waking words, identity, interuption, silences

Words I found on my lips upon waking:

“Do you know what it would look like,this portentousness, this guild of lost flowers?”

A passage that struck me later in the day while reading “Living with the Devil” by Stephen Batchelor:

“The stuff of which we are made, that allows the possibility of consciousness, love, and freedom, will also destroy us, wiping out that poignant identity of a sensitive creature with an unrepeatable history, who has become a question for itself.”

A thought that interrupted the copying of this quote:

“I pause in my struggle over the placement of a comma,
the exact site of a break in the clause,
because the silences matter as much as the noise.”

And later a quote found by chance while looking in the wrong place for a different, particular quote by Paul Valery:

“It is the job of poetry to clean up our word-clogged reality by creating silences around things.”

— Stephane Mallarme

Strange to see the path these thoughts, these silences traced through the day and each other, each pointing forward and backward as the empty moment in time passed through them.

20 thoughts on “waking words, identity, interuption, silences

  1. JCC, this is terrific stuff.

    I think what you are touching on is the “religious outlook.” I am reading the philosophy of John Macmurray right now (a Scottish philosopher from the early-mid 20th century) and he talks about the difference between the dualistic European mind and the religious/Hebraic mind. It is fascinating to think of the world as “One” as my mother likes to tell me when she recites the “Sh’ma prayer” in Hebrew.

    These quotes speak to this. I have got to Stephen Batchelor. Would you believe that my university library carries not a single one of his books?


    • Thank you Jeremy. I am very interested in this idea of dualism versus monism. Especially as it is in itself another dualism. This for me is where the idea of the “middle way” of Buddhism comes in. Even if one emphasizes the “Oneness” of things (some thing or every thing), that is still set up as opposed to “Twoness” which is again a dualism. I am not familiar with Macmurray but will definitely look further into that.
      Can’t say it surprises me that you couldn’t find SB at the univ. He is perhaps not “academic” enough. No title before his name and no letters after it. An “outsider” I guess.
      But I think you will find that the discipline of his thinking shows in all he writes. A discipline I never learned…me and college never got along too good…
      P.S. haven’t forgotten the recipe…get it to you this weekend…


      • I am interested in “the middle way” between monism and dualism too. I have been for a very long time and find that it is something that keeps “showing up” in my life in various forms. . . even my academic work. I am reading Macmurray for my dissertation on politics, of all things. . . so, that’s what I mean by it keeps showing up.

        I look forward to receiving the recipe, whenever it is convenient for you. 🙂


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