The Space of Love and Garbage
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This chapter borrows its name from Ivan Klima’s provocative novel Love and Garbage. I wish to excavate and explore some aspects of Klima’s thought, and will be guided in this somewhat controversial undertaking by reflections on the problematic, if not largely dismissed and abandoned notion of “the spiritual present.” That there is a spiritual framework constitutive of our (and any) historical period — one that is not simply a function of the disparate actions and beliefs of countless disconnected individuals — has been an unfashionable claim in the twentieth century.88 We have already taken stock of the more secular alternatives this century has offered in its place. For the thresholder, however, the claim of a spiritual framework not only makes sense but is altogether indispensable. It witnesses to a recurrent experience and brings that increasingly uncertain “no longer, but not yet” in which contemporary life is being led, more intensely into focus.
KeywordsTwentieth Century Human Life Social Engineering Human Interest Human Affair
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- 87.Ivan Klima, Love and Garbage,trans. Ewald Osers (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1990), p. 56.Google Scholar
- 88.Heidegger in the German speaking world and T.S. Eliot in the English speaking world are the two great exceptions. Their work, however, was largely completed by the middle of the century.Google Scholar
- 89.Keep in mind that to dis-close is to open, but involves something which has previously been closed off. Dis-closure, thus, is quite different from invention. At the same time, what has been closed off may “only” be a pathway. What makes its appearance as we travel this pathway, however, may never before have been ‘sighted.’Google Scholar
- 90.Sir Isaiah Berlin and Irving Kristol are among those who incline toward such a response, but both remain ambivalent, retaining “wait and see” attitudes which are characteristic of the empirically minded.Google Scholar
- 91.Technical issues in the philosophy of mind have preoccupied much of the twentieth century. However consuming for many, we will largely sidestep them. Unless we attempt to disown these issues we are likely to be owned by them. Some believe that such issues have tyrannized philosophy since Descartes.Google Scholar
- 93.Interestingly, the Christian apostle Paul has something much like this in mind in Philippians when he says that “for his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ…”. See Wayne Meeks (ed.), The Writings of St. Paul ( New York: Norton, 1972 ), p. 99.Google Scholar
- 94.It is no expository coincidence, of course, that brief, capitalized to Brief in German, means letter, nor that one speaks of the letter of the law. Obedience to this letter is still another way of speaking about proper correspondence as strict conformity.Google Scholar
- 96.It is hard to know Hawking’s full and final position on these matters, but he is clearly not alone in his musings. See in this connection, How Brains Think. Evolving Intelligence, Then and Now by William H. Calvin (New York: Basic Books, 1996).Google Scholar
- 97.Jacques Derrida, “Eating Well, or the Calculation of the Subject,” trans. Peter Connor and Avital Ronell in Who Comes After the Subject,ed. Eduardo Cadava, Peter Connor, Jean-Luc Nancy (New York: Routledge, Chapman and Hall, 1991), pp. 107–108.Google Scholar
- 99.Richard Rorty may be pragmatism’s most famous living representative and John Dewey its most enduring parent. In this regard Rorty’s Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979) may be a milestone in the resurrection of overt pragmatism after nearly a half century of eclipse.Google Scholar