Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Philosophical Detox

So I was talking to a colleague/professor yesterday about possible master's dissertations when he told me I needed to go on a "Philosophical Detox". I asked "Why?" And he said, "Well, I read your post on 'The Myth of Empathy'". I started laughing as he spoke over my laughter saying that I was imposing my own theme onto The Visible and The Invisible. I knew this was the case when I was writing it but I felt justified, but of course the discussion was grounded on the fact that I'm in a time where I'm trying to replicate the faithfulness of Derrida's interpretations to texts. I've admitted in posts later that I was skewing from the ostensible direction of Merleau-Ponty. I don't think that was so much of the problem for my colleague in the peculiar (really ridiculous) graduate school world, but more of a fear of me "losing my mind" in that post. I asked, "Well, isn't that the point?". He said "Maybe...for a time, and not now". Anyways, with the want to not "extinguish myself" before I really will be extinguishing myself, I've been told to take 2 weeks off from reading. Of course I'm not going to do this and only promised 1 week based on the fact that TV sucks and I've hiked almost every mountain in the lower New England region leaving me with nothing to do but to continue to "lose my mind". Looks like I'll be rehashing a musical project for 1 week in hopes of nailing it all down with a friend who's going to provide "beat box" percussion. Should be interesting considering the fact that the music is enveloped by lyrics like "Thrown into what's happening to compensate for everything". My mind is already wandering to what text I want to go into next. Originally I wanted to reread the text of Husserl on the end of philosophy and theory, and I still may in a sort of gesture of honor to his style of writing that I admire. The other 2 texts that I'm going to go into are Derrida's "Freud and the Scene of Writing" in his Writing and Difference and/or a rereading of Swan's Way with an intuition I had of doing a "Phenomenology of Proust". After reading Merleau-Ponty's deference to Proust for phenomenological elaboration, it definitely made me go back to a couple of the 238 stickys I had in Swan's Way and realized just how much his descriptions are phenomenological elucidations. I was especially interested when flipping around the 3 or 4 pages where he describes sitting down in a good 500 words or so. Even the beginning of that book, with the flowing commentary on waking up, specifically the fact of waking up and referencing the fact of having an arm over his head when waking up (implicitly a sign for arms stretching out during a yawn), had me strikingly interested like I had read it for the first time, and I was with a mindset of the after-thought of just reading Merleau-Ponty, and being under a current state of mind that I would call after-phenomenology; where one is not elaborating on one's experience of themselves, but applying a phenomenological mindset to a novel (hermeneutics influenced by phenomenology). It's something I'm eventually going to do with Proust even if I decide to read the Derrida text on "Freud and the Scene of Writing" first. The selections of one of these two ideas/texts are somewhat intentional detours of getting out of pure philosophy for a little while from advice from the [DC!] (technical philosophy if you will). To be sure, it won't, but it will definitely be less "pure" in the sense that it won't be a phenomenological interpretation/exploration on a phenomenological text. One will be a phenomenological mindset entering into the descriptive clouds of a hypochondriac Frenchman, and the other will be a psychoanalytical approach to the origins of writing that criticizes it's own method by an equally hypochondriac Frenchman (The German's got nothing on the French on over-thinking!). Either way, I'm excited as hell to start either....because there's something seriously wrong with me.
I've got a tremendous source of amusement this week from watching this video on Youtube called "Reading and Time". I literally watch this every morning and almost fall off my bed in laughter (again, because there's something wrong with me). I just think it perfectly highlights the anxiety's of the philosophical pursuit in the post-graduate level. The best bit for my ears; "Oh for fucks sake. I don't have time to read Sein und Zeit as a fucking introduction to everything else Heidegger ever fucking wrote."

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