Dunja Seselja wrote:
> Oh sorry about that, Carrol! I've changed the settings
> now, and I'm re-sending my post, so that it comes as a
> plain text!
Here it is:
> but now I have a question:
> Can you imagine a mind which is constantly being
> provoked (in this philosophical sense) by all sorts of
> questions without ability to take them in any usual
> non-reflective sense?
1. You have described what many current neuroscientists believe is the
nature of autism. The sufferer from autism simply cannot filter out the
immense flow of stimuli in which we are constantly bathed, and the
defensive response is to simply shut down. The sudden rages to which
_some_ autistic persons are subject are the ultimate defense against
this bombardment when it can't be shut off.
2. A catch phrase of much social comment over the last few decades has
been "information overload." Usually, however, though not always this is
seen as a recent development. But I think it applicable to the last
several hundred years -- an early response to its appearance having been
the Temptation of Athens in Paradise Regained. Later responses: Pope's
Dunciad; the tendency of each literary period (beginning with the
Restoration) to 'write off' a good deal of the literature produced in
earlier periods; bizarre efforts like Arnold's to confine "really" good
poetry to an extemely small body of texts; the new criticism and
structuralism, both of which in one way or another shifted the emphasis
from 'mastery' of a shared body of texts to one sort or another of
"readerly competence"; epics such as the _Cantos_ which try by an act of
will to recreate & epitomize all past literature.
And there is a recent collective of young economists in France who are
trying to start a revolt against what they call "Autistic Economics"
(i.e. neoclassical economics, which dominates almost all econ
departments and which is made possible by a really heroic effort to
ignore completely the empirical world).
There can be far too many "important questions" which "make you think."
There can be far too many _really_ good poets. We can at least be
thankful for the fires which destroyed the Library at Alexandria.
Someone will write a history of this someday.
But my elbow is beginning to twinge a bit.