Hegel’s term: “Thing-in-itself”
Though I’m blind, yes, I go to art museums, often with my dog, many days just the two of us, and passersby are astonished—more by my presence than the paintings. “Why would a blind person wander the art museum?” they wonder, as if sight was all of life. They’ve no idea I’m listening to them. I follow and eavesdrop. The public can’t hold its tongue, especially in the museum. “Look darling, that’s a Jackson Pollock,” says a mother to her son, who must be about four. “They used to give brushes to monkeys and let them do whatever they wanted!”
One thing is like another until it isn’t—a pine doesn’t resemble a coffin though as a boy I saw men inside each tree, my way to be less alone, talking as if I could force resemblance.
D.H. Lawrence: “Moby Dick, the Great White Whale, tore off Ahab’s leg at the knee, when Ahab was attacking him. Quite right, too. Should have torn off both his legs, and a lot more besides.”
I often read far into the night. Last evening—early morning really—I found myself thinking about the word “equivocation” which emerged in Shakespeare’s time and is an early modern neologism—to half speak, parallel speak, hedge speak. The word itself is a barometer of how literacy affected the public nerve. Once people could read they could engage in irony. To equivocate became a crime in some cases as Shakespeare knew. Talking at cross purposes was a newfangled thing. Oh people had always been liars. But equivocation was unique—a conspiracy within the self if you will. Shakespeare’s late plays are concerned with this. Dr. Faustus perfects the matter later.
“Don’t give me the whole truth,
don’t give me the sea for my thirst,
don’t give me the sky when I ask for light,
but give me a glint, a dewy wisp, a mote
as the birds bear water-drops from their bathing
and the wind a grain of salt.”