No. 12

February 26, 2017

Disappointed hopes

Things strewn carelessly around

I deserve nothing,



The Fear of Death

April 20, 2016

Caught off guard–

an uncanny scent

through yellow shocks of bamboo

turning head backwards

into the dark.

Observation of a friend

March 19, 2016

As a luna moth I saw,
pinned amongst a thicket of grass-blades
dampened by the morning–

So also my sister,
in the cacophony snared,
could find no way to shed the weight of day
and only struggled
briefly, between her bouts of fitful dreams.


March 13, 2016

In the mirror I

Met, simultaneously,

Myself in two places.

I have already renamed the URL for this blog, and I am about to create a new blog the name of and link to which is listed below.

While Chiaroscuro will focus on poetry, which has slowed for me the last several months, most of my energy will probably be centered on the new blog, which will be thoughts in prose on philosophical concerns, social criticism, and commentary on whatever I am reading.

Philosophy as Art

December 26, 2014

It seems to me that being a philosopher, I don’t mean academically but a pursuer of truth, should in a few ways be considered more like art than like science. One of those ways occurred to me today.

I was thinking about the fact that when we talk about the development of our personal belief systems, we come to know those developments as an art. Good philosophers, at least, are in the occupation not just of identifying singular problems and coming up with singular arguments, but of developing grand theoretical systems because their goal is a total reality-picture. It’s about fitting several insights throughout one’s life-experience into a whole. We speak of this the way artists’ work is spoken of–one’s philosophy is a lifelong “project”.

Now to speak and to regard one’s theories as an aesthetic enterprise is not to degrade philosophy as a sophistic thing where, in becoming excited with the system one is ‘creating’, one is thinking of it as representative of one’s unique taste or personality rather than an aspiration toward absolute truth. On the contrary, when a philosopher is sincerely trying to sharpen her perception of Reality while maintaining a sense of awe for it, the belief system she forms constitutes an object of contemplation and admiration just as a work of art. Thus, in sincerely undertaking the act of piecing together several scattered convictions to form a system we hope will in some way mirror the Truth of Reality, we fashion for ourselves a thing of beauty and remaining mystery and thereby draw close to Beauty.

This is significant to me because it reconciles the truth-beauty conflict that has arisen in my mind where I am not sure whether I am really after truth or whether I want to believe what is beautiful and experience it as such. Or which I really desire. But if one is really trying to understand the depths of truth and not just to affirm familiar and comforting beliefs, I think he creates a kind of artwork and so understands beauty at the same time.

From this view, I think there is something beautiful rather than lacking in the realization that there is no progress in philosophy, only participation.


January 21, 2013

I find it interesting that sometimes when I work the hardest, I feel the most weak.

November 15, 2012

“I have observed, that gentlemen suppose, that the general legislature will do every mischief they possibly can, and that they will omit to do ever thing good which they are authorized to do. If this were a reasonable supposition, their objections would be good. I consider it reasonable to conclude, that they will as readily do their duty, as deviate from it: Nor do I go on the grounds mentioned by gentlemen on the other side–that we are to place unlimited confidence in them, and expect nothing but the most exalted integrity and sublime virtue. But I go on this great republican principle, that the people will have virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom. Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks [and balances]–no form of government can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea.”
–James Madison

November 8, 2012

“If any word could help

I’d save it for my final gasp”

–Sean Lynch

Freak Accident II

October 8, 2012

At the surge he then interprets

All the manna he regurgitated.

Plucks out that which fits the purpose

Ruminates it for the Winter.