Why Study Literature?

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Subjectivity9
 
Reply Mon 2 Nov, 2009 06:33 am
@Kooker,
Fido,

When you start swinging around a sword it isn’t justice that is won, it is further proof that, “Might is right.”

Tell me, if you will, was it “a demonstration of justice” on Othello part, to kill his INNOCENT wife? Or was it simply bravado, once again, being demonstrated by a weak or even sick mind?

Although, we require a strong ego in order to survive. To live correctly or well, we also require a disciplined ego. That means that we cannot go about slashing and burning at the slightest and often unfounded provocation.

You can usually tell a person whose ego is out of bounds. The people around him will find him difficult to live with.

In all times, there are people who feel that they should stand out, that they should be (no deserve to be) center stage. Many need this in order to reinforce their own personal feelings of importance. This is the very definition of our egos longings, which we are all saddled with to a greater or lesser extent, (this need to be special).

Perhaps this is why there will never actually be equality. Most of us don’t really want it. Our personal, special qualities are how we define our selves. They are our self-image.

Othello wasn’t defending honor. He was defending his self-image.

Even defending our land comes back fundamentally to our self-image. We are not just anyone, but we are a landowner. Otherwise we would just divvy up everything and be done with it, once and for all.

Thinking myself a brave person is once again this special-ness of self-image, (AKA I'm better than you). If everyone was equal, and therefore equally brave, why even bring it up in the first place? So what?

I won’t beat this horse any longer. I think you see what I am getting at, even if you do not agree.

No one is really just brave, anyway. This is a made up thing or quantity. Even the bravest person is sometimes afraid. So why defend it? That is unless you are weaving dreams in the air, and you need it to seem more real to you by defending it. As in, “It must be real. Why else would I defend it?” Rather circular/chicken egg-ish, don’t you think? Defending a fantasy IMO boarder on madness, and if it is over done, it steps right into it.

Remember, just because a majority agrees with what you think, doesn’t keep it out of the land of OZ. The majority in a mental hospital is questionable.

This thing about different times doesn’t work for me. People are people even if their landscapes or customs are different.

S9
 
Fido
 
Reply Mon 2 Nov, 2009 08:48 pm
@Kooker,
Sub;... Men are still killing women for honor today...Do I think it is justice??? The question is moot... The act demonstrates the need of poor people for honor which is the sinequanon of all relationships and all societies... We think nothing of it, and think we can do without it; but the point which makes all moot is this: Their societies are ancient and ours is new...They have survived with honor and our survival is at best uncertain, so if honor is sought out, and cared for, and worked for does it not prove the need??? People suffer for their honor, and suffer their honor, but from our perspective of a money economy we cannot see the value of an honor economy... We ask people to trust us to pay back our loans... What if we were borrowing the difference between life and death???

Here you are seeing through your form of relationship as through a paradigm...It is a lens which makes sense of all you see, but blinds you to the way things were before...Why do we have displays of honor??? Why do we have sacred oaths, and inaugurations, the symbols and trappings of honor??? We pledge ourselves, and give testimony, and our trust is staked upon a few meaningless words... Why do we do this if it is meaningless??? Or is it not meaningless???We have few survivals from the age of honor, but it is certain that people where quick and over quick to defend their honor... That was a good age to know who you were dealing with, and a good age for others to know who they were dealing with... Was it necessary for Odyseus to tell the Cyclops who bested him??? There would be no honor without the knowing... It was in honor that each man, technically and socially the same as his brothers and kin, could stand out from the run of the mill... Among the natives, there was played a game of beat the post to show in what fashion they had dispatched their enemies, but if one spoke falsely he would get a face full of ashes...To do great deeds, and to dare death with equanimity, but to win, as the Jews show, by hook or crook is the key to honor...It is a mystery why women should so often be the carriers of honor, so they bring their family's honor into a marriage, but can as easily take honor out... It is not just Othello... Women have often been the victims of the need for honor, and it may be that they have suffered by the thousands.... Yet, it is hard to argue with societies that have been so resourceful and hardy...
 
Subjectivity9
 
Reply Wed 4 Nov, 2009 06:43 pm
@Kooker,
Fido,

Everything we want is worked for, sought out, and cared for; that however does not prove that it is needed. But, I do take your point. Some people obviously elevate honor to the position of a necessary element in their lives. But, again, this also does not prove that their priorities are not misplaced.

For instance, if Othello loved his wife, and I believe in his own overly self-important way that he did, he certainly, if nothing else acted rashly. He didn’t even take the time to sit down and talk to her about it. Can you spell impetuous?

I like to think that women these days have been moved out of the category of being a possession. So that if men are still acting like our friend Othello did, than there is something very wrong still going on, and we certainly cannot call it justice.


I’m thinking, and this is a stab in the dark, that if honor were such an important thing, then perhaps it didn’t go away so much as change its uniform. Maybe the honor of the ancient world is a bit like patriotism is today, a way of males bonding, and belonging, and finding adventure.

If this were the case, it wouldn’t be sooo difficult to examine this so called basic drive under today microscope. What do you think? A drive is a drive, is a drive.

What is really good about literature in this case, is that we are looking at these events out of someone’s eyes, and not like it is a historical pageant taking place in some history book. We get to wear his emotions. We, similar to Othello, are getting kicked around by events.

Lastly, I think when we speak of honor; we are speaking about our self-esteem, and where it comes from. With honor, I think in good part it comes from others. We are reliant upon how others see us in order to feel good about our self. But, this is a sure way to be off balance, because the opinions of others are certainly fickle at best. Ask any politician or movie star about this seesaw ride.

So we have a question of where we should be checking in order to feel good about our self. Are we comfortable in our own skin, or are we fragile?

S9
 
Fido
 
Reply Wed 4 Nov, 2009 09:01 pm
@Subjectivity9,
People in our society do not understand honor... The Muslims still do... Every single one of them in order to become a man and a Muslim must swear an oath that there is no God but the God...What do they swear with except their honor???That is why they so severely punish those who recant, because they cannot bear to be around people without honor... They do not have the social and economic capacity to put such people behind bars... We pay a terrible price to keep our millions in prison, and we forget that in days past, death was an effective and welcome punishment because people could afford none better...Can you imagine that anyone but saps cried for Romeo and Juliet??? They were both out of control, and so, immoral; and they dishonored their own families... case closed...Is it so distant??? Perhaps ten years ago or little more, and Turkish man killed his high school daughter because he thought she was dishonoring him... Why??? In America a life of honor and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee almost anywhere... It is meaningless, so for something meaningless to us he killed his own child... There was an Indian woman, though I may mean Pakistani, who killed herself and her children... Who knows why, but I got the sense from the news that whe was being cut loose in a divorce and felt robbed of honor... It is a different economy, and one that is so strange to a money economy that all we think we need do is show up with a truck full of money in some foreign land to have lots of friends...It does not work that way... We delude ourselves...Those societies work, and produce intelligent individuals because honor works, and advantage that is honorable is a hard find...

Think about it...For honor, Othello killed his wife...For honor Achilles ran down to the boats and wept like a child... Cu'chulain was known to kill men for the most inadvertent slight to his honor... Well what do we do... We do not kill those who abuse our honor, or our children when they dishonor us, but we drop what we are doing to kill a whole buch of strangers because we do not like their tyrant over whom they have not the slightest control... Just because we have no sense of honor does not mean we are not bloody all over, injust, and dis honorable... Those societies with their honor economies have survived for ever, and ours, all told, counting our time with Britain has lasted not five hundred years in its present state...We have nothing to offer...
 
Subjectivity9
 
Reply Thu 5 Nov, 2009 12:52 pm
@Kooker,
Fido,

Perhaps I can get you to explain why, swearing an oath that there is “No God, but God, “ is an honorable thing to do? To me, if you know there is one God, why do you need to swear to it? If on the other hand, you do not know there is one God, than swearing an oath seems foolish, if not dishonest.

While I am asking questions, let me ask you this. How do you compare honor with nobility as the human characteristic? I have a friend, who said that He felt that, Othello was not noble.

I must be a sap because I thought that Romeo and Juliet was a sad tale. I think the family can be a tyranny if someone thinks he is in charge and is tight fisted when it comes to compassion. None of us are perfect.

Anyone that thinks the story of Romeo and Juliet is about promiscuous sex, and disloyalty to the family, is not in touch with the strength that true love can have in someone’s life.

When I hear about how the Muslims treat their women and girl children, I think that they must be a particularly severe and cruel people. I know that may things that they do, are not justified by passages in the Quaran.

Don’t tell me about the Muslim's cruelty being a money problem. Some say it has more to do with coming from a desert people, and life in the desert being so harsh. but let us remember now they have all of that oil, and the flagrant consumerism of their leaders.

Death may be an easy solution, but is it a just one? Many war crimes are directly attributable to the use of death as a convenient solution. People who use these methods are often called monsters, after the fact, and rightfully so.

There are so many people who are control freaks, and these same people usually think that what they are doing is right and/or justified. I am hoping that one day the human race will evolve beyond such tactics.

I am esp. against any one man having the power over life and death over his family. All too often this is self-serving for a guy who just wants his own way. It is better, no matter how chaotic it may seem at times, that cool heads make these decisions. The passions are like little animals.

Nature creates intelligent and stupid kids constantly. It seems to be genetic predisposition and not anything to do with honor, that I can see. But perhaps you can show me differently.

S9
 
Fido
 
Reply Fri 6 Nov, 2009 07:20 am
@Subjectivity9,
Subjectivity9;102031 wrote:
Fido,

Perhaps I can get you to explain why, swearing an oath that there is "No God, but God, " is an honorable thing to do? To me, if you know there is one God, why do you need to swear to it? If on the other hand, you do not know there is one God, than swearing an oath seems foolish, if not dishonest.

While I am asking questions, let me ask you this. How do you compare honor with nobility as the human characteristic? I have a friend, who said that He felt that, Othello was not noble.

I must be a sap because I thought that Romeo and Juliet was a sad tale. I think the family can be a tyranny if someone thinks he is in charge and is tight fisted when it comes to compassion. None of us are perfect.

Anyone that thinks the story of Romeo and Juliet is about promiscuous sex, and disloyalty to the family, is not in touch with the strength that true love can have in someone's life.

When I hear about how the Muslims treat their women and girl children, I think that they must be a particularly severe and cruel people. I know that may things that they do, are not justified by passages in the Quaran.

Don't tell me about the Muslim's cruelty being a money problem. Some say it has more to do with coming from a desert people, and life in the desert being so harsh. but let us remember now they have all of that oil, and the flagrant consumerism of their leaders.

Death may be an easy solution, but is it a just one? Many war crimes are directly attributable to the use of death as a convenient solution. People who use these methods are often called monsters, after the fact, and rightfully so.

There are so many people who are control freaks, and these same people usually think that what they are doing is right and/or justified. I am hoping that one day the human race will evolve beyond such tactics.

I am esp. against any one man having the power over life and death over his family. All too often this is self-serving for a guy who just wants his own way. It is better, no matter how chaotic it may seem at times, that cool heads make these decisions. The passions are like little animals.

Nature creates intelligent and stupid kids constantly. It seems to be genetic predisposition and not anything to do with honor, that I can see. But perhaps you can show me differently.

S9

Anyone reaching a logical conclusion on the beliefs on supernatural agency might reach the same conclusion as the Jews, and the Muslims that there is but one God... The acceptence of Mohammet as his prophet in public before many witnesses is an act of conformity upon which the Muslim Community is Built.... We all give outward public expression of our membership in any form of relationship... As a husband, I wear a wedding band... A cop, or a soldier wears a uniform...Geeks wear pocket protectors... We all have our signs... We stand for the national anthem... Not all people are as diligent as the Muslims in demanding an expression of honor binding one to the faith...They must have suffered a lot of back sliders as did the early Christians.. But the point is an easy one... When people have only their word to give, they give their words... Remember that the Trojan war was fought on an oath to make common cause against any who should take Hellen from the husband of her choice...

If you look at the Fort Hood massacre, you can see how conflicted Muslim Americans can be when their oaths to the constitution and the government of the United States requires them to shed Muslim Blood...He was telling them he did not want to go...They should have listened... Adults, no less than children are sometimes very clear about what they want and need from life, and people should learn to listen....The absolute worst thing about adults when compared to children is that adults sometimes do not express their needs, but go about trying to reach their goals even if it is over your dead body...It is a dangerous presumption we hold that all are satisfied, and all are having their needs met... To learn to talk to people is a skill all should try to learn... I have a theory that within five minutes of talking to a stranger they will tell you the most important thing going on in their lives at that moment, and the reason is simple; that what is important to us now has our attention.... The quest for honor like the quest for money is usually all consuming for those people in those forms of relationship...
 
Subjectivity9
 
Reply Fri 6 Nov, 2009 02:53 pm
@Kooker,
Fido,

Just because we, all of us want to belong to a community, or a group of some kind, and we make oaths of honor, proclaiming what we have promised to these other persons, doesn’t in my mind justify running around killing other people when we feel that they are not living up to the letter of the law/promises, which they originally made.
Like I said, none of us are perfect, not even the guy running around with his sword of, so called, justice.

It seems to me that what is happening is, this person, for instance Othello, has got a blown up, way out of proportion, idea of his own personal importance. He is seeing himself as being the big deal at center stage, and everyone else as just bit actors in his story.

By the way, a person with this much of a lack of regard for others, and their needs and feelings, is not noble in character. Hey, lets face it, he may be more than a little crazy.

Also:

It is not necessarily logical to think that there is one God. It is a preference.

And:

Mohammad wasn’t necessarily a prophet, just on his say so. He may have been just one more charismatic, power hungry character in a position of leadership with a weapon in his hand and an army at his back.

Fort Hood is a sad story, that like you say may have been avoided. We can agree on that. Hate has a way of turning around and biting you on the ass. This last war is a travesty.

S9
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2009 05:41 pm
@Kooker,
Fido:
I think you make good points about honor-economies. We are so use to the worship of wealth these days, that it takes a leap of imagination to understand a society with a different symbolic order. Fundamentalism attracts with its intensity and seriousness. I think men like the high drama of a black and white war between good and evil. And then honor is such a personal thing, a thing of the flesh almost. It's as if a man incarnates his honor, as if honor is his spirit. With money it's something else. It's a plastic card and spots on a hard drive. To quote Eliot: Unreal City.

Also this: we buy our meat from the grocery store. We are predators on vacation.

I can make the imaginative leap to the "old days", but then I return to my Starbuck's latte and an essay by Richard Rorty, pretty happy.

(I make the moral detachment of a Spinoza or a Spengler my ideal, as far as thought is concerned.)
 
Fido
 
Reply Fri 27 Nov, 2009 06:38 am
@Subjectivity9,
Subjectivity9;102224 wrote:
Fido,

Just because we, all of us want to belong to a community, or a group of some kind, and we make oaths of honor, proclaiming what we have promised to these other persons, doesn't in my mind justify running around killing other people when we feel that they are not living up to the letter of the law/promises, which they originally made.
Like I said, none of us are perfect, not even the guy running around with his sword of, so called, justice.

It seems to me that what is happening is, this person, for instance Othello, has got a blown up, way out of proportion, idea of his own personal importance. He is seeing himself as being the big deal at center stage, and everyone else as just bit actors in his story.

By the way, a person with this much of a lack of regard for others, and their needs and feelings, is not noble in character. Hey, lets face it, he may be more than a little crazy.

Also:

It is not necessarily logical to think that there is one God. It is a preference.

And:

Mohammad wasn't necessarily a prophet, just on his say so. He may have been just one more charismatic, power hungry character in a position of leadership with a weapon in his hand and an army at his back.

Fort Hood is a sad story, that like you say may have been avoided. We can agree on that. Hate has a way of turning around and biting you on the ass. This last war is a travesty.

S9

No; but the Bible, the New Testament does justify death for people joining the form, which was communistic, and then trying to hold some of their wealth apart...No one should be measured against an ideal, and that has been the curse of modern history when out of idealism new/old forms were created and people then judged against the ideal... People are real, and social forms are about serving human needs; and it is against human needs that all forms should be judged... It is impossible to change human beings... What we are, our biological needs remain the same over time...People change what they can change to reach a better level of existence, and that change is a change of forms...Some people always resist change, but it is easy, as impossible as it may seem, to change social forms than it is to change minds so patience is required because if a new form fulfills its promise then eventually people come around...Yet, some in America still embrace Fascism, or Feudalism, or Monarchy, or tyranny...People can only change as the know, and ignorance is wide spread...

You cannot understand the past without understanding honor... It is a thread that runs through all of ancient literature and much of myth...In fact, honor is another whole different form of economy.... Socialism would be impossible today without honor, and because so few are motivated by honor socialism is impossible... A money economy can easily supplant an honor economy over night because money promises with ease the good honor can only achieve with difficulty...
Certainly Mohammed, peace be upon him was a prophet as much as Jesus, peace be upon him... Islam was so much better than what those people had before that they were immediatly pulled out of the dark ages and into the light, and part of the reason it survived and survives yet is that it did not attack the economy of honor upon which so many lives depend, but bound whole nations together under a common oath of honor... They found the limits of their progress...If, because of common honor thy could not justify interest then they could not exploit each other and lay aside capital on the surplus labor of the masses... The vast population of Islam is built on justice and honor...The people, having a fair share of their own produce as soon turned that produce to the production of people...White Western populations are dropping because we must sacrifice so much for profit, just as Rome and Greece saw their populations drop to feed the wealth and luxury of a few...

---------- Post added 11-27-2009 at 08:08 AM ----------

Reconstructo;106165 wrote:
Fido:
I think you make good points about honor-economies. We are so use to the worship of wealth these days, that it takes a leap of imagination to understand a society with a different symbolic order. Fundamentalism attracts with its intensity and seriousness. I think men like the high drama of a black and white war between good and evil. And then honor is such a personal thing, a thing of the flesh almost. It's as if a man incarnates his honor, as if honor is his spirit. With money it's something else. It's a plastic card and spots on a hard drive. To quote Eliot: Unreal City.

Also this: we buy our meat from the grocery store. We are predators on vacation.

I can make the imaginative leap to the "old days", but then I return to my Starbuck's latte and an essay by Richard Rorty, pretty happy.

(I make the moral detachment of a Spinoza or a Spengler my ideal, as far as thought is concerned.)

Before people in the middle east can dialog, they must each accept that the other has honor... We, caring only for the end result that we desire prove all the time that we have no honor...This conflict is, at least in a sense inevitable... We long ago gave up our claims to justice in order to have peace... As honorable men in a honorable society, all have an absolute right to justice...We must first give peace to claim justice, and there the process breaks down, because if we cannot take it ourselves, and must rely upon others for our justice we find ourselves begging for it from people who, having peace feel no need for justice... Peace eventually grows less certain and more unlikely as justice becomes more impossible to grasp...People should remember the social contract, that people freely surrender their weapons and their right to immediate justice for the promise of justice enforced with fairness by the whole people...Justice is not just a matter of law, but must flow through a whole society or people will reform their tribes and nations and resort to feuds and vengeance...
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Fri 27 Nov, 2009 05:16 pm
@Fido,
My intellectual humility kicks in when I arrive in the realm of politics.

This thread is off the rails, is it not?
 
Fido
 
Reply Sat 28 Nov, 2009 11:43 am
@Kooker,
Not really... All literature as a form of culture and culture in general is form of gross communication from one generations to another...No one knows humanity who does not know what we once were...
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 6 Feb, 2010 11:01 pm
@Kooker,
Why study literature? That's like asking a little boy why he kisses girls.
 
Fido
 
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 12:10 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;125607 wrote:
Why study literature? That's like asking a little boy why he kisses girls.

Little boys never kiss girls; but grown up boys do...
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 05:06 pm
@Fido,
Fido;125782 wrote:
Little boys never kiss girls; but grown up boys do...


I was a little boy who kissed girls, at least a few.

I should have answered the thread more seriously perhaps, but literature/narrative seems as desirable as bread and sunshine. It's hard to think of humanity devoid of stories --which are almost equivalent to memory.
 
Subjectivity9
 
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 07:23 pm
@Kooker,
Reconstructo,

Humanity (the human ego) is a story. How than could humanity be without humanity?
; ^ )

S9
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 07:27 pm
@Subjectivity9,
Subjectivity9;125944 wrote:
Reconstructo,

Humanity (the human ego) is a story. How than could humanity be without humanity?
; ^ )

S9



Yes, perhaps humanity is made more of stories than flesh and bone. Another way to say this is that man is made of words, that man is made of concept, that concepts are metaphors, that man is the metaphorical animal.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 07:29 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;125607 wrote:
Why study literature? That's like asking a little boy why he kisses girls.


Um, literature doesn't give me the same feeling kissing girls does. It tries but it still hasn't come close. I have never found a book Id trade for kissing girls.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 07:37 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple;125950 wrote:
Um, literature doesn't give me the same feeling kissing girls does. It tries but it still hasn't come close. I have never found a book Id trade for kissing girls.


Depends on the girl and the literature, but I can see where you are coming from.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Sun 7 Feb, 2010 09:51 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;125954 wrote:
Depends on the girl and the literature, but I can see where you are coming from.


Don't judge a book by it's cover.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 04:11 pm
@Kooker,
I don't think that literature is inferior or utterly seperate from philosophy to begin with. If philosophy is ambitious enough to address the totality of human experience, it must address our highest art forms. The best literature is often philosophical. Not only is it philosophical but this same literature often embodies philosophical themes in a way superior to that of philosophy.

A novel or a play is more naturally holistic. Characters speak in a context of desire and decision. Novels emphasize, implicitly or explicitly, the embeddedness of thought in its broader context -- which is life.

It's my opinion that life is bigger than thought. Narrative might be better at point toward this LIFE.
 
 

 
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