the humble argument

Only he who has a spirit of extreme humility can be said to have a resolute intellect.

— Gandhi (1926, 47)

The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.

— T.S. Eliot, ‘East Coker’

Stand before it and there is no beginning.
Follow it and there is no end.
Stay with the ancient Tao,
Move with the present.

Tao Te Ching 14 (Feng/English)

It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.

— Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

The knights who know knit

In the marvelous thirteenth-century legend called La Queste del Saint Graal, it is told that when the Knights of the Round Table set forth, each on his own steed, in quest of the Holy Grail, they departed separately from the castle of King Arthur. “And now each one,” we are told, “went the way upon which he had decided, and they set out into the forest at one point and another, there where they saw it to be thickest” (la ou il la voient plus espesse); so that each, entering of his own volition, leaving behind the known good company and table of Arthur’s towered court, would experience the unknown pathless forest in his own heroic way.

— Joseph Campbell (1968), 36

But by writing thithaways end to end and turning, turning and end to end hithaways writing and with lines of litters slittering up and louds of latters slettering down, the old semetomyplace and jupetbackagain from Ham Let Rise till Hum Lit Sleep, where in the waste is the wisdom?

The Restored Finnegans Wake, 90-1

Wild goose chase: 2. fig. An erratic course taken or led by one person (or thing) and followed (or that may be followed) by another (or taken by a person in following his own inclinations or impulses); in later use (the origin being forgotten) apprehended as ‘a pursuit of something as unlikely to be caught as the wild goose’ (Johnson); a foolish, fruitless or hopeless quest.

Oxford English Dictionary

The point of the probe is always in the heart of the explorer: What is my answer to the question of the nature of knowing? I surrender to the belief that my knowing is a small part of a wider integrated knowing that knits the entire biosphere or creation.

— Gregory Bateson (1979, 98)


I can’t forget
I can’t forget
but I don’t remember what.

— Leonard Cohen

It darkles (tinct, tint) all this our funnaminal world. Yon marshpond by ruodmark verge is visited by the tide. Alvemmarea! We are circumveiloped by obscuritas.

I can’t forget
I can’t forget
but I don’t remember who.

— Leonard Cohen

The mar of murmury mermers to the mind’s ear, uncharted rock, evasive weed. Only the caul knows his thousandfirst name, Hocus Crocus, Esquilocus, Finnfinn the Faineant. Doth all this two way teleopic come aft to you, puritysnooper, as eft it were longtimes ofter when Potollomuck Sotyr or Sourdanapplous the Lollapaloosa put back Omega with the beths of alpability? The charges are, you will remember; the chances are, you won’t. We are recurrently meeting em, par Mahun Mesme, in cycloannalism, from space to space, time after time, in various phases of scripture as in various poses of sepulture.

The Restored Finnegans Wake, 200-01

I can’t forget
I can’t forget
but I can’t remember what.

— Leonard Cohen