Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

When speaking of true love, two ideas generally spring to mind: first, that the love is genuine, that when the lovers say “I love you” it corresponds with how they feel and second, that they are soulmates and have found who they truly belong with.

There is, however, another way of understanding true love. That is to take it is as love based on trust. This trust is of two types.

First, one must trust one’s beloved. This means one needn’t know everything they do, one needn’t be involved in every aspect of their life. As Proust shows in Remembrance of Things Past, the attempt to know everything about one’s beloved leads to jealousy and futility. Though a lover is often said to love the entire person, no one can know another person entirely. Instead, one can only know a limited part and trust them.

Second, one must trust that one’s own self will not drive off one’s beloved. We all have aspects of ourselves we are ashamed of, that we do not love. Were our beloved to see those aspects, we worry they would no longer love us. Perhaps so. Yet we must trust they will continue to love us for otherwise our relationship will be contaminated by obfuscation. This does not mean that we must show our beloved the worst aspects of ourselves or tell them all the awful things we have done, but that we must not deny or hide them.

Without either type of trust, it is hard for me to see how a loving relationship will last.


Read Full Post »

Over the next few months and years I expect I’ll be reading a lot about Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement. Two books I’ve read recently are Ira Katznelson’s When Affirmative Action was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth Century America and Ira Berlin’s The Long Emancipation: The Demise of Slavery in the United States.
One of the themes of the first book is how so much of progressive policies I love–Social Security, strong unions–were only possible by catering to white (male) supremacy. I had hoped that we had reached a place and time where that was no longer necessary. Instead, one could create policies that would be central to one’s campaign that directly addressed the needs of other groups.
I thought Clinton’s campaign largely did that, though no doubt imperfectly. She started her campaign with a speech against police brutality, she wanted to repeal the Hyde Amendment, and so much more. Even small things, like her letter to the Toast, indicated a shift. It was wonderful seeing so many female friends happy about being catered to.
She nearly won. But “nearly” means she didn’t and now we’re faced with years of a Republican controlled government. My fear is that Democrats will turn away from that and instead, ironically, turn to her husband’s successful campaign (or for that matter Sanders’ unsuccessful one). Perhaps they should. Perhaps America isn’t ready for white (male) concerns to no longer be the center of politics and must hear as little about the needs of other groups as possible. After all, Trump may not have won the popular vote but he won promising to Make America Great Again, which means make whites supreme again (as if they no longer are).
But that’s not the America I want to live in, not the sort of campaign I can get enthusiastically behind.
The second book is more hopeful. It stresses that emancipation did not happen simply due to the Civil War or the actions Lincoln. It was a long process. One spanning a hundred or more years, involving countless people, but especially black slaves. At times, things got worse, but the movement was never stopped.

The hope I derive from the book, however, is not the hope that things will get better. They may not and even if they do they won’t undo the pain and suffering Trump’s victory has already caused. The hope springs from a sense that one’s efforts, small as they might be, barren as they might seem, are nonetheless necessary, especially if we are to see any change.

And that’s something I must believe in right now.

Read Full Post »

I rarely drink beer, so being drunk is an unusual experience to me.  But whenever I do drink (like now) one of the surprising things is how it produces a sort of double-consciousness. One hand, I act drunk-my motor skills are a little off, I can no longer remember things (e.g. the Tarkovsky movie that involves the lighter [actually did remember,  just took me longer than it should have]). Yet I am also aware that my motor skills are off and that I should know something. Therefore I feel that I am two selves–one that is almost a clarified version of myself, pure intellect, and another that is affected by alcohol. Part of the reason I feel that I am pure intellect is because I no longer can take short cuts. Each action, each thought, must now be deliberate in order to be accurate. This was most experienced as I descended the stairs. In order to avoid tripping, I needed to pay specific attention to where I placed my feet. Similarly when arguing about Proclus and aesthetics (n.b. the “and” is disjunctive–those were two separate arguments). But here I might even argue that my reasons were particularly exact because I had to pay attention to how I was thinking. Whitehead in his An Introduction to Mathematics observes that one of the values of advancement in mathematics, say analytic geometry, is that one no longer has to think. Thinking is time-consuming, and if one thought every little thing one had to do, little would be done (a common example of this is playing a sport–a tennis player simply hits the ball, she does not think about hitting it). But when one is drunk, one needs to examine those steps individually. Otherwise, one is liable to slip up. Since philosophy requires thought and close attention, alcohol  may indeed promote philosophy (see the Symposium).

Yet that is far from the complete picture. One thing I observed about myself and others, is that while we may express our own ideas best (proving, perhaps, in vino veritas), we can pay attention to the ideas of others. There is a certain solipsism that comes with being drunk. One may listen to what the other person says, but one rarely changes one’s views because of it. Instead, I say what my thoughts on a matter not dissimilar is. Perhaps this is how we normally interact, just when drunk it is more blatant. I suspect not. But for some reason when drunk, while our innermost thoughts are revealed, we are unable to accommodate the thoughts of others. We must incorporate them into what we want to say. One reason I think this is not just a personal failing, is because drunks do become unusually insistent. I am unsure how the division between self and drunken self leads to this solipsism. Perhaps it does not, but I would be surprised.

Any case, while the Scythians made a decision first while drunk and then while sober, I am posting this immediately. Hopefully grammatical errors are the only I will find when I am sober.  Certainly, that is what I predict. We shall see.

Read Full Post »