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My Tenacity on Sunday

My Tenacity on Sunday

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Published by davidwalters
Clinging tenaciously to Nothing on Sunday may do some good
Clinging tenaciously to Nothing on Sunday may do some good

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Published by: davidwalters on Jul 18, 2011
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06/17/2013

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THE SOUTH BEACH SUN
 
1 
MY TENACITY ON SUNDAY
By David Arthur WaltersI have been a Sunday patron of the Starbucks in the Marriot Hotel at South Pointe in MiamiBeach for five years, where I like to read some philosophy over my coffee before turning to theMiami Herald. I have been shortchanged there only once, and to this day I have said nothingabout it. Since then I have made sure to give only small bills to the cashier. Anyway, I got theshortchanged money back over time due to the discount given to regular customers. But lastSunday I was charged more for my coffee, and I received a smart remark when I asked if thediscount had been discontinued. I decided to switch to the small size cup in the future, and to nolonger read the paper. This Sunday, to make matters worse, I noted that the recent remodeling job had resulted in less seating indoors, and that the new arrangement was uncomfortable.³But never mind,´ I told myself, and buried my head in metaphysics as usual after extracting anessay on fixed beliefs by Charles Sanders Peirce from my bag. Last Sunday I had underlined hisstatement, ³When an ostrich buries its head in the sand as danger approaches, it very likely takesthe happiest course. It hides the danger; and, if it feels perfectly sure there is none, why should itraise its head to see?´You can say that again. Whenever I face the world I find it opposite, and the more I oppose it themore I am defined by it. But definition is death, for all finite things shall eventually pass away. Iwant to be indefinite and unconditioned. I want to be free, to live forever unimpeded bycircumstance. But then I would not exist. Ironically, that is the frightening prospect that plaguesme when I turn to the world, that it shall survive me in the final analysis, for no man is immortal.Is my urge for freedom a will to die? I want freedom, but freedom from what? Everything! Whatis the difference between freedom from everything and death?I would overpower my own end and place myself in a better place. I would not live in the nowlike a tomato, for my will urges me on, and I think, accordingly, that there is always a better end
 
THE SOUTH BEACH SUN
 
2 
than any here and now. Even the escape into the now, into the infinitesimal point that is the principle of the line, is a living flight to death, for any certain point apprehended ends thecontinuity. Anyway, one cannot have the now and leave the here behind.Metaphysical thinking is my retreat from physics, my escape from death. Fortunately, God doesnot have to think because God has nothing to fear. Still, Satan is welcomed by God becausewithout one God would be no good. The devil is definitely in the details; the devil corruptseverything definite, hence nothing is perfect. Of course metaphysics, or the useless course westudy after physics to discover first and final causes, may seem meaningless to the pragmatistwho cares not why things are practical. But that meaninglessness is meaningful to me. We maydesperately want a meaningful life; to say that life has meaning means it has an ultimate purpose.But then it ends ± could that give it meaning? Is clinging to life, the unmitigated pursuit of everything wanted, and the denial of death; is that the summum bonum? Or is the highest valuein embracing the finality of it all, and consequently freeing oneself of desire and passion, of dying before one is dead, of committing virtual suicide? If so, let us contemplate the finality, andenjoy the Good Death, the dying in advance of death, the so-called ascetic life.I can understand why philosophers have said that death is their main subject, for that is the endof life, a fact that no one has experienced and lived to tell about. When I think about death I havetranscended my own end, put myself beyond my own end. We usually wake up after sleep, sonatural death seemed unnatural to our early ancestors. Death is a mystery. Some malevolentspirit killed the person, the ancients reasoned from experience. Or the soul of that person hasgone to a better place. Nothing is perfect; there is always a better place, and that may be utopia,or no place; i.e. Nothing.Beyond the Good Death is the Beyond, the Better Place extolled by funereal preachers. Since nodead person has experienced being dead, that perfect place, where Being is so general thatnothing can be known about it, might be called the State of Nothing or Nothing Limited - butnothing cannot be limited for every limit is a defect, and Nothing is perfect, The reader whocannot define God and does not have faith in something may have faith in Nothing, andrecognize that faith as the truest faith. By Nothing I do not mean nothingness as if that were athing, but I speak of not this thing or that thing or any other thing for that matter, for none of thatwill save anyone.Certainly the tolerant philosopher and logician Charles Sanders Peirce would not deny me the pleasure of having faith in Nothing because I believe Nothing is perfect and permanent, and thuscling every so tenaciously to what may appear to others as nothing at all or nothingness insteadof Nothing. After all, Peirce did not derogate the tenacity of the jaws of authority zlthough hechampioned the superiority of the scientific method over individual tenacity and social authority."I admire the method of tenacity for its strength, simplicity, and directness. Men who pursue itare distinguished for their decision and character.... They do not waste time in trying to make uptheir minds.... This is one of the splendid qualities which generally accompany brilliant, un-lasting success. It is impossible not to envy the man who can dismiss reason, although we knowhow it must turn out at last." Furthermore, he would not blame me for my tenacity, for heobserved that, "The instinctive dislike of an undecided state of mind, exaggerated into a vague

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