Sunday, December 6, 2009

Frankenstein as Epiphenomenalism

"Its out there in here"

-Mark Warren Jacquez

What do we get out of a picture or a novel or any experience? What can we take away? We leave with nothing material. The object that exists is invisible data.

"Pumps have no efficacy. Of course, objects are caused to be pumps, i.e., their being pumps is a consequence of their parts having the properties they have and standing in the relations in which they stand. But all the causal work of pumps is explained by the properties and relations of the parts. It would be ludicrous to say that the movement of fluids has two causes, i.e., the push of the blades and the pumping. Explanation of the movements of fluids in terms of such things as rigidity and motion of the pump's parts has to be mentioned in any full account of those movements, and this kind of explanation explains everything that needs to be explained; thus the explanation in terms of rigidity and motion of the pump's parts excludes the property of being a pump from any explanatory role. Our intuition that pumps move fluids is just an illusion. Being a pump is a mere epiphenomenal property."

-Jaegwon Kim

When we read a book like Frankenstein, we recall few scenes or specific events as they were presented. What we come away with is a concept of what the whole of the novel evokes in our own chemistry.

I like to call this "Frankenstein as Epiphenomenalism."

Enterprise reflections expedition return glowing nature embarkation considerations renovating resolved sledge vessel wildness stranger madness man determined eyes Genevese love gardener cherub reverential feverently desire animate nature theories science omen died departure studies elementary dream zeal progress phenomena lifeless materials workshop months creation spark horror Frankenstein trembled concealing existence silence sickbed yield neglected ugly heart letter creature hilarity wretchedness mountains murdered figure pity frightful ignorance guilt grave God innocence blackest condemned ignominy acknowledged soul human fiend revenge tenderness savage oblivion torrents pines spirits begone abhor hunger animals fire bread wood hovel emotions extinguished companion consumption sympathized follow reception language affected enraptured listened creator relationships mind prove promise history lament Paradise Lost monstrous cursed desire prejudice condemned spark arose rage heartless sun meditate eternal fiend deformed demand justice persuade glaciers consume boat blind tale task machinations ocean being journey blood instruments sacrifice pursued squalid forebodings laboratory sophisms villain appetite apparatus reflect gushed conscious examination corpse succeeded loathing misery accident ghastly prison light lived alas secret countenance love free beloved comply regret bride flowers rays expire vain bodily daemon Alps loose barbarous mourner hell dreams night toils struck foe vengeance monster imagination escape children mankind cast blamable balancing stature repentance memory criminal end

It is made up of one word from each page of the novel. Reading through this, seemingly, is an alternative route to the same epiphenomenal experience: a stepping stone on the road to a post-literate age.

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