Sunday, October 30, 2011

Canonical Meditations

Here's a puzzle I'd like to hear your opinion on. There's a straighforward argument for Heidegger's influence on Foucault, i.e., that Foucault's "archaeology" is an empirical and historical application of Heidegger's analytic of Dasein. He studies the Dasein of the human sciences, we might say, and ultimately of humanity itself (in his later works on the history of subjectivity).

Well, I've got this pangrammatical point about Lorca's duende as the poetical supplement to Dasein in philosophy (see also this post). That is, Lorca is to poetry what Heidegger is philosophy. This raises a natural question. Who is to poetry as Foucault is to philosophy? My limited knowledge of poetry suggests the following possibilities: Ashbery, Rothenberg, Waldrop, Watten. Perhaps, trying to decide among them is merely pedantry.

In any case, what we're looking for is a poet who is to Foucault as Lorca is to Heidegger, and, not incidentally, as Tost is to Basbøll.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Poetry and Opinion

She may despise him. Her opinion of him may be as accurate as you like. He may be altogether despicable.

He may worship her. His opinion of her may be entirely wrong. She, too, that is, may be despicable.

None of this proves that his perception of her is not poetry.

It is the poet's task, we might say, to keep his expression true to his perceptions, regardless of the conventional opinion he also forms on the basis of those perceptions.

His intelligence and his poetic acumen are not one.

Borges rightly said that our opinions are the most trivial things about us.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Totalitarians Left and Right

I know this is really unfair to Chris Hedges, but the symmetry here is too fearful to leave unnoted.

Is this what terrified Norman Mailer forty years ago?

Monday, October 03, 2011

CNN Gets It ... sort of

CNN's coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests makes a distinction worthy of mention here at the Pangrammaticon:

A spirited and leaderless protest in the Wall Street section of New York has entered its third week, helping to inspire a growing number of demonstrations united in their passion if not necessarily their reasons for hitting the streets.

Do you see it? CNN is sensitive to the fact that political activity is a passionate, not a reasonable, affair. (Passion is to power as reason is to knowledge.) Of course, since CNN is very much a part of the establishment, it feels compelled to put the protesters down for not having "reasons" for "uniting". The idea that it is passion not reason that brings people together (reason's only function, I submit, is to keep things apart—for perfectly good analytical purposes) does not compute for CNN, because its poesie is scored to a different lyre, i.e., an axe.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

The Speed of Appearances

The neutrinos from CERN were showing up at Gran Sasso a few billionths of a second early—in other words, they appeared to be getting from Switzerland to Italy faster than light would travel the same distance. (Clay Dillow, Popsci, 09.22.2011)

I've always thought there was something odd about the universal speed limit. The only good reason I've ever heard for the speed of light as something special is that it determines the simultaneity of visual appearances. When two things happen at the same time, you have to be standing at an equal distance to both events in order to see them as happening at the same time. We see the light from stars that are thousands and millions of years old. (The point being: the "visible universe" is not how it is right now, nor even how it was at a given point in the past; rather, it reaches all the way back into time.) Etc. And think of something like lightning. It appears before the eye before it appears before the ear.

It's because the the visual image is the primary sense we give to "appearance" that "the speed of light" seems (seems!) so absolute. Real instantaneity belongs to appearances. Intuition is the medium of that immediacy.

So I'm not really surprised that scientist have found neutrinos that travel faster than light. It had to happen.