Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

To contact me about organizing, email me at rpwolff750@gmail.com




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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

THE CURSE OF THE INTERNET

I have on numerous occasions remarked that when I come to Paris, the voice in my head that has, all my life, told me that I was not working hard enough falls still.  That was indeed once so, but it seems no longer to be true.  Earlier today, Susie asked me what had happened.  I thought about it for a bit and decided that the fault lies squarely with the Internet.  In the old days, when we came to Paris, I was for the entire time essentially incommunicado.  Oh, if it was necessary, I could place a long-distance overseas call [always a  bit complicated with my PhoneCard, what with an eleven digit Pin Number and all], but I felt that the world was unaware of me, and so I could relax.  I feel the same way as soon as I arrive at an airport terminal to catch a plane, which is one of the reasons I like to travel.  Since there is nothing I can do while waiting for the plane, I can relax.  This was also one of the principal attractions of the safari we took last April.  In the Okavango Delta, one is really out of touch.

But now, the world is wired, and I feel myself obligated to stay in touch.  Being unable for  the first two weeks of our stay to make the wireless connection in my apartment work was hell.  I was not relieved, I was frantic.

The same can be said for running a blog.  In the past, each time I finished a book, I felt a sense of relief that lasted for at least a week.  In effect, I could say to the voice in my head, "There!  I've done what you asked.  Now go away and leave me alone."  But a blog, if I may steal a phrase from an earlier period in Gestalt Theory, presents an Objective Demand, rather like a partially completed circle asking to be finished.  No matter how many hundreds of thousands of words I write for this blog, I feel each day the demand to write something new, striking, interesting, original.  If I may paraphrase Ecclesiastes, 12:12, "And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many blogs there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh."

Thank God I have not figured out how to unlock my IPhone!

5 comments:

TheDudeDiogenes said...

A joy to read this post, (as is every post).

Will said...

"Biblical tradition says that absence of work--idleness--was the condition of the first man's blessedness before the fall. The love of idleness remained the same in fallen man, but the curse still weighs on man, and not only because we must win our bread in the sweat of our face, but because our moral qualities are such that we are unable to be idle and at peace. A secret voice tells us that we should feel guilty for being idle. If man could find a condition in which, while idle, he felt that he was being useful and was fulfilling his duty, he would have found one side of primordial blessedness." - Tolstoy, War and Peace.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Will, I have no recollection at all of that wonderful passage from WAR AND PEACE. Where in the text does it appear, roughly?

Will said...

It appears in Volume 2, Part 4, Chapter 1. Tolstoy goes on "And this state of obligatory and irreproachable idleness is enjoyed by an entire class--the military. In this obligatory and irreproachable idleness consists and will consist the chief attraction of military service."

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Many thanks. As soon as I get home I will look it up. Good memory!!!