The feelings that hurt most, the emotions that sting most, are those that are absurd: the longing for impossible things, precisely because they are impossible; nostalgia for what never was; the desire for what could have been; regret over not being someone else; dissatisfaction with the world’s existence. ~Fernando Pessoa

(Book: The Book of Disquiet  (Book: ‘Not to Be Reproduced’, 1937 by Rene Magritte)

Posted by Philo Thoughts

Fernando António Nogueira Pessoa was born in Portugal on the 13th of June in 1888. He died in November, on the 30th in 1935. He was a poet, writer, literary critic, translator, publisher, and philosopher. Although when it’s all said and done, many writers are all of those things with the exception of translator and publisher. His books are not only well written but fascinating, and I’m always surprised by the few serious readers who know of him. He should be better read and more widely appreciated. He wrote a great deal, and not only in his own name, but under “heteronyms” as he felt “pseudonyms” did not capture the personas of the writers. He often spoke to the many personalities or persons that each human contains and often wrote from a different person’s consciousness—making a distinction from point-of-view, or narrative persona.

Perhaps his best known work is The Book of Disquiet and it was published after his death from papers found in a trunk. He said, “I am, in large measure, the self-same prose I write.” And he writes of unanswerable questions—but the only ones worth pursuing.

And More

So here we go again…

More wars against humanity as we pull out of Syria. It just doesn’t stop.

This following paragraph has been changed to blue font to indicate that it has been edited for clarity after being published.

And I lose hope in ourselves as the impeachment enquiry continues. That is, I get the politics of it. If we move against for impeachment itself in the congress, we may get it—likely would—but then lose via an impeachment vote in the senate. We need to have an outrageous list of high crimes and misdemeanors for the senate (republican controlled) to contribute to an actual impeachment by their votes and then a vote to find him guilty. move against him. (He of the orange “caused by the new light bulbs.”) This is why, I believe, republicans push with new outrageous comments to drive dems to move too soon.

Meanwhile, I Write

And Read

With this photo and posting I finally figure out why I can’t see certain photos on my iPhoto site and delete at same time from phone. Either for that matter. Just another Duh. Because I’m looking for an action(s) that only takes place when I plug in my camera to the MacBook. I also discover that I’ve got so many irrelevant photos stored and have no idea how that came to be. And the last time I deleted photos from a device I had to go back and restore as they were not just on that device, but also on the computer, and both deleted. Just another price for ignorance, or the lack of attention.

About the photos, though. The On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous book by Ocean Vuong is just incredibly beautiful. It is impossible to read without a notebook nearby and so it is also taking a very long time to read. I believe I began at the beginning of October as it drags me along and into the mind of a culture and change from Vietnam to the U.S. It is a book of poetry written in prose form. The pain of belonging in a body and mind that do not fit into anything but joy and passion. He (the narrator and author?) struggles with emotions and life—from his mother to his lover and their lives in this world. The prose is short, compact, and powerful. A mere 242 pages, I wonder if I’ll ever finish this book, this story, this autobiography, this fiction of a novel.

The Weil Conjectures is much the same in the effects upon reader, though completely different in subject, or maybe not. As with all fine books, it is also a search for Truth. Karen Olsson writes of Simone Weil*—philosopher, social activist, and mystic—and her brother Andre’—mathematician—or mostly about their relationship, the effects upon one another and thusly upon Olsson. Of course as it is in such cases, it is more the effect of Andre’ upon Simone. This is another book of which I have attempted to keep the pages pristine, although I don’t know how long I will last before forgetting—so moved by a passage or the words that describe the coming together of a thought, as in “On Earth,” wherein that resolve was so quickly forgotten. And did I know that it was the Hindus who first used negative numbers? If I did, I had forgotten. (And I should have known because of Ramanujan & infinity.) More about imaginary numbers. Don’t we always think of Math and Science as being long secure and straight paths, moving along uncovering and describing themselves as they go? We hardly think of them as fraught with disbelief and arguments and ridicule as they make their way into our lives battered and worn from the battles.

It helps us to remember as we bemoan the absurdities of flat earthers and anti-climate changers, though they have been at it for way too long.

*Pronunciations: Simone—see-MAHN; Weil—vay

Happy Birthday

The Thinker Who Believed in Doing

William James and the philosophy of pragmatism

Born: January 11, 1842; Died: August 26, 1910

Philosophy Matters posted from

Here’s William James posed like some bohemian bad ass. Maybe he was, he certainly didn’t play by the rules. He was a famous procrastinator and an adored teacher (Harvard). His rambling lectures and topics that were not outlined excited thought and questions. None of the other professors took the same approach and resented his unorthodox behavior, especially since it generated a respected following. In his biography of James, Robert Richardson says, “William James was one of America’s great teachers.” William James in 1865

The Principles of Psychology, published in 1890, was praised in America and Europe both by academics and lay readers. Historian Jacques Barzun declared it a classic and likened it to Moby-Dick. This is the book that took James to the heights of fame. It was also a book that he promised the publisher would be completed in two years. He finished it 12 years later.

An early chapter of Psychology, “Habit,” was typical of his style: “There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision.” James makes the case for habit, calling it the “enormous fly-wheel of society,” and offers specific suggestions about how to make useful actions automatic: Make resolutions, publicize them, act on them, and persist. Proper habits acted upon and pursued become embedded in the brain. Automaticity diminishes fatigue and sets free “our higher powers of mind.” It makes daily life bearable and civilization flourish.

It was James who invented the phrase “stream of consciousness” to describe the workings of our minds. Our thinking is not orderly or logical but chaotic, our moods constantly and inexplicably shifting.

I’m sure that William would have been welcomed at any Bohemian gathering or Salon.

Oh God…

…another year. They just keep happening. (The Years)

Probably the most important news…dom…de…dom…dom…Dom! Yep. For real:

Dom Capers is out as Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator. According to Rob Demovsky of ESPN, the Packers have fired Capers after the team’s 35-11 loss to the Detroit Lions at to end the 2017 season. Demovsky also said there will be more changes on the defensive coaching staff. Oh, and the GM will be replaced also.

This is all rather like a Peaky Blinders war with the Italians. And, appearing in the staring role as Tommy: Aaron Rodgers!

And then, from 2017, the total and sum (Yes, I know) was pretty much captured in these cartoons from Philosophy Matters: