July 2nd, 2006


let it be

there. I've done my dissertation "make up day" but I still feel like I'm getting nowhere. Probably what I should do next is stop writing for a day and pick up How to Write and The Making of Americans and leaf through my own annotations to find out just what it is about them I had decided to say, for I have somewhat forgotten. right now all I have is the bare thread of metonymy connecting Levinas to Stein, and although I was trained in undergrad how to forge discursive bonds where there are only suggestions of terminological affinity, it's been some time since I've written something that wasn't already fairly clear to me in my head.

in other words, I can't just make this part up. I'm actually going to have to construct some sort of method of inquiry for myself. used to be this consisted of reading till nightfall and then scribbling things down in my bedside notebook before falling asleep. which makes me think I should pick up one of these two books now except that I'd really like to go for a walk instead.

the fear: I am going to pick up one book and all the notes I made are going to say the opposite of what I've been saying in the dissertation.

this is unlikely, as I've been conducting investigations in approximately the same areas and directions in everything I've read since leaving high school. thus the narrative of my own philosophical evolution is written in the margins of all the books I own, which can be quite convenient when you are coming back to something a couple of years later and are hoping what you said then is still significant now. so far I haven't been terribly disappointed but it always requires some adjustment to what context I was writing in then as opposed to now. but generally there is something upon which to seize. I just don't want to be disappointed, you know? What if this whole Stein strategy has been a big red herring?

well then I guess I will go through my dissertation with my text editor, replacing all occurences of "Stein" with "some" or "others" or "elsewhere" or something.
  • Current Mood
    nervous nervous


I tried going through my annotations in The Making of Americans but decided to reread the first few pages which put me right to sleep. I was sitting in here, in my room, in the chair without head support and after a few snaps back I scrunched down and hunched over so that my head would fall forwards rather than backwards when I lost consciousness. I slept that way for three hours.

then I woke up and read my evening books: I have started three books and am reading them one chapter at a time each in the evening. I read them in this order:

Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush, which doesn't say anything we don't already know except that really the entire administration needs to be impeached although it doesn't say that out loud and I wonder if such a mechanism exists and whom that would leave in the oval office.

Holy Terrors: thinking about religion after September 11, which is kind of an edgy book for me to be reading since it does quote Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell extensively but at least points out their reductionism and scarcely-concealed self-interest but in any case it doesn't say much I didn't already know either, to the extent that extreme Islam is not very different from extreme Christianity and really I don't understand why the two religions don't just recognize how much they agree with each other: America is Babylon, sinful, being punished by god, etc etc etc.

Zen Buddhism: Selected Writings of DT Suzuki which is very informative early on about the historical development of zen in china from its indian roots but hasn't yet said a whole lot about whether zen is what I think it is although the paradoxical formulations offered so far can certainly be interpreted in a way I like.

it's an oddly complementary list: what's wrong with the president, what's wrong with the beliefs I grew up with which so influence this president, and what there is out there in the world that might function as an alternative to what is wrong with what's going on over here in this part.

it's also calming to read about zen after reading about the nutcases in charge of the country right now. I really hope the current state of affairs is as temporary as zen would make everything out to be.

now I guess I'll go to bed. because I did not leave the house today and I ate all my store-bought burritos already I lived on cereal today and am out of milk for tomorrow. alas. I should go get my fasting bloodwork done anyway so this will provide me with the means not to eat in the morning.

I hope that having drunk a quart of whole milk is compensated for adequately by the whole grains and fiber in my cereal.

sleep. the only thing wrong with sleep--besides the things you have to do to get ready to sleep--is that it comes with dreams. every night I have to take part in some absurd narrative entirely against my will. half the time I know I'm dreaming and at that point what can my unconscious possibly tell me? sometimes I wish the ego would just chill at night but there are times when knowing I'm dreaming is a good thing. this can be a mixed blessing though. if the skies are stormy and I know I'm dreaming then I know tornados are imminent whereas if I'm not lucidly dreaming it is less of a sure thing. odd how that one works.
  • Current Mood
    anxious anxious