Philosophy / Philosopher

Things happen.


Today, I was browsing the shelves of the library at which I work, looking for books most precious to me to “represent” me as a person – a librarian, human, father, partner, son, life-trajectory, organism, friend – in honor of (yet another inexplicable almost insane “let’s-find-a-reason-for-celebration-instead-of-accepting-reality” National arbitration of “National Library Week” among perhaps many other things we are trying to laud ourselves for being every day/week/month/year).  And I stumbled across a title related to a hero of mine I had never seen – combining both the delights of the personage & thought I associate with him, and a favorite thing to ponder – communication or discourse:

Rhees - Philosophy9

From that point on, it has been what Eugene Gendlin might label felt experiencing: the occasional yet over-powering moments in life where we feel all-in, fully alive, in the flow, MET… RESONANT… acknowledged and identified.

The book opens with a prefatory essay by one of Wittgenstein’s students, literary executors, and, quite clearly, astute thinker in himself, Rush Rhees.

I include it here because it evinced that moment of relief, exhaustion, affirmation, Okay-ness, that comes from Emily-Dickinson-like “What – you too?” moments in our strange, convoluted, web-networked, chaotic and most-often-indecipherable human Who-Am-I existences…

All to say I read this brief and delightful (to me) report of a fellow human and thought:  Okay, I let down, I collapse, I am guilty of what you describe… and elated to find I am not alone.

For what it’s worth… this seems to “get me” :

Rhees - PhilosophyRhees - Philosophy3Rhees - Philosophy4Rhees - Philosophy5Rhees - Philosophy6Rhees - Philosophy7Rhees - Philosophy8-001



Breaking down breaking it down

multimodal diagram

He is breaking it down, they say, breaking both the mind and the meaning (was that ‘minding?’, ‘minding matter(s)?’).

– But is it undoing? someone asks, breaking down towards what’s beneath (or behind or before)?  One might ask.

In other words, do we detect a purpose, an intention to his breaking?  Is he listening?  Does one see him look?

And what is his name?  That is, what does it ‘stand for’?  He once said “for the entirety.”  At which point (as in moment, context, hic et nunc) it was assumed or inferred (interpreted, understood?) he meant.  Meant, with those particular terms, within that saying (that action, movement, that changing of things), meant:  every form and scale, layer and convergence of space and time, world and universe ever nexused, woven, tangled with this organism labeled thus.  What was his name?

A beginning, like reality, reduced.  Already begun when started, thereby limited by selection and activity.  The sentence finds its way via the words and marks that follow, and while variation is potentially endless, it is not infinite.  As this genetic package and all its cellular, processual interactions are inexhaustible and basely finite.  And so on.

The breaking down reaches far and travels everywhere but won’t arrive, that is arrest, accomplish fullness.  Breaking or building is ever partial.  The sum never equaling parts.

Like his name (what was it?) – the one so applied (and distinctively so) – i.e. different from you and you and you – that name though is shared.  He is not the only one, even if we cannot recall what it is.

– The only one of those variations though? you pipe in.  Perhaps.  He did not know.  But not only the one so called.

His name, his form and structure, and many patterns of perception are quite common, however he goes about them.  His going-about is even similar, when you think of it, as well he would, and we might, yet also not.  Not precisely so, more variantly the same, as it were.  Normality with particulars then, or occasional surprises.

Something unexpected then, about this one and his efforts of breaking it down while breaking down?  Not exactly surprising, from a general fund, the process has its predecessors and is likely to go on in many person at many times, perhaps even widespread and concurrently – other places at the same time with slight anomalies, or other times in the same place with concordant alterations.

– Not uncommon then?  Not uncertain?

Uncertain, sure.  No more or less than anything.  Uncommon perhaps in extent or intensity.  Perhaps not as well, given principles of relativity.

– Relative to the subject/objects situation then? she says in a questioning manner, or in her questioning manner, or a manner of hers I take to be questioning (and so on).

Uncertainty, sure; relative, yes; unique, undoubtedly; repetitive – of course…

…he is breaking it down, breaking mind and meaning, breaking down…

– What is the matter? another inquires.

The matter of his senses, yes, that sounds right, for now, at this moment, where we are.  What is the matter of his senses, or his sense of the matter that eventuates as breaking down, breaking it down, getting to the bottom of getting to the bottom?

– I doubt he’ll reach the bottom.

– The bottom quite unreachable then? someone adds.

The bottom has never been found or reached or approached for all we know we don’t know, they say.  In fact, many question the use of ‘down’ for a practice of dissection – what is excavated in undoing, piecing apart, isolating aspects or fragments?  Where does one get by reducing?

– Or what?

A lot of objects without sense?  Locations with no map?

– Or less, meaning-less, she says with intonation generally accepted as interrogative.

Perhaps meaning less than when together as occurring – fitted, reciprocal, converging and emerging, like cells in Petrie dishes versus cells moving in the bloodstream, performing functions – but perhaps wildly possible and free, ready-to-use, available some other way, he doesn’t know, nor do I, nor do we.

Facets, elements, aspects that he cannot quite assemble and yet they already are by virtue of being broken yet held together in his failing efforts at assemblage.  Welded in the effort – imagined apart in a situation of thought – thereby joined.

– It’s enchanting, someone speaks.

– And depressing, reports another.

But is it useful?

I find it of interest.