cut paper assemblages by

Francis Raven

Abstraction is a Luxury You Cannot Afford



Abstraction is a Luxury You Cannot Afford
An Argument

We need to more firmly staple ourselves to the reality principle, for if we do not what we believe will simply fly away, becoming opinions brushed into a pile via the motion of a fat man’s hand carelessly gesturing that he is finished with all of the pieces, that he will now build a whole. But to build a whole is to have a picture in your mind beforehand, a picture that is behind the reality you see. That is, you need an abstraction. Such an abstraction (appropriately placed) implies a complete metaphysics, a method of separating being from becoming, body from mind, something from nothing, negation from assertion…It becomes the reality in which you live; or at the very least the reality designed by an inspired architect; the reality you can view from a safe distance. Unfortunately, you can’t keep it all in your mind just from a quick glance at a museum, it’s too abstract to remember; therefore, you must live with it; therefore, you must own it, but you cannot afford it (you are poor, poor of spirit) which is precisely why you won’t be piecing together the whole in this lifetime.

Francis Raven is a graduate student in philosophy at Temple University. His books include Provisions (Interbirth, 2009), 5-Haifun: Of Being Divisible (Blue Lion Books, 2008), Shifting the Question More Complicated (Otoliths, 2007), Taste: Gastronomic Poems (Blazevox 2005) and the novel, Inverted Curvatures (Spuyten Duyvil, 2005). Francis lives in Washington DC; you can check out more of his work at his website:


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