“He is looking for that quality which you must allow me to call ‘modernity’; for I know of no better word to express the idea in mind.” (40 ). The ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art whose other half is the eternal .  Every age of art is known for a certain kind of beauty.  One must study the old masters in order to learn how to paint.  But that painter of todays generation must understand present day beauty.  One must be an observer of life to understand beauty.   “The idea of beauty which man creates for himself imprints itself on his whole attire, crumples or stiffens his dress, rounds off or squares his gestures, and in the long run even ends by subtly penetrating the very features of his face.” (37). These engravings are either beauty or ugliness, antique or new.

In “The Pupil”, i thought I would be reading of an eye.  Not a student and tutor relationship.  In Morgan’s case he lives in a horrific environment that  is tragically provided by his own family. One of James’ characters falls ill to society and an actual disesase.  This short story can be called a classic tragedy.  There’s no doubt that Morgan is disappointed when he sees Pemberton hesitate about taking him away from his worthless family.  In a sense, perhaps this is what killed him.

“The Real Thing” is everything but the real thing.  James plays with the whole meaning of the ‘real thing’ throughout the plot.  In relating the real thing to the senior seminar class as  a whole, many profound questions come to mind.  Sometimes, one can wonder in life what actually is real.  The pupil’s love for his tutor? or rather is that his last option only because of his family? Beauty in present day? or rather replicated beauty from past generations? Henry James not only is confusing, but he really cracks codes that I would rather have left unquestioned.

Where are we now?

March 20, 2011

“There was tendency to replace the activities of the hand by machine.” Oliver Wendall Holmes

As technology evolves, humans devolve.  Muybridge opened a doorway between the old world and ours and to follow him is to follow the choices that got us her.  Technical reproduction can put the copy of the original into situations which would be out of reach for the original itself.  Above all, it enables the original to meet the beholder halfway, be it in the form of  a photograph or a phonograph record.  The cathedral leaves its locale to be received in the studio of a love of art; the choral production, performed in an auditorium or in the open air, resounds in the drawing room..” -Walter Benjamin Much like Benjamin, William James uses the unseen as a way of dealing with technological advances.  His religious belief is a constructive reality

William James wrote in a letter to his friend, ” The problem I have set myself is a hard one: first, to defend ‘experience’ against ‘philosophy’ as being the real back-bone of the world’s religious life.. and second, to make the hearer or reader believe, what i myself invincibly do believe, that, although all the special manifestations of religion may have been absurd ( I mean its creeds and theories), yet the life of it as a whole is mankind’s most important function.”  James was also fulfilling a pledge in which he told his father he would someday deal with the issue of religion.

William James did not look at religion as it appeared in the object, for instance God, but rather as it appeared in the subject.  William James thought of religion in the sense of believing, doubting, praying and experiencing.  William James was above all a humanitarian.

The Fundamental fact: Consciousness of some sort goes on.


1)Every thought tends to be part of a personal consciousness.

2)Within each personal consciousness thoughts are always changing.

3) Each personal consciousness thought is sensibly continuous.

4) Consciousness always appears to deal with objects independent of itself.

5) It is interested in some parts of these objects and chooses from among them.

Rita Carter believes that wherever attention goes, your consciousness follows.  Change blindness demonstrates that we are only aware of a tiny bit of a scene at a time.  Even though it most certainly does not feel this way.  Consciousness as Carter put it, seems to arise at the same time as the events actually take place.  We actually live our lives half a second out of synchrony with the external world.  A huge state of our lives is lived, un-reportable. Our inability to remember anything before our attention was engaged suggests that we were not conscious until that moment.  But perhaps, consciousness is always on, even with our eyes open and when we slip into an unconscious state.  The only sort of consciousness that we can ever be sure of is reported consciousness.  This can only arise in which a system is responsible in recording its own state.

Knowing what goes on in a persons mind from moment to moment is impossible.  “The idea-that mind is the basis of reality- is essentially the same as the religious belief that places God as the source of all.”  Much like William James, Rita Carter takes a religious stance when in comes to the human conscious.  Either mind, consciousness, God, is the root of all things, or matter goes right to the bottom and mind is just some special physical state.

Wikipedia Ideas

March 3, 2011

-“dream of reading”

-the horizon line

-visual intelligence