High Tide

The combination of an inarguable Northeast wind of 24 Km/hr and a predicted high tide at 1:16 PM did not bode well for a late morning cycle on the beach. I dawdled in bed until close to 8:30 am this morning. Even after my immediate performance of ablutions I corrupted the regular breakfast agenda by reading a lengthy article published by the Berggruen Institute in a magazine entitled Noēma. I was strangely overcome with the necessity to submit my personal take on the editorial article.

In 2010, Nicolas Berggruen and Nathan Gardels sat down with a group of scholars, business leaders and political veterans in California to contemplate the economic and political stresses caused by the global financial crisis, the widespread perception of failing political institutions and Western democracies and the question of how China’s rise would affect international cooperation and governance in the 21st century.

I call it strange because I have no precise idea how or when I happened upon the Noēma site in the first place though I do recall having investigated the meaning behind the name:

The word noema (plural: noemata) derives from the Greek word νόημα meaning “thought”, or “what is thought about”. The philosopher Edmund Husserl used noema as a technical term in phenomenology to stand for the object or content of a thought, judgement, or perception, but its precise meaning in his work has remained a matter of controversy.

Noema is in the OED, which has shown its use for more than three centuries. It first was used in English in the field of rhetoric to denote “a figure of speech whereby something stated obscurely is nevertheless intended to be understood or worked out.” In other words, a noema in rhetoric is obscure speech or speech that only yields meaning upon detailed reflection.

Peacham’s 1577 Garden of Eloquence used it this way, “Noema, when we doe signify some thing so privily that the hearers must be fayne to seeke out the meaning by long consideration.”

The substance of my feedback was that the article was abstruse.

Dear Sir:

My brief review of your article has inspired the following quick notes:

1.  Your language immediately identifies you as a “leftist” not because of any policy but the nature of the language itself; viz., “Like the homeostasis of all organisms, governance is the regulator, arbiter and navigator of human affairs.”  It might have been said instead, “Like the mechanism of all living creatures, human affairs are ruled by their natural internal conditions.” This may appear to be a small point but in order to broaden your audience to those of less education and social experience, you have to speak or write in terms which are understandable, not esoteric but exoteric.  I view this as a common complaint of the Democratic party; that is, that it is only for free-thinking, educated people – which in turn translates to, “Blah, blah, blah”.

2.  You appear to be consumed by the strength of logic and reason.  Clearly these are not the underlying sources which energize government (and, by your own analogy, people). It is all very well to appraise “elevatory” government but the reality as we all know or suspect is much different.  I accept that logic and reason are better but you fail to address the elephant in the room if you ignore the strength and influence of power and position.  Once again this succeeds to distance your so-called “liberal” views from what so many other identify as the reality – namely, rapacity. Bernie Sanders is at least very clear about what needs to be done, a message he pointedly delivers without parenthetical philosophic views.

3.  Generally when I listen to Americans talk about themselves, whether Democrat or Republican, I never hear either talking about what really motivates either.  If for example the Democrats presume (without actually saying so) that many Republicans are driven by white supremacy; that police are driven by power; that the changing demographics of America are ruining America as seen in the former 1950s model (white male supremacy, little woman at home in the kitchen, working class primarily black, white TV and news), then they should talk about those motives and attempt then to understand why anyone would vote for Trump.  It pains me that CNN and FOX NEWS never address exactly why they voted one way or another; instead the themes of both parties are only to demonize the other.

Clearly I haven’t the doctoral view of addressing or assessing things. But I persist in my belief that if we really understand something, then we can explain it in clear and simple terms. The goal of language is not to fool others at a dinner party. Even Oscar Wilde with all his intelligence discovered that clever language is merely an entertainment for the rich and powerful.

Professor Henry Higgins:

Look at her, a prisoner of the gutter,
Condemned by every syllable she ever uttered.
By law she should be taken out and hung,
For the cold-blooded murder of the English tongue.

Fortified by this private exposition – and a sliced Golden Delicious apple, steel cut oats with precisely 5 prunes and Orange Blossom honey, ham and cheese – we resolved to venture forth.  Following a summary consideration of the alternatives, we decided upon Tower Beach Club along the pathway south of the golf club.  The initial proposal was to return home through the golf club.  It did not however end that way.  When I got to Tower Beach Club I succumbed to what for me is the instinctive and irresistible allure of the sea.  There – instead of beside the pool – I would recline myself into the blazing sun. 

We are now upon the eve of our departure to the Florida Keys.  Our first destination is New Smyrna Beach (nearby our former haunt on Daytona Beach Shores).  The motive for this stopover is solely to enable us to drive along A1A instead of i95.  It makes for a longer drive but a more enjoyable one in my opinion. We relish the views, the variable small towns and cheap (but delicious) beach restaurants along the North Atlantic Ocean. Truth be told, I also find my pleasure driving the car improves with the slower traffic. Though I attach no significance to it, this trip was initially touted by His Lordship as a delayed celebration of my birthday in early December when we arrived on Hilton Head Island. If that were the case then I have somewhat less hesitation in adopting these seeming diversions which cultivate my personal tastes and preferences.

While I am not at all anxious to leave Hilton Head Island, I am excited to see the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico aligning the Florida Keys.  Nor is the attraction a mere distinction without a difference.  My amateur photographic interest is instantly propelled by the singular views of the sea from the Overseas Highway. Meanwhile we have successfully exhausted our stores here on Hilton Head Island. And we have packed what little we feel obliged to bring, but purposively including the new N95 masks to protect against Governor Ron deSantis’ dubious intellect. Tomorrow morning, early, energized by a Golden Delicious apples, we’ll set off on another of our trifling episodes from which I quite honestly derive untold, irrepressible satisfaction. I cannot help but see the exploit as another of the fulfilling chapters of our undiminished confederacy over the past 26 years!