josh blog

Ordinary language is all right.

One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.

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23 Dec '15 08:58:35 PM

On the train, a man, homeless probably, or maybe just a drunk, long blond hair faded dirty white with age, splayed across his seat in the most uncomfortable way, seemingly dead to the world, his legs locked out against the floor to keep him in place. They don't hold; he falls off the seat, onto the floor. A thud.

For some long seconds the nearest passengers in the car were watching cautiously. The train cars are wide, open: spaces with seats in them rather than the filled-up rows of seats of buses which leave no place to fall, be fallen. On a train, to offer any help at all would be to cross the distance, step into the man's situation there alone in the middle of the floor.

No one helped. The man raised himself to a seated position, still on the floor; staring off before him somewhere, face blotted and dark. The passenger nearest to him, standing at the doors of the car, leaned over, said something. The man indicated something, barely, staying where he was, the other man leaving him where he was. He crawled back to his seat eventually, hoisting himself up from his knees, to reclaim the same position.

A few minutes later, at the next stop, three cops suddenly appear from the rear of the car. They stand about the man, obviously in a formation, a triangle. They have the look of linebackers, with wide stances. The lead cop says something. They're going to take him; he doesn't want to go but he seems not to fight it, save for a faint tug in the other direction when they lift him from his seat by his arms. But as they lean in to grab him, the look on his face is fear, complete powerlessness.

23 Dec '15 07:17:04 AM

'Nothing happened today. And if anything did, I'd rather not talk about it, because I didn't understand it.'

23 Dec '15 07:01:21 AM

Not to disappear into quotidia. To know, do, that.

21 Dec '15 01:50:31 AM

Νέος ἐφ' ἡμέρῃ ἥλιος.

19 Dec '15 07:45:41 PM

'… this absorption of swarming life into the immobile swarming of letters never happens.'

11 Dec '15 05:07:15 AM

'The artistic life is full of frustrations and failures as well as breakthroughs. You are alone. No-one can help you.'

5 Dec '15 03:48:48 AM

'That more confidence should be felt in there being physical objects than in there being classes, attributes, and the like is not to be wondered. For one thing, terms for physical objects belong to a more basic stage in our acquisition of language than abstract terms do. Concrete reference is felt as more secure than abstract reference because it is more deeply rooted in our formative past. For another thing, terms for intersubjectively observable physical things are at the focus of the most successful of unprepared communication, as between strangers in the marketplace. Surely such rapport tends to encourage confidence, however unconsciously, that one is making no mistake about his objects.'

Marketplace? Only a man who has never been grocery shopping would choose the 'marketplace' as his paradigmatic venue for the optimal usage of terms to refer to things.

28 Nov '15 08:17:33 PM

'The problem is not that, but this'

28 Nov '15 08:16:35 PM

Cavell, 'Knowing and Acknowledging', p. 262:

'I take the philosophical problem of privacy, therefore not to be one of finding (or denying) a "sense" of "same" in which two persons can (or cannot) have the same experience, but one of learning why it is that something which from one point of view looks like a common occurrence (that we frequently have the same experiences—say looking together at a view of mountains, or diving into the same cold lake, or hearing a car horn stuck; and that we frequently do not have the same experiences—say at a movie, or learning the results of an election, or hearing your child cry) from another point of view looks to be impossible, almost inexpressible (that I have your experiences, that I be you).'

Heidegger, Being and Time I.VI §43a, SZ 204:

'The "problem of reality" in the sense of the question of whether an external world is objectively present or demonstrable, turns out to be an impossible one, not because its consequences lead to inextricable impasses, but because the very being which serves as its theme repudiates such a line of questioning, so to speak. It is not a matter of proving that and how an "external world" is objectively present, but of demonstrating why Dasein as being-in-the-world has the tendency of "initially" burying the "external world" in nullity "epistemologically" in order to then resurrect it through proofs. The reason for this lies in the falling prey of Dasein and in the diversion motivated therein of the primary understanding of being to the being of objective presence. If the line of questioning in this ontological orientation is "critical," it finds something merely "inner" as what is objectively present and alone certain. After the primordial phenomenon of being-in-the-world has been shattered, the isolated subject is all that remains and it becomes the basis joined together with a "world."'