The Elder Statesman - Act One

"CHARLES: Your words seem to come
From very far away. Yet very near. You are changing me
And I am changing you.

MONICA: Already
How much of me is you?

CHARLES: And how much of me is you?
I'm not the same person as a moment ago.
What do the word mean now - I and you?"

T.S. Eliot, The Elder Statesman, Faber and Faber, 1969, p. 13 ;-)

Yes, I love my wife too.

People want to understand. We want to capture the meaning and then vivisect it - & trace each and every detail until it is well and truly known. Until it can be recited and reproduced ad infinitum. The preference is for natural numbers over rational ones & for rational numbers of real ones. The real numbers may not outnumber but clearly outperform the complex numbers as regards the popular vote. The same is with the discrete versus the continuous. If we can split in two halves we will; but anything will be preferred over the messy reality of there being an infinite number of ways for us to look at a single thing. And we prefer the linear over the non-linear as well; things come in well identifiable singles, if at all possible, we will go to the most extreme of extremes to avoid having to consider what happens as a whole that can't be reduced to constituent parts.

The 'whole' is for our everyday understanding a big, glaring hole.

I hate that.

I like to say that what takes effort is probably not worth the effort.

My bad, I guess. My loss as well. If you count in number of hits, at least.

The worst of it you'll get if one questions the identity of people's personality and the hard and fast truth of being born as an atomic spirit into a growing body. If we do it, we get stared at: "For sure, you don't imply that this I is something, continuously in flux & merely a function of its environment (more specifically its linguistic context)!" It is precisely what I imply, what Eliot implies, what Pirandello implies and what can't but be the consequence of what can't but be right in contemporary philosophy.

"But what about guilt? If the person is no longer a trustable unit of accountability, it is impossible to attribute guilt." It would be impossible and it is impossible to 'guilt' somebody in the absolute way that people want to make other people guilty (and - which is the same - themselves potentially innocent). Sin is impossible but workable as a concept within the limits of the over-all fogginess of all other concepts,'person' included. Original sin is definitely out. Original sin would apply to those just born, & to those not capable of language. It doesn't apply - because it cannot hold. Before feeling yourself as a self there was no self and no guilt, original or otherwise.

One should not underestimate the power that religions have in presenting a linear & a discrete & a natural picture of atomic spirits that can be wrong or right, that can be saved or doomed. This is serious business even if, by nature, somewhat fuzzy. This cannot be. The most you can do is have your you influence another I - thát is what we get as an after-life: not even so much as 'being remembered' but merely having caused something for the good of what comes after. This is also enough for Kant's sense of morality because it is enough to want to cause something good.

I am sorry to have focused on the negative, with a quote that so clearly opens doors to the positive. But the easy way out of that is to tell you to reread the quote - and I hope you have somebody like that - and if you haven't, it is the easiest thing to get (because it may be very difficult to get many friends, or to become popular but it's a matter of the smallest difficulty to talk to somebody, & be transformed, & transform at the same time - just let go of your own individuality - and in any case the merest fact of you feeling like an individual is only the consequence of others having talked to you and breathed life in you - you were created not by God but by everybody that has taken the time to nurture you).

I will never ever get softer than that ;-)

Whilst writing this I was listening to BOENOX, 'STUDIO' (will be a hard one to find but one well worth the effort)

19:52 Gepost door Guido Nius in Liefde | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: t s eliot, identity, optimism, tones, learning |  Facebook |


It was full of phonies

"It was full of phonies. And mean guys. You never saw so many mean guys in your life. For instande, if you were having a bull session in somebody's room, and somebody wanted to come in, nobody'd let them in if they were some dopey, pimply guy. Everybody was always locking their door whens somebody wanted to come in." J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, p. 174, Penguin Books, 1958.

"(..) And besides (..)"

"How would you know you weren't being a phoney? The trouble is, you wouldn't." ibid. p. 179.


I'm too old for it now. I guess I grew out of it. Or thought I grew out of it. But did I? Apparently not or I wouldn't be quoting it. No, ít grew out of me maybe. Forgot it, or suppressed it. Maybe I was a phoney all along and these quotes the kind of thing a phoney sympathizes with. In order to shield himself in his own thoughts: from being a phoney. Yeah, maybe I forgot it - moved on without the need to look back on the times where people were constantly locking their doors. Cliques. Moved on to locking my doors. People are awful. My clique is small. Is there a small too small for it to be a clique? My clique doesn't include awful people - Is my opinion. I don't lock my door so much as I disincentivize awful people to come in.

No, I'm not a phoney. I may be dopey. Or pimply. Or unintelligible. Or inaudible but not phoney. My clique isn't a clique. Everybody can come in. Nobody wants to though it being so unexclusive and all.

The thing is: you do kinda know. You know because you're not saving lives. At least you are not thinking you're saving lives. Just running around trying to mind your own business. Better: trying not to make to much business out of your own business. Not out of humility or anything either. Just so strange people are not attracted to makin' it into some kind of club. No you're not a phoney if you don't like clubs and if you're able to ask yourself the question: "How do I know I really don't like clubs?"

The other thing is: it's easy to become a phoney. Dopey people become phoneys all the time. Pimply people too. & People that are told they can't be understood. It's so easy to become a phoney. 'Cause you always wanted to get in that bloody door. And that's why they kept on locking it on ya. Coz you always wanted to come in uninvited & all. You see: that kinda seals it as so very depressing. I always wanted to come in and I still want to get in. Even if I know I'm uninvited. Not welcome and that nobody, really nobody, wants to listen to me.

It's easy to become a phoney. More than half of the internet is dedicated to creating a second chance for dopey people to become phonies. It's called social networking & it's dedicated to creating the opportunity to lock virtual doors. People are really good as it too - especially those that were phonies to start with. They really rock at all this social networking stuff. They really do. They can let you know their doors are locked; even if you didn't much care to come in ;-) 

But I still like people. I do. I'm a cultural optimist. Always was. Even with all of these phonies and all, people are likeable if given a chance. Even the phonies. It's just we don't give a lot of chances. We can't really - not enough time to socially network with all of them. So we have to pick our phonies and our dopeys and stuff. We're getting better at it. Lots better. The internet helps. Makes it easier to find our own room, to have a bull session in or something. Easier also to go from one room to the next, & not carrying the label of the rooms you've been in. That certainly helps a lot. Maybe as an optimist one could say: maybe it helps enough to get rid of labels alltogether (at least in the non-amusing sense of cliques and clubs).

Whilst writing this I was listening to Richard Galliano, Luz Negra.


15:11 Gepost door Guido Nius in Liefde | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: identity, salinger, optimism, friendship, competition |  Facebook |



"Bleib nicht auf ebnem Feld!
Steig nicht zu hoch hinaus!
Am schönsten sieht die Welt
Von halber Höhe aus."

Friedrich Nietzsche, Die fröhliche Wissenschaft, Reclam, 2000, p. 16.

(amateuristic English translation below)

I'm running a serious risk of not taking myself seriously. It's the risk that's well less known because of the dreary fact-of-life that the average cultivated person is well to the over-serious side. Still, one can go too far in the other direction, as Nietzsche (in all probability) did round about the time he wrote the book from which this is taken - and as more & more people will risk as the average levels of cultivation go up and it becomes the standard to be more like Wilde than like the village preacher (or nut, if you prefer). But in naming the Great One with Anal Preferences, you get my point or at least so I hope: you can only laugh so much with yourself, before it gets to points where, really, it becomes laughable. Not, mind you, that it's a common risk to run (& you would be ill-advised to think you're running it) as in most cases people that find themselves poking fun at themselves really are making a shadow-move; so getting, said in passing, to an interesting non-intended irony allowing us - in all seriousness - to laugh heartily at their jokes (don't get it? shame on you!).

Anyway, in my attempt to up the frequency on this here place a bit (trying to avoid a hitting-of-the-same-nail-over-and-over-again syndrome - & finishing something that is quite a bit bigger than a little post), where should be the harm in revisiting further some childhood favourites - setting some records straight whilst taking something of a rest, 'pour mieux sauter' so to speak. This is Nietzsche's book; the rest is better - by broad margins - than most, but the 'fröhliche Wissenschaft' is where he remained unaffected by the flat oceans of mediocrity surrounding him and hit it on the head & hit it well, without the great Babylonic assent: still funny, not yet sour. Allow me a bit of paternalistic instincts: this is how my kids need to get to know him.

And besides, it does tie to my over-all project for you can only make sense if you're still connected to the everyday goins-on; but you can only really add value if you do jump & take the risk of telling something that's so new that nobody understands it - heck, that you don't quite 'get it' yourself (feeling the frustrations of being uncertain yourself of whether you're being a genius or just everyday ludicrous). That's where it has to be possible to laugh at yourself with all strings attached - laugh with yourself, but feeling the pain of being ridiculized by others, on things that matter for you; not just laughing because it's funny & relaxing & showing that you can take the vantage points that are the highest, that you can describe the lay of the land because you've discovered the best vista's; no - feeling the ridicule of the classroom on things which are near and dear to you (a poem you meant, an opinion you believe strongly in), & inflicting thát ridicule on yourself, en plein public, inviting the others.

Not easy, heh! Much easier to take the high road, which is what most people looking down on the flatlanders do. The high road in fact even easier than the safe paths of gradualism in art and litterature because the creation and risk is still real - although it is lower and therefore also - in a non-romantic and non-overly-obsessive way - the reward is lower (it's a simple law of artistic creation: the more understandable to this public of 'now', the more rapidly it will date since it will rapidly cease to be intelligble to the offspring, the offspring's cultivation progressing too fast to keep a connection with what soon becomes folcloristic nostalgia, the friendly face of cultural pessimism, take opera for instance and its overly overt dramatism).

Getting too long again so let me share some quotes of mine to appear (maybe who knows?) soon elsewhere in real print: "When nobody understands you - you've said nothing. Being mainstream is as important as being independent. There is nothing mediocre about being like everybody else: to be special is not to be a little different in everything and from everybody, it suffices to be new in something."

Great minds think alike :-)

As you were.

"Don't stay on the flat lands!
Don't climb too high!
The most beautiful view of the world,
can be seen from half those heights."

Whilst writing this I was listening to Beethoven, Piano Sonatas, Friedrich Gulda (Discs 7 & 8) - and I do admit that I checked in on the soccer results from time to time.

21:02 Gepost door Guido Nius in Liefde | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: learning, nietzsche, decadence, boldness, imagination |  Facebook |