Archive for March, 2019

March 19, 2019

ging..siron.. sand
Maryof Egypthami

a th sn f slmCAh
r h e e r eieieoki
p a d d e.usntia..
e f g s s.. E ic
n i e id h.. CO….
n n t d p.. ….CO
n i e id h.. CO….
e f g s s.. E ic
p a d d e.usntia..
r h e e r eieieoki
a th sn f slmCAh
Maryof Egypthami
ging..siron.. sand

March 18, 2019

“The great and crescive self, rooted in absolute nature, supplants all relative existence, and ruins the kingdom of mortal friendship and love.” (Emmerson, Experience.)

Patience vs. ‘Mindfulness’

March 17, 2019

Do I accept ‘mindfulness’ as a virtue as I would for example ‘temperance’? (I do.)

But I find myself disinclined from using the term itself, as being New Age, and from all the other terms that will seem interchangeable with it: ‘consciousness’, ‘awareness’, ‘attentive-ness’, (I’m not sure I’ve ever heard ‘attentiveness’) and such things. Surely there must be an older western word for so fundamental a concept (it must be western because I couldn’t understand it if it were eastern)? (I can’t think of one, there might not surely be one, a so-called western word for what you mean by ‘awareness.’ It may be I will need western and eastern civilization to merge to a greater extent –English and Chinese will need to become indistinguishable– before I can learn to become properly ‘aware.’) Aurelius, who has a New Age feel, might use one.

…Maybe ‘patience’ comes close, but Patience implies an ultimate relief from the conditions of the present, a deliverance, whereas ‘mindfulness’ asks us to consider that there can be no other present, that we should not want such relief (the present is something to be and stay in, not to endure or get through, not to be patient of) [patience implies satisfaction will ultimately be attained, ‘mindfulness’, that it is always present] mindfulness proudly feels cold it doesn’t bear or endure it

(You have a good point.)

…Concentration comes close but in the way of an opposite insofar as they are means of data collection. Concentration like a shovel or telescope, ‘mindfulness’ like an antennae or radar dish.

(I suppose you qualify the way in which they are opposites (“insofar as they are means of data collection”) because you feel that the opposite of concentration, in an absolute sense, is distractedness, not mindfulness. Yet you feel suddenly under-confident that you understand how to speak properly of opposites. The opposite of the north pole is I suppose the South Pole. The opposite of a pole, is I suppose a middle — the equator. Thus the polar opposite of concentration you would say is mindfulness, while the opposite of concentration as such is distractedness? You do feel suddenly uncertain about all this.)

Obergefell: a “reverse Dred Scott”?

March 15, 2019

Robert’s dissenting opinion (and this holds true for the other conservative justices’ dissents) amounts to a charge of judicial activism and asserts that this is an issue best left to the legislature. (Robert’s opinion of the importance of the legislature seems to me at odds with his opinion in Shelby, where he overturns a thoroughly researched and overwhelmingly supported civil rights law, apparently because of the justice’s own assessment that it’s no longer necessary.)… The petitioners are not being denied a right, according to Roberts, which would be protected by due process, but are asking for a new right that does not yet exist. He concludes by posing the question of:– if the court can redefine marriage from opposite sex to same sex, cannot it not also redefine it as occurring between two people and several (i.e., why not bigamy?). He also says there might have been room for the court to have justifiably upheld for equal protection on narrower grounds (i.e., hospital visitation rights, taxes, etc.)

Kennedy, writing for the majority, meanwhile tries to derive an essential idea of a right to marriage based on the court’s other opinions on the subject, adducing four principles. I felt that his strongest or most concrete point, though I’m not sure he comes out and directly says it, was that married couples enjoy so many legal privileges over unmarried ones (in laws with respect to inheritance, taxation, hospital access and medical decisions, etc.) that to deny some couples this right, whatever their composition, must constitute an infringement of the Equal Protection clause.


Can’t say I’ve felt very comfortable with any of the decisions of the Roberts court that I’ve so far read. Citizens United: I thought Stevens’ dissent far stronger than Robert’s majority argument (and the wrong decision). Shelby: I thought Ginsburg’s dissent stronger than Robert’s majority opinion, and the wrong decision. Heller: I thought Stevens’ dissent and Scalia’s majority more or less equally well argued (after correcting for my bias) and the wrong decision…. How you stand on Obergefell, as a legalistic matter, seems to depend crucially on your view of the scope of the due process clause, and I did not understand well the peculiarities and history of that dispute. On balance, however, I found Robert’s dissent a bit stronger than Kennedy’s majority, yet that the majority upheld the right decision — and wondered if there was something of a “reverse Dred Scott” feeling to the whole thing. Working on a very shaky remembrance of that case, I feel it was decision well-grounded in the Constitution that substantiated something today found morally abhorrent (that a person can be property), whereas Obergefell, is on morally stronger, but constitutionally weaker, grounds…. That idea leads me to imaginatively yet irrelevantly wonder (and, so wondering, conclude): if Dred Scott had been argued in Scott’s favor, what about race and slavery in the U.S. would have changed?)

March 14, 2019

ging..siron.. sand
…………..1…….f……….0 ………..
x..y gx. . X

March 13, 2019

accablé (overwhlemed), éreinté (exhausted)… “Tous semblaient accablés, éreintés, incapables d’une pensée ou du’une résolution” (de Maupassant)

March 11, 2019

One’s body more and more seeming a part of the earth, and that the husk of one’s helpless seed….“Cezanne of The Earth

Non est tanti // “driving on the system of life”

March 10, 2019

Non est tanti… It’s no big thing. Cui bono
Boswell, Life of Johnson [pp.981]:

“He disliked much all speculative desponding considerations, which tended to discourage men from diligence and exertion. He was in this like Dr. Shaw, the great traveller, who, Mr. Daines Barrington told me, used to say, ‘I hate a cui bono man.’ Upon being asked by a friend what he should think of a man who was apt to say non est tanti; — ‘That he’s a stupid fellow, Sir, (answered Johnson): what would these tanti men be doing the while?” When I in a low-spirited fit, was talking to him with indifference of the pursuits which generally engage us in a course of action, and inquiring a reason for taking so much trouble; “Sir (said he, in an animated tone) it is driving on the system of life.”


il avait beau écouter, il ne saisissait pas

March 9, 2019

Madame Bovary. . .1011 / 1

Le programme des cours, qu’il lut sur l’affiche, lui fit un effet d’étourdissement : cours d’anatomie, cours de pathologie, cours de physiologie, cours de pharmacie, cours de chimie, et de botanique, et de clinique, et de thérapeutique, sans compter l’hygiène ni la matière médicale, tous noms dont il ignorait les étymologies et qui étaient comme autant de portes de sanctuaires pleins d’augustes ténèbres.

Il n’y comprit rien ; il avait beau écouter, il ne saisissait pas. Il travaillait pourtant, il avait des cahiers reliés, il suivait tous les cours ; il ne perdait pas une seule visite. Il accomplissait sa petite tâche quotidienne à la manière du cheval de manège, qui tourne en place les yeux bandés, ignorant de la besogne qu’il broie.

March 8, 2019

Chancing to look at weeds in Hamlet I notice that three of the four times “weeds” is used to refer to plants (it is used two more times to refer to clothing) it includes the adjective “rank”. Rank etymology… Though at this point I couldn’t tell you how reliable that weeds in Hamlet post is.

Tamarisk in Enquiry Into Plants (i)

March 7, 2019

My interest in the tamarisk is, I suppose, of a more literary and symbolic sort where that of Theophrastus was botanical and scientific; nevertheless, it occurred to me to read his works on plants on deep background, as it were, for my tamarisk investigation. His mentions of the tamarisk in the first volume of his Enquiry Into Plants (Loeb edition, translation Sir Arthur Hort) are below. Some preliminary observations:

  • Theophrastus considers the tamarisk amphibious (ἀμφίβια), wild (ἄγριος) (as opposed to ἣμερος cultivated), evergreen (ἀείφυλλα), with fleshy (σαρκόφυλλον) slender (λεπτός) leaves and “thin” (also λεπτός) bark. (As if Theophrastus identified λεπτός with the tamarisk.)
  • It is classed among both trees (δένδρον) and shrubs (θάμνος).
  • It can be found around Mt. Olympus and in abundance around Mt. Haemus, but is most naturally acclimated to the arabian coast, where the wood is far stronger.
  • Otherwise, what’s most notable is that Theophrastus doesn’t mention the tamarisk a great deal, and usually we find it in a list of other plants given to provide an example of a certain quality or attribute. Nor does he mention it in his chapters on the industrial uses of plants, suggesting there was no such use for the tamarisk among the Greeks. (Whereas Herodotus, in his history, mentions that in Egypt the tamarisk was used for building rafts and its sap used to sweeten foods,– though we know from the below that Theophrastus considered the tamarisk in that part of the world somewhat different from that to be found in Greece.)

    Tamarisk in Enquiry Into Plants I.

    (Note that Theophrastus doesn’t separate items of a list with commas, which style the translator has preserved.)

    I.IV.3 “However, if one should wish to be precise, one would find that even of these some are impartial and as it were amphibious, such as tamarisk willow alder, and that others even of those which are admitted to be plant of the dry land sometimes live in the sea, as palm squill asphodel.”

    I.IX.3 “Again some trees are evergreen, some deciduous. Of cultivated tree, olive date-palm bay myrtle a kind of fir and cypress are evergreen, and among wild trees silver-fir fir Phoenician cedar yew odorous cedar the tree which the Arcadians call ‘cork-oak’ (holm-oak) mock-privet prickly cedar ‘wild pine’ tamarisk box kermes-oak holly alaternus cotoneaster hybrid arbutus (all of which grow about Olympos) andrachne arbutus terebinth ‘wild bay’ (oleander). Andrachne and arbutus seem to cast their lower leaves, but to keep those at the end of the twigs perennially, and to be always adding leafy twigs. These are the tree which are evergreen.

    I.X.4-5 “Again there are various other difference between leaves; some trees are broad-leaved, as vine fig and plan, some narrow-leaved, as olive pomegranate myrtle. Some have, as it were, spinous leaves, as fir Aleppo pine prickly cedar; some, as it were, fleshy leaves; and this is because their leaves are of fleshy substance, as cypress taramisk apple, among under-shrubs kneoros and stoibe, and among herbaceous plants house-leek and hulwort. This plant is good against moth in clothes. For the leaves of beet and cabbage are fleshy in another way, as are those of the various plants called rue; for their fleshy character is seen in the flat instead of in the round. Among shrubby plants the tamarisk has fleshy leaves. Some again have reedy leaves, as date-palm doum-palm and such like.”

    III.XVI.4 “The arbutus, which produces the edible fruit called memaikylon, is not a very large tree; its bark is thin and like that of the tamarisk, the leaf is between that of the kermes-oak and that of the bay.”

    IV.V.7 “Some of these regions however have the plane in abundance, and others the elm and willow, others the tamarisk, such as the district of Mount Haemus. Wherefore such trees we must, as was said, take to be peculiar to their districts, whether they are wild or cultivated. However it might well be that the country should be able to produce some of these trees, if they were carefully cultivated: this we do in fact find to be the case with some plants, as with some animals.”

    IV.VI.7 “The ‘sea-oak’ and ‘sea-fir’ both belong to the shore; they grow on stones and oyster-shells, having no roots, but being attached to them like limpets. Both have more or less fleshy leaves; but the leaf of the ‘fir’ grows much longer and stouter, and is not unlike the pods of pulses, but is hollow inside and contains nothing in the ‘pods.’ That of the ‘oak’ is slender and more like the tamarisk; the colour of both* is purplish.” (*Am fairly sure this ‘both’ refers to the sea-oak and sea-fir, not to the sea-oak and tamarisk.)

    V.VI.8 “Moreover, the wood of the tamarisk is not weak there [Arabia], as it is in our country, but is as strong as kermes-oak or any other strong wood. Now this illustrates also the difference in properties caused by country and climate.”