Monday, December 7, 2009

Quote of the Day

So, re-reading one of my favorite novels, I found this surprising foray into technical philosophy buried in a discussion of Wagner and Christianity....

"Parsifal is one of those corkscrew artifacts of culture in which you get the subjective sense that you've learned something from it, something valuable or even priceless; but on closer inspection you suddenly begin to scratch your head and say, 'Wait a minute. This makes no sense.' I can see Richard Wagner standing at the gates of heaven. 'You have to let me in,' he says, 'I wrote Parsifal. It has to do with the Grail, Christ, suffering, pity and healing. Right?' And they answer, 'Well, we read it and it makes no sense.' SLAM. Wagner is right and so are they. It's another Chinese finger trap.

"Or perhaps I'm missing the point. What we have here is a Zen paradox. That which makes no sense makes the most sense. I am being caught in a sin of the highest magnitude: using Aristotelian two-value logic. 'A thing is either A or not-A.' (The Law of the Excluded Middle.) Everybody knows that Aristotelian two-value logic is fucked."

--VALIS by Philip K. Dick, pp. 132-133

....to which I say....

"Huh."

2 comments:

Aaron Boyden said...

Well, if Kierkegaard is right, Parsifal could hardly be authentically Christian and make sense at the same time. I expect Dick knew Kierkegaard. I wonder if Wagner knew Kierkegaard.

鍵盤 said...
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