Coleridge – The Joy of Learning

Thus exuberance of mind, on the one hand, interferes with the forms of Method; but sterility of mind, on the other, wanting the spring and impulse to mental action, is wholly destructive of Method itself.

Samuel Coleridge

Excitement and desire for learning changes the forms of Method (making it organic just as humans are organic).  However, rigidity to the point of boredom destroys Method completely.  I am not sure what he means by the “wanting the spring and impulse to mental action.”

Could it be that he is trying to say that these people are so rigid that they want to spring (jump like a spring) and give in to their impulse of thinking about something, but they cannot or will not?  Or is he talking about this same thing, but not from the perspective of the person who is rigid, but those around them who practice exuberance of the mind?

This goes back to Jasper Neel’s discussion on professional, dead discourse vs. humanist, living discourse.  I’m beginning to see this everywhere like a strange attractor.  The idea that there is a living language or discourse and there’s a dead one.  Kenneth Burke’s essay “Terministic Screens” talks about this exact same thing with the terms humanistic and mechanistic.


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