Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

A literary diary I

It all started with meeting Gabriel Rosenstock in Dublin. How many pubs we visited that night, this I cannot recall anymore today.

We lost sight of one another. Then, in 2012, there came a letter by Fernando Rendon to ask who is going to do something to remember Pablo Neruda on Oct. 30th and on the general list of poets being addressed, I spotted Gabriel's.

Since then we have a lively correspondence. Time to take some literary notes as there is something unfolding after such a long time of silence.

About poetry and translation, Gabriel Rosenstock is one who travels countless times between the Irish and English language. At times he translates his own poems written originally in the Irish language, at times he does it himself or with the help of someone else.

About poems and the need to heed nuances when understanding and translating them, he writes on 5th of October 2012:

"This could be said about many languages. But we shouldn't give up. It offers a great challenge to the poet-translator. There is a force in poetry which communicates itself in spite of everything and knocks down the barricades of nuances. Within all of us is the capacity to taste fruit we have never eaten, hear music and see colours unknown to our senses.  Great literature needs to be translated not once but every 50 to 100 years.

Currently in Lithuania. The hotel says that 'bear' is available. Is it a bear, or beer?

Is there a translator available?"

- Gabriel Rosenstock (5.10.2012)


22.10.2012 Monday

"I mentioned Sorley Maclean earlier on. For years I was bewitched by the sound of poetry and the labyrinth of meaning and context simply evaded me. As a youth, I listened over and over again to a recording of the actress Siobhán McKenna reading Yeats and snatches of other Irish verse, in English and Irish.
And what about Richard Burton reading Under Milk Wood? You can here a link here:

Subconsciously, therefore, poetry came to represent an intoxication, a syllabic brew, a magic concoction to take one out of oneself into magical realms.And when Carlos Castenada wrote about A Separate Reality, it seemed that the shadowy worlds were more real than the 'real world'.
It is, perhaps, no wonder that my poetic path would one day merge with my own version of bhakti, the neo-bhakti poems found in my debut volume in English, Uttering Her Name, attached.
I had forgotten that Sorley MacLean was more than sound and fury! I am now in my sixties and it is time for me to become responsible - and responsive to social and political realities!"



Later that day, a Monday when they were preparing in the United States for the final and third debate between Obama and Romney:

Poetry of Joy

Or he would suddenly send me a photo with a poem underneath it,


Not dawdling
not doubting
intrepid all the way
walk toward clarity
with sharp eye
With sharpened sword
clearcut the path
to the lucent surprise
of enlightenment
At every crossroad
be prepared to bump into wonder
~ James Broughton ~
(Little Sermons of the Big Joy)


and explain it as follows:

"The poetry of joy also stands its own shimmering ground not only as a witness to the visible and invisible world but also as a non-dialectical critique of the world
itself. This is something James Broughton knew from his early visions."

Here I would have loved to ask the poet why a sharpened sword? If there is to be surprise, it would need as well to be a moment of coincidence. Silence meeting water. Some can enter silently, others splash like children when they ran out of joy, no jump or leap into water!


23.10.2012 Tuesday

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Poems that move like a train into the night, our night
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2012 16:08:10 +0100
From: Gabriel Rosenstock <grosenstock04@gmail.com>
To: hattofischer@poieinkaiprattein.org

I knew before opening the file that the poems by Waqas Khwaja in _No One
Waits for the Train_ (attached) concern the partition of India and I
trembled somewhat. Partition is also a reality in the country of my
birth, Ireland. Two brothers of mine were born in Jena, formerly East
Germany. So, coming to these excoriating poems, partition was not some
abstract notion for me. (I have just published Irish-language versions
of the Korean poet Ko Un. He, too, is deeply troubled by his country's

The poems in _No One Waits for the Train_ are not removed from my world
or my responsibility:

'and children tumble
and yelp in water
past the European quarters ...' (p. 29)

These are poems of our world, important poems, both as poetry and as
horrific testimony; they move with a cinematic pace and unfold layers of
sensuous detail which means that the abominable cruelties narrated are
even more difficult to swallow.  The white skull of the moon: 'it has
worn itself out with grief'. (p. 70).
These poems move like a train into the night, into a holocaust, into
our shared history.



and again on 23.10.2012 Tuesday

On Tue, 23 Oct 2012 13:48:38 +0100, Gabriel Rosenstock wrote: G.

Our Leningrad
André Vltchek Reprinted from Counterpunch, by permission of the author


Athens 24.10.2012

Dear Gabriel,

just read the account by Andre Vltchek.
My father ended up nearly in Leningrad. What saved him was a granate thrown at a young German soldier pocking his head out of the trenches. To protect him, my father threw himself on top of him. When the granade exploded a splinter went through his steel helmet and he was wounded in the head. With one bandage around the head he walked back to Germany together with another wounded guy. It took them 22 days. Once they arrived in Frankfurt, the first thing they ordered was a bottle of champagne.
I grew up with two big photo albums recording his moves during the war: Belgium, Paris, Poland and Russia. I shall never forget the images of dead horses frozen in the snow.
Always there is another side to the story.
Yesterday I saw an impressive film in television about children and grand children of Nazi leaders like Himmler, Hess etc. It was quite moving to revisit with them Auschwitz. When I went there for the first time in 1999, I fell thereafter a bit more silent.
In the movie they showed how Hess had his house directly beside the concentration camp. It had a huge garden and the children could play there. Something of that contradiction is captured in Carlos Fuentos novel 'Skin Exchange' when describing Teresienstadt. And George Steiner posed the question how is it possible to have an ordinary family life and then go next door to kill people?
Something similar to Leningrad happened to Breslau but only the other way around. The city was under siege and they forced even the own German citizens to destroy their houses and grind down the bricks to make way
for a runway on which planes could take off or land to overcome the siege. Only one plane tried to lift off and failed. In 1945 one million Germans were driven out of the city and Polish people moved in. This city is going to be European Capital of Culture in 2016. If you wish to find out more about that city, you find some information at

Thanks as always for sending me that link to a deeply moving story which captures especially on how Andre Vltchek marvels how his grandmother could pick up a shovel or fight.



24.10.2012  Wednesday

On this day I several three items from Gabriel. It is an indication of his active interest and outreach especially to the East, to Haiku and still in keeping track as to what is happening to his roots, the Irish language, some relevant links to that concern about language.

Subject: Quotations from Early Irish Literature, D.King (USA)
Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2012 13:52:29 +0100
From: Gabriel Rosenstock <grosenstock04@gmail.com>


by D.King/ Donnchadh Mac an Rí (USA)

Maxims & Wise Counsel

Ad·fenar fó fíu...

Ad·fenar fó fíu.
Ad·fenar olcc anmoínib.
Ad·fenar maith moínib.

(is repayed * good * (by) worthiness
is repayed * evil * (by) un-treasures
is repayed * goodness * (by) treasures)

Value repays virtue.
Waste repays wickedness.
Gain repays goodness.

This triad of maxims is found in the Laws (Cethairshlicht Athgabálae) at CIH ii 408.13f.

Is bé carnae cluas cáich.

Is bé carnae cluas cáich.

(is * woman * of flesh * hearing/ear * of everyone)

Everyone's hearing is a whore.

This colorful legal maxim warns that hearsay evidence is unreliable. It is found in Berrad Airechta §59 (CIH ii 596.14). Robin Stacey ("Lawyers and Laymen", Cardiff, 1986; p. 220) has translated the immediate text as follows:

"Why is a report that is heard [about an event which occurred] in the absence [of the ... witness] a dead opinion? For everyone's hearing is a whore, so that a report that is heard is invalid, whether the matter concerning which a rumour is heard be true or untrue."

Further examples of this can be found on the website indicated above.


When lyrics become political, or they upset conventional thinking, then they reach out and transform aptitudes as much as attitudes. Gabriel is of the opinion that this has been especially due to a East-West dialogue which started around a certain time.

When Kerouac, Ginsberg and the Beats started to take an interest in haiku and in Buddhism, Hinduisim, Tantra etc.,this was a terrific assault on the WASP's sensibility and on the curriculum, so to speak. In a way, there is nothing new under the sun today and yet, methinks, those first tentative East-West dialogues have lots more to yield!
Below we can hear Kerouac reading his haiku.


Response by poets to situation in hungary

The next news from Gabriel was then to draw attention to developments linked to Hungary and what is there a matter of democratic governance based on freedom of expression. It is about Ferlinghetti turning down the Hungarian poetry prize.


East West Dialogue

And then with regards to East - West dialogue, he sends a link to a speech given by

Philip Goldberg on American Veda: How Indian Spirituality Changed the West

It is about Hindu philosophy explained in his book 'On American Veda'. It is about spiritual life being touched by India and seeks to make aware what impact Indian philosophy does have on Western thought. India is known as a spiritual heritage and influences Western  culture over the course of years through all kinds of teachings by Gurus, the taking of Yoga classes and adopting meditation styles. Hence many people are affected by all these without even knowing it.
25.10.2012 Thursday
There is a lot of talk about social media. Linked to that is who draws whose attention to what. This is the case every time I receive from Gabriel a hint, a reference or a message he received and just passes on. It is like opening the horizon of the other for no one can notice everything going on in this world. Right now one of the main concerns is what happens to the violent conflict in Syria? Here then is something Gabriel forwarded.
On Thu, Oct 25, 2012 at 2:32 PM, MutualArt.com <noreply@mutualart.com> wrote:
October 24, 2012
Dear Gabriel,

In this edition of our newsletter, we interview artist in exile Jaber Al Azmeh, about his compelling photographs of the Syrian revolution currently on view at Green Art Gallery in Dubai. Then head to the streets with leading Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama in our featured video.


Art focus
Jaber Al Azmeh took photos of scenes in Damascus when it was still quiet before the storm. He also refers to a solitude being created by all kinds of messages being created via the Internet but no one to be seen in the streets. The invisible world becomes literally an intense exchange of more images than opinions. His photos are at times self portraits: a black figure on a red background, may that be the setting sun or the house already in flames.
Makes sense
And later on this Thursday, Gabriel adds something closely related to the term 'spirituality' or how to live your real self.
On Wed, Oct 24, 2012


#4739 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - Editor: Jerry Katz
The Nonduality Highlights

The Deepest Acceptance

Radical Awakening in Ordinary Life

Jeff Foster

After reading the author's introduction to his own book, and he speaks about all kinds of armours people develop to fend of life, I have some thoughts. Jeff Foster recommends instead of protecting themselves with all kinds of means, even beliefs about another life, they should embrace the present life.
There is an inherent danger. For all these appeals can become Guru-like and equally anti-Guru. The dialectical contradiction is entailed in the concept 'self'. Already Adorno remarked that Kant uses this term many times but never does he give anywhere a definition of the self.
Most crucial by Kant is the idea of a 'selbst affezierbare Bewußtsein': a self affecting the consciousness! It circumscribes how to become aware of the 'self'. Here I recall a remark made by an English man about Germans as digging for their self and never finding it.
Of course, Adorno has also to be included in this array of philosophers referring to the self or 'selbst'. For example, in Aesthetical Theory Adorno begins with the simple statement that the only thing which is self understood is that nothing is self understood. If that is not self evident, what is then?
But the identity question and how people see themselves is more complex and at the same time a problem of shallowness as much as of unphantomed depth. Many minds are confused by all of this and often because they do not really know where they stand.
Also about all these kinds of self analysis, it holds generally that people problematize themselves only when things go wrong. As long as there is the job and they meet people afterwards at the bar, something is happening to go on. It would mean they lead a successful life and fit into the patterns of society without much of a problem. Only when the flow of things is interrupted, or when they have lost a girlfriend or a job, then things begin to look differently.
Above all, there is a self guilt and self doubt as if only the fault of oneself which circumscribes a new weakness vis a vis all those outer or social forces surrounding oneself constantly. The latter is depicted very well by what global newscasters portray as a flow of cars through the streets, beautiful women dancing along a new glass architecture and everything striving to become innovative and creative, that is highly successful. When that latter world no longer stands for success and it rains outside all day, then other questions come up. What will be the solution?
Now Jeff Forster wants people to face their selfs within an ordinary life, but such a recommendation would miss the point. Many suffer because their ordinary life has become over time so banal that they wish to break out. And here the theory of Baudrillard kicks in, so to speak, for what stuns people wishing to change their lives is when the world appears to be completely indifferent to whatever they do or attempt to do. That then is not a moment of revolt the way Albert Camus understood it, but rather according to Baudrillard a wish for transformation. They entered already a long time ago a ritualized game by joining the successful society and as long as they have a say in how the rules of the game are defined, they play along. But once the game of seduction breaks apart and they stand there empty handed, then they have reached that point when transformation appears to be the only escape possible.
It may not suffice to explain why people are in despair as much as they harden to survive such social games when walking home from work or taking the Metro. But the inherent dynamic in life is still not explained as long as there is excluded the doubt as key to an open mind and another life in which nothing is taken for granted or treated as if everything is self understood. More difficult have it 'brilliant minds'. They see through everything and still they can only conclude there is nothing in for themselves. Hence they resign or overfly the details that matter and which make a difference in life.
The late message I received Thursday evening, it reflects Gabriel's work as translation as well as his affinity to the poetic form of the Haiku.
A billboard in Dublin, seen during the IMRAM festival, with a haiku in Irish (attached).

Original text by Janak Sapkota, Nepalese haijin (haikuist), studying in Finland.

Irish translation by Gabriel Rosenstock.

morning dew -
a street in Baghdad
blood glistens on a tree

To read more of Janak's beautiful work:


Athens 25.10.2012

Dear Gabriel,

that is a powerful Haiku - to go from dew to blood, and thereby think of Bagdad.

You will find under 'Poetry Connection', 'From Bagdad to Athens' with special dedication to the poet Buland al Haydari at:


When we traveled with World Poetry Movement delegation from Paris to Brussels this past March, Bas Kwakman told me he had invited to his poetry festival in Rotterdam two poets: one who had fled to America and wrote from there about the destruction of that city, and an American who stayed on in Bagdad after having gone there as a soldier. To have these two on the same stage and read their poems from the opposite ends of perception must have been an incredible experience.



Then the last thing he send me that day is a return to his earlier writing. It shows in what dialogue a writer finds himself in when picking up an original manuscript and trying to change it. The dispute about originality may well continue right through the entire night and into the next morning.

On 10/25/12 1:39 PM, "Gabriel Rosenstock" <grosenstock04@gmail.com> wrote:


This is the novella I wrote in Irish many moons ago. It was translated into English.

Then I began attacking the text so to speak, slashing it here and here, then gently soothing it and adding new material, much to its surprise.
It protested, of course, saying: 'This is no longer the original text. What are you up to? This bears no resemblance at all to the original novella.
What right have you to do this?'
I replied: 'I am thoroughly fed up with your insubordination! Who is the writer here, you or me?'
Reply? Predictable!
'There is no blithering writer, you fool!'
Yes, yes, and there is no blithering reader either, I suppose.
Blithering? Who uses that word anymore?
A wonderful Japanese lady, Kageura Makiko,  is going to translate Lacertidae.
Should I warn her of the dangers that lurk therein?
What kind of dangers?
Where to begin?
Unspeakable dangers ...

For a start, the author clearly lost his reason in the course of writing it. What is to be the fate of the reader, the translator?
And another thing .... hello?
Hello? Who are you?
Oh, I like your white coats.
Will I come with you without a fuss?
Of course! Where are we going?
Back into the novella? No... no...no, we can't.
No,  please don't ....NO!  PLEASE!
Pl -
Saturday 27.10.2012
India - there is the travel log by Gabriel Rosenstock. Since then he has returned many times in his imagination to India, the land where not only a population, but equally a God explosion takes place.
Lately there appear articles in the International Herald Tribune about Indian cities no longer coping with all the rubbish a growing economy does produce. This is the essence of sustainability: how to produce things so that the rubbish can be recycled.
Then water is not only contaminated because the way rubbish is discarded, but when the wetlands are dried up and build over, then areas to gather precious rain water during the heavy season vanish and with it water in the underground reservoirs becomes scarce. It has a direct impact upon farmers and how they can use their fields. It is said that in some villages efforts are made to return to more traditional farming which includes preserving the wetlands. That connects well with our action on Rhodes last year.
Crucial is, therefore, this hint send by Gabriel with regards to efforts by Perry Anderson to analyse the Indian ideology of today.
On Fri, 26/10/12, Three Essays Collective <threeessays@gmail.com> wrote:
From: Three Essays Collective <threeessays@gmail.com>
Subject: New title: THE INDIAN IDEOLOGY by Perry Anderson
To: "Three Essays" <info@threeessays.com>
Date: Friday, 26 October, 2012, 10:34 AM

New title:

by Perry Anderson

Today, the Indian state claims to embody the values of a stable political democracy, a harmonious territorial unity, and a steadfast religious impartiality. Even many of those critical of the inequalities of Indian society underwrite such claims. But how far do they correspond to the realities of the Union? If they do not do so, is that simply because of the fate of circumstance, or the recent misconduct of its rulers?

'The Indian Ideology' suggests that the roots of the current ills of the Republic go much deeper, historically. They lie, it argues, in the way the struggle for independence culminated in the transfer of power from British rule to Congress in a divided subcontinent, not least in the roles played by Gandhi as the great architect of the movement, and Nehru as his appointed successor, in the catastrophe of Partition. Only a honest reckoning with that disaster, Perry Anderson argues, offers an understanding of what has gone wrong with the Republic since Independence.

The ‘Idea of India’, widely diffused not only in the official establishment, but more broadly in mainstream intellectual life, side-steps or suppresses many of these uncomfortable realities, past and present. For its own reasons, much of the left has yet to challenge the upshot: what has come to be the neo-Nehruvian consensus of the time. 'The Indian Ideology', revisiting the events of over a century in the light of how millions of Indians fare in the Republic today, suggests another way of looking at the country. Marx, urging his contemporaries to ‘face with sober senses their real conditions of life’, furnishes an example of how that might be done.

Three Essays Collective
B-957 Palam Vihar
GURGAON (Haryana) 122 017

Tel.: (91-124) 2369023
Mobile: +91 98681 26587 and +91 98683 44843



Trip to Japan

Gabriel shall be giving a first poetry reading in the Irish Embassy in Tokyo on Monday Oct. 29th and asked me to inform his translator Mariko Sumikura as to who of Kids' Guernica in Japan could be contacted and informed about his poetry reading.
On Sat, Oct 27, 2012 at 4:19 PM, Hatto Fischer wrote:
Athens 27.10.2012
Dear Mariko Sumikura,
I received your address from Gabriel Rosenstock, Irish poet, and who shall be coming to Japan to do first of all a reading at the Irish Embassy in Tokoyio, October 29th.
Since there exist strong connections to Japan thanks to Kids' Guernica (www.kids-guernica.org) and which originated in Japan (see http://poieinkaiprattein.org/kids-guernica/japan-and-kids-guernica/), if you could be so kind as to inform following persons about the event on Monday in the Irish Embassy and about any further program pertaining to Gabriel Rosenstock:
Takuya Kaneda, Prof. and Coordinator of Kids' Guernica
Prof. Abe
Keiko Hoshino
Since Kids' Guernica exists already since 1995, and has sprung roots in Japan - it has become recently a part of the official school curriculum for art education, I would welcome if especially Takuya Kaneda could meet Gabriel Rosenstock. Coming from Ireland, Takuya will remember well our ECCM Symposium here in Athens 2007 when Michael D. Higgins was also one of the key speakers and how is not only a poet and politician, but has become in the meantime President of the Republic of Ireland. Also here in Athens I knew the late ambassador Ronan who was posted for some time in Japan and had invited then Seamus Heaney, the nobel prize winner on behalf of Ireland.
Dear Takuya, Prof. Abe and Heiko,
for more information about Gabriel Rosenstock, you shall find some of his writings and poems (he writes very often Haiku Poems in Irish and has them translated afterwards into English) at http://poieinkaiprattein.org/poetry/gabriel-rosenstock/
Since there is a substantial link between peace making in poetry and what Kids' Guernica stands for, it would be good if you could make a connection to Gabriel Rosenstock when he is now in Japan during the forthcoming week.
With best regards,

On Wed, 17 Oct 2012 09:27:07 +0100, Gabriel Rosenstock wrote:







I recently finished my second, more careful reading of SAM HARRIS'S great little book called "FREE WILL." The topic seemed much less dense on my second reading of its scant 66 pages, although this is admittedly one of my first real engagements with a thorny philosophical topic such as this one.

For those unfamiliar with Harris or his work, he's a Stanford philosophy grad and UCLA neuroscience Ph.D. who authored the amazing 2004 book, "THE END OF FAITH," and who co-founded a foundation in 2007 devoted to promoting science and secular values called Project Reason. In "Free Will," he lays out a cogent argument against the existence of free will in human beings; or to be more precise, he describes in objective, scientific (and subjective) terms why our apparent freedom of will is an illusion.

A common response to this argument is that "if we have no free will, why do anything?" Or, "if we have no free will, where does moral responsibility and ethical behaviour come from?" I really enjoyed the following rejoinders to these kinds of arguments by Harris in Chapter 5, in which he reflects on his personal experience with losing his own belief in free will: "Losing the sense of free will has only improved my ethics--by increasing my feelings of compassion and forgiveness, and diminishing my sense of entitlement to the fruits of my own good luck...Losing a belief in free will has not made me fatalistic--in fact, it has increased my feelings of freedom. My hopes, fears, and neuroses seem less personal and indelible. There is no telling how much I might change in the future. Just as one wouldn't draw a lasting conclusion about oneself on the basis of a brief experience of indigestion, one needn't do so on the basis of how one has thought or behaved for vast stretches of time in the past. A creative change of inputs to the system--learning new skills, forming new relationships, adopting new habits of attention--may radically transform one's life...Getting behind our conscious thoughts and feelings can allow us to steer a more intelligent course through our lives (while knowing, of course, that we are ultimately being steered)."


Jerry Katz



To this I replied on Wed, Oct 17, 2012:

Athens 17.10.2012

Dear Gabriel,

what do you say to this book? I pose this question because passing on such a thought for the day is one thing, where you stand personally on this issue another.

A friend of mine in Berlin is organizing for the Museum of History an exhibition of how 150 artists have understood, interpreted and responded to the freedom concept since 1945. Naturally there will be very different works coming from former East Germany compared to from West Germany. A key element is freedom as a treacherous illusion with which many dissidents were lured to the West as part of an overall scheme aiming to undermine the Eastern regimes. That was a part of the Cold War strategy.

Freedom as I have known it both as a personal desire and how reflected in various philosophical schools has almost been left out nowadays out of all political equations. Mitt Romney refers always to 'freedom of choice', and means consumer choice. Consequently there needs be made a distinction between decision and choice, when dealing with the question whether or not the individual is free to determine an own life pattern, including the kind of job to earn a living. A choice is a matter of preferences and alternatives e.g. blue and not a red car. I made this distinction clear in my PhD since I used the motto: 'the choices are free but not the people!' Implied is that illusionary freedoms cannot be equated with a substantial freedom which goes hand in hand with being able to question and to think through your concept of life. Very few can afford that luxury of living openly in doubt. The pressure of society is enormous to conform and to succumb to anything but becoming free from the negative determinants of society.

When I worked in a hospital, one orderly said to me one day had it not been for the student movement, he would not be here, in this job. He meant till the student movement of 1968 he was following the pattern of his father, grandfather and great grandfather for if a farmer, always a farmer. Only once the students altered the self consciousness and he became aware that he did not need to do the same thing as his previous generations, that he had self value, that was the moment when he picked up his socks and started to invest in his own second education.

I do not think 'free will' is a viable concept but rather a tautology. If you are free, then you do not need to use will power or the like to do something. And a basic understanding has always by those who escaped slavery, that once they overcame the fear of the unknown, then they were really free for the first time.

There is this amazing story by Frederik Douglas, a slave who escaped from the South and made it up North. He pointed out why slaves never escaped from the plantation was that they preferred the known suppression of their master to the unknown swamps they would have to cross to freedom. Their imaginations were rich and thus they invested the swamps with all kinds of monsters. Also he saw how the slaves would not use the few free hours like Saturday evening or Sunday to learn, to educate themselves; rather they would squander these hours by getting drunk. That then is important for freedom always is based on a sober truth. That is why Michel Foucault would say we have to get rid of the illusions we do not need but leave those we need to live.

Freedom can be an illusion as long as it is used to seduce people, but it can also be real when entering life with a love that overflows any concept of life and still gives you orientation in life. I suppose that is also what both children and parents struggle for all the time, namely to overcome the negative determinants in order to express the love they have for each other freely.

As said I much prefer you add your own thoughts to such messages for just passing them on does not say anything as to where you stand.

But thanks for drawing my attention to this book. You have become for me a very rich source of information. It is amazing how you stretch out your antenas into the world and come back with these signals.

All the best



On 10/17/12 5:24 AM, "Gabriel Rosenstock" wrote:

Dear Hatto,

Thanks for latest. You ask where I stand. I don't know if I stand at all. I am Gabriel, a wingéd creature. Recently I watched a classic video of Segovia, the guitarist, playing in the Alhambra in the 70s. He talked about 'destiny' all the time. This was his destiny, to play the guitar. Forging his will was merely the shaping of his musical destiny, becoming the master player which his instincts inspired him to be.

My thinking (such as it is) is too fluid, too poetic, to actually come to the full stop which is implied in a stand. Freedom? Remember when the Americans refused to eat French fries and called them

'Freedom fries'? They give us such cause to laugh (and to weep), do they not, God love them! When it comes to freedom and the question of free will, I fall back on the insights which are covered by the Sanskrit term 'vasanas'. You and I are born with these 'vasanas', these qualities which colour our personality and give a peculiar flavour to our sensibility, our temperament, our tastes and inclinations, our great gifts and our weaknesses, our talents and latent abilities and so on. We follow these instincts as best we can.

Much as I might admire the innate qualities of another, I will not follow the path of a molecular scientist or mountain climber. Nor will I follow your path, philosopher-poet. The path we walk is our path, none other. And I love straying from the path. I suppose I am attracted to the vacum state described here by Osho:


Why am I this way, why is one of my brothers this way and two other brothers are not (as far as I know)?. It's because of the vasanas!

We can't blame everything on the weather!

Internet definition of vasana:

[vasana], karmic residues, unconscious propensities, disposition, habit energy, thought, habit formation, habit thought dormant, potential tendency, habitual pattern, habitual propensity, habitual tendency, impression, imprint, inclination, inherent tendency, inveterate tendency, karmic impression, karmic imprint, karmic propensities, imprints, predispositions; karmic traces, latency,

latent predisposition, latent tendency, mental imprint, negative psychic imprint, potency, potential tendency, potentiality, predisposition, propensity, propensities, sediment of impressions. Tibetan synonym: nus pa, habitual patterning.




To this added Waqas Khwaja a thought or two, and reminded what Najet Adouani always says about her 'wings':

On Wed, 17 Oct 2012 16:28:33 -0400, "Khwaja, Waqas" wrote:

Re: Thought for the Day: do we have free will? Dear Gabriel,

Thanks for sharing. I am no philosopher, but to me freedom is a myth that we continually valorize (or deface) through indiscriminate usage and mindless circulation. Only someone who was all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful could be free. But is there anyone who has those qualities? I cannot even make a guess. We are poor creatures constrained and contained by our biology, our environment, and the limits of our intellectual capacity and our imagination. Though, admittedly, we don't know yet what we can and cannot do. There are only options, again a limited number of them, and we are not even totally free to exercise our choices regarding them as well. Inclinations? And the ability and resolution to follow up on them? That may be about the best we can do, it seems to me. But even our inclinations are packaged within a circumscribed range.

One of these days we'll actually grow wings perhaps, and then you won't be alone laughing at us from your wingéd perch.



Here I decided to sum up this discussion by linking again freedom to destiny once known is a matter of following it as expression of a 'free will', or is it? It may be instead the power of the imagination which allows us to follow our destiny. It is the creation of certainty in a world of uncertainty. That means love does have a lot to say how we feel about this certainty and act accordingly i.e. with anticipation of happiness and fulfillment in knowing that someone we truly love waits for us.

Athens 18.10.2012

Dear Waqas,

yesterday I answered already Gabriel by saying straying off the path is a good metaphor, but it can become problematic, philosophically speaking, if that means not following your destiny. And since he invoked the term 'destiny', I made a reference to where I discuss a poem by Katerina Anghelaki Rooke


I think as well everyone is a philosopher if understood as the art of posing in a such a way conditions that the conditions under which it can be assumed to have found some answer for them can be reflected upon. That covers the entire field of open questions which cannot be answered completely but which do influence our concept of life.

Having said that freedom is not a myth. It is concrete. You feel and live it. That applies especially to constraints. To become free by setting yourself the constraints under which you wish to live makes you both free and creative. It is like the school boys released for the summer vacations. You leave behind the class room.






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