Is existence a genus or general class that is simply divided up by specific differences?
The answer, according to George Berkeley (1685-1753), is no.
Berkeley’s argument offers phenomenological evidence (onions, French, mermaids), for the conclusion that an abstract general object is inherently predicationally incomplete. Thus, in A Treatise on the Principles of Human Knowledge, (1710), Berkeley states:
If any man has the faculty of framing in his mind such an idea of a triangle as is here described, it is in vain to pretend to dispute him out of it, nor would I go about it. All I desire is, that the reader would fully and certainly inform himself whether he has such an idea or no. And this, methinks, can be no hard task for any one to perform. What more easy than for any one to look a little into his own thoughts, and there try whether he has, or can attain to have, an idea that shall correspond with the description that is here given of the general idea of a triangle, which is, neither oblique, nor rectangle, equilateral, equicrural, nor scalenon, but all and none of these at once?
In other words, “esse est percipi,” “to be is to be perceived.”
Which means biology is everywhere and enthusiasm is holy.
Un coup de ton doigt sur le tambour décharge tous les sons et commence la nouvelle harmonie.
A communion of sand and salt water. Movement in silhouettes around a raging bonfire. This is where the story of each person on the freeway comes to reminisce and find themselves among specific steps in the mud.
The depth of water in a marsh. The acceptance of cloth, and what it means to wear clothes, and enjoy a sense of skin against silk, or water, or the warmth of another body.
Carve a face in a piece of wood: you will come to believe in the ardor of motion. Motion is sublime. Emissions of light sweeten the day, glance from the blade of the chisel. There are men who personify the sun and women who personify the moon.
The moon as its light strikes a wall of ice in Iceland. Fading of stars as daylight breaks. Compressions of night geyser into composition. Mud bubbles. Fumaroles vent. Fafnir stirs.
Puffins bob on emerald water. There is a shoulder of stone rising into a churning sky.
The diving of grebes. Raucous parliament of auks. Scree scree scree of glaucous gulls.
Language warms the air. We see it in steam. A meditation on the density and meaning of dreams. Bouillon in a black bowl of Zen pottery. Explorations of sound on a violin by a musician haunted by a life not yet lived but only dreamed.
Reflection of a mountain on a pond on a mountain.
Reflection of a mind in thought. In a hammerhead of green glass.
William Burroughs in Kansas. Plywood shot with a pattern of holes.
Predicaments awaken the mind. Umbilical pink. Naked and blue. Paint it whatever color you choose.
Or use words.
Use words to describe what cannot be described.
Use words to describe a thought bouncing around the room.
Like an Earl.
In amber and pearl.
Tubes of light in the solemn Kansas night.
Vacancy! Vacancy! Vacancy!
Spots of light, stains of abstraction. Sympathetic greens, noble reds. The loneliness of blue. Ginsberg’s hydrogen jukebox in a bar in Abilene.
Record flops down, begins to spin: little scratchy sounds. Then hello cowgirl in the sand. Is this place at your command? Can I stay here for a while?
Name your tune.
Existence needs choice. Decision. Everyone is urged to confess their woes. Pressed against a rock. Apparitions of ourselves in a different history. In a song we didn’t write. But sung. As if it were our song. Which in some way it is. And in some way it is not. But a song nevertheless. A sweet, ineffable tune. A sound consisting of silence. And later and never and soon.
Butter sliding down a mound of mashed potato. Blue flame from a canister of propane on a winter night. Bodies shadowed on the snow. Where the wind moves. You can see it in swirls. Spirals of white whirly snow. A trickle of icy wind down the back. Which feels like a kiss from the moon.
2007 Intro to reading by Peter Culley
4 days ago