Rambling West

In a few days I’ll head West from Tel Aviv to New England — to Hanover, New Hampshire, to be precise — to read a paper.  It’s not about Thoreau, but about Kierkegaard, though as you know I see them as not unlike each other in a number of respects.  I’ve neglected posts here, and can blame that on getting submerged in writing projects.  I can share a bit of what I’ll be touching on in Hanover, passing on three touchstones for a talk on Fear and Trembling.

The first is from George Pattison who is flying in from London to Hanover:   Beyond the question of knowledge are poetry, madness, love— but if these are not and cannot be knowledge they may yet be best of all.            

Then Wittgenstein, from 1940:  People nowadays think scientists are there to instruct them, poets, musicians, etc., to entertain them.  That the latter have something to teach them — that never occurs to them. 
and W. from Culture and Value:   Faith is a passion; wisdom, cool grey ash.   

And from Kafka:  One tries to imprison life in a system, like a songbird in a cage — but it’s no good. 

These weave in and out of my talk on Johannes de silentio’s dialectical lyric — mysteriously.

Today is Kierkegaard’s birthday, and Google commemorates him with a nice quill and squiggle on its home page.




3 comments on “Rambling West

  1. dmfant says:

    I love the accomplishments of trees,
    How they try to restrain great storms
    And pacify the very worms that eat them.
    Even their deaths seem to be considered.
    I fear for trees, loving them so much.
    I am nervous about each scar on bark,
    Each leaf that browns. I want to
    Lie in their crotches and sigh,
    Whisper of sun and rains to come.

    Sometimes on summer evenings I step
    Out of my house to look at trees
    Propping darkness up to the silence.

    When I die I want to slant up
    Through those trunks so slowly
    I will see each rib of bark, each whorl;
    Up through the canopy, the subtle veins
    And lobes touching me with final affection;
    Then to hover above and look down
    One last time on the rich upliftings,
    The circle that loves the sun and moon,
    To see at last what held the darkness up.

    “A Final Affection” by Paul Zimmer

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