Sometimes I think that there is such a thing as willful mis-comprehension, perpetuated - and isn't this interesting - by volumes of prose.
The concern about the truthfulness of writing, and whether the ability to read volume after volume produces wisdom, is addressed in the Phaedrus. Plato's Socrates is as concerned with good speaking as with good writing, which is to say that in Plato's Socratic dialogues, there is an emphasis on truth in all contexts, not just the truths uncovered by close reading.
Similarly, I imagine that in the Humanist architectural mnemonics (some call the method of loci), alongside rooms of facts about various subject matter, there were also rooms devoted to ethics and how this informs action and the pursuit of truth. This is implied in Vico's speech to university students, entitled "The Heroic Mind", whereine heroic echoes back to the Greek concepts of paideia or kalos kagathos.
But writing in this way implies that knowledge, truth, or wisdom is something that can be had or held: a territory to be appropriated by the palace in the mind. Plato's Socrates, on the other hand, is always reluctant to claim any final understanding. A more quality knowing then is - a not knowing? An approximation?
There are some who are trenchant that their work is flawless, whereas another view would be to consider work as more or less studied. Some work may be more accurate, but other work may provide inspired solutions. What is "flawless" work?
If we are talking about comprehension, I would argue that better work will involve an openness to the possibility of being wrong (hence the importance of double checking).
Perhaps openness is rare because it involves that "uncanniness" that I first thought about when reading a passage in de Chirico's Hebdomeros (that passage with the furniture in the street: something familiar in an unfamiliar context). Heraclitus writes of "expecting the unexpected" - which, the more I think about it, is a rather uncomfortable state of mind: indeterminate, yet not chaotic, because of the implied reception.
To try to better understand what Heraclitus meant (my associations aside), yet without having spent time with the Greek - so this is an unfinished post, an unfinished idea, I have been reading various translations of fragment 18 where that phrase appears. One translation reads: "If you do not expect the unexpected you will not find it, for it is not to be reached by search or trail."
Another translation reads: "Unless you expect the unexpected you will never find [truth], for it is hard to discover and attain." There is also this: "If you do not hope, you will not win that which is hoped for, since it is unattainable and inaccessible."
On the basis of these sentences, and as a good-enough conclusion to this post, part of the difficulty in understanding life may be in where it fails to conform to our expectations - considering, too, that in our bid to understand, even our understanding of the unexpected may still be influenced by the limits of what we conceive possible.
Some of the work I did over the holidays involved reading about Lacan's definition of psychoses, which is also connected to expectations because psychoses involve projection. So, there's also that. Lots of films being shown, but the possibility, too, of there being something far more behind that screen.
Brush: Misprinted Type.