December 18th, 1999

My first born, my son, is 19 years old today! He was born with a happy disposition. Truly; he never complained. Never seemed hungry, ill or wanting for anything. Indeed, to this day, he is not desirous of things. Rarely will you hear him ask for anything at all. So when he does, I stand to attention!!! Always compassionate; I’d witness this first when he’d wrap is little arms around my legs looking up at me with tears rolling down his face whenever he’d find his mother had been ill treated! I’d also seen this when systematically he aligned himself with the “weaker,” the “bullied,” the underdog.

As a young man, he is conscientiously caring, loyal and considerate, albeit more aloof, and undivided in the more hedonic preoccupations typical of his age. Adventurous and still seeking to dive into that which will give him a sense of purpose, that will move him with a compulsion that he desperately awaits. Still, emotionally he stays close to home…no one seems to occupy that space that his most immediate family does. Indeed, it baffles him that I should imagine that this could ever be otherwise.

Happy birthday, Θωμά μου! I love you more than you could possibly imagine! ❤ ❤

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Still My Little Girl…

16 years old today! She was in a hurry to get here, headstrong since birth and quite resilient. Funny she doesn’t seem to know this now. She’s attune to her fragility and often overtaken by a sense of vulnerability. Like most girls her age she’s wrestling with her sense of identity. Kierkegaard understood how women move into womanhood in a manner quite unlike boys.

“A young girl does not develop in the sense that a boy does; she does not grow, she is born. …a girl takes a long time to be born and is born fully grown up. In this lies her infinite richness; the moment she is born, she is full-grown, but this moment of birth comes late. …she does not awaken gradually, but all at once; on the other hand, she dreams that much longer, that is, if people are not so unreasonable to awaken her too soon. But this dreaming is an infinite richness.”

As a mother of a daughter, my daughter, it is a wonder to behold…the birthing into womanhood. My daughter has this elegance, this grace, this adventurous spirit, of infinite magnitude that when she walks into a room you cannot help but turn your head to see her. She doesn’t know this yet, making it all the more charming to witness. She’s preoccupied for now with the more clinical annunciation of that which I perceive. She is, as girls her age, brought to contend with standards – patriarchal for the most part – of beauty ….a body just so, eyes ..nose…lips…just so…. And so lost are these girls until they hunker down and allow this birthing to take full possession of them. Where, as a flower in bloom…red, white, purple…lilac, rose, or sunflower, the fragrance, the radiance is, when left undisturbed, formidable. Lord…lord…please just let her be…let her beauty come forth undisturbed!

That girl of mine is walking the walk of her talk. Self-possessed when she does so. Confident, assertive, and yet timorous at times also. She’s not so much a contradiction as she is young. As a mother I toil over her suffering but know that she has already acquired such depth, such fortitude, and a beauty I’ve never seen before, that leaves me feeling so God damn proud!

Happy birthday Kalianna mou. I love you more than you can possibly fathom! ❤ ❤

 

 

Check The Back Seat

We’re all after the truth. It’s programmatic to any inquiry. But it can often take a back seat to alter-narratives. Self-preservation is a basic instinct; inciting action often through a paralysis of comportment. This has become intrusively put to me as circumstance challenges my default mode…ad infinitum….

All is Truth.

 

O ME, man of slack faith so long!
Standing aloof—denying portions so long;
Only aware to-day of compact, all-diffused truth;
Discovering to-day there is no lie, or form of lie, and
can be none, but grows as inevitably upon itself
as the truth does upon itself,
Or as any law of the earth, or any natural production
of the earth does.
(This is curious, and may not be realized immediately
—But it must be realized;
I feel in myself that I represent falsehoods equally with
the rest,
And that the universe does.)
Where has fail’d a perfect return, indifferent of lies or
the truth?
Is it upon the ground, or in water or fire? or in the
spirit of man? or in the meat and blood?
Meditating among liars, and retreating sternly into
myself, I see that there are really no liars or lies
after all,
And that nothing fails its perfect return—And that
what are called lies are perfect returns,
And that each thing exactly represents itself, and what
has preceded it,
And that the truth includes all, and is compact, just as
much as space is compact,
And that there is no flaw or vacuum in the amount of
the truth—but that all is truth without excep-
tion;
And henceforth I will go celebrate anything I see or
am,
And sing and laugh, and deny nothing.
– Walt Whitman

Bye Mummy

It’s funny how language conjures emotions quite unexpectedly. I say “mummy,” and my eyes swell with tears, and yet “mom,” “mother,” sit in chambers of detachment, leaving me quite prepared to deal with loss.

August, 13, 2018 10:45 am mom passed. She had been ill for quite some time, and I’d hoped for her suffering to end sooner rather than later. Ratiocinated comportment never prepares you for loss, however. One simply learns to live with it.

 

 

 

Mom had her demons, and not always the easiest life. She did, however, teach my brother and I compassion, especially for the “underdog.” She was an exceptionally beautiful woman – turquoise eyes, deep black hair, and a figure to die for (she was often confused for Elizabeth Taylor, in fact). Strangely, she never owned it. Like most things mom had an air of confidence somehow intermingled with a palpable sense of self-doubt. She was the greatest mom for a teen, for though she had a rather parochial and conservative upbringing, she pushed the envelope and was …well, counter-cultural!!!! She was especially sensitive to the plight of women and the first to introduce me to Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex. My mom, as most women in Greece of her generation, didn’t finish high school, so I was especially proud when she returned to university to complete her Bachelor’s in Music at Concordia Univeristy and her MA in teaching at McGill University. Later we’d relocate to Greece where she opened her own Music School and later acquired her certification in Music Therapy. She volunteered for decades at the Dafni Psychiatric ward in Athens and worked with addicts, and Down’s children whose lives were significantly altered. I’d, in fact, witnessed the results of a number of so-called “lost cases” she treated privately over many years, and again, I was left in a state of awe. She had an uncanny way of being able to enter the psychic world of intra-personal anguish and translate that musically. It was remarkable to witness.

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My best memories are of mom with a guitar in her hands, and me sitting on the floor in front of her, listening and singing along. She’d teach me to sing the second voice to a song, and we’d practice, joyously, hours at a time. Often the convo turned cerebral and mom would play a classical piece, or one of her own, and she’d ask me to affix a narrative that matched the mood. We’d analyze the meaning and consider the human condition through music. It was a wonderful introspective exercise that brought us close.

Bogus Stoicism

The proliferation of ideas since the invention of the printer has aided the task of informing and moving people to action, but we are only now beginning to see the infectious dangers of bogus and hateful distortions of current affairs, philosophical ideas and the history of human understanding that the world-wide-web has brought.

There are thousands of websites on or related to Stoicism today, but not all are created equal. One in particular was brought to my attention by Pharos, Stoicschool.org (see Stoic School), which deploys Stoicism to insidiously moralize some of the most questionable views related to White Supremacy. My issue, Pharos’s issue, is not (at least not today) with White Supremacy per se, but with the exploitation, and distorted application of Stoic philosophy to support their agenda.

But you make up your own minds.

Here’s a link to Pharos’ post Stoic Philosophy Masking Hate

Before i go

I’m missing you before i go. There’s nothing quite as profound as the experience of loss in moments of completeness. i know you like to say that “everything happens for a reason,” and are disturbed when i bring an entourage of philosophical claims to dismantle your hopes, but know this: i often feel that everything that has happened in my life was so that I’d find you! Enduring life without you only makes sense when i remind myself that real love is not lived out in the everyday, trite and mundane. The Dionysian before the Apollonian – as my Dionysis reminds me! For all possible worlds…

 

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of being and ideal grace.

I love thee to the level of every day’s

Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

I love thee freely, as men strive for right.

I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.

I love thee with the passion put to use

In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,

Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,

I shall but love thee better after death.

(Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

Resonance

I’d posted this on LinkedIn:

Is it not outrageous that we baffle over the transparent and innocuously purport to narrate the opaque? 

To which I received the reply:

Elly, this is rather opaque.😌

And I thought; Perfect! It’s perfect because the surface reading of my post is accusatory in tone; specifically, exhortative with regards to those who are obscurantists, and yet, it is a species of it’s kind; i.e. it is itself opaque. The meaning of the fist part of the phrase then alters in meaning such that, in fact, no assertion is transparent; everything is subsequently a matter of interpretation. Accepting this, the original accusatory tone withers to make room to a host of multiple meanings negotiated for dialogical partners.

The larger picture tells the story of how “there are no facts, everything is interpretation,” leaving the transparent conspicuously opaque. What is it about linear, economized language, that suggests transparency; a single, objective rendering of truth? There is danger in this presumptive paradigm for unlike poetic verse that leaves unconcealed its opacity, begrudging those of simpler, more literal tastes, the scientific, fact-imploring, modality conceals its metaphysical landscape from view, as if unapologetic-like, truth is its proprietary alone. Is this exposition itself also evaluative, leaving therefore a resurgent relativism to contend with? There is a way in which ‘everything is relative,’ but that is only uninterestingly so; i.e with a spatial-temporal stamp. Everything that is anything is something because we make it so. What we see is not a mechanical representation of the world as is. This has been obvious to philosophers since Thales; I might even say it was obvious to my children by the time they were ready to talk; i.e. they were quite equipped to address the discrepancy between appearance and reality, believing and knowing. Still how we entertain this seemingly obvious set of binaries is where all the conversation is being had.

Philosophers are pretty much in agreement that the world out there as is, is beyond human understanding. I’ve gone over this debate in other posts, so I’ll resist repeating myself. Instead, I’d like to address the style of calibration defined by the word. I like the way Danto puts it in his analysis of Nietzsche – From Reading Nietzsche.

The psychology of the metaphorical address is, since metaphor is a rhetorician’s device, that the audience will itself supply the connection withheld by the metaphor, so that the rhetorician opens a kind of gap with the intention that the logical energies of his audience will arc it, with the consequence of having participated in the progression of argument, that audience convinces itself. There is another but comparable psychology of the aphorism, namely that once heard it is unlikely to pass from recollection, so its pointed terseness is a means of ensouling the messages it carries, and to counteract the predictable deteriorations of memory. So it is a natural instrument of the moralist.

 

 

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