Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Ponder Point?

Okay, who said (or almost said) this? 'Only love - for a person or an object - can reveal the true nature of anything.' And is it true? The answer to the first question is not Richard Madeley, but this man, of whose jib I rather like the cut. Though his works seem to be unreadable, his influence was widely felt, not least by the great Dane Kierkegaard. Why have we not heard more of him, especially in these times of counter-enlightenment revival? Anyone out there know more about him or his works? And the answer to the second question?

16 comments:

  1. from personal experience, I have to say, love blinds (but that's got nothing to do with your swiss blinds mentioned earlier).

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  2. From a Judaeo-Christian perspective, we could say that when we look with love at a person (not so sure about objects) we see what God sees in them,or the God in them. Something tells me this is not quite your view of things, Ian...

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  3. Isaiah Berlin was a big fan

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  4. Yes that's how I first came across Hamann, in Berlin's essay on the Counter-Enlightenment. They don't write 'em like that any more...

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  5. Not your normal kind of reading, Nige.

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  6. Before asking the question, surely you've got to decide what love is?
    But maybe that's way, way too difficult ...
    A lot of people look with love at a person, and actually see an object. Others look with love at an object and realise it's a mirror.
    So many possibilities.

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  7. Holiday reading, Bryan - makes a change from all the chicklit.

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  8. Love as an intensity of attention, i think.

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  9. Attention, that's it, yes - Iris Murdoch says something along those lines in The Sovereignty Of Good, I think.

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  10. Anyone out there know more about him or his works?

    No.

    By the way, I posted on the love of objects recently.

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  11. I'd have to say that it is wrong. You can learn a lot about things through hate and fear as well. Memories associated with strong emotional events tend to be more resilient than memories without those emotional attachments. For survival's sake we evolved to know the things we feared better than other things.

    If this is an example of the counter-enlightenment, count me out. Sounds like new age, counter cultural mush to me.

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  12. Susan B., veteran wife,August 02, 2007 1:01 am

    Intensity of attention -- that's exactly it, Bryan. Thus do we know well that which we love and also that which oppresses us.

    Also, sometimes you can begin by being fascinated by a person -- say, someone you are writing a biography of -- and ultimately get sick of them because you learn too much, and too much information undermines idealization. Hence, "Familiarity breeds contempt."

    In marriages that last (she speaks from own limited experience), you get 1)Infatuation 2)Irritation at Annoying Personal Traits (Contempt if those traits are *really* annoying 3)Acceptance of annoying traits as part of the whole package 4) Cherishing of the good traits, minimizing the annoying ones 5) Lasting union 'cause you've invested so much and we also feel more committed to what we've given our all to.

    People who get divorced can't get over the hump of 2) and hence don't make it to 3).

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  13. Only love, perhaps, but not love alone.

    And on love, see this extraordinary book - http://www.landfillpress.co.uk/zurcher.html

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  14. This 'true nature' thing is tricky. Perhaps it could be re-worded as 'the intended nature', that one sees the form that a person could have, was meant to have, but can't physically & psychologically achieve in the 'old chaos of the sun' of our habitation. With most people - even nice people - the 'true nature' seems submerged, sometimes clear, but often obscured by passing currents of fear, weakness, anger, pettiness.

    Perhaps analogous to editing a book, and seeing the intended shape, then reworking it, cutting and rewording, to develop that inner form.

    It may be that only what we call love allows the seer to see the true or intended nature; or that if one (somehow) sees the essential nature, that seeing is what we call love.

    The difficulty is in separating the essential from the incidental, the false.

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  15. I suppose you could say love requires connection with essential qualities and therefore might reveal parts of that 'true nature', maybe even the parts that matter most.

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