Lecture Thirteen 28th of July – Abstracts

Dr Jolynna Sinanan and Dr Justin Clemens both return to the Garage for July! With the topic ‘The Human Condition: Discuss’.

We’ll be beginning around 4PM on Sunday the 28th and will be providing the usual beer, soup and donations jar.

Abstracts below:

Human Beings Cannot Bear Very Much Reality*

by Dr Jolynna Sinanan
This line from T.S. Eliot’s “Burnt Norton” is the springboard for my discussion on how our perception of the world is constantly swinging between ideals and actuals.
We have the idealised ‘I’ in our head and the actual ‘I’ in the mirror, and we try to narrow the gap between the two.
Reconciling the space between ideals and actuals is the central condition of being human, in how we view ourselves, our relationships and wider society.
 *This abstract is deliberately short on account of not encouraging the potential audience to imagine an ideal state of the content of this lecture and so running the risk of being disappointed at the actual state of the lecture. Human condition.


by Dr Justin Clemens

In ancient Athenian law, a citizen’s testimony could not be admitted if extracted by torture; on the other hand, a slave’s speech could ONLY be accepted if extracted through torture. What does this mean? Aside from anything else, that nothing a slave says or thinks can count in any way for the polity under the normal circumstances of domination. But it turns out that humans often seem to like to put themselves in such situations, even to go about creating such situations for themselves. Peter Sloterdijk has noted that humans are in fact the only animals that constitutionally put themselves in cages, a feature Sigmund Freud called ‘the economic problem of masochism.’ Not only do humans not tolerate reality, then, but they genuinely do what they can to make things worse. ‘Basanos’ was the Greek for ‘touchstone’ and later ‘torture’: is this then one of the swipe-cards for the human condition?

Have a look at our our lectures page for Jo and Justin’s previous talks.


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