No. 13

April 15, 2017

Preparing my heart

on this silent spring night’s walk

for tea with a friend.

Resolved

March 9, 2015

I am but a child.

When the angel of death takes me to

her breast, I will recall like a cassette

an all-consuming void at the heart of the memory

And this is what I wanted to touch:

the burgeoning tendrils erupting from my stomach

And I will know forgiveness

Without a God

Without an image

Nothing but the recognition, conceived

In shimmering  tapestry.

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.

“The chief enem…

February 16, 2014

“The chief enemy of excellence in morality(and also in art) is personal fantasy: the tissue if self-aggrandizing and consoling wishes and dreams which prevents one from seeing what there is outside one. Rilke said of Cézanne that he did not paint ‘I like it’, he painted ‘There it is’…One might say here that art is an excellent analogy of morals, or indeed that it is in this respect a case of morals. We cease to be in order to attend to the existence of something else…We can see in mediocre art, where perhaps it is even more clearly seen than in mediocre conduct, the intrusion of fantasy, the assertion of self, the dimming of any reflection of the real world.”

–Iris Murdoch, The Sovereignty of Good

July 26, 2013

“Those clichés about art casting a glow of happiness and harmony over an unhappy and divided real world are loathsome because they make a mockery of any emphatic  concept of art by looking only at perverse bourgeois practices such as the employment of art as a dispenser of solace. These clichés  also point to the wound of art itself. Having dissociated itself from religion and its redemptive truths, art was able to flourish.  Once secularized, however, art was condemned, for any hope for a real alternative, to offer the existing world a kind of solace that reinforced the fetters autonomous art had wanted to shake off.”

Theodor Adorno, Aesthetic Theory

Strings

April 5, 2013

She saw a piano

Its broad back was straining

So she came and she cut all the strings.

Surging and Swelling

January 3, 2013

It swims to the surface of consciousness
Digging itself out of languor, a drowning man
Who has remembered
Who pulls himself to the surface.

Intensity he hasn’t dared:
Lines growing
Out from every object, every fragment
Of story
The lifelong crescendo before they converge
And the scattered red clouds begin to assemble
The atmosphere rises
He must not forget,
Not ‘till death do us part
How angles could cut him,
Live wires that intersect and trace back
Both directions.
They project as he carries
In veins like roots welded to earth
Restless ardor and after
The lines recede,

He must not forget.

Symphony

Santiago Calatrava stands as one of the world’s greatest contemporary designers, arguably one of history’s greatest (Gardner). Holding worldwide recognition and awards ranging from the Gold Medal of the Institute of Structural Engineers in London to Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum, he is mostly known for his architecture and engineering, though he works as an artist as well (“Biography”). For those who know his works beyond a passing glance, it may be difficult to distinguish which occupation precedes the others. His prolific work reveals him as a reincarnation of the Renaissance man, a polymath. Eschewing the common tendency to specialize, Calatrava has studied several of the humanities and sciences, and his lateral thinking has deepened and nuanced his designs in architecture, engineering, sculpture, ceramics, and furniture, as evinced by his work (Fox).

Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences, Spain

Moreover, Calatrava’s capacities have resulted in more than standalone single works: from the unification of his broad study emerges a singular aesthetic language with different dialects for each subject. An analysis of this language must include speculation as to what and why certain connections are made. This essay explores the manifestations of Calatrava’s aesthetics, as well as their unity.

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Breaking an Archetype

November 7, 2012

A casual side glance.
Some ordinary woman bathed in light from the window
As memory is flooded with the archetypal:

  • Eve
  • Venus
  • Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2

I am suddenly captivated by an object.
No surprise that this should be the material of poets and painters
The wonder of scientists.
The way that the flesh wraps around the warm tissue
The movement of contours through space.
You lack the same grace, at least in movement.
It’s why you awaken.
Her bodies are beautiful but get lost in each other;
You disrupt the flow
With careless defiance.

Dependency

October 25, 2012

I stood in rapt wonder, face to the skies,

As a host of the heavenly dropped dead like flies.

Meteor shower

In its aftermath we bathed and

Unclean,

I realized too late that when God bleeds

Or leaves

Then contingents will falter

Because everything may be its own

But is an extension of axioms.