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56

The eclipse of meaning

4
terms
2
notes

Eagleton, T. (2007). The eclipse of meaning. In Eagleton, T. The Meaning of Life. Oxford University Press, USA, pp. 56-77

(noun) a painkilling drug or medicine

56

the cheerless challenge of a Schopenhauer. His work forces them to struggle hard to make their vision seem anything more than anodyne consolation.

—p.56 by Terry Eagleton
notable
3 years, 2 months ago

the cheerless challenge of a Schopenhauer. His work forces them to struggle hard to make their vision seem anything more than anodyne consolation.

—p.56 by Terry Eagleton
notable
3 years, 2 months ago
59

It is possible to see the work of Samuel Beckett as stranded somewhere between modernist and postmodernist cases. In his sense of the extreme elusiveness of meaning (his favourite word, he once remarked, was ‘perhaps’), Beckett is classically modernist. His writing is woven through from end to end with a sense of its own provisionality, ironically aware that it might just as well never have existed. This is why it seems only just to exist – to hover precariously on the edge of articulation, before lapsing listlessly away into some wordless darkness. It is as thin as is compatible with being barely perceptible. Meaning flares and fades, erasing itself almost as soon as it emerges. One pointless narrative cranks itself laboriously off the ground, only to be aborted in mid-stream for another, equally futile one. There is not even enough meaning to be able to give a name to what is awry with us.

just thought this was a beautiful passage

—p.59 by Terry Eagleton 3 years, 2 months ago

It is possible to see the work of Samuel Beckett as stranded somewhere between modernist and postmodernist cases. In his sense of the extreme elusiveness of meaning (his favourite word, he once remarked, was ‘perhaps’), Beckett is classically modernist. His writing is woven through from end to end with a sense of its own provisionality, ironically aware that it might just as well never have existed. This is why it seems only just to exist – to hover precariously on the edge of articulation, before lapsing listlessly away into some wordless darkness. It is as thin as is compatible with being barely perceptible. Meaning flares and fades, erasing itself almost as soon as it emerges. One pointless narrative cranks itself laboriously off the ground, only to be aborted in mid-stream for another, equally futile one. There is not even enough meaning to be able to give a name to what is awry with us.

just thought this was a beautiful passage

—p.59 by Terry Eagleton 3 years, 2 months ago

philosophical and metaphysical theories of divine presence in which the divine encompasses or is manifested in the material world

66

immanence does not necessarily imply transcendence. A meaning to life put there by God, and one conjured up by ourselves, may not be the only possibilities.

—p.66 by Terry Eagleton
notable
3 years, 2 months ago

immanence does not necessarily imply transcendence. A meaning to life put there by God, and one conjured up by ourselves, may not be the only possibilities.

—p.66 by Terry Eagleton
notable
3 years, 2 months ago

unable to be resisted or avoided; inescapable

67

Isn’t a genuine meaning one which we feel ourselves running up against, one which can resist or rebuff us, one which bears in on us with a certain ineluctability?

—p.67 by Terry Eagleton
notable
3 years, 2 months ago

Isn’t a genuine meaning one which we feel ourselves running up against, one which can resist or rebuff us, one which bears in on us with a certain ineluctability?

—p.67 by Terry Eagleton
notable
3 years, 2 months ago
71

‘Constructions’ of this kind are a kind of one-way conversation with the world, in which, rather like the Americans in Iraq, it is we who tell it what it is like. But meaning is in fact the product of a transaction between us and reality. Texts and readers are mutually dependent.

To revert to our question-and-answer model: We can pose questions to the world, and these are certainly our questions rather than its own. But the answers the world may return are instructive precisely because reality is always more than our questioning anticipates. It exceeds our own interpretations of it, and is not averse to greeting them from time to time with a rude gesture or knocking the stuffing out of them. Meaning, to be sure, is something people do; but they do it in dialogue with a determinate world whose laws they did not invent, and if their meanings are to be valid, they must respect this world’s grain and texture. To recognize this is to cultivate a certain humility, one which is at odds with the ‘constructivist’ axiom that when it comes to meaning, it is we who are all-important. This superficially radical notion is in fact secretly in cahoots with a Western ideology for which what matters is the meanings we stamp on the world and others for our own ends.

—p.71 by Terry Eagleton 3 years, 2 months ago

‘Constructions’ of this kind are a kind of one-way conversation with the world, in which, rather like the Americans in Iraq, it is we who tell it what it is like. But meaning is in fact the product of a transaction between us and reality. Texts and readers are mutually dependent.

To revert to our question-and-answer model: We can pose questions to the world, and these are certainly our questions rather than its own. But the answers the world may return are instructive precisely because reality is always more than our questioning anticipates. It exceeds our own interpretations of it, and is not averse to greeting them from time to time with a rude gesture or knocking the stuffing out of them. Meaning, to be sure, is something people do; but they do it in dialogue with a determinate world whose laws they did not invent, and if their meanings are to be valid, they must respect this world’s grain and texture. To recognize this is to cultivate a certain humility, one which is at odds with the ‘constructivist’ axiom that when it comes to meaning, it is we who are all-important. This superficially radical notion is in fact secretly in cahoots with a Western ideology for which what matters is the meanings we stamp on the world and others for our own ends.

—p.71 by Terry Eagleton 3 years, 2 months ago

the theory and methodology of interpretation, especially the interpretation of biblical texts, wisdom literature, and philosophical texts

75

Signifi cantly, it was a Protestant pastor, Friedrich Schleiermacher, who invented the science of hermeneutics, or interpretation.

—p.75 by Terry Eagleton
notable
3 years, 2 months ago

Signifi cantly, it was a Protestant pastor, Friedrich Schleiermacher, who invented the science of hermeneutics, or interpretation.

—p.75 by Terry Eagleton
notable
3 years, 2 months ago