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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: June ::
Re: Santayana Quoted Correctly
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1127  Monday, 9 June 2003

[1]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
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        Date:   Friday, 6 Jun 2003 12:24:47 -0400
        Subj:   SHK 14.1108 Re: Santayana Quoted Correctly

[2]     From:   Carol Barton <
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        Date:   Saturday, 7 Jun 2003 16:49:49 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1108 Re: Santayana Quoted Correctly


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
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Date:           Friday, 6 Jun 2003 12:24:47 -0400
Subject: Re: Santayana Quoted Correctly
Comment:        SHK 14.1108 Re: Santayana Quoted Correctly

Bob Rosen assures us that

'At the core of any powerful presentation of emotion must be the
writer's personal experience.'

Dangerous, romantic nonsense. Writers make things up. It's called 'art'.

Terence Hawkes

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Carol Barton <
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Date:           Saturday, 7 Jun 2003 16:49:49 -0400
Subject: 14.1108 Re: Santayana Quoted Correctly
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1108 Re: Santayana Quoted Correctly

I disagree. While I don't think genuine empathy can be reconstructed out
of whole cloth, I do think that people who are naturally empathetic can
"feel for" others when they are experiencing an emotion they have never
actually felt. Must one be divorced to imagine how a friend who has just
been severed forever from the once-beloved spouse who was cruelly
unfaithful is feeling---how the emotions run the gamut from bereavement
to wrath to self-accusation to indignation to hurt to nostalgia and back
again? Must one actually hit himself in the finger with a hammer and
crack the nail to understand what a carpenter is feeling, having done
so? I think empaths are better able than most people to "feel with"
others, to see the pain in the eyes and hear the strain in the voice and
see the tension in the facial muscles and the shoulders, to "walk a mile
in another's shoes." To people who are unable to do that, such a
phenomenon is of course pure counterfeit.  But what is it that makes
good actors good actors, artisans rather than craftsmen, if not the
ability I've described? (What makes bad actors bad is often the
inability to convince us that they're who they say they are, to *become*
for a time Moses, rather than Charleton Heston -- or in his case, the
Player King rather than Charleton Heston, in the best performance I've
ever seen him give. Bad actors can't assimilate someone else's persona
and make us forget that their own exists; what allows the good ones to
do it, if not the ability to empathize with that person's psyche and
motivations, even when it's Hannibal Lecter rather than Jesus Christ?)

Otherwise, one must shudder to ask how Anthony Hopkins prepared for his
role as the former?

All best,
Carol Barton

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