Given Being

What does poetry have to do with philosophy? Well, consider certain words that live their lives in the conversations of philosophers. Shouldn’t poets know how to play the whole piano?

Take ‘being’: poets should be able to use that word mindfully,?in full awareness of its multiple usages and ambiguities. And then certain phrases, like ‘given being,’ where idioms cast light on dark places in all too often univocal concepts.

‘Given being’: that is, given the irreducible presence of being in consciousness, what follows? That is, being-as-not a construction of thought but an irreducible primordial sine qua non (since nothing comes from nothing and nothing has relevance only in light of the somethingness of being).

And there you go, the grammar of an ordinary word leads into the complexities and finesses of the fidelities of thought, anciently called philosophy.

Author: Tom D'Evelyn

Tom D'Evelyn is a private editor and writing tutor in Cranston RI and, thanks to the web, across the US and in the UK. He can be reached at D'Evelyn has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Before retiring he held positions at The Christian Science Monitor, Harvard University Press, Boston University and Brown University. He ran a literary agency for ten years, publishing books by Leonard Nathan and Arthur Quinn, among others. Before moving to Portland OR he was managing editor at Single Island Press, Portsmouth NH. He blogs at and other sites.

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