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May 24, 2010

trees and their shadows

I could imagine somebody might admire not only real trees, but also the shadows or reflections that they cast, taking them too for trees. But once he has told himself that they are not really trees after all and has come to be puzzled at what they are, or at how they are related to trees, his admiration will have suffered a rapture that will need healing.


Posted by amin at 8:40 AM

a sight of thy name

Every tongue that moves within the mouth possesses life for the purpose of praising Thee; Thy great and sacred names are a proof of bounty and beneficence and mercy. Each one of them is greater than heaven and earth and angel; they are one thousand and one, and they are ninety nine, each one of them is related to one of man's needs, but those who are not in Thy secrets are excluded from them. O Lord, of Thy grace and compassion admit this heart and soul to a sight of Thy name!


Posted by amin at 6:40 AM

May 23, 2010

I get drunk on the scene

Losing My Head: when I see a person or a scene, a coming-together of volumes, my eye suddenly gets drawn in, I abandon myself completely to what I’m seeing, I lose all sense of my own reality, I get drunk on the scene which absorbs me, transforms me, transcends me, inundates me with pleasure, with the pleasure of life, which I try to record, if not to hold.

François-Marie Banier

Posted by amin at 5:19 PM

psychoanalysis is a way of seeing

I think that psychoanalysis is a way of seeing. Freud is telling us that there is an infant in every one of us. An emotional infant, which is another way of saying an emotional cripple, because an infant isn't really suited to live an adult life. Many of us are two-year-olds trying to deal with the responsibilities of thirty- and forthy - and fifty - and sixty-year-olds, which is a terrible way to go through life. I think Freud tried, as Marx tried, to make his discoveries a closed system of ideas. I don't believe in closed systems of ideas, but that is not to say that one cannot learn from Marx or Freud. When psychoanalysis works, it becomes something that doesn't end when you leave the therapy. It becomes something you do for yourself.

Hilary Putnam

Posted by amin at 10:51 AM

the ordinary

Ordinary does not mean going to the post office and mailing a letter, it means faith that the way we think and live isn't all a fiction or an illusion, that the illusion is rather all these tremendous intellectual constructions that make the way we think and live look like an illusion.

Hilary Putnam

Posted by amin at 10:48 AM

analytic philosophy

I believe that analytic philosophy started with respect for argument. The problem is that after awhile all philosophy had to be argument, and people didn't know what to argue about. Therefore, imaginary objects emerged: possible worlds are just as real as imaginary ones. That seems to me a beautiful example of the return of the repressed. The analytic movement started out as an anti-metaphysical movement, but today, it is fair to say that it is the most metaphysical movement of all. The proof is that the masters of analytic philosophy keep speaking about "intuition."

I don't criticize analytic philosophy for being metaphysical, I am not an anti-metaphysics militant. My problem with analytical philosophy is that it is empty. All philosophy does not have to be argument, and all arguments do not have to be in the analytic style. Kierkegaard, for example, does have arguments, even though the analytic philosophers will never recognize it. It is the same with Wittgenstein: his arguments often have a pedagogical character, the objective of which is not to explain something to the reader, but to get the reader to work things out by himself. This, I think, is the true purpose of philosophy.

Hilary Putnam

Posted by amin at 10:39 AM

philosophy is fundemental

Philosophy is as fundamental as art or science. For a long time, it was assimilated by religion. Today, Derrida on one side and the analytic philosophers on the other, are trying to assimilate this unique modality either to art or to science. Analytic philosophers basically see philosophy as a science, only less developed, vaguer and newer, while Derrida basically sees philosophy as literature, as art. I don't think either is correct. Philosophy can neither become pure writing nor a matter of proofs. Naturally, there is room for arguments in philosophy, but it is not simply a question of arguments.

Hilary Putnam

Posted by amin at 10:36 AM

a sense of limits

For me the word "religion" is a bad word. I would say that my Judaism represents a sense of limits. Jewish thinkers often quote a passage from the Talmud, and it's almost a cliche to quote it, but I still like to do it: it says that it's not up to us to finish the task, but neither we are free not to take it up. For me religion means a sense of human limits. The problem with humanism, as developed by Feuerbach, is that it means the deification of man, and I don't see anything in this century that makes me want to deify man. Like Ben Schwartz, I think that man is the worst god there is.

Hilary Putnam

Posted by amin at 10:34 AM

the sense of the sacred

The sense of the sacred is not necessarily a good thing; it can lead one to do terrible things. Of course for that very reason in the nineteenth century people said we should stop believing in the sacred, and then we won't do terrible things any more. Then we had two very atheist dictators, called Stalin and Hitler, who between them killed even more people than anyone had killed in the name of the sacred.

Hilary Putnam

Posted by amin at 10:32 AM