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Re: [xmca] Hallucinating Romantic Science

On 4 January 2013 06:48, Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com> wrote:

> Mike,
> Yes, a lovely piece that plays with naming and its centrality to Western
> philosophy. Seems like perhaps a nice critique of Herder's notion of the
> role of naming in human historical development, which itself might have
> been an influence of Vygotsky's - or at least he was in the same game of
> the aforementioned German Romantics.
> Here is a nice little excerpt on Herder and naming and animals from Peter
> Bornedal's book, The Surface and The Abyss: Neitzsche as Philosopher of
> Mind and Knowledge (and please forgive the lengthy quote, but I thought
> that whereas the second half seems particularly relevant to the LeGuin's
> point about naming and animals, the first part has a wonderful resonance
> with Etienne Pelaprat's recent paper with Mike on Minding the Gap and the
> importance of dis-coordination to the human capacity to transcend immediacy
> and instead to inhabit a mediated world):
> 'We recall that Herder already had a sophisticated theory of the origin of
> language, on several counts anticipating Nietszche and Freud's. One can
> compare to this passage of Herder's: "[Man] manifests reflection when,
> confronted with the vast hovering dream of images which pass by his senses,
> he can collect himself into a moment of wakefulness and dwell at will on
> one image, can observe it clearly and more calmly, and can select in it
> distinguishing marks for himself so that he will know that this object is
> this and not another. He thus manifests reflection if he is able not only
> to recognize all characteristics vividly or clearly but if he can also
> recognize and acknowledge to himself one or several of them as
> distinguishing characteristics. The first act of this acknowledgment
> results in a clear concept; it is the first judgment of the soul - and
> through what did this acknowledement occur? Through a distinguishing mark
> which he had to single out and which, as a distinguishing mark for
> reflection, struck him clearly." Herder Uber den Ursprung der Sprache (p.
> 722-723). The slow recognition of a thing as distinctive - the gradual
> capability to see something as something - is also in Herder the
> precondition for the emergence of the word. Herder explains even better how
> this formation of language occurred, how the origin of language was
> conceived: "Let that lamb there, as an image, pass by under his eyes; it is
> to him, as it is to no other animal. Not as it would appear to the hungry,
> scenting wolf! Not as it would appear to the blood-lapping lion. […] Not so
> with man! As soon as he feels the need to come to know the sheep, no
> instinct gets in his way; no one sense of his pulls him too close to it or
> too far away from it. It stands there, entirely as it manifests itself in
> his sense. White, soft, woolly - his soul in reflective exercise seeks a
> distinguishing mark - the sheep bleats! This bleating which makes upon
> man's soul the strongest impression… the soul retains it. The sheep comes
> again. White, soft, woolly - the soul sees, touches, remembers, seeks a
> distinguishing mark - the sheep bleats, and the soul recognizes it. And it
> feels inside, 'Yes, you are that which bleats.' It has recognized it
> humanly when it recognized and named it clearly, that is, with a
> distinguishing mark." Herder: Uber den Ursprung der Sprache, p. 723. The
> lamb jumping past the perceptive subject is not recognized as such before
> the subject recalls from its memory the same "white, soft, woolly"
> creature, identical to the creature jumping about in its visual field. When
> finally it "bleats," the subject understands, "Ha, you are the one that
> bleats," and it recognizes the lamb as lamb. The subject has recognized
> something as something; it has established identity, the A=A, and in the
> process reduced or simplified a world of becoming into a world of being."
> But then again, maybe this is LeGuin's point - that the naming is not a
> mere matter of the control of man over nature (as one might expect with the
> wolf or the lion). Rather, here is an aesthetic sensibility that drives
> mind and cognition: The lamb is the one that bleats!

The uniqueness seems twofold: a unique reference, but also an appreciation
of the medium first-hand.  Hence we find our way to express the genuine:
"Happy, New, Year"; "Happy New Year!"; "Happy tidings".  It's the thought
that counts.


> (and let's be honest that LeGuin's version is much more aesthetically
> pleasing to the English ear/eye, although I suspect that "bleats" may have
> a more pleasant aesthetic in the original German, any German speakers out
> there?).
> -greg
> On Thu, Jan 3, 2013 at 6:53 PM, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:
> > This has been floating around my classes, sorry about the confusion. I
> > think its relevant.
> > mike
> >
> >
> > On Thu, Jan 3, 2013 at 5:49 PM, Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com
> >wrote:
> >
> >> yes, mike, if easily accessible, please repost.
> >> I only know Leguin from her book "That's Funny, You don't look Buddhist"
> >> Would love to read more.
> >> -greg
> >>
> >> On Thu, Jan 3, 2013 at 6:25 PM, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:
> >>
> >>> Could we call this ambivalence/contradictionS a necessary property of
> >>> joint
> >>> cultural/mediated activity perhaps. Resistance to too much
> subordination
> >>> is
> >>> the otherface of having no categories at all. I have sent Ursula
> Leguin's
> >>> short story She Unnames Them to you-all didn't I? If not, shame on me
> >>> and I
> >>> will repost. It is all about classification/naming and resistence.
> >>> Something about power and gender in their too, although my students
> had a
> >>> hard time believing me when I said that.
> >>> mike
> >>>
> >>>  Thu, Jan 3, 2013 at 5:01 PM, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> > Greg, your additional commentary on the resistance to being
> >>> classified, but
> >>> > at the same time wanting to honour and acknowledge our ancestors, is
> >>> > another one of those contradictions [ambivalences??] which I find
> >>> > fascinating.
> >>> >
> >>> __________________________________________
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> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> --
> >> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> >> Visiting Assistant Professor
> >> Department of Anthropology
> >> 883 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> >> Brigham Young University
> >> Provo, UT 84602
> >> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
> >>
> >
> >
> --
> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> Visiting Assistant Professor
> Department of Anthropology
> 883 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> Brigham Young University
> Provo, UT 84602
> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
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