Thursday, 27 March 2014

Hi Dan…

Here’s something you might like.  It is a richer and more nuanced version of the Paul Samuelson quote you recently posted.  Its rich analysis identifies the creation of a shared political culture as the determinate factor in the limitation of debate within a society; a process whereby the public come to agree on a few quite basic assumptions, which then protects that culture from severe critical attack.  The author is Keith Middlemas, who has written one of the great books on British politics.  Here he is running at full speed (which may account for his somewhat clumsy sentences)…

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Freedom Against Freedom

Two artists.  The one a genius.  The other… a genius.  Both infatuated with the same woman.  Yet they see her quite differently.  Can they both be right?  

Truth is multifarious, you say, and is understood only via the singular and the concrete.  You are an artist of course, wary of all generalisations and scientific laws; such knowledge outside your compass.  Oh!  I should try applying Boyle’s Law to The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant?  Ha!  So… what are you telling me?  That science is concerned with its own special layer of reality, a simpler, less individuated one than art’s, which is more contingent and diversified, and which requires  techniques that are wider and more flexible to capture it.  I see…  Oh, you want to carry on?  The truth of art lies in the unique work of art, through its details and integrative form.  That’s good, my friend.  And these geniuses… A genius isolates the individual detail, and grasping its significance he turns it into a universal truth.1  This is excellent stuff, even if you do sound like a lecturer from the Open University.  So art will never been made into a science?  Oh!  It will one day?  But then it will no longer be art.  Ha! Of course!  You are very good aren't you?  I believe you can help me.  The men I mentioned: can you sum up the differences between them?  I need to be more specific?  Ok. Think about Effi Briest.  Why does Fontane’s book feel so different to Fassbinder’s film?  You can tell me?  Using just one scene?  Ok.  Off you go.