Tag Archives: Thelonious Monk

Spinoza’s Causal Theory of the Affects

“(..) it is correct to insist, as Spinoza does (..), that ´the Body cannot determine the Mind in thinking, and the Mind cannot determine the Body to Motion”. We should take this to mean that we cannot infer from a cause described in physical terms that a specific mental event will ensue as effect (..): mental and physical concepts belong to independent explanatory systems.” D. Davidson in Truth, Language, and History, Oxford University Press (2005), p. 305-306.

[Re-posted from The Old Site, original dd. 17-05-2008. The original stated at the end that it was [to be redone] and I’ll try to redo it but I don’t know whether I have the stomach for it. I kind of hope it will set me up for something I wanted to do on ‘Tat Tvam Asi’ after seeing a documentary on the nth physicist (B. Alan Wallace or so) trying to find ‘deeper truths’ (and naming one specific person only serves the purpose of maybe catching some lost souls via google and, who knows?, rescueing one of them from the stupidities characteristic of the intersection of science and religion). Anyway, the basic reason why so much of religion is appealing is because it focuses on the right kind of conclusions such that it is tempting to also buy the absolutely false premises that go with it. The truth is not found in the past – or by stripping a lot of surface layers. The truth is found in the future – and the new surfaces that are constantly created.]

I cleaned the quote above from the jargon. What follows here can do without.

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As I lay dying

“I remember how when I was young I believed death to be a phenomenon of the body; now I know it to be merely a function of the mind – and that of the minds of the ones who suffer the bereavement. The nihilists say it is the end; the fundamentalists, the beginning; when in reality it is no more than a single tenant or family moving out of a tenement or a town.” William Faulkner, The best of Faulkner, The Reprint Society of London (1955), p. 23.

[Re-posted from The Old Site original dd. 01/05/08. A tremendous sadness has come over me and it is as if somebody has left me; somebody that was in a sense: me. This sadness is overwhelming, but it is not without great joy in the appreciation that the future cannot be as the past was.]

I’ll let you in on a little secret: I believe in an after-life. Weird, ain’t it? It takes a lot of imagination to picture an agnostic believer in the after-life. Luckily, I’m here to help you out a bit, & William is here to help me out a bit.

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De l’amitié

“Il les laisse heritiers de cette sienne liberalité, qui consiste à leur mettre en main les moyens de luy bien-faire.” Michel de Montaigne, Essais Livre 1 (Flammarion 1969), Chapitre XXVIII

(amateuristic English translation: “He leaves them as heirs of his liberalism, a liberalism that consists in giving them the means to treat him well.”)

[Re-posted from http://quoughts.skynetblogs.be (the original was dated November 1st, 2007): I knew it was going to be awkward to read & review this old stuff, but it would have been cowardly not to do so. Still, I was shocked at reading this. Shocked to see how badly written it was; but mostly shocked at what I tried to write, back then. Shocked at having felt so lonely. Nothing much has changed since then, except for how I feel about these things which is – mostly – better. I rewrote a lot but kept the insight (which is challenging but which I can still buy) as well as the feeling (which I lost, for the most part, but which may resonate with some). Hope you like it.]

I am not sure I get it. It is not a pure coincidence that I start with something I am not sure of. A good quote is never the one-liner equivalent of a slam-dunk type of argument. A good quote always leads to wonder: it fuels your creativity, & it stimulates your thought.

I didn’t reread the entire chapter. I guess it doesn’t make a romantic plea for altruistic friendship of the kind that would make people forget themselves in an attempt to help others. Friendship – as a specifically human trait – involves at least two people. It would be self-defeating if one of them would forget herself. Although there may be a lot of benefits in that for the other, friendship will not be among those benefits. That being said, friendship cannot just be a relationship between two (or more) people.  Indeed, friendship understood as pure reciprocal relationships is nothing else but the romanticized version of the economic quid pro quo.  At heart we know for sure that friendship is of a different kind than a purely economical relationship. And, in the end, our interest in friendship is an matter of the heart so let us direct our reason to the feeling rather than to a redefinition of the concept that makes it more clear at the expense of keeping it to the point.

So this much is the fruit of my first wonder: friendship requires, at least, two people and something else. What can the something else be?

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