Careful where you step; it's a slippery slope

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By Heraclitus, Robert Burton, Charles Caleb Colton, Friedrich Nietzsche, Marie Curie, B. F. Skinner, Jean-Paul Sartre, Paulo Coelho, William Faulkner,

Aug 24, 2022
7 min read
Art

Careful where you step; it's a slippery slope

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.
— Heraclitus (535-475 BC)
What a Relief Sisyphus; An Original planksip Art Works

What a Relief, Sisyphus:

An Original planksip Art [piece that just] Work [s]

Careful where you step; it's a slippery slope

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.
— Heraclitus (535-475 BC)

The titled responsion is ubiquitous and as I caution; a slippery slope. To where? Only time will tell.

I vaguely recall an origin story of sorts, the story is about the first instance of bas-relief. The memory is so faded that I can't form the outline of the story to make any kind of coherent interpretation worthy of sharing. I have no qualms about admitting that I can't differentiate between bas-relief, relief, and the use of relief in the black-and-white image of Sisyphus pushing the rock up the exponential hill.

I realize that this isn't a mathematical equation but my use of exponential to describe the rate at which the incline moves towards the vertical plane is worth emphasizing. It's part of the story. Despite the unattainable goal of being "on the ball", the poor gaffer (old man) can't get ahead. Doomed to push or be crushed under the weight of what keeps him going, the analogy is as fitting today as it was in ancient times. The relief comes from this realization.

Sisyphus Simplified

Like dogs in a wheel, birds in a cage, or squirrels in a chain, ambitious men still climb and climb, with great labor, and incessant anxiety, but never reach the top.
Robert Burton (1577-1640)

The titled responsion is a grounded representation of the Sisyphus myth. In nature, all things are revealed.

However humbling my equivocation may sound, the "grounding" I am referring to is a metaphor for humility. If you examine my point I am repeating myself, the reason isn't circular, and the rhetoric is hopefully convincing—produced for emphasis.

For those of you that prefer the visual, art will suffice. We are visual creatures, evolved as such, and mimic incessantly. The Sisyphus meme and accompanying "captioned" responsion are more of a relief!

Responsion is a Correspondence, an ‘Entsprechen’
But can we get no closer to this absolutely determining, all-pervading word? Is Heidegger’s existential ontology expressive only in terms of elusive circularity?

Sisyphus's Nemesis

Corruption is like a ball of snow, once it's set a rolling it must increase.
— Carles Caleb Colton (1780-1832)

The titled responsion is a snowball's chance in Hell – a purgatory!

The idea at work is an already heavy bolder quickly multiplying and crushing you under the weight of its white mass. Memories are ephemeral, and so is time. Watch for it! Watch for it!!

The momentum of civic duties and responsibilities is constantly renewing and subject to the forces of corruption. Guarding against these tendencies is something that every individual must defend, first to their own consciousness and secondly to the polis they are part of.

The crushing weight of corruption and Colton's comparison to the ball of snow are interesting from the standpoint of existence. Sisyphus couldn't possibly be doomed to push the bolder for eternity unless his being contained the essence of incorruptible virtue. On second thought, perhaps it is the constant workload that he is under that prevents him from considering corruption of any sort.

Suffer! ?

To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.
— Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

The titled responsion is really just a pastiche towards a man that I often come back to for perspective. The punctuation is because Nietzsche is so confident in his use of such expressive techniques in his writing.

But I have to point out that I am not a fan of Nietzsche. His philosophy is perverse and uninspiring. This doesn't mean that it doesn't have value, nor does it mean that we shouldn't read his writing. I suggest that you discover the excellent writing of Nietzche on your own. For me, the man lacked a sense of goodness that I like to refer to as impregnated virtue. The "impregnated" description of virtue is necessary only to harken back to a Socratic ideal and midwifery of sorts.

Uphill Battles All Ways!

I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy.
— Marie Curie (1867-1934)

The titled responsion plays on the imaginable, yet impossible. We know that hills can not be uphill both ways, and yet we can imagine it as so. Better yet, there is some wisdom to be extrapolated from this form of humility.

Nowadays we digress to define progress as if it matters. To some, this approach offers some clarity despite the arrows of time pulling us in the direction of historical reflection. Some propose an end to history. This would be a travesty of sorts and the end of humanity as we know it, a negation into oblivion and beyond. Beyond is the afterthought you should pay attention to, what lies after words is a lie—complete and utter silence.  

What a Relief!

Clocks slay time... time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.
— William Faulkner (1897-1962)

The titled responsion refers to the oblivious state of mind we experience when time is no longer part of our sense perception apparatus.

Don't push me; I am close to the edge; a rap effigy from yesteryear. Backsliding and apostasy take time. Attentive attenuation away from the mechanical servitude of society is silence interrupted. Tic-Toc, can you hear the clock slayer?

Failure Admits Defeat

A failure is not always a mistake, it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying.
— B. F. Skinner (1904-1990)

The titled responsion is a perversion in that failing to acknowledge failure is a perverse for-me of ignorance.

Removing ethics from the equation, "best" refers to an ideal, Ionic in origin and steeped in the irony of a half-life beyond decay and everlasting through the transmission of information. Well, that's the theory with Thales of Miletus as the father of this materialism.

And at 4:20, its Game Over

Three o'clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do.
Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)

The titled responsion is a rather plebian reference to that time later in the day when we are stuck in the weeds.  

An afternooner is always an option for those partnered to participate. For those without such a luxury, the hard work is always ahead of us, bearing down on the realities we tell. Don't let the fictional fathers and false profits dictate our behavior, instead act as if they do. We all should know better than that!

A Passing Grade is an Uphill Battle

There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.
Paulo Coelho (1947-present)

The titled responsion should make you think about the fear of failure. Don't stop pushin that rock!

For me, dreaming of the impossible isn't something that comes from the fear of failure but I could be wrong. Dreaming an impossible dream as a result of the fear of failure is a coping mechanism and not the quality of a true dreamer. I realize that this is only a variation of the true Scottsman fallacy and that I am drawing a false equivocation. I also realize that the thinking that I am participating in is pure conjecture, responding in kind to the words of Coelho.

Regardless of the grade in which the road ahead of you is paved, we all face a battle of sorts. Some of us have the benefit of employing the modern devices (vices) of technology, while others are more akin to the hunter-gatherers of our ancestors. Is this what Prometheus envisioned for the human species and for which Zeus punished his friend?

I think I see the culture vultures circling again.  

What a Relief Sisyphus; An Original planksip Art Works

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