Beiträge von M.C. Blumenthal


GIVENS

GIVENS   You ransack your head and heart for an idea, a thought worthy of the arrogance of being written down, a tune that lays claim, somehow, to the lyrical. Yet some days there is only the light patina of snow outside, the scent of coffee rising from your cup, the after‑tingle of someone you […]


BATTLES

BATTLES   „The willingness to do battle out of faith,“ Amoz Oz quotes a resident of the Israeli settlement of Ofra is his book The Land of Israel.  So that war, if it is justified at all, is justified on religious grounds, on the faith in a better politic, a more just social order, a […]


 THOSE WHO BELONG TOGETHER

THOSE WHO BELONG TOGETHER   „People need not be glued together when they belong together.“  These were the parting words of Sigmund Freud to Theodor Reik on their parting in Vienna. But they ought to be the words of all those who love each other on parting‑‑ of two beings so secure in their own […]


WORDS

WORDS   People tell you you have a way  with words, suggesting that words themselves are a sort of path, an entrance to something, a route. „Somewhere in the middle of my life I lost my way,“  reads the usual English translation of Dante, and it is precisely words he uses to rectify his loss, […]


CORNERS

CORNERS   We speak of „turning a corner“ as if life contained a geometry so precise, a landscape so clear, a series of hairpin turns so well defined, that we could shimmy willfully and easily along in it, moving from forest to mesa, prairie to desert, mountain to ocean. But‑‑ change being slow, laborious, painfully […]


SLEEPING TOGETHER

SLEEPING TOGETHER   We say that people „fuck“ or „make love“‑‑ more intimately, that they sleep together, though the latter doesn’t necessarily connote the sexual act. Yet somehow this sleeping together ‑‑  this engaging in the act of joined sleep, this shared journey into the unconscious‑‑ is the most intimate, the most bonding, act of […]


TOUCHED

TOUCHED   It occurs to me, working occasionally as a therapist as I do and attempting to honor the frequently simple‑minded „ethics“ of that profession (and of academic life as well), how unnatural‑‑ indeed, violative of natural human affinities‑‑ such ethics are, their perversity extending to the core of language itself. For is it any […]


THE DOGMA OF THE SELF

THE DOGMA OF THE SELF The worst dogma, the one which causes us the most personal pain, is the dogma of the fixed self‑‑ the I am so‑and‑so soliloquy that takes place between a person and his own self‑fixating nature. Denying our own natural flux, the daily and perpetual task of re‑making, we crave the […]


FEAR

FEAR What is fear, this thing that lives in the pit of the stomach and can find no home? We think of it, of course, as fear of the unexpected, the unpredictable, the unknown. And yet our greatest fears are quite to the contrary:  of the inevitable‑‑ death, separation, loss, loneliness, the splotched and sullied […]


LIVING POETICALLY

LIVING POETICALLY A friend speaks to me of the ability, perhaps the necessity, of „living poetically.“ I ask her what this means, this „living poetically,“ how it might differ from living decently, living judiciously, living passionately, living morally. It is, of course, a question to myself, whose own life seems more and more‑‑as if by […]


WHAT REMAINS BEHIND, WHAT MOVES AHEAD

WHAT REMAINS BEHIND, WHAT MOVES AHEAD   Youth, being still oblivious‑‑ at least, mostly‑‑ to the decline of the body, the upheavals and disappointments (as well as the rewards) of love, the repeated pain of separation, the ubiquitous dialectic of good and evil (what Wordsworth called „dialogues of business, love, or strife“ ), is wise, […]


ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FATIGUE AND WISDOM

ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FATIGUE AND WISDOM   You are sick‑‑ or just plain tired, ever slightly so. Perhaps a slightly off‑night of sleep, or the first vestiges of a cold. Yet there is something vaguely consoling about this, a sense of tranquility, desirelessness, a strange ability to suddenly focus. You find yourself  able, as […]


SOMETHING IS HAPPENING WITHOUT ME IN IT

„SOMETHING IS HAPPENING WITHOUT ME IN IT“   Who hasn’t felt it? Raged against it? Slapped his or her own body around like a rubber ball in the hope of, somehow, taming the world’s large and multifarious nic‑nacs into an orderly event at which the one body can somehow find itself in attendance? At first […]


TOUCHED

TOUCHED   It occurs to me, working occasionally as a therapist as I do and attempting to honor the frequently simple‑minded „ethics“ of that profession (and of academic life as well), how unnatural‑‑ indeed, violative of natural human affinities‑‑ such ethics are, their perversity extending to the core of language itself. For is it any […]


NOTHING IS FREE

NOTHING IS FREE   „Always pay; for first or last you must pay your entire debt.“ So Emerson, in his infinite wisdom, put it, and yet we persist in our deep, irreconcilable wish that we might yet find the thing that carries with it no cost, the gift that asks nothing of us. FREE!! cry out the […]


AUTHOR’S PREFACE

AUTHOR’S PREFACE               „How can I know what I feel until I’ve seen what I’ve said?“goes the famous quotation from E.M. Forster, or– as Theodore Roethke put it in a more affirmative mode– „I learn by going where I have to go.“ As one approaches forty (the first half of our earthly life, in […]


OF GOODNESS

OF GOODNESS   „And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.“  With these words, Chapter I of Genesis comes to a close, assuring us that the labors of God over the first six days of The Creation were of a quality taken so lightly in the present day that […]


Wings

Wings: Fortsetzung But let’s get back to the chicken wings, the apogee (were she to know of it) of my wife’s moral disapproval of the man she, in a long-ago fit of passion, romance and thin air, married. The chickens, as we all know, are tortured– raised and injected with hormones and antibiotics in cages so […]