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Humanist Archives: March 8, 2019, 7:13 a.m. Humanist 32.527 - uses of 'the same sea'?

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 527.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
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        Date: 2019-03-08 07:04:13+00:00
        From: Willard McCarty 
        Subject: "the same sea"

Somewhat more than a year ago I asked this same question but am still
pursuing it. Much has changed since then; Humanist has accumulated many
new members, so perhaps the repetition will not be in vain.

I am looking not so much for the source or sources of the phrase "the
same sea" used as a metaphor, though any of these would be most welcome.
More of interest are discussions of the phrase in the context of
analogical thought or in those in which the universality of human
understanding in general or scientific ways of thinking in particular is
either asserted or taken for granted.

I asked this question before reading Amos Oz's astonishing, beautiful
(and unclassifiable) book, The Same Sea, but referred to it at the time.

In response to my previous posting, Marinella Testori replied as follows:

> In the paragraph 'Mots en Liberte' aeriens: flights and writings' in
> 'Poetics of Dance: Body, Image, and Space in the Historical Avant-Gardes'
> by Gabriele Brandstetter (2015), there is a quotation by Sergei Eisenstein
> associating the concept of 'the same sea' to a dancer:
> 'So, using analogies, we can penetrate the most expressive part of reality
> and simultaneously render matter and will in their most intensive and
> expansive action...For example, the sea dancing, with its zigzag movements
> and sparkling contrasts of silver and emerald, within my plastic
> sensibility evokes the distant vision of a dancer covered in sparkling
> sequins in her world of light, noise, and sound. Therefore: sea=dancer.
> ....the plastic expression of the same sea, which through real analogy has
> evoked a dancer for me, by a process of apparent analogy evokes for me a
> large bunch of flowers'.

Virginia Knight commented that,

>   I suspect the phrase has its roots in the Hindu teaching that religions
> are different rivers flowing into the one sea (can't quote chapter and
> verse quickly, but I think it is something of a commonplace).  One might
> contrast Heraclitus' assertion that you can't step twice into the same
> river....

Sinai Rusinek sent this after referring to the Iraeli PM's infamous usage:

> A Hebrew pearl that I am much happier to share was brought to our attention
> by Shai Huber, a literature graduate and teacher. It is a poem by T. Carmi
> (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._Carmi) from his 1958 collection, The Last
> sea, and with a heavy heart I translate it below. It is later than Bishop
> but unlike Shamir, Bishop and Gooding it is not an essentialist take on the
> Heraklitean river of change over time but a rather different angle:
> *Listening*
> It is hard for two shells to hold a true conversation
> each one listens to her own sea
> That it is the same sea,
> only the pearl hunter or the antiquity dealer can ascertain.
> קֶשֶׁב ט. כרמי
> קָשֶׁה לִשְׁתֵּי קֻנְכִיּוֹת לְשׂוֹחֵחַ שִׂיחָה-שֶׁל-מַמָּשׁ
> כָּל אַחַת מַטָּה אֹזֶן לַיָּם שֶׁלָה.
> רַק שׁוֹלֵה-הַפְּנִינִים אוֹ סוֹחֵר-הָעַתִּיקוֹת
> יָכוֹל לִקְבּוֹע בְּלִי חֲשָׁשׁ: אוֹתוֹ יָם
> Metaphors of sea and rivers also bring to mind Ecclesiastes 1.7, but this
> is taking us too far from your question.

And I myself somehow had run across and contributed the concluding lines
of Elizabeth Bishop's “At the fishhouses”:

 > I have seen it over and over, the same sea, the same,
 > slightly, indifferently swinging above the stones,
 > icily free above the stones,
 > above the stones and then the world.
 > If you should dip your hand in,
 > your wrist would ache immediately,
 > your bones would begin to ache and your hand would burn
 > as if the water were a transmutation of fire
 > that feeds on stones and burns with a dark gray flame.
 > If you tasted it, it would first taste bitter,
 > then briny, then surely burn your tongue.
 > It is like what we imagine knowledge to be:
 > dark, salt, clear, moving, utterly free,
 > drawn from the cold hard mouth
 > of the world, derived from the rocky breasts
 > forever, flowing and drawn, and since
 > our knowledge is historical, flowing, and flown.

More, please.


Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/),
Professor emeritus, Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London;
Adjunct Professor, Western Sydney University; Editor, Interdisciplinary
Science Reviews (www.tandfonline.com/loi/yisr20) and Humanist

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