Saturday, February 14, 2015

OPM 357(367), February 14th (2015) Meditation, Being and Learning, pp. 391-392



"To great writers," Walter Benjamin once wrote, "finished works weigh lighter than those fragments on which they labor their entire lives."



Fifty Years Ago this month of February, John Coltrane released A Love Supreme, and this is precisely what I’ll be writing/thinking along with on this final day of 2.0!  John Coltrane le saxophonist!


A Love Supreme is made through the following performances:

“A Love Supreme Part 1: Acknowledgement”

“A Love Supreme Part 2: Resolution”
“A Love Supreme Part 3: Pursuance”

“A Love Supreme Part 4: Psalm”

The music was made by Coltrane’s classic quartet

John Coltrane (leader): vocals and tenor sax
Jimmy Garrison – contra bass
Elvin Jones – drums
McCoy Tyner - piano

[--I have found a publicly shared file that has both the recordings that were released on the original album in February 1965, as some live performances of the music from Paris.  The music was recorded on December 9, 1964 in Rudy Van Gelder’s studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey [another testament that great things do indeed happen in New Jersey!], and the composition was written by Coltrane in his home in Dix Hill, New York [another testament that great things can indeed happen on Long Island!].   

“A Love Supreme Part 2: Resolution”…might be the principal hymn of 2.0
  
First, in order to recollect myself viscerally with the very first steps I want to begin by retyping the first paragraph of the original piece of writing that got this project originally underway, back in Fall 2003, and then the abstract for that paper “Tune In, Turn On, Let Learning Happen”:

In the sixth book of the Republic Plato describes the philosopher as the real lover of learning (Rep 485)  In book seven, he argues that every human soul is capable of learning how to contemplate Being.  Thus, the real lover of learning is the learner who desires to behold Being.  In the seventh book he says ‘Just as one might have to turn the whole body around in order that the eye should see light instead of darkness, so the entire soul must be turned away from the world of becoming until it is able to endure the sight of being and the most brilliant light of being; that supreme splendor which we have called the Good’(Rep 518-519)  Further along, in book seven, he identifies authentic education as an art of circumturning or conversion, an art that turns us toward the Good.  Education is not an art of putting sight into the eye that can already see, but one of turning the eye towards the proper gaze of Being.  ‘That’s what must be managed!’ Plato insists.

Before moving on to retyping the Abstract to the paper that got it all underway for me, I have to note that from the very beginning, the first step, there is a syncretic exegetical/eisegetical methodology put into play, one that forces the text to move in a particular way.   This is what post-apathetic reading yields:  a conversion of the text in order to establish the possibility of a conversation with the text, that is, with the author.  The reader must force the text to turn around so that we can hear the voice of the author, and so that the author can hear our voice, which is to say, our questions, that will push further life into the text, and thereby re-call the voice of the author, the thinking, the writer.  This is what our writing, our poetic phenomenological writing makes happen.   ‘That’s what must be managed!’

The Abstract for the paper, which is also the first paragraph in Being and Learning:

In what follows I offer an account of teaching as the art of turning on the desire to behold Being.  This account rests on a particular understanding of contemplation, and, what’s more, an account of Being itself.  I depart from the traditional reading of Being as Plato’s Good existing in another heavenly realm, and (re)read Being through a deconstruction of Aristotle, and describe it as the permanence of presencing.  Once established, contemplation is then described as a matter of attunement, of being in touch with what appears before us.  The next step offers a reading of what Plato identifies as our power of learning as the capacity to respond to Being, as our capacity to attend to the matter that stands before us, or, in Arendtian terms, to love the world.  Once I have shown why we are always potential lovers of learning, I can then describe teacher as a matter of activating this latent passion to attend to what appears before us, namely: the excess of Being. I name this attunement poetic dialogue.


And, finally, the epigram for the version of the paper when it was presented a second time in Madrid, in August, 2004, during that trip when I saw Jacques Derrida onstage with Ornette Coleman…that is I heard Derrida recount the calamity of his attempt to join Ornette on stage during a performance in Paris.  Here’s the epigram:

The mythos is that appeal of foremost and radical concern to all human beings which makes man think of what appears, what is in being.
                  Heidegger, What is Called Thinking?

And, now, without commentary, here are the FINAL SENTENCES I am going to distill from the meditations that were originally written between February 2004 and February 2005, which were edited and published in 2012 as Being and Learning, and that have been revisited each day this past year, for 367 consecutive days, in one way or another!  

1.    “The dialogic relation between Being and learning unfolds as the poetics of human existence.”(BL 391)

* “[the] being of hu-man…(re)presentation of the Way of Nature…Life itself that (re)produced the dynamic becoming…improvisational making…”(BL 391)

1.1“Lao Tzu suggested to us that the hallmark of the sage is spontaneity.”(BL 391)
1.2 “The ‘hallmark’ of the teacher, the sage, is the distinguishing characteristic of the modality of one moving in the Open, guiding others through the boundless boundary.”(BL 391)
1.3 The hallmark of the sage “is exemplified by Socrates, who stands ‘in the draft,’ perplexed, with the wisdom [σοφια] of the one who ‘knows’ that he ‘knows no-thing at all.’”(BL 391)
1.4 “This ‘no-thing’ [the sage] ‘knows’ is the silence of the emptiness of steadfast openness…that remains ready to receive the contra-diction with the difference that is made in the artwork of learning.”(BL 391)
2.    The sage ‘teaches’ via “(re)collection…by (re)calling (announcing) the originary dispensation [ceaseless nativity] of Being’s becoming with the questioning: ‘Freedom for what? How is it with the No-thing?”(BL 391)
3.    The sage ‘teaches’ through the questioning that “(re)calls and turn around, again and again, to the futural, to the ineffable ‘not yet’ said that ex-ceeds and remains, still to come in the ceaseless nativity, the ongoing liberation…”(BL 391)
4.    The sage “remains most teachable insofar as [he] resides, or ‘lives,’ at or near the beginning, in the nearness of Being, attuned to learning as it unfolds with [his] students who [he] affirms as learners, moving with them in the dialogue [he] initiates, again and again, with the invocation that poetically says, ‘I would like to say something about my beginnings – in which I am still, because I always am in the beginning, as you.”

·      “…(re)calling of the originary hallmark…the welcoming gift of compassionate listening that makes ready the arrival of the novel by downbeating the groove that clears the en-opening for the improvisational performance that brings forth the new.”(BL 392, (re)typed exactly at the moment when Jimmy Garrison was laying down the beginning of the alternative take of “Resolution”)
·      The sage, with his downbeating setting of the groove enacts “the readiness of the life-stance that receives the learner as the worker of art, maker of difference…”(BL 392)
·      “…teaching, the affirmation of originality brought forth by each learner be-ing in/with Being.”(BL 392)

[-- marginal note written at the bottom of final page 618, on 4/10/07: “nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile”--]

I will conclude 2.0 with a set of fragments, and thereby, in the spirit of originary thinking, conclude by way of gesturing towards the not yet said, which has always already been heard

·      Being…
·      Being…that supreme splendor…
·      Being….that supreme splendor…A Love Supreme…
·      Being….that supreme splendor…A Love Supreme…
Being….that supreme splendor…A Love Supreme… making its eternally recurring offering…
·      A Love Supreme… ceaseless nativity….becoming 
·      …when we are beheld by Being, by that Love Supreme, we hear the call to Make Music!..
·      Make Music! How do we respond?
·     


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