Neil A. Chassman: "Poets of the Cities: Levelling of Meaning"

[Martin] Heidegger lays bare the quality of intervalness which is entailed by the ethos of an atomic bomb society in which the bomb itself is not the scare but is merely the most obvious symptom of a system of values grounded in the myth of objectivity. To put it differently: if an atomic bomb were to fall, everything would be utterly devastated--chairs, people, mice, trees, ice cream sundaes, honors, lovers. All things would exist in a continuum of undifferentiation. Not only would physicality be so ravaged but the catastrophe would also reveal layers of already incipient undifferentiation in the realms of value, emotion, and spirituality. Intervallessness then means that all things are placed without intervals between them, without features which normally distinguish one thing from another.... For example: a farmer who has worked hard all his life to establish a situation of security and repose for his children, when witnessing the death of his children in a bombing, becomes aware of a transformation of meaning regarding the state of his farm, the work he has put into it, and all considerations which have been in any way related to it. The young high school girl anxiously awaiting her senior prom, choosing her dress for the evening, etc., when she becomes sick to her stomach all cares for the dress or the evening vanish, or rather, previously held meanings are levelled....

In spite of the devastation of a levelling of meaning there is a positive power attached to it, i.e., it allows for a reconstitution of meaning in an authentic manner--it makes possible for the first time a restructuring of the world. (17-18)

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Criticism Overview
Title Neil A. Chassman: "Poets of the Cities: Levelling of Meaning" Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Neil A. Chassman Criticism Target Gregory Corso
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 05 Jul 2015
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication No Data
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