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fig.30—note the recirculation of A­-a-B-b-A-


“The reason we so often misunderstand people is that when we first make their acquaintance we mistake their bad qualities for the related good ones, or vice­-versa: thus a prudent man will seem cowardly, a thrifty one avaricious […] an impudent fellow full of noble self­-confidence, and so on.”—Arthur Schopenhauer 1851


 Whether you read people or write them, discourse is as fiction: cardboard caricatures are propped up by contrary platitudes like good/evil, weak/strong, or noble/savage. To honestly characterize a real person, or lend reality to a fictional character, look for inversions or ambiguities. Schopenhauer finds conflict not in the rank and file “virtues and vices” but in seeming vices projected by actual virtues, and in seeming virtues shadowed by actual vices: the actuallyprudent man” is defined not by aversion to action as such, but by aversion to reckless­-ness. Conversely, the actually “cowardly” man is more starkly contrasted to the courageous than the reckless.

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fig.31—we are less than “‘shocked!’—to find [___] in [___]”.


 The devil, they say, (or if you ask Mies, God) is in the details. The utility of models comes down to specific application; figs.25­-31 resolved from our generic “nature­-vs-culture,” to a collectivized relativism, to the particular foibles of an individual. Schopenhauer’s logic is so to speak ‘Greimasian’ avant Greimas: his “bad qualities / good ones” aligns to our prior Y­-Axis—and for the X? A prudent man is readily mistaken for cowardly by dint of a more generally passive quality that colors the outer appearance of both inner traits—from which follows, conversely, a courageous man is liable to be taken for recklessor vice­-versa—by virtue of an explicitly active quality. We find this very example at work in Casablanca: Hoping to protect his current interests, Rick (Bogart) nominally ‘disavows’ his prior courageous actions—“I stick my neck out for nobody!” Capt. Renault (Rains) sticks us with the unpalatable notion of a ‘cowardlyBogart such that we’re primed for Ilsa (Bergman) to move Rick from prudent (but false) disavowal back to courageous (but risky) action.

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