4.11.2020/AGENDA> “The Life You Save May Be Your Own.”

CRYSTAL PAIGE BRIDGEWATER – She’s too good for my main character. She has this green cardigan. With these big striped polo shirts she wears. You should see her. It’s rough.

So when I’m writing I do this trick where I base my characters, sometimes, on an actor or actress, and then watch films that person has been in to see different aspects of that personality and get leads in different directions of that kind of meta-/-archetypal character. So the character Crystal Paige Bridgewater in my novel, who is the main character’s counterpart / romantic interest / and also the antagonist, I am basing on Kristen Bell. And yesterday I watched a movie I normally probably would never have seen, and it was amazing. Check it out if you get the chance. It’s called ‘The Lifeguard’ (2013)

Thinking a lot about how we approach things, for the first time, without any preamble or warning for what they may have to tell us. How this is the natural state of things, in a lot of ways. How it affords us innocence and lack of pretension, especially when we do so on our own recognizance, on our lonesome.

And then there’s just the question of attitude, how we approach things, the mood of the explorer as they top the hill. And this very much figures into the positive definition of ‘pretense’ I’ve developed in my personal philosophy. Stoked maybe by that lyric from ‘Jets to Brazil’ a little, among other things… “And the city kids, the angry, with-it kids. Hate everything the first time.”

And then there’s tonight.

Been studying the past couple of days, stoked by a passage in the book I’m musing through,

Science Deified & Science Defied 2: The Historical Significance of Science in Western Culture by Richard G. Olson

… about David Hume, along with Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, being among those philosophers turning toward mathematics and calculation as criteria for truth, and coming out against analogy and metaphor. And what I have been referring to in my notations the past two days on my noteboard, and in mental shorthand, as ‘Hume’s Fire’. I.E.

“If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.”

― David Hume

And Richard Olson’s survey also notes that these philosophers were among the first to apply the method of measuring a man’s worth in how much he could produce in a period of time, and how much it could be calculated in cold cash currency, this being the new criteria of their ontology, being against any abstract notions of worth or value.

Hume’s philosophy is most about skepticism about what can be proved by scientific method. And the answer is, not all that much. Even knowing that the sun will rise tomorrow, simply because it has done so over and over before, is based on an induction and a sense of causality that is in no way reasonably supported for future effects, properly.

But is it as bad as all that? Well, this excellent conversation I watched today between a couple of delightful gentlemen discussing Hume’s philosophy has unharshed my buzz quite a bit.

Philosophy Overdose – John Passmore talks to Bryan Magee about David Hume in this 1987 interview.

And put things in a circumspect perspective, as I pause before heading back into the ‘Science Deified & Science Defied’ book, and also abruptly abort the plan to read out of my way an entire book on David Hume that purports to express some secret purpose of his which makes more clear some of his less understood work, which was one of those available on the book service I subscribe to (Hume’s ‘New Scene of Thought’ and The Several Faces of David Hume in the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion
By Jeff Broome and John O. Nelson) and which I spent time on yesterday and today, also adding to my understanding of Hume’s project. In fact, that book’s complicated thesis, what I gleaned of it in the first 15 pages or so, sounds a lot like another youtube video that was up next after the Hume video I watched and posted above. And that is this video titled ‘Hume’s Strange Inversion of Reasoning (Daniel Dennett)’. The claim being that Hume tried to say that all sciences and investigations are based, because of the limits of human perception and experience of objective reality, on a kind of internal psychological formulation. Daniel Dennett, not being one of my favorites, as he claims human beings are devoid of free will, and sorts of machines of determinism. And thus one must look at Dennett (skeptically) as a soul who somehow is… compelled(?) to write lengthy books purporting his belief(?) in this philosophy(..?)… It’s kind of a joke to me. But a good one.

But maybe that’s to the point, or neither here nor there, but toward some kind of internal affair malfunction. As the last segment of that Hume video points out, after Hume came Immanuel Kant, who tried to patch up the foundational chunks in the ground we usually walk upon in nonchalance, free of so much uncomfortable unprovable character, so much skepticism, and tried to cut back on the empiricism at the base, to add a kind of creative part to human reason that makes humans a co-creator in the world they perceive. So they perceive/conceive in dual proportions, and this brings us back to my sense of pretension. Rather than the problems of Hume’s where we cannot know for sure that the sun will rise tomorrow simply because it has risen each day thus far, we might side step slightly by having an artistic form of sunset in our toolbox. Is this metaphysics? Is this qualitative – something unsharable in concrete objective marketplace outside our solipsistic prison cells? Or, are we speaking of a new type of currency by which to measure the hour’s worth? A new production of labor of humankind that we can exchange for meaning? A meta-currency? Like… bitcoin? Or… a concrete jungle of symbols and shared images?

RECOMMENDED READING: ‘ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE’ – Somewhere in the relationship between the Mechanic and the Machine, lies the idea of ‘quality’. He took Plato, Socrates pushing goodness ideal far out in front and dumping all the questions at the feet of the present falling into the past… and put the GOOD, back into the engine, running. QUALITY. It’s a necessary read.

And that’s the essential idea involved in approaching the moment with character. Pretension has a negative connotation. But I am on to developing a new stand-up version.

And it’s got to do with brooming out the death cults. And getting out of this dust bin, with green grass stalker vision and marzipan, like train hypnosis and like Nietzsche ‘I want to speak to the despisers of the body’… Cause your time is almost… up…

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