“The sky would have to be inside me for my words to have the brilliance of stars”
– Edmond Jabes, “A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Book”
“Dasein means: being held out into the nothing”
– Peter Sloterdijk, “The Art of Philosophy”
“Even when nothing / replaced the gifts, it was a kind of seeing”
– Jack Gilbert, “Collected Poems”
I was driving in the dust of this planet while wondering how I knew the sky was not inside me.
After all, there are theories.
But my words do not have “the brilliance of stars.”
Hugo Mercier & Dan Sperber concocted The Enigma of Reason… and I want to say …of Reasons.
For after all.
After all (i.e. “in the beginning”), where we set out from seems to be an enigma of reasons. The proffering of theories (the art? of fabricating reasons?). The urgency to describe or define, explicate or explain, ‘make sense’ of things like her glance, or my illness; the weather, or wear (time), something felt or imagined, desired. Each engendering theories.
We call that engendering the imagination. Using language and sensing, others and other, an-experience-in-the-world to … give reasons. And why?
There are theories.
Haven’t we begun everywhere? With urges and instincts, desire and relation, observation and interpretation, and so on… and yet it’s only ever ‘mine’ or ‘ours,’ – a giving of reasons and investigation that is human – no, not quite. Not even that.
We incorporate ‘earth’ in it. And many things nobody owns or created. Language and sense, and earthy-othery tools: microscopes, telescopes, instruments, numerals, metals and plastics and paper. Electricities. Motion.
Anything to wrap ourselves in and around… and give reasons.
That experiencing: when one aches for a knot or a kernel, a key or a gem.
Mine might be the Texts for Nothing. A nothing I never can reach (and I knew it). Don’t we all begin once we discover we can’t? After it’s all already begun? In the midst of?
Mystic-scientists propose an only-what. Eschew reasons. The lock of the rational derive. Sense or no, this is what we observe in conditions. Phenomenology. The human (“observer”) limited experiencing. Only that. Being-there.
But the tekne collaborates and alters. There never is only.
Reportage. Disinterested. Impersonal. Facts and accuracies.
I pursue nothing because I know I can’t find it. Will not find it until I am not.
So I err at desire.
Like a theory.
A digression. Transgression. Omission-emission.
A longing for order? For sense transcribed into reason? For nothing to give rise to all and these everythings to foment continuing?
But we know don’t we? Deeper down, without bottom? Don’t we know we’re a tiniest book? Carried in the arm of a world-without-end? Of further reaches?
No, we don’t.
We don’t know. We make ‘knowing’ or ‘knowledge’ – a description – a typification (a logic, a rationality, i.e. a reason, a theory). Floating in infinite perhaps.
They say we share common elements we’ve devised observationally. So the sky might be inside of me. But words aren’t stars, are they? Theories. Experience. Ours.
We’ve come to experience not-knowing as a kind of ‘humility’, ‘valor’, and ‘honesty.’ But why? We don’t know. If that’s so, we can’t know we don’t know. And life is a loop of inquiry, perception… that leads to the giving of reasons and the making of sense. Beginning ourselves from began.
Things ‘ring true,’ resonate, and we follow… on… seeking reasons, making sense (where there is none?).
Posit ‘God.’ Posit ‘Method.’ And we’re caught in the crevice of crafting for reasons.
“Even when nothing / replaced the gifts, it was a kind of seeing.”