indispensable a fortiori / by IKB

If I juxtapose my current writing with my past writing, I notice change. Yes, I know more words but my writing style has also changed. But it is not as if I awoke one day to discover a new me. Change is never abrupt but gradual. Now, I find myself struggling to establish a transition between one sentence and another. Not too long ago, words were an endless lucid stream of rawness, of jejune fancies, instantiated instantly.

Yet there is repetition but also, there is difference. Perhaps this is Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence. Yes, things do seem to repeat themselves, there does exist a resemblance between events but they are different. The difference may not be innate, i.e., embedded in the essence of a thing, but it is immanent; the difference is a result of an interpretation by the intellect, and this difference is internalized by it (it becomes an attribute of the thing). Thus occurrences are similar but not alike; sameness and similarity are an inadéquation.

To say that life follows a cycle is to abrogate liberty, i.e., ‘free will’. It is more exact or prudent to say that events can be described by cycles. This may seem to be pure semantics, but it shares in the dichotomy of a square always being a rectangle but not vice versa. In the end, I suspect liberty exists to a certain extent as does desire, i.e., that which lies outside of our control and observes laws. I also suspect liberty and will are commensurate.

My life can be interpreted as following a multitude of patterns. It may seem the cardinal interpretation is escapism. Superficially, I have attempted to escape the world – home. But I do not know the world; what I do know is myself. And what I do know of the world is through the lense of my self. Perhaps Apollo was correct in commanding “Γνώθι σεαυτόν” which seems more profound than Christ’s “Love one another”. The existence of the self is taken a priori and from “Cogito ergo sum” everything follows. If you do not know yourself, how can you know anything? Thus, a fortiori, knowing yourself is essential.

But there is nothing more terrifying than knowing oneself too intimately. Again, Apollo commands us to know ourselves but without excess. It is good to know yourself, but it is evil to know yourself in excess for then the mysery of existence follows. How terrifying to discover that man is a rock, that humanity is a world of anonymous universes spiriling but never connecting, meaningfully.

The intercourse between these universes produces false illusions arising from the nature of language, one allowing for false communications. Only misunderstandings exist between them, for they are interpretations of interpretations of interpretations, etc. A sign signals a thing but at one point, the signifier becomes a symbol, a world unto itself, a new reality.

To quote:

Travelling is a fool’s paradise. Our first journeys discover to us the indifference of places. At home I dream that at Naples, at Rome, I can be intoxicated with beauty, and lose my sadness. I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea, and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the stern fact, the sad self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from.

And this captures perfectly the crux of the matter. The ubication is not the issue, but the self. A change in venue is a temporarily confusion, a provisional distraction but when the mind recollects itself, the situation returns, i.e., the sad self. Also, I am not exactly sad, I am a pensive being and herein lies the dilemma.

And the quote also alludes to the disconnexion of man from everything. Though he interacts (in what sense?) with the world, it is never directly or truthfully. It is always through the medium of something else.