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Midterm Notes

99 Pages

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Garry Leonard

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The age of Anxiety The Age of Depression RitualAddictionConsumptionSpectacle soulself selfselfimage EssentialismValuePrice EssenceExistence Participate Dominate ResponsibilityAccountability Conscience Moral HazardRisk CommunicateNetwork RespectMoneyMeaning SelfReflexivity EnlightenmentFundamentalism NatureInformationData Technology Ecology excesses oftechnology Reality as shattered Reality as a Fiction Science as factScience as myth of origin Philosophy ModalityDiscourse choiceManipulation AgencyAction unsustainable Imperialism Institutionalized racisma NARRATION OF THE ABOVE BINARIESWhat is it we want to say about the Twentieth century What might others say centuries hence What makes it different from any other What issues from former centuries are still present either as a difficult legacy or a promise unfulfilled or a nightmare as yet forestalled but still an ominous possibility And given these questions what is the role of Art literature and film that is also unique A preliminary answer to that question might be posed as follows because answers have less and less credibility in a more and more subjective world view Art in the Twentieth Century develops more and more sophisticated ways to ask more subtle and more challenging questions What the Twentieth Century needs in other words is not more answers but better questions And there is a deep urgency to this concern since some of the worst episodes of the Twentieth CenturyImperialism World Wars Genocide Fascism the Atomic Bomb the neoImperialism of globalized capitalismall come from people and institutions sure that they have the answers and therefore determined to ignore or worse eliminate whoever challenges them The most dangerous attitude of our time is not uncertainty but a false certitude presented as the way things need should or have to be Such a false certitude is often backed up by force to protect the people promoting it from doubt A good deal of Twentieth Century Art is devoted to suggesting alternative realities so that being told thats just the way it is can be countered with but how did it get that wayIn other words a traditional belief in essentialismthat things had some fundamental essence that could be discerned gets replaced by constructivisma sense that the meaning we think is inherent in the thing has actually been placed there by us and represents what we need to see and what we want to find rather than something essential and separate from usIn contrast to this Science has developed an extraordinary capacity to discover objective knowledge supposedly untainted by the subjective but the uses to which this Science then gets put remain very subjective indeed One reason the wars of the Twentieth century have been so devastating is that the weaponry has been improved courtesy of various scientific discoveries The discovery in other words may be objective but the use to which it is put is notA great deal of anxiety in the Twentieth Century revolves around the question of whether or not we have the wisdom to use what scientific knowledge has made possible And beyond that do we have the moral and ethical structure Increased technical innovation is often conflated with a sense that we are advancing in terms of our humanitybut the two operate separately and innovation does not necessarily signal an increase in the understanding of ourselves our world or our relation to our worldAll of these issues are contained in the poem Dover Beach The moonlit ocean the poet sees as so beautiful he then imagines as indicating something serene and fulland in an older poetic tradition he would have gone on to
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