Meeting a person’s eyes:Levinas in ordinary life

Intriguing

Silver Thoughts

Jean-Baptist_Camille_Corot_Breton_Woman_With_Her_Little_Girl

corot woman

Corot

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Face-to-face

The face to face encounter and its ethical meaning/implications is at the heart of Levinas‘ thought.Just today I was thinking over some personal events relating to this.

A few months ago I went into a cafe and found myself just behind an ex-colleague whom  I regard [note the word] as friend.I could see her husband sitting at the back of the cafe.She did mutter,Hello,but  instead of  meeting me eye to eye and  saying,”my husband wants to be alone”,she went through an elaborate pantomime of mime indicating rejection or keep a distance…which was unpleasant.I would been much happier with a straightforward look and a few words.

Today I had a similar event.I met a woman who used to be my physiotherapist ,again in a queue.She looked at me full on and greeted me  with pleasure.As she picked up  her tray she asked me to join her and her…

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Levinas

BionSexual healingvivian-gornick_0hannaarendtsudomenica16ye8TillichMargaretDrabbleBW75wittgensteinMunch-studio-Getty95002154I have got another book by Levinas.I am planning to spend a few days reading and meditating…so i should have much to write about next week.I am very affected by the notion of the meaning of how encounter another and how ethics is the primary essence of philosphy

My computer is on the verge of total meltdown

Cats fiveMy hard disk is failing I fear

So the engineer will come here

He’s taking the machine away

So I’ll have a non writing day.

I  am losing the machine tomorrow for 7/10 days…. not very good for my Xmas shopping.But hey who wants a present?Let them eat cake,snake or drake!

I only have this one computer which is  possibly a grave error but there we go.we must go with the flow.

My cursor is leaping about…. let’s hope they fix that,

The prospect of losing all my pics and poems is not worrying me as I can write more.So we’ll meet again,don’t know where,don’t know when….

Could Wittgenstein well?

Funny

Silver Thoughts

Do you think philosophy’s monotonous?

Prefer  an elephant to a  hippopotamus?

Do not feel sad

When joy can be had

From seeing which writes are dichotomous.

Is your spelling far wurse than myne?

Are your thoughts far from sublyme?

Could Jacques Derrida spell?

Could Wittgenstein well?

Answering these questions will take up our tyme

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What not to read tomorrow:The universe does not give a flying fuck

Image

You can look inside on Amazon but don’t waste your money.I

Write text here…

Meeting

dangerous-wooden-bridge-if-broken-foot-31740048

Stepping onto that fragile bridge

Which swayed in the breeze,
Stepping onto that fragile bridge
Was a difficult moment
Though I could see you far away.
As we traveled,sometimes we walked,
Sometimes we walked too fast,
Or without paying due attention
To the winds that blew across the water.
Sometimes I felt afraid I would fall
As the bridge swayed too much over
The dark sea.Or you might fall or turn back.
Sometimes we stopped walking and stood waiting
As if some portent would appear
To tell us what to do.
Still, we continued, with trust growing
After each difficulty…
All at once, you were near me,
And I recognised your face..
That light in your eyes
And your hands holding the ropes..
So we stood there,over the churning waters,
And all I wanted to do was to smile.
I wanted to smile.

Meeting a person’s eyes:Levinas in ordinary life

Jean-Baptist_Camille_Corot_Breton_Woman_With_Her_Little_Girl

corot woman

Corot

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Face-to-face

The face to face encounter and its ethical meaning/implications is at the heart of Levinas‘ thought.Just today I was thinking over some personal events relating to this.

A few months ago I went into a cafe and found myself just behind an ex-colleague whom  I regard [note the word] as friend.I could see her husband sitting at the back of the cafe.She did mutter,Hello,but  instead of  meeting me eye to eye and  saying,”my husband wants to be alone”,she went through an elaborate pantomime of mime indicating rejection or keep a distance…which was unpleasant.I would been much happier with a straightforward look and a few words.

Today I had a similar event.I met a woman who used to be my physiotherapist ,again in a queue.She looked at me full on and greeted me  with pleasure.As she picked up  her tray she asked me to join her and her husband plus a grandchild.We had a pleasant time,But if she had said,we are with our family,or whatever,that woulded have been fine too.because she looked at me

I am not saying the first woman ought to have done that.But what interests me is the lack of a willingness to “meet” me with her gaze.I  am entirely happy if people wish to be alone whilst the have coffee but I prefer them to say so.

Some individuals with autism are almost unable to make eye contact…. and this is because others are not real to  them,If we are near someone who will not meet our eyes,it can convey the same feeling.On the other hand,every one has off days and so I feel no anger,just a discomfort as this woman is very articulate and highly educated.I think her husband is quite controlling.

So this made me think about Levinas and about Martin Buber‘s I and Thou

There is also an expression,”he looked right through me”which is also a negative way of facing someone.And also,Cutting someone dead.

Essentially not looking at someone is a form of killing them as you imply they are not part  of society.Like not responding  to someone verbally or in writing.You are saying,You do not exist.

So I see with widening view

Gently dancing in the sun
Wildflowers grow;
they bloom,
are gone.

With no thoughts,they have no cares;
Yet their lives are gentle prayers.
May I walk in such a way
That I am alive to this day.

So I see with widening view,
And joy and sorrows embrace too.
Then my time will come like yours...
And of us nothing shall endure.As to the earth our bodies go,
All are one;it shall be so

 

Louise Glück : The Poetry Foundation

Louise Glück : The Poetry Foundation.

One of the most respected poets of our time…and with a totally different less extreme view of life than Sylvia Plath.

See here

.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louise_Gl%C3%BCck

The ‘Always’ and ‘Never’ Life of Sylvia Plath – Karen Swallow Prior – The Atlantic

The ‘Always’ and ‘Never’ Life of Sylvia Plath – Karen Swallow Prior – The Atlantic.

Another  piece about the poet  and novelist  Sylvia Plath… who seemed to have found post modernism in her writing before it was known and labelled

The disaster with Mary’s pinking shears: Stan errs again

« Catching some words..first draft Wildfowers »

abstract war on terrorStan was in the new black and cream kitchen cooking the Sunday dinner.As usual in the North it was roast beef and Yorkshire puddings.Stan was very good with Yorkshire puddings.They ate them with gravy before the main course just to maintain tradition.Even Emile,their talking cat, loved a pudding soaked in thick meaty gravy..
Suddenly the kitchen door burst open and in rushed their neighbor Annie… covered in blue paint.
What’s happened to you,Stan enquired cautiously.Surely you are not house painting on Sunday?
No,I never paint myself,she responded.I was in the old shed and a stray cat was up on the top shelf.It leaped off knocking over this tin of paint.I’m wondering how to get ot out of my hair?
What type of paint is it?
It’s emulsion paint.
Well,I’m afraid you can’t get it out!
I can’t go around town with blue hair,she cried loudly,even a touch hysterically.
Well,all I can think is that I could cut off a little of your hair.
OK, if that’s the only way to get rid of that damned paint.Can I stay and eat with you,babe?
Of course,sweetheart.Now here are some pinking shears.
Have you no ordinary scissors? she cried fractiously.Oh,bleedin’ ‘ell!!
No,we lost them.But pinking shears will give a layered effect.
Stan began cutting the lefthand side of Annie’s hair.Then he went around to the right….his left or her right?
She looked in the mirror,The left is a bit longer,she murmured vampishly.She falt like cussing and swearing but she didn’t know enough bad words so far in her life.
OK I’ll cut off a bit more.Stan whispered into her neck.
Oh,my God.The shears slipped,it’s gone really short,he shouted.
All Stan could do was cut the remainder of Annie’s lovely hair so it was only 2 cm long all over.
Suddenly Mary came in,
I didn’t know you were a hair dresser, she said sardonically to her errant husband.
Well,Annie got paint in her hair so I’ve trimmed it off.
Trimmed it..it looks like she won’t need a cut for about two years.
Annie began to sob noisily ,terrifying Emile who was hiding behind the flour bin watching some ants.
Well,Stan answered, it will be easier to wash and dry and she’ll have no need for rollers etc.Why,I could do it for a living.
I think it looks charming.
Why pinking shears?Mary whispered.You could have used my dressmaking ones.
Well,too late now mioawed Emile sarcastically from the bookcase filled with the entire Penguin cookery book collection over thirty years.What a pity it took up so much space in the tiny kitchen.
I think her hair looks sweet,said Stan bravely.
Meantime,you have burned the puddings again.Just like King Alfred and the cakes.Men are only good at savory and meat dishes.
It takes a woman to cook puddings and cakes.But Yorkshire puddings are savories.
I wonder how Wittgenstein would have classified them ? cried Mary enthusiastically.
Not Wittgenstein again,moaned Stan in mental torment,can’t you move onto some other philosopher?
Whom do you suggest? she said grammatically.
Try Carnap or take up gardening.
Oh,Carnap’s more of a logician,Mary said defiantly,
You see I love Wittgenstein as a human being.
Are you committing adultery with him ?Stan demanded thoughtfully his eyes bright like lasers.
That’s a wild exaggeration,He’s dead,Mary muttered.And he was,er,gay!
How do you know? That’s what they all say,shouted Stan angrily.
But what about you and Annie? Mary said venomously.
Well,I get lonely with you lecturing all day and studying Wittgenstein and mathematics all night
Surely you could wait till I come home? Mary said sharply
I suppose so,though a harem has always been my dream!
I think you are a bit past it now at 99,said Mary.
That’s not what I think, said Emile quietly.Cats and men…how do they do it?
Meanwhile Annie had washed her hair an it dried in tiny uneven curls all over her head.
It looks quite fetching,they decided as they sat down to eat the charred Yorkshire puddings.
What an exciting Sunday especially for Stan who enjoyed touching and playing with women’s hair.
I wonder if it’s a mental illness?I’ll have to look on the internet.Still, better than panic attacks, he thought
consolingly as he carried the roast beef onto the dining room where the women were discussing religious topics including a curiosity about why Christians were so anti Semitic despite Jesus’ wish for people to love each other.and besides being God,He was also a Jewish person too.
That’s interesting,Stan thought,here people think he’s English!What a weird world it is,to be sure.God was not a white Eton educated man.He may have been brown with a long black beard and a moustache.Did he smoke?
Only when he thought nobody was looking!Then he had flames coming out of his ears,Well,it made him laugh,you see.It’s Sunday soon so get ready.The Lord is nigh and he has a new hat on too

 

Words rise up like geese at dawn

York Minster,home of sacred song and word
York Minster,home of sacred song and word

WORDS RISE UP

After writing about maps I began to write about words.Words are very powerful in any kind of society but more so in a highly literate one.Words can be sacred or mundane.They can be loving or heartbreaking.And in English we have so many of them because English was developed from several other languages….Anglo-Saxon,French,Latin,Greek,Celtic…..so more than one word for some things.Here in this poem I compare words to birds [ geese ] flocking into the sky like words flock into our minds

GEESE

Words rise up like geese at dawn

When with pale sun new day is born

The words approach and dance in line

The choice of words is mine

Words spelled here by sense and sound

In clause and sentence weave around.

Which tempting words shall I now use

And which shall I refuse?

The fire lights up inside my heart

So now my writing hand can start/

I sit down at my desk and say

“This is the way I spend my day.

With words I sing and play”.