June 16th, 2007

Semiformalishmaybe

Cubist NeXTist

I had a dream last night where I was explaining to my boss why I quit and became a lecturer on the Cubist movement in art at some Museum/University. Weird dream..

I think it stuck in my mind because a common criticism of philosophy as normally practiced is that it's too far from art (more specifically, poetry) - continental philosophy makes the right kind of arguments and seems to be thinking in more interesting directions, but it usually lacks the humility I think is needed for good philosophy (and analytical philosophy seems to be confused by attitudes towards formalism). I'd like to see philosophy (smaller-sense) move towards an understanding of the aesthetics of ideas - away from analytic formalism and continental certainty. That said, I would hope that postmodernism-as-practiced in art and popular culture wouldn't infect philosophy too deeply - the basic idea that traditions are restraints that can be escaped is something hopefully already well-known to philosophers, and the excesses that have become attached to postmodernism in art and culture are things that should hopefully rejected. The key distinction, I think, is that philosophy needs to construct new values and new conclusions that may be unrelated to existing social norms, and followers of those new philosophies need to feel comfortable applying their values just as strongly as existing philosophies/religions do. Postmodernism, at least in my understanding of it, leads to a weakening of the spirit - it is an illness that is meant to fall to Nietzsche's hammer, acting as a transition or midpoint we can operate from while charting possible futures (and returned to briefly as needed), not a destination. Thinkers should laugh at postmodernist criticisms that to think and believe and live are things of the past (pre-postmodernist) - in successive stages of growth, we all betray our pasts - a cowardly butterfly remaining in its coccoon out of fidelity to its own traditions is an object of pity, not respect.

Now, off to soccer....