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Re: [existlist] The uses of literary work

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  • tom
    Louise and all, Einstein said his education interfered with his learning. I think his intent was becoming aware that our identification with our education can
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 8, 2010
      Louise and all,

      Einstein said his education interfered with his learning. I think his intent was becoming aware that our identification with our education can lead us to overly solidify paradigms we have acquired from education, and thereby be less open to fresh insights. In fiction, characters like Huck Finn are often used to look at a culture from the point of someone whose lack of schooling allows them to look at their culture from outside.Of course, Mark Twain himself didn't have much formal education, yet had close friends like scientific genius Tesla.

      Peace,
      Tom
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: shadowed_statue
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Sunday, August 08, 2010 8:14 PM
      Subject: [existlist] The uses of literary work



      It occurred to me that my frivolous moments about comparing two outstanding thinkers of the nineteenth century are rooted in an uncertainty about how legitimate it is to draw on the work of a man and apply it in a completely different way from how he hoped it would be applied. In this case, to compare the outlooks of a convinced atheist and a poetic philosopher for Christianity implicitly asks the question, is it respectful to take the phraseology of a writer for one's own use, when rejecting their foundational beliefs?

      Concretely put, is it right to borrow SK's terms, of choosing oneself in one's ethical reality, and placing that phrasing in an atheistic context? This is what I realised I had done, when responding to Mary recently in the thread on individuality.

      Am I having a bad attack of scruples? I think it is so natural to be influenced by those whose work one responds to strongly, that it is not so surprising that it might take a long time to develop phrasing of one's own. And what does it mean, to quote? In formal education, I was positively encouraged to have recourse to, and attribute, sources. But what does existentialism have to do with formal education? I think the ideal is to be able to think, and write, in an original way, and that reading the best that has been written should help in that process. But there is many a quagmire along the way. And then there is the living that does not consist in the thinking and the writing. Even some kinds of living are like quotations - I mean, without realising it, we "quote" the behaviour of our parents, or associates. We get into automatic habits, go on endlessly quoting ourselves.

      Well, if you have read this far, thanks for your attention. It may be leading onward, rather than round in circles, and that is why I share it.

      Louise





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