Blog Archives

How Sex and Philosophy Try to Cheat Death

In the English translation of Anne Dufourmantelle’s Blind Date, Sex and Philosophy, is this food for thought:

“Our finite nature is a prop for both sex and philosophy. Sex responds to death by cancelling out time; so does philosophy. The one uses desire, and so does the other.
[S]ex suspends time for as long as [ … ] we remain caught up in the moment and the act [, …] a  moment provisionally outside of time and without duration.

“Philosophy for its part proceeds by stages. It posits an argument, reasons, sidesteps the issue, delivers a judgment, calls it into question, takes one more step in the direction of the logic of being, and in the process [ … ] it sweeps time under the rug, believes it is escaping death by conceptualizing death. [ … ] Concepts do not die or age.”

Missing from this improbable twining is the subjective utility and objective cost of adding drugs to the recipe (uppers for sex and hallucinogens for thought), in both cases as if to stall the movement of time.  No time, no limits, no losses, no regrets.

On Personal Experience (and not taking it personally . . . . )

interabang

 

 

You wake up, stand up, and there you are again.

Standing at the center of the universe.

(Just like everybody else.)

 

It’s a trick of the senses. Hard not to be at the center of your experience of the world.
Your thoughts, feelings, talk and other actions, if there’s any movement at all, ripple outwards.

But it’s mostly familiar and therefore OK. Been here, done this before, right?

Or maybe not.  Maybe look again.
Imagine unfamiliar points of view, for example being responsible for the other end of a conversation. 

Of course it takes effort.
A lot of attention to details.
And persistently, repeatedly disregarding the obvious.

Having an opinion is easy.
Having a correct opinion is more difficult.  
But the hardest: paying close attention while not having to have an opinion. 

 

The King is Dead. Long Live the King.

cremation-urn

Back when I was (only) 40, my good doctor said, “That Pepsi and M&Ms diet is not working out for you. You’re diabetic. You need to make some changes.”  She wasn’t talking small or temporary. We’re talking life changes on a scale that maybe happens if you’ve ever been brave enough to do the fire walk. (Not this tenderfoot.)

Suddenly everything normal was toxic and life-threatening — like nearly everything that tastes good except cucumbers and oregano. Not only that, she said, “You want to cut out stress. Stress will kill you.”  This was a harsh sentence for a devout foodie who made his own pasta, had a survival kit stocked with chocolate, and was a young lawyer taking on other people’s stress for fun and profit.

But the sentence was imposed. And after a decent interval for denial, bargaining, mourning and the rest of it, I came to acceptance: The old me had to die (dammit) if I was going live.   

But how does that work? Die? Really?  Well, yeah, sort of . . . .

In my head there is an imaginary house, with an imaginary room, with an imaginary fireplace. Over that is an imaginary mantel and on that is an imaginary urn. And in that urn are the ashes of Old Greg.  Luv that guy! Don’t want to see him go. Those were some good times. So I visit that guy in that room from time to time. And the conversation is short but heartfelt and goes something like this:

     Hey, man.

         Hey.

     You good?

         I’m in a jar that’s in your head.

     Um, yeah.  Sorry about that.
     But you know you gotta stay there, right?.

          . . . .

     Those were some good times.

          True that.

     Well, I’m doing good.  Walking the walk and all.

          Miss me?

     Like you were me. All the time. But still . . .

          Yeah, I know, like they say in England  — 
          The King is dead . . . .

     Long live the King.