Soul of Genius

I

Soul of Genius

And so you want to know something about me–what is there to know about me, you might ask, you might wonder, you might investigate, you might pry and violate my privacy. What is known, could be known, should be but is not–where then must we or anyone begin? What then must I say about me–I am a genius–does that say it. Too many will consider this hyperbole; it is not. How do we manage our genius, those of us who are, actually are, and not in the way we pander to common and popular taste. I do not know what else there is to say–I could say that Love is the Soul of Genius, but what would that say to anyone not immediately disposed to understanding it.

Yes, Love is the soul of genius, Mozart said. How could it not be, I have added. Yes, love–love, an immortal essence? Of genius? But what is genius? Who is a genius? Genius has been co-opted by advertising, hasn’t it? It has been used in any one of Hollywood’s or publishing’s many marketing strategies. The men and the women and the works of genius just multiply and exponentially, as time goes by, no?

Genius, apart from our understanding of the word today, used to be a person of exceptional intellectual abilities, exceptional creative talent. I guess it means the same thing today–I do not really have to guess. It is, though, this evaluation of what constitutes exceptional abilities that I question, our ability to judge this when so many of us in a position to judge have been corrupted by a pedagogy more concerned for marketing strategies than educating. Yes, everyone was special in my son’s middle school, even the imbeciles. Am I supposed to apologize for calling a cloudy day cloudy and not sunny–are all days sunny? Some children are fundamentally stupid. You do not have to make them feel badly because of this; you do not have to torture them by making them persist in tests of achievement they will not be able to complete. We do not have to lie to ourselves and not be honest with ourselves about them, academically, intellectually. We must always have compassion. We do not have to lower standards to make him fell better; there are many ways for him to adjust to the fact that he is not academically special.

We like to say for all endeavors we imagine are creative that genius is the guiding spirit of the person creating. In the case of Mozart’s claim, a guiding spirit itself coalescing with love becomes the principal force in the creative process. It is the essence of this spiritual force that ‘makes,’ as we say when we use the Greek poeta, or poet, for a man or a woman of creative power. Dare I say the word power? Love then is also at the heart of many things we want to do well, need to do well, whether we choose to or not; it is the guiding creative force behind our accomplishments.

The kind of genius Mozart was talking about I insist was the kind of genius that compels the creator to create. If poetry does not come as leaves to the tree than it better not come at all, said Keats. Of course, we reserve this understanding for endeavors outside the mundane, and we do not consider this notion of doing with love when we consider sweeping the floor, cleaning the windows, making coffee, although some do–nor do we reserve this analysis for doing the laundry, although we could, and perhaps we should. Without love, it is not possible to do anything well enough, and everyone needs to do better what it is they do, brushing the teeth, cleaning the house, making dinner, putting up the Christmas tree, buying a birthday gift, et cetera; there must be love at the heart of action, if action is to be completed appropriately.

What we desire to do, to accomplish, we should do with love, of course. Repetition is a rhetorical device and rhetorical devices should also be employed with love in our writing. Persuasion must come from love and thus from Truth otherwise it is all about buying and selling, pimping and prostitution. Without love there is no genius of any kind–we do get this in Mozart’s assertion, no? Thus, whatever we do, we do without the necessary genius if we do it without love–and love is not the passion that is greed. We have no genius for sweeping–do we? Or for washing the dishes, or for frying an egg. Yet, the woman or the man who bakes with love understands that love is the soul of genius in baking.

But what is love, we have to ask? Of course we do. We have, though, fallen out of the habit of defining our terms when we speak or write. Defining our terms was and remains always necessary for anyone who reads what we write to see where we stand in relation to what we are saying. Defining our terms is necessary to show where our ideas come from and where they are going. In any examination of the process of accretion in our thinking–and yes, I liken thinking to the processes in stellar evolution–in any articulation of the process of our thinking, we expose not only where we stand, that is, what our thesis is, but how we have arrived at our conclusions. Defining terms is always a good place to begin. So, what is love? The question is the query; inquiry is the pursuit. How do we define love? We can say–what? What then must we say?

I love my mother. I love good dark chocolate. I love van Gogh. I love reading Woolf. I love the shore at Montauk. I love being in  Montauk, love how being there makes me feel. I love seeing the full moon in the sky, love recalling happy moments in my life. I love listening to Vivaldi, love how Vivaldi makes me cry–and I do cry when I listen to Vivaldi as I do cry sometimes when I listen to Louis Armstrong. I love visiting the Met, the Opera and the Museum. I love the Balanchine and Stravinsky pieces at the New York City Ballet, especially the black and whites, as I like to call them. What I love is wide and variegated. I also love the idea of being in love, as does Romeo. The kinds of love are varied. I love to fuck, of course–for me this is self-evident. Yes, I love sex, I love wine, I love women, I do, I really love women, the fact of women, the presence of women, the motion of women, the skin of women, the tits of women, the legs of women, the hands of women, hands still, hands moving, holding, caressing, manipulating, hands holding my hand, hands holding a fork, hands turning a spoon in a cup of coffee.

I love coffee, dark roasts, the smell, the taste, the feel in the mouth . . . I love women’s mouths, their lips, their tongues, I love their eyes, their ears, collar bones, necks, throats, all of this becoming too pornographic. I do not love pornography. Pornography is extreme focus, is it not. I do love close-ups; Extreme focus is a detail as we say in art criticism. Yes, the woman’s body in details, sharp focus of the parts, pornography. Woman metonymically–there is a great deal of difference between loving a woman sexual and engaging in what amounts to one or another forms of pornographic behavior. A woman’s cunt standing for her, part for whole, metonymy, or in this sense, the hole for the whole. I do not love this; or, I love a woman differently than the way I love her cunt–and I can love cunt, no? I love to fuck–you have to love fucking too much to love it enough?

I imagine that the power elite love power. I imagine torturers love torturing. I imagine that there is a genius for torturing, no?  There are god and bad torturers. I am speaking about aesthetics. The grotesque, as you should know is a category of beauty. I love beauty–as I have said before. If I had pursued my degree in philosophy, I would have pursued a concentration in aesthetics. It is safe to say that anyone who succeeds in the games of power played in the world must be a lover of power.

I imagine that the monied elites love money, that they love to make money, accumulating money then would be an act of love? Is this love or is this a fetish? If a man seeks, finds and reaches sexual gratification from a woman’s shoe, this is fetish, not love, right?  I do not make distinctions between love and lust, however.

The desire to fuck in itself, as I have made clear elsewhere in the course of my essays, is love. This desire for consummation at the site of or the proximity to one’s sexual interest is the beginning of love, a kind of love after which choices have to be made, are then made, that determine the fate of the love that has been initiated? Are we confusing love and lust? I do not want to be a prude and say that what we understand to be lust and lustfulness has nothing to do with love. That would be false. I am of the mind that the desire to fuck is love.

There is a line from Citizen Kane that resonates in relation to the aforementioned love of money; the lust for money? Greed cant be love? Greed can only be lust–lust without love is a degradation of the love within which the desire arose? Anyway, one of the characters responds to the reporter investigating Mr. Kane’s last word, “Rosebud” by saying that “it’s not hard to make a lot of money if the only thing you want to do is to make a lot of money.” So, where are we then? Kane had a genius for making money? He had another for spending it? Does the Devil have a genius for disruption, for distraction, for confusion? Of course he does.

The love of acquisition leads to acquisition. But is this love of acquisition actually love in itself love, the way we mean when we say love for one’s paramour; or love for one’s brother, whether that be one’s native brother or one’s brother in the sense Jesus means in the Gospels. Some say yes, others say no. I have my doubts, but raise the questions again. What I say I must first find out., and I only find out by writing.  I ask what is love?  Hence, I write about love. There are too many answers to provide, let alone all the aimless responses I could indulge on what I might imagine passes for thinking on the spot in a moment most likely abruptly in response to something said.

Love is obsession, I’m sure many must think; love cannot be obsession others say. Love is grace; there is no grace without love. God offers grace; then as I had been taught, God is the God of Love before he is the God of Justice, Retribution, Vengeance and Submission. Grace is an affectation of the debilitated religio-centric mind, or so we could believe. To be obsessed with somebody some say is love; others insist obsession cannot be love.

Jesus loves and by His love saves, Christians say. Love is kindness; love is compassion; love is sacrifice; love is altruism; love is giving and not taking; love is . . . what? Love is, in the Aquinian sense that Deus est and only Deus est. God is. This is the only valid thing to say about God. It is the only rhetoric to be used. To give attribute to God, to say that God is this or God is that would be to subtract from God, rhetorically, that is. So perhaps this is what we should say about love, Love is.

The Buddha speaks of love as the only antidote for hate. I recall the Dhammapada and Lord Buddha’s pronouncement that only love can dispel hate. Do the lovers of money dispel the haters of money, the haters of materialism? Perhaps they do.

Many think of love as a spiritual principle pervading the world. But how can it pervade the world when the globe turns on an axis of contempt, violence, corruption, greed and death? Yet, as I have said above, what if you loved power, what if you loved money? Certainly greed is an obsession, lust is an obsession. All the deadly sins are obsessions, we have said in our traditional conception of these losses of light. And they are losses of light–except we can then say that those who do not love the accumulation of wealth are those who have not seen the light. but then doesn’t Satan shine his own peculiar light on things in the world, of the world. Jesus does say be in the world , not of it. But then a Christian is supposed to believe in a God of light, a God of Truth. A Christian is supposed to believe in a body of spirit and flesh.

The human being is not solely a being of material/of body without spirit. Sin is darkness; love is light. This is old. Love and obsession cannot be the same? Love is forgiveness; obsession becomes jealousy; jealousy is not love? Love is redemption and transcendence; obsession is descent and the kitchen knife in your lover’s chest? But then that’s it. Love can become jealousy; it just doesn’t have to become a bullet in the heart.

Is love of money, though, the same as greed? Is there a way to love money without being greedy; isn’t being greedy loving accumulation too much. There is then a way to exceed? From the above sense of what love could be, I would have to say, no. Love of what you do can make you a lot of money, but the driving force of greed corrupts the love of what you do. Even when a lot of money is not the result; you can love what you do and you can corrupt that love of what you do.

The soul of genius, that is love . . . loving too much what you love in order to love it enough? Can the very, very rich be rich through the agency of love and not greed, or is the love of money in itself what we mean by avarice. Do Satan’s followers love him? Is what we call love applicable to Satan and anything satanic. Isn’t Satan and all things satanic a corruption of good, sin again being the absence of good, all things sinful devoid of any goodness, or some goodness, entering the darkness, sinful? How have we arrived at sin, at darkness.

This gives me an idea, love is light. Light is good. Light is the opposite of darkness, herein we are speaking of spiritual principles, things of spirit, love is a thing of spirit. Like soul, it is a non-locatable essence. Yes, soul–what is soul?

Love is essential; love also exists, at least we see manifestations from the existence of love. We do not see it or feel it as we do a stone, we do not taste it as we do wine, although we can become drunk on love–and I insist that this is not a corruption of love. To be intoxicated by love as Mozart was by the muses, his legendary enthusiasm for playing and composing was itself the ancient enthousiasmos, or divine infection by or from the Muses, the patronesses and protectors of music, of poetry.

Love, the soul of genius; the soul of Mozart’s genius for composing and playing music was his love of music, his love for humanity, we could say. Was love the 10th muse we could ask? This inquiry had been engaged by the British Romantics now nearly two hundred years ago. To what end I cannot say herein. We can understand, though, the attending spirit over Mozart, invigorated by love, what we hear we are supposed to know, to feel, is something exceptional in a way other than, greater than we usually mean when we use the word ‘genius.’

II

To Two or not to Two

Humanity is an entrance. Humanity is a portal that opens on two sides. On each side of the portal there is a human being. Now ‘to enter’ in French is ‘entrer.’ ‘Entre,’ in French, is a preposition related to the verb. This French preposition translates in English, ‘between.’ Yes, every way we enter is an entrance, every entrance thus a “between”; herein a noun, a thing, a state of being: the between.

The act of entering is one of betweening; to be between is to be in an entrance of a kind visible or invisible, again, something that lies between one here and another there. Here and there perpetually pivot on one between or another. There is always a between, a very thin between that borders both here and there when they are right next to one another, the concentric circles of here and there, not the diametrically opposed positions where here is here close and ready and near and the other, the there is there, far and away there.

The between that exists for you and for me is this thing humanity; humanity only exists between you and me, only between two people is there any hope of humanity, of acting humanely. This is where our humanity resides, lives, inhabits–the habitat of humanity. Humanity is the between of being humane; you and me are the limits of this being between. To be tween, twain, two, one side the other side, sided by each, alongside one and the other, next to two times.

I once said in another essay that to enter is to between; yes, simple enough said. Whenever I go through an entrance I have betweened the space. Herein, to between is a verb: I between, you between, everyone betweens. Rimbaud said in a letter to a friend, Je me deux, or, I two myself, another kind of tearing asunder, of splitting the self and thus creating an internal between-ness inside. Rimbaud’s poetics were in this two-ness. Everybody does do this to himself; everyone’s in the between; I am between here and there, now and then; my humanity journeys from me to you. What then do we say about the journey that is life, this living. To two oneself or not to two oneself; oneself in two? I am many; I am we; the Self is many, we know.

The self has one as well, a between. We double ourselves in every meeting; every face we face another mirror. All journeys are between; your life as it is lived is between. To between or not to between, that could become the question. But to two oneself; what then is this and how to get into the between, to get between on self and the other, between the Self split at least in two, between any two selves of the Self, how then to accomplish this? Between me and you, between me and another; therein lies our humanity? How could it not be there between you and me? Where else would it be, could it stay, could it be found?

III

Demands and Other Questions

To ask or not to ask–we have learned to ask questions as a means of not receiving an answer; we have learned to respond at times as a means to avoid answering. What us it we do when we ask? Is it the question to question? Asking and questioning are not one and the same. To inquire might have separate connotations; what remains connotatively different must not occlude the likeness and similarities between or among the synonyms. The lack of absoluteness in any synonymy must also never preclude us from understanding where and when they are interchangeable, these words that share a limited synonymy.

I like asking questions, have always liked asking questions, had never had much fear about asking questions, different kinds of questions of course could be asked depending on the situation or circumstance. I also had what I would call a sensitive understanding of the inappropriateness of some questions; there are always questions that come to mind that are inappropriate. There are questions the media should be asking power that are uncomfortable, but not inappropriate. Although today, these are too few and very far between. Now, what I should avoid asking, I understand clearly. What to avoid when and where and with whom, to whom–these are clearly drawn in my mind. Again, there are always questions you do not ask people; you have to remember the questions you never asked your grandmother, questions you never asked your father, never asked your best friends beautiful girlfriend, questions you would never have asked any teacher, even your favorite teacher, but might have thought about how you should not ask these questions, or how you could imagine asking these questions although you knew you were never going to ask them.

There are a thousand what ifs that are appropriate for pondering that must never cross our lips to another’s ears. All of this sensitivity is at least what I had assumed was a sensitive understanding, what I imagined was carefully employed nearly always. I had impeccable timing for my questions as I did for my humor–at least I thought so, and I do say that I have been a fair judge of my talents and skills. I am not given to delusion about them, not in the way American cultural norms almost demand. I could go on here about how I loved to question ideas, question assumptions, question the meaning or the significance of events, or just the simple questions asked when questioning authority, something I did not do in the reflexive ways my generation had assumed either necessary for purposeful social corrective or simply as a birthright that needed exercise otherwise it would wither and die and thus so would democracy.

Going on about this might be interesting, would fit the opening, but no, I will not go on about the questions I could ask, would ask, might have asked but did not and why. Questions always beget more questions; questions leading to questions after answers especially. I have always suspected that the reason most of us do not answer the questions we are asked and only respond to them is that if we answered, a new question would be asked and the force with which it would be asked would put greater stress on the next answer being delivered. Only responding actually stlalls the process by getting stuck on a question that needs to be asked again because responses in themselves are not answers.

Demander in French is to ask; it is the origin of the English verb to demand. To ask and to demand in English are not the same. In French they share a word, again, the fore mentioned demander. What do we do when we demand something of someone, from someone? We know there is a way of asking someone for something or to do something or to give something that this someone feels is a demand. Our response, we know at times, is incredulous. I’m only asking, any one of us might say. You demanded, is the reply. Yet . . .

There is always a demand in every French question. To demand is an imposition in English; a demand is not simply a question to be answered, but a toll to be exacted, to be taken. We are very sensitive in America. In French, I assume that to ask is to demand, but to demand is also simply to ask. Who has the thicker skin? France is not the United States as so many American bigots, braggarts, jingoists and jinglists never fail to remind us; I have found American anti-French bigotry to be more pronounced and less articulate than across the Franco-Anglo-American lake. My tongue is in my cheek, which is far better than having it up your ass as so many of my compatriots do when it comes to food, not speaking.

To answer in French is repondre, literally, ‘to lay again,’ a kind of re-putting or re-placing, that is, laying out the answer, or in this case, the demand or the question. Repondre is the origin of the English to respond. In English, the word answer and the word respond share a degree of synonymity, but no two words are ever completely synonymous, interchangeable in all contexts of usage. This is the case for the verbs to answer and to respond in English, where a response is not in itself an answer, but to answer is to respond, in a way. At least in French, one takes the responsibility to respond, which is, once again, to lay out the demands of the question asked. Yes, responsibility is answerability, to be answerable for the demands one faces is what responsibility is; we are answerable for what we say and what we do, all of them of necessity in the logic of our lives. Even doing nothing or saying nothing in face of our lives is a choice, is a decision, with consequences, thus the answerableness . . . no words, no deeds, are themselves rhetorical positions, thus political ones.

Of course, interroger is also a way to say ‘to ask.’ It is also the origin of the English to interrogate. Every one, we know, poses questions, but not all asking is interrogating; yet, virtually all interrogating is demanding, although there are ways to demand that are not interrogating. Again, the French sense of demander. Every interrogator must demand otherwise it is not interrogation.

How to ask or not to ask is now the question. Whether it is nobler to respond responsibly when we answer the questions demanded of us, or instead, to avoid responding because we are unable to take responsibility for whatever demands are in question.

IV

Fire and Embrace (a seeing seen again)

Having written “Joan of Lorraine,” I found it easy to have borrowed this entry here from there . . . it goes a long way too have authority over texts so one can use them as one wishes, in ways originally intended or not, everything I see in the world I see again until I see something for the first time, yet in as much as a revision is a visioning again, I am seeing what I have seen before anew, therefore, for another first time . . .Dido and Joan meet their end similarly–Dido by choice; Joan, not so by choice–unless we say that she could have recanted, could have become complicit agaiinst herself, what she believed–why didn’t Joan save herself–was she really able to–would they have allowed her to live–how deep do we want to imagine the evil goes in the trial of Joan. Is it depth we seek, or do we want to know how high the evil went among those who were complicit against her? Is there a genius for visions, for prophecy–what is it that the prophet risks . . . [on Joan, on prophecy, {see Anti-Christ/middle ages}]

Abrazar in Spanish means to embrace, as I have said befiore and will likely remind others again; abrasar means to set on fire, of course it does, it must, how could it be otherwise in the relationship between the two words, abrazar, to embrac, abrassar, to set on fire. Which came first, the fire or the embrace? We imagine humans had fire before embrace–I’m not so certain that embracing for armth, at least, preceded fire. But then, humans needing to embrace to keep warm before fire were also before Spanish existed.

I set the house on fire, I set my lover on fire with my embraces. Who does not like to imagine this, or should it be said, would like to? Who does not want their lover to spontaneously combust?

Every embrace must set the one in your arms on fire, as Dido was set on fire by the embraces of Aeneas, as she had to set herself on fire, literally, in order to put an end to her desire for consummation at the absence of Aeneas. Love is always a form of consumption by the flames, always another kind of immolation. There are fires and motions in the soul that cannot be constrained by our being, but these are under constant assault by our culture . . . we must understand this, or is it that we have come to a place where we are unable . . . inability has everything to do with a lack of love. There is a genius to setting ablaze the one you love–all touch is not the same. To touch, to wound, to be blessed is to be wounded. My lover’s touch sets me ablaze, my lover’s touch wounds me, blesses me, I am blessed, her words are benediction.

Joan of Lorraine no longer feared the flames of her persecutors, having already been set ablaze by God and his Holy messengers, as Teresa D’Avila knew the burning devotion of God, as all lovers, true, understand and bear this as every woman bears her child, internally, interconnectedly, with a complete sublimation of all thought. Donne understood this devotion, or how all devotion of one kind or another is always holy. Keats is correct in asserting that there is a holiness to the hearts affections; could any of us live as intensely in his senses and his sensibilities, his mind/soul and body as did Keats; do any of us feel or do we only just emote. I remember Donne . . .

Again, recall that it is called The Passion of the Christ, not The Emotion of the Christ. There is a mutually exclusive categorical distinction between the two, emotion and passion; it is compassion, not com-emotion. Commotion is another thing altogether, yet related. Donne understood this when he asks his Three-personed God to ravage him . . . is he asking God to rape him spiritually, an invitation removes the stigma of rape, no pun intended, but perhaps could be used.

Take me, however roughly . . . play acting with God is dangerous, is it not? But we have to see where Donne is going with this and from where he is coming . . . Dido had left Tyre with her following of Phoenicians and settled and built what was to become Carthage on the Tunisian shores of North Africa on the Mediterranean. Carthage would rival Rome in the Western Mediterranean and in points east for nearly two hundred years, and it was not until the death of Carthage, the annihilation of everything Carthaginian at the end of the Third Punic War could you say that Rome had its advent. The descendants of Aeneas had to wage war repeatedly against Carthage, had to seek the annihilation of everything Carthaginian because the memory of Dido was too much to bear. Her choice to perish in the flames is not in effect different from Joan’s choice. Everything she left in her wake had to be possessed or destroyed. We want to say that Joan could not have chosen to live, that she could not have chosen to free herself of burgundian persecution, even if they were not laying traps for her in a trial that had been fixed prior to its commencement. Joan, though, still chose her fate; her actions, her honesty in testimony established this course inevitably, we could say. Yet, she still chooses what Dido had chosen, to choose or not to choose, this is not a question, it is impossible to avoid choosing, every refusal to choose is in itself a choice.

Choice is essential as I like to say . . . you do know what this has to do with, this idea of choosing, having the right or the responsibility or the burden of choosing? This notion that everything left must be possessed or destroyed is as invariably true for us today, as it has been humanly true for always, at least potentially for us today because we do fear this truer feeling more than we even give lip service to respecting it, admiring it, believing in it.

The Serpent in the Garden speaks to Eve with forked tongue, no? How to assemble the pieces that fall from  the framed jig-saw puzzle hanging in the hall . . . the missing pieces in the puzzle are easily replaced, but what if all the jig-saw puzzle pieces were to fall at once like rain falls in a torrential storm?

Desire becomes act, an act that is being in itself, another actuality pure. Dido chooses her death appropriately; would you or I do the same? Could we love as intensely?

V

The Ontological Self

Transcendental me . . . where and when are here and now. All writing has immediacy, an unavoidable presentness about it, and what I say here in words on a page, printed for easy reading because my handwriting is shit, is in the moment. I am who I am even when I am not being the me I have been before, a me correlative only to a contingent I, an I that others I know might not recognize. I am me with every stranger I meet even if with that stranger I lie through my teeth and tell no truth in the factual sense of truth we sometimes hold too pedantically dear, close without feeling.

I am. This is simple enough because all lists of attributes are modes of subtraction, really. I am unable to be sum-totaled; I am macrocosmic to all microcosms, the microcosm of history, the one of state, of government, of gender, of sexual orientation, of religion, of politics, of political affiliation, of job, of class, et cetera.Who am I? I do not ask this question because as I have said above, I am that I am when I am who and what I am wherever I am however it is that I am me. I am subject and object and subject complement and every other way of stating my being in words, which means language, which means in grammar, which exists independent of politics, if you will, before it, although rhetoric is not.

Do you need an answer to each of these questions now that I am herein mentioning them as not having the relevance you insist they have. Now that it has come to the fore that I have not before answered or even attempted to answer any of these questions you think are useful–unless what I have thus far said could be said to have some say in the matter of my who and my what, at least in the ways you prefer to frame discussions of being, because you do discuss being even when you argue that being is impossible, or improbable, and the only thing we have is perpetual becoming into becoming into becoming yet again, all of it without gain.

You have decided you do not need to ask yourself the once pressing questions of being, whether existence precedes essence or vice-versa, and all the essences, the prefab essentials of our being precede the existence I have, and determine who I am, certainly what I am. You probably haven’t realized that you decided this, or why you might have, if that is in fact what has been done. The only determinism of your being, though, is the fact that you believe your life has been horribly determined, which coincides with a culture that gorges itself on victimhood and philosophies of victimization. These determinisms you believe you uncover, are in fact created by a system of belief you have firmly placed yourself inside of, and this self enclosure masquerades in your diction as inescapable determinism.

I am who I am that I am when I am how I am where I am even why I am, I say, I think, therefore I believe; belief displaces dialectic in me. What then do I say about all the interrogatives that can be extended from eacc relative pronominal relationship to my I. Everyone thinks that who what when where and why are important, very important, but then I am who I am, as I am what am I, where I am, and so on. I have not answered these questions in any way that proves overarching to my becoming; to my being is another thing, another essay, perhaps. You probably haven’t asked yet these questions ontologically. What are our theories of being? Do we have them, or do we only have theories of becoming, perpetual, endless becoming.

To philosophize is to learn how to die we know from Montaigne, but imagination is necessary to philosophize I learned from Doc Green as I called him, Doc. Imagination most people do not associate with philosophy, nor do they with eternity, as Blake reminds us time and again that imagination is the doorway to the eternal. Imagination was a faculty of mind most highly prized by the Romantics, suspicious of rationality as they were, or how the rational was used s a tool against humanity, the great human humane when human is only human when humane, as the French distinguish duality between the two in one word, humaine, and we Anglo saxon speakers create dichotomy with our tongue. But then I suspect this is why in a country so seemingly committed to democracy and freedom we can speak out of the mouths of our leaders with forked tongues. The Nazis and the Bolsheviks were both hyper-rational, not imaginative, unless it was in the expenditures on torture, oppression, and murder.

Yet, who I am, when I am, where I am, with whom I am, how I am before I become what I am–yes, I am and I am not simultaneously. All is lost to other loses. I will be, but I will not be as well. This question of identity; you know Identity spells id entity. The it within; monsters again arising inside of me. Round and round I go, the Italians say, gira, gira . . . each pose I take posits somewhere outside of me something imposed inside of me. Imposing, posing, positing, depositing, a repository of a kind, this Self of selves within. What do I gain by the poses I take?

Each intake, each out-take, put as it might be. Again, who am I? is the question who are we? I am once again . . . wondering who I am within who we are, this who we are by who I am all about when I am or where I am, and when and where I am going; to come and go. I become when I be-go. I am a cosmogony that does not get repeated; yet I am also all of humanity.

The fact that I am cosmogonic allows me to stand in for all human beings, a posture I take, and I do take postures as well as pose them, put them on as I put on everyone else–all the world’s a stage . . . I do become anyone I need to be. I am many; thus I am we. But what I need to be is often a mystery to me.

Every time I look in the mirror with the question, who am I, I get a different answer. The I I am depends on coordinates of time and space drawn by another hand. Eternity lurks in me, I have assumed, like a trace of the background radiation on spectral analysis of the cosmos. To be or to become is present in my choice now, and we always choose to be or to become, we cannot avoid choosing. Choice is always for the taking; each choice a chance we encounter; every chance results in our fortune or misfortune. Who I am trips me up. I’m not especially clumsy, but all this wondering about who I am what I have been when I will be what and where, how or why . . .

I never watch my feet as I walk down a flight of stairs. You know why the lisper lisps.

I determine who I am, or what I become, I assume; I am as much Everyman as I am unique in the entire history of the cosmos. I am unique in this way. No one who has ever lived, who lives now, or will ever live is me. No one in any of these times or places–no one–occupies the coordinates of space and time as I do in this spot at this moment. All is ephemeral, though.

I stand at the shore in Montauk looking up at the swath of white in the night sky, looking dead center into the galactic plane, a squirt from Hera’s tit, my father had told me when I was a boy. In all of the North eastern United States, Montauk Point is one of the darkest spots at night–great star-gazing.

My to be or to become arises like a particle in the vacuum of space-time. The question crosses my mind from time to time, has crossed my mind, has crossed everyone’s mind. I look to the stars as I had when I was a boy and I feel a strange peace and yet a familiar one, first one then the other then the other again and then a mixture of both, awash in the vastness of the night sky, its depth, something that tears away the consciousness of flesh, at first thought, a liberation, at next, transcendence.

VI

Soul is what we say someone has when that person touches us in a previously unimagined way, in a manner that moves us, whatever that means; when another person touches us in a way that transforms us, we think we understand; that sends us to regions of experience otherwise unattainable with persons who are soulless or whose depth of soul is far shallower than the person for whom we have bestowed the title, soulful.

Ah! To have soul then is something other than being a person for whom the precondition is having a soul. To have soul in this sense is to have done something with one’s preexisting soul that enlarges it, enhances it, increases its capacity for what soul’s can do? Or is it to use what the soul provides the mind, herein soul and mind must be separate even if we have not decided whether they are a dichotomy or a duality.

A soulful person is a singular one, exceptional, of course, in the art of being soulful. To be mindful would be something else entirely. A man or a woman is apart from any grouping other than that of human, more specifically, that of humane, whenever we speak of him or her as a soulful person. I’m not sure exactly what we mean when we say somone is mindful–we would have to say mindful of what, unless we were talking about his ir her ability to have presence of mind, do we mean focus? We like to use this idea of being soulful as an example of what it means to be humane, no? The soulful person is a model of what it means to be a human-being, a real human-being, we like to say.

We do say things like He is a real person. But words cannot express these ideas adequately; words are though all we have to say anything about anything, although saying just anything often does not make it in our minds. We must try to say what has always been said just better than ever before. Even what we know we cannot ever say can only be said in words, by words, so it is our obligation to make these words a form never before formed.

Words are in themselves only words, only the symbols of things other than words. We would certainly have fewer misunderstandings, as Locke had advised us more than three centuries ago, if we did not take them for things in themselves but as only the symbols of the ideas that they are. Each person to his or her own integral mind, and is mind, soul? Each person to his or her own idiolect, his own variety of saying what has always been said or never been said.

Language is the glowing example of our humanity, what really separates us from all other creatures. Language is the shining star of all cultures; the greatest product of any culture is its language. In this way, all cultures are advanced. How then does this expose soulfulness as humanness?

All cultures have had the notion of soul. Soul is another of those polygenetic ideas humans have clung to in order to explain much of the inexplicable in human experience. How it has been drawn and articulated by mythology, by theology, metaphysics, ontology, and other branches of knowledge are found in myriads of expression. Soul is non-locatable in a term that succumbs to physiology and biology. Again, in defense, psychologists, neurologists, neurosurgeons and biologists have not located the mind, and they are no closer than theologians are at locating the soul, although, if we are looking for a physical place for the soul, why would we ask a theologian?

Faith seems the only reasonable course for understanding soul, in fact for understanding mind. Belief goes a long way in helping to understand what we have a sense is present although absent from all attempts to pin-point its location. Where is the soul is a question similar to where is the mind? The lack of evidence for their location is not proof of their non-existence.

That is what I rest all discussions of soul on;  I have faith that soul exists.

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