Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Spiritual cantlicle


Where have You hidden Yourself,
And abandoned me in my groaning, O my Beloved?
You have fled like the hart,
Having wounded me.
I ran after You, crying; but You were gone.

O shepherds, you who go
Through the sheepcots up the hill,
If you shall see Him
Whom I love the most,
Tell Him I languish, suffer, and die.

In search of my Love
I will go over mountains and strands;
I will gather no flowers,
I will fear no wild beasts;
And pass by the mighty and the frontiers.

O groves and thickets
Planted by the hand of the Beloved;
O verdant meads
Enameled with flowers,
Tell me, has He passed by you?


A thousand graces diffusing
He passed through the groves in haste,
And merely regarding them
As He passed
Clothed them with His beauty.


Oh! who can heal me?
Give me at once Yourself,
Send me no more
A messenger
Who cannot tell me what I wish.

All they who serve are telling me
Of Your unnumbered graces;
And all wound me more and more,
And something leaves me dying,
I know not what, of which they are darkly speaking.

But how you persevere, O life,
Not living where you live;
The arrows bring death
Which you receive
From your conceptions of the Beloved.

Why, after wounding
This heart, have You not healed it?
And why, after stealing it,
Have You thus abandoned it,
And not carried away the stolen prey?

Quench my troubles,
For no one else can soothe them;
And let my eyes behold You,
For You are their light,
And I will keep them for You alone.

Reveal Your presence,
And let the vision and Your beauty kill me,
Behold the malady
Of love is incurable
Except in Your presence and before Your face.

O crystal well!
Oh that on Your silvered surface
You would mirror forth at once
Those eyes desired
Which are outlined in my heart!

Turn them away, O my Beloved!
I am on the wing:


Return, My Dove!
The wounded hart
Looms on the hill
In the air of your flight and is refreshed.

My Beloved is the mountains,
The solitary wooded valleys,
The strange islands,
The roaring torrents,
The whisper of the amorous gales;

The tranquil night
At the approaches of the dawn,
The silent music,
The murmuring solitude,
The supper which revives, and enkindles love.

Catch us the foxes,
For our vineyard has flourished;
While of roses
We make a nosegay,
And let no one appear on the hill.

O killing north wind, cease!
Come, south wind, that awakens love!
Blow through my garden,
And let its odors flow,
And the Beloved shall feed among the flowers.

O nymphs of Judea!
While amid the flowers and the rose-trees
The amber sends forth its perfume,
Tarry in the suburbs,
And touch not our thresholds.

Hide yourself, O my Beloved!
Turn Your face to the mountains,
Do not speak,
But regard the companions
Of her who is traveling amidst strange islands.


Light-winged birds,
Lions, fawns, bounding does,
Mountains, valleys, strands,
Waters, winds, heat,
And the terrors that keep watch by night;

By the soft lyres
And the siren strains, I adjure you,
Let your fury cease,
And touch not the wall,
That the bride may sleep in greater security.

The bride has entered
The pleasant and desirable garden,
And there reposes to her heart's content;
Her neck reclining
On the sweet arms of the Beloved.

Beneath the apple-tree
There were you betrothed;
There I gave you My hand,
And you were redeemed
Where your mother was corrupted.


Our bed is of flowers
By dens of lions encompassed,
Hung with purple,
Made in peace,
And crowned with a thousand shields of gold.

In Your footsteps
The young ones run Your way;
At the touch of the fire
And by the spiced wine,
The divine balsam flows.

In the inner cellar
Of my Beloved have I drunk; and when I went forth
Over all the plain
I knew nothing,
And lost the flock I followed before.

There He gave me His breasts,
There He taught me the science full of sweetness.
And there I gave to Him
Myself without reserve;
There I promised to be His bride.

My soul is occupied,
And all my substance in His service;
Now I guard no flock,
Nor have I any other employment:
My sole occupation is love.

If, then, on the common land
I am no longer seen or found,
You will say that I am lost;
That, being enamored,
I lost myself; and yet was found.

Of emeralds, and of flowers
In the early morning gathered,
We will make the garlands,
Flowering in Your love,
And bound together with one hair of my head.

By that one hair
You have observed fluttering on my neck,
And on my neck regarded,
You were captivated;
And wounded by one of my eyes.

When You regarded me,
Your eyes imprinted in me Your grace:
For this You loved me again,
And thereby my eyes merited
To adore what in You they saw

Despise me not,
For if I was swarthy once
You can regard me now;
Since You have regarded me,
Grace and beauty have You given me.


The little white dove
Has returned to the ark with the bough;
And now the turtle-dove
Its desired mate
On the green banks has found.

In solitude she lived,
And in solitude built her nest;
And in solitude, alone
Has the Beloved guided her,
In solitude also wounded with love.


Let us rejoice, O my Beloved!
Let us go forth to see ourselves in Your beauty,
To the mountain and the hill,
Where the pure water flows:
Let us enter into the heart of the thicket.

We shall go at once
To the deep caverns of the rock
Which are all secret,
There we shall enter in
And taste of the new wine of the pomegranate.

There you will show me
That which my soul desired;
And there You will give at once,
O You, my life!
That which You gave me the other day.

The breathing of the air,
The song of the sweet nightingale,
The grove and its beauty
In the serene night,
With the flame that consumes, and gives no pains.

None saw it;
Neither did Aminadab appear
The siege was intermitted,
And the cavalry dismounted
At the sight of the waters.
- St John of the Cross

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Still Swinging!


SOCRATES: And may we not say with reason that we are now at the vestibule of the habitation of the good?

PROTARCHUS: I think that we are.

SOCRATES: What, then, is there in the mixture which is most precious, and which is the principal cause why such a state is universally beloved by all? When we have discovered it, we will proceed to ask whether this omnipresent nature is more akin to pleasure or to mind.

PROTARCHUS: Quite right; in that way we shall be better able to judge.

SOCRATES: And there is no difficulty in seeing the cause which renders any mixture either of the highest value or of none at all.

PROTARCHUS: What do you mean?

SOCRATES: Every man knows it.


SOCRATES: He knows that any want of measure and symmetry in any mixture whatever must always of necessity be fatal, both to the elements and to the mixture, which is then not a mixture, but only a confused medley which brings confusion on the possessor of it.

PROTARCHUS: Most true.

SOCRATES: And now the power of the good has retired into the region of the beautiful; for measure and symmetry are beauty and virtue all the world over.


SOCRATES: Also we said that truth was to form an element in the mixture.

PROTARCHUS: Certainly.

SOCRATES: Then, if we are not able to hunt the good with one idea only, with three we may catch our prey; Beauty, Symmetry, Truth are the three, and these taken together we may regard as the single cause of the mixture, and the mixture as being good by reason of the infusion of them.

PROTARCHUS: Quite right.
- Plato, "Philebus"

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A Private Understanding

Heraclitus' most fundamental departure from previous philosophy lies in his emphasis on human affairs. While he continues many of the physical and cosmological theories of his predecessors, he shifts his focus from the cosmic to the human realm. We might well think of him as the first humanist, were it not for the fact that he does not seem to like humanity very well. From the outset he makes it clear that most people are too stupid to understand his theory. He may be most concerned with the human relevance of philosophic theories, but he is an elitist like Plato, who thinks that only select readers are capable of benefitting from his teachings. And perhaps for this reason he, like Plato, does not teach his philosophical principles directly, but couches them in a literary form that distances the author from the reader. In any case he seems to regard himself not as the author of a philosophy so much as the spokesman for an independent truth:
Having harkened not to me but to the Word (Logos) it is wise to agree that all things are one. (B50)
Heraclitus stresses that the message is not his own invention, but a timeless truth available to any who attend to the way the world itself is. “Although this Word is common,” he warns, “the many live as if they had a private understanding” (B2). The Word (account, message) exists apart from Heraclitus' teaching, but he tries to convey that message to his audience.
from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, "Heraclitus"
Heraclitus says that:
“the waking have one common world, but the sleeping turn aside each into a world of his own” (Heraclitus, DK B89)6
In fragment B89 we can see that Heraclitus thinks that those who do not comprehend the universal withdraw into their own private worlds and interpret events within the framework of their subjective judgments and interpretations. However, to him, what really matters is to comprehend or to understand logos, i.e. the universal. As can be seen in his fragments, Heraclitus clearly made a distinction between the universal and the subjective. Nature represents the universal, and those who do not comprehend this universality represent the subjective. The subjective realm is where we function through our senses and everything is in a state of flux.

When we discuss Heraclitus’ universal–subjective distinction within the scope of the physis–nomos concept relation, it would be possible to say that the universal, the essence or physis, is logos, and everything that is in a state of flux we will call subjective in time and thusly nomos. Although people live in accordance with certain rules (nomoi) they agree on before they comprehend the logos, they will realize that there is the single universal when they comprehend logos, and then they will live in compliance with the order valid for all times. Accordingly, physis will give us such a universal law.
Nihal Petek Boyaci Gulenc, "An Enquiry on Physis-Nomos Debate: Sophists"