05. July 2014 · Comments Off on Being and the Abyss · Categories: NM. Princes and Kings

I have been recruited into a tribe of Hamlets.

After my freshman year I transferred to a university in Pittsburgh.

I am sitting in the office of an administrator.  He is very pleasant.  However, he has to do his job.

Look, he says, there are about eight thousand students here, and fewer than forty at one time are philosophy majors or graduate students.  All are male.  (We are in 1959.)

You would be the first and only female.

I start to say that it wasn’t my idea.  He interrupts me.  Yes, yes.  I know they want you.  Nobody doubts that you can do the work intellectually, but why would you choose this?

Take some elective courses if you like.  But major in something with more possibilities for you as a profession.  He goes on in this vein for a bit.

When he is done, I thank him.  I say that I will think about it.


Duquesne old UDuquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA


Dr. van Cronenberg tells me how he came to philosophy as a life calling.  He says that he was hiking in the Alps and fell off a cliff.  While dangling from a tree branch on a ledge, between life and death, he makes a bargain with God, or the universe.  If I am rescued, he says, it will be a sign.  I will dedicate myself to finding the true meaning of being in the world.

He tells me that I am “a natural” for philosophy.

I know what he means.  It’s not about being smart or doing well in tests.  It’s about hanging off a cliff between being and not being, breathing thin air, and demanding signs from the universe.

We speak of Being.   [Not God]  [Not Love]

It is semantics, hermeneutics, writing on invisible walls, slivers of light.

I can be here.  The core magnet that pulls me forward has been crushed thin as gossamer wings.   I can float on thin air and live on words.

It is heady stuff.




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