21.178 two threats & sociability

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2007 09:32:20 +0100

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 21, No. 178.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2007 06:52:49 +0100
         From: lachance_at_chass.utoronto.ca
         Subject: 21.133 two threats

Dear Willard,

In the recent thread conducted under the rubric of "two threats" Mark
Wolff pointed towards Heidegger's thoughts about technology as an
enframing. The allusion to the philosopher sparked for me the recollection
of this passage from Australian writer, Gay Bilson, who in introducing a
section of <I>Plenty: Digressions on Food</I> quotes Octavio Paz.

Octavio Paz, in an essay in his collection Convergences, wrote about
'seeing and using'. He suggested that craftsmanship 'in its perpetual
movement back and forth between beauty and utility, pleasure and service
... teaches us lessons in sociability'. He wrote of the 'rationality' of
industrial design, the impersonal uniformity. The handmade bowl is, by his
definition, already sociable. So too is food prepared with discrimination
and offered at the domestic table.

Note that the origin of the object does not determine its being imbued
with the sociable. Use does. Industry is quite capable of producing the

I quote the passage here not so much as a reminder of the importance of
the social to any disciplinary enterprise than as a worthy recollection of
the place of pleasure in intellectual work.
Received on Wed Jul 25 2007 - 04:47:24 EDT

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