Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Shadows of Totalization, Part XII

“La Gaya Scienza” comes up in Orla’s last post in a way which I want to discuss further, partially because of the way it illustrates how something problematical becomes, through a process of homogenization, unproblematic.

In my last post, I tried to explain we needed a practice of philosophy which was a “la gaya scienza” practice, but at the same time, rigorous and critical. My explanation bothered me a great deal, because I don’t think the “la gaya scienza” concept requires this supplement of rigor and criticism I was giving it—rigor and criticism are already implicit in Nietzsche’s idea. I believe Orla’s misunderstanding of “la gaya scienza” comes about at the moments when he wishes to forget about that.

In “la gaya scienza” there is: 1) the gay, (the joyful, the Dionysian,the involved, the passionate, and the philosopher as “troubadour, singer, knight (and maiden?), and free spirit,” as Orla points out,) but also, 2) the science, (the somber, the sober, the appraising, the detached, the observant, the rigorous, the critical.) Both number one and two need to be assembled,combined, in order for the concept to create the difference, the flow. Certainly if one without the other is used, something still happens, but it’s not the “la gaya scienza” thing, and it is a mistake to think it is. But doing one without the other while believing it encompasses both is a bigger and more serious error, the error of a homogenization, (which is all I can say about this important matter at this point in time.)

I’m glad we’re returning to the “la gaya scienza” problem more explicitly—it is, I think, the true founding and motivating problem of the blog. I emphasize the difficulty of the problem: it started the blog but also nearly destroyed it…We wanted to play with ideas, but discovered we didn’t know how. We might have, upon making this discovery, abandoned the inspiring notion of playfulness by writing book reports, movie reviews, and comments on current events, convincing ourselves this was indeed play and inspiring, or—we could have written a bunch of mixed-up,inebriated crap and tried to keep ourselves from being conscious it was crap, instead seeing it as joyful(another way of self-delusion regarding the absence of joy.) Which I admit, is largely what I have done. My hope is that if I can remember the real problem (the "la gaya scienza" problem) to which this crap can refer as so many failed experiments, the effort and the cost of embarrassment will not be entirely lost.


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