Archive for August, 2009

You Gotta Have Soul

August 19, 2009

I recently happened upon a piece in the Philadelphia Examiner which questions the need of the soul — its necessity to explain life, consciousness, our existence. The author argues that although most “tend to at least have a seemingly built in idea of vitalism, the idea that we have some essential substance within us”, there is no need to invoke a soul to explain life. It’s the most materialist of world views.

And yet, fair enough. This may be a contemporary circumstance (But is it?). We nonetheless have a need for the soul if only to understand history. This is what Hegel chattered on about (Believe me, Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion is purple German at its best) in an attempt to give shape to the “world soul” (well, zeitgeist or thereabouts).

But beyond the high falutin’ ontologies, there is the simple question of a historical empathy. Accepting the importance of the soul we begin to understand the history of life, birth, death, thought. In this essential sense, we need the soul.

Don’t we?

August

August 17, 2009

August

Spectacle

August 14, 2009

30 April, 2009, Paris, France

The last day of the month. A weird one. Upon reflection, I’m not sure where it went. Maybe that’s the nature of the situation…Feels like I accomplished so much, and, at the same time, nothing at all.

Seemingly endless days wandering the city; some enlightening, some totally pointless. Not sure I actually “did” anything, in the end. One senses how this place; this colossus, behemoth, monolith of Babylon, can swallow whole lifetimes like so many tasty sweets. Art it may be, but there is a vein of unsentimental blackness, too…

Today I was just tired — of wandering, of solitude, of fucking Paris. And yet I found solace for a brief hour or so in a café beside Place des Vosges. A momentary respite — soaking up the sun and reading the newspaper. I’ve been feeling like there is only one speed with which to deal with this city and that pace is draining. Yet all I’ve done is go in circles, vaguely orbiting Paris’ vortices like some lone traveler in the farthest reaches of space.

Maybe this is what I needed after the unsentimental utility of Windsor. But this city is humbling — a mausoleum of mastery, it reminds how much driven genius there once was in this world, and how little you’ve recently done to live up to it. Perhaps this is the essential conundrum — as a visitor, even for some time, one can only be a spectator. And indeed it is quite a spectacle. But the internal drive is dulled by this — you are either audience or performer. There doesn’t seem to be enough time to do both.

The intense variation and range of Paris demands acknowledgment — it insists on the lesson that there are those better AND worse off, and even in the end that it is all relative. Difficult to typify, the people of Paris are humanity, in all its multi-faceted splendor.

Still, this doesn’t seem to be enough. I want more. More spirit, drive, success, challenge, diversity, experience…Life. Where does this unquenchable desire come from? Can’t I just move past it, to some satisfying Buddhist moment — desireless, balanced, content? Not likely around here. This place is driven by desire — for greatness and the deepest depths. All at once.

Books…Who’s Got Time?

August 9, 2009

A story in the Los Angeles Times briefly ruminates on the disappearance of reading, a so-called “lost art”. We don’t seem to have the ability to enter the zone and concentrate on a book anymore, “a state [that] is increasingly elusive in our over-networked culture, in which every rumor and mundanity is blogged and tweeted.” Like others, he blames new technologies, but can’t escape the transcendent allure of reading regardless.

Or something like that. I couldn’t be bothered reading the end of the piece. Seriously. Who’s got time for that?

By way of some internet dudes (and dudettes) who still read, a.k.a. Arts and Letters Daily.

Fridge

August 7, 2009

A poem…

I could’ve been a gopher three times
You have to come here and blow napalm
Another fine mess — me, Dave and the usual suspects
My day in Kansas and Houston, mama says.

We’re not sniffing glue in my pyjamas
Like we can’t handle a bigger boat
Frankly, my dear, we’re lucky alright
You’re an elephant and the fairest one of all.

Take me! Go ahead
I’ll do ya, I love you
You talking to the king
Do I feel I pickled?

He’s got a contender — you round up an offer
I’m mad as an angel, stupid
Shove it, we have his wings
I once shot dead people.

I see you in all the gin joints, punks
The truth gets no place
A wise guy by your heels
Stinking badges on the wall!

The world — ask yourself
The force no too good anymore.


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