coromandal


so we won’t die of Truth
June 27, 2012, 11:47 pm
Filed under: the sweet life, unseen world | Tags: , ,

We have our Arts so we won’t die of Truth.

Friedrich Nietzsche

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ask, heed, respond, agree

To live is to converse.  Sounds glib, until you ask yourself how many people in your life you have a vital, clear, continuing verbal relationship with.  Some people do, but a lot do not; I include myself in the latter.  I have short intense wranglings, but rarely life long explications.

There is a history of dialogic relationships – friends who chat – in literature: Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, Iago and Othello, Holmes and Watson, Vladimir and Estragon, Lodovico Settembrini and Leo Naphta, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern among the best known.  A contemporary conversation worth checking out is that between Lars Iyer and W. – a philosophic and funny wrangle between two UK philosophy professors – in Iyer’s books Spurious and Dogma.

Here is a good description – by the philosopher Bakhtin – of how dialogue is the essential act of communion that gives us life, the medium by which we are inducted into it, our ticket to what he calls the world symposium:

“Truth is not born nor is it to be found inside the head of an individual person, it is born between people collectively searching for truth, in the process of their dialogic interaction”

“The single adequate form for verbally expressing authentic human life is the open-ended dialogue. Life by its very nature is dialogic. To live means to participate in dialogue: to ask questions, to heed, to respond, to agree, and so forth. In this dialogue a person participates wholly and throughout his life: with his eyes, lips, hands, soul, spirit, with his whole body and deeds. He invests his entire self in discourse, and this discourse enters into the dialogic fabric of human life, into the world symposium.”

Mikhail Bakhtin, Problems of Dostoevski’s Poetics

Dialogic Tectonic, Scott Francisco



love not possession
January 24, 2011, 4:41 pm
Filed under: brave new world, the sweet life | Tags: , , , , , ,

Here is a definition of philosophy by Critchley which is quite democratic.  It wrestles the discipline out of the iron grip of the intelligentsia of the day – sophistry – and presents it transparently for anyone and everyone who will have it.  It says it can’t be owned or quantified, and rather it is a quest, a procession toward friendship and knowledge and truth.

Last month I was sitting in the office of a dean of a school, pitching a new course.  I was making a case for a connection between high energy consumption and outdated property development ideas, and I happened to mention blogs among other media as a source for my observations.  And got a wrinkled nose from the university administrator.

He’s in his 50s and has a PhD in history and a blog simply isn’t a good source of information.  His retiscence protects quality; and it also commodifies and controls sources of knowledge.  The new media tends toward democracy, shattering that block between the academy and people.  Maybe like the church replacing it’s Latin liturgy for the peasant lingua franca.  The sudden new knowledge is a flush of love.

From the book:

So philosophy begins with a critique of the Sophists; the Sophists are those people who claim to know and offer to exchange knowledge for a fee.  Philosophy begins with a critique of Sophistry and its claims to knowledge.  In place of the sophistical pretensions to wisdom, philosophy offers a love of wisdom, a philia, an orientation of the soul towards the true, which is not the possession of the true.  So philosophy begins with love in a non-erotic sense:  a kind of friendship, usually between men, usually between an older man and a younger man.

How to Stop Living and Start Worrying, Simon Critchley



annunciation

Here are three works by the photographer Gregory Crewdson, all untitled, set in the generic suburb, landscapes and portraits, each with strong beams of light.  They question our normative assumptions of what is real by showing meta real events.

The first is of a suburban neighborhood at dusk with stacks of railway ties in the foreground and several porch lights just on for the night.  There are three meta real lights:  the beam, the spot in the forground and the tree in the background.  All three light abjectly uninteresting subjects.

The second is a portrait of a woman perhaps in a dream, in her night clothes, simultaneously in her garden and in her kitchen.  She is a flesh and blood woman, fertile and organized. We see her in a meta real moment: conceivably the police have arrived, but more likely God or the Truth based on the intensity of the light.

The third is a pregnant woman in her yard at dusk in the suburbs, in the kiddy pool which her husband or boyfriend is filling with a hose while a friend sleeps on the lawn nearby.  The spot light is again extra human, like a renaissance annunciation:  a miracle birth in the yard.

Each image presents a narrative that collapses the distance between the banal and the transcendent wherein lies its power.

Untitled, from the series Twilight, Gregory Crewdson

untitled, Gregory Crewdson

untitled (pregnant woman/pool), Gregory Crewdson