Tag Archives: French philosophy

The Intimacy Of Communication

My book, The Intimacy of Communication: A Spiritual Encounter, is now available for purchase via Amazon and the CreateSpace store. I may add a Kindle version too, but that’s still a work in progress. Direct links to purchase my book:

amazon.com

createspace.com

I’m sure many of my readers are familiar with ordering books on Amazon. Besides clicking the first link above, you can go to amazon.com and type “charles b snoad” in the search box and up pops my book.

Besides clicking the second link above, to order via createspace.com switch from “site” to “store” and type “charles b snoad” in the search box and up pops my book.

This has been an amazing process. CreateSpace, an Amazon company, makes self-publishing easy. You don’t have to spend a fortune to set up your book, unless you opt for their “professional services,” which I didn’t need. I highly recommend CreateSpace.

Below is the full book description, followed by my author bio. Thanks for your support. If you like the book, please consider writing a review on Amazon. Hope you enjoy it!

Is there space for intimacy in a hyper-connected world? Charles B. Snoad employs the wisdom of French philosopher/provocateur Jean Baudrillard in a spiritual quest for meaning in the Digital Age. Fighting against rampant consumerism and a cultural imperative that everyone must text, Tweet and overshare on social media, Snoad argues for authentic communication, or fully present, device-free conversation. In the process, he also seeks to understand his twenty-year battle with depression. If depressed people pose a threat to corporate values like rationalization, organization and flexibility, does depression carry with its suffering a temporary path to freedom? By sharing his story, Snoad hopes to break the stigma surrounding mental illness. Personal essays in this collection cover wide-ranging topics in philosophy, psychology, politics, religion, media studies, sociology and critical theory. The book concludes with thoughts on the power of forgiveness to transform our souls in the wake of social, political and personal traumas. This is a text with depth no instant message can convey. To follow along, the author recommends we silence our phones.

***

Charles B. Snoad is a summa cum laude graduate of Elmhurst College with a BA in English. At Elmhurst he won multiple poetry and short story awards, and served as opinion columnist for the school newspaper, The Leader. He discovered French philosophy shortly after college and quickly fell in love with the works of Jean Baudrillard, his intellectual hero. Snoad lives in Wheeling, IL, and works as a writing tutor and copy editor. He’s maintained his blog Sharp Left Turns since 2008.

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French Miss

It’s no secret I enjoy French philosophy. Recently I noticed a pattern in the thought of a few of my favorite writers. There’s a feeling that life, at its core, is full of lack. Lacan writes that desire is lack, in the sense that I want something I don’t have. In order for desire to continue, I must never actually get what I want. Lyotard writes that meaning is always deferred. When we speak of an object we have its word and the concept for it in mind, but we never get to the object itself. Baudrillard thinks that the world is simulated and the Real has become so real it isn’t real anymore.

Inherent in these thinkers’ approaches is a belief that nothing is as it seems. There’s an illusory quality to the world they sometimes fear, sometimes revere.

Most people don’t find value in discussing what’s missing in our lives when we’re surrounded on all sides by people and stuff. Studying big ideas, even when they illuminate our shortcomings and insecurities, gives me a sense of purpose. I appreciate the mystical qualities lurking behind Appearance, the poetry operating beneath the steady unfolding of the world.

But I can’t take these abstractions to heart in my daily life. Yesterday I met again with a woman I really like. Sitting across from her in a downtown café, I saw her face, heard her voice, sensed the fullness of her being. Were her private thoughts inaccessible to me? Of course. Was she in her body interpreting her world separate from me? Of course. But she was still right here in front of me.

Thoughts about Lack and Deferred Meanings and Simulated Reality were the furthest from my mind. I just wanted to reach out and hold her hand, to submit to the whims of her Mystery.

The essence of Being shines brightest in the presence of someone you care deeply about. It’s the beauty of conversing with a woman you yearn to understand, knowing all along you’ll never know her completely. But trying nonetheless.

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The Ecstasy Of Communication

[T]oday we have entered into a new form of schizophrenia—with the emergence of an immanent promiscuity and the perpetual interconnection of all information and communication networks. No more hysteria, or projective paranoia as such, but a state of terror which is characteristic of the schizophrenic, an over-proximity of all things, a foul promiscuity of all things which beleaguer and penetrate him, meeting with no resistance, and no halo, no aura, not even the aura of his own body protects him. (Jean Baudrillard, The Ecstasy of Communication, 1987, p. 30)

There’s a lot going on in this passage. To dissect its meaning would murder the poetry. I know only that I enjoy it, that my returning to it says something about my relationship with “an immanent promiscuity and the perpetual interconnection of all information and communication networks.”

I’ve written many times about people’s fascination with cell phones. I fancy myself a part-time cultural critic pointing out the pitfalls of exchanging what makes us human for the allure of the newest all-mighty gadget, the “Next Big Thing,” as one company likes to advertise.

But last week I bought a smartphone. Simply put: I like it. For too long I muddled through life without a reliable 4G LTE network, an unlimited data plan, or a strong enough signal to text from my basement.

There’s no disconnect here. Now I can Google the nearest independent bookstore, call them up and ask for the obscure French philosophy department. All the way from my basement.

 

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When You’re Downtown

UNION STATION

We meet one day after
a long Chicago winter
in the rush of Union Station.

She finds me as I am,
nervous at a corner table
practicing my first impression.
I shake her hand, enjoy
the way words escape me.

We discuss our travels,
how we reached this point.
I get a sense of
where she’s coming from.

Some folks chat but never meet,
she says, lamenting the
difference between profiles
and how you actually appear.

We speak of childhood,
French philosophy, Freud’s
interpretation of dreams.

She asks about my poetry.
I share theories, outline
methods, draft revisions,
wondering what she’ll
make of these lines.

c b snoad
3-21-14

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