Mar. 16th, 2016

cincinnatus_c: (Default)
Currently at Havelock: 4.8. High today: 8.6. Thunderstorms around today. Saw my first vulture of the year and heard my first robin singing. (A couple of days ago I saw a flock of snow buntings in a field near the cottage. Amazing sight that I've never seen before, harkening back to last November when I was getting up before dawn to keep the water running and seeing things that made me keep thinking I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. A line of trumpeter swans over the far shore ... mostly by now moments lost in time but they are there where they are lost and come whatever else may they cry out against what I am going to say below, which is a sketch of something to be transcended (in the "Hegelian" sense in which the truth of what is transcended is contained in that which transcends it) though I don't know if I can carry out the transcending.) Supposed to get back below -10 tomorrow night.

A Lenten sketch, let's say:

For those motivated by desire for the good, there is always either no real choice or unsolvable dilemma. Either the way to serve the good is apparent and this way must be followed--Hier stehe ich, ich kann nicht anders--or the way to serve the good is not apparent and there is no way to follow--put positively, more than one possible way to serve the good is apparent and lovers of the good as such have no way to decide between them. But in many circumstances the way of making a decision as opposed to the way of not making a decision is apparently the way of serving the good. Lovers of the good then have no choice but to make decisions that are, for lovers of the good as such, arbitrary. On what basis are they to decide, if they are unable to decide as lovers of the good? From a modern perspective they may decide according to self-interest. From an ancient perspective there are no genuine interests apart from pursuit of the good. The lover of the good as such can't take the modern perspective, because the lover of the good as such recognizes only the good as an object of desire. Surely, however, no actual human being is exclusively a lover of the good. But the person who is a lover of the good necessarily aspires to be exclusively a lover of the good, even while recognizing and accepting that no human being can completely fulfill such an aspiration. To be confronted with a decision that must be made on some basis other than desire for the good is a blow to the fundamental aspirations and self-image of the lover of the good. If they are rare and seem to be exceptional, then these blows are not seriously damaging. But if they are too frequent or otherwise too insistent and not apparently exceptional to the usual run of practical life, then they may make it appear to lovers of the good that their aspirations to be exclusively lovers of the good are futile and that some other fundamental ground of practical life needs to be sought, which would mean giving up the ancient perspective and their self-identification as lovers of the good. Alternatively lovers of the good may remain loyal to the good, but now tragically, which again means giving up the ancient perspective, because there is now felt to be an irreconcilable opposition between the good life and the happy life, or else (which for the lover of the good amounts to the same thing) the happy life appears to be simply impossible. In this case lovers of the good must either condemn life altogether ("Schopenhauer"), learn to enjoy the tragic spectacle of the unhappy good life so that the unhappiness of the good life defeats itself ("Nietzsche"), or have faith that the opposition is reconciled in a way that passes understanding ("Christianity", "Kant") ... or some mixture of, or alternation between, these three.
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