Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Detached from a Context

Virginia Woolf wrote, "In books as in people, graces and charms are delightful for the moment but become insipid unless they are felt to be part of some general energy or quality of character." Should we be led to imagine that some general energy of corroborees (or quieter colloquies) doesn't endure? Surely on the one hand we're free to take Woolf's point and still attend to qualities of characters, to an emergent sense of a juxtaposition, temporal conjunction or an interpersonal exchange. On the other hand, there is a risk of becoming distracted. We have so few opportunities in life to really get to know another person.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 7:20 AM.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

non sequiter:

Just came across this article by the late Ivan Illich (one of my favorite thinkers).


“What is important for the argument is to understand that all the central concepts that I discuss
here are of profoundly western origin: health and responsibility, life and askesis ... and, God.

Theywere put in the world and became powerful through beliefs that took hundreds of years to come
into being. Only if one understands the history of health and life in their historical interconnection is there a basis for the passion with which I call for the renunciation of life. I completely agree with Dirk von Boetticher when he quotes T.S. Eliot:

Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries

Bring us farther from God and nearer to the Dust.
(Choruses from "The Rock")

Eliot here inquires about life pertaining to God, about the life of which Christ says in John 11.25: "I am the life."

Aristotle did not know about this. Aristotle knew living beings that were different from all other things because they had a "psyche." He did not know life.

As an appearance in the world, only in the eighteenth century did life acquire that dominant and exclusive significance which gave it the character of its own answer, not from God, but from the world.
Lamarck and Treviranus, who founded biology as the "science of life" in a conscious turning away
from the classifications of natural history (1801), were quite aware of the fundamental newness of
their object.

This life, which owes its origin and definitions to the world is, however, profoundly determined by western Christianity, and can only be understood as a perversion of the tradition in which the God become flesh describes himself as life, and calls everyone to this life.
That is mystery.
And every person who occupies himself seriously with almost two thousand years of history must admit that not only individual mystics but great cultures between Novgorot and Santiago de Compostela, between Upsala and Monreale, have honored this mystery.
That is simply historical reality, even for a historian who has no concept and no sense of what it means.

Just as plain and unquestionable is the derivation of the biological concept of life from the
Christian mystery.

When seen in this way, the concept of a life that can be reduced to a survival phase of the immune system is not only a caricature, not only an idol, but a blasphemy. Seen in this light, desire for responsibility for the quality of this life is not only stupid or impertinent, it is a sin.”

Non sequiter:

Also was browsing Deleuze’s ‘Bergsonism’ and rediscovered this footnote:

“In R. Ruyer, today, we find requirements analogous to those of Bergson: the appeal to an ‘inventive, mnemonic and trans-spatial potential,’ the refusal to interpret evolution in purely actual terms (c.f. his Eléments de psycho-biologie, PUF)…..

October 07, 2008 3:36 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

Just as plain and unquestionable is the derivation of the biological concept of life from the Christian mystery.

That would have to be explained to me. I have reasons for being skeptical.

October 08, 2008 8:57 AM  

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