Monday, January 21, 2008

Fear in the Face of Death is the Best Sign of a False Life

World War I tethered Wittgenstein's perspective to an ethical pivot, an elliptical center that moved between mysticism and logic, religious revelation to scoured insight. For instance, he explores both determinism and free will within the same domain when he corrects his statement ""I am completely powerless" to the form which later appeared in Tracatus, "The world is independent of my will." The L A N G U A G E poets argue for an honest portrayal of the opacity in language by creating a poem with an esoteric and opaque meaning, though the "language" used be a transparent symbol of that opacity. This movement derives from the public perspective and public involvement in the wars of the twentieth centuries. Yet, positioning this contemporary perspective, "like an eye in its visual field" of world events proves difficult. The problem with L A N G U A G E poets is that they position themselves in the untenable position of absolute knowldege. They argue from a school of "resentment" that chastises the lack of transparency in the world, in language, in meaning. Yet, this arguement derives from an initial assumption that language should be transparent, that one should not have to search for meaning, but have it available, an ominpresent transcendental signifier which T.V. should have represented. Surely, the degree of misinformation in today's media and advertising blitzkrieg vacates a role of accountability and distracts one's eye from the certainty of where that accountability lies; accountability proves an absent office of authority which ranges from the non-transparencies of the mechanisms at work in our daily lives to the revolving wheel of justice on display on television - the occasional crime caught on tape to reassure the systems are working properly. Yet before L A N G U A G E poetry submerged itself in the methods of meaning, I wonder what the precepts for meaning initially were. I despise this question, but it is universal:

What do i know about god and the purpose of life?

But Wittgenstein continues:

I know that this world exists.

Wittgenstein excludes absolute knowledge of the God's existence. Though he doesn't question life, he excludes it.

That I am placed in it like my eye in its visual field.

That something about it is problematic, which we call its meaning.

That this meaning does not lie in it but outside it.

Ok. Ok. I prefer the view of Wittgenstein as poet above anything else. He's certainly abstract, yet the logic is so forceful, it illuminates your own world view, rearranges your eye's apperature, allows a range of focus not felt prior to the reading of his work. I believe poetry must move in the same form, just as Perloff observes is the case in contemporary poetry. Yet, I want to return to rhythm and crop the crutch on linebreaks and let leave what wants to limp off page. I desire a change in my own writing beyond that of manipulating form, but as an arguement in the precepts of meaning, our need for it, and how our desires, mistaken as needs, renavigate us from a holistic, cosmological view of humility and to moths in streetlamps satiate in their proximity to stars. I'm searching hard for a place to start. Next time I promise more a balance between poetry and philosophy, and hopefully more of both.

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