A solipsist in our midst --a brief response
Posted by Erin on January 22, 1998 at 20:10:40:
In response to Any savage can dance..., written by Patrick on January 22, 1998 at 17:44:51
Patrick, I strongly suggest that you start posting at Pemberley under the name Derrida. :-)
I think, when I said that I was referring to balance between visual image and smell in our appreciation of a rose. It may be the case that symmetry in, for example, a face, is necessary for a judgment of beauty, although it is probably not sufficient. But I think that this is a side-issue. I do not want to deny that roses have symmetry (or balance) in physical form. I do not deny that certain kinds of balance exist in the world. I was talking mostly about balance in JA's novels.
Really, I thought it was the main thrust of this particular point. But I cannot comprehend the reason why you think this notion of symmetry, used both minutely and in a more general sense, cannot apply to Austen's ideal in P&P? But then I think I can since you deny the viability of such a notion in the first place.
What makes us human beings is precisely our ability to comment on our experience with something approaching objectivity.
Ahh. Well, call me obtuse, but if I was to make a list of 1000 things that "make us human beings," in order of importance, "our ability to comment on our experience with something approaching objectivity" would probably be around number 850, if I were to be convinced that we have such an ability. It is not clear to me, however, that we do.
How do you account for the fact that we have the capacity to have this "conversation"...that I'm sitting here responding to your thoughts via a machine? Does not this very act evince that we are mutually recognized practitioners of shared practices and norms? If such capacities to not only question our being, but to communicate and use the same tools of interaction cannot be characterized as objective reality, can it not be said to be an inter-subjective one? This is a primary reason why I find claims which appeal to a purely subjective reality absurd...unless other minds really don't exist. There are certain pre-conditions (and assumptions) that must be established in order for there to be any kind of experience at all --"objective", "subjective" or otherwise.
As far as I can see, you see Elizabeth and Darcy enjoying a fully satisfying mutual relationship. But if this is never extended to other people, isn't it in fact limiting?
I'm not sure what you mean by "extended to other people," nor what limit you might have in mind. Do Lizzy and Darcy have a responsibility to make other people have satisfying relationships?
I think Helen means that Lizzy and Darcy do not exist in a vacuum of sorts, where they are freed from a certain responsibility, a duty to society both as individuals and as a couple...solipsism is not an Austenian motif. :-) I will only point out that such duty is a fundamental principle that supports the very society in which they "exist". (This is not my perception, but historical fact tainted by communication of other human beings using their insufficient methods of interpretation, which questions the existence of "fact" itself :-/). Oh sure....
Erin, who's vying for online time with others at the moment.
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