Chapter Five: Wonder

by stronged

– “an incisive exploration of the murky depths of human experience.” (114)

– ‘the appeal of TV shows like The Wire comes from their ability to “tell us something about ourselves,” (114)

Therefore correlationist/anthrocentric.

– ‘these are the objects of concern for the drug scene.’ (114)

Characters are termed objects within the narrative unit/system. For example, a protagonist and an antagonist are integral components of a dramatic narrative. The more specific the topic of the narrative (i.e. genre) the more specific one can be with identifying the necessary objects that create that operating system.

– ‘The “authenticity” of the show’s [characters]…is established through a set of cinematic rhetorics, including their anonymity as actors, their racial diversity, their ordinary appearance, and, perhaps most importantly, the almost impossibly inscrutable intricacy of their actions and relations, a feature that makes television “smart”…’ (114-115)

– ‘Ace of Cakes…deletes human rationales as much as possible, forcing birthdays and weddings and retirements to serve as mere stages for the more interesting and important process of cake construction.’ (116-117)

– ”the show flattens the ontological seas, as it were. Clinker-built oak planks and fondant, keel, hull, and sponge cake, white-topped waves and spread frosting, oar stay and cookie all take their places next to each other as objects of equivalent existence.’ (117)

– ‘knowledge is just perception.’ – Theaetus (120)

Wisdom is the act of using that knowledge – practical component.

– ‘The sense of wonder is the mark of the philosopher.’ – Socrates (121)

– ‘Iris is the messenger who couples earth and the heavens, connecting humanity to the gods…goddess of the rainbow, which connects earth and heaven through air.’ (121)

– Wonder = 1) ‘awe or marvel’, and/or 2) puzzlement or logical perplexity.’ (121)

– ‘The Hana highway is both route and destination, like the object of philosophy is both puzzle to be decoded and object to be admired.’ (122)

– Francis Bacon – wonder as 1) “the seed of knowledge”, and 2) “broken knowledge” – “that which maintains a distance” (admiratio, Latin for admiration) “science attached to nothing” (122)

– ‘…for Bacon the road toward knowledge of creation itself remains impassible.’ (122)

– ‘Knowledge may intersect or surround ideas and objects, but it never permeates them…’ (123)

I believe it can form the connections between particular objects though. In our mind we form connections between significant objects. For example, a song from an old playlist just came on the radio that reminds me of my trip through Norway. I remember distinctly when my Norwegian cousin remarked how she liked the song and would like a copy for herself. Since then, whenever I hear the song I remember my cousin and that trip. If she had not mentioned anything about the song she would not have been entangled with it. It seems whenever we interact with an object we are fused in such entanglement. They become a system as opposed to separate units. There are many songs that remind me of independent events.

– ‘…secularizing them from both their pagan and Judeo-Christian contexts.’ (123)

Broken knowledge has no religious association, a state of wonder independent from external influence.

– ‘If allure is “the separation between objects,” then wonder is the separation between objects and allure itself. Wonder is a way objects orient.’ (124)

– ‘the rhetoric of science is entirely and totally obsessed with human knowledge, action, and use.’ (124)

– ‘the computer as a medium’ (125)

This is precisely the opinion I must adopt. Instead of a television or cinema, my new canvas is the computer with this years research project.

– ‘children sometimes respond with answers like “bus driver” or “janitor.” Adults tend to recoil from such suggestions, thanks to the low economic and social aspiration of professions like these.’ (126)

– ‘science and philosophy are alike in their dealings with wonder. For them, wonder is void, the opening for a tunnel that leads somewhere more viable. It is a means.’ (126)

Cinquain = five-line poems

– STEAM instead of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) – “A” standing for Art (128)

– ‘art becomes a lubricant for science and engineering output, a valve through which its application can be made resonant with human practice.’ (129)

– ‘Science, like philosophy, has assumed that wonder is always a type of puzzlement, an itch meant to be scratched so we can get on with things.’ (129)

– ‘[Instead,] a thing of wonder, [is] like Iris’s rainbow, suspended between the pique of intrigue and the utility of application.’ (129)

– ‘broken knowledge also implies an internal systematicity that resists external logics – whether those be physics or metaphysics. The science attached to nothing is the logic of the real object.’ (129)

In other words, objects/things have their own internal logic or system that will forever remain alien to us.

– ‘Are we so cowardly as to think expressing interest in things embezzles the last of some limited resource of concern for other humans? If that’s what “humanism” has come to mean, then a new conception of it is in order.’ (132)

I agree with Bogost’s sentiments here. I feel the motivation behind such inhibitions is human interest; the belief that humans should be up on a pedestal. It is a challenging thought to consider a human is of the same level of being as a rock, or snail, or grain of sand.

– ‘The posture one takes before the alien is that of curiosity, of wonder.’ (133)

– ‘The return to realism in metaphysics is also a return to wonder, wonder unburdened by pretence or deception.’ (133)

– ‘the alien everyday.’ (134)

I enjoyed how Bogost concluded his text titled Alien Phenomenology: or what it’s like to be a thing. He has imbued me with a sense of wonder about all things. This inherent curiosity should always be present within our consciousness. It reminds me of the wonder young children experience when encountering a new environment. New sensations, interactions and experiences to be had. So many possibilities. This thought is important for both a positive outlook on life and to encourage interaction with the world. Why shy away from objects? I continue to recapitulate this to my mother, who shies away from operating her computer. It will not bite you! At least, I’m pretty sure it wont 🙂