Thanks I'm sure I will enjoy it.
First off I haven't read the paper yet but but but
The statement that "primitive culture" is an oxymoron is exactly the sort of
interpretation that I believe Eliot in his "Interpretation of Primitive
Ritual" was denying the validity of. Hauling an interpretation from it's
context is an interpretation of the interpretation. In Lewis Morgan's day
(Morgan was one of the grand old men of Anthropology) it was customary to
speak of primitive culture and to do so carried with it semantic meaning.
In today's relative world no culture can be primitive and no culture can be
advanced when compared to each other. If I were to call Lewis Morgan's
work on cultures which he labeled primitive cultures an oxymoron I would be
making a statement without meaning. If I today visit a different culture
and refer to it as primitive my statement becomes contradictory and is an
oxymoron. But that does not make Lewis Morgan's interpretation invalid or
Much of Eliot's philosophical work had to do with the interpretation of
experience and the validity of that interpretation.
In a 1915 letter TSE called himself a "relative materialist". What does
this mean? First materialist has nothing to do with economics. It is the
idea that no abstract idea is a valid reality in itself, that it is merely a
reflection of a physical process. What does he mean by "relative"? He
means that there can be no outside proof of his materialist belief. TSE's
materialism was in itself an interpretation which had meaning only within
the context of itself.
This all makes my brain hurt. I'm going to read a novel and tomorrow read
your link. I'll probably have to then haul all this back because tomorrow
it will be out of context. Aaargh