Friday, May 05, 2006

Philosophy's task

There is knowledge
And then there is certainty
We can lightly know a fact
It sits in mind, untroubled and untroubling,
Engendering no warmth
No strong emotion, no fear

But reality intrudes
A visceral certitude
Of consequences sure and soon
And wholly negative

Sometimes this shift
Is occasioned by events
Newsflashes from the outside world
Broadcasts from fate

And sometimes by thought
The erosion of plausible denial
The collapse of cant

Ecologists say "Extinct is forever"
Glib, tautological, as a slogan
For their very specific, very urgent cause-
They also speak a general truth

As Socrates said, philosophy's task
Is learning to die