Wednesday, July 31, 2002

You have to love an interview that makes you reach for your dictionary.

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

I'm interested in Naropa University. If any of you have experience or information on it, please let me know.
Richard Rorty, who I consider one of the most important (and readable) contemporary philosophers, has a great article on his website about the analytic/continental philosophy split.
Found another online biography of Goethe (it prints out to about 29 pages, but is illustrated), but I haven't read it yet.

Monday, July 29, 2002

According to the Mercer Cost of Living Survey, Chicago is more expensive than San Francisco, but less than LA. Maybe I'll move to Toronto, the 104th most expensive place to live in the world.

Saturday, July 27, 2002

"Thinking that you are only an individual is like not having cable." -Ram Dass

Friday, July 26, 2002

I can't get over how amazing and unique Stuart Davis' songs are.

Here are some lyrics from this page.

Ladder [ mp3 ]

I've got brains like antique floors
I built each one on the one before
I use all three
but they don't agree

One of them wants to love you
another one would love to club you
my natures
move like glaciers

The fish became a lizard
The shrew became an ape
Will the ape become an angel?
The higher that we climb
the more the ladder sways

I'm the bastard child, the one who got
the head of Einstein and the soul of Pol Pot
No compassion, but I can split the atom

Better give me a microscope for a different eye
Better give me a telescope for the inward sky
And a ladder leading up from Eden


If Ramana Maharshi
came from clay
there's more to evolution
than a little DNA

Cut off the moorings
to the inward Ark
aiming it into
a question mark

Mmmm fish became a lizard
shrew became an ape
will the ape become....
Ramana Maharshi came from clay
there's more to evolution
than a little DNA

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

"Mysticism is creation seeking its Source." -Stuart Davis

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

It occurs to me that if you are trying to decide what classes to take at a college, a good way to do so would be to browse the bookstore and find the books you want to read, and then take the courses that will be assigning them.

Monday, July 22, 2002

Sunday, July 21, 2002

"I’m savoring Samsara
even though the candy’s hollow.
It’s all on my tongue
but there’s nothing here to swallow.
I know all these flavors
keep me here in Hades
but it tastes so good
I keep incarnating."

~Stuart Davis
"Maybe you have to let go of who you were to become who you will be." -Carrie, Sex in the City.

Saturday, July 20, 2002

I've been listening to the Stuart Davis CDs I bought at the concert. Unfortunately but obviously, the studio CDs aren't nearly as entertaining as seeing Stuart in perform live. Amusingly, the CDs sound a little like "Contemporary Christian Music", but only because both that genre and Stuart's songs are poppy and emphasize the lyrics much more than most pop music. But the lyrics are often explicitly non-Christian.
Everybody wants to taste
A little something carbon-based.
Sex is proof the Holy Ghost
Crawls around in stuff that's gross.
(Note the pun--"gross" refers to both yucky stuff and the Buddhist gross realm of the visible.) So I've been listening to contemporary anti-Christian music. What could be better?

Friday, July 19, 2002

New article by Camille Paglia, the love of my life, in, of all places, the very right-wing FrontPage Magazine. The article is about the recent debate between Andrew Sullivan and Richard Goldstein at the New School.

Paglia's choice to be published in a hysterically conservative magazine is an odd one, but the good thing is that it will alert conservative readers to the fact that they need to choose between the libertarian and the authoritarian wings of conservativism. Paglia's explicit support of "the transgendered", as she puts it, should show readers the difference between her civil libertarianism and FrontPage's typically regressive authoritarian politics.
Possible bumber sticker: "You must have a very hurt ego to need a truck that big."

Thursday, July 18, 2002

I went to a Stuart Davis concert last night. It was lots of fun. I highly recommend that you catch him when he is in your area. I'm definitely going to see him again when he comes back to Chicago. No band, just him and his guitar. But very entertaining. The only show list I could find on the net, but he was passing out a more complete one. The lyrics to his latest CD. Audio clips.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

An odd (Freudian?) view of love towards the end of this interesting interview with Christopher Hitchens.
I’m incapable of love,” he says. “I’m one of those men who can’t love enough. You don’t need to if you’ve had your mother’s affection in that way. You’re set up for life.” So you always feel blessed, you mean? He doesn’t answer that question but continues: “She was very pretty, very sweet and very funny. And I always knew that she’d married the wrong guy and had a hard time of it.” Could any woman ever match her for you? “Certainly. They have to try like billyo, but they can.

Monday, July 15, 2002

"Woe to him who seeks to please rather than to appall." --Hermann Melville

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Is the universe winding down, as the 2nd law of thermodynamics of classical Newtonian physics has it?

Or is it "winding up", as one might conclude by looking at the record of the gradual diversification and complexification over time of the evolutionary record?

Or are both processes somehow always at work simultaneously?

From an interview with chemist Ilya Prigogine:


Aren't there aspects of your theory that defy the laws of thermodynamics?


No. On the contrary, they show only that the meaning of the laws near equilibrium and far from equilibrium are different. Near equilibrium you always go to the most banal, the most uniform state. The general idea of classical physics is, we progress toward the running down of the universe. This may be true to some extent for the universe as a whole. But at the moment it's a very difficult question because we don't know the relation between entropy and gravitation.

What we see here on Earth is just the opposite of entropy. Instead of going to heat death, we see successive diversification. And so, in spite of the fact that the second law is probably satisfied, we are not going toward equilibrium, because this stream of energy comes to us finally from the stars, the galaxy, and so on. It ultimately originated in the big bang or whatever -- the original presence in the universe.

Monday, July 08, 2002

I have been on vacation in my local area for the past week as friends from across the continent visted me. Thanks to everybody for coming. It was a blast! If anyone is considering coming back to Chicago, they might consider October 31st to November 10th, which is when the Chicago Humanities Festival will take place.

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

I am not so lost in lexicography as to forget that words are the daughters of earth, and that things are the sons of heaven. —Preface to Dictionary (1755) Samuel Johnson
Actually, what I have been struggling for, the creation of a viable, honest contemporary spirituality, is not that difficult to define. The task is to see worth in each thing, without exception. Everything is here for a reason. Obviously, I don't mean that in a mythic, supernatural, moralistic way. Everything is here for reason, but not only do we not know what that reason is, the reason doesn't even exist fully. The point to existence evolves along with the evolution of existence itself. This is what I call "holistic spirituality", and is a task for a lifetime. To see the necessity of every person, every minor thing, every action, however seemingly stupid, minor, violent or hideous. This seems to be similar to Nietzsche's Dionysian ideal. (You mean that ideal that he had a hard time living up to? Yeah--that one.) Which makes sense, since both his and my spiritual ideal is Goethe.

I think that what is necessary for this form of consciousness is a deep, abiding trust in and love for existence, below the superficial everyday ups and downs of emotions.

So, waiting, I have won from you in the end: God's presence in each element. ~g

Monday, July 01, 2002

If you think a blog inspired by Goethe is obscure, check out Gena Lewis's blog of Hölderlin translations.

Hölderlin was sort of the anti-Goethe. After the early Sturm und Drang years of Werther and Prometheus, Goethe took on a classical, stately, almost Olympian character. Goethe was blessed with many talents. Chicks dug him. Sort of a golden child. Hölderlin on the other hand, was sort of a combination of van Gogh and Emily Dickinson. A tragic, haunted soul from the beginning, he was always poor and was committed to a mental institution at the age of 36. Unfortunately, Goethe was totally unable to appreciate Hölderlin's talents. Hegel was also a friend of Hölderlin's and was racked with guilt at his inability to help him. I don't know whose translation of my favorite Hölderlin poem "To the Fates" this is:

A single summer grant me, great powers, and
A single autumn for fully ripened song
That, sated with the sweetness of my
Playing, my heart may more willingly die.

The soul that, living, did not attain its divine
Right cannot repose in the nether world.
But once what I am bent on, what is
Holy, my poetry, is accomplished:

Be welcome then, stillness of the shadows’ world!
I shall be satisfied, though my lyre will not
Accompany me down there. Once I
Lived like the gods, and more is not needed.
The Bull Moose praises Bob Kerry.