Saturday, 31 May 2014

Present Perfect


Lack is a condition that we all know well.  It drives us.  We move towards fulfilment and strive to fill  the little gaps in our perfection.  The early adaptor knows the temporary satisfaction of the cutting edge until it again ;requires honing.  In my 'Dharma' post I offered the idea of the non-apprehension of existence (anupalabadhi) or our distance from the ideal represented by the saint or incarnation as being the engine of righteousness. If not that, what; 'having it all' or at least having more than you, sunshine.

Lackwit, lacksense, lacklustre, lack a lady, on we go singing low. The alternative of having a 'pattern' saint is paradoxical; at once an admission that there is a distance between us and them as well as immediate access. That section of eternity where they preside is also known as the present moment. For a while perfection supervenes.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Dharma


Some time ago I wrote about Eastern and Western theodicy, using citations from Augustine and Shankara. :
problem of evil

Here I outline a way of uniting those two ways of looking at the argument from evil by that means of valid knowledge known as anupalabadhi or the non-apprehension of existence (It is accepted in vedanta). A valid means of knowledge according to pramana theory is not reducible to any other. The idea is that if I tell you that there is a book on the table in the kitchen and you go there and see that it's not on the table your knowledge expressed as 'there is no book on the table' is a non-apprehension of the existence of the book. An expectation due to my false belief was disconfirmed by your experience. It is this use of the term 'experience' that gives rise to the view that this knowledge has a perceptual basis which is puzzling as how can we perceive what is not there. The vedantins regard the total knowledge event as beginning with my statement that there is a book on the table. If that were not the case then 'there is no frying-pan on the table' would be an equivalent item of knowledge which it is not. What we are talking about is an absence whose presence was warranted in some manner.

David Oderberg in a paper The Metaphysics of Privation
privation discussing the concept of evil as privative stresses the notion of the absence of what should be there. This knowledge is ontologically grounded as a conjunction between need and absence . The example he gives is of plants and water. To put it in anupalabadhi terms; seeing the drooping plant is a non-apprehension of the existence of sufficient water for that plant.

The state of need is a state of being in potentiality towards something that if
present will actualize the potentiality. It is in this very general sense, I would argue, that salt needs water to dissolve in, a billiard ball needs to have a force applied to it in order to move, and the moon needs the earth’s mass to stay in orbit around it. But it is also in this sense – the concern of the present paper – that plants need water, cats need food, parasites need hosts, apes need social groups, and so on.

If Dharma is things being what they are according to their nature then the falling from that is a matter of immediate recognition assuming that we have a true notion of what that nature is. Evil then is an absence and not something we can know as a positive entity but that is not to say that it is unreal. It is real as privation and the anupalabadhi view holds that this is a basic irreducible means of knowledge.

The incarnations of God are the exemplars of the Dharmic for Hindus:

Whenever there is a falling away from the true law and an upsurge of unlawfullness, then, Bharata, I emit myself.

I come into being age after age, to protect the virtuous and to destroy evil-doers, to establish a firm basis for the true law.
Bhagavad Gita 4: 7,8.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

More Books


A dry northerly had thinned the Saturday crowd by the time I went into town. Books are excellent insulation so I dropped into Charley's for a browse and came out with a few - Enderby by Anthony Burgess, Elements of Metaphysics by A.E. Taylor and The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. (4, 5.5, 5 Euro)

I've been reading the Taylor as a scanned ebook from Internet Archive for a while. The scan is good but footnotes baffle it. On practically every page there are long, intricate footnotes, what I have called voices from another room. One is plunged into another conversation without warning. When ebooks are prepared with links to notes it is easy to navigate and the distinction between footnote and endnote becomes irrelevant. In a printed book I prefer footnotes myself though they seem to have been superseded by endnotes. The worst solution in my opinion is chapter end notes.

Enderby is a comedy, English literary lout. Fun, abroad, bloody.

Julian Barnes is having a late golden period, brooding on finality. It won the Booker which is generally ominous as a quality indicator as that prize seems to be a demographic encouragement. Highgate/Hampstead intellectuals are not an untapped tree so it's probably good.

I am at present reading War and Peace. I shall be gone for some time. It's a very easy book to read with many incidents that are like self contained short stories. The endnotes are informative for an ignoramus like myself (Vintage). Why conclude a peace treaty on a barge in the middle of a river. Or in a train carriage in the middle of a wood? The Shiva of Napoleon is set against the Shakti of Natasha.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Runny Atheism


I was reading Arts and Letters Daily recently and I came across an article by Jenny Diski whom I know via The London Review of Books. ‘Oh’ I said to myself, in giddy surmise ‘I didn’t know she was Jewish’. Which she is, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Prepare yourself for a revelation - the internet is a tribal place. Whatever knee you jerk with and if you cross yourself withershins or not at all, there is a place for you where you will find a comfortable level of agreement with a soupçon of dissidence provided by stray pilgrims of an alternate universe that wander in and are ritually disembowelled or disemvowelled.

Birds of a philosophic feather flock together and tweet in chorus. The agnostic/atheist amongst them have taken to ritually deprecate the civilian excesses of Richard Dawkins. I saw this recently with Philip Kitcher discussing the God question with Gary Gutting on
Opininator
He holds that the different doctrines held by religions which contradict each other indicate the general falsity of the lot of them. That’s a point which is regularly made without admitting any nuance in what doctrinal elaboration attempts to capture. He’s simply not interested in any of this and yet it must be central to religions adherents. Dawkins does take it seriously because they do. There’s an honesty to that in comparison to the runny atheism of Kitcher. Not even good in parts.

P.K.: Right, they don’t have to pick and choose among the religions of the world. They see all religions as asserting that there is more to the cosmos than is dreamed of either in our mundane thoughts or in our most advanced scientific descriptions. Different cultures gesture toward the “transcendent” facets of reality in their many alternative myths and stories. None of the myths is factually true, although they’re all true in the sense that their “fruits for life” are good. Prominent examples of refined believers include William James, Martin Buber and Paul Tillich, and, in our own day, Karen Armstrong, Robert Bellah and Charles Taylor. When refined religion is thoroughly embedded, religious tolerance thrives, and often much good work is done......

I see refined religion as a halfway house. In the end, a thoroughly secular perspective, one that doesn’t suppose there to be some “higher” aspect of reality to serve as the ground of values (or as the ground of assurance that the important values can be realized), can do everything refined religion can do, without becoming entangled in mysteries and difficult problems. Most important, this positive secular humanism focuses directly on the needs of others, treating people as valuable without supposing that the value derives from some allegedly higher source. The supposed “transcendent” toward which the world’s religions gesture is both a distraction and a detour.

Polite atheism, stealth atheism, of this exsanguinatory kind makes me pine for the enthusiasm and the whiff of tent which Dawkins brings to the row.




Wednesday, 21 May 2014

A Book I probably will never read



A flurry of reviews of Min Camp by Karl Ove Knausgaard must mean that a new book in the saga has been published. More of how he stares at a cornflake which has somehow lodged in his navel. The death of the author has been greatly exaggerated. K. claims that his future as a novelist has been annihilated by leaving nothing out but as I maintained in my note on Pelle the ConquerorPelle the Conqueror this is a metaphysical fallacy. There is always more to know and for you to find out. The description of an event does not exhaust its meaning contrary to the positivist slogan that the meaning of a statement is the method of its verification. Or was it that the method of its verification is the meaning of a statement? Do those expressions only mean the same thing if verification and meaning are singular. One meaning, one verification. One life, one telling of it and the rest is silence.

On the other hand maybe my navel really is a portal which is to say that it is an ‘omphalos’ (Gk.navel or centre) as Delphi when it was thought to be the centre of the earth. Buck Mulligan proposed the Martello Tower as a new omphalos which is appropriate as it was built to guard against naval attack. That novel which is a perfect copy of its eternal form has sport with ‘the ineluctable modality of the visible’ by showing moyen sensuel Bloom to be a hero inside out. One due a re-read, the other a never-read.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Prince Andrei says goodby to his father. (from War and Peace by Tolstoy)


I may have read War and Peace twice in the last century but my pleasant experience reading it this time was the discovery of how much of I had forgotten. Now that I am an old literary general I can summon troops of tropes but I find them insufficient against the effortless transition between domestic scheming and European History. I am outflanked by emotion. The farewell between the old Prince Bolkonsky and his son Prince Andrei in its simplicity said more and moved me more than any conscious attempt to draw tears.

I am reading the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation but as the Maudes translation does not differ significantly (in this section) and is available on Gutenberg I reproduce it:

The coach with six horses was waiting at the porch. It was an autumn night, so dark that the coachman could not see the carriage pole. Servants with lanterns were bustling about in the porch. The immense house was brilliant with lights shining through its lofty windows. The domestic serfs were crowding in the hall, waiting to bid good-by to the young prince. The members of the household were all gathered in the reception hall: Michael Ivanovich, Mademoiselle Bourienne, Princess Mary, and the little princess. Prince Andrew had been called to his father's study as the latter wished to say good-by to him alone. All were waiting for them to come out.
When Prince Andrew entered the study the old man in his old-age spectacles and white dressing gown, in which he received no one but his son, sat at the table writing. He glanced round.
"Going?" And he went on writing.
"I've come to say good-by."
"Kiss me here," and he touched his cheek: "Thanks, thanks!"
"What do you thank me for?"
"For not dilly-dallying and not hanging to a woman's apron strings. The Service before everything. Thanks, thanks!" And he went on writing, so that his quill spluttered and squeaked. "If you have anything to say, say it. These two things can be done together," he added.
"About my wife... I am ashamed as it is to leave her on your hands..."
"Why talk nonsense? Say what you want."
"When her confinement is due, send to Moscow for an accoucheur.... Let him be here...."
The old prince stopped writing and, as if not understanding, fixed his stern eyes on his son.
"I know that no one can help if nature does not do her work," said Prince Andrew, evidently confused. "I know that out of a million cases only one goes wrong, but it is her fancy and mine. They have been telling her things. She has had a dream and is frightened."
"Hm... Hm..." muttered the old prince to himself, finishing what he was writing. "I'll do it."
He signed with a flourish and suddenly turning to his son began to laugh.
"It's a bad business, eh?"
"What is bad, Father?"
"The wife!" said the old prince, briefly and significantly.
"I don't understand!" said Prince Andrew.
"No, it can't be helped, lad," said the prince. "They're all like that; one can't unmarry. Don't be afraid; I won't tell anyone, but you know it yourself."
He seized his son by the hand with small bony fingers, shook it, looked straight into his son's face with keen eyes which seemed to see through him, and again laughed his frigid laugh.
The son sighed, thus admitting that his father had understood him. The old man continued to fold and seal his letter, snatching up and throwing down the wax, the seal, and the paper, with his accustomed rapidity.
"What's to be done? She's pretty! I will do everything. Make your mind easy," said he in abrupt sentences while sealing his letter.
Andrew did not speak; he was both pleased and displeased that his father understood him. The old man got up and gave the letter to his son.
"Listen!" said he; "don't worry about your wife: what can be done shall be. Now listen! Give this letter to Michael Ilarionovich. * I have written that he should make use of you in proper places and not keep you long as an adjutant: a bad position! Tell him I remember and like him. Write and tell me how he receives you. If he is all right—serve him. Nicholas Bolkonski's son need not serve under anyone if he is in disfavor. Now come here."

He spoke so rapidly that he did not finish half his words, but his son was accustomed to understand him. He led him to the desk, raised the lid, drew out a drawer, and took out an exercise book filled with his bold, tall, close handwriting.
"I shall probably die before you. So remember, these are my memoirs; hand them to the Emperor after my death. Now here is a Lombard bond and a letter; it is a premium for the man who writes a history of Suvorov's wars. Send it to the Academy. Here are some jottings for you to read when I am gone. You will find them useful."
Andrew did not tell his father that he would no doubt live a long time yet. He felt that he must not say it.
"I will do it all, Father," he said.
"Well, now, good-by!" He gave his son his hand to kiss, and embraced him. "Remember this, Prince Andrew, if they kill you it will hurt me, your old father..." he paused unexpectedly, and then in a querulous voice suddenly shrieked: "but if I hear that you have not behaved like a son of Nicholas Bolkonski, I shall be ashamed!"
"You need not have said that to me, Father," said the son with a smile.
The old man was silent.
"I also wanted to ask you," continued Prince Andrew, "if I'm killed and if I have a son, do not let him be taken away from you—as I said yesterday... let him grow up with you.... Please."
"Not let the wife have him?" said the old man, and laughed.
They stood silent, facing one another. The old man's sharp eyes were fixed straight on his son's. Something twitched in the lower part of the old prince's face.
"We've said good-by. Go!" he suddenly shouted in a loud, angry voice, opening his door.
"What is it? What?" asked both princesses when they saw for a moment at the door Prince Andrew and the figure of the old man in a white dressing gown, spectacled and wigless, shouting in an angry voice.
Prince Andrew sighed and made no reply.
"Well!" he said, turning to his wife.
And this "Well!" sounded coldly ironic, as if he were saying,: "Now go through your performance."
"Andrew, already!" said the little princess, turning pale and looking with dismay at her husband.
He embraced her. She screamed and fell unconscious on his shoulder.
He cautiously released the shoulder she leaned on, looked into her face, and carefully placed her in an easy chair.
"Adieu, Mary," said he gently to his sister, taking her by the hand and kissing her, and then he left the room with rapid steps.
The little princess lay in the armchair, Mademoiselle Bourienne chafing her temples. Princess Mary, supporting her sister-in-law, still looked with her beautiful eyes full of tears at the door through which Prince Andrew had gone and made the sign of the cross in his direction. From the study, like pistol shots, came the frequent sound of the old man angrily blowing his nose. Hardly had Prince Andrew gone when the study door opened quickly and the stern figure of the old man in the white dressing gown looked out.
"Gone? That's all right!" said he; and looking angrily at the unconscious little princess, he shook his head reprovingly and slammed the door.


Saturday, 17 May 2014

David Hume sets the agenda


John Heil in an interview in 3am:The Universe as we find it
JH: Substances, not properties, have powers. Objects do what they do because they are what they are (and their circumstances are what they are, a qualification I shall henceforth omit for ease of exposition). The tomato rolls, makes a circular concave impression in the carpet, looks spherical, feels spherical because it is spherical. The tomato’s sphericality is a quality, and it is by virtue of possessing this quality that the ball does or would do what it does. If the ball’s sphericality is a property of the ball, this property is a powerful quality.
Most of us are trained to start with Humeanism and adjust. Humeanism is the default. You need a good reason move from a default position. If you start with the idea that properties are qualities, and that objects do what they do because they are governed by laws of nature, the addition of powers will seem gratuitous. We have laws. Laws explain why objects behave as they do. Who needs powers?

A.E. Taylor likewise finds David Hume a sort of point from which the modern begins to qualify from. Like the Irish Labour Party a few years ago after losing a multitude of seats – 'we may have lost but we set the agenda'. In philosophy however setting the agenda is a sort of victory.

When we ask how, if a " thing" is merely the series or sum of its attributes, and possesses no underlying unity to which the attributes belong, the whole of our ordinary language about things comes to be constructed on the contrary assumption, how it is that we always talk and think as if every " bundle " of attributes were owned by something of which we can say that it has the quality, we are met by the phenomenalist with a reference to Psychology. Owing to the fact, which Phenomenalism and Associationism are content to accept as ultimate, that sensible qualities are always presented to our perception in definite groups, it is argued that the thought of any one member of such a group is enough to revive by association the thought of the other qualities which have regularly been presented simultaneously with itself or in immediate succession to it. Hence, because thus associated in our perception, the group comes naturally, though illegitimately, by one of those mental fictions of which Hume treats so fully, to be thought of as one, though it is actually a discrete multiplicity. The unity of the thing thus lies not in itself, but solely in our way of perceiving and thinking.
(from Elements of Metaphysics)



Thursday, 15 May 2014

God's Heart


Having had a very mild winter and also warm weather in early spring the growth is remarkable. The calendula (marigold) survived and is now blooming, winter onions are flourishing and the young chestnut has put out 18 inch long new growth. Emboldened I have done a lot of sowing and planting. Leeks (Carentan) have been moved from trays to a nursery bed awaiting their final home when the early potatoes are cleared. Early broad beans are up and today I sowed some more to follow on. Petit Pois are showing well.

My stately home garden cuttings have struck. I never go anywhere without a sharp penknife. Call it opportunistic pruning; no herbaceous border is safe from my predation but I will occasionally buy a plant. If everybody did it – but they don't and it doesn't damage the plant.

I don't usually grow main crop potatoes but this year I was given some organic Robinta with good disease resistance. It will be interesting to see how they do. They are supposed to crop well but our soil is a bit light and potash deficient. I have some cheap organic potato fertiliser from one of those 'dealz' stores. The rather etiolate blackberry bushes for a mere €1,75 are recovering. The old established gooseberries are heavily laden and the plum that I pruned radically survived and is showing some fruit.

Tomorrow a new bed will have to be dug. The verse on kitsch garden statuary, (italic) I bring to ye by the power of the internet:

God's Garden

THE Lord God planted a garden
In the first white days of the world,
And He set there an angel warden
In a garment of light enfurled.

So near to the peace of Heaven,
That the hawk might nest with the wren,
For there in the cool of the even
God walked with the first of men.

And I dream that these garden-closes
With their shade and their sun-flecked sod
And their lilies and bowers of roses,
Were laid by the hand of God.

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,--
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.


For He broke it for us in a garden
Under the olive-trees
Where the angel of strength was the warden
And the soul of the world found ease.

Dorothy Frances Gurney

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Sentimental Education by Gustave Flaubert


Sentimental Education though saturated in cynicism still retains a notion of what is high and holy and a guiding light and principle that sustains hope in vicissitudes. Though single it comes in many forms; Louis, Napoleons, Francs and Centimes. I speak of money in the form of legacies, loans, defalcations, escroquerie,, dodgy business, usery, grand horizontalery, palm greasing and occasionally earned honestly. The banker Dambreuse has as his coat of arms:

Monsieur Dambreuse’s arms, in a velvet square were repeated on it three times. They were ‘sable, with sinister arm or, and clenched fist gauntleted argent’, with a count’s coronet and the motto: ‘By every path’.

What happened in ‘89? Was the tree of Liberty not sufficiently fertilised by the blood of aristocrats. Seemingly not because 30 years later they, the aristos, were back and the sans culottes were still pulling their long tailed shirts between their legs. Frederic Moreau the hero or anti-hero of this novel is the son of a noblewoman, an extinct line, with a small encumbered estate. In this complex novel with rapid and confusing time changes indebtedness is traced with precision. Frederic’s chagrin at finding out just how mortagaged his estates are is narrated with feeling. The spectre of employment is staring him in the face, only an heiress can save him now. However this classic French route to greatness is denied him by an unrealistic romantic passion for the wife of a friend, Jacques Arnoux. This man is one of the more attractive rascals in the book who is given roaming rights by his wife but who herself remains virtuous. According to the translator, Robert Baldick, this element in the story tracks closely an infatuation of Flaubert’s.

Frederic’s love must have been noted by the bohemian circle he moved in , his secret glances and sheep’s eyes certainly mocked though we must infer this as the centre of consciousness in the novel is Frederic’s. It is his emotional education after all and his blankness gives him an EQ of 75. He flies into the arms of a courtesan when the assignation made with Madame Arnoux is cancelled when her child is afflicted by croup. That scene where his death seems immanent is rendered beautifully:

’Yes my love, my angel, my precious!’
She went to fetch some toys, a doll, a picture-book, and spread them out on his bed to amuse him. She even tried to sing.
She started a song which she used to sing to him when she was dandling him on her knees and dressing him in his baby-clothes in that very same little tapestry chair. But he shivered along the whole length of his body, like a wave in a gust of wind, his eyeballs stood out, she thought he was going to die, and turned away to avoid seeing him.

The death of the courtesan’s child is treated as a vulgar farce. He has been with a baby farmer in the country and one suspects that the complicated debts of his mother may have caused her to neglect paying his keep. We meet with this form of infanticide in many novels of the 19th.century.

I was reading the Penguin Classics edition translated by Baldick with introduction and endnotes which elucidate the political allusions in the book which are many. Some of the cobblestones must have been hurled many times. My book bristles with post its marking fine passages. It will be re-read. That cutting of a lock of white hair at the end. Just a master stroke and there are so many like it.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Zen in the art of Carpentry


If you want to drive a nail the common sense way to do it is to aim at the head of the nail once you have set it in place with an introductory tap. You will bend or mis-hit it if you do that. No your aim must be at the terminus of the nail or the final point where the head rests on the wood. Don't even look at the head of the nail. Drive boldly and let it happen.

To cut on a bandsaw or with a hand saw look at the point just beyond where you are in the wood. Merge with your line.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Martha Nussbaum on the Stoics


The therapy they have in mind is that you can’t really improve your life without understanding what’s worth valuing and what isn’t. It would have been better if everyone learned all this in the first place, but since, according to them, people live in a highly corrupt culture, they don’t learn right values, so they have to be given therapy, which consists in weaning them away from money, status, competitive goods of all sorts, and this will undo the damage of anger, jealousy and so on. All of that seems reasonable; it’s only when they take it so far that they say we should lose love of children, family and so on. There I part company with them. But it doesn’t mean their methods of weaning people away from unwise values is useless.
(from an interview with Martha Nussbaum:interview
This seems so profoundly wrong when we read the Meditations or Marcus Aurelius. The first section is a account of all that he owes his parents and teachers. It is quite fulsome and there is no lack of feeling that I can discern.

In her book Upheavals of Thought she writes:
The Greek and Roman stoics had no apparent interest in childhood nor did they ask how early experiences shape the mature emotional life
I don’t see how you could qualify that statement to make it accord with the Meditations cf. meditations



Monday, 5 May 2014

Principles of Criticism


There is no conceivable way of demonstrating that someone who places Madame Bovary above Anna Karenina or considers The Ambassadors comparable in authority and magnitude to The Possessed is mistaken – that he has no 'ear' for certain essential tonalities. But such 'tone-deafness' can never be overcome by consequent argument (who could have persuaded Nietzsche, one of the keenest minds ever to deal with music, that he was perversely in error when he regarded Bizet as superior to Wagner?). There is, moreover, no use lamenting the 'non-demonstrability' of critical judgments..........

Let me, therefore, affirm my unrepentant conviction that Tolstoy and Dostoevsky stand foremost among novelists. They excel in comprehensiveness of vision and force of execution. Longinus would, quite properly have spoke of 'sublimity'. They possessed the power to construct through language 'realities' which are sensuous and concrete, yet pervaded by the life and mystery of the spirit. It is this power that marks Matthew Arnold's 'supreme poets of the world'.

(from Tolstoy or Dostoevsky by George Steiner)

This is what I would call critics patter, analogous in kind and intent to the prestidigitator's 'notice that my fingers never leave my hand'. In short, fatuous misdirection. A.E. Taylor in Elements of Metaphysics admits the difficulty of assessment of levels of reality but insists on the validity of the criteria of comprehensiveness and harmony.

So in our moral life we judge one man's character more individual than another's, either on the ground of the superior breadth of his interests, or of the superior consistency with which his interests are wrought into a self-consistent whole. The man of many interests has so far a truer individuality than the man of few, and again the man of steady purpose than the man whose energies are dissipated in seemingly conflicting pursuits. But the two criteria do not always, for our insight, coincide. An increase in variety and breadth of interests may be accompanied by a diminution in coherency of aim, and a gain in coherency of aim appears often to be bought by concentration upon a few special objects. And we should find it hard or impossible to decide, where the two aspects of individuality appear to fall thus apart, whether the man of many interests and relatively dissipated energies, or the man of few interests and intense concentration upon them, exhibits the higher individuality. For what looked like self-dissipation in the pursuit of disconnected objects might really be the systematic pursuit of a consistent purpose too wide to be clearly apprehended in its unity either by contemporary observers or by the actor himself, yet apparent
enough to the reflective historian reading the significance of a life by its whole effect upon society, and what seemed at the time the single object of the man of one idea might similarly be found in the light of the sequel to be the hasty combination of radically inconsistent aims.^
Such reflections, however, only show that our limited insight is insufficient to assign to every appearance with certainty its own place in the ordered system of appearances through which the single Reality expresses itself They do not touch our general position, that where comprehensiveness and harmony can be seen to go together, we are justified in using them as the measure of the individuality and therefore of the reality of the partial system in which we discover them.

“He knows, you know”. Others rely on physiological signals, 'chills', 'goosebumps', and suchlike premonitory shivers. Myself I get a warm feeling in the centre of my body towards the Hridaya chakra that I associate with coherence, order and harmony.

Behind the Tuileries, the sky took on the same colour as the slates. The trees in the gardens formed two huge masses, tinged with purple at the top. The gas-lamps were lit; and the Seine, a greenish colour as far as the eye could see, was torn into strips of silvery silk by the piles of the bridges.
(from Sentimental Education by Gustave Flaubert)

You don't need to be a clever Lycée boy like Steiner doing explication de texte to get that. Yes “ses raisons” but there are criteria internalised through the attentive reading of “the best which has been thought and said”. That may even apply to the last episode of Mad Men,(The Monolith) written by Erin Levy. At a first look I thought it quite good. Why is Peggy Olsen looking like Ayn Rand? Is it the State asylum haircut or is that just my projection?