Archive for August, 2008

What to do?

August 13, 2008

I haven’t posted for some time…. But I’ve been working at my laptop and looking out from time to time down along the slow bend of the river, watching as that river just keeps on flowing past, the Heraclitean river of endless change that nonetheless enacts in its shining ripples the wave equations of Schrodinger….

What to do? I read and think, and I write and I write. It is sacramental time, the time of deep communion. What I have always longed for, and now I experience it daily and experience gratitude for every event and moment of a life that has managed to bring me here.

But how do I share this with others? When I try to draw things together into chiseled and elegant essays to put into scholarly journals, the thought keeps spilling over those bounds I try to impose, and I am back at that cutting edge where thought presses further and further into that place where it needs to go.

If I had time, if I had time and the energy I had in times past, perhaps I could be a disciplined “editor” of myself and let my essays give me a voice in those forums most suited to understand me. Perhaps I could.

I have been trying out a new venue lately — speaking, into a video-recorder, beside the river, speaking with you, my ideal audience, an audience that is not co-identical with the audience in those forums most suited to understand me….

Perhaps one or two of those videotapes will show up here….

Perhaps I will post here in written words some of that thinking that pours into my laptop but is wild and unedited…. The editing that I would put upon this thought is the editing that comes when the mutual energies of minds are gathered around a text, or for me, all of those most difficult and beautiful texts in the long history of the arts and sciences adventure…. That editing is alive; it enables us to check and to interact with every gesture, every venture, even as we make those gestures, those interactions. It gives us the dunamis for putting every determination under erasure while we are determining it, thus recapitualating the eery yet utterly mundane mystery of our communal language as it establishes its miraculous delimitations with tools ever open to the arbitrary, the what is as of yet the still arbitrary….

This was the nightmare that lurked behind the dis-covery of the “integral and discrete object of our linguistics” for Saussure, that spector of endless change, but it did not abash the minds of the great Socratic adventurers, Plato and Aristotle, who knew that the arts were equal to the challenge so long as they were kept within a human arena, the city-state and its exigencies — but no one had thought of any other arena but the city-state — and of course, the realm of personal ultimacy (the salvation of one’s soul even when the city stumbles). That “other” realm (the realm of a knowledge that would be universal and absolute, perhaps the most peculiar of all the “wind-eggs” of our history) would await the acknowledged geniuses of the 17th century for its begetting….

When I most require a classroom and that presence of minds gathered around a text — that receptacle that is the deepest medium for thought and the place most full of living substance, of ousia, I cannot enter one because I lack the strength and health to do so.

What to do?