Sunday, November 28, 2010
What I’ve finished is an attempt to emplace my sense of feeling with aspects of self development, relative to adults as well as children. But it’s not a systematic coverage of anything. It expresses what interests me, as I move further into an approach to developmental learning that appeals to me. It’s also a critique of a leading (?) sense of “positive emotion” in psychology. It’s numerous discussions. It’s fulfilling. It’s long. It’s done.
-- gary e. davis --- 9:12 PM
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Good understanding of “True” feeling is relative to one’s engaged life. Enowned emotion serves valued attentions. Feeling might be usefully understood as the embodied valuing in care.
The linked discussion has been very difficult for me to do satisfactorily. It’s clear to me now, though probably not to others. But that’s OK. Elaboration of what feels clear is relatively easy (and employment of what I’ve done, for upcoming work, will feel apt). Unlike an earlier version of the discussion, the now-finished page has section headers which are evocative, if not helpful.
I’m a happy traveler now, set to move on to an evidence-based sense of developmental learning, anticipating (way up the road) a high mindfulness of especially-fulfilling lives.
-- gary e. davis --- 7:15 PM
Friday, November 19, 2010
This week in The NY Times Book Review, Saul Bellow’s friend Leon Wieseltier (literary editor of The New Republic) reviews the recent publication of a selection of Saul’s letters. Here’s my selection of things from the review:
…and here I must disclose, or confess, or boast, that the volume includes also some gorgeous letters to me, written in the fullness of our friendship decades ago, when we used to worry over metaphysics and the novel as we chopped wood….the poetry of his prose, its force of consciousness, lay always in its fidelity to….the revelatory details. Bellow was a giant of description, and he knew it. About the editors of a certain magazine he wickedly remarked, in 1991, that “I could make those people very unhappy by describing them.”….“a work of art should rest on perception.” ….“a novel, like a letter, should be loose, cover much ground, run swiftly, take risk of mortality and decay…." Bellow’s cause was actuality, the whole mess of it. His ideal was wakefulness. …The justly celebrated vastness of Bellow’s metaphorical field was owed to this fight for veridical observation, this longing for true knowledge. … and so the range of a writer’s metaphor is a measure of the range of his cognition….“The 19th century drove writers into attics,” he tells Alice Adams. “The 20th shuts them in nutshells. The only remedy is to declare yourself king, or queen, of infinite space.”….he has found spirituality in the enterprise of fiction. …Of all modern writers, Bellow somehow managed to combine intellectuality and vitality without compromising either of the indispensable terms. The life-force never deserted him, even as it was always attended by interpretation. The unruliness of existence was Bellow’s lasting theme; but while he studied it, he never quite ordered it. In his fiction and in his life, he seemed to believe in the fecundity of disorder…..“Bitter melancholy” is “one of my specialties,” he tells Edward Shils in 1962. About “the power to despair,” he writes to a friend in 1961 that “having myself felt it, known it, bathed in it, my native and temperamental impulse is to return to sanity in the form of laughter.” …There is an almost erotic charge to Bellow’s endless affirmations….“The real thing is unfathomable,” he declares in 1974. “You can’t get it down to distinct or clear opinion. Sensing this, I have always had intelligence enough (or the intuition) to put humor between myself and final claims.” ….But the laughter in Bellow is mainly philosophical laughter. He had Camus’s lucidity, but not his solemnity. …There was nothing hip or cynical or self-satisfied about Bellow’s hilarity. It was a boisterous stoicism, a technique of perseverance….. stubbornly animated by ultimate questions, motivated by mind, an intervention in society as well as in literature. …“Ideology is of no use to us in refurnishing the empty house,” he observes to Leslie Fiedler. What is of use, by contrast, is humanism. Humanism is “the most subversive of all — and I am a humanist.” The absence of irony from that avowal is like a cool breeze. ….Bellow was forever chasing the answer, but his disappointments in belief never dissuaded him from the chase. “The best of me has formed in the jumps.” Finally he was — may this, too, be said without irony? — a seeker after truth….nothing ever robs him of the free and unfettered use of his powers. “A language is a spiritual mansion from which no one can evict us,” and in that palace Bellow was sovereign. “The only sure cure is to write a book,” he advises Alice Adams. …he is a large man growing larger, a spirit expanding, an unabating lightstorm, and “the name of the game is Give All.” He never loses his constancy of purpose. In the penultimate letter in this volume, in the winter of 2002, he sums himself up for a distant relative in a casual Abschied: “Actually, I’ve never stopped looking for the real thing; and often I find the real thing. To fall into despair is just a high-class way of turning into a dope. I choose to laugh, and laugh at myself no less than at others.”Yes, the entire review offers much more.
-- gary e. davis --- 8:08 PM
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Wanting to understand “the” mind—my own apparently-intrinsic philosophicality (?), literary mindedness—is integral to me. I’m intrinsically curious, which takes me to The Edge, too readily perhaps. I play with transgression because that creatively leads to discoveries (often enough). But I’m a rigorously ethical person, so I know I’m harmless. And I’m not afraid of falling.
All in all, I trust my intuition. Writing myself through psychological fascinations (via “life world,” etc.) ultimately into some horizonal mystery—be it eventually “literary” or not—expresses a true love, worth avowing. Meanwhile, my near-term excursion into a conceptuality of authentic happiness isn’t a compensatory symptomology. It’ll lead (I hope) into creatively good work.
-- gary e. davis --- 4:46 PM
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The essay on feeling that I did Sunday is being rewritten. Though I got clear to myself about what I was doing (writing as exploration), I wasn’t oriented enough to cogent readibility. What I turned out was another conceptual proem, and I decided not to keep that online (though I still archive everything I do).
Damasio’s new book is a godsend, for the sake of self confidence, but quite awhile may pass before I focus on what he’s doing with the concept of self. He really corroborates my ambition (as practicable ambition) in the so-called Perpetual Project which has been all along (over past years) about evolving mind, especially in terms of senses of self and relations of this to cultural life. It’s a relief to see a leading researcher on the brain (also being director of a Center on Brain and Creativity), writing a book about the evolution and development of self. It makes me very happy.
-- gary e. davis --- 4:51 PM
Monday, November 15, 2010
In my next life, maybe I’ll become a molecular animator.
I guess I’d need a good background in molecular biology to understand the dynamics. But look at this: “BioVisions.”
At the main page, click “The Inner Life Series.” button on the left
Millions of cells make up emergent tissue, of course, and cellularly-huge volumes of tissue make up an emergent organ in a manifold organization of an emergent being who can inhabit so many days to be able to sit here and realize millions of cells….
-- gary e. davis --- 5:21 PM
Monday, November 08, 2010
I want to write about “emotion” relative to recent work in “positive psychology,” but I have an aversion to necessarily-constrained empiricist mindsets. I’ve indirectly expressed that aversion today through more trOpical license, and I feel better now.
So, onward to entwining myself with very constrained frames of mind.
-- gary e. davis --- 6:14 PM
Sunday, November 07, 2010
We put obviously-gifted kids in special programs, though (but so that) a very few will actualize their potential is some lasting way. Likewise, we must proffer and facilitate curiosity, imaginative feeling, and creativity everywhere in order for as much talent as possible to be eventually actualized in some lasting way.
Education is, at best, an extended wager of hope, good faith, and generous “reading” of the early days of others’ journeys. We simply must believe in the implicit presence of creative potential around us.
There is no better faith than this.
-- gary e. davis --- 10:56 PM