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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Why Bother

Beckett fact no. 18.

Arnold Geulincx, seventeenth-century Belgian philosopher. Want me to tell you about him? Really though, why bother? There'd be a certain Geulincxian logic to that, just sitting here doing nothing and sulking while you tap your fingers. As a good post-Cartesian, Geulincx struggled with the question of mind-body relations. When I type the words 'Why bother?' what makes them appear on the screen in front of me and on my retina? Divine intervention, that's what. My being bothered to do it or not doesn't come into it. If I'm telling you this it's because God is making it happen, no other reason. I'm as free in all this as Molloy is, in the image he remembers from Geulincx, to crawl 'towards the East, along the deck' on a boat going west.

And then there's the snappy little dictum of Geulincx's that Murphy remember in its original 'beautiful Belgo-Latin': ubi nihil vales, ibi nihil velis. Where you're worth nothing, there you're worth nothing. Might come in handy if you ever find yourself stuck for a concentration camp motto. An ivy-league concentration camp of course. But you'd still make them suffer, higher degrees or not.

A doctor once said to me, about a large spot or boil or something on my epidermis: ubi pus ibi vacuit, where there's a large spot on your epidermis you can always be relied to squeeze it.

It's never the same pus from one second to the next, as Estragon says in Godot.

His name is pronounced hyoo-links, by the way.

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