Why Difficulty matters Professor Steven Groake, Professor of Social Thought @ Roehampton

This lecture will be recorded and available soon but some brief snippets, not immediately connected to each other:


How does difficulty fit into the picture of foundational beliefs. We care about who we are, what happens to us. 

Reasonable explanation is not insignificant but real difficulty begins after clearing things up. We can’t simply explain our way out of difficulty. We find other uses for difficulty other than finding a solution.

Do we miss larger tolerances and parameters of humanist curriculum by focus on student experience? Basic assumption – we cannot know until we measure. 

His work across sociology, humanities and clinical psychology/psychoanalysis – 2 questions – what is creation of meaning and what makes it fail / break down.

Memory of pain no less important when it comes to failure of pain. 

Body free to say what it wants within our affective and conscious fragility.

Sophocles tragedy

Is love a finite act of political justice?

Is classical tragedy sufficient to think about others in contemporary regimes?

Difficulty provides opportunity to amplify ourselves. A source of value.

Poetry – a type of difficulty. What is it about poetry we don’t get? We necessarily come up against limits of comprehension or passage. 

Poetic difficulties are extreme and cannot be cleared up. It could seem we aren’t meant to understand. Blank questions. Suggests can be used as metaphors of difficulty.

The central definitive trope of blankness in modern English literature can be read in different ways.

Trope of blankness may be creation of meaning in psychoanalysis.

Idea of poetry as language under pressure allows different perspective. 

Our responsibility to work through tragic dimension of difficulty. Relationship between political violence and the law.

Our speech can never close off from further response. Nothing we say is going to be final.

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