Metaphysics as Bodily Knowledge (re-edited)

... metaphysics is... the expression of bodily knowledge...


To find a home in the body amid all its restless striving; to endure a feeling until it stretches fully to root; to allow an emotion to run the entirety of its course without want of interruption or regret of action –

Tell me we are not the most deranged and yet happy of men to have ever walked the earth – we men of the body – last of all men, I am sure.


Aestheticism is the “development of bodily awareness”


The cultivation of aesthetic taste deserves to be torn from its esoteric throne and scourged its enigmatic allure. Despite my many shortcomings as a thinker, on this point I will not be shaken:

Metaphysics is the expression of bodily knowledge and the awareness of life as it unfolds in the timepiece of flesh.

The Raft of the Medusa (French: Le Radeau de la Méduse ) is an oil painting of 1818–1819 by the French Romantic painter and lithographer Théodore Géricault (1791–1824). Completed when the artist was 27, the work has become an icon of French Romanticism. At 491 cm × 716 cm (16' 1" × 23' 6"), it is an over-life-size painting that depicts a moment from the aftermath of the wreck of the French naval frigate Méduse, which ran aground off the coast of today's Mauritania on 2 July 1816. On 5 July 1816, at least 147 people were set adrift on a hurriedly constructed raft; all but 15 died in the 13 days before their rescue, and those who survived endured starvation and dehydration and practised cannibalism. The event became an international scandal, in part because its cause was widely attributed to the incompetence of the French captain. Géricault chose to depict this event in order to launch his career with a large-scale uncommissioned work on a subject that had already generated great public interest. The event fascinated him, and before he began work on the final painting, he undertook extensive research and produced many preparatory sketches. He interviewed two of the survivors and constructed a detailed scale model of the raft. He visited hospitals and morgues where he could view, first-hand, the colour and texture of the flesh of the dying and dead. As he had anticipated, the painting proved highly controversial at its first appearance in the 1819 Paris Salon, attracting passionate praise and condemnation in equal measure. However, it established his international reputation, and today is widely seen as seminal in the early history of the Romantic movement in French painting.

The Raft of Medusa, Jean Louis Theodor



“I will not be ashamed of our work, no matter how fluid and imperfect.”


“I will not be ashamed of my own body, no matter how fluid, imperfect.”


Perhaps the sole enduring value that alternative states of mind supply is in the evocation of contrast they elicit, namely, when placed alongside one’s regular state of mind, the starkness of which has the potential to awaken one to the psychological qualities that normally predominate; awareness that – if taken from a broad and distant enough vantage – might equip one with the tools to begin to liberate oneself from the effects such predominance usually exerts upon the faculties of man, effects which manipulate without cessation behind weighty veils of familiarity, linguistic custom and cultural overuse.

Naturally, one is still required to “sublimate” the experiences obtained from these states into a coherent existential narrative, one which may allow a man to more successfully navigate his life and world, but here again does one’s heighten awareness prove its worth, alerting the individual to the primordial need to sublimate in the first place, the initiation of which is impossible but for the experience of alternating bouts of mania and madness, depression and euphoria, zeal and boredom, mysticism and solemn rationality.  

The Barque of Dante, Eugene Delacroix

The Barque of Dante, Eugene Delacroix