Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Last Days First Days

Thomas Kuhn wrote about paradigm shifts as periods in which shifts in culture occur as the result not of an inability to come up with the right answers, but a failure to ask the right questions.

Given the fractal nature of reality, perhaps we should understand overlapping paradigm shifts to account for a kind of biologic seething that forms the shape of a living culture. History is the study of the fossil remains of earlier shifts. And yet, as T.S. Eliot held in "Tradition and the Individual Talent," history as tradition remains part of the present shift, as it continues to exert its force upon the now. William Faulkner once remarked to Malcolm Cowley that his attempt in writing the Prologue to the fourth act of Requiem for a Nun ("The Jail: Not Yet Quite Relinquish") was to capture the sense that "the past was never really past." Hence, the prologue is two sentences long: the first sentence has perhaps thirty eight words; the second is perhaps forty five pages long . . .

This blog will be given over to random ruminations on the nature of reality, to aspects of our present culture--never really cut off from the past and never out of communication with any number of other presents (that are never really absent) that form what we call the "world." It will cover poetry (mostly past, some present), art, religion, culture, literature of the West, politics, philosophy, and current events. It will neither make sense of these things necessarily nor claim or declaim to exhaust them. The attempt here is to participate, to add, to fulminate, to make sense of, and to further.

My hope is that you will join me in a conversation that is actually productive. This sounds like a lot of naval gazing but that's not my inclination or nature. I won't burden readers of this blog with biographical material except as I see imperfectly that it participates in the larger epiphenomenon to which we are all subject--whether we acquiesce, surrender, or deny.

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