Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tolkien on Hitler perverting the northern spirit

Anyway, I have in this War a burning private grudge – which would probably make me a better soldier at 49 than I was at 22: against that ruddy little ignoramus Adolf Hitler (for the odd thing about demonic inspiration and impetus is that in no way enhances the purely intellectual stature: it chiefly affects the mere will). Ruining, perverting, misapplying, and making for ever accursed that noble northern spirit, a supreme contribution to Europe, which I have ever loved, and tried to present in its true light.

A private letter of Tolkien LINK

Sunday, October 24, 2010

On Kitsch

Milan Kundera,
Kitsch causes two tears to flow in quick succession. The first tear says: how nice to see children running on the grass!
The second tear says: How nice to be moved, together with all mankind, by children running on the grass!
It is the second tear that makes kitsch kitsch.

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being (New York: Harper & Row, 1984), 251.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Quotable: C.S. Lewis

What more, you may ask, do we want? [...] We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want some­ thing else which can hardly be put into words—to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into our­ selves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.

C.S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory”

Exies, "Ugly"

Are you ugly?
A liar like me?
A user, a lost soul?
Someone you don't know
Money it's no cure
A Sickness so pure
Are you like me?
Are you ugly?

We are dirt, we are alone
You know we are far from sober!
We are fake, we are afraid
You know it s far from over
We are dirt, we are alone
You know we are far from sober!
Look closer, are you like me?
Are you ugly?

Ihe Exies, "Ugly," on the album Head for the Door (Virgin Records, 2004).

Quotable: Robert Audi

"The issue of realism is at the heart of metaphysics; that of rationality is at the heart of epistemology. Neither of these issues can be isolated from the other, nor can we separate epistemology and metaphysics. Our account of what there is constrains our theory of rational belief, and hence of rationality in general; and our theory of rational belief constrains our ontological outlook. It may be, however, that philosophers naturally tend to take one or the other of these two philosophical domains, epistemology or metaphysics, or some account developed therein, as primary. If we give priority to epistemology, we tend to produce an ontology that posits the sorts of objects about which our epistemology says we can have knowledge or justified belief; and if we give metaphysics priority, we tend to produce an account of rational belief which allows knowledge or justified belief about the sorts of things our ontology countenances as real."

Robert Audi, "Realism, Rationality, and Philosophical Method," Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association, Vol 61 No 1 (September 1987): 65-74.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Quotable: Wolterstorff

Our philosophers of art of the past two and a half centuries have not talked about touching and kissing as ways of engaging art; they have not talked about tears in the presence of a sculpture-real tears, I mean. They have talked about art tears.

Wolterstorff, "Why Philosophy of Art Cannot Handle Kissing, Touching, and Crying"

This weeks sign...

...that idiocracy is upon us.

Jackass 3D gets the highest grossing October opening weekend ever. Jackass 3D secures the all time fall single day debut record with 21 million.

September 1, 1939

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.

Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
Competitive excuse:
But who can live for long
In an euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism's face
And the international wrong.

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

The windiest militant trash
Important Persons shout
Is not so crude as our wish:
What mad Nijinsky wrote
About Diaghilev
Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.

From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
The dense commuters come,
Repeating their morning vow;
"I will be true to the wife,
I'll concentrate more on my work,"
And helpless governors wake
To resume their compulsory game:
Who can release them now,
Who can reach the deaf,
Who can speak for the dumb?

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

- W.H. Auden

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Art and Knowledge States

Before me is a picture of trees and cliffs by the sea, painted in dull grays, and expressing great sadness…The picture is literally gray but only metaphorically sad…But to say that it is sad is metaphorically true even though literally false. Just as the picture clearly belongs under the label ‘gray’ than under the label ‘yellow,’ it also clearly belongs under ‘sad’ than under ‘gray.’

Nelson Goodman, Languages of Art (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1976), pp. 50, 68, 70.

from, Theodore W. Schick Jr. "The Epistemic Role of Qualitative Content" Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. Vol. 52, No. 2 (Jun., 1992): 383-393.

Quotable: Kant

Rhetoric, so far as this is taken to mean the art of persuasion, i.e. the art of deluding by means of such beautiful semblance (as ars oratoria), and not merely excellence of speech (eloquence and style), is a dialect, which borrows from poetry only so much as is necessary to win over people's minds to the side of the speaker before they have weighed the matter, and to rob their verdict of its freedom. Hence, it can be recommended neither for the bar nor the pulpit.

Kant, Critique of Judgement, 155

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Rope

Interesting movie on Nietzsche's ubermensch