OKAY SO THIS WAS IN MY ESSAY, AND I JUST CUT IT RIGHT OUT. It was turning into too much of an unsupported conspiracy, which probably came out of bits and pieces from seminar, but I spent time on it so I’m putting it here
Perhaps not quite within “inner vision”, but when Nathanael looks through the spyglass that he bought from Coppola the glassmaker, he sees thing that may be questionable to reality.Though spyglass are usually associated with the ability to see more clearly, it seems that this particular spyglass serves the opposite function. When looking through the glass, Nathanael sees a distortion of reality, and perhaps even what Coppelius/Coppola wants him to see. The first time he uses it is when he looks at Olimpia, and falls in love with her. Perhaps it was Coppola’s intention to have Nathanael become attached to the automaton, as he is involved in the aforementioned situation in which Olimpia loses her eyes. The next time we see this glass, Nathanael has awoken from his supposed madness, until he notices the glass in his pocket. As soon as he takes a look at Clara through it, he is spewing madness, and accusing her of being an automaton and trying to kill her. Before his death, he sees Coppola’s figure, laughing. If we assume that everything Nathanael sees is actually real, it is plausible that Coppola is intentionally creating these situations for the sake of scaring him.
Both of my questions for today’s presentation are related to understanding ‘the uncanny’ as a word/ as a concept.
First of all, what is the relationship between ‘uncanny’ and ‘fear’? During my first reading I failed to see the difference, but based on the the way that Jason explained it in his lecture, I think of it more as ‘uncanny’ is a type of fear? I don’t know how much a discussion question this is- it’s probably more of an issue of clarification.
As for my second question, which I now realize is basically essay topic #10, I wanted to know what you guys think about how using words from other languages affects our understanding. In Freud’s “The Uncanny”, and otherwise.
Freud uses the German words ‘heimlich’ and ‘unheimlich’ to explain the feeling that is ‘uncanny’. Again, while I was reading, I was pretty confused- but I confused even after lecture! The cyclical nature of the words makes it difficult (for me, anyways) to grasp what exactly Freud was talking about.
In general, I find it interesting to use words from different languages to describe concepts, because some languages have words that are unique to them/ that don’t translate well. However, if it is a word that is hard to explain, it can add a layer of confusion!
Can Darwinism be considered optimistic or pessimistic?
Oh man, I wrote this a while ago and never posted it! :O
In Wednesday’s seminar, we discussed this question in small groups, and in my group (which I think consisted of Yun and Karen? Maybe?) we found it to be a really difficult question to answer. We eventually decided that it’s both… or neither…? If we look at what Darwin says on page 209, we can see both sides : “[optimistic] Natural selection tends only to make each organic being as perfect as, or slightly more perfect than the other inhabitants of the same country [pessimistic] with which it has to struggle for existence.”
Initially we were leaning more towards pessimism. The “struggle for existence” though realistic, is rather sad. It’s this idea that all of nature is a competition. Every organism in an ecosystem has to fight to have the resources to live, which means that some will lose. It’s sort of depressing to think that pretty much no matter what, there are going to be some organisms that are just not good enough to survive.
But then we realized that while the weaker organisms die off, the weak traits die with them. The sacrifices made during the course of natural selection are for the benefit of the species as a whole. With every generation of a species, that species improves itself to better survive in its environment. It’s almost inspirational, like ‘bad things will happen, but it’s ultimately for the better’.
But then you keep reading, and Darwin says “Natural selection will not produce absolute perfection” (209). You may, like me, ask yourself is it really worth it then?’. Well, probably. But still.
And now, a brief message to future Arts One students:
Don’t be like me, kids. Write your blog posts earlier on in the semester, so you don’t have to do three in a row.