28 Aug 2013: Midas: the Strange Theophany of the Ordinary Thing


In memoriam 13A 1F Wang Long Village

Workout first thing at 6 AM: 20 mn: 250 supine motions and 200 lowrise steps. No physio today because of lack of sleep last night; will restart the physio on Fri owing to day leave tomorrow.

Beautiful, fresh morning. Exceedingly tired from lack of sleep.

Keying in my notes from the Cambridge Companion to the Critique and to the Critique itself.

Everybody in pain with Christian friends gets a copy of CS Lewis’ The Problem of Pain. Bless their hearts. Perhaps I’ve never had, even in this cancer, “true” pain, but we cannot copy pain nor compare it. The “apperception” of pain includes our past experiences of pain and our fear or hope for the outcome. Therefore there are at least two things in the world: my pain and your pain. I don’t “feel your pain”.

A problem in metaphysics is the strange theophany of the ordinary thing: consider Descartes’ meditations on a piece of wax:

“… for example, this piece of wax: it has been taken quite freshly from the hive, and it has not yet lost the sweetness of the honey which it contains; it still retains somewhat of the odour of the flowers from which it has been culled; its colour, its figure, its size are apparent; it is hard, cold, easily handled, and if you strike it with the finger, it will emit a sound. Finally all the things which are requisite to cause us distinctly to recognise a body, are met with in it. But notice that while I speak and approach the fire what remained of the taste is exhaled, the smell evaporates, the colour alters, the figure is destroyed, the size increases, it becomes liquid, it heats, scarcely can one handle it, and when one strikes it, no sound is emitted.”

or Hamlet’s meditations on Alexander:

“No, faith, not a jot; but to follow him thither with modesty enough, and likelihood to lead it: as thus: Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth into dust; the dust is earth; of earth we make loam; and why of that loam, whereto he was converted, might they not stop a beer-barrel?”

“Imperious Caesar, dead and turn’d to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away:
O, that that earth, which kept the world in awe,
Should patch a wall to expel the winter flaw!”

It appears that a piece of wax, or Alexander, if we turn our attention on it, and it thereby is named, must persist under that designator even if it changes into the Scarlet Pimpernel:

They seek him here, they seek him there:
Those ‘Frenchies’ seek him everywhere!
Is he in Heaven? Or in Hell?
That ‘demned Elusive’

The Problem of Pain

Oooooooo dah Painkillah
Is a thrillah in Manila

Yesterday, I thought I was going to rack up a day without Fentanyl (synthetic Morphine) syrup boosters to my new lower base of 8.4 mg/three days but the pain kicked in at 8 PM. I wussed and took a hit, feeling like William S Burroughs.

I met Burroughs, in 1983, at Ferlinghetti’s City Lights bookstore

The pain no worse than last year at this time when I was managing it with Panadol and Tramadol and humping to the City of Sadness to teach. I want to travel again and this means crossing borders with approved medication. Probably no problem save for the hassle of getting into the USA, although I had no problem when I went to poor Eddie’s funeral last year.

Pain still pretty intense despite the pain killah so you just sit down and accept it. Right now it is chewing on my hip joint, Aaaaaahhhh there it slips away. Just as soon as you smile through tears and accept it. If you’re with someone you love it’s at this point that you really know you love her. If you’re not, you forgive her.

My Problem of Pain

I have to accept that I am usually in some pain such that periods of no pain are noticed and celebrated without me pissing and moaning about the normal pain. This makes walking rhythmically a victory.

I have to accept that I’ll never run again. Grete Waitz won the women’s division of the 1983 London Marathon in which I took part, and she’s dead and gone from cancer. And here I thought being skinny and willowy was sooooooo great and healthy!

There is the final addition, the failing
Pride or resentment at failing powers,
The unattached devotion which might pass for devotionless,
In a drifting boat with a slow leakage,
The silent listening to the undeniable
Clamour of the bell of the last annunciation.

Where is the end of them, the fishermen sailing
Into the wind’s tail, where the fog cowers?
We cannot think of a time that is oceanless
Or of an ocean not littered with wastage
Or of a future that is not liable
Like the past, to have no destination.

TS Eliot, The Dry Salvages


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