Retallack #4: "The Poethical Wager" (excerpt) Jan 10, 2023 0:38:58 GMT -5 mirandaj, sophianaz, and 4 more like this
Post by Paul K on Jan 10, 2023 0:38:58 GMT -5
Dear friends in reading,
My father, the son of a philosophy professor and Quaker mystic, was four years old when he saw his father die of a heart attack while washing dishes. Later, as a young man, he collected and published another volume of his father's writings, and wrote and published his biography. But he soon felt impatient with the Quaker idea that God would guide him, speak to him, reveal to him what he should do with his life. Eventually he decided God was "an insufficient metaphor," that he had ideas about what needed to be done, and he would do them. He spent his career in human services, working with college students and inner city youth, developing alternatives to the juvenile justice system, and overseeing Baltimore City's work to support AIDS, tuberculosis and STD patients. In his retirement, my father returned to active participation in a Quaker meeting, but his ideas didn't change. My father died a few years ago after a decade of Parkinson's Disease.
By way of very partial introduction, that is the man who taught me that, whatever value the Quaker testimonies of truth and simplicity had, life was complex and an honest life that looked at reality had to be at peace with uncertainty and ambiguity. So, whether through familiarity with a certain amount of philosophical language or this teaching, I resonated with this dialogue.
Certain kinds of art help us live with nourishment and pleasure in the real world, connect us with it in ways nothing else can, by shifting our attention to formally framed material conditions in ingenious ways. [That is, by shifting our attention to the artist's (provisional, crafted) framing of life.]
[T]he ability to play, that is, engage with the material world outside our minds via the active imagination is our way of participating in the real... This imaginative vitality, this connectedness with the world, is present in anyone who thrives on curiosity, puzzling, conjecture.
f you can no longer pretend that all things are fundamentally simple or elegant, a poetics thickened by an h launches an exploration of art's significance as, not just about, a form of living in the real world.