More Barfield, This Time on Logos


This Owen Barfield quotation might strike some of you as interesting. I’m posting it just as food for thought:

“The extraordinarily intimate connection between language and thought (the Greek word λóγος combined, as we should say, both meanings) might lead one to expect that the philosophers at least would have turned their attention to the subject long ago. And so, indeed, they did, but with a curiously disproportionate amount of interest. The cause of this deficiency is, I think, to be found in the fact that Western philosophy, from Aristotle onwards, is itself a kind of offspring of Logic. To anyone attempting to construct a metaphysic in strict accordance with the canons and categories of formal Logic, the fact that the meanings of words change, not only from age to age, but from context to context, is certainly interesting; but it is interesting solely because it is a nuisance.”

— from Poetic Diction: A Study in Meaning, which at least one book publisher described as “The seminal work text that inspired Tolkien and C.S. Lewis”

Poetic Diction

 

Owen Barfield on Disputing the Meaning of a Word


In his essay “The Development of Meaning,” Owen Barfield wrote, “When we are disputing about the proper meaning to be attached to a particular word in a sentence, etymology is of little use. Only children run to the dictionary to settle an argument.” (Found in “Notes on Frey” by Daniel Nester.)

Barfield’s quotation reminds me a little of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s guidance on language, which he summarized with, “don’t think, but look!”

Bermuda Postcard, July 23-24


This blog has taken a lot of vacation this summer, so it’s only right for it to send a postcard. Here’s my virtual postcard from a 24-hour stay in Bermuda, afternoon to afternoon, on a Royal Caribbean cruise, July 23-24. 

Part of the Royal Navy Dockyard.

A public park, revealed by a local and fellow home-schooling parent, where we snorkeled. 

The Frog and Onion Pub, where I sampled two beers from Dockyard Brewing, the only microbrewery in Bermuda.

Leaving Bermuda, in the relatively shallow waters around the island, before the drop-off into the deep Atlantic. 

Anne Lamott: ‘Jesus Didn’t Ask The Blind Man What He Was Going To Look At’


From an Anne Lamott Facebook post in which she exhorts us to practice “…love force. Mercy force. Un-negotiated compassion force…” in response to recent horrific events:

“Jesus didn’t ask the blind man what he was going to look at after He restored the man’s sight. He just gave hope and sight; He just healed.”

I think she’s right, and I appreciate her drawing attention to a wonderful point.

I’m really bad, I know, but I wonder if that’s the same mentality behind free Wi-Fi at Baptist retreat centers.

“We’re just going to give you free Wi-Fi and not ask what you’re going to look at.”

Surprise—it’s not the same mentality. I once tried to finish a freelance column on beer at a Baptist retreat center, and a few years later at the same place I was trying to do some freelance editing work on articles about marijuana policies in the U.S. I am here to report some web browsing was blocked. And that’s within the rights of the center’s administrators.

Like I said, I’m bad, but on a better note, you can read the entirety of Lamott’s Facebook post—which reads like a short newspaper column, a cool use of Facebook for some authors—here:
https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FAnneLamott%2Fposts%2F894203970709247&width=500

Philosopher David McNaughton on C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien


One of my buds at the university has this excellent website called What Is It Like To Be A Philosopher? It’s devoted to interviews with contemporary philosophers, and the conversational blend of biography and perspective is always fascinating, at least to people like me. I’ve previously posted an excerpt from the interview with Michael Ruse.

In the latest interview, David McNaughton, who like Ruse is a philosopher at Florida State, talks about his love of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Both of these Inklings, especially Lewis, make appearances throughout the interview. (McNaughton doesn’t name Tolkien, but he names The Lord of the Rings as a favorite three times.)

Happy Summertime!

Chat

My Shirt Imitates Art


image

At the Museum Of Modern Art today.

Mondrian and My Shirt.

Auden Explains Poetry, Propaganda, And Reporting


“Poetry is speech at its most personal, the most intimate of dialogues. A poem does not come to life until a reader makes his response to the words written by the poet.

“Propaganda is a monologue which seeks not a response but an echo. To recognize this is not to condemn all propaganda as such. Propaganda is a necessity of all human social life. But to fail to recognize the difference between poetry and propaganda does untold mischief to both: poetry loses its value and propaganda its effectiveness.

“Whatever real social evil exists, poetry, or any of the arts for that matter, is useless as a weapon. Aside from direct political action, the only weapon is factual reportage—photographs, statistics, eyewitness reports.”

—W.H. Auden, in “A Short Defense of Poetry,” an address given at the International PEN Conference in Budapest, October 1967