Keats, Jarry, and Those Bigbrain Funsters, Kant and Wittgenstein, But Mostly Keats and Jarry.
An Edgy Essay by Robert Whyte
Today the topic is John Keats the Romantic poet (as if some poets are not romantic). Was he a precursor of Alfred Jarry? Keats died at the age of 25 in 1821. Jarry died at the age of 34 in 1907. Is it possible Keats with his “negative capability” anticipates Jarry whose ’pataphysics dealt with “the laws which govern exceptions”? And if he does, does anybody care?
These questions, however, are not the reason for this communication, which is first and foremost about the deliberations over “what life is” and “what it is for.”
For Krill, Baleen Whales and even Penguins, life happens without too much overt introspection, rumination or deep conversation. For these lifeforms, chat (the flapping of mouthparts) is mostly restricted to munching phytoplancton, scooping up megatons of phytoplancton eaters, or “I’m hungry, feed me.”
Humans, who have not advanced much further, have added things like “planetary motion is elliptical,” “washing your hands is a good way to avoid dying sooner,” and “who were the Titans and why didn’t they whup the arses of the Olympian Gods?”
As a result of this introspection, rumination and deep conversation getting about the local alehouse and opera set in the form of gossip and rumour, it began to be expected that some people (integers of human society) might know quite a bit of shit and others might be able to figure shit out.
It was then mistakenly thought that some of these people might have a good handle on shit and to some extent provide a formula for understanding shit, even to the extent that instead of having to figure out shit for yourself, you could simply say “I’m a fan of Bigbrain Funster over there.” Because everyone more or less knew Bigbrain Funster’s take on shit, it was a handy shortcut to the more important matters which are the real drivers of individual and social actualisation, such as “I suppose a root’s out of the question?” and “Will you still love me tomorrow?” which follows on directly as a consequence of getting a non-rejection of the previous.
The bitcoin of the era, let’s say 1750 to 1865, was your take on shit. This was known as your take on shit, which was exactly what it was, except the “your” in “your take on shit” was usually someone else. Having a take on shit which was so well known it was interchangeable with the “zeitgeist” or “spirit of the times,” was a sign you had climbed to the top of the mullock heap and were by definition a Moloch, or a horrible statue into which children were thrown, a euphemism for teaching.
In the early part of this era Immanuel Kant, through hard work, a big brain, and the funster tradition, had elevated himself to the position of Chief Moloch, and despite the fact that he said “Fuck off, I don’t need your steenking batches, think for yourself,” nobody did and just let Kant think for them. He was so pissed off by this he had a long holiday inside his head and wrote a great big tome called “The 800-page book everyone should read, but no one actually did.”
But this is hardly germane, because unlike Alfred Jarry and John Keats, Immanuel Kant was neither English nor French. What is germane is that he was in fact German, in other words, irrelevant for the purposes of this essay which is about the aforementioned Alfred Jarry and John Keats and their cultural milieus being English or French.
So, we return to the other side of the Chunnel, where Keats is banging on about “negative capability.” Note there is nothing about pure reason or any other critiques in this. It was just a phrase Keats was going through, and didn’t really mean anything, in and of itself. If we had to choose a phrase that might sum up what he was thinking about, “negative capability” is about the last one anyone would think would suit. What he really meant was something like “you’re overthinking it,” “understanding is a cheap alternative to experience,” or, as in the title of the song by The Tubes, “Feel It,” meaning: stop thinking and “just feel it.”
Keats was on to something a little more than “just feel it,” but it wasn’t what he thought he was on to. In fact, he had completely discombobulated himself on the topic of poetic sensibility. As a philosopher, he was what you’d call an excellent poet. This isn’t always the case with poets (for instance Coleridge) but it usually is.
In terms of his own poetic sensibility, Keats wondered where all the cool, impressionistic words came from and why did they seemed so appropriate? Was it magic?
Magic would not help, because he wouldn’t ever be able to figure that out, so it had to be something philosophical. Something he could spruik, explain, and demonstrate. The big deal in the time of Keats, with money sloshing around and education giving a chance for even plebs to play the culture game, was introspection, rumination, and deep conversation. The deep conversation was an after-dinner thing between mostly wealthy blokes (and a few plebs like Keats) in families who had so much money sloshing around they could afford some of their scions to be arty, progressive ratbags with influential literary magazines. Letting the plebs in to play was considered a much bigger crime than being upper crust and sloshed, as we can see by John Gibson Lockhart’s comment in Blackwood’s (September 1818) where he said that Keats was another sad example of an upstart poet in an age when the celebrity of Robert Burns and Joanna Baillie has “turned the heads of we know not how many farm-servants and unmarried ladies; our very footmen compose tragedies.”
Don’t hold back John Gibson. Tell us what you really think.
Essential to literary achievement, Keats argued, is a willingness to let what is mysterious remain mysterious. This sounds like the later Wittgenstein who believed great music could not be both analysed and enjoyed, only whistled, which is bollocks, unless he meant “by a dimwit like me.” Wittgenstein was very much like Keats, one whose zeal outstripped his intellect, though his intentions were good. But Wittgenstein, needless to say was neither French nor English and lacked Jarry’s sense of humour (big time) so has to be saved up for another day. Beckett, on the other hand, was very Frenchified and a funny bastard. Unfortunately for Becket and for us, there’s no room for him here. Not to mention Robert Graves, that charlatan, English to the eyelids but so clamourous for a saber to waggle in the poetry wars that he stole Laura Riding’s ideas and perpetuated the mysogynist cliché of woman deified as Inspiration while she nicely taking care of the shopping, washing, and ironing. We won’t mention him, the sexist slacker.
What Keats did not know was that he was muting the narrative aspects of his speech-processing areas in the dominant hemisphere of his brain (the hemisphere opposite the dominant hand), notably the auditory dorsal stream connecting the auditory cortex with the parietal lobe, which in turn connects with the inferior frontal gyrus. This has the effect of minimising bullshit, as the auditory dorsal stream is a right Crap Hound when it comes to making stuff up, which mostly involves “this is what just happened and why I am important” instead of concentrating on what is “actually happening” by concentrating on the deliverances of the senses. Incidentally, Buddhists do this too, and they don’t know what’s really going on either.
Keats, like Shakespeare, had a prodigious vocabulary and command of the literary knowledge of the upperclass of the day, which mostly involved poetry, plays and other writing from Greece, Rome, England and the continent. He could draw on these resources in a sort of meditative state, so long as he didn’t “overthink it.”
Keats wasn’t particularly smart, but he was very enthusiastic. He thought Coleridge should abandon his relentless search for knowledge, and instead contemplate whatever floated by, as if by accident, from the “most secret part of mystery.”
In this way, he could experience and appreciate what he thought of as “beautiful” and utilise it, while avoiding contemplation of anything arrived at through reason. See Kant and Wittgenstein there? Maybe not so much Jarry, who really wasn’t banging on about this sort of “rapture” so much as being a disruptionist way before its time, which is a different thing.
Everything in Keats’s day, well into the enlightenment (following and overlapping the scientific revolution) was about new freedoms. Keats was no doubt excited by the idea of a palatable alternative to the authority of the monarchy and the church. Fool, he thought it was poetry. He was not alone. The Romantics were pretty much agreed on this. From 1800 to 1850, Romanticism was big on emotion and individualism, with intense emotion as a source of aesthetic experience, especially when directed to the beauty of nature. “Heroic” artists would raise the quality of society. It was the Poet as new Messiah, necessary since the Messiah had been staked through the heart by that awful Enlightenment and that messy revolution in France. Keats. He’s got a lot to answer for. Picasso, for one. Not to mention Jeff Koons.
Keats had figured out that the furrowed brow was the look to aspire to, but he was a bit of a dreamer, and furrowing the brow was really hard. He couldn’t even wiggle his ears, which is probably part of the problem. He had a smooth, young brow. Dying at 25 would condemn him to a smooth brow for eternity. Knowing this he had to come up with a kind of “internalised” furrowed brow which he could claim was responsible for his beautiful phrasing.
This internalised brow was furrowing like mad dealing with the problem of an aesthetic which came naturally to him, a voracious gobbler of all preceding aesthetics and the gift of being a lazy bastard, consuming all the conversation, introspection, and ruminations he could get access to, and then just lying back and letting it ooze out. Essentially, his idea was to create art by embeddding nature and history with the appreciation of nature and history, in other words, creating art embedded within the appreciation of creating art. Duchamp? You bet. Jarry? Not yet.
Keats was in love with after-dinner conversation and the idea he was capable of it. If he had been a rich fucker, he would not have had to demonstrate any ability with conversation, since he could simply surround himself with sycophants and hangers on, who will swallow any old rope just to keep their noses in the bag. But he wasn’t rich, although he ostentatiously lent money as if he was. Anyway, he was a goner, a tragic for the brandy and stogie intellectual ramble down Aesthetic Lane, and he was recognised as a comer on the scene, who might actually be capable of something, maybe some good sounding shit with an overarching aesthetic. That’s harder than it sounds. Picking a false note is much easier than singing in tune — and everyone’s a critic.
In this era, it wasn’t about knowing and advising others on how it all works, it was about being known for “thinking about shit” or “working on the problem.” If you were working on the problem you might have entry to the after-dinner scene, but only if you had the other half of the ticket, which was the ability to make art. Without art, and especially poetry, you weren’t going to last long, because art (in this era it was poetry or ruminations about poetry) was the shit. It had to be pretty good shit, but not straight away. Nobody likes an upstart, do they John Gibson?
Basically, you had to “show promise” and just the right amount. We might actually suspect that Keats was faking it with the juvenilia, “An Imitation of Spenser,” “O Solitude,” “On the first looking into Chapman’s Homer,” “I stood tip-toe,” “Sleep and Poetry,” “On Seeing the Elgin Marbles” and the four-thousand-line “Endymion,” because he knew you had to produce some trash as an apprentice, and he could have done much better. The trash was just for keeping up appearances, although Chapman’s Homer and the Elgin Marbles were not half bad. Our friend John Gibson described Endymion as “imperturbable drivelling idiocy,” but why the drivelling idiocy was imperturbable is anyone’s guess.
Whatever, he was producing shit and while variable, or perhaps because of that, he was an after-dinner, sagging-chair, vsop interlocutor hot ticket, talking about how he could imagine “the delight a billiard ball might take in its own roundness, in its smooth, rapid motion.”
At this time Keats was the epitome of the intellectual who recognised that it was not about figuring out how it all works, but rather to become known for working hard on making art that you could talk about after dinner and explain in terms of “figuring out how it art works”; in other words the price of admission to the dinner table after which the conversation would occur. The argument we have utilised to get us to this point, we admit, is circular, but so is the planet, the sun, and other things, like circles themselves.
Just to put a big, wet, smelly rag on the “bigger picture idea” that figuring out how everything all works and how we might live humanely, wisely and well is a good thing, sorry, it isn’t. It has never been a good thing, and it never will. In fact, inherently and experientially, it is stupid and fruitless. Let’s face it. If all those Bigbrain Funsters who had been “working on the problem” over the preceding thousands of years had come up with something even half decent it should have had some affect, but sadly, look around you. Not much enlightenment shining out of those arses. Even if they had completely nailed it — and you’d have to say that Beccaria, Hume, Kant, Rousseau, Adam Smith, Voltaire, and Wittgenstein had given it a fair shake, if not all individually, at least combined — it was falling on deaf ears and those ears are even deafer now. If they had listened just a little it would be impossible to have gated communities, toxic sludge, slime coming out of the TV set, children in poverty, second (third, fourth, and fifth-class) citizens, rogue nations, weapons of mass destruction, police, jails, arseholes or fuckwits.
Well, that fine day hasn’t dawned yet, has it. Instead, whole nations legislate for the right to:
- carry AR-15s and shoot up the nearest high-school
- drive metal boxes really fast, and crash into each other with fatal consequences
- watch, or even worse be in, reality TV shows,
- demand your right to freedom of delusion
and other palpably idiotic ways of doing things.
It is a self-evident truth that if anyone had the slightest idea of how to live humanely, wisely and well, instead of sex-crazed perverts fundungling children out the back of the kindergarten there would be happy, self-aware, non-egotistical, considerate people helping each other make the world an even better place (as hard as that might seem in such circumstances). Indeed, the sky would be full of macramé butterflies and flying pink dolphins, instead of small arms fire.
So it stands to reason (as if that matters) there is no value in guidance for those who are most in need of it. The only thing it is good for is the after-dinner thing. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. At one such gathering Keats toasted “Confusion! To the memory of Newton.” When Wordsworth asked for an explanation before he drank the toast, Keats replied “because he destroyed the poetry of the rainbow by reducing it to a prism.” Admittedly Keats was still smarting from Newton’s attempt to “reform the language,” by abolishing metaphor in favour of precise word-meanings modelled on mathematics. Good luck Isaac. The point though, is that even great thinkers tend to disagree with each other, especially about each other’s greatness. The Age of Enlightenment was one of this planet’s more obvious attempts to put humanity on a better footing than previously with such mottoes as
- “The greatest happiness for the greatest number so long as they belong to my family.”
- “Next to the ridicule of denying an evident truth is that of taking much pains to defend it, especially when it is false.”
- “Argument is conclusive but it does not remove doubt, so the mind may never rest in the sure knowledge of the truth, unless it finds it by the method of experiment or by accident.”
- “I think, therefore I am skeptical.”
- “To love truth for truth’s sake is the principal part of human perfection in this world, and the seed-plot of all other virtues, but to expect this of bipedal mammals is sheer lunacy.”
- “I make this chief distinction between religion and superstition, that the latter is founded on ignorance, the former on superstition.”
- “Pithy sentences are like sharp, persuasive nails which create false memories.”
- “I have no knowledge of myself as I am, but merely as I appear to myself, which is problematical since I broke my shaving mirror.”
- “Lazy, cowardly humans believe in alien guidance.”
- “So act that your principle of action might safely be made a law for the whole world, or, in other words, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
The rise of the Universities certainly helped keep safe and accessible the attempts of various Bigbrain Funsters to figure things out and come up with such pithy take-home messages. Even if they were a bit muddled or plain wrong about shit, there still may have been some things in what they did to indeed take home. Bag them if you wish, but fossick around their Moloch heaps when you have time and you never know what you might find.
The purpose of this essay has been in part to assess Keats’s aesthetics, the beauty destroyed by reason thing, which was after all, quite influential. The problem though, was that it has about the intellectual power of a fleabite.
Alfred Jarry, on the other hand, may have provided the antidote to the incessant and largely failed attempts of philosophers to figure out how things work, by concentrating on how things don’t work. At least this is not the ravings of some wannabe try-hard, do-gooder — it’s the ravings of a malcontent who had already come to the realisation such attempts are futile and useless. Therefore it might be argued, (and what’s to stop us?) that Alfred Jarry is ideally placed to give us what we have been not looking for all along, an aesthetic resisting clear definition, purposefully useless, and almost impossible to understand. Who better to follow than someone who avoids knowing where she is going?
People who have jumped on this train to Nowheresville, which never leaves the station and isn’t a train either, include Georges Perec, Italo Calvino, J. G. Ballard, Asger Jorn, Gilles Deleuze, Roger Shattuck, Jacques Prévert, Antonin Artaud, René Clair, the Marx Brothers, Joan Miró, Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, James Joyce, Flann O’Brien, Raymond Roussel, Jean-Pierre Brisset, and many others, whose combined affect amounts to even less than a fleabite, but who have the advantage of being funny, which means they can’t be all bad. Or if they are, it doesn’t matter anyway.
We have now arrived at the point where we are most indebted to Andrew Hugill, author of ’Pataphysics: A Useless Guide[i] and where we must offer Andrew an apology that it has taken us so long to get here. The fact is the notion that Keats may have been a Jarry precursor turned out to be paper thin, or in the words of Kleenex, a tissue of lies. In the end, the negative capability was nothing more than a throwaway line of a young wannabe Romantic poet who had little understanding of what he was doing and even less of the bigger picture. In other words, he dudded out on us. That’s not to say you can’t be impressed by some of his odes and sonnets, if you can stomach one more line of iambic pentameter.
Oh well, now we are here on a frosty morning and we’ve slapped Jarry’s mug with the wet leather. Let’s hope he can acquit himself with more distinction than poor old Keatsy.
’Pataphysics makes fun of the difficulty confronted by seekers of linguistic truth and of the mechanical lunacy of the modern world.[ii]
So far so good. Antonin Artaud later used a high-speed hijacker to cherry-pick Jarry’s ideas for a philosophy of theatre intended to express rebellion against the human condition in an implacably hostile universe.[iii]
This is rather too gloomy for Jarry, who was not rebelling against the human condition and did not find the universe implacably hostile. He found it not sufficiently entertaining and in dire need of a kick up the arse. He was also a straight-forward satirist who simply pointed out with his dearly beloved characters that it was humans who were implacably hostile to the universe, not the other way round. Their hostility is, however, more than a little scatterbrained, and results not in destruction, but misinterpretation. This rebellion by paradox was neither rebellion, nor paradox. There was nothing to rebel against, except being boring, and paradoxes are rigid impossibilities, whereas Jarry’s misinterpretations are mobile and morphologically unreliable.
One of Jarry’s favourite and most revealing techniques was personalised synechdoche, where one thing stands for all things of its class, like a single soldier representing an army. Since a single soldier can be inhabited by a personality, whereas an army cannot, the result is both erratic and pathetic. Since armies are made of thousands of erratic, pathetic individuals, Jarry understands that they are also erratic and pathetic, and it is only an illusion of order and purpose. It is not Jarry who is absurd, he simply reveals the absurdity and pretention of those who think they are not.
In Roger Shattuck’s “Superliminal Note” in the issue of Evergreen Review devoted to ’pataphysics, he cites as an example of real world absurdity, a race between Marble Arch and the Arc de Triomphe. Jarry would say it is not absurd at all, it is the perfect race in which there can be no winner, the contestants both being stationary objects.
Jarry did not live quite long enough to experience the absurdity of the First World War, where German and British soldiers climbed out of their trenches in France to share Christmas together, only to return to their positions on Boxing Day and start shooting at each other, as they were supposed to.
Jarry did not (even nearly) live long enough to read in 2017 the explanation from Robert Neil Boyd PhD, that the sub-quantum aether flux was the origination and cause of “homeopathy … and so on” which is sure to relieve a lot of worried minds. However, Jarry did predict that Boyd PhD would attempt to integrate a new subquantum approach with sentient reality, with disappointing results, because of “intractable experimental results” and “limited understandings of the physics involved”. The experiments were incompetently designed to test the established fact of vacuum memory (which is holographic in form, able to be utilised to cause a chicken to turn partly into a duck and a salamander into a frog, and responsible for the regrowth of a missing tooth for a gentleman volunteer, who amazingly was missing that particular tooth and not any other).[iv]
Oh, we forgot. The number of people who know nothing about Alfred Jarry is (regrettably) approaching 7,632,809,325 which is the equivalent of less than 99.99 per cent of the human population, so the chances are high that when we say “Alfred Jarry” and “’pataphysics” you have no idea WTF we’re talking about. Instead of going back over this whole thing which has sprawled enough already, we’ll include a summary here. For those still confused after that, there is such a thing as the Internet, you know.
Alfred Jarry (8 September 1873–1 November 1907) was a short, rather merry and often inebriated French symbolist writer in Paris who is best known for his play Ubu Roi (1896) a ’pataphysical work. He coined the term and philosophical concept of ’pataphysics which uses absurd irony to portray symbolic truths (and playfully vice versa).
Jarry was not a doyen of linguistic philosophy, practised by Wittgenstein but not by Kant (to bring back our Bigbrain Funsters again for a moment) where people learned to read and write to the tune of a marching band, because he didn’t say all the problems in the world were the result of the crooked linguistic efforts people were forced to make to gather information in this universe. The fact Jarry, like Kant, did not say this, is considered a sign of his remarkable forbearance in the face of extreme provocation.
Jarry was, in fact, a doyen of ’pataphysicians, who number about 10,000 world-wide or the equivalent of .001 per cent of the human population. That’s quite a lot, and just goes to show that even the most obscure ideas can endure. Perhaps the reason ’pataphysics has survived, unlike
- Silly Bands
- Bowl Haircuts
- Mood rings
- Backward Baseball Hats
- Stirrup Pants
- Enormous Flowered Hats
- Skorts, and
- Ramen Noodle Hair
is because it is self-defeating, slippery, and undefinable. It’s difficult quash something that is so wide open to interpretation that all interpretations, including Jarry’s, must be wrong. Regardless of its merits as a concept or philosophy, it is universally agreed by the 10,000, that the output of ’pataphysicians, be it science or art, is funny. Something genuinely funny, with an aesthetic behind it which is not comedy, is like honey to a bee. Or pollen. Metaphors are such a problem.
To quote Jarry himself, ’pataphysics is the science of imaginary solutions, which symbolically attributes the properties of objects, described by their virtuality, to their lineaments.[v]
By virtuality, Jarry means non-existence, and by lineaments, he means faults, or failings, of which, in objects, non-existence is one of the more obvious. He also said that “reality is never as it is but always as if it is,” which needs no further elaboration. It must be pointed out, however, that Jarry started every morning by rejecting reality, which is much more pleasant an undertaking that eating a toad, which was advocated by Nicholas Chamfort who attributed it to M. de Lassay, a fictional “opinion leader”.
The principal raison d’etre of ’pataphysical methodology is to explain the impossible in ways which make sense. Flann O’Brien (who never mentioned ’pataphysics and probably knew nothing about Alfred Jarry) expands on this topic by having his character De Selby invent machines to dilute water,[vi] and describes De Selby’s “penetrating treatise on old age” as a “not unbeautiful description of lambing operations on an unspecified farm,” which seems perfectly reasonable until you think about it. Notwithstanding his ignorance of ’pataphysics, these ideas of Flannn O’Brien’s are 100 per cent ’pataphysical.
The last line of Jarry’s masterpiece, Exploits and Opinions of Dr. Faustroll, Pataphysician, is “’Pataphysics is the science …” which people have never understood, though there have been countless attempts.[viii]
We think it means (of course) that ’pataphysics is the “ultimate science” but this doesn’t explain why. Our Funster Bigbrain tells us that Jarry meant ’Pataphysics is the “missing” science, flagging this with the ellipsis. It logically (to us at least) follows that the missing science would be the science that people would most want to exist, which would be a science that is completely explanatory at a one-to-one relationship with reality, a science with all the answers presented with infinite fidelity, at any scale, perspective, and regardless of all time and space. This would be because it is at a one-to-one relationship with all time and space, in other words at a one-to-one relationship with existence. In other words, ’Pataphysics is existence, and everything else too. It is a science of the particular because it is not reductionist. It is a science of the laws governing exceptions because it is explanatory at a one-to-one level with all things, exceptions being the most obvious of these, since there is no need to contemplate non-exceptions which are a subset of exceptions. It explains a universe supplementary to this one because it is explanatory at a one-to-one level and therefore this universe is in its own way a universe supplementary to this one. In other words, the explanation of existence at a one-to-one relationship is inherently existence itself if considered irreducible, as it must be to exist in the first place. The first place is the second place, the third place, the fourth place, and so on, all combined, without regard to and including all time and space (and everything else too). Because the human inability to simultaneously occupy all times and all spaces (exceptions) is not shared by existence, which has this ability inherently, existence is …
It’s now your turn. Even if you are not looking for an aesthetic theory of poetry, or art, or a general theory for living wisely, do you want to veg out on nature (Keats), or crap on the boring (Jarry)? It’s up to you.
If you choose neither, you can rest easy in the knowledge that you are in the company of nearly eight billion others, none of them any better at avoiding the obvious than you are.
[i] (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012).
[ii] A. J. Adams, Butter-Spades, Footnotes, and Omnium: The Third Policeman as ’Pataphysical Fiction.
[iii] G.E. Wellwarth, “Alfred Jarry: The Seed of the Avant-Garde Drama,” Criticism, 1962.
[iv] Available online at URL = <http://worlds-within-worlds.org/sentient-reality.php>.
[v] Jarry, Selected Works, p. 193.
[vi] Flann O’Brien, The Third Policeman (MacGibbon & Kee, 1967).
[vii] Available online at URL = <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exploits_and_Opinions_of_Dr._Faustroll,_Pataphysician>.
[viii] One of our previous poster-child nitwits, Baudrillard, lampooned previously by us, HERE, wanted to jump onto the ’patawagon and and did so, but got it completely wrong. It would be impossible to imagine how more wrong he could be than he was, which of course in that slipshod “anything goes” tradition of the ’pataphysicians must be “right.” But just between us and the gatepost, it isn’t right. It’s just wrong. Judge for yourself. Baudrillard wrote in 2001 that “For ’pataphysics there’s no longer any singularity.* The grande Gidouille is no long a singularity*, it is a transcendent** ventriloquism**, to use Lichtenberg’s expression. We’re all Palotins in a gaseous world* from which the great*** ’pataphysical fart* is released***.”
*meaningless assertionist claptrap, makes no sense at all, and therefore not pataphysical, which always makes sense.
** not ’pataphysical by definition, as in the reverse statement “’pataphysics is not (insert word)
*** a cool idea but that’s not going to save him
AGAINST PROFESSIONAL PHILOSOPHY REDUX 215
Mr Nemo, W, X, Y, & Z, Thursday 20 December 2018
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