Category Archives: definition

What You Will

Life is a long preparation for something that never happens.

-W.B. Yeats
This is quite a self explanatory and self sufficient little quote. It stands alone and says everything it needs to say in a nutshell. No one knows the meaning of life. It simply is – something which exists – for its own sake. You make of it whatever you will because in the end, nothing really matters. If you are the sort that wants to believe in some kind of afterlife, that may well be, but that too is after life.
Life, in and of itself, is an isolated unit within your existence.
Life is comprised of the mundane, the exhilarating, the monotonous, the unsustainable, and most importantly in my opinion, the ever changing. It is never one thing, and permutes each day, week, and decade. The person you are now is probably not the person you were ten years ago, twenty years ago, or the person you will be twenty years from now. You can call it development, or numerous other adjectives, but it is always growth. If you are the sum of your experiences, then as time moves on, you acquire more and are in a constant state of growth.
Some believe others regress. It is never regression, but rather flux. You may have bad times, prolonged to what may feel like an eternity, but ultimately these too are experiences. You can learn from them, or simply learn to identify them. In the long run, there are no bad experiences, just opportunities for growth. In the short term, it can feel as if your life is falling apart.
If you want to believe that life is a recurring event, then would it not make the most sense to want to live it to its fullest? Or would you rather repeat monotony ad infinitum?
And that is yet another learning experience. Fulfillment is not always full. Sometimes nothing is fulfilling. Something quiet is fulfilling. Other times you need the unfeasible noise of life for extended periods of time. And by unfeasible I mean temporary. That time in your life where you lived in a way that cannot be kept up indefinitely, that simultaneously pleased and exhausted, and was deteriorated with age, where, looking back, you cannot fathom doing again.
Ultimately, life is what it is, and it is. It came from nothing, and prepares you for nothing. Make of it what you will.

A Dictionary Definition

I don’t read the dictionary for fun, so sometimes I need to be reminded of what things are. Today’s word of the day is “whore.” Please remind me of its meaning, because obviously I don’t know. And I am sure you can do a far better job than Webster. You know, provide the necessary context, give examples and such.

I used to think it was an adjective, but apparently in its noun form it is a method of categorization for women according to a very specific set of rules.  If a woman is found to have been with one man, then she must have been with thirty. Because that is the female nature, specific to the whore. Therefore every man she has ever spoken a kind word to must have at some point ended up in her bed. Maybe they should all get ill constructed emails. Include some more definitions in there while you are at it.

The whore creature, according to you, is very fascinating and fantastic. She can span entire continents within seconds and allegedly exist in multiple locations at once. There must be a shortage of men in the general vicinity as she must fly to Alabama and Tennessee to conduct herself. What’s that? There is a man in Texas? Well then, off she goes! No, no, that man could not possibly just be a friend. This is a whore, and that is what she does.

And her talents are so magnificent she has the capability of converting men who would otherwise be uninterested in women. Keep in mind, this is no ordinary woman. Whores are special beings imbued with myriad forms of exotic alchemy specialized in transforming others’ sexual orientations and preferences.

She is also a rather flighty creature. It doesn’t matter that she has known a man for decades, uninterested in him in the slightest, because one day, out of the blue, her true nature will prevent her from resisting him, with the assumption that there is actually something to resist. What a wily little thing!

“Mommy, look, we found a whore! Can we keep her?”

I also recall you stating that the whore has a natural habitat. You weren’t entirely clear on this, but I have to say, I am curious to learn. All the evenings I spend at my kitchen table have not made me privy to this creature’s environment.

What started as a simple catalog of female traits specific to this being, has now elevated the whore, in scientific terms, to an entire species in its own phylum. And here I am going from learning new dictionary definitions to watching a Special Editions episode of the Discovery channel where I can learn how to spot the ever elusive whore, should I happen upon one.  But whatever I do, I shouldn’t startle her, she will run away and take residence elsewhere. You see, despite all of her amazing abilities the poor thing is a little dim witted – she takes flight only when provoked and is incapable of premeditated actions or genuine thought.

My goodness what a complex critter!

Thank you for the rare opportunity at such a lesson. I can’t believe in all my years of schooling I never encountered a seminar on this topic. Perhaps you can email me again tomorrow and we can discuss the whore’s diet, or really get into it and take a look at her evolutionary history.


Compare to Define

After spending all week teaching Nietzsche I found a lot of my students were confused by his way of defining concepts. I spent most of class last night deciphering what he is saying. And this is no small task because he does not make definition easy. For a man with so many strong opinions he sure elides concrete terms. For example, the new philosopher. What is that? His definition boils down to a little of this (a man who rises above science), and a little of that (unconcerned with absolute truth), and maybe some of that over there (proponent of the will to power). Not to mention all of his negative definitions in which concepts are defined by what they are not, leaving a lot of space for what they might possibly be. To demonstrate this I drew a circle on the board. This is everything a philosopher could ever be. Then over here (darkening a part of the circle) is what he is not (didactic in a pejorative manner). Over here is another thing he is not (more dark space representing skepticism that inhibits action). So forth and so on… you get the idea… Eventually I was left with a smaller white circle within the original circle that has been shaded. That center circle is everything left, and thus through negation narrowed the definition to a more manageable size – basically a broad check list of ways to identify this new philosopher as to not confuse him with all those Nietzsche disapproves of.

I think I did well enough (at least in the general sense) with hardening some of his concepts, but this coming week I thought I might use a few different examples from parallel or similar theories that are a bit easier to understand. Then I can apply those to Nietzsche’s concepts. Because there are only so many pictures I can draw on the board.

As Chapter 9 of Beyond Good and Evil discusses the reasoning behind how we define ourselves, namely those considered noble, I can draw a parallel with Sartre’s idea on intersubjectivity in which he states “I cannot obtain any truth whatsoever about myself except through the mediation of another,” and Gramsci’s hegemony that relies on the idea that those in the ruling class are there because society as a whole feels they should be there, further serving their own feelings of self-entitlement. I know this is a little back tracking since both of these men came up with their theories after Nietzsche, and were most likely (at least slightly) inspired by him, but combined I think they really get to the core of Nietzsche’s argument.

Yet this is in a way very appropriate. The book ends with an assertion of the difficulty to define anything. Language constantly fails to properly solidify concepts. In fact, the process of attempting to solidify concepts detracts from their purest form that does not conform to absolutes of any kind. Everything exists in a sort of gradient, fluctuating at different points. So to not be able to concisely define Nietzsche but rather rely on a compilation of knowledge from different sources serves to prove this point.

And when did my English class turn into a philosophy/theory course?