“Soon or later we are GUARANTEED to come to a
crisis or impasse. We suffer through a period of intense
buildup of pressure, during which we may come to feel
we are at the end of our rope, that there is simply no way
to solve the problem. We have to become hopelessly stuck.”
(Stephen Nackmanovitch, Free Play: Improvisation
in Life and Art, p.153)
Remarks to my Liberal Art FYS also called “Stupid Club.”
(Courses Without Boundaries Series)
From the Latin: pati : feeling. “pathos,” “pathetic,”
“passionate,” “patient,” “pathological”: all in the
Look: this whole book on Free Play & Improv assumes
that the reader is an artist or athlete. They are really the
same—one works with the whole body in spacetime and
the other works with the whole body in timespace.
Sure there are variations, diversity, almost infinite
manifestations of sport—whether we call it art or
athleticism and no one will confuse chess with rugby
or guitar, skiing with surfing or painting or poem-izing,
but my point is: they are all the SAME deal:
acts of expression and composition.
So if you don’t consider yourself either artist or athlete—
this book probably doesn’t have much to say to you. Unless
you want to call yourself a Liberal Artist—or a philosopher,
plenty of them around.
“It is clearly shown
that the wise men
of the Gentiles,
that is to say the
were so named
rather in praise
of their lives
than of their
learning” Peter Abelard
My cousin practiced guitar till his fingers bled. Passion. Patience.
You can see how they are related. Patience supports the passion
which generates the patience. If IT is something I don’t love—
I’ve got no patience for it, let alone passion.
For most things I have neither patience nor passion. This book
doesn’t pertain to most things in my life. Only where I am passionate.
Unless I frame my self as Liberal Artist. Philosophical—in terms
of my living as opposed to, not to be conflated, collapsed and
confused with my learning.
It is clearly shown that the wise men of the Gentiles, that is to say
the philosophers, were so named rather in praise of their lives
than of their learning (Peter Abelard)
What’s the Problem?
“the thing thrown
prankster & bongo playing physicist Richard Feynman; &
Project director Joel Oppenheimer: I am taunted by how-it-is physics
& math people get to carry PROBLEMS with them over long periods
of time, years inside their heads: koans, conundrums, perplexities,
paradoxes, tantalizing tango tangles, thorns in the flesh, peas under
mattresses: Atlases un-shrugged, Sisyphi un-hugged.
Stuck in Enigma;
Wit’s End: their Briar Patch!
And they get to talk it over with each other: colleagues, fellow travelers,
busy bodies in common, cerebral gaggers coughing up some same kind
of theoretical hair ball, some proballein got them in its spell: tongues
wagging, solution begging ab-solution, soaking wet & waiting for the
sunrise—some elegant reduction of reductions of reductions
in a nutshell.
Lucky ones: the kind who see snake biting tails on a
imagine benzene rings or sink in a warm tub & recognize the displacement
necessary to assess a king’s gold crown. Eureka-ists, Holy Smokes & Ooo
I would say it elegant if I knew how. On my mind for years but can’t
pose the problem that poses the problem that poses the problems
so I can brood & it can ripen and a ha! in the middle of night or
some car radio song: it comes to me & I get it! & run naked
thru the streets of
(Sent to faculty in July, after reading Nachmanovitch’s
chapter or RIPENING.)
Here is the “horror” (from a humanistic standpoint) of Creative Process:
that we have to have a PROBLEM in order to learn what it means to
become “creative”—to realize our ”genius,” “idios daemon,” unique
spirit, originality, individuality, talent, calling…
No one loves this awesome, awful IDEA:
“Soon or later we are GUARANTEED to come to a crisis or impasse.
We suffer through a period of intense buildup of pressure, during which
we may come to feel we are at the end of our rope, that there is simply
no way to solve the problem. We have to become hopelessly stuck.”
(Free Play: p.153)
prerequisite for liberal art.
You got a problem with that?
The Greeks called it Elenchus-to-Aporia.
Elenchus: the undercutting of all conscious &
ego-rational support & understanding… “losing it.”
Aporia: literally—no pores, no openings, no escape,
no exit, stuck, trapped—having eaten too much
too much honey & can’t budge in or out.
This total stuck-ness and out of control-ness is
considered the prerequisite to the beginnings
of a state of mind just right for philosophy—or,
say, the liberal art.
When the “ripening” can begin.
Need we argue? Punch reply or better: reply to all.
We’ll maybe sustains some liberal art converse.