A Kind of Certainty

Updated In 1863, Jules Verne was already writing of the jargon of science supplanting poetry. At the university, the last rhetoric professor is laid off. The protagonist survives on synthetic foods in order to write poetry.
When I say "rhetoric" I imagine the trail of Z's coming from the audience. Even so, when I found myself having to teach writing, I got annoyed with inferior and watered-down writing handbooks, and felt that reaching for the tool box of communication was so much more effective.
It's shocking that there is such a large industry of mediocre textbooks; this only confirms for me why people feel cheated by the education system and have lost faith in it. Yet to offer the real thing to students today is like telling the truth at the wrong time: students are overwhelmed by the automatism of a life they feel they have no hand in.
Our agency is in our ability to participate with - which is a function of poetry, so a function of rhetoric. Rhetoric is the techne of speaking words. In the Timaeus, techne is presented as poeisis, an artistic game that imitates the game of the poet of the universe. The myth of the craftsman-god becomes physis: where motion, form, function, and time illustrate techne - the action of the craftsperson, viz. all human knowledge.
Therefore, the techne - of technology - could be reconceptualised, reactualised through understanding matter not as material, per se, but the product of human activity. This may be described.
In one of Trilling's essays, he writes that certain scholarship makes a mistake by looking for "a kind of certainty that literature does not need and cannot allow". I would explain that as the difference between being with and that strange hovering amputation of observing one's life from attempted empirical distance. Like the difference between enjoying a party and taking photos of it for an anonymous internet.
Once upon a time, my brother and I were in Athens with one roll of film in our camera. Whenever we thought we had found something suitable to photograph, we would debate it - and I would argue that such words/thought interaction transformed our experience. What a similar idea: Remember the time I lost my camera in Panama.
Today, there is zeal for tracking, quantifying, even qualifying. One can become mute in such an environment: not only is there little funding for the humanities, but one is wont to ask, can the value of poetry be measured like a well-documented report on the food industry?
Experience is not viewed as a product in that it cannot be regulated like material products are. Life looks certain because we are taught that industry is so developed, that we are assured that every bottle of Heinz - made of fallible tomatoes! - will taste the same. What a bitter irony that man has become most zealous about harmonizing facts and all human knowledge only as he detaches techne from its greater whole. I thought it was cheating to shrink something in order to control it.

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