Monday, November 17, 2014

Spring and What the Fall Is

"Sometimes I speak of imagination as a force, an electricity or a medium, a place. It is immaterial which: for whether it is the condition of a place or a dynamization its effect is the same: to free the world of fact from the impositions 'art' ... and to liberate the man to act in whatever direction his disposition leads." (William Carlos Williams)

This is the last post at the Pangrammaticon, marking exactly ten years of blogging. I'm grateful to everyone who has been following along.

Early on, I invoked Wittgenstein's Tractatus. The key to that book lies in the proposition "We make ourselves pictures of the facts". What Wittgenstein does not tell us is how; he merely asserts that we do. The relevant faculty is, of course, imagination, Einbildungskraft.

Rereading that post now, I notice, with pleasure, that it closes with a reference to Williams. It was no doubt the lineation of the "The Red Wheel Barrow" that I was referring to there, but it wasn't until a few years ago that I finally read Spring and All. The shock of its symmetry with the Tractatus is hard to describe. It was a vindication of everything I've done here.

Imagination is both a force and a craft. (The German word "Kraft" can mean force, or strength, or skill.) Forces are of nature as crafts are of culture. Suffering is where they meet. We call the joint by its Latin name. Art. Beauty is difficult.

"Die Welt ist alles, was der Fall ist," said Wittgenstein. "The world is everything that is case," or, perhaps, "all that is befallen." History is everyone who's on my case, or, all kidding aside, all that's happened. In any case, spring was beautiful this year. The summer was long. And the fall, too, has been delightful. Thus, in any case, as the weather goes.

Be reasonable! the philosopher demands. Be passionate! suggests the poet. I've tried to use this blog to find my grammatical composure. "All the usage in the world." I don't know how far there is to go, but I feel I've made some progress. Let us be reasonable and passionate. Let us be as articulate about our reasons as our passions. Let us put these beautiful bodies where our mouths are.