On depth

“I seek in the perceived world nuclei of meaning which are in-visible, but which simply are not invisible in the sense of the absolute negation […] but in the sense of the other dimensionality, as depth hollows itself out behind height and breadth, as time hollows itself out behind space”

-Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Visible and the Invisible

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On the musicality of matter and life

“Perhaps the figure of music offers a genuine alternative to both thing and idea, the emergence of rhythm and melody as something more than juxtaposed beats or notes while something less than an explicit thought, as a sense that invade the subject rather than being reducible to an object for it. The rhythm of the heart and the breath indicate the musicality of matter and life from which the mind emerges, and the relation of the lived melody to its virtual score may yet figure the relation between life and mind in an entirely new register, the register of expression rather than of signification. This is a suggestion to which Merleau-Ponty will return in his later writings, but which may already be suggested when he characterizes our relation with nature, in Phenomenology of Perception, as ‘singing the world’”

-Ted Toadvine, Merleau-Ponty’s Philosophy of Nature

On Being a Man

“I am a man. Now you may think I’ve made some kind of silly mistake about gender, or maybe that I’m trying to fool you, because my first name ends in a, and I own three bras, and I’ve been pregnant five times, and other things like that that you might have noticed, little details. But details don’t matter… I predate the invention of women by decades. Well, if you insist on pedantic accuracy, women have been invented several times in widely varying localities, but the inventors just didn’t know how to sell the product. Their distribution techniques were rudimentary and their market research was nil, and so of course the concept just didn’t get off the ground. Even with a genius behind it an invention has to find its market, and it seemed like for a long time the idea of women just didn’t make it to the bottom line. Models like the Austen and the Brontë were too complicated, and people just laughed at the Suffragette, and the Woolf was way too far ahead of its time.”

-Ursula Le Guin, The Wave in the Mind

On marriage

“Don’t give up. Never give up, and if you feel discouraged read Ariel by Sylvia Plath ­– it’s just pure electricity.” – Robert Montgomery

First, are you our sort of a person?
Do you wear
A glass eye, false teeth or a crutch,
A brace or a hook,
Rubber breasts or a rubber crotch,

Stitches to show something’s missing? No, no? Then
How can we give you a thing?
Stop crying.
Open your hand.
Empty? Empty. Here is a hand

To fill it and willing
To bring teacups and roll away headaches
And do whatever you tell it.
Will you marry it?
It is guaranteed

To thumb shut your eyes at the end
And dissolve of sorrow.
We make new stock from the salt.
I notice you are stark naked.
How about this suit——

Black and stiff, but not a bad fit.
Will you marry it?
It is waterproof, shatterproof, proof
Against fire and bombs through the roof.
Believe me, they’ll bury you in it.

Now your head, excuse me, is empty.
I have the ticket for that.
Come here, sweetie, out of the closet.
Well, what do you think of that?
Naked as paper to start

But in twenty-five years she’ll be silver,
In fifty, gold.
A living doll, everywhere you look.
It can sew, it can cook,
It can talk, talk, talk.

It works, there is nothing wrong with it.
You have a hole, it’s a poultice.
You have an eye, it’s an image.
My boy, it’s your last resort.
Will you marry it, marry it, marry it.

Sylvia Plath, “The Applicant”

On laughter and wine

“Freedom assumes its real, flesh and blood figure in the world by thickening into pleasure, into happiness. If the satisfaction of an old man drinking a glass of wine counts for nothing, the production and wealth are only hollow myths; they have meaning only if they are capable of being retrieved in individual and living joy. The saving of time and the conquest of leisure have no meaning if we are not moved by the laugh of a child at play. If we do not love life on our own account and through others, it is futile to seek to justify it in any way.”

Simone de Beauvoir, Ethics of Ambiguity

On the gestures of bodies

“The possibility of meaning . . . is the cacophony of the sound, the silence of the word, the materiality of the medium: the viscosity and smell and sheen of paint, the hardness of the stone, the gestures of bodies that do things our minds wonder at, in love and joy. It is the betrayal of the truth, the revelation of the impurity of truth, in joy and love.”

Stephen David Ross, “The Writing of the Birds, in my Language”