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One danger of ‘false difficulty’ in the humanities lies in the constant ballooning upwards and outwards of ideas and theories brought on by every surge of academic commentary. The origin or source of the problems that occupy us are lost as we gleefully alight here and there onto the latest ‘interpretation’ or ‘jargon’ and go with it where we will.

Well, every tree has roots. As a tree grows upwards and outwards, and becomes a mighty specimen to hold up in awe and rapt observation, its roots dig deeper into the earth, deeper into the dark. Every theory or interpretation that contributes a new word to the industry of ‘false difficulty’ also contributes a deepening of the roots – a deepening into the dark – and we are in danger of becoming lost to the interminable ‘chatter’ of half-baked scholarship. The roots are almost inaccessible to us now, so what hope do we have of recovering the problem itself?


84. We all have ‘baggage’, as they say. And it can be loosed away and shaken off for good through our own efforts, which is certainly a liberating experience make no mistake, but the problem is that the emotional gloom within us is not entirely expelled – actually, never expelled – and now what remains of it rattles all the more obnoxiously against the cage of our understanding, vying for our undivided attention. Oh, great joy! And, what more can a person do in this situation? He simply sighs to the fact that his inner life is replete with an endless gallery of portraits of faces and eyes that leer, stare and provoke, and while these millions clamour within unceaslessly, there is almost nothing he can do about any of it, except to struggle against the temptation to give in.


David Michalczyk 

76. Dreams have an inherent first-person, present tense orientation. Even if I incarnate another person in a dream, it is always I who peers out from the face of the other.

Dream-reports are also intransitive. The words in a dream-report we use to communicate the dream (e.g., the images, impressions, or sensations) are not meant as a preliminary to specifying what meaning they have. What is at issue is that the dream really did impress me. Dream-reports therefore function like exclamations or interjections. They are spontaneous reactions to what we see. Dream-reports are not descriptions, but avowals.

That I dreamt such-and-such is noteworthy and of interest; not what the dream describes. For then it looks as if our interest and fascination with dreams concerns some extra-dream reality we inhabit when we dream. We try to capture it in the dream-report, but we cannot; we become frustrated with language and are inclined to think that since the dream cannot be described, it points to something beyond itself (like music). We take our dreams as descriptive; so, we interpret them as fragments of a story which we suppose is capable of being fully disclosed. Not surprisngly, most of the time we are puzzled by dreams (our own, and those of other people).

In dreams, the dreamer is always the consumate artist. No wonder they hold such great appeal.

75. We are sad when we listen to sad music. We grimace when we see someone in physical pain. You smile, I smile, and so on. To share in this way is to be drawn into a quality of relatedness to the sad music, person in pain, etc, such that we are inclined to return what is observed in kind. The perception is of the meaning itself.

74. The caress of desire is filled with the consciousness of my interest in you as an embodied being, in your body as an essential aspect of your identity. In this regard, the hand which outlines the body in the caress of desire functions like the human face in the glance of desire: it concentrates and reveals my interest in you.

72. Pornographic representations are obscene for this reason: you may recognize someone by his or her sexual organ, but not in his or her sexual organ.

All erotic art addresses itself to the depiction of the human face. Since the face is the primary expression of consciousness, it is the natural focus of all individualising attention (e.g., the glance of sexual desire). Representations that focus upon the sexual organs are, therefore, not erotic, but obscene, since they negate the interpersonal quality of (sexual) desire.

73. The caress of sexual desire calls forth the soul from its depths, and makes it palpable in the flesh. The body quivers with soulful reverberations. Arousal in the recipient is a form of permission to the one who caresses.

70. Nothing lasts forever. This does little to console those who experience the premature loss of a loved one, however.

71. In philosophy, it is hard to disentangle a person from his view, from his own way of envisioning things, which is unconscious. How often this impedes discussion! What, in philosophy, is due to a person’s temper, and what his speculative intelligence? And, if the subject speaks more to the former, then we persist in philosophy out of a kind of fascination for the physiognomy of the human face, which interest in endures because human faces are, by nature, unpredictable and imponderable.

69. Ways of thinking are like furniture: seated in one, we resist changing position or even getting back up. We die in our sleep.

68. Is there a reason or rule for every word or sentence we utter? No more than there is a reason or rule standing behind every tune we whistle or sing to others. And what do we lose by this?

66. It is always nice to arrive some place new, but equally so, it is important to acknowledge when the experience has run its course, and it is time to pack up and leave.

67. Our linguistic concepts are not suspended objects hovering above us, like some divine stimulus to human speech. Rather, they move through a person and between persons in thought and activity. They found and express whatever is routine in life.

May 2018
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