Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Way of the Place (a callisthenic)

for Jay Thomas

The place we meet is the way we part. We find the place as we lose our way, losing our place as we find the way. This is because the way departs from the real just as the place recedes from the ideal. (The place has its horizon and the way its direction.) The way is always to come, is everywhere up ahead (that is what "now" means), just as the place never passes, is forever under foot (what "here" means). A place is an interrelation of things that determines an objective space. (Things themselves are in their places, occupying the space constituted by correlated objects.) A way is a personal disposition that determines a subjective time. (People themselves are on their way, passing the time constituted by situated subjects.) "It" is "thus" in space just as "I" become "myself" through time. The place is the "this" of spatial relation, just as the way is the "my" of temporal position. "Baby, I love your way (when you mind your place)." Suffering is the long space in the meantime (that is what "mean" means). The place disposes of the way (hides my tracks), relays time (now and then, the way passes through the place) and the way interpolates the place (finds its feet), poses space (here and there, the place gives way).

I am now on my way. Later, then I will rest.
It is here in this place. Elsewhere, there it will go.

Good morning.


Thomas said...

Thanks. Beauty and Strength, says the OED. Grammatical exercise.

Jay said...

Thomas, thank you. I am profoundly touched. I don't know what to say, other than that I'm grateful to have met you in this place, that our ways have intersected -- or at least passed near to one another -- here (however much our respective ways remain our own).

Reflecting on your piece, I wonder whether I'm trying to find a way that moves toward the real, or to occupy the place of an ideal. (And perhaps this is the same thing as saying that I find myself suddenly terrified of that long space in the meantime).

Thomas said...

Anytime. Thanks for the inspiration, though I feel somehow odd putting it that way.

I feel like Wittgenstein tracing around the frame of the problem, discovering only its grammatical form.

I hope you find content(ment).

I think we can only ever hope to make our anxieties more precise.