Friday, July 29, 2011

"columbus" a section of an essay

This sections ends the part of my essay about Pragmatism, the third of my internal virtues, or strategies for the game. This section explores the limits of pragmatism. Pragmatism is about getting the daily stuff to work. But what about doing something new? What about exploring new territory? Is this something we can be pragmatic about, or must we be adventurous and foolish? The next section is about Order.





6. Columbus


            To master a system, consider how you already explore any new territory. Perhaps you are in a new dorm room or library. Knowing where things are, where you can go, what you can do, requires boldly going where you have never gone before, perhaps going where you should not go. How would you know what constitutes enough unless you did too much?

            We master our system by knowing the essential elements, quantifying them, and seeing their relationship to the rest, knowing how they all fit together.

            Listen to a new CD. Its peculiar, isn’t it? How does it all fit together? You listen to it five times, and slowly; like the receding of a flood, little bits of lyrics poke up like the tops of hills and trees. Slowly you start to like this part or that part. You get a bit of melody in your head. You can start to see how it all fits together. Perhaps after a couple dozen listens, you can understand and comprehend it.

            It is as if we internalize forms in different resolutions, first in bare outline and finally in fine detail. Find a book worthy of being called a “scripture,” something that sings eternally to your heart, and study it again and again for the rest of your life. The accountant versus the philosopher. We can play a details game or a generalized game, an eye upon the planets or an eye upon the daffodils. I see life all at once, walk in the clouds. As for this detail or that, I just sniff and sneeze and do what I please. The chores of the day bore me, unless I find a way to use them.

            Language normalizes, makes all things predictable, with nothing unexpected, no surprise to comprise us. Life aims first to master language, and second the world by it. Affix words to things, categorize carefully, map it all out. Compare your friends, quietly in your mind; read books in pairs. I am more apparently Daniel when stacked against this other fellow. For the ability to delineate a thing is the aim of philosophy, the ability to set it in a toy system, this is the skill we seek. An action is thinkable only after it has been accidentally done. Experiment. Put yourself in the center of action. Suffer unnecessarily. You will have built the models of reality with which to simplify it and orchestrate it back out again. Having done a thing, we can say it, we know how much energy it requires, we know how to situate it.









No comments: