Friday, June 19, 2015

The Best Story Wins

Wings of Love (1972)
Stephen Pearson


He or she or It who tells 
the best story wins.

Most people think of money as the highest human attainment. And money seduces.

With it, you win. Simple as that, or is it?

As stated in A Critique of Money, "money is among the elements that facilitate social interaction."

What else facilitates social interaction?

Let's see, now, shall we...

I don't know about you, but what facilitates social interaction is good manners. Pausing a moment from indulging in our own experience of life to acknowledge life outside ourselves. Acknowledging the other is the epitome of good manners.

The things we share are not always the things we're thinking about. Sometimes the things we share are more like this:


The TRICK to telling the best story is telling ourselves the best story


I can do better than that!
(spoken like a true storyteller)



You go back outside to play .... to get some wind blowing against you ... you take a thousand slow breaths precisely regulated to the body's expenditure. The experience vacillates between moderate to slightly intense relaxation. It's a trip, and you're riding it ... full steam ahead!

Its vistas extend for miles along riverbanks and surrounding streets, enveloping mountanesque courtyards, and its total surface area covers as far as your eyes can see.

A living monument that has witnessed centuries of the most momentous events in the history of that place; and it is the culmination that serves as a veritable encyclopedia of all the geographical and societal events and styles developed over the course of this particular time/space/location through which you are currently traveling and now contributing into being.

This space we're talking about consists of an approximately incalculable number of experiences and a myriad of other arrangements constructed into the space we occupy as we swoosh our way down the mountain ... 

The things you see before you lay claim to illustrate the existential history of the space through which you're still moving.

The scale of these dates and their corresponding movements is nearly unfathomable, but clever people everywhere will try to figure them out, after first patting themselves on the back for noticing them in the first place. It is precisely here where eternity's zipper lies. You either see it or you don't.

And what do you do if you don't see it?

That's a good question. Just pretend. Pretend you see it. Make it up. Imagine it. See it. Build it. Construct it. Paint it. If you must, plant flowers.



Leafing through what we see, we will, of course, find "essentials" such as those things with which we cannot live without. Those thoughts or experiences or sensations we simply must have to feel good. These are the characters of our story.



Victory wants to go first! 

She builds herself A Rose Cottage...

NIKE (or Nicé) was the winged goddess or spirit daimon of victory, both in battle and peaceful competition. Her four children, Nike (Victory), Zelos (Rivalry), Kratos (Strength) and Bia (Force) stand beside her along the other side of existence. In other words, along Eternity's Zipper.

Beyond her wreath or sash to crown a victor, an oinochoe and phiale (bowl and cup) for libations, a thymiaterion (incense burner), an altar, and a lyre for the celebration of victory in song. In mosaic art and coins Nike is often shown holding a palm branch as a symbol of victory.

The stories she tells herself reverberate throughout history. She is constantly reborn, carried forward generation by generation. Her presence is felt. All who come near her sense a frequency not unlike that which they seek. The slightest provocations shiver.

She is the Mona Lisa, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, and the Venus de Milo. In them we recognize the hand of Raphael, Vigeé Le Brun, and any other artist that delights our aesthetic sensibilities. Be it in art or song, from every epoch and every medium little of which will ever be known beyond specialist circles; it is our imagination only that is so sweeping, so comprehensive that it has a matchless ability to provide us with a new discovery every moment of every day.

But who could survive such intensity?

There must be rest periods. Rejuvenation and relaxation. Just like gliding down our mountain, there are times when we give more effort, and times when we relax and allow for the experience to flow through us.

Every day a previously unnoticed aspect hidden in the corner of our room, a newly acquired object, a sculpture taken out of storage or restored, a work of art we ourselves bring into existence, which we see for the first time, or simply a moment that catches our eye we had not previously engaged. To live the greatest story, this is a priceless asset.

But what if you don't live the greatest story? Some people see room for improvement in their lives. The quality of the story you tell yourself now takes on new meaning. If you think there's something better out there, the El Dorado of moments ... Oz.

... you're absolutely right!

Athena (2012)
Soph Laugh


There is definitely something better out there. But where is there? The Cheshire Cat would merit our attention if we only knew how to listen to him. Flash forward past the bank-busting originals, the investment pieces bartered by hedge-fund analysts and arms dealers, secured by museums for the enlightenment of the nation.

Take the story you tell yourself, those words you hear yourself think every day, as you make your way through life. Does it make you laugh? How many gifts do you give yourself? What do you collect? What sort of stuff do you do and think about each day? Do you like everything about which you think and do? Do you ever want to do something different? Can you imagine how exhausting it would be to ask yourself these types of questions every day?

This kind of thinking will keep you busy if you're not otherwise doing something. But you can also allow yourself to get lost in the labyrinth of cultures and world styles. Go off in search of the world's treasures. See what you've never seen or had occasion to imagine.

Soak it in. Feel it. Experience it.

AMAZING! 

New input is amazing. A good story ALWAYS needs New Input. It is an imperative if you want to construe for yourself a story unmatched in comparison. The story you know your destined to tell.

All stories are destined stories. Every moment is in an of itself an eternal moment. Forever existing simply because it existed. Anything that exists or is made to exist or is imagined to exist exists the moment it is imagined into existence. And that's a lot of existence.

Nothing can be more surprising, seductive, interesting, and impressive than to directly confront the greatest ideas in their appropriate setting. Every moment, every place, every person, every thing has its greatest moment.

The greatest story is catching someone at their greatest moment.

There are many great moments. And some of these great moments are best admired outside of our own homes. The moments that adorn our walls, if you wish, can represent something only you can prove exists. The expression of self materialized.

Material artefacts of self show the world we mean business, meaning, we fully intend to experience as many moments of every day humanly possible. We want to squeeze in billions of stories, like billions of stars, absorbed by us as we expand outward toward full expression.



Whatever image we imagine before us only stimulates the appetite, to preserve a memory of a moment, and above all, to make us want to immerse ourselves in the treasure troves of the world we have to give ourselves moments from which we can tell ourselves the best story. We must craft moments and stories and mix up the order in which we apply them.

In doing so we find the best stories of our lives. If we choose to share them, we can. We can share our ultimate stories: A collection of our finest moments. Or we can keep those treasures for ourselves, closer to home. We can hang them on our walls, or whisper them in our corridors or outside in the garden among the rose bushes who only sing when politely asked to ...









































Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Advancement of Creativity

Laughing is good medicine,
but if one laughs for no reason,
one needs medication.

Given the enjoyability factor in creative thinking, which goes so far as to denounce the validity of reason in all the prerogatives it assumes in the practice of aesthetics, on the one hand, and in the spread of contemporary artworks interpreted sui generis, which once used to explore new mediums inspires new combinations of materials, on the other, aesthetics would seem to be alive and well in a world of technology and automation.



Creativity is so mixed with existential thought (principally because philosophers are artists who aim to sculpt the sound and beautiful thoughts) that one has the overall impression that aesthetics as a cogent core of intuitions, insights, inspirations, experiments and passions, as found in the entire classical world, has blossomed and this innermost core of identifying with self eternal.



Artists manifest the facileness of assumption. Aesthetics has not lost its identity; it merely transforms itself as new materials are made available.

Indeed, crowning the creativity of contemporary artworks, this flourishing of artists from all around the world to consider the aesthetics of intuitions, insights, inspirations, experiments and passions that artists by following by and large the aesthetic outline of the Human Creative Condition has further elaborated, manifesting the aesthetic spirit as its most vigorous.

Classical ideas of aesthetics retain their legitimate claims albeit in novel formulations and within a novel framework. But in this novel era, the era in which aesthetics has at last arrived or is arriving at its destination, the classical ideas with their claims are left rather in the painter's palette while new incipient ideas are being laid down as cornerstones of a gigantic edifice to be erected before the world stage.

It is indeed, from an overturn or priorities, with cognition and its specific mental intentionalities now assuming second place, while the creative act of the human being assumes first place, that this novel edifice receives the orientation for its inspiration.


Furthermore, although a proper place remains allotted to aesthetic consciousness, the subject with its originative extensions is not just alive in terms of its classical priority, but is turned inside out of its directing position to a limited realm for the newly recognized aesthetic principles of being, which is that of self-creativity-in-expression. 

Thus at the very center of contemporary fields of aesthetic investigation, we find clues for the genuinely aesthetic mathesis universalis, that was the initial dream of Husserl and which, having gotten lost in his meanders, he failed to devise.

Poor Husserl.



By thus going back to the creative virtualities of human existence and the principle of self-creative-expression, an entire new way of aesthetic expression emerges in which all rationalities transform themselves by nature of inventive fertility.

Herein this blog is situated volumes of examples, a splattering of ideas, points of view, and insights which come from otherwise diversely influenced conceptions and reflections offer Reader-Viewers COLORFUL PERSPECTIVES a compelling investigation of some major issues which reappear again in new formulations: principally the issue of a human individuals self-creativity-in-expression, insofar as he or she becomes and evolves with respect to the force which drives human imagination.


What has its classical flavor in rhyme and meter, color and composition, is clad now in modalities of the nuanced and modulated transmissible interplay of forces which allow the human being to create herself while co-creating something else, and this in the societal, vitally conditioned, significant networks of human inventiveness.

Human creativity with respect to the objects we create - artworks and inventions - go back to the fundamental virtuality of the Human Creative Condition of the moral sense, whence the morality, ethics, and regulations which human beings establish for their co-existence take flight.


The above-indicated set of principles which has overturned classical aesthetics, which at the same time standing counter to the overinflated tendencies of contemporary aesthetics, has been operative to various degrees throughout history, in particular since the 1960s, during which time the attention of numerous scholars was drawn to its novel vistas and principles.

Contemporary artists have attracted anew to these approaches. During at least the last five decades we have been witnessing the inception of a reinterpretation of the classical thinkers, finding in their thought ideas congenial to ours which have hitherto been overlooked, both in their dominant trends of interpretation as well as in excavating reflections and insights pertinent to our problems.


It is in this spirit that creativity has been advancing. Thus in all similar aspects of creation (blogs, Pinterest posts, Tumblr photos, social sharing feeds, and all not-before-traditional modes of Human-Creative-Expression) classical aestheticians are interpreted anew in the perspective of how their thoughts converge on our aesthetic sensibilities.

This blog is filled with examples of mixed-thinking via mixed-media, mixing genres, and interweaving photos to elevate words to new heights. For over nearly five years this blog has been devoted to exploring humor, wherever it may reside, so long as it is respectful of human dignity. In this vein a variety of styles have been smooshed together just to see what emerges. While not overtly funny, the enjoyability factor comes from not knowing the end result - not knowing how scholarly discourse combined with nonsensical absurdities might sound or look on virtual paper.

Living up to the blog's original title "Sophy 'softly' Laughing" posts often mimic their namesake - eliciting soft or quiet laughter. It is not the giant guffaws that draws attention to this blog. It is the earnest search for those things that delight and inspire wonderment. The "funny" aspect of searching for the experience of wonderment is how easily it can be found by comparing seemingly divergent thought systems in order to find the bridge that unites them. What is truly funny for me - recognizing humor is subjective - is how united all thought systems are when we search for connecting strands. But it is not a search for the visible, it is a search for possibilities and what-ifs.



For example: What if there really are Blacksheepologists in the world ... analyzing data in the hopes of uncovering the true origin of the elusive Black Sheep? Every family reportedly has a Black Sheep in the family. It could indeed be that in a world of 7 billion people one person might actually be reading the Black Sheep Scrolls in search of clues to determine whether or not there was indeed a time when counterfeit black hides were being mass-produced.

Even if this example only resides in my mind, and now in HTTF - it exists. I have imagined It into existence... a scenario that might not have ever been imagined had it not been for my own brand of Sophist humor ("Sophist" as in Sophy Laughing-inspired -vs- "sophist" as in those contemptible, degrading, disgraceful, disreputable, loathsome, reprehensible, infamously slimy, morally suspect rhetoricians of 5th century BCE Greece claiming to specialize in the tools of philosophy and rhetoric only to miss the mark entirely).




I conclude this post with the statement that I believe eternity to be everywhere. Everywhere is eternity. Thus we exist in eternity. Whether or not we eternally exist is an entirely different question. This matters because that which we do, we are doing for an eternity. If life does not bring us all the riches we desire, the love we deeply long for, or the health or beauty we wish were our own to possess, it can bring us other opportunities. The opportunity to create something from nothing. The opportunity to see each experience as one belonging to a certain space held within eternity. If we are held in eternity, which seems inescapable; if we cannot unexist the nature of our existence, as our bodies remain, and the 21 grams of spirit that escapes is still held within existence, i.e., eternity; then, we might as well do something that entertains us.

Writing and creating thoughts that had hitherto before not existed entertains me. If it did not, I would cease to do it. I am not required to write. I am not paid to write. I am not rewarded for writing beyond the rewards the experience itself affords me. Many people around the world are in a constant state of creative expression: doing, acting, and engaging with the world from a place that brings them no financial gain, no worldly acclaim, and no intense emotional engagement from the world - but they still do it.

Day in day out, people everywhere are inspired to create by nature of their fulgurating spirit. Whether a being is sharpening a stone hand axe for beautification rather than utility, whether an elephant is playing with a bouncy ball or rocking to Bach, whether insects are building nests rather than mindlessly roaming in perpetual search of sustenance, we are all held in an eternity whose natural state is one of Creative-Expression.



Rather than succumb to rationalism; rather than abandon my blogging to strategize other 'more important things' ... which would surely bring about a more shallow blend of mind manifesting "fin de sièce" moods regarding my use of time; if instead I tell myself I have all of eternity to write this blog AND still have extra time left over to strategize on those 'more important things' ... I have seized eternity for myself. Here I am crafting eternity as it pleases me.

If we are willing to temporarily suspend our long-cherished convictions and expectations which sidestep us more than they propel us forward to face the tests of progress for ourselves, we are more able to maintain their validity or well-foundedness as we discover for ourselves which convictions and expectations serve and which do not. It is only in the doing that we discover.


These thoughts vanish nearly as fast as they are presented. They are grains of salt lively enough only for metamorphosed fulfillment. Aesthetics worldwide is the promise and part-realization of this type of metamorphosed fulfillment of eternity's (and of this century's) long-lasting Creative Dream, it's fulfillment in the aesthetics of life and Creative Expression.





























Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Garden of Eating


There are three supreme deities in the garden of eating: taste (which combines flavor and aroma), inspiration, and aesthetic appeal. There are food theorists who contend that all three elements are essential, but most of us would agree that taste is the supreme element. 

Artistic presentations seduce the eye, transforming each bite from one of mere nourishment into a deeper sensual engagement. The pleasures of the palate naturally seek the glory of the bounty, heightening our path toward satiety, evoking a fervent if not secretive relationship between us and the food we eat; the sensations of which reverberate through our being as we take everything in, engulfed in a moment of pure delight. 


The mere contemplation of food puts us in a heightened sensual state. Here, we are able to lose ourselves in an ethereal moment of culinary bliss as our senses are overcome with anticipation, which heightens our arousal, before comes the sweet reward of complete gratification. 

While this culinary experience may sound very much like the phases of another sensual interlude, the experience is one of beauty and a reflection of our inner state, though we may not be consciously aware of it. 


The beauty of enjoying food is that it brings us to a state of internal peace where we are able to focus on beauty for its own sake, and the pleasure it brings to us. We see glory in a sprig of mint, and a twinkle coming from the edge where a icy cool scoop of sorbet meets with the warm, moist air of a summer's day. The purest of spirits flow through us and without restraint we allow for the full experience of them. 

Eating well makes life sweeter, freeing us to soar along the succulent linings of savory sweet bliss. By virtue of human necessity, before all other knowledge our first impression of the world is purely sensual. Our surroundings are interpreted by a series of impressions recorded by our lips, fingers, ears, eyes, and noses. Our first nourishment brings a sense of comfort. When we are not yet in possession of formal language skills, pleasure is how we communicate with ourselves and how we know that which comforts. 


Just seeing food titillates. The delicate hardness of a soft chewy caramel is sublime as we reach out and bring a little morsel toward our mouths. Our tongue naturally gravitates toward the bliss we imagine. Slowly we envelope the salty sweet as our lips close the deal. What we do with the caramel from this point onward is an entirely private affair. 

We cannot discount the pleasures found in such moments. So long as the state of arousal is not the end instead of a means to the end, so long as the high visceral stimulation does not replace the profound depth of pleasure food brings, we can continue to savor the sensual satietious ecstasy food brings to our palates. 




The journey of senses that brings pleasure are found when one is fully engaged in the act of preparing food. Each meticulous step of the planning, hand-selecting of each ingredient, the careful choosing of a menu, combines into an act of love. Each step nourishes the next. Preparation and anticipation gradually increase our desire toward nature's most intimate crescendo. Sharing this experience with another, cooking for another, are one long dance, each bite a note that arouses, satiates, and repeats again until there is but one bite left before the final sound of profound satisfaction. 

Voilá! 

Our meal comes to a sweet or savory end. As you have no doubt deduced, preparing food is a delicate balancing act, comprised of choosing each ingredient to create an original essence. No two tomatoes are alike. Inspiration is endless thus. 


Cooking seduces to our minds to the art, science, and craft involved in bringing ingredients together. Each dish ignites our imagination for endless modifications. A pinch of salt extra here, a red potato instead of cream there, and truffle ice cream to settle the dispute. 

Good taste is the atmosphere in which we satisfy this edible exchange. Ideas bounce around in our mind like plump juicy tomatoes. The ones we choose, the ones we give away, all hand-picked. Only the best may reserve a seat as a garnish next to our delicate coconut consommés. Each ingredient enters into a relationship with the other, new flavors are the fruit of this union. 



In a Pinterest culture we expect not high quality ingredients but rather the sanitized modern, glossy food pictures depicting the perfect ganache filled macaron, which encourage unrealistic expectations of beauty. Like high fine art, these creations shield us from small imperfections, but they also convey in the process that the greatest flavors are only found in the aesthetically pleasing.  


Anyone who has enjoyed tartiflette at the marche Champs Elysées knows that some of the most comforting foods are not always the most aesthetically pleasing. 




It is the technique of food production that transforms peasantry inspired creations, those culturally recognized dishes of distinction each country holds dear, into something different and equally delicious. While impromptu creations can easily turn into some of the best things to emerge from our kitchen, convenience foods and imitation anything are where we must draw the line.

This line of demarcation separates taste from hunger. A solitary piece of fruit can bring about the same sensations as a carefully crafted gourmet meal. Quickly thrown together creations speak to our desire to devour, they are Ayn Rand's radiant greed as one's entire self is engaged in that moment of pleasure.



Those who wish to only consume ecstasy miss out on the dance of the senses, where heightened states of arousal are our aphrodisiacs. Foods claiming to be such are nothing but placebos, well-articulated food descriptors that rely solely upon our inner mechanism's natural ability to reach such heights. 

Our senses only become acute after we first allow them to stop mid-step to admire the crisp air and soft hues of the morning's sunrise. It is the inner poet we unleash, eager to see ever more beauty in our surroundings. Pleasure caresses us in gentle ways, enabling us to sustain the heights of culinary arousal we might not have thought possible outside the realm of fantasy. 


To arrive to a heightened satietious state of awareness one must first be eager to embark upon a journey of discovery. Starting with what triggers sensual response, what makes our inner engines hum louder and faster and stronger than before. As we ponder those questions for ourselves, we recognize that what brings one person true happiness is not always the same as what brings true happiness to another. Knowing what brings us pleasure is the first step in defining our journey with food. 

As we get to know ourselves better, as we openly embark upon those curious experiences that unveil our relationship with food, we develop an intimate familiarity with the earth's bounty, a metaphor for all the fruits, grains, nuts, and berries the planet provides for our nourishment and co-existence. The delicious four-course meals we create with this bounty recuperate our senses, sustaining our existence, feeding our essence. 


Returning to the Garden of Eating is a return to self. As we take our time discovering our senses, they begin to heighten, enticing us deeper within the edenic experience, which we meet with an endless state of inherent curiosity. Each bite culminates into a holistic view of that which we consume, awakening our primitive senses, elevating us to our highest truths accessible only through the evolvement of sensuality.  




Encountering novelty stirs our emotions. Encountering flavors that combine and penetrate our palates ignite a formidable response: pleasure. Pleasure is a surprisingly delicate theoretical consideration. 

Philosophical discussions on the nature of sense and the pleasure it affords have gone on for centuries and are key to our collective mindsets on that which we define practical, as opposed to that which we define pleasurable. 

Society moderates pleasures. Some are considered "lower" than others. In a communal mindset "higher" pleasures must involve solidarity, actions rather than reactions, intent upon uniting our acceptance or rejection of pleasure. That which nourishes is now the "highest" cuisine, while that which satisfies is not. Food has become a heavily functional topic in modern society, with those foods low in calorie, high in nutrition held in highest esteem. 


With so many differing opinions in how we consume and what we consume, how do we experience the fullness cuisine has to offer us without feeling guilty or gaining unwanted weight? When the act of preparation is considered an art form or a dance rather than as the work associated with dining, we spend more effort doing than enjoying

Enjoyment is found in moderation, in the careful, meticulous choosing of an ingredient, which feeds our intellect's desire for pleasure. When a meal satisfies our intellectual pleasures, the blossoming desire inclines us toward nourishment. Together, intellectual and sensual pleasures direct our attention toward that which is already cognitively rich in indulgence. Resting one's appetite after such an experience allows for a respite between meals. In this sense one does not overindulge or become gluttonous, which leads to a degeneration of the tastebuds. 


The complicated philosophical history of pleasure tempts us to argue on behalf of the aesthetic dimension of taste and for the comparability of food with works of art. Pleasures of touch, smell, and taste direct our attention inward to the state of our own bodies. These senses are forever in pursuit of pleasure. 

We admire fine cuisine as it brings us subtle pleasures. The artistry of food and the delicacies of taste memorialized by writers of gastronome who advocate for a discriminating palate, which is the result of sophisticated learning and experience. The artistry of a great chef or vintner yields subtle qualities in their products that are entirely difficult to discern if heightened sensibilities are absent or wanting. 



Since classical antiquity, philosophical tradition has elevated two senses above all others: sight and hearing. Sight is the means by which we make visual discoveries about the world which lead to us toward knowledge and later, once integrated, insight. Hearing is sight's companion, together they rule the bodily senses: touch, taste, and smell. 

The western tradition of mind over body draws a distinction between the higher and lower senses, both of which are necessary to elevate the consumption of food into a sensual experience. Enjoyment directs the eye, and the mind follows. Food that resembles works of art is the food we want to taste, art we wish to savor for the subtle pleasures it delivers. Our pleasure response to taste is a complex cognitive reaction that involves highly compressed symbolic recognitions. The very concept of pleasure itself is considered with every bite. 



No sensation is unaware of its object. That is, there is no coherent sensation without cognition. Different interpretations of taste or smell yield different sense experiences. For some a plate of escargot causes a mouth-watering experience, for others repulsion. 

Sensation is thus interpreted and then categorized. Itself it is inchoate and without distinction. Only meaning distinguishes. Beautiful images, strong smells and tastes may provoke physical responses, but the pleasure or displeasure that arises is entirely supported by a matter of opinion. 

For example, the chocolately allure of certain souffles can drive the senses wild with desire and longing, while the same souffle can be met with indifference, intolerance, or displeasure by someone unresponsive to chocolate's allure. 


The Dutch artist Tjalf Sparnaay presents food as a philosophical consideration of aesthetic pleasure. The concept of pleasure itself: sense pleasure. Seeing food as an art form frees our awareness of it as nothing other than an object limited by our sensory perceptions and interpretations. Seeing food as art elevates our awareness of its innate elements, which we contemplate as we gaze upon tender, juicy, tasty morsels of goodness.  

Foods and their tastes stimulate distinctive responses to our aesthetic preferences and fashion as we ruminate upon the meanings they imply. From the whimsical to the profound, from tart to bland, oily to spicy, our sensibilities challenge our sense of pleasure, and our relationship to delicacies. 



At first repellent tastes such as parsnips or cod liver oil infused into ice cream delight our sense of repulsion. The once disgusting idea too alien for our consideration now titillates. We feel more alive as we resist it's consideration. Eating it we feel nervous and awakened and anticipatory. Whether we disgust or delight is secondary. The experience irregardless of our ultimate response is what gets us going, so to speak; what compels us onward toward new flavorful sensations and creations limited only by our mind's capacity for imaginative thought. 


While disgusting is not what we seek when satiating ourselves, it does bring with it discovery and possibility of where certain flavors might be better suited. Coming up with new ideas is a delicious habit, the deliberate cultivation of taste as we internalize quite literally our experience of eating. 

Unique among aesthetic pleasures is food. Profoundly beautiful bountiful food. The paradoxes of aversion and attraction are those innate cognitive reactions we bring to the experience. 

Since ancient times we have concerned ourselves with enjoyment. Aristotle discussed enjoyment in poetry, where the evocation of the painfully tragic emotions of pity and terror is the foundation for both catharsis and the aesthetic understanding he ascribes as pleasure in learning. 


Learning about those foods that please us, that delight us, that bring us aesthetic sensory pleasure and bliss is a returning to the garden of eating, where fruit grows in wild abundance, where we are utterly free to partake of its every delights.

Eating is a sublime experience in learning, converting fear into a thrilling delight. Encounters with concepts like yummy and tasty incline us toward new experiences from which we formulate our own theories of sensory pleasure. Enjoying these moments trigger our awareness in a healthy and enlivening way.

The ultimate object of our contemplation can be found in our mental devouring of painted fruit parfait; the ultimate sensation found in our devouring the real thing for ourselves.



Monday, June 8, 2015

Mary Poppins and Philosophy


Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

Super (above) cali (beauty) fragilistic (delicate) expiali (to atone) and docious (educable), essentially 'atoning for educability through delicate beauty." 

In the world of Mary Poppins supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is defined as "something to say when you have nothing to say." 

Let us consider the notion of having "nothing" to say in the metaphysical context of "nothingness." 

In philosophy, metaphysics is the study of what exists, rather than an examination of the limitations of nothingness; which I presume to be rather nill. 



Mary Poppins "gets" this; inherent in her message is that while we might not be able to answer why there is something rather than nothing, or why we should always take our medicine, clean our rooms, or do as we're told, she does convey with grace and flair that whatever it is that must be done, we can do it with an element of fun, and the moment we find that fun, "SNAP! The job's a game." 



Now, whether or not there is any a priori support for having "nothing to say" relies on our interpretation of the methodological principle that propels emptiness to the top of our agendas. For example, to assert the existence of anything has associated with it the burden of proof. If I tell you that my umbrella enables me to fly over the rooftops of London, you'd want proof; in other words, seeing is believing; and, then, you'd probably want to know how my magical umbrella works and where you could get one, too. 



Mary Poppins reaches into her bottomless carpet bag and pulls forth promises, those fanciful ruminations on what might be if only we can bring them into existence. Preventing the superfluousness of the existence of anything other than our own minds requires metaphysicians to begin with nothingness, admitting into the mix only those undeniable entities, or entities whose presence we cannot deny. 

This is where René Descartes began. He cleared out all the things he had accepted as fact from his mind (insomuch as he was able) and then, and only then, did he let back in those ideas his investigations could prove existed, including the existence of the entity known as René Descartes:


I think therefore I am ~ Cogito ergo sum ~ Je pense, donc je suis. 

 இڿڰۣ 

Most everyone, philosophers included, feel entitled to postulate whatever entities are indispensable to their best explanations of well accepted phenomena. In this respect the concept of non-existence is plausible only when making a claim regarding existence. Since the presumption only applies on a case by case basis, there is no grand methodological preference for emptiness. Furthermore, try arguing for the existence of 'nothing' ~ naught entirely easy. 



Much like how Mary Poppins contrasts having "nothing to say" by saying "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," Victor Hugo, in Les Misérables, contrasts universal negation with universal affirmation: 

All roads are blocked to a philosophy which reduces everything to the word 'no.' To 'no' there is only one answer and that is 'yes.' Nihilism has no substance. There is no such thing as nothingness, and zero does not exist. Everything is something. Nothing is nothing. Man lives more by affirmation than by bread. 

And to go with that bread, Mary Poppins delightfully, and rather insightfully, offers us a spoon full of sugar ... 


























Friday, May 29, 2015

Sophy Elegy V

Odisseas (c. 1850)
Jean Auguste-Dominique Ingres
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon, France
 இڿڰۣ 


An evening's lament, midnight commemorating the day

To rest my weary limbs upon my bed I lay,

One eye shut, the other open stood,

To catch day's fading light, as my thoughts seek the good.


Like a peek at cookies baking in the oven,

Or bread being past its date, and mold not yet begun.

Such joy to shame our laments must be shown,

Where they must sort themselves, and seem to us unknown.


Then came doubt in a long flowing gown,

Her discontent hid with tresses hanging down:

Resembling fair indecision when going to wed

Or the confusion of a thousand wooers' eagerness sped.


I admired her gown, being thin, the threat was indeed small,

Yet strove she did to be covetous of all.

And striving thus as one that would be in haste,

Betray our thoughts, and yield to imaginary fates.


Stand naked as the sun lies in the sky,

Not one body covers its rays or betrays my eyes.

What we tell ourselves we see,

What impressions exist are filtered first through me.


How smooth a lie under doubt saw I?

How large a farce, and what a joyous sigh?

When I actually realized that all was well,

I smiled in her presence and her power over me fell...


Judge you the rest, being tired we forget,

Jove moves along after days such as this. 




Jupiter et Thétis (1811)
Jean Ingres
 இڿڰۣ