It’s happened. The 100th post legacy. Having a plan, an aspiration and then thinking ‘I can do this – I can do so many things in one day, it’s crazy.’
But eventually is hits you. Mid mid winter. A bad day at work (today). Cranky kids. Tired. Very tired. Another day tomorrow.
Grand plans. Doing another MOOC – this one on Modernism and Postmodernism. Kant, Rousseau, Marx so far – their discourses, the Communist Manifesto.
Then ‘Read Madame Bovary‘ says the course guide – ‘Deprive yourself no longer,’ urges the beautifully eloquent course leader Michael Roth of Wesleyan Uni.
‘What a whole book?’ brain asks self.
Things they don’t teach you about if you do sciences. (Why not? – isn’t everything, even the thoughts of women, part of some inextricably linked system?)
Now my brain has to make new space for the modern philosophers.
There is no brain space for these guys. They argue across me in another language, in a logic of ideas, non-emperical stuff.
And I take on all their views – I march with the proletariat (or think I do?), I yearn for a return to nature with Rousseau, I agree with Kant’s call for compliant change.
I have no foundation for this new knowledge.
There are no ploughed furrows for the philosophers to click into – no early plantings of the historic landscape – no young sprigs of events and places.
It’s all awash, a mass. The Centuries form in some loose pattern but within them people, revolutions, famines, the ‘great deeds of man’ all just bubble about.
And yet I will not be disheartened. I hear that even great classicists of the western tradition of ideas struggle to intersect with the history of China.
I haven’t even got to post modernism – I have no idea when it will happen, has it happened, who are these people – what did they do – are we post modernists?
(Possum on roof growls low like a creepy stalker – reminding me to go to bed.)
So goodnight learned people – but I bid you speak – for I will gladly listen to those wise ones assembled here.
Just looking for a link to Michael Roth, I came across this beautiful essay about what inspires him – which is a bit of a choker I’m afraid – since my son suffered similarly to Michael’s brother but miraculously survived pretty unscathed.
Prof Roth’s online tutorials are really full of effusive joy for his subject – it’s absolutely great and I’m enjoying it immensely – but the workload is stretching! He gets on to art next week so things might start feeling more familiar.