For a long time I have thought of my job as mostly a teacher of writing. I teach philosophy too, but most of what I teach in that domain is soon …
Twilight of the idols of good writing
—– I appreciate this author’s sentiment.
I am now going to make a comment upon it which might fall into a category of opinion that people might not be able to make good sense out of.
To those people I refer them to the contents of my blog that perhaps they can better understand the rationality and the sensibility behind what I’m saying.
What I hear this author saying is that students are being led more and more to a kind of “free voice” kind of writing. And the conventions of proper punctuation and grammar, he is seeing, is being more and more placed in a category of oppression. In general I think he saying that students are caring less about reading and writing as a means to communicate knowledge and intelligence, and caring more about their individual right to express themselves and however they see fit.
It’s been a couple seconds since I read￼￼￼￼ this post that I’m re-posting, but I also think I remember he is saying that writing itself is be coming to be seen more as just something people do somewhat mindlessly, and that this kind of mind less Ness is justified in the current practice and philosophy.￼
I think also he is lamenting a deep loss in this new attitude.
Now here is my comment:
While I do sympathize and generally agree with his sentiment, nevertheless I feel that it indicates A tendency towards misplacement of my understanding of what is actually occurring as humanity￼.
I feel the general idea towards history is that humanity on a whole has been getting more and more intelligent because of the increased exposure to reading and writing, to that ability, but also the interaction of people using those media￼.
So in the kind of reflection exhibiting this kind of orientation upon what is occurring with humanity, there is a certain kind of lamentation that the “good and noble ways” of a humanity in general are being left aside for some “new and hip version of humanity”. And I sympathize, like I said, and generally agree with the sentiment by the simple fact that I cannot dismiss myself from these types of observations. I cannot choose by any means, logic, rationality, etc. to dismiss myself from reality.
Now, here is where it gets sticky. Here is where I think many readers will begin to lose my points, and will begin to justify polemical ideas and opinions about whether or not such lamentation is justified, what humanity is actually doing, what history means, what reading and writing is accomplishing or what it is, etc.
Again I refer people who notice these types of reactions and considerations in themselves to what I’m gonna talk about next, to my writings in this blog that I started some eight or nine years ago. And maybe look at my books and academic papers.
First off, I think it is a condition of being human that we lament the present-future for the sake of a glorious past, even as we might be “future excited”. I think that it is true that this is what human beings do and that this is where all opinion arises from; that is, a sort of loss that arises as a Lacanian psychoanalysis of modern identity.
This is to say that the use of language indicates loss.￼￼￼ The use of language is already involved in a “missing” of what the term is supposed to be indicating. This is what he calls “castration”.
I’m not gonna go into all the Lacan stuff here, because I think that it’s extraneous and nearly pointless. I’m not arguing that he was correct. I’m indicating how things actually function regardless of what we think about it. And yet we are able to think any way we want; that is why, ironically, his explanation is very difficult to dismiss once you understand it.
The way that human beings make up for this loss is to posit an essential link; they imagine that there is an essential link between the term and it’s supposed real object. Yet, as human beings go on in the world using language, attempting to communicate, we continually find that we are “lost”, and thus we are perpetually caught in a reality of symbolic meaning where we are involved in a perpetual attempt to recoup this missing piece, perpetually involved in the attempt to manifest the link between the term and its object absolutely.
I am saying this happens for everyone, including myself. It happens as language use. It is not an argument, it is a description and argues for verification, not negation. Even though we are indeed able to talk amd discuss about the fact that I’m making an argument, the argument is not a call to reconcile difference. It is acall to recognize what is actually occurring.
The difference between those two statements, and the meaning of those two statements, the meaning that necessarily arises as the object of each of those statements, placed together juxtaposed in an attempt to find a reconciliation, a meaning which joins those two statements, is (similarly) the essence of what Aristotle shows us is contradiction.
We overcome this meaningless space of contradiction by simply denying that it exists. And we do this regularly and automatically at all times. To the extent that one may argue with this description, they have merely confirmed that it is true.
What we have then is a sort of irreconcilable condition that, if we are to be ethical human beings, we must confront head on. To the extent that we don’t, we have the fantasy of reality, and we have what Slavoj Zizek finds for us is “the real-political” as not a fantasy, but as the product a what I call a conventional faith.
Now, what are we to make of the dilemma that this author is lamenting in my repost?
If we are to be honest with what is presented, if we are to enter into this contradiction, so to speak, instead of just suspending it, putting it off till some future utopian point of reconciliation, then we have to see, or at least we should begin to glimpse that indeed what is happening is human beings as an aggregate, not as a totality but as a “most of” are not getting more intelligent due to being able to write and read. Rather, They are getting more intelligent with reference to a “fantastic convention” where in ‘intelligence’ arises in a theological lexicon of cosmological dimensions.
Note, though, I am not making an argument about how such a lexicon is incorrect or should be improved upon. I am merely describing the situation as it is, what “falls out of the contradiction” when one pursues the logical consequences of being aware or having a critical awareness of oneself thinking and or being. It has only to do with Lacan or any author in as much as they serve the occasion to make sense of the matter at hand. for example: this post.
What they (the strawman of the fantasy) are doing is they are following dogma. Further, because the human being is able to behave as if the contradiction never arises, or only arises at certain moments or in certain contexts, because human beings are indeed able to exist within the fantasy of reality such that the fantasy is indeed truly real — Make no mistake, this is not a fantasy that one can point out to another, such that then the person can come to some sort of rational awareness, some sort of great awakening to this step outside the fantasy — the negotiation of modern subjects within the universal fantasy, which is to say, the fantasy which supports the human being as such, as indeed a real human being in a real universe, is indeed real and functions as such.
The way forward, then, that is, if we are to work ethically and with Justice. in a Kierkegaardian manner, ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼Is to address the real aggregate of humanity as indeed valid universal beings rather than real subjects. Since, we already know that subjects are always constituted as ‘subject to…’ the object of the fantasy which reclaims existential loss, what Zizek/Lacan calls the “Master Signifier”.
To notice the responsibility implied of this sotuation is to go all the way back to Plato and his “Noble lie”.
Understanding what the seminal post-modern authors are really telling us, what they are indicating, then, we need to come to terms with the fact that, while indeed we have to behave and act with integrity in reality, with real people, the explanation of the truth of the matter often enough only serves to confuse most people and make things in the world worse, Or at least, perpetuate the chaos upon which modern capitalism exults those who would work to exploit the real aggregate rather than be ethical and work with Justice for them. This is to say, the truth confuses most people who just have faith in the “real modern ideological semantic platform”, so to speak. 😆
Itis not so much because people can read and write that they become more intelligent along the path of some sort of Enlightenment or some sort of critical awareness. It is that indeed such an analysis is real, and functions as such truly. and this truth evidences that the only thing that we are dealing with is that the human being is able to use language and be creative with that use of meaning which supports itself through full investment in the fantasy.
If we do not notice, if we do not make notice to such a distinction of truths, as intelligent people we implicitly uphold the status quo, and posit change within an ulterior agenda of stasis. which is to say, as it manifests as a longing for the good ol’days.
It is not that people in general are willingly getting dummer, it is that they are merely doing what humans regularly do throughout history: mindlessly following the instructions on how to be human that they were given.
this is the outline of existential responsibility placed in a modern context.
￼￼have we begun to think ?