Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Oh, Georg Simmel!

Simmel is a fairly obscure social theorist that I did not know existed until August. As I have mentioned before, my theory course is very difficult for me, painfully difficult. I have created a new formula for my education in my theory class: glean meaning in any way that I can. Find meaning that is applicable to my interests and find a purpose in reading. I have had a friend explain this class as a course on learning how to learn and I have found that in order to learn something, I must find an application and I must care. I have grown impatient in my acquisition of knowledge and refuse to learn pointless facts that I will never employ, but I am more than willing to be inspired and explore theoretical structures that explain why individuals, institutions and societies act and develop in the ways that they do.

Here are a few of my treasures from Simmel:
George Simmel on Individuality and Social Forms: The Transcendent Character of Life
"... we are bounded in every direction, and we are bounded in no direction.
... For only whoever stands outside his boundary in some sense knows that he stands within it, that is, knows it as a boundary." p354

In this book he discusses that we are boundaries because we experience aspects of life along a spectrum of feelings, tastes, scents, joys, sorrows, etc. Because each of these experiences are felt along a spectrum of extremes, we use these extremes to orient ourselves and can only experience a finite magnitudes. Thus our imagination and direct experiences are limited. Once recognized, these limitations can and are surpassed most notably through innovation and technological advances.

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