It’s the birthday of Iris Murdoch, the most successful philosopher/novelist ever. “She was interested in the way that a writer could use fiction to express bigger ideas.” I wish more philosophers used philosophy to express bigger ideas.
Also the birthday of Jacques Derrida, who said “there is nothing outside the text” and said deconstruction is “the experience of the impossible.” A text, as deconstructive postmodernists deploy the term, can be any form of symbolic (mis)representation or partial communication, any bearer of conventional understandings that sustain social life. So if there’s nothing outside that, then all talk of reality as an experiential check on verbal excess is just talk.
Today is the anniversary of Emerson’s divinity school commencement address in 1838. He knew there’s plenty outside the text, and that both philosophy and literature are about something large, real, and exterior to themselves. WA
“More day to dawn” was Emerson’s friend Thoreau’s way of wrapping up Walden on a note of hope for our capacity to engage the large extra-textual world on a daily basis. Our sun is a morning star, we’re still a young species, there’s still time for us to wake up and live. We are as little children, freshly arrived on this planet, ready for adventure and discovery and new horizons every day.
How about that mission to Pluto!
“More day to dawn” is also, btw, my new name for the podcast formerly known as “Up@dawn”.
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