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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: February ::
Re: The Human Condition
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0103. Thursday, 10 February 1994.
 
(1)     From:   James Schaefer <SCHAEFEJ@GUVAX.BITNET>
        Date:   Wednesday, 09 Feb 1994 09:59:10 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0101  Re: The Human Condition
 
(2)     From:   David McFadden <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 9 Feb 1994 12:55:37 -0500
        Subj:   Insomnia
 
(3)     From:   Nina Walker <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 9 Feb 1994 12:58:30 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0101  Re: The Human Condition
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           James Schaefer <SCHAEFEJ@GUVAX.BITNET>
Date:           Wednesday, 09 Feb 1994 09:59:10 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0101  Re: The Human Condition
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0101  Re: The Human Condition
 
Bill:
 
You've been going out on a limb the past few days and taking the fire
on behalf of a lot of your fellow humanists.  I, for one, am grateful,
and will stick my neck out, too.
 
I know that there is a strong case to be made that we are all (each of
us) different from one another and that the specific quality of
those differences is worth study.  But it is easier to see differences
than to see similarities (the old cognitive question:  how do we know
that that straight-backed wooden thing in the library and that overstuffed
ugly green thing in the livingroom are both "chairs"?).  The object
of our study should be (yes, I know that is a prescriptive statement)
how we forge a society out these many differences:  what do we share in
common (heartbeat, death, etc.) and (here is where the study of differences
comes in) what can we learn about life from the responses of others to
those common experiences -- responses that may be completely different
from our own, or that may be similar, but so much better stated than
our own halting efforts.
 
Perhaps it takes a leap of faith to be a humanist these days (or ever);
if so, _credo_.
 
Jim Schaefer

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(202) 687-4478
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David McFadden <
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Date:           Wednesday, 9 Feb 1994 12:55:37 -0500
Subject:        Insomnia
 
Bill Godshalk:
 
Good heavens, sir, I hope your insomnia wasn't induced by the Great Absolute
Debate. I should think the opposite would be the case, for one of the
several Great Absolutes in the human condition is that the Great Absolute
Debate is deadly boring. To allow it to keep you awake at night would be
playing right into the hands of these young whippersnappers who are forever
going around moaning and groaning and weeping and wailing that there are no
absolutes. It's positively evil, it is, the way they are allowed to go
around like that, trying their utmost to upset our complacency, with their
chains, leather jackets, tattoos, shaved heads and their fake airs of
Wagnerian romanticism. Doesn't Martin Amis have a good go at these guys in
one of his recent novels?
 
Well, they're not going to upset my complacency. If I lose sleep it'll be
for a better reason than that, for it's axiomatic that there are absolutes in
the human condition, and beyond that, and anyone who thinks otherwise is an
absolute idiot.
 
David W. McFadden
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nina Walker <
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Date:           Wednesday, 9 Feb 1994 12:58:30 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0101  Re: The Human Condition
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0101  Re: The Human Condition
 
Finally, it seems to me, Mr. Godshalk hits the point, driven to it by
Piers Lewis's pertinent question. Let me add to it by submitting 1)
Without universal experience none of us would be reading Shakespeare; 2)
Without universal experience Shakespeare would not have written (or
perhaps could not have written.) Before you ignore these large
assumptions Mr. Hawkes, please answer me this: Why do YOU read
Shakespeare? What do you expect to gain? Why would you teach
Shakespeare? Using your logic, what good could students possibly gain
from the study? Beyond that, why would anyone bother with anthropology
and, since you appear to be its champion, history?
 
Sincerely,
Nina Walker
 

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