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



Henry,
Haven't showered yet here in Highland.

So, yes, these distributed salons have certain affordances that bodily
co-present salons lack!

-greg


On Sat, Feb 28, 2015 at 1:15 PM, HENRY SHONERD <hshonerd@gmail.com> wrote:

> Mike,
> And we don’t have to dress up. I’m still in my jammies (pajamas) here in
> snowy Albuquerque. Shall I send some snow your way, or would you rather
> have Rob’s rain?
> Henbry
>
> > On 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