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Re: the mystery shuts up...

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  • nothing@theabsurd.com
    Message 1 of 29 , Sep 4, 2001
      << I think that preserving some of the mystery of the author's
      personality is the greatest tribute you could pay to that person –
      instead of subjecting him to a description and evaluation of your
      own, classifying him to a particular type of personality etc.>>

      While I wasn't thinking specifically of 'mystery' that is a fair
      description. You can't claim to know every thought and inuendo
      of an author noo matter how well studied...and there is nothing
      wrong with the author jumping out of character to relate a point --
      yet failing because it is not consistent. The author will always be
      mysterious, no matter who claims to have the answer, key or
      blueprint.

      mystery me...
      ------------------
    • james tan
      in psychiatric practice, it is done quite a lot of the time, i.e. to subjecting him to a description and evaluation of your own, classifying him to a
      Message 2 of 29 , Sep 4, 2001
        in psychiatric practice, it is done quite a lot of the time, i.e. to
        "subjecting him to a description and evaluation of your own,
        classifying him to a particular type of personality etc." we do it by
        looking for evidences in the person's behavioural & cognitive patterns.
        depending on context, sometimes it does serve a function for assessment
        purposes. it may not be very nice according to diana, but it is done in such
        professional setting. of course, the issue is not about 'paying tribute to
        the person' as in the context of the authorship. it is a different ball game
        altogether.

        james.






        From: "Diana" <da-sein@...>
        Reply-To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
        To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [existlist] Re: bow wow....the dog never shuts up.
        Date: Tue, 04 Sep 2001 23:32:15 -0000

        << ... you are creating a fictional account of the person whom you
        consider to be author anyway from what you do and don't know (in
        absurd, that would be don't and don't, but who's counting?) >>

        I understand that I can never know if my account of that person is
        valid. Though creating such an account is part of my experience when
        I read the text.

        But I like what I take to be the essence of what you are saying. I
        think that preserving some of the mystery of the author's personality
        is the greatest tribute you could pay to that person � instead of
        subjecting him to a description and evaluation of your own,
        classifying him to a particular type of personality etc.


        To everyone: I'll be away from the list for the next few months �
        need to get into some urgent things. Have fun all of you here
        meanwhile. I look forward to being with you again at a later time.

        Love,
        Diana




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      • nothing@theabsurd.com
        Message 3 of 29 , Sep 4, 2001
          <<we do it by looking for evidences in the person's behavioural &
          cognitive patterns. >>

          Not to play with your profession (as I quite play with my own,
          mind you), but is it not an assumption that you come to know a
          person and perspective at all even in clinical study? Or have you
          mapped out some sort of exacting science of mind?

          curious, plus.
          -------------------
        • Eduard Alf
          I have been following this discussion and this has really gotten to the point of absurdity. a person publishes a particular point of view [e.g. all cats are
          Message 4 of 29 , Sep 4, 2001
            I have been following this discussion and this has
            really gotten to the point of absurdity.

            a person publishes a particular point of view
            [e.g. all cats are black at night]. So what if
            you cant know every thought and innuendo of the
            author. Perhaps he/she likes to drink pasteurized
            milk. Or perhaps he/she is secretly the clown at
            MacDonald's. You are broadening this out to the
            point where it makes no sense. If an author says
            something in print then that is what is of
            importance. You can even label it such as Mr.
            Smith's "Law of Cat Colour in the Night".

            Now we are into "preserving some of the mystery of
            the author's personality". Why even get into
            this? Yes, perhaps Mr. Smith has a particular
            inclination towards cats, and this may be
            something that we wish to know, in order to assess
            the basis his proposing the law, and our own
            inclination to accept or reject it. All of that
            is valid and is part of the manner in which one
            might take into consideration an author's
            pronouncements, but surely "mystery" with respect
            to the author is going too far.

            eduard

            -----Original Message-----
            From: nothing@...
            [mailto:nothing@...]
            Sent: Tuesday, September 04, 2001 10:12 PM
            To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [existlist] Re: the mystery shuts up...


            << I think that preserving some of the mystery of
            the author's
            personality is the greatest tribute you could pay
            to that person –
            instead of subjecting him to a description and
            evaluation of your
            own, classifying him to a particular type of
            personality etc.>>

            While I wasn't thinking specifically of 'mystery'
            that is a fair
            description. You can't claim to know every thought
            and inuendo
            of an author noo matter how well studied...and
            there is nothing
            wrong with the author jumping out of character to
            relate a point --
            yet failing because it is not consistent. The
            author will always be
            mysterious, no matter who claims to have the
            answer, key or
            blueprint.

            mystery me...
            ------------------


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          • james tan
            hi nothing (are u the one who is previously known as bookdoc?), to answer your question, yes, it is an assumption or perspective. but 1) there have to be some
            Message 5 of 29 , Sep 4, 2001
              hi nothing (are u the one who is previously known as bookdoc?),

              to answer your question, yes, it is an assumption or perspective.

              but 1) there have to be some assumptions to do any work 2) if those
              assumptions u base your work keep producing reliable results, u just have
              more faith in those assumptions, until such times when the assumptions do
              not work in some new or special cases, then u just admit the limitation of
              those assumptions. but that doesn't mean those assumptions are entirely
              useless.

              well, well, this is not related to the existential, i suppose?! just to
              satisfy your curiousity.

              james.




              From: nothing@...
              Reply-To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
              To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: [existlist] Re: shuts up.
              Date: Wed, 05 Sep 2001 04:04:13 -0000

              <<we do it by looking for evidences in the person's behavioural &
              cognitive patterns. >>

              Not to play with your profession (as I quite play with my own,
              mind you), but is it not an assumption that you come to know a
              person and perspective at all even in clinical study? Or have you
              mapped out some sort of exacting science of mind?

              curious, plus.
              -------------------



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            • nothing@theabsurd.com
              Dear Sir Duard simplifier extraordinaire, It always seems to,
              Message 6 of 29 , Sep 5, 2001
                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 author's
                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 often
                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 happens.

                Reduxio
                -----------
              • nothing@theabsurd.com
                Message 7 of 29 , Sep 5, 2001
                  << 1) there have to be some assumptions to do any work ... until
                  such times when the assumptions do not work in some new or
                  special cases, then u just admit the limitation of those
                  assumptions. but that doesn't mean those assumptions are
                  entirely useless ... well, well, this is not related to the existential, i
                  suppose?! >>

                  I think it is related.

                  If one tries not to make assumptions, where does that lead?

                  ------------------------
                • Eduard Alf
                  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
                  Message 8 of 29 , Sep 5, 2001
                    "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.

                    eduard



                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: nothing@...
                    [mailto: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
                    more...


                    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
                    author's
                    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
                    often
                    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
                    happens.

                    Reduxio
                    -----------


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                  • nothing@theabsurd.com
                    Message 9 of 29 , Sep 5, 2001
                      << 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
                      >>

                      I am sorry but I don't believe it is true that what the author intends
                      makes any difference. And to some extent, the reader would not
                      be required to 'deal' with anything. One would assume that be
                      the act of reading one is involving themselves with words only --
                      NOT that they give a hoot what the author intends.

                      << 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.>>

                      So I am asked to follow the 'Duard-o-meter to the magical land of
                      benefit? I must say, I am also not convinced that there can be a
                      benefit to discussion. I'm afraid I am attached to the hip of
                      frivolity, or that I cannot judge benefit. If you could explain to me
                      just once what 'beneficial' is and how one goes about having a
                      'productive' discussion, I would be grateful, because then I can
                      achieve better things.

                      I suppose saying that my intended contributions are pointless is
                      somehow a benefit? And I suppose i should see your
                      suggestion as beneficial and flag my own, logically, as
                      detriment? And the suggestion is that my repeatedly absurd
                      posts are nothing but pests on the flystrip as it were? And
                      everyone who utters here utters for purpose -- as such great
                      musings about ducks and mountains I have heard that seem to
                      this limp chimp to have no tangent to the discussion at all?
                      Forgive me for responding ... it obviously was and is
                      inconsiderate. I should type to myself and not post as I can never
                      gauge the worth before I do, and I would assume, as I am
                      unable to do so, I should assume the restraint will be more
                      healthy than endulgence -- and therefore not saying anything at
                      all would be the greater benefit?

                      Sounds absurd to me...shutting up benefits the discussion? If
                      we all shut up, what a wonderful discussion we would have as
                      we might all benefit the more — another scoop of benefit for
                      every mouth that closes! The less we say, the better the
                      discussion?!

                      Please clarify, as I do not have your wealth of vision.

                      clueless in blindness and hock
                      -------------------------------------------
                    • james tan
                      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
                      Message 10 of 29 , Sep 5, 2001
                        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.

                        james.




                        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
                        more...
                        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.

                        eduard



                        -----Original Message-----
                        From: nothing@...
                        [mailto: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
                        more...


                        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
                        author's
                        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
                        often
                        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
                        happens.

                        Reduxio
                        -----------


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                      • Eduard Alf
                        hi james, the fact is what the author puts forth as his/her opinion. You may wish to make an interpretation of
                        Message 11 of 29 , Sep 5, 2001
                          hi james,

                          << there are no facts, only interpretations>>

                          the "fact" is what the author puts forth as
                          his/her opinion. You may wish to make an
                          interpretation of this opinion or accept/reject it
                          outright. But ultimately, one has to come the
                          point of recognizing that this opinion is
                          something which is attached to the author. It is
                          the author's opinion and on that basis can be
                          taken to be a "fact". The discussion had gotten
                          off onto a tangent, in trying to focus upon some
                          "mystery" behind the fact or perhaps some yet
                          unknown characteristic of the author which may
                          help us to understand this "fact".

                          I do not disagree with the idea that one should
                          get to know the author. This may indeed be
                          beneficial understanding facts/opinions that may
                          be stated in the form of parables. But the
                          tangent that we got on, was that there could never
                          be an understanding, because instead we would be
                          too busy trying to find out more and more about
                          the mystery. This leads to absurdity.

                          eduard
                        • nothing@theabsurd.com
                          ... I find this a claustrophobic situation, limiting, and horrifically disinteresting. If this were made law, I would never read again. ... I do. I don t see
                          Message 12 of 29 , Sep 6, 2001
                            > the "fact" is what the author puts forth as
                            > his/her opinion. You may wish to make an
                            > interpretation of this opinion or accept/reject it
                            > outright. But ultimately, one has to come the
                            > point of recognizing that this opinion is
                            > something which is attached to the author. >>

                            I find this a claustrophobic situation, limiting, and horrifically
                            disinteresting. If this were made law, I would never read again.

                            > I do not disagree with the idea that one should
                            > get to know the author. >>

                            I do. I don't see the point or benefit. Except in satisfying an
                            interest or curiosity -- if you have it.

                            > But the tangent that we got on, was that there could never
                            > be an understanding, because instead we would be
                            > too busy trying to find out more and more about
                            > the mystery. This leads to absurdity.

                            There is nothing wrong with admitting to the impossible.

                            What I think many fail with and why they continually search to
                            something else is that they find their perspective and interest not
                            good enough and not well justified on its own. For some reason
                            it needs validation. Validation can be saught by capturing what
                            the author meant as that is the ultimate is it not? I suggest it isn't.
                            And I suggest I can add far more to a work without the limitation
                            of the author as 'god' having devine right over meaning.

                            I think the need for security in 'vision' is what forces so many to
                            find an umbrella...and there consistently miss the joys of the
                            rain.

                            unthinking.
                            ---------------
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