Factasia Seminal 2006-05
Sea Changes

This month it feels like great changes are under way, and they are still so under way that they are hard to describe. At the beginning of the month I was already trying to intgrate into my philosophy much more serious treatment of the opposite pole to pure logical analysis, emotion, romanticism, the existential predicament and the social structures which can only be fully understood in the context of an understanding of what it is to be.

One problem with this was that I really know almost nothing about romanticism and existentialism. So I have been reading Isaiah Berlin to get a better appreciation of these aspects of the history of ideas, particularly romanticism and its place. I've also tried again to get something out of Gellner's "Reason and Culture", thinking this might be related to the contrast between enlightenment values and romanticism which is prominent in some of Isaiah Berlin's essays.

Anyway I had this structure for the home page which reflected how I thought the synthesis could be presented, and I decided it wouldn't work. I also had in mind a more dynamic sort of philosophising which I associated with a philosophical variant of the literary genre of "stream of consiousness". A complete redesign of the home page was required, and so the dynamic could be exhibited by exposing this transition rather than simply replacing the old with the new.

This idea put the "stream of consciousness" thing centre stage, and I have been trying to clarify my ideas on this and write them up, so the transition itself is on hold while I am writing about "stream of consiousness".


The new deal here is that I use this space (or these spaces, one page between each upload) just to scribble about what I am trying to do.

Things are moving slowly, as usual. Just now because I needed to spend some time getting a clue about what "romanticism" is so that I can take the bits I like and fit them in. I did this mainly by looking at Isaiah Berlin. I'm still not quite finished with him but its definitely time to get moving again, on something more creative than scrappy notes.

My first foray on integrating the romantic side involved addressing it via dichotomies at two levels, logic/emotion was one, at a psychological level and I had a problem choosing one at a more social level. I started under provocation from Gellner's book title "Reason and Culture", thinking this would fit.

Now I see that it doesn't. Gellner's book now seems to me not to be about the reason/romanticism pair but about reason and authorities of certain kinds. I still don't have Gellner's project properly in my head (and probably never will have), but I'm getting some impressions of how it differs from mine.

Anyway, the upshot is I just changed from "reason and culture" to "reason and romanticism" (even though I don't really agree with Gellner's use of the word "culture"), and I have in mind something fairly close to the contrast as drawn by Berlin between the enlightenment values and some elements of romanticism.

But it proved insufficient. Something more radical is needed.

Stream of Consciousness

This is one element of a wider consideration of literary style or genre which is a major part of my present preoccupations. This kind of meta-thinking about writing was last significant at the time I invented the genre of factasy, though in retrospect the element of stream of consciousness in this, and my success in putting the whole think into action seem very limited.

Anyway, since then, my inclination to think about the future has become more exclusively philosophical, and I have become aware of some ways in which this differs from futurism and utopianism. There was an underlying justification for the factasy genre based in my perception of what kind of writing I might possibly hope to succeed in, and I have to reconstruct some kind of plausibly achievable genre for myself now that "factasy" no longer does the trick. This may take some time.

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