An annoying contradiction
This is my last semester of school. Please pray that I don't get sick, miss a test, and don't graduate.
Anyway, I went to my English class yesterday morning for the first time. I can tell already that I'm not going to like this class. It turns out that the whole class is about interpreting hopelessly ambiguous literature. We read a really short story by Hemmingway. It was something about white elephant hills, I believe. I find this sort of thing annoying.
Here's why I find it annoying. Usually in this kind of literature, there's a point. There's a message the author wants to get across. Whether fiction, poetry, or philosophy, these people have a point of view they hope to communicate to their readers. It isn't just meaningless entertainment.
But the grand contradiction is that these people intentionally write ambiguously. They conceal their point of view, obscure their message, and leave as much room for speculation and misinterpretation as possible. What sense does that make? I remember complaining to a friend once that Nietzsche was like that, and he defended Nietzsche by saying something like, "Oh, you just have to appreciate aesthetic writing." Well I don't understand aesthetic writing. That's one of the things that annoys me about postmodern philosophers, too. They are intentionally ambiguous. What's the purpose of writing philosophy unless you intend to convey a point of view to your audience?
It seems to me that if you have a point of view you want to get across, you should articulate it as clearly as possible to give it the greatest chance of being understood. I don't understand why people write literature with a message they obscure intentionally. And my English teacher said one of the goals of the class is to teach us to communicate clearly. Isn't that ironic? She's going to teach us to communicate clearly by having us read literature that is intentionally unclear!