scruta

Either you are sorting it out, or you are full of it.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

On the Name of this Blog

I named this blog “Scruta,” which is the Latin word for flotsam, rubbish, frivolities, trash… loosely translated, shit (“clean up that shit,” “we don’t need all this shit,” “talking shit,” etc.)

I did this for several reasons:

1) To take a little of the pressure off of myself by giving my blog a nice self-deprecating name. (Of course I realize that this could backfire horribly. Self-effacement (especially in Latin) could be seen as a sign of erudition.)

2) I think most of life is like wading through a pile of trash, hence the by-line: “either you are sorting it out, or you are full of it.” That being said, I’m at the point in my life where I need to sort some of it out (cf. Recent young, college graduate story 11A: Start a blog.) I should note, when I first wrote this post, I waxed philosophical about it. For those of you that like such discussions (there will, inevitably, be a number of those here), I’ve included it here. If words like ‘solipsism’ make you feel like you are the only one existing in the room, then feel free to skip to number 3:

When I reflect on my life, I can’t help but feel like my memories are the reworkings and continuous attempts to reconcile a bunch of trash. They are all memories requiring explanation, interpretation, and like trash, they are all indicative of past uses, past meanings. I should note that I mean this analogy in the most neutral kind of light. I don’t consider my memories useless. Quite the opposite. Like a young boy, soon to be a wunderkind engineer, discovering a junkyard for the first time, I hope that my memories will prove similarly useful, dare I say beautiful.

But what kind of use? What kind of beauty?

It occurred to me recently, although not uniquely, that so much of what defines the world for individuals, for statesmen, and for peoples is in their own eyes rubbish, or to put in more delicately, things “set aside.” Our passing reflections are often discarded, rarely given weight. But what if they are investigated, and squeezed for all of their worth? I have committed in these proceedings to try and find the meanings of many of my memories and memorabilia. It is my hope that they will not only reveal more about me to myself, but also provide a way into things in the world. Just as the junkyard boy looks at broken machines and finds ideas about them in himself, which will come to define him and his place in the world, he also finds ways that these machines can be redefined.
If I have a personal decision of economic weight, how can solving it provide an insight into the way that economies are run? Does mediating a petty dispute between my friends give me an insight into justice? Can recounting a funny story give me some kind of idea as to what makes something funny? Can recounting all of these things tell me something about myself? It is my hope that they can.

As for beauty: beauty becomes a kind of revelation which engages us in the world. It is the thing that defines us and our place within the world, and ultimately the world itself, suddenly and simultaneously. As a simple example, the fact that I think a certain person is beautiful is a moment of revelation. It tells you immediately who you are as well (i.e. You are the type of person who finds this type of person beautiful). But what type of person is this who you find beautiful, you might ask? You suddenly want to know. (This example works equally as well with our junkyard friend above. He sees broken machines. They tell him something about himself. He then wants to know more about them, about the world in which they exist.) The engagement continually feeds back to tell us more about the world, and about ourselves.

If I may be polemic, beauty is not something which is some subjective, volitional, ultimately undefinable notion. Nor is it some objective force outside ourselves which we randomly “try to find.” It is the thing which demonstrates the connection and the immediacy of the world to us. It is itself an immediate notion. It requires no judgment. It is what makes judgments possible. It is what makes understanding possible. Beauty is always with us.

We just have to wade through the flotsam of our memories to find it.

3) Like trash, my thoughts, memories, experiences come in many different shapes and sizes. Some are more easily recognizable, digestible than others. Poetry, dialogues, rants and raves.

Okay… that’ll do ‘er. First one from the landfill…

posted by ferret at 8:42 am  

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment


3 * = twelve

Powered by WordPress