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New Vocabulary


When you EMBRACE the ROCK,

you BECOME the rock,

and the rock is NO MORE.


Titiano Vecellio, Sisyphus






Charles Fran├žois Jalabeat, The Plague of Thebes




Simon Renard De Saint-Andre, Vanitas Still-Life




"It is prudent never to trust completely those who have deceived us even once."

ambiguity. There will always be a discrepancy between what I think is and what is, what I hope to be and what may be, what I see and what shows itself, the phenomenal and the noumenal. There is nothing new with these remarks: man is limited--"all too human!"--and so is his knowledge (approximate), faith (a blind leap), perception (erroneous), etc; while the world, when stripped off its familiarity, shall remain slippery, always deferring itself (Derrida), absurd (Camus) or unfathomable: "the world is deep--deeper than day can comprehend!" (Nietzsche).

Yet while it is necessary to firmly fix our eyes upon the ambiguity of the world (to challenge us to know more, to exercise prudence on our judgments, keeping our guard from error), it may also be worth acknowledging that an unambiguous world will be a conquered world--where every atom and every star will have a name, when this loneliness or that god can be detailed and explained, when all my tomorrows are to be marked with indifference and shall bring me possibilities nevermore, nevermore.

The ambiguity of the world: the teeter-totter of knowledge and certainty: you know the world but you shall never be certain. But it is only when we are no longer certain that we begin to live. Be grateful that you do not know.

confession. There is nothing interesting in the consequences of an admission, whether it be an admission of guilt, a sin or a mistake. What is declared or professed is done so that others may hear and know; but that already makes what is confessed banal, commonplace and herd-like: everyone possesses it so now no one can claim it. ("Pag-amin" at hindi na lamang "akin.") It becomes boring.

What is interesting is what happens before the confession and the circumstances that lead one to an admission. Admitting something implies not wanting to admit it first, that you had been trying to harbor or hide something so that no one may know or see because what you are hiding should be yours alone. And whatever I keep to myself--a crush or desire, a murder or a good deed, a death wish or a prayer--I keep to myself because I am protecting myself from the judgment of herd-like people who are still living by the old laws of good and evil.

By myself, what I hide is amoral, being neither good nor evil. The mere fact that I harbor it with precise planning and with consistency means I am able to admit it to myself, and that I do not judge myself as evil for keeping it, and I may actually be enjoying having all to myself--and where's the wrong in that? Only those who subsequently confess to something speak about guilt--but only ex post facto ("I could no longer stand the guilt" or "It was eating me inside already"--like a worm in man's heart.) But the one who does not confess will never be guilty: a secret is no longer a secret because you already know that there is a secret. I have forgotten what guilt means.

And what happens to those who do confess? Confessing confesses because it could no longer stand the tension of the within and the without, the self and others, my soul and God, or when the walls of the dam can no longer hold off the water .To be more practical about it, we confess when we "can no longer keep it in," "when it's already too tiring" or "no longer worth the trouble." In other words when my will to power gradually weakens. Keeping something to yourself, like lying, requires a lot of energy and a very good memory. We just get tired when we confess, that's all. It's never like we admit something because what we metaphysically call the "truth" will come out on its own: as if truth decides when to "bust this joint," as if it plans its own itinerary and makes pretty accommodations. On the contrary, truth comes out when its keeper fails to cover all the bases and becomes careless. It's always the the jail guard and never the jail-breaker.


  1. Confession may be good for the soul but not having anything to confess to is even better!

  2. Anonymous12/01/2009

    The picture of the painting that you posted before Descartes', may I please know why you chose that to illustrate prudence? Only if you do not mind. I found that picture very compelling. :)


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