Thursday, March 16, 2006

Sun and Moon

If the sun is gold, then the moon is silver. That's obvious. But if the sun is bronze, then what is the moon? Don't tell me aluminum, they didn't have aluminum back then. Maybe if the sun is bronze, then the moon is tin? Or quicksilver, yeah, maybe the moon is quicksilver.

Admit it, you know what I'm talking about. Moreover, in your more lucid moments you know that much if not most of our human knowledge is of a piece with bronze suns and quicksilver moons. And it is meaningful and valid and truthful, for all that. Without it we would be blind and deaf and dumb.

Now ponder for a minute how many of our modern philosophies have been designed with the express purpose of barring the gate against such suns and moons, as if against a marauding criminal horde. As if to say, "You shall come in through the front gate only, single file, no jostling; and then only when we deign to admit you. No crawling in over the back fence, please!"

Of course, the deep-seated need to be a gatekeeper (and such a stringent and authoritarian gatekeeper, at that) must never be spoken of: if one were a psychologist, one would suspect there are "control issues" in play here.

Metaphor and symbol and sign are the Morpheus and the Trinity and the Neo in this Matrix. But what of they who have appointed themselves the Agents?

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Lucy said...

Pretty and thoughtful and gracefully. And I almost didn't write that, deeming it childish. An appreciation and value for something merely because its pretty. When did that happen to our society? That being pretty and elegant became ... less than enough. An insult to be uttered in a superior tone. Usually by people unable to achieve "pretty and thoughtful and graceful" :)

Thursday, March 16, 2006 8:35:00 AM  
Blogger The Tetrast said...

Though it began before WWI, many philosophers seemed to have developed the gatekeeper attitude thereafter in a reaction to the pseudoscience & pseudophilosophy used by despotisms, despotisms producing horrors about which they heard a great deal and which some of them personally witnessed and some of them suffered too. So I sometimes remind myself to not hold it against them too much. I think it was Gerard Radnitzky who said that their reductionism could be seen as a kind of holding action against the nuts. Yet in the long run, in order to defend freedom, one does need affirmative general ideas of the kind which tend not to survive the acids of the logical positivists and the linguistic analysts, and one gets frustrated by the persistence of such excessive gatekeeper attitudes past the maturity of the linguistic analysis movement. Maybe it has something to do with the character of academe itself (I wouldn't know because I'm not there).

Thursday, March 16, 2006 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger The Tetrast said...

I don't know why I said "...past the maturity of the linguistic analysis movement." I'm not sure I believe in the idea of movements' maturings and, anyway, the phrase flows too trippingly or flippantly off the tongue. It's glib, for a squib, and so on. I was thinking something like, past the time when enough grown-ups should have accumulated. Sumpin' like that.

Peirce was one of the last major philosophers who was really & truly adult IN his philosophizing. These 20th-Century famous philosophers, with their various animuses, against metaphysics or against science or against non-deductive logic or against universals or against whatever, whew! Can at least one of the pots be non-decaff, please?

Thursday, March 16, 2006 9:30:00 PM  
Blogger vieome said...

I just have one question

Sunday, March 19, 2006 6:59:00 AM  

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