Bob Schwartz

Tag: thinking

Zen and Intellectualism: Sit Down and Dance

By inclination and training, I can do some pretty fancy intellectual dancing. There’s a lot of stuff I can understand and learn to understand, a lot of stuff I can talk about and write about in complex and sometimes coherent ways.

Yet I’ve cultivated a view that doesn’t exactly see all that as real, a view that puts every bit of that in perspective.

I was just reading a summary of the development of literary theory, from ancient times to modern. Structuralism. Formalism. Deconstruction. Poststructuralism. On and on. Like all of the sophisticated intellectual arts, this requires real work to understand what analysts and proponents are up to, and even more to get into the conversation and make a contribution. In the end, the aim of practitioners is not only to fill journals and books with these thoughts, but to affect and improve the way we live. Sometimes, they succeed.

Yet there is a part of me that is certain that no matter how cogent and valuable this is, by its nature it misses the target. I am so certain because I am certain of what the nature of that target is, and it doesn’t look, sound or feel like that.

If you think I am suggesting an end to all that as futile and pointless, I am not. There is no point in dancing, but many people love it, and engage in it spontaneously, as soon as they hear the beat. The only suggestion is to consider gaining the perspective that poststrucuralism is poststructuralism, dancing is dancing, and not those are not those.

My intellect loves to dance. Especially when I’m sitting down.

Interstellar: Not thinking is the best way to travel

Soul Nebula

The new movie Interstellar takes on big questions and concepts. About the nature of everything. It is more like an invitation than a text, more like an appetizer than a feast. How much of that can you pack into a movie anyway?

Whether or not you’ve seen it, or liked it, or tried to understand it, here is something to consider.

What available paths are there to addressing these issues?

Being one of the travelers who journeys to the far reaches of time, space, and the other numberless dimensions.

Being a scientist who theorizes about that.

Being a director who makes a movie about that.

Being a viewer who watches a movie about that.

Being someone who thinks about that.

Being someone who stops thinking about that and journeys to those far reaches.

The list isn’t comprehensive, none of these is exclusive of the others, none of these may be best. But if you did see Interstellar, or have seen the dozens of movies that address this, or read any of the thousands of texts that address this, or are just curious, do investigate that last possibility. You may discover that the place beyond thinking looks like all the wonders of Interstellar. With fewer movie stars and special effects. But much more real.