Post: Readers Respond
Have been meaning to write for some time now, and for all sorts of reasons — e.g. comments on Pietisten, updating the news, rekindling old fires, etc.
First up, you' ll find enclosed a $10.00 bill to cover the costs of my subscription to Pietisten, which I really have enjoyed reading. At first I was put off a bit by all the religious stuff (not that I am against "beliefs," just that I don't care for the usually dogmatic forms), but then began to realize there is a deeper reality embedded. I think some of the concepts (exegesis, hermeneutics) are what alerted me to the convergence of what you and I are up to. Then, in the latest issue to arrive, I saw some reflections on Hawking's book which really jogged my appreciation schema.
I have enclosed an outline of Hawking's ideas which is an example of some of the things I do in my teaching-research. When I prepare one of these digests, I am especially alert to how the author structures his ideas; facts are usually quite secondary. Then, as a means for critically interpreting the idea-structures, we introduce an oppositional "code" including such things as emphases on: matter vs. spirit, empty void vs. life-fields, determinate vs. purposive motion, etc. On all of these accounts, Hawking's work turns out to be cast in the old world view tradition, which, to me, means the foundations for the current shift to the right in world politics.
Some of the diagnoses we come up with depend on such symptoms as the "voice," and "scope" of a work (scientiTic or religious), For instance, Hawking employs the voice of superman, or, better, supreme spirit — e.g."An expanding universe does not preclude a creator, but it does place limits on when ('He' created it)." Another interesting example of the problem of voice is the relation between "I" and all "others." For example, "... (My = Hawking's) search for the ultimate theory.. . seems difficult to justify.. . But ever since the dawn of civilization (which he knows so well), people (= all others) have yearned to know why. . . " Tom Condon, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
Many thanks for the good work that you, and others, are doing in Pietisten! I have thoroughly enjoyed each issue that I have received and am glad finally to get my subscription to you. Keep up the good work! Herbert Freedholm, Chicago, Illinois.
In his latest contribution to Pietisten, Mr. Teed [whom the writer has known for some time] perseveres in his long-standing tradition of existential nihilism. Through the unbridled expression of "nothingness," he clearly illustrates the undercurrent of angst and anomie so common in today's world of political upheaval, social unrest, and shifting social mores. The didactic is eschewed, thus allowing the reader transcendence and discovery of personal meaning where once there was emptiness. Although unconventional (some might charge too liberal), his approach is refreshing and does give one pause. I look forward to further such works in Pietisten, perhaps a full issue should be devoted to Teed's approach. B. Johansen, St. Paul, Minnesota.
It wasn't until I reached the final page of the last Pietisten that I realized I'd overlooked Donald Teed's contribution in blank space (prose verse?). My apologies to Donald. Like Being it was so close at hand it wasn't noticed. Again, I'm not quite sure just what the author (?) intended — part of the beauty and frustration of the whole piece. At first blush I took it rather lightly. Subsequent reflection, however, has rendered it heavy, very heavy. Is it a theme on Emptiness? Nothingness? Presence/Absence? Is he restating what Wittgenstein concluded in the Tractatus, "Whereof one cannot say, thereof one must be silent?" Or should we give it a nihilistic interpretation in the sense that everything is permitted? Is it an example of tabula rasa?
There are some things we can definitely assert about this work: it is certainly not dogmatic, logocentric, anthropocentric. Consequently, is it possible to assert anything positively about it? Is it theocentric? Biocentric? or "centric" at all?
It must have some religious connotation for the editor or else why was it included in Pietisten? Would you kindly "say"or "show" what that might be? Is it related in some enigmatic way to pietism?
There is no question it is fertile in that it lends itself to infinite possibilities like life before decision — this interpretation being one of them.
Please renew my subscription and keep up the good work! Sincerely, Ivan Smurdyakova, Moscow, USSR.
For readers who may have missed Mr. Teed's contribution in our last issue, an excerpt is provided here:
Because of the following recent statement by Mr. Teed, we are uncertain when he will contribute to Pietisten again. "Like Ann and Abby, I have suffered from writer burn-out and I will be taking a leave of absence."