I realize this is addressed to Lisa’s comments about Gebser AND as you are referring also to others in the group, I can certainly excuse the fragmentary nature of your thoughts, while on the road, as I am trying to make sense of your writing within a group practice, that refers to many sources, including McLuhan and Gebser, who may not have known each other. There is a history unfolding through our writing and our speech acts. It is this interplay that I find most amusing and sometimes so difficult to catch a rhythm from.
And who are we writing to? And where are we speaking from? And what’s it all about, Alfie?
There are solos, duets, trios and choral passages, fugue states emerge, as multiple voices are often together heard, ordered and chaotic, at the same time.
Now, I know little about Aristotle’s physics but I do know something about his poetics…and his fascination with metaphor, which he misconstrued as a special kind of speech that is reserved for genius poets.
" Mama," the little boy said, when he noticed that his foot fell asleep," my foot is bubbling soda pop!"
Now, that is a metaphor, and a novel one, too, and it came from the mouth of a child. I just want to point this out as Aristotle tends to restrict metaphor to poetry, rather than as the normal way most people organize their thoughts, even at a very early age. Lakoff and Johnson, and other cognitive linguists, point to this common feature of daily communication, as pervasive in all fields.
So, how can we read Aristotle ( or Gebser’s reading of Aristotle) without projecting onto him limitations which were only revealed through studying him in translation over many centuries?
Aristotle’s work was written down by his students by the way, so they were putting on paper what he was saying in a public forum. He was speaking to certain groups of highly trained practitioners who shared a tacit knowledge. He used the language that they probably would understand. HIs version of physics looks very naïve to a nuclear physicist living today. But, my gut feeling is, that Aristotle’s formulations about different kinds of causes is still resonant in our turbulent times. We continue to be troubled by final causes in our culture. Our science is very hostile to that idea.
I think you are pointing to the problem of the subject. Correct me if I got it wrong.
Foucault, in The Order of Things, wrote," Discourse in general, and scientific discourse in particular, is so complex that we should approach it at different levels and with different methods." (1970) He was writing at the beginning of a new age, dubbed the Post Modern, but did he know that? Or are we just projecting that onto him? I can remember the 80s and we weren’t calling ourselves Post Modern, that came later in the 90s. There is a lag between the academe and the street ( I hung out on the street)
Foucault goes on to invite the reader to read his work as if it is an archeological site that is open. That is a metaphor that is widely used and has some merit as we are still learning about the Neolithic, reconstructing through artifacts and new methods of dating materials, a mind as complex as the so called Modern. The aboriginal peoples of Australia lived in harmony with a very harsh climate for 40,000 years. We Moderns should be so lucky. And could there be an Alter-Modernity emerging? I think there is evidence for this.
So, let us continue to cultivate these comparativist capacities in our Internet Age, as best we can. And we can write, read, and give oral reports on YouTube, and quote from lots of sources, in ways that Aristotle could never have remotely considered. Gebser registered in his comparative study, even before the internet, what could happen. I read EPO as a very coherent book about what could easily become an incoherent blob that we would want to run from. Gebser intuited this but did not live to see it. I work with his vocabulary and social taxonomizing ‘as if’. Are we there, yet? How would we know? What would be the first sign? And after the collapse of this civilization, which is moving at a dizzying pace, how could future groups of persons make sense of us?