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Showing posts from January, 2010
There are days when the It comes
To visit you in your tender hours,
Reminding you that your work is vain,
Your silence empty . . .

When neither your highest gods
Nor your loyal companions can save you
From yourself.


A sudden problem for a man who just realized he has to assert himself against time

Dear Reader,

Help me on this one:

Does the heart ever grow old?

Can one still feel all those powerful and pleasurable emotions experienced in a first love even if it is the second, third, fourth, and so onth time? Or more problematically: Can I really say that what I feel in a new love is new? Or are they just the same feelings that only differ in intensities (some greater, some less), partly because they are invoked by different lovers, but ultimately the same because love, if true, cannot contradict itself and would thus always be the same.

Or to put it figuratively: Is love like a book or a movie that you do not mind reading or seeing again even if it will surely be less exciting because you know you will be able to understand it more?

Bottom line: Does love bless young romantics or older, wiser lovers?

Any thoughts, dear friends?



Requiem for Red Poinsettias

The Angel of Death is Blind

The Royal Arcade, Sydney




"Post-Dramatic Stress"

A time will soon come when the tragic actors will think that their masks
and buskins and the long robes are . . . themselves.
Epictetus


There were times in the past that when I prepare and deliver lectures on certain topics and philosophers, I find myself so absorbed in the details and too caught up in the drama that the philosophy and the work would seep into my everyday life, preoccupy my mind, and even affect my body well beyond after the bell rings in class. It usually happens when I teach a philosopher I am fond of or admire. And these philosophers are no optimists, darlings or bedtime reads; most are atheists, existentialists and some are insane; and they offer less consolation and joy than perplexity and shudder of thought. It happens sometimes that I already memorize the lines (I'm fond of recalling lines). These lines would come back to visit me even when I do not invite them to: they can keep on marching to a dull yet steady beat or hold a recital inside my head--not only b…

Unwritten Books

I was browsing through the well-stocked shelves of a bookstore in Sydney a few days ago when my heart stopped as I was about to go through one of the most frustrating experiences one can have. I saw a certain book, pulled it out in a heartbeat, briskly read the back cover and there in my hands was the book I wanted to write. It was a book on waiting, or to be painfully precise about it, it was Harold Schweizer's On Waiting, published in 2008 as part of the Routledge Thinking in Action Series.



I had reflected a lot about waiting for the past few years, beginning 2004 after reading Heidegger's works on Gelassenheit. And I not only read it but also went through the beauty and the trembling of waiting in the years that followed. Looking back, my first real essay here in this clearing was The Weight of Waiting. In truth, this clearing room was opened up in 2006 so that I can "do something" while I waited. A lot of the other essays are also marked with the question of waiti…