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  • mono 7:45 pm on October 16, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Human condition, Lies, , Lying, Personal life, , Physical body, Richard Howard, Short History of Decay, , Spoken language   

    Life is the Novel of Matter: An E.M. Cioran Moment 

    “Only inert things add nothing to what they are: a stone does not lie; it interests no one – whereas life indefatigably invents: life is the novel of matter.” (E.M. Cioran “A Short History of Decay, pg. 84).

    To live in the human world, is to live through a virtual screen of interpretations and imaginations. We bind ourselves to the world we know by the stories that we tell each other and the minds/cultures that we are wrapped around, existing through; the other story-tellers that exercise their influence upon us. The tree does not tell to us, it cannot tell us stories. It stands inert and rooted. Rather, we tell others about the tree. We form an image of the tree through how we address the tree given our intentions and ways of being toward it. For you and I, although we may both be looking at the same physical object, it will come to life for us in different ways. An environmentalist and a lumberjack see the same tree is a radically different way, or at least, depending on who they are and what their situations are, could do so.

    Moreover, to speak is to lie. That is, it is a telling of how things aren’t. The worlds that we can have are spoken into existence – we live out our words. Through our speech, we are the inventors of the human world. We mind that world through how we come to speak about it. Although, we, too, are matter, we are more than matter: we are consciousness and mind. It is difficult to step back and analyze the life stories that we create, as each stepping back places us in yet another facet of the same story.

    The stories of our lives are woven through the words that we can use and make intelligible to others. Human life is a “standing-out” against matter. And, where does all this lead us?

    If you want to read more E.M. Cioran articles, please see the E.M. Cioran page.

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  • mono 3:41 pm on October 11, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Choice, Decisions, , Human condition, Human nature, , , , Ortega Y Gasset, , ,   

    Jose Ortega Y Gasset on “Decisions” 

    Our lives are continually affected and altered by the decisions that we make, the paths we choose to move within and about, the paths we choose to realize. As you already know, you can’t not decide and therein lies the difficulty – the difficulty of choice. It is a perpetual “trip” through the choices that we make or choose not to make that shape our lives. Any way we cut the cake, we move through these situations in spite of and with respect of the consequences of what kind of life we have chosen to live.

    Ortega Y Gasset, in his Man and People says, “But life is nothing except man’s being; so that here we have the most extraordinary, extravagant, dramatic, and paradoxical thing about the human condition – namely, that man is the only reality that does not simply consist in being but must choose its own being. For if we analyze the commonplace thing that is going to occur in a little while – the fact that each of us will have to choose and decide the direction of the street he is going to take – you will see that the choice of such a seemingly simple act will be made only with the intervention of the entire choice that you have already made, the choice that at this moment, as you sit here, you carry secretly in your inmost selves, in your most hidden depths: the choice of a type of humanity, of a way of being man, that you seek to realize in your living.” (44)

    What this means for us is that each of us carries and lives-through the ability to become, while acting out the stories that we imagine ourselves as experiencing. Our humanity is caught up in the decisions that we make and, more than that, is embedded in the decisions that we have already made. I am reminded here of a CL adage of, “if you want to change who you are, change what you do.” We live our life in terms of what we do and, more importantly, in how we (and the others around us) interpret what we do. The life that you want to have starts with your moving toward that kind of life with the tools and competencies you have at hand in the context of the life that you currently are a part of.

    Thank you for deciding to read this article. DO your best and CHOOSE wisely.

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