Peter Montgomery wrote:
> Sorry, I meant what if you, Carrol Cox are wrong
> about all your assertions about assumptions?
Well, given the usual process of human thought, some of them must be
wrong, but before granting any one as wrong I would have to see why
someone else thinkgs that particular proposition about assumptions is
wrong. But no one (unless god exists an is a 'one') begins thinking from
outside history -- that is everyone begins someplace, i.e. with some set
of assumptions. And only practice and discussion can refine, advance, or
refute a given set, or, rather, particular assumptions.
But in any case I can make more sense of Prufrock by beginning (now -- I
don't remember what assumptions I had when I first read it some 53+
years ago) with the assumption that I am perceiving the private musings
of the poem's fictive speaker.
A 19th century writer observed that "Men [sic] make their own history,
but do not make make it just as they please; they do not make it under
circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly
encountered, given and transmitted from the past." And of course by the
time one begins self-consciously thinking about the world or any feature
(say a poem) of it, the unchosen and given circumstances includes
his/her own thought and action and interactions with others and their
thought. That constitutes quite a bundle of assumptions, examined and
unexamined, at any given moment.
P.S. When you step into a crosswalk protected by a stop sign, you do
assume by your action whether you think about it or not that the
approaching auto's brakes work. When you walk into a classroom at the
beginning of the class period, you assume that no student has gone
berserk in the last few moments and is possessed by an irresistible need
to see the color of the blood in your carotid artery. And even if you
are student, staff, or faculty at the University of Texas you assume
daily that no one will begin firing at random victims with a
high-powered rifle from the top of some building. (I believe they made
access to the bell tower difficult, but there are other vantage points I
do not doubt.) And of course, every so often such fundamental
assumptions (fundamental to getting through the day without driving
oneself insane) prove false, as at 9/11 in a most dramatic instance.