Dialoguing with Ernst Cassirer

I’ve been reading Language and Myth, am I don’t quite get what he is trying to say. He talks about obsession (although he never calls it that) and possession (which he does actually reference). He writes, “Mythical thinking, when viewed in its most elementary forms, bears no such stamp; (of traditional logical rationality-parenthesis mine) in fact, the character of intellectual unity is directly hostile to its spirit. For in this mode, thought does not dispose freely over the data of intuition, in order to relate and compare them to each other, but is captivated and enthralled by the intuition which suddenly confronts it. It comes to rest in the immediate experience; the sensible present is so great that everything else dwindles before it. For a person whose apprehension is under the spell of this mythico-religious attitude, it is as though the whole world were simply annihilated; the immediate content, whatever it be, that command his religious interest so completely, fill his consciousness that nothing else can exist beside and apart from it.” So, the difference between mythic thinking consciousness and logical consciousness is obsession and single mindedness? Am I missing something here? I agree that mythic conscious does encourage an immediacy of experience, a kind of living in a moment, but to my mind, it does not lend itself to a single-minded obsession. What say y’all??!!



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2 responses to “Dialoguing with Ernst Cassirer

  1. So, Roberts Avens discusses Cassirer really nicely in one of his books – not the one we read for Glen, but another one whose title escapes me right now this moment but is available at the Pacifica library. He also discusses Hillman and all that good stuff. It’s a really good book if you’re still struggling with Cassirer. 🙂

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