Monday, August 01, 2011

Apathy and Alogia

The continuing crisis is likely to excacerbate our suffering, or rather, that peculiarly modern kind of suffering, which is the opposite of suffering, an inability to suffer, if you will. It stems from the conflagrations of perception and action, reality and ideality, knowledge and power, belief and desire, in short, pangrammatical imprecision.

The result is increasing apathy and, its pangrammatical complement, alogia, a lack of passion and a lack of reason, the dissolution of pathos and the collapse of logos. One is left with no discernable feeling, no clear thought. While one is kept alive, in a kind of suspended animation, one is barely able to experience one's life.

I take Beckett's How It Is to be among the most precise artistic statements of this fundamental imprecision in living.

If I am right, however, a way out of this crisis is available to us. I call it "composure", and it amounts to a recomposition of belief and desire in our lives. How does one achive composure? That's what I believe I have just discovered: carefully and daringly. "Teach us to care and not to care/Teach us to sit still," said T.S. Eliot. He also famously dared us to eat peaches.

It is with these minimal acts of caring and daring, occasioned by barely perceptible twinges of curiosity and sparks of courage, that we constitute the meaning of our experiences.

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