30 May 2013: Love Thy Neighbor When it’s Hard, Read Thy Kant When It’s Hard

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Spent a sleepless night owing to next door neighbor’s awful suppurating cough, woke to an inferior sweet congee like oatmeal and had to ask for an Egg, upon which I burned me dam’ fingers because it was so hot. I will do a twenty minute supine,step and walk workout at 10 unless tapped for a morning physio, other wise will do morning physio and the half hour this afternoon. The late Derrida confirmed that forgiveness and loving are best served with pain.

Did my morning workout at 11:30: walk, step aerobics outside, supine free dance, to 20 min total. Marred by my carelessness in not obeying the rules. The step is supposed to stay in my ward next to “my” bed but I do not own the step even in the sense it’s for now “my” bed. I was so anxious to agree as to produce confusion and a constant picking at me to make sure I was agreeable. This, as I said during the event, was typical of the way Grantham nurses can destroy your carefully sought serenity in a workout, by constantly picking at you. I’d received a Corpus Christi Communion from Father Tito earlier in the morning and hoped for a continuation of serenity but it was not to be. Now I have to eat lunch and prepare for the more difficult afternoon workout at 1:30 AM. Only after that can I just relax. I love Nurse Louis and the staff but the cultural differences are enormous.

I have made arrangements to be discharged after 18 June to a roommate situation to avoid my earlier “Frequent Flier” syndrome and I really would like to get back to Lamma now that strength returns through working out and Chemo: its hills, the Lamma Grille, the Green Cottage, Bookworm and my gang of friends.

Second read pp 201-234 of Kant’s deduction of the Concepts. Doing a seven-times read thru because this is how you absorb difficult material: you do kowtow and abase yourself in front of the material and do it the courtesy of patiently, almost meditatively, scanning it seven times. This mode of learning sounds painful: but in SE Asia Buddhism, young boys completing their required period of time as monks, young girls as nuns, learn by “mindless” rote as we learned by “mindless rote” in pre-Vatican II Latin and altar boy classes. The Buddhists and our priests realized that the pain of mindless rote dialectically leads to joyful flashes of recollection of texts, whether Buddhist sutras or my children’s bible that read, “thou didst not leave his soul in hell” which far before I re-entered Catholic practice was something, a prayer, I would say under stress.

Isn’t the calming effect of prayer that it approaches the silence of meditation in that you focus on previously-written and grammatically correct texts instead of the fragmentary texts (“what if”, hey boss what is DAT lookout, hey boss hunger in my tummy, hey boss let’s drink, hey boss, I am tired: suicidons-nous ). This was the effect, in San Francisco of the early 1980s, Jenny Holzer’s gnomic feminist spirituality on me.

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Jenny Holzer, Truisms circa 1980, Times Square instantiation, “Protect Me From What I Want”

Why, in this section, does Kant say “there is only one experience”? This is intriguingly Asian. You note it, and continue.

OK, that photo at the top of this post is a deliberately obscure photo of my notes (for false precision is the enemy of truth at this stage. It stars the Funny Clown as the “thing in itself.”

Look at the bottom-center right of my Funny Clown notes which I took on the second read thru of the Analysis of Concepts. I have a Soul and I exist (“cogito”) because I can “cogitate” (understand) that the object in front of me is The Funny Clown. This tells me I am, because I am perceiving a manifold such that I know that the Funny Clown is not a still photo but my inner “manifold movie” creating memory to the left of the center frame and apprehension that the views will continue in the right.

Kant uses the German word that corresponds to the English word “apprehension” (sorge or erfassen). Surprisingly “apprehension” is NOT in the otherwise useful German-English glossary provided in my Guyer/Wood translation. Now, sorge appears in Heidegger to imply connotatively, I believe, that all perception, memory and “apprehension” is emotionally shot through with a generalized “care” which is ordinary language care but with a possible negative sign (uncare, carelessness, negligence and malice); certain forms of sorge could be hate-filled; the “care” of the racists, described as an awful feeling of repulsion that is ultimately painful to recovering racists, such as US presidential candidate George Corley Wallace in his retirement. Heideggger’s mistake (in Adorno’s critique, in Jargon of Authenticity, is the equation in Heidegger of feelings with positivity: to be “authentic” as an overriding good, it’s important to feel a positive and failing that, perhaps, a negative energy…at the Ted Nugent rock concert or, ultimately, at the Nazi torchlight parade.) The bourgeois subject’s children, numbed by the “austerity” of the 1930s (at that time, the ignorance of bankers, not their latter-day greed) at least gets to feel at the rally. He had sorge.

My guess if that Kant used erfassen and I will check this usage further and get back at you. I need to examine a German text. This learning is so much fun! You can also get back to me if you know the answer: when a Kant translation uses the verb apprehend or the noun apprehension does he mean the verb or noun form of sorge or Erfassen?

First replier gets a free drawing of the Funny Clown!


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