Cardinal Knowledge

Franco Cassano

in Southern Thought and Other Essays on the Mediterranean

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780823233649
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823241750 | DOI:
Cardinal Knowledge

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The extreme North, the “Great North,” has its own balance and moderation. The West is the barren place where men are made who test their moral strength and measure their virility and the span of the bridge. The East is artifice; the West is raw contact with nature. If we are North, we must point South; if we are South, we must point North; if we are West, we must point East; and if East, West. Today, only two of these directions are followed, and it is herein that the lack of moderation lies. This chapter makes a case for the importance of limits to counter essentialist tendencies, but does so through a playful style whereby it draws on the stereotypes of North, South, East, and West to provide a spiritual topography of human characteristics engendered by the four cardinal points. It concludes by affirming the importance of contradiction and unresolved dialectic to prevent the prevailing of one cardinal knowledge over the others.

Keywords: North; South; East; West; cardinal knowledge; moderation; contradiction; stereotypes

Chapter.  3930 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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