7 Sep 2013 (significantly updated 8 Sep)

Couldn’t sleep, had the idea to do my first-thing workout at 3:38 AM, but keep it at only a supine 20 minute workout. Had a surprisingly vigorous if supine 25 min workout: 150 motions warmup, 250 with the weights and then a conductus (air conducting) of the fourth movement of Beethoven’s 3rd or Eroica symphony. Not having a chopstick to hand, I did open hand stickless conducting to great effect, communicating my intention for a liquidity to occur using a very flexible hand wave, but, of course, the result was strangely like Leonard Bernstein, the conductor of the recorded music.

Hope that this tires me out enough to get some sleep [it didn’t]. Will need to reset, limiting my sleeping during the day in order to get up at dawn on Sunday.

The problem was that I ate both large Lindt bars and this has been a caffeine and theobromine blast. When will I learn … I cannot eat like a kid with what used to be called terminal cancer. It’s just that the 90% Lindt bar is soooo good, altho now the thought doesn’t appeal, I am sated unpleasantly. Yes, I should kiss the joy as it flies even the selfish solitary food joy which growing up in a large family causes (you don’t want to fight for it) but I don’t want to destroy my taste for quality chocolate, either.

My grandmother, my father’s grande dame mother, a Hochwalt, praised my temperance once, searching my character desperately for signs of noble conduct for she’d had hopes for me that were destroyed by my smoking and hippie behavior. I am glad that after her death I was finally able to live up to her ideal and even, in some measure, that of my father, for after I started running my father said I reminded him of Edward Joseph the war hero and perfect Elder Brother, fulsome praise indeed.

When Grandmother praised my temperance I’d merely refused a second helping of ice cream. She was always kind and lived in hope. I honor her memory now in my struggle with the same prostate cancer her husband had.

Indeed, I didn’t know “where I got off” with not being an athlete. Athletics definitely filled in, not all the craters on my airstrip but a large number of them. I realized that I wasn’t fooling anyone by rebelling against my father’s ideals, expressed as they were by Casablanca. The rebellion was that of a bum and it was hellbound. Dad was right, men need to be noble, and protect women. Oh women don’t need it? Protect ‘em anyway. It’s what the male primate is made for. And running prepares it and him.

But now my running is reduced to supine movements and a low-rise step. The drop foot is at 110 and not 90 degrees with respect to the leg and if run as of the glorious Old, and I come down with the foot anywhere between 110 and 120 it won’t be pretty. And, it’s unlikely that I can reverse the drop foot, all I can do is keep the angle at 110 degrees by wearing the ski boot between 1 and 2 hours per day. But the ski boot won’t enable a return to running. A grim prognosis since for a primate, which among many other things I am, being able to break even for a second per stride “the surly bond of earth” this flying as first confirmed by Muybridge’s photos, is, for the primate, ju-ju of a high order.

One smallish, almost invisible hopeful sign, like the ship some goers to the Palais Louvre see and others do not in Delacroix’ Raft of the Medusa is the fact that my foot rise has, I think, increased by five or ten degrees, probably as a result of using a boot to keep the left foot’s angle at 90 degrees.

But it also exists one other place, in the ocean and in swimming. The ocean, full of our trash! My used and stinky running shoes going back to Sep 1981 when they seemed so magic out of the box, New Balance light grey are floating somewhere in the Pacific Garbage Gyre! Shame, shame, nothing but shame on me for pursuing a product, but honor, honor too for discovering how to break the surly bonds of earth and experience ** JOY ** in chasing after Eddie and Peter, not anger: God how they ran everywhere in the sunshine of Mountain View, lookit dose jungle trees. It’s … complicated.

It is tragic this denoument. It is like Phedre and I am Theseus for sure or even Phedre herself: “Jusqu’au dernier soupir, de malheurs poursuivie,
Je rends dans les tourments une pénible vie.”
However I do not believe that I have committed a frightful crime. I just want to be able to say those lines and to SCREAM “Je rends dans le tourments une pénible vie” and thereby put in art all our pain, and, like Bottom, condole in some measure.

But staying up ALL NIGHT and writing reams! It’s what moony adolescents do, not 63 year old retired gents.

A mystery body change is coming to me. I have no hair anymore other than on me head. My new skin (for skin as an organ replaces itself) is that of a baby or woman, soft and slightly fatty under the epidermis. My old grey pubic hair is disappearing, gone on the left side of my dick, almost gone on the other side. My John Thomas lolls limp and exhausted having done its work of reproduction, thinking on past insertions but definitely hors de combat. This would be caused by the hormone therapy, I’d hazard. The skin so pleasant to feel. Is this a fatal disease? A transfiguration, death and transfiguration? Stun me if I know.

Idea: Leonard Bernstein in a Box

Surely the software technology exists to support a software package with the scores and a mechanical, machine-made performance of a menu of works including the Third symphony, or alternatively the score and some conductor’s version.

OK, so the user stands or sits in front of his laptop with its Web camera and a motion sensor in the software (eg., no new hardware), and the computer alters the performance to correspond to the user’s specific hand motion. BOOM, like Flight Simulator, an empowered Walter Mitty!

I would definitely like this technology to exist for my use and I’d pay for it, but my music and software skills are deficient with respect to my idea. I hope someone steals it and creates the program for profit or Open Source. If they create it as a proprietary program I hope to see a cheque for this idea but I won’t hang by the thumbs. All men live in hope, but cheques for mere ideas are a capitalist myth.

It may exist. I don’t want to add a search for it to my overweight List of Things That I have not done, or have ill done and done to others harm.

Study

Kant: Three forced marches through Dieter Henrich’s 1969 essay on “The Proof Structure of Kant’s Transcendental Deduction.” Still unclear. Need to outline the essay after seven forced marches.

Sections 20 and 26 are “two parts of the same argument?” I am still confused. Did Henrich really penetrate and solve once and for all the mysteries of “Chapter II, On the Deduction of the Pure Categories of the Understanding”? That is his boast.

No, it’s called literally, in English translation, “Transcendental Analytic, Second Section, On the Deduction of the Pure concepts [not “categories”] of the Understanding.” I had thought that Kant’s own loose and shifting lexicon excused his reader from precision: it does not since Kant’s own murk is quite enough without you Structuralist chaps setting off a blasted feu de joie, and adding, if I may be permitted a metaphor and I bloody well may be at this point, your own French confusion, damme your eyes and rot your boots.

My edition is not only broken in its spine at several points, the glue of the backing gaping thru having given way, so that you have to check to make sure pages haven’t fallen out, the pages are greasy as if soaked at some point with skull-sweat. I never busted out crying or slit my wrists after reading critical passages seven times only to be as ignorant as I was before I started but it was a near run thing.

[I fall into a watch, then a Prose and then a dream while watching reruns of Sharpe’s rifles on my computer…thank G-d for YouTube…zzzz…shhhh don’t wake Grampa…]

When the Sarn’t Major (the one who hated me) found my copy while rooting in my kit in Portugal he screamed at me why did I make it harder on myself and my mates with this extra weight? I honestly don’t know save that Kant is so painful as to be analgesic with respect to lesser pains such as when my foot was half shot off at Corunna and dangled at an angle, causing me agony in the slightest movement. The Sarn’t Major (the one who hated me) positively oozed consideration: as i’th’old play,

“Consideration, like an angel, came
And whipp’d the offending Adam out of him,”

and he asked whether I shouldn’t like to burn my Kant since we’d be heading over the mountains to rejoin Hooky (Wellington) after Sir John Moore’s death. I said no since I had only read it five times through and found it amusingly incomprehensible. It was literally the only book in our entire division save for Moore’s Army Regulations, Johnson’s Dictionary, and a bound set of Tatlers, all three of which volumes constituted Sir John’s library. After his death, the Sarn’t Major was seen to abstract (steal) the Tatler with the Duchess’ udders on the third page but that was understandable. Good old Sir John. But I digress…zzzzz…who’s that?…hmpf bllllrrrrrgggg…Esme?…you want another Roundabout Mouse?…very well…there’ll be rest enow when I’m gone…

[I awake from my dream…]

Ancient Philosophy: Johansen’s finest hour: chapters on Stoics and on Socrates.

The Stoics caricatured of course as nihilists but I noticed in 7th grade (in Evanston’s magnificent public library) that at least in the humanities, arguments apparently cogent were being constructed all the time to prove A and ~A. This seemed connected with my ability, almost a tic, to modify mentally any word to any other by a short series of letter relations based on sounds.

The caricatures of the Stoics, and the sympathetic if patronizing Platonic dialogues, still don’t let us access the truth of the Stoics.

As Johansen relates, Plato had every advantage in life…the equivalent of a trust fund. He was related to Tyrants (Critias and Charmides).

It has always been so plain as pikestaffs that graduate students and untenured faculty with trust funds can always outcompete others, that one wonders, how could anyone believe otherwise? Plato used this in his war with the Stoics who, underneath the polite phrases, wanted Plato dead, for Plato, unlike Thrasymachus (a Stoic and major foil to Plato’s Socrates in the Republic) Socrates and Plato could afford to believe in Truth and not Power…Socrates because like Diogenes, Socrates managed his needs, and Plato because Plato had powerful relations.

In fact, the Stoics’ epistemology looks far-forward to Foucault. Ask yourself this question which I find in Foucault: what if words needed no one-for-one referent? It’s too facile.

What if there is no truth, no power and just truth-power as in certain African philosophies “truth” has to be translated rough and readily to “that which gets over in council, and whups other competing truth-powers’ ass”?

Oh? That’s skeptical? Well boo hoo. Is skepticism a luxury good destined for the metropolis? Nuts to that.

The Stoics needed Truth and Power to make space for Truth when faced, as they clearly were in Johansen, with an Athenian Power quite ready as in Socrates’ case to put people to death. We cannot blame the Stoics any more from the standpoint of a world in which the children of the wealthy and the haute bourgeois struggle through test preparation classes such that the more the parent can afford, the harder the child must struggle to pass and complete, not only the exam, interview and/or paper required for admission but also the test prep classes. The Stoics seem to me to have been in my position as a non-tiger, struggling, and isolated teacher trying to survive and avoid academic fraud, for I retained my hunger for truth. Indeed, truth is the fun part.

Who even, in the contemporary world, remembers “Critical Legal Studies”? Precisely because in the 1990s, CLS threatened to bring back free Legal Aid for the poor and the middle class from the 1960s, Legal Aid and Critical Legal Studies delenda est: like Carthage and for much the same reasons. Because of the 1964 Civil Rights act and associated jurisprudence Queer Legal Studies and racial theory survives on life support but the idea that the merely middle class person might be systematically wronged by lack of access to the courts is a non-starter which a general legal theory from the left would bring back.

That is (das ist)

I’ve been born, and once is enough.
You don’t remember, but I remember,
Once is enough.

– TS Eliot, Fragment of an Agon

3 Responses to “7 Sep 2013 (significantly updated 8 Sep)”

  1. Hearing the verdict of your fate is not easy to handle on your own. I hope that you have people that can help you out? I, too give myself hands – on – healing solutions, (yoga) like yourself. Keeping life on track can be extremely frightening at times and provoking feeling of your past, which can give you strength to cope with the unknown.

    Having on- going support through your church members, friends, family members and bloggers can help us feel less lonely. I must admit that admire your continuing discipline in your exercise program, if I am half as good as you are at that age….. I would be proud of myself.

  2. Eighth paragraph: Géricault not Delacroix. Ah well, if you’ve seen one overwrought French Romantic you’ve seen ’em all!

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