R.W. Emerson (via mycolorbook)
You know, I’m trying to write my dissertation right now and I somehow can’t quite convince myself of this. There’s something else, not just “things” and their “nobility/fineness/goodness” and “action/completion.”
The reward depends on believing it worthwhile, believing yourself accomplished, believing others can derive some benefit now or later. “Well” is the key word in Emerson’s quote. Ironically, my work concerns nobility in ancient thought, and I’ve become too damn good at seeing where we hide our personal standards in the name of objectivity.
Hans-Georg Gadamer (via crematedadolescent)
Gadamer is infinitely more brilliant than I’ll ever be, but I would never say “answer” in terms of understanding a text. Most of all, I have my doubts about “the question.”
We understand a text when we can articulate an intelligent question about it. The text may not provide an answer; in some cases, it is woeful and doesn’t even understand what it may be trying to do.
Nor is understanding a text seeing the whole of a text. This sounds strange, given that close-reading is an attempt to articulate a whole, but I think it’s something I’ve learned through experience. The trick is not to summarize a text and say “it means x, because here’s the question or context it addresses.” The trick is to be able to keep the text alive in your mind and someone else’s mind, to keep the questions driving it alive. If you can get an intelligent question, you can go through the chain of reasons, the million other questions, that made it. You can understand in terms of trying to see how the author saw.
This paper isn’t that hard but it sure is provocative. Some rather controversial metaphors are examined at length, and the themes discussed involve tensions where we’d rather go “lalalalala” and plug our ears. In particular, I’ve been thinking a lot about how “shame” works in the Bible: it has two functions which are complementary only to a degree.
Presented to you because the close reading of Paul, Genesis, Plato and Aristophanes is fantastic. My own specialized concern with this paper comes from something previous I worked on, Plato’s Minos: http://www.ashokkarra.com/2012/01/the-relevance-of-platos-minos/
I’m trying to get a wiki started. Notable: the utter lack of resources online by name scholars. This is a good thing - it means that as dissertations and papers by lesser names are reviewed, a lot more attention goes around, a lot of people benefit. But the wiki’s gotta get started.
Theodor Adorno in ‘Aesthetic Theory’ (via ciaramariezz)
Alright. Let’s talk about this a bit.
I’m assuming what Adorno means is something like this: Art is robbed of meaning when it is only tolerated, i.e. not celebrated and not reviled. At least from this quote, this is not an entirely hopeless situation. Plenty of artworks have spoken more to the future than their present.
But what is disturbing and surprising is what “affects art itself.” That we don’t care starts rubbing off on the art. It’s almost impossible to come out of a fine art show nowadays without feeling a good portion of the pieces are simply gratuitous. How else to explain name artists “branding” themselves by selling not just their pieces, but souvenirs with their logo and designs on them in the museum? One might term this decadence or capitalist excess, but I like the term “tolerance” Adorno uses better. We let this happen.
When one extends this concept of this “tolerance” to education - we only tolerate it, what we’re really warring over is results and status - it becomes really clear why we have all the degrees in the world and it still feels like no one knows anything.