Archive for ‘Metaphysical Exercises’

October 4, 2015

There is a vital mystery to the world; but it lies hidden behind our stubborn conviction that, in the main, we’ve figured it out already.

[This applies both to the depressed individual and the human race as a whole.]

January 11, 2015

A psalm of existential commerce

Just lend me joy enough
to live another day;
i will then repay you,
my friend, with life.

January 2, 2015

If God is a fulcrum outside of the self (though perhaps not the mind), then prayers might in fact just be levers of the Archimedean kind. (Please forgive the antiquating rhyme.)

September 22, 2014

Analogies: the Trinity

The concept of the Trinity has helped me think through a number of issues related to the pollyty, two of which can be derived from the following drawing:

Pollyty_Trinity

[First off, let me apologize to all Orthodox Christian readers for the filioque arrow. It is there only for historical, not ontological purposes, as i will explain below. For non-Christian readers, you are going to be totally lost.]

Just as the Father is the source of the divine essence and engenders the Son and spirates the Holy Spirit, so the State’s rule of law and the infrastructure it provides make Corporations (or broadly, Capitalism) and Pollyties possible. In that sense, both C and P are built on top of the social and political layer that is provided by S; and yet, insofar as the State’s legal infrastructure is used to define and maintain in existence both Corporations and Pollyties, it is tantamount to a shared essence or ousia: all three are institutions of some sort. But since they are fundamentally different kinds of institutions, and are defined against one another, they cannot be collapsed into one person or hypostasis. Just as the Father never incarnated, and the Son is not just a spirit, so the State is by definition not a voluntary association, and a corporation is not a democratic social net.

The second use i’ve made of the Trinitarian analogy is more basic. Historically, the third person of the Trinity (the Holy Spirit) emerged long (say, two centuries) after the Father and Son had been established as separate entities or persons. In fact, the Holy Spirit can be thought of as the necessary solution to the theological problems inherent in the “two God” approach (which seemed to inevitably degenerate into some kind of good god/bad god Gnosticism). The Holy Spirit brought balance to the godhead by serving as a liaison between the just heavenly Father and his earthly loving Son: like the Father, the Spirit was not human; like the Son, e proceeded from the Father; unlike either, e was never addressed in prayer. It is this harmony that made it possible to speak of one God in three persons. In the same way, the pollyty can be thought of as a placeholder for “whatever institution is needed to balance out states and corporations”. Any such institution will do.

September 2, 2014

Subjective time

If time seems to flow in proportion to the span of one’s life, then one year to me feels like a month to my three-year-old nephew, and this last week in August was for him my summer.

August 7, 2014

From the Buddha i have yet to learn: there is a way out of suffering.

May 25, 2014

Step away from your anger,
do not waste it:
use it some other day.

May 25, 2014

Bright shiny words

Master Chuang was quietly resting at a lakeside with some friends when someone started praising the age-old tree that shaded them from the sun.
— Do not be deceived by bright words, replied Master Chuang. This is not a tree.
After a baffled silence, everyone broke out at once. So the wise old man raised his voice and asked his neighbor:
— What is that soft fur you’re leaning against, my friend? Is it tree?
— It is moss and some lichen.
— And those spots scurrying all about, are they tree, too?
— No, Master, they are caterpillars and ants.
— And do you hear that sound trickling down from above? Surely trees do not chirrup and tweet?
— No, they do not. Those are hungry birdlings calling out from their nests.
After a while, Master Chuang continued: Now see how my own words grow upon your mind and scurry through your thoughts. Soon you, too, will be singing them.

April 5, 2014

Surely i too am Othello—blind to a fault?

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January 26, 2014

From Bruno Snell i learned: Athena really did yank Achilles by the hair, for all he knew. That we, moderns, can no longer grasp such things makes us in no wise Homer’s equals, but reckless fools, which leads me to an overwhelming question…