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September 3rd 2009

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    On February the third of this year I arrived at an entertaining conclusion, the solution to which was a daily entry in this place I have called "An English in Kentucky".

    The idea of 'being', or existence, that thing that I am, is ever present.  I can take no vacation from it.   When elements combine to create what the existentialists call angst, and have been teased because of it.  When Heidegger is maneuvering around the 'authentic', in that awkward way.  When Nietzsche revels in Zoroaster, and soon enters the asylum.  When Hegel supposed the perfect idea emerging from the dialectic in his phenomenology of 'spirit'.  When this thing that is 'being' meets anxiety there is in the analysis of great thinkers a follow-on of change.  Something moves.  Otherwise the river is dammed and we are damned, and death does become 'blessed release', and earth is easily temporal in that feeble conclusion so many have increasingly surrendered to. 

    On February the third of this year, I concluded that within 'being' the material world is purely a mental construct.  And as I drew this conclusion, empiricists nailed closed my coffin with that sadness assigned to disciples who have strayed.  But I argue the issue for 'being' (existence) surrounds the question "what is true in a purely mental construct?".  And when a mind comes away from this question with no answer, it becomes necessary to invent "true", otherwise there is no getting out of bed in the morning in the event the floorboards have vanished, no matter the promises of an empiricist who may be sharing the bed.   

 

    

    There are of course "true" things that I can't help but believe.  As an example, while sterilizing Mason Jars better not to lift them out of the pan with the fingers.  A carelessly tossed axe can be damaging.  Nakedness and muttering in public places causes alarm.  Potting soil form a hardware store is evil.   Never suggest the "American Dream" has always been a fiction.  And so on into the complexities of precious belief. 

     However there are many things which  we believe are "true" simply because without these "true things" relationships between us so central to the social would no longer operate and society, or clan, or group would cease.  Quite quickly we would stop talking to each other.  Quite quickly we would lose language.  And we would return to a condition which most likely would become untenable, because bears, lions, tigers and cockroaches are individually more enduring than we are.  But as a clan, or a group, or a society, as long as we cooperate between ourselves, we dominate.  Which is a good enough incentive to lie with aplomb and regularity. 

     So I wondered the ancient question, what 'truths' in 'now' does my 'being' require.  And thus far I have enjoyed the exercise.  I think I have been diligent.  I have tried to be scrupulous.  Often I am side-tracked.  And by February the third two thousand and ten, when this process ends, I may not have learned anything.  Which in itself is a lesson from 'now'.  And which today suggests that the question "why bother?" is a very good one.

    Naturally the entire problem vanishes when language hands down empirical definitions of 'true'.  And when it does, this always makes me smug because I am only after the experience of 'true'.  Not the definition.   In another way, I want to know what true feels like.  And I bet it doesn't exist, even if I think that I do.

    But an oath is an oath and 'creative is' and Dostoyevsky's saintly Idiot I am not.

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tim candler

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(true)  (temporal bone)