Be Extreme, Extremely You

My good friend, the composer Carman Moore, whom I talk with much too rarely, wrote me a little poem many years ago.  I keep a copy of it handy wherever I’m writing, and it serves me well.  So I offer it to all of you who happen across this blog.  It’s sage advice.  And note the composer’s riffs:

Be extreme, extremely you,

Follow the good line all the way.

Then maybe it bears repeating.

Then maybe it bears variation.

Then maybe it bears offspring.

When it’s over, you’re changed.

You can never go back to where you were.

                                                   –Carman Moore

After all these long years I notice something I hadn’t considered deeply enough before: by being extremely oneself one changes .  We can never go back to who we were.  So who is this “self” that one was being so ardent to?  Maybe a daimon?

By Noelle McAfee

I am professor of philosophy at Emory University and editor of the Kettering Review. My latest book, Fear of Breakdown: Politics and Psychoanalysis, explores what is behind the upsurge of virulent nationalism and intransigent politics across the world today. My other writings include Democracy and the Political Unconscious; Habermas, Kristeva, and Citizenship; Julia Kristeva; and numerous articles and book chapters. Edited volumes include Standing with the Public: the Humanities and Democratic Practice and a special issue of the philosophy journal Hypatia on feminist engagements in democratic theory. I am also the author of the entry on feminist political philosophy in the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and well into my next book project on democratic public life.

1 comment

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