[Humanist] 26.721 enthusiasm for

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sun Jan 27 12:06:33 CET 2013

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 721.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Sat, 26 Jan 2013 12:34:33 -0800
        From: Jascha Kessler <urim1 at verizon.net>
        Subject: Re:  26.716 enthusiasm for anxiety?
        In-Reply-To: <20130126100723.725C12C5A at digitalhumanities.org>

Willard's is an interesting question ("what are we being enthusiastic
for"), worth reflection because in my own career, teaching poems (WHAT A
Seminar these past 4 years, for Frosh, at UCLA), I have continually to
remark that metaphor is the elusive Loki of language, what fills the Grail,
holy or not, of language itself.  I find that newspaper reports quoting his
or that scientist on a new discovery, say, show them most often expressing
themselves, rather unconsciously, or un-selfconsciously, in metaphor.  Most
colorful, or blatant if you will. in the bad poetry of the Sportswriter.

 But...without developing a cogent, or reponsive argument, I would suggest
that we are, a species haunted from birth by the sense of temporal
transience, hour to hour, if not always moment to moment, enthusiastic in
all these changes for ... salvation.  That word may, if unpacked or
dissected, may contain a basket of metaphors, much as the ancient unit, the
atom, seems now to "contain" scads of sub-particles, and lately ending with
some notion that the foundation particle recently traced, or evidenced in
fact, the Higgs boson seems "exist" for an infinitesimally [almost]
transient bit of "Time" itself.

As for memory, last week report of the experiments started by two Brits
over beers in Hambury has resulted in the actual feat of using the
structure of DNA, or DNAs? to carry the 0's and 1's of computer
"language"...meaning the metaphor of expression with the tongue? and that a
pretty big library can be stored, permanently? in some powdered DNA mailed
from Silicon Valley [metaphor?] to the UK, and opened on a computer.
Google might store by that means the world's very archives in trunk?

 Which, of course, Stanislaw Lem would have been happy to write a fable
about that trunks loss, say on Mars, or a rough landing on a planet in the
next galaxy over. That colonialist fancy for Home sapiens is itself a
metaphor in action for "Salvation.." Is there such a thing ... ?

Jascha Kessler
On Sat, Jan 26, 2013 at 2:07 AM, Humanist Discussion Group <
willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk> wrote:

> My question is, *what are we being enthusiastic for*

Jascha Kessler
Professor of English & Modern Literature, UCLA
Telephone/Facsimile: 310.393.4648

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