Monday, 18 February 2013

All in One

The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something, and tell what it saw in a plain way.  Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, but thousands can think for one who can see.  To see clearly is poetry, prophecy, and religion -- all in one.

John Ruskin, Modern Painters (1856)

Well, maybe.  I like the sound of that, though I expect David Beckham has something similar to say about kicking a football.  It sort of makes a camera sound like a short-cut to enlightenment -- nothing "sees" more clearly than a camera -- but recording and seeing are not the same thing.  And cameras (if they have souls, which I'm pretty sure they do) have camera souls, not human ones.

There is an interdisciplinary degree known as "PPE" (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) which is offered at Oxford and some other universities.  What a shame you can't also study PPR, i.e. Ruskin's "all in one", Poetry, Prophecy and Religion.  Now that would be worth three years of anybody's time.

You can imagine the exam:  Three hours.  Use the right side of your brain only.










12 comments:

Dave Leeke said...

I spent a good few hours studying PPR yesterday wandering across the Suffolk salt marshes.

As for the different sides of the brain - try:

http://www.thersa.org/events/rsaanimate/animate/rsa-animate-the-divided-brain

Mike C. said...

Dave,

Already tried -- I love those RSA animations!

"We have created a society that honours the servant, but forgotten the gift" indeed...

Mike

Kent Wiley said...

Love the first pic, w/ the table & chair. Makes me think there is the inevitable series of landscapes w/ a set of miniature furniture in it. They're sitting behind me unused now for years...

Zouk Delors said...

I see.... luminous red safety netting.

Is there a lot of it about round your way, or are you just attracted to danger?

Mike C. said...

Kent,

Yes, why anyone would leave them there is intriguing, and what *is* in the box on the table?

Zouk,

Yes, loads of it -- allotment users build whole structures out of it, and also seem to think it performs some apotropaic function (works for birds, less so for vandals).

Mike

Kent Wiley said...

"and what *is* in the box on the table?"

You didn't check?

Mike C. said...

Kent,

Well, no, the magic of lenses has erased an impressive iron railing and a ten foot drop. Not obstacles to the determined, true, but I tend to feel my age at 8:00 am!

Let the mystery persist...

Mike

Zouk Delors said...

Apotropaic? Nice! Eat your heart out, Will Self!

Mike C. said...

Zouk,

Thought you'd like that...

I learned the word when I discovered that the "Hand of Fatima" on a little clay tablet a friend brought back for me from Iran had a "primarily apotropaic function"...

Mike

Zouk Delors said...

Ah yes, the Hand of Fatima: palm out, fingers spread, with an eye in the centre. This was/is also a ubiquitous symbol in Egypt (and probably throughout the Muslim world). It (along with various other representations of an eye) wards off the Evil Eye which curses anything regarded with envy.

Accordingly, one can never show the palm of one's hand (or, indeed, the sole of one's foot) to a Muslim without risking offence. We, of course, do this when politely refusing an offer; the Muslim's equivalent is to pat the centre of one's chest with the palm.

Similarly, it is impolite to admire a Muslim's possessions or, especially, wife or children, something considered politely flattering by Westerners. One should instead say, "Mashallah" (It is God's will).

Pradip Malde said...

Now this is tempting me to design a photography class called Poetry, Prophecy, Religion. It would not be too far off from what is already on the roster this semester.

Mike C. said...

Pradip Malde,

Indeed! Evans, Strand and Kunitz -- but which is which?

May I respecrfully direct your attention to my Blurb book "Curriculum", which may be viewed here:

http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/2463160

Mike