Confusion

A remarkable quote:

“I, too, aspire to see clearly, like a rifleman, with one eye shut; I, too, aspire to think without assent. This is the ultimate violence to which the modern intellectual is committed. Since things have become as they are, I, too, share the modern desire not to be deceived. The culture to which I was first habituated grows progressively different in its symbolic nature and in its human product; that double difference and how ordained augments our ambivalence as professional mourners.”

-Philip Riefe The Triumph of the Therapeutic

This sums it all; the rest is detail work. The author is addressing his thoughts to an earlier sequence of quakes. The fault that has opened beneath him is on a different line than the one that this author feels breaking his stance. It is the same dilemma, though, that brings the same intellectual to crisis: the wrenching dislocations force the choice between the absurdity of the past and the absurdity of the future. The intellectual, unlike the poet (to say nothing of the philosopher), has the sacred duty not to choose, but to confront all dilemmas and to resolve them. And this has worked with Zeno. The intellectual is brought to crisis when it becomes revealed that one gap is more real than another, because it widens, that a fissure’s bisection of the world is sufficiently alarming to counsel one-sided action. The “modern intellectual” steps manfully onto the moving landmass of the future, his violence is against his inclination to remain behind and attempt the span.