Sunday, October 10, 2010

Geometrique vs Finesse

This is why philosophers and non-philosophers are unable to communicate with one another:

"Et ainsi il est rare que les géomètres soient fins, et que les fins soient géomètres ; à cause que les géomètres veulent traiter géométriquement les choses fines, et se rendent ridicules, voulant commencer par les définitions, et ensuite par les principes, ce qui n'est pas la manière d'agir en cette sorte de raisonnement. Ce n'est pas que l'esprit ne le fasse ; mais il le fait tacitement, naturellement, et sans art ; car l'expression en passe tous les hommes, et le sentiment n'en appartient qu'à peu.

Et les esprits fins au contraire ayant ainsi accoutumé de juger d'une seule vue, sont si étonnez quand on leur présente des propositions où ils ne comprennent rien, et où pour entrer il faut passer par des définitions et des principes stériles et qu'ils n'ont point accoutumé de voir ainsi en détail, qu'ils s'en rebutent et s'en dégoûtent."
From Pascal, Pensees.

Monday, August 23, 2010

De me fabula narratur

"Probably the clearest example of this separation, which prevents social scientists from putting into the scientific practice the practical understanding they have of the logic of practice, is what Voloshinov calls philologism, the propensity to treat words and texts as if they had no other raison d'etre than to be decoded by scholars. Nothing is more paradoxical, for example, than the fact that people whose whole life is spend fighting over words should strive at all costs to fix what seems to them to be the one true meaning of objectively ambiguous, overdetermined or indeterminate symbols, words, texts, or events which often survive and generate interest just because they have always been at stake in struggles aimed precisely at fixing their 'true' meaning. This is true of all sacred texts, which, being invested with a collective authority, like sayings, maxims, or gnomic poems in pre-literate societies, can be used as the tools of a recognized power over the social world, a power which one can appropriate by appropriating them through interpretation."
-Pierre Bourdieu, The Logic of Practice

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Circles Drawn in Water

Things in nature are only immediate and single, while man as spirit duplicates himself, in that (i) he is as things in nature are, but (ii) he is just as much for himself; he sees himself, represents himself to himself, thinks, and only on the strength of htis active placing himself before himself is he spirit. This consciousness of himself man acquires in a two-fold way: first, theoretically, in so far as inwardly he must bring himself into his own consciousness, along with whatever moves, stirs, and presses in the human breast; and in general he must see himself, represent himself to himself, fix before himself what thinking finds as his essence, and recognize himself alone alike in what is summoned out of himself and in what is accepted from without. Secondly, man brings himself before himself by practical activity, since has the impulse, in whatever is directly given to him, in what is present to him externally, to produce himself and therein equally to recognize himself. This aim he achieves by altering external things whereon he impresses the seal of his own inner being and in which he now finds again his own characteristics. Man does this in order, as a free subject, to strip the external world of its inflexible foreignness and to enjoy in the shape of things only an external realization of himself. Even a child's first impulse involves this practical alteration of external things; a boy throws stones into the river and now marvels as the circles drawn in the water as an effect in which he gains an intuition of something that is his own doing.
-G.W.F Hegel, Lectures on Aesthetics

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Heaven help us:
"Of all the passions, the one about which we ourselves know least is laziness, the fiercest and most evil of them all, though its violence goes unperceived and the havoc it causes lies hidden. The repose of laziness has a secret charm for the soul, suddenly suspending its most ardent pursuits and most obstinate resolutions. To give, in fine, some idea of this passion, it should be said that laziness is like a state of beautitude, in which the soul is consoled for all its losses, and which stands in lieu to it of all its possessions." -La Rochefoucauld