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23 juin 2006 @ 11:59
On the Vital Element, Aesthetic Play, the Absolute  
Dear Apperception,

I can not tell you enough how dreadfully bored I am this afternoon. The air outside is remarkably hot, and the water-vapors hang in the atmosphere like a dreadful and stultifying miasma; I fear that I shall simply wilt, like a fist-full of peonies, should I venture out-of-doors. Yet there is simply nothing to do here. My office, comfortable as it is, provides me with ample furnishing for my mind, and plenty of fine music for the exercise of the Soul, yet I wish the climate were such that I could instead exercise my body. I sometimes wish that I had some useful thing to do, that I might labor to some purpose, but I know that the idiocy of such toil would soon numb me.

I am not quite finished with the Hegel essay -- I'm currently in Part III. Even so, it has proven to be illuminating, and I hope to be done with it soon. Indeed, there are so many compelling themes within the work that it is difficult to know where to begin when discussing it, and there are a number of elements I would like to cover. Nevertheless, I'm sure that by time your next letter reaches me, I shall be ready to engage the text in full.

I think your comments are generally true with regards to women and femininity. But note that "taking up the doilie" is not a feature of androgyny -- the traits are neither muted, nor metamorphosed into one another -- rather, it is a dynamic counterbalancing of elements (such as we might find for example in the velajee) into an intensified and sensitized whole, an electrification of the vital element. It's no surprise to find a predecessor to this belief stated rather flatly in that happy people who combined these elements so well -- the Periclean Greeks. But I digress. Women are lost in their own femininity -- whether it is by nature or by breeding, it makes little difference -- if there is no element with which to counterbalance it, these delicate inclinations simply become lost in a saccharine and grandmotherly mire. No, it is only when those delicate morsels within us are tempered by the often blunted sensitivities of manhood that they reach the zenith of aesthetic potency. If I may venture to speculate, I would say that this is because a man, who for diverse reasons might not ordinarily be disposed to this type of perceptual care, must strain and work hard to affix within his inner life a space for refined sentiment and gentle things. And it is because a man must work at it, and develop his femininity in a forceful and concerted way, much like a laser-beam, that he can at times (it is rare) succeed in this process in ways that a woman ordinarily can not. It is not a question of innate aptitude, therefore, but one of learning and devotion, of becoming one's other. We might use the problem of language as an analogy; it is true that anyone learning a language that one is not born to will often retain a certain lack of precision and an ineptness of understanding. Many fail. Yet those few who actually master a language other than their own have the capacity, because they are learning it a-fresh, and must toil over its most mundane and overlooked features, to uncover its secrets and charms in a way that is often closed off to those born to it. And this is the challenge men face when learning the language of the feminine. And so when they succeed, they succeed brilliantly.

I wonder if we might draw a further parallel betwixt these ideas and those of that luminous champion of the aesthetic sensitivity -- Friedrich Schiller -- for in the most general and superficial of ways, we might say that there is a symmetry between the masculine and feminine, and the Formtrieb and Stofftrieb in Schiller's aesthetic system. Similarly, as within Schiller, the combination of these two spheres of activity, when permitted to complement and interact fully with one another in a reciprocal development, lead to that prized realm of creativity and genius, the Spieltrieb; for isn't what we are talking about indeed a sort of sublime Play?

In any event, when we reflect on these matters, we can not in so doing forget the "masculine" -- I hate to use these terms, I'm sure you understand, for in probing ourselves we find not a single entity, but a confused mix of qualities, a symposium of impulses and desires. Transvestites and other such deviants are merely the externalized realizations, often crude ones, of that complexity of human potency which lingers undisturbed in all of us. Again I digress, for I meant to write to you about the importance of calisthenics, fasting, and the imbibing of healthful tinctures. The vital element must be maintained, and its rigors can only be laid bare on the canvas of life when one guards its purity with a jealous and fastidious care.

I would argue that a man's Ideal vitality must have a friend and a home in his physique, in the flesh -- in the Real, and furthermore that this encroachment of the vital impulse upon the realm of life must not be the fruit of a mere duty, or the obedience to any Levitican scripture, but the natural out-flowing of the life force itself, something which blossoms from the whole of one's Being. And perhaps the Ancients, while not ever fully meaning to do so, were on the right side of things to regard this type of education and development from the perspective of arete, as considered from the wholeness of qualities in which a lithe and taught physique is just as valuable, and in some sense indistinguishable, from the flexibility and clarity of the mind. We may never be able to fully return to that naive and innocent holism with regard to ourselves, yet it can provide a fruitful inspiration to those of us for whose activity and character strive toward the Absolute.

On that note I take my leave of you, and desperately await the coming of your next missive.

In Eternal Friendship
Yours For-Ever,


(Post Script: With regards to this week-end, I shall be rather busy, but I do suspect that I have some time free Saturday afternoon, and perhaps the early hours of that evening. Perhaps we might -- how do they say it? -- "pump some iron", or engage in some other vigorous activity.)
otiginacriva on le 17 février 2013 07:33 (UTC)
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