Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wikipedia had a quote by Rousseau that I think relates to what we are studying:

"The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said "This is mine," and found people naïve enough to believe him... Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody."

This reminded me of the concept a lot of the people we have studied believe - the notion that to say it is to not say it. This relates to anything, particularly I was thinking about religious texts - by writing it down we instantly discredit it and have made it into nothing. Whenever anyone writes about God or tries to tell what God is, we must mistrust them by virtue of the fact that they have defined God. What they have done is define what God is to them, not necessarily what or who God actually is.
By defining God we have nullified God. I am speaking about all the various religions who profess to know God and claim they have/know the only true God(s). Let me, however sacrilegious it may be, rewrite Rousseau's quote to read - Beware of listening to this impostor [i.e. any religious text claiming to know the only true God(s)]; you are undone if you once forget that God belongs to us all, and God itself is nobody. Meaning that "God" varies from person to person and is so undefinable/illusive that claiming to know God instantly destroys God by putting a fence around God. Oddly enough it reminds me of a song from The Sound of Music, "how do you catch a cloud and pin it down?"
I would also like to bring up the fence that Rousseau mentioned: language is the fence we use to try and contain God, who cannot even be contained. This links back to a class Scott taught this summer about barbed wire; now everywhere I go, all I see are fences and I just realized language is yet another fence. We try to contain what we think and feel inside the realm of language and often times this leaves us speechless and unable to purely define what we feel and think. I don't know - I think I am just contradicting myself now. What do you guys think about language as a fence and God being destroyed by that fence?


Scott Abbott said...

de-finere, in its root meaning, means to set boundaries up around, to fence in, to define. so the analogy is a good one, i think.

and the image you have created does something that other thinkers at the end of the twentieth century have done (think Derrida, Adorno, etc.) -- said something positive and at the same time put it under erasure, a double motion.

finally, i can sense a book in the making: philosophy in the popular song!

J.Garcia said...

I like this post. Many people who believe in God forget that God is in nothing and everything.