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October 06, 2011

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don't think you need to "change your life" so much as just reposition the narrative whenever possible...for instance, the next time you're at at a cocktail party and someone asks you "what do you do?", say, "about what?"...

Dear Nin, for what it's worth, you don't seem alienated to me; you seem to be (as I hope I am) a whole person committing life in the given moment, whether by washing the sheets or writing a poem. The "life" that's measured against a greater standard isn't life to me; but to risk sounding like an undergraduate, isn't that what the West is all about? "Trilling" of course has little to do with the actual man, but more with our (perhaps sentimental) projections onto what he "stands for" in us. However flawed he might have been as a person, he seems to me to stand for the whole intellectual committing to the moment in as humane a way as he could, like his colleague, Jacques Barzun. When I think of the word "Heidegger," I think less of the unreconstructed Nazi driven by recalcitrance and hypocrisy to mysticism, than of hipsters slotting the word "Heidegger" into their conversations over glasses of wine. Whatever "where Being reveals itself" meant to the actual Heidegger, it seems clear to me the word "Heidegger" itself means that to most of its users; and wherever that is, by implication, is where they are, too. I'm sorry; I didn't mean to go on like this. Our culture is trying to out-slick reality on a massive, almost overwhelming, scale; you'd be crazy not to be alienated from THAT. I just wanted to say I don't feel you or I or DL, or many many many others are alienated from ourselves. That's all.

Bill, Since I find that "what do you do?" question increasingly difficult to answer, I love your suggestion.

Nin, sorry. Was attempting solidarity, not incoherence. I shouldn't be allowed
to have the keys to the cellarette.

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