Chapter IX | Horror Fiction

The case for horror literature

Stephen King makes his case for the

…the horror story as both literature and entertainment, a living part of twentieth-century literature…They are books and stories which seem to me to fulfill the primary duty of literature— to tell us the truth about ourselves by telling us lies about people who never existed.”

Danse Macabre, Stephen King

Parcel


parse v. 1 resolve (a sentence) into its component parts and describe their syntactic roles
Computing analyse (text) into logical syntactic components
-Origin C16: perh. from ME pars ‘parts of speech’, from Fr. pars ‘parts’
syntax n.the combination  of words and phrases to create well formed sentences > a set of rules for or an analysis of this the structure of statements in a computer language
-Origin C16: from Fr. syntaxe, or via late L. from Gk suntazis, from sun-‘together’ + tassein  ‘arrange’
Concise OED 11th th

 Sunday School Religiousness in the American Deep South. 
 I speak from my experience and not hard numbers and facts.  
So what I say will be true of my experience. And, what I extrapolate from my experiences will be messy and imprecise.

This not a scholarly approach. I’d like to share my thoughts as a cultural player. 

Performances of scholarly work in public forums must come clean to the audience at every possible misstep.

 

matter and/or matter of fact

 

We have to ask ourselves whether, in any sense at all, there is such a thing as matter…It we cannot be sure of the independent existence of objects, we shall be left alone in a desert–it may be that the whole outer world is nothing but a dream, and that we alone exist. ..there is no logical impossibility in the supposition that the whole of life is a dream, in which we ourselves create all the objects that come before us.  But although this is not logically impossible, there is no reason whatever to suppose that it is true; and is no reason whatever to suppose that it is true.

    Bertrand Russell

Religion & Science- Can’t Parse This? 

The word ‘paragon’ entered the cultural consciousness in the 16th Century.

par·a·gon

ˈperəˌɡän/

noun

noun: paragon; plural noun: paragons

  1. a person or thing regarded as a perfect example of a particular quality.

    “it would have taken a paragon of virtue not to feel viciously jealous”

Origin:

mid 16th century: from obsolete French, from Italian paragone ‘touchstone used to discriminate good (gold) from bad,’ from medieval Greek parakonē ‘whetstone.’Original Source

Three places show widely dispersed, common usage of words expressing the bones of ‘paragon’.

http://www.geographicguide.com/europe-maps/mediterranean.htm

1

Anyone who claims they don’t know the feeling of magic and terror that accompanies adolescence has surely forgotten.

My father completed his dissertation while I was a tyke; and, he, my Mom, and I lived in student apartments.  I have only happy memories of this time.

I also have memories of seeing my father’s work: a bunch of weird symbols strung together forming what appears to be some alien form of writing.  It was mathematical formulae, mathematical statements, mathematical symbols, constants, variables, imaginary, irrational.  It was like musical notation is to writing. It was magic.  I never saw most other adults using this language in my 3 year old, day to day goings on, so it was special magic.



The benefit of being in the same city as something like the University of Alabama is that nice, local intellectual atmosphere, lots of thinkers & questioners living within a very near physical proximity of one another and the local community    

Looking back, however, the intellectual milieu associated with the university’s presence was more tolerated than embraced by the local community and only under the implicit understanding that the university had better also produce some fine athletic feats for large groups of people to enjoy watching.

 Science is dangerous to religiousness in the South.

Scientific knowledge benefits mankind. It provides him a place in the world that is demarcating by very specific standards of measurement. It enables liberty of thought and provides the freedom to be wrong and not be ashamed. It is like music.  Can we say that music and evolution are incompatible?   Sure, but do we pat ourselves on the back when we say “apples are not oranges?”

Can we assert that science conceivably evokes that same sensation as that spiritual impulse that drives many to religion?

Eek, what an awkward thing to say.  Let me talk about that esoteric bit for a moment.  Religious texts frequently use moments of prophecying & revelation as themes associated with connecting to God/the divine: feeling the spirit; being touched; being moved; feeling grace, etc 

The feeling of magic and the experience of being in the presence of something aweinspiring, is one described and experienced by both those in Academia and those in religious groups.

Whatever you choose to term this feeling and whatever causal force with which you choose to associate it, the sensation experienced appears to be the same one. The physical feeling of connecting to God and that physical feeling experienced through elucidating hitherto unknown/unobserved phenomenona via scientific methods, might be the same sensation.  The actions of the mind have produced stimuli which the sense organs take in (like raw data into a computer) and convert into a physical and psychological experience via the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.

Speaking personally, as child I believed in God in a way that an young person believes in Santa, superficially until deeper contemplation occurred.  I have never heard God speak to me and am, in fact, quite jealous of those who ‘talk to the Lord’ or ‘hear Him.’

To those, I would ask-

 “Why not me?  I prayed as a child and did everything asked of me.  What did science do to you guys anyhow?

To those who benefit from experiencing His existence, your patience with the rest of us and with a unaffiliated like me.

I don’t think you should give up on science.  I also do not think you should take things so personally. Maybe some of us losers only know how to seek this “god” through scientific means (particularly,  those of us who do not hear His voice).  Well, if God does exist, God does not have to be knowable through science nor does He have to reveal himself to me.  He could judge me for trying to see my world scientifically, but I would say that to not have tried to see my world through the paradigm of science would have been a blasphemous life for me.

  Beauty is subjective, eye of the beholder.  What I point to when I use the term ‘beautiful’ may not be the same as that to which you allude as beautiful.  But, that phenomenon to which we are referring-that thing of which the alluded to objects possess-is beauty; and, that thing, beauty, is fundamentally experienced via phenomenon basic to each and all of us, .

How do we talk and/or should we?  Does the animosity produce any observable or even foreseeable benefits?  Can we and/or should we be pragmatic?

These are honest questions.  I am not religious in the common sense.  I prefer to think I have moments of insight that feel larger or more infinite than I could previously have imagined, but they usual arrive when I work with science and logic, or read certain pieces of writing.

But then college, and physical anthropology and the sweet processes of inductive and deductive logic took hold of me. I have been moved emotionally upon reading x, actually creating a proof to show that there is no highest number, upon reading The Glass Bead Game…..
Can science and religion reconcile? And, if they can, to what gain

The most recognizable voices from the scientific community engaged in the evolution/creationist debate include Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Lawrence M. Krauss among others. These scientists take an offensive approach to those peoples and groups who would deny science’s authority as a way of defining the world.  They do this because of their belief that religious thought and reasoning are actively hurting our world. Now by ‘aggressive,’ I do not mean to imply these academics are threatening violence, nor are they harassing individuals unduly, but they are aggressive.

Activity:   Please complete this sentence…

The aggressive scientist……

The subject of the sentence above does not resound with my individual conception of ‘scientists.’ Now, passionate, consumed, obsessed-these scientists I can imagine. But aggressive scientists?   None spring to mind, with the exception of those scientists whom have been deemed Militant Atheists (by their religiously inclined counterparts) and this vilification tactic began within the last ten to 20 years.

This raises fundamental questions for me like-

  1. When, if ever, should scientists antagonize those individuals refusing to accept the axioms of empiricism as true and assumable?  Does society require science to play the role of playground bully from time to time (remember Thomas Henry Huxley AKA Darwin’s Bulldog?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cientific discovery can be hazardous to one’s health

Uncertainty & Doubt

 

stucco

I spend a lot of time worrying about whether or not I am right when me submits a proposition and ascribes it to be truthful; and, I then spend a lot of time worrying about whether it is important or even relevant to worry at all about a proposition being true or not.

I know that I do not know nearly as much as me thinks myself knows.

I do not know what is actually knowable for the me that I know as myself.

Thus, how can I ever know if what I think is right or wrong?

More importantly, if knowledge exists outside of my realm of perception, it does not matter if I am right or wrong, the closest or not.

This makes me spend a lot of time worrying about how anyone can act like they know anything.  This terrifies me and myself because I do not want to  live in a world whose existence cannot be perceptible.

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But why does that terrify me?  Shouldn’t it liberate me from the responsibility of trying to be right and seek truth all the time.  If everything just is what it is; I could just be what I am or I could fret and fuss about proving that the my reality is knowable to me.  

It’s just too scary to get dropped into a world and have no clue how you got there, what you are, and what will happen when you inevitably are not here anymore.

 

Complete & Consistent 

wp-1486294468194.jpgHow familiar are you with nostalpogy?

Not at all?  Yeah, me neither.

it does not exist (at least to my knowledge as of 10 FEB 2017).  So, whatever it is that nosalpogy represents, it is something of which I cannot conceptualize.  Moreover, I’m incapable of conceptualizing it.  If no person can elucidate what nosalpogy is , if no one can help me see ‘it’ against the setting of everything else, then nosalpogy is nothing.

 

Get thinking about Russell & Whitehead’s attempt to derive all of mathematics from purely logical axioms and remember how Godel’s Sentence G (just one example).

Russell & Whitehead wanted to irrefutably prove that a consistent system based on a few simple assumptions (aka axioms), whose theorems can be listed by an effective procedure (i.e., an algorithm), is capable of proving all truths about the arithmetic of the natural numbers.

Well, they failed to achieve that goal, but that failure brought its own success and furthered theoretical mathematics. Godel demonstrated, for any such formal system, such as the proposed one of Russell & Whitehead,  there will always be statements about the natural numbers that are true, but that are unprovable within the system. Godel then provided proof that the system cannot demonstrate its own consistency.

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To give the gist without the jargon– I imagine a  tube with 3 tennis balls inside.  Now, imagine you have 3 box each filled with 10 of these tubes, each containing three balls.  Each tube contains a set of three balls.  Each box contains a set of 10 tubes; another way to say this is, each box contains a set of 30 balls.  So a set of 3 boxes is a set of 90 balls or a set of 30 tubes.

Imagine I am shipping out boxes of tennis balls.  On each shipping pallatte, a set of 4 boxes, each containing three boxes of tennis balls, can be packed  That means a pallatte contains a set of 360 tennis balls which is equal to a set of 90 tubes which is equal to a set of of 12 boxes.  The pallatte can also hold a set of 4 boxes each holding 3 boxes.

The point is, I can define a set of tennis balls many ways.  I can also imagine a set of sets of tennis balls (a box = 10 tubes and 10 tubes = 30 balls).  A box is a set of tubes and a set of tubes is a set of tennis balls.

So if I can imagine of box of tubes containing tennis balls; and, if I can imagine a box that contains several boxes of tubes of tennis balls, and so on…at what point do hit the top?  At what point do I reach the highest possible set?  Never.  I can always conceive of one more box around boxes just as I cannot name the highest number-I can always imagine one more.

Apologies-work in progress-researching underway.

Being in society

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Being a member of society requires behaving in specific ways and performing specific actions. By doing so, you and I reaffirm not only, that our society actually exists, but also, that you and I (the individual entities) belong to this society. As members of society, we also do certain things that exclude other individuals. Now, this may read as more antagonistic or cynical than I intend. Ultimately, it is the excluding and ‘othering process’ that validates a culture’s solidarity and solidarity is a necessary condition for the existence of the social phenomena.

THE CONTEXT OF THIS DISCUSSION IS EVERYTHING, AND THE PRESENTED ARGUMENTS SHOULD NOT BE SEEN AS SUPPORT FOR ANY GROUP OR ETHOS THAT PROMOTES THE EXCLUSION OF OTHERS. DIFFERENT DOES NOT EQUAL WRONG OR VIOLENT. IN FACT, THE MORE EXPOSURE TO OTHERS YOU EXPERIENCE, THE MORE YOU COME TO KNOW YOURSELF AND THE MORE YOU ENRICH YOUR CREATIVITY.
To know your society, you must know what is not your society.
Has anyone ever asked you what something was or what something was like or how it could be best described?
And, did you ever hear yourself say, “it would probably be easier to tell you what this what not!.”

Empathizer: So, I know what a hipster is, but what is a shoe-gazing, bird watcher?
Whiner: He’s not your stereotypical hipster douche wearing a lady’s scarf and a sports coat over torn jeans and t-shirts. He’s not an arty, magic realist steam punk kinda of hipster either.
Empathizer: Ooh Ooh, is it that heavy set hipster guy that has unruly hair and full mustache, beard, and neck beard? You know, the ones that wear the light blue denim jacket that was his grandfather’s and a pair of navy jeans that have been steam ironed, with some arty (but mostly comic strip looking) ironic T-shirt. Like a bright yellow shirt that has “you’re brilliant at everything you never tried” embossed over the knitted applique of a beret-wearing, cigarette smoking, French Mongoose standing in front of the Eiffel Tower?
Whiner: Oh oh, almost, but this kind of hipster is not fat, he’s usually real lanky, always wears white t-shirts like he doesn’t care, but he still spends just as long as the sorority girl does to get ready to go out on the town. Can grow, like, a five o’clock shadow but barely muster a lady’s mustachio- like, we’re talking early menopausal mustache fuzz at best here.

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Now that I imagine ‘not good,’ (or now that I can imagine what is not a shoe-gazing, bird watching hipster) I find myself with pieces comprising the concept ‘good’-good & not good.
Why must I include ‘not good’ in my conception of ‘good’? Because, it is only by virtue of the existence of things that are not ‘good, by which I can conceptualize ‘good.’ If there is nothing that is not ‘good’; if everything is ‘good’, why would I need the concept ‘good’ at all? Could a concept ‘good’ even exist in those circumstances?
“Bad’ is simply the negation of ‘good.’ If I know if something is ‘good,” I know if something is “not good.’ I know this concept is meaningful, because other members of my culture agree and see the differences too. Because we agree that things can be described as ‘good’ we express meaning when we talk to one other about ‘good’ things. We communicate information and understand.
So, we can take a step further and say
Bad = Not Good
Good = Not Bad
Or, on a larger scale, we could imagine:
GOOD = good + not good GOOD=bad + not bad
BAD = good + not good BAD = good + not good
The words in capital letters represent that entire meaningful content (epiphenomenon)connoted by the concept of ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ The words in lowercase letters represent the pieces of that totality that is represented by the capitalized words. So from ‘good’ we can produce two concepts: good and bad. Each term meanings requires the existence of what the other term represents.


“That was good!”
“What does ‘good’ mean?”

I could try to describe it to the inquirer by describing times and things that are good, but that means that I can imagine things and times that are not good. By remembering the variation in emotional reaction to ‘good’ or ‘bad’ stimuli, I am able to ‘decide’ if something is ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ I am also able to understand, through metaphor and simile, what others mean when they describe something as good.
But such a black and white, either/or, mutually exclusive, definition of the terms, ‘good’ and ‘bad’ can only exist in the abstract, intangible form, at the collective or social level. We, as actual individuals, not abstract, averaged, idealized hypotheticals, cannot define the terms so concretely. Whereas society may only see in black and white, we atoms of a society, at the very least and to varying degrees, see some grey in between.

So, what makes a concept meaningful things carrying encoded information to some audience? The thing being expressed must be a thing/experience/etc recognized by the audience. It must be something the audience can point out in contrast to those things that are not the same thing. So meaning requires knowing what is and is not the knowledge in questions’s object. To know what ‘fat’ is I can show you fat and not-fat in way that you identify as typical or true.

So a concept is composed of those things that is and those thing from which it is distinguishable.

So then, does that mean that meaningful concepts refer to the total of everything that is ‘that thing’ and everything that is ‘not that thing?” No. For a concept to be meaningful, it is the degree and variance in tension of those things that are and those things that are not the concept which bestows meaning on any given concept.

When you name something as a good thing, my consciousness relies on the tension of good versus not good in order to infer your intended meaning. The meaning produced is greater than the sum of its parts. A concept we consider meaningful is not simply the total of what it is and what it is not. If I understand your intended meaning, it is because the code you used to express meaning (the word ‘good’ in this instance) resonates with the tension maintaining my understanding of the concept good. That tension exists by virtue of my ability to distinguish between other instances of things I believe to be good and not good.