hatstuck snarl

theoretically, a hairstyling salon


adorno again

Can I help you at all with this essay prior to your meeting tomorrow?

I see it as a challenge primarily in his venomous assault on positivism. Positivism put simply is a
philosophical system based upon a faith in scientific principles. Anything abstract which cannot be
proven scientifically is rejected by positivists as not real.

Sorry, this is a huge simplification and I would love to hear your response.

Adorno seems to think of the essay as an opportunity to challenge habits of thinking about whatever
the essay examines, in our case, things literary. In my case, Emerson as obsessed with greatness.
As a "poet" he thinks he can achieve greatness. Adorno would probably suggest then that this idea
of greatness is merely a convention and as such it can be challenged. What is it's value or lack of
value as a convention and does questioning the idea of greatness change how we think of poetry?

What I see when I read literary essays by scholars is an assumption that greatness is actual. Some
people are assumed to have it, but that is not the same thing as looking a specific poem. That is,
what has the person to do with the quality of a poem as presumed by others and does that mean that
one is great? I think not because it betrays elitism, that being that making very strong poems
(always according to certain acceptable standards) is better than building an amazingly funcitional
and energy efficient house, for instance. Perhaps that confuses the issue, but we tend to live in a
culture which prioritizes written objects in an elite hierarchy of supposed "ideas," as if people
encountered casually don't have good spoken ideas as well. I'm not trying to say that the spoken is
preferable to the written, only that we have an elitism based upon writing, most of which is garbage.

Think of a poem as an assembly of person, process, and product. Is the goal of these elements then
that the person will be considered great? It's weird to think so, but it is generally assumed to be so
by the academic community. Adorno's essay on the essay (I think) allows and encourages us to
challenge such notions.

One thing I see in this essay and his emphasis on and annomosity toward positivism is that the world
as we "see" it has been largely constructed in our minds through our current faith in science. We
think science is the real deal, and so we look at the world that way. It's a way of seeing inside of
which we are trapped, but the essay allows us to poke holes in that vision of the world. We can poke
those holes anywhere we want, but it's best to do so within the confines of our discipline, in our case,

But we face an added danger that I think he doesn't address in regard to science, and that means we
have to avoid becoming carbon copy reactionaries like the Christian fundies. This has of course
simply come about as a matter of circumstance, a right wing power grab. So we need to temper our
questioning of science with a well considered logical sequence of actual evidence. Our conclusions
need to be solid.

So we need to question the way in which we look at the world as constructed without becoming or
enabling fascists.

Whatever - these are just some quick and unstructured thoughts and reactions to the essay, and I
am still in the middle of reading it.


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