Friday, January 20, 2012

"metaphysics of ideas" part 3: creation of ideas

this is the third part of that essay I began yesterday. It will require a lot more work to integrate and expand itself, but here's the first scent.





            Even the most intimate of couples speak indirectly. An exchange of subtle accusations is the same as flattery: "You don't cuddle me anymore" means "I miss your touch," "Why were you talking to our [pretty] neighbor for so long?" expresses first protective jealousy, but beneath that, affirmation that the husband is worth being jealous over. The chatter of lovers is so personalized, a language invented by them in their mating dances -- the very dance is invented just for them -- that properly speaking, lovers have invented their own world and language. How tedious it all sounds to the patient friend listening in. Constant accusations, demands, calls for justice, insults -- and what it all means is the same thing: love me! Love me now! Tell me you love me! Prove you love me! A marriage is not merely an institution. It is a ritual, a daily ritual of affirmations of love, of scrutinizing each others faces and tones of love for love, faithfulness, servitude -- full ownership of each other: especially in free, easygoing, nonjealous spouses (don't be deceived).

            Repetition is key: only repetition can see a structure, only constant repetition can guess an essence. A man or woman dates the same person over and over, because he didn't stay with one lover enough to figure out the problem. "Why do all my boyfriends yell at me" some poor woman asks. But rather than finding out, she goes through them, choosing the same type of guy each time. Rather than sticking with one guy and figuring him out -- or at least considering the matter as a single woman -- she brought the problem back in different forms.

            It's the same with reading. We can read the same type of book endlessly and never figure it out: or we can stop at one book and reread it until we solve it. The beauty of marriage as a sort of enforced intimacy is that like the city that let's individuals emerge, so does commitment only let true love emerge, not in the heated moments of romance, but true love is a ten year flower: ten year of maintenance and the flower blooms. The individuality of our heart only comes after long, patient intimacy with one person. We only mature as people in the sunlight of private love. Don't tell me of unwed gods and demigods, of priests and other such riffraff. I only respect as my equal the family man: such experiences are irreplaceable by any study or substitution.

            How weak it feels to ask for love, how miserable to be turned down. To ask your lover for kind words, as if kind words exacted in that manner could fulfill, what death in the heart that is. How love-starved the great men and women are, the lonely hearts who worship philosophy or truth alone. They are powerful because they have renounced love. Their muse is their mistress, their art is their children. Good and well: no man or woman could do better. But he could equal them by doing his art within a family. Sustained intimacy is not just a comfort, it is a trial. To stay true to a person when you feel an imbalance in love, to stay devoted, patient, and perfect to one who doesn't seem to care -- this is a discipline which requires great intelligence and self control.

            Yet we are only caught insofar as we don't define our problem. Put it into language, put it into metaphors, and you can touch it, you can think it, you can overcome it.


My pride asks your precious modesty

To spread her veil of delight

To give tongue to his wish

To accept his liquid love

Into the essence of her being


            Where there is accusation, anger, sadness, insult, insinuation, it cannot enter the depth of my love, the inner of my love, that special intimacy, that original form. Where there is irony, mockery, patronizing politeness, it is unwelcome, you are unwelcome, and the doors will shut. That verbal violence when you bring reproaches against me, or me against you, where I have to define myself, have to explain, when you insult or accuse me, or I insult or accuse you, that is not the place of innocence and intimacy.

            How thoroughly we are bound by words and gestures. They make real chains, real mechanisms. An entire edifice of justified blame holds us in place if we deviate in our duty. The words resound around us: a country is humming with justice; the very air is utter dharma. There must be a way to escape it all, to be alone with your self and in touch with your tender innocence. You must learn to walk through a mirror.

            The world of ideas, that mindscape which is a layer over all reality, this contains the greatest  treasure yet existing. Ideas are the greatest technology to exist. Let all the artifacts and technology of the world evaporate. Within a few generations, our ideas would quickly bring us back up to where we were. Though the ideas live, think, and communicate through our artifacts and tools, they also exist in our brains and minds.

            Each nation has no greater treasure than its national literature. No monuments, no gold and jewels, can compare with those perfect works that express the soul and spirit of a nation. To add to a national literature, either as a hero who is reported, or as the poet who does the reporting, is to offer the most patriotic worldgift possible. I think there are no better men than the writers who in their books also script our lives, hopes, and dreams.

            Ideas, mere ideas, mean so much. Taking the final test of the semester, getting married, confessing a crime require little physical work, at least in terms of muscle movement. And yet they can be utterly exhausting. A father may be bushed for a week after his daughter is married. It is not a mere matter of our emotions overwhelming the body. Those emotions are centered on ideas: ideas themselves exhaust the body, move the entire organisms. Mere ideas make life, make all the different. If you were having a bad day and your girlfriend gave you a call and reported that you had won the lottery, you would be filled with enthusiasm, you would sing, dance, and be cheerful for the rest of the day. If, when you got home from work, your girlfriend admitted she made up the story about winning the lottery just to cheer you up, after you refrained from choking her you might reflect that the mere idea of winning the lottery had caused the most extreme physiological reaction on your body. We think with our body. Our ideas are in our blood and muscles as much as in our nerves and brain. Ideas, the thinnest and subtlest part of matter to exist, are more important than any other part of matter. Soldiers ultimately fight to the death over ideas, young men and women heroically dedicate themselves to fighting their whole lives for ideas, for the idea of love, for the idea of justice. Ideas, mere ideas, are the most important things to exist. The only thing more important than an idea is the self which loves them. Perhaps the self itself, the Name at our centermost, is a sort of idea, a self-increasing bonus for the world, which spreads more meaning and beauty constantly into the world. The personality is a substance which filters through all the ideas of the world and selects but what best represents itself. That personality is the image of the self, mixed with choice, education, and genetics. The idea of me, the idea of you, is your eternal being.

            The centermost of each man is an unspeakable name, but that name speaks. It speaks the Tao, the way of our life, and it is the conscious I which is the flame of logos, the logic of light. God, like every being, centers an an unspeakable name. We are each our own Word. That word Emanates making the poem of our soul. That poem writes the rest of our being, bleeding the light of our being into the world or our senses and into the universe at large.

            The create a new idea, the idea of who you are, to be, finally and eternally, yourself, requires a full effort, and not merely a self-reflective effort, but even a forgetting of the self, a full focus on the external project, on humanity, on a group, on technology, on some life passion. "Know thyself" cannot be a final ethic, or at least not in its meditative form. To know what you are capable of by in fact doing it, this is what it means to know yourself. We can't know our limits until we've met them, and even then we can step a little beyond or limits and ontologically change our being.

            Not only our life, but our ideas may survive our death. We may create ideas that live forever. Art, technology, science, crafts, buildings, and the ideas of them all, live on in the very air, and in the talk of people, in their minds and histories. The metaphysical world of ideas is never finished. It is always infant, always growing, always willing to receive the sincere mind and passionate art who worships here by adding to her glory.



Life becomes first beautiful then eternal


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