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3554RE: [existlist] Re: the mystery shuts up, and can see and hear no more...

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  • james tan
    Sep 5, 2001
    • 0 Attachment
      have not been following this tread closely, but let me just throw in my two
      cents worth. of course it is not meant to be 'factual', only my
      interpretation, & i can't seems to see anything beyond my own perception or
      interpretation, & i've no way to guarantee my perception is the same as
      'reality'. as for reader reading a text by an author: as for scientific
      reading, it is paramount that clarity of meaning is maintained at all time,
      so that any disagreement is only a disagreement of the hypothesis, & not on
      what does the hypothesis says. before one can reject or fail to reject any
      hypothesis, it is assumed that one knows what the hypothesis is saying in
      the first place. aspects of the hypothesis is operationalized & measurable
      (a number can be attached to it). there is no ambiguity of meaning here. as
      for literary reading, things are not so clear cut, i think. some authors are
      pretty straightforward, such as charles dicken, but some are very ambiguous,
      such as kafka. as for me, i am always puzzled by what kafka was 'really'
      trying to say, & end up as confused as the characters inside his novels,
      such as "the trial", "the castle", etc. there are social critique novel,
      such as dickens, orwell or jane austen, existentialist novelist such as
      camus & dostoyevski, phenomenologist such as sartre, etc, etc, but i can
      never quite put my finger on kafka. kafka's mystery did not shut up, & most
      probably will never; there is a mysterious horizons he seemed compelled to
      search, but never quite get it, & like the land surveyor (in "the castle")
      tried to measure, hence comprehend, the horizons of truth. there is a
      certain richness in the possibilities to interpret his works, so that it
      allows various perspectives on it. in the end, whether eduard or nothing
      read it, both are legitimate in their interpretation, because quite apart
      from the key chosen to read it or just because of the very choice that the
      interpretation makes, it reveals itself to be the secret way of bringing an
      author close to one's inner world. his texts challenges the readers to
      understand it on a level that goes beyond the simple & immediate reading.
      kafka speaks in parables & metaphors, if only because any attempts to
      describe it directly is bound to fail. words block our paths. truth changes
      into deceit just as soon as one tries to interpret it rationally, to put
      into a objective framework. truth is subjectivity. illusion is thick. the
      problem comes when one attempts to impose the paradigm of science onto
      everything else, but it doesn't work because reality is much richer than
      what that framework allows. man need models, frameworks, or paradigm to
      understand the world or reality, & although they are useful in certain
      respects, they are inherently limited, & it is ridiculous & blind to make
      sweeping judgment about reality based on those models. if one is not blind,
      one always admits one's strength together with one's limitation. there are
      no facts, only interpretations, to quote nietzsche. this goes for text
      reading as well, especially one like kafka.


      From: "Eduard Alf" <yeoman@...>
      Reply-To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
      Subject: RE: [existlist] Re: the mystery shuts up, and can see and hear no
      Date: Wed, 5 Sep 2001 16:12:20 -0400

      "If you can't know every thought and innuendo,
      some of the author's meaning is necessarily hidden
      or 'mysterious."

      that is true, but as james implied, there is point
      at which you have to get off the pot and deal with
      what the author actually said, rather than to try
      to delve forever into the multitude of layers of
      the "mysterious". I do not suggest that there can
      not be a further level of understanding, to either
      accept, reject, or amend the statement. But this
      reduction to absurdity does not provide any
      benefit to the discussion.

      As you say "I can't help but reduce it to the
      absurd...It just happens." I am finding this not
      only frustrating but quite pointless.


      -----Original Message-----
      From: nothing@...
      Sent: Wednesday, September 05, 2001 9:51 AM
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [existlist] Re: the mystery shuts up, and
      can see and hear no

      Dear Sir 'Duard simplifier extraordinaire,

      <<I have been following this discussion and this
      has really
      gotten to the point of absurdity.>>

      It always seems to, to me...

      << So what if you cant know every thought and
      innuendo of the
      author...If an author says something in print then
      that is what is
      of importance... All of that is valid and is part
      of the manner in
      which one might take into consideration an
      pronouncements, but surely "mystery" with respect
      to the author
      is going too far.>>

      If you can't know every thought and innuendo, some
      of the
      author's meaning is necessarily hidden or
      'mysterious.' As
      words are perhaps sometimes adequate -- yet more
      inexact vehicles of meaning (we have examined this
      before in
      color -- where you said red was red, but I pointed
      out that red is
      not inate, it is a measure which someone -- or
      some group of
      someones -- decided on, and which there can be
      variance from
      in experience. Of course none of that set you
      wavering). And
      further, meaning...is it entirely the author's, or
      is it flecked with
      hints of other things the author has read and
      experienced and/or
      heard -- whether directly attributable or not? And
      then might word
      choice be affected, at times containing the
      author's meaning,
      and at others containing internal referants --
      which perhaps even
      the author may be unaware? (And I will do us all
      the favor of not
      getting into genetic transfer of thought,
      experience and idea.)

      Quite honestly I wish I could take everything as
      cut and dried and
      hang it all neatly on my clothes-line. But to
      pretend I know what
      the author meant is pretentious -- even if I do a
      very long study of
      his work, life, etc.. The only thing I can think I
      know is what I think
      I am reading, and how my experience reflects on my
      interpretation of what it seems to me the author
      was doing, and
      even that may be pushing it (depending on how
      absurd you want
      to get). and in the long run, what of the thing
      which the author
      meant? Perhaps the writing has meaning for me
      which is far
      more interesting than whatever the intent was (if
      either of those
      can be defined). Should I shun what I think and
      seek out the idea
      of the author which I can never attain? And should
      I attain it
      (though I think it impossible) there I have
      grabbed the flag on the
      mountain, and no one cares, knows, agrees or even
      acknowledges...so the purpose is exactly what? Why
      is the
      author important at all?

      I can't help but reduce it to the absurd...It just


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