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[Xmca-l] Re: Further reflections on hope as the not yet formed



Yes Mike, excellent point!
But I feel that the affordances of the medium in which this salon exists
are quite different from those of salons that involve bodily co-presence.
I think mood is the missing factor.
Yes, there is mood here. (and where is "here"?). But it is muted. And the
mood of a listserve is never quite so coherent as the mood of an actual
room.

(and there I should simply have said that the mood of an actual room is
"relatively less incoherent" - since there is seldom, if ever, perfect
coherence of mood across actors in a room).

-greg

On Sat, Feb 28, 2015 at 12:37 PM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:

> This isn't a salon?
> We lack class I guess, along with inadequate tastes and intellects!
> :-)
> mike
>
> On Sat, Feb 28, 2015 at 11:22 AM, Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com
> >
> wrote:
>
> > Larry,
> > Again, this is a fantastic redux, so thanks. And also thanks for the
> > Gadamer special issue. I've downloaded and hope to be able to get to them
> > soon.
> >
> > A somewhat sideways comment on the Simmel post - it makes me wonder about
> > the possibility of a "salon culture" in the U.S. today. It seems an
> > impossibility among adults for too many reasons (I say "adults" because
> > when I was in high school, a group of us referred to ourselves as "Madam
> > Geoffrin's Salon" - apparently entirely oblivious to the gender politics
> > involved considering that we were all male!).
> >
> > Anyway, it is difficult to imagine any group of people being able to give
> > an afternoon once a week to discussion of important matters. The only
> > matters that seem to matter today are making money.
> >
> > But maybe there are spaces for this in academic life? (esp. if you
> already
> > have tenure...).
> >
> > -greg
> >
> > On Sun, Feb 22, 2015 at 5:56 PM, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >
> > >  This is an extended commentary introducing a few key concepts of
> > Simmel's
> > > approach to being human,
> > > I thought I would post this reflection on Simmel as a dialectical
> thinker
> > > and a hopeful thinker.
> > >  It may be of interest to a few on this site to add to understanding of
> > > "salon culture" in the Germanic cities at the beginning of the 20th
> > > century.
> > > There is a re-emerging interest by Simmel scholars who are
> > > re-searching  the centrality of the theme of dialectic within Simmel's
> > > scholarly explorations. This is the subject of a new book, titled:
> "Form
> > > and Dialectic in Simmel's Sociology. A New Interpretation" [2013].  The
> > > authors are Henry Schermer and David Jury.
> > >
> > > They make a case that what Simmel offers is a mode of analysis located
> > > within the dialectical tradition within German social thought, a
> > tradition
> > > with roots extending from Heraclitus and Paramedes through Kant, Hegel,
> > and
> > > Marx. This dialectical thread has been hidden in Anglo-American
> reception
> > > and rendering a Simmel cleansed of what was seen as the contamination
> of
> > > the dialectic within his work. The aim of this book is to convey what
> the
> > > authors see as the core of Simmel's method and the potential of its
> > further
> > > expansion.
> > >
> > > The core concept is "Wechselwirkung" [reciprocal effect] and the
> > dialectic.
> > > This has a similar sense to Zinchenko's concept of "oscillation".
> > >  Wechselwirkung or recirocal effect is ever present in Simmel's
> approach
> > > and the movement at the core of his "relational" and "dialectical
> theory.
> > > Wechselwirkung AS "social interaction" is his central concept of
> > > interaction.
> > >
> > > This overarching conception is a Spinozian emphasis on "interrelations"
> > and
> > > on "process" rather than discrete "things". This notion of dialectical
> > > "truth" as neither absolute nor relative.  Both separations AND
> > > unifications are significant aspects of his conceptual truth of the
> world
> > > as mediated by a plurality of concepts. All such relational assumptions
> > > include an open-endedness of human "possibilities".
> > > Simmel does make a connection between the biological and sociological
> > > realms as dialectically related between nature and human social
> > existence.
> > > This is Simmel's first great dualism, within which the second great
> > dualism
> > > [between subject and object within modernity]
> > >
> > > Henry Schermer and David Jury elaborate what they see as Simmel's
> > abstract
> > > conceptual model and method.  In outline they make these key
> formulations
> > > of Simmel's work:
> > >
> > > 1] Simmel proceeds dialectically with two sets of concepts: i] a
> limited
> > > number of GENERAL polarities or dualities. ii ] identification of a
> > > potentially unlimited number of social and cultural 'forms' derived
> from
> > > application of these general polarities.
> > >
> > > 2] The former general categories are seen as a hierarchy from most
> > general
> > > to least general dualities, including modalities and categories - such
> as
> > > space and time - drawn from Kant and Hegel and others. Simmel draws a
> > well
> > > known distinction between "form" and "contents". These forms reveal the
> > > fundamental patterns, and causes, and implications, of phenomena and by
> > > presenting examples of these forms he elaborates his method.
> > >
> > > 3] the  polarities consist of pairs of "contradictory" concepts that
> > > operate dialectically, with outcomes in cultural and social forms as
> > > syntheses. For Simmel, recurring "social forms" such as "conflict" and
> > > "co-operation" or "superordination" and "subordination" are patterns of
> > > interaction analyzable as the dialectical outcome and synthesis, [the
> > > reciprocal effects] of the combination of numerous polarities,
> dualities,
> > > or "continua" [these related terms reflect  variations in emphasis,
> > > according to context, of rejection of previous dichotomous categories
> of
> > > thought.
> > >
> > > 4] This relational epistemology emphasizing interrelationships
> > introduces a
> > > related dialectical operation of dualities such as the tension between
> on
> > > the one hand "human fulfillment and creativity" and on the other hand a
> > > potentially oppressive "objective culture"-  which leads to human
> > > "estrangement" and "alienation" - which for Simmel is thoroughly
> > > dialectical implying an open-endedness of human capacities is present,
> > but
> > > this has more of a "blues hope" than the Enlightenment concept of hope.
> > >
> > > For Simmel it is crucial we differentiate "dualism" from
> > > polarities/dualities. Dualism is dichotomies but polarities/dualities
> are
> > > "continua". Simmel opposes "fixed" categories. Simmel's approach can be
> > > summed up as involving "a unity of opposites". For Simmel there is no
> > > endpoint or a final synthesis. Fusions of polarities are identified in
> > > myriad social forms, without a fixed or final synthesis. Simmel, though
> > > sometimes linked with Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and Bergson,  his
> > viewpoint
> > > goes beyond these comparisons.
> > >
> > > "Reciprocity" the core concept for Simmel implies that nothing has a
> > fixed
> > > meaning and that meaning arises only through interaction.  The
> > > subjective-objective duality [not pre-determined sides as in dualism]
> > > Simmel sees as inherent in all social forms.  Simmel sees the
> properties
> > of
> > > form and the meanings of things AS a function of the relative
> distances -
> > > and the routes taken - between things.  Life as the play of the
> dualities
> > > of [distance and proximity] [separation and connection] [boundary and
> > > separation] as hungers of the life force drives Simmel's analysis.
> Simmel
> > > uses metaphor as a basic GENERAL TOOL in his analysis of forms. For
> > > example the "bridge" correlates "separateness and unity"  The "door"
> in a
> > > decisive manner reciprocally imagines "opening and closing"
> representing
> > > the boundary between spaces. The doors "closure" provides a stronger
> > > feeling of isolation against everything outside the space than does the
> > > unstructured wall.
> > > Hmanity can both imagine everything connected and everything separate
> > > within reciprocal oscillation.Most often one side is imagined as
> > "natural"
> > > and the other side as "humanly constructed".
> > > For Simmel, humans are BOTH "connecting" AND "bordering" creatures.
> This
> > > notion of human beings suggests Simmel's general method which can guide
> > all
> > > our activity.
> > >
> > > The criticism of Simmel's work is that it was "impressionistic" and not
> > > systematized but these may be caricatures of his work.
> > > Lukac's belittledSimmel's work as "impressionistic". Frisby, taking his
> > cue
> > > from Walter Benjamin calling Baudelaire as a "flaneur"  [merely a
> roving
> > > sketcher of city life as he wandered the streets] called Simmel a
> > flaneur.
> > > Randall Collins called Simmel a "salon entertainer"
> > > Theodor Adorno saw Simmel as "a bourgeois aesthete" alluding to
> Simmel's
> > > participation in artistic and literary salons in Berlin.
> > >
> > > What this actually shows is that Simmel was most focused on the
> > "movement"
> > > of thought itself characterized by paradox, duality, dialectic, and
> > > relationism.  Simmel was always revising his concepts of form and
> content
> > > and offered no final word.
> > > Simmel's work presents a "unity" using the twin notions of
> > > 1] reciprocal effect
> > > 2] form and content
> > >
> > > Simmel is presenting a particular form of sociocultural order as a
> model
> > of
> > > modernity centered around "differentiation" within reciprocal
> enactments.
> > > Simmel's work was not as systematic and disciplined and standardized to
> > fit
> > > into the emerging academy with its closed boundaries. He was more than
> a
> > > sociologist. and cannot be "housed" or enclosed in that discipline. His
> > > context was the "salon culture" and he must be read within this
> context.
> > > [see Wittgenstein's Vienna for a picture into salon culture]
> > > His informality is deceptive.  and the new re-search on Simmel as a
> > > dialectical scholar shows how blind others are to the structure within
> > his
> > > approach.
> > >
> > > Simmel's last book [1918] "The View of Life" develops further Simmel's
> > > notion of "life" as the vital force that moves us as an urge [a hunger]
> > FOR
> > > LIFE and the reciprocal life as a sense of "deadness" when closed off
> > from
> > > the vitality of life as open ended. This for Simmel is the realm of the
> > "as
> > > if" [similar to Bloch's Philosophy of Hope].
> > >
> > > But that also is for another post.
> > >
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> > Assistant Professor
> > Department of Anthropology
> > 880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> > Brigham Young University
> > Provo, UT 84602
> > http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
> >
>
>
>
> --
> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an object
> that creates history. Ernst Boesch.
>



-- 
Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson