The Art of Tetman Callis Lit & Crit Is that the rock or the hard place?

Is that the rock or the hard place?

“Being human means to strive to realize a world so perfect that its realization would undo us.” – Susan Neiman, Evil in Modern Thought

10 thoughts on “Is that the rock or the hard place?”

  1. In my philosophy I follow, the “us” that would be undone is not the actual self. What would be undone are like the stays on a corset; we can’t breathe while bound by them, we can’t really feel ourselves and then one day, after struggling our way out of them, they just fall away, and we’re free.

  2. Is true identity fixed? None of us stays the same through time. What of the schizophrenic? Where is the true identity of someone whose being has been fragmented? Who is a person in a fugue state?

  3. One of the most absorbing aspects of writing and painting any subject. And humbling. Describe, describe, you will never define anyone, including the writer self. Still you do.

  4. This was something that troubled me when I was a young writer. I would try to write about someone and never get onto the page a representation that seemed accurate. This should not have been a problem, since I was writing fiction. Still, it took me some time to realize that a character in a story was never going to be a transparent view of a real person; it was going to be a character in a story, and insofar as it seemed a realistic portrayal, it was going to have to be a realistic portrayal within the confines of the story, no matter its external referents.

    It was similar with photography. When I was a young photographer, I shared in the naive belief in a photograph as a transparent window on an external objective world. It took me some time to learn that before a photograph is anything else, it is a pattern of lines and forms and colors (or shades) on a flat surface.

  5. CJ: Self ≠ the breath. As we say, even a bellows inhales and exhales.

    Tetman: by the same philosophy (probably more properly called a theology, since the self is part of God), the self that changes is not the real self, but the false ego, based on identification with the material body and mind. Which is not to say the self is static, but more dynamic than the matter-bound self. Writing can help reveal and shed layers of falseness (conditioning) on top of the original false self-concept, but will only take you so far.

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