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Showing posts from October, 2016

Quotes: Stability of personal identity

C. J. Ducasse:"A mind, then, is a set of capacities of the three generic kinds mentioned, qua interrelated in the systematic manner which constitutes them a more or less thoroughly integrated personality; and the mind, of which we say that it "has" those capacities, is not something existentially independent of them, but "has" them in the sense in which a week has days or an automobile has a motor. That a mind exists during a certain period means that, during that period, ones or others of the capacities, which together define the particular sort of mind it is, function. That is, the existing of a mind of a particular description is the series of actual occurrences which, as causally related one to another, constitute exercisings of that mind's capacities. A mind's existing thus consists not just of its having a particular nature, but of its having in addition a history."
Mircea Eliade:"The world (that is, our world) is a universe within whic…

On perception and the unconscious

R. W. Fevre:"Well, perhaps we can make use of this awareness [of ourselves and our world and how our actions affect the world], but this is not going to be easy because human beings do a lot more things than make sense, and some of these things — pursuing power, money, status, security and so on; or simply taking our ease — can get in the way of making sense.
"Calvin Luther Martin:"The words of the magician snaked in and out of my consciousness: 'It has become clear to me that perception has to be understood and recognized as a reciprocal exchange. When we see things we are also being seen by them. When we hear things we are also being heard. Perception is a type of communication that precedes language.'"Alan Watts:"There may be no reason to believe that a return to the lost feeling will cost us the sacrifice of the individualized consciousness, for the two are not incompatible. We can see an individual leaf in all its clarity without losing sight of i…

Eunuchs in the 'Percheron Saga' by Fiona McIntosh

Fiona McIntosh's trilogy The Percheron Saga contains the novels Odalisque,Emissary, and Goddess.I used to have an article here that discussed the character of Salmeo in the Percheron Saga. I incorporated that material in my book Painting Dragons (2018), and so I have taken down the article here. Please check out Painting Dragons (paperback and Kindle eBook).

Quotes: A mythic interpretation of relationships

Mircea Eliade:"Speaking for myself, the definition that seems least inadequate because most embracing is this: Myth narrates a sacred history; it relates an event that took place in primordial Time, the fabled time of the ‘beginnings.’ ... Myth, then, is always an account of a ‘creation’...* * * Myth teaches him the primordial ‘stories’ that have constituted him existentially; and everything connected with his existence and his legitimate mode of existence in the Cosmos concerns him directly."Allan Bloom:"A father must prefer his child to other children, a citizen his country to others. That is why there are myths — to justify these attachments."Lawrence Kushner:"I'll let you in on a trade secret: After you do enough weddings, you realize that every bride and groom are the same. Don't misunderstand me, of course each one is unique. But in a broader context, every bride and every groom are Adam and Eve. They are players in an eternal drama. They look …

Writing what you don't know

"There are only two or three human stories," said Willa Cather, "and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before." When a story is told enough, it becomes a "ritual of truth," to use Thomas Dumm's phrase. He wrote that "democracy itself depends upon the continuing and autonomous iteration and reiteration of the meaning of words, sentences, paragraphs, and fragments. Instead of reaching final conclusions, perhaps we would do better to think in terms of the rituals of truth that govern our lives together and apart, truths that are radically historical in character." Why isn't a truth-ritual a final conclusion? Because a truth-ritual is a story, and stories contain unresolved ideas. Joan Didion wrote: "The idea that fiction has certain irreducible ambiguities seemed never to occur to these women, nor should it have, for fiction is in most ways hostile to ideology." Those unresolved ideas are wh…