Log24

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Wednesday March 10, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:01 PM

Split

The first idea was not our own. Adam
in Eden was the father of Descartes.

— Wallace Stevens,
Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction

A very interesting web site at
Middle Tennessee State University
relates the Stevens quote
to two others:

“The sundering we sense, between nature and culture, lies not like a canyon outside us but splits our being at its most intimate depths the way mind breaks off from body. It is still another version of that bitter bifurcation long ago decreed: our expulsion from Eden. It differs from the apparently similar Cartesian crease across things in the fact that the two halves of us once were one; that we did not always stand askance like molasses and madness–logically at odds–but grew apart over the years like those husbands and wives who draw themselves into different corners of contemplation.”

— William Gass,
“The Polemical Philosopher”

“The experiment [to make rationality primary] reached the reductio ad absurdum following the attempt by Descartes to solve problems of human knowledge by giving ontological status to the dichotomy of thinking substance and extended substance, that is subject and object. Not only were God and man, sacred and secular, being and becoming, play and seriousness severed, but now also the subject which wished to unite these fragmented dichotomies was itself severed from that which it would attempt to reconcile.”

— David Miller, God and Games

“Which is it then? For Gass, the Cartesian schism is a post- lapsarian divorce-in progress, only apparently similar to the expulsion from paradise. For Stevens the fault is primordial and Descartes only its latter-day avatar. For Miller, Descartes is the historical culprit, the patriarch of the split.”

The Evil Genius Notebook,
by
David Lavery

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