A Matter of Poetics

Since every "explanation" is contingent, limited by its circumstances, and certain  to be "superceded" by a better or momentarily more ravishing one—the favorite explanation is really a matter of poetics, rather than science or philosophy. That being said—I like everyone else—fall in "love"—a romantic infatuation which either passes or transforms itself into something else. But it is the repeated momentary ravishment that slowly shapes one because in a sense, one is usually  falling in love with the same "type" again and again—and this repetition defines and shapes one's mental character.

When young I was so "shaped and oriented" by what I shall now chose to call my two favorite explanations.

1) I hardly remember the details (being no scientist, of course) but I remember reading about Dirac's theory of the sea of negative energy out of which is popped—by a hole, an absence, the positron which built the world we know. I hope I have this right and haven't made a fool of myself by misrepresenting this—but in a sense it wouldn't matter. Because this image—fueled by this "explanation"—energized my exploration into a new kind of theater in which (evoking a kind of negative theology) I tried—and still try—to pull an audience into the void, rather than feeding it what it already feels about the "real" world and wants confirmed.

2) Shortly thereafter, (this was all in the 1950's) encountering the unjustly neglected philosopher Ortega y Gasset, and being sent spinning by his explanation that a human being is not a "whole persona"(in a world where the mantra was to become a "well rounded person"), but as he famously put it—"I am myself and my circumstances". I.E—a split creature.

And what Ortegean circumstantial setting "set me up" to receive and be seduced by the Diracian explanation? It had something to do with growing up in priviledged Scarsdale—hating it but hiding that fact I felt "out of place and awkward" by becoming a secretly alienated, successful high-school achiever. Dirac—as the creator of what was for me a powerful poetic metaphor allowed me imagine that the un-reachable source (sea of negative energy) was the real ground on which we all secretly stood—and to take courage from the fact that the world surrounding me was blind to the deeper reality of things and my "alienation" was in some sense justified.

But the truth is that post high-school and college—I have a new favorite "elegant explanation" every year—sometimes every month—from science and philosophy (and include psychoanalysis in which ever of those two categories might be permitted). And does this unending succession of theories—all destined to fall—all destined to be replaced—create a wave theory of their own which—perhaps because I cannot accurately describe it (my blindness regarding myself) is my current (for how long?) favorite explanation of how things are.

Yet blindness as the source of what is valuable is not my personal theory or explanation, but has a long and noble history cutting across most disciplines.

Blindness as the source of what pushed us on and on—either forward or backwards. I chose to believe that in a sense this is the "explanation" of my favorites—Freud, Lacan, Parmenides, Nietzsche, Julian Barbour, Quantum, multiple worlds, etc, etc. All those who hold to the poetry of Niels Bohr demanding a theory—"crazy enough to be true".