Sunday, March 29, 2020

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The philosopher helps us
to decide
what to believe,

the poet,
to discover
who to desire.

It is dishonest
to make someone believe
something you think
is not true.

It is indecent
to make someone desire
something you feel
is not right.

And to prevent someone
from believing,
from desiring,
what you think is true,
what you feel good about?

This, too, is dishonest.
Indecent. Be kinder.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Art is too important to be left to the virtuous.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

If you cannot understand it
don't believe it.
Don't desire it.
if you will not obey it.

Begin with
and obedience.

Proceed to your beliefs,
with honesty;
with decency,
proceed to your desires.

Balance your discoveries
and your decisions;
maintain your clarity and
your intensity.

Know things
according to their measure.
"Master thyself
then others shall ye bear."

Friday, March 20, 2020

Solitude* is to knowledge
as friendship, to power.

*Not, as I had previously suggested, loneliness.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Friday, March 13, 2020

Saturday, March 07, 2020

"The effects we call 'poetic' occur when speech is made under two conditions: urgency and shortness of time. When the former is 'inspiration' and the latter is 'form', the result is the cultural convention known as 'the poem'." (Don Paterson, The Poem, p. 12)

A pangrammatical supplement: What we call 'philosophical' issues arise, as William James pointed out, "in the unlimited leisure of the wilderness," where there is no urgency and a nutshell bounds a kingdom of infinite space. Under these conditions, when talk turns to 'existence' and the mood is 'informal', the result is the altogether natural entertainment known as 'a philosophy'.

Friday, March 06, 2020

A change of
is to power

as a firm
is to knowledge.


(As caprice is
to tenure.)

Monday, February 24, 2020

" coheres all right
                               even if my notes do not cohere..."

(Ezra Pound, Canto CXVI)

Sunday, February 23, 2020

We can't decide
what is true;
we must discover it.

Justice is not
a discovery
but a decision.

We cannot know
of power. We must
defer to it
in our ignorance.

We cannot master
knowledge, but
refer to it
in our impotence.

Much of life is wasted
seeking things
that must be made,
doing things,
that must be seen.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

"when Americans stop being themselves they start behaving each other" (e.e. cummings)

We are governed
by narratives.
Our inquiries
are statistical.

We model
our behaviors.
We act
on stories.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Ideology is the appearance of ethnopathy in institutions.
Autopathy is the surface of ontology in intuition.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

The mistake is to think
about society. We're meant to feel
the people we are with.

Once made, the error
compounds. Emotion yields
to conceptual rigor,

incorrigible, passion
hides, bides its time, erupts
into the space of reason.

Now we experience
the material world, naked
before the very thing

we had so long believed
ourselves too rational to desire.
Hilarity ensues.

Friday, February 14, 2020

How is poetry possible?
How is philosophy necessary?

What can we feel?
What must we think?

Write the emotion,
write the concept, down.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

"...all beauty is in the long run only fineness of truth..." (Walter Pater, Appreciations, p. 10)

"Justice is fairness." (John Rawls)

Justice is equity.
Truth is accuracy.
Beauty is precision.

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Concepts are to space
as emotions to time.


conceptual frames,
emotional lapses.

Monday, February 03, 2020

Wisdom is not
a competence,
as love is not
          a suspicion.

Philosophy is the love
of wisdom.

Poetry is the hatred
of language.

There are lies
so subtle
you need poems
to expose.

There are iniquities
so brazen
you need philosophy
to accept.

Sunday, February 02, 2020

"Man is not a rational animal, he's a dull-witted animal who loves to torture. ... Poetry, by giving dignity and utterance to our distress, enables us to hope, makes compassion reasonable." (Irving Layton, 1959, foreword to A Red Carpet for the Sun, reprinted in Engagements, p. 83)

Note: reason : common sense :: passion : compassion.

Saturday, February 01, 2020

The philosopher studies

The poet masters

We know of their work
through their failures.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

In science,
a fact
must be verified.

In politics,
an act
must be justified.

Philosophy does not
speak the truth. It
sheds light into darkness.

Poetry doesn't tell
us what is just. It
tells us where it hurts.

(Cf. "The Cramp")

Friday, January 24, 2020

The truth is discovered
in perception.
It does not decide.

Justice can't make discoveries.
It is decided
                       in action.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Observation is to knowledge as negotiation, to power.

"What is it?" is a scientific question.
"Who are we?" is a political question.

We observe things in search of truth.
We negotiate with people for justice.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020


"It's raining."
This is an observation.

"Let's dance."
This is a negotiation.

Cf. Quine 1993.