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Thread: A challenge to all you Ns out there!

  1. #51
    Member Array Talisyn's Avatar
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    May 2010


    I settled into the canvas chair feeling the rough fabric tear at my legs. The sun was hanging low in the sky over the San Andres Mountains and a cool breeze wafted through the pine trees. Each needle shook gently as the wind swept through it creating a slight whistle before it reached me. I breathed in deeply smelling the sharp pine scent left of the breeze. I sunk deeper into my chair the back chaffing against my bare shoulder blades. My eyes wandered over the horizon- Yellows and oranges blending into pinks and then purple against the dark mountain silhouette. I reached up to stop my hair from fluttering across my face, and tried to swat at a fly that was alternating between buzzing near my hear and walking down my arm, brushing against me lightly. I leaned back and closed my eyes, a warm light illuminating the insides of my eyelids. Another deep breath: cresote, & dirt, the comforting smell of home. A child at the nieghbors screeches as there is the bang of his ball against its hoop. A horse whinnies, excited about dinner I assume. I stand up: my bottom is numb. My dog gets up when I do, a cloud of dust arising from where she was laying.

    This was kinda difficult in a way: Not that I don't normally observe these things, because I do, but it was difficult to put words to them separably, because I soak in the experience in a very general way.. also, all of these things relate to some past experience to me and more than like I wanted to get caught up in the memory the senses evoked, retreating into my mind, and the emotions it evoked.

    *Sooo not my best writing! lol
    I want to be alive To all the life that is in me now, to know each moment to the uttermost.
    (Khalil Gibran from Mary Haskell's Journal June 7, 1912.)

    "I'd rather die than live without Mercy and Love" - House of Heroes, Code Name Raven

    "I write/Slowly at first/Then the words come quicker/Slow in comparison/To my rapid thoughts/I fall silent/In awe of love"

  2. #52
    psicobolche Array tcda's Avatar
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    Nov 2009


    I don't think you can seperate ideas and material reality. I'm reminded by this thread of the socialistJack London on metaphysics (From The Iron Heel):

    Ernest's manner changed on the instant. He became another man.

    `All right, then,' he answered; `and let me begin by saying that you are all mistaken. You know nothing, and worse than nothing, about the working class. Your sociology is as vicious and worthless as is your method of thinking.'

    It was not so much what he said as how he said it. I roused at the first sound of his voice. It was as bold as his eyes. It was a clarion-call that thrilled me. And the whole table was aroused, shaken alive from monotony and drowsiness.

    `What is so dreadfully vicious and worthless in our method of thinking, young man?' Dr. Hammerfield demanded, and already there was something unpleasant in his voice and manner of utterance.

    `You are metaphysicians. You can prove anything by metaphysics; and having done so, every metaphysician can prove every other metaphysician wrong--to his own satisfaction. You are anarchists in the realm of thought. And you are mad cosmos-makers. Each of you dwells in a cosmos of his own making, created out of his own fancies and desires. You do not know the real world in which you live, and your thinking has no place in the real world except in so far as it is phenomena of mental aberration.

    `Do you know what I was reminded of as I sat at table and listened to you talk and talk? You reminded me for all the world of the scholastics of the Middle Ages who gravely and learnedly debated the absorbing question of how many angels could dance on the point of a needle. Why, my dear sirs, you are as remote from the intellectual life of the twentieth century as an Indian medicine-man making incantation in the primeval forest ten thousand years ago.'

    As Ernest talked he seemed in a fine passion; his face glowed, his eyes snapped and flashed, and his chin and jaw were eloquent with aggressiveness. But it was only a way he had. It always aroused people. His smashing, sledge-hammer manner of attack invariably made them forget themselves. And they were forgetting themselves now. Bishop Morehouse was leaning forward and listening intently. Exasperation and anger were flushing the face of Dr. Hammerfield. And others were exasperated, too, and some were smiling in an amused and superior way. As for myself, I found it most enjoyable. I glanced at father, and I was afraid he was going to giggle at the effect of this human bombshell he had been guilty of launching amongst us.

    `Your terms are rather vague,' Dr. Hammerfield interrupted. `Just precisely what do you mean when you call us metaphysicians?'

    `I call you metaphysicians because you reason metaphysically,' Ernest went on. `Your method of reasoning is the opposite to that of science. There is no validity to your conclusions. You can prove everything and nothing, and no two of you can agree upon anything. Each of you goes into his own consciousness to explain himself and the universe. As well may you lift yourselves by your own bootstraps as to explain consciousness by consciousness.'

    `I do not understand,' Bishop Morehouse said. `It seems to me that all things of the mind are metaphysical. That most exact and convincing of all sciences, mathematics, is sheerly metaphysical. Each and every thought-process of the scientific reasoner is metaphysical. Surely you will agree with me?'

    `As you say, you do not understand,' Ernest replied. `The metaphysician reasons deductively out of his own subjectivity. The scientist reasons inductively from the facts of experience. The metaphysician reasons from theory to facts, the scientist reasons from facts to theory. The metaphysician explains the universe by himself, the scientist explains himself by the universe.'

    `Thank God we are not scientists,' Dr. Hammerfield murmured complacently.

    `What are you then?' Ernest demanded.


    `There you go,' Ernest laughed. `You have left the real and solid earth and are up in the air with a word for a flying machine. Pray come down to earth and tell me precisely what you do mean by philosophy.'

    `Philosophy is--' (Dr. Hammerfield paused and cleared his throat) `something that cannot be defined comprehensively except to such minds and temperaments as are philosophical. The narrow scientist with his nose in a test-tube cannot understand philosophy.'

    Ernest ignored the thrust. It was always his way to turn the point back upon an opponent, and he did it now, with a beaming brotherliness of face and utterance.

    `Then you will undoubtedly understand the definition I shall now make of philosophy. But before I make it, I shall challenge you to point out error in it or to remain a silent metaphysician. Philosophy is merely the widest science of all. Its reasoning method is the same as that of any particular science and of all particular sciences. And by that same method of reasoning, the inductive method, philosophy fuses all particular sciences into one great science. As Spencer says, the data of any particular science are partially unified knowledge. Philosophy unifies the knowledge that is contributed by all the sciences. Philosophy is the science of science, the master science, if you please. How do you like my definition?'

    `Very creditable, very creditable,' Dr. Hammerfield muttered lamely.

    But Ernest was merciless.

    `Remember,' he warned, `my definition is fatal to metaphysics. If you do not now point out a flaw in my definition, you are disqualified later on from advancing metaphysical arguments. You must go through life seeking that flaw and remaining metaphysically silent until you have found it.'

    Ernest waited. The silence was painful. Dr. Hammerfield was pained. He was also puzzled. Ernest's sledge-hammer attack disconcerted him. He was not used to the simple and direct method of controversy. He looked appealingly around the table, but no one answered for him. I caught father grinning into his napkin.

    `There is another way of disqualifying the metaphysicians,' Ernest said, when he had rendered Dr. Hammerfield's discomfiture complete. `Judge them by their works. What have they done for mankind beyond the spinning of airy fancies and the mistaking of their own shadows for gods? They have added to the gayety of mankind, I grant; but what tangible good have they wrought for mankind? They philosophized, if you will pardon my misuse of the word, about the heart as the seat of the emotions, while the scientists were formulating the circulation of the blood. They declaimed about famine and pestilence as being scourges of God, while the scientists were building granaries and draining cities. They builded gods in their own shapes and out of their own desires, while the scientists were building roads and bridges. They were describing the earth as the centre of the universe, while the scientists were discovering America and probing space for the stars and the laws of the stars. In short, the metaphysicians have done nothing, absolutely nothing, for mankind. Step by step, before the advance of science, they have been driven back. As fast as the ascertained facts of science have overthrown their subjective explanations of things, they have made new subjective explanations of things, including explanations of the latest ascertained facts. And this, I doubt not, they will go on doing to the end of time. Gentlemen, a metaphysician is a medicine man. The difference between you and the Eskimo who makes a fur-clad blubber-eating god is merely a difference of several thousand years of ascertained facts. That is all.'

    `Yet the thought of Aristotle ruled Europe for twelve centuries,' Dr. Ballingford announced pompously. `And Aristotle was a metaphysician.'

    Dr. Ballingford glanced around the table and was rewarded by nods and smiles of approval.

    `Your illustration is most unfortunate,' Ernest replied. `You refer to a very dark period in human history. In fact, we call that period the Dark Ages. A period wherein science was raped by the metaphysicians, wherein physics became a search for the Philosopher's Stone, wherein chemistry became alchemy, and astronomy became astrology. Sorry the domination of Aristotle's thought!'

    Dr. Ballingford looked pained, then he brightened up and said:

    `Granted this horrible picture you have drawn, yet you must confess that metaphysics was inherently potent in so far as it drew humanity out of this dark period and on into the illumination of the succeeding centuries.'

    `Metaphysics had nothing to do with it,' Ernest retorted.

    `What?' Dr. Hammerfield cried. `It was not the thinking and the speculation that led to the voyages of discovery?'

    `Ah, my dear sir,' Ernest smiled, `I thought you were disqualified. You have not yet picked out the flaw in my definition of philosophy. You are now on an unsubstantial basis. But it is the way of the metaphysicians, and I forgive you. No, I repeat, metaphysics had nothing to do with it. Bread and butter, silks and jewels, dollars and cents, and, incidentally, the closing up of the overland trade-routes to India, were the things that caused the voyages of discovery. With the fall of Constantinople, in 1453, the Turks blocked the way of the caravans to India. The traders of Europe had to find another route. Here was the original cause for the voyages of discovery. Columbus sailed to find a new route to the Indies. It is so stated in all the history books. Incidentally, new facts were learned about the nature, size, and form of the earth, and the Ptolemaic system went glimmering.'

    Dr. Hammerfield snorted.

    `You do not agree with me?' Ernest queried. `Then wherein am I wrong?'

    `I can only reaffirm my position,' Dr. Hammerfield retorted tartly. `It is too long a story to enter into now.'

    `No story is too long for the scientist,' Ernest said sweetly. `That is why the scientist gets to places. That is why he got to America.'

    I shall not describe the whole evening, though it is a joy to me to recall every moment, every detail, of those first hours of my coming to know Ernest Everhard.

    Battle royal raged, and the ministers grew red-faced and excited, especially at the moments when Ernest called them romantic philosophers, shadow-projectors, and similar things. And always he checked them back to facts. `The fact, man, the irrefragable fact!' he would proclaim triumphantly, when he had brought one of them a cropper. He bristled with facts. He tripped them up with facts, ambuscaded them with facts, bombarded them with broadsides of facts.

    `You seem to worship at the shrine of fact,' Dr. Hammerfield taunted him.

    `There is no God but Fact, and Mr. Everhard is its prophet,' Dr. Ballingford paraphrased.

    Ernest smilingly acquiesced.

    `I'm like the man from Texas,' he said. And, on being solicited, he explained. `You see, the man from Missouri always says, `You've got to show me.' But the man from Texas says, `You've got to put it in my hand.' From which it is apparent that he is no metaphysician.'

    Another time, when Ernest had just said that the metaphysical philosophers could never stand the test of truth, Dr. Hammerfield suddenly demanded:

    `What is the test of truth, young man? Will you kindly explain what has so long puzzled wiser heads than yours?'

    `Certainly,' Ernest answered. His cocksureness irritated them. `The wise heads have puzzled so sorely over truth because they went up into the air after it. Had they remained on the solid earth, they would have found it easily enough--ay, they would have found that they themselves were precisely testing truth with every practical act and thought of their lives.'

    `The test, the test,' Dr. Hammerfield repeated impatiently. `Never mind the preamble. Give us that which we have sought so long--the test of truth. Give it us, and we will be as gods.'

    There was an impolite and sneering scepticism in his words and manner that secretly pleased most of them at the table, though it seemed to bother Bishop Morehouse.

    `Dr. Jordan9 has stated it very clearly,' Ernest said. `His test of truth is: "Will it work? Will you trust your life to it?"'

    `Pish!' Dr. Hammerfield sneered. `You have not taken Bishop Berkeley10 into account. He has never been answered.'

    `The noblest metaphysician of them all,' Ernest laughed. `But your example is unfortunate. As Berkeley himself attested, his metaphysics didn't work.'

    Dr. Hammerfield was angry, righteously angry. It was as though he had caught Ernest in a theft or a lie.

    `Young man,' he trumpeted, `that statement is on a par with all you have uttered to-night. It is a base and unwarranted assumption.'

    `I am quite crushed,' Ernest murmured meekly. `Only I don't know what hit me. You'll have to put it in my hand, Doctor.'

    `I will, I will,' Dr. Hammerfield spluttered. `How do you know? You do not know that Bishop Berkeley attested that his metaphysics did not work. You have no proof. Young man, they have always worked.'

    `I take it as proof that Berkeley's metaphysics did not work, because--' Ernest paused calmly for a moment. `Because Berkeley made an invariable practice of going through doors instead of walls. Because he trusted his life to solid bread and butter and roast beef. Because he shaved himself with a razor that worked when it removed the hair from his face.'

    `But those are actual things!' Dr. Hammerfield cried. `Metaphysics is of the mind.'

    `And they work--in the mind?' Ernest queried softly.

    The other nodded.

    `And even a multitude of angels can dance on the point of a needle--in the mind,' Ernest went on reflectively. `And a blubber-eating, fur-clad god can exist and work--in the mind; and there are no proofs to the contrary--in the mind. I suppose, Doctor, you live in the mind?'

    `My mind to me a kingdom is,' was the answer.

    `That's another way of saying that you live up in the air. But you come back to earth at meal-time, I am sure, or when an earthquake happens along. Or, tell me, Doctor, do you have no apprehension in an earthquake that that incorporeal body of yours will be hit by an immaterial brick?'

    Instantly, and quite unconsciously, Dr. Hammerfield's hand shot up to his head, where a scar disappeared under the hair. It happened that Ernest had blundered on an apposite illustration. Dr. Hammerfield had been nearly killed in the Great Earthquake11 by a falling chimney. Everybody broke out into roars of laughter.

    `Well?' Ernest asked, when the merriment had subsided. `Proofs to the contrary?'

    And in the silence he asked again, `Well?' Then he added, `Still well, but not so well, that argument of yours.'

    But Dr. Hammerfield was temporarily crushed, and the battle raged on in new directions. On point after point, Ernest challenged the ministers. When they affirmed that they knew the working class, he told them fundamental truths about the working class that they did not know, and challenged them for disproofs. He gave them facts, always facts, checked their excursions into the air, and brought them back to the solid earth and its facts.

    How the scene comes back to me! I can hear him now, with that war-note in his voice, flaying them with his facts, each fact a lash that stung and stung again. And he was merciless. He took no quarter,12 and gave none. I can never forget the flaying he gave them at the end:

    `You have repeatedly confessed to-night, by direct avowal or ignorant statement, that you do not know the working class. But you are not to be blamed for this. How can you know anything about the working class? You do not live in the same locality with the working class. You herd with the capitalist class in another locality. And why not? It is the capitalist class that pays you, that feeds you, that puts the very clothes on your backs that you are wearing to-night. And in return you preach to your employers the brands of metaphysics that are especially acceptable to them; and the especially acceptable brands are acceptable because they do not menace the established order of society.'

    Here there was a stir of dissent around the table.

    `Oh, I am not challenging your sincerity,' Ernest continued. `You are sincere. You preach what you believe. There lies your strength and your value--to the capitalist class. But should you change your belief to something that menaces the established order, your preaching would be unacceptable to your employers, and you would be discharged. Every little while some one or another of you is so discharged.13 Am I not right?'

    This time there was no dissent. They sat dumbly acquiescent, with the exception of Dr. Hammerfield, who said:

    `It is when their thinking is wrong that they are asked to resign.'

    `Which is another way of saying when their thinking is unacceptable,' Ernest answered, and then went on. `So I say to you, go ahead and preach and earn your pay, but for goodness' sake leave the working class alone. You belong in the enemy's camp. You have nothing in common with the working class. Your hands are soft with the work others have performed for you. Your stomachs are round with the plenitude of eating.' (Here Dr. Ballingford winced, and every eye glanced at his prodigious girth. It was said he had not seen his own feet in years.) `And your minds are filled with doctrines that are buttresses of the established order. You are as much mercenaries (sincere mercenaries, I grant) as were the men of the Swiss Guard.14 Be true to your salt and your hire; guard, with your preaching, the interests of your employers; but do not come down to the working class and serve as false leaders. You cannot honestly be in the two camps at once. The working class has done without you. Believe me, the working class will continue to do without you. And, furthermore, the working class can do better without you than with you.'
    "Of course we spent our money in the good times. That's what you're supposed to do in good times! You can't save money in the good times. Then they wouldn't be good times, they'd be 'preparation for the bad times' times."

    "Every country in the world owes money. Everyone. So heere's what I dont get: who do they all owe it to, and why don't we just kill the bastard and relax?"

    -Tommy Tiernan, Irish comedian.

  3. #53


    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmail! View Post
    Wherever I see a plane crossing the skies of Paris, I do not see the trail of air cutting through the firmament, I see Brazil, other continents, other friends.
    Just like me, incredible. I didn't meet many people who'd share this vision.

  4. #54
    Energizer Bunny Array Resonance's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010


    This iced coffee is light brown with white whipping cream on the top. It's in a plastic container with the Second Cup logo on it. Some of the whipping cream is stuck to the sides. About 1/3 of the drink remains, though it is probably mostly crushed ice underneath the whipping cream. It tastes very sweet and bitter. It's cold. It leaves a sour aftertaste, like all coffee does.

    This is exhausting. I'm done.
    The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it, but the way those atoms are put together. ~ rCoxI ~ INfj ~ 5w6 so/sp

  5. #55
    Active Member Array Poki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008


    I was driving down the road watching the cars, how beautiful the day was, how green the grass and trees looked. Parked, got out of my car and the beautiful day turned into swealtering heat, fumes of exhaust, people yelling at each other. So I got back in my car and enjoyed the beauty of everything around me wondering why anyone wants to be stuck inside their house on a day as nice as today.
    Take what I say with a grain of salt, because that's all it is compared to the ocean of complexity when it comes to actions and real life.

  6. #56
    No Array Thalassa's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    6w7 sx
    SEE Fi


    I kept an entire live journal for a couple of years that was entirely sensory descriptions. I did one of those MBTI readings on it and it came up ISFP.

    That's because I'm not really an intuitive.
    "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." - Edward Abbey

    SEE-Fi /Gamma

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