Amoeba Words

“What is an amoeba word?” Amoeba words include many of the words thrown around when people are talking philosophically. The philosopher-priest Ivan Illich explains: I take the term from the work of Professor Uwe Pörksen of Freiburg, a linguist and medievalist. During the second part of the 1980s, he came to the conclusion that thereContinue reading “Amoeba Words”

Poetics, Practice, and Things

Poetry can compress vast acreages of meaning into a small compass or perform the kind of bold linkages that would take reams of academic argument to plot; it can widen the aperture of our gaze or deposit us on the brink of transformation… One of the most striking and unsettling aspects of the Anthropocene isContinue reading “Poetics, Practice, and Things”

Alchemical Thoughts: Of Tales and Fires

In Plato’s seventh letter (341c), he says that what he pursues in his studies cannot be expressed in words, but emerges through sustained communion with “the thing itself” (to pragma auto) and “is brought to birth in the soul on a sudden, as light that is kindled by a leaping spark, and thereafter it nourishesContinue reading “Alchemical Thoughts: Of Tales and Fires”

The Aesthetics of Publishing

There are a lot of reasons to dislike academic publishing if you are trying to write philosophy or any kind of theoretical or scholarly work. Nonetheless, it’s still the best way to disseminate work with high standards of rigorous research, intellectual accountability, and meaningful communication. A couple of the usual reasons people give for dislikingContinue reading “The Aesthetics of Publishing”

After the End of the World

There are at least two ways of being after something.  After can be a matter of subsequence (like tomorrow is after today), and it can also be a matter of seeking something or trailing along behind it (like a predator goes after prey).  Being after is a lot like following something: tomorrow follows today, aContinue reading “After the End of the World”

Latour, Rejoicing: A Critical Review

The recent work by Bruno Latour, An Inquiry into Modes of Existence (AIME, for short), deals with the various felicity conditions of different modes of existence, including religious modes of existence.  Along these lines, AIME extends his previous works on religion, including his writings on factishes, iconoclash, and the freeze-frames that convolute science-religion dialogue.  ItContinue reading “Latour, Rejoicing: A Critical Review”

Becoming Inaccessible: A Touch of Castaneda

Becoming integral is a way of life.  It is the light touch cultivated in the art of becoming inaccessible… I think often of Carlos Castaneda. “The art of a hunter is to become inaccessible,” he [Don Juan] said.  “In the case of that blond girl it would’ve meant that you had to become a hunter and meetContinue reading “Becoming Inaccessible: A Touch of Castaneda”

struggle sans path: reflections upon moving

In the process of moving, I’ve come upon a small number of scraps of paper that give me pause, and I wonder whether I’ll keep the paper or consign it to recycling.  I’ve said some intolerably short goodbyes to some very old and dignified friends.  Adieu.  The sequence with which I discover the scraps is, toContinue reading “struggle sans path: reflections upon moving”

Rough Words with Whitehead and Neruda

“In order to acquire learning, we must first shake ourselves free of it. We must grasp the topic in the rough, before we smooth it out and shape it.” Whitehead, Modes of Thought (New York: Free Press, 1966), p. 6. That comment from Whitehead could be read as an exegesis of one of Pablo Neruda’sContinue reading “Rough Words with Whitehead and Neruda”

a whole new poetry beginning here

Vision begins to happen in such a life as if a woman quietly walked away from the argument and jargon in a room and sitting down in the kitchen, began turning in her lap bits of yarn, calico and velvet scraps, laying them out absently on the scrubbed boards in the lamplight, with small rainbow-coloredContinue reading “a whole new poetry beginning here”