Tuesday, August 26, 1952

Henry Bugbee says “philosophy is in the end an approximation of the poem,” a statement which, of course, reminds me of “lyrical philosophy.” Before he wrote these words, he mentioned that Williams Carlos Williams said that writing a poem involves moving between one perception to another instantly. This should be philosophy then, according to Bugbee.

He differentiates this from usual “research,” which involves a lot of ”tilling.” This “tilling” may actually bury that which wants to come out.1 What wants to come out is insight and insight comes out suddenly (insight cannot be predetermined). Bugbee speaks of insight as having a life of its own. It has to be allowed to grow organically. When one moulds it into theory or makes it public, one starts to lose it.

Therefore, Bugbee’s admonition is just to write everything down. When they come, write them down without thinking about how they will add up. Just flow. Like a poem, move from one perception to another. And this reminds me a lot of Henry David Thoreau. This is also how he saw insights and perhaps why he valued his journal because it is there where the first development or capture of insight comes from.

This makes me think about the seeds (i.e., field notes I take while walking and fleeting notes I take when reading). I need to publish and share them too, but I don’t want to share my daily notes. So what I might try to do is to create separate notes for them. Connect them in the daily note but separate them. These will be the seeds collected on a specific tag.


Bugbee, H. (1999). The Inward Morning: A Philosophical Exploration in Journal Form. The University of Georgia Press.


  1. This reminds me of the metaphor I am using for my entire philosophical journey: my forest garden of the mind.