A Day at Texas Wesleyan University

Seated outside the Student Center

This has been an unusual day at Texas Wesleyan University. Circumstances made it necessary for me to stay on campus between my 9:00 and 1:30 Ethics classes, and then to remain further for a 3:00 student conference.

I managed to make good use of the time. This is the first chance I have had to focus attention on a presentation I will make Thursday night in Tyler before a gathering of local artists.

Some of the prepared remarks I have been scribbling here in the shade outside the Student Center are presented below:

Shelton Hall. Palestine, Texas
Zephyr Station. Villa Ridge, Missouri

When I view the silent relic of what once was a thriving space filled with chatting people, I feel the same emotions as when I stand beneath the fractured columns of an ancient Greek temple or translate from the Greek a mere surviving fragment of a book.

Heidegger once wrote that before we do any actual translating, we must first translate ourselves to what a fragment says, what it is thinking. Like Hermes, we must first set foot on the distant shores of Ogygia before we can return to the land of our own language with a meaningful word.

One could probably say that I am a painter of nostalgia. The Greek word nostalgia refers to a painful memory. The painful memory I endure while standing amidst abandoned relics is the realization of loss. But if I linger there long enough, contemplating, the sense of loss will be accompanied by a sense of presence. Heidegger wrote about the “presencing” and I feel that when I paint abandoned relics.

The Anaximander Fragment, translated by Heidegger, reads that for all things that have an origin, it is necessary that they have an end. This sad observation increases my desire to record the remains of architectural structures that have functionally perished.

More tomorrow . . . Thanks for reading.

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