Essay On An Abstraction

Essay On An Abstraction-36
At the top are words that reach for a higher meaning, words like “freedom” and “literacy.” Beware of the middle, the rungs of the ladder where bureaucracy and public policy lurk. Hayakawa in his 1939 book “Language in Action,” the ladder has been adopted and adapted in hundreds of ways to help people think clearly and express meaning. Concrete is hard, which is why when you fall off the ladder from a high place you might break your leg.In that place, teachers are referred to as “instructional units.” The ladder of abstraction remains one of the most useful models of thinking and writing ever invented. The easiest way to make sense of this tool is to begin with its name: The ladder of abstraction. The first is “ladder,” a specific tool you can see, hold in your hands, and climb. The second word is “abstraction.” You can’t eat it or smell it or measure it. It appeals not to the senses, but to the intellect. An old essay by John Updike begins, “We live in an era of gratuitous inventions and negative improvements.” That language is general and abstract, near the top of the ladder.

At the top are words that reach for a higher meaning, words like “freedom” and “literacy.” Beware of the middle, the rungs of the ladder where bureaucracy and public policy lurk. Hayakawa in his 1939 book “Language in Action,” the ladder has been adopted and adapted in hundreds of ways to help people think clearly and express meaning. Concrete is hard, which is why when you fall off the ladder from a high place you might break your leg.In that place, teachers are referred to as “instructional units.” The ladder of abstraction remains one of the most useful models of thinking and writing ever invented. The easiest way to make sense of this tool is to begin with its name: The ladder of abstraction. The first is “ladder,” a specific tool you can see, hold in your hands, and climb. The second word is “abstraction.” You can’t eat it or smell it or measure it. It appeals not to the senses, but to the intellect. An old essay by John Updike begins, “We live in an era of gratuitous inventions and negative improvements.” That language is general and abstract, near the top of the ladder.In late Rome, amidst a growing trend toward abstraction, classical forms and values were yielding to a symbolic realism in imperial secular art, setting the stage for later abstract spiritual values in Christian artworks.

Good writers move up and down the ladder of abstraction.

At the bottom are bloody knives and rosary beads, wedding rings and baseball cards. The bottom of the ladder rests on concrete language.

Until Constantine the Great made Christianity one of the Roman Empire's state religions with the Edict of Milan in 313 CE, Christian art was restricted to the decoration of the hidden places of worship, such as catacombs and meeting houses."In imperial Rome, citizens had the legal right to bury their dead in underground rooms beside the Appian Way, the city's chief thoroughfare.

By the late second century some of the tombs displayed Christian symbols and subjects, suggesting the increasing confidence of the new religion in an otherwise hostile Roman environment."(Western Humanities , p.149) Most of the early representations in Christian painting were derived from Roman art, stylized to fit into Christian beliefs."There are several reasons for this use of a common visual language; central to all of these reasons is the fact that adaptation to the surrounding culture was necessary for the survival of the new religion, and a primary cause of its triumph over the Greco-Roman religion." (The Begining of Christian Art , p.27) The catacomb paintings were rich in images, using iconography and symbolism to convey the ideas of Christian resurrectrion, salvation,and life after death.

A similar depiction can also be found at Dura Europas, in an ancient Christian meeting- house.

Christ the Good Shepherd of the Twenty-third Psalm was often depicted as a beardless youth derived from the pagan god Apollo and with other ties to many Mediterranean mythologies.

In this paper I will focus on the image of the Good Shepherd.

In the Catacomb of Callixtus, a third-century fresco depicts a youthful shepherd as a symbol of Jesus.

The rapid succession and violent overthrow of the imperial leaders, military disasters, growing inflation and taxation, along with the abandonment of traditional religion, opened the door for new trends in philosophy and religion that offered an escape from the realities of a harsh world.

The Greek concept of a man-centered humanistic art was fading.

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