[NetBehaviour] a literature project
sondheim at panix.com
Fri Mar 27 18:27:34 CET 2020
personally, I hate the word 'genius.' it blocks, it's doxa, it rides
poorly, it eliminates, it effaces, it touches too much on issues of class,
if not race, gender, who does the defining, mensa, iq text biases, etc.
2020 or not. the same for every year. too loaded, perhaps too
unintelligent itself, when we're slowly adapting to the splendid variety
of lie, AI and NI in the cosmos?
On Fri, 27 Mar 2020, Max Herman via NetBehaviour wrote:
> Hi all,
> While processing the current year's events, I've been reminded of an old
> (and not very good) literature project I did long ago.
> This in turn has led to some thoughts about a potential new project. Maybe
> this is one way I process literature and experience, to ask what is going on
> now, then ask what from the past might be relevant, then ask what future
> events might be the same, different, desirable, possible, etc. in an ongoing
> cycle of comparison, review, and revision.
> The hypothetical new project doesn't fit the standard definition of a
> literature project at first glance, but might have subtler relations to some
> aspects of past literature (like say the haiku, koan, riddle, or folk tale).
> I don't know at all if I will "do" the project, or want to, or if it even
> can be done, or if it should be done; or, if it should be done, how, and by
> whom; or if it is even possible for there to be a "done" and a "how" and "by
> whom." But the hypothetical literature project I'm thinking of could be
> named "what is genius 2020?" Its full textual extent could be three
> questions: "What do you think about the concept of genius? What do you think
> about the year 2020? How do you think the concept of genius and the year
> 2020 are related?"
> In my life I've found often that asking too many questions, being too
> questioning, can be a false path that leads me to misjudgments and bad
> consequences. Sometimes being of a simple and non-questioning mind is very
> important for me to retain balance, perspective, and context. Following
> group conventions, the ebb and flow of human sentiment in which we all move
> albeit in different places and ways, can also be beneficial in its own
> right. I certainly don't know the answer to these dilemmas.
> I suppose that being too "answering" can also be a source of terrible
> I wonder now if it would be better to ask just one question rather than
> three: "how do you think the concept of genius and the year 2020 are
> connected?" (This seems more concise, but I find the somewhat magical
> pattern of three more reassuring.)
> Perhaps we are all asking and answering this question in our own way, if not
> in these exact terms, the best we can all the time anyway. What is going on?
> What does it mean? How should I be? Perhaps it is best left as a personal
> and internal question, a mystery in the ancient sense of something to
> contemplate calmly, quietly, and slowly, a question generally unspoken and
> unanswered but no less alive and well for being in that subtle form.
> Very best regards,
> genius (n.)
> late 14c., "tutelary or moral spirit" who guides and governs an individual
> through life, from Latin genius "guardian deity or spirit which watches over
> each person from birth; spirit, incarnation; wit, talent;" also "prophetic
> skill; the male spirit of a gens," originally "generative power" (or "inborn
> nature"), from PIE *gen(e)-yo-, from root *gene- "give birth, beget," with
> derivatives referring to procreation and familial and tribal groups. Sense
> of "characteristic disposition" of a person is from 1580s. Meaning "person
> of natural intelligence or talent" and that of "exalted natural mental
> ability" are first recorded 1640s.
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