Thursday, February 1, 2007

Distinctions without much difference

Last night as I lie awake in bed due to an overdose of diet pepsi and chocolate covered espresso beans, I began thinking about my new baby blog and what I wanted to say. I knew my focus would be knitting and philosophy, because these are the things I do. They are in essence, who I am - well maybe not, if that were the case I would also be chocolate and cheese, and that just sounds stupid. So anyways, my focus is knitting, philosophy, and anything else that I feel like writing about, because it's my blog and I'll do what I want with my blog. It's amazing how the internet gives us this over-inflated sense of self import.

Okay, getting back to knitting and philosophy: It occurred to me in my caffeine and sugar fueled sleepless haze that I am a continental knitter and I am also a continental philosopher. I thought this was very profound at the time and tried to take the analogy even further. You see, there are two ways or "schools of knitting": continental and english. Continental knitters knit with the yarn held in their left hand and "scoop" the yarn, where as english knitters hold the yarn with there right hand and "wrap" yarn. The end result is the same, it is just the method by which one makes their stitches that differs. I tried knitting english, which is the standard way to knit in this country, but I found it awkward and difficult. Continental knitting just seemed more natural and intuitive. This is where I start to see the parrallell with philosophy. Philosophy also has two styles or "schools of thought": continental and analytic. Continental philosophy is normally associated with French and German philosophers such as Satre, Heidegger, Nietzsche, DeLuze, Focoult, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. Oddly, continental knitting is also called "German knitting". Coincidence? I think not. Furthermore, analytic philosophy descends from the thought of jolly old englishmen like Moore, Russell and Popper (this is an over simplification - let us not forget Wittgenstein and Frege, but alas I digress).

Now, I am not strictly speaking a continental philosopher. I am actually fairly analytic, but not in the boring stuffy old english sense of sitting around analyzing language usage - yawn! Instead my interests bridge the gap between continental and analytic ways of thinking, which is interesting because I just found a video that explains why it is better for the health of your hands and joints to know how to knit more than one way!

It turns out that what's good for the philosopher is good for the knitter, and vice a versa.

5 comments:

Aunt Peg said...

First, thank you for informing me of your blogg. It gives me some insite into a person who because of geographic distance I haven't had the opportunity to know.
Second, let me say how I bust my buttons (w/pride) everytime I see myself in you. Yes, as an aspiring young artist I was an continental knitter too. Maybe that has to do with the left brain, right brain thing. And of course as we mature we make compromises, become less obsessive and settle into that middle mush we like to call well integrated.
So much for my excuses.
Finally, let me give you some sage advise that probably won't sound so smart. NEVER GROW UP! Maintain for as long as you possibly can all those youthfull ideals, all that exuberience and excitement that is youth. Make-believe, make love, make new, make life, live.

Artist, Writer, Philosopher, it good to see, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
Love Aunt Peg

miltownhero said...

does this mean that we have to move to europe? seriously though, good looking blog there, baby.

the h-bomb said...

someone recently told me that i crochet the way most people knitt..? not really sure what that means, but i do know that i use "the wrong hand" or whatever that means. i must say, the worst thing about moving back home is that i dont get to see you as often. we should try to set up another lunch date this quarter :) and then of course ill be with you for the entirety of spring break... so theres always that <3

Elisabeth said...

I still think you're cool.

a doctor of philosophy said...

While I never learned to knit, I can see where it all ties in very nicely with mental processing and aesthetic development. Certainly the English and German philosophers and knitters are worthy of study and some adulation, but for my money it is the great Russian philosopher and dairy farmer, Tevya, who put it best, "On the one hand there is tradition, and on the other hand there is the papa."
Love D. Papa