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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Two Words of The Day

numen, n.

Pronunciation:  Brit. /ˈnjuːmən/ , U.S. /ˈn(j)um(ə)n/
Inflections:   Plural numina Brit. /ˈnjuːmᵻnə/ , U.S. /ˈn(j)umənə/ , (irreg.) numena Brit. /ˈnjuːmənə/ , U.S. /ˈn(j)umənə/ ;
Etymology:  < classical Latin nūmen divine will, divine power, divinity, god < -nuere to nod (in e.g. abnuere, innuere, renuere; also as simplex in undated glosses) < the same Indo-European base as ancient Greek νεύειν to nod.

  Divinity, god; a local or presiding power or spirit.

1495   Trevisa's Bartholomeus De Proprietatibus Rerum (de Worde) xvii. cxlii. sig. Tiijv/2,   And the wode that hyght Nemus hath that name of Numen: that is god, for therin Yoo made a maw met.
1582   S. Batman Vppon Bartholome, De Proprietatibus Rerum xvii. cxlii. f. 318/2,   The Woode that is called Nemus, hath the name of Numen, that is God.
1628   O. Felltham Resolves: 2nd Cent. xvi. sig. L v,   As if allowing them the name, they would conserue the Numen to themselues.
1634   T. Herbert Relation Some Yeares Trauaile 193   That what they first meet..they make their Numen and tutelary God for that day.
1662   H. More Coll. Philos. Writings (ed. 2) Pref. Gen. p. ix,   For it is the same Numen in us that moves all things in some sort or other.
1711   Ld. Shaftesbury Characteristicks III. Misc. ii. ii. 65   They madly dote upon Matter, and devoutly worship it, as the only Numen.
1790   Ann. Reg. 1788 Antiquities 120/1   Any local one [sc. idol], whose Numen and worship..was already established as local, would not do.
1835   J. Taylor Wks. I. 112   The Divine presence hath made all places holy, and every place hath a Numen in it, even the eternal God.
1874   J. Fergusson in Contemp. Rev. Oct. 765   In a cathedral town where all the sacred and historical numen of the place.
1910   Encycl. Brit. I. 760/1   To the primitive..the presence of the divinity was indicated by..landmarks; and from this..grew the theory that a numen might be induced to take up an abode in an artificial heap of stones.
1936   E. Underhill Worship x. 197   In the teaching of the prophets of the Reform of Josiah, and of the Exile, we find God recognized and the Numen, the Eternal One, the utterly Transcendent.., and as the giver of the Moral Law.
1994   C. DeLint Memory & Dream 329   You call them numena, yourself. Strictly speaking, a numen is merely a spiritual force, an influence one might feel around a certain thing or place.

noumenon, n.

Pronunciation:  Brit. /ˈnuːmᵻnɒn/ , /ˈnaʊmᵻnɒn/ , U.S. /ˈnuməˌnɑn/
Inflections:   Plural noumena Brit. /ˈnuːmᵻnə/ , /ˈnaʊmᵻnə/ , U.S. /ˈnuməˌnə/ ;
Forms:  17– noumenon, 19– noümena.
Etymology:  < German Noumenon (1783; plural Noumena ) < ancient Greek νοούμενον (plural νοούμενα , used by Plato in speaking of the Ideas, as perceived by the mind rather than the senses, e.g. at Republic 508c), use as noun of neuter of present participle passive of νοεῖν to apprehend, conceive (see noesis n.); introduced by E. Kant (1724–1804), German philosopher, in contrast to phenomenon n.

(in Kantian philosophy) a thing as it is in itself, as distinct from a thing as it is knowable by the senses through phenomenal attributes.

Kant uses the word in a Latin context in his De mundis sensibilis et intelligibilis forma et principiis (1770).
N.E.D. (1907) gives only the pronunciation (nɑu·mĕnǫn) /ˈnuːmənɒn/ /ˈnaʊmənɒn
Chiefly Philos.

An object knowable only by the mind or intellect, not by the senses; spec. (in Kantian philosophy) an object of purely intellectual intuition, devoid of all phenomenal attributes.

1796   F. A. Nitsch Gen. View Kant's Princ. conc. Man 118   The conception we have of the world of Noumena, contains no knowledge of that world, but is a mere conception of demarkation [i.e. Grenzbegriff, or limiting concept].
1798   W. Taylor in Monthly Rev. 25 585   The phænomena of beauty, with respect to him [sc. Kant], rank among the noumena.
1803   Edinb. Rev. Jan. 267   We will admit to the transcendentalist his solitary noumenon and its separate functions.
1867   G. H. Lewes Hist. Philos. (ed. 3) II. 485   The peculiar merit of his doctrine is held to be that he distinguishes Phenomena from things in themselves, or Noumena.
1877   E. Caird Crit. Acct. Philos. Kant ii. xiii. 498   In a negative sense, a noumenon would be an object not given in sensuous perception; in a positive sense, a noumenon would be an object given in a non-sensuous, i.e. an intellectual perception.
1910   Encycl. Brit. XIX. 828/2   In the Kantian system the term ‘noümena’ means things-in-themselves as opposed to ‘phenomena’ or things as they appear to us.
1967   Listener 27 July 123/3   It was a revelation, a vision of the noumenon..and I fear that—for quite a long time—we will glory in the sensuous bliss of it all.
1993   B. Kosko Fuzzy Thinking (1994) xv. 279   It is not a Kantian noumenon or ‘thing in itself’ out there beyond the senses. It is a phenomenon in our senses and brain.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Shadows and Dust, A Farewell?

A Dream Within a Dream

By Edgar Allan Poe
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

Monday, September 28, 2015

A Prayer

I pledge:
to push hard to get better and smarter,
grow my devotion to the truth,
fuel my commitment to beauty,
refine my emotions,
hone my dreams,
wrestle with my shadow,
purge my ignorance,
and soften my heart—
even as I always accept myself
for exactly who I am,
with all of my so-called foibles and wobbles.

I pledge:
to wake myself up,
never hold back,
have nothing to lose,
go all the way,
kiss the stormy sky,
be the hero of my own story,
ask for everything I need
and give everything I have,
take myself to the river
when it's time to go to the river,
and take myself to the mountaintop
when it's time to go to the mountaintop.

~ Rob Brezsny

At the very least...

“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them.”
~ Dalai Lama XIV

Saturday, September 26, 2015


“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”

~ Leonardo da Vinci

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Oracle of Delphi Advises: "Know Yourself"



Now I know
there is no before
nor after,
that all escape lies in the perfect
now I know that the tale of his lust
is lies,
his allure has outwitted the flesh,
his lust
is pure-lust of the eyes
for beauty
in tangible things;
his words
fly with wings;

now I know
that all who have spoken ill,
who imperil
and threaten the god,
are holding their souls to the mirror,
light threatens, is active, is gone,
so it is with a song;

are you strong?
he is strong;
are you weak?
he prevails--but not you
to question
his power when you falter,
the blame is your own;
he knows not remorse nor repents,
he remains

faultless and perfect and whole;
he is;
you may burn,
you may curse,
you may threaten,
you may pour out red-gold on his
he comes to no call,
not to magic,
nor reason;

his word
is withdrawn,
a king's,
yet all may receive it;
he turns at a whim,
who answers no threat,
no call of the flute,
no drum-beat of the drum,
you may bargain
and threaten,
the prophet
is distant and mute;

yet one day
he will speak
through a child or a thrush
or a stray in the market;
he will touch
with the arm of a herdsman
your arm,
he will brush
with the lips of a brother
your lips;
you will flame into song,

that no merchant can buy,
that no priest can cajole;
he is here,
he is gone.


I foreswore red wine
and the white,
I was whole,
I foreswore lover and love,
all delight 
must come 
I had said,
of the soul;
I waited impassioned,
alone and alert
in the night;
did he come?

I foreswore child and my home;
I said,
I will walk,
to his most distant wood
for his laurel;
I wandered alone;
I said,
on the height, I will find
I said,
he will come with the red
first pure light of the sun;

I read volume and tome
of old magic,
I made sign and cross-sign;
he must answer old magic;
he must know the old symbol,
I swear I will find him,
I will bind
his power in a faggot,
a tree,
a stone,
or a bush or a jar
of well-water,
I went far
to old pilgrim-sites
for that water;

I entreated the grove and the spring,
the bay-tree in flower,
I was wise on my way,
they said I was wise,
I was steeped in their lore,
I entreated his love,
I prayed him each hour;
I was sterile
and barren
and songless.

I came back;
he opened my door.


In his power then
a toad,
or a flower,
I asked,
does it wither?
does he rise in the clod?
 does he die?
his riddle is painful,
his coming too facile,
if I serve him,
I lie
for years,
a field fallow
then furrows of rye, of wheat and of 
spring up
all too early;

the wheat-ear
and the poppy,
nod, one with the lily,
and anemone;
when my days are lonely,
he shuns me,
when busy,
he crowds through the throng
of my friends and my guests,
remember your vows, he says,
you are priest:

if I kneel at a shrine,
he says,
song is wine.


He is yours,
he is mine,
if we quarrel to hold him,
he goes;
his the red-lily,
the white-rose;
if you struggle to whet
your stylus,
if you hurry to melt
scented wax
for your tablets,
he knows
no pity;

you will write in the city
of fir-trees and loam,
in the fields
you will sing of the market;
you will be
among prophets,
a satyr;
when the note of the flute
calls to dance,
you will walk
drunk but not
with that mixed wine;
his tune is his own;
in his, not in your time,
ecstasy will betray you;
if he cares,
he will flay; 
if he loves,
he will slay you.

H.D. Collected Poems 1912-1944

Friday, September 18, 2015

Love of My Flesh, Living Death

"Love of My Flesh, Living Death"

By Lorna Dee Cervantes
after García Lorca

Once I wasn’t always so plain.
I was strewn feathers on a cross
of dune, an expanse of ocean
at my feet, garlands of gulls.

   Sirens and gulls. They couldn’t tame you.
You know as well as they: to be
a dove is to bear the falcon
at your breast, your nights, your seas.

   My fear is simple, heart-faced
above a flare of etchings, a lineage
in letters, my sudden stare. It’s you.

   It’s you! sang the heart upon its mantel
pelvis. Blush of my breath, catch
of my see—beautiful bird—It’s you.

"'Love of My Flesh, Living Death'" by Lorna Dee Cervantes, from From the Cables of Genocide: Poems on Love and Hunger.