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Tag: Proust

me, in C# major – program notes


         “The Journey of the Stone Unicorn (2005) 

               Stefan Caltia


                                     for my Uncle Al, who put 
                                     me up to this challenge

an uncle of mine recently, who’d only 
undertaken, just as recently, his own 

“memoir”, he called it, urged me to 
write my own autobiography on the 
strength of what he perceived to be 
my writing ability, I knew that would 
be a daunting venture, one that he’d 
shown me already in several internet 
correspondences how daunting it 
had been for his own eventually 
abandoned effort, it had been 
chronological, a death blow since at 
least Proust, Joyceand the advent 
of stream of consciousnesstime is 
no longer considered linear, watch 
any program on television

indeed I tried at one point, a few 
months back to start from the 
beginning, it was a disaster, where
I was born, when, in a manger, for
your information, for there was no 
room at the inn, but from there it 
was perfunctory, like watching the
hands on a clock turn

in the meantime, I thought I’d try 
something else, a recent inspiration,
just sit by the fire and tell your story,
my story, which is not at all, I think, 
as I would, of course, uninteresting,
but you’ll be the gauge of that, 
should you keep on reading  

and I think I can do that

R ! chard


Beethoven – piano sonata no.31, op.110 (3rd movement)‏


Woman Reading in a Garden (1902-03)


perhaps my best teacher ever was
my father, others never questioned
the orthodoxy, spewing out the
curriculum like it was sacred, dead,
untouchable, depriving it of its very

my father was a philosopher, God 
was a question, not an answer, I,
at the time, needed an answer
we were sent to a Catholic school,
my sister and I, where God was in 
everything, everywhere, omnipotent,
omniscient, and, like a father then, 
autocratic, industrious, demanding,
not unopposed to punishment
sins against the Father could be 
summarized, at that age, briefly,
do not kill, do not lie, do not 
disobey your parents, do not 
cheat on your husband, wife, 
and follow all the rituals of the 
Church, the Ten Christian 
Commandments, brought to 
you universally then by Charlton 
“Moses” Heston, under the aegis 
none of these graded offences  
applied to me, really, then, but 
lying, and disobeying one’s 
parents, the others were all so 
remote as to be inconsequential, 
though the Church kept up on 
our family’s abrogations of 
religious rites – non-attendance 
at Sunday mass, eating meat 
on Fridays, worse – while 
nevertheless tending dutifully
to our wayward souls, they told 
us, holding out for a final repentant 
we never lied at home, I’d lied about 
something once, and was so daunted
when my father probed, I sweated,
must’ve turned purple, not just red,
of embarrassment, I knew I couldn’t 
use that tactic again, I’d inexorably 
blush, flush
who put the Brylcreem on the dog,
he’d queried
not me, I trembled
my sister stood beside me, might 
not have even known anything 
about it, I can’t remember, though 
I recall her dismay, I think, at having 
been so blithely thrown under the 
bus, or maybe that’s just me 
my dad turned back to what he’d 
been doing, having, I’d understood, 
got his answer, proving himself to 
be to me thereby omniscient, I’d 
have no chance, I gathered, against 
something like that, this turned me 
into a good, an at least conscientious, 
my teachers, paradoxically, only 
ever took marks off for technical 
stuff, Math, History, French, they 
never taught me lessons   
a teacher, once, had asked me to
stand at the head of the class and 
read a passage from Shakespeare,
be Romeo, Mark Antony, Lear, I
can’t remember which
“O, pardon me, thou bleeding 
piece of earth, / That I am meek 
and gentle with these butchers!”,
I uttered, fraught with emotion,
“Thou art the ruins of the noblest 
man / That ever lived in the tide 
of times”
in my mind and in my body I was 
Mark Antony there, shot through 
with the weight of his friend’s 
brutal death, his own irretrievable 
my teacher laughed
what, I asked
you’re right into it, aren’t you, he 
replied, and shut me up right there 
to any public display of expression 
I didn’t stop reading Shakespeare 
though, but by myself
later I read Homer, Ovid, Proust,
others, did the same with music 
and art, made countless lifelong 
friends thereby, people I’ve always 
been able to turn to, even just in 
ruminative thought as their stories 
still pervaded me, diligently leading   
still the way, like guardian angels,  

my Bruges, December 24, 2013‏ (the Groeningemuseum)

Pieter Pourbus - Portrait of Jan Lopez Gallo and His Three Sons (1568)

“Portrait of Jan Lopez Gallo and His Three Sons” (1568)

Pieter Pourbus


if Proust had his little patch of yellow wall
from Vermeer’s “View of Delft” to enchant
him, I’ve succumbed rather to blues that
I’ve found now in three paintings, van Eyck’s
Madonna and Child with Canon Joris van
der Paele
“, both of them, years ago at
London’s National Gallery the ultramarine
of the extraordinary Wilton Diptych, just
click, then again just click for a wonderful
presentation of it
, then the steel blue of the
one above, the “Portrait of Jan Lopez Gallo
and His Three Sons
” by Pieter Pourbus,
also like the van Eyck at the
Groeningemuseum in Bruges, a bargain
there therefore in unforgettable blues

the Groeningemuseum is Bruges’ most
impressive museum, despite both the
Picasso and the Dali nearby, though
nothing is very far in Bruges, except,
of course, the outskirts

we had wandered across the wrong
bridge our final day, confusing our
canals, and diligently marched forward
along a street perpendicular to our
purpose, heading out into what appeared
to be only countryside, though not
especially unduly cause we’d been
looking for Bruges’ famous windmills

but there were no windmills at all in
the distance, only open fields, and the
unending length of the wrong canal, it
transpired, had it been ever so
nevertheless idyllic

about a mile out a young man on a bike
passed us by with his dog and replied
when we asked that the windmills had
been all the time behind us, directly
to the left of our original bridge,
right there behind a tree which had
obstructed our view of the first of

that’s what you get maybe, I guessed,
for chasing, even famous, windmills

meanwhile back at the
Groeningemuseum, set along a path
along other medieval buildings, stone
instead of brick as later, then over a
bridge and beyond a small garden,
the door opens to especially early
Flemish art of very transcendental
qualifications, see again, for instance,
above, more profound than either the
brash Picasso, his fine though not
essential museum there, and the
flamboyant Dali, great fun however
ubiquitous ever, his museums seem
to pop up in countless cities

later, up the street, we ate at the
Maria van Bourgondië again, cause
nowhere could we find for Mom some
pasta, and where I could still savour
their Stroganoff sauce from the
previous night, and where, last but
not least, we could rest after a long
day our tired, tried indeed, feet

the Stroganoff was again sublime

so was their fireplace


Katharine Hepburn, among the prophets‏

to the icons of my art-infused philosophy,
Proust, primarily, and Beethoven, I am
adding this day, on the strength of this
very video, the indomitable Katharine
Hepburn, a veritable cultural treasure
and, here, a fierce and guiding light   

Nemo – “Ennead I” by Plotinus (17 )‏

Date: Thu, 28 Mar 2013 00:08:23 +0000
Subject: [New comment] “Ennead I” by Plotinus


You wrote, ” should there, in the instance, however, be a One, an Absolute, we would not, nor can anyway ever, from our intrinsically divergent perspectives, be able to, in any meaningful way, know It”

Our opinions are not “intrinsically”, but “accidentally” divergent. If they are intrinsic, they would not be affected by changes in our circumstances. But often times our opinions are affected by external circumstances. Therefore, they are not “intrinsic”. For instance, your story about the color of the wall reminds me of a similar story of how the English chemist John Dalton discovered color blindness. He himself was color blind but never realized it until his mother (or aunt) disagreed with him on the color. Without such a defect, there would be no disagreement.

Truth cannot be a sum of opinions or even an unanimous decision of all people. Why? Because the sum of contrary opinions amount to nothing, and the sum of contradictory opinions only lead to confusion, since people are never unanimous about anything.

To use a classic Platonic analogy: If you have a serious disease and want to be healed. Will you call everyone in from the street, hold a public assembly and have them vote for a treatment of your disease? Of course not. You’ll seek out the specialist in the field and have him examine you and give you the proper diagnosis and treatment. Because he possesses the knowledge, whereas the others don’t. Even a grain of truth is worth more than a boatload of false opinions.

Having said the above, however, I agree that the truth may be multifaceted, like the color of light shining through a prism. Because our senses have their limitations, we can only see part of the spectrum, similarly, our rational faculty may also be limited, and we only see the Truth in part. This is why dialogues such as we’re having are meaningful. That we may see the rainbow, while not losing sight of our own color.

“So please your majesty
That we may wake the king: he hath slept long.”
King Lear Act IV Scene VII



oof, Nemo, again where do I start, I’ll try to
tackle merely Truth here, deconstruct It, so
that we can know what we’re even talking
what do you mean by Truth
something corresponds to what it is that
we see, hear, feel, I would think, to be
locked in my head, my spirit, a fundamental
unity, without the support of an underlying
Reality, would be horrible, a profound, and
unbearable, solitude, I don’t want any more
to even try to imagine it, though, in my
youthful invincibilty, I once did, it would
nearly drive me, sometimes, I remember, 
I would try to guess what people would
say in their next breath and found that
mostly I could do it, that mostly I could
get it right, which didn’t do much for an
outside Reality
but, again, babies must learn to separate,
not easily, their suddenly unfamiliar world
from their initially undifferentiated senses,
their identity from what we understand to
be Reality, I’d been merely atavistically
revisiting that fundamental experience 
I first fell in love, incidentally, when I met
someone I wasn’t able to preempt, to my
utter fascination, at which point I was
forced to acknowledge not only Reality
but also probably a Heaven, it has
become a condition, I fall in love with
only people from other planets, or, if
you like, dimensions
so, Nemo, I am also subservient to an
ideal, or even an Ideal
but it, or It, is my utter fabrication, though,
manifestly, not an uninformed one
my Truth is that ethereal, a bedrock, 
however, of my nevertheless basically 
nebulous view of life, made out of,
indeed, thin air
my opinions are therefore entirely
speculative, except for my
understanding of myself
I think, according to Descartes, therefore
I am, and of that, of myself, I am not at
all speculative, for I think, listen   
Truth, incidentally, is a function of our
species, assuming that it is a formal
Reality is akin to placing ourselves,
as we once did, at the centre of the
Universe, we were apparently
egregiously wrong about that, it
seems to be generally now agreed,
I suspect an Absolute, or Idealized,
potential Reality, is asking for hubris,
and too often, incidentally, we get it,
see wars, torture, man’s inhumanity
to not only man
about the world which has mathematical
dimensions we are mostly in agreement,
two plus two will always equal four in our
rational construct, and Science seems to
flow pretty smoothly from that
therefore Truth with respect to matter I
will not question, it is the grid we are all
at least comfortable with, like speaking
the same language, despite its even
basic insufficiencies, these fairly easy
mostly to patch up with persistence
and ingenuity   
but Plato’s Truth, Ideal, or Absolute, is
of a more noumenal, spiritual, which is
to say, abstract, order, and as such, like
Beauty, is in the eye of the beholder,
Truth is what we think it is
is John Dalton wrong to have seen a
divergent colour, and who could tell
him that his blue was green, his red,
orange, when these were categorically
his impressions, dissent is a matter
merely of concensus  
Truth, I believe, is our accommodation,
and is no more than the sum of its
collective parts, the truths that
scientists unearth are Science, not
Truth, Reality, not Wisdom     
other worlds would have entirely
different conceptions of the Universe
for being other than we, us
we are assuming we have the answer,
Nemo, to imponderables 
therefore, not Philosophy, I insist,
but Art, and metaphorical rather
than categorical imperatives
see Beethoven for that, and / or Proust   
psst: according to these two excellent
                  Bernard Williams on Descartes      
                  Bernard Williams on Descartes (cont.)
           two parts of an interview with an
           authority on Descartes, I could’ve
           easily been a figment of his
           imagination for sounding nearly 
           word for word, to my surprise
           and delight, very much like him
           though he probably wouldn’t,    
           by my calculations, therefore,
           have loved me      

Nemo – “Ennead I” by Plotinus (16)‏

 The School of Athens - Raphael

                                             The School of Athens




Date: Sat, 23 Mar 2013 22:47:05 +0000
To: Richibi’s Weblog
Subject: [New comment] “Ennead I” by Plotinus

As I said at the very beginning, you are “sensitive”, and I was right, because you rightly perceived that I was becoming impatient. My apologies. Patience is not my forte. 🙂 However, you have not “touched a nerve”, as this is by no means an emotional discussion from my pov. I have no intention to “vehemently reject” your position (after all it is yours not mine), but only to share my perspective, including what I perceive to be irrational arguments.

Here are the two statements you made;
” I, and the “demented” Nietzsche, incidentally, equally fervently mistrust, even deem fundamentally impossible”,
“I do not profess to “know what Nietzsche believes or “fervently mistrust[s]‘”.

Is that not a self-contradiction?

You say that you’re making an interpretation. But, what is knowledge but an interpretation? A translation from the concrete and the objective to the abstract and subjective, just as we translate a work of literature from one language to another? By interpreting Nietzsche to yourself, you gain a rational understanding of him, and by interpreting him to others, you share that understanding.

I think an important distinction should be made between a) the belief in the existence of Absolute Truth” and b) the belief of one’s monopoly of the Absolute Truth. You seem to be passionately rejecting b), which is quite understandable. But Platonism is not b) but a). It does not claim monopoly of the Absolute Truth, but instead, Plato and Socrates both exhort their listeners to pursue Beauty, Goodness and Truth, to pursue virtue, to be the lover of wisdom, which is the literal meaning of “philosophy”,

According to Einstein, this pursuit of the Absolute Truth is also the guiding principle of the scientists. Without this passionate pursuit of the truth, we would never discover that the earth is not flat. Now think about this: Can you still insist that it is uncertain whether or not the earth is flat, that it is impossible to have a rational understanding of the shape of the earth?

You argue that uncertainty makes people less likely to kill. But most people who kill are not driven by belief in the Absolute, but by their lust for pleasure, wealth and power. Some may kill in the name of Truth as a disguise for their ulterior motives, but it would be unfair and irrational to blame the Truth for their acts.

I’ll refrain from discussing the Catholic Church, partly because to me this discussion is about Platonism, and Christianity is not Platonism (though they share many similar aspects), and partly because I’m not associated with the Catholic Church and frankly don’t know enough about it to say anything useful


first of all let me raise a glass to our conversation,
a toast that it might live long
and thank you for your continued respectful and
penetrating participation, I will endeavour to as
assiduously hold up
that said, we get into, as I see it, the question
posed by Wittgenstein, an obstacle of the
most impenetrable sort, the egregious
unreliability of language, what do you mean
when you say something, and how does that
synch with the other guy’s interpretation of it,
or, indeed, girl’s 
your meat could be my poison, my Plato,
your Proust   
indeed which one of us is right about this,
is Plato a saint or a sinner, a boon or a
though Proust, of course, would remain 
unquestionably and irreversibly here,
ever, surely, for both of us, benefactor
of positively Promethean, natch, 
what has become here then of the
Absolute, gone up in a whiff of, just
as insubstantial, smoke, the exhalations,
note, of a fully material mens sana,
sound mind, which can be nothing
without the enveloping corpore sano,
sound body   
should there, in the instance, however, 
be a One, an Absolute, we would not, nor
can anyway ever, from our intrinsically
divergent perspectives, be able to, in
any meaningful way, know It
more practically and topically, when
my mother had her living room walls 
painted, my blue was her green, or vice
versa, in either case adamantly, trying
both of us to eke out from each other
concessions to a position, undyingly,
each, though ever politely, both, held, 
a model accommodation, which is to say,
without the often attendant bombs 
we remained puzzled, however, each,
ever, by insidious, and inescapable,
doubt, who saw the right colour 
there is a technical solution to my mother’s
wall, I know, but only after great psychological
adjustment, even torment, will the blue think
his or her visual impression another colour  
and who is mistaken 
or can some people be ever right, 
and ever wrong
this, incidentally, is the central problem
of philosophy, not just our own central
and its resolution the central problem
of politics
in this instance when her cataracts were
removed, her blue became green, or vice
versa, I’d have to be in her apartment, I
can’t remember which colour, right now,
it was I saw, another philosophical
conundrum, but surely, you get the
picture, interpretation is highly
subjective, and porous 
which is why Science requires absolutely
unanimous approval, if you’ll forgive this
metaphorical only use of that prickly
adverb here, to determine Its still 
fundamentally ever tenuous theories
we’ve even only recently deconstructed
even time,
or Time
now there’s a God for you, Giver of context
however, even there, It would appear arbitrary,
there may be another Reality beyond our
particular three-dimensional Plato’s cave
but I digress
my misuse of the word “know” in citing
my apparently contradictory statements,
is at fault, I can never know, I can only
interpret, with custom we have come to
accept our suppositions as fact, and hope
that everyone else will do the same, which
we mostly do, except when we have wars
because of some intractable position,
where someone has set a price on his, her 
incontrovertible, but still fundamentally
arbitrary, opinion, even of ownership,
family structure, interpersonal affairs,
like this one 
but we are talking with only air, no
concrete certainty    
I believe Nietzsche, in other words, to
have thought my thoughts, or I, rather,  
to have incorporated his, but that is only
my understanding of it, which surely I
propound, though I might quite possibly
be wrong, but, Nemo, I can’t remember
the last time I was, I could check, I keep
a tally
scientists, I believe, are indeed seeking
always to know, perfecting their idea of
Reality, but Truth can only be the sum
of all things we think It is, nothing else,
nothing more, after all what other entity
that we know knows anything at all
about It, about Truth
we can only think there is a Real out
there, and make the best of It, the rest
is, Shakespeare again,  
           “…………………………………. such stuff
           As dreams are made on; and our little life
            Is rounded with a sleep.”
                                             The Tempest – act 4, scene 1
                                                                            lines 156 -158
cheers ever

Nemo – “Ennead I” by Plotinus (12)‏

Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2013 16:50:52 +0000
To: Richibi’s Weblog
Subject: [New comment] “Ennead I” by Plotinus.


I like your comment, “I won’t try to impose my perspective, I can only tell what I see”, which reminded me of a sentimental story that I had heard a long time ago. The story was in first-person narrative and went like this:

I [an art merchant] traveled to a far country on a business trip, and found lodging in a small family inn owned by an blind old man and his daughter. During an after-dinner conversation, I learned that the old man was actually a connoisseur of art with many famous paintings in his collection. Naturally I was delighted when he offered to show me the paintings. But his daughter was visibly distressed and signaled me to follow she went to fetch the paintings. She explained to me that they had fallen on hard times and she had no choice but to sell the paintings to survive, in spite of the old man’s firm instructions that the paintings must not be sold, because they were his life. He had become blind due to sickness so he didn’t know that the paintings were all gone. When the daughter brought the blank frames to the old man, he proudly presented them to me, naming them one by one, while caressing them gently with his withered hands. Staring at the blank frames, I listened in silence and shock. Suddenly, the old man stopped, he sensed that something was missing, something didn’t feel quite right. What happened to his beloved painting? The daughter looked to me in desperation for help. I hesitated but finally mustered enough courage to speak. I picked up where the old man had left off, and, recalling from memory, I described the details of the paintings and complimented the old man’s taste. He beamed with pride and delight.
There are many ways to interpret the story, one of which is this: if the “paintings” were all in the old man’s mind, and “I” had not seen them nor anybody else, it would be impossible to carry out the conversation, and there would be no sharing, nor inspiration, nor delight.

This is the armchair Platonist’s answer to the demented Nietzsche: we are able to share our thoughts and feelings with one another, because we both behold the same underlying intelligible reality, both within ourselves and without. If we are only conscious of ourselves and nothing else, conversation would be impossible and pointless. Even Nietzsche, before he fell to dementia, couldn’t resist the desire for conversation since he published his works– as you say say rightly, philosophy is conversation. Otherwise, he could have kept all to himself, in his private notebook

your question is probing, Nemo, I’m not sure
that even Plato would have come to such
corollary conclusions as what you seem to
be suggesting, which is to say that Plato’s
absolutes, distant and distinct from us, as I
understand them, as God, yet received by
us a priori, or, inherently, at birth, as you
would have it, suggest the underlying 
existential commonality of our experience
you forget the pivotal factor of birth here,
Nemo, I think, incarnation, spirit, or
something, made matter, like buds in
spring, bursting with each its own
unpredictable, and wondrous, existence
my experience is that I cannot know even
dimensions before I formally deduce them,
before I enter this world, though the
dimensions themselves may indeed be there 
who knew love, Nemo, before experiencing
it, the thing that more than anything else
moves our world, remember the adolescent
who had to put it all together piece by
disconcerting piece, we had to learn it all
at the movies to finally make any kind of
sense of it, playing out our battles in water
too deep for most of us most of the time,
and ultimately too treacherous for many  
there is mathematics, there are probably
even dimensions, Nemo, but I don’t know
about any other merely abstract world
beyond this one, for better or for worse    
therefore Proust
and therefore Beethoven  
psst: your parable is delightful, even
           unforgettable, and it merely
           bolsters my recommended
           literary and musical advice

Nemo – “Ennead I” by Plotinus (11)‏

Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2013 15:56:00 +0000
To: Richibi’s Weblog
Subject: [New comment] “Ennead I” by Plotinus


Forgive me for saying so, but it seems to me that your philosophy is quite incongruent with your personality, which is passionate, sensitive and kind. As far as I can tell, you’re much more gregarious than the demented Nietzsche.

If, as you wrote at the beginning, you can’t even be sure that I exist, why are you taking the trouble to have this conversation? If everything is in a flux, what is there to “grasp” and “tackle”? If all is a figment of the imaginations of beings in their separate cages, what’s the point of conversation? You’re still trapped in your own cage anyway.

Kant may be wrong about some things, but I do agree with him about the difference between noumenon and phenomenon. Our thoughts revolve around the phenomenal, and consequently, they are in flux, “peripheral” as you put it, or evolving, as some believe. But, this doesn’t negate the noumenon, the eternal and unchanging. To use an analogy in biology, when you observe the growth of a seed or an embryo, it seems to be changing constantly, and if you didn’t know what it was, you would think that everything was in flux, but all the while it remains the same substance: a human being

what’s to forgive, Nemo, I don’t mind at all being
called “passionate, sensitive and kind
thank you
and you are right, after a study of philosophy I
went my own way, which was what philosophy
had taught me to do, it is a conversation, I
learned, rather than an ideology, that secular
cousin of theology, either system oftentimes
flagrantly autocratic, for instance Plato, or
take your pick of religions 
along the way I discovered miracles, I wanted to
talk to my beloved, but somehow I’d only asked
my dad, who’d died earlier the same year, to
speak to me from beyond the grave, I’m your
son, I said, I’ll hear you, and, Nemo, I did, and
all, eventually, the others, I’ve been talking to
all of them ever since  
this might seem very strange, of course, but
you can tell from what I’ve written to date,
surely, that I’m not entirely demented,
conversely, maybe I’m inspired, maybe just
eccentric, who knows, take your pick, so
long as I’m not, I think, hurting anybody    
Kant, incidentally, didn’t affirm the noumenon,
he merely did not deny it, so he’s made room
for my unorthodox constructions, and miracles,
as a corollary, in general
this was also Descartes’ dilemma essentially,
or Shakespeare’s, There are more things in
also my own 
we cannot beyond our consciousness affirm,
we can only interpret, I am the only thing I can
affirm, the rest is what you make it, for better
or for worse, this from “the demented“, Nemo, 
therefore Beethoven or Proust, or maybe
even me    
I believe in miracles, and so I experience them
I’d asked a friend on a cold winter day with
only icicles everywhere in the city, what
should we do, let’s go out and look for
beautiful things, he replied, we did, and all
the icicles consequently shimmered and
glistened, I’d found a key to finding beauty,
another valuable parable 
later, needing more than just beautiful things
to cheer me I asked for miracles, which, Nemo,
like the earlier beautiful things, profusely in
their turn abounded, you just have to be
ready to receive them
I believe there is a noumenon, but I’ll never
be able to prove it, though I feel it profoundly,
and judiciously sort out with the help of
wisdom and poetry, truth and beauty, all
I can muster, the information I receive 
I hope it might be of some service
to me there is poetry behind everything,
shimmering, glistening magic, but I’m not
sure that’s what everyone sees, nor wants
to see, I won’t try to impose my perspective,
I can only tell what I see
and I’ve long seen more than mere facts,
what I see, have long seen, is an inherently 
transcendental reality 
which suggests the probability of other
noumenal worlds
so, to answer your question, I do think
you indeed exist, though I can’t be
absolutely sure of it, though you might
not be a figment of my imagination you
are nevertheless to me merely my
impression of you, but who really are
you, that’s a tricky question, cause you
don’t even know
meanwhile there’s no harm in sharing
even a virtual, irony of ironies, 

Nemo – “Ennead I” by Plotinus (10)‏

Date: Fri, 8 Mar 2013 21:28:13 +0000
To: Richibi’s Weblog
Subject: [New comment] “Ennead I” by Plotinus
Hi Richard,

Have you thought of writing or already written memoirs? I think I’d enjoy reading them.
Your second story reminded me of the Confessions by St. Augustine,
in which he grieved over the death of his beloved friend.

Descartes might say this about your “This is the census” moment: “I lisp, therefore I exist”.
But how would you interpret the “parable”?

What caused you to stop ministering at the palliative care unit after ten years?


a parable is in the eye of the beholder, Nemo,  
nearly by definition, and therefore wide in the
possible breadth of its interpretation, that wide
net, should it catch the imagination of many,
can describe a potent, though indefinable,
moral precept that even whole communities
can then propagate and follow, mysticized
fairy tales, for these last serve a similar
purpose, maybe the age of the listener,
reader, here, is the distinguishing factor,
adults have a hard time with fairy tales 
dimension to my lisp, if you’re asking what
moral precept I derived from that tale, it is
that something was profoundly watching,
unobtrusive, but gently ready to nudge just
enough to inspire hope, like a second wind
I felt, however solipsistically, that something,
someone, was listening, and that was enough,
that indeed would be, wouldn’t you think,
though the information was entirely
metaphorical and abstract 
but I’ve experienced too many moments of
transcendence not to subsribe to a more
than merely rational agenda, Shakespeare
again, There are more things in heaven and
earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your
philosophy.” – Hamlet, act 1, scene 5,
lines 186–187 – which I heartily second
no philosopher has ever admitted that but
Proust and Beethoven, which is why I’ve
somewhat put aside classic philosophy,
though I love the Moralists, after Rome
and before Christianity, Saint Augustine,
I’m afraid, however, distorted the facts,
as well as his great acuity, in order to
entrench a mythology, the dominion of
numinous, entirely male, incidentally,
Trinity, forcing Truth into a submissive,
not to say penitent, and furthermore
impotent, corner until the very Renaissance, 
specifically until Descartes, and, by the way,
until his near contemporary, Shakespeare,
1564 -1616, nearly the equal of Beethoven
and Proust in his philosophical perspicacity, 
To be, or not to beis of course the first
existential soliloquy of our era
Descartes, 1596 – 1650
after ten years at palliative care I had changed,
and the unit had changed, it had become more
regimented and constrictive than it had been in
its early, more companionable, and not yet so
regimented, years, I now had to go through
security to get to my station, which was not at
all the spirit in which I’d entered the service
I am now, I’m imagining, a poet, and live and
write accordingly, these very missives, Nemo, 
are my memoirs, at present you are my muse
I hope you’re “enjoy[ing] reading them



Nemo – “Ennead I” by Plotinus (9)


Date: Wed, 6 Mar 2013 16:20:33 +0000
To: Richibi’s Weblog
Subject: [New comment] “Ennead I” by Plotinus


You wrote, “I am at the most aware of only one thought, that thought being that
something is thinking,”

Unless you argue that something can think without a thought, there are at least two thoughts here. First, the awareness that something is thinking. Second, if something is thinking, that something is thinking a thought. As you said, “consciousness of my consciousness”. There are two “consciousness”:

There is a thinker who is thinking a thought, and there is an observer who is thinking of the thinker. If the thinker and the observer are the same, the thought becomes an infinite recursion, like an image reflected in two parallel mirrors. This is partly why I said people who speculate this have way too much time, in fact, only eternity would suffice.

the world and everything in it is in the eye of the beholder

Where is the beholder himself, if everything is in his eye? Does the world exist when the beholder closes his eye?



you’ve grasped the Cartesian dilemma,
Nemo, the solipsistic circumference – see
This is the census again on that last
series of sibilants – that defines our, not
eternal, as you suggest, but very mortal
coil“, our incarnate cage, or soul, if you
many parts“, or woman, solipsistically
and fatally, however remarkable, or
even historic, their contribution
Plato died, Proust died, either leaving
merely ephemeral ideas and, however
celebrated and honoured, dust
it is a frightening, and sobering, conclusion,
we cannot escape the prison of our reason
but with the key alone of our imagination,
for everything beyond the logic of that first
statement is conjecture, the play of our fears
and desires 
something is thinking, I think, then identify
with, become the vessel of, that idea, or, if
you prefer, that thought
that thought is still a conjecture, but it has
an immediacy you can’t deny, it is your
entire, quite literally, reality 
but any other thought is of course also
conjecture, just without the manifest
incontrovertibility of the idea of one’s own
existence, my orange might be your red,
but I’ll never be you, or what I interpret as
you, which is not at all how the other guy
sees you either, my lens is merely my
picture of the world, what is real 
reason has done a great job of holding it
all together for most of us, but it rests
fundamentally on the wings of our fallible,
of course, imagination, but for the absolute
apparently miracle of mathematics, which
seems to subsist even without our
speculation, popping up like signposts
everywhere, an existential guardian angel,
Pythagoras, maybe, was right  
not even dimensions, Nemo, I woke up
after a week in a coma, a car accident, in
a white room, quiet, empty, with only what
seemed like motes floating on a ray of light
coming in from a window, still, ethereal, and
perhaps, I wondered, part of a new afterlife,
who knew, I couldn’t assume I was alive, I
only knew that I existed in an unfamiliar
height, I reasoned, and width, I thought,
were evident, there are at least here two
dimensions, and calmly contemplated
the possibility of the same exile the villains
had felt early in Superman“, cast away in
their two-dimensional prisons
Kant was wrong, I concluded, we do not
assume time and space as initial certainties,
I don’t have depth yet   
later a nurse came in from the centre of my
frame creating at least the impression of a
third spatial element, after which I
concentrated on getting better
that my first thought was of Kant after a
week in a coma has remained for me a
searing example of my essentially
cerebral proclivities, be they ever
nevertheless so fundamentally
unsubstantiated, I think that’s a riot
Does the world exist when the beholder closes
his eye“, you ask 
who knows
though I would think so