Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Wittgenstein's advance is to have discovered the everyday and its language themselves to be esoteric, strange to themselves, one could say, to be irreducibly philosophical, prompting us unpredictably to say too much or too little, as if we chronically fail to know what actually interests us. It is with our inheritance of language as Lacan says Freud holds of the Ego, that it continually misrecogizes or (mis)understands itself. Instead of saying we are full of mistakes about what is closest to us, we might say of ourselves that we are filled, as Thoreau might say, with misgiving."

--Stanley Cavell, Little Did I Know: Excerpts from Memory (Standford University Press, 2010)

Cavell nails it for me in that passage. He was one of Charles Bernstein's professors at Harvard. There's an interesting lineage operating here... Austin's philosophy of speech acts, Wittgenstein, Hollywood screwball comedies, etc.

But the idea of misrecognition, the idea of generative mistakes...that's my takeaway.

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