Friday, 16 July 2010

O Sole Mio & Other Tidbits

What necessity truly is in self-consciousness, it is for this new form of self-consciousness, in which it knows its own self to be the principle of necessity. It knows that it has the universal of law immediately within itself, and because the law is immediately present in the being-for-self of consciousness, it is called the law of the heart. ~ Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, 367.

For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? ~ Corinthians i, 3:3.

In a certain district of a certain city, at a certain hour of the early evening, an ice-cream van trundles up and down the streets, bravely chiming a tintinnabulation of O Sole Mio. It sounds like the infernal soundtrack of an Italian neo-realist film played by an enthusiastic yet incompetent steel-drum band. It has, for better or worse, forced itself upon us uninvited to become our 'theme'. It has all of the necessary qualities: sweetness, nostalgia, sadness, hope, absurdity, and a hint of distant menace.

The ice-cream van possesses a diabolic power of stealth. It arrives out of nowhere, it seems, blaring its discordant music without warning. We never see the driver. We suspect it drives itself. In fact, we never see it entirely whole: always a mere part of it as it creeps out of sight around the corner. A different ice-cream van turned up last week. It has now vanished. Perhaps the Sole Mio van has eaten it as a victorious conclusion to some night-time ice-cream war?

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Yesterday, during a long and disgracefully lazy day, we were reading Hegel aloud - rehearsing a wonderful idea we had had for an audio-book - our target audience was to be sexually frustrated Phd students who could benefit - so we thought - from a somewhat circumspect addition of a comically erotic frisson to their reading of the itselfs and for-itselfs; later we practiced on St Paul's Epistle to the Corinthians, possibly eyeing up the Christian Bookshop market - armouring ourselves with the understandable rationale that taking the word of that nasty little man in vain was no blasphemy, and hence fair game - but this was before the thunderstorm finally broke over our heads.

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