Who’s Afraid of I. A. Richards?

 

A critic is a great thing to behold.

Are they not the priests of all art?

Can they not summon great meaning

from the daimon hibernating in its art?

 

The artist needs the critic as much as

he needs the daimon. It’s the critic who

chases on the heels of the artist,

always keeping up with his pace.

 

A good critic will be close behind,

but a great critic will have struck out

ahead of the artist, calling back to him,

urging him to hurry up already.


R. Charboneau

 

Artwork: I. A. Richards on the Alps (1930)

Argonautica Holographicum (Part I)

I

Somewhere on the west coast of the United States in the near future there is a university with great renown and plenty of funding. It’s summertime and the coastline shimmers like a lit fuse. Windmill propellers are spinning far out at sea, turning gyres in the boiling air. The deep wide moat that surrounds the bay has turned the shoreline into a great waterfall, draining the ocean underneath the earth’s crust, where it will find its way out again further inland, through towering pipeworks far beyond the valley.

On a windy day the university is near enough to the sea to smell of brine. Today it smells like a fish market. Many students and faculty choose to wear their filter masks in case a yellow smog should roll in, and so aren’t bothered by the smell of rancid fish. On some of their masks there is the university logo, a yellow seal and red crest, and motto streaming across the banner: humani nihil a me alienum puto. Nothing human is alien to me.

Continue reading “Argonautica Holographicum (Part I)”

To Varying Degrees

 

Values are different things than their situations.

It’s a different thing to say Killing is Wrong

than it is to say Thou Shalt Not Kill.

The former is a principle, and principles never

in principle, apply to any specific situation.

Which doesn’t make killing wrong in principle

because really, it depends on the situation.

Continue reading “To Varying Degrees”