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Notes Towards Day 27: On Being an Erotic Intellectual (?)

mlord's picture

All gather in Anne's room

I. 11:25-11:45 Reading our readings, using our toolbox, of Susan Sontag's "On Interpretation"
1) Sontag is telling us something we do not already know.
2) Interpreting art strips it of its emotion-generating power (ecohn).
3) "In place of a hermeneutics we need an erotics of art."
4) We have assembled a toolbox in the service of an erotics of art.
5) This is anti-intellectual.

"by interpretation, I mean here a conscious act of the mind which illustrates a certain code, certain "rules" of interpretation...plucking a set of elements...from the whole work. The task of interpretation of translation. The interpreter says, Look, don't you see that X is really--or, really means--A? That Y is really B? That Z is really C?"

hermeneutics (via wikipedia):
* derived from the Greek word ἑρμηνεύω (hermeneuō, 'translate' or 'interpret')

* per Aristotle, On Interpretation (360 B.C.E.): A divine message must be received with implicit uncertainty regarding its truth. This ambiguity is an irrationality; it is a sort of madness that is inflicted upon the receiver of the message. Only one who possesses a rational method of interpretation (i.e., a hermeneutic) could determine the truth or falsity of the message

* Folk etymology = from Hermes, mediator between the gods and humans, inventor of language and speech, an interpreter, a liar, a thief, and a trickster. As Socrates noted, words have the power to reveal or conceal and can deliver messages in an ambiguous way.The Greek view of language as consisting of signs that could lead to truth or to falsehood was the essence of Hermes, who was said to relish the uneasiness of those who received the messages he delivered.

*from the Greek ἔρως, eros—"desire" energy?
What is an "erotics of art"?
Can you be an erotic intellectual?

Getting @ this two ways...

II. 11:45-12:15: Mapping the city

Take two minutes to self-organize into groups of four
(each group must have two students from each section;
two groups of 3?  or of 5...?)

Take 15 minutes to make a map of the city of Philadelphia.
[As inspiration: City Maps that Orient You Better Than Google Can.]
Take 5 minutes to tape it to the wall, and then observe the gallery of maps.
Take 8 minutes to compare them all and discuss.

III. 12:15-12:45
You have been registered for an independent study, "Play in the City II."
Your first assignment is Sontag's essay. What excursion-or-activity will you assign yourself,
to put this theory into action?  Let's go around and hear where/how you will go in the future...

IV. Taking a few minutes at the end to fill the sails of the syllaship, launching you into the future.

I think that what we have accomplished together (all of us) is important. It's important because play is the lifeblood of being an authentic intellectual and it's also profoundly healthy. I can read the toolbox pictures well enough to know that they have a full, rich array of strategies to use when they are stuck or feeling unconnected to reading, writing, or talking in class.

I think it's important that you each have connections to the city--multiple connections. And that there are 25 other people in our class who understand your connection to the city and on whom you can rely to nurture your connection to the city. Bryn Mawr is an amazing place and one of the amazing things about it is that you can really nourish yourself, socially, emotionally, culturally and spiritually through your connections to the city and to each other.

We hope you feel connected to one another, to some of the ideas that we've worked on together, to the notions of play we have explored, and to the city in which we've all played--critically, deeply, and in friendship.

The two of us are happy to be resources to you during your time here--and after. If you're curious about something (related to Bryn Mawr, to intellectual life, to the city or to your well-being), please be in touch with us.