Monday, June 15, 2009

Homology of Silence and Cries

Montiglio tells us, speaking of ancient Greek tragedy, "Silence often heralds a sudden, and sinister, transformation of one's being, such as the emergence of a pain that cannot be told but only cried out" (Silence, p. 224). Silence and cries represent an homology, rather than an opposition, because both signify the collapse of the logos (p. 225). (I can't help think that attention to the syntagmatics of silence and crying would tell us something more.) Silences, too, are heavy and physical, carried by the body that cries or that will cry. Greek audiences, Montiglio reasons, shared an interpretation of silences "as preludes to destructive outbreaks" (p. 220). Do these vocal outbursts genuinely fail to communicate anything whatsoever? How much space do we want to allow for the incommunicable? Is anything human lastingly unintelligible?

Two aspects of Cassandra's silence apply more generally to the tragic representation of silence. First, breaking silence does not mean making contact; on the contrary, the silent character moves from silence to an incomprehensible and solitary language. Second, silence gives way to a resonant and exuberant voice that overcompensates for its absence.

(p. 216)

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posted by Fido the Yak at 2:08 PM.


Anonymous antonia said...

i always enjoyed grassi on Kassandra:

"The tragedy of Cassandra, the curse pursuing her, is based on her rationality, odd though that may sound. Since it is impossible to grasp the divine by rational methods, a failure to recognize this fact becomes a cure. Rationality also prevents the Chorus from having any communication, any dialogue, with Cassandra while she is still on a semantic plane. Her figure is uncanny because it is her rational intention to communicate timelessness to the historical and rational world; men lack the means to understand her pronouncements and illuminations by way of reason. This access can be opened only through images, metaphor, semantic speech. The "seeing" thus gains absolute precedence over the other senses in semantic language." Grassi - Rhetoric & Philosophy

June 16, 2009 3:37 AM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

Hi, Antonia. Just received a rather battered copy of Grassi's Rhetoric in the mail and started skimming through it. I find it interesting that Grassi associates rational discourse with the logic of cause and effect, and describes it as the step-by-step and the mediating, as opposed to the primary discourse which reveals itself instantaneously [exaiphnes]. But is the mantic really atemporal in every sense? Or the instant, as is often claimed? Can we imagine histories, narratives, life stories that don't assert first causes, and are both historical and semantic in Grassi's sense? I'll be raising some questions along these lines in future posts.

Is the fragility of the logos a common theme of our time. Do we learn anything about the frailty of the logos from our studies of Greek tragedy that we didn't already have a sense of? Hmm.

Thanks for the comment

June 16, 2009 9:14 PM  
Anonymous antonia said...

yes. i find this opposition between the rational and sematic language kind of interesting and problematic at the same time. even difficult to say whether it is a genuine opposition. on some level it is, but when you accept the metaphor as prior to rational language it isn't.

is the mantic atemporal. isn't the question rather why should it be temporal, or why is it necessary ofor it to be temporal? i don't think the mantic being atemporal excludes the possibility of narratives etc that don't assert first causes. the first causes problem he gets rid of via appealing to aristotle's concept of pistis which i find convincing (and in itself intriguing). and when you have pistis you have a beginning (or a foundation for the images that appear in the instantaneous moment).

Do we learn anything about the frailty of the logos from our studies of Greek tragedy that we didn't already have a sense of? Hmm.
well yes. though i should not think in the sense of kind of appealing to the Greek a socalled higher authority, but rather in getting more vocabulary (hence more perspectives or Weltansichten according to Humboldt) because of their pretty language and beautiful words and thereby getting some kind of "higher" or better broader awareness of the frailty of the logos and as Blumenberg said, attention is only another form of freedom.

June 17, 2009 2:11 AM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

"isn't the question rather why should it be temporal, or why is it necessary for it to be temporal?"

Sure. I'm interested to know whether time exists and how it does or doesn't exist. This is the background of assumptions I'm making in asking the question. "Timelessness" means to me saying both that time exists and that which is without time also exists. I think Grassi is giving us these two contrarieties in his dichotomy of speech–but I have really only begun to skim, and so to get beyond my initial presumptions.

June 17, 2009 8:24 AM  
OpenID kvond said...

Grassi: "The tragedy of Cassandra, the curse pursuing her, is based on her rationality, odd though that may sound."

Kvond: It is not so simple as that. It should be noted that Cassandra has been given her curse because she is raped by the Logos god, Apollo: "I consented to Loxias but broke my word." (Agamemnon, 1208). She refuses to submit her body to his logoriffic lust. Is this a surfeit of rationality on her part? It seems not. What are the lusts of the logos, and should one really submit oneself to them? Does one allow for instance the body to completed by logos descriptions? (He spits in her mouth, finishing a kiss, in the Pseudo-Apollodorus/Servius version.)

It is true that Kassandra's in-sense making is due to her remaining on the semantic plane, communicating what can only be loxian, obiquely known, but there is ever the question of the kinds of perverse enjoyments of the Law itself, as it inscribes itself upon the body, in its very rationality.

June 18, 2009 1:06 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

The preceding paragraph from "Rhetoric":

"Lured by images of the past Cassandra also talks about her relation with Apollo (v. 1202). The text does not justify the assumption that it was love that made Cassandra promise herself to the god, but rather that she did it with an ulterior motive. She wanted to receive the gift warranted by the god's possession of her, by the fusion with him, the divine ecstasy of the prophet which eliminates the order of the temporal sequence of cause and effect and also rational speech. The divine gift—to encompass all in an instant—is something Cassandra desired not for herself alone; she wanted to communicate it to others, to be mediator between the divine and the human. However, her real aim was to obtain the gift through a ruse. Ruse is rational design, and no rational process or attitude can ever lead to the origins of being, to the divine, for the divine conditions the rational process."

I've always associated Apollo with poetry. Is "Loxias" literally "God of the Logos"? How many ways can this be interpreted?

June 18, 2009 3:28 PM  
OpenID kvond said...

Apollo is the loxian one because his oracles were oblique and could not be easily read, but he also composed a rational pole with Dionysus, and his "God of Poetry" status is closely related to his relationship to music and thus with measured progression and ultimately with mathematics. His loxian character may very well be older than his musical/mathematical image, but by the time of the tragedies, the second was in full swing. He embodies a kind of contradiction that exists within rationality itself.

Very nice paragraph, and I really like Grassi a lot, but where in the world does he come up with this stuff? I mean, precisely, what are his literary sources? It sounds like he nicely invented the image for himself.

June 18, 2009 4:33 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

He is primarily interpreting Agamemnon of Aeschylus.

June 18, 2009 9:50 PM  
Anonymous antonia said...

grassi is quite good with the sources.

the charming thing about Loxias (which was used as epithet for apoll) is it means "the luminous or lightful" and hence the wonderful "lightmetaphor&rationality" tradition of the west has a nuance more...

loxos the adjective rather means obbscure.
i wonder about the etymological connection from loxos to latin lux.....

isn't it a possibility "to expand" rationality so it can kind of incoporates irrational elements, say, such as metaphor, or semantics? in this sense, metaphors are a rational trick, they have a rational function: metaphor works via finding a semblance, an analogy. so you have an image then or a metaphor where in the first place you only had chaos (all those pretty greek words) and miscommunication. Metaphor has bridged that and hence one can go back to normal. communication with cassandra has taken place, may it not be rational, rather semantic, but incorporated in the de/en-light!ed realm of rationality

fido why are you interested in time?

June 19, 2009 2:11 AM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

My interest in time has many sources. I have a longstanding interest in extemporary music and poetry which has lead me to value ephemerality and creative performance in the moment, though I have recognized that practice and practical knowledge is a horizon of the extemporary. In school I was greatly interested in evolutionary biology and natural history, as well as human histories, which I studied in some depth. I have affinities for existentialism, which for me is not concerned with death so much as natality and the actual process of making meaning as one lives. So I should have some sense of what time is. However, lately I have been critical of the various concepts of time I have run across in my philosophical readings, and with so much apparent dissatisfaction with received concepts of time—almost as if every last thinker wants to escape time in some fashion—it occurs to me that I should interrogate time and not assume that I already understand what it means.

On the issue of expanding rationality, my favorite books to mention are Cavarero's For More Than One Voice, a critique of the voiceless logos, and Corradi-Fiumara's The Other Side of Language, a critique of the deaf logos. Incidentally Corradi-Fiumara's The Metaphoric Process is next in rotation (I try to peruse four books simultaneously), but I'm in the process of moving so everything's jumbled, and I may actually peruse Rhetoric as Philosophy sooner than I'd planned.

June 19, 2009 6:08 AM  
OpenID kvond said...

antonia: "loxos the adjective rather means obbscure."

kvond: Loxios means something more than merely "obscure". It has a strong connotation of being aslant, more with a feeling of geometric angling:

from LSJ:

A. slanting, crosswise, Hp.Off.11; loxê (sc. grammê), hê, a cross-line, E.Fr.382.9; loxa bainein, of a crab, Babr.109.1; l. ophis Call.Epigr.26 ; ho l. kuklos the ecliptic, Arist.Metaph.1071a16, Cleanth.Stoic.1.112, Arat.527, Gem.5.51, Cleom.1.4, Ptol.Alm.1.8 (without kuklos Plot.5.8.7 ); of the milky way, Gem.5.68; tôn asterôn l. ginetai phora Arist.Mete.342a27 ; l. dromos Diog.Oen.8 ; l. poreias schêma Plu.Phoc.2 ; l. phalanx, a phalanx of which one wing is in advance of the other, Ascl.Tact.10.1, Onos.21.8, Ael.Tact.30.3; l. zôidia, i.e. loxôs anatellonta, Heph.Astr.3.1; hoi l. mues the oblique abdominal muscles, Gal.2.518, al.; l. têi thesei pros ti at an acute angle to it, Thphr.Sens.73, cf. Arist.Mu.393b15. Adv. -xôs, ta loxa [epidein] Hp.l.c.

2. of suspicious looks, loxon ommasin blepein tina look askance at one, Anacr.75.1; loxon ophthalmois horan Sol.34 ; ommasi loxa blepoisa Theoc.20.13 ; loxôi ommati idein A.R.4.475 ; oupô Zeus auchena loxon echei Zeus has not yet turned his neck aside, i.e. withdrawn his favour, Tyrt.11.2; but auchena loxon echei, of a slave, as type of dishonesty, Thgn.536: hence metaph., mistrustful, suspicious, in Adv. Comp. -oteron, echein pros tina Plb.4.86.8 .

3. of language, indirect, ambiguous, esp. of oracles, Lyc.14, 1467, Luc. Alex.10; loxa apokrinasthai Id.D Deor.16.1; en tois chrêsmois l., of Apollo, Id.JTr.28. (Cf. lechrios.)

It eventually came to be associated with the ecliptic of the Sun, which rises at an angle, and of which Apollo came to be god of. Apollo's prophesy speaks indirectly because we do not have the perspective to understand it, so to speak. It probably also has some connection to Apollo's archer epithet "The Far-shooter" as a god of archery (and the plague). It is the long-range arch, the angle you cannot see, which arrives suddenly.

June 19, 2009 7:55 AM  
OpenID kvond said...

antonia: "isn't it a possibility "to expand" rationality so it can kind of incoporates irrational elements, say, such as metaphor, or semantics? in this sense, metaphors are a rational trick, they have a rational function: metaphor works via finding a semblance, an analogy."

Kvond: Its been sometime since I read Grassi. I came to him in my studies of Vico and metaphor, and I seem to recall that he followed Vico in contrasting the powers of metaphor and rationality. Rationality is ametaphorical, though it requires metaphor in order to create it. Perhaps I remember wrong, but that is Vico's position. But if you are expanding the notion of rationality to include the irrational, at what point do you stop?

As to whether or not Grassi is very good with sources or not. If his sole source on Cassandra is Aeschylus, in this instance he seems not have been quite creative with his sources. I'm curious though, does he cite a line from the Agamemnon that shows that Cassandra's curse is due to her excessive rationality? (Earilier I had referred to the rape of Apollo, which is only intentfully suggested in the lines below (her shame, his wrestling with her) and something of a conflation of latter Latin sources and her rape by Ajax.)

Cassandra: The seer Apollo appointed me to this office.

Chorus: Can it be that he, a god, had been struck with desire?

Cassandra: Before now I was ashamed to speak of this.

Chorus: In prosperity we all can become more delicate.

Cassandra: Oh, but he was much a wrestler with me, huffing his favor.

Chorus : Then did both of you come to the work of children, by custom?

Cassandra: I consented to Loxias having lied.

Apparently Cassandra was already a prophetess of Troy when Apollo came to her breathing heavy his favor, like a wrestler. She had promised a union with him, and then declined. Her name means something of the order "she who entangles men". Does not her refusal of her body to the god of rationality bespeak an a-rational resistance of the female body? She who dared say "no" to a god. Is this excessive rationality?

June 19, 2009 7:56 AM  
Anonymous antonia said...

fido, interesting. i can understand your motives. never was so much interested in the question of time, but rather much more in the question of how to make meanings. time always is linked for me to read proust and his 7th volume and that escaping time isn't possible but that it does also not matter. yet this is the stage of advanced serenity "without why" of eckhart and i also don't know what time means...

my readings on metaphor have been mostly the books by Hans Blumenberg and here i also encountered this idea of "expanding rationality". those that you mention i don't know. of course additions to the reading list. so many books. i read books simultanely too. bad habit.

kvond: yeah loxios, i don't have the Pauly-Wissowa here to add some more meanings, but yes. lexicon reading is nice.

don't you overstretch this female-bodything a bit, what does this mean, a-rational resistance of the female body? according the global accords of the fair use of women female resistance or resistance of the female body whether rational or a-rational resistance has/is being ignored all the time and the whole world knows/condones it. interpretation or appropriation of this arbitrarily determined by the ideology of your choice. with suscribing a-rationality to the female body don't you open with this not another problematic dichotomy? of course it is a possible interpretation. but a problematic one...

with this expanding rationality thing i just extrapolated the idea, away from the cassandra example. Grassi uses the cassandra example in more than one of his books, but i don't have them all at home so i can't go and control how well chosen his cassandra sources are. however, for the purposes he has in mind, the aischylos one is suiteable.

grassi's reading on metaphor is influenced by the whole metaphorical tradition, aristotle, quintilian, cicero, salutati, vico...
apart from the rational/semantic problem he mostly is fascinated by this one inherent feature of metaphors: the finding of semblance which as you will recall is the 4th sort of metaphor according to aristotle. he elaborated that especially lovely in respect to salutati - de laboribus herculis and that lovely erato muse. i thought here he showed quite some creativity re the sources.

kvond: But if you are expanding the notion of rationality to include the irrational, at what point do you stop?

well isn't it the idea that rationality "incorporates" the irrational elements so as to make them less threatening? that you have phenomenon like metaphor where you can't get round, rationally speaking, one way or the other. always causes trouble, makes language less clear and so on. bummer. but in some sense is metaphor a means to making threatening things bearable, via finding analogies and hence bridging the threatening with a new meaning/metaphor.

June 19, 2009 12:06 PM  
OpenID kvond said...

antonia, I can't say that I completely follow you in the above, but I can say...

"with suscribing a-rationality to the female body don't you open with this not another problematic dichotomy?"

I would answer, no more than attributing Cassandra's failure as an excess of rationality does (something I don't really find in the text at alll).

I don't really want to say that the female body is a-rational, rather that Cassandra's resistance to Apollo (a god of rationality) which is distinctly a SEXUAL resistance, strikes me as quite similar to a general sense in which rational description attempts to take hold of the Body (Foucault has nice things to say about this), not just the female body, but all bodies (and processes), and that the materiality in a certain sense proves excessive of logoriffic attempts "huffing" their favor as they do.

I'm not sure if one really can call the making of metaphors as a rational process (I don't know what is gained). Rational processes are usually characterized by their ability to give reasons for conclusions. As Davidson is pretty good at pointing out, there is no really good way to give the reason why a metaphor is good. Reasons can be offered, but they are never sufficient. It is for this reason that metaphors may very well help produce rational conclusions, but cannot be said themselves to be rational. One has to go back into the body, so to speak.

June 19, 2009 9:29 PM  
Anonymous antonia said...

the excess of rationality: starting at line 1138f here she leaves the semantic plane and starte to operate with explanations, she starts to operate again in a temporal & spatial frame.
1140 you have the nightingale which says two things: the choir acknowledges kassandra's longing for the actual human world and on the other hand this image of the nightingale says also something about her fate. Kassandra realizes this and responds to the words of the choir 1146. you have an actual dialogue now.

ok: what about this: age old equation of rationality or reason with the conceptual. concepts are the way to get hold of reason/ rationality/truth etc.
what if you:
do have metaphors some cognitive content, some own philosophical value? have they or not?
are they just some elements that somehow form some verbal basis of concepts but ultimatively, before they are not concepts, they can't be taken serious?
can metaphors transformed completely into concepts or not? is there something in metaphor that resists them.
but if there is something in metaphor that cannot transformed into concepts?
what are you doing with this. excluding it from reason or not?

one way of interpretation of this: metaphor is put in the service of rationality, as described above, in order to bridge the threateneing. metaphor is an annoyance or disturbance in traditional philosophical discourse. yet at the same time it can level out this annoyance or disturbance by making the threatening less threatening by giving it an image/meaning. it is in some sense put in the service of rationality for our own good for the making of meaning enables us to survive.

what you gain is meaning, orientation, anthropological speaking.
this is a theory developed by Hans Blumenberg in his "Paradigms for a Metaphorology"

[actually salutati had figured out a theory on science, the existence of science or preconditions, maintenance & consolidation of it in which he mentions rationality not once and which is based on the faculty of ingenium & metaphor.]

June 20, 2009 1:05 AM  
OpenID kvond said...

"do have metaphors some cognitive content, some own philosophical value? have they or not?"

I don't have much time to respond, but as I've mentioned above I follow Davidson on this metaphors have no "meaning" or if they do they are patently false. This of course does not mean that they have not philosophical value.

I write about this question here:

So I certainly do exclude metphors from reason, they are not processes of rationality, but they are fundamental to his growth. Perhaps we can say that was it left over from metaphors after they have been turned into concepts is the actual, lived affect-rich history of the body. The body that Apollo, god of reason and music, must after all, rape.

June 20, 2009 8:49 AM  
Anonymous antonia said...

i find davidson boring for he does not stray too far away from the tradition: metaphors have no meaning or if they have it is false or at most they have some kind of ancillary function or inferior philosophical value. blumenberg and grassi instead each in their own ways try something new and i find that more interesting.

kvond: The body that Apollo, god of reason and music, must after all, rape. what does this mean. is reason now insteed of beer the latest rape apology? jesus christ do you hear yourself talking?

June 20, 2009 9:24 AM  
OpenID kvond said...

Davidson APPEARS boring. Actually his position is in my opinion more radical than Grassi's (and I love Grassi's appeal to rhetoric). He is not minimizing metaphor when he says that it has no meaning or that its meaning is patently false. He is deflating (not technically) philosophical discourse itself. Davidson begins his essay on metaphor with a metaphor "metaphor is the dreamwork of language" (if I recall correctly), to emphasize that his take on metaphor is not a demotion. If anything, his position preserves the power of metaphor from the appropriations of metaphor by the powers of rationality itself. Of course unless one reads Davidson closely and liberally, one certainly can get the sense that Davidson is saying something very minor and even "in tradition". He himself is so understated and boring, this sense is really projected by his own style and approach. Rorty, who takes up Davidson's view whole-cloth is a strong proponent of metaphorical powers and the minimization of philosophy itself. It is, as I argue, that Davidson and Vico actually make a complimentary pair.

antonia: "The body that Apollo, god of reason and music, must after all, rape. what does this mean. is reason now insteed of beer the latest rape apology? jesus christ do you hear yourself talking?"

kvond: Yes I hear myself talking (I'm not sure the tone of voice that asks this question, so whether to take offense by it). I seriously choose my words and my analogies. If you recall, "beer" (as wine) is Dionysian, and the drunkeness of rationality is a very important concept in the history of the critique of rationality. Everything from Foucault's ars erotica critique of methods of knowledge that delimit the powers of the body through an analysis of the psyche to uncovering the hidden pleasure in Kant's Categorical Imperative rests on just this sort of realization, that rationality has its own drunkenness, with its own violence.

If you pay close attention to how Apollo is presented by Aschylus, in particular in the Eumenidies. He is seen as a "green" immature god, just as the rising Greek rationality of sciences and dialectic discourse itself was green. Apollo in his contrast to the ancient Furies (old women hag revengers for whom he has only contempt), says that he "comes raw" which is meant to mean "hard" and unripened, and also adolescent, sexualized. The rationality and sciences of Greece possess a kind of raping force upon the dark rich past of Greece, the ancient gods and goddesses. Aeschylus suggests something of this in his invocation of rape in the story of Cassandra (which Grassi seems to repress). Saying that rationality must rape the body, this is not praise of rape, but the realization that rationality itself rapes, that is it composes its own erotic violence as it seizes the subject matter, especially if the pleasure of rationality are not acknowledged. It is only by recognizing the erotic economies implicit within rational discourses that rationality itself becomes more demur, and Apollo stops breathing so hard.

June 20, 2009 11:34 AM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

whew. On the road here. Will definitely check into Blumenberg when I get back to a library.

June 20, 2009 2:43 PM  
Anonymous antonia said...

you can take as much offense as you like but i can assure you that i took offense. you know, kvond, i find you a creepy dude, the way you operate with or write about all this rape stuff. that doesn't really display some sensitivity which should be due to a subject of such magnitude. these sentences about "rationality must rape" and such i find extremely uncomfortable to read. you see i say this as someone who's been more raped than you have read spinoza and reading along the way you write you come across like those adolescent dudes that have read some philosophy and go on juggling along with things of such gravity in order to explain the world, but somehow having lost the connection to the very world in which those things have even actual implications and affect other people. the way you write is triggering as hell and for a change i rather had some peace of mind breathing down my neck instead of all the usual theories that always are so great and full of verve in explaining "all the raping force of rationality" but never once look out or at the actual unpleasant reality or for that matter look at some philosophical ideas that do some justice for a change to those harmed [in some sense grassi does this because especially the cassandra example allows some bridging, communicating element between the semantic and the rational].
it's not that i am unfamiliar with this idea about rationality that rapes or that i am into shying away and don't want to see the ugly "truth about rationality". which in itself is again a "boring" old hat, wouldn't it be so detrimential. this of course only one interpretation of rationality, albeit one that's always chosen with delight. and it is interesting to wonder why it's so popular. and it is not that foucault was somehow into women's liberation albeit some parts of his works are useful for that.

the davidson though. i will look at that again. i don't see (yet) however how vico and davidson are complementary. but i look at it again.

June 21, 2009 2:57 AM  
OpenID kvond said...

I"m very sorry that you have been physically raped and that my disuccession of the term has brought up offensive material or tone, but as you know women who have been sexually assulted have been "raped" by the legal system that often made the prosecution of the offender difficult, wherein the victom has been put on trial. This has often been called the "second rape" (whether you find this common phrase offensive I cannot control), but the legal system itself is driven by a kind of rational discourse that I suggest promotes just this kind of second sexualized violence. Further, as the history of the medical profession and its treatment of, categorization of, the female body, sexuality and psyche, all under a rationalizing process of ordering and normalizing what is in its purview, also has committed a kind of "rape" (what are we to call a past diagnosis that required the removal of the uterus to balance the woman's emotional mind. Not a "rape" because it is socially condoned, but certainly a sexualized violence that resulted in an invasion of the woman's body. Just because acts of control and normalization are legal or thought through with theoretical backing (hysteria) does not mean that they are in every way different than illegal rape. Indeed, if this "adolescent, creepy dude" had a thought about the matter, it is best to see that there are and have been institutional violences that have been done to women that can be every bit as tramatic as those done by persons alone in acts of violence, and that these often come at the confluence of issues of sexuality and rationality. It cannot be that the only persons who can talk about rape or object to it are those who have been raped, and I say this with complete respect to your own personal history and the strength it requires to overcome such a thing.

June 23, 2009 12:54 PM  
Anonymous antonia said...

yes. thanks for the reply, i appreciate it. i reacted stronger than i wanted to. i see what you say, i agree with some things with others not. i agree with most things you say only not that with this confluence of sexuality and rationality. of course it is there and it is one aspect, one aspect people most of the time tend to focus on. but it's plain and simple not rationality alone. you can just as good find irrational discourses promoting sexual violence, for instance these raiotnal ideas of ordering and normalizing are based on irrational assumptions on women. everything, rationality, irrationality, a-rationality is used to justify these kinds of sexualized violence, i'd rather say plain patriarchical structures, so as to "free" rationality from this kind of violence-stigma. of course more often than not it is intertwined.

kvond: It cannot be that the only persons who can talk about rape or object to it are those who have been raped
i agree with this too, in theory, in principle but i have objections re in practice. you see i realize you thought about these things also from you had written previously, for instance in observing how grassi treats this rape thing etc.
but in practical life it is all not so easy as we just have seen. well more often then not it goes like this: well-meaning philosophydude (i mean it in general, this time) explains the world, using all the great ideas and words, rubs it really in, this connection between rape & rationality because i am myself too stupid to see my own oppression through, but now you say it i see it too. or something like that, mostly it's like that. on the dude's side then increased effort to explain the connections of the world, on my side increased dislike, bored by the usual condescension, reluctance to listen and upsetness due to bad memories that wake up from the things discussed. that is the danger really you very fast and very easily end up with those kind of scenarios. because it's such a fraught topic, because a dude explaining the world to a woman, but most of the time lacking this very specfic bad experience, lighthearted use of terrible words (or worse, using these things in order to support one's halfbaken theories), lots of unexpected emotions etc etc, and it's in this sense just reinforcing the common problem, that everyone really has a say on rapethings except the people who have been raped themselves...and for whom it is much more difficult to speak or to "embrace the right to definition" or get heard in this jungle of assumptions or "secondary voices on the subject".
so it's difficult.

this is important, but we got distracted from the metaphors.

June 24, 2009 3:03 AM  
OpenID kvond said...

I appreciate all that you say here. But from my side this really stemmed from the unacknowledgement of the very significant "rape' aspect of Apollo's portrayal in the Apollo/Cassandra relationship, and the putting of the "blame" of Cassandra's incomprehensibility upon Cassandra herself. I felt, and still feel, that Aeschylus was saying something very important about rationality and the nature of the god Apollo.

Others perhaps did not agree.

June 24, 2009 4:44 AM  

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