[KB] "Deacon"-structing Burke Part Whatever

Edward C Appel edwardcappel at frontier.com
Thu Nov 13 20:44:42 EST 2014


First, it's not just the "faithful" who are interested in "archeological digs" as sources of scientific support.  One of my books authored by John Dominic Crossan is on what those archeological digs tell us about the life of Jesus.  Crossan is anything but one of the "faithful."

Second, on "space and time," or the more orthodox "space-time," I follow Freud in my article on Burke and the negative, reproduced in Chapter 4 of the primer.  "Time," as I see it, is a human construct, as Norman O. Brown, a disciple of Freud's of a sort, vouchsafes in Life Against Death: The Psychoanalytical Meaning of History (1959).  I give the thought of Freud and Brown on the matter a dramatistic twist.  At accelerations approaching the speed of light, then, what slows down is process.  The notion of "time" results for us word-people by way of our deep-seated and inevitable immersion in the sin-guilt-sacrifice-redemption sequence of dramatic stages, as they play out, unfold, via many different alternative terminologies in various venues of life.

I know it takes gall and guts to "correct" Einstein, but perhaps, unlike Garrison Keilor, I don't need the "powdermilk biscuits" that give "shy people" the prompt to "get up and do the things that need to be done."



On Thu, 11/13/14, Gregory Desilet <info at gregorydesilet.com> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [KB] "Deacon"-structing Burke Part Whatever
 To: wessr at onid.orst.edu
 Cc: "Ed Appel" <edwardcappel at frontier.com>, "kb at kbjournal.org" <kb at kbjournal.org>
 Date: Thursday, November 13, 2014, 5:32 PM
 Bob—okay, I take your
 point about religion and philosophy and I think you do have
 a point there. Religion does deal with the big issues of
 life and how to live. In fact, I think philosophy, in
 university departments, in the last half of the 20th century
 up until now has strayed too far from confronting the big
 issues and has spent too much energy on analytical language
 philosophy (at least in Britain and the U.S.). Though I
 admit some of this has been interesting to me. One of the
 great things about Burke was his ability to confront issues
 of language and interpretation and blend these seamlessly
 with the big issues of life and world—through dramatism
 and logology. 
 I always
 thought the medieval period was from the 5th century to the
 15th century and that this “middle period” was also
 called the “dark ages” as a contrast with the periods of
 the Renaissance and the Enlightenment in the centuries that
 followed. Did I have a bad high school history teacher?
 As for my USGA handicap, Bob,
 right now my index is at 8.6. I hit a low of 6.3 during the
 summer but it went up again when I started working on some
 swing changes to increase distance. I was just hitting a
 groove with these changes and now the weather is going
 south, er, coming south—too far. But taking my new swing
 into the new season next spring, I plan on being able to
 become a scratch golfer. Okay, how’s that for “hope
 springs eternal”? Are you a golfer and, if so, what’s
 your handicap? And if you can putt, I’m open to a tip or
 two on putting, though perhaps we can take that off-line,
 unless you can find a way to relate golf to Burke studies.
 Come to think of it . . .   I won’t go there
 right now but speaking of Burke and golf gives me an idea
 for that golf book I’ve always wanted to write.
 Ed—Thanks for the info on
 Schweitzer’s book and on Reimarus. Since Schweitzer’s
 effort it seems there has been a growing interest in finding
 the “real” Jesus through archeological digs and
 deciphering relics like the Gnostic gospels. Some of the
 faithful seem eager to have scientific support for their
 faith, which is an interesting confrontation of world views.
 Speaking of science, you mention relativity and Einstein.
 Apparently in the new movie “Interstellar” there is
 significant discussion of the effects of relativity in space
 and time as well as stunning visual representations of
 these. Neil DeGrasse Tyson said some favorable things on
 Twitter about how the movie handled the science on all this,
 which was good to hear. Then I read a review by a film
 critic who called the characters wooden, the dialogue
 numbing, the plot nonsensical, and the soundtrack overblown
 and deafening. I was about ready to charge out to a theater
 after Tyson’s comments but perhaps I’ll wait for the
 On Nov 13, 2014, at 10:23 AM, wessr at onid.orst.edu
 > Stan, thanks
 for the Burke references, and to everyone, thanks for the
 > By
 noting the relative historical belatedness of philosophy, I
 was stressing that the philosophical level is difficult to
 get to. Typically, you have to push to get there. With
 respect to religion, I wasn’t suggesting that religious
 people are typically anxious to get to philosophy (like
 Greg, I’m not a fan of religion). I was suggesting,
 rather, that religion speaks directly about ultimate
 questions, so that its subject matter makes it easier to
 push to the philosophical level if you're so inclined.
 You might encounter resistance, but that is a different
 issue. Medieval philosophers were exceptional in being both
 religious and ready to push religious questions to a
 philosophical level.
 > Medieval philosophy comes centuries after
 the Dark Ages. It brings Greek ideas, especially
 Aristotle's, back into the tradition of western
 philosophizing (e.g., Aquinas). But in any case, my point
 was not that we need to go back to medieval philosophy but
 that medieval philosophy gives you good examples of pushing
 religious questions to a philosophical level. That’s
 > Yes, the
 pentad is a good place to go to use Burke in this
 connection. Personally, I’d start at GM 71: did (1) God
 will “the good because it is good”? or (2) is “the
 good good because God willed it”? Burke translates a
 religious question about God into a philosophical one by
 explaining that (1) privileges “scene,” while (2)
 privileges “agent,” each with a different logic.
 > Burke's point
 about monotheism, which I referenced last time, is that
 monotheism was IMPLICIT AND PRIOR in polytheism, but
 unrecognized; Burke adds that with monotheism, polytheism is
 transformed into differences of interpretation based in part
 on differences in situation.
 > More later, specifically on Greg's
 "difference and change," mainly to use his
 discussion to illustrate addressing questions of ULTIMATE
 PRIORITY with argumentative rigor, which is what is most
 characteristic of philosophy, at least for me.
 > In the mean time:
 Greg, what is your USGA handicap? I'll understand if you
 don't want to answer that question.
 > Bob
 > Quoting Gregory Desilet <info at gregorydesilet.com>:
 >> Bob—as I sit
 under the covers, wrapped in a blanket (and, yes, the heat
 is also on) and the temperature outside is 6 degrees with a
 wind chill taking it to -3 degrees, and I was just last
 weekend playing golf in shirtsleeves, I find myself feisty,
 resentful, oppressed by cabin fever, and in peak
 argumentative form. So please forgive me for taking stubborn
 but amicable issue with you on a point or two you make in
 your recent post. It may just be a symptom of weather
 induced orneriness.
 >> I agree that philosophy is more
 fundamental than religion. But I would argue that most
 religions, as practiced in their institutionally codified
 and highly influential forms, do NOT get to the
 philosophical issues more quickly. In fact, I would argue
 the reverse. Such religions are among the primary obstacles
 to getting at core philosophical issues because they very
 effectively block open philosophical inquiry by an overly
 narrow disposition toward what counts as evidence justifying
 belief. The medieval period of “philosophy” was not
 called the “dark ages” for nothing. Human inquiry
 effectively stalled for over a 1000 years and many valuable
 insights gained during the Hellenic period were lost or
 buried under mountains of dogma and authoritarian induced
 >> As for monotheism, I don’t believe
 it is philosophically more coherent or defensible, nor is
 the more philosophically abstract position of monism.
 Instead, these positions are overly reductive and
 consequently become incoherent with respect to addressing
 issues of essential difference.
 >> These points are, of course,
 debatable. So I offer an excerpt from some recent relevant
 musings of mine, which also provide a definition of
 metaphysics and postmodernism that may be of use to some
 participants in this forum. Sorry for the length of this
 post, but you can also blame that on the weather. So if this
 post seems wearisome, please pray for better weather in
 Colorado and elsewhere.
 >> Definition of Postmodernism
 Postmodernism presents a significant break from traditional
 and modern metaphysics.
 >> Definition
 of Metaphysics
 >> Metaphysics
 is the philosophy of the nature of being through which every
 speculation about the nature of being involves a grounding
 assumption about the primary structure of oppositional
 relations. Technically speaking, there can be no monistic
 metaphysics because the job of metaphysics is to explain the
 phenomena of difference and change, which always requires at
 the bare minimum schism or the existence of two. If there
 were but ONE, there could be only stasis and nothing could
 HAPPEN; there could be no EVENTS and there could be nothing
 like CONSCIOUSNESS. In this sense every coherent metaphysics
 amounts to a metaphysics of the nature of being as
 >> In pre-modern or traditional
 metaphysics the primary structure of oppositional relation
 consists of the view that one side of the pairing is
 accidental, inessential, illusion, or contamination (for
 example, Platonic metaphysics of being/time where being is
 pure, stable, and unchanging and is then contaminated by
 time, which introduces impurity, instability, and change and
 is fundamentally inessential to the nature of being). Call
 this metaphysics: antagonism, describing a tension
 permanently erosive of a fundamental essence.
 >> In modern metaphysics the primary
 oppositional structure posits one side as essential to the
 pairing but always subordinate to the other (for example,
 Cartesian and Kantian subject/object relations where the
 object is subordinate to the subject by virtue of the act of
 cognition wherein the subject effectively appropriates the
 object). Call this metaphysics: subagonism, describing a
 tension of permanent dominance of one side between different
 >> In postmodern metaphysics the
 primary oppositional structure consists of an understanding
 of oppositional relations whereby each side is essential to
 the other and one side cannot be reduced to the other (for
 example, the particle/wave relation in physics where
 particles cannot be reduced to waves and waves cannot be
 reduced to particles and even when one manifests itself
 without the other, the other exists alongside it in
 superposition). Call this metaphysics: synagonism,
 describing a tension of interaction, alternation, and
 exchange among sides equal but not mutually erosive in
 essence; one side may dominate the other in changing
 contexts but neither is essentially dominant.
 >> Thus, postmodernism, as a
 philosophically distinct orientation, may be defined as the
 adoption of a metaphysics applying synagonal structure to
 key oppositions or displacing key oppositions with new
 synagonal oppositions.
 >> Greg

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