Sunday, April 17, 2011
Part VII: Philosophy
Pierre Hadot said that philosophy’s tonality is tragic; that the philosopher is a bizarre being tortured and torn by a desire to attain wisdom which escapes him but which he loves. A field of study defined by what it lacks, where you have not found but rather continue to seek. What are the preparatory activities on the path to wisdom? Shakespeare, Dante, Cervantes, Nietzsche, Proust? Why must wisdom be bound by reason? Why not in wonderment? Curiosity? The spirit of inquiry...
Any knowledge we seek seems more a reflection of emptiness craving fulfillment. How would we define the ultimate fulfillment of love? A distraction to combat long lonely hours between drama and bliss? An over-importance of self seeking respect and warm approval as a pleasurable experience of personhood? The energetic exchange between two complimentary energie strands?
What is this obsession we describe ironically, comically, spiritually? Are we nothing other than mythmaker’s legislating our own existence. Painted on a canvas of immortality, is it not a paradox for us to create boundlessness from constraint? Why quarrel with ourselves and others? Any preference hardly seems relevant or worth the effort. We are eternally present in the moment, we see our self from within our self. It’s all we know. It’s all I know.
Still, the pursuit of wisdom has been the delight of my life. Reading awakened verses awoke the embodiment of perfection within my own mind. Truth, beauty, friendship, patriotism, devotion, all unveiled to their depths as if they were more than mere mortal creations. My mind exploded with a sympathetic admiration for moral vesture. But is morality a disguise necessary to temper temptation? I hope not.
There’s a certain harmony in language, a resonance that’s essential to its convention. As if every word had its own spirit. The truth and splendor of its imagery, a dramatic measurement when brought together with the melody of language invents a new pattern of rhythm with the utmost softness found within its pauses.
I am rethinking my study of philosophy. Its study is death. I want to study life. The experience of Being. Delight. Comedy. Laughter. Admiration. Loyalty. Love.
I feel like an audience of one watching humanity, questioning its greatest roles and characters, fools and victims, heros and villains. Poetic arguments that lie beyond time. So that, they’re against time. Whereas, I am bound by it. Why seek that which cannot be sought? What relevance can we find?
Life can be like a pervasive irony, a private joke demeaning us. A great stage of fools, we are.
Is it foolish to imagine immortality? Do we not live on forever in our own minds? Where exactly is infinity? Within ourselves? How can we conceive of something that is outside us? Are Homer’s Zeus and Yahweh’s God nothing more than storytelling conveniences? A third-person perspective from a first-person viewpoint? Like the gods of wind and rain, we construct immortal beings from a mortal frame of reference. Given our mortality, why is our imagination not bound by it?
What if? What if there is something beyond that moment of deathly havoc? My question begs mortality to conceive of immortality in a place where death competes for our consciousness; delivering us to a prophetic war of divided sensibility. And for what? A profound sense of accomplishment for the ego? The ability to decipher the undecipherable? An endless quest, struggling to overcome that which cannot be reached.
The difference, you ask? Perhaps in the choice not to seek. Wrestling ourselves away from the strife of humankind, victory can be sought in imagination, with ordinary reality a symbol of peace. Where purpose is rhetorical and acceptance, while hardly a glorifier, still fills you from within.
No distortions. Just quiet, unique instances that don’t struggle to overcome the nameless ones.