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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12 Jun '19 01:08:08 AM

'The act of listening again has defined music culture for a century.'

9 Jun '19 07:45:43 AM

'… to me the more salient tool in the logician's kit is the counter-model.'

6 Jun '19 04:02:37 PM

Public opinion – a brief, gnostic history

4 Jun '19 12:56:11 AM

'A georgic poem will make farming yield meanings that a seed catalog would not insist upon.'

29 May '19 02:54:17 AM

'It doesn't show us a camera or eyes and expect us to act differently. It simply acts directly on us according to the prerogatives of the system.'

28 May '19 11:45:49 PM

Mulvey without all the psychoanalytic theory

28 May '19 06:33:50 PM

''Will', 'the Will', can be a confusing concept, especially in its grandiose uses, as by Kant, Schopenhauer, Wittgenstein. It can be a term which, seeming to deal with or explain a large matter, halts reflection at a crucial point. It may be better, as I suggested earlier, to restrict the term will, as 'willing' or 'exercise of will', to cases where there is an immediate straining, for instance occasioned by a perceived duty or principle, against a large part of preformed consciousness. What moves us – our motives, our desires, our reasoning – emerges from a constantly changing complex; moral change is the change of that complex, for better or worse. Herein intellectual experiences, states of reflective viewing of the world, are continually moving in relation to more affective or instinctive levels of thought and feeling. Experience, awareness, consciousness, these words emphasise the existence of the thinking, planning, remembering, acting moral being as a mobile creature living in the present. Such, as it might seem here, obscure and complicated pictures are, we should remind ourselves, frequently and convincingly described by great novelists. St Augustine too, using a great many real-life examples, pictures will as a blend of intellect and feeling. (Plenty of experiential volume.) The problem of the freedom of the will must be thought of as lying inside such a picture. Freedom (in this sense) is freedom from bad habit and bad desire, and is brought about in all sorts of ways by impulses of love, rational reflection, new scenery, conscious and deliberate formation of new attachments and so on. There are good modes of attention and good objects of attention. 'Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.' (St Paul, Philippians 4. 8.) Any look at the contingency of our strange and interesting world, its oddity, its surprisingness, its jumble or its neatness can provide such objects and occasions. These 'things' which are just and good assist our attention when we try to make just and compassionate judgments of others or to judge and correct ourselves. Faced with difficult problems or terrible decisions we may feel the need, not so much of a sudden straining of unpractised will-power, but of a calm vision, a relaxed understanding, something that comes from a deep level. This darkness must be stirred and fed, as the deep mind of the artist is fed intuitively by his experience. There is a 'moral unconscious'. This is how morality leads naturally into mysticism and has a natural bond with religion. (By religion I mean a religious attitude and form of life, not a literalistic adherence to a particular dogma.) There can no doubt be a mysticism of the extreme ascetic. But there is also a natural way of mysticism, as indicated by St Paul, which involves a deepened and purified apprehension of our surroundings. The truth-seeking mind is magnetised by an independent transcendent multiform reality. Unselfish attention breaks the barrier of egoism. Living in the present: I really see the face of my friend, the playing dog, Piero's picture. These visual cases also have a metaphorical force. We instinctively dodge in and out of metaphor all the time, and in this sense too are fed or damaged spiritually by what we attend to. Simone Weil uses the image of becoming empty so as to be filled with the truth. She speaks of the mountain walker who sees many things besides the mountain top. Eckhart speaks of emptying the soul so that it may fill with God. A moral position much higher than our own may only be imagined as deprivation. The idea of negation (void) or surrender of selfish will is to be understood together with the idea of purified desire as purified cognition.'

28 May '19 03:38:25 PM

'… O to be self-balanced for contingencies…'

26 May '19 10:35:43 PM

'On Slanted, Pavement makes things happen where nothing happened before. Pavement takes you to oil wells and houseboats, deserts, and starscapes, a city spread out like peanut butter, no man's land, and the place where summer ends. The lyrics fill the air as well, enigmatic and fresh, stuff about making mistakes, catching angels, listening to the radio, and waiting for your dreams to come shuffling over the horizon, waiting in a sunlight that blisters the soul.'