On Contingency

Brother Steve comments:

I always thought that Hegel was one of the more lucid amoung us…..and doesn’t "Being and Nothingness" have that great line…"When a women walks down the boulevard, her behind belongs to the world"?

Thanks for the memories dude. 

I keep forgetting Brother Steve was a philosophy major and a damn good one I expect.  I probably would have been one of those myself.  But for the fact that I had decided to be an English major.  Come to think of it, the best paper I wrote in college was not in English but for a class in aesthetics.  I argued roughly that the aesthetic experience was not restricted to the experience of things like art.  Instead I argued that a person could have an aesthetic experience driving a motorcycle fast on a narrow mountain road, and that as far as I could tell you could have an aesthetic experience watching a Bob Hope movie. To hell with high art, in other words. The professor said he would recommend me to any graduate school in the country on the basis of that paper.  Sadly I don’t think there are any departments of aesthetics.

People argue that Hegel is very, very obscure.  But to read him you have to let yourself go and buckle up for a wild ride.  If you want little quotable points you aren’t going to find then. For me though Hegel is the Phenomenology of Spirit.  He takes you in one direction and you are fully convinced of that direction and then he drops the bottom right out from under you.  From Hegel I got one big idea:  if you had a huge scale and you put reality on one side and appearances on the other, they would weigh the same.

Sartre in Being and Nothing does go on a pretty long disquisition on the behinds of women.  Really though he doesn’t like them too much.  He talks about how they wiggle and flop about and he finds a sign in them of “contingency.”  I couldn’t say what contingency is right now though Sartre seems to associate it with gooeyness.

As a teacher at a university, I have the opportunity walking to my class or to my office to observe many behinds.  That’s not all I observe of course.  But it’s hard to miss all those behinds there being so many of them.  I must say from what I have observed that the style or styling of behinds changes.  The full or opulent behind seems to be on the out; instead narrow behinds are favored.  People with behinds are wearing jeans that do odd things to their behinds.  Some people sport jeans that seem to flatten and squash the lower part of the behind, where the curve of the behind might otherwise be visible.

Being old school, I guess, I don’t like this new styling of the behind.  Perhaps people with behinds these days are trying to shape or control their contingency.

One Reply to “On Contingency”

  1. Have you seen the “flat buns” rap-style commercial from Carl’s Jr. It’s Riot….only at the end do you realize that it’s a promotion of their patty-melt. Hi Beth!

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