Sunday, August 30, 2009

Trendy Tweets and Unconscious Volcanoes (and some Hegel)

Two things on my mind this evening.

#1 I just logged onto Twitter and found Wuthering Heights under the trending topics. This piqued my interest, but once I clicked on it I learned two new things I didn't like so much. It's trending first because there's a new movie adaptation, and second (this is terrible) because it is apparently referenced over and over in the Twilight series.

I guess there is no law that prevents horrible self-loathing writer-women from referencing other women's literary masterpieces to boost their pulp novels, but it sure makes things uncomfortable for those of us who take Bronte seriously. I mean, I don't take anything all that seriously... but still. I care. And Emily doesn't deserve that crap.

So I was about to finish a long entry I've been working on about women's writing. I have Wuthering Heights sitting out on the coffee table as I was going to post some Bronte examples of "the good stuff." I don't dare put any Twilight excerpts in it to make it relevant or anything like that. It's useless to compare the two. The whole Twitter incident just makes me not want to look at Heights right now.

#2 So my Heights avoidance takes the form of this brain dump, and the second part of it doesn't really have to do with unconscious volcanoes. That's my segue. You see, I'm practicing for the GRE and you know how they say pick the "best" answer? Sometimes, the best answer really is just the best out of five different bad answers. So it's not necessarily exactly right.

So, the antonym of "dormancy" is "consciousness." I mean, that does make sense. It's not really a bad answer. It's just not what you'd think of. We don't use the word dormant to describe someone who has a consciousness who's gone unconscious. So, I guess the volcanoes that have come out of dormancy have regained consciousness.

The segue was supposed to take me to unconsciousness. Talking about unconsciousness that is. A dream.

I don't normally write about dreams, but sometimes brains are just so clever and impose what seems like a really good order on them, immediately after you wake up. I was disappointed when I found out that's how it works. That dreams don't have a timeline and our minds just shift everything into place within an instant of waking, to make us think things happend in some order and had some cause and effect. That's pretty amazing, but I thought it was more fun when I was really dreaming stories.

Anyhow, I was in Germany working at a high school. I don't know what I did. Maybe I taught English to German kids. There was a big political uprising going on and things were getting bombed. For some silly reason, the writings of Hegel had been found to be against the state philosophy, and me and a bunch of other young people were running in and out of a big library saving all these giant books, putting them on trucks to be carted away to safety. It was the Hegel library. It even had his head on little pillars on either side of the doorway.

That's all I remember from that part of the dream (it got weirder and scarier, but there were no more Hegel references), except that on my last run to the trucks with what I guess were two huge philosophical dictionaries (they had the little thumb-cuts with letters printed on them), I thought (in slow motion) about how much I always make fun of Hegel, I dont like to read him, and I never agree with anything he says. But then I thought of Marx, and did it for him. It's what he would have wanted.

That thought was funny to have in a dream, and of course I know that's how I feel about it in waking life -- in my state of "undormancy." I do make fun of Hegel, and I like to get into arguments with people about him. I like to make exagerrations about him, and to imagine what he would have said about this or that current issue. Usually my Hegel impression ends with something like, "There you go! It's all figured out! No need to think about that ever again!"

But I also think he's an incomparable genius. Even if he has no sense of humor, even if he upholds the status quo, even if he doesn't write in any entertaining fashion whatsoever. I see him in Marx, of course (who is funny and who I love), but there's no denying I see him everywhere. It's axiomatic (GRE word) that all thinkers after Hegel must be influenced by Hegel -- he friggin' systematized the dialectic. And who can work without a dialectic?

So I argue with the die hard Hegel lovers for fun. If I ever encounter a die hard Hegel detractor, that argument will be more serious, and I'll have to temporarily join the ranks of Hegel defenders to protect his good name. If I can carry Hegel dictionaries out of burning buildings while I'm dormant, I think I can stand up for him while I'm conscious.

Some dreamy Hegel fan art

No comments:

Post a Comment

I publish all the comments, the good, the bad and the ugly. Unless I have no idea what you're saying. If you want to email me (with only good I hope), I'm at rbyrd [at] niu [dot] edu.