On Greek Spirit, Hegel

The Greek Spirit:

For the Greeks only *watch* the objects of Nature, and form *surmises* respecting them; inquiring, in the depths of their souls, for the hidden meaning. According to Aristotle’s dictum, that Philosophy proceeds from Wonder, the Greek view of Nature also proceeds from wonder of this kind. Not that in their experience, Spirit meets something extraordinary, which it compares with the common order of things; for the intelligent view of a regular course of Nature, and the reference of phenomena to that standard, do not yet present themselves; but the Greek Spirit was excited to wonder at the *Natural* in Nature. It does not maintain the position of stupid indifference to it as something existing, and there an end of it; but regards it as something in the first instance foreign, in which, however, it has a presentiment of confidence, and the belief that it bears something within it which is friendly to the human Spirit, and to which it may be permitted to sustain a positive relation. This *Wonder* and this *Presentiment*, are here the fundamental categories; though the Hellenes did not content themselves with these moods of feelings, but projected the hidden meaning, which was the subject of the surmise, into a distinct conception as an object of consciousness. The Natural holds its place in their minds only after undergoing some transformation by Spirit– not immediately.



~Hegel’s *Philosophy of History*

Advertisements

On Flannery O’Connor’s ‘The Nature and Aim of Fiction’

This is a plain, free-write response to reading Flannery O’Connor’s ‘The Nature and Aim of Fiction’. It was written in my journal on the 4th of January of 2006, and I do not claim it to be superior writing, but rather personal. Please follow the link if you would like to read O’Connor’s piece for yourself – it’s way worth it!

I absolutely loved this piece. It really spoke to me personally, and she voiced (so well) so many of the things I have either always found myself thinking or have learned through writing during my life. I have always written, and it is interesting to see the maturation process of my writing reflected by others as underdeveloped notions of what writing is. I loved her description of the many ‘mongrel’ things we come up with when our notion of story is lacking or lame somehow. I don’t think that is my perpetual state any longer, however it is easy to slip into – it takes a great deal of energy to pull myself out of it. Hehe… technique as a rigid formula… that ALWAYS amused me, as if there were a little magic answer that would right all your wrongs, a function that would simply press everything into shape! (67)

Her point that the world of the writer is full of matter is one which has been impressing itself upon me for some time. “It’s always necessary to remember that the fiction writer is much less immediately concerned with grand ideas and bristling with emotions than he is with putting list slippers on clerks.” (70)

I loved Madame Bovary – the part of it that I have read, it’s not finished yet 🙂 (part of a survey) but I had a problem with my initial picture of Flaubert… I think he said that he thought the pinnacle of art was to depict the tragic and the horrific, but I don’t think so at all – he says that beautiful things are the easiest to write, but I so DISAGREE!!! The beautiful is just as complex, intricate, deep, tricky, and difficult to convey as the tragic, just slightly more rarely experienced fully (and if one does not fully, consciously experience it, one cannot gift another with and awareness of it!).

I particularly noticed O’Connor’s description of those “reformers” who “want to write because they are possessed not by a story but by the bare bones of some abstract notion”, who are conscious of problems, not of people, of questions and issues, not of the texture of existence, of case histories and everything that has a sociological smack, instead of with all those concrete details of life that make actual the mystery of our position on earth.” (68) The sad spectacle she writes about – the keenly sensitive author who is simply a bore because he is unwilling to get dusty, use humble tools, is great.

I remember when I distained to use dust. When imagery, getting my work to be tangible and real in any but an emotional and moral way to my readers – I wanted my readers to be seduced by a kind of pure beauty (as if I could really portray that), or by the intense misery to be moved to compassion or sympathy. I was so far from my goal (being an effective writer), and I really didn’t know. OK, wait, I did know, but I didn’t know how. I didn’t totally get that I was holding on to what sank me… list slippers. hehehe… 🙂 genius.

c. Mary Kathryn Gough

A New Proposition


“Faith is not being sure. It is not being sure, but betting with your last cent… Faith is not a series of gilt-edged propositions that you sit down to figure out, and if you follow all the logic and accept all the conclusions, then you have it. It is crumpling and throwing away everything, proposition by proposition, until nothing is left, and then writing a new proposition, your very own, to throw in the teeth of despair…

Faith is not making religious-sounding noises in the daytime. It is asking your inmost self questions at night and then getting up and going to work…

Faith is thinking thoughts and singing songs and making poems in the lap of death.”


–Mary Jean Irion, 1970