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PostGary Moore on the "Unheimlich" (John Eipper, USA, 04/27/19 3:54 am)
Gary Moore writes:
Our esteemed moderator's word for the day (actually a few days ago, April 19, responding serendipitously, synchronistically to Patrick Mears' wonderful look at French fimmaker Pagnol)--that word is "unheimlich."
This German parsing of "uncanny" reminds that, in fact, all our daily concerns and political shouting tend to skate on top of a vastness we don't know, but which periodically sends us pesky, almost whimsical reminders that the vastness is no fairy tale. It's simply beyond our present knowledge. The ancient villagers look at the volcano and think gods. And we, smug in our knowledge of plate tectonics, are really still them. "Uncanny," or "not canny," means "not within our ken." Our not knowing what to make of the volcano doesn't make it not there.
And all the wrong guesses and superstitions and dogmas don't make it not there either.
JE comments: So there's just enough of the unheimlich to make even the positivists among us believe that a structure or order is out there, somewhere. Freud defines the uncanny as finding strangeness in the ordinary. Can anyone give us a quick parse of his essay Das Unheimliche? I have somehow, uncannily, never gotten around to reading it.