By Stanley Cavell
This paintings is an creation to the lifetime of philosophy within the usa, as Emerson as soon as lived it, in all its topographical ambiguity.
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Extra resources for A Pitch of Philosophy: Autobiographical Exercises (The Jerusalem-Harvard Lectures)
To do or say aught to conciliate one, is the healthy attitude of human nature. . Independent, irresponsible, looking out from his corner on such people and facts as pass by, he tries and sentences them on their merits, in the swift, summary way of boys, as good, bad, interesting, silly, eloquent, troublesome.... But the man is as it were clapped into jail by his consciousness. As soon as he has once acted or spoken with eclat he is a committed person, watched by the sympathy or by the hatred of hundreds, whose affections must now enter into his account.
But I was going to say why the molting produced the name Cavell. My choice has more than a touch in it of the myth of the secret name-even of radical propriety, of the name owned before the name is given, since one of the earliest pieces of family history told to me is that the name Goldstein was not the family's proper name but was dealt it by an immigration officer on their arrival in New York in 1905. According to the dates my father knew for himself, he was then also about sixteen when he got a new name, as my older son is now sixteen as I have come to the chance to tell this story, in his presence, for the first time publicly.
Most obvious is, as noted earlier, their massive, insistent arrogance (as in Thoreau's "I brag for humanity" and in Nietzsche's "I have ... given mankind the greatest gift that has ever been given it"), an arrogance associated with some remarkable experiences (in other autobiographies these might be conversion experiences or adventures of capture, in America by its Indians, in Europe by its own high culture), and associated with doubts that each exists among fellow human beings, doubts resolved ecstatically in something like new births, perhaps figured as the discovery of another world.