Sunday, June 14, 2009

out of it

path out of view

a quote from Lenin (source?):

"Thought proceeding from the concrete to the abstract . . . does not get away from the truth but comes closer to it. The abstraction of matter, of a law of nature, the abstraction of value, etc., in short all scientific (correct, serious, not absurd) abstractions reflect nature more deeply, truly and completely. From living perception to abstract thought, and from this to practice—such is the dialectical path of the cognition of truth, of the cognition of objective reality."

. . . isn't this what Williams means by "No ideas but in things."

The poet (or the typical modern poet anyway) proceeds from the particular to the general. Or back in a paradoxical loop: "proceeding from the concrete" leads not "away from the truth but comes closer to it." (Concrete=truth.) From perception to thought to action ("practice").

Emotions recollected in tranquility lead to the hand coursing across the page which leads the reader to experience those emotions in a cyclical recurrence.

Shakespeare's picture of it is ambiguous:

The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And, as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.

Are the "airy nothings" there before the poet's efforts have trained her eye to achieve a balanced state of conscious (fine) and unconscious (frenzy) perception which is intregrated and thereby strengthened enough to scope it:

do these ethereal Platonic abstractions pre-exist (and ergo post-exist) the poet's endowing of them with an inevitably-temporary "local habitation and name" . . .

Or does imagination, the poet's mind, body forth (create) everything the poet sees—but does the poet ever see, really . . . The poet glances, looks at everything around her, but does

she see anything but what her imagination projects outward in bodied unknown forms, things, phantoms which her pen then shapes and gives a concrete grounding to . . . The "forms" must be turned to "shapes."

Is this unknown airy nothing, in the words of Elizabeth Bishop,

. . . what we imagine knowledge to be:
dark, salt, clear, moving, utterly free . . .
. . . flowing and drawn, and since
our knowledge is historical, flowing, and flown.

The grounding of these Ideas in our fleshly intercourse of speech is mortal. Passing, not proceeding. Flowing flown.

The eye must eventually roll out of view, out of the picture.