“I do not accept any absolute formulas for living. No preconceived code can see ahead to everything that can happen in a man’s life. As we live, we grow and our beliefs change. They must change. So I think we should live with this constant discovery. We should be open to this adventure in heightened awareness of living. We should stake our whole existence on our willingness to explore and experience.”

Martin Buber



“Untitled” no longer! A reader kindly identified the woman in the photograph.

“This haunting photo is titled, “The Echo,” taken in 1868 by photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. The model is Hatty Campbell. Google “Julia Margaret Cameron” for more examples of her work, and “Hatty Campbell” for more images of this model.’

Thank you Tayler!

Quacks and jugglers

Etymological dictionaries can be uncannily prescient. While many people scoff at the idea of prophecy, I’m less certain: there appears to be a prophetic element in etymology itself:


The following is part of the actual etymology of the word “trump”. I have highlighted notable words in red:

‘”fabricate, devise” 1690s, from trump “deceive, cheat” (1510s), from Middle English trumpen (late 14c.), from Old French tromper “to deceive” of uncertain origin. Apparently from se tromper de “to mock” from Old French tromper “to blow a trumpet.” Brachet explains this as “to play the horn, alluding to quacks and mountebanks, who attracted the public by blowing a horn, and then cheated them into buying …” The Hindley Old French dictionary has baillier la trompe “blow the trumpet” as “act the fool“‘.

This etymological game lead to my exploring the word “mountback” cited above. Again, the prescience of words:

‘mountebank (n.)”a doctor that mounts a bench in the market, and boasts his infallible remedies and cures“. [Johnson], 1570s, from Italian montambanco, contraction of monta in bancoquack, juggler” literally “mount on bench” (to be seen by crowd), from monta, imperative of montare “to mount” (see mount (v.)) + banco, variant of banca “bench” (see bank (n.2)). Figurative and extended senses from 1580s.

That last sentence I highlighted simply because since the 1580’s we need no longer understand these words literally; there are those who figuratively mount their political soapboxes to boast of their infallible remedies for society’s perceived ills. They continue to fabricate, devise, deceive, cheat and mock us. With what naivety we respond to their “horn blowing”, their strident calls to buy their shabby panaceas, their toxic snake oil.

The theft of what is sacred

Martin Heidegger: Labor and Time

“If you agree that money is a substitute for time and energy, then you would also probably agree that what you sell to your employer are your “time” and “effort”. Verily, if your boss had enough time and energy to effectively manage all the affairs of the business, she or he would not need you to work for her or him. Time is expressive of a sacred aspect of your existence, in the sense that time, according to philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), is a precondition of your possibilities in life – and your life and your possibilities do not last forever here in this world. In this regard, how much does your “time” – as a measure and significance of your “being” in the world – matter to you? Your time is your treasure, and the sacrilege (from Latin sacrilegium, “theft of what is sacred”) of your time is extinction of your possibilities, of your life, of your being in the world.

“Heidegger, in his book Being and Time, considers the question: Are you “authentic”? (The word “authentic” is derived from the Greek word authentēs, meaning “author”.) In other words, are you the author of your own “time” and “being”? If you, as an employee, are alienated from your own work products, work activities, and your own being at work, you will feel a sense of inauthenticity or not belonging to the workplace – because your time at work does not belong to you and does not serve your own being, but the employer’s – who makes profit (plus the surplus) while you make only an hourly wage(without the surplus). Is your precious time worth the hourly wage you receive? Some would argue that your salary or hourly wage is a measure of how much you respect yourself, let alone how much respect your employer holds for you. How much does your employer pay you per hour? Is your existence, your short time being in this world, worth that much? Or, does the finitude of your existence and possibilities make your time infinite in value, and above all, in significance? Think about it! This is not to imply to hold resentment toward your employer, but to be conscious of your own state of “being”, not letting it go “unfelt”.

“If your workplace becomes an encagement(imprisonment) of your time, hence of your possibilities of being in the world, who is to blame? Heidegger would advise us not to be too quick to judge! And, he would insist that: a culture which confuses “being” with “having” and “time” with what is “now” – a culture which is obsessed with accumulation of entities (i.e., consumer goods) which conclusively define the culture’s spirit, orientation, values, and aspirations – is one that should alarm us. In other words, our culture, along with its fostered labor conditions, expresses the impoverishment of our ontological interest in our own existence and time.”