[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

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



What is it about those alliterating  bilabials, those Ps and that B, that stings so much!
Henry

> On Feb 28, 2015, at 1:10 PM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
> 
> 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.