IntravenousJava, I'll put forth some possible reasons. I believe some people genuinely enjoy reading abstruse books. I think some people enjoy the challenge. I think it also has a lot to do with ego: some people think they obtain prestige from it. I think others are coerced because of cultural expectations if we're talking about icons like Eliot or Joyce: few have the courage to claim they just don't like or understand them. I think others don't have expectations at all and jump into these books and enjoy or dislike them on a case by case basis: I love Eliot's poetry, even if sometimes I can't understand it, but don't have any patience for Joyce, because I don't think there's any worth in trying to understand him. I'm always disappointed when I don't like a book, but I can't pretend I like, understand or even care enough to understand everything.
I agree with Heteronym that some readers really love a challenge.
The work of writers like Joyce and Pound, or philosophers like Wittgenstein and Habermas, isn't meant to be easy reading. I love Finnegans Wake, but I understand why people think it's too much work.
Define your own understanding of Cartesian clarity then define abstrusiosity.
Are they the two extremes?
If so well then that is clear.
One finds something too easy then seeks the obscure thus forgetting the tiny details in between.
Common sense prevail.
I tend to drop obscure reading and opt for something sensible only because my mind is not up for unconcluded thoughts that might come back to taunt one.
Easy is good, sensible is better, because it opens door to rational thinking and equips the mind cope when confronted with less sensible thoughts later on.
I call it therapeutic management of mind and body through sense and logic. Awarness of sensible versus abstrusive is crucial if one is to be rational long term.
Take not for granted a mind that one knows not a lot about it.
Reading is one way of altering molding shifting and changing a mind for the worse or the better.
Just like a body that one takes to the gym to shiphape one also must aware that mind has its intellectual needs and must be looked after if one is to know right from wrong or swim the channel or not.
Last edited by cacian; 09-25-2012 at 12:32 PM.
tes environs tapis
At least, because it is clear, we can see that much in Descartes is clearly nonsense - for instance, his "development" of the ontological argument. In any case, Cacian, who mentioned Descartes? Why not argue against "clarity" rather than "Cartesian clarity"? Clarity is clarity, while "Cartesian clarity" is (often) nonsense. Take on the tougher task! Argue against "clarity".
I need sense in order to sustain my reality.
God is not real meaning it is not amongst us here on earth.
But then God is mentioned in the bible and the word exist to refer to him.
Why argue against God when one can argue its existence instead.
I much rather argue for something then against it. That is clarity for me.
I could argue against clarity but I need a point of reference.In any case, Cacian, who mentioned Descartes? Why not argue against "clarity" rather than "Cartesian clarity"? Clarity is clarity, while "Cartesian clarity" is (often) nonsense. Take on the tougher task! Argue against "clarity".
What am I arguing it clarity against?
Obscurity? that is stating the obvious.
I will argue anything so long as the impact of such argument involve a human element with it
An argument discussion, theory, principle must cross reference with a human because theories are meant to achieve and by that achievement one advances a human towards the right path.
For example I would argue clarity against coping.
does clarity help in make someoene cope in a situation?
I think this is a good point of reference and would make for a great discussion.
Last edited by cacian; 09-28-2012 at 02:43 AM.
tes environs tapis
I think clarity is essential for coping with a situation. That doesn't mean you should always have clear answers - maybe it's better to be clear that there is no clear answer!
For instance I'm uncertain about there being life after death, but I'm clear that I'm uncertain about this! So I'm happy.
A monk asked the Buddha if we have soul, he remained silent. The monk then asked if we don't have a soul. The Buddha remained silent.
Some questions are perhaps best ignored, if they are not important to your happiness, why bother with them?
I can speak clearly but I cannot be certain that I what had said clearly the total the truth
Example you can ask me the time but by the time I told you it it would is one second quicker to the originalanswer.
Certainty is hard to pin because changes occur spontaneously without our control.
Clarity is the only that I can guarantee as we speak.
Indeed. I think part of life is to have uncertainties so long as they do not bear us down. Life is trying and I think that is part of being alive we cannot have and know everything otherwise there is no point to anything.For instance I'm uncertain about there being life after death, but I'm clear that I'm uncertain about this! So I'm happy.
I see. My only concern is this:A monk asked the Buddha if we have soul, he remained silent. The monk then asked if we don't have a soul. The Buddha remained silent.
Why would a monk ask a budha about soul? The whole point of a monk is salvation and without a soul there is no salvation. I do not get it. There is something in the bible about ''Jesus or God saving our souls....''
To worship a god one must believe there is a soul.
Oh and in some cultures saying nothing signifies YES.
I totally agree.Some questions are perhaps best ignored, if they are not important to your happiness, why bother with them?
If a question has no added value to my well being and happiness I personally would attempt to answer it to my best of my ability out of principle and then move on. One never knows where a question might lead and for the sake of conversation thinking and interaction I shall give it a go.
Last edited by cacian; 09-30-2012 at 03:16 AM.
tes environs tapis
When I read "The Waste Land," or "Being and Time," or (heaven forbid) "Finnegan's Wake," am I more impressed by the author's erudition or my own?
It doesn't seem to me that clarity or simplicity vs complexity or intricacy is an "either/or" dichotomy. Some art seemingly "simple":
an ancient pond
a frog jumps in
the splash of water
-Matsuo Bashō 松尾 芭蕉, 1686
Other works of art are far more complicated:
You should ask yourself if the goal of art is truly to communicate something as simply as possible? If so... what is the purpose of art at all? Surely it is far more direct to simply say something than to attempt to communicate the same thing through a work of architecture, a painting, a novel, a poem, a work of music, etc..
When it comes to the complexity or difficulty of a work of art... doesn't this have as much to do with the audience and the artist? As a teenager unfamiliar with poetry not only would The Wasteland have left me baffled... but quite likely much of Dickinson, Donne, Yeats, and perhaps even Frost. AS a member of the audience... a reader... I must make the decision based upon my own experience and my own reaction to a work of art whether the effort demanded of a work is likely to be worth the effort... whether the degree of pleasure I gain is worth the investment. Undoubtedly, for some, simply being able to conquer the challenge brings a degree of pleasure... like climbing a mountain... or completing the Sunday Time cross-word puzzle. And yes... there are those for whom "bragging rights"... or being able to congratulate themselves on their sophistication and superiority to the rest of the world is a definite pleasure that makes art which others find puzzling... or simply not worth the effort... so enticing. Ideally, one reads or turns to art for something more than a desire to impress others. I gave up reading to impress others after lugging around Dostoevsky back in high-school thinking it would impress the girls. For some reason it simply didn't work out as planned. They were still more interested in the quarterback.
Beware of the man with just one book. -Ovid
The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.- Mark Twain
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