“Suicidal nihilism is the idea that because there is no meaning to one’s suffering (mostly this refers to existential suffering), and hence no reason or purpose for a central aspect of any life, death is just as welcome. As such we live as scavengers seeking an olive branch to restore any sense of purposeful living. We are not suicidal as such, only deeply disturbed by the overwhelming sense of absence. And since this is a most uncomfortable state, which seemingly promises only decline, most evade its transformative potential, overcoming it “by either removing its cause or else by changing the effect it has on our feelings, that is, by reinterpreting the misfortune as good, whose benefit may only later come clear”(Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human, p. 108)” Christianity, Buddhism (Nietzsche speaks of both) and most others who concoct narratives to outrun, outstretch, the haunting gaze of the void. You know the type: everything happens for a (implying something divine or beyond human agency) reason, and everything happens when it is meant to! Of those who are seekers of evasive hedonistic delights, either in the form of distractions, idle mechanistic toils of the everyday, or petty pleasures, Nietzsche has this to say: If you, who adhere to this religion, have the same attitude toward yourselves that you have toward your fellow men; if you refuse to let your own suffering lie upon you for an hour and if you constantly try to prevent and forestall all possible stress way ahead of time; if you experience suffering and displeasure as evil, hateful, worthy of annihilation, and as a defect of existence, then it is clear that besides your religion of pity you also harbor another religion in your heart that is perhaps the mother of the religion of pity: the religion of comfortableness. How little you know of human happiness, you comfortable and benevolent people, for happiness and unhappiness are sisters and even twins that either grow up together or, as in your case, remain small together.” (The Gay Science, 338)” (Stoic Agitator: On Why I am Not a Stoic, Chapter One: Going Under, Rowman and Littlefield, Lexington Series, Elly Pirocacos)
There are those who practice gaslighting as a constant comfort for they cannot bear, not for a single moment, the devil they see staring back at them when they take up the image of themselves purportedly goodly. The diabolical cunning required to evade responsibility retreats not, it inevitably must acquire some appease, and now without your audience, this must be found publicly in pseudo anonymity. If once your existence was cellularly my own, now you sit bloodstained and lonesome. The trail of your indiscretions runs so long and so vividly before you, that even a psyche of Herculean strength would cave. The diagnosis: Snake charmer Inversion. Complications: blind and shackled.
Perhaps the air of the heights has left you breathless. “A man must,” afterall, be built for the striving after the truth, “otherwise there is a real chance that one will catch a chill. The ice is near, the solitude is terrible—but how peacefully all things lie in the light. How freely one breathes! How much one feels beneath one!,” as Nietzsche reminds us. Enecstasis, ha!
No one could love you better than a mirror can, no
I’ll make it easier for you to understand, oh yeah
I think you’re falling for you
Someone should tell you the truth
You see perfection in your reflection
And trouble’s coming for you
Post-revolutionary times tend to inertial states of being. Young women inheritors of the feminist terrain, in a naive arrogance, often opt for non-antagonist paradigms which find her congenial to more subtle patriarchal forms of family and the erotic. As inheritors of this terrain she’s undisturbed, and ineffectual in her comportment, seeing the enemy in her fore-sisters to whom they owe their arrogance a debt!
Declarations of love. The louder the better! The more declarative it is, the deeper it goes! The more that know, the truer it is! And yet love is a private affair. It is intimate, inwardly experienced. Is one’s love more secure for its public announcement? Am I more committed? More assured? Authentic? There? Love needs not voyeurs for its assurance. It needs not acknowledgement. It speaks in the subtleties of the everyday. Suddenly your profile has not one, but two. Suddenly, as if without cause, without reason or provocation, you occupy not a space of your own comportment, but half, half a life, half a person. Now owing your sense of self and your moral grounding to the other. Bridge and secure your path to safety but this, this is not love but only the shadow of the idea of love. Be quiet in love, and she may very well find you, inhabit you. Start with self and inhabit the world.
I can’t remember my life before you.
Your empathic disposition, an irregularity, that age cemented shut. Be it the lingering patriarchal standard that continues to cripple emotional development, be it repression, be it fear; it is, a loss…yours and ours. Still, when the curtain falls and defences slip, your boyish sensitivities make an appearance like a child peeking out from behind his hiding.
Intellectually charged, we now grapple over issues of feminism, justice, honesty and the range of its moralized comportment before questions of egoism which perplex and challenge you as I think secretly you wished it were otherwise. How great it would be to believe in inherent goodness, my son! I do, as I see it in you every day.
Happy birthday, my son!
I’m often confounded by the beauty my daughter exudes. It’s her spirit, she’s a lioness…not yet tamed. Yet where the phronetic lags, her heart steps up. She’s complex…still. Often a challenge to be around! She’s never really taken to the trodden path and youth never visibly benefits where angstied behaviour overwhelms. Unsettled, she looks for respite from the unrest that inevitably drags her down in the mud. Her path has found her now at a distance as she treads the waters of romantic engagement. In love her tiny childlike presence surfaces. The adorable expression of vulnerability in love fights her adult amour to keep it under wraps, and I’m grateful.
I love this girl! My baby, my Kalianna, my little giant!
It is no more elitist to seek a similar educational and professional background than it is racist to seek a similar culture. Communication rests in being able to relate, to speak the same language, as it were, to inhabit a common horizon of meaning. It is to occupy the stage of life as co-protagonists, writing and rewriting scripts that authenticate and evolve. This is not a preamble to intolerance and close-mindedness. It is a reminder that certain paradigms of meaning are more rigid, more ossified than others. It is a reminder that some are stuck in the trenches of their epistemic pattern of negotiation. It is a reminder that one can surely find oneself mud-faced digging through the impossible terrain to find common ground. Don’t. Instead find someone you can connect with intellectually, existentially, emotionally, viscerally, and alithetically. And since this is near impossible, find someone that does not make you feel compromised.
We all need to remember that we are all – all of us – works in progress, and that there is no absolute authority on the constitution of the truth. It is no one’s prized ownership. The truth vacillates not – tis not a moving target. The truth is the forward (or backward) march into the activities of lived life, and hence are constituted by us. Arrogance, polarized venues for truth telling, have no room in a discourse that calls out for endorsement, for (mutual) recognition in the interplay of authorial engagement. If we are to move forward and bring down the shackles of our own design – mostly from my generation and the present adult one – we (you …as the younger generation) need to be mindful of this! And though the words of Foucault speak loudly, they are not to be adopted as testimony to rebellion without vision! He says: “The lyricism of marginality may find inspiration in the image of the “outlaw,” the great social nomad, who prowls on the confines of a docile, frightened order.”
Transparency. Truth. Honesty. Trust. The constituents of alithetic living. Four ingredients also constitute the barley drink of which Heraclitus spoke – The barley-drink too comes apart if not stirred (B125), says he, speaking to the primordial. Barley. Grated cheese. Wine. Honey. None “naturally” combines; cheese no more dissolves into wine, than does barley blend to make for a thick drink. The drink is no drink at all unless upon each anticipated swallow it is first stirred.
Saying good byes to a group of seekers of the truth and value is intertwined with both inspiration and hope, as well as loss. For my students.
Michel Foucault has said: “I’m no prophet. My job is making windows where there were once walls”. This resonates with me on so many levels, but in a most obvious way, it is reflected in my aspirations as a teacher. Walls speak to those cemented frameworks of interpretation of the world – our beliefs, values, interests, modus operandi – that stand erect as if given, objective, sturdy, primordial. Once deconstructed, dethroned, handled with caring, yet reasonable suspicion, what was once a blockade can make way for a window of transparency wherefrom perspective moves beyond the walls of our incarcerating chambers. It is an adventure that can’t be journeyed alone, in isolation; and is best realized amongst young, striving minds. And for this I am always grateful to my students. Honestly, I will miss you all. It has been an enjoyable semester …for me at least. And though virtual teaching has its own secret niches and dangers, I can sadly only truly, viscerally, speak to those of you who allowed me to get to know you via your participation, and appearance on my screen. Via the negotiation of class material we have also had the opportunity to think about the learning process and its institutionalization (discussion of structures that organize communities, organizations business environments). We’ve also all be awakened (I hope!!) to the dialectical – give-and-take – structures of teaching, and with it, your role in designing a platform molded from our joint participation. And with that I hope to stir your more hedonic inclinations and the travesty of convenience that often accompanies these, and (re)consider actively joining your virtual classes come next semester!