Test

Life can pass by in thought, which is as good as a dream unless it is tested. There may be two schools in life, one for the intellect and the other for the heart: the duality seen in some definitions of θύμος and in which stands for both heart and mind. Without skulls in dreams or misfortune would one remember the aspect of self connected to feeling that may itself grow as the mind can be said to flower?
While it is possible for there to be an intellectual who is also a "good person" and therefore passing the test of humanity there are also other roads to this same goal. One may think of the "elder", for example, who may not even be intellectually schooled but whose sensitivity to θύμος and character brings an abundance of gifts that may be shared with others (one asks whether that is not also the purpose of the intellect: to share the wealth). A description of this receptive soul can be found in the film Остров, in which the protagonist is described as, "an exposed nerve, which connects to the pains of this world. His absolute power is a reaction to the pain of those people who come to it". To speak of pain is to speak of the domain of the heart more than the mind, and the relevance of the other school may become clearer in this wounded context.
Except the intellect can also learn about sadness. It can store quotations and learn entire bodies of information on the subject. The problem is whether the information produced on a given occasion is what the doctor would call for or just a gesture of formality: idea matching, in form, the category of experience. The description of Socrates' philosophical beginnings highlights this very problem of form, or appearance, not matching up to essence. 
In Plato's Apology, he is said to have tested out the oracle according to which no one was wiser than he. But I think it is important to add that he was not testing out of disrespect or disbelief, rather, it is known that the oracle both reveals as much as it hides, so the spirit behind this testing is rather particular. "'For when I heard this, I thought to myself: “What in the world does the god mean, and what riddle is he propounding? For I am conscious that I am not wise either much or little. What then does he mean by declaring that I am the wisest? He certainly cannot be lying, for that is not possible for him.'” (21b)





He claims, firstly, that he does not understand his wisdom (20e), and proceeds to examine a man reputed to be wise only to find he was not so wise, concluding to himself: "'neither of us really knows anything fine and good, but this man thinks he knows something when he does not, whereas I, as I do not know anything, do not think I do either'" (21d). 
Socrates continues, "So I had to go, investigating the meaning of the oracle, to all those who were reputed to know anything ... those who had the most reputation seemed to me to be almost the most deficient, as I investigated at the god's behest, and others who were of less repute seemed to be superior men in the matter of being sensible." (21e -22a) We know the dialogues that ensued - with poets, public men, and so on - and those dialogues demonstrate how it is that things are not to be taken for granted. 
I equate that latter point with Aristotle's views on phronesis in his Ethics. Like Socrates he claims he does not even know if he possesses phronesis, and explains the difficulties inherent to applying an idea to changing circumstance.
It may be that I am writing now about not being dogmatic. But like the spirit of Socrates' inquiries, to be wary of dogma does not necessarily mean that one, categorically, does not respect it where it stands for ideals and perfection. It is the intellect that tends towards the dogmatic, it is the intellect that may be said to reach it before the man does in practice; man's poorer side, the emotions, certainly does not tend towards the systematic. The school of intellectual thought can lead to a cement grave where ideas stop moving. There, the skull does not speak. 
It can be hard and tiring to engage with each new situation, particularly when the situation does not correspond to the wishes of the ego. But this "exposed nerve" has much to teach those who are willing to be students. Testing shows, as Socrates demonstrated, that not all ideas that look intelligent or wise are indeed so. But Socrates explained about his enemies: "there I became hateful both to him and to many others". The second school is not for the weak of heart. 





Magazine. Brush. Reference to Socrates and butterflies here.

Skull in a Dream

When the work I had invested years of my life in was declared to have been put into administrative purgatory after having effectively been there earlier, a friend of mine kept saying that there is no such thing as degrees or status after death. I found this comment a little bit grating because as I had entrusted in those years of work I had hoped to be given the "credentia" of the credential. I was also curious, though, about my friend's concept of death because apparently I have a notion that death is earned through one's labour; a form of tithe.
I cannot speak for other people but because I grew up with the Chinese classics before the Western ones, when I realise I have questions I rush to those books for some kind of orientation. Even if that impulse is not shared (I do not wish to promote a postured universalism) I am sure I am not alone in using some texts for divination, which may in fact describe reading with the heart and not the mind.
Behold what I found on death and honours in Zhuangzi 至樂 4:
"At midnight the skull appeared to him in a dream, and said, 'What you said to me was after the fashion of an orator. All your words were about the entanglements of men in their lifetime. There are none of those things after death. Would you like to hear me, Sir, tell you about death?' 'I should,' said Zhuangzi, and the skull resumed: 'In death there are not (the distinctions of) ruler above and minister below. There are none of the phenomena of the four seasons. Tranquil and at ease, our years are those of heaven and earth. No king in his court has greater enjoyment than we have.' Zhuangzi did not believe it, and said, 'If I could get the Ruler of our Destiny to restore your body to life with its bones and flesh and skin, and to give you back your father and mother, your wife and children, and all your village acquaintances, would you wish me to do so?' The skull stared fixedly at him, knitted its brows, and said, 'How should I cast away the enjoyment of my royal court, and undertake again the toils of life among mankind?'"
In  徐無鬼 4 we are given a list of people in different professions, each doing what he is skilled at but all sad when things do not go their way. This may be contrasted with the definition of complete enjoyment in 繕性 3, which Zhuangzi also calls the "attainmnet of the aim". The aim, however, is no fancy thing, which only affect the body and not its nature, being temporary, coming and going. One is not to be motivated by the wish to pursue things and one's wish to avoid distress is not to be the cause of one's learning. Both pursuits, however, may be enjoyable if one sees them as ways of freeing oneself from anxiety. "If now the departure of what is transient takes away one's enjoyment, this view shows that what enjoyment it had given was worthless. Hence it is said, 'They who lose themselves in their pursuit of things, and lose their nature in their study of what is vulgar, must be pronounced people who turn things upside down.'"




I see the skull that appeared in the dream. It said the work is only real if it is seen as a release from anxiety. The credential is akin to the transient thing that comes and goes.
This idea is contrary to the resume culture, which I have been thinking about a lot recently - thinking without any action. Is pressure regarding credentials also a class issue? But what about circumstance: Thomas Hardy's Jude is testament to how the able but misplaced soul may fail to thrive.
"Mencius said, 'A man's advancement is effected, it may be, by others, and the stopping him is, it may be, from the efforts of others. But to advance a man or to stop his advance is really beyond the power of other men. My not finding in the prince of Lu a ruler who would confide in me, and put my counsels into practice, is from Heaven." (梁惠王下 23).
But Heaven, 下, can be an ambiguous character, highlighting the paradoxes and inconsistencies in life and literature. As I get older I find that I crave such puns that stimulate the moral imagination. Laws may be perfect but man is not - which interferes with how the law is to be 'interpreted' to man, Aristotle teaches, which is not to say that Aristotle is a moral relativist or does not maintain ideals, laws. The play around meaning, and in verbal ambiguity, can be heuristic.
下 can mean nature but it can also mean social forces, and in a context like the one above it may signal the random counterforce to the normative, which I take to mean Heaven only if this is the moment one uses the provocative 下 to inspire the 下 of order, thereby "freeing oneself of anxiety". The word 下 is used because we are to be pushed to it: the negative is hiding the positive, vice versa, or both are hidden together in the pun. We are being pushed towards a positive value because Mencius elsewhere gives us the answer to when circumstance does not go our way.
"Mencius replied, 'Honour virtue and delight in righteousness, and so you may always be perfectly satisfied. Therefore, a scholar, though poor [ - exhausted all resources], does not let go his righteousness; though prosperous [達 - having attained sth], he does not leave his own path. Poor and not letting righteousness go - it is thus that the scholar holds possession of himself. Prosperous and not leaving the proper path - it is thus that the expectations of the people from him are not disappointed. When the men of antiquity realized their wishes, benefits were conferred by them on the people. If they did not realize their wishes, they cultivated their personal character, and became illustrious in the world. If poor, they attended to their own virtue in solitude; if advanced to dignity, they made the whole kingdom virtuous as well.'" 盡心上 46.
In other words, one is to make the best out of what one has, whatever it is. I wrote a letter to my father this morning, musing that no matter how prudent one thought one was in their decision making as a youth, it is not possible to keep off the moment of doubt, 下 is not in one's control, yet it is not an excuse to go around sulking. Maybe the point is not in what we achieve but in character building, in making something from what we have even if it sometimes isn't much - maybe just a skull in a dream... that shows us how to paint by number the fruits of bounty.



Something Named. An Imitation

When I was younger, I experimented in the extreme of expecting much of names, like love and goodness, which I invested with ideal meaning until I began to see (does one ever finish seeing this) how steeply the ideal drops off from word into practice. Among those around me, I can see other illustrations of word-investment: some are vociferously atheist while others are ultra religious and often there is a need for these various factions to make their ideals into unwitting darts targeting those who do not subscribe to their same verbal understanding. As I had tried taking a fixed view of some words myself, any criticism here is of myself: for thinking that one can have the names for things. I do not think we own those names.
Today, I would explain our relationship to knowing things as Taoist: intuited when not controlled. I ask myself at this time: do you want meaning, or do you want to attain the illusion of control?
To be the guest-friend may also mean to be released from strict social norms: the name of the guest is not revealed after the first meal, but then, this is not any guest but one who was led in to the palace by a goddess and one who has waited for signs that he is among friends before he reveals his name. For it is posited that he learned the hard way (viz. Susan B. Levin's reading of the Polyphemus encounter) not to reveal his name lest it be used as a means to curse him. This is a very different social approach than the LinkedIn here is my life laid out for your scrutinising pleasure (I feel too embarrassed to look at my friends' profiles: if it's important, they will email me is my view - I further wonder at the difference between being present on such a platform and actually using it and how much illusion is trapped in the naming of what we do).
From Odysseus we see there may be vital reasons as to why the name may be willfully obscured. In this way, there is something to be learned from the geomancer, wherein the time when something appears is as important as the thing itself. It may be a contemporary Western conceit that the name can be pinned into a box like a butterfly. The great natural historian Agassiz wrote, after all, that there is a superiority in perceiving the similarities among facts over finding the fact.
And these names are flying around: it is the same metaphor we see in the Theaetetus (197 on), which concedes that in that context: at that time, and with those words, the attempt to figure out knowledge was "wind-eggs". Yet we are left, from that dialogue, with the ideas that intertwining ideas (202b) and noting their differences ("assign things to the right imprints" 195a - crucial for there to be recognition 193c) are exercises of particular importance in naming, that the combination assists the approach to the winged things we seek to name and know.




The dialogue also leaves us with the sense of the malleability and fallibility of that which we think we know. My favourite passage illustrating this begins in 201a: "you have a whole profession which declares that true opinion is not knowledge ... The profession of those who are greatest in wisdom, who are called orators and lawyers; for they persuade men by the art which they possess, not teaching them, but making them have whatever opinion they like. Or do you think there are any teachers so clever as to be able ... satisfactorily to teach the judges the truth about what happened to people who have been robbed of their money ... when there were no eyewitnesses?"
As a true pedagogue, Socrates puts a lot of direct and indirect emphasis on one's own assimilation of the subject matter at hand. It is said, possibly sarcastically, to be advantageous for the person seeking to assimilate to have a soul like wax - not like stone, not infected by earth; wax being κηρός, a word similar to that of heart, κέαρ or κῆρ (fn). But the sarcasm is surely limited to the dilettantism of resting the mind on literary references: for established in this part of the dialgoue is the importance of being able to recognise - to match imprints. It also corresponds to truth being compared to smoothness, and falsity to roughness, in the always-moving speech represented by Pan (Crat. 408c). It is noted that this speech brings as much truth as falsehood, and that falsehood is not only rough but conducive to the tragic life.
Comparison, more apparent to the smooth, may help ascertain the elements beneath it or at least circumvent them in a way - for the essential nature of a thing is not always imitated by letters and syllables (Crat. 423e) the very possibility of which may sound ridiculous though worth considering (Crat. 425d).
We can't understand everything, but which birds are ours? They may or may not be in a name because ποταμοῖσι τοῖσιν αὐτοῖσιν ἐμϐαίνουσιν, ἕτερα καὶ ἕτερα ὕδατα ἐπιρρεῖ - which appears in Socrates' other discussion of knowledge and naming in the Cratylus (402a and 401c). This section brings this post full circle because it is connected to the names that men give to gods: different names- yet illustrative of the same principles, providing one looks for that imprint, in the first instance of water (402b on). In the dialogue Socrates explains the ideas behind the names of the gods - a favourite passage of 19th century German philologists. There are instances, after all, where names correspond to their elements (422a).





As man turns around and around to capture the nature of things, he gains the illusion that things are moving which is implied in words like wisdom itself, implying a motion, the generation of contemplation, comparable to the soul, named νόησις (411b also 463e). Intelligence may be a "reckoning together" - which again is more of a being with than a having, particularly since that which is never in the same state can hardly be anything (439 e).
The moral of the story is that "no man of sense" ought "put himself and his soul under the control of names" (440c). In other words, we are not to take the names for granted (belief, atheism, justice, injustice) but to think them through. We might discover some underlying elements that may lead to difference becoming the same. For example, how unjust is injustice done to a man who has been in his life unjust? I am presently rather fascinated by this idea.
Finally, particularly in Cratylus 429-30, Socrates says that some painters are better than others and that as a name is an imitation just as a picture is, some names are better than others. I couldn't help draw a parallel between that bit in Ruskin's Sesame and Lilies (lecture three) where he writes about how irresolute people are to say to those who are not such good painters "though you had fine motives, strong enough to make you burn yourself in a slow fire, if only first you could paint a picture, you can't paint one" yet ought to champion with that much more decisiveness those with talent to make something of said talent. Instead, both artists and audience, instead of being encouraged to align wisdom and rightness to an understanding of the ends of life, are "all plunged as in a languid dream - our heart fat, and our eyes heavy, and our ears closed, lest the inspiration of hand or voice should reach us - lest we should see with our eyes, and understand with our hearts". 
True to Socrates' distrust of words, he says, "art must not be talked about. The fact that there is talk about it at all, signifies that it is ill done, or cannot be done ... The moment a man can really do his work ... All words become idle to him - all theories." One cannot be carried up an Alp by talking, he says, but one may be guided up it, step by step. He contrasts the shapeshifting interests, like pride and lust, to beauty as an ideal that is beyond movement (as does Socrates). 
I think that the better word portrait is one that inspires the person to be more charitable to others, more aware of self, more loving of life with syllables and smaller elements like wild birds and winged things.



Is Interiority Nonsense?

"For if we seek to define a language to describe states of interiority that are purely private, how are we ever to reach a consensus as to their use? External criteria are necessarily missing for objects of pure interiority," writes the author of lexipenia, a wordpress blog often about thought, language, and music.
I wrote yesterday of how Wen Xin wrote about the necessity of interiority to the creation of literature. According to the argument above (arguably a skeptical view - of a skepticism refuted by this argument), interiority is not properly meaningful: it is suggested that we cannot empathise with others if we lack the same experiences. It is considered a victory of thought to uncover this "crack" in our understanding.
But surely we are not just breaking things apart for the sake of it. Such a crack may be meaningful if it leads us back to the co in communication, which points out our disability to comprehend sometimes due to lack of proper experience.
The lexipenia author concedes. In his words, the skepticism "is hence a deflection of the real issue: knowledge of others is imperfect, if measured against these criteria (which conceptually will always fail to fit), and this imperfection places an ethical demand on us to respond appropriately." He writes that the ethical duty is to first admit the separateness of our minds. Philosophy brackets off the aesthetic (and empathetic?) as not knowable, sticking to different areas of knowledge (to sort of sum up what he writes), while literature deals with "acknowledgement", its world not being "one of certainty, but one that in some ways is more like the real world – appealing to the whole sensibility, the whole mess of uncertainty – than philosophy alone can be."
Inner, aesthetic experiences are said to be masked from 'meaning', the author continues. Literature, then, is nonsensical, a mere gesture. Good art will inspire us to allow its claim over us to defy our separateness and speak nonsense in response to and support of something that is shared. The critic is one who shares an individual response. "Should the best criticism not come from this desire to speak, faced with the enigmatic power of artworks?"
This thinking is conducive to much of Gadamer's in Truth and Method where he argues that the emphasis on science in the humanities ought not mean that we abstract ourselves out of the picture (a physical impossibility, let us remember, and akin to the curse of Prometheus, bringing technological promises for a future reachable by mind more than in practice). What is more, this thinking supports the common sense of those unschooled in modern philosophy.




I admired how the lexipenia author cited Adorno's bit on the ghastliness of an applause as appropriate response to artwork at the end of his blog piece. It is an age since I read that work, but in a flash reminded me of why I used to love to read Walter Benjamin: I remember turning in a paper influenced by the style and form of Illuminations. I thought, anything is possible in how we respond to ideas, scholasticism need not be so rigid and soulless.
I think what took me away from those writers (Adorno, Horkheimer, Benjamin, ah and Habermas who seemed different to me back then, and those constituting "Theory") were all the full stops in what they wrote. Storytelling is dead. Culture is dead. Etc.
For a person who wants to create as much as think, such ideas are untenable. I even think that I went out in search of storytelling and culture in defiance of what they wrote. My conclusion is that a man finds what he looks for. Some seek not the interior life. I often think of that wonderful anecdote of the scholar-official whose philosophical school fell out of favour and who retreated to the mountains as many were wont to do in China over the centuries, and whose hut a fellow official came upon, exclaiming: old school-mate, how can you live here in such impoverished circumstances, your windows are not even covered! To which the scholar-official in retreat replied: if you would only come in you would see that in this way, from my desk I have a perfectly unobstructed portrait of that mountain view.
It quickly becomes a form of tyranny to renounce the personal level of engagement. We remember that Gadamer was so sorry that he had not published Truth and Method earlier, to argue against false objectivity in a timely fashion. He did not call interiority nonsense, but an inescapable element of our reality. He writes that there is no such thing as a point outside of history from which the identity of a problem can be conceived, and that the overcoming of all prejudices is itself a prejudice.
He agrees that experience can never be a science (which seems to be a major argument against interiority). He also writes that experience and suffering teach human limitation. This works against progressive scienticism because experience does not ever lead to a point where experience has ceased and a higher level of knowledge is reached (as per Hegel) rather it leads to a new openness to experience, leading the experienced person to "be". Experience challenges dogmatism and is an ongoing process.




It is a false dialectical experience to claim to transcend the own conditionedness in knowing an other. People who think they know better cannot even ask the right questions. Doxa, opinion, often suppresses questions, which are, in the tradition of dialectics, to be asked anew, with the goal to work out the common meaning - which I italicise to return to the empathetic responsibility mentioned earlier.
In hermeneutics there is a desire as there is in skepticism albeit in a different way to go beyond the question, to the horizon of the question, and go behind what is said.
A conversation presupposes a common language, something that is shared, that can be placed in the centre. In conversation, both sides will end up transformed: "a genuine conversation is never the one we wanted to conduct." Not participating, the person who just repeats what is said will change the meaning of what is said: which I take to imply the ramifications of thinking that one is obtaining knowledge while abstracting themselves out of the picture.
So instead of a final goal of knowledge, we are left with an ongoing series of interpretative processes, an uninterrupted listening. In this context there is such a thing as truth, which does not reside in the individual words but in discourse. The word (onoma) may be a source of seduction and confusion, so Plato called us to rise above language: through the insight of unity and commonalities, it is possible to rise above the names of things, which means that the truth of things is not contained in the name itself. We may speak, too, in this context, of concept formation emerging through a result of accidents and relations (again I reference 文心雕龍). Also along these lines (of the carved dragon) is the Aristotelean development of thought wherein the logical ideal of the ordered arrangement of concepts takes precedence over the living metaphoricity of langauge, on which all natural concept formation depends (here I supplement my understanding of Truth and Method, ideas from which I am otherwise trying to represent in this majority of this blog post). This kind of order is not the same as the science abstracted from the linguistic nature of our experience of the world that attempts to become certain about entities by methodologically organizing its knowledge of the world, condemning as heresy all knowledge that does not allow this kind of certainty and can't serve the growing domination of being.
What is more, science cannot replace the topica of thinking and speech as forwarded by Vico, which is the art of finding arguments and developing a sense of what is convincing instinctively and extempore.




The shift in ontological definition based in the scientific model of epistemology, discrediting all possibilities of knowing outside this new methodology as "fiction", precludes the possibility of the "encounter" - this scientific view thus considers interiority, conversation, and discourse as potentially nonsensical.
Interestingly, the scientific method is based on a model of philology wherein the book of nature is to be deciphered. Except the classical tradition of words was discontinued, and the new tradition no longer presupposed the hermeneutical task. What is lost? The word of tradition that really does encounter us as if concerned with us, and the questioner then becoming the one who is questioned. But in the developmental historical consciousness, not even this dialogue is permitted, nor the normative claim to literary history in which the canon was used as a model, passing on that of worth. Expression is grasped while the truth of what is said is ignored. Understanding is lost, where it is a process of transmission in which past and present are constantly mediated (a person but tries to understand, being open to the text's alterity).
Working out the hermeneutical situation means acquiring the right horizon of inquiry - not overvaluing that which happens to be nearest to one. We need different ways of knowing aside from the technical knowledge that serves particular ends because of the complications of applying law to imperfect human reality. Moral knowledge embraces a means and end different from technical knowledge. Sympathy is not nonsense but another form of understanding and the capacity for moral judgment, which, like the interior life, is only gained if it is sought, in this case, the seeking of that which is right. To make a choice, one needs a standard of excellence. Tradition depends on being made conscious and carried on. Here we are speaking of the hermeneutical tradtion.
To understand the meaning and significance of a text, the interpreter must not try to disregard himself but relate the text to his (concrete) situation, while being careful not to over hastily assimilate the subject to his own expectations of meaning. His own interiority is necessary to that of the text, in a process of uninterrupted listening and encounters, of getting behind the horizon of the question (what looks like objectivity and facts may in reality depend on the legitimacy of the questions asked), of engaging and being open to being changed. Interiority is a beginning point that is raised to a higher universality that overcomes not only our own particularity but also that of the other. However it does not end there, but rather leads to "being" and openness to this ongoing process that operates quite differently than science, despite the shared philological beginning - yet heteroglossic heremeneutics makes us wary of calling something "nonsense" while science is quick to classify all it cannot master as fiction.




I dream in dragons, which I took to in my heart or was it mind - this 心 that can also stand for nervous and spirit. But these were not any dragons, but literary ones and not from stories but where the dragon is symbol for the embellishment of the written word: carved and engraved like so many jade creatures of the heavens (in the East, the dragon is auspicious).
This is a faraway preamble to 文心雕龍, the fifth century Chinese book on literature, translated in English as The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons, which is not quite the same as the alternative: The Heart of Literature and the Carving of the same. For the book also argues for a kind of writing which is not entirely produced by the logical mind. For example, a writer is to let inspiration flow according to the Way-wherein things issue forth from nothingness. This may bring associations of ex-nihilo wherein man is the microcosm enacting an aspect of creation, in an example of what Robert Neville calls "parallel sensitivities". And in the adaptation of nothing, to return to the Tao Te Ching, we might think of sensitivities in a different way, the sensitive perception of sympathies, which is not necessarily a rational recognition    but a natural one. The author of 文心雕龍, Liu Xie, argues in this way that the writer is to be true to his or her personality.
The recognition of similarity, or parallelism, is to emerge from within if it is to be natural. We could say that in this way, the writer is to feel and think for his or herself, seeing connections where others might not. The parallelism could be described as figures of speech as much as of thought-and as the former are released from their literal confines, they require imagination to be formed, so we may now argue about where the imagination resides, is it found in the mind? What is inspiration? I put it in 心. It has to be, at least in Taoism, somewhere outside of the rational mind: the Way is had only when it is not grasped.
After Liu Xie writes of parallelism (ch. 35), he addresses polysemy and multivalence (ch. 40), which he describes as the "hidden beauties" of a text, "comprehended indirectly through secret overtones, which unobtrusively reveal hidden brilliance ...  such that common readers will have unlimited responses, and connoisseurs will never grow tired of it." The well-written text resonates.




Yet for such hidden correspondences and parallels to emerge, it happens that the dragon is also carved by a rational hand. The character 文 itself first meant "natural beauty", then the Confucian understanding of "culture", and finally "literature". This etymology is indicative of the traditional set of opposites thought to form literature: literature itself is opposed to raw material; sentiment to the decorative; reality in a work to its embellishment; tradition to what is new (etc. - it is noted that while the writer is invited to novelty s/he is warned that newness without reliance on tradition is but trend). In fact, parallelism itself reflects cosmic order as all natural things have their own parallels. Written examples emerged first spontaneously, later occurring more logically, with comparison and contrast its best type.
By way of summary, one might wish to speak of what is at the heart of literature here. "Parallel sensitivities" between natural and written beauty.
In this way, 文心雕龍 supports at once an ordered universe or may be compared to Lucretius' Nature, depending on who is writing and when. In this way, too, it is possible for some to assemble books to review under the header reading is not always good for us - with the tagline: "Somewhere along the line, an orthodoxy hardened: ... reading ... will make you healthier, stronger, kinder. But is that true?" - while others work for low pay, after prior and diametrical work experience, due to their passion for books as particularly promising for those who wish to call themselves literate. It is why, according to said review, one reviewed book's author can dismiss Middlemarch as "a melancholy dissection of the resignations that attend middle age, the paths untrodden and the choices unmade" [may be quoted out of context] while others might see it as the literary paean to science, wherein the life is taken to microscope for some moments. What does the data say? That the modern-day Theresa may be unseen except for her reflecting light in the faces that surround her: that is the modern spiritual trial, to keep some kind of inspiration to persist despite all the pessimism and uncertainty.
In any case, if one is to craft words as dragons, that fertile beast, according to 文心雕龍, there is to be balance to all oppositions. Heart and mind. 心.
(I first blogged about 心 here.)



Creative Commons License