Thursday, October 09, 2008

Green Pumpkin Seeds

Avoiding work is the story of my life. I've always got things in mind I want to say on the blog, usually lots of them. So I try to imagine some way to join together all sorts of disjointed thoughts. That's hardly a good plan for blog posts, except of course not finding a unifying theme is as good an excuse as any not to post. Thus I avoid work and effort once again.

An easy theme for today is stuff I like. I've got about a half hour before I've got to make supper so I'll see how much I can cram in. I like tons of stuff.

I like green pumpkin seeds. I got seeds for these pumpkins through my favorite seed catalog J.L. Husdson Seedsman. I don't see Austrian pumpkins listed this year, maybe next. In any case I was anxious to make sure I saved a few seeds for next year. The seeds look so great that I took a picture, but the picture doesn't quite capture what a lovely shade of green they actually are. Unlike other pumpkins the seeds have a soft outer covering so you can eat them out of hand. The oil expressed from green pumpkin seeds is famous as a folklore remedy and there's no doubt its a healthful oil. My friend Nathan in Iganga Uganda and I have talked over the years about seed oil presses after the great organization Kickstart came out with their cooking oil press. I told Nathan I'd made pumpkin soup yesterday and told him about green seeded pumpkins. He says they already grow them in Uganda. I'm happy about that because I like green seeded pumpkins very much.

I like Daisy's Dead Air. Daisy is a great writer and very courageous. There are so many reasons I like reading the blog and lots of the reasons seem convoluted and peculiar to me. When I try to lump them all together into some sort of unifying theme, that Daisy is builds coalitions, or at least see that coalitions might be made, between people you wouldn't on the face expect. She also manages to suggest consilience among ideas that are more usually viewed as apart. I especially like that Daisy leaves comments on my blog.

A couple of comments that she's left recently got me thinking and then avoiding the effort to respond. Here's a comment I liked:
"What's wrong with fairies? I LOVE fairies!"
Yep, I love fairies, and not just the human sort. I find it embarrassing that I've got a category in my mind of fairies, that's related to but not exclusive to the category of mythological beings. I grow Elecampane precisely because it's reputed that fairies live under them. It's probably the case I'd have a heart attack if I were ever to see a fairy, which is strange because my feelings towards fairies is that I like them.

I really like that Daisy read through my meanderings around religion in American politics I wrote recently. Obviously I was searching for something I never have found in those pieces. I'm not a believer in a sort of technical sense in Christian theology. But it's pretty hard to live in the USA and be an American without engaging with Christianity in one way or another. I really like much of my engagement too. Certainly not limited to the business of some of my best friends being Christian either. Daisy is a Christian, a Roman Catholic. Oh, so many things I like. I particularly liked Daisy's comment to this post. What we know simply isn't enough to tell of what we know. I like and agree with her point that reason alone is not enough. I especially like it because I know that reason is extraordinarily important to Daisy. She's got a sharp mind and knows how to use it.

Cripes! I've got to make supper, so I'll come back because I really want to talk about Daisy's most recent comment. Mmm, I like supper.

In my last post I was ruminating on among other things was a quotation, attributed to Hannah Arendt, but also most certainly mis-attributed to her: "Politics is is the application of love for the world." I like that whoever first said it, at least I think I do. I wonder if it matters, as far as liking it who first said it? Let me paste a bit of Daisy's comment, but of course it's worth reading the whole thing:
Feminism reminds us always: the personal is political. Where did these folks LEARN about love? I think Baldwin was speaking as one who was brought up in the Church, as well as an entrenched member of the OLD SCHOOL New York City gay community, which at that time was very protective and took care of each other. On the flip side, we have Hannah Arendt, a brilliant Jewish student, taught about politics by the famous nazi philosopher (Martin Heidegger) who seduced her as a student. Of course she excluded love and hate from everything, or she might lose her mind thinking about WHAT SHE HAD DONE. Better to make it all very high-minded, theoretical and emotionally-removed.

First a couple of links about "the personal is political." The expression is attributed to Carol Hanish and there is a recent new introduction to the 1969 piece as well as the writing itself here. Also Hanish's 1978 songbook Fight On Sisters: and Other Songs for Liberation is online thanks to Duke University Library. From strictly a personal view, the struggle for women's liberation in Gainesville Florida of which Hanish was so influential has touched my life in a positive way. Ah love is strange. And that on a surface level is a point Daisy makes about Arendt.

I easily get bogged down in philosophy. The trouble with philosophers is they all sound so smart when you're reading them. Working out the contradictions and oppositions requires too much work that I'm wont to avoid. Daisy's psychological insight about Hannah Arendt and her affair with Martin Heidegger has a ring of truth to it. I suspect that Arendt's insistence on the separation of the personal and political is a bit more nuanced than that. Certainly Arendt's political theorizing owes much to Heidegger's philosophy.

Among the many scholars and schools of thought which in some ways rest on Heidegger's philosophy Heidegger's Nazism has been a rather essential problem. In my layman's view of it the problem might be phrased: Does Heidegger's philosophy lead to totalitarianism? I'm not the one to attempt to answer that question. But Daisy suggests that Arendt's coverage of the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem as a reporter for The New Yorker magazine was perhaps motivated by a desire of Arendt to settle scores with Heidegger. That doesn't really ring true to me.

Perhaps Arendt's two most important books: The Origins Totalitarianism (1951) and The Human Condition (1958) were published prior to her reportage of the Eichmann trial and On Revolution was published in that same year 1961. I'm a guy and therefore probably insensitive about such things by definition, but I really don't get the sense that Arendt was particularly traumatised by having an affair with Heidegger. From what little I know it seems their relationship after the war was collegial, albeit with Arendt's knowledge that Heidegger was an asshole on a number of levels.

There is so much I like. I don't know how to talk about love and yet love seems most important to me. I do say: "I love" but always in saying that I hesitate. I hesitate because while I'm intensely concerned about what I'm loving, my loving seem little in relationship to love. I feel happy when others are loving even when I'm not aware of it, with every expression and experiencing of loving there is more love. I say the more love the better! Love is particular and precise but unbounded. Love is both laughter and tears, so fragile but can change everything. I don't know how to talk about love, and for that reason the confidence with which Arendt says: "In politics, love is a stranger" doesn't really make sense to me.

I like bell hooks.

1 comment:

Daisy said...

You are so sweet! You missed the invasion of the anti-immigrationists
this weekend, in which I, umm, lost my (Irish) temper and threatened to print an IP address... interesting that makes the right wingnuts back off, though. (I don't care if anyone publishes mine, for instance!) You can gauge the moral decency of an argument by whether someone will take OPEN RESPONSIBILITY for it, and I've noticed a lot of people WON'T. But I won't be intimidated into "transgressing my own values" (another fun recovery-expression!) by censoring them. What I will do is OUT them first. (I warn them, and I've done it twice.)

Your comments about my blog have made me feel like I am not just wasting my time, which I often think I am. :)

But Daisy suggests that Arendt's coverage of the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem as a reporter for The New Yorker magazine was perhaps motivated by a desire of Arendt to settle scores with Heidegger.

Also, could have been a way of settling scores with HERSELF, if you know what I mean: "See? He didn't influence me!" or "See? I have issued the correction!" I am quite prone to this kind of behavior myself; I think many women are conditioned not to argue with men, or at least not THEIR men, so we take the argument with said man elsewhere. The most famous example of this would be Simone de Beauvoir, who would outline point-by-point her arguments with you-know-who. (And unless you read their books side-by-side, you could often miss that fact.)

I'm a guy and therefore probably insensitive about such things by definition, but I really don't get the sense that Arendt was particularly traumatised by having an affair with Heidegger.

Not arguing tramatization, but immorality... which would contradict much of his own words.

Two ways to look at the affair: 1) you're probably right, and then the radical feminist view (that I was indoctrinated with, and old habits die hard!)--2) any time a man in authority has an affair with an underling, even a brilliant one, it is an abuse of power. Given his naziism and the fact that Arendt was Jewish in an environment increasingly hostile to Jews? I stick by #2. If I compared this situation to Strom Thurmond and Carrie Butler, what would you say? The situation is similar; Arendt's reputation and livelihood (and the possibility of deportation?) was dependent on his good will. I have often wondered if she did it for that reason.

From another point of view, such an affair is just plain weird, though, or could imply some racially-based sexual fetish. Similarly, HP Lovecraft, unapologetic anti-semite, married a Jewish woman... and you just think HUH?

Apparently, Mrs Lovecraft's understandable motivation was that she wanted to BE Mrs Howard Philip Lovecraft, and I can totally relate to that!

Again, thank you for your kind comments!!! And I can babble all day about this junk. :P