Ken L. Walker Responds to Mina Pam Dick’s “First Person of Truth”

What I’d like to do, primarily, is examine the following statement:  Those kids really know how to have fun—a proposition that attempts observation, but that philosophically cuts down the space between the viewer and those “having fun.” However, fun, is not what kids know; what they know is how to have it, and how to have it within the boundaries of their perception—reality—there, where happenstances like fun must end but it is a shame that they do.  This paradox could be better stated as: we are shackled to the pursuit of happiness.

This is what I’d tell Mina Pam Dick at dinner, a curiosity that grew more intense after reading her poem, “First Person of Truth,” which begins with perhaps one of the most superb lines of poetry I’ve read in the past few years:

@ 6:08            The liar is a sentence that secretly commits suicide.

The poem traverses sixteen pages, as well as six hours and twenty one minutes, ending at 11:29.  Aphoristic statements precede some questions, all led and occasionally mediated by the above proposition. It’s meditatively settled but internally bursting, and requires so much more than appearance or story—a little zen garden in itself getting out of order and continually being swept up. The chief reason the above proposition, as a sort-of birth for the whole poem, jailed my attention, is that it unambiguously reminded me of a Ludwig Wittgenstein statement, from the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus:

5.6   The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.

In Mina Pam Dick’s case, the sentence is the limit; the truth is the world; the lie is the renunciation of truth—the world—and it is simultaneously truth’s opposition, thus the only option for a liar is to manipulate language—a precise conceptual statement, probably one which only a poet can make.

Twenty six diary minutes later, subjectivity gets placed under an interrogating lamp:

@ 6:34            That failure has everything to do with the absurdity of truth. With its
being first person singular, aka subjective.

The walls in Minna’s room (presumably at the Melville Hostel and/or the Mallevue Hospital) are blank canvas, a stopping point for doubts or snowballs, as well as, a sponge and spit-back for fears. The walls of a self, let alone a lyrical self, as she puts it, are its own interlocutor. The formal conversation is always going on within the subjective mind. And, to perceive the liar’s lie is to be let in on the secret—an impossibility.

I think of how a secret is something shared between the self and a realistic incident, a perception of what happens when the two meet—a perception that cannot be shared. That perception becomes secret, becomes a wall and could possibly make one go mad or silent. But, here I go, off on philosophically-driven ambiguities. Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein would be angry. Nietzsche was mad. For Freddie, the drive was contradiction; for Luki, the drive was verification.

I am sitting in my chair. I once was in the kitchen pouring coffee. There’s a philosophical difference here, that the subjectivity of self in the present and the perception of the subjectivity of a self in the past. Am, once-was and was, are not a family; they are a body of ultimately different proportions. This body is like a self, but it is also a picture of a self which we may look up to.

Of important note: there are atomic facts within all language.  These atomic facts can be expressed in molecular propositions. How would you do that in a poem? I’ll give it a shot while stealing a bundle of lines from Mina Pam Dick.

“The liar goes beyond
nonsense [. . .]
the liar asserts too much—because
it denies too much.”
This much is true.
“Form [is a] way
of acting . . . truth
is form.” Therefore, truth
is a formal way of acting.
You are always
your “own
philosophical company”
which is to say I
am always my
“own philosophical
company” and I
can thank Mina Pam Dick
for pointing
that out in such
an effervescently bizarre manner,
or, at least, one
in which I can understand.

It’s almost 11:29. Don’t forget that:

@11:29            “The impure one goes mad to keep writing, keeps writing to go mad—”.

Breakfast is being served and I am no longer sitting in the chair (where I once was), walking toward the kitchen.

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