Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Journal 05.05.10

I woke up less tired and pained than it is usually the case; the headaches seem to recede a little bit before the plain sight of my inability to surrender to them. Still my sleep is very thin, almost deprived from the cessation of brain activity while my body is at rest; I spend almost all of my sleep hours concentrating even more upon the activities of the day and also the lack thereof. All night long I insist on all my incomplete dreams, on the daytime preoccupation to release myself from exile, the endless letters I write and the dreams I plow and sow but can´t harvest, the great places I might want to see, the kind of life I could have – at least any one life different from this which is not a life but a mediocre biological circle of sleeping, eating and complaining with limited ingestion of food and sexual gratification and no entertainment at all. I had dreamt with being something of a Hebrew scholar, perhaps at some American university. Not that this one of my actual life dreams, but something that lapse in between sequences of truncated fulfillment…

This time none of my letters were answered, which means that perhaps the world is growing tired of them; the problem of personal letters is that they address people and not just fulfill criteria demanded by application forms. This afternoon I am going to send a letter to Nigel Tubbs, who is a professor at the University of Winchester, a former pupil of Gillian Rose and someone who writes very interesting philosophy. I am drawn to it not only because I am desperate (I checked out what it would take to study theology in Ireland, or to take a 3-semester long Swedish course or Arctic biology in Norway!) but because he builds on an idea that I´ve held for a long time… That the education of the university, or even before that, of the “arts-college” is based on a relationship between the pupil and the teacher and not on research, not on results, which is an untimely consequence of the newfound practice of science understood as primary methods and ultimate results. I wonder if someone like Mr. Tubbs would ever be interested in my ideas, person and accomplishments; at least he seemed to be so years ago when I contacted him.

Gillian Rose´s reading of Kierkegaard: According to Rose, a relationship with God is one that we can never fully achieve but must ever fail towards (“The Broken Middle”), “failing towards form”; this form goes from the aesthetic (his style and writing form) to the ethical (the implications of writing) and then ultimately to an absolute that must entail a failure in worldly matters and a leap to love or God. I guess one now makes sense of what she means with “the absolute is not an optional extra”. Our only resource then is to react to this “broken middle” with nothing but anxiety. Rose´s demand: To engage critically with the world as it is, not to accept it or seek to escape it. What then would Taubes say to this? A question on Rose: Can we speak of a secular faith grounded in social practice?

From Lloyd: To master a language is to be able to say things which have not been said before, to combine words in new ways which, despite their novelty, will not result in reprimands by one´s community. Only then can it be said that an individual is a competent language user: freedom consists in the possibility for new performances enabled by the mastery of a framework of norms… For Rose, writing shows the fecundity of the tension between social practice and norms.

Gillian Rose´s description of writing: “mix of discipline and miracle, which leaves you in control, even when what appears on the page has emerged from regions beyond our control”, “if I knew who I were or what I were, I would not write; I write out of those moments of anguish which are nameless and I am able to write only where the tradition can offer me a discipline, a means, to articulate and explore that anguish” (I had read this years ago but somehow I had mingled it with something that Arendt said, or perhaps did I think that Arendt herself wrote this).

…For Rose modern Christian and Jewish thought is trying to mend the world, which in turn has the effect of betraying the hard work of living. They lack faith, so that they opt for easy ways out. I would that they not only try to mend the world, but they also do it with mendacity.

Lloyd on Rose: Anxiety is experienced any time one truly grapples with the law. To live life without anxiety would be to shut oneself off from a central feature of the world; it would be to live in delusion. Living life without anxiety is like living life without freedom; possible, perhaps, but only when one understands social norms to be absolutely rigid and static.

“Keep your mind in hell and despair not” (Silhoan)

Rose: Despite the similar phenomenologies of writing and love, writing is a very poor substitute indeed for the joy and agony of loving… Love involves temporary suspension of the law. Gillian Rose: “Do you believe in eternity? Definitely. It´s the only thing I believe in. If there´s eternity, then it´s Now… Time is devastation. You can´t believe in time. Time is going to destroy you. So you have to believe in eternity”.

Richard Hull: We must say radical, not critical – this is too much associated with Kant

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