Sunday, July 10, 2011

In Living Color - Reprise

"You have too good a mind to throw away. I don't quite know what we're doing on this insignificant cinder spinning away in a dark corner of the universe. That is a secret which the high gods have not confided in me. Yet one thing I believe and I believe it with every fiber of my being. A man must live by his light and do what little he can and do it as best as he can." - Walker Percy

Wiki says: Walker Percy (May 28, 1916 – May 10, 1990) was an American Southern author whose interests included philosophy and semiotics. Percy is best known for his philosophical novels set in and around New Orleans, Louisiana, the first of which, The Moviegoer, won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1962. He devoted his literary life to the exploration of "the dislocation of man in the modern age." His work displays a unique combination of existential questioning, Southern sensibility, and deep Catholic faith.

By the way: Semiotics, also called semiotic studies or (in the Saussurean tradition) semiology, is the study of signs and sign processes (semiosis), indication, designation, likeness, analogy, metaphor, symbolism, signification, and communication. Semiotics is closely related to the field of linguistics, which, for its part, studies the structure and meaning of language more specifically. Semiotics is often divided into three branches:
Semantics: Relation between signs and the things to which they refer; their denotata, or meaning
Syntactics: Relations among signs in formal structures
Pragmatics: Relation between signs and the effects they have on the people who use them

In Living Color

To think I was there
At the unmasking moment
And saw your true face.
This is like early
Crocuses coming up, out
With their purple blooms
Just after the snows.
They too guess right times
As you did just now, showing
Courage in the gray.

Written January 9, 2009 9:23 AM
First Posted May 30,2009


  1. I looked up semiotics as soon as I ran accross it, I could have waited and read just a little further.

  2. Ahhh...but why would you, or me for that matter, why would I wait and see when the time for action is NOW!! There is a pattern here I think. I put the definition in knowing I was blowing my chances of getting people to read the whole thing because the definition of semiotics makes the post too long for twitter based consciousness. Just like this reply is now too long. But twitter is perfect for ordinary humans who all verge on ADHD or some similar trouble...

    That is why spiritual training raises patience to a high virtue and places a sense of humor close behind.

  3. I wonder if I could be more like the crocuses...instinctual, less analytical. I don't believe they guess at the time to bloom, although it is a lovely idea. Yet I seem to guess at the right time for everything, until it is too late, and the time has passed, or the time for delicacy has passed. Instinctual. I would like to be more so.

  4. Annie, do you think that being driven by instinct feels like anything on the inside? I think it does. I am sure I am sometimes driven by instinct but I rationalize constantly right through any other feeling. I justify. "But I wanted to do that.."

    I think instinct feels like that: "But I wanted to do that!"

    It might be really hard to catch the driven character of it.

  5. Ghost, those tarot cards gave me full blown laugh out loud - fblol. :D

    Not quite rolling on the floor...

  6. i was thinking of timing as i read this and wondering if it was in fact choice to act now or if the action is born of a greater convergence. robert and i talked about this yesterday, as though the alchemy of time and experience brings about certain events, revelations, growths, loves, deaths. as though choice were such an infintismally small element it might not have enough bulk to sway, but yet, is it not important? it must be, for it is work, not luck, that brings us to it, the rise of the crocus. i am both the analytical process but more widely and wildly, the birth of everything that came before me and through me. and so it is having an eye open to catch the bug as it flies by. catch it. swallow it. become it.


  7. and i am in love with this quote by Walker Percy.


  8. (((Erin)))

    Yes! You and Robert are tracking true. Most things are of the nature you describe. We say we have free will granted to us by a universe that demands of us our responsibility. That we do have responsibility is key. Most things are then in chains of responsibility, already settled and we have only the choice to measure up or increase chaos (which lessens genuine freedom). After all these experiences are accounted for, most of the rest are forced at least in part by the choices of others and "acts of god". Then we say that it is not what happens but how we respond, that is where we are free.

    At special moments we find that we stand free with opportunity to move in new directions, especially if we have been careful not to increase the chaos personally. Even then, we may or may not exercise that freedom.

    If we fail to mature we will be overly concerned with freedom and confuse the capacity to increase chaos with the kind of freedom we really cherish. True freedom takes the character of being free to improvise musically after being entrained by all the disciplines that go into musical fluency. These moments of entrained freedom are the special moments that really make life meaningful.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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