Shorthand philosophy Rant
My weekend has gone to the dogs. Friday after a long day at work - during a week when everything that could go wrong did - which is fine as I am the fixer, but when there's a never-ending stream of problems you worry for your sanity. A front desk worker pulled an astrology chart out of his wallet and told me that Mercury is in retrograde until the 30th - what does that mean? Well, if you were astrologically minded you would be aware that three to four times a year the planet Mercury appears to slow down, stop, reverse direction, slow down again, stop and resume its normal progress in the night sky. Obviously Mercury is zinging along at its normal pace, but our relative orbits to one another create this illusion and if you thought that the Earth were the center of the universe you might be tempted to theorize as to why that planet up there keeps throwing it into reverse every few months.
People who pay attention to these things, and who wrestle with free will versus determinism, feel that the retrograde period is a time when miscommunication is common, travel plans are generally screwed up – Mercury being the winged foot god who runs messages between individuals - he has got his hat on backwards and his signals are getting crossed - Hermes would be the alternate name (“Roman's had crap gods so they had to steal the Greek ones” Eddie Izzard).
In the current land of the New Age this is not hard determinism, just advice, don't try to upgrade your software right now, wait a bit, it'll go smoother. You can try if you want to, but don't say I didn't warn you. Don't buck the backslide of the incoming wave.
Hermes.... When we talk about looking for meaning in texts relative to history and other disciplines we sometimes call that the Hermeneutic Circle - Hermeneutics as a term was first used for biblical studies -scholars were reading the Greek old T and they happened to have a lot of other Greek books cluttering up the old library at Alexandria - So they asked themselves, "How does the bible jive with other historical texts from the same period etc?"
They got fancy and used words like diachronic and synchronic. Synchronic - synced up - at the same time - What were the Chinese doing while all this was going on in the Middle East? They had their own center of the universe fantasies cooking along quite nicely (I mean they had a natural knowledge of God that was not informed by actually hearing from him). This is odd as we defined “him” as omnipotent and omniscient, so omnipresent should go with that, but they did have a very big wall. I guess the phone lines were down. But still, go forth and make disciples of all nations and if they die before you get there… well I don’t know wish them well and try to talk their kids out of ancestor worship. Tell them that Guan Yin and Mother Mary are the same goddess, yeah that’s it that’s the ticket (well what the hell it worked in Africa & Latin America).
Diachronic – chronos - time - across time - across time does this stuff hold up? I mean that was then and this is now. St. Paul said no gays (most of the Greek philosophers were into man boy loving)! And women quit tempting me with your hair - get a hat damn you, a hat! (Does St. Paul scream repressed Homosexual to the rest of the world as well?) So, Kennedy stopped wearing hats - so we're done with hats, but the gay
thing is still up for biblical/social debate, at least in some circles, and of course in the Middle East they went past hair and said "awe just cover up completely - we'll give you a little window to peak out of."
Have you read the Leviticus stuff on sodomy? Lot, that’s his name, he offers his daughters to the angry crowed as a sexual sacrifice. Why is rape in this instance condoned? Lot is the only God-fearing man in the city, albeit married to a salty woman with a propensity for looking back. Why is the male rape of his male houseguests the big taboo and not the potential, remember he offers, rape of his own daughters? Because it’s the guest taboo not the sodomy one, and we don’t have the guest taboo anymore, it went missing like a sock in the wash. Just exhausts you doesn’t it.
Ok we have religion and we have culture, and we know that culture changes in that we used to live in caves and paint ourselves blue and we're sort of done with that - so what about this religion thing which claims to never change, but keeps getting translated in wacky ways and throwing out new religions every so often - who let those Jains in here - what are they Buddhists, Christians, is it a grab bag? Step right up and give Mormonism a whirl, everybody gets a planet!
But of course there are other books that really start to undermine the whole thing and like Nietzsche you eventually find out about Zarathustra and virgin births cropping up all over the place mythological speaking - Zeus had them literally coming out his ears - and so you think, well at least we've got the term that has transferred to the process - maybe the process is more true than the shit we're shoveling into it. Well teacher Karl, as long as you're wearing that hat, and I thought you were going to tell us about your weekend, what interests you about this Hermeneutic Circle?
I think I've already answered that question, however, if I were to pontificate further I would observe that if you throw a bunch of rocks into a stone polishing machine you're liable to get nice looking rocks. The machine is just as interesting, if not more so, we keep having to get new ones or at least adding settings to the dial. Think the meaning of the text comes from what the author intended it to mean, set the dial. Do you know what Bob Dylan intended for you to get out of that song? No? Like it anyway? Got your own personal mythology? Set the dial. Lets just take the text on its own terms, forget the writer, what does the text say about itself? No, the reader is what matters, what does the reader find in their quest? Got an adjenda? Feminist, Post Colonial, Existential, Freudian, Lacanian, Marxist, Inuit? Set the dial. We're in the business of both uncovering and generating
Meaning exists in the dialogue, the conversation between readers
and text, writer and reader, writer and text. And during this conversation Mercury is always in retrograde, the ongoing telephone game spits out one Thousand and one beautiful Haiku.
The good, the true, and the beautiful - Plato sought. Aesthetics is where it's at - eat the apple - why else would it be there - it tastes good.
Speaking of shoveling shit, V's dogs are quite respectful of the local
Neighborhood, fearing that a neighbor might step in something untoward they have resigned themselves to crapping in the kitchen. My dog does not get along with her dogs, so I get to make my own little hermeneutic circle all weekend long gauging miles per gallon and lengths of intestine. It’s time for a walk in the rain.