Attraction and Crowd Passions: Isaac Newton and Jacques Callot
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The question of the multiplicative automatism that can be derived out of the liminal again takes us back to the heart of classical philosophical anthropology, or the very foundations of social and political analysis. In particular, we can consider the work of Plato, who argued that imitation had become a threatening moving force of then contemporary forms of social and political life, which he identified in several writings as being simulated and stimulated by the Sophists. ‘Every occasion for whatever passes beyond the non present and goes forward into presenting is poiesis, bringing forth’ (Plato, Symposium 205B). Rationality or reliance on the power of reason, for him — and for Aristotle — is not a simple anthropological constant; rather, it is a capacity to be acquired and developed to see measured relations when confronted with the alogos, the irrational fake problematic of artificiality. Ignoring the driving force of imitation, as propagated by a ‘new class of image makers’ in politics (Plato, Sophist 268C-D), implies that the mind will be reduced to the instrumental use and furthering of imitative processes, deployed to promote particular political agendas, which is exactly the central problem with the newly emerged public figures of art and science in the seventeenth-eighteenth centuries, leading the path towards the Enlightenment.
KeywordsLegitimate Authority Philosophical Anthropology Spiritual Power Imitative Process Central Mask
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