• Tag Archives Marx
  • Marx and Global Art

    Beltane                                              Waning Flower Moon

    I checked and rechecked my Latin today and still had a couple mistakes; but, mostly it was much improved over last week’s work.  Greg and I also made our way through 4 more verses of the Metamorphoses; if I count right that leaves only 14, 991 or so to go.  That was the morning.

    When I finished, Kate put a blue sack in my hand and I headed off to the MIA.  The sack had a grilled cheese sandwich, a banana, mochi, pickles and a diet rootbeer.  I polished that off on the way while listening to a very interesting lecture on Marx’ theory of alienation.  When I’ve had a chance to absorb it a bit more, I’ll write about it here.

    At the museum I attended a lecture on contemporary art with an emphasis on its global expression.  The woman, Kristine Stiles, has impressive academic credentials and has compiled a key text for the study of contemporary art:  Theory and Documents of Contemporary Art.  She tried to stuff a consideration of Until Now and ArtRemix into an already existing lecture on her new book, World Trends in Global Art Since 1945.  It was too much.  She spoke fast, trying to finish, leaving little room for the audience to write or absorb.  Even so, there was a lot of interest and it will help frame tours of the Until Now exhibit when I have to begin.

    (much of the contemporary art in Vietnam uses socialist realism, sometimes done on billboards, but also, sometimes using oil paints on silk.)

    Spoke a moment with Wendy Depaolis who had surgery February 1st.  She looks great and credits her exercise and healthy eating.  Something’s working well for her.

  • The History of Ideas

    75  bar falls 29.90  0mph ESE dew-point 60 sunrise 5:49  sunset 8:49  Summer

    Waning Gibbous Thunder Moon

    The mayfly lives only one day.  And sometimes it rains.    George Carlin, RIP

    Freud, Marx and Hegel expelled from school.  The article to which the first sentence here links refers to the strange disappearance from the college curriculum of these three seminal thinkers in psychology, economy and philosophy.

    Here’s an e-mail I sent to its author:

    Hello, Mr. Jacoby,

    In 1965 I began the study of philosophy with the pre-Socratics, moved onto Plato and Aristotle, and then on toward the present.  The early study of philosophy excited me so much I chose it as my major.  The methodology, the history of ideas, has remained with me as the most important intellectual tool I have.  When I switched schools, I entered a school dominated by logical positivists.  The most important and interesting questions of philosophy, questions which mattered to individuals and to public discourse did not matter to this department.  I left philosophy behind, sad that it refused to engage matters of ontology, values and beauty. 

    I write to you because I felt then what the gist of your Chronicle of Higher Education article suggests is a contemporary problem.  It is a problem with its roots, I believe, in the logical positivist and linguistic analysis movements which tried to align philosophy with the scientific method.  There would have been nothing wrong with this as an adjunct discipline, but the arrogant dismissal of metaphysics, for example, for reliance on what I would call a shallow epistemology gutted philosophy of its humanist core.

    This same attempt to bring economics and psychology into the scientific realm, and sociology too for that matter, has identical problems.  The quantifiable in these disciplines is fine and produces important insights, but, again, the core of these disciplines, with the possible exception of economics, is humanistic, not scientific. 

    Your article reminded me of those long ago days when I moved on to anthropology.  The dismissal of historical perspective leaves us with the need to reinvent all those old arguments and to approach their resolution without the aid of some of humankinds most creative thinkers.  Too bad.

    As I grow older, history looms ever higher and higher in my intellectual pursuits.   As I said in the e-mail to Mr. Jacoby, the history of ideas, learned during classwork for my philosophy major, has informed everything  I do.  I gravitate naturally at this stage of my life toward the historical record.  Where did that word originate?  How has it been modified over time?  Where did this artistic movement come from and what questions did it try to answer?  What are the roots of the so-called New Age thinking?  Why are not its current proponents interested in its intellectual history?  What is the source of liberal and conservative political thought and how does their history help us modify them to fit present needs?  Why is the issue of climate change such a problematic one?  What in the history of humanities relationship to the natural order created such a situation?

    These are the questions that get me up in the morning, that drive my decision making about what to do with my time and how to direct my own work.