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Title Power of "negative" thinking, The: the grotesque in the modern world
Subject Grotesque
Description The 45th Annual Frederick William Reynolds Lecture.
Creator Helbling, Robert E.
Publisher Frederick William Reynolds Association
Date 1982-11-30
Date Digital 2008-05-29
Type Text
Format image/jpeg
Digitization Specifications Original scanned on Epson Expression 10000XL flatbed scanner and saved as 400 ppi uncompressed tiff. Display images generated in PhotoshopCS and uploaded into CONTENTdm Aquisition Station.
Resource Identifier,768
Source BH301.G74 H44 1982
Language eng
Relation Digital reproduction of "The Power of "negative" thinking," J. Willard Marriott Library Special Collections
Rights Digital Image Copyright University of Utah
Metadata Cataloger Seungkeol Choe; Ken Rockwell
ARK ark:/87278/s6ks6pjf
Setname uu_fwrl
Date Created 2008-07-29
Date Modified 2008-08-04
ID 320034
Reference URL

Page Metadata

Title Page 23
Description THE POWER OF "NEGATIVE" THINKING 23 thinking seems to be taking place: human beings seen by the deter-minists of our time as the unwitting products of the brain's circuitry and of their "selfish genes"; computers as decision-making, autonomous intelligences. No wonder, Kurt Vonnegut suggests, that man is a "machine made out of meat."28 No doubt, reason is a many-splendored thing. The very term conjures up a good deal of semantic confusion, which in turn may lead, as it often has, to moral confusion. Those old-fashioned souls among us who still teach "humanities," against all odds and in endemic genteel poverty, feel that our world suffers increasingly from a dangerous cleavage between reason and mere reasonings, or call it "rationality." The dichotomy points to the difference between "doing" and "knowing," i.e., principles for reasonable, moral action on the one hand and the mechanism of understanding on the other, or normative and cognitive thought - hoary philosophic insights all too often ignored by those in power, or drowned in petty academic disputes. The German philosopher Immanual Kant, more perhaps than any other, stressed the ability of "practical reason," as he called it, to make autonomous moral judgments on the basis of a priori insights, as opposed to the mere mechanistic absorption of sense data by our understanding. He had the advantage of being able to operate with the two German terms Vernunft and Verstand, a semantic distinction not so graphic in other languages, though it has not necessarily rendered speakers of German more vernunftig than others. Kant also confidently postulated that the common man has spontaneous insight into the principles of morality without wading through a morass of philosophical argumentation exasperatingly sticky in his own works. Fichte, an erstwhile disciple of Kant, in his philosophy of history, dramatically calls our age "The State of Completed Sinfulness,"29 because it is led astray by a misconceived rationality; and then he prophesies the inevitable dawn of a new age, when the "Science of Moral Reason" takes over. The urbane rationalist who was Bertrand Russell called Fichte's philosophy a form of insanity. It is ironic that the allegedly insane thinker had insights into the insanity of our rationality which, for some time at least, escaped the sane one. Maybe Kant's and Fichte's optimism about the spontaneity and efficacy of moral reason is justified. At least we can take some heart in the recent worldwide groundswell against nuclear madness and the Pope's strong moral indictment of continued weapons research. I have tried to give anapergu of some highlights in the theory and history of the modern grotesque from its beginning in aesthetic play
Format image/jpeg
Identifier 026-RNLT- helblingR_ Page 23.jpg
Source Original Manuscript: The power of "negative" thinking : the grotesque in the modern world by Robert E. Helbling.
Setname uu_fwrl
Date Created 2008-07-29
Date Modified 2008-07-29
ID 320028
Reference URL