• Welcome to droqen's forum-shaped notebook. Please log in.

All Things Shining (Dreyfus & Kelly)

Started by droqen, June 20, 2024, 10:43:16 AM

Previous topic - Next topic


Regarding Hubert Dreyfus' and Sean Dorrance Kelly's
"All Things Shining"


Quote from: p10The vision that is a "glaze of panoptic attention" . . . is attentive to opportunities for action, not to details of the scene.


Fascinating perspective on Shakespeare

Quote from: p17. . . Shakespeare himself seems to have been nearly obsessed with the breakdown of the divine order. . . . [Macbeth] hopes to leap beyond his natural place in the divine order into a new and higher place as king. The very idea the one should, by one's own will and desire, transform the divine order of the universe would have been anathema to Dante in the world of the Middle Ages.

Quote from: p14This [divine] order of things was not a belief that anyone argued for or a worldview that anyone proposed; it was simply taken for granted by everyone worth talking or listening to. Members of this society made sense of everything in terms of this fundamental idea . . .


Quote from: p24Perhaps, in other words, [David Foster Wallace's] depression made him peculiarly sensitive (or was a symptom of such sensitivity, whatever its source -droqen) to something that pervades the culture, something not personal and individual but public and shared.

The sadness and lostness. It says something, something about the world of time in which one resides, but also something about one's own personal perspective on it. A theme, a thought, a question...


Quote from: p28[Wallace] insisted that his goal as a writer was to show us the way out of our predicament, not to glamorize its awfulness.


 I did not quote the part inside the jacket cover, but I must now link another thread which has been no doubt inspired by All Things Shining.

The subtitle of the book is "Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age;" Dreyfus and Kelly suggest, at large, that our modern secular age is riddled with a unique form of dissatisfaction arising from a lack of clear basis upon which to make decisions; everyone is uncertain what is right and what is wrong; we are empowered to make our own decisions, unhindered by a monodirectional system of value-making; but we are, too, burdened with making our own decisions, unsupported by a monodirectional system of value-making.

I am enjoying this read and I don't know where they will go with this book, how they propose to resolve this problem, but for now I understand that there is a dissatisfaction with considering many choices. There is a desire within me, within others, to walk a straight path. Not that I know what the right straight path is... but perhaps I should not fear to present a player with one such in a game, for a time, in order to spark that pleasurable feeling of monopresentness, directionality, purpose.

For a time.

See [AB] FRAMING for a structural approach to creativity and thought that seeks to approach such a position from a place of free choice.


Quote from: p37. . . the postmodern tendency to favor highly intellectualized, complex, and aestheticized principle over simple and and aesthetically uninteresting ones that are nevertheless deeply true.


Quote from: p46the true burden of . . . the responsibility to escape from the meaninglessness and drudgery of a godless world by constructing a happier meaning for it out of nothing . . . [is] too much for any human spirit to achieve. It is a possibility that requires us to become gods ourselves.


Quote from: p47the sacred in Wallace—insofar as he can see such a phenomenon at all—is something we impose upon experience; there is nothing given about it at all. For Wallace anything—even some type of "consumer-hell"— can be experienced as sacred if I choose to make it so.
    Wallace's saving possibility, therefore, is the most demanding and the most impoverished all at once.


On demandingness
Quote from: p48First. . . nothing available on earth can achieve [this kind of experience of the sacred]. . . none of these human kinds of happiness will do.

. . . as well. . . it demands that this bliss be experienced constantly. . . it demands that Hell itself be experienced as fully paradisiacal bliss.

. . . it seems to level all possible experiences. . . One wonders whether bliss of this eternal sort is even desirable at all.


On impoverty
Quote from: p48The bliss that Wallace seeks is . . . unworldly. . . generated solely by the individual will. This divorces Wallace's notion of the sacred completely from its traditional support in some external notion of the divine.


Quote from: p55[The] idea of the poem as an external force, something wandering the world looking for a receptacle, a place to reside, is Gilbert's Lutheran ideal; it is what she thinks can save great artists from the destructive force and the dark times, . . .

. . . a shift that turns what was an onerous, pressure-filled, probably inachievable task into something that is entirely outside the artist's realm of responsibility.


I've reached the end of Chapter 2, "David Foster Wallace's Nihilism," and I am going to jump to the conclusion chapter now. The structure of the book, much alluded to (as I will show), is [A ...... B] whereas I definitely prefer [AB] [...] when possible.

Quote from: p56. . . there are disadvantages. . . if the poem is a purely external force that rumbles through us. . . this receptive view is just as incapacitating as Wallace's kind of Nietzschean nihilism. Whereas Wallace gives us an unachievable task, Gilbert gives us no task at all.

Actually, I think this is wrong and the book shows a perfect contradiction in its next sentences:

Quote from: p56-57. . . what really matters in the end has nothing to do with how we live our lives. What matters is only whether we happen to be near a pencil at the moment the poem rumbles through.

Clearly then something does matter: that state of readiness to receive. Still, it's not much.

Ok, here's how the chapter ends: On the topic of Wallace's nihilism vs Gilbert's "passive recipient" viewpoint, is there anything in between?

Quote from: p57We think there is, and we will try to develop it in the final chapter of the book.

The chapter ends by teasing the value of the end, saying nothing at all about the next chapter. Who, reading this, would not feel drawn to read ahead to the end?


I fully intended to skip ahead, but I instead chose to work on another droqever. That done and released, and now on a too long walk to an art gallery, I found myself in the right mood for reading. And oh, is this next chapter good. (Homer's Polytheism)


Quote from: p60Instead of understanding themselves in terms of their inner experiences and beliefs, [the Homeric Greeks] saw themselves as being swept up into public and shareable moods. . . . (P61) At the center of Homer's world, then, is the sense that what matters is already given to us, and that the best life is one that manages to get in sync with it.