Saturday, June 23, 2012

Modernity and self

A reader sent some of her thoughts and selections from her dissertation on modernity that I found to be interesting, particularly with regard to the modern conception of self.  I edited them, so I apologize if they have lost something in the process:

About the writer Katherine Mansfield: "She was like a lantern with many windows - not octagonal, but centagonal. Each friend had his or her window and Katherine gave generously, gave all to each one, of her light, through that window. That was why so many people thought they were, not just one of her friends, but her only friend. She did not give the lantern (Me, the writer of this post, as Katherine herself, believe there was no such unifying lantern) and no one could touch the flame - and if anything came too close she would withdraw or close the leaves".

Extract from the modernist Katherine Mansfield's "The Dove's House": The main character, about his little son: "a queer thing is I can´t connect him with my wife and myself - I've never accepted him as ours. Each time when I come into the hall and see the preambulator I catch myself thinking: H'm, someone has brought a baby!" And later on: "if the impermanent selves of my wife and me are happy - tant mieux pour nous (...) But I don´t know, I don´t know. And it may be that it's something entirely individual in me -this sensation (yes, it is even a sensation) of how extraordinarily shell-like we are as we are - little creatures, peering out of the sentry-box at the gate, ogling through our glass case at the entry, wan little servants, who never can say for certain, even, if the master is out or in (...)".

Katherine Mansfield herself: "Coleridge on Hamlet. "He plays that subtle trick of pretending to act when he is very near being what he acts"... So do we all begin by acting and the nearer we are to what we would be the more perfect our desguise. Finally here comes the moment when we are no longer acting; it may even catch us by surprise. We may look in amazement at our no longer borrowed plumage. The two have merged; that which we put on has joined that which was; acting has become action. The soul has accepted this livery for its own after a time of trying on and approving (...) And the Hamlet is lonely. The solitary person always acts". 

And then you've got the anthropologist René Girard, who bases his whole theory on the idea that Humanity desperately NEEDS identity, and has an innate fear of indiferentiation (aka lack of a well differenced personal identity), giving totally crazy examples like the fear of twins in many cultures. People saw them as a subconscious menace to DIFFERENCE, and so a personification of chaos (they apparently used to sacrifice them). Chaos leading to violence. So lack of identity, or indifference, leads to  violence in human societies. A socio with no identity is a potential danger. A normal person with no identity is a potential danger. The problem is that we do find trouble in defending the SELF nowadays. Hard work if you really have some sincere insight. Tell it to Nietzche and all the others forerunners of the unexisting reliable self. 

Simone Weil also said: "I see the world as if I were not in it." this type of distance supreme and contemplation, which is in the antipodes of indifference, perhaps looking at the infinite and original world and man's purity and of which we have grown wary? This is an effort to free the world from the opaqueness of our presence, of that barrier between the object and a clean, truthful eye.

And then you've got that in modern writers:
From Katherine Mansfield:

"... a self which is continuous and permanent; which... thrusts a scaled bud through years of darkness until, one day, the light discovers it and shakes the flower free and - we are alive-  we are flowering for our moment upon the earth. This is the moment which, after all, we live for - the moment of direct feeling when we are most ourself and least personal". 

I could go on and on... We are playing on the league of the great thinkers of last century as well as our own. I'm sick of it. I wish I had been born an uber-empath in some hidden village of France five hundred years ago. A cow to milk, a husband to love and an early dead. 

Or I wish I was a little less pretty: less power, less thrill for life, a boring, early, happy marriage, and (fingers crossed) and EARLY DEAD. 

48 comments:

  1. not bars white lines

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. give me a WHITE LINE

      Delete
  2. Is M.E. feeling a bit suicidal? Morose? I know that feel. I've been up sick wondering how I'm ever going to make it out of med school without just offing myself of boredom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That wasn´t ME, that was me, the author of the post. ME seems much more proud and courageous than that.

      Delete
    2. Quit if medicine isn’t for you, buddy. If I ever encounter you in the form of yet another mediocre, self-complacent doctor who doesn’t give a shit about his job I might off you myself.

      Delete
    3. or her job, in case you're female.

      Delete
  3. Id like to die of a heroine overdose.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. better get crack-ing

      Delete
    2. By heroine i mean a bunch of women...

      Delete
    3. better get in the crack?

      Delete
    4. Indubitably. If she lets me...

      Delete
    5. she's got a choise?
      you are on the wrong webside

      Delete
    6. Your right. Im gonna take it. I bet she wont forget me.

      Delete
    7. Your right. Im gonna take it. I bet she wont forget me.

      Delete
    8. Ewww sketch

      Delete
    9. I feel like we are talking about a real person now?

      Delete
    10. One word. Lube.

      Delete
  4. I got in the Twitter *BIG SMILE*


    Oops Is that pride?

    ReplyDelete
  5. I hope we get another love article soon.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Replies
    1. who are you?

      Delete
    2. I'm Anonymous, can't you read?

      Delete
    3. sure i can. and themes is anonymous too, sort of.

      Delete
    4. and themes is wise

      Delete
    5. Uptown Girl?

      This one's a miss, sorry.

      Why do people around here assume I come from wealth and privilege?

      Delete
    6. Are you slumming it right now?

      Delete
    7. Yes, I'm living in a cardboard box in the alleyway with 5 feral cats. Thank god I still have my iphone. Priorities.

      Delete
    8. Themes for SW RegularsJune 23, 2012 at 4:26 PM

      Uptown Girl was an attitude of refinement and elegance not necessarily money, per se. Think beyond the obvious to the symbolic, Peeps.
      Themes does not, usually, explain himself, but he made an exception in this one instance.

      Delete
    9. You'll take the number 3 spot, huh?

      Delete
    10. It is number 3 song, Genius. Wake up and smell the organic expresso.

      Delete
  7. Another confused shit post. One always has identity, even if they don't follow societies bullshit. Obviously you follow societies bullshit and are therefore lost.

    ....................../´¯/)
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    ............./´¯/'...'/´¯¯`·¸
    ........../'/.../..../......./¨¯\
    ........('(...´...´.... ¯~/'...')
    .........\.................'...../
    ..........''...\.......... _.·´
    ............\..............(
    ..............\.............\...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. but one won't reveal it, if s/he is writting as anonymous?

      Delete
    2. Finger you just make random statements in a vulgar fashion. Your existence is pointless

      Delete
    3. Your too stupid to understand, go to hell.

      ....................../´¯/)
      ....................,/¯../
      .................../..../
      ............./´¯/'...'/´¯¯`·¸
      ........../'/.../..../......./¨¯\
      ........('(...´...´.... ¯~/'...')
      .........\.................'...../
      ..........''...\.......... _.·´
      ............\..............(
      ..............\.............\...

      Delete
    4. Your cursing doesn't hide your lunacy

      Delete
    5. Let me guess, you're iq is less than 100. Go fuck yourself.

      ....................../´¯/)
      ....................,/¯../
      .................../..../
      ............./´¯/'...'/´¯¯`·¸
      ........../'/.../..../......./¨¯\
      ........('(...´...´.... ¯~/'...')
      .........\.................'...../
      ..........''...\.......... _.·´
      ............\..............(
      ..............\.............\...

      Delete
    6. You have no class

      Delete
    7. You have no class

      Delete
    8. Leave Finger alone. He makes more sense than many of the big mouths around here.

      Delete
    9. Oh no, no way. I think he can´t be serious most of the time.

      Delete
  8. Theme Song for..................... Themes.

    ReplyDelete

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