>From: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Eliot's Relativism
>Date: Sat, 11 Aug 2001 09:05:31 EDT
>The philosopher, [Eliot] said, believes in a reality so stable and so
> >objective that asking questions about it would cause no alterations in
the stand eliot was taking when he completed and submitted his thesis, as
condensed and stated by perl, brings to mind a quote from frank herbert's
sci-fi relativistic bible, dune:
"Do not ask Why? Be cautious with How? Why? leads inexorably to paradox.
How? traps you in a universe of cause and effect. Both deny the infinite."
perl's assessment of what eliot's thesis gets at is dead on. still, i keep
wondering how (woops, there i go not being cautious again) these
biographical crossed ts and dotted is bring anything relevant to the table.
digging through eliot's thesis for clues to his intellectual predisposition
at a point in time is a good way to spend rainy afternoons, but doesn't help
with clarifying the entire scope of his work, much less differences between
two (supposed) currents of thought, respectively dubbed paleo and
at the very most, we could all agree that eliot's thesis expresses views
representative of the times' relativistic frenzy. but eliot changed--i would
say, grew up--and so did his poetry and 'philosophy.' if we (and by we, i
mean perl) define paleo and neomodernism along the lines of affiliation with
or dissent from platonic absolutes, then eliot is all over the map. well,
no, that's not quite right: eliot can be probably traced in an approximately
linear chronological progression from the camp of relativism to FQ's
unapologetic insistence on absolutes (in our beginning is our end, no?).
is this progression reflective of historical circumstances and how they
inflicted themselves on eliot? probably; to an extent. is it also reflective
of eliot's aging? very likely so. i don't, however, see how eliot can fit
exclusively into either of the two modernist currents perl tries to
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