Table of Contents
At first this was an academic study. I wrote about silences and nights. I expressed the inexpressible. I defined vertigoes.
The study of philosophy should also be the study of the pleasure of love. In these writings the object of philosophy's gaze is the soul-snatching appearance of transcendence in the form of a boy. This is Platonism. Eros is Pteros. The classical world is once again at hand in these writings that are a completion of twentieth century ontological realism. That is to say, they are a violation of almost every principle from which that philosophy hoped to proceed. Nonetheless, the historical truth of realism is here, as it must be; nothing has been lost; the hope itself is not without force. Universals, logical connectors, bare particulars, the tying nexus, ephemeral fact, all give way again to the Eternal Forms and the Logos and the Madness. The Cupbearer intoxicates with his beauty and Beauty itself is revealed. Nothing has changed. The dialectic will always turn your glance onto another way. The mind analyzes itself vividly.
Philosophers handling God must handle perfection, the final orgasmic point of the coming together of all the pieces in the ontological juggernaut and the strewn images. It's too much for the eternal foreplay of the scientifically minded. Anyway, this kind of sex in the classroom, teachers and students in quiet orgies, is downright illegal.
It is well known and commonly said that philosophy is a great screw-up. So be it. Come with me. Let us make it a carnival, a sacrificial slaughtering, an ecstatic bewilderment such as you would certainly feel if that boy invited you, alone, to his room. The morning may never come. The night should be sweet.
It's your choice – philosophy can be either a frightening thing you are not authorized to do because you don't have the scholastic papers or it can be what you already know, a lovely romance out into the nowhere of the brilliant intellectual night. Is it the work of devils or the cheek of a youthful god? He calls. You are already half seduced.
This is a religious writing and nothing else. I write of a god and the gods and the thinking that accompanies that. Thus it is philosophical as philosophy has always followed on religion, as philosophy has been of the very substance of religion, as it has been the thinking of the gods. I am entangled in the logos of Being.
These pages, each one related to the others only through the one Form that informs them all, are here laid out more or less in the order in which they were written over the last twenty odd years. They are my attempt to write the limits of ontological analysis and beyond. I have combined the mathematical and the erotic as did Plato. This is realism, thus I am passive in thought and word and being to That. To master the passive act is often to wander in vertigo. I have been obedient.
Somewhat of an autobiography
More of a guilty afterthought that I should explain myself better
There is no such thing as a personal philosophy, and the autobiography of a philosopher is not relevant to any philosophy he might write; nonetheless, I suppose it is helpful to know something of the intellectual setting out of which the ideas appeared in order to see the passion or lack of it in the words. It should be sufficient to say that I was put together by the forces of the twentieth century. Now that the century is finished it is possible to look and see what came of it all. The problem is that the forces of that century were put together by the previous forces of other centuries and there is no end to it. Let us just say that in my case the primary force was the insistence of the publishing industry that I read all about those earlier forces and they would explain it all to me. I read.
I hung around a university. I wrote then, in my young manhood, the way I write now and that is not academic and anyway I was in love and much too shy to take on the intellectual attacks by those who were so very much handsomer than I and I fled.
I don't know what I was really in love with. I had sublime intellectual proofs of immortality, which I wanted to share with some boy. I wanted to touch his forehead and make him see what I saw. I wanted to lead him into this very real heaven. Love was so entwined with the metaphysics of the One and the many. I was so over-sexed.
It all came to nothing. Nothing has changed. Inwardly, in my thoughts, in my groin, I see no difference now from what I was at fifteen. Though I now am much older and appear so, I am not really worse looking, in my own mind, because then I had acne so bad it hurt and I hid. No doubt, the surges of sex hormones had something to do with it. Looking back I wouldn't have changed anything. The beauty that came to me was startling.
It's pointless to recount my school days. I was in love with every intellectual beauty there was and always some boy who had that beauty smeared on his face and all down along his turning form. I was thrown back. I did my homework reasonably well, but the force of it all fatigued me so much I was inevitably taking one of my afternoon naps. And I went to bed early.
I would tell you about some of the lovers in my life, but there were none. I don't know if I have stopped trying to find one or not. I'm old, but not as old as Socrates, and he caught or was caught by Alcibiades, no mean boy. Perhaps I should say that I have never had a normal love affair, with sleeping together and getting up for the day. I have loved and caught up the other in love, but it was a wild verbal intellectual mystical thing and it was probably nothing. I feel a need to tell you how extremely erotic it was, but to do that I would have to explain to you my whole philosophy and that is what I do in the main part of this book.
I read Plato, the master at putting together the mathematical and the erotic. Therefore I became a realist, an extreme Platonic realist. And I searched out the beloved in all of literature. He wasn't hard to find. I was found hard. I learned the abstract structures of languages. I learned logic and onto-logic and I could see that the things of analysis were more real than the world. The still immortal things, there and in my held breath, finally led me out. I took to walking the hard streets. I traveled the world. I never found anything more or less than I found on the Volga River back in Fayette, Iowa.
Here and there. Back and again. The Unchanging never changed. The sky was ever streaked with something from out of eternity. I once pulled a fishing pole out of the river by the railroad trestle where a boy had dropped it, I took it to his house to give it to him, I never saw him there, but by the river and for many years later he was a god, or was he nymphos. That description will have to suffice, because there are, of course, no English words for such things and I have always resorted to the finest abstractions of Being for my speaking to you of him and of all the others.
I read so much because I was looking for words to speak that thing. I found them quickly, because these matters are easy to speak of as much as they can be spoken of and if the reader has lived he will understand, though of course he and I will always think that no headway has been made in speaking anything at all. So I write on and he reads on also and love comes and goes and inevitably comes again and that's that.
Philosophy has little to say. Like the logic of the One it is hardly more than a sigh. Like emanations and the Scottish moor it is a gentle breathing in and out. Aside from the histories of others who have tried to breathe this thin air there is very little to write about. The others are gone and why waste words on failed words. I write as I breathe.
I took up residence with sufi drunks. The madrasa is the academy is the teke is the cemetery. Around and around and around. Nights outside a gay bar. This god gets around.
I have had no more of an acceptance among gay people than I have had among the scholars. Will heaven reject me next? Who cares! The night has been glorious. The vision was completely mine. I have nothing of myself left. He whispered, "Let's just get out of here."
Profound analyses of the everyday with the existentialists have become so everyday. The eternal forms still encircle the boys' heads encircling me. Pinprick radiations. Unexpected arrivals. Hopeless crossings. Unfulfilled desires to explain it all.
The stuffy presence of what was accomplished long ago leaves me with the need to find a problem here. Have I at least found a new way of speaking the ever-spoken-of unspeakable? Have I shown that I too can pull it off? Has this heavenly boy had his shirt pulled off too many times? Have we all grown ragged? Is the ever-new a little tired? The questions I use to make his head spin topple over. I don't know, perhaps tomorrow I'll feel more lively. My eternal adolescence will return.
Autobiographically continuing, I am pentecostal small town Iowa, glossalalia and grass fires. Here on the rising up shimmering Platonic Prairie I took up apprenticeship with a stumpy old Jew kicked out of his beloved Vienna. He was totally abstract. Bare particulars and an ethereal nexus and of course the ancient universals. Intense. He never knew me. He never understood. Fire doesn't burn fire. He knew only the great institutions of Europe, its academics, its hierarchies, while I was hearing the songs of the open road, the rhythms of the King James Bible, and of course the half spoken desperations of wounded love. The vast pulsating geometry of this place must have somewhat frightened him. He may never have seen the beauty of the tornadic vortex. Or that he was walking among the eternal forms.
The Midwestern prairie has always been wild about the church and the church has been wild in return. I was not the only Iowa boy who went to church by himself after doing what Iowa boys do in bed late on Sunday morning. While the preacher preached I would dream of elaborate systems of piping in all kinds of pop to satisfy my increasing thirst. I watched old ladies. I read the responsive reading with perfect timing and I waited for it all to end. I don't know why I went. Maybe to be fierce with myself. I did learn there and from my Grandmother how to argue theology. That's what got me as good as kicked out.
I eventually came to see the transubstantiation performed daily by the Catholics on the next block as the place of my erotic dreams.
Because sex and love feelings were so strongly in me, I, like so many others, took up with the Beloved of religion. I prayed furiously. Pointlessly. Obsessively. I still do. The end of it all is a mystery, but I demand that He be there. What you want is your business, but I would rather you chose something other, because I know jealousy as much as I know anything.
I am not a socially minded fellow. I am a nice guy, but only as a means of deflection. I have my eye out for what I want. And "if you are not silently selected by lovers and do not silently select lovers, of what use is it that you seek to become eleve of mine?" Eventually all my arguing the dialectics of philosophy is just a ruse to get at Him. Cheek to shoulder and oblivion.
I didn't know anything about ontology then, but I did know that the mere rearrangement of a few atoms of his body should not, really could not, destroy him. He was the very form of beauty, of desire, of those powers that have been flying around forever. He was even the Arranging within every arrangement. And he was the Cut itself that could not be cut. He is even now his own lingering separation from me.
The frailty of the world, that beauty must of its own yield to the slightest, that the pang choking me is relentless, that I must resort always to philosophy to find again that separated, that torn off thing, is itself a frail thing yielding to the slightest disproof. I sat at big tables in the old Victorian rooms of the college library, in paper dust, among long sentences crawling with English rhythm, waiting for the periodos to be completed. The end came fast and I quietly left to walk gaily on acorns and gray cracked sidewalks.
At that time I used to walk out along the Volga and the yellow-white gravel roads and I could see the slightest abstractions of logic, equality and difference and the from-itself. From those old books of English philosophy, maybe through the complexities of Russian grammar, out into the tall grasses, a small globe of entity hovered right in front of me and almost in my hand. In my hand. And later over me on my bed, my eyes looking far back up into my mind. Its necessity and eternity sure.
That these are real beings separate from me, right there, even in the boy's going around, even in his smeared existence and his breaking has never been mere metaphor but the very thing itself that has carried me across. I fell through all the cases and cadences of language. I never declined to be myself declined. I easily yielded. I was propositioned into fact and I was done to. Philosophy came over me.
I walked. And I remember, somewhat embarrassingly, that as a boy, even in my college days, I ran; but surely and inevitably I walked and I walked even daily out into the cold and the dark of the wooded road by the little town, going into the nowhere of my thoughts. In the twilight into the golden, lighted windows through the trees, I imagined smooth flesh in what appeared to be empty rooms. Rich, comfortable sheets. Gleaming mirrors. The breeze on my forehead. The boy, surely there, was, no doubt, the extension of the god out in the moist heavy air with me. I did not doubt. I glided. I walked, I ran, I sat by the flowing river.
But maybe I did doubt and I was so intimate with the doubt that it was just that that I did not doubt. There was surely an uneasiness there. A presence and a tearing away. The boy would not be mine. He would never be mine. But the god, the I-don't-know-what, was mine only because I was his. Something was badly ripped. Or the veil had a run in it. I walked right through it. I don't know, maybe I shouldn't have. The air was so thick I could cut it with my knife.
Late in my twenties, when I should have known better, I gave to a friend, because I had no money for anything else, and because I had learned to truly love what I had thought of giving, and I soon regretted having given, the number Two. In my incessant day and night contemplation of philosophical things I had stumbled on and over and against and I finally fell under the spell of this magical beloved. Which, I'm sure, unless you have also done, you will find absurd. The maidens laughed at Anaximander, who, contemplating the heavens, fell into a well. And as with all the drunken lovers of this boy of heaven I was kicked out of both worlds. Neither consequence means or meant anything to me, but I did regret regaling that one with what turned out to be common property.
It is one thing to casually and in an everyday manner talk about the properties of a thing. And of the connections between things. And of this individual and that. It is another to talk, in the everydayness of talking, the jolting talk of existing, out there, self-identical universals and connectors and particulars, wildly bare. Even the experienced philosopher doesn't know quite what to make of it. Any conversation that might have been in the talking vanishes. A theology of gods appears and the whole thing shuts down. The gods are not only out of fashion; they are creepy to the point of being slimy. The clear and the distinct that we worship is run to instead and an alcoholic swath is used to wash away the pollution. Or do you insist that I overstate my case and that universals and other would-be and erstwhile gods have now been tamed? Perhaps, but the talk, I know, ends. And so I write. I write out onto the lonely ether.
As the years past I tried teaching. I tried to teach English, the same English I had learned to love from out of the King James Bible, while contemplating the surprises of the New Testament. The great rhythms and long complexities held me still. My students were anything but still; they fidgeted up into a great complaint, they grimaced and gently drifted off. Then when I discovered the depths of etymology and comparative linguistics, they stared in amazement at the freakishness of it all. I know there are others like me out there; but, I think you already know, it isn't easy to connect. That is the one nexus easily missed. The oneness of the number Two still eludes me.
So often, out of love, I tried to explain to a boy my ontological ideas. Crazy. He quickly firmed up. Attack. My ideas were pushed back and I got nowhere. I tried again. And again. It's been years that I have been trying. So many boys, so many attempts to advance and then leaving off. I don’t know if they understood or not. I think they probably, secretly, did. We were friends and I could easily have taken them to bed. What's up here? I didn't. Perhaps the eroticism had already come.
All of that seems to me to be easy enough for almost anyone to understand, but I am apparently mistaken. It's like trying to explain "and" to someone. The discussion quickly becomes absurd to the other and a consternation to the stars. But I, only slightly concerned, go on. I thought it was a thoroughly magical thing. It was pointedly treated with contempt, and I was actually surprised. I have always assumed too much. I have seen things others haven't. I have seen the most inconsequential things up close.
My point is that I have come to doubt and to believe that few or none will get my point in all this though I have pointedly come to the point on almost every page and it is the common point we all spin on but I have felt it as the sting of love.
The temptation is to not believe. The temptation is to fall in love with despair. One can easily lose faith in his ability to see existence directly, to say without hesitation that all the things before his mind's eye really are there, to feel that he is walking on the solid rock of knowing. One could instead be offended that anyone would consider himself so great.
I have written a philosophy of direct realism, of knowing, of seeing, of feeling, that which was from the beginning press itself onto and into me. I have not been content to sing sad songs about the absence of such a thing. I have not tried instead for the small and the comfortable. I have lusted after the refined joy of the magnificent. I have let myself be laid out. I have believed and accepted.
This is Kierkegaard's Faith and Bergmann's Principle of Presentation. I came to these writers because the Lover impinged himself mightily on my mind and I loved the fullness of Being in return. From Nietzsche I learned that the resentment over loss, the attack on the elevated, and the murder of the magnificent had left us with nothing. Like all three, I may also fail to live up to the words I write, but I was not in love with failure. I did want to fail at being tempted.
These writings are for those dancing boys who stole my heart. If you do not dance with the dancers then these writings are probably not for you. The words you will read here originally came out of great improbable nights in gay bars. Extravagantly beautiful faces. Lithe, blithe bodies. Boy-gods from out of placelessness. Beings made out of light. The timelessness of the timeless.
In hard-beat music I thought about universals and place and time connectors. I thought about all the comings and goings of ontology. The boys everywhere around knew nothing of such things and never knew me for what I really was. They hardly knew me at all. In the end I was totally forsaken by Beauty. And thus by God. So I left that place and traveled the world. Now I sit outside the Panopticon with the boy Jesus on his solid rock. I often write with leftover words.
Philosophy is war. We serve a war god. His gentle rainbow conceals the bow of his brow casting the ever so literary deadly glances; the poets of his love have always been forced to say so. The arrows of love, I repeat in my turn, strike the deepest. The tempest and the attempt and the changing colors of the bruise of love. Until he turns and the most gentle sets in and down on top of me. Crazy. The lifting up of words.
This liturgy of sacrifice transposes me every time into a sheer transcendence. I sheer off and his weight is numbing and always a gentle sleep. Art and argument and religion. I got it all together. And the god was always there.
All in all, we, that is my family and I, were poor, sort of, I guess, who knows, but there were no books around me when I was a child except the King James Bible, which, I have no doubt now, was enough. And I bought Popular Science and Superboy Comics. I had it all. Later after I no longer was able to stay with the schoolmen and the schoolboys I learned to steal. I was hungry for food and knowledge and I managed to get what I needed. I slept here and there. I walked and I thought. I knew the dialectic. I knew the cold and the blue sky. I was adequate to myself. And I was free. Marvelously free.
The Iowa prairie was vast. The boys were thick and hard. I could argue ferociously. The religious men damned me. City streets quickly ended in a geometrical expanse. And I feared someone would look at me, so I became a showman.
My point is that I became tough. I lost all ability to accept love.
Today I visit the old professors of the Iowa School, who were once so impressive to me, and I see that they are now more concerned with grandchildren and retirement. What a waste. The boys of Kathmandu have a lovely desperation about them and I will go back there.
This is a long writing in spite of its being nothing but short bursts easily lost in that probably unnecessary length. Therefore, someone should cut it here and there, maybe following no more than the suggestion of the copy machine boy. I do think that will make for a work that is easily taken up and put down over a long time. That, I think, is worthwhile in this coming and going world. Furthermore, the meditative repetitiveness of the idea contributes to the smoothness of each leaving off. It is an unending obsession.
I do worry about the way I write. So many teachers along the way and acquaintances have told me that they have no idea what I'm talking about and then, perhaps wanting to say more, they said no more and I wondered and worked at not worrying about that and I kept on. I write the way I write; I can do it no other way. Lack of talent, I suppose. Nonetheless, I do think I have just not met those like me.
Philosophy is difficult and that cannot be changed. It is a twisted kind of thinking and the syntax of its sentences must follow and all the sudden bursts of surreal matter-of-factness must be tolerated. On the other hand, there is no good reason why one should have to do that. Mystical pretensions should not be allowed to spread. Beauty is a difficult child.
The autistic rhythms of writing lull me into another world. And there's the catch. I live here in a social world and if I spy a present beauty and if I think to take him into this enchanted sleep he baulks and like a dog barking my sleep is broken and I wake up alone. Or so it is thought.
No doubt there is enchantment and autism and a sleep that comes over me in this place; but, for those willing to believe, there is to be found the sunlight of still distinctions there. I thus present a terror to those here just as I have found there- being to be a non-being here and a greater terror. That you are reading me and following me down this primrose path means that you too are caught. I have written a literary thing and you do love literature.
Philosophy and all of writing is rhythm. In the fullness of time he comes. And you watch. And you are doubled up in enchantment. But surely you do not believe that. Or are you anxious that you may and may have already?
I know that you are a romantic boy who likes to consider himself so materialistic and of the classical non-romantics but you succumb.
I, in this almost lurid description of myself and you, am the one who believes in the absoluteness of the non-unity of the pure distinctions. I have led nothing back in a great reducing to just a dream. Thought and its cutting and building to the sky holds. Order has fastened me to itself in the delight of form. Thus beauty and truth and immortality. It was inevitable.
This is not literature after all, nor the literature of philosophy. By that I mean it does not stand alone as literature stands alone moving rhythmically from out of itself. Rather, aside from these words, hovering, as heat hovers above the highway, and eventually destroys the highway, there is a thing in these words melting them in an act that is criminal by any worldly standard. This is Philosophy itself and that thing is here.
Ho nymphos has long since made me nympholeptos. In a strange marriage of eruption I, now a pock-marked silenius, then found myself at the beginning of my philosophy; I abandoned hope of anything else. He shimmered in the water. He was a boy who lived on the edge of town, the son of a doctor. He vibrated the nearby woods. His family probably never knew.
Because I was a young American student in the late twentieth century, I, of course, had to read the Continental philosophers, not only the Anglo-analysts. The passion of stilled nothingness was akin to the prairie summer heat. The verbal growth was like the weeds along the ditch. The failure was like love. Pretty Aryan madness. White cum sheets of paper. Aristotle falling back into the arms of Plato.
Middle America is big as the wind and flat, like a boy's chest. Little blades of grass creeping gently. Sharp violent down. Run until your feet bleed! It's all right there in your mind, platonic remembering, a self-sufficient musky smell, the world gathered, now spinning from out of a single point. The sutratic sewing comes undone and the boy sows his seed on the back of the wind. America can do anything it wants.
We are the ordinary, the They, the bane of Heidegger, the Knaben of his dreams, knaves with knives. And small town preacher kids, like Sartre. And derridic misplaced car keys left in Elkader, Iowa. The Bandha of the perspicacious Brahman. Here on the vastness of the void greatly lit-up truck stops. Europe turned inside out. I had no trouble understanding them because we were them. And, for me, going to Nepal, where I am now, has been like going to Kansas. It's all an Indo-aryan Semitic fuck-up. In the pretty twilight.
I am of course historically conditioned, though in my growing boyhood I could feel, and rightly so, that my being came right out of Being itself, and I was not just the product of slippery social forces. A paradox. I can live with it. So for the time being, let me speak about the me of time's formations and not my transcendental eternal being so loved by the religious lover in me.
When I was a boy, my Grandmother and I would go out to an old junkyard by a little body of water and search. We found great things. I am still doing that in libraries and bookstores. Nothing has changed. I pick up discarded, damaged things and I know they are treasures. The grime of eternity is on them. The mangled boy, now a god, is in them.
On other days, in the wind, on dry days, in the swirling wind, everything gathered. Different things. The spinning pile. Pilferings of the spirit. Into the book of life. A lifeless Super-life. Transcendence is fine dust. Taken, just taken. Out. Pages strewn. I read a lot.
And the boredom. On the prairie, on the gray of a cold day, the unbearable wet emptiness of numbers, I thought up a philosophy consisting of no more than a belt loosened and my thighs against the weeds. And alternators in the frigid glistening of the mud.
Surely all those things found me. I was the eclectic find. Of the angels that are scrappy things of scrap. Blown. In understandings that come and go. She knows.
The American prairie, especially this patch worked Iowa of seminary colleges and English sensibilities, inherited, quite directly, the forces of late nineteenth century Oxford, Cambridge, and Stratford on the Don. Hellenism, classicism and rustic Arcadia filled the literature that was prized here; and, though I knew nothing of it because I was the son of an ever-moving truck driver, and there was no tradition of university learning in our family, still I did have the King James Bible and I saw the Spirit descend in Tongues and that was enough. The Church was the ground of both my place and of the place of the great schools there. For me and for them it was a gay old time. Forces work underground and under the skin also.
This is also a technologically minded place, reason and logic and system building. The glorious male and mile after mile of Calimus grass. Lonely despair and reaching. And reaching. Until the finding. I found what I longed for. I jumped right off the spinning earth. Fiery breath came around me. Jealousy and release. I spoke directly and plainly what was directly and plainly right there. Rhythm and subtlety were also mine in ever growing eternal rimes to time. The boys here can all play the part of Juliet.
I have not written here a marginal piece for queer times; I have written the main drag traffic of classical Platonism for our time. This is the analysis of Realism done properly. I stake my flag in the middle of the Great Battle itself. I am High Church right here on the wind swept steppes. I see the Aegean and the far Aryan plains right off my left shoulder.
At the end of the nineteenth century, England, at the same time as it was flirting and fighting with the dandies and the aesthetes, was embracing and running away from the Real, the out there, the logically difficult. Mathematics and the pointedly strange. Imperial peregrinations. The adolescent boy homme fatal. Arcadia redux. All a reaction to uppity women.
Kim in India, this scotch-irish boy among the Indians – it's all the same. Boundaries crossed. Identities melting. Charismatic visions. The jump to transcendence. Wet dreams.
It's all so literary. We sigh, we dandies of the intellect. Prissy critics of our butch God. There's no one else here. Drown in the Cam, be reborn along the Iowa. Writers trying so hard to be writers in the school of writing. To be dead in the Kyber pass along Highway 80.
And so I am a believer. The Great Game and the erotic transmission of messages between here and There will never stop. Which boy is more languid and lovely? The Christian or the Islamic? On which will the emanations of the One fall the most blithely? They're coming! The empire will be taken! Churchly banter. But the Real!
The language oozes out of pimple-faced boys. This language will always have its say.
The rising and the falling of the fields, the incessant swelling of the Aegean, the dreary rain that does not let up over the ever deep English countryside, all the same, all an evocation to go out to the One, the Ever, the Forever. The monotone of philosophy. Failed difference. Numb ciphers. Seeping through the silent stone of thought. Soon the season of comfort will be here. Thick blankets and fine cotton sheets. The late rising sun. The early folds of threatening night. Iowa roads lead to muddy Canterbury. And to Ionia. Alike and alike. All the Aryan colonies are alike in spirit. And the Semitic Fire has burnt us all.
Order is gone and we hitch a ride with the Altaic shamans on the wind. Rising and falling rising and falling. Orpheus and jesus. And Cambridge Platonists walking among the sleeping boys.
In my time literature has reached for the concrete, the bold, the strikingly human. It revels in the sensual and the sexual. It confesses a love of the strong emotions. It tortuously describes the loss and the finding of the most valuable. I suppose it does sometimes contain analytical statements such as these, but it wants to quickly color them up with stories rustically told. And because I don't have such stories and such color I leave my reader with the bare emptiness of the most abstract. And, of course, my many sighs over having nothing but that.
I do have the hard push and the disheveled presence of the rustic boy, the sliding grace of the languid boy, the fine points of the refined boy, but it is all so much pure form, never colored in, that I am still in the most abstract, and little else than a soufflé of the heavenly breeze on the white china of logic.
It seems to me that you should not read this book looking for a great progression of the whole. As far as I know there is none. I wrote it myopically. That is to say I concentrated on the sentence and then sentence after sentence until the paragraph tied itself off and stood there a separate unit. That unit was the only whole that I saw or felt. Even the page, which is somewhat of a unit, is only a collection of paragraphs that for the moment is the shadow of being one thing. Thus forget the overall idea and pay attention only to the sentence you are reading. The next will follow quickly and properly and soon the end will come. That end will be complete philosophy. There is no more to it than that. As Wittgenstein said, Everything that can be said in philosophy can be said in two or three words. Thus the intensity. And the presence.
These paragraphs are a mystery to me. I don't know why they end. But then I don't know why orgasm ends the way it does. Something other is there. Not an ordinary thing.
Thus a sort of incarnation has occurred here. The meaning of this philosophy, Philosophy Himself, has not only been indicated by signs and traces within the constructions of a rather lengthy and abstract human dissertation; but it, He, has become flesh in the flow of the rhythmical inversions of syntax through the reader's body as he reads. But I speak the Unspeakable. Scandal and myth and anathema to serious study. I am not taken seriously. I am a case. Whatever is the case. The Forms constitute. The diffuse and feminine Whole has given way to the pointed presence of the upright right here. I came to the point.
The goal of these writing is a vision, a seeing, an intuition. The beginning of each attempt is the prospect, the anticipation, the knowing that that desired thing is close. I have been at the goal, held in love's gaol, many times, in the One More Time that lures and enthralls. This philosophy is not just provisional, but the Vision itself. It is not the inevitable limpish foreplay of science; it is the Peak. The Ever Again. Thus it is a theology and its beatific excess.
It is strewn. There is no order here. It is chaos. It is the night sky. It is a throw of the dice. It is the chance meeting. And the sudden loss. Pathways are lost. The discrete discretely and demurely is never there, only the escape under the wall that was never taken, or maybe it was, or both. Logic breaks, the ontological forms break out of the bonds of fact and the Great Pile of Things that is Being lights up from nowhere. The Nowhere glares. And who ever wanted order anyway when you could have this?! And you let yourself come undone.
This writing is long. I have come to see that it is necessarily long. It is not what I had intended, but philosophy is complicated, very complicated. Thus it is more suited to the long figuring of a monastery than to the snap judgments of the city. I will always assume that my reader knows at least as much as I, and I am very well acquainted with the world's philosophies. Moreover, because in these pages I have followed the paths of love I know the most subtle intricacies of thinking against one's own thinking. So, this is also a puzzle. A Chinese box built by Norwegians. A secret way out. And a hope that in the long night ahead you will take up the argument with me. Always the orgasmic tension and release. Once inside this monastery you will see that there never was to be a way out of the way out. The writing will not stop.
These writings came ultimately out of the rage of jealousy, and as far as I can tell that Sapphic delicate fire still runs under the skein of these words. I know that "ultimately" is not the right word, because I am, after all, stylistically digging out God and the soul. Still I will use it. That God is a jealous God may account for both His popularity and His unpopularity. What is is.
It is very difficult to directly write about the Μανις, Der Mut, the Mood. The harshness and the hard-edgedness of it escape our genteel language. And it prevents the words from coming at the moment of its presence. To write about it after the fact is to write out of blessed relief. Perhaps the meters of poetry can somewhat bring it on, but only in an enchanted way. These writings have come out of the rage much as the still Apollo came out of the horrible Dionysian wheel. Beauty is the image of something very unbeautiful. And vice versa.
And the repetition. That it always comes again is the divine, which is to say that it is also that hellish thing, that that was also made, or unmade, by divine love, and I write this daily Eucharist lyrically.
I sing here of the madness. Of Achilles, of Othello. Of what I think was probably my Father's, but how can a son be sure? Surely of my own mad jealousy – there is no other. Thus these words will be held within the droning and groaning stare out into the buzzing night. The articulate nerves are shot. The one more time is unbearable. The break and then, but it has not been a quickly arriving thing, then, it is over. And Then I write. I write Him. I write That. The trembling has only just stopped. I float on the delicate stillness.
We are friends because I am made out of the same stuff you are made out of. The same terrible stuff.
What I have written here is not what I thought. I had intended to write something that would help my friends see their own transcendent beauty, to see the overpowering in their own lives, to find the eternity that was properly theirs. Instead I find that I have written something that is philosophically far too difficult for any of them to understand. That is not really surprising, considering that I have spent so many years pouring over philosophy books of every kind, learning assiduously as much as possible that I might speak the marvel that I saw. In the end I learned too much and the others now cannot follow me. I wonder if even the philosophically learned will spend the time to try the path I have here laid out. Probably not or if so I may never know it. I find all this extremely depressing. I am despondent. I see no way out. It seems that none of this should be so, but the facts militate, and I am left alone.
Or so it seems. The truth is far different. Much learning accomplishes nothing. College freshmen understand philosophy. My being assiduous was no more than me sitting on my ass for a long time. I was even more assiduous lying on my bed. The real reason I am unread, despondent and alone is that only I can see the sprite in these words and he turns me on. To the others they are just meaningless. Unless ….. he also comes in them. I sometimes do surmise that there must be those others.
It is our constant temptation to fall in love with pain and sorrow and to sing sad songs and there is no end to it. It is the purpose of religion to try to save us from this. I must constantly remember.
There can be no bookish introduction to philosophy. It is possible to state a few of the main ideas used in a work or even in the whole of philosophy, but from that the reader must still do the long work of gathering toward an understanding. It will be a quiet dark work. The lights will be few. The path will be slippery, steep and forked. The idea may lead nowhere. In fact, all philosophical paths lead nowhere, but no matter, visions happen along the way and that is philosophy. The relationship established excludes the writer. It is rather between the reader and Philosophy. In a sense, the reader must be intimate with that before he begins. He slowly moves his hand and caresses him in the glorious night until that inevitable ecstasy. What greater delight could there be?
There exists no entryway into philosophy. Each philosophical writing is an attempt to look for it. Just as there is no entryway into love, and each act of love becomes a temptation to give up the search. So I begin anywhere at all, knowing full well that my reader knows perfectly well what I have to say, but will probably see no way from what I do say to that that he knows, and I wonder why I write. Yet, if he is a lover of philosophy, a lover of this love, then any writing that speaks of his love will be inviting and he will want to find his beloved once again in there. He is on the look out. I am in a dangerous place.
This is Platonism. Or so I suppose. It seems that Plato himself may not have been a Platonist. Platonism may be an antedated invention of the Victorian Age. It seems that everyone in the schools is against it and thus I am alone in being for it, especially in that I also tag along the boy Jesus with me. We together are invited to none of the wholesome gatherings. Is this decadence? The fall has been far, but necessary. The dawn is even now appearing on this boy's downy cheeks. I advance and I recede at his bidding. I have no defense. My paragraphs soon reach their end.
Platonism is usually thought of as a contemplation of the eternal heavenly forms that are mirrored in this visible world. That's not too far from how I see it. To do ontological analysis, one has to break up the ordinary object into pieces that are nowhere in this world. These ontological things are somehow related to that ordinary object. Plato said they were mirrored in, reflected in, the object. He said the object participates in these ontological things. Today's realists want to say that they are constituents of ordinary objects, but they draw back from having such a nexus. They leave off without having any connection between what they see in their contemplation and the world. The idealists say that the things of this world "fall under" the mind's concepts. They don't really mean it. We are left with only Plato's names for this most baffling togetherness. I fall into the gap. The vortex I find myself in is my agitation in these writings.
The thought that I here attempt to write a Platonism of Separate Forms will instantly leave many of my readers exasperated. The others it will leave in confusion. Plato is majestic, all agree, but his ideas are gone the way of religion - the Majesty is dead - it was just a silliness to begin with - surely it is so, the exasperated will think. But nothing has changed; the exasperation was always present. The giants of the earth have always found the gods ridiculous. The Separate Forms have always been a lovely mystical erotic confusion. And the exasperation was always just another form of the erotic.
Philosophers cut the things of the world into their abstract pieces. Then they worry that this distraction has left them outside the warmth of home in the cold intellectual night and they disown their own. These retractions have no traction on the road back home and all are left to languish, shut away by the state in schools. Their job is only to keep the kids out of trouble for a while, contracted into tight erotic constrictions. The Separate Forms are the things of cut off places compressed before the Glorious release into the blanking out night fight right there.
If the Platonic Separate Forms didn't exist then we couldn't think the cut up things of ontology. We think universal and nexus and bare particular and entity and existence and on and on and on right nicely and there you are. Philosophers and the things of their lovely thoughts exist. And they are surely a separate lot, ask anyone. Those who eat the forbidden fruit can never return. That's us!
The distinguishing mark of Platonism is its belief that universals exist separate from the world. A precise expression stating that idea is impossible. Perhaps there is no such thing as Platonism. But if you know the literature you somewhat understand. I am such a Platonist. Thus I am a questionable thing. And you somewhat understand me. Let me only say that I think you will agree that the thoughts of philosophers, the things they expound into students' heads, the strange questions insisted upon, are far from the ordinary man's world. It is philosophy and the philosopher that are separate from the world. Philosophical things are separate somehow from ordinary things. Therefore most who call themselves philosophers, the professional philosophers, wanting the safety of the ordinary, defer in the end to the world and acquiesce in making themselves and their studies comic. They are each a Socrates who willingly gets into the basket of Aristophanes.
Platonism is a circus full of freaks, its boys are imps and urchins and fags, its old lovers are just old. Its reaching for the divine was hubris and the fall was precipitous. Its separation from the orderly cosmos widens.
The object before your mind's eye and the object that is your act of knowing that object and which is now also before your mind's eye, both divide into being a particular that is just that particular and a form that is a thing that has been exemplified by endless particulars for us lost in the vastness of spaces and times. The ontological things that account for there being particulars in our world and for the forms that all those particulars are united to, those ontological things are the topic of this writing. Particulars stripped bare of all form and the Forms with the particulars themselves stripped away. Philosophical things not of this everyday world. Things only a Platonist, only an erotically desperate man, could hold to be really there. The cut is deep in Being. The Eternal Platonic Forms that startle and dismay the young student. But perhaps he falls in love with them. Only perhaps.
I talk incessantly in my philosophy of the nexus. It's not a common word but it stands for an exceedingly common thing, but a perplexing thing if gazed upon. Let us say that it is the meaning of the word "is" in the sentence "This is very sweet music." Here it is the connector between the particular and the universal. It is there sometimes called, and I often called it, the nexus of exemplification. There are, however, other connectings profound enough to be called ontological and they too need a nexus to ground them. Between word and meaning, set and element, idea and its object. Perhaps they are there, perhaps not; it is the task of philosophy to argue the case.
The idea of the nexus is difficult for everyone. That of the universal for the dull and materialistically minded. For the lover, the idea of the universal is easy, because he sees that one thing, that one elusive form of the beloved everywhere, that one fragrance and touch, that face, that glance, that spirited thing. It is the only real thing he sees. And the idea of the nexus looms large when he tries to grab hold of himself in order to calm his perplexity, when he wonders about that one thing being in every where. The nexus is the togetherness of the one thing, the beloved one thing, with this and that and that and that and on and on into the whirlwind that is the world. The one is with the many and the many without its being together with the one thing is nothing at all. The idea that they are together stares at the togetherness, at the nexus. That complexity, the nexus, the idea that, the very world forgetful of all that, are one and not one. There is no nexus between wonder and the not wondering. The lover and the philosophizing lover trying to control this serpent of love are left out. In the great isolation. Even I cannot think them together with the ordinary. And should the ordinary read these words they will be transformed into what they aren't. Thus the idea of the nexus will remain difficult and an aberration from out of the mania so blithely called love. There is much cause for anger here.
It may seem strange that philosophy and its philosophers would come up with such a thing, but to ground the phenomena presented is what ontology, first philosophy, is all about. Should we say that grounding is the nexus between what we see and what there is that accounts for it? Perhaps. Or if the complexities we see are constituted by simple things is there the nexus of constituting? The confusing game of the One and the many has been played it seems forever, which brings to mind another possible nexus. Are the temporal phases of the existence of a substance tied by nexus to the substance? Are they maybe "in" the substance? Are they "created" by it? Is each now in the Now? And is each place of the playing in the one placeless Place? So many things to consider and the object is so fine and refined.
If these matters, these very immaterial matters, seem unnecessary or tiresome to you then philosophy is not for you. If they hint at a paradise of thought then attack and command the beings there to fulfill their promise. Sweet water will pour forth and in the end it is you who will be called and then gently seduced. The nexus between you and that grows in uncommon importance.
There could, I suppose, be an ontology of the nexusness of the nexus. Why not? And of the particular in each instance of it (is it an it?) in a fact and of the number of them. But why? Infinite regress sits close, not to mention utter confusion. So let's just say that Nexus itself is its own ontological essence out there in transcendent ontological space, there being no nexus anywhere in any world I have ever seen. Or is that too much for you? There is, I admit, something wrong with that thinking. The fact remains that we can think this maker of facts and we can think it quite nicely if uncomfortably. And it is everywhere in its being nowhere at all. That we can think these matters and speak of them, pace Wittgenstein, is amazing and, yes, with Wittgenstein, deadly. No doubt a Minotaur lies at the end of the thinking. Or worse, the need of an ordinary boy to have you explain it. He knows all about it already, being one himself.
I see you're lost. So am I. So are we all. Still, all in all, the considerations, the starry thoughts, are lovely. So why not? No one has ever made much progress in understanding the Nexus, but there is the great demand that we do, or at least pretend that we do. I shall elevate thought of it to prayer and on to theology. Do you object? We are not dealing here with knots and wenches.
So let's bring up the matter of artificial intelligence and electronic sensors, as we inevitably must in this so very technical world. Take, for example, the fact that you see your wallet lying empty on the radio, the money taken by your lover. That is a disconcerting but easy mental act to perform. Upon analysis the wallet and the radio, sweet music, and the feel of the money being gone are complex indeed. So many geometrical and emotional shapes are involved, so many relations and so many possibilities of change of shape and relation, the underside, the other side and the insides enfold with flourish, not to mention color and smell and on and on and the erotic confusion. The analysis is never ending and, I suppose, a computer could perform, whatever perform means here, all the requisite tasks to get some kind of comprehensive read-out that would mention even the agitation in you. The mental act, though not the computer act, was so simple. You saw in an instant the "face" of the wallet and the radio and the lying, and of his face all in one simple knowing. That face, which I suppose to be the great analysis at once, is never arrived at by means of analysis. The analysis remains a many, not a One, and the infinity of that many never arrives at that one simple face. Nor do our electronic sensors have the ability to "see" that face of things. The prospect of arriving and seeing is no prospect at all. Artificial intelligence is not intelligence. Electronic sensing is not sensing. These metaphors have led us down a deathly primrose path.
So the nexus again. The one thing, the wallet, is somehow tied to its multifarious forms, but what is the nexus and how? A lovely problem. Does that nexus that ties have a face? Can we hope to see it? I do think that in philosophical intuition or whatever you want to call it, we can, and there at the heart of Being we are close to the place of the breaking out of the gods. Intellectual vertigo beckons and threatens and seduces the willing mind. Nothing has changed.
In philosophy ordinary things are broken up into ontological things, the things of Being. A brief list would include: universals (mental and non-mental) and universality, bare particulars and particularity, sets as distinct from elements, facts with the forms of atomicity and molecularity, and pervasion by actuality and potentiality, logical connectors and all the various nexus needed to unite all these things into a unified world, also existence, difference, sameness, identity and category itself. The great argument is not really what things are on this list, but whether they exist as mere words, vague concepts, something in ordinary objects, or whether they are things in themselves separate from ordinary objects in timelessness and placelessness, plain or Majestic. And if outside mind and language do we really have phenomenal awareness of them or do we only dialectically reason our way to some sort of ontological necessity for their being there. Things of Being, then, are for some merely things about beings. From the superlative to the mere.
I choose Being to match the intensity of the drive within me. I tear my self and some beloved thing I see there away from beings to That. Thus this philosophy is violent in its insistence on separation. It is extreme. I have seen something. I have directly seen the counter-intuitive.
I have not stayed put in my philosophical imagination. I have gone out and felt the real coming at me. Reality is always an attack. Even when it is sweet, it is violently so. And the hardness of the open road that is the real space-time is the cut of the intersection and the falling off because there was never enough time or money to finish the thing with a nice smooth finish. The real is the disjunct junction. The Boy sits there staring at me, incorrigible, able and willing to leave you alone. But sometimes Reality yields.
At times I do write so matter-of-factly and academically and then in the same spirit I name the spirit and the land of strange things and the rhythms are seen to have begun long ago. Dead-pan philosophy and dead Pan and an eerie longing. Jesus, hold my hand and walk with me in the sunlight.
It is important that you distinguish between a fact and a sensum. A fact such as - his hair curls gently behind his ear - is out there and separate from you. The sensa of the curling and the gentleness are close in your mind giving you no comfortable distance from it. The fact is known in an act of perception and the act and its object are distinctly other. The sensa, because of their invasion into the mind, give no room for any distinction of act from its object. Sensa are always questionable and that unsettling closeness is close to sin. Sin being the questioned and the suddenly too close.
Still, there is the question of the factness of facts and the separateness of the separate and then there is the second level questionableness of the questioned. Ontological things. They are even closer than sensa, known immediately, without any distinction giving act. The subject of these writings. Also perhaps sin. But then sin is such a highly questionable thing, so let us just say a slow moving uncomfortableness.
So I make a distinction between fact and sensa, act and sin, closeness and distinction. I cut. That is analysis. That is Platonism. This Platonism lies gently in the Cut. That is deconstructing, which in high parlance is also known as deconstructionism. The boy's room is a mess. A lovely mess.
As you read this you are probably not sitting in a monastery. You should be. This is a thing cut off. I am ever speaking of the boy cut off, who is being cut off from family and all things familiar. Cut off from himself. Cut off from the hiddenness of the night. Thus the sacrificial victim. Finally something not human. This is the uncanny. A herm was at the gate, in case you didn't notice.
This is a book of philosophical love, the love that sees the form of the beloved and that flesh, from afar, crawling all along the Beginning. And that has been called the Word, but that is surely a misappellation of this the Most Appealing.
This rushes on to be a book of philosophical love, that love which feels and tastes on the flesh of the beloved that sword that was in the Beginning.
Therefore these are rhythmical writings. Each paragraph is a solid self-turning. Each page expands and retracts. They are the workings of The One.
If they are breath, I don't know whose breath. Perhaps I know. I know.
The hushed drum beats. The blanket is thrown back. The spirit is continuous.
Such rhetoric is necessary because this is Eros. He has nothing aside from the ability to turn over so easily. To flash. And to wonder about himself.
And Jesus. It's inevitable that this god be here. He's all we have. Or at least, he's all I have and I have been drowning in Western thought for so long. I don't mind if you have another god; in fact I would prefer it, because I know jealousy well.
The incessant questioning of this boy, sitting on the edge of the bed, makes him shimmer in the dark.
Everything comes out of a swoon.
Jesus is claimed by so many that it probably makes no difference that I do also. That he is always in the company of lovers is a matter of often bitter contention. What to do? Jealousy is wild. This bastard son came so close to making his mother an outcast, and then claimed to be of the house of the highest. Just like his kind to do that. Such audacity. It's enough to make me a believer. I have seen that sure look out on the street. I fall for him. The entourage is clamoring. I drink in his ruby nighttime.
In this book of philosophical love, I will write the love that is his death and my drinking his spirit into me.
Let me repeat it all. Again and again I will say the same thing. I know the thought will not stick and you will dally and dreams come.
Philosophy breaks the world into glistening, subtle pieces that surely are too delicate to be of the real world. And surely the world is not just shattered slivers stuck in the mind. Surely there is a great unity to the pieces, albeit they must be united in not just any haphazard way. Particular with universal, set with elements, thought with its object, world with these very fine atoms of Being. Yes, of course, and that being so intimately together is called Nexus. And the Canon, the Ordering, that guides the uniting is a great mystery in the study of such a thing.
Realism is a belief that universal Forms exist, in addition to particulars. And that then there is a nexus to account for the fact that the universal and the particulars are so very close. It is a belief that thought exists, in addition to the objects of thought. And then because mind and its object are so very close there may not even be room for a nexus. Realism is a belief that because we know these things very well, the universal Form, the particular, the nexus, the closeness and our own knowing, that all these things also exist in splendid isolation, separate, alone, maddeningly beautiful. That I think these things, and you likewise, makes us gods; but what is that? Or so you might believe, my love.
If universals exist and they don't exist in space and time, then they are as gods, or they are gods. And the human response to their presence, their mysterious appearing in space and time, is worship. If they do exist.
It is said that such a state of affairs would be inhuman, anti-human, childish. Universal things as this and that. The placeless and the timeless and here and now. The here and now lifted up and out into a sweltering swirling dizziness. Surely we don't have time for such a lurid affair in this busy world. A fiery brain in ashes.
Religion is sacrifice, which is a killing, which is a call for self-defense. But for the believer it is a sweet dying and the defensive shields are soon dropped. Such is religion and worship and this walk in Beauty. Faggots burning under your feet.
Most of the attacks against the theory of universals take place on three battlegrounds. The first is that of infinite regress. The second is that of the absence of the presentation of any such thing. The third is that of the frightening nature of any such thing. Those three things are, of course, dialectically related. And I, as one who believes in universals, acknowledge the truth that is the charge leveled in each attack. The infinite, the transcendent absence of the Very Present and the Fright are real.
It is true that after the ordinary things of the world, that is to say, after the world has been broken up into its ontological pieces, the task of actually in a real actuality of putting them back together is a total mind-boggling impossibility. The ordinary cannot be gleaned from out of the extra-ordinary. Philosophy loses the world in its blinding perfection. In that perfection that came so easily. Nonetheless, philosophy made no mistakes in its ingress into the truth. Though now the regress reveals no end. Surely that is frightening and the presence and the absence are evident. As evident as the hue on a boy's brow. A terror that is easily denied.
The fact that the pieces do in fact make a fact, one fact, is a many that in its pure manyness remains, by all the airy laws of ontological judgment, and for all that nothing at all. Even in the most contorted high-flying explanations the one thing refuses to come down onto solid ground and deplane. The ground of grounding grinds the minds of the ethereal dancers. Universal, nexus, particular do not in the end make one thing and the world is gone, which is the pure smooth kiss of nirvana. Bham!
Realism is lavish. So many things existing, even possibilities and impossibilities. The highly inseparables are separated out. The Dance flies away from the dancer. Thought stands before thought itself and before the world. Even I am not myself. And lately I have seen that time is a thing, over there, very still. Enchantment. But also only a circus in a slum on the edge of a jungle. The bright lights blind. I sometimes long for the vast emptiness of the night sky and just one lover.
In the emptiness of extreme mahayanic nihilism, I could find the one kiss.
Until then, one more sideshow, one more come on, one more dialectical flight on the wings of Pteros.
As for space and time, there are no places or moments that things are at. There are the universals of space and time relations that particulars exemplify, but even they are not at any place or any time. As for when and where those universals are exemplified, there is no when or where. No fact is in time or in space, at a moment or at a place. Timelessness and placelessness are the occasion for my mysticism. A true mysticism.
In these writings I am not going to use the idea of cause. For philosophy there is only the appearing of the world from out of the swelter of timeless ontological things in the stillness of Being. And that nexus of cause is not there. The dialectic is difficult and confusing and may in the end just be a mistake. Unraveling this, dealing with it, living with it, dying with it is philosophy. The beauty and the incorrigibleness of it is the Boy of these writings. Strangeness and entanglement get all over the back seat of this car as it stops for a while in the heat of the intellectual night.
It's inevitable; every philosophy will fail. But Philosophy itself is sure. Alone among all the things for man, this religion is eternal. "Ah, what was there in that light-giving candle that it set fire to the heart, and snatched the heart away?"
These writings do not call for a response nor do they call for judgment. The erotic and the mystical require either that you move in closer or you move away. I am writing about the striking and the unspeakable. You are to find pleasure in that. As I will in you, completely your slave. I'm sure that faced with your beauty I will not be able to move. If I speak, as I do here, it will be only erotic mumblings. This god's claw will be in.
This philosophy does not lead finally to poetic emptiness. It is not my intention to resign myself to death. I am not a lover of sad songs. I am not a tragic figure battling inevitable doom. I have written nothing that is a fit topic for minstrels. This is Presence, not absence. Things revel in majuscule energy. The Beloved returns. The poet's longing is forgotten. And I become tedium to the lovers of lost innocence. They proclaim me shallow and ignorant. Such is the difference. They seem to have reason and the common knowledge on their side.
I do not translate twisted philosophy into the straight everyday. All philosophy is perverse. Its sentences or its flow or logical development or its wavering between here and There, something is wrong. Or its unnecessary intense difficulty. Or its perverted desire to make the obvious more obvious. Surely its insistence on the existence or non-existence of things is meaningless. That time either moves or doesn't is hopeless. That we crave its kisses more than wisdom is lurid. That we lust for philosophy makes us strange.
The question of unexemplified universals never occurs in these writings. None of them are exemplified in themselves. All of them are unexemplified in their self-identity. They all hang within Being in Splendid Isolation. The exemplification of a universal is another thing altogether. A bare particular exists and bare particulars exist. The nexus exists and the nexus exist. The Form exists and the Forms exist. Likewise, the fact of this particular exemplifying this Form exists and all the facts exist. Every fact exists, which statement is the image of every universal tied to a particular. Still, the Forms and the particulars and the nexus are all alone and something else again. The simple things and the facts they ground are other in a strange ontological otherness. The One, the many and everything in between.
Still and all, the fact cannot be another thing aside from the things that ground it. The identity is tight. And, though it's not ordinary identity, it is identity, and it's, nonetheless, a strange ontological otherness.
The words sui generis would only obfuscate. We are rather here in the very lucid consciousness. Understanding abounds. The clear and distinct differences glisten.
Philosophy has always been the escape. The puzzles are sheer pleasure. I sheer off into constriction and release. The turbidity of the erotic beckons. We will argue out the night.
The love in these writings is of the liberal arts. It serves no practical purpose in this world. It is in the freedom of the spirit roaming outside the world. It is a vision of timeless things. The mind spins around and around on the great circles of thought thinking the pure things of thought. The face of God appearing at every turn. This moon of sweet presence shining above the empyrean plain. In the dizziness of enchanted logic. The writer knowing a sure arm is there to guide him home.
I write this philosophy/poetry or philosophy/myth because I have run into the limits of mathematical philosophy, the limits of ontological analysis. It was inevitable. Every philosophy reaches this end. Religion appears. This is beyond Being in ……. What? In the One? In Love? In God? In the Flesh? In the Beloved? In a mystical vortex? Yes, no doubt all of that and more. My point is that the mind wants to go on, begs to go on, must go into that.
Is this the end of realism or a more intense realism? It is neither; there is nothing beyond Being. In intensity Being breaks and then returns. But that is myth and there you are.
A great amount of philosophical words were handed to us in the twentieth century pointing us toward a road we should travel down to learn the true nature of logical form. Along which we could find out what there is in existence that accounts for it, or even if there is such a thing. The most traveled way demurred that it is merely a psychological matter or anthropological. A reflection of some general form of human language or the human nervous system. A tool man developed in his evolution in order to secure some end. To say that it is of human origin is, I suppose, to say that it is not itself a timeless, universal, ontological thing. It is, in fact, to say that no precise definition could, therefore, be given of its true form or forms, and that it is only locally applicable. All of that is to say that there really is no such thing as logical form. I, of course, have taken a different road.
Logical Form exists. That is to say logical forms abound, timelessly, in themselves.
When I was an adolescent and I studied Spanish and algebra, I had the good fortune of distance from my teacher and from the other students. Alone, in the quiet of my thought, I saw the pure forms of grammar and function. Unmolested by involvement in the practical use of these I fell in love with what I now see are transcendent things.
I deal in the One and the many. This is analysis. I make the final cuts purposefully and seriously. I am looking for the splendor. I do not ridicule my own efforts. I expect damage to be done to my earthly life.
The metered phrases here catch and swing the moments of the soul each onto the next until the singular point, then the descent. I write mathematically, parabolicly, antiphonicly.
These things exist in the splendor of unseen isolation. They are known only as mirrored in the complexities.
I see my friends lying quietly within God, but they are not God. I have no ontological doubt but that the Form that they are is God, that He has merely clothed them in that. And yet without that Form they are as nothing to me. Still, naked, they do pierce my mind.
I hold God and not-God together in a single thought, and that together, in a further thought, with the utter non-existence of the not-God. And yet, willing to be neither a pantheist nor an idolater, I fidget. Being seems to be jealous of the very Forms and names of Being and of other beings.
The excess and the fragmentariness of these images, these pawed at literary conceits, that they are distractions and of a sticky purpose, that they glibly speak and they are wet, is perhaps counter to good reading, but philosophy itself will not be read well. Anyway these idols are so idealized and stylized they are of no thing here. Slightly more than a sudden shock, they perhaps …. . They are the chest filling up. They are a groan. They are a falling. They are an embarrassment. Nonetheless, I am a real flesh and blood person and I have been written out in this writing that would be my writing. They are a help along the way leading out.
Dialectics gives one a sinking feeling not only because of the growing difficulty in maintaining order, but also because the one speaking to you is coming onto you. I am, of course, speaking of my speaking of the presence of God now become so close. You fidget. And half plan an escape. Half give in. And you fight the giving in. And you plan your escape from the escape. You have no right to offend or be offended.
The schools teach their students that in the Socratic method we learn the critical examination of ideas. That is not Socrates. Socrates is a Silenius filled with erotic desires. His dialectics is erotic combat. He is no more than a priest in an ancient religion. He intellectually consumes the boy. Today's professors are really trying the same thing, but like Lysius they pretend otherwise.
Thought thinking thought within this Christian civilization has spent most of its time fighting with itself. I suppose I am part of the fight. The Aristotelians will not like my Platonism, and if they are still like the Thomists of the last two centuries they will spare no effort is piling pious vitriol upon me. They're probably not now like that. The fire has subsided. Maybe not. Anyway, their claim is that the Platonist's other-worldly treble-voiced spirituality lands them in bed with lurid sensuality. As for the Platonists, they usually just insinuate that the Aristotelians never could dance, never knew the passions of love, never knew intellectual madness. The Aristotelians are far too moderate, far too helpful, far too boring. It's a question of just what the incarnation is all about. And where the escape from thinking lies. To quiet the fire down or to let it flame up into ethereal plasma. We are made differently.
I learned of this from my frail Pentecostal Grandmother. From her I learned that religion is a fever or it is nothing.
As for the East, where I wrote much of this, it is a joy, in spite of its remaining right behind the closet door. The world is vast and exceedingly beautiful. With the great embrace of a Hindu, I want to take Kim in my arms.
I learned the philosophy of the schools from Gustav Bergmann. He never knew me. I have merely carried his books with me all around the world. I have no idea what he would think of these writings. He took philosophy very seriously. He was polite. He was ferocious in his dialectics. He was in love with something he saw there; I know he was, but he never said so. In the end he knew he had failed, but so what?
Let it only be known that I have poured over his words most of my life, I have loved his ideas, and they are my weapon when, in pleasant conversation, I dare approach the great entangled questions of ontology.
For those of you who have never heard of Gustav Bergmann, that is to say for almost all of you, let me say that his ideas have not gone down well with most who are or would be professional philosophers. His realism, at the end, strikes them as far from anything real. They say that it is counter-intuitive, to say the least. That it is surprising at best. It is a philosophy that many, no doubt, fear would be an embarrassment to be associated with. Poor Bergmann. He has become a mystic. But the Mystics have no interest in him. He is just simply too difficult to understand. The mysticism of the Intellectually Difficult.
In my opinion, this was all inevitable. Platonism, realism, is mystical. Look what has happened to Plato himself, the great source of western philosophy. No one in our universities claims to be a Platonist. Could it be the boys that are everywhere lounging around in his words? Even Bergmann didn't want to go there, though he was always mentioning that "Peter is blond". That I took his ideas where I have is strange, but inevitable, in my opinion. Out of politeness, I use the word "opinion", in spite of the fact that he tried to ground such ontological facts in luminous necessity.
I also admire the God-intoxicated Moltke Gram. Or so he was in real life. He looked directly at existence and stumbled. He was sure he had wasted too much time on earthly boys. When I knew him he told me he thought God would give him fifteen more years. He gave him only one.
The Iowa realists who found ontological things inside the facts of the world, never really believed in those things. They believed in the world, in facts, in Time's creating and destroying. They believed in Difference. And they believed that neither Time nor Difference existed.
This world, the ordinary world, is not the place of philosophical existence, that is to say, it is not the place of the existents. This world is that which is on the way to existence or on the way from existence. It is the passing by and the passing away. It is what could have been and the it once was so. Or so the poets tell us. It is the place of hope and the resultant tears. It is the home of sad songs and tragic tales. It is the place where if existence is given it is rejected as shallow, an affront to the deep knowledge of our Fathers.
In this world every thing receives its momentary shadow of bedewed meaning from another thing and hands it on in a profusion of disappearance. Existence would have been too much anyway for the frailty of this spidery web of delusion. Or so the authors of popular literature tell us. The dewdrops sparkle in the sun and become vapor. And the sun sets. Then the security of non-existence rises and the bedraggled commentary begins.
When I speak of existing things I am found to be a wearisome thing. I go to the boys who are still full of life and for a moment they understand.
I have assumed in all this, somewhat unintentionally, no doubt foolishly, that my reader is dauntingly familiar with the weighty mass of philosophical literature, the great questions and the ill-fated answers, the anguish of final success in reaching an end to thought and the eventual collapse. No one, of course, is familiar with philosophy. It is an unfamiliar weird. Likewise none of us is really daunted by all that. We go on blithely and seemingly willing to take the prize of heaven that is ours. Truth and the Light are easily come by. But the anguish never leaves.
This is realism, which is to say that those things that idealism happily puts in the mind as the work of the mind, the realist finds out in reality or if in the mind not as from the mind.
Consider a set of two things a and b, symbolize it as (a,b). The idealist will say that the setness of the set is contributed by the mind by acting upon a and b. The mind has the power to synthesize. The realist will agree that the set is a thing different from the two elements but that it is an existing thing not of the mind. It is real in the sense that the real is independence from thought. Then the inevitable question arises about the existence of a nexus to unite the set with "its" elements, and the idealists again say that is also of the mind but this time it is from the mind's power to separate. That is to say the ability to separate the unity of set and elements from the set and the elements. The realist sees the nexus as an existing thing not from out of his or anyone's mindworks.
If someone asks you what my philosophy is, tell him this. He believes in the mind-independent existence of strange otherworldly things. He believes that this world is full of particular things real and imagined because there exist particulars quite bare of any form. He believes that these particulars exemplify form because there are Forms for them to exemplify. And of course there is the nexus of exemplification to accomplish just that. He believes that all these many things are many and numbered because of Number and sheer Difference itself. And he believes that all these things gather into order by means of the existence of logical connectives ordered throughout by Order. None of these are in time nor space, time and space being no more than relations themselves exemplified. And if that same someone asks you if all these things are mere concepts provisionally provided for explaining the world, tell him most emphatically No. They are existing things and the world is of them.
You must also tell him that this philosopher sees no way to get from such a broken up collection of things back to the everyday world. Though the nexus was to have accounted for the unity of ordinary things into themselves and into great structures of Being, it failed. Existence, in this philosophy, remains a scattered thing. And the difference between all the pieces of Being is a blanking out returning. Just as the spaces between these words prevent these sentences from ever reaching the unity of thought that I am now and you are for an instant.
The mind, he will have to be told, for me, is not a creator nor a thing that divides or unites. It is an awareness of what is there only. It beholds analyses that move on and go deeper. It is not the analyzing. It merely watches the Cut that is of Being itself. It sees the sigh and the trepidation of existence and knows that that is not mere metaphor. This philosopher believes that the mind sees existence and existing things directly and in themselves.
All of this is way beyond the so-called atoms and quanta of the universe. Even they have given way to analysis. Tell him that those things rest on a more profound base found out only by Philosophy and his turning to look.
Of course there is much more that you could and should tell of me and my philosophy, but that is the subject of these writings and the love affair that is contained in them. None of it is of this place. And I have found no way back.
The twentieth century began in the paradoxes of the logic of logic and in the ineffable positivism of language speaking about language. With such definite description decidedly questionable. Then, after the years failed to overcome the slightest of these nuisances, I end the century in a glib mysticism of linguistic catastrophe, and I shift to a new millennium.
Russell built a ladder into the skies so he might climb out of the paradoxes. Wittgenstein tried to climb up in an instant, throw away the ladder and give up philosophy. He succeeded. And then wrote only the forgettable and the trivially true.
Others through the decades outdid Wittgenstein in writing the sensible and the excruciatingly boring. It was all very good for the drunks and addicts who wanted to prove their respectability. The mystics could speak calmly and scientifically and hide. They all, very much so much, wanted to be able to get a good job in a university and get away from the wars brought on by little men with big ideas. They would gladly accept the littleness of all ideas. And not be accused of corrupting the youth.
Soon the pseudo-science of science stopped. And meta-meta-logic metastasized into mind cancer. And all the innocuous little diacritical marks killed thought. And all the pretty logic and philosophy books were found with student cum stains all over them. The All being, not at all a mere quantifier, but an explosion in the nighttime brain. I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, staved, misty clerical, naked angels, headed tripsters. All of whom and which I misquoted. Churchy copy editors tried to clean it all up, themselves having been overly worried by neurotic mothers. - What in the hell was that all about?
If I philosophically ask about the setness of a set then I have left the ordinary world of social conversation. I could adopt a casual style of writing indicating that the consideration is merely an intellectual insubstantiality, an abstracting that will eventually and always give way to the concretely real. The writing will not call attention to itself; it will be rather frumpy and dowdy; it will not pretend to be the dance of a dancer. It will be academic. I will be accepted by Them. That is nominalism. The setness of a set is only a matter of words from out of the meager existence of a philosopher, a marker on the wrong road to life. Or I could adopt a style caught up in the strangeness of the question itself, relieved to leave the ordinary for another place and thus enter into Philosophy.
Philosophical things are seen directly. Philosophical statements are direct and pointedly concise. Philosophical things do not move in the ways of ordinary things.
I suffer the cut between the world and that non-world where the setness of the set is cut off, that thing that is the set itself cut off from its elements cut off from the inseparableness of the impossibility of separating the set from its elements from the setness from the ordinary never to be reached. I am flickering fire. I am spirit. I am lost in a god. I have become strange. I stand in the ordinary and see my strangeness and I am unable to change anything.
Everything depends on whether or not one uses the word "exists" when speaking of these abstract things. If they do exist then they become philosophically concrete, that is to say, of a different kind of concreteness, and they force the mind into other ways.
Philosophical writings never contain within them a portion that is a summary of the philosophy suitable for an encyclopedia. That is not to say that the philosopher didn't try to write such a piece simply as a help for his readers and for himself; probably he was reaching for that on every page he wrote. But philosophy never appears as a neat little package. The neat little packages that do appear in encyclopedias merely point to a philosophical form in the distance, and that indeed is helpful. I have great respect for those who write them and I do envy them their talent, as I think every philosopher does.
Bergmann also never wrote down, I think never could write down, a succinct characterization of his whole philosophy. William Heald could and did admirably. I can see such a thing, for my own writing, in my mind's eye – sort of, but it is, for me, unwriteable. Why?
I do not have the calm assurance of direction that a faithful cleric has. In my thinking I am flung around like a ball in a pinball machine. The form is brilliantly there, but I am trapped inside it.
Bergmann was forced by the dialectic to dance a dance of contortions. He is hard to follow as he himself follows his unseen partner. He knew that and, I think, he worried about it. He had no choice. The movements of philosophy's dialectic are difficult and necessary.
The philosophical spirit leads wherever He wills and He wills always the most winding of byways. Others have to somehow gather and glean the meaning and meanings of the words that befell the philosopher following this torturous beloved. I thus wish for readers who have the strength required to listen to what are mostly complaints at the ways of love.
In Christianity, the lover of God is to eat his killed body and drink the blood. This is an ancient and powerful idea in our civilization, inside and outside of Christianity. I cannot ignore it. I do not want to. We should not minimize the strangeness and the trembling around this.
It is also deep in our tradition that the Spirit comes into us and we feel faint. To sin against it is horror. Just what that sin is is impossible to understand. The fear of it is real. I write what I must.
This is Dionysian Christianity. Nietzsche wanted too much to be a man of the world for this. Like me, he was just a writer.
The temptation is to fall into the images of the Fantastic. Rather, it is necessary to be crucified on the cross of the unthinkable. There's nothing beyond the shaking that is in you. Thus the lover.
The writer wants to command the reader to read. In the dance of reading the writer wants to lead. In the act of loving, he wants to be the active partner. Inevitably the reader will feel used and abused. And bruised. It's a rough enterprise. Prying open thought. A violent gentleness. And the beloved's kicks against the pricks of tortured words. Semantically messy.
I, of course, try to trap my reader in rhythms. And a call for a culmination and a quiet turning over and it is over. The content is perhaps totally unimportant, and the form is everything, but I think I have here made the form the content and reader and writer are that in the all and nothing of love. Discussion about that point will be useless but also inevitable, and I plan to set fire to it.
I think, in my whole life, I have never had a good discussion about anything. I am the bad boy of talk. I am flippant, arrogant and perverted, or so they say. I am the enfant sauvage of these overly chaste abstractions. The dialectic awaits your disapproving approval. I have been disagreeable from the start. I suppose I am tiresome.
But when I write I am the sweetness of romance and of love's fright. You will of course agree.
To be engaged to such a thing as first philosophy is to be alone with that. It is to be alone. Not just because of the difficulty of it and the lack of another who will do the work of loving it, but because of the jealousy of the god within it. No doubt, he too is trapped by the form of the One and the dialectic of the absolute. He is within love. This engagement it turns out is the engagement of one thing. His arousal is frightening, a herm, and a blowing phallos. Turn back!
I long for someone to speak with about philosophy, but, like Socrates and Jesus, I find only ignorant boys. I know, as did Kierkegaard, the transcendent impossibility of any marriage with them. Finally I speak, not with the boy's speaking, but with his form, and there the god of my philosophy is present.
Philosophical dialectic is violent. Neither gentle dialogue nor eristics, it is erotics, and, if it is dis-cussion, it is that very quashing apart and the close snug. Thus the others prefer silence in my company, or they insist on small talk. Nothing has changed in philosophy for millennia.
The boy running free from the fat and lazy clergy, even baiting them and biting the hand that waits to be kissed, that boy of Whitman and of Emerson's self-sufficiency, he is my prairie whirlwind. He is the naked and the known. He is translucent thought. Outside the corruption of religion. The letters of my writing in their flow attempt his visible form. I have striven here for the unity of form and content. Of thought and appearance. Of mind and body. With the boy I find myself separate from all civilized society. But I do know that we are at the heart of our city. The separate Platonic Erotic Forms. Unspeakable in polite society.
This is, I suppose, a pastoral philosophy, or Arcadian, or something looking back to classical or maybe romantic times. Whatever it is, it is not blatantly materialistic or hardcore or even economic as so many writings seem to me to have to be nowadays. That fact will no doubt repel, even disgust, many as another attempt on my part to avoid the hard truth. To fail to arrive at the good stuff. It is really an attempt on my part to arrive at a more intense tension before the orgasmic release. This is not a casual thing. The hard truth I avoided was merely a present death. Materialism is too relaxed, too much the attempted cure for the ravages of a stressful life. As I see it, nothing is worse than rest when one is not tired and I am not tired. I have time and energy for the intellect. This is a joyful eroticism looking toward the eternal.
I feel a certain affinity to the Arcadian writers and photographers of a century ago. Idyllic, utopian, sentimental. The theme is there always. Extremely erotic. Heartbreakingly inaccessible. Threateningly decadent. Silently pornographic. Academically breathless. Blatantly unsurpassable.
The smoothly rounded leg of a boy, revealing no anatomy beneath, the pure form itself in isolation from the world. So close to the simple idea of thought. In a diffuse white light. A languid inaction. The stillness of heaven. Away from time.
The faun-like peasant boy, the working class broad-shouldered boy, the oversized farm hand, the wet sailors delight – all so natural, so lusty, so accessible when you are there, but, since you are not, your literary contemplation.
They're all rascals, just mischief-makers in the soul. Gods that leave their worshipers and lovers effete and despised. This is the land of danger. The classical and the romantic crashing down.
For a philosopher of my ilk, for a Platonist, there is always a tension between the particular right here and the eternal universal Form tied to that particular. To try to abandon the tension and give up the universal inevitably fails. The hard truth is that the eternal universal simply is and it impinges the mind. And the tie between the particular and the universal swelters. And the mind falls into the heat. And there is no resolution except the certainty of this god's entangled presence with you.
This is the classical stance, the romance of Being. It is the tradition that unites lovers across time. It is the abolition of our constrained existence in a greater Constraint.
As a boy I spent my time with mathematics books and wooded cliffs. And, of course, my advancing sexual desire. I learned to reconstruct the world into a lovers' tryst. I was intense with the flash of argument. I found companions in the spirits of other times. I abandoned time. I plotted seductions. I led boys down primrose paths. I drove them mad. I walked back home enjoying myself. The words were always moving in my mouth.
The blatant would have seen nothing in my walk. They in fact never did.
These writings do have a place to call home in the history of western philosophy. They are from high up in the same Platonic jet stream that has now and then brought extravagant cultural winds to this and that plain or plateau churning up the spirit matching the earthly upheavals below us. A wind-home. Up in a history that at every moment almost blows itself into nowhere.
To somewhat characterize such Platonic times I will use the standard encyclopedia entries. These are the times of the emanations from Alexandria, of the falling gods of Augustine's Rome, of Rumi's passionate Iconia, of Anselm's lovely logical God-trap, of San Juan's dry Andalusia, of the anatomical Renaissance, of the timely Shakespeare, of the so Victorian Oxford, of Whitman's libidinous Manhatta, of pioneer Pentecostal Iowa so fiery so desperate. Of so many other places, all of which can also be shown to be non-Platonic.
They are the times of High Church. Theatrical pomp. Bureaucratic inter-twinings intrigued about by fastidious clerics. Money. Corrupt lovers. Great mathematical abstractions. Magnificent expenditures of spirit. Heavily engineered cantilevers out over heaven. And catastrophic collapses. All in all, quite a show. Not a time of petty bourgeois family life. Not a time of low-german cleanliness.
And in all of that there were those Glorious Boys. And the rocking rhetorical rhythms. Sunlight and lit-up nights.
The simple life, the maiden and cottage, the skeptic's retiring tired unbelief were and are of another time and place. The Great Winds are so destructive to all that.
This Place, this whooshing stratospheric home, is not for the everyday and the ordinary person, and we are all such persons. Neither I then nor the boys now are the Glorious Boy. Platonism is literary, high art. To force one here to wear that crown is asking too much. The transcendent and this place cannot be mixed together. And yet, I have a religion in which that supposedly did happen. The ordinary boy Jesus, so unlike a god, was the High God and we are asked to believe that against all evidence that it was so. Such is faith and such is our faith in our own divinity and we are little better than confused.
These pages are rhythmical prose. They are the lyrical, smooth roundness of the sexual body. They are sudden change and then startling prolongation. The reader must consent to be moved about and taken in by that. Thus time and timing are the still essence. In the caught up breath, understanding comes with the gathering. Then the release. And the forgetting. The periodos.
The One gathers and then emanates. The One gathers itself to itself. The boy goes into himself. The night lingers inwardly. And then the Shout and everything is out and the stars splatter and the clamor and the commotion and the claw retracts. Work sets in again. He waits.
The sentences move on. Nothing memorable has been said. Only the saying in its rhythmical saying has soothed the need in the call of transcendence.
It is important to keep in mind, when reading this, just what the erotic is. Eros was the child of Poverty and Plenty. He is not the beautiful. He follows after the beautiful. He is desire for the desirable. He is not the ugly. He runs from the ugly. He is the beauty of desire and the ugliness of not having. He speaks well. He speaks more than well; he speaks like a god. He is a god. He is a terrible god.
This is an attempt at an otherworldly writing. An attempt to be the words of something other. The temptation is to think that I have failed and to bask in the sunlight of no god present. I have not failed. The god is here. The words do cross over. Their meaning is fiery and not here.
My understanding of Christianity is also Pauline. We cannot save ourselves from destruction. No amount of following any law, no amount of being good is of any avail. No amount of penance, no correctness of belief, no public confessing of one's faith in any god or God is the slightest bit adequate to the task of salvation. There is no contract or covenant or deal one can make that is any more than fleeting breath. There is nothing you can do to stop your final failure and oblivion. It will be done to you if it is to be done.
Because we know love so well we know the failure of love to love, and thus we know the necessity of the love that lifts us up or we are lost. All of love is outside the law. It is a vision of the Beloved directly without such an intermediary. He is naked in his nakedness. Strikingly. A strange thing is in us. I have my hand around it. Thus Christianity is the lover's love. It is a holy shudder. It is the desire for the strangeness of flesh.
The Herm is the instrument of creation and I create. And because I have chosen, or been chosen, to create spiritually, and not materially, I have taken to boys, following the ancient way, following, or being led along, the intense inward turning. To Him.
To create is to let out. I am pregnant with the fullness of Being. I write. I spill out on white paper. Spirit arrangements. Strewn tresses. New caresses. Car recesses receding. Readings. For you. Because you were the most beautiful of all. Here on this long night's journey to heaven. Far, far out.
Surely this is all pretended acroamatics and there is nothing to it! A useless accusation. Overly spiritual boy lovers are in this civilization to stay and they will insist on it. Faint Platonism will abound at the boundaries forever. The leap across and the cross, hermeneutically speaking, threaten unceasingly. The strangeness strengthens.
But I have said too much already.
The Herm will stop you fixed. On the path. On the way. To any beyond you might have been thinking. The way beyond will be lost. Thought will dilate and be simply no more. And you will say nothing about what has happened.
That I write about boys and that moment of intense beauty that belongs only to them and the groaning of desire in their exaggerated groin and about flying waves of hair that is the very entanglement of life is too much for even you, I am sure, as it is for us all. This familiar is the unfamiliar that drives us out and little is left except religion. So I have written a prayer to that. A long complex prayer full of academic delays and dialectical puttings off. I spin it into the one Boy.
The beautiful male with the big member – that is what God put at the very center of creation and who am I to fail to praise Him for his work. I cannot fail. I faint. I feign coherence. I am come undone. I too am created that. But I am a self-reflective philosopher.
The very explosiveness and the rush has made me wonder and wander. I dig in along the road with my tool. Grave engravings of that thing. I am the maker of this herm you will read. I write my own herm up.
You will be fixed and transfixed by that simply because I have mentioned it to you. You know all about it all already. You will say nothing. You will know and be muoumenos, the closed-mouth mystic. The beautiful boy with his big dick is way too much. And you will simply go about your business and think to yourself nonthoughts.
From the beginning the basic ideas of Plato have been changed and changed and changed. Who knows for what hidden reasons. Who knows why some have returned again and again. Nonetheless, throughout its history Platonism has been ineluctably one with the boys of its mystical eroticism. The accusation is that it leads to degeneracy. One could say in defense against this that it is the unnecessary association with romantic love that does so and Platonism is too otherworldly to stop it. Not paying proper attention to the things here in the cave has led to madness. That, however, begs the question of a necessary connection and we are back to the difference between science and Philosophy.
Therefore, Philosophy, in the orgy of capital letters, is boy love. Few agree. It is transcendent. It is of the immateriality of the immaterial. It is a generation in the timelessness of pure form, which is to say, hardly generation at all. The intellectual creations of the Platonic soul are, as are these writings, ethereal nothings – so like the kisses of boys – an intensity vanishing.
In my philosophy, that before me is the simple exemplification of a simple Form, alone in itself, away from the swelter of the many things, finally true in a final Truth. It is all clearly seen and immediately known.
As for the boys, Platonism without these boys hanging around isn't Platonism. They are the gods of Extreme Realism, the great masculine orgy of capital letters. I suppose a philosophy that didn't go all the way could do without them, but, now I ask, what would be the pleasure of that!
Even Nietzsche said that it was the beauty of the boys of Athens that started this great burst of energy. He also said that one's sexuality is at the topmost part of the spirit. The Power of God claws its prey away from home and family to transcendent realms – that is Platonism. All else is domesticity.
In vino, in ira, in puero veritas est.
These are religious writings, and, therefore, they are, of course, not of the ethical. They are of the unspeakable. And that I have spoken at length of it is answer enough. The kisses of this god are outside the Law. That I drink his blood is protected by a ghostly other from arrest.
If the love in this book is distasteful for you, just stop reading. There is no law human or divine, no ethical requirement, no need, for you to go on. It's ok.
The fact is that in this book these matters will appear again and again and you will have no appeal against their incessant returning.
For those of you who find my style annoying, adolescent, confusing, or any of a great number of other things, please know that I am unable to write in any other style. That sadly, kept me from getting anywhere in the schools, and forced me to work menial fobs, where at least the boys were prettier. I dearly wish I could also write in high academic prose, but I would never give up this style to be able to do that. I delight in my style and I see no reason, other than plain prejudice, why you can't also. It really does have a secret scholarly spirit working within it.
Because I have not had a place in the schools, or in business, and I have had no family of any kind to depend on me and I own no property in the least, I have found a great freedom to write what I really think. That freedom, alas, has not given me the skill to write it nor a sure knowledge of what it is I do think. Thus I depend, not on skill and sure knowledge, but on some genius working within me. It is all very questionable. And yet, I have never doubted it.
I was a small town boy with visions of Being itself. Like Socrates, I was concerned with the homely things of life, but like him I found myself conversing with myself about what are surely majestic things. I was erotic like him. I could spy on lovers in love. Like him I started arguments. I knew stories of God and the ways of God. I eventually learned to write. Socrates never learned that. I have no Plato to write me so I became my own Plato.
These writings are casual and meandering, but they are also tight with transcendence. They are friendly, but they are, I think probably surprisingly, also about the terror of the human mind before the holy. Eros is a great god. Logic and onto-logic are the Logos. Eternity is disconcertingly present in a glance. And a simple turn of a thigh grows large. I and the divine together clash and the unity of my words/the words isn't.
Nietzsche's madman goes through the streets mournfully proclaiming the coming darkness because we have killed God. The very word, because it was the symbol of majesty, is unwanted. Surely he is right. Whatever that Majesty might have been is thankfully nowhere. The church now lifts up the ordinary and the homely. And the idea of Man we love is that of the finite. And there is only this world. It is said.
Analytic philosophy has come to view the flaccid phenomenal thing. There is no more Mania, philosophical Eros does not spread its wings, all strength reveals itself as weakness. The Empyrean plain is no more than what is seen out on Hwy 10. Boys, after all, should not have to endure an old man's visions. Old men now have no visions.
The darkness is deep.
With Heidegger I await the Light. I say the words and I somehow know. I write what grandeur I do see. The erotic does still swell up.
The human body and a paragraph are each able to withdraw and be the forgotten carrier of an idea. Just as a good waiter in a restaurant brings the food and is himself as nothing. That is the formless form of modern philosophy. I have not written such a paragraph nor have I demurred maidenly to present myself. I have not been a medium for another thing. My words have laid themselves out in their own form. The sword is not sheathed. It glistens and it curves straight out.
The rhythm of a sentence brings it back to itself. The constant acceleration finally breaks and the white background shades into thought. The boy dreams himself. He waits and you eat. And a hair has fallen into your eyes. The vanishing was never affected. He hung out with you.
This is the self-being that the Buddhists so dreaded. This is the logos of a god being himself to himself. This is the whirlpool of thought you are sucked into.
The boy thinks. He has before his mind's eye the final ontological distinctions. He feels the still movement across the form of his flesh.
In constant flight, in the chaos of the godhead, in the question and the questionable answer, he is the purity of the Necessary.
Philosophy asks about the final things, or it isn't philosophy. It sees the first things, or it sees nothing. It feels the overcoming. Or it is mere preparation.
Discursive thought runs and runs to where the path disappears and keeps on running into the bright intellectual night. Then it is in Philosophy. The heart rises to the throat and the mind's brain is compressed. And abstractions streak jaggedly.
The boy walks and lies down and thinks. He is the final form of thought. He is the form of your thought now. He is what you have always been.
The difficulty that many of my readers will have with my writing is not that there are boys present erotically all through it, but the religion that is made from it. This is Platonism. This is the philosophy of universals. In the battle of the gods and the giants, I am decidedly on the side of the gods. I do not speak metaphorically. By putting boys and the abstract together, I seem to go against both the full-bodied sensualism and the clean mathematicism of the twentieth century. The cry will be – hard logical analysis or hard sex but no theology of transcending Platonic love combining them. In other words, don't bring in timeless placeless universals, no Platonic Forms, no fiery flights of the alone to the Alone, and sweet sighing. Let the difficulty be merely syntactical and semantic, not the impossible demands of a too destructive love.
The boys here are the vision of the presence of the transcendent. Ordinary presence has become Presence. The heart pounds, the groin aches, the mind reels in thought, the obliteration of the timeless is right there. It's too much. This is not a deconstructionism of a non-mystical absence. This is not the relaxed.
My point is this, sensualism, no matter how robust, and analysis, no matter how disinterested, are forms of a faint idealism. The end of the affair, for both, is disintegration into nothing. At the end of the day the fiery sensualist and the analyst go home and turn on the light and fall asleep in the chair. They dream that they were about to say something, but now they forget.
It is true that the gods seem like so many dreams to us and that religion is worn out at best, but we have never been adverse to rebirth as a people so why not again the glorious thing? And everyone will agree that some of these boys here present at fleeting moments do seem more like gods than anything human, but we fear making anything of it. We fear the beauty of boys. We fear its ephemeral passing. We fear the passing. We fear being left alone. We fear the unreachable, unhaveable transcendence of the gods. We fear breath suddenly leaving the chest. The unease, the difficulty, of the universal.
This writing is a production, a thing made, thus it is poetry according to the ancient meaning of that word. It is complex and worldly and human and self-consciously a finite thing embedded in another finite thing. I won it with my flesh, and it was no more than a thing from out of the peculiar language these my people suffer. A writing such as this is not a holy thing from beyond. Just as any beauty I see here as a turning of waist or glancing of eyes is no more than biological life. Or so it might be said. The still underside awaits.
To do philosophy is to search for the simple things that ground this finite complex world. It is to search for the non-human, wholly other thing. It is to be struck into stillness by one thing. It is to be left staring at a thing not made.
I suppose I started the study of philosophy in order to come to terms with a power I saw and felt. It was not an attempt to discursively reason about the ordinary world, but an attempt to run after and catch that thing that had made me, at the time of its appearing, unable to run, unable to reach for it. I was searching for the power of words that had then overwhelmed my ability to speak. I needed an ordering to match that perfect Order. I wanted to write a transcendent still noesis. I did not want another human production.
I am comforted in the awareness that ordinary biological life here sometimes, surprisingly often, is more than merely that. Sometimes the beauty here is transcendent and violent. I do believe; I am forced to be religious.
The philosopher enters another world of ontological things. Magical things. Erotic things. Paradoxically vivacious things. The dialectic swells.
The boy is free. The strength has come. The fullness of life breaks out in blossoms everywhere. He escapes, for the moment, the demands and the obligations of society. He defines the faith of the one with perfect command. He holds the hermetic reed.
I write the rhythms of the music of intellectual night. The glorious weight of Love. The Glory. The perfect continuum of the rounded thigh. The foray into the mysterium. A mouth come closing onto waiting mouth. A burning fragrance.
The moment passes and comes to rest in eternity. We wait. He will come again.
This is the land of existence. Two that are one. The one cutting itself into two. The vastness of the far expanse inside the simple sparkling point. The disappearing difference. Deferred breath. Blanking out under the blankets. Worlds glistening with Reality. A hand suddenly over your mouth.
The nexus and the universal that have always been. He has tied himself up in inextricable knots. That this savior has come into time is the unthought thought. I have explained him out onto the Plains the best I could.
This is not a psychological study of life; rather this is the changing of life into the transcendent stillness of the mathematical. Though I write in the first person, I am not in this work, except as the one under the spell of Philosophy. Perhaps you are also that one. I write of the boy, but it is really of the Boy, the same one written of through the centuries in divine love poetry, the god, the destroyer of any common life here. He is the weird inside every boy. He is the purely mathematical. The final revolution.
Here there is only Being; there is no non-being present anywhere. There is only Light without darkness. There is only Life; living and dying are nowhere. Here there is only the Wakefulness of God. That I write and then sleep is not of this.
I write only of the open and the public. The boy alone in his room contemplates around him, in him, on him the universal Forms. He dreams of the open agora, of the eye of God, of showing himself to his beloved. He dreams of getting away from the hidden enfoldings.
This is the classical Presence of metaphysics. The Universal, the Eternal, the Simple Things. Being divides into all the categorical things of Being. And that dividing is incomprehensible. The One becomes many, and that is a surd the terrible mechanics of which is not to be found out. God becomes flesh and that flesh is consumed and the eerie thing moves about. Death transfigures and we are thrown among the stars. Life here stops.
Perhaps you are one with a taste for these changes and you are the First Person. Perhaps the Boy god has his hook in you. Perhaps you shudder.
I write for those who still understand the madness of the Phaedrus, who know that the beloved boy of Rumi is God Himself, and who have known the happy chance that St. John of the Cross found in his dark night. I write for those who believe that a vision of the final things of philosophical analysis is still seen at the culmination of erotic desire. And for those for whom mathematics is pure beauty.
An introduction to a piece of
writing is not and should not be, I suppose, a writing itself. Hesitating, I
wonder if I can then write this introduction. An introduction is rather a
speaking about the writing. For those of you who have listened to yourself and
others discuss the words you yourself, at another time put down, a very
different solitary time, for you the fright at the prospect of such a
discussion happening again is overwhelming, I imagine. And I see myself here
writing these words down. This will inevitably be a writing about the writer
encountering the non-written word. I don't think I have to describe the
situation in any revealing detail as I am sure you know very well what I am
writing. But this is an introduction and I am discussing this with you gently
and perhaps you have something to say on the matter. No matter, such saying
only says what we have all already been saying for a long time. And the tedium
of the long time settles in again. I think in the end there is nothing to say
about my writing, or I don't want there to be, or I do want there to be with
the understanding that there really is nothing and we speak only to fall into
the stupor of the ineffable and be comforted. Discussions should be a love
fest of destruction. Speaking tears up the written page; let the destruction
begin. A marvelous orgy. Remembering always that a transcribed orgy is
worthless and it is certainly not a piece of writing.
In these writings you will find no examination of historical texts recent or ancient, no engaging in debate with other philosophers present or absent, no presentation of hypotheses speculative or empirical; you will find only me entangled in the sheets of the eternal. This is erotic worship. This is bakti. This is submission. I let original Philosophy think itself through me. I am the loving friend of the Sophos. Of Sophia, the boy-queen of heaven. Maybe Sophon, the neti neti.
I did much of my early writing amid disco lights moving spinning dragging me along to a blissful supernatural transcendental Kiss. I was over-sexed and under-loved. The words came to me rhythmically.
The fundamental elements of Being are no more the lifeless things of contemporary analysis than are musical notes mere mechanical harmonics. The Spirit is there. The shock and the solicitation. To visit them is a night out. They are the stuff of love. But you knew that already. Or is your brain Miss wired?
This kind of philosophy is not so far from ordinary philosophy. It is as close to the world of academic analysis as the eternal Forms are to you sitting there right now. I really do love the texts and the debates and the hypothesizing, but love is never invited to the sober symposia where such is on agonistic display.
Then the dialectic sets in. The universal eternal faces the merely right here. The hard things of thought and the hard things of the sexually present. I work the logical connectors and the feel is that of working the boy. The mass builds and moves on. It is all so different from the soft and the social. The dialectic does not fit with academic politeness. The final analysis is too much for historical gossip. Love is blinding and nerves shatter.
In philosophy the abstract and the concrete collide. I write of the most refined ontological connectors, that which is visible only to the intellectual spirit and I am high in the abstract but at the same timeless time I am relating a vision of the most present beauty. This, I suppose, is what has been called philosophical intuition. I see the things of Being directly, strikingly, erotically. The lover is present. I walk the hard concrete of his streets. Essences are a fine fragrance. The dry books of his library become moist. We grow together and I am drawn off.
I never could master the type of writing that is so needed in an academic journal. I could write it but it resisted love's command and I laid it aside. Nonetheless, those writings are an essential part of these non-academic rhythms, plain prose is not far and staid analysis is close at hand. But I speak too calmly. The closeness is a collision and a catastrophe. Thus it is essentially love. Gentle love being, as far as I can tell, an oxymoron in this world. Academicians and editors merely feign such and are thus disreputable things – street boys know they are jerks. And yet even street boys, at times, will surrender anything for a warm bed. What can I say, we operate from within the eternal forms.
Please do not make an abstraction out of this union of the concrete and the abstract. Hegel did that, but he did have the good sense to put it inside an incomprehensible poetics. Kierkegaard kept them apart with the idea that consciousness was their unity in doubt and paradox, but he too ended up too abstract and he never could get to the beloved. Camus gave up and then wrote beautiful novels from the desert of the human soul, but out on that desert he found no boy and that final emptiness is intolerable. The analysts, wanting to be merely good citizens and moral, became that and retired with a pension. I, the most concrete rationalist, am just a mess.
This is not finally and in the long run a study of Man; it is not the finite desperately trying to reach the infinite and failing. It is not the mordant dance. It is not about the generations of Man and the successful and unsuccessful attempts to meet the needs of Man. It is not about the night's smile of succumbing after the long day's work. It is not a celebration at having averted the Glance at the truth. This is not about the family of Man. And if I say it is a religion of the Other, I thus do not mean that it is any kind of vision of the Idea of Man simply transferred onto the face of God.
This is about a man and then all men simply as the one and the ones who have been directly and presently struck by that which finally and in the infinite running is not Man. One on one. No failing. No averting. No mordancy. A glance in the sustaining of the Instant. The Boy's eternal cheek on yours. On mine. The crime. The escape. This is direct realism. I see and possess the final thing. Then I am not a man.
But, I am here, finally, not allowed to be not a man. My sentences run on.
In this book, which is not a book but a repetition, I have literarily, that is to say, in beautiful sentences, laid out the one thing, that thing that goes by the name of Platonism, but which probably wasn't, and which is loved by so many now hidden from view. Flashes of eternity. Almost nothing. Maybe nothing at all. That Boy glances. Timelessly. And thus never. Or, if ever, then only syntactically and strangely. Splashes of paternity denied. The race ended and was won before it started. The watchers watch tirelessly.
Platonism with its separate Forms is rejected out of hand. By all but those for whom I write. Those in this religion that never was. Those chosen and now frozen. In the placelessness of place. Here. Face it, the rhetoric was grand, though panned, and like sand. My Dear. My lovely animal. It is for you that I yell into subterranean passageways. Language is like a sandwich in reverse eating.
This book begins finally at the chronological beginning of my writing. That is not a very good place to begin because the sentences are rather inarticulate and their flow is unmellifluous (!), the loved objects within them are too juvenile and their appearance again is embarrassing, and the Idea came too quickly. Nonetheless, as I progressed in writing and thinking little changed. The end writings are merely more convolutedly the same. The little chanting monkette within remained more or less Johnny-one-note.
I think it would be helpful to my reader if I described or laid out the philosophy I do NOT hold. A thinker, it is well agreed, must be able to set up his opponents' ideas or his own ideas will not come to stand. The thinker, in fact, erects his ideas in conscious opposition to the other. But where to begin?
We will begin at the beginning, which is also the end. The Beginning and the End. The Absolute. The Absolute is the complete system of inter-related inter-relatings that makes up everything that is and was and will be. It is the Whole. Each part is of itself nothing except in its relation to everything else. All existence is conditional. All things have meaning only within the context of everything else. Everything is what it is only when seen within, from, a certain point of view. And that viewpoint is what it is only within a wider context of a broader point of view all the way up to the Absolute, which is everything all together. Thus nothing really exists; everything is and is what it is only in relation to all the other things. Only the absolute is. The parts abstracted out in isolation are mere concepts, nothings. Away from the dynamic of the whole the pieces die. This is NOT my philosophy.
If I say "This is red" or "This is a dollar bill," it is so only if seen in a certain environment, under certain conditions, dependent on language and culture etc. etc. etc. Thus the statements are literally false. They do not correspond anything objectively out there, except as dependent on …. etc.etc. thus truth depends on so much and so many that there is no truth and thought is lost, except conditionally on …. etc. etc. Nothing at last can really be said. The thinker wallows in uncertainty about saying anything at all. This is NOT my philosophy.
According to my opponents' philosophy there are no universals. There are only momentary concepts, lifeless abstractions, dead intellectualizing all falling before the power of the Absolute, which, more often than not, becomes the social group and its speaking to itself. The individual is lost, the crowd is world creating. This is NOT my philosophy.
The philosophy of the Absolute is a very serious thing. It is overly intellectual in the bad sense of the word. It is endlessly verbose in its laying out of all the scientific inter-relating inter-relations. It is always deferential to the group. It is unbelievably boring, it seems to me, in its denying existence to the individual, the simple one thing, except of course as he belongs to the group, the society, right up to the Absolute. I am bored with this.
As for the mind-body dualism problem, computerized scanning has revealed that the brain is no more than an intricate network for the gathering and dispersion of electrified fluids. Consciousness is not there, and to say that it arises out of that fluid is some bad poetry left over from high romanticism. A lot of high school boys have been suicidally attracted to that.
This is a Platonic work, but I am going to use an Aristotelian idea to describe the Narcissus boy of philosophical dreams. This boy who is an end in himself. The entelechy of the reflective gaze. The Form lounging with itself. The Act. Rising up tight push. Out there. Two one crotch nexus mind gorging self, head back. This is logic logicizing. Finished. I do not write the white lace of decay. I write the slickness of white skin full flesh three-dimensional. The Itself itself.
The first principles and the first things of Being. The object of the philosophical gaze. The articulate boy. The eudaimonia of looking. Unattached. Immortal. The Sun. Entelechies lounging on the Isles of the Blest. A gay aristocracy. So unwelcome in this workers' state. Finally not here at all.
Freedom! But higher than that, the absolute enslavement by desire. The boy looked about, unsteady. Resurfacing from the dream is momentarily unsettling. His head slightly lowers and he remembers where he was and knows how close it still is. Surely this boy has more to offer himself than the dead undesirous ones do. Sweet reaching. Sweeter still unattainment. He attains. Only God can have it both ways.
The perfectly free entelechy is a questionable thing. Satisfaction in the absolute of the unsatisfied. The mind reaches itself. It creates itself in its not being itself and, in that, arriving at itself – of course it does, the logic of the knowing act requires it. The Act. An audacious thing. The very pure itself. The world is born in the soul that has become as nothing.
So I desire. And if my desire is strong enough to annihilate all undesire, and I am nothing but a reaching (quite literally a nothing at all for myself, a magical thing) then the Form enters into my long lengthening out and I become that. And more than the Form, I am the unformed thing of that which holds the Form, the bare thing, the particular particular. And I am the unspeakable intimacy of Form and that bare thing. I am the holding of beloved by his lover. I am the end of desire in desire, that impossible unity. I, by my being pure desire, am that. The words pile up.
Where to begin? With the questionable and the audacious. I will begin with The Phaedrus.
"When the lover sees a godlike face or the form of a body that is a good imitation of the beautiful, at first he shudders and some of the former awe takes hold of him; then, as he looks at it he reveres him like a god and, if he didn't fear that he would be thought completely mad, he would sacrifice to the boy as though to an agalma and a god." Phaedrus 251a
Plato is usually thought of as denigrating the senses as giving a weak and distorted image of the real. But in the Phaedrus, and not only there, he writes of an earthly vision of divine beauty. And, instead of a sluggish response, the one who sees this thing with his eyes answers with a shudder of holy awe (agal). This is the Theoria of philosophical contemplation. I write of that. I have been overcome by that thing often in my traveling life and I am goaded on by my own unease to write it into this place, these words, as my public accounting.
Any such confession is troubled by the unsettling fact that upon seeing this awesome thing one is instantly thrust out of familiar territory into another place and thought searches for a way out of its bewilderment into ordinary understanding, but it finds none. The way from this certain and vigorous thing back into everyday uncertainty and weak shadows is gone. The way back from the Plato who sees the Real with his senses to the Plato who writes of shadows is not written down in any of his dialogues. And modern thinking has been too frightened to admit that this other thing exists. Today's thinkers deny the Forms and simply insist on the shadows. They are comfortable with the shadows. Or is it that the theoretic, the philosophic, spirit that "sees" is a freak? Made mad by the heat of a foreign sun.
Caveat - Before the Light comes. Before the vision shines. Before the god appears, there must be the Fire. The heat. The Tapas of meditation. The burning must rise in the soul of the one who would see. The friction of repeating repeating repeating the blessed words must set the scene ablaze and burn away the world of undergrowth. The water from underneath must rise up and call down the fire, the blaze from above. The devastation. The vast openness. The smooth shimmering ash. The dusky effulgence. The twilight god.
These divine visions that Plato writes of are, it is true, hardly ordinary. They are something other that has invaded the ordinary. It is as though a rigid formal thing from an apocalyptical writing, a jeweled magical being, stands, leaving the skin of the out there broken. It soon vanishes and all the shining holiness that was on the boy is washed off by the whisk of the everyday. Still, it was there clearly visible for a moment. The eyes did see. And then they become as though full of a compacting fluid seeping into the brain leading to a bellowing headache.
So now we, you and I, must search for the meaning of holiness. The Agh, the Awe, the Unapproachable. That agalma was there. The effulgence of lightening, the stun of thunder, the striking, the slaying in the spirit, heady stuff for us in this Theoria. Hardly more than a momentary gap in the awareness of others. When you meet such a youthful beauty, as you must eventually if you haven't already, that boy will cause you to be still and look at him only glancingly. You do understand even now. The intensity assails you. It crams in. No other thoughts are possible for the time being. That is Plato. That is Platonic love. It is not that weakened sexless soul-mate stuff spoken of in magazines.
It is an otherworldliness that is sometimes right here. It is a foreign thing attacking directly on. And it is of course a challenge to those other would-be beauties here that vie for man's love. Such Platonism is denied place and reviled and finally forcefully ignored because it gives place to irresistible competition. The arrestingly beautiful boy, if allowed to stay, causes the family business to remain undone and he is a home wrecker. But no worry, he will go of his own accord very soon. There must be a strict separating of the sacred from the profane - I speak as an anguished lover.
"… the charioteer sees the face of the boy which is flashing like lightening." Phaedrus 254b
I would add for myself, "… and my own blood pounds like thunder in my ears." In the astonishment and effulgence I rear up. And I want to sacrifice to the boy. But what do I sacrifice? A mere libation seems so meager. I think of something Christian. I think of the dying god. And I want to eat him myself. And drink him in. I want that stern thing in me.
So there is more than simple theoria at a distance. Like a Dionysian maenad, I dream the fine dream of eucharistically devouring this holy flesh and blood. Thin spirituality shimmers over my body. My dialectical lust rises. The delicacies of apophantic deconstruction. I swallow the holy thing. I regurgitate the Light. I write. I meet my desire.
But I only write. I imagine my physical mouth bleeding from the constraining bit. I deliquesce uncontrollably into calm and lucent rhythms. I pray I do not forget and die into a dead unmoving academic prosaic mass.
I begin my approach with a few simple questions, to him, from the Dialectic. What is mind? What is time? Impossible questions. Thrusting questions. Into the outer places. Away from here. Into the presence of aporetic swirling gods. The boy is nowhere and unable to find an answer to these questions. Face to face with himself, he falls into the sheen of his own skin.
So I begin by taking the boy out of here. I present to him quickly disappearing pathways. He is stopped still in nowhere. Religious things rise up. It's inevitable.
Dialectics is the approach to the gods. To the far places. To the loud roar in one's own ears. To dry swirling dust. And to the Jolting and the Sudden. In the dark unseeing, He has seen. Silence. At last the boy must try to return home to give form to that silence in words.
Then the difficulty. He is the turning that has gone back into himself. He has become the universal form. He isn't. God is. The Boy is Himself. Agh.
Again and again. Like a Dionysian maenad, I dream the fine dream of eucharistically devouring holy flesh and blood. Thin spirituality shimmers over my body. I write down my dialectical lust. The delicacies of apophatic deconstruction. I swallow the holy thing. I regurgitate the Light.
I meet my desire. I only write. I imagine my physical mouth bleeding from the constraining bit. I deliquesce into calm and lucent rhythms.
When I was a young college student, hardly more than a boy, and I was being imbued with the mathematical, and the spirit of the abstract was skimming me across the countryside, I took out along the Volga River of Fayette County. Walking, almost gliding, down sunny golden gravel roads I had visions of pure forms hanging before my eyes. Perhaps it was my hay fever, but I was in love. I remember so distinctly seeing Equality itself right there. I called it that, but maybe it was what Plato called The Same. Two that were one. This is the heart of repetition, I see now. It is the secret of the theoria of universals. Repeating repeating repeating. The Heat of the eternal day. The Blaze. The Light. The vast thing. And the devastation of one's life after.
My philosophic theorizing was always with me. Over and over. My mind grew hot with the friction of dialectical separating. Peel off this, peel off that, and then the precious thing would appear. I walked the halls going over the forms, again and again. And then the vision. And then the face of a real boy would beam up. The god. And desire, hot desire. Love. Light. Until eventually, back in my room, sleep.
That is philosophy. Philosophy is not the recounting of a grim human comedy of errors that the smiling, would-be wise try to publish.
Such a philosopher, such a lover of Saphes the Clear, rides above the horror and the tumult of life. At least while he is in the presence of the beloved he can think of no such dark things. But then again, perhaps it is the close presence of such disturbing things that thrust the young philosopher out to this other place. Such psychologizing does have its place, I suppose, for those who make a science of the displaced or for those who relish the delights of literary thumping, but I am here speaking of the real, not of shadows.
Anguish pales over the thoughts of the one returning. I knew that I would never make my way with ease in the world. I was an inhabitant of that other place. In books I saw the outlines of an otherworldly topology. The topography was often strangely incoherent, but I made it cohere by the stickiness of my constant pressing on it. I have spent my life at border crossings. I have never had to bribe my way through. I simply came and went. Few took notice, which is as I wanted it.
Though I write of pain and paradox, of anguish and unanswered questions, of blindness and blanking out, I have not written any less than the joy of love. There is nothing of final despair or ultimate death. There is only terminal happiness. Thus I have failed to achieve a worldly seriousness. And literary depth seems to have escaped me. I write the boy of light, not the tomb of regained sleep. There is a tumescent erectness in my final thoughts. The wane and ebb of lumbering death does not excite me. At last there is only the plenum. Being is.
The Forms are known through erotic intuition; well, yes that is well known by those who can read and have read Plato. But, though they also read there that the dark horse of desire finally leads the charioteer of the soul to bloody exhaustion, that is forgotten. The Forms are close, too close for comfort. Like the men of Sodom we want to take and know them intimately, but No, we can't. What to do? The struggle is intense. Still, without the vision, which inevitably leads to such an end, there is no knowledge of the Forms. Desire and its exhaustion are an essential part of the contemplative enterprise. We philosophers are all men of Sodom. The angels of the One are desirable.
There are, of course, those who deny such matters. They say that there is no intuition of such things. That only a sober non-erotic analysis preserving the well-ordered decorum of the ordinary world will lead to knowledge that is useful. In that they are correct. Usefulness is not a part of divine theoria. Or it’s a twisted transcendental Using.
So now, here I sit bloodied and humiliated by my not having the courage to take as mine the spoils of philosophical war. The beauty got away. Or in my purity I let it go. What good is purity? Or is it other? Have I not overcome that sense of the Mine and Thine? Have I not lain down in the dust of universal Being? Have I not gained the transcendent Beauty more intimately? This blood is the eucharist of my own destruction. And now … or I am an ordinary failed sodomite. Why did Socrates refuse to take Acibiades when he had won a place in his desire? The one who will not take what he has won is despicable. But I am and Socrates was a bloodied thing and who could tolerate the sight of that in the beloved's eyes? Eros plays rough with me. And I am thee.
The fact that language has come to us to be possessed by us, that with it we can now reach out and hold on tight to what is not actually there, that possible worlds appear and glance at us, that, strikingly, the first world-creating existents existing display themselves before us even into non-being itself, and that with it we grasp the world as a lover - all that should not make us forget that we and language are two and not one, that the fusion of thought to word has left a scar that we softly stroke in our sleep. And yarely cozen wisdom from nightmares. Buckled up, we speed on.
The fact that, armed with language, we become fiery imaginings rising into the far sky of thought. Colors and sounds now unhindered by dull matter. Ethereal fragrances. Twilight lips with their threatening touch. A tongue that speaks. And thought. Thought, language and image – that fact reveals three, not one – a trinity derived from raving Being. Subtle distinctions in my roving metaphysical mind. Careening wildly in this intellectual night. A god is with me. Things come undone and analyze themselves perfectly.
The great mathematical arches, the Sky, the Boy splayed out as though on a cross. I imagine. The boy curled up in the going inward, on his bed, he flies. I watch. He lies still. Numbers coalesce magically. And displace themselves into a higher order of things.
Such erotic intellectual thoughts seem so adolescent. They are adolescent. They are the glory of literature. To be able to take them as one's own is audacious. The questioning will have long stopped. You really have no choice. The gods never grew up.
When Philip of Opus declared that it is in the contemplation of the Sky that we see the gods, he spoke the Iowa countryside of my youth to me. Empty and brilliant. Under the slow circles of the night in the agile dancing fire of sheer disorder. Under the wide breadth of noonday light. Clean and pure colors. Gentle risings and curious fallings. I arch up and I liltingly tilt down with the expanse of the full heaven, I heave in its arms. I endure the vertigo. It ends in the nowhere. I curl up waiting for his return.
This is the philosophy of those places far from the city and far from the hemmed in valleys where the cities crouch. Here the land opens out wide. Slopes of long white roads rise into the sky gently. The sun beats rhythmically. The eyes burn. And at night glimmering specks of light in the distance. The incessant drone of cicada. Warm legs under green dashboard lights.
In the twentieth century we became suspicious of our own mind. Before that century of chaos, we knew to be suspicious of how well our thoughts matched outer reality, but of our own inner world we felt certain that things were what they seemed to be. When we felt such and such a feeling we believed that we really did feel that feeling. When we thought such and such a thought we believed that we really were thinking that thought. It could very well have been that when we felt hot it was because of some external cause other than external heat; we might have had a fever or been hypnotized or been dreaming. We were sure that we at least felt hot; no doubt about it. And it could very well have been that when we thought it was raining outside it may have been because of something we were hearing on the radio or because of a dream from the night before that was seeping through or even because someone else said it was, but we were very sure that we did think the thought that it was raining outside. With the coming of the twentieth century and Nietzsche and Freud, we came to think that our own judgments about our own feelings and thoughts were perhaps wrong. Cartesian infallibility of the mind knowing itself was gone. We saw that when we were being magnanimous and loving we were really being petty and resentful. When we felt fear, we were really feeling love. By traversing a hidden path, our superego found a way for us to unfeel and unthink the love and resentment that we somehow knew we should not feel.
And so philosophy came into disrepute because it had relied on a supposed clear view of the phenomena that had appeared before the mind's eye. The mind had thought it had seen a world that was full of colors and sounds and shapes and quantities and fiery feelings and thoughts and time's passing. After the cataclysm of discovering that we didn't really think what we thought we were thinking or of feeling what we thought we were feeling (you must remember that it is not here a question of our thoughts and feelings matching outer reality) – after that cataclysm we came to see that we were in fact under the control of dark horrible forces. What to do? Do you think you see a world? You don't really think you see a world. You have deceived yourself into thinking you see a world. Do you feel a desire for sweet apple pie; you don't really feel that. Does your foot hurt? You only think it does; there is no feeling of hurt there. You are not really thinking and feeling at all. You are .. well, we don't really know what is real behind this self-deception. In fact, the only true thing we know is that all is self-deception. And that all so-called truth is untruth. You are a block of an unknown thing that feels and thinks nothing; in spite of the illusion that you feel and think you do. Don't get me wrong, even illusions are an illusion; there are no illusions. That is the chaos of the twentieth century. And so now there are those poor fools who attempt to write a defense of the given as though there were really something given that we might ponder. Self-deception Self-deception Self-deception.
Or have I deluded myself into thinking I have understood? Not only into thinking I have understood, but into thinking that I was thinking and trying to understand. It's a lovely game. It's the game of love. Our God is the god of love. A wild and terrible thing. And it is of course true that the twentieth century has discovered nothing new; it only thought it had. Lovers have known of this forever.
I write the Plenum, the Boy so impressing his form on me, the gods clamoring and the Beloved entangling himself into me. Where is the emptiness that so eerily works the hands of modern writers? I do read the moderns and I do find pleasure in them; but it is the pleasure of a respite from work. Soon I am back at my own attempt to scale the high shoulder of this god that I must call mine. The refreshing absence of God is not here. David wrote, " Oh god, depart from me that I might know gladness before I depart and am no more." Gladness is also not mine, but a hot ecstasy is. And the bearing down of immortal life is all through my religion. I know the high and the formal. And though I write in a seeming informal and personal way, I am really writing my undoing. And the inevitable undoing of these words. Otherwise they are a rotten mass.
I have written out on the open, wind-blown prairie. The rising sky above. The great grid laid out by a repeating repeating geometry. A droning unquiet. The countryside is a massively stuffed emptiness. The void is replete. Here raging ocean waves are stopped in the still sculpture of the land's broad masculine chest. This is the place of gods. The dainty ladies of the city teach philosophy in salons.
Overhead mountains move across the sky. Cumulous turbidity. My mind's dullness. Deserts follow. And parched knowledge of far places. The breath-taking Overhead. Boys dance on green lawns below. And fall between themselves. There is no let up.
The falcons and the sky here are the archetypes of pale boys rustling in the High Church, pages turning, droning rising intonations, the blinding bell swelling up and up across the radiant face of the Son. Until these suns of the Sky swivel about into the glistening moon faces of the night. Milkweed kisses. Erogenous sores. Soaring out the windows of starry wind. Falcons bite. The sky impinges. Pale boys fuse. Pages burn. I do not write of absences. But of abscesses on the face of a sexual boy/god. I am intimate with this one.
Philosophical beauty is not ordinary beauty. It is a holy thing, but what can I say about holiness that would make you and me understand? Holiness is more than un-understandable; it is contrary to the understanding. Such beauty is not beautiful. Desire for it is undesirable. Its attraction is repulsion. Its being is negative. But that's not quite it either. This unbeauty is inside its ordinary beauty – simple ugliness and the simply plain are not philosophically beautiful. And the un-understanding is inside the very clarity itself of understanding. The repulsion is the excess of attraction. And its negative being is super-being. Something ain't quite right here. Perhaps it is mere philosophical mystification.
The boy arrives out of nowhere. In a sense that statement should be taken literally. The uncaused is always creepy and holiness is what makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck. Moreover, the boy will probably be merely ordinary; still there will be something about him that … what? You want him. The vertigo sets in. Nothing comes from nothing. You have fallen into his nowhere. Perhaps you should just get back to work. He laughs a lot and what is that?
Holiness is an unseen beauty. It speaks but always its speaking is unheard. Its touch is entirely inward to just itself. And it smells of outer space, far places, difficult logical argument.
It is the forbiddenness of forbidden sex. Thus it is not sex, but … I don't know. I shudder with delight as though a wanton spring breeze has cosseted me.
Perhaps the boy is a witch. Perhaps the angel of inhuman flesh. Perhaps your death. Perhaps he is God toying with you.
You tell no one of it.
This is the energia of Nous. Self-contained, self-caused, useless, enjoying itself. In this world, I write that I might enjoy myself in another's eyes. That thing does what it wants. A transcendent immorality. But what is that!
The gazing back from the one being gazed at is the beauty of pure timeless, placeless mind. The gaze gazing is the end of the gaze. Entelechies full of the vastness of the Vast. The boy is the image of the inwardly self-sufficient. One thing tumbling tumbling tumbling into itself. The many become one. The one mirrored in the eyes of another one just like him endlessly repeated. One thing. What can I say? Pop! He's nowhere in sight. He is only your own looking looking looking for yourself/itself. You are your own object, my dear. I know you. I have been watching you for a long time.
In theoria, in the Gaze, the world is summed up and held as one simple thing. The mind is one; the world is many. The one simple thing that is the thought of the whole world, without ontological parts, a universal thing become the particular thoughts of the many, lies in unextended extension across the world, and I am that. That one ontologically simple thing is in its own gaze and it is its own end.
The philosopher is an otherworldly fellow, but perhaps there are times when that same fellow wants to come back to live in the society of thisworldly folk. Should he be welcomed? Does he have anything to contribute to society and those who must live within it? He should be welcomed by the folk here, but maybe not by the Society itself - if there is such a thing. In fact this society is boring, exceedingly so, and it does exist. Without doubt the good people in it need some relief. The problem is that otherworldly things are disruptive to society, passionate things do not thrive here and the language here is not conducive to speaking of such things. Conflict.
"For passion, like crime, does not sit well with the sure order and even course of everyday life; it welcomes every loosening of the social fabric, every confusion and affliction visited upon the world, for passion sees in such disorder a vague hope of finding advantage for itself." Thomas Mann
Without passion, without the paradoxes of thought, without the unspeakable and that frighteningly alluring other place, so close, this world would be surpassingly inhospitable.
The theoretical mind, the contemplative spirit, the philosopher alone with the Abstractions is a welcome thing here because he is so destructive of this thing suffocating us – Society. He comes with his ragtag back of wild boys, visionary angelic formulae from another place, sets fire to the dry sticks and grass of our imagination and, in spite of our complaints, makes us smile. The excess clarity of the Light is a dark thing. True, I suppose, but there is still the nagging feeling that it is a mere literary oxymoron. And maybe society is more grown up and shouldn't we want that? Peter Socrates Pan is … what? Dialectical aporia. Passion for passion's sake.
But who am I to talk? I have quietly sat and read my books, unhindered by this ravaged world. Society has been sort of good to me. Perhaps it senses that still, unseen disruption that lies close, and it waits for me to speak. I'm afraid, though, that it knows I have little, if anything, worthwhile to say, and it is all so literary. I write the adolescent dreams we all ever are, I write from out of that high godhead.
I am writing the far stretches of philosophy. The insubstantial and the vague. The twilight places. The thinly diaphanous. The attenuated. Thought gives out. Existence stands alone. Simplicity is just simplicity. And the fact of the world breaks with the bliss of facticity. Therefore I write without an authoritarian air. I will not give you the hard rock of objectivity to break against. Nor will I give you a tough prose style to chew on. I will dilly-dally with a rambling cadence. I will speak of very formal things in an easy informal manner. My breathing shall be a gentle in and out and only afterwards will it be apparent that I have reached the winded end. The sheer drop off.
This is most certainly not psychology. Just why or how I or you or another thinks is of no concern to me. I will not comment on what the secret meaning of our thinking is. It's of no use in our understanding of That. Nor will I mention that so and so has said such and such already. It's all been said by so many unknown to any of us here that to attribute it to just one or two would be an injustice to those of centuries past and at home in places not of our neighborhood. That godless god of ultimate things is without any of us. He is the barren windy places of the godhead. The forehead of that boy shines with an uprightness. And his voice has a melody too sweet to hear. A ruthless and cruel perfection. The only hope that we have that we might write the end of thought. Little remains.
It's rather difficult to find the far places on the surface of this sphere of the One when its center is everywhere … . The right here is the farthest place! Surely this is the wind from there blowing right through us. It is difficult because it is too easy. Divide by zero and all things are yours – and nothing. So I dilly-dally willy-nilly. Lavender green, lavender blue. You are my spleen, I am your shoe. … And nowhere.
The Act. The entelechy. The self-sufficient. There are phenomena, but there are no epiphenomena; the phenomena do not ride, there is nothing to ride upon. There are only the phenomena and the awareness of the phenomena and the awareness of that awareness as itself phenomena. And a strange, incomprehensible constancy of one thing enduring infinite change. The phenomena come and go, but are always just there. The one constant thing never comes and goes, but, it seems, – should I say, phenomenally? – not to be there. My thoughts are as twisted as my sentences.
Berkley denied any material basis to phenomena; they had as a base only mind. Nagarjuna stepped out farther onto the philosophical porch and denied even mind as a base; then he and the phenomena lay down together, but only momentarily, on the windy flow of time. In these words, however, time is also to be denied. Time is only the provisional substance of this fine and substanceless world. There is finally no time, but the phenomena remain. And the awareness of them. The Act. The entelechy. The boy and his mirror.
His gaze is always the same. The shudder goes through me. He was the –less in the middle of my vision of substancelessness. A refined, looming thing. A tall and proud thing. A striking beauty. The world rests on him. An epidermal shine. A scandal to serious thought. But I climb up.
Between the world out there and our awareness of it there is a thin film of reality. The skin of that body. Shimmering desire. Flush with the dawn. He glares back at me. The night is almost over. Fingers pull me close. Rubbed and flayed and played with. I have nothing left to lie on but the divisions of analysis. Will I and this impossible dialectic ever be friends?
The mark of the out there real seems to be that we know it only indirectly. We know it only through an intermediary. Through a go-between. And uniting with it, if ever that is to be, is to be with the help of a matchmaker. We know our lovely god only by inference. And we work day and night recursively to make our way to him. He is not here, but sometimes we sense that his fingers are on the door handle. He will soon come into the room.
It's loves anxiety. We hang on the cheek of his night. Substancelessness abounds. I am only epiphenomena over him. I do not exist. Lovers understand. Even those others who wanted, so unphilosophically, to ride on matter.
You and I are not now engaged in a technical struggle. I am not now trying to show you that I can build a wonderfully engineered verbal bridge between here and there. I have not built, with these words, a house to attract you and your friends the gods. Nor is this a set of literary rooms in which you are to judge my exquisite eye for interior decorating. Balance and composition, while they are everywhere, are not the point. I have written a shattered vision.
I have been searching for a metaphor to help you anticipate the ways of this long writing. I could say as others have that it is a walk through the woods. That somewhat suffices in that it is a meandering with no external purpose. It would be enough if reading it was eudemonia for you. Surely there are also thickets and sudden open spaces, disappearing paths and light streaming down through the dust, shimmering with the nervous leaves. But this is also an evening's drive out on the mostly empty country roads. A corn pollen high, the droning, hanging haze. It is a stopping and a rummaging through a roadside junk shop. Musty broken things. Or again it is a simple country dump yard –wet and ghostly half things rising up in the summer heat. Rising up. Schoolyards will appear and we will gaze about in the country twilight. We will ride on a teeter without a fulcrum. Swing high on a swing with no chain. And round about low limestone cliffs will dangle in the encroaching space. They will have cool recesses and warm hard surfaces to lie on. We will do all this for the sheer pleasure of it. Nothing will be accomplished by it. We are entelechies spending an afternoon in a sun that is sufficient unto itself, content in our own looking at things. This is Theoria. This is the energia of Nous at work . I write as a boy who works to set things up and then waits to see it all fall down. And again. And again. And again. I will repeat and repeat and repeat his useless balancing himself on old wooden fences. We will watch him hang there and jump before he falls. And we will walk on and drive and look into the otium of the infinite. Then later we will do it again headed in some other direction. But it will all be the same. The same and the same. I hope it is a dignified writing.
The metaphors don't work. Or they only partially work in that they do let you know not to expect any finished product on my part that you might admire or scorn at. The words go on seemingly forever and get nowhere. And you could rearrange the pages in any order you want. Let us say that all that is my great failure. I have been staring too long at the form of the unformed God all around us, and I write that.
As for my paragraphs, each in itself, I cannot grasp what their form is except to say that they rise and fall with my breathing. Perhaps they have the broken form of a mitigated migraine. They are my mind as it boggles. I write my desire. And my desire attempts to take on the form of its beloved. Of which I have spoken ad nauseam.
Philosophy - everything that can be said at all can be said in three words. Timing is everything.
Metaphors, however, will not do. The very metaphor of metaphor is misleading. It assumes that there is something there that can only be indirectly gotten at through representational thinking. I have not been that oblique. I have gone always directly to the thing itself. Still, metaphors do have their place as long as they don't crowd out everything else. My writing is my writing; it is not a country drive, a wooded walk, a clamoring over cliffs; but it is pleasant at times to think of it as that. It seems odd to me that I should have to say that. Why do we so hesitate today to believe we can have non-metaphorical thinking? Surely you are intelligent enough and experienced enough to take my style of writing as it is and not have to be led by the hand and spoken to as though you were a child. Still, childhood does have its place in the adult mind. I am not really against metaphors, of course I am not; the Form itself is pleasantly hidden in them. The representation is a real presence. And we are free to look directly at it there.
Thomas Aquinas said, if I am not mistaken (one can never be completely sure about another's thoughts nor even about one's own), Thomas Aquinas said that we have no direct knowledge of God and that we know of His existence only through inference. The same could be said of physical Matter, or whatever the name of that beloved thing of the physicists is. The ground and ultimate cause is outside our ken. And so we make representations of it. Bad philosophy quickly follows.
While I do believe that there are things to which we must make our way by means of inference and representation, those things are not of superior being. The ground of what we know directly is directly known as well. We know the Red of red things. We even know the Existence of existing things. And we know directly the tie that ties together the many grounding things into a complexity. There is no need to seek refuge in the dark and mysterious. I do understand that some would find such a thing to be rapturous and others would find it restful. But it isn't an ontological necessity. I am one who glories in the light, in broad shouldered masculine openness.
Do you have a favorite theory about the fundamental structure of existence? I have a friend – most certainly not a French intellectual - who uses his thumb and first two fingers to form a center of three vectors all at right angles to each other. And then he explains how vastly differing views of reality intersect and one world, our world, is built. It's an elegant and simple explanation. It is a timeless Form he has right in his hand. He takes great pleasure in delving into the intricacies of it and he makes others feel it too, or he could if they would but take the time to walk with him along the paths of that timeless world. He is doing philosophy. No one has been more or less successful at it than he. But what is success compared to the pleasure and the anguish of the walk? The mind is at such timeless times sufficient unto itself. Right then, I would say, along with Aristotle, that it is groundless and eternal. I don't know if my friend has thought about his own doing or not. Can he fit his magic hand into his own hand's pointing and centering? I don't think so; I think he has become a transcendent thing right there. He doesn't fit into this world well. But then again contemplatives seldom have.
Scattered all throughout my book is the transcendent. My book. I am the main and only character in it. Except for Him. My book. But, of course, it is not really mine, hardly even in an ordinary sense. I wrote it, but what is that? The Ideas came to me. From the Transcendent or maybe just from the library, sometimes I stole them out of stolen books. The Transcendent. And the style is His style. His rhythms push it along. I have been effectively shoved out of the way. Don't get me wrong. Lovers and beloveds are used to such abuse. They call it love play. And it is. Or you know nothing about love. I demand that I be baffled and cut off. The status of the torn apart shall be mine - body, mind and spirit; or I will fail at becoming the absolutely nothing. My book. It looms large. I serve it. I cringe at being forced to call it my book.
The sense of being Mine is of the Dasein, and that is not mine. My life and my death are put together out of the My and Life and Death, great transcendent things. And that gathered complex is now mine, but that makes no sense. It is thus mine. Except that the overweening dialectic of the simple-complex butts in and … well, a shapely butt has always been an attraction to me.
So this is a story of me and philosophy trying to get on together. And of its abusive ways. The still, magnificent, eternal things have not behaved well when we went out together. I was often left in the lurch. I was his lunch. He became my eucharistic delight. I quietly play with the entanglements of the world's logical form. Sempiternal seminal droppings. Transcendent ooze. The mind's sheen. Love's machine. I have worked hard to make this book come. Slam bham, move in. Closer. Not much of a story at all.
I lived the normal life of a young, love-stricken going-to-be intellectual. I had no idea I was going do be an intellectual. I only wanted to show the boy near me the wonders I had found in philosophy books. I saw things. I had possession of the deep things of existence, rare jewels; I could prove the things the others only wanted. I could prove his own devastating beauty. I could demonstrate the never-ending light. No one sat with me long enough for me to get started well. Sometimes if I caught one of the beautiful ones off-guard I started in the middle. I would have talked to anyone. I was the Philebus boy, but with a mission. I would save these boys from destruction. Even from her.
Those boys must have felt trapped when I hounded them and tried to round them up into heaven. I didn't want sex; I wanted to give salvation. Maybe I did want sex, but I just didn't think of it. I was too much in love. A strange and deadly transcendent love. I went on and on.
That is my my my my life. Hardly a life at all, it was and is Life itself, almost a criminal thing. And will be. I do not feel sorry for myself. The Form of Being controls it all. It is that that I love. A jealous thing. I roam around inside that Entelechy, that Act, that necessary existent. It is mine. And so those quotes were not about me but about me overcome by Being - That. Do you see how I can prove immortality quite nicely? Do you understand why none of them listened? Being is the criminal act. I was over-sexed. Ein Überknabe. The Cause.
High academia is inevitably oxy-philo-sopho–moronic. Its heavy opacity is nothing more than the everyday garden of perspicuous desire. Its clear forehead of thought is petroleum jelly – how did it get up there!? Its disdain for the ordinary world of business and builders is the inverted reflex of the lithe abstractionist to curl up and dream of the broad-shouldered worker yielding. Its coming together of opposites in a dialectical third (a blithe ménage a trois) ain't going to happen – but one of their kind will, no doubt, be that to himself when he's alone. Philosophy is a solitary thing. The philosopher sleeps with his own existence. Inevitably he pulls himself into existence out of nothing.
It is part of the great Protestant tradition, and not only of that but also of the Catholic, that our experiences piercing to the innermost places of the spirit, of the soul, of the mind, of the selves of the Self, of that greatly layered thing that the "I" is, that I am, that those transcendent feelings are Truth shining forth in propria persona. Well, maybe. For my part, I have spied Truth coming at me from outside. The radiance of beauty on the face of a boy and down along his form, so infuriatingly other than I, that was the pure thing I ran after. Yes, I suppose I did later lie on my bed and think and dream and try to pierce through to that otherness or to ever so gently let it come, cut, pierce, into me. However I did it, it was a thing not me, not my soul or spirit or mind or self of my self. He was that thing, not I. That finely formed form was against me. I reached out to something else.
Thus that diffuse wave of Being, that indeterminate radiance, that infinite and simple oneness, that sweet unity of all things, that superlative emptiness of the mystics, was not mine. I had instead a shapely shape and a precise this. The presence of another thing, not a majestic absence in me, was mine.
But you knew, no doubt, that I would say that and you wonder if I have not, thereby, lost any seriousness and depth to my work. The great poetic tragedy of life has passed by me. I am Abraham to whom Isaac has come back and the night is over and forgotten, of which there is no poetry written nor can there be. This is the Platonism of Presence. I have lost seriousness and depth and I have gained gaiety and the heights.
Philosophy is a falling in love. Eternal Forms dancing all around you. They dance; they don't just move. Not even in great majestic circles. They dance a true dance, not the sweet, light-hearted nothing of commercial kitsch. It is violent movement in a back-twisting suddenness. It is robust head jerking. It is sometimes the chaotic dance of the Maenads; it is then the openland sacrifice extra muros. It is the boy-god torn apart and eaten and blood-drunk in the cold night away from the civilized cooking stove of the city's public altar. It is a delirious Christian orphic sacrifice. The skin crawls from out of another world. A head spinning upside down agitated licking tongue of unhearthen fire up the coccyx. Hieron osteon. And you cannot move.
Eventually you blank out. You are slain in the spirit. You fall back into the oblivion of God. Later you try to write words back into that nothing. You fought your way back into existence, only to remember That.
Christianity is the uncivilized thing at the heart of civil society. It is the tearing on the skin of my smooth articulation. It is the bite of his sweet kiss.
Treble voices crawling up stone walls of sweetly buttressed cathedrals. A loveliness within the burning. A cut that heals over instantly. Ever virgin. Boys at last giving birth of God. High theological dialectic. Only I have been true to the tradition.
It is possible that both a and b exemplify the same Form. Such is the homo-ness of this homosexual writing. And there is a mind contemplating that. It is, of course, a very complicated ontological construction. The logical elements of 'both … and' and 'the same' are in one fact. The mode of possibility and the nexus of exemplification and the set of "a and b' crowd in there also. The Form stands strongly at the emphatic end of the thought. The bare particulars glare at us. All of that inside the one thought that "It is possible that … ", leaving us to analyze that 'All" and 'inside' and 'one thought' in a seemingly unending entanglement of ontological things and non-things. What to do? The homo-ness that we are contemplating makes us reel.
Suffice it to say that in the Act we see that two things have the same form. We could even say that two things suffer the same thing. The two are passive to that Form. It becomes that and that under That. Or it would if I let my analytic mind wander. Suffice it to say that in the Act we see that two things have the same form. And that we philosophically contemplate that Act and the very Form of Act itself.
These musings are the homosexual philosopher's escape from the world. The entelechy that he is, enjoying himself in contemplating also himself as of the form of the form that he is contemplating, is free. It is in the essence of the entelechy that it and its object are two and not one. He is, therefore, also not himself; perhaps he has become also his beloved and his lover in the Act. Of their being both the same. Always removed. Thus every a and b that has ever been or will be. The pull toward ontological analysis is incessant. The loveliness of it demands attention. There is tension and contention in my intending.
Aristotle eventually tried to turn philosophy into a spectator sport with the Entelechy as the great spectator. The theorists became the laid back judges. The rest of us were always under their scrutiny. Philosophy students have it all over us. I, the banaunos, the supposed builder, the weary technician of this awkwardly strapped together philosophical writing, I am the one now suffering their critical ablations. I am not receiving their oblations. Nor is the boy present in these words.
The philosopher is not judge of the truth of other men's sayings; he suffers Truth as it seeps into his own word wounds.
The Entelechy is more properly seen as the god of Being viewing himself all around as the lovely god of Being. The Prince of first principles at the infinite point of unity with himself. A clast and clone to himself, consorting alone with himself, in the broken multi-verse. Trapped in my prosaic verseless verse. I watch myself and infinitely judge. I sublate myself sublimely. I am He. I suffer his climbing into me.
The act of thought is mirrored all along the form of love's body ever turning and returning into itself. Because that act is ever in motion, never still, still moving after aeons of My Beauty, you are the dawn itself! Because you have me in such agitation, I have become Fire for you, only you.
The qualia of thought are fine and invisible to all but the most refined.
As my caress inevitably comes back to the beginning and I begin again, my paragraphs arrive finally back at where they started and nothing much was accomplished in them, if anything. The act leaves no trace. If you have never seen love naked, you do not believe in mind and its pointless retracing of loves going. Since mind and love are one, since logic and the erotic and ever intertwined, since spirit and the blanking out of orgasmic interference abut, the blandishments of non-existence in anything ontological are no more than occasion for a knowing smile. Thought cancels itself out in its doing. As though it were nothing, nothing at all. Less than nothing. No wonder the materialists wonder.
And so my thinking writing ever mirrors my writing thinking.
On February 8, 2004, Professor Phil Kutzko of the mathematics department at the University of Iowa told us in the Twenty-first Annual Presidential Lecture that academia needed to reach out to the non-academic so that it might refresh itself and advance. No more of the hidden navel-gazing of inter-disciplinary discourse. Therefore I will jump right to it and present The Ontological Boy, a real looker, though he may not be what that socially minded academic had in mind. In this matter, academia is beside itself
Away from the realities that are the world, the university is a place from where one might safely contemplate those realities. A lovely idea. One might also say that it is in the world but not of it. The implication is that if a person, an embodied person, is out away from the university, he is immersed, drowning in the realities of reality. An uncomfortable thought. None of this is quite true, but it is true enough to work with.
I have studied and written and lived philosophy away from the university. I have been baptized in the real. I suppose I am a frightful thing in that I now have none of the hoary respectfulness that grows on the soul rooted in the quiet, even the holy stillness, of that temple set off. I am seen as a breathless panter. I am flailed by the Wind. Without the staid and calm Lineage, I am adrift up on the thin and stratospheric jet. I am become no more than ionic entanglements. I do not have the gothic rocks. I waft. I suffer the sky.
It's all true. I am that. Except that it is, of course, not true. I have lived in narrow places tucked back in crowded cities. At other times I am placed in big drafty houses next to immense fields. And I am sometimes in the great confinement of high metallic jets shooting through the impenetrable atmosphere. So I am in the forever of being on my way toward my home set in with the familiar foreign peoples. Unlike the university people, for whom travel is such a rare joyful excitement, I have become used to it, and everything is now rather old hat. The sky is up there.
So this is a writing from out there, of course with the understanding that there is no out there out there; but at least I didn't have to worry about whether or not I was properly officiating in the temple and so I did have the freedom that reality was suppose to give out there, now in here in these words.
The people in a university looking out on the world are like the audience in a play. They fantasize about the strange and wonderful lives really lived out there. But like actors on a stage, who know that acting on a stage is very real world, material work, the workers are not bemused by their ascribed transcendence. Just as I am sure that university professors know finally that tenure holds them suspended in a stifling security. Real transcendence hovers above us all. That professors are bemused by so many out there really believing that is perhaps the real difference. It is because among the upper classes and the academic classes one seldom sees striking beauty. Only on the street among the poor do the transcendent angels appear. They hover on street corners and on back stairs. A transverberating presence.
Academe has tried desperately hard for the last century to overcome its otherworldliness and become one with the working class and its concerns. It has gone so far as to unionize. It wants to speak revolution against the elite, which it was always thought to be the very image of. Therefore, paradoxically, the retreat that the garden of Academos offered to the thinker is now out there hidden in the artificial ivy of the coffee shop where limp-wrested waiters linger and watch. There's no figuring it out. Beauty wanders in tired. This Arcadian orders some Cajun food. His sheepdog friend ogles him in awe. Corydon in corduroys. Nymphoi in the water glasses shimmer. The workers of the real that academic politicos despise.
Like Walt Whitman, who wrote the vast wide world while in his little cramped room, so I write the infinite open fields that are the Being of Being here ensconced in a tight squalor of books. We both feel the Cut. The High and the Magnificent is here with our insipid food cold on the bed. So I name all the insipid, bland, dusty, tediously monotonous things I can think of with my sexually benumbed mind, hoping to capture that fresh and lithe and supple transcendence. A nettling nexus. A conjured conjunction. A fulsome filling up. A cut written on my silent tongue.
The Garden of Academos is not the Academy of today. That is well-known and often marveled at by well-paid scholars drunk at conferences. The rustic ivy-covered gothic towers of world-class universities have none of the rural toughs so beloved by shepherd boys. Everything is perverted. Far from academe I am in the ancient academy, but no, everything is twisted. I climb the scala paradisi up the back steps where the slender busboys hang out. And I, the lover of beauty, not of the beautiful, use logo-sorcery to capture my prey just as did Socrates – I speak to them in backward thinking of the always enchanting Eternal Forms. Then we clean up. With them I know the hardness of the metal doors, the weight of things to be lifted and put up in place, the heaviness of the time left before we can leave and walk the hard streets home.
I am lyrical where beauty becomes sex and pain is the abstract chaos of cold water. Without quantifying it, we know the magnitude of the floor waiting to be mopped, the volume and mass of the bus tub full of dirty silverware, the roundness of the ass of the new kid. The bare particular. The evening constricts. I go home alone.
I am a closet thinker. The boy knows I have no car for him to ride in, no warm house for him to trash, no tv for him to lounge languidly in front of, no comforting manly arms for him to fall asleep in. I have no one in authority to vouch to him for me that I really am somebody. I am the low, the base, the insipid – I am the bare particular. And I know the immensity of ontological distance between me and him, the delightful and distant form running off into the words of my writing. Thus I am religious. Literature being the last refuge of the gods, including the eaten jesus, and I am obviously dealing in gods here.
I am now sixty years old. I have spent so much of my life gathering plates and glasses and serving forks, carefully setting tables, collecting garbage, taking down tables, smiling, waiting, looking on, so people could eat and laugh and get fat and drunk. Sometimes I loaded it onto trucks, and I took it to them, in heavy crates, and I brought it back. I saved all my money. I bought cheap air tickets and I traveled over the whole world and I sat in restaurants and I watched boys gathering and taking away the same useless food, smiling at me, waiting for the same tip I waited for, going home. I imagined them sleeping together, because I always slept alone. I was a solitary man doing a boy's work. I loved the boys intently. I think that is why I was always out there with them. In my mind and in reality I was in the squalor of their world. It all became pure form and an expanse to lie on. I had it all. Then I went back home to work some more so I could travel again and be there watching them. They never knew; they thought I was a man of means and position, but I was just as they were and they would have despised that.
Away from the high and noble, things are insipid. The boy is just a rather musky dirty smelly boy. The glamour hovers only in the universality of the scene. And in the regular return of the same. A strange colorless glamour like down on a young tired cheek. His food is nothing special. It hardly tastes like anything. His shoes are just shoes. He lies down and in the dark he jacks off and then he goes to sleep. A tasteless, wafting thing. The particular uniting with the universal. No more than that.
When Aristotle diminished the reality of the universal in favor of the individual, he started the long slide toward nominalism and representative idealism and the loss of the particular thing altogether. Today in academe, selfless professors serve the Pure Nomina. Graduate students think of the particular, so bare and just itself, as a great abstraction. And therefore, because a universal, an existing Form, is also a particular in itself away from all the names naming it, it too is as nothing to them. And they too are becoming priests to the goddess of the void.
Away from the dame of academe, in the squalor along the far street, I have found my solitary self and the universal Form itself and the bare particular as the expansive magnitude on the thigh of a boy who looked me in the eye. I found the tight thing that is the rhythm of my sentences, the lyrical lal, and the break. I found the particular and the universal and an even more magnificent separating and coming together of the two. I found a clamoring place waiting for the final orgasm of love.
A lot of what you will read here is of the Christian Eucharist. I'm going to eat that beloved and drink his blood. Which, if he weren't God, would be a repellent cannibalism, but as it is it's ok. How intimate! How historically correct, how centered in our tradition. I am a now-forsaken Traditionalist. Bare with me.
What I have written here is the truly satyrical. A tumescent hoar gazing at the ephebe. It is the hidden real world, the real of literary realism. And the spiraling concentration of the present vertigo makes it be the sudden rush toward the Real of philosophical realism. The Nexus penetrates. Quantifiers sparkle down all around. The Form of Ineffable Propositions lingers. On your fingers.
All of that will be nonsense to the out there person. And to the academic who sees himself as one with the out there it will be a criminal waist of time. I write an intricacy as ethereal and unapproachable as the most unheard 12-tone music. I want to bring academe back in love with itself. I want that gay otherworldliness of pure Forms hovering. I want a Eucharistic Arcadia with that sweet one as our meal. I want to sigh away in love's anguish and now feel guilty that I have not done my part to alleviate the suffering of the poor. Anyway, from what I have seen, the poor think the visiting academics are jerks.
I am the nowhere man from a long ago that never was. Oxfordian rock and roll. A Western prairie sprite wandering about in steaming Eastern cities. From my Chevy by the levee to Nazar in the bazaar. Oh Lord, at least make my spirit fair, I'm coming undone.
I have a friend, an aging dilapidated guy, who hands out coupon books on the street corner. He studies philosophy because he is dealing with his extreme loneliness. He has a strong sense of self so unlike those selfless academic officiates serving in the Temple of the Idea. And he has escaped the formalism of middleclass cleanliness. He stands out as a prime example of the bare particular made visible to the naked eye, this very ontological guy. It's a Whitman hermetic thing and very American. In his windowless little room he views the intellectual heavens. Those coupon books belong to the canon of western literature.
I do not denigrate thought as the mere image of the more real material world. Thus the loved object is not, in these words, to be seen as really a sensually material thing. Nor is the mind in loving its physical appearing as heat. The object, the loving, the spirited mind are there in their fullest strength when freed from matter and its being that thing right there, just lying there. The body, the desired fullness, the tumescent desire itself, the worked conclusion, in themselves, are all away from the material world, more agile than its lethargy and sleep would allow. The material world is the mere image. If the material world is the heavy lion, love and its object in their spirited Form are the gadflies that anger him, or if the householder they are the street urchins that irritate him, or if a great corporations they unloved hackers that hold them up. Wild boys on rollerskates. But who am I to speak? I agitate myself, I am in the ever in-between. The gleaming, ephemeral night of still Being, of Thought's reaching and finding.
Out here in the rush of things one is always looking for the nexus back into the quietness of thought. Yes, I know that in academe the operators of the recursion machine generating ever more far reaching forms themselves feel the need for the final thing and the quiet, that they too are looking for ideal out in the rustic fields of Academe, that the state university is not that, that the nexus, to them, is also sought. But out here the dreams of academic security and freedom to think are lovely. How do we get there? Those professors who have the idea of reaching out to the workers of the world, the rustic boys, don't understand. They don't understand what we workers want him to be. And that we do understand that he cannot be that. That we and he and the rustic boys are not at all what we seem. Perhaps we are gods.
Philosophy is never going to appeal to the man on the street, and the word ontology will seldom if ever be on his lip, still philosophy, even ontology itself, can be charming, so pretty and sexy and luring, dressed up in street drag and made to dance. N(a)&D(a). The bare thing a has the Form of Night and (the same) a slips into the Deep beyond every a. Suddenly the night is, and in its depths we almost see lovely things looking back. And the almost of the mind's sensorium shimmers. Philosophy beckons. The man on the street looks worried. He quickly hurries home. Bare particulars, Forms, having and the slipping into, and the demure wallflower "and". Lovely and delicate things for those so inclined to thought's immanent giving-way. Inwardly the "same" clamors to be understood.
The story is told by a philosophical gossip how Plotinus was professionally incensed on hearing it said, in a formal gathering, by another philosopher, that the young student, the boy, should yield to the sexual desires his teacher. After that one imagines Plotinus as a lifeless old curmudgeon. Just as we, along with Kierkegaard, wonder how Socrates could have been so cruel to Alcibiades after having been so wonderfully seduced. Both philosophies are vitiated in the act.
For all that, however, I do reluctantly understand why Plotinus and Socrates are so terribly right. Philosophy cannot be transported to earth without the holocaust. The cross and the hemlock and the sufi bloody head rolling along. Philosophical love is other. It is the vision of a god present. It is not to be made familiar and comfortable. It is not mere sensual release. It is not a gentle human love. Or if it is, it is not philosophy.
Uranian desire is at home in the logos. It is solved in the twisting of dialectical thought. It is high in the abstract coming of the spirit. It is too intense for the material body. It is a breaking out into the apophasis of the empty sky. It is the closed-mouth telling of myth. It is of nothing at all when here. It couldn't possibly be something materially present. It is a frightening phantom erection.
There is always the question in these writings – or perhaps more reflectively I should say that I have in these writings – of whether or not they are about me and my confrontation with philosophy and the things of philosophy or about something that they as theology or devotion gaze at with the articulate eye of language. Are they about me or a god? Modern thought wants to say that all writing today is about the self – no theology, please. But modern thought is shaking ever more violently, perhaps because a god is approaching.
I have come out of the philosophical tradition concerned with grounding the logical form of the world. Seemingly a most non-theological thing, but of course, it isn't. A consideration of the elements of logic has always led the mind into transcendence, stellar chaos, pure beauty separate. The hammer that makes tough minded scholars crack.
These really are erotic writings, but in the sense of the Platonic Eros, not in the modern understanding of that word. Eros was the child of poverty and plenty. In his physical form he was without beauty, without means, without praise. It was in the sorcery of words with which he mesmerized his beautiful prey into stillness that he possessed the riches of Being. Eros distracts with logos seduction. Eros speaks. And, of course, Eros today writes. His grand philosophical analyses entertain and hold for a while but then they grate. He is intelligent enough to sense that and he jumps aside from that also. At last he fails and the beloved leaves disgusted with his bewildering intellectual explanations of nothing. Did he also see his lack of beauty? It was his own unbeauty that drove Eros into the hope of sorcery. A faint hope. Only successful in the far places.
This is not a book of lust. Of course it isn't. Every description of sex here is excruciatingly chaste. The object of desire is a Form. It is the appearing of God. The boy is as abstract as a geometrical curve. He is possessed as one possesses the conclusion in a geometrical demonstration. He is worked as one works a proof. The beauty and the heaven are of the timelessly Real. The heart beats a transcendental beat. He loves in return in the same perfection with which heaven answers your anguished prayers for his ethereal presence. The answer is difficult to find and dialectical inversion becomes thought's refuge. The boy is as pure as his forlorn state on the hidden streets. He looks at you and he knows your anguish for him. The giving is instantaneous. The family man sees nothing.
Worldly sex is gloriously lustful and reciprocal. That is the way of the world. To mistake the world for transcendence is a grave ontological collapse. To try for heaven here is to fail the needs at hand. To take one earthly way there is forbidden. I write the ethereal and the abstract. The fine pleasures, even the most sexual of pleasures, there become as nothing here. I write for the few.
Esoterically speaking I do not write the esoteric. I write the flamboyant. I write the Real. I write the explosion.
This academic philosophy far from academe is thus far also from the world merely outside the physical walls of the university. It is far from the world's society. It is in the Pure Forms of Being. It is of my gaze at beauty. It is a worthless thing here. But it is captivating to some and it is to be avoided altogether by others. It is Philosophy inside the Garden of Academos. It is the one and the many that runs through everything.
A philosopher contemplating the Forms, gazing on Beauty, is himself neither in the heaven of Forms nor in the complex nodes of social life. He is in the badly shaken nowhere of the questioning and the forlorn. The beloveds of both worlds escape him. He is without a self and he is not of the Self; which knowledge he knows is fraught with paradox. So it's the paradox that becomes ever more darkly glorious and tedious. It's all been done and said and abandoned before, so many times before.
This particular so heavily this particular lying against me is the same particular that has lain with me forever. The particularity of the particular comes. It is destroyed in self-denying conflict. He leaves again. That one, that very one.
And the Form, this Form, now so smooth and coming around in perfection, has the bare presence of all ontological things and its sinking down into the nexus is just that.
Contemplating all this, I am, rather quietly, away from both the outer world of building and the inner and academic world of taking apart. I am by myself, devoid of self. I wonder. I wander. I am the Meander of dry desert beds. But I have the sorcery of words. I die with the jesus-logos and I am eaten. And I am drunk.
The feminist critique of philosophy and philosophical literature is (but who am I to say?) that it has cast women in the role of goddesses, and therefore also demons, when in fact they are just plain ordinary human beings, just as the men are, and they come in every variety imaginable, just like the men – or something like that. I have here made boys, in a strange nexus, into both ordinary boys and gods (and sometimes a part of the demonic nature of God). I suppose the critique will fall heavy on me. Let it fall. The dialectic is difficult, but I also suppose that they will shout, The dialect be damned! Women will protect the boys from me. My goodness, do we have to totally get rid of the divine in order to protect our plain ordinary boys? Is the divine so mad? Maybe not, maybe the divinity of God is dead, and God is sociably human now - if he is here at all. But I doubt it. Feminist critics are anti-gay.
It seems to me that every gay person, man or boy, has seen an Eternal Form and he has fallen in love with it. It is a particular thing, that Form, which is before him, and in him and all around him. It is the rhythm of his life. Here the separating of self and non-self is difficult. And the I that is me and the seeming and the cultural being of the word "gay" and the quotes are all so very difficult to think. The very being of being gay is a difficulty. A lovely unease. And a fright. A god is present. His Form shines.
Thus, as something different from other ways of thinking, my ultimate goal, in these words, is not to sink into the feminine ocean of Being. The soul of "my people", so racially begotten, in not my worry. The Void of the womb waiting to generate a new world is for someone else. The pain of Longing is not my lover. I am attentive, rather, to the exquisite Form of Being, a present thing, and eternal.
God is large and there are many separated realms within that Great Thing. Including, I must say as a terrible qualifier to my words, the paradox of that, therefore, also not being so. The thinking is difficult and it is mastered only by The Boy. A tyrannical mastery that I must call up.
None of this, it seems to me, can be denied. It is a necessity beyond seeming, it seems to me. Therefore the Uncertainty is certain.
The gaze defines this philosophical, erotic scene. And the quiet breathing. He walks in and begins his devastating looking about. As gently as a spy he moves to his post. In a flash he knows the important points of light. The design of his non-engagement is apparent. His reserve and his casual inattentiveness belie the obvious fact that he sees it all. I have secretly watched him many times. Whether he was watching me watch is a question I cannot answer. I have my shadows to hide in. But he probably knows that I have passed the moments with him and seen him inhale and exhale in the regularity of quickening then moderating waves. And he lets it be. The ether of the spirit ebbs and flows. The plenum of perception is a head-spinning stillness. I suspect that he is somewhat used to it. I know well that he is. The gaze at these intense levels becomes a thing itself. And the breathing. Things that sometimes come to a few of us.
This is not an ordinary piece of writing; therefore, an ordinary way of reading it with an attendant ordinary view of the world will not do. No doubt, instead of writing that it is not ordinary I could have written that it is not from out of the everydayness of things or that it does not conform to the common sense of things. Let me call it rather a philosophical or ontological piece of writing and I will call the view I take throughout likewise philosophical or ontological. I know that I have so far not made myself clear, except to strike some sort of still unknown difference. Let me explain further.
Ordinarily we see the world as consisting of many individual things. These things have properties, some of which are relational. These properties are nothing aside from or separate from the individuals that have them. The properties are identical with the individuals that have them. If we see three spinning, blue spheres, then common sense says that there are no things present that we might name as the universal forms of "Spinning", "Blue", "Spheroid" and "Three" nor is the form of "individuality" in or about each thing out there, nor anything that could be said to be the particular in each as it is bare of any property. The only things that are there are the three spinning, blue spheres. Ontologically, it is reversed.
Thus when I write of three boys lounging about recklessly and I ask you to consider these beings ontologically, not commonsensically or as creatures out of the ordinary everyday, I want you to see, among other things, the Universal (Eternal) Forms of Boy, Lounging, Recklessness and even the Nexus of their uniting with particulars that are within the Threeness of three. A difficult vision. A world-destructive vision. An ecstatic thing. A vision not envisioned by those who defend the logic of logistics.
In this Platonism the universal becomes loosened from the ordinary particular and flies free. Perhaps it really does then try to fly where there is no material support of air for its wings and it falls; perhaps it is just then in free fall forever. The loosening, for us, does occur. We inevitably lose the material support of all that we own, including, of course, our own bodies, and we suffer the giddiness of falling. Unless there comes a strong hand to hold us, we are overwhelmed with anxiety.
The separation of the Forms that is the mark of Platonism is known and felt in those moments of greatest danger. Obviously also included in that are all those extreme moments of falling in love when loss and the overwhelming are close at hand. Giddy anxiety. And when the break up occurs that it seems must occur, and the lover's material substance is gone and the abstracted Lover comes, then we become philosophers. The still perfection beyond life and existence is intimately known. It is known in spite of not being sought.
There is a consummate moment when jealousy and then loss mount to their highest pitch, when the substance of the world sublimates into that crystalline screaming fire, and the great abstractions stand in place. The logos-Ontos shoots its dialectical threads into the soft mass of your soul. And you become as stranded dew. Hard logistic describes your vision and the world of living persons in pleasant intercourse is no more. Universals and barren particulars abound. The nexus hook. The transcendent forms glare out of a perfect timeless, motionless heaven. Metaphysics becomes truth. Drop by drop the self evaporates.
This is rhythmical prose. Excessively so. I was forced into it by love. It is a laying out of the form of Being. And I am laid out alongside it. It is an exasperating thing. I am pushed down and pushed down. And drawn out. The words come when they will. As they will. Even against my will.
This is the romance of Platonism. The rose through the prism of analysis. The cut of contemplative dying and rising. Up. He's up and dancing. And we are his theoretical watchers. Slain through.
The one thing, ever the one thing. Again and again and again the one thing. The many swirl and swirl and swirl into the one thing. I turn. Over. And catch myself. Up. The instant. Before I fall out of bed.
The end comes right at the end. And in time the cadence falls away, full stop.
I turn and catch myself the instant before it's too late and I fall in love again, gently, in place. And the anti-romanticists puke. Read on! I am undoing the undoing.
Such a blow to common sense requires a measured muse. Subtle music is the instrument of analytic destruction. The Dionysic tearing apart of the individual into its parts, that gory sacrifice, lies always on the smooth flow of a rhythmical sentence. It is the rise and fall of an ever more hurried breath. And its cessation, at the apex. Into the stillness of words.
This vision and its gently tortured tempo within the breast doesn't ground the everyday world, but brings it to ground. It destroys it. And … but you'll have to excuse me for a moment because not only has the music stopped but a door has closed and I suspect that someone has secretly come into my room. A more exquisite beat will soon begin.
Only let me hurriedly repeat for now that the music is a studied casual destructiveness, a riveted river of light in and out. You must pay attention to breath, your reader's breath, the soul in such a lover's writing as is this. And the blinded vision of its shattered world.
The shattered self. We each try to present a strong and vibrant self to the world, to our friends, and especially to the one we would have as a lover. We struggle to make it visible. And we, moreover, have no objection to another's attempt to do the same. We are a moral people trying to lift each other up, for the most part. Things seldom turn out right. We are misunderstood, greatly misunderstood. The vibrancy dissipates and we appear dull and boring. We express ourselves weakly. The self is shattered. It seems that the one wanted as beloved now looks on with contempt. We resolve to try again, to be better prepared, to succeed. Moments of hope come. We fail again. Miserably. The lover, the beautiful lover is finally gone. Shattering, shattering. One can almost hear the sound of the breaking.
After many shatterings, the aesthetic self awakens. The now seen to be inevitable collapse of thought and will becomes the true face of the world. One is now able to crawl out from the rubble and ruins of the self and walk about in a world equally shattered. Gentle touching. Close breathing. Configurations of the sublime.
Elemental things, eternal and universal things, float by. The awareness held in fixed suspension. Beyond the total break-up. In a shimmering peace beyond understanding. And a great knowing that is a windy unknowing.
After long nights and days of searching and dreaming in weakness of chest and fullness of doubt the questions stop. The when and the where of his arrival are answered in the nowhere and the never of some non-appearing pure light. A strange lightness of being quickens your mental stride up over the things at hand out onto the plains of pure form. And you fall so easily in among all the things that simply are. A timeless time and a placeless place. And you can so intimately feel the arm going around your waist.
The shattering of the self. The shattering of the world of selves. The timeless time at the end of liberality and the beginning of the tyranny of love. The young man sits alone watching as they enter. He has been here forever eyeing those who would be his lovers. Always the one lover again and again. The repetition of the same. Always the slight difference that is the same falling away into the falling away into the falling into the same falling away. He nods in another's direction. The same nod. The same returning recognition of the same. The one thing is there. And there with itself as the other. An otherness that is occasion for the same. Love has him by the throat. That thickness rises up again. He sits, unable to move.
Another arrives. The blue of his shirt contrasts sharply with the blond of his hair. And another. His reaching down to place his book aright is such a lithesome reaching. And another. Why that quick move of his head as though an invisible dance partner just pulled him back? The wind on the street blows eddies in. The air disentangles itself momentarily and the young men sit down to become the common watching. No one is there. The One Thing is there repeating and repeating and repeating.
The young men cruise each other ever waiting to see yet once again that one beauty. Though they themselves get old and no one looks at them again, they continue looking and waiting and again finding him momentarily and that is said to be enough. They pretend amiability to each other. They are awaiting the destruction and the final uniting.
A friend asked me if the gay mind is really like this. But it's a useless question. It's not a lover's question, but that of a scientist and for him the answer is obvious: No, it isn't; a real person is much more complicated and there is no way to unify all who would call themselves gay into one such tightly boxed-in form. I'm not writing either psychology or phenomenology. I am writing the terrible constrictions of love and in that nowhere no question is so disinterested. The lover urgently and silently begs: Where, where is that one I love? When will he come and make this pain cease? Questions not fit for the conversations of the everyday. Without answer, they are always the same questions. So, my friend asks, Do gay minds always have such useless obsessive unanswerable questions on their mind? I answer Yes, and I say No, the gay mind is much more complicated (and sane) than that. Although the inward turning questions of love and the useless answers ring falsely in ordinary conversation, they in fact contain the very truth. Scientific, empirical evidence reveals little of the world and an insignificant part at that.
To say that the gay mind doesn't fit well with the strong individualism of liberal democracy is only to say that he is ever more concerned with disappearing into the one eternal Form. He, together with all Its other exemplifications here and here and there, will vanish into Him. The simple repetitions speak only of That and he and he and he are not. Only He is. A lover that takes his breath away. There's little else to say about the gay mind; all else is pretense and a biding of one's time until It happens. The shattering that is love.
Gay people will tell you that they want to become a real part of human society, equals among equals - and why not? We are waiting. But we really want it all to end and for Him to come at last, and we will be gone. Until then, why not?
The gay mind is always turning turning turning inward into the One Thing. No one can take that religion from us. This god at the center of our dervish dance will surely come.
A new number is announced and he rushes to see if that one will reveal to him that one Form that he has longed for forever. In his mind there is ever a strong pull away from the individual toward the eternal thing. Finally no person stands there before him. And he himself becomes lost to himself. Around about there are only exemplifications of the universals. That fragrance of the far away. The taste of elemental things.
He lounges with his friends and bantering fills the air. Incessant talk. It comes to nothing. Each secretly had an eye out for Him. Time was wasted waiting for yet another sighting. Until the clamor arises and there is general acknowledgement that He is on his way. Each, even now, feels the transcendental shattering. The self vanishes into the Self of the self. Eyes lower. The night begins.
There is nothing personal going on. Gossip gossip gossip is just cheap talk about made up lives – nothing – only the waiting is real. The Form fills their minds. They were never truly here. The Real is intensely real and devastating. And the waiting.
These modern and post-modern boys are back at the Sultan's court, at the Sufi teke, in the air around Rumi and Shams-al-Din-i-Tabriz. Nothing has changed, the universal forms inform the mind as always, the remembering is complete. Persons and individuals have vanished. God dances with Himself. The ever-new number. The One. In his room full of mirrors.
The queer mind is not just like every other mind except for one little insignificant piece. The differences between minds and types of thinking are momentous and vast and this difference is of the highest spiritual significance. The attempt to make homos blend into the crowd of shared humanity and disappear is (I am tempted to say a damned conspiratorial plot by straight people) homophobia on the part of homos themselves. We are different, we think differently, Being itself shutters at the difference. Still, for all that tactical hyperbole, we are the non-people of sameness and the difference between us is only a supplement toward a radical oneness; and that is what makes us strategically different from straight folk and their far-flung families. Thought teeters on edge of the precipice. The straight person will object and insist that we are all indeed one big family and that differences necessarily complement each other – such is hetero-think. With Bersani, we struggle to maintain the right to be queer and have the dignity that word confers. We are in danger of being sucked into the regime of the normal.
I feel like a Shi'a cleric trying to insist that he is not one of George Bush's Western liberal democrats, that band of happy individualists, and that he doesn't want to be lovingly held in the lap of humanity. The only difference I and probably that cleric see between the liberals and the conservatives is that while the liberals want to gently persuade us to be that and nurture it along, the conservatives are going to force us to the same thing with their might. Call it cross-cultural appreciation or call it business, it's the same thing.
These writings are a sexual playfulness. The self is shattered. The things of the world disappear and the eternal things that never were here are now here. Tumbling tumbling tumbling inward to the All Things. One thought. Boundaries dissolve. The act contemplates itself. Logico-mathematics is a gigantic thing and there is no way we can stand and be just our individual selves in its presence. We dissolve into this Logos Lover. It's an erotic thing. A sexual playful destructiveness.
Every dissolution of the self into God is erotic. The same with the same. God does not take into Himself what is not identical with Himself already. A vortex and a head-swirling compression. The too close. The vanishing of boundaries. The Forms are themselves. We are that. And the One.
Who am I that I might write so off-handedly of the great philosophical ideas that rule our spiritual intellectual life. I sit in this little room in Iowa City and survey those grand things spread out haphazardly on my floor. Some are overdue and they will cost me money that I will have to get again by working at a menial job I wish I didn't have to go to. Or I'm in Kathmandu and I pretend familiarity with the ancient Deities now so besmudged by others like me who wanted to touch that grandeur and instead rubbed it off. Off what? There is no what. Great Ideas and Deities hang on nothing. And still they are the rulers and compass in this world of boys surveying and laying off foot by foot the upheaving of desire that makes us greater than all that.
We and the unworld of the gods are entangled in this world composed of fractured light and teeth that bite behind red lips so desirable.
It is said that some of the angels laughed and played while Jesus was being crucified either because they didn't get it or they were little philosophers, which comes to about the same thing. Society's concern is not my concern, and I feel somewhat uneasy about that. I secretly think it's no one's concern. We are all already out of here in spirit. Or have I misunderstood? Am I alone in going to the chamber of this god? Is that fair shoulder to be mine alone? Am I alone in this trembling?
I have written openly about the shattering of thought by love and the fierce image of divine beauty all along the form of that one I am staring at. I have spoken the truth of things. I have laid out the undoing of the world into something that is finally unspeakable. I suppose I should go back to participating in the Grand Lie that Plato spoke of and reassure the world that all is fine, or would be if only this and that were slightly changed. I could drop this aesthetico-religious view of things and take up the moralistic view of the Right and the Left.
I do not want to be misunderstood; by railing against the Great Individualism all around me, I am not thereby saying that I am advocating a greater identification with the group. On the contrary, all that inter-relating, that constant concern with personal encounters, the solicitous caring for and about the thoughts of others and of how oneself is received or not received by them, is (here paradoxically) not what I am all about. I am writing of something away from any such entanglement. All of which is not to say that I live away from such. One's material and social place is not the place where one's spirit freely roams. The life of the individual (great or servile) within a group is a moral affair. And, though the moralistic viewpoint is all-prevalent today, there really is much more within the high arches of Being.
The problem I have is that philosophers have often misunderstood the Universal to be the class. Eg. The Form of Rose to be the class of all roses, or the Number Three to be the class of all triplets. They have then seen only two possibilities: one talks about a class or an individual member of a class. Thus when I talk of the Lover or Love or Beauty, they see the social group (class) of lovers and love affairs and the many beautiful faces. I see it otherwise. I see the Forms separate from both the individual and any group of individuals. And those words "separate from" makes them roll their eyes and mutter "Platonism" and dismiss it out of hand (probably because of that damned homo-eroticism that it inevitably leads to). If I were to try to speak my ideas in class-talk I would describe the individuals in it smudging together into one rotating blur – a somewhat alluring image for me, but too crammed full and finally clogged.
However, let's say I am talking about a standing-around of beauties or an abjection of lovers. That is sort of a group, but not really. That is a mere repetition of the one Form in the shattered mirror of matter. It's a literary and a philosophical thing; don't worry about it. It is the form of thought in these writings, though; and I do so love to write.
Sartre writes, "Evil is the systematic substitution of the abstract for the concrete." I think with that he is referring to those times in life when we find ourselves growing nervous and uncomfortable because we are increasingly confronted by some quiet awful twilight and its enduring presence becomes unendurable. And citing a rosary of intellectual understandings, we try to spirit it away. In the place of immanent danger, we intellectualize, we theorize, in prayerful contemplation of scientific abstractions.
In my own case, because I have written about Being itself, which for the human mind is frightening when confronted head on, I deal in nothing but abstractions. Away from all support that life's various beings might give, I reel before the very Real. And I know the feel of the abstractness of the abstractions. I intimately know the looming emptiness. And I speak as casually as I can. Pretense and sham fill my speaking. Vast languorous, clangorous stretches of non-thought resound and I repeatedly lie unmoving in my own mind. Slowly those abstractions become the smooth and luscious skin of a lover. The concrete and the abstract coalesce, evil and beauty, the ugly and the good. Boundaries disappear.
It's a curious thing that in English the word "property" refers to both the universal exemplified by a particular and a piece of land or material thing that one owns. And if friends own each other then each is a piece of property of the other; even unto saying that I am my friend. That idea is cause for concern. There is great danger all about the idea of ownership, because it seems inevitable, in this world, that one will come to lose the thing owned; the tie, the nexus, will be broken. The friend will move away, misunderstandings will corrode trust, livelihoods will vanish, the strong material support of body will be loosened and things will slowly begin to fall apart into nothing, and finally illness will kill. Or did I jump from idea to idea too fast? I'm looking for the Jolt. My concern here has been to speak about, not the making of, but the breaking of the connection between particular and universal, owner and owned.
In Platonism the universal becomes loosened from the particular and flies free. Perhaps it really does then try to fly where there is no material support of air for its wings and it falls; perhaps it is just then in free fall forever. The loosening, for us, does occur. We inevitably loose the material support of all that we own, including, of course, our own bodies, and we suffer the giddiness of falling. Unless there comes a strong hand to hold us, we are overwhelmed with anxiety.
The separation of the Forms that is the mark of Platonism is known and felt in those moments of greatest danger. Obviously also included in that are all those extreme moments of falling in love when loss and the overwhelming are close at hand. Giddy anxiety. And when the break up occurs that it seems must occur, and the lover's material substance is gone and the abstracted Lover comes, then we become philosophers. The still perfection beyond life and existence is intimately known. It is known in spite of not being sought.
The bare particular (just this) is for most people something between the curious and the nothing at all. It is, in fact, an I-don't-know-what, just that, in the fact before you. For example, the fact that this is my watch. The idea of watch has become just this very one. It is a rather common wonder of a boy, at least it was for me, that I am me. That you are you. That everything is just itself. The idea or the form of a thing is one thing, but its being just that one there is mysterious. I was easily impressed by it. Likewise, that now is now, that I, the very I that I am, am in this now now. And the same for you and everything else. That here is right here. That this watch glows in the dark and that one doesn't. This one! And on and on – I think you get the point. It is an idea both easy and impossible. Whatever that thing is that accounts for these thoughts, that is the ground and the cause of my thinking them, is the bare particular.
But we have to continue because more wonder accrues. Given a this, and given the idea or form of watch that I have found attached to it, what, in fact, draws them together in attachment, so that this is a watch and not an elephant? So that the particular and its form are one? It is an intimate union, in deed. The tying is tight. It is the Tie! Or in the Latin that rules, the Nexus.
All that is good and well, but one more very sticky problem remains. Bare particular, form and nexus are all united in a most compact unity, but we have just thought them separately in an ontological thinking! The difference between them is not only clean and perfectly complete, but it is vast, it is momentous for our existence. The philosopher views simple things, these first things, as strangely, beautifully from outside this complex world of which there is no other world.
We are all, I think I can safely say, looking for the why of existence. I don't mean something so shallow as the explanations that science gives, which are utterly unsatisfying in their puffed up importance. We are looking for the ground, the final substance of things, the unseen being of things, but we see nothing because there is nothing there to be seen. At least with an ordinary seeing, and all else is suspect. Suspicion and doubt and the uncanny rule. We are floating in the negativity of the Uncertain. A tenuous abstraction. In the Unsafe.
Such are bare particulars and Forms away from all particulars and the Nexus that determines beyond appeal. A filigreed certainty in the Uncertain. The un-united within the Un-united. And the thought of Being as that collapses.
The bare particular is a momentary thing. Or rather it is a thing outside the movement of time. It is not carried along. It does not endure. It is an eternal thing. All of which is rather confusing. No one idea arises out of those quasi-forms together. The bare particular is not a thing encountered in the blinding light of the everyday. It is a nodding thing of twilight loneliness. It is almost a thing of death. The stillness is overcoming. The mind whelms. It is an hermetic thing that carries the soul over to There. We know it easily, too easily. The just this as in this is a broken window. Through him we were to see the other place but now he lies still broken off. You can even taste the bare particular. Pugnacious and pungent and you are wizened. Logic looked at directly kills. Sleighs on white snow. Bare-chested boys freeze fast. Podiatrists lose their cool. Suffocating heat rises. Brains pureed.
I am a witness to all this. I am the beautiful image of God. I am the third. I am sweet terror. I am the holy spirit. I am beyond. This writer suffers me. I am the reading that is in you. A just this with itself. The just this of every this. Even the just this of just this universal form. And just this nexus. And just this fact. But why go on? My proliferation is just me over myself. The bare particular kisses itself. I watch myself. Do you find yourself repulsed? Here, in the twilight screw-up.
Society at large and as we know it is a rather rigidly constructed thing. Greater and lesser things interweave: male-female, old-young, high status-low status, rich-poor, beautiful-plain, intelligent-dull, owner-worker, master-slave, and on and on. Boundaries are set and we usually know which side we are on. We manage to learn the behavior appropriate to our place; and, though the complexities of the interweaving can at times lead to the inaction of confusion, society advances. I am writing an anti-social thing.
Differences collapse in the heat of the sameness of homo-ness. It's head-spinning; no wonder people are against it. We all want to know where we stand. In this faggot writing you will never find that out. And here transcendence mingles so intimately with immanence that … well, it's embarrassing to watch. There are, therefore, herms erected all along the way to ward you off. The god of boundaries is here. Hand over your intellectual capital and you may pass. This is the place of the Nexus. This is the place of that little dash setting off the great pairs. I have written a socially negligible thing. The dead thing left on the altar. I am the old crawling up your lovely smooth skin. What history was is at hand.
This writing is sufficient unto itself. A self-creating god is in here. The dead Christian god you ate as a boy. Or have I taken liberties? Rhetorically, words come and go, mingle and cling together, advance and reach a full stop; and nothing much is said. Still, the truth of it all is extra-sentential (do you like that word?) and it will leave these sentences and follow you to your bed. Where you will fall into the Nowhere between all the neatly laid out differences.
Just how we should understand all that is a matter of sweet contention. Often sickeningly sweet. I am not speaking of a union of opposites, but I sort of am. I am not speaking of neither this, neither that, but it's not that either. It is dialectical, for sure, but dialectics is a transcendent way of arguing and it's unclear if there is such a thing. It leads to where the Third Man lives, or refused to live, before he moved in here as just bad philosophy. It’s a gay thing that wants to erase its difference from everyone else and just be one of the boys. In the process he simply erases himself. Or almost. His newfound ordinariness is just too ordinary and he still sticks out. So here I am sticking out. But few are looking. A just this has taken on the form of one of the Great Forms and I see it. You see it. But there are only a few who are looking and tasting this wisdom. The connection is too fine. The nexus breaks too easily. Like all sugary confection.
The gods have returned. Jesus, save us, we dance on your cheek.
Philosophy is phenomenological, which is to say that it is studious about the appearance of what appears. That definition is, however, is as unclear as the word "phenomenological" is long. The Forms exist; we see them. The bare particular exists; we see it. The nexus is right there; we see it with the eye of our eyes. Or do we? We see them and we don't. Or rather, yes, we do see them with our philosophical eyes, but not with our ordinary, everyday eyes. Which is, I suppose, a way of saying nothing at all. Except that we do see those mystical things. The seeing is not difficult, but it is seemingly impossible for those who don't see. What's up here? Are we built differently? Probably. Some of us see the one thing; some of us see the one thing shattered. Some of us feel the presence of that One Thing; some of us feel its absence. The one/the many, presence/absence, seeing/not seeing, mystical/schmystical.
I have hung out most of my life with those who have run after the One Boy that is in all boys. Perhaps that kind of mind really does, as Sartre says, centripetally trip along. Those same ones would gladly worship that god with lavishments that surely wouldn't cost any more than they are already spending on that one boy here who is no more than a hopeless tease. We see the many: we see the one thing. We experience the many; we experience the One Thing. But the many is nothing without the one. We see, we experience, the one in the many – the Act! But the intensity and the head swirling frustration of not having, at times that are not in time, leaves us alone with just the one thing. The god appears in our desperation. And he was always there. It's a divine entanglement. The heart aches. We have escaped the act of thought itself to be out there with that – the goal.
The spirit of these writings does go against these democratically circumspect times. It does not display any humility that one should gain from having spent weighty time considering all sides in the matter at hand. No personal reservations, no hesitation in the face of great difficulty, no seemly unease before the deity of peer judgment, no halting cadence is present to indicate the force of the guarded expression. I do not ostentatiously defer to them. I write my own words filled with my own desire. Words I insolently admit were forced into my possession by that Autocrat. He has made himself mine. My love for Him is perforce boundless. The demos be damned. What you or I may think or want is irrelevant. Love is the watchword, not respect. Suffocating closeness, not the airy independence of equals.
In the same spirit my words remain gendered. He is constantly there. It is not the case that he and she disappear together into It. There is no mutual destruction in the union of opposites. Matter and anti-matter do not embrace and annihilate themselves. The neuter does not finally gain center ground, a floating unground. Finally there is only he and he and he and he and he … which is to say He is there. He fills the "there is". Il y a. Il ne disparait point.
Except that under my caressing hand he becomes his own her and then it just lies there. The body as though a dead thing excites. It's a common experience; I hardly need to remind you of it. You have it just outside the door of memory always. Frightening things. He is that. No annihilation, but super-being. In my transcendent unthinking he becomes the thing out there in my gaze. I write and he and he and he and he disappear … sublimate … into He is.
You, of course, cannot follow the logic of this; no one can. But as in a dream super-logic prevails - or is it just my unseemly dis-ease before truth? In India I have watched unwilling boys willingly act out the part of Sati, Siva in religious drag. Nothing much fit together there either, though I fidgeted and understood it perfectly. The masculine God was all around. He obviously did not want to liberal out in the more considerate, non-sexist sway of the Demos. The boy was taken, and God in this ancient and newfound youth was strange.
This writing is a constant back-looking at what I have written and it disappears into that. Little remains. Publishers don't publish mirrors reflecting only mirrors. Narcissus and Orpheus and even Psyche, looking so unadvisedly, never made it far. Gaze upon gaze. And Socrates, "Know thyself" – mad advise. I am a cultured, well-read thing. A post-post-modern writer. Queerly queer.
Let me from out of my ignorance about such things try to explain something about these writings using ideas and images from today's techno-speak. I want to present something useful to this generation that learns about life from the Media, that has been mesmerized and seduced by the idea of scintillating communication networks. Consider the brain and "its" ability to focus. Consider meditation and gamma waves. In this chaotic world of sensory overload, we look for the ability to calmly attend to the matter at hand. We want to focus on the one thing. We want to advance directly to our intentional objective without falling prey to distraction. When there are too many conflicting demands put on our neural imagining systems, when the configuring of intellectual desire and emotional need begins to break up, when we fidget and our thoughts run helter-skelter, then our brain waves come to resemble those of an epileptic. We need something to bring coherence and harmony to our tortured mind, ie. we need an increase in gamma waves – or whatever. Meditation!
Meditation enhances the ability to focus on one thing. That focusing on one thing is the essential idea. In these writings I have used a number of techniques to achieve that. Among them are the erotic gaze and the extreme emotional shock of love. Let me speak the latter first. I will assume you are somewhat familiar with it. Jealousy and the frightening prospect of loss are common enough experiences. Very unsettling things, but, I think you will agree, even more unsettling is the intense surprise of the beauty itself. Any of that can also at times act as the electric shock of a defibrillator does to chaotic rhythms of the heart. As shock therapy resets the machinery of mental sanity. Sometimes you have to kick and kick hard on a shimmying machine to make it operate smoothly. I have used it to achieve the intense focusing that is needed for the very difficult "viewing" that is ontology. Likewise I have used the erotic gaze, an intense concentrated looking indeed. That along with the pinpoint moment of sexual pique leads the mind very efficiently to the one thing intended.
In the shocks of love and sex, two things I never separate, one can firmly hold one's attention on one thing. Perhaps that one thing is the curve of a brow, or the redness of lips, or slenderness of waist, whatever it is that has attracted you. Perhaps it is a simple movement or an elegant stillness. Whatever it is, it moves toward one exquisite moment of orgasm. Even if it is an imagined or intellectual orgasm. Your mind, your sexually charged mind, in a stillness that matches your body's unmoving stare, achieves a perfect focus. Until you have it perfectly … at that one moment … and then you decline into sleep.
That is how I invite my readers to think about the things of ontological analysis. If you think of the bare particular or the universal or the nexus uniting them, you must behold them in what has been called by some, phenomenological epochè. That bracketing keeps out all extraneous considerations and one only attends to the thing itself. No judging of its existence or non-existence, no relating it to other things, no contextual commentary is allowed. One simply focuses in on the one thing within one brilliant moment of meditation. It's like the moment of orgasm when the world has disappeared and only that one thing is eminently there before you.
And that is how I invite you to read these words. They have a rhythm in them intentionally. That rhythm is a steady rising and falling and a bringing to gentle conclusion. I want my reader to ride it as it swells and abates. Moreover, each sentence, with its phrasing and pauses, should be the object of a focused erotic-like gaze. If the reader is worried about being duped, about being taken in or taken for a ride, and he is ever looking around and anxious thoughts intrude and the reading becomes a halting thing, then all is lost. Otherwise I think they are good meditation pieces. In the end the reader is put back down right where he got on.
The danger with talking about focus in philosophy is that it reduces that philosophy to artful composition. Or it makes it a species of interior decorating. Not that I have anything against those two things, but without constant attention to the proper object of philosophy all is lost. One does not focus for the sake of being focused. Or enter a room merely to be comfortably centered in that room. The god of philosophy must command the philosopher's attention or the exquisite shudder does not come.
I write of the most abstract. The first, uncaused things must themselves delicately settle in. The mind must shatter. That than which there can be no greater smoothly tears the mind apart. No one can think paradox and the paradox of Being is a breathtaking rupture in the expected rape. I write a captious rapture. Do you object? Existence exists.
I enter the room of thought and he, well-centered, lounges naked on a big, comfortable chair. Soft darkening, twilight colors. Incipient hues of dew. And doom. The end is at hand. In his hand. And the excretions of bad poetry spurt on the broad epi-glistening-dermal expanses around his equally well-centered navel. Slippage. He falls to the floor. Existence exists clumsily. In nimble antinomics. It is one; it is many; and … well, yes.
One cannot live a life of shocks and aftershocks. Though many are forced to. The true philosopher joltingly thrown out of both earth and heaven rolls on and on in the nowhere between. And he finds the Friend there or he doesn't find him at all.
One cannot live a purely aesthetic life and ignore the ethical claims of the individual. Perhaps it is that the spiritual person feels the great cry within himself welling up out of unbearable pity for the suffering selves and flings himself into the arms of Beauty. But he remains philosophically between.
That philosophical place is undefined. It is perforce without definition. A head compressing divorce of here and there. And so the poor philosopher casually speaks of paradox and antinomy and ontological blanking out, but that's only vertigo and cold sacrifice.
I pray for my friends; I pray intensely. I want them to be in a place away from the worries of prayer. And find the extravagant Beauty of God. I am anxious that they will. And that they maybe shouldn't just yet.
Luther preached predestination. Paul gave us the horrible image of a potter God throwing away the badly made. God seems to be an aesthetically minded fellow. He likes whom he likes and shuffles off the rest to the dump. I am no different. I shudder at what I am.
Luther said that in both the
light of reason and the light of scripture God seems worse than the devil. It
is only There in the Light of Glory will He be justified. Is it that there we
will see it was only a gloriously laid out piece of art? In art we don't worry
about the lives of the characters; we rather thank them for the strength of
presence they have given us. And they are not.
They are Objects
without self-identity. The philosopher squints and revels and rolls on in the
non-being of being such an Object. Reason objects.
Moral philosophy emphasizes the individual, his survival and his flourishing. It seems that most religions and their attendant theologies have done the same. I, however, have not. This is a philosophy of beauty and an attendant onto-logic, not of individuals, but of universals and bare particulars. The individual self is shattered. His continuance is not his, but that of a timeless universal Form. Eternity scintillates. Vision is only beatific stillness. It is otherworldly. Such a philosopher here is only barely so.
This is thus not a philosophy of meaninglessness. Everything here is the exemplification of a Form from there and its intelligibility is apparent. Perfect individualism overpowers the Form because the Form in beauty is the tyranny of love. For the sake of the individual, his freedom and safety, the Form is denied place. Still, the moralism and the compassion it tries to arouse are forced because the individual, though safe from beauty, is isolated within himself. Commitment does not substitute well for love. Nor homeliness for beauty. And because everything is only to a degree, being becomes foreplay, an unresolved orgasm.
I should not have to lay out the difficulties I have encountered in my philosophy of Platonic universals. This book has been a constant complaint before that Perfection.
So often my heart nearly breaks because of the desperate times so many face. I worry because I imagine the worst outcome for those trying so hard. I so want to help, but I can do so little. Except when it comes to gay people. I almost never find myself feeling sorry for them or worrying about some individual. I know perfectly well that they can take care of themselves. Because they have known the shock of consciousness at finding themselves in a dangerous place of forced self-recrimination and hatred and they have had to learn to fight even themselves and win, they know the glaringly lucid and they have become pure perception. They are not individuals anymore. I smile and see them as gods. They have looked straight on at the terror of Being and they have found a way. I see no way they can be domesticated and socialized. They are at home now only in the windy heights of our civilization. Having been driven into consciousness, the softness is gone out of them.