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Saturday, June 26th, 2010

🦋 Crossover

In the interest of drawing connections between unrelated texts... This passage from "Unworthy":

La imagen que tenemos de la ciudad siempre es algo acrónica. El café ha degenerado en bar; el zaguán que nos dejaba entrever los patios y la parra es ahora un borroso corredor con un ascensor en el fondo. The image which one holds of one's city is always a little anacronistic. This café has deteriorated into a bar; that hallway, the one through which we could make out the patio and the garden, is now a faded corridor with an elevator at the far end.
deserves to be read in conjunction with this song:
(and well also, the song deserves to be listened to in conjunction with that passage -- they magnify one another, is what I mean.)

Another useful point of reference for this passage, and for this song, is the beginning of "The aleph":

La candente mañana de febrero en que Beatriz Viterbo murió ..., noté que las carteleras de fierro de la Plaza Constitución habían renovado no sé qué aviso de cigarrillos rubios; el hecho me dolió, pues comprendí que el incesante y vasto universo ya se apartaba de ella y que ese cambio era el primero de una serie infinita. On the hot February morning when Beatriz Viterbo died ..., I noticed that the iron billboards in Plaza Constitución had been cleared of their advertisement for blonde cigarettes (or whatever it had been)... The matter caused me some pain, when I understood that the vast, incessant universe was detaching itself from her memory; this change would be the first in an infinite series.

posted afternoon of June 26th, 2010: Respond
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Thursday, July first, 2010

🦋 Short Treatise

Estaba compilando, me dijo, una copiosa antología de la obra de Baruch Spinoza aligerada de todo ese aparato euclidiano que traba la lectura y que da la fantástica teoría un rigor ilusorio.Fischbein was putting together, as he told me, a collection of the work of Baruch Spinoza, shorn of this whole Euclidian business which hinders the reading experience and which lends the bizarre theory some rigor, some illusory rigor.
The first page of "Unworthy" has me scurrying to find out a little more about Spinoza, bizarre theories lent an illusory rigor by a Rube Goldberg Euclidian apparatus sounds like just my cuppa tea... I spend a little time looking at his Short Treatise on God, Man and Human Welfare and am finding it... strange. Not "difficult to parse," which has often been my experience reading philosophy, but just wrong-headed. Statements like "So since man has an idea of God it is clear that God must exist formally" have me scratching my head and wondering what Spinoza makes of unicorns and leprechauns, and flying spaghetti monsters... Statements like "Since Nothing can have no attributes, the All must have all attributes" have me shaking my head and muttering that that does not follow, all your capitalization and italics will not make it follow. All this head-scratching and head-shaking and muttering is making it hard to get anywhere with the text. (It was fun to find out, though, that I can nearly read Dutch -- if I squint just right and have the translation to hand -- I had never thought to look much at Dutch before but the description I've heard of it as being halfway between German and English seems just about right.)

Joseph B. Yesselman maintains a hypertext library of Spinoza's works translated into English. It seems like his Ethics and possibly Tractatus Theologico-Politicus are where I should look for Euclidean apparati.

posted morning of July first, 2010: Respond
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