draft at work here: in part as a response to my brilliant friend, benjamin. it seems to me that there are only two types of people… [that’s preposterous of course… but it’s a very good rhetorical ploy]… the historian and the philosopher. benjamin is, predominantly the former; and i’m predominantly, the latter. so this is pearodox-worthy because history and philosophy cannot be separated from each other, philosophically speaking. historically speaking, they all too often have been. so, historically speaking, philosophy is as historically determined as any other intellectual pursuit, and therefore, just as conditional and suspect as any other. from that pov, then, history trumps philosophy. and i agree with that, but only to a certain degree. ‘history’, judged by common sense, is certainly not the equivalent of ‘truth’. history is as manufactured by ideology as any other scholastic field, including philosophy. there is no ‘true’ history: only, at best, a variety of near-true histories. just as, ideally, there is no ‘true philosophy’; only, at best, a variety of near-true philosophies. therefore… the only intellectual domain on offer that attempts, but of course inevitably fails, to address this pearodoxical dilemma, is the field that attempts to bridge these two supra-science fields of inquiry – the philosophy of history and the history of philosophy – that is – ‘historiography’. specifically, the historiography of intersections between history, philosophy, science, and art. and well, personally, i’d throw in politics. but that isn’t necessary. historically and philosophically speaking, politics come and go… but historically and philosophically, life goes on nonetheless. while, history and the human tendency to make ‘value judgments’ [philosophy] go on regardless of political vagaries. ‘art’, at it’s best, is sometimes the equivalent of historiography as i’ve denominated here. and by ‘art’ – i mean art as practiced, not theorized, under the philosophical rubric of ‘aesthetics’.
this particular stake for a very specific reason: lost on most. no fault or theirs. at all. a bit of acoustic lore in the register of ‘pop’. i have no intention of privileging pop. just examples close at hand at the moment. the difference between Bach and Couperin would have done as well. or, that between miles davis and chuck berry… or, between david byrne and tina weymouth, the superlative bass player that made the THs.
because i maintain a few different blogs sporadically, some public, some not, one of the most important of which, is not public, and so maintained far more frequently; because of the multi-focused blog world that i use as a way to write free of academic ‘rigor’; i sometimes loose track of what i’ve post where, and to whom. apologies en avance.
this post is a bit of an ‘apologia‘ for that. this, is not a blog, after all, but a notebook. a keeping of thoughts never meant to be made public. a notebook is, after all, something private, akin to a diary. a ‘thinking out loud’, but privately. unedited. or well, to be honest, sometime edited, and sometimes, not.
my point being: nothing in these pages that go on and on and on… has anything to do with ‘truth’. it’s all pure speculation, with enough logical argument in tact to give my post some credibility. but never, more than some.
par exemple, it’s always somehow painful to write more than a few paragraphs without the overpowering need to include some imagery or sound in order relieve the dire straits of a page filled with nothing but words. to counter modernity’s obsession with language, with what theoretically i’ve termed, semiocentrism – a centrism based on an obsession, biblical in scale, with interpretation. and yet, and yet, i remain ethically, a deconstructionist. just not one who over-privileges, language or interpretation. for, there are ‘languages’ that seek to avoid any possibility of interpretation, and therefore, misinterpretation. well, there are only two, or three, really possible ‘languages’ that aim for eliminating the problem of semiocentrism and interpretation – mathematics and philosophical logic. both entirely hubristic once one focuses on the problem, philosophically, and, historically.
right: historically… it’s only on the outer edge of interpretive possibilities that one begins to realize how utterly bankrupt any system of interpretation is, precisely because it has not ‘factual’ basis by which it might justify it’s claims. this view of thing leads only to one place, dire straights…
okay, not the best of R&R, by a long shot. but they do have ‘something’ difficult to name. and here we are back already at the problem of interpretation. and pearodox.
one can hear, and see, for example, david byrne and talking heads here.
maybe one of the greatest of 80’s music videos.
i mean, really, even if one only ever listens to classical music, how can even such a narrowly prescribed listener, not recognize, in some way, what’s truly great about this performance? who could not be moved by it?
that’s not a difficult to answer.
only the ‘un-listeners ‘ only the ‘un-readers’ of lyrics.
and right, i’m in big trouble here: are ‘un-readers’ and ‘un-listeners’ somehow bad or deficient by nature? no, no way, in no way. it is a sacrosanct right of such ‘un’s’ to judge as they wish. their hatred and complete dismissal of david byrne is completely justified. hands down, no argument. just as it is for ‘unbelievers’ to dismiss the entire trajectory and concrete productive history of modernity and modernism as the downfall of the ‘human race’. that is a valid hypothesis. and to not accept that hypothesis as valid is a sign of the closure of the human, historical mind. or, to put this claim in worse straights – what is it at work, culturally and socially and politically, etc. – that causes a culture and a people to burn people at the stake, or hang them from trees, or, threaten them with death by the most horrible means, via social media?
in other words, from whence does such intolerance, derive?
from many complicated, irrational, sources operating simultaneously, no doubt.
including the source of ‘rationalism’ itself.
so… to state the ‘un’ – obvious: and to throw us back into the conundrum of pearodox:
were one able to stand on the event horizon, then, because the laws of physics as we generally experience it break down, and one would there and then be able to see the back of ones own head: well, then, what then?
whether or not one loves only classical music.
and i don’t mean here to elevate the Talking Head beyond their ‘worth’. but who’s to judge that? to judge their ‘worth’?
so let’s that as a limiting case: what are the criteria by which one could ‘prove’ that the Talking Heads produce ‘bad’ music?
there are no such criteria, i surmise. none at all.
but that doesn’t mean that anyone has to like them.
only that no one has the ‘right’ to judge them.
without simultaneously eliminating their own criteria for what they like.
and so here we arrive at the theoretical fantasy of what we’ve all been hopelessly inculcated in:
democracy, that utopian place where all ‘opinions’ are equal.
this mode an philosophical analysis could continue. in fact, pursuing along these same line would lead to one of the greatest philosophical conundrums of all time:
the conundrum [pearodox] of infinite regression.
put differently: the problem of proving ‘proof’ – which is the conundrum generally referred to a ‘science kitted out with the unassailable court of judgement, mathematics – is itself impossible and a conundrum and pearodox.
i challenge you. present alternatives musically. but, once you do, you have to ‘make’ and/or, ‘prove’ your case.
so, the question then is: what do we do in the face of our impossible choices to reconcile values that make us judge as we do?