Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Reading and A problem for poetics (2):

reading list (reading and trying to get to):

Charles Olson. Maximus Poems
Stanley Cavell. Claim of Reason
JL Austin. Philosophical Papers
Holderlin. Hyperion
Schiller. On the Sublime; On the Pathetic; Aesthetic Education of Man (I love coming back to these essays)


Comment Ca Va?

How is IT going?

Heidegger thinks it is best left going. Not a theory for everything, after all. Big mistake, Descartes. Not I think therefore I am, but I am therefore I think. More significant a complication than people give Heidegger credit for. Well, it influences their thinking about being with or without their knowledge of the influence.

Cannot see it, but can see it-going.

Thoreau wakes up one day and decides to see the bottom of Walden pond. That is the only way to know its true depth.


On Tranquility

"Yet even the purest theory has not left all moods behind it; even when we look theoretically at what is just present at hand, it does not show itself purely as it looks unless this theory lets it comes towards us in a tranquil tarrying alongside in comfort and recreation." Being and Time, [138].

I translated the Greek that Heidegger purposefully left in. The word to focus on is theory. Heidegger, and his translators, leave in the Greek "theoria." I take it he is using the word and many of its meaning at once. Word choice, hence play, in Being and Time is part of the pleasure of the text. Let's explore.

  • Theoria can mean a group representing a state, as in the theoroi were sent to Maine.
  • Theoria is the beholding or viewing that one does when one goes abroad to see the world or undertakes a pilgrimage. Hence, this kind of beholding or viewing is not necessarily sights gleaned from gazing upon a spectacle.
  • However, theoria can refer to viewing a spectacle, as in viewing theater or games.
  • Theoria applies to the beholding or viewing of the mind in its consideration and contemplation. It takes into account a specific kind of reckoning.
  • Rhetorically, theoria might refer that reckoning being held in consistent speculation.

Heidegger's playful reckoning with theoria while he contemplates "theoretical looking" is important because it differentiates between kinds of looking. Tranquil tarrying alongside is not possible with the beholding of a spectacle but in the kind of beholding the mind does in doing being only. This tranquil reckoning--a tarrying alongside the mind that theory can do--is a witnessing and cultivating of being that cannot be theorized. In other words, "theory lets IT comes towards us" rather than than we address IT. This concept of tarrying the theoretical looking should do problematizes the attack oriented behavior theoreticians usually participate in when looking at some thing or concept.

Makes me want to reconsider Wordsworth's claims (more like demands, really) in his "Preface to the Lyrical Ballads." And so I will.

Also, a significant aspect of Godard and Mieville's Comment Ca Va? is the asking us to consider the different aspects of "the active" and "the passive" in production: of the film, of the news, of party politics, of technology, etc. In light of Heidegger's phenomenological study and his attempt to locate an authentic discourse (attentiveness, a hearing or listening,) "theory lets IT comes towards us" to reckon How It Goes.

Poetry is It-Going, then. Poetics is looking at poetry.


The first problem for poetics is that the intellectual is conventional. (the spectacle of an intellect)

The second problem for poetics is learning to tranquilly tarry alongside. (poetics is not poetry)

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