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



Hmmm. have to go back and look at the people blasting Simmel for his salon-
ness.
Import people like Adorno and Benjamin. At least most xmc-ites can claim to
be petty bourgeois and prattling, can't we?

mike

On Sat, Feb 28, 2015 at 12:04 PM, Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>
wrote:

> 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
>



-- 
It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an object
that creates history. Ernst Boesch.