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Showing posts from November, 2007

Twilight

On the top of mountains, as everywhere for hopeful souls,
it is always morning.
Thoreau




The hour is coming.

I have come to know this twilight. I know it so well and I understand what it means: that it is only a matter of time.

Most of the time I plead--no, beg--that it be so kind as to give me more time, enough time so I can finish what I have to finish, or what comes to the same, to begin what I have to begin. Just a little more time.

But I do not know of it listens or if it has pity and for that matter if it has a heart or if it has ears at all: it always comes at the right time--neither too early nor too late. It is indifferent to my time as it has its own time.

Because, really, what can postponement actually accomplish if it can never cancel it but only prolong it? Better now than later.

But I am not yet ready as I have miles and miles to go before I sleep. No matter, they are all the same: you will again walk that road when you wake up.

Have I not already slept the sleep of the just? No m…

Break Free All You Thinkers in Disguise!

One should not become a university professor at 24.
Nietzsche




Virginia Woolf said that only a writer with independent means could have independent views.

Because independence will necessarily mean freedom. But what is the freedom of the writer or the artist for that matter? The only freedom he can have: the freedom of thinking.

When Friedrich Nietzsche was offered the chair of philology in Basel when he was only 24, he accepted the position but with much sadness. Since he knew that he was not going to be a Lutheran pastor like his father, grandfather and the many of his lineage, the excellent student really did not know where else to go or what else to do than to stay in the university and become a teacher.

And like some who find themselves neither prepared for nor excited with the possibility of leaving the leisure of learning, he soon accepted the post and was even rewarded his doctor of philosophy outright by the strength of his previous works in philology. The possibility of being a pr…

Abandonment

F. W. J. Schelling says:
He who wishes to place himself in the beginning of a truly free philosophy must abandon even God. Here we say: who wishes to maintain it, he will lose it; and who gives it up, he will find it. Only he has come to the ground of himself and has known the whole depth of life who has once abandoned everything and has himself been abandoned by everything. He for whom everything disappeared and who saw himself with the infinite: a great step which Plato compared to death.
Abandonment takes away--but it also gives. And it does not simply give back what was once there--on the contrary. It gives something totally other, something totally new.

Because to get back what was lost will only mean losing it again: it will and has to necessarily slip away again because it never did belong in your hands. To lose something once means to be able to lose it over and over again. This is not a fault of man's part or a lack in man's hands: this is the very law of objects, or whi…

Thinking, Thanking, Remembering

Every morning, after my usual fare of a double-shot coffee, two cigarettes and two newspapers, I stand outside the porch thinking of what to write for either of my two projects. Most of the time, I would just try to remember a thought which I noted the previous day or which came to me before without having the chance to test it yet. But this morning, a rather unusual thing happened: I suddenly did not know what to write and I could not remember anything worth writing--and not only that, there were no signs which confirmed each thought that passed my mind (the air was windless, the butterflies were absent and the sun was hiding).

So I told myself that perhaps I could take the morning off as I should not force it--if there has been one lesson I have learned from both my thesis and life, or which comes to the same, the thesis of my life, it was to not force or will anything as that would merely be myself doing the work and not letting an other speak (another, the God, the world). For I do…

Si Heidegger at Sharon Cuneta: Mga "Bituing Walang Ningning"

Kung sinuman ang may sasabihin balang araw
Tahimik sa maraming bagay.
Kung sinuman ang maglilisik ng kidlat
Sa matagal na panahon—ulap.

Nietzsche (1883)


Sa panahon ng matinding pagsubok at pagkabigo, si Sharon Cuneta ang aking bituing naging gabay sa mga gabing madilim.

Kakatwa, ngunit totoo; iyan marahil ang kapangyarihan ng mga awit at ang hiwaga ng mga mang-aawit: hindi nila kailanman malalaman ang talab o bisa (kung mayroon man o wala, para sa mabuti man o sa masama) ng mga salitang sinambit nang walang katiyakang kung may makaririnig o makaiintindi. Gaya ng makata: umaawit ang mang-aawit para lamang umawit at wala nang iba; kaya naman lagi't laging mag-isa ang mga artista. Gaya ng palaisip.

Bakit si Sharon Cuneta at di man lamang si Gary V. at ang kanyang relihiyosong pamimilit o si Andrew E. at ang kanyang mga bastos na pangungulit? Si Sharon Cuneta dahil siya ang kumanta ng "Bituing Walang Ningning." At lalo …

The Thinker of the Future

for the whiskey priest



You seek what you could no longer
handle: watch your will and
power crumble.


You belittle it?-- for you know
what to do with it:
strangling, skinning, sublating,
submerging, subliming, superseding--
Here comes the superman!
Snake on his heel that has not yet
been bitten, eagle on his shoulder
that has not yet given
way to the weight.
The weight becomes you.
As the snake is the devil
as the eagle is the vulture
you shall be overcome by the anti-Christ.
See the inverted superman on the cross!


Lay aside you hammer
there is no more left to shatter.
No more to remember
the man who embraced a horse
and the man who drew a course
out of the will to will
and into the will-less will.
Here comes the thinker
on a horse without his hammer!


The demons returned your love--
the night comforted you
because daybreak destroyed you.
I teach you the coming of the new sun:
new, always new, forever new!
Feel its warmth: melt, oh! melt in it!
Never has the sun been so brave,
never has the night been so short,
never have…

The Will to Madness

a
'Ah, give me madness, you heavenly powers! Madness, that I may at least believe in myself! Give deliriums and convulsions, sudden lights and darkness, terrify me with frost and fire such as no mortal has ever felt, with deafening din and prowling figures, make me howl and whine and crawl like a beast: so that I may only come to believe in myself! I am consumed by doubt, I have killed the law, the law anguishes me as a corpse does a living man: if I am not more than the law I am the vilest of men. The new spirit which is in me, whence is it if it is not from you? Prove to me that I am yours, madness alone can prove it.'

N I E T Z S C H E30


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Why The Philosopher Limps

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When I was in a deep despair a few years ago over what to say to my class as we were about to discuss the Apology of Socrates, the Teacher led me to this book In Praise of Philosophy by Maurice Merleau-Ponty. And the Teacher told me to develop the idea Merleau-Ponty discusses there which I could use to describe Socrates: the idea that the philosopher limps.

Upon reading it in a frenzy, I became more frustrated and I did not see how the idea or the book for that matter could help; I felt that instead of giving me bullets, I all the more felt defenseless and bad about myself because there I was unable to understand neither Socrates nor Merleau-Ponty. Why does the philosopher limp? and why Socrates?--I asked myself over and over again.

Well, I did get through that reading much in the same way that dogs fight for scraps or a runner wills himself to the finish line by extending his head; in other words, it wasn't a pretty sight. And since students cannot be lied to and can read through …

On Mariannet's Behalf

See the story



How does it happen that a child of 11 hangs herself with a nylon rope at about 3 p.m. on All Souls' Day?

To be sure, there have been many explanations by "experts" as to the definitive reasons that may have led Mariannet Amper of Davao City to take her own young life last Nov. 2.

An unsent letter to the host of the television program Wish Ko Lang, which grants wishes to the hopeful many of the country, contained the wishes of Mariannet's heart: a new pair of shoes and a bag for school, a job for her parents and a new bike. She asked for these gifts in this particular order.

Perhaps she really needed the first two because her old ones were already dilapidated from years of use while she saw her classmates changing shoes and bags regularly. Or then again, perhaps what she truly wanted was that for her parents to have better jobs--a stable job for her father who was irregularly employed as a construction worker, or a more decent living for her mother who earne…

On Being an Epicurean

A Reply to "On Being Rich" by Rica Bolipata Santos


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The notion that an Epicurean is a man who enjoys the finer tastes of life--as one who delights in foiegras and French wines or wagyu steaks and caviar--is not faithful to the man whom that description was supposed to come from. It was after all Epicurus (b. 306 B.C.) who said "Send me a pot of cheese, so that I may have a feast whenever I like."

But it is understandable that history, as it always does, robs one aspect of a philosopher's thought and therewith distorts it and even inverts it. Because Epicurus taught his disciples what was counter-intuitive to level-headed Greek philosophy; he said that the goal of life is to seek pleasure and avoid pain.

"Pleasure," he says, "is the beginning and the goal of a happy life." And to be sure, he did not leave out the basic pleasure of dining as well: "The beginning and root of every good is the pleasure of the stomach." Now we understand w…

How to Become a Stoic

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
"The Serenity Prayer"




Stoics are thought to be apathetic, strong-willed and impenetrable men. When one is called a Stoic nowadays, it is usually not taken to be a compliment but a lack--a lack of emotion and concern, a deathly indifference to things, and, sometimes correctly, being an ascetic monk detached from the world. And since they are said to face death squarely early on and to not fear it at any time, they might as well be considered already dead to the world. Taking Socrates seriously--who they thought was the first Stoic--they adapted his maxim that philosophy was nothing other than learning how to die.

It was no coincidence that Roman soldiers were taught Stoicism and would even bring Epictetus's (the founder of the school) Manual to battle. And Epictetus's most famous student, the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, whose own M…

The Vulnerability of Mighty Samson

For Mrs. McEnroe
who loves listening to music
and wants to cut my beard



To be worthy of what we lose is the supreme aim.
Emily Dickinson





"Samson"
Regina Spektor

You are my sweetest downfall
I loved you first, I loved you first
Beneath the sheets of paper lies my truth
I have to go, I have to go
Your hair was long when we first met

Samson went back to bed
Not much hair left on his head
He ate a slice of wonder bread and went right back to bed
And history books forgot about us and the bible didn't mention us
And the bible didn't mention us, not even once

You are my sweetest downfall
I loved you first, I loved you first
Beneath the stars came fallin' on our heads
But they're just old light, they're just old light
Your hair was long when we first met

Samson came to my bed
Told me that my hair was red
Told me I was beautiful and came into my bed
Oh I cut his hair myself one night
A pair of dull scissors in the yellow light
And he told me that I'd done alright
And kissed me 'til t…