p ^ ~p: that, try as i might, i cannot internalize the intuition that this proposition is non-sense that it is, without argument or qualification, in any and all instances of informational analysis, obviously false , that may be a critical bullet i fail to bite (despite my willingness to be systematically brainwashed to believe otherwise) , it may be my suicide seed to a career in  western analytic philosophy, and may be the seed to aim for something more personally rewarding, may be the seed to treat this tradition as means, a means among means, towards some more substantive end. circumstance is me learning, being embedded in a cultural tradition constructed in antithetical experience to that of my own, being willingly held to intuitions, expectations, standards, values, and ideals not my own, reminding myself  as often as i can that none of it is me, it doesn’t define me, my value in terms of its standards are not my value, my writing and expression of ideas as valued in terms of its standards are not their values, and yet through them, as painstaking and counterintuitive as it can seem at times, is me, and it is me intentionally becoming me


p ^~p , no one is an idiot because demonstrating derivations doesn’t come naturally to them. i’m not an idiot because nothing in classical logic comes naturally  or intuitively to me. or because what i get out of class in terms of educational experience may be significantly different than the intended course learning objectives. i’m not a poor writer because i don’t systematically constrain the expression of ideas to deductive, formal arguments. i’m not lazy because normatively sanctioned critical philosophical discourse on plato and metaphilosophy breeds little by way of  my motivation or imagination. i don’t not get it.  but like most, i care to get only when the getting looks good.


why an analytic program, why jump into the deep end of a pool when one has yet to learn how to swim, what good could possibly come of it?


i was captivated by a recent NPR interview where an american nun, serving in a leadership position among nuns of the catholic church, spoke of the social injustice and inequality nuns face in the hierarchical, patriarchal power structure that characterizes modern catholic religious institutions. when asked why she continues to identify as a catholic in the face of such overwhelming cognitive dissonance and disappointment of the injustices she perceives as being systematically perpetuated by church hierarchy, she asked the interviewer why many americans continue to identify as american though they take issue with similar policies/practices of their representational, governing infrastructure?


i don’t have any moral of the story other than it seems worthwhile to be critical of/ treat as problematic these various aspects of social identity, what is really worth attaching to in terms of an american identity? how different does a nun’s views on social issues and ideology need to become before it’s no longer viable for her to identify herself as a catholic? who makes that call, her or the church? am i a philosopher? do the modern day boundaries on the label matter to me, should they? what of  boundaries of identity qua mere semantic or ideological convention, what of these conventions qua the residual effect of social power distribution through time,  their existence then seems ambiguous , vague, contingent, but that would be p ^ ~p, too





so i’ll step lightly. because i have seen those really picturesque scenes in movies  where colorful autumn leaves are picked up off the ground on some trail or at some park and swirl around one another, floating freely in a low lying breeze, before being let go again. their illusion: they intend to dance around one another just so. and they get to share the truth in this lie that they wrote this short scene they starred in, or it was written intentionally for them. so maybe the idea is to get good with the sweeping natural and effortless tide. how quick can you design a narrative  (or, if you really master the art, how many can you design?) that reconcile you perfectly profitably to your circumstance? if you get good, and others become invested, then mind consistency between frames . for starters,  keep music, light, and water flowing through scenes. create story time, invite every one.


1. merry-go-round politics; a blurring blunder of leaves, lights, and smoke, 2. see saw arithmetic; it’s tip toe tactics through attics, basements, corners, and crevices. 3. tire swing spooning and swirling your insides outside, and back inside again. then, you fall off, or you get off, or you’re pushed off; and in this process you are finally made aware of the facts that you have no memory of how you got there in the first place, or why you had been possessed by the thought that the only point was to stay attached to the tire. Or, more traditionally, 4.  the quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a dead body.

‘Well’, you went on, eyes crowd gazing, ‘I said here’s my toast to the lot of you that is not yet you.’ Then gaze fell back on me, sitting steady at the front of your crowd. You went on, ‘Here’s to all that’s not yet you, yet you, becoming. You, my sweet dear, my beautiful, otherworldly view of nothing, coming from nowhere! Cheers to you, and only you, my angel.’



It’s like that time in 2nd grade (I think it was 2nd grade) when I jumped into the deep end of a pool, even though I knew I couldn’t swim, because it was a birthday party and the birthday girl had come up with the idea herself that we’d all line up and dive in from the same end of the pool and everyone was just so excited about it  and I didn’t want to disrupt the order or compromise the mounting energy and excitement.

I jumped in the deep end, fully aware I couldn’t swim. (Figure it out when I get to the wet part, I must have thought to myself). Some kid passed me a noodle just in the knick of time (probably on the hunch that I looked to be struggling more than I ought to have been).

That kid (who I didn’t recognize from school, so maybe he was a neighborhood friend of the birthday girl ?) talked to me later while we we’re all munching on pizza. He had some story about tracing fall leaves as part of an art project. We caught a rolly polly together. He made mention of my having  wrinkly fingers from swimming, but soft hand skin generally (the latter is an astute , accurate observation). Not to mention he maybe saved my life? I’m sure someone would have noticed I wasn’t swimming in time, but I’m also sure I’ll  prefer to romanticize anything left to roam in my memory long enough. I never saw him again, nor did I think to ask my friend about him at any point later in time.


Maybe the thought is that that whole story embodies a serious lack of foresight on my part, even for the second grader version of myself, but I have made pretty similar moves several times in my life, and I did it again just yesterday. Besides, the divine doesn’t have foresight. She just sees all the opportunities at once, everything, in the indisciminately blinding light of immediacy.




Socrates: But then the life of those people you call happiest is a strange one, too. I shouldn’t be surprised that Euripides’ lines are true when he says: But who knows whether being alive is being dead

And being dead is being alive? Perhaps in reality we’re dead. Once I even heard one of the wise men say that we are now dead and that our bodies are our tombs, and that the parts of our souls in which our appetites reside is actually the sort of thing to be open to persuasion and to sift back and forth.And hence some clever man, a teller of stories, a Sicilian, perhaps, or an Italian, named this part a jar, on account of its being a persuadable and suggestible thing, thus slightly changing the name.And fools he named uninitiated, suggesting that the part of the souls of fools where their appetites are located is their undisciplined part, one not tightly closed, a leaking jar, as it were.’

Complete Works of Plato, Gorgias, 492e-493b.


bell hooks:


“Death is with you all the time; you get deeper in it as you move towards it, but it’s not unfamiliar to you. It’s always been there, so what becomes unfamiliar to you when you pass away from the moment is really life.”


“I feel like there is always something trying to pull us back into sleep, that there is this sort of seductive quality in all the hedonistic pleasures that pull on us.”



Ugh. Sitting  at one corner of my desk and Stephen Jay Gould’s 1,000 page tomb, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, is sitting at the other end. Below it, E.O. Wilson’s Sociobiology: A New Synthesis. I know what I have to do. I have to not be idle. And I’ve got to give up the pointless everything else I do. And I have got to grow up . And I have got to let go,  a lot. Ugh.




It was a good run.



heresy tulu king op

heresy tu lion down

heresy tufee ling free

en drowning out

mice hound


pu gnikool ot si ereh

nwod gniyl ot si ereh

eerf gnileef ot si ereh

 tuo gninword ni

dnuos ym


here is to looking up

here is to lying down

here is to feeling free

in drowning out

my sound


hree si ot olognki pu

eerh si ot ygnli ndwo

ereh si ot eelngfi feer

ni wgdornni uot

ym usndo


Gould, On the topic of Science (also from the Introduction of The Mismeasure of Man):


‘Science, since people must do it, is a socially embedded activity. It progress by hunch, vision, and intuition. Much of its change through time does not record a closer approach to absolute truth, but the alteration of cultural contexts that influence it so strongly. Facts are not pure and unsullied bits of information; culture also influences what we see and how we see it. Theories, moreover, are not inexorable inductions from facts. The most creative theories are often imaginative visions imposed upon facts; the source of imagination is also strongly cultural (54).’


‘Science cannot escape its curious dialectic. Embedded in surrounding culture, it can, nonetheless, be a powerful agent for questioning and even overturning the assumptions that nurture it (55).’


‘But science’s potential as an instrument for identifying the cultural constraints upon it cannot be fully realized until scientists give up the twin myths of objectivity and inexorable march toward truth. One must, indeed, locate the beam in one’s own eye before interpreting correctly the pervasive motes in everybody else’s. The beams can then become facilitators, rather than impediments.’



Steven Jay Gould, Advice on how to write to a wider audience (from his Introduction in The Mismeasure of Man):


‘First, do not waffle on about generalities. Focus on those small, but fascinating, details that can pique people’s interest and illustrate generalities far better  than overt or tendentious discussion..Second, simplify writing by eliminating jargon, of course, but do not adulterate concepts; no compromises, no dumbing down. Popularization is part of a great humanistic tradition in serious scholarship, not an exercise in dumbing down for pleasure or profit.’


That I am still learning that lesson, especially that lesson, is something. We go around seeking out others to impose our wills on, and largely avoid  imposing it on ourselves. We can become master over our selves, we can destroy our selves; all this freedom to create water or fire or earth, whatever we please. All of this in some form , lesser or greater, available to every individual, constitutive of our person hood. And the catch is simply this: that we restrict it to our selves.


bell hooks


Today went from 0 to 10 in a wildly fortunate, largely unplanned series of events. Billy called me (while I was in mopey-town USA) and reminded me about a wild edible foraging event that was taking place today near Governor’s Park (that I had been all gung-ho about a month back). I was at my 0 and almost didn’t answer the phone, then was flailing on whether or not it would really be worth it, especially given I might run into Sean (who would probably be upset with having to see me) and the chance forecast of rain (because, God forbids, water falls from the sky and washes all the cozy layers of bullshit we worry about away). After a little consideration, I decided I really just wanted to see and hang out with Billy. And maybe this little learning excursion into mother nature, along with his good company, would lift my spirits; and it most certainly did.


As luck would have it (Jay status appeared to be at an all time high, perfect time to say goodbye, would he come back like Jordan?), when I went to pick up Billy, Izzy saw me and came running to the door and started freaking out, crying and whimpering and kissing and licking my face frantically (not to mention peeing all over the floor). Sean followed behind her (not the whimpering and kissing and licking my face part…or the peeing on the floor part, but the  part of expressing the most genuine and overdue embrace of affection I had received from this world in a good, long while).


Billy and I convinced Sean to join us on the little adventure, and we all ended up having a pretty awesome time. We learned about all kinds of wild and edible plants, with all kinds of super useful properties (from nutritional to aborting to hallucinogenic…there was something for the whole Christian family).


I stepped in an ant pile (like a pro) and Sean said I was the group’s “weakest link”, which made me laugh pretty hard. Billy found a glow in the dark mushroom, plus we saw wild garlic and cucumber, and ate all kinds of different berries and leaves. Gabs, Hannah, and Martha all were there  too—so there were plenty of friendly faces in on the trail. The funniest part was when the guide showed us some plant that has properties that can help re-grow  human hair….lets just say, I’ve never seen Sean slingshot his way up to the front of a crowd of people that fast in my life! (The boy is nothing without his flowing locks, or so he fears.)


Towards the end of our guided tour it did started raining; so we wandered back through the gorgeous green canopy covered trail, enjoying the cool drops of rain on our skin, the beauty of the sound of the pattering and the and vision of mist rising back up from the ground, the laughter  among friends.


The excuses we make for not doing even the stuff we want to be doing most —or being with the people we want to be with most—the things we often fear irrationally, subconsciously— for all our fears and insecurities—and Izzy, Sean, and the rain were the best parts for me. The chance of rain—the opportunity for communion– should have been my motivating vision to begin with, I thought to myself.