16 feb. 2006

For me, a critical problem has to involve a paradox of some kind. The thesis has to be counter-intuitive to some degree in order to be worth arguing. Otherwise I fear it will fall flat.

3 comentarios:

Nick Piombino dijo...

I was thinking about the fact that even if two aphorisms appear contradictory it does not necessarily make either one less interesting or seem less true or appealing to me. I realized I wasn't so much looking for a correct formulation or even the truth in these pity statements, but something else.

"For those who have tasted the profound activity of writing, reading is no more than a secondary pleasure."
(Stendhal: 1822)

'Read in order to live." (Flaubert: 1857)

Checking the definitions of paradox:
1. a statement contrary to common belief [rare]
2. a statement that seems contradictory, unbelievable
or absurd but that may actually be true in fact.
3. a statement that is self-contradictory in fact, and hence, false.

On tv, newspapers, even in literary blogging, what invariably captures the widest attention is debate and controversy, while the goal of authority (and authoritarianism) is to quell debate. Evntually the two "sides" become polarized and intransigent; and nobody, it appears, is listening to anybody else. Eventually, shrill arguments bore me and remind me of my parents; I am more interested in words that makes me *want* to think, and not want to look for entertainment or even "great" writing.

Bob dijo...

I am not sure you are using the word "counter-intuitive" properly. You seem to have it mean "not obvious" or "not apparent." But it is intuition that sees what is not obvious or not apparent. That's why women, commonly said to have intuition, commonly believe men are blind.

Jonathan dijo...

No. I meant it as "opposed to what one would commonly suppose or guess to be the case, strange to the touch." That should have been clear by my juxtaposition of the concept of 'paradoxical," that which is contrary to the doxa or seems to be inherently contradictory but conceals some higher truth. I guess the counter intuitive could be intuitive in a deeper sense.