Sunday, January 23, 2011
Is the poetic solipsism? Today's answer is: can't be, because poems come from out there.

Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat Pray Love) on poet Ruth Stone's inspiration.

As [Stone] was growing up in rural Virginia, she would be out, working in the fields and she would feel and hear a poem coming at her from over the landscape. It was like a thunderous train of air and it would come barrelling down at her over the landscape. And when she felt it coming...cause it would shake the earth under her feet, she knew she had only one thing to do at that point. That was to, in her words, run like hell to the house as she would be chased by this poem. The whole deal was that she had to get to a piece of paper fast enough so that when it thundered through her, she could collect it and grab it on the page.
I have decided that in order to be solipsism, there must be a "self." Only human beings have selves. So neither science nor poetry, even when described in English as does MH in terms of "themselves" has such a 'self,' can compare.

The Deutsch requirement for "sich" does not always intend an "as such," but early MH translators were so respectful that they leaned toward the literal.

Incidentally, I now have a copy of BASIC PROBLEMS, but I still have a long way to go in my first time through the Beitrage.
Poetry, especially modern sort tends to solipsism, IMHE--as do poetic philosophizers.

Most of us can't afford poetic narcissism--and TS Eliot & Co worked for the King, anyway. :]

(a platonic chestnut from the republic addressed that issue--the status of Poesy-- as you probably are aware. Socrates allowed for some statist music on...serious occasions. But poets were given the boot)
My struggle with The Republic is figuring out when Socrates is being straight and when he's being ironic to get a rise from his interlocutors. I think a lot of his political prescriptions which favor Spartan style elitism are ironic, because he could have moved to Sparta if he'd wanted to. His students Alcibiades and Xenophon did, and found Spartan society didn't live up to the theory in The Republic. And Plato himself remained in Athens.

And then poetry. Plato uses poetic tropes left and right, so how serious was he about expelling the poets? Clearly some poets are more virtuous than others.
There was some meat to Socrates's argument, IIRC--poetry as divine madness, emotional, mere imitation. Poets, unlike geometricians (or philosophers presumably), may inspire or evoke, but they lack rationality. He questions ...literature as knowledge--after Pythagoras, the greeks were ....obsessed with geometry, order, Reason. And the earlier homeric bardic wisdom (if wisdom it be) was called into question. It's nearly...analytical.

That's probably as obvious as fock--but again one gets the sense that Soc/Plato, while at times...verging on a Spartan-like statism were....progressives of some sort (in comparison to...the Alcibiades, etc). Poetry was... ancien regime (tho Aristotle allowed for tragedy, right. Aristotle, the party-boy, and medical man, jurist, militarist seems a bit...closer to the earlier macho-greeks than do than rationalists Soc/Plato IMHE)
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