Cultural Gaslighting

Posted: September 4, 2016 11:49:42 AM

By John Schoneboom


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I'm a writer with an interest in all aspects of how we construct, filter, protect, and subject ourselves to reality. My first novel Fontoon was published...

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John Schoneboom
November 19, 2016 05:08:58 PM
Good god, can it be this long since I've checked back here at my own site to see if anyone's posted any comments?! Answer: apparently. Apologies for this long delay. Pioneering time jumpers are of course always welcome here.

As for the title "The Science of a Single Cabbage," I'm glad you asked. I stole it from Terry Eagleton, who is among other things an eminent literary theorist. In his wonderful book The Event of Literature he was talking about postmodernism's reluctance to universalize anything, and defending the idea that some things really did have to be widely generalized. His example was cabbages. There's no such thing, he said, as the science of a single cabbage. It has to be a science of all cabbages. He is right, or he was, because now he's wrong. Now there is The Science of a Single Cabbage. Strictly speaking, he is now both right and wrong. This is the sort of contradictory dualism that we need to be able to tolerate if we are to attain any sort of wisdom. But at the same time you're not far off with Alice in Wonderland either, just not for the cabbages. You might consider gift-wrapping a choice cabbage and sending it back to that community in Arizona. They can puzzle over whether it is a peace offering or some advanced form of incomprehensible sarcasm, and like Terry Eagleton they can be both right and wrong whatever they decide.

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