Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Old Quarrel - By Way Of Introduction


Permit me, tender reader, to reintroduce myself.

It has been said that there is an old quarrel between philosophy and poetry.  Understanding how man's notions of philosophy and poetry have evolved since this observation was first made illustrates not only the veracity but also the irony of it.

It’s not that some regard rhetoric, once known as poetry, as futile or revelation, once understood to be philosophy, as instructive; it’s that they are inherently so.  To the extent that its basis in divine revelation remains intact and pure, rhetoric is, in fact, poetic.

The rhyme, measure, and meter of prose accord inasmuch its author recognizes his inherent incapacity to wield rhetoric for anything but the ultimate detriment of virtue.  This recognition is only manifestly apparent to he who knows why truth is sooner beauty than beautiful, for the inspiration of universals cannot be articulated but only recollected, experienced, and - at best - understood.  And so it is that rhetoric, mere imitation of understanding, corrodes admirably little when conveyed with sufficient restraint, prudence, and humility to be mistaken for poetry.

Understanding, which is man’s grasp of the divine, is simple in its purity but complex in its infinite relations, extensions, implications, variations, and connections.  By recording in writing a single proposition one captures for subsequent reflection an intuition with, however impure, some semblance of meaning and, posed properly, an intuitive process, which in evincing the means by which the proposition was intuited illustrates not only its self-evident veracity but the majestic unity of all things.  This is sublime to behold, which perhaps demonstrates why the purpose of this endeavor in rhetoric is not so much to convince the reader so much as it is to please the writer.

Since rhetoric is the fount of no original meaning but can at best only illuminate those truths more intimately understood in better, earlier ages by men possessed of more holistic, incisive, and fundamental intuition in well enough imitating the form of revelation to evince its function, this writer’s conceited pride swells with pretension when his works are derided as archaic or anachronistic.  Let us examine this matter further.

The earlier the age, the more simple, elementary, even naïve man’s languages may seem, but appearances can be deceiving.  After all, man proclaiming the definition of a word is sooner an effect than a cause of that word’s meaning, as man does not assign definition so much as recognize one, since all his language is mere representation of intuitions, embedded on the very soul with which he was born, that he recollects.

As sin begets sin, so disruption begets disruption.  Since language imitates understanding, which - by virtue of the various limits and weaknesses marking any temporal understanding of the spiritual realm beyond - diverges in its particular deficiencies from man to man, the disruption man renders language by employing it is inevitable.  This harm man deals language in using it, like all disruptive forces, obfuscates – in this case, words’ meanings and pronunciations, warranting not only the construction of new ones, which necessitates the use of more words to convey less meaning, but also the demarcation of the timbre, inflection, tone, amplitude, harmony of old ones to secure their identity against the vagaries of individual inclinations that in solitude drift without cause or end, but in mutual reciprocity check, reinforce, and anchor each other; of this collective interaction is prejudice born, which in defining certain particularities of linguistic precision, come overtime to define an accent, dialect, or language.

In this way we see why languages become both fewer and less verbose as one ventures back towards humanity’s dawn and how the laconism of earlier languages betray a profundity of thought increasingly difficult to not only fully understand but even simply recognize.

Whereas sufficiently fundamental intuition could have once been conveyed with so few words so as to remind how a single Hebrew word could mean both inspiration and intuition, this writer confesses a peculiar pride born of his capacity to understand why for himself such discursive prose is as elegantly clarifying in pursuit of that same end as it is eminently gratifying.  Though he has sought to cleanse himself of sophistry - and with no small degree of pride claims some success in that task - this writer nonetheless accepts his stain of sin as a consequence of his being and embarks upon writing not as proud enunciation of truth or even virtuous proclamation of insight but only as pleasurable vice.

In other words, tender reader, in revealing its inherent futility mental masturbation is actually quite productive.

All is One.

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