kafka

By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.


This is particularly applicable to moral, political and religious values. Something is true if we believe it is true. And if we believe it is true passionaitely enough we can wreak havoc on the lives of others.

Even though it is not really true at all.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:22 pm

Bianco Luno

How do we fit my small attitude into an ego this size?
I am not remembered to the community; where would they find room for me?
The quantity of becoming it would take, the dissolution of my precious being...
I was driven forth from the land, so to speak, fifteen years ago, when I began in earnest these letters-turned-journals.
To document my exile for the odd person in some future generation.
The mystery of participation, of what is called "good" (no matter James’ comment).
No matter that I’ve succeeded in the person of my person in being judged kind, considerate, steadfast....
Deliver me from this "good" that permeates all things.
What crime could do this?


This is how to rationalize something as obscure and inconsequential as these observations: accummulating them for "the odd person in some future generation".
We accummulate them for ourselves now because, really, what is the alternative?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Tue Aug 28, 2012 1:35 am

Franz Kafka

Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.


This might be said of paradigm shifts originating from any number of human endeavors.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Wed Aug 29, 2012 12:19 am

Bianco Luno

Arguing with Mill about the ineradicable penchant we seem to have for the ideal, especially in the face of utility, James conjures a world where the mass enjoys an undisturbed bliss paid for by the uninterrupted torture of one solitary individual.
How repugnant, he permits himself to say.
But now picture this: a moral state of affairs where just a sampling enjoys a modicum of bliss, while the rest....
This is not so repugnant I gather from looking about.
This is not a Marxist sarcasm, but a sound literal evaluation, pressured by the only measure of repugnance available, free of lip-servitude.
Is lamentation insincere then?
It may serve some biological function, I guess: the way irony, on occasion, does.
(It keeps me, for instance, from acts of physical violence.)
Just now, I am not moved to claim more for it.


This is the world many refuse to look at: "...a moral state of affairs where just a sampling enjoys a modicum of bliss, while the rest..."

The world we actually live in. The world of Walmart and commodity fetish.
Instead, they rationalize it: it's their own fault: overpopulation, refusing to embrace our way of life, the color of their skin, ethnic blunders, choosing the wrong God etc.

But being moved to violence reinforces all the more the relationship some [like me] are shackled to---the one between outrage and fear.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Wed Aug 29, 2012 12:23 am

Franz Kafka

My peers, lately, have found companionship through means of intoxication - it makes them sociable. I, however, cannot force myself to use drugs to cheat on my loneliness - it is all that I have - and when the drugs and alcohol dissipate, will be all that my peers have as well.


That's one way to look at at. Fortunately, there are other ways too.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Wed Aug 29, 2012 7:38 pm

Bianco Luno

Maybe a million people died yesterday on the other side of the earth on islands in great typhoons and in the horn of Africa of not enough pity.
Acts of God?
Certainly, He was complicit.
(And if He doesn’t exist, I accuse Him of that.)
But the important thing is the difference that makes to you?


The important thing [for some] is whether or not it ought to make a difference to anyone at all. In fact, it can be argued that we invented God in order to insist it must.

Living with her—and perhaps with anyone—would have a certain element of hell about it.

Hell is, after all, other people. And being alone is bliss. Right up to that point [and it's coming] we begin to fall apart at the seams.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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