Saturday, March 03, 2012

Stare, Breath

"Remark and Strophe" is not so much a poem as a poem "schema". I'm going to try to write some poems using it as a form or grid. I'll also, of course, try to write some philosophical remarks.

I'm guite happy with this particular homology, these supplements: staring is to knowledge, and therefore philosophy, as breathing is to power, and therefore poetry. Much of the "profundity" of philosophy and poetry derives, I think, from this centering of the body.

I'm still committed to the idea that a poem can be traced back to the intensity implicit in the tension of a string (lyre, lyric, etc.). And that the clarity of philosophy is the clarity of a lamp. Thus, lamp/stare on the one hand, lyre/breath on the other.

I sometimes worry I am making too much of language, and especially of writing. Why should there be anything profound about marking up a page? "In what sense is a white page with black marks on it like a human body?" asks Wittgenstein. (I'm not sure he meant that to sound as profound as it does to me.) Kant said that thought may either directly, in experience, or indirectly, "by way of certain marks", relate to intuition. I've suggested a supplement from "The Critique of Pure Passion": "All feeling must, either directly, or indirectly by way of certain marks, relate ultimately to institutions, and therefore, as far as stuff is concerned, to motility, because in no other way can a subject be taken with stuff."

Intuition (Anschauung) is to reason as institution (Anstalt) is to passion. Staring is to intuition as breathing is to institution.


Presskorn said...

All this talk of breathing reminds me of Weininger:

"The artist has breathed in the world to breathe it out again; the philosopher has the world outside him and he has to absorb it."

Thomas said...

That's it exactly! (Where's that from?)

Presskorn said...

It appears on the very first page of Otto Weininger's 'Sex and Character', see Authors Preface:

I should warn you of the company you're in, however :-) It's a highly dubious book - to put it mildly - which I've only read because of its known influence on Wittgenstein, see e.g.

But sometimes Weininger's one-liners come in handy, e.g.