All entries for Friday 14 May 2004

May 14, 2004

Wittgenstein on stalling and disengagement

Following from that… I randomly opened Philosophical Investigations at the point at which he says that language sometimes operates like an engine over-running in neutral (he was also a mechanic). At that point philosophy becomes necessary to bring it back into engagement. The standard reading would be that Wittgenstein sees the disengagement as detrimental. I'm not sure about that, as I haven't read enough. It could be that the free-play of language disengaged is in fact a good example of the moment in which duration is expressed, as Bergson described.

Note on 2 aspects of time

"These moments that are given are a gift from time".

The sense that the moment, as opposed to the event which is a different but complimentary aspect of time, is a stalling before irreversibility, before the event. These stallings are a key element of duration as Bergson described. What is the relationship of the two aspects?

Duration is essentially the 'continuation of what no longer exists into what does exist'. Ansell Pearson citing Bergson in Germinal Life, p. 34

The nature of that continuation is not as a deterministic sequence of states, but more like the debris of a previous condition the totality of which is lost in the transition and hence not traceable. The moment is determined by the past and the future, its relation to the event that disurpts it, by a qualitative loss, an untraceable and non-determinstic causation.

That Bergson's method of intuition claims to be ethical it is in its engagement with other durations as such stallings, indeterminacies facing irreversibility. But more, it is in opposition to the tracing of present states back to deterministic causal reifications. The state arrives through its loss, forgetting as Nietzsche claims, of the complex conditions out of which it emerged.

Writing early in the morning

I have just been listening to Desert Island Discs, with Sue Lawley interviewing the poet UA Fanthorpe. I've never read any of her works, having only a theoretical enthusiasm for songs without music. However, she said two things of interest. Firstly was an account of being knocked off her bike in Oxford and spending time in the JR Hospital, thus recieving my empathy vote. The second point was more significant. She described how she often gets up at 5am to start writing, and finds that the mixture of night thoughts and day thoughts can sometimes cause interesting and new ideas to emerge.

I also write best in the early morning.