"Owen Barfield has unusual ideas about human nature and reality.. Now this seasoned British thinker.offers a collection of [essays] that reflects the entire range of his interests, including the philosophy of science, physics, biology, psychology, metaphysics, aesthetics, literature, linguistics, and religion.. He is a prophet of the New Consciousness who has been around a"Owen Barfield has unusual ideas about human nature and reality.. Now this seasoned British thinker.offers a collection of [essays] that reflects the entire range of his interests, including the philosophy of science, physics, biology, psychology, metaphysics, aesthetics, literature, linguistics, and religion.. He is a prophet of the New Consciousness who has been around a long time; and he may well be the most comprehensive and critically incisive of them all." -The Kirkus Reviews...
|Title||:||The Rediscovery of Meaning and Other Essays|
|Number of Pages||:||312 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Rediscovery of Meaning and Other Essays Reviews
On page 190 the mechanomorphic depiction of the universe and human being was overthrown for me. Granted, I had issues with it in the first place. I acknowledged the glaring, defensive walls of Darwinian orthodoxy as holding many verifiable truths... but then Barfield showed that, while we do not have to tear them down, they are actually gates, or, better yet, just one more lovely room in a many-coloured palace. I've rarely encountered a human mind more capable of keeping the baby and the bathwater.To say it was a revelation is a bit of an understatement. I should have known that any diligent student of Rudolf Steiner would be able to make sense of these things.
I learned such incredible lessons about the nature of creative language from this book, especially from "The Meaning of Literal" and "Poetic Diction and Legal Fiction." "The Harp and the Camera" chapter is perhaps my favorite essay of all by Owen Barfield, and I have quite a few favorites, so that's saying quite a bit.
When I first find a new author that really excites me, I usually have a moment of Fall, in which I realize that this new author isn't really "all that." It's my first substantial disagreement with him or her. Maybe with Marilynne Robinson it was a few political comments in her recent book (reviewed above). With J.R.R. Tolkien for most readers it happens about 1/4 of the way through the Silmarillion -- maybe not disagreement, but just not getting it. For Neil Gaiman with C.S. Lewis it was probably the incident of Susan at the door in The Last Battle. Let it be known that I personally think the first of these three examples is the corrent reaction and the other two are misguided (then again, I would, wouldn't I?). Still, there's a moment of disenchantment that follows enchantment, and I knew it was coming with Owen Barfield, kind of like you know that there will be a big fight coming at some point after you get married. The only question is how soon.As you can guess, I encountered that moment with Owen Barfield and it did take me three books to get there. If Barfield and I have to fight it would be over Rudolf Steiner. ("Rudolf, Rudolf, Rudolf! It's always about RUDOLF with you, isn't it?!") Barfield simply takes too much of his philosophy from this Steiner guy, and the way he talks about him -- not his "writings" but his "findings" no less -- well, I'm kind of glad that I disagree because it gives me a chance to assert my own individuality. There seems to be so much else that Barfield gets right but I am not convinced about Steiner. Which leads to some unconvincing passages about reincarnation as well. (But I've got to remind myself, as much as I disagree, I'm disagreeing with Plato as well, and I do believe the self can survive death -- I'm just a one-time-only kind of guy for many reasons, including sheer economy.)The bottom line is, it's nice to know I'm not just blindly a Barfield disciple now, and really, the 90% of this book that I don't have a bone to pick with is excellent. I have a few forthcoming blog posts inspired by different topics, which should show that I still find his writing vividly inspirational, and I do feel like the parts of Barfield's philosohy I do want to retain are much stronger now. Looking forward to keeping on reading, even about Steiner, maybe there's something worthwhile there but I'm currently skeptical.Lest anybody think I'm taking this in uncritcally, I'm not. Definitely, if you're reading Barfield, start elsewhere (or maybe just with the first essay, which gives its title to the collection and justly so, because it is a nice capsule of Barfieldisms). There's a rough dividing line around 1970, in which the stuff published earlier is 95% good and the stuff published later is about 66% good, so maybe it can be chalked up to the attention given him after he retired from law and the increased rate of publication. Still, 66% good is pretty good. I dream of 66% ...
Here is yet another of Barfield's books that will rock your world and leave you gasping for an entire collection of false and questionable assumptions that you have just witnessed being eviscerated by Barfield's ineluctable chains of reasoning. Another advantage here is that his thoughts, as complex and erudite as they are, come in small contemplative pieces (since this is an essay collection). Each essay sort of fits into place like a puzzle piece. But as each essay keeps knocking over modern assumptions about how we live and think, and then as another essay starts dealing out death blows to overblown falsehoods, you will start being forced to rethink some things that you may have never even considered as in question.A great book, and perhaps even a great introduction, to an intimidating array of lively ideas about art, language, meaning, truth, criticism, epistemology, reality and metaphysics. Enjoy it.
Owen Barfield's collection of essays is pretty incredible. He has insights into common issues that are very unique, and I found myself wondering often how he even came up with some of his ideas. It's a great volume for anyone interested in the objective/subjective problem, language, literature, philosophy, or the evolution of consciousness. His ideas are extremely unorthodox, but rewarding to an open mind.
A founding member of the Inklings (of fame through members Tolkien, Lewis, and Chesterton) and student-follower of anthroposophy and Rudolf Steiner, Barfield aims in these essays to explain the genesis of problems such as meaninglessness, materialism, and logical positivism pervasive in the early twentieth century. The last few essays take a very Christian turn, though the rest are concerned with philosophical, philological, and rhetorical issues. Barfield highlights the greatest shift in consciousness of the last millennium - the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth century - and, through philology (historical linguistics), exposes the ineffective nature of the mechanistic worldview which grew out of the philosophy of that era. This book, at its core, is a diagnosis and a descriptive cure for the contemporary (wo)man.
15 Sep-15 Nov 2009. Enjoyed most of these essays. Would like to revisit this with my own copy someday.
A collection of deeper discussions of his previous master piece, Poetic Diction. Worth exploring to expand the landscape Poetic Diction leads to.
Some really good writing, but some less good. And some more still just over my head in its nuance.