Monday, February 25, 2008

plato procrastination

oh to be heard!

oh to express!

these must be some of the sentiments driving the insane number of blogs out there. mine too. is this just as meaningful a 'community'?

i could share all kinds of neat things here. or i could pontificate majestically and often. what have you. what is interesting is that those are the sorts of things we used to share more with family, neighbors, customers, teachers, children. we get to craft our audiences now, culling from the population at large the most generous, receptive audience we can find.
- you make your own home-made laundry soap with sustainable, green ingredients??? omg, me too!!!! you are sooooooo cool!
- you are trying to save money by reusing things, not buying things and cultivating overall thriftiness??? wowowowow!!! awesomes!!!
- you love to shop for makeup far too often and spend too much money when rent is due and have to live on bread and yogurt sometimes because you simply had to have a new pair of boots????? *soulmates*

the point is that, though there are some variances within these little niche communities, and though finding people with the same goals and aims as you can be really validating and really, really important, it seems, perhaps, a bit lopsided. a bit off-balance. a bit like seeing the world through a kaleidoscope and exulting in the beautiful patterns 'of the world' when you've put them there yourself.

as a student in the academy, i have the privilege of doing whatever i want most of the time (within reason, we're not talking spur of the moment trips to prague). i can read what i like, write as often as i like, spend my days rolling around in theory theory theory. i have the leisure to volunteer, to spend time with friends, to take in (cheap) chicago culture. i have no kids, no husband, no family nearby to take up my time. only me and cat.

on the other hand, without appealing to the "real world" so often spoken of, i wonder if this does not make me - like most others in other such crafted communities - a bit like a bonsai tree, or like a hothouse plant. i seem to flourish. but just how well can i actually withstand opposition - wind, changes in temperature, drought, parasites? which plant is healthier: the lush hothouse plant or the smaller, ragged outdoor one? which plant is hardier: the sheltered plant or the interdependent one?

i can craft elegant sentences. i can logically connect them and construct a balanced, meaningful and beautiful paragraph. i can recognize failures in reasoning. i can connect such failures to larger patterns of thinking. but can i withstand opposition? where reason is not recognized as an authority, to what can i appeal? where the syllogism obscures, rather than corrects, understanding, how can i speak? where events defy ordering, how can i think?

i am well-prepared for a living of thinking. but for community? this is uncertain.

confronted with those who will not listen, can i make myself heard?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

to the bone

paring down desire cuts too deeply and hurts. being a grown-up sucks. wanting only what i can have sucks. i want to throw a tantrum.

i determined today that i am a style no one wears long.* all the rage for half a season, they *will* return to classical, traditional styles, leaving me in the resale shops and rummage sales of love.

who thinks these things? rummage sale of love?? ha. that's awful. awfully good. and just plain awful.

while i know, intellectually, that i don't need to be partnered to be happy, it would have been nice. and while i know that there are as many ways of being in relationship as there are people, i am sick of the kind of 'being in relationship' that is necessarily ephemeral, secondary (or tertiary), unnecessary.

unfortunately the knowing doesn't change the wanting (ha! see, Plato?!? i am not ignorant, but my desires are unchanged. ok, this is a bastardization. but still). and i haven't been able to sublimate the desire into consistent productivity, fueling my academic pursuits (or even my domestic ones...) with channeled romantic eros. what is the philosophotrix to do?

i suppose she is to go grocery shopping (chicken, lemons, potatoes, parsnips/turnips, garlic, onions, greens); fold her laundry and put it away; complete her correspondence; vacuum; and read kierkegaard.

*right. as maria reminded me, i am only referring to those men with whom i have had or desired more than a merely friendly interaction. not her or any other dear close, long-standing friend.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


so the landlord finally came to fix my shower (longer ago than, say today; i've just not been writing, or, er, blogging). "don't use drano when the tub won't drain. it'll ruin the tub" ok ... sorry!
but i have been luxuriating in my perfectly draining tub -- long showers, hot, bubbly baths, mmmm, it has been wonderful. and clean. and wonderful!

lethargic. slow. sticky. don't want to work. i have so much to do ... here's my list:

print copies of prof's chapter to read and summarize
finish reading for 181 course
summarize reading for plato seminar
begin this week's reading for the kierkegaard seminar
fold laundry
email Housing Opportunities for Women re: volunteering
call mom
call grammy
plan meals for the week

and this is just what has to be done by tuesday.... and here i am, procrastinating, blogging, having already checked my email about a gazillion times, thought about making hot chocolate, made tea, facebooked my friends and thought about reading fiction.

in the hsun tzu reading for the 181 class (and in my own re-readings in the tao te ching lately), there is much about unity, focus, calm, perseverance. in the plato, there is much discussion on the necessity and the art of measurement, specifically on determining which pleasures are beneficial and which are harmful. clearly i have not been cultivating focus, unity, perseverance; i have not been eschewing harmful pleasures for the beneficial.

i am almost done with the hsun tzu reading. then i will begin grading. i will grade through "pride and prejudice" tonight if i have to. tomorrow i will copy jackie's chapter. and i will stay up all monday night reading it if i must. oy.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

three bottles of drano

a plunger, hot water and a measuring cup and still my bathtub wouldn't drain.

i've been informed that i overdid the chemicals and that i should *not* have plunged while the tub was full of chemicals. whoops.

and then, as if by magic, an hour after this hours-long ordeal, i checked and the tub was clear. water drained. (still stinky) i ran a bit of water - still slow but i may be able to shower!

to be continued...

Monday, February 4, 2008

on becoming myself

subtitle (a): Kierkegaard in the Kitchen.

goal: to take dinner out of the realm of potentiality and, by embracing boundaries and submitting to limitations, to thrust dinner into the realm of actuality.

subtitle (b): Libra Loves Limits!

goal: no longer to quite so lovingly embrace my inability? refusal? fear? of making trivial decisions.

though i would not say i have been deceptive in describing myself as paralyzed by possibility, i will decide that this is no longer an option. if it is true that i have been so paralyzed, then it is a self-willed/self-sanctioned paralysis. so i shall start cooking. often. regularly. real meals. and i'll do the dishes.

i am terribly curious how other people? women? philosophers? philosopher-women? academics in general - anyone - is able to do this. not specifically cook dinner, but this among other things. have i perhaps too few responsibilities and so, in the luxury of my un-moored existence, have no need and thus little desire to so root myself in choosing? it seems that married folk, parents, people with real jobs must make all sorts of decisions all the time, decisions which must be made; if i can't decide on dinner, i *can* always eat bread and yogurt again. not the most delicious or complete, but will certainly keep off starvation.

but do other people simply open their eyes on time, early even, eager to live a beautiful day? eager to love themselves as well as they love others (whom they love consciously, actively, really well)? do they pull themselves out of bed as soon as they are able, excited to do everything? i get done what must be done, but seldom much more. and i could do so much more.

so if anyone ever does read this: how do you do it? how do you fill your life with living and how do you continuously, consciously, carefully live beautifully?

Sunday, February 3, 2008

good work westley, sleep well, i'll probably kill you in the morning

really. i may never do this again. i have a journal on my laptop. another paper journal. plus all my notes in my various notebooks. oh and my planner.

but the snow is beautiful outside (winter snow warnings are gorgeous even when they're inconvenient!): the trees are so covered in snow, the branches are scarcely visible; it could be part of a fantasy film. i am ruefully, woefully, joyfully, sorrowfully, productively, calmly heartbroken and feel as though that deserves some note.

also terribly curious to see how this looks on a page.

so if i never see you again, goodbye. it was nice knowing you.