"We think we are pointing to something outside of language that has stability because it is outside. We are really pointing to something created in language." Distinctions are linguistic. Your red hair, or the Santa suit, or the red lacquer on a Vietnamese goddess's draperies. Clear enough. But there remain mental states that put one in conflict with the (physical) world in ways that definitions of red do not approach. If I am drunk & believe that the oncoming bus can do me no harm--or even, more modestly, that I will get across the street before it hammers me into the pavement--I have been injured by a distinction of a different ontological order than questions having to do with the definition of red. And interestingly, states of mind that put the person at odds with reality--trance, hallucination, meditation, prayer, v.v.--have traditionally been respected, even by those who do not experience them. In Jerome Rothenberg's phrase, we appoint technicians of the sacred. Okay, tomorrow you have to come to my class & tell my students that I was doing philosophy last night when I should have been grading their tests. Grading their tests? Talk about trying to dominate reality!


Post a Comment

<< Home