• Hoo
    Here's a fascinating text that I'd love to get your thoughts on. Flynt is more known (it seems) as a musician and an artist, but I find this text quite impressive. I personally agree with most of it, but I'd guess that just about everyone will find it food for thought.
  • Bitter Crank
    Who, the text you invited us to read is nearly 15,000 words long -- a fairly long text to read without some certain benefit. I did read about 20% of it, and found nothing to which I strenuously objected. It seems sensible.

    A better approach (in a forum) is for you to put forward something which is striking to you, defend it, or attack it, and let people respond accordingly.

    For instance, "executive agency" is an important concept discussed in the part I read. He doesn't use that term, but it's what he is talking about in the part I read. Some people value executive agency higher than others. I'm not happy if I have none, and other people are quite content to just do as they are told. What's makes for the difference in people?
  • csalisbury
    I read about half and, while I mostly agreed and liked the ideas (a bit like a down-to-earth gloss of Being and Time ) it just feels so lonely. It has that sense of coffee (or speed) fueled all-nighters spent trying to put it all together.
  • Bitter Crank
    The Dangling Conversation

    It’s a still-life watercolor
    Of a now late afternoon
    As the sun shines through the curtain lace
    And shadows wash the room
    And we sit and drink our coffee
    Couched in our indifference
    Like shells upon the shore
    You can hear the ocean roar
    In the dangling conversation
    And the superficial sighs
    The borders of our lives

    And you read your Emily Dickinson
    And I my Robert Frost
    And we note our places with bookmarkers
    That measure what we’ve lost
    Like a poem poorly written
    We are verses out of rhythm
    Couplets out of rhyme
    In syncopated time
    And the dangling conversation
    And the superficial sighs
    Are the borders of our lives

    Yes,we speak of thing that matter
    With words that must be said
    “Can analysis be worthwhile?”
    “Is the theatre really dead?”
    And how the room is softly faded
    And I only kiss your shadow
    I cannot feel your hand
    You’re a stranger now unto me
    Lost in the dangling conversation
    And the superficial sighs
    In the borders of our lives

    Simon & Garfunkel
  • csalisbury
    This quote in particular really resonated with me: "When anyone throws him-or herself into denial and lives it for an extended period of time, he or she can no longer tell when he or she is denying. When they lie to themselves, they erode their capacity for discrimination and discernment. They cannot identify their purposes in their conscious realized choices. (Recall that we began with conscious realized choices.) They cannot distinguish qualities in their own comportment. We say, a free and lucid person can declare his or her own priorities. A person who is captive must deny their own priorities, then have those priorities spewed in the open when they fall apart."

    I've fallen apart once or twice and that's exactly what happens, - your priorities spew out into the open. It's horrifying. And then you look back over the last few years and see all the ways in which those priorities were operative, as if working through you, while you concocted a narrative - for yourself as much as for others - which concealed what was actually happening. Invariably, in periods leading to 'breakdowns,' I had been trying to maintain a faux-stoic self-image of someone who had no real needs.

    So he seems dead on, on this point.
  • Hoo
    Yeah, csalisbury. I liked that part especially, too. He justifies self-honesty without sentimentality. I also liked your phrase "faux-stoic self-image of someone who has no real needs."
  • Hoo
    From the essay:
    "Just as there is a natural orientation toward curiosity, activeness, relative self-reliance, relative power, there is a natural preference for the expansion of consciousness. We get a definition of cognition as the seeking of awareness of what the obscure totality shows of itself. Leaving aside our awareness of our awareness, we assume a gap between our awareness and "the" obscure totality; otherwise cognition would not be venturesome and we could not make mistakes."

    I like this "obscure totality," which I think we do automatically posit. Cognition is "venturesome." That's why philosophy is (at its best)thrilling. It's not just survival: It's a joyride.
  • Hoo
    This quote also won me over:
    " We need the distinction between

    (a) persevering through grief and discouragement, and

    (b) having elan, feeling life to be sweet, walking on air.

    (a) is like driving with the hand brake on. And (b) is an experience, not a proposition. It is the release of the powers you have, no longer having to drive with the hand brake on. Then you realize what you may not have noticed before, because you had become habituated to it: the drag. You carried a hindrance within, a discouragement, and you persevered because you can tolerate discouragement, because it is more advantageous to persevere than to lie down on the side of the road and die.

    It is one thing to persevere in the face of discouragement; and it is another thing to be free of discouragement. The distinction is as palpable as being in a vat of molasses or not being in a vat or molasses. (b) means that the gratifying thing is attainable. Or a palpable hope is afforded us: that we can be innocently joyful, can see things as they are, can find like-minded people, can envision a better condition and attain it.

    I do not know how likely it is that an act of will on your part can take you from (a) to (b). It is more credible to me that your relief has to come from without. Your only contribution is your openness to this gift of happenstance. "

    I was gloomy and anguished in my 20s, but mostly find myself in state (b) these days, largely by having jettisoned futile and false fantasies of what the self could be, should be, was.
  • csalisbury
    ha, I almost quoted that bit as well. The handbrake metaphor is perfect. I still drive with the handbrake on most days, to be honest. The notion that the transition from (a) to (b) comes from without seems very similar to the Christian concept of grace. Which means it brings with it Grace's attendant paradox - how can one open oneself to the gift, to grace, without already having grace?
  • csalisbury
    Leaving aside our awareness of our awareness, we assume a gap between our awareness and "the" obscure totality."
    I'm confused by the use of 'totality' as well as the scare-quoted definite article. Why not just 'obscurity?'
  • Hoo

    I'm confused by the use of 'totality' as well as the scare-quoted definite article. Why not just 'obscurity?'[/quote]
    I know it's been months, but...

    I think he's pointing out the assumed unity or singleness of the obscure totality. That is already a sort an a priori structuring. He's got some wild ideas on math and logic. They are indulgent, radical, possibly useless---but fascinating, exuberant. He seems interested in working out (almost as conceptual art) a consistent, maximum skepticism ("cognitive nihilism").
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