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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: May ::
Re: Emotions Not Felt
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1002  Thursday, 22 May 2003

[1]     From:   Claude Casper <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 20 May 2003 12:07:30 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0984 Re: Emotions Not Felt

[2]     From:   Don Bloom <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 21 May 2003 07:59:05 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0984 Re: Emotions Not Felt


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Claude Casper <
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Date:           Tuesday, 20 May 2003 12:07:30 -0400
Subject: 14.0984 Re: Emotions Not Felt
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0984 Re: Emotions Not Felt

>I wonder if emotions not felt are related to Platonic ideas of things
>that exist, but are not yet discovered or noted by man.

If you are unacquainted with Santayana's thought, this is inspired
association, at not far from the mark.  Thought not exactly what S--a
meant or thought, it is related to his treatment of Plato's Ideas, or
the Realm of Essence, one of the four books comprising his masterpiece,
Realms of Being.  For Santayana, who has a chapter in the prefatory
volume to the Realms of Being, "Skepticism & Animal Faith," called
Nothing Given Exists, these essences do NOT exist until, unless, we
perceive them. They are a genre of Symbol.  This is a science of
Symbolic Form, comparable to Cassirer. (There is much literature on
this, but see his Letters for a famous definition.) Cutting to the
chase, the emotions we have been considering are conceived aesthetically
as essences.  Art gives our mixed, undifferentiated, feelings names that
have an unreal existence conceived abstractly. But only when so movingly
portrayed do they carry the force to get our attention.

This morning I was reading Coleridge's Marginalia on Defoe's "Crusoe."
He observes that Crusoe is possessed by an Idea, as opposed to
possessing one, be that as it may.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <
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Date:           Wednesday, 21 May 2003 07:59:05 -0500
Subject: 14.0984 Re: Emotions Not Felt
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0984 Re: Emotions Not Felt

I'm afraid this still puzzles me. I don't see the relevance of what is
being used to justify Santayana to the discussion at hand (whether the
concept "unfelt feeling" has any meaning). Because the degree of an
emotion depicted on stage (say, Hamlet's grief, disgust and rage)
exceeds anything I have ever felt, that means I never felt grief,
disgust and rage? Or because I never felt that precise mixture?

Sorry, but I know very well what it is to feel them and for that reason
I can imagine the extreme version of them that Hamlet feels. If I hadn't
felt them, I couldn't imagine them at all.

I likewise know quite well what it means to be in love (and I mean, IN
LOVE) though I was never tempted to drink poison or stab myself to death
because I was disappointed in my desires therewith.

I am happy to accept the notion that Santayana was writing a kind of
prose poetry at that moment, and was in the process trying to broaden
and deepen our insights into the nature of both acting and feeling --
and that perhaps for those who have read the whole passage he succeeded
wonderfully. But it was cited as though it were a logical proposition,
and I found it self-contradictory.

Cheers,
don

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