an image diary

"And if he left off dreaming about you, where do you suppose you'd be? ... You'd be nowhere. Why, you're only a sort of thing in his dream! If that there King was to wake you'd go out -- bang! -- just like a candle!"

"Hush! You'll be waking him, I'm afraid, if you make so much noise."

"Well it's no use your talking about waking him when you're only one of the things in his dream. You know very well you're not real."

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

. .

Points off for out of focus. Which is default mode these dark gray days. The sun has gone missing and the daylight hours are ever more amputated as we grow into winter, the end of the year. I still don't know how the rest of the world copes with this darkness. Me, I start looking at plane tickets to the desert where sanely enough they don't do daylight savings. It's nearly seven in the morning; the sky in the east has only a hint of its deep deep blue. The rest is as dark as the trees.


And now: full sun! But Sunday morning started out the same and by noon it was gray and windy. Have I mentioned cold? It never fell. It summered, it wintered, it was sweaty and cold at once. The trees made a feeble attempt to yellow and orange; it rained for a day and all color was swept to mush in the streets. Then it turned cold enough for gloves and coats and hats and boots.


Notes from Brother John-Luke's lecture on the philosophy of living being:

What is the human person as a living being? What is it to live?

My first experience of living is very concrete, for I have a great diversity of vital operations--seeing, hearing, thinking, loving, touching, etc.--but I also have a profound interiority. The most profound. The temptation is to identify the human person with that which is most interior. Plato identifies man with his intelligence.

So at first I am scattered by diversity, but the older I get, the more interior I become, so that it becomes important that I have the experience of a vital unity, as well. The danger of living in interiority is the rejection of the body. But without my body--and without my diversity of vital functions--can I know what it is to live? The temptation of intelligence is towards this lack of realism.

But then, in order to make discerning judgements, I must recognize that the source of this diversity is that which determines my vital operations: objects? To what extent does object determine my vital operations (vision, for example), given that it is I who sees, not eye? Well, what is object? The table or the sensible quality of the table? --What is first when I hear, when I see? The senses allow us diversity of experience but also commonality, the same reality.

Analysis: search for order. What determines my intelligence?

I must make a distinction between that which determines my experience (object) and the conditions that inform the experience (the body in illness, for instance). We can can make wrong judgements: movement has the capacity to modify my experience, to hinder determination. Distance also. Quantity also. Thus, the material aspect can modify but does it determine?

Proper sensibles versus common sensibles. Proper sensibles determine directly my experience.

I who see, I who love, lucidity: the interior experience of myself: I think therefore I am: Descartes' certain consciousness of his eye. His I. I exist. That discovery of that I is through my vital operations, body, which is receptivity: receiving from reality. What is my will, my love? The first affection of the soul, the first cause, is myself.

The body is going to be more or less engaged in its varying degrees of life in vital unity. It's not the same thing to think as to digest food. I can abstract from reality and therefore have a certain autonomy from reality. Thinking--abstraction--that modality does not require body. I can think of you while you are gone. Intelligence is not determined by matter. It can abstract from matter.
Aristotle: is the intelligence material? If so you would have a sensible quality of it.

The seduction of my intelligence is that there is something infinite about it as opposed to the finite quality of matter, extension, body. The temptation is to see body as not noble, to privilege intelligence over body. But to exercise my intelligence--to think of a reality, there has to be experience. I cannot think outside of my sensible experience.

The sensible quality of "table" is formal abstraction. I've never touched a man. Never seen a man.

The unique character of intelligence is that it operates on abstraction. I move myself in the midst of diversity which at the same time touches something that is more than body, that the body itself cannot explain. The induction respects profoundly the relationship between diversity and unity.


"and what is the use of a book...without pictures or conversations?"

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