mercoledì, ottobre 25, 2006

I heart Hannah Arendt

I've come to a conclusion about PMSing based on my present mood, and that is PMSing women (and men - oh yes, you non-bleedy types go through monthly mood swings, you can give them some big tough name if you want but I call it PMS, bitches) don't become irrational beasts, but rather suddenly find it much harder to shake off the small ways in which they are offended. Maybe this is why it annoys us so much when people ask if we're PMSing after we visibly swallow the desire to snap their heads off. Because of course, in our minds the primary concern is what the hell is wrong with you that you're giving us the shits, not why it's easier, all of a sudden, to give us the shits.

Anyways. I've lost count so I don't know if I'm PMSing or in a pisser. But yesterday, in the midst of feeling deep self-pity about working 37.5 long hours a week while having to prepare a doctoral proposal, I decided to console myself by buying some Hannah Arendt books. One was Eichmann in Jerusalem, whose subtitle is On the Banality of Evil or something - I've read it before but I figured Figaro might like it - and the other is a smaller pamphlet called On Violence, that I'd never read before but is just enchanting me as it goes on about hippies and everything else. I really like Hannah Arendt's perspectives - so robust, so slappingly snarky at times without getting petty, so informed yet optimistic, so centred on the power of the individual in a non-macho way which is so much stronger than so many philosophers. Though I guess she's not a philosopher because she said she wasn't, even though booksellers put her books in that section.

It was funny - yesterday at the used bookstore I was looking for things by her, for George Fox's diaries, for anything that got turned in by Jung and maybe the I Ching for Figaro, So I was wondering up and down this one aisle, that had the categoried "Psychology", "Religion", "Philosophy" and some other "Mysticism" or "Occult" or whatever bullshit they had the I Ching stuck under.

And it made me think about why Hannah Arendt said she wasn't a philosopher. Though I find her work focusses so satisfyingly on the power of the individual in society, she thought that her work focussed on society too much to be philosophical - that philosophy looked inward into the person and what she wrote about was a person's participatory, involved and political role . . .

So I was thinking about that and looking at all these consecutive shelves of psychology, religion, et al . . . so many of the books had an intensely personal focus, through all those sections; all the sections looked like they were selling the sorts of things people would turn to to help develop their sense of selves. Like me. I've turned to such things for just such a purpose - preparation for new career training it may possibly be but so far this year I've spent hundreds of dollars on Jung. What I've found with analysis is that through the development of my sense of self, I understand better how other people relate to me and how to take care of them or get along with them - be a better social and political animal, in short - what a thing to have to learn! You'd think we'd just know that and that all of our childhood education would be leading up to that. And yet, there's more than one industry founded on the back of us being mongoloids in the realms of social and political understanding. Weird.

6 commenti:

Melbine ha detto...

Well, something's happened in the last 200 years or so..I think people's childhood education used to consist of these exact things (being a proper social and political animal). So, the Industrial Revolution is to blame for everything! Ha.

I much prefer your take on PMS, I haven't been able to shake much off the last few days..

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

Oh, I don't know if that's fair - maybe we got more social and political training before the Industrial Revolution, but it was simpler and much, much more limiting than a really educated person could accept, i.e.:

1: I am a peasant, therefore I farm, die of starvation, and believe in an oppressive paternalistic deity who will send me to hell for my misdeeds

2: I am a soldier, therefore I fight, die of a minor wound that becomes infected, and believe in an oppressive paternalistic deity

3: I am an aristocrat, therefore I fuck peasants, die of physician-prescibed bloodletting, and believe in an oppressive paternalistic deity if I haven't met Voltaire yet

1,2,3,: But at least I'm not a Jew!

We need something altogether new to meet a 100% literate world - looking back sure won't help us.

Melbine ha detto...

You're right and I wasn't being very serious about blaming the Industrial Revolution (hence the ha afterwards).

What do you think will best meet our 100% literate, savvy world?

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

The sort of critical thinking that makes us media literate and the sense that the human race is someting that shares a destiny, among its members and in the world.

How to get that, I don't know. I've never been to teacher's college.

Anonimo ha detto...

I have always shared this view of PMS. It is a chance to clean house emotionally. We need to do it once a month because, as women, we tend to let people step on us.

Once a month, we get sick of understanding other peoples' needs and moods and we put everything into perspective. We say what needs to be said and then we're told that we're PMSing because we aren't as tolerant as we are the rest of the month. Then, all the annoyances that have been building under our skins have been released and we are free to have a happy period where the only thing that is wrong with the world is the intense pain we feel from those damn cramps. We've solved all our problems so all we have to do is lay on the couch with a soothing cup of tea and watching movies without being annoyed by those around us. PMS is a good thing.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

Hear hear, Sugarplum!