RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition who publishes zines & physical books & electronic books & music & photography & digital art & just generally whatever feels necessary to survive this deluded earth thru Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts survival systems (Version 69, establish 14 Feb 1973). Comments encouraged.

Friday, September 4

45s on 33 – #7: “Higher Ground”

I keep an old copy of Aristotle’s Metaphysics in my bathroom, not even sure where I got it used but the thing is massively underlined. I guess whoever had the book lacked highlighters or something because all these key points are underlined in black ink, but on some pages it is literally about two-thirds of the page they underlined.
On top of this, being the book is in the bathroom of my house – an old farmhouse perhaps not functioning in the ways most Americans expect modern houses to work, there have been water stains and mildew growing here or there. Honestly, I don’t know if that was there already or joined up after it got here, but it certainly fits the possibility of post-Raven existence to become mildewed after being left in the bottom end of a sideways peach crate in his bathroom, so I’m going to give the used book the benefit of the doubt and say it’s my fault the mildew water stains are in there. But the purple-ish stains combined with the massively underlining make for beautiful pages, not so much in their original printed format but in the layers of existence that this particular copy of this book has gone through.
The confusing thing to me though is the book is so heavily underlined, but stop about midway through Book Iota (which is about halfway through the entire book). Why did somebody underline almost everything, as if this was their bible, then stop? Is the underlining person dead? Was this for a class and they just stopped giving a fuck? What happened? This really bothers me sometimes, because the first half of this copy is so heavily underlined but the second half is like a normal used book somebody would sell you, unmarked.
I generally just flip it open somewhere and read. You really can’t pick the wrong page of Aristotle’s Metaphysics. It’s an amazing book, and though complex as fuck, also really simple, sort of like how Buddhist parables are actually. Ideally, I’d like my own copy of Ibn Sina’s Metaphysics (which built off Aristotle) to have in the bathroom too, but my copy of that is checked out from a library and I ain’t trying to fuck that one up in normal Raven possessive fashion, so I keep it on my desk. Both Metaphysics are absolutely amazing works though, and I will probably study both of them for the remainder of my life.
I don’t understand the consumption of books, the ticking them off like a list, as if you have to do all these different books to show how much you have consumed of literature. I could honestly read the same ten books over and over and over for the rest of my life. Granted, it took a lot of reading to get the list down to those ten, and if you had asked me five years ago, Ibn Sina probably wouldn’t have been on the list, so there’s a positive to expanding your knowledge base, for sure. But also, books like the Metaphysics you could read once a year for the rest of your life and never get the same reading twice. That’s actually the reason Ibn Sina wrote a Metaphysics of his own, because he studied Aristotle for years and never really felt like he had a deep understanding of it, so wrote his own as a means of obtaining a better understanding. If we have visionary philosopher writers like that nowadays, they certainly don’t cross the book consumption radar too often. If you know of any, I’d love to hear who they are though.

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