If we accept Socrates’s claim that “The unexamined life is not worth living,” two questions arise: What makes a life worthy of examination? How ought we to examine it? In the opening excerpt from Virginia Woolf’s “A Sketch of the Past,” she does not address the former, but she meets the latter squarely. As she sets about writing her brief memoirs, she examines the mechanics of her memoir-writing. Between best approximations of her first “exceptional moments” (71), she subjects her own descriptions to scrutiny redolent of the scientific method: first observe, then identify, then attempt to explain the significance of the results: “That is, I suppose, that my memory supplies what I had forgotten, so that it seems as if it were happening independently, though I am really making it happen” (67). Here she accounts, as would a responsible scientist interpreting an experiment, for the shortcomings of the apparatus and experimenter. Her predilection for this exacting brand of self-analysis is fueled by “…the rapture [she gets] when in writing [she seems] to be discovering what belongs to what” (72), an indulgence in which she partakes on several occasions – she apologizes for digressions on pages 67 and 70, though they’re no more digressive than her other anecdotes or trains of thought – even as she earnestly intends to waste no time recording her history over the course of “two or three [mornings] at most” (64). For these indulgences I must readily forgive her, because I do the same, as a matter of intentional habit, in my online journal. I write there for many of the same reasons she does here, and much of her self-analysis rings familiar.

In the early days of my journaling career, I wrestled with form as well, though for much longer, and out of ignorance rather than expedience. My very first entries were nearly unadorned chronology, narrowly avoiding tedium by sole virtue of their brevity. For example: “I spent all day today (from 9AM to 1AM) working on the big client project, with breaks pay for essay writing ingestion and excretion. It was slow going but I made some significant progress” (1999-06-27). On introspection, and with feedback from friends, it occurred to me that I was underutilizing my journal by employing it as a glorified calendar, and I hit upon a winning formula to fix it: describe what happened, then describe what I thought or felt about it. One such entry: “…a noisy family sat around us, two behind and two in front. No peace for our tired ears, but even less for the mom in charge of her young kids. Against this backdrop, I am reminded of how glad I am to stand alone. I appreciate the degrees of freedom afforded me by having significant responsibilities only to myself. At some point in the future, this may no longer be true; I am enjoying it while it lasts” (2000-01-31) What might have been a colorless, odorless tale of a long, flat bus trip with a friend is now being told in a voice recognizably my own. Since it’s “so difficult to describe any human being” (65), I attack it from the opposite direction: a stranger need only read some small finite number of my quotidian stories to form a reasonable mental facsimile of me.

This happens to be the key function of my journal. While it’s important to me that my friends and family read it to stay apprised, and I don’t mind that the occasional Googler chances across it, I write in it primarily custom essays for sale my own benefit. A few months ago, in discussing with my sister our continued growth as adults, she related to me that the ways in which she’s known me to analyze my beliefs, choices, and actions correlate very strongly with the techniques of “cognitive-behavioral therapy.” True or not, I smiled (narcissistically?) to think that professional therapists teach what I do. When Woolf supposes “…that the shock-receiving capacity is what makes [her] a writer” (72), my experience suggests the reverse: my writing (which is to say, explaining) capacity is what makes me shock-resistant. I also don’t agree with Woolf’s seemingly subjectivist view that something can be “[made] real by putting it into words” (72), but I do find that recorded language, in its potential rigor and permanence, places beneficial demands on my thinking. For instance, the act of writing about what seemed “cotton wool” (72) isolation while traveling in Europe transformed it into a “moment of being” by expanding my self-awareness: “I’ve been feeling wonderfully lonely the last few days. The mechanics of it make complete sense: spend time with old friends, make new ones, then say goodbye to all. Always too soon. Never enough time. By instinct one grabs at what has gone, tries to set it back as it was. But it can’t be done. I like the way this feels. Knowing what it means, I enjoy watching myself struggle with it” (2005-06-06).

From the very outset of the philosophical study of the diversities of the universe, it has been noticed, that in many cases, where common sense is content to enumerate two, or three, or some other limited number of aspects or constituents of a supposed object, closer analysis shows that the variety contained in this object, if really existent at all, must be boundless, so that the dilemma: “Either no true variety of the supposed type is real, or else this variety involves an infinity of aspects,” has often been used as a critical test, to discredit some commonly received view as to the unity and variety of the universe or of some supposed portion thereof. Mr. Bradley has not been wanting in his appeal to this type of critical argument. But to give this argument its due weight, when it comes as a device for discrediting all efforts to define the nature of Individuals, requires one to attack the whole question of the actual Infinite, a question that recent discussions of the Philosophy of Mathematics have set in a decidedly new light, but that these discussions have also made more technical than ever. If I am to be just to this matter, I must therefore needs wander far afield. Nobody, I fear, except a decidedly technical reader, will care to follow. I have, therefore, hesitated long before venturing seriously to entertain the plan of saying, either here or elsewhere, anything about what seems to me the true, and, as I believe, the highly positive implication, of Mr. Bradley’s apparently most destructive arguments concerning Individual Being and concerning the meaning of the world of Appearance.

But if it is impossible to conceive qualities without relations, it is equally unintelligible to take qualities together with relations. For the qualities cannot be resolved into the relations. And, if taken with the relations, they “must be, and must also be related” (p. 31). But now afresh arises the problem as to how, in this instance, the variety involved in the also is reducible to the unity which each quality must by itself possess. For a quality, A, is made what it is both by its relations (since, as we have seen, these are essential to its being as a quality), and by something else, namely, by its own inner character. A has thus two aspects, both of which can be predicated of it. Yet “without the use of a relation it is impossible to predicate this variety of A,” just as it was impossible, except by the use of a relation, to predicate the various qualities of one thing. We have therefore to say that, within A, both its own inner character, as a quality, and its relatedness to other facts, are themselves, as varieties, facts; but such facts as constitute the being of A, so that they are united by a new relation, namely, by the very relation which makes them constitutive of A. Thus, however, “we are led by a principle of fission which conducts us to no end.” “The quality must exchange its unity for an internal relation.” This diversity “demands a new relation, and so on without limit.”

Meanwhile, the “mere conjunction,” if taken as such, is “for thought contradictory” (p. 565). For as soon as thought makes the conjunction its object, thought must “hold in unity” the elements of the conjunction. But finding these elements diverse, thought “can of itself supply no internal bond by which to hold them together, nor has it any internal diversity by which to maintain them apart.” If one replies that the elements are offered to thought “together and in conjunction,” Mr. Bradley retorts that the question is “how thought can think what is offered.” If thought were itself possessed of conjoining principles, of “a ‘together,’ a ‘between,’ and an ‘all at once,’” as its own internal principle, it could use them to explain the conjunction offered. But, as a fact (p. 566), “Thought cannot accept tautology, and yet demands unity in diversity. But your offered conjunctions, on the other side, are for it no connections or ways of union. They are themselves merely other external things to be connected.” It is, then, “idle from the outside to say to thought, ’Well, unite, but do not identify.’ How can thought unite except so far as in itself it has a mode of union? To unite without an internal ground of connection and distinction, is to strive to bring together barely in the same point, and that is self-contradiction.” Things, then, “are not contradictory because they are diverse,” but “just in so far as they appear as bare conjunctions.” Therefore it is that a mere together, “in space or time, is for thought unsatisfactory and, in the end, impossible.” But, on the other hand, every such untrue view must be transcended, and the Real is not self-contradictory, despite its diversities, since their real unity is, in the Absolute, present.

My UW essays - Issa Rice

All this being understood, let us undertake to define a map that shall be in this sense perfect, but that shall be drawn subject to one special condition. It would seem as if, in case our map-drawing powers were perfect, we could draw our map wherever we chose to draw it. Let us, then, choose, for once, to draw it within and upon a part of the surface of the very region that is to be mapped. What would be the result of trying to carry out this one purpose? To fix our ideas, let us suppose, chronological order essay topics if you please, that a portion of the surface of England is very perfectly levelled and smoothed, and is then devoted to the production of our precise map of England. That in general, then, should be found upon the surface of England, map constructions which more or less roughly represent the whole of England, – all this has nothing puzzling about it. Any ordinary map of England spread out upon English ground would illustrate, in a way, such possession, by a part of the surface of England, of a resemblance to the whole. But now suppose that this our resemblance is to be made absolutely exact, in the sense previously defined. A map of England, contained within England, is to represent, down to the minutest detail, every contour and marking, natural or artificial, that occurs upon the surface of England. At once our imaginary case involves a new problem. This is now no longer the general problem of map making, but the nature of the internal meaning of our new purpose.

While, however, self-representative systems of ideal or of physical objects belonging to the later types play a great part in exact physical and in mathematical science, their study does not throw light upon the primal way in which the One and the Many, in the processes directly open to thought’s own internal observation, are genetically combined. For physical systems which permit these transformations of a whole into an exact image of itself are given as external “conjunctions,” such as crystal forms. We do not see them made. We find them. The ideal cases of the same type in pure mathematics have also a similar defect from the point of view of Bradley’s criticism. A system that is to be made self-representative through a “group of substitutions,” shows, therefore, the same diversities after we have operated upon it as before; and, furthermore, that congruence with itself which the system shows at the end of a self-representative operation of any type wherein all elements take the place of all, essay writing service review is not similar to what happens where, in our dealings with the universe, Thought and Reality, the Idea and its Other, Self and Not-Self, are brought into self-evident relations, and are at once contrasted with one another and unified in a single whole. Hence, we shall indeed continue to insist, in what follows, upon those self-representations wherein proper part and whole meet, and become in some wise precisely congruent, element for element.[16] We mention the other types of self-representation only to eliminate them from the present discourse.