Download A Modern Coleridge: Cultivation, Addiction, Habits by Andrea Timár (auth.) PDF

By Andrea Timár (auth.)

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B. not images) as the ideas of a point, a line, a circle in Mathematics; and of Justice, Holiness, Free-Will, &c. , 104). Coleridge’s emphasis on the faculty of judgement and, especially, ‘Practical Reason’1 suggests that he does not define ‘humanity’ on the basis of social provenance. Instead, he establishes an opposition between ‘man’, on the one hand, and ‘the barbarian, the savage, and the animal’ on the other: by cultivation, he writes, ‘[w]e do not mean those degrees of moral and intellectual cultivation which distinguish man from man in the same civilised society, much less those that separate the Christian from the this-worldian; but those that constitute civilized man in contra-distinction from the barbarian, the savage, and the animal’ (Ch & St, 74).

At the same time, he remained convinced that knowledge coupled with power can turn into a most dangerous weapon if it is not grounded in ‘cultivation’. Only moral and religious education permits the individual to actualise its learning possibilities without posing a threat to the institutions of the Church and the State: ‘the mere possession of knowledges’ has to be ‘regularly accompanied with a Will in harmony with Reason’, and the ‘facts of science’ have to be superseded by ‘the humanizing influences of the moral world’ (Ch & St, 87).

We may remember that the ascent from ‘animal’ to ‘human’ happens when ‘the Spontaneous rises into the Voluntary’ (AR, 98); in the case of the musician (or of any artist, for that matter) we witness a contrary process: the voluntary ‘rises’ into the spontaneous and becomes what Youngquist calls (with reference to Coleridge’s opium habit) a kind of ‘somatic memory’ (Monstrosities, 94): distinct acts of the will are incorporated into habit. That is, the acts of the will become, again, one with the body from which they had been initially severed, or, alternatively, above which they were supposed to ‘rise’.

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