I let that single word go, with swagger, at the end of a 2.5 hour grad course discussion (slash mental roller coaster) on art historical philosophy Wednesday. It was the answer to one of my teacher's final questions of the day, which, in case you were wondering, went something along the lines of, "What is it within a natural tulip and a sketch of a tulip that produces the disinterested delight in the judgment of taste?"
... It took me a solid 48 hours of diligent reading of the hardest texts I have ever tried to wrap my head around to come up with "Logos." Well, 48 hours, and then 2.4 hours of sucking up my pride and being the kid who raised her hand and asked the retarded questions EVERYONE in the room was wondering, too. I am officially the Hermione Granger of my class, my hand is up every five seconds. I'm so happy, though, cuz the feeling of connection and understanding and confidence that came within that one single Latin word was SOOO worth it. Worth the pain of page after page of reading stuff like this:
"In the French language, if there is one that is one and which is not painting, and if nonetheless it can open its system up to its own parasitism, 'the truth in painting' can mean and be understood as: truth in the domain of painting and on the subject of it, in painting, as in the saying 'to be knowledgeable in painting.'"
QUIT MESSING WITH MY BRAIN! Where did he lose ya? Or are you like me, who slowed way down, grabbed a dictionary, and went at it word by word until some vague idea of what Mr. Jacques Derrida might have been trying to say finally, feebly, stirred in your brain. Welcome to grad school, peeps!
And I love it. Even if it might be the death of me.
In case you are wondering, no, it's not Logos like MickeyD's Golden Arches and the funky green and black Starbucks lady (does anyone really know what she is? No! But some lucky or brilliant graphic designer out there sure made a fortune piecing her together, I bet he's so happy every time he sees it). Tangent.
"Logos!" my professor repeated, "Correct, logos- the word of God!"
Interesting reply, no? My battered and bruised little brain, for a couple seconds, passed the torch on to my heart when I heard my professor's response. First, I was filled with pride for having gotten the answer right and been brave enough to put it out there. Second, I just got really happy, despite my mental exhaustion, because I had stumbled across an eternal truth there in the middle of AH 261 Historiography. Logos, or The Word of God (Imma try and put this in as watered-down language as I can), is the little bit of the Ideal or Perfect that exists in everything beautiful (tulip, sketch, member of the opposite sex, etc.) We recognize this little piece of almost-perfection and are moved to call it "beautiful." Not "perfect," because only God is perfect, but beautiful, because it, whatever it is, seems to us a little bit like Him who is Wonderful, Glorious, Charming, Fabulous, even Awesome (Uncle David, I thought your word choice was just dandy, thank you :)
PS I knew I was in the right major when I could finish four days of HW h@$#% and come home and still be excited to crack open the next book, Painting Religion in Public. Signed, Hermione
PPS UPDATE: Aw, Mom, what a cute little 'tude you got there! Because I feel like being an hoity-toity elitist brat, here's a second excerpt from THIS week's homework, try this one on for size... but don't come whining to me afterwards when your brain hurts, too! :)
"This particular oscillation in the analytic of pure taste replicates exactly that of the analytic of the beautiful, defining the status of both as parerga. The frame is supposed to decide what is intrinsic to the artwork, defining its ontological character as such. Yet it must also be a bridge, for the whole point of the third Critique is an extrinsic appeal- the relation between the spectator and the artwork and how that confrontation between two unique identities produces a unity in the form of judgements of pure taste. In Derrida's words, it is 'summoned and assembled like a supplement because of the lack-- a certain "internal indetermination'' in the very thing it enframes.' This indetermination is, in fact, the ontological uncertainty of the very idea of the aesthetic."
I'm going to bed now. Peace.