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This is a semester’s worth of notes from Philosophy Professor Bruce Wilshire’s “Philosophy of Art” class. It was made in his last year as a Rutgers Professor. Not one word of this is mine, it was just arranged by me.

October 26, 2009

“One Thing About Bruce Wilshire…”

Great art can alert us, wake us up and become more fully aware.

You might imagine this is the sound of animals being slaughtered, but it’s really just a desk being dragged against the floor. Do you think other animals besides human beings enjoy such things? The other class wanted to know if I wanted help moving the desk soundlessly. I said, “No, I enjoy my imaginings.”

Why do I not provide a syllabi? Syllabi rhymes with bye-bye. Have you thought of that?

Please tell me what this course is about. Please give ME a syllabus.

I don’t care about the Johnson & Johnson executives whining for a martini; I don’t understand you at all.

The truth is I don’t know what this course is about myself. I’m trying to get a clearer picture of it myself before I die.

We have each other. We have dark matter.

I am very superstitious, I am writing a novel.

God only knows what we are going to get into. If this course is good, then we will get into all types of things we cannot predict.

Remember, your job is to keep me awake.

Undergraduates-emotionally involved, caring, young people. You can turn me out in your unsophisticated ways more than Graduates-highly specialized cerebral cortexes, most of the time full of shit-regurgitative shit bags.

I choose to hear that sound as a love-sick kangaroo.

The human species is very strange. We are animals, there is no doubt about that, but we are very strange. How many animals commit themselves to poverty, chastity, and obedience? It’s true that we are animals, but it is misleading, because we are also NOT animals. Who the hell are we?

Rutgers: vast culture of impersonality.

My wife gets killed and trampled by elephants, encounters two defiant Indian kids, one on-the run for sticking a hatchet in the stomach of stepfather for trying to make out with sister.

If you are thinking about marrying someone who is not going to tolerate your particular ways of experiencing the world-check out.

The sun was just setting and struck us in the face.

Don’t the best mountains have faces? It would be a shame to be in a course of philosophy of the arts and never discuss beauty. All art is beautiful, whether immediately beautiful or not is another question. At one time or another, you’ve experienced things as beautiful, haven’t you?

She has unusual powers. Most of her work is easily understood, yet profound.

Whether I think it’s crap or great-I always appreciate it.

We are exceedingly curious primates.

They become professors and endure university salaries and university policies.

If you lose sight, the first things you learn to see are the things you have touched with your hands. Interestingly, people usually don’t see the moon.

Why so much tragedy in art?

Cheez-whiz & beer & watching the idiots on t.v. Don’t people just want comfort and convenience?

Painting with genetics: Art of love-making

However you relate to the Bible, it’s at least literature.

In order to gain prophecy you have to not be depressed

Poetry, the music of words.

The colors are the same, but the pattern is different.

Heraclitus: everything changes, everything glows

I’m just celebrating being alive because when you’re dead you can’t

? 90% of people’s declarative sentences are stated like questions

Put that in your pipe and smoke it

The artist gives birth to the painting and the painting gives birth to the artist.

Does the poem enlarge our idea of the world, or only our idea of the world. The world as we and others experience is undivorceable from our ideas of the world. It looks like you’re paying attention, but I have no idea if you grasp it.

The shutters on your eyeball-is the mind a camera?

One of the dangers of atomic weapons is that they’re there. Can you look at a hammer and NOT think of the potentiality of using it?

Is it possible to give pop quizzes? Why do I give pop quizzes? Because I’m a pop, and I can give a quiz.

Science becomes objectable when it becomes scientism. For example, when science says that only science can discover truth.

Some of us might think that the whole class is involved in a group hallucination.

My mother’s 104 and sees things that just aren’t there. If you are truly hallucinatory you cannot tell the difference between real and unreal and THAT is really dangerous.

“I’m just growing up dad.” Keep the goddamn cigarettes out of your mouth.

I’d hate to stomp all over you. Actually, I’d LOVE IT !!! uggh, ughh…I’ll show my fangs!!!

Philosophy is an ATTEMPT to get the big picture

Just how do crazy people know things, experience the world? Not garden variety neurotics-people that have to be restrained because of their hallucinations!

Can your ability to make sense be taken away or at least temporarily shocked? Terrorists want to shock us so much, make us so crazy, that we cannot function. We are like a disturbed ant hill.

Wednesday-Square burger time!!!!

Mental breakdown-the experienced world goes to pieces

Disrobing on the first date = letting the steam off

Many a true word has been said in jest. Sometimes you can speak the truth, but you HAVE to joke about it.

The unconscious value that is attached to pure water. Can we experience the sobbing of the river? We must transcend the skin of our bodies. The sacred all togetherness of things soaking in from every pore. We are porous beings.

Well, one thing about Wilshire, “Throw him a bone and he’ll gnaw it.”

Evolution/GOD has seen to it that we can have NO direct awareness of our brains. Neural derangements that make you become aware of your brain.

If you experience a stream as a babbling, laughing brook, it is very difficult not to laugh along with it.

Well, we are almost finished, but I really want to rub your noses in this

Is an elephant adequately described as a big, lumbering creature? Elephants have powers of lumbering and souling.

Aristotle: the ordinary run of people live like cattle

Jesus: the ordinary run of people live like sheep

Put that in your laboratory and study it

Humans can understand the wordless world

If you’re not going to say anything don’t say anything at all

I’m a detective too, but not employed by the police department

Subversive truth: I’d like to influence you without saying anything

Who gives a goddamn if they get into Harvard and they are emotionally dead pinheaded people?

Are grades a good indication of what you’ve learned in the class?

Most people are sleepwalkers, I think.

I’m tickled to death. I mean, don’t expect me to die in front of you, but I’m tickled pink to death. I’m tickled pink.

Student: “Death is pink”

You can’t say what you’ve seen, but your behavior reveals you’ve been hit.

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