I Like the Way

I like the way a pen
placed over a book or paper.
It means an engagement,
a promise to come back.
I like the way a lamp flickers,
an effort to linger on before
an imminent departure.
I like the way a fish sleeps
eyes opened, submerged in dreams.
I like the way an old man lays dead,
waiting for a boat from another river.
I like the way night pitches it’s tent
over the sea, cleaving the light.
I like the way a tree leans against a pale sky
hearing it’s liquid ringing.
I like the way she looks back and smiles
suddenly thousand red caterpillars surround my heart.


A Litany of Dead Philosophers

Pythagoras allowed himself to be slaughtered rather than cross a field of beans;
Heraclitus suffocated in cow dung;
Plato allegedly died of a lice infestation;
Aristotle is reported to have killed himself with aconite;
Empedocles plunged into Mount Etna in the hope of becoming a god, but one of his bronze slippers was spat out by the flames in confirmation of his mortality;
Diogenes died by holding his breath; So did the great radical Zeno of Citium;
Zeno of Elea died heroically by biting a tyrant’s ear until he was stabbed to death;
Lucretius is alleged to have killed himself after being driven mad by taking a love potion;
Hypatia was killed by a mob of angry Christians and her skin was peeled off with oyster shells;
Boethius was cruelly tortured before being bludgeoned to death on the orders of the Ostrogoth king Theodoric;
John Scottus Eriugena, the great Irish philosopher, was allegedly stabbed to death by his English students;
Avicenna died of an opium overdose after engaging much too vigorously in sexual activity;
Aquinas died twenty-five miles from his birthplace;
Pico della Mirandola was poisoned by his secretary;
Siger of Brabant was stabbed by his;
William of Ockham died of the Black Death;
Thomas More was beheaded and his head was stuck on pike on London Bridge;
Giordano Bruno was gagged and burnt alive at the stake by the Inquisition;
Galileo narrowly escaped the same fate, but got away with life imprisonment;
Bacon died after stuffing a chicken with snow in the streets of London to assess the effects of refrigeration;
Descartes died of pneumonia as a consequence of giving early-morning tutorials in the Stockholm winter to the prodigious and cross-dressing Queen Christina of
Spinoza died in his rented rooms at The Hague while everyone else was at church;
Leibniz, discredited as an atheist and forgotten as a public figure, died alone and was buried at night with only one friend in attendance;
The handsome and brilliant John Toland died in such dire poverty in London that no marker was placed at his burial spot;
Berkeley, a fervent critic of Toland and other so-called “freethinkers,” died one Sunday evening on a visit to Oxford while his wife read him a sermon;
Montesquieu died in the arms of his lover, leaving unfinished an essay on taste;
The atheist, materialist La Mettrie died of indigestion caused by eating a huge amount of truffle päte;
Rousseau died of massive cerebral bleeding which was possibly caused by a violent collision with a Great Dane on the streets of Paris two years earlier;
Diderot choked to death on an apricot, presumably to show that pleasure could be had until the very last breath;
Condorcet was murdered by the Jacobins during the bloodiest years of the French Revolution;
Hume died peacefully in his bed after fending off the inquiries of Boswell as to the atheist’s attitude to death;
Kant’s last word was “Sufficit” “it is enough”;
Hegel died in a cholera epidemic and his last words were “Only one man ever understood me . . . and he didn’t understand me” (presumably he was referring to himself);
Bentham had himself stuffed and sits on public view in a glass box at UniversityCollege London in order to maximize the utility of his person; Max Stirner was stung on the neck by a flying insect and died of the resulting fever;
Kierkegaard’s gravestone rests against that of his father; Nietzsche made a long, soft-brained and dribbling descent into oblivion after kissing a horse in Turin;
Moritz Schlick was murdered by a disturbed student who went on to join the Nazi Party;
Wittgenstein died the day after his birthday, for which his friend Mrs. Bevan gave him an electric blanket saying “Many happy returns”; Wittgenstein replied, staring at her, “There will be no returns”;
Simone Weil ( I love her) starved herself to death for the sake of solidarity with occupied France in the Second World War;
Edith Stein died in Auschwitz;
Giovanni Gentile was executed by anti-Fascist Italian partisans;
Sartre said, “Death? I don’t think about it. It has no place in my life”; 50,000 people attended his funeral;
Merleau-Ponty was allegedly discovered dead in his office with his face in a book by Descartes;
Roland Barthes was hit by a dry cleaning van after a meeting with the future French minister for culture;
Freddie Ayer had a near-death experience where he reportedly met the masters of the universe after choking on a piece of salmon;
Gilles Deleuze defenestrated himself from his Paris apartment in order to escape the sufferings of emphysema;
Derrida died of pancreatic cancer at the same age as his father, who died of the same disease;
Dominique Janicaud died alone on a beach in August 2002 close to the foot of le chemin Nietzsche outside Nice in France after suffering a heart attack while swimming.
(Courtesy to Simon Critchley)

Change, Fall and Vertigo

“Will I be sick? Will I grow old? Will I die?” “Yes, one day you will.” Buddha was confronting that eerily evoking problem, the Change. Change, from health to sickness, youth to old, life to death. Deserting everything that changes one day he walked away, to meet the changeless, the Nirvana. He became the ultimate man of warning: “Don’t give your heart to anything that changes.”
Philosophy, science, religion, everything is a meditation on change or a search for something that doesn’t change. The Big Bang, the modern theory says that everything we see today is the result of a small bifurcation that happened to the primordial soup. We are all a disease that happened to that harmony. Heraclitus maybe the philosopher nearest to the ripples of change. He saw nothing that doesn’t change. He says “nothing is abiding, everything is in flux, in an eternal flow”
We all meet the Indigo hour of the day where we standstill watching hills die, portals of light extinguishes, love that seemed eternal becoming an aloof memory. Everything slip away from our hands; however, hard we try to make them eternal. We are left alone to hope that a new love may come along to revive our sense of eternity.
Yes, they all should change. Love, more than anything must change otherwise, it will become hatred. Anything that does not obey the laws of change is obscene. Look at the way beauty perishes, the way wrinkles creep in to where there had been that melting smiles. Nabakov gave this famous definition of beauty “Beauty plus pity-that is the closest we can get to a definition of art. Where there is beauty there is pity for the simple reason that beauty must die: beauty always dies, the manner dies with the matter; the world dies with the individual.”
We love flowers more than evergreens precisely because they do not last. But still, why changes? What is change?
Reading Rilke was one of the greatest fortunes in my life. His poems are full of lofty intonations of the past and promises of tomorrow. He would remind the reader that “the trees we planted in our childhood have grown too heavy for us to sustain” or “the things you did not love in your past is not yours.” He prays’
“Lord, it is time. This was a very big summer.
Lay your shadows over the sundial,
and let the winds loose on the fields. ”
I reach a simple answer with the help of Rilke, everything changes because everything falls, the leaves fall; the earth falls in loneliness, when the night comes the stars also falling from each other. Modern science is proving our thesis: the whole universe is falling to an abysmal darkness, more the distance between them faster the fall. Not only the universe, me and you are falling from each other to a far away land.
Will there be a hand beneath this falling universe collecting everything that falls?
When we think about fall, we are in vertigo! Vertigo can be defined as the fear of falling; a psychological problem of reputation composure according to Freud. It was masterfully depicted by Hitchcock in his movie ‘Vertigo’. But, the French writer Milan Kundera says, “Vertigo is something other than the fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us. It is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves.”
Beauty itself is a vertigo. That is what the Story of Narcissus proves. How long he might have looked at his own image reflected on that deep pool? Long enough to slip and drown. His love for his own image was so forceful that it made his legs weak;
“Brothers, sorrowful lilies, I languish in beauty,”
Writes Valery for Narcissus. The Ovid version mythology says that his life force was depleted. His soul became an empty vessel as it’s all love was flown to the image reflected on the water. The image and the water in turn did not give back to him anything. The water swept away all his images when he fell. The water doesn’t keep the trace of anything because it’s memory is fluid. Narcissus belongs to the most unfortunate category of lovers because he fell into a fluid memory.

Icarus fell for what he did not have. He did not look at his own image reflected on the water rather he looked at stars and birds; those flying wonders. His vertigo was not the emptiness within himself but the inadequacy that his body had. He pasted waxed wings to his body and began to fly. The more he aimed high the more sky retreated and the emptiness beneath thirsted for him. And the sun that cruel annihilator of dreams and ambitions melted away his wings. He fell deeply and abruptly. Brueghel was there to paint his falling. W.H. Auden, William Carlos Williams and many other poets wrote mournful poems. Among those my favorite is William Carlos Williams’ version;
Landscape with the fall of Icarus
According to Brueghel
when Icarus fell
it was spring

a farmer was ploughing
his field
the whole pageantry

of the year was
awake tingling

the edge of the sea
with itself

sweating in the sun
that melted
the wings’ wax

off the coast
there was

a splash quite unnoticed
this was
Icarus drowning
– Williams Carlos Williams

I like it’s delicately elegiac tone.