The Edge of Logic

"You are surprised to hear that I am well despite our common circumstances? But these are the very difficulties that allow us to become smarter and better - and yet some of us would wish our troubles away and live without them."
Thus spaketh the friend. What a resource of hope and good will and courage the friend has, one would wish to have access to that same reservoir. And all one needs to do is Accept That Which Is. It is rather alike that passage from Herbert's  Dune - and as I look for that specific quote, I see ounces more material in the vein I wish to address, like the passage explaining one is to be a generalist not specialist if one is to make good decisions and be connected to that which is happening. But the quote I was thinking of is this one: "I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over and through me. And when it is gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path." The sense in both passages is to accept that which is: the way to follow will only become clear so long as we do not cut ourselves "off form the broad sweep of what is happening".
In such situations, logic, despite its connections with the Topos of Invention, may provide but one answer: Run For Your Life. But this is hardly a useful general rule in life. And speaking of rules, the truth may lay beyond them, beyond those topoi first known in the mind.
What lies beyond logic? Inspiration, spontaneity. Indeed they may both lead to mistakes, but Herbert anticipated that problem, too: "Imperfections, viewed in the proper light, can be extremely valuable." The emphasis on perfection, he writes, fails to understand this. To look for rules all the time is to miss the point: true learning happens through participation, which leads to the realisation that we can create some of our own luck. Logic, I might add, does not teach this, without the helping hand from inspiring figures of thought that turn rhetoric on its head. Antithesis. The transformative comparison of the metaphor.

Argument, by contrast, "closes off the doors of the senses. The three legs of the argument-tripod are desire, data and doubt. Accuracy and honesty have little to do with it ... Desire brings the participants together. Data sets the limits of their dialogue. Doubt frames the questions."
I quote liberally to define the problems created by logic that one may be exposed to. There are so many specific examples I could site to support this, but realise the only way to be released from them is to stop naming them. This is probably why the lesson gets hidden, which leads to much confusion among youth.
The lesson is not hidden to make youth's life difficult or to make the ancient schools of philosophy cryptic sects, but because to have experienced the problem situation is to wish to transcend it - not dwell there and describe it in detail like so many historical, narrative descents into hell, for to dwell there is to belong and partake in the very same problems one seeks to overcome; one wishes to take the high road of abstractions and idiosyncrasy that lives only at the moment of incipience, not a cemented rule, but molded for one specific situation at a specific time. There can be no formula for the escape from logic. Escape may only be implied by poetry and abstraction.
To bank on logic is a form of enslavement according to the argument-tripod described by Herbert. This is the other side of the coin of the liberal education. But for there to be vitality, there needs to be inspiration, innovation, even mistakes - for how many times have mistakes been that very mother to That Which Is Needed. There is a need for more mothers at this time, not necessarily literal mothers, but figurative ones: because which mother thinks through the logic of birth and parenting, surely those are too many arguments stacked against her (the terrible twos, the time to feed and clean, teenagers, funding education, oh the list goes on). The figurative list goes on. But the metaphorical mother is one of abundance and plenitude, and in that, there is nothing to fear.

Brush: Lauren Harisson. Book in background.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License