Friday, September 18, 2009

Raise your hand if you're NOT a philosopher!


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.


Raunee said...

Wow, I couldn't understand most of that paragraph! You are so smart! I love Hermoine, and you too!

rachel said...

Hey Hermione. You are so smart! I know a little something about Derrida, even Saussure, Foucault, Levi-Strauss, and Freud (of course), etc. and you are amazing for comprehending their concepts. I have trouble saying what I think I know in front of everyone and going beyond just knowing the definitions of concepts. Also, the Starbucks's lady is a mermaid....Designed by Terry Heckler of Heckler Associates, the iconic mermaid that beckons coffee drinkers was based off a classic 15th century Norse woodcut of the mythical siren. And it looks like he did make a fortune.

Jayci said...

I'm so impressed! And I'm glad I understood your 'watered-down' version of logos' definition. It made perfect sense!! :) You are brilliant.

OH! Starbuck's lady.. thing. My idea anyhow: Starbucks started in Seattle, right? Seattle is a port town, and probably had lots of weird ships pulling into dock... right? Isn't it a mermaid? I always thought it might have been from the bow (I don't know ship-anatomy) of a huge boat. :P whattya think?

Jayci said...

hey! I just read Rachel's comment - A MERMAID. I was right! wish she were as pretty as Ariel though. ha ha

MOM said...

Okay. I can't believe I just googled the Starbuck's lady. What can I say? You stretch my mind into domains I'd never go otherwise.

And I don't know what all the fuss is about. I understood that paragraph perfectly well. No big words there. Just a bunch of little words. (except parasitism) Okay, fine. Their assemblage is wacked out. But really Lindsey, enough whining about your poor brain.

(hee hee)

Judy Anne said...

And I thought Logos was a toy that Jake likes to throw(my life today), and the Chris loved to build things out of (Christmas's past!) I guess it shows I have been out of grad school for a solid year! ;->
Ahh, the marvelous truths you learn when you take the Lord with you into your learning.

PS. Wasn't it Hermione who always has the knowledge needed to save the day, as well as the courage to stick by her friends even during the tough time. I say, Hermione rocks!

Marissa said...

Sign that I haven't slept in a REALLY long time: when you wrote logos I read LEGOs and thought of those little block toys we should have loved as a child.

I love your answer - it's so wise and brilliant! Oh to have a little more logos as a part of our life.

Also - what does your Wednesday night look like? Can it include a little glee with me? I just might have a night at home, but I'm still finalizing that fact.

MOM said...
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