Smart fish

“They had been brought up in a tradition that told them in one way or another that the life of the mind and the life of the senses were separate and, indeed, inimical; they had believed, without ever having really thought about it, that one had to be chosen at some expense of the other.” Stoner

This is one of the central contentious issues in the Plato versus Aristotle “struggle” for our civilization’s soul, isn’t it? The genuinely-empiricist impulse is to integrate intelligence and sense, not wall them off. Embodied mind and sense-based knowledge are the only kind we can know.
And I’m still astounded not to have known Stoner until now. John Edward Williams said of his protagonist, “The important thing in the novel to me is Stoner’s sense of a job. Teaching to him is a job-a job in the good and honorable sense of the word. His job gave him a particular kind of identity and made him what he was… It’s the love of the thing that’s essential… The important thing is to keep the tradition going, because the tradition is civilization.”

Love, “a passion neither of the mind nor of the heart, it was a force that comprehended them both…”

Family took me to see Finding Dory last night. A smart fish suffering short-term memory loss had better remember to pay attention to what she sees and hears, and to accept a little help from her friends. Embodied mind and memory, as Aristotle knew, are social. Love it.
6:30/5:33, 74/95, 8:06

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