Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Criticism and Philosophy

Reading Joe Wenderoth and Gary Lutz. There's a kind of septic undertow dragging in the work of both. Lutz especially is chin deep in it--his style a delicate flailing as he's dragged away in a flood of the various excreta we flush.

Lutz is the more accomplished stylist.

Both writers are sick fucks, but Lutz is clearly the sicker.

Despair and shit and the body are recurrent themes in Gabriel Gudding's work too, but somehow Gudding has none of the potty negativity of Lutz and Wenderoth. (Could we speak here of the Potty-Hegelians?)

Also reading Sir Thomas Browne's Religio Medici. Browne turns a wonderful phrase and demonstrates a generous spirit for his time and place. But intellectually Browne was a crabbed provincial next to Montaigne. (Which may not reflect that badly on Browne. Nearly everyone was a crabbed provincial next to Montaigne.)

One wonders how Shakespeare would have written had he taken up the essay as a genre.

* * *

Is it the importunity of beings that makes us yearn for Being?

There are many that would not tolerate the nagging of beings were it not that they glimpse Being and feel that part of them is grounded in Being.

But perhaps this is putting it badly. Not that "part of them" is grounded, but that some grasp of Being would, they hope, offer a ground on which they could build an edifice against the painful storms of unknowing that wrack them. That wrack us.

Is it the importunity of beings that makes us yearn for Being?

My body, with its daily nagging, is one of these beings of course, or rather is itself a panoply of beings, as is my mind, in which I am not sure where to place the "I."

Is it only this importunity, this nagging--at times merely troublesome, but finally deadly--that makes us project "Being" to begin with?

I would agree with Heidegger by saying No. Being is not merely an illusory projection, a trick of language or a dead end: to say it is is to speak from a structure that has ignored the question of Being. Not answered, but ignored.

Beings are objects of pleasure, or annoyances, or toys, or threats, or traps, or illusory, or all there is.

Being is illusory, or all there is.

Parmenides: the greatest philosopher.

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