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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Haecceity! Pardon me!

haecceity
(say huy'kayuhtee)
noun Philosophy (in the philosophy of Duns Scotus) the discrete properties or characteristics of a thing which determine its individuality. Compare quiddity (def. 1). [Latin haeccitas this-ness]
- Macquarie Dictionary

Haecceity is the quality of ‘this-ness’ in a ‘thing-in-itself’. - Deleuze Studies
I wrote this on the tram the other night. I thought the Baron's discovery of an obscure word meaning 'thisness' merited not just a poem, but a whole scene out of My Fair Lady....

THE LOST SCENES OF MY FAIR LADY - THE HAECCEITY INCIDENT

PROFESSOR HENRY HIGGINS:
It’s the thisness it’s the thatness
It’s the total where-you’re-atness,
It’s the ofness of the theness,
The A-B-C and 1-2-3-ness,
It’s the most specific thingness,
This all-encompassingness -
Haecceity!

CHORUS OF CHAMBERMAIDS: (Popping out of whatever shoebox or cupboard Henry Higgins keeps chambermaids in)
Haecceity!

PROFESSOR HENRY HIGGINS:
Haecceity!

So, if you’re on-and-offing
Enough to set you coughing,
Then the nowish and the thennish
And the soonly and the whennish
And the willish and the isness
Will indicate your business -
Haecceity!

CHORUS OF CHAMBERMAIDS:
Haecceity!

PROFESSOR HENRY HIGGINS:
Haecceity!

ELIZA DOOLITTLE:
Garn!

PROFESSOR HENRY HIGGINS:
Oh, go on Eliza, it’s really quite simple, even for such an insalubrious specimen as yourself.

ELIZA DOOLITTLE:
Garn!

PROFESSOR HENRY HIGGINS:
Yes, that’s right…

ELIZA DOOLITTLE:
It’s the garnish of the garning,
Of the garning in the marning
At the offness of the offal
On wot’s me favver’s waffle,
It’s who-how-why-when-wattlish -
It’s ainting – no – it’s nottlish…
Haecceity!

CHORUS OF CHAMBERMAIDS:
Haecceity!

ELIZA DOOLITTLE:
Haecceity!

PROFESSOR HENRY HIGGINS:
Precisely!

ELIZA DOOLITTLE:
Well, I don’t like it, whatever it is, or isn’t.

PROFESSOR HENRY HIGGINS:
But Eliza, don’t you see?
It’s the little itty-itting,
The it-it-iterating,
Of this teensy-tiny-bitting,
And it’s really rather fitting,
That this should be the whatness
That concerns the fundamental thatness -
Haecceity!

CHORUS OF CHAMBERMAIDS:
Haecceity!

PROFESSOR HENRY HIGGINS:
Haecceity!

7 comments:

nailpolishblues said...

You are too clever.

TimT said...

Tram journeys can be long, you need to amuse yourself somehow!

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

"In Hartford, Hereford and Hampshire, haecceities hardly ever happen."

TimT said...

That's because they haven't been drinking their pilchard milkshakes.

Mitzi G Burger said...

I can hear the beat of those dancing feet ... in a mad rush towards a sound future for the Australian musical. Bravo!

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

Lots o' chocolate for me to eat,
Lots o' coal making lots o' 'eat,
Warm face warm 'ands warm feet,
Oh, wouldn't it be haecceity!

The Topiary Cow said...

It has a certain tram cadence.

For sure.

Moo!

Email: timhtrain - at - yahoo.com.au

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