Live on Hay, You'll Get Pie in the Sky

Some people wait until they are fit for operations. Some people wait for cooler weather. Some people wait for the pieces of the puzzle of their life to begin to take shape and make sense. If it is true that the whole can be contained in parts, then any of those situations can be holistic, in all meanings of that word.
Sometimes, one's own comprehension of life can get so confusing, constricting, that one would just throw that burden to the wind, and see what is left after the gust.
I don't know how I come off "on paper," in text, but in real life, I know I am not imposing because I often suffer that inconvenience when the well-meaning project on me, and I am left wondering why they are so content with their suppositions, predictions, machinations, and why they wouldn't just throw it all to the wind for a chance to see something more relaxing.
But this isn't only true of the approach to other humans. From where I'm standing, it looks like people do it in academics, too. I am standing in that place not so many people occupy, having followed undergrad advice to go and live a little before returning to the tour d'ivoire. Also a place of several continents, and making my own way after a now very distant privileged childhood. I returned to academia by accident, but the accident fit since I always loved studying and reading. And now that I'm here, I remember my favourite professor's criticism of his colleagues. I'd add that educated people are especially gifted at small-mindedness. Which isn't entirely their fault, the structure of the modern education system allows this.
What I mean by "modern" was initiated by Kant's response to mathematico-scientific advances. This shift in thought is something that many people intuit, but have difficulty tracing. I have read many summaries of the changes wrought by the modern trend to write a universal history - an ideal! - in books like Auerbach's Mimesis, or Dupre's Passages to Modernity. But the book I am finding most instructive, which does not call itself a survey, is Gadamer's Truth and Method. He traces the shifts so well that his explanations fit examples he doesn't give - but he always returns to antiquity. "Neither the saving truth of Scripture nor the exemplariness of the classics was to influence a procedure that was able to grasp every text as an expression of life and ignore the truth of what was said."
He writes that the more the dogmas of  the theological and philosophical background fade away, the more science advances into an unknown, called "research." Kant destroyed metaphysics as a purely rational science of the world and "destroyed the dreams of a seer." In the 19th century, logos was torn from being.


Thus we come to today, where some academics, even some classicists, seem reluctant to discuss the meaning of texts. It seems this activity is to remain private, which is to say that for ever more people, it won't take place at all.
My critique of certain academics is their unwillingness to respect those who are "better able to think [their] way through what an author is talking about," perhaps better than the author his or herself. I'd add to Gadamer's description of basic critical thinking - hijacked as it was by the new scientific-philological dogma, that academics should, like Gadamer did, construct a logical picture that respects antiquity and take the beautiful from shifts that depart from the model that was never meant to be merely imitated, but surpassed.
It seems it is politically incorrect to adopt models today. Which is absurd. Centuries of experience show the efficiency of mentoring, apprenticeship.
I think this state of affairs emerges through the lack of life or emotional experience of some academics. A most interesting part of Truth and Method reads, "what preshapes the special mode of knowing in the historical science is the suffering and instruction that the person growing in insight receives from the painful experience of reality." Emphasis added.
If a thinking person hasn't experienced being on the losing end, for example, there are volumes upon epics of a very significant aspect of humanity that they will be ignoring. Hardly humane for the humanities.
If you've ever seen that Dog Whisperer show where the trainer teaches people how to improve their dogs' behaviour, I am sure that joke of the girlfriend using those techniques on her boyrfriend comes to mind, and you laugh. One of the things the trainer says is that to engage the troubled animal one must be decided that it will not influence one's mood or actions. To teach the humanities today requires the same focus and steady patience. People, perhaps willfully - I'd know - wish to forget those extant forms of meaning waiting to be creatively applied. Instead, people go their own crazy way, acting like those random particles that are only random if one's emotional life or life experience reveals no creative coordination.
It is an old truth that to enjoy life is no piece of cake.



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