Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Most Difficult Task That Has Been Entrusted To Us

"It is also good to love: because love is difficult. For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the ultimate task, the final test and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation..."

... Letters To A Young Poet, Letter 7, Rainer Maria Rilke

Friday, October 30, 2009


If you knew that you would die today,
Saw the face of God and love,
Would you change?
Would you change?

If you knew that love can break your heart
When you're down so low you cannot fall
Would you change?
Would you change?

How bad, how good does it need to get?
How many losses? How much regret?
What chain reaction would cause an effect?
Makes you turn around,
Makes you try to explain,
Makes you forgive and forget,
Makes you change?
Makes you change?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Make Me An Instrument Of Your Peace

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Of Becoming

Nietzsche's account of the eternal return presupposes a critique of the terminal or equilibrium state. Nietzsche says that if the universe had an equilibrium position, if becoming had an end or final state, it would already have been attained. but the present moment, as the passing moment, proves that it is not attained and therefore that an equilibrium of forces is not possible. But why would equilibrium, the terminal state, have to have been attained if it were possible? By virtue of what Nietzsche calls the infinity of past time. The infinity of past time means that becoming cannot have started to become, that it is not something that has become. But, not being something that has become it cannot be a becoming something. Not having become, it would already be what it is becoming - if it were becoming something. That is to say, past time being infinite, becoming would have attained its final state if it had one. And, indeed, saying that becoming would have attained its final state if it had one is the same as saying that it would not have left its initial state if it had one. If becoming becomes something why has it not finished becoming long ago? If it is something which has become then how could it have started to become? "If the universe were capable of permanence and fixity, and it there were in its entire course a single moment of being in the strict sense it could no longer have anything to do with becoming, thus one could no longer think or observe any becoming whatever." This is the view that Nietzsche claims to have found "in earlier thinkers." Plato said that is everything that becomes can never avoid the present then, as soon as it is there, it ceases to become and is then what it was in the process of becoming. "But each time I encountered this thought from antiquity," Nietzsche comments, "it was determined by other, generally theological, ulterior motives." By persisting in demanding how becoming could have started and why it has not yet finished, the philosophers of antiquity are false tragics, invoking hubris, crime and punishment. With the exception of Heraclitus, they did not face up to the thought of pure becoming, nor the opportunity for this thought. That the present moment is not a moment of being or of present "in the strict sense," that it is the passing moment, forces us to think of becoming, but to think of it precisely as what could not have started, and cannot finish, becoming.

How does the thought of pure becoming serve as a foundation for the eternal return? All we need to do to think this thought is to stop believing in being as distinct from and opposed to becoming or to believe in the being of becoming itself. What is the being of that which becomes, of that which neither starts nor finishes becoming? Returning is the being of that which becomes (Revenir, l'etre de ce qui devient). "That everything recurs is the closest proximation of a world of becoming to a world of being - high point of meditation." This problem for the meditation must be formulated in yet another way; how can the past be constituted in time? How can the present pass? The passing moment could never pass if it were not already past and yet to come - at the same time as being present. If the present did not pass of its own accord, if it had to wait for a new present in order to become past, the past in general would never be constituted in time, and this particular present would not pass. We cannot wait, the moment must be simultaneously present and past, present and yet to come, in order for it to pass (and to pass for the sake of other moments.) The present must coexist with itself as past and yet to come. The synthetic relation of the moment to itself as present, past and future grounds it relation to other moments. The eternal return is thus an answer to the problem of passage. And in this sense it must not be interpreted as the return of something that is, that is "one" or the "same." We misinterpret the expression "eternal return" if we understand it as "return to the same." It is not being that returns but rather the returning itself that constitutes being insofar as it is affirmed of becoming and of that which passes. It is not some one thing which returns but rather returning itself is the one thing which is affirmed of diversity or multiplicity. In other words, identity in the eternal return does not describe the nature of that which returns but, on the contrary, the fact of returning for what it differs. This is why the eternal return must be thought of as a synthesis; a synthesis of time and its dimensions, a synthesis of diversity and its reproduction, a synthesis of becoming and the being which is affirmed in becoming, a synthesis of double affirmation. Thus the eternal return itself does not depend on a principle of identity but on one which must, in all respects, fulfill the requirements of a truly sufficient reason.

Why is mechanism such a bad interpretation of the eternal return? Because it does not necessarily or directly imply the eternal return. Because it only entails the false consequences of a final state. This final state is held to be identical to the initial state and, to this extent, it is concluded that the mechanical process passes through the same set of differences again. The cyclical hypothesis, so heavily criticised by Nietzsche, arises in this way. Because we cannot understand how this process can possibly leave the initial state, reemerge from the final state, or pass through the same set of differences again and yet not even have the power to pass once through whatever differences there are. The cyclical hypothesis is incapable of accounting for two things - the diversity of co-existing cycles and, above all, the existence of diversity within the cycle. This is why we can only understand the eternal return as the expression of a principle which serves as an explanation of diversity and reproduction, of difference and its repetition. Nietzshce presents this principle as one of his most important philosophical discoveries. He calls it will to power. By will to power "I express the characteristic that cannot be thought out of the mechanistic order without thinking away this order itself."

... Nietzsche And Philosophy, Gilles Deleuze

The Fruits Are First In Our Thoughts

The fruits are first in our thoughts,
but only in the end
are they truly seen.
When you have done the work
and planted the tree,
when the fruit appears,
you read the first words.

... Mathnawi I: 971-972, Rumi

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Feels Like Home

Living In The Layers

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.

When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.

Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!

How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?

In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.

Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.

In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
"Live in the layers,
not on the litter."

Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.

... The Collected Poems, Stanley Kunitz

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I Carry Your Heart With Me

I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)
I am never without it (anywhere I go you go, my dear;
and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)
I fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet)
I want no world (for beautiful, you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart:
I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)

... E E Cummings

Until The Hour Of Separation

“And ever has it been known that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation”

... Kahlil Gibran