I forego the greetings you know I feel, the sensations accompanying greetings that you have felt me holding in our mutual presence.
We are in love with stringing questions, answering one with another, a kind of intellectual Renga of inquiry, one in repsonse to a former and so on in perpetuity. The way up has been the way down for a long long time. I know that I cannot step into the same ocean twice, or is it a river–I prefer the ocean as a metaphor for the soul, the mind, memory, how it exists in me. If memory is an ocean, I cannot step into the same remembering twice, can I? Another question to unfold yet another series of questions, to question is just that examining Socrates
set up as the only way to live a life worth living, but then if life is worth living why would one consider suicide. One considers it when one believes life is no longer of value? Why the question? And yet another question follows yet another and another . . . all of this has been presented before, re-presented. Get it?
The unexamined life is the valueless life? I am wondering in earnest. Or is it the life with value unrealized?
Discourse as the goal of discoursing is not a new idea; Hamlet simply shows us the way in which each individual is to be engaged with his being, or not engaged with it (by it?). To stop all discoursing on being is not to be, for to be in the human sense is to think, as Descartes, a younger contemporary of our Great Dane asserts in his own version of to be, I think, therefore, I am. Hamlet’s “To Be” is a Cartesian remedy of the Socratic method, we could assert, but let’s return to Hamlet’s conditional infinitive.
One of the easiest ways to avoid answering a question, though, is with a response never intended to answer; or, quite simply to ask a question, and another question, and another and another, each creeping in its petty pace until the last syllable . . . most of us do not need or want an answer to our questions. We use them to unlearn, or dislearn. We often speak beside the point; speaking on the tangent, intersecting a point on the circle that is the topic. We know the difference between inside the circle and on the perimeter of the circle. All tangents extend for infinity. We spin our wheels spinning our wheels and the wind of our windmills is the breath we waste in asking, asking, asking.
I recall once having said somewhere in the course of an essay I had written that questions beget questions and so on perpetually. This has been so for millennia in human history. I have not assumed that to question is to find an answer, any more than I think Hamlet
is actually looking for an answer when he asks what Camus
assumes is the fundamental philosophical question. Hamlet’s discourse is to discourse in itself the end. To end it would be to stop speaking in the manner he had started to speak to himself. His is an interior monologue
as much as a soliloquy, which in the theater of his time and ours is an aside to the audience, quite different than our eaves dropping on his mind, don’t you think, or doesn’t your imagination wander this way. Follow me hence, and I will show you where I lead us.
Yet another letter to come,
Your Friend Always
- Questions and Answers (octoberrevue.org)
- Not in Our Stars (octoberrevue.org)