Cheek to Cheek

by Jampa Dorje
20 pp, Saddle-stitched
Sebastopol , 2005
Watercolor by Lucienne Dorrance
Thuragania, a gleam in her eye, spoke next.
        “This argument is based
on two premises: What is is,
                    and what is not is not,
and I realize that A=A therefore ~A=~A is more than
        an idiosyncratic hang-up on the law of identity for you,
       Parmenides, it's an ontological
argument that
                    is, as Heidegger, if he were present, might put it,

a something
                    for which no thought
corresponds and, as such, has no
     being, existence, or reality
Believe me, a soul can experience bliss,
even in lowest level of heaven.
Here our discussion revolves around
an argument from language,
reflecting your realist view
that what names name are real.
Socrates might argue that the sail covers the man
in the same way as the day,
given definitions that determine when
a man can be said to be wholly under
the sail and when the sail can be said
to be wholly covering the man, whether the man be
[and here she drew on a small chalkboard]
or be

for, if the latter,
then it can as well be said
        that the man is covered by only
a part of the sail.
Now, if the sail is cut apart, then it could be said that the

whole part
covers the man
but not the whole sail.”

At this point, Russell jumped in.
        “The problem derives,”
                          he explained,
“from a misunderstanding of
       relative terms,
from a belief that it is a contradiction
       that if something, say A, is greater than B and less
       than C it must be both great and small, part and whole.”
“Yes,” said Thuragania,
       “the basic premise of monism
is that the real is essentially one.
       For Parmenides,
the only true being
       is the One , which cannot be divided because the whole
       is everywhere present.
That nothing changes follows
       from his argument that what is is, for
if it came into being, it is not: nor is it
       if it is going to be in the future.
Consequently, there is no change
       in Nature, as defined as things
coming into being or ceasing
       to be. And so,
to return to the sail,
       if the whole is everywhere present,
then the whole sail
covers the man,
       even if part of the man is