I decided that it might be prudent to post a little update regarding what i’m currently up to in the world of water symbolism. Having finished my proposal and sent it off to our graduate research school for approval, I have started the process of writing the chapter mentioned in the last post : “Introducing a Fluid Epistemology”. At the moment, I have a lot of sentences (some good, some bad) that I am attempting to beat into shape in order to create a very rough first draft.
This process leaves me in a reasonable involved stage of my writing as I attempt to fit some of the ideas mentioned in previous posts into an argument. Here is a little synopsis of a few claims that I am currently making:
- Symbolism is a causative factor in Epistemology rather than its byproduct. Therefore, a profitable study of symbolism may lead to an equally valuable insight into knowledge.
- Water symbolism represents an ideal medium through which to study epistemology due to a series of links (eg water and knowledge share a ‘flowing’ dynamic). As well as bringing a strong medieval allegorical and pedagogical theme to light, its study allows a small subset of an imagined symbolism to unlock a greater whole.
- Rather than simply seeking out every instance in which a medieval author used the word ‘water,’ this thesis aims to propose a new methodology for the study of symbolism and thought.
- Due to the enduring power and influence of water symbolism, this methodology offers a tangible and semi-intuitive bond between the thought of ‘moderns’ and the epistemology of the past. Since the aim of intellectual history as a whole is to explain, account for, contextualize and question the ideas of the past, this is a worthy goal.
- This approach is also of value to literary theory and philosophy, for it allows a new way of looking at certain key texts and certain medieval metaphysical and theological philosophies.
Essentially, this first chapter must establish the goal, utility, aim and feasibility of my research. Naturally i’m going to come back to it with an axe later along the track, but I see this as an opportunity to lay it all down as a road map.
As Augustine saith in De Doctrina Christiana, “We are to use this world, not with the love and delight we would show to our true home, but only with the passing love we would give a highway or the vehicles of travel. We love the things that carry us only because we love the place to which they carry us.” You should take this to mean on an allegorical level that one should keep a clear goal in mind on the journey of research, lest one be distracted by the seductive charms of digression. Amen.
Just my little attempt at a bit of medieval-style fawning over auctoritas . Take care, an I will post some proper writing when available.