On Description & Explanation

“One day the last portrait of Rembrandt and the last bar of Mozart will have ceased to be – though possibly a colored canvas and a sheet of notes will remain – because the last eye and the last ear accessible to their message will have gone.” – Spengler, Decline of the West

“Suddenly all those individuals who yesterday felt that "we" meant only their families, their professions, or perhaps their communities, become men of the nation. Their emotions and thoughts, their egos, that "something" within them, all are transformed: they have become historical.” – Spengler, Decline of the West

11. Accurate description is the revelation of character without explanation, theory, or justification. 

12. A story is a theory of why something happened, the descriptions being pawns in a series of causes and effects. Man looks for the story beyond the description; he makes description into something ornamental and secondary. He can no longer see the connections made by accurate descriptions set alongside each other (the blindness of autism).

15. ¨Philosophers constantly see the method of science before their eyes, and are irresistibly tempted to ask and answer questions in the way science does. This tendency is the real source of metaphysics, and leads the philosopher into complete darkness.¨ – Wittgenstein

16. The criticism that description cannot stand on its own is nonsense. Man has been so conditioned by theory that he remarks: ¨But there was no story.¨ He cannot accept that character produced from accurate description comes from nowhere.

17. A story is a craving for generality. The darkness of this age is that story is looked to for revelation rather than character.

21. The Greek fascination with tragedy was the fascination with justice: a rightness of conduct which could not be made legible by the laws of the State, that even ran contrary to those laws. A rightness of conduct that men felt but could not make legible. Tragedy: the confrontation of purity in character with the historical argument of law; an insoluble confrontation.

24. The question is two part: Whether one can accurately understand the development in ancient Greece from a making of poetry about the world to a scientific breaking it down into law (both natural and moral/state), and, secondly, with this understanding, whether someone captured and enthralled by science and the state, born into it, can walk himself back into poetry. Can this development be undone?

29. The bourgeois attitude in philosophy is that which accepts implicitly the structures and confines set up by legibility: the subject-object dichotomy; the responsibility of the individual; the protection racket of the State; the written word; Reason and explanation; the tyranny of science; the naming and the breaking down of the world into elements. These bourgeois philosophers are dependents of the state and its program of scientific legibility and so are unwilling or unable to see outside it. Their work only confirms the State, making it an a priori assumption about life.

38. Even descriptions are shot through today with implied explanation. No one takes an accurate description seriously – it cannot stand on its own. They would ask for something more. It must be combined in narrative and made reasonable: things held together in the world by a string of arguments, equations and stories. Man sets out to prove that ¨everything happens for a reason.¨

41. In a scientific age, tragedy becomes impossible. The last eye and ear accessible to its message has gone.


Uncollected Aphorisms

27 January 2015

Invidia. Envy. That the Colombian should be permitted to obtain that for which he has never worked. But there was a second element to it: that this obtaining should also cause harm to he who had formerly possessed it. Not only to have it for himself, but also that he who previously had it should feel its loss painfully. It was a particularly acute and malicious feature of Colombian daily life. It resulted in the seducing of novios to injure a girlfriend; the constant chiseling for pesos; all sorts of lies and deceptions; the continuous threat of thievery even among family members.

7 October 2014

“We live, in these days in the open, the same ecstatic fearful life. We shun men. We hate their suddenly uplifted arms, the insanity of their flailing gestures, their erratic scissoring gait, their aimless stumbling ways, the tombstone whiteness of their faces.”quote of unknown origin

28 July 2014

Neither hobby nor career, I was never interested in their tourism. Rather to live it out however it went, however it ended, however good or bad, whatever it led to. To recognize what waves bear a man up instead of ignoring or fighting against them, is to have found his metier

9 June 2014

Credit surplus is the outpacing of life on earth. Men racing ahead tearing out ahead past the earths natural edges. The earth is not a limit but is instead a home. To tear it apart is to make men homeless. 

Surplus man is linked to the earth through various proxies, each proxy erected upon another, higher and higher, further and further from the soil, ever more tenuous and unstable at this height. Surplus man topples falls back to the earth. What appears tragic in his fall is looked back upon as comedy, that only a fool would try to live beyond his home. 

6 April 2014

Believe in Jesus they said. That was all. There were other doctrines to be agreed to. A man had a whole framework of ideas it was first necessary to accept before belief was possible, before he could become faithful in act. But religion of the axial age was behavior, not doctrine. 

It appears the axial age focus on religious behavior was a response to a new behavior, perhaps brought about by the revolution of farming and urban life. These holy men of the axial age were translating older ideas in an effort to sustain how men had lived before agriculture. This latest age seeks to sustain how men were before agriculture through Reason and the law of the state. 

But a surplus of men chasing a tiny bit of capital for ownership can only cause competitive and warlike behavior. Even the hunting tribes would become violent when their hunting grounds were threatened. 

Man today lives in continual threat. 

13 March 2014

The divinity in men was eradicated long ago as men learned farming and the skills of the city. But the divinity in women, denied those urban skills, lived on. The female became mans reminder of what was divine, she was the looking glass of gods. Only when cities became built for women and ruled by women were the gods finally banished.

5 March 2014

For more than 30 years The Xtratuff boot has been the official footwear of Alaska fishermen and cannery workers. A seasoned worker brings his own or goes down to the True Value for a new pair. Nobody who knows and can afford them wants to be caught in the free cheap black company issue throwaway boots offered to workers. 

In 1988 in Chicago you weren't really on the school basketball team unless you wore the Nike Air Jordan sneaker. My parents refused me them on account of their priceI can still recall my dismayand me and another boy were the only ones on the team without them. But here in Alaska with no parents to defer to, I buy Xtratuffs and make myself part of the team.

I did have some concerns as the boot disappointed all of Alaska last year. Honeywell bought the Xtratuff, eliminated the old boot factory in Rock Island, IL and moved production to China. The boots were now $30 more to purchase. The plastic failed. The heels ripped apart in the first month of use. Fishermen and cannery workers across the state were furious. Boots that once lasted a decade now sometimes lasted a week.
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