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a guide to contemporary appropriations of Hume

...the platitudes with which ‘Humean positions’ are defined just do not fit with what Hume actually says. Most of the time Hume’s texts simply do not lend the necessary support for this label ‘Humean’...

– Tamás Demeter

David Hume is an Analytic darling; you can find post-hoc principles bearing his name in every major subfield. (In the ahistorical laboratories of English-speaking philosophy, naming things is less scholarly attribution of primacy and more equivalent to naming an asteroid after him. Or asserting your work's importance by tying it to a Proper Name bandwagon.)

In fact, there are so many principles that we've run out of synonyms for "principle" to attribute him. Let's see:


Hume's Principle (in the logic of mathematics): "The number of Fs is identical to the number of Gs if and only if F and G are equinumerous. (#F = #GFG)." This is a contextual definition of the concept number; in case it isn't obvious:that's cool. This r…

as per

writing,
as per usual, of journeys, remembrance, death, love
"stars, blood, soul". on you go again.

these
were the whole of your poetries
a pitiful corner of the real and potential world.

advances?
Whitman's loud prancing, Breton's vomit,
Ginsberg's pissy apocalypse?

collapse
severed prose for lazy ponces
selected razors for slight minds.

poetry
comes from allergic living. Write about normality all you like
it's no realer for description.

gaze
of word-wrapping repels ordinariness,
negates as it affirms.

glory
in ordinary life more than I can manage.
I amn't wonderful enough to be happy with just sense.


spring miscellany

Charlotte Salomon (1942), '#4835', detail from the incredible 'Life? or Theatre?'


A classic is a book that someone very powerful once said was good.



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OOF. A friend once nicknamed me "Ellsworth". This is a brilliant insult; Ellsworth Toohey is the villain of Ayn Rand's Fountainhead - he'sa fake socialist, a grand demagogue, and wolf in sheep's ideology. Despite his public moralising, he's one of her Übermenschen - a brutal, self-actualised, and enormously manipulative spirit - and thus a Worthy Opponent for her pet mavericks. His role in the book is risibly didactic: "Yes, my heroes are assholes," Rand tells us, "but look how much worse they are when they pretend to be good!"


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LOL. This is from a speech by the old pope, against gay marriage and queerdom …

Firebrand

-So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of Eden...
a flaming sword which turned every way,
to keep the way of the tree of life
.
- Genesis 3:24

there's something wrong with everything
in this post-lapsarian land.
standing east of what he thinks is eden
stands the fire brand.

ward me, terrible agent;
stop up our eden's ears,
justice itself, flame left long,
withstand lyrical jeers.

no anchor put to windward
no philosophy onstage;
many men, falling foully,
all phonelines engaged.

Consider the Menshevik; do recall the wet,
Ta Thu Thau the Girondin,
dispensed-with, soon-null sets.
so too next time, I bet.



rancour

I am the offending article.

So redescribed, transmuted,
I haunt, heedless, automatic, unfeeling.
My actions are oppressive.
The memory of my actions is oppressive.
My gaze is oppressive.
The idea of my gaze is oppressive.
My existing oppresses.
My longevity promises to.
I am deep in debt and they do not
make my currency anymore.

So I sing, must thus roll.


demon denominalisations, or, the vicious verbing

Suddenly monied,
we got pilled-up:

He necked them all
so I kneed him.

Newly enemied, he knifed me;
Newly knifed, he was defriended.

He gunned me for my demogoguing;
I gerrymandered his face.

Entreating, he sexted sexily
(I pencilled it in).

We dialogued long, drank our dranks,
youtubed the workshopped process.

Newly employed by shady intelligencers
We actioned when ordered.

Renditioneering, they quickly
signatured what we told them to signature.

In the end we'll all nuke together.
It will impact you, but not for long.



I have been reading, Q1 2013

(c) Giuseppe Arcimboldo (c.1570)
As before, loads of non-fiction and no poetry. Grading system:

1/5: No.
2/5: For enthusiasts?
3/5: Skim.
4/5: Read receptively.
4.5/5: Exceptional, but one readthrough is enough.
5/5: Read it now, slowly, and probably repeatedly.


JAN
Cloud Atlas (2004) by David Mitchell. Was impressed by this, but I also felt a little contempt. It has features befitting a great book: stunning detail, perfectly historicised prose, engaging characters, intricate narrative structure, embrace of multiple genres. It's too clean, somehow. Though it depicts us being preyed on by us at our worst; though its dystopic future is a plausible extrapolation from our current world-system, it's not as challenging as it thinks it is. Pop-Hegel, pyrotechnic Joyce. On structure: there are ten sudden and non-linear narrative shifts, moving back and fore through four or five centuries in a world which almost matches our history up to 2000CE. These sections are connected by each havi…

"People" (2012) by Alan Bennett

"I'D OUTLAW 'REMEMBER'!" - Bennett's Dottie Stacpoole
You go to a Bennett play, you expect the inherent tragedy of progress, that's the deal. Before I saw People, I gave the following slightly cynical prediction of its plot: "Rich people larking about, paradoxically raging against the system, poignant ending regarding the inevitable decay of grandeur." This is not exactly right. The play is his usual warm, satirical tragicomedy, but it's not nostalgic, instead looking like nihilism. (The humour left me a bit cold, too. It's panto calibre: bishop on a porn set, cackling old lady, slack-jawed tourists.) If anything, it's touting the inherent tragedy of conservation.

So: A grand decaying house is to be sold - or given to the National Trust. But the public-minded people are more awful than the oily City shark. Everyonehates 'people': "People spoil things." The haughty, reclusive, indecisive lead, Dottie Stacpoole, is a…

study in usb sticks lost at my workplace

Black telescopic macho toy, 4GB:
Primary school lesson plans, LGBT materials, and Beyoncé's discography.

Cartoon flowers on white, 512MB:
A man's CV in Czech, alone.

Sleek redblack, no bigger than it ought to be, 8GB:
I ate your children - and what's more they are happier now.

Clearplastic 'Silicon Power', 1GB
Passworded; not for you. Filenames evoke the particular banality of Property work.

Green squidgy Chibi with a thin white extending tongue, 2GB:
Work on the Anammox bacteria disguised as denitrifiers, nitrate reduction to dinitrogen gas via nitrite and ammonium.

Massive 90s red plastic, 32MB:
Tab for Maggie May and Ticket to Ride. Beginner's German materials.

Turqoise switchblade, "0.5GB":
Esoteric file formats: Jar files. LSTs, IVSs, .gzs. I draw blanks, no association.

Plastiglass Sleek: 'ANTIVIRUS', 4GB:
Top Gun.mp4, a resignation letter, a rant about the ex-employer in question in Estonian.

Sleek redblack again:
Sports "science". An …

works whose titles are their conclusions

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.
The Importance of Being Earnest.
My Stepmother is an Alien.
Irréversible.
The Only Necessity is Verbal Necessity.
We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families.
What Matters Most Is How Well You Walk Through the Fire.
Lord I Just Can't Keep from Crying.
Every headline.
Everything is Illuminated.
La vita é bella. Things Fall Apart.



works whose titles are their conclusions and are false

All Quiet on the Western Front
God's Gonna Cut You Down.
I Will Always Love You.
I Will Survive.




heave me away with light iron

Sometimes I say I love irony,
though he'd call me a poof if he overheard.
I suppose I should not love him.

But he's more than a sarky sneer at our soft places:
he is the hope of other minds,
Pyrrho in a harness put out to till the fields.

Bewilder me, world, unseat and unsex,
lead me through cognitive forests with two clearings only:
sweet ironism or pure reason.

In the end I cannot dissolve.
The power now vested is worse vested elsewhere.
Strong admiration of irony is my distance from his distance.



inter faeces et urinam nascimur

On entering The Academy mall, Belmont Street, Aberdeen.

stink a shite in thi shoapin sintr thi day
(place isna taen thi piss na mair)

so yis swither as yis come in: neb-struck, oocha.
cmoan! daunder through! dree the reek poshboy!

Canna staun this globalised a aesthetic, sicht o naewhere
signifyin nithin, £90 jersey an $100 smirk.

Och och noo. Abdy kens abdy shits!
I amna Grampian's Metatron. Ma synthetic Scots is

the lyk of yir synthetic lifiness
aboon fit these folk ken naethin.

Onywauy. "Among piss n shite wir born";
aw thi money comes oot that sea winna buy off that.



Terroir and Milieu

The plant I am today is hard to know.
Nurtured in loam (over-watered,
water-warped, filled with inorganic ideation),

said loam was seminal, certainly.
No one may outrun their given rootstock,
though the young, pollen, uproot anyway,

try bootstrap our own wind, flee town on whatever copter sycamore.
I fend phylloxera, plumb-line roots into deep clay,
strain to stockpile auxin, to bud, fruit, ripen in one day;

branch against the dim light of my loam and chill of this tight clay -
that said, I present this grape.







[NaPoWriMo #1. I will write one poem a day, supposedly. Be sure to follow Johnny and Kit going for it here and here.]