Iain Cameron's Diary
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2005-05-19 - 2:53 a.m.

Also met Geoff (DDDBM&T) at the RnB garden party - we both realized that there were things we said we would do the last time we met which we hadn’t. One of these for me is to buy his history of the rock drum kit which I see is being offered for nearly 100 dollars in LA secondhand on Amazon. Must sort that out. Geoff was talking about the Ringo Ludwig drum kit and the snare especially - how much you have to pay for one these days..

Curried pork chestnut mushrooms green beans Bulgarian merlot. I have my doubts about the colouring.

Soooo - some longstanding business took a further step forward today. I was asked for comments on the latest version. The big issue is whether we back the current draft - or whether we play a bit more coy. The important point is the link across to the manifesto commitment and how it effects my employer’s interest.
This is a complex point - and it is all to do with timing. Also pushed yesterday’s Silverstone business on a stage. Viv called about a meeting tomorrow on the WM plan. I decided I wd ask a colleague to help me on another contract which is set to mature next month.

Listened to the Byrds greatest hits -magnificent - Miles was right. Glad I have done some of these as covers in my time.

Monastery show is pretty hot on BBC2. I spent some time in a monastery - a couple of days. Oddly a piece by Stravinsky loomed large - In Memoriam Aldous Huxley. Who knows why. It was at Alton - high on the chalk. Towards Basingstoke. Regan von Schweizer was into some of this - also shamanism. I have her book on shamanism. Last night BBC2 was doing shamnism and art. The abstraction comes from shamanism they suggested. The shamans did stuff which made them see abstract. I have RvS’s I Ching diary - and I have unearthed my own equivalent - from 1977. The seekers do poetry and also the pomo. PW says the atmosphere is too catholic.

I read some of Truth and Poetry in the pub - where better - author is M Hamburger b 1924 Berlin. He starts with Baudelaire - writing in 1969. The world wars pushed the poets to un-poetical common sense - prior to that he thinks the leaders were doing multiple-personality - drifting around from persona to persona. Not least TSE who manages to anchor himself in the later poetry only by taking up an impersonal religious anchor. Pound on the other hand just lets the persona drift.

Suppose that Durkheim is right and that the basic structure of identity comes from socially grounded models and metaphors. In certain societies this anchoring will be less firm. Indeed in the 1920s Mannheim formulated an account of the ‘free floating intellectual’. Daft name isn’t it? Here’s Herbert Forsch on the subject:

The Concept of "Soziale Freischwebende Intelligenz" in the Sociology of Karl Mannheim in the years of the Weimar Republic (1925-1933)

‘The aim of my PhD Dissertation is to clarify the concept of "Socially Free-floating Intellectuals" (Soziale Freischwebende Intelligenz) of Karl Mannheim's Sociology of Knowledge in his Weimar's writings between 1925 and 1933. Those critical years permit to Mannheim to elaborate on a new kind of sociology which we replace in the context of the resonance (Wirkungsgeschichte) of the work of Max Weber. In this sense, I pretend that the real nature of the concept of "Free-floating Intellectuals" was obscured by many interpreters who overestimated the influence of Marxist thought in the development of his Sociology of Knowledge. We think that his concept of "Free-floating Intellectuals" can be really understood if we link him with some problematic of Max Weber's work, i.e. the problem of intellectualism, rationalisation of the sphere of life and his Free-Value (Wertfreiheit) concept in science.

My project is divided in two parts: First I want to replace the concept of "Free-floating Intellectuals" in the sociology of Karl Mannheim, notably by showing that his study on Conservative Thought (1927) allows him to ground the fundamental elements of the weberian problematic (i.e. intellectualism and rationalisation of the spheres of life) in the case of Conservatism. Thus, Mannheim can deduce the sociological background of the Free-floating Intellectuals in the conservative thought of the early nineteenth century, in their ambiguity between a distant and intellectualistic attitude and an ancient and romantic way of life. I want to show that this concept contains a fundamental sociological dimension which was unnoticed by Mannheim's Critics and informs us of his empirical character in a specific historical context.

The second part of my dissertation intends to situate the concept of "Free-floating Intellectuals" in the controversy of the reception of Weber's "Science as Vocation". The question of Wertfreiheit in science helps Mannheim to relocate his concept on the ground of political liberalism in his most important work Ideologie und Utopie published in 1929. In the context of the growing of the Nazi Movement and the radicalisation of Weimar's intellectuals in the extreme left and right wings, it became important for Mannheim to find a new vocation for the intellectuals. He came to think that the mission of the German intelligentsia ought to be redefined on the political field on the ground of Wertfreiheit. In consequence, we see that Mannheim had elaborated a political theory of the intellectual's action which shows us the tension of the intellectuals between science and politics in the critical years of Weimar.’

You might expect such intellectuals to write poetry where the poetic-persona drifted about a lot. Mannheim as a sociologist of belief shows that this self-understanding has social causes.

Here’s Japanese reflection on expsoure to these ideas:

‘15 years ago, I applied for a graduate study at the London School of Economics. At that time I was so ambitious that I focused myself on a study of the problematic of the intellectual. Months after months, years after years, listening to lecturers and reading volumns of works, writing papers over nights and preparing seminars during weekends, plus chatting and arguing with colleagues, I was able to be “relatively free-floating” among the men of ideas and women of letters. By the end of the day, however, I forgot almost all what I read and wrote, except the keyword for the intellectual, that is, “relatively free-floating” [1], free-floating with no map, no guideline, no dogma, but some original insights and constant seeking alternatives. Instead of physically walking around, free-floating is more about how intellectually to maintain necessary autonomy from the establishment, to question the status quo, to think of options, and to seek possible opportunities.’

The point about VFT and the songwriting Manifesto that I derived from her Language-Games poetical manifesto is that the freedom and floating enable the use of structures from all sorts of sources for the construction of poems. Moreover by configuring the creative endeavour in this way - by hot wiring the metaphor machine - you can go deeper into subjectivity and its essence - if essence there be.

AND OF COURSE - if there's any free floating poetry and songs afoot you would not be surprised to find a RIVER turning up would you?

"Pound’s made a selection, according to Cathay’s subtitle note “For the most part from the Chinese of Rihaku, from the notes of the late Ernest Fenollosa, and the decipherings of the Professors Mori and Ariga”. Pound is acknowledging that the poems are not a translation in any straightforward sense, since he knew no Chinese at this stage. They constitute poetic reworkings of the cribs and notes of Fenollosa and his Japanese teachers. Pound’s use of the Japanese names for the original Chinese poets is a reflection of his sources. Rihaku, for example, is the Japanese for probably the greatest Chinese poet, Li Po (AD 701-762): Pound makes this clear at the end of “The River Song”, the first of Li Po’s poems to appear in the sequence. "

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