Prefatory remark: We are (all of us) exactly the kind of people we worry about becoming. And none of us is ever going to realize it. Also, I've noticed that I use 'And' to start a lot of sentences, I think I do it because it sounds dramatic and deep, some kind of rhetorical flourish that adds profundity to something obvious. My apologies!

Ennui and its lack .....

Today this is how things stand: all ambition has been erased and then the bits that were left over (there are always leftovers) were ground into dust, baked into bread and sold piecemeal to fate.

So verbose and also shut up. This is how it really is. After three days of solid drinking and 'partying' I've been evacuated of all human feeling. That I know why it is the case doesn't really change the fact that this is the case.


  • Brendan is moving back to Halifax, and from there he hopes to move to Japan.
  • Matt is talking about doing editing professionally instead of doing his Ph.D.
  • Peru is still waiting for his cheque, and I imagine that is very irritating.
  • Sara reports to me that Dylan went on a date last night. This seems exciting.

Castles, Clouds, Vomit and UFO-Ghosts.

The last fifteen or so times I've painted (i.e., all summer long)there have been no real difficulties and I've been quite happy both with the process and with the product. Friday was different for the first time in a while. Same ol' spot but new and expensive colours... and I'm all gung-ho wanting to do something new. I didn't end up doing anything very new at all, though I did manage to add one eyed UFO-Ghosts to the iconography, which is nice. Instead, I got all hot and bothered and worried about the piece not coming off nicely, maybe because I'm used to liking my stuff (in a way that I never did before this year). It was strange to really worry about it not coming off well... I basically wasted enough paint for 3 pieces trying to 'fix' the 'mistakes' I made while painting. It was strange though, perhaps, a helpful reminder that I can still fuck up even with my semi-played out styles. In the end I did like the piece, but it wasn't exciting and by now I should be moving onto something new!

And also, bombing has been ridiculous lately. I keep trying to do new stuff on the fly and it ends up looking retarded. I do, however, have a good new idea which can't but be awesome. Castles, clouds, maybe some vomit...even a dinosaur or two.

RIP Jacques Derrida 1930-2004

So I really was a bit surprised that Derrida left this earth on Friday. Having recently seen the Derrida movie, and noting how healthy and vigourous Derrida actually is, I assumed he had at five or ten years left in him. But I suppose cancer takes even the healthy and that's what we all have to look forward to unless something changes dramatically.

The final years of Derrida's life proved to be quite interesting and fruitful philosophically, and (for me at least) his later works and inquiries showed how human he really was (when I began thinking of him just as a trickster). I actually feel that we've lost a bit of our depth with the loss of Derrida and he'll certainly be missed.

Friendship and hatred go out together.

And this something I've yet to fully realize. You can only love someone if it's possible for you also to hate them. Otherwise what you have isn't friendship but an association, looser or closer.

Do I even have friends?

That is a hard question, and one I doubt I'll answer for myself.

The bigger question is if I'm capable of being a friend myself, and that's something I'm even less sure of!

Your advice is the subtlest of poisons, and mine too... and moreso!

Is I really so shallow as all that?

I don't think what I am is so much shall as vapid, or vacuous. I'm empty of a lot of things, but that doesn't necessarily mean I lack the capacity for depth (though that might certainly be the case, and facts point to it....). But if we want to talk essences, and I'm in the mood to do just that, then mine might very well.... full to the brim!

(with what is an other and a harder inquiry!)

Achille C. Varzi

The history of what follows:

poikax says Have you ever heard of this guy Achille C. Varzi? ( Came up in a google search for 'spatial theory'.

A paraphrase of my response: No I haven't heard of him, someone should do a writeup or just cut and paste his negative biography on E2.

poikax says The true shit indeed. His auto-bio owned me, renewed my faith in philosophy. Definitely C&P time. I'm off to Maine in T-minus 6min.s for a wedding so its on you playa'.

So I've taken it upon myself to do what is required of me. Here, friends, is Achille C. Varzi's....

Truly Negative Biographic Sketch

This is not my official CV, so don’t take it seriously. But then, again, didn’t Wittgenstein say that we should not expound on what we cannot speak about? (I am not sure he wasn’t cheating, but I can’t help disagreeing with those who dislike that thought.)

I don’t live in Italy now, but I was not born in the USA (and not in this century). I’m not dead either, thank goodness, at least not yet. And I am not a student anymore.

My work has nothing to do with engineering or business administration, but I don’t mind that. It never occurred to me that philosophy might not be the right choice. On the other hand, no one ever told me philosophy doesn’t pay well, so I shouldn’t say I don’t have regrets. Don’t we all?

My first book (Holes, of which I was not the only author) was about nothing. Or maybe that’s not quite true; it just was not about the usual sort of thing a materialist philosopher writes about. For holes are not material objects, hence their identity and persistence conditions are not easy to pin down. (Nor is it easy to account for their causal role, if any. Don’t forget Locke!) Yet there’s no doughnut without a hole, so one cannot just ignore the issue. At least, we didn’t think one can.

Not that the other books are concerned with more solid stuff. For instance, Parts and Places (also not by me alone) does not dismiss boundaries and empty receptacles. And Events isn’t exactly about material things, either. Likewise for other, non-dissimilar editorial projects on vagueness, time-travel, or the borders of Wyoming.

In logic, I didn’t do much for a while except worrying about truth-value gaps. Of course gluts aren’t less tricky, so I could not ignore them. But I cannot say I’m an expert and An Essay in Universal Semantics does not provide a theory that many would endorse. I haven’t met anybody who dislikes it, actually, but neither have I met somebody who really likes it.

As for the rest, I won’t add much. My work in progress is not devoted only to such topics but it goes without saying that I am not done with it yet. One thing I’m not ashamed of is that I do not just write for the "philosophical community". Somehow I don’t think that that would be right. Nor do I write exclusively for the grown-ups. But Roberto and I have not found the time (or perhaps the energy) to do something useful with our philosophical stories for children. Not yet.

And do I dislike teaching? Of course not. On the contrary, there is not much in life that I like better—were it not for the vast amounts of time spent grading.

And now for some more opinionated rambling....

To own things is to become less human. To live in a house someone else built, only slightly less so. And who really thinks of themself as a genuinely good person? Is it as easy as all that? I wonder if in my life I've met someone like that. It seems possible, even probable, but what would that feeling be like? To feel at home in life for a change! But that isn't where we're headed. Unforunate and aimless wanderers all of us!

But beautiful and horrible nonetheless!

And uncertain.

How do you feel? It's URGENT!

  • Well I still feel exactly the same way about copyright laws and stealing other people's words for your own purposes.
  • I feel worried that we've changed society so much to accomodate automobiles and I also worry that we haven't quite sensed where that reshaping has taken us, not yet and not fully.
  • I feel much better about my relationship with the woman I love. I feel like we're going in the same direction for a change and it's really quite nice.
  • But damn if I don't MISS her more than ever because of that!
  • I feel more comfortable reading Kant than I have in a long time, but I'm still not at home in his thinking, I still feel like I'm reading Kant wrong somehow and that the beautiful and human feeling I get out of it might be a misinterpretation (and isn't that something to worry about?).
  • I still don't know how I feel about my future, about my chances of getting into doctoral programmes, about whether or not I want to continue swimming in academia, about how much I want to travel if I do at all, about where I could possibly live, about a lot of things in this general vein.
  • Lately I've felt happy about my parents, they're good people and genuinely proud of me. But, of course that one is a double-edged sword: I feel like I can't really repay their kindness and I also feel like I'm aloof and unconcerned (a lot of the time) with them. And that's something to change!

O Nostalgia! Thy name is foodstuffs!

Reading: can I become something different than this thing which I am?