Monday, January 28, 2019

The observable fact is to science what
the negotiable act is to politics.

Your science is not experimental (i.e., modern)
if your facts are not observable.

Your politics are not deliberative (i.e., modern)
if your acts are not negotiable.

The successful observation yields a discovery.
The successful negotiation yields a decision.

At some point you see what's true.
At some point you do what's right.

In the calm
beyond the theory,
on the path
beneath the method,
between the poem
and your philosophy,
you'll find
that things
are what they are
on their own,
and that people
become themselves
among each other.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Psychology is committed to denying the existence of the soul or to telling us how it works. To say that it is "epiphenomenal"—that it exists but does nothing—is a cop out. To say that it does nothing, but that everything happens to it, is untenable. Psychology must tell me either how my actions might damage my soul or persuade me that it does not exist at all.

There is no justice
in the world.
There's still some truth in it,
but a world
is no place
for justice.
If that's what you want,
you'll have to make history.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

"How to write: go to your nation and strive." (Barrett Watten)

* * *

Think of your nation
not as the place of your birth
but as the people
among whom you were born.

Friday, January 18, 2019

A tempo is to the now
as a locale is to the here.

Our places and the times.

The opposite of composure
is distemper. Time, dislocated.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

When the Emergency Becomes Articulate

(Reflections on Leonard Cohen's answer to a question about the line, "I am ready, my Lord.")

The poet seeks obedience, the origin
of desire, as the philosopher seeks
understanding, the end of belief.

The philosopher disentangles essences
and accidents; the poet's inspiration arrives
"when the emergency becomes articulate."

The essence of a thing is the basis of its
intelligibility. Personality
emerges from the willingness to serve.

The Poet and the Politician

(Lines written after watching Leonard Cohen and Al Gore discuss the catastrophe.)

The poet is to the politician
as the philosopher to the scientist,
the latter's dogged clarity to
the former's first intensity.

The philosopher makes us think
about what we know.
The poet makes us feel
for those we master.

The poet extricates the emotion
from the forces of history.
The philosopher extricates
the concept from the world.

The politician peddles hope
The scientist promotes the future,
while our poets and philosophers
worry our doubts and our despair.

The philosopher must address
the scientist with utmost humility.
Oh, poet, how hard it must be
to muster your politeness!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Here's what happened.
No, here's what I think happened.
No, here's how I felt at the time
that it happened. No, I saw
something happening right before
my eyes but I wasn't sure
what to make of it.
I'm still not sure what happened.
I'll tell you what. Something
happened. It happened to me.
No. Dear God. What have I done?

Monday, January 07, 2019

Perspicuity is to philosophy
as intensity to poetry.